Cardiff Half Marathon

Well I have neglected my poor blog haven’t I? I’ve got a lot to tell you about though so I had best set some time to one side in order to get the posts I want to write, done!

Anyway first off I want to tell you what I did last Sunday. I can’t keep my excitement in. I ran a half marathon. Yep, that’s right, 13.1miles! I can’t believe I actually did it! I was so nervous in the run up to the race. I’d actually trained properly for this. Not the half hearted attempts I usually do. What would happen if I can’t finish? What if I completely mess up the race? All sorts of things were going around in my head and I was absolutely bricking it!!

I had to drive into Cardiff by myself as hubby was bringing the kids in later on the train. I managed to park in the park and walk facility they had set up so that was simple enough. I went in early to make sure I got a space and the mile (or so) I walked into town was done in very little light.

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I took my bag to the bag drop and met some lovely ladies from the fantastic Run Mummy Run Facebook page. We queued for the start and sang the national anthem before counting down to the start. As the hooter went, we were going no where! The amount of people in front of us meant it took over 9minutes to actually cross the start line. (It’s actually around the corner in this picture)

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Once we did cross the line, the crowd thinned enough to give me enough room to start running. Mile after mile ticked by and I was in such a positive headspace, which is quite unusual for me. I just kept repeating one of my favourite bible verses – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phillipians 4:13) and it kept me going. I knew I could do it and that thought kept me smiling throughout. I am still surprised at how positive I was. Usually I tend to convince myself I can’t do it so this was new to me!

I had to stop for a wee but thankfully I stopped at some public conveniences rather than the portaloos provided as the queue for those were at least 20mins!!

I started to struggle around the 10,11 mile mark as I was getting tired then. I hadn’t tried gels or anything in training so all I had was fruit pastilles which were fine and the organisers had an energy drink station around that point which really helped (even though I had to ask someone to open it for me!!). The mile between 11-12 felt about 5miles long. It seemed never ending but the crowd kept me going. The crowd was fantastic, all the way around! If you ever get a chance to watch a road race please go to support the runners. It means so much having strangers urging you to keep going. Seeing some friends who had come to cheer me really boosted me too and although I did walk the very last hill, I did manage a sprint finish. Mainly because I was so glad to see the finish line!!

Crossing the finish line I was handed a medal, bottle of water, t shirt, banana, can of non alcoholic beer and a goodie bag. I was a bit confused by why it couldn’t all go in the goodie bag and why they expected us to carry it all when I could barely carry myself!! I burst into tears as soon as I met up with hubby and the kids. The emotion was overwhelming! But I was so pleased that I did it and I raised quite a bit of money for my charity Velindre Cancer Centre while doing it.

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Would I do it again? A very big resounding YES! Well I do have a PB of 2:37:50 to beat now don’t I? Sub 2:30 here I come 😉

Made It Monday #11

I knew the run of MIM posts was too good to be true!! 😊 Anyway we’ll skip past that and I’ll show you what I’ve made recently as though the missed posts never happened! Lol!

As you know from recent posts, the first week of September was Zero Waste Week. The theme was One More Thing and as I wrote here I learnt quite a bit about how small changes can make a big difference.

I have slowly been looking at different parts of my day to see if there is anything I can change and one area is the washing up. We buy big bottles of washing up liquid and decant into a smaller bottle. It’s not ideal but I don’t know anywhere local to me that will refill my Ecover bottle.

After a chat on twitter’s #makedoandmendhour (Thursdays 8-9pm – check it out) I decided to have a go at crocheting my own dish cloths. We usually use the sponge things. We do put them through the wash to prolong their life but after a while they do need throwing out.

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I found this pattern on Pinterest and it was a lovely easy pattern that I managed to do while little lady was at her dance class! I used a cotton yarn (cotton wool doesn’t sound right does it?) which means that it’ll dry quickly. I chose this colour only because I already had this ball and I was too lazy thought it was more environmentally friendly(!) to use up what I had. Although someone has since pointed out that it won’t show up stains as easily, which is quite a good point for a dish cloth!

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What have you made this week?

Zero Waste Week – They think it’s all over

Well here it is. Zero Waste Week is over. How have we got on? What have we learnt?

Well I have to admit my pledge didn’t exactly go to plan. D chose last week to come down with “man flu” (he has a cold!) Potty training took a back seat as it is nigh on impossible to get a toddler who is feeling sorry for himself, to do anything you want them to do. So we are still using nappies. On the upside, we are using less nappies as D does enjoy siting on the toilet. Getting him to give me a bit of warning is the hard part! So we are still trying. We have given him a bit of a break and will get back to it after his nursery days this week.

So, not quite gone to plan. However, I have learnt a lot this week and there are quite a few things I have incorporated into our daily lives already. The first thing I learnt was that our local council will take TetraPak cartons in our brown (recycling) bin. I have always been told that they couldn’t be recycled. But they can. We drink quite a bit of fruit juice (I know, I should really squeeze my own) so that’s a big saving from our green (general waste) bin. Why not check out the link to see if your council will recycle them too?

I have also discovered that you can get reusable swim nappies. Now this is fab for us as D and I have just started parent and toddler swimming lessons. I hope to buy some next week to cut down on the disposable ones we currently use.

Apart from all the new things I learnt from found Zero Waste Week, there was quite a bit I realised that I do already. We have already shunned plastic carrier bags on favour of cloth ones when we go shopping and we use EcoBalls in place of washing powder in the washing machine.

Did you take part in Zero Waste Week? What one thing could you do today to reduce the waste you send to landfill?

9 year hitch

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary. It’s been a quiet affair (so to speak) as hubby went back to work today after two weeks annual leave. We are not making a fuss this year as I want to do something special for our 10th next year.

When we got married we always said we would re-do our honeymoon on our 10th wedding anniversary. However, kiddies and finances wouldn’t allow, unless of course we have some kind of massive financial windfall in the next 12 months 😉

My thoughts today has turned to my wedding dress. I made my own and since the wedding it has been sat in a box, which has been moved from house to house to storage to house. It was never cleaned as the dry cleaners refused to take it without a “dry clean only” label. I tried to explain I had made it and was happy to tell them exactly what materials I had used but they wouldn’t budge!

With my mind focused on decluttering, it doesn’t make sense to have it up in the attic never to be seen again. But what to do with it? I did debate years ago about cutting it up to make little lady’s christening outfit but then I found a better fabric that suited her more than the ivory and purple of my wedding dress, so I made her dress out of that instead.

These days, I am kind of swaying towards cutting out the back of my dress, where the detail is and having it framed. I like this idea but I am slightly afraid of cutting into it in case little lady wants to use parts of it in her own wedding dress many years from now. I would rather she had first choice. Then again, she may take one look at it and turn her nose up at it. How can I predict what the fashion/style will be when she is lucky enough to get married? Simply I can’t.

I did ask hubby what he thought I should do and he laughed and told me that I had told him years ago that I wanted to be buried in it!! 🙀 I definitely don’t remember saying that!

What did you do with your wedding dress after the big day? I’d love to know x

Zero Waste Week – Day 1

It’s here! Zero Waste week started today and will be running all week. Here was my pledge in case anyone missed it.

We actually started preparations for this week about 3 weeks ago. We decided, due to D’s age (2yrs 9 months) we would start potty training rather than go down the reusable nappy route. I went out and bought big boy pants (only cheap ones mind as I was sure I’d be consatntly washing them!) and dug out the potty. We tried for almost 2 weeks and although we had progressed from just weeing in his pants to him actually telling us he needed to go (albeit seconds before he started weeing) it was hard work.

First off, D seemed quite frightened of actually “letting go” while sat on the potty. We did, eventually ditch the potty and go with a step and a child’s toilet seat to use the toilet instead. He was happier to go on the toilet as he has seen the rest of us use the toilet (is it a normal thing with children that they want to be in with you?) and we did get some results.

It was, however, very hit and miss. To put it another way, my floor hasn’t been so clean since we moved in ;) I was starting to stress and he was hating being in wet pants. I had hoped that the feeling of wet pants would spur him to tell us when he needed to go, but I don’t think he was realising he needed to go until he was actually going. Then he would get upset that his pants were wet.

Nursery didn’t help either. They obviously have a lot of children to look after and can’t dedicate their time to just one child. The first day he just came home in a nappy and the following week he refused to use the toilet all day. Now surely it can’t be good for him to hold it in all day?

Everything came to a head last week when we were packing to go on holiday. A friend had very kindly offered us their house to stay in. They haven’t lived there long; it was going to be a 2 day drive to get there; they didn’t have a washing machine.

After almost 2 weeks, I finally admitted defeat and put a nappy back on D. And as much as I hate to admit it, I was less stressed on holiday, without having to worry about where he will have an accident next, and D was a lot more relaxed too. He continued to tell us when he was doing a wee and we changed his nappy and offered a sit on the toilet each time.

I am currently washing all his pants ready for a second try. He is in nursery today so was sent with nappies. Tomorrow, while at home, he will be put in pants and then after his last day in nursery this week (wednesday) we will try again.

I did feel like a failure putting him back in nappies but I must remember that the theme for this year’s Zero Waste Week is “One More Thing”. I have already saved almost 2 weeks’ worth of nappies from landfill, and each time I replace with his nappy with pants, that’s another one saved from landfill.

One step at a time.

Made it Monday #10

We have had a very busy two weeks here. First hubby and I ran a very successful holiday club then we ran away to Scotland to recuperate ;) We haven’t long got back but I am planning a holiday post as we had such a lovely time and I’d love to tell you all about it.

This isn’t actually the post I was planing to write. I actually made a lovely dress to wear to church for the holiday club presentation service last week, but I didn’t get any photos of me wearing it and now I am covered in midgy bites so don’t want to subject you can’t re do photos at the moment.

Instead I will show you a present recently made for a friend. I do hope they don’t mind me showing you. Fay and her lovely husband Dave recently moved into a new home and I wanted to give them something that reflected both of them. Took me a bit of thinking but I eventually decided on these.

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Cushion covers with guitars on one side for when the man of the house is home

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And flowers on the other side for when the lady of the house is home

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The recipients seemed happy with them. I do hope they were.

What do you think? Are multi tasking cushion covers the way forward?

Made it Monday #9

Wow. Two posts in as many weeks. This scheduling lark might actually be working (now I’ve said that, I’m bound to mess it up aren’t I?)

Last week was my lovely mum’s birthday. Little lady had announced about 2 months ago that she and I would make a cake. So my mum started looking around for cake ideas! About 3 weeks ago she showed me a magazine with the cake she wanted. I was oblivious to the fact that little lady had volunteered us to make a cake so was a little surprised by being handed a picture and being told “that’s the cake I want for my birthday” :/

To be fair, this cake wasn’t hard to do but looks quite impressive. I made 4 sponge cakes and cut holes in 3 of them.

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I filled the hole with sweets – haribo and Aero bubbles at mam’s request! The 4th cake then acted like a lid.

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I am rubbish at icing a cake so I looked up tutorials on YouTube. They really helped! I did a crumb coat which I never do and really took my time kneading and rolling the icing.

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I have to be honest, I was pretty impressed by this attempt. It was my best attempt ever. Okay there were a few issues on the side where I hadn’t rolled the icing equal enough so had to add an extra bit to cover the gap 😕. Little lady then stuck little cupcake shaped chocolates around the edge

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With this cake, it’s the cutting that makes it special.

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This was the bit I was most disappointed with. The magazine picture showed the sweets tumbling out of the cake once cut, but in reality I found that they stuck to the inside of the cake and needed a bit of coaxing out. Hubby claims that the magazine probably added extra sweets for the photoshoot to give the “tumbling out” effect but I suppose we’ll never know.

Have you ever made a cake similar? Did your sweets stick or tumble out artistically? I’d love to know the secret