Day 14: Going Dutch

The past week has not been great for fitness as I went out to the pub on Tuesday with Jiving Friend whom I have known for over 20 years. We met at a jive class, and used to go all over the place jiving. I still do jive but she has long since given up. It was her birthday and despite living in London she always gets a voucher from a local Hitchin pub, The Angels for a free bottle of wine with a meal. We live just around the corner and don’t get one, I’m not sure how she manages it from South London. Anyway, she came up from London and we went out for a lovely meal, made even nicer with the free bottle of wine! To make up for Tuesday, we were booked to go for a day of exercise at  Bannatyne as it was National Fitness Day, the pass was free too, there’s a bit of theme here.

This Bannatyne is at Fairfields which used to be a psychiatric hospital and the buildings are gothic and look like the kind you’d read about in a Dickens’ novel which would have been labelled an asylum. There was a very odd feel about the place and although I enjoyed going there for swimming and an aqua class I’m not sure I would go again because the pool was in subdued lighting in a basement and it just felt a bit too creepy and oppressive for my liking. We couldn’t stay all day as Feisty Daughter decided to be unwell with a heavy cold so we didn’t want to leave her for too long. When we got back she was fast asleep and didn’t notice we had been gone. We made sure she had some food and then went off for a walk up by the Lavender Farm just to get a bit more fitness in.

By Thursday I too had developed the rather unwelcome cold and didn’t feel well enough to go to Zumba with Annie or go swimming, which I was really fed up about.

I did however feel much better on Saturday and managed a personal best of 93 lengths (counted by my FitBit Flex) and have now done over four miles of the Aspire challenge – only another 18 to go – I’ll be as fit as a butcher’s dog if I manage to do it! Then it was out to the Granello Lounge for Pina Colada with supportive husband as Feisty Daughter was doing her Duke of Edinburgh expedition and was away for the weekend walking 25 miles (good luck with that!) as well as camping out on Saturday night.

Won’t be able to do much swimming at the beginning of next week as I’m on a press tour of biotech and pharmaceutical companies in the Netherlands but hope to swim on Thursday and next weekend as there’s still quite a bit of the channel left to swim!



Day 5: 20 miles to go!

It’s been a great week for fitness, I have managed to make it to two classes with Annie Farrow Zumba this week (which is always a bonus) and got to 2 miles in the Aspire Challenge.

Smart son has called or text our family WhatsApp group chat every day with updates of his adventures at Fresher’s week at The University of Sheffield.  So far he seems to have been to loads of parties and got in around 5 am most mornings, had several power naps and even made it to introductory maths lectures at 9 am in the morning. He also seems to be the only one that can cook and do budgets in his flat of 10 (5 boys and 5 girls). They were amazed by his chicken tikka and rice and his meatballs and pasta made from ingredients (both of which are things we taught him to cook before leaving home) and his extensive collection of Tupperware containers to store food. He was shocked that everyone ate either beans on toast or boil in the bag concoctions. He has also surprised his flatmates by keeping an Excel spreadsheet to track expenses and some have asked them to send a copy so they can do the same. His comment so far is they think he is a God, a position in the flat which he is enjoying I think. When he was little my friend used to say he was 4 going on 40 and I think that may still hold true! Not sure how we have raised such a sensible and organised son but am delighted that he is embracing adult life away from home. Just hope he can keep up the sensible activities and also get to bed a little earlier when lectures start in earnest next week.



Day 1: Swim the channel!

Dropped off smart son at the University of Sheffield yesterday. It was a bitter-sweet day – when I was proud of the man he has become but sad to see my little boy making his first steps to leaving home. He had his room looking great by the time we left him so I felt pretty good on the drive home – much better than on the drive up to Sheffield where I felt like I would burst into tears at any moment.

As it’s the start of a new life. I decided to take on a new 12-week challenge. I have wanted to do this for a while but was not fit enough. Since I have lost weight and got fit I thought it was now or never. So today I have started the Aspire Challenge 

This involves swimming the English Channel over 12 weeks to raise money to help people with spinal injuries. So far, I have swum 84 lengths of Hitchin Pool (according to my FitBit Flex 2 – 51 lengths and 820 metres) not quite sure why it changed from lengths to metres halfway through. This is just over a mile so only another 21 miles and I will have swum the channel!

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Granello Lounge – fab place

Yesterday, went to the launch party of a new bar, the Granello Lounge in Hitchin and it was awesome there. I immediately loved it when I walked in as it had William Morris wallpaper (or what looked like it) on the wall. Being from Walthamstow in East London I grew up going to the William Morris Gallery regularly on my walk home from school and even had William Morris wallpaper on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager (I was a strange kid) so seeing it yesterday made me feel cozy and at home.

The service, drinks, general vibe were all brilliant. Supportive husband and I enjoyed the grapefruit gin and tonics and lovely tapas while discussing how much we would miss smart son when he goes away at the weekend.


Anyway got to get on as have a technical application note to finish writing on ultrafiltration and am off to Zumba with Annie tonight so that’s something to look forward to!


30 Years’ Married!

Haven’t blogged for a while as it has been a massively busy time personally and professionally.  Supportive husband and I celebrated 30 years of marriage last week and spent a couple of days away without feisty daughter and smart son. We went to the Manor of Groves which was fabulous. Did loads of swim, gym and used their body measurements machine. I was delighted by my new body stats and am now classed as a healthy weight and very muscular (from being overweight and out of breath climbing stairs) all thanks to the MyBody Challenge!

After all the exercise we went for a walk through the grounds to a nice country pub we’d seen on the way to the hotel and enjoyed a preprandial drink before we had a wonderful meal in the hotel where the food is amazing. Totally loved it there and will definitely go back.

This week, I have been going through my accounts with smart son, who is my brilliant bookkeeper and have finally submitted them to  Bracey’s Accountants so I’m feeling relieved that this is over for another year. Have also spent much of this week helping smart son fill the spare room with everything he needs to go to the University of Sheffield at the weekend. I cannot believe he is leaving home and I am both proud and worried in equal measure!


Day 112: Home from Mexico

Wow what a week, haven’t written anything for a while as have been on hols in Mexico, which was fantastic. Swam in a cenoti, Cenoti Eden that was amazing, I have never been anywhere where the water is so clear. If you ever get the chance to do this, then do it as it is wonderful to snorkel and see fish in such natural water. Even supportive husband loved it and he hates swimming!

Stayed in a great hotel, Grand Sirenis where the service, food and cocktails are all amazing. We have stayed there before but it was even better this time as they had a new outside sky bar with live music and it was really lovely to sit chat and play cards together, it just had such a chilled vibe it was great. Smart son and I went to Cozumel, my son did a couple of dives and I did three snorkel sessions. It was great as I was swimming above and could see my son doing his dive in the coral. He saw a nurse shark plus a huge lobster and I saw some amazing fish and vividly coloured coral.

I was delighted on holiday as at long last I could wear my favourite dress to go to the Japanese restaurant, thanks to the MyBody Challenge.

Returned home on Sunday and was the only one not to suffer from jet lag. Amazingly I had only put on 5 lbs while away and so immediately went back to doing the MyBody workouts, eating sensibly and logging food in my FitBit app. I began the week seeing that the article on the MyBody Challenge with Myleene Klass and MailOnline had been published. I was really pleased to see my before and after transformation and the photographer, Glenn said I had shrunk before his eyes!

Then had a massively busy week, sorting out all the advertising for a recruitment campaign, it all got done by Thursday so I could take the morning off on Thursday. Had a massive shock on Thursday,  ‘A’ Level results day, Smart son got A in Maths, B in Further Maths and B in Physics which meant he didn’t get into his first choice university, Nottingham. He was devastated as he had worked so hard and wanted to get all As. But all credit to him, he spent all day researching other options and ringing universities to find a good place to do maths and now has a place at Sheffield. It wasn’t the day we’d planned but I have finished the week feeling much happier.

Smart son and supportive husband are off to the University of Sheffield tomorrow to look at accommodation, while feisty daughter and I are off to the seaside to visit Nan and Grandad. So it could be worse!



Day 88: What a week!

What a week it’s been, on Tuesday smart son and I had a day out in London as he is going off to university soon it was a great chance to spend time together. We went to Kew Gardens  via the The William Morris (had to have a big breakfast to fuel us!). The tree top walk and the gardens are fabulous and we spent several happy hours walking and chatting about life the universe and everything. It’s many years since I have been to Kew and it has changed so much and is even better than I remember.


Then we took the boat back to parliament on the Henley with Thames River Boats which was brilliant with a hilarious and I’m not sure entirely accurate commentary.


Then it was pub O clock again and we went and had something to eat in the The Moon Under Water before going to the houses of parliament at 6.30 to meet our local MP Bim Afolami. He invited lots of folks from our village to meet him and it was weird as smart son and I knew quite a few people when we got there. He took us on a tour of the Houses of Parliament which was fascinating and smart son asked lots of intelligent questions about student finance (I was so proud of him for piping up). Got home about 11pm totally exhausted but having had a great day out.