May Life Lately

I've been asked a lot this month "how's married life?". Some people scoff at this question and answer, "it's exactly the same", but for me, it just...isn't. Married life is absolutely flipping awesome. I absolutely love being married.

So here's what I got up to in my first month of married life (and you can see my One Second Everyday for May here!)...

Where I've been

One of the most exciting wedding presents we received was corporate tickets to the last Liverpool game of the season away at Newcastle. We'd been looking forward to it for weeks but had no idea how insane the night and the game would be!

Despite it only being a few weeks after our minimoon we decided to make a weekend of it. The match was moved twice, so we had to cancel the hotel we'd originally booked for Sunday night, and after a long search we managed to find a hotel in Jesmond.

We headed up on Friday night precisely so we could do parkrun, and the hotel we eventually found was only around the corner (some of the other hotels we'd looked at would have involved a couple of buses or an hour walk to get us to parkrun!). It was a beautiful park and I ran my best time in 2 years!

It worked out quite well for us that the match got moved to an evening kick off as it meant we got the day in Newcastle. We explored the city, had a coffee at the brand new Everyman Theatre, met a colleague of mine for a pre-match drink, and we did a full tour of Newcastle Castle, which was really cool!

The match was absolutely unreal and we had the absolute best time. Despite it being corporate in the home end, it was full of Liverpool fans and everyone was chanting during the meal when we were meant to be on our best behaviour! It's probably the best match I've ever been to.

On the Sunday we decided to take advantage of our beloved National Trust membership. We'd picked up a few leaflets from a service station and liked the look of Fountains Abbey. As we got closer I realised I definitely recognised it from Sian's blog!

Fountains Abbey is absolutely beautiful and it was the perfect place to explore for a couple of hours. I especially loved the old monastery ruins, and the incredible church full of stained-glass which the National Trust man recommended. We are already planning a trip back - mostly because they have a parkrun!

I always say I was brought up on country music. As a kid, we never had Sky tv, but we had a box where we could get some channels, and one of them was CMT - Country Music TV. I remember it being on constantly. Ever since I got a Spotify subscription a couple of years ago, I'd been revisiting some of my old country favourites (most of which make me cry) and I slowly started to dip my toe into modern country music too, dragging Phil down the rabbit hole with me. I would estimate now I listen to country music more than pretty much any genre, besides film scores. My parents also love country too, and listen to a country radio station in the car and at home. So when my Dad said there was a country festival on every year a few miles from our house, we couldn't say yes fast enough.

We parked in a field a few miles away and started the day in the back of a "bus" (it was a van) before arriving at Buckle and Boots Festival which took place on a big farm. There was a big barn with haystacks to sit on, tents with merch and food and two stages. We arrived at 1pm and left at midnight. Buckle and Boots had set up a Spotify playlist we'd been listening to so we had an idea of the bands we liked and which we wanted to see. While quite a few of the artists had come from the States, I was surprised how many were from the UK. We jumped from stage to stage seeing dozens of different bands, and managing to get right up close to the front. We spent the whole day dancing and it was so so so much fun. I already cannot wait to go next year!

What I've been doing
I've gotten really into baking bread this month! We very occasionally get a "nice loaf" on a weekend and promptly eat an entire loaf on a weekend. I'd been reading about making crusty bread in a dutch oven and after being too scared to use the cast iron pot I'd had for over a year, I decided to give it a go on a quiet Bank Holiday Monday (proved while watching Game of Thrones). It was such a success I followed it up with a wholemeal one, and next I want to try seeded bread! I like the white bread best as it doesn't need to be left overnight and it can be done in 3 hours, but I'm excited to make more bread!

We are incredibly lucky to have such amazing friends and family who travelled for our wedding, brought us incredible gifts and made our wedding the perfectly incredible day it was, so we spent a whole day this month writing thank you cards. We wrote over 90 cards, it took 7 hours, and we took ourselves out for pizza afterwards! It was a long day but we wanted to write personal messages to everyone, including our incredible suppliers and it gave me all the warm and fuzzies writing to everyone we loved!

I've kept this a bit on the DL, but a few weeks ago we got all of our wedding photos back! At the moment we're just making sure we show them to all our friends and family before we put anything online, but I can't wait to share them with you - they are incredible!

We had a night with our friends a few weeks ago and, as part of a private joke, bought a novelty game called Peach Snaps. We laughed about it and thought we'd have a game and then it would end up in the loft. No. Peach Snaps is amazing! It's such a fast-paced, fun game which you can just shove in your handbag. Just don't play it with my friend, Simon. We don't know how he does it.

As you have probably gathered, 2019 is not a big running year for me. I haven't run one race so far, I don't have any signed up for, and it's likely I won't do any this year. This has made me feel a bit weird and sad, especially when I didn't run the Great Manchester Run for the first time in 5 years, but with the wedding and the honeymoon I just haven't been able to, or wanted to, train for a big race. But one thing I decided I would try was improving my short distance times. I've run over 180 parkruns, but my time at my local park hasn't seemed to be getting any faster. I've been chasing a PB for over 2 years, and I've never even really gotten close. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to work on my short distance speed, and I started a Hal Higdon 5K advanced plan. I'm only partially following it - doing 2 days of speedwork a week on top of two BMF classes and parkrun, but I enjoy speedwork and it makes a nice change from just plodding along.

I ran a great time for me at Bramhall a couple of weeks ago, and had jokingly said to Phil, "I think I'm close to a PB!"

My home parkrun is quite busy, so we got a little further to the front than usual - something we often find makes a big difference. And I was feeling good. My park also has heavy tree-cover which causes nightmares for my GPS, so it always comes up short on my watch (they've told us multiple times it's measured perfectly, it's just GPS can't detect under the trees as accurately) and I've never completely sure what my pace is. I've run Bramhall over 80 times though, so I've started to get a bit of an idea of what my "timing points" are, and I try to use those to gauge my pace.

I knew I was on for a PB after the first lap, but it's also a really hilly park (I'm not selling it to you really am I?), with three big hills you run twice, so I was worried I would lose momentum on the hills second lap. As I got to my final timing point I knew I was on for a PB. What I didn't know is it would be a PB of 40 seconds.

After initial shock and celebration and excitement, my lovely husband then said to me "well you obviously haven't been trying hard enough!"

I've literally done 3 weeks of this 5K advanced plan so I'm quietly hoping more PBs might be around the corner!

What I've bought
I absolutely loved Sarah's post on Becoming a Lipstick Person. I am definitely a lipstick person, but I cannot stand reapplying it, so I rarely wear it for work or stick with neutral colours. However, her recommendation of Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink lipsticks interested me with their premise to last all day. I initially bought myself Seductress and Pioneer because they were two for £12 in Superdrug, then found myself buying Loyalist and Romantic, and finally Dreamer. Pioneer (a deep bright red), unfortunately, is the only one that doesn't seem to last all day but honestly the others are a dream. The first time I wore Seductress I could barely get it off! Highly recommend if you like a matte lip all day long.

May has been the BEST month for recipe books, with new books by Elly Pear, Rukmimi Iyer and Jack Monroe! 

Elly Pear's new book Green is entirely vegetarian recipes. Her first two books have some really good recipes, but I don't like that her first book promoted a diet, and her second wasn't for me beyond the first meal prepping chapters (which I loved). This instead is like a greatest hits. Honestly on an initial flick through there was almost nothing I didn't want to eat, and that included marmite spaghetti! I am super excited to get stuck into this!

And then of course, my favourite recipe book series has a new addition, The Quick Roasting Tin! I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy last week and I cannot wait to get stuck in! I've already made a batch of salted chocolate brownies, and have dozens of recipes marked up to make. Keep your eyes out for a review!

I've also just received the new Jack Monroe book, Tin Can Cook, which is all meals made from tins, and thousands of copies have been donated to foodbanks. If you want to donate just £3.50 you can send a copy to a foodbank here.

What I've been reading

Eight books read this month:

Going Clear - Scientology and the Prison of Belief
The Tyranny of Lost Things
The Dollmaker
Boy Swallows Universe
Little Eve
The Talented Mr Ripley
The Burning Girl
The Maid's Room

My favourites were The Tyranny of Lost Things (thanks, Joe, for the recommendation!) and The Talented Mr Ripley. I can't wait to read more of that series!

What I've been listening to
Ooh look a new section! I've always loved a podcast while out for a run, getting ready in the morning or doing work around the house, and I've found I prefer an on-going podcast series or an audiobook. I've been getting audiobooks for free from the library for a few months (I've been so surprised by how good the selection has been!) and I'm weighing up getting Audible at some point, especially for our road trip across Canada.

This month I listened to Robert Webb's How Not to be a Boy on audio and I absolutely loved it and cannot recommend it more.

I also listened to two podcast series, Maddie and Over My Dead Body. I absolutely love a multi-episode podcast on one topic or delving into one story or crime, so if you have any recommendations for these kinds of podcasts, please let me know!

What I've been watching
One trip to the cinema to see John Wick 3, which I enjoyed when I wasn't hiding under my coat. Three films at home - Good Time (which we watched a few weeks before the Robert Pattison Batman news which allowed up to be super-smug and say things like, oh have you not sen Good Time?), Headhunters because Jaime Lannister, and Crazy Heart because we'd just got home from a country festival.

TV-wise, obviously Game of Thrones and the 50% of Chernobyl I've seen from under my coat. Yeah I basically didn't watch episode 3 and episode 4 made me cry. We've also just started The Sopranos from the beginning seeing as we started it 4 years ago and we are terrible at watching TV.

What I've read online

Stylist - The reality of visiting a spa as a plus-sized woman
Swoonworthy - 7 decorating mistakes to avoid when using colour
The Telegraph - Alex Timpson, children's campaigner, obituary (I had absolutely no idea of the amazing work Alex Timpson did, and I'm so glad I read this. What an amazing woman)
The Guardian - When working class life can be so rich, why does reality TV belittle them?
Daisy Buchanan - Please stop asking me about my career
Biscuits and Blisters - Don't answer that
The Face - The Anatomy of Depression
Refinery 29 - In defence of being unproductive
Newsweek - 9 Simple things that can help calm anxiety
Unbound - My year of reading dangerously

With some new recipe books and a quiet June I've got loads of posts I want to write this month so hopefully I'll be back soon!

Charlotte x


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