I mean it’s to be expected I guess – it’s a lot looking after a little newborn (well, let’s be honest he’s not that much of a newborn anymore and he’s definitely not that little). At 11 weeks he’s rather the chunk weighing in over a stone and in the 98th percentile for length!
In terms of how I’m feeling, I have to say, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave. As a self-declared “lady of leisure” it’s been quite lovely. Of course it’s super tiring, sometimes stressful, sometimes emotional and the hours aren’t the best, but on the whole it’s so nice to be off and to spend such quality time with Isaac, family and friends without having to worry about work.
I’m not going back to work until April so I’ll have a good few months of this still but it really does feel like it’s flying by. I know I’ll blink and suddenly it’ll be over and then we’ll be juggling childcare and work… scary stuff. But thoughts for another time!
What have I been up to lately? Well, quite a bit! We’ve been back to parkrun – though I’m not running yet. I’m still 11 weeks postpartum and don’t intend on “coming back” until at least 12 weeks. And even then it’ll be a gradual return. To be honest, I’m a little terrified and not even sure it’ll be a success even then. I’m working on my core, my pelvic floor muscles and general strength each week so finger crossed.
But walking parkrun either with the pram or the carrier has been lovely. It’s nice to still be involved in it and of course parkrun is so welcoming and lovely that walking it hasn’t been an issue at all. I get lots of comments about the youngest parkrun being in attendance and Isaac seems to love it. To be fair, he’s very used to going for walks having been on a walk every single day of his life so far!
I also went up to Stoke and North Wales with my mum so Isaac could meet his great grandparents.
It was lovely to see them and for them to see him – we go lots of special memories and photos.
The trip wasn’t too difficult either and we only had one night out of the three where Isaac struggled with sleep (and I’m thinking this is potentially because I had a very large non-decaf coffee – my first since before I was pregnant!).
In general though it’s been a lot easier as Isaac has gotten older. Sleep has been better, though I’m still waking up 2-3 times a night to feed. But Isaac is so easy to feed, change and put back down to sleep that I’m not awake for long. And he even let’s us sleep in till 9am which is glorious!
He’s been for his first couple of swimming lessons as well. I say swimming, more like floating. But after the initial first lesson which he really wasn’t happy about he now seems much much better in the water. It’s so important for us to get him nicely adjusted to the water because we live by the sea and want to make sure it’s something he’s comfortable and safe with.
Of course it’s still a minefield of confusion, worries and stress with looking after Isaac but we feel a lot more comfortable and at ease with things. We don’t feel like he could die at any moment if we look away for a second. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm of days and know what to do in different scenarios. It’s amazing how from being so clueless you can be to being so much more knowledgeable and comfortable.
But of course we have many more hurdles to get over and more changes to come so no doubt we’ll be back to being clueless and hapless parents once again!
So one more day until I’m 39 weeks pregnant and almost one week until my due date (7/07/21).
Honestly though I can see myself going at least a week overdue. I just have that feeling. I’m not starting maternity leave until I pop so I at least have some structure and routine to my day so I’m not staring at the calendar. I think if I was on maternity leave now, or even next week, I’d be so bored. We’ve pretty much done everything for the baby coming. I’ve cleaned everywhere. I feel prepared and ready. So nothing left to do but wait.
But waiting is fine, to be honest. I don’t feel particularly uncomfortable. My pelvis and lower back do ache from time to time, I can’t wait to sleep on my back again and my nose getting congested every afternoon and evening without fail is annoying. But I’m lucky to really only be “suffering” from those issues rather than some of the more severe and uncomfortable symptoms some women can get. I’m highly aware of how easy my pregnancy has been compared to others and for that I’m grateful.
I’m VERY grateful that I’ve still being able to run as well. It’s two to three 5ks a week (a definite step down from 32 weeks where I was still running 25-30 miles a week). The calf niggle I got stopped me for a bit and then, when I got back to it, my pelvis and the general heaviness of my tummy made running further fairly uncomfortable and the recovery afterwards takes some time. But 5k is manageable and comfortable. I’m fairly intuitive with when I run now too. Have I had a good night sleep? How does my body feel?
While I’m really sad parkrun didn’t start back up again on 26th June (it’s been pushed back to August), we still went down to Netley Abbey (my home parkrun) to meet up with some running buddies for a “not parkrun” and coffee afterwards. We got there for 9am and were pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces running around the course. It didn’t feel crowded or unsafe. The sun was shining and Kyle and I enjoyed running the three laps around. Though Netley is far more hilly than I’m used to compared to flat Portsmouth. I definitely felt heavily pregnant running haha!
I managed to complete the 5k in just under 30 minutes, which I’ll happily take right now!
Then we went and sat outside the café and enjoyed some tasty rocky road that the lovely Sheryl had made and (decaf) latte. It was so nice – it almost felt like old normal times. It does make me sad that by the time parkrun is (hopefully) back up properly I won’t be able to run because I’ll have recently given birth. But I definitely want to pop down with the little man and support Kyle running. With parkrun it’s not just about the running, it’s about the social connections and that lovely Saturday morning warm fuzzy glow you get after being there.
On Sunday we went to Stansted House to go to the Nostalgia Festival, where Kyle’s sister, Laura, had a stall and the rest of his family were also there to support. She was selling her handmade wigs (which are just GORGEOUS). You can find her on Instagram @theWiggie and see her products HERE.
We even went on the carousel, which was hilarious and good fun.
The Nostalgia Show was good fun. We moseyed round the different stalls, selling vintage bits and bobs, and the street food vendors – so good.
For lunch I grabbed a chicken shawarma with halloumi fries…
…and then followed that with an extremely chocolatey brownie.
We even entered Alfie into a very light-hearted dog show that happened. He sadly didn’t win but he ALMOST won the most waggy tail award. He was robbed!
And back to running, I had a fantastic run on Monday morning in the cooler temperatures. My legs felt pretty good and the usual pelvic pressure wasn’t as strong. I actually ran a lot faster than I have in a while, which was surprising.
I was tempted to run a bit further but I decided to play it sensible because I wanted to run later in the week and recovery does take a bit longer. So pushing my body further is not the most sensible. All about consistent quality runs now!
So on to the next week I guess! Who knows how many pregnancy updates I have left to do eh!
Do you enjoy going round stalls at festivals?
What would you pick: regular fries, sweet potato or halloumi?
So marathon training for Rotterdam is still going well.
I mean it could all be for nothing if it gets cancelled though. Races and events are dropping all over the place. Europe doesn’t feel a particularly stable place right now – and who would have thought the problem would be a virus and not Brexit eh.
And not only this but FlyBe went bust which scuppered our plans a little. We were heading out from Southampton Airport which is so easy for us being local. It meant we could go after work on the Friday rather than take that day off. Alas, we’re now flying from Gatwick.
We managed to save some money so that’s something! And we will get our money back apparently (after the legal dust has settled) so it’s not a terrible outcome (for us at least).
Anyway, with all that in mind, we’ve decided we’ll still go to Rotterdam even if the marathon is cancelled. It’ll be a nice trip as we’ve both never been to The Netherlands and though perhaps crazy for me, it might be nice to go on holiday for holiday’s sake rather than a run 😉
That said… amazingly there’s now a Z parkrun nearby too! Well, I say “nearby”, it’d be about an hour’s journey I think but if the marathon isn’t on we’ll definitely do that on the Saturday instead of doing the much closer parkrun to where we’re staying. Either way, a parkrun will happen! This is very exciting. They only just started up in The Netherlands so I am STOKED.
So the training. Kyle and I had a 17 miler in the plan for Saturday. We decided to combine it with parkrun to break it up a bit, at least mentally. While I don’t mind the long runs (in fact, I really do love them most of the time) it was something Kyle wasn’t looking forward to. And 15 miles to 17 miles is a large step.
So to help ease us into it we planned a 10 mile route to Lee-On-Solent parkrun, then we’d do the parkrun, then run four miles back. By chunking it like this it was easier to digest.
We started off running at around 7.30am (ish… we were a tad late) and in our heads it was just “let’s run 10 miles”, which is a far more manageable distance. Unfortunately due to my very “fine-tuned” planning (ahem…) we got to about 8.5 miles and it was almost 8.50am. Right, we needed to pick it up a bit.
We started discussing strategies. If we got close (and happily because we were running along the coast we would eventually be able to see parkrun in the distance) we could make the decision about whether to do parkrun or just run on and find some more miles as we headed back to mine.
Very luckily it started about five minutes late and by the time we arrived they had literally just started. So we ran to the start line, turned around and began the parkrun course (basically back to where we’d come from).
The only snag in the plan was that because Lee-On-Solent parkrun is quite narrow it meant that we had to navigate our way through runners who were running a bit slower than us. This was easier for me as I’m a little person whereas Kyle is a bigger person so the gaps I could meander through, he could not.
Kyle mentioned it was somewhat frustrating (our own fault though of course) but actually it probably helped keep his pace consistent. I increased my pace a bit more as I wanted to get a bit of a tempo on and it worked nicely for us both in what we wanted from the long run.
It was hardwork and I felt like I was putting in a lot of effort for a pace that wasn’t, when all said and done, *that* fast (relatively speaking). A bit like when you “sprint” the final 0.2 of a marathon when realistically you’re crawling along.
But it was good to get the legs working hard. All good training.
After we finished we scanned our barcodes quickly then immediately carried on with the run. It was so nice to know we just had to run home. We picked up the pace on the final two miles and we felt like we cruised home. 17 miles, done and dusted.
A real confidence boosting run for us both. And really helps bolster Kyle for the coming 18 miles we have planned for this weekend…
To celebrate of course we needed something epic. So we
headed to 7Bone Burger in Portsmouth that afternoon (after a proper refuel of
porridge for me and scrambled egg on toast for Kyle of course #health). It did
I had a chicken burger with an added halloumi patty (ABSOLUTELY A MUST IF YOU GO THERE), with a side of halloumi fries and a portion of chicken wings. I mean, it was truly magical.
Do you like to celebrate long runs?
Do you like a parkrun sandwich long run?
Have you ever been late to a parkrun? I was once 10 minutes late to Eastleigh which was a bit stressful!
I feel like I’m so behind and so out of touch with my blog at the moment and it’s really making me sad.
I love my blog. It’s like a diary. I like documenting things, putting photos up and rambling. And if people read it (and thank you if you do :)) it’s a huge bonus.
Work has been taking up my mental capacity to write. It’s not just that it’s busy, but it involves a lot of brain resource that leaves me dwindling at the end of the day. And weekends are packed with everything that doesn’t get done in the week.
And not just work,
but life in general. It seems to be moving 1,000mph. It’s good – really good.
I’m very happy and content and life is moving in the direction I want, but my
blog has unfortunately taken a back seat.
But there’s so much
I want to talk about! So I’ll do my best…
A couple of weekends
ago Kyle and I went to Bournemouth. Bournemouth is about an hour from us and to
be honest we had no real reason to go other than it would be nice to go
somewhere and there were a couple of foodie/fun related things we wanted to
So we booked a very inexpensive Airbnb for the Friday night and went straight from work. We’ve been so lucky with Airbnb’s in the past. We’ve had one that was strange but not unpleasant but every other one has been absolutely fine, which is obviously why we keep doing it.
This one in Bournemouth though wasn’t great. It was described as a “quiet family home” but on arrival it was clear it was more a “chaotic family home” with children racing around the place and dogs barking loudly. It was a tricky to find out from the host where we were allowed to go, where the bathroom was, did we need a key and trying to explain to them what our movements would be (if we meet the host we like to explain our plans so we’re not just coming and going through their house – especially as we were going to be off early for a run in the morning). She didn’t seem interested at all or like she knew what was even going on.
In the later evening (past 10pm) the children were still running about and playing (they were very young children) and to top it off at 6am we were woken by a loud argument outside our door (lots of “you need to f****** get out”) which was VERY unsettling. To the point that we left ASAP and didn’t even shower after our run. You win some, you lose some!
But anyway. We had a fairly good dinner on Friday night in a place called Mokobo Burger (we still don’t know how to pronounce it).
I had three different types of chicken wings which were really good (though one lot was super spicy) and Kyle had a burger and loaded fries. I have to say that while my wings were good, Kyle’s burger was a bit disappointing (it was slightly burnt) and the “loaded” fries were just insipid fries with a small lump of pulled pork on top… which came out about 10 minutes after our mains.
It was a shame because originally we were going to go to our favourite burger place (Monty’s Burger Lounge) but decided to try somewhere new. Sadly it was loud and hard to talk to each other and just a bit “meh”.
So far, not great for our trip! We woke up early to get in five miles before Bournemouth parkrun as we wanted to get eight miles total for the day. We had grand ideas of running 2.5 miles before and after but in the end it just seemed simpler to get out and do the 5 miles and finish with parkrun.
It was a nice 5 miles, though somewhat unsatisfying because we didn’t really have a route planned so decided to run 2.5 miles towards the sea, and then back again. We could just see the sea a few 100 metres in the distance before heading back.
Obviously I know
this already but I really do prefer longer distances. My body just gets into
the groove after about three miles and feels nice and in the zone. So by the
time we got to parkrun I was ready to go.
is literally right next to the football ground so getting there felt very much
like I had a half marathon or full marathon to run as this was always where the
portaloos were for those races in October! But no, just 5k left today.
We lined up in a big
huddle and then we were off. It was a bit chaotic to begin with as we were
literally just running across a field. It bottlenecked in slightly but was
still rather crowded as we got onto the first loop. I found the first mile
tough – not because of how I felt running but because of the crowding. It was
hard to overtake people and I got wedged in to lots of people. I was scared to
knock fellow runners or step on their heels. Eventually though we spaced out
and I was able to get past people running slower than myself.
Then I got into my
stride. It was like I was suddenly unleashed and I was off. I checked my watch
– woah where had that pace come from? And I felt fantastic! Yes it was hard but
it was hard in a very manageable way. It felt gooood!
We finished the loop for the second time and then headed off onto another loop for the half (ish?) of the run. I found myself picking runners off and running past. Grimacing but in a good way, I pushed the pace and finished strong.
My time was 22:43, which I’m super pleased with! And eight miles in the bag.
And it was Kyle’s chance to rock his 50th parkrun t-shirt for the first time! (Super impressed how quickly it had arrived).
After parkrun we
walked back to the Airbnb and then took our stuff and left sharpish. We then
headed to the centre for breakfast at the lovely South Coast Roast. It was very
“hipster” and I mean that in the nicest way. Lots of milk options,
environmentally friendly and all the avocado options on the menu.
We went for the Bondi breakfast which had avocado toast, tomatoes, poached eggs, chilli jam, pickles (I LOVE pickles!) and then you could add extras. So I added halloumi and Kyle had chorizo. It was delicious.
From there we walked to the nearby Cat Café. Yes, you read that right. It’s a cat shelter but built as a café so you can go in and spend time with the cats (on their terms of course…) and order drinks as well.
We were introduced to the cats and told the rules (no picking them up, no stoking while they’re asleep, being respectful to them etc.) and then ordered some coffees.
Well, I have to say that while the cats were beautiful and the café was friendly and lovely, I happened to meet the most grumpy cat who when I tried to stroke lashed out at my hand and made me bleed slightly. I mean, I am a dog person and I’m not quite as savvy with cats so it was probably my own fault… but it was a bit of a shock.
The other cats were fast asleep so in the end it was a bit of a dud experience. It very much felt like we were there because the cats had allowed us there and we were blessed to be in their presence… As a dog person this is a strange concept to me as dogs tend to just love you and want your company regardless. Cats are definitely more picky and temperamental. They were gorgeous though and well looked after.
Then we headed home! Definitely a weekend of ups and downs – though we enjoyed ourselves regardless.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
Do you need a decent warm up before you get into a run?
Have you ever had a bad experience with a hotel or Airbnb?
I’m so behind on my posts. I have so much to talk about as well!
I’ll start first with an incredible weekend I had with Kyle that as just SO good. Kyle and I were super excited about it. It was literally all our favourite things, but sadly without any running.
We planned to go to London for my Christmas present, which Kyle had gotten me. A chicken wings tour! I mean, this was a perfect gift and a perfect excuse for us to spend a night in London and enjoy ourselves.
Originally we’d planned to do the tour on the Friday, stay over and then do parkrun and brunch Saturday. However it turned out that the chicken wings thing was only available Wednesday or Sunday… ehhh. So no parkrun for us sadly as we’d be travelling up Sunday morning to get there for the wings at lunch, then head home Monday after brunch.
It’s funny because after we got there we wondered why we hadn’t brought our running kit so we could do a cheeky run Monday morning. It was a bit of a lost opportunity but I think we were both just too focused on the food.
We did Lee-On-Solent
parkrun on Saturday though and ran 1.5 miles there and 1.5 miles back to the
car so we could get in a “long run” of just over 6 miles. Obviously 6
miles isn’t that long in comparison to previous runs I’ve done but I’m being
super sensible about this comeback and I don’t want to just jump into a 10
miler and bugger everything up.
Anyway, parkrun was
good. I saw a few people I knew, which is always nice and had a nice run with
Kyle. We took it relatively easy and had a very enjoyable run. We made sure not
to stand too close to the back as we have done in the past as it gets crazy busy
at Lee and it’s a fairly narrow start.
Sunday we woke up early without an alarm – which is always nice. We got into a bad habit of sleeping very late a few weeks ago which made us feel terrible. I say late, it was about 9am, but this is late for us. We just felt so groggy and like we’d had too much sleep. As lovely as lie-ins are I’d rather naturally wake up earlier and feel refreshed. We relaxed in bed for a while as our train wasn’t until 10 and I decided to go for another short run.
I wanted to be running two days in a row again and adding another 3 mile run to the weekend would help me gently transition into this. The run went really well. No issues and it felt OK (asides from it being around Clanfield which is so fricking hilly!).
After the run we got
ready and headed to London on the train. It was very tight on timings to get to
Shoreditch, check in at our Airbnb (we love an Airbnb) and then meet our tour
guide for the wings experience. But we made it bang on time!
It was just us on the tour which was really nice (the tour can have up to 15 people I think). The woman who was our guide (I’m embarrassed to say that while we did get her name I don’t think I’d be able to spell it correctly) was SO lovely. She was friendly, knew so much about the local area and just the right amount of involved. (If you’re interested it’s THIS experience).
She took us to
Orange Buffalo to begin with an we got to try two different heat levels. Both
flavours were fantastic and it came with a thick blue cheese dip. Honest to
God, I could bathe in this stuff. One of my absolute favourite things in the
entire world is a buffalo chicken wing with a thick cold blue cheese dip.
NOTHING beats that texture and flavour combo for me. I am a simple creature I
She showed us around
the local area (an area I’d heard about but never been myself), with all the
street art, the food market, Banksy artwork… it was fascinating. It was
hustling and bustling and busy with electrically (and far cooler) dressed
people. It felt very “hip” (and by saying hip I have now fully
separated myself from any form of coolness, I do realise this). She had
fantastic tid-bits of information and interesting local knowledge.
The second stop was
in the Boxpark in Shoreditch called Coqfighter. It was very exciting for me
because I’d heard about these places on social media (follow my Instagram
@AnnaTheCake88 for my foodie loving) and now I was getting to actually go
The wings were so
different from this location because they were of the fried chicken variety so
had a crispy Vodka and sesame coating and came with a soy sauce and chilli dip.
Damn they were SO good. So different to what I’ve usually had before. The soy
sauce dip, dear lord, was good. And the crispiness of the chicken just rocked
my world. I was in heaven.
Then we headed, somewhat sadly, to our last location called the Blue Kitchen. We had double fried buffalo wings and Szechuan wings (pictured above). I didn’t think anything could top what we’d had so far but these were FRICKING AMAZING. Double fried? Yes please. In my excitement I sadly didn’t get a picture of the buffalo…but they were fantastic I assure you.
I think I amused our guide a bit because I was clearly VERY into my wings and did a good job of polishing everything off. She was amazed that we ran as much as we did as well – all the marathons and parkruns. It was fun talking to her about it. I felt like we just bamboozled her with our weird lives of eating and running haha.
After the wings tour, we headed to Doughnut Time for some pudding. I mean I was pretty full to be honest but we wanted to get some of these oh so Instagrammable doughnuts. Kyle was VERY excited. We’ve both had them before and had decided as a treat to get a box (and take a couple home for Kyle’s parents – my parents declined as they’re both on Slimming World).
We got over-excited and bought NINE. I mean, Jesus, they’re not exactly cheap either. I think they are a little over-priced and over-hyped for what they are, but it was good fun choosing and enjoying the moment.
We took a big box back with us to the Airbnb and enjoyed a few there. The ones I’d chosen (Sia Later, Ice Ice Bae and Caramacklemore) were delicious. The Sia Later (red velvet) was the best, Ice Ice Bae (with cookie dough and brownie bites) was VERY sweet but tasty and the Caramacklemore (white chocolate) was somewhat disappointing, but possibly because I was quite sugared out by that point. Yes, I was that greedy and ate three. I fully enjoyed them 🙂
The next morning,
after a lovely little lie-in, we walked to Covent Garden with a little stop in
Starbucks for a coffee. We had brunch booked for 12 at the Big Easy (blows my
mind that this was the earlier we could book – surely this is now lunch?). We’ve
had brunch here before and it’s all you can eat and it’s just fantastic. I
mean, if you’re a big meat-eater of course.
We did have a little stop in ANOTHER Doughnut Time, but this time the Doughtnut Time “World”. You can really tell how much they bank on social media for their notoriety.
The shop was set up specifically for taking photos and promoting to Instagram. While it was good fun and quite quirky, it felt a little odd and, well, clinical.
I imagine when they have events it’s a bit better but just Kyle and I in the shop meant it was a bit weird. And the posters around the shop saying that the props were for photos only furthered this. I obviously fully enjoy social media and taking photos, but it was a tad overkill (tho tbf, it had worked for us right?).
Anyway, Kyle bought
another of the OG doughnuts because he enjoyed it so much the day before and
wanted to take one home. I refrained – I’d eaten three the day before and had
one to take home, so I was happy.
Then we got to the Big Easy in Covent Garden and enjoyed even more excess of food. BBQ ribs, smoked sausage, BBQ chicken, pulled pork, chips, cornbread, coleslaw and beans.
It was fantastic and we left very full! The staff are very attentive and brought out more of what we asked and we enjoyed ourselves a lot, but we were now dunzo’ed on food haha.
So a whole lot of eating and a little bit of running!