Tub on the Run


The winds of change

I have tried for a few days to write this post, but I can’t seem to make anything sit quite right. I figured I would write a bit of an update post of what has been going on generally here.

Mum has finally had her knee replaced! Hurrah! She is doing really well on it too. Better than me in fact (I had a woozy spell when I watched the nurse take the staples out of Mum’s leg). I am currently living back in my childhood home, looking after her during the week. I am not really sure how much looking after I am actually doing, aside from washing hair and carrying things, but it is nice to keep an eye on her anyway. In exchange, Mum has repotted my cactus (“Juan”) and sewn up the hem on my work trousers. I have also had free use of the tumble drier (whoop! This is definitely something I miss not having at home). At the weekend, my sister takes over, and will be here for most of next week as it is half term.

The timing has been pretty good for living with Mum. In my Settling in to 2018 post, I mentioned that work was an area of my life destined for change this year. At the time of writing that post, I had decided that I would take redundancy from my role in light of a structure change. In some respects it was a hard decision to make – it pays well, I have been there for a long time and have many friends. The flip side was that my mental health was suffering. I couldn’t strike a good balance and I knew I needed a change. I am now fortunate enough to be on garden leave, where I can take my time to look for something that is more right for me, spend time with Mum while she gets back up on her feet, and tend to my own home which has been largely neglected.

It’s funny. I am usually a pretty change adverse person. I don’t like change for the sake of it, and with a change this big, I would normally be running in full blown panic mode. I don’t feel like that at the moment. I am sure I will do at some point, but right now, I feel okay with the decision. I have a few things I want to achieve during my garden leave and really want to make the most of this opportunity to get my life more together before embarking on my next career related adventure.

So we are definitely in the winds of change, but do you know what? Right now, that’s okay.


The Great 2017 Declutter

I’ve had a (very well deserved) week off with Matt this week. We had nothing planned – no day trips, no nights away. I have, however, been reading a couple of decluttering books recently (It’s The Daisy Pages’ fault!), and come to the messy house, messy head conclusion. This week was therefore going to be the Great Declutter of 2017.

Confession: I have never been a neat and tidy person. I have spells of brilliance where I am 100% a domestic goddess, but these episodes are few and far between. Eventually the clutter seeps back in and I am rifling through unreasonably large amounts of junk to find my car key, or my glasses, or whatever. This makes cleaning more of a challenge too and therefore doesn’t get done as often as it should.

About a week ago, I started feeling the need to watch some old stuff that I used to enjoy watching. Stuff like How Clean Is Your House. I bloody love Kim and Aggie. And actually, watching the available episodes on YouTube made me feel a little relieved as I realised that my house wasn’t in How Clean Is Your House territory. Coupled with this, my appetite has been off this week. Wonder why?!

This week has been devoted to decluttering, as there is no point cleaning around the clutter. 10 big bags for charity later and we’ve made a dent. There is still a lot more to go, but getting some of it gone is a relief. I’ve tackled the naff tasks that I have been putting off too, like taking the duvet to the laundrette, washing skirting boards, tidying the towel cupboard, etc.

Some “highlights” of my finds?

  • 5 bottles of nail polish remover. You know, to remove all of the nail polish I don’t wear (last time I had painted nails was 2016).
  • 2 bottles of Olbas Oil. One went out of date in 2011…
  • 2 long lost pairs of sunglasses.
  • Enough plasters to be an Elastoplast mummy for Halloween.
  • Enough pens and notepads to start my own branch of Paperchase.
  • Spare leaving cards for all of my office (even though no one is leaving any time soon).
  • 4 old mobile phones. Only 1 of which I can get some money back on.
  • 4 old laptops and 1 printer which were taken to our local Currys who can recycle old electricals safely.
  • Countless leads. What do they belong to? Who knows!
  • 12 bath towels. For two people. Oddly, we seem to be short on dish towels though. The Cats Protection that we got Tank and Timo from are now the proud owners of our old towels.
  • More yarn than I feel comfortable admitting. Thankfully, the local Cats Protection and my sister’s local animal shelter will take donations of handmade blankets so I can use up the old stuff that is left over from other projects.
  • A Fitbit and a broken Jawbone Up.

So it hasn’t been the most exciting week off, but it has been productive. There are still bits that I want to have a good sort through and donate/chuck, but my next focus is on finding a cleaning routine that really works for me.

Are you in a good cleaning/decluttering routine?  Any tips you’d care to share?


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? 


Whole 100: 70 days down – shorts and old SD cards

Seventy days in to my Whole 100, and I have a couple of highlights to add to my previous ones this week.

Firstly, I’ve found a picture of me from February, just after I’d finished my January Whole 30 and was about to start doing the Fitness Blender 8 week challenge. At the start of the Fitness Blender challenge, Kelli and Daniel recommended taking progress photos along with measurements. I am not entirely sure what I did with my measurements (they’re probably in an old notebook somewhere), and I’d forgot about the progress photos until I looked back on my smaller SD card.

Beyond the Sofa - Feb 2016 to July 2016

Much better! I popped over to see Mum on Friday as it would be the last time I saw her before she left for her holiday in Canada with my sister, and we got talking about my weight and how I was doing. Long time readers will know that I have been overweight for a very long time now, and Mum and I got talking about Christmas 2014. I blogged that the walk had taken place, but I didn’t tell the full story. Mum said to me on Friday that it had been so sad to see me at that time. I’d turned into a lumberer. There was no spring in my step and I walked like a very heavy person. I remember getting home from that walk, barely having kept it together, and sobbing as I sat back on the sofa having abandoned the walk early. What I hadn’t really considered was that other people felt sadness for me. I have to admit, I’d never really thought that other people would see my weight as a problem that they would experience. It was an interesting conversation, and one from an angle that I’d never really considered.

On a happier note, when I last went to buy some new jeans (in my original hunt for some work trousers), I also bought some shorts in the next size down, mainly because they were £10. When I bought them at the end of May, I couldn’t fit into them at all. The button wouldn’t meet. Today, I thought “I’ll just see”, and lo and behold, they did up! They’re totally wearable – my circulation isn’t being cut off and I’m not deluding myself into thinking that I can fit into them as I have done so many times in the past. Nope, these fit!

Beyond the Sofa - Summer shorts

Please excuse the white glare coming from my legs! They literally never see the sun.

In other news, I also finished my 6 Weeks into Mysore classes at my local yoga studio. I think I’ll be keeping it up once a week though I’ll skip this week as I have a couple of things going on. I can’t say as I have noticed a load of progress, but it is a good way to escape and do something active for a bit.

Life is going pretty well actually, and it’s kind of strange to think that I have the equivalent of one Whole 30 left now. As I mentioned in my 60 day post, I think this would be quite a sustainable way to continue eating for me and I don’t anticipate changing much from Day 100. That being said, I might find that in the next month, I suddenly get a huge hankering for something I don’t currently eat. I would be surprised though. Even if I did, I feel like I would be able to have a better, more honest conversation with myself about why I wanted it (whatever “it” is).

The only thing that isn’t improving is my scalp. I bought some stuff from Neal’s Yard today in the hope of sorting my skin out. Given that I am not eating any wheat or dairy and haven’t done for over two months, I don’t think that I can lay my awful skin at the door of my diet. The culprit, as perhaps I’ve always known, is stress. My poor scalp is red raw and has been for ages now. It got a bit better when we had a week off a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s pretty awful. I kind of refuse to go to the doctors as it just seems a bit of a stupid thing to go for. Plus, the root cause of it is, I am quite certain, stress, so I don’t just want to mask the symptoms, I want to tackle the cause but soothe the irritation in the meantime. So that’s my focus for the next 30 days, to effectively stop bleeding from my hairline. Gross.

Apparently it is National Ice Cream Day today. What’s your favourite ice cream? Obviously ice cream isn’t on the Whole 30 “approved food” list, so instead I had an iced coffee today.


Ultimate Coffee Date – May 2016

It’s that time again! I would say let’s have a coffee, but it’s getting a bit late now, so caffeine probably isn’t the best idea! I have just got in from my day out, so I have a glass of water by my side.

If we were having a drink, I would probably have said that motorsport season is now upon us. So far, Matt and I have managed to get out to Brands Hatch for the British Touring Car Championship, and to Silverstone for the World Endurance Championship. Matt won tickets to Brands, which isn’t a circuit we had been to before, so that was quite nice. The weather was absolutely gorgeous on the Saturday, but a bit nippy on the Sunday.

Ginetta GT4 Supercup Brands Hatch April 2016

Silverstone was very similar. It is the first time that I haven’t marshalled that particular meeting in about 6 years, and it felt quite nice to just be a spectator and walk around. I definitely got my steps in on the first day that we were there, but then I discovered the beanbag lounge (or wife crèche as I like to call it). The Sunday brought quite a cold wind, so as I opted to stay inside a bit more, I ended up taking less steps. The highlight of Matt’s weekend was meeting Mark Webber while he was having a meeting in one of the media suites. I was sat on the free bus, taking a ride around the circuit. Typical!

Dane Train 95 AMR World Endurance Championship Silverstone Aprl 2016

If we were catching up, you’d probably notice I am not much thinner than when we last met! Weight loss has not been my strong suit this month – with three busy weekends and manic working weeks, I’m not beating myself up about it. I think I’m actually about half a pound up from my Ultimate Coffee Date in April. I’m not too worried though – I’m about to start my Whole 100 (a Whole 30, but 100 days instead of 30… Eek!).

If we were having a drink, you would probably know that the stress that I have from work is about to ramp up quite a bit as my friend and colleague resigned. She leaves in a week (where has the time gone!?). I’m still not ready for her to go, but I’m actually doing quite well on what I promised myself I would do. I took some time out last weekend to do a huge amount of batch cooking, partly in preparation for my Whole 100, but also to prepare myself for work demanding a bit more from me.

Whole 100 meal prep

I also took some time off to have a good run through the house in terms of housework which felt good. I’m never sure quite how we manage to generate so much laundry between the two of us, but I was definitely glad of the nice weather when I had my day off so that I could put my washing out to dry (with help – this lovely little cat always comes over to say hi when I put the washing out.  I’m sure the neighbours think I’m mad for talking to her).

Washing Line Help

I’m also trying to get a bit more fresh air while I’m at work, though this, along with getting to bed by 10:30pm are proving to be areas for improvement. Overall though, I’m feeling quietly confident that I won’t emerge in July as a complete nervous wreck.

If we were having a catch up, what would you tell me?

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.


Batten down the hatches

From the little trends that I can recognise in me, I know that stress typically sees me fall face first into some sort of sweet, whether it’s lemon sherberts, Krispy Kreme doughnuts or chocolate. I would say that probably 90% of my stress comes from work. I’m lucky that actually, work aside, I live a relatively stress-free life – I’m lucky to have a wonderful family, my health (albeit not optimal) is fine, I don’t have much in the way of finance worries, and there are no other big life changes on the way. And I should probably say that stress isn’t always a bad thing for me. Like many, I do pretty well on a challenge and a little stress can help move me towards a deadline.

But there is a tipping point where stress becomes a problem.

This week, my friend and colleague resigned. I thought she was joking when she told me to start off with and that she was just going to smile, say “gotcha” and bounce off with our coffee mugs to get the morning brew. I stopped what I was doing, looked at her and knew she was serious. I am so pleased for her, as this is just a brilliant opportunity and she’d be a fool to turn it down, but at the same time, I will be really sorry to see her leave my team. As we talked about her new role and how it was going to be strange not working together, I waited for the wave of argh to crash over me. It didn’t come immediately.

Now that I have had time to digest the news, I can see a lot of what is about to come. She’s our team’s administrator and as her supervisor, I can see the amount heading towards my desk as I also know that we won’t recruit her replacement in time. The work itself isn’t overly complicated, there is just a lot of it alongside looking after my own “thinky” work (which is pretty high at the moment with some projects I’m loving being part of). Okay, it’s not an ideal situation (for me), but it is rare that I have this much notice to get my bum in gear and effectively batten down the hatches so that I can weather the impending storm.

Learning to dance in the rain

(Photo credit: Jib on Flickr)

Given that I have a couple of weeks to put some plans in place, here is what I am planning to make sure I don’t end up a completely broken and grey haired by my birthday in August.

Get to bed for 10:30pm

I’m not too bad a sleeper generally, but like most people, when there is a lot going on, I struggle to switch off.  One thing I have done pretty well at recently is trying to shut off the amount of blue light I am looking at from around 9:30pm, as that has helped me “calm down”. It’s tough breaking the habit of many years though!

Take some time out while we’re still a full team

We become a team of 3 (from the current 4) in mid-May. If there is one thing I can to do help myself, it will be to take a couple of days out to do the stuff like a real good run through of housework, catch up on all the washing, finish clearing the boxes that are still floating around from our move last year, and create a proper work space. I use our spare bedroom, but I need to make it a nicer space to work. Any time that I can spend doing the mundane things now (or shortly) will stop me stressing out about it later down the line.

Get some fresh air, stretch a bit

I work a desk job. As my workload increases, I end up staying at my desk literally all day, and then take work home and work on the sofa. My fresh air exposure literally will be walking from the car to the office and back again. I plan to get outside, even if it is for a walk around the car park as I need to. I also want to get back into the habit of stretching as I really notice that movement is harder when I have been sat down all day. I fully intend to start my Fitness Blender videos in the not too distant future, but I am not there right now.

Know that I can’t do it all (and that’s okay)

I hate the idea of having to ask for help, let alone actually asking for it. Yet as soon as I can see someone struggling, I’ll offer support. Reciprocation sees me shrug it off with a “thank you, but I’m really okay” as I chow down my 6th biscuit in half an hour and peek up from my unintentional paper fort. Part of it depends on who the offer comes from – I don’t like my manager asking, as I feel it’s a failure, and another colleague would offer only to turn the knife later. So it’s time to get a bit selfish and put what I am working on first and make sure that I am prioritising well, and if it isn’t a good use of my time, it’s got to go!

It is important that while I need to understand that I can’t do it all, I do need to spend time doing the things I enjoy, whether that is blogging, some sewing, singing out loud (and out of tune probably), or getting outside. The weekends need to count – getting up and living life beyond my sofa.

What have you got coming up over the next few weekends? Matt and I are headed to Cardiff to watch Judgement Day soon, and we have my parents’ birthdays to look forward to.


Weigh in Wednesday 4: Early nights?

Weigh in Wednesday 4


How quickly the last week seems to have passed by! It’s been a reasonably eventful 7 days (compared to normal anyway!). I am recording a 1lb gain (again, groan). It isn’t a huge surprise as have eaten out a bit over the last week (1 takeaway and 2 lunches, plus Halloween sweets and an anniversary meal). Over the last month I have net the same weight, which I am okay with in the grand scheme, as for a long time, my weight has increased month on month.

My two tasks last week were to get to bed before 10:30pm each day, and get in a 10k walk.

It is very fair to say that I failed abysmally at getting to bed for 10:30pm, with one notable exception. I really struggled to sleep on Thursday night, clocking literally a couple of hours. To say that Friday I functioned as effectively as a zombie would probably be an exaggeration. I’m not usually one for nodding off on the sofa, so on Friday night, as my neck lost the ability to keep my head up, I flopped in to bed and slept from 9pm until about 5:30pm, uninterrupted. It was all born out of stress I think. There is a great saying on one of our director’s walls:

Don't over think

The reason I was up so late on Thursday night was completely because of this, and I felt like I needed to take action on the thing that was causing me some stress. This resulted in a bedtime of 2am, but the little sleep I did get was much more rested than it would have been had I not sorted the issue out.

Aside from one evening, I have not managed to get to bed before 10:30pm. This one stays for the next week. I’ll be aiming to get to bed every “school night” by 10:30pm.

I also said I would walk 10k. I managed about 6 or 7k. I’d walked from my parents’ house to the station, then along from the station to where my mum picked me up. Originally Dad and I were meant to be going to Bournemouth. The event was cancelled, so he stayed at work and I spent some time with Mum. It was a very nice afternoon/evening. While I was maybe 3 or 4k short, I felt it was a good walk nevertheless. I’m debating whether to pull out of the Cracker 10k and offer my place to someone else. My ankle isn’t really showing any signs of being happy for a run any time soon, and I am fast running out of time (running out of time… har har) to finish Couch to 5k.

I’m down to one thing to work on this week because it is going to be a long week at work. For that reason, I don’t want to overload, so I’ll be trying to get enough veggies in, drink my water, keep moving as much as I can during the day, and trying my best to switch off in time for an early (well, 10:30pm) bedtime – basically, looking to build on what I have done over the last four weeks.


My stress management plan

Having given weight gain versus weight loss some thought lately, I am perhaps a little late to the party in realising that generally I fail to cope on a personal level with stress. Professionally, I thrive off of it. Personally though, it is a precursor or trigger to weight gain.

Stress itself has long been linked to weight gain, and in my case, it is probably a key time when my inability to cope in a healthy way shows itself. When Matt and I lived at the flat, during times of stress (my stress) we would eat takeaway most nights and over eat. Obviously this is one of those cycles where sugar highs and lows exacerbate the stress.

As I stand on the edge of a potentially stressful run up to Christmas because of a project at work, I recognise that my go-to strategy of stuffing my face with whatever junk food I can find isn’t going to stack up this time.

Managing Stress

Instead of reaching for the Dominos, I am going to try some new things in the hope of starting 2016 lighter than I currently stand.

  • Breathe

One of the things I realised when I attended the yoga workshop in early October was how shallow my normal breathing is.  During the workshop, after around half an hour of breathing deeply and fully, I was really surprised to find myself bordering on short of breath when that part of the workshop was over.  Focusing on a solid and slow 5 in, 5 out, for as long as it takes for stress masquerading as cravings to subside will helpfully ground me better.

  • Read

While I am not as avid a reader as my sister or mum, I do enjoy a good book. It is something I’ve stopped doing lately, but reading does help to distract me. I have started reading blogs again, which is nice, but some non-screen reading will also be good to help wind down.

  • Go for a walk (or run, or something, just outside)

My average step count is around 5,000 per day, which isn’t that brilliant. But more importantly, a quick walk around the block in an evening after a mentally hard day will help me to sleep better – fresh air always helps.

  • Do some colouring in or sewing

I am quite poor at leaving work at work. I always have been I think. When I’m stressed, my anxiety raises its head too, so doing something that means I need to concentrate on something else that is distinctly different should help. I have at least one cross stitch on the go, and several more to do, so running out of them shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Eat well and drink

Of course, by “eat well” I don’t mean “eat indulgently” as I have done in the past. It will be about carrying on getting my vegetables in, and making sure I am meal planning. In eating properly, I’m hoping that my sugar highs and lows won’t fuel the stress even more.

Good in plan, and hopefully better in practice!

How do you manage your stress?


My single New Year’s resolution

For a change, instead of setting several New Year’s resolutions for 2015, I have decided to set only one.  That one is to learn to cope with stress better.

I don’t know what has changed so much this year, but my ability to cope with stress has been poor at best, and destructive at worst.  I’ve ballooned to my heaviest weight, and my go-to coping mechanism has been to eat sugary foods in excess.

This is going to be a little bit of trial and error while I try to work out what works and what doesn’t, but exercise, working my contracted hours and keeping a journal will be good starting points, and are all things that have helped in the past.

My theory is that getting the stress under control and back to a healthy level will help everything else fall in to place.  Or at least won’t make it seem as daunting!

Do you set New Year’s resolutions?  What do you do to manage stress?