Monday, 19 September 2011

Bit of a sodding moan

What a crappy, crappy run.
Being too poor to go to the gym should have been a great thing. Forcing me to run outside, appreciate the fresh air, bit of sunshine. (I did appreciate those things.)

49.09 for 4.5 miles - fucking pathetic.
Seriously pissed off with myself. God knows why it was so bad. Felt brilliant in the gym a few days ago.  I'd had 2 weeks off and felt far better for it. A good 5k, then some heavier than usual weights - all v positive. Despite proper preparation today was just dire.

I ran up the Seat and round to Duddingston loch, then walked quickly up the steps and back to the top road then ran home. The walk was maybe .2 of a mile - so not far enough to explain the terrible time.
I really, really miss running on empty country roads that are 'rolling' rather than hilly. Must find more routes. Maybe even routes that need a bus? Anything is better than being so dispirited by the sodding hill every time. I don't want to run up hill. I don't enjoy it. I just want to run for miles on the flat-ish without having to think about traffic, or people, or stopping at lights. 

AND another thing.... I really don't understand my weight at the moment.

Spent 10 days counting every calorie and never eating more than 1400 - and exercising a lot.
Nothing happened. Not one pound. (And I've been counting calories for about 18 years so yes I did it right, and YES I wrote down every tiny thing, every ml of milk in coffee, any teaspoon of anything.)
Then I went to London for 6 days, did v little exercise except some walking, and ate basically what I pleased without going overboard. Lost 2lb
Now back home, eating less and exercising more - Gained 2lb

I don't mind eating loads and getting fat (what I mean is that I HATE it, but I see the cause and effect); but I hate a seeming lack of results when I make a serious effort. Maybe it's just age, maybe the serious effort has to be a bit more stringent now.

Ah well, maybe I'm just feeling a bit shit about everything at the minute.
The dress I'd planned to wear to a wedding it too small (no wonder as I've put on 16lb since first trying it - what an idiot!) - only saving grace is the back-up dress which only needs the straps altered to turn it from a dress with a waist-band to a Grecian/empire line. And in doing this it becomes short enough to not need taken-up, thereby making the whole process cheaper. And I like it as a dress... so you know, could be worse.

But I really felt 'normal' 16lb lighter - and I'd never felt that before. And now I've had it, I really want the feeling back - but it just seems so hard to get there, and I don't understand why given how badly I want it... if that makes sense. I mostly just can't believe I let this happen, and I know it was comfort eating due to extreme stress for 6 months, but even so - I feel like such a fool, at this point I think drinking would have been less harmful to me. Really, anything except eating - again.

Ah well, I'll just have to put some serious effort in and hope I get results this time. And then maybe remember to fucking maintain them as I am now the cliche of someone who has been on a diet for the last 20 years and really, really, really has had e-fucking-nough.

Apart from the desire to winge the last few weeks really haven't been too bad. Fantastic w/end of festival madness (5 shows - all worth the effort); wonderful watching of the end of Festival Fireworks from Princes St; work continues to be good and I'm getting to know some of my colleagues - which is great as they're lovely! Seeing inside the Scottish Parliament for a work-do really was a treat. It's an incredible building with so many details that take your breath away. Stunning angles, light and the doors are fabby!

And now chg is in Nepal having a much, much needed break and I'm being delightfully entertained by my lovely friends, who as well as feeding me and stopping me from going completely bonkers (only time will tell on that one) also lend me time-sponges like DowntonAbbey & Twighlight books ... I may never sleep this week as I try to watch and read everything. DAMN YOU HH! :-)

Right, must go wash and feed doggy, and generally mope. Bah humbug. 
And I wanted to go to GrannyGreens tonight but have been a lazy arse so I've got too much work to do. WHY WHY WHY, as with all things, do I bring this on myself?

ps Meeper had a little girl who I finally get to meet this week!
pps The delightful Gold Dog is allowed to come and sit under the desk at my feet.
Good results all round!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Where to begin

Now I could begin where we left of - but somehow I think an unabridged version of the last 5 1/2 months would make pretty dull reading.

There have been some highs and lows. Some stuff that's taken up far too much time emotionally and personally - but isn't my business to make public on the web; and some truly great stuff too.

In this whistle stop tour of the last 5 months there's going to be highs, lows, culture, culinary trips & exercise... because even if the girl hasn't been blogging, she's still been exercising. (And has suddenly started referring to herself in the 3rd person... this must be stopped!)


- Meeper is going to have a baby - truly joyus news. And it's taken me so long to blog about it she's now due in 3 weeks.

- Disovered Tyninghame and The Linton, a truly lovely pub with great food.

- RF finally got her engagement ring, in the right size. This was a tough one to make, but I do think it looks so good on her.Luckily she thinks so too.

- Celebrated on the Tay with Pickle, Dotty and Zacky - a birthday was being had and despite snow covered ground we all made it. Even a cake made by Dotty!

- The bridesmaid dresses were found. Much to the relief of a v unstressed bride and 2 slightly hot and bothered bridesmaids. Trying on dresses can be hard work!

- met chgs stepmother and was soundly beaten at Ludo... no really, there were tactics and everything

- attended the 'see me' finalists lunch as my tweet on the subject of support was one of the final three. On hearing the other two I instantly knew that there was no way I should, or would, win. A very interesting day, with incredible views over the castle from the Apex Hotel in the Grassmarket.

- My rental flat was finished and a tenant was found, they are still in there and (fingers v much crossed), still happy.

- Mini holiday at Easdale, Seil Island and Ardfern. Truly lovely break, best bit being a RIB tour out to the whirlpool on the west and seeing Sea Eagles.
All was V good fun - lots of exploring and camping. Discovered that you cannot fit two people and a dog in the back of a Polo to sleep... and it might have been foolish to try.

- Celebrated all of the May birthdays with fancy cocktails and fun Mexican - a perfect combination. V good to see everyone after a very hectic few months.

- At this point I got a job interview. It was the first thing I had applied for, and a job I really wanted. Part-time, admin, for the charity I'd just attended the writers/tweeters lunch for....

- Drama & Art got married, and had a wedding on barge with Babyhead as a band. I have no idea how they made it all so perfect, but as a 'stranger' to most people there it was the most welcoming and wonderful wedding I can imagine. Also the chocolate cake was a complete killer. Drooling at the v thought.

- Walked out after my first interview in 10yrs to receive an email saying I was finally divorced. Timing is everything with these things. :-)

- The lovely Rock God and Professor invited me to dinner, confirmed that I was not alergic to Mango (despite years of assuming I was), and had a damn good catch-up. Baffie was beside herself with joy to see Rock God again... that dog is such a tart.

-I got the job! It would only another 2 months before one of my referees actually put in her reference.... but then I would start. It was a v long 8 weeks.

-36h trip to the island to look after all 3 boys on my own. They were spectacular. Wonderful, polite, kind. Also unruly and full of energy but that's what I'd hope for really. So good to see them all and have a lovely dinner with MaYa and Farmer at the end of it all. You know that when the COASTGUARD is one of your emergency contacts things have taken a small trip into the surreal.
First trip on a tiny plane - and it was marvellous. A bit like a flying lawnmower but such a good view!

- The Hen Do was had. 2 very happy bridesmaids are delighted it all came off without a hitch and can only hope that the bride enjoyed herself as much as seems to do. A happy, sober band can be seen below, we didn't always look quite as put together over the whole w/end:

- I had my first week at work. After an incredibly stressful first day (all my nerves, the induction was really well done) it's all gone really well. Good colleagues, good vibe and plenty of work to keep me busy. If only Baffie was allowed to sit under the table at my feet it would be perfect. But she's adjusting to the new routine really well.

-At the end of my first week Teech and HH got married. And it was an incredible venue. Blissful and wonderful. The sun shone, in a sun-burn type way. The photographer was a nice bloke. The hairdresser made it all easy (I was dreading that bit and I ended up loving it). And good planning by T & HH made it all run ridiculously smoothly.No dramas, no crises - all just lovely. Even came home with a car load of shopping :-) an unexpected bridesmaid perk ;-0

-Went to Brussels to then go to the Lokeren Festival. Just had a great time. Eurostar does make it easy. Then a fab B&B. Then North Alabama Allstar Duo who could open for anyone, just two talented blokes making good, good, music. Gabriel Rios - great band but the crowd weren't really in the mood for his music; Robert Plant and the band of Joy - that man has his own personal wind machine built in to his every move... to be that age and that cool simultaneously. Then Paolo Nutini played for about 90 min and was incredible, the out and out performance of the night - lots of singing and swaying at every turn.
A v chilled experience with a great crowd and amazing organization. Whole thing helped by finding the only pedi-cab at the end of the night and being cycled home rather than walking after 7h standing! That cycling dude was an angel. A very stinky angel.

- the party was excellent, but Chopper finally emigrated to Canada. The cake was incredible. And that amount of sugar almost makes me forget how much I miss her... almost. But luckily she's a creature of the internet and social media keeps me in touch with her life. Letters have turned into emails, but the contact is still there.

- I had the genuine honour of being invited to a living wake. It was a fun and heartfelt occasion that I was humbled to be a part of. Time was not kind to him and made his last months even harder than they ever could have imagined being but now he is wherever the energy that is within each of us goes. I hope he has a very good book at hand, a good friend at his ear and a lovely glass of wine by his side.

- Attended the funeral of a tiny, birdlike, woman who raised a family in less than perfect circumstances, and kept her intellectual curiosity until the very end; she showed me kindness and trust (even on first meeting) which I truly appreciated. A pleasure to have met her and a shock that she went when she did. She will be surrounded by happy cats and piles of books wherever she is now now.

Went to see Cooking History - at The Filmhouse. This was the story of military cooking from the First and Second world wars up to the Balkan conflicts and beyond. A strange mix of recipes, personal tales and perspectives. All made for an incredible piece that I would recommend. More documentary than entertainment.

Talk on Too Many People at the Science Festival - made so many notes, had so many points to make. Debated them all with the ever locquatious HH. Until a 70yr old has told you that "oral sex is the answer to population control", you haven't lived.

Beltane Fire Festival - a strange but oddly perfect mix of real hippies and real extroverts. The fire dancers completely stole the show. Definitely a fight between the seasons, and one worth celebrating.

Trip to the Natural History museum where we spent 3h running round like kids looking at everything. This was then followed by having the best kebab in London. A day of fabulously cultural contrasts.

Pub Quiz - just us 2, hmmmm, chg knows much but we still didn't make it into the top 1/2. It's a damn tough quiz. Although I like the challenge of aiming for a higher score.

On our last (of 2) days in Belgium went to the Mondrian Museum. This was brilliantly laid out chronologically in different rooms, but absolutely packed as it was a Saturday.

Dirt Exhibition at the Welcome Trust - fascinating stuff dirt. Both how we've represented it over the years, and how we've found out more about it. A well put together large exhibition delving into several eras and cultures.

See the final Harry Potter film in the cinema - not really cultural, but definitely the end of an era. Read the first book in 1998 and read them all as they came out, and seen all the films in the cinema so it only seemed right that one bored Saturday I completed the entire process. Not disappointed but not oscar worthy either.

Met Tigger and Badger at the Book Festival, just for a mooch. Went for coffee with Tigger and ended up being the framing/background for lots of filming of Joan Bakewell. Took all of my cool not to reach across and tell her she's bloody marvellous. Just sat having an entire 'natural' conversation whilst the camera moved around us.

Wind Up Bird Chronicle at Kings Theatre - a wonderful treat from Tigger who came up with Badger for the night. This is a play from a Murikami book. Now, with the greatest respect to the book, and the actors, my reaction at the end was WTF, no really WTF. Brilliant production, great lighting, sound, visuals, everything but the level of surreal and layers of the story/allegory/allusion/illusion were truly marvellous to watch. But the story was ... confusing. Damn lovely to go to the theatre though, then follow that with some Bristo Sq festival drinking and a quick crepe before home.

Nagoya - with Teech, a new sushi place near me... and nothing is near me. Good sushi, would be great take away, but not a place to sit. Too small and no ambience.
Roseleaf - possibly the greatest gastropub in existence. Doing what it does v v well.
Mamma India - indian tapas style dishes, revelation and revel in the food.
Pho Vietnam House - tiny vietnamese place behind Lothian Road, stunning but small menu
The Eagle - a London institution that is deserving of the crowds
The Herne - ah South London, quiet pub that takes dogs and does stonking food
Thai food at an incredible place in if only I could remember the name ...
La Favorita - an oldie but a goodie. Great food and lots of energy in a relaxed atmosphere

and chg did some stunning cooking over this time. Cupcakes with toasted almond butter-cream icing were a particular delight.

- Had my first gym torturing personal training type session at the gym. Could barely walk for 3 days afterwards, but loved it! Whole body agony.
- actually ran 5K outside with Hilary. The worst run I have ever, ever done. Had to keep stopping and I never stop... just a pathetic and embarrassing attempt at a run. Pah.
- 5 mile run 44.03 and full weights session. Desperately trying to get back up to fitness after a time of cake & wine.
- 10k 54.35 hill 5 and full weights
- 8 mile run best ever time 1.15.12!!!! 21/04/2011
- Many 5 k runs, a 10k run outside round Peckham Rye.
Once I got up to 8 miles again, another crazy session with the gym instructor. Better than last time, but still evil the next day.
-9 mile run... getting there, getting there. Still love running a long way. So easy to forget how good it feels.
- a bit of cutting back with work and everything, but still running at least twice a week... honest

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Smug, and aching.

Alright, maybe not actually smug - but definitely damn happy. V damn happy. A 7 mile run yesterday! (I've not run 7 miles since the terrible, horrible, [bird]flu infested Jedburgh Half about 18 months ago.)

It was wonderful. And strangely I do feel as if I could have run further. I also then did a full (for me) gym session afterwards.

And, on entering the gym, I requested a "torture session" with the mad bloke who makes people weep. So that's my Thursday morning sorted. Pain and tears. Lovely. Also free (apart from gym entry).

Now I do ache a little bit, it's more muscular than running related... if you know what I mean. The legs seems fine, but the arms are complaining slightly. However, I definitely need to do more on the arms, particularly if I'm ever to look even close to alright in a bridesmaids dress.

Ah, the bridesmaids dresses - we will get there, we must. And there is still LOADS of time, but we've not managed a second swipe at the shops yet. And life proceeds to get more complicated for all involved.

I'm still managing to keep on top of work; and on top of exercise despite a stressful few weeks. This was necessary not only as stress relief, but also as I just kept eating... no really, loads. So I've got a fair few pounds to run off (again). God I make myself angry. Ah well, all done now, just have to get back to it.

So there was a quick dash up the seat on the 4th - 30.35 for 5K. (Dog also grateful for superior speed leg-stretch.) I do love running outside but I just need to put some effort into finding routes I'm happy and confident with. I hate having to stop at lights etc, but also hate feeling too isolated... suggestions welcome.

Gym Stats: (these are really for me, not for reading with glee - but they made a good place to keep notes of progress etc).

Most exciting bit is that it was my fastest 7 miles ever. And I was on hill setting 8 (out of 15, so not mountains,but it does go up to 6.4% regularly)!

7 miles (hill setting 8) 1.03.29 - 944 calories

Waist making machine 55Kg 3 sets of 12. Now this was properly hard, I think I should leave it on this setting for a wee bit. Finally worked up to where it's a killer.

Triceps - 6kg weight - 3 sets of 12 - now here I finally need to go up a weight... but I think my only option is up to 8kg... this might be a killer initially, but 6kg is finally too light.

Seated Delt Row 25kg 3 sets 12... could go heavier (but don't want to)

Leg lifts (on the weird blue ball back thing) 24 with straight legs

Lateral Pull 26Kg 3 sets of 12 - all in front of body and my 'form' was shocking... but I was doing this last and was bloody knackered by this point.


Got home to discover an incredible dinner cooked for me. AND a very tidy and clean kitchen and dining room, ready to sit down and enjoy it in. Made me very, very happy.

Also discovered that I had a film we both wanted to see *shock* - so The Departed was enjoyed immensely. Then a very, very, deep sleep.

Monday, 28 February 2011


Proper news. The chg is taking a career break, working on her dissertation and hanging around in EDINBURGH for a bit. Bloody lovely to get to see her all the time.

I also picked up the keys to the flat in Inverkeithing and discovered it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I had thought it might be. You know, that moment when you walk in and think... what the hell have I done!? Well, I might have done alright. The letting agent seemed permanently surprised by how nice it was... or she was just being lovely. Still a fair few bits and bobs to get sorted out - but it'll get there.. and I will find tenants... I will. I will I will I will I will I will.

Moving on... went to a lovely book making class at Granny Greens last Monday. Made 2 books, loved the stitching, but as the instructor kept saying how perfect and pernickity book makers were a few of us said, "but you can just judge it by eye, right?" Not a perfectionist and proud of it!

The last week has involved a fair few jaunts. The sunshine has brought out the explorer. So Perthshire, Trossachs, and Fife have all been visited and enjoyed. Quiet spots for a bit of spring contemplation. Lovely. Come on sunshine.

Watching the park change has been spectacular. Suddenly realising a tree that looked dormant and all wintery has changed to a glowing red as the buds appear has been lovely. And watching the pigeons attempt their mating dances on the rooftops opposite demonstrates the hilarious preening nature of beasts and man. Also seeing the crags come alive with figures at sunset as everyone clamours to see the colours over Edinburgh. Ahhh.

Right, enough waffle. I've been busy eating cake (as chg does like to bake!) and neglecting the gym... but today, I decided that it had to be the gym. Even an Ikea trip was delayed so I could go. (It was THAT serious.)

So stats:
4 miles Hill setting Level 8 in 36.15 (555 calories - so barely covered the lemon curd tarts!)
Machine 6 - the twisty waist thing on 52.5Kg (3 sets of 12)
Assisted chinup on 33Kg 6 repetitions
Assisted dip on 33Kg 6 repetitions *** Oooo just checked and I was meant to do it on 47kg so no wonder it was so bloody hard. Delighted I could do it though... go me.... although I might be in agony tomorrow.
Triceps dip 6Kg weight (3 sets of 12)

And I'll add that I had a 90min walk prior to the gym too. So I feel smug, but still fat :-)


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Rambling on

This might be a bit of a ramble. The chg is sitting at the other end of the table working on her dissertation, and I should be working... but blogging seemed like a good idea.

Last week - well some time last week in a period that constituted 7 days I ran 13.3 miles. (The .3 being VERY important.) Not done that in a very, very, long time. Maybe about a year. Boooo. Ah well, at least I'm back at it.

**- this post was interrupted by the computer needing to be plugged in; the dog needing a walk, and some lunch... but lets get back to it -**

Life has been a bit busy of late. I managed to buy a flat to rent. I'm sure it'll all go swimmingly but until I have tenants it just seems like a lot of money left my account for very little reason. Comment from woman at the bank who did the transfer: so now you're penniless! WAS NOT BLOODY HELPFUL.

But in other news I also got all of my new course supplies. All v v exciting. Many books, many bits of paper and a whole bunch of daunt. Ah well, it'll all be wonderful. Right? RIGHT?

Managed to see the lovely Meeper this week (and eat enough pizza to knock out most of the 13 miles), and catch-up with HH and Teech as they enjoyed some half term relaxation before they get sucked into the joy that is Masterchef... also a wee trip down the coast to Dunbar - nice to see the sea properly. )Despite living so close I'm always in the park... incredible what something being easy does. Need to work out quick route to Portabello and get the dog sandy more often.

The gym has been calling me, yet again, and I've discovered that only Friday night is quiet. The others are MENTAL. And has anyone done some anthropology study about behaviour in gyms. Why people would watch TV when you can people watch is beyond me, I'm endlessly fascinated.


10th: 4 miles - 34.30 - hill setting Level 7. (523 calories)
The weird row/delt machine 3 x 12 (25kg)
Waist machine 3 x12 (47.5kg)
Triceps hand weight 6kg 3 x 12

16th: 5k 27.38 Hill setting 8. 393 calories.
Then the waist machine on 50kg 3 x12

After the gym last night I pegged it home and cooked pasta whilst showering. From leaving gym to sitting washed with supper was 25min... I think the only PB I've achieved in months.

Off to take CHG to see Blarney for the first time. Apparently her daughter was told I was coming and asked for the dog. Moment of GENIUS. She gets extra cake.

Friday, 4 February 2011

I've got the glow.

So I might as well blog now whilst I feel all righteous and buzzy. But then, that could just be the Twix. *ponders to self - why don't Cadbury's make a Twix, with their caramel and their chocolate it would be even better*

Right: Almost 2 hours spent in the wonder of the gym. I've finally capitulated and at least bought an Edinburgh Leisure card (£25) so the gym experience is now 25% cheaper each wince-some time.

Let's go through what I did in detail (bet you're all thrilled):
RUN: 10K - trumpets sound as choirs of angels are slowly drifting down to earth - 56.06 - Hill setting 5. (Think the last time I ran 10K was April 2010 - so it's been less than a year... just.) Delighted by this. I will feel it tomorrow but the average is about a second over a 9min/mile which pleases me no end. Think I was helped by Countdown being on the tiny, fuzzy, mini screen on the treadmill. The new Carol wears inappropriately tight and short dresses... is she trying to give the old dudes a heart attack? Didn't have headphones - but entertained myself nonetheless; shame as Greg "cooking doesn't get tougher than this" Wallace was the guest, and I would have liked to hear him too.

So after this run, I could have limped away... but I did not. I quickly nipped out to the corridor to call my solicitor and say yes, give them the extra £2000 for the flat I want. All sorted... now I just have to wait until Monday as they're now shut. Boo. Was suggested I put in the extra 2K - but they wouldn't say it was a definite if I did that... pah, if I don't get it, another one will come along... probably.

Important phone calls made I returned to do the non-aerobic portion of my gym session:

The incredible waist making machine (it's hard not to kiss it):
3 sets of 12 on 45Kg

Then a new torture - the Row/Rear Delts machine - seated, weighted pull thing:
One set of 12 on 27.5Kg
2 x 12 on 25Kg - made me feel like a pussy, but I never work out by back... and it showed.

Having watched a wiry, terrifying man torture a woman for about an hour I then approached him to request how to use the assisted chin and dip machine... Now it is assisted, so the weight is taken OFF your weight, rather than that being the weight you are lifting.
47kg was the setting I did one set dips, one set chin lifts.
He also assured me that he'd torture me for free if I booked a session. V v tempting - he was killing that woman... and she was uber-fit, the kind of woman where she looks perfectly lovely and 'feminine' (whatever that may be) but nothing wobbles... bitch

Then the lat pull down:
2 x 12 on 19Kg
1 x 12 on 26Kg

Finally the sodding tricep weight dip with a 6Kg weight. After the chin & dip machine this was torture, it took me all my time to get through the 3 sets of 12.

I left in a sweaty puddle to buy a Twix and pick up the free copy of The Stylist which is a fantastic Style magazine. Oh the joy of free city newspapers.

Now I'm stuck listening to the washing machine which of put on 60 seems to last for about 3hours... stop spinning, please stop spinning.

Off to shower - eat, then many hours hence collect CHG from the station... what a lovely end to the week.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Running, Amsterdam, Bridesmaid, Crochet

I'm blogging because the heating is on; it would seem foolish to go and walk the dog (in the cold and possible sleet) whilst it's on. So instead I'm at the kitchen table, enjoying the feeling of warmth on my back (and the dog enjoys the warmth too).

As per bloody usual, it's been a while. I'm going to start with what this blog is supposed to be about: running.

I have been going to the gym, a little haphazardly perhaps, but going nonetheless.

21st: Delightful treadmill run 4miles - 36.44 on HILL setting level 5 (495 calories)
Then the incredible waist making machine 3 sets of 12 on 40Kg
Lat Pull down on 26 (3 sets of 12)
Tricep dip - two handed with 6Kg weight.

This was a last ditch effort at health before heading off on my bday/xmas trip to Amsterdam. More on that later.

My next gym session was last night (I know, ridiculous gap):
Another lovely 4 miles (trying to make that my base level of run) - 36.51 HILL setting level 7. (526 calories)
Then again the waist making machine 42.5kg (3 sets of 12); Lat pull down 26kg x 12 then 2 sets of 12 19Kg. Bloody thing. 3 sets of 12 6Kg weight tricep dips; and finally a new addition - the weird half a gym ball thing that you put your back against and grip onto hand holds then raise your legs in the air... brilliant. Feels like a super-low stomach muscle thing. LOVE IT.

Turns out I really like the gym, and I've missed it. I like being in a place where it's ok to want to be fit and healthy. It's ok to sweat and look like shit. It's not a place where random strangers are going to yell at you in passing (not that common round Arthur's Seat, but very common elsewhere). And people watching is fun. A note to women out there - if you're doing aerobic exercise and after 5min you aren't sweating, or feeling a burn in the muscles, or having to regulate your breathing - YOU AREN'T WORKING HARD ENOUGH. Even doing weights should be a proper work out, there should be effort and sweat. I'll shut-up now.

Keep looking at the vibro-plate with interest... and many other machines. Need more time to explore the options, and work out what will be best for my 'problem areas'...
The most fun last night was watching all the men. It's a weird world of strutting, preening and pretending not to care all rolled into one. And why are super-muscle men often (and I'll say this in hushed tones so as not to offend) quite short? All v entertaining. Hair dye and spray tans ahoy.

Back to much more fun stuff:
Amsterdam was incredible. I discovered the delightful dutch profitjes which are little mini puffed up pancakes served with lots of powdered sugar and a knob of butter. Where have you been all my life? I also discovered that pickled herring is not pickled enough and is really quite slimy *shudder*.

We (CHG & me) were staying in an apartment in De Pijp, an area just outside the centre with great markets and a less touristy feel. Fantastic to have our own space and be able to chill out. As we were there for 4 days we made the most of all of it seeing: the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, doing a boat tour, Rembrant's House - and doing lots and lots of walking and looking. All very relaxed. And needless to say there was some great food; a fantastic plastic tabled Malay place with the best vegetable dish I've ever tasted; and a great bistro (for my birthday meal) where I had the most incredible steak with chips and truffle mayonnaise... hmmmm, truffle mayonnaise. (That was a recommendation from an Amsterdammer - they were spot on!)

The only bad bit was leaving at the airport for our respective cities. That really sucked. But the good news is she turns up on Friday for just over 2 weeks - I can't wait. (Even if she has to write for almost all of it.)

Whilst I was enjoying the delights of Amsterdam (bloody cold by the way); golden dog was enjoying her favourite holiday spot. She was staying with RF, Dougal and Wheeler. She had the paws walked off her and I hear reports that she was also put in Dougal's jumper and had THE STOVE LIT for her when she looked a little bit cold... so yes, she was spoilt. She reacts well to being spoilt. But was still happy to come home, always sweet when she acts like she might have actually missed me!

On returning I had a few days to get back to real life before celebrating my birthday. I know, I know - dragging it out!

Five of us headed to Prestonfield House for their Afternoon Tea. The place is incredible, I've been there before and I love, love, love the decor and the atmosphere. The tea was also the best I've ever had; and a fussy group all agreed it wins hands down. Great sandwiches, great cakes, INCREDIBLE scones. The service was... really quite lacking for somewhere like that. We were brought no milk, we had to ask. The plates were never cleared which was fine as that didn't interrupt the chatting. But after serving and checking we were ok once we were not asked again... and we were there 3 hours plus. It took ages (20min) to get someones attention to get the bill (and the ladies next to us had the same problem); then the bill took so long coming that our cab was waiting for us before the bill had been presented. Poor bloody show from a place where the service should be top notch. I know it's only afternoon tea, but even so - a bit more care and attention would be great. You go somewhere like that to feel spoiled.

But the whole day was just lovely. Lots of fizz was drunk, lots of chat was had, and I got some of the most lovely, thoughtful presents. We were all also still awake at 2.30am - unheard of in these advanced years.

The next day was spent with HH doing bridesmaid duty. And it was damn fun. I think her head was spinning by the end of it... nothing like a wedding planner to ask a billion tiny questions. But also much was sorted out; and much was cemented as ideas. All v v exciting.

Monday night also saw me teaching some impromptu crochet at Granny Greens... with my skill level this was hilarious, but it seemed to work -people were crocheting, and seemed quite happy about it. Who knew I'd be the one to show them.

Right, the heating has now gone off, I think we're all caught-up. The sun is shining (temporary measure I'm sure) and I have a million small jobs to get done.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

This is going to hurt tomorrow.

I'm trying to get back into this blogging lark I really am.
More an 2 posts a month would be a start.

I've cooked for HH and Teech (again with the Orkney Fudge Cheesecake... too good, and too easy to not make... and a stoved chicken thing that was all potato, chicken and garlic goodness).
This was before it baked in the oven for about 75mins. The delightful shine is all buttery goodness.

I then tried to run off some of the chickeny goodness by doing a 5k the next morning. It was sans dog and therefore a little bit faster; think it was just under 30min - not bad considering the magnitude of the hill. This helped to aliviate my guilt, but not my hunger, as I headed out to dinner with Meeper and Ceegar. A really lovely night of chatting, drinking (if my hangover the next morning was anything to go by WOW were those gins strong). Good to all catch-up.

After starting the running with more conviction I've had the odd twinge in my back. It was well and truly buggered when I moved house in 2008, and then moving in 2010 didn't help it any. Not sitting awkwardly (which I do all the sodding time) and yoga seem to help... so I did some yoga.

It wasn't exactly 45min of torture, but it was clear that I haven't stretched out properly in quite some time. Will try and add it into what I laughably call a 'routine' with a little more regularity. I do like it though; dynamic ashtanga yoga has a lot going for it - even if my 'practice' is more about staying moving than it is about 'the breath'. Grrr

So after creaking my way through the post yoga days, and seeing Pickle for a lovely coffee and catch-up (Valvona & Crolla's coffee was lack luster to say the least, but the lemon polenta cake was delightful); I headed out to Granny Greens. (Or as I think of it - truly the best craft group there could ever be. People are friendly, chatty, and everyone just gets on with whatever they are making.) I took 2 extra balls of wool with me and was delighted to be half way through the last by the time I headed home. The wooly made for the chg is finished, just in time to take it to Amsterdam! It should have been a scarf, it is a small blanket... possibly the largest thing I have ever made. I only hope I can fit it in my small travel case.... or maybe I'll just have to wear it, and pack my scarf... Oh god, it's huge - migrant families could use it for shelter.

But, today, and here we get to what should be the backbone of my blog, I ***WENT TO THE GYM*** The gym, that is less than 5 min walk from my house, that I had yet to frequent. Well, I went. And I paid £6.90. It was not peak time. And if you want to shower it's another £1.30... I'm only glad I live so close.

The only negative is the cost. The place is pretty great with more machines than any other gym I've ever been in... and there's even a modicum of natural light, and plenty of water machines.
I tell a lie - there's another negative, the damn machines are in Kilometres. Pah. This did make me go faster though.

So, enough waffle onto the achievement portion of the post:
5 miles (count 'em) - in 46.22 (this averages at 9.16 a mile - much more like it). And I did genuinely feel like I could probably have made it to the 10k point. Always a good feeling. But as I haven't run as far as 5miles since APRIL 2010 (*red with shame*) it would have been seriously foolish to push it any further. I used the new and shiny (and dead comfy to run on) machine on HILL setting level 5. Not massive hills - only up to about 4% - but enough to make it a proper work out for the glutes. Other machine notes: nowhere to balance the ipod to actually watch anything, but a good little cubby if I wanted it to listen to stuff. Also a great water bottle holder. (Sometimes it's the simple things that make a difference.)

Then, and here I will bore you as I need to write it down as a log, I did some of the machines.
An incredible obliques and abs machine which is going to make me scream tomorrow morning as I roll over. Kneel on a pad, rotate your body to grasp the chest pad, hold yourself in place and do weighted lower body rotations.... did 3 sets of 12 for each side. First two sets on 35Kg, last set on 40Kg. Then 3 sets of 12 (weight 19??) on the lat pull down; and 3 sets of triceps dips holding a 6kg weight. So I didn't go mental with the gym work after the run, but I tried to work out the bits of me that get ignored (anything but the legs really). Think the new Ab machine might be a real favorite though.... oh so good, feeeel the burn.

Definitely time for bed. Lovely to feel so physically knackered... but makes my typing bad.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Hola 2011

So, let's start the year with a catch-up; why change the habit of a blog-time?

I'll start with xmas: It was truly incredible. Despite each setting a budget to stop there being any gift upset... the chg decided that my xmas and bday can be rolled into a big gift. So for my bday we're heading to Amsterdam for a 4 day break. Complete relaxation, and art - bloody perfect. I was a little overwhelmed.

But enough of that - the foood. We had roast Duck (thanks to Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstal's recipe, and the lovely people at Crombie's), and all of the other trimmings. Bread sauce.... yum. And then Opera from Manna House. Starters were delayed for another day - there was just so much Duck. CHG then made duck soup with roast veggies. It was incredible. Best soup ever ... more later.

The following day Smoothie, TallTales, and the assorted rugrats invited us round for xmas dinner. Whoo Hoo 2 xmas dinners. This was mini tartlets, incredible roast pork and all the trimmings (sprouts with cream & pancetta) (spiced red-cabbage); and then I'd made Orkney Fudge Cheesecake for the first time. It rocks. GO MAKE IT.

We finally managed a bit of a blending of friends. The Bailie pub quiz was the location. And we (HH, Teech. CHG, Me, Smoothie) did a mighty fine job... but were beaten by Brain Drain. All I can say is sodding Brain Drain were our nemesis from years ago, and apparently still are! The Quiz Master hasn't lost his touch though, but maybe his passion for it was lacking... possibly just the winter blues.

I also manged to see Atlantic Boy and his delightful new girlf (not that new, but when you live 1000s of miles away time is a little more flexible). A wonderful burger and beers at Holyrood 9A made us all smile. It felt, as it always does, like we see each other every week.

NEW YEAR - we packed the car, the pooch and our expectations. We were going north. To Aviemore. But not without a mini-trip to St. Andrews as my Dad had suggested it would be nice if he met the chg (and suggested it was 'on the way'.... on what atlas). All was delightful. Tea was drunk and she was v pleased to be handed the controls to THE GIANT TRAIN SET THAT RUNS ROUND THE ENTIRE BACK GARDEN (I so wish I was joking). I'm not sure I've ever been handed the controls to the train set?

We found our yurt, our host, and all things north to be truly splendid. The stove did heat the place; and as I told Teech, "Warm is a state of mind." Other friends asked if it was Glamping. I told them categorically that no, it was not. Fantastic, fun, peaceful, beautiful yes - glam, no.
All you need is plenty of planning and imagination. This is where the best ever roast duck soup came into its own. I would die happy if that was my last meal! We were glad, however, that our trip didn't coincide with the -17 C weather. Those people put in the visitors' book that they had to DEFROST the hot water bottle before managing to get the ice out so they could fill it and heat the bed. Bbbbbrrrrrrrr

We started January back in Edinburgh and climbed Arthur's Seat to the very top. And then went round the radical road, it seemed like the perfect start to the year. All that sky and view and possibility.

Due to both impending dissertation and also the incredible trip to Amsterdam the chg and I are due to be apart for 19 days this month. That sucks. However modern technology is a marvel that allows us to see each other everyday, and even have dinner together occasionally.

Since then I've fitted in 2 runs. ***attention to all those expecting a running blog***
A natty little 5k up and back on Arthur's Seat - 31.45 sllooooow, but I'll take it.
And a 4 miler - 4 whole miles, round the seat with a little detour in the Duddingston direction 40.40. Again, I need to speed up - but I'm just happy to be out again.
I was about to head out yesterday morning then I realized the small snow shower had turned everything to snow and ice, yet again. I hate running on ice and snow. I like to run without thinking about it, without worrying about tripping, falling, or generally watching my feet. I've got my fingers firmly crossed for tomorrow!

But sociability has been the watch for this month:
I've had lunch with meeper at the always lovely Urban Angel
Cinema with HH & Teech and cakes!!!!!! (But do go and see the King's Speech - as much tension and drama as the best thriller.)
And I'm off to meet Chopper for a wee bite and a quiet pint, a place where the gold dog can come too. Bliss.

Tomorrow I cook, run, work and attempt to clean the flat a wee bit... too ambitious for a Friday?