No trainers needed – part 2

We’ve discussed before that a lot of the enjoyment I get from running is in the finishing.  Actually, most of it is.  Which means that I frequently have arguments with myself when I lie in bed – especially now it’s getting colder and darker which go something like this:

‘Get up and go for a run’

‘Or have an extra hour in this lovely cosy bed’

‘You’ll love it once you’re out’

‘You wont.  You’ll mostly daydream about getting home while you wheeze and sweat and people laugh at you’

‘You can have more cake…’

We’ve discussed the cake element before too, and yet again it was that which got me out of bed this morning.  And I’m glad it did.  My reward (and yours via photos, no trainers needed):

And from earlier in the week:

There’s lots of graffiti in Beachville – a lot of which I love and a lot of which I just look at thinking ‘but how?’  Like this one, which made me smile because of its cheekiness:

So, even when this is what greets me as I step outside the front door at the moment:

The finishing bit makes it all worth while.  Now I’m off to make some banana bread as a reward :o)

 

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Trying REALLY hard to relax. And failing.

Before I moved to Beachville I’d been yoga-ing every week for a good few years.  I’m not sure if it was the actual yoga, my ridiculously patient teacher or some of the people in the class who became really good friends, but I’m convinced that one or a combination saved my sanity a number of times.

So when I moved, I was a little panicked about not having any of that,  but that lovely teacher knew some other teachers down here, so I started a drop in class the second week after moving.  It wasn’t the same.  I know things take some getting used to, but driving there was a nightmare (and there wasn’t an alternative), parking was worse (Beachville is permit happy and using a meter if you find a space takes time, patience and a phone connected to the interweb) and then the class was so crowded you could never stretch your arms out without getting overfriendly with the person next to you, and on two occasions there wasn’t room to lie down and extend legs.  It was not relaxing….

So I found another class.  It wasn’t quite as crowded, but I had the same issues getting there and in this one people breathed SO loudly (think When Harry met Sally) I had an unreasonable urge to bop them on the nose, and at least one person clearly didn’t believe in deodorant or washing their feet.  At one lesson I forgot I had my running watch on – which announces things to me when I’m running.  I knew that I wasn’t quite getting the relaxing experience I was aiming for when it informed the whole class that ‘heart rate is 85’.  I was lying down.

So I decided that it was daft to pay each week to go and lie in a crowded room and get stressed.  There had to be other options, right?  At the moment I don’t have room to do yoga inside the house, so I looked up mindfulness apps.  I found ‘Headspace’ which has ten free sessions.  I decided that Himself might also benefit from a bit of relaxation too, so last week we tried out the sessions as we went to bed.  Three minutes of meditation; what could go wrong?

The first night Himself fell asleep within two minutes of the session finishing.  I got a bit grumpy as we were part way through a conversation.  The second time, he was asleep in half the time.  I tried hard to be pleased for him as he reported the next morning that he’d ‘not slept so well in ages’ (while I’d lay listening to evidence of this for what felt like hours).  The next time he fell asleep 30 seconds into the meditation and I decided that this level of relaxation was not required by anyone every night and maybe once a week would be enough for him.

But it was ok, because this week he’s been away, so I’ve had the opportunity to do the sessions on my own without having to listen to his snores.  The first night I got SO cold part way through that I had to pause the meditation, go downstairs, reheat both hot water bottles and get back into bed.  It didn’t really work as I’d heated the hot water bottles so much I was pretty much cooking as I tried to get back into it.  The second night somehow my iPad fell on my head and my nose managed to hit the relatively small bit that allows you to fast forward.  Almost to the end.

I’ve given up.  I’ve decided I wasn’t designed to be relaxed anyway.  I’m going to try to find another yoga class without parking issues, space issues, breathing issues or stinky issues.  There has to be one closer than Bumpkinsville, doesn’t there?! :o)

 

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Cooking with Mummy W part 2

My mum make the best lasagne.  I mean The. Best. Capital letters and everything.

So it was second on the list of things she taught me when I was living there.  It was second mostly because of the cheese sauce.  Unbelievably, I made a perfect cheese sauce, first time.  More believably, when I recreated this last week, I used a total of 1.5 pints of milk because it just wouldn’t sauce up.  In the end I had to use another method (and go to the shop for more milk as that’s practically a weeks supply).

It was worth it though.  This is how Mummy W makes The Best Lasagne (again, I made notes exactly as Mum explained it to me):

Oven at 180 (160 ish for fan)

For 4 normal people (or one normal, one Himself having a hungry Monday and one large leftover piece):

500g mince
1 pepper
1 onion
400g tin tomatoes
5 Mushrooms
2 tsp Herbs (mixed, oregano or thyme)
Worcester sauce (count to 5 while shaking)
Tomato purée
Salt and pepper (tsp salt, 20 grinds of pepper)
Lasagne sheets

White sauce
Tablespoon of cornflour
Pinch mustard powder
3oz cheese
1/2 pint Milk

Brown mince in pan (don’t need oil)
Dice up pepper, onion and mushroom to about 1cm or a bit smaller
Throw in pan and cook for a bit with the mince
Throw in tomatoes, rinse juice out with a bit of water
Add Worcester sauce, herbs, salt, pepper and turn down heat a bit
Add tomato purée depending on how much liquid there is. (Mum reckoned a desert spoon, but it was the most heaped desert spoon I’ve ever seen…)
Turn up totemperature and leave to do its thing for up to 45 minutes if you are following a proper book, 20 mins if you are MummyW.
Needs to have some juice (as lasagne will soak it up) but not too much

Sauce****:
Pop cornflower and mustard powder into measuring jug
Pour a bit of milk in and mix to a bit of a paste
Add milk to 1/2 pint
Pop in saucepan, heat and don’t forget to stir with a wooden spoon and scrape bottom of saucepan so you don’t get burnt bits
Bring to the boil for a few minutes to thicken
Take off the heat, and add cheese. Stir til melted (or put back on heat if it doesn’t)
Add pepper

***When it all went wrong the second time, I mixed the cornflour with some butter in the pan, then gradually added the milk and heated for a while til it thickened before adding the cheese and pepper.

Put thin layer of mince on the base so pasta doesn’t stick
Layer of pasta
Mince
Pasta
Bit of white sauce (plus mozzarella if you are feeling fancy)
Mince
Pasta
All the rest of the white sauce
Grated Parmesan on top (for unknown reasons, stops skin forming if not going straight in oven).

Pop in over for 45 minutes. Stand on a tray in case it all bubbles over….

Oh yum, this is good.  Now I want lasagne for tea…. :o)

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#this is me

Back in August I told you about a film we created at work (#thisisme) where I talked about my hair pulling from a few years back.  Happily there wasn’t much of me in the final cut (I’m still weirded out that I look like that) and the other people who took part talked about things far braver than my story, but I did say I’d share it if I could, so here you go:

At work it’s been watched over 4500 times and many people have commented that it’s helped them in some way.  A few people have sent me messages about their mental health story and a couple have talked to me in person.  I really believe that the more people talk, the easier it is to handle the dark bits – whatever shape those dark bits might take.

All of us in the film gave permission for the content to be published externally so if you think it might be useful to people you know, feel free to share the You Tube link.  I don’t mind being weirded out so much by myself if it helps someone else.  :o)

And if you’ve missed the posts I wrote on this at the time this is what I talked about in the film:

hair 3

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Little Wisp smiles

I’m one of those people who isn’t good with change.  So moving to Beachville was a big thing for me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the place, the fact that you don’t have to look too hard for something fun to do, that there is always somewhere new to explore and  (despite my concern that I was a pretty committed single cat lady not all that long ago), Norman and I love living with Himself.

But it has been tough too.  Sometimes it’s lonely and sometimes I get frustrated that I still don’t know how to get somewhere in the car through the blimin’ one way system.  I miss my friends and the classes I used to do.  I’ve had to remind myself it took quite a few years to build up that bank of lovely people, and it will take a while here too.  And that is ok.

I think the hardest part though is that having all lived so close for so many years, I’m no longer round the corner from my family and even though they are not far away at all (it’s only 50 miles), it’s not quite close enough to just pop in to say hi.  Between my brother in law and Little Wisp being poorly, I’ve felt guilty many times since I moved here that I’ve not been able to help out as much as if I were around the corner.  In fact, last time I saw Little Pea he greeted me with a big hug and an ‘Auntie Pog, I haven’t seen you for AGES!’

But that makes photos all the more lovely.  And this is one I was sent this morning that made me smile from ear to ear but made my arms ache to cuddle Little Wisp:

The message with the photo was ‘This morning mum found me playing with my lovely geeraffee that untie noodles made me 😃

(Because my family love a nickname – it’s just we don’t all use the same one.  So to Little Pea I am Auntie Pog.  For Little Wisp I am Untie Noodles.  Obviously.)

So, I wanted to show you all how very beautiful my amazing niece is.  Just because she doesn’t feature as much on here as Little Pea did as a baby doesn’t make her any less special.  And it wont be all that long before we get to do Little Wisp and Untie Noodles weekends – if I’m really brave, with Little Pea too – and by then I will know all the cool places to take them and might even be able to get round the blimin’ one way system!

:o)

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A bit more photography homework

I’m not becoming camera obsessed, but I’m afraid this is another post about photographs.  Because on Sunday we got up at 5.30am  –   yes, AM.  On a Sunday – and went to the beach to take photos.  We’ve been taught about the two golden hours – dawn and dusk, when the light is best.  And this week we were focusing on elements of design; lines, textures, colours and things like that, so we thought good light would help us out.

We’re still using manual settings only and I am still pretty rubbish at it, so every photo seemed to take forever, whatever position I was in.  As a result I was laughed at by a man for lying on my tummy on cold pebbles for a fair while (I’m not sure my growling at my camera and my inability to get the light right helped), and one lady rushed over to me as I contorted myself around some chairs, thinking I’d collapsed…

So anyway, here are some of the photos I took for homework this week:

And back to the iPhone, when the sun was up and all the photographs possible had been photographed, we had to have a selfie:

And a reward :o) :

Maybe early Sunday mornings aren’t so bad :o)

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A Norman’s eye view (belated black cat appreciation and photography homework)

I forgot it was black cat appreciation day last week.  Again. Sorry Norman.  I have tried to make it up to him though.

Homework given at week 4 of my photography class was to do ‘a day in the life’ using entirely manual settings. That’s THREE numbers (shutter speed, aperture and ISO) I had to juggle and a light balance thingy that had to be right in the middle and, and, and…. well, I put it off because I couldn’t get my head around it. But it’s class tonight and I can’t really claim Norman ate my camera so I had a go.  And in his honour, I did a day in the life of him, from his perspective.

This is the view through the gate where he checks out what’s happening on the road into Beachville:

And from the shed roof (just to be sure Himself isn’t coming home early. In the summer he sits up here 15 minutes before Himself gets home to provide a meet and greet service):

A short break under the lavender bushes for a different perspective and to ensure a lovely smelling coat:

Followed by a proper lie down:

I caught him here:

But he was feeling a bit camera shy:

And after a long day, time to settle on the sofa for a while:

(Obviously I didn’t get the light balance quite right there)

Before a bit of night time exploration:

Ok, they are not terribly exciting photos, but I has some that ere complete white outs and some that were just blackness, so at least I got some actual detail in these!  I did have to refer to all my notes though:

But at least I don’t have to claim the cat ate my homework tonight :o)

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