Sub 30

In 2 weeks time I will be running in my local 10k race and I have high expectations for it. Lately, as you know I have been feeling down with my times and it took a look back at last year’s posts to see how far I have actually come. I run once a week with a friend and it’s always a pretty slow one as we spend the whole time gossiping, whinging and putting the world to right! She has recently found a lot of speed in her running and smashed the sub1hr 10k she was looking for back in March. I was complaining to her about my lack of speed and she told me how she had only found her speed since she dropped a stone in weight. It really made me think as I know I have put on weight recently and after weighing myself I was really shocked by the fact I had put on a stone!

I haven’t joined any fat clubs or started any faddy diets but by using an app on my phone to track every thing I eat I have already lost 5lbs in a month. :) It hasn’t been easy as I do like to snack on biscuits when I am at home with D but it also hasn’t been that hard either if you see what I mean? Basically I’ve just tried to make better choices at mealtimes and lower the amount of snacking I do.

Alongside this I have tried to up my running. Between Hubby who works shifts, Little Lady and all her activities, work meetings and various life stuff, I don’t run as much a I would like to. Hubby has been really supportive and has offered to look after the kids while I go out for a run if he is home early. I know that may sound a bit funny but I do feel guilty if I run out of the door the second he gets home so I don’t always go unless he suggests it.

I’ve been doing a lot of speed endurance sessions, run by my running club and I have been improving. Not always time wise but the coach has told me that I run stronger and regulate my breathing a lot better now than I used to. So that’s good too.

At these sessions I’ve been running 5k at 31-32 mins on a hilly course. I have been working hard as my goal for the Caerphilly 10k is to get below 1:10mins. I’ve been so close before (1:10:23) but I can’t get under it!

I then heard read on twitter that Cardiff parkrun was putting on a pacer day and I was really tempted to go. They were pacing even numbers and as I have been getting low 30’s on a hilly course I decided to just go for it and see if I could get a sub 30 on a flat course. Hubby and I juggled arrangements for Little Lady’s swimming lesson so that I could take the car and off I went.

Once there I found the sub 30 pacer and stalked her until the start. I was so geared up for this. I was determined not to give up. The gun started us off and it all went wrong. There were over 700 people trying to run down a narrow path, people were weaving in and out and stopping dead in front of other people. The pacer had to keep the pace so she weaved in and out of people to keep her time. Unfortunately that made it hard for the group to keep up with her as there were so many people and it was so narrow. I had lost her before the 1km marker! I was gutted. I had decided beforehand that if I could keep up with her most of the way around and I struggled near the end and had to drop back then I would accept that as I would have tried my best. But to lose her so early on, and through no fault of my own? Gutting!

We passed the 1km marker and my runkeeper app reported a split time of 5.02min/km! I could have fallen over! For perspective a fast run for me is low 6min/km. I don’t think I have ever had a split that started with a 5 never mind a very low 5!! I decided to keep going as fast as I could just to see what would happen. The second km split was a bit slower but was still a low 5 (5.21min/km) I couldn’t believe it. I was wearing both a long sleeved top and a vest and the sun had decided to make an appearance at this point so I had to stop to take off the long sleeved top. I was boiling! This stop meant that the 3rd km was my slowest at 6.18min/km (usually a fast time for me).

I gave it my all and I honestly don’t think I could have given it anymore. I could barely pick up the pace for a sprint finish and I stood squashed up in the finisher funnel wondering how I was going to be sick without getting it on anyone! Thankfully I wasn’t sick but my legs were like jelly walking back to the car. I had to sit in the car park for awhile before I felt safe enough to drive home!

But it was all worth it. My time? 29.26 :D Oh yeah! A sub 30 woohoo!! I know I couldn’t keep up that pace for 10k but my sub 70mins is edging closer. Let’s hope I’ve got the pace in a fortnight’s time.

  

Tea for two?

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Can you believe I found this post in my drafts folder, unfinished? This post is actually from last October!
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Item number 21 on my Day Zero List is to raise £500 for charity and this ties in nicely with number 78 – Organise a Charity Coffee morning at home.
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I chose a date and sent out invites to everyone I knew. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I made some cakes, and bought some cakes, and then I cleaned the house again! Having people round makes me very nervous. I feel that they are judging me and the house. I feel that the house has to be magazine perfect. I get myself worked up and so stressed that I hardly invite anyone around to the house. And this time I had invited a lot of people. :/
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In reality I had no need to worry as people were coming for tea and cake not to see the house (although I’m sure some did come for that reason ;) ) I decided to keep the “coffee morning” theme going and arranged flowers in tea pots despite the eyebrow raising from hubby. I thought it all came together pretty well and I managed to raise quite a bit towards my £500 target.
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Rainbow Ripple

This post has been a long time coming.  But after months and months of rippling my Rainbow Blanket is finally finished 😀 

One of my favourite crochet blogs is attic24 If you haven’t read it I do recommend you pop over, Lucy is so talented with a hook and yarn. It was there I first came across a ripple and got it into my head to make a rainbow ripple throw for the settees in the front room. 

 
I tweeted this picture back in July last year. I was so excited that I had managed to actually make it ripple 😀But the first row was so hard!! I completed the first row and put it away – in the bottom of my knitting basket never to be seen again. I was gutted. I had seen so many people on Twitter say how easy it was but I found it took so much concentration that I didn’t want to think about it anymore 😞

The ripple stayed in the basket until April this year. We were offered the use of a friend’s caravan over the Easter weekend. While packing I had a look in my knitting basket to see if there were any unfinished projects I could take with me to do in the evenings. Can you guess what was staring back at me? Yep! I decided to give it one more chance, so I packed my hook and wool and off we went to the seaside. 

Once I got past the first row of the ripple, it was much much easier. The ripple, I assume, is established by then and easier to follow maybe? Whatever it was by the end of the weekend it looked like this:

  
How fab does that look? I was so impressed. However, it is so wide it was taking over half an hour per row! I kept thinking to myself “I’ll never finish this!” But then Jen came to my rescue when she tweeted about the 100 Day Project. I read about it and decided I would like to sign up for it. But what was I going to do for the 100 days? Yes I am a bit slow and it took me about an hour before I realised that I could combine both problems (what to do for 100days Project and Will I ever finish my Blanket?) and ripple one row every day. 

I used the hashtag #100daysofrippling on Instagram and started rippling. 

I rippled in the house and I rippled in public. 

  
I rippled around the kids

 
And I rippled while snacking (oops!)

  
I rippled sitting in the car, while waiting for Little Lady to do her swimming lesson, up my parents’ house. I literally took my blanket everywhere with me. I had so many lovely comments while out and about. I even inspired one swimming mummy to finish her crochet blanket 🙋🏻*high five*

By the end of the blanket I was crocheting each row a bit quicker and I was managing more than one row a day on some days. Eventually (due to running out of wool) I came to this:

 
The very last stitch! 

Ta-da

 I still have all the ends to weave in but the whole family loves it and so do I. To be honest I was so afraid that as it had taken so long that I wouldn’t like the finished product! 

The blanket took me about 5 weeks to make (once I actually got going) and cost me £16.47 in wool. I used 8x100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK and I used almost every single scrap of yarn I bought. 

Would I do it again? Yes definitely! 

As long as someone else starts me off 😉

Out of my depth

If I tell you something, do you promise not to laugh? At least not to my face anyway? 

Tonight I took some of my church youth group to the annual denominational swimming gala. The kids get so excited. Little lady has competed for the last three years and even D entered a race this year, desperate as he was, to be like his sister. Between the group we brought home 14 medals. Little lady won 3 of those, including a bronze for the 11years and under race, competing against girls 4 years her senior :D

But that’s not what’s keeping me awake tonight. I have so many thoughts going around in my head. The main one being the fact that I competed tonight. In a bid to cajole one of the other mums (a fantastic swimmer) to sign up for the adult race, I agreed to sign up myself!! Me, a non-swimmer, someone who avoids water as much as possible!

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With all my ear problems I do not swim. I haven’t swum since school probably. If, and that’s a big if, I do go in the pool, my hair never gets wet. It’s actually easier to tell people that I can’t swim than going into my whole medical history and why I am afraid to get water in my ears. (Also why I don’t have my hair washed at the hair dressers but that’s another story!!)

So tonight, I was signed up for the adults’ race. Little lady’s face was beaming with pride. How could I back out? I jokingly (half??) told the lifeguards to be ready to rescue me, I told the time keeper in my lane to go get a sandwich. I had already written myself off before I had even got to the edge of the pool. All races start in the water and as I got in I started to panic. I wondered if I could actually remember how to swim! I had borrowed Little Lady’s goggles and putting them on I felt like a fake. I was fearful of letting her down. I knew I was going to finish last and that didn’t bother me, what did bother me was making a fool of myself. What if I made such a fuss and a big scene that I drowned myself during the race?? Not a good look for someone actually employed by the denomination is it?

The whistle blew and off I went. I was amazed by how clearly I could see with goggles on. Do you know I have never worn goggles to swim in my life! We didn’t have them as kids and as I said before, I don’t swim now. It was amazing to see everything underwater. It was so clear and calm.

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 Well until I had to breathe anyway! Now, I have watched hours and hours of Little Lady’s swimming lessons. I have seen Olympic swimmers on the TV. Quite simply, you turn your head to the side, take a breath and put your face back in the water. Easy. Except the first time I tried it, I swallowed a mouthful of water. The second time I tried it, I didn’t get a full breath. It is not as easy as it looks! By the time I got to the end I was so desperate for air I thought I was going to pass out. 

But… I didn’t. Yes I came last. 4th out of 4 (one of which was a 14year old girl who just wanted a go!) but according to hubby I didn’t lose by much so that’s some consolation. Little Lady even said I “wasn’t bad” High praise indeed!

Tonight has surprised me in different ways. 

  1. That I had actually managed to convince myself I couldn’t swim
  2. Goggles make a world of difference to swimming
  3. I wasn’t *that* bad 
  4. How much I actually enjoyed swimming

Maybe I should pack my specially-made earplugs and Little Lady’s goggles and go for a swim by myself another day. I think I might like that.

Make Do and Mend-able Back to Basics

i have been a big fan of Jen Gale since the end of 2012 when I caught wind of her Buy Nothing New year. Since then she has been promoting the idea of Make Do And Mend everywhere she can.

Now with her own Make Do and Mend-able website and host of #makedoandmendhour on Twitter (Thursday 8-9pm if you are interested) she has also put together her own book!

  

The book is made up of 19 chapters, each one written by different contributors. The book isn’t one that is meant to be read like a novel, but more as an instruction manual, an Essential Guide to Make do and Mend, as the tag line says. Topics range from how to sew on a button 

 

To how to replace a plug

 

 

The book is a back-to-basics guide and as such the sewing chapters were a bit basic for me. However they are ideal for people who are beginners or those who are coming back to sewing after a break. It’s not just sewing though. There is something to learn for everyone. I loved reading how to unpick old woollens and re-use the yarn as I hate the wibbly-wobbly effect you are left with. 

 

 

There are a number of projects in this book and I â looking forward to having a go at some of them.

This is a fab book to have at home on your e-reader or tablet and I would definitely recommend it as a present for someone moving into their own home for the first time – think students going to uni or young adults leaving home for the first time, as well as for people like me who just want to live their lives with a smaller impact on the world.

The book is being released on the 21st of this month and is priced at £8. However you can pre-order it now for a reduced price of £5 from here

**I was lucky enough to be sent this e-book free of charge for the purposes of the review. However all opinions are my own and I would only recommend something if I would actually pay for it myself, which in this case, I would have bought the book anyway. 

#The 100 day project

What Could You Do With 100 Days of Making
I saw this on the Make Do and Mend-able facebook page and although I was intriqued, I didn’t really know what to do for it. I sat for a while, crocheting my ripple blanket, alternating between thinking “What can I do for the 100 day project?” and “Oh man! I’m never going to finish this ripple blanket!” Is it too obvious that I finally came to the realisation that I could combine the two?
So for the next 100 days (Starting today) I plan to ripple one row of my rainbow blanket every day. I’ve estimated that by the end of the 100 days I should be very close to finishing the blanket. Yay!
If you are on instagram you can follow me and my progress @mehubbyandkids and I’ll be using both the #100daysofrippling and #100daysofmaking hashtags.

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Bath Mallows and Lip Gloss

I was very blessed a couple of weekends ago to be able to spend some mammy-daughter time with Little Lady. D went to my mums and us girls went to a BathMallow making workshop. A bit like a bath bomb but they look like marshmallows apparently!

A friend of mine runs these workshops and I have booked her to come to my youth group for the last 3 Mother’s Days. As the youth leader however, I haven’t participated in the workshops so it was nice to actually have a go for a change.

There were only about 10 of us at the workshop so it was a nice small group. Little Lady was quite the expert having participated in the ones I have organised through church, and was very keen to tell me what to do next! Lol!

 

While helping the younger kids at the youth club workshop I managed to snap 3 plastic spoons!! This time I tried to be a bit more careful while stirring the mixture!!

I opted to go for a purple colouring and a blueberry smell.  Little lady chose green for the colour and a lovely fresh lime smell.

We packed the mixture into little cases and decorated the top with flowers. Little lady decided that I should do each one of mine differently!! So I did and fair play they actually came out pretty good!  

They smell lush in the bath too!

Little lady’s bath mallows looked pretty good too.

 

Just to finish off we also got to make a lava lip gloss. I chose a strawberry flavour for this one and the lava effect is pretty cool!

Although I could have put a bit more of the colour in to get bigger blobs! Maybe next time.

It does feel pretty good using products that I have made myself. Little lady also enjoys using her own products and the wrappers are paper so can be recycled. Not too sure about the lip gloss bottles although I’m pretty sure if I run out I could refill it.

These obviously won’t last me forever but it’s a small step to reducing plastic waste in the bathroom.

Have you ever made your own bath products?