December is that month that comes and goes in a flash. Before you know it the New Year is here and Christmas is over for another year.
So what did I get up to in December?
December started with a visit home to Sheffield to spend some time with my Mum. I was there for 4 days. It was so nice to be able to spend some quality time at home and visit Meadowhall, the shopping centre there. Meadowhall is so much better than West Quay but I actually didn’t find anything to buy!! Typical!
A much needed coffee whilst shopping.
Blogwise I completed a Christmas Haul series of posts. I worked hard on these and liked how the pictures turned out.
December also had my work Christmas Party. It was at Saint Mary’s Stadium. The venue was nice but the room was hotter than hell which made it an uncomfortable evening! I did my second attempt at gel nails for it and added nail glitter. I was pleased with how they turned out.
We went and met up with some friends from Sheffield who were en route to visit family for Christmas. We’d originally planned to meet in Costa Coffee (of course) but with it being Christmas Eve they closed at 3pm to enable them to set up for their Boxing Day sale! We went to Starbucks instead which meant I got to try their Toffee Nut Latte. It was beautiful.
Christmas was spent at home and was a quiet affair just the way I like it. Since then I’ve been trying to be good and have been out for a walk or a bike ride almost every day. I am a bad blogger though and haven’t actually taken any pictures whilst I’ve been out!! FAIL!
I hope you’ve all had a good December. If you feel you’ve missed any of my posts through December, here they are below:
It’s been a while since I did a parkrun post so I thought I’d tell you about Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve started off really jolly. There were a lot of runners in fancy dress ranging from a simple Santa Hat to full on costumes of elves carrying runners like this one!
Photo courtesy of Steve Wood
When it started we knew there were more people than normal. I filmed the start and it took 40 seconds to get everyone through rather than the usual 15 seconds, but it never occurred to us just how many people there were or why there were so many. Was it because we’d planned Reindeer pacers for the event starting with Dasher at 19 minutes?
Photo courtesy of Steve Wood
According to the parkrun page our parkrun has an average of 290.4 runners each week. We usually sit around 300-350. I’m going to let you in to a little secret here. We only have enough finish tokens for 500 runners in the box we keep at the finish funnel.
Photo courtesy of Steve Wood
I’m not even sure that picture does justice of how many people there were!
I knew it was busy as when I was barcode scanning I was asked to move further away from the finish funnel. That doesn’t usually happen. I then got asked to move another 3 metres away from the finish funnel. Apparently the finish funnel was getting so crowded the time keepers were having to move forward as the funnel was full and they couldn’t click the runners coming in to finish.
We were all kept in the festive spirit though by these lovely people playing Christmas Carols!
Photo Courtesy of Steve Wood
Then we hit it, the magic 500 and we ran out of tokens! Imagine the panic that filled people. Some clever soul had the idea of writing the finishing numbers on the runners hands. They then went to manual entry and had their details taken that way. Luckily the runners at Lee on the Solent parkrun are a friendly bunch and straight away we had people offering to help take down people’s details and asking what they could do to help.
Afterwards we had a little time to reflect. Our parkrun is so successful and it’s going from strength to strength. However some lessons had to be learned and so a longer finish funnel and more finish tokens will be ready at the end of the run on New Years Eve. I can’t wait to see how it plays out, especially as I am Run Director. I have excited nerves! And hopefully I won’t have to enter the 52 people by hand that I did last week!
Never been to parkrun? Be sure to find your local and register here. New Year is a great time to start.
Want to read more parkrun posts? They’re all listed below for you
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:
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!
September seems to have been and gone in a flash and as a result I don’t feel like I’ve done much but never the less. Here is my September roundup!
Firstly in September I won a competition! I’ve never won anything before in my life so I was pretty amazed when I won this gorgeous palette on a giveaway over at Sophie’s Blog
One evening after work we decided to go to JoJo Gelato in Fareham. I had this scrummy Nutella and Cookie supreme crepe. It was so good, especially after a hard day at work.
We also visited the Waitrose Farm Shop. Here is the post about our visit.
In Lee-on-the-Solent there was a super low tide on 18th September. I’m still discovering new things about living by the sea and this was one of them. The photo doesn’t do it justice but the sea really was a lot further out than usual.
At the end of September we went to Wales for 4 nights. I’ve never visited Wales before so it was nice to explore somewhere new. There’s a more detailed post to follow.
In September I did 8 blog posts which I think might be a record for me! If you missed any, they’re linked below:
In our garden we frequently have foxes. I say frequently, I’m pretty convinced they live in my garden. I think there’s 2-3 and I see at least one every day.
When we moved here we saw our first Fox in April 2015. There seemed to be just one. In the winter this increased to two foxes then back to one.
In the Spring of 2016 we started seeing 2-3. I’m sure now that the 2-3 are a Mother and her 2 cubs.
The British Wildlife Centre says “The mating season is December to February …four or five cubs are born in the Spring and the female fox stays with them….They remain with their mother until Autumn” This all ties in with what we’ve been seeing in our garden.
Some people don’t like foxes and try to deter them from entering their garden but I love them. They’re such a delight to watch through the window. But aren’t they dangerous? That’s what the press would have us believe but the first fox we had was confident. If it saw us it’d simply look at us then lie back down and go back to sleep! We once had the door open in the summer and it wandered over. We quickly closed the door so we’ll never know if it’d actually come in to the house but I doubt it as sometimes when we go out in to the garden you can’t see it’s there as it’s asleep in the bushes but you’ll hear it quickly scrabble away if you venture off the patio and on to the grass.
Lots of people ask me if we feed the foxes and the truth is we don’t. We give them as much peace as we can. If they’re in the garden we leave them be. The only thing we have started doing is, when we cut the grass, we’ll leave a pile of cuttings for them to have a snooze on. They love a grass bed!
It can be tricky to get good pictures of them sometimes. The adult seems far more relaxed around people, the younger cubs though are skittish and incredibly mischievous. They’ll chase the butterflies in the garden and also pinch the squeaky toys from next doors dog meaning we have to go out and throw them back!
The pictures don’t always turn out well as I take them through the window you get reflection like the one above but this is one of the better shots of the cubs. They’re not as confident as the adults and often run when they see me with a camera.
They seem to have a routine of coming in to the garden around 5am and sleeping on and off through the day. Sometimes they’ll have a little get together and play or wash each other or disappear early but usually they’re here until 5pm when they disappear off in to the night to begin their hunting.
Saturday 27th August was #IAmTeamGB day. Team GB, ITV, The National Lottery and parkrun were joining forces to create the Nation’s Biggest Sports Day and we embraced this with open arms at Lee on the Solent parkrun.
I was Run Directing on 27th August and we had a lot going on. We had balloons and bunting on the start line and finish funnel, we had t-shirts to wear and stickers to give out. People were encouraged to wear red white and blue to celebrate the achievements of Team GB which they did and they also brought flags to wave. We really got in to the spirit of things. We also had pacers to help people achieve a new PB ranging from 19-34 minutes. We were also given selfie signs for people to take pictures with and upload them to social media, tagging them #IAmTeamGB
Rob was our 19 minute pacer. Photo courtesy of @lotsparkrun on Instagram
There was a lot to fit in to the Runner’s Brief. I needed to tell people the usual rules as well as letting them know what today was all about, who the pacers were and what the signs were for as well as giving our own social media a plug so our runners knew where to find us. I tried to make it amusing to keep people listening and judging by the amount of compliments I got afterwards I think I achieved this.
The run was great and we had a whopping 364 runners in attendance. This is our 7th highest turn out since we began in July 2015. I received compliments on my briefing, people said how much they had enjoyed the run and lots of people took great selfies and group photographs with the selfie signs. It was a brilliant day all round.
Maggie, Fiona and Dee were kept busy barcode scanning. Photo courtesy of @lotsparkrun on Instagram.
I also got to meet Roger who I have chatted to on Twitter and I also follow his blog IRunOffRoad It was great to meet him and finally put a face to the name. Be sure to check out his blog if you’re local or in to running.
And finally Louise posted this selfie of us all in the finish funnel. I love this picture as it includes some of my favourite parkrun family members.
On Saturday 27th August we were all officially members of Team GB and it felt great! parkrun really is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you want to walk it or if you want to run it as fast as you can. Go and join your local parkrun and I promise you won’t regret it. Not a runner? Then why not volunteer? It’s a great way to meet people and help your community.
I know this post is a little late. Really?! It’s the 12th September already!! Time sure is flying and I’m glad September is here. I love the Autumn. It’s my favourite season and not just because this is when Starbucks start serving their Pumpkin Spiced Latte again! However apparently this week is going to be a heat wave so maybe it’s not Autumn just yet!
So here’s my August in pictures
Top Left & Middle Left: Now that I’ve passed my driving test I gave motorway driving a go and drove to Sheffield. I felt like a tourist in my own city and took pictures of pretty buildings and architecture. In the top picture is Millennium Square that has the car park that is affectionately known as the cheese grater! The middle left is Millennium Square again facing the Winter Gardens.
Bottom Left: A new rule was introduced at work where you can no longer wear nail varnish but gel nail varnish is ok. As I like my nails to look pretty it was time to decide. Do I spend lots in the salon or buy the kit and do my own gel nails? I decided to buy the kit and did my own gel nails. The first attempt came out pretty good. I was really pleased.
Middle Bottom: My lovely car. I picked her up on 5th August. There are other posts about her on here though so I won’t go on.
Bottom Right: Just another lovely beach shot taken from parkrun. So lucky to have this view on my doorstep.
Large picture: I was Run Director on the #IAmTeamGB day. There’s a blog post coming up on Friday about the run so be sure to check it out when it goes live at 8am!
July has been and gone in a flash! This Roundup is very parkrun focussed! Starting with the top left and centre picture is the cake and card I received for volunteering at parkrun 50 times! When people run it 50 times it’s something of an achievement. I wasn’t sure volunteering counted as much but it turns out it sure did as my friends gave me these wonderful gifts.
The top right picture is when my nails were looking good. This must have taken 10 coats to get a good solid coverage but they looked beautiful once done. The colour is Alaska and it’s part of the Rimmel 60 second shine collection.
The middle left picture was taken at the graduation ceremony at work. The purple cap and gown ties in nicely with the purple in the parkrun pictures! At the graduation it was time to say goodbye to our little ones going off to school in September. I had to split myself in two this day as it was the graduation ceremony and party in the afternoon and on the same day it was my local parkrun’s 1st Birthday so there was the run in the morning and the picnic in the afternoon. I decided to attend the graduation ceremony in the morning and the picnic in the afternoon.
As you can see from the remaining two pictures, the 1st Birthday was commemorated with cake and cupcakes! It was so lovely to get so many of us together and I even received a certificate for the most tasks performed at parkrun!
The end of July has certainly seen the weather perk up. Summer is finally here.
Before you leave and we head in to August why not check out my July blog posts?
On 11th July 2015 I began volunteering at my local parkrun, Lee on the Solent parkrun. I’ve not looked back since. I’ve only missed a couple of opportunities to volunteer due to holidays and needing to make an emergency trip home. Since then I’ve volunteered on special occasions such as Boxing Day and New Year and have loved every minute. The community of friends I now have thanks to parkrun is immense and I love each and every one of them.
On 16th July 2016 I was the Run Director for my 50th time volunteering. The week leading up to my Run Directing didn’t run smoothly. I had two late nights at work, went out with friends and as a result didn’t actually start getting things ready until Thursday evening! Ssshh! Don’t tell our Event Director! To be fair I was pretty stressed this week and it wasn’t until Friday evening that I thought about it being my 50th time. I wished I’d done something to commemorate the experience like bought a 50 banner or badge like people do for the runs but it was too late.
Saturday morning started as normal, I was Run Director, I’d checked in and deployed all the marshals, including sending someone right to the far end of the course at 8.50 as the marshal for that spot hadn’t arrived! Thankfully she made it just before the runners did! Anyway I had just climbed up the ladder to begin the runners brief when I was stopped. Immediately I thought something had gone wrong, someone was having some sort of emergency but no, it was our lovely Event Director telling the crowd of 287 runners that today was my 50th anniversary! I got a huge round of applause and was presented with a cake made by Maggie.
Isn’t she clever? I wish you got a 50 tshirt for volunteering but sadly you don’t so I’ll just have to keep make do with my 25 tshirt.
I was also given a beautiful handmade card by Fiona
I literally felt so lucky and blessed. I’ve made such good friends here and this just shows! I was speechless and so overwhelmed! It really put me off my runners brief!! Haha
Volunteering for the 50th time was my third time being Run Director and as always I loved it. Being Run Director is such an important role but thankfully there were no incidents this week!
So, have you ever thought about volunteering at your local parkrun? Or even running it? Check out where your local one is on parkrun’s website and sign up!
Have you enjoyed this parkrun post? Here are links to my other posts!