Autumn/Winter are my absolute favourite seasons. I love Autumn for many reasons but I also love Winter. Here’s why:
Duh! Christmas is my favourite holiday. I even got married at Christmas so I could have a Christmas wedding. I love the excitement of the build up to Christmas, decorating the house and getting that perfect gift for a loved one that you know they’ll just adore. I love that we get time off work so we can spend time with our loved ones. Also the presents! Who doesn’t love getting presents?!
My Birthday is in Winter too. It’s a couple of weeks after Christmas so even when the big day is over, I still have something to look forward to. Sadly though, it’s a long old wait between my Birthday and Christmas rolling round again!
I hate hate hate being too hot! I don’t handle heat well at all. I’m fair skinned and I get hot easily. The sun is not my friend but the cold winter days are! I like being able to layer up and go out on winter walks and when I can’t be bothered doing my hair, I can hide it under a hat! Perfect!
Winter is the time when my slow cooker is at it’s busiest. I make up big batches of stew, soups, chillies and curries to warm our cockles. We also indulge in hot chocolate. Sometimes we’ll get a hot chocolate from Costa Coffee but I also make a pretty good fake Costa version at home too.
As much as I hate dark evenings, I love driving home from work when everyone has their Christmas lights up and it’s all pretty and twinkly!
Do you like Winter? What do you like about winter?
As today is Thanksgiving over the pond I thought I’d do a post about the things and people in my life that I am thankful for.
My parkrun Family
This lovely bunch have provided me with friends, a community and amazing support.
parkrun in general
I never thought I’d run again after 2013 but thanks to parkrun I’ve now got back to running and I can now take part in a free timed 5k run every Saturday at 9am pretty much anywhere in the UK
I’m such a home person. I love being at home. I have a nice home that I love spending time in. My home contains my bed, my favourite place in the world!
Where I Live
I’m lucky to live in such a beautiful part of our country. We have the beach less than a 5 minute walk away. I live in a small town that has nice little shops, coffee shops and quaint gift shops.
Since getting back from my holiday to Brazil my running was going really well.
At the weekend, before last, I’d run/walked Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I started with run 1 minute and walk 1 minute as there was a pacer (my lovely friend Rachel) but as I got to the first turnaround point I was struggling to keep up. It was perhaps a touch too far from the 30 seconds run/1 minute walk. I dropped back to my usual and completed the course that way in a time of 45:47, only 22 seconds off my PB.
On Tuesday I went to Gosport Road Runners and joined my lovely friend Rachel again who was leading the run/walk group. We did 1 minute run and 1 minute walk at a slightly slower pace than parkrun. I kept up and we completed 2.7 miles. I was really pleased and enjoyed the chatty sociable run. I met a couple of people I’d never met before including a chap named Sid who has been a member of Gosport Road Runners for over 30 years. He was a funny guy who had me laughing all the way round and took my mind off the run. Beforehand I had been apprehensive about going as it was after work. I work long hours, I never seem to drink enough and there isn’t the opportunity to have a snack before heading out. Everything that could make a run disastrous. But I did it, and now I know I can do it again!
On Thursday I went to Virtual Spin at the gym with Maria from work. It was a different video to the ones we had done before and there were a couple of sections that were killer! It was good though. I always leave spin feeling like I’ve had a really good workout.
On Saturday I was the Run Director at parkrun. It all went really smoothly with no real incidents so I enjoyed it a lot. That afternoon I did my run. It had been so cold on the seafront and so windy I decided to do 5K on the treadmill. The run went fine. I did 1 minute run and 1 minute walk and it felt fine and at one point I felt really strong and like running was finally clicking in to place. After my run I stretched and then when I removed my trainers I got the dreaded achilles pain I got in August except this time in my right foot instead of my left.
I’m hoping it doesn’t leave me out of action for 4 weeks like last time! I participated in ukrunchat (@ukrunchat on Twitter) on Sunday night and got some sound advice about how to help it so I’ll be doing those exercises and stretches daily to try and help it. I’m gutted to be honest. How am I ever going to make it to ten miles at the Great South Run if I just keep breaking?!
Yesterday was a busy day. We had junior parkrun in the morning then headed straight back to Lee-on-the-Solent to spectate at the Gosport Half Marathon. We had to go such a topsy turvy way due to the road closures, I’m glad Maggie was driving and not me!
The Gosport Half Marathon is always such a good race put on by Gosport Road Runners. I felt like I didn’t know as many people this year, probably because members of GRR aren’t allowed to run the race and that’s where most of my friends are. The beauty of this race is you can manage to spot people 4 times as they do two loops. I saw friends from parkrun, parents from work and Anna.
I came home feeling disheartened. Usually after watching a race I feel motivated and looking forward to my next run but my achilles has just left me feeling low and wondering if this running lark is actually good for you after all!
As you know I’m a big Disney fan and today is Mickey Mouse’ Birthday!
I thought I’d celebrate the day by sharing some of my Mickey pictures!
We had a Mickey and Minnie Mouse wedding cake topper on our wedding cake. We’d discussed getting married at Disney World but knew it’d be too far for our elderly family members. So we just had a touch of Disney.
Taken on our honeymoon. We were at Walt Disney World December 2008-January 2009. This was one of the parades that comes through Magic Kingdom.
Another picture from one of our holidays to Florida. This was one of the shows they do in front of Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom.
Mickey at Disney on Ice. The performances are so good, especially since the skaters are all in large costumes!
This weekend I had a look round The Range to see if I could find anymore Christmas decorations. We’d recently had a catalogue pushed through the letterbox and after a quick flick through I decided it might be worth a visit.
I was a little disappointed when we got there. A lot of the things I’d see in the catalogue simply weren’t there. I don’t know if they just didn’t have them or if they’d sold out. I know a lot of items are out of stock on the website.
As I’ve mentioned before we only have reindeers on our Christmas tree and to be honest there weren’t that many reindeer items there.
However, it wasn’t a complete waste of time as I managed to find these cute tea light holders. I opted for two so I could have one on each side of the fireplace.
I love how the gold antlers provide a little bit of contrast against all the white. They were an absolute steal at only £1.99 too!
How are your Christmas plans coming along? Is it too early to be thinking about it?
Cath Kidston have announced another collaboration with Disney and they’re bringing out more Mickey and Minnie items with the odd dash of Donald and Daisy! I’m really excited for the new launch but a little disheartened after trying to get things twice before and really struggling. This is definitely something Cath Kidston need to work on. Their system grinds to a halt every time there is a new launch of Disney items.
There is a really large selection of items coming out. So I’ve included the first 30 items which is mainly handbags and purses. Handbags are what started my love of Cath Kidston so it felt apt to include these rather than the crockery etc. However if you’d like to see the full selection they’re here (opens in a new window)
The items go on sale on Thursday 16th November at 7pm. You have to be quick though as the items go quick!
Now let’s have a look at the goodies.
Button Spot Patches Buckle Backpack £65 – I love this but I know the buckle would annoy me. Having to get things out of a backpack can be fiddly enough as it is without throwing a buckle in the mix.
Button Spot Patches Cabin Wheeled Suitcase £150
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Foldaway Overnight Bag £55 – I own a couple of Cath Kidston’s foldaway overnight bags. They’re really good and surprisingly roomy!
Mickey & Friends Shoulder Tote £55
Mickey & Friends Curved Continental Wallet £38
Mickey Stripe Leather Backpack £150 – I love Cath Kidston’s leather collection but I’m just not sure about the picture of Mickey on this.
Mickey Stripe Leather Lozenge Bag £100
Mickey Stripe Leather Folded Purse Coin Slot £45
Mickey Stripe Leather Saddle Bag £150
Mickey Stripe Strap £25 – These can be added to any Cath Kidston bag that has the loops for it. Nice way to change the look of your bags
Breton Stripe Applique Tote £30 – This would make a really cute beach bag if you have a holiday planned!
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Round Bag £50
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Patch Slip On Trainer £40
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Embroided Keyring £15 – Personally I feel £15 is a little pricey for a keyring!
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Small Universal Case £24
Mickey & Friends Set of Two Poly Pouches £15
Mickey & Friends Set of Two Poly Pouches £15
Mickey and Minnie Two Way Sequin Pouch £26 – I’m not sure if this is a different picture of each side or if it’s one of those where you run your hand over the sequins and it changes the picture. Either way it’s a cute bag and sparkly so could be good as a little clutch bag on a night out.
Mickey & Friends Button Spot Multi Pocket Backpack £60 – I love this. The original spot design is my favourite
Mickey & Friends Button Spot Tab Saddle Bag £45
Mickey & Friends Button Spot Foldaway Shopper £10
Mickey & Minnie Bouquet Shopper £45
Mickey and Guards Open Carryall with Strap £32 – I love this too! I have the original Guards bag and it’s cute that they added Mickey to it
Mickey & Minnie Bouquet 13inch Laptop Sleeve £28
Mickey & Friends Button Spot Foldaway Backpack £38 – I really like this but find the foldaway backpacks too thin. I’m always scared my things will bust through it!
Mickey & Friends Button Spot Large Foldaway Tote £25
Mickey & Friends Button Spot Framed Washbag With Ears £25 – This is very cute! The ears really add to it
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Zip Makeup Bag £16
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Zip Cosmetic Bag £18
Mickey & Minnie Little Patches Lanyard £4.50 – Cath Kidston do a nice selection of lanyards. I’m glad they’ve added a Disney one in to the mix.
Remember these items all go on sale on Thursday 16th November! Be sure to have a look at the website and decide what you want before hand so when it’s time you’re ready to buy!
October felt like the month of illness. I had a cold and bad throat then started to get better, had the flu jab and got worse all over again!
October started with a visit to Sprinkles in Southampton and as a result, another ride on the Southampton Wheel! We went on it just as the sun was setting so it made for some lovely photographs.
October 7th was parkruns 13th Birthday. They’d asked people to post photographs of them in their apricot t-shirts so they could try and get a picture of every parkrun location. So here is me and my parkrun family celebrating parkruns 13th Birthday and also Kieran’s 50th parkrun and 25th time volunteering! Also worth mentioning we didn’t know the lady with the dog, we just grabbed her for a photo because she was wearing an apricot t-shirt! I think she thought we were a bit crazy!
I’ve been enjoying my spin classes at the gym I’ve joined. It’s such a good workout and really makes me sweat. I took a picture of the screen at the end of the class. Just look at that calorie burn!
The famous wave pattern on the pavement at Copacabana Beach
In October I worked really hard to have a blog post every other day to take me in to November so I didn’t have to worry about blogging whilst I was away. If you didn’t see one, or want to revisit a post, they’re listed below and all open in a new window:
I’ve just got back from a holiday to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. We stayed for a week and did the usual tourist thing as well as having some down time.
We left Heathrow at lunch time and arrived in Brazil at our hotel just before 11 Brazilian time. There was three hours, then two hours time difference after the clocks changed. We stayed at the Windsor Excelsior Hotel right on Copacabana Beach. We dropped our suitcases off in our room and headed straight up to the rooftop bar.
View from the rooftop bar
On our first day we explored the area a little by going on to the beach and for a walk along the prom. Is it called a prom over there? Anyway, it was busy down there. On a Sunday they close the road so people can walk, ride bikes and jog traffic free, there are street entertainers and musicians playing. It has a party feel.
The famous wave pattern on the pavement at Copacabana Beach
Our second day we had some down time and lounged around the pool. Whilst I was away I managed to get through a couple of books which felt like a bit of a luxury as reading is something I really have to try and make time for.
The rooftop pool
When we’d arrived at the hotel they’d given us a leaflet with various trips you could book on to. We booked on to a Jeep Tour of the Tijuca Rainforest. We had an awesome tour guide who spoke impeccable English! We drove up and up in to the forest, part of which made up the Olympic cycling route when the Olympics were hosted by Rio in 2016. The higher we climbed, the colder and mistier it got. We made a couple of stops including at this beautiful waterfall called Cascatinha Taunay. It is named after Nicolas-Antoine Taunay who discovered it. It stands 35 metres high! You can see how misty it was in the top of the photograph.
We also got to go on a short hike through the forest which was really nice. We heard Capuchin monkeys calling above us as we walked through but sadly didn’t manage to spot any.
The next day we went for a run along the beach. Running in Brazil, even at 7.30 in the morning is very hot! I’d not taken any water with me, or money to purchase any, so we stopped just after a mile. In the afternoon we went for a walk around Rio De Janeiro centre and then over to the local shopping centre. They had some amazing shops, as well as some pretty crazy ones!
The next day was our last full day in Brazil and we’d booked on a tour to take us to Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain. When we got to Christ the Redeemer it felt like the whole of Brazil had turned out. You were literally stood shoulder to shoulder with people. It was packed with people trying to use selfie sticks and laying on the floor to take selfies. It was crazy. There were some spectacular views from the top.
Afterwards we headed over to Sugar Loaf Mountain. It was equally as busy there but thankfully there was a lot more space so the only place you were up close and personal with people was in the cable cars going up. Oddly we saw our tour guide from the forest tour at the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, literally the whole of Brazil and we manage to see him again! Below is the view of Sugar Loaf Mountain and a cable car travelling up to the top. Apparently this featured in a James Bond film.
Whilst up on the mountain we saw signs telling us not to feed the monkeys. I kept my eyes peeled but didn’t spot any here either! I think a trip to Monkey World might be in order!
Have you ever been to Brazil? What sights did you go to see?
It’s a shame I don’t have any photographs to go alongside this post but growing up my family just didn’t take many pictures. However, we always had a Bonfire Night party and they were awesome.
My mum would have the oven on with potatoes slowly baking. The aroma would fill the whole house and I’d impatiently wait for it to get dark and our guests to arrive. We’d have hotdogs, potatoes with beans or chilli and bonfire toffee a plenty.
My Dad would have been prepping the bonfire for a couple of days before, burning whatever pieces of wood he had left from his woodwork projects. A few days before my Dad and I would have walked to the firework shop a couple of miles away from my house. We didn’t have a car back then so we pretty much walked everywhere. It felt like it took forever and my Dad walked so quick I’d have to do a little quick step to keep up with him. For every step he took I had to take three.
We’d also have the nightmare of coaxing my two cats in to their safe place of the cellar. The cellar sounds awful but it was more like a workshop as my Dad did his woodwork down there. Please, if you have pets, make sure they’re safe on Bonfire Night.
On the night there’d be the nip in the air and everyone would be bundled up in their winter warmers. My Auntie and Uncle were regular guests along with my best friend and her parents and some of my parents friends. We’d have music on and my Dad would be in charge of stoking the fire and setting off the fireworks, only once getting caught out by a rogue firework and nearly joining it screaming way up in to the sky!!
I’d always go to bed late that night, tired, full of yummy food and with a smell of smoke in my hair.
Do you go to Bonfire parties? Have you ever hosted your own?
I hope you enjoyed my post October Memories Through The Years last month. I’ve decided to make this a regular feature of my blog so without further ado, here are my November Memories Through the Years.
On 21st November 2005 I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a BA Honors in Early Childhood Studies. Random fact about my graduation…Malorie Blackman, the children’s/Young Adult author was given an Honorary Doctorate at my Graduation ceremony.
As the weather turns more wintery in the North, snow comes early. Here’s a picture of the heavy snowfall we had in Sheffield. I took a picture of the tree to show just how much had stuck to it. If there was that much on the tree, you can imagine how much was on the floor! Knee high snow is something I don’t miss since moving to the South.
Not going to lie, I’m a huge Disney fan and going to see Disney on Ice was something I always looked forward to. I think I went 4 years in a row. Two years we were front row and I managed to get a decent picture of Minnie and Mickey. It’s hard to get pictures as they’re constantly moving so everything comes out a blur!
November 2014 gets two pictures. The first, as we were still living in the North we were enjoying walks planned by Activity Sheffield. We met so many different people and got to explore some new parts of Sheffield we were yet to discover evening after living there for over 30 years! Below is a picture of Rivelin Valley. I absolutely love the lighting in this picture. There’s no filter here, just lovely Autumn sunshine.
However, November 2014 was the start of us moving to the South and we went to explore the area. Below is my first glimpse of Lee-on-the-Solent where I’m now happily settled.
Our first Christmas in the South and I’m afraid I’m that person that has their tree up by the end of November. We had a real 9ft Christmas tree.
So there you have it, my favourite November memories. Here’s hoping I make new memories this November