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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Post-run smoothie: Berries

This is my go-to smoothie at the moment after an intense Zumba or a hot run! I don't know much about nutrition/sports diets so this is just what works for me.
You will need:
Half or 1 scoop of Strawberry whey protein

A handful of frozen berries- strawberries, blackcurrants, cranberries.  I use frozen berries because it's cheaper to buy them that way, you get a variety of berries in each pack and they make the smoothie really cold!

A handful of fresh blueberries.
Approx. 400 ml of Skimmed milk/almond milk
Then just whizz it in the blender until it is smooth and frothy!

Hope you enjoy it, what are your favourite smoothie recipes?

Peebreeks xx

Monday, 28 July 2014

Smiling Monday!

Smiling Sunday  Monday!  Sorry it's a day late and I've disappeared from blogging regularly and recently, work seems to keep me very busy. Now that it's the summer holidays,  I'm hoping to make more time to blog. I always say this, I know ;) Anyhoo, here are some things that have been making me smile during the past few weeks.

1. I saw this pink hairstyle on Pinterest this week and I love it, I'm not sure I'd personally want or suit pink hair but this is sweet.
Via Pinterest

2. Somebody recently brought me this cute little posy of flowers, I'm not normally a pink fan but thought these were pretty. Hmmm pink seems to be creeping up on me this week...

3. The weather has been ace in Brighton (with the exception of this morning; thunderstorms and rain!) and the beaches have been packed with people having bbqs and drinks.  Did this last week with workmates and had a lovely time, perfect summer evening. Lots of veggie food too, yayyyy!

4.  This brings me on to another simple summery delight, lazing in the sunshine with a good book/magazine. In fact, I'm in need of a new read (poet, didn't know it) so if anyone has any book recommendations, let me know!
Lazing in the gardens...
 St James Park, London.

5. Awesome Wizard of Oz cake in the Lanes. There is an amazing cake shop in the Northern Lanes in Brighton which I often walk by and gaze longingly into the window. I have yet to sample any of their delights but the cakes in the window look amazing.  Sorry for random woman's reflection!

6. George Ezra- One of my flatmates mentioned George Ezra a while back and his music was played a lot on the most recent series of 'Made in Chelsea'. I liked what I'd heard so I decided to see him play at the John Peel tent when I was at Glastonbury.  He was great; he had a beautiful voice and seemed very down-to-earth and genuinely pleased to see so many people in the crowd. I was a little surprised to discover he wasn't black! I hadn't seen any photos or footage of him and with such a soulful voice he looked much different in my mind's eye. He was so popular and his album hadn't even been released at that point, an underground hit I suppose. I bought his album recently from Itunes and have been enjoying it. 

7. The Queen photo-bombing an Australian hockey player's selfie. I know that this has been all over social media recently but every time that I look at it, it makes me smile/laugh.  Love it :)
Photo from @_JaydeTaylor
8. Bastille-Overjoyed chords Still a massive Bastille fan and learnt the guitar chords for 'Overjoyed' this week. Would like to learn it on piano properly but not sure I'd be able to play it! Here's an old clip of their acapella version. Bit quirky but still good!

9. BBC One- David Beckham Into The Unknown. Now I don't have anything against David Beckham but to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from his Brazil documentary.  However, the trailers on BBC looked good and  some people mentioned it afterwards so I was tempted to check it out. I purchased it on Itunes to watch during a train journey and I really liked it.  I thought it was filmed and edited well, with some personal info. from David but enough input from his friends and information about Brazil to keep it interesting. I almost wish that it had been a whole series, rather than a single episode.
You can see clips here and here. If you want to watch it, I think it's now only available on Itunes unfortunately :( but still worth a look.

Oh and on a slightly bizarre side note, I like the photos of David and his sons Romeo and Cruz getting covered in gold gunge at the Nickelodeon Kids Awards. They strangely manage to look like statues!

What's been making you smile?

Peebreeks xx

Monday, 21 July 2014

Running Update: The London 'Color Run' and Brighton Race for Life; my first 10K

Way back in June, some friends and I ran the 'Colour Color Run' (it originated in America, deal with it) in London. It was extremely colourful and a lot of fun, however I found it hard to not treat it like a usual running race. There are no prizes, medals or placings and this took some getting used to, my friends kept joking that I was taking the warm up and stretches far too seriously!

If you've never heard of the Color Run, it's a 5K event where you start off in a spangly clean white t-shirt and end up covered in a kind of powdery paint (FYI, it's dyed cornstarch)!  At each kilometre mark, there is a colour 'station' where strangers cover you in the paint at that station: pink, blue, yellow, orange then finish!

After you finish the run, a DJ plays music from a stage and you're given your very own sachet of paint to throw in the air! My friends and I had a great time that day and I've signed up for another Color Run event this year. The entrance fee and any sponsorship goes to the charity Save the Children.

I think we were some of the most colourful people on the tube that day.

In the first week of July, I ran my first 10K 'race'.  It was an event as part of the 'Race for Life' in Stanmer Park in Brighton organised by Cancer Research UK; there was also a 5K the following day. I had done some training but not 10K continuously so I was understandably nervous about how I would get on.
I invested in a new pair of trainers a week or so before the race as I as was long overdue a new pair  of trainers and my calves couldn't take it anymore! These are the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10. They're structured to correct overpronation when running and have so far been pretty good.

I knew from my previous Race for Life (5K) that it would be a welcoming atmosphere.  I highly recommend Race for Life events for any women who are new to running as they generally seem to have a friendly and fun atmosphere; it's not really a competitive event. Some people jog, some walk, some run, everyone just goes at their own pace for their own reasons! Rain was definitely brewing but it was still fairly warm, thankfully it wasn't sunny but the course was very hilly in places. I had aimed to do the 10K in an hour, I did it in 1hr 9mins so I was pretty pleased with that, considering that I'd never run a 10K or such steep inclines and I should have tried to start further at the front as there was such a hustle and bustle of runners at first, it was hard to break through.

Just before the race started...

Unfortunately, running up such a steep hill took its toll on one of my knees, I didn't realise at first and continued exercising as usual but my knee became really painful.  The advice online for 'runner's knee'  seems to be to stay off it as much as possible and ice and raise it (mind-blowing) so have stopped running and Zumba for the time-being, am finding it tough to rest up though but have worked my way through a fair bit of ibuprofen and cold gel so I definitely don't want to make it any worse. :(

After the race I had a cold pre-made smoothie (yes me, being organised, let's just take a minute to acknowledge this...). I used frozen berries, yoghurt, skimmed milk, strawberry whey protein powder and a banana. Using frozen berries makes it nice and cold and works out much cheaper than trying to buy fresh berries.


Pleased to have crossed the finish line :)

I would love to do another 10K in the near future and some colleagues recently mentioned a half-marathon for early next year so onwards and upwards, (without such steep hills though!).

Peebreeks xx

Monday, 26 May 2014

Whale Fest 2014- Killer whales should not be kept in captivity

Back in March, I went to Whale Fest in Brighton, which does exactly what it says on the tin;  it's basically a 3-day festival of stalls and presentations encouraging conservation of whales and other sea life. Guest speakers included Steve Backshall, Gok Wan(?!) and marine biologist Ingrid Visser.  They also had a special screening of the controversial documentary 'Blackfish', with guest speakers discussing clips from the film.


I was also lucky enough to bump into one of the stars of the documentary, ex-Sea World animal trainer Samantha Berg. Yes, I am tall and yes, she is short!

I watched 'Blackfish' a few months ago (someone recommended on Twitter) and was frightened by the way that Sea World continues to endanger the lives of its staff.  I was aware that there had been some incidents in captivity via Youtube but I hadn't realised the sheer volume of attacks/ dangerous behaviour from killer whales in captivity towards trainers.  You can get some idea of what I'm talking about from this list online. Sea World's response to these is to increase numbers of trainers present and limit some of the water work with some of the whales. Would it be too much to ask to stop these ridiculous experiences that endanger human lives for the sake of crap entertainment?

The term 'trainer' for the people who work with these giants is frankly quite laughable, if not extremely naive.  Ultimately, the killer whales have the power and worryingly, they seem to be reminding humans of that more and more.

The most famous example of the true danger that these captive killer whales bring was highlighted in 'Blackfish' and unfortunately made worldwide news; the death of experienced Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.   She fell victim to a bull orca named 'Tillikum', the central character of the 'Blackfish' documentary. Prior to this tragic incident, Tillikum had also been involved in the deaths of two others.

One of the most shocking clips from 'Blackfish' is that of an attack on an experienced trainer, Ken Peters,  by a different whale, Kasatka in 2006. During a 'Shamu' show, Kasatka bit Ken Peter's foot and swam to the bottom of the tank.You can see the clip from the documentary here.  This attack resulted in puncture wounds and a broken ligament in Ken Peters' foot, but could have easily been fatal, if only for the extensive amount of time in which Peters was held underwater.

I recently watched the full 9 minutes of the attack (no sound) which shows you just how serious this incident was and how fortunate Ken Peters was to survive. How on earth did he manage to keep his composure and hold his breath for long periods of time, whilst being dragged to the bottom of a 36ft deep pool by a seemingly unpredictable 5000 pound killer whale? I found watching the clip of this incident really frightening so goodness knows what it was like to be that man in that tank during those nine minutes.

You can find out more about the circumstances that may have led to this attack in this article by David Kirby. He has also written a book 'Death at Sea World' which I have yet to read, but obviously goes into more detail about these types of attacks.

It is inconceivable to me that humans continue to work with these animals, Tillikum in particular.  It seems completely immoral and illogical that you would allow humans to continue to work with an animal which has been involved in 2 deaths. Sea World is aware of the dangers relating to Tilikum and have specific protocols which are only for when working with Tilikum.  How can they justify the continued work with this animal?

Sea World have released statements which imply that Dawn's death was somehow her fault ,which is deeply disturbing and ridiculous when you research how many 'incidents' of orcas attacking trainers in their marine parks and that there have been a number of eyewitness accounts which state that the whale grabbed her by her arm and pulled her into the water. By the way, he later swallowed her arm after ripping it off.

The next clip made my stomach leap, this is the training that goes on at Sea World. There's no way I would put my head that close to a top predator's mouth.The rocket hop also seems incredibly dangerous,  I can't believe they train the whales to take them to the bottom of the tank and encourage them to propel them through the water.  Isn't that asking for trouble?

Some animal behaviourists and psychologists attempt to give the reasonable explanations that these animals are incredibly frustrated.  You can see how bored the whales are in the 'Shamu-cam' clip below.  Ignore the crap music, mute it like I did! These are animals that are used to travelling vast distances and are bored out of their minds in their tiny tanks. They then have to perform unnatural behaviours and tricks just to be fed.

I know that 'Blackfish' is a rather one-sided documentary and that there are many who would contradict my viewpoint and what I've written. I would urge anyone to research these incidents in greater detail so that you can make an informed decision about Sea World and their associates.

With regards to the Dawn Brancheau incident, Sea World claimed that they had reduced the risk of any attacks from Tillikum by prohibiting trainers from interacting with him in the water.   The most probable account of events is that he grabbed Dawn Brancheau from the tank side platform by her arm.  Preventing 'water work' with Tillikum really didn't pay off, did it?

I know that there will also be those of you who think that I am jumping on the 'Blackfish' bandwagon. However, I have to say that I had seen clips of the animals misbehaving in shows some years before, but was completely unaware of the number and frequency of these attacks.  If anyone is considering visiting Sea World, you might want to give it more thought.
Do you really want to fund a company that is clearly negligent, unethical and responsible for several deaths?  Would you want your family to be witness to one of these horrifying attacks?  I doubt it.

Peebreeks xx

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

New job, nervous much?

As many of you know, I went for a job interview in Brighton on the 15th January and was offered the job! I am super excited as it seems like such a vibrant city and I think I'll really enjoy it and have always loved living by the sea.

I was asked if I could start ASAP but due to my current teaching commitments and time needed to find accommodation, get settled etc. I postponed starting the post until after Easter.This was definitely the right decision as there was no way I would be there and ready to start by now (Feb half-term), but the delayed start has unfortunately also given me extra time to worry :(

I think that it's very much like 'first day at school' nerves when you're a child. I know that I'll really enjoy teaching and living in Brighton but the initial anxiety just makes me nervous.  I'll be fine when I get stuck into it but I've definitely got butterflies in my tummy.

I remember back to when I was 18 and about to go away to uni for the first time (oh so long ago! )
I was incredibly nervous about going and when my dad said to me that I'd be okay, I just burst into tears, I just found it all really overwhelming.  It seems so silly as I've always been fairly outgoing and sociable and loved uni so much, but I know how apprehensive I was initially.

I suppose it's a fear of the unknown really. Through the delight of Facebook, I've been really fortunate to get in touch with some people that I know live in Brighton, some of whom I haven't seen for years and years and I'm sure wouldn't consider me a 'close' friend. They've been extremely kind about welcoming me to Brighton and helping me look for places to live so a massive thanks to all you Brightonians (is that the right term??) for aiding me in a time of need!

Should also give a shout-out to London-dwelling friends who've pointed out that Brighton is a fairly short train ride away and who are already making plans to come and see me in the summer.  It definitely reduces my anxiety to know that I'll see a few friendly faces when I'm there :)
A massive thanks to you all.

Wish me luck!

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmassy Smiling Sunday!

A long time without posting I know, but here's some Christmassy things making me smile this week:
1. Going for the Christmas tree: Last weekend we went out to choose the Christmas tree! For the last few years we've gone to a local plantation.

2. Mont Blanc glass box: Yesterday a new tourist attraction opened in the Alps called 'Step into the Void'. At nearly 4,000m above sea level, tourists can get an amazing view of Mont Blanc.  You step out into a reinforced glass box from which you can see the fantastic panorama.  It costs 55 euros which is about £46. I think this is incredible! It was designed by Pierre-Yves Chays and construction began in September 2013.  The finished attraction was revealed to the international press on Tuesday 17th December.
To find out more, watch the video and view the BBC article here (via BBC)

3. Cosy fire
As it starts to turn colder here in the UK, we light a log fire at home. I love it, glowing and warm, perfect for chilly winter evenings!

4. Christmas jammies: This has gone viral online, a family sent a video message to their friends instead of a Christmas letter/ card letting everyone know what the family had been up to.  I think this is cute and funny and pretty Christmassy!
Via Youtube.

5. Nativity!- This was shown on BBC2 today, I loved it! It stars Martin Freeman as a heartbroken primary teacher who unwittingly takes on the task of being in charge of the Nativity play. Marc Wootton is fantastic as the  wacky classroom assistant Mr Poppy.  Brilliant fun, lovely music, slightly schmaltzy but hits the spot for putting you in the mood for Christmas! :) You can see the trailer below.
Via YouTube

6. Black Milk leggings.  Bear with me: Last month a friend of mine showed me the Youtuber Anna Akana. Check her out here.  When I watched one of her videos, I had serious clothes envy.  She has some awesome dresses and leggings from Black Milk. I checked out their website and here are some of my favourites: (All photos via Black Milk.)  I want all the leggings!

Galaxy leggings

Lightning leggings

The Great Waves dress

The Christmas Tree Dress
7. The Christmas Mash up by Bastille in the Radio 1 Live Lounge, I particularly like the strings on this :)

8. My favourite traditional Christmas carol is ' In the Bleak Midwinter', I think it's really haunting and beautiful.  This clip is of a Norwegian soprano called Sissel.
Via YouTube

9. My favourite Christmas pop song at the moment is Elton John's Step into Christmas:
Via YouTube

I'll try to post more over the Christmas holidays as I should have some more free time. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas wherever you are and whatever you do. Am really lucky to be spending Christmas Day with family and hoping to catch up with lots of friends during the festive period. Don't want to sound all 'Tiny Tim', but feeling really fortunate to have health and family and thinking of those who aren't/ don't at this time of year.

Peebreeks xxx

Monday, 28 October 2013

Oh Miley (*rolls eyes*)

So the interweb has been flooded with references to Miley Cyrus 'twerking' at the VMAs on the 25th August.  This apparently shocking behaviour whipped the media into a mass frenzy.  I even watched the video clip to see what all the fuss was about.  If I'm honest, I found her performance truly disgusting and wildly inappropriate for her young audience.  I wasn't shocked; we have seen so many shocking performances at the VMAS in the past. child stars 'rebelling' or 'going off the rails', it seemed pretty yawn-worthy. I just found it vile and strangely misogynistic.

VMA performances of the past have always won column inches by shocking and surprising viewers.  We've had attention-grabbing Britney with that yellow python in 2001, Britney and Christina dressed as brides, grinding and kissing Madonna  to 'Like a Virgin'  in 2003.  In fact, Miley herself made reference to these performances in her recent comments relating to her VMA shocker.  Yes, these performances were attention-grabbing and strange but I didn't find them as visually repulsive.

Miley then went to great lengths to say that she hadn't given the performance that much thought and was surprised by the public reaction.  Pure coincidence then, that her new pop videos feature the same themes and dance moves?? (Teddy bears, twerking, sexual moves, that stupid tongue)  Come on Miley, at least be honest about your blatant self-publicity.
Via Youtube

I think, ultimately, she will calm down a bit and possibly eventually realise how over-exposed she and her PR team have let her become.  We've all seen tarty girls going off the rails on a night out or even had friends who appear to have temporarily lost all sense of decency and self-respect,  the difference is those people don't do it on a world stage,  pounced on by the media and recorded in its entirety to wince at in later years.  Often those drunken girls have a friend who calms them down or gives them a shirt to cover up, we can only hope that someone does the same for Miley.

I think the most annoying part of her recent meltdown is that 'Wrecking Ball'  has actually made it to number one, perhaps due to airplay and so much extra publicity. However,  I do think that as pop songs go, it's okay  I don't think the video would have lost anything if she hadn't been naked on the wrecking ball.  Perhaps she needs some more visionaries to help with her video production, preferably people with enough brain cells to realise that you can convey innocence, heartbreak and vulnerability using lighting, set and costume rather than insisting/allowing someone to be filmed naked.

Via Youtube

At the end of the day, her records may hit the top of the charts and make her a lot of money, but at what cost to herself?   Love her or hate her, (and I edge towards the latter), I think that she actually can sing, she has a great voice for country music and it's a real shame that her real talent is overshadowed by her ability to simulate sexual acts whilst not wearing a lot. Anyone could do that, but not anyone can belt out a country ballad.  I think she is gifted as a singer, but people are definitely not discussing her singing ability at the moment. You only have to watch her live performance in the video below to realise that she has great skills as a country star.
Via Youtube

People would question why I would comment on her behaviour as I wouldn't count myself as a Miley Cyrus fan anyway, but I think most young women would have found her performance massively degrading and revolting.  All young women have battled and continue to battle against sexist stereotypes and wouldn't thank Miley for returning to objectifying women in performance and music videos.  We continue to live in a male-dominated society, where women are encouraged to live their lives pleasing men.  Though I wouldn't say I am an active feminist, I would say that I support them and understand their views.  I think Miley is going against everything that they (and most women) stand for.

You can also read Radio 1 presenter Jameela Jamil's article: Sexpression, which I read after completing this blog post.

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Smiling Sunday

I didn't manage to do a post last week, because I was busy busy busy preparing for a lot of job interviews, so as a result, this week's post is now pretty jam-packed!

1. Going out hair-
Went out for a friend's birthday meal last weekend and fancied trying out a new hairstyle.  French plait on side then pinned at the back with kirby grips.  Was inspired by hair half-up/down styles and undercuts as seen on Kristen Stewart.  I'm not ashamed to say I loved it so much, I left it in for a couple of days.. :)

2. Jay Z's 99 Problems-
An illustrator and designer called Ali Graham has come up with the funny idea of illustrating possibilities of Jay Z's 99 problems.  Some of the daily illustrations are linked to the lyrics of some of his tracks, others are just everyday annoyances. Made me giggle!

Via Tumblr
Whilst we're on this, I love this track; the lyrics and the video are ace so I'll take any excuse to post it!

3.Japanese artist paipai/fan
Bought this for 1 euro in Barcelona, from a Japanese interiors shop, when I went to the street celebrations in Gracia.  It was sooo hot and humid during my stay, I definitely needed it!  The image is well- known; it's called 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa' by Hokusai.

4.Night-time folk session-
Some of you may not know that I play violin and guitar and sing.  Recently, I was invited by other folkies to a recent music session as part of someone's birthday celebrations.  We got a bit lost on the way, but eventually made it!  It was lovely, out in a barn by tiny village.  Party-goers could camp in the fields nearby and there was lots of food and drink!  It was really atmospheric in the dark, the stars looked beautiful and playing music by the fire and lantern-light was wonderful. Sadly my photo of these seems to be missing at the moment :(

5. Alice quote-
have been in the process of changing jobs and looking for a new place to live recently and have found it hard to make decisions (no surprise there! ) and confusing and a bit lost at times.  One of my good friends sent me a similar link to this one with the quote from 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. A point well made!
Via Pinterest

6. Gooey chocolatey brownie- bought this whilst out for a walk in the park with some family and friends.  Super yummy and it was massive so shared it with my sisters!

7.Running distances pic-
Shows the distances in miles for a 5K, 10K, half and full marathon.  Makes me think that I should be on the lookout for an interesting 10K soon...eek!
Via Pinterest
8. Unicorn t-shirt-
 I really like the galaxy background on this! Sorry the pic is so small :(
Via ebay
9.  Biker boots from New Look-
I love the look of these biker boots, will have to save up some pennies... Might get away with wearing them with shorts if the weather stays warm!
Via New Look

10. Fabulous Fashionistas-
Last week I watched a great documentary on Channel 4 (now available on 4OD) about a group of six fascinating women with an average age of 80.  The title was slightly misleading, as the documentary is really about a group of age-defying, confident and courageous women. I found all the women really inspiring in their attitudes; they all seem to have refused to let age dictate how they live their lives and all partake in regular exercise, perhaps that is their secret to long life!  My favourite was Jean, a quirky and stylish woman, who seemed much younger than her 75 years. I think that she looks stylish and youthful, but doesn't dress inappropriately for her age. If I manage to be that stylish at 35, let alone at 75, I'll be happy!

I was also in awe of Gilly, a trained ballet dancer and choreographer who has remained amazingly flexible, despite her 87 (yes, 87!) years.  I couldn't help but smile when she discussed how she and her husband (who is 27 years younger than her) had received a lot of criticism when they initially became an item:
''Thirty-four years later, those people, they've either died, Haha!- or they look silly.''
Via That's Not My Age

11. Caledonia-
Over the last week or so, I've been learning the chords and words for the song 'Caledonia' by the Scottish musician Dougie Maclean, such a great song. It's been covered by a number of Scottish artists too, including Paolo Nutini and Amy Macdonald.  I love these three versions; they seem very different from each other but each has its own charm!  I sang it at a folk session last week and it seemed to go down well :)

What has made you smile this week?

Peebreeks xx