So, what have I been up to in terms of the challenge? Probably best to start with the cooking based ones, as they took up much of my time. For the retreat, I cooked a veggie stew, of lentil and butternut squash. I also made a beef stew, but didn’t use a recipe for that, as I take a ‘bung everything in’ approach. I also made 3 soups for the retreat, a butternut squash soup, and old favourite of tomato and ginger, and a new soup for me, broccoli and stilton (which was pretty delicious!) Finally, the retreat meant home-baking, and I made 2 lots of flapjack, a vanilla cheesecake and an apply crumble, counting towards my 30 cakes/desserts. My Gran had also made a lemon cake and a Dundee cake, and the owner of the venue made cupcakes as well. We were very well-fed on the retreat, meaning that my weight loss count has gone a little bit (ok, a lot) backwards!
The retreat also offered the opportunity to meet some ‘interesting people’ – I met Carolyn, who works with my co-host Lindsey for CVS, a volunteering organisation. Carolyn was a complete force of nature and a very inspiring young woman to get to know. I also met Marie, who joined us for the Monday-Thursday part of the week. Marie used to be a neuroscientist and was a fellow keen walker and traveller, so we had some interesting chat about our various adventures.
I also took an opportunity offered to me, to run a personal development session for the Edinburgh Businesswomen’s Club. I did this session on an NLP process called the neurological levels of change, by Robert Dilts. The session went well and I’m also counting it as a networking opportunity, as I reconnected with several people I’d met at previous networking events.
I also went to London for the day, to attend the Coachmatch conference. The conference was a really good opportunity to meet fellow coaches, working all across the UK and abroad. Being in London was a bit of a shock to the system, as its been a while since I went down there and had forgotten how busy, noisy and stressed it is. This was made significantly better by catching up with another old friend, Kirstina Divall. I met Kristina on my very first day at Lloyds Banking Group in 2009 and we’ve stayed friends ever since, seeing each other about once a year. She came to stay in November, but for some reason, I didn’t count her in my challenge as an old friend, so I’m claiming her now.
While in London, I travelled to Kent to go to Matt’s brother’s wedding. This was a really lovely day, I was made to very welcome as part of the family for the day, and also got to eat in a new restaurant, with the wedding meal at Winter’s Barn. It was the best wedding food I’ve ever had. The night before the wedding, we also went to Zizzi’s and although it was at a different end of the country, I couldn’t quite bring myself to count it as a different restaurant.
The wedding was a good opportunity for a new hairdo, so I had it in a half-up pony tail, curled with pearl heart shaped clips. Also on the hair front, I attempted a bun wrapped in plaits…..it was fiddly and a bit messy.
Finally, I joined a gym and undertook a mission to start trying out different machines. I did a session on the crosstrainer, some time of the steps machine, and some time on the weight resistance machines (which I’m counting as one type of exercise.) I also tried some exercise classes: BodyBalance - a mix of yoga, pilates, tai chai – quite enjoyable; Spin – evilly horrible, especially at 7am in the morning; BodyCombat – an non-contact aerobics class based on punching and kicking; and PiYo, a dynamic, fast mic of yoga and pilates to music, which I didn’t get on with at all.
Lastly, we went to see 2 new films, Deadpool and Dad’s Army. I enjoyed the rather cheesy Deadpool, despite not being particularly into superhero films. I was a bit disappointed with Dad’s Army – despite an all-star cast, I didn’t find it very funny compared to the old series.
So, that a rather quick summary of everything I’ve done in the last 3 weeks.
My learnings are:
- Sometimes, the best, most supportive and longest lasting friendships start in the most random of places and can’t be predicted. Who’d have thought I’d still be in touch with the random person I sat next to on induction day, or a random person I happened to chat to on a Sunday walk in Guildford when I didn’t know anyone. Never miss an opportunity to make a new friend, you never know where it’ll lead!
- Pride comes before a fall……after a week of twice-daily yoga on retreat, I was extremely proud to be able to get into my first shoulder stand, feeling very proud as it felt a little advanced for this early in my yoga journey. My core muscles evidently agreed, as I had a little spasm in my back muscles on the return to flat-backed and have been a little sore ever since.
- I love my job. I knew that already, but I really really enjoyed running a retreat this week. They say that if you do a job you love, you’ll never work another day in your life, and this certainly felt true, sitting around a log fire chatting to some truly special people this week.