Tub on the Run


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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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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

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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Killerton Secret Supper Club

A few weeks ago, Matt was having his usual scan through Twitter and saw that Killerton House hold a Secret Supper Club each month from March until December. I’m always up for a meal out, especially if it’s a little unique. Turns out that this Secret Supper Club is a proper hidden gem.

He made the call and booked us in for 2nd March. After a couple of long days at work, it was the perfect excuse to get away on time, dash home, feed the cats, reapply some make up, brush my hair and head out again.

I haven’t been to Killerton House itself for years, possibly even decades. As a family, when my sister and I were much younger, Killerton was a regular Sunday outing for us but as we got older, the membership lapsed and we stopped going.  It wasn’t until parkrun many years later, that I went back, and even then it was only through the stable block.

Killerton Stable Block

We drove down to the stable block car park and got out, hoping to see signs pointing us in the right direction. Nope. There were none. We wondered if we got the dates wrong, as there wasn’t anyone else around either. Not prepared to admit defeat, we hopped back in the car and drove to the main gate where Matt has dropped me for parkrun before. This looked a little more promising!

We parked and walked down to the house. The smell coming from the kitchen was amazing, though we still weren’t entirely sure where we were going, but knew to follow our noses. Always trust your nose! We walked around the back of the building and found the restaurant, and were warmly welcomed.

Killerton Supper Club March 2016 Menu

How cute is the menu! It’s in a copy of Ben Schott’s Food and Drink Miscellany, which was also quite interesting. We decided on two courses rather than the full three (good move!), and as I have a sweet tooth, I opted for mains and dessert, while Matt went for a starter and main. We ordered drinks and our food, and were given some hors d’oeuvres – creamed goats cheese on puff pastry topped with a baby tomato.

Killerton Supper Club March hors d'oeuvres

I am a real sucker for goats cheese. I think I had my first taste of goats cheese at the Devon County Show years ago, and it’s a taste that has stuck. Anyway, it was a nice mini starter for me, and a warm up for Matt, who had ordered the venison terrine.

Killerton Supper Club March Venison Terrine

I had a bite, and knew I had made the right decision with pudding. The terrine was nice, but I personally find venison a bit too strong to have in the generous quantity that it came in. Matt enjoyed it though.

We didn’t have to wait long for our mains. I had the duck breast with confit leg croquette, broccoli and a cherry jus.  Matt had the pork tenderloin

Duck breast

I think I died and went to heaven. This was without doubt the best duck I have ever had. It was really succulent, not at all fatty. The whole thing was delicious. I’m always a bit cautious about fruit on a main course, but the addition of cherry was really lovely. Matt agreed, which is almost unheard of, as he is not a duck fan at all. Likewise, his pork tenderloin was beautifully cooked.

Before pudding came out, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be able to match the duck. Normally, I will pick the fruit dessert over the chocolate offering, but for a real change I went for the stem ginger and treacle tart. I think it was the clotted cream and ginger combination that appealed.

Killerton Supper Club March 2016 Treacle and Stem Ginger Tart

Yes, it matched the duck in terms of taste. You definitely could not have a lot of it, as it was really rich, but it was the perfect end to the meal. Except it wasn’t the end! We then had petit fours which were chocolatey and amazing (and snaffled before I took a picture).

The service was great too – we had a really attentive waitress who chatted away and was super-friendly without being that awful “is your food okay?” kinda person. It’s a pet peeve of mine when you’re usually mid-mouthful and the waiter comes over and asks with all the enthusiasm of a wet sponge whether your meal is okay. I know they have to, but it really bugs me. None of that here though, which was like the cherry on top of a lovely experience.

We’ve already booked back in for next month! At least we’ll know where we’re going this time.

Are you a starter or a dessert kind of person?


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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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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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Gallivanting

I tend not to blog when I have nothing to blog about.  I’d say that was definitely true on the weight loss and exercise fronts, but unusually, life has been a bit on the busy side for me lately so I haven’t found much in the way of spare time.

I said in my last blog post that Matt and I had been given notice to move out of our flat in the summer.  We don’t have a definite date yet, but when we were told that we needed to move, we got straight to it with house hunting.  The paperwork is all done for the mortgage now, and we’ve had an offer accepted on a house.  It’s in mid-Devon, much closer to Killerton parkrun, and super convenient for hopping on the motorway to both sets of parents.  We are just waiting for the full survey next week.  We’re hoping to move by mid-August at the latest.  It’s all very exciting, but quite stressful, and also quite scary to see how much junk we’ve acquired in the 5 years we have lived here.

We’ve had a couple of weekends out and about too.

Two weeks ago, Matt and I joined his mum and step-dad to go to London.  Step-dad was running in the London Marathon, so we had said we would like to go and cheer him on.  We joined him for the expo, and wandered around London for a short while.  We made it back to where we were staying and had a lovely dinner at a local pub.  It was a very early start (for a Sunday morning) on race day.  We caught the train to Blackheath and waved him off about 20 minutes before the start, before heading back towards Greenwich to catch the Tube.  We got off at Canary Wharf, intending to get to somewhere around Mile 11.  As it turned out, we found a great little spot between Mile 17 and 18 on the North Colonnade, so decided to stay there.  Unfortunately, I was on a coffee run when the elites and Paula Radcliffe came past (thankfully, Matt snapped a picture or two!).

London Marathon 2015

Father-in-law came through, looking really good and definitely on for the time he was looking for (he completed the Marathon in 2010, in 4:25:21, and wanted to beat that).  After cheering him on, we made our way over to Hyde Park to the finish line.  The finish line area was definitely interesting – broken, but incredibly proud (and some disappointed) people.  It definitely made me rethink any daft notion I had about entering the ballot!  Unfortunately, father-in-law didn’t beat his time.  I think he was just happy to make it around in the end, as he had started to experience some of the niggles that he had picked up during training.  Nevertheless, we were all very proud of him!

Last weekend was the culmination of a lot of planning between my sister and I.  Mum celebrates a significant birthday this year, and we wanted to do something special for her.  It was top secret and Mum was told to keep the first bank holiday weekend in May free.  Matt and I picked both my mum and sister up on Saturday morning, having put together a packing list and arguing about Matt needing a car for the weekend (it was all in hand, Matt would be keeping the car).  We arrived at Exeter airport, and made our way to check in.  We still hadn’t told her where we were going, but when we got to the check in, she scanned through the flight lists – there were three options – Edinburgh, Dublin or Paris.  Mum and P had gone to Edinburgh on a holiday relatively recently, and she has never expressed a desire to go to Dublin, so she guessed (correctly) that we were heading to Paris.  Her reaction was absolutely priceless!  P and I had worked out the itinerary and transport links, and tried to make it as smooth and worry free as we could for Mum.  We checked in our hotel, which was a fab little apartment in Courbevoie, close to La Defense train station.  Sadly the weather wasn’t really in our favour, and we’d had a delay on the train from the airport, but we’d booked a city tour on Big Bus Tours.  We managed to catch the last bus of the day from the Arc de Triomphe and see most of the major sites in Paris.

Paris

I would definitely do this tour again, and make use of the hop on hop off if we had more time.  It was a really nice way to see the city without any hassle, and with a little bit of commentary.  On Sunday, we had booked to go to the Palace of Versailles.  Wow.  It is absolutely breathtakingly splendid.  The queue to get in was massive, but surprisingly orderly for a European queue.  We queued for about an hour to get in to the Palace (definitely getting there early is the best plan), but it was worth it.  I like a good historical building or place, and have been very lucky to go to a lot of castles and houses in the England and Wales, but Versailles was magnificent and in a league of its own.  It’s another place I would love to go back to, as we didn’t get the chance to get into the gardens or any of the other buildings at all.

Versailles

There was just one sting in the tail of an otherwise brilliant weekend – the travelling home.  We had a very early flight home on the Monday morning, which came back via Manchester.  Despite rising at such an ungodly hour, Mum enjoyed the whole weekend, and I am pretty sure that P and I would do it all over again just to see her reaction!

20150504_075127

This weekend was my friend Helen’s hen party.  Her bridesmaids had organised a weekend away in a Georgian mansion in Rockbeare.  It was a perfect setting for a relaxing weekend away in a beautiful house, with probably one of the best bathrooms I have ever seen.

Westcott House

There were rounders, drinking games, vast amounts of food, lots of laughs and a murder mystery.  It was a really lovely weekend, and great to get to know some people before the wedding in a couple of weeks.

We have nothing planned for next weekend, which I am quite glad about!  The washing is piling up, and the house won’t pack itself!