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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Blogtacular 2016: My weekend in London

You go to a blogging conference, come away with a load of ideas and things you’d like to try, and… You don’t blog for over a week. Well done me! Being totally honest, I think I have suffered a little bit from overwhelm and analysis paralysis. It was a lot to take in! Anyway, after just over a week, I thought I’d just run through the day. I’ll do another post on my thoughts if I go next year as this post if already a long one.

I was lucky enough to gain a place on the much coveted Blogtacular photowalk which was taking place on the Friday before the main conference on the Saturday, so I travelled to London by train on the Friday morning. Matt very kindly dropped me off at the station.

Train Station

I arrived in Waterloo around lunchtime. I hopped onto the Jubilee Line to Canada Water and then made my way up to the Overground to catch the train to Shoreditch High Street, where the Blogtacular Photowalk East started from.

Blogtacular 2016 Photowalk Image Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Kat Molesworth-14

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

It really wasn’t hard to spot the Blogtacular crowd – I think we may have been the brightest dressed people on a slightly grey day in east London. I was pretty nervous and probably didn’t come across all that brilliantly, but I got chatting to the lovely Julia from Just Creative Julia, and not long after 2pm, we were all heading off the main drag and around the streets of Shoreditch.

Shoreditch Photowalk

By the time we arrived at Old Street station, I was beginning to flag. I hadn’t eaten much and think the nervous energy was beginning to wear off. After stopping for a peppermint tea at Eat and chatting some more with Julia and Rachel from Sew Happy Sew Healthy, we parted ways and I headed to my hotel via Pret a Manger for a tuna salad dinner. I’d booked the Hub by Premier Inn at Tower Bridge. It was a great choice! Don’t get me wrong, there was hardly enough room to swing a cat, but I knew that in advance and was actually really impressed with the room. The bed was super comfy, there were movies on the TV (some good choices too – I opted for 13 Hours and started, but didn’t finish, Everest). I managed some yoga too in a bid to calm my brain down a bit.

Blogtacular were holding a party at West Elm on Tottenham Court Road, but a combination of social overwhelm and distance saw me opt for a walk along the Thames with my camera.

Tower Bridge

On Saturday morning, having slept pretty well (thanks air-con!), I struggled out of bed, packed myself up and headed up to 200 Aldersgate, which may be the most amazing venue I have ever been to for a conference. The space is so lovely and light.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Over breakfast, I chatted to some really friendly people, and then wandered over to Mollie Makes, where the lovely ladies tried to get me to do their flat lay challenge (which I didn’t accept at the time) and waited for the opening key-note speech.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Lisa Congdon was the opening key-note, and I don’t think I could have heard anything so well-timed in my life. She talked about not doing all the things, being vulnerable and genuine, and not wearing your busy-ness as a medal. After working 50 to 60 hour weeks for the last two months, this was just what I needed to hear. I will write another post on this one, as I definitely have more thoughts on this.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

After a quick tea break, it was workshop time. It was quite hard to choose which workshops to attend, but I decided to go to the writing workshop being led by Kirsty Smith from Eeh Bah Mum who was absolutely brilliant! The key message? Don’t be afraid to be a little bit shit – it gives you something to work on! I took a lot of notes in this workshop, and definitely picked up some great tips for defeating writer’s block.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

After the workshop was lunch. I was on my best Whole 100 behaviour, so I didn’t get to sample a huge amount, but the salmon and salad that I did eat was very tasty, and the rest of it looked delicious. During lunch, I also accepted the Mollie Makes flat lay challenge. Given this was the first time I’d ever attempted a flat lay, I think the ladies were a little more generous with their time than two minutes (and also kindly lent me their iPhone as my phone went on strike).

Mollie Makes Flat Lay Challenge

Unfortunately, a last-minute loo stop meant that the next workshop I wanted to go to (Phoneography with Sara Tasker from Me and Orla) was full so I ended up in the Microsoft talk. Another well deserved tea break and then it was time for the last workshop. Photography is something I really would like to get better at, so I chose Laura La Monaca’s food styling and photography workshop.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

I swear I learnt more in those 90 minutes with Laura than I have from reading all the stuff on my Pinterest board. The way she explained things like aperture and ISO just made sense (finally!). I really enjoyed this session and took pages of notes. It’s really inspired me to put my camera into manual and properly learn it. If you ever get the chance to listen to Laura speak about photography, go! She’s so passionate about it and with her beautiful Sicilian accent, she’s wonderful to listen to.

The closing speech was given by Enid Hwang – Pinterest’s Community Manager and employee #6. Enid’s speech was funny, humbling and engaging, and I think most attendees are trying to incorporate the phrase “utter bilge” into their everyday lives. She was the perfect “up” to the end of the day.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Once the final photo had been taken and the goody bags handed out, I hotfooted it back to Waterloo to catch my train home. The goody bags are brilliant, and definitely inspire me to get my craft game on again.

I was very glad to see my bed that night!


A big thank you to Mollie Makes and Blogtacular for the professional photos – knowing we’d have these definitely took the pressure off of trying to listen, note take and photograph everything.


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Off to Blogtacular I go!

It’s now five more sleeps until I set off on my own to London. I’ve always gone with other people in the past, so I’m quite looking forward to attempting to navigate my way around the City. Why am I going to London?

Going-to-Blogtacular-2016

I am going to Blogtacular! Back when I was still blogging at Tub on the Run, I promised myself a couple of things – the first was that one day I would get my own domain name and go self hosted (tick!). The second was that I would go to a blogging conference. A couple of years ago, I had planned to go to an event called Cybher. I read everything and anything I could get my hands on about this conference, and after doing my research, I bought a ticket. Sadly, it wasn’t to be as the conference was cancelled. I think (from bad memory) that Blogtacular was born that same year (2014).

Why didn’t I go to Blogtacular instead? I think it was because I wanted to read reviews of it first. It isn’t the cheapest activity when you add in the travel, hotel, food and tickets, so I wanted to know that I was going to be getting my money’s worth. I did go to the South West Blog Social that year, which was organised by Jodie from a la Jode, and enjoyed myself, even if there wasn’t anyone from my niche at the time. I didn’t book up last year, as we were moving house and any extra funds were spent on that.

This year though, I decided to bite the bullet and booked my Blogtacular ticket, having read as much as I could. The verdict, according to the research I’d done? Absolutely, unquestioningly good value for money.

Since I bought my ticket, I’ve been joining in on the weekly Twitter chats as and when I can, and if the topic is relevant to me. I’ve learned a lot already. As this will be my first “big” blogging conference, I thought I’d best introduce myself!

Beyond the Sofa goes to Blogtacular

 

I am Steph, office bod by day, crazy cat lady and blogger by night. I live in Devon with my husband Matt and two rescue cats (Tank and Timo). I’ve been blogging since 2013, initially to document my running and weight loss efforts, though eventually got a bit lost with it when I a) started to put weight on again, and b) stopped running.

What do I want to get out of Blogtacular? Well, I’d like to learn about how to improve my writing and will also be trying to pick up any and all tips about how not to hit the awful writer’s block (or crack through it if I find myself there!). Aesthetically, I would like to improve my photography and site design, so I am going to be keeping my ears open for any tips I can take away on these points too. Other than that, I am just looking forward to meeting some new people.

What am I doing at Blogtacular? I’m very lucky to have gained a place in the photowalk lottery, so I’m heading up to London on Friday to take part in the photowalk with Laura and Jess. I am down to go to the West Elm party too, but I might leave that a little early so I can get an early night for what promises to be a long and interesting day on the Saturday (I’ll play it by ear). On the Saturday, I am (at the moment) planning on going to the Developing Content Ideas with Kirsty Smith from Eeh Bah Mum, then either Why Content is King is Modern Media with Ella Williamson and Andrew Trotman, or Phoneography with Sara Tasker from Me and Orla. For the last workshop, I’m hoping to do either the Writing Workshop with Laura Jane Williams or the Food and Travel Photography workshop with Laura La Monaca.

Anything I’m nervous about? I get a touch of anxiety about travelling to timetables (it’s the “will I get there on time? Will I get lost?”). I’m coming up by train from Exeter to Waterloo. I know I’ll be fine once I’m on the Tube and have found the photowalk location (google maps at the ready!). I’m also a bit nervous about meeting new people. I’ll be absolutely fine, I have no doubt, it’s just the thought of not knowing anyone. My last thing is to do with being able to eat in line with my Whole 100. I’m not too concerned though, as I understand that there are lots of options when it comes to the catering (plus unlimited tea and coffee! Woo!). Worst case scenario is that I nip out to Pret around the corner as they’ll definitely have things I can eat. That will be my plan for dinner on the Friday and Saturday.

If you’re going to Blogtacular, please say hi! If you’re not, have you been to a blogging conference? Any tips to share for making the most out of the experience?


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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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Cullompton Food and Drink Festival

I have been meaning to sit down and write this post for most of the week, but haven’t had the chance. It has been a bit of a mad week at work, and I’ve left a bit late most days and brought work home. Never mind!

We’ve lived here for just over a month and a half, and hadn’t had the chance to get to the award winning Cullompton farmers’ market. The market is held on the second Saturday of the month. In September, we were so busy unpacking and caught up with general house moving gubbins that we didn’t make it. October’s market coincided with the first food and drink festival. With nothing else to do (well, nothing more appealing to do!) Matt and I thought we’d escape the house for a bit and have a wander around the festival. We haven’t taken the cameras out for a photo walk either, so thought it would be good to look at autumn through a lens.

First stop was the Walronds. We were greeted by a man who was pressing apples. He’d drawn quite the crowd, so it was a bit difficult to get a good photo.

Apple pressing at Cullompton Food and Drink Festival

It was quite crowded in the Walronds so we made a break for the community centre. We had hoped to stop by the White Hart where there were some more things going on, but they started after 1pm, and we were a bit early. The community centre was much more family oriented, with face painting for children, local children and parent groups, and a cake judging competition. It was nice to have a walk around the centre, as much as anything, to look at the notice boards to see what is coming up over the next couple of months. A couple of events have spiked mine and Matt’s interests, so we’ll be trying to get out and about more than we did in our previous town.

Instead of walking back straight up the high street, we walked along the leat walk. The last time we walked up there was when my parents came with us when we were house hunting in the spring. Now the colours are beginning to turn, it is a really pleasant little walk.

Leat walk in Cullompton

On rejoining the high street a bit further up, we decided to get some sausages and bread. The farmers’ market is made up of local independent farms and retailers. I know from my adventures in Whole 30 that trying to find a high meat content sausage can be a real pig (pardon the pun), so we’re often on the lookout for good quality sausages. Mission accomplished! Moonbeams Farm were the ones I picked for their Spanish inspired pork sausage. Moonbeams Farm raise Gloucester Old Spot pigs. The sausages were really tasty, so we’ll be looking to try some of their chops next time we see them. Of course, you can’t have a good sausage sandwich without a good bread. Matt was very taken with Bread of Devon (especially given the play on words with Bread of Heaven – yes, Matt is my resident die-hard Welsh rugby supporter).

All the om nom nom noises!

We’ll be stopping by the farmers’ market again, without doubt! I hope the food and drink festival went well – it certainly seemed to be received very well.

Do you have a local farmers’ market?  Any unusual finds? The most unusual find I found was alpaca meat!