4 days in the Isle of Wight

16 September 2015

Occasionally a blog post comes along where you need to get a cup of tea and a biscuit.

This is one of those posts.

Fancy watching the vlog to get you started? Ok then. It's below:


I hadn't been to the Isle of Wight for years, so when my family said we were headed there to celebrate my grandparents' Diamond Wedding anniversary, I was rather excited. Can we all just have a moment and recognise that a Diamond Wedding anniversary is 60 years. 60. Marriages are so different nowadays, and I wonder if I will ever make it to 60 years of marriage with my future husband (whoever he may be)..


I was meeting my family there as they were travelling from London. Trying to have a little fun with the journey, I decided to take the train from Southbourne to Lymington Pier, where you can hop on the Wight Link ferry to Yarmouth. The Isle of Wight is at its closest point near Lymington, and you feel like you could almost reach out and touch it. Max and I sat upstairs on the deck and enjoyed the journey. Pulling into the ferry dock, I could see my Uncle waving from his rather lovely Porsche, as he'd come to pick us up. We were staying at a family friends second home - a rather beautiful farm house conversion with all the trimmings including a swimming pool, enormous fire pit and unrestricted views of the sea and beach, which was a 3 minute walk away. It's definitely one of the most wonderful houses I've ever stayed in. To say that the weather treated us kindly is quite the understatement. We were suitably blessed with sunshine and sunbathing weather, and we celebrated with Bollinger, barbecues, and seafood.


On the Wednesday, we visited Osborne House. I had always wanted to visit here as I'm fascinated by the history of our monarchy, and Osborne House was incredibly personal to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. To visit this historic palace on the day that Queen Elizabeth overtook Victoria as the longest reigning monarch was also quite special. As with most English Heritage attractions, you're unable to take photos of the inside, but it was really quite special. You could see the exactly what V&A wanted for their 7 children, and I honestly think if they were here to see the war and conflict between nations that we have now, they would be quite disappointed. They had deliberately paired their children in marriage so that nations could have friendship and peace. I'm not sure we could quite say that is the case currently in a lot of ways.


I thought it appropriate to dress up as a guardsman in a bearskin - from the kids dressing up box of course. I refuse to grow up!


The Diamond Anniversary dinner was held at Hillside Ventnor - a boutique hotel and restaurant that had been recommended to us by our friends, and they had gone to the trouble to book it for us. The restaurant owner greets you from outside, and welcomes you into one of the lounges to relax with a drink and look over the menu. Your orders are taken and by the time you are invited to sit down to eat, your starter is on the table. I had Squash Risotto with Parmasan Tuille to start, Sirloin Steak with vegetables and Dauphinoise Potatoes for main, and Strawberry Crème Brulee for dessert.


On the Thursday, my Mum and I decided to go on a little adventure of our own, and we came across an alpaca farm called West Wight Alpacas. There, we found a farm filled with pygmy goats, chickens, donkeys, rabbits and guinea pigs, and of course, fields full of of alpaca's and llamas. We decided to pay to take two alpacas for a walk, and this may be one of the best things I've ever done! We had a lovely guide, and she told us all about alpacas and llamas, the best ways to handle them, and how to walk them. Our alpacas were called Ulysses and Yugo. Both were full of character and were such a joy. The rest of the evening was spent with me serenading everyone on the piano, and before I knew it, I had requests from The Beatles to Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat.


Max and I caught the ferry home on the Friday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Sometimes a few days away is all you need to cleanse the soul, and honestly, it's made me want to visit the Isle of Wight more frequently, especially as I can see it from my beach,

What a fantastic couple of days away.

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20 Questions

13 September 2015

1. What impresses you? People who are dedicated to something, particularly Olympic athletes.

2. Are you social? Massively! Spending time with friends and family is what I love doing the most and I'm definitely what you would describe as a 'social butterfly'.

3. What have you eaten today? Nothing yet but I'm looking forward to some proats!

4. What is your favourite dessert? I have a bit of a sweet tooth so I won't say no to many desserts if I'm honest. I do love Crème Brulee though. So delicious.

5. What time did you wake up today? 9am. It's very rare I have a lay in so it felt wonderful.

6. What scared you as a child? House fires. I remember watching an advert for smoke detectors and it terrified me for life!

7. How tall are you? A little over 5ft.

8. Do you sleep on a particular side? On my own, I quite often sleep on the left hand side. When I share the bed with someone, I generally go on whatever side the other person doesn't want! I'm not fussy.


9. A thought that has occurred to you right now: I want to do some baking at some point today.

10. What is your favourite holiday? Definitely Christmas. I'm all about the festivities!

11. What is the last text you received? It was a photo of my friend taking a selfie with their dog. Cos that's the kind of texts my friends and I send to each other.

12. Do you want children? Oh yes, I want children so very badly. I'm hoping that within the next 5 years I will be settled, married and a mother.

13. What does friendship mean to you? It's everything. I have some wonderful people in my life and I would do anything for my friends. They know that too.

14. What role do your family play in your life? They too are important. I feel very blessed to have grown up in a family that pushed me to be the best, supported me in all I've done and have given me everything I've ever needed. I've never wanted for anything and I'm grateful for the close knit unit we have.


15. Slalom or normal skiing? Well anyone who knows me will know that I'm never happier than when I'm racing slalom through the gates and hurtling down a run at 70mph. But there's nothing nicer than skiing with family and friends and enjoying the ride.

16. What kind of car do you drive? Ford Fiesta. I'm fortunate that I have a connection to the Ford Family so I get to change my cars frequently.

17. Can you sing? Yes I can! And I feel very blessed to have the natural talent for it.

18. What do you dislike? Animal cruelty. There is no justification for it. And bad manners. Manners cost nothing.

19. Are you mentally strong? I am. I've read a number of books on mental strength training, but I also think that I'm naturally strong. I can keep my focus on something else, even when things get tough.

20. What are you going to do when you've finished blogging this? The lovely Steph is coming to visit and I cannot wait to see her. We're going to have lunch and a catch up and I can't wait!


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Southbourne Sunset

12 September 2015

It's no surprise when I say I love the beach, as I've said it over and over again. The beach holds memories for me of weekends at our family beach hut on the East Coast, holidays to tropical places, horse riding along the sand and climbing palm trees. It doesn't matter what kind of day I've had - the beach will always be my go-to place at the end of it. Feeling happy? Go to the beach. Feeling sad? Have a walk along the beach. Too many thoughts in my head? Write them down in my notebook at the beach. Dog needs a walk? Go to the beach. I could go on.

As per usual, I'd taken little Max down to my local Southbourne Beach for his evening walk. I quite often take my camera down there as the sunsets can be quite spectacular and you're often in for a treat. Max made friends with another Jack Russell called Hobbs, and they ran around together whilst I took photos of the cotton candy clouds. It's quite amazing watching the colours literally change in the sky right before your eyes.







Before I knew it, it was like a Mother's Meeting of dogs, all having a chat along the sand. Anyone ever wonder what they're actually saying to each other, or just me? Once the other hounds had gone on their way, I watched the remainder of the sunset which just got more beautiful with every second. Our world never ceases to amaze me.





Max and I then had a run along the beach together. He truly is the most wonderful companion and I cannot imagine my life without that little one. We headed home for some dinner with sand residue between our toes/paws and smiles on our faces.

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Training Log

7 September 2015

This week was a struggle. A real struggle. I was just plagued with achey legs the whole week, and along with a difficult week at work, I was physically and emotionally drained. On Friday, I had a stretching and gait session with the lovely Ben at my gym, and I was shattered before I got there. I'm not a quitter and you will never hear me say that I can't do something in the gym, but I was so weak in this session. I felt awful, but Ben said that I was doing better than a lot of his clients so it shows that determination can get you through anything. I'm going to invest in some new running trainers too. I'm thinking Asics - if you have any recommendations, please do let me know before I part with my cash!

It's now less than 2 weeks until Spartan and 4 weeks until the half marathon. Aroo!


Above: Lift a medicine ball above your head and slam it to the ground. Pick it up, and do it again. 20 reps in total. Then go straight into 20 squat jumps. Try 5 rounds and see how you go. If throwing the medicine ball down is too easy, go for a heavier weight. I usually use 7kg.

Monday 31st August
8 mile cycle

Tuesday 1st September
Off training

Wednesday 2nd September
Off training

Thursday 3rd September
7 x 12 deadlift @ 60kg
5 x 12 clean and press @ 30kg
5 x 10 side lat pulls @ 30kg
5 x TRX pikes
3 x 20 ball throws @ 7kg
3 x 20 squat jumps

Friday 4th September
2.5 mile run
1 hour stretch and conditioning session with physio

Saturday 5th September
4.5 mile run

Sunday 6th September
5 x 12 lat pulls @ 35kg
5 x 12 L sits
5 x 10 tricep dips
5 x 12 5kg medicine ball throws with backward arm dip
5 x 12 press ups
5 x 12 sit ups with 7kg medicine ball
5 x 12 squat jumps

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Bournemouth Hidden Gems

6 September 2015

I have always held Dorset very fondly in my heart. If you had told me in my youth that I would have chosen to live here not just once, but twice, I'm not sure I would have believed you. But here I am.

Having lived in Sherborne for two years, I'm now living in Bournemouth and happier than ever before. Whilst living in Sherborne, I explored Bournemouth and the coast line extensively. There is something for everyone here no-matter what age you are, and it's got a beach vibe that is catching. Travelodge asked me if I'd put together a list of Bournemouth's 'hidden gems' and show off the town a little bit. I accepted with pleasure.


First of all, there's the beach. But I'm not talking about the main Bournemouth Beach by the pier. I'm talking about my local beaches in my suburb of Southbourne (I say 'my' like they belong to me. I'm there enough that they might as well be.) I am lucky enough to have Southbourne Beach, Solent Beach and Hengistbury Head on my doorstep, and you can usually find me running up and down the beach front with little Max next to me, or sitting on a groyne listening to the waves and writing lyrics. It's not as busy as Bournemouth or Boscombe, and just feels like home to me now. If I've had a good day or a bad day, I can guarantee you will find me at one of these beaches.

x

Again, in my local Southbourne, there's the Wight Bear Ale House. A micro-pub, it has the no mobile phone rule, and anyone caught texting away gets fined - a brilliant way to get people actually talking like the good old days and step away from the technology which can often take over our life. It's not big and you could easily walk past it on the straight, however the sound of laughter and welcoming energies will pull you in. In fact, the Wight Bear Ale House is a short walk from Southbourne Beach that I just mentioned, so pop in there after your walk along the beach. You won't regret it.


My last hidden gem is The Dancing Duck in Westbourne. I actually reviewed this last week which you can see here. It's only been open nearly two months and is nestled in Westbourne high street. With a mixture of delicious food to suit everyone (I mean everyone..I could eat everything off the menu. Seriously.), live music, a fire ready to blaze in the Winter and snuggly East Coast style decor, it's become a firm favourite of the locals for a drink or a meal. Alternatively, if you're in the nearby suburb of Ashley Cross, you can visit The Dancing Duck's sister, The Dancing Moose.

If I've persuaded you to visit Bournemouth and its charming suburbs, there will be a Travelodge nearby to help you out with your stay - 4 to be precise which you can see here.

Bournemouth, Dorset and it's coast line stole my London born heart. I wonder if it will steal yours...

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Cycling in the New Forest

5 September 2015

It wouldn't be a bank holiday in the UK without some rain would it? Of course not. But do we let the weather stop us Brits? Well, we try not to let it. I think we've all been there in the garden, trying to continue with a bbq whilst huddling under a gazebo of some sort, uttering the words 'The rain will pass soon' or 'Isn't this typical!'

I was in that mentality on bank holiday Monday. Rain, schmain. I rang Issy and told her to get the bike rack on her car. We were going on a muddy, rainy bike ride together, somewhere in the New Forest whether it rained or not.


The New Forest is right on our doorstep and it still amazes me how you can go from busy town to endless forest and wild horses. It's quite something when you think about it. The New Forest is vast and there are tons of places to go walking, biking, riding, running and general exploring. We had no agenda for this ride and ended up stopping in Bolderwood to the West of the forest. Naturally, we had no idea where we were going on this cycle. Every junction we came to in the woods, it was 'Which way now?' or 'Left? Right?' Actually, doing it this way is quite fun. Who knows where you could end up! We brushed shoulders with quite a few New Forest ponies chilling out in the heathland which is always lovely.

Even though the weather wasn't great, it didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves. We laughed and laughed and laughed, and then Issy laughed at me for being muddy and how short I am on my bike. (Note to self: lower my bike seat.) Regardless of weather, get outside and enjoy the countryside. Now we're heading into Autumn, the leaves are changing to beautiful colours and the scenery is really quite beautiful. I donned my favourite Helly Hansen coat and trail shoes which meant that I was kitted out perfectly for rain and mud.


We finished our bike ride with a drink in the Spyglass and Kettle, and toasted to a fun Summer and and awesome Autumn to come.

I think there will be many more muddy bike rides.

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10 things I wish I'd known sooner

3 September 2015


Just because you get something wrong, it doesn't mean it's the end of the world. We're only human and mistakes are going to happen. It's important to live, learn and grow, and sometimes errors are the way forward. Our biggest mistakes can often turn into our biggest successes.

Money spent on experiences are far better than money spent on 'things'. As much as we all like bags, clothes, and nice watches, saving that money for a holiday with your loved ones or spending a whole day paddleboarding and kayaking is a lot more fulfilling. Memories are so important.

Hangovers get worse with age. It's true. I'm not 18 anymore, and even though I don't drink or go out like I used to in my youth, I need to remember that my body isn't going to hold up as well as it used to. In fact, losing a whole day to a hangover is actually really annoying as I probably need to do adult things like chores and food prep.

Enjoy today as there may not be a tomorrow. I have unfortunately lost a couple of friends over the past years, and it's so important to live for now. Eat the burger, buy the shoes, go out when you know you probably shouldn't and tell people that you love them. Today is what matters.

Heartbreak is one of the worst pains you will ever go through and there is no way to sugarcoat that, but you will come out the other side eventually and it will make you more aware of what you want in a relationship.

Do not judge people until you've spoken to them personally. You do not know someone's journey until you've walked a mile in their shoes, and everyone deserves a fair chance. It's not nice to make your mind up based on initial thoughts or what someone else has said.

Confidence really can help you get where you want to be. If you struggle with confidence, fake it until you make it. You have nothing to lose by being bold and going for your dreams, and having some 'get go' and self-belief will help to make this happen.

Don't worry if you don't have your life all mapped out. Things can change and that's ok. Just see where the road takes you and enjoy it. I always remember Pocahontas and her choice between the two rivers whenever I'm unsure. They both have a different route and journey and who knows what's down there. Ultimately, it's your choice to make, but whatever happens, take it as it comes. Something amazing could be waiting!

The people who are meant to be in your life will make an effort to be there. I've wasted time on people who I wanted to be in my life, and they didn't make the effort. It will hurt, but move on. Those who value you will love and support you. You also don't need to see people every day to be close with friends.

You can do everything right, and things still might not go the way you had hoped. I have gotten down about this more times than I can remember. Always questioning why. I often find myself saying, 'But you're a good person Tamsin. I give to charity. Support family, friends..even strangers, try to give to the local community, put others before myself, stay true, honest and loyal to those I truly love...and things still don't go the way I want.' It might not seem it now, but it will all fall into place for you. Stay true to you.

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The Dancing Duck

1 September 2015

Bank holiday weekends mean food, drink, friends, family, more food, more drink, and even more food. Having been for my Sunday gym session, I felt like I could definitely fit in at least one more meal out. We decided to head down to The Dancing Duck in Westbourne for some grub. It only opened about two months ago as the sister of The Dancing Moose in Ashley Cross, and it's already buzzing and busy. Fortunately, my housemates ex-hubby is the manager there so he saved us a good spot and ordered some drinks in for us. It pays to get on with your old relationships ;)


Almost like someone's living room, there are cosy tables everywhere, a log burner ready for the winter and tables made out of old champagne and wine boxes. You can also hear some brilliant live music there making it a perfect place for a drink at the bar.


There's honestly something on the menu for everyone. I could have eaten pretty much anything. A mixture of burgers, chicken wings, hot dogs, salads and small tapas style dishes are what you have to choose from, and we basically picked a variety of everything.

First of all, we washed down pornstar martini's, complete with the prosecco shot.


Breadboard to start off with - warm brioche style sesame seeded bread with classic oil and balsamic vinegar. Flick and I were both wearing white so naturally, the kitchen roll came out in case of spillages. Classy ladies!


Chicken wings smothered in hot sauce, served with blue cheese dressing. They had a sauce called 'Suicide' which I was tempted to try as I love hot sauce, but thought I'd go for the normal 'hot' heat first. I'm definitely up for trying them next time!


Bigboy salad - lettuce, spinach, grilled peppers, sundried tomatoes, roasted prawns, chicken, bacon and chorizo with spiced creamy chilli dressing.


Scallops, calamari and grilled prawns with garlic aeoli and wedges of lemon. Not forgetting a few mugs of chips of course.


All finished off with the Moose Waffle to share - waffle topped with 3 scoops of ice cream, topped with whipped cream, toasted nuts and butternut sauce.


We all left with happy faces and rather tight waistlines.

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