Zombies, Run! 5K: Week 5

Image: New Scientist

Image: New Scientist

Week 5 has been BRUTAL. More running, obviously, but I’m finding the intensity has increased too. (Yesterday, I started Week 6 and had to stop halfway through). However, I am seeing the effects in everyday life, so it’s worth it.

I’ve been on the hunt for a sports bra and my mind has been boggled by so called ‘sexy’ sports bras. WHY would someone need a padded sports bra? WHO would buy it? If you want to recreate that Eric Prydz video (or Nicki Minaj’s latest), you’re kind of doing exercise wrong….

My running song this week has been Black Widow by Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora. The angry lyrics and menacing beat make me want to just pound the pavement with my feet. But not so hard that I do myself damage.

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Just putting it out there…

I’ve agreed to help out a friend who’s starting up a new business by proofing her website and writing the press release. I enjoy this sort of work and thought I’d put it out there: I’m looking for new avenues to expand my writing and to use my skills. If you think I could help you with copy writing, proofreading or other writing related work, please get in touch to discuss. I’m also happy to discuss the possibility of sponsored posts on the blog.

 

It’d be nice to get back into the (paid) writing game, especially as I have a son with a fierce Thomas the Tank Engine addiction. You can see previous examples of work here and how to work with me here.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m house-proud or deluded. Probably both.

The new house is a roaring success; D has been giving cute (if repetitive) tours, Bronte has a catflap and very little in the way of feline competition, Benn has the neutral decor (Fifty Shades of Beige) he’s always dreamed of and I have a room I can hide in when my Location, Location, Location rage hits peak boiling point (I’m actually in there now, scheduling this.)

Anyway. The house is lovely and we’re settling in well. We’re settling in so well, in fact, that I’ve done something a bit daft. Not only have I planned to host a children’s party the day before Halloween for D’s birthday, but I’ve also repeatedly said that we’re even doing Christmas this year. No, I haven’t been transformed by the fairy godmother of social activities. I actually WANT to see people on a regular basis. We’ve had visitors on most of the days we’ve not been at work- and I’ve liked it.

Image: Telegraph

The face sensible me pulled when I realised I’d declared we’d ‘do’ socialising. Image: Telegraph

I’d always planned that D would have his birthday party here, as we have much more room now. Also, I realised that over the summer holidays, he’d spent most of his time with adults. As I don’t want him to grow up to be totally weird, I’m orchestrating as many playdates (ugh) as I can for him. Plus I’ll have an excuse to eat as many party sausage rolls as I want.

The fact that I’ve planned major social events AND been actively inviting people into my house is a major turnaround for me. I like keeping my house pretty separate from everything else, but this house is so warm and welcoming, it makes sense to use its space to see friends. However, I’m sure that this too will pass and before long I’m realising I’m a) actually terribly anti-social; b) skint; c) I’m a terrible hostess once we’ve established you like tea and are in awe of the fact I have a whole tea cupboard.

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Also- when do I start making Christmas cake?!

Writing process bloghop

This has been on my ‘to-do’ list for a while, as Kel nominated me last month. However, due to moving and stuff, it kind of got forgotten about! Anyway, now’s the time to catch up (before I get really, stupidly busy again!) So, here is a blog all about how I, er, blog!

What are you working on?

At the moment, I’m doing a weekly post about my experiences of the Zombies, Run! app and regular book reviews. Otherwise, whatever takes my fancy. I have a butterfly brain.

How does your work differ from others in the genre?

I don’t really have a USP- I just do what I fancy. Although I am a bit of a 30 year old elderly lady. So it’s probably like reading the diaries of Miss Marple with a magpie complex. I like a little bit of everything and I get very nerdy about things. I think I’m the same as many bloggers in the respect that I write about my passions, but I like to think that I offer something different, even if it’s just terrible photography…

Why do I write what I do?

I write about tea, because I really, really like it and I think I know quite a bit as a result of trying so many. I write about my life because I’m too skint to write about much else and I review books because if I didn’t read books, I’d be bereft. I like to think I write about what interests me because, well, who wants to read an unenthusiastic blogger?

Image: girlinajitterbugdress.com

Image: girlinajitterbugdress.com

How does your writing process work?

I don’t have a process. I just write what I like, although I like having series because (quite frankly) I’m lazy and they take some of the pressure off. I do try and have lists, but I lose them or forget all about them. In the new house, though, I have an ‘office’ with a new, beautiful writing desk. So maybe I’ll get better organised! I try and blog when the muse takes me (AKA, D is asleep or out with his grandparents. I’m not fussy.) Otherwise, I think ‘what’s interesting me today?’ and then I write. It doesn’t work if I force it.

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My desk is no longer this tidy. Surprise, surprise.

I nominate my friend Leah, as I’d like to see her take on this- and anyone else who fancies having a go.

 

Zombies, Run! 5K: Week Four

Image: New Scientist

Image: New Scientist

Argh, I’m halfway through the programme and, although I’m not quite at the stage where I can run long distances/times without stopping, I am starting to see progress. Also, my legs are starting to feel stronger- both physically and aesthetically.

Week 4 is made up of a 5 minute walk, 5 minute run and then two sets of drills: ten knee lifts, one minute of slow walking and one minute of fast walking. The next set of drills are 30 seconds of running and a minute of walking. This is then followed by- joy- a fifteen minute free form run.

What I’m finding this week is that I’m wanting to run more once I start. Also, I’ve been heckled TWICE by men while doing my run. This is probably because I’m doing more running next to roads, but seriously, it makes them look really, really stupid. Men of the world, don’t do it. Especially don’t do it when you’ve got a fag hanging out of your mouth. It doesn’t look cool, it just makes you look like a sexist pig.

Week 4:

Total distance: 20.78km

Total time: 3:20:16

The Devil’s Workshop- Alex Grecian

The Devil's Workshop (Sep)

I’ve been a big fan of Alex Grecian’s since Benn brought home the first book in the Walter Day series, The Yard, last year. It was a really brilliant way to stave off the Ripper Street pangs we were experiencing. For Christmas, Benn bought me the second book- The Black Country- and we were surprised to see a third book published in a relatively short space of time.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous two. It’s slightly different, in that it’s not a whodunnit, but more a race against time. It takes place a few months after events in The Black Country. There’s a break out of serious murderers from the local prison, it looks like Jack the Ripper is back on the loose and Walter’s wife is due to give birth at any moment. Oh, and one of those escaped murderers has a serious grudge.

It took a while to get into and didn’t quite move with the same pace as the previous two book, but it did follow Grecian’s past form when it came to violence and atmospheric description; you do really get a sense of Victorian London. Despite not being into this one as much, I will continue to look forward to the next instalment of the series!

New garden, lots of plans!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m pretty preoccupied with the new house and, specifically, the garden. It’s HUGE and I have loads of ideas and plans for it. (I’m so serious, I bought Gardener’s World magazine.) I thought I’d give you a visual tour and let you know what I have in mind for each area…

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This is the view from the dining room back door. That wild lavender plant will be trimmed back this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised to find a healthy rosemary plant too. Every garden I’ve had while living in Brighton has had loads of rosemary and I’ve always thought I’d miss it if I didn’t have it. It’s one of my favourite garden smells, especially if it’s alongside lavender.

Next to the steps, just out of frame, is what used to be a rockery. It’s overgrown, but there are evergreens in there. This weekend, I’m hoping to clear it and assess what’s there. Then I’m hoping to stock it with heathers and unleash my inner Emily Bronte and capture the feel of the moors.

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This is the view at the top of the steps. You can see how far the garden goes back. The seller of the house left loads of mature plants and trees- there’s an apple tree, a holly bush and I think the tree in the big pot is possibly a cherry tree. There’s also what we think is a fig tree further down.

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This is the patio in more detail; we inherited the table and chairs with the house. You can see my tomato plants just to one side; I think they’re on their last legs! There’s a little trench behind where they are. I’m thinking I might ‘build’ a sort of screen with pea and bean plants and bamboo in the summer. The alternative is a bank of lavender. I haven’t decided yet. I’m also thinking that next summer there will be lots of pots here- it’s a definite sun trap and I think there will be tomatoes, courgettes and other vegetables.

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This is the grass bit that will probably mostly be given over to D. I don’t have massive plans for this; maybe a bit of TLC. I do want to tidy up the borders, as they’re clogged with ivy and weeds. I’ll probably use wildflower seeds along here. My parents bought me a little bug house and, as D seems to think he’s Mr bloody Bloom, I think he would enjoy having lots of creepy crawlies to look at!

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This area will just be tidied up a bit. You can see the ramshackle greenhouse in the background that has lots of tools inside. I’ll fill the pots with lovely things. I’m not sure what yet, so there’s some research to do.

The bit just past the greenhouse is the bit that I’m most excited about. There are GRAPES growing up there, overhanging from next door. I’m thinking that if they can grow there, then there’s potential for me to grow other things. So I’m planning on getting rid of the gravel in that part of the garden and planting some veggie beds. I have no idea what I will plant there, although I fancy onions, potatoes and garlic. If I get really cocky, I might even chuck a bit of rhubarb somewhere.

It’s VERY exciting.