Sunday, July 24, 2011

Camping it up !

Not camping it up exactly .. just plain old camping. This weekend BB was supposed to do Fambridge middle distance triathlon, but when he got round to entering, there were no spaces left. That's a lesson learned isn't it. The funny thing was we were going to camp there the night before the race, and BB had a dry run putting the tent up in the garden before he had checked whether they were entries left. I felt so sorry for him.

As it was the end of term for Cupcake, we thought what the hell, let's go camping for the night anyway. We didn't want to go too far afield, so I managed to find this place near Lewes in East Sussex Spring Barn Farm.
It's actually a children's petting farm with a restaurant and a field where they allow camping. There are no showers on site, and only a basic toilet block (no hot water, no mirrors, no hairdryers) but as we were only there for the night we knew we would cope...

Camping is most certainly not for everyone, but you can get plenty of kit  now to make it into an enjoyable experience. We haven't been for a long time, but when we did go before, I took my parent's 6-man tent which had it's own kitchen part, bedroom part, etc. We also took a mini gas cooker and a hook-on light. In fact I quite easily made spaghetti bolognese for 4 -- well easyish. It's fair to say we don't camp like that any more, we were only there for the night this time, so we took no cooking equipment. That said, I did take my spork (knife, fork and spoon in one), a cool bag, a bottle of red wine (of course!), a carton of orange juice, 3 plastic cups, cookies, strawberries, paninis ... I'll stop there before you drop off ...

What do I enjoy most about camping? Well, you all have to pull together, you all have to put the tent up together. At this site you had to leave your car outside the field, so you pile all of your belongings into a wheelbarrow and wheel them to the tent. Kids love doing things like that and CC was no exception. I quite enjoy it myself too... Once the tent is up, your time is your own, no obligations like you have at home. We went for a long walk, and we played card games, we went out for pizza and when we got back we lay in the entrance of the tent and drank wine and looked at the stars. It was only one night, but it was real, quality family time. Priceless.

The next day (today) we went round the Petting Farm, CC is getting a little old for that now so it was okaaaaay. I'm sure younger kids would love it. We breakfasted in the restaurant, well BB and CC did - they didn't seem able to satisfy my simple request for just toast, and then they decided they would let me have just toast, but by then I had lost my appetite and politely declined.. That left a bit of a sour note for me.  Before breakfast, we sat outside at our little folding table and chairs, I had brought cans of iced coffee (thank you Starbucks!), so we drank those and had more fun playing cards. I guess what I most love about camping is being outside the whole time. It's a bit of a hippy thing too I guess, the great welly-wearing, unwashed. Funny. Camping gives me a real good feeling, I can't really explain it. It just suits me, I guess..

I can't wait for my next camping trip although I've no idea when this will be, CC made us promise that we woud camp for a few days every summer, and I'm up for that.

The weather has been glorious this weekend, so when we got back and I had unpacked I went for a long(ish) run of about 90-odd minutes. It felt good to be running in the heat, I took my hydration pack with me and thought about the forthcoming marathon.

All in all, life is good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kielder Marathon - Sunday 9 October 2011

So, it's time to get serious. That data above is the date I am signed up to complete Kielder Marathon.

It's been 11 days since my breast biopsy and with the OK from the consultant to continue my running, today I went out full of renewed energy and a spring in my step. The sun was shining, but only very briefly. Suddenly, the skies opened and the rain fell down on me for the rest of my run. I was only running to Cupcake's school and in the 11 days that I as off the running, I think I cycled the same route about 2 or 3 times. The one thing I noticed ? How much slower running is than cycling. The cycle ride takes me 15-20 minutes, whereare the run today took me 35 minutes - it's about 3  miles or so.

It was raining, and I was soaked, and I thought to myself everyone else would think why is that crazy woman running in the rain, but I' m not a fairweather runner. I quite enjoyed getting wet. Running in the rain reminds me that I am alive, and that I am lucky enough to be able-bodied and be out running. In October when I stand on the start line, am I going to say that I can't run ... because it's raining ??? Duh, of course not ! The best thing I can do is to have trained in all sorts of climates so that on the day I am not taken by surprise.

This marathon training lark has me thinking about the following :

Kit - today I tried out my new Shockabsorber running bra - it was £32.99 and worth every penny. '78% less bounce' it said on the label and I believe it. I would highly recommend it.

Nutrition - I know what to eat, but it's a question of getting it right on the day and not having tummy troubles.

Route - I need new routes to keep the training interesting

Cross-training - Swimming and yoga - I need to fit these in somewhere

If anyone has any marathon training tips I would be chuffed to receive them !

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's all about ME !!!

I was just reading my foodbuzz email and clicked on the 'Top 9', which I always enjoy a browse through. Those avocado chocolate cookies look nice, I thought. I like a nice odd recipe, and I know I have an avocado out there in the kitchen, lurking....

Here's a link to that recipe, in case it whets your appetite too. Also on that page the author mentioned 25 questions from Suzy's blog so I thought I would complete them too and give you another insight into the Kooky. :o)

Here they are:

I guess I'm like Marmite - no, not a French casserole (!) You either love me, or hate me.. but I've got to choose love, haven't I ...

See above answer. 


Eugh. Whenever I think of luncheon meat that makes me think of processed meat, and that then makes me think of bowel cancer... I don't eat processed meat. I like roast chicken though, but I'd really rather have hummous or even better tuna mayo with red onion... I guess that wasn't really the question though was it - lol. :o)

No. My first pre-date with BB, that is the date before our 'first date' was basically me wishing him luck up a crane whilst he jumped off the crane doing his first (and only) Bungee jump. I was the only one crazy enough to go up there with him - and I don't like heights. Love eh ?? That was back in 1999. And anyway, I always worry the 'string' would break, or not be long enough and I would head-dive into concrete or something. No, no, no....

Ottawa /Toronto in Canada.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Night-night.  Smile 
Right now, on the TV in the background, being watched by BB, is a film about Mark Cavendish and his experiences in the Tour de France. BB is so engrossed he can't even tell me what it's about.. It looks quite interesting actually.

I'm more of a Bagel bird really.. I like all sorts of cereal though, today I had a little bit of granola in a yoghurt with a chopped nectarine, so probably  granola or muesli, but I'd secretly rather be eating an onion bagel...

Sometimes, depends on the shoe, who I'm with, if I'm racing, and most importantly if I'm using lock laces. I love my lock laces.

Probably an Italian fruity gelato.
Wine ? Definitely red.

Just my second home in Limoux, France. About three weeks to that now, not that I'm counting or anything ...

Not wearing any

Some cookies and cream ice-cream - very nice. I could eat more, but I won't...
Always green, always...

Smells that remind me of past places, usually perfumes that I was wearing at that time..

My Mum.
Tour de France at the moment. They've just reached the Pyrenees and are starting from my second  home town of Limoux this Sunday, July 17th  - I so wish I was going to be there...

Yes, today's lot are starting to irritate a little though. Time to get them out soon.
Happy endings

That new teacher one with Cameron Diaz., it was okaaaayy.....
Dark grey Nike t-shirt with neon pink writing.
'Pardon my French' - it's all about why certain French things are that way.. like the old roundabout priority rules still applying on the Arc de Triomphe round about, so you can just drive straight on it without giving way. Those crayzee  French, eh ??

Too many sounds to mention, I could mention quite a few annoying ones too - like any clicking or tapping.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ruth's Chinese Noodles

Cupcake has a new friend, her friend is Chinese and lately as the girls have spent more time together, I have also become closer with her mom and her extended family.

Ruth is just like any other friend, well actually that's wrong, in the short time that we have been friends, I am realising that this could be the start of a long and special friendship, which gives me a lovely feeling when that happens. A new friendship is special.

Today we spent most of the day hanging out taking part in various school things, I missed lunch and ended up at her house later on, (when I took her some flowers), eating noodles. I have to say Ruth cooks excellent Chinese food for her family, and whenever I am there she has something bubbling on the pot and is shoving a spoon into my mouth. As you can imagine her house and her cooking is heaven to me. The noodles were delicious. I asked her for the recipe and I came straight home and made it.. It was delicious.

Here's what I did:


Feeds 2

1 pack of unsmoked bacon (fat removed)
7 'rounds' of vermicelli pasta (Ruth had used vermicelli rice noodles)
1 clove garlic
2-3tsp Shaohsing rice wine
3tbsp sesame oil
A handful of Vegetables sliced (Ruth used celery, I used mange tout)
3 eggs (beaten)
Dark soy sauce (to taste)


1. Chop the bacon and mange tout and marinade it in the rice wine, garlic and half of the sesame oil. Marinate for as long as possible, but at least 20 minutes...
2. Meanwhile cook the vermicelli in boiling water and once cooked refresh in cold water, and then leave to drain.
3. Put the rest of the sesame oil in a frying pan, heat the oil and then fry the bacon marinade mix.
4. When it is cooked, add the eggs. I poured them over, so they formed a sort of omelette which I then sliced into strips with my spatula and spread through the bacon mix.
5. I then added a dash of soy sauce to my bacon mix and then I tipped in the noodles.
6. I broke up the noodles into little pieces (which is what Ruth had done) rather than leaving long spaghetti strands.
7. Taste and add more soy sauce if it's needed/
8. Tip on a plate and Eat !

You could steam some broccoli and then toss that with a little sesame oil and sesame seeds and have that as a side if you wanted.

I am about to go and eat some more of this. I will take a photo and post later. It doesn't look that pretty, and I think I will mix some brocolli through it, but believe me when I tell you that this is seriously tasty and mega quick to make.

I don't know how to say Bon Appetit in Chinese, but as Ruth teaches Chinese, the next time I see her. I will ask her if she can do me a French-English-Chinese translation. :o)

Friday, July 8, 2011


Hello!  - I haven't been on Blogger for a while so when I just logged on I'm thinking, 'Holy Carumba! What on earth happened here ??? But, you know today is perfect timing for getting to grips with a new stylee Blogger.

It's totally raining outside, and I mean just bucketing down with the stuff, which I know the garden will love. I, meanwhile am also loving it, but only because I am curled up in bed, in my post-operative state.

Well, I don't need to be in bed, but it's only 0827, so I can rest a while. I have to say if you need breast calcifications removed, then don't worry. Yesterday was not too bad at all..

In case you do over need this - here's a run down of the day: I should mention that this was at a private hospital in South London - Although, I imagine most hospitals would have a similar run-through...

0730  - Arrived in radiology - the network had crashed (my IT brain, says 'Typical!!) so we pick up some magazines and BB drinks coffee. I am of course, 'nil by mouth' (for once-Ha!)

0815 - Time for wire incision. I am told to remove my upper garments and put on a 'gown'. Lovely, I hate this bit, then it's into the x-ray room. I lie down on the bed, and they 'maneouver' me to the right angle in the mammogram machine thingy to get a good image of the area with the calcification. So, as mine was near my right arm pit, I am on my left side, with my left arm tucked right out of the way and they take some images..

When they have enough photos, I can stand up ready for the wire to be placed. The mammogram machine that they use has a window in it, through which they can administer a local anaesthetic before the wire is put in. So, I am manouevered and squashed between the plates, during which more x-rays are taken, each time I have to stand mega-still and hold my breath.

So, I am in position - and it's time for the wire.. The doctor cannot 'poke' the wire through, so she says to her assistant those 2 lovely words 'Scalpel please'. OMG I am thinking, and then swiftly remembering I am going to be cut there later anyway. Duh. So, the wire's in but the tissue is rather dense so the doctor cannot push it quite all the way in, she takes notes and draws amazing pictures for the consultant to follows during surgery later.

Then it's off for a quick ultrasound, just to double-check the wire is in place. It was. Back to BB and off to the main hospital to 'check in'.

0915 - All checked in and in the room. I am told that my surgery is booked in for 11am. The lovely nurses bring me a gown to change into pressure socks to wear, and tell me where to hang my clothes etc. For the next couple of hours we chill out... and occasionally a nurse pops in to ask me the same questions I have already been asked, but it's amazing how much more you remember every time you are asked, so it's probably just as well they keep asking...

1105 - The anaesthetist pops along for a 'chat'. I say I am worried about the anaesthetic and he just tells me that everyone is... makes me feel a little silly.. which I probably am. I had taken a very pragmatic approach to this whole procedure and just kept telling myself that it was going to happen whether I panicked and worried or not, so probably best not to panic. And I didn't, I was quite impressed with myself.

1120 - The consultant arrives and tells me he has spoken with the Doctor Radiographer lady and all is on track, he thinks I should be going down to theatre within the next hour ...

1125 - Consultant pops his head back in and tells me I am next on the theatre list so not long to wait now...

1140 - A nurse comes to get me and BB walks me to the lift and down to the Basement area. BB is told he cannot come into this area, so we kiss goodbye (sob) and I tell him I will see him later (and other mushy stuff  - Bless). Then it's into the pre-op room where there's a nice comfy bed waiting for me.. (eek!, I'm now thinking - this is really going to happen..)

The lady who is asking me the same questions again is really nice, I had completely forgotten up until this point that I now have a steel pin in my toe (from my bunion op), so I told her about that and it was noted. She told me not to worry and that the assortment of drugs I was about to receive  was the closest I could get to Class A drugs - legally, which I found funny.

The anaesthetist was fiddling with my hand while she chatted, locating a vein I think, and the next thing I knew the little tap was in place. I mentioned how last time I felt the anaesthetic move up my arm, and he said that sometimes your lips tingle just before you're under, and I said I didn't feel that last time. I asked if I had already been given something (like a pre-med) and yes, they had already given me something to relax me. I think that was when she said about the drugs part and I said 'Really, but I feel fine... '. Although, looking back now I think I did feel what can only be described as 'tipsy'. The anaesthetist told me he was going to put the anaesthetic in and I did indeed feel my lips tingle, and I remember saying 'Oh yeh, I can feel my lips...' and that was it, I was out.

1300-I am woken up and told I am 'all done'. I drowse back off to sleep. Oddly my hips are shaking, I think this is because I was so scared, in my post-operative state I try and tell myself to relax, and eventually I do.

1400- I am taken back to my room and change beds. I drowse back off to a lighter sleep, with no shaky hips.

1400-1500 - I'm awake and feeling OK. Nurses come and take my temperature and blood pressure. My Bp is low and they say they will keep an eye on it. I tell them that a lowish blood pressure is normal for me - all that running you see. :o)

1500 - 1600 - I am brought a sandwich and tea and told that as long as I can keep that down and 'pass water' I can go home imminently. BB has arrived back by now and I am getting dressed and packing away my things.

1645 - My consultant comes to see me and tells me the bits have certainly been removed, that they were x-rayed and the chunk that was removed contains the calcifications. Good. He tells me to rest up the next day (today) and to take paracetamol and ibuprofen. I took 2 last night, and 2 this morning).

1730 - Arrive home, BB goes and gets my little CC, she looks at where the plaster is and says 'Eugh'. Charming. Typical ten year old. Incidentally, I am told that I need to do nothing with the wound, there is a waterproof plaster so I can shower as usual. I am told that I must return next Thursday for a follow-up appointment and the results of the pathology on the sample...

Today I am resting, writing this blog, catching up on my foodbuzz email that I haven't looked at for the longest time. I have various friends that will be passing by during this morning to check on me, which will be nice. The first is my neighbour who is due round in an hour !!

As you can see if you do decide to have this procedure it is quite straightforward and nothing to worry about at all, and that, coming from me, is saying something.

PS> I have been told that I cannot run for two-three weeks, eek!!! I'm supposed to be doing a marathon in October! Instead, I will be walking and also getting myself on the turbo trainer, which is all set up and ready to go.. but not today...