Exeter Roundup

For newer readers, Topher’s family are from Exeter in Devon and Falmouth in Cornwall. In 2014 we headed down to both (search devon and falmouth for posts) which was really fun. This year we headed down just to Exeter, Devon to see Topher’s dad’s side of the family. As well as seeing everyone again, I got to meet Topher’s dad and his half sister who live in Tenerife with the rest of their clan. It was a fun week mixed with all the weather bar snow and we packed in as much as we could. So time to photo-bomb you now!

Something I miss is walking. We definitely got in some walking on this trip, though not as much as I would have liked due to the ever changing weather. We were lucky enough that on the first day it was boiling so we were able to do this particular hike.

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This abandoned old house was so cool and I loved the random bunting someone put up.

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There’s something just so beautiful about forests. I wish we could get married in the woods. Damn you England with your laws against getting married outside.

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Since it was such a short visit two years ago, I didn’t get the chance to go into Exeter’s city centre but this time we went twice. It was great to get to a Tiger store – why are there barely any branches up north? Though there were the usual chain stores and cafes, there were a few unique gems. Vegetarians out there get yourself to The Plant Cafe. We only got drinks but the food and cakes looked awesome. Another time I guess.

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How cute are these chocolate robots? If I’d had any money I would have probably bought up the entire shop.

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This paper installation at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter gave me some serious paper plant goals. Imagine how awesome they would look if they were coloured paper!

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So when in Devon, it is a crime if you don’t get yourself a cream tea. And I’m no law-breaker! This were by far the best we had while we were there – the place was called Tea on the Green and it’s right next to the Exeter Cathedral. The scones were still warm when they brought them out and you could tell they were freshly baked. Perfection!

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The tea was also very nice and the teapots were very unusual. The bottom of the pot is pressurised so the tea comes out of there. You pick it up and press it on top of your cup and the tea comes out the bottom. Very weird but pretty cool.

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Topher’s family love their board games so there was plenty of Pictionary, Rummikubs and Uno played throughout the week. This facemats were also pretty entertaining – apparently I really suit a moustache.

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When the weather wasn’t so great, we headed to places like Bickleigh Mill which is a shop and cafe full of treasures for your home and great for gifts.

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Afterwards, we headed to Fisherman’s Cot Pub where I had one of the best beef carvery sandwiches in my life. Seriously I am still dreaming about this sandwich over two weeks later!

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And what’s a holiday without ice cream? I tried a ginger ice cream which was very tasty, while Topher and Emma had bubblegum.

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All in all it was a great trip and I’m sure one day we’ll be back!

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#BEDM Day 3: Walk to Work

Let’s start this post with a fact. I work from home. My walk to work is exactly 10 seconds long where I stroll from my bedroom to my office in our box room. Exciting times. Funnily enough this is the first time I’ve actually been able to walk to work. In the past there’s always some form of transport involved in getting me from A to B.

However, walk to work month brings up an important topic. Fitness. I don’t have any. I probably should get some. Or I should at least go outside every once in a while. Without fail I leave the house on Thursdays for Slimming World followed by the weekly shop and then on Fridays when I take part in Freelance Friday at Zieferblat in Manchester. Though I do walk to the train station and then to the café on the Friday, that’s pretty much all my walking for the week.

So I need to work some more walking into my schedule. The neighbourhood I live in isn’t exactly the nicest for walking, which does make me miss the lovely country walks Topher and I used to have in Peterborough. I think that is literally the only thing I miss about living there. Seriously check it out.

But luckily Topher discovered that it’s only a short walk to Debdale Park from our house. He loves to walk and decided to see where the path near our house goes. What a discovery! I had no idea there was a reservoir as well as a large park all a stones throw from our new home. I took some photos when we had those couple of sunny days a few weeks back. Isn’t it beautiful?
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Now if only it could stay sunny for longer than 5 minutes then I’ll be back out there. Or even just on a day with no rain, I’ll take that!

I’ve been contemplating getting a fitbit. But considering the price, I may have to wait until I have a couple more freelance clients. Yikes! It’s definitely something on the horizon though. Do you have one and would you recommend it? I just think it’ll make me get more active as I love to count things. We’ll see.

Do you walk to work?

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My Week #11

So this is my 2016 so far. Is everyone having a good week? I know I am. Yes I was made redundant but it did feel pretty nice not having to get up early with the rest of the world on the 4th. Anyway, the year started off with a house party at my friends house where I used to live now. Loving what they’ve done with the place since I and the other lodger left. It looks so grown up! I can’t wait to move into my place which should hopefully be in the next couple of months.

Also technically in 2015 but I had to share anyway, I finally saw Star Wars. I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I was going to. Though was shocked that the actor who plays the baddie is from Girls. Hasn’t he been in everything recently? I was a bit distracted by that to be honest but the film was a good one – full of action and laughs.

Earlier this week Topher and I walked 16 miles. Daaamn we need a lot of training. Considering that was a quarter of the entire trek we definitely have our work cut out for us. Turns out that to town and back is 18 miles but we had to take the bus for the last two miles as we were dying and we had achieved our 16 mile goal. Next week we will make it home, that’s the plan. My new walking boots are fantastic. Not a blister in sight! Though I can’t say the same for my joints. My hips could not handle it. Maybe yoga would help to stretch them? Feel so old.

My Kikki-K planner arrived on New Years Eve – just in time and it’s so pretty. I love using it. Here’s to being more organised this year! As for the kitties, Pickles currently enjoys wrapping himself up in blankets to look like Yoda and Luna proved my box theory correct. Sick and tired of having your cats walk all over your work? Put a box on the table to distract them. They can’t help themselves but sit in it!

And finally in other news I got my first freelance VA role, woo hoo! It’s a only a few hours a month but it’s a start!

How was your week?

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London to Brighton Trek, Take 2 with Scruffs

*Post in collaboration with Scruffs

As I wrote in my 2016 goals on Friday, I want to complete the London to Brighton trek. We made a lot of mistakes last time and here’s how we’re going to fix them.

Get the correct equipment.

We weren’t exactly smart last time with our equipment. My boots were borrowed from my mum. They were leather and a size too big. That and we accidently left the baby powder in our hotel room before the trek. It’s no wonder I ended up with so many blisters. So now I’ve invested in my own pair. Bought from an outdoor shop in the sales that are fabric, waterproof and fit me. It’s the simple things.

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Also, Scruffs have kindly gifted me the Classic Red Parka that will be ideal for training in the freezing upcoming months. It’s very important to have things like this to stop the excuses of its too cold or its raining that could prevent us from training.

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It’s a size medium that allows me to wear a couple of layers underneath; a detachable hood, which is essential for the Manchester rain and plenty of pockets to store things in. Either the chest pocket or the upper arm pocket would be perfect for my phone as I plan on listening to podcasts while I train alone.

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A waterproof jacket is something I didn’t have last time either – unless you count the thin rain jacket I got from Primark. Luckily living in London it barely rained while we trained but I will seriously need something more substantial now that we’re based in the north again.

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I’ve only worn it once so far (so cozy!) but as this post goes out I’ll be wearing it for my first training session – walking into Manchester and back, which is about 16 miles in total. If you were looking for a good quality outdoor jacket, I would definitely recommend Scruffs.

Pace yourself

So as well as having bad equipment, we made our first mistake in the first 10 miles. We got talking to a nice guy before the trek began and we walked with him. Good conversation but wow he was on a much more advanced level in terms of pace. We should have gone at our own pace because this burned me out very early on. Next time, I’m just going to walk how I want to. Don’t compare yourselves to other people!

Train more

Last time we began training in February, which gave us 5 months to train. Our first walk was about 10 miles. We went walking once a week but there were weekends that we skipped. The longest walk we did was about 24 miles at one time. Which is about a third of what the actual walk is.

This time I want to train every week and as many times as I can fit in two sessions. Our first training session is today and I want to get 16 miles done as mentioned earlier. I’ll let you know how we go!

Get a support driver

This was another big factor in our failure. You don’t need to have a support driver but it is advised. We did not have one last time. The main problem with this is that we had to carry all of our stuff, so not only the stuff for the trek but all of our things for the hotel at both ends. Since we took the train, we didn’t have a car to store anything in.

Having a support driver means that you only have to carry what you need for that portion of the trek. Your support driver waits for you at each checkpoint with all the important but non essential things. Extra food, water, clothing and your phone charger.

They are called a support driver for a reason. It’s quite impressive how much more motivated you would be if there was someone there waiting for you at each checkpoint to cheer for you and drive you to carry on. We are definitely having one this year.

Be prepared for any weather

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We were all the more ready for rain last time, but we were completely unprepared for what was the clearest day I have ever seen. Not a cloud in the sky, which brought sunshine and dehydration. There is only so much water you can carry with you when you haven’t got a support driver and if you aren’t used to walking in heat then you’re pretty much doomed from the start. So fingers crossed we get a nice variety of weather to train in this year!

Have you ever attempted anything like this for charity? What advice would you give?

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The final practice walk

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but when it comes to thinking about doing the London to Brighton Trek in less than two weeks time, I’m officially bricking it! 
 
The show must go on however, we’re almost at our target and have been training as much as we can – the last big practise walk being last weekend. (Blognix this weekend woo!)
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It was a beautiful day, though slightly too beautiful to be honest. In terms of how hot it was. Let’s just say we sweated buckets! I want it to be overcast on the day of the trek – not too hot or too cold. I’ll just keep praying shall I?
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This sloth/tree made our day!
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I love this walk so much – it’s such a pretty route. We get to see a lake, a river, green fields, a bit of woodland and a golf course. Not to mention all the little rabbits we see. So cute!
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Almost stood on this little guy. He was creeping along the footpath trying to remain unseen – thank goodness he’s such a contrast to the mud otherwise it would not have been pretty!
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They seem to like their trains in Peterborough from what I’ve seen so far. This one just appears to go back and forth somewhere. Will have to give Railworld a visit!
 
How did you enjoy the weekend weather?
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