Social Media – love it or hate it?

I’ve been intermittently absent from social media over the past couple of days and to be honest it has been a relief at times.  Social media is a fantastic tool for catching up with people who might not live so close, sharing photographs or news events, chatting to others with a similar interest and interesting potential customers for a business.  But at times, it can also become a big pain in the arse.

For A Healthier Moo, I use Twitter (@ahealthiermoo), Instagram (ahealthiermoo) and Pinterest (moo101uk) and then I also have a personal Facebook account, and run several Facebook and Twitter accounts for local businesses including the school I work at.

About six weeks ago I changed my phone contract to EE, as I was assured I would receive a much better coverage of the UK – able to use internet and check emails on the move when I am about the country.  I have received fantastic coverage with EE, but that has been a problem in itself!  Lately I’ve gotten into the bad habit of reading things as they pop up onto my phone – Facebook alerts, comments, etc but holding off replying/acting upon them until I am at the computer.  Completely forgetting how quickly they mount up!

Emails are the worst.  I had over 180 new in one email account today after not checking them since Wednesday – probably only half of which were of the junk variety.  I’m pretty sure online life could take over if I let it!  I do think it’s very important to live life offline as well as online.  Hence the switch off over the past couple of days.

Thursday morning I woke to discover that our boiler had given up and there was no hot water for a shower!

Boiler issues

A mad dash followed as I loaded the car with my things and headed to my parents’ house for a shower.  A two hour drive away.  (I had planned on heading back for a few days anyway!)

On the Friday I agreed to help Mum look for a dress for our wedding.  She had her heart set on heading over to the shopping centre at Spalding, so after a quick early morning 10k (nothing starts the day off better than collecting an extra 9 zones on Fetchpoint) I drove her and Dad over to Spalding on a dress hunt.  Stopping at the auction in Snettisham on the way at Dad’s request.  He’s addicted…Seriously.

No dress, but a Subway sandwich for lunch.  Winner!

When we returned home we were going to pop over and visit my uncle, but my Dad was experiencing a lot of pain in his shoulder.  He went in to hospital for an operation to have the tendon repaired in his arm about three weeks ago and recovery had been going well up until this point.  The pain was really intense though, and I ended up driving him up to North Walsham emergency centre to be seen, stopping briefly to call ahead on the way.  As it was the out of hours service, they dosed him up on some more drugs and told him to head into his regular doctor’s surgery on Monday after the weekend.  His drugs cabinet is getting rather cramped with everything he has to take!

Whilst I was back I also popped over to the local Church Warden’s house in my parent’s village who has offered to lend Dan and I quite a lot of items for the wedding.  Her daughter (two years younger than me at school) had a wedding in April and they still have a shed full of bits that they used for the day.  So we have been supplied with outdoor lights and tealight holders along with some car park signs and barriers to place in the church field.

The Church Warden had written a piece for the local paper recently which Mum had saved me a copy of.

Church paper article

Dad very proudly showed me how the flowers my parents have been growing for the wedding day have progressed.  They’ve really begun to take off now and there’s a bright mass of marigolds along the back of their house beginning to take over the old walkway!

Flowers for the wedding Flowers for the wedding


I’m back home again now, and although it’s been nice to have a break, it’s nice to return to a bit of normality again, and I’ve been on Pinterest for the past 15 minutes searching for meal planning inspiration for next week!

Social media – love it or hate it?!
Any tips to keep on top of it all?!

Who shuts loos at 4pm?!

A few weeks ago we discovered that Dan still had two holiday days left to take from work so he booked off Tuesday and Wednesday after the Bank Holiday with the thinking that we can get some wedding bits organised this week. We made a good start yesterday!

On Sunday there was the Festival of Country Life held at Lamport Hall (the venue for next week’s Shires and Spires 35m event) and so we decided to spend the day out together. Something we haven’t done properly in a very long while.  We’re making the most of the extra long weekend, as it’s the last for a while where we’re not booked up with other events going on.

The rest of the weekend was awful weather, but we lucked out on Sunday with sunny skies and no rain.  There was loads to see – lots of animals, old machinery and demonstrations going on.

IMG_20140525_141406488 IMG_20140525_140813612_HDR IMG_20140525_140821426We stopped to grab some lunch before watching the demos in the main arena.

One of the best bits about days out has got to be all of the food choice!  Dan was desperate for a currywurst.


And when he saw the selection of nuts and seeds on offer he couldn’t resist the honey coated cashews.  A long time favourite!IMG_20140525_123013809IMG_20140525_133056713

I went for a cheese, basil and tomato pasty (they were huge!)

IMG_20140525_123905423_HDR IMG_20140525_125904472Followed by a selection of homemade fudge.  (Yum!)

We took our lunch over to the main arena where we watched the ‘One dog and his ducks’ demonstration.

IMG_20140525_131140358_HDRFollowed by most of the Birds of prey section.  Both kept me entertained for the hour.  I’ve always loved watched the sheepdogs work since we were little and used to holiday in Derbyshire on a working farm.  The dogs were herding seven white ducks and one black one in and out of cones and through tunnels and into small pens.  The black duck kept letting himself out and would not co-operate!

I’d roughly penciled in a long run for when I returned from the show so after a quick snuggle with Bella on the bed I headed out.

Bella snuggles on the bedThere was no plan.  I’ve given up making plans for runs at the moment.  They never go to plan!  I just hoped it would turn into a longish run and that I would start out slow enough that I could keep running throughout.

The first couple of miles I felt great.  10:30-11mm pace so reasonably slow compared to what I am capable of, but very easy and comfortable and my legs no longer felt heavy for the first time in weeks.  Mile 3 beeped on my Garmin – still going – excellent!  Then I realised that fudge probably hadn’t been the best pre-long-run nutrition.  My stomach started feeling a little funny and I changed direction heading towards the toilets at Stanwick Lakes, less than half a mile away.  I arrived at 4:04pm.  The toilets were locked.  I was now more than 3 miles away from home.  What does a runner do?!

There was nothing for it but to find a secluded area of woodland along the path and leap in as quickly as possible so as not to get seen!  In my eagerness to get in and out without being seen I yanked my shorts down as quick as possible, forgetting that my iPod had been resting in the back pocket of my shorts but connected to the headphones in my ears.  After the sudden stretch of wires the voices on my podcast started to sound all squeaky and I hope that the damage is either a ) not permanent or b) only to my headphones as they are much more replaceable than the iPod itself!

I thought it was probably best to cut the run short and so I headed back for home, instead deciding to put myself through my paces as I came back along the road – three short bursts of speed until I reached quicker than 7:30mm pace before returning to 10mm speed and jogging my way back.

Do you know where all the public loos are on your runs?!

Ever had to make an emergency stop?!





One year as a fiancée

One year ago today Dan asked me if I would marry him.  (Spoiler: I said yes!)  You can read about how he proposed here.

We are now 75 days away from becoming a married couple!  Scary times!

In honour of the day I made us a tasty breakfast of waffles…

Bacon and berry waffles

His ‘n’ hers breakfasts.  Dan’s were topped with bacon, mine with berries.  Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and some grapes.

Berry waffles

…and it was gooooood!

After breakfast and a quick house tidy the rest of the morning was spent making lists for the wedding.  I feel like we have a million and one lists going on at the moment.  A guest responses list, meal choices list, to do list, payments list, photography set list, running order list…

Today it was the running order list we worked on…
* 6:30am – Bride run (crossing my fingers the hairdresser lets me!)
* 7:30am – Breakfast for all staying at my parents (My Mum, Dad, brother, Me, Mother-In-Law, Father-In-Law and Nan-In-Law…does that title even exist?!)
* 9:00am – Put out car parking signs to church and venue.  (Possibly me and my brother?  It’ll be too crowded at the house in the morning and I’ll need some space!)
* 10am – Hairdresser arrives.  Mother-In-Law to be styled first, then bridesmaids and me last.
* 11:30am – Makeup person arrives.  Mother-In-Law, Maid of Honour then Me.
* 12pm – Ushers arrive at church.  (Hopefully!)
* 12:30pm – Caterer arrives at venue (again, hopefully!)
* 12:45pm – Bridesmaids and Mum to the church.
* 12:55pm – Bride and Father to the church (It is literally only two roads away so will only take a matter of minutes.  I’m very excited about arriving in a horse and carriage.  Although this is the bit my Dad is dreading the most…he has seen too many videos on You’ve Been Framed!)
* 1pm – Wedding ceremony begins.
* 1:35pm – Place half of my bouquet on my Nan’s grave.
* 1:40pm – Posed photos with family members outside the church.
* 2pm – Bride and Groom leave in horse and carriage.  (Will be nice to finally talk to Dan!)
* 3pm – Bride and Groom arrive at the venue (It’s only four miles from the church but we’re hoping for some photos on route if it’s a nice day.)
* 3:25pm – Meet and Greet line with Bride, Groom and both sets of parents.  Ushers direct guests to seats.
* 3:30pm – Meal begins.
* 5pm – Father of the Bride speech.  (I have no idea how long the speeches will take, so I’ve allotted them all 5 minutes.  I’m pretty sure my Dad’s will be over in one minute flat!)
* 5:05pm – Groom speech.
* 5:07pm – Distribute presents to bridesmaids and mothers.
* 5:10pm – Maid of Honour speech.
* 5:15pm – Best Man speech.
* 6pm – Band arriving to set up.
* 6pm – Bride and Groom photos.  (We’ve planned to have some photos taken on the rustic playpark alongside the venue.
* 6pm – Ushers to move some chairs through from marquee to hall and parents to pick up evening food.
* 6:30pm – Band starts.
* 7pm – Ensure starlight ceiling is working in the marquee.  (Not sure if this comes on automatically?)
* 7:20pm – First dance.
* 8pm – Cutting the cake.
* 8:30pm – Evening buffet laid out in front room.
* 10:30pm – Last dance for the Bride and Groom.
* 10:40pm – Bride and Groom leave.

It’s gonna be a busy day!

Have I missed anything out?!

Blisworth 5

“I WILL run a negative split, I WILL run a negative split…”

Apparently it doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself that before a shorter distance race, I still get too excited at the klaxon and shoot off too fast.

The aim was to run a consistent 9:30mm but with such a nice downhill to start, my legs found it tough to slow from the 8:30mm pace I kicked off at at the very beginning.

Blisworth 5 elevationUnfortunately, what goes down must go back up again and I can’t say the next stretch of uphill was my favourite in the course!

Blisworth 5 elevation uphillThe worst sort of hill – long and drawn out!  I ran it all though.  After this uphill the rest of the course was relatively flat, or with only very small up/downhills.

Blisworth 5 hill

Why is there always a photographer at the top of a hill?!  I look like I’m barely moving here.

The course is a PB race for many in the club and I can see why.  Although the uphills slowed everyone down, it was easy to make up lost time on the rolling downhills and use some of the forward going energy to push you back up at least the start of the next hill!

My splits ended up as:

Mile 1: 9:20
Mile 2: 10:04
Mile 3: 10:19
Mile 4: 10:24
Mile 5: 9:19
0.04: 7:29 pace

So none of them actually resembled the 9:30mm pace I was aiming for at all!

A total time of 49:47.  Finishing position: 383/410, Female position: 109/127, Category position (Senior Female): 28/34.

I was vaguely aware throughout the race that I was roughly where I should place in comparison to other club runners around me.  That’s the thing about regular races in the County, – you recognise the runners that surround you each time!  As soon as I crossed the line, I congratulated those around me on their races.  Derek, a relative newbie to our club had pounded up behind me with 0.4 miles to go and his running alongside me had encouraged me to pick my pace right up.  Up until that point I felt like I had been plodding along.  With the addition of competition suddenly my brain decided to push my legs into gear and I managed to hold a sub 9mm pace to the finish.  Throughout the race I had had no stitch, my breathing had been fine, then when I began to head to the finish all of a sudden my legs were no longer heavy…

Blisworth finish fullsize…Derek had pulled away at this point and I knew I would no longer be able to catch him, but I still put in a good finish.

Once I’d reached my club mates to cheer the remaining two from our club in, people began asking how I’d gotten on, if I was happy with my time…  I wouldn’t say I was happy with my time but I was at least satisfied it was an average sub 10mm pace.  The thing I find most frustrating about my running at the moment is that I cannot seem to run consistently.  Between miles 2.5-4 I walked sections of the hills, exactly the same as I had resorted to doing at Rugby a week earlier.  The hills at this point were nothing major and did not need walking.  I was only running 5 miles in total and last month I ran all but a few steps of the 28 miles I covered at London marathon!

I know a lot of the reason my legs feel so heavy is that I have concentrated on higher mileage this year, frequently running 50+ miles each week.  I feel like I should be getting at least a little quicker over shorter distances though.  I’m still right towards the back of the club runners at races and seem to only be getting slower, not quicker in the slightest.

Running the pace I did for the final half mile or so without any issues did pick my confidence back up a bit, although still left me frustrated that I hadn’t managed to maintain that pace on my own.  It has made me seriously consider seeing if somebody would pace me around a shorter distance race though to pick me back up from the slump I seem to have fallen in at the moment.

Have you ever been informally paced before?  I’ve informally paced others, but other than at London this year, have never used pacers before, and never run with someone to help me achieve a certain time.