C25k: Hitting 5k & An Update

Well guys, it’s safe to say I have been slacking on the blogging front recently. I’ve been carried away and preoccupied with other things (good and bad) and I haven’t been very good about remembering to take my camera out and about or making time to edit and upload photos.

But one thing I have been doing is running.

After a couple of times of running my C25k app alongside my Runkeeper, along with a bit of googling and research, I concluded that the timing issue I mentioned previously was definitely not my imagination, and promptly sacked the app off. By that point, I was at the stage where runs were reaching 25 – 30 minutes of solid running, so I figured it wouldn’t make that much difference.

I was pretty pleased with myself when after about 2 runs, I hit the elusive 5k and what’s more, I didn’t feel like I wanted to die. Goal officially reached!

Since then though, I have to say I haven’t been particularly good at heading out three times a week, but I have been making it out twice a week at least. I also haven’t been particularly good at sticking to the targets I set myself. I’ve been switching it up between aiming for a distance and aiming for a time, but I seem to be sticking around the 2.2 miles/20 minute mark.

Going forward, I’m determined to get back into the habit of going out 3 times a week and ideally, I’d like to be doing 5k every time (and more, obviously). I’ve been experimenting with some new routes too, and now that summer is almost officially here, the park is open later so I’ve been trying out going through there which is nice (the time I accidentally ended up heading up super-steep Blackheath Hill was not so fun). I even managed to persuade M to come out with me on a run, which may be the coupliest thing we have ever done!

I’m also gearing up to buy some actual proper running trainers, which is a sign of commitment making me more nervous than it should be! Any recommendations of where to look/how to decide/what to buy?!

How to eat your way around London in 3 days

Last weekend, I did some things I’m ashamed of. Namely, I ate out for almost every single meal and this is how I did it:

After some very bad news and the resulting rollercoaster of a week, I kickstarted the long weekend with Dominos & Hummingbird Cupcakes at work, followed by a very brief trip to Pizza Express with one of my lovely little cousins and aunt for dough balls and a large glass of wine.

Saturday lunchtime saw a little trip to Covent Garden, where I met my long-lost friend Mae. Both starving, we ended up at The Diner, where I had an absurdly enormous hot dog topped with pulled pork. For £7.50 this was SERIOUSLY good – it was so large, I had to leave half (! – needless to say I did eat all the pulled pork). Also, any restaurant that serves ice tea is a tick in my book.

Saturday afternoon saw a brief stop at Starbucks for fuel to show off my beloved Greenwich Park to Mae, and later that evening it was on to Davy’sI have been wanting to eat here since we moved in seven months ago, and it seriously lived up to my expectations (at > 2 mins walk from my flat, it would be hard not to). Service was super efficient and super friendly, the wine list is as extensive as you would expect, and I had a delicious steak sandwich. The decor inside is as cosy and old-timey as you would expect from maritime Greenwich – it feels more like a country pub than zone 2, in the nicest possible way. Turns out Davy’s actually have a whole string of restaurants & wine bars all over London, so if you see one, I’d highly recommend.

On Sunday morning, we whipped up avocado & poached egg bagels and waved goodbye to Mae, before jumping on the DLR, Spitalfields bound. This was supposed to be a rare, non-food-oriented outing, but obviously as soon as we got to the food part, we failed. We did at least go for one of the healthier options, one that Matthew informs me his office raves about – Pilpel. Now we all know I am a falafel fanatic, and Pilpel is definitely amongst the best I have ever had. It was so fresh and crunchy, and  you can have guac in your falafel pita. Sold!

By this point in the weekend we thought we might as well throw caution to the wind and so we made our way over to Boxpark so I could introduce Matthew to Dum Dum Donutterie. Yes, we could have had a regular sized donut, but where’s the fun in that when you can have a tarte tatin cronut the size of your face? Exactly. Safe to say, it was delicious – and, actually quite light enough that we didn’t feel nearly as disgusting and full as we should have done by this point.

We had my sister and her boyfriend staying with us on Sunday night ’cause they’d been to the O2. When I heard that the new Breakfast Club at Crossrail Place was having its soft launch and taking reservations over the weekend, it seemed too good to be true so we snapped up a table and the four of us headed down for my first ever BC experience (I don’t queue for breakfast).

I was going to do a whole post on this, but my photos are shocking, so I’ll do a quick run down. The whole point of soft launches is so that staff can work out the kinks, and I have to say that there were quite a lot of kinks – every dish we ordered was delivered to the table behind us, and every one of theirs was delivered to us. But the staff were more than friendly everyone was in bank-holiday-high spirits, and the food was good.

Just in case we didn’t have enough food, we also followed a family tradition of ours with “pancakes for the table” – the best decision ever as they were SERIOUSLY delicious. We left stuffed and happy, and suitably smug when we saw the huge queue building out of the door!

Crossrail Place, by the way, is ridiculously impressive and futuristic, and after breakfast we took the opportunity to explore its roof garden, which is actually very similar to the Sky Garden.

With a Big Easy, a Sticks & Sushi and many others soon to open, it is set to become one of my favourite foodie destinations – so I’m sure there will be plenty more visits to feature on here!

SO there you have it – a month’s worth of naughty treats crammed into one crazy busy bank holiday weekend. What did you guys get up to?!

Snapshots in Greenwich

Some photos from a (slightly) hungover stroll on the first day of spring.

I honestly have no clue how I’d managed not only not to visit Greenwich before moving here, but also not to really have even heard of it. I think it’s easily one of the most underrated spots in London and the absolute greatest place to spend a Sunday.

Places visited: The Queen’s House / Tulip Staircase / The Water Gate / National Maritime Museum / Greenwich Park / Royal Naval College

Hanoi House, Greenwich

Vietnamese is a cuisine that I have always imagined I would probably like, but never really tried (I don’t think dining hall banh mi way back in Virginia counts). Matthew and I noticed Hanoi House, an inconspicuous new pop-up arrival on the streets of Greenwich, quite a while ago, but it took until this weekend for us to finally get down there and check it out.

Situated just across from Greenwich Market, Hanoi House is small and kitted out pretty simply, but with just enough knicknacks to keep things interesting while you wait for your food. There are about 5 tables, and when we arrived on a sunny Sunday afternoon, they were all taken up – but luckily, everything is available to go. The menu itself is pretty simple, with three sections: banh mi, pho, and summer rolls, with about 4 varieties of each.

Hanoi House also has an impressive array of interesting looking drinks on its menu. Unfortunately they were out of coffee on the day we were there so we couldn’t sample Vietnamese iced coffee or indeed anything similar, but I ordered a peach iced tea which was delicious.

I didn’t really fancy slurping pho in the streets of Greenwich, so we both went for banh mi; lemongrass chicken for me, and the “Hanoi House Special” (pork, vietnamese sausage and pate) for him.

Before long we were handed two satisfyingly warm baguettes and headed out into the welcome sunshine. On a sunny day, Hanoi House is perfectly suited for an alfresco lunch in the shadows of my new favourite London landmark, the Cutty Sark.

The sandwiches were huge and the meat substantial, with just enough hot sauce for a healthy kick at the end. Safe to say I was a very happy bunny – and, at just under £7 for a sandwich as big as my face and a drink, so was my (beautiful new Valentine’s present) purse.

If you’re in the area for a spot of sightseeing (or if you live there!) I’d highly recommend Hanoi House: it’s a step away from the hustle and bustle of the market, and way more original than the chains that line the rest of the general Cutty Sark area. According to their twitter, they’re here for as long as Greenwich will have them – which, if I have anything to do with it, will be a very long time!

Exploring Greenwich: Greenwich Park

I’ve been living in Greenwich for almost three months now, and we’ve spent enough lazy weekend days wandering around its streets for me to have developed some of my favourite spots. Greenwich is pretty much the dream because it’s cutesy and old-timey and dotted with pubs, boutiques and bakeries, but it’s also ten minutes from the hustle and bustle of central London – and on the river to boot – but without a doubt one of its highlights is the gorgeous Greenwich Park.

My current favourite time to visit is at about 4, when winter sunsets are just beginning. On our last visit, Matthew and I took the more roundabout route, going all the way around the park rather than straight up the hill. The observatory is even more impressive from afar, if you ask me!

There is also a fair amount of wildlife to be spotted. I amused myself trying to get pictures of the multitude of fat little squirrels running around. They are so tame it’s unbelievable.

There is also a deer enclosure in the park which might be one of my favourite parts. It’s difficult to get a picture through the fence, but you can just about make them out I think…

We took a stroll down “Lovers Walk” which was looking suitably autumnal and lovely.

You might remember that Greenwich was home to the Equestrian events at the 2012 Olympics, and it is super easy to see why they picked this location. I especially love the contrast between the old-time splendour of the Queen’s House & Royal Naval College buildings, and Canary Wharf poking out behind.

But of course, the piece de resistance of Greenwich Park is the view from the top of the hill itself. Time it right with a sunset and it makes for one of my very favourite London sights.

Having this on my doorstep is one of many things that makes me stop at the top of the hill and remember that I am so lucky to be able to call it home (cringe alert). I already can’t wait for summer weekends full of picnics in the park, and in the meantime I’m having fun wrapping up warm and living vicariously through all the dog-walkers and their adorable puppies!

Have you ever been to Greenwich? What are your favourite parts? Like I mentioned, I want to make this a bit of a series of my favourite areas, eateries and so on, so let me know if you have any recommendations!