31 December 2015

Project 365 2015 #52

And so we come to the end of my second Project 365.
Christmas came fuelled by turkey, Prosecco and happy children.
Then we said goodbye to 2015.

Project 365 2015 day 354 - Gluhwein // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 355 - The Polar Express  // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 356 - Seven mile run // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 357 - Walking // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 358 - Christmas Eve // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 359 - Christmas Day star light // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 360 - Boxing Day dog walk // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 361 - Five mile canal run // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 362 - Devizes canal walk // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 363 - Owl at Stourhead // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 364 - Last run of the year // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 365 - 2015 Memory Jar // 76sunflowers

Day 354
Today one of my lovely friends popped in to see us with her children and this turned into an unexpected gathering of past neighbours also popping in to catch up so the first bottle of Gluhwein was opened - and quickly finished!
Day 355
Hooray for no alarms for school today! We celebrated with a lazy day at home and some time spent snuggled under blankets watching The Polar Express.
Day 356
I do like my lazy days with the children but I also need to get out so today I took advantage of the husband working from home first thing and set off on for a long run - seven miles, with a pause at a village church, were in the bag today.
Day 357
I had to get the children outside today so they donned their backpacks, grabbed their compasses and we headed out across the fields to a local park for some much needed fresh air.
Day 358
Christmas Eve and I needed to clean the house and extend the table in the conservatory ready for tomorrow. It's a tight squeeze in there at the best of times!
Day 359
Christmas Day and I snuck out first thing for my 5k run - crazy maybe but it made the over indulgence on bread sauce and Prosecco feel a little better. The children patiently waited for me to return before opening their stockings from Santa and I got a lovely new star lightshade. We had a lovely family day and to top it all off Granddad joined us and he thoroughly enjoyed his Christmas dinner!
Day 360
Boxing Day and we went for a walk across the fields to the local village pub with the brother in law and his dog. I had envisaged a cosy couple of hours sipping on mulled cider and playing dominoes but my girl had a moment over the amount of people and unknown friends joining us so I took her and the boy home where they were much happier. She is clearly my daughter when it comes to new faces and social situations!
Day 361
The husband was back at work today and the brother in law was meant to come running with me along the canal. However, he 'forgot' his kit so off I went on my own for a lovely 5 miler through the mud and puddles finished off with a lovely uphill stretch up a country lane back to the in laws.
Day 362
Bank Holiday Monday was Star Wars day! But before the cinema we had a pleasant walk along the canal in Devizes followed by lunch in a park. The film was amazing.
Day 363
Finally we had a day of sunshine today so I packed a hot sausage roll lunch and headed off with the kiddos for a walk around Stourhead. We climbed a new to us stile today and found an owl in a tree!
Day 364
My final run of 2015 took me on another 7 miles around the local villages. These longer runs mean I can chill a bit and I actually stop and take photos en route.
Day 365
So this is it, the end of 2015. We have been adding to the memory jar throughout the year and tonight we are going to sit down and open it - and then probably head to bed by 10 o'clock!

Happy New Year!

x x x

23 December 2015

Running Diary {The Charity Vest}

At the beginning of the month I started my online Running Diary setting out my plans for the start of next year; Longleat 10k, Bath Half Marathon and Hackney Half Marathon all signed up for. With a training plan stuck to the fridge with months to go until my first half marathon it felt like I had all the time in the world. Well now I have less than 12 weeks until Bath. And then the charity vest arrived in the post on Saturday...

Running Diary {The Charity Vest}

...and I got a little overwhelmed. I had just got back from one of those runs; my TomTom ran out of battery, I struggled against the wind, I didn't run with any rhythm, I was tired, I questioned what on earth I was trying to do. Then the arrival of the charity running vest made me stop and think. Yes, it is a personal challenge to get myself round a half marathon but more importantly than that I'm doing it for others; for the patients of the RUH, for the new RUH Cancer Centre, for my father in law.

Running Diary {The Charity Vest}

So, with the risky size small - which will encourage me to watch my intake of mince pies this week - running vest hanging proudly in my wardrobe I focussed on setting up my fundraising page and promoting it. Now, I don't know about you but I find this a tricky task and I take my hat off to those runners that sign up to charities with fundraising targets of thousands to fulfil - I am supporting the Forever Friends 'Ted's Team' via my own race place so don't have a goal to meet but obviously want to raise some cash. So, I put it on my Facebook page - where it stood and watched the tumbleweed blow past. Possibly not the best time of year to ask for money but now I wonder when do I post it again? How often? Are friends and family just going to block me and get fed up with my running updates, posts and shaking of the online charity tin in their faces? I plan to pin up a notice at work but am aware of a few other staff also running it so will it be a race for sponsorship?

I have lost count of the hours and miles I have ran so far in training and I am determined that these races will be run and completed.

Hopefully with some money raised for a fantastic cause too.

x x x



21 December 2015

Musing on a Monday {Christmas, coughs & chemo}

I sit writing this in my warm conservatory as the wind rattles at the door and the rain pummels the roof - it always sounds a hundred times worse in here - having waited in all morning for the final delivery of presents to come. The plan was to then head out for a walk around the fields but the children just want to cosy up. I'm feeling a little bit stir crazy having been inside since returning from a quick jaunt to Lacock on Saturday but the sounds of the girl sneezing and coughing has made me realise that I have to ride this one out. Hopefully I can sneak out later once the husband is home even if just for a quick run around the block.

Musing on a Monday {Christmas, coughs & chemo}

Every Christmas, since being back at work, we have had illness in the house - coincidence? Last year I was out of it with no voice and a constant companion of paracetamol and hot honey and ginger instead of my usual festive tipples. The year before the husband was in bed for 48 hours meaning I had to step up and cook the Christmas dinner for the first time - I did a pretty mean job I must say. This year he is ill again and the girl is suffering, so much so we have had to cancel her filling appointment at the dentist tomorrow which I know she is gutted about!
Before this turns too much into a 'woe is me' type post I need to pause and take stock. I absolutely love Christmas and everything it means to us as a little family. We have always celebrated with either just ourselves and the in laws or the brother in law so never more than seven of us squeezed around the table. It is an event we always look forward to, and I'm learning to not look forward to things too much as they don't always turn out as planned. However, this Christmas will be a little different.
Other events put our coughs and sneezes into pale significance when we stop to think about Granddad; today Granddad is having his final round of chemo. The children know this but they really want Grandma and Granddad to be with us on Christmas Day tucking into the turkey and all the trimmings; at the wishing well in Lacock on Saturday the boy dropped in his coin and wished for Granddad to get better. We have warned them that Granddad may only be well enough to pop in and say hello, he might stay for dinner, we might even have to go to theirs to say hello on Christmas Day.
Christmas will feel a little bit different this year but there will be love, warmth, good food and obviously the presents to make it another special day for all of us.
Oh, and there will be a dog.

x x x

19 December 2015

Project 365 2015 #51

Christmas is now just around the corner and school is over at the end of week 51 for Project 365 2015.

Project 365 2015 day 347 - Evening darkness // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 348 - Six miles, hot bath & Earl Grey // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 349 - Sloe Gin gifts // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 350 - Christmas decoration // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 351 - Christmas tree // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 352 - Present // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 353 - Running vest Bath Half // 76sunflowers

Day 347
The husband accidentally bought blue fairy lights which I had to exchange straight away so I ran out to the store at the end of my lane as fast as I could over the railway bridge.
Day 348
A good six mile run followed by a hot bath and Earl Grey at 11a.m.
Day 349
Gift preparation for my amazing team at work included my homemade Sloe Gin.
Day 350
The husband and kiddos picked up this decoration today.
Day 351
I had a lazy evening tonight and sat looking at the tree.
Day 352
Last day at school before Christmas! It has been a long term full of ups and downs but unwrapping this gift from a lovely boy in my class made my heart swell and brought tears to my eyes.
Day 353
The windy weather almost kept me in bed this morning but I forced myself out for a four mile run where my TomTom ran out of juice, I had doubt over the half marathon and started feeling generally sorry for myself. Then I got home to some post that made me realise it is all worth it; my running vest for the Bath Half where I'm hoping to raise money for the new cancer unit at the RUH.

Happy Christmas!
x x x


12 December 2015

Project 365 2015 #50

Week 50 of Project 365 for 2015 has been all about finalising Christmas presents and picking glitter out of my hair!

Project 365 2015 day 340 - Christmas tree // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 341 - Morning sunshine // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 342 - Bath Christmas market // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 343 - Katie Fforde // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 344 - Christingle // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 345 - Winter jumper // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 346 - Early morning run // 76sunflowers

Day 340
Following yesterday's 'didn't quite go to plan' tree decorating I sat back and appreciated it today.
Day 341
Finally a bit of sunshine on the walk to school today.
Day 342
A trip into Bath today to pick up some final bits of Christmas shopping. Most of it has been done online but I needed that real feel of shopping!
Day 343
Back to work day and early to bed with my latest Katie Fforde.
Day 344
The boy's Christingle tonight made me feel warm and fuzzy.
Day 345
I wore my Winter jumper to work today where I found myself buried in a pile of glitter for most of the day.
Day 346
Another early morning run; today leaving the house in the dark at 6:50 for a 4 miler.

x x x


7 December 2015

Musing on a Monday {Falling out with my 9 year old}

This weekend I had planned a cosy Saturday afternoon of a walk round Lacock Abbey, to find the tree decorated by my girl and her class, followed by mince pie making and putting up the Christmas tree back home.
I'm always one to make plans with a picture perfect image of how the day will pan out just how I want it to. Which will then, of course, be documented by the obligatory snaps on Facebook and Instagram show casing what a perfect family we are.
Well, most of that went to pot.
Instead, I executed some of my parenting skills to the highest level of crapness and fell out with my 9 year old.
Yes, me, 39 years of age, old enough to be a little bit more grown up about things managed to argue, shout and sulk - just as well as any 9 year old girl.
You see, she was 'too tired' to help me as I struggled, lodged in the loft door with a Christmas tree wedging me at the top of the loft ladder. So, I shouted at how ungrateful she is and 'thank you very much for helping' - in an obviously sarcastic matter highlighting that, yes, I am clearly the grown up in this stand off. Slamming of doors followed whilst I managed to slide the tree, and myself, back down the ladder to safety.
Loft dust washed off I announced we were all going out.
But no, going to the Abbey is now far too 'boring' for a 9 year old girl.
Which obviously I accepted calmly and didn't* in any manner shout back that '9 year olds are not in charge in this house and I bloody well am'.
Then she took shelter, from the 'worst Mum ever who always shouts', under her desk.
I sat downstairs and sulked.
The husband stepped in, with his 'good cop' badge shining brightly to calm the situation, and went to speak to her. My attempts to calm the situation resulted in being told 'I'm so mean' with the offer of a hug refused - that was like a dagger to the heart so I went downstairs biting my lip so I didn't cry.
Meanwhile the boy put up the tree, then some footsteps were heard coming down the stairs.
The girl tentatively came in, giving me the evils on her way, and joined in with hanging some baubles.
Her mood gradually shifted.
I grabbed her for a hug.
And all was well.

Falling out with my 9 year old // 76sunflowers
Falling out with my 9 year old // 76sunflowers

x x x
* I did

5 December 2015

Project 365 2015 #49

The weather has not been good for week 49 of Project 365 for 2015.
I am craving a cold, clear, sunny day as it is December for goodness sake.

Project 365 2015 day 333 - Rainy rugby day // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 334 - Wet school run // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 335 - Virtual 10k PB // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 336 - Downfall // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 337 - Christmas day virtual race // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 338 - Cracker joke // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 339 - Mince pies and jam pies // 76sunflowers

Day 333
A super soggy wet day for rugby training today. Luckily it was the husband's time to go so I stayed dry inside.
Day 334
Another super soggy wet day. So much so I drove to do the school run - which is unheard of as I can't bare the parking mayhem.
Day 335
I headed out for a run which turned into my Virual 10k Race for December - and a PB. I also started a blogging running diary.
Day 336
We've been playing some old school games discovered in the loft. The current favourite being Downfall.
Day 337
Some post for me today in the form of my Christmas Day running medal. This is going to be wrapped and put under the tree.
Day 338
The children went to their Christmas school fair with a friend today. Back home the boy pulled his personally made cracker with his own joke inside. He is clearly a comic genius.
Day 339
I had a cosy day in mind putting up the Christmas tree with a happy family and warm mince pies. I made the mince pies and eventually we had a happy family hanging the baubles!

x x x


1 December 2015

Running Diary {Medals & Plans}

I turned over a new leaf of the calendar today and smiled to myself as a new month lay ahead. A fresh page on the calendar already filled in. Filled in mostly with my running plans - including a run on Christmas Day. Christmas Day!! What has happened to me? Never in a month of Sundays would I have once thought I would be running on Christmas Day. Or even running every week. Or running three times a week. Or have a half marathon lined up - well, actually two. But it appears I am a changed woman. My washing airer is constantly full with running tights, skins, sports bras and vests. My shoe cupboard now has running shoes galore - I even sacrificed a new pair of DMs this Winter for a pair of new Nikes! Any spare pennies I find go quickly as I sign up for Virtual Runs to keep me ticking over. My Christmas present this year has been used up about ten times over signing up for a 10k, two half marathons and buying a back up pair of new Nikes - I still would like a Buff if you're reading this lovely husband!

So, back to the half marathon. I have signed up to take part in the Bath Half on March 13th 2016. I am running it for my own personal challenge having been stuck at the 10k mark since the Race for Life back in July. I am running it to prove I can get my niggly knee up to a longer distance - stubborn I know. I am running it to raise money for the new Bath RUH Cancer Centre - a hospital that has provided support and care to someone very special in our family. I am running it because This Girl Can - hopefully!

I returned, emotional, from a 10k (6.2 mile) run this morning and turned to social media and posted the following...

When you head out for a 5 miler and realise at 4 miles in that it's December and you may as well push on for the 10k Virtual Race. Then at 5 miles your knee niggles just a little but you think it's fine. Then at 5.6 it's screaming at you and you think just half a mile to go. Then at 6.1 it clicks that 10k is actually 6.2miles so you swear yourself round the last tenth of a mile. Then your neighbour walks past and says "You look knackered how far have you run?" "Just the six miles" I reply through clenched teeth. "Blinking hell! " Then you walk past his mum who comments "I didn't recognise you, you look so slim!" Then you realise your knee isn't screaming anymore and you seem to have recovered. Then you look at your watch and realised you've smashed your PB so you grin like a loon back home to unpack your medal. That!
Running Diary - Virtual 10k // 76sunflowers
Let's talk about the medals for a moment.
Back in May, following my return to giving running another go after bailing on it last year due to my niggly knee, I challenged myself with a 5k goal. But I needed a reward, a dangling carrot if you like, so I signed up to my first virtual run with Virtual Runner UK and Run Mummy Run. I wrote about it here if you want to learn more but basically the dangling, shiny bling is all I need! Once I had completed a couple of 5ks I was hooked and challenged myself to get to the 10k and took part in Race for Life and another virtual run in August - for which I got some rather lovely medals for...
Running Diary - Race for Life 10k // 76sunflowers

Running Diary - Virtual Run 10k // 76sunflowers
Then my knee niggles kicked in again so I had to cut back on the mileage and incorporate a plethora of stretching routines into my daily life. But I needed another goal and getting back up to 10k was what I needed to do by December in order for my half marathon plans to keep ticking over nicely. And today was the day - completely unplanned, completely emotional, but I got there.
And this running malarkey is so emotional! It's hard to explain but I have literally shed blood, sweat and tears on some runs - not necessarily due to pain but sheer emotions.
Running is my escape, my free therapy, my me time, my challenge.
x x x  

© 76 sunflowers

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