Snow much fun!

Sorry not sorry. I love a pun and I love the snow (so long as I don’t have to go anywhere).

For the last few weeks we kept having snow forecast, and then it would come to nothing, either falling as sleet, or settling as the tiniest dusting that was gone in about 5 minutes.

Last weekend yet again it was meant to snow Saturday night-Sunday morning, so I planned a run to Panshanger park so I could run around there in the snow. Well, when I woke up, everywhere was white, but from frost not snow.

It was so beautiful, although hard to capture in photos because the sky was so white, getting darker grey as I ran around. Seeing the brambles and berries all covered in frost was so pretty, so I did keep stopping to try and get a better photo.

I did feel a bit sad seeing the parkrun signs- I can’t believe that it’s nearly a year, and of course will be well over a year of no parkrun whenever it returns.  I loved the run though, and as I got home it started to try and snow- when it is snowing about one flake every minute and you just wonder if you are imagining it.

It began settling a little, and after I’d had a shower and breakfast it was super deep. I was very excited- I love snow! So once I’d dried my hair I headed out into the garden to make a snowman.

Lifting that middle ball of snow up was quite tough! Building a snowman is a good workout!

I couldn’t quite get it as tall as me, but nearly!

Tea in my Olaf mug of course- the perfect choice for a snowy day

The rest of the day was spent relaxing- we had a family zoom call in the afternoon and got to hear about how everyone was enjoying the snow. I did some baking, we watched some TV and had a roast dinner )nut roast with veggie gravy and veggies and waffle fries because they are potatoes too). I had frozen the leftover red cabbage which we made a few weeks ago, so heated that through.

Sadly the snowman began to do some yoga (my instructor likes to say “take a little back bend” and I think that’s what it was doing) and then it’s head fell off.

After just getting into the swing of my new routine, the snow slightly thawed and then froze solid overnight, so an early run was not an option. I headed out for a brief run at lunch time instead, running (well, walking mainly) to the local park and then running a few laps in the snow. I thought I would run through the woods, but the paths were super slippery as I think the snow had dripped from the trees and then frozen on the ground, making the normally muddy and uneven paths like ice rinks.

On Tuesday evening the rain washed most of the snow away, so by Wednesday morning the pavements were OK for an early run again. There were a few dodgy bits that needed walking over, but mostly it was fine.

My snowman was still hanging on. I took a photo of my running outfit as I noticed after I put it on that my top and jacket perfectly matched my socks!

By Thursday all that was left was a pile of stones and sticks on the patio!

Do you like snow? Did you have lots of snow last weekend? I am very happy so long as I don’t have to drive in it!

A new weekly routine

I am very much a routine person. I like to know what I am doing, and like to have things planned in advance. My weekly routine with regards to being active was:

Monday- walk after work

Tuesday- run after work

Wednesday- walk after work and then yoga class

Thursday- run after work

Friday- walk after work

Saturday- morning run and afternoon walk

Sunday- morning run and afternoon walk

Since lockdown 3 (or 2.5, seeing as the November lockdown was only a half-hearted one) I’ve been trying to find out what works for me. As we are back to the leaving the house once a day for exercise, it’s meant either a walk or a run, and really I feel better after a run. I tried a few times to run after work, but felt so awful sat in front of the laptop all day, whereas going out first thing seems to help me feel more focused and awake. I tried one lunchtime run, but it felt like a rush to fit that in before live lessons, so I’ve gone back to morning runs. On a few days I have really wished I could have a walk in the afternoon too (it was suggested to me that I could pretend that I was walking to the shops if anyone asked- but I want to do my best to follow the rules and not find loopholes) but hopefully if we all stick to this then it will be over sooner.

The last few weeks  I’ve had a day off running on a Saturday- Andy and I have had breakfast together and then headed out on a long walk, making the most of the daylight.

One Saturday breakfast of No Knead Cinnamon Pull Apart bread from A Virtual Vegan

Plus enough for breakfast and afternoon tea time left over! Also date+pb as the best post-run snack

Our zoom yoga classes were back a few weeks ago, and I had forgotten quite how wonderful I feel after doing some yoga. So I have set an alarm at the end of the working day to do some yoga, and so far I’ve managed it. I’m only doing a 15 minute ish session, but it helps so much to move around after being sat for so much of the day, and it is a good reset between work and home (as there’s no commute to break up the time otherwise). It’s also good to change out of work clothes and into “home” clothes, and the alarm works as a reminder to do that too.

So now, my weekly routine is like this:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday- run in the morning, 15 min yoga in the evening

Wednesday- run in the morning, 90 min yoga class in the evening

Saturday- long walk (6 miles ish)

Sunday- long run day

Last Sunday I even got to wear sunglasses! There’s been so much rain, so the route I wanted to take was very flooded, which meant a less scenic run around residential streets. Still enjoyable to be out in the fresh air though.

Earl Grey tea loaf, nut roast and leftover cranberry sauce, a teaching meme which sums up my live lessons and matcha whisk.

I’ve been doing a bit of baking at the weekend- I made an Earl Grey tea loaf which has been really tasty, and we’ve been having some matcha to keep the energy levels up.

Lentil spag bol, pretty sunrise, rain coat and visor for a rainy run, and a hint of a rainbow from my office window.

Spinach pasta, Water Watch and fluorescent top for staying high-viz on the runs

On Friday I had the most beautiful sunrise on my run. After work I washed my hair and put on comfy clothes before making a hot chocolate- Andy put the fire on and it was so cosy and relaxing.  Making the weekends feel different to the weeks seems an important thing for the next few weeks,  and doing that this week felt like a break between work and home.

Saturday breakfast this weekend was pancakes- banana ones from the Fearne Cotton Happy Vegan book. They were tasty but I wasn’t the best at flipping them.

I also did some filing (oh I know how to live) sorting all of my home learning resources into subjects so I can keep my office a bit tidier in the week. I decided to treat myself to Muppets Most Wanted as a Saturday afternoon movie- all is good in the world when you can sing along with that soundtrack.

Do you like a routine?  How are you coping with the one exercise a day rule?

So how is lockdown 3 going?

Christmas lights, early running, veggie chilli to warm up after being at work with the doors open all day when it was 3 degrees at best…

Well, I’ve enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights left up while I’ve been going on runs. We took ours down before I went back to work, but I only took my wreath off the front door this weekend.

Matcha, mince pie and ice cream, winter running buff 

I’d forgotten that I had signed up to the virtual winter run- I did it a few years back, and they had emailed out a while ago- raising money for CRUK of course which is a brilliant charity. I didn’t really pay attention but I’ve been sent a buff which is really nice, and has come in handy when I am wearing two for each run (neck and head) when it’s been so cold.

Pretty sunrises, delicious vegan chocolate and good old avocado and hummus waffles

One sunrise run that took longer as I kept stopping to take photos!

I’ve been lucky that I can work from home at the moment (moving forwards this depends on staff sickness levels and critical worker childcare places) so I’ve sorted out a routine that works well- a run first thing, working remotely with a break for matcha or tea in the morning, lunch with Andy and then powering through the afternoon. Yoga was back in the second week, and it was just so good. One reason why running suits me is because I am not very good at working out at home- if I am doing a video workout I will get distracted by things that need doing (I’ll just put that box into the recycling, then I’ll carry on…) but with a run I am outside and away from those distractions. The live yoga classes online have been great, but I have not worked out a way to continue this on other days of the week (yet…).

A misty run last Saturday, tea in my Olaf mug, my new OH buff for the 12 days of Christmas challenge and a run in the woods.

I am not used to staring at a computer screen all day, and it seems to build up so by the end of the week my eyes have been really struggling.  I am having breaks (my favourite is when I get to draw something that I’ll then photograph and add to the virtual classroom) but it’s been pretty intense. So I have now set an alarm for the end of the working day, and this is when I will do some yoga. I did this on Thursday and Friday of the week just gone, and even though I only did short videos (15- 20 mins) I felt so much better.  A chance to move my stiff shoulders and rest my eyes (for the most part, because I still have to glance at the screen to see the poses).  I felt a lot better after each session, although the first one I did spend too much time actually finding a video to do, but once I’ve got a few playlists to look at it will be easier.

Working at home has meant slightly nicer lunches too- I made myself a toastie the other day and it was sooooooooo good (violife cheese and pear chutney).

Last Sunday I had a really good run- it was super cold and frosty, and amazingly the plants had frost on only one side- totally white on one and dark brown on the other. It really looked as if they had been spray painted! I do like a run in the cold, but I do not like how sore my skin gets after- even if I warm up for a bit before getting in the shower, my skin will go bright red and be itchy for ages after.

I’ve signed up to do Veganuary (more on that in another  post) but it’s been good, and nice to have something else to focus on other than the endless cycle of bad news. We treated ourselves to some sort of takeaway ready meals- Leon Katsu (as I do like the Wagamama vegan katsu)- it was pretty tasty. Mum made us some vegan caramel shortbread too- we had ordered them some shopping online as there are a few things they can’t get from where they get their shopping from, so we drove the shopping over and received the shortbread in exchange. It was really good (even if Mum did tell me that if it was no good I could feed it to the birds- there’s confidence for you!).

Matcha, roasted red cabbage and reading my Chateau book by the fire to combat too much screen time

There is a fab website called A Virtual Vegan, and there are loads of good recipes on there- this was a red cabbage recipe which we added veggie sausages to.  I’ve been bookmarking a lot of recipes and have trialled a few,  but will go into it a bit more another time.

So, it’s going OK. I do wish I was allowed more than one outdoor exercise slot a day, as especially at the weekends I would like to have a run in the morning and then go for a walk with Andy in the afternoon. But I do know that we have to follow the rules, so I have to move things around and run more in the week so we can enjoy a long walk together at the weekend when we have time in the daylight.

How is lockdown 3 treating you? If you work from home normally, what sort of routine do you have? And if you usually work at a computer all day, how do you cope?  I am sure we had some training once and it was something like 20/20/20, which was every 20 minutes, look at something 20 m away for 20 seconds. Or something?


Happy New Year weekend

Over the past few years I have enjoyed doing a parkrun or double (although sensibly parkrun said early in 2020 that they would not be doing them any more) to welcome in the new year. I loved the chance to run with friends and family, and to start the new year as I mean to go on. The sense of community at a NYD parkrun is always really high, with people feeling optimistic about the year ahead and just loving getting out in the fresh air all together. This year was different what with no parkrun, but I still wanted to make my run more of an event, so I suggested to my dad that we meet at Ellenbrook fields for a run together. We arranged a time (not on the hour, just in case anyone else had the same plan) and I ran there to meet him. It was snowing a bit as I was running, which added to the festive feel.

One of the fields often has a very flooded path, but a lot of it was frozen solid which probably made it easier to pass.

As I ran into the park Dad was right there- we could not have timed it better as he had just arrived too. We ran one big lap (EF parkrun is one small and then one big lap) and then he ran back through the business park with me for a bit to make it up to the 5k distance. It was great to be running around the fields, although one part was very flooded and my foot went right into an icy puddle- I got to “enjoy” a cold wet sock for the remainder of my run.

Once home and warm I had some vegan croissants for breakfast and my biggest mug of tea. I do like that feeling of being back inside once you’ve been out on a run in the cold- it is much more satisfying and makes it feel even more cosy.

My running club have started a January challenge where we’ve been split into 2 teams (well people who wanted to join in) and we are tracking our miles in the month. Walking and running all counts, plus I think other workouts (such as yoga) will count as 1 mile, so it was good to start, and as we had a walk in the afternoon it started the year off well.

It also meant that I got these badges on Garmin Connect- I have finally learnt how to find them as well, before before I could only see them when I got a notification to click on. I did have to do a fair bit of work (which was not planned, but thanks to the Gov it meant our planned Inset day  had to change so I had to sort out what my year groups would be doing). Tea always helps with work though.

I had prepped breakfast the night before. We really love the baked French toast from the Pip and Nut recipe book, but it uses eggs so now it’s a no. This fab website called A Virtual Vegan has a recipe for a similar dish using silken tofu and coconut cream- you leave it in the fridge overnight and bake it in the morning. After breakfast we walked down to the lakes. It wasn’t that busy but I heard from people in my running club that it was rammed later on.

Matcha, Christmas tree and a delicious but not pretty dinner of noodles with peanut sauce, tofu and broccoli. 

The rest of the day was fairly chilled out and mainly spent enjoying the last day of the Christmas decorations! I’d ordered some matcha in the B&B sale and it arrived so of course I had to have it- it matched the Christmas tree perfectly.

On Sunday I had a 9 mile run (I was going to do 8, but when I got home I was at 8.5, so because of our running club challenge and it’s easier to keep track I did a little loop to make it up to 9)- it was really cold and each time I stopped my glasses would steam up!

Once home we had the other half of the baked French toast and then had to get on with the job of taking all the decorations down.

A bit more work was required for me, before some chill time reading and then watching the one off special of Taskmaster (I wanted to listen to the podcast on my way to work  so I needed to watch it first). Dinner was a nut roast with cranberries and pecans- it was sooooo tasty- veganuary off to a good start for me.

How was your new year? Do you usually do anything to celebrate?

Freedom! Enjoying the last week of the holidays and 2020 total mileage

This was the face of someone very excited to leave the house for the first time in however many days! Boxing Day and I was allowed to go outside our front door!

I didn’t head out too far (4 ish miles) as we had planned a walk later, but it was so good to have views and to be running in a straight line. I passed a handful of runners and all of them said good morning back- hooray!

Once home we had the French toast from the Fearne Cotton Vegan book- using some amazing Mindful Bites vegan panettone- such a tasty breakfast.

I happened to be on facebook when a notification popped up about With Me Now going live, and so I watched that. They were down in Hove along the Hove Prom parkrun route (one of the people who sometimes presents it lives down there so they did a little link up). It was so nice to see the parkrun route. It was my first UK tourist parkrun and I’ve run it 6 times, so I spent a bit of time reminiscing about our various Brighton trips.

One of the things I had planned to do before Christmas was go on a walk near the town centre, as when I’d run there I had seen some really pretty Christmas lights, so once it started to get dark we headed out to walk around (a bit of my snowman running route). Once home I attempted to make myself a version of the Pret Christmas sandwich as we had some bits left over- stuffing (I think their version is nut roast but our stuffing had nuts in), cranberry sauce, roasted pumpkin (the final homegrown one from our garden), Leon vegan burger sauce and pesto, with some peppers and beetroot on the side. It was very tasty.

On Sunday the weather was beautiful! I had another run (8 miles finding lots of flooded paths) and then the same breakfast.

I had bought some vegan “Christmas cheese” (wensleydale and cranberry) from Sainsbury’s and it is really good with a proper crumbly texture, so that on crackers with persimmon has been a good lunch. We usually start our Christmas cake on Christmas Eve, but were too full this year (and then had Christmas pudding on the day itself) so finally got around to trying it. I’d used a new recipe so I was really pleased with how tasty it was.

Leon burger sauce and ketchup and pickles are the best in a burger

Andy got me the book about Escape to the Chateau, (love their TV show) so I’ve been reading that most days in the afternoons. It covers their first year, with a chapter per month, and both of them write in each chapter so you get both their perspectives. In case you were wondering, it it sounds like a lot of work!

We watched a few films- Soul (which I enjoyed and didn’t make me cry as much as other Pixar films tend to), Mulan – hooray for girl power (which was really different to the animated version instead of a shot by shot remake, cough The Lion King), and some classics such as Pitch Perfect. Plus catching up with podcasts of course- the classic Adam and Joe Christmas special, as well as the Off Menu festive editions.

I was given a fair few chocolates and treats from work, and by far my favourite were these marzipan fruits- sooo good. I am going to be doing veganuary this year, after probably being 90% vegan for a long time, so anything that isn’t vegan has been passed over to Andy which he is fine about.  We also made some spiced apple juice for a couple of evenings- it reminded me of Christmas market visits.

This peanut butter on a date is the best snack after a run.

On Tuesday I had a run of two halves. I was going to meet a friend for a walk at the lakes, but she was unsure if the paths would be OK for a buggy, so I said I’d run down and take some photos. The final club challenge was for a run before 9am, so I did a 5k to the lakes, stopped my watch (for the challenge) and then walked around taking photos. I then ran home a different way, for a 10k. While I was running I was trying to remember how many miles I’d run in December, because all of my other months this year have been 100 miles or more. When I got home and checked, I only had 6 miles left, so I decided to do that on NYE.

I made some snacks to have while Andy is working his way through the chocolates- dates filled with peanut butter and topped with dark chocolate, and some marzipan rolled into balls and then dipped in dark chocolate. I am trying to make them last! We were treated to some amazing bright moons, and some beautiful sunrises in the mornings too.

Sadly my friend couldn’t make our meet up as she felt poorly, but I decided to walk there anyway as I had to visit the bank in town and it was such a beautiful day- I need to make the most of being allowed to leave the house.

Caffe Nero was empty and I was freezing so I got myself a peppermint hot chocolate for the walk home, with my Disney candy cane cosy. Funny thing- last year I got these for a few people as I think they are fab gifts and mean that you never use the cardboard sleeve in coffee shops- saving on waste too. Anyway, one of my friends didn’t know what it was for, and so put it in a drawer, and it was only when another friend sent a photo to our group chat that she realised what it was for!

In the afternoon I met my mum for a walk. There is a place she’s been with my dad and they keep seeing a barn owl there, so we met just before sunset (well around an hour before, to give us time to have a walk). We were so lucky to see the owl hunting and then catching something, even being chased by a crow.

It was glorious to be outside with the sun setting. Nature is really the best tonic.

When I got home I was so cold- actually walking was Ok, but we chatted a bit at the end, so it was tea and a mince pie to warm up. We had bought tickets to a live podcast (Elis James and John Robbins) so we made sure to have dinner before it started.

The final day of the year started with a run. In the end I did 6.5 miles to make sure that I would cross that 100 mile mark.  It was super frosty and cold and I ended up keeping my padded jacket on the whole time. Later on I did some jobs in the garden (like cleaning my poor trail shoes after the many many laps of our garden) and the bird bath was frozen solid (not just the surface).  We bought a matcha variety pack so had some of that to warm up.

We had a walk while it was still light (we have done this most days) and then I put up my ear holders (from Etsy) and Andy put up my big Lilo and Stitch poster. It was in our bathroom in Hatfield but the clip frame had warped a bit, and I had a hard time finding a frame that was the right size (in the end I got one from Habitat which arrived this week). I am really pleased with how it has turned out as it was a big blank wall before.

A final look at my Strava stats- every month over 100 miles, whereas usually I might manage this for a couple of months. I think one year I was close to 1000 miles and another I just managed it, and this year I did 1,406.

It’s quite pleasing but I am sure it won’t happen again!

Did you have a good new year?  Do you keep track of your miles? I must admit it’s my favourite Strava feature- I like seeing maps of my runs but I am never bothered by the pace, and having the miles add up over a month and year are very satisfying.