Yewbarrow – Stu’s last wainwright 

5 Jun IMG_0878-0

Today was the day on which my lovely friend Stu finished his Wainwright journey, leaving Yewbarrow as his final one. I had not really been fell walking since completing my Wainwrights back in January. I did have a walk up Birkhouse Moor over February half term (first ticked off round 2!) with my nieces. I learnt that doing marathon training and doing lots of fell walking doesn’t mix very well.

Plus if I am honest my walking mojo disappeared after completing them, the weather has not been great when I did have the opportunity to walk. Been there, got the soggy t shirt. There was nothing to chase, no planning where next to walk, which book we are going to finish next. It was all done and it left me feeling a bit bereft. I know that Stu will agree with me, when I say the last few Wainwrights feel like a task. You’ve set a date and invited people and it does put you under pressure to get them done whatever the weather.

I love Yewbarrow it’s in my top 10 fells I have climbed. The views down to Wastwater are one of my favourite views in the Lakes. The rest of the hills looking over it majestically. I try to block out memories of Kirkfell, the hill which nearly broke me when we climbed it for Gary’s last one.

http://adventuresofcumbrianblondie.co.uk/2013/10/14/garys-last-wainwright-kirk-fell-and-the-mosedale-horseshoe/

We all met at the car park at 11, it was nice to meet Stu’s friends Ryan, Anna and Gareth as had heard lots about them. The weather was looking good and prayed that the circling rain held off. 17 of us and 4 dogs set off to climb the final one. Rather than go straight up the front of the mountain, we walked up the valley to ascend it in a zig zag form to the top.

  
It felt good to be back in the hills, the craic with our friends and just being outdoors soaking it in. It made me realise how much I had missed it. The groups spilt up naturally when you start climbing. Re grouping and then setting off again.  

   
  
A quick photo stop before the final push to the summit. 

   

 

A short walk and we were on the top waiting for Stu to touch his final summit. We did a guard of honour with our walking poles as we had done on ours. I felt so pleased for him and it was also his collies Sam and Teya’s final Wainwright too.

   
 

Paula his wife, this was her 100th. She is fighting Bladder cancer and she proves that you can do stuff whilst ill. What people don’t see is the morphine she has to take to get through doing it and the time it takes her to recover. She truly is an inspirational lady and hopefully soon we will be doing her last Wainwright too.

   
 

Bubbles and speech and this was the moment when we realised that Dave had forgot to pack the brownies!! He didn’t live this down, but it was an incentive to get back to the car.  Jim got his stove out to make a fried egg butty. He had also bought along some boy balloons to celebrate the safe arrival of our friend Tanya’s baby boy. The youngest member of the Twitteratti. 

   
  

This is our very own “214” club! 

  The descent was a tricky one, a real knee burner. The saving grace was the amazing views. The summit was very windy and luckily as we descended so did the wind. Soon we could see the trees of the car park. A quick Brownie stop before heading down to The Strands in Nether Wasdale for our walkers reward.

Couldn’t resist a bit of photobombing hehe 

  
Walking mojo returned, just need some time and good weather to start my new adventures…….
 

Keema with peas

2 Jun IMG_1259-0

I always like to try new recipes out, the fresh smell when making the paste is just delicious and you know it’s going to be good.  It is quite spicy but the cooling yoghurt helps.  Quick and easy to make.

Serves 4 or 2 very hungry people

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4cm piece ginger, grated
  • 2 green chillies
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • ½ a can chopped tomatoes (freeze the rest), or use 2 medium fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 200g frozen peas or cooked fresh peas
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped

Method

  • Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies together in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the mixture until it becomes very fragrant. Add the mince and fry until it begins to brown, stirring to break up any lumps.
  • Add the spices and fry for 1 min. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, cook for 1 min, then stir in the yogurt, some salt and a good grind of black pepper. Add a splash of water if you need to, then cook the mixture for 30 mins. Add the frozen peas and cook for 5 mins, then stir in the coriander. Serve with Indian breads or poppadums, chutney and some more yogurt.

   

    

Kale, mushroom and Gorgonzola frittata

29 May

I love trying new recipes, love the uncuousness of the melting Gorgonzola. I served it with a crisp salad. 

Serves 4 

Ingredients 

1 tbsp olive oil

4 shallots finely chopped

A knob of butter

250g chestnut mushroom, thickly sliced

1 tsp thyme, plus 2 sprigs of thyme for garnish 

1 x 200g bag of kale, woody stems discarded

8 large eggs

100g Gorgonzola broken into pieces

Method

Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in a 22cm frying pan and gently sautéed the onions for 8-10 minutes until soft. Remove to a plate. 

Add the remaining oil and butter and fry the mushrooms on a high heat for 10 minutes until golden. Add the thyme, toss and cook for a further minute. Remove from heat. 

Pre heat the grill to medium high. Meanwhile, cook the kale in a large pan of salted water for 4-5 minutes until tender.  Drain well in a colander, leave to cool slightly before squeezing out any excess moisture. Roughly chop. 

Whisk eggs in a jug with plenty of seasoning. Return the onion to the pan with the mushrooms, then add the kale. Over a medium heat, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the pan, stir once to mix everything together; cook for 4 minutes over a low heat until the eggs begin to set.  Top with Gorgonzola. Grill for 4-5 minutes until the top of the frittata is set. Remove from grill and leave to stand for a couple of minutes before serving. 

   
   J 

Lemon roasted chicken with asparagus, sweet corn and peach relish 

26 May IMG_0726

I do love a throw in a tray one pot dish, perfect for a busy working domestic goddess. I threw in some leftover chorizo sausage cut into chunks, made a perfect addition to the dish.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g Jersey Royal potatoes or other new potatoes
  • 8 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 sweetcorn cobs
  • 250g Asparagus
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

For the Peach Relish

  • 4 rip peaches, stoned and finely chopped
  • a small knob of root ginger, peeled and grated.
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. caster sugar
  • a few basil leaves shredded

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200, fan 180, gas mark 6
  • Halve the potatoes and place into a shallow roasting tin with the chicken.  Add 2 tbsp. of the oil and the fennel seeds, season and toss. roast for 50 mins until the chicken is golden.
  • Put all the ingredients for the relish into a pan except the basil leaves, Simmer together for 25 minutes uncovered, stirring now and again.  Once it has softened, take off heat and allow to cool before adding the basil.
  • Slice the sweetcorn off each cob, after 50 minutes add this along with the lemon and asparagus and remaining oil and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Serve the relish with the chicken.

Enjoy.

   

 

Cape Mulay Chicken curry

22 May

I am always looking to try new recipes and who doesn’t love a Friday night curry.  Much healthier than a takeaway and super easy to make.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
  • 1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and sliced
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 500g potatoes, cut into chunks
  • small pack coriander, chopped

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large, wide pan. Add the onion and fry for 5 mins until softened, stirring every now and then. Stir in the garlic, ginger and cloves, and cook for 5 mins more, stirring frequently to stop it sticking. Add all the remaining spices and the fresh chilli, stir briefly, then tip in the tomatoes with 2 cans of water, plus the chutney and crumbled stock cube.
  • Add the chicken thighs, pushing them under the liquid, then cover the pan and leave to cook for 35 mins. Stir well, add the potatoes and cook uncovered for 15-20 mins more until they are tender. Stir in the coriander.

Serve with fluffy rice and naan bread.  Enjoy :)

Moroccan shepherds pie

17 May IMG_0679-0

A twist on a family favourite. Easy to make and packed full of yumminess. I used half sweet potatoes in the mash as I had some to use up. 

Serves 6

Ingredients 

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions finely sliced

900g minced lamb

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3cm piece of ginger finely chopped

1 tbsp each ground coriander, cumin and smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cinnamon

425ml of vegetable stock

100g ready to eat dried apricots

Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the topping 

1kg of potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

Large pinch of saffron

2 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove chopped

Pack of coriander chopped

Method 

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and fry for 10 minutes until soft. Remove from the pan, then add the lamb and fry on high heat until browned all over. Return onions to the pan with the garlic and ginger, then stir in the spices and season with salt and pepper. 

Stir in stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the apricots and lemon juice then simmer for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a pan and cover with water. Add salt and saffron, bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Drain well, then return to pan, gently crush with a fork. Stir in oil, garlic and coriander until well combined. 

Preheat oven to 200°. Pour lamb mince into a 2 litre ovenproof dish. Spoon over the potatoes and bake for 30 minutes until the potatoes are brown and crispy. 

  

Do something everyday that scares you! 

17 May IMG_0504

Those of you who read my blogs, see that I’m an adventure girl and some of the tasks on my 40 at 40 list are testament to that. I had a meeting at the Kendal wall and noticed they had recently installed an indoor Via Ferrata. Ang showed me it after our meeting and said the following Sunday they were having an open day. It looked interesting so said we would come down and have a go. 

Having done Go Ape and the Honister Via Feratta I was familiar with the concept. There were 7 of us doing it. A safety meeting, harnesses distributed and we were ready. I was impressed with the new clipping on equipment. You would always have one clip attached even if you tried not to, as with a newly designed safety feature it wouldn’t let you have both off at the same time. 

A few practices attaching the clips onto the practice line, we were off. 

  
The first bit was fine climbing up the ladders getting used to moving and clipping the clips on and off. All was going ok until one of the group got vertigo and had to come back down. I realise why as I felt the same when I got there too. Luckily Dave and I were last to set off so Steph our instructor came up to guide me across. I was feeling a little more confident. The course zig zagged around the wall and then there is the fun bit of the zip wire! 

  
Ok ready to tackle the next bit. 

  
Steph went ahead through the cave section. Once I was in it was very restrictive as you can imagine a cave would be. I started to panic and couldn’t get through. But Steph was there on hand again talking me through and sent a rope down to help me out. Dave was behind me encouraging me to stay calm. The relief when I could quite literally see the light at the end of the tunnel was immense.

  
  
The next section, you had the crawl out of a window and find yourself at the top of the climbing wall! Which is a long way up! A few more ladders across the wall and it was onto a pendulum swing. Having to throw yourself off and then run back and forth across the wall to build up momentum to get across. By this time we had caught up the rest of the group and we’re waiting on a platform to do the final bit. 

   
 

Just a small matter of a 20m drop with 6m of freefall to do before I could say I’d completed the course. My turn to go and I said I can’t do it. My fight or flight panic set in. It’s not natural to step off into the unknown. Steph said ” you done everything else, you wouldn’t be standing here if you hadn’t” so buoyed up with her encouragement I stepped off the platform. Oh my god what a rush of adranellin. I landed very un glamorously and was picked up by 2 guys who had done the skyline with us. They were experienced climbers and said they found it challenging too, so I didn’t feel so pathetic for my panics! 

http://youtu.be/qJFKZROKPVc
http://youtu.be/YUoXWw3EHf8
A massive thank you to Steph, she was so patient and calming and I couldn’t have completed it without her gentle encouragement. The Skyline is a brilliant addition to the climbing wall. If you get chance give it a go.  

Always a good thing to do something that’s a challenge and scares you just a little bit. You don’t have to be a climber, just able and a sense of adventure. Thank you Steph! 

  
http://www.kendalwall.co.uk/instruction-overview/via-ferrata/

Well earnt bling

7 May IMG_0182

“Pain is temporary, finishing is forever” this phrase was going through my head like a mantra as I was running in the London marathon on Sunday 26th April. 

People said to me “Gina this is your fourth marathon, you should be used to this”. I think naivety is the best prep for marathon running, you have no idea of what lies ahead. 

There is no atmosphere like London, the crowds carry you through and high five you when you’re feeling broken. I’ve not run in any other city so I don’t have anything to compare it to. The London marathon has a special pull which is why I have entered it again for next year. 

Marathon training is hard but rewarding work. People look at me and think I’m joking when I say I run marathons. I’m not stick thin and I have boobs but that doesn’t stop me from getting out there and running. As someone said if you get your trainers on and run, you are a runner!

This time when I’ve been training, my inner demons have nearly taken control. That little voice in your head telling you, you’re not good enough and what the hell do you think you’re doing trying to run a marathon. It’s disabilitating and on quite a few training runs I’ve been on the verge of tears. A few deep breaths and a few drops of rescue remedy I’ve managed to get through. Being under stress has that effect on you. Luckily I’m seeking help to try and get this under control and asking for help is ok. 

I ran the marathon dressed as Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman first made her appearance back in 2003 when I ran my first marathon. It was a dare and never one to give in, I did it dressed as my favourite superhero. It’s a great costume to run in, as I’ve got older I realise there’s not much to it!! Thank goodness for the cape to hide my modesty. 

  
Thought I’d better have a try on before it was packed for the trip south. 

As soon as I entered Excel to get my running number the nerves and excitement started. Though I nearly didn’t get my number as I’d forgotten to bring my photo ID.  A few security checks and it was deemed I was me and one number given. 

   
     

Number collected it was across London to my in laws to relax and carb load! 

Nerves was in force when I woke up on the day of the marathon, trying to force porridge and toast down. My start was in Greenwich in the red zone. The weather was cold which was perfect running conditions. I did get some glances at my costume as I made the way across London with Dave to the start. I think I had several nervous wees. It was so cold and took solace in a nearby cafe until I had to make my way to the start.

As soon as I made the way to the start, my nerves calmed and I felt excited to be running in the London marathon again. A few pics and a reassuring hug and it was time to say goodbye to Dave, next time I  would see him would be around mile 12 our first rendezvous. 

   
   

Then we were off, it is such a huge feeling when you cross the line. I was soon into my stride and the first few miles passed quickly. First 10 k covered and was feeling good. In my head kept thinking about my first meeting with my family at mile 12. I think I ran mile 11-12 the quickest! Its very hard to spot people as the volume of support is huge. But I remembered from the map where they said they would be standing.  I just beamed and ran over to them when I spotted them.  It’s such a boost seeing them. A mouthful of fudge a few hugs and off I went. 

 Nearly halfway there and was doing ok time wise. There is no feeling like running over Tower bridge and hearing the wall of cheers. A special memory which will last with me forever. 

The next few miles were hard, but seeing Matthew and Amanda at 30k mark kept me going. Again the relief at seeing a friendly face is overwhelming. A sweaty hug (me not them) mintcake and off I went. I love the poster Matthew made! 

  
      

Refuelled off I went, next aim was to get to mile 24 when my Team Pennington support crew would be. For me this is where it gets really tough, tiredness kicked in and your body feels as if it’s running on empty. It’s a case of just putting one front in front of the other and letting the miles tick by. 

When you get to mile 21, you can start to see the iconic landmarks we all know and love. As the miles ticked by, I was relieved to think I was nearly there. Just pass mile 24 I saw my family, utter emotion passed over me as I was broken but nearly there. Lots of hugs, encouragement and the next time I will see them will be at the finish. 

  
I’m not sure how I got through the latter stages, the crowds were amazing and lots of high fives. I could see Big Ben and then Buckingham Palace and knew I was nearly home. The last half a mile feels so long, the grandstand and finish came into sight. I was nearly there. A massive sense of achievement washed over me. My time was 4:53 which was a little slower than I wanted but still pleased. My well earnt bling hanging on my neck as I made my way through to meet my family. When I checked my endomondo I’d actually run 27:15 miles! On the course there are blue lines painted on the road which is the exact measurement of the marathon. I obviously ran outside the lines!! 

I saw Jake and Millie first as Dave and the rest of my family had got stuck trying to get across to the finish. 

  
More bling for my collection, trying to stretch and not seize up. A rather undignified change and was off for an early dinner. But the sickness bug I had on Friday and a sore throat made the thought of a celebratory drink not high on my agenda. So I toasted my marathon success with a diet coke! 

  

My body was starting to stiffen up as I made my way back across London to my in laws. The hot bath never felt so good. Early night was definitely in order. 

The support for the Brathay charity I was running for, has been immense. I have managed to raise £3700 which will make a huge difference to these young people’s lives. I am going to visit the charity to see where the money goes in a few weeks time. My temporary pain is so worth it for the good it’s going to benefit them.

 http://www.brathay.org.uk/

I finally got my celebratory fizz! 

   

Would I run another marathon?? Yes of course I will. Just need to focus on getting quicker 😉

If you still want to sponsor me you still can at http://www.justgiving.com/Gina-Pennington2
 

Marathon Girl 

15 Apr IMG_0575

I feel as if I’ve neglected my blog over the last few weeks, I’m sorry  I’ve been busy marathon training and I haven’t felt I’ve done anything to warrant a blog post. 

I like the disapline of training for a marathon. It gives me the extra drive to go out in all weathers, which I have been! If marathon day is pissing down and into a head wind I have that nailed! 

If marathon training was easy everyone would do it. It’s hard when you get mid way in the training plan. You’re tired and in my case my inner chimp makes me doubt my running ability. I’ve had some really tough runs when my head has messed with my running. On one particular run, after 1.5 miles my body was paralysed with fear that I was ridiculous for thinking I could do this. I rang my husband Dave sobbing to come and get me. After that he gave me some tough love and said he was not going to pick me up unless I’ve had an accident. Perfect motivation. 

Having good mental health is just as important as your body being healthy. Sue from The Body rehab where I go for sports massage (aka torture she has elbows of steel)  and physio, she reiliterated this. She suggested listening to an audio book to take my mind off thinking. It works. 

Luckily I have managed to get several long runs in and after a 20+ mile run 2 weeks ago, I feel ready and a little excited about running London marathon again. 

This time on my training plan I have discovered ice baths. For me it has helped my muscles recover though getting ice cubes in places I shouldn’t was an eye opener!!

So on April 26th 2015, I will be running my 3rd London marathon. Wonder Woman will be dusted down to be let loose on the streets of London. I haven’t got a time in mind, I just want to enjoy it. I am running the marathon for Brathay Trust, a charity for under privileged children in Brathay just outside Ambleside. So if you have a spare quid or 2 please sponsor me. 

Check out my JustGiving Page for Brathay Trust. Help me raise more! http://www.justgiving.com/Gina-Pennington2?utm_id=26

My marathon audio blog 

https://audioboom.com/boos/2926600

So bring on the taper and the carb loading :) 

Crispy Thai Style stir fried Pork

6 Feb IMG_0181

Another new recipe tried out, super quick to make, full of flavour and low fat too! It’s a winner in my book. Continue reading

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