Monday, 30 July 2012

Why a Facebook cull is bad

Round about 2007 time I decided it was a good idea to have a Facebook cull, and remove all of the people I hadn't spoken to in over a year. I had moved from Cardiff back to Essex and there were a fair few faces I'd gradually lost touch with, and there were friends who I hadn't even spoken to since I'd left Essex for Cardiff in 2003. If I remember rightly, at the time I was in a new relationship, a new rugby team life was looking good and I wanted a fresh start.

Years later I think it was such a shame, especially as since then I'd added one friend from school, and then lots of people from my old school started adding me. Before I knew it, a significant proportion of my friends were people I had known from school, people I hadn't spoke to for over a decade, let alone a few years. What bothers me slightly is that it looks as if I never moved on! There are no friends to account for that space in-between and what bothers me even more are the moments where something will fire my memory and I'll think to myself "I wonder what such-and-such is up to nowadays"... Well I'd know if I hadn't bloomin' deleted them off Facebook! I'm too embarrassed to send a fresh friend request, besides it would be a miracle if I could remember what such-and-such's last name is! 

I often wonder what my old friends for Llandaff North Rugby Club are up to now... do they have children... blah blah. I also sometimes miss the guys I used to drink with in the Yellow Kangaroo and old class mates from Writtle College and old colleagues. If any of you should ever for some reason read this, I am very sorry for deleting you and please get in touch :-)

To everyone else - never Facebook cull!


Friday, 27 July 2012

The duathlon pressure is on

For some reason, sometimes it takes a great deal of pressure to get me motivated. I knew from about February that I was going to Florida in June, but didn't really knuckle down with my diet efforts until I had 40 days to go. Similarly I signed up for the London Duathlon in January, but have I done much outdoor cycle training so far? Um.... no! 

Last week it occurred to me that I now have only 7 Sundays left to train and I'm knackered after a 10k run, not to mention the formidable challenge distance of 10k run, 20k cycle, 5k run ahead of me on 9.9.12

Finally I was motivated to get out there and do some transition training on Sunday. I left a message on the forum of my running club seeking any willing transition training partners as I knew that this would be the accountability I needed and I had two takers. No getting out of it now!  

I read that when you are building up endurance, you should look to increase no more than 10% per week. As I identified I have 7 Sundays left so working backwards I drew up the following training plan for the coming Sundays:

22.7.12: 5.13 km run, 10.26 km cycle, 2.57 km run
29.7.12: 5.64 km run, 11.29 km cycle, 2.82 km run
05.8.12: 6.21 km run, 12.42 km cycle, 3.11 km run
12.8.12: 6.83 km run, 13.66 km cycle, 3.42 km run
19.8.12: 7.51 km run, 15.02 km cycle, 3.76 km run
26.8.12: 8.26 km run, 16.52 km cycle, 4.13 km run
02.9.12: 9.09 km run, 18.18 km cycle, 4.55 km run
09.9.12: Race day – 10km run, 20km cycle, 5km run

So, last Thursday I did a bit of planning ahead - I removed the seat from my bike and placed it in the airing cupboard to dry out (shamefully, yes I do keep my bike outside because the shed is full of tools.

Sunday I went for my first training session. It took me a while to get out the house, namely because I forgot I needed to replace my seat! Then I couldn't find the armband for my GPS...

Eventually I made it out to the park, locked up my bike and headed off on the forst running leg. When I'd covered 2 miles I realised I was meant to be counting in kilometres! I turned and ran back to my bike and thankfully I didn't run too much further than I'd intended. The bike was a bit of a shocker for me, I can't believe how out of practice  I am, I found it really tough, especially with the hills in the second half of the Thorndon Park circuit and not to mention having to pass big, scary cows. Mummy cows mooing at their calves. I had to dismount for the final hill shamefully, I was near spent so for the final run leg I really felt it. My legs were tired and I ran like I was 100 years old! My legs ached for the rest of the day, it's certainly challenging and I can't believe that in 6 weeks time I'll be doing double the distance! I really hope I make it, I am determined to stick with the schedule I designed above. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The downside to studying nutrition?

The latest module in my nutrition course is fats. It stands to reason that I do not know an awful lot about nutrition hence my taking a course but last night I read all about trans fats.

Scary stuff. Trans fats are basically polyunsaturated oils which are mixed with a metal catalyst and heated to a high temperature and pumped with hydrogen gas in a high-pressure reactor, thus creating a hardened fat. This is why products such as margarine are solid at room temperature. These fats are believed to be worse for you than saturated fats.

I had no idea. In my fridge is a monster sized tub of margarine. (We buy in bulk at Costco - running a business has to have it's perks and buying in bulk is one of them. I have the biggest box of washing powder I have ever seen).

I went on to do some research for my assignment to find that studies have shown trans fats to be implicated with impaired growth in children under two. That's not good - I've been giving my daughter margarine on her toast. I let her eat virtually everything I do, just in smaller quantities.

It doesn't end with the margarine though. I juggle being a mum with running a business and trying to keep my sanity by running 3-4 times a week and admit to having my fair share of convenience product in the kitchen. My homework has been a real eye opener. I think it would be very difficult to completely eliminate all trans fats from our cupboards - embarrassingly, I fear that there would be nothing left! Also I think it's very wrong to throw away perfectly good food, so I've decided to try and cut back the amount of trans fats I'm feeding my family gradually. I think I will do this by avoiding the purchase of any further trans fats as far as I possibly can without completely committing myself to a lifetime in the kitchen! 

 I think the trickiest trans fat to give up would be bread, so I have decided to have a go at baking my own regularly. I've tried this before and it was really successful, I made a really aromatic bread with caraway and fennel seeds using a recipe in the . I love the fact that you can add whatever you want. During one of our meals in Florida we were served coconut bread, and not only did the bread itself contain coconut, but they had also blended into the butter and moulded it into seashell shapes. It was truly delicious and I'd love to try it. I thought I could prepare the dough first thing in the evening when I make dinner. The warm cooking environment from the cooking will help the yeast do it's magic and I will pop it in the oven when I've finished the washing up. The hard bit is going to be resisting eating it later when it comes fresh out of the oven!  

The deal breaker will be if this turns out to be far more time consuming than I have imagined. The plus side is that my daughter is getting the age where I can get her to help out with cooking, but activities that limit the amount of time I can spend playing with her are against my life priorities so watch this space...


Monday, 23 July 2012

Is television bad?

I have noticed that it is becoming quite trendy to dislike the television. I've now heard quite a few people make comments.

I was quite shocked. To say you dislike television is quite a bold statement, pretty much like saying you dislike music, there are so many genres that there's something for everyone. Not to mention the educational impact of television. For some it's the most efficient way of knowing what's going on in the world, particularly for people like me who do not have to commute to work and are juggling too many roles to have time to pick up a paper or surf the BBC website.

Opon reflection I can understand the downside to television, unless you've got it on the the background while you do a billion other things it can turn you into a "couch potato" and distract you from other, more healthy pastimes.

Even I wrote in a previous blog post that I need to spend more time playing with my girl in the evening when everything is done instead of watching TV so I guess that without realising it I too have jumped on the anti-TV bandwagon, yet at the same time I contradict myself by using it as a baby sitter when I need to prepare breakfast in the morning. I even sky plus "In the Night Garden" becase we're sure as hell not ready for the bedtime routine as early as 6.30pm!

I have to admit that if it were not for my husband we wouldn't have sky TV at all in the house, I think it's a complete waste of money but he insists on it for the fishing programmes! If it was just me I'd scrap sky in favor of 4OD and iPlayer on the playstation. I love choosing what I watch and when. The trouble with Sky plus is that you need to know what you want to watch in advance. I don't think I've read the TV listings since I left home at 17!

I don't think I'm anti TV and I certainly wouldn't join this trend of selling my big flat screen in favour of streaming through the PC monitor. I like watching TV through the playstation but I certainly agree that too much can make you lazy and miss out on the more important things in life. What do you think?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Fancy Dress!

My sister-in-law has invited us to Hastings this weekend for a pirate day, but she stipulated that we must be in fancy dress. This is not a problem, I enjoyed many outings in fancy dress during my former university and then rugby-playing days - chav nite, James bond nite, toga nite... it's been a while since I last did fancy dress, my 30th birthday where I dressed as a Greek goddess. I was about 5 months pregnant. I think it's fun!

Chav nite - 2007!

I did a but of pirate research online as you do and got some ideas together. It was funny that as I was putting something together I pulled out a dress I was going to throw out. I didn't use it in the end but it changed my mind about throwing out clothes I don't wear anymore - I've decided to start putting them into a "dressing up" box for my little girl. 

I remember one of my friends had one when I was a kid and we used to love it! Her mum put in a few posh frocks so we could dress up as princesses. Whilst writing that I remembered I was so impressed my Mum and Auntie went and bought me and my sister some used bridesmaid dresses!

I've now emptied that bag of clothes I was going to get rid of into a spare drawer in her bedroom. I also put a few extra items in that I know I'll no longer wear but couldn't quite face throwing out including a really cool dress I once wore to a xmas party. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Goals revisited

My lovely sister and I are re-doing Chalene Johnsons 30 day Push. Whilst my priorities remain unchanged from before, goals can change every week even though you are thinking about the year ahead. Here are my goals:

This year, wouldn’t it be crazy cool if:
1. I am super organised in the kitchen – I produce weekly meal plans and do the groceries every Friday, I cook on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays – freezing portions for run nights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
2. Ellis & Mays breaks even we I draw a decent wage 
3. My husband & I have weekly business meetings so we’re “on the same page” and communicate better. We agree to some common weekly goals for the business instead of having conflicting agendas all the time. 
4. We buy our own property 
5. I complete the London Duathlon
6. I can run 10 miles
7. I complete my Nutrition Diploma by aiming to write a minimum of 100 words towards my assignments every day
8. I am completely out of my "funk" – I am thinner, so getting dressed is no longer a chore. I dress nicely (not trying to hide the wobbles), fix my hair and make-up every morning and actually BELIEVE I look nice every single day. 
9. I start every single day with some reverse engineering, I swallow a frog and decide what 3 things I will do to push my goals forward. 
10. I keep up my blog as a creative account of beautiful memories of great days out I’ve had with my family as well as bits of other random musing. Full of only writing that I am passionate about, it is a good tool for revealing my priorities and what is truly important to me.
Remember, goals are just dreams until you put them on paper. This is a worthwhile task, try it if you haven't already :-)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Brentwood Beer & Music Festival

I had so much fun with little girl in Epcot. Believe it or not the places where we had the most fun were in the United Kingdom and America!

In the USA there was a live band and my girl loved it! She ran up and down the aisles of seats dancing and clapping and instead of standing there watching like a lemon I got to run arond with her, smiling and dancing by her side. It definitely made it more fun for me! She definitely enriches my life.

American Gardens Theatre, Epcot
When we went to the UK there was a little maze around a bandstand which we had fun running around an then on our way back to the middle of the lake to find the others we passed England agan and there was a cover band playing on the bandstand and again we had fun running around dancing.

Bandstand & Maze at the United Kingdom Pavillion, Epcot
When we got back to the UK I decided to do a search for more outdoor music events to go to and it just happened that the Brentwood Festival was on the following weekend. With general cover bands as well as dedicated ones such as Bootleg Beatles, One Step Behind and Dookie I knew it would be fun. I booked two tickets for the Saturday and Kids were free.

A few days before the event the UK had severe weather warnings for rain. They weren't kidding! The heavens opened, the Saturday was pretty wet, we all got muddy but it didn't spoil or fun. My girl loved it! She ran right to the front of the crowd and was too small to see over the gates so I lifted her up where she waved and clapped. When my arms got tired I tried to put her down but she cried because she wanted to be lifted up again! Thankfully my sister was happy to help out so we managed it between us. It was such a giggle because she enjoyed it so much and would never have gone to the front if it wasn't for her! We enjoyed it all the more. 

  The beer was good and I did my classic totally unadventurous beer festival thing - I tried a few until I found one I loved and then stuck with it for the rest of the night! Marvellous Maple really is Marvellous :-)

My girl did really well, she enjoyed Undercover so much she slept all the way through Dookie. The front man of Undercover wasn't kidding, close your eyes and you'd think you were listening to Green Day, they really were good. My sister and I loved their set. I particularly liked it when they did songs from Nimrod and Dookie because they made me nostalgic. I noticed that the yongsters stopped signing and dancing at that point though :-/

One step behind were so much fun, it was really cool to see the whole audience really getting into it, all ages skanking around. It felt a bit heart warming and I felt quite proud of my roots for want of a better expression, it's hard to describe.

Bootleg Beatles were good, it was quite a nice chilled out singsong after the fun of One Step Behind. The line-up was very well thought out in my opinion. Half way through their set it became apparent that little girl was really knackered and it was only fair to take her home. She'd been so well behaved all day!

I would do it again in a heartbeat - here's to more outdoor music events if I can find any - please let me know if you know of any in coming up in Essex or Hertfordshire!

The day I wrote this I went to help out at the Children's Centre for the Buggy Walk, where I was told we were in the paper! I was a bit worried about my image - taking my baby to a beer festival, but thankfully the written content emphasises upon the festival being a family day out, with comments from another mum who took her 2 year old along.


Friday, 13 July 2012

I'm back!

Wow the Crush 'n' Gusher I went on at Typhoon Lagoon was more than a water flume - it was a metaphor for my current state - BIG SLIPPERY SLIDE!

Where have I been? Why have I not been blogging? 

Typhoon Lagoon was a clue - I've been to Florida! I stopped blogging some time before we went because I had a mountain of work to do before I went, and I had another mountain of work to deal with on my return. So much so that I wondered whether it was actually worth it going on holiday! Gumpy old so and so - the memories are wonderful and will be with me forever so long as I don't forget...

Here's a brief update relating to previous posts:

I lost 10lbs out of the 14 I was aiming for. I got to phase 2 of ChaLEAN Extreme, but the videos weren't compatible with my laptop so I was unable to continue on holiday despite buying some funky resistance bands. I completed the Orlando Runners Club Spring into Summer 5k in approx 29 mins. Despite mapping out a 10k route to run on holiday the gates between sub-divisions weren't visible on my map so I was restricted to a rather dull 1km lap (which wasn't so bad as I could leave my water bottle on the drive. I didn't run for as long as I wanted to out of boredom of the laps and the heat (running anytime past 7.30am is horrible and it was hard to wake up early enough once I'd gotten over the jet lag). I ate pretty well, got addicted to coconut shrimp and visited the IHOP 3 times so I gained 8lbs. Since my return I was so busy with work I found it difficult to get back on the straight and narrow until now so I dread to imagine how many extra lbs I've gained since my return. Now that I feel like I've caught up with myself I am going shopping for some healthy food this evening when hubby gets home from site and I need to make an effort to start exercising regularly again.

So... what did we get up to in Amercia? It was amazing. First we collected our hire car - a Dodge Challenger! Now I'm not much of a petrol head, but it is the most sexy car I've seen since my MkIII Cortina

Dodge challenger rear & side
Dodge challenger front & side
MkIII Cortina - simply beautiful
 Now, as soon as I own a house farm with a garage I will have another MkIII Cortina...

We crusied in our sexy challenger to Daytona Beach, Paradise Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Shell Key Preserve, Harry P Leu Gardens, Sea World, Downtown Disney, Epcot and more. 

Some days we chilled by the pool and our darling little 18 month old daughter learned to swim! Amazing :-)