Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Road to London - Fallen Fitness

Following yet another bout of sickness, I finally got back out and running again this weekend.

Back in July my office moved from Gloucester Road to Hammersmith and as a result I have had to give up cycling to work and although Ravenscourt Park is just down from the office, it is not as big as Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park for running around. So despite joining the gym, my fitness levels are way off what I have been used to over the past couple of years.

This was telling just from the run down to the park. A mere one mile and I thought I would die.

It was my first Park Run since March. Back then I managed a time of 26.55. This time 30.26. Almost a full four minutes slower!

Bugger.



At least this is a good indication for me as to a) how much cycling was making me fit and b) how much I need to improve to be back to early 2016 levels.

I can at least take some comfort in the fact I have started my training early again. And I have a time to improve on next time. Aim for next Park Run - sub 30 minutes!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Busy Foxes - All the live music stuff

We have been to a few gigs already this year and although we haven't got anything else lined up for the rest of the year, I am sure there will be some last minute gig-age!

So what we have see so far this year:

Baroness - 1st March - KOKO

Surprisingly our first gig of the year! We managed to get a good spot up in the gods at Koko. It was the first gig the band had done since their tour bus crash in 2012.

It was great to hear them again and they played most of our favourites - maybe we will get Wanderlust at the next gig.



Muse - April 3rd and 12th - The o2

In April I was dead lucky to get to see Muse at the o2 twice. Thanks to best mate @Tadders I got a free ticket to her company's box on the 3rd April. Thanks to the central location of the stage we got quite a good view from the box.




And on the 12th April we had standing tickets so got a totally different perspective of the gig. And we also had a slightly different set list which is always a bonus! The new album sounded great live as did all the classic tracks.





Chris Cornell - 2nd May - Royal Albert Hall

Our friends Debbie and Matt bought us tickets for this gig as our wedding present. Pretty cool present! It was an amazing gig with an over 2 hour acoustic set featuring tributes to some of our fallen stars this yeah including a fantastic cover of Nothing Compares to You (if you didn't know - even though Sinead O'Connor scored the number one with this track it was actually written by Prince).

They were not keen on you taking pictures in the Royal Albert Hall so the only picture I have is this one:



Download - 10th-12th June - Donnington

As always we had a blast at what turned out to be the wettest Download we have been to. My wellies died after trudging through the mud all weekend. But on the plus side it was quite warm so although wet, it wasn't as miserable as the previous year.

As always there were a lot of bands we saw. Highlights - Royal Republic, The Men Who Will Not be Blamed for Nothing (steampunk band which featured a song about Isambard Kingdom Brunel - local SE16 hero),  NoFX, and Iron Maiden. But we also had a blast with 2 Manor DJ's again in Somersby's Manor House and new addition to the campsite this year, Hair of the Dog - a pub/all night disco.












#Cantina - 14th July - Brooklyn Bowl

This was a tribute to Star Wars night that I bought Andy for his birthday. We had the Blues Harvest plus Darth Elvis and the Imperials but we had to investigate to figure out who the headline act was as they were only listed as Luther Into Star Cruiser. We knew from the blurb on the site that they were one of Q magazines 50 bands to see before you die and that they had headline Glastonbury. I eventually figured out who it was and played a game with Andy to get him to guess only for him to have a sudden lightbulb moment, go into the bedroom to his gig ticket box and pull out a ticket from 1995 with Luther Into Star Cruiser on it. Apparently the band had gone by the same name previously!

On the night we managed to get right to the front and I finally got to see Ash live - a band who's back catalogue I knew more than I realised and a band that I have never managed to see live before. All in all it was a fantastic night!




Thrice - 25th August - Kentish Town Forum

August brought us to the hottest gig I have ever been to. We headed up to the Abbey Tavern first for a few drinks before checking out the revamped Bull and Gate (such a shame it is no longer a music venue but on the plus side Youngs have done a good job with it, put in a decent selection of beer and made it look nice but still not the old place) and then went into the Forum.

I do not necessarily advocate bikram gig going. There was sweat dripping from the ceiling and the bar could not serve water fast enough. And we were standing at the top rather than in the mosh pit.

The gig was not as good as the last time we had seen Thrice but the new album was sounding pretty good.



Red Fang - 27th September - KOKO

And our last gig for now was at the end of September for Red Fang, supported by Torche. With a new album on the way we were looking forward to the gig. In all honesty the sound wasn't brilliant and my inability to tell the difference between a pint of Red Stripe and a pint of golden ale didn't make for a great evening but it was great to see them live again. They played a number of favourites including Blood Like Cream and Prehistoric Dog.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

If at first you don't succeed, try 10 more times!

Regular readers will know it has been a life time goal of mine to run the London Marathon.

Last year I was bitterly disappointed when my lovely husband managed to get a place after the second time of applying whilst my tenth application failed.

But I am not one to give up and therefore made my 11th application this year.

I was out when the pack arrived at home. Andy text me to say it arrived but I asked him not to tell me as I was already having a crap day and didn't want the disappointment to ruin my night at the cinema with my mum.

On the way home I told myself not to get too excited and to face the fact that if I really want to run London I am going to have to apply for a charity place.

I normally tick the box to receive a sports top if I am unsuccessful so when I walked in and saw the pack on something squishy my heart sank. But then I picked it up. There was no top in it. I looked at Andy and looked back at the letter. Could it finally be? Had I forgotten to tick the box this year? Was this another "Sorry" magazine.


I screamed - loudly. I am not sure our neighbours would have been as happy as me considering it was 11.30pm. But FINALLY! After 11 attempts I finally have a place in the London Marathon!

The realisation that I have to train again for marathon is slightly daunting but despite not getting into London this year, Andy is signing up for Brighton so we will be training together again.

And once I have shaken the latest bout of whatever illness I have, I will be donning the running trainers and racking up the miles. First stop, Park Run on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Busy Foxes - Mini Moon

Pre-wedding we were kept busy with last minute prep. Post wedding it hasn't actually got any less busy.

Straight after the wedding we took a 5 night mini-moon trip to Scotland after deciding to have our proper honeymoon later in the year. Originally we had thought about going snowboarding but being a couple without kids we realised as we tried to book something that the week after the wedding was actually half term therefore everything was super expensive.

Instead we travelled up to Glasgow on the train to pick up our hire car and drive to Loch Lomand. The drive took us up through some beautiful scenery before arriving at the Lodge on Loch Lomand - our home for four nights.

We had a room with an amazing view of the Loch as well as our own private sauna, which we took advantage of straight away as well as the bottle of champagne mum had kindly arranged to be in our room on arrival.

The view of Loch Lomond


Champagne

We took the car out a couple of times to explore the local area including a walk up to Sloy dam and a drive past Faslane where the trident submarines are based (only realised we were there when we drive past a protest camp).


The ascent to Sloy Dam

Sloy Dam

Sheep

The bottom of Loch Lomond




We returned to Glasgow for our final night and checked into the Grand Hotel in the station. We then headed to meet Andy's cousin William for some snowboarding at the indoor centre.



Now, I have snowboarded more than Andy and we chanced our luck at getting on the slopes despite not having been on a board for 3 years.

First problem, I had no idea how to use the lift. I face planted a lot while Andy got on and travelled up the slope first time.

As it took me a while to get up the slope, Andy decided to head off on his own. He was doing really well until he was cut up by two small children, turned sharply and landed heavily on his shoulder. It cut his session short as he went off to see his cousin who thankfully is a paramedic.

I continued to face plant on the lift but made it up eventually and after some help from the lovely guys operating the lift I had got the hang of the lift by the end of our session.

Some German beers and food later and we travelled back to town to end our night in BrewDog Glasgow (another BrewDog bar and ticked off the list).

Then the fun and games. We headed back to the hotel. I had been suffering all week with the remnants of the illness I had acquired the week before the wedding but now Andy was starting to feel ill too and his sprained shoulder was also making him feel worse so we headed to bed. At 2am we woke with a start as the fire alarm sounded in our room. At first we thought it would stop pretty soon as it was likely to be a false alarm but instead it continued. We got dressed, Andy will difficulty due to his injury, and made our way downstairs and to the street outside the hotel.

Andy couldn't get his boots on so had opted to wear the free slippers the hotel provided. He wasn't the only one, but at least he had put on clothes and a jumper which was a good call considering it was a February night in Glasgow. We waited outside for over an hour as the fire brigade arrived to check the hotel over. Eventually we were allowed back into the building.

2am on the streets of Glasgow selfie

A number of fire engines arrived to check out the hotel
The cause - drunk person from the party in the champagne bar had got lost and trapped in a fire escape and had set the alarm off trying to get out of the building.

Back at the room my cough had come back with a vengeance meaning sleep alluded me for another hour before finally nodding off. We had an early start in the morning due to the line between Glasgow and Carlisle still being repaired following the floods at Christmas. More annoyingly the line was re-opening on the Monday.

Feeling shattered in the morning we boarded our train and then headed back to London.We were a bit shattered when we returned to London but it was worth it. It's another part of Scotland I have now explored and a fantastic break post wedding. And on the plus side we still had the main honeymoon to come!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Busy Foxes - All the Sporty Stuff

As previously mentioned, we have been incredibly busy since the start of the year. Part of that busy-ness has been down to taking part in a number of sports events - both competitive (well, competitive in the sense of trying to score a new PB) and for fun.

And being the mad people we are, we decided that having a wedding at the start of the year was not enough hard work so Andy and I both signed up for marathons! Andy was lucky enough to get a ballot place for London. Sadly I couldn't get a place in London so I signed up to Brighton again.

But we haven't stopped there. We have done quite a bit so far this year.

Park Run

In January I joined Andy in taking part in our local Park Run in Southwark Park as part of our marathon training. I enjoyed the atmosphere every week and got quite competitive with myself to keep running faster.

I have to admit that neither of us have been lately due to super busy schedules but we are hoping to get back to it soon.

Hampton Court Half Marathon

Back in March and in the midst of marathon training we took part in the Hampton Court Half Marathon. My training was slightly hampered at this point due to two bouts of tonsillitis and a number of weeks off training.

It was a pretty course, running along the river and the surrounding area. I was feeling it towards the end but eventually made it to the finish. Andy and I both scored PB's and awesome medals!

Pretty awesome medal!

In Katzenjammers awaiting celebratory beers.

Brighton Marathon

So once again in April this year I found myself pounding the streets on Brighton and Hove. This time I knew what to expect but thanks to some fantastic training with Andy I knew I could run 20 miles without stopping and given that I had got to the same point last time and then managed to run the last 6.2 miles I knew I could do it again. So this time I ran the entire 26.2 miles! I was dead proud as you can see from the picture.

I didn't quite get the time I wanted though. I could run a 4hrs 30 time if I put the training in, didn't get sick and lost a few kilos but I was still happy setting a new PB of 5 hours 2 minutes (admittedly those 2 minutes are really annoying as I really wanted to get under 5 hours this time - oh well. Might just have to run another marathon!).

Post run celebration - photo courtesy of @Tadders


London Marathon

Next up on the marathon front was Andy. He trained really hard for the marathon running long runs at weekends and run to and from work a couple of times a week. I was a very proud wife. Unfortunately when Andy applied for the marathon he had no idea how fast he could run and had put a time of 4hrs 30 down. This meant he was fairly near the back. During training he figured he could achieve 3hrs 30 possibly quicker.

Despite the hassle of trying to get past people for the first half of the run, he made it to the end in an impressive 3hrs 39. Very proud wife!
Andy with medal and beer!

As you can see Andy and I both ran for the Stroke Association. We managed to raise £1,391.20 which far exceeded our expectations.

Thames Bridges Bike Ride

Next up was a cycling challenge. I have no photos sadly from the 52 mile course and I have to say that I was not a massive fan of the course this year. It took us on to too many busy roads that were fine for us to navigate but would have been really hard for those who were a little more cautious on the roads.

The event this year started and finished at the Olympic park and the food post race was terrible. So we headed home and to the pub for drinks and then grabbed a takeaway. Walking back to the flat it started to rain so we started running back. I have now learnt that running after cycling best part of 70 miles, drinking a few beers and wearing ripped jeans is a recipe for disaster. I tripped and fell grazing my knee so badly I had to work from home the following day as I couldn't walk! It took a couple of weeks to heal.

OUCH!

Great Newham Run

Back to the running. This time a 10k. Not a blistering time for me as it was insanely hot on the day and dehydration and sun stroke were considerations so I took this one easy. Glad I did as I saw a few people on the course who had gone to hard and collapsed. Running + hot sunny weather is not a good mix!

Post run selfie with the orbit tower

Bloodwise Bike Ride

I can officially confirm that I am useless at taking pictures post race. I really enjoyed this 52 mile bike ride starting and finishing at Southwark Park. A great course and clearly designed by someone who cycles. We went all over London for a rather pleasant ride. It was nice to finish back near home and a great preparation ride for the Surrey 100 the following weekend.

Photo courtesy of @Tadders

Rounders

Andy's (and my old) work decided to have a midweek game of rounders which I tagged along for. It's been a while since I've played. We had a really good laugh with Andy's team and followed up the session with a few beers in a part of London I have not been in before. Stunned that I have never been up Primrose hill before!

Rounders in Primrose hill with moody skies


Prudential Ride London

Start line selfie

And the last installment of our sporty stuff - the Surrey 100. We really enjoyed the ride last year so were really happy we both got ballot places again this year. Annoyingly we were starting apart again - Andy starting later this time. We met up at the same stop and carried on to the first hub stop at 26 miles. We then came to a stop at mile 40. No one was quite sure what was happening but a bit of twitter investigation revealed that someone had crashed quite badly and they had stopped the ride.

We were stuck in a picturesque little village in Surrey for an hour and a half before setting off again. Unfortunately due to the delay we had missed the cut off time to cycle up Leith Hill (that's twice now we haven't done it!) but we were lucky to get to do box hill as friends further back had their course cut very dramatically short. We at least managed 92 miles whereas they only cycled 70.

We did have a lovely time though and have already signed up again for next year!

Medals - front and back

We are already looking for some more challenges for this year and looking at what we can do next year. I feel there are some PB's to be broken!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WEDLOAD 2016

So 7, yes SEVEN, months ago now I got married! Where has the time gone?!

Myself and Mr Fox are enjoying married life. Work has been hectic for both of us - I have been promoted, he has just been rushed off his feet, life in generally has been crazy busy and now we are embarking on buying a house.

We don't really like to take life slowly really!

I am desperate to get back to blogging. There is so much we have done lately! Hopefully I can get some posts up soon with the cool things we have been up to and the cool stuff to come!

But first and foremost, WEDLOAD 2016.



We wanted our wedding to be about us. We made a point of including so many things we loved into the day, not only did we love it, but our guests did too.

A few of the personal touches we made to the day:
  • Instead of a bouquet I threw a punked up Garfield
  • The whole day was themed as a festival, particularly our favourite - Download
  • Instead of a signing book we had a guitar
  • Food stalls instead of a sit down meal
  • Craft beer, and lots of it
  • I walked down the aisle to a track by Red Sparowes, picked by Andy
  • Our signing music was Foo Fighters "Walk" - the track we use as an alarm to signal the start of a new day so seemed a good idea to be the track to signal the start of our lives together
  • We left the service to "Everything is Awesome" from the Lego movie
We had the most amazing day and our friends and family made the day so insanely special and awesome. Below are a selection of photos from our awesome photographer Chris Seddon.









We were also lucky enough to be featured on Marry Me Ink - a blog featuring tattooed brides and grooms. There are a few more photos over there and a bit more information on the wedding.

I cannot believe it has been 7 months already since it happened. It was so much fun on the day. But we have other exciting things in the pipeline now. Watch this space.