Please tell me it’s not just me that thinks November has passed in the blink of an eye? And now here we are approaching December and Christmas at break neck speed!! So, before November completely disappears here’s what I got up to.
Christmas cups arrived at Costa! I love these, the Christmas cups are designed to look like Christmas jumpers. It’s like your cup has a Christmas jumper on to keep your coffee/hot chocolate warm. So far I’ve tried the Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate and the Mint Hot Chocolate. Has to be said both taste divine. I’ve not actually tried any of the coffees yet but believe me, it won’t be long!
On November 5th I went to a baby shower. I’ve never been to a baby shower before but it was so much fun. It was all planned for them by another good friend and she did fun games, a quiz and arranged a stunning venue which is where this picture was taken. We went to The Vintage Tea Room in Fareham. I’d never been there before and it was so lovely. We had sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, then the most delicious slices of cake. I’d definitely visit again.
I went in to Southampton and did some shopping in November. I went to John Lewis in West Quay to look at the Buster’s Garden range and bought these two cuties. Well you all know I have an obsession with foxes. There’s more about these guys coming in my Christmas Haul posts. They start on December 1st so be sure to check them out.
It wouldn’t be my blog or a monthly roundup with out a picture of the Solent now would it? I still sometimes look at this view literally a two minute walk from my front door and think “Wow, I live here!” It still doesn’t feel real sometimes but here we are heading towards our second Christmas here.
Finally, whilst visiting a local garden centre they had reindeer! They were so lovely and you were able to stroke them and hand feed them. Naturally I had a go at feeding one. It felt very magical to be hand feeding one of Santa’s Reindeer 😉
My November in blog posts:
If you missed any of my blog posts in November here they are for you:
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the blog before but I love athletics. You’ve probably guessed I have an interest based on some of my blog posts.
Recently I read Greg Rutherford’s autobiography and thought I’d introduce something new to the blog, book reviews!
Image courtesy of Amazon
In case you don’t know, Greg Rutherford is a Long Jumper. He’s got quite a list of achievements to his name too. He is the Olympic Champion (2012), World Champion (2015), European Champion (2014 & 2016) and Commonwealth Champion (2014). In other words, he’s pretty good at what he does!
Greg’s book starts by telling you about his childhood. I’m not going to spoil it for you but his childhood is not what you expect and I think that’s partly where the title Unexpected comes from. Basically he had it tough, really tough in fact.
Then it moves on to tell you how he tries different sports before finally settling with the Long Jump. Greg wasn’t one of those kids that knew what he wanted to train for from a young age so was jumping in to sand pits from age 3 and it went from there. He actually tried out a few sports. He’s a great sprinter and I for one would love to see him compete in a sprinting race at competition level.
Then come all the major competitions that Greg has taken part in. I watched pretty much every one he talked about on the TV. Now, Greg is plagued by injury, and I mean plagued. He really suffers, but you’d never know. When you watch him on the TV he gives nothing away at all. He gets his game face on and that’s all you see so I was surprised reading some of the background to the competitions just how injured he was whilst still managing to pull some pretty enormous jumps out of the bag (or the sand pit!)
Finally it ends with his bitter disappointment over getting a Bronze in Rio. However, when you read the background to his experience at Rio, oh boy did he earn that Bronze. I know he was disappointed but it’s still a medal in my eyes.
Greg’s book is brilliant. At no point did I become bored of what he was saying. So if you’re an athletics fan I recommend this book to you, and if you’ve just become a fan of Greg dressed in sparkles and whirling around a dance floor, there’s more to Greg then meets the eye so I definitely recommend this book to you!
I read a lovely blog post here on modernmrsdarcy about how to help kids love to read. I always loved reading as a child and still do now, although more time to read would always be a nice thing!
As a keen reader from childhood and a Nursery Nurse it’s fair to say I’ve read a lot of children’s books! So I thought I’d write a little guide to some of my all time favourite children’s books.
All images courtesy of Amazon
I had to start with this book. I’ve owned Five Minutes Peace since I was 3 years old and I still have my dog-eared copy now. It’s been through some transitions with me from my Mum having to read it to me, to me learning to read it myself, to me reading it to children whilst doing my Nursery Nurse training. It’s a fun story of Mrs Large (pictured) trying to get Five Minutes Peace from her children but they keep coming in and disturbing her.
Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? is another book that I’ve owned since childhood and still have my original copy and again it’s been through the same life transitions as Five Minutes Peace. Little Bear is scared of the dark so Big Bear brings him lanterns but they still don’t get rid of the dark all around outside. This book is one I enjoyed from being a little older around 5-7.
The Sneetches is a great story but what I’m going to tell you about is a story inside it called Too many Daves. Dr Seuss is a must on any child’s bookcase and Too Many Daves is the ultimate for me. When I read this story to children they laugh out loud. It has that marvellous language Dr Seuss uses and has a plethora of funny names in it that will make children belly laugh and the name Soggy Muff might even raise a smile from adults 😉
Judith Kerr writes the most beautiful children’s books and she illustrates them herself too. The Tiger Who Came To Tea is just so olde worlde and is magical. I love how they buy Tiger Food from the supermarket at the end like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
Mog The Forgetful Cat or any Mog book for that matter is a must read to children. Mog is a forgetful cat who gets in to bother but everyone is happy when she saves the day.
I’ve only discovered Grumpy Cat quite recently but it is such a sweet story. Grumpy Cat isn’t really grumpy, he’s just lonely but he doesn’t know how to approach the other cats. Then along comes Kitten who saves him from a life of loneliness.
Firstly I want to start this post with a big thank you to my parkrun family. When I messaged you all I only expected one or two to answer but actually so many of you answered. I’m absolutely overwhelmed by you all wanting to help out. So Thank You and on with the blog post.
On Sunday I marshalled at the Gosport Half Marathon. I was stationed in Lee-on-Solent where I live so it was really easy for me to walk to my marshalling point.
I had such a good morning. Where I was stood was mile 2, but as this was a two lap course it then became mile 6-7 meaning I got to cheer on my parkrun family and all the other runners not once but twice. In fact I got to cheer some on three times as where I was the runners then ran on, looped back and passed again behind us before starting their second loop and I was able to nip there before the front runners came back on their second loop.
The race was won by Jonathon Roberts of Southampton AC in a time of 1:09:40 which was a new course record! The female winner was Ellie Monks from Southampton in a time of 1:21:36. Given the weather these times are awesome!
Storm Angus blew through Gosport on Saturday night with really heavy rain and winds of 45mph so there was talk of the race being cancelled. However the weather fairy must have been smiling down as the rain stopped in plenty of time and the winds died down as each hour passed by.
The finishers bags are also pretty good. They included a Twix, Go Crispy slices, Capri Sun, bag of crisps, a banana, homemade cake, a voucher for 15% off at Absolute Running in Gosport and a material bag with the Gosport Half Marathon logo on.
There was also a Gosport Half Fun Run which was 1.2km.
Have you ever thought of running the Gosport Half Marathon? Here’s what some of the runners told me about the race.
Victoria W finished in 2:17:59
Had an amazing run at Gosport Half today. No PB however it was tough with that wind. With my mini supporters on route ready with free high fives and all the other supporters and marshals it made the run more enjoyable and just about doable. The views amazing once again, very lucky to have an amazing fantastic race on our door step very well organised. Cant say no to it 4th Gosport Half completed and sure I’ll be back again in 2017.
Jade L finished in 2:06:03
Gosport Half has the most amazing atmosphere. The support from the volunteers and the local community was incredible and helped me break my target goal
Louise T finished in 2:09:58
I loved the race today – despite the wind I had a fantastic time. Route was lovely and support was incredible the whole way round.
Louise on the left
Lara B finished in 2:17:59
My second year at the Gosport Half Marathon and once again a brilliant event with fantastic marshals and support from the locals. Conditions were a little challenging this year but still didn’t stop us all enjoying a fab run! Thanks to everyone who turned up today and cheered us on
Victoria on the left Lara on the right
Penny N finished in 2:36:04
A well organised race that was just like a giant park run with lots of the usual park run marshals encouraging us around.
Amy W finished in 2:17:31
Gosport Half was very well organised by Gosport Road Runners and the local community. If it wasn’t for the road runners I probably would not of got my PB today.
There was no need for headphones as the samba band was brilliant and people playing music from their cars from Lee beach front
The goodie bag was pretty good and was so glad about the cake after battling the wind. Loved every minute of it.
Paul A finished in 1:42:32
Gosport Half Marathon is a “must do” local race for me, even from being a visitor to the area and not a local! Today the wind made it a challenge but fabulous encouragement from the numerous marshals, friends and family certainly helped. The 2 laps and seeing runners coming the other way allows lots of waves and hellos with running friends too. I even managed a high 5 with my son and LOTS parkrun mini marshal Pearson, before he chased me and photo-bombed me Plentiful water stations and entertainment help quick times on a mostly fast flat course, lean into the wind 1 way then float and be pushed the other. Personally a sore knee and calf meant I slowed over the last 3 or 4 miles so I can’t complain with a 1hr 42m time (although I do!)
Louise B finished in 2:29:53
I had a brilliant run at the Gosport Half Marathon, mostly thanks to everybody, both marshals and spectators, who stood out in some challenging conditions to ensure that us runners were properly motivated to get our arses around the course! As a result I took 20 minutes off my previous HM time and am still smiling the day after
So there you have it, if you’re looking for a half marathon somewhere in the South you really can’t go wrong with the Gosport Half.
There’s a race review coming up from one of the runners too. Look out for it!
It’s almost time for the next part of the Cath Kidston X Disney collaboration. This is the one I’ve been waiting for as it features Minnie & Mickey! An email was sent out last week with a sneek peak and I thought I’d show you my favourites.
Mickey and Minnie cardigan and Minnie Polka Dot dress
These are so cute. I love the cardigan with Mickey and Minnie featured on the pockets. It’s not overly Disney or Cath Kidston so if you just want a pop of Disney then this is the cardigan for you. The dress however is the opposite, it’s so Cath Kidston and has a large Minnie face on the front. It’s a classic style and won’t go out on fashion.
Red polka dot Mickey Book Bag and Red polka dot Mickey and Minnie Shoulder bag
The polka dot bags for me are a must have. I love the polka dot print Cath Kidston do and it’s probably the print I own the most of in a variety of bags and colours! So to team this with Mickey and Minnie is perfection to me.
Cath Kids Mickey Mouse Bag
I know this is part of the kids range but I seriously don’t know if I’m going to be able to resist this little beauty! Just look at it! It’s adorable.
The online pre-sale starts on December 2nd at 8pm and the collection is available in stores from December 3rd.
I enjoy spending some of my free time reading blogs. I tend to read a range of different blogs. Like most people I have my favourite bloggers and the other day as I read one blog I thought to myself “Oooh if I could just spend an hour with them…” and then it got me thinking. In no particular order here are the bloggers I’d like to spend an hour with and why.
I first came across Danielle’s blog around a year ago when she was linked to by another blogger. Danielle is a plus size blogger with a truly unique style. I’d love to spend an hour with her and have her style me. She picks out amazing pieces and teams them with other gorgeous items to end up with a fantastic outfit. I just don’t have an eye for fashion like that so I’d love to see what she’d do with me. Danielle is also found on most social media platforms but her snapchat is absolutely brilliant. She parties hard, shows you her outfits and her battle with a neighbours cat!
If you haven’t heard of Lydia Millen before she is a blogging superstar. Her blog is full of beautiful images of her home, outfits and cat Lumi. She has such a sharp sense of style, I keep finding myself using the mantra “Would Lydia wear this?” I’d love to spend an hour with her because I’d be intrigued to see how she’d transfer her sharp sense of style over to a plus size girl. I’d also ask her to teach me photography! Maybe we’d need two hours.
Corinne runs a trio of blogs that range from fitness to blogging tips and this is where I would spend my hour with Corinne. I’d ask her to sit with me and help me sort my blog, get me everything I need to have a fully functioning self hosted blog. I’d ask her to explain SEO and all those other complicated parts of blogging that newbies just don’t know about.
I’ve read Anna’s blog for the longest time. When we moved to Hampshire I started recognising places Anna mentioned on her blog and it turns out she’s local to me. I’ve met her a couple times at parkrun and she is as nice as pie! Anna’s blog is a mix of her running, food adventures and awesome gym selfies. If I had an hour with Anna I’d ask her to work me out a kick ass gym routine like hers so I can get myself sorted…but we’d do it over cake of course haha!
Which of your favourite bloggers would you like to spend an hour with?
Blogging about why Autumn is the best season is a bit of a blogging cliché isn’t it. However I genuinely do love Autumn…and Winter. I prefer the colder months, maybe because I was born in Winter? Who knows but it’s definitely my favourite time of year and here’s why:
The crisp cold weather and changing colours
It’s the first glimpse of things to come. You feel that little bite in the air and can start layering up clothes. Everything looks pretty as it starts to change colour. I love walking in the woods in this weather crunching through the leaves, or now, going for walks along the beach. You can finally get out and about and not have to worry about sun cream and coming back a hot sweaty mess! What’s not to like?!
The Coffee shops up their game
Coffee shops really up their game in Autumn starting with Starbucks. I’m a Costa girl through and through but for those couple of weeks that Pumpkin Spiced Lattes come out I switch allegiance (but only for those few weeks) They also change their cups and then the Christmas ranges start. I’m not going to comment on that just now though as that’s a whole other post.
The warming food
Autumn is the perfect time to make use of your slow cooker to make casseroles, stews, soups and chillis. All those warming foods and you can actually make them pretty healthy too if you add lots of veggies and butternut squash! Then when you’ve eaten all the veggies, you can drink more hot chocolate! Autumn is great because you can drink hot chocolate guilt free because hey, you’re just using it to warm up right?!
It’s the start of the celebrations
Halloween, Bonfire Night, Black Friday hey we don’t celebrate it but I’ll take the sales it brings any day and then the lead up to Christmas, it’s just the best time and the decorations are fun.
Last Saturday as we uploaded the parkrun results my friend informed me she had signed up to a Unicorn race. I was intrigued and then she told me the medal was a unicorn medal and I was definitely wanting to find out more.
She went on to tell me it was a race hosted by Virtual Runner UK. I’ve used Virtual Runner before when I actually used to run and their medals are awesome and well priced. I decided to look in to it and you have to run or walk 10km throughout January. The beauty of it is, you can make that 10km up through as many separate runs or walks as you like just so long as its completed before January ends.
So I signed up. I can walk this (or run parts of it) and it’s throughout January, the typical lets-get-fit-and-healthy month so it will help with that, as like the rest of the nation I fall in to this trap every year.
When I looked the race up again to write this post I saw that a picture of the medal has been released and it’s pretty awesome!
Image courtesy of Virtual Runner UK
Fancy signing up too? Or to one of their other races then just visit Virtual Runner UK and sign up!
My October roundup is going to feel sparse. I feel like October passed me by in a blur and now here I find myself in November already!
October started whilst we were still in Wales but it was soon back to business and back to work. We had our Christmas meeting where we decide what sort of things we’ll be making with the children over the festive period. We had the meeting in Costa (yes!) and I had a scrummy Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate. If you’ve not tried this, its a must!
I was ill with a terrible cold and chest infection in October too, I still don’t feel completely over it if I’m honest but Costa is always guaranteed to cheer me up. It’s beginning to look like my October is sponsored by Costa!
I went shopping with a work friend in October in Portsmouth. We were looking for the Disney Primark hats for us both and another work colleague. Absolutely gutted to say we couldn’t find them (and still can’t) but it’s cute right?
Speaking of cute, we went for a coffee. We tried Starbucks but their coffee machines weren’t working (??) and then went to Costa which was absolutely rammed. I’m guessing because of Starbucks being a no go so we went to Debenhams coffee shop where we had cute Gingerbread Lattes with a little chocolate Gingerbread man in the top! So cute and a fraction of the price.
October ended with me going to the Great South Run with one of my volunteering friends from parkrun. So many of our parkrun runners were participating in the race so we went along to cheer them up and hand out jelly babies. I made this sign and posted it on social media so they knew where and how to spot us.
It was so much fun and we managed to spot so many of our parkrunners but it was difficult as there were so many runners. I’ve never been to a race like it but it was a fantastic atmosphere and I saw one of my favourite athletes Tirunesh Dibaba who won the women’s race. Afterwards I watched it back on TV and managed to spot myself taking this picture of her!
Not the greatest photo but you can see it’s her. Such an amazing athlete.
I think that’s it for my October roundup. Below are my other October posts, have a read if you missed them first time round.