Notes to Strangers – A Walking Tour

So you may have seen them for yourself, pasted up in and around London, brightly coloured pieces of paper with a thoughtful message, or random sentence – that stops you in your tracks and makes you think or just laugh. You may even follow Notes to Strangers (NTS) on Instagram. Well, I do – and because of this, I came across that the creator behind Notes to Strangers Andy Leek runs NTS Walking Tours – and wanting to try different things and be more spontaneous in life I bought two tickets to go on a tour with the Hubby. I just thought it was an event I couldn’t miss and what a memorable experience it might be and I was not disappointed…

So on a rather damp and extremely windy Sunday afternoon, a group of strangers met across the road from the Tate Britain, a spot specifically chosen to start the walking tour as it’s here Andy started posting the Notes to Strangers – so a poignant place to start our journey, discovering new Notes to Strangers along the way that Andy had specifically written for the tour and see what discussions/conversations they triggered within our group.

Note One

I personally think that it’s quite true. We’re not talking about breaking laws, obviously, but bending the rules or pushing against societal norms might give you a bit of trouble, but it could also give you a memorable life and might actually be some of your best memories. There’s something to be said of those who don’t follow the crowd. Just because everyone else does something or because society says you must conform, doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing!

Do you agree?

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Book Day, Breaststroke and Brutal Boxercise

So I think I may have broken myself yesterday!!!

Firstly, I obviously have to mention world book day – my two went as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger! They looked so cute!
Harry and HermioneI made an effort and put 10 plaits in the Pink Ones hair so that when we took them out she had the bushy hair Hermione is known for.
Hermione HairThey were so excited, they have been counting down the days until they could wear their costumes to school!

World's Cutest Harry Potter
World’s Cutest Harry Potter

She Really is the Brightest Witch of her Age!
She Really is the Brightest Witch of her Age!
So after drop off, I met my friend Rachael back at my house as I was going swimming! As you may have read in one of my previous posts, it’s a new years resolution of mine to learn to swim – well since then I’ve managed only one session with Rachael and then it all went a bit manic with assignments, half term and poorly kids! So it’s been about a month (maybe more) and I have to admit I was more nervous this time than on the first.

So nervous I couldn't stop shaking when taking a pre-swim selfie!!!
So nervous I couldn’t stop shaking when taking a pre-swim selfie!!!
The part of the pool we used last time had a fitness session going on. Then we were told there was going to be a school class so we’d have to move down.  For a few moments I thought it meant our whole session was going to be in the section of the pool where I couldn’t touch the bottom and my anxiety went into overdrive – I admit I even cried, but fortunately we had a good section of the pool and I was able to touch the bottom – so took a deep breath and we got working.

Rachael really helped me with my breaststroke technique, working on my leg kick, making sure I completed the cycle and squeezed my legs to get the full propulsion through the water, even doing some work with a float. The trying to get the process right…

Pull, Breath, Kick, Glide

Definitely easier said than done – but I will be chanting this mantra until my body does it automatically! The majority of this was completed with head out of the water, as I’d misplaced my goggles, so I was wearing my hubby’s and the left eye kept filling with water! Most annoying! I have subsequently located my ones!

I did monkey down to the deep end, but no matter how logical I was and how much I spoke it through with Rachael – I could not let go of the edge and glide or swim. I got so nervous at one point I actually got cramp in my foot!!!

This pathological fear of the deep end and going through the water under my own steam without panicking is exhausting.  So I didn’t manage it this time, which is disappointing, but my swimming is getting stronger (and Rachael assures me I can swim), so, and I said it out loud to Rachael that on our next session I would start in the deep end! I may regret saying this next week, but this problem is literally an argument with my own head! I will conquer it and I just appreciate Rachael being so calm and patient with me!

Once home, I did my usual studies – both Technologies in Practice and some Maths.

Then I was off to my Boxercise class! The session was amazing, but seriously tough! We were doing Boxercise to the Beat (named after my previous blog post!). For our warm up we were bouncing to the beat in southpaw and then two jabs, two hooks – repeated a few times, then some squats, punches to the floor, then back to bouncing, two jabs, two hooks, two uppers and two lower uppers.  Then we bounced into the orthodox position and did the same.

Next, pads and gloves on, in southpaw we had to bounce in time with our partner and the beat, jabbing for five, high leg lifts for five, until Michelle called out and then we had to do 10 jabs and 10 high leg lifts, finally 15 of each.  In between swapping to orthodox, we had to do some squats and punches to the floor ,then repeating the whole interval.  Then we had to swap pads/gloves. The constant moving was intense, it was brutal.

We then had some floor work, 15 curl ups and 15 leg reaches, some of us were then skipping, while others were doing one leg stands from the benches, this was repeated three times. The we had to do 15 push ups and now those of us that been skipping had to do try and do the one leg stands – they were really hard (and I was starting to feel the swimming from the morning) – one of the ladies worked out it was easier to do if you crossed your leg over the top of the one you were standing up on.  Again repeated three times. Finally, again repeated three times, we did a 30 second plank followed by 30 seconds of high leg running.

So glad for the cool down that’s for sure! If you want to come along to a session – find all the details at Michelle’s Facebook page for Foxlee Fitness.  I think I may be feeling all this exercise over the next few days! Hopefully it’s doing me go!!! haha!!!

So how do you deal with anxiety or facing a fear? I’d love to know! 🙂 xxx

Change is as good as a rest

That saying couldn’t be more appropriate today! All very exciting for me today – I did Parkrun at Dulwich Park – not only is this the first time I’ve attended a Parkrun somewhere other than Greenwich (Avery Hill Park), which I am feeling a little disillusioned with the moment, but it also took me back to where I grew up and brought back so many wonderful happy childhood memories! I already knew I’d love the Parkrun here before I even arrived!

Beautiful Park - Beautiful Weather
Beautiful Park – Beautiful Weather

It helped that it was beautiful crisp sunny morning, with blue skies which puts you in a positive mood to start with! I collected Deputy Helen and off we headed, meeting with the lovely Jo and her friend Jane once we got to the park. Parking was reasonable as we got there quite early.

It’s obviously a very popular Parkrun as there were lots of runners in attendance (many visiting from Bromley Parkrun too) – all seemed
very friendly. The only issue this morning was the cold and the waiting in it whilst the announcements were made! Also the slight fear of icy patched under foot one we started running!
The standing in the cold affected me in the fact that when I started to run my toes were numb and it felt like I was running with concrete blocks on my feet – this sensation eventually wore off half way into the second lap of the park!

The course was lovely and flat with tarmac pathways or the option of running in the sand track (meant for horses), this was actually my saving grace as during the second lap my left ankle started to hurt, but I didn’t want to stop running as it’s the best I’d felt running a 5km in ages, so instead I ran on the sand and this lessened the impact and reduced the pain.

I have been on UK Fitness Bloggers facebook page asking on what exercise I can do to strengthen my ankles and it has been most useful with some great responses! Well worth joining – as it’s a group of like minded individuals and you can get advice etc.

I did seem to have my invisibility cloak on today as it felt like people were deciding to come off the pathway and on to the sand and vice versa directly by me, a couple of dogs also decided to go directly in front of me to get back to their owners! I am sure this wasn’t just happening to me though! This feeling did lessen on the third lap as all the speedy runners had already finished so didn’t need to get passed!

I actually really enjoyed the final lap, which was unusual as I am normally thinking “just need to finish”, as I came to the home straight I tried to step it up a gear and really wish I’d tried even harder as I did feel I had it in me but came in at a very respectable 00:32:09 – only 3 seconds slower than my PB at Greenwich and a 2015 PB which I am very happy with as my previous timed 5km this year was around the 37 minute mark – so this was a vast improvement!

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Then this afternoon I had to meet with someone in Bounds Green – so there was four rather brisk walks to and from various stations. Made enjoyable as I travelled with my hubby, we were childfree and the sun was shining, an additional plus point was that I got to read my book whilst on the train and tube – which I haven’t done in ages!

walking

Once we were home, I collected the kids from our amazing neighbours who looked after them whilst we were travelling across London, and they very kindly lent me a Garmin Forerunner 10 which I am very excited about. Can’t wait to test it out!

The hubby made us dinner he did the most amazing homemade pot noodle from the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook and it was delicious – highly recommend it!

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Then after the kids were in bed we watched Maleficent – and it was phenomenal! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

All in all a very eventful and enjoyable day!

🙂 xxx