Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

2012 was OK, I wonder what 2013 will bring?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

And so that was Christmas...

...and today is Boxing Day!!

After the madness of yesterday I'm having a quiet day today. Yesterday I was at Mum and Dad's with my sister, brother in law, nephews and grandmother. I stayed over and went out for a run this morning with some friends from running club. The others went home around lunch time so Mum Dad and I went for a walk and then I came on home. Tomorrow we will all be back at Mum and Dad's with the addition of my brother, sister in law and nieces. It's gonna be loud....!!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


....They tend to be busy!!

With no-one but myself to worry about I can fill my weekends with whatever I like!

I recently went on a weekend away with the running club. It was quite a busy weekend with lots of exercise/training, but some down time too and plenty of socialising. It was great fun and good value for money as we stayed at a Youth Hostel and self catered.

I like to do some longer dog walks at weekends usually, and I do like to have a long lie in on at least one of the days. I like to get up at about 8am, feed the dog and let her out, then get my breakfast ready and take it back up to bed with me. I have breakfast in bed then either go back to sleep, read or surf the net on my phone. This can take me through to anywhere between 10am and lunch time... yes I know it's very lazy and some might say a waste of time, but in my book I am relaxed, warm, comfortable and doing something I enjoy so why not?

However, it's now Cross Country season and my running club takes part in a local league with other clubs. So, Sunday just gone saw me up early and out running through rather a lot of mud, although thankfully it wasn't raining or too cold for a change! It was about 6 miles and I completed it in 50m 40s by my watch, although the official times aren't out yet due to technical difficulties with the website. I think that's between 5-7 minutes quicker than I ran the same course last year but I can't check until the website is fixed. There are seven races in total between now and the end of January, I'm hoping to complete six of them. My club is hosting one so I will probably have to marshal that one instead of running it.

I have also entered the Reading Half Marathon which is in March next year.....

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

I DID IT!!!!!

I completed the Great South Run!

Ten miles, no walking, no having to stop for road crossings, just ten miles of uninterrupted running.... apart from having to pick my way through the hoards of other runners on the course!

It was a good run though, I started off with no expectations regarding time although I think I'd have been disappointed to be over 1h 45m if I'm honest.

I set off at a speed of 9.25/mile which felt comfortable. I was aiming for ten minute miles so I was wary of setting off too fast and burning out, but it felt good so I went with it. By 5 miles I was down to an average time of 9.11/mile and still feeling comfortable. Then I started to think that maybe I had a chance of a sub 1h 30m total so I decided to speed up a little. Bit by bit my average speed dropped, at mile 8 my watch was showing 8.58/mile so I sped up a bit more to give myself a bit of a margin.... having done so much by then I'd have hated to have got 1h 30m 02s or something like that. As I crossed the line my watch said 8.48/mile, however it also said I'd done 10.16 miles so I'd obviously created some extra distance dodging in and out of people and swinging wide on the corners to keep out the crowds. My final official time in the end was:

1 hour 29 minutes 26 seconds!!!

So, I was very happy with that, and am now thinking I might go for a half marathon in the spring!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Shameless plug for a friend...

Anna used to work with me many years ago. Since getting married and having children she has set up Crafty Cooks, a franchise teaching children to cook from a very young age. Learning about food and how to cook it helps young children to try new foods and to develop a more varied taste, hopefully preventing them from becoming fussy eaters. It can also help children who are already fussy eaters to be brave and try new things.

Crafty cooks runs a range of classes for children of varying ages. They also do one off sessions in school holidays and cookery parties for birthdays or any other occasion. There are even adult classes too!

And if you are interested in setting up a franchise of your own, please give Anna a call. I'm sure she'll be delighted to hear from you.

Check out Anna's website and blog, You can follow Crafty Cooks on Facebook and Twitter @craftycooks too!

Friday, 19 October 2012


My friend has moved on, I am alone again *sob*. Her house purchase went through as planned so she's now back in her own home. Whilst I enjoyed having her here, I do think we got on so well because we are both quite laid back and got on with our own thing, leaving the other alone to do their own thing too. I don't think it would be as good with any one else, especially a stranger, so I won't be looking for a lodger any time soon!

I'm running the Great South Run next weekend! It's ten miles, I have done ten miles twice now so I'm pretty confident about the distance. Time-wise I'm just going to see what feels comfortable on the day. I'd love to do the whole thing in ten minute miles but I'm not going to be upset if I don't. Having said that, I did seven miles in 9.03 minute miles on Thursday so who knows? Anything is possible, but I'm not going to push myself too hard, I want to enjoy the occasion and see the sights of Portsmouth as I gently jog past... Ten miles is my biggest distance so far, so I'm starting to think about aiming for a half marathon in the spring. It suddenly feels more achievable than it did before!

Friday, 21 September 2012

House sharing

Crikey, it's been ages since I last blogged!!

That's because nothing really blog-worthy has happened.... except, oh yeah, I got a housemate!!

A friend of mine from work is staying for a few weeks while she's between homes. Her flat sold but her new house purchase was a bit behind schedule, so rather than lose her buyer she asked if she could stop at mine for a few weeks.

Actually, it's great! She's very easy to live with and it's really nice having someone else in the house. We're similar in that neither of us feel the need to fill silence with chatter. If there's nothing to say then we don't say it, and we're both comfortable with silence. She doesn't talk through films or TV programmes which is great because that really annoys me.

After 16 years of living alone, I can honestly say my first foray into house sharing is a great success!

Not sure it would work quite so well with anyone else though....

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Wolf Conservation Trust open day 27/08/12

Today I went to The Wolf Conservation Trust open day with my brother and Niece#1. We saw wolves, birds of prey, huskies, and various other stalls and entertainments.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


We went to the New Forrest last week for a few days camping.

We = Me, Mum, Sis, Sis-in-law, Nieces 1&2, Nephews 1&2, Tarka and Sis-in-law's dog Trixie.

Despite the cold wet summer we've had so far, the sun shone and we had great weather! We spent Friday on the beach and swimming in the sea, Saturday we went into Lymington them went crabbing, and on Sunday we went into Lyndhurst on the way home.We cooked on the fire, and I went running Friday and Saturday mornings. My GPS watch seems to have got a tad confused though, I'm sure I didn't go running through the sea!!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

My new pal!

Well, not a real pal, it's my fitness pal,

It's basically a calorie counter.

Every now and then I get slack with my diet, and then I start to gain weight. I don't want to gain weight, when that happens my clothes don't fit properly, I lose fitness and struggle with running, and I just generally feel bleugh!!

So, I use My Fitness Pal to help me keep on top of things.

I have entered my details so it has worked out how many calories I need per day.
I enter my food intake and it tells me my calorie intake.
I enter my exercise and it tells me my calories burned.
It offsets my calorie intake against my calories burned, and I can make sure I stay below my daily net allowance.

Easy as that! It means that I stay in control of my weight and feel good about myself.

Right now I'm using a month free gym membership that I won in a raffle. So far I've only really done swimming and used the sauna etc, I'll use the gym at the weekend I think. I'm doing this on top of my usual exercise. I don't input my regular walking that I do at work but I'm still always well within my calorie allowance on work days. I do need to watch it at weekends though since I don't do as much exercise.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Adventures in nail polish.

I've started painting my nails!

That shouldn't be such a surprise, except that anyone who knows me in real life will tell you how totally un-girly I am, and how you'd think that nail polish would be the very last thing on this earth I would have any interest in!

Well, times have changed, and I'm learning how to paint and care for my nails. Actually I do think that nice hands and nails are a sign of a person who takes care of themselves. I'm not doing anything flashy, no nail art or fancy bits and pieces, just plain solid colour. (Most of the time...).

My current favourite is a lavender colour. I also have an aqua and a bright blue that I like too. I'm not so keen on red, but pastel pink is nice, and I've got a couple of neutral colours too for less bold days.

Unfortunately, applying nail varnish is a learnt technique and I'm still learning, although I have improved a lot since seeking advice on a forum and watching youtube videos. You also do just have to practice, especially with your 'wrong' hand.

I've gone from this - look how badly I've gone over the cuticles!

To this - my jubilee nails with a little playing around with nails art before I took the polish off, still a bad paint job!

To this - getting better but air bubbles in the polish

To this - starting to get better but still not there yet

And finally, this is where I am now. Better, but still a way to go.

I also need to do huge amounts of work on the condition of my nails and cuticles. I've tried so many different treatments over the years but I still have nails and cuticles like this:

So, I have been back to the internet, sought advice and am now waiting for some new and highly recommended products to arrive from amazon.... well, I had a gift voucher to spend so why not?!!

I have also treated myself to a black nail art pen, so had a play with that recently for our work open day.

It's nice to finally have a girly hobby. I wonder how long it will last! Although with nails that look like mine, it's good to keep them covered up!!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

More books!

I finished reading ‘The Notebook’. Actually, I found it a bit disappointing as nothing much really happened! It was a pleasant enough tale of two people who fall in love and live happily ever after, but that really was about it.

However, my copies of ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy arrived on Friday, so I’ve been happily immersed in those since then. I had already read the first one, so started on the second straight away and am now about ¾ through the last one. I love these books! 

3rd in the series.

And, after that I’ve still got ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy to read! 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Another bank holiday!

Actually, this was a double bank holiday! We had an extra day off to celebrate the Queen's diamond Jubilee. She has reigned over us now for 60 years, and I recon she's done a pretty good job of it.

So, my extra long weekend consisted of:
Saturday - Shopping with niece #2 and BBQ with friends
Sunday - Dinner at Mum and Dads
Monday - Sister-in-Law's birthday party
Tuesday - Sleep, dog walk and running!

My one nod to the jubilee was that I painted my nails alternately red white and blue. I'm not clever enough for fancy designs so it was the best I could do!

Back to work tomorrow, this has been a really nice break though.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

May Day bank holiday

I went to stay with a friend and her children for the bank holiday weekend. She lives about 200 miles away so I don't get there very often, although I should go more often than I do!

We had a lovely weekend. The weather wasn't great, but we went to the beach on Saturday, for a walk on Sunday and to visit her parents on Monday, which was on my way home.

It was a lovely weekend.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Books vs films.

I always find that books are better if read before you see the film. You use your own imagination rather than the images from the film and you get the story as the original author wrote it rather than someones interpretation of it.

Yesterday I wanted to watch 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' because it had come from Lovefilm quicker than I expected it to. So, I started reading the book when I woke up, finished it by lunch time and then watched the film in the evening.

However, I think it was not a good idea to do both so quickly, because inevitably the film had changed a lot of the detail, and as the detail was still so fresh in my mind I noticed all the little changes that I might not have picked up on if more time had elapsed.

I did enjoy both the book and the film. I didn't cry at either which surprised me, because everyone I know said they had cried and normally I'm the first to cry.

So my advice, read the book then watch the film, but leave a little time between doing the two!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Segway experience!!!

For Christmas, Mum and Dad gave me a segway experience! They also gave one to my brother and niece#2 because we'd all been talking about it and looking it up on line.

We booked it for April hoping for good weather and although it was a bit cold, it was sunny and dry so perfect really.

We had a short safety check and lesson on handling the segway, then we went off on some paths around the lakes for a ride. It was great fun! Mum and Dad came to watch with sis-in-law and niece#1, so Mum took some photo's for me.

Friday, 6 April 2012


It's Good Friday today. I stayed in bed till lunch time, then went out for lunch with Mum, Dad and Granny. Then I walked the dogs (Tarka plus a visiting poodle!), then came home and have spent the rest of the evening watching the entire series 2 of Ultimate Force which I found in a charity shop the other week!

Well I did say it's 'good' Friday!! Today has been good!!

This Easter has been quite relaxed for me. I bought my Easter eggs weeks ago when they first came out and at £1 each, special offer instead of £3 each. We're only buying small ones this year and only for the kids. So no last minute dashing out and spending a small fortune on whatever is left, which is my usual thing at Easter, all the while berating myself for not taking advantage of the earlier special offers...

Sunday we're all going to Mum and Dad's for lunch. I don't know what we're having but it will be gorgeous because Mum's cooking always is.

I took last Thursday off work which has given me a 5 day break, just what I need, as from Tuesday work will turn into chaos and mayhem....

Monday, 26 March 2012


The Abercrombie hoodie was still there!!

And now, it's MY Abercrombie hoodie!!!

(paid full price for it though, I was hoping it might have been reduced by now.)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Reading = :-( Abercrombie = :-)

Well, after all that I haven't done any more reading! I just can't seem to get started on 'The Lord of the Rings' but I don't want to give in and start one of the other books either. *sigh* I'll just have to sit down and make a start, and hope that once I get going I can get into it a bit.

There's a shop in a local town that sells second hand but 'nice' clothes. You know, the things that are too nice and worth too much money to give to a charity shop. It's a 50/50 shop, so the shop takes 50% of what the clothes sell for and the owner gets the other 50%. Well, in this shop there's a gorgeous Abercrombie hoodie which I've got my eye on. It's £20 which is a bit over my budget for a hoodie really, but, well, it is Abercrombie...

Anyway, at badminton last night the treasurer decided we had enough money in the kitty to each have a free term. So, now that I don't have to pay £30 for badminton..... yep, you can see what I'm thinking!!

So, it's been in the shop for 2 weeks now, what's the betting that when I go back on Saturday to buy it, it'll be sold? Yeah, that's the kind of luck I have.

I'll let you know!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


I've been trying to get back into reading recently.

I started with 'The Hobbit'. I really want to see the film when it comes out in December but thought I would read the book first, since books use your own imagination and once you've seen a film, you tend to rely on the film's visuals instead of creating your own.

'The Hobbit' was OK. I've never really been into that type of book before so it was a new genre for me. I can't say I loved it, but I did finish it so that's better than hating it.

Then I read 'One Day' by David Nichols. I'd heard good reviews of this and again, it's been made into a film which I might try and get hold of if I can find a copy second hand. I did enjoy this book, and it had a twist at the end which I had to read about 3 times before I could believe what had happened!!

Next on my list is 'The Lord of the Rings', for the same reason that I read 'The Hobbit' really. I have got the DVD's waiting to be watched so I need to read the books first. I suspect that reading the books and then watching the films will probably take me up until Christmas - just in time for 'The Hobbit' film!

I have also got 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjama's' and 'The Time Traveller's Wife' waiting to be read as well, so I probably do have enough to keep me going for the rest of the year! I bought those because again, I have heard good reviews and I thought I might need something to break up 'The Lord of the Rings' with!

I got all of these from charity shops including the DVD's. I prefer to buy books rather than go to the library because I hate feeling pressured by time limits to finish a book. Yes, I know you can renew library books, but it's just something else to remember to do and I struggle to remember the stuff I must do, let alone adding extra things to the list. Brand new books always feel like a waste of money when there are millions of unwanted books waiting to be read, hence looking in charity shops. Sometimes it takes a while to find what I want, but there are now charity bookshops popping up in bigger towns, rather than just a single shelf in a regular shop.

Here's a taster of 'The Hobbit' which will be released in December 2012.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Two years

Two years today since I last held my girl, since I last brushed her coat and since I told her I loved her for the last time. 

Two years that feel like yesterday and forever, at the same time.

30/05/96 - 22/02/10

Nothing's forgotten.
Nothing's ever forgotten.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Random events

I have a few unrelated things to blog so this post might be a tad random in places...


I have just got back from the South East Berks Gang Show, which my friend's little boy (sorry, young man!) was in. It's the third one he's done and so the third one I've seen, and the standard is amazingly high! I went with my sister and Nephew#1 who loved it!


I had an email from an old friend in America. She and I worked on Scout camp together in 1991 and 1993, and we've kept in touch albeit sporadically. She was writing to let me know her mother is ill with a terminal illness. It's news like that which makes me take stock and appreciate what I have got in my life. This little saying popped up on another friends facebook today, and it definitely applies to me these days.

I'm going to make it my new mantra.


On Monday I helped another friend with a house clearance. An elderly family friend has passed away and her parents are executors, so she was doing some clearing of stuff for them and I gave her a hand. The old man had lived locally to me and my friend and her family now live some hours away, so she stayed with me Sunday night and we did some clearing on Monday. It was lovely to see her and catch up, it's been almost 2 years since I saw her last! We got a lot done too which was good.


I didn't run for 2 weeks. There was ice and snow one week, and then I had other things on the next week. I went to track yesterday though and it was hard work.... got to get back into it! Hopefully we've got some better weather coming now that we're heading into spring, it's definitely a much more pleasant hobby in the summer and I'm actually quite proud of myself for sticking with it through the winter months! I do need to push myself though as I have definitely plateaued, I doubt that right now I would manage the '8 in 80' I did back in October!


Yesterday was my sister's birthday! Happy birthday sis!!


My brother and sis-in-law got another dog! Can't remember if I blogged it, but the old dog died before Christmas. They have got another collie, this one is a 2 year old bitch called Trixie and she's a total sweetie!

This is her picture off the rescue website, she's much prettier in real life and just wants cuddles all the time!


So, I think that's it, but if not I'll be back to edit this post over the next day or so I'm sure....


Friday, 10 February 2012

Just another February....

Can you believe February is half way through already? I can't.

We've had snow this week. That means I haven't been running for a week now because I'm too scared to run in the snow and too lazy to dig the treadmill out from under the boxes of car boot stuff.

At the end of January, I went to see Blood Brothers with my friend. It was her birthday present to me, and it was fab! I have seen it before but a long time ago, and I was surprised how much of it I had forgotten. I made some popcorn to take. I love toffee popcorn and wanted to make my own instead of buying it. It took a few goes but I finally got it almost right.... one more try and it'll be perfect I recon!

Sunday, 22 January 2012


I had some money for Christmas/birthday.... so I've been shopping!!

Firstly, last year I had an Amazon voucher for £15. I never got round to spending it, there never seemed to be anything I needed and when I did need something, I forgot about the voucher! Anyway Amazon vouchers are only valid for 1 year so a week before my birthday this year I decided I really needed to spend it. Suddenly, I remembered that Amazon also do sports clothes and I really wanted a long sleeved running top.... duh, I really am a bear of very little brain sometimes!! So I got 2 running tops with my voucher and they're great! They came to £15.35 between them.

They're both really comfy, the black one is nice under my red club running vest for cold cross country races! I like the blue one best though. 

Then, with birthday money I went to Sweatshop and got new running shoes in the sale. I'd been getting calf pain which is what happened last time my running shoes wore out back in March last year. I got Adidas Supernova Sequence 4 in bright yellow! I have a bit of an issue with pink in as much as I won't wear it for sport (other times is fine, but not for sport - too girly!!). So yellow was just fine by me, I love this fluorescent yellow! They were £85 reduced to £52. I did try on others and these were genuinely the best fit and most comfortable. I didn't buy them based solely on colour! It was a happy coincidence that the ones I liked the look of best were also the best fit. 

I also had the full gait analysis and found that my brother and I were right when I did the 'wet foot' test last time I bought shoes, and I do over-pronate mildly. 

Also, someone at club posted on Facebook about a Garmin GPS watch which was half price in the Sweatshop sale, £150 down to £75. The store I was in had sold out so I ordered on line and am now the proud owner of a Garmin forerunner 110. It's the most basic one so doesn't have a heart rate monitor, but I still love it and it's all I could afford being half price, so I'm very happy with it. 

Just gotta remember to switch it off at the end of a run if I want a correct time....!!!

Whilst in the mood for shopping I needed a new sports bra. Mine is great, but I only have one and as I do sport a minimum of 5 times a week I often find myself taking it in the shower with me and handwashing it! I got it from M&S and it's a zip front which is so much easier to get on/off.... I'm quite sure normal sports bras are designed by men - they're just so hard to get into! Anyway, M&S stopped making the one I like so I was looking elsewhere, but then I found M&S have brought out a new version of the one I had from there before! So, with the M&S vouchers I got for my birthday, I bought 2 new ones!

My other bargain purchase, was new walking boots. I always seem to need new boots at this time of year, I just have to make the old ones last until the sales start! This time I got Karrimor KSB's, originally £109 but reduced to £35!! I did toy with the idea of buying 2 pairs at that price and keeping a pair for next year, but in the end I didn't. 

So that sums up my January bargains! (Except for the charity shop bargains... I don't normally shop this much! Honest!!)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Two weeks in.

Two weeks into the new year.

I have run a bit, played some badminton, went back to work, slept a LOT! (my main weekend activity!), walked the dogs, turned forty....

Oh yeah, I was 40 last week!!

Well anyone who has got there before me will know that it's really no big deal. I'm actually fitter, slimmer, healthier and definitely happier at 40 than I was at 35, probably than I was at 30 as well.

I'm definitely a 'low key' kinda birthday girl, luckily Mum appreciates that and resisted my brothers suggestion for a surprise party (I love you Mum!!) and we had a nice, quiet family get together instead.

I did have some fabulous presents though, money and vouchers, stuff I asked for and wanted, and a special gift of salon vouchers to pamper myself which I had thought of but not asked for.... definitely gonna enjoy that one! Just trying to decide what to have! I have spent the money already. I wanted new running shoes and didn't hang about since the sales are still on. I got a nice bright yellow pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence 4 from Sweatshop, £85 reduced to £52. They're really really comfy. I've been out in them once but have rested over the weekend because running in my old dead shoes had made my left calf tighten up, so I thought a few days rest then start again with my new shoes was a good idea. Calf is fine now, so will run tomorrow as usual. I also ordered a Garmin GPS watch! I never thought I'd afford one of these, it's the really basic one, GPS only no heart rate monitor or anything, but at half price (£150 reduced to £75) and with birthday money to spend it brought it into my price range. I'll never afford a fancy one so thought I'd just go for it! If ever I do get a better one, I should get a decent second hand price for it having got it half price in the first place! It should arrive next week sometime.

Tomorrow is niece#1's 19th birthday. She went back to university last Sunday, so my party on Saturday was also her party. We had a joint party as otherwise she wouldn't have had the opportunity, and since everyone was all together anyway it made sense. Can't believe she is 19.... if time carries on disappearing like it is, we'll be celebrating her 40th before we know it!! (That'll make me 61... how depressing!)

So, onwards and upwards.... hang on, I'm officially over the hill now so it's onwards and downwards!! And everyone at running club will confirm how much I hate uphills and love downhills!!

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Today was a lovely new year's day!

I was quite late to bed last night. I have got another cold, so opted to stay home alone as I wasn't feeling good. However as Tarka is scared of fireworks I couldn't go to bed until they had all finished.

So, this morning I slept in really late, didn't wake up until gone 10am! Poor dogs must have been starving! I had a lazy morning just reading or on the internet, then after lunch we all went for a family walk. (me, brother, sis-in-law, sister, 2 x nieces, 2 x nephews and niece#1's boyfriend). I've got a dog from work staying with me for a while so I had 2 dogs too.

As I stepped out the house to go and meet the others, it started to rain!! While we walked it rained heavily and steadily for the whole walk. Luckily I had a complete set of waterproofs in the car... unlike everyone else!!

Once home I had a quick shower and got changed, then met my sister and nephew #1 at the local ice rink to watch a hockey game! Sis and I used to support the local team avidly until about 15 years ago when finances made it impossible for me to keep going, so this was the first game I've been to in a very long time! It was fab.... and to top it all off 'our' team won 5-3!!!

2012 is here!

And may it bring health and happiness to us all!

Happy New Year!!