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?

Working on my winter insulation layer ;-)

I am so chuffed. My flat is coming along so nicely!

My little home is very small, but it’s perfect for me. I thought that going from a house to a flat (apartment) would be really hard but actually it’s great. My previous house was a two bedroom end terrace so it was quite small anyway but just for me I didn’t need all that space. My new place is only one bedroom but it has enough space for all my things and storage room (which was always the worry for me if I went for somewhere smaller). I could have gone for a two bedroom but for my budget it probably wouldn’t have been in as good an area or would have been too far from my usual commute.

Anyway I had Friday off and got some bits and pieces sorted like getting my Internet hooked up and the delivery of my table and chairs. FINALLY I can eat at the table again after so long perching on my bean bag or my bed.

Friday evening was my friend’s Christmas party. It was planned for the week after but after a change of venue it was moved forward a week. Annoyingly this was the same evening as my running club’s awards evening and Christmas party 🙁IMG_6596But I had good fun with my friends anyway at a new Chinese restaurant. I’m not a huge Chinese fan but the food was good.Chinese food

There was a sharing platter to start, this had chicken skewers, spring rolls, dumplings and salted squid. Normally sharing food gives me anxieties 😉 but there was an equal number of different items per person so this was fine. It’s when it’s like a free-for-all that I get worried. Fear of missing out on food!


Good friends

For main I had chicken teriyaki and rice, which was tasty but quite sweet. I was glad I didn’t have the duck as I tried some of my friend’s and it was ridiculously sweet. I like sweet stuff but this was a bit too much (for savoury anyway…). For pudding there was another sharing platter of brownies, doughnuts and ice cream things.IMG_6603

Tom, you’re famous! 😉

The next morning my alarm went off at 7am and for the first time in a long while I considered snoozing it. I rarely ever snooze alarms as once they go off I’m awake and that’s it. But I wanted to snuggle back down and sleep. I checked the weather and it didn’t look too bad at 11-12 degrees (centigrade). When I got to parkrun though it was tipping it down and I was glad for my wellies.Hunter welliesI was happy to take the rain over gale force winds though! A few people were feeling rather delicate due to the awards the night before. Luckily I hadn’t been drinking at my do, but I was still tired.

My friend Chris tried to persuade me to run with him, but he was aiming for 22 minutes and I’m no where near that yet! I did give it my best though and was happy with 23:14!

parkrun splits

It’s annoying because I can’t remember what my best time for this course is (as on the parkrun results it just says Netley Abbey – and there are like four different courses we can do through the year) so I’m not sure how well I can realistically aim to do as the weeks continue. The six hills really do drain you dry whereas the normal course only has three smaller hills.Parkrun mud

Anyway, it was fairly muddy but thankfully the rain had stopped when we were running. The temperature wasn’t too cold either (thanks, global warming!).

The rest of the day was deja vu to last weekend where I went to IKEA again with my parents and then spent the rest of the afternoon constructing bits and pieces. I’m DONE with IKEA now. No more!! I have pretty much everything I need now (apart from my new bed being delivered this week).

I was really chuffed to find a sofa I liked and when I ordered it they told me it could be delivered later that day. Unfortunately I failed to realise it would be delivered in four pieces. When the delivery men turned up I asked them if they were going to construct it and they almost laughed in my face. Of course not. It’s IKEA after all. Anyway, it’s all sorted thanks to my dad and me who are now like IKEA pros.

Sunday I had a lovely 6.5 mile run which went far better than last weekend’s. It still felt hard but I didn’t feel like walking so there’s an improvement (though it wasn’t as windy). My endurance is s.l.o.w.l.y improving.

6.5 miles

I’m starting to think I should be adding in some speed work but I think I’ll leave it with a tough parkrun each week for now. When I move to four runs a week then one of those might be a fartlek or intervals…*shudders*.

Sunday lunch was amazing. Literally amazing. I’ve found my new favourite restaurant. Coast To Coast in Whiteley. Dear God it was good. The menu was insane. I was torn between four different choices (burger with pulled pork, calzone, ribs or chicken wings). In the end I went for wings but instantly got food envy when I saw a woman get a HUGE rack of ribs.Coast To Coast

My dad and me shared the BBQ platter to start (ribs, wings, chicken tenders with blue cheese, battered prawns and chorizo). It was so good. I traded him some prawns for chicken and chorizo for ribs so I think we were both satisfied 😉

My Kentucky wings and sweet potato fries for my main were awesome. I’ve never actually had wings as a main before and it rocked my world. It had some great dips as well – one of them was like a blue cheese thing which I could have swum in if I’m honest.

I’d already seen the pudding menu and had earmarked the mint chocolate chip Oreo sundae but I was stuffed. It wasn’t even a “oooh I could make room” kind of stuffed, it was a meat sweat kind of stuffed. Just too much protein. I needed a nap 😉

Pretty damn awesome. Needless to say dinner wasn’t necessary!

How was your weekend?

Do you snooze your alarm or get up straight away?

What’s your favourite dip?

Windy running and feeling content

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love my little home. I’ve gone from being all blasé about weekends and evenings to being really excited. There is so much to be done, organised, bought, arranged… I can’t wait!

To roll back to the weekend gone, I was shattered after moving in on Friday but I really struggled to sleep. I’m a very light sleeper (to the point I have to wear an eye mask at night) and any unusual noises will keep me awake or wake me up. It was just a whole different environment than I was used to and it took me so long to sleep, and then I woke up for AN HOUR in the middle of the night.

It didn’t help that I was ridiculously hungry either (as I missed lunch the day before and my body was only too happy to remind me. Apparently cake doesn’t quite work as a compensation for me in terms of satiety). The next morning the first thing I did was have breakfast. This is really abnormal for me as I can go a fair few hours without anything in the morning before I’m ready for food.IMG_6466

I would say I treated myself to breakfast in bed but seen as how I have no table or chairs this is how I’m eating all my meals right now

I would have given parkrun a miss on Saturday if I hadn’t have had the cones and the keys for the storage cupboard and gates… This meant I had to go in order for parkrun to go ahead. It was ridiculously windy and I was tired. I wasn’t looking forward to it. But it was the 200th Netley Abbey parkrun and it was a onesie and pyjama themed event so I’m glad I went in the end.IMG_6468

It was actually easier to find PJs to run in than actual running gear in my box-filled flat

I found the run easier than last week. I was slower but the effort was less and with that RIDICULOUS wind I was happy to get 24:58.






I don’t think I can expect a huge amount of improvement on this winter course as it’s fairly gruelling with two hills you do three times. I hope to get close to 23-22 minutes as the weeks (or months!) go by.

PJ parkrunAfter a lovely little hot drink and a moving-in celebratory bit of a freshly baked cheese scone bought by one of my parkrun friends, I headed home to test out my shower for the first time. Shower quality is SO important to me because if they’re just a dribble then I’m looking at a future of bad hair washing experiences as my hair is so long. Thank God it’s really strong (stronger than my previous one!!) and SUPER hot. This is like the perfect combo for me with my asbestos skin.

My parents came over soon after and we headed to the Mecca of furniture that is IKEA.IMG_6472My mum had never been before (my mum, by the way, is the biggest snob known to man so I was interested to see what she thought). She LOVED it. It’s funny because they really only came to assist me but left with their own trolley stacked high. I defy anyone to leave IKEA without buying anything.

I had already done a bit of research beforehand to know what I wanted so I was quite focused, but I too found so many extras that ended up coming home with me.

IKEA salad bowl This giant bowl will fit my salads perfectly… I’m not joking

By the time we got home and got my chest of drawers up the stairs, unpacked and then semi-built it was almost 8pm (this was one of four items to build). I had missed lunch once again and was about to eat the cardboard it came in. My dad said they’d return the next day, bless him, to help build the other items.IMG_6480

I slept a bit better that evening (after a good dinner and another slice of cake from the freezer – this time a chunk of rocky road) but still struggled with noises. It’s not that my flat is noisy, I’m just very sensitive. Previously my bedroom had been looking out onto a school field, whereas now there are noises from surrounding buildings and occasionally bumps from the other flats around me.

Sunday morning I got up and did my first run from my new home. I’d planned to do six miles but as I got outside it was ridiculously windy and I was finding it really tough. So changed to five miles. Only to get my route wrong and do seven.

7 miles








Jesus, it was tough. I almost gave up at six miles to walk back but realised it would take ages and my parents were coming over mid-morning. I stopped at seven miles and had a short walk back to my flat. How lovely to have this scenery so close to my home! This will be where I’ll be walking Alfie 🙂IMG_6484

I just hope he doesn’t jump in the pond!

The rest of the day was flat-pack hell. My dad and me got a great routine going. He’d show me how to do something (like build a drawer) and I’d just get on until he showed me something else.IMG_6488

I’m not a picture person when it comes to instructions so I was lost with working it out myself. I need demonstrations! This was apparent when my dad left me to build a bedside table while he sorted electronic stuff out and I buggered it up. Seriously. ONE THING.

My flat is still a work in progress, as you can imagine, but it’s getting there. I have so many ideas for it and I’m looking forward to buying all the little things to decorate it and make it into a proper home. I might take some photos and share them on my blog when it’s a bit more organised if you’re interested. My flat is tiny, but it’s all mine and it’s becoming home 🙂

Do you like IKEA?

For instructions do you prefer words, pictures or demonstrations?

How soon do you need breakfast after you wake up? At the weekend breakfast can be anything from 9am to 11am depending on what I’m doing.