Tub on the Run


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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.


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Weigh in Wednesday 9: A quick weigh in

Weigh in Wednesday 9

Only two more Weigh in Wednesdays before Christmas! Woo! I can’t wait!

It’s a pound off for me this week. I am sure it was because of my activities on Sunday.

A couple of years ago, I ran the Cracker 10k in Weston-Super-Mare. I signed up again last year, but gave the place to my sister (who did me very proud), and this year, I signed up again. I’ll cover it properly in another post, but I ended up pulling out, though I walked around a lot. I think that probably helped with my loss this week, as otherwise, it has been completely unremarkable.

Well. The amount of biscuits and stuff is quite remarkable, and I am trying to say no regularly. It’s a hit and miss strategy. Give me pens and post it notes, not chocolate and biscuits! Ah the perils of office work.

Just a short one today, as I haven’t really got much to say for this post.


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How to survive Christmas shopping

Surviving Christmas Shopping

Ah, the Hollywood dream – cold weather, worthy of a lovely snuggly coat, scarf, cute hat and gloves. Maybe accompanied by your equally as well dressed partner, smiling as you walk down the busy, but not too crowded high street, carrying bags (the nice kind – you know, the ones that you end up keeping for “best”), smiling all the while.

The reality? Queuing to get anywhere near the city, then queuing some more as the local NCP operates a one-in-one-out policy. Once you’ve found the Holy Grail parking space, you join the multi-generational roving mosh pit rocking out to Mariah Carey. It could almost be considered a contact sport. The weather just about warrants a coat, but the second that you step into a shop you’re sweltering and sweating like you’ve just sprint 5k in a bid to beat Yusain Bolt (Marks and Spencers, I’m looking at YOU!). The bags, which you had to pay for because you keep forgetting that plastic bag charges aren’t just something that your local supermarket has had to implement, aren’t the nice ones. They’re the ones that slice your fingers and make you wish you had worn gloves (though it is too hot to actually wear gloves). Your partner is miserable as sin, and the mood is showing no signs of improving. Battle weary, you return home with most of the stuff you had intended to buy, some things you hadn’t planned on, and forgot some things in the muddle of bags.

Often, after my November pay, I brave the high street for a couple of items. The majority of my Christmas shopping is done online to save the stress. When we lived in the flat, as we lived above a business, the delivery men used to be able to leave stuff with the business who would very kindly leave it on our landing. In the event that it wasn’t delivered during office hours, we lived around the corner from the sorting office which opened at 7am so we could nip in before work. All that said, I don’t actually like online shopping all that much.

Exeter Christmas Tree

This year, we have our own front door, and no one to take in any packages for us. Work are pretty good if we order stuff to be delivered there, but I wouldn’t want to take the mickey. I also wanted to enjoy some of the Christmas atmosphere in Exeter. Here are my top tips:

  • Make a plan of what to buy

We all know this makes financial sense, let alone anything else! Despite my misgivings above, I do actually like Christmas shopping. I like it too much actually. I get massively carried away usually, blow the budget and pay for it (literally) until Easter. This year, I’ve reeled in the spending, but hopefully not to the detriment of getting things that people want.

  • Make a plan of where to go

This helped us massively. We literally planned to go down one side of the high street and back up the other. It was executed in a way that I think the military would have been proud of. There was no faffing, no browsing, just targeted shopping. I think this definitely helped me stay on budget too.

  • Get in there early

Exeter is hardly London or any other major city, but the shopping area is really quite concentrated. I am not a fan of crowds, and find shopping with large quantities of people around stressful. I’m sure as a teenager, I used to enjoy this, but as I get older, I find myself less tolerant. Matt and I got in to the city centre for about 8:30am. We drove straight in to the car park we wanted to park in – no hassle. There was no battling through crowds to get to destinations or in the shops. As we left, it was just beginning to get busy and I was glad we were done. If you can’t do early, try getting there late. When I lived in Sheffield, an evening trip to Meadowhall was infinitely less stressful than a day time jaunt.

  • Treat yourself

I was quite clear when Matt and I were formulating our battle plan that breakfast featured. Our original plan was to go to Brody’s (I fancied pancakes), but in the end, we opted for a breakfast Subway on the way in. It was nice, it definitely stopped me feeling grumpy, and felt like more of a treat than lunch.

  • Don’t stress it

It just isn’t worth getting all stressed over. There are some things that I missed off the list (and therefore forgot to buy). Worst case? I’ll either pop in early again, or buy them online. This year I’ve had such a good experience, that I’ve realised it isn’t worth stressing about, or getting annoyed at the child that screams just below the pitch that only dogs can hear, or about the person who just randomly stops and you end up bumping in to them.

Needless to say that I am now sat here, smug in the comfort that I am pretty much done. I’ve got the wrapping to do, for what Miracle on 34th will be cracked out (my favourite Christmas film).

How is your Christmas shopping going? What’s your favourite Christmas film?


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Weigh in Wednesday 8: Return of the biscuits

Weigh in Wednesday 8

This is going to be a brief one!

I put back on 2lbs this week. While I’m not thrilled, I know what has happened – the Christmas biscuits are back with a vengeance! We work with quite a few other companies in my department, so we always get lots of gifts, usually chocolate related, in the run up to Christmas.

I’m one of these people that is fine if things aren’t opened. Open them though, and I turn into the biscuit eyed monster, off on a sugar coated rampage, mindlessly eating all manner of chocolate, sweets, cakes and biscuits.

(Source)

This is so me.

I need to rein in my December munchies. Thinking back to last year, there were days where I ate nothing savoury (or with any real nutritional value) because I was stuffed with sweets. Actually, thinking back, that is quite terrifying. I think I managed to execute a large project at work, purely fuelled by Celebrations, Miniature Heroes, Quality Street, Roses and assorted chocolate boxes. I can’t remember what I weighed (I’m guessing I’m blanked that bit out!).

My plan of attack? Keep up with the water. I got to thinking about it today, and realised I a) hadn’t been to the loo since I got up until tea time (camels ain’t got nothin’ on me!), and b) I’d drunk half a cup of tea and a bottle of Diet Coke.  I definitely get more nibbly when I’m not drinking enough. The second tactic – being more mindful – basically, being more aware of what I’m eating rather than just shovelling it in mindlessly.

How do you handle the influx of chocolates and sweet stuff at this time of year?


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Christmas Tag!

I first saw this on Milk Bubble Tea and thought it looked like a bit of fun, so here you have it – Tub’s Christmas Tag.

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?

This isn’t getting me off to the best start, as I have to admit, I’m not the greatest person for Christmas movies (I am THAT person who hates Elf.  Actual hate.).  However, my little stone heart is always warmed by Miracle on 34th Street (the newer one).

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

This depends in part on where we spend Christmas.  Most of the time, we spend Christmas at my parents’ (Matt’s live 60 miles away), so we always open them on Christmas morning.  We have a set routine and specific seating – I sit on the floor near the TV, my sister is on gift finding duty by the tree, Matt sits on the sofa next to her and Mum and Dad share a sofa.  I love this.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

Not really, as I really do love all of our Christmases.  One of my favourite ones was probably carrying our dog for part of the Christmas walk as she was getting really tired (well, that and I think she figured we were all soft touches and may have milked it a bit!).  Another is probably watching her go mad at the Scalectrix.  I am sad that we won’t have a Beany to join in with our Christmas this year.  Mum and Dad have got kittens though, so they should help take the edge off it.

4. Favourite festive food?

Christmas pudding and clotted cream!  I have a sweet tooth through and through, and while I enjoy the roast, it’s all about the pud for me.

5. Favourite Christmas gift ?

Oooh… tough question!  Probably a purple bear that my parents gave me when I was quite little.  He is originally named Purpley.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?

The smell of woodburners and cinnamon.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

This coming Christmas Eve is probably one of the first ones where I haven’t done a traditional thing.  During my childhood, we used to go to the Christingle service at the church that Matt and I married in last year.  I loved that.  Then, as I got older, I used to go round to one of my best friend’s houses and we’d watch films, chat away, drink and eat cheese puff or Doritos.  We progressed on to the pub as we got older.  Sadly (for me) she emigrated last year, and that put a stop to a long tradition.  Time to make a new one!

8.  What tops your tree?

I *think* is it a star.  We didn’t have a topper for about 3 years because we couldn’t find one that we liked, but I think we might have bought one for last year.  We try to buy a nice bauble for each Christmas that we have been together, though we’re in negative nice baubles at the moment as the cats smashed two last year.

9.  As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?

I always wanted a Mr Frosty, but never got one.  I can’t actually remember why I wanted one now, but they seemed amazing at the time (who wouldn’t want to make their own ice lollies in the middle of winter…).

10.  What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

It is, without doubt, spending time with my family.  My sister comes home and Dad has time off from work (being self-employed, he doesn’t get much in the way of holidays).  We all have a good amount of time out from work, and it’s just nice to relax.  On Boxing Day we usually go to see Matt’s family – his mum cooks, and it is always delicious!

What would your answers be?


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An attack of the Bah Humbugs

I am pleased to say that I managed to get nearly all of my Christmas shopping done in Exeter  yesterday.  No internet shopping for me this year – I decided to get out and support the high street.  It served as a stark reminder for why internet shopping is, in many ways, preferable.  And here starts my Bah Humbugage (yes, it’s a new word).

Firstly, people are mindless zombies who just randomly change direction or stop, or both.  People should be fitted with indicators, and where possible, allow a 2 second breaking gap like you should in the car.  However, it would seem that the (somewhat drastic) solution to navigate the high street with greater speed and alacrity would be to have a child and take a pushchair.  Nay, a battering ram, if you will.  While I fully intend to be able to do this one year, I am a bit behind on being able to do so this year and definitely have no intention of being in that kind of way next Christmas.  So that’s out for me.  I may don my steel toe capped boots next year though.

Secondly, how on earth do you dress for shopping?  Internet shopping = easy = scruffs and slippers.  High street?  You could dress for the outdoor temperature (coat, jeans, boots), or the temperature of most shops (flip flops, shorts, t-shirt and anything else that you’d wear in a hot country).  I foolishly opted for the winter option and nearly died in the furnace known as Marks and Spencers.  I wouldn’t mind, but combine zombies with heat and my temper is beginning to look frayed at best, all out raging at worst.  Coffee was the only solution.

However, I do enjoy wrapping presents.  So, after watching the Wales v Australia rugby match (boo to the result, but some of the best rugby I’ve watched in yonks) and texting M the updates, I parked on the floor, stuck True Blood on the DVD player and got wrapping.  I was a bit sad though, as the present pile isn’t very big this year.  M and I agreed that we just don’t have the money to go all out on Christmas this year, and the pain of paying off last year’s credit card in January (to March) was still ringing around in my memory.  I know it isn’t all about the presents, but I feel this is a significant cutback on previous years.  I have one or two other bits and bobs to get, but otherwise I am done.  One more high street trip and that’s it – no more until 2014!

Roll on to this morning, and I come into the living room to see the Christmas tree being unpacked.  This is a new tree after the cats ruined our tree last year.  I can feel another month of yelling “GET OUT OF THE TREE TIMO!!!” coming on.  I am not putting the presents under the tree, having learnt last year that in their haste to evacuate from under said tree, they rip the wrapping.  While the tree is going up, the living room is filled with a Christmas countdown on one of the music channels.  And my answer to that has been laptop + iTunes + filter on rock and metal + headphones.

Now, despite all of this, I really do love Christmas.  I love seeing other peoples’ decorations go up throughout the town, the town lights being switched on, the shop fronts, the cold, the smells.  I am just not loving it this weekend.

In other news, I am seriously thinking of not doing the Weston AC Christmas Cracker 10k.  I haven’t put the time into training and I feel quite demoralised.  I don’t know what benefit running it badly would have.  It’s something I need to give some serious thought to over the next few days, because I don’t want to feel worse about my running than I already do.  IS DNS worse than DNF?  Either way, both are attributable to my lack of preparation.