13 differences between the Good Friday Night 30k Run 2014/15

pic30 k in less than 3 hours.  I was happy, as it took 1 hr 17 to do the first 10k.  I was seriously deflated, why had it taken me so long?  I did my calculations and thought there was no chance of finishing sub-3hrs as I had planned.  Here I will sum up the main differenced between my ‘performance’ this and last year.

1) I had less sleep than before last year’s, I got about an hour, the night of it, but less sleep in the previous week’s also.

2) Definitely felt a lot stronger than last year, especially on the hills , got a faster time. Probably the compression socks’ psychosomatic effect :)

3) Didn’t feel sore during or afterwards. Possible the compression socks’ psychosomatic effect ;)

4) Lunas were more comfy with socks for the night run, as was only about 17/18oC.  Will still wear them without for summer running.

5) I left Mellieha Church at 130am, so arrived about 420am in Senglea.  Then waited until 6am for a bus :’( I was wearing shorts and ran in a vest.  I had a long sleeved top and a foil blanket with me, but had to borrow a bin bag and push some arm and head holes in it.

6) NO TEA!!! NO TEA at the end!!! I drank a bit of hot water and squeezed a bit of orange in it (contemplated dropping a salted caramel gel in and giving it a stir, thought that might taste tea-like, then I thought better of it).  Then I burnt my tongue.  Disaster.  A very many people offered to bring me a coffee as I crouched by the church shivering, looking like a bedraggled Euroland Christmas fairy (white bin-bag dress and shimmery foil DHL blanket-skirt), wearing a hydration pack on top, and of course, long socks and sandals.  Nice.  I was just starring at everyone speaking in Maltese as I tried to work out whether I was even in the right place for buses.

Knowing that if I had had a coffee, rather than going to sleep I’d get home and write about a million far-too-intricate for a 4-yr old egg-hunt clues, I declined.

7) Just a bit not so greatly organised.  Did I mention no tea, and no buses? Here’s last year’s report (more…)

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Non-Yoga for back pain

Yoga for bad backWhen someone knows you have a legal qualification, conversations with friends and acquaintances sometimes start a bit like this, “So I have this parking ticket from Birmingham…” or “can I ask you about the Law as regards my neighbour’s cats…” 

As a Yoga teacher, conversations go, more often, exactly like this like this, “I have this pain in my back, can you recommend some stretches to help me?”.

And I love to help, but it is tricky to give what they are asking for. I’ve done short sequences for everyone from my boyfriend, to my brother, to my friends.

Ones they can roll out of bed and do, ones they can do at the desk at work, single-pose sequences…  But I’m pretty sure none of them really do them… And I understand completely why.  They are busy.  Everyone’s busy.  That is why their backs hurt. And truth be told,  5 mins of Yoga a day will help, but there’s some other stuff I believe will help more.  Such as: (more…)

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Stuff I’ve noticed about “having stuff”…

puzzle feet1) Kids don’t need stuff. In fact, it is overwhelming and stressful for them.  I’ve noticed it in my kids.  We spent an hour and a half last week, all three of us tidying away their toys, when we could’ve been out playing.  Enough is enough.  They are nearly 5, they don’t need so much stuff.   I’m clearing it out.  Each week my friends are getting gifted with a toy (so that we can move closer to my dream of living in a caravan).

My son can play for hours with vegetables of various shapes and sizes pretending they are the solar system, I want to create memories, not spend my days tidying.  http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2012/09/14/why-i-took-all-my-kids-toys-away-why-they-wont-get-them-back/


2) Big families don’t have spoilt children.  By big, I am talking about 5+, or 4+, or even 3+ when they are all close in age (probably triplets or twins with another close one).

An age gap of 5 years or more, means it is basically a new family from that point on.  The 5 + year old will have had the first 5 years + as basically an only child, and that makes a huge difference to the family dynamics.

I’m not saying that children who come in less than 5′s can’t be nice, and that families of more sometimes aren’t chaotically behaved, but that I am friends with a family of 6, and they are all absolutely lovely.  I’d call all 6 of them my friends, but mainly the ones closest to my age.  I think they are all good people.   I guess possibly because they all understood from an early age that the world isn’t all about them, to get by they needed to care for each other. That is an important lesson everyone has to learn at some point in life, and it comes easier when growing up being one amongst many (this may be worth keeping in mind, even when you’ve got, or are from, a smaller family).



3) Being able to “afford” children is relative.  Being able to “afford” anything is relative.  Many people say they can’t afford another child, but they can afford another holiday, or a nice new car.  Some people can afford another kid, but not the car or luxury holiday. “Whatever turns your crank”. https://thishouseisourhome.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/kids-arent-expensive-but-that-other-thing-sure-is/ (more…)

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Funny goings on I could not help but notice…

I’m not saying this stuff didn’t exist in my early running days, but when I returned to my life after 4 years of having my head down in Peppa-Pig land and being a place for my children to stick the stickers off their bananas, I re-surfaced and noticed a few weird things about running.


  1. Everyone’s wearing compression everything? Calf-sleeves, arm-sleeves, I’ve got some but not even entirely sure I completely know why?

    Seriously under-geared for the 2014 Hellfire half-marathon. I even argued as I didn’t have anywhere to carry my brick of a mobile phone :/
  2. Food? When I trained for New York marathon, I never ate anything.  I took a gel during the event at mile 19 and regretted it immediately. Why am I seeing people taking gels, jelly beans, chocolate-covered-coffee-beans on less than 20k runs?  Should I be doing this too?  Is it necessary, or just a nifty excuse to snack? Also valid ;)
  3. The range of SHOES!  Barefoot, to all different kinda drops, to hokas… Back then I swear it was just, er, trainers?  Even I’m running in sandals mostly, what’s that all about?
  4. Buffs and head-gear stuff.  Now, buffs are awesome.  But they are leaving me with the naggin’ wonder of how I ever lived without them?
  5. Hydration gear!  Back in the early 00’s I was stashing plastic bottles in strategic places and looping back on runs to try and find the correct bush.  I didn’t even know there were other options!
  6. Garmins.  I was very reluctant to buy any gear  (especially after I asked a friend his running plans for the week and he told me he didn’t know, as the Garmin site was down). I wanted to be a low-tech runner, but last week I got me a Garmin, succumbing after the millionth person recommended one to me.  After an embarrassing couple of days where I couldn’t even work out how to plug the thing in to charge, I decided that, charged, the thing is more demanding than a child.  It bleeps at me all hours of the day and night and is constantly asking me questions I don’t know how to answer.  I also have literally no idea how to even get to the stage that the manual starts instructions from.  I am going to wear it tonight anyway, as everyone else has got one :)

    more gear more fear
    More gear more fear

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St Valentine’s chilli-chocolate hearts recipe! (Raw Vegan & Palm-oil free)

You will need:

  • heartsheart-shaped silicone moulds (recipe makes approx 24 chocs, so you can use two trays, or one and a regular ice cube tray)
  • A bain marie(or saucepan of hot water and heat-proof bowl) to melt cacao butter in
  • a balloon whisk

* ensure these are all washed and dry, as water can cause the ingredients to separate

  • 1 tsp organic chilli powder
  • 100g raw cacao butter
  • 6 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2-4  tbsp agave nectar
  • pinch of sea salt (helps to bring out the sweetness)


1. Place the pan with around ½ inch of water over a low heat.

2. Chop the raw cacao butter into small pieces and place in the heat-proof bowl

3. Place the bowl over the water and gently melt the cacao butter

4. Once cacao butter has melted, Add the remaining  ingredients to the bowl and mix well with the balloon whisk.  I      would add the sweetener and chilli sparingly and adjust to taste.  Remember the spiciness will increase on cooling, so don’t over do it :)

5. Melt the ingredients, blend well with the balloon whisk, tasting as you go :)

6. When all is melted, mix again and taste to ensure  you have the right level of sweetness.  Remove from heat.

7.  The consistency should be runny and smooth. Pour/ spoon the mix into the moulds.

8.  Leave in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or in the fridge for around 2 hours.

9. Once made, store in the fridge or freezer until ready to be enjoyed.

* Notes: if you don’t like spice, you could replace with vanilla, orange, or peppermint essences. You could also sprinkle the tops with nuts, seeds, spices, citrus peels or even add liquors such as orange or coffee.

If are making these bad boys for yourself, I recommend doing as I did, putting a bit of extra chilli in to limit your consumption to one at a time ;)

If you would like to read more about the issue of palm oil (which is in most commercial chocolates) please take a look here

Or here.

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My first half-marathon ten years ago & Tom Farmer

I was that girl in P.E. who always forgot her kit.  On purpose.  I detested physical exercise.  It was so boring and regimented, and getting undressed showered and dressed again for about 20-60 mins of doing something boring in the rain, whilst being dictated to by some barking little jumpy woman was just plain ridiculous in my book.

The minute I left school for 6th form and P.E was no longer compulsory, I started swimming a mile a day before school.  I started to love exercise.  But running was not and had ever been my thing.  Especially long distance.


I was 20 and in my second year of a law degree.  My house-mate Ali was probably the most persuasive girl I’ve ever met.   She suggested we train for and run Sheffield half-marathon.  So we did.  To my surprise we would do 5 miles out to the peak district and back to our house. Once I did this twice in one day.  It was fun.  Fun-ish.  After the run we’d do some sit-ups and some other crazy stuff (I swear that Ali invented) at home.   Then, we fell off the wagon.

I was turning 21 and had two birthday parties, one at home with family and friends and one at uni.  Tom Farmer came up from home with another school friend to stay for my Uni 21st.  I loved Tom.  Something about the fact that he was born with Cystic Fibrosis, seemed to influence his character.  In that, he was the most fun-loving, easy going, relaxed and happiest of all of us.  I never saw him hung-up about any of the things that stressed the rest of us from time to time.  He was an awesome and infectiously positive guy to be around.  And very funny.

Tom knew I’d ‘started’ running and at that party he suggested we run the New York marathon together the following year to raise money for CF (Cystic Fibrosis) Trust.  I agreed that we could and should do that.

However, when the morning of the Sheffield half-marathon rolled around, I hadn’t ran for more than a month.  In that month I had been on holiday to Cyprus, had two 21st birthday parties and spent the day before the race lounging in the park with chips and beers, laughing with friends about how we weren’t doing the race in the morning.

Ali tells me we made an arrangement to meet under the action-man clock in our living room with a tin of baked beans and a spoon (my favourite student fuel) at 7am.  This obviously slipped my mind… (more…)

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90s dance video revival / Friday feelin’

I’m having my own little 90s revival over here (whilst supposedly hoovering and finishing off articles).  90s House / dance music was a massive part of my life.

From 15 yrs old -23 it was my main interest and focus (to my mother’s despair, academics were forever my fall-back option).


These are some of my favourite music videos from the era.  The tunes are, er, expediting my hoovering… I’m most definitely not reviving old dance moves here in my kitchen. (more…)

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Why I haven’t been out of my PJs since Thurday/ Croup.

I salute any single parents, or any parents who achieve anything besides looking after kids with no extended family around.  The last week has been dominated by me:

1) Trying to prevent my son getting croup, as he does every year at this time, by keeping him in and warm etc.

2) Failing.

puzzle feetCroup, at the time, feels like the worst.  Although after a coughing attack, my vision widens and the rest of the world comes into view again, in those moments of a coughing fit, things feels awful.

Thank god for my partner.  I think we have massively messed things up for ourselves as a species by moving into flats in little families.  I don’t know how I would cope with a croup attack alone.  (Especially as on the first night of it, our daughter simultaneously puked her pumpkin and parsley soup all over our bed.  She is a determined creature, to say the least, and I made the huge error of saying she needed to finish the soup before having anything else).  However, the croup was obviously the most serious, so I took care of that whilst Adam  sorted her and the bed.

Never mind running, or writing up articles, my mind is occupied with puzzles and the frozen theme.   I’ve finally realised the purpose of those 20 minute “I’m just resting my eyes” on the sofa moments that seem to have sustained my mother through decades of caring for kids.

I’m back to ‘good sleep’ meaning just any sleep, never mind 7-8 hours.

It’s times like this I think that any ultra-marathon ambitions are just nuts at this time.  How can I commit to anything other than just sorting out my family and making sure everyone is well?   So when I’m lying awake not sleeping as I want to be sure my son is breathing ok, I read stories such as this, which just remind me of the power of human will triumphing over our mind’s excuse-making capabilities. (more…)

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Prosecco half-marathon, anyone?

I’ve not been writing for a while.ft

I’ve been reading, running and generally getting busy…  Also I updated the blog theme, and lost a lot of features… So I am slowly trying to figure that out.

I plan to be back at it in autumn, I’m away all summer and my twins have basically finished school now, so am busy packing and finding babysitters for my plants, in between running, and running around after them.

In the meantime I thought I would share the below report link, as it made me LOL.


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