June Highlights – [horror] stories from the half marathon, a gardening fail and cooking my books

Hey, hi, sorry I’m late. July kind of crept up on me thanks to the distractions of the sunshine and the World Cup. Now we’re 6 days in and my June highlights have only just gone live!

So apologies if you’ve been waiting and wondering. But I like to keep you on your toes.

My drink of choice today is the usual – an oat milk latte in my favourite mug, brewed as follows:

  • Hot, creamy Oatly Barista
  • Frothed up in my Aerocino
  • One shot of coffee in my Nespresso machine
  • Using a Kazaar coffee pod (I ordered them purely because it sounds like a spell…)
  • Poured into a beautiful mug, which let’s face it, makes stuff taste better

But don’t be as basic as me! Get yourself something exotic – an iced tea perhaps – and we’ll get to it.

 

Ran 13.5 miles and didn’t die! (and raised £290 for End Youth Homelessness)

It’s official. My 33-inch-long legs powered through 13 and a half miles at the beginning of the month and after 2 and a bit hours (I can’t remember my official time) I crossed the finish line. And burst into tears. Classic.

Here are the most important takeaways from the day:

  1. Hayfever was a b*tch prior to the run but weirdly disappeared as soon as I got going. Turns out when your body has to deal with running for several hours it forgets about the sniffles.
  2. There was one spot on the whole route where the speedy first-wave runners (Alex) passed the less speedy final-wave runners (me). And of course the universe did its thing to ensure Alex and I ran through that spot at exactly the same time. We had a little wave and a ‘we can do this’ kind of smile. It was motivation like no other.
  3. Every time we had a cheer from my parents, Alex’s mum, a member of the RunThrough team or just a randomer walking their dog it felt like we got the next 500 metres for free.
  4. The hardest mile was number 11. My legs were more than ready to stop, 70% of the runners had already finished so the support was starting to dwindle and I still had a good 2 and a half miles to go.
  5. The easiest mile was number 3. Number 1 was uphill, number 2 was a little awkward as my body struggled to settle into a rhythm, but by number 3 I was good to go. Once my body realised I wasn’t stopping anytime soon it just got on with it.
  6. The final sprint was the fastest I’ve ever run in my life. I felt like I was on one of those travellators at an airport with a jetpack.
  7. The first thing I did when I crossed the finish line was cry. Naturally.
  8. The second thing I did was eat the best flapjack of my life. Buttery syrupy goodness all up in my face. It was heaven.
  9. About 15 minutes after I’d stopped I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to walk again. Then I sat down at a restaurant for 2 hours which didn’t help. But my legs are still working, they were just a little sore for a while!
  10. Post-race I wasn’t hungry at all. We’d booked a table for a big fat Sunday roast and I didn’t have anything..! Come 6pm I was ravenous though, so Alex and I shared enough Wagamama’s to feed a small town.

But most importantly, thanks to your support and the kindness of my friends and family, I raised £290 for End Youth Homelessness. Which is really extremely cool.

Half marathon-4
Yay for red faces and sore legs!

Oh and have I run since?

Just the once. It felt so good to be out again, but right now I’m just enjoying not having to run 4 times a week.

Feedspot top 10 happiness blogs

I was just minding my own business one evening last month (likely watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) when I received the most exciting email of all the emails. It was the founder of Feedspot, a round-up site of the best blogs to follow, to say Spoonful of Happy had been selected as one of the top 10 happiness blogs to follow in 2018!

Me! Actually really truly me and my little patch of the internet.

Understandably I was excited and took to Instagram stories immediately to share my news. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and I’m really looking forward to future of this little food and happiness thing. Let’s all be happier and healthier together and be friends.

You can see more from Feedspot here, or head to their Instagram.

Me on bridge
Thank you for visiting my happy little patch of the internet.

 

Vegetable patch

So Alex and I got super excited one morning when drinking coffee in my little London garden and decided to grow some veggies. We bought all the gear – compost, spade, trowel, seeds – and got to work, sowing some turnips, swedes and carrots. It started super well and we felt like we had successfully raised a child when the first few shoots came through. We looked at the little green buds with pride and admiration. Then the heatwave hit.

While we LOVE the sunshine and have had the best couple of weekends being out and about in the sunny weather, the little shoots just couldn’t cope with the 30 degree heat, and essentially burnt to a crisp. So the turnips are no more.

The phrase ‘all the gear, no idea’ comes to mind…

But don’t worry, we’ll be BACK early next year planting all the best stuff and there’ll be loads of rain and goodness and they’ll grow big and strong. We just joined the party a little late this year. Our bad.

Gardening
We shared the digging. I’m just better at taking photos!

Cooking my books

I have a lot of cookbooks. And yet every evening I end up either cooking a classic or experimenting with my own recipes. Which is great and yummy and I’d never complain about food, but it seems a waste of a cookbook’s life to spend it on a shelf. Especially when that shelf isn’t even in the kitchen!

So I’ve decided to start cooking through my books.

First up is some of the Madeleine Shaw recipes from all three of her gorgeous cookbooks, Get the Glow, Ready Steady Glow and A Year of Beautiful Eating. I plan out my meals for week, jot down the goodies I need to buy and then eat the most delicious food ever all the time.

Beetroot quinoa bowl-9.jpg
The beetroot quinoa bowl from Get the Glow.

And then (warning: some people will cringe at the thought of what I’m about to say) I jot down a couple of ‘review’ sentences on the page of the recipe I’ve just tried, to remind me that I’ve a) given it a go, b) absolutely totally loved it and c) used X instead of Y which worked fine (or another handy comment for next time).

I can’t wait to work my way through my cookbook shelf!

The people 

Another cringe-inducing section coming up… You’ve been warned.

Sometimes I don’t like people much. Sometimes the state of the world upsets me. And sometimes I feel like people let me down.

Sometimes though, people are seriously cool and they do the complete opposite and make me the happiest person on the planet. And this month there’s been a whole load of that! So here are my top 3 ‘people’ moments of the month:

  • A recent evening with my Mum, Dad and brother – Scott (my bro) and I are now ‘adults’ and when we head back to visit my parents it feels more and more like visiting adult friends. There’s no nagging, no disagreements, no sassy hormonal eye-rolling and there’s way more appreciation on our part. Of course we have always loved our parents, but being able to chat and laugh and share as friendly grown-ups is so rewarding.
  • The best weekend ever – Alex and I played house in my flat this weekend as my flatmate was away, and it was a lot of fun! We had breakfast (and tea and coffee) in bed, read our books together in the sunny garden, watched some scary late night TV dramas in our pjs, explored Borough Market, sipped more coffee at a local café, planned an extremely big exciting holiday and made the yummiest home-cooked venison ragu with the best pasta in all the land. So, despite the fact that he fills my fridge with chorizo and beer, flips my duvet 180 in the night and eats cereal with a teaspoon, I’ve decided I like him a lot.
  • The group! – one of the hardest things about living in London is that it’s not as easy as you might think to find a new group of friends. Of course, there are LOADS of people out there, but wiggling your way into an existing group is difficult. So, one Friday night, I took to Instagram stories as I often do these days and shared this opinion with the world, suggesting that anyone local to London who likes food and is looking for people who share that passion should get in touch. And wow did they get in touch! I had so many messages from some amazing people who would love to meet and eat and be merry together, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Yay for social media!
IMG_9512
Yay for drinks and friends.

So that’s it for my June highlights. If you’re a pro gardener and have some tips on how to keep turnips alive; a keen foodie living in London and looking to meet some cool new friends; or even have a complaint to make about me writing in my cookbooks – it was pencil, I swear! – then please do get in touch. I love nothing more than hearing from you lovely lot and without you I wouldn’t be writing all this monthly nonsense. So thank you a thousand times. And happy July!

Samantha x

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