A TOPP WEDDING – The Engagement

It makes sense to go back to the start for my next post in my A Topp Wedding series, which is really to tell you a bit more about our engagement!

Engagement in Vienna

Visiting Vienna, Austria for a quick weekend trip 

After 6 years together, it’s been a LONG time coming. While I had been ready for a number of years to say “I Do”, it wasn’t something high up on Jase’s priority list. In fact, it didn’t make the list at all. If I am completely honest, not being engaged was a huge source of tension as I grappled with constantly being asked “so when do you think you will get engaged?” (Answer: I don’t freakin KNOW, ask HIM, not ME!), and other insecurities.  As I watched friend after friend get engaged, and then married – the emotions got more intense. It was hard to explain how I felt, but I know Jase TRIED to understand – even though he wasn’t ready, which I also TRIED to understand. For other girls out there who are nodding their heads to this – know that you aren’t alone. There are some fabulous articles on A Practical Wedding about being pre-engaged which really helped me through these complex feelings and emotions.

Engagement in Vienna

Croatia – the place where we didn’t get engaged

Anyway – moving on to the more positive side of things – somewhere along the way in 2013 Jase decided he WAS ready. I had high hopes for a proposal on our trip to Croatia in early September (sailing, sea and sunsets! Celebrations with my family!) but he’s a dark horse and didn’t want to do what I expected (typical male huh?). Apparently he had a ring in his pocket to propose after I crossed the finish line at Royal Parks Half Marathon (October), but then decided against it (I’m quite glad – I was uber sweaty and not so attractive at that time!). We had three trips planned in December – to Vienna, Iceland and Morocco, and so my fingers were crossed that he would get his shit together for ONE of those places!

We had an early morning Saturday flight to Vienna (never a good idea, you always feel like you’ve been slapped in the face with a phone book) and Jase was particularly maudlin and grumpy. Over lunch he talked about “when we eventually move home, life will be O-V-E-R” which was rather depressing. We had an afternoon nap and when he woke up he was hungry and silent and broody. I suspected nothing, instead thinking “poor guy just needs food and sleep”. We headed out to various Christmas markets – with me trying to jolly up his mood with offers of bratwurst and mulled wine.

Engagement in Vienna

We had finished at Maria Theresien-Platz market and were walking towards the gorgeous Rathaus Market – one of the largest Christmas markets in front of the city hall. The Rathaus was lit up brilliantly, and there were amazing lanterns strung up in the trees. We stopped for plenty of photos, before Jase had the idea to try and take a selfie with the Rathaus in the background. He wanted a space with no one else around, so made me climb over some park benches to get under a tree which had red hearts hanging from it. I was pretty sure we weren’t meant to be there (the ground was covered in electrical leads – hence the park benches being lined up to section the area off) so was ready for a quick selfie and then to dash out of there.

Engagement in Vienna

Jase held out the camera (longer arm = better selfie) and I grinned and waited. And waited. And then looked at him in confusion as he fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a ring box. He blurted out “will you marry me” and I said nothing, so he attemped a sort of lunge-squat and repeated himself (he’s 6”4, so dropping a knee takes a while) before I squeaked out a “yeaasssss”. I then looked at the camera (that he was still holding out – secretly video’ing) in confusion, wondering if he’d taken the selfie yet!

Engagement in Vienna

Engagement in Vienna

We had a few moments of “woah, this is kinda cool” together before looking around to see if anyone had spotted us, and climbing back over the park benches. We were both freezing so we hurried to get some mulled cider to celebrate and warm ourselves up with – I was full of warm fuzzies on the inside and couldn’t stop grinning like a loon.

Engagement in Vienna

Ahem – bling shot! 

As we sat and sipped our ciders and looked at the lights and all the happy people around, we decided to keep our engagement to ourselves for the weekend and enjoy having a wee secret. I really REALLY wanted to yell it from the rooftops, but there was something special about having that time to keep it between the two of us. It sounds uber soppy, but it felt like we were in our own little love-bubble! The magic of the Christmas Markets was just perfect, I floated around them on a total high and delighted in choosing a special handpainted Christmas bauble of the Rathaus for my collection.

Engagement in Vienna

We returned to London the next day, and on Monday morning we got up early and skyped with both our families to share the news. Everyone was over the moon and excited for us, and it was nice to feel so much love radiating from everyone. We emailed our wider families and friends to share the news personally, but held off from announcing it on social media for a week. I wanted to have traditional engagement notices placed in the newspapers back home, and then used pictures of the papers to share online. A little bit of the traditional with new media I guess.

Engagement in Vienna

Engagement in Vienna

Over the next few days we greatly enjoyed the warm fuzzies (and the never ending stream of bubbles!) and settled into the next stage of our relationship – WEDDING PLANNING!

Your turn – share your engagement story in the comments below! Or tell me your ideal location for a proposal?  

His & Hers Whole 30 – Week Four and beyond

Our final week was stellar, both of us were really in the groove – loving our meals and feeling fantastic. Instead of conversations around what food we missed, we were talking about how much we were loving our current eats and how we never wanted to go back to what’s known as a SAD Diet (standard American diet – which relates to all of the western world really).

Whole 30 week 4 meals

Day 30 came and went and we carried on strong. I didn’t see any need to change our regular meals as we were in such a groove – why reintroduce things that we didn’t need? Jase tested the waters with a chocolate one day, and a beer another – but reported back that he didn’t have the same satisfaction consuming them as he had previously, and after he ate/ drank them he wondered why he had bothered.

Whole 30 week 4 meals

I did allow a few “technically” non compliant meals in – banana blueberry pancakes and a cocoa-coconut whip dessert. I say “technically” not compliant because ingredients wise they are 100% Whole 30. But in the format of dessert and pancakes, they are not – instead they fall into the SWYPO category (sex with your pants on). This basically means you are trying to satisfy your craving/ emotional attachment to dessert or pancakes (or sex) by trying to recreate something to fill that void with compliant ingredients (as in…keeping your pants on). However, I never grew up with IHOP (international house of pancakes for those who have never experienced this US fast food joint!) or pancakes being eaten in my household – so I don’t actually have an issue with creating these out of eggs and bananas. To me, it’s just another format of eggs for breakfast – in a round flat panfried shape!

Whole 30 week 4 meals

One #whole30 problem I did have to deal with (le sigh) is that my fringe and nails grew UBER quickly – I had to get a haircut 3 weeks earlier than usual!

Whole 30 week 4 meals

Before we knew it, it was time to head off on our two week holiday. My first non-compliant meal was served up to me on the plane, and I sat there staring at the bread roll for what felt like ages. It was like a standoff between me and the bread roll, crackers, cheese and wine. I was hungry and wanted food, but I didn’t want to consume anything that was in front of me. In the end I ate the hot meal and skipped the rest of the items that were on my tray. I just could not bring myself to put the food into my mouth.

The Whole-30-breaker finally came the next day, when we boarded our yacht which was to be our home for a week. Our breakfasts and lunches were provided to us (cereal, bread and spreads; bread and/or pasta dishes) and when you are out at sea and that’s the food that’s in front of you – it’s what you end up eating. Both of us felt pretty yuk from the get-go, the bread just bloated me right up! Luckily I didn’t have any violent symptoms, but within a few days my skin was breaking out again (it could also be the mix of the sunscreen and sweat) and I was relying heavily on coffee to get me through the day. Apart from consuming alcohol every day, and the two occasions we indulged in an ice cream – we stayed away from any major sugar hits. I’m surprised as I thought I would have headed straight for a chocolate bar!

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and we ate some fabulous food that really MADE the whole trip (seafood, deep fried feta, greek salads!) but by the end of the two weeks both of us were seriously craving fruit and vegetables. We spent quite a bit of time talking about how we envisage our diet being moving forward. Jase seems even more converted to the Whole 30 than me (see his wrap up video here) – he enjoyed having the 6 pack he has always wanted, and the extra energy in his workouts. This holiday was the first time I felt comfortable walking around in just a bikini – I was happy and proud that turning 30 I was the fittest and healthiest I have been in my life. I truly have the Whole 30 to thank for that.

Whole 30 week 4 meals

Moving forward our strategy is to eat Whole 30 for our weekly meals – breakfasts and lunches will stay the same, dinners at home will still be Whole 30 complaint. We will relax around social engagements though – once or twice a week – because you know, LIFE.

Whole 30 week 4 meals

The Whole 30 way of eating makes us both feel so good about ourselves and enhances our lives in so many ways – it’s so much more than weight loss and food restriction that others may criticise it for (don’t knock it until you have tried it!). The Whole 30 has truly changed my life (and now Jase’s) – it’s opened us up to new amazing foods and tastes; taught us to cook more from scratch; reshaped our bodies and allowed us to perform better in our training; increased our energy and allowed us to sleep deeper; and given us a bright healthy radiance that has had people commenting that we both are looking so good, so healthy and most of all – so happy.

Whole 30 week 4 meals

FAVE MEAL: After running & brunching with (first-time Whole 30-ing!) Lissy and Charlie, they had put a serious craving for nachos in my head. Charlie had found a version online which used finely sliced sweet potatoes as the nacho chips, so I decided to give it a go too.

Whole 30 week 4 meals Nachos

I spent the afternoon wrestling with my mandolin (and subsequently deciding it was a piece of crap) but ended up producing the below feast. Oh sweet heaven, this meal was amazeballs to the max. I LOVE me some nachos, but this was better than any regular tortilla chip version. I’ll definitely be making this again, I just need to work out a better way to make the chips!

*WHOLE 30 UPDATE* – Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the couple who created the Whole 30 and authors of the life-changing book It Starts With Food have revisited the Whole 30 “rules” and announced that white potatoes are now considered complaint. Whereas previously they were ruled out (mainly due to the majority of white potato consumption coming in the form of chips, fries, crisps; as well as the emotional tendency to overconsume white potatoes) now they are back in. For more information on the why’s and how’s around this, read their updated manifesto here: http://whole30.com/2014/07/new-whole30/

Happy Whole 30! 

RACE RECAP: City of London Mile

City_of_London_Mile_logo

Last weekend when most of my runner-buds were heading East to Hackney to run 13.1miles in a heatwave, I was on my way to Central London to run 1 mile. I’ll admit I felt a little like I was cheating – I was off to a race that would be over in less than 10minutes (I hoped). However I knew my legs didn’t have a half marathon in them – so I figured at least I was getting out an enjoying a race experience regardless.

City of London Mile

I rocked up at St Pauls and very quickly collected my race bib and timing chip. Bag drop was a breeze, and I stood in the sun on the sideline cheering on the speedsters in the first couple of waves. These guys (and few girls) were trying to beat the elusive sub-4 minute mile, and the fabulous MC was cheering them home – there were a few that came extremely close!

City of London Mile

Before I knew it, it was time for me to join Wave 5 and head to the start line. The waves had been organised by what time you thought you would come under – I think I had listed myself as a 10minute mile – but the reality was I had no flippin idea. I work in kilometres. I know if it was a 1 kilometre race, I probably would have listed myself as a sub 6min (and then aimed to blast it with something closer to sub 5mins). But a mile? It was unknown territory – 1.6kms is not quite 2kms, but it’s more than 1 and a half…I honestly had no clue as to what I would run it in!

City of London Mile

Standing under St Pauls, the gun went and we were off. I settled pretty quickly into a pace, and picked people off ahead of me. The course was flat and fast and we spread out quickly which meant I only needed to go slightly wide to pass people. I kept a close eye on my watch and watched it creep closer to the 1km mark. I passed that in 5mins 09.

City of London Mile

With 400m to go, I kicked it up a notch, knowing that when I turned the corner at 300m there was a slight incline towards the finish line. The noise of the band and crowd at the finish line filled my ears and I pumped my arms. There were two girls ahead of me and I decided to take them, pushing hard. I heard Josie giving me a yell from the sideline and I waved and crossed the finish line – 8.06.

City of London Mile

I was stoked with my finishing time, but upon reflection I knew I definitely could have shaved some time off that. I could have pushed harder, earlier on – I still had gas in the tank so to speak! But now I know what a mile feels like – and a PB is a PB!

City of London Mile

City of London Mile

I joined Josie on the sideline and we hung around to watch the rest of the waves. It was a lovely way to spend a morning – the sun was shining, we had coffee in hand, and there was our favourite sport happening right in front of us. There was a wave for disabled athletes,  a kids wave, a family wave and then came the elites. It was awesome to watch them all – and the atmosphere at the finish line was like being at a party!

City of London Mile

We grooved away to the band and cheered and yelled for everyone, especially those who had already finished Run Hackney, and had sped across the city for a cool down mile! And the kids – oh the kids – they were absolutely adorable (and also – SUPER SPEEDY) and it was brilliant to watch so many giving it their all.

City of London Mile

City of London Mile

The City of London Mile really impressed me – it was extremely well organised, punctual and had a fabulous atmosphere. The medal was brilliant, and what made it even better was that this event was 100% free! Definitely put it on your calendar for next year!

City of London Mile

City of London Mile

Have you run a mile race before? How did you go/ think you would go? 

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