Who needs McDonald’s?

I saw this recently… McDonald’s and Greggs sharing their recipes online… I sometimes eat from McDonald’s… and Greggs for that matter – there’s a Greggs not far from me and I don’t mind a wee sausage roll … not to mention their soup which is often good.

But with fast food places shut… let’s see how easy it is to make the equivalent.

Re fast food – Dad used to always say as long as you have a fish supper (or fast food) every now and again and not every day – it’s fine, and that’s sort of how I eat how. A bit of balance – a splurge is ok sometimes, but don’t do it all the time.

I eat what I want and nothing is off my menu, but it’s good to be thoughtful about what you eat and drink.

Anyway, today I decided I’d make my own Scottish version of the McDonald’s sausage McMuffin with egg … and I made my own sausage, egg and cheese muffin.

So I got a muffin, and toasted it, and I got some of these tasty ‘skinny steak slices’ (low in fat, and only 87 calories in one)… Scottish Lorne sausage really.

I grilled the sausage / slice, and fried an egg, then as the muffin was toasting I put the egg on the flattened square sausage, and grilled it for a bit longer.

Then I put on a square of dairylea cheese, and once the muffin was grilled I put a little tomato ketchup on the muffin.

(There’s no has brown as I didn’t fancy it and though this would be enough).

With the sausage / slice being low fat, and quite high protein, this little lunch or breakfast packs about 400 calories, including 26g of protein, about 41g of carbs and quite low fat at 14g.

Compare this to the McDonald’s sausage and egg McMuffin … it’s 180 cals and about 16g fat less, plus about 5g of protein (and 10g of carbs) more. 27% protein. 👍🏻

Yum yum – very easy and tasty. That’ll do nicely.

My Scottish sausage, egg and cheese muffin. 😇

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Wk13 & Wk14 into Wk15 – fancy being active every day?

The week before last it felt like I didn’t do much exercise, but I did 4 runs of almost 22 miles… getting me up to 96 miles for March… then I managed to squeeze in a final 4 miler tomorrow, the last day of March to get me up to 100 miles. That’s more like it (vs about 60 in February)

I didn’t go in the gym that week, and did about half the walks I did in week one of working from home… but I still managed to get 4 walks in, of about 7 miles / just under 2 hours. In all honesty I was feeling a bit odd all week.

Unsurprising really… the motivation to be fit and healthy in week one was gone, and now week 2 of lockdown and social distancing – and not knowing how long this will last for was maybe hitting home a bit. June, July, August? Who knows.

I’m taking comfort in the fact that me and those who I’m close to are healthy, and in fit and got lots going for me. Might sound a bit dramatic, but perhaps this is a wake up to help us realise that we’ve actually got things good. So we need to stay in a bit. Fine.

Here’s what I did that week:

Wk13 – 23 Mar
Mon: 6.2M run / 2M walk
Tue: 3.6M easy run wi FG
Wed: Rest / 38 min walk
Thu: Rest
Fri: 5.1M run solo
Sat: Rest / 35 min walk
Sun: 7M run incl 2x400m / 41 min walk

Now with this time working from home, and places being closed, I decided at the end of March that I was going to spend some time focussing on getting back into the (gara)gym, and getting my mojo back so that I can hopefully be more active in April.

Take back a bit of control, set some goals, and see what happens.

For April I’ll aim to:

– Walk or run or be active (bike / garagym) for at least 30 mins each day / early morning or lunchtimes (get away from desk).

– Alternate run days with garagym days.

– Take advantage of solo runs and do more effective (speedwork / hill) runs (and also stay nearby home by doing this).

– Track my calorie consumption / expenditure / deficit / weight / composition / steps / sleep.

So this week was a bit more active and I was a bit more mindful when I was eating – eating until I was full, and not out of habit. I’ll aim to get a high percentage of protein in my diet.. and track it in MyFitnessPal again for a bit.

This was half a can of ambrosia creamed rice with some jam as a treat one night – after I’d done a run that day.

Here’s the training I did:

Wk14 – 30 Mar
Mon: Spin & 3xAMRAP x6 exercises +finisher / 30 min walk
Tue: 10×1:1 / 4M = 100 miles running for March
Wed: am 55 min Walk / pm 28 min walk (rest day)
Thu: 6M easy solo run
Fri: 5k run / short 16 min walk
Sat: Day 1 / Spin & KB Strength / 60 min Walk
Sun: 10M long solo run

Since I haven’t been in the gym for a bit, my legs were a bit sore from Tuesday til Thursday, so I decided to have a rest day on Wednesday, but got about 11,000 steps in on two good walks. (A long walk on Wednesday morning was good, 5k in 55 minutes – then I ran the same route on Friday and did it in 26 mins).

A long walk and gym workout on Saturday, and my long run on Sunday will mean 2 strength sessions for the week, and 4 runs of 23.1 miles, and about 10 miles walking.

Here’s my training plan for next week – quite simply, alternating (strength, spin and walk days), with run days…(and I’ll be careful not to overeat / be greedy, again):

Wk15 – wc 6 April
Mon: Spin & Squat Strength / walk
Tue: Hill run
Wed: Spin & Deadlift Strength / walk
Thu: 6-7M easy
Fri: Spin & Clean n Press Strength / walk
Sat: 8-12M long
Sun: Rest / long walk / Extended spin

Next week is the start of another 4 week / 29 day cycle for me… so hopefully I’ll be feeling a bit more motivated and up for it compared to a few weeks ago.

My routine is to get the exercise done first thing, around 7am, then get ready for and enjoy the day ahead. On gym days I’ll get out a walk or quick spin at lunchtime, and at weekends I’ll be active too. Mostly close to home, and I’ll avoid people like I have the plague when I’m out running too.

How are you getting on in these strange times? How are you changing your routine up to keep you feeling good and motivated?

Fancy being active first thing and / or lunchtime every day with me? 🏋🏼‍♀️🏃‍♀️🚲🦊

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Ever wanted to learn to run?

Have you ever wanted to learn to run? Or now that maybe you have more locked down time on your hands maybe getting out for some walks might be good?

Jog Scotland have just produced this:


If you fancy getting out for your daily exercise some more… walking or running, why not give it a try?

Any questions, let me know. 👍🏻

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Strange times #2

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to run solo. Forgotten what it’s like to push myself on a run. I’ve comfortably settled for enjoying social running instead of solo running. I found I got a lot more from running with others than running on my own.

So I set up a lunchtime running group at work so I could always run with others.
I run with my partner regularly, my colleague weekly, my brother sometimes, my clients. I very rarely run on my own.
I forgot what it’s like, to run free on your own.

Music on, my running tempo as slow or as fast as I want.
My workout, whatever I want, easy, tempo, fartlek, intervals, hills, long. My heart rate, whatever I push it to be.
My thoughts, internal chatter, processing the day, the week, my life.

Today, I decided I’d run out and back, however far I wanted – it ended up being to Bella Park track and back.
The roads were mostly empty of cars – the streets and the M77 as I crossed it from above – even at 11am. There were walkers, runners and cyclists out, bit bit too many.
I kept my distance, pretending like I had the plague and didn’t want to spread it to them.

The cute little girl, oblivious to what was going on around her, walking behind her parents with the old Labrador. The couple pushing their son is in his pram.
The cyclist who passed me at the track and gave me a wide berth.
The neighbour at the end who has just started a zero to 5k plan as she ‘might as well try to push herself‘.

It’s a beautiful sunny (but cold) Spring morning out there. And today we should be flying back from Portugal. ☹️
But instead we’re safe inside our home or garden and getting the time to think, to exercise, to just be.
I’m hoping what we all do stops this virus in its tracks, and I think it’ll be like this for some time, so we better get used to it.

Two weeks into social distancing for me, some of it feels easy, some of it feels forced.
There’s no anger or frustration left, I’m just thinking of ways to make it better. Today I waved, smiled or said hello to everyone I could when I passed them. A bit of socialising with strangers, whilst still keeping our distance.

Why don’t you say hello if you’re out and about?
Or give a smile and a wave.
People might think you’re odd or crazy.
Or maybe they’ll appreciate the gesture and give and hello, a smile or a wave back?

Recognising that we’re all in this together – these strange times that may only get stranger as we go in. Maybe this is a time to reflect and realise how good things have been. How clever things have become.
A time to take stock and be grateful for the little things in life.

Facebook tells me that this time 5 years ago I was on a hen weekend with my good friends. The weekend we went cliff jumping and river tubing,
And my little body couldn’t deal with the cold and shut down and fainted. 😂
The photo above is of me after fainting, eating a mars bar to get my sugar levels up. 😳
The hen weekend for the friend who was getting married then, now has a daughter and baby son, born just recently.
These are the important things in life – the babies, the children, the families, our friends and families – and that we all keep healthy, and keep in touch.

I’m grateful that I’m fit and healthy and able to run – solo (or with others in other times). Grateful that I have a good home, and good secluded gym set up. Grateful that I have people who care about me, and I care about them. And many many more things.

I posted the above a few days ago, and it’s true.
But for me, week 1 was like day 1, and week 2 was a bit like day 2. I was all motivated and keen to keep healthy, fit and active in week 1.
In week 2, I felt a bit lost and the fridge seemed to be my closest friend – anyone else??! 😳😂

So I’ve decided from next week, week 3, I’m going to make an effort to do what I can to make things good.
As long as I’m well I’m going to exercise every day, first thing – Run, walk or garagym. I’m going to eat well and get plenty of sleep.
And I’m going to do things I enjoy.

I’m having strange dreams.
Someone in my dream last night asked me if I was pregnant (I’m not!),
Then I was looking after my friends son in another dream, and the roads were all iced up, and I was walking on them in bare feet. 🤷‍♀️ Strange times, strange dreams – anyone else??!

I’m going to call friends and family, check in and see how they are. We’re going to look after each other.
And I’m going to watch boxsets and films and listen to music and podcasts.
I’m going to set a training plan to get fit and use what I have to do it – solo. I’m going to use this time to reflect and do some good.

Now I leave you with three things:

1. Brave your Day podcast – give it a listen.

2. Words from Jason Leitch, on the Brave your Day podcast. His advice is:

In order to break the chain of this virus you should:
– stay at home to save lives.
– only go out when necessary, and keep social distance when you do.

3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-52066956 – this piece from the BBC is not only great factual storytelling and journalism but also reminds us of how far this has all come and how much everything has changed in such a short time.

I hope you’re hanging in there. And if you’re not, phone or message someone for a chat.

Get another perspective, I find that usually helps me. Stay strong and I think I’ll say it now, stay safe and well. x And at least the sun is shining. 👍🏻

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Strange times

I’ll not lie. I’m starting to feel a little uneasy with all of this, but I’m gratefully safe in the knowledge that I have my health and many other things which are positive in this very strange new norm that we’ve all had to become accustomed to. 😕

I didn’t run Wednesday or Thursday and forced myself out this morning as I knew it would make me feel better. It feels like I’ve not been able to social distance – FROM THE FRIDGE 😳🙈 – and I feel a bit odd, which is probably understandable. I’m trying to be logical, and not get upset but it might happen soon. 🙈

Fit Girl and I are keeping ourselves in, 🏠 and not near anyone else, our home is now our work place. But we’re glad we’ve got each other. We’re pretending we’ve got it so we need to stay away from others so as hopefully not to spread it.

Today I ran 8k into town and back – along Sauchihall Street and down Buchanan Street. I didn’t really think much as I was counting the cyclists (x28) 🚴🏻‍♀️, runners 🏃🏽‍♂️ (x17) and walkers (100+ lost count).

Despite quite high numbers of people I came across, they were spread out and the streets mostly felt very empty (for 8-845am on a Friday) it was very eery. 😱 There seemed to be a lot more pigeons, crows and seagulls about, and hardly any cars. The birds must be wondering what the hell is going on!

I kept my distance from anyone, and even got quite a few hellos, many more than usual. Humanity shining through in strange times. 👍🏻

It feels like a day is a week, and last night I didn’t get a great sleep. No idea why. 💤

Anyway, I’m keen to get a bit more routine in to mix it up and keep on with my exercise. So yesterday I set myself up with a new training plan which will work alongside my cycle. A mix of gym and running. 🏋🏼‍♀️ 🏃‍♀️

People are saying ‘stay safe’ a lot, but I’m not sure it’s possible. I imagine that if you’re going to get this, you’re going to get it and hopefully the symptoms will be mild. I know someone who thinks she has it and she’s explained how she feels with quite heavy symptoms – it does not sound nice!

I prefer ‘stay connected’ – keep in touch – check in on each other – make sure everyone you know and care about is ok. I hope you all keep well, and here’s to the weekend, in this new norm which might last a long time!

Finally, my brother sent me a joke, which I thought was a bit funny, but maybe not … who knows… here it is anyway…

‘I told a Coronavirus joke at work the other day…nobody got it but they’re starting to get it now.’

Stay home. Save lives. And smile, remember to smile, at the little things.

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Wk12 into Wks13 & 14

Last week, I don’t know what was going on, but probably in a quest for me to be as healthy as possible, I did a lot more walks than usual. One of the least stressful type of exercise, I wasn’t walking to and from work so I felt that it was important to get daily movement in, in the form of a walk or a run.

I’ve been working from home since Friday 13th when my boss realised fortuitously that this would likely be the way forward for most of us. It’s not all that bad really. We have the internet to connect, we have food and heating and most importantly, we have our health.

All in all last week I did about 15 miles of walking and about 24 miles of running.

I didn’t go in the gym, but I plan to do that this week for some variation.

Wk12 – 16 Mar
Mon: Rest (sore calves) / 2.5M walk
Tue: 7.6M run
Wed: Rest (sore calves) / 2.7M walk
Thu: 7.5M run / 2.3M lunchtime walk
Fri: Rest / 2.5M walk
Sat: 8.8M run
Sun: Rest / 4M walk

5 walks / 3 runs.

The weather is slowly getting a bit more pleasant too, and recently we’ve seen Spring pop up through warmer temperatures, flowers popping up and more sunny days than not.

Social distancing might feel a bit restrictive, but it’s for everyone’s good. In now limiting my contact to just me and Fit Girl… poor Debbie will have to go without my chat for a few weeks. Poor Fit Girl with me, all day, every day (work and home). 😂

So here’s what my plans are training wise for the next two weeks.

Wk13 – 23 Mar
Mon: 6.2M run / 2M walk
Tue: 3.6M easy run / Spin & Squat Strength
Wed: Interval run
Thu: Spin & Deadlift Strength
Fri: 7M run
Sat: Spin & Clean n Press Strength
Sun: 10-11M run

Wk14 – 30 Mar
Mon: Rest or KB Strength
Tue: 6.2M
Wed: Spin & KB Strength
Thu: 8x800m
Fri: Spin & Strength
Sat: Day 1 / Rest
Sun: 13-15M run

We were meant to be in Portugal this week, and it’s when we usually go away, so I keep getting memories on Facebook, running it in. But I’m glad I’m here, at home, abiding by the rules.

My long runs were meant to be building up to the Strathearn marathon in June, but I can’t see that going ahead now. We’ll see what happens.

A few numbers now…In the last month… mostly from my Garmin:

My sleep has gone up.
My stress has come down.
My steps have gone up.
My body fat has gone down, lean mass up.
My weight has gone down slightly.

So we’ve been told to be a bit more restrictive and change how we live… here’s what I plan to do:

– only go out for necessities
– do one bit of exercise a day (Walk / run / gym can be done as well as run/walk) – keep in touch on the phone or face to face online
– have a schedule – exercise around 7am each day
– eat well and drink plenty water
– sit in the garden and watch the birdies in our garden

– be there for each other
– try and perfect my latte / flat white making skills 😳🙈
– post my training on my page and think about doing other blogs – read books I never get around to
– watch more telly
( – pretend I have the bug and I don’t want to pass it onto people incase I kill them)

Now I’ll leave you with this. My first shorts outing of the year, sitting in our garden writing this post (granted, I have a jumper on lol). Legs oot. I have to say, it’s quite warm, (between the gusts of cold wind).

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Things to do during these times of COVID-19

These feel like very strange times. People working from home, kids off school, pubs, restaurants and coffee shops closed… people being forced to self isolate… our very society, ways of being and norms being changed to help people to stay safe… for how long we don’t know… 12 weeks, 3-4 months … 6 months? It’s all so very odd – for everyone.

My friend’s 5 year old asked her when Santa was coming… that’s how off it is. It could be a bit scary, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m taking the time to focus on what I can control – what I do, who I speak to, and how I feel.

There was a point where I was angry and frustrated, angry that our way of life was being changed because of some stupid virus… our holidays cancelled, our ways of life changed or put on hold, with no real idea of how long this would take and what would be affected.

But anger and frustration doesn’t help anyone. So I decided to do a few things that I could control, things that would make me feel good, and hopefully help others to feel good too.

  1. Make sure I get movement and get outside every day (if I can) – walking, running, the gym, the bike – whatever works for you.
    Gyms might be closed (and I’m lucky I have mine in my garage)… but you can still do an online workout indoors, or just go a walk. Many PTs and gyms are offering free online workouts. Half an hour to start off your day. If the weather isn’t good, wrap up or look at the forecast to see when a nicer time of the day might be. I’m still meeting Debbie for runs – the chats will be even more important for both of us now. If she gets it, I get it and vice versas, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. And we’ll stay away from any other people as much as we can.
  2. Phone someone every day – my Dad and step Mum, my uncle, my neighbour, my friend, my other Mum, older people I know to make sure they’re ok. And I’ve been texting and messaging friends, family and colleagues too – to check in, but also to keep a bit of perspective. It was my Uncle’s 84th birthday on Thursday, the same day as my friend’s daughter’s 3rd birthday…. each of them would have such a different idea of what’s going on.
    Then there’s my work colleagues – we might be working from home, but we can use technology to have things like virtual coffee breaks, or regular catch ups over Zoom or the phone to engage like you would face to face in the office. Even if it’s just a quick 5-10 minutes at the start of the day. Put them in, help prevent the feelings of loneliness or sadness creeping in. Most of us like the social interaction, but technology nowadays means that social isolation doesn’t need to mean you cut all ties / contact.
  3. Keeping across the News, but not having it on all day – I’ve been listening to various things when I’ve been at home – music, the radio and I’ve also had the News on. But I’ve decided instead of having it wall to wall news, I’ll pick and choose when I see it. Reporting Scotland at lunchtime and it and the six at night to get up to speed with what’s happening. Working where I work I’m across some of it anyway, but it’s best to take time out to do normal things as well as keep up with what’s going on. And I’m taking Facebook with a pinch of salt too.
  4. Taking care – from sleep, to what I eat and drink… I’m taking care of myself and those around me. Health is maybe more important to us now than it ever has been and it’s maybe a good time to have a focus on it.
  5. Self isolation projects – this was something my other Mum Liz suggested she was going to do. Now that we might have some more or different time on our hands – is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve put off, that you could put the effort into doing now? Something as simple as walking every day, or clearing out the spare room… or learning and practicing to make coffee art or the perfect café latte with the nice leaf on the top? That’s my one and I’ll post pictures on my personal Facebook to show my progress (or lack of progress) every day. Maybe your self isolation project could be you? How can you spend time on making you the best version of you? Lose that half a stone you always meant to, or get out walking more often. Keep things more simple, enjoy the little things in life.

Some key workers are still able to have their children go to school – see guidance here from the UK Government for schools and colleges, here from the Scottish Government, and here for guidance from the Scottish Government on COVID-19.

Then for those of you with kids – wondering what you’re going to do with them – below is a list of entertaining things you can do. I got this from a friend’s Facebook page (thanks Susan Cameron). But other things you might consider include:

  1. Having a schedule of when you and your kids do things (like a school day).
  2. Mix in learning with fun, chores, dinner time, time outside, you name it.
  3. Use technology to connect – you and your kids, with your family and friends and the kids friends.
  4. Get your kids ideas and buy in for what your days will look like.
  5. Try not to be stressed, try to see this time as a chance to be together and bond.
  6. If you’re anxious about anything, talk about it – to your other half, your friend, family or colleague – or even Breathing Space.
  7. Get information from trusted sources – the Gov website, the NHS website, the BBC (and be conscious of fake news). Also a new website www.readyscotland.org and www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus . For Scotland, the Nine on Twitter will have good information on it (see the screen shot below from their interview with Jason Leitch on Friday 20 March.)

For those parents who are contemplating home schooling with fear and trepidation here is a list of fun and entertaining challenges compiled by a teacher pal of Susan’s (thanks Elfstelle McKean 🥰)

‘Taskmaster’ Style Challenges

• Build the best living room fort.

• Create the most symmetrical meal.

• Throw a tea bag into a mug from the furthest distance.

• Perform a song using a random household object as an instrument. Bonus points for most random object!

• What’s the most creative thing you can do with a piece of fruit before you eat it?

• Make your knee look like a character from a book or film. Bonus points for most realistic!

• Make a vegetable look like a person. Bonus points for most realistic!

• Do a household chore in the most entertaining way.

• Pretend to be a pogo stick. Jump for the longest time.

• Take the most unusual selfie.

• Recreate/act out a scene from your favourite book or movie.

• Put something surprising under an upturned mug – you have twenty minutes to do this.

• Tear the best picture out of a piece of paper.

• Put on as many items of clothing as possible. Then write them all down in alphabetical order.

• Write down as many five letter words as you can think of. You have five minutes.

• Send one of your toys on an adventure. Bonus points for the most exciting adventure!

• Make the best hat.

• Shut your eyes and draw a self-portrait. Bonus points for most realistic.

• Use clothes from your wardrobe to recreate a piece of art you like or make a new piece of art.

• You cannot use words for the next 40 minutes. You may sign, gesticulate and point but no words.

I quite like the tea bag one for myself! 😉

My project will be to stay fit and healthy with exercise, and to try to make a good coffee with my new coffee maker. So now I’m going to see if I can make a better flat white at some point again today – wish me luck. 😉

My kite might also come out in windy days too.

What will your self isolation project/s / activities be?

And finally, Spring and nicer weather is just around the corner, so take comfort in that. And just now might be the time to enjoy the smaller / simpler things in life.

Be well everyone x

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