My five minutes of fame

So apparently I don’t write into the void of nothingness and  occasionally more than my mum reads my blog… (I am joking somewhat, I know I have some amazing incredible readers who I love to chat to virtually and in real life).

But I was quite surprised when I got an email the next day from a chap from the BBC asking about the blog post I wrote the other day about being 30 and still living at home with my parents. Apparently some new figures had been released regarding people in their 20’s who couldn’t afford to move out or who had moved out and then had to move back home (“boomerang children”) – it was apparently happening A LOT more than twenty years ago.

I’m not entirely shocked and it does make me feel somewhat better – I’m not the only loser! (I’m joking, I’m joking). So yeah the chap, Theo, asked if my parents and I would be happy to be interviewed about it for BBC South Today, like the next day! I mean, sure I’d love to be on telly for a different reason than my incapability of flying the nest completely but ehhhh it sounded fun.

My dad was unfortunately away in Bradford on business but my mum was off of work because of her arm (she’d sliced a tendon accidentally the other week by a silly picture frame related incident). I told Theo I’d double-check but I was more than certain it’d be fine. My mum would love it.

Well, it turns out my mum was actually getting her hair done the next day and couldn’t possibly rearrange. CAN YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT. Our chance for fame and fortune and she was BUSY. Eventually though I managed to rearrange the interview to be in the afternoon so she would be free. I’d have a half day at work, pick my mum up from the hairdressers and then we’d go home for the interview.

When we arrived at the house they were already there with this GIANT satellite bus thing. What we didn’t realise was on top of the interview segment thing (which would be aired that evening) we were also doing a LIVE bit at 1.30pm as a sort of mini trailer. WHAT.

This was incredibly nerve-wracking I can tell you. What I can also tell you is that three people from the BBC we met were super friendly, accommodating and lovely. The reporter, Anjana, was so nice. She didn’t push us or make us feel uncomfortable. We were very much put at our ease.

Anjana, the reporter, and Doug, the camera man

We had a few rehearsals before the live bit and then we were ON AIR. Please do not swear. Eeesh it was nerve-wracking. I had the panic moment of my brain going entirely blank but then I was fine. It was literally only a minute a half so it went quickly. My mum didn’t fluff it up either, happy days.

Then we filmed the longer bit. This involved more questions, more interactions and then a walk upstairs to show my bedroom (god how embarrassing) and a bit with our dogs as a kind of “scene setting” context thing.

All in all it was a really fun experience. It was cool to see how these segments are produced and how adaptive and quick thinking these TV people are. How they can come up with how to do an interview and “set the scene” so quickly.

Seeing it back? Mortifying and cringe-worthy. THAT’S what my face looks like? THAT’S what my voice sounds like? God almighty. I could only watch it once and I just felt very uncomfortable. We came across fine I think. Nothing controversial or crazy. Just watching myself speak or “relax” my face into it’s apparent resting bitch face was just an awfully enlightening process. Hey ho, my 5 minutes of fame. I can be grateful that I wasn’t be trolled online I suppose!

Have you ever been on telly?

Have you ever been interviewed?

My 200th parkrun and NO CAKE?!

I love a weekend like this, packed full of running, lovely people and  good food. Shocking for me I know.

Kyle and I headed to Netley for parkrun on Saturday morning. It was going to be my 200th! I wanted to spend it at my home parkrun where I knew I’d see lots of lovely familiar faces and have a coffee afterwards. My intention was to bring cakes to celebrate but then decided against it due to a mixture of a) not being able to bake because I’m horrendous at it, b) not wanting to buy crappy ones from the supermarket, and c) I worried that the weather would be awful and no one would want any because they’d be too busy dashing off home to get warm.

Well, when we turned up the sun was shining and the skies were blue. My lack of cakes did not get unnoticed and I got quite a few comments. Apparently I’m the least likely person to not bring cakes for a milestone. Whoops. I saw my friend, Joe, briefly – he was very busy being the run director. But he did shout out my 200th in the pre-run bit which was nice (YES I KNOW IT’S NOT AN OFFICIAL MILESTONE).

My plan was to push my legs a little but not go as fast as Southsea parkrun the week before. As soon as I started running I could tell things were going to be harder. I’d done a legs day at the gym on Friday and consequently my they felt heavy and clunky. Netley’s winter course has two hills and you do the lap three times, so it’s quite a tough run. The wind was very strong but thankfully it wasn’t dead against us, and actually when we had to go up one of the hills it helped push us up. So not too bad at all.

Photo Credit: Andrew Thorne

Kyle and I ran together and we managed to overtake the local celeb and Olympic athlete, Iwan Thomas. He nicely shouted “well done” to us but then exclaimed “oh blimey, mate, those shorts are a bit short! I think I need to burn my eyes out now”. This was directed at Kyle, not me, which was immensely funny. Giggling definitely helps you forget the pain of trying to run fast!

Photo Credit: Andrew Thorne

As we got up the final hill my legs were burning but I could feel Kyle on my heels and though we weren’t really racing I didn’t want him to overtake me at the last bit. So our sprint finish looks quite epic!

Photo Credit: Ben Vanes

Though to be honest, Kyle looks quite relaxed!

Photo Credit: Ben Vanes

I finished in 21:25, Kyle one second behind (the gentleman). This is good progress for me, considering I didn’t want to go faster than Southsea, because the course is a lot harder at Netley. I mean it definitely FELT harder I will say!

After a lovely coffee and catch-up with some of the other guys, we headed back to shower and get sorted.

That evening we headed to one of our favourite restaurants, Red Dog Saloon. Their menu had recently changed so we decided to check it out. For starters we had chicken wings (Buffalo sauce with blue cheese dip, so good).

And then for the main I had St. Louis ribs, smoked sausage and a few more chicken wings. I honestly think chicken wings are one of my top five foods. I managed to persuade the waitor to give me three chicken wings on the side instead of a usual side (chips, onion rings etc.). He very kindly sorted this for me!

Kyle had Southern fried chicken. We were happy! When we like somewhere we struggle not to keep going back, as you’ll see in a bit…

We then headed to a friend’s 30th birthday party. I managed to scavenge a free pudding from the birthday man, Ed, himself. I was devastated when I tried to order pudding and found the kitchen was closed, but Ed told me he wasn’t eating his so I could have it. I was super grateful, but also now extremely full after also eating a birthday cupcake AND a brownie. Ooooof.

We got up the next morning and I headed out for a quick pre-long run run. I wanted to get about 16 miles in but Kyle didn’t fancy running that long so we worked out if I ran 3ish miles beforehand and then we ran to Southsea together that should be perfect.

The first 3.3 miles were quite hilly around Clanfield and it was spitting a little but otherwise it went quickly. I then “picked up” Kyle and we headed on the road to Southsea. I’ve run a lot of this route before when I ran to Fareham from Kyle’s, but as we got to Cosham we then had to veer off towards Portsmouth.

It’s quite a hilly route – one particularly hill in Widley was one of those grit teeth head down kind of hills but otherwise it was fine. It was nice to run with Kyle and chat and relax into it. Though the wind seemed to be against us the entire way. I had to briefly stop at a petrol station to buy a water, which I almost downed the entirety of standing in the queue! Must have been all that salty food from the night before.

We eventually got to Southsea where we finished the run at the Parade Tearooms, ready to meet Kyle’s mum and brother, Zack, for brunch (well, more like lunch as it was now past midday!). 16 miles for me, 12.5 miles for Kyle. Solid running! Kyle’s longest run since the marathon in December so he smashed it. Though he was a little pooped afterwards (I mean, so was I of course!).

We’d been to the Parade Tearooms last weekend and obviously loved it so much we wanted to go back. My stomach wasn’t really knowing what it fancied and wasn’t hungry at all as we stood waiting for a table (it’s very popular at the weekend). But I knew I would be hungry soon so I never make the mistake to reject food!

I decided on the Jayne Salad again because it was so epic and I thought that the combination of good nutritious salad, carbs and protein would be ideal post run. I also ordered a pot of tea, which is something I crave after a winter long run.

The salad did not disappoint. If anything it was larger than last time – if that’s even possible! I also ordered the chicken to go with it (an added extra) which they’d forgotten. To be fair, it didn’t look like ANYTHING more could be added to the ginormous portion, but out came a separate little bowl with the forgotten chicken. Unbelievable.

And yes, I did polish it all off. It took me some time but I powered through it like the warrior I am 😉

My stomach was pretty jam packed full of salad and I wasn’t really fancying cake (SHOCKING I KNOW). I decided to employ some self-control and avoid the cake while I wasn’t in the mood (though I did regret this later in the day). After last night’s epic feast of food, sometimes you need a little bit of health (and a break for my bank account)!

So a solid weekend. I’m feeling in the groove of marathon training again!

What do you crave after a long run?

How many parkruns have you done?

Do you bring cakes for your different parkrun milestones?

I am 30 and I live at home with my parents

This was the title of a BBC News article online. But this is also my life. Is this so shocking? I guess if you’d have asked me this 10 years ago I might have been concerned, shocked and disappointed with my life. Jesus, 30 years old, AN ADULT, living at home WITH MY OWN PARENTS.

Someone at work leaned over to me and pointed to this news title and went “ooof imagine that”. But I replied, “well that’s me and I don’t actually see the problem”. I was quite happy to say I wasn’t bothered and that I’m enjoying life. I’m very happy right now. It was a big decision that I made over a year ago, but one I’m 100% content with and have no regrets about.

I first moved out about a year after I finished university. I moved out with my fiancé. We bought a house, we got married and we lived there for about 2 years. The marriage didn’t last and we separated, amicably. We sold the house and split the finances 50/50 and went our merry different ways. I bought a flat and lived there for about a year. At the time I was working in a job I really wasn’t enjoying. I found another job that paid significantly less. We’re talking a 13k pay cut, yes really.

I was very well paid in my previous job but the money wasn’t enough to make me happy. Though I could continue to afford to live in my flat on my own I would be limited to what I could do. I wouldn’t really be able to go on holiday and I would have to monitor my money VERY carefully. Quite the change in lifestyle.

My parents very kindly offered to have me move back home and I could then rent my flat out. This meant I could continue to pay my mortgage but also buffer up my salary so this difference in money wouldn’t be that great. So I moved back home.

I am in a very fortunate position in that I get on extremely well with my parents. We can easily hang out together and have long chats about just about anything. We go to the cinema together, for food together, go walking, go shopping. I enjoy spending time with them. I get their opinions and advice on big and small things. But they ask for my opinion and advice too. I genuinely love spending time with them. Even after I moved out I would speak to them daily and see them most weekends. I never wanted to move too far away from them.

I won’t lie. There was an initial time that I felt like I’d failed at my life. I was embarrassed when I told people what I’d done. I was embarrassed when people asked me if I’d be seeing my parents for Christmas and having to explain, well yes, like every single day. But I got over it when I realised, firstly no one really cared, and secondly I’m still independent and I’m happy. Crucially one of my main focuses in life is to be happy. I mean, if I’m honest, my parents should really make my life a little bit uncomfortable to encourage me to move back out… I’m working on it!

I think the important part is the mutual respect, love and understanding that we all have to each other. My mum does not do my washing. My parents do not cook me dinner. They do not buy me food. I have my own fridge out in the garage. I come and go as I please. Of course I treat them and the house with respect. I clean up after myself. I let them know when I’ll be coming home so they’re not surprised. I give them space. They give me space. I maintain a level of independence and self-sufficiency that means I don’t feel like I’m 15 again.

I love living at home. I mean, I loved living in my flat too, but there is something so lovely about coming home to people rather than an empty house. It’s nice that Alfie gets a garden. It’s nice that I can leave him with them when I go out and not worry about him being left alone. And likewise, my parents like that I’m there looking after the house and dogs if they’re not in (they have three dogs).

This is Dylan

I could go on. My point is: I’m 30 and I live at home with my parents and this is not a problem. It’s just a stepping stone.

When did you move out?

Do you get on with your parents?

Currently – January & February

My lovely friend, Emma, from Nanny on the Run inspired me to write this post. I love a good “currently” post.

Drinking: so my gym has this water machine that has nice flavours and “added vitamins”. I like to have exciting Yanga water at the gym because, well, anything that helps make the gym a more enjoyable and happy thing is good in my eyes. I’ve been a strong advocate of BCAA’s but buying a tub every three months is quite expensive. So I decided to up my gym membership cost a few pounds to get unlimited “special water”. This should save me money in the long run (and plastic, every little helps).

Eating and Cooking: I’m the master of throwing meals together in an evening. As I was basically only cooking for myself I was happy with a hodge podge of different ingredients. I’d be the human dustbin for my parents as well, eating up any stuff they weren’t going to use or was about to go off. However, as Kyle and I see each other so frequently during the week I have to think a bit more creatively about dinner. Though, bless him, he says he’d be fine with my random meals I’d rather have the excuse to flex my culinary abilities and make more of an effort. I love cooking and I love being able to do new recipes again.

Recently we had steak with a cream cheese and mushroom sauce and roasted new potatoes. We also had a creamy chicken meal with a rosemary foaccica (I bought that, Jesus, I’m not Mary Berry yet).

It’s been really nice being able to cook “proper” meals again. Though we struggle at the weekend not to get lured into the temptation to eat out and get takeaways… baby steps eh.

Watching: Well Kyle and I go to the cinema every week now. I can’t tell you how much I fricking love this. How did I ever survive not seeing ALL THE FILMS before? With our shiny Unlimited cards, the cinema is our oyster. I didn’t hugely enjoy The Mule but I did love Beautiful Boy (well, I ugly sobbed my way through it). We saw Green Book last night and it was so good. Very heart warming, funny and fantastic acting.

On the series side of things, I’m loving You for all it’s weird creepiness and also Killing Eve (late to the game on this one).

Reading: I recently loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It gave such an insight into the concentration camps, but it was chilling. For work I’m reading Sprint, which is from the a guy from Google talking about how to solve and test problems. Very interesting.

Using: I go through a lot of moisturiser. I always moisturise my legs after I shower and I’ve recently been using two different kinds that have been sent to me to review from e’lifexir Natural Beauty

Elifexir Fitness Body Contouring Gel (£15.99)

It contains a host of ingredients designed to “shape and tone” the body. There’s caffeine to help tighten the skin, dragon eye extra to protect the skin and black elder to calm the skin and vitamins to help encourage collagen production. I don’t believe this help you lose weight or really tighten up your skin in a dramatic way, but I do love the smell and feel of the cream on me. My skin does feel a bit more supple after using it so that’s a bonus to me. Plus they’re vegan and cruelty-free.

Elifexir Actidren Revitalising Leg Cream (£15.99)

This cream aims to soothes and relax your legs, relieving them of the heavy feelings and anti-redness. Olive oil and Rutin, a citrus flavonoid found in plants help reduce that tired leg feeling.

I love using this cream after a hot shower after my long run. It’s quite soothing and my legs are so smooth afterwards. I love it. You don’t need a huge amount either and, most importantly, it’s not greasy or thick! It glides on and rubs in well.

Playing: I love chilling out with my Nintendo Switch. I’m addicted. It helps me use my phone less in an evening which is good. I’m currently glued to Skyrim, but I also love Crash Bandicoot (though I’m appalling at it). Yes, I am a little nerd at heart.

Craving: I need to lessen my chocolate consumption I swear. I can power through a big bag of peanut M&M’s like it’s nothing. Peanut M&M’s aren’t actually that great for my tummy either it seems. I get quite bad stomach pains the next day. It’s worth it though… I’m also still craving that Jayne Salad again. IT WAS SO GOOD.

I’m also currently addicted to these Flipz. Weirdly the “Unicorn” flavour is incredible. The white chocolate fudge flavour was too sweet but these are just right. Of course the dark/plain chocolate variety are a solid selection too.

Have you tried any “unicorn” flavoured foods? It’s a bit of a mental craze…

What book have you recently enjoyed?

Do you moisturise regularly?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the moisturisers for free in return for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Southsea parkrun, my kinda salad and back to long running

This weekend, though not entirely as I had planned, was a good one!

Friday night I stayed at Kyle’s and we decided to give Southsea parkrun a spin as Kyle had never done it before and there was a tearoom nearby we had been meaning to go to for ages.

It was, as I’m sure the rest of the UK was aware, very cold Saturday morning. But happily very sunny and not that windy – not bad conditions for a coastal parkrun. We decided to park about a mile away so we could have a gentle warm-up beforehand. Not that it warmed us up much at all! By the time we arrived at the start we were still cold.

We stood at the start and listening to the pre-run briefing and heard what we already were aware of, having just run down the promenade. There were large patches of ice, both visible and black, around the start section (and consequentially the finish area as it’s a 1.5 mile out and back straight route). The event director implored everyone to do a “Michael Jackson Thriller style walk” at the start to avoid any slips and the marshals were stood on the main ice puddles to help.

My leg had felt good all week and I decided to see where I was at fitness-wise. I wasn’t going for a full on “ruin myself” style of run but I did want to push the pace a bit. Kyle was less keen to do a fast run so we decided to run separately. I had my Aftershokz ready and was feeling good.

We started and ran carefully through the icy bits – as everyone did – and then as we got to the clearer sections started to push the pace. I felt very much in control and happy at 7.15min/miles. I remember thinking how much I was enjoying the run. My legs felt strong, my breathing relaxed and the sun was shining. Asides from my hands being cold (I had to wear my thinner Nike gloves rather than my thick eGloves, which someone had recently nicked – story for another day), I was feeling good.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get my headphones to play my music but actually I really didn’t mind. I was happy to just listen to my breathing and the noises around me more clearly. We got to the turn around (1.5 miles) and this felt very quick to me. I was feeling goooood. It was nice to acknowledge that fact mid-run – rather than feel like “omg this is fast I want to die” kind of feelings I usually get during 5ks or 10ks.

At the turnaround I knew I could then look out for Kyle, who I assumed was taking it a bit easier so would be coming the other way. However as I continued to run the opposite way I couldn’t see him. As I got further down the line of people coming the other way and he still didn’t appear I realised he must be very close behind me. I tried to look behind me but couldn’t see him. It did help spur me on as I didn’t want him to overtake me (though in reality I wouldn’t have minded and this is a highly likely thing to happen in the future as he’s getting stronger and stronger).

I ran with another guy for a bit until, as I felt my speed increase, I managed to push on ahead. I also passed two females. I thought there was another one ahead so I tried not to get too excited and lose my focus (and controlled breathing). I haven’t been a first female in a while. I finished strong with 21:29, my fastest parkrun since October! Turns out I was first female as well, which was a nice bonus. And a royal flush negative split!

Kyle finished 21:34, very close behind me. A solid run for the two of us. We then jogged gently back to the car. And though there was a huge temptation to go to the Tenth Hole for brunch (as we were parked just outside) we drove the two miles or so down the road to the Parade Tearooms. Though the Tenth Hole is brilliant (those cakes!), I’ve been there quite a few times and we really wanted to try this other tearoom.

I pride myself in doing my research before I go somewhere for food and I’m so glad I did. Though I was tempted by the usual full English breakfast (which Kyle went for – with extra toast) I instead went for the Jayne Salad. Yes, a salad. Yes, a salad on a cold morning. But hear me out. This was no ordinary salad. I joked to Kyle saying this shouldn’t be called the Jayne Salad it should be called the ANNA Salad. The portion size was right up my street!

Piled high (to the point it was actually tricky to eat) with salad, roasted baby potatoes, coleslaw, chicken, bacon, cheese, beetroot… it was GINORMOUS. And exactly the kind of salad I would make if I was making it myself.

It took me ages to eat and I can happily say I was stuffed by the end (yes I ate it all – I read a review on Trip Advisor that someone took half home. Wow, way to go Anna you pig).

Kyle thoroughly enjoyed his fry up – quality over quantity (whereas the Harvester breakfast is very much quantity over quality). And of course we had to take two slices of cake (well, traybake) home with us.

I genuinely stood in the queue having a mare of a time trying to decide what to order. The tiffin? The salted caramel shortbread? The “junk yard” cheesecake? The Crunchie cheesecake? The fudge cake? The Bakewell slice? I almost had a breakdown.

In the end I went for the tiffin. A giant triangle slab. Kyle went for an equally large slice of the salted caramel pretzel shortbread. We took them home to give our stomachs time.

I won’t lie. All I needed was the time it took to bathe and get dressed for me to be ready to eat the tiffin in one with a cup of tea. Hollow legs… human dustbin… greedy. All of the above. It was DELICIOUS. Caramelly, chocolaty, full of raisins and biscuit… so flipping good.

That evening I was supposed to go to my friend’s hen party and see Dreamboyz (like Chippendales I believe…) but my mum needed me to stay in and help her as her left hand is basically useless after her accident (she’s left handed) and my dad wasn’t going to be in. It was a shame to miss the hen do but I appreciated a quiet evening in with my mum instead.

At least it meant I got a solid night’s sleep and could crack on with my long run in the morning without feeling hung over. A silver lining at least! I headed out with the intention to run 10 miles but as I got going I realised I felt good and if it continued that way I’d do 12. I’m lucky to have good routes around me that I can shortern or lengthen my route as I go.

As I got on to the seafront promenade at Hill Head, away with the fairies listening to a podcast, I didn’t see the four very familiar dogs and my parents suddenly appear in front of me. Alfie went a bit mental suddenly seeing me, bless him. I stopped and chatted briefly before heading on – Alfie tried to join but my parents managed to wrestle him away.

So the 12 miles went really well. My leg felt fine. Only my endurance struggled I think, but that’ll come back in time. The weather was perfect. Cold but still. I felt very happy and (god I hate this word) blessed to be running again.

How was your weekend?

Do you ever order a salad?

What’s your favourite tray bake?