The Final Countdown

Less than 24 hours to go and I will be setting out for my challenge, running 10 miles for the Great South Run.

New running shoes
Running shoes

Am I prepared? Well I am prepared in my Tina way. Tina’s way is to not to get too overwhelmed with the task in hand, read some advice but not get bogged down with it, know my limits, prepare for a few setbacks but believe in myself. This run is for me although I want to make my family proud.


One area I had set this practice into was this blog. I had always wanted to start a blog and downloaded lots of free books on how to write a blog. The word “wordpress” came up and it was another language to me. I immediately thought this was too much for me to deal with so I put it aside. It also suggested that I needed a subject I was going to write about. I didn’t consider myself a specialist in anything – just enjoyed what I liked doing. When Kathryn set me my challenges including “make blog”, I decided that I would take up the challenge and do it my way. It isn’t perfect but I am having fun doing it and enjoying doing it my way.

So big day is not far away and I am quite excited. I don’t expect any outstanding times but the achievement of finishing is my goal (I would like to look good at the end too but that might be a bit too much to expect!). I would say I don’t expect any medals but, I think if I finish, I will get one!

Since my last post on the lead up to the run, I have got used to running at different times of the day. Normally an early morning runner, I have run a few times after work. I used to find this so hard but I think that was just those little voices in my head whispering you can’t run at this time. Inspired by Kathryn, I did one run whereby I ran for 2.5 miles, walked for 10 minutes, then run for another 2.5 miles. I felt better with the 2nd part of the run so if I feel a bit weak on Sunday, I will use this method.

Kathryn's first run last year
Kathryn’s first run last year

I was also not feeling well last weekend so I had to give running a miss for a few days. I did manage a mile on Sunday but got caught in the rain. With luck, there won’t be any rain on Sunday as I don’t want to run in that.

I did my final run on Friday and made it a short run. I can’t believe that I said that – 3.4 miles was not short too me a while ago! The sun was shining for that. It was lunchtime and at a time that I will be running on Sunday. Hopefully I will feel as good as I did on that run and I will have a medal to share on here.

Good luck to everyone taking part and sorry to my family if you have to wait too long for me to finish!

One More Try

This year (my 50th) is bringing me 50 challenges to try to tick off. It is tough but I realised the other day that I can use some to my advantage. I have bought myself some flowers and found that I love that experience so regularly do that. I also try and buy friends and family some every now and then – it brightens their day too. I will certainly buy myself another shade of lipstick. Certainly like that now.


One I still have to tick is bake a cake I never have tried before. I am practising this regularly by trying new cakes and techniques. I do know the cake I have in mind to make for this but it is fun and tasty trying new cakes.

This is the challenge that I will have to have one more try (and maybe another one or two) before I am quite happy.

Challenge 15 – go and pick yourself out a new outfit.

I did actually plan to do this one for Christmas but after feeling groggy last Friday with a cold, I decided that I needed a bit cheering up. Normally I buy from Next but I thought the George selection in Asda looked very appealing and I wanted a short skirt. Needing to wake up, I took a walk to our local store but ended up being so disappointed because I could not match anything. I had an idea what I wanted and they needed to go with these lovely shoes bought for me by Chris.


Armed with Freddo chocolate bars, I marched home, made a coffee and along with the tissues, I opened up the faithful Next catalogue which had sat unopened for two weeks. Could not find the sort of thing I wanted. I was on a mission though and soon found what I wanted online at Dorothy Perkins along with a 25% discount. This meant I could go with two tops with the skirt!

I was so excited when it arrived. I had a bit of a worry – should a fifty year old really wear shorter skirts but I planned to dress it up with woolly tights and with short legs would it matter. Should I really care?!


I was delighted with it and paraded round with it. It turned out I was being quite fashionable because Jordan said all the girls in his office wore that sort of thing (okay they were probably 25 years younger than me) but he did assure me it looked nice. Hopefully he means it and will take his old mum out in it sometime!


Anyway this will be a fantastic challenge when I complete it but I will give it one more try to find the perfect outfit so I can tick the box -well maybe two or three more tries!

That’s Entertainment

Since reaching 50, I have been able to watch films without falling asleep which is a big thing for me.  I tend now to only watch what I want to and also do something when I am watching.  Can even cross stitch too.

I have even been to the cinema four times and only paid for one of them.  Technically with the help of Tesco club card and Nectar I have though.  I have seen Me Before You, Ghostbusters (love those women) and Finding Dory which is a must for two 50 year olds.

The funniest film that I have ever seen and never stopped laughing so much, has got to be Bridget Jones’s Baby. I went along with Chris.  It was a packed cinema too and Chris was a bit of a minority in the audience.  There were probably only three men there. There are so many funny moments that when I talked about the film with Kathryn, I had forgotten about the man that worked at Starbucks! Trying not to give that away.

Bridget, played by Renee Zellweger, has grown up but still capable of getting herself into lots of trouble.  I so want her to be her.  Colin Firth is back again with the bumbling Mark Darcy and I can’t give anything away about Hugh Grant.  It was great to see the return of the old cast plus the gorgeous if not naughty Patrick Dempsey and one of my favourite’s, Emma Thompson.  I just love her.  It was probably the best of the three Bridget Jones films but I still love the other two. The soundtrack is wonderful too.   I now want to try the old glamping thing out.


The same week was an annual visit to the theatre with my two friends, Kelly and Leanne.  This is our third show and we have previously seen Wicked and Stomp. This time it was the foot tapping Mamma Mia with all those fantastic Abba songs.  We enjoyed our usual pre-dinner and wine at Nick’s Restaurant before heading to the Mayflower theatre.    Mamma Mia is definitely a show you see with a group of people and you want to go along for a jolly evening.  It certainly had great reviews and as it was the first time in Southampton, I knew plenty of people going to see the show.  There were a few groups who had dressed in the 70’s Abba outfits and I certainly missed out on wearing my 70’s hat I had bought for an Elton Tribute night.


I had seen the film and loved that.  The show did not disappoint and it was not hard to dance along to the music.  The actress who played Donna had an amazing voice and her two friends were very entertaining.  Wish I could do the splits like Rosie.  The three possible fathers were just like the characters from the film.  I loved the friends singing Super Trouper but I have no idea why but I do love Our Last Summer sung by Harry. I think it is the Colin Firth connection from the film.

It was the very good evening and a most enjoyable show.  Just have to plan our next year’s big night out.

Don’t Stop Believing (Thanks for making me a Fighter)

Oh dear – only two weeks to the Great South Run. The last three weeks have been a mixture of emotions – some doubts but also a lot of positive thinking.

It arrived this week

I have been very focused with eating better and my running plan. Well that is a bit of a fib about the eating better – tried a new cake recipe this week to take into work for MacMillan’s coffee morning and have made it my cake of the month and made it again. It is raspberry and assam tealoaf. Maybe raspberries in the cake count as one of my five a day.

So good - cake of the month
So good – cake of the month

I have joined the week work hustle on my fitbit with a group of other ladies. All I wanted to make sure I did was my 10,000 steps. I think I am quite active but the winner actually did 140,000 steps in the first week which made my 73,000 steps look very tame. I did come 4th out of 10 people though. Pleased to say that last week I improved and did 80,000 steps and came 3rd. I would have to give up work to win that challenge!

I did my second parkrun after my trip to Brighton. I nearly put it off as my legs ached so much from the walking the day before. Once again I felt quite exhausted but when I finished and actually saw that I had done my best times for each mile, it was understandable. I actually did the run in 34 mins 36 seconds which was 2 minutes faster than the first run. It felt great to see an improvement.

It did make me realise that as I am a bit of a plodder, I would not be able to do 10 miles at that pace so I plan to do the run slowly. As in my “It’s Now or Never” post, I have made sure that I run three times a week and because it is so dark in the mornings, I have even changed some of the times of running during the week. I was very pleased because I did manage to do 7.5 miles on Saturday.  I had a good start to the run because the first track that came on from my running playlist was the song “When the Going Get’s Tough”!

I will not be running for any charities for this run but if anyone wants to donate, please visit my lovely daughter’s page (I say lovely but she got me into this!). She is running for St George’s Hospital for looking after her pal, Lewis. Kathryn enjoys running these races for fun but also likes to help her friends. She has been very encouraging to me and really believes that I can do this challenge. She has even posted a letter to me on her blog with her words of wisdom.

One of her tips to me is to perhaps run a few miles and then walk before running again so I am going to have a go at that this week. Also told me Ab training is a must so out comes Jillian Michaels this week!

I must remember that this girl can.


When the going get’s tough, the tough get reading

I have a confession, I am (or was) a spend-on-bookaholic. I would get the e-mail from Amazon with the daily deals and I would put all sorts in for 99p. Why do I have that 1 click on Amazon! I could get through 4 books a month so I did read a few of them. Well since this challenge, I can say that I am nearly cured.


In September I read just 2 books. I decided for my different genre challenge that I would read a classic. Most classics are free so I have downloaded quite a few intending to read them but never doing that. Last September I did read To Kill a Mocking Bird. It was a bit of a tougher read but I enjoyed it. I decided to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.


I was very ignorant about what I was reading – just remember the Kate Bush song which seemed to be at the top of the chart forever. I started it eagerly. It was a slow start and I didn’t get into until Ellen Dean (Nelly) starts telling the story. Even then I found the story tough – I think it was not liking the main characters, Heathcliff and Catherine. I don’t think I have ever hated the main characters so much. It took me three weeks to read the book and I curled up on the sofa after my day out in Brighton, determined to finish it. In the end, I was so glad I made it through and the ending was everything I wanted. Maybe I will read another classic next September!



The second book I read is the reason I made my bold statement at the beginning. It was the only book I purchased in September and that was because it was on my wish list and had gone down in price. It was a book called From Italy With Love by Jules Wake. I had previously read From Paris with Love and hadn’t realised that it was the second book in a series. It can be read separately but there are a few spoilers for the first book. That said, it didn’t spoil it too much and I really enjoyed it. Pleased to say I loved all the characters in it. The main character, Laurie, is left a vintage Ferrari by her eccentric Uncle Miles. In his will, he sets her a task of driving it to Italy with a co-driver, the rather tasty Cameron.

It is a great trip from England to Italy and I enjoyed experiencing the places visited. Also the transformation of Laurie; she has a quiet life with a steady job and reliable boyfriend but on the trip finds the fun loving  zest for life that she had as a child.

Having read the second book I did know the ending but it was so enjoyable getting there. Great to see the meet the main characters of the second book in this one. There is a third book coming out, From Rome With Love, which is out in January. I have pre-ordered it so maybe I am not cured after all!

It’s been a cool, cool summer

My challenges have certainly made my summer different. My summer started on my birthday in Lanzarote where I reached my milestone birthday and was presented with my beautiful book full of challenges (note to Kathryn – it was worth the money!!).


I have enjoyed a picnic by the beach with my daughter, had a lovely trip to the Isle of Wight, saw the sights of London with my Son and made ginger beer; all on sunny days. One summer trip needed to be completed and we were nearing the end of September so were not sure it was going to be the summer trip intended.


To fit in with Kathryn going back to university, we decided to go on Friday 23 September. Being an optimistic, I booked the British Airways i360 in advance so we could view Brighton from this new landmark. It was going to be a bit of a disappointment if the clouds were in the sky. We needn’t have worried – after our train journey from Portsmouth – the first stop, Ella’s Yummy Delights, run by a mother and daughter – found us enjoying a lovely crumble/meringue cake in the sun with me taking all my layers off.


We had to be at the i360 half an hour before our flight time so took a brisk walk through North Laines to enjoy all the lovely quirky shops (we had time to try some clothes on and purchase something too from Jaba Yard).

On to the i360 which is a vertical cable car and the world’s tallest moving observation tower. Whilst queuing, one of the guides seemed to enjoy telling us about when the attraction came to a standstill a few weeks previously when it was full of people. He did reassure us that the problem had been sorted out. After bag checks (I did have a lot in my bag so sorry if you were behind me), we had our photos taken before waiting for our flight. The experience lasts 20 minutes and we had amazing views over Brighton. I particularly loved seeing all the old buildings and the bustling town. Nyetimber champagne was available to be purchased but although I do love champagne, I knew that I would feel a bit giddy with the heights too.



Sitting inside a restaurant on this glorious day would have been so wrong so we found a lovely outside restaurant by the sea and ordered our lunch along with a jug of pimms, a real must for a sunny day. Kathryn made a healthy choice for her dinner, salmon salad: I went with good old fish and chips. It was all yummy especially with the pimms.


We made sure we visited the pier; Brighton is a great favourite with us all and we always go for a walk here. We walked towards the pavilion and talked about our previous visits there. It was then time for pictures in a photo booth. I was expecting to have photos in one of the passport booths but this was in a shop where you could have black and white or colour photos with props. We chose the colour booth and as you can see, we didn’t get the props quite right.



After this it was time for our ice-cream, another tradition in any place, to try different flavours. Geleto Gusto, in North Laines, tempted us in and the ice cream was wonderful. Once eaten, we tried a bit of real shopping – Lakeland for me to buy a flan dish so I could try another technical challenge from Great British Bake Off.

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Brighton is one of the best places to visit and I don’t think I will ever get tired of this seaside town with it’s quirky shops. Kathryn and I had a wonderful day and it was a lovely end to Summer.