Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Keep on running, running, running

I am still traingin for the Brighton marathon just over 2 weeks to go- very scary. Today the Brighton marathon tracker app was launched so now friends and family can put in my race number and follow me as i complete the run (or if I stop moving for too long come and collect me!!)

I am getting to the stage in training where to be honest its feeling a little bit of a chore. I just want to do more short simple runs but i need to be running further and further distances, well until the long run this weekend and then in need to be tapering.

It was a lovely wet training run this morning, a quick 3 miles around the block. It rained the whole time!

It doesn't show very clearly here but my hair was actually dripping by the time I got in- it looked as if I had just got out of the shower!

There are starting to be more people out in the mornings when I am running, i guess the fact that it isn't as cold anymore, or dark mean more people are coming out. There are some poeple I see every morning- a colleague from work walking her dog, the cyclist, the gentleman that runs with his beautiful white dog, the lady rushing to the bus stop and the friendly teen delivering newspapers are just a few regulars on 'my route'. 

Sometimes I just enjoy the moment as I run, today was one of those days. other days I have to do silly things to keep my mind occupied so I don't go home before I should. I had a day like that last week when i found myself making myself a Dr. Seuss inspired poem;

I do not like running
I do not like rain
I do not like running
Why am I doing this again?
I do not like running
I feel like I will fall
I do not like running
I do not like running at all!
If I do not like running
Why do I run at all?
I do not feel like this always
just for today, I do not like running at all!

Still there is a reason why I am doing this. I have seen first hand how much cancer sufferers have to go through, sadly those I have known have lost their fights. Their fights to have just a little more time with us are so huge in comparison to my fight to get through this marathon. That's why i am doing this. I am raising money for Cancer Research. My running vest came through a few days ago, what a powerful reminder for why i get up early so that i can train before work, why some days i go out twice in one day to try and up the mileage. Why my family are working hard trying to help me find ways to raise as much money as possible.

If you would like to support my fundraising you can go to my just giving page here and donate, or you can text SAJP47 £x to 70070, just replace the x with the amount you are able to spare.

What challenges are you working towards at the moment? It doesn't matter how big or small you feel they are, they all have moments when they seem insurmountable. What tips could you give me for staying focused, and positive?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Spring gardening

Yesterday I spent a lovely day out on the garden. It was chilly but with a coat on was ok. I got a fair amount done. I started by digging over Stephanie's patch of front garden which is going to be a flower bed. As Stephanie had a friend around to play they both got busy planting.

Lots of seeds got planted alongside the flowers.

Then i headed to the back garden. I got the new raised beds planted up.

I transplanted cabbages I had growing in pots over the winter.
In the second bed went the onions, again they had been growing in containers. I also planted lots more onion bulbs. The whole bed should be full if they all grow. My sister popped around whilst i was doing these and commented on how much bigger the raised beds are in person than in a picture. She thought they were very small in the pictures I sent her.

I checked on my seedlings in my tiny plastic green house:
Growing nicely. Then planted a few more and put into the bigger pop up greenhouse
I'm trying to plant seedlings every couple of weeks in the hope of being able to have continuous cropping throughout the summer. I really want to grow as much as possible for ourselves this year. 

Now I need to get on and complete the building of the other raised beds. Dry weather again this weekend please....

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Tenner week challenge- how I got on

This challenge sounded simple last week when I decided to hope on board. I had forgotten several important events on the calendar though! I had a theatre show with Stephanie on Wednesday- she was singing with her school choir. I ended up popping in the Sainsbury's near the theatre for some nibbles. I had gone straight from work to take her there. The show didn't finish until gone 8pm. I was ravenous. Had I been a little more organised I would have made myself something to take. That took £4.40 of the budget. I was also naughty and had a breakfast on the way to work the next day. My excuse for that- I had difficulty getting Stephanie up after a late day and so didn't have time to make anything. £2.60 spent on that. I had had two lunches from the school kitchen last term and had forgotten to pay for those so £2.00 went on that.
so this is what I have just put into my fundraising jar:

The light makes it a little hard to see- it is £1.03. Still it all helps!

I didn't fulfil all of the weeks challenges I completed a menu plan and used cash in my purse but I didn't do the extras like selling things I don't need anymore. Those will happen though- I know there are a pair of children's shoes and trainers that I can sell once they have been cleaned and I am sure there is more if I had a little poke around! These things will happen and be added to the totals.

Today my plan is to get my little garden under way for the summer. I have been out already to paint the 2 raised beds made so far with a protective wood paint. I have had these made for a little while but all of my days off have been wet! Today is looking dry so I will hopefully get a fair bit of gardening done. Stephanie had a friend stay over last night so I am sure I will have a couple of pairs of willing hands to help too.

The paint was on offer for £5 at the local b&q a few weeks ago when I went. It is supposed to be nearly £15 according to their shelf label. So a whopping saving made there.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

tenner week challenge

Recently, I have noticed that I am spending more and more. Nothing extravagant just a chocolate bar when I pass a shop or  drink because I can't be bothered to go and make one. No excuses I am just being frivolous. It needs to stop!

Enter the tenner week challenge I spotted it on another blog I follow, sorry I can't link back as I can't remember whose but feel free to comment and let us all know if it may have been your blog :-)

The basis of the challenge is that you start with £10 in your purse on a Monday and spend as little as possible in that week. This challenge was found in perfect time for me- we have just had a weekend away for my brother's wedding. This involved a hotel for 2 nights, a 270 mile drive there and 270 back plus we had to eat whilst there/ travelling too. I took nibbles and drinks for us to make it cheaper but we had to pay out for meals. So I have had an extravagant month, oh and as it was a Friday I had to have a day off of work so I am a days wage short too. If my brother, or anyone else, reading this things it sounds like a grumble it really isn't. I don't mind any of these thing, I just now need to get back inline with my budget. It is also 10 days until payday so money is always tight in these few days.

So the basics of the challenge are that you don't shop!

Taken from the pennygolightly blog
"Your £10 personal budget is for:
  • Any food & drink you might buy
  • Going out
  • Entertainment
  • Hobbies
  • Any other shopping
  • etc
The £10 doesn’t cover rent, mortgage, utility bills, prescriptions, travel to and from work, anything you need to buy for work, tickets or subscriptions you’ve already purchased, or money you need to spend on your kids / pets / partner.
You are encouraged to recycle, mend, upcycle, improvise, use up whatever you already have, and avoid waste wherever you can.
The TV diet, if you decide to do it, means sticking to a limit of 4 hours or less in front of the screen at home or at a friend’s house. You’re allowed to watch TV at the gym, or watch a film at the cinema if you have a free or cheap ticket, without adding that to the weekly total.
You get ‘bonus points’ for keeping busy on a budget too, for example:
  • Keeping in touch with friends
  • Rediscovering old hobbies & activities
  • Getting your home into shape
  • Learning something new
  • Eating healthily
  • Keeping up your fitness levels
  • Being creative
  • Finding useful freebies
  • Helping others
Anyone can do a Tenner Week of their own any time they like, but it’s more fun to join in when other people are doing one, so that you can swap tips, recipes and ideas.
For the latest £10 Week Challenge, and to see past weeks, visit the Live on £10 category where all the posts are listed. There’s a Twitter hashtag too: look out for mentions of #10week."

Seems pretty simple right? Hmm, we shall see. I have my £10 ready.


I have decided that whatever is left of this £10 at the end of the week will be donated to my Brighton marathon fundraising page.

Will you play along too- what will you do with any saved cash at the end of the week?


Sunday, 1 March 2015


This weekend has been a fairly nice weekend weather wise. A little breezy but dry, today was sunny too. I started the day being ill with a bug. I felt better through the day, but then I ate at tea time and I'm feeling rough again!

Ii was so excited to be able to do this when I got the first load of washing cleaned;

I got three loads of washing dried outside today. Look at the sunlight in this photograph- it was glorious to be out in it. I spent the afternoon in the garden with Dylan getting the garden sorted for planting.

I planted lots of seeds ready to get growing. I am determined to grow as many of our own vegetables as I can this year, after all it was one of the many reasons for moving here!

Once they were all planted I watered them and put them into the little greenhouse I picked up in the sales last year. Watered them and zipped them up tight for the evening.

It's not easy to see in the picture as the sun was bright over the garden, but on the left along the fence I planted the raspberry canes I bought with us from the other house. Next to the garden fork I planted the little blueberry cane Stephanie asked me to buy the other day. I am really looking forward to enjoying these. Whilst I was busy doing all this Dylan did this;

It's a raised bed made from one of the free pallets I got the other week. I'm so impressed he has done a fantastic job.
It is perfect to place up on the grass to start the veggie growing. All for the cost of a few wood screws. I'm not sure how Dylan felt when he'd finished I declared it perfect and asked him to make me 5 more! LOL.
As soon as I have treated the wood I will be able to get planting into the bed.
The patio area after a quick tidy up. Those are two more pallets waiting to be turned into plant beds. I am really looking forward to being able to sit out here and enjoy the sunshine.
How are your plans coming along?


Sunday, 15 February 2015

A little story

This morning a very tired person was woken up by her alarm at 5:30- yes you are right 5:30 on a Sunday! She lays there for a while wondering what on Earth made her think that this would be a good idea. Eventually, she persuades herself to get up and get some breakfast. Putting the porridge in the microwave she gets a large glass of water and downs it. No she is not hung over!

She slowly persuades her body that it does want to accept breakfast at 6:30am on a Sunday then goes and gets dressed. The clothes she puts on look a little like this


Once dressed she packs all the things that she will need for the morning
And gets in the car. Soon she arrives where she would like to be.

she follows similarly dressed people until she gets to the building here she is given a piece of paper with a number on which she need to pin to her top like this;

Waits for the horn to signal go and moves one foot in front of another. Realising a little to late that in talking to her friend (who is speedy) she has started way to close to the start line! She moves to the side to let more accomplished runners pass. One foot in front of another up and down lots of beautiful country lanes. Very refreshing scenery to pass and enjoy. People pass at a regular pace. That's ok it's early on we are only at mile 4. Steadily she keeps going chatting to others as she passes, some she recognises but many new faces. Eventually she passes the 10 mile mark. This is where she suddenly feels weary and a little downhearted. What on Earth possessed her to do this? Why would she thinks it's a good idea? Her feet hurt- one of her toes is rubbing against the other, her knee is sore, her hips ache. Maybe she should just give up. Oh look an aid station ahead
Would you like water or coke? asks  a cheery lady. Never having had coke on a race before decides to give it a go, accepting  a fun sized mars bar with the coke. Quick drink and slowly one foot moves in front of the other. feeling a little refreshed, just maybe this is possible after all. Still she thinks that she is going so slow that she must have taken 2 hours 20 minutes already. So much for beating her previous record of 2hrs 28 mins. Oh well just to finish will do. A quick glance behind she realises that she can see no other runners. Those in front are disappearing rapidly into the distance. MOG am I last? Resigned to the fact that she is last- well someone has to. I will make sure I smile when I get there and pretend like its cool.
 Whilst thinking all of this one foot moves in front of the other autonomously. Suddenly a cheery voice from behind says hello. I'm not last! there are even people behind me I can hear them laughing now!A little light chatter about how the 12 mile marker must be somewhere soon- this mile has been the longest so far. The lady next to me has a watch that beeps at 12 miles. I ask her the time. "Oh we've been going about 1:57 now. I saw you a while back and decided you were going to be my target" Comes the reply. I knew what she meant by that. I often pick out someone to be my target, once I pass them I set a new target, And 1:57- I hadn't been running as long as I thought. My target of 2:15 is till in my sights. I speed up, come on then I'm going for it- I might still make my PB I challenge. I speed up- I hear the ladies feet moving faster behind me I keep pushing myself. Then as I approach the end of a road a man says to the right and its just at the end, you are in the home straight now. By now there is the first lady with me, and another has joined in the effort (we passed her a while back). "come on girls lets sprint finish, we can do this!" After you comes the reply from the other two. I start sprinting. suddenly, a voice calls "come on Sarah you're nearly there!" It's my speedy friend wiaitng at the side of the road for me. I move my legs faster still and cross the finish line- 1 second before the lady who decided I was her target. "Thank you," she pants "that was great, and I got a new pb. we are at 1:08 is that the PB you wanted?" We are greeted by other members of our running club. All ecstatic about our times. A quick photo finish and then we realise we still have 3 team members out there- we head up the road to cheer them on as they finish. One arrives, a few minutes later another. A quick phone call is received to say the last team member has had a problem- her knee has popped out apparently this is something she suffers with. "I'll go find her" says one of the gentleman who has finished. Worried we all wait, cheering on other competitors as they finish. Soon they arrive back. She manages to cross the finish line- smiling as she winces with each step.
We all finish. We are all pleased for each other for our times, whether it was 1:27 (our speedy gent) or our injured friend at 2:40. We all are pleased with our times. See for the runners which I have met we are not about beating each other, it's about beating ourselves. It's keeping going even when our bodies want us to quit. That feeling at the end of a run, that's why we do it. That's why we become runners!

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Food shopping is becoming more and more expensive every week. We are living on a meal plan which I write at the beginning of the month, based on the food I already have in and then anything I can get cheap when I shop. I then shop on the weekend to buy things which are perishable- milk, fruit and veg etc. Today was one of those days where I needed lots of fruit. I have had many people tell me that I should try shopping in Aldi as opposed to my choice of the 'big 4 supermarkets'. As I was in the nearest town which has an Aldi I decided to pop in. I was running late for Stephanie's swimming lesson this morning (forgot to set an alarm!) so I didn't have a list. I knew I needed fruit and veg so I picked up the bits and pieces I needed of these. I didn't need any cupboard staples so I didn't buy any but did peek at the prices. I don't think the prices are any different from the bits I would usually buy in the supermarket, although I have been told they are massively different. Perhaps, this is because I do no t buy brands I stick to the value range mostly.

This is my shopping

I have;
 a bag of 4 yellow peppers
1 cucmber
2 bags of carrots
3 bags of bananas (they only had bags of 3!)
1 pack of tomatoes
bag of salad leaves (they had no whole lettuces)
1 bag of satsumas
1 punnet of grapes.

The prices of these vegetables were very similar to those I buy in the normal supermarkets.

I also bought 3 packets of Easter lollies for 99p each- they are for my class before they go off on their Easter holidays.

As you can see my total shopping came to £11.36 if you take away the Easter shopping then I spent £8.39 on my food shop. Not hugely different- although I was not tempted by buying things just because they looked like a good offer which does happen when I go to the big supermarkets. I may resort to the little shops from Aldi- especially when I have weeks like this one where I need to stretch out the last few pounds in the bank account due to some unexpected spending to the monthly budget. I definitely wouldn't be able to do my weekly shop there as there is not the range of products and the meat didn't look very differently priced, most of our meat is bought in the yellow stickers section of the supermarket and so is lot cheaper anyway.