Not the Disneyland Paris run weekend that was planned

But still a fun weekend with some Disney in there!

I was feeling very grumpy on Friday morning- yes it was a 3 day weekend, but we should have been in Disneyland Paris, walking down Main Street with an excited four year old, and looking forward to heading to the expo later to collect race numbers and t-shirts and be tempted with all sorts of Run Disney merch.

A flashback to December and posing in front of the castle…

I’d bought some almond croissants on my last trip to Aldi (16th March- the last time I went in a shop… the only reason I know this is because it was the Monday before the schools shut, and I’d popped in on my way home and had so many frantic messages from Andy saying about all the social distancing that was being talked about- I looked it up the other day because I was curious about when it was) and put them in the freezer (I don’t think you are meant to, but they are fine) so to begin our long weekend we had croissants for breakfast and pretended to be in France.

It was a lovely sunny day so we were then out in the garden for ages- I was doing easy jobs like potting on mint, putting courgette plants into grow bags, while Andy was carrying on digging the pond, and then digging up the horrible flower bed which is basically lumps of concrete covered in soil and matting.

I also made the most successful sourdough yet. I’ve been having trouble with it sticking in the basket, but since using some rice flour, and “seasoning” the basket in the oven, it’s working much better.

We went on a walk and I was very annoyed to see so many groups of people out- so many roads were having tea parties for VE day and they were not keeping apart from each other at all.  I did however see a new postbox (as I have not been running on the same streets that we tend to walk on)- I’m starting to tick them all off. Also my tea club (which arrived the other day) came out of quarantine- always exciting! I really should write down when things arrive so I know for sure when I can open them. Anyway, it’s peach themed which I love.

After all our gardening, we had tea and biscuits in the garden and listened to a podcast- very relaxing.

As we were meant to be going to DLP with Andy’s family, we’d decided to do a Disney quiz on the Friday night. Each pair (4 in total) did a round- in the end we did a higher/lower, longer/shorter round, where they were given two films and had to say which was longer in length, or which took the most money. Of course I got ready for the quiz by bringing out some mascots, wearing a Disney top (my Let it Go one) and wearing my ears. I was going to swap to my other pair of ears during the zoom break (you know, where your 45 mins is up so you have to re-start) but Andy put the other pair on so everyone noticed right away!

We finished the evening watching Illuminations (the Epcot firework show that is sadly no more).

I’ve enjoyed my Saturday morning routine so kept it the same- a run before the quiz (12/15- my second highest score). I saw this lovely flag while running, with lots of different flags decorating it. A nice reminder that these celebrations will be happening all over the world. We put down the underlay, liner and then filled the pond with water. All very productive.

I also did some jobs and pottering inside- putting our Tiki Room picture in a frame, drawing Stitch and making myself a Run Disney medal. I know the weekend was princess themed, but I wanted to draw Olaf, and he is friends with 2 princesses and I was meant to run 2 princess races, so it made sense to me. I did 8k on Saturday and estimated that I would do 13 on the Sunday, although I ended up doing a little more. We also had a gingerbread biscuit which we bought at the Christmas markets in DLP, so it was Disney themed all round!

On Sunday I headed off for my normal longer run, making it a bit Disney themed with my Run Disneyland Paris half marathon top, and also the bright headband. One bit of my route takes me along some woods and across the edge of some fields, and it really reminds me of the countryside we ran during the Paris half- I could almost imagine I was there.

At the finish line (or in my garden, however you want to look at it) Minnie was there to meet me, and I didn’t even get told off for a photo.

I had to do the medal in front of the castle pose (Andy had bought the lego castle ages ago and apparently it was going to be for us to build the first year we could not go to Florida for our wedding anniversary, but because we missed our Disney weekend he got it out to cheer me up- it’s going to be a fun project for us).

Then once showered I put on my “I did it” top, also from DLP, and posed with my medal. As you do. I think Andy was worried I was having a bit of a breakdown. No, just Disney fun.

What are you missing right now? Have you successfully recreated anything at home that you are missing? The Pret almond butter cookies have been a hit with me as I love them and always buy one if I go in a Pret (we don’t have one here otherwise it would be a very regular occurrence!).

More work on the pond and keeping the same routine

So the four day week last week was pretty standard- Monday some yoga first thing, and a walk with Andy later in the day.

I keep seeing the red kite circling really low over our garden!

Digging out the pond was pretty much finished, and to rest my eyes after a day of looking at data, I wandered around the garden in the evening and noticed lots more flowers are now blooming. I don’t think I’ve ever paid as much attention to my garden!

Tuesday I did a 10k to collect the final Brooks Run Happy at Home medal. I also found a photo of R2D2 with my Disney medal for “May the Fourth”.

I was feeling very unsettled again and was having a lot of trouble sleeping. I really love this Tropic lavender pillow spray, and ordered a new one- you can get a refill so you can reuse the spray (and they are glass bottles).

On Tuesday after work I went out to cut the hedge (and also hang out these cute little bee solar lights that my brother gave me)- I used the mini hedge trimmer and while you use it it feels OK, but when I stopped (after about 40 mins) my hand was shaking so much that when I tried to pour milk into my tea it went everywhere!

On Wednesday I had a run first thing and then did yoga in the evening. I was getting a bit worked up over the impending announcement regarding the lockdown (last time it seemed like it would just be renewed, whereas this time there were lots of hints in the papers and I just don’t see how with so many thousands of deaths any easing is a sensible thing), and although I really enjoyed yoga, I ended up crying in the final relaxation- I think the emotion just crept up on me. I was getting into a bit of a spiral with checking news and various teaching groups and things like that, and just feeling so out of control with everything. I was going to try and avoid news and things for the long weekend, but then with the main announcement being put back to Sunday night this wasn’t possible.

Anyway, the sleep stories from Calm helped a bit, as did watching some of my fave renovation shows from HGTV (Fixer Upper and Home Town being my two current faves).

Thursday was another run in the morning before work, as is my usual routine now. Not much to report- getting through 5 days worth of work in 4 days so I could enjoy the 3 day weekend felt a bit busy, but worth it in the end.

We also opened this fudge which we got in the Bath Christmas markets- it’s sooooo good. I think I need to find the instructions for making it myself as it’s 100% maple syrup so must be down to how you heat it.

How do you cope with the constant news cycles at the moment? I know I should not watch it but it’s a bit of a compulsion, and then I regret it afterwards.

A lockdown birthday

Usually my birthday is around the May Bank Holiday, so often we’d head off somewhere for a 3 day weekend. We’d not booked anything for this year, partly because we had Disneyland Paris for the following weekend, and also because the Bank Holiday had moved to the Friday, so it was just a normal weekend. On Saturday morning I still wanted to do my not a parkrun run, and be back for the quiz. Typically if we were around, I would have gone to Ellenbrook Fields for parkrun, met my dad there, run with him and then headed back for pancakes made by Mum. In order to replicate that, I made us pancakes and sent my parents a photo!

It was sunny on my not-parkrun at least!

Danny on With Me Now had mentioned postbox cyphers, and I had thought that all the ones near me would be ER ones, but by chance I glanced at one on my run and it turned out to be an Edward 7th one (I had to google it when I got home because I could make out the VII but not really work out the letter shapes).

At home Mum usually gives me my own mini pot of tea on a tray (everyone else has coffee) and also my own milk jug, which has turned into a bit of a joke with my dad and brother trying to use it without my mum seeing…. so of course I had to replicate this too! I had some Vicky’s Sponge Cake tea (black tea with raspberry)- yummy. Andy joined me for birthday pancakes. I felt very lucky because despite the lockdown, lots of people had sent cards and messages (including my absolute favourite – a video of my niece and nephew singing happy birthday to me), and someone sent me some beautiful flowers(in the top picture)- they even came with instructions on how to put them in the vase so that was an enjoyable activity to do. The Post Office did sterling work delivering some Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate sachets and the Fearne Cotton Happy Vegan book (it even has a recipe for vegan French Toast!). Andy got me a card themed perfectly, with someone wearing a Stitch hat and eating a Dole Whip- the BEST Disney snack (officially- voted on by DFB!). As with so many things, actual outings are postponed or cancelled- we had got ourselves tickets to see Queen as a sort of joint birthday thing, and that’s now been put back to 2021. Andy got us tickets to see The Killers- it should have been this June but it’s now in 2021 too. For both of our birthdays my parents had got us tickets to a comedy show in St Albans (next week- currently being rescheduled)- we were going to go out for dinner together and then go to the show.  We shall have fun next summer. So that I had something to open Andy gave me a pack of those wafers from Austria- I love them and we have been re-watching Friends and there is always a box on the counter- he must have been listening because I now have a 12 pack-one a month until we see the band apparently! Not sure they will last that long!

It was glorious weather so we spent a lot of time outside- Andy was digging a pond and I was pottering about with seeds and things. I’d made a carrot cake so we had a pot of tea and cake in the garden in the afternoon, and then I had a few calls (I love a Whatsapp video call) to my parents and Andy’s parents.

I’d gone for a Totoro theme with my t-shirt and hoodie, and requested that as my birthday film.

We watched the subtitled version and at the end I found out that they don’t subtitle the end credits- the song is very sweet and basically tells the story, so we had to then find the dubbed version. We then went down a bit of a You Tube wormhole, watching the Kimmy theme tune,  some random songify songs,  the Disneyland Paris Christmas parade, and finally  Wishes (the final one where all the crowd sing along).

Dates + Nut butter shall always be the greatest food once back from a run.

On Sunday I went for my run over to Panshanger. I kept it a bit shorter though as we needed to do more decorating. Although most of the paths are wide, I got a bit stressed towards the end because I came across a few groups of people who just would not move. I always feel that it is polite for both lots to move- if I move to the left, please move to the right and show me that you are making the effort. I was ending up running a long way into the fields, where it’s all rutted under long grass, because people would not even step one foot to the side. Grrr. Also, the car park is closed but people are now parking in the laybys and along the country roads- it was a lot busier than I had seen it before.

I’d made some more bread for us to have on Sunday. After lots of online reading, it turns out that the baskets for proving need to be sort of seasoned (heated in the oven a bit, or put in there are the oven cools). The rice flour seems to be helping too- it came out more easily but was still a bit flat. PB&J for one and honey for the other piece. We actually finished decorating the hall too! Well, I mean we have now painted the walls (and reached the high bits with a brush taped to a mop handle)- still need to do all the woodwork but at least all the sheets and mess can be cleared away. I also plucked up the courage to record a voice message and send it in to With Me Now- it’s my fave parkrun podcast, and it’s great that they are still keeping going despite parkrun being paused. They had asked for audio contributions for the last few weeks but I didn’t feel brave enough, but then they asked again to hear from different people so I had a go (had to download a new app and everything).

On Sunday night Andy made a lovely but rather spicy tomato and spinach pasta, so to cool down I had some of this delicious ice cream (it’s oat based and sooo creamy) with some berries, and we started watching the new series of Bosch. A good end to the weekend.

What is your record for the longest time spent decorating one room? Seeing as we started in August 2019 we are probably going to reach a year before we properly finish! Have you had many things postponed or cancelled?  I don’t mind so much if things are postponed, we have a long list of those (seeing the Athletico Mince podcast being filmed, Rhod Gilbert comedy show, seeing Ash, Queen) but a couple of things have just been cancelled (including Nick Offerman- from Parks and Rec- he was going to be brilliant) and that’s a shame because you don’t know if you will get another chance, whereas at least with postponed things you can still look forward to them eventually. Have you started on postbox bingo? I’ve seen a few GR’s on my walks so I am going to do a run to see lots of them too.

A rainy week and my highest ever mileage month!

Last week I was back in work (instead of working from home). I managed to keep my routine fairly consistent though which I was pleased about.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse! On Monday I did some yoga in the morning, and when I got home we headed out on a walk. The skies were very dark in one direction and we ended up getting soaked!

I had ordered some pretty new shoes so decided to wear them to brighten up the day a bit! Not so happy with them getting wet on their first day of being worn…

The weather was forecast to be rubbish all week, so even though the streets probably would have been quieter had I waited until getting home for my run, I decided to go out first thing. This meant getting up the wrong side of 6 am so I was back and out of the shower in time to get to work.  I did 10k on the Tuesday for the Brooks Run Happy at Home medal- the cup of tea was perfect for the weather too!

I got so cold during the day (as we keep the doors open so people don’t have to touch the handles) and I had to drop some things off to my parents on my way home, and ended up standing at the end of the drive and having a chat with them- only for about 5 mins but I was just freezing once home. So it was a blanket, cup of tea and a movie- Andy laughed at my choice of Frozen (won’t it make you more cold?) but it was a good film to watch to feel cosy.

On Wednesday morning I did a shorter run- this time it wasn’t raining for most of it. I thought I’d charged up my watch, but once back it was saying 1% battery. I charged it while I was having a shower and breakfast, but I didn’t want to be without it at work. At around 9.30 I looked down and saw that the screen had gone off- the horror! And then I never realised how many times in a day I look at my watch or fiddle with the buttons to see my steps! When I got home it charged up while I watched a bit of TV, and then had my weekly yoga class via zoom a bit later.

I’d been looking on Strava and I’d gone over 100 miles for the month a week ago. I would usually do 4 runs a week when I am at work, and 5 in the holidays, but often they might be 3 or 4 miles long. I’d often have a walk in the same day, but now because it is either a walk or a run, I am making the runs a bit longer to make the most of being outside, so they’ve tended to be 5 miles or longer. Over a few weeks those little extras creep up. Anyway, I went back through, and my highest monthly mileage was back in 2015 when I was training for the Brighton marathon-  I managed 132 miles. Looking at my total, I only needed to do 3 miles and I’d beat it. I went out for 5 miles, to total 135 miles for April. I am not sure I will get that high again for a while!

When I got home I fancied another film, so this time put on Moana for the opposite weather to Frozen! I just love those songs. When it finished it recommended Lilo and Stitch to me- I mean a good choice because I love it, but I only watched it the other week! Although I could have got up a bit later, it was made it feel like I had some bonus time when I got home. Although I would have to get up a lot earlier for a run before normal work (a combination of the traffic being lighter and our caretaker opening up later means I don’t have to leave until around 40 mins after I would usually leave).

The rain even cleared away by 8 o clock so we didn’t get soaked for the clapping!

On Friday I did some yoga in the morning- I’m working through the Yoga with Adrienne 30 day challenge, only I am only doing it a couple of times a week. I do like it though- this was a stretch session and really satisfying. When I got home we went on a walk, and then I made a carrot cake  for my birthday (at the weekend). I also did a lot of the cleaning jobs that I usually do on a Saturday, so I didn’t have to do them on my birthday.  The cake took a lot longer to cook than the recipe said, and we couldn’t cook dinner until it was done so it was a rather late meal in the end- we had planned to watch a film but started watching the new series of Bosch instead.

How busy are the streets near you at the moment? What films or TV have you been enjoying recently? Do you keep track of your mileage? Have you been running more or less recently? 

A non-parkrun sandwich, the two point six challenge and more baking

So a week ago last Saturday, as is my new routine, I was up early for a run to get back in time for the parkrun quiz.  I think I got 10- not as high as the week before.

Then it was off to do yet more decorating- we are going over the walls with two base coats and they are just so huge. We now have a pole (for cleaning windows) so we taped a brush to the end of the pole to reach the really high bits- even with a ladder we could not reach them any other way!

I experimented with adding some fruit to the sourdough. I’m still having trouble with it sticking in the proving basket, but it tasted good.

I was also itching to do some baking, because Pret had released some of their recipes, and their chocolate almond butter cookies are my absolute fave! I gave them a go and I was so impressed with the results!

We watched Rocketman on Saturday evening as our film choice.

On Sunday I headed to Panshanger for a non-parkrun sandwich. I ran there, ran the route (starting in the middle) and decided to take a photo of each km marker, then ran home for a total of 10 miles. The photos show a bit how varied the route is, with woods, open fields and farm tracks, although you couldn’t see any of the lakes in the pictures. It makes me happy that the signs are still there though- it’s just paused!

Once home we had a croissant for breakfast (plus some fruit and yoghurt but no photo because it wasn’t very pretty!), and did a bit of gardening.

I also made sure to actually enjoy the garden so I sat out there catching up on magazines- I’d made a chai latte by putting some B&B sticky chai in milk and leaving it in the fridge to infuse. Not as good as the ones they make in store but pretty tasty still.

I’d decided to do the two point six challenge (as lots of charities were not going to have the big boost from things like the London Marathon, they asked people to do a challenge at home and either donate or get sponsorship)- I thought I would do 26,000 steps, so we did a bit more decorating, and then I walked laps of our garden to make it up to the total. I didn’t want to ask for sponsorship, but I donated some money to ARUK in memory of my Nan.

Andy says it looks like I am having a breakdown as I walk around the garden (I listen to a podcast too) but I love it because I really notice all of the buds and flowers. I have never looked in that much detail before. Thoughts?

I also got a new jumper (from Etsy) and I love it! Things like this make me chuckle a lot!

Would you or do you walk laps of your garden? Did you do anything for the 2.6 challenge? Is there anything from shops or cafes that you really miss at the moment?