Why An Evening Class Could Keep you Curious And Teach You New Skills*

I have a contributed post today, all about evening classes:

Are you looking for a new hobby? An evening class could be just the thing for you! It may seem as though you never have the time, but make the time to take a class you’re excited about. There are so many classes available that you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice. Whether you want to learn a new skill, get fit, or just have fun, an evening class is a great way to achieve that goal. Take the time to look around and see what’s available. Most towns and cities have a wealth of things going on. If you’ve got something specific in mind, look for a class focused on that. If not, get stuck into a little research. You might just find something you never knew you were interested in! Here’s a list of a few classes that are available most commonly. Take a look and get the ball rolling!


Most local gyms host a variety of classes that you could sign up for. There are classes for most exercises. From running, to yoga, take your pick. Take this opportunity to get fit and meet new people at the same time! If you’re after something that’s fun and fast paced, zumba dance classes at fitness centre can be a great option. It’s worth noting that most gyms won’t accept you into a class unless you’re already a member. That stipulation might just give you the motivation to stop putting it off!


Most of us would like to learn a foreign language, but many of us never get around to it. Change that now by signing up for a language class. There are usually classes available for people at varying levels. Don’t worry about everyone else being more knowledgeable than you. Learn French and take that trip you’ve been putting off. Maybe you’re after something a little more exotic. Why not get to grips with Japanese, and learn a whole new way of using language? Whatever you fancy, don’t put it off any longer!


Dance classes are another excellent way to get fit and have fun. Why not get a little sensual and learn salsa? These classes can be a great bonding experience for you and your partner to attend together. You’ll be the couple everyone’s talking about the next time you go to a party! They are also fantastic for socialisation and building confidence. You’ll get the chance to dance with a variety of partners. If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut with your friendship group, take the plunge and meet some new people!

This list doesn’t even skim the surface of the options available. There are more practical things like woodwork or pottery. You could go back and do an evening class in a subject you enjoyed a lot during school. There’s something satisfying in going back to the classroom and learning something new. It’ll surprise you how invigorating the experience can be. Keep your curiosity alive and learn something new!

Would you like to go to an evening class? If you could choose something, what would you do? I always wanted to learn German, as some of my family are in Austria, and when I moved secondary schools I had missed the first year of German so struggled to pick it up. Although right now, I think something therapeutic like modelling with clay would be more relaxing.

Time keeping at parkrun and a little trip to London

This week the running didn’t go quite as planned. I went out with the club on Tuesday for a nice (but cold) 5 miles, and then had yoga on Wednesday (in which we worked towards a tripod headstand- I managed to get my elbows to rest on my legs so am maybe a quarter of the way there!) I had a headache on the Wednesday but after yoga I felt so much better. All good. On Thursday I felt rubbish- a faint headache all day, achy neck and shoulders. I had a meeting to go to after work (at another venue) which had bad traffic getting there and home, and by the time I got home going on a run or even a walk was the last thing I fancied. I had thought of running after work on Thursday and Friday, as I was volunteering at parkrun on Saturday so knew I could not run then. But those plans went out of the window- we did have a walk after work on Friday to get some fresh air and that helped a lot.


The view of the finish funnel from the gazebo

Luckily on Saturday morning I felt OK, and I wrapped up in many layers as I had volunteered to do the timekeeping. This would involve standing around, and it was cold and pouring with rain. The team at Ellenbrook have a gazebo, which they had put up by the time I arrived, so I sheltered under there for a bit.

I did feel the pressure with timekeeping, but luckily they have two people doing it, and the other person had done it many times before. The laminated card that you are given had very clear instructions (because to reset it you had to press many combinations of buttons and wait for different things to appear on the screen). All I had to remember was to press “start” at the beginning, and then the “lap” button each time a runner crossed the finish line.


Thankfully all went well- every now and then we would check that we had the same number at the top (it clicked over each time we pressed it)- it was a bit confusing at times as you are anticipating when a runner would cross, and a few people ran back to run in with someone else, and they would duck out at the last minute. No mistakes though! My dad had come along and because of the nature of the course (one small loop that goes back to the finish area, and then one large loop) once we had pressed start, we could stand at the end of the loop and cheer everyone past before going to the finish line- we had a good 5 minutes after the tail runner went past before we had to worry about people finishing. My hands were so cold though, as I could not press the buttons with my gloves on. The RD asked one of the marshals to hold an umbrella over me to stop my hands getting any wetter- I felt like royalty having it held over me!

The runners were fairly speedy- I think the tail runner came in just past 40 minutes, and it was only a small field of just over 60 runners- I think the rain had put a lot of people off. There is a storage locker so we packed all the bits away before heading home to warm up and dry off.

My parents popped over mid-morning, and then we headed off into London as we wanted to visit Loaf to look at a bed- we’d seen it online and liked it, but we wanted to see it in the flesh as it were.


This week I had watched a documentary (on BBC4 I think) about hipsters, and this shop was definitely hoping for that sort of customer- it even had an ice cream parlour inside- weird.  It was in the bit of the middle of nowhere- we got the tube to Vauxhall and then had a mile walk in the rain (we were going to walk along the river, but the path was closed), and when we finished we called an uber- a few people leaving just before us had the same idea and they were queuing up!

We had a walk through Hyde Park (and saw all the Winter Wonderland stuff being built- not my kind of place it seems) before braving Oxford Street. It was so busy, just horrible. I wanted to see the Christmas lights (and we had a John Lewis cake voucher only valid in London, so…), but that was enough! We were home by half 6 and that was long enough!

We watched a documentary on Netflix about The Barkley Marathons- I had heard a bit about it on MT before, but seeing the weekend evolve was just amazing, and totally mental- that’s one race not on my list! Although I did like the low key nature of it, just not the crazy length, the map reading, the thorns, the steepness, the night time navigating…


And what a difference a day makes! I had a long run planned for Sunday, and the weather was fab, not a drop of rain in sight. The run wasn’t great as half way through my leg started cramping, like it had in the Bright10, so I had to keep stopping to stretch, and then I got a stitch when my leg was OK, so  was quite glad to be finally home!

Do you like watching documentaries? If you, what would you recommend- I love them!


How is it November? This means the C word is just around the corner! Crazy!

I’ve been making the most of the darker evenings by watching some TV shows-  we just finished Goliath which was really good (I think we watched one episode per evening until we finished it), and have  just started The Crown which (to someone who is not a fan of period dramas) seems interesting.


The mornings have been very frosty recently. I had a lovely run on Sunday morning and enjoyed seeing all of the frosty leaves covering the ground.


It was such a sunny morning- beautiful.


I had to keep on stopping as I was having a whatsapp conversation about later in the day, so kept taking those opportunities to take pictures while my phone was out. After my run we spent some time in the garden (we have finally planted the apple tree), and I attempted to saw up some logs to take to work- this did not go as planned and I am not sure how I managed to do some without chopping my ankle off. Later the clouds rolled in and it absolutely poured- I was meant to be meeting friends for cake and a walk, but in the end the walk was abandoned and we stayed inside.


Of course on Saturday morning I headed to parkrun- my dad decided to meet me at Panshanger (and actually made it this time!)- I was awake early so I did a few miles beforehand, before we ran together (both finishing with 29.00 as our time, on the dot), making it up to 6 miles for the morning.


Instead of my nuun tabs, I have been having powdered coconut water after a run, sent to me from Proto-col. If I put some in the bottom of a glass and pour water over, I don’t even need to stir it which is brilliant. It does not taste the same as fresh coconut water, but it still contains the minerals and electrolytes so it’s great for re hydrating.

We’ve been doing some house things-  we got our immersion heater wired up so that if the boiler goes we can at least have hot water. Our bedroom curtains were fitted last week (Andy would normally do it, but we have two windows which were odd sizes, so we bought made to measure ones, and lining up two just seemed hard work..). Anyway, they make our bedroom so cosy, I love them! So much better than the office style blinds we had before.


On the subject of that (sort of) I listened to a Late Night Woman’s hour podcast last week. I don’t tend to download one each day (or even each week), just when I think it sounds interesting. Anyway, this one was Lauren Laverne presenting, and the panel (including someone Danish) had a discussion about the latest craze hitting us, Hygge. It was a really interesting discussion, here if it interests.


And finally, look at what Andy found! Well, it is November now….

Are you thinking about Christmas yet? (Yes, I said it, it’s out there now).  Are you enjoying the frosty mornings? I am enjoying my collection of winter hats!

*The powdered coconut water was sent to me in exchange for a mention on my blog. All opinions are my own.

A long weekend in Edinburgh

Last Thursday we headed up to Edinburgh for a long weekend. We had both been there a few times, but I think the last time I went I was still at uni, so a re-visit was long overdue. A few weeks ago Andy found a deal for first class train travel (which means bigger seats, a meal and drinks) for £30 each, which seemed like a bargain. We got the train from Kings Cross at 6pm, so spent the evening on the train, listening to the film podcast first, and then some others, before arriving after 11pm (the train got stuck behind a slower train after another train broke down and it had to take a different route, so it was a bit later than planned). We were planning on walking to our hotel as it was around a mile from the station but after walking a bit we ended up getting an uber.

On Friday morning we went out for breakfast at this amazing bakery around the corner from our hotel (Loudon’s)- I was spoilt for choice but in the end went for French toast with bananas and salted caramel sauce. So delicious.


Loose leaf tea in little tea pots too, which is always a winner in my book. Andy had gone for scrambled eggs (his usual) but even he was envious of my choice- it was such good bread (home-baked) and really thick slices- not soaked and not too eggy. It was massive though (not sure the photo really shows it) and so he ended up finishing it for me!


Good fuel for walking around the town. We walked along Princes Street (the main shopping street) and into a park at the end, up some steep steps for lovely views.


We then walked along the Royal Mile, past all of the very touristy shops, up to the castle. Andy wanted to go into the Whisky experience, so we booked tickets for later that afternoon. We were both so full from breakfast so we shared a salad, before heading inside to warm up.


The tour was actually quite interesting, and we got to see the thousands of varieties made in Scotland. Each ticket also got you two samples- we did ask if they did a cheaper one without, as I wouldn’t drink them, and they told us I could have Irn Bru instead- sorry Scotland but I’ll pass on that. Andy had mine! The seating area had great views too, and a map to show what you were actually looking at too. We then walked back along the main streets, before heading for an early dinner close to our hotel.

On Saturday morning I was off for my parkrun tourism.


I was very glad of uber as I am not sure I would have managed to navigate the buses. However there were not that many around so I had to wait about 10 minutes at the end before one came- if I had realised that I would have booked one and then stretched and taken photos, whereas I waited until I had done all of that before booking it. Ah well.


We headed to Loudon’s again, and I was going to have the blueberry pancakes, but then they said they were doing a Halloween special- French toast with nutella, banana creme fraiche, caramel sauce and m&m’s- I could not resist that! It also came with various jelly sweets which I asked to be left off because of the gelatin. I was so full after that! We needed a big breakfast as we were walking up Arthur’s Seat (and walking to the bottom from our hotel). There are some museums in Edinburgh but we were saving those for if it rained- not this time luckily.


It was hard work!


I even took my coat off as we were walking up as I got so hot. I soon put it back on again as the wind was very cold.


We had lovely views across to the park we went to on the Friday- it also showed us how  far we had yet to walk as we were going back to the centre after.


We didn’t need lunch of course, but we stopped for a cup of tea to warm up for a bit, and sat in the park with lovely views.


On our way past Hotel Chocolat we saw a sign that advertised a seasonal special (the shop had a cafe in the back)- spiced hot chocolate with salted caramel (or something, I can’t quite remember). I could not resist that so we shared one of those- it was so good.


Then it was time for dinner- we were both pretty shattered after all of that walking.


On Sunday we were up early as we had to get the train back at 12.00- this time I had the blueberry pancakes (they were actually purple!) which I think came with banana and cherries. Of course it was delicious. We then walked into the centre and wandered around the town a bit. Annoyingly my back was really sore when I woke up, and so I was walking fairly slowly and not looking forward to sitting down all afternoon on the train.


Going back down in the light was great, particularly further north as the train tracks were right by the coast. We saw lovely views, and mostly listened to more podcasts- really relaxing.

It was a great place to visit, and we are already looking at where else we can get to by train- Durham always looks great and the line goes through there so that might be next.

Have you ever been to Edinburgh? What type of city break activities do you like to do?

A Scottish parkrun

Last weekend we went to Edinburgh (I’ll do a separate post about that) and so on Saturday morning I had decided to visit Portobello parkrun, one of the two parkruns in Edinburgh, mainly because it was closer to where we were staying (cheaper Uber ride) but also the other one was an out and back along the coast and I didn’t know quite how windy that would be.

They start at 9.30am in Scotland, something I vaguely remembered from listening to the parkrun podcast, but I then spent a lot of time checking on other Scottish ones to check it wasn’t a typo- I didn’t want to get all that way and miss the start!


The uber ride didn’t take too long and I got to the park at about 9.10. It was a gorgeous autumnal morning and the park was filled with red and orange trees, so I took a few photos while I hung around at the start. It was so cold- breath was hanging in the air, and I was so glad of the last minute  decision to bring my long sleeved top with me- I kept it on until the last possible moment.


I thought I had read that they did a new runner’s briefing at 9.15am, but nothing was announced (and on checking their page I can’t see anything about it there), they just called everyone over to the start line a bit before 9.30. They had people holding up signs saying things like “sub 26/ sub 30” so people were in some sort of order which seemed to work well. Luckily I had read the course page and it wasn’t complicated (3 laps).

During the run briefing they celebrated some 50th parkruns, clapped the tail runner, mentioned a few birthdays and then asked runners to keep left as it was a course with laps. This to me is fine- things should be organised. However, they then said that this was so that the faster runners could get past, which implies that their times are more important. This really annoyed me, as it inches towards being elitist. Yes, keeping to the left is sensible. But why is someone who can run an 18 minute 5k, but today is running 20 minutes more important that someone who is about to get under 30 minutes for the first time? As we were running this thought just went round and round my head. At some points the path was fairly narrow- enough  for 3 runners really, 4 if you were touching. Because of this I frequently found myself behind some slightly slower runners, wanting to overtake, but I didn’t know if faster people were coming behind. I would move out to get past, and then move back over, but this was not always easy, especially if I was going past people running together. My favourite part was when a lady (one of the runners) kept bellowing “KEEP LEFT” once the  faster runners were lapping, but she herself stayed in the dead centre of the path.  I don’t want to sound grumpy about it, but I just disagree with this. parkruns are not races, they are timed runs, and they are to encourage everyone, so everyone taking part is just as important as everyone else.  I do have to say that the runners who were lapping were very friendly, and most of them called out “passing on the right” so you knew if they were coming.


I finished in 28.06 (155/253), and hung around for a bit before going back to the road to call another Uber.


I particularly liked finding trees that matched my apricot vest! Fantastic views of Arthur’s Seat from the start line too.


So, my 11th different parkrun (although really 10th, as San Francisco won’t count towards the 20 as it was abroad).

What do you think about lapped courses? Do you think faster runners should have priority?