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? 

Finally a run with my running club!

This September I’ve signed up to run miles to raise money for the Red Cross- our running club has a team so I was persuaded to join in. Adding in extra miles isn’t as easy now I am back at work (particularly because the traffic has been awful and what was taking me 22 mins in the summer term is now at least double that on a good day), so before meeting my dad and brother for our not parkrun on a Saturday I’ve been doing a 2 mile warm up.

Our socially distanced breakfasts have been going well still- although I am not sure how we will manage for much longer as it’s been a bit chilly on a couple of occasions (I know technically I am allowed inside their house but we don’t want to take any chances).

Gorgeous print from Seashells & Magic on Etsy for my desk at work, Stitch bag, waffles with hummus and avocado and then banana, peanut butter and chocolate chips.

I had been browsing on Ebay and saw this bag- I have been looking for a little rucksack for a while (I was going to maybe treat myself in DLP to one of their Disney Loungefly bags) as the strap broke on my bag plus it seems a rucksack would be better for my shoulders than a cross-body bag. It has pineapples in the lining- so cute!

Last Sunday my running club was meeting in Hatfield and then running “5 ish miles on a route with a view”- as they were meeting around 3 miles from home, I decided I would run and meet them and then do their route together. It was so lovely to run together- there were 4 of us on the run and it was so nice to catch up. At the top of the hill there was indeed the most beautiful view looking across the countryside- peeking out of the trees we could see these white buildings and after looking at them more closely they turned out to be the big Shredded Wheat factory in the centre of WGC (being turned into flats etc at the moment)- it’s crazy that it is so green and looked just like countryside.

I saw lots of blackberries too- I need to take a little sandwich bag with me on my runs in case I find a good patch (I used to know a few patches where we lived before). Croissants for breakfast, some work and a walk and then watching a film in the afternoon. I chose Mulan, which I think I saw on a plane but it was so long ago. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than the other older ones I’ve seen (Peter Pan I’m looking at you) and I am now looking forward to watching the live action remake.

Of course I had to have tea in my Olaf mug when watching a Disney film. And I wore my monorail t-shirt. Since the first time we went to Florida I loved seeing all the families and groups in their matching t-shirts. Anywhere else it would seem strange but I think it is just great seeing the designs. Anyway, Andy has never agreed to matching tops (not even when we got married!) but he really liked this design too, so got one in a different colour so we don’t totally match. I wonder when we will actually get to wear them at Disney…

Gingerbread almond butter- not quite as good as their pumpkin spice one but really delicious.

The week just gone flew by, and despite lots of traffic I managed a run on Tuesday and Thursday, and yoga (on Zoom) was back on Wednesday. There have been some beautiful sunrises, and the flowers in our garden seem to be having a bit of a second wind.

My September tea club arrived, including Spiced pumpkin pie tea- it’s so pretty with little pumpkin sprinkles in it!

This week we have had the news that parkrun is aiming to return in England at the end of October. With Me Now has held some excellent live discussions via their facebook page, including having Tom Williams on (parkrun COO). As someone who has been quite risk averse and quite cautious about being exposed to people during the pandemic, I felt really reassured after hearing the research they commissioned (regarding the risk of transmission in outdoor spaces) and also all of the procedures they are putting into place. I think we are lucky here to have a choice of local runs in large spaces (eg no 5 lap routes around cricket pitches), and on Saturday when running our not parkrun we discussed the merits of our most local runs. Panshanger is one big lap but the start can be congested as it is narrow (but then teams can adapt routes if they need to, so I wonder if they are able to there). Ellenbrook Fields is pretty much one lap and JF is two but you don’t have too much lapping.  For either I could easily wait at the back at the start, and then of course when running to the funnel you can just slow down if someone is near by and you don’t want to be too close to them. The new virtual volunteer app sounds amazing (Danny Norman did try to screen share this on a facebook live and I think will have another go at some point) because then if you have it (from how I understand it) you could then scan your own barcode using your own phone, which would reduce contact even further. I would recommend watching their videos if you have any questions because they were so informative and really helpful. I suppose if you are working at home and not going out then it might seem like a big step, but as I am in a room with 30 people each day, an outside setting seems safer than work does to me right now.

Bottom right new final km path

On Sunday I fancied heading back to Panshanger for my long run- I’ve not been for ages because towards the end of the mot severe part of lockdown it had got very busy with dog walkers and cyclists and groups of people, but as the streets around here have calmed down I wondered if it would be quieter.

Although I came across a few people, particularly on my way back (including one person with a little yappy dog who came and chased me in a part of the park that says on all the signs to have dogs on a short lead because of the livestock…) it was much emptier than before, and I loved the run. They have even resurfaced the final km of the parkrun course- normally a narrow muddy path with loads of huge puddles, now it’s wider as they have cut back the undergrowth, and covered in hard packed gravel- what joy! I also found the long horned cattle (including a calf) so of course had to have a selfie with one of the cows.

It should have been the Great North Run, and although I wasn’t signed up this year, I am still in the family whatsapp group from our run last year (we ran it for my uncle as he wanted to do 20 GNR’s but died before he could do the last one)- one of my dad’s cousin’s (Brian, who we introduced to parkrun and is now on 97 parkruns!) went out to run a half marathon and sent us all a photo of him at the end. Very impressive.

I’d managed to finish all of my work (and nearly all of the housework) on Saturday afternoon (in between helping Andy to begin the decorating of our spare room- he moved out all the furniture, took down the wallpaper and then put it all back rearranged) so on Sunday I could watch a film. My choice for this week was Lilo and Stitch. It’s so warm outside so I knew I needed a warm film (can’t watch Frozen when it’s hot) and I fancied something I knew was good. Watercolour artwork, scenes of Hawaii and an Elvis soundtrack- it’s all good with me.

Are you excited about the prospect of parkrun returning?  Do you tend to run with a club or run alone?

The final week of freedom (sort of) and autumn is settling in

Andy had some time off work after we were back from Scotland, so we had some relaxing days, although the weather didn’t really play ball for some of it. We got a takeaway from the Waffle House and ended up sitting in my car in the rain and eating it!

We also played this National Parks game which was fun (easier to play than the Disney Villains game) and had the most gorgeous pieces; carved wooden animals and amazing artwork for all of the USA National Parks.

Of course there were some runs (this one was a few hours after lunch and reminded me how much I prefer morning runs, but they are soon to be for weekends only), and then of course afternoon Disney movies. Big Hero 6 seemed like a great option- couldn’t we all do with a healthcare companion right now?

We had a bit of time in Brighton- often we go down for the final weekend of the holidays, but I didn’t fancy a weekend as I thought it would be super busy (and then we cut it short because it rained and then was super windy before and after…). Anyway, we fit in some things- mainly takeaway iced drinks from Bird&Blend, takeaway cake from Cloud9, takeaway acai bowl from Wolfox cafe (takeaway is the theme here).

The waves were crazily high on the beach and we watched the poor life guard traipse backwards and forwards telling people again and again to get back or get out of the water …

On Saturdays I’ve been going over to my parents and running a 5k with my dad and brother, and then doing a longer run on Sunday (above are some pics from a run through Brocket Hall, plus the most delicious vegan chocolate almond coconut croissant from the Flowerpot Bakery in Brighton).

I’ve been getting into the back to work vibe, sorting out my new diary (and getting this cute diary clip to save the right page from Enchanted Cozy Co), and sorting out my desk. Also, my cheese plant got it’s first leaf with holes!

We did have some good weather for iced drinks in the garden.

I actually went to eat at a restaurant with a couple of friends (my best work pals)- we booked an outside table and thankfully it didn’t rain. I also got a few more waffles- another lot for lunch (collected on my way home from when I went into work) and another time meeting a friend so we sat in the park and ate them. The Trussell Trust did quite well out of us, because we donated the money we had saved each time.

On a side note, the eating out did worry me with regards to the quarantine- eg we couldn’t go to France because we would have to self isolate for 14 days, but if you go out to eat and then are contacted by track and trace, you have to have a test but even if that’s negative you still have to isolate for 14 days because symptoms can take that long to appear. I am not sure going out to eat is worth it, but there doesn’t seem to be that much made of it.

Also got this cute coconut print from Seashells and Magic on Etsy for our hallway.

I’ve been watching a few older Disney films- after listening to a recent Judge John Hodgman podcast where Peter Pan was discussed, I decided to give it a go. I didn’t remember much from watching it as a child- I loved the mermaids and Tiger Lily- but it was really inappropriate (eg all the songs etc around the natives) and Tinkerbell was just horrible. Why is the queue for that ride so long???

As I didn’t run in Scotland (well, on Skye) my August miles were a bit slack, and I fancied a run around Ellenbrook, so once day ran there, did the parkrun course and ran home to make it a half marathon. I had joined a challenge on Strava but didn’t get a badge because they now have to be visible to all whereas I keep my runs only viewable to followers. Ah well.  I think I watched Pocahontas that afternoon- it was OK but Disney needed to up their catchy song game!

Instead of going to Brighton for the Bank Holiday weekend, we got a skip, so after a breakfast of french toast, we loaded the skip up in the rain. A hot chocolate was needed after that, and some evenings I’ve even got out the blanket!

After some less than successful Disney films, I treated myself to Frozen 2 last weekend (if Andy is watching the Grand Prix it means I can watch a Disney movie in the afternoon).

I keep seeing so many mushrooms and fairy circles on my runs now too, and some of the trees have a hint of change about them. I’ve been busy in the garden too and there are lots of autumnal colours appearing there too.

Cinnamon bun with cream cheese and marmalade to imitate a Starbucks one! Plus I harvested our pumpkins.

On the final day of the holidays I’d booked a massage, so walked into town. The weather was beautiful and I was there a bit early (I had to pick up a prescription too, and they were ready straight away whereas sometimes you have to wait or some back later, so I’d left lots of time) so I sat in the park.

A lovely end to a different but still mostly relaxing summer.

Are you worried about having to potentially isolate if you go out to eat or somewhere?

Favourite and least favourite Disney films? I am definitely never watching Pinocchio because it absolutely terrified me when I was little.

Is it feeling autumnal where you are? 

A little longer in Edinburgh and finishing the Disney castle

I had to google “peely-wally”- it means pale and sickly in appearance, and if you say a hot chocolate will help then I guess I’ll get one. Also, how cute is my new cup cozy? You could choose the colours and even have your initials on it….. from the fab Enchanted Coy co on Etsy.

Ah, Scotland is so lovely. After out trip to DLP had to be cancelled (again….) we decided to add another night in Edinburgh- Andy had the week off anyway as we were due to get the train to Paris on the Wednesday, and it was a lot of driving, so it made sense to have Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday in Edinburgh and drive home on Monday.

There is a Hotel Chocolat cafe there and we managed a visit on both days. After being very cautious at home (the shop I went to before we drove up was the first shop I’d been in since March) and then things were all very wide open and empty in Skye, it felt weird being in a busy city centre. I am sure it doesn’t compare to a usual August in Edinburgh as there was no festival or anything like that. I didn’t fancy eating in a restaurant, so we got with the times and got Deliveroo (we are not really ones for getting a takeaway)- the hotel even had an area for the delivery people to wait, so one night we got a Wagamama’s, and then the other night a burger.

Andy had found Hula Juice Bar via the magic of the internet- they did beautiful acai bowls and it was actually fairly warm, so we got a takeaway for breakfast from there and sat outside. We had booked to go to the botanical gardens as we had been there before and knew they would be good for a walk. I much preferred walking around there to the busier city centre.

I also got rather excited when I found a few VR postboxes and also a gold one for the Olympics. Hooray for visiting old cities.

Before we left on the Monday I went out for a run. I’d packed a set of running gear but where we stayed on Skye wasn’t suitable- twisty one track roads with passing place and no pavements- it just didn’t seem worth it, but before the long drive I quite like to stretch my legs. I was going to run to Holyrood, and that was fine although some of the paths were closed due to rock fall,  but I managed to get a bit lost on the way back.

While I was out running Andy had sorted us lunch (ah how I have missed Pret) and then we headed back- driving through torrential rain, thankfully having no rain (and getting our time slot this time) at Fountain’s Abbey for a good 3 mile walk to stretch the legs, and even seeing some double rainbows as we neared home.

Andy had originally said that we should finish our Disney castle before we went away, but we didn’t have time and had one more stage to get through, so once home we added the finishing touches. It’s been quite fun working through it together, although it is massive and at the moment just living on our dining room table- not quite sure where it’s going to go…

Do you get takeaways very often? I was watching a TV show where a family spent £200 per month on takeaways, that much again on eating out and that much again on groceries….