I’m writing this weekly blog episode having spent the last hour or more chatting with Rob, recording an interview for a future issue of The Outdoor Adventure Podcast. I’ve honestly got so many random thoughts running through my head as a result of that chat, that this weekly blog episode might be a bit of a garbled mess. But hey, I’ve clearly never let that put me off before.
The podcast won’t be out until November-time, so there’s plenty of time for me to get anxious about whether the stream of consciousness I shared will make any sense or be of interest to Rob’s listeners. Rob said all the right things, though, and his words about my blog – especially the weekly blog episodes – stroked my ego enough to make me want to immediately sit down and put one together to go live later this week. Thanks, Rob.
The real reason I bring it up, though, is because at the very start of the recording, I was hilariously interrupted by my neighbour shaking my doormat at my study window. Like a flag. It was brilliant.
We were hit by a storm – the tail end of a hurricane – overnight, and my doormat went missing. It’s not the first time it’s slid its way off the doorstep in stormy weather, but until now the furthest it’s gone is under the car. Not this time though; I had a quick look down the street earlier to which neighbour has unexpectedly gained a new mat in their front garden, but couldn’t find anything.
It turns out it had lodged itself underneath my neighbour’s car. It’s now safely sat back on my doorstep, until the next strong winds hit us. Rob will remove the laughter from the start of the recording (I hope!), but it was a real moment of hilarity, and certainly broke the ice.
Anyway, I’ll share the link to the podcast episode when it’s live.
Happy Autumn Equinox
I have to admit, I’m not overly happy about heading into autumn. I mean, it’s certainly a pretty season, and I do enjoy a cosy night in and a bowl of homemade soup with fresh bread (mmmm soup…). But I’m not one of those people who looks forward to the drawing in of the evenings or the leaves falling off the trees.
My brain and body always struggle when the seasons change, especially this one. The transition from warm to cold, light to dark, green to brown is a bit, well, meh. I much prefer the long warm days of summer to the short cold days of winter; autumn marks the end of finding it easy to get up in the morning and being motivated to do fun things (or just anything) in the evenings. If you thought I was lethargic and unproductive in the summer, you’ve not seen me in autumn yet!
I’ve always been this way, but in recent years have learnt more about what can help counter it. One of those things is time spent outside. This difficulty with the seasons is why I do my best to make a real effort at getting One Hour Outside each day.
Getting One Hour Outside
As the nights get noticeably longer and the air turns cold and damp, it’s this time of year a daily dose of natural light and fresh air (and moving my body a bit, too) makes the most difference. The outdoors tops me up and helps me make something of autumn, countering the lethargy. It doesn’t solve all my built-in issues with autumn, but it certainly helps.
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t ask – will you join me in spending a bit of time outside every day this autumn? My annual November challenge is on its way soon (watch this space, as they say), but now is an excellent time to add the outdoors into your daily routine if you don’t already. If you’ve never heard me bang on about One Hour Outside before, then this post is a good place to start for the full picture.
I once heard it said that I should lean into autumn and enjoy the dark and cold and brown, rather than trying to fight it. Maybe I should try that this year. Any tips?!
National GetOutside Day
While I’m talking the outdoors (when am I not?), let’s chat National GetOutside Day.
In a weird state of motivation for a Sunday, I decided the best way for me to fit in some proper time outdoors on this particular National Get Outside Day would be to get up and out for sunrise. The rest of the day was looking pretty busy, I hadn’t got myself organised enough to spend time with friends for a GetOutside Day hike as I often do (last year I went for a walk in the Malverns), and I was at risk of it being a bit of a fail.
Sunrise on Sunday was at 6.57am, which isn’t that early, so I made an effort and got up and out well before that so I could be stood at Cleeve Hill trig pillar at the exact moment National GetOutside Day started. Except, as you will know if you saw my video on Instagram, there was no sunrise to speak of, and the weather was blowing an absolute hoolie. Oh, and it was raining, which both the Met Office and BBC Weather apps said it definitely wouldn’t be.
It was still good to get out, though, and I don’t regret my early start – I mean, I was certainly awake after that. There is something so refreshing about standing on top of a hill with the wind howling around you, it made me feel very alive! And I did my duty as an OS Champion and recorded and shared a video, which made lots of you laugh (because you told me!).
If nothing else, it was a timely reminder that sometimes things aren’t perfect or ideal. The wind can be strong. It can rain unexpectedly. The body can be tired. But when we carve out time to get outside, there are happy memories to be made. I wasn’t out for long, but my non-sunrise experience on Sunday brings a smile to my face.
How did you choose to mark National GetOutside Day this year? Or were you beaten by the weather?
The Studio Orchestra Concert
A couple of Fridays ago my husband and I went to the Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse to listen to The Studio Orchestra present a special Hans Zimmer concert. I mentioned in my weekly blog featuring CarFest 2023 that music brings me immense amounts of joy to my soul, and felt it was time we went to listen to a live orchestra play after not doing so for quite some time.
The orchestra, who specialise in music from film, theatre and television, are a 70-piece symphony orchestra made up of a select group of freelance professional musicians in the UK. They played some of Zimmer’s most famous and iconic film scores including Gladiator, The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, The Dark Knight, Interstellar and more.
It was such a great evening. Yes, the person in me who has sat on the other side of the conductor noticed a handful of bum notes and some syncing problems between musicians (the latter of which is almost certainly down to this not being a full-time orchestra and these musicians not having worked together for long enough to gel fully), but it the music was excellent, and it was a really great show.
I left feeling incredibly uplifted and very keen to book another orchestral concert very soon. I think I need a Christmas-themed concert this year, I’ll have a look and see what’s out there.
My husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary last week (I’m not going to comment on the number because I know it’s absurd and makes me feel very old), and decided that it was a suitably large milestone to require a nice meal out. I mean, we like to go out for meals regularly, it’s one of our favourite ways to treat ourselves, but this time we felt something a bit special was required.
We decided to head to Sef Steakhouse in Cheltenham. This newly opened independent restaurant is all about steak; dry-aged and cooked over charcoal in the open kitchen. It was a great experience – the welcome was friendly, service attentive, and food excellent. My husband had the fillet steak and I had the Saslik, with chips, sauteed broccoli and grilled mushrooms. The sides were a bit underwhelming (three grilled portobello mushrooms for over a fiver was a bit disappointing), but the steaks themselves were very good. Oh, and the desserts – I had the lemon tart, which was suitably puckering, and my husband had the restaurant’s signature baclava. Mmmmmm.
I have to admit I’m not sure the meal quite beats the steak I ate in a random restaurant in Covilla, Portugal when we went on our motorcycle road trip there last summer. But as far as steak eaten in the UK goes, it was superb.
We’ll go back, certainly, but not until we have another suitably special occasion to celebrate. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work our way around all the other restaurants in the area.
Home Made Carrot Cake
After the success of the caramel cake I made for my husband’s birthday back in May, I have been nagged to try another sandwich style cake. Eventually giving in (cakes aren’t normally my domain in this relationship!), I chose a simple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting – and the result was good enough to warrant sharing in my weekly blog!
I didn’t go it alone this time, it was a joint effort in the kitchen, and so we both enjoyed the fruits of our labour over the following few days. I love a carrot cake, and this one was delicious, helped by the addition of walnuts and orange in the cake, and of course the sweet frosting in the middle and on top. It was the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea after dinner.
Next up, I’ve been challenged to find a recipe for an old-school style chocolate sponge with chocolate buttons on top. You know, the sort of cake that was served at kid’s parties in the 80s. Neither of us think we’ve had one since we were children, and want to relive the excitement.
Got a good easy chocolate sandwich sponge recipe? Do share the link with me!
See You Next Time!
There’s been quite a lot of non-outdoors stuff my weekly blog episode this time, I hope you don’t mind that. I guess not all weeks can be full of outdoor adventures – sometimes this normal life I lead is just far too normal for that. Chatting with Rob this morning I genuinely felt a sense that ordinary is good because it makes the extraordinary things I do get to experience feel even more special. I hope you feel that way about your own life, too.
I’ll be back soon with another weekly blog episode, and in the meantime, do check out my recent Currently Loving post, in which I share a random selection of my favourite things, and be sure to come back on Sunday when you can read my next Cotswold Way adventure journal series post, recounting day six on the trail, when we walked from Old Sodbury to Bath.
Buy Me a Cuppa?
If you enjoyed this weekly blog episode and fancy supporting me and my mini adventures this year, you can “buy me a coffee” for £3 (well, a cup of tea, if that’s okay?). Head over to Ko-fi to find out more. Thank you.