All over the UK

When I first fell pregnant last year Dan and I agreed that it was time we stopped travelling around the country to see friends and family.  Instead we decided that it was time they came to see us, or that we met in a mutual location, we saw them less often or all of the above.

We do feel really settled in our little town in Northamptonshire, but when Dan and I took the leap of moving in together we made the unwise decision to move halfway between both Dan’s family and mine so that one of us would never be a four hour journey from their friends and family.  All it actually means though is that we end up traveling ALL THE TIME!  Every time one of our nieces or nephew has a birthday, it requires four hours of driving.  Each time we fancy going out for coffee or a beer (or in my case a hot chocolate or wine) with our best friends it becomes a proper long trek, normally tied in with an overnight stay at parents’ houses, fitting in visits to as many people as practically possible during the time that we are back.  The task is made much more difficult now that Oscar is on the scene too.

Of course we have both made fantastic friends in our new area, having lived here for nearly seven years, but that has added to our growing list of commitments!

Over the past two weeks we have attended a wedding in Birmingham, been to celebrate a friend’s son’s first birthday party in Norwich and then headed to Huddersfield for another friend’s son’s first birthday party…

Sarah and Treble's wedding - Oscar in braces(The Pearsons looking all smart for our first wedding of 2017)

Dinosaur cake for Charles' birthday at the Dinosaur Park

(Check out that cake for a first birthday bash held at the Dinosaur Park in Norwich!)

…In our house we’ve managed to touch up final coats of paint on ceilings, doors, architrave and walls, and move furniture to have the carpet laid upstairs.  (Finally.  No more floorboards!)… Oscar's nursery bedroom(Oscar’s nursery when we first moved in)Oscar's nursery bedroom(And Oscar’s nursery now!)

…We’ve bought a new sofa and armchair set for our lounge and we’re about to take up the carpet in our lounge/diner to reveal the parquet floor underneath.  (Please let there be nothing wrong with it.  I want this house to be DONE!)… Angelic sofa from Dfs(Angelic sofa from Dfs)

…Dan and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on the 9th August.  I bought Dan a new leather wallet and he gave me a gorgeous leather-bound notebook for my writing.  We stayed at Rutland Water for a night the following week with Oscar, who we took on a walk to Bugtopia the following day.Leather bound notebook for our third anniversary(It’s so lovely I’m not sure I want to spoil it with my handwriting!)

…Oscar also managed to knock my phone off the bed a fortnight ago and I have been phoneless ever since.  It has been sent off for repair, but I’m not sure how much longer I will be without, especially as it has been away during the Bank Holiday weekend.

The first time my phone failed to turn on I shrugged it off and was like ‘Meh.  I’m due an upgrade in November.  I can last until then.’  But actually there’s been several times I’ve wanted to take pictures and not been able to, I’ve fallen madly behind with my emails again and I haven’t read any blogs for days.  I could really have done with my phone over the weekend when Dan and I spent eleven hours in a car over three days attending childrens’ birthday parties!
I hope I get it back soon.

Our home computer is all in pieces at the moment as well, as we moved everything out of our office so that the carpet could go down and I’m waiting for Dan to put up our new desk before constructing the computer again.  I’ve still been out running, but the computer isn’t there for me to sync the runs from my Garmin to Strava at the moment.  I’ll have to do a big batch of them all next week.  Then I can add stats to a post about my snail-killer run, my all-the-paths-with-streetlights run and the run where I ran the same one mile loop on repeat for an hour.

Can you tell I’m about done of lonesome night-time running?!

How long could you survive for without a phone?!
Have you had a busy Summer?
When was the last time you bought new furniture for your house?

Five things Friday

1. Five years a runner!

One day last week my Timehop alerted me to the fact that I had joined my running club five years ago.  I’ve been a runner for five years! Although some days I think it feels like I’ve been running for so much longer now. I really cannot remember life before running.  What did I even do before all my spare time was spent planning runs, running and blogging about them?!

Running club poster

2. Living on a building site

Despite having moved into our house last July, there are several remaining unpacked boxes in the garage and we’re still waiting to unpack several of the larger items like bookcases and cabinets until after the house is more complete and new carpet goes down.  I did get desperate for storage in the kitchen though and had to move the TV cabinet in as a make-do larder as there was nowhere to store food!

We have been making much more progress just lately and my parents have travelled up to help over several recent weekends.  The aim is to have our house more or less complete in the way that we want it before the Summer holidays is over.

Working on the houseI’ve pretty much accepted that until the Summer there’s a good chance I won’t see my lounge floor as it’s been completely overtaken by tools.  Frustratingly, lots of the jobs that have been completed during recent weekends have been ones with small impact on the overall look of the house.  Between them Dan and Dad have added extractor fans, changed light fittings and fixed creaky floorboards.  All necessary, but very insignificant-seeming in the grand scheme of things!

Dan and I began the task of knocking through and clearing the archway leading from the lounge into the dining room last night.  I’ve convinced Dan to let me have a dresser in the dining room, but to make room we first need to knock into the wasted space taken up by the archway, a task that has been one of many on our to-do-list since moving in last year.

Dan knocking through the archway

Dan knocking through the archwayThe archway is still a work in progress as it begun to get late before we could finish last night.  Another job for the weekend!  The list is so long!

3. Off on holiday!

A few weeks ago when the first of Dan’s many upcoming stag dos took place I got a bit of holiday-envy.  Dan and I haven’t been away since our honeymoon nearly two years ago and with the impending arrival of our baby this coming Autumn I wasn’t sure when we would next get to go away again.  Luckily, Dan is always up for a holiday, and despite already having plans for three weekends away this year (two of them abroad!) he agreed to head away for a few days with his wife as well! 😉  Initially thinking that it would be nice to head away for some time in the Summer around our anniversary in August I was shocked to discover the other day that with most airlines I wouldn’t be able to fly after my 28th week of pregnancy.  My 28th week falls before I begin the Summer holiday from school!  So, we panic booked and are now off for a few days in Prague over the half term holiday instead.  I’ll admit that work has been so busy since we booked the trip that I haven’t even thought since about going away or what we need until now and I’d like to have some sort of plan for the few days we are away.  At least I’m not so big that I won’t be able to enjoy it yet though.

4. My Nephew turned four

Last week our only nephew Jenson, turned four.  He starts school in September which is a really scary thought.  Although we have two nieces who are slightly older, they are not blood nieces, as they are from Dan’s siblings’ partners’ previous relationships.  (Still follow me on that one?!)

As Jenson was having a birthday party in a village hall in the Midlands, Dan and I found ourselves Midland-bound last Sunday.  May birthdays are plentiful in our family and close friends list, and so we arrived in Birmingham a little before shops opened in order to rush round to find cards and presents for all before seeing them that afternoon.  I literally felt like I was a candidate on The Apprentice.  We had a list, we had a time limit, we each had a credit card and on the drive into the city we worked out our game plan for when it came to collecting the items on the list.  Throughout our mad rush round town we repeatedly phoned each other with updates and caught rushed conversations in passing as we bumped into each other between shops!  No day trip from Lord Sugar at the end for us though!  Instead, just a very bad stitch for me and whinging from us both that we were hungry!

We arrived to the party in time to see a stream of superhero dressed four year olds filing through the village hall doors, excitedly handing Jenson his presents.  Jenson wasn’t a fan of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song and clearly did not enjoy the extra attention!

Jenson's fourth birthday party - superheroes


An afternoon filled with seventeen children running around a hall was very loud!  I don’t remember friends’ parents attending birthday parties when I was younger, but all of Jenson’s friends’ parents remained sat around the edges of the hall.  Clearly the etiquette has changed since I was a child.  I made it clear to Dan that when our child is born that he is to accompany said child to all birthday parties.  I had a headache by the time we left on Sunday night!

It was rather entertaining to watch the children interacting though, and I had to stifle my laugh as one Batgirl wearing a lot of leather-look clothes appeared to be doing some sort of interpretive dance to ‘Let it Go’!

No birthday cake this year but I did bring home almost a week’s supply of leftover caprese salad and miniature cheesecakes to take to work with me.

Caprese salad

5. Still loving the ultras

So, even though I can’t run ultras at the moment, I’ve managed to keep involved with one or two…

I am gutted that I am not able to run at the Shires and Spires Northants 35 mile ultra next weekend.  This was my very first ultra back in 2013 and I’ve run the race every year since.  As the race is organised by Go Beyond, I have put my name down for marshaling duties instead this year.  Although I’m not sure if that will make me more aware of the fact that I am missing out?… :(  If you are running next Sunday then look out for me on the registration desk and also at checkpoint 2 out on the course.  This year the design for the medals is looking pretty awesome too…
Shires and Spires medal

…medal envy!

My big target running-wise is still the South Downs Way 100.  I’ve volunteered to marshal at the event this year on the 11th June to get a better insight of the event and hopefully chat to lots of more experienced ultra runners too.

I’d like to think that I will be able to recover from childbirth and return to training quickly, ready to attempt the event myself eight months later in 2017.  Obviously though, I’m still several months away from giving birth so if that becomes an unrealistic target then I will adapt my dates accordingly.  A 100 mile event will still be on the cards though.  And anyway, I hear that women are supposed to be much stronger at running over long distances after having had a baby! 😉 After powering through uncomfortable baby kicks on Tuesday night’s run I figure I could probably power through any stitch I got from running now!

Do you have any plans for the long weekend?
How long have you been running for?
Any suggestions for places to visit/eat out at in Prague?

Running at 20 weeks pregnant

I’m thinking about starting up a second blog.

There are a few things I want to write down about pregnancy and potentially baby musings after having the baby, but I don’t feel like this blog is the place to do that.  This blog is my current baby (along with Bella-cat of course!) where I can chat all things running and doing my best to fit in a healthy lifestyle around the madness that is my life.  I don’t want pregnancy or being a Mum (Uggg! That makes me sound old) to take over from that.  The second blog isn’t in place quite yet, but I very definitely do not want to change AHM from what it has become, so watch this space!…

Having said that, at times I know that pregnancy and baby will cross over into this blog, as they are quickly becoming more and more part of me and the madness that is my life at the moment.  (I have no desire to stand on the scales anytime soon, but when your belly struggles to fit under the desk at work anymore you know you can no longer deny your pregnancy!)
For example, today I want to write about running at 20 weeks pregnant.  That, to me, still fits in with where I see this blog.

Technically I’m actually in my 21st week now, with my final scan taking place next Monday morning, but for the purpose of this post, I am writing about week 20.
This is what I looked like at the start of my 20th week…

19 weeks pregnant


(Yes, the horrific wall colour in our dining room is one of the items on our current house-in-progress list!)

Week 20 was when I started to feel BIG.  Not just that my clothes no longer fit and I was a little tired, but big and incapable of completing silly little tasks that I had always taken for granted before.

On Saturday my parents came to visit for the day.  I say ‘visit’, but my Dad can never just ‘visit’.  His visits always have a purpose and this weekend, like the one a fortnight before was to help us sort out some of the jobs that needed doing on our house.  We moved here last July and although entirely liveable, there were lots of areas of the house that needed improvement.  The bathrooms being one.  We’ve had a plumber round on and off for the last month fitting a new boiler and replacing our old suites for new ones.  (It is so nice to finally have a bath that I can sit down in again…Simple things!)  Anyway, the plumber being in kickstarted a whole host of other jobs that needed doing, including the need for extractor fans, new light fittings and re-tiling of the bathroom.  It was some combination of those tasks that saw my parents arrive bright and early on Saturday morning at our doorstep.  Dan disappeared upstairs to help Dad and my Mum soon settled in the garden to pot up some of the flowers she had brought over for our garden.  My task was to make the drinks and fill the watering can.

Apparently I’m not supposed to put my hands in compost as it contains some element which is not very good for pregnant women.  I also couldn’t lift the heavy pots up to move them across the garden.  I felt a little guilty when I shot out at lunchtime to meet Steph at the Northampton Food Festival, but it was something I had told my parents about before they had arranged to visit.  And besides, several portions of tasty cheese and fudge could only cheer me up, right?!  I could be useful selecting tasty cheeses to bring home!

Lynn Bank Farm cheese from the Northampton Food FestivalI thought the Tomato & Basil was my favourite, but then I tried the Garden Herbs and Garlic one, was torn between the two and ended up coming home with four cheeses!

There was lots going on at the food festival (mainly cheese and fudge!) and Steph and I nibbled on lots of samples on our way round the event (again, mainly cheese and fudge!), stopping to watch a couple of demonstrations taking place.  Luckily, most of the cheese samples were cheddar, so I didn’t have to forgo too many of the offerings.  Although I did look rather longingly at the Prosseco and Baileys shots that were being handed out in one tent.

The weather was rather miserable which was a shame, but it didn’t rain whilst we were there.

On returning home I made another round of teas and offered out slices of fudge before scrubbing the garage door and then waving my parents off as they returned home to Norfolk.  I attempted to help Dan tidy the mess from the drilling upstairs but the task he set for me was to bend down to pick up items from the floor of the hallway, walk to the airing cupboard and place them on the floor inside the airing cupboard door.  Bending over and me haven’t been getting on very well this past fortnight and my belly is now at a size that makes bending over forwards incredibly difficult.  In the end I sat on the floor by the airing cupboard and Dan passed things down to me.  So I did play a part in tidying up, even if it was rather a small one!

Last week at work was a busy one.  Friday was the deadline for the majority of GCSE and A level coursework marks to be sent off to the exam boards by.  Having taught 170 year 11s this year, along with a handful of A level students I had rather a lot of paperwork to be filled in towards the end of last week, meaning that I didn’t manage to slot any evening runs in at all.  With my parents down on the Saturday and the 25k walk on the Sunday I didn’t even get a run in over the weekend either.  This meant that most of Monday at school was spent thinking about where I planned on running that evening and planning some nice easy miles outside in the sun.  I changed into my running gear the second I got home, snapped my watch on my arm and tied my trail shoes in place.

As soon as I got out of the door I knew it wasn’t going to be a good run.  I felt big, I felt blundery and my stomach just felt uncomfortable.  It seemed like my stomach was moving all around inside yet the outside of it was still pretty solid.  I’m at the stage now where some people have started realising that I am pregnant, although nobody apart from one year 10 boy in my ICT option class has mentioned it to my face.  I just see the odd person glancing down to my belly from time to time, and the question silently pass over their face.

Knowing that some people are now aware of my pregnancy has meant that what runs I have gone on I have headed out on the trail or out-of-the-way roads, as I don’t want people to a) assume I am much slower because I am overweight or b) judge me as I have decided to run through my pregnancy.  Both very vain remarks I know, but that is what runs through my head when I’m out with my trainers on at the moment.  I had a few judgemental comments from people (non-running people!) that knew I was running the Milton Keynes half marathon the other week.  I am not someone that is able to just sit in the house and not get out and exercise.  I pity the poor women all those years ago when that was what was advised as best for them for 9 months!  There is every evidence now that in the majority of cases, it is better to be out and gently exercising than sat on your bum for 24 hours of the day!  My midwife even allowed me to start at the Thames Trot 50m event back in February!

So yeah, I managed to get about 3/4 mile on Monday before realising I needed to cut my losses, turn around and head for home.  I’d already walked by this point.  I wasn’t tired, or out of breath, it was just super uncomfortable in my belly and I knew that the walk would do me just as good, probably more so as I wouldn’t overstress my body on a day it clearly wasn’t ready to run.  I reckon my body is having a super workout every time I do run anyway, as it’s now carrying so much extra weight! 😉

Rubbish run

Like last time I posted, sometimes the running is fine and just like pre-pregnancy, but other days I have no chance of completing my planned session and really need to play it by ear.  Annoyingly I’ve felt like I’ve had to avoid my regular club and trail runs with friends for the past couple of weeks for this reason.  It’s frustrating, as I am already starting to miss my running buddies and there are several weeks to go yet!

May steps

To try and make up for my poor running days I have been trying to ensure that I hit 10,000 steps on my Vivofit every day.  I find that this target still gives me an achievable focus even if the baby is lying in an awkward position and making running near-impossible on that day.  There have only been one or two exceptions where I haven’t hit my target since very early on in my pregnancy and I find I feel so much better afterwards for having got out there and moving rather than curling up in a ball on the couch like I find I want to do on some days.

Bump at 20 weeks pregnantThis is me at the end of twenty weeks.  Squinting in the sun, with one foot missing and Dan’s shadow over the top of me.  I got Dan to take several photos for me and this was seriously the best one!

Have you ever chosen to run away from where people can be seen ‘judging’ you?
Do you feel lost when you have to miss out on running sessions with friends?

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

Christmas as hosts

After returning home from Corby parkrun on Christmas morning, it was very much go-go-go in our house.  I had offered to host Christmas for the first time and we had Dan’s parents, Great Aunt and Nan joining us for dinner.  Luckily they were running slightly late and then hit a little traffic on the A14 so it left me plenty of time to shower and change following the parkrun fun.  Dan’s Great Aunt actually ended up feeling too poorly to make it, so dinner for six became dinner for five instead.

I had set the table the night before to save time.  In our previous house we had always needed to have our table on the smaller size setting and pressed against the wall in the corner of the lounge so that we could squeeze by.  In our new house, we have a separate dining room and I had so been looking forward to being able to host dinners!  :)

Hosting Christmas for the first timeExcuse the horrific bright orange and pine walls in our dining room.  Annoyingly, despite putting a lot of work into the upstairs rooms, due to waiting on a plumber we haven’t yet been able to start the larger task of the downstairs rooms just yet.  These are the ones that people actually see though!

Dinner was timed to perfection, and our guests sat down for starters just before 1pm.

Do you like the little Santa outfit I found in B&M for our Champagne bottle?!

Christmas champagne Santa outfit bottle warmerI don’t actually like turkey, but of course, the best bit about Christmas dinner is all the veg anyway…

Christmas dinner vegetables

After dinner we moved into the lounge where it was time to begin opening the presents.  When I still lived at home, one of our family Christmas traditions was that we always opened up our gifts together in the afternoon, after having eaten Christmas dinner.  I had explained to Dan that when we had our own family I wanted to keep this tradition, although Dan really wasn’t sure about that at all.  Turns out, we both now totally understand why presents were opened in the afternoon and not in the morning.  Christmas dinner cooking takes over all time in the morning!  Well, it did when it followed parkrun at least!

I had some awesome presents, both running and non-running related which I’m sure will pop up on the blog over the coming weeks.

I have tested out a couple of the running items already though…my new running cap with inbuilt light…

New running cap with inbuilt light from Aldi…my new compression socks…

Compression socks…and my new parkrun barcode band…

parkrun barcode band

…which I wore on both Christmas morning and also on Boxing Day morning, when I headed over for parkrun number 2 of the week – Bedford parkrun.
Boxing Day parkrun
I have only run the Bedford course once before, back in August.  I had no intentions to run the course quickly by any means, but hoped to remain consistent and tick off another parkrun – parkrun #40.

I had started off too far back in the pack of runners.  Bedford isn’t a course where you can really spread out at the beginning, as the track follows narrow footpaths around the edges of the park, with some more enclosed sections as you run between the edge of the park and the pond on the inside.  After a few hundred metres, I quickened my pace slightly and spurted up along the inside of the runners on the grass verge, through the mud.  Turns out other parkrunners aren’t too fond of mud so I used it to my advantage!  I found my place in the pack and settled into a rhythm again.

I was wearing my heart rate monitor for the first time since switching to my new Garmin 310xt at the end of October.  I had intended to set it up to display my heart rate before setting off on the run, but had bumped into another runner from my club when I arrived so ended up talking as I walked down to the start line instead.

There were several children out on the course, including one that looked no older than four, who was picking his little legs up really high to try and keep up with what I presumed was his Mum.  There was also a young boy who came past in a 100 parkrun t-shirt.  I have a lot of respect for any parkrunners that have completed 100+ of the runs, but double the respect when it is a child who has completed that number of runs!

In the end, I was very consistent and my splits were as follows: 9:05, 8:56, 9:12, nubbin (0.1m) at 7:41mm pace.

Garmin time: 27:57
Official time:
Position: 156/289
Gender position: 35/110
Age category position: 6/13

Do you keep any family Christmas traditions since leaving home?
What is your favourite Christmas meal item?  
I think mine has to be the roast potatoes.  All of the ones I cooked disappeared this year so I must have done something right when it came to cooking them!