Up ‘North’ on business

Happy weekend all! I’m so glad it’s the weekend. This week has been fairly busy. I left the office on Wednesday afternoon to drive up to Derbyshire as we had a customer workshop Thursday and Friday. Now I live in the South (of England), Southampton to be exact. I would class myself, obviously, as a Southerner. And I know Derbyshire isn’t actually in the North, it’s in the Midlands. However, anywhere past Reading is pretty much North for a Southerner. So it felt quite northern to me! I love the northern (and midland!) charm that people have – the more-willing-to-help and polite people seem to be. Southerners can get swept up in the rat race and become a bit impersonal. So it was nice to be there.

But anyway, we got there around 7ish, checked in and then headed out to find some food. I Googled the area and found there just so happened to be a Jamie’s Italian nearby… After a nightmare of driving around trying to find a car park nearby (literally seeing the restaurant but not actually being able to get to it). Finally after parking and walking in the FREEZING cold (it’s colder up north Winking smile) we made it!

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I straight away needed a hot drink so ordered a peppermint tea. It came in this beautiful heavy little tea pot. I asked the waitress where I could buy one but she couldn’t remember. Ahh well.

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Sorry for the terrible photos, the lighting was terrible and I only had my IPhone.

And then we were seated. I ordered mini chilli’s stuffed with tuna and herbs with the starter.

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Now call me boring but I already knew what I wanted for the main as I’ve already been to Jamie’s before for my hen do and I loved what I ate then. So I went for it again: the turkey Milanese.

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Again, appalling photo. Basically it was turkey with a light crumb topping with mozzarella in the middle and an egg on top. Ohhh it was just as good, maybe even better, than I remembered!

Then we went back to the hotel and to our rooms.

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Though the bed was lovely and comfortable I just couldn’t sleep. It’s really hard without Ben and without my usual home comforts. And what was really annoying was in the morning I could hear other people’s alarms going off, like the vibration and standard IPhone ringtones. I’m such a light sleeper it woke me up (30 mins before my own alarm). And what was worse was that one of the people was clearly having issues getting up as they kept snoozing it. I wasn’t happy.

The hotel had a gym so I thought I’d keep up with my running schedule and run on the treadmill.

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I am hugely impressed with anyone who runs regularly on a the treadmill, and for long distances. I forgot how much I hate it. I like to zone out and just run, occasionally checking my Garmin for pacing and times. I hate having the stats right in front of me. I find myself counting down either seconds or 0.1 of miles. Seriously I couldn’t run further than 3 miles, and that was hard work.

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So I pretty much ran 3 miles, starting at a pace of 8.30mins/mile and then jumping it up to 7.30min for around 1-2mins throughout to get some intervals in. Normally I find this absolutely fine outside, in fact I tend to run faster intervals. But honestly, I just couldn’t bear it.

Then it was shower and, because we were with a customer, time to look smart!

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And then breakfast time.

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No porridge for me. All they had was the makings for a full English, cereal, toast and fruit. So I had a plate of bacon, scrambled egg, tomatoes, mushrooms and a cheeky bit of black pudding. And then had a bowl of fruit salad afterwards. It was good but it definitely didn’t fill me up as well as oatmeal usually does.

Then on to our meeting in the world’s warmest room. I’d much rather be too warm than too cold but even I was starting to get a sweat on in this tiny room where 12 other people were crammed in. And then a buffet lunch. I hate buffets. I love them, but I hate them. I like to have a plate full of food and leave it there but with a buffet you go for a little bit and then a little bit more and before you know it you’ve had about two large platefuls! Well, maybe you have more restraint than me?

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This is the only photo I could sneakily take without my fellow colleagues looking at me like I’d lost my mind. Believe me when I say this really wasn’t it…I said last post I’m more of a protein lover than a carb lover and I felt quite bloated and uncomfortable after eating so much bread as I’m just not that used to it. OK the above doesn’t really show much of a carb fest going on, but bare in mind this was one of the plates I had…

Then after a long afternoon of a continuation of the long, warm meeting we headed back to the hotel and decided to just eat there as it was a lot easier than venturing out into the cold again and going through that painful process of parking and walking miles.

For starter I had salt and pepper squid with a chilli jam sauce. Again poor photo due to trying to be inconspicuous.

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And for main I had a Moroccan chickpea stew with couscous.

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Both courses were really good, surprisingly good actually as I usually find restaurants at standard hotels aren’t that good. I was missing my normal food from home though. I know that sounds silly but though I enjoy eating out and eating different food from usual, I find it quite taxing (maybe not the right word) when it’s every single meal. I don’t usually eat a big meal in the evening and so when we parted to go to our rooms I needed to stay up to just digest. Which actually wasn’t an issue considering my room had Sky! What a luxury! Actually my room was pretty darn good. All the coffee and tea was Starbucks! So obviously I took some home with me…

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How generous is that??

I wasn’t planning on doing another run at the gym the next morning but just wanted to mosey around at the weights and maybe do some rowing as I quite enjoy that and I never usually get the chance to go to a gym. However, I woke up raring to go and jumped on the treadmill (OK maybe not jumped) and did some really good intervals (7min/mile!) for three miles with a warm down. Still boring as hell but I had the energy to fuel me (all those carbs I expect).

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Though I wasn’t in the gym mega early – only 7am, it was still a surprise to see so many people at that time in the morning. Normally in the week when I go out to run in the morning no one is about and it’s dark and quiet. It was a shock getting into the gym and it’s practically pulsating with all this energy and movement going on. I just wasn’t prepared. I barely say good morning to my husband at this time in the morning let alone have full on conversations about what I go up to last night.

I had some time so I thought I’d have a look around as it was quite a big gym with loads of equipment. I found myself a Power Plate! I’ve never used one before but had always been intrigued.

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It was the strangest feeling, all that vibration going on and trying to do squats and lunges. Not entirely pleasant I must say. I managed two sets of squats and lunges and called it a day. Maybe I’ll try again some time but I just wasn’t sure about it.

Then another day of meetings (and another buffet) then a long drive home. I was so glad to be back home with Ben and Alfie. I just made myself a quick omelette for dinner and went to bed.

I do enjoy going away for business and staying in hotels and eating out but it gets tiring. You miss the comforts you’re so used to at home…that night-time hot chocolate, good night kiss from the husband and the furry dog lying on your chest in the morning staring you down waiting for his walk. You forget how lovely home until you’ve been away Smile

Do you go away on business a lot?

Do you enjoy staying in hotels?

What do you prefer: running outside or on the treadmill?

13 thoughts on “Up ‘North’ on business

  1. My goodness, you had quite the whirlwind week, Anna! I am extremely jealous of your meal at Jamie’s Italian. It’s a dream of mine to dine at one of his restaurants, and even though I’ve visited the UK three times, it’s never happened. I guess in this case, fourth time (will be) the charm. 😉 I’m so glad you enjoyed that turkey Milanese; it sounds amazing!

    I know what you mean about growing tired of eating at restaurants while traveling–it IS taxing (on the body, at least!). I love trying new foods, but prefer to keep restaurant dining to one meal per day–tops. If it’s any more than that, I just don’t enjoy my meal as much as I know I would otherwise!

    As for running: in the winter I prefer the treadmill because it enables me to hide from the frigid temperatures outside, however during the spring/summer/fall, I’m outdoors. 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend! <3 xoxo

    • Oh you just must go to a Jamie Oliver restaurant! I can’t reccommend it enough. Hands down the best meals I have ever eaten. And everything about the restaurants just scream high quality. I went to Fifteen in London with Ben for our anniversary a few years ago and I literally could have licked the plate – I didn’t after Ben’s evil eye haha 😉
      I have huge respect for you running on the treadmill! It’s definitely a mental work out for me as well to just stay on the damn thing and not give up! At least when I’m outside I still have to run home again haha.

  2. I don’t travel with work (well except for the odd course but they are usually in other schools in the county so not far to travel)- I know what you mean about up north though- I always feel very conscious of my accent when I go somewhere, even a place like Derbyshire, because it is so different.
    I would much prefer running outside. In the summer I wanted to keep running on holiday, and a couple of the hotels had treadmills, but when I woke up for the morning run, even though I was worried about getting lost/ the heat/ the humidity- each time I went outside as it is just so much nicer.
    I know what you mean about getting fed up of the meals out though- I get that on holiday- in the summer we had an apartment for a bit and it was so nice to cook there, and sometimes we just go to the shops and buy a picnic dinner instead of going out to eat.

    • Yeah my accent is horrendous – I must sound like such a posh numpty. I’d love to have a northern accent, it just sounds so homey and friendly.
      I guess I could try running outside but I’m terrified I’d get lost as my sense of direction is appalling and I guess being on a business trip this wouldn’t be so ideal haha.
      So much better to have an apartment as then you can have a bit of a break (and save money) by cooking more ‘normal’ food. We did that in Florida and it was so much better, especially with the American serving sizes!

    • Yeha it’s so much nicer to go away on business with other people. Luckily I was with two other people from my company so it was nice.
      The gym was HUGE, so many machines. I just sort of wandered about in awe hehe.

  3. Hmm I’ve never been away on business before but I can imagine it must have been really nice to get back home. Also I HATE running on the treadmill and I think it’s so so so boring. I always have to hide my stats with a magazine or towel and then I have to listen to something really good on my iPod to zone out. Even still it’s really hard to run for long without getting totally bored.

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