If I had been running the 40m this would be the full race report! :P

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I knew I hadn’t done as much training going into the Grim Reaper 70 this year as I had last.  I mentioned last week that although I didn’t have as many long run miles in my legs this time I felt more confident mentally than I had last year.  I had already run 70 miles before, so it didn’t seem quite such a long way.  (It’s all relative.  To lots of people 5k doesn’t feel like a long way now, yet it would have felt much further to them before they had run it for the first time.)

Just like last year I headed down to camp the night before.  This time with Gary and Ian.  Gary was also running the 70 miles and Ian the 40 mile distance.  Neither of them had run the event before, so after a dinner of a sausage bagel for me we wrapped up warm and headed out for a walk along the start of the course so I could show them which way the route took us.

Grimsthorpe CastleThe sun was going down as we walked out onto the course and we were treated to a beautiful view over the lake.Looking out across from Grimsthorpe Castle Looking out across from Grimsthorpe CastleIt was so, so very cold though.  I wore three t-shirts, a hoodie and my coat for the walk and when we returned to the campsite I had to keep standing up and pacing because of how cold it had gotten.

Freezing at the Grim Reaper 70We were told in the morning that it had gone down to somewhere between 4-6 degrees overnight.  We had headed to bed somewhere in the region of 10:30pm but I had remained fully clothed and really wrapped myself up inside my sleeping bag, wishing I’d had the sense to bring a couple of extra warm blankets as well.  I fell asleep fairly quickly but had woken by 2:30am and struggled to get back into a proper sleep again, finally dozing off until about 6:15am.

I was not ready to remove any layers when I woke though.  Gary and Ian wandered over with me to the patch of field where the sunlight had hit first to help in my efforts to warm up.  Although the sky was completely clear in the morning, – a beautiful blue -we could tell that it was going to turn into a hot day, – it just wasn’t there yet.

Grim Reaper campsiteI was really thankful of the hot chocolate Gary provided me with to warm me up from the inside!Warming up before the Grim Reaper 70m

Soon the other guys from our club began to arrive.  Nick, Craig, Kev and his wife Julie were running the 40 and Amos was running the 70 along with Gary and I.

Getting ready for the Grim Reaper 70mI wasn’t very hungry but force fed myself another sausage bagel and saved getting ready until the very last minute – still not having warmed up in the cold of the morning.  The race began at 9:30, so I intended on dragging my kit bag over to the toilet block for about 9am to change into my shorts and club vest.  One of the race crew came round all the tents to inform us a few minutes beforehand that briefing would be at 9am.  All of a sudden I was running out of time!  In the end, I skipped briefing, asking the others to fill me in on anything I missed and headed to the toilet block to get changed, shivering as I stripped off my many layers and brushed my teeth.  Once walking back in the sun though I began to warm up almost immediately.  The weather went from ridiculously cold to boiling hot within a matter of minutes.  Of course it did.  It was race day!

Time for a few quick group shots…Getting ready for the Grim Reaper 70m

W&DAC at Grim Reaper 2015…before making our way to the start line.  Amos turned to me and said “Aren’t you taking any fluid with you on the first lap Mary?”  I suddenly realised in all the rush of getting ready I’d forgotten to pick up my water bottle so legged it back to the campsite to collect it in time.  Panic on for a minute there but I arrived back before the gun went.

I glanced down to check how many steps I’d already covered that morning by 9:25am…

Steps before the Grim Reaper 70m…this was just two trips to the toilet block and a run back for my water bottle.  I had no doubt that I would smash the 99,999 steps that the display can show and wondered briefly what would happen when I went into the hundred thousands!

And then we begun.  Last year I remember it feeling like people had set off really slowly.  This year it was the opposite and I felt like people were rushing by from the beginning.  I had the same rough plan in my head as from last year – running at 12mm pace and walking at 15mm pace for as much of the 70 miles as I could maintain, spending limited time at the campsite in-between laps and always moving when out on the course.

The first ten miles flew by in 2:02:51 …just 60 to go.  Now, 60 sounded like a long way!

I popped into the tent to glug back some chocolate milk, grab a slice of pizza, an orange and a nakd bar, top up my water bottle and be back out on my way again.  No problems here and I was in and out very quickly.

About half a mile down the road my club vest began to rub under my left arm.  It sometimes rubs on a hot day if I’m sweating excessively.  I didn’t expect to be sweating as much as I was so early on but the sun was out full blast now and the sweat was pouring off me.  I noticed that I had started to form a white salt line on my arms.  Not a good sign and I made sure to quickly munch through my food sooner than I probably would otherwise have done, washing it back with water made up with lemonade nuun.

Having a previous knowledge of the course, I was running all the flat and downhills and power-walking the uphills.  Both laps one and two had passed by quicker than I had run them last year.  I was very conscious that last year I had wound up mentally exhausted from staying awake for more than 26 hours, coming in at 21:56:31.  This year my main focus for getting back was so that I could return to sleep quicker!  Especially having had such a poor night’s sleep the night before.

About half a mile from the campsite on lap two I looked over my shoulder to see Nick catching up with me – having nearly completed 30 miles to my 20.  He gasped that he was knackered (or words to that effect!) as he passed and that he had really begun to struggle now due to the heat.  I shouted some words of encouragement as he passed and assumed I wouldn’t see him again.  I was wrong and as I came through the campsite at the end of lap two (2:12:55) Nick was doubled over by a tree really not looking very well.

Gary’s wife, children and another runner from club were all at the campsite when I came through this time.  It was nice to see some friendly faces although I still didn’t plan on hanging about and quickly grabbed the same foods as before, changed into a baggy running t-shirt and made my way over to the ambulance where I planned on getting hold of some Vaseline.  As a runner I own several pots of Vaseline but could I find any before Grim?  Nope!  I didn’t think I would need any with Grim being run much slower than most races, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I politely asked if they had a dollop I could rub on the sore under my arm and both staff then disappeared into the back of their van hunting around for some.  I resisted the urge to look at my watch, knowing that I was on the clock!  Eventually one of them returned with a small tub.  I asked if I was OK to dip my finger in.  Usually at races you are given out blobs by the ambulance staff on a sanitary plastic glove but this wasn’t offered here.  I rubbed some under my arm and passed back the pot although was then told that they wouldn’t be able to use it again (I had tried to let them give me some rather than for me to dip my finger in!) so I pocketed it, thanked them and headed back out onto lap three.  I did hope no other runners needed any Vaseline for the remainder of the race as I wasn’t sure that they had any more to give out!  I was thankful I’d pocketed the pot much later on in the race though when I really did need it.

I set out to start my third lap and passed Nick again on the verge as he was violently being sick.  I really didn’t know what to do or say.  I asked if I could get him anything – we were still very close to the campsite by this point – but he shook his head.  I’m sure he didn’t want me standing there but at the same time I wasn’t comfortable leaving him.  After a few minutes he said he was feeling much better and went zooming off ahead though – eventually coming through in second place in 6:28:43, twenty minutes ahead of Craig, who took third place.

Just 50 miles to go.  I was still covering ground strongly but this somehow felt even further than knowing there had been 60 miles to go before completing the previous lap!  I think 50 miles is such a landmark distance, and I had attempted it a couple of times before conquering that milestone last year.

As I ran down the slight hill away from the castle and the campsite I was munching away on my pizza, with an orange in the other hand and nakd bar tucked into my belt.  I amused myself by wondering what an outsider would think if they looked in to catch a glimpse of me letting my legs glide down the hill whilst tucking into the pizza slice and knew that when I first started running I would never have imagined I would have been able to run at that speed 20 miles into a race whilst eating pizza!

This lap it really started to heat up.  It had been hot before but now the sun was almost unbearable in places.  I was very glad of the suncream I’d lathered on that morning and began to think about rationing out my drink for the laps.  I never ran short but started to drink more back at the campsite before setting off each time instead from this point onwards.

Last year I had chatted to runners all the way round the course but the field was much thinner this year – most likely a result of the later point the race had opened up to entries.  I exchanged a few words with a handful of runners as they passed or as I passed them, but don’t remember really having a conversation with anybody out there this year.

Craig passed me with less than a mile to go to the finish for him and as I was about to complete my 30 miles.  At this point I really noticed just how much stronger I have become this year – being able to run for long bursts of several miles at a time before walking any hills I came to.  This was right through to the end of the 70 miles.  Previously during ultras I’ve let my legs run away with me on large portions of flat course and ended up getting faster and faster until I cannot maintain it and then being forced into taking a walking break but I really felt like I was in control the whole way round on Friday, which was a fantastic feeling.

Lap 3 completed in 2:24:28.

I headed over to the toilet block on returning to the campsite.  The toilets were a long way away, but it was a nice distraction from the race.  Without going into too much detail I realised that I was bleeding, with no reason to be.  At Milton Keynes Marathon earlier in the year I had pushed it quite hard and something similar had happened but I hadn’t really felt like I had been pushing overly hard so far during Grim and I was a little worried.  I did a mental body check – other than my belly and breasts feeling a little tender from running for so long I felt OK so for the time being pushed it to the back of my mind and vowed to do another mental check at mile 50 to see how I was holding up then.  The thought of potentially having to pull from the race crossed my mind – I wouldn’t be silly or stubborn about finishing, I’d already ticked 70 miles off from my bucket list.  In an ideal world I would like to complete, but if I had to pull, I would be sensible about it.

I purposefully pulled it back a bit on lap four and it was at this point that I rang Dan with my wish list for when he came to see me after work at mile 40.  My wishlist contained chocolate milk and a sponge for dabbing my face with!  I still felt very comfortable out there and definitely not like I had run 40 miles by the time I came back through to dib in at the campsite 2 hours 34 minutes and 21 seconds later.

Mile 40 of Grim Reaper Mile 40 of Grim ReaperYou can see how much my body has begun to tire here though – my running style really doesn’t look that comfortable at all.  No wonder I always end up needing a shoulder massage at the end of a race!

Mile 40 of Grim ReaperThere was quite a crowd at the campsite when I ran in at mile 40.  Nick, Craig and Ian had all finished their races by now, Gary’s wife and three children were still there, Julie had unfortunately had to drop at mile 20 due to injury, Dan had arrived and so had Tracey, who had run the 40 miles representing our club both last year and in 2013.  I allowed myself a few minutes to sit for the first time at this point and was quickly filled in on how everybody else was getting on.  Whilst I sat, Kev came past our campsite headed to the finish line.  With another 100 mile race booked in for him this coming weekend he was just after the medal at Grim this year and jogged through the finish to pick one up.  Gary also came through to complete his mile 50 as I was setting back out to begin my fifth lap.

Miles 40-70 to follow…

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House moving tips

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Having just gone through the house move process Dan and I picked a fair few tips up when it came to getting super organised and making the moving process run as smoothly as possible.  I pinned loads of ideas on my Pinterest boards but not all of them were relevant or particularly helpful.  I’ve put together some of the best tips I’ve come across here, adding some of our own into the mix as well.

24 House moving tips

Pre-move:

  • We made sure to start packing early.  We have collected a lot of ‘things’ over five years of living in our old house and I really didn’t want to leave it until the last minute to organise them all!  As soon as our house went on the market I started thinking about packing up our belongings and this took some of the stress out of the process, as I still had a lot of time to collect together items.
  • One of the first things I did was to pull all of my clothes out onto the lounge floor.  I made six piles – one of clothes that were good quality or had been expensive that I would try and sell on eBay, one of clothes that were still very good quality but that wouldn’t go for huge amounts – these were put aside for a future car boot sale.  A third pile of clothes and smaller items that I took to the charity shop, a fourth pile was for clothes that had no life left in them so were destined for the clothing banks.  The fifth and sixth piles were for clothes I wanted to keep.  One pile of clothes that I would still be wearing before the move and the other with clothes that were out of season or I could live without for a few weeks, so could be packed up in suitcases there and then.Bags of clothes for the charity shop
  • We found that clothes were much easier to carry and also to transport when they were placed in bin bags.  We ended up putting several bags of clothes into our cars as we had filled the moving van up.  We would not have been able to stack many boxes into our cars, but bags of clothes were easily moulded under seats and into weird positions.  We made sure to keep our rubbish bin bags black, and our bin bags for clothes white so that we didn’t accidentally bin any bags of clothes!Bag of cats or coats(Coats, not cats!)
  • As we took apart items of furniture we put all screws and fittings into freezer bags and made sure to label them with what they contained.  Some people suggested photographing how to put together tricky items, but most of our furniture is fairly easy to take apart and put back together again.Label up fittings during a house move
  • We picked up two sets of marker pens and packing tape.  You either end up losing a pen in the piles of packing or getting really frustrated when you get to the end of a roll of tape and hadn’t thought to purchase another!
  • Dan’s Dad is Managing Director of a plastics company so was able to source us 100 boxes that the company uses for packaging parts.  They were all 50cm by 50cm so stacked perfectly on top of each other as our dining room slowly turned into a pile of boxes over a few months.  It made our game of Van Tetris much easier than it would otherwise have been when it came to loading the other week.  When I took my belongings to and from Uni I remember using boxes from the local ASDA to transport items back in my Dad’s truck and it was a nightmare trying to wedge items together so that everything fit and that nothing would slip and break.Loading the moving van for our house move
  • I studied lots of ways to label the boxes and the way that I found most efficient was to mark each box with a number.  Alongside this, I made sure to keep a notebook detailing what each box contained and which room it was to go in when we arrived.  I then wrote a box number, which room it was to go in and whether or not the items were fragile/heavy onto each box.  Each room had a code (a very basic one…K = Kitchen, SR = Spare Room!)  It was super easy to work out where our pillowcases were when we arrived!Setting up a notepad for the house moveIt’s amazing how quickly a box begins to get heavy so we made sure to have a stack of cushions, towels and cuddly toys that needed to be packed to wrap around breakables and fill up some of the heavier boxes.
  • I transferred insurance onto the new property as soon as we knew the moving date.  I wasn’t really sure how this worked going into the move but apparently from when contracts are exchanged you need to have insurance on the new property.  Your contents insurance remains on your current house until the day you move when it is also transferred across.
  • Because I was working on the day of the move I took the upstairs (smaller area) and Dan took the downstairs to clear the final items.  On my rounds I double checked drawers and behind radiators, and then got Dan to walk round and check the upstairs once I had finished.  I’ve heard lots of stories about photos that have slipped down the back of radiators, or like Dan did, – an entire drawer of kitchen knives and utensils left in the old house! (Which I then ended up going over to collect after I’d finished work on that Monday.  Good job we only moved a few roads away!)
  • One of the best pieces of advice we received was to keep an open first-night box out during packing.  Our box contained deodorant, moving clothes, work clothes for the following day (as we were both working on the Tuesday), water bottles, contacts for me, two sets of cutlery, Bella’s food/litter/toys, towels, soap, screwdrivers, a towel, etc… out so that we didn’t have to trawl through loads of boxes to find the items we would be needing that evening when we first arrived.
  • I meal planned for the fortnight before we moved to try and eat through what was still in our cupboard and minimise how much of it we had to box up and move with us.  Some of our eat-up-the-cupboard meals were pretty random.  Rice with baked beans, a lump of sausage meat and a quarter of a pepper anyone?…!
  • Something we didn’t do, but would have done had our fridge been arriving a little sooner to our move date was to place an order for a delivery food shop to arrive at our new property the day after we moved.  Who wants to go and traipse around the shelves in Tesco when you’re already knackered with so much left to do back at your new home?!
  • We wrapped cling film around everything we could!  Why spend ages repackaging something that is already all together?!Cling film anything you can when you move house

During the move:

  • Dan and I had paced out beforehand the size of the van alongside the ever growing pile of boxes in our dining room.  When we loaded the van up the day before the move our bigger items went down one side of the van (like sofas, tables, washing machine…) and then our boxes could stack alongside these, as we had made ourselves very aware just how much space was going to be in the van.
  • I wrote a two page essay(!) letting the new owner of our house know about bin days, utility providers, paperwork for fixtures (like the boiler), items that we left and where they were (for example, we left the moving tools for our woodburner in the shed and the shower screen for the bath which we had never attached).  I also marked out which keys were for which doors and left a gift of a box of chocolates on the side.  I had planned to leave something homebaked, but there was no time for that in the end!

Leaving a note for the new owner during a house move

  • The absolute last thing that was packed was Bella.  She was also the first thing to be unpacked.  Dan shut Bella in the bedroom of our old house on moving day, and left her until he got the call to say that we could exchange keys.  When he arrived at the new house he placed her travel cage on the floor of our new bedroom and left her shut in there to acclimatise to her new surroundings.  We chose our new bedroom to shut her in as it is front facing so it meant that she would be able to hear and see us coming and going with boxes from the car.  She was very unsettled with the move and when I arrived home from work she was still cowering in her travel cage on the floor of the bedroom so I made sure to spend a lot of time with her and give her lots of cuddles.  She’s much more settled now and has discovered all the nooks and crannies in the house already!Bella exploring under the kitchen cupboards
  • Along with Bella, a bucket of cleaning items was also one of the last things to be packed.  Not only did we scrub our old house from top to bottom, but we did the same at our new house as well!
  • I made sure to take utility provider contact details for water, electricity and gas for both properties before our internet was cut off (we were more than two weeks in our new house before we were reconnected!) and I used my phone to take photos of all meter readings before leaving the house the morning of the move.  I made sure to do the same when we arrived at the new house as well.  Although randomly, that afternoon a guy from Anglian Water came to read our meter so that was one we didn’t forget!

Post-move:

  • We knew all along that putting together the bed would be one of the highest priorities on our list when we first arrived.  We had no idea how long we would last before flaking out.  Putting screws (correctly) in a bed and finding the sheets aren’t very fun activities when you’re exhausted!Dan putting together the tableWe were both knackered the first days after the move and Dan managed to carefully screw all legs onto this little table before realising that they should have gone on the outside, not the inside of the framework!  Definitely allow time for error!
  • For months Dan had been planning our first meal.  We hardly ever order takeaway but moving house seems to be the ultimate time to do so and Dan was very excited about ordering from Domino’s Pizza!  There isn’t a Domino’s in our town but there is on the way to the yard where we rented the van from.  We had a vision of sitting on boxes and eating our takeaway before unpacking.  I’m not sure why this is always the image you see in films when people move…We sat on our sofa with the takeaway!
  • Dan and I each chose a soft sports drink bottle to keep out with us for the move.  When we were in the new house we made sure to always place it down in the same location.  It was easy for things to get lost on move day, so always putting them in the same place helped us to know where to find them when we were gasping.  Moving is thirsty work!
  • I made sure to check that all lights and hot water were working in the new house early on whilst it was still daylight.  We’ve moved from a house with a combi-boiler to one without and it has taken a bit of getting used to.  It was handy to know that when it was still dark outside the following morning I would be able to have a warm shower and find the lightswitches to be able to navigate my way around the house before work.
  • Because I couldn’t be there for the move itself, I enlisted the help of my brother.  Dan also enlisted the help of my friend’s husband and between the three of them they had completed the majority of the move by the time I returned home from work.  At lunchtime Dan nipped to our local bakery to buy sandwiches and cakes for the three of them and when I arrived to our new home that evening I served up some squash and chocolate cake my Mum had sent up with my brother.  Fully fed workers are much more willing to help! :P
  • I was very glad that I had learnt our new address and postcode off by heart.  I had to relay it to so many people over the few days following the move and it helps to get it right! :P

Any important tips I’ve missed?

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EVAC Track and field results

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Last night I was roped into going along as the results person for the Eastern Veterans Athletic Club track and field events at Corby.

I didn’t know a whole lot about the events, not being old enough to score (age 35 for a female and 40 for a male) but this year our club was co-hosting an event with Corby AC over at the Rockingham Triangle in Corby as we do not have our own track in Wellingborough.  The club captains pleaded with me to help out and score so I agreed to do so – thinking that it would take my mind off of my taper for the Grim 70 on Friday.

Me sorting results at Rockingham Triangle in Corby

I turned up a little before 6:30pm, laptop in arms.  Earlier that day I had received via email a recording spreadsheet and declaration sheets of who was competing in which event from three of the five clubs that were attending.  The email recording spreadsheet was the most complicated thing I have ever seen, including twelve different workbooks and almost every cell containing a formula.  I struggled to work out what I was expected to enter where…and that is coming from an ICT teacher!  I had received instructions over the phone earlier that day to find membership numbers for each entrant (which I found on a different spreadsheet tab) and enter them into the spreadsheet declaration tab for each competing team.  I did this for the three clubs that had sent me their forms, but could not do this for the two teams which were yet to announce their competitors.  Luckily I received their sheets not long after arriving so quickly searched for and typed in membership numbers in the correct places before results started to trickle in.

Women wore letters on their bibs and men wore numbers.  Each referring to their age and club.

Nene Valley Harriers = 1/A
Peterborough AC = 2/B
Corby AC = 3/C
Wellingborough & District AC = 5/E
Huntingdonshire AC = 6/F

There were three age categories for the majority of events.  35-49, 50-59, 60+.  If a competitor was in the first age category they would have just one letter/number printed on their bib, the middle age category would have two and the oldest category would have three printed.  So, our Vet 60 lady had EEE printed on her bib.

Ladies team at EVACThis meant that some people would be displaying the same bib number/letter if they were competing for the same club and of the same age category but entered in different events.  Not being familiar with EVAC, not knowing a huge amount about track and field events and not having anyone show me how the scoring worked on the spreadsheet, this confused me for quite some time!

2k walk eventThe first event was the most confusing of all.  Each club could enter two competitors of each gender and of any age into the 2k walk.  Category A and category B – essentially two races held at once.  Category A was the faster entrant and entrants were already selected on the spreadsheet before the event.  Males and females competed together and then I received the results sheet up in my place in the top scoring box with a bunch of numbers and letters scribbled alongside times.  I had to split males from female runners and then had to establish if I needed to change category A and B entrants around on the declaration spreadsheet workbook (if the person supposed to be scoring for category A was in fact slower than their teammate) and record their times on separate sections of the spreadsheet.  It was so confusing!

2000m at EVAC

For the longer events, like the 2k walk and the 2000m they put together both men and women, although I then needed to split the results up on the spreadsheet afterwards.  Sometimes it was unnecessarily confusing.

Score sheet at EVAC

In the above photo of the 2000m race results sheet there is a number 99 and a number 115 – these are ‘guest’ competitors and non-scorers.  Either they already had someone competing for their age group in their club at that event, or they were too young to be able to compete but would want to enter anyway and would still want to receive times.  This messed the spreadsheet up as points were automatically allocated to competitors you gave a position to so the formulas all had to be overwritten.  Again, good job I was an ICT teacher.  I know plenty of people that would have struggled much more than I did here!

Several people came and changed competitors on their sheets throughout the evening and one guy came to state that he had not been included in the original hand written walk results – requiring a big faff of changing the results sheet around to include him.  One person had added herself to the wrong declaration sheet and several competitors came to pull through the results sheets to find out their times.  Very frustrating when I was desperately trying to get myself organised with all the results coming in at different times!

I thought I wouldn’t have a lot to do in the nearly three hours I was there but in actual fact I didn’t get a chance to watch many of the events at all.  I did manage to glance up just as the men were running their relay though.  I was especially interested in this after having had a go myself at the school sports day a few weeks back.  They were so fast.  Having been used to running long – nice and steady since becoming a runner, watching others run over the 100m distance before passing on to the next person at such amazing speeds was literally breath taking.  I couldn’t draw my eyes away until the end of the race.  Our guys came second, although held the lead right down until the last runner of the four.

EVAC at CorbyThe results weren’t all confusing.  The jump and throw events had results sheets which listed the name of each person and also their position and distances/heights.  They hadn’t recorded any no-scorers and these sheets were super easy to follow.EVAC throw resultsI would help out again, but having done it once now and knowing the sort of problems I encountered, I would ensure that I had answers to all questions before being left alone in the box with no outside help!

Have you ever taken part in any track or field events?
Have you been part of a race which has had an alternative way of scoring/placing competitors?

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What I’m loving right now

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My Summer holidays are already four days in and right now I am loving…

…being able to mix and match my salads at lunch.

Pesto, ham, mozzarella and tomato salad

On Friday our new fridge freezer arrived and it has been amazing being able to have fresh fruit and dairy once more.  I was getting fed up of daily visits to the shop for milk and there was one evening last week where all I really craved was a cheese salad sandwich but I had to make do with butterless toast instead.  A poor substitute!

Salad items in the fridgeI’ve been having my fill of fresh fruit and vegetables ever since.

…having the internet back!

You don’t realise just how much you rely on the internet until you don’t have it any more.  For me it wasn’t just about entertainment (blogs/social media/netflix…) but also vital admin house things like transferring money or finding the phone number for our solicitor.

I’ve had the internet back for all of a couple of hours so far and have already caught up with so much during that time.  My recent daily ritual has been to either fill my laptop bag with all my fully-charged electronic devices and take the fifteen minute walk to McDonalds, where I would sit in the corner of the restaurant and nurse a milkshake until my laptop battery ran out.  Or I would sit out on the grass a little way in front of our row of houses where there was a BT WiFi hotspot.  (Not preferable when wet though!)

A friend sent me this earlier today and this was totally me last week!  Haha!

McDonalds free wifi image

…being able to run during the day and not having to schedule my run in at a precise time when our (now joint) car was free and when I wasn’t rushing off elsewhere.  I ran Thursday at club as I normally would have done in the evening, but on Friday it was during the middle of the morning and again yesterday.  There’s something nice about not having to rush out to get somewhere for a certain time and not being on a time limit for when you must return.

…having a project to work towards.

Peeling off the bright red wallpaper in the new houseAs I mentioned the other day, most of the rooms in our house are either bright red, yellow or orange.  Some are even a mixture of all three colours!  Red, orange and yellow are not really the colours we would have chosen for our house and it could really do with a freshen up – lots of the layout of the house needs adapting, both the kitchen and bathroom will need redoing completely and we have a long-term plan to extend into the garage as well.  Upstairs in the bedrooms the main issue is simply the colours or peeling wallpaper, so we are tackling this first of all and whenever I’ve had a spare half hour (or seven!) this week I’ve been stripping wallpaper or pulling away dado rails.

Peeling off the bright red wallpaper in the new houseOf the four bedrooms one of them now has the majority of the wallpaper removed and another has had a first coat of paint applied.  We’re getting there slowly but I like that again there is no rush but that I can complete it a little bit at a time.

…snuggles with my Bella cat.

Bella cat is all snuggly

Bella has been super snuggly since we moved and I only have to sit or lay down for a second and she has jumped up onto my lap or my back for a cuddle.

Bella snuggle asleep…she’s pretty cute though!

…cake!

Chocolate anniversary cakeMy Mother-in-law made Dan and I a cake for our upcoming anniversary which she brought round on Sunday afternoon and I’ve enjoyed a little slice each day since!

Chocolate anniversary cakeWhat are you loving lately?
Is your house filled with bright colours or have you stuck to more neutral tones?

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