Tub on the Run


4 Comments

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?


7 Comments

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? 


4 Comments

Killerton Classic Car Show 2016

The alternative title for this post was “A risk of getting a tan this year”. When we lived in the flat, I used to get so miserable that going outdoors was just not going to happen. Between not feeling comfortable in my own body, the humidity of living in the middle of a seaside town to the ridiculous amount of tourists lazily dawdling through the town, I didn’t enjoy summers there. This year though, with the bonus of a garden, I’m really enjoying getting out and about more (and surprise, surprise, my mood is better for it!).

Saturday

I got home really late (for me) from my friend’s leaving do, flopping in to bed at around 1:30am. I’d had a great night out though, despite not drinking at all. After sleeping in a bit, I put a couple of loads of washing on, cleaned the kitchen thoroughly and had a coffee. I’d bought a couple of jars of Little’s instant coffee a couple of months ago, and also got a packet of ground chocolate caramel infused coffee. I don’t own a cafetière, but I wanted a proper coffee so improvised and used my tea pot and strainer. It worked!

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Happy days! As I was sorting myself out, Matt popped down to Cullompton Farmer’s Market and bought some sausages from Moonbeams Farm for breakfast. I then popped out to get some bacon (also Moonbeams), picked up some wild garlic bread for Matt from Bread of Devon and some venison for a casserole from Garlandhayes Farm. I haven’t cooked with venison before, so I am going to the oracle that is Pinterest later to work out what I can make.

For the rest of the day, we popped up to Matt’s family as we had some stuff to drop off for him mum. While we were there, we picked up some gardening tools which had been offered to us. A nice evening in followed, and we watched The Hateful Eight (very bizarre – a typical Tarantino film).

Sunday

Hasn’t it been glorious today! Matt had spotted that Killerton House was hosting a classic car show this weekend, so we thought we’d pop on over (make the most of our National Trust membership!). After I’d hung the washing out, made another coffee and pottered, we jumped in the car and headed to Killerton.

Killerton House - Classic - London Transport Bus

I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest. Often, we find these types of events quite underwhelming, but actually this was really good!

Killerton Classic Car Show 2016

We wandered around the fields with hundred of classics, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at various cars. For us, classics have always been old cars, things from the 1940s until the 1970s. Classic car owners are also “classics” themselves if you catch my drift. As we were walking along, we came across a Maestro.

Killerton Classic Car Show Rally Maestro

I’d be lying if there wasn’t a bit of a horrifying realisation that Matt and I grew up with some cars that are now considered classics. How on earth has that happened?! I remember the red Maestro that we had as a family when I was little (though it wasn’t in as good nick as this one). Then we came across a Rover Metro. Dad had a Metro in the mid-90s which was his driving school car. I’ve turned into one of those people who says “I remember when MG Fs were cool”.

Killerton Classic MG Bear

There were some really great cars on display, and it was interesting to read about various exhibit’s restoration processes and owner history. What really struck me was how loved these cars all were – the amount of time, money and love that goes into them is so evident.

Killerton Classic 2016

I really enjoyed wandering around. There was a craft section too, but I wasn’t too interested as it was mostly jewellery or things for children.

When we got home, we nipped into the garden to discuss the next steps that we need to make to reclaim the borders, get things tidy and start planting things and making it our own. We agreed the grass desperately needs mowing (mower to be bought next week) and the borders rotivating and neatening. Then we can work out what can go where.

I suspect I have some sunburn now, despite slapping on the sunscreen. It’s been a really nice, relaxed weekend though.

Have you had a nice weekend? What did you get up to?


13 Comments

T minus 1 to my Whole 100

It’s Whole 100 Eve today! I’ve decided to take some time out to blog about where I am right now, with pictures and everything. In my January Whole 30, I made the mistake of forgetting to take any before pictures. This time, I’ve remembered!

Starting Point

This is my starting point. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I felt like an over-stuffed sausage, squeezing into these capri pants again. It’s a long time since I wore them last, and man can I feel the extra pounds in this! I am also cringing a little to post this, but I’m desperately trying to remind myself that this is my “before” photo. It’s going to get better from here.

Whole 100 Minus Day 1 Beyond the Sofa

Obviously it should go without saying – apologies for the awful hair and lack of make up. It’s Sunday – that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it! I’ve weighed myself, measured myself, and taken photographs. One thing? I am definitely hoping for a bit more of a tan in 100 days! I’m still undecided what I am going to do about weighing in over the course of the Whole 100. In my Whole 30 round up from January, the creators of Whole 30 think you should look at the achievements beyond the scale, but when you have such a large amount to lose, I think it is helpful, so I am going to do what works for me. I don’t want to be beholden to the scale like I used to feel when I did Slimming World, but I also don’t feel ready to go it solo.

Anyway, I think it’s fair to say that my weight loss seems to have ground to a halt lately. I’m bobbing around the same couple of pounds, and I find myself regularly overeating just because it’s there.

Energy and other stuff

I honestly feel like I live in a kind of “coffee cannot cure this kind of tired” way at the moment. I have quite defined peaks and troughs in my energy (don’t ask me for anything between 3:30pm and 5:00pm – it won’t get done). My procrastination levels are possibly reaching new highs too. This has been further compounded by some really awful sleep. Normally I’m a good sleeper, but lately, my sleep has been quite broken. I’ve been quite good at getting to bed on time, as I had promised myself that I would do, though my weekends need some work! The sleep itself though has been decidedly naff.

Let’s talk about skin, hair and nails. Now, I’m going to paint you a lovely picture with words. I think I’m turning into a crust. My skin is so awfully dry and flaky. My scalp is sore with painful dandruff. My nails are super thin and brittle. I’m truly gorgeous! I had a facial a couple of weeks ago in the hope of sorting my skin out, but even that didn’t really help.

About my Whole 100

When I wrote my post about doing a Whole 100 a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d be able to breeze through it with no real issues. How hard can it be? It’s only 3 lots of Whole 30 plus 10 days. I’ve done 3 Whole 30s already after all. Then, I suddenly start thinking that actually, 100 days is really long and that I don’t want to be a hermit. Then I remembered it is the Devon County Show in a couple of weeks, and I won’t be able to eat the wonderful cheeses, breads and other samples. Then I remembered that I am out with friends the following week. Then I remembered that I am actively choosing to do this, for good reasons, and that in the grand scheme, 100 days really isn’t very long and I will be able to eat out as normal but I’ll have to be that person. It’ll be fine.

I’m expecting the first couple of weeks to be a standard Whole 30 affair, with some grumpiness, some breakouts, some issues with tiredness and concentration. From around Day 30 onwards, I would anticipate either some food boredom or plate envy, and maybe a desire to binge eat. I suspect I’ll probably have a bit of a grump around then too, though that is wandering into uncharted territory at that point.

I’ll be blogging about it, but it won’t be as frequent as my January Whole 30, as, y’know, 100 days and all.

I have a “send off” of chicken fajitas and tiramisu, so I am going to head off and have my tea. Wish me luck!


5 Comments

Weigh in Wednesday 14: Bad eating will catch you up

Weigh in Wednesday 14

It’s been a busy-ish week. I’ve worked some pretty long hours, and had a weekend away. On Friday night, I popped down to my parents’ house to spend some time with them as my sister would be going home over the weekend, and I wouldn’t get the chance to say goodbye after Friday. I finished off my Green and Black’s mint chocolate Easter egg while I was there. Thinking about it, that is probably the longest time it has taken me to eat an Easter egg. I was always the child who ate them over the course of the Easter weekend.

On Saturday, I had to be up early. Matt wanted to get on the road early on to get to Brands Hatch for the first British Touring Car Championship meeting of the year. He’d won tickets on Twitter and booked us in to the Travelodge at Dartford for Saturday night.

BTCC Brands Hatch

We’ve never been to Brands Hatch before but arrived in good time, and what a gorgeous day! We were really blessed with the weather. It was warm for most of the day, but turned a bit nippy as we took a seat in the grandstands to watch the touring car practice session.

Breakfast was a bit of a mish mash of stuff, but not unhealthy. Lunch was a different story. It was a burger and chips from one of the local vendors. Tea was then Burger King. I didn’t think to check what the facilities near the Travelodge were. I’m used to staying in Premier Inns with work, which always have proper food facilities there and I tend to forget that Travelodges aren’t like this. On Sunday, breakfast was a bacon bap from the circuit, lunch was a steak sandwich (with brie – this wasn’t really a winning combination). Tea was then from MacDonald’s as we hadn’t thought forward to get anything out for tea when we got home. If I see another burger in the near future, I will probably scream.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, I’m recording a 3lb gain this week. More importantly, I’ve learned that my body just isn’t that keen on bread, despite what my taste buds say. After the first couple of mouthfuls, I always get hiccups. I kind of knew this already from my previous Whole 30s, and I don’t tend to have much bread these days, so it was a bit of a surprise.

I am back on it now though. I feel like it’s turning into salad weather now, so I have had salad for lunch and batch cooked meals for tea with loads of veggies. One thing I do need to kick is having cereal around 9pm. I don’t need it, I’m not hungry, and it’s just turned into a bit of a habit. Anyway, onwards and downwards!

Did you have a nice weekend?


2 Comments

Whole 30 Days 28 to 30: Round 3 complete!

finished-the-w30-fb-cover

Happy Day 30 to me! I am going to get my thoughts down on how all of my Whole 30 went during round 3, but for now, I’ll carry on with my previous format.

Day 28

Breakfast: Fruit and almonds

Lunch: Beef stew with carrot and swede mash

Tea: Chicken korma with cauliflower rice

How I’m feeling: I have to admit I feel pretty sad today. It isn’t food related, but I was shocked to hear about the passing of Terry Wogan. As a self-confessed, and perhaps premature Radio 2 listener (a TOG if you will), Terry Wogan, Deadly Alancoat (Alan Dedicoat), Lynn Bowles and Boggy Marsh accompanied me on all of my commutes to work when I lived in Chesterfield. There were a lot of times that I had to stay in the car just to hear the end of whatever they were talking about, often belly laughing about snorkers or a poem. Incensed when Chris Evans joined, I reconverted back to Radio 1 with Chris Moyles, but it wasn’t the same (I don’t dislike that many people, but I really don’t like Chris Evans). Instead, Terry then accompanied Matt and I when we went on Sunday morning journeys. It was fitting then, as I was at Mum’s for lunch, that we ate and listened to her CD of Janet and John stories (please check them out if you haven’t heard of them before, they’re pure genius).

Anyway, back in Whole 30 land, Mum very kindly cooked a beef stew and served it with swede and carrot mash, which made it completely Whole 30 compliant. It was really tasty too. I had a lovely afternoon catching up and putting the world to rights with Mum, and providing a warm lap to this nutter…

Harley

He’s so gorgeous. It’s been another good day, plenty of energy despite the late night last night. I definitely feel that I’m riding the crest of the wave.

Day 29

Breakfast: Fruit and almonds

Lunch: Salad with a couple of slices of beef

Tea: Pulled pork with sweet potato

How I’m feeling: I am pleased about the return of sweet potatoes! It has been quite a long time for us to have gone sweet potato free. It was another late night, and all things considered, I don’t feel bad at all. I’ve had a really productive day at work, which continued in to the evening. I had some stuff to do when we got home, then had tea, and then made up a meatloaf and prepared a stew which will be cooked tomorrow. It does mean that we’re eating meatloaf for the next few meals, but I don’t mind that too much. I also prepared breakfast. I can’t believe it’s Day 29 already!

Day 30

Breakfast: Eggs with pancetta and tomatoes

Lunch: Meatloaf

Tea: Meatloaf with carrot noddles and cauliflower rice

How I’m feeling: I am feeling excellent. I had a long team meeting this morning, and I felt that I was alert and able to contribute without any mental fug or distractions about feeling hungry. I have kept back up on my fluid intake again, though I have noticed I’ve started to get a sore throat. I am hoping it’s nothing and I’ll be able to fight it off quickly if it does develop in to anything. Matt weighed himself this morning, and he reckons that he has lost a whopping 25lbs! That is really fantastic, and I couldn’t be more pleased for him! He’s ready to go down the next jeans size too, so he’s pretty chuffed with it all.

I really can’t believe how quickly these 30 days have gone and how different this Whole 30 has been compared to my previous two efforts. As I said, I will be doing a full recap of all the 30 days over the next couple of day, but if you want to catch up with my previous days, they’re all here:


7 Comments

Whole 30 Days 19 to 21: on the up!

After a pretty miserable few days, I feel like I am on the up again! And about time too! It isn’t (cringe) the “tiger blood“/superhero feeling, but I am feeling more together.

Day 19

Breakfast: Diced bacon, hard boiled egg and sweet potato

Lunch: Chicken in Matt’s amazing tomato sauce and veggie couscous

Tea: Steak with onions and sweet potato

How I’m feeling: I am glad it’s Friday, that’s for sure! It was one of the busier days in the office again today, and I didn’t end up eating my lunch until nearly 4pm. I had planned to have it earlier, but a meeting overran and then I had a couple of others to go to. One thing that I was pretty glad of was I didn’t get ravenously hungry (or grumpy). Yes, I was hungry, but I wasn’t chew-on-your-arm kind of hungry. I also noticed I seemed to keep a better concentration level going. All in all, it’s been a pretty good day.

Day 20

Breakfast: French omelette

Lunch: Ham and a juice

Tea: Chicken stir fry with sweet potatoes

How I’m feeling: Refreshed! Finally! I woke up, having had nearly 9 hours of sleep and felt good. Over breakfast, Matt and I were talking about what we wanted to do in the day. His nearly-Whole-30 is going really well, and he decided his treat would be a new Xbox 1 controller (how it’s different from the other one, I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve been told it is MUCH better than the other). Unfortunately the only place that had it was an Argos in Plymouth (which is about an hour away). We’d also been talking about rejoining the National Trust, so decided to do it today and stop by Saltram House on the outskirts of Plymouth on the way back from Argos.

Saltram House

It was a really murky day, but the weather is clearly confusing the plant life – the daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses were all out in force. We didn’t get to go around the whole house, as only the east wing is open at the moment, but it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours. We’re going to go back in the spring (when hopefully the sun is shining!) so we can go around all of the house and gardens.

Gardens at Saltram

Around 3:45pm, we headed home, stopping at Tesco to see if they had a magazine that Matt was looking for. Because we hadn’t had lunch either, we picked up a couple of things to munch. I picked up ham and a juice. It wasn’t the best thought out meal, but it filled a hole until tea time. This evening, I’ve put in a big Muscle Food order, which will hopefully be here on Wednesday. I’ve included a couple of their paleo snacks to see what they’re like. If one thing that this Whole 30 has told me is that I can’t be prepared all the time, so having a back up plan is a good idea.

Anyway, it’s been another pretty good day today – the Whole 30 goodness is beginning to come through!

Day 21

Breakfast: Banana, melon, apple and orange juice

Lunch: French omelette with ham, followed by dried apricots and pistachio nuts

Tea: Prawn stir fry with carrot noodles

How I’m feeling: Another good long sleep, and I’m feeling good! We decided to get a juice for breakfast in the Guildhall in Exeter rather than eat at home. I realised that the smoothie I usually like (Banana Boat) has yoghurt in, so I asked for one without the yoghurt. It wasn’t quite the same, but it was a nice change. It wasn’t an exciting shopping trip (conditioner, deodorant, lip balm), but it was nice to get out the house for a bit. I definitely think I am procrastinating a bit less than I have done in the recent past.

Fancy catching up on my January Whole 30 so far? Here you go:

 


9 Comments

Whole 30 Days 10 to 14: Going strong

I’m through the first third! It’s going well, I’m not hungry or feel like I am missing out (too much – just cups of tea still!), and at the moment, I think it’s going to be a relatively smooth ride to Day 30. That said, I’m conscious that I still seem to be running a few days behind “the timeline“. Here’s how I’ve got on over the last few days:

Day 10

Breakfast: Hard boiled egg, chicken, cucumber and tomato with some balsamic vinegar

Lunch: Left over chicken stir fry with veggie couscous

Tea: Cincinnati chilli with butternut squash noodles

How I’m feeling: Productive! As I’ve mentioned before, when I come in after work, I quite often literally flop down on the sofa and call it a day. Not tonight, no! I cracked on with making Pina Colada chicken for later in the week, and also did the marinade for the green chicken, which smells absolutely amazing when you’re whizzing together all the ingredients. The chicken needs to marinate for at least an hour, but longer is better, so that’s tea for tomorrow sorted.

Day 11

Breakfast: Banana and apple with almond butter

Lunch: Left over Cincinnati chilli

Tea: Fiona’s Green Chicken (from Nom Nom Paleo)

How I’m feeling: Apparently most people feel the strongest urge to quit their Whole 30 at day 10 or 11. I can’t say this is something that I have felt over the last couple of days. Actually, it has been really nice to come home of an evening, eat proper food (not a ping meal in sight!) and get ready for the next day. I love the green chicken recipe, and would definitely recommend it. I used chicken breast instead of thighs as we don’t have thighs in the freezer. I feel good though – energy is improving day by day, I don’t have any all consuming cravings and don’t seem to be feeling any ill effects right now.

Day 12

Breakfast: Banana and apple with cashew butter

Lunch: Left over green chicken with veggie couscous and roasted med veg

Tea: Bacon braised cabbage (from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food) with sweet potato chips

How I’m feeling: I am very glad it is Friday and this week is over. It’s been a bit mad at work. I’ve weathered it well though – my energy and concentration levels have been good, though I have been more irritated than normal with silly things (trying to get through to a human being at one of the government agencies is the devil’s own job and saw me shouting at the stupid automated woman on the other end of the phone!).

Day 13

Breakfast: Banana and apple with cashew butter

Lunch: Left over green chicken with sweet potato

Tea: Steak with root veg chips and stir fry veg

How I’m feeling: I went to bed too late last night and didn’t sleep brilliantly. I think I spent too much time looking at a screen before bed, watching some of the gubbins on my Netflix. It was a relatively slow start to the day, and I ummed and ahhed about going in to work today or tomorrow. I needed to go in when no one else was there as I just needed some quiet time to concentrate on the fiddly stuff. I decided to go today, and turns out that it was time well spent, which was a load off my mind and will allow me to enjoy the rest of the weekend. I cooked up the chicken and sweet potato before I went. I absolutely love this recipe – it’s pretty easy to do too which is always good! After popping to work for a few hours, I stopped at Tesco and picked up some steak for tea. It wasn’t on the plan, but I really fancied it. Matt cooks steak better than me, so he was the chef of tea.

Whole 30 Days 10 to 14

I feel pretty good still. No super energy (though my energy is better than pre-Whole 30) and no vivid dreams about food as the Whole 30 timeline suggests. I do feel a bit more positive generally though.

Day 14

Brunch: Two fried eggs, followed by cashew nut butter on apple and banana

Tea: Pina Colada chicken from Well Fed 2 with butternut squash noodles and stir fry veg

How I’m feeling: I didn’t get up early enough to consider breakfast and lunch two separate events. Instead, I settled for waiting a little longer and having lunch. After lunch, Matt and I decided to go on an explore around town. We googled some walking routes, and came up with two that we combined. It’s been a really murky day, light drizzle and grey. Cold too – the wind has a real bite. There has been snow up on Dartmoor, but we haven’t had any that has settled (yet).

January Walk around Cullompton

We walked a reasonable distance before my stomach started to get a bit sore. It is getting close to that time of the month, but it wasn’t a period pain soreness. Nope, this was one of the delayed side effects of the Whole 30 – the bad tummy time. Delightful! I will be backing off the nut butters, just in case they’re anything to do with it though, as almond and cashew butter have become a near daily thing. Anyway, that aside, I slept really well last night, and the vivid dreams appeared. They weren’t about food, but they were vivid all the same. My energy levels are pretty good, no obvious crashes, and it isn’t taking me so long to get round to doing things (I remember on my last Whole 30, my procrasination levels reduced quite a bit).

All in all though, I am pleased with how it’s going. The only thing I regret not doing before this was a proper “before” picture, as I feel like I have lost some weight, but I’m not 100% sure. Matt definitely has though – his t-shirts are fitting better, and his face looks a little thinner which is really great. He had a great non-scale victory today too – a coat that he hasn’t fitted into for ages, he did up. I’m so pleased for him!

Want to read my previous days? Check out:

 


3 Comments

Murder on the Moors in Simonsbath

Quite early on this year, Mum said for Matt and I to make sure that we didn’t book to do anything this weekend. At the time I had an inkling of what we might be doing but wasn’t sure until it slipped out a couple of months later. Pretty much every two years, Mum and I go to the Christmas markets in Belgium or France. As we have a regular “thing”, so do Mum and my sister. Each autumn, they go to a murder mystery on Exmoor, and each year they come back and say how good it was.

My murder mystery experiences have been one of two dinner party types.  One, where everyone is assigned a role, and you have to work out whodunnit amongst yourselves. I quite enjoy these – it’s a bit of fancy dress, questionable accents, dodgy acting and food with friends. The other type is played out by actors. My last experience of this version was at Reed Hall in Exeter, and I wasn’t much of a fan. The acting was distinctly am-dram and Reed Hall didn’t get the food right at all, and I think it was too big a group of people for us all to gather what was going on and being said. It wasn’t a great experience. So when Mum said that was what we were doing this weekend, neither Matt nor I were too enthusiastic.

I’ve had a week at work which has completely knackered me out mentally, and I just wanted to sit on my bum and let my brain fall out of my ears in front of the TV. I didn’t really feel like being social. That wasn’t an option though.

At 5pm, Matt and I headed off in the dark along the North Devon link road. Once we got off the main link and into the lanes, I actually really enjoyed the drive. It was a barely-more-than single track road, pitch black, twisty and turny. My inner rally driver was unleashed and Matt pace noted the drive from the sat nav. Yeah, we’re just your regular husband and wife tarmac rally stage team… We arrived around 6pm and headed in to Simonsbath House.

I think this may have been one of the friendliest places I have ever been. The house is over 350 years old, in the middle of nowhere, nestled in a valley, wood panelled, with open fires that smell like winter.

Simonsbath Hotel

As we arrived at night, we were looking forward to seeing the house in the daylight. First though, we got settled in the room and got ready to head downstairs. I was really impressed by our room – it was lovely and spacious.

Simonsbath Hotel Room 3

I’m a sucker for a nice bathroom too. It was quite a big bathroom, well appointed, warm, and had shutters (what’s not to love about shutters!).

Simonsbath bathroom

We met Mum and Philippa in the bar. A couple of drinks later, I felt more relaxed and less uptight, and started to enjoy the evening.

The actors milled around (in character) and made small talk. There were approximately 30 people there including us. We were called to the dining room. Service was speedy and efficient (but not too efficient – despite being a fast eater, I hate being rushed). I wish I had taken photos of the food as it was presented really nicely, but I didn’t have my proper camera with me and my phone camera makes a poor substitute. My starter was partridge with bacon on romaine lettuce, drizzled with a balsamic vinegar dressing and toasted pine nuts. I haven’t had partridge before, and was expecting it to be more game-y that it was. The acting continued throughout the starter, which was quite amusing (no one had been murdered at that point). I had a little bit of plate envy when Matt’s main arrived – he’d gone for the cannelloni which smelled amazing (and quite garlicky). I’d chosen the rack of lamb with roast veggies. The lamb was perfect – pink and tender. I don’t eat much lamb as I’m not brilliant at cooking it. It always turns out tough or to be a really fatty cut. The pudding was a choice of sorbet, cheesecake or rice pudding. I haven’t had rice pudding in ages, so that was my choice. Stodgy, wintery, goodness! No dessert envy here! Sadly, during the pudding a murder occurred, shortly followed by another (murder, not pudding). Two people down and it was time to retire to the lounge for teas and coffees to solve the crimes. We weren’t an effective crime solving unit, as the third and final murder happened in front of us! I didn’t get any of the murderers right, though Mum did (well done Mum!).

Once the actors had left, we were free to do what we wanted. Philippa decided to build the fire in the lounge up a bit more, and we were visited by the owner of the hotel’s dogs – a Collie called Bramble, and a Cocker Spaniel called Fern. Bramble spent some time with us, though Fern was less bothered.

Bramble

After a natter, more tea, and visiting each others’ rooms, we went our separate ways and headed to bed. Matt and I were interested to see what the view was like in the morning. We weren’t disappointed, despite the mist.

DSC_0225

Breakfast was nice and relaxed. I had a cooked breakfast, with a lovely oozy poached egg and good toast to mop it all up with.

Despite my initial misgivings, I was really glad I didn’t just sit at home and wallow, but got out, met a few really lovely people, had a great evening with the best company, and came home with a bit more of a spring in my step. Matt and I are already thinking about going back and getting out onto the moors for a walking weekend, as well as telling some of his family about Simonsbath House, as we’re sure they’d love it too.

Have you been on a murder mystery before? Did you have a nice weekend?


8 Comments

Bread, Brownies and Bella

I find that I easily get frustrated on the weekends if I don’t feel like I have achieved anything.  This annoys Matt a bit, as he is of the opinion that sometimes you don’t need to do anything and the best thing to do is relax.  This was a pretty good weekend for relaxing I think.

Yesterday, I nipped over to my mum’s house, as I hadn’t seen or spoken to her much in the last week, which is quite unusual.  We’ve both been really busy, so it was nice to catch up and natter.  The winds were howling and the rain came down so hard that it looked like Mum’s car was actually steaming at one point.  I think Bella had the right idea curling up behind the sofa, next to the radiator.

Bella

I also started the next Game of Thrones book – A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold.  I am nearly up to where Season 3 of the HBO series ends and 4 starts.  I want to get to the end of this book so that I am ahead of the TV series.  It isn’t one of those books that I find easy to read, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Game of Thrones

Matt and I also started watching the Winter Olympics.  It’s probably the first time in my 28 years in this world that I have actually sat and watched any of the snow sports.  It hasn’t really been anything I have been interested in before – being Devonian born and bred, it isn’t like we get much in the way of snow here, and my experience of ice skating has been limited to being chaperoned at an incredibly slow speed by my more competent friends in either Plymouth or at Don Valley in Sheffield.  In fact, if you want a quick way to find out the southerners from the northerners, put them all in an ice rink – those born north of the Midlands will be able to lace up their boots and belt around at a good lick.  The southern softies, like my good self, will be easily spotted by their inability to leave the side, or by the fact they’ll have fallen over as soon as they stepped on to the ice…  Anyway, all things considered, while I don’t understand half of what is going on, I am quite enjoying what I have seen so far.

Today has been all about washing and baking.  I never seem to be able to keep up with the washing, but as I am out and about a lot over the coming week, I thought it best to try and get as much laundry done as I possibly can.  More importantly, I decided it would be great to bake.  I haven’t baked in an extremely long time, and my memory fails me as to what it was I baked last.  I go through spells of baking, but the problem is that I make quite a lot of mess, and the clean up operation takes the joy out of it.  Especially as one of the first times I baked in our kitchen, I managed to get icing sugar EVERYWHERE.  Everything was sticky for months.

Earlier in the week, while I was catching up on some of my favourite blogs, I saw that Maria over at Running Cupcake posted two recipes – sweet potato chilli and peanut butter brownies.  I need to do the chilli at some point (maybe next week, when I am home a bit more), as that really does look delicious.  It is a Jamie Oliver recipe, and there isn’t a recipe of his that I haven’t liked yet.  I loved the idea of the brownies – peanut butter and chocolate?  What’s not to love?!  I adapted the recipe ever so slightly and used honey instead of golden syrup just because I don’t have any syrup in the house.  I also didn’t do the white chocolate peanut butter icing, as I personally do not like white chocolate.  The taste test results are in, and they’re winners!

Brownie

I’ve made quite a lot, so I have boxed them up to take to work tomorrow to share out.  I am not usually a fan of my own baking, but these really are quite good – the peanut butter makes them!  They also get brownie points (har har) for being low mess.  My kitchen isn’t a sugary fog of baking aftermath!  I now have bread going in the bread maker – get me!

I will now take my smugness back out to the kitchen and pop the kettle on!

Happy Sunday!