Tub on the Run


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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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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: Day 90 update and weigh in

Wow! 90 days in! Just 10 more days to go. That is now three consecutive Whole 30s under my belt, and the second longest I’ve managed to stick to a particular way of eating. I think the only way of eating that I have stuck with for longer so far was the Tesco GI Diet in 2008.

Let’s talk numbers. Since January this year, I have lost 50 lbs in total, and 30.7 lbs since I started my Whole 100. This is a bit of a funny one for me. My team mates at work have asked how I am doing and are always amazed at the number that trips off my tongue, but it doesn’t feel that much. I have found myself getting a little disheartened (which I know is silly) as I know that I have probably just ticked over a third of the way to my goal. I think the sadness has come from two places – 1) that I have lost a lot of weight already now, but there is still a long way to go, and 2) that I have been so heavy for so long that I actually asked Matt the other night “when will I be a normal size?”. I’m not looking for sympathy, as these moments are always countered by the feeling that I am finally getting somewhere with it, and have lost the most I have ever lost.

Yo-yoing feelings aside, this is how my Day 1 to Day 90 compares:

Whole 100 Day 90 Update Front

I don’t think I have realised quite how tired I look first thing in the morning. Bags aside, I think it is safe to say that I have the beginnings of a waist again (hurrah!). I have to admit, I’m pleased as I can see much more of a change now, and clearly sticking at it is really beginning to pay off. One thing I have noticed in the picture above it that the drop in my right shoulder is getting more obvious as I lose weight. I came off my motorbike years ago and damaged my shoulder. I hadn’t really noticed the droop until today.

Whole 100 90 Day Update Side

From the side, I can see that I am beginning to go in now, and the double chin is slowly receding, which is always good news.

Highlights

The trousers that I bought after not being able to find a pair I liked initially, are now baggy. They’re not quite as baggy as when I last needed to move down a size, but they’re definitely on their way. I’m holding off buying a new pair until towards the end of August – firstly, I am beginning to get a little nervous about what life post-Whole 100 looks like, but secondly, I haven’t budgeted for it (I am trying to rein my spending back in with the wonderful YNAB app). In terms of tops, I’m now able to fit into more of my wardrobe too, which is really great and meaning I can have “work clothes” and “normal clothes” rather than mixing the two.

I’m also super impressed that I haven’t really ended up in a food rut at all for the last 90 days. I did look for some Whole 30 compliant new recipes that I could make recently, and this sausage and butternut squash casserole (here) was a big hit.

Another highlight for me has been not dying whilst walking up hills. Last weekend, Matt and I went to Wiscombe Park in East Devon to watch a hill climb race (in a nutshell, cars will sprint to the top of the hill). Spectators had to park at the top of the hill in a different field and walk down into the valley. That’s all well and good, but what goes down must also come up if you want to get back to your car. I can’t confess to having sauntered up the hill in a spritely manner, but I definitely didn’t die, or really stop. (I really feel that the picture hasn’t done the steepness of the hill any justice).

Wiscombe Park - Beyond the Sofa

Activity

When I write these weigh in posts, I usually take a look back at the most recent one to see what I was writing and experiencing to see what has really changed over that period of time. I note that in my 60 day update, I was hoping to start running with the Couch to 5k programme shortly after my update. It hasn’t happened, but (and I know people say this all the time), I swear the last 30 days has galloped by without my noticing. I definitely feel like I am ready to get back out there physically now, so definitely watch this space!

Otherwise, my main activities have been walking and yoga. I’ve had good days of walking, where I have done a fair bit above 10,000 steps a day, and then some others which have been pretty, well, comatose. Yoga has been good though, and I’ve made it through the ashtanga vinyasa sequence to some of the seated poses. Initially I thought that the seated poses would be fine. It’s sat down, how hard can that be?! I think I sweat more in the seated poses than I do in some of the standing ones. I am pretty sure that I have mentioned in a previous post somewhere, that my long standing pose nemesis is downward dog. I don’t know what it is about that one, but I really struggle with it – super tight in my hamstrings, very weak in my shoulders. A few weeks later, and I can hold the pose for longer and more often without having to resort to the puppy pose. Small progress, but progress nonetheless.

Concerns

I wasn’t sure whether to call this “concerns” or “nervousness” or “considerations”, but I am beginning to find myself a little nervous about coming off my Whole 100. It’s been a really good thing to do, and I have enjoyed it for the most part. I’ve eaten out less than I would have done normally, and while eating out has been a bit tricky, it hasn’t been impossible. To date, I’ve lost the most weight I ever have done from eating in a specific way. I am nervous that by coming away from my Whole 100 I will start to put the weight on again. I’m not actively worrying about it, but it’s silly things like if I have a piece of cake, will I be able to keep some sense of sanity and plough on through with my willpower, or will I revert to Steph of the past and face plant the cake and eat it all? The rock and a hard place dilemma is that I don’t want a life devoid of cake forever, but I don’t want to fall into a food based spiral back to 20+ stone again. I don’t seem to have much of a handle on moderation.

I haven’t really tried to think too much about my concerns so far, but I know I will need to address them in the imminent future.


Previous updates:


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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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Easter weekend

Hurrah for long bank holiday weekends (and the two four day weeks!). Despite having a week off earlier in March, this long weekend has landed at the right time.

We didn’t have much in the way of plans for this weekend, though I had a list that I wanted to work through (half completed, so that’s something!). It has just been nice to have a little bit of downtime, though unfortunately work impeded on it a little bit – never mind!

Friday

Matt and I needed to head in to Exeter do run some errands and pick up a couple of things. It was an absolutely gorgeous day – the first real spring-like weather that I think we’ve had this year. Normally, when the weather is nice, rather than eat in a restaurant, we like to get something to eat outside and sit on Cathedral’s green. Lots of people had the same idea, and it was tough to find somewhere to park for a bit!

Exeter Cathedral

After we’d finished, it seemed a shame to head straight home and retreat indoors. Instead, we headed to Killerton for a wander around. We’ve been meaning to stop by and have a wander around since we renewed our National Trust membership in February, but hadn’t quite got to it.

Rather than head into the house, we walked around the gardens with our cameras. The flowers in the walled garden aren’t quite out yet, but there are a lot of other pretty things to look at. I was trying to get a picture of some pretty blue flowers (I’m not at all green fingered, and literally know about 5 different types of plants – the rest are referred to by colour), and then fell into a mole hole and rolled my ankle. Well done me. Not to be deterred, we took it a little slower but kept going and eventually came across the chapel, which isn’t too far from the parkrun start line.

Killerton Gardens

We used to visit Killerton a lot as a family when my sister and I were little, but I don’t remember ever going in to the chapel. It was wonderfully quiet (outside was reasonably noisy, owing to the egg hunt), and the sunlight shone through the stained glass window, making a beautiful pattern on the wall near the altar. It really was stunning.

Killerton Chapel

After admiring the light show for a bit, we wandered back to the car and headed home. I don’t know what it is about the fresh air, but when we got home, we crashed on the sofa. We’ve resolved to go back soon to go for a proper walk in one of the forests, around the old parkrun route, or one of the many other walks (and probably should do the house too!).

Saturday

True to the forecast, the weather turned really grim and grey (and wet!), so we’d tried to make sure that Saturday was a more of an indoor day. It started with a trip to our local butchers and greengrocers. The butcher very kindly de-boned and skinned the chicken thighs for me (I am complete pants at doing this myself) while Matt got the veggies sorted. This is probably a silly thing to say, but I am constantly surprised by how nice people are where we live now. We returned home and I set to work in the kitchen.

Easter batch cook

Many hours later, we have 14 dinners of:

I’ve not tried the pork meatloaf (looks strange, but smells amazing), Spanish chicken or the mustard lamb before (and obviously a Jamie Oliver “15 minutes” is a normal human’s “30 minutes”). I am pleased though – it was a long time on my feet, but totally worth it. Plus, we were treated to a pretty gorgeous sunset as I came to the end of my cooking.

Sunset

Sunday

My sister has come home for the Easter break, so I headed down to Mum and Dad’s for the day. My sister cooked an amazing curry (a Slimming World one I think), and we had a really relaxed afternoon, just catching up and putting the world to rights and making a fuss to this little loon.

Little Loon

Dad went out as he plays in a band and they were playing down a pub, and Matt stayed home to do some tidying up.

It was definitely a case of donning the flippers to get home. The amount of standing water on the roads was absolutely crazy, but I made it home safe and sound.

Monday

I headed back to my parents’ house today, while Matt sat in the queue on the M5, attempting to get to his parents’ house (the traffic was pretty awful from what I gather). Mum, Dad, my sister, gran and I had lunch at the local garden centre, before Mum and I toddled off so I could try and show her the type of flower that I would like in our garden (it’s a small, blue flower, and lives in a rockery type environment). We couldn’t find it. Pudding was courtesy of Orange Elephant. I am sure I said this on my old blog, but if you are ever in the area, head over to Orange Elephant at Lower Brenton near Kenn for the best ice cream you will ever have. The lambs have not long arrived too – what’s not to love – lambs and good ice cream!

Lambs

Anyway, the delayed Sunday blues have kicked in quite hard, and I’m aiming for an early(ish) night as I have a very long day ahead of me tomorrow.

What did you get up to this weekend?


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Weigh in Wednesday 10: Danger Zones

Weigh in Wednesday 10

It’s my first proper Weigh In Wednesday of 2016! Obviously, I had weighed in at the start and end of my Whole 30, but they weren’t Weigh In Wednesdays.

Since finishing my Whole 30 last week, I’ve stuck to a mostly paleo way of eating. There have been two notable exceptions. The first was a pizza at Comedy Club on Friday night which I had pre-ordered the week before. When it arrived, I looked at it and really didn’t fancy it. I thought that (as had been the case with my previous Whole 30s) I would definitely want it, and it would be the best pizza in the world. I even ordered my favourite – pepperoni. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was – I’d “wasted” my non-paleo meal on that. It was greasy, tough and just disappointing. Within about 15 minutes, I had tummy ache too. So uncool. I could have forgiven the pizza if the comedians had been hilarious. Sadly, only the final act was.

The second non-paleo meal was pancakes. I love pancakes, but try to restrict how often I have them otherwise they just become an everyday food. Pancakes are special. Much like hot cross buns and mince pies. Ordinarily, I make the batter and Matt cooks them. Last night, I gave making the batter a go, and while it was a good batter, my arms were… well… battered! I’d done my Fitness Blender video, which was upper body focused. I literally couldn’t whisk and had to concede defeat. Matt valiantly took over and produced some excellent pancakes, so it turns out I wasn’t all that necessary to the process!

Fitness Blender Home Set Up

Anyway. Danger zones.

This week, I lost half a pound. It isn’t a great result, though it is a loss which is always welcome in my house. I am frustrated. I have eaten mostly paleo (of the 7 days of meals, only two meals haven’t been, though yes, one of them was last night). I have worked out more than I think I ever have, and certainly worked out more in terms of using weights than ever. To combine both the exercise and the eating, I feel a bit cheated with a half-pound loss.

Looking at the more holistic view rather than just the exercise and food fronts, it hasn’t been a good week for me in terms of sleep. I’ve somehow managed to be really late to bed and not slept brilliantly when I have eventually got there. That’s something to work on. I’ve also not kept as well hydrated as perhaps I have in recent weeks. Also, it’s that time of the month.

I’ve tried to think more proactively about it, as I know this is where I am likely to throw the towel in on everything and huff and puff and declare that NOTHING WORKS, and I’M GOING TO BE FAT FOREVER. I will then get more miserable as I console myself with some sort of comfort food. Probably Reese’s PB cups. Probably not pizza. Looking back, I think this is why I haven’t stuck at an exercise programme for longer than a couple of weeks, as the scale doesn’t budge, or worse, has gone up. In those cases, I may not have had my food down to pat (the “I’ve been spinning, I can eat whatever I like today” syndrome).

This is my danger zone – giving up and stropping about too soon because I am not seeing the results I want as quickly as I want. All that being said, I think this is the first time that I have been aware of it. Now that I am aware of it, I can decide to ignore it and just keep on going. So that’s what I’m going to do!

Are you a pancake fan? What’s your favourite topping?  Mine is lemon and sugar (more lemon than sugar thanks!)


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More hobbling and bring plans forward

Monday was a good day for my #MarchForMarch.  I toddled off for a lunchtime walk, and actually walked faster than I thought.  It was a gorgeous day, and it would have been a shame not to get out into the sunshine for a few minutes.

March For March Day 9

Tuesday started off pretty well too.  I didn’t get the chance to go out at lunch, but I did get a couple of walks around the factory running some errands.  In my last walk around, I managed to roll my ankle in a tiny (and I do mean tiny) gap between a drain cover and the concrete floor.  In slow-mo, I felt my ankle roll, my bulk come crashing down, landing on my opposite elbow, and taking a deep breath in and feeling the bruise on my pride start to swell.

Anyway, the floor won.  I am rather renowned for being accident prone at work, and I was long overdue a tumble.  My ankle swelled up quite quickly, and hurt like a [insert various swear words].

On Wednesday morning, it felt worse, so Matt made me go to A&E.  One x-ray and 45 minutes later, it turns out it is just a nasty sprain.  Usual RICE advice given.  The swelling is now beginning to go down, but this whole event has made me realise how much I sit on my feet or cross my legs, and how annoying it is that I cannot sit like I usually do.

IMG_20150313_225823

Needless to say, that has kind of limited my walking for March for March, though I am still trying to get a few steps in each day to stop my ankle from stiffening up.  What I am trying to say is, I’m down, but not out!

Matt and I have also had some news.  It’s a bit good and a bit bad.  We live in a rather odd set up, above some offices in a flat with no real front door (we have to come in through the offices).  We’d always assumed that the main business of the offices owned the building, but it seems the building is leased, and the lease is up this summer.  Bad news for us is that the premises they’re moving to doesn’t have a flat above, so we’ve been given notice and will need to find a new place to live during the summer.  The good news is that we had been planning to buy a house this year, around November time anyway.  We’ve been saving for the deposit for our own house since we paid off the wedding, but it hadn’t had too much of a focus until January.  So while it is bad news that we have to move out, and a little quicker than we had intended to, it has been the kick up the bum we’ve needed to really get stuff in order and on the move.

Right now, I feel massively overwhelmed by the task of buying a house, and it is pushing me out of my comfort zone.  In addition to that, we’re having to look at properties outside of our home town (which we have both lived in for over 20 years).  We’ll be looking to move a little further up the road where it is a little more “first time buyer friendly”.

Oh blimey… it seems I have now hit adulthood!