Tub on the Run


Welcome back!

Well, after a 3 year sojourn over at a self-hosted blog, I’ve decided to come back to my free blog.  Beyond the Sofa was a lovely experiment, and I enjoyed the freedoms of design etc, but sadly, the budget does not extend to paying for my own hosting and domain.  Yes, I am sure I could work out a cheaper deal, but I don’t have the inclination to do so at this moment.

I know I have some work to do in terms of updating links and having a bit of an all-round revamp, so please bear with me.  I am hoping to get back to writing again soon.  I’ve missed it, and I have come to realise that I do value it.

 

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The winds of change

I have tried for a few days to write this post, but I can’t seem to make anything sit quite right. I figured I would write a bit of an update post of what has been going on generally here.

Mum has finally had her knee replaced! Hurrah! She is doing really well on it too. Better than me in fact (I had a woozy spell when I watched the nurse take the staples out of Mum’s leg). I am currently living back in my childhood home, looking after her during the week. I am not really sure how much looking after I am actually doing, aside from washing hair and carrying things, but it is nice to keep an eye on her anyway. In exchange, Mum has repotted my cactus (“Juan”) and sewn up the hem on my work trousers. I have also had free use of the tumble drier (whoop! This is definitely something I miss not having at home). At the weekend, my sister takes over, and will be here for most of next week as it is half term.

The timing has been pretty good for living with Mum. In my Settling in to 2018 post, I mentioned that work was an area of my life destined for change this year. At the time of writing that post, I had decided that I would take redundancy from my role in light of a structure change. In some respects it was a hard decision to make – it pays well, I have been there for a long time and have many friends. The flip side was that my mental health was suffering. I couldn’t strike a good balance and I knew I needed a change. I am now fortunate enough to be on garden leave, where I can take my time to look for something that is more right for me, spend time with Mum while she gets back up on her feet, and tend to my own home which has been largely neglected.

It’s funny. I am usually a pretty change adverse person. I don’t like change for the sake of it, and with a change this big, I would normally be running in full blown panic mode. I don’t feel like that at the moment. I am sure I will do at some point, but right now, I feel okay with the decision. I have a few things I want to achieve during my garden leave and really want to make the most of this opportunity to get my life more together before embarking on my next career related adventure.

So we are definitely in the winds of change, but do you know what? Right now, that’s okay.


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Settling in to 2018

Hello hello! Yes, I know – I’ve managed to blog twice within 10 days, which is already a vast improvement on my 2017 attempts!  Hurrah!  I’ve been thinking about what it is that I enjoy, and I remain firmly in the enjoying blogging and reading blogs camp, so clearly need to do more of it.

So looking at the last week, I think I’m building the foundations of a good year.  New Year’s Day was spent with my mum and sister, and involved a walk down the beach. It was nice – cold, but nice to blow out the cobwebs (and try and reduce the impact that my Mini Cheddar consumption may have had). After the beach, Matt and I headed home to start thinking about getting ready for work on Tuesday.  Matt wasn’t actually back at work until Thursday, but for my sins, I was back on Tuesday.

I did not sleep well on Monday night, and zombied my way through Tuesday. It wasn’t quite the start of the year I was hoping for, but I did have a good day for the most part. I even tried to sneak in my actual lunch break (I’m terrible at taking a proper lunch break). The rest of the week passed by uneventfully, and ended with me attending a yoga course on Friday.

While I’ve not made any New Year’s resolutions (I think impending job change and the required reining in of spending covers a couple of bases), I do need to look at reducing my weight. Still. I thought about doing another Whole 30, but I decided to take the pressure off the start of the year.  I have also given some thought about what I want from a weight-loss group.  I’ve been to this yoga studio a few times for their yoga nidra classes, which I love, and when I found out that there was a weight loss course being run by the same lady, I signed up. I’ll perhaps do a blog on this another day and go into a bit more detail, but safe to say, I really enjoyed it, and think the group is going to be wonderfully supportive.

Ahead of the weekend, Matt and I agreed that it would be good to have a quiet weekend, one where we could regroup and not put pressure on doing anything and everything. On Saturday, I needed to pop out to get some more yarn for my temperature blanket.  Matt came with me, and we made a walk of it, coming the scenic way home.

When we came home, I settled down and started working on my project, only to be joined by Timo. He isn’t the most helpful of “supervisors” when you’re trying to join a long line of squares.

Knowing that fresh air is good for my mental health, we went for a walk around Killerton today. A long lie in, some faffing and a couple of episodes of The West Wing later, and we made it out in time for a late lunch.  Bellies full of leek and potato soup, and a cake for good measure, and we headed out for a wander around the Acland Walk.

It was nice to get out with the camera and take some pictures as the sun set. What I hadn’t accounted for was how cold it was! I feel like my ears will fall off and my legs will never be warm again. Time for a cup of tea!

How was your first week back? What’s the weather like in your part of the world?


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2017: Not my year

I suppose I should start with my (normal-for-2017) opener of “long time, no see”… Well – hi! Yes, it’s been a while (again/still?) but I thought, where better to start a better blogging routine for 2018 than a review of 2017!  While they may be a little cliche, I actually really enjoy reading other peoples’ years in review.

I have tried to write this blog about 16 times, but each time I do, it feels like I’m having a massive pity party. That’s not what I want, but by the same token, I won’t lie – 2017 has been a stinker. Very briefly, home has been tough – Dad left my Mum at the end of last year, so we’re all trying to muddle our way through a new family dynamic, and we haven’t been the healthiest bunch to boot. Naturally that has been stressful, but by far, work has been the biggest source of stress, anxiety and frustration. A change is on the cards in this area of my life.

On the plus side, while I have no doubt that I have been a monumental pain in the bum to live/converse/put up with, I am so lucky to be part of the family I have. Matt has been the shiny star of 2017 and really tried his hardest to look after me and reassure me that I am not completely crazy/useless/hopeless/worthless. Unfortunately, we haven’t really spent as much time together as we would have liked this year, but have some fun things to look forward to in 2018.

Rather than waffling any more about how utterly shit this year has been, here are some of the things I’ve really enjoyed:

Our National Trust Membership

In 2016, we managed to get out and about a little more than we have this year, but I really loved getting over to our local property – Killerton House. It was so lovely to go for some walks and see the changes in the seasons. In the spring, Matt and I saw the crocuses and snowdrops bloom.

Then in the summer, despite Mum’s need for a new knee becoming more and more pronounced, my sister, Matt and I walked on foot while Mum hired a “tramper” (an off road mobility scooter) while we went in search of Lost Killerton. I think it’s really great of the National Trust to provide these scooters – it’s meant we could enjoy a nice day out with Mum which we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

Rugby

Rugby has been a large feature of 2017 for us. Our local team is the Exeter Chiefs, who are based about 10 minutes down the road from us. We have been lucky enough to make most of the home games this year. Matt and I also ticked a game off our rugby bucket list and watched the Army v Navy game at Twickenham.

2018 will continue to be rugby filled, with tickets already bought for the Aviva Premiership final (fingers crossed for a Chiefs game), and Wales vs France for 6 Nations, not to mention the home games at Sandy Park.

Our garden

We still have a lot of work to do in the garden, but made some real headway with it this year where we redefined (and re-gravelled) our little patio area. We then bought an outdoor furniture set and enjoyed our first BBQ at home. I also took the opportunity to have an al fresco lunch on the couple of times I have been able to work from home for the day.

Next year, we have some borders to rediscover and things to plant, plus many more BBQs to enjoy! We also took some time to do a good declutter in the house too. I plan on doing quite a bit more of that too in the coming months.

Other random things

Some of the other random things that have brought smiles to my face have been things like our girl’s break away (posted here), and time with Matt, watching him do what he loves at Brands Hatch (posted here). I’ve also tried a new yoga studio out, and while I don’t attend the regular classes (work has been prohibitive in that respect), I have really enjoyed the yoga nidra classes that I’ve been able to make. My crochet game continues to be strong – I’ve literally just finished a square a day blanket, which I might do a blog post on another day. This is on top of two other blankets that I’ve made. From a weight loss point of view, 2017 has been a non-starter. I joined the gym, used it religiously for about a month and then I got side tracked, made it back in April and then got side tracked again. I had intended to get back on a Whole 30 or even a Whole 100, but that also didn’t happen. On the plus side, I don’t think I have put any weight on, but I also haven’t lost anything. It sounds a little irresponsible, but I really haven’t cared about it this year.

So yeah. That was my 2017, mostly pants, with some fun bits added in. I can’t wait for 2018!

How was 2017 for you? What was your highlight?


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The Great 2017 Declutter

I’ve had a (very well deserved) week off with Matt this week. We had nothing planned – no day trips, no nights away. I have, however, been reading a couple of decluttering books recently (It’s The Daisy Pages’ fault!), and come to the messy house, messy head conclusion. This week was therefore going to be the Great Declutter of 2017.

Confession: I have never been a neat and tidy person. I have spells of brilliance where I am 100% a domestic goddess, but these episodes are few and far between. Eventually the clutter seeps back in and I am rifling through unreasonably large amounts of junk to find my car key, or my glasses, or whatever. This makes cleaning more of a challenge too and therefore doesn’t get done as often as it should.

About a week ago, I started feeling the need to watch some old stuff that I used to enjoy watching. Stuff like How Clean Is Your House. I bloody love Kim and Aggie. And actually, watching the available episodes on YouTube made me feel a little relieved as I realised that my house wasn’t in How Clean Is Your House territory. Coupled with this, my appetite has been off this week. Wonder why?!

This week has been devoted to decluttering, as there is no point cleaning around the clutter. 10 big bags for charity later and we’ve made a dent. There is still a lot more to go, but getting some of it gone is a relief. I’ve tackled the naff tasks that I have been putting off too, like taking the duvet to the laundrette, washing skirting boards, tidying the towel cupboard, etc.

Some “highlights” of my finds?

  • 5 bottles of nail polish remover. You know, to remove all of the nail polish I don’t wear (last time I had painted nails was 2016).
  • 2 bottles of Olbas Oil. One went out of date in 2011…
  • 2 long lost pairs of sunglasses.
  • Enough plasters to be an Elastoplast mummy for Halloween.
  • Enough pens and notepads to start my own branch of Paperchase.
  • Spare leaving cards for all of my office (even though no one is leaving any time soon).
  • 4 old mobile phones. Only 1 of which I can get some money back on.
  • 4 old laptops and 1 printer which were taken to our local Currys who can recycle old electricals safely.
  • Countless leads. What do they belong to? Who knows!
  • 12 bath towels. For two people. Oddly, we seem to be short on dish towels though. The Cats Protection that we got Tank and Timo from are now the proud owners of our old towels.
  • More yarn than I feel comfortable admitting. Thankfully, the local Cats Protection and my sister’s local animal shelter will take donations of handmade blankets so I can use up the old stuff that is left over from other projects.
  • A Fitbit and a broken Jawbone Up.

So it hasn’t been the most exciting week off, but it has been productive. There are still bits that I want to have a good sort through and donate/chuck, but my next focus is on finding a cleaning routine that really works for me.

Are you in a good cleaning/decluttering routine?  Any tips you’d care to share?


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It’s been a while (again)

So I am currently sat in a hospitality tent at Brands Hatch (tent isn’t really a fancy enough word. Is marquee a posher tent?), and for the first time in ages I actually have some capacity to write! I apologise if it comes out a but skew whiff as I am writing on my phone.

Yeah sure, I could be outside, walking about with Matt who is currently off photographing the Porsche 919 Hybrid which is making some sort of track debut, but I’m parked at a cafe style part of the tent/marquee with a diet coke, pick n mix and a water. And it’s quite lovely. 
These last few months have been really trying. Mostly it is work related. I’ve debated about what to post about all of this but I think it is just safest to say that it isn’t the team that I used to love working in any more. It’s changed and for me, has really taken its toll on my mental health. I have ended up in a really dark place but now feel like I am coming out the other side. 
The point of my ramblings? As much as anything, I just wanted to check in. I miss writing but my head hasn’t been in a place to write at all. I also wanted to share a couple of the things that I have been trying to practice over the last few months to get out of my funk: 

  1. Realising that my self-worth is not intrinsically linked to my job. This has been a tough one and one that I haven’t really mastered yet. Doing well in my job has always been a validation of how good I am. I don’t have the highest self-esteem at the best of times and doing well at work has always been a crutch. So what if I don’t have a social life? I am kicking ass at work. Dont feel like I’m a good person? That’s ok because work thinks I’m pretty great. Then, work isn’t going as well, I am not top of the class and suddenly I have no other validation. But that doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make me unworthy of anything. It’s tough to remember that sometimes though. 
  2. Focus on the good people. I have a wonderful family, who have supported me so much through all of this, whether it has been just letting me talk about the same old crap, time and time again, or corralling me out into the fresh air, or just giving me space when I have needed it, they have been the rocks of my world. Conversley, this time has definitely showed up a couple of false friends during this time, which has been painful and tough. 
  3. Wallow, but not for too long. I have wallowed. Good God have I wallowed. And sometimes I have really needed to do that, and not just shove things down and carry on. But at some point, I had to realise that in constantly wallowing, I am always the victim of my story. It has taken me a while to commit to a course of action, but I have. 
  4. Get outside. I feel better when I have moved from my sofa, got dressed and made it out of the house. Even if it is just walking the 10 minutes to Tesco and back. As it turns out, I have discovered a new part of Killerton with my mum, sister and Matt and had fun doing it. Matt and I had a lovely wander around Knightshayes garden. I’ve enjoyed a lovely lunch out with my parents-in-law, and Gatcombe was soggy but enjoyable. I’ve been to a few home games for Exeter Chiefs and thoroughly enjoyed myself (and they’re doing pretty well!).

I really do hope to post things that are a little more upbeat soon, and also get back into some sort of regular posting schedule. 
Enough of my blathering, what’s new with you? 


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Ultimate Coffee Date: June 2017 – the big catch up

Well hi! Long time, no speak! How are you?

I have been trying to think of the best way to actually get back into blogging again – talk about losing your stride! I figured that an Ultimate Coffee Date would probably be a good opportunity to just have a bit of a brief catch up. So settle in, grab a coffee, maybe a biscuit, and let’s get to it!

If we were having coffee, first off, I would probably try explaining my absence from my blog and make a bit of a hash of excuses. Work, mental blargh, lack of ability to form coherent sentences, life. You know, the usual. I’ve missed the blog. I enjoy writing, but I don’t like posting for posting’s sake, and if I am honest, while “life” has indeed continued along its merry way, I haven’t much felt like posting.  Which is naff. Because I haven’t posted in so long, I was also torn in my decision to go to Blogtacular or not. I went last year, and I honestly think that a second visit would probably be more useful as I wouldn’t be so nervous or unsure of what to expect. Unfortunately, I’ve left it a bit too late now, and definitely want to be in more of a blogging swing of things before I go back so that I can take more things away from it.

(Photo credit: Mollie Makes)

If we were having coffee, I’d probably look a little more relaxed than I have done recently.  I’ve just come back from a week away with my mum and sister.  It was meant to have been a family holiday, but it turned into a girls’ week away, which I think actually turned out to be better than it probably would have been, had it been a family holiday. We went to our holiday destination from when we were children – a little town in Herefordshire called Ledbury.

Photo Credit: Hoseseasons

We stayed in a Scandinavian style lodge, which has limited mobile signal, and is in the middle of nowhere, resulting in an enforced (and well needed) break away from technology for the most part. The lodge itself was really nicely decorated, and I genuinely wondered whether we could move into one permanently.  We managed to head out every day to do something – whether it was getting a bit soggy in a walk around the ruined castle at Ludlow, or sitting in the sunshine watching a rather brilliant falconry display. I have a real soft spot for owls anyway, which was completely reinforced by their burrowing owls (like “Scarp” below), and a European Eagle Owl who is foster-mum to all sorts of orphans.

If we were having coffee, I’d probably still be raving about the amazing salted caramel chocolate cake that I had when we visited the International Bird of Prey Centre this week. Sometimes, salted caramel can just be a bit “meh” and it’s always a bit of a lottery whether it’s going to be any good. But this stuff? Amazing. It was rich and chocolatey and properly-salted-caramelly. I think one of the Centre’s five labradors (this one is called Agapanthus) would have liked to help, but apparently he’d already managed to scoff someone’s birthday cake earlier in the week anyway. And besides, the cake was too good to share (and also, too good to photograph – I didn’t hang about to get stuck in!).

If we were having coffee, you’d know I was reading Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint. I haven’t ventured back to a Whole 30 or anything yet, though I know I am heading that way (sob… no more salted caramel chocolate cake… sob). In the midst of wandering around the internet (or more specifically, Instagram), I was looking for food inspiration. I follow a paleo convert called Paleo Bailey on Instagram, but didn’t realise until very recently that she also had a blog. So I hopped on over, and got reading her post about her “paleo bookshelf“. Really, I was on the hunt for another good recipe book. But I read through the list and reviews, and decided that perhaps Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint was worth a read. It’s pretty heavy on the science side, but it does make sense, and I can see me heading back to a more paleo way of life soon. I feel best on it, and that should probably be enough to tell me that I don’t want to keep chasing down my current path.

What’s new in your world? Been on holiday recently? Matt is going to Le Mans for the 24 hour race, so we’ve somehow managed to do two holidays apart this year! Oops!


Thanks as always to Deborah and Coco for hosting Ultimate Coffee Date each month! I think it’s a lovely way to catch up with and discover new blogs.