Fi's Mutterings

Disney, running, swimming, living with disability, challenges…


Journal Jar – Special Skills

What special skills did you learn as a child? Who taught you?

Cooking and baking – they are special skills, right?  My mum and grandma taught me to cook and bake.  They also taught me to read recipes and adapt them if necessary.  Also, to value to the recipes which have been handed down through the generations and pass them on.

My mum also taught me to swim and ride a bike.

My family taught me the importance of listening to and not judging people when they are upset and need to vent.


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Dreaming BIG

As part of my businesses, I attend webinars on a regular basis.  It is so much easier to have training which you can access in your own home rather than having to travel to a training morning, afternoon, evening or day.  Don’t get me wrong, I like attending trainings where I can meet people and see the speakers face to face but having a young adult at home who needs someone in the house with him makes going to “live” trainings difficult.

Last night was the first of a new six week rolling programme and it was all about goal setting/getting.  After all, how are you going to know what you need to do within your business if you don’t know where you are going?  What do you want?  What are your dreams?  If money were no object, what do you want to do? What do you want to see?  Where do you want to go?  Who do you want to do it with?

Listening to the speaker on the webinar really got me motivated to re-visit my life goals, not just the goals which I set for this year.  I was so inspired that it took me ages to fall asleep last night thinking about my Big Dreams.  What was I thinking about?  A house, my dream house.

So, this is one of my DREAMS and, now that I am writing it down, a GOAL.  Within the next 10 years, I will have moved into a house with 3, preferably 4, bedrooms, a large kitchen with plenty of cupboard space for all my Tupperware, crockery, pans, baking supplies and electrical appliances (crock pot, Kenwood mixer, bread maker …) etc, a large living room with lots of bookshelf space for books, dvds and ornaments, a dining room – I really want a dining room again, ours is now an office as we have too much stuff with 3 businesses being run from home – a study/office room, 2 bathrooms (1 as an en-suite to the master bedroom) and a downstairs toilet, a double garage and large driveway.  I don’t need a big garden but I’d like enough space to be able to sit outside in the sun, if we ever get any in the UK.


Journal Jar – Best Subjects at School

What were  your best and worst subjects in elementary school? In middle school? In high school?

OK, this is what I get for getting my journal jar prompts from an American site.  Elementary, middle and high school?  We have infants, junior and senior or primary and senior.  Just need to do a quick bit of research…

According to Wikipedia – Education in the US, elementary school is the same as primary school in the UK, from 5-11 or 12, middle school (or junior high) is from 11-14 and high school is from 14-18.

So, here are my answers to today’s prompt:

My best subjects in primary school were Maths, English and Geography.  My worst subject was definitely History, I could never remember all the dates of the Kings and Queens of England!

My best subjects in what we now know as KS3, were still Maths, English and Geography but I also enjoyed German.  My worst subject was still history and I gave History up when I chose my subjects for GCSE.

So, on to the high school age group.  This is actually quite hard as in the UK we split high school into the GCSE part – up to age 16 – and then, if you wanted, you can leave and go to work or you can continue to A-Levels.  My best subjects at GCSE were English and German, I also enjoyed Maths and Geography.  My worst subject was Physics, in fact I took the GCSE exam twice!  For A-Level, I only took English Literature, Geography and German and didn’t do very well at any of them.  I loved Geography though and would have gone to do a degree in Geography if I’d got the grades I needed.

Which were your best and worst subjects at school?  Do you like them now?
I actually quite like history now that I can choose which parts I want to learn about.  I still don’t know the dates for the Kings and Queens of England though 😉


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A busy week and a lazy parkrun

With the end of the month looming – where did the month go, anyway? – I have been very busy.  31 January is the deadline for self assessment tax returns to be filed online, and any tax owed to be paid.  The end of the month is also the deadline for VAT for some businesses.  So, needless to say a bookkeeper is very busy in January if they, or their clients, aren’t particularly organised in November or December.  I’m back on track with that part of my work and met all my deadlines by Wednesday afternoon.

Apart from work, I’d love to say that I am getting back on track with the exercise too but that just would not be true.  I went to the gym for a session with my trainer on Monday afternoon.  I love being able to go to the gym during the day – the advantage of self-employment and working from home 3 days a week.  I walked to work on Wednesday, a lovely hour’s walk there and about an hour and a half home as I took a detour to go and see a client.  Thursday was weigh-day at Weight Watchers so that was another walking day 🙂 and I lost 1lb this week 😀 only another 3 to go to get back to my Gold member weight.  Yesterday was another day at work although I did get a walk in to town fitted in.

So, we are on to today when Adam and I finally made it to our 2nd parkrun of the year.  It was a very slow 5k run this morning, just under 35 minutes!  I know Adam could have gone faster – he ran the last 400m on his own and finished 8 seconds ahead of me.  Why was I so slow?  Surely I couldn’t have lost so much pace from not running for 3 weeks?  After all, I’ve still been walking (fast) quite a bit and still going to the gym.  The reason I was slow was sore shins and a hip which has been niggling me for about a week.  Also, with the freezing weather, and wind, which we had this morning my back decided to sieze.  Ah well, I finished in under 35 minutes so that’s still good.  And, I got back out there.  Think I need to get back out running during the week too so that I can get Adam going faster again.

Hope you’ve all had a great week.


A lazy week and weekend 

I had a pretty lazy week last week. I went to the gym for my session with my trainer and I walked, a lot, but I didn’t do any running. To be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered!

Due to having a lot of work to finish between now and the end of next week it looks like this week is going to be a repeat of last week. Lots of walking. 


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parkrun – big puddles and soggy feet

It’s Saturday and that, usually, means parkrun for Adam and me.  Unfortunately, there was no parkrun last weekend due to a very flooded York Racecourse.  It looked more like a lake.

Anyway, the lake has gone down now to leave a lot of puddles.  The ones on the grassy area of the Knavesmire look like ponds dotted around but the service track which we use for the parkrun was, more or less, clear.  There were, however, about 4 puddles which went all the way across the service track and we had no choice but to run through them.

From York parkrun 9-1-16

Adam and I going past one of the little puddles at York parkrun

As Adam and I knew that they were there and we would get wet feet anyway, we decided that we wouldn’t pussy-foot our way through but run through the deepest parts which everyone else was trying to avoid.  The result?  We finished in under 33 minutes for the first time since August 2015.  It would have been faster (maybe even under 32 minutes) if we hadn’t had to stop and do up Adam’s silly shoelace which came undone at the 3km mark.

I have to just say thank you to my trainer (even though he won’t be reading this) who, during my bonus training session on Thursday, decided that I should do kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell swings and 3 minutes of 30s sprint (12km/hr) 30s fast walk (7km/hr) x3 as part of my session.  I also did single leg step ups with the step half way between my knee and my bottom!  The leg work must have done something because my legs were feeling really good today even with the cold.

Also, today was York parkrun’s 4th birthday so there was cake at the finish line 🙂  What more could you ask for when you have cold, soggy feet?  Lemon drizzle cake, yum!  Everyone else had finished the big chocolate cake before we finished otherwise I would have had that one instead.

That is also Day 8 of Janathon done!  Bring on day 9 – more walking to Tesco me thinks.


I’m still doing my Virtual Walk

I know I took a HUGE break from blogging and I’m trying to make up for it.  Not sure how long the daily posts will continue now that I’m back at work but hopefully they won’t disappear all together.

Anyway, while I’ve been away, I’ve still been logging my miles on my pedometer (now a Fitbit) and am still working my way around the world to “visit” all of the Disney parks.  I completed my walk from home to Walt Disney World in October 2014 and then started the new one to go from Walt Disney World to Disneyland.

So far, I have completed 2,373.22 km of the 3,977 km.  Only 1,603.78 km to go 😀


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Journal Jar: Bicycle

Did you have a bicycle as a child? What was it like?

I learnt to ride a bike when I was 6 or 7 when living in Malawi.  The bike was second hand, blue, too big for me and didn’t have stabilisers.  I  remember my mum running behind me holding on to the back of the seat while I got my balance before letting go.  Just as well it was too tall for me as mum didn’t have to bend down.

My second bike was a second hand purple Raleigh Chopper.


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Running in 2015: Part 3

This is the final part of my Running in 2015 catch-up.  Our final run of the year was the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to get places for Adam and myself to take part in this event, even though it was a night run the day before we flew home.

Wine and Dine Half FB Cover

When we knew we were going to be going to Walt Disney World for Adam’s 21st birthday and then found out that if I planned the dates right we could take part in a runDisney event, I had to at least try to get entry for myself and Adam.  After all, taking part in a runDisney event was on my wishlist as was/is doing a half marathon.  The fact that it was a night run, no getting up at 4 am for a 5.30 am start, was even better.  The down side was that in order to be at Disney World for both Adam’s birthday and the half marathon we’d have to fly there the day before Adam’s birthday and fly home the night after the half marathon.  Or, more accurately, fly home on the day we finish the half marathon.

We have done a runDisney event before.  We did the Royal Family 5K in 2014 which is part of the Princess Half Marathon weekend.  I hadn’t been able to get a place on the half marathon for that event so Adam, his Dad and I took part in the 5K instead.  We still had the full race weekend experience though, including going to the Expo so we knew what to expect.

For the Wine and Dine half marathon, we went to the Expo on the Friday to pick up our race packets which included our race bib and commemorative shirt.  I love the shirt as it is a long-sleeve running/performance one (photo at the end of the blog).  There were loads of stands too with everything from running skirts, and other running apparel, to charity stands, upcoming events and so much more.  I don’t think I saw all of it but I spent a fortune!  There were also speakers, including Jeff Galloway, giving information about the event and what to expect during the event.

twitter_profile1The half marathon was a night run which meant that it was due to start at 10pm.  runDisney laid on buses from select resorts as well as Epcot from about 7pm to get the runners up to the start area at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.  As we weren’t staying in a host resort this year, my mistake I didn’t check! we went to Epcot to get the bus.  This meant that my husband could go in to Epcot and enjoy the finishing party while we were running.  In the start area, they had a left baggage area and, because they had forecast thunderstorms, I had packed spare trainers and a dry set of clothes for myself and Adam just in case we got wet so I dropped the bag off.  There was also a big stage with a Disney DJ and some of the organisers letting everyone know what was happening.  This was also part of the warm up – they don’t do the traditional aerobic warm up like they do at the 10K events here, they play songs which have a dance routine which most people know like Thriller or the Macarena and you can either use that as your warm up, or not.

Also in the start/waiting area you could meet some of the Disney characters – Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale.  We joined a queue without knowing who we were queuing for – it was Mickey 😀

Meeting MickeyWe also queued to see Donald Duck but a thunder/lightning storm rolled in just as we were about to see him and we were all asked to go inside until it passed.  This was at 9.45pm as we were about to be called to our corrals 😦  Needless to say, Disney always think about the safety of the runners, their voluntears and cast members first so everyone was asked to go into the main buildings at the Wide World of Sports until the storm had passed and it was safe to start the race.  It was a little frustrating but I understood completely why we were sent inside.

We were only inside for about an hour and as soon as we were allowed out and the corrals were filled with everyone ready to go the run was started very quickly.  Due to the late start, and the fact that there were 12 waves of runners to get going (and finished), the organisers decided to cut out part of the route – up to Animal Kingdom – so the run was about 7 miles instead of 13.1 miles.  Part of me was disappointed that Adam and I would not get to run a full half marathon, but the other part of me was glad that the bit they’d cut out was the route up to Animal Kingdom because I hadn’t been looking forward to running up the hill from the park entrance to the Tree of Life, lol.

Course map

The route for the half marathon was brilliant.  Mostly flat apart from a couple of flyovers and a bridge between Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  More that the route though was the entertainment!  There was something to see about every half mile or so, whether it was a character who you could stop and have a photo with (if you wanted to, we didn’t although there were a couple of the characters from Hollywood Public Works who I would have stopped for a photo with if I’d seen them in time and hadn’t been on the other side of the road) or a video wall.  They even had the toy soldiers from Toy Story on the hill going up one of the flyovers with one of them shouting encouragement to get us up the hill – fantastic and just what I needed!  We also got to see the backstage areas of Hollywood Studios and Epcot and run through the Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios.

Considering it was only 7 miles, our time wasn’t great at 1:24:31 but it was a very warm night at 22C and humid.  There was also so much to see that we got a little distracted.

All in all, it was a great event to be part of although if I were to do it again I’d make sure that we weren’t flying home the next day as we didn’t get a chance to go to the Finish Line Party because I was conscious that we needed to be up and out of the room by 11am and we didn’t even get through the finishing area and into Epcot until 1.30am!  My husband had a great time in the Party though and managed to go on Test Track twice without queuing at all.

Finally, I would encourage anyone thinking about doing a runDisney event to do it.  It is very well organised and the entertainment around the course is amazing.  runDisney are putting on their first event at Disneyland Paris in September 2016 and if there are still places left I’m going to enter Adam and myself so that we can cross the half marathon off our list.


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Goal Getting in 2016

This year I’m not going to just set goals, I’m going to get them too.  I’ve split my goals down into different categories and have also looked back on 2015 to see what I have achieved in those categories too.

Fitness and Wellbeing

After getting to my goal weight with Weight Watchers in 2014, I have now maintained my goal weight (within 3 lbs) for 17 months.  At my weigh-in on Thursday (New Year’s Eve) I was 1.5 lbs over my goal weight but that is OK.  In January, I am going to re-gain my goal weight.  I am going to get back down to my original goal weight, which is 5 lbs lighter than my current goal weight, by my birthday in September.  I know that is a long time but it took me 9 months to lose the final 3.5 lbs to get to my current goal weight and it is a timed goal.

As we all know, the weight on the scale/BMI really isn’t a good indicator of good health so I’m also setting myself a body fat percentage goal.  My weighing scales have the option to measure body fat and whilst I know they aren’t exactly accurate, they aren’t too bad.  My current body fat is 30.3%.  According to most of the information I have found online, I am within the normal range of 26-32% for women.  However, a healthy range is 20-25% and I would love to get down there.  Initially though, I am going to aim for 29.0%

For my fitness goals, my main focus is getting my strength back to where it was at the beginning of 2015, especially in my upper body following my shoulder injury in January.  Pre-injury, I had got up to using 8kg dumbbells for shoulder presses and 10kg for rows.  Unfortunately, I am now back down to 3 to 4 kg.  Although I have still been able to work my legs, due to the shoulder I am not able to lift as much for the deadlift or squat as I used to but this is slowly going back up and I lifted 20kg for the deadlift for the first time in over a year in December 🙂

Of course, I am also going to be focusing on running.  I managed to complete the parkrun (5km) in under 30 minutes in February 2015 but haven’t managed to do it since.  In fact, I think my average time for 2015 is around the 32 minute mark.  This year, my initial goal will be to get back under 33 minutes for 5km, then 32 minutes, 31 minutes and finally back under 30 minutes.  Adam and I will also be taking part in the York 10k run, York 10 mile and, the big one, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon 😀  I’m so excited!

Family/Relationship

During 2015, my husband and I started having date night once a week while Adam is at his youth group on a Thursday evening.  This has meant that we have made time for us away from everything at home.  This is going to continue in 2016.

Finance/Business

I have some finance and business goals but they are, at the moment, private.

Adventure/exploration – where did I go and where do I want to go?

In 2015 we went back to Disney World.  We love it there and have never had a bad experience.  As it was Adam’s 21st birthday and he wanted to go, we went.  In 2016, we are going to Disneyland Paris – the half marathon is there so it has to be done.

Learning and Growth

Personal development has become a big thing for me over the past few months.  In 2016, I am going to read at least one book for personal development e.g. The Seven Decisions, Go Pro – 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.  I will also listen to personal development CDs in my car (when my son isn’t in it – he insists on the radio).  I am going to get back to reading in general too with a goal of reading at least 50 books in 2016.

Contribution/Community

During 2015, I ran 6 events with Adam to raise money for charity.  I also use easyfundraising.org.uk to claim donations when shopping online and will continue to do this in 2016.  I have also donated 10% of my Tupperware sales and 10% of my Forever Living Products sales in August.

I also volunteered at parkrun 3 times in 2015.  I am going to increase that to at least 4 times in 2016.  Much as I love taking part in parkrun, I know that it is only possible because people come out and volunteer instead of run.  I think I need to give back.  It isn’t just about raising and giving money, it’s about giving time too.

So, those are some of my goals for 2016.  What are yours?  Did you achieve what you wanted to in 2015 or are some of your goals rolling over into 2016?