Wednesday, 2 December 2015

HO HO HO....Delicious Alchemy most wonderful Christmas cake

Gluten free Christmas Fruit Cake Mix


Well what can I say other than 'WOW', this was such an easy and wonderful baking experience, especially if your not one for soaking and prepping your fruit, buying all the different bags of this and that for one magical cake. They take all the stress out of baking and preparing and boy what a joy! 

It was a fantastically easy cake to make, bake and decorate. I loved every second of doing it knowing that it would be flawless in taste, and boy wasnt it good! The mix of fruit was perfect and so YUMMY, it was DELICIOUS!  

I followed the recipe below and it worked perfectly, all you really need to do for this is add the wet ingredients correctly and hay presto you have a wonderful bake!

I would highly recommend this to anyone, if you are an established baker or a novice. It is simple and perfect for the FESTIVE time of year!



Mixed Dried Fruits (55%) (Raisins, Dates, Sultanas), Dark Brown Sugar, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, Mixed Spices , Stabiliser (Xantham Gum)


Typical ValuesPer 100g*Per 79.5g serving **
(*cake mix, as sold.)
(**Unbaked cake mix, as prepared using orange juice. 1/12th cake.)
- of which saturates0.2g5.6g
- of which sugars54.9g30.3g

You’ll need

1 x 650g Delicious Alchemy Christmas fruit cake mix
110g  soft unsalted butter or dairy free alternative
2 large eggs
75ml brandy or orange juice
Zest of 1 orange (optional)

Step 1

Before you get mixing, preheat the oven to 160C/140C for fan-assisted ovens. Line the base and sides of a 7 inch baking tin with greaseproof paper. Make sure the paper sticks out 2.5cm (about an inch) above the rim of the tin.

Step 2

In a large bowl, mix the butter (or dairy free alternative) and zest (if using) then add in 45ml of the brandy or orange juice. Whisk the eggs separately and then add to the bowl along with the dry cake mix.

Step 3

Mix together for 2½ minutes. You can pop it all in a mixer if that’s easier. Once it has all come together, put the mix into your prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes.

Step 4

Once baked to perfection, allow to cool for 20 minutes, then pierce the cake several times with a skewer and pour on the remaining 30ml of brandy or orange juice until it is all absorbed. Wrap up well and store until required. Decorate with an icing of your choice.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Peanut butter,vanilla protein fudge

Peanut Butter,Vanilla Protein Fudge

These were inspired by the new tasty recipe or protein bar from Pulsin, there new Vanilla Chop chip protein bar is delicious, I love the flavor and wanted to have a good go at making some natural protein fudge. So here we are!

It taste better one you take it out of the freezer and leave it for a couple of minuets, this is due to how cold it really is.

1/2 cup (120 g) organic smooth peanut butter

2 cups (160 g) pea protein (vanilla or unflavored)

3/4 cup (169 ml) cartoned coconut milk (or almond milk)

2 tbsp (45 g) honey

4 pulsin vanilla choc chip bar

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or in a food processes for ease, until you form soft dough.

2. Press dough evenly into a small brownie pan.

3. Stick the pan for a couple of hours or in the freezer.

4. Once dough is firm, cut it into squares.


Friday, 11 September 2015

Tri Ferris Cotswold triathlon RACE REPORT (first since March) ----- We are judged by results and not by the way we look!

I just want to say that I am so revlived to be back racing mulitisport, now this wasn't a top race and I haven't a clue on what the field was, but you can only race who is there on the day. But to finish 1st in my age group on my return to racing was a very joyful experience.

Tri Ferris Cotswolds Triathlon:

Swim - Well this was the first competitive swim that I have done in two years and boy I have to be honest it was; tough, cold and felt ever so long. Now this is an area I know I need more work in and I have to work hard to stay with the front groups, this was not going to happen today. I was able to finish the 750m in 13mis odd mins and then out the water into transition. I forgot just how hard it was to change out of a wetsuit, and I will be investing  in one that fits much better for next season. Transition done, and now for the first test, have I been able  to recovery from over doing it during the summer holidays and not multi-sport races for 6 months.

Bike - I started the bike, first frozen from the lake swim, but after about 2/3 mins I was able to get going and really find some power, things went well and I really felt strong. I was able to push and push through the whole ride, chasing people down made me feel very strong and I enjoyed every min of it. There were a few people I passed during the ride that I knew would be in my age group and I made sure I passed them and put plenty of time into them on the bike. I made it round with my watts stayin high and still feeling fresh.Bike done now for the tough bit, have I still got run legs.

Run - I literally flew out of transition and into the 5k with everything I had, I literally stormed the first lap of 2 and kept the pace high throughout. I actually managed a 5k PB 16.49! so that as a good start to a bit of end of season racing. 

So I finished feeling good, high and happy with the race that I had just completed! I gave it all and was happy with how I felt!

Got the result and bam...1st in age group. So that made it all in all a very successful day!


This is something that I have struggled with for a long time, and truth be told may have a battle with it for a long time to come. I love to train, but getting the balance right is so important. Finding this is very hard. I have literally changed back to the old way I used to eat, well almost....not so much rubbish food in my diet. I am not as lean as I would like to look, but watts are up and run legs are why no keep to this way of performing right and training. We are judged by results and not by the way we look! 

I pushed things too far during July and became far to lean, I was living with a diet that suited a body builder and not an endurance athlete trying to improve. It wasnt working and need to change. It was even suggested by my coach (Matt Botrill that I had overcooked it and needed to end my season, but I knew there was more to it than that and I had been getting things wrong. I have now been working hard in eat correctly, recover and making improvements. It will come but slowly. This winter will be big and I want to come out the other end very strong. At current I am now working towards the national duathlon championships in October, and hoping to race well. I am chasing some time trial results a 10 PB with one race left and also a 25 PB with also only one race left. 

I try and listen to as much advise as possible, but to be honest I struggle to find the formula. This podcast is a great start and literally states that there isnt a formula to follow, other than listen to your body.

Amazing podcast from REST WISE

-By revoering more you train less.....myth

-By recovering more you can train harder and better

-You only recover when you REST, yes but what is the formula?

-Exercise+training stress = does not make you stronger fitter faster, you only recover when you are not training.

-It is the bodies response to training stress that improves fitness, weight less, speed what ever the designed outcome is. These can be monitored HR, Watts, weight.

-Outside/life stress can also have an influence....job, life, relationships.

-Endurance athletes have focus - dedication = training volume. (this is what we all are aware of).
-Long base miles allow us to become efficient as an endurance athlete.
-Over trained is a medical condition, being fatigued is different.


Recovery interventions - nutrition - fulling strategies to help recovery - adsorb and adapt - dont ignore it, but don't think nutrition = recovery!

You can eat all the best food in the world, but it is not going to fix poor recovery practices.

So what can we do to recover?

-Capture the date we need.
-Take resting HR, 30sec after waking-find trending-this will then quantify the data-its a conformation practice and not an intuitive practice-confirm you are feeling the right way, or not.
-You dont have to change you training scheduled, but make better decisions. Get the most out of the harder day, you will then benefit from this is the long run.

If you are an athlete and you are have felt, are feeling flat during a race or a training then this 9/10 is due to the fact that you have not recovered efficiently, not that you haven't recovered, but you have not recovered properly. As athletes we judge ourselves too much on how much or what training we are doing and not the results of the training. When do we every say, oh I feel great today before a training is always oh man I did this yesterday, I buried myself doing that!

We need a shift, and we need to bring in a sense of well being, enjoyment to go faster and harder and get the most out of training.

This below is also a fab article and can be found on the link below! 

Every athlete has an optimal racing weight. I define this as the weight at which an athlete performs best in races. Because athletes are more often above their optimal racing weight than right at it, they tend to associate losing weight with gaining performance. This association leads some athletes to make weight loss their primary focus and to push performance into the background.
The problem here is that it is possible to lose weight in a way that unnecessarily limits or even sabotages performance. Indeed, the dietary and training methods that produce the most weight loss are entirely different from those that maximise performance. If you practice the methods that are most effective for weight loss, the best possible outcome is that you will improve more slowly and to a lesser degree than you would otherwise. And in the worst-case scenario, you will end up below your optimal racing weight and slower than you were when you started the process.
In other words, if your goal is maximum performance, you need to stay focused on performance. Eat and train to get faster and trust that your weight will take care of itself. Do not eat and train to get lighter and count on your performance to improve as the number on the bathroom scale comes down.
Let’s get specific. The most effective way to lose weight is to maintain a low-carb diet and follow a mostly high-intensity training program. The most effective way to gain fitness is to maintain a moderate- to high-carb diet and follow a mostly low-intensity training program. But don’t take my word for it—let’s look at the research.

Running on Empty
A number of studies have shown that well-trained endurance athletes who switch from a moderate- to high-carb diet to a low-carb diet get even leaner than they were to begin with. The most recent study of this kind was conducted by a team of Polish researchers led by Adam Zajac. Eight competitive mountain bikers were placed on each of two diets for four weeks in random order. One diet was high in fat and low in carbohydrate, consisting of 15 percent carbohydrate, 70 percent fat, and 15 percent protein. The other diet was balanced, consisting of 50 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat, and 20 percent protein.
The low-carb diet made the athletes significantly leaner. After four weeks on the low-carb diet, their body fat percentage was 11.02. Compare that to an average body fat percentage of 14.88 after four weeks on the balanced diet. But the fat loss that the athletes experienced on the low-carb diet was associated with a significant decline in performance. On the balanced diet, the subjects generated 257 watts at lactate threshold intensity and 362 watts during a 15-minute maximal effort. On the low-carb diet, these numbers dropped to 246 watts and 350 watts. According to the study authors, the cause of the decline on the low-carb diet was impairment of the muscles’ ability to burn carbs, which is critical to performance at higher intensities.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

VELOTEC Kit review 2015

Velotec have created a stunning and practical cycle range of the highest quality. The kit is delicate and clean and the designs just ooze class. The clean cut and silk feel just makes wearing this kit easy and enjoyable.

Trisuit ELITE

This comfortable suit from Velotec has plenty of give around the ribs and back to aid heat transfer as well as a front zip to cool on the bike and run. It’s also a fast suit in the water. When tested in a race it dried in good time once on two wheels and was comfortable to run off the bike. The pad is a comfy base for tackling bigger rides, tested during training so ideal for LD racing. The pockets will take two gels, but were a bit loose and (depending on gel shape) wobbly, although this was fine with a different gel brand. The suit’s snug fit doesn’t restrict movement though the different disciplines and provides you with feeling of quality and comfort to deal with speed and fast movement. I was very pleased with this higher end tri specific suit.

Name: Trisuit ELITE 
Size guide click here 
Size range : XXS-5XL (available for children)
Material : Lycra/Power Lycra
Temperature range: 20 ° / 35°

Perfrormance trisuit. Proper triathlon pad.

Mesh between the shoulder blades.

Pockets on the back.

Wider arm holes.

Silicon elastic at the bottom.
Fully customizable.
Price: £42 + vat
Based on 10 items


With the top-level Velotec CORSA bib shorts you have quality and comfort from the offset, it really is like putting silk on. Theses are right at the pinnacle of the performance tables. At first glance the pad looks almost too big, but its very comfortable, and the fit in the shorts is exquisite . It’s a multi-thickness, supportive, elasticated pad, but these details are hidden; what’s on show is a wide gripper band and great panel design that fits the crouched cycling position well. The silky finish to the shorts at a glance is very lasting and retro. These shorts are great, but sizing I would always go a size up.


This CORSA summer jersey is my favorite piece of the Velotec range, the slightly retro look and sleek feel it is effortless to wear. It almost feels like a second skin and just allows you to not have to think about what you are wearing and just ride. The arms have a tight but very comfortable grip band and dont leave marks after wearing it for a long time, I wore the jersey for 6 hours during training and had no signs of it being too tight of pinching. It is literally a joy to wear and I cant speak highly enough of the quality within this jersey.

Short Sleeve Jersey Code: CORSA RS 
Lead time: 6 weeks
Code: 03230
Size range : XXS-5XL (available for children and ladies)
Temperature range: 22 ° / 38°
Light and very breathable.
Perfect for cycling in hot conditions.
Full zip: black or white.
Three open pockets.
Elasticated silicone gripper bands on the arms and waist gives stability and comfort.
Fully customizable

Extra pocket with the zip on the back + £2,50
Price: £39 + vat
Based on 10 items


The full arms, back, chest and leg side panels are tight, silky and comfortable, and when you first put it on it makes you want to ride faster! I found the Custom Skinsuit cooling as I has the pleasure to race in it during a time trial in 29 degree heat and didnt feel overheated other than from the blistering sun, the suit actually almost kept me cooler as it adsorbed the sweat. The soft fabric, flat leg grippers and excellent pad show the quality of this kit and are really comfortable. It’s a very aero skinsuit, built for time trialing at the top level.


Velotec winter jersey is a heavier version and very similar fit to the brand's summer race jersey, but much thicker as a traditional winter top. Because of this, the jersey is better suited to mild temperatures than very cold weather I feel but I have not had the chance to test it properly due to it not being the winter yet. There are three rear pockets, which don't sag when loaded up and are pretty secure, thanks to the elastic tops. Styling-wise, it’s minimal and well judged, but available in different options. During rides the jersey was never less than perfectly positioned, and never flapped around. There’s no fleece fabric on the inside, but nevertheless, thanks to the fit, it manages to be very comfortable.


These instantly have a tight, comfortable fit and it is great, and in combination with this these tights don't rub, irritate or restrict movement. The fleece-lined bib are comfortable, soft and forgotten about as soon as they’re on. With good windproof protection doing a great job of keeping your legs protected from the win and in combination with the soft, comfortable fleece lining. The windproof panels also have the added bonus of offering some resistance to rain. as well as not getting too hot.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Breakfast Waffles

Embedded image permalink

Breakfast Waffles

Prep time: 5 minutes       
Cook time: 5 minutes       
Serves: 1 (about 2 depending on size)


- 20g chia seeds 
- 50g oats
- 20g mix currents and seeds

-2 egg
- 30ml almond/soya milk
+for the extra protein kick add 1 scoop of protein powder to the mixture. 30-40g (depending on size of eggs)

- 1 tsp honey (not essential, but can add for sweetness) 
- chopped almonds, chopped cashews, brazils.
-Mix fruit (currents, dates, apricots)
- 50g shredded coconut


-Heat up the waffle iron and wait till the light turn off.
-Add the egg, whisk in the bowl with the milk and whisk to combine. 
-Then add the dry ingredients, if the mixture seems a little wet, add more mile or protein depending on the density of the mixture. You are looking for a light batter.
-Cook waffles in the iron for around 3-5mins depending how golden you like them.

Serve with what every you like, I love to throw some almond butter on top. You could add soya yogurt, fruit (blueberries, raspberries go well).   

Friday, 31 July 2015

Its a biggy with lots of pics .......Relax and unwind, France, Food (lots of food), Annecy.

EPIC! this is the only way I can describe the amazing cycling holiday that I have been on these past few days. I have been able to unwind and relax, chill and just enjoy cycling, although it has been tough it has been great fun. This is the first cycling/training centered holiday that I have been on and it has been fantastic. One day of rain, but even then with a early ride we missed the downpour and I was able to literally just relax and unwind for the whole afternoon.

Everyone enjoyed the holiday and all got a lot out of it, exactly what they wanted, lots of cycling, hills/mountains, coffee plenty of coffee and lots of laughs!

Running during the holiday was tough, we were literally in the mountains so no matter which way I ran it was basically up hill, and I really do mean it was up hill. My legs certainly made me aware that it was not easy to do so! It was just as hard to run down hill, as the inclines made the descents mega and my glutes were on fire. On a very positive note, I has no reaction in my knee at all and everything was absolutely fine, roll on more running and getting back up to speed.

Mount Sem noz (the biggest climb around) was just an unreal climb that went on and on and on, it was fantastic, hot and hard work. Amazing views at the end that made the climb worth every second of pain and effort. 

Coffee stop at the top of Semnoz (11k climb), and at the top first mars bar in forever!

First bit of climbing on day 1, we really didn't know what we were getting ourselves in for.

Day 1 

Chicken, chorizo - Tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lettuce - Rice, peti-poi


 Lake Annecy

Day 2

Home made burgers, sun-dried tomatoes.  - Broccoli, chick peas - Pollenta sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and olives.  

Sem noz coke and mars bar stop, much needed. 

Day 3

Spicy chicken - red cabbage, raisins - tomatoes, roasted peppers,
lettuce, salami and chorizo.

Day 4 

One and only rainy day!


I still cannot believe Joel had ice cream with his pancakes. Think he though we were in an American dinner! 

Gluten free, oat pancakes, caramelized bananas

Rainy day, but we were able to head out early and miss it which was a godsend. It really rains in the mountains with no escape and rather unforgiving on the decent's I imagine.

Sausages - buttered cabbage - cauliflower peti-por. 


Day 5 

SOLO - Sem Noz stricks again! 

On a solo day due to puncture and with Sem noz done once again but a longer climb, there was only one thing to do when I arrived back into Annecy, and that was to stop for a coffee. Man it was a good coffee, and I think this might have been enhanced due to the stunning view of the mountains, shops and Venice live river running though.

Dinner tonight was - Fresh (amazing) tomatoes, cucumber, boiled eggs - Rice, kidney beans - Chicken (homemade marinade, herb and BBQ) - Roasted cumin and buttered carrots.


Now the focus turns to the English Duathlon championships, it has been ages since I have raced and this is partly due to my injury which I am glad to say now seems to be non existent, although I am still none the wiser to why I wasn't able to run in the first place. 

Running is ready to rock, bike is under control and with this epic cycling adventure things should all tick along nicely into the English Champs! 

Monday, 29 June 2015

FRUSTRATION -NO RUNNING...6 weeks,Stourbridge road race...Weight management and Bike bike bike plus the Welsh Velethon.

This is now the longest running lay off I have had since I began competing, so around 3 years! Its literally the most frustrating time I think I have had to endeavor. I am finally coming round to the fact that this is not going to be a quick fix and its something that is going to take time to heal, although I still have no idea what exactly is wrong. I have now finally been referred by the GP to get a can, although even this has now taken a week with no respond from anyone regarding a scan. I was a little lost, just constantly waiting for my knee to be fixed but time after time I ran and tried it and then pain, for 2 weeks I managed the pain and then that was it, it became too unbearable.
With this in mind I am now looking into the future, this may actually mean that I have to come to terms with the fact that I might not be able to race multi sport this year. After having a terrible and traumatic start the race season during Feb and March, then getting a new coach (Matt Bottrill  things were looking much better. I was actually getting back to normal, running and riding was moving forward...but then BANG another set back! ACE! So now im only cycling and back in the pool.

The pool is going well and I am enjoying swimming again, certainly with the view to racing some triathlons again, times are coming down week by week and its nice to be back and I believe its helping me with the cycling. 

I am now concentrating on cycling and watts are moving the right way, times are coming down and I feel stronger than ever. I have been advised to concentrate on the bike and not think about running until my leg is ready and sorted. I would  only be chasing run fitness, which would be a bad idea. I am now only going to race when I am ready to really compete! 


Stourbridge road race

This race was a cat 2,3,4 and wow it was fast from the off set! Trying to raod race and TT and at the moment I really cannot get the balance right. I hung on for a while but bottled the decent in the rain, and basically fell off the pack....lesson learnt and on-wards to the crit racing circuit for more practice, racing and making sure I can nail this road racing lark!

Welsh velethon

Riding the timble just went on and on and on, it was a great climb but man alive it was tough! I enjoyed hte pain and it was good for my legs, it was a strava segment and out of around 1500 competitive cyclist I was around 300th, so that was cool. The ride itself was fun and the closed roads made things fast. The venue was good and the route was ok, although there were alot of dual tracks and not much else for alot of the route. support was ok from the locals, apart from the drawing pins that forced people to get off and walk. The only thing that saved the poorly sponsored feedzones were the welsh cakes. I would give the event about a 6/10 nothing more, it needed more pazaz. Im sure they will get it right next year.

Weight management

One problem without running and more cycling has come the onset of muscle and weight, less tone and more storage. Not weight I need, just weight I dont need. Staying lean is defo tougher without running and I have had some tough days and weeks getting rather down about my weight gain. But after a bit of good nutritional advice at the weekend I have finally solved the issue, I have been trying too hard to fill my face and feel full all the time. But I haven't needed the calories. So portions are a little smaller and I am storing less, its already evident and I am becoming more toned again. Im sure I will have the same issue when I start running but in reverse and need more calories, but at the moment I need to be clever. I do however still have a huge problem with my sweet tooth and need to get rid of this. They claim that a habit take 21 days to get rid of and if I dont have sugar for 21 days then this may actually cure it, so as of the 1st July I am going to have a go at this.....

Here is a fantastic little bit of advice from triathlete Europe.....

How satiety works
The feeling of satiety involves a number of natural physiological actions that start in the stomach and ultimately affect the appetite centre in the brain. The presence of food in the stomach stimulates the release of special proteins in the digestive tract. “Scientists call them appetite regulatory peptides, but you can think of them as feel-full proteins,” Bowden said. The most important feel-full protein is cholecystokinin (CCK), which Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen, authors of You: On a Diet, have nicknamed “the Crucial Craving Killer” due to its powerful hunger-squashing effect.
The release of CCK and other feel-full proteins initiates a number of actions. First they close the valve leading from the stomach into the intestine. This slows the digestion of food, giving us a feeling of fullness and extinguishing the drive to eat. The second action initiated by the feel-full proteins is to send a signal to the appetite centre in the brain. This also tells us to stop eating, but, more importantly, it is responsible for the extended feeling of fullness that occurs between meals.
Normally, the feel-full proteins work very well to control appetite in a way that ensures we don’t overeat. However, they have one weakness: the feel-full proteins take about 20 minutes to become fully active.
Throughout most of human history, this time lag was not a problem, because the diet consisted mainly of low-calorie plant foods. But today, our diet is full of calorie-dense processed foods and our hectic lifestyles cause us to eat meals very quickly. It’s easy to consume more than 1,000 calories in five minutes in a meal purchased from a fast-food restaurant drive-thru window. By the time the fell-full proteins kick in, only the greasy wrappers are left.


Oh I do love a Pulsin delivery!

I have also now built up an establishment with a cycle shop in Pershore called Echelon-cycles, follow @echeloncycles on twitter and there website is have a look.  I will be triathlon and duathlon for them! This will begin later in the year when I start competing again.