Monthly Archives: December 2016

What I have learnt through running every(ish) day of Advent

Sally Xerri-Brooks

15698077_10154178862241762_7681385810596230776_nAt the end of November I read a fantastic article in the rather fabulous Standard Issue by Sophie Scott, a woman who started ‘Advent running’ on 1st December a few years back – at least a mile a day – and never stopped. What struck me was her ordinariness. She wasn’t one of those lycra-clad serious running types (apologies if you’re one of those…) she was like me!

So, on 1st December I set myself a challenge to run 26.2 miles during December. I am *not* a sportswoman by any stretch of the imagination. This, for me, was a genuine challenge.

Here is what I learnt through the 16 runs and 26.4 miles I ran:

1. The pain the day after the first run was surprisingly bad. I had some Reiki that day, and the practitioner asked where it hurt. I responded: “everywhere”.

2. After the third day, the pain…

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And that’s it for another year

Unless of course like me you still have family to visit in the next few days or if you’re a fan of Santa Claus the Movie like me, you’ll know of the the little joke of Christmas two

B.Z.: A sequel. That’s it. We’ll bring it out on March 25, and we’ll call it… Christmas 2! 

Only kidding!

So 2016 is drawing to a close. Everything we bought as presents will now be half price and everyone will go mad in the sales tomorrow and buy more stuff. (bah humbug) That won’t be me. For the first time in 17 years of working I will be working myself tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it to. Mainly because this is the first Christmas where I haven’t been so tired to enjoy it because of the mad rush of retail. It’s a different sort of knackered, partly from being drunk and then walking over 8 miles today and that doesn’t include the hour of so running round like a loon with a beagle in front.

It’s funny how things work out. I was thinking that, this morning I would catch up on sleep and rest before I went to my friend’s for my Christmas Dinner. But yesterday lead to a different chain of events. Starting with unexpectedly being able to buy some cider from a post office and taking them home and getting drunk really quickly and then sending everyone messages.

It turns out there’s a Christmas tradition of running a 5k at Parkrun on Christmas morning. It’s classed as a light run yet still over 200 people turned up to do at a wet  but warm Hyde Park.

After a chat with a friend I decided I would go up this morning and help out. Still feeling the effects of the alcohol it took me longer to walk up there, nearly an hour instead of 45 mins. Crazy! Anyway I met a lovely friend who had an addition to his own dogs and I offered to help look after him. I loved every minute of it. Dogs are so funny. Apparently this Bassett hound who was called Buddy and was best friends with Daisy the black Labrador and boy was it crazy.

Covered in mud 😀

Have you ever played those games as a kid where a ball was attached to a string/rope which was attached to a hoop you put your leg through, and you swung it round while hopping over it? That was me with two dogs running round in circles.

In the middle of all this running round business, I had a moment when the dogs were sharing a branching and having a good chomp. Destroyed it in seconds but they were happy. I turned round and saw most of the runners had come in and were grabbing food and coffee. I just thought how amazing this is. How each week a group of people get up early in the morning, regardless of weather and run/walk/jog a 5k route around the park. I felt so blessed to see this, that such a little thing like exercise can create something big.

So after handing back Buddy, after we nearly took a table out and then receiving  lots of hugs from friends and well wishes I headed home to get changed ready to head to my friend’s for lunch.

Christmas is so much about retail that it starts earlier and earlier each year. Piling the pressure on people to buy each other gifts. This year I saw the other side of it as I was able to spend more time in town. Wow was it crazy! so many people, long queues and angry people. You would think things were going out of fashion.

And every year I swear I am going to start saving early, and every year it never happens. This time because I was out of work for a time. Now everything is back on track and I’m taking things steady. Next year is more about health and fitness. Not just mine but relationships, my bank account, the house (I want to spruce it up a bit, new curtains perhaps a lick of paint). I also want to do some more travelling, so I need to start planning and I’ve so far started well apart form a few hiccups.

Lets believe in magic. Lets believe in oursleves

We all also need to believe a little in ourselves and ask for help when we need it, how ever small the ask is. I’m learning that lesson. I have learnt so much in the last few months. Never did I think I could learn new skills so quickly or the amount of support I have if I just ask.  So like the Queen said in her speech today lets pull together, lets learn from 2016 and make 2017 a better year.

‘When people face a challenge they sometimes talk about taking a deep breath to find courage or strength. In fact, the word ‘inspire’ literally means ‘to breathe in’. But even with the inspiration of others, it’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help. On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.’

Taken from The Queen’s Speech 2016

And remember in 2017….

 ‘If you give extra kisses, you get bigger hugs.’

-Santa Claus the Movie

Thank you for reading


2016 in review

Wow, next week is Christmas!!! Where did that come from??? 2016 has been a very unusual year. Lots of celebrity deaths, some have come as quite a shock to the world. In my case loss of friendships, jobs, but gained lots of knowledge through various lessons.

I’m ending 2016 on a high, or I feel I am. Although I have had to give up book club, something I love and treasure, have tried to look after myself, to better myself, I’ve made mistakes elsewhere. But I’ve learned so much and have gained some things/memories I never thought possible.

I ran the Leeds 10k in a fantastic time, I raised more money then I could dream of and the support was just amazing. I have entry into the great north run next year and that sets me on another adventure. Also I will be running again, something I should never have stopped doing but let life and self talk get in the way.

The one lesson I will take from this, is its ok to ask for help. As much as I felt ashamed sometimes and as much as I worried people would lose patience with me, everyone pulled out all the stops for me and I felt so humbled. I felt proud to be me and to be a part of something. Especially the Parkrun family. I can’t thank them enough. And to know they will be there at a drop of an email or just to visit on a Saturday morning and know I’m welcome, has meant so much to me.

Then there’s my small group of friends. How they have let me chat and cry, how they have helped with my homework in cases, the support is incredible, and they have become more like family to me. And then there is my family, what a tower of strength they have been along with Milo, even if he did go on hunger strike when I looked after him, he’s always pleased to see me and loves to go out for walks any time of the day. I always miss him when I leave Mum’s to come back home, mainly because it’s so quiet when I return.


So as we leave another year behind us, I’ve started doing something to remind myself of the positive things. I started a gratitude jar at the beginning of the year and didn’t get very far with it. I’ve now started writing down in a notebook, 10 positive things or 10 things I’m grateful for that have happened during the day. It’s tough and sometimes I use really simple things, but I think it works, here is what I have so far:

Gratitude List so far:

16/12/16- 10 things I’m grateful for today.

1. The market in town having Christmas jumpers.
2. Getting the last penguin jumper.
3. Having heating anf hot water.
4. Not having a physical disability.
5. Ability to learn new things.
6. Colleague buying me some chips.
7. Able to watch murder she wrote
8. Having a Saturday off to meet mum
9. Catching the connection in town to home.
10. Clean bed to crawl into

17/12/16 -10 things I’m grateful for:

1.Jane doing a surprise visit.
2. spending the day with family.
3. Having a treat day as Jane called it.
4. Good weather
5. Having a Saturday off.
6. Not working in retail at this time of year.
7. Finding a little cafe off a side street and having fish finger sandwich. (very good food)
8. finding to boxsets of Murder she wrote for a very good price.
9. Ability to sign up for the Leeds 10k 😀
10. my house

19/12/16 – 10 things I’m grateful for:

2. Amazing training day
3. Meeting people in the same boat as me.
4. realising everything is ok.
5. Being able to talk to Mum on the phone.
6 Being able to fill my fridge with food.
7. Being able to wash my clothes in my own machine
8. finishing work early and doing some shopping
9. Chance to give a present as a thank you for the help, and seeing their delight in receiving it.
10. Sitting in my PJ’S at 6pm eating a microwave curry. (6mins to heat up tea)

And what a difference a year makes………

2015 review

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Thank you for reading.


Good news versus bad news

It's all about the Yes

I’m currently reading a book called Weight Loss for People who Feel Too Much while I’ll review shortly but there’s a part in it that made me think about our actions and the way we talk to others.

In the book one of the recommendations is to live life more simply by cutting back on the amount of negativity we subject ourselves to. By that I mean reading less gossip magazines, cutting down (or out) of social media, less news article and trying to reduce the amount of negative conversations we have.

I can do most of that and apart from too much social media. I spend a lot of time on public transport including trains and it’s an easy way to pass the time. Even though I have a kindle to read I often flick between that and social media more than I need to. So in that I…

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