Monday, 28 February 2011


I am glad to report that 7 days it is here as we come to the end of the half term holiday. Started off well and continued along that route with a few diverted dead ends along the way.  Nothing which a packet of Percy Pigs and Lego mini figures couldn’t put back on course so how did we survive?
Monday looked promising with a meet with Hilary, Avril and children at The Castle grounds.  A tank, an army man, two action men and an army quad vehicle joined us, in miniature form I might add. There is a wonderful huge hill ( I know it as Teletubbie Hill) where the children send the vehicles and said army and action men flying to their demise and can spend anything up to 2 hours roaming the hill. Meanwhile Hil, Ave and myself get to grips with the latest news and put the world to rights around various topics whilst enjoying a wonderful coffee and biscotti from The Castle Restaurant – perfick.

Tuesday involved swimming and roller skating – yes all in one day!! Supported beforehand by a mass intrusion on Filter Through coffee shop in Holsworthy, there were 5 adults and 6 children. We went with my mum, sister, brother in law, Karen ( sister’s friend) and our range of children – oldest 9 years, youngest 2 years. Swimming is very much a given to our children, since the day they were born ( well almost) my boys have shared a wonderful Sunday morning ritual with their cousins. Sunday is our morning where we all congregate in the local pool, my mum and Mike included. Mike has been an integral part of my boys swimming achievements. Not only has he infinite amounts of patience ( of which I don’t possess when it comes to my children) but he is an extremely strong swimmer. He has been instrumental in both the boys being so confident in the water. Thanks Mike x
Roller skating was great, JT started off very wobbly and spent most of the first 15 minutes on the floor or making his way there from standing. After the 2 hour session he was creating some funky moves whilst moving along on the skates and made me want to burst with pride for him.

Wednesday was a very memorable day for JT. Jamie ( his best friend) , Hayley, or Mrs Ayres as those who have read Birthday Bonanza post will know her as, myself and JT all went to Plymouth’s Theatre Royal to watch an evening performance of Goodnight Mr Tom. What a wonderful afternoon / evening. Took the boys to have a pre theatre meal before enjoying a very emotional and thought provoking play. Hayley and I were in tears at various points throughout and JT seemed to grasp the story well and was moved by it. The best part from his point of view was spending time with his best friend and being “ a grown up” Love him x

Thursday saw Mr T taking a day off work to spend time with the boys and we had a fairly lazy morning at home where pens and paper were exhausted and the cardboard TV came into use again. Geocaching was the name of the game in the afternoon, we decided to start close to home at Kilkhampton Castle but unfortunately found no cache, boys loved it though and I must admit to liking the fact that it gave the walk some added purpose ( calling it a treasure hunt got the boy’s interest also!).   Don't you think the tree looks like a face??

Friday was the day earmarked for Geocaching with friends, Avril, Jane, Toshi and Suzanne were there at the ready with GPS phones and in total 12 children were present. We decided to head to Holsworthy Woods as there were 4 caches and a bonus one to find, thought we would work our way round and see how far we got. Well, we missed cache 1, I believe that was due to the mum’s chatting too much to notice, whilst cache 2 proved too much. Who would have thought that the determined nature of us mum’s enabled us to continue searching for up to 45 minutes whilst the children played wolves, cowboys and whatever else they needed to do to keep themselves amused while we could not and would not give up! Rain stopped play after about 2 hours of being there, the boys were head to toe covered in clay/mud and we felt it was time to call it quits at that point. The children loved just running wild in the woods with each other and at points it was very reminiscent of the wild rumpus that ensues in Where The Wild Things Are.
I’m sure that’s why I chose to watch that DVD in the afternoon, we were all warm and dry now and all 3 of us snuggled under a blanket and watched Max and his very own wild rumpus. JT and I were in tears at the end when he left on the boat but I love a good cry – don’t you?
That in a nutshell was a wonderful half term, spent with friends and family, enjoying each other’s company and feeling like I get to know JT again. School seems to distance him slightly from us, it doesn’t take long for the wonderful, inquisitive, engaging boy to return and I so enjoy the time we have together. Both boys fill me with love and pride.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Oh what a night, or should I say nights!! A weekend filled with dancing, apple sourz shots, laughter, great food and catching up with old friends. The things that weekends are made for.
Friday night saw the girls coming over for some drinks before heading into town for yet more drinks and a boogie. We entered the Carriers Inn and immediately I was transported back 17+ years to when I frequented it every weekend and where Mr T and I had many happy memories as spotty and badly dressed teenagers who were having the time of their lives. We even managed to bag the very same spot that we used to “hang out” in, the window sill by the door was always the area that myself and friends would congregate – oh happy memories. Thankfully I believe my dress sense has matured somewhat but unfortunately the drinking seemed to demonstrate that part of me had not. Someone suggested Apple Sourz shots, to which my reply was “Let’s do it!” – oh how I wish that had been retracted, to my knowledge I believe there were 4 shots that past my lips – not big and not very clever I can assure you. Had a wonderful night and certainly felt nearer 17 that night than I did the following morning – less said the better!

Saturday night was another opportunity to socialise, a slightly quieter affair with a meal at Life’s A Beach with friends that we don’t see as often as we would like to. Beautiful Cornish baked crab for starters and a deliciously cooked Bass for main to celebrate Jamie’s 40th. Lovely jubbly.

Monday, 21 February 2011


Last  week saw me having a crisis of my self control. I felt like things were running away with me and I couldn’t  seem to reel them back in but I found a solution – phew I hear you say! I have to be less strict with myself and need to take things back to what is the priority and what I can lose control of until another time in my life.
The highlight of this so say crisis was completing the Exeter Half and realising that I could do a marathon (this had been a mental barrier all along) and actually wanted to do one for the first time in the 2 years that I have been running.  I feverishly logged on to Runners World and trawled through the list of all the marathons coming up in the Spring. As my training has been going so well I would have been half way to getting the training accomplished for a marathon so felt it was well within my sights. Unfortunately as I had left it so late to let my mind decide I could do a marathon, I found the ideal first races were all full. Stress then took over and I felt that I needed to get into a marathon no matter what and was still researching possible races until midnight one evening, until I finally resorted to getting some shut eye and leaving it until tomorrow.
Thank goodness I did, some sense of normality possessed me the following day and I realised that it was not a race to get into any marathon and that this year would not be the best year to try for one. That put to bed the feeling of desperation to find the best race and also helped me realise what I want to get out of my running. I also felt I could nurture friendships more as I wasn’t fighting training time with friends time. I have some wonderful friends, some going through some painful, stressful times at the moment and I really want to be there for them as and when they need me, without the feeling of needing to do something else instead and compromising the time I can give to them.
I love running because I can and it makes me realise how very lucky I am just to be able to get up and out and reinforces all that is good in my life, I have my health, happiness and (sometimes) sanity alongside a great family life and I should just relish this.
When the running becomes stressful or makes me anxious then I have to reel myself back in and take stock of the purpose of it in my life. Needless to say marathon applications are scheduled for 2012 and this year is about enjoying the challenge of increasing my pace within a half marathon or 10K race and taking part in Bude triathlon with my husband and brother in law.
Stress lifted and some great things to look forward to = a happier, less anxious Mrs T

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


This week looks set to be a busy one with the start of a new Beginners running programme at WRN this evening, Wednesday evening see’s me sampling the delights that Vicky Barnes offers with a Spa Evening at Avril’s, Thursday evening is WRN run, Friday night is party night in Bude for a Mrs Ayres who has asked that we sample the Bude nightlife and then Saturday night is another 40th!!!
Can’t wait to be pampered by Vicky whilst spending time with both Avril and Hilary, two great friends who I haven’t seen enough recently. Should be a perfect time to catch up in a wonderfully, relaxing environment.  Friday night looks set to be a good one, Mrs Ayres has not sampled the nightlife of Bude yet and has been here for 3 years, think it is about time she was thrown in at the deep end ( but we are NOT going to Rogue, please!). Saturday night celebrates the 40th of Jamie.M who Mr T grew up with in a local village and it is lovely that all the guys he grew up with in the village are still all so close and this will be a lovely opportunity for them all to get together again. Life, children and work sometimes don’t  enable us all to see each other as often as we would like, celebrations like this are a great chance for some catching up.


Sunday morning started with a very early wake up call as I had decided I was entering in WRN Exeter Half Marathon and I needed to register before 8.30am – ahhhhh!!! I had only decided to run this race on the Thursday evening therefore an early registration was necessary for us late arrivals.
Picked Katie up at 6.45AM and talked all the way there, poor Katie, I talk non stop when nervous and I was nervous. No matter how many races I enter I think I will always find the run up to the race nerve wracking, not sure why but guessing it’s a good thing as it really did make me push myself.  My main goal was to beat my PB at a half which was 2:05. Ideally I had a time of 2 hours in mind and I knew I was fit enough to do it but sometimes my head just stops me in my tracks and says “No you can’t” – wish it wouldn’t do that!
This time I had a pep talk the night before from my Mr Motivator – Mr T. He is very supportive of my running and really helps when my motivation is somewhat lacking.  I had his words in my head when I reached the 11 mile mark and I knew that a sub 2 was in sight. I surged forward, battling through sodden trainers, with rain dripping from my cap and a keen wind to race towards the finish line at 13.1 miles. I saw Katie in front and knew I wasn’t far behind her and just kept running at 8.45 min/mile for the last 2 miles. I finished with 1:58:55 on the Garmin and was totally thrilled. Not only had I recorded a PB but it was over 6 minutes faster than my last one. Crossing the finish line to 2 firemen giving you a celebratory kiss, handing you 2 lovely bunches of daffs as well as a medal, bottle of water and a BIG BAG of Maltesers made it all worth while.
So very happy J

Friday, 11 February 2011


Just used some over ripe bananas to make this lovely bread. I sourced this from Eating for IBS by Heather Van Vorous. I used to suffer with IBS about 8 years ago and found this recipe very useful, even now after no longer suffering I still use this one over any other. The secret ingredient: carotino oil. Kids love it, as well at it being a great pre or post run treat.
Here is the recipe:
Preheat oven to 180C / fan 160C
Sift into a large bowl:
3.5 cups all purpose unbleached white flour ( I use plain flour)
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Whisk dry ingredients with a fork until well blended.
In another large bowl blend with an electric mixer until creamy:
6 egg whites for IBS sufferers ( I use 3 eggs including yolk)
1/3 cup carotino oil
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups of mashed over ripe bananas (6-8 bananas)
Add dry ingredients to wet, blend with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour into lined loaf tins and bake for 50-60 mins or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Loaves freeze really well.


I have taken an interest in Banksy’s street art for a while now and in October 2010 the South West news reported that street art believed to be Banksy’s work was found on a hotel in Torquay. Later appearing on Banksy’s website, confirming the legitimacy of the work.
The Guardian recently produced an article detailing the cutting edge street art making it’s mark on the Portugese capital, Lisbon. Beautiful works.
Whilst looking through Oranges and Apples blog recently I came across an Edinburgh based street artist – Elph. The detail and expressions are mind numbingly beautiful, very serene with intoxicating colours. Want to get on the first plane to Edinburgh now to experience it close up.

And because she is lovely, the lovely Katie made me this lovely bag for Christmas, made me cry.

Monday, 7 February 2011


Well our household is going perfectly potty this week. Firstly, potty training with TJ seems to have regressed, he was doing brilliantly and now this week he seems to be on a mission to ensure the washing machine does not have time to draw breathe, I do know washing machines aren’t human, but you know where I’m coming from.
Alongside which JT has an amazing appetite for all things Harry Potter. We have the first 4 books and he is reading The Philosopher’s Stone with Mr T in the evenings, it is wonderful to see him so engaged with it and enthusiasm for books is something I wish I had had at a young age. I think at present children are exposed to reading with such passion, through projects like World Book Day and Summer Reading Challenges, that they can’t fail to be drawn to books.
Not only that but in one of my charity shop rummages last weekend I happened upon Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets DVD which I thrust off the shelf as quickly as I could and made a 6 year old boy squeal with delight!! So far I believe he has watched it three times already. He also fashioned a particularly good resemblance to Harry from Mr T’s glasses, a piece of navy jersey material and a light sabre style wand bought when the circus was in town in the summer! Well, see for yourselves:

As for Mr T and myself, as I write he is downstairs on his turbo trainer, cycling his way across the Pyrenees ( in his dreams) and I will be getting up at 6.30am to do an hours speedwork session and then going out with WRN in the evening for a group run with Katie. Perfectly potty all round really! Oh and to top it all off, I came across a Wikipedia List Of all Harry Potter’s Spells in alphabetical order, unbelievably potty.


Whenever possible I do try to listen to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Jenni Murray’s voice is a signal for me to stop, absorb and take note. One such occasion was whilst I was driving home from the gym, Jenni was chatting to a young woman. Her conversation was engaging and held my interest all the way home, so much so that I continued to sit in the van once I had reached my drive and listened for a further 10 minutes until the interview had finished.
This young woman was Hollie McNish, a poet inspired by hiphop music, grime and sixties’ protest lyrics. At the end of her interview with Jenni she read her poem Ms Nature. WOW, amazing words played out with a grit of East End attitude which didn’t seem threatening but made you listen intently. Well, that’s how it was for me anyway. Poetry, other than my father’s detailed in a previous post, had passed me by at school, I am reckoning that if I had been exposed to Hollie McNish my interest in poetry would have been sparked immediately.
Observer is a favourite of mine – not to everyone’s taste but I guess that is what makes the world goes round! Heat Magazine and Bitch Fights sends out a real message, having worked in the “fashion” industry I get this one – totally.
Here is the link to the Radio 4 programme, check out Hollie’s website if it seems to float your boat:  


I did a very BAD thing - I am sharing this with you as a friend! Don't judge me, please!
I got introduced to Oh Comely magazine at the end of last year by Mary, a very creative friend.  it not only looked beautiful but was somewhat different to the magazines that have preceded it. Not so bad you say, well here goes.
As Mr T is an architect and interested in art and the wider aspects of it, I thought he would like a subscription as a Christmas present and before I knew it I was inputting his details to receive it on a monthly basis. I say I was subscribing for him, I feel this is a somewhat misleading statement as I do believe the subscription was based around the fact that I needed to read this and felt that a further indulgence for myself could be masqueraded as a present for Mr T. This link from a blog I follow sums up why you mustn't judge me too harshly!
M is for make: oh comely magazine at M is for make: "Florence mentioned oh comely to me some months ago and I was intrigued as I didn't understand it at all. Then Kerrie showed me an actual co..."

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Running is a huge part of my life now and with various races planned throughout this year I am always “in training” for a race. Mr T has likened himself to a Runners Widow on many an occasion and weekends seem to throw up all sorts of opportunity for us to master the art of compromise.
Mr T is a keen cyclist and he too is “in training” for some races this year. Bristol bike fest in June and Plymouth 24 hour in July, he is also looking at participating in the Cornwall Tor. Needless to say weekends can become somewhat similar to NATO discussions, whereby we need to decide on what needs doing at home versus both our training needs. Recently I have lucked out on being very much the taker when it comes to training but now that Mr T has his goals in sight and on the calendar, a whole new art of give and take come into play.
I am very much a social runner, I enjoy the company of others, especially Claire and Katie, who make the miles fly by and do everything in my power to ensure I can get the long runs in with either one of them, preferably both, at the weekend. As Katie’s husband is a chef at means her long runs take place when Kit is home, namely Sunday mornings.
This weekend proved to be a time when I had to look at the training programme and realise that I had to do my 13 mile run ALONE on a SATURDAY morning, instead of a Sunday. First, palpitations, then the hot flushes and then I got over my selfishness and started planning my route Mr T had put his foot down and insisted it was HIS turn to cycle on Sunday whilst it was my turn to take the boys swimming, he was right of course and I did the “right thing” and got out of my comfort zone and ran alone, I say alone but my iPod was a very welcome companion on a 2 hour wind swept affair!!
This song sums up my run this morning, the words: we are always running for the thrill of it: were very much needed when I battled up Hobbacott Lane in a 29mph wind that almost made me run backwards! I actually chuckled to myself as I must have looked hysterical, glad no one was there to witness it!
The plus side of giving over of taking , is that I am now at liberty to sample many Prosecco’s and G&T’s at the party tonight, knowing that my long run has been completed and I may be able to suffer a headache in bed instead of on a run.


Very often I hear the words “I’m bored” from JT, to which I reply, why don’t you a) build some Lego b) go in the garden c) get your pens and paper out. Usually he takes himself off into the playroom and artfully dodges his own boredom.

Later we can be produced with some of the following:

I am always amazed by the level of detail and by how much time this can buy me without I’m bored rearing it’s head again. Some great tools we have found have really helped to give JT confidence in his drawing: 1) Lots of things to draw by Usbourne 2) A free supplement in The Observer on how to draw animals.
Another great book is Paper Scissors Glue by Polly Wreford which TJ received for Christmas from Uncle Craig. The Crocodiles adorn our kitchen shelf at the moment and were the first project to be accomplished from the book. If you have little ones bored one weekend, this should do the trick.
At this moment in time, Mr T and JT, with intermittent bursts from TJ, are making a television from a cardboard box, who needs books really when you have the imagination of a 6 year old.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


This week has proved to be an unexpected pause in my training and just as things were going so well. The whole family was ill at Christmas, so was really looking forward to getting back to some structured training with my running. I entered the Bideford Half Marathon early so as to give myself a good race to target for early in the year – 6th March.
On Sunday I had a great run with Katie, we totalled 11 miles taking in the wonderful cliff top views at Upton after a long slog uphill, makes it all worth it when you can see Trevose Head in the far distance, knowing you are putting those miles in around such stunning scenery is easier than it first seems. That night the stomach said “No!!” I’m hoping to get back to the gym today and looking forward to running with the ladies on Thursday night. I have missed a hill session and some extra miles but hoping no one will notice!
Katie and I both lead the Bude Womens Running Network together and it has been nearly 18 months since we started up.  In that time I never stop being surprised by what the women achieve both in their fitness goals and in their personal goals. Some come to lose weight, others to meet other like minded people and some just to run within a social group instead of on their own. Many of the ladies will be taking part in the Bideford Half this year and that in itself makes me so very proud of them. 18 months ago these women had not run before and now it is very much a part of their lives.
Other races planned are London 10km and Forest of Dean trail run in May, possibly the Ruby Run in June and definitely the Eden Half Marathon again in October – I am slightly odd as I do seem to like the hills – just don’t ask as I don’t even know why!!!


The next 3 weekends look busy for us with what has to be a very subtle reminder for myself and Mr T. We are celebrating 3 friends 40th birthday’s on 3 consecutive weekends so should be lively. It also poses the daunting  fact that both Mr T and I reach this pinnacle age next year, just a month apart. Not only that but Mr T’s business also celebrate being in business for 40 years, so me thinks a big shin dig is on the cards for us next year! For now I will enjoy other’s 40th’s and hope that I feel as joyous when it is my turn!
It has to be said that I neither feel (nearly) 40 or invariably never act (nearly) 40!! My friends will be able to vouch for the latter of these!! Although this week has felt like an uphill struggle as I have been hit by illness and don’t really “do” being ill – too much to do without an irritating illness to stop me in my tracks.
I put my sheer immaturity down to my father, sorry dad, but I have no one else to blame really. My dad was the funniest man in my life as I was growing up, his father a close second, so I guess immaturity runs in the family. Dad would always make both myself and my little sister laugh out loud so much so that our stomachs would hurt and we would be begging him to stop with the funnies!!! Just remembering those days makes me smile J
Dad would be a master at writing extremely witty poems in my mum’s birthday cards, every year. Us girls came to love them as much as mum did. He would also be able to imitate many voices, Frank Spencer in Some Mother’s Do Ave Em being his absolute classic, the mannerisms he had down to a fine art.
We went on our annual camping trip to Cornwall, we resided in Gloucester at that time, with my parents best friends and their 2 daughters. We shared so many lovely times with Auntie Joy, Uncle B, Ella and Jayne and I’m sure each one of them will remember this episode with much laughter and amusement. Let me introduce The Whistling Man.
Dad was whistling whilst Jayne was in our van, simple question from Jayne: “Who’s that whistling?”  to which my father replied, “The Whistling Man!”. From which ensued a wonderfully elaborate story about a Whistling Man who lived in our caravan, his home, a matchbox. Dad found an empty matchbox in order to ensure the story had some tangibility to it and each time the matchbox opened the Whistling Man would whistle a merry tune!! Jayne was taken in hook, line and sinker and to this day I don’t get tired of hearing about it. I mean, he did really exist.... didn’t he??!
It’s these beautiful, subtle things that make a childhood and I hope between Mr T, myself and our wider family and friends, we are helping log some stories for our children.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


as the BFG would say if he were to taste these flapjacks. I have to say that this recipe (Nigella’s breakfast bars) is my absolute all time favourite for healthy snacks for all of us. They are quick, easy and keep for a while and work wonders when friends come over and eat me out of house and home – you know who you are!!
Recipe as follows:
250g rolled oats
125g mixed seeds (Omega 3 sprinkle from Holland & Barratt works a treat)
50g desiccated coconut
100g raisins
397g condensed milk
Heat the milk in a large pan, but DO NOT boil. Once the milk has thinned out, empty the rest of the ingredients into the pan and ensure they are all covered in the milk. Place into a lined baking tin and put in a oven pre heated to 110C for fan ovens, 130C for conventional for 1 hour. Let cool for a while and cut into squares. Devour.


JT has been getting to grips with one of his many Christmas presents this weekend, namely the Magic Hat Box of Tricks. It contains everything a young, trainee magician could ask for. A top hat, even a rabbit, magic rings and a brightly coloured handkerchief. Thanks mum x
He has mastered the disappearing pencil with some great stage presence, the rabbit in a hat may need a bit more time! Still, great to see him getting excited about entertaining us all and it linked in nicely with The Magicians which is currently running on BBC1 on Saturday evenings. Mr T and JT settled down for the hour long programme and JT loved the bullet in the mouth trick, boy oh boy do I hope we don’t have to practice that one at home anytime soon.
Whilst the boys were settled in front of magic, I made my merry way down the road to a friend’s house for a girlie get together. What a night that turned out to be, chocolate fondue with strawberries, marshmallows and even doughnuts,  washed down with a Rose Prosecco or three.  The end of the evening saw us having organised an 80’s themed evening for Claire’s forthcoming 30th in April, a rather fractious discussion over my flapjacks, more on those later in the blog, and me being hoisted into Katie’s arms – Officer and a Gentleman stylie- whilst we were saying our goodbyes. Not forgetting making Katie cry by presenting her with a small momento of our girlie weekend to Bristol in November last year – what happens in Bristol, stays in Bristol!!!
Whilst on this magical theme, I couldn’t help noticing the new advertising campaign by Brooks Running in the latest issue of Runners World that plopped onto my doormat the other morning. It really reminded me of a great book I read last summer – Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold – a recommendation by Katie and one that I really enjoyed.,default,pg.html
Message to self, contact girls re start up of our book club again, I miss it.