Lots of rain this week, plus Disney jumpers to cheer me up

The penultimate week of term arrived alongside lots of wind and rain. It really felt so much more like early April than late May. I keep feeling like we are coming up to the Easter holidays not the May bank holiday!

Our evening walks were squeezed in between torrential rain showers and rainbows.

I did my standard 3 morning runs, plus yoga on Wednesday, and I think I had a dry run on the Tuesday but that was all.

The leaves do look very lush when they are coated in water, now they are so green. They perfectly match the matcha too. Although I ended up with very soggy trainers as running through the narrow paths with tall cow parsley on either side meant that the water just poured off the plants and into my shoes.

I’ve been slightly in love with the clothes from Magic Moon Club, and when they released a new princess collection I decided to treat myself with my April payday.

I went for Ariel (one of my fave films growing up, plus I love the green colour) and Rapunzel (Tangled is one of my fave more recent Disney films and fits with lockdown perfectly). The Tangled jumper was a lilac colour which just doesn’t suit me, so I used their “choose your style” tab which basically means you can choose any colour with any design on it- I went for grey as that would still go with the purple and yellow colour scheme. I was very pleased with how they turned out, and one good reason for the cold weather was getting to wear them!

Lovely lilac in flower, and the peony covered in buds.

One evening I managed to get out in the garden for a bit, planting out a few things from the greenhouse, before I had to head in as it started hailing!

On the Friday we had the sad but seemingly inevitable news that parkrun was delaying the UK re-start date. A shame as legally they could have returned from March, they have been so sensible about aiming for the summer, and they’ve got research to show how low the risk is to all participants. It seems utter madness to me that I could (if I wanted to) go to a pub or a nightclub or go to an enclosed restaurant for a meal etc etc, but I can’t run with others in an organised way. On Saturday morning I went for a run and listened to the With Me Now podcast- it’s my fave parkrun podcast anyway, and I felt much more optimistic after listening to it.

My worry is that parkrun are now tied to the so-called roadmap, and that if things like the Indian variant delay things (although, we all know that even though this gov said “data not dates”, they then released a load of dates and have ignored the data the whole way through…), then parkrun will be further delayed.  I also realised that it was one month until the restart date, so reasons to be cheerful! (Another good podcast right there). I had some pancakes with berries for breakfast and then got on with the fun jobs of cleaning and tidying- I like to get those out of the way early on in the weekend.

I made some vegan peanut butter blondies

Later on I watched a chat by Danny Norman (from WMN) about it, and again, felt more optimistic.

On Saturday night we felt like watching something cheerful and easy, and ended up watching School of Rock. I wasn’t sure how it would have aged, but it stood the test of time and was enjoyable.

On Sunday I was up early for a 12 mile run (I really have to think that the Brighton half is going ahead now- they’ve sent out the info regarding the covid risk assessments with masks being needed in the start pens and so on). Anyway, I saw lots of rabbits and some pretty flowers. It was so sunny when I left but soon clouded over. Once home it was time for a quick shower and breakfast as we had to deliver some bits to the hospital ( family member- all OK now).

I treated myself to a toastie in front of Lilo and Stitch- I felt I needed something summery as the weather had just been a bit rubbish.

How do you feel about parkrun coming back?  Do you like a toasted sandwich? 

Waffles, ducklings and switching the run days

I tried one of the vegan Bosh slices from Costa- it was fairly nice but I think I can make nicer tiffin at home. Good to have options though.

Last week was a fairly standard week run-wise, with runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning. I had a meeting before work (a presentation which was a bit nerve wracking) on the Thursday, but knew I would not sleep well anyway so may as well still get up to run. I kept the run to a 5k instead of my usual 4 miles, so I could be in work a little earlier. The bluebells are just about there, although coming to their end now, so of course I took a few photos on some of the runs.

Vegan box arrived, afternoon work essentials and waffles for dinner.

I think the presentation (or worry about it) had really affected my sleep that week, and by Thursday afternoon I had such a stress headache- paracetamol was the only way (oh, and a ginger biscuit) to get through the rest of the day.

On Friday we had waffles for dinner as we had not had them in ages- delicious hummus and avocado, with rocket and sweet chilli sauce. So good.

I then had to do my long run on Saturday morning, as I’d planned to meet my dad and brother for a run on Sunday morning. I really haven’t thought that the Brighton half will go ahead, but it’s getting closer and no cancelation email yet, so really need to go a bit beyond my happy 10 mile weekend runs!

I headed over to Panshanger for 11 miles. I even saw some ducklings- I feel like I’ve seen hardly any this year. It rained on and off, but wasn’t too bad. I was in a t-shirt and a couple of times wished I’d had a long sleeved top on, but of course once the rain stopped it got warm again. One of those days. Once home I had some croissants and fruit, and of course tea.

I had a bit of a rubbish afternoon- I think I was overly tired from the week and from the long run (and then doing all of the cleaning- should probably have saved that for Sunday after the shorter run), but I made the mistake of reading some comments on the parkrun posts- some people are just so horrible. (By now we know that the restart has been delayed, which is so disappointing) I was really getting my hopes up for the 5th June as the restart date, but I think it dawned on me on that day that it would not be coming back due to London having so few permissions.  I find it so frustrating that people can go to pubs, nightclubs, spas and so on, but an activity that is scientifically proven to have such little risk has not been allowed to come back. I really find parkrun helps with stress levels, and going for a run just isn’t the same as being surrounded by a positive community. Anyway, Sunday was another day and I was looking forward to a run with my dad and brother. I had a little warm up first, and then we headed out on a new route (as parkrun had emailed out a challenge, which Dad had then decided to do).

On Saturday night we watched The Sound of Metal, about a drummer in a band who loses his hearing. It was a very engrossing watch, although with the sound switching between what he hears and the rest of the world, I don’t think I could have watched it in a cinema with the surround sound!

It ended up being slightly longer, but who is counting? We ran to the edge of Ellenbrook Fields and back, mostly through fields and countryside- lovely. Afterwards we sat in the garden and were so lucky with the weather as it only rained for a few minutes a couple of times. (From the Monday we would have been allowed indoors, but being in a classroom all week with children that will not be vaccinated means I feel I am taking more risks with things like this so would not be happy to do that just yet).

Gorgeous chocolate orange pot, cold brew fruity tea and Baby Yoda cup cosy is my fave.

Mum gave me some plants (she is always growing things in her greenhouse) so once home and showered I pottered around in the garden for a bit, planting out some of them plus of course the weeding.

We’ve been watching the series Mare of Easttown (I think I mentioned it before)- it’s really so good, but I find it so frustrating that they only release one episode a week! I can’t really get used to that again.

Do you have any races that you are booked to do?

Do you like waffles?

One step closer to normality

I don’t know about you, but although I love a four day week following a bank holiday weekend, the week actually feels more manic. I think I try to fit in 5 days worth of work into 4 days which just is crazy!

I’d been for a long run on the Monday, and often I would have  rest day after that, but I wasn’t sure that I’d run on Thursday, so I thought I’d stick to my regular Tuesday and Wednesday morning runs.

The light had been particularly beautiful on one of the mornings, so of course I could not resist and had to take some photos.

I had 2 staff meetings plus an additional department one (after school on Tues, Wed and Thurs), but I had to try and leave fairly promptly after it finished on Wednesday as I was off for my first vaccine appointment! The one bonus of getting older!

It was in the centre of town so I drove up after work. The whole thing was excellently organised (well done NHS and all the volunteers)- it felt a bit like a parkrun as the volunteers were all so cheerful. I am not a big fan of needles (I have fainted before and so get a bit panicked)- so when sitting in the hall and waiting my turn I had to try and sit facing ahead, as I could see the 5 injection stations to one side. The actual jab (I hate that word) was fine, but fairly soon after my arm started to get sore. They made me sit around for a bit before I could drive  home, but I was OK. I knew I wouldn’t be home in time for the actual yoga class, but I had said I would aim for the yoga nidra session, and ended up laying in bed while I joined in. The benefits of zoom! I felt OK when I went to bed, but woke up at around 2.30am with horrible chills and sweats and shivers. I also couldn’t lay on my arm (and I usually lay on my left arm to get to sleep, and then move all around once I am asleep). I took some paracetemol and that helped a bit but I didn’t sleep much.  Even a shower didn’t help (I have this if I get a bad cold- things touching the skin just feel uncomfortable). Thursday was a tough day as my teaching assistant was off, so I had to cope with my class on my own. Normally this would be fine, but feeling under the weather (achy stomach, headache etc) is very hard when you are working with little children. The meeting after work was a bit of a high pressured one too, so having to stay for that instead of just going home didn’t help. I was so glad to get home, and sit under a blanket on the sofa (I was so cold and shivery still). I think I managed to stay up until around 8pm, when I went to bed with a hot water bottle and more paracetamol.  Thankfully when I woke up on Friday I felt much better, with just the sore arm remaining.

On Saturday it was pouring with rain- so miserable! I headed out for a gentle run to see how I felt, and I was OK. I think I felt tired from the lack of sleep more than anything. My arm was a bit sore, and hurt when I lifted it over my head, but OK when running.

I used some vegan brioche rolls to make us some French toast for breakfast, and then we spent the morning doing jobs around the house. I also finally booked a haircut- for June! I thought that after the first vaccine does (plus 3 weeks) you have some protection, so I would feel OK going for a haircut. I’ve not been since January 2020, and so it is long overdue.

Once that was done I watched TV in the afternoon (catching up on Taskmaster)- I really needed some chill out time.

I made a vegan battenberg which turned out really well (check out sophie.bullimore on Instagram as she has some brilliant recipes).

On Saturday night we watched The Mitchells vs. the Machines, which was good fun and just what I fancied- nothing heavy going.

On Sunday I went for an 8 mile run, and then had more French toast for breakfast. This fuelled me for hours in the garden. I was given some trees for my birthday which needed planting in the back of our garden.

Before-The mound doesn’t even look that high, but it really was!

However, that bit of the garden needed sorting as it was covered in a pile of earth from when we dug out the pond, plus chippings from when the tree stumps were removed. I had to dig and rake and move a lot of soil.

After- much flatter I hope you’ll agree!

Noodles for dinner- so tasty!

I was pretty shattered after all of that, so treated myself to watching Tangled. Always a good choice. (Andy planted the trees once he had finished watching the Grand Prix).

After all of that hard work, we decided to have our dinner (yummy peanut tofu noodles) in front of the TV in the living room. In the end a productive weekend, but why can’t every weekend be a 3 day one?

Did you have a good bank holiday weekend? What is your favourite easy dinner? (the noodles are a bit of a faff really, but easy to eat in front of the TV) Have you booked anything or started to get back to more “normal” things yet?

Three day weekends are the best! And another lockdown birthday

The lead up to the glorious 3 day weekend felt very busy- partly because I had a few extra bits to do from work, but also I didn’t want to save any work for the weekend so I had to work quite late into the evenings on most days to make the weekend clear. It is worth it in the end but meant that I got to the weekend more tired than usual.

Matcha to help me wake up in the morning, then zonking out in front of Taskmaster when I got home on Friday evening. I am loving this series- anyone else?

I had my usual morning runs- I’ve got a nice 4 mile route that isn’t too hilly or muddy, so I can be fairly consistent with time and get back with enough time to get sorted before work.

The skies were again amazing on my run- I am pretty much past sunrise time now, heading out in daylight. We managed to save a few of the homemade Pret cookies so enjoyed those in the evenings.

The bluebells are still looking beautiful too, and of course on a couple of days we had a hot cross bun with our pot of tea.

So, onto the weekend. It was my birthday on the Sunday, but I’d had some lovely things sent in the post so it felt like the celebrations lasted all weekend. One of my friends at work has a side business of balloon decorating, so she made me a lovely balloon posy (collection?)- she was at great pains to tell me that it was special recyclable balloon material too- she knows me so well!

Andy’s parents sent me (vegan) afternoon cream tea in the post, and one of my friends sent me a cake card, which opened up to reveal two slices of (vegan) cake. Such a treat.

We had originally hoped to head to Brighton for the weekend, but as only self-catering accommodation was open (no hotels) it was all rather expensive, so we opted to stay at home instead.

It meant I did a (not)parkrun- often Saturday is a walk instead of run day, but as we were going to be busy on Sunday I opted to run then instead- I was so lucky with the weather, as later in the day it got cloudy and rainy, but the morning was beautiful.

Andy had booked us afternoon tea in a local hotel (it’s an old farm that has been converted into hotel rooms, restaurant, farm shop and cafe). We’d walked past it lots as it is on the 20/20 route, but never been to it.

We walked there and back as it’s a couple of miles, and it was again perfect weather.

He’d opted for the vegan option too, and it was delicious. A good selection of sandwiches (being vegan is better than being veggie as no risk of egg sandwiches, or worse, when they give you salmon because they forget that veggies don’t eat fish- it’s happened to me several times…), a vegan sausage roll and a delicious baked tomato filled with artichoke and pecans, plus really fluffy scones and a selection of cakes. The tea menu was long (always good), plus you could have a different type of tea instead of just getting a refill of the same one. Always an extra point in my book- I had an Earl grey one to begin with, then a peppermint tea later on. While we were sat there we realised it was our first meal out since February 2020 when we were in Brighton! In the summer we had a few takeaways but didn’t ever go to a restaurant/café for a meal as it didn’t seem like a good idea.  Here we were sat outside, all very spaced apart and not that many tables so it felt quite relaxing and safe.

Andy had also ordered a birthday cake from Cutter and Squidge- it was an amazing chocolate cake with raspberries on the top. We were both pretty full following the afternoon tea, but managed a tiny slice in the evening while we watched Nomadland. I did enjoy the scenery, and it was a thought provoking film, but on balance I much preferred A Promising Young Woman as my Oscar top film.

New trees and the cute fairy flowerpot from my niece and nephew

Over the weekend we had a few visitors to our garden- luckily in between rain showers. My niece and nephew had chosen this fairy flower pot, and as I had some bedding plants I could put in some flowers straight away. Andy’s parents, my parents and my brother all got me trees (I had asked for them), his brothers gave me a rose plant and the sister in laws gave me a gorgeous hoodie. It did mean we had rather a lot of jobs in the garden to be getting on with.

The weather on Monday was OK first thing, and I went out for a run, but after that it went downhill and wasn’t really weather for planting trees!

Monday breakfast after a run to see the bluebells

 We were hoping that the rain would help to soften the ground a bit to help with the digging for later in the week.

This pic was for Star Wars day which was technically after the Bank Holiday but it matches the Disney theme!

As well as a garden theme, my gifts were Disney-themed! Andy got me this wonderful book filled with information about the holiday celebrations at the Disney parks- I honestly think I am going to cry when I finally get to go to even Disneyland Paris let alone Disney World! Some of my friends got me some Disney socks (Stitch and Baby Yoda) and even a hairbrush with mouse ears!

So, a slightly different birthday weekend, but really enjoyable, and at least better than last year because back then we were not even allowed visitors to the garden.

How have you celebrated things differently this year? Have you seen any good films lately?

National tea day! And another week goes by…

I am now having trouble working out the month or the year. In some ways, time seems to drag, but in other ways, March 2020 seems so recent, because so little has changed in day to day life since then. Finding small things to celebrate and make the week different seem even more important and needed.

So, last week was a standard week. 4 mile runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, yoga on Wednesday night and a Sunday morning long run. I also met my dad for a (not)parkrun on Friday after work- we’ve not managed this for a few weeks so that was nice to add in and make the week feel different.

As we had been in town for my mum’s birthday treasure hunt, we had popped into The Pudding Stop (it’s rude not to) as I had seen that their latest cookie cup, the pb&j cup, was vegan! Cue a lot of excitement from me- they do a few vegan goodies (bake at home biscoff cookie dough pudding being the absolute best) but not that many, and of course anything with peanut butter wins! I got out in the garden after work, planting a few more seeds and finishing up some of the weekend jobs. It’s all really coming to life now.

I saw a baby bluetit on my Tuesday morning run. I watched it (from a distance) for a minute- it was on the path as I ran past. I remembered reading that if birds on the ground don’t seem distressed then they probably have a parent nearby, and as I walked away I saw the parent fly down and then they flew off together.

More gorgeous sunrises on Wednesday- it was so frosty and misty and the glow from the sun looked amazing.

As it was National Tea day of course the old tea colour indicator was going around social media. D2 is the correct answer- any paler and where even is the tea, and the darker ones have been brewed for way too long! Bird & Blend also released some Butter Brew tea (black tea with caramel) and I was very pleased that Andy managed to order some for us.

Thursday treated me to more sunrises. My legs felt quite heavy after yoga- we had worked a lot on holding poses (chair pose especially) so they did feel quite sluggish after that. After work I had a doctor’s appointment which I was totally dreading. Andy had to drive me (as I had to take some medication which meant I couldn’t drive) and I was so relieved when it was over as I hadn’t slept well all week. I’d ordered some leggings- Sugar and Sloth (my newfound fave cute shop) had partnered with Lucy Lockett leggings, and they were my treat for the appointment, so they arrived just in time. They are “loungewear” and not “active” leggings, so perfect for wearing with a hoodie when watching TV.

After work on Friday I drove over to my parents and had a (not)parkrun with Dad. I didn’t see my mum as she was having a nap- they’d both had their second vaccine the day before and she was feeling a bit tired (but fine). I had a good catch up with Dad and also we managed one of our fastest times for a while. Not too shabby for the end of a busy week.

Standard not-parkrun Saturday- pancakes, walk, burgers.

We watched A Promising Young Woman ahead of the Oscars, and I really enjoyed it. Andy found the ending very frustrating (but he still really enjoyed it), but I really liked the ending too, and thought it explored so many relevant issues and topics. One to seek out.

My run on Sunday was mostly enjoyable apart from an encounter with an aggressive dog owner as I was running back through the woods. I always stop if I see dogs off their leads, and hope that the owners will call them.  Usually dog owners are great and call their dogs back or put them on leads, but these owners let their dogs race over, run around me, jump up at me while growling and barking. The lady eventually got them to come away and said “ don’t worry they’re fine”. I hate this reply because maybe the dogs are fine but I’m not happy with dogs behaving like this, so I said that to her. Also, if a dog is jumping up at someone, surely they aren’t fine and they surely are not under control.  The guy then shouted at me so aggressively, saying if I didn’t like dogs I shouldn’t be running there. What gives them the right? I do avoid some parks due to the vans full of dog walkers, but these woods are quiet – sometimes I won’t meet anyone else and most dog walkers are good and call their dogs over when they see me. I personally think that if your dog won’t come when you call it then no matter where you are they should be on a lead. Rant over, those people give dog owners a bad name.

I’d made some chocolate almond butter cookies (from the Pret recipe)- I’d not made them for ages and they are so good- they didn’t last that long into the week.

In the afternoon it was lovely weather for pottering around in the garden. Andy had created a new path and the beds next to it needed plants- they have been gradually arriving over the previous week so the time was to plant them out. I even saw a frog in our pond!

How do you take your tea?