Autumn leaves and Disney+ weekend

Each weekend that I go on a run, I feel that it’s the last chance to see all the autumn leaves, as loads of the trees are pretty bare now. Last Sunday was no exception! But to the week first.

Beautiful moon when I left work one day, hot cross bun, massage and pod

I am sticking with the morning mid-week runs still, but down to 2. It’s so dark in the mornings, although sometimes I’ve got a glimpse of the sunrise as I get home. It’s so dark in the evenings too, and so running then doesn’t have a huge appeal either. I am more limited to routes (there’s a cut through a park but I don’t like doing that in the dark even with my torch on) but I’ve sorted a couple of newish routes so it’s not too monotonous.

I’d booked a last minute massage after work one day (always needed, although I wasn’t as told off as last time so maybe the shoulder circles are helping).

Onto the weekend- I was off to Jersey Farm with Dad. It was pretty good going, still not too muddy. We saw lots of OH ladies but had to head off fairly quickly at the end so couldn’t hang about and chat. As soon as my 249th (!) parkrun results were through, I emailed Panshanger to volunteer the following week. Dad was heading off for a week and I want to celebrate my 250th with him, so needed to not run for a week, but I didn’t want the plans to get upset (what if I didn’t finish at JF for some reason? what if the results didn’t come through? etc) so waited until I was sure. I had a quick breakfast at Mum and Dad’s before heading home, as they were heading up to York in our car, and I was having their car for a week (their car has a lower range so it’s fine for commuting, and they have taken it on trips around the UK but obviously it’s easier to charge less if you can).

Then the rest of Saturday was unexciting- some work, some cleaning… nothing to write home about but it all needed doing.

In the evening we watched Red Notice which was quite funny and a good Saturday night movie.

On Sunday I went out to run around the centre of town- I did a couple of laps and headed home after 8 miles. Of course I stopped to take more leaf photos! Once home I had one of the drinks from my vegan box- a chocolate/coconut water drink. It was really good, and perfect after a long run. My running mileage is getting shorter at the moment- I don’t think I’ll be near to 100 miles this month, whereas I’ve been fairly consistent with that up until now. But I think it’s good to have ebbs and flows, and once the holidays are here I can get back to doing some longer mid week runs and work up to the Brighton half in February.

My treat for getting all of my work done on Saturday was to watch some Disney+ I went for another Olaf short (they are so funny), baked a couple more Christmas cakes and then sat down properly to watch Enchanted. I wanted to watch it last year but it wasn’t on Disney+ for some reason, but that has been rectified and they were advertising it as part of their Disney+ weekend.

Do you have films that you like to revisit?

I’m giving in to the Christmas vibes!

I am usually very much if it isn’t December, it isn’t Christmas, but now that it’s dark all the time (why do the clocks still go backwards????) and the fun of half term is over, I am embracing the festive vibes. I’m not saying I’m putting up decorations or anything like that, but I am saying I may have eaten a few mince pies this last week.

Christmas cake being mixed, mince pie and mince pie tea, and awesome marzipan and ginger muesli from Borough market

In my defence, if I have walked into town to get my free Caffe Nero drink, and I am very tempted by their delicious vegan mince pies but don’t buy one because they are expensive, and then I walk  past Greggs and they are advertising their vegan mince pies (a pack of 6 for less than one CN one) then really, what am I meant to do?

My Christmas themed tea club came, and I also caved and ordered a Bonne Maman jam advent calendar, so it’s just really festive stuff going on from now on.

Morning run scenes, Tropic foot soak and amazing Crosstown Halloween doughnut bites which we finished on the Monday

It was back to work with a busy week after half term. I wasn’t sure I’d keep up the morning runs, and have now cut them back to 2 mornings a week. I do a running club at school one day, and I think if I stick to 2 midweek runs I’ll enjoy them more.  I’d been given the Tropic foot soak as a happy half term gift and it was brilliant after Disney (and also after being at work in wet socks all afternoon as I got wet doing running club at lunch time and didn’t have any spare to change into).

Yoga wasn’t on, but that turned out to be lucky, as I had sprained my wrist doing some gardening, and so would not have managed many of the poses. Thankfully by the following weekend it was feeling much better.

Vegan crunchie style chocolate, parkrun barcode, cosy times reading and watching Taskmaster

On Saturday I was off to Jersey Farm parkrun. Our wellbeing team at work had asked for ideas for socials to do (as we can’t gather at the moment) and I’d suggested a parkrun, and this date was chosen. A few people were interested but in the end only one person came along. My dad used to be her headteacher, so the three of us ran together and had a lovely chat. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to run the whole way as she had not run for a while since doing a half marathon a few years ago (and we did say that walking was absolutely fine) but she managed it and was so pleased! Sadly she hadn’t managed to print her barcode, but she was so happy to have run and said she will be back.

The rest of the day was nothing to write home about- a walk into town, lots of cleaning and some work, and then I spent the evening reading (you can only have the new books from the library for a week so I was trying to see how much of it I could read- I didn’t manage it though luckily Andy popped in and could renew it in person) and watching Taskmaster.

I was also so pleased to track down the Buttermilk honeycomb bar- basically a vegan crunchie, as I used to love those. I had to pick up a prescription in the week and the pharmacy was right by a little Tesco, so I popped in (actually looking for vegan croissants) and found these instead. It was so tasty, but very sweet (and massive)- I had it over two days and already wished I’d bought more as I haven’t seen them anywhere else.

Autumn run scenes and some chocolate from my vegan box

On Sunday I saw a message on our running club page about a Sunday run. I wasn’t sure I’d make it, so didn’t say I’d be there, but thought I’d run in that direction, and luckily met them running down the hill when I was running up it (they meet at the station but there are many routes to take from there so I could have missed them entirely). It was a gorgeous day for running (so much better than last week) and I loved having a chat while I was running. Some of them didn’t realise about the new parkrun milestone tops (eg instead of V25, then participant 50, 100, 250, you can now have v or participant for 25, 50, 100 etc). I think I injected some new parkrun enthusiasm as they were closer to their next milestone than they realised.

Do you like advent calendars? Are you a Christmas person?

A wet weekend and Frozen excitement!

After our DLP trip (and extra day) we took time on the Wednesday to drive back up to the Eurotunnel. We went to the nearby shopping centre to get lunch from Pret (I was very pleased to see a vegan option, as there wasn’t a huge deal of options in the shops). We also picked up a few bits for Christmas presents (mainly coffee and wine for my parents). Andy was keen to visit some war memorials so we stopped at a few- all very thought provoking and I don’t think you could get more of a contrast from our previous few days.

Autumn leaves seen on my run, and bottom right one of my birthday trees turning beautiful shades of red

Thursday was a chill out/ catch up on housework day- I had a run in the morning and then we just pottered about. I did get on with some jobs outside too, including using the bulb planter. It looks like a big apple corer, and it lifts out the soil, you put the bulb in and then pop the soil back on top. I tried using it a month ago but the ground was rock hard. Now, a different problem- as the soil was so wet it was sticking to the tool. I ended up slightly spraining my wrist from all the twisting and pushing (and had to wear a support thingy for the entire following week, not ideal), so I hope the colour in spring is worth it!

Pumpkin spiced tea latte from B&B, London in the evening and various Crosstown doughnuts shared over the following few days including cinnamon scroll and pb&j.

We had planned to head in to London on Friday for our anniversary (actually Saturday but we had plans for that day already). I thought we were going to have a walk, get some food and then head home. We got some lunch, walked along by the river, bought some doughnuts from Crosstown to take home, walked to Borough market to visit the Bird and Blend store, walked around by Hyde park and then got dinner at a Leon (we are both addicted to their Love burgers). Then we ended up outside a theatre- Andy had booked us tickets to see Frozen! I was so excited! The Disney magic was continuing for the half term.

As we went in they checked vaccine passports, and you had to keep your mask on the whole time, plus it was a huge airy theatre (with fresh air being pumped in) so it felt perfectly fine. I loved the show- seeing live singing and dancing is always fantastic, and this cast was brilliant. The two children being Elsa and Anna at the start (for a big chunk of the show) were amazing, and all the sets, stage changes, costumes etc were so impressive. If you’ve ever seen The Little Mermaid Show in MGM and wondered how her tail turns into legs, well, there was a bit similar in the show which had us scratching our heads. Olaf was so funny (as my niece had told me earlier in the year, as my sister had taken her) and it was just so impressive.

Of course Saturday was time for parkrun- my 247th. I am really counting them down now until the big 250th- it won’t be long! I was running to and from Panshanger as Andy had the car.  When I left home it wasn’t raining (although some rain was forecast), but when I was around half a mile from the start it really poured down. I was really cross as when I was running down the track to the start, a car (full of parkrunners) drove really fast through a puddle and the water hit me with a wave- all the way from my head to my toes. I gave them a glare but they seemed totally oblivious to what they just did. Honestly, have some consideration. I tried sheltering under a tree but it was no good- and big drops from the tree were coming down too!

While I was stood at the start, one of my running friends came over (Louise). We used to run together on the Tuesday night runs, and I’d not seen her properly in ages, so we ran around together, having a lovely catch up – mainly talking about holidays! I love that about parkrun- you can bump into someone you’ve not seen for ages.

It did stop raining while we were running, but I was totally soaked by the time I got home, and spent the rest of the day inside. I was going to do some jobs in the garden but decided I’d had enough fresh air! Once Andy was home we had a speedy dinner and then headed out to pick up my dad as we were off to see Public Service Broadcasting perform in Aylesbury (at a really gorgeous venue by the way). If you don’t know them, they mainly use historical audio clips and put them to music- their album Race to Space has audio from the first moon landing etc (Go! is an amazing song- check them out on Spotify if you are interested as they are hard to describe). Anyway, the show was amazing, and nothing like any other gig I’d been to. They all wore white suits (which sounds very boyband) and were stood at the front in a horseshoe shape with all their keyboards, guitars, drums etc. They had a trio of brass instrument players who came on for various songs, and at one point some dancing astronauts came on. There were lasers and lights and videos on the big screens, and seeing them juggle all the instruments was so fascinating. Such a great evening.

Lunch in front of Taskmaster- mini Halloween dough bites from Crosstown, Public Service Broadcasting and the dancing astronauts, and of course pumpkin spiced mug!

On Sunday morning I made the mistake of looking on Strava and realised I was on 91 miles for October- “only” 9 more miles to make it 100 for the month….

The weather was awful- raining hard and windy, but I thought how bad can it be? I put on my waterproof and off I went. It was OK to begin with, and I decided to run along Cole Green lane (an old railway line) to avoid being splashed by cars. It was OK, but when I was about to turn around a huge branch (a good 3 feet long) fell down in front of me just ahead of where I was. It gave me a massive fright, and I decided to run back along the roads. Only when I came down off the path to the road (to the signposted “all weather route”) the road under the bridge was completely flooded- there was no way I was wading through that. So back I went. When I got closer to home I had to go under another underpass- on the way there was a big puddle by the entrance and I’d moved a big stick to balance on, but it had obviously rained so hard during my run that it was totally flooded. I ended up heading up to the road where thankfully there was a way to cross and rejoin the path on the other side. Of course, around half a mile from home the rain stopped and the sun came out. Typical!

But I couldn’t have delayed my run any more. My dad was coming by with his car, as we were doing a mini car swap ahead of a long one in a week’s time. (They have an electric car too, but with less range, so when they are going away further afield we are going to swap cars so I drive theirs to work, and they take ours on holiday). I was so nervous about it- even though I have driven theirs as a test drive, this would be different. We had a little practise together (eg I drove Dad’s car with him in the passenger seat helping, and then he drove our car) before he took ours home.  His is slightly more complicated but still way easier than a manual car, and I was much happier once I’d had another practise later in the afternoon.

I treated myself to watching Frozen in the evening, to continue the Disney magic right to the end of half term!

Are you happy to run in the rain? I don’t mind the rain, but I hate being cold, and often once you get wet you get cold and just can’t warm up again.

Disneyland Paris in October!!

Hooray! In case you didn’t guess, our trip to DLP went ahead!

The original plan was that Andy would get the Eurostar on the Thursday (as he could book Friday off) and I would travel on Friday after work. This is because we were going as a big group with Andy’s family (his parents, his 2 brothers and their wives, plus our niece and nephew- they were all travelling on the Friday as they didn’t have school that day/ can book a day off work). However, we had a bit of a hiccup with a passport, which meant that with a week to go the trains were changed to later in the year, hotels were cancelled etc. Then, when the passport was sorted (eg arriving) the Eurotunnel was booked (Eurostar prices were crazy high to book last minute). Everyone else travelled on Friday, and we drove down to Kent on Friday night and then got the Eurotunnel early on the Saturday morning (eg we got up at 4.50am).  There were delays (a train was stuck in one of the tunnels so they were having to run batches of trains in one direction, then batches in the other)- so it was frustrating to be waiting around for a train, thinking we could have got up later, but of course the reality is that if we got up later we would have been further delayed. The drive down there was fine, and thankfully we weren’t as delayed as originally told. When we drove through the gates at around lunch time it was such a welcome sight.

As you can imagine, a trip with a big group is very different to when the two of us go. My first Disney trip was a trip to Florida with Andy’s family (probably 18 years ago?)- his aunt, uncle and cousin also stayed in the villa with us, and ever since then (when we did not have matching t-shirts) I have loved seeing the big family groups in Florida with their matching tops, telling us “Smith Family Vacation 2005” or whatever. One day we will do that! I did look into matching tops but as the weather was going to be cold and they’d be hidden under coats it seemed a  bit of a waste.

Anyway, we had booked (with our annual passes) the Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Everyone else had 3 day tickets (we had planned to use our AP discount as you can buy discounted tickets, and had reserved them, but Andy had cancelled his when the trip was postponed, and even though they still had mine, the 3 day ticket worked out cheaper than a 2 day ticket plus the discounted one through me).

Vegan burrito, Starbucks, tea in the room and vegan breakfast sorted

I was prepared with some food- I bought along a pack of vegan croissants and we always take lots of tea with us. There were some vegan options- the place that did the falafels in the summer now did a vegan burrito which was really tasty- and huge! I had it for lunch one day and was so full for the rest of the day. Of course we popped to Starbucks a few times. My sister in law bought a (quite expensive) tea in one of the Disney restaurants and it was in a teeny cup, only half full of water. Honestly, go to Starbucks as you get a huge one (plus they will add soya milk, not something I think is available in the parks).

The three days were super busy, often going between parks. We did some things as a big group (Buzz Lightyear was a particular favourite of the kids) and then other times would break into smaller groups- it was nice for Andy to have company on the rollercoasters as I don’t go on them.

I was very keen to go to the Frozen show- I love it anyway but also knew my niece was love it (she’s 5 and was loving all the princess things). The first time we didn’t manage to get there (there are only a few shows each day and it has a small capacity), so on the Monday we queued for over an hour to be let in. We had one of those magic moments though, as she thought she would be watching it on a screen (like Philharmagic) so when she saw an actual person (Elsa) she gasped “Elsa ‘s real!” Perfection.

Plus Andy actually “got” it this time- when we went at Christmas in 2019 he thought the reindeer model was broken as Kristoff “speaks” for Sven- now he’s seen the film a few more times he realised it’s meant to be like that.

I loved all of the autumn/Halloween decorations that were out and we had fun at some of the photo spots. Frontier land was decorated for the day of the dead (like the film Coco)- at night it was even better as all of the lanterns were lit up.

There were also little mini parades (an amazing steam punk dragon that breathed fire, a princess float) plus a little autumn/ Halloween parade with a very catchy tune. Lots of cheerful Disney magic touches.

Over the 3 days we managed to go on most rides a couple of times (especially Phantom Manor for the spooky season)- I had wanted to go on Philharmagic again but only thought about it on the final day and by that time it had closed (it shut at 5pm). We went to see the Lion King show which was amazing- different to the Florida version and with a real Cirque du Soleil feel.

I was also really pleased to manage the drawing class. We had to queue for a bit and ended up watching a group draw Mickey and then Olaf (I would have loved to draw Olaf). We did Donald and Andy, who says he is terrible at art, joined in with me too. I think we both did pretty well- the instructors tell you in English and French and they do it step by step so everyone can manage it.

Our art of animation class drawings, plaits (as hair down was not working for the first day) and the animation academy.

After everyone else left, we were due to head further north in France, but Andy happened to look on the annual pass website and saw that we could reserve the Tuesday, so we quickly booked a hotel, and after charging the car for a bit headed back to the parks for a final bonus day.