Today is World Mental Health Day. I am so lucky that I don’t suffer too terribly with my own Mental Health, however, I have close friends who really do.
I have days where I might feel a bit down or fed up but on the whole I’m naturally quite a bubbly happy person. I feel like because I’m naturally quite bubbly, I find it quite easy to see when I’m feeling down and that then in turn makes it easier for me to put a stop to it.
Being outside really helps me. If I’m feeling a bit low then going for a walk or run helps me feel better. It gives me a chance to think things through but also provides a good level of distraction too. I always recommend to my friends who struggle to try getting out and just see if it helps, because it helps me so much.
Music also really helps me. Listening to one of my favourite songs and having a little bop around the living room can really lift my spirits. Music means a lot to me and I find songs remind me of people and memories so having songs that link to happy memories also really helps.
Today is International Coffee Day! So, I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to my favourite drink.
I love a good cup of coffee and going for a coffee with a friend is one of my favourite things to do.
Usually when I go out for a coffee I’ll order a latte. However, that’s not to say I don’t like other types! When I’m trying to be really good with eating well I’ll order an Americano, or if I fancy a bit more of a caffeine hit than a latte provides I’ll order a Flat White.
I love to go for a coffee to see how places do coffee. Some simply use a machine but I love it when they use beans from a local company e.g. The Pump House in Gosport uses coffee from a Winchester company.
I never tire of coffee, it’s my go to drink, and as you can see I like to take pictures of it too.
My favourite High Street coffee chain is Costa coffee. I prefer their coffee and the general feel of them. However, in September, I do switch allegiance to Starbucks due to the mighty Pumpkin Spiced Latte.
Lets not forget that coffee doesn’t just come served hot! I love an iced coffee and don’t just reserve these for the Summer. Starbucks definitely serve the best choice of iced coffees.
Most of my blog posts are about my workouts or runs. My blog is almost a diary of them, however, I wanted to document a lovely day I had, just for the memories really.
I don’t work Fridays so I got up early and completed two of the Transform:20 workouts from the Beachbody subscription I have. If you’ve not heard of Beachbody, I did a post about it HERE
Afterwards I went and got ready because I was going out for breakfast with Nicky, a friend from work and her partner Kieran. It was Nicky’s Birthday the following day so I took along her present with me. She’s a big Panda bear fan so I bought her a soft and cosy blanket covered in Pandas!
We went for breakfast at The Tenth Hole, which is a tea room in Southsea. Despite weighing up the options for breakfast, we all decided to order the Billy’s Breakfast Burger.
Afterwards I had a slice of the Mint Aero cheesecake…but actually forgot to take a picture! Oops! I also took home a slice of Red Velvet Rocky Road for the Husband and I to have that evening. It was lovely just being in good company and having a natter about anything and everything.
After the dropped me off home I met up with Maria and we went and grabbed a coffee at Leon’s on the seafront. However, there was a plague of Cabbage Flea Beetles. They were everywhere jumping all over the table and us so we decided to move on and go for a walk. The bugs weren’t as bad walking along at least but they were definitely still a pain. We actually ended up walking about 4 miles as we chatted and caught up on life.
I got back home around 5pm, still full from breakfast and worn out! It was a really lovely day though with incredible company.
I tell lots of people about parkrun. Usually it’s work colleagues who are intrigued by me going every week. Quite often they say “Oh I’d like to do something like that, I can’t run though” to which I always reply “You can walk it if you want, if you ever fancy going, I’d be happy to walk it with you” I never nag them to come to parkrun, I never force them to say yes just to shut me up. Lots of people have said they’ll come to parkrun, they register, chat about it, make all the arrangements to come and then Saturday morning they text with whatever their reason not to come is.
You can see where this is leading, on Saturday 17th August, a work colleague was supposed to be joining me. Again, I didn’t nag them or force them, in fact, they asked me. Anyway Saturday morning my phone beeped with the text that, to be honest, I was expecting. I was a bit annoyed though as the day before I’d run 2 miles non stop as our plan was to walk with maybe a little bit of running on the Saturday. Now I would have to still run walk to as not to aggravate my injury but if I’d have known they were going to pull out, I wouldn’t have run on the Friday.
Anyway, I set off with the plan on running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute. It felt so hard. I haven’t been running as much as I should lately and I had been for a run the day before. It was breezy yet muggy. Surprisingly though, even though it felt difficult my splits weren’t actually that different. I felt like I was getting progressively slower, yet miles 2 and 3 were exactly the same.
Maria had waited for me and ran the last bit with me. She actually commented on how fast my sprint finish was! Watch out Bolt! haha
My mum was coming down at some point on Saturday morning to go and view more flats. We didn’t know what time she’d get here. When I got in from parkrun I grabbed breakfast then went for a bath. I commented to my husband “I can guarantee I’ll get in the bath and she’ll arrive” Just as I got in the bath the doorbell rang!
We went to view 3 flats all in Gosport. Each flat got progressively better and I think she’s found the one! We went to look round the last flat and to help her get her bearings I took her the very short walk to Gosport waterfront which looks out over Portsmouth Harbour. She was pretty impressed by the view, and in the picture below, you can see why.
That evening my husband and I had dinner booked at the café we use after parkrun. We booked it way back in March as they sell it so quickly and I couldn’t remember for the life of me which options I’d selected from the menu. So, each course was a nice surprise. I had garlic mushrooms on a crisp bread, vegetable lasagne with a side of seasonal vegetables and orange sponge cake with orange sauce and custard. It was absolutely delicious but the pair of us left feeling stuffed! We enjoyed it so much though we booked straight on to the next available one…April 2020!
Do people ever let you down over parkrun?
Have you ever had to book so far in advance to eat somewhere?
If you’re not familiar with my calf injury then you can read my previous post about it >here<
On Friday I went back to the physio to update her on how my leg has been. It’s improved so much. No pain whilst running and no tightness of my calf the next day. I’ve continually done the exercises and stretches she set me.
So I was very pleased when on Friday she said I could begin to build up my running again. She suggested going up 10% after doing two pain free runs.
She also said I can go back to Zumba, which I was very pleased about, but suggested I find a way to spread my workouts out through the week rather than having them all clumped together at the end of the week and weekend.
I still have to continue my exercises and stretches but I can ease them off to every other day now rather than daily. I’m really pleased to get going again but equally anxious that it’ll flare up again once I start running again. Wish me luck!
I had a good chat with a friend this week about weight loss. She’s followed the Slimming World plan in the past and is now trying calorie counting. She said she finds it easier to lose weight in the Summer but I actually feel like I’m the other way round.
In Winter I tend to make lots of soups, chillies, casseroles and curries. I make them from scratch and cook them up in the slow cooker. I use them for meals and my lunches at work. These type of foods are my absolute favourite. I know some people go in to a hibernation mode in the Winter but these meals don’t have to be bad if they’re made from scratch. I usually make them chicken, quorn chicken or very lean beef based. Scrumptious, filling and easy on the calories! Perfect! However in the Summer I don’t want to cook as it’s so hot. And despite having healthy food in the house, I find myself making poor food choices.
I also find exercise a lot easier in the Winter. I don’t cope well in the heat and so I’m much more inclined to exercise when the weather is cooler. My exercise is actually pretty regimented in the Winter but in the Summer it tends to fall apart a little as I find every excuse under the sun (pardon the pun) not to exercise.
I’m just definitely a Winter person, this may come from being a January baby but I’m’ never happier than when it’s Winter!
We all have our favourite bits of running kit so I thought I’d do a post about some of the things I can not run without.
parkrun barcode band
On every run I wear my parkrun wristband. As you can see in the picture it has your ICE (In case of emergency) details on as well as any allergy information. Whilst I don’t have any allergies, I wear my band just in case anything should happen. At least that way if someone found me, they’d be able to contact my husband.
I also always wear my FlipBelt which I bought at the National Running Show earlier this year. I chose the reflective design to give me that extra bit of “being seen” on dark night/morning runs. I honestly don’t even notice I’m wearing it. I put in my phone, as well as my keys on to the key loop which gives me extra security.
These have been an absolute godsend! I know they seem to be a bit of a craze at the moment and everyone has a pair but they’re really that good. They have a special coating on the frames which prevents them from slipping. At first I was dubious, I sweat a lot, I thought they were bound to slip. I was pleasantly surprised to find they don’t budge.
I only run in Hokas. They’re my go to trainer brand. The soles are like pillows. They give amazing cushioning and support. I know some people don’t like them, but I love them!
Do you have go to running items?
Do you tend to stick to the same brand of trainers?
Way back in 2016 I wrote a blog post called Fantastic Mr Foxabout the foxes in my garden. We still have a regular fox in our garden every day. So I thought I’d do an update of some pictures.
At the moment the fox is there when we wake up in a morning and tends to slope off around 8 or 9pm. He spends pretty much most of the day asleep. He usually sleeps on the grass but has been known to sleep in other places.
It’s pretty much always the same fox in our garden at the minute. He’s distinctive by his tail. It looks like he’s been in some scrapes and this shows on his tail. He recently had a fight with a badger. I’ve honestly never seen or heard anything like it!
He never really bothers chasing the many birds we have in our garden. The other day he was laying fast asleep and received a nasty peck from a Magpie! He jumped up immediately, but when the Magpie flew away, he just laid back down and went back to sleep.
We never put food out for the fox. I think living where we live, food is probably in plentiful supply. There are lots of food outlets nearby where he can probably feast if he gets in the bins, and I dare say he does.
We’re really lucky that, even though he pretty much lives here, he doesn’t leave us any “packages” in the grass! I don’t know if they try to keep their area tidy perhaps? Either way, I’d like him to keep this up!
He is both timid and brave. There’s times where he’ll jump up and run away if he sees us move in the house, but there’s other times where he’ll come right up to the patio door and have a look inside, which then allows me to take pictures like this!
He’s quite a character and I’m thankful he’s pretty well behaved whilst he’s here.
It’s all over the media, everywhere we look, how our oceans are being destroyed by our use of plastic.
I saw something the other day that said it’s not about making the odd big change, it’s about making small changes consistently.
Recently I also watched the first part of a BBC series called War on Plastic with Hugh & Anita which focused on single use plastic in the home. It’s pretty shocking seeing how much we have.
I’ve been making some small changes lately so I thought I’d write about them here as it is something I’m becoming increasingly passionate about.
I’m guilty of buying bottled water. I think we probably all are. We always have 2l bottles of water in the fridge. After watching War on Plastic (which spoke about bottled water) bottled water is now no more in our house. Instead we have bought a water dispenser for the fridge so we always have cold water, which I’m sorry to say is the main reason we buy bottled water.
One thing that’s really been brought to our attention in the media is the use of plastic straws. I have to hold my hands up and admit, I am not a fan of paper straws. They go soggy which just feels weird in your mouth, and turn to mush when you have them in a cold drink for a while. So I’ve bought us a set of metal straws. We got 6 so can keep some in the car and some on me for when I’m out and about.
Another change I’ve made is always having cloth bags on me. I keep some in the car for when I’m out and about and have some in the house for when I walk round to the shops. This means I’m not using carrier bags. I’ve really made the conscious effort to remember to take them out with me every time I go to the shops. I’m also saving money as I’m not buying 5p and 10p bags. The advantage of cloth bags is I can also just pop them in the wash when they need a bit of a spruce up!
Trigger Spray Bottles
Before each time I ran out of something in a spray bottle I’d simply buy a new one. However, where I can I’ve now started buying the refill pouches so what was supposed to be a single use plastic is now a multiple use.
How are you making changes to be more eco friendly?
June marks a year since I got my groin injury that was to last for 6 months. I was taking part in a parkrun, simply plodding along, when I got a pain in my groin. I still to this day don’t know what I did. I didn’t land hard or twist or anything like that. It just hurt. I then went on to run a race the next week and just made it ten times worse.
I was in denial thinking a couple of days rest would see it right itself. It didn’t. It affected everything. It made my job harder, I couldn’t exercise. I really just ended up in a bit of a funk. I spent so much money on physio. She did lots of massage and some sort of infra red technology but none of it worked and in the end she told me just to completely rest it. I couldn’t even cross train. To be honest I could barely walk. So I did as she said. I completely rested for what felt like months. In reality it took until the end of August to be able to walk pain free. It was the end of September before I attempted a walking parkrun, and it was mid October before I began to walk/run. My very first walk/run was a 30 second run and a 4 and a half minute walk. This is how the physio advised me to return when I was able to. When I had done three, pain free, then I could up it by 30 seconds.
I walk/ran until the beginning of December when I ran 4.6 miles without stopping. From January 2019 I’ve just worked on upping my distances slowly slowly.
So I have no idea what caused the injury but the only thing that fixed it was completely stopping everything. It’s, thankfully, gone now. I get the occasional odd twinge from it which is absolutely terrifying. I’m so scared it could come back. However, when I get a twinge, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes I get it when I haven’t done anything all day, sometimes I get it when I’ve done a 4 mile run.
I’ve completely eased back on my running. I only run twice a week now with a Zumba class. I haven’t do intervals since the injury and I’ve only done one spin class because, although I don’t know what caused it, these are things I was doing before the injury.
I now have a much more relaxed approach to running. I never set out to run a time. I always tell myself if I want to stop or turn back early I can. I haven’t entered loads of races. I just run because I can. I run to enjoy it.