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

Friday, 28 December 2018

And there goes 2018

Well that was one hell of a year !

We sold the house and are waiting to move.  The conveyancing is taking a little longer than it should thanks to a retaining garden wall at the new house.  Fingers crossed we'll be in by the end of January.

I was awarded a Local Hero award for my work volunteering on my local park and we went to Portugal.

I've taken part in a couple of challenges, both for Challenge the Norm in aid of Mind,

only one cycle sportive this year but the big change is that I started cycling to work during the summer.   I'm hoping to do it more in 2019.

I'm quite pleased with my stats for 2018 compared to 2017 - 20 more rides and over 300km further - an average of just over 11km per ride.   It would be great next year to do some longer weekend rides with Shaun instead of going out on my own.   Could have done with a few more active days but then Strava and Garmin don't count dog walking - which is more or less every day.

We've had some lovely trips in Tribby - my favourite was definitely the Isle of Wight, probably because we had amazing weather and for the first time we took the bikes with us. 

We're currently deciding where we go in 2019

Life is a bit on hold with the house and we've also got a wedding to start paying for.   Danni and Joel have booked their wedding venue for October 2020!

It's our 30th wedding anniversary this year so we're hoping to do something special - watch this space!

I didn't manage to lose much weight this year so it needs some working on in 2019. 

As we go in to the new year I've signed up for RED January and hoping to be active every day.

Had a good reading challenge in 2018 - managed to read 13 books!  I've got all my reading lined up for 2019.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Challenge the Norm is Done !

Hooray November is done and so is my Challenge the Norm cycle challenge in aid of Mind.

My original pledge was 86 miles as I wasn't sure if I could do any rides other than spin class.  It did however go better than I envisaged even though I didn't manage to get to all my planned spin classes.

To complete my miles I've cycled to work, been to spin, gone back to the gym and done the spinathon at work.  You can read about most of it here.

My second November ride to work was lovely - I managed to get my clothing right to keep warm as it's now getting colder but it was dry with a horrible easterly wind - which was good to get into work but not so pleasant on the way home.   It's on days like that you feel glad to be alive and it's always enlightening to see the sun come up!   The last couple of times I've cycled in I've wanted to keep going instead of going to straight into work.  I got in a bit too early to make an appearance at the office so I pushed on to Hove Lagoon.  I was glad I did because I was rewarded with a lovely sunrise

Cycling home was less enjoyable with the easterly wind and it started to rain.   I'm hoping that I'll be able to cycle in during December but I'm not doing it if rain is forecast, or high winds!

I've completed 200 miles over November and I'm now in possession of this beauty.

The best thing about the challenge is that I'm back in the gym and I'm goping to keep it up during December.   I'm already signed up for RED January which is similar to Janathon in that I've got to exercise every day during January.   No idea how successful it will be as Wednesdays are always a sticking point.

The arrival of December also sees the last month of the reading challenge - I'm on my last read of the year which means I should complete the 12 reads of the year.    We're already deciding the categories for 2019 but I might try and push it to 14 reads.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Challenge the Norm - Halfway

We're halfway through November already and my Challenge the Norm #cycleforMind is going well.  I originally only pledged to ride 86 miles (depending solely on the regular spin classes I could do during the month).   Turns out at half way through I've already cycled/spun through that so now I'm heading for the 200 mile mark.

It's great when you get an unexpected boost in your challenge - in the July challenge it was taking the bikes to the Isle Of Wight and having a lovely cycle path to put some miles down.   November has been a different kettle of fish altogether.    I actually managed to get to the gym in the first week and a road ride which I wasn't expecting.   The weather has been great for most of the autumn so far

As part of the #BeMoreSnail fundraising campaign work had organised a "spinathon".  Each willing colleague got a 15 minute stint on a spin bike.   It was the most atrocious day weather wise but luckily we had an event shelter up.   The event was overseen by the two PTs from Fitness Hub at Brighton.  They were certainly very motivating and played some great music to help focus on the task in hand.   We haven't been told how much we raised yet.

me warming up whilst our HR Manager does her bit!
I've never been known to sit on a spin bike without going hard so an unexpected 17 miles to add to the total.

I even did a Sunday morning spin class - 9am on a Sunday was a shocker!  I missed out on spin class last night but went to the gym instead and used the bike again.

The weather's looking good for tomorrow so I'm cycling to work - if it stays mild like this hopefully one day next week and maybe one or two the following week - that should bump the target a bit!

If I can muster the energy I'm going to the gym a couple of more times too unless I can get out on the road at the weekend!

Friday, 19 October 2018

#BeMoreSnail Day

Anyone visiting Brighton since 15th September will have spotted a few painted snails.    Following on from the famous Snow Dogs which raised a lot of money for Martlets Hospice, this year we are being reminded to "BeMoreSnail.   If you're coming to Brighton over the next few weeks there is  a trail you can follow and selfie with the snails.   There are lots of events taking place up until 18th November and today is #BeMoreSnail Day.   Also today local famous person, Fat Boy Slim will be walking a marathon taking in all 50 snails - Go Norman !

You can donate funds for the campaign too here!

At work we've been encouraged to take part, especially as we have our own snail - Inca.

Inca sponsored by my firm
So today I took advantage of the amazing weather we're still having and Shaun being on a rest day and cycled to work, taking in some of the beautiful sights of dawn rising
Sunrise over Brighton

Sunrise back to Newhaven/Peacehaven
and the snails which are on my route in - although I did go a bit off route to selfie Inca & Goldie! 


Nee Nor - sponsored by Peter James the author

In Search of Regina Hotel
On a recent visit to Stanmer Park I also grabbed a selfie with the snail outside the house 

You can upload your selfies to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #BeMoreSnail and see what fun everyone is having.

Oh and that's also Cycle to Work #6.

Have a fab day and don't forget to #BeMoreSnail.

Monday, 15 October 2018

When Trying Something New Seems Like a Good Idea

I get bored quite easily in the evenings when I'm on my own or not at spin, running a meeting or spending time with loved ones and quite often it ends up with me doing online shopping (poor credit card).   Saturday 6th October was no exception - can't remember why but I suddenly caught myself looking at booking a Les Mills Experience at my local gym.   5 mini "taster" classes, 3.5 hours on a Sunday morning ............ starting at 8.30am (did I mention it was a Sunday?)

I've wanted to try Body Pump & Combat for some time but have been put off going to a class for either as it always seems everyone there is super fit and knows exactly what they're doing, I just couldn't face being the newbie!   So when Wave Leisure advertised their taster morning I thought it would be a good idea - Body Pump, CX Works, Body Combat, Body Balance and Body Attack.   I couldn't get on Body Balance so would have to either sit it out or see if I could sneak into an unused space on the day - more on that later*!   I did manage to book on to the other 4 classes.

Sunday 14th October arrived - Shaun was less pleased at this fact as the alarm went off at 7.30am.  I arrived at the centre with about 10 mins to spare and then spotted a lot of familiar faces - the class was being done by most of the people who already do the classes but I tried not to be put off.   The Pump station was already set up to go (the regulars were busy changing weight plates over but after some advice from a friend who was there luckily, I left mine as they were set up - my friend Jeremy said "don't worry about the weight - worry about the technique" so that's what I did!   Quite enjoyed it apart from all the faffing around with equipment, it's quite fast paced so I got a bit behind on some of the moves, but otherwise quite enjoyable, and it was nice to be lifting weights again. 

45 mins later we were being thrown out of the studio so that the room could be set up for CX Works - omg really didn't enjoy that class, I'm definitely going to stick to my Saturday morning Core Blast class.   30 mins of doing I don't know what and we were out again so the floor could be cleared ready for Combat.  Luckily I can't get to the CX Works class to give it another go!

No idea how long Combat was but I actually quite enjoyed - the instructors were good and I think having done boxercise helped as I already knew my punches and kicks. 

The music is great and I think if I'm not concentrating on the moves so hard I could get quite a good workout from it. 

*Next up was Body Balance - the one that was full!   I didn't hang around in the end and cancelled Body Attack - I had other plans which included lunch out with Mr B and visiting Pelham House in Lewes for Danni as a possible wedding venue.  Beautiful isn't it - and that's before a major refurb for next year!!!!!!

I certainly didn't feel like I was missing anything I'd worked quite hard - my Garmin said I'd burnt over 300 calories so I was happy with that.

Monday morning and I'm in all sorts of ouchy - ouchy in a good way - quads are on fire and I can't raise my arms very high.     I'm definitely going to give Pump and Combat a go and need to try out the other two I missed. 

Operation #MotheroftheBride is a go!!!!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Helloooo October!

We're now firmly in autumn - maybe someone should tell the weather gods!   Not that I'm complaining although it is difficult to know what to wear.  There's a fine line between freezing cold standing at the bus stop at 7.30am and coming home and it's 25 degs at 2.30pm.   I'm still wearing my summer clothes and footwear (sadly the shorts and strappy tops have gone away) but it's becoming increasingly difficult in the mornings.

Thank god "Scroll Free September" is done with - turns out I can't cope without my occasional dip into social media during the day - terrible I know, and maybe I need to get a grip of it - or maybe there are other things I need to change, like my job!

My exercise regime has been pretty dire during September - my last class was a triple core blast, body conditioning, spin combo at the beginning and since then I've done an evening bike ride and two cycle commutes.   One of the cycle commutes was during one of the storms and meant cycling in 50mph gusting wind - bit scary.   I've now done 5 cycle commutes - the last two I cycled from home .... up the hill!   Not very pleased with myself though at riding on the pavement for a short while - it's not worth crossing the road to get onto the road and then stopping again to cross back to join the cycle path.  I only got shouted at once which was lucky.   My only other option would be to cycle downhill and into the housing estate and cycle up a really horrible steep hill to the cycle path.   I've done it once on a previous ride with Shaun, it's not pleasant!  I am going to try and cycle in again during the autumn and winter, but it will have to be a dry day when Shaun's on a rest day in case I have a problem .... .don't want to leave Archie worrying about his walkies

My lack of 'mojo' was mainly down to the fact my partner in crime has been on the "can't do a thing bench" due to an operation.  She normally picks me up and drives me to classes.   I haven't been mainly because I can't be arsed to move the car from it's precious parking space in the road or walk halfway across town if I'd driven myself and not been able to find a parking space when I got home.   I was planning on substituting classes for the gym - which is a 10 minute walk from home - but instead I've spent time packing boxes and getting rid of some of the belongings I don't want to take to the new house.

After a month we found out our buyer hadn't even started the process from his end - no mortgage, no official instruction to solicitor.   So ....... he's had a bomb up his arse from the estate agent so fingers crossed we should start to see some movement - all we want is to exchange and have a moving date.  Being in  a state of limbo is sooooooo frustrating.

I was trying to think what challenge I could set myself this month - I've signed up to do the Challenge the Norm ride in November but really need to get my general fitness back.   I've downloaded a handful of "30 day challenges" so let's see how these go.

Fingers crossed the warm, dry weather lasts well into October  - don't fancy coping with SAD and a house move!

Friday, 14 September 2018

Halfway through September !!!!!

It's been a month since my last post.   It's been a bit stressful but luckily there have been a couple of Tribby trips - one to Crowborough and a long weekend in Canterbury.   The house move continues - we've sold, found a bungalow we both love which is in the right place and has a driveway for Tribby and the car which is ace.   The paperwork is with the solicitor and we're going "with the flow".  Not easy when you're me - even the solicitor commented on how much paperwork I'd given to her!

At the beginning of the month I pledged to #ScrollFreeSeptember

No social media for whatever period of time I chose.   There were 5 plans to choose from Cold Turkey - no scrolling whatsoever (no way Jose); Social Butterfly - no scrolling whilst out socialising; Night Owl - no social media after 6pm; Busy Bee - no social media during working or school hours or Sleeping Dog - no scrolling once in bed.  There's no way I could go Cold Turkey and the only one I really struggle with is checking my Facebook and Twitter while I'm at work so I chose

I'm not going to lie - it's been hard.   The first day was ok because I was extremely busy but I'm gradually struggling with not checking because I get a bit bored.   One thing I have realised is that I actually don't miss out on anything - it's all still there when I get on the bus at 2.45pm, apart from Twitter timeline which is a nightmare.  Just wish I could get through the day without checking it at all.   I'm going to try really hard for the second half of September - let's see how we go.

I was supposed to ride the Orro Sussex Classic Sportive last weekend but had a massive anxiety attack over my painful foot (no idea what I've done) and the elevation and I forgot to do my asthma inhalers before we left so took the decision to DNS - the first ever self imposed.  Not a great feeling - lots of tears, feeling angry at myself for giving in etc etc.  Shaun went off and rode - I sat in Tribby boiling the kettle for tea and eating anything I could find in the cupboards.   Shaun's race report wasn't great - although he did complete it in just over 2 hours.   Lots of horrible roads, cars, hills and generally not pleasant  so that made me feel better.   We did get a fab photo from the event photographer - think I might get this made into a canvas!

Descending like a pro
Following all the fun and excitement of Challenge the Norm during July I've signed up for another to do in November .   I've pledged London to Peterborough - only 86 miles for the month but I'm not sure if I'll get out on the road or not.   It could just be a month of spin classes.

Right, I'm off to pack some more boxes - will it ever end ?

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

National Cycle to Work Day & Home Again !

I have wanted to cycle to work for ages but it all seemed a bit too much involved.   Coupled with that and the fact my workplace isn't very cycle friendly (no showers and not particularly secure bike storage).   One of my colleagues (a confirmed non-cyclist) suddenly decided in April she was getting an e-bike on the firm's cycle to work scheme and she wasn't going to be using public transport for the whole summer - she's done brilliantly and I'm so impressed by her determination - she even cycles in on the most disgusting weather days, not that we had many during June and July. 

My other excuses include :-

  • the hill out of town is horrible and I have to join it at it's steepest without warming up my legs!
  • I have to get back for the dog when Shaun's at work
  • I don't want to be at work whilst I'm a fat, sweaty mess.
But, today is National Cycle to Work Day - Shaun is on a rest day and the weather is ok and of course I love a challenge (who knew?)

Shaun, bless him, having only got to bed at midnight got up early and took the dog out for a quick walk round the block, loaded Candy into the car and drove me to Saltdean where I could set off in relative ease from on the Undercliff path which runs into Brighton Marina.   It was a very pleasant ride, a ridiculous headwind which was confirmed by my colleague when we compared notes, but yes, a lovely ride. 

What did I learn today ?

  • Planning is key 
  • I should've taken most of my stuff into work the day before
  • a few baby wipes in selected areas worked just as well as a full shower (which I had when I got up this morning)
I had a lovely ride home, albeit the cycle path and Undercliff path were a bit busier than they were at 7.30am.   I didn't really save myself any time cycling to and from, and as I get a staff pass for the buses I certainly don't gain financially.   What I do gain though is a very smug feeling at the end of the day as I've had a good workout instead of sitting on my bum looking at my phone!  Wish I'd stopped for some photos now.

Will I do it again?


Maybe not every day - you still can't convince me that riding to work in hefting rain is good for me! 

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

And there went July !

Quite a busy month all in all - as well as our 8 day Tribby trip we've had a weekend trip back to Graffham which ended in going to Haslemere for Donaldson Day with my parents.    It was a horrible wet weekend, the only one in the whole of July! 

The mobile fish & chip van was back so no need to cook on Friday night which was a bonus.

We were originally put on pitch 42 - a not very nice pitch as even the chocks didn't help with the level so as soon as 43 next door became vacant Shaun went to the site office to ask if we could move.   We had a window of opportunity on the Saturday to get moved so quick unplug and move Tribby and we were in a much nicer spot - a pitch number to jot down and remember for future requests.

a rare moment of sunshine through the trees

View from the door on Saturday morning!

The weather was a bit inclement but it was nice just to get away and relax properly for a couple of days.

On the Sunday we woke to rain so dismantled the bed, showered in Tribby and got ready without opening the door - no mean feat with 2 adults and a dog inside.  Shaun took Archie for a quick walk after and disconnected us from the electric and I stayed in the dry!

We headed into Haslemere to have breakfast with mum and dad at Hemingways and then headed to the Town Hall for the service of remembrance.    This is the second Donaldson Day I've done, so proud of my parents for what they've found out about my brave 3x great grandfather William and to be able to say I'm a living descendant.    The occasion is always well attended by the local councillors and Mayor (although this year we had the Deputy Mayor), a representative from Surrey Police and this year the Police Chaplain attended and gave a prayer.   Mum had made a beautiful flower arrangement which was placed by one of the plaques.  Our walk 3 times around the Town Hall was a soggy affair and it was great to get back inside to listen to presentations from the Chaplain, the police representative and Dad's latest additions to the story of William and his wife Janet.

I left mum and dad to it as we needed to get home and get unpacked ready for work the next day, and have lunch.

During July I also took part in Cycle for MIND, a cycle challenge set up by Challenge the Norm.   I had to pledge a distance to cycle during July, pay £20 entry fee and for this I received a medal and a neck scarf.   I pledged to ride 190 miles, which could be completed on the road and also a spin bike.   I thought I'd easily be able to complete the challenge with 2 spin classes a week and cycle to and from the class and add some additional miles during the month.   Taking the bikes on holiday helped as I completed 30 miles during the week.  I actually ended up cycling over 200 so could have probably pushed on to complete the 250.   During the month I also won a draw to receive any item of clothing from the site which I chose a top and wore it to spin, and a couple of days ago my medal arrived.

I've also set up a just giving page if anyone fancies supporting this great charity - TIA.   I love doing these sorts of challenges, it's certainly motivates me to get out on the bike, and it's a great way to support charities!  I'm now looking for another challenge - any ideas, please let me know.  I've got another sportive on 8th September - I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

8 days in Tribby

Wow, weather remains just about perfect (for me anyway).

Second week of July Shaun and I with Archie tribbyed (not sure that's a word but who cares) over to the Isle of Wight.  We were a bit worried about Archie on the boat (disgracing himself) but he was fine.  We were instructed to take a bag on board with everything we might in case of accidents - it was worse than taking a baby on board as we trundled to the "dog deck" with a bag filled with bottles of water, kitchen towel, dog poo bags and disinfectant.

We managed to get onto a slightly earlier sailing which meant we arrived at Adgestone Campsite early, but the staff were lovely and allowed us to pitch on arrival.

Because it wasn't busy we had a choice of pitches and so plumped for one under a silver birch tree for some lovely shade.

The site is lovely and very "Isle of Wight" in that it hasn't been updated for a while.  It has great facilities though, including a swimming pool and I think if we hadn't had the dog we would have used it to cool down. 

We also took the road bikes with us - although it did mean going out separately it worked quite well.   Shaun would go out first thing in the morning and he found me a lovely trail to follow which meant I was away from the roads and no chance of getting lost.  I went for a recce ride that night along the Red Squirrel Trail to see what it was like - got to 5 miles when I had to turn back as the trail turned into gravel.   I'd love to get up into Newport and see what the rest of the trail is like.

On Sunday Shaun headed out on his bike for an hour and when he got back we had brunch of smoked salmon & eggs!    In the afternoon we got a bit fidgety so walked the other half of the Red Squirrel Trail into Sandown - it was a bit warm for Archie but we did check the pavements and made sure we had water for him.  We walked along the esplanade to Browns Golf and had a knickerbocker glory!

Archie was desperate to get on the beach - but no dogs allowed
On the Monday Shaun headed out on his bike to find St Boniface Down and I walked Archie - he did find a road and a cafe

when he got back we went to the onsite cafe - Ginger Tom's - for a full English breakfast and proper coffee.   It was a very nice breakfast and set us up properly for the rest of the day.    A bit later we walked down the Red Squirrel Trail to Pedallers, a local tea room and had some cake.

When we got back I got changed and re-rode the Trail on Doris.

Pedallers was closed
 On Tuesday we took the "bone rattler" train from Sandown to Shanklin as we wanted to visit the Chine.   We had a lovely walk from the bottom up to the waterfall and back down again!

bottom of the waterfall

We walked on the beachfront to see if there was anything decent for lunch but couldn't find anything - we needed somewhere with shade for Archie.   Having given up we took the lift from the beach to the town and then walked along the cliff top and found the Hideaway - perfect, hidden gem!

We stopped off at the Co-Op for provisions and then took the bone rattler back to Sandown.

Wednesday we woke up to grey skies so Shaun headed out on the bike and Archie and I snuggled up in bed.   When Shaun got back we went for another breakfast at Ginger Tom's.

At lunchtime we walked up to the Adgestone Vineyard - just a mile from the campsite.  We were going to do the Tour but it was getting a bit warm so we sat on the veranda and had wine and a cream tea. 

Quick bike ride after while Shaun prepared dinner.

On Thursday we were up early to pack and relocate to the New Forest.   We took the ferry from Yarmouth to Lymington for a change.

We arrived at Rushcroft Farm, Sway and were lead to our pitch.   We stayed at Rushcroft a few years ago but it's changed quite a bit.   Not sure if it's for the better with an extra 50 or so pitches.   It certainly made for some decent people watching. 

It's at this point we realised we should have stayed on the IOW for the whole week!

We didn't do much on Friday - a short walk on the Forest as it was so hot and humid and on Saturday we took the train from Sway to Brockenhurst.

dog waiting for a train
We bought some food for dinner and some cake! 

After dinner we started packing up - Shaun wanted to be on the road before it got too hot.   So, not only did we wish we'd stayed on the IOW for longer, we also wish we'd had two weeks away instead of one.   The island is definitely well set up for touring by bike - there's lots of trails and routes to follow so we'll definitely be back, maybe without Archie.