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MyProtein Max Virtue Bars

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The folks over at MyProtein.com were kind enough to send me over some products to test and review. I introduced the two products a few weeks ago, then go ill and held off trying them properly until I was better. Firstly I though I would share my thoughts on the bars – Max Virtue Bars in Maple and Pecan flavour.

I was super impressed by these bars. At only 95 calories each I was expecting a cardboard tasting bar with little appeal, but that is not what arrived!

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Instead I received a  small, but well proportioned bar for a snack. I loved the look of it as I unwrapped it. It looked like real ingredients, rather than a mash of a mixture of lots of different things. It didn’t feel like it was being bulked out. It looked very appealing to my sweet tooth. I chose the maple and peacon flavour, but there are two other flavours available (Double Chocolate and Fruit Burst). I really enjoyed the flavour. It is on the sweet side, but at the same time nutty enough to not be overpowering. I love maple flavours so the coating on the bottom of the bar was a perfect touch to break up the flavour and the texture. It added a smoothness to the bar that you would not had otherwise.

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I found the best time for me to enjoy these bars were for a mid-afternoon snack at work. I could make a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy this treat while other people had biscuits or cake. I tried them in the evening, but I felt they were a bit sweet for the time when I am trying to unwind. I found including them in my routine in the afternoon meant I was less likely to chose the cake (once I did), but compared to not using them and having no alternative snack option it was a success. I have lost 2lbs in the couple of weeks I started having them as a snack too – bonus! (Side note these work out at 3 propoints each on WW)

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I received these free, but at £8.99 for a box of 12 I would definitely buy them. As of late last week they were on sale for half price, which is a bargain, and something I would look out for when wanting to stock up. Big thanks to MyProtein for allowing me to try these, I will be stocking up shortly!

I am taking a bit longer to review the protein powder I received as want to try it at different times and after different activities, so will post about that next week.

If you would to try the guys have given me a discount link to share :)  http://www.myprotein.com/voucher-codes.list

Adventures in (Audio)Books… Summer Knight

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“Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t even recall the last time he took a shower. The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man.

And just when it seems things can’t get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him – and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case. No pressure or anything …”

I started off really enjoying this book. It picked where the last one left off and introduced the White Council, which had only been hinted at previously. I was intrigued and excited to see how the story unfolded and I also hoped to learn more about Harry’s past.

However once I got a third of the way in it started to slow down. I lost interest in the characters remaining in the story. I felt it stopped being about Harry Dresden and more about the workings of the worlds of fairy and human. I didn’t find the fae particularly interesting characters. I liked that Murphy was back in the story in a bigger way, andit didn’t bother me that Susan was out of the story in a bigger way. But overall I didn’t connect with this book.

I loved the narrator again and will continue to listen through the series. Maybe it was because I was trying to listen when in bed and tired after my weeks of swimming galas. I had to listen to quite a few chapters several times before moving on. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right place to be listening to a book., but nevermind, I’ve got in my audible account now so can always re-listen at some point.

Building a Fitness Base over Winter

My aim over the next 4 months is to build a base of fitness for going into the spring with. I’ve been struggling the month with being ill, the all the swimming galas, and now feeling run down and unmotivated. So I have taken some time out to look at what I want and need to do in order to meet my goals in 2015.

I really need to focus on my running and cycling as these would be easy to let slip through the dark and cold months ahead. This is also the time I would like to get back in the gym for some simple strength training to support the other training I need to be doing.

I would like to do this by committing to consistency again. This isn’t going to be easy over the next two months with Christmas commitments and birthday fun happenings.  So I need to do what I can, when I can.

I’ve been looking at training plans for build up to the 70.3 triathlon next August and nothing suggests starting before 4 months out, which makes total sense. However where do you start when you want to build your base?

From the research I have done I think I do need to do a mixture of activities and intensities.  The focus should be to remain injury-free.

My baselines currently November 2014:

  • Swim 3.5km in 90 minutes (mixed session)
  • Swim 400m in 6.5 minutes and 800m in 13 minutes
  • Cycle for 60-90 minutes non-stop (group leisure ride)
  • Run for 50 minutes non-stop (4.5 mile club run)

My targets for March 2015:

  • Swim 4km in 90 minutes (with speed work included in session)
  • Cycle 2-3 hours non-stop
  • Run for 1.5-2 hours non-stop

To get there though I know I need to work on several things:

  • Speed – incorporate speed sessions
  • Distance – incorporate endurance sessions
  • Strength – incorporate strength sessions or drills
  • Hills – incorporate hill sessions (bike and run)
  • Time – incorporate timed sessions

I would like to get thinking about the above things now so to make it as easy as possible once it comes to stepping up my training in the Spring. I know hills are a current blocker of mine on both the bike and the run, so it would be good to get a head start on overcoming this. I also know my confidence is low when it comes to running, so I need to spend some time building this up again. Overall I want to get a variety of training in each week and generally build up my fitness and lose weight.

Another aspect I would like to research is nutrition and fuelling endurance training properly. At the moment I have no idea where to start with this so need to talk to people and read up on the subject.

Adventures in Coffee… Praline Cappuccino

 

It’s my favourite time of year and the Christmas coffees are back on the menu. I’m a bit late as they have been back on the menu since the start of November, but I have been saving my tastings for towards December in the spirit of Christmas.

Costa have brought out a few new drinks this year and I decided to try the Praline Cappuccino at this month’s work bookclub.

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To be honest this is just syrup added to a cappuccino concoction. It was quite sweet and I think maybe I am going off my taste for sweet coffees as I didn’t really enjoy it as I thought I would.

 

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What I did love though was the coffee sprinkles that turned gold on top of the form! It made it feel quite Christmassy – although it hasn’t really come out in the photo very well.

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Things My Kittens Love

 

Overall my kittens love anything that moves or can be moved. They love playing with me when I am throwing or dangling things, but they also love things they can move themselves when they play.

  • The insides of loo rolls or kitchen rolls

An excellent cheap and easy way to entertain two kittens! I vary it between giving them the rolls whole or with the end cuts up. I think they like these because they can lift them and bat them around easily. They are light and can be picked up and carried around (or away from each other).

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  • Cardboard boxes

They love sitting in them of course, but they also love to chew them. They don’t eat them as there is rarely anything missing, just lots of bite marks. I think they just like the different texture on their teeth.  Shoeboxes are currently the perfect size for sleeping in, whereas delivery boxes are fun to jump in and out of.

 

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  • Feathers

This is the only thing guaranteed to make Merry growl. She is a little territorial when it comes to playing with the feathers on a string. They love feathers and therefore toys with feathers do not last long. I am pretty sure they eat the feathers as I do not hoover up that many. I am going to look into making my own cat toys with feathers as it could get fairly expensive the way they are going through them!

  • Lasers

This was a lazy buy for me. I love playing with my kittens, but with all the swimming I’ve been doing I found I was struggling to find the energy. This toy, which they love, means I can lie on the sofa and play with them – I told you it was lazy!

I’ve gone a bit cat toy mad for December. Basically I think I have bought every Christmas pudding cat toys that was available!

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