London Baby

Little Lady and I used to do everything together. Until she started school full time then it felt like we hardly spent time just the two of us. It was made worse (in a good way, obviously) that D came along just as she was going full time. I still had D to do things with, more so as he got older, but I missed the time with my girl.

We have made time over the years to do things together “just us girls” but they have been snatched afternoons, hours here and there. This holiday I decided to do something special just the two of us and so I booked us a Travelodge and the Megabus and took my girl to London. She had expressed interest in going last summer but we didn’t manage to go, so you can imagine how excited she was.

It’s fair to say she missed her brother while we were away. She talked about him constantly, wondering what the boys were doing, where they had been, asking me to take pictures of cranes to show him when we got back lol! But we had a fantastic time. It was so lovely spending time with her. I spent time with my little girl but also saw the little lady she is growing up to be. It was bittersweet, knowing that even though I am losing that little girl, she is growing into a fantastic big girl. Someone I am so proud to know.

We originally went with the idea of following the BFG Dream Jar trail after seeing the one in Cardiff but we were so disappointed by it that we gave it up and did some touristy things instead. Little Lady made a list of the things she would like to see and we tried to do as many as we could.

We stopped at the palace

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Visited Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

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We walked along the Thames

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Walked across Tower Bridge

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We also rode the London Eye, which turned out to be the best part of Little Lady’s trip.


She also enjoyed all the travelling on the Underground and the ride there and back on the Megabus as it was a double decker😀

We had such a fantastic time. I’m so glad we took the time to do it and I really want to do it again. Maybe we’ll go back next year.

Have you ever been to London? What was your favourite part?

Pin Up

Wow I have neglected this blog haven’t I? Let’s just move swiftly along and pretend it didn’t happen shall we? Fab.🙂

Okay so I’m going to start back with a crafty post. I am slowly starting to sort out my craft things in the attic and whilst doing so I found an unused canvas. I’m not really one to paint or draw so I decided to use it to make a notice board for Little Lady’s bedroom. I had some pink fabric in my stash and some ribbon so I had a go while she was at school.

Hubby was a bit wary of allowing me to use the staple gun unsupervised after last time when I pinched my thumb in the handle lol! You’ll be glad to know I came away unscathed this time yay!

I roughly measured the fabric by folding it around the canvas.

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I then cut it to size, folded the corners neatly and stapled it to the frame. Of course you could finish the edges of the fabric but to be honest I didn’t bother.

I didn’t have enough of the ribbon I wanted to use so I had to space the strips very carefully. Once I was happy with their position I stapled those to the frame too.IMG_0950

The process was repeated with the ribbon going the opposite way.IMG_0951

And as easily as that it was done.IMG_0952

Little Lady loves it and has it hanging above her desk for her “important papers”. She is also pinning her dance rosettes to it which are looking good.

If I did another one of these I would use more ribbon to make the criss- crosses closer together but as I made this with only things I already had, I am quite pleased.

Have you ever made a noticeboard like this?

Growing Up

At the end of last summer we were lucky enough to be gifted a much bigger greenhouse. I was thrilled as it doubled my growing space. Unfortunately Hubby was not so thrilled when he realised that it meant cutting the shed in half to accommodate it 😕

Last year we didn’t use it much as we were pretty much coming into winter by the time it was all up and running. I had high hopes for this year though. 

You know what they say about best laid plans and all that. Well I’m a bit behind. I haven’t planted half as much as I wanted to and was a bit late getting what I have got, into pots. Our garden is completely concrete so everything has to be grown in pots. I dream of the day we can afford to buy somewhere with a bit of land so I can finally plant my fruit trees in the ground. 

So what have we planted?


Cherry and plum tomatoes. We have 6 plants so three of each. That won’t really be enough to keep Little Lady in tomatoes as she loves them but it’s a start. 


A lone cucumber plant. I am always wary of cucumber plants as I haven’t yet managed to yield fruit from a cucumber plant. I’d love any tips you may have on how to keep it alive long enough to harvest the fruit. 


One tiny Sweet Pepper plant. 


Three Honeydew melon plants grown from the seeds of a melon we bought from the shop. Little Lady collected the seeds, gave them to my stepdad who has grown these little beauties and gifted them back to us. I’d love to think we’d get a melon growing 😀 


Strawberry plants are coming back strong. As are the herbs we planted. Chives and mint shown below. 


Tiny cherries starting to come on our cherry tree. Hubby will be pleased. And last but not least we have two pots of various weeds growing to feed our tortoise. 


I’d love to eventually grow enough to cut our shopping bill but that won’t happen this year. This year I’m just trying to keep everything alive. 

Do you grow your own? What to you grow? Any tips for me?

Pen Y Fan

Pen Y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales and according to Wikipedia the highest British peak south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia.  Not only that, it is also No 88 on my Day Zero List 😉 I’ve wanted to climb it for a while but I’ve never got around to it. So when one of my running club posted that he was thinking of running up Pen y Fan I over eagerly said I’d join him 😳

The day before I was so nervous about going. There would be 5 of us altogether and all of them faster than me. I thought about pulling out but I knew how disappointed I would be if I did. So I decided instead of putting too much pressure on myself to make it to the top as fast as the others, I would set myself a different challenge. If I let them run off, make the top and start coming back down then, as they passed me, I would turn around and follow them to the bottom. My challenge was to see how far up I could get before I had to turn around. 

On the day I dressed warmly but as it was pretty sunny out already I had hopes of stripping layers off. That was until the snow started to come down on the drive there!! There was a lot of nervous laughter in the car at this point. What on earth were we doing??? Then the guys started talking about going up one route and down another. That spoilt my plan. So I mentioned my challenge. I was going to keep it a secret so they didn’t think that I was wimping out by not making it to the top. As soon as I mentioned my plan G said that there was no way he was letting me come all this way and not make it to the top. They would wait for me! I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. 💕

We parked up and could see the snow on the mountain 

 I’m starting to wonder what I’ve let my self into!!

We crossed the bridge and off we went. Wow! It was so much harder than I thought! My legs were screaming from both the cold and the exertion and I could barely catch my breath due to the wind. I struggled on run/walking as best as I could. I was so in awe of the others who just kept ploughing on. 

The higher we got, the less views we had as the fog was hiding the beautiful surroundings. 


We passed a few walkers and they took pride in telling us we were mad! Lol! Says them who were up earlier than us to start out 😉

It got colder and colder and I did feel sorry for the guys who started out in shorts! Mrs C kept telling me “it’s just over the next ridge” except it wasn’t 😂 but she kept saying it. As much as I took the mick out of her for being so wrong all the time, she did an excellent job of keeping my spirits up when I could easily have said “stuff it, I’m going back down”


It was very hard going and I could easily have stopped but between Mrs C and the little part of me that would have been gutted not to reach the top, I kept going. Then finally I could see the top. A walking group laughed as I ran past them shouting “yeeeeeeeesssssssss!!!!!!!!!!” 


It was an absolutely fantastic experience and probably the craziest thing I have ever done. I would love to do it again. Although maybe not in as much snow. 

In the Company of Wolves

*Disclaimer – I was given free tickets for this event but I wasn’t asked for anything in return. I am writing this post because I had such a good time I want to share it with you. As always all opinions are my own, however, the photos are publicity shots taken by Theo Moye (Burn the Curtain Theatre) that were provided by the company after I asked for them.*

Last week the Run Director from my local parkrun offered free tickets to an outdoor theatre production designed for runners. It was based at Cwmcarn Forest Drive and started at 7.30pm. A few of the girls from my running club asked for tickets and so I did too. Mainly because I do enjoy the theatre and I thought this would be a different experience. I lived the closest to the Run Director so I went and picked up all the tickets. During the 2 days that followed my emotions ranged from excitement of doing something new to bricking myself at the thought of running through a forest in the dark!

We were asked as runners to wear red and the walkers to wear blue. We were told to expect around 4-5miles of running (2.5miles for the walkers) but apart from that I really didn’t know what to expect.

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Photo by Theo Moye 30/07/14 Burn the Curtain Theatre present a Company of Wolves.

We set off on the night clutching head torches and huddling together for warmth. We were welcomed and given hand stamps. We waited around til7.30pm when a man took us down towards the lake. There we met the priest and he was very excited that we were able to join him to witness the very special village wedding. He introduced us to the groom and told us that he would help us to warm up while we waited for the bride. What followed was the best warm up routine I have ever seen. He burst into song and had us doing all sorts of moves incuding squats and stretches as “actions” for the song lyrics. I have floated the idea that we should include the same warm up on club nights😉

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Photo by Theo Moye 29/10/14 Burn the Curtain present ‘A Company of Wolves’ at Sharpham House, near Totnes.

After the warm up the Duke burst in shouting that the bride was missing and he was afraid she had been taken by wolves. It was at this point the runners and walkers were separated as the runners were tasked with finding the wolves and the walkers had to find the bride and return her to her groom.

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Photo by Theo Moye 31/10/15 Burn the Curtain present ‘A Company of Wolves’ at the Forestry Commission’s Haldon Forest Park near Exeter.

As we split off I wondered if it was a good thing to chose the runner group as the faster runners all ran off and I was struggling to keep up with them especially as the paths were so steep. As it got darker however, everyone tended to stick together more and we ended up running more as “a pack” so to speak. Even though the faster runners ran off at first, the slower runners didn’t miss anything as nothing happened until the whole group was together which was obviously a bonus.

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Photo by Theo Moye 29/05/15 Burn the Curtain present Company of Wolves at Longleat.

We met back up with the walkers at about half way, we were provided with hot chocolate and told to mingle and share any information we had learnt so far. The hot chocolate was very welcome as it was so cold at this point, although I was glad they had only given us half a cup when we started running again and it was sloshing around my insides!!

Peter The Priest walking with the Village

Photo by Theo Moye 29/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

Once it was completely dark I have to admit I was quite nervous. We met a wolf lady who made us turn all our torches off and that was quite scary. It was weird. As much as I knew that nothing would happen to me/us, there were still a lot of things going around in my head. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have an over active imagination lol!

Runners Running in to the Night by Theo Moye

Photo by Theo Moye 30/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

I won’t give away spoilers in case any one wants to go and see this production on one of the future dates but I will say that I didn’t expect it to take the path it did.

The Duke 2 by Theo Moye

Photo by Theo Moye 30/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

Having said that, I enjoyed it immensly. I would definitely do it again. Some people said they would like to do it as a walker next time to see it from the other side but I could quite happily do it as a runner again.

The Duke Addressing the Village by Theo Moye

Photo by Theo Moye 29/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

I did find the run get easier as we went along. Could be because the pace slowed as it got darker I don’t know. It was very cold though. Out in the forest at 10pm it gets pretty cold! I was shivering getting back in the car.

The actors were amazing. They kept in character the whole time and either ran with us or between our group and the walkers. They obviosly have a high fitness level and I’m pretty sure they have as much fun doing it as we did.

If you get chance to see something like this then definitely go for it. Even if you can’t run, pick up a walker ticket. Just wrap up warm and bring spare underpants (joking!)

It was the best fun I have had in ages! I can’t wait for the next one.🙂

Flying through the air

I’m so excited to tell you what I did yesterday. It was so brave and so unlike me it was incredible! I went on the Air Trail at Cardiff International White Water centre. It was amazing. 

*In order to provide transparency to this post I will tell you that Hubby works at the centre but in all the years he’s worked there I haven’t tried out any of the activities. Mainly because I am terrified of water but still. *

Little lady went on a different air trail on Saturday at a bushcraft event we organised for our local Christian youth. I was hoping to have a go too but D was a bit sad and tired so I ended up sitting in the car with him listening to the radio, eating mini eggs and generally being silly. 

As I missed out, hubby said he’d see if he could fit me in on the CIWW Air Trail and as a man of his word he did!  

Me in harness

 

Picture courtesy of Little Lady hence the dodgy angle showing my double chin 🙈

I was in a big group, none of which I knew and many of whom had never done it before either. So nerves were running pretty high. The strong winds didn’t help matters either. 

We were fitted with harnesses and helmets and given a safety briefing. Then we were attached to the wire and one by one were sent off down the course. 

The first obstacle is a cargo net to climb across to the first platform.  

It’s very high up here!


It’s pretty high up there I can tell you!! Then comes your first real test of trust as you jump off the platform down the zip wire to the next platform!

Over the white water course

All the water had been drained from the rafting course for cleaning so not the prettiest of views today. 

The course has 5 zip wires and other various obstacles to walk across high in the air. 

  
A (very) wobbly bridge  

Here I am just about to step out onto a balancing wire. I must admit I was absolutely terrified at this point. The wind seems so much stronger that high up. But once I had actually stepped out into the wire it was much easier. 

Everyone says that the zip wires are the best bit but I have to admit the harness had a tendency to cut into my lady bits!! Hubby just shrugged when I told him and said “that sometimes happens!” Thanks sweetie! I’m sure he’s more sympathetic to people who aren’t his wife lol!    

   
The Air Trail was a good experience. Not sure if I can use the word “enjoyed” to describe it as I was bricking myself the whole time and was very glad to see the end! But I would definitely consider doing it again. My nerves should be easier a second time don’t you think?

Have you ever done anything that pushed you out of your comfort zone?

IAAF World Championships

My third half marathon done and dusted. You can read more about my first and my second in their respective posts and you’ll find they are the same route. Although very different races for me personally. In the first I was relaxed and I enjoyed almost the whole run. The second? Well that was a nightmare from leaving the house! 

I swore I wouldn’t run the Cardiff half again after the disaster of HM #2 but was convinced to have another try by someone telling me I shouldn’t leave it on a downer. Which kind of made sense. I had a discount code for the IAAF World Championship Half Marathon which is basically the Cardiff Half with Mo Farah (other elite athletes also available 😉) so I signed up. 

I was really dreading it but one of the girls from my running club said she would run with me and that made me feel a bit better. Although as the day got closer I started to worry that I would spoil her race. 

The race started at 2pm (what a stupid time that is!!) so a group of us caught the train into Cardiff and set about meeting up with the rest of our club. We dropped our bags off and queued for a wee (very important lol!) then waited around for the call to the pens.   

Once in the pens the rain came! And it rained off and on the whole race. We had rain the size of marbles, hail and sideways winds of over 20mph!! Nightmare! There was a point that I actually couldn’t see as the rain was hitting me in the face with such force and my feet got so wet they are still covered in blisters a week later!

The barrage was the worst as its open to the weather on both sides.

 Some of the faster runners in my club bragged of tail winds at this point. Unfortunately for me it had changed direction by the time we crossed over it. 

The run itself was quite pleasant. I seemed more relaxed this year and I even stopped to have my picture taken with this guy. 
   

He is amazing. He carries a full sized cross with him. It extends well behind him on a little wheel as he runs. He was very gracious to pose for photos with me. 

Roath Park tried to kill me off for the 3rd year running and the hill on the way out was worse than ever. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at the comment on this mile marker half way up the hill!!

  
This hill defeats most of the runners! I don’t know whether it’s because it’s a pretty steep hill or whether it’s because you’ve just run 12miles before hand. Both probably!

At the top of this hill my running partner and I managed to find a second wind (we were nearly done!) and we picked up the pace. Strava was working in KM’s and the last km was our second fastest. We were on a mission! My legs were dead, I had pins and needles in my feet and I could see the blood coming out of my sock. We had to finish! 

The others had already de camped to a coffee shop as it was so cold and wet so we rang our order in as we crossed the line. Thank you Mrs C I owe you one (or is it two now??) We collected our medal, t shirt our bags and various other bits then made our way over to the coffee shop. I was soaked through. The plan was to strip the wet top off and change into the new one but I was wet right through so there was no point. We were given a poncho though so I wore that for warmth!  

Stunning isn’t it?? Hahahaha!!

It was horrible weather but overall I did enjoy the race. My time showed 1 minute slower than my best but 10minutes faster than my awful race last year. 

  
I’ve got another half booked for end of August and the Cardiff half booked again for October. I’m hoping to beat my PB in October so I’d best pull my finger out and keep up the training. Let’s hope I can keep it up.