Tub on the Run


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Ultimate Coffee Date – November 2014

I was introduced to the Ultimate Coffee Date by Laura over at Laura: Fat 2 Fit a few months back.

Post shopping cuppa

Ultimate Coffee Date is hosted by Jill Conyers, Grab your kicks, and Fitness Mom Wine Country, and takes place on the first Saturday of each month.  Some of the blogs that I have added into my reader have come courtesy of link ups, and think they’re a great way to get introduced to new people.  The point of the Ultimate Coffee Date is to take 5 minutes once a month for a bit of a catch up.

So…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Matt and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary this weekend.

Coming out of church

I can’t believe that this year has gone by so quickly, but if I am completely honest, I have thoroughly enjoyed not wedding planning this year!  2013 felt like it was all wedding planning and it was all I could talk about, which I have no doubt got incredibly boring for my nearest and dearest.  Having said that I still need to find homes for some of the left over bits and bobs (and get my dress dry cleaned…), and get a momento box thing together.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am loving autumn.  Autumn is probably my favourite season.

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Autumn means wellies, and I have awesome wellies!  I like the colour changes as the world prepares itself for winter, from red and orange leaves to the high streets preparing for their Christmas lights.  Candles in the evening as entirely acceptable again, and mugs of steaming hot tea become my drink of choice.  Also, it means that I feel more comfortable running again – as the nights draw in, I much prefer the anonymity of running under cover of darkness.

If we were having coffee, you would know how excited I am for this weekend.  One of my favourite bands is playing at Wembley, and it is going to be amazing!  We came across Blackstone Cherry when they supported Nickelback on one of their tours (I can’t remember which it was), and have seen them once since, when they came to Cardiff.

Because I have a cool family, it is a bit of a family outing – me, Matt, my mum and sister.  Dad has to stay at home unfortunately.  We don’t get a huge amount of time to spend in London, which is a shame, but I am hoping to be able to see the progress made with the poppies at the Tower of London.

What’s new with you?  Do you have a favourite season?


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Happy New Year’s Eve! Tub’s 2013 Round Up

Good bye 2013!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Tub on the Run is nearly a year old, so first up – thank you for dropping by, whether regularly or as a one off – I didn’t think anyone would read my ramblings!  2013 has been probably one of the most stressful but most rewarding years of my living memory, and thankfully, is one that is filled with many good memories.

January 2013 also saw me start Couch to 5k, which I later completed in the Spring.  Those first few runs were tough, but I enjoyed seeing the progress I made.

My first ever run on Couch to 5k - just an idea of how wet and windy it was!

My first ever run on Couch to 5k – just an idea of how wet and windy it was!

May saw me go for my first parkrun at Killerton – a beautiful setting for a 5k run on a Saturday morning.  While I have done less than I would like, I have enjoyed each run and getting to meet Sharon from Shazruns in real life has been great (though admittedly, 2013 has not seen us actually manage to grab a cuppa together!).  I was slow, and I am still slow, but I enjoy the fresh air in the morning, and I have had the chance to meet some lovely people that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

Out on my first parkrun

Out on my first parkrun

September gave me the opportunity to run in a different country.  M and I joined his mother and stepfather for their wedding in Cyprus.  The weather was beautiful, but it was definitely early morning runs only.  I only managed the one run, but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.  After all, it isn’t every day that you encounter mountain goats on your run!

Our Cypriot holiday

Our Cypriot holiday

October was marked by my hen do.  I still cannot thank my sister enough for organising such an amazing day.  It was absolutely perfect, and not a penis straw in sight!

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

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

November was huge.  Like massive.  I married the love of my life and had the most beautiful day with our nearest and dearest.  We enjoyed a week off after the wedding, and headed to Sheffield and Cardiff to get away for a couple of days.  I returned to a promotion, which has been deeply rewarding and challenging all at the same time.

Walking up the aisle

December has continued to be challenging in terms of work, but I had a great achievement in terms of completing my first ever 10k race.

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Weight loss wise, I have not lost as much as I would have liked, but I have lost what I deserved to lose – the amount of effort I have put in has yielded the result I have got.  While I am still at a net loss, and my first 10 weeks of the year showed weekly losses, getting to 15st 11.5lbs, my lack of consistency has seen a gain.

In terms of marshalling (motorsport), it has been a quiet year for us, which has been nice on one hand (we’re not gallivanting off to different counties every other weekend), but I have missed it.

Disclaimer - no dummies were hurt in this scenario exercise From the "spectator's"  point of view

Disclaimer – no dummies were hurt in this scenario exercise
From the “spectator’s” point of view

Overall, 2013 has been a good year, and I am looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings.


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Part 4: Tub’s wedding planning advice

Now, I am by no means a wedding planner, nor really am I qualified to give advice, but here we go anyway!

M and I got engaged in March 2012, so we had plenty of time to plan our November 2013 wedding.  We got a lot of the big stuff done and out of the way quite early on.  On the plus side of starting early, I’d say that you have the bonus of choice, as most places and people weren’t booking up that early.  We got the church, reception venue and photographer booked up early.  On the bad side, we found that people just weren’t that interested (though admittedly, no one is as interested in your wedding as you are), as it was so far away.  It also, for me, meant that I lost a lot of my wedding mojo in the massive gap between booking things and actually being able to “do” stuff.

Anyway, in bullet point fashion, here are Tub’s Top Wedding Planning Tips:

  • Spreadsheets.  These are your friends.  I set up two sheets – one budget and one guests.  The budget one was never that interesting.  The guest one was very important.  It tracked our guest list, their RSVP responses, the bump ups, their meal choices and dietary requirements, and the gift.  I am still using this list now at the time of typing as we’re in the process of sorting out our thank you cards.
  • Budget.  Unless you’re really good with money, be prepared to blow it.  It is hard to stick to the budget, especially when you go to wedding fairs and get tempted by all manner of other things.  Just make sure that you have enough to cover the important things (the marriage and the venue at least!).  Do plenty of research.  Some things are harder to get approximate costs for, but try.  We shopped around as much as we could.
  • Sweating the small stuff.  Don’t sweat it.  My mum thought it was essential that we had a cake topper.  I didn’t.  We had little ceramic marshals that M had handpainted, but they were too heavy to sit on top of the cake.  In the end, after looking around Exeter for a cake topper that didn’t resemble a Fimo disaster, we settled on flowers.  Another one was favours.  I got fairly pragmatic about this, in so far as I don’t recall having favours at any weddings I’ve been to, and it seems like tradition for tradition’s sake.  My bridesmaid, N, felt that I was being cheap (she didn’t say that, but I can’t think of a better word) for not doing favours.  If the budget wasn’t there, it wasn’t there (and by that point, it wasn’t).  I wasn’t going to be made to feel bad about it.  At the end of the day, no one noticed, and if they did, no one has said anything.
  • Weigh up what’s important to you.  For us, the right photographer was high on the list.  For the important things, start booking them early.  A nice car was important to us, until we realised just how expensive wedding cars are.  I think M would have probably gone with whatever, but I refused to pay £300 for two 5 minute journeys.  Yes, I know vintage cars have a lot of upkeep required, but the importance of having a vintage Bentley (or whatever) diminished when we found out the cost.
  • Overnight bags.  I didn’t have my brain in gear at all when I was packing my overnight bag.  I had packed the essentials like clean underwear, but forgot make up remover, a hair brush, socks…  It was not my most glamorous start to the day!
  • Before the wedding – take a good multivitamin if you tend to crash after big events.  I tend to, and I suspect if I had thought to take a good multivitamin I probably wouldn’t have felt so bad.  Also, try to take a day out to relax.  We had a relaxing(ish) day on the Friday, and it was nice time out.
  • Children at weddings.  Originally, we had planned not to have children at our wedding, but we softened on it.  We provided packs for the children which were really well received.  In the packs, we put crayons, colouring in sheets (free from Colouring Books), disposable cameras with an I Spy sheet, and bubbles to keep them entertained.  They were cheap but effective.  One of them was too young for that, so we got him a little rattle.

They are just a couple of things that we found helpful during our planning.

And, at the end of the day, the most important part is the marriage!

Coming out of church


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The Wedding: Part 3 (Honeymoon)

Following on from Parts One and Two, we’re now on to the days following our wedding.

“For sickness and in health” started somewhat earlier for us.  After any big event (up to this point, mostly exams), I tend to get a rotten cold, and this was no exception.  M and I cleared all the wedding stuff out of the room the morning after our wedding, distributed several bottles of wine to the family, and headed to my parents’ house.  M had to nip back to our flat, so I spent some time with my parents and sister.  It was nice to have some quiet time.

Once M arrived, we opened our cards and presents.  We were absolutely blown away by people’s generosity and kindness.  We got a lot of stuff from our gift list, and a enough cash to start the deposit for our own home.  My sister also gave us money to take on honeymoon so we could have a few treats, which was extremely kind of her.

Quite a long time ago, M and I had discussed where we wanted to go on honeymoon.  Initially we thought we’d like to go back to Tenerife and stay in the H10 Gran Tinerfe hotel.  We’d stayed there in 2012 and had a wonderful time.  As time wore on, we realised that we probably wouldn’t have the time (in terms of holiday), or budget to go straight after we got married.  We thought about postponing the honeymoon until May 2014.  However, as my parents-in-law got married in Cyprus, we decided that having been abroad this year already, perhaps we would enjoy staying within the UK.

For a long time, we’ve been threatening to do the “university tour”.  I went to university in Sheffield, and M went to university in Cardiff.  We agreed that actually, that could be quite a fun honeymoon.  We booked the hotels and the trains, and on Tuesday after our wedding, we jumped on the train at Exeter and headed up to Sheffield.  

We arrived late on Tuesday evening.  On Wednesday morning, we headed up to the Peace Gardens and stopped at Cafe Rouge for breakfast.  I ordered eggs benedict and M had croque madame.  It was a good start to the day.  Once breakfast was finished, we started on a wander up to Collegiate Campus which is where most of my lectures were.  It was great wandering through the Devonshire Quarter and up to Ecclesall Road.  A real trip down memory lane.  It was great to show M where I spent a good few years “growing up”.  After I’d shown him where I’d lived, we headed back towards the city centre, stopping for a wander through the Botanical Gardens.  I haven’t seen so many squirrels for a long time.  One even climbed up M’s leg!  I have never known a squirrel so brazen!

Botanical Gardens

It was getting a bit chilly, and also getting to lunchtime.  I had planned to go to Varsity on Ecclesall Road, as I spent a vast (probably too much, actually) amount of time in there in my third year at uni, and I was looking forward to a Southern chicken baguette.  Sadly, as we got closer, I realised that it had shutdown.  On to Champs we went.  Deprived of my Varsity trip, I settled on a Malibu and cranberry juice – my normal uni drink (in the day time anyway).  Ah it tasted good…

Drink of choice

After lunch, we wandered back through town, up the Moor (which is in the process of being redeveloped – it’s looking much better already!), and to the tram.  M hadn’t been on a tram before, so I thought that would be fun.  Off we headed to Meadowhall.  I really enjoyed this.  Cribbs Causeway has nothing on Meadowhall and I do miss it.  Whilst there, we shopped for a bit, then decided to have tea and catch a film.  Tea was all you can eat Thai.  There were jelly fish in their partition tank.

Jellyfish centrepiece

They were great!  The food was ok, good for the price.  The film we (well, I) chose was Captain Philips.  I don’t often enjoy the cinema, but this film was brilliant – a real weepy at the end.  

Day two in Sheffield wasn’t actually in Sheffield.  For a period after uni, I lived in Chesterfield and worked in Annesley.  I duly dragged M around Chesterfield and had lunch in one of the local pubs before looking in the church.

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The museum had opened since I’d left too, so we had a whizz through there before heading back to Sheffield to collect our bags.  

We were on the 17:30hrs train to Cardiff, again, arriving at night.  It was raining when we arrived, and the weather continued thus.  We got a bit lost trying to find the Premier Inn, but we found it in the end.

Every time I go to Wales it is raining.  This proved no exception.  We had a Premier Inn breakfast to fuel us on our travels and did the same in Cardiff as we had in Sheffield.  We walked up to M’s halls then back via his house.  I quite liked Cardiff, though I admit I am less keen on the weather and leaf mulch.  We stopped for lunch in Kappucino’s where M used to get his lunch.  It was delicious and I had the most heavenly tasting toffee apple muffin for pudding.  Unfortunately the rain hadn’t let up at all and we were both dripping wet (hence the lack of photos too).  We stopped off in the National Museum in an attempt to get dry (and cultured!).  

Tea was a prawn salad from Marks and Spencers for me and a Club Sandwich for M.  After many days of rich food, I was beginning to crave clean foods.

On Saturday, the rugby was on (Wales v South Africa) and I experienced quite a surreal day.  Sheffield has been my only experience of large sporting events (that aren’t motorsport), and the football always seems to have a menacing atmosphere that I never enjoyed.  There was always a strong police presence, and the two sides never met.  Rugby was completely different.  Springboks and the Welsh walked side by side down the street, drank in the same bars, and smiled at each other.  I saw a whole three policemen out on patrol.  The atmosphere was lively and friendly.  We spent the morning shopping and soaking in the atmosphere, as M proudly wandered the streets in his Welsh shirt.

When in Wales

We came home on Saturday, and barely had time to sit down with a cup of tea before we headed out for a friend’s party.

It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I am ready for normal life to resume!  Just with a different surname!


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The Wedding: Part 2 (The day)

From Part One, we have Part Two.

I woke to the start of a slightly snotty cold.  Delightful.  However, I’d slept well, and I dragged M off to the florist with me to start getting the flowers into the right cars.  Dad was meeting us there, but unfortunately was running a bit late.  We got everything sorted though, not without a couple of tears on my part though.  The flowers were beautiful, I was so pleased with them.

Flowers

I don’t know much anything about flowers, and I certainly don’t have a favourite, so I was very grateful to our florists for recommending the right flowers.  My bouquet was leonidas roses with hypericum berries.  M’s buttonhole was the same.  The other men of the party had a leonidas rose without the berries.  My bridesmaids had a dolomite rose bouquet with some purple leaves (no idea what they are I’m afraid).  I was thrilled with them.  The ladies corsages were the dolomite rose.  I had no idea that the mothers’ bouquets were going to be quite so big, so they took a little more careful placement in Dad’s van than originally thought.

From the florist, I nipped home to meet N, who was running late.  It got to the point where I was due in the hairdressers and she hadn’t appeared, and I was beginning to feel stressed.  I enjoyed having my hair done – and I was really surprised that the curls were holding.  To be honest, after being placed in hot rollers then tonged, if they had fallen out, I probably would have needed to admit defeat entirely.  N appeared, and shortly afterwards, so did P and my mum.  Unfortunately, the heavens had opened by the point we were looking to leave the hairdressers.  Thankfully, we all managed to dodge the rain and then it was on to having make up done at my mum’s.  Dad was busying himself with setting up his band at Woodbury Park (I think it was probably a small makeshift sanctuary from all the girliness!).  Mum and P’s make up had been done by Sarah before they came to the hairdressers, so N was first up when we came back.  I have to admit, I didn’t much enjoy this bit.  I felt like a bit of a spare fart and didn’t really know what to do with myself.  I was glad when our photographers arrived and I had a bit of a distraction in making tea and coffee.

Then it was my turn in the make up chair.  I struggled with the weight of the make up, as I don’t wear heavy make up at all, but I was pleased of it as it lasted well for the photos.

Once my make up was done, Sarah shooed me off to get my dress on, where Mum and I disappeared into the bedroom and started lacing me up.

Lacing Up

At this point, our photographers disappeared to church to get some photos of M and the guests arriving.  My father-in-law arrived to take Dad and me to church.  David has a black Insignia, which he very kindly decorated with orange ribbons and drove us to church.

The weather had cleared up beautifully by now.  The sun was shining, but the wind was bitter, and I was glad to have my cloak that Mum had made.  Father Stephen met us at the church gate, and then quickly nipped back in to start getting things ready.  As Dad and I walked down the church path, I started getting the nervous shakes.  All I kept thinking was “don’t cry”.  I didn’t want to cry – remember those awful You’ve Been Framed films of wedding where people can’t get their words out for crying.  If I’d have started crying, it would have been like that, so I was trying hard to not start.

As we arrived in one of the backrooms, I took my cloak off, gripped Dad’s arm, the girls fluffed my train out, and Charpentier’s Prelude to Te Deum started.  A few bars, the doors opened and we headed off down the aisle.

The ceremony went so quickly, and I enjoyed every second of it.  We both tried hard to remember the hand placements, and I’m pleased to say that we got them all right.  We were married!

Walking up the aisle

Of course, then it was on to the official signing of the register.

We then had many photos outside of the church.  My face ached at the end of it.  I loved the couple of minutes that M and I had together at the church just after the majority of our guests headed back to their cars.  As our guests headed to Woodbury Park, M and I had a few photos down the beach.  It was incredibly windy, and it was at that point that my veil nearly flew away.  It was great to be together and sharing a few moments.

Beach

We arrived a Woodbury Park to be greeted by our friends.  It was great.  Our friends and family really made the day so special.  Every now and then, I’d be slapped by the realisation that people were there for us.  They didn’t all know each other, but they knew us, and it was quite overwhelming to have people there to celebrate “us”.  We had plenty of time to mingle before we were officially called in to the room.

We started with the speeches.  Normally, of course, the speeches would be at the end of the meal, but because of a timing hitch with our DJ, we had to shuffle the speeches around.  They were brilliant.  I enjoyed each and every one of them.  The food was served, and it was amazing.  Woodbury Park were excellent – the food was so delicious.  Not too long after our meals had been finished and cleared, our evening guests started arriving and more mingling ensued.  I actually didn’t see M all that much in the evening really.

Probably the part I enjoyed least about the whole day was our first dance.  It was awful having everyone watch.  We’d chosen “How d’ya like your eggs in the morning?” by Dean Martin and Helen O’Connell, as it’s a song we always end up singing together, and we couldn’t think of another song.  Not too long after that, the majority of our friends graced the dance floor for some wedding Gangnam Style.  Oh yes… We were the epitome of cool!

One of the surprise parts which I really enjoyed was when my Dad shouted P and me up on to the stage, and point to us to get in front of the microphones.  If I had known what he was about to do, I’d never have agreed to it, but it was perfectly timed and great fun.  When we were little, one of the cars we had growing up had no radio, so we used to sing to ourselves.  One of the songs was Cream’s Mother’s Lament:

And so, on stage, with Dad on guitar, P, Dad and I sang a Mother’s Lament.  I belly laughed afterwards.

In the evening, my Dad’s band played.  They were fantastic and very well received.  I hadn’t seen the band for a long time, and it was great to hear how far they’ve all come on together.

Unfortunately, I had started running a temperature so had to go for regular trips outdoors to keep from overheating.  M was holding up the mingling fort though.  One criticism I’ve often levied at other weddings where we’ve been guests has been that the bride and groom didn’t mingle much.  Well, now I understand quite how difficult it is – you want to get to see everyone, but because of the amount of people, you manage a few minutes with each and then motor off again.  It was definitely worth it though.

The party ended at midnight, and a few of us milled around while Dad and his band were packing up.  M and I grabbed a handful of cards to open in our room.

I can tell you now, while I loved my dress, I have never been so pleased to get into my pyjamas!  We managed to open about 6 cards between us before our eyes stopped working and fingers couldn’t coordinate enough to open an envelope.

And that was that.  Mr and Mrs H.

Wedding RingsA few N&Ps (in relatively chronological order) to round this post off:

  • My dress – Maggie Sottero’s Joanna, bought at Days of Grace.  Special thanks to Lilly, the dressmaker (seamstress?) for the alterations.
  • My veil – by Margaret (0151 639 5084). Margaret was recommended to me by some other brides to be on a wedding planning forum.  She made exactly what I wanted, and the price was very reasonable.  Margaret is also very knowledgeable about what would have suited me and the dress.
  • Hairdresser – my normal hairdressers did my hair – Guys and Dolls.
  • Make Up – Sarah at Topsham Beauty did all our make up, and my nails.  I’ve known Sarah for nearly 7 years and wouldn’t have had anyone else do my nails or make up.
  • Flowers – our florist was Daff O Dil’s.  They were great on recommending the perfect flowers and sorting us out with car ribbons.
  • Photographers – Ian and Kitty Wright were our photographers.  They’re a husband and wife team, and they were so lovely.  From our first meeting with them, we knew they were the ones for us.  Their photography is beautiful and we couldn’t be happier with the photos that we have.
  • Church – we were married in St John in the Wilderness in Exmouth.  Father Stephen is so friendly and helpful, and delivered the perfect service for us.
  • Reception – Woodbury Park couldn’t have been more accommodating and helpful.  They were absolutely fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them.  The food was awesome, they set the room up exactly how we wanted it, and the breakfast in the morning was delicious.
  • Band – our band was my Dad’s band, Extractor.  They really were brilliant.  Sadly, I won’t be N&Ping our DJ, as there was nothing to praise really.  Dad did us so proud with his set though – I am very lucky!


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The Wedding: Part One (The Run Up)

I’m back!  I’m back as a Mrs too, though that is taking some getting used to (changing a name is hard!).  I’ve split the wedding down into different posts, otherwise it would turn into a huge mammoth post.  First up, the last few days before the wedding.

Wednesday

Having finished work on Tuesday evening, I had a nice easy start, pottering around first thing in the morning.  M had to work, so I had made plans to spend the day with my sister.  We headed up to Exeter to get a couple of last minute things.  I knew my hair do was likely to fall out on the day of the wedding (curls won’t stay in my hair) so I wanted to find a clip for my hair so I could change my hair if I needed to.  Mission accomplished, my sister and I headed to Yo! Sushi. She’d never been before, and I fancied something light.  It was a hit.

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Then it was on to collect the wedding cake.  It was one of the last things that I arranged.  I have a bit of a thing with wedding cakes (and cars for that matter).  If you go for a proper wedding cake, it seems a lot of money just for something that is going to get cut up.  After some online searching, Marks and Spencers cropped up and I ordered a plain iced 3 tier cake with the view that we’d go for something simple to decorate it.

It was quite a busy evening, as we realised the bits that we’d forgotten or hadn’t finished so we didn’t get to bed until gone midnight.  Thankfully, we sorted everything in time.

Thursday

I picked my sister up as we had an appointment for manicures at 9:30am.  I enjoyed the time out being a little pampered.  I enjoyed the eyebrow wax slightly less.

French Mani

From there, we went hunting for a cake topper.  It was another thing I hadn’t much thought about, but my mum was insistent that we had something on the cake.  P and I had looked in Exeter on Wednesday and found nothing that I liked, and unfortunately the same was the case on Thursday.  They either looked like Quasimodo or were the joke ones where the bride was grabbing the runaway groom (nothing against them, but they aren’t my taste).  In the end, we opted for flowers.

We had to box up the centrepieces with all the cards before heading back to my parents’ to collect the wine and then heading up to Woodbury Park.

The evening was filled with some final preparation to the “beauty” regime…

Skin prep

The very kind man at Lush gave me a face mask (Love Lettuce) when M and I went to Exeter the weekend before the wedding.  I love this stuff – it feels amazing, and it is a great exfoliant.  Definitely one to keep up with I think.

Friday

Generally, Friday wasn’t too stressful, though Mum was getting increasingly stressed out for some reason.  In the evening, M, Dad, P, J, N and I went over to the church for our rehearsal.  It all felt a bit strange really, like it was actually happening.  I enjoyed it though.  I didn’t feel too nervous, and I managed to say the right things, but both M and I realised that we were probably not going to be able to remember all the hand movements you need to do (I was surprised that there were hand movements involved!).  The girls put out reserved cards in the front pews for our families.  And that was that.

I stayed at home with M on the night before our wedding – I don’t sleep well without him, so I’d decided early on that I would be staying at home.


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Signing off as a Miss

The last couple of weeks has been a crazy mess of work and wedding planning.  Work has been bittersweet, I’ve had some challenging things, but also had good news in that I was successful in my application for the role above me.  When I return to work, I return with a new name and a new job title.

The wedding planning has generally been good fun in the last couple of weeks – things are all coming together, and it’s nice to see all the hard work beginning to pay off.  Unfortunately that hasn’t left much room for blogging.  Or running.  However, I’ve enjoyed spending time with my family as we get the final bits and bobs in order.  I don’t have much left to do now, other than take some bits to my parents’ house and tidy the flat.

We’re getting married tomorrow and we’re then off on honeymoon a couple of days later, so I anticipate no blogging until I come back.  I do anticipate some running though (otherwise I will end up very far behind on my plan and I will struggle to get all the training in).

So, TTFN – I return in just over a week as Mrs Tub.


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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.

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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 🙂


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Gromits, Birthdays and Hangovers

I have had a lot to smile about this week.  Admittedly, it isn’t much to smile about in terms of weight loss, but life isn’t just about that is it.

It’s been a hard few weeks at work again, for one reason and another, but days are always made a little easier by some good post.  Combine post with my birthday, and we’re on to a winner!  While the week hasn’t been amazing for weight loss (since when are birthdays ever good for weight loss?!), it has been a good week for running (albeit, I haven’t actually run this week…).

Birthday presents

I have seen a couple of good reviews about Yurbuds, but couldn’t justify spending £25 plus on earphones, so my sister very kindly bought me a pair for my birthday.  I have yet to try them out with music, but I am very much looking forward to doing so.  M and his family bought me a new Garmin Forerunner 210 with a heart rate monitor.  It’s a lot more fancy than my old Forerunner 101, and it definitely looks less “criminal ankle bracelet”.  I’m looking forward to being able to head out for a run and see how it compares.

It’s been a busy weekend so far, and I’m not posting from my normal abode.  On Friday, we headed up to Silverstone for the 750MC meeting yesterday.  I’ve burnt off some of the birthday cake by being the flag marshal for Saturday, but blimey my arms are feeling it today!  Anyone who thinks that waving a coloured cloth at racing drivers is easy has clearly not battled with English winds or smacked themselves in the face with aforementioned cloth (I cannot confirm or deny that this may have happened yesterday…).

Normally, we don’t do anything (other than recover) on the evening of a day’s marshalling, but I had arranged to meet a friend in Weston-Super-Mare for dinner.  N left where I work about 5 months ago and relocated to this part of the world for her new work.  She’s really enjoying it and I’m so pleased for her – she’s definitely fallen on her feet!  We met at Frankie and Benny’s for food, and quickly ascertained that a 4 person pitcher of cocktails made more financial sense than getting separate ones.  At least, that’s how we justified it to ourselves!  To be honest, I’m truly amazed I didn’t have a hangover this morning.  I very rarely drink, and we had a good few pitchers between us.

Today, sans hangover, M and I headed to Cribbs Causeway for a spot of retail therapy.  Except, as is usually the case, when you have money to spend, you can never find anything you like!  I had a couple of things in mind – a pair of Birkenstocks (having had them recommended by a fat fighting friend), some sandals for mother-in-law’s wedding (gah! we’re heading into Autumn/Winter season, and I appear to have blinked and missed the sales!), and a pashmina/scarf type thing for mother-in-law’s wedding.  I came away empty handed and a bit annoyed that I probably would have found everything I wanted in Exeter.  Ah well – that’s next week’s plan sorted!

Whilst we were out, we also spotted two more Gromits (as part of the Gromit Unleashed project), taking my Gromit total to 3:

Gromit Unleashed Watermarked

 

I’m a little bit sad that we haven’t made it around the Gromit trail, but we seem to be ticking off weekends at a rate of knots!  However, we did get to go around the Gromit exhibition at Cribbs:

Space storeroom

Wallace Rocket

Moon Robot

Margaret Aged 42

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I’ve had a good week for a couple of other points too:

  • I have had breakfast most days this week.  I don’t usually have a proper breakfast, opting to eat at about 10am when I am more settled into my day at work.  I recently realised that I don’t have much of a routine, and I am quite envious of my mother and sister for having a well established routine to their day to day lives.  With a couple of small tweaks in the evening, I now have the time at the first part of the day to actually have breakfast and mentally go over the day ahead.  This means that I feel more organised, less rushed and a bit more in control.  I have also tried to get to bed at a decent hour (I’m horrendous for not getting enough sleep – a trick I think I must have learnt from my dad!).
  • Weigh in.  I did actually lose weight this week.  Let’s not dwell on it though, because a birthday, Frankie and Benny’s, Silverstone “cuisine” (i.e. burgers) and grandmother-in-law’s cooking does not bode well for the scales this week.  Good for the soul, yes, but not for my waistline.
  • I’ve ordered my wedding veil.  I am a member of a wedding planning forum, and they had all recommended a lady who trades on ebay.  Several emails later, and I’m confident that she has recommended me the perfect veil based on my dress.  It should take 6-8 weeks to be delivered.
  • I’ve realised that you can have food hangovers.  While I have come away from an alcohol hangover unscathed, I learnt a valuable lesson this week.  You can have a sugar hangover.  My birthday was fuelled by sugar.  Lots and lots of refined sugar.  I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time.  The day after?  I could barely function.  My head was screaming, my stomach was unsettled, I couldn’t concentrate, I felt awful.  I felt hungover.  I’m glad, in that respect, that this week is nearly over and normal business must be resumed quickly.

We’re marshalling at Castle Combe tomorrow, and then back to work as normal on Tuesday.


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Hen party weekend

I had one of those great weekends this week.  I have to admit that I wasn’t really feeling the plans (it was a friend’s hen do), and while I was very much up for seeing my friends (who came from far and wide), I wasn’t initially looking forward to the activities (for the sole reason it touches on some difficult spots for me).

The plans were to go for breakfast, head to a spa, return to the bride-to-be’s mum’s house for plenty of drinks and then go for a photoshoot.  Breakfast?  Yep, that’s ok, I can cope with that.  A spa?  You mean I have to get my fat, wobbly body out?  Really?!  I feel nauseous.  I’m sure I’ll make other people feel nauseous too.  I’ve never been to one before… What do I take, what’s the etiquette, how am I going to cope?  And photographs?  There is going to be documented evidence that I look like a gelatinous blob… in a dress (yeah, yeah, I know I have a Photo page on the blog, so it’s not like I’m completely photo-phobic, but this is different).

Ok… first thing’s first – breakfast can’t be anything that makes me windy (no one wants added bubbles in the Jacuzzi after all!).  Porridge?  Yes, porridge is a good idea.  What do I take?  Who can I ask?  Twitter!  Thank you Lucy – I followed your advice and went completely prepared. Ok, bag packed, all necessary areas shaved.

Sandy Bay Spa

As we arrived at the spa and checked in, I could feel my anxiety beginning to kick in (though I think I did a marvellous job of not showing it outwardly).  We got changed and headed up to the spa.  No one died from seeing my lily white thunder thighs, nor did they recoil in horror at my wobbliness or cry at the sight of my cellulite.

Jacuzzi

It was really, really relaxing.  Except for the bit where I nearly broke my neck putting wet feet into flip flops and walking down some stairs.  I enjoyed the catch up with friends, fizz in the Jacuzzi, roasting in the sauna, melting in the steam room and sitting in the outdoor hot tub while a storm gathered out at sea (you couldn’t see the horizon for the rain at one point), and continuing to sit there as the rain pelted down, watching holiday makers run for cover.

Hot tub

As our time to leave came, I debated having my feet eaten by the garra rufa fish, but decided to spare them the horror of my toes on this occasion.  Thoroughly relaxed, I dropped my friend home and headed back to my house to have a shower (the smell of chlorine is definitely not relaxing).

Reshowered, I packed my bag for the photoshoot, feeling sad that I don’t have any nice clothes to wear to such an event.  I picked an old tunic type dress type thing and my wedding shoes (noted: non-scale victory in being able to get back in to the dress!).  Nothing else fitted, so with those two items, I headed off to the mother-of-the-bride-to-be’s, where we congregated for nibbles and cocktails whilst getting ready (though I’m not sure strong cocktails and GHD straighteners are ever a good combination).  It was like being back at uni – we did each other’s hair, fished through make-up bags and compared shoes and outfits.  The rain continued to come down quite heavily, so we made sure that we packed the straighteners, make-up and wore our day clothes on the train.

The train was delightful.  Yes, I am being sarcastic.  As we waited for the train, there was a young couple mucking around, being a little bit loud and obnoxious.  They were probably in their early 20s.  Bearing in mind that it was only about 5pm, I did think it was a bit early for them to be drunk, so decided that they were just obnoxious.  They got on the train half a carriage down from us, and started acting up properly as we were about to get off at our station.  I shot them a look, and the girl said something like “oh, she doesn’t like you”.  He retorted “Well, she’s getting off the train now, so her 95 stone will mean we can go quicker”.

I don’t think any of my friends heard the comment, and if I hadn’t been so relaxed from earlier in the day or the fact that it was my friend’s hen party, I probably would have foregone getting off at that stop and had a go (and would have promptly burst into tears out of sight).  I tried to let it go over me, but it stung.  It still stings now.  Then I think that maybe I am just being a fuddy-duddy in my attitude and shouldn’t have given him a funny look in the first place (though how you look at someone, who is thrusting at the toilet door and shouting to his girlfriend that he could do her in there, other than with distain, I don’t know).

Minor hiccup aside, we arrived at Orange Cat Photography and got started.  I am not one for posing in front of others, and it does make me quite uncomfortable, but Sarah, the photographer, was amazing at putting everyone at ease.  We all enjoyed the session, and I couldn’t wait to see the results.  I’ve never had professional photos done outside of school/graduation pictures before, so I was really interested to see what they come out like.  For the wardrobe dilemma, I did exchange dresses with a friend so had more than just the one dress to wear.

I am so pleased with how the photos came out, not only for myself but Sarah really did an excellent job of coordinating the group shots and getting us all to smile or strike a pose.

 

Thank you to Sarah @ www.orangecatphotography.co.uk for allowing me to use this image

Thank you to Sarah @ http://www.orangecatphotography.co.uk for allowing me to use this image

It was late when we got back to town.  Some of the party went home at that point, but a couple of us headed to the local pub and finished off the night with a night cap (double Disaronno for me).

Sunday was a quieter affair (and I was surprised to wake up without a hangover), culminating in cooking tea at Mum’s (lemon chicken, Slimming World style – I’ll put the recipe up some time).

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend, and wish I could have a weekend like that every week!