Tub on the Run


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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 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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Dear childhood me – life’s little lessons – #BehindTheBlogger

Dear Childhood Me,

Spoiler alert – life doesn’t go as you expect, but don’t worry, it turns out pretty good!

Firstly – 30 obviously sounded far enough away for you to think you should have all your “life stuff” figured out and that you’d be ready to start your family. You’re kind of right. You want the husband, house and career all sorted by 30 years old. Good news – this happened! You wanted to be pregnant and have your first baby before 30’s sun set for the last time. This hasn’t worked out so well. As it currently stands, we’re 4 months away from turning 31, and we’re just about keeping a house, two cats, a husband and me alive. Probably the less said about the plants that have been sacrificed throughout the process the better! Mother-in-law has requested a pink grandchild, but you’re not quite ready yet. Anyway, about that career…

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You suck at science all through school, but actually do quite well on the science-y parts in your degree. Perhaps unsurprisingly, you didn’t get in to university to study forensic anything. Nope. Nor did you get in to read law. That ruled out a career in pathology or becoming a solicitor. Instead, psychology was your degree and you end up by some random happenstance to work in HR (I know you don’t know what that is yet), and do you know what? After a couple of rocky years, you love it. Also, you didn’t go to Dundee University like you had threatened to do – it was Sheffield Hallam University, but that was quite far enough!

Graduation

The friends that you thought were your life during secondary school, that you were always going to be BFFs with? They’re still around, but y’know. Boys. Instead, you come to realise that actually, the person who you fought with regularly (your sister), is actually your in-built best friend, and she rocks. She will be forever your partner in crime. You’ll do all sort of things together – go to London to watch one of your favourite bands, organise a trip to Paris for Mum’s significant birthday, run together, bail each other out, cry on each other and laugh so hard together. You’ll need to get past that holiday in Cyprus first though.

Sister is amazing

On the thought of partners in crime, you know that blonde haired boy that recently knocked your pencil tin out of your hands while he was coming down the stairs, before declaring that he never wanted to see you again (I can’t remember what caused this vicious outburst, though I’m sure you can)? You married him. Sure, he went to a different school for secondary school, but eventually because of this thing called the internet which allows you to talk to people all over the world without actually using your voice, or hogging the telephone (I know – mind blown, you’ve only just got Encarta 95), and then this thing called Facebook (which is like a friend group on a big notice board on the internet), you get back in touch and eventually it’s “Stephanie and Matthew sitting in a tree…”. I won’t finish the rhyme for you. You like to remind him of this anecdote quite regularly.

Matt and Steph

There are some things I wish you had not done – you will suffer with spots quite badly, and the bad news is that they aren’t gone by the time you’re 30, but please don’t pick them. You’ll scar. I know you will. You’ll also develop some pretty naff coping mechanisms. One of them will be food, and you will be a fat person. But you won’t always be that way. Also, you know Top Cat? Yeah, you know, the horse that is too crazy to ride? She doesn’t grow old gracefully by the way, and you decide that it will be fun to ride her and help her owner out around the yard. Top Cat will break your fingers (not once, but twice – three fingers, two separate occasions) and also stand in your armpit and that will be the MOST painful bruise you’ll experience in living memory. Thankfully, aforementioned sister will catch Top Cat, help you turn her out, and then take you to hospital.

Rubes

Lastly, know that Mum and Dad are right. Nothing ever turns out as badly as you think it will, even if it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. At 30, know that you’re okay. No. You’re doing well.

Love every moment, even the ones you eventually cringe at.

 

                                                                                                       

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Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level. 

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Home sweet home

We’ve been in our new house for a month now.  The one bed flat in the middle of a busy town seems like a distant memory now, and my words “we’re never EVER moving EVER again unless I’m wheeled out in a coffin”, while still ring true, don’t instil the same level of weariness that they did just a fortnight ago.

Don’t worry family, we’re not planning on moving for several years yet!

Five weeks ago, Matt and I went on the lamest, most sober pub crawl as we waited to be told we could collect the keys to our first home.  The day hadn’t gone quite as smoothly as I had originally planned in my utopian fug of “OMG we’re going to own a house!”.  What no one had really stressed enough was that there is a ridiculously long wait at the bottom of the chain.  Thankfully, we were only a three party chain.  I’d planned to have a huge clean throughout our new house on the day we collected the keys, but it didn’t happen.  The previous owners were still moving out by tea time that day.

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They had very kindly done most of the cleaning anyway, and had left us a binder full of useful info (including how to avoid the traffic warden!) and a pretty pink orchid.  Ah, little do they know that I can only look after three things at once without anyone dying – Matt, Tank and Timo.  Add a fourth thing in, and as my previous, and now deceased, herb pots can attest, I am rubbish with four things.  Nonetheless, the hardy little thing is still going, despite me forgetting to water it (oops, I should get on to that!).  I’m very impressed that I have managed to keep Juan the Cactus alive for nearly two months (though Mum assures me they’re quite difficult to kill).

Juan the Cactus

Over the next few days, I think Mum, Dad, my sister, Matt and I all found muscles that we forgot we had as we lifted and shifted the contents of our tiny flat down the three flights of stairs, into a van and then ferried it up to our house.  Matt and I couldn’t have done it without them – they worked like Trojans and my sister now officially holds the status of Queen of Van Tetris.  No one can pack a van like she can.

We cleared and had cleaned the flat by the Wednesday the following week.  It was a bit of a shame that we hadn’t been more organised actually, as it meant that the week off that Matt and I had booked was spent mostly at our old place, which meant that our unpacking is still ongoing.  I am reassured though, as most people I have spoken to have said that they never fully unpacked, and there’s at least one box in the loft that has remained sealed.

So, top tip – declutter before you move, and start packing earlier than you think you need to!

A month in, there are some things that just make us laugh (previous lazy decorating – painting around the curtains and movable frames!), and some things that genuinely make me think I’ve achieved a life goal (adore my washing line in our little garden, and am the proud owner of an 8kg washing machine and a compost bin).  I feel very grown up all of a sudden.

We’re beginning to put together a list of things that need to be done, along with a wish list of things we’d like to do, and are very pleased that B&Q have just brought out a reward card, as I can see us spending quite a lot in there over the coming months!

Do you enjoy moving house? Mother-in-law (and therefore Matt) have always been quite nomadic, but the last time I was around for a house move was the late 80s!

(I am totally getting to grips with this self-hosted blog malarkey! Beyond the Sofa is now on Bloglovin’ too!)


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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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Sibling Pride

I have wanted to whoop and squee in the run up to this, but I am SO proud of my little sister!  She rocks!

Why does she rock?

Not long after I started Couch to 5k, so did P.  She successfully completed it, and, unlike me, stuck with it.  She then ran a sub-30 minute 5k not too long after completing c25K.  I won’t lie – I am completely envious of her speed.

After a bit of an injury where a trail run somewhat damaged her knees (but not her running spirit), once the scabs had healed, she headed back out again.

Ouch!!

Then came a suggested post on facebook for Run Highclere in aid of Parkinsons UK.  Highclere Castle, for those (like myself) that don’t know, is where Downton Abbey is filmed.  She had just finished a challenge of doing a month of no snacking, and wanted a new challenge, so she signed up, set up her Just Giving page and got training.

Today was scheduled to be the day, but sadly P was informed that because of the adverse weather conditions, the ground was not suitable to run on.  Very disappointing, but it can’t be helped.  Not to be put off, and not to let down the people who had kindly donated, P went out for her 10k run as planned today, and recorded an amazing 1 hour 11 minute début!  I am so chuffed for her, not only for her time, but also for raising the money that she has (over £100)!  She’s also said that if and when Run Highclere is rescheduled, she’s going to run it and try to beat her time for today!  Fantastic!

So I’m all “beam, beam, beam, proud, proud, proud”!

Now P… PLEASE go and buy some proper running shoes!! 🙂

(And apologies – this feeble post really doesn’t get across just how proud I am!)

 


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Peacocks, a run and an action plan

I didn’t get the chance to blog yesterday – social butterfly that I am (pfft…).  It was chores in the morning, then out with my mum and sister in the afternoon.  It was nice to spend the time with them, but, leading the high-octane lifestyle that I do, the day wouldn’t have been the same without some element of terror (no, I’m not referring to my sister’s driving, or my mum getting all technological and joining the world of the ipod).  No.  I refer to peacocks.

I am terrified of peacocks.  I actually forgot that Trago Mills had them until we walked through the entrance, and there they were.  It was like the were waiting for me… One of the roof, one casually strutting around in the midground, and a host of them (what is the word for a multitude of evil death birds peacocks?  squadron? army? gang?) in the distance.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t limit my fear to the peacocks, the same terror applies to hens too.  Frustratingly, my sister wanted to nip to the loo when there were about 16 (ok… 3) in sight.  I sought protection from two ducks and a robin (no, not Batman’s sidekick, though he’d have been more help I’m sure).  My defence did me well, and we headed for shelter.  The thing is, you know that the peacocks were waiting for you when you got out.  It was like an obstacle course – they littered (stalked?) the narrow walkway.  Even the ducks hadn’t managed to make it up to the indoor bit to help me down the walkway, so I used mum as a human shield.

I really must remember not to wear bright colours in a peacock infested area.  I think it intimidates them.  At my old workplace, they had peacocks and I was chased across the car park by one (I was wearing a bright pink coat at the time).  I don’t know where my fear of them comes from, but I’ve been terrified of them for as long as I remember.

Once my blood pressure and heart rate had slowed (roughly the same time as I arrived home, into a peacockless environment), after tea, M and I headed out for a run.  M has decided that he is going to give Couch to 5k a go.  I said I’d stay with him and attempt a semblance of intervals.  I also wanted to test out my new shoes.

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The verdict is “hmm”.  I ended up with numb toes in both feet, so I am going to see if lacing them up differently helps.  Otherwise, I will have to suss out the Runners Need return policy on shoes, and trade them in for the Omni 11s.  I have a very vague recollection that my last pair of Ascics gave me numb toes, but I will see if lacing helps.  Any other tips would be gratefully received!  Anyway, the run itself wasn’t too bad.  I am still sore from kettlebells, so I am quite glad I didn’t run for the full 30 minutes today, but I did run hard with M (his pace is frustratingly quick compared to mine).

In other news, I’ve had a bit of a wake up call with my weight loss.  As I geared up to do my monthly stats post, resplendent with pictures, I plugged my current weight into my spreadsheet and it would seem that I have lost a piddling 2lbs this month.  This month!!!  Exercise – tick.  Food – big fat cross.  Yep, I have eaten far too much, and sometimes of the wrong stuff this month, and it is showing.  It would be all too easy to slip back into the ways of old, and pile the pounds back on.  I have an action plan:

  1. Plan.  And stick to the plan.  This includes prepping food today for tomorrow (we’re marshalling tomorrow, so I need to put a slow cooker meal on timer for when we get home).
  2. Use a food diary.  If I nibble it, scribble it.
  3. Remember I’m on a challenge, and don’t like to lose (competitions).  I’m a sore loser.
  4. Tackle it all one meal at a time.  Quit the snacking between meals – I’m not really hungry, so stop and identify the problem rather than wondering what is going on, midway through munching a cereal bar (or 4).

 

With that in mind, M and I are off to my parents’ for lunch, and then to his grandparents’ for tea.  Lunch will be healthier than tea, I can feel it now.  I am very lucky to have an incredibly supportive family (one that feeds me the right foods, and protects me from peacocks… though they do laugh at me for the peacock thing).

Chances are, I won’t be blogging tomorrow, as it’s the first event of the motorsport season, but you never know!