Tub on the Run


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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.

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Ultimate Coffee Date: August 2016

I completely missed July’s Ultimate Coffee Date for some reason, so I have a couple of months to get caught up on. You’ve been warned – it’s a longish one!

Over coffee, I’d tell you about the week off I had in July. My last week off was back in March, so I was definitely ready for some time off. We didn’t have anything planned as such, so we stayed at home and went out on day trips. First stop, we had a day out to Lynmouth and came back via the Doone Valley.

Lynmouth - Beyond the Sofa

It was the best day, weather wise, of the whole holiday. The sunshine was absolutely gorgeous and it really felt like summer was just coming. We walked around Lynmouth, then up the hill (which is so ridiculously steep) to look at the Cliff Railway and I was reminded that I don’t think I could have done that walk about 6 months ago because of my weight. Don’t get me wrong, I was hardly sprinting up it, but I lumbered slightly more gracefully than I would have done previously.The climb was definitely worth it for the view though!

Lynmouth Cliff - Beyond the Sofa

One of the highlights was seeing wild Exmoor ponies. I’m quite used to seeing Dartmoor ponies roaming around Dartmoor. As a family, we have spent loads of time on Dartmoor, but not much time of Exmoor.  They’re so lovely. A little further up the road, there was a mare and her foal – so adorable!

Exmoor Ponies - Beyond the Sofa

On the way home, we stopped off at the little chapel in Doone Valley. Apparently Lorna Doone was the Devonian Romeo and Juliet. I don’t remember the story at all, so Matt’s Nan dug out her copy and sent it down to me (which I still haven’t read…).

The rest of the week, we weren’t blessed with good weather, though that didn’t stop us making the most of our National Trust membership. We visited Cotehele and took Matt’s nan to Tyntesfield. That was probably one of the more rewarding days. Nan doesn’t get to go out on day trips all that often, as she isn’t so mobile these days, but we offered to take her out for the day. I never realised how hard pushing a wheelchair around all day is. I definitely got a good sweat on, going up the hills. It was totally worth it though – she enjoyed herself and we were pleased to be able to do something with her too.

Cotehele House - Beyond the Sofa

If we were having coffee, you might notice I’m a bit stiff. I’ve finished my 6 week introduction to Mysore style yoga course, and have since signed up to do one class a week. I’ve got part way through to the seated poses and it’s really challenging me. I’m enjoying it though, but I also need to make sure that I get into a better routine for some home practice.

If we were having coffee, I hope you’d see that I am quite a bit thinner than when I started the year. This is my February to July progress:

Beyond the Sofa - Feb 2016 to July 2016

My Whole 100 is going really well still. I am actually on Day 90 today, and will do a weigh in post tomorrow, but at Day 60, I was 40lbs down. I still have a long way to go, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going. I really thought I was going to have some food boredom but now, but I’m not feeling it at all.

If we were having coffee, we’d probably be having coffee from a paper cup at Gatcombe Horse Trials right now. As part of my birthday present, Matt bought us tickets to Gatcombe. We went a couple of years ago but I felt we didn’t make the most of it. We’d gone, not really knowing what to expect, having never been to a big horse event before. We got absolutely soaked and didn’t really get round to seeing what we wanted to.

Gatcombe 2014 - Beyond the Sofa

This year, knowing what to expect, we’re going to try and squeeze a bit more in. I’m also hoping to get to play with my camera a little bit more this time. I definitely feel like I am able to tackle the hills with relative ease now so I’m hoping to get out onto more of the cross country course.

So, that’s where I’ve been. How is life with you?


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


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Ultimate Coffee Date: June

Coffee at the ready, it’s Ultimate Coffee Date time! It’s time for a catch up! I cannot remember the last time I blogged so much. I’m not sure whether it’s the Blogtacular effect and my brain is coming up with new post ideas because of that, or whether I’m just doing a bit more that I can write about lately. Who knows!

Coffee in a teapot

If we were having coffee, you’d notice that I’ve caught the sun a little bit. I’m genuinely hopeful of a tan this year instead of going red then back to porcelain white. When we lived in the flat, we didn’t get out a huge amount as we didn’t have anywhere to sit in the sunshine unless we trekked a load of furniture with us, and even then, it’s not the same as being sat in the garden. Now that we have a house with a garden, we’ve really been enjoying getting out in it and tackling the lawn and will very shortly start weeding. Our acer has also gone from having very little in the way of leaves, to suddenly being the most beautiful colour. In terms of working in the garden, I seem to be the person who gets to do the mowing, while Matt rotivates the flower beds (which is fine by me – my weakling muscles can’t cope with rotivating manually for very long!). I think we have been outdoors a bit more lately too, which has helped, and it is amazing what a bit of vitamin D can do for your mood!

Garden 2016

Over coffee, I’d tell you that my Whole 100 is going okay. I’m near the end of a normal Whole 30 now (30 days are up on Tuesday I think). I’ve gotten into a bit a funk lately, which doesn’t seem to have any reason behind it, so I can only assume that it is the junk still leaving my body and it’s just kind of throwing me out of sorts. I know it’ll pass, and I know that I need to invest some time in getting it right too. I haven’t been great at my meal prep outside of dinner. Yesterday, because I hadn’t prepared anything and I was doing some training at work and time got away from me, I didn’t have breakfast or lunch. Not ideal. So today, I suspect is going to be a hungry day. On the plus side, it is a good kind of strange to recognise what hungry is for me. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to only eat when I am hungry, rather than “oh look, it’s 1pm, it’s lunch time”.

Whole 100 breakfast

Over coffee, I would tell you that I am going to be attending a yoga class on Monday. It’s a 6 week class which is meant as an introduction to Mysore style classes. Thankfully it is designed for the complete beginner, though while I am not a complete beginner, it’s been a while since I last practiced. My thoughts have started turning towards the last yoga course that I did in October, and I’ve been quite aware of how shallow my breathing is. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll ache and be a bit stiff for the first couple of times, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Exeter Yoga 2

Over coffee, I would probably still be singing the praises of the Devon County Show. I haven’t been for about three years, but Matt bought us tickets to go this year. I really do need to finish the blog post I’ve started for it, but I enjoyed myself a lot, despite getting up at the crack of dawn (at least it felt like it!). Normally, Mum and I go on a Friday as there are less children around, but Matt didn’t have enough holiday to do that so we went on Saturday instead. Also, with Mum, usually we try loads of different foods, from cheeses to honey to seeds to whatever sounds interesting in the beer and cider tent. This time, my Whole 100 scuppered my plans and I couldn’t eat much at all which was a shame. I actually didn’t buy too much – just a HUGE steak, some sausages and a potted rose for Mum. I would have sneaked an alpaca and/or horse out as they are one of my favourite animals, but I think someone would have noticed!

Devon County Show 2016 Collage

So that’s me this month.

What’s happening in your world?


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


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Ultimate Coffee Date – May 2016

It’s that time again! I would say let’s have a coffee, but it’s getting a bit late now, so caffeine probably isn’t the best idea! I have just got in from my day out, so I have a glass of water by my side.

If we were having a drink, I would probably have said that motorsport season is now upon us. So far, Matt and I have managed to get out to Brands Hatch for the British Touring Car Championship, and to Silverstone for the World Endurance Championship. Matt won tickets to Brands, which isn’t a circuit we had been to before, so that was quite nice. The weather was absolutely gorgeous on the Saturday, but a bit nippy on the Sunday.

Ginetta GT4 Supercup Brands Hatch April 2016

Silverstone was very similar. It is the first time that I haven’t marshalled that particular meeting in about 6 years, and it felt quite nice to just be a spectator and walk around. I definitely got my steps in on the first day that we were there, but then I discovered the beanbag lounge (or wife crèche as I like to call it). The Sunday brought quite a cold wind, so as I opted to stay inside a bit more, I ended up taking less steps. The highlight of Matt’s weekend was meeting Mark Webber while he was having a meeting in one of the media suites. I was sat on the free bus, taking a ride around the circuit. Typical!

Dane Train 95 AMR World Endurance Championship Silverstone Aprl 2016

If we were catching up, you’d probably notice I am not much thinner than when we last met! Weight loss has not been my strong suit this month – with three busy weekends and manic working weeks, I’m not beating myself up about it. I think I’m actually about half a pound up from my Ultimate Coffee Date in April. I’m not too worried though – I’m about to start my Whole 100 (a Whole 30, but 100 days instead of 30… Eek!).

If we were having a drink, you would probably know that the stress that I have from work is about to ramp up quite a bit as my friend and colleague resigned. She leaves in a week (where has the time gone!?). I’m still not ready for her to go, but I’m actually doing quite well on what I promised myself I would do. I took some time out last weekend to do a huge amount of batch cooking, partly in preparation for my Whole 100, but also to prepare myself for work demanding a bit more from me.

Whole 100 meal prep

I also took some time off to have a good run through the house in terms of housework which felt good. I’m never sure quite how we manage to generate so much laundry between the two of us, but I was definitely glad of the nice weather when I had my day off so that I could put my washing out to dry (with help – this lovely little cat always comes over to say hi when I put the washing out.  I’m sure the neighbours think I’m mad for talking to her).

Washing Line Help

I’m also trying to get a bit more fresh air while I’m at work, though this, along with getting to bed by 10:30pm are proving to be areas for improvement. Overall though, I’m feeling quietly confident that I won’t emerge in July as a complete nervous wreck.

If we were having a catch up, what would you tell me?


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


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Ultimate Coffee Date: April 2016

I’m not entirely sure how I missed posting for Ultimate Coffee Date in March, but I did! So, grab a mug of your favourite drink, pull up a chair, and let’s catch up!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am really loving the redecoration of our bedroom. It took forever to do, but it was worth every minute.  I’m not the tidiest of people (my mum has probably just spat her coffee out and laughed, as that would be a massive understatement), but since we redecorated and also had a massive clear out of clothes and junk, we’ve been keeping the room really tidy. I’m quite impressed with myself! While I’ve had a big clear out of stuff, I bought Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying which I really need to 1) finish, and 2) get started on to process of decluttering. It’s scary how much stuff we have.

Our Bedroom

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am going to Blogtacular, which is a blogging conference in London in June. I can’t wait. Blogtacular host Twitter chats at 9pm on Wednesdays to talk about all things blogging, and with each one that I participate in, I get more excited. I feel like I have to be careful not to wish away the next couple of months. I’ve been to a local blog meet up before (once), but nothing so professional (and big).

I am going to Blogtacular 2016

If we were having coffee, you’d probably be able to smell quite how strong it is from across the table. I am going through a silly rough patch of sleeping badly at the moment. I am a bit stressed out with work right now (oh hi, spots!), and I think it’s impacting my sleep. It’s time to make sure that I’m making good food choices during the day, drinking enough, getting the blood pumping again and staying away from screens before bedtime.

If we were having coffee, hopefully you would be able to see that my weight loss has continued in a positive vein this month. I’m about 5lbs away from looking at restarting Couch to 5k, so perhaps next month’s catch up will detail my adventures back into running. I’m definitely loving the lighter evenings (and gorgeous sunsets), so I feel like I need to get out there more in the evenings. I would really like to get back to parkrun, but I don’t want to be the person at the back, dragging it out for the tail runner.

Sunset

Thanks, of course, to Debra, Lynda and Coco for hosting Ultimate Coffee Date each month! I think it’s a lovely way to catch up with and discover new blogs.

Have you been to a blogging event/conference before? Any tips? 

What would you tell me over a catch up?


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Ultimate Coffee Date | February 2016

On one hand, it feels such a long time ago since I wrote my last Ultimate Coffee Date post, but then at the same time, I’m not entirely sure why January seems to have passed by so quickly. Anyway, it’s the first Saturday of the month, which means that it is coffee catch up day! Thanks to Lynda, Coco and Deborah for hosting!

 

If we were having coffee, I would definitely have wafted my favourite new thing in front of you (provided that you also like coffee!). As I mentioned in my Whole 30 (Day 25 to 27) post, I have a new love, and oddly (for me) it’s an instant coffee – it’s Little’s coffee. Even for a bit of a coffee snob like me, it really is good. So good, in fact, that I braved the torrential rain today, and practically swam across the car park at Darts Farm to get another version. My original find was the vanilla flavour, and today’s purchase was chocolate orange. I’m really looking forward to trying it tomorrow morning.

If we were having coffee, you may have noticed that I am two things today. Firstly, that I am a little slimmer than I was when I blogged at the start of January. On 4th January, I started my third round of Whole 30, which I really enjoyed, despite a couple of tricky patches. Since finishing, I’ve made a decision to remain mostly paleo for the time being (it’s working for my weight loss at the moment, and I feel so much better). The second thing is that I feel much brighter in my outlook right now. I feel much more chirpy and motivated than I have done in, well, I can’t remember how long!

If we were having coffee, you would also probably have noticed that I am moving a bit stiffly and slowly. DOMS is no joke, my friends! Before Christmas, I’d been thinking about joining my local gym. I was teetering on the do I/don’t I for what felt like ages. Financially, it is a commitment, and it’s a wasted investment if I find I don’t like it. I miss my spinning, though I don’t miss the gym itself as it’s always been a cardio torture house for me. I decided that before I jump into a 6 month gym contract, that I would do something more low key but would fit perfectly (I hoped) into my routine, and gave me some structure. I’ve done a few Fitness Blender videos in the past and really enjoyed them. I then found that they have an 8 week programme for just over £10. I’ve just completed the first week of workouts, and while I don’t remember finding them super sweaty at the time, I have definitely noticed that a couple of days on, I am sore and very grateful of my two rest days! I have also come to realise just how weak my core is. I literally cannot do the core workouts right now.

If we were having coffee, I would let you know that Matt and I rejoined the National Trust a couple of weeks ago. We have plans to get out and about this year. The top reason is that it gets us out and about with a real purpose. I definitely suffer from the “wasted weekend” feeling on a Sunday night if I haven’t made it out of the house that much. I like a purpose to go out (especially when the weather is so grim right now), and National Trust offers both properties and land to explore. So far, we’ve been to Saltram House, but Killerton House (which is also my local parkrun) is close by, as is the Jurassic Coast. I feel that for the last few years, I have been a hermit and lived indoors most of the time. My vampyric pasti-ness is testament to this, and I would like to change that! Bring on the vitamin D (when the spring rocks around!).

National Trust Collage

Lastly, if we were having coffee, I’d have been on time. Random? A little! I bought a Life Planner from Lollipop Designs, and I absolutely love love love it. I have gone sans diary for a year, and found myself forgetting things or appointments. My phone calendar is okay, but there’s nothing quite like having a proper diary. The beauty of this particular diary is that there are three columns each week, which I have put as work, home and blog. I’m not great at remembering where I am meant to be on a weekly basis and whether my work and personal stuff clash, and this diary has already helped me spot (and avoid) a couple of clashes already. I’ve also started to map out some blog stuff using it too. When I end up going AWOL, it’s usually because I forget to blog for a while as I don’t have much to say, then struggle to get back in to it again. My plan is that by actually knowing what to blog about in advance, I will stand a much better chance of blogging regularly.

How has your month been? Any favourites to share?


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Ultimate Coffee Date 2016 #1

I haven’t done an Ultimate Coffee Date in absolutely ages, and I have been trying to think of a way to sum up the last few weeks in a structured way, rather than a brain fart of “here-is-everything-that-I-have-done”.

First up, over coffee, I would probably say sorry – it’s been a while! I ended up having an unintended break from most things digital over December. I stopped weighing in too which had a knock on effect on the blog. Again, that wasn’t intentional, I just kept forgetting to get on the scales in the morning.

Early in December, we celebrated a significant birthday for mother-in-law. We had an absolutely amazing meal at Il Michaelangelo in Weston-Super-Mare. I won’t lie, my expectations of most things in Weston have been suitably pared back, but this restaurant was absolutely lovely. I had crab cakes to start and a king prawn tagliatelle for mains. Matt and I will definitely be back – I can imagine it’ll be even lovelier in the summer sunshine on their little terrace.

The following week, Matt, my parents and I went to Exeter Cathedral for the Night of 1,000 Voices, which is a carol service with various choirs. The same weekend, Matt, my sister and I were meant to run the Weston Christmas Cracker 10k. Once again I signed myself up (and Matt this time) in the summer when the entries opened, with the best of intentions. The run supports the Weston Hospice which looked after Matt’s grandad until his death earlier this year, so we thought it would be a nice thing to do. My sister has been running relatively consistently with one of her friends this year, while Matt and I have been very consistently not running. We agreed that we’d go at our own speeds, walking if we had to. My sister completed it in 1 hour 24, and Matt was 1 hour 44. I pulled out as my ankle started to give me hassle on the sand. I was (and am) so proud of both of them for completing the course. The marshals were really lovely, despite the awful wind and rain and cheered everyone on to the last. It’s such a friendly race, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a festive run.

Early December

After that, there were some Christmas parties to plough on through before the break for Christmas.

If we were having coffee, I would say happy New Year! I hope you have had a nice time over the Christmas period. We celebrated our first Christmas in our own home, though went to Mum and Dad’s for Christmas day itself. I have really enjoyed the break, and must make sure that I space my holidays out more consistently this year so I can get some proper rest.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I wish my sister lived a bit closer. She came home for Christmas, and it was really lovely to spend time with her. On Tuesday this week just gone, we went exploring along Tiverton canal. We haven’t walked there since we were little. It was the perfect day to go out for a walk and blow away the cobwebs. There were quite a lot of people out with the same idea.

Tiverton Canal

Lastly, over coffee (and surely cake by now), I would tell you that I love our little town that we moved to at the end of summer. I had some reservations about moving out to mid-Devon, but regret nothing now I am actually here. The Christmas lights have lit the town up, the church has had the scaffolding removed and we’ve now been in – the carol service was probably the best that I have been to.

Cully at Christmas

What’s your news from December? 

Ultimate Coffee Date is hosted by Lynda at Fitness Mom Wine Country, Deborah at Confessions of a Mother Runner, and Coco at Running with Perserverance, and takes place on the first Saturday of each month. Some of the blogs that I have added into my reader have come courtesy of link ups, and I think they’re a great way to get introduced to new people.  The point of the Ultimate Coffee Date is to take 5 minutes once a month for a bit of a catch up.