Cosy vibes

So, the final week of half term arrived, and the plan was to try and just get through it. I’d bought an autumn leaf garland (with fairy lights) from Etsy which arrived, and I was really happy with how it looked on the mantle piece.

Much excitement when my brother added some Leon burger sauce to his online shopping this week- he gets Sainsbury’s and that is the only place that stocks it.

I only managed one run in the week- on Tuesday. I could have had one on Thursday but I felt so shattered that I decided a walk would be more sensible. We had parents evening, and although it was way better than usual (it was phone calls instead of meetings, but they could not go on as late as usual) it is still very mentally tiring to teach all day and then work through the phone calls.  Bake Off seemed all I was capable of concentrating on.

The cosy vibes continued with candles and warm drinks. We watched the Adam Buxton podcast on Wednesday night (part of the Unmute podcast festival). My 10,000 steps per day streak scraped by again, and on Friday my work pals gave me some end of half term treats- including vegan marshmallows so I can make some Mickey Mouse chocolate covered apples.

I am trying to have 100 miles each month for the year, as I’ve already passed 1000 miles (which is usually a good target for me), but as I skipped a run on Thursday I was a bit behind. Often if I run with my dad I will do a warm up run at home first, and so I did a 5k run before heading over to run with him. We did a new route though some woods that I used to cycle through as a child, so it was nice to go back.

After getting some work done (I had got so behind in the week but at least with half term you know you can do it then) we walked into town to get our Vitality drinks and then sat down for another podcast, this time Off Menu. It was really funny to see them instead of just hear them.

My new Disney order arrived (as I had to re-order the PJ’s – the size guide was way off because I had chosen a Medium according to the measurements but they were enormous so had to get the small- they are still fairy baggy)- anyway to get the free postage we had added a few more bits for Christmas presents, and I could not resist the candy cane ear decoration- I nearly bought the full size ears in Florida last year and had regret that I didn’t, so I thought a mini version was a good compromise. Later I got out the Christmas Disney blanket and enjoyed a hot chocolate while we watched a film. Definitely cosy vibes all round.

Look at the pretty mushrooms I saw on my run!

Sunday was more of the same- a run in the morning trying to avoid all the flooded roads and pavements, a bit of pottering in the garden (sweeping up leaves, scooping them out of the pond and planting some bulbs) and then packing for our half term trip to Cornwall.

While I was out in the garden Andy brought me a cup of tea- in  Disney mug to make me feel better about not being in Disney (not sure it helped?)- I watched one of the new Olaf shorts in the afternoon which was really good.

In the evening it was time for Frozen 2 again, with a Disney inspired candle and my Disney Christmas blanket. All the cosy vibes right there.

I hope you are doing OK in these strange and tough times?

Making mince pies and a walk around Hatfield House

Week beginning 12th October- I’m getting very behind with posts!

A few snapshot- our key hook that we bought in Canada a few years ago is finally up- we could not decide for ages where it should go. Plus standard autumn photos of chai, hot chocolate and gorgeous leaves.

I was very excited when my Disney order arrived- I had plans to buy these Little Mermaid ears when we went in the summer (planning in case they do the Princess Run weekend again some time), and I also got some PJ’s, a Christmas blanket and a Lilo top. The Lilo top was actually a dress, and the PJ’s were too big so I had to send them back and re-order which was annoying (as you could not just exchange). Anyway, they cheered me up.

More autumn leaves/ a parkrun in Oslo/ my pumpkin top and Christmas lounge pants/ gingerbread man.

The parkrun page were sharing photos of snowy and icy runs, and it brought back memories of my parkrun in Oslo last November- that was such a fun weekend. Who knows when parkrun tourism will be back on the cards?

Once home (and if I run, once out of the shower) it is straight on with the lounge pants now, and the Christmas ones have come out, although Andy didn’t approve of me mixing them with my autumnal pumpkin top. I messaged my friend who is into fashion and she said it was fine so I am  going with it!

I “made” mince pies at the weekend- if you can say that, because I used frozen pastry and that gorgeous Meridian mince pie filling, so basically a bit of rolling and spooning and baking and they’re done. No picture though- oops.

Runs have been standard- 4 miles after work on Tues and Thurs, (not)parkrun with Dad on Saturday morning (with a warm up first) and 10 miles on Sunday, plus yoga on Wednesday. This Sunday I headed to Panshanger and was very excited to see the cows close to the path. I am not normally keen on cows but these ones are super docile and so I don’t mind walking past them.

For a bit of a laugh I completed the Gov UK questionnaire about what to retrain as. Weirdly it didn’t ask anything about qualifications, mainly vague questions about whether you enjoy telling people what to do. My results were hilarious. Fairground worker was one (which includes maintenance on the rides- I can’t even fix a puncture on my bike…). Farrier was one. I am not keen on horses so I don’t think I’ll pursue that.  Beekeeper was one. I mean, I do like nature, but is there much call for beekeepers? One that looked right was in Education (am I in the right job all along??), but it turned out to be an education technician. I have to get my class to cross their fingers if we want to watch a DVD because the computer only works for me half the time.  Then I had the option of answering a bonus question, so I thought I would. It was “Can you read well?“. Well, I put yes, because I think I can read quite well. Then the careers suggested to me were Cosmetic Surgeon, Sonographer and Surgeon. I was not once asked if I like blood, or am squeamish, or faint when I have injections…. the list goes on. Safe to say I don’t think I will be retraining for any of these suggestions, but it was quite funny. I am glad that surgeons can “read well” too, although I feel like there are maybe more skills that they need???

I’d been feeling a bit fed up because work was so busy and all our weekends seemed to be merging into one (nothing significant to look forward to, and it’s not as if we would be busy every weekend but we would see a band or watch some comedy or have a day out every now and then), so I suggested to head to Hatfield House for a walk around their grounds.

There are a few marked walks so we opted for the 3 mile one, and it was really enjoyable to be outside in the fresh air and having a change of scenery.

Then only one week to go until half term in what has felt like the longest half term in the world.

Have you had a go at the career questions yet? I am intrigued to know what else was suggested.

The nights are drawing in, and happy birthday to Panshanger parkrun!

I heard a suggestion the other day that perhaps the clocks should not go back this year, because we really don’t need another hour of 2020! I don’t think they should go back anyway (lots of research around road safety for one) but I really think this could have been the year to get rid of it. At the moment my runs after work have been in the light, but on a few occasions if I’ve been stuck in traffic and arrived home later than planned, the final mile of my runs have been a little dark. Time to find and charge my torch I think.

Of course there has been lots of tea, and also a Caffe Nero gingerbread man to accompany a bit of work. Yoga on Wednesday has been wonderful- I am so glad that my teacher has carried on doing classes over zoom because I would not feel responsible in going to in person classes right now.

Last weekend was Panshanger parkrun’s 6th birthday! It’s crazy to think back to that first one. That was really the parkrun that got me into parkrun if that makes sense. Before then, I’d been going over to the St Albans one maybe once a month, when my dad and brother were free. At that time I was running with Sweatshop, and they had a poster up for the Panshanger one (remember when they advertised inaugurals?).  Once we started going there, it turned into a mostly weekly event, and on their first birthday I celebrated my 50th parkrun. They put a video on their facebook page and me in my Minnie Mouse skirt was in the first section of video. It was so lovely to look back and think about how it has grown since then. It really is a permanent fixture of our weekends now.

Dad decided he wanted to do 16 (not)parkruns in October to celebrate parkrun’s 16th birthday, and alongside that to raise money for Unicef, and once a month he has been keen to do a 10k, so it was perfect timing that on Panshanger’s 6th birthday we could run 6 (point 2) miles, and tot up 2 more (not)parkruns for him.

I wore my Panshanger top and parkrun long sleeved top, all very orange. He planned a lovely route through some fields over to Ellenbrook (the way he would cycle when parkrun is on) and at one point we rounded a corner and saw the most beautiful parkrun apricot-coloured tree. I had to get a photo of course.

I had a lot of work to get on with in the afternoon, but we did have a break where we walked into town to get our Caffe Nero drinks. I am still not wanting to eat in anywhere, but a 5 minute queue inside is fine, and then we can walk home the scenic way while we enjoy our drinks.

On Saturday night we fancied a film, and so watched Enola Holmes- an enjoyable film (some filmed locally) but it got the Manic Street Preachers song (Enola/Alone) in my head.

The weather on Sunday was beautiful, and I enjoyed a run around local streets, taking my time and taking photos of all the trees. I just can’t resist stopping!

I did some baking (pumpkin cheesecake brownies from here) although a total blogger fail as I took no photos! What was I thinking??

In the evening we watched one of the Michael Palin recap shows, and I just loved it. I think he is brilliant, and it was so good to see parts of those travel series again. Perfect Sunday night viewing.

How do you feel about the clocks going back? I feel like it’s dark when I get up anyway, so I’d rather have some light in the evening.

I got my first Christmas card! And happy birthday parkrun!

I am not one to wish my life away, and normally at this time of year I would be getting cross about all the Christmas things in the shops (I am normally the frame of mind that it isn’t Christmas until December), but do you know what? This year I am all ready to get festive! With so many trips and events being cancelled, I am looking forward to some actual constants. Even if we are in the most severe lockdown, we can put up our Christmas tree and watch Home Alone.

I was given my first Christmas card on the 1st October (by a child in my class- love it), and my Christmas baking book arrived- it is filled with so many cute designs. It’s been so cold so a hot water bottle and long sleeved pj tops have been in order. I just feel like I am going to embrace the holidays now and have an enjoyable few months.

I had my regular Tuesday and Thursday runs, seeing some lovely autumnal colours. Andy was out one evening (it was his mum’s birthday and thanks to the rule of 6, we could not all go) so of course I had beans on toast in front of Bake Off. Plus some Battenberg later.

Anyway, a rewind to last Friday and I’d booked a shoulder massage after work because I was starting to struggle to look over my shoulder when driving- never good. Town thankfully was fairly quiet and I popped into Caffe Nero to get my free drink after.

It was parkrun’s 16th birthday, and I felt a bit fed up because of it not actually being allowed to come back in October any more. I know that everyone has different opinions, but I feel like they did a very good job of looking for research to find out how safe outdoor activities are, and after listening to the podcast and watching some of the live Q&A’s I felt very confident that it would be relatively safe (compared to other things we are allowed to do at the moment such as go to the cinema or sit in a restaurant and have a meal).  Anyway, my dad has decided to run 16 not parkruns in October, so I thought I would have a go too. On Saturday I did a 5k at home and then (after changing my t-shirt because it was raining  and I was soaking) drove over to have a 5k run with Dad. We went for our normal route and ended up getting very very wet- the bridleway was more like a shallow river in places! (top left pic is my dad’s feet trying to find a dry route)

We totally loved it though, and I felt so much better after. Running with others is really so different to running on your own and it does lift your mood in a different way I find.

My hairdryer had been intermittently working for a few months, and on Thursday evening it finally packed up, so I had damp hair from Thursday until Saturday. I had some vouchers leftover from last Christmas, so decided to treat myself to the GHD dryer- it had good reviews and I do have very thick hair so anything that can speed up drying time is a bonus. Anyway, I could click and collect so after our not parkrun I stopped in town to pick it up.

My B&B tea order arrived too- with gorgeous festive parcel tape- honestly all the signs are here that we should be celebrating nice and early.

On Sunday it was the virtual London marathon. Some people in my club were running it, but after initially hoping to do similar routes they all ended up doing different ones. My run leader lives fairly near me, so my plan was to run in the morning, and then head out later to try and cheer her in at the end. I managed 9 miles and got totally freezing- I need to remember that this pink jacket is not waterproof! I saw so many flooded paths, and a huge tree had blown down blocking the entrance to one of the paths. I loved that the London marathon was going on though- I saw a few people with bibs on and loved giving them a big cheer as they ran past.

Once home I had one of the best hot showers (and then regretted it when my skin was itchy and burning after the shower), and watched some of the elites on the TV. After breakfast I dried my hair (a dream with a hairdryer that works!) and then walked out to try and see my run leader, but alas she had changed her route due to the floods so I didn’t see her.

I then did some rainy day projects- using my burn pen to make some number block puppets for my classroom, and making a spiced pumpkin cake.

Did you take part in the virtual London marathon? What did you think of it? Did you celebrate parkrun’s birthday at all? Are you ready to start embracing the holiday season?

RDPF virtual run weekend

As I’ve mentioned before, last weekend was meant to be the Disneyland Paris run weekend, and it was going to be a 10k and a half marathon for me, so with the help of the Run Disney Paris Fans facebook group I had a Disney themed running weekend at home instead.

But first, the rest of the week- nothing much different. I started organising my apps into colour order which I really love because it keeps the screen looking so much tidier. I’m still going with the 10,000 steps a day, and earned another Garmin badge. Although I still can’t navigate the Garmin app- I can find a badge if it pops up, but ask me to find it now and I’d be looking for ages. I was feeling a little more tired and wondered if that was from the flu jab, but the main thing was that my arm hurt (I have a little bruise there) especially when I ran. One day we had waffles for dinner- hummus and avocado, and then peanut butter and banana.

Bake Off and crumpet/ autumn bouquet/ gorgeous oat milk from Minor Figures (from Bird & Blend), sourdough bread.

The difference in weather from my Tuesday to my Thursday run was crazy- Tuesday it was so warm I was in shorts and a vest, and on Thursday it was long sleeved top plus long leggings.

Of course Wednesday was good with the return of Bake Off. I watched it on Wednesday before yoga and really enjoyed it, although I have never seen a pineapple upside down cake covered in cream. Surely the point is that you can see the pineapple?

On Friday I did a bit of prep for the race. I had a card mount from a picture that I hadn’t used, so I turned it into a Minnie Mouse selfie frame. Also wore Olf pj’s because it’s freezing! Facebook loved to remind me that  years ago I had run the half marathon….

On Saturday I did my 10k, wearing a Disney top and also my magic band as it’s Minnie themed. When I got home I had my hand drawn medal, plus a 10k medal that I earned on a virtual race back in the summer but it had only recently been sent out, so I thought I’d wear it  after this race. I was quite pleased with the time- 1:02:24- my fastest 10k in quite some time.

I had a lot of work to do so got on with that, and then in the afternoon we met my parents for a walk at Panshanger park. We wandered across the fields (not really the parkrun route), seeing loads of birds including green woodpeckers, jays and a kestrel. It was very enjoyable but also really cold- it kept raining and I hadn’t taken a hat with me, what a mistake!

Once home I made a Battenberg cake (I’d had the marzipan for ages but hadn’t got around to it- seeing it on Bake Off gave me the incentive), and then in the evening I fancied a Disney film to keep the theme going. I was going to watch Enchanted, but it wasn’t on Disney+ for some reason, so I watched Finding Dory instead- just what was needed.

On Sunday I went off for my half marathon, Disney gear on again. I ran to Panshanger park, did 2 laps and a teeny out and back (it’s 3 miles there and just over 3 miles a lap). It was windy but I really enjoyed it. I listened to a podcast for the first bit, and then switched to a Run Disney playlist that I’d made (basically all the upbeat Disney songs that I love). I do find it strange running to music because I like to run to the beat, so if the song is a bit slow or fast it feels a bit disjointed.

My time was 2:22:22 – all the twos! Once home I collected my goodie bag (repurposed from an actual Run Disney event) and picked up my medal. I’d earned the Brooks medal a while ago (April?) but only recently collected it, so thought I’d save it, because Run Happy fit the Run Disney theme to me. I had designed a 36k challenge medal as on the RDPF page the 36K challenge was Ratatouille, only I realised that I had only run 31k (half + 10k) and the 36k included a 5k too. Oops.

We had our free Caffe Nero drinks from Vitality to collect, so we walked into town (a little over 5K) for me to make up the distance. I wasn’t making the mistake of not wearing a hat again, so I wore my Minnie gingerbread hat and of course my Minnie cup cozy for some more Disney theming.

Not quite the same as Disneyland Paris, but good fun and a different weekend. I do feel at the moment that all the weekends feel the same – the only difference is whether I see my parents in their garden or not- so it was good to have something to do to make an event of the weekend.

We finished by watching the rest of Giri/Haji- we’ve been watching an episode a night for most of the week. Less of a Disney note to finish on!

Did you see Bake Off?  And if so, what did you think about the pineapple cake? Do you like virtual runs?