Apple Music is ace

I’ve been making a conscious effort to listen to more music, mostly whilst I work to hopefully quietly drip feed some good feeling in whilst at home inside my spare room at my laptop.

I know I probably sound like an Apple whore, but it works for me… Apple Fitness, Apple Music and their devices. Fitness syncs into Music with the music from their collated playlists for workouts, then you can find and play the playlists if guy fancy.

Or if you’re subscribed, you can play or steam just about any song you like. I like it anyway.

So this week, I started a new playlist for myself… 2021 Fun. I had one for 2020… I listen to other playlists, then add songs I like into this one.

I really like the mixed song above, a mix between Lovely Day and Good as Hell… and this Feelin’ Alright is pretty fun too.

This might sound odd, but when the US Inauguration was on, I found a playlist of the songs used… and most of them are great, so I’ve added a few of them on. Including Firework by Katy Perry which I’ve already blogged about.

Then this song below, Fit Girl was listening to it… it’s a nice song, with some good lyrics which I can relate to just now.

Butterfly, it’s a lonely night
I need someone to talk to
So butterfly, can you read my mind?
Been struggling again, so
I came to find the wings you use to fly away
I wanna borrow them someday
‘Cause I’ve been fighting all the time
I’m kinda feeling dead inside
But you, you believe me
And when I’m feeling down
You’re always around
And you remind me how
Real growth takes time
And when I’m feeling low
I see you and I know
Still got a way to go
Real growth takes time
Butterfly, sit by my side
‘Cause lately I’ve been falling
From heights and I’m terrified
I’m always gonna feel like this
How did you learn to trust that
You’ll become what you are destined to?
‘Cause I can’t seem to find a way to get out of my bed today
But you
Yeah, you believe in me
And when I’m feeling down
You’re always around
And you remind me how
Real growth takes time
And when I’m feeling low
I see you and I know
Still got a way to go
Real growth takes time
And when I’m feeling down
You’re always around
And you remind me how
Real growth takes time
And when I’m feeling low
I see you and I know
Still got a way to go
Real growth takes time

I have a family subscription, but you can also get just a singular one. Or you can buy a monthly lump subscription of iCloud music snd fitness etc.

There are curated playlists for any type of mood… and you get your own station which I plays songs based on your likes and preferences. Feeling happy and Friday feeling or get up are playlists I use, but also chill.

I think it’s good anyway… and I’ll keep adding to my 2021 Fun playlist.

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From survival to being able to thrive

I was recently tasked with a self development project of looking at my life and my career and plotting them out. Looking at the positives and the negatives of both. It was a good project and also got me to look at my strengths, skills and values and what gives me reward and helps me to thrive.

It helped me to realise that over the years I’ve experienced many ups and downs… hard times which have seemed to have gone on forever with seemingly no end in sight… but also good times filled with fun, adventures and happiness. You could say it’s been nicely balanced, and you’ve probably got to take the rough with the smooth.

This is a long one, so grab a cuppa!

In life and in my career I’ve faced challenges, but it’s the way that I’ve dealt with those challenges, what I’ve learned from them, and how I’ve bounced back which has truly shaped me into the person I am today. It’s also helped me to seek out and appreciate the fun / good times more.

I’ve written before about how the hard times have led me to realise and come across many positives – the key ones are people – realising that others are there for me, and that I’m there for them. That people really make life special, and I have an opportunity, enthusiasm and drive to hopefully make a difference and help others too.

In my experience, people help you to see a wider perspective. The good ones listen and question you honesty and openly. They tell you the truth, even when you might not want to hear it. They make you think and they can help change you into a better person. You know who you are – so thank you. (And hopefully you know that I’m here for you too.)

Now Covid and the pandemic has had the unusual effect of putting most of us across the world in a similar position of restrictions and lockdown… and much much more.

As the quote says, we might all be at sea, but we’re not all in the same boat – some are in luxury cruisers or yachts, some are in rowing boats, and some are drowning. But for the first time that I can think of we’re all under similar blanket restrictions which will hopefully be for the good in the long run.

Life seems harder, or certainly a lot different than we’re used to, and the not knowing how long it will last, along with winter and whatever else, is hard.

Whereas I can think of, and maybe you can too, of times where things were really tough for me (or you). Life became a real struggle… a never ending storm that wasn’t seeming to let up.

Meanwhile others just get on with their lives, and they’re not affected by the things which impact is individually. Inside it felt unfair, but you just had to get on with it.

When bad things happen we might ask, why me? But when we’re all in it together it doesn’t seem so bad. That others are going through similar, or that we all (should) do what’s right for society.

When shit hits the fan in life, maybe it’s easy and reasonable to ask why me? What did I do to deserve this?

Ill health and injury
The actions of others
Emotional or physical abuse
Bumpy childhoods
Workplace issues or redundancy
Death and bereavement
Even through to wild fires and earthquakes or floods, which might impact a group or community

Bumps and storms in life like those above have the ability to shape us, or break us. As the saying goes – fall down 7 times, get up 8 – it’s the way we get back up from the falls that is important.

Resilience is being able to bounce back. And as in Lucy Hone’s TED talk (link below), the ordinary magic that resillience can become is based on three things:

1. The understanding and acceptance that struggle is part of life – to expect that tough things happen.

2. To tune into the good – focus on the positive, giving the good attention.

3. Asking yourself if what you’re doing will help or harm you? If it harms you, it’s not worth it.

Lucy Hone: 3 secrets of resilient people

Being able to accept our vulnerabilities, and knowing when to ask for and get help and support, is key to being able to bounce back from adversity or trauma.

Accepting that struggle is part of life, it’s happened, but to move on, learn from it, find the positives and shape our future from it all. Not dwelling on the past, but learning from it, to make our future better.

Read – How to take charge of your life with NLP, by Richard Bandler.

‘If someone wrote bad things all over your walls in your house, you wouldn’t leave it there would you? You’d maybe read it, or some of it, then your paint or wallpaper over it and forget it.’

When I was a teenager, that actually happened to me – writing all over my bedroom walls. It was almost unbelievable. I came home one night when I was about 15, to 4 walls full of writings in black marker pen, all written by my Mum.

It was truly horrific and so very upsetting. But I got through it, I eventually forgave her and moved on. Fully confident that I would never be like that, or treat anyone like that in my lifetime. I longed for a normal nice home, and that’s what I have now. And it’s ace.

Getting back to it, focusing on and talking about the positive, rather than the negative or bad bits in life, really does make a difference. Why focus on or keep thinking about the bad? Will it help or harm you? If it’s the latter, let it go.

Sure it can help to talk things through snd get other people perspective so you know if you’re on the right track or not, but don’t be consumed by it. (I say that because I have been, so many many times, and I know it’s not good for me, but sometimes it’s hard to let go).

Think about what you can control. Let go of what you can’t.

Looking back I can see two major themes in my life which really shaped who I am, but were also unique to me. They helped shape the person I am today, and how I deal with things – a bumpy childhood, and a series of deaths where I felt it was my place to step up and play my part to remember those who passed on.

The uncertainty of a bumpy childhood from age 9 onwards, probably led to me finding it hard to process and deal with uncertainty…

…but it also made me into someone who works hard to fix things, to lean on others for help and support, and someone who’s grateful for the simple things in life – A settled home and family life, friends and family, fun, health and happiness… because that’s what’s most important in life (to me).

With a Mum who wasn’t quite there for me for one reason or another, I reached out to at least 5 other female figures in my teenage years, who I’m grateful to, and who have helped shape me into the person I am today. And they are still there for me any time I need them.

And of course, my Dad, who helped and made a difference to so many others, and gave me the belief that I could do anything I set my mind to…

… And my big brother who always looked out for me, from day dot, and still does – maybe all big brothers should do that, but he does it effortlessly and always has. (Even his annoying name calling made me resilient and able to deal with banter and cheek at work and in life – but don’t tell him I said that, or he’ll add another nickname on to it!)


Now I’ve transferred that experience into resilience, problem solving skills, great networking and people skills, ensuring I build and grow networks in my life and work, to get the best from them. For me and for others too.

And it all now feeds into my values of being there for people and hopefully making a difference, being the best I can be, and aiming to help others be the best they can be too.

I could have fallen apart and gone off the rails when I was growing up, but I worked through my issues, worked to try to understand the issues my Mum had, and ultimately forgave her.

Through out my life I’ve got help – I’ve contacted and signed up to counsellors, working through my issues, my concerns and worries. Helping me to come to terms with everything. I think it’s important to take care and live to your values and what you believe in. Be real and be who you want to be.

Then I was able to out my big girl pants on and be there for my Mum after she passed on, and for her Mum (my Granny) and sister (my Aunt) – in one of the most important parts of life, in their death – to ensure they were sent off / remembered well.

Death and illness is hard. They can come along when you least expect it, can change your life and outlook forever, and they can impact people in a similar way, or a different way. I’m fortunate (touch wood) not to have been impacted by illness much in my life, but bit by bit death has knocked me and made it’s mark on me.

Death is partly unique to you, in that you had a unique relationship with the person (or animal!)… but others suffer and are in pain in their own way too. It can be life shattering, and it’s hard to know what to say to people who are dealing with it. The best we can do is remember the person (or animal), remember the positive and good times. And as a bystander, be there for someone going through it.

When you experience the death of someone yourself or you need to be responsible as executor or in remembering them, it can be about simply surviving… about taking care, being kind to yourself, asking for help if you need it, and taking each day at a time. Speak up. reach out, ask for help if you need it.

Using every part of you to get though the pain of it all, to get out the other side. To grieve, to learn that grief is ok, and it’ll be around, but that life will come back and be around too. I turned it into a task by task thing, go to the lawyer, the funeral director, pick the coffin, register the death.

Let others help you too. You’re not alone. And there are professionals as well as those close to you to help. Funeral directors, lawyers, and the Samaritans or other charities which are there to help you.

Or it can be about you taking time to remember the good times, the fun and the influence the person (or animal) had on you. The good they brought out in you, the good you want to live on though you.

My elephants and rainbows, for my Granny, stars and the moon for my Aunt, the number 222 haunting me (by my Mum), giraffes and sun rays for the lovely Norma.

In the two years after my Mum’s death it crashed down on me and my brother in a way I never would have expected. My other siblings of course lost their Mum and perhaps dealt with the challenges and thoughts of dealing with it, but my brother and I dealt with the estate, the detail, the action, the decisions – the low lying storm that it was for a whole two years. It was horrific and probably life changing.

I wrote before about how a rose tinted world works for me – whilst times were tough, there were a lot of good that came of it too. Good memories, photos and things, friends and a reminder that there are many people there for me. Maybe it did nearly break me, but the people around me, as usual, bouyed me up and helped me to survive and thrive.

Meanwhile – and what felt unfair to me at the time was – that the world carried on as normal. Work continued, society continued, others we born, others died, but this was a big bloody horrible thing which was impacting me and those very close to me, with the enduring disruption that a long storm brings.

I was working through it all, feeling a bit like I needed to move on, but felt I couldn’t. Other things in my life had to be put on hold, meanwhile I was close to falling apart and was put back together by friends and family.

A long period of never ending uncertainty, then once we were finally out the other side, then my career started to unravel leading to times of real uncertainty leading to me fighting… put plainly, fighting to survive again.

By saying fighting to survive, I don’t mean I was close to suicide, I’m confident and grateful that I’m quite sure I would never be that low to take my own life … but I was fighting to fix what had gone wrong, and it wasn’t working. I was speaking up, for what felt like an age, and no one was listening. Nothing was working.

It was a struggle, that seemed to be keeping going on and on and nothing I tried or did could fix it. I was choosing to go forward with it, knowing that it was the principe that I was standing up for, hoping that right would come through. And it didn’t. I tried and I tried, for so long, and it was all for nothing.

But then positives came out of that too – again I built strong supportive relationships with colleagues and friends, there for me to help, listen, support and guide me through the storm I was trying to steer through again.

Just like in my teenage years, I had very little control over what would become years of uncertainty and loss… me trying to fix it and it not working. I tried to secure a future, and I still am… but it’s getting tiring. I’m feeling done in and like I need to take another tact. But I’ll know I’ll get there.

In all of these tough times, I do remember thinking, why me? Why couldn’t I just have a good life, a nice normal home and family and life?

But then I know that all of the tough times in life are teaching me good lessons, and are certainly making me more resilient as a person. I’ve learned, built a wider perspective and good support network. I’m calm, unflappable… and I’m a good person, who cares a lot.

It was all life experience to help me or others in the future. If I’m able to get though this, I can do anything… in the same way, I know I’ll get there, no matter how bad or unsettled things feel, I know everything will be ok.

It’s how we respond to these things that can help us to get out the other side into better times. We might have little control over the things that happen to us, but we can choose how we react.

We could fall apart and cry and get angry and bitter, or do damage, or we can stand up, accept it’s happened, move on and know we’ll get through it.

Here we go back to resilience, and if it harms us… it’s not worth it. Focus on the positive, the good and the good will come through. If you have no control over it, let it go.

Now add covid in, and all of a sudden we’re all at sea… it’s not just something / tough times impacting me, and those close to me it’s affecting everyone in different ways.

In an odd way, what I’ve found is that covid isn’t all that bad – for me at least. I’m lucky to have a home, and gym, a job where I’m able to work from home, good food etc. Good friends, family, technology etc, I have everything I need.

Gratefully so far, I (and the people I care about) have managed to stay safe, and not contract covid. I’ve some fiends / colleagues who have caught it, and it sounds truly awful, but luckily I don’t know anyone who has passed away from it or been affected too much by the restrictions.

I’ve survived – I’ve got through the hard times in my life and come out the other side. You probably have too, many times.

As well as that, I’ve thrived in life and in my career and I know I will again. Fun, holidays, kite flying, ice creams, rainbows, friends, family, rewarding work where I make a difference – I’ll get back to it all. I know I will.

There’s a saying to ‘be kind as you never know what others are going through’.

It’s true. Be there for each other, ask if everything is ok. Be there in whatever way you can. If you see someone struggling, phone them, text them, give them your time, listen. I do it for others, and ungrateful that others do it for me too (you know who you are!)

Let them know that you’re there if they need you. That there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that storms don’t last forever, rainbows will appear and sunnier days will come. They will survive and they will be able to thrive and smile again.

Storms come and go, but rainbows and sunshine are a plenty too. We can get through the storm with others at our side, and the right clothes to keep us safe, dry and warm, if we have the brave the outdoors. X

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Getting there with my running

Today I went for my second run of the week, and my forth run since I decided to try a different tactic with my running to try to get over my hamstring issue.

I ran 4 miles up to Maxwell Park and back, and for the fourth time since trying my new tactic, my hamstring wasn’t sore… again!

My new ploy is to try to change how I run, from mid to heel strike running to toe running. It takes a bit of getting used to and you have to think to do it – to effectively change your natural running style…

… but I’m trying to see if I can take this opportunity of building up my miles, and also hopefully build my legs elsewhere, instead of straining my hamstring all the time.

I know there could be risk in changing your foot strike, in toe running, the load goes into your calves, so it’s important to build it slowly to avoid injury, but touch wood it seems to be working. And my cadence is automatically increasing too… from about 175 to 185+ so that’s good.

My pace and heart rate and feeling are fine, I’m just trying to build it all back up steadily without being tempted to run too far or put too much load on, and to prevent any further injury.

We will see hopefully it’ll work out ok S for the better and I’ll see this pesky hip / hamstring injury off for good.

The long term goal is training for the Brighton Marathon in September this year, but if I’m not fit for it, it won’t be the end of the world. Fingers crossed though!

Some of the eagle eyed of you who know me well, know that I ALWAYS round my miles up to the nearest 0.1 of a mile, or mile ideally for monthly mileage … and you’ll see I did 4.07 miles today…

Well this is ahead of what I plan to run on 23 February … 2.23 miles in memory of Ahmaud Arbery. This story really got me last year, and if you want to know more about it go here:

I heard some more about it today on my run when I did my Apple Fitness Time to Walk with Bubba Wallace. I’ll run my 2.23 miles with pride and careful thought on the 23rd.

(And my monthly miles will be rounded up too… ha).

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Wk6 into wk7 training

These posts are generally for me to look back on my week and how my training went, and to plan the next week. They help me to be consistent with my training, and in getting a balance with things like sleep etc.

A weekly check up of where I’m at, what went well, what went not so well and what I’ll aim to do better next week. Since lockdown and working from home it’s probably become easier to be consistent with my training – with the garagym on my doorstep and my aim to get rid of my injury…

Apple Fitness has been a good game changer to get some good spin and strength workouts in, and now I’m trying out their HIIT and yoga too.

Here’s what I did last week –
– 3 spin sessions
– 3 strength / HIIT sessions
– 3 walks 8.3 miles
– 1 run (due to the snow / spin as cardio instead)
– 1 yoga session / rest day

My sleep improved, letting go of some things, and focusing on what’s next and what I can control.

I felt a bit gubbed on Thursday and took a good rest day. It and a few good spin sessions, and a relaxing weekend seemed to do the trick.

Now here’s the plan for training next week:

A similar mix to last week, with some runs in the mix, keeping them short… maybe even shorter than 4 miles depending on how Monday mornings run goes.

I’m enjoying my strength work and cross training anyway. The balance of it all keeping the endorphins flowing and helping my sleep too probably.

We’re very fortunate to have this space and set up. It’s good to have been able to make it cool and work for us.

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Custom Metcons ordered!

So… I decided on these colour ways for my custom metcons…

I changed the soles from being white to grey… but kept the white tops and pink and orange bits.

They’ll only be used in the garagym so they should be easy to keep clean.

I think they take about a month to be made (and I tried on the size to be sure).

Good things come to those who wait, eh?

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Up down up…

I’ll be honest, yesterday, for one reason or another wasn’t a good day for me. Perhaps I was tired, and a bit sore from training week in the week… I just felt a bit shi!!y. I was down, but I recognised it early and didn’t push myself too much, I was kind to myself, took some time out and knew that better days would come.

Instead of pushing myself with a spin or strength workout in the morning, I did a half hour yoga session, did some work and went on a ‘dealing with uncertainty’ webinar later in the afternoon. All about recognising the impact uncertainty can have on you, and using the experiences and resources you already have to get through challenging times. I’ll add some notes from the session at the bottom.

This whole covid situation, winter, being stuck in, working from home, not being able to travel and some uncertainty for me is playing tricks on me a bit… but I’m putting in plans to make the future a better place for me, and if I’m honest with myself, I have things very good.

Yet I’m still choosing to harm myself a bit, by looking at the past, in the hope that something will come of it, but deep down I know it won’t. I’ll get no return, no matter how hard I try. So there’s likely no point in dredging it all up… even though I’ve just even trying to do what’s right – it seems there was no point. It’s hard to accept, but I’ve learned that it’s best to move on when things harm you.

So today I decided I would do things that give me energy – to start off with, a good hour in the gym – 20 mins strength (with Kyle – full body workout) and 30 mins spin (with Kym – two big hills with a flat road and intervals between them).

A good bit of movement and some good cardio and aerobic work on the bike – avg HR 146, max 167!

Before that I’d woken up at 1am… and rather than get up and stay up ruminating, I wrote down my thoughts quickly, and got back to bed and to sleep. These thoughts aren’t worth waking myself up, or staying awake for; and I’ve become better at being strict with myself so that my sleep isn’t stolen.

I know that exercise is the fix that helps me feel good, helps me get a good balance, so it’s important for me to do it. As does do social interaction, and a good amount of rest and sleep. (Even though it makes me look like the above 😂).

The garagym alone is something I’m very grateful we have… it’s enabling to get out exercise fixes, even in the middle of winter with freezing temperatures and inches of snow outside.

I have some good plans, which should see themselves through in the next 6-9 months or so. In the meantime, I’ll listen out for the days when I’m down, and I’ll not let myself go deep down. I’ll pick myself back up, reach out for chats, and relish in the good days.

Up down up down up… hopefully more ups are on their way, and I’ll get back to being more balanced overall with a bit more certainty around the corner.

Better times are on the way, it’s just they’re going to take a bit of time to get here, so I need to keep being patient and know that it’ll all come good some time soon. In the meantime, I need to get my positivity, happiness and confidence back.

Notes from the dealing with uncertainty webinar:

Be more present in the now
Don’t dwell on the past / focus on what you can do / what you can control
Control – internal external
Choose your response – to be strong
Managing emotions
Sense of purpose / destiny / purpose / role

Find sanctuary where we can find safety
Human brain to assess risk

Staying in touch with colleagues / friends / family
Use technology to connect and stay in touch
To be human with them
The team / family / friends are out there

Limit exposure to negative information
Not bombarded by too much negativity
Triple filter – True / good / help situation ?
Talk to others
Neutralise negativity

Positive – thinking about what I want
(Not what I don’t want or what won’t work / help)
Thoughts / feelings / actions = success

Understanding positive thinking and self talk
Use logic & reason
Generalise / distort / delete

Thinking style emotions and our health
Positive thinking chemicals – can help us to be mentally and physically healthy
Negative = stress / cortisol
Important to help us learn

Adopt positive thinking
Be flexible and learn to change your perspective
Motivate yourself towards the positive
Seek balance – performance & recovery
Mindset starts internally
Walking / thinking / talking

Use the weekends and evenings to recharge / re energise
Do fun stuff you enjoy
Be kind to yourself and take care of you and others

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Wk5 into Wk6 & ‘It’s a sin’

Last week went well for me training wise, plenty gym and stretch work… including about 3-4 strength sessions and 2 yoga sessions (Apple Fitness). I had a rest day on Tuesday and an active recovery day on Sunday.

I did 3 short runs, 1 spin session and a few short walks.

Mon: 40 min Strength / 1.8M walk

Tue: Rest
Wed: 2M Run / 20 min Yoga
Thu: 31 min Strength / 31 min Spin
Fri: 3.1M Run / 31 min Strength / 0.7M walk
Sat: 5.4M Run / 2.5M walk
Sun: 25 min Yoga / 30 min Stretching/ Strength

I was a little sore after my two first runs of the week, but ok on and after the longer run on Saturday. Although my calves are quite tight, probably from intermittently running on my toes, to see if that helps a bit.

Since I’m running short distances, I thought I would try changing my stride to see if it helps my right leg / hamstring. I’m being careful though as I know that changing your foot strike can sometimes lead to injuries, so I’m trying to build any toe strike running up slowly. We will see.

I did some good bits of foam rolling today anyway, after a yoga session and some stretching. Shorts for the yoga / stretching session today – I’m not sure it was warm enough. Maybe capris next time.

Here’s the plan for next week, 8-14 February, sort of using this last week as a template… if the runs are going well, I might run for a bit longer, but I’ll see how it goes.

Mon: 45 min Strength / 1.5M walk

Tue: 2.5M Run / 20 min Yoga
Wed: 30 min Strength / 30 min Spin
Thu: 3.1M Run / 30 min Strength
Fri: 45 min Spin / 1.5M walk
Sat: 45 min Hill Run / 2.5M walk
Sun: 30 min Strength / 20 min Yoga / 2.5M walk

A good mix of strength, cardio and walking. And this is the 40-45 min full body strength season I’ve been doing on Mondays:

The only thing that might get in the way a bit next week is the attic blast from the east… it’s due to be pretty horrible and cold again. Boooo. So instead of running first thing and risking ice, I might wait until lunchtimes to run when it’s a little warmer.

I just need to wait and see, and I could always swap a run out for an indoor bike or spin session.

In other news, I watched the first ‘It’s a Sin’ on channel 4 on demand last week… well worth a watch for a reminder of how far we’ve come with gay rights, human rights and anti racism etc.

And the way AIDS was in the early 80s too – quite frightening if it’s an accurate reflection of how it was then. It sort of made me glad I don’t really remember the 80s (and before). I read that the programme has led to a massive increase in people getting tested, diagnosed and treated, so that’s good.

Worth a watch if you’re interested in that sort of thing, I say.

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Customised Nike Metcon 6’s

Since maybe around 10-15 years or so I’ve tied with the idea of getting customised Nike’s from their website, but I’ve never actually done it.

Now in times of covid where we’re in lockdown and:
– not a lot else is happening
– setting up a WiFi plug is one of the most exciting things of the year so far – I’m not spending as much money as usual
– it’s a council tax break month…

Now might be the time to do it.

You can go onto the Nike app or website, pick your customised trainer type and pick any variation of colour versions.

So that’s what I did! They’re for the gym, so I wanted to try and keep some sort of garagym theme… with whites, oranges and blacks … and with a bit of pink … to make me wink.

Here’s what I came up with –

Customises version 1

At first I though black top … orange and pink with white laces. White soles all the way.

Customised version 2

Then I got a bit of contrast with dark orange laces …

Customised version 3

I designed an orange and red pair before… but I’m not too sure bout these.

Customised version 4

Then I thought, try white tops… the opposite of black and it felt like they were starting top look a bit nicer. (Plus they’ll be fully indoor shoes so easier to keep clean!)

Customised version 5

Orange tongue and white laces… grey swoosh, and grey touch at the back.

Customised version 6

Then I think these are the ones I might go for… a mixture of all of them, into one pair which I like the best I think.

Which ones do you prefer? Comment below or on my page. 👍🏻

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Travelling / holidays

I’ve been really missing travelling, as I’m sure many others have been … our annual holidays abroad to America or Europe – to sun or cities… but now I’m even missing the short trips and visits to people outside of Glasgow, to visit friends, or go to the beach and fly my kite and eat ice cream.

I’d give anything just to travel in Scotland right now, and visit friends and family, but it’s not to be.


I know we need to do it – not travel – and why, but with cancelled holidays last year, and not much hope for holidays this year and not knowing when I’ll be able to travel out of Glasgow… I thought I’d reflect back and remember all of the places I’ve / we’ve been.

Lovely Glasgow

It turns out we’ve been to LOADS of places… adventurising, having great fun and making wonderful memories.

Here’s my list:

Cyprus ☀️ Mallorca 🏖 🏊‍♂️ Staycation – Tour of Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Cyprus ☀️ Orkney / Edinburgh / Lochaline trips 🚙 Mull finding an ‘IF’ gravestone! 🙄 Northcoast 500 (before it was a thing) 🚘 Crete – Malia 🍸 Amsterdam 🖼 New York 🗽Spain 🏖Cyprus ⛱ Barcelona 🌃 Dominican Republic 🚤 Portugal – Carvoeiro 🚲 Lanzarote ☀️🚲 San Francisco 🚲 🌉Chicago 🏙 West Highland Way Walk 🏔 Near Keith 🏰 👰🏼 San Diego ☀️ Italy – Lake Garda 🏖 Edinburgh Castle 🏰 👰🏼 Vancouver 🌳 / Las Vegas 🚁 Grand Canyon 🎰 Fuertaventura ☀️ Tortonto 🎆 Portugal – Vilamoura 🏖 South Queensferry ⛅️ Portugal – Lisbon 🌃 Jersey 🐄 New York 🗽Bear Mountain 🐻 🏔 Dalbeattie 🌳 Tenerife ☀️ 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦👩‍👧Portugal – Faro ☕️ Newcastle/Greenside 🚘 Boston 🌇 Anstruther (2020 staycation) ☔️ Visits to Inverness / Wick / Stonehaven / Musselburgh / Dunbar / Penrith / London / Lochaline / Kinlochleven / Skye / Beaches 🏖 to fly my kite 🪁 / Glasgow Parks 🌳 etc

Revisiting New York

Quite a lot of places… and such fun and happiness shared. I don’t think I missed any out… I’ve also been to Shetland, Salford, Birmingham, Inverness, Aberdeen (Inverness, Edinburgh) and Stornoway, but they were with work, so probably shouldn’t be on the list above. 😂

My favourite place was probably San Francisco, and we may go back. Last year we planned to go back to Vilamoura, and then Washington and Philadelphia. I’m sure we’ll get there one day. But in the meantime we’ll see what Glasgow has to offer.

The Clyde

(It is pretty ace really, even in winter… although I’m liking forward to warmer weather and some sunshine!)

Me in a forest near Inverness

Where’s your favourite holiday destination? And given my list above, where would you recommend I travel to next?

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January Totals

Here’s my totals for January:

Cycling: 64 miles / 8 spin sessions 🚴 (36% of miles)
Walking: 80 miles / 25/31 days 🚶‍♀️(46%)
Running: 31.5 miles / 8 runs 🏃‍♀️ (18%)
Strength: 8 hrs 45 mins / 13/31 days 🏋🏼
= Total mileage: 175.5 miles

6 rest days / 25 active days
8.5 hours sleep each night on avg (not the best sleeps though, must do better!)

2,996 Cycling cals (20%)
6,324 Walking cals (40%)
3,075 Strength cals (20%)
2,983 Running cals (20%)
= Total calories: 15,378

I haven’t cycled outside mostly due to the cold / icy weather, but I’ve taken advantage of the Apple Futness workouts, doing about 2 spin sessions a week, between 30-45 minutes. The coaches are and their motivational chat is great.

This month I walked the most miles… 80 miles, up at the miles I was walking in September and October. Some of that will have been to do with having time off / and in lockdown. But it’s also likely because I’m not cycling / running as much.

And the week I went back to work… I hardly walked at all… so I’ve started going out at lunchtimes to get some daylight for 20-30 mins if I can. Working from home is good, but I miss my short walks to and from work, so I’ll try to keep some walks up when I’m working.

And walking clocked up my most calories burned, burning about double the other activities… 6,300… or 40% of my activity calories. It’s good for you! And after work I got some nice snaps too.

I was in the gym about 13 out of 31 days… or just under 9 hours. Taking advantage of the Apple Fitness workouts again, and doing some physio workouts too.

We’re lucky to have everything we need in out Foxy’s garagym… 🦊 🏋🏼 and getting the heating on a timer helps too. I’ve tended to be doing 30 min strength workouts from Apple Fitness, and up to about 45 min physio workouts.

Running hasn’t been too great for me in January… for just about every run I’ve ended up with pain in my upper right leg… hamstring / glute. It seems to be getting better – a 3 or a 4 out of 10… and I’m getting physio, but today was the first day I really felt like giving up on it. Running is great, but not if you’re sore from doing it. ☹️

Part of the recovery is building it up very slowly, listening to my body and finding out what works in terms of physio and recovery… and not letting myself push it.

So February will see me focus on more regular / shorter distances, on flat. Stretching and foam rolling after it. And strength / spin / cycling / rest on other days.

I managed to run 31.5 miles in 8 runs in January. A little more than in November, but not as much as I’d like. I’ll aim for 3 runs a week, but no more than 4 miles, starting back with 2.5 miles.

This was me today on my run… just as it was starting to get sore, so no idea why I was smiling. 😂

With 6 days rest out of 31 and 25 active days, it felt about right. My sleep has been a bit crappy, but I’ve been a bit better at not getting up in the middle of the night.

There’s been maybe 8 or 9 nights when I’ve woken at about 2-4am… mind wide awake… and sometimes I’ve got up. But I know it’s best not to if I can. So I’ve listened to audiobooks which usually help. Overall it’s been good really – about 8.5 hours sleep a night on average.

My body clock is set so I wake at 6am (even on weekends) but I’ve been getting a lie in til 8 or 9 at weekends. My week day routine is working well though, wake at 6, wake properly at 630, coffee etc, workout from about 715-730 etc.

The last numbers I’ll share with you are my blood pressure, resting heart rate and poundage…

My resting heart rate for January was 52….
My blood pressure today was 115/77.
All good.

My weight graph has rebounded back up after being lowest in Summer…but it’s still an overall reduction of a few pounds since the start of 2020. And it’s remained pretty steady really, even when I’m eating what I want.

More body fat than overall lbs lost … 4.4lbs… and a little bit of muscle added. I’m feeling good on it all anyway… it’s all seeming to remain stable.

Although I did have a daily habit of having a magnum each night…. and I’ve not bought any more, so let’s see if that makes any difference (ie me stopping being greedy).

That’s January over… finally… now the lighter nights and mornings will come in and Spring will be just around the corner. Hopefully the weather will improve a bit. I’m getting a bit fed up of the cold, particularly since there’s not option to go on holiday…

…but I’m seeming to be able to save more without spending in lockdown…so maybe we should plan a great trip somewhere sunny and warm once all of this craziness is over in late 2021 or into 2022?!

Here’s a reminder of Tenerife from 2019 before the world turned crazy. Aaaah. ☀️

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