Things I Learnt In September

If you want a work/office/hangout space in Manchester then hunt out Ziferblat on Edge St. I had to attend a Really Important Meeting this month and it was held here. The concept is amazing; everything is free (refreshments, wifi, etc) apart from the time you spend inside and for this you are charged 6 pence per minute. There is also meeting room hire which follows the same principle. Oh and I shared a picture of the clock wallpaper in one of the meeting rooms there. My friends were divided. What do you think?

Ziferblat, London, running, 5K, crochet, CAL,
My addiction to London stays strong. This month I have ordered bunch of fridge magnets and three scarves that have London-esque prints on them from Amazon. The magnets sit on the radiator next to my armchair and they hold mini reminder notes for the morning or crochet instructions so that I can glance up and see them. Also, I've always wanted to wear a stylish or jaunty scarf and now I'm addicted to little 'how to' videos like this one and this one and especially this one.

I have lost an inch in height. I've not been to my diet group for an awfully long time so I wondered what type of impact my running had had on my body. I can see shape changes but wasn't too sure about the weight loss/gain. Anyway, I trundled along to the digital scale at the back of Boots and the little printout you receive from the machine displays a fair amount of information (most of which made me feel a bit shitty but hey, it's not about the numbers for me any more...). I was measured at 5' 6" when I was younger but now I am apparently 5' 4.9". I'm gutted. I want my inch back!!

Dooce is giving up blogging. I have mixed feelings about this and was going to write a big old post about it (let me know if you want me to expand on my thoughts) because Heather Armstrong was *the* one and only parent blogger who was paving the way when I reinvented this blog back in 2009. She currently bemoans her 'blogging fame' and the negative side of having shared much of your family life online but fully admits that blogging in her own unique and open way has brought many opportunities. Regardless of the whys and wherefores, there has only ever been one person in control of what words she has put out there on the internet - and that's herself.

[here's the running section...]

I'm reading the best book ever. I'm so grateful to my mate, Claire, for recommending Running Like A Girl. It's like Alexandra Heminsley has taken the words out of my head and put them in this book. Ok, I'm not running a marathon and have no intention of doing so but the way in which she talks about all aspects of learning to run is exactly what I've been going through. This is the book I would have written if I'd have got in there first.

I now know why people battle through injury. I'm taking a few days out at the moment because of Plantar Fasciitis (inflamation of the tissue around the heel bone). I've been putting a lot more effort into my running programme recently and have been pounding the streets and the park four times a week and have a core fitness dance class once a week too. I'm taking advice, doing some additional stretches and hoping for the best because...

I'm working my way up to a 10K race. Well, I say 'race' - it's not really going to be because there isn't a hope in hell that I'll win so I see this as a personal challenge. I'm already on week 4 in my progression programme and, after a chat with my running buddies, some of whom have already completed 10K runs, I realised I needed something really challenging to aim for, especially after completing Run Preston at the weekend (I'm smiling on the inside, I promise) and getting a Personal Best time. So, Lytham Windmill 10K in November - I'm coming to get you!

Volunteering at Parkrun is just as rewarding as running the race (in a different way). Because I was racing this weekend (again, very loose use of the word 'racing' there) I decided not to participate in our local weekly Parkrun but I wanted to volunteer just as others do when I'm running. I was given the job of scanning barcodes and totally crapped myself each time I bleeped someone in just in case I'd got it wrong (the results information is so important to the majority of runners) but I got the opportunity to meet almost every single runner on the day. Totally worth it.

[the running section is now over]

I'm very much enjoying participating in a 'crochet along'. What with all the running that's going on at the moment I haven't had much time to pick up any of my crafting projects however, I was invited to a CAL (crochet along) group where you receive weekly instructions to complete a section of a blanket. It means that you can complete each section in a reasonable amount of time, share photos with other group members, ask for advice and support and generally chat with a bunch of like-minded people whilst being creative. I'm loving the way my colours are sitting at the moment and I'm just about to start on the next section What do you think?


We'll finish on my Video Of The Month (H/T). Bohemian Rhapsody is probably one of the most well-known songs in the world but this video shows that it can be appreciated in more than it's original style...  



WHAT DID YOU LEARN THIS MONTH? 
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!



text conversation
Oh, and I almost forgot... Here is a text conversation between myself and my 16-year old son. I'm not sure who won the irony competition on this day 


Body Confidence... Should It Be About The Numbers?

It's taken a long time to become comfortable in my own skin and over the last year I've written about it on a few occasions.  During that time I've lost two stone in weight (but since plateaued), I've become happier with my running progress and I've found an exercise class that love. I'm also back at a desk job in a career that I've never attempted before but I'm definitely finding my feet. 

But I gave up going to the Slimming World weigh-ins and deviated from the meal plan.  Not a good idea really however I am more conscious of making better choices when eating. I was totally unaware of my weight yet I have been noticing (good) shape changes in my body.  So, whilst in the town centre this weekend, I wandered into Boots Chemist and used their scale to have my body measurements recorded.  For me it's not really about the numbers but it's good to have something to work from, yes?

I want to be thinner
I want to run faster 
I want to be a better me 
But this is my own personal journey

I'm including a picture of the printout from the machine for two reasons:  

  1. because I'm not actually ashamed (any more) of the numbers - if anyone has an issue with it then that's their problem, the judgemental bastard;
  2. analysis is important; 
  3. I've shrunk by 1.1 inches over the years. I WANT MY BLOODY INCH BACK! 

Boots Chemist weight and BMI print out
The weight loss (and subsequently the lower BMI and percentage of body fat) is a work in progress. I know I need to ramp up my attention towards food and keep on with the exercise. I'm also quite aware that my body is toning in places that I hadn't really given much attention over the past few years. I want to lose another couple of stone in weight and I'd be happy; I'm fully aware that, over the years, I've had three children, six medical operations and my body probably won't ping back to what it was 25 years ago. It'd be nice though!  

What my main concern is that the "recommended weight" for someone of my height and age is 7st 13lb - 10st 10lb. On this printout it is there, in black and white, a guidance note suggesting that I lose another 3-6 stone in weight. Even at my most fit and active when I was a youthful 18 years old, my weight was 10st 3lb.  Any thinner and I would have looked emaciated.

I cannot understand why Boots Chemist is using this recommendation especially when so many people will trust the advice printed on this strip of paper - people who are much less aware and confident than me. I mean, there will be women out there that look amazing at this recommended weight but it's not going to suit everyone who is my height. So, they can fuck off with their recommendations and if they are taken from 'official resources', they can fuck off too.  


My Blackpool #HiddenGems

I grew up living just outside of Blackpool.  This meant many a Saturday pounding the streets of the town centre with friends but not so many days spent at the Pleasure Beach or visiting the top of the Tower (as much my Southern friend thought I should have done). I also think that living so close to such a mesmerising place means that you forget about the hidden gems that are just out of sight but rarely out of mind.

Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations  Blackpool Glitterball, Mirrorball, South Promenade,

One of my favourite sights is the glitterball on the South Promenade. It's a bit of a bizarre installation and I'm still not sure why it was commissioned but it looks glorious when the sun shines on it and during the Illuminations period it projects a fabulous colour-changing light show.

I also have to recommend my favourite chippy - the Bispham Kitchen.  To find it you have to drive right to the end of the Illuminations, turn right at the traffic lights and it's on your right hand side with a big yellow frontage - you can't miss it.  I've been visiting that chip shop since I was a little girl - it was our supper stop after driving through the Lights each Autumn. A bag of chips, a wooden fork, the window open just a chink so that you could stick your chip out to cool it down a bit and... YUM! The "half fish and chips" is great value for money too!

Finally, if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of this busy town but still run along some sand then I suggest visiting the beach at the far end of St Annes.  Just outside Blackpool, after the sand dunes, turn right and park up opposite the house with the round doors (trust me - that's a great sight too) and nip onto the most deserted part of the beach you'll ever find.  It's the beach that I spent half of my childhood on and it's the beach that calms me. Part of my soul is there and always will be. 

Do you have any Blackpool hidden gems? Let me know in the comments and I'll look them up!


This post was created in collaboration with Travelodge. For more details please view my disclosure policy.

Things I Learnt In August

I am lost without my watch. The battery died and I never check the time on my phone (probably because we aren't allowed our phones at work). However, this did give me a good excuse to look into a bit of fitness technology and compare a few running watches.  I ended up spending a RIDONKULOUS amount of money on a Fitbit Surge which, despite a few initial reservations, is probably the best investment I've made for a long time.

Sketchbook Club is well worth the £20 membership fee.  I saw a few of my internet buddies sharing sketch pictures that they'd been drawing to specific themes and dug a little deeper. Kirsty was reviewing Jennie Maizels' Sketchbook Club and after hearing more about it from Sian and Kara I signed up for the full course.  I've surprised myself at how well some of my sketches have turned out but that's absolutely down to the instructions and support that are provided by Jennie and everyone else participating in this community.  Here's two of my favourite pictures so far and you can follow me on Instagram to see more.

#sketchbookclubhouses, sketchbook club, Jennie Maizels  #sketchbookclubwashingline, sketchbook club, Jennie Maizels


When you see the moon in the sky during the day it is a moonless night in Australia.  I know this sounds childishly obvious but it's one of those things that you sort of doubt the reasoning for, isn't it? Anyway, it was all confirmed by the fabulous Sam Gouldson (she's Jump! Mag's science editor) in this twitter conversation.

Men like gift boxes too.  I had the opportunity to have a sneak peek at this Tessuti / Hugo Boss gift box (disclosure : it was sent to me under 'no obligation' however my husband loved it so much it's getting a mention here). It included a Hugo Boss t-shirt, a gorgeous leather notebook and pen, a hip flask, a pocket handkerchief and some shaving/facial care products. I may have stolen the notebook for myself and if I'd have known that my husband coveted a hip flask, then finding him a birthday present this year may have been a lot easier!! 

Tessuti, Hugo Boss, Men Rock, gift box,


Traveler's Notebook planners are the future. As I settle into my new planner set-up, I am not regretting moving out of my Filofax one bit.  Also, after discovering the Pocket Notebooks website, it was great to be interviewed by owner, Tony in this "Getting To Know..." feature where you can find out what I keep in my pencil case, how I describe myself in three objects and my favoured pen/pencil combination.  I've also written a piece for the Pocket Notebooks website which explains how I use my Adventure Log as a running journal, which lead me nicely on to...

When exercise get you, it gets you good. Oh yes, another boring running update Even just a few weeks ago I was wondering how people found the energy or the time to get out and take part in some form of fitness activity more than a couple of times a week. I'm now eating my own words as I'm running four (YES, REALLY) times a week and I am attending a fitness class too.   As I move towards a new chapter in my running life (running 10K) I know I need to ensure my body and mind are in the right place and that I have enough stamina to keep up with the challenge.

I'd buy a sheet from this woman to wrap myself in.  In lieu of a new YouTube favourite to share (because they all seem to be dance-related this month), I wondered if you'd seen this video? I think I need some sales tips from her!



les filles: CADEAU !
Posted by Hicham Serialkinder Wahbi on Sunday, 19 July 2015



Now it's your turn. Tell me what YOU learnt recently.