A quick recap and Brighton round 2!

Last week I was home too late on Tuesday to make it out to the club run in time, so I had a run on my own- usually this would be fine (and I wore my light for the first time- which meant getting ready took ages as I could not remember which way around the straps went)- but it was also Halloween so I was basically dodging kids (and teenagers who were way too old) all dressed up for most of the run – it made it hard work! There were so many houses decorated too- with that fake spider web stuff and the do not cross crime scene tape. I’m not a Halloween fan, but at least the trick or treaters seem to only go to the decorated houses now which seems better.

Happy once I had finally worked out how to put it on!

Yoga was cancelled for the first week back, and so I took the opportunity to head into town after work to pick up a free drink from Costa (not my coffee shop of choice, but the Three mobile app had another freebie so not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth I went for it). It seems that all the shops had had a Christmas explosion (and some houses too-why????- I love Christmas but just for December please!).

On Thursday I had a nice 4 mile run, and then on Friday evening we got the train down to Brighton. We went a few weeks ago for the 10 mile race, but the restaurant we had booked had a power cut, so we decided to go down again.

As we were staying right by the station, on Saturday morning I got the train across to Hove, to run Brighton and Hove parkrun.

I’ll do a separate post about that as it was a new-to-me course. On the train on the way back I messaged Andy, who was in Cafe Coho, so he ordered breakfast. By the time I sat down the cup of tea was already there, and it didn’t take long for the pancakes to arrive.

Their pancakes are so good- they come with Greek yoghurt, berries and honey.  After going back to the hotel for a shower, we had a lovely walk along the seafront towards Hove. It was a bit rainy (it had rained hard on the final lap of the parkrun course) but luckily that didn’t last too long.

There were some huge waves and dramatic clouds (and some people on the beaches getting very close to the waves…). We wandered back to town and around the shops for a bit, and of course had to stop and get some cake. The place we had been to a few times (Catwalk cakes) has closed, so we found another cafe (there is no shortage  of cafes- you just need to find one with a seat!), and enjoyed sharing a slice of carrot cake.

After more of a walk (the sun sets so early now- that top right picture was at around 5pm) we headed to Food for Friends- thankfully no power cut this time!

After dinner we got the train back home, catching up on the film podcast and watching lots of fireworks.

On Sunday I had a short-ish run (for a Sunday- 6 miles) in the most beautiful autumnal weather.

We then headed into St Albans for breakfast, as we had to be there later for a family baptism, and wandered around the park (we even found the house that was on Grand Designs recently).

After the baptism, we were off to the cinema to see Murder on the Orient Express. I had heard some people say it wasn’t that great, but I really enjoyed  it. I’d not read the book so I didn’t know what happened, so maybe if you were comparing it to the book you might feel like some bits were missed out or different (I have no idea), but it was good fun I though. We were sat in front of some people that talked ALL THE WAY THROUGH! I kept turning around to try and work out who it was so I could shush them, but it was hard to see in the dark. It was so annoying though! I think that the film may attract a type of audience that does not visit the cinema that often…

This week has gone by in a flash- I missed the club run on Tuesday as I had an awful headache. I’d taken painkillers but after a 2 hour meeting and driving home it still hadn’t gone, so a short walk in the fresh air had to suffice. Yoga was back on Wednesday (hooray!)- we did a lot of work on hips including some partner squats- I need to remember these things for when I get back from a run as I do try to do some of them as stretches now. On Thursday I picked Mum and Dad up from Heathrow as they had been in China. I was really not looking forward to the M25 at rush hour, or navigating around the airport, so I was very pleased with myself when I managed it (I was telling myself “you are a thirty-something year old person, you should be able to drive to an airport…” but these things make me anxious still). Anyway it was lovely to find out how their holiday had been.

And here we are at Friday!  I don’t think I’ve been up to date with this blog since the summer!

Any plans for the weekend? Are people near you going Halloween crazy? Or have you seen any Christmas decorations? Which towns/places do you like to visit over and over?

A long run, and afternoon tea to recover!

After going to Castle Park parkrun last Saturday (and all the petrol panic that happened after) it was fairly late by the time I’d got home and showered. I needed to pop over to my brother’s and collect some plants (Mum had planted us some winter pansies in her greenhouse and they needed to be planted out), so I drove over there and had a little catch up with him. By the time I got home, it was time for lunch- soup and toasted sourdough.

We then had a long walk (about 4 miles) through town and via a launderette as we wanted to wash the winter duvet before putting it back on (although the cost of having it cleaned is more than a new one actually costs…). After some work in the garden (more leaf sweeping, and planting out the pansies) I did a bit of work at home and was treated to a gorgeous pink sky at sunset.

On Sunday I was up early (thanks to the clocks changing) as I needed to fit in a long run and we had cinema tickets booked for midday. I was going to go for 11, as I had a week off long runs the previous weekend, and didn’t know if I would manage one next weekend- I took some Clif shot blocks with me in case I needed a boost- I had a few after about 10 miles in the end as I felt a bit tired. It was a bit of a loopy run, going out and back on myself a bit as I kept an eye on the miles (and avoided the woods and the park where I last got bothered by dogs…)- in the end when I got home it was at around 11.5 miles so I ran around the block to make it up to 12- my longest run for this half marathon I think.

Once home it was time for a speedy shower and breakfast in front of some Bake Off (and a big cup of tea) before heading to see Breathe.

The film was brilliant (it tells the true story of a guy who contracted polio, and shows his battle to be able to live as full a life as possible instead of being confined to a hospital)- it was very emotional and the people in with us were not quiet- very loud sobbing at times! I took a cereal bar with me and got a drink to take in as I knew I would be hungry otherwise.

Then I was off for afternoon tea- a year or so ago I’d been to a local place (Brocket Hall) with some friends- the food was good (apart from my poor friend who had ordered gluten free food) but the service was terrible, so we had vouchers to go back there.

It was lovely to catch up with everyone (we all started teaching in the same school, but now most of them have moved to other schools so we don’t see each other as regularly) and the food was good, however the service was still poor (plus, if we didn’t have vouchers we would have had to pay in advance which is not very common and not that appealing)- I don’t think we’ll be back!

We did end up with a lot of food to take home though- the lemon tart and Battenberg cakes were particularly delicious!

I was a bit worried that after sitting down in the cinema my legs would be sore, but I was actually OK. I had worn my calf sleeves to the cinema (but not to afternoon tea as they showed through my tights!) and that helped a lot I think. I won’t be racing the half, but at least I know I will be OK at doing that many miles in one go, as I think the last time for me was April.

Do you like afternoon tea? I find it more relaxing than a meal out as it feels like you can take your time.

Fun and not so fun half term jobs (and another dog incident)

So last Wednesday (in half term) I headed out for a run first thing- it was all going well and I was enjoying the lovely autumnal day.

I was around a mile from home, running through a park when I saw a large group of women with dogs going through the middle. I watched them as I carried on running on the path, when three of the dogs noticed me and raced across the field towards me. I stood still, and two of them ran back, but the third (a big dog, a bit like a greyhound but more chunky) leapt up onto me- straightaway I shouted over “can you please call your dog” and one of the women started to call, but the dog carried on jumping- it had it’s paws on my hips and was sticking it’s nose into my back. I shouted at her again to come and get it if it wouldn’t come, but the thankfully it went back to her. I was really cross- it was a big dog and it could have knocked me over. I told her that she needed to keep it on a lead if she could not control it, and she kindly told me “I can’t be up it’s arse the whole time”- I think I was very calm when I pointed out to her that all the other dogs were off leads and under control, but hers wasn’t so she was being irresponsible.  None of the other women said anything but I hope that they told her that she was in the wrong (they were all walking in a big group so it looked like a sort of dog walking club or something). I totally understand that people are allowed to let their dogs off leads, and I know that dogs find people running exciting, but it’s not acceptable that a dog can jump up at someone twice and not be under control. The rest of my run was not good as I was feeling annoyed about it, and wishing I hadn’t gone into the park, and then being annoyed at myself for thinking that because (I don’t think…) the incident was not my fault. I’ve always been told to stand still (and tuck your hands in) if approached by a dog as they are more likely to chase and jump if you are moving, and so I don’t think I am being antagonistic or anything towards the dogs.

Anyway, after that it was a normal day of getting some work done, as well as clearing up the leaves that are just everywhere at the moment.

It doesn’t look that bad in the photo, but the leaves had collected all around the bottom of my car and went half way up the tyres. I also enjoyed looking at the flowers that are still going strong, even at this time of year.

The willow tree in our back garden is shedding leaves everywhere so I did a load of raking and sweeping, and managed to fill three bags with leaves (apparently it will make good compost), fill up one compost bin and also leave a big pile on the lawn to sort at the weekend.

On Thursday I had a short run before walking to the train station to go into London- Andy had a meeting so I was going to wander about a bit and then we’d have lunch together. In contrast to the lovely sunny weather of Wednesday, it was grey and damp and drizzly.

I wandered around Covent Garden, amused myself watching a lady do a rather inappropriate fake striptease to a load of parents and kids (she put up a screen and was throwing clothes over the top while singing “Big Spender”)- she had certainly misjudged her audience! I had a delicious hazelnut hot chocolate from the Hotel Chocolat cafe (they basically heat up coconut milk and then stir in flakes of chocolate- it’s amazing) and then tried on a load of things in Lululemon. To be fair, I had a £20 voucher, but of course that doesn’t go very far! I was half looking for a top for yoga- I really don’t like a tight top, but then I really hate it when my top rides up (down?) when you are in an inversion- no-one needs to see my stomach and I know that no-one cares, but it makes me feel uncomfortable.  The elastic banding around my SB top has gone loose so it’s not as good any more, but I couldn’t find anything suitable, so got some more leggings- amazingly these have pockets big enough for my phone (which is too big really, but I bought it on the internet after looking at one in a shop, not realising I was getting the newer model…)- anyway, they’ll be good for parkrun as I like being able to get my phone out quickly.

After lunch at Leon we headed home and I pottered about, soaking the fruits ready for Christmas cake baking. We then went to the cinema in the evening and saw Death of Stalin, which was just so funny. A much more successful cinema trip than our recent weeks.

On Friday after having our boiler serviced (I know how to live) and a walk into town, I got on with making the Christmas cakes- my favourite half term tradition.

It made the house smell pretty amazing, although I’ve also been using some special oil in my diffuser at the moment, which smells pretty similar.

A while back a running coach contacted me and offered to send me a few doTERRA essential oils; a lavender oil, some muscle rub (which I have used after a couple of my long runs- it had a cooling effect although after the first application I learnt that less is more!), and then On Guard, which is a blend of Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils. It smells amazing, and apparently can be used to make mulled wine if you were inclined.

I’ve just been enjoying it in my diffuser to make the room smell all festive and comforting.

I was also sent some clever powder to help clean your teeth.

Swish to go is basically a little sachet of powder that you sprinkle into your mouth, it then turns to liquid (no need to add water), you swish it about a bit and then swallow. I have tried it a couple of times- it takes a big of getting used to as it is a weird sensation to pour onto your tongue, and the mint flavour is quite strong, but it seemed to work pretty well. Although it would not replace brushing your teeth, it would work quite well if you wanted to freshen up and couldn’t clean your teeth- for example we have parents evening straight after work, and you can’t really clean your teeth or use mouthwash in the staff toilets, so one of these would work nicely then. I’m not a big fan of eating mints because then you are left with the sugar in your mouth anyway, so these seem like a good solution. I might take one with me when I do a half marathon next month as it is nice to freshen up afterwards sometimes too.

Back to the jobs- the final half term job we completed was putting up our pictures- we bought these from Hawaii and so the one on the left was from 2012- but we had not found frames that we liked until recently. They are all by an artist called Heather Brown who has just an amazing and really distinctive style (click on the link to see as my photo of course doesn’t do the art any justice)- I could have bought so many more!

What are your favourite and least favourite jobs? Do you have many photos or prints on your walls? We have a Totoro print in our bedroom and a few holiday photos up in some other rooms, but we still have some walls that need filling.

*I was sent the samples in exchange for a mention on my blog- all opinions are my own