Kids These Days Will Never Know The Struggle

The other day I saw this meme online:

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And it’s true. Kids will never understand that if you saw the dialing attempt go above 2, you just weren’t getting online. Or that you had to make sure no one was on the phone anywhere in the house to be able to connect. Or that if you had a BT Answer message waiting to be heard you wouldn’t be able to connect. Or know this sound:

Or even understand how it once took me 4 hours to download a movie teaser trailer (The X-Files Movie – and yes, it was worth it at the time)

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Yes, boys and girls, it was a common occurrence that you’d hit download on something tiny by today’s standards, and it would tell you it would take hours, if not days to download.

And boy golly, you have no idea how old I felt when I realised I had to explain to my 13 year old nephew why you might have to plug in a computer to access internet, and what a modem was.

The struggle is real.

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostly

Wow, where did that weekend go? I’ve been super busy and before I knew it it was Monday.

Last week I:

  • Went to visit Amy. She’s just moved into a lovely little house with her boyfriend and even though they’d only been in for almost a week, it already looked cosy and homely.
  • I had dinner with an old friend and caught up with what’s been going on since it’s been years since we last hung out.
  • I went out with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece for a meal whilst the boys went out in London.
  • I visited a sports therapist to look at my TFL joint as I’ve been in pain for a whole week since my last run. Some deep tissue massage later, I’ve been told not to run again until my Bupa 10,000 next Monday. That will have been two weeks off running so hopefully I’ll be okay for the event. Either way I’m still hoping for a PB!
  • Me and my Mum have been practising for a big concert on Friday, with Rock Choir, at St Albans Abbey.
  • I’ve been getting excited because two of the Book Club girls who have been out of the country for months are back in a few weeks and we’ll all be back together again!
  • I’ve been trying to understand lactose intolerance a bit more, and missing the food I used to eat with no problems. I had a big flare up this weekend and after speaking to some people who have dealt with LI for a long time, it seems the condition is really temperamental. You can be fine for weeks and then the smallest thing will set it off. So I’m going to try adding some dairy back into my diet to see what’s bad and what’s not so bad, and hopefully build up some kind of tolerance again.
  • Last week I drove to work and back on my own. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may know how absolutely massive this is, since my fear of driving has prevented me from being able to drive on my own since I passed my test years and years ago. One day, whilst practicing, it just clicked. No anxiety… in fact no feelings towards it either way. Which is totally fine with me – the enjoyment will come with time, I’m sure :)
  • I’ve been getting fed up with the weather, since it’s still cold and rainy and windy. I want spring and summer now! I swear this time last year I had a tan already.
  • We’ve just finished re watching Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes again. They’re amazing shows, if you haven’t seen them before, you must!

And that’s what I’ve been up to. I have another busy week and weekend this week! I’ll slow down and relax one day :D

Unfriended

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of scary movies, and most recently found footage movies. I saw the trailer for Unfriended not so long ago. I think it was called something else at the time – it seems to have gone through a few title changes before its release. Either way it looked intriguing. I’m not sure whether I realised the format it would take at that time, but after seeing the final cut I was not disappointed.

If you’re yet to watch this movie, I’d suggest not reading this blog yet. Maybe come back afterwards.

Have they all gone?…. Right I’ll begin.

The whole movie is viewed from the desktop of a Mac – the whole thing. Windows, screens, tabs, apps – that’s all you see. The story focusses on a circle of friends who lost one of their group a year earlier when she took her own life. This event was spurred on by a video of her, drunk and not in control of her own body, at a party. The video brought on a lot of hateful messages from her peers and she couldn’t take it. So back at present day, this group of friends are having a Skype chat and there’s an intruder on the call – just a blue silhouette avatar. And then the girl whose computer your viewing, Blaire, starts getting messages from the dead girl’s Facebook account. Creepiness ensues.

There are some great intense and very creepy moments in this movie. There are also some gratuitously gory moments, but these are fleeting, effective and then they’re gone. At just 83 minutes, you can see how they may need to create a super intense atmosphere, but in this format it works. There are some funny bits, some sexy bits and some downright scary bits. There’s a lot of product placement but then I guess there had to be. And if you’re not familiar with the workings if a Mac then you might see this as an educational experience too! Apparently the whole film was shot in one cut – if this is true (and it’s certainly possible) then that’s very impressive. I guess all of the desktop graphics will have been tweaked in post production.

I can’t wait to watch this movie again. It fits right in with Paranormal Activity and Grave Encounters on my shelf of scary movies that work. It was bang up to date, not over the top and didn’t come over as stupid. It was as clever as it needed to be, and was enough to make the girls sat in front of me in the theatre get up and leave just as the intensity ramped up.

I went in with no preconceptions and I hope you can do that to, should you choose to watch this. It doesn’t leave you thinking about it or wondering how ‘this’ happened or why ‘that’ happened. It is what it is. And I really liked that about it.

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostlyThis week has been book ended with great running and has had food and fun mixed in between

  • Sunday, last week, I ran my fastest 5k (29 mins) and my fastest 10k (61 mins). The weather was perfect for it, and despite swallowing a few flies, it was a pretty amazing run.
  • I really enjoyed watching the final week of Masterchef this week. I love seeing the contestants improve so fast – and it always makes me hungry!
  • I finally sold my bike, for a pretty penny, and used some of the funds to buy some holiday shoes!
  • After months of planning, we booked our 10 year wedding anniversary celebrations for 2016 – we’re going to Disney World!

11192662_1426375217668410_87374560_nThere a LOT of planning to do now that it’s booked, but I can’t wait. We’re off next September and got an amazing deal for our stay. We should be there for the Epcot Food & Wine festival and also have a chance to go to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!!

  • Over the last month we’ve been re-watching the Paranormal Activity movies in order. Last night was 4, which means there’s only one left. Sad!
  • I’ve cooked two new meals this weekend, both Pinterest recipes (and can be found in my Tried and Tested board). The first was Cherry Tomato One Pot Pasta

11189439_351608161715296_1651573003_n The second was Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

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  • To bookend a fabulous running week, today was the London Marathon. A chilly and overcast day for spectators but great conditions for the runners. We braved the cold to cheer on friends and fellow bloggers. I managed to spot and cheer on Leah who writes Naturally, Leah, Janice aka Queen Bee (she had her photo taken with Barack Obama a while back, when he was rambling the UK moors…) and I was able to cheer on my Rock Choir leader Pippa who ran to raise money for NSPCC. This was her first marathon and she did an amazing job. Everyone did an amazing job. There was a great atmosphere, as always!

Next weekend we have a bank holiday and the MK Marathon. This was the event that I ran the half marathon last year, but this year I’ll just be spectating. I’m hoping to spot Mary, who writes A Healthier Moo, as she completes the marathon distance. After all this marathon-ing it’s making me think a marathon isn’t totally off the cards for me…. one day maybe!

2 Years In – My Running Tips

I will shortly be celebrating my 2 years runniversary! Amazing that I’ve stuck at it this long, and it wasn’t a fad. Who knew?

When I started out running I really wanted to get advice from people like me – not just running magazines and sports therapists. I did get some great tips from bloggers and friends which really helped. So I thought I might do the same, and share some of the do’s and dont’s I’ve learned along the way, in the hope that it might help some of you. Since the weather is improving and spring is here, running season is kicking off – so here goes!

  • Running is free – this is true, but you really must invest in good shoes if you’re serious about running regularly. My first pair of shoes, Nike Pegasus, were wonderful for a while, but too wide for my feet it turns out. Get a gait analysis and go to a shop that has more than one brand, so you don’t just get lumbered with the best shoe that ONE brand can offer. You need the best shoe for you!

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  • Everyone learns at different speeds. Everyone starts from a different fitness level. Everyone is different. Some people will run a mile on their first outing, and others will take a month before they can manage a mile. The important thing is you laced up and went out.
  • If you run, you’re a runner. (p.s You’ll hate it if anyone calls you a jogger!)
  • Speed isn’t everything. When I started running I was impressed with the speed I could run a mile. But I was shattered after it and wanted to throw up. I soon realised speed isn’t the be all end all – it’s finishing that matters.
  • Leading on from this, don’t compare yourself with others. This is much harder than it sounds. Two years in I still berate myself for not running as fast, as far or as often as another person. But they might be lighter than me, or younger than me, or just simply more athletic. They also might be pushing too hard and end up with injury.
  • Listen to your body. I’ve had two bouts of injury, ITB and runner’s knee. I ran too far too quickly and didn’t listen to the niggles when they happened. At the time I was working in a two storey shop on my feet all day, and would spent days between runs in pain, taking painkillers to make it through the day. It’s not worth it. But if you train smart you can avoid it.
  • Running is bad for your joints – When I started telling people I was taking up running, I heard it all. Mostly that running wrecks your joints. It’s true to an extent, but it’s also true for all high impact sports if you don’t take care of your form and your body between run days…..
  • …which leads to…. Complement your running with core work and weight training. You’re putting your body under lots of stress every time you pound the street. I do a yoga session which is designed to help strengthen and stretch my body twice a week. I do arm and leg weight sessions once a week, focussing on my weaker areas when I need to (leg press to strengthen quads and glutes really help prevent further ITB injury). I work on arms, because when you get near to the end of a long run that can be all you have to help propel you on!) and core work which really helps with my form (especially posture).
  • You’ll have really good runs, and you’ll also have crap ones. Lots of crap ones. But at least you’re running!
  • Run with friends. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable running alongside someone else is. You don’t need to chat, just run!

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  • Enter races! If you don’t decide to join a club or have a running buddy then you might not know the joys of running in a group. And if you are familiar with how fun that is, then you must experience the anticipation and camaraderie of running an organised race. Plus goodie bags and medals…. it’s a win win!

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  • You will become obsessed. I know I told you running is free, which is technically true, but you’ll want ALL the clothes and ALL the accessories and to enter ALL the races. You have been warned. You will also, all of a sudden, be absolutely fine wearing garish neon colours and loud prints you would never have dreamed of wearing before!

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  • Never use nutrition on race day that you haven’t trained with. You don’t want to be caught short in the middle of a race because you’ve tried a new gel that day and it’s given you the two bob bits.
  • Hydrate in the days leading up to a race. If you’re chugging on water the morning of your event all you’ll do is need to pee every ten minutes. Portaloos are not your friend. 
  • One of the best bits of advice I read when I started out: “Never trust a fart after a mile” Crude but true.
  • You will all of a sudden be fine with discussing your bowel movements (and girls, your monthlies) with other runners, and you know, everyone else.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – I’ve been there. I still go there. If I have a race coming up, I want to be the best I can be. But because of this I put so much pressure on myself that it stops being fun to train. Don’t fall into that trap.
  • Just because you ran for ten minutes doesn’t mean you can go and eat a McDonalds. But I actually found that I went right off most fast food and fatty snacks when I started running and I really just wanted a banana….. I still do get the occasional burger though…. beef’s good protein, right?
  • Most of all enjoy it! You’ve chosen a great, social sport, that will get you healthy and outside into the fresh air…. and lots and lots of shiny medals!

Let’s Talk Paranormal Activity

If you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t know about Paranormal Activity. So let’s pretend for a second you are said rock dweller, and I’ll tell you a little bit about a series of found-footage movies that could change your life.

In October 2007 Paranormal Activity graced our screens and brought those nasty shadows and night-time bumps to life and into our homes. With the use of footage from hand cams and closed circuit systems, we saw a dark entity unfold. Odd clues and occurences (and amazing effects) brought to life the single most scary movie I’d seen at that point.

Now I’m pretty good with scary films. I like to be frightened and this genre of movie is right up my street – but the final 30 seconds were too much for me. I hid. I didn’t see that final 30 seconds until much later on.

IMG_2826I was curious enough, however, to google a text description of what happened in that last-minute.

5 movies followed, including Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones, a spin-off movie (but a must see if you’re following the series… I’ll explain more in a bit).

Paranormal Activity 2 was released in 2010 and continued the story, or began the story since it actually back tracked and told you where things began in the first movie, then continued the first story a little, all at the same time.

Sounds confusing, but isn’t I promise. Again, the effects in this movie were epic. One particular scene had the whole cinema gasp and then giggle with nerves.

Paranormal Activity 3 went back even further, to the 80s, using an old style home movie tape camera. With the use of the base of an oscilating fan the directors created a nerve-wracking panning effect that you just knew would give you the chills at some point, since you were at the mercy of its slow left-right turns.

Speaking of the directors, incidentally, this movie was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman who were the creators of the original Catfish movie/documentary (if you like Catfish the TV show you must check out the original documentary, it’s awesome.)

Never disappointing their viewers, there are two separate moments in this movie that will take your breath away.

Paranormal Activity 4 snaps back to the present day, and starts to explain a little more of the back story and link it to present-past events.

Using current technology such as webcams and infrared dots on an XBox Kinect, this story plods along and in my opinion was the weakest of the series so far. It progressed the story like it needed to, however, so definitely worth a watch.

To bridge the interim between this movie and the impending Paranormal Activity 5 (or The Ghost Dimension), Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones appears removed from the standard format and focusses on a group of youths pretty much just larking about but when weird things start happening in their apartment complex they get a bit too curious and even weirder things start happening to them. The story starts to link in with what you’ve already seen in the previous films and by the end I was bolt upright in my seat having twigged what was about to happen – let me tell you, I got chills. This movie definitely furthered the whole series’ story.

Paranormal Activity: the Ghost Dimension, which I believe to be the final part of this series, is due for release this October. If it is the last one, I for one am hoping they release a set containing all the movies, because I’ll have them on repeat in my dvd player. This is an awesome collection of movies, and if it’s your kind of film but you haven’t watched them yet, or you haven’t watched them all yet, you have enough time to rectify the situation before the 6th installment comes out.

Maybe just don’t watch them alone…..

Bikini body – 3 months in

For those who read my blog regularly you’ll know I’m off to Ibiza in September to celebrate the engagement and wedding of one of our good friends, Sarah. It’s my first girly holiday, my first beach holiday and my first Hen weekend.

It’s also going to be the occasion I wear my first bikini. I’ve owned them in the past but never had the nerve or occasion to wear one. I’m not body confident. I have a wobbly stomach, sticky out ribs, small boobs, tiny waste and massive child-bearing hips. My weight yo yos and usually just sticks to my hips and stomach. So since the end of December last year, I’ve been working hard to put this right.

Since then I’ve been running twice a week (now three times), with at least one run to be for an hour and the other run(s) no less than 5k. Yoga twice a week, abs twice a week and weights once a week. The Nike Training app has been a godsend – I use it for yoga and abs and the occasional cardio workout if I can’t get to the gym. Since they’re timed 15 min sessions I know I have to complete the whole 15 mins – that’s not too long to fit into a busy day but long enough to feel a difference. And now you can link your app to the iPhone 6 Health app and it adds that Nike Fuel to your daily activity. Not a huge deal, but I like seeing all my activity on there. Makes me feel a bigger sense of achievement.

Since I started, I’ve slimmed down to the point where none of my trousers fit any more so I’ve had to buy a new pair of jeans, and my perfect fit jeans are slightly too loose….. argh! I’m starting to feel ab definition and my arms are more toned and getting back to how they were a year ago before I stopped weight training to focus on running training.

The running I’m doing now isn’t all just for cardio’s sake – I’m training for the London Bupa 10,000 at the end of May! I’m really looking forward to this race for a few reasons – it’s my first race of the year and you get to run some of the landmarks the lucky London Marathon runners will have just run, even finishing up by running down the Mall. I’ve also decided to run this race for Dementia UK, a wonderful charity to assist those and the families effected by dementia.

4a63c769-f6d6-4a9e-a3bd-d8e366fe00daLook, there I am!

I’ve set up a Just Giving page, which you’re welcome to visit and donate on if you wish.

I also have the Race for Life and Women’s Running 10k Series race planned for later in the year. By then I’ll be so svelte I’ll be one of those women who just runs in her sports bra….. not likely…. But who knows, I might eventually share some of my progress photos if I’m brave enough…..

I’ll update you again in about 3 months!