About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 - Another great year

2015 was pretty much full on - lots of cycling (although not as much as 2014), lots of lovely trips in Tribby and ticking things off the To Do in 2015.  The most exciting To Do was book and plan the holiday to Australia - it seems to have been a very long time since April when we booked and it won't be long now before we're up and away.

On the cycling front I've spent 68 hours on the bike travelling 1,000 km - only 79.5 less than last year which I'm happy with.   I've increased my top mileage to 43 miles which is something I want to work on next year too.   I'm just about to sign up for the 60 mile Davina Big Sussex Ride in June so I'll need to get training after Australia.

We also ventured further in Tribby than in 2014 with a debut trip to the Paris Roubaix - taking Tribby enabled us to be nearer the pave than in previous years.
We also tried a summer road trip visiting sites in Sussex, Wiltshire and Somerset.

Cheddar Gorge


We weren't sure whether this would work or if it suited us but actually it suits us down to the ground.  We definitely don't like to stop in one place for more than a couple of days.  In 2016 we hope to head further north and visit Herefordshire and maybe Wales - somewhere I've never been.   We haven't got much holiday left because of Australia so hopefully a week at the end of August will enable another road trip, otherwise it's going to be local trips for weekends.

I'm not going into detail of the Australia trip - there will be plenty of time for that next month.  I don't want to bore you too much, although my next post is the itinerary !

2016 will also see a massive effort to lose the weight I failed to lose this year and I've joined a reading challenge so I'll definitely be reading more.

The highlight of 2015 for me was without doubt our prize winning weekend to the New Forest.  I've won odd things like sportswear or accessories but never a weekend away.

And of course the year being topped off by my baby brother getting married on 30th December - congratulations to the newly married Mr & Mrs Pelham - here's to a happy life together.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas is Here !!!!!

There is usually one event during December which makes me feel all Christmassy and gets me motivated to wrap the presents and get the living room decorated and tree up.  This year's event was a 30 mile Santa Bike Ride for Chestnut Tree House, sponsored by Giant Store Shoreham & Mr Cycles at Seaford.    

The only problem was the night before I went out to celebrate Christmas and 10 years of Claire's qualification as a PT.  It was lovely to spend some time with the girls I've met at boxercise over the last year and to see everyone all dressed up.  I was on my best behaviour - only stayed for the meal, had a couple of glasses of wine and was home in bed by 11.30pm, leaving the others to a night in the pub and so I understand a couple of hours in the local "nightclub".

Whilst I was out Shaun had been busy decorating the bikes for Sunday morning.
Blinged up Doris
Blinged up Mustang

The basic idea was to dress as Santa and ride from Shoreham to Worthing Pier and back again - 8 miles.  To add a few miles on Shaun and I joined up with some of his work colleagues and the boys and girls from Seahaven Cycling who were meeting at Saltdean and then cycling to Shoreham to join the main ride.

Courtesy of Seahaven Cycling
At 8am we gathered together ready for the 11 mile ride to Shoreham and meet nearly 150 other cyclists, including fellow Boshers Nic and Nick 

Courtesy of Nik Bailey - (god I look a little demented)
Santa Team Gobby
It was quite a sight to see so many red suited fellow cyclists.  At 10am we started the out and back to Worthing Pier - it was lovely to be tooted and waved at by passing motorists and people enjoying   walks, runs and bike rides along the coastal path.
Courtesy of Giant Store Shoreham
When we got to Worthing Pier we stopped for a well earned hot drink and snack and were welcomed by the Town Cryer ........... and the sun came out!
Courtesy of Giant Store Shoreham

The return journey was much the same, lots of smiling and bemused faces along the path.  Lots of 'HoHoHo's' and Merry Christmas from the cyclists. 

Back at the Giant store we tucked in to well earned cake and refreshments and then made our way back to Saltdean.   

It was a fantastic way to spend a morning and such a great atmosphere along the whole 30 mile ride.  We've raised a bucket load of money for Chestnut Tree House, around £2,800 at the time of writing.   This will definitely be on our ride calendar for next year - thank you Giant for stewarding and making sure we were safe and fed and watered at the end - we'll definitely be back!

The only thing left is for us to get decorating & wrapping ........ motivation is waning, fast! 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Letter to a Scumbag

Dear Scumbag

Please accept my apologies for not addressing you with your correct name, unfortunately that's your fault as you were too cowardly to introduce yourself.

Just over a week ago you for some reason which I am yet to comprehend you decided in the small wee hours to vandalise my vehicle.  I thought at first you wanted to steal my car but it would appear that the latest form of vehicle vandalism is to destroy the lock.   Whilst in itself this doesn't affect the aesthetic look of the car, nor does it affect the locking mechanism it does cost an absolute arm and a leg to mend.   I've ignored the massive scratch on the paintwork, after all with the paintwork damage from other car drivers who have little care for other people's possessions this pales into insignificance.

Having now had the damage inspected and set up a claim through my insurance the total cost of repair is going to be £500 plus VAT.   Luckily it wasn't any higher, the car only has a book value of £800 and would have been written off by the insurance company.  There is actually nothing else wrong with the vehicle, it's very reliable so writing it off would have been hard to bear.

The worst thing about this whole situation is that this car was bought with my own hard saved cash, it's not a lease vehicle, nor am I paying extortionate loan repayments.  No, I worked hard and saved to buy the car I wanted.  I'm hoping that one day Karma will come back to bite you on the arse when you have something that you've worked hard to save for and some little scrote destroys your faith in humanity, and your property.

Good luck with the rest of your life scumbag, you got away with this one but one day your luck will run out or you will grow up and see the error of your ways.


Lil B

Update - the "To Do List"

My last update for the to do list was in August, we're now almost into December 2015 - where has the year gone?

1 Lose Weight

I'm still really struggling with this.  We've got 6 weeks until we go to Australia and I'd love to duck under 11 stone but I've got about 5lbs to lose and my current 1lb on/1lb off status I'm not sure if I'm going to make it.  I'm going to try and get some extra exercise sessions in - Dawesy is on the turbo trainer and when I stop being a wuss about how cold it is in the shed I'll be braving the "man cave" for some sessions.   I've bought a turbo training plan which should help.  I'm going to start going to kettlecise on a Monday too.   I'm trying to keep my step count on target but it's difficult with the current weather conditions and lack of dog walking distance!

2   Read More Books

I've read two more books since August - pathetic I know by some people's standards but there you have it.  I've just started "Little Girl Gone" on my kindle.  I can't decide whether to take the kindle to Australia or get a couple of paperbacks - need to seriously think about that in the coming weeks.

3   Explore Great Britain

Exploring is currently on hold - Tribby is being packed up in the next couple of weeks ready for winter storage but we're already planning next year.   I'll only have 8 days holiday to take between February and December, so careful planning will be essential.  We're already making plans for next year, including our annual pilgrimage to Roubaix, but Easter is first and we're planning a trip to the New Forest in Tribby !

4    Get Running Again   

I was really upset to have to hang up my running shoes having got to week 2 of Couch to 5k.   I really need to get my legs sorted when we come back from Aus, hopefully I will be start running again in a couple of years.

5   Increase the Mileage on the Bike

I took part Pedal in Preston Park again in October.  We didn't quite manage the 50 miles I was hoping for but we did manage to get to 43 miles which has in fact increased my longest ride this year.   Next year there are big plans for the 103km Davina Big Ride in June.  In 2017 we're looking at a London to Paris !

6   Try Some New Recipes

I've tried a couple of new recipes over the last couple of months.  I'm gradually getting  my cooking confidence back after relying for too many years on Shaun.  

7   Australia

My previous post is the last update for Australia plans.   I don't really think there's anything else we can add to the trip apart from general adventures when we get there.   I can't believe we're now actually only 6 weeks to go!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Planning, Planning & More Planning

We're just about 6 and a half weeks until we depart for Australia and our holiday of a lifetime.  We've gone through crisis with the checked in baggage, annoyed the hell out of our lovely travel agent Claire (poor love) and then run out of things to plan and book.  That was until we had a massive Skype session with Lou and Andy on Saturday night!   We'd just about finished the Sydney side of it and now we're onto the finer details of our stay in Melbourne.   This is where we're at :-

Fly from London to Sydney leaving on 9th January, arriving late on the 10th!

11th - explore Sydney - ferry trip to Manly booked with stop off at whatever takes our fancy - mine is Fort Denison and Shaun's is Shark Island (not many ferries stop there during the day so I'm not sure about that one!)

12th - morning exploring some more - need to have breakfast at the Fish Market, or lunch.

12th - afternoon SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE CLIMB - so ridiculously excited/nervous/anxious about this one.  I'm not great with heights but reading through the blurb on the website I'll be fine.  There will be tears - not sure whether it will be joy/anxiety or what but it will be the chance of a lifetime, and there was absolutely no way I was going to sit at the bottom for 3 hours waiting for Shaun.  I'm a bit gutted that we can't take a camera up with us though!

13th - last minute bits in Sydney before we depart for Melbourne at lunchtime.

14th - chill at Lou & Andy's (think I may need it by then)

15th - to be booked all day LUXURY VINEYARD TOUR of the Yarra Valley IN A CONVERTIBLE MERC!   This is going to be an amazing day.

We already know we're off to Halls Gap in the Grampians for a few days and the Tour Down Under starts in Adelaide on the 17th - Wallunga Hill stage is on the 23rd so I'm guessing we'll be leaving Halls Gap on the 22nd.

The Australian Open Tennis is on while we're there too - Andy's looking into it!

Australia Day is the 26th when we're back in Melbourne and I'd love to go to the parade - need to let Lou and Andy know about that one.

No idea what we will do until we leave on the 31st - guess I need to do some more research on Melbourne.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Pedal in Preston Park 2015

The weather this week has been awful - didn't look great for yesterday's event until mid-week when the forecast looked like it was going to be perfect for cycling.   

It's the second year I've taken part in Pedal - last year I did 100 laps/37 miles on my faithful old Dawesy and this year's target had been set at 137 laps to tie in with the age of the velodrome.  137 laps would mean about 50 miles so a few more than last year, riding me new Specialized Dolce, or Doris as she's now affectionately known. 

Looking at facebook earlier in the morning a few Club riders had already started their laps - cyclists from Brighton, Crawley & Redhill and then Juniors from Preston Park Cycling Club started before the track was opened to the rest of us at 12 o'clock.   There were quite a lot of cyclists on the track from 12, some of the Club riders and Juniors had stayed on.    I knew I had to keep my speed up to ensure that I could get to 50 miles in less than 4 hours but to be honest once I met up with Nik and Conrad all thoughts of getting to 50  went out the window and it was just going to be a case of enjoy the day, go as far and for as long as possible.  As a change this year there was a DJ playing some great tracks 

We agreed to do our first 50 laps and then have a refreshment break - there was a fantastic spread of cakes and snacks waiting at the pavilion.   The first 50 seemed to go quite quickly and before I knew I was off the bike again and having a nice warm cup of tea and a piece of coffee and walnut cake.  

On to the next 87 laps - we decided to break it down - head to 60 laps and see how we were doing.  Nik wasn't sure if she could do the whole 137 as she hadn't done any work on the bike since May, and I wasn't sure how close to 4pm doing 137 would take us.   I was quite pleased to see my Garmin tick over the 37 miles I'd done last year and before I knew it Nik was telling me we'd done 110 laps and she thought it was a good time to stop.  The organisers were starting to pack up and there was only another 20 minutes before the end of the event - we were all knackered and there seemed little point in burying ourselves, so we headed to the track exit and the cake stand which was still groaning with goodies! 

mmmm cake
43 miles completed, recovery drink swallowed, another piece of coffee and walnut cake we headed home, collecting our medal on the way. 

Medals collected 
Conrad reminded us that we needed to stretch as well as refuel
I love this event, it's really well organised and it's great to have an excuse to use the velodrome which I wouldn't normally.  Slightly gutted we ran out of time to do the goal laps but pleased with how it went - can't wait to do it again next year!

 Photo credit : Nik & Conrad Bailey

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Plans & Anxiety Levels

Having had our R&R week in Lanzarote we're now in full "plan Australia" mode, and anxiety levels are off the scale for no rational reason!

It's not like I've never flown before but the dread that is building up with the thought of sitting on a plane for the best part of 24 hours is ridiculous.   On our 3 hours 55 minutes no frills Ryanair flight all I could think was how the hell am I going to sit in this position for 12 hours (that's just the bit to KL) and then another 8 hours to Sydney.  Everyone I've spoken to has said it's hell but there will be plenty of movies to watch (I hope they're right) and we will be plied with food and drink regularly and of course at some point I will be asleep (really?)

I have so many questions going round in my head it's now affecting my sleep.

  • What the hell happens when we stop in KL for an hour and a half?   Apparently my suitcase does it's own little journey all by itself to our new plane and we toddle off to the Departures Lounge to find out where our new boarding gate is!   Doesn't stop me worrying that both suitcases won't actually make it to Sydney.   I've already decided we're definitely doing the "split both our clothes between two suitcases" trick.  No way I'm walking round Sydney for 2 days in the same clothes I travelled in.
  • What do I travel in ?  Something smart cas in case there's a chance of an upgrade or just go comfy in a pair of leggings and a big sloppy tshirt.    Not sure I can go with the second option, maybe change the big sloppy tshirt for a nice top!
  • Can you see how anxious I am yet?
  • How is the jetlag going to affect me?  we want to see and do as much as we can whilst we're in Sydney but am I going to want to walk and do stuff or just stay in my hotel room for 2 days?  
  • How hot is hot?  We've been to Egypt 3 times (in April) and that was hot enough but I think the humidity is slightly different in Aus.  It's the height of their summer FFS - Sydney's cooler than Melbourne, and Melbourne is cooler than Adelaide - still no idea!
  • What sunscreen do I take?  Mr B hates wearing sunscreen at the best of times - he ain't gonna want to wear factor 30 everyday! 
  • That's just for starters!  Not even thinking about the return!!!!!!
We REALLY want to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and hubby has now shown me the zoo (I'm a sucker for good zoo, and apparently Taronga is one of the best).  There are obviously the must-do's like the Opera House and the botanical gardens.  Apparently the Fish Market is one to do too and we quite like the look of Shark Island and Fort Denison - so much to do and so little time.   OH also found a day trip into the Blue Mountains - ever wish you'd booked an extra day Lil ?

Once we leave Sydney we're in the hands of Lou and Andy.   We already know we've got a week in a log cabin in the Grampians at Halls Gap with the family, and Andy's taking us to Adelaide to watch at least one stage (the only stage in my opinion - Wallunga Hill) of the Tour Down Under.    We're both really excited about this part of the trip and this one event was the whole reason for choosing January for our visit.

So, back to the planning!   It's all getting very real now!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Chestnut Sussex 100

I knew this ride wasn't going to be easy when I saw the profile on the event information, but I was assured it was nowhere near as bad as it looked.  "You'll be fine" said Shaun!

On Saturday we both suffered from a bit of an upset stomach, no idea whether it was food or a bug, and there was every possibility that the ride wouldn't happen, which would have been a massive disappointment.    Saturday night we decided we'd go and when we got to the 20m route split we'd see how we both felt.   

Shaun loaded up Tribby with bikes and kit and off we headed to Bentley Wildfowl where the ride was starting.  It was a bit nippy out so I decided to try out my new Aldi arm warmers.   They were very comfortable, just the right length and the strip at the top meant they stayed in place for the ride.   I also wore the ergonomic socks Shaun bought and he wore the wool ones - sounds like I should have worn the wool ones instead as my toes were a bit cold at one point.

The first stretch to the feed station at Herstmonceux seemed to take forever.   The feed station was in the village hall so nice clean loos and lots of food and hot and cold drinks if you wanted it.   We only stayed long enough to fill my water bottle, have a wee and Shaun grabbed a cup of tea.   

The roads we were cycling down were great mostly, some were very potholed though and in some of the tree lined lanes it was very dark, although we did need sunglasses with the gorgeous sun being so low in the sky.   I did struggle with some of the hills, but I took my time and got up all of them but two, even the one where it was pitch black and came out at the top of the road opposite the road closure.   The road closure it turned out added an extra mile to the route.   

Somewhere between 30 and 35 miles there was a really horrible hill, everyone who passed me was puffing and the minute I saw someone climb off in front of me that was it - brain told legs to stop.  Unfortunately I could see that it ramped up again so brain got the better of legs and I was off ...... walking, up hill!    Shaun was waiting for me at the top with two marshalls who directed us over a busy junction. 

Only another 5 miles or so to go and another feed station which we didn't stop at, I just wanted to get finished!!!!!  I remembered from the profile that we had a few more hills to do, but they were nowhere near as bad as that big one, and the elevation was decreasing.  

It was great to turn the corner and see the entrance gate to Bentley and hear the music playing.   There was lots of support as we crossed the finish line together and we were given our medals.   

We'd done 41 miles in 4 hours 4 mins (18 mins officially if you count the stop at the feed station). We took the bikes back to Tribby and got changed, and then headed to the coffee shop where we bought some well earnt coffee and cakes.

We'd definitely like to do this ride again in the future, and who knows with a bit of training beforehand perhaps we could manage the 103km (60 miles) route ..... oh and with a lot of hill training.   The support from the organisers was fantastic from beginning to end, and a lovely medal to boot.   Wish we'd gone for the free massage after too! 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Aldi Special Buys 24th September 2015

It's been a while since I've been approached to test and review kit so when I received an email asking if I wanted to test some of the items on sale in the much publicised cycling special buy event at Aldi my immediate reaction was "yes please". 

It seems like weeks ago when I started tweeting and sharing the event on Twitter and Facebook.  The main draw for most people was the price of the Garmin 500 

that was on offer - £79.99 (currently on sale on Wiggle for £118.99).  No surprise then that come Thursday the cycling community was buzzing for a bargain.   Unfortunately there was a fair bit of disappointment on Twitter as most of the stores seem to have sold out of stock quite quickly.  Some stores only had 2 Garmins to sell and by 9.15 Twitter was alive with complaints.  

My only complaint the day before was that I'd spotted the shoes were only in sizes 8-11 - I really want a pair for spin with cleats and these look ideal, but not for my little size 5 feet !

come one Aldi, us ladies need shoes too!

I got home from work yesterday to find a huge box sitting on the table, couldn't actually believe what was in it as I unpacked it with Shaun.
Lots of stuff!

Helmet cover, arm warmers and waterproof under helmet cap
Two pairs of gloves
New lights which will look great on Dolce, you can never have enough Muc Off and I'm looking forward to trying out the gel & tabs

Not entirely sure about the beanie

I love the waterproof jacket - just what I needed!
Shaun also went to Aldi yesterday and bought me some socks so I'll be throwing in a review for those as well. 

It's going to take me a while to get through everything and test it out but so far I'm really pleased with the fit of most of the accessories - the gloves are a bit big so I might have to get Shaun to test those along with the helmet cover as he's more likely to cycle in the rain than I am (he cycles to work),  The arm warmers feel lovely and I might give them a test on Sunday's ride.   I tried out the electrolyte tabs at Spin last night - I'm not a great lover of lemon flavours, they tend to make me feel sick but these didn't.  I usually use the High 5 zero calorie tabs so these will make a nice alternative.  

Watch this space folks - reviews are on their way.  

Don't forget though Special Buys are only available as long as stocks last, so don't expect to go into stores and be able to buy what you want in 6 weeks time! 

Did you manage to pick up any bargains - let me know what you think in the comments below or tweet me @lilbeeloo67.

Happy cycling !!!!!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Tribby's Travels - Back to the New Forest

As we're having such gorgeous weekend weather at the moment we decided to have one last Tribby sleepover before we pack everything away and put Tribby to sleep for the winter, although we might use Tribby for a few bike rides - including one which is coming up this weekend.

As you know from previous Tribby's Travels and other posts we absolutely love being on the New Forest.   It's only a couple of hours drive from home and just about on the limits for Archie the dog's travel sickness.   Unfortunately I can't actually tell you where we stayed as it's top secret.

This year we bought the BritStops book again, as well as signing up for the Caravan & Camping Club.  To be honest BritStops hasn't really been worth the money as this weekend is the first time we've used it and it cost us a fortune at the place we stayed as we couldn't resist buying produce.   Anyway, so all I can tell you is that the place we stayed is number 105 in the book.  
The whole point of BritStops is somewhere to park up overnight which is safe and secure, either in a pub car park, farm shop and various other places which the publishers of the book Mandy and Steve Clarke have negotiated with the owners.   You're not obliged to buy anything in return, although sometimes it is very difficult not to.  This time (without giving away any information whatsoever as to the location) we bought food and alcohol, had a ploughman's lunch and Brunch the following morning.  All we had to pay for at the "site" was £2 for electric hook up.

The whole secrecy thing is that most of the "sites" have limited spaces, in this case 2, so if a non Britstopper tried to use the site it would take away a space from someone who had bothered to spend £30 on the book.

After we'd eaten our lunch on Saturday I sat down to read some of my latest kindle book and Shaun was pottering about and playing with Archie.  Unfortunately the effects of some cider I consumed happened soon after sitting down - while I slept Shaun went off for a wander through the forest with Archie.   I had every intention of going with him, or even meeting him in the village for a spot of shopping but that never happened.   We had a very lazy afternoon and after dinner and last dog walk I made up the bed and snuggled under the duvet and watched a DVD.  There was a lovely sunset

The next morning when we eventually woke up was chilly and misty, while I was putting the bed away Shaun took off over the Forest again with Archie - I missed my chance again!

Giant spiderwebs

I never did get my walk or shopping, once we'd had brunch it was time to pack up and head home.   We had what can only be described as a very lazy weekend, which I suppose is exactly what you need sometimes.

As I said at the top, we're not putting Tribby totally to bed just yet.   We've got a sportive to do on Sunday (Indian Summer permitting) and another at the end of October (Pedal in Preston Park).  It's quite possible we'll have to sleep in the campervan over Christmas too, after which Tribby will be going into "storage" at the in-laws whilst we travel round Australia in January.   Hopefully Shaun's shift pattern will allow us a few more trips next summer, we really haven't had enough this year !!!!!

Monday, 14 September 2015

I'm Hanging Up My Runners - well for now

Don't panic ...... let me explain.

Since my last update I joined a group of friends on Faceache and we started the Couch 2 5k (C25K).  Week 1 went fine, didn't really struggle with the actual running segments - 3 completely different runs, one was a trail run along the riverbank at Ouse Valley in glorious sunshine, one was very wet along to the beach and the other one was a lovely warm day.   Week 2 didn't start too badly either - my first run I decided to head in a different direction and again the running segments were fine, a bit puffy & panty in places but I was beginning to remember why I love running.   Then came a kick fest at boxercise and the day after (which should have been Week 2 run 2) never happened as my legs were completely mashed.  That weekend we were away in Tribby so I decided I'd repeat week 2 the following week and go from there.    The legs never really recovered.   The calves have been as tight as hell and the shins decided to stay painful too.  So, now I should be coming up to the end of week 4 and there's no way I'm going to be able to run.   It's probably sensible to pack up the idea of running again, even if it's only until after our holiday in Aus.   I've got 2 very long flights to get through and I don't want to be worrying about cramps in my legs or worse.

After a lot of thought I've decided to concentrate on the bike and my overall fitness with boxercise.  I might add another class in to the mix, maybe Kettlebells which is also run by Claire, and of course there's always spin classes to help with cardio and leg strengthening.   It surprises me actually how much of a difference spin has made to my road cycling.   I'm actually standing more now than I did at the beginning and I'm sure it's all down to the leg strengthening that comes with spin.

I'm not saying I'm never ever running again.   The C25K podcast is fantastic and I shall be keeping it on my Ipod for future use, just might not be until 2016 now, let's see what happens with the legs!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

To Do in 2015 - Update

Back in January rather than posting New Years Resolutions I posted a "To Do in 2015 list".   After all, what's the point in making resolutions, rarely are they kept to.   In March I posted update - it's been a while so I thought I should update you all on how things are going.

1 Lose Weight

This one has been a hard one - I did get back down to 11 stone thanks to a combination of Jantastic and starting 5:2 and since then managed to maintain.   Keeping going with 5:2 has been difficult to fit in around family life.   There are only a couple of dishes that Danni will eat, Shaun has been on some ridiculous shifts over the last couple of months and I try not to fast if I've got a planned exercise class or bike ride.   It's hard enough walking the dog on fast days!   MUST TRY HARDER - don't want to get another lecture from the Nurse when I go for my check up next month.

2   Read More Books

This to do is going well - I've read 3 books (pah - who am I kidding!)  all of them Peter James!    I have downloaded quite a few new books to my Kindle ready.  Reading times have mainly been when we've been away (when Shaun's not dragging me out for a walk somewhere with Archie) and at bedtime - which is why it's been such slow progress.   At night I probably only read a few words before my eyes are shut and my Kindle lands somewhere on the bed!    MUST TRY HARDER!

3   Explore Great Britain

This one has been great fun - we spent two weeks in July on a road trip through Sussex, Wiltshire & Somerset and then had a few days in the New Forest thanks to our prize win break.   I'm hoping next year we might spread our wings a little further and go North a bit more, trouble is we love the West Country.

4    Get Running Again   

Exciting news on that front - I went for a little test run last Saturday.  It went ok - breathing was fine, shins were fine, calves were a bit tight but apart from that it was great.   Until I fell over during a walk break - going from open ground to wooded area was a disaster.   I twisted my ankle badly and grazed my knee - no more running that day.   I have however downloaded the NHS Couch to 5k podcast on to my Ipod and I am now on week 2!  Fingers crossed.

5   Increase the Mileage on the Bike

Yep, ticked that one off.   40 miles on the Davina Big Sussex Bike Ride.   Cycling has been a bit sparse since then mainly due to Shaun's shifts and the lovely British summer meaning we haven't been out as much as I wanted to.   I have been going out alone doing my 15-20 mile loop but I find it so boring, (a) being on my own and (b) doing the loop.   I was hoping to ride a charity event in September and get up to 60 miles but I think that might have to wait until next year's Davina.  I'm hopefully going to do the Pedal in Preston Park again in October - this year's target is 43 miles (137 laps apparently) to tie in with the 137 years since the Brighton Velodrome was first built. 

6   Try Some New Recipes

I'm constantly printing off new recipes for 5:2 and we have had some lovely meals.   I've also had to fend for myself more when Shaun's been working late. 

7   Australia

As we speak everything is going well with the planning - Visas are done, Lou & Andy have arranged accommodation for a holiday within a holiday at their favourite site in the Grampians so we won't be in Melbourne for too many days and Andy has also arranged for a trip to Adelaide to watch the Tour Down Under.   Shaun and I are looking at things to do in Sydney - if anyone's got any recommendations please comment below.   We have no idea where to start.  We have 3 days to do as much as we can - apart from climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge (that was one of Shaun's ideas!)  If I'm back running I'd like to take part in a Parkrun in Melbourne (I think Albert Park is the nearest) and apparently Andy is sourcing two road bikes for us whilst we are there.   We also need to sort out money - anyone got any ideas on the best way to take spendies?   Don't want to max out the credit cards so would be nice to have some cash, but obviously we don't want to walk around with oodles of dollars in our pockets & presumably the exchange rate for cash out of the wall from our Current Account will be ridiculous!

Looks like the "to do" is going well.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Tribby's Travels - Back to Slindon

We've just had the perfect weekend away in Tribby - Shaun packed up ready for me to finish work and leave on the Friday.  Thankfully the Club site at Slindon is only about an hour away from home on a good run.   Luckily I didn't forget anything this time - even remembered to pack my running stuff.

 Friday night was the first night this year it's been warm enough to sit out in the evening.   Shaun had packed the new Lidl BBQ to try out.   We bought some venison burgers when we were in Salisbury so they were the trial meat for dinner!

Normally we have dinner and get ready for bed at about 9pm - this time we stayed up until about 10.30, chatting and watching the bats flying across the campsite.

We also tried out our new mozzy curtain - it even keeps out the wasps!

On Saturday morning Shaun got up and took Archie for a short walk and when he got back I went for my first run in 2 years.  The tracks from the campsite through the woods are perfect for running along - unless you're me who has trouble staying upright.

I was quite pleased with the run overall - I managed to run for a full 10-15 minutes (surprised how the lungs and legs remembered what to do after all this time) and in total with a couple of walk breaks I covered just under 4k in 30 minutes.   I really should've kept running and not walked - the minute I walked I turned my ankle and came crashing to the ground.   Didn't think I'd done too much damage and managed to run a little bit afterwards.

Shaun was waiting for breakfast so a quick shower and get dressed and then sit down to scrambled egg & smoked salmon on toast.   We then headed out of the site and walked down to The Forge in the village for a coffee and some cake,

 and then across the Estate a bit further to the Spur pub.  Quick drink of cider and then we walked back to the site for lunch.

Saturday evening my ankle started to swell - the only way to elevate was to put my leg up on the table - no ice so a tea towel soaked in cold water had to do the job.   Can't believe my first run out finished like that!

On Sunday we had to pack up and go home, so sad as the weather was lovely again.   The ankle was feeling much better but a bit stiff.   I was kinda hoping it would continue to hurt into Monday morning so I didn't have to go to work!

Our next trip is Bank Holiday weekend - back to Salisbury for 3 days!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Tribby's Travels - Wiltshire & Somerset

Tribby was supposed to be taking us to follow the northern France part of the Tour De France this year, but as we have booked a trip to Lanzarote in October and 3 weeks in Australia in January next year we decided to save our TDF follow for another year.  Let's face it the TDF will be there for years to come.

Instead Shaun booked us a "staycation road trip" starting at Slindon, travelling to Salisbury, then on to Cheddar, Devizes and back to Salisbury.

I actually put pen to paper every day we were away - here's a few snippets and some photos.

Day 1 - Tuesday 7th July - Newhaven to Slindon, West Sussex

We decided to make our first part of the journey a short one, mainly for Archie's sake.  We love the Slindon C&C site - it's small, quiet and there are some great walks for the dog around the Slindon Estate, and we managed to get onto our favourite pitch - 33.   It was a lovely sunny day, not too hot but the wind got stronger, so much so Shaun had to take the newly acquired Shade Sail down before it tore apart.   We also had to have dinner inside as it was a bit chilly.   Thankfully C&C provide "Site Wifi" - 2.5GB for a week for £10 so we could watch the Tour on the laptop.

Day 2 - Wednesday 8th July - Slindon to Salisbury

Woke up to a very damp, grey day and it took us a while to get going - no great rush as we couldn't arrive at Salisbury until 12 o'clock so after a couple of cups of tea snuggled up in bed I slung some clothes on and took Archie out for his morning walk while Shaun had his shower (no facilities on site!)   We didn't go very far as it started to rain.   I jumped in the shower while Shaun rushed around and got ready to go.   It was only then that I realised I'd left a bag of clothes at home containing shorts, leggings and pair of jeans.   I had 1 pair of shorts to last another 7 days!    We decided that instead of going home to get the bag we'd carry on to Salisbury and stop at the big Tesco at Chichester to buy some shorts & leggings.   Not quite the £40 I'd expected to spend but at least I now had clothes to wear.

We finally reached Salisbury at around 2pm.  Just in time to get set up on our very sloping, not very sheltered pitch and sit and watch the Tour.    Shaun took Archie for a walk around the Iron Age fort (Old Sarum).

The little black dot is Shaun & Archie playing ball!

Day 3 - Thursday 9th July - Salisbury

Today's weather was much better - lovely warm sunshine!   We used the site facilities to shower this morning and had a cooked breakfast of scrambled egg & smoked salmon on toast with a cup of coffee from the Tassimo (as we're on electric hook up).  Archie washed up the scramble pan!

We had a lovely walk into the City.  We bought some sausages from the Salisbury Sausage Shop - don't think I've ever seen so many different varieties of sausage!  After a wander round the cathedral

we stopped for lunch at The Market Inn which was recommended by a fellow Tribby owner.   We each had a sandwich (which came in the most enormous slices of bread) and a glass of cider.

Shaun wanted to show me the Iron Age fort so before dinner we took Archie for another walk.

Think the dog's tired!

Day 4 - Friday 10th July - Salisbury - Watersmeet Farm, Axbridge

After what seemed like ages to get packed up and moving on to our next site we finally made it to Watersmeet Farm - a lovely "basic" site with 15-20 pitches - grass with EHU for us.   A small toilet block and 1 shower, there weren't many people on the site so it was fairly quiet.  You can hire a fire pit and wood during your stay - we would but I can't stand the smell of woodsmoke in the van!   I stayed at Tribby while Shaun went out to explore the footpaths with Archie.

Day 5 - Saturday 11th July - Axbridge 

Woke up to rain this morning but by the time we'd had a cup of of tea and got ready it had cleared over and we started out for our yomp to Cheddar.   Shaun had sorted out our route - only 5k, but what he hadn't told me was that most of the fields on the way were occupied by cows - great, I'm not a massive cow lover and we have been chased out of fields before!   Going over was fairly easy though, the cows in Somerset don't seem as interested as Sussex cows.   By the time we got to the village it was close to lunchtime so we stopped at the Riverside Inn and had a Brie & Cranberry Ciabatta and Archie had a packet of Cheddars (when in Cheddar, Cheddars are a must!)
Waiting for Cheddars!
After lunch we walked up the Gorge.   Still impressive even though we've done the Gorge lots in the past.   Still lots of little nic-nac shops selling tourist stuff.   Shaun bought a very large "keg" of Legbender scrumpy and some Somerset brie and of course some Cheddar Cheese.   We went up as far as we could until the footpath ran out

& then started walking back down and back to the campsite.  Shaun had found a slightly different route on the way back - and yes more cows!

Nearly back at the site - that gap in the skyline is Cheddar Gorge!

All in all we walked 13 miles today (30,000 steps!!!!!!)   We were extremely disappointed with the Somerset footpaths though, they really need to sort out clearing some of them.   We're both pretty scratched up and Archie needed carrying at some points.

Day 6 - Sunday 12th July - Axbridge

What an awful day - it started raining heavily in the night and hasn't really stopped all day.   We got soaked walking Archie both this morning and this evening.  Inbetween we've spent the day reading, doing crosswords, drinking tea and watching DVDs and snoozing.   A very lazy, wet day.   Thanks to the weather though we've found a leak in the sliding door window - need to get that fixed!

Day 7 - Monday 13th July - Axbridge to Devizes

Woke up to another joyful day of rain, and the hills covered in mist!

Shaun's thinking we might do the one night at Devizes and then go home rather than go back to Salisbury.   We're finding it hard to dry everything out, it's just as bad as being in a tent when it's raining!  Archie went the whole way sitting on his own on the side seat instead of cuddled up on my lap today - major leap forward for Mr Scaredy Pants.

We got to Devizes at around 1pm when it had finally stopped raining.   This is a lovely big site with EHU on hardstanding pitches (not the most comfortable but you are allowed to use the pitch the best way it suits you.  Really we should have pulled up sideways, but it's only for 1 night so we'll stick with the traditional!

The site is situated by Kennett & Avon canal so once we'd set up we walked along the towpath to the Caen Hill flight of locks - even though I'm not a great lover of boats (we did the Thames about 20 years ago!) I've always been fascinated by lock systems.  This one is particularly amazing as it's 16 locks all in a row - or a flight!   We got absolutely soaked again as it tipped it down whilst we were watching narrowboats negotiate the locks.

The weather forecast looks better for tomorrow, so we're heading back to Salisbury to finish our road trip.

Day 8 - Tuesday 14th July - Devizes to Salisbury

It's only an hours drive from Devizes back to Salisbury which was good, so we left at 11am to get back for 12 o'clock check in.   slight detour on the way as Shaun spotted Hartley Farm Shop - we needed some provisions for dinner anyway!

Our pitch at Salisbury was right by the burger van which Archie loved as the guy who runs it kept bringing him bits of sausage and in the evening he bought us a cone of chips to eat whilst we were watching the TDF highlights on the laptop!  We walked into the city to stock up on sausages (made a great gift idea for Mum & Dad for looking after the dog for the next few days).    Internet time ran out halfway through watching Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian trip to Moscow!

We actually love the site at Salisbury, it's perfect for dog walking with the big field, the walk into the city and no doubt some places we've yet to find.

Day 9 - Wednesday 15th July -  Salisbury to Home (via Parents)

Luckily Shaun cleared up the awning and windbreak last night - not much fun putting everything away wet again!

Shaun had breakfast from the van this morning (Archie got a little bit of sausage - we weren't looking forward to that coming back).  A couple of hours back to my parents to drop Archie off, then time to head home, unpack Tribby and re-pack our clothes for our luxury adventure break in the New Forest tomorrow!

We've had a lovely time away and this is the longest we've done in Tribby.   Not sure I'd want to do more than 2 weeks, storage for clothes is limited (even if you do forget half your stuff), but at least we know we can do it - even better if the weather is good.

Can't wait for our next adventure!