It’s a Knockout hen do and Bath parkrun

I dread when I get invited to go on hen dos (bachelorette parties). I fear it’ll involve clubbing, which I detest. I’m too old for that sort of thing now – sticky floors, luminous sugary alcohol, smoke machines and toilets that made you gag. Not my thing. So I was hugely relieved that when I was invited to my university friend’s hen do in Bath it wouldn’t involve clubbing. Hurrah!

I’d taken the Friday off so I could get to Bath at a reasonable time so decided to switch my long run around as I knew Sunday would never happen. I’d planned to run 16 miles but on waking I realised mentally I wasn’t in the game. To try and persuade myself it would be OK I decided, instead of doing a huge 16 mile loop like I usually would, I’d break it down into a 10 mile loop then a 6 mile loop. As it was quite warm this would work well as I could drop by the house to pick up water if I needed to.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. As soon as I started running I knew 16 miles would be a real push. My legs felt heavy and my mind just wasn’t happy running. It was such a struggle. The weather was fine, it wasn’t even that hot, I just didn’t want to be running. In the end I managed 10 miles.









I hadn’t put on any BodyGlide either and my underarms were really sore from chafing. Basically it was a thumbs down experience.

Thankfully I had a fun hen party weekend to look forward to! We stayed in a beautiful three-story house doing fun activities and going nowhere near a club Smile


The furniture and decor were awesome and the amazing Rachel and Charlotte, who organised the weekend, decked it out with balloons and hen party paraphernalia, food and drink.

But first can we just marvel at my amazing parking? This was in central Bath and there was literally nowhere to park but this one tiny space.

IMG_1096My little red Fiat 500

This might not seem amazing to any normal, able driver but to me this was a HUGE feat. A curb might have been mounted in the process but that’s just details…


Eventually Shell, the hen, arrived and the frivolities began. We enjoyed many glasses of Prosecco and finger-food on the Friday night. We all got suitably merry!

IMG_1124Me, Shell and Kate

My friend, Kate, mentioned that she was going to go running the next day. HOLD THE BOAT – what?? This is all very new to me. She doesn’t normally run. She said she’d started the Couch 2 5k programme and was working steadily through it. I tried to persuade her to come to parkrun with me the next day but, understandably, she said she wasn’t ready for that distance yet. She’s also very embarrassed about running, getting up at 5am in the week so no one sees her. This really makes me sad. No one should ever feel embarrassed about running in public. I know there are knobs out there who are awful and heckle people (it’s happened to me many a time!) so I can understand her reluctance, but it still makes me sad that she’s so worried.

I wasn’t sure how my run would go if I’m honest. I’d planned on driving to the parkrun as it was just up the road and I didn’t want to push myself when I felt so rubbish the day before. However I was worried about losing my parking space and that stress all over again. parkrun was only two miles away so I thought I’d risk it and run there. If I felt awful on the two miles I could turnaround.

I felt good during the first mile so kept going. Then suddenly I was going uphill and when I say uphill I really mean UP A MOUNTAIN.


It was almost an entire mile uphill. It just kept going and going. No wonder the parkrun is called Bath Skyline!

IMG_1125Up and up and up

My pace on the first mile was 8:02 and the second mile was 10:26! It was ridiculously tough, especially after the night before. I thought I was going to be sick about 10 times.

Eventually I arrived at the parkrun. I saw some suspect parkrunners so followed them trying not to look creepy. They noticed me though and asked if I was parkrunning. Then we chatted away about the course and running, as you do. parkrun is just so friendly!


I learnt about the course from the man I spoke to, which is also very handy. Not particularly flat as it has 37 steps towards the beginning you have to go up! I wasn’t planning a speedy run (let’s not further encourage a Prosecco-related incident) so I was quite happy to hear it was scenic.

Bath parkrun is a very varied course. The terrain pretty much has everything from trail, to grass to pebbles. When the marshal had explained the course she mentioned being careful of cows and I thought she was joking but we ran through a field and had to dodge cowpats! The steps were tough-going and, like many people, I walked up them.

IMG_1141(Photo credit: Phil Wyatt)

At one point there was a spectacular view of Bath. I wish I could have taken a photo. I got stronger as the run continued and started picking off people towards the end and was chuffed at overtaking a few ladies, though one speedy lady I just couldn’t catch and she finished two seconds ahead. It was nice to feel a bit of speed again!





My time was 23:50 which I was quite pleased with. The first male finished in 15:58! It was more busy than Netley but it never felt crowded.


And then I had the glorious run home. The mile downhill was amazing (6:49 mile!)…to start with and then became a bit of a pound session for my feet. They were tingling when I got back.

Kate’s run had gone well too. It was surreal talking to her about running. Normally my non-running friend’s just think I’m a bit mad. Kate’s going to do a parkrun with me hopefully in June when they come down for my birthday so this is HUGELY exciting.

Anyway the main part of the hen do was going to It’s A Knockout in Bristol. It was like hen and stag do central there. There were 24 teams in total (each hen/stag do was a team). Many were dressed up in crazy outfits (the best being a stag do dressed as Apple – the stag was an actual apple whereas his compatriots were all dressed as Steve Jobs wearing black turtle necks and glasses).Its a Knockout

The day involved several different games trying to win points. The games were things like dressing in a huge giant costume and then trying to get across mats that were moving, to wearing vision-changing goggles and kicking footballs at blow-up targets. We’d been told we might get wet and I had visions of that previous hen party I’d been to involving a freezing lake… But thankfully there were only two wet games. One which involved standing in a line on buckets (above photo) and throwing wet sponges to each other to the last person who had to squeeze the sponges into buckets in order to get the most water to win. I was the ‘runner’ by which that meant I ran backwards and forwards collecting the dry sponges to bring back to the person dipping them in the bucket. It was like interval training!

Another game involved trying to pull ourselves over that blow-up slide (above photo) using a rope while there was soapy water all over it. Only two of us managed to get over (me being one of them – thank you, gym!) so the two of us just went over and over again (each time we’d get a point). We won every single game but one and sadly we used our ‘Joker’ (triple point enhancer) on it (the 24 teams were split further into 4 groups against each other for each game). We came 5th at the end which wasn’t too bad at all!

It was fairly exhausting but such good fun! We had such a laugh. It was gone 4pm when we got back and we hadn’t had lunch so a few of us high-tailed to a local burrito place and got something to eat.


I went for a salad as I was planning on having quite a big dinner but the salad was actual massive! I had pulled chicken, cheese, sour cream and guacamole and it was delicious.

After showering and getting dressed up we were ready for some more fun and games that evening. We played more drinking games and watched Eurovision (I’ve never actually watched a whole Eurovision, this was an experience!). We got food delivered using the Deliveroo app, which is amazing! Most of us went for Grillstock (probably due to my squealing about how excited I was about the food…).

IMG_1204I went for wings and ribs (are you surprised?). It rocked my world. Not the best ribs I’ve ever had (bit dry and not that meaty) but the wings were awesome.


We had a great evening watching Eurovision while playing drinking games and just generally having a laugh. This even included the cereal box game (you have to pick up a cereal box with nothing but your mouth and nothing touching the floor but your feet, and the sides get chopped after each round so it gets lower and lower).


I came second to the amazingly flexible Charlotte. Anyway a good night was had by all! The next day it was Operation Tidy Up and then off home!

If you drink, what’s your alcoholic drink of choice?

Are you competitive?

Did you watch Eurovision?

Running in sunshine and jumping in lakes

I only actually realised we had a Bank holiday weekend on Wednesday, so as you can imagine it was such a lovely surprise to know we had a three day weekend coming up! I definitely needed it. Despite only just getting back from my holiday the other week I was still so tired from the jetlag that it was nice to know I had an extra day to catch up with life.

Saturday was pretty full-on as it was my friend’s hen do (bachelorette party). Thankfully it was a day thing rather than a night thing so didn’t involve going clubbing and excessive drinking, which I’m not a huge fan of. The activities were due to start before midday in Bournemouth. I could have gone to parkrun in the morning but it would have been rushed so I decided to give it a miss, which handily works out well for timing my 100th parkrun with my friend’s 250th (I’m three away!).

Instead I planned to run three miles on my own. The weather was lovely and sunny and I slightly regretted wearing long-sleeves (though it was my new Lululemon top which I adore). I ran alongside the beach and in the distance I could see the Lee-On-Solent parkrun going on, the runners running in the horizon like dots. I got my route wrong and it came to 3.7 as I got home so then had to run up and down the road to get 4 miles, as you do Winking smile 






The run felt really good. The day before I’d seen my physio and told him about my niggling hamstring. He did some very intense deep tissue massage on it and I woke up with it feeling a bit tender but so much better. He said I was OK to run the next day though he advised leaving it for a few days…but I just really wanted to run (famous last words? I hope not…). Anyway I finally felt like my running is back to normal post-marathon. All my runs previous seem to have felt quite tough and laboured, so I’ve kept the pace easier. I know this is to be expected post marathon! Saturday’s run felt a lot better though.

IMG_0671New Lululemon top

Then my friend, Lou, picked me up with some of the other girls and we headed to Bournemouth. We only vaguely knew that there would be some outdoor activities, quad biking and an obstacle course (which I was really excited about).

We got into some super sexy camouflage to begin with.


Thanks to Ashley for the photos


And then we got down to some quad biking. I’ve done quad biking before and loved it but this was a little different.


The quad biking I’ve done was over a relatively smooth track so you can get some speed up but this was really bumpy and off-roady. You couldn’t exactly zoom round it. It was still really good fun though, just required a bit more technical skill and more of a risk getting stuck or rolling!

Lou sadly couldn’t take part in all the activities as she’s pregnant but she took lots of photos and was able to join in on some of the welly throwing (yes really) and other fun less-strenuous activities.


The obstacle course was so much fun but also a little insane. We had the usual climb under, and jump over things, and monkey bars…

The Challenge obstacle course

I was chuffed at getting over the wall myself! And then the last section was literally stepping into a shoulder deep lake and getting to a boat to pull the team across to the finish.

Let me tell you, that lake was bloody freezing. In the end we all had to swim because the lakebed was just sinking beneath our feet. I thankfully kept my head out of the water but it was still horrendously cold. As we huddled waiting for the rest of the team to swim across my friend goes “I have deep empathy for Kate now. I wouldn’t have shared my door either” which was a perfect summation of how it felt.


Though my friend had told me we needed a spare set of clothes because we might get wet I had no idea we’d get absolutely soaked. Some of the girls had sensibly brought towels but I had brought a tea towel at the last minute as I assumed I’d just need something to ‘dust off’ some dampness or mud. We all then huddled in an outdoor sheltered hut thing to get changed. It was horrifically cold but quite funny. My tea towel was somewhat useful!! Thankfully I did have a spare set of clothes with me.


And then it was time for refuelling…in the best possible way.


Afternoon tea! That first cup of tea was SO needed. Though I had nice warm and dry clothes on (not a warm and dry bra however…), I was still very cold. Lots of sandwiches, two scones with jam and cream, crisps and a cupcake helped though. Good grief. So much for eating a bit healthier post holiday! I had intended on eating my second scone instead of the cupcake but then there were cupcakes left-over and it looked to good to miss…

The hen do was such good fun and the hen had a great time Smile

I stayed at my parent’s house that evening as it was easier. The next morning I wanted to run 8-10 miles, depending how I felt. As soon as I started running I knew I wanted to run 10 miles. I just felt strong, happy and relaxed. The sun was shining and it was a little *too* warm but it was just nice to be outside in a tank top for once (another new Boston-themed Nike top). I got to the beach at about seven miles and wondered if I’d see my parents. They often take their dogs down the beach when the weather’s nice. And funnily enough I saw them and the four dogs in the distance (Alfie was with them of course).


It was lovely to stop quickly and say hello to them and Alfie mid-run. Though they had to hold Alfie when I ran off as he wanted to join me, bless him!










The run, despite being very warm, went really well. I felt good speeding up so I kept a tempo pace towards the end. Apart from needing to some long runs for the Cakeathon at the end of May, I have no goals or direction for my running at the moment so it’s nice to go with the flow.

And then my parents and me went to Gunwharf Quays for a bit of shopping (hello Adidas outlet shop) and Jamie’s Italian for lunch.IMG_0706

I had the vegetable plank to start (so tasty, lots of roasted vegetables, cheese and hummus), followed by my usual turkey Milanese and then a white chocolate cheesecake. I’ve never had a bad meal at Jamie’s (though I do tend to order the same thing…).

IMG_0702I’ve had this meal so many times now

Monday was a rather chilled day of doing some chores, catching up with life (and Game of Thrones – the latest episode, OMG. SO much happened) and just generally chilling. Perfect bank holiday weekend!

What did you get up to?

Is there a meal you keep going back to?

What kind of hen dos/bachelorette parties do you enjoy?

The Scone Debate and dog selfies

My friends from university came down on Saturday for a visit… (*whispers* because it’s my birthday this week) Well we combined it with a sort of hen do celebration for my friend, Charlotte, who’s getting married in less than two weeks. She is doing a ‘planned elopement’ to Italy with her to-be hubby for a romantic ‘just them’ ceremony.

Sadly I couldn’t make Parkrun in the morning. It would just have been a nightmare to have got back in time and wash and dry the beast that is my hair. So many hours of my life wasted drying it…But I did manage a speedy 5k on my own earlier in the morning. Anyway, my friends arrived at 10ish. We had the usual hen do bits and pieces (penis straws are always standard, right?) and some cupcakes one of my friends had made to celebrate Charlotte’s wedding. We caught up and then headed out to my favourite tea shop


Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately perhaps) it is very close, about 2 miles. So we walked there chatting. Girls just like chatting don’t we? Ben joined as well and was an honorary girl for the day 😉

IMG_6916I’ll never get sick of afternoon tea. I had ham and mustard sandwiches, a fruit scone with cream and jam and a slice of LEMON MERINGUE sponge cake. Sorry for the caps, I got all excited. There were pieces of meringue on the top all crushed and lovely. Seriously good cake. Though I must say, the best part of afternoon tea for me is the scone. And there’s always the debate of jam or cream first. I’m of the opinion that it should be jam first, then a dollop of cream. Otherwise the jam gets all smeary? But this is a fairly heated debate. Ben is a cream then jam man – how are we together?? 😉

Then we had a good long walk back through some lovely countryside. The next day was a five mile easy paced run and then a 15 mile bike ride. I never feel the same love for bike rides as running but it was nice. I still can’t not break on downhill’s though. A cardinal cycling sin I hear.

We popped over to my parent’s house later on as it was Father’s Day. We all just sort of monged out in the conservatory relaxing. Can parents ‘mong’ out? Not sure. We had some selfie fun with their absolutely mad dog Lexi.


She is literally wired all the time. She’s the same breed as Alfie (Westland Terrier cross with a Cavalier King Charles) but she couldn’t be more different. She’s a beast. She’s eaten a bag of POTATOES before. And bitten through a can of beer, spraying it everywhere. What fun for my parents.

IMG_6927Ben doing his best ‘gangster’ impersonation. I think he’s been watching too much of The Wire…

Tonight I’m doing the Race for Life with my friend from work. She’s a fairly novice runner (and I mean that in the nicest way). She’s done a 5k race before and has now made the leap towards a 10k. She’s done lots of training and even went to her local Parkrun (ahh I’m so proud!) so I’m sure she’ll be fine. I’m going to run it with her and support her.

She told me last year she had no one to cheer her on or hug at the end because her husband and son didn’t really understand the importance of it and didn’t go (I think it’s a cultural thing, she’s Indian and in India running isn’t really done, or so I’ve been told). I found this heart breaking and said I’d sign up and run it with her. Ben is coming to support, my mum and dad will be there and she’s guilt tripped her husband and son into watching now so she’ll have loads of support. She’s hoping to run it in around an hour so finger’s crossed for her please!

Do you like a lot of support at a race? Both my parents and Ben’s mum love to come and watch and cheer us on. Though my dad properly likes to get involved – he likes to pre-read the course map, find a good spot, work out our paces of where will be when. He’s a runner at heart!

Do you have any pets?

The Big Question: jam or cream first?

Bath, Bristol, a run and lots of food

I am on cloud nine right now. Actually, maybe cloud eight. I feel exhausted! But in a good way. I had a mad but brilliant weekend.

It was one of my close friend’s hen weekend (for Americans, I think you guys call this a bachelorette party?). I drove up to Bath on Friday morning as I had Friday off of work and met up with the hen, her sister and another friend. We were staying in the very posh and lovely Windsor hotel for the night.

The Windsor, Bath I shared a the room on the left with another friend who arrived later and the bottom-right picture is the view from our window

The location of the hotel was perfect. It was only a very short walk and you were right in the centre of Bath with the shops and restaurants.

Great Pulteney Street, Bath The road that the hotel was on

After sorting ourselves out we headed out for lunch at Bill’s. I went for my favourite: Caesar salad and a cheeky portion of sweet potato fries.

Bills Caesar salad So yummy. Then we headed for a few lovely hours at the Thermae Bath Spa.

Thermae Bath SpaFabulously relaxing. It was like swimming in a huge bath! And there were these steam rooms that were infused with different scents, like peppermint (like being in a big vat of Vix) and sandalwood. Very nice. And the top layer had another warm pool right out in the open with a lovely view of Bath.

After this we hopped back to the hotel to get showered and dressed ready for dinner. We went to Browns where we met up with another friend.

Browns restaurant, Bath I had a very refreshing glass of Prosecco and a wild boar burger with fries. This definitely filled a hole! I wanted something carby enough for my planned long run the next day…

We didn’t go to bed too late (for normal people – late enough for me!). And my alarm was set for 5.45am. Oh joy. My intention was to run 10 miles, but see how my foot felt and would stop if it hurt. I had planned a route and took a printed map with me in case I got lost. I was a super ninja in the morning getting up and dressed as quiet as possible as to not wake my friend (she was fine with me going out early – I had checked beforehand!)


My planned route had a HUGE hill to start with so I ignored it and just ran wherever. Unfortunately the beginning was still quite hilly but then I managed to find a good area to run around that was flat for the second portion of the run. I ran 11 miles! And everything felt NORMAL. No niggles. OK it was tough and I know I’ve lost so much fitness (from both injury breaks). But I am over the moon.

Bath long runView of Bath on my run 

It’s given me a little bit of confidence for Paris. I only stopped at 11 because I was running out of time. Though it was probably sensible to not go further if I’m honest.

The hardest part? These stairs back to the room.IMG_6123 Yep all the way to the top. Brutal.

Then it was a quick shower and delicious breakfast of kippers and scrambled egg.


Loved this. I wouldn’t have it every day as it was overwhelmingly fishy but it was a nice change.

Then we zoomed to Bristol, picking up another friend en route and had an afternoon of quad biking and high ropes.

Hen weekend activities High ropes were stupidly scary. I was all the ‘Big I Am’ when I got there, thinking I’d have no issues but as soon as I got up the top beam I was shaking, terrified and just wanted to get down. Turns out I’m a bit of a wuss. Quad biking though was more my forté. I got the fastest lap round the course!

Afternoon cake hen do Later as we got back to the hen’s house we enjoyed cake and champagne while getting ready.

After getting all glammed up we headed out for dinner at Cuban in the centre of Bristol and met up with yet more people. It was funny because I got huge déjà vu when I realised where we were. This is where the race village had been set up for the Bristol half marathon!

IMG_6177 I ate so much I’m not gonna lie. There were so many sharing starters at the beginning. And then I had a huge but lovely seafood soup thing.

IMG_6187Phenomenally good.

Then my least favourite part of the night…going clubbing. Ah I think I’m just too old now. Well actually I never really enjoyed clubbing that much when I was at university. I wasn’t drinking heavily, maybe that was problem.

IMG_6196 All the tacky hen do stuff of course

Very loud, sticky floors, past my bedtime <—granny status right there. Not my thing. But the hen had a great time and that’s the important part. I tried to get into it for her sake anyway.

Anyway the weekend was brilliant but I am shattered. It didn’t help that the airbed my friend and I were sleeping on half deflated in the middle of the night and we woke up at 5am with our legs in the air going “what the hell??”. It was fairly amusing.

I got home Sunday afternoon and went to bed very early. But I still need another day, you know? All in all, a truly great weekend 🙂

Have you been to Bath or Bristol before?

Have you been on a hen do before?

What’s your ideal hen do? I like lots of activity-style things, like paintballing and go-karting.

Hen Party Extravaganza–Part 1

I’ve decided to split my hen party shenanigans into two parts as both days deserve their own post.

Initially I was very apprehensive about the hen do [bachelorette party], as you can imagine. The stories you hear about what goes on and the dares that the bride-to-be are force to do…the horrible photos that get taken…And the fact that my big sister was organising it for me. So a lot of nerves! My sister is crazy. No-inhibitions-loud-daring crazy. Nothing like me, basically. I’m fairly quiet, can be quite shy, I don’t drink much, I don’t get drunk often (like twice a year) and I don’t go clubbing anymore…what can I say, I feel too old now! I like my sleep and I like waking up with a clear head.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. It was such a good weekend. It started with my friends from university coming down to stay with me until the Sunday. It was so lovely to see them as I don’t see them that often due to geographical issues and everyone’s conflicting schedules. We then spent the Saturday afternoon PAINTBALLING. It was a Hen Vs Stag affair where Ben’s friends were teamed up against all my girlfriends. There were around 20 of us in total and it was brilliant. Painful, very painful. But brilliant. And obviously they thought it would be hilarious if Ben and I were dressed in bunny suits. So everyone one else was in nice camouflaged, thick army-style gear. I, however, looked like Bugs Bunny preparing for a war:



(This photo was at the end when I was free from my bunny suit, but not my bunny ears)

I like to think that in a war I’d be a survivor. I’d be one of those hero-types. However, I was slightly disappointed to find that I was one of those hiding-types. A good ditch or a big tree was my friend. I’d be rubbish in war. I wasn’t a complete coward though – I did get my fair share of shooting on. I just wouldn’t get any medals…

Then we got home and showered (major issues with mud & sweat!). Next it was party time!  P1110562Check out the lovely gear my darling friends inflicted upon me [I quite liked the veil if I’m honest…though I did conveniently lose the feather boa through the night…] And, as it is a well-known fact that I have a bit of a crazy love for Jamie Oliver [it’s the amazing food, his funny personality…he’s just so lovely] they managed to find the next best thing:


Oh and check out my beasty bruise from paintballing! [I had four of these!!]


After getting ready, we went and had a Mexican dinner:

IMG_2063I had a grilled coriander and lime marinated chicken with green rice & garlic wilted spinach. Very zesty and yummy and not too heavy – I didn’t want to impair my dancing ability! And obviously being at a Mexican restaurant meant an obligatory Mexican drink:


Margarita! And this is how much I enjoyed it:

P1110599Not a big tequila fan I have to admit. Also, the sneaky barman had put a double in it as he found out it was my hen party! I love my friends as well – they told me that around the brim of the glass was sugar and I, like a mug and being very unworldly, believed them. Very salty.

And then it was time for dancing! It was a fairly tame evening – both mothers came out with us (by the way, HILARIOUS – get your mother into a club and no end of amusement is had). My friends had thought up some ‘great’ dares for me to do as well…like randomly asking a guy to give me a piggy back (tick), trying to get a free dink at the bar (tick), dancing on the table (tick)… And lots of alcohol…IMG_2066Apple Sourz obviously!

The music was a good bit of cheese (hello Backstreet Boys, hello Greece Mega Mix), random people kept congratulating me, and all my friends enjoyed themselves. It was just lovely. I felt very lucky Smile

Well, we got back around 2ish – which isn’t that late I suppose (though late for me!) It was such a good evening. And I still had the next day’s adventures ahead! So, tune in soon for part 2 of my hen party shenanigans!

Has anyone else had a hen party/bachelorette party? What did you get up to? Was it crazy?

Anyone else have a secret crush on Jamie Oliver..?