A Tale of 3 Halves

I know mathematically I am on shaky ground but this really is a tale of 3 halves. Three half marathons that is. Yes that’s right! Can you believe I ran 3 half marathons in 6 weeks? No neither can I to be honest! They were all completely different too!

The Severn Bridge Half was the first of the three and the one I had wanted to do since it started 3(?) years ago. Walking across the bridge has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I have no idea why I haven’t done it before to be honest but there you are. 

The weather was perfect. A little bit of sunshine but a lovely breeze too to keep the overall temperature down. The route had been changed due to roadworks this year but it was still meant to be very hilly. I decided that I would run as long as I could but I was allowed to walk the hills if I was struggling. It was a hard course. It really was and I obviously hadn’t eaten enough as by mile 11 I was picking blackberries from the hedges as I was so hungry!

I loved this race and next year they are planning a one off two bridges marathon. I can’t wait 😀 

I don’t think I have ever had a good running picture before but this one isn’t bad really. I mean I still don’t look like I’m running but I don’t look like I’m dying either lol!

Next up, a week later I was lucky enough to get the chance to run with Ben from the 401 challenge

Well it absolutely hammered down. I don’t think I have been as wet as that since the World Championship half in March! It seemed mostly trail too which I am not really used to. 

I ran with my friend Cathy and she was awesome. We passed the time chatting. Ben ran with us for a while too so we had a chance to chat to him. It was a really nice run if you take away the trail and the rain lol!

Which brings me to the 3rd half. My 4th Cardiff Half in 3 years. 

I honestly don’t know why I keep signing up for this race. I really dislike it. There is so much pressure at this race. Even when I try to pretend there’s not. I have never beaten the time I set at my very first half marathon which is frankly, ridiculous. It’s pathetic. I really don’t want to run it again next year but there’s a part of me that thinks “unfinished business” I really don’t know what to do. At least I’ve got a while to think about it. 

Escape Reality Cardiff *

**Disclaimer – hubby and I went for free in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post however, are mine (or hubby’s lol!)**

Last weekend was our 11th wedding anniversary. I really can’t believe how time flies. We don’t really celebrate our anniversary to be honest with you and as last year was our 10th we didn’t really have plans to celebrate this year. 

That all changed when I was offered a chance to try out the new Escape Reality escape rooms in Cardiff. My initial excitement wore off slightly when I read a review by someone who had failed to escape and hinted that they would have been more successful had there been more than 3 of them. I wondered how the 2 of us were likely to complete the puzzles if 3 of them were unable to do so? 

Turns out my fears were unfounded. I don’t believe number of players has any bearing on success. 

We had been advised to try Jungala as we had never attempted an escape room before. We were told that we had found an old board game which after starting to play and seeing the horror inside we decide to leave:

 (Taken from the website)

We were quite apprehensive at this point as we had no idea what to expect. 

We were given instructions on how the room worked and how to use the tablet we were given. After asking if we had any questions our guide left and shut the door. The clock immediately started counting down the hour and the pressure was immense. 

We struggled a bit at the start and wasted a bit of time competing the first 2/3 puzzles but once we got into the swing of things we seemed to complete puzzles faster. The tablet allows you to ask for a hint or a solution for each puzzle but they do come with time penalties so we tried not to use them. There are also plenty of cameras in the room so you can call for help if necessary. 

Hubby and I absolutely loved the escape room. I’m very proud of how well we worked together as a team and we definitely seemed to compliment each other in there. We made it to the last puzzle with 5minutes to go and the pressure to complete it was huge but hubby totally pulled it out of the bag and through his brains and excellent team work we managed to do everything we needed to do to escape in the alloted time. 

Our “Wall of Fame” picture😀

I meant to take some pictures while we were completing the puzzles but to be honest I was so wrapped up in completing each clue that I totally forgot!!

We had an absolute fantastic time and would definitely go again. Hubby, who is usually quite reserved, has been raving about it since we did it and there’s no higher praise than that in my opinion. I personally think the price is a little high (£22 per person for 2 people, reducing as the number of people increases) but to be honest, the amount of detail that has gone into each room is amazing. If you do get chance to do one, then go for it. It is such a fantastic experience. The problem we have now though is deciding which one to do next! 

Have you done an escape room before? 

Zero Waste Week 2016

Oh dear. Zero Waste Week could not have come at a worse time for me this year. Not only did it clash with first week back to school, including D’s first trek into full time but I failed catastrophically before it even started. 

This year’s theme is food waste and I was planning to use the week to show hubby how much easier it is when we meal plan. We used to meal plan often but it’s fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years so this was going to catapult us back into a routine. 

Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. Our fridge freezer is 13 years old. It’s the original one we bought when we first moved in together and has survived 3 house moves and 2 years in storage. However it has started showing its age so we decided after we came back from holiday we would buy a new one. Maybe the fridge freezer heard us talking about getting a new one and we hurt its feelings (lol) but it didn’t make it that far. We came home from holidays and were greeted by a big puddle on the kitchen floor and a freezer half full of defrosted food. 

We had no idea how long it had been like that so we had no choice but to throw everything out. I was devastated. Not only at the monetary waste but also the irony of all the food waste days before I was meant to encourage others not to waste food!!

So this week has been a write off as we had to decide on and buy a new fridge freezer plus restock it. On the upside our new freezer has see through drawers so we can see what we have just by opening the door. 

Hopefully that’ll help reduce waste as nothing will get “lost” in there. 

Have you been taking part in Zero Waste Week? Has your week been better than mine?

A Homemade Fashion Collaboration

In my last post I mentioned that Little Lady and I had worked together to make her a top. It started when Little Lady brought home a letter from school asking us to send in a plain white t-shirt. Little Lady has very colourful tastes and so only owns one plain white t shirt and that’s the one that is part of her PE kit! I couldn’t go out and buy one but I did have a lot of white jersey upstairs. 

I found a lovely t shirt pattern online and set about making it. I do most of my making when the kids are in bed so Little Lady couldn’t try it on til the morning. 

The fit was perfect so we labelled it with her name and sent it into school. Apparently they had been learning about design and had been asked to draw a t shirt design. They had experimented with various ways of applying the design to the fabric and it seems most of them chose fabric paint. Nice easy option for the children although maybe a bit messy for the teachers lol! 

Little Lady’s design centred on the things she enjoyed doing ie reading and watching the football (this was right in the middle of the Welsh Euro16 fever!) 

Little Lady said she enjoyed making the t shirt but did say it was boring waiting for the paint to dry and as a result she could only decorate the one side. 

I’m pretty impressed by her thinking and design and she loves wearing it. A great result for the mammy-daughter t shirt collaboration 😀

No New Clothes – a year on

This time last year I sat and wrote about the challenge I was about to embark on. It was pretty scary I have to admit. I wasn’t sure how well I would do, or if I could actually manage it. But then, isn’t that the point of a challenge? To push you out of your comfort zone? 

I set some rules that I hoped would make it a bit easier for me:

  • underwear does not count. I will not buy secondhand underwear for any of my family. I am, however, planning to make some of my own underwear again.
  • Running clothes and shoes. My current running shoes should last me until early next year but when they do need replacing I will be buying new. I won’t risk injury by buying secong hand. Running clothes, I will try to make do with what I have or buy second hand if I can.
  • Uniform/work wear. I wear my own clothes to work and therefore can get away with this but hubby can’t. He is provided with a polo shirt but some of the other kit he needs may need to be new due to safety reasons. We will shop around and try to buy second hand if we can but I will not compromise his safety. School uniforms will be second hand as much as possible, however, due to the school logo, if it poses difficulty in buying second hand then at the last resort we will buy new.
  • Shoes. I won’t buy second hand shoes especially for the kids. They have both recently had new shoes so should be fine for quite a while.
  • I am allowed to make new clothes and buy second hand. I cannot however, buy a lot of new fabric in order to make new clothes. (Copied from original blog post) 

So a year on. How did I do?? Let’s see shall we?

New items bought for me:

  1. Two pairs of running trousers
  2. A pair of denim shorts 
  3. A new sports bra
  4. Two pairs of compression socks
  5. My running club hoodie
  6. A pair of running shoes (not shown)

I’m pretty pleased with that! Both the running leggings and running shoes were allowed under my rules, as was the sports bra. The compression socks were needed but on the other hand did I really need two pairs?? And the shorts? Well I could have made some if I’m honest but I really didn’t want to. They were an impulse purchase bought about a month ago. 😔 So in all honesty I could have avoided buying them. 

In the interest of transparency I also received some clothes as gifts:

  1. Two pairs of jeans for Christmas
  2. A pair of furry boots (not shown)
  3. A pair of pyjamas (a Christmas Eve tradition – not shown)
  4. A running top which I had for my birthday

I have also received a few new training tops as prizes for completing races. I use these to avoid buying training tops. I do sometimes wish that races would give out trousers instead of tops occasionally so that I wouldn’t have to buy those 😂

The kids had new pyjamas from Santa on Christmas Eve. Little Lady had a new leotard and two pairs of hot pants for her dance show and D had a new pair of bathers for his swimming lessons. Little Lady’s dance items were very specific so I would have struggled to find them second hand in time, if at all and D’s swimming lessons can be such a source of stress for him as he hates showing his body, or “performing” in public. The SpiderMan bathers helps to ease his stress as he knows SpiderMan is brave and if that helps him overcome his social anxiety then it’s worth every penny. 

In regards to making things I failed miserably. I have made a lot of outfits but unfortunately none for me. I do have a post to show you at another date of how Little Lady and I collaborated on a top for her 😊 

We’ve talked about buying, gifts, and making but what about mending? I have done a LOT of mending this past year! 

I made shorts out of a pair of school trousers with holes in the knee:I also:

  1. Repaired a seam in my running tights
  2. Patched every pair of jeans I own over the year
  3. Repaired a seam in normal leggings
  4. Repaired a pair of shorts I had already made from a pair of jeans
  5. Fixed a jumper
  6. Replaced missing buttons on a cardigan 
  7. Shortened a dress to make it wearable
  8. Re hemmed two pairs of trousers
  9. Repaired a hole in the underarm of a cardigan

And I’m sure there were more but that’s all I seem to have kept a record of. 

All in all I think I did okay. There was room for improvement but I don’t think it was a complete failure. The big question now is: where do I go from here? Well pretty much all my clothes are looking tired. My jeans have been mended to within an inch of their lives. A very kind friend has just gifted me two new-to-me pairs of jeans so they will last a while but I could really do with some new clothes. I don’t intend to go out and buy all new and I will use charity shops as much as I can. But I do think this next year may be spent replacing the majority of my clothes. 

London Baby

Little Lady and I used to do everything together. Until she started school full time then it felt like we hardly spent time just the two of us. It was made worse (in a good way, obviously) that D came along just as she was going full time. I still had D to do things with, more so as he got older, but I missed the time with my girl.

We have made time over the years to do things together “just us girls” but they have been snatched afternoons, hours here and there. This holiday I decided to do something special just the two of us and so I booked us a Travelodge and the Megabus and took my girl to London. She had expressed interest in going last summer but we didn’t manage to go, so you can imagine how excited she was.

It’s fair to say she missed her brother while we were away. She talked about him constantly, wondering what the boys were doing, where they had been, asking me to take pictures of cranes to show him when we got back lol! But we had a fantastic time. It was so lovely spending time with her. I spent time with my little girl but also saw the little lady she is growing up to be. It was bittersweet, knowing that even though I am losing that little girl, she is growing into a fantastic big girl. Someone I am so proud to know.

We originally went with the idea of following the BFG Dream Jar trail after seeing the one in Cardiff but we were so disappointed by it that we gave it up and did some touristy things instead. Little Lady made a list of the things she would like to see and we tried to do as many as we could.

We stopped at the palace



Visited Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament


We walked along the Thames


Walked across Tower Bridge


We also rode the London Eye, which turned out to be the best part of Little Lady’s trip.

She also enjoyed all the travelling on the Underground and the ride there and back on the Megabus as it was a double decker😀

We had such a fantastic time. I’m so glad we took the time to do it and I really want to do it again. Maybe we’ll go back next year.

Have you ever been to London? What was your favourite part?

Pin Up

Wow I have neglected this blog haven’t I? Let’s just move swiftly along and pretend it didn’t happen shall we? Fab.🙂

Okay so I’m going to start back with a crafty post. I am slowly starting to sort out my craft things in the attic and whilst doing so I found an unused canvas. I’m not really one to paint or draw so I decided to use it to make a notice board for Little Lady’s bedroom. I had some pink fabric in my stash and some ribbon so I had a go while she was at school.

Hubby was a bit wary of allowing me to use the staple gun unsupervised after last time when I pinched my thumb in the handle lol! You’ll be glad to know I came away unscathed this time yay!

I roughly measured the fabric by folding it around the canvas.


I then cut it to size, folded the corners neatly and stapled it to the frame. Of course you could finish the edges of the fabric but to be honest I didn’t bother.

I didn’t have enough of the ribbon I wanted to use so I had to space the strips very carefully. Once I was happy with their position I stapled those to the frame too.IMG_0950

The process was repeated with the ribbon going the opposite way.IMG_0951

And as easily as that it was done.IMG_0952

Little Lady loves it and has it hanging above her desk for her “important papers”. She is also pinning her dance rosettes to it which are looking good.

If I did another one of these I would use more ribbon to make the criss- crosses closer together but as I made this with only things I already had, I am quite pleased.

Have you ever made a noticeboard like this?