More football fun and afternoon tea

Hairband pot from enchanted cosy co

The beginning of July brought many things, including July tea club, always a good part of the month. The postcard this month is adorable, and it also came with some tea stickers.

I was a bit superstitious about ordering a badge before I got my vaccine, just in case the appointment was cancelled or a school bubble popped, so once I’d been I treated myself to these badges (could not decide, so got both in the end). One not suitable for work though!

We finally have a lily in our pond!

Running was back to normal (Tues, Wed and Thurs) although no yoga on Wednesday night due to the semi final of the Euros. I was so excited that the tiny football car was back, and then so annoyed at ITV for not even showing it! On a side note, when the football is on BBC, who on earth actually chooses to watch ITV??? Anyway, I’m not on twitter, but the tiny football car is, and well worth a look if you want something light hearted to look at.

The runs were OK, but I got absolutely soaked on Tuesday morning (and no time to wash my hair so just had to towel it down and hope for the best!). I was so tired on Thursday morning after the late night of football (and the excitement of being in the final) but I had a meeting after school and didn’t want to leave my run until then as I knew I’d just want to come home and rest.

Big puddle on a run and fresh lemonade with my waffle

On Friday after work the 4 people in my team went to The Waffle House as a nearly end of term celebration. I’ve not been to a restaurant probably since 2019 (only the outside afternoon tea for my birthday, plus we’ve got a few takeaways when we’ve been away for the weekend) so I was a bit apprehensive, but it was good- the seating is all outside anyway, and it was well spaced out so it felt OK. I had the hummus and avocado on a vegan waffle and it was delicious. We have sometimes recreated this at home, but never with all the garnishes and it is just so much nicer having it cooked for you.

On Saturday we had some sad news- people can no longer log a (not)parkrun if your home event is Ellenbrook Fields, as it is “no longer a live event”. I knew that it was not coming back right away, but this seems to suggest that it’s gone for good. It’s frustrating because with places like Tring and Little Stoke, the reasons were a bit clearer, but parkrun have posted something a bit ambiguous about not securing landowner permission (when people in my running club who are in the core team say this is not true).  Anyway, I cheered myself up thinking about actual parkrun returning in a fortnight- it’s not all bad. It’s funny because I now need to choose a new home event, and for ages Panshanger was (it started as St Albans, but once Panshanger started I changed it to that), but as I was more involved in EF I just feel like that is my home because I know the community there much more than anywhere else. No doubt we will go between Jersey Farm and Panshanger when not touristing, as JF is right by my parents and I can run to Panshanger as they’ve moved the start closer to me, but EF was perfect as it was in the middle.

Pancakes for breakfast, vegan doughnuts ordered, and a cute postbox topper seen on my run.

Anyway, Saturday after my run was a lot of jobs (cleaning, work bits, car admin) to get done so Sunday was free to be enjoyed. We even popped out to charge the car a little bit as our home charger has not been installed yet. I must say I am not missing going to petrol stations.

The weather was gorgeous on Sunday. I went for a run to Panshanger trying to work out the new parkrun route (they’ve posted it on their page and I know some people who’ve put it on strava). I think I did it? It will be a fairly longish warm up and cool down though as it totalled over 8 miles in the end. Or maybe 9.

Andy’s parents popped by to sit in our garden for a bit, and then I was off out again. Socialising is  turning out to be like buses! I’d arranged an afternoon tea with a couple of friends- we usually meet up a couple of times a year, but the last time we managed this was November 2019. We walked over to the farm where I’d been for my birthday- as the seating was all outside and very well spaced it felt good. Both of my friends are teachers too, and just hoping to make it to the end of term without any bubble popping going on, and they’ve been as cautious as me about mixing with others (or not basically). Apart from work colleagues and immediate family, they are the first people I’ve seen since the pandemic began- I felt out of practise with conversation! But it was lovely to catch up.

Just like in May, the vegan one was super tasty, and we appreciated the walk back after! They couldn’t hang about though as we’d booked it months ago without knowing about the football!

So, then there was the football. I enjoyed it. I think I went into it feeling happy that we’d made it that far, and of course winning would have been amazing. Penalties are always my most hated outcome (even if I don’t mind who wins I find them so stressful to watch), so that wasn’t great, but at least we got to celebrate a goal and be winning for a bit. Look on the bright side! I went to bed feeling OK (a late night but I slept better than the Wednesday night), but waking to see the news of the racism and the violence (the people trying to get in without tickets), was just depressing. This is why we can’t have nice things. This is why most other countries would be glad that we lost. And then the PM having the cheek to come out and criticise the racism after what he has said and done (check out Gary Neville’s interview on Sky…) and who he employs as Home Secretary just infuriated me more. So I went into Monday feeling a bit deflated, and not because of the loss, but because of the reminder of who I share this country with.

On a lighter note, it made me look forward to the Olympics and Paralympics.

Did you enjoy the football? Do you have any superstitions around sport? For us having nuts as a snack worked up until the penalties!

Together in electric dreams!

My week had runs on different days, due to me getting my second vaccine on the Wednesday (after the stress of my appointment being cancelled and then having to try and find a centre to rebook). I actually felt OK, but after I felt so bad last time I decided to set my alarm a little later on the Thursday, and run on Friday morning instead.

Those last few minutes of the match were super stressful and my Garmin agreed!

Back to the start though- it began with Wimbledon, as well as continuing with the Euros- lots of sport to keep us entertained. I always look out for my dad at the tennis (as he does the line judging), plus I find it quite soothing to watch.

I had a 4 mile run on Tuesday, and was super pleased that our site manager wanted to get home to watch the football (England playing Germany in the next round), because it meant we had to leave earlier than 5pm so I was just home in time for the kick off. We kept up the tradition of having some nuts as a football snack, which worked (as we won). We had to have a packet of Christmas nuts though as that was all we had!

I listened to the Tape Notes podcast with Adam Buxton and it made me sooo happy. I watched The Adam and Joe show when I used to babysit, and then listened to their radio shows and podcasts (I had the royal wedding song stuck in my head as an earworm when I did the Stockholm marathon)- it was such an in depth look at how he creates jingles and songs and was just such an enjoyable listen. 

On Wednesday I had to get to a vaccine centre after work. I was really nervous as I don’t like injections (I know that they don’t hurt, but I think as I have fainted in the past I get a bit worked up about it happening again). Also, as after my first jab I felt quite under the weather, I wasn’t looking forward to that potentially happening again. I went to a different centre this time, and it was much easier. There were no queues, and I was seen really quickly which was good as then the nerves could not build up too much. The person administering it said that probably my side effects would be far less this time, but I’d still have the sore arm. She was sort of right, although my arm was way better (it felt more like a muscle pain last time). I was relieved to get it done (particularly as we keep having kids at work being tested, and if they come back positive and we all have to self isolate it would have meant cancelling the appointment). The best bit? I got a sticker! I didn’t get one last time.

On the Thursday Andy was off to pick up our new car while I was at work, and the garage gave him a cake with my name (the car was in my name) and the new reg number. That was a very kind gesture, although sadly not vegan so I had something from my Vegan Kind subscription box instead. I wasn’t brave enough to drive the new car to work on Friday though!

Friday started with a gentle out and back run to the fields- I was feeling OK after my jab but I didn’t want to push it in case I felt worse later. all was good though. Annoyingly when I checked on Strava, June was the first month this year where I didn’t run over 100 miles- it was only 97! If only I had noticed sooner then I could have gone out on extra bits here and there. Although I missed one Sunday long run due to not feeling well, and of course the Brighton half was cancelled so I didn’t run a half marathon.

Pancakes an Red Velvet tea for breakfast = good start to Saturday 

Saturday started with a run, and then time to get more car bits sorted. I was selling my car to my brother, so I sorted out the paperwork, took it to the car wash and then took it over to him.  Andy drove over later and then I had to drive home. It’s going to take some getting used to, as there are no gears (and not even an ignition switch, you just unlock it, get in and then somehow it’s ready to drive).  It’s also way bigger than my old car (which was a little i-10)- I have never needed a big car and really like the flexibility of being able to squeeze into a small parking space and so on. Anyway, as we are down to one car now, it needed to be a bit bigger for weeks away.

I did a bit of pottering in the garden (including the third and hopefully final coat of paint on the gate), but we made sure we had eaten dinner before kick off of The Big Match (England playing Ukraine). As previously mentioned, nuts had been our lucky snack, so we opted for salt and vinegar peanuts this time. I’d made some cold brew tea (fruity tea in water in the fridge) and topped that up with lemonade. The match turned out to be much more enjoyable (usually it is so tense that you can’t enjoy it) and even relaxing- how novel!

On Sunday I headed out on a shorter run (7 miles) as we had planned a walk but Andy wanted to be back for the Grand Prix. I met some of the OH ladies out on their run (going in the opposite direction) so we had a nice catch up mid-run. Croissants for breakfast (one vegan Pret bake at home, and one of the nice La Boulangerie ones) and then we were off to Panshanger. I drove the car part of the way, partly to get the hang of driving it, but also as it’s 4 miles away so it would have been a super long walk and we would not have been home in time.

The cows were in the field we walked through and they were all over the path! I don’t mind them but I still prefer them further away. Of course we could not resist stopping at the Planted Coffee Co trailer- it was super warm despite being cloudy, so an iced tea was perfect for the walk back. I also bought a lemon muffin to have while Andy had more of the car cake.

I caught up on some TV, did a bit of work and pottered in the garden (in between rain showers). I was so excited to see a flower appearing in the lily in our pond!

Have you ever driven an electric car? How many miles do you tend to run in each month? Are you enjoying the Euros/ Wimbledon?

Biscuits make the webinars easier…

And just like that, Midsummer was here! It was a miserable day- Josie (the yoga teacher) had suggested an online class as the sun rose to do some sun salutations in the garden, but it pretty much poured all day so that idea didn’t make it. I met Andy in town and we got a hot drink from Caffe Nero instead.

I was feeling OK after my fainting on the Saturday night, but I called the GP just to be sure, and they called me back on Tuesday to talk me through it. If it happens again they will investigate further but it could be a one off (here’s hoping). I felt a bit nervous about going out running, so stuck to laps on the streets close to home just in case I needed to walk back/cut it short.

These roses grow by a roundabout and they smell incredible- they look beautiful when covered in raindrops too.

We were all set for watching England play the Czech Republic- nuts seemed to be our lucky snack as we had them for the first win against Croatia and then didn’t for the Scotland match (which we drew). It worked!

On Wednesday I had yet another webinar and it was a bit of a rush to get home for (they start fairly soon after the kids leave but go on until after our site manager locks up so you have to be home for them)- thankfully Andy made me some tea and even bought me up some biscuits- of course that always helps the online training go by better. Then as it was warm I set up for yoga in the living room again. It’s very enjoyable to have views of the garden as I work through the class. We had a belayed midsummer yoga session and it was definitely better than a rainy Monday morning session!

Thursday was a bit of a stressful day work-wise, but on Friday I had booked a massage at my favourite place in town for after work. I had not been for so long, and was a bit worried about what it would be like. There used to be a waiting room but now they ask you to wait outside and then you go straight to the treatment room. Masks on, hand sanitiser to use and so on, and sadly no diffuser in the room, but I felt comfortable (which is good as it’s meant to be relaxing).  Katie had even made her own oil using fresh mint leaves from her garden, so it smelled incredible. There was some awful popping and cracking going on, but I felt the difference straight away as I could properly look over my left shoulder again.

Afterwards I walked into town, picked up a couple of desserts from The Pudding Stop and got a cold drink from Pret. Almost a “normal” after work thing.

On Saturday I did a (not)parkrun and a bit in my new apricot top- it says “i love ellenbrook fields” (as there have been hints eg on WMN that it won’t be coming back- it still isn’t on the permission list so I am not holding out much hope). Once home I tried a bake at home Pret vegan croissant for breakfast (very tasty) plus a mango pot I’d picked up in town after my massage. We should have been in Brighton for the half marathon, so I thought I would replicate a weekend-away breakfast.

We went to see Andy’s parents in the afternoon and sat in their garden for a few hours- the rain held off until we were driving home.

A lot of my social media had been filled with people moaning about how come Wembley gets to be filled with fans but parents cannot watch sports day in person. I am trying very hard to not respond, because I hate getting into arguments in that way, but in the end I could not help myself. Yes, if you are a parent then it is disappointing that you don’t get to go to school and traipse around a field all morning watching children throw beanbags into hoops. But here’s the thing. The fans at Wembley were either double vaccinated or had taken negative tests. Schools do not have the authority to demand this or the capacity to track it. Plus none of the kids are vaccinated, so there is a much higher chance that someone would test positive at an event. But mainly, we all agreed as a society that education is important- schools went back for all pupils before many other leisure places reopened. One positive case at a school event could potentially shut the entire school for 10 days (and the school would not even provide for the vulnerable/key worker children because either all staff would be isolating, or the kids would be…). Schools need protecting because we want them to remain open. (I do appreciate that not everyone is aware of the requirements for the football fans but I am getting a bit fed up of all the negative press of people complaining about schools yet again when the staff are trying their hardest to keep up with guidance and rules etc.)

Anyway, normal service back. It was Stitch Day (he’s Experiment 626 and it was June 26th) so of course I had to wear some Stitch clothes. I did some pottering around in the garden and later in the evening enjoyed a vegan cornetto.

On Sunday I headed off for 10 miles on some of the centenary route- I’d forgotten how hilly it was in places and did a fair bit of walking too. Enjoyable though. I had pancakes when I got home, and then did some more fun jobs like painting the gate another coat. It’s nearly there now. Look at how many splatters I made though- the paint is very watery compared to the fence paint.

After pottering around some more, we enjoyed some of our garden produce for dinner- pizza topped with homegrown yellow courgette (plus pineapple and pepper) alongside homegrown salad.

Do you like pineapple on pizza? 

Aaand the rain is back again! Plus no long run this week.

Although the beginning of the week started well. I had a lovely surprise from my wellbeing buddy at work- she left me this vegan chocolate from Rhythm 108 and I have to say it is definitely a new favourite. After work I met Andy in town and we picked up our free drinks from Caffe Nero. I had a really tasty mint lemonade which was so refreshing. For dinner we had a Cook katsu alongside some freshly picked salad, and some pickled grapes. I really love the pickled ginger that you get with a Wagamama katsu, and this is close enough (just cut them in half and leave them in a bowl with some red wine vinegar during the day).

Mint lemonade, delicious chocolate and a katsu with homegrown salad and pickled grapes

Tuesday was more overcast but OK- the rain stayed away for my run and then the day got quite warm. My mum had given me a special porridge bowl (it has markings on the side for the oats and liquid, and instructions for how long to microwave it for)- it was too hot for porridge but overnight oats worked well in the bowl too.

Following the delay in the unlocking of things, Brighton half marathon finally postponed their race until October. Confusingly, when I had booked it in the middle of last year, for Feb 21, they said that if it had to be postponed, they had agreed a date of 3rd October with Brighton&Hove council. Then it was delayed from Feb to June (not the October date), and now it’s going to be 10th October, so not even their original delay date… Anyway, luckily we could change our hotel date and running a half marathon in June was never going to be my best day as I don’t run well in the heat.

The Make My Day Magical Baby Yoda hand cream smells like taffy and is absolutely amazing

When I got home I decided to paint our gate (well, make a start on it anyway). It was too hot at the weekend to be out in the sun, but by that time of day it was shaded. It was so fiddly though, and the paint was quite watery so I made a big mess on the card that I’d put down. I was planning on doing the other side and second coats later in the week, but the weather did not play ball!

My Vitality top and medal arrived so I thought I’d wear the top on a run. It was so warm on Wednesday that I set up yoga in the living room. Usually I go in my office, but the sun shines in there all afternoon and the window doesn’t open that wide so it’s not the best when it’s very hot. It was good to take part in the class with the view of the garden- it reminded me of actually going to yoga as the space we use looked out onto some gardens (and sometimes in the summer we would take our mats outside and take the class under the trees). During the nidra session the rain started, and got heavier and heavier. I was thinking I would be soaked on my run on Thursday, but it had stopped raining and was just so humid.

Andy had bought these Wicked Kitchen cinnamon rolls and they are the closest to the Starbucks ones that I have found- so often they are more like pastry whereas these are the bready dough which I prefer in a cinnamon roll. A good replacement if we were away for the weekend and wanted a quick breakfast to take with us.

On Friday the rain properly fell down- crazy flooding everywhere. We managed a quick walk before dinner, partly in between the rain (and thankfully when it started up again it wasn’t too heavy) and then watched the football.

On Saturday I went for a run with Dad, followed by breakfast in their garden. Our run was very enjoyable- we did our “classic” (not) parkrun route, in reverse (we run to Jersey farm, do a lap and run home a different way). We saw a few runners on the Jersey farm route (it’s a two lap course but both laps are slightly different)- one guy said to us “4 weeks to go” when he saw our parkrun tops, and then as we finished he passed us again and said “actually, 5 weeks to go!”. Even something small like that is so nice to have, and I really hope that it doesn’t get further delayed….

Andy was off into London for a work thing, so in the afternoon I decided to have a long walk in Panshanger. Now, I love seeing the cows, but I am not a fan of being in the same field as the cows- I prefer to look at them over a fence. These ones are meant to be a docile breed, but they still have huge horns, and as there were calves everywhere I didn’t want to annoy them. 

Thankfully I made it through – some were right by the path but seemed intent on just eating grass.

Of course I stopped at the amazing Planted Coffee van (all their food and drinks are plant based and they do an amazing assortment of baked goods). I went for an iced tea to accompany my walk, and then a piece of rocky road for us to share later (novel because it usually isn’t even veggie let alone vegan due to the marshmallows normally containing gelatine).

It was fairly overcast on my walk back, but it didn’t rain until I was home.

We had an Italian inspired evening with a pizza and then watching Luca, which I really enjoyed. The story was a lot smaller than a typical Pixar, but very sweet characters. Andy had been to Pret on his way back from London and picked us up an almond chocolate cookie too.

I then had a bit of a weird night- I went to sleep feeling fine, but woke up at half 2 feeling sick. I went to the bathroom and was just so dizzy I had to lie on the floor for a bit. I wasn’t sick thankfully, and started to try and get back to bed. I fainted just outside the bedroom- luckily Andy had woken up and saw me fall backwards and helped me in to bed (I thought I had just lay down on the floor in the hall, and when he ran over to me going “oh my God” I thought that he was making a bit of a fuss, but when we talked about it in the morning he said that I fell backwards out of the room and totally fainted- no wonder he was worried). I slept until 10:30 which is so unusual but I felt fine when I woke up. (I did speak to the doctor about it who said that it can happen with no clear reason, but if it happens again in the next few months they will investigate further). Anyway, on the Sunday I took it easy- no run obviously- we watched some TV including Penguin Town, did a bit of gardening and had a walk in the afternoon.

I did have a lot of excitement when I saw a little frog in our garden- I was doing some weeding and moving a few old stones and it just started hopping- it was so small (maybe an inch long) and I wouldn’t have seen it at all if it hadn’t moved. We are trying to make our garden better for wildlife- we added a pond, we’ve got log piles around, lots of flowers for bees and a patch of lawn that we don’t mow any more. Hopefully this is a good sign that it’s working.

Do you have much wildlife in your garden? Do you like cows?

Enjoying the home grown produce and “braving” shorts

After the lovely weekend with the day out at Wimpole Hall, it was back to work after a great half term break. The poppies were out in our garden, adding a huge burst of colour.

It was super warm, so I got out my shorts for my morning runs. I wanted to say I “braved” wearing shorts, because I do feel a little uncomfortable when I first start wearing them, but that made me cross with myself. It’s hot, so I should wear shorts if I want to. I am not sure what I think will happen, but I just feel way more exposed, even though they are a bit like cycling shorts in that they are longer. Anyway, they kept me cooler but of course meant that any stinging nettles or brambles stung and scratched my legs. The plants have all gone into overdrive so they are all growing across the paths- in some places if you didn’t know the path was there it would be hard to find at all.

Yoga wasn’t on, so I just had my regular morning runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, plus walks on a few evenings too. My knee felt a bit stiff on the Wednesday so I did a gentle 5k and that seemed to help. Not sure why.

On Friday I totally got my hopes up for parkrun returning as they had crossed the line for enough landowner permissions. I’d listened to Free Weekly Timed (I don’t always as I am not massively keen on it) as they had Nick Pearson on there, and he said that although they were awaiting the announcement from the government (which I think by that time we all knew it was being delayed as so many stories had been leaked to newspapers etc), they had some scenarios that meant it could still come back in June.  They have had some criticism for announcing that on Friday, but to be fair to parkrun, the government were meant to announce sooner, so it should have tied it.  I also think that the pressure for landowners to have agreed by that Friday meant that more were across the line. Writing this later, when we know it has been delayed by 4 weeks, I am still hopeful that it will happen then (especially as technically it could have been back in March….).

On Saturday I went for a run with my dad, and we were surprisingly speedy- just over 30 minutes which is our fastest (not)parkrun for a long time. We had breakfast in their garden, and then I pottered around at home. We popped out to a car garage as we are still going through the process of going down to one (electric) car. Andy works from home, but my car is a bit too small for a holiday away (it’s fine for a weekend).

Our salad has been growing like crazy, so it was such a treat to be able to harvest it and have it with dinner straight away. You don’t get fresher than that.

Sunday was of course long run day- 11 miles to Panshanger. I was up early as it was going to be warm, plus I wanted to be back for the football. The cows were finally back in the park, and I was quite relieved that they were all over to one side, sheltering in the shade. I am not a big fan of cows, but these breeds are meant to be very docile so it’s OK for people to walk/run through the fields. Even so, they are huge and have huge horns so I would prefer to be on the other side of the fence!

Once home I had a lovely rehydrating drink of coconut water, salt and lime juice, and then made pancakes. A bit of pottering about and then it was time to enjoy the football.

Are you enjoying the football? Do you grow any food at home?