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Friday, 4 November 2016

New kitchen!

We have been planning to do the kitchen ever since we moved in, it has taken this long to finally do something about it.

The first thing we did was take out the back door and replace it with patio doors



We also replaced the window but that was like for like so wont bother showing you that! The next step was to start ripping out the old kitchen. I did most of this bit and I found I found it pretty satisfying!

before we moved in

Deconstruction commences!

As you can see from this picture, there was A LOT of wiring, most of which didn't do anything, or was live but not connected! Nightmare! We managed to pull a few favours so a good friend I know from school did the electrics for us. We had the whole kitchen rewired and in hindsight, If we hadn't had many of the other rooms re-plastered and redecorated, we probably would have rewired the whole house.



Yes, I enjoyed breaking up the place!
The electrics was by far the worse bit! It was the messiest and we were on a really tight time frame as Sean was only with us for the weekend before he had to go back to work. After an immense clean up and putting the walls back together, we were finally ready to start putting it back together again!





New oak worktops and sink!! This was a major turning point as we would finally function as a kitchen again! A week without a kitchen was a killer! We were constantly cooking and cleaning up round our neighbours so to finally be able to use our own again was lush! Lucky we have great neighbours really!

The next step was to decide what we were going to do with the walls. Picking a wall colour was easy for the kitchen end as we just found a neutral colour to match the cupboards. We were originally just going to have upstands and paint the walls. However, we didn't really anticipate how much work the walls would need for that. To be honest I always wanted tiles so the decision to revert to tiles was easy for me. Picking them wasn't though! without having a definite picture for the floor too it was difficult to know what to pick, we get there in the end though...



The flooring was particularly tricky too as we wanted it to continue through the hallway to the front of the house, therefore it had to be quite universal. We did think about slate tiles but it wouldn't have worked in the hallway and didn't want a join in the flooring. In the end we went for laminate and it was by far the best decision, I love it!!


I laid the floor with Andy post night shift which was interesting, enjoyed it though. I hated walking on the concrete!!



It's still not finished but it certainly feels like a normal kitchen again. The screen will be mounted on the wall behind where it's currently standing. We haven't finished the dining area behind where I'm stood to take the pictures. We will probably make a feature wall of the back dining area wall by picking out the blue of the tiles. the rest of the walls will be the neutral colour like behind the cupboards.We also need to tidy up around the windows. In the process of laying the floor we had to pull up all the skirting boards in the hallway, at the same time I thought it a good idea to take of the wall paper, upstairs including!

In other words... there will ALWAYS be something to do!

So worth all the hard work though!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Done a bit of running this year!

Here comes the first of many 'quick updates' as I have been a pretty awful blogger this year... FAR too much been happening!

Last year I decided to join the gym and try and get a bit fitter, since then I have had an up and down relationship with exercise but I have made some small gains. When I first started getting into it one of my goal was to run 5 miles, which at the time seemed completely impossible because I have previously had absolutely nothing good to say about running! However for a while I got quite heavily into spin which I think really helped my cardiovascular fitness as one day after a night shift, I randomly decided to go for a run round the block and before I knew it I ran 7 miles!!

 

Looking back it is now, even my pace wasn't too awful considering it was my first proper run. This spurred me on to train for bigger things and before I knew it I was signed up for a 10k and a Half Marathon! I soon ran (haha) into problems though, I quickly learnt that if you try and run too far too quickly then all you get is injured! I had to take a week off work because I hurt my foot/ankle and also had on off problems with my knees. My knee was playing up not long before my 10k which was somewhat nerve wracking but with a bit of determination and some good tunes in my ears, I managed it!


10k still seemed a LONG way off a half marathon though, and with it creeping ever closer I was starting to worry as running any further than about 9 miles was proving REALLY difficult.

A torrential run but good fun somehow!

On of my neighbours quite regularly runs longer distances so I asked her to coach me though a run which really helped. She gave me some tips on how to get that little bit further. She managed to get me to go 11 miles which did wonders for me psychologically!


Although I knew I wasn't the best of runners, I really wanted to run my half marathon in less than two hours. The route was a flat one by the sea so at least I didn't have any hills to contend with. 


BUT IT DID IT!!! WOOP!!
Official time 1hr 58min 8secs16th Female59th Overall£350 raised for the lovely charity, 4Louis


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Vegetable seedlings

Despite the lack of posts recently, I have been doing some garden prep for the year. I have been a bit on the slow side but still more organised than last year. My first seed of the year went in mid March. They were a bit of a flop as I put them in and then forgot to water them. I had a few odd ones come up but was pretty much a write off. After that I got my act together a bit and started planting up properly.


They have all gone in at slightly different times and some I have re-sowed as the first lot didn't come up but on the list this year is:

  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mini Sweet Corn
  • Peppers
  • Sweet Chili Peppers
  • Climbing Beans
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Parsnips 
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce
Blimey!! See it all in a list like that and I have no idea where it's all going to go!! I have been rather ambitious this year. It doesn't look nearly that impressive in the greenhouse yet.


The moldy green one there is one of the ones I neglected but despite all odds, there are about 4 onion seedlings in there. They were last years seeds so that could be a bit of the problem too...


My carrots and parsnips went straight into my planter like last year. Soon after, we had a couple of frosts which killed off the carrots I think. I may have just got impatient but I did give them plenty of time. They were replanted and I am still waiting! I am so impatient! I waited a bit longer for the parsnips and I am glad I did. Almost a month after sowing, they just started to pop through in the last 2 or 3 days! YAY!!! 

As patience has always been an issue for me, this year I have started a little gardening diary to keep track of when I did things, notes on when to expect seedlings to appear and updates on when how my crops are doing!


I wish I had read it before scrapping all my cucumber seeds and starting again. I had two of them come up quite quickly then rot off, so then when no others came up I just gave up, probably too early. I kept them indoors on the window sill and I think they ended up being over watered. I attempted two varieties, Cucumber Passandra, the successful ones I brought as seedlings last year and absolutely loved. However at £4.05 for 5 seeds I'm not that impressed that I failed them! It was 2 of these that came up then died. The second variety was Cucumber Telegraph Improved. None of these even showed so in hindsight, I really wish I had given them longer. 

I found a website online, simply seeds, which had the Passandra seeds at a fraction of the cost so quickly ordered 2 packets. I planted the 1st packet and have saved the second for a few weeks time. I have also got some of the Telegraph seeds coming from eBay so Ill get them going too as soon as! 

I am pretty happy with my Pear tree this year so far anyway. My poor pear tree has had a rough few years. It hated being in a pot and once finally being planted properly, it spent 2015 recovering.


Okay so it doesn't look as wonderful yet but it's the best it's managed in years There is so much new growth and potential. Feeling really hopeful that it might fruit this year!! My apple tree is still recovering but there are some signs of life on it. Time will tell!

Can't wait to bore you with the updates!

Turning into a love/hate relationship...

Very much developing a love hate relationship with running. I have managed to sustain 2 running injuries in the same about of weeks, as well as a trainer hiccup! The actual running itself is going well, I am really enjoying it and feeling good whilst out. The problems hit in the recovery period, and always after a long run.


This was the 1st culprit. about 10 minutes after getting back I developed a dull ache in the lower outer side of my left knee. I kind of expected to develop a knee problem at some point as I damaged my right knee about 10 years ago. I was very surprised to then get problems with the other one! I was particularly worried about this one as Scott hurt his knee at the end of January which gave him problems for ages and he still occasionally complains about it. Luckily for me, I rested for a few days (apart from a swim) and very quickly it went back to normal. Obviously caught it before it became a real problem.

After spending a lot of time looking into training plans, I signed up to Endomondo Premium. Not sure if its any better than anything else I have seen but I was intrigued. Though maybe I should have taken it a little more seriously. The runs in the 1st few weeks were between 1 and 4 miles. My shortest was 2,4m (still being wary of my knee) and my longest the one 7.6m (the one above). To me, I thought I was at a higher level than it had started me off at. Which to an extent I still believe. But it's quite obvious really that the reason I am injuring myself is that I am running too far too quick. Endomondo also gives you an average pace to aim for - even at my slowest pace on my accidental 9 mile run, I am quicker than what it wants me to run.


In many ways I don't think having lots of data is that helpful. For example, my last run (above) is my quickest longer run to date. I was coming upto an hour and knew that I was quicker than my previous best distance in an hour so upped my speed to make the improvement even better.


So basically, I am making all the typical mistakes; running too far and too quickly before I am really ready. It's frustrating.

Anyway, after the last run, I felt absolutely okay until the next morning (day before yesterday), when I woke up with a bit of an achy ankle. I didn't think much of it to begin with, it slowly got worse during the day but still nothing that awful. However, waking up this morning was a bit of a downer... My plan calls for a 5 mile run today, however a nice swelling and inability to put full pressure on my foot quickly ruined that.

After consulting Dr Google, I believe I probably have peroneal tendonitis. Which could be a bit of a bitch to get over... Anyway after turning up at work last night unable to walk properly, I went to A&E to get it checked out. After a 6 hour wait and 2 X-rays, they don't really know. Apparently I could have a stress fracture. If it's as painful in another two weeks I have got to have another X-ray because apparently stress fractures are difficult to pick up until they start healing. As time has gone on I have also started getting pain underneath my foot which may be because I am not walking on it/moving it properly. Another condition they mentioned at A&E is plantar fasciitis which looks like it affects mainly the bottom of the foot. If I do have this I think it's probably secondary/related to the 1st injury rather than being the sole (haha) problem.

Regardless, I am not going to be running for a little while!! I love an excuse to sit of my arse but as soon as I have to I can't sit still!! HELP!!

I don't really want to say it, but I do have to wonder whether my trainer change has anything to with it. I went and had gait analysis and spent A LOT of money on a new pair of trainers.



My first run out of them I did them up too tight and ended up with a bleeding toe and more blisters. I knew within about 10mins that they were too tight but carried on running anyway so thats my fault really. The second run in them is the one that gave me the foot injury. However, on that run they really did feel good and definitely more supportive than my Nikes, so I'm convinced it's user error rather than equipment.......

Monday, 28 March 2016

New Running Goals

Post my previous blog about my running success, I have made some running commitments!! As in I am taking part in some organised runs. First of all I started rather small by signing up for a 10k run around Westonbirt Arboretum on the 24th May. I can already run 10k fine so thought that I could handle that easy...

But then I got thinking... If I can already run 10k then  where is the challenge? It will be hillier than I am used to but even still, there't not a lot of challenge in that is there. I am also trying to raise some money for a lovely charity called 4Louis who donate memory boxes to hospitals to give to bereaved parents. No one is really sponsoring me yet so I thought I should up my game and push myself a bit more.

Therefore I have now signed up for the South Coast Run; a half marathon!!!! 13.1 miles..... WHAT?! It's okay though, it isn't until the 10th July so I have over 3 months to train. To be honest, I am not that worried about it either, It goes along the seafront right where my dad lives, its beautiful and nice and flat so hopefully will be enjoyable for my first. I was looking at doing the Bristol Half but it is on while we are in America in September., I know what I would rather do!

I have been looking at training plans. I know I should follow one but they are all consisted of short 3-5 mile runs then 1 slightly longer one a week. I just want to run it all straight away! I think I am asking for trouble...

Before we went Skiing I ran a decent 6.4 miles and pace and felt pretty good after.


Compared to my last it is very similar but something I can improve on none the less. Went for another run yesterday, and certainly to begin with things were looking on par (I did have a weeks holiday in between where I ate anything and everything!).


But then I hit a MASSIVE wall. from about 4.5 miles the wind was by biggest killer, but I still managed to keep the pace, I then went the wrong way which committed me to running further than the 8 miles planned. On my 6th mile I got a massive stitch which then basically crippled me for the rest of my run. That with the wind and I may as well have given up. But I was determined. Stupid really as I didn't prepare myself before running properly either. The rain was meant to be coming so when it was dry I rushed to get out, having only eaten a banana and drank a cup of coffee. Too soon to leaving.

I need to look more into the preparation before a run. I think If I am going to successfully run further I need to do more to manage it. If anyone has any tips then please let me know!!!!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Running Success!

To motivate myself and try and make better progress, in November, I set myself some goals. Bit of a silly time to set goals as everything went out the window in December.One of those goals was to run 5 miles, What seemed like a big task as I have never been a keen runner. It seemed even more crazy as I didn't bother to run even! Wen't a few times but as I got into spin, I was preferring the warmer climate of the gym rather than the cold(ish) outdoors!

The few runs I have done recently were okay but my trainers kept giving me blisters. They were only cheapy ones from Sports Direct (own brand) and although they are perfectly fine for in the gym and at spin (will probably still wear them to spin), I really wasn't getting on with them for running, or in classes really. There are soooo many trainers out there I didn't really know where to start so for a long while, couldn't be bothered. However we went shopping for ski stuff the other weekend and I saw a pair of Nike Free 5.0 Trainers in the sale so tried them on. I loved them but for some reason didn't buy them at the time. Instead I spent all evening googling them until I could find a pair at least the same price as I saw in the shop. In the end I actually got them in a nicer colour for £10 less, but I had to wait for them to come from Germany...


I somewhat took myself by surprise yesterday.. I had booked to go to spin post night shift, I went home for a sleep and had my alarm all set to get up and go. The alarm didn't go off but lovely Charlie Man (my doggie) came and woke me up just 10mins later than I should have got up anyway. I hauled my groggy arse out of bed, went downstairs, decided to ditch the spin idea, preferring a coffee and mong on the sofa. Then I saw my band new trainers sitting there, just asking to be taken for a run...
Just a lap round the block I said. Just enough to make me feel I've achieved something...

An hour and 8 minutes later, 3 laps round the block and 7 miles, YES 7 WHOLE MILES later and I was home again!! I can't friggen believe it!! So chuffed with myself.


I thank a good pair of trainers and my obsession with spin. Double my previous best distance! Okay, it's all either downhill or flat but even so!! I don't think my pace was too bad really either. I only really faltered on the last mile when I got a bit of a stitch so had to slow down. Once I got over the initial hump at the beginning - where I always want to give up - I found, cardiovascular wise, that I was pretty stable throughout.



I became aware of the impact through my feet at about 3.5m in but come the end I only had one small blister on the ball of my foot which I think is related to the way I run rather than the trainers. They simply molded to my feet and let me go on and on!

I have felt the burn though post run! I kept waking myself up last night whenever I rolled over as my groin muscles felt like they were in spasm, and I decided to skip spin/body con this morning too as I was walking like an old woman. I'll be fine tomorrow, it feels loads better already! I dunno what I was thinking really, casually banging out a 7 mile run and would have no aches and pains after! Feet feel good though!!

I have lost weight recently which hasn't really been my aim but there have also been some changes body wise, albeit slow.. I wan't to gain muscle not loose weight really. I haven't lifted so much though either so I can't expect it all. In fact I did a quick sesh in the gym the other day and was disappointed that I couldn't lift as much as before - which wasn't a lot to begin with. I don't think body conditioning classes and spin alone is going to be enough!!



Thursday, 28 January 2016

Concrete

My two garden battles for today. I hate both now.

Ages ago mum gave be a blackcurrant plant so I can grow my own blackcurrants for vodka (YUM!). So far it's lived on our patio in a bucket with a bin bag round it; and my watering can rose on it.



I have been trying to dig a hole for it for about 3 months... To be honest I tried like twice but the weather hasn't allowed a proper go and it was impossible to get it where I actually wanted. My plan for it was to go up the back of the garden by the garage - the ever changing corner of the garden. The difficulty is though where the drainage goes for the garage, although the actual piping is in next doors garden, there is underground piping that goes along the divide. When it all leaked/they put the new fence panel in/did whatever they did - not entirely sure what, they shoved a load more concrete down there. This means I have no hope of putting many plants in the corner at all unless I dig it all out again, This was a serious option for me until I thought that it might actually be there for a reason - and I didn't want to break something...

That corner has been a pain in my backside since we moved in really, to begin with there was some ugly trellis up and some bizarre ferns which I got rid of. I then planted my apple tree up there which got ruined when the fence came down grrr... So it's been difficult deciding what to really do there.

So... last year I made some trellis which was left over from the wood we brought for the fence. It was made back in the summer and sat down the side of the house for months until Scott finally put it up for me.


I have planted a Jasmine plant in front of it in hope that it will take well. It's got a beautiful pink flower. However, I have heard that Jasmine can spread like wildfire so I have kept it in the pot and I have partially dug it in. This was also because of the inability to dig a decent sized hole because of all the bloody concrete.


Since my apple tree was damaged, I didn't like where I had planted it - or even like it full stop and had contemplated getting rid of it... So today, whilst making decisions regarding the blackcurrant plant, I dug it up and put it in a pot.

It's musical plants all over again isn't it!? Specially as I also dug up a lovely rose which I put in the front garden last year also (loads of this stuff I never blogged about - how you all missed out!!!!) and put that in a pot too.


Post wedding, Scott and I buggered off on honeymoon and left all of your flowers with mum and Richard. The clever man he is, Richard took one of the roses and made a plant with it! I am so excited to see it flower it is unreal! I know I have enough roses as it is but that has gone in a pot too and I now have a little pot feature!



The pot were given to me by Scott's dad and have just sat in the garden for ages. Okay it does still look like a load of mud and the front pot on it's side has nothing in yet... But I do think it looks better than it did! Still a working progress and I really do want to get the blackcurrant plant in there somewhere - but for now it's still in its bucket with it's hat on!!

I'll let you know when I actually get it in the ground!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Caravan Cushion Covers

I haven't done much sewing recently, let alone blogged about it. I can't remember if I mentioned it before but for a long time I was slowly working on doing come upholstering. The neighbours brought a caravan last summer and wanted the cushion covers spruced up a bit. I can't blame them, they looks so old fashioned and dirty looking.


That's the only before photo I took, but as you can see, not very inspiring. This is a back cushion, the seat cushions were bigger and more shaped than this. In total there were 8 to do, 4 of which were larger (seating area is bigger on one side of the caravan than the other).

There is a shop near here that sells fabric on the roll for stupid prices! I think the fabric Emma picked up was like £7.50 and I covered the whole lot without being careful of wastage and there was still over half a roll left. I wouldn't have chosen the fabric myself but for that price you can't complain!


I didn't hate this project but it certainly had plenty of downsides what could have made me hate it. First of all they stank. And were really messy inside so every one I took apart I had to hoover them off and then my sewing room. I also needed loads of room to lie it all out and cut my pattern pieces. For a while I used our bedroom as we were part way though decorating so had no furniture in there. I somewhat cheated too by using the old covers for my pattern pieces and instead of spending more money on wadding. The problem with this though; my sewing machine really didn't like the thickness and a broke a few needles in the process.

The most expensive part was all the buttons. I fabric covered them so they matched like the originals and then laced them through to the back with a large darning needle. That was probably the worst bit. After one single cushion I thought my fingers were going to fall off and I got cramp. The foam is sprung and some of the buttons passed right by them making is really difficult. Got there in the end though...

I never particularly liked hand stitching and I hand finished all of these. However, after fighting it though my sewing machine then fighting to get the buttons though, I found the hand sewing quite relaxing and therapeutic!



Looks better I think! The top photo shows how they are not perfect but for a first attempt (and I did them for free), I don't think they're too bad. Emma did the curtains and overall they make it look much cleaner and brighter. I wouldn't rush to do them again but at the same time, It's nice to see them all done!

Found an App

So after spending ages on my silly spreadsheet which was meant to make graphs, then my computer skills failed me. I accidentally came across an app which does it all for me! It's called FitNotes. Basically you input all your info into it and it logs it and makes graphs out of it!

I know, I am incredibly sad.


This is the calendar view showing the days which information has been added. all the dots are colour coded for different types of activity. I don't know which colour is which yet. 


And heres my graph! The red line shows your general trend. You can change the graph so show you what you want. This one is showing max weight. The other options are; estimated one rep max, workout volume, total reps and max reps.


When you add each exercise it look like this, and when you add a new one it shows you your last inputted weight for each exercise. This, I think, will be ultra useful as I always forget what I did last time. I think that partly why things have been a bit stationary in terms of progress recently.


I don't think it's quite as good for the cardio side of things. It's good in terms of tracking distance and time. The above have been my runs which is good. Recently however, I have been doing some of the gyms fitness classes. you can input the time but obviously there isn't a distance to add as such so it then doesn't really tell you anything other than the fact you went.


But on that note and moving on, I went to spin for the first time today! Last week I went to body conditioning and saw my neighbour, Lou there. I think that day was the day that I started to come down with my cold (I was ill all weekend) and found just the body conditioning itself really hard; and I ached for 2 days after! Lou had just done a 45min spin class then made body conditioning look easy too! I felt like a tit! Then, for some reason, I agreed to join her this week! First to do Bootcamp yesterday - which wasn't too bad actually despite still being a bit coldy, and then doing the both today! 

I think I could get quite into spin. The first 10 minutes I was regretting it. Couldn't see how I would get though a whole 45min session... But then... I loved it, I kept up, pushed with the rest of them and sweated my arse off! I even got a bit overzealous at one point and nearly fell off when going from sitting to standing. The motion got ahead of me and I nearly pulled my foot out of the pedal. Towards the end my legs were full of jelly so standing and cycling became increasingly difficult... I made it to the end though!! Just about! 

We then did a lot of leg work in body con....

I've sat on the sofa in front of a film for the rest of the day...

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