Friday, 28 September 2012

Gone Running

If you know us both, you're probably thinking you've clicked onto Dan's blog by mistake. But no, it's me and I really have been running!

I had my stitches out of my knee this morning. I'd got myself into a bit of a tizz about it as I'm completely soft when it comes to anything to do with doctors or hospitals. I'd convinced myself that it would hurt and there'd be blood (I don't do blood!) but it was fine. Stung a little bit but there was nothing to it really.

I asked the nurse about doing some exercise now they've come out as I've basically done nothing for three months and am starting to feel like a blob. She made me do a few knee bends, walk up and down a bit and then she said I can do whatever I want as long as I listen to my body and don't push it too much.

I've got loads of fitness challenges on my list but I knew straight away which one I wanted to start with - running! A few months back the idea of running didn't appeal at all but I've been motivated by Dan. He started running at the end of May and he loves it. He'd never run before but this month he's managed to do three 10k runs to raise money for Leukaemia Research. He's raised over £350 so far and I'm very proud of him - theres still time to donate here.

As well as the fundraising Dan has really enjoyed the running and it's been great for him. He's lost loads of weight and still manages to eat loads. I've got to admit my running bug is more to do with greed than thinking it's gonna be fun. The amount of calories you can burn running is crazy! I love my food so anything that means I can eat more is a bonus.

I'm not stupid so I know theres no way I could just go out and do a 10k run, I'd struggle with a 1k one to be honest but thats where C25K comes in. NHS Choices 'Couch to 5K' is a running plan developed to help absolute beginners get into running. It's a 9 week training plan and by the end of the nine weeks I should be able to run 5k or 30 minutes without stopping. The aim for me is to join Dan on the christmas parkrun.

I downloaded week one podcast from the NHS website this afternoon and went out with Dan this evening. It looked easy on paper 5 minute brisk walk followed by 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking for 20 minutes then finishing with a 5 minute cool down walk. Doesn't sound like much at all but 60 second is a lot longer than you think when you're not used to running. I made it through the whole half hour though, even if I was a panting sweaty mess by the end of it! I'm proud of myself for making the first step and it's only gonna get easier the more I do it. Rest day tomorrow then I'm back to it Sunday.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Movie Marathon

Well maybe it wasn't a marathon. And I don't like the word movie, it's all american and I don't know what's wrong with a good old fashioned film but I have crossed another challenge of the list by seeing two films at the cinema in one day.

It's been another horrible rainy day in Manchester so an ideal day to spend 6 hours sat inside in the dark. We started with dinner at Nandos - not part of any challenge but always nice! I decided to make that part of a challenge too by leaving another operation beautiful note there.
After doing Nando's in style with a whole three courses and my favourite waitress anywhere ever it was a mad dash to the cinema. Luckily its only over the car park but we still got soaked and I managed to sink in a puddle. We've got unlimited passes for the cinema so the plan was to just turn up and see what was on that we fancied seeing.

Film number one was Killing Them Softly. I knew nothing about it other than it had Brad Pitt in it. That's usually enough to keep my interest but it was a really good film too. It's all about a professional enforcer, Jackie Cogan (Pitt), who investigates a heist that occurs during a high stakes, mob-protected, poker game. I love a good gangster movie so it was right up my street and bits of it were pretty funny too. Apparently it's based on a book called Cogan's Trade by George V Higgins so I might have to check that out.

Film number two was Anna Karenina. I knew nothing about it really but I wanted to see it because I'd done a survey about it a few months back and I liked the snow and the dresses! Knew it was a famous book but had no idea what it was about. I enjoyed it though, was a good story although some of how they'd presented i confused me a bit. I couldn't understand why they kept ending up on a stage, maybe I'm missing something (probably am!) but to me it just seemed weird. Didn't ruin the film for me though. Poor Dan hated it! I didn't think it would be his thing really and he was bored from about 5 minutes in. He made himself very comfy sprawled out in the cinema and at one point I thought he might go to sleep but to be fair he didn't moan once.

Monday, 24 September 2012

And if you know your history.....

I visited the first of my five museums today. I couldn't have picked a worse day to go really, it's really turned to winter now. It was chucking it down, freezing and windy. Any sensible person would have wrapped up warm and stayed at home but not me and Dan!

We didn't venture out too far though. A ten minute bus ride into town to visit the National Football Museum. We still managed to get soaked and my poor little feet are still recovering from the cold but once we were inside and away from the rain I enjoyed it.

The museum opened a few months ago when I couldn't walk and I've been wanting to go ever since. Most people who know me know I love my football, and those that don't obviously don't listen to a word I say! Those of you have met my dad will know I was always going to be a football fan and I was always going to be red. My dad brought me up right, took me to Old Trafford, taught me my red history, took me all over the country watching not just the first team but also the reserves, youth team, A and B teams. Basically if there was a team somewhere playing in a United shirt me and my dad would be there and since 2005 we've continued that tradition following FC United.
FC United stuff in the museum

I've got loads of happy memories of the football with my dad and thats what I liked best about the museum. It brough back loads of stuff from when I was a kid - from daft things like little models of players I used to have and panini albums (I completed my Italia 90 one!), to games I was at, games I wasn't allowed to go to (Rotterdam, still not over it!)  and stories my dad used to tell me.

Dad always made sure I knew my red history and the display about Munich brought a big lump to the throat. But most of his stories were about his hero Denis Law. I can't remember a time when I didn't know about him, my dad always said he was the greatest. My middle name is even Denise after him. So this photo is especially for my dad to say thank you for all the good times together at the football and for not making me born a blue!
It wasn't all United in the museum. It really was a museum of football with something for every fan, just the United stuff meant the most to me. It's a great place and even better it's free. Definitely worth a visit!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Trip to London

This is a blog post all about me being me - taking something really simple and making it into something really complicated. Buy something new for the house for every month of the challenge, easy enough to do but as we've been doing lots of work on the house I thought it would be a good one to help me get it exactly how I want it.

I started off simply enough. Last month I decided I needed a new dvd player so I nipped across the road to Tesco, picked one up and came home - easy! That was far too simple though, thought I'd go for a bit more of a challenge this month.

We are looking at getting a new kitchen in the next few weeks. I've been going on about how I want the kitchen more or less since I moved into this house and I know EXACTLY what I want. And top of he list is a range cooker. Not just any range cooker though, it had to be cream, had to have two ovens, had to have a seperate grill, a wok burner and a warming plate. Basically it had to be a Leisure Cookmaster! I fell in love with this cooker years ago and have designed my whole kitchen around it.

Range cookers don't come cheap though, so I decided to check out ebay. I was really excited when I saw they had the exact one I wanted complete with matching hood, less excited when I saw it was in London. Luckily the lovely Garry (who has practically rebuilt my house) offered to take me down in his van and told me to get bidding.

I'm not cut out for the whole ebay thing. I was a nervous wreck he whole time bidding was open. And when I was outbid with half an hour to go I was all for getting into a bidding war there and then. Dan seems to be the auction king though, he kept me calm and didn't let me bid again until there were just three minutes to go. It felt like a very long three minutes but we won :-)

So yesterday me, Dan and Garry were on the road for 7am, a time I didn't know existed on a Saturday to pick up what I think is a thing of beauty and Dan thinks is 'that bloody cooker'. Actually getting to London wasn't too bad, but once we got off the motorway it was a nightmare. Romford Road must hold the record for the highest number of traffic lights anywhere - and they were all on red. I was glad we had sat nav, don't think we'd ever have found it otherwise. But we got there in the end and it fitted through the door (we were worried it wouldn't) and into the back of the van.

I love London, all the sights and a bit of shopping on Oxford St. Didn't get any of that yesterday though. It was a very different kind of day trip to London. Real London I suppose - the nearest thing to a 'sight' was West Ham Utd's ground which backed onto the street we were looking for and Leytonstone High Street were the only shops I got near.

So a 12 hour round trip to pick up a cooker, was it worth it? I think so! Even adding in the cost of petrol I've saved over £500 and I got the exact cooker I wanted. Maybe next month I'll go for a photo frame from Next or something though.

Anyway here it is, my fab new cooker. I love it :-) Can't wait to see it in the new kitchen.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Mustard Tree and World Vision

One of my challenges is to do some voluntary work. I thought it would be easy enough to do but when I started thinking about it a bit more I had a bit of a problem. There are so many good causes out there, how would I decide which one I wanted to help?

I decided it would probably be best if I chose somewhere close to home, that way I can spend more time volunteering and actually doing some good and less time travelling. I pass a place called Mustard Tree most days.I've heard good things about them so I decided to find out a bit more about what they did. I had a look on their website and was pretty impressed. They seemed to do lots of good stuff and help a wide mix of people. It also looked like there would be quite a lot I could get involved with. I've sent them an email and hopefully I'll hear something back soon.

I also really wanted to get more involved with World Vision.  I have recently sponsored Princess, a seven year old girl from Sierra Leone, through their website. Since deciding to sponsor Princess, I have been following their blog and facebook page. The more stuff I read, the more impressed I've been with the work they are doing and the more glad I am that I decided to sponsor a child. Every time I go onto their website I see another little face looking out at me and I wish I could sponsor them all. Unfortunately I can't afford that but I decided to find out how else I could help. They have sent me details of their ambassador scheme. It sounds really interesting but it's quite a big commitment. I still think I'd like to give it a go though, just need to work out if any of there training sessions are when I'd actually be able to get to them.
In the meantime I'm getting myself involved in spreading the word of the work they do and helping out with their campaigns. Campaigns like the Child Health Now campaign which wants to give all children the chance to grow up, live out their dreams and fulfil their potential.

I'm currently collecting signatures for World Vision's petition asking the government to scale up work to tackle under-nutrition, to give more children a better chance to live life and a chance to grow and learn. If you're local to me, make sure you see me and sign it. If you're further away, you can still sign - just get in touch with your address and email and I can add you to the sheet, it doesn't need an actual signature. Hope you'll all help me in supporting this.

Friday, 14 September 2012


So, I've had my knee op today. All went well and I'm back home now. I'm dying to get going on some of my fitness challenges but apparently it doesn't work like that! I've got to take it really easy for the next few days, just got a few exercises for circulation and then from Monday add a few more in for movement.

I'm seeing the physiotherapist next Friday and hopefully I'll be move on to some more exercises then. I want to get moving as soon as possible, really want to do the C25K and get working to get me down to that healthy BMI. I'm going to be good though and do what the doc and physio tell me which basically means sitting still until I've had the stitches out in two weeks time.

While I can't get going on any of the fitness challenges just yet, I suppose the whole sitting still thing gives me plenty of time to work on some of my other challenges. I've really caught the stitch bug again lately so that will keep me busy. The family tree cross stitch is coming along nicely and it's got me really motivated to do more research and see just how far back I can go. Hoping to get pre-1800 for one of my challenges.

Family Tree Cross Stitch so far
 I can't sew tonight as I've still got dressings on the back on my hand from where my drips went in. Can still make progress on my challenges though. I think maybe it will just be reading, I'm on my 8th book towards my target of reading my height in books at the moment and plenty of time to get stuck into it. I'm also thinking I'll play a bit of the free rice game tonight. So far I've donated 41,630 grains of rice to the World Food Programme through this website, only another 958,370 to go!
I've also go the ultimate comfort food to look forward to tonight as Dan's bought me more ice-cream. Haagen-Dazs of course, well I wouldn't want to miss the chance to move on with a challenge :-) It's Strawberry Cheesecake flavour tonight, yum!
I'm glad I've got these challenges to do as otherwise I think I'd go completely loopy over the next few days. Still can't wait to get started on the fitness ones but I suppose I'll just have to be patient - never been my strong point unfortunately.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

One month in - an update

So it's been a month since I started my mission 101 project and according to the website I'm 3% complete. I've achieved 4 goals, got 20 in progress and 77 still to do.
Write a letter to myself to be opened at the end of the 1001 days - This was the first challenge I completed. I thought it would be good to do right at the start and then I can look back at it at the end. It's a very strange feeling writing to yourself. Wonder what I'll make of it when I read it on 9th May 2015. I've got it put away in a safe place so hopefully I'll still be able to find it when the day arrives.
Register as an organ donor - This was so easy to do, I can't believe I've not done it before. It just took a few minutes to answer a few questions on their website and now I'm all registered.
Sponsor a World Vision child - I've sponsored a seven year old girl from Sierra Leone called Princess. I'm really looking forward to getting to know more about her. Dan's picked up some stickers and colouring stuff today to send a little package off to her.
Inspire someone to make a 101 in 1001 list - My penpal Kerry has made a list.

I won't bore you with the details of all the things I've got in progress. Hopefully I'll get some of them done over the next few weeks so I'll tell you about them they're complete. 


Friday, 7 September 2012

A Perfect Friday Night

It doesn't seem that long ago when my idea of a perfect Friday night would be getting all dolled up, doing a pub crawl, going clubbing and finishing with a kebab. Actually that still sounds pretty good but I've had a lovely night tonight without leaving the house or even having to get dressed! And I've made good progress on a couple of my challenges too :-)

I've basically spent the night slobbing in my PJs. I'm really into my cross stitch lately so I've been doing that most of the night. I'm stitching my family tree for one of my challenges and it's finally starting to feel like I'm getting there with it - even if I did have to spend an hour unpicking tonight!! I think I've got enough information to fill in on this design but if not another challenge of mine is to research my family tree to before 1800 so I'm sure I'll get there.

I might not have finished the night with a kebab but it is Friday so you've got to have a bit of a treat! And everyone knows that the number one comfort food is ice cream. I love the stuff! So eating every flavour of haagen dazs ice cream isn't going to be any great hardship really. The only challenge is going to be finding them all. I found a list of flavours and I made a start tonight with their mint leaves and chocolate flavour - YUM! :-)

So it's not been a party night but I've enjoyed myself, looking forward to more of the same. Well I have got another 25 flavours to try!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Meet Princess

Sponsoring a child is one of those things I've always thought about doing but never quite got round to. I suppose in the past I couldn't really afford it but while I'm not exactly rolling in it now, I am comfortable so I decided it was time I stopped thinking about it and started doing it.

So I received my sponsorship pack in the post this morning. I've chosen to sponsor a little girl called Princess through World Vision. She's seven years old and lives in Tegloma, Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is the second poorest country in the world and Tegloma is the poorest area of the country. Two out of three families have unsafe drinking water, 95% of the population have no sanitary latrines, one in three children die before their fifth birthday. The entire area has just one hospital, two nursery schools and one secondary school for a population of 140,000.

World Vision have a 15 year long programme in the area focusing on providing safe drinking water, improving nutrition and sanitation and increasing access to health services. I'm hoping that the money I send every month will help not just Princess but many people in her community.

I chose to sponsor through World Vision for a couple of reasons. Mainly because it's a well known child sponsorship charity. It's been around for a long time and you can find lots of information about their work really making a difference. The other thing I liked was that they really gave me the opportunity to get to know the child I chose to sponsor. They sent me lots of information in my welcome pack this morning and I'll receive regular updates from World Vision about the work they are doing in Tegloma. I'm also able to write to Princess. Anybody who knows me well will know that I enjoy writing letters so I am looking forward to hearing from her and getting to know more about her life. I've been sent a little card to fill in to introduce myself so I'm going to get that sent off tomorrow and then I'll write a proper letter in a few days. I'm really excited about becoming a child sponsor and can't wait tto find out more.