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Tag: Life

My monthly exercise diary #3: When life gets in the way | March – April

I was doing fairly well at the start of March: I revelled in the number on the screen every time I signed into the gym, saying that I’d been 3 times in a 7 day period. I was getting on well with my new programme, which is a lot harder (plus some additions from me). I re-started the Couch to 5K programme again to try to ease back into running after some kind of shin splints.

 

And then life got in the way.

 

I got some bad news at work in the middle of the month – not the end-of-the-world kind, but the gut-wrenchingly disappointing kind. Things were already busy, and I knew this would drive me into the ground over the coming weeks (I was right!)

I was in a bit of a sad fog and I just couldn’t face the gym, and then the real work started and I just had so much on I told myself I’ll go if I feel like it, and if won’t wear me out for the next day – I was just so busy I couldn’t afford to be tired. But I was working such long hours (12 hour days in some cases) and the little time I had at home I was already so tired I couldn’t even imagine putting on gym clothes. So I decided not to put more pressure on myself and feel guilty; that I’d just ride out the next few weeks and then get straight back into it.

 

If there’s ever an incentive, it’s a holiday, and we’ve just booked ours! In September we’re going on a road trip from L.A. to Las Vegas, then on to Yosemite and San Francisco. So if I’m going to be in a bikini on Venice Beach and at pool parties in Vegas I’m going to need to pull my socks up!!

 

Now that the main slog of the project is out of the way, and I’m back from Venice, it’s time to get back on track.

  • I’ve decided I’d like to try to do a very brief yoga session every morning so I’m starting that tomorrow.
  • I also want to continue to try to rebuild my running, so yet again I’m restarting interval training using Couch to 5K.
  • Finally, I’m going to focus my exercise a bit more, and work on specific areas in a workout like I used to when doing BBG.

I keep some of my fitness inspiration and workout guides on my Keeping Fit Pinterest board. Take a look and feel free to follow ūüôā

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Five Positive Things | April-May 2016

The last 6 weeks have gone by in a blur.

 

Work suddenly went utterly mental at the end of March, causing some serious stress, long working days / weeks (writing presentations on a Sunday, anyone?) and more dinners in the office than I’d ever wish on anyone. I think I only managed to cry once, and luckily at home, which is quite impressive considering!

So, now that I’m on the other side, I thought it would be good to focus on 5 happy things:

 

1 – Venice

The bonus at the end of it all was a trip to Venice with my Katy, my BFF and Maid of Honour. We’ve never been away together (unless you count Brighton!) so it was really nice to spend some quality time together and see somewhere new. Our Airbnb apartment was amazing and we made the most of the excellent local food and Prosecco – and Aperol Spritz of course!

#latergram #venezia #venice #cannaregio #nofilter

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2 – Booking our American road trip!

We’ve also been booking up our American road trip! Martin’s wanted to go ever since some friends were meant to get married in Las Vegas this year, which was cancelled due to them expecting a baby. After a long while of saying no (saving for a house etc), I eventually caved once I looked into how much our usual all-inclusive holiday would cost ‚Äď for some reason it seems so much more expensive this year, so I decided I’d rather put the money towards an AMAZING trip rather than paying it for 10 days on a beach! So in September we’re going to LA, Disneyland, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and San Francisco. Now that I’ve been booking and researching I really can’t wait!

 

3 – Dr Faustus

I’m going to the theatre on Thursday with a friend to see Dr Faustus (starring Kit Harington, of Game of Thrones fame!) It’s meant to be a modern interpretation which isn’t particularly close to Marlowe’s original text, so I’m intrigued to see what it’s like. The reviews for Dr Faustus aren’t that great (!) but apparently Kit spends a lot of time with his chest out, so there’s a bonus…

 

4 – Sunshine!

I’m a summer baby, so I definitely get a bit of SAD. The current sunny weather is just the most awesome thing, I can’t explain how much my spirit lifts when I see the sun, and can feel its warmth on my face.

 

5 – Quality time

This past weekend (being the first since the Month of No Weekends and going to Venice, then him working overtime followed by going to Birmingham for work) it was SO lovely to finally spend some quality time with my husband. I had a baby shower to go to on Saturday, but other than that, we just relaxed, watched a serious amount of TV and went for a nice Sunday walk in High Elms, a local country park, and some lunch. Sometimes, it’s the little things ūüôā

 

Relaxing Sunday morning walk with the hubby #sundays #walk #woods #bluebells #latergram

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Making Time

In my Medium Daily Digest the other week¬†was a post by Heather Sundell, a writer from LA. I don’t know if you use Medium, but if you do, the Daily Digest is a great way of discovering new content, and this article really resonated with me.

Her article,¬†If You Keep Trying to Find Time to Do Something, You‚Äôll Be Looking Forever, talks about how people always say they can’t find time to contribute towards their passions or things they want to do, but really it’s just an excuse for procrastination or lack of effective prioritisation. Reading this, I realised this is me down to a T, particularly when I consider this blog. I often think I don’t have time to write for it, but I also don’t make time.

Jones Clock

Heather says:

Even after you’ve budgeted your time out and only have an hour to give to your passion, whatever that is, that hour will get you a lot farther than an excuse.

This couldn’t be more true. I spend my lunchtimes at work reading blogs, and daydreaming about posts I could write. I make notes of potential blog topics or titles in my Evernote or OneNote. But do I ever actually use that hour to write those posts? Of course not. But then I beat myself up for only having written one post in the last month. I’m never going to be happy with it if I continue in this way.

On a similar note, when I was younger, I used to write poetry and short stories, and I’ve thought about it often. I’d like to try again. So, the other day, I turned the TV down, and just started writing. I’m not sure what it is yet, I doubt it’s very good and that anyone will ever read it, but never mind. It was so freeing.

I really need to make a concerted effort to be more accountable for how I choose to spend my spare time.

Would you say you use your time effectively?

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2016.

So here we are at the start of another year! We saw it in with friends at their house party – a nice change from being the hosts!

 

2015 was a good one.

 

Friends and family got married and others had babies.

We celebrated 10 years together (and two years of marriage) with a day out in London, dinner at Jamie’s Fifteen and a night in a spa hotel; and a weekend in Hastings.

We celebrated 4 years of living in our lovely flat.

We visited new countries.

I upped the culture and went to museums, galleries and the theatre quite a few times Рand I even went to the theatre alone to see the Oresteia (I AM OFFICIALLY AN ADULT)

We went to our first rugby match – Ireland vs. Wales at the Millennium Stadium

I saw my favourite band, Lifehouse, again!

I went to my first blogger event.

…Among other things.

 

But 2016 is set to be even bigger.

 

We just saw the Book of Mormon which is quite possibly the most hilarious musical I’ve ever seen.

Work life is taking a turn for the better, with more opportunity on the horizon.

In just the first 6 months of the year I’m already taking 4 trips – to see the uni girls in Leeds in early February; seeing my sister in Madrid in mid February; Venice with my bestie in April; and Berlin with Martin in June for our birthdays (his Christmas present to me!)

We’ll have had our cats for 5 years in February.

Two more weddings and two more babies are on their way – two uni friends are getting married, and our friends and brother-in-law are having babies!

Assuming everything works out *touches wood* we may not see our fifth anniversary in this flat. Fingers crossed that by then, we will be the proud owners of a house. I dream of stairs and gardens daily.

 

And finally…

Towards the end of the year we’ll also start trying for a baby of our own! <3

 

Here’s to a great year.

 

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London Restaurant (Pub) Review: The Railway Tavern, Bromley

OK OK, so this is technically a pub. But it is my favourite local pub, and I’m biased, so I decided it deserves a mention because the food is great.

The Railway Tavern is on the corner of East Street opposite Bromley North Station – on the very edge of what has recently been coined ‘Bromley North Village’. It’s an area of bars, restaurants, boutique shops and the obligatory hairdresser or two, and Bromley Council have invested a lot over the last couple of years into making it pretty eclectic (for Bromley!) – the road is actually flat to the pavement to encourage people to wander here and there; there’s new lighting and paving; and all the bars/restaurants on the street are able to put tables outside in the summer to encourage a lovely caf√© culture.

So, back to the pub. The Railway Tavern was taken over by a collective called Antic London in Summer 2014. They did it up in their trademark shabby chic kind of style, while retaining the Victorian air of the place. It used to be a hotel, which is very evident when you go up to use the toilets – doors are everywhere and it’s not always particularly well lit… not creepy at all…! Downstairs there’s a few different rooms plus an outdoor terrace for you to choose from, and very rarely do you feel overwhelmed by crowds or on top of one another, unlike the nearby similarly decorated but overly popular Barrel & Horn (on the north part of the high street). Plus for the musical among you there’s a piano free for you to play on and for the competitive, a few board games on offer too.

Loving this wall arrangement

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^ Taken by my friend!

Briefly on drinks: there’s a good selection of ales on tap if that’s your thing, a couple of good ciders and the better end of the lager scale (Morretti for example). House white is around ¬£14 but a good Sauvignon is only a couple of quid more from memory, so worth spending the extra. No, it’s not exactly cheap – but there’s an O’Neill’s about 6 doors down the road if that’s what you’re after.

The menu is fairly unusual for a centre-of-town pub in that it’s all homemade and uses fresh, local ingredients. At first glance The Railway Tavern food menu might seem a little over the top with the choice of small plates of things like arancini; but the old favourite main courses are available too, with burgers, fish & chips, and sausages & mash making an appearance.

I went for a chicken burger (£10), mostly because it came with mozzarella cheese AND bacon AND chips AND coleslaw (all the good things). My friend decided on sausages & mash (£7), plus a side of onion rings (£2).

The Railway Tavern - Chicken Burger and chips

The chicken burger was happily an actual chicken breast. Not the easiest thing to eat in a bun due to its shape admittedly but tasty all the same. It had obviously been marinated in herbs as you could definitely taste it, which shows an attention to detail not many pubs would bother with. The bacon was crunchy, the mozzarella suitably melted.. My only gripe was that the grease from the chicken/cheese/bacon hadn’t been drained as well as it could have been and so the brioche bun was a little soggy. It held together well, but definitely could have been a bit crispier.

The Railway Tavern - Chicken Burger Close

The fries were pretty great to be honest. Skinny fries tend to taste all the same to me but these were different: still thick enough to actually have potato inside, and flavoured with rosemary, I could have eaten a bowl of those alone. The coleslaw was obviously homemade, still crunchy and not at all overpowered by onion as many are.

The Railway Tavern - Sausages and Mash

My friend’s sausages and mash received equal plaudits: the mash was creamy, the sausages good quality but not gritty like some can be, plus they came with a side of unexpected cabbage (a good thing if you like cabbage!) and a good portion of gravy. The onion rings were cooked in a very light batter, which was lovely but did mean they were a little bit greasy. Kind of what you want from onion rings in my opinion, but some may be put off.

The Railway Tavern - Onion rings

Final comment: the portion sizes. are. BIG. I couldn’t even finish mine and that tells you something!

The Railway Tavern does a few good deals in the week, such as ¬£10 burger, fries and a drink on a Monday, and a free drink with a meal on a Wednesday if you’re there for the quiz. Personally I’m looking forward to trying some more dishes; this could quite easily end up being one of my favourite places to eat in Bromley – even if it is a pub!
Railway Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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On Autumn

There seems to be something about the changeover in season that has sent the blogging world into a bit of a frenzy: to be back wearing snuggly clothes, relaxing indoors with a hot drink. I’m a ‘cold’ person, basically cold most of the year, so I’ve already had my cardigans and chunky knits out for a couple of months (technically they never went away!); and we’re not made of money – relaxing indoors isn’t anything new! So to me, this is all a bit of an anti-climax.

Autumn leaves

I was born in June, so I’m a summer baby, and I start to struggle when the dark mornings come along. When the days are shorter. When everyone on the train is sniffling and coughing. When it just seems to rain with no warning – that kind of rain that seems to come at you from every direction. When every single beauty blogger recommends a berry lip, even though only about 10% of them can pull it off. When there’s no more bank holidays to look forward to until December – who the hell planned that one??

cat in window

But there ARE things I love about Autumn.

The dark colours: I’m a bit of a grunger at heart and all the deep reds, blacks and purples feel like home to me. (Mustard isn’t so bad either I guess!)

I love the run up to Christmas, even if it invariably starts in October.

I love an excuse to buy new slippers (which I did today in fact – I highly recommend the Isotoner booties range available from TKMAXX. They’re only ¬£12.99 and seriously comfortable).

I love fireworks.

I’ll take any excuse to buy a spicy scented candle – something with cloves is always a winner.

I love when my local starts lighting the log fire (even if it is a Wetherspoons).

I like the misty mornings and the way the low sun lights up the colours in the trees.

misty morning

No, Autumn isn’t my favourite season; I’m just not wired right for it. But there’s always things to look forward to, no matter what time of year.

(Plus at least I’ve got my Lumie lamp to get me through!)

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15 Positive Things.

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve felt a bit down.

Not like mega depressed or anything – just finding it a little harder to get out of bed in the morning, or concentrate on one thing at a time.

Maybe it’s to do with the seasons changing; maybe it’s to do with the novelty of moving to a new team at work wearing off; maybe it’s the pressure I put myself under planning for our future catching up with me… Who knows…

Either way, it’s definitely time I took a moment to look at the positives. Here’s 15 things that have made me happy in September, or will do in the next few weeks:
  1. Trying out new restaurants in Bromley: The food and drink scene in Bromley has changed significantly over the last couple of years – well, the fact that there’s actually a ‘scene’ kind of tells you! There’s been some new openings recently that I went to visit, and I’ll blog about them soon.
  2. Getting back into blogging: I feel like my blogging spark has come back. It waxes and wanes, so when it does come back, I make the most of it.
  3. Seeing two friends who now live down under: A work friend and a uni friend both moved to Sydney last year; this month I got to catch up with one and next month I get to see the other! Amazing! Also, my work friend is well connected and got us a table at Duck & Waffle. I’ve wanted to go for ages, and while it was only breakfast, it didn’t disappoint!
  4. My new watch: Another from The Fifth Watches, this time from their new New York Classic Collection. Post coming soon…
  5. Reconnecting with an old friend: Putting aside old (teenage!) quarrels and reconnecting with someone you were close to is the best feeling. It’s only been a few meet ups so far, but I’m enjoying the time I’m spending with her. I hope it continues and I’m looking forward to seeing where our friendship goes as adults.
  6. Finding out that I’ve nearly repaid my student loan: Yes, that’s right – by summer next year I should have repaid my student loan in full, in what will have been 8 years since I left uni. This was no mean feat – I had the full loan available at the time. It was a bit of an accident that I’ve been able to pay it off so quickly – that’s just what working in sales for 4 years and earning commission will do, as the repayment is percentage based. Trust me, if I could have dragged it out longer I would have (at current interest rates it’s the cheapest loan I’ll ever have!) – however, the good news is that money can now go into my savings every month instead, or maybe into my pension: it’s mine to do with whatever I choose!
  7. Clearing out my wardrobe: I already did this once a couple of months back and promptly decided it wasn’t enough, so this weekend, I tackled it again. I was ruthless. I’m not quite finished – but 2 full bin bags for a boot fair and an extra one for ebay-ing later, it feels fantastic. Now just can’t wait to get rid of it all!
  8. Finally selling some big things from our wedding, over two years later: SO MUCH SPACE!! SO MUCH SPACE!! That is all.
  9. Realising it had been 4 years since we bought our flat: How time flies. I’m so lucky that we were able to do this when we did – we have such a beautiful home.
  10. Spending quality time with my husband: While this applies more to August than September, it still counts! I feel like we’ve really spent quality time together recently. In August we had our Crete holiday and our mini-breaks to Cardiff and Hastings, whereas this month has mostly been spent at home. Either way, it’s nice to be able to spend quality time together.
  11. A friend & her fianc√© coming to stay next weekend: My uni friends are scattered all over, so time with them is precious! This lovely lady got engaged a couple of months back and I STILL haven’t seen her ring in real life! Can’t wait to talk all things wedding… those poor boys. Thank God the rugby’s on.
  12. Seeing Oresteia on the stage: I am a big Classics geek but I’ve never seen the Oresteia on stage. When I heard about the production at the Trafalgar Studios I was all in. I’m also doing something I’ve never done before, and going alone. There’s just no point in dragging Martin along if he’s got no interest in it, what a waste of money! Plus, I feel like SUCH a grown up so there’s another bonus.
  13. My friend from work’s wedding: A friend at work is getting married at the start of October. It should be a blast – lots of people from work are going and I’m looking forward to celebrating with her.
  14. Lifehouse are touring the UK again: If you know me in real life you will probably know that Lifehouse are my favourite band and have been since I was about 13. What can I say, I’m loyal. They’re touring the UK again for their recent (7th!) album, Out Of The Wasteland, and I can’t wait to see them on Oct 3rd!!
  15. Going to Liverpool in late October: I’m going up with one of my school friends to Liverpool to see another who lives there. It’s been ages since I’ve been up and the first time we’ve all been there at the same time… cocktail time!

What’s making you happy at the moment?

 

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