Age, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Perimenopause, Running

Total couch to 5k in 9 weeks – I’m actually going to give running a serious go!

I hate running! I really hate running! It’s not like I’ve never run. I’ve done ‘Race for Life‘ 5k’s a few times but all except the last one was a mix of running and walking. The last run I did was the inaugural ‘City of London Mile‘ in 2014 of which my eldest son was race director. But like I say I hate it, every minute of it, I cannot emphasise just how much I detest running!  But, and it’s a big but(t), ha ha, I have realised that running is the only thing I’ve not seriously tried in my quest to lose the bugbear that is middle-age spread!

So I am going to give ‘Total Couch to 5k in 9 weeks’ a go, the app of which I installed on my phone over 3 months ago, I mean how hard can it be to fit in 30 mins 3 days a week?! It turns out it’s harder than it should be, I keep going through my diary trying to pencil in 3 days a week with a day off in between and it has been nigh on impossible so far! I don’t work normal hours, no Monday to Friday 9-5 for me, in fact there is no pattern to my working week. No two weeks or two days are ever the same, I often work long days and finish late plus it’s very sedentary, mostly driving and sitting.  I’m self-employed so things can change with very little notice and I cannot turn down work because I was going to go for a run! When I do have time off I more often than not have other commitments, in addition to my ‘day job’ I also have an Etsy shop and I am looking to extend the stock with hand-knitted items.

I have also just become the proud owner of an allotment which is going to take up much of my spare time but at least that is physical and I won’t be sitting on my arse like I do for most of the other things I do, including writing this blog!  And it’s not like I don’t do any other exercise, exercise that I actually enjoy and look forward to doing, which I am loath to give up in order to fit running in.

Blah, blah, blah…. excuses, excuses, excuses! So watch this space I am going to start running and when I do I will hopefully learn to enjoy it, afterall millions of people can’t be wrong can they?  I have pencilled it in my diary to go for my first 30 minutes on August 31st and fingers crossed it will happen but don’t hold your breath! :-s

 

Health, Holiday, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

I need a holiday!

Sorry for my absence it’s been a mad couple of weeks. I’ve been extra busy at work because I have 2 weeks off from this Saturday and being self-employed can be a bit of a mare, trying to fit in all my clients can be hard and then having to turn down new clients is my idea of hell, especially as I don’t get holiday pay but you can’t please all of the people all of the time!

On top of the work madness 2 weeks ago I found a lump in my right breasticle, I didn’t panic as I’d had one in 2011 in exactly the same place which was a cyst. I immediately saw a Doctor who agreed it was more than likely another cyst (one of the joys of being peri-menopausal!) and yesterday I went to the Breast Clinic at the local hospital, had a mammogram and ultrasound, there were 2 cysts so the larger one was drained but the second one was tiny so was left alone.

Tuesday last week I developed cystitis (another peri-menopausal thing apparently!), so I drank cranberry juice and water like it was going out of fashion and by Saturday it had gone and I was fine…..or so I thought! So on Saturday night my eldest daughter Linzi and I did the 60k London Nightrider, it was much more pleasant than the two 100k Nightrider’s that I had done previously. Here we are at the start….

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However, I had never ached after the 100k’s (except for a saddle sore bum that is!) so when I started to feel achy on Sunday afternoon then got the shivers and slept all afternoon I thought I’d caught a bug. As the week went on the aching had slowly concentrated itself on my right ribcage and by yesterday afternoon I was in excrutiating pain and conceded that I needed to cancel clients (not something I do lightly because as self-employed of course I don’t get sick pay) and go to the Doctors. I took a sample of wee and it turns out I’ve got a kidney infection, so that’s where the cystitis went, I have antibiotics and thankfully feel much better although not yet pain free. I also have an upper lip covered in cold sores and I am in hayfever hell! For someone who is rarely, if ever, ill, this has definitely been a very bad couple of weeks 😦

Apologies I will now stop moaning about my illness woes and tell you the best thing about this week… I have work tomorrow and then early on Saturday I am off to the South of France, a little village in the hills of the Haut Var called Saint Martin de Pallieres to be precise.  Doesn’t it look lovely?  saint-martin-de-pallieresUnfortunately due to this weeks unforeseen illness I haven’t packed yet, neither have I dyed my hair, gelled my nails or painted my toenails, all of which I need to try to do when I get in from work at 9ish tomorrow night! Our Easyjet flight from Luton to Nice is at 6.10am so we have to be up at about 2.30am…..I think I may just not bother going to bed, luckily I’m one of those people that can always sleep on planes, no matter how short the flight I without fail fall asleep.

I have never before felt the need for a holiday as much as I do this one. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. Au revoir 🙂

Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Nightrider training

So yes, Hallalujah, I have actually been out on my bike 3 times in 11 days and there are 9 days until Nightrider and I am now even less worried than I was in my previous post when I had yet to hit the saddle! I started of gently just to test the water with a 10.56km in 35 minutes in the morning Sunday before last before I went to my Bodybalance class, which I did again last Sunday but cycling 14.78km in 53 minutes and today I did 23.73km in 1 hour 27 minutes. I’m pretty chuffed with that considering the last time I went out on it was July last year! I felt good today and could have gone on much longer but I was starving so I didn’t 🙂 I have the opportunity to go out a few more times over the next week and I will definitely go twice if not 3 times when I’ll try to do at least 40 km in 2 and a half hours which should see me ok to do the 60km at Nightrider on the 6th of June. I am definitely fitter this year and my breathing is much easier, I normally puff and wheeze like someone who has been smoking 40-a-day all their life, even the first 20 minutes out which I usually find is the hardest bit is ok, so I think all my gym visits are paying off, yay!!!

Today I cycled through the lovely Lee Valley Country Park, which is just a 10 minute cycle from my house, for the first time since last summer and came across these fabulous wood carvings…

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Aren’t they great? 🙂

It’s half term here and I saw a few families out walking or cycling but it was much quieter than it is at the weekend when, if you go lunch time or later it’s very busy and not good for cycling which is why I go early on a Sunday morning before everyone except the occasional dog-walker comes out! I cycled home along the canal to Enfield Island and through Gunpowder Park which is literally 2 minutes from my house and where I do most of my cycling.

I’m so lucky to have such lovely countryside, parks and waterways so near to me, next time I will try to take some more photo’s, I just hope I can capture the beauty of the place on my Nokia Lumia phone.

Health, Lifestyle, Tea, Uncategorized

Tea, my favourite cuppa

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One of my favourite things in life is a nice cup of tea. I drink a lot of tea! I like it strong with a splash of milk, builders tea but with no sugar! I usually make it by chucking a teabag in a mug but if I’m making it for more than just my hubby and I then I’ll make a pot, sometimes with teabags, sometimes with loose tea. I love tea but I’m not too fussy about the brand I buy and usually get whatever happens to be on special offer, be that PG Tips, Tetley, Sainsburys, Lidl or another brand depending on where I’m shopping at the time I’ll try any, tea-whore that I am! I won’t buy a brand of tea again however, special offer or not, if it doesn’t make a good tasting cuppa!

It’s a good job I’m not too fussy though because when offered a drink at a client’s house I will always ask for tea and it amazes me how a simple cup of tea can taste so different depending on who is making it. Most of my clients know how I like it and make a lovely cuppa however I do have one client who, no matter how many times I ask for just a splash of milk, always makes it one way…weak and milky, it’s horrible but I always drink at least half of it, it would be rude not to and I don’t want to offend her plus in the whole scheme of things I see her once a month so it’s not the end of the world and in summer I have a glass of water instead!

At home I occasionally drink Earl Grey, Rooibush or fruit tea for a change with Twinings andPukka doing a huge range of just about every tea you can think of! The supermarkets and big brands I mentioned before have all jumped on the tea bandwagon doing their own versions of different types and flavours of tea.

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My most favourite of all the different teas available and the one I drink the most is green tea, I love green tea! I know a lot of people don’t like the taste of green tea but I think the mistake most people make when first trying it is to leave the teabag in too long. I did the same at first so I always say pour the water over the teabag and take the teabag out almost immediately so the taste is milder, and when you’ve got used to it leave it in slightly longer and so on until you’re used to the taste and eventually like me you’ll be leaving the teabag in while you drink it!

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My favourite green tea is made by a British company called Higher Living, they have over 40 different teas (not all green) including my favourite Green Tea Chai which is flavoured with orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves giving it a lightly spiced taste. I see they have some new interesting flavours which I’m going to have to try, both green tea one flavoured with raspberry and one with coconut and as I’m obsessed with coconut at the moment (oil, milk, cream, flakes) it would be wrong of me not to give it a go! I usually get my green tea chai from Holland & Barrett who sock a small range from Higher Living but my local store no longer stocks it at all now sp whenever I see it in another branch I always grab a couple of boxes!

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Tea also happens to be incredibly good for you and almost weekly we are being told it’s good for this or that, a while ago it was all about white tea being good for you and now the latest health news is that black tea is as good for you as green or white tea, so that just about covers all teas then, like us tea lovers care, lol! I have to admit the initial attraction of green tea was, for me, the whole weight-loss metabolism thing. Does it work? I have no idea and frankly I don’t really care, I drink tea because I love it the health benefits are an added bonus.

Finally a tea-cat-related picture that made me laugh. I have a lot of clients who have cats and a couple of them have mugs that state ‘Everything tastes better with cat hair in it’ and this picture made me think of them!

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Cake decorating, Etsy, Lifestyle, Uncategorized, Work

My Etsy Adventure

My Etsy Shop

I am a beauty therapist and nail technician by trade, which I love but recently I’ve had a few issues with allergies and eczema and I’m sure it’s the exposure to all the chemicals I use that are causing them. Also while I have my regular clients and business is generally steady at the end of the day I’m just not earning that much and it’s quite a struggle at times to make ends meet so I was in need of something in addition to that I could work alongside it. I am qualified in nothing else and I like being self-employed, it has it’s ups (it’s very flexible, I choose when I work and can have days off when I want) and downs (no holiday pay, no sick pay, no pension). My regular clients know they have to book well inadvance at certain times of the year, e.g Christmas, holidays, summer etc, and so I have to be very organised with my diary and my family and I have learnt I need at least 3 months notice for any event I will need time off for so I can book it out in my diary! This is good and bad in equal measures, it means I know what I’m doing and can plan accordingly which means I’m very organised now but this makes time fly and also I rarely get to do anything spur-of-the-moment.

So anyway I recently opened an Etsy shop! For anyone that doesn’t know Etsy is an online store made up of individual shops for people to sell stuff they make! I had been thinking about it for a while, ditherer that I am, and I spent an age contemplating what I could make in order to have a constant supply of stock in the shop. Then I realised you can also sell the tools that are used by crafters to make their stuff, it was a Hallelujah moment!

Being a cake decorator that was the obvious avenue to go down.  I know from experience it can be a long and expensive business hunting down the tools and equipment needed for cake decorating. I found a supplier whose prices allow me to make a modest profit, another Hallelujah moment, and so off I went. The hardest part for me is finding the time to add things to my shop, I’m not great when it comes to technical stuff and, in my daughter’s words, ”watching me type is painful” so it takes me a while to do each individual item but I am getting quicker!

And, guess what? I’ve actually sold some stuff! Now I know it’s not going to make me rich but it’s a start, small steps and all that! If you fancy having a look the link is at the top of this post 🙂

Gig review, Lifestyle, Live music, Uncategorized

Seasick Steve at the Hammersmith Apollo

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We had already seen Seasick Steve live in October 2010 at a small venue, The Blues Kitchen in Camden, and so we had some idea of what to expect when we went to see him on Tuesday at the Hammersmith Apollo. I have to tell you he lived up to and surpassed all our expectations! He sang a mix of songs from his new album Sonic Soul Surfer along with some from previous albums plus a cover of a song from the 60’s and every one of them was fabulous.

Steve comes across as genuine, humble and truly gifted. He sang and played a variety of guitars throughout the 2 hour set many of which he had made himself from bits of old junk like a hub-cap and a wooden washboard! Accompanying him as usual was his friend and drummer Dan Magnusson, the pair have an unmistakeable chemistry and for some songs he was also joined by talented violinist Georgina Leach.

As well as singing and playing Steve laughed, joked and told stories of his life all the while thanking us the audience for being there and for buying his albums. At times he seemed genuinely moved by the audience reaction and when someone started chanting ‘Stevo’ he explained how the first time he heard it he had thought it was booing until he realised it was actually his name! At one point he plugged in a record player saying how happy he was that vinyl was making a comeback because music sounds better on vinyl than on cd’s.

At the end of the set he thanked the audience again as well everyone who made the show possible, including the lighting and sound guys plus the bloke who gave him his various guitars between each song each by name. He also brought the support act back on for a final bow with him stating they, Dutch trio My Baby, were his current favourite new band and I would have to agree with his praise for them they were very good.

I’m not an expert when it comes to music but I know what I like and I like Seasick Steve and his music very much. In his mid-seventies he has more charisma and energy than many musicians half his age or even younger. If you have the chance to go and see Seasick Steve live then do, I certainly intend to again if I can. If not then treat yourself to one of his albums, you won’t regret it.

Lifestyle, Lists, Uncategorized

Lists are taking over my life!

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I love lists! I have always been a list-maker, a writer-down of all things important and for that matter not so important!

Recently I’ve got to the point where I have to write everything down because if I don’t I forget it. Bloody menopause-brain is far worse than baby-brain ever was, or maybe I just can’t remember how bad baby-brain actually was because my menopausal brain has turned to mush!!! Arghhh, it’s so frustrating and so time-consuming. While technology is on the one hand wonderful it is at the same time a nightmare (for me anyway) because I don’t trust it 100% and so I nearly always have 2 sets of every list I write just in case the technology has a hissy-fit and doesn’t work so I usually have a paper back-up!

I have always written a shopping list, it used to be on paper but then I would forget to take said piece of paper with me, so now my shopping list or rather lists (I have one for each shop I go to!) are a permanent feature on my phone (and only on my phone God help me!) and I am constantly adding to it as things run low but somehow I still manage to run out of things occasionally. Take Easter weekend I ran out of loo roll for goodness sake, I knew I needed it but for some reason hadn’t written it on my list and so hadn’t remembered to get it when at the shop! Thankfully my eldest daughter popped into Tesco on her way here just before they closed and got me some.

I always write present lists at Christmas and birthdays, not an ‘I would like’ list but a ‘what I have bought for everyone else’ list. I have done this for years after losing track of what I had bought and where I had hidden it, so many years ago when my children were small I started the Christmas/ birthday list ritual. I learnt the hard way that when you have 4 kids, 13 nieces and nephews and all their accompanying adults it pays to write down what you buy and for whom as you buy it and then I tick them off as I wrap. I no longer buy for all the nieces and nephews and just give a ‘family’ present which is usually a Christmas cake that I have made and decorated myself but now as well as my own 4 adults kids I also have 3 adult step-kids and all their adult partners, as well as 4 step-grandchildren and our parents/grandparents so a list is still essential. In addition to this I also have a list of family birthdays plus my diary and calendar and still I am atrociously bad at remembering to buy and/or send birthday cards on time!  I also keep a permanent list on my phone for gift ideas which is very useful when someone mentions something months before their birthday/Christmas because if I didn’t make note of it I would never remember it when it came to buying them a gift!

I have work-related lists as in lists to do with my job which, as I am self-employed, are very important to me. I have a list of all my beauty clients with their address, phone number and treatments which is broken down into 3 different lists, the first is current clients, the second is clients who last had a treatment between 1 and 2 years ago and the final list is of clients I haven’t seen in over 2 years. These lists are in my phone contact files and also on paper because of the aforementioned trust issues I have with technology! I have also recently opened an Etsy shop and have a note-book with an ever-expanding selection of lists; I have lists for stock including when and where I bought it and how much each item cost, then another list of the items added to Etsy with the date they were added and how much for and a final section of items sold with date and client details. Now I know as I buy and sell over the interweb all this information is there for me saved on-line in my accounts on different websites and in emails but I’m sorry I just have to have it on paper as well for my peace of mind! I also have another work(ish) related notebook with an ever-growing lists of the cakes I make and decorate for family and friends, I make little to no profit from this and it is more of a hobby than anything, I do it because I enjoy it but I still make lists; type of cake, ingredients, decoration etc.

Another important list is of all my direct debit/bill payment dates which is in the back of my diary to ensure I always have enough money in my account to prevent going overdrawn!

A list I write regularly is a to-do list. Or, I should say, lists in the plural! I have a house list which is divided into room-by-room lists, plus a garden list and a shed list! These lists are very flexible, things on these lists may be done quickly, the majority however may not get done for some time, if at all, ha ha. And so I put no time limit to these lists, I put the things I need (and am most likely) to do at the top but unfortunately things further down the list often fall by the wayside and get forgotten unless my priorities change and they somehow make it to the top of the list.  At the moment I have a spring-cleaning list on the go but spring may be well and truly over before I have a chance to get started on it! Here is a good spring-cleaning list I found on Pinterest. I love Pinterest it’s great for list inspiration and of course is really just another form of lists! Here is my spring-cleaning to-do list, as you can see I’ve only managed to cross off 2 things so far, I’m hoping to have it completed before I go on holiday in June!

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Talking of holidays, I always write a list when packing for a holiday or even a weekend away, this will include every item of clothing, shoes, jewellery, toiletries and medication that I am taking plus the essential things like passport, money, Kindle etc. Here is a good packing checklist I found on Pinterest.

I have an ever-growing wish list on Amazon as long as my arm, actually it’s probably longer than my arm as it currently has 115 items on it! As well as the list of many, as yet, unread books already on my Kindle that I’m making my way through but also adding to all the time.

Lastly there is my bucket-list of things to do and places to visit before I kick the aforementioned bucket! This I am sure will never be completed unless we win the lottery ha ha! There are too many things on this list to mention here and so I think I will leave that for a future post but if you are after bucket-list inspiration Pinterest is a great place to start.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my list obsession I hope you enjoyed it 🙂