Life update organising and focus: taking a deep breath

Advice

It’s Christmas in two months

So work is full on as you can imagine. It’s our busiest time of year and we are making plans plans plans!

So I thought I would update you on what we have planned.

  • Hen do catch up with my girls
  • Halloween feast for two
  • Getting the house sorted
  • Digging up my dahlia bulbs!
  • Frank is starting puppy school
  • Yorkshire birthday treat
  • Christmas in the Alps!!
  • Honeymoon planning in Japan
  • Saving for a new kitchen

Madrid catch up

Some of the girls are meeting up at Glorias for a big Italian feast and we can’t wait. Everyone got on so well it will be great to see everyone again!

Halloween feast for two

We love Halloween.

We have carved our pumpkins and have bought the treats for the neighbourhood kids! I will be preparing a Mexican feast for just the two of us. I am going to light all the candles and we will watch an old school horror movie I can’t wait!

The sitting room is dressed

Frank has his outfit!

Getting the house and garden sorted

My house is a tip. Every room is messy and I just need to gut it. We still have boxes of wedding stuff everywhere that need to be sold on or put in the loft.

I also need to tidy the garden in time for the bad weather. The garden really needs some tic and I need to dig up my bulbs for next year!

Frank is off to school

Our puppy was fully house trained and now he has decided to pee and poop where ever he likes, sometimes he will go outside and poop then come inside and pee!

We don’t know what’s up with him and we think he is bored. We don’t want him to be stressed so we are sending him to puppy school once a week. They will train him and hopefully get him used to more people.

We want frank to be happy.

Yorkshire Birthday treat

I grew up in Yorkshire. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. Most of my favourite memories are set there. Walking the dales, having ice creams in Richmond. Horse riding, long walks in the snow.

Just the beauty of Yorkshire!

So not sure what the plans are yet but I can’t wait!

My first ever Christmas away!

Now don’t get me wrong I have had Christmas in New Zealand and France but always with my immediate family. I even convinced them to come to Scotland once!

As I work for a retail company Christmas holidays are not allowed but as Christmas falls midweek and because we just got married I am allowed to go. Yay!

Plus my best friend and her husband are coming too.

I can’t tell you how excited I am.

Snowboarding on Christmas Day is going to be amazing!

Honey moon planning

Japan has been on my bucket list forever and when we got engaged we both agreed it was the perfect place!

We have already started planning and have a meeting set up with Sam and Jon who recently went.

Half the fun is in the planning!

Plus we will try and snowboard there too!!

We are going to book our flights and pay for the bullet train soon. Then we can plan everything else as we plan to travel around a lot.

Saving for a new kitchen

Omg I am so excited. Our house is pretty perfect. We love it. It is not the biggest house but is big enough for us and the fur babies.

Yes I said plural. I miss Manhattan terribly and I can never replace the place she held in my heat the ten years we were together. But I miss cats.

And I know two that need a new home so watch this space.

But top priority for the house is the kitchen pretty much everything needs to be replaced. Oven sink cupboards you name it! I would like to switch the kitchen dining room and bathroom around to create a much better layout.

But it takes money and planning!

So we need to save first!!

Taking a skincare break getting my life back on track

skincare

I my shelves are full.

Jam packed with skincare and they are all open and being used.

It’s not a waste but I just have to organise myself and get real.

There is no more room for more products and although I really really really want the Cult beauty box advent calendar in all its glory luckily if sold out in two hours so I have my hope on the Marks and Spencer one!

I don’t need it ( yes I do just put it on the credit card). But it’s a nice treat for Christmas so screw it!

So messy even when it’s tidy!

Will I try a no buy year?

Probably not! I am not that strong!

I have decided to only replace things when I need to! This will be hard. It’s Christmas time and all the offered are amazing and I want it all.

But I have so much skincare that I can’t use it all.

So I am going to reorganise.

  • Day care
  • Night care

All into separate boxes

I need to set aside an evening and actually do this!

I am going to use my gorgeous new bullet journal to list absolutely all of my products to see what needs replacing and what doesn’t.

I will try harder not to splurge on crazy products especially since I still want that Elizabeth Arden serum!

And haven’t bought it yet… my birthday is coming up so I should treat myself.

I really should.

Plus I need to focus on Christmas as we are going away more to be explained!

So I am trying to cut back on my skincare. Maybe now the wedding is over I can calm down the crazy!! It feels like my life is back on track. The wedding has been such a focus for the last two years which is crazy.

But weddings are crazy.

Decorating for Halloween a house filled with pumpkins!

Advice, interior design

I love Halloween.

I always have, the dressing up the food the colour palette! How often do orange and purple get pride of place on the shop shelves or even in your home.

Plastic mass production is getting me down a little so rather than go mad on fresh decorations I thought I would just use what I had and this year cook my pumpkins!

Do throw anything away

Well even though I am Mary Kondoing my home I still love a lot of stuff. The gin and books are always on my mantle piece.

As is the severed finger

Gav proposed to me with that finger so I will always have it pride of place!

I did buy the candles.

But knowing me I will just light the unscented ones and have them for years too! Plus when I do eventually use them up I will keep the containers.

The books I have had for years and the top one was a wedding gift and it’s a book of Japanese poems and it is beautiful.

The journey to the Centre of the earth was an event we went to with scala in London. We dressed up and the event was one of the best we have ever been to.

Reuse recycle

I am trying not to buy more crap. I do understand that tonnes of pumpkins get chucked out every year but at least they are biodegradable.

My pumpkins are ending up in my belly so I am busy looking forward to searching for recipes this weekend!

The dried flowers are from my wedding bouquet as is the Harry Potter wand and the Brockmans gin bottle.

I am not a goth by any means but I do love skulls, zombies and magic!

That’s what Halloween and Christmas are to me. They are magical!

I lit all the bottom white candles and had a really cosy evening with just me and Frank. Gavin was a way with friends.

I think our fireplace looks autumnal but also fairy elegant. The fairy lights and white candles were also from the wedding so they are also getting reused.

Everything else we have had for years!

Getting the sitting room ready for Halloween was so much fun but also it needed it. Our fireplace had become a dumping ground so I needed a good deep clean!

I thoroughly enjoyed styling it up. I still need to get my ravens from the attic and it will be perfect.

Halloween Plans

We will get treats in for the neighbourhood kids. The rule is if you have a pumpkin lit then they will knock on your door. We love it and have been doing it for 5 years now. The parents appreciate it as not every house does it so it’s a nice safe place!

Frank already has his costume! I know we are terrible but we don’t actually care and he doesn’t mind.

Do you do anything for Halloween?

After the Marathon

Fitness, running

This was my first half marathon so do excuse me for the drama that is about to entail.

So as I crossed that finish line and spent up all of my reserves I saw Gavin. Standing in front of me with a can of Coke in one hand and Frank our frenchie in the other.

I was so exhausted.

Physically

Mentally

Not sure I was functioning probably.

The finish

When I finished there were helpers holding out bananas medals and water.

I think there were also sweets but I had already eaten too many and needed sustenance.

I took the banana and said that I needed a wee. I hadn’t gone on the run but I was really afraid I would never get up again.

I had no faith in my legs any more, they were like jelly and I couldn’t trust them!

But they still held me up. Gav took a picture of me on the podium

And I struggled to get up and even more to get down. I have never been this tired in my life.

Ever

I was happy that I had done it but I had no want to ever do it again. 10K yes nothing anything further!

Then we sat down and waited for Jacqui to finish. She is almost 60 and said she would walk it but ended up jogging most of it.

The whole team was brilliant I was proud of us all.

It was another hours wait but it gave me time to rest.

I took of my shoes and feared the blisters and bruises that were fewer than I imagined. Two tiny blisters and one black toe. Not bad for a 2 day old pair of trainers. They looked after my feet well.

When jacqui joined us we all joked and laughed and then went for lunch.

We were all starving but when it came to eating we all stumbled.

Our legs and bodies where aching and we struggled to stand up with our muscles so taught.

I had a pint of doombar and was feeling sleepy.

I threw a jumper on to keep warm and just wanted to sleep.

Heading home

When we got in I ran a bath and Gav watched me get in in cases needed help. I had a drink, watched @annaedit on YouTube and let the water get cold.

I had put Epsom salts in the bath to soothe my muscles and struggled to lower myself down.

I also kept my medal with me!

I was shattered so put on a movie and rested till bed time.

Recovery

My feet were sore but not painful.

My toe went a bit black so I will probably loose a nail.

But no other injuries,

Movement was hard and for two days I had still legs and struggled with stairs.

When I mean struggled I mean I was afraid I would fall down the stairs. I had to psych myself up every time I went up stairs. Long distances were also a no no.

I had no speed and no power.

But after day 4 I felt human again. There is a park run next Saturday so I may try that out and see if I have improved at all!

My medal is at work where it shall remain.

I don’t want to run that far again but I am already looking up 10Ks for next year. A half marathon will need some actual training I think!

lessons learned!

Our wedding day set up!

Advice, Cricut, Flowers, Planning, Wedding, Wedding Budget

We got up at 7.30 and we were both mentally exhausted from the week. Planning a wedding where you have to bring in absolutely everything is so hard. Our wedding day set up was a labour of love, blood sweat and tears. Except on the Tuesday when we legally tied the knot we didn’t really have any time for ourselves. I stayed up each night making bits and bobs. Gav was on the computer sorting out music and checking off lists.

It was more than a full time job.

The night before I was cutting out the name cards on my Cricut, it made it easier but I still had to cut out 140 name cards 6 to a sheet. I ran out of the house at 8.30 to get to the shops when they opened and picked up a few more bits or the toilet boxes. ( I will explain in a later blog)

Then my brother arrived at 10.30 with the van he had to hire because we had so much stuff. The cake was a bit of an after thought so we precariously sat it on top and it fared well.

The last thing we packed was my wedding dress and though all the mad packing we almost left It behind. We had paid for our cleaner to clean for us so we came home to a nice clean house. She was already there when we left and promised to bring anything if we forgot it.

I hadn’t packed the top table tablecloth but we just got on with it!

Dysfunctional planner strikes again

Chris drove to the venue with me Gav and Frank on board plus the majority of the props and bits we needed for the day. When we arrived we unloaded the van. This bit was a bit disorganised and people came to me asking what they wanted to do. We piled it all on the grass and tried to get started from there.

I had dreams of clipboards and lists but none of that happened!

My brother in law set to work hanging our Mexican wedding flags which looked truely beautiful! We still have some left which I am excited to keep for a party! And also he and my dad hung some streamers behind us so the top table had a pretty back drop.

I changed the seating arrangement at the last minute so we had one kind top table and then six lines of 2 which worked out beautifully.

Give me a job

My sister took charge of the tables. She said she was going to set up one and we can work from there. The theme for the seating was snowboarding. The tables were supposed to be slopes

  • Green
  • Blue
  • Pink ( no blood and bandages at my wedding)
  • Black ( the one I forgot)

I left the top tables table clothes at home still not found! Great. So I just used the ends of the longer ones to make our top table. It didn’t bother me!

I had so many good people come up to me and say give me a job! We dressed the first table then the second then the third.

Charlotte and my mum were busy making the table flowers. We used a lot of gin bottles to use instead of vases and they looked so pretty!! I asked Charlotte for bright happy flowers with lots of colour, Dahlias, sweet Williams and daisies but what she did was so incredible they were perfect. I will do a whole blog on how amazing she was later!

I didn’t want a matchy matchy wedding. Lots of colour lots textures and silly things.

Napkins and table cloths

I bought the Table cloth fabric of eBay and dyed all the napkins myself. I didn’t want black napkins so I used a yellow dye to brighten things up. I had 120 guests and made sure I had a spare 30 napkins. I was so proud of them they looked great. I had a vision of how I wanted it to look and everyone who was there helped me achieve it.

After Vicky laid out the table Becky went through and straightend the edges. Sorting out the napkins ( Vicky folded them beautifully ina loopy way) and we had to repeat it 120 times. I didn’t want too many flowers on the table because of the food going in the middle of the table.

More Cricut crafts

I bought wooden discs and made slope markers from all our favourite places, Val Disere, Chamonix , Le Duce Alps it was so hard finding photos of the markers that I had to make a few from scratch but they came out so well! We tied them the bottles.

I was going to make a seating chart but in the end I just let people find their names. It was an open venue so after the ceremony people could go in and out while they waited so it wasn’t a big deal. Also because a quarter of the wedding helped set up they found where they were sitting.

The name cards were all cut out on my Cricut. I drew a silly mountainscape and cut out that shape on the card. Charlotte being a super star made badges for everyone. We had 3 themes for our badges, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Snowboarding. We attached the badges at the top with foam squares.

Whilst we were dressing the tables my brother and his wife where folding and hand writing our peoples names!

I told you it was a team effort!

Gavs mum was in the chiller van organising the food and booze. Rosco (papa smurf) was setting up the signs helping gav with the beer. I don’t want to miss anyone out. But there was a lot of hands on deck.

Hayley arrived later with another car full of bits! We had flags of all the countries where our family’s live to semi cover the bales of hay. Charlotte used the excess bottles and flowers and put them at the end of the hay bales.

My dad cooked dinner for everyone! All the men gathered round the fire and had to test the booze while the rest of us soldiered on. I stopped when I realised I was tired and wanted to enjoy myself. It was about 8pm at this point!

So it was all sorted with just a few tweaks to do the next day! We enjoyed the evening, had a few cheeky drinks and went to bed early!

That was the set up. A massive thank you to everyone involved you have no idea how great full we both are.

It was a mission but it was worth it.

It looked perfect!

Half Marathon my first run

Fitness, Personal Experience, running

Yesterday’s blog was about prep! Today I am updating you on the race, I was too tired yesterday! I was surprisingly calm when I arrived for my first Half Marathon. Because we were a group we got to talk and laugh.

I forgot to tape my knees which was silly

I went to get my name and my boss had given my married name. This is the first time I had been called Mrs Townsend at an even which was strange. It didn’t bother me but I did think Dana PAYET was running!

We were lucky

The rain had miraculously stopped but there was still a chill in the air. I decided to set myself a target or 2hr45 as a best and 3hrs I would be happy with! I read that an average half marathon runner normally run it in 2hrs30 but I hadn’t put enough training in to get that score.

We had to fill out our incase of emergency and attach our numbers to the front of our tops. We waited at the back of the queue and I tried to stay behind my 3 hour pacer but I lost them.

So I just started going. Because of the rain the crowds were a bit thin on the ground but the cheering was lovely. I just put my head down and focused on my pace. I didn’t want to go too fast too soon.

Getting into the zone

I ran without music, and it was fine. Because my longerst run was 8k I wanted to give myself a task of no walking until I hit 10K. There was a drink station at 9k6 so I did rest before. But I kept it up. There was a nasty hill that we had to run up but the park bit of the run was lovely.

I just got into the zone of running and it was fine.

Then we ran through the fields. This road was gorgeous, nice tarmac and beautiful winding path. The 2hr45 pacers caught me up and I found new strength to run with them. The fields were so gorgeous I wanted to take a photo but I didn’t want to stop so I kept going. Then right before we turned left I had to walk for a bit.

It’s October and we were surrounded by pumpkins. I managed a quick shot and then ran on.

Pushing yourself is not the same as punishing yourself.

Then we went through a muddy lake Forrest area and it was so pretty and my second favourite part of the run. I was shattered so there was more walking then running at this point. But the group I was in was doing the same. Pushing yourself is not the same as punishing yourself! I had moments of struggle and after an hour and a half I realised I didn’t want to run for much longer. So I quickened my pace and walked less.

We had to go through streets which had people cheering us on which was nice and encouraged me to run at these points. My foot was aching and when I walked I limped so it was easier to run. As I turned the corner I saw my husband and dog cheering me on. I passed him my cap and a single tear ran down my face. We were at mile 9 and I was still running!

That’s me blowing him a kiss but it doesn’t look like it. I was very focused. Having loved ones to support you makes the run.

It got narrow and muddy but I just kept going I had to!

I caught up with Jay and he kept telling me to run when I didn’t want to. So I ran off a fair distance so I could rest to my time table not his. Running is personal and when I just had two miles left I was totally spent. Plus I beat him which made me feel great!

So I kept going.

I ran when I could and walked to take the edge off. My foot was so sore and walking made me limp so walking was only an option for a few paces.

When I saw that finish line through the fence nothing could stop me.

I just wanted it to be over!

I was so tired so I pushed through and ran.

I ran to the end. The announcement said the time was 2.45 so I ran a bit faster!

I wanted to hit my target!

And I did!

2.45.19 and I was happy!

13 miles 21kilometers I did it.

I was so tired but I did it. Gav and Frank being there filled me with such joy!

That was my elation.

It lasted about 1 minute until I was tired again!

It felt good to know that I can push myself but I needed more training!

That will have to be an update in my next blog!! Right now I need more rest!

Morning of my first half Marathon

Fitness, running

Woke at 6am

Ate a banana and hopped in the shower!

My clothes were all laid out the night before but I still did a last minute panic. It’s torrential rain outside and although an Uber is picking me up I don’t want to get too wet too soon.

I have Vaselined everywhere that my skin will rub. Paying more attention to my feet. My trainers are just a few days old so I am going to destroy my feet today. Rookie mistake I know.

I have had a pint of water and I am ready to go. There will be water on the way so I am not worried about dehydration. I don’t want to Pee to much on the routes but I know I may.

The nerves are kicking in.

If I struggle I am not going to punish myself I will push myself to run the first two hours straight and walk if I have to.

I will trust my body and energise with the gels!

Wish me good luck!

I brought plastic ponchos for the wait in the rain. I have my world zombie day hoodie on to keep me warm and a rain mac which I don’t want to through away.

My hair is tied back already and I am wearing a peaked cap, this is something I can also throw away. I feel very wasteful right now.

I have eaten a granola bar for energy and the pockets of my running top have my gels in them. As well as a few tissues and my phone.

The event prefers no headphones as the course loops back on itself. So my longest run ( also in the rain) I tried without headphones. I was so worried about slipping that it was fine to run without music. So hopefully today will be fine.

It’s raining

Massive drops of water, even if it does clear up it is still going to be a muddy run.

I am nervous now.

I am layered for the cold and the wet but the chill is creeping in.

My Uber should be pulling in now. I will be one of the first in my group to arrive and I wish I wasn’t. I wish they would all be there as I have no idea what to expect.

Today is miserable.

I will keep you updated!