Ups and Downs

A personal Best

I went to Parkrun again on Saturday. I know I keep banging on about it, but I can’t tell you enough how much it’s encouraged me to keep on running. As well as being lapped by the fastest runners, I also get lapped by parents running with double buggies, adults running with small children and people running with dogs. Despite all this there is constant support from the marshals and a tail runner to make sure that no matter how slow you are, you always have someone with you. I hit another personal best this week, at 45:10, still at the back, but still determined.

A healthy eating lapse

My healthy eating plan went out of the window for several days this week. The first reason was due to comfort eating. I haven’t done this since the start of the year, but for some reason I allowed other people to undermine my confidence and make me feel miserable. Before I knew what had happened I had called in the supermarket on the way home and was tucking into a full tub of Ben and Jerry’s. This was then followed of two days of eating sweets and biscuits which made me feel rough. I know that comfort eating is not the answer, but still occasionally slip back into these habits without even thinking about it.

The second reason was that on Saturday I spent the afternoon in Leeds with some lovely friends from work, as one of our lovely ladies is leaving. It was a great afternoon and although it’s very sad that someone is moving on, it was lovely for us all to get together and spend some time away from work. It wasn’t great for the healthy eating plan (I’m not sure you can count cocktails as part of your 5 a day) but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m now back on track ready to face a new week in a positive frame of mind.


I spent my Sunday afternoon decluttering the attic bedroom. This was occupied full-time by my eldest daughter prior to going to university. She’s been gone for three years now and there are things stored in there that haven’t seen the light of day in all that time.

To be fair there were things that haven’t seen the light of day for a lot longer than that. This included the following:

  • A pair of ski salopettes belonging to my husband (we haven’t been skiing for over 20 years!)
  • My wedding dress (we’ve been married 26 years, but it did have an airing about 6 years ago when my eldest daughter went to a Tim Burton themed party as “The corpse Bride”)
  • Several pairs of shoes belonging to my youngest daughter (She absolutely had to have them, but wore them only once)
  • Various blow up air beds (some of which don’t actually inflate anymore)
  • Spare rolls of wallpaper and carpet (none of it which matched any of the wallpaper or carpet that we have now

Thankfully we agreed what would be taken to the tip, what we were keeping and what would go to the charity shop, which now leaves space for more useful items and after a coat of paint will make a lovely bedroom again for when she comes home, or a guest bedroom for anyone else who wants to stay.

A bit of a mixed bag all in all, but here’s to next week, whatever it brings!

Short but sweet

When I started this blog in January I wanted to make sure that I had something to write about each week. I didn’t want it to be boring to look back on in a years time. So here is just a short snippet for this week:

Today was the first training session for “Walk the Walk” in May. It was a six mile walk around Hardcastle Crags, which is a lovely part of Yorkshire. The weather was mild, but dull and it was quite muddy in parts. It was lovely to spend a couple of hours with my husband and my friend, walking and talking and made even better by a café on the route.

What was really great though was to see families out walking with their children. Last week I went to Ikea to look for furniture and saw families virtually dragging children round there. I’m afraid I’m not very tolerant of children in heelies or running round playing hide and seek. I apologise to those who have no choice to take their children to places like this at the weekend, but children always seem much happier being allowed to climb on rocks, paddle in puddles and stamp through mud in their wellies. In these days of gadgets and non stop entertainment, it was good to see children out and about, enjoying the simple things in life.

The route we took today includes a part of the world where we spent time when we were younger. It was lovely to see my husband pointing into the distance and explaining to my friend how, 27 years ago, he proposed to me on the banks of the river, down on one knee in the freezing cold and knee deep snow.  Valentines Day goes uncelebrated in our house, as a protest against commercialism, but it’s nice to know that deep down inside, he’s still an old romantic at heart.

Image result for hardcastle craggs

A work in progress

I am what I am

As you’ve probably realised already, I am not a slim lady. I am overweight, a larger lady, although one of my friends once described me as “rubenesque”. Afterwards she came and apologised to me as she felt that I might be offended. I have to say that I wasn’t. I am aware of how I look and sometimes this bothers me and I decide to do something about it. Other times I feel that I am who I am and my confidence in other areas of my life makes me forget about my weight. It is because of this that I have been a “yo yo dieter” for most of my adult life. I am like a lot of women with a weight problem and have tried all sorts of ridiculous diets. I’ve spent a fortune on books, foods and gadgets in an effort to lose weight and keep it off. I have wasted far too much time in the quest to have the perfect body, which in all honesty I’m unlikely to achieve and which probably doesn’t exist.

Will this year be different?

This year I am trying to put a stop to this and eat healthily and exercise because I want to and because I enjoy it, rather than spending a few weeks starving myself followed by weeks of just eating far too much. We are now 6 weeks into the new year and I am still doing well. Normally I’ve given up by now. However, I’m not saying I’ve been perfect. I have enjoyed nights out, I’ve had meals out, followed by dessert. The one thing I haven’t done so far is to just to completely blow it all because I’ve gone off track once.

The other thing that is really helping is running. I never thought I’d ever say that!  When I say running, I’m not talking about sprinting, but a slow plod, a jog, sometimes interspersed with a walk and a slightly faster jog.  I’ve always enjoyed walking, but I have continued with run together and have also been doing parkrun on a Saturday morning. The support of these groups is amazing and I am improving my fitness as well as losing a bit of weight, which can only be good. Long may it continue.

How could I be offended?

I accept that I am not model slim, but it is more important to be healthy and happy. At this moment in time I am remaining positive that I will continue to lose some weight, but living life for now, rather than waiting until then.

I looked at some of Ruben’s paintings on the internet. They involve some very shapely women, along with some religious painting and slightly scary artwork.

As a matter of interest the urban dictionary has the following definition of rubenesque:

“Applied to a woman who has similar proportions to those in paintings by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Ruben; attractively plump; a woman who is alluring or pretty but without the waif-like body or athletic build presently common in media.”

How could anyone be offended by that?




A woman of a certain age

What are we waiting for?

As I get nearer to 50 I have begun to realise that people expect certain behaviour from you as you get to “a certain age”, as demonstrated by the following conversation at work this week:

Male colleague: I need a haircut

Me: I’m trying to grow mine a bit

Male colleague: I think when women get to a certain age they shouldn’t have long hair

Me: Well what’s a certain age?

Male colleague: Well I know how old you are because you’ve invited me to your 50th

Me: So what’s classed as long hair

Slight pause, followed by an explanation of who he knows, how old they are and how long their hair is!

The thing is that I feel more confident, less stressed and more free to do some of the things that I’ve put off for years whilst waiting to lose weight, waiting until the children are more independent, waiting until I can afford or waiting until I retire.

Things to stop wasting your time with

My daughter posted an item on Facebook  20 Things You Should Stop Wasting Your Time Doing In Your 20s. I looked through it and I realised that a lot of the things that are still relevant to me and some of my friends of a similar age. It’s sad that we let our insecurities and self doubt restrict our lives.  I’m certainly still guilty of a lot of things on the list – namely

Feeling the need to justify your choices

Looking for reassurances that you are enough

Letting other people’s fear dictate your decisions

Talking about improving your life but never doing anything about it

Never leaving your comfort zone

Keeping your life cluttered

Deciding you’ll only do things when you have money or lose weight

Being afraid to ask for help

Sound familiar to any of you?

So part of this year’s plan of action is to start and shake these things off !

The girls

I was really lucky to be able to go to London with a couple of lovely ladies from work to see “The Girls”, this weekend which is the musical based on the Calendar Girls. It was a brilliant show, funny in some parts and very moving in others. It is written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth. The script and the music seem to go hand in hand to create a retelling of the story in a new way. It is based on a true story involving a group of women from a Yorkshire Women’s Institute, who raise money for a sofa at a local hospital, where one of their husband’s died. They do this by creating a nude calendar. Very brave ladies who went against convention for a great cause.

The really great thing about it for me was the women in the show. Not only did they have great voices and superb acting skills, but their bravery in baring (nearly) all live in front of an audience was impressive in itself. The show talks a lot about women’s roles in life, what’s expected of women by their partners, children and society in general. It also teaches us a lot about ourselves. How we put on a brave face or try to be something we are not to fit in with others. One song especially struck a chord with me – “What age expects”- I’m not as old as the lady in question, but this line certainly says it all

“Don’t be the colour of your hair, be the colour of your heart”

Absolutely! And its no one else’s business how long that hair is !

Harrods – What a disappointment!

And finally just a little bit of a moan.

One of the things we wanted to do whilst in London was to visit Harrods. We had a few things that we wanted to buy. So off we went with our overnight cases, having checked ot of the hotel this morning.

Initially we were turned away from two exits and told to go round the building with no explanation from the slightly snooty security staff. I know I’d had a good night out but I didn’t think I looked rough enough to be refused entry.

On the third occasion we were directed to the next door on and were handed a bag drop card. We went to the bag drop and were told that our bags would be scanned and then we could leave our bags for £25 per item. The consolation was that you then receive a £25 voucher to spend in Harrods. Lovely, we thought, great for security and nice to wander round without the bags. Also fair enough that they charge you to leave your bag if you just wander round and don’t spend anything. Sadly this is not the case (excuse the pun) You have to spend £50 to get £25 off, so unless you spend £50 each, it costs you £25 each to leave your bag.

Come on Harrods, this is a really elitist system. If you’re concerned for security, I am more than happy to have my bag scanned and check it in.  I don’t mind paying for the privilege and getting some of the money back, but £25 is a joke.

My feeling is that it is not about security at all, but about making a bit of extra money, or just putting the average, non millionaire visitor off entering your store!


Moan over. After all it’s been a great weekend spent with lovely people doing things that I love most. Here’s to the next one ladies and here’s to all “women of a certain age” who refuse to be tied down by other people’s opinions of them. I certainly intend to be one of them.