Tub on the Run


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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!

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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!

 


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I have the best sister

A long time ago, when my sister and I were first talking about hen parties, I specifically said that I didn’t want “just a night out on the town” (I can do that whenever, and honestly, clubbing in my home town is rubbish – I miss my uni town for that), and that there were to be no giant inflatable penises, or penis straws, or L plates, or general hen party tat (no offence to those who have thoroughly enjoyed hen parties like that, but it’s just not for me).

Yesterday marked three weeks to my wedding, and therefore, my hen party (or my bachelorette party to any Americans out there).  I knew a couple of very small details in the run up – that it was going to take place on or past Haldon Hill, and that there were cocktails at some point.  I had been told to bring gloves, wear boots with an ankle support, and dress as if we were going to Dartmoor.

At 9:30am, my sister appeared with her two best friends, picking up me and N.  When we were in the car and belted up, I was provided with a clue.  I’m not very good at clues – I’m a better logic thinker than an abstract thinker.

My clues!

My clues!

We turned off up Haldon Hill, and my immediate thought was that we were going to Go Ape!, which is effectively an aerial assault course.  I’ve done it before and loved it, but thought it was probably a bit chilly at this time of year.  Well, it turns out it wasn’t that anyway.  As we waited for the rest of the party to arrive, we all togged up and then when everyone else came, we headed over to Segway!!  It was AMAZING!!  Segways move depending on your weight distribution – lean forward to go forward, lean back to stop and/or move backwards, and stand still to stand still.  Do you know how hard it is to actually stand perfectly straight AND still?  It’s quite hard to start off with.  I found the initial training quite hard, and definitely settled more into it when we went around the forest.

I don't think I was being told off, but it looks like it!

I don’t think I was being told off, but it looks like it!

Time flew by when we were on these and before I knew it, we were heading back to base to grab some lunch.  Lunch was a picnic on the murky peak of Haldon Hill, but the weather did nothing to dampen our spirits.

From there, it was off on a treasure hunt around Exeter.  In teams of three we set off, each starting at different points around the course.  N, H, and I are all surprisingly competitive, so took it very seriously and started powering our way around the city looking for the clues, determined to get the answers right and be the first back to base.

With a handful of questions to go, we spotted my sister and her two friends in the distance.  We made some fairly shoddy attempts at hiding from them, but they eventually spotted us and it turned into a race of two teams.

My sister in the pink in the middle ground

My sister in the pink in the middle ground

Sadly, we weren’t the first team back – my sister’s team did actually beat us home.  However, once the team of my friends appeared and the marking of the answer booklets was done, it turned out that we had won!  Our prize?  Truffles.  They were gorgeous!

From Exeter, it was a mad dash home to get ready for the next part.  At this point, I still didn’t know what we were doing, but I was told we needed to wear nice clothes, so I changed into my jeans, a blue top and my wedding shoes (they need breaking in!).  It was quite a rush getting ready, but we managed it.  H knew where to take me, so off we toddled.  We met the majority of the party outside Spoken, a cafe bar.  It was time to make cocktails!  We had a long table, lined up with Collins and Martini glasses, with spirits, mixers and other ingredients at one end.

DSCI0059

George, the manager at Spoken, went on to show us how to make a Cosmopolitan, a Tom Collins and a Vanilla Alexander.  We made one, drank it, and then got shown the next.  I will admit that the cocktails were strong with a capital S, and it became a challenge to remember what went into the cocktails, especially the last one – the Vanilla Alexander.

Hen night cocktails

At this point, it was getting increasingly important to get some food to soak up some of the cocktails.  We were a little late appearing at the Mexican, but they were very good with us despite our lateness.  The food was plentiful and delicious (even through my drunken fug). and I left feeling a bit more sober than when I arrived, despite my friend topping up my Malibu and lemonade with white wine…

My sister organised the whole thing, and I am so grateful to her.  She did such a good job – there was something for everyone, but everything for me and it was the best day I have had in such a long time.  I feel very touch to have such good friends and family, and I feel honoured to have a sister like P.  She rocks.  Thank you P 🙂