The nights are drawing in, and happy birthday to Panshanger parkrun!

I heard a suggestion the other day that perhaps the clocks should not go back this year, because we really don’t need another hour of 2020! I don’t think they should go back anyway (lots of research around road safety for one) but I really think this could have been the year to get rid of it. At the moment my runs after work have been in the light, but on a few occasions if I’ve been stuck in traffic and arrived home later than planned, the final mile of my runs have been a little dark. Time to find and charge my torch I think.

Of course there has been lots of tea, and also a Caffe Nero gingerbread man to accompany a bit of work. Yoga on Wednesday has been wonderful- I am so glad that my teacher has carried on doing classes over zoom because I would not feel responsible in going to in person classes right now.

Last weekend was Panshanger parkrun’s 6th birthday! It’s crazy to think back to that first one. That was really the parkrun that got me into parkrun if that makes sense. Before then, I’d been going over to the St Albans one maybe once a month, when my dad and brother were free. At that time I was running with Sweatshop, and they had a poster up for the Panshanger one (remember when they advertised inaugurals?).  Once we started going there, it turned into a mostly weekly event, and on their first birthday I celebrated my 50th parkrun. They put a video on their facebook page and me in my Minnie Mouse skirt was in the first section of video. It was so lovely to look back and think about how it has grown since then. It really is a permanent fixture of our weekends now.

Dad decided he wanted to do 16 (not)parkruns in October to celebrate parkrun’s 16th birthday, and alongside that to raise money for Unicef, and once a month he has been keen to do a 10k, so it was perfect timing that on Panshanger’s 6th birthday we could run 6 (point 2) miles, and tot up 2 more (not)parkruns for him.

I wore my Panshanger top and parkrun long sleeved top, all very orange. He planned a lovely route through some fields over to Ellenbrook (the way he would cycle when parkrun is on) and at one point we rounded a corner and saw the most beautiful parkrun apricot-coloured tree. I had to get a photo of course.

I had a lot of work to get on with in the afternoon, but we did have a break where we walked into town to get our Caffe Nero drinks. I am still not wanting to eat in anywhere, but a 5 minute queue inside is fine, and then we can walk home the scenic way while we enjoy our drinks.

On Saturday night we fancied a film, and so watched Enola Holmes- an enjoyable film (some filmed locally) but it got the Manic Street Preachers song (Enola/Alone) in my head.

The weather on Sunday was beautiful, and I enjoyed a run around local streets, taking my time and taking photos of all the trees. I just can’t resist stopping!

I did some baking (pumpkin cheesecake brownies from here) although a total blogger fail as I took no photos! What was I thinking??

In the evening we watched one of the Michael Palin recap shows, and I just loved it. I think he is brilliant, and it was so good to see parts of those travel series again. Perfect Sunday night viewing.

How do you feel about the clocks going back? I feel like it’s dark when I get up anyway, so I’d rather have some light in the evening.

I got my first Christmas card! And happy birthday parkrun!

I am not one to wish my life away, and normally at this time of year I would be getting cross about all the Christmas things in the shops (I am normally the frame of mind that it isn’t Christmas until December), but do you know what? This year I am all ready to get festive! With so many trips and events being cancelled, I am looking forward to some actual constants. Even if we are in the most severe lockdown, we can put up our Christmas tree and watch Home Alone.

I was given my first Christmas card on the 1st October (by a child in my class- love it), and my Christmas baking book arrived- it is filled with so many cute designs. It’s been so cold so a hot water bottle and long sleeved pj tops have been in order. I just feel like I am going to embrace the holidays now and have an enjoyable few months.

I had my regular Tuesday and Thursday runs, seeing some lovely autumnal colours. Andy was out one evening (it was his mum’s birthday and thanks to the rule of 6, we could not all go) so of course I had beans on toast in front of Bake Off. Plus some Battenberg later.

Anyway, a rewind to last Friday and I’d booked a shoulder massage after work because I was starting to struggle to look over my shoulder when driving- never good. Town thankfully was fairly quiet and I popped into Caffe Nero to get my free drink after.

It was parkrun’s 16th birthday, and I felt a bit fed up because of it not actually being allowed to come back in October any more. I know that everyone has different opinions, but I feel like they did a very good job of looking for research to find out how safe outdoor activities are, and after listening to the podcast and watching some of the live Q&A’s I felt very confident that it would be relatively safe (compared to other things we are allowed to do at the moment such as go to the cinema or sit in a restaurant and have a meal).  Anyway, my dad has decided to run 16 not parkruns in October, so I thought I would have a go too. On Saturday I did a 5k at home and then (after changing my t-shirt because it was raining  and I was soaking) drove over to have a 5k run with Dad. We went for our normal route and ended up getting very very wet- the bridleway was more like a shallow river in places! (top left pic is my dad’s feet trying to find a dry route)

We totally loved it though, and I felt so much better after. Running with others is really so different to running on your own and it does lift your mood in a different way I find.

My hairdryer had been intermittently working for a few months, and on Thursday evening it finally packed up, so I had damp hair from Thursday until Saturday. I had some vouchers leftover from last Christmas, so decided to treat myself to the GHD dryer- it had good reviews and I do have very thick hair so anything that can speed up drying time is a bonus. Anyway, I could click and collect so after our not parkrun I stopped in town to pick it up.

My B&B tea order arrived too- with gorgeous festive parcel tape- honestly all the signs are here that we should be celebrating nice and early.

On Sunday it was the virtual London marathon. Some people in my club were running it, but after initially hoping to do similar routes they all ended up doing different ones. My run leader lives fairly near me, so my plan was to run in the morning, and then head out later to try and cheer her in at the end. I managed 9 miles and got totally freezing- I need to remember that this pink jacket is not waterproof! I saw so many flooded paths, and a huge tree had blown down blocking the entrance to one of the paths. I loved that the London marathon was going on though- I saw a few people with bibs on and loved giving them a big cheer as they ran past.

Once home I had one of the best hot showers (and then regretted it when my skin was itchy and burning after the shower), and watched some of the elites on the TV. After breakfast I dried my hair (a dream with a hairdryer that works!) and then walked out to try and see my run leader, but alas she had changed her route due to the floods so I didn’t see her.

I then did some rainy day projects- using my burn pen to make some number block puppets for my classroom, and making a spiced pumpkin cake.

Did you take part in the virtual London marathon? What did you think of it? Did you celebrate parkrun’s birthday at all? Are you ready to start embracing the holiday season?

RDPF virtual run weekend

As I’ve mentioned before, last weekend was meant to be the Disneyland Paris run weekend, and it was going to be a 10k and a half marathon for me, so with the help of the Run Disney Paris Fans facebook group I had a Disney themed running weekend at home instead.

But first, the rest of the week- nothing much different. I started organising my apps into colour order which I really love because it keeps the screen looking so much tidier. I’m still going with the 10,000 steps a day, and earned another Garmin badge. Although I still can’t navigate the Garmin app- I can find a badge if it pops up, but ask me to find it now and I’d be looking for ages. I was feeling a little more tired and wondered if that was from the flu jab, but the main thing was that my arm hurt (I have a little bruise there) especially when I ran. One day we had waffles for dinner- hummus and avocado, and then peanut butter and banana.

Bake Off and crumpet/ autumn bouquet/ gorgeous oat milk from Minor Figures (from Bird & Blend), sourdough bread.

The difference in weather from my Tuesday to my Thursday run was crazy- Tuesday it was so warm I was in shorts and a vest, and on Thursday it was long sleeved top plus long leggings.

Of course Wednesday was good with the return of Bake Off. I watched it on Wednesday before yoga and really enjoyed it, although I have never seen a pineapple upside down cake covered in cream. Surely the point is that you can see the pineapple?

On Friday I did a bit of prep for the race. I had a card mount from a picture that I hadn’t used, so I turned it into a Minnie Mouse selfie frame. Also wore Olf pj’s because it’s freezing! Facebook loved to remind me that  years ago I had run the half marathon….

On Saturday I did my 10k, wearing a Disney top and also my magic band as it’s Minnie themed. When I got home I had my hand drawn medal, plus a 10k medal that I earned on a virtual race back in the summer but it had only recently been sent out, so I thought I’d wear it  after this race. I was quite pleased with the time- 1:02:24- my fastest 10k in quite some time.

I had a lot of work to do so got on with that, and then in the afternoon we met my parents for a walk at Panshanger park. We wandered across the fields (not really the parkrun route), seeing loads of birds including green woodpeckers, jays and a kestrel. It was very enjoyable but also really cold- it kept raining and I hadn’t taken a hat with me, what a mistake!

Once home I made a Battenberg cake (I’d had the marzipan for ages but hadn’t got around to it- seeing it on Bake Off gave me the incentive), and then in the evening I fancied a Disney film to keep the theme going. I was going to watch Enchanted, but it wasn’t on Disney+ for some reason, so I watched Finding Dory instead- just what was needed.

On Sunday I went off for my half marathon, Disney gear on again. I ran to Panshanger park, did 2 laps and a teeny out and back (it’s 3 miles there and just over 3 miles a lap). It was windy but I really enjoyed it. I listened to a podcast for the first bit, and then switched to a Run Disney playlist that I’d made (basically all the upbeat Disney songs that I love). I do find it strange running to music because I like to run to the beat, so if the song is a bit slow or fast it feels a bit disjointed.

My time was 2:22:22 – all the twos! Once home I collected my goodie bag (repurposed from an actual Run Disney event) and picked up my medal. I’d earned the Brooks medal a while ago (April?) but only recently collected it, so thought I’d save it, because Run Happy fit the Run Disney theme to me. I had designed a 36k challenge medal as on the RDPF page the 36K challenge was Ratatouille, only I realised that I had only run 31k (half + 10k) and the 36k included a 5k too. Oops.

We had our free Caffe Nero drinks from Vitality to collect, so we walked into town (a little over 5K) for me to make up the distance. I wasn’t making the mistake of not wearing a hat again, so I wore my Minnie gingerbread hat and of course my Minnie cup cozy for some more Disney theming.

Not quite the same as Disneyland Paris, but good fun and a different weekend. I do feel at the moment that all the weekends feel the same – the only difference is whether I see my parents in their garden or not- so it was good to have something to do to make an event of the weekend.

We finished by watching the rest of Giri/Haji- we’ve been watching an episode a night for most of the week. Less of a Disney note to finish on!

Did you see Bake Off?  And if so, what did you think about the pineapple cake? Do you like virtual runs?

Podcasts, TV and films that have been keeping me going

This year has been strange for TV, with some productions pausing filming, and others managing to get around the covid restrictions. We are still spoilt with so many options (especially taking into account Netflix and Disney+) but sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin.


Sometimes you just want something funny and fairly short, so we’ve been re-watching both Derry Girls and Car Share for some humour. The Forever FM on car share makes me properly laugh out loud , as does all the 90’s references in Derry Girls. We have also been loving the latest series of Gone Fishing for gentle humour and beautiful nature scenes.

I also like a series to get stuck into, and recently worked our way through “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark”, a show about an author and her hunt for the Golden State Killer. It was very interesting but also a hard watch as they had lots of the survivors telling their stories.

Queer Eye is one of my favourite shows and sadly I’ve finished the latest series (I was good though and watched only one a week!), but Getting Organised is slightly filling that and the Tidying Up gap. It’s not quite as good, but it has that feel with the music and general positive vibe. Plus they organise everything in colours which I love.

I’ve given up on Selling Sunset though- I had read good things but I was hoping for more house selling and less fake drama.

Also, Bake Off is coming back! During lockdown I discovered a podcast (The Bake Down) where they talked about each show after it had aired (I listened way after seeing the series but they described enough that I didn’t need to re-watch) and they recently had a mini episode discussing how they filmed the new series. It sounded very intense for the contestants, so I’ll be intrigued to see how it comes across on the TV.


After a recommendation on the film podcast we watched Rising Phoenix which was brilliant – I wish we were back at London 2012! The other week we fancied something that we knew was good, so watched one of the Bourne films, and of course I’ve been getting my Disney fix, most recently with Lilo and Stitch.


I am a complete convert to the Travel Diaries- it’s pure escapism. I started with the Michael Palin episode because I could listen to him talk forever, but since that I’ve been going back and listened to others. It might seem strange to listen to a travel podcast when we can’t travel, but it’s wonderful to hear people’s earliest travel memory, special places and of course you can look forward to visiting in a few years time.

The Night Driver is a new podcast by the same team as The Teacher’s Pet, and I’ve found them interesting so far, although I am not sure if I should have saved them and listened to them in one go.

During lockdown I got into listening to the George Ezra podcast Phone a Friend (he was on Happy Place and it appealed to me when I heard him talk about it there), as him and his friend Ollie talk a lot about mental health, but it is also just quite relaxing listening. He was a guest on How do you Cope, which delved a bit deeper into this side of things, and that was good too.

Also, the Bake Down podcast is back- I listened to the last series a while after Bake Off was on (I only discovered the pod in lockdown), but now I can listen to each episode once I have seen the matching one on TV.

What have you been watching or listening to lately?  Do you like podcasts that discuss TV shows? I really loved the Crown podcast and also the Blue Planet on- when they have producers and sound artists and a whole range of people on it really gives you a better idea of everything that surrounds the show, and why certain decisions were made.

September heatwave and virtual run prep

I know that it was forecast, but I didn’t expect it to be as hot as it was last week!

I’m working on the September Red Cross challenge, and am aiming for over 100 miles in September. This was going to be 10 miles on a Sunday, and then 5 miles on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but on Tuesday it was so hot I did 4 and that was enough. I was OK out running but as soon as I stopped I felt so hot, and ended up with a really bad headache all evening and all night. I had looked at running before work, but as the street lights aren’t on until 6am and I have to be home by then, I am not keen on it now that it’s darker. I was regretting that at the time though.  Yoga on Wednesday evening was very much needed to recover from that night of poor sleep.

Thursday’s run was more enjoyable, seeing some beautiful autumn trees and being a more acceptable temperature.

On Friday I had to race home because I had booked my flu jab- I am getting it done early this year after there was such a problem with them last year (I had booked, when I turned up they had no jabs, they said to come back another day, I did, they still had none, ended up being sent to a different pharmacy…). It is lucky that Boots send out a reminder text message because I thought I had booked one pharmacy but in fact had booked another! Anyway, it was OK. I hate needles and have often fainted when I get an injection, although the flu jab last year was fine at the time, just made my arm ache for ages after. The hot cross bun was required for recovery!

On Saturday I did a not parkrun at home- I was meant to be seeing my parents but I felt I could not risk it because we have had children with symptoms at work but the delays to testing etc means we don’t know the result of the test for a while, so potentially I could have been exposed to it. Although I only sit in the garden I just don’t want to risk anything like that. I had breakfast with Andy when I got home from my run- we found some almond croissants in the freezer so heated those up with a few chocolate buttons added inside.

The rest of the day was filled with exciting things like housework, school-work and a teeny bit of gardening. Plus pumpkin spice tea- look at the cute little pumpkin sprinkles in the tea.

On Sunday I headed over to Panshanger for my long run- I decided to do 11 miles this week and so ran there (3 miles), did the parkrun route plus a little out and back (4 miles) and then back home.

Croissants for breakfast again, and then some pottering at home while watching the parkrun Q&A (recorded on Friday).  I made myself some medals because next weekend was meant to be the Disneyland Paris run weekend- Andy has Friday off work as he was going to travel in the day to collect our bibs, and I was going to go there after work, then we were going to do the 10k on the Saturday (if you arrive late Friday night you miss the expo so can’t collect the 10k bib) and I was going to do the half on the Sunday.  So I am going to run the distances next weekend and then have some Disney- themed fun at home (just like in May- I can’t believe it was 4 months ago that I was doing the May run weekend virtual run…).

How did you cope in the heat this week? Do you worry about injections?