I’m going to Boston!

Image result for boston marathon 2017
So as you probably know from my other posts, I’m going to Boston in April to run the Boston Marathon!

AHHHHH, can we just take a second to let that sink in – THE BOSTON MARATHON! It actually hit me when I was doing a cruise session yesterday; I’m training to run the Boston Marathon! Haha, I’ll stop talking about it eventually, but for the next four months, it’s all about Boston.

My lovely friend Bryony bought me a Boston Lonely Planet guidebook (I am addicted to these!) and I’ve not been able to put it down since. Boston looks amazing, so diverse, and I’m really excited to explore and see lots of different parts of it –as well as running the marathon!

This post is essentially to ask you guys whether you have any recommendations about hotels, or where to stay, what to do, what to see and of course, where to eat!

I fly out on April 12 and leave on April 20. We actually managed to find super cheap flights so I’m really pleased about that. Now I just need to find somewhere to stay.

I have started looking at hotels but they seem pretty expensive. Air B&B is also an option. So basically, where would you recommend I stay?

If you have any Boston tips, please please comment below, email me (visit my contact page), or Tweet me @hannahbryan91.

Thanks and hope to speak to some of you soon 🙂

My top five healthy work snacks

Walk into any office and you can usually spot a ‘treats table,’ a vending machine, or somewhere to get a cheeky afternoon slump pick me up.

My office is no different, our treats table is usually stocked with flapjacks, biscuits or sweets and I know how tempting it is when you get a little bit hungry or stressed to hit the sweet stuff.

Obviously if you do fancy hitting up that table from time to time, go for it, but for me, I find it better to have healthy snacks with me, either in the fridge at work, or something in my desk draw I can nibble on.

I’ve written down my top five (in no particular order).

1) Nuts – this is such a simple one, but keeping a bagful of nuts in your desk draw for snacks is a great option. Fats keep you feeling fuller for longer, too. Be careful not to eat too many though, as they are high in fat. Half a handful is perfect.

2) High protein yoghurt. This has to be one of my favourites and is a staple on rest days, or when I’ve trained in the morning. I buy the Skyr natural yoghurt, which you can get from most supermarkets. I’d have this with some blueberries and half a handful of walnuts or almonds.

3) Veggies and hummus. Take a carrot, or a couple of carrots, cucumber, or celery and a small pot of hummus to keep in the fridge at work.

4) Apple and peanut butter. If you’re a peanut butter addict like me, don’t take the whole tub to work! Instead, empty some into a small pot to spread onto a chopped apple. M&S also do a perfect little snack pot size of this!

5) Hard boiled eggs. Ok, so this is probably the last appealing sounding one, unless you love eggs. However, hard boiled eggs and some spinach is great for a snack. The fats and protein will keep you feeling full. Take two with you and some veg such as spinach or rocket for a snack in the afternoon.

Other snacks such as homemade energy balls, which you can find in my recipe section, are also great for snacks. But remember, life is about everything in moderation – so if one day you want a flapjack or a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar, get one!

What are your favourite healthy snacks? Comment below or Tweet me @hannahbryan91 🙂

Summer training & races to come

Well hello there! It’s been a while since I properly posted a training update – or anything for that matter – so here goes!

I’ve had a little break but I’ve since been quietly working away, trying to improve my running and strength and slowly build back up towards marathon training.

long run

I’m running the York Marathon in October which will be my 5th marathon! York was actually my first marathon as well so I’m super excited to go back and run it again. Not only that, but it’s home turf so I’m hoping the family (including my 1-year-old niece!) can all come and cheer me on which would be amazing.

Aside from that, York is flat – yipeeee! My current marathon PB is at 3.25, which I achieved in London earlier this year. I’m not expecting to beat that at York but what I am aiming for is a strong finish. My goal is to be able to run that last 10k as strongly as I ran the first 10k. I realise I’m not going to be finishing the race as gazelle like as when I started it, but I want to be able to maintain a consistent speed, without seeing those mile splits climb.

So basically, that’s what I’m training towards. As always I’m doing my three gym sessions a week. This is made up of 2 strength sessions and a third focusing more on conditioning rather than lifting big numbers – I do love a bro sesh though as demonstrated below, ha!

strength 1

At the minute I’m running three times a week. Before anyone tells me that you need to be running every day to run a marathon, you definitely don’t need to. For me, it’s about getting in the quality sessions and finding out what works for me. I’ve tried running 6 days a week and for me, that just doesn’t work – particularly for my mental health! If you want me to do a post on training for a marathon on three runs a week – just let me know by commenting below or Tweeting me (@hannahbryan91).

speed session

This week I did a speed session on Tuesday, an easy run on Wednesday and a long run on Friday. I’ve got one more gym session to do (my conditioning one), which I’ll do tomorrow (Sunday). This might increase as the marathon nears but this depends on a number of factors i.e. time and my body! I’m currently getting some help with my nutrition which I’m hoping is going to benefit my performance and aid recovery so I might end up running more within the next few months, but I’m going to tell you more about the nutrition side of things in a different post!

easy run

Here’s a list of what I’ve got coming up:

August – Askern 10 miler
September – Great North Run
October – York Marathon, Sheffield 10k
November – exciting challenge to be announced soon!

I’ll try and get some other races in but at the minute that’s what I’ve got booked in.

The only other thing to mention is that I decided not to accept my Good For Age place for London next year. I hope I don’t regret it! My plan is to focus on Boston – providing I get a place! If I don’t get a place…then the Great Wall Marathon is on my list…!

That’s all for now training wise, I’ll keep you updated as the marathon nears. I’m ready to work hard for this one!

🙂

Come Dine With Us challenge – part 1

Come dine with me 5

It’s no secret that I love food and I love to cook, so when one of Dane’s friends suggested doing a Come Dine With Me style evening with a group of us I thought it was a brilliant idea.

We were the first to host, and after toying with the idea of doing some sort of roast/Christmas dinner, we settled on a somewhat Spanish themed evening and decided to make lots of different tapas style dishes. come dine with me 1

We love tapas and Spanish food in general and took inspiration from my favourite restaurant in York, Ambiente Tapas. They also have a restaurant in Leeds so check them out if you live up north! Dane also has family friends who live in Gran Canaria and has spent a lot of time there, which is why he was in charge of the Spanish tortilla and the “wrinkly” potatoes on the menu. I think the potatoes were actually one of everybody’s favourite dishes throughout the evening, but more about the menu to come later in this post.

The Spanish tortilla

The Spanish tortilla

I’d been working until midnight the evening before so preparation began at 11am sharp the next morning and I’m not joking when I say we were in the kitchen all day!

Although there was no £1,000 cash prize at stake like in the real Channel 4 show, Dane and I still wanted to win, so it was all hands on deck to make sure we prepared some awesome tapas and equally brilliant entertainment.

Our guests weren’t arriving until about 7.30pm that evening so we used the day to prepare as much as we could. We made the desserts first before moving on to the dishes that could be served cold. We prepped the wrinkly potatoes along with a hot sauce to accompany them and fried some other potatoes ready to make the Spanish tortilla later.

The 'wrinkly' potatoes with hot mojo sauce & the dates with bacon

The ‘wrinkly’ potatoes with hot mojo sauce & the dates with bacon

Aside from the food we also prepared the entertainment. We decided to do some couples head to head challenges including a Mr and Mrs style quiz like the TV programme. We decorated paddles and wrote different sets of questions specific to each couple and decided we’d ask them to write some for us when they arrived. We also did Heads Up and the Malteser game. For the Malteser game you have about 8 Maltesers on a plate at one side of the room and using just a straw you have to get them into a glass at the other side of the room. The final game was who could build the tallest and most solid structure out of raw spaghetti and marshmallows in just five minutes – let me tell you, that five minutes goes quickly!

We made the remainder of the food just before the guests arrived and had a paella cooking while we tucked in to a little starter of olives, meats and breads.

Our Spanish inspired menu

Our Spanish inspired menu

The paella

The paella

Here’s our menu in more detail:
– Board of olives, Spanish meats, cheese, bread and various dips
– Chorizo & prawn skewers which were made up of chorizo, prawns, red onion, pepper and courgette
– Judias Verdes which is essentially greens pan-fried in garlic butter, toasted pine nuts and sundried tomatoes. The greens we used were tenderstem broccoli and green beans.
– Chicken and seafood paella
– A classic Spanish tortilla
– Canarian “wrinkly” potatoes with hot mojo sauce
– Datille con bacon (dates with bacon!) on a bed of rocket. We removed the stone from the dates before stuffing them with a blanched almond, wrapping them in bacon and pan frying them. They are amazing!
– Pudding was a chocolate orange brownie (the world’s best brownie!!) served with Yorkshire ice cream or a banoffee cheesecake.

Come dine with me 8 Come dine with me 6

The PUDDINGS!!!! :D

The PUDDINGS!!!! 😀

We have been given marks but we won’t see them until the other two couples have hosted their dinner party. After each evening you record your thoughts/scores in a video on your phone and keep it until the end of the competition – looking forward to seeing those already!

All in all it was a fantastic evening and we had a lot of fun! I’ll admit, we did get somewhat stressed during the day but when you’re actually sat down and enjoying the food you forget about all of that. Cooking for other people is definitely something I want to do more of in 2016 so watch this space!

The next installment of Come Dine With Us will be held next month so I’ll post about their menu afterwards.

If you’d like the recipe for any of the dishes made just comment below or Tweet me @HannahBryan91 or on Instagram @HBryan91 and I’ll post them for you!

🙂

Mexican breakfast – Huevos Rancheros recipe

mexican brekky 2

This is my version of the classic Mexican breakfast, Huevos Rancheros. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s basically a bowl full of tasty, fiery goodness. It makes the perfect weekend breakfast or post training brunch.

You will need:
– 1 tin of borlotti beans (drained)
– 1 handful of coriander (chopped)
– 1 red chili (de-seeded and chopped)
– 1 tin chopped tomatoes
– 1 red onion (chopped)
– 1 clove of garlic (chopped)
– 2 handfuls of kale
– 4 eggs
– 1 avocado (optional)
– 2 wholemeal tortilla wraps (optional)
– 1 handful asparagus (chopped)
– 1 red pepper (chopped)
– 1 lime
– Coconut oil

mexican brekky 1 Mexican brekky 3

To make:
– Add a little coconut oil to a large frying pan and allow it to melt on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and chili and saute until they begin to soften.
– Next, add the red pepper, kale and asparagus and cook until they begin to soften. While the vegetables are cooking, turn the grill on.
– Add the borlotti beans and chopped tomatoes and then turn the heat down slightly. Leave to simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
– Cut the wraps in to triangle tortilla crisp shapes and place on a baking tray under the grill for about 2 minutes each side, basically until they crisp up. This can happen pretty quickly though so keep your eye on them!
– Once the tortilla chips are done, add the coriander to the frying pan along with the juice of the lime. Then, crack the eggs into the pan on top of the bean mix and place the frying pan under the grill until the eggs are cooked. They should resemble fried eggs. It’s up to you whether you want to leave them runny or not.
– Once cooked, dish up in to bowls and top with avocado. Dip in your tortilla chips and enjoy!

Tag me in your Huevos Rancheros creations using #hannahshappypace on Twitter @HannahBryan91 or @Hbryan91 on Instagram
🙂

6 ways to explore and fall in love with Venice

Venice 1 Venice 7

Venice is genuinely in a league of its own. I had seen it on pictures before and thought no way can it be that beautiful, but when I visited earlier this year it was even more beautiful than how the pictures portrayed it.

As soon as I boarded the vaporetto (water taxi) towards the Rialto Bridge where our hotel was, it was as though I had become part of a real life water colour painting. Trust me when I say that the pictures in this post do not do it justice.

The sinking city, which is reason enough to visit Venice anyway, is also one of the most romantic cities in the world. I personally think it would be an incredibly romantic experience no matter who you’re with. You’re guaranteed to fall in love with the romance of the place; the labyrinth of alleyways and gelato shops, the singing gondolier’s and the charming, worn buildings.

Basically, add Venice to your wanderlust list! Once you’ve booked your flights, check out my top tips on what to do in Venice.

Venice 4

1) One of the city’s most charming qualities is its maze of quaint streets and canals, each lined with chichetti bars and gelateria. However, this is one maze you really won’t mind getting lost in that’s for sure. Ditch the guidebook one day (maybe not on day one!) and just get lost wandering through Venice, exploring its beauty – with a gelato in your hand of course!

Venice 5

2) Soak up the atmosphere in Piazza San Marco. Home to the Basilica di San Marco, this is Venice’s most famous square. There’s always a queue at the Basilica but it usually moves in about 15-20 minutes. If you want to beat the queues, book online. It’s also worth going back to Piazza San Marco at night when the square comes alive with entertainers and bands performing outside of restaurants. The Basilica is also lit up at night and looks spectacular. If you’re travelling with a partner, this is definitely worth adding to your date night agenda.

venice 8

3) For a bird’s eye view over Venice, take the vaporetto from San Marco to the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore. Visit the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore, essentially the only reason for visiting the island, and let the lift whisk you up to the top of the 60m bell tower. Once at the top you’ll get to see an amazing view out over Venice. It’s a great, much cheaper alternative to San Marco’s bell tower and the queues are practically non- existent.

Venice 6

4) Visit the glass making island of Murano. The vaporetto ride over to Murano is cheap and gives you yet another chance to take in the amazing views of Venice. There’s not much else to do on Murano other than visit the Museo del Vetro, but it’s well worth the trip. If you’re visiting in summer, take water! The glass making factory is fantastic. Within 15 minutes we saw one of the sculptors craft a unicorn from a hot furnace.

5) Experience the luxury of Gritti Palace. Located right on the edge of the grand canal, Gritti Palace was restored in 2013 and is definitely worth a visit. This luxurious hotel would no doubt be amazing to stay in but if you’re not in the money, I’d recommend doing what we did and basically going for a nosey about and enjoying a cocktail on the waters edge. It’s worth noting that you should dress up for the occasion and in my opinion it’s the perfect way to end a night in Venice. You can even get your own private water taxi or gondola from the bar to take you straight back to your hotel. The cocktails are expensive but worth every cent for their fruity deliciousness – and we got free snacks with them too! Check out the view you can enjoy while sipping on a drink below.

Venice 3

6) Live and shop like a Venetian at the Rialto market and Pescaria, Venice’s 600-year-old fish market. I’m a firm believer that when you go on holiday you should do as the locals do, and this market is a great way to start. You don’t have to buy anything, but just walking around the colourful stalls and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere will give you a taste of life in Venice. If you want an actual taste, the Pescaria is great for picking up some snacks as you walk around.

Venice 2

Just a few tips for you there and I’d love to hear yours too if you’ve been to Venice. You can Tweet me @HannahBryan91 or using #hannahshappypace

 

How to make the perfect egg scramble 

  
If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you’ll know just how often I eat egg scrambles – I love them! 

Not only are they super tasty but they’re also seriously nutritious and a great way to brighten up your breakfast. 

Here are just some of the reasons why you should consider whipping up a scramble for breakfast…

  •  Eggs are an inexpensive protein source which will help you to feel fuller for longer. The egg white is also full of minerals including zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12.  
  • If you’re following a low carb plan or opting for a low carb breakfast on a rest day for example, then an egg scramble is perfect. 
  • You can add anything! Egg scrambles are a fantastic way to get your vegetables in early and therefore make a highly nutritious breakfast, packed full of fibre and vitamins. 
  • They’re easy and quick to make with very little washing up! 
  • You can turn it in to a breakfast burrito for a delicious post workout meal of a balance of carbs, protein and fats. 

I could go on and on but instead I’ll let you rustle one up for yourself. 

  
You will need: 

1 tsp coconut oil 

– 2 eggs (for 1 person) 

– ALL the veggies! Throw anything in! Some of my favourites include asparagus, kale,  leeks and sundried tomatoes. 

– Cracked black pepper for seasoning and a dollop of Meridian’s PB to finish – optional but highly recommended!

To make: 

– On a medium to high heat, melt the coconut oil in a non stick frying pan. 

– Roughly chop your chosen vegetables and add them to the pan to soften slightly. 

– In a bowl, beat your eggs with a fork and then add them to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon until cooked. 

There you have it, an egg scramble rusted up in no more than 10 minutes! 

What do you like to add to yours? Tweet me your creations @HannahBryan91 or tag me on Instagram using #Hannahshappypace

Egg scramble breakfast burrito topped with PB