Tub on the Run


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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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Four things that have made me smile in 2016

I cannot believe it was August since I last blogged (definitely not winning awards for regular blogging over here!). It’s been a pretty mad half to the end of the year, and there were things that I really wanted to blog about at the time, but then got swept up in something else. I’d like to say that it has been all really great stuff, but that hasn’t been the case, and I feel like I am literally burning out to the end of the year, but not in that “let’s go out with a bang” kind of way.

But, not to continue the rough bits through to the New Year, I thought I’d do a highlights post – not a year in review as such, but just four things that I’ve really enjoyed (I promise I enjoyed more than 4 things in 2016).

Crochet

As I mentioned above, this has been a bit of a difficult year for one reason and another, and I’ve found myself getting anxious and feeling low. As a way to try and distract myself, I decided to learn crochet. First up was a completely random blanket, which I’m still working on. Then I decided to give granny square a go. Over 100 granny squares later, I combined them all into a blanket and gave it to my gran for her birthday.  Meanwhile, as part of getting ready for Blogtacular, I added a load of new blogs of Blogtacular attendees to my blog list, and came across Crafts from the Cwtch, and got reading about the Scheepjes crochet-along. I found a UK stockist and got cracking on the Dance in the Rain blanket for myself. I hadn’t finished it before I decided to by the Dance in the Sea colourway and make that for Mum for Christmas. I finished Mum’s waaaaay ahead of mine (at least I have something to do in the New Year).

As if that wasn’t enough, and I can’t even remember how I got onto this, but I decided to make my sister some Pokemon, as she was Pokemon mad as a kid.

 

Color Run

Charlie from The Runner Beans had a giveaway of two tickets to a Color Run (yes, spelt the American way!). I put in for it, doing my usual “it’s going to be fine, I’ll have repeated Couch to 5k by then”, asked my sister if she’d like to make a weekend of it, and promptly forgot all about it. Needless to say I didn’t get my bum in gear and do any running before the run in September.

Thankfully – who cares! It was an absolutely brilliant weekend. I drove to my sister’s house in Hampshire, got changed and then she kindly drove to Brighton.  We navigated the park and ride system and made our way to the seafront. With the exception of one rather large ramp, it was a flat course, and one, I am proud to say, I ran a reasonable portion of and didn’t come in at my 5k worst time.

It was great fun, and I was proud to have come away with the colour quantity I did – my sister did pretty well on the colour front too (and is much fitter than me, so would have totally kicked my ass on the running front if she hadn’t stayed with me). After that, we drove home, car protected with towels, looking a right sight as we stopped for a snack and loo break. We headed to town for dinner (Mexican) and cocktails and then dragged our (my) weary beings back to her house and to bed.  Definitely a highlight!

Whole 100

Given that this has been the subject of this blog for the majority of 2016, I’ll keep this bit short. I’m super chuffed with the results I had, and I need to do some significant work in 2017 to restart the pace on this and keep momentum going – 2017 is going to be a great year and I want to be able to embrace it with less of me!

Bee Photo

You know you’re getting older when you really enjoy Countryfile. Not only do I enjoy the programme, I always love the photography section, and I’d kind of been attempting to take hovering bee shots.  In a week off at the beginning of September, Matt and I got some more use from our National Trust membership and visited Monatcute House in Somerset. It was the set of various scenes in Wolf Hall, and is absolutely stunning – if you get the chance to go, do! Not only is the house an architectural marvel, the gardens are gorgeous. I’d wandered the gardens trying to get good shots, and I think it was that “trying too hard” problem. So, off we went for lunch, and while I was in the queue, a bee just appeared, and I opportunistically snapped. I’m really pleased with the result.

(I appreciate that this is a bit of a daft thing to be pleased with, but indulge me!).

Those were a few things that have made me smile over the last year – there are plenty more, but I thought I’d keep it short. I’m definitely looking forward to welcoming 2017 in, and ringing some of the changes.

Did you have a nice Christmas?

 


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Whole 100: My Day 100 check in

Here we are – Day 100 of my Whole 100. The end of a pretty good experiment.

Casting my mind back three and a bit months (obviously, with the help of a blog post from then too!), I wanted to give a Whole 30 a bit longer and see if I could address a longer standing problem of having a poor relationship with food. The makers of Whole 30 acknowledge that, while it shouldn’t be a 365 day way of eating, you might want a bit longer than 30 days if you’re experiencing different or more embedded issues. My previous Whole 30s have been great experiences – each time I have learnt a little more about myself. The problem for me hasn’t been in the completing the Whole 30 (I’m bloody minded enough to stick with it for that kind of time), but it is the “after” that I really struggled with. Moderation, as I have said before, is not something I am good at. I’m an all-or-nothing kinda girl. As a result, I quickly slipped back into old eating habits, putting on more weight, and then, well, several stone later and the rest is history! So, without waffling further, I wanted to see if 100 days of eating in a strict paleo way would help me battle some of the longer standing niggles.

The Grand Results Progress 

I’ve been thinking about the rhetoric that I use to describe what I’m on, and I was chatting to Mum at the weekend about a couple of things, including my recent weight loss. It got me thinking. I don’t like “results”. No, that’s a lie. I like results (as an entity) a lot. I don’t like the word as a word to describe where I’m at. Results to me imply that it is an arrival at a destination – I’ve finished. Except, I haven’t finished (not by quite a long way). So, I’m calling it progress.

Numbers wise, I’ve lost 36 lbs since I started this Whole 100, and since the beginning of the year, I’ve lost 56 lbs – 4 whole stone. That kind of blows my mind. Apparently, according to I Lost What that is the equivalent of a hang glider or 280 tomatoes!

Whole 100 Results Beyond the Sofa February to August

However, health isn’t just about weight, and there are plenty of non-scale victories to complement the decrease in my waistline. Even if I had no other highlights, I’d be pleased with the above, but actually I can also be pleased about:

  • Going down two dress sizes (okay, at the moment, it’s only officially one size, but my current trousers are too big so I know I will fit into the next size down).
  • Tackling hills. Particularly lately, I’ve done pretty well on powering up some hills at the weekends and during a week off.  I definitely think I would have struggled with this 6 months ago.

Whole 100 Hills

  • Sticking with yoga. Following in a similar theme, I have to admit that while I do struggle a little bit with it at the moment (I am absolutely nowhere near being able to do jump throughs or anything, as I am carrying too much weight), I don’t think I could have done half as much 6 months ago. Back in October last year, I went to a beginners course at the studio I go to now, and I found that hard and disheartening. I don’t feel like that now, which is great.
  • More home cooking. I find cooking generally quite relaxing, and, let’s face it, very rewarding. I have enjoyed cooking more food and eating better. I’ve also tried to make more choices to support local businesses, like buying from our local butcher (who has an amazing “meat for the week” deal), and our local greengrocers. The only thing I REALLY don’t like, is the washing up. Urgh. When will I be able to work in a tidy way? It looks like World War 3 has happened, a sea of mutilated onion peelings and crushed garlic trailing in my wake.

Whole 100 meals

  • Eating out. In my previous Whole 30s, I have actively avoided social interaction and eating out. That’s doable for one month, but for three, not going out just wasn’t going to be a workable solution. It took some effort and pre-planning (no, Italian could never be on the list of places I could go, and Chinese was out for the soy they put in everything), but I did manage it. I keep thinking I’ll do another post on eating out on paleo, but suffice to say for now, I’ve maintained some sort of social life. Also, bonus non-scale victory? Realising that soda water with ice and a slice at the pub is free. Yes, I stood there with my purse for about 5 minutes, waiting for the bartender to come back and charge me, before he realised that I didn’t know it was free. Winning!
  • Better handle on my binge triggers. I have always know that when I feel low, my willpower slips and I end up eating ALL the things. Typically all the sweet things, though I am non-discriminatory in that sense – savoury is equally as game. While I’ve always known this, it has nearly always been a surprise when the urge to eat anything and everything in sight hits. For the large part of my Whole 100, I haven’t felt the need to do this, until recently (maybe the last 4 or so weeks). I’m not surprised I haven’t really noticed it before, but there are tell-tale signs that this kind of behaviour is imminent, but when it really hits, it’s like someone has flicked a switch and nothing would satiate that feeling. It’s hard to describe, and I am probably not making a load of sense. My point is, that I have now experienced that feeling, paid close attention to it, and then promptly got on with a distraction to help the time (and the urge) pass. Hence why I have gone through several balls of wool and crocheted a lot of granny squares.
  • Enjoying summer. I won’t lie, my parting is very much not enjoying summer and practically sizzles like a hot plate when I get in the shower (I really do need to remember a hat), but generally, I am really enjoying this summer, for the first time in literally years. I’m not sure if I can attribute this to just the Whole 100, feeling better in my skin, or living in a different town, but I am definitely doing a better job of living beyond my sofa so far this summer.

Summer 2016

I think I have gone on for quite long enough today. I am still feeling a little nervous about coming off of the Whole 100, but I have given it a lot of thought over the last couple of weeks, and think I have a plan in place – more on this another day!


My other Whole 100 posts are all here: