Each year I save up my annual leave so I can take the days from Christmas Eve to the 2nd January as holiday and escape the hectic hustle and bustle of London by retreating to my parents’ house.
This is the one time of year when I know my inbox can withstand the break and when I really allow myself to stop, relax and unwind.
As for most people, this period usually involves a number of festive indulgences, from roasted vegetables and stuffing piled high, to glasses of mulled wine at all hours.
However, I’ve come to realise that not all indulgences need to be bad, and this Christmas, particularly as I’m in the midst of marathon training, I’ve been enjoying some healthy treats.
1. Indulging my gym kit habit
From running tights to headbands and from warm winter tops to florescent gloves, this Christmas everyone has been helping to feed my sportswear habit.
My favourite new items include my snuggly new Rab running jumper, which has kept me toasty even in the snow, my Sweaty Betty headband, and my new running tights to keep my legs warm on my winter jogs.
2. Satiating my love of cooking
Christmas offers plenty of time and lots of opportunities to try out new, tasty dishes, and since I have been treated to lots of new cookbooks for Christmas I’ve got no excuse not to get into the kitchen!
As part of my New Year’s resolution I’ve decided to try out a new delicious vegan recipe every week or so, the best of which I will share with you here. In the meantime I’m making the most of all of the delicious seasonal fruit and veggies that my mum has bought, including butternut squash roasted with cinnamon, sprouts steamed with dried cranberries and dates stuffed with walnuts, delish!
3. Seasonal snacks
Talking of food, not all Christmas treats have to be bad for you; I’ve been enjoying lots of little satsumas, mixed nuts, dried fruit and chestnuts, all delicious snacks and great for fuelling winter training sessions.
4. Winter pampering
With nights drawing in, lots of central heating and chilly winter winds your skin can take quite a battering over the winter months. To counteract the winter ‘grey’ period, my Christmas stocking included an array of new nail varnishes, cotton gloves, face masks, lovely Lush bath bombs and Elemis body washes.
As an extra special treat, my sister and I booked in for a spa day at the beautiful Macdonald Hill Valley Spa Hotel, where we enjoyed two 30 minute treatments each – I had a back massage and a lime and ginger full body scrub – use of the pool, steam room and sauna, and a delicious vegan lunch, all for £55 each – a total bargain!
5. Long, lazy runs
Not having to squish my runs into my lunch breaks or my commutes home from work is such a treat. I’ve been staying on target with my marathon training by dragging friends and family members out with me in the snow.
The ice gives a good excuse to take the runs slightly easier and catch up on some gossip on the way round, while at the same time burning off some of those seasonal treats!
6. Pjs and bedtime reading
Snuggling up by the fire in my new Christmas pjs enjoying one of my new books is such a treat and is the perfect way to unwind. My stocking included ultramarathon runner and vegan Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run and Runner’s World journalist Alex Hutchinson’s What Comes First, Cardio or Weights? both of which I will be reporting back on!
7. Movies with my mum
Watching movies with my parents is one of my favourite holiday pastimes. Curling up on the sofa together to watch anything from Bridget Jones’ Diary to Casablanca with a hot drink and my kitty on my knee is absolute bliss!
What are your holiday indulgences?