Our Month - October 2012

Each month, some of our team will share key things that have inspired us and challenged us. Hopefully, this will give you the chance to laugh (and occasionally cry or shout!) along with us.

Jan's Month

Travel This Month

As usual, I have made several journeys up and back from Weston-super-Mare to Cornwall this month - I often notice the temperature difference between the 2 places as it is always several degrees warmer down in Cornwall! At the start of September, it was still warm enough to eat breakfast outside - overlooking one of my favourite beaches in Falmouth and one of my favourite views anywhere! What more could you ask for than perfect sunshine, cloudless sky, golden sands and a perfect cooked breakfast? By the end of September, it wasn't quite warm enough to do that but I can still enjoy the scenic views from the inside of my favourite beach cafe! 

Food This Month

I think you'll have gathered by now that I love trying new food, cooking food and eating food with other people - especially people I care about. There is something really "connecting" about eating a meal with friends or family and I love that feeling. I also find cooking so relaxing and absorbing - so if I've been coaching or running an event all day, cooking something is the perefect way to unwind.

My partner and I went to eat at one of my favourite Italian restaurants just outside Weston one night this month. Lovely, relaxing atmosphere, great company and perfect pasta - what more could you want? One of those gorgeously rich pastas with my favourite lamb-based sauce.

At home, I've cooked a few of my very favourite meals this month - in particular my Spaghetti Carbonara which I feature in Recipe Corner this month. I cooked enough for 4 people but my partner and I were enjoyng it so much that we ate all 4 portions between us! (Well. as you will know from my "It's OK To Be Slim" articles, I've got a fast-working metabolism so the extra pasta was very useful!)

The Science Museum

A few weeks ago, my partner and my son  took my young nephew out to London for the day as his birthday present.He doesn't get to travel by train anywhere near as much as I do so he was really excited about the journey. It's great when you can share in someone else's excitement, isn't it? One of those lovely moments where someone wants to share their happy mood - and it can become quite infectious! 

My nephew is very interested in transport and how it all works, so a vist to the Science Museum was just perfect for him. I must admit that , if science had been presented to me in as interesting a way when I was at school, I would have enjoyed the subject a lot more! We are lucky to have such vibrant, interesting museums in the UK - and very good value as the admission is usually free.

Family Wedding in Germany

The month ended with a trip to Dortmund in Germany - my partner's son was getting married so most of the family managed to travel across and see the lovely wedding. Beautiful castle setting so the rain didn't matter at all - plus the perfect chance to get on the dance floor in the evening and plenty of traditional German food and some lovely new people to meet. That old adage about there not being any strangers in life, "just friends we haven't yet met" is certainly a good one!

Have a great month!

Julie's Month

Fitness this month

You'll see from my article this month that I've started barefoot running. I really missed the freedom of motoring myself along and feeling the strength of my body. I knew, however, that continuing the way I had done 18 months ago would have resulted in injury. I'm lucky in the fact that there is a gorgeous beach only 5 miles from where I live and only a hop and a skip to the beach from the car barefoot. Depending on the stones in the road, it is actually a hop and a skip ("ooh ahh"). I do my 100 leg lifts (please see article) and then I'm ready to go.

I love the feeling of sand between my toes, and how my feet adjust to the wonky tilt of the beach and my instinctive ability to sidestep some of the bigger stones. My first run after 18 months lasted 20 minutes with a 40 minute walk back to the car. The sky was clear and the sun was beating on my face. I felt liberated.

What astounded me was the fact that I didn't feel ANY stiffness or pain the next day, or at any time afterwards. I now run about three times a week and my legs seem to love running this way. I'd gotten into the habit of walking in flip -flops most days during the summer. I'd been so used to wearing high heels that it took a little time for my legs to adjust, but I think it stood me in good stead for the barefoot running. I'm now looking to invest in some Vibram Fivefingers for the winter, so that I can continue this connection with nature.

Food this month

My exploration into the 'Fish of the Week' is going slowly. I still have my mackerel most days, but I'm now pushing the fishing boat out and I'm starting to try new flavours. My latest adventure was trout, which was delicious, and even salmon fillets, which never really appealed before, have been transformed with a wedge of lemon. I really didn't know how much of a difference a squirt could make. I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the aquatic depths.

Inspirational moments

I was round at a friend's house recently and it was a beautiful day. He has a lovely garden and we were having a wander, trying to decipher the weeds from the things that shouldn't be ripped out, when he mentioned he hadn't sat out in it for a year. He's in the RAF, so only home at weekends, and it seemed a little sad not to utilise the beautiful space. The next day he was on the case, tidying it up, and invited me for lunch. It was idyllic, sitting outside admiring his work and chomping on my lovely food.

Last weekend I was cycling with a different friend. I wanted to catch the last of the warm weather before it really turned autumnal. I asked him to do a rain dance to ensure sunshine and he came up trumps. It was a blazing hot day with a perfect breeze. It was wonderful cycling with someone who loves to explore as I do. We found many nooks and crannies and back streets that took us along the coast. We met two cormorants and three flying ducks (sounds like a song) as well as someone playing the ukulele singing, "When I'm Cleaning Windows". Very random, but wonderful. A local venue is running a 40s themed party in November and I'm rounding up the troops to don our wartime gear and shed a tear to "We'll Meet Again".

From those two fantastic days, I realised just how much we can influence each other in so many positive ways. We can achieve many things by ourselves, but it's also inspiring to lift one another and share some special moments together. Take time out to enjoy spending quality time with people you really care about; it'll be a treasured memory bank that can be accessed at any time when you need a boost. 

Favourite quote this month

"But warm, eager, living life ... to learn,

to desire to know, to feel, to think, to act.

That is what I want. And nothing else.

That is what I must try for"

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) from her "Journal"

Favourite programme viewed

BBC Two's drama, 'The Best of Men,' which focused on Ludwig Guttmann,, the man who created the Paralympics. The patients in the drama might have been fictional, but the details of Ludwig's unorthodox ward were all true, many of them based on interviews with his patients.

The story sees Ludwig finding refuge from Nazi persecution at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, where he transformed the life expectancy of Britain's paralysed soldiers before going on to invent the "Parallel Olympics".

Ludwig's eureka moment came when he stumbled across two of his wheelchair-bound patients passing a pebble between walking sticks. In an instant, the first Stoke Mandeville Games were set up in 1948. The Paralympics then became the official partner to the Olympic Games in 1960, and Ludwig was deservedly knighted in 1966.

Eddie Marsan plays Ludwig and Rob Brydon does a delightfully comic turn as a Welsh soldier, Sgt Wynn Bowen, who is coming to terms with his paralysis by irritating his bedfellows with inappropriate jokes.

It's a fantastic story of hope and tenacity, told with both straight edges and tenderness. Please check it out on iPlayer if you missed it.

On a totally different note, I sped home recently to watch the start of the new 'Dallas' series. Unfortunately, I am old enough to have seen the first TV series which started in 1978, when I was glued to it as a child. Would this new series hold the same fascination? I'm happy to report I can relive my youth and I'll be a massive fan second time around. It's now my guilty pleasure before 'Strictly Come Dancing' returns. For either show I can dust off my shoulder pads and sequins and be right at home.

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