Hello Mr Slug

Hello there! Hope you had a great weekend and didn’t get too soaked yesterday. I managed to on three occasions – come on July, bring some sunshine!

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Henry is loving the wet weather, puddles are his favourite (he zooms from one to the next and back again). He couldn’t believe his luck when Rufus joined in yesterday.

I could probably write a million words recapping the past couple of weeks but I’ll keep it shorter and sweeter instead!

First up, James was away in Germany last week so I was in charge of Henry, who is going through a ‘fun’ teenage stage.

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I sent James off with banana pancakes and dropped him at the station before my Mum arrived for a sleepover.

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Lunch was a quite frankly huge roast at Aqua, which I highly recommend. Check out the size of that Yorkshire pudding – I was too stuffed to even start it!

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Henry was in full-on sass mood once he realised James had gone, my Mum and I couldn’t leave him for two seconds before naughtiness began.

We had a great shopping trip on Monday – I picked up this dress – including a lovely cake fest for lunch.

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I’ve been having a little dairy recently and *touch wood* no reaction yet. Maybe gluten was the problem all along? I think that’s a bit optimistic but I’m happy to have cake again!

Mum left on Monday evening and it was weird how empty the flat felt, I made sure to join the group of local dog walkers each morning to prevent cabin fever.

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Having Henry meant my week off was hardly relaxing but I had great fun taking him to new places – like the Clifton Suspension Bridge for the first time.

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He also met a similar attired woolly animal from the Shaun In The City.There are 70 sheep around Bristol, they definitely keep walks entertaining!

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It felt weird making dinner for just one, I kept up the usual meal rotation, with Don’t Tell the Bride (my guilty pleasure!) for company while I ate.

I did so much walking that I really, really struggled during a five miler with the Hill Killer Girls but thinking of the pub afterwards got me through!

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We picked up Henry on the way, he helped us demolish some crisps (and the pub by splashing water the landlord had kindly brought him everywhere..!)

IMG_1869I feel so lucky to run with such awesome girls, they always make me forget any troubles, hill inclines or tired legs. And colour coordinate so well!

I’d planned to invite Laureen round for coffee the following day but something horrific happened.

IMG_1908I was just settling down with a coffee, cake and a new book when Henry came in from the garden to say hello.

Anyway, he dropped a slug (a slug.. a slug.. a SLUG!) in my coffee when I wasn’t looking. I took a big sip and blurgh. Luckily I realised straight away. Grim, grim, grim.

 

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Henry is now very much sleeping on the floor and not near my bed – I don’t want him to drop one by my pillow!

I packed us both into the car on Thursday for a Cotswolds BBQ with my parents, which was utterly delicious.

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He loves the garden there, as do I.

James arrived home early on Friday morning and had to take Henry to the vet in the afternoon, as he has a sore paw.

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We left with a bag of medication and a feeling sorry for himself pooch. Cuddles were in order (when are they not with this dog?!).

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The weekend started with some fab pancakes, which were very welcome!

 

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We met up with BFF Rufus to cheer Henry up post-vets – they make each other so happy :)

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On Sunday I was lucky to meet up with my BFF too, it was her first time seeing our current flat (we only moved in a few months ago) and of course, the puppy.

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It’s hard to say but I think they liked each other!

* Are you a city or a country person?

* Ever had a slug in your food or drink? I can’t be alone…!

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Review: Trespass

One thing that has amazed me since getting a dog is the amount of clothes I get through, especially when the rain hits (which is often here in the drizzly UK).

At least twice a day, I take Henry for a long walk through fields and my wardrobe has really taken a battering.

I was running out of radiator space to dry my sodden jeans when an email dropped to my inbox from Trespass, asking if I’d like to review their summer hiking gear.

Of course I immediately accepted the challenged and picked two items I thought would be incrediblly useful – the Janel waterproof trousers and Nadi quick dry top.

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The items arrived quickly and well packed. I was really impressed at how they looked and felt.

Nadi quick dry active top – £6.99

I had a run planned with the Hill Killer girls (Laureen, Julie and new recruit Lucy) and putting on such a brightly coloured top definitely helped the 6am start!

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I really love this top. The fit is fabulous, I adore the length (no more tummy or back bearing!) and the colour is bright without being too crazy for early morning eyes.

It felt lovely to run in and kept me cool and comfortable. IMG_1649

I’d never had a running top with a hole in the back before and wasn’t sure how I’d find it but I really like it!

For £6.99 I think it’s an absolute bargain too, it’s already my favourite running t-shirt (and I’ve spent more than five times that price on others).

The top has Duoskin fabric to wick sweat away from the body, with an antibacterial finish to combat bacteria build up and keep you feeling fresh and clean.

 

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I picked the S size-wise and I think fit-wise it is pretty spot on. I’ve washed a few times and it has come out really well.

P.s. Trick for wearing a bum bag while running: wear it back to front. Much less annoying and it stays put instead of digging in/smacking you in the stomach.

Janel waterproof trousers – £20.99

I’ve been putting off buying waterproof trousers for ages despite the fact I really, really need them for work and walking the dog.

There’s a funny story about me having to be fireman’s lifted out of a farm in waist deep water in front of a senior politician – while wearing a dress – in the Somerset floods.

Anyway… Even that experience didn’t convince me to shell out for some “unsexy” waterproofs so I’m glad Trespass forced my hand!

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Look, I can’t pretend that waterproof trousers are sexy but they are flipping useful. And comfortable. And I’ve worn them for the past four morning walks.

That’s right, I absolutely love them. Imagine walking through torrential rain, coming inside and being bone dry underneath – not soaked through to your underwear.

I can’t understate how much satisfaction and joy these trousers have brought me.

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They are oh-so comfortable, fit snugly but not tightly and I can run about it them without any problems.

The trousers have an outershell and a dropliner. The outer features quick dry technology to wick away moisture and has a UV40+ finish.

The dropliner is waterproof to 3000mm, breathable to 3000mvp, windproof and has taped seams to give total protection against wind and rain.

There’s a detachable belt, which is fully adjustable, and four pockets to keep phones, keys, tissues etc safe from the elements.

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I genuinely can’t think of a bad thing to say about Trespass, I think the prices are brilliant, clothing is flattering, practical and comfortable and delivery is speedy.

* Do you have any Trespass clothing?

* Do you have a full set of waterproofs at home?! 

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A weekend of ups and a down

Welcome to the start of a new week! How’s everyone getting on? Hope your weekend was fabulous.

I was in a rush this morning and dashed out to walk Henry in some pumps (I adore these Victoria plimsolls) and a t-shirt. Then the heavens opened!

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Henry absolutely loves the rain but you can see how soaked he was, we were both drenched when we returned home. That will teach me for not checking the weather!

Speaking of weather, it wasn’t too shabby this weekend. I was working but managed to squeeze in lots of fun around my laptop – here’s what went down!

Friday

We celebrated the start of the weekend with a lovely walk at the Clifton Observatory. I snapped this pic of James and Henry sharing a moment – he’s definitely the favourite!IMG_1551

Dinner was a fabulous mix of salmon, all the sweet potato chips and a great salad. I was in foodie heaven.

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Radishes just might be my favourite salad extra at the moment. I’m also really into stuffed olives too, though I eat them before they can make it on the dinner plate!

Saturday

I was up mega early to walk Henry before work and took him back to the Observatory as there are usually lots of dogs there (and he loves to play!).

Just before we reached the park, we bumped into a woman walking her spaniel on a flexi lead. Henry went to say hello and she said “oh, just to let you know, he will attack your dog”.

Of course at that point Henry was already at the other dog and within a split second he was making this heartbreaking squealing sound – the spaniel had clamped onto his nose.

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The dog eventually let go and Henry cowered into me, his poor nose was bleeding and so sore.

I gave him lots of cuddles and sausage but continued our walk as I wanted him to meet some nice dogs, which thankfully he did – as well as a Shaun the Sheep!

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He was surprisingly ok, just a bit jittery and of course needed all the cuddles after we reached home for a pancake breakfast.

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I worked away until 3pm, when we met our friends for lunch at a local pub. They have a black lab and we headed on a lovely walk after the food.

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Back home for all the cuddles and a dinner of leftovers (it tasted fab but wasn’t picture-worthy!).

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Sunday

I had a lovely boost on Sunday morning when I found a parcel waiting for me in our hallway. Trespass kindly sent me some hiking gear to review, so exciting!

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I stupidly decided not to wear it for our morning walk, which was a Doodle meet up in Bristol!

It absolutely poured – so much so I couldn’t take a picture. Just imagine 20+ curly haired dogs running riot in torrential rain. Henry was delighted.

James and I dried off and headed out to the shops before working in the afternoon. At 6pm it was time to head out and meet Rufus the corgi for a walk.

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These two really are best friends, it sounds silly but I get so much joy from seeing them together. Our walk was a long hilly one (I think 5 miles or so).

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Dinner was very welcome, I whipped up a pork bolognese with courgetti and sprinkled some local, organic goat cheese on top.

My allergies are so much better since getting Henry, it feels like such a victory to be able to eat cheese without any reaction.

And of course I had to have the best dessert to celebrate with:

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* What salad extra are you loving at the moment?

* Favourite dessert?

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That’s when good bloggers become good friends..

Hello there! Have you enjoyed the sunshine and showers or has it been a bit much? I can’t get over how hot it has been!

My week has been a hectic one, I thought I’d have a nice relaxing one today as I was only out of the house until the early afternoon.

Well, Henry has other ideas, he’s been in full on destruct mode all afternoon. Sigh. I was looking for my shoe earlier and stumbled upon it nicely destroyed.

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“Nothing to see here officer, move along”..

He’s definitely been feeling the heat, we’ve been worried about him getting too hot so have been limiting his walks and treating him to a private pool in the garden.

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His favourite thing seems to be to get nice and wet, then roll in loose grass like a maniac before looking very proud of himself.

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We’ve had a lot to think about (potentially exciting house news on the way!) this week and having his goofy company has helped lighten everything.

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I think it’s fair to say we’re totally smitten with him!

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He’s smitten with us too, especially after I shared one of my boiled eggs in my lunch above with him. This was his position for the next two hours (no zoom):

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Apart from dog therapy, I’ve been dipping into the joys of good old coffee and chocolate this week.

IMG_1061If you haven’t tried the small Booja Booja selections, you need to! The kalamata olive is my absolute favourite, though espresso with coffee is also a winner.

I may have stocked up for this weekend, my Mum and sister are coming to stay so I see my supply being eaten super quickly!

Speaking of weekends, let’s rewind back to the last one because it was awesome and featured some familiar faces to you.

Friday

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Labradoodles are clever dogs, which is a blessing and err.. not. Henry is so smart and loves a mental challenge (and physical.. like play fighting with a sausage dog).

It’s hard to believe that there are dog ‘board games’ but it is true and I’m now a massive convert. I actually ordered two more today as this one has been such a success.

 

This is Henry asking to play with it – he goes crazy for it and will work for any treats, even his usual meals.

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Friday night couldn’t come quickly enough, especially as we had a doggy date booked with Rufus. We had a great time, though someone became sad when his BFF had to leave.

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Yes, that is Henry sitting on Rufus’s lead and refusing to budge…!

Saturday – Blogger Meet Up!

Saturday started bright and early with Henry as I had to get down to the train station to head to London, where some of my favourite bloggers were waiting!

We met at Wholefoods in Camden, and grabbed lunch – I went for a salad box of pulled chicken, salads, salsa and herbs after a little welcome help from Anna.

Our party (organiser Cat, Pip, Ceri, Mary and Anna) headed to Regent’s Park for a picnic in the sunshine and it was awesome to chat to them in real life!

I was SO nervous before my first blogger meet up – what if I didn’t match up to my blog, what if nobody talked to me? etc – but I felt pretty calm this time round.

Well, after negotiating the tube and finding Wholefoods that is!

We headed to inSpiral, a vegan, raw food cafe where ordering and sorting the table felt like we were in a parallel universe, speaking a different language.

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Luckily, Cat perfected her inSpiral-ese and negotiated us a fab table just in time for the arrival of Lily, Laureen and her fiancé Laurence.

We chatted away like that old blends that we are for hours before it was time to head back to our respective homes around the country.

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I was nattering away so much I forgot to take a group picture but luckily Cat remembered to and so we have this lovely momento (ignore my closed eyes!).

I reached Bristol at 8.30 then powered it home where a lovely dinner was waiting for me (“I’ve been in London, give me all the vegetables”).

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Can’t wait for the next meet up, I had so much fun and enjoyed chatting to every person there.

Sunday

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I started the day with a small breakfast as I felt quite full from the previous day (nothing to do with snacks on the train home..) before bracing the rain for a walk.

Luckily it cleared by the afternoon so we could enjoy a long walk with Henry, Rufus, my Dad, his partner Pauline and their friend’s dogs, Tinker and Tips (mum and daughter).

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It’s fair to say the dogs (and us) had a brilliant time, they loved running about together and sitting nicely for treats.

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Yup, that’s my dog doing the ‘half sit’.. cheeky!

If you needed proof that Rufus and Henry are BFFs, here’s a picture from the car journey home:

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I’ve spared you the crying Henry did when we dropped Rufus at home. Or the way we sang ‘Stay Another Day‘ to him in response.IMG_1263

Dinner was a fabulous grilled pork steak with sweet potato fries and salad.

* Have you attended a blogger meet up? Were you shy?

* How’s the hot weather been for you?

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All kinds of updates

Hello there to you! How is everything going?

It’s been a while as I just haven’t had the mental space for blogging recently, which makes me sad because it’s something I really enjoy and value.

I can’t promise to be back to my regular posts for reason you’ll see below but I will try to pop in when I can – I miss this lovely community!

Here’s what’s been happening recently:

I tried colouring for mindfulness..

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.. But bought the worst pencils and ended up getting stressed about how they barely worked at all. How ironic!

You may notice I bought the Mindfulness Colouring Book then couldn’t resist adding a fairy princess version to my basket. You’ll never guess which I tackled first ;)

Paleo eating is continuing to work wonders for me..

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… I’ve been eating 99% paleo (if you include raw chocolate because that’s approximately 95% of my diet!) for the past four months and am totally loving the results.

I know that my improved health is due to a variety of factors but I feel it wouldn’t be possible at all without my diet.

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That’s not to say I’m not pushing the boundaries a little! I went out for a Lebanese lunch with colleagues the other day and have been indulging in some gluten-free cakes.

Henry celebrated his half-birthday…

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… And I actually shed a tear! I’m so proud of him for how far he has progressed, I think he grows more handsome every day.

Now I just have to spend the next six months teaching him how to wear a party hat, get used to balloons and perfect a recipe for a doggy birthday cake.

I think James might only approve one of the above ;)

My car was burgled and Henry helped catch the thieves…

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… I can’t say too much about this because the three ‘suspects’ are out on police bail but Henry woke us up at 4am one morning trying to growl and bark for the first time.

Police eventually tracked the ‘suspects’ down to a nearby road and I’ve been reunited with my stolen property, along with many other car owners in Bristol.

It’s weird, I spend much of my job as a journalist spending time near crime during court cases but I’ve never been affected by it myself.

James are I are pretty shaken up by the experience as my car is parked right by our back door, on a private drive armed with security lights and warning signs.

My car, filled with my memories and belongings, which I sit in each day, is now an “attack vehicle”, covered in fingerprint dust and featured in forensic pictures.

We don’t feel safe in our home but…

…We’re having to move (again)…

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Long story short, our landlady put our flat on the market days after we moved in and is determined to sell it as soon as possible.

We’ve decided to buy our next property, instead of rent. We’ve done many viewings and seen a few places that would be ok but nothing great yet.

My sister graduated university and came to stay…

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… We had a blast! She’s moving to Berlin next month so will be popping down to Bristol again for a few days.

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Her plan is to get as many cuddles with Henry as possible, something he is very happy about. This dog loves to cuddle!

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We made the mistake of allowing Henry on the sofa for cuddles when he was tiny. Now he’s 16kg (and growing) so there’s limited room for us humans to sit!

And finally, Henry and Rufus are BFFs…

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… I know many of you love hearing about Rufus and I can honestly report that he and Henry truly are great friends.

We try to get the boys together a few times a week, it is so lovely to see their faces light up when they spot each other.

Wherever Rufus goes, Henry follows. They bring us so, so much happiness and joy!

* Have you ever been a victim of car/house crime? 

* Have you tried colouring to reduce stress?

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Bristol 10k 2015

I fell back in love with running the moment I saw the finish line of the Bristol 10k.

My whole body relaxed, the biggest smile beamed across my face and energy jolted through my legs. I pretty much danced across that beautiful line and it felt rather good!

It certainly wasn’t bad for a race I was unsure I would be able to do, that I started with lead for legs and without any plans for time or pace.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t PB. But I’m still happy with my time, especially given a complete lack of training.

Bristol 10k 2015

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In the weeks and days leading up to the 10k I was not feeling it at all! Usually, James and I would have used a training plan, running three days a week.

Instead, we all but stopped running and spent our days clocking up 13-14 miles chasing work and puppy – no stretching, no strength training and no spare energy!

Putting it mildly, I woke up on race day feeling unprepared, shaky, and a bit sick with nerves.

I gulped down a cup of hot water and a Nakd bar then headed to the start with James and Laureen (who we met on the way).

We made a loo stop then waited in our pen for the start.

I don’t now how I was feeling at that point, but James asked me if I wanted to take a selfie and I may have responded with expletives so that gives some indication!

Anyway, we set off and I was ok. I had a bit of a stitch but running as a foursome  (Laureen’s friend Liv joined us) distracted me, along with the crowds.

The course features a long schlep up the Portway (under the Clifton Suspension Bridge) and the turn back towards Bristol just before 5k was a very welcome one.

Cheers and music pushed me through until the four-mile mark, when my legs decided they were not loving it and my face felt like it was burning off.

James and I lost Laureen and Liv around this point as our pace began to slow down. We ran step in step together, always a lovely experience.

There came a point at about five miles where we both wanted to stop but kept going and then it was a push through the city centre for the final stretch.

Crowds were out in force through that last mile, which made such a difference. I tried to clap or cheer them as I ran past, it was rainy and cold so props to them for coming!

And then came that beautiful moment when the finish line appeared. I was so overjoyed to be over it, step in step with James and feeling so well.

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It was quite muggy – the type that makes you mega thirsty – so there was a bit of a queue for water and then the usual grab for foils, medals and t-shirts.

I usually ignore the foil but decided to wrap myself in it, something I was so grateful for as soon as we got out of the hub of warm runners post-race and into the runner’s village.

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I felt really happy. I try not to bang on about paleo here but I will say my stomach was flat the entire race (it used to swell up painfully during any high-effort run).

Speaking of paleo, the only foods I wanted post-run were burgers, pizza, bread, cake, pasta.. I had the biggest cravings even though I haven’t eaten them in years.

We met up with Laureen, who had done brilliantly, then headed to Boston Tea Party to congratulate fellow Hill Killer Girl Julie on her fabulous result.

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Everything smelled delicious in there but we headed on home to keep Henry company. He was delighted to join in the post-race celebrations!

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And thought the foils made a perfect bed:

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Our time was 55.00, a result I’m pleased with. We’re hoping to smash our PB in the half marathon in September so better get training!

* Any other racers this weekend? How did you do?

* When do you start training for a race?

We’re thinking 12 weeks will be plenty for the half ;)

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From flu to a fluff monster

So after the general election, I was feeling pretty smug. I felt ace throughout the 26-hour shift and gave myself a few pats on the back for my good health.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel quite so smug last week when I ‘enjoyed’ full blown flu, which has only just left me. Unlike my nurse:

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That’s Henry’s worried face, he had it all the time when I was ill. He point blank refused to leave my side and stayed awake next to me while I slept during the days.

He’s back to his normal self now, although it took him a few days to realise his bed privileges were only for when I was too weak to push him off..

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Side note: He’s so grown up these days, I keep asking where our little pup has gone! His personality has definitely grown with age, he’s full of cheek now.

The weekend started on an interesting note as Henry had his second appointment at the grooming parlour (his first in Bristol).

James and I had thought it would just be a wash and brush but it was actually a 90-minute Full Monty – including a hygiene clip (don’t ask), facial shave, nail clip and backcomb.

We were stunned when we picked him up – he looked like he’d been airbrushed!

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I have to admit I didn’t like it, I wanted my scruffy boy back! But poodle coats need this kind of treatment every 6-8 weeks so I’d better get used to it.

After the groom, we drove to the Cotswolds to spend the night at my Mum’s house for Henry’s first sleepover.

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Henry was more spooked by his new look than we were so it was quite a stressful trip, he only really perked up just before we left on Sunday morning. Sigh.

Before our drive home to Bristol, we met my Dad and his partner at Cirencester Park (a place so dog friendly you don’t have to pick up dog mess!).IMG_0448

Dad recently bought a new toy, a 1989 Lotus and of course couldn’t resist bringing it to take me for a spin. I swear his chest puffed with each admiring glance!

Let’s just say Henry was super chuffed to be back home, he did a few mad dashes round to make sure everything was still there before settling on the sofa for a bone.

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My payback for his nursing skills was to hold that bone just right.. all night! My wrist was quite sore the following morning but how could I stop with that face?

Monday we took it steady through the day, Henry was back to our sassy pup and full of beans on his morning walk.

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We headed to a new walk, Snuff Mills, in the afternoon with Rufus and his humans, which was a lot of fun.

Henry is still scared of water and kept yapping at Rufus everytime he went for a swim (which was a lot because the walk is along the water).

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I’m just so grateful to be feeling better now but I am feeling nervous about Sunday’s 10k (the Bristol 10k).

We went for a run last night and it was humbling to say the least, I just didn’t enjoy myself in the way that I used to.

Having a dog seems to have made the biggest positive impact on my health in years – my allergies are lower, my skin is clearer, sleep deeper and weight stable.

Running doesn’t fit into that picture at the moment, when I go it throws everything out of whack for a few days.

My body seems overjoyed with a long, hilly walk twice a day, throwing in the odd sprint here and there.

I’m not saying that I’ll never run again (in fact I’ll be running on Sunday..) but I don’t have any plans to kick start any kind of regular running/exercise routine right now.

* When did you last have flu?

* What did you get up to over the Bank Holiday?

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