Brownies, street bingo and running happy

Another week of lockdown living…

Kyle and I are still working from home, sorting out our new house, and staying “alert”… whatever that means. We ventured to Ikea a few days after it opened and thankfully didn’t have to wait in any crazy queues. In fact, we literally just walked in. Of course we had to keep away from other people and you couldn’t go inside one of the “fake rooms” if someone else was. But it wasn’t busy at all so felt all very normal. We got some bits and pieces but as I only have a Fiat 500, couldn’t get the armchair we wanted. But we’re hopefully going to ask a favour from Kyle’s brother who has a larger car to see if he can help us.

Ikea selfie

It’s been a lot easier buying furniture online. We bought a chest of drawers and a matching wardrobe. Unfortunately it required assembling and really wasn’t that simple. Pages of diagrams, parts and screws…

We built the drawers one weekend and the wardrobe the next. It literally took us four hours a piece and we still managed to mess it up somehow. We got the top of the drawers on backwards and managed to nail into the wrong areas in the wardrobe. Ah well, they’re both standing and doing the job intended so that’s all that matters!

Every week we’ve been getting involved with the “street bingo” that happens on our road at 2pm on Sundays. It’s run by an amazing guy who runs an Instagram page called @dontsufferinsilence1 which is all about improving mental health and looking out for each other. He got everyone together (he’s been doing it for like 10 weeks!) and loads of people sit on their doorstep and do the bingo and get involved (social distanced of course).

I’ve never seen anything like it in real life. To be honest it was somewhat overwhelming to begin with because suddenly you’re being introduced to loads of people but everyone is super chatty and lovely.

So we’ve sat outside with Alfie and did the bingo and got to know our neighbours each week. It’s really nice to see how much everyone looks out for each other – like proper old school Britain, you know?

Kyle thinks he’s cool…

What’s also been lovely is more house warming presents from lovely people! And OMG trying the BEST brownies I’ve ever had. Our lovely friend Shell sent us some Gower Brownies and Jesus Christ they were incredible. Perfect texture, dense gooey delicious squares of pure heaven. They don’t look like they’ll rock your world but honestly they were amazing. So moreish as well 😉

Running is still going well, happily! Without having any marathons coming up and not being injured or coming back from an injury has left me in a novel position whereby I can literally run whatever I want and my long runs have naturally just fell in the 15-18 mile region, which I love.

I don’t really set a concrete distance in my brain before I head out but I have a rough range. It’s very relaxed and it’s actually one of my favourite runs of the week.

Last weekend Kyle joined me for 6 miles before heading  home and I carried on to get 16 in total. It was windy and hot – not a great combo, but it was nice to zone out to the MarathonTalk podcast and enjoy the sunshine.

And less getting lost as the weeks go on, winning! I reallly love my long run route because it’s so varied, road, trail, promenade along the beach, coastal paths, and super flat! Perhaps not the greatest training for hills but ehhh I fully enjoy it.

What’s your ideal long run distance?

Do you enjoy putting furniture together? I’ve been surprised at how many people said they love it!

Have you ever been involved in something like street bingo?

All moved in and exploring the local routes for running

So we are in the new house!

Kyle and I had a week off of work to sort ALL THE THINGS and while we definitely could have done with another week (or month) off, we got so much done. As I sold my flat furnished (and Kyle was moving from his mum’s house), we didn’t have a huge amount of furniture to move in with so it was a real timing act for certain items we bought before we actually moved in, like the bed and the sofa.

The bed arrived a couple of days after we moved in (which meant sleeping on several duvets for the first couple of nights – not particularly comfy!) and that was a HUGE feat to get it upstairs. Normally the delivery people would help you get things in and to the room you want it, but during this pandemic era they now just leave it at the doorstep.

Of course we understand this but it makes for tough work for just the two of us to get a super king size mattress up the rather narrow stairs. And we can’t ask for help from our family because we’re now isolating from them… so things are a lot harder.

It took us over 40 minutes to get the mattress up the stairs and honestly we weren’t sure it was going to happen. It took all our strength to pivot, pivot, PIVOT that bad boy. Whhhy did we order super king size?? But our bedroom is quite a big size and as Kyle is quite tall it seemed like a nice indulgence. We had not considered actually getting it into the bedroom though.

Likewise the sofa was another drama. This time the delivery men went above and beyond what they were technically allowed to do and helped us actually get it in.

We stood awkwardly back while they heaved to and fro to get the sofa in to our living room. It wouldn’t go through the door so in the end (after trying all the angles) they took our living room window off and got it through there.

THANK GOD. We were so grateful and sent them away with lots of biscuits.

So between cleaning, unpacking, buying and constructing furniture and organising our life, I have also been doing a bit of exploring on my runs. It is SO cool to have a whole new area to run round. Though it does mean my running has become less about switching off and more about being super alert with my surroundings and working out distances and where to go. It’s been great though.

We’re kind of living in the centre of Portsmouth as an area (not central city, just the central geography of the island if you get what I mean) so I have the luxury of heading out in any direction. Previously at my parent’s house this wasn’t really possible to do because of their location, so I’d always just head out in one of two directions most of the time.

And what’s lovely is the sea is just 1.5 miles away to the east of us, and Southsea is just over 2 miles to the south of us. So I’m still so close to the sea. While I’m definitely a land creature, I’ve always lived by the sea and just love being near to it. The possibilities of running and walking are just endless and I’m so excited. Kyle and I adore Southsea – it has very special memories for us throughout our relationship, and so to be so close to it (and all the incredible restaurants) is just so exciting to us. Unfortunately of course the coronavirus has meant that we can’t actually enjoy those restaurants at the moment, but hopefully in time…

This week was my highest mileage week in a while (almost 40 miles) and my running has been going so well (TOUCH WOOD). On Saturday I ran 18 miles and it went so well! I felt strong, had no niggles or issues and enjoyed it immensely. I had a vague route in mind and was able to run along Southsea seafront, along to Eastney and then followed the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon route up to the Farlington Marshes  and run round there. So it was a really interesting and, at times, very scenic route.

But it was hot. Of course I hadn’t gone  out super early and probably went out in the peak of the day’s heat but that’s just how I roll. I didn’t take any water with me (of course I didn’t, because I’m an idiot)… Though to be fair, I knew I could run back to the house to get some water and Kyle said he’d walk out to me to give me some if I rang him. Where we live is literally central to the route, so it would have been only 2 miles or less for me to get back. But being stubborn, I just pushed through. It was the final two miles when I was like “OK now I am THIRSTY”.

And Kyle, being the incredible human he is, had tracked me on his phone (not the entire run I must stress, he’s not a weirdo ha) and was standing outside our house with Alfie and a glass of ice cold water. Oh my god, that water was SO needed. I was so grateful!

The next day my legs felt tired but good! And Kyle and I enjoyed a gentle 3 mile run after a lovely lie in. Kyle does not enjoy running in the heat at all (whereas I can endure it) so he didn’t quite have my enthusiasm, but it was nice to FINALLY be able to run together. I mean, running aside, it’s nice to finally be together at all. This week has been so so lovely.

Do you enjoy running in new places?

Are the routes round you hilly or flat?

Have you had any moving in drama?

Moving out!

I’ve become terrible at updating my blog it seems.

It’s weird because you’d think I’d have a lot more time during this whole lockdown business than usual. But actually it’s been something I’ve let slip. Working from home and seemingly being on my laptop a lot more throughout the day makes me less inclined to continue this into the evening. Whereas previously at work I’d have meetings with real life people and I wouldn’t be quite so anchored to my screen, I wouldn’t mind so much.

But enough excuses. I have some exciting news. Kyle and I will be moving out in a week! The selling of my flat and the purchasing of our new property is going through on Friday. We are so excited! We are very lucky that our chain is short and things have gone very smoothly. It also helps that my flat is empty – as I’ve been living with my parents for the past THREE YEARS. Jesus, that long eh!

Moving house is stressful enough but during a pandemic is somewhat more problematic. We had visions of borrowing Kyle’s dad’s van and him helping us out, but we can’t do that as we need to keep the people we involve to the very few. Kyle’s mum (who is separated from his dad) and my parents will be helping us, but then we go back in to lockdown mode – the parents passing the baton to Kyle and I. So instead of being isolated from each other, Kyle and I will be isolating from our parents. It’s all very strange.

We obviously can’t go out and have a look at sofas or furniture… meaning we have very little to take with us. We are going to be ordering a bed and luckily where we’re getting it from takes 2-6 days delivery so it’s a fine timing game really. Whenever the bed gets delivered we’ll be moving in properly.

There’s a lot to buy and sort out and we’ve taken a week off to do what we can but realistically it’s going to be a bit of a hollow shell for a bit while lockdown is still going on. And that’s OK. We’ve been waiting patiently for this day to come and in whatever format, we’ll take it. It does feel rather formal though… like some crazy arranged marriage where Kyle and I have been hidden away from each other and then we’ll be handed over by the parents and then left to it.

Well, anyway it’s very exciting. It’s good stress at least. We’re both lucky enough to be working from home during this time so the key is getting Internet sorted ASAP during our week off and then we can crack back into work straight away. What’s also nice is that us being at home all the time means Alfie can settle without being left alone for long stretches. We can look after him and give him lots of attention to minimise the stress for him. Though he won’ t be moving in till the major moving stress has gone.

Speaking of Alfie, he’s been looking very scruffy during lockdown and as soon as the groomers were allowed to work again we got Alfie in and tidied up.

He looks like a puppy! Though to be honest, he does look like one of those celebrities who’s had a bit of work done to their face to look ten years younger but with their neck giving their true age away… 

Alfie has a lot of saggy skin round his neck which I swear was never there before. My little dog, growing older 🙁

During this lockdown period I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve had with my parents. It’s been like a last hurrah with living with them.  We’ve gotten into a good routine of weekend fun. We have a takeaway Friday night together. My dad and I watch a film or two. And Sunday we always have a more elaborate family meal.

We’ve had roast dinners, pulled pork, gammon and a delicious steak meal. It’s been lovely to be WFH with my dad in the other room also WFH. We’ve gone for walks, cooked together, spent lots of quality time together. I’ll miss them when I move out. But I am ready! (Again!)

Looking forward to finding new run routes, new Alfie walks, new takeaways, new local shops… a new local parkrun (Southsea) and a new coastal area to walk round. And of course, being able to see Kyle every day IN REAL LIFE and starting our life properly together 🙂

How’s your lockdown going?

When did you last move house?

A run to stand two metres apart

How’s lockdown been treating you? For me, it’s a funny one.

While my daily life is quite easy and, dare I say, somewhat relaxed, there are other parts which are uncomfortably hard and frustrating.

So the easy stuff is that I have my job with my full salary and I’m working from home. Working from home is admittedly quite nice. I don’t get up stupidly early for the gym anymore, so I get more sleep. I can go for a nice leisurely walk in the sunshine before work or during my lunchbreak and listen to a podcast. I can be in the comfort of my own home with zero commute stress.

I can wear leggings all day every day. I can wash my hair less and NO ONE CARES. Granted, it’s likely no one cared previously but Zoom calls are very forgiving so I feel more comfortable letting my hair get just that bit more greasy than I ordinarily would.

On this side note, by washing my hair less it appears to now needs to be washed less – if that makes sense? I’ve done a bit of reading on this front and apparently after an initial period, your hair adjusts to the change of hair washing and becomes greasy less quickly than before. Something about washing stripping your hair of its natural oils I believe. Where I would wash my hair every other day pre-lockdown, I can now get away with washing it every four days. It’s incredibly freeing. Washing and blow-drying my hair is such a chore.

Anyway, WFH isn’t bad at all. I have a solid routine, I can get my work done easily and it feels incredible to switch the laptop off and be like “OK now I can chill” IMMEDIATELY. My dad is at home as well so it’s not like I have no company. And Alfie of course.

(By the way, how much are dogs just LOVING this period? It’s like happiness 24/7 for them now).

The hard part is not seeing Kyle. I won’t harp on with all the reasons why as it’s fairly obvious, but it’s tough. And it’s tougher when you see people who aren’t following the rules and the temptation to be the same and have the same “who cares” mentality. But we know this won’t last forever and when people are literally dying and key workers are doing so much in such tough conditions it feels like a finger up to them by taking the situation so flippantly. We can look back at this time and know we did our part to help “flatten the curve”.

But we did decide to just slightly push the boundaries and meet-up…

We planned to run to a half-way location between us both so we could stand 2 metres away from each other and chat face-to-face IN PERSON. FaceTime, Zoom and phone calls are all well and good, but seeing someone in the flesh is irreplaceable.

So we both left our respective houses as the same time on Saturday morning and ran to each other, about eight miles for us both. It’s funny because our half-way spot is actually work, but we chose a nearby layby – classy eh!

My run was good. I listened to a podcast and just gently made my way there.

We arrived pretty much around the same time and then sat on some grass (slightly hidden it must be said) two metres from each other and just chatted about fluff and nonsense, but both enjoying it immensely.

Then Kyle’s mum picked him up. This was also nice as I got to speak to her as well – I miss Kyle’s whole family, they’re just such lovely people.

Then I turned and headed back the way I came. I felt lighter but heavier all at once.

I decided to stop about just less than a mile from my house to walk back as I was quite happy with 15 miles for the day rather than 16. My legs were tired and there’s no real need for me to be pushing the distances right now. I don’t want to get injured during this time! Running is a vital part of my sanity and happiness right now. A stable in all the change.

How is lockdown treating you?

Are you separated from someone significant?

What I’m Loving Lately in Lockdown

So post lockdown marathon, things have been fairly slow round here.

I’ll do a more thorough post on the things I’ve been doing to keep myself somewhat sane in terms of fitness, but immediately post marathon I didn’t do a whole lot of running. This was mostly intentional. I felt quite chilled and had a lack of urgency to get back into any sort of formal training again so gave my legs a bit of a break. Unfortunately this intentional break turned into an enforced break as I then got a tummy bug which wiped me out for a number of days.

At first I thought it was food poisoning because of the symptoms but then it recurred a day or so later for another wave of rubbishness. I felt very weak during this time so avoided anything other than just walking. I did attempt a run when my stomach felt better but it felt dreadful and I canned it.

But anyway, I’m feeling far better now and back running. So I thought I’d do a bit of a what I’m loving lately but in lockdown.

So weekends can sometimes be a bit tough as normally I’d spend the majority with Kyle. But as we’re currently self-isolating at our respective homes, we’re separated. And of course I can’t really go anywhere beyond walking and running, so this has left somewhat of a gap in my weekend.

My dad and I have watched a number of films together which has been lovely. We’ve delved into a few documentaries: McQueen, Diego Maradona, Supersonic, Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, as well as some classics like Saving Private Ryan, A Few Good Men and some newer films like Hustlers and The Founder. I must say, all have been pretty good. Any recommendations welcome 🙂

As well as films, my family and I have been enjoying a Sunday roast, something we’d stopped doing for a while because, you know, we’re all busy people doing different things. But it’s been so lovely us all cooking together this family meal. And I really feel my cheese sauce has come to perfection now 😉

My favourite roast is pork, followed by lamb… my least favourite is beef. Of course I love chicken but I don’t see this as a proper roast meat? Is that weird? Possibly because I can eat a fair amount of a chicken on my own that it just shows how greedy I am.

Another thing I’ve been loving are my Aussie Soles, which I was sent recently. They’re flip-flops that have orthotics for your toes, heel and arch to help support your feet when walking.

Now I tell you, I’m doing a lot of walking in lockdown! When I’m not running I’m doing a long walk each day and as the weather gets warmer I love going out in flip-flops. I’ve been told by many a physio that flip-flops are quite bad for not only our feet but our posture and the way we walk, but having the additional support built in it means they’re far better for you.

There are several different colours and types, but I went for the Starfish variety. And they’re sooo comfy. I love them. Actually it’s funny because my mum gave them a try (we’re the same size) and instantly fell in love with them and bought herself a pair too!

The other good thing about them is they’re vegan too – so guilt-free 🙂

They’ve also given me a cool discount code to use at the checkout for 20% off. Just put in ANNATHEAPPLE20.

Also, I was recently made a TRR Nutrition Ambassador (so fancy eh!) and have been trialling out their products and they recently shared with me a 14 day workout plan for me to share. It’s also full of great recipes and nutrition tips from one of their advisors of nutrition and a High-Performance Nutrition, Claire Fudge RD (@the4thdiscipline). Worth a gander if you need some inspiration!

I love the TRR Nutrition products and have previously reviewed their advanced collagen supplement (you can find my review HERE). I’ve also tried out their whey protein which I adore as well. Perfect to vamp up my porridge with a bit more protein and some tasty chocolatiness. They also do a vegan variety too.

And you can get 15% off their products using my code ANNAAPPLE15 – happy days all round!

No aftertastes and not too sweet!

I love their products as they’re such good quality, sports approved and just a solid way to get some added nutrition into you.

And a final add… I received this so incredibly thoughtful and lovely medal from Kyle in the post celebrating my marathon. It was such a sweet thing for him to do and I had no idea it was coming, so it was a lovely surprise. Ahh 🙂

What have you been lovely during lockdown?

What’s your favourite roast?

Do you like flip-flops?

**Full Disclaimer I was sent the flip-flops and the TRR products for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**