Indoor Surfing

Have I told you I’m terrified of water? I can’t stand being out of my depth or anything that splashes my face. I’m not sure if it comes from my mum who is also terrified of water or whether it is because I have constantly had it drilled into me by ENT consultants, not to get my ears wet. Possibly a bit of both.

Little Lady went on a surfing course back last year and absolutely loved it. I have watched other people do it loads of time too but I have never been able to pluck up the courage to actually go for it.

Then I finally did!

Without the water it looks like a big bouncy trampoline. It’s a bit more intimidating with the water flowing though.

Little Lady is pretty much an expert now in my eyes and she couldn’t wait to go back to have another go with me. To be honest, I surprised myself and actually enjoyed it! It was fab. Very tiring and stressful for me, but fab.

I was a bit nervous at first especially when you essentially throw yourself off the top but I did it and with each turn I became more confident. I was exhausted by the end and had bruised thighs from the pressure of the water. But Hubby managed to get this really great photo of Little Lady and myself high-five-ing.

Have you ever been indoor surfing or maybe this kind of surfing outdoors? Like on a cruise ship?

Snow Angel

Number 17 on my original Day Zero List was to make a snow angel. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on my side and it didn’t snow for the whole 1001 days. I was gutted. I really thought we’d have at least a little bit of snow but nope! Nothing! 

On the 2nd January I was invited to walk Pen-y-Fan with the Run Wales ladies and guess what? It was snowing. A lot! 


Oh yeah. We walked up in the dark as the plan was to watch the sun rise. However visibility was so bad that we couldn’t even see the sun at the supposed time. 

But swings and roundabouts and all that. The snow was so thick I got to try a snow angel. I say “try” as it was so thick and compacted that my whole body weight barely made a dent in it so you can hardly see the angel 😦 


But the pictures do show that I had a good go at it. 

I did transfer “make a snow angel” to my new list (number 16) so I can cross that off now. Hurray! I can also cross off number 67 “Walk Pen-y-Fan” 

Two done on the second day. I doubt I’ll keep that momentum up though lol! 

Do you have snow where you are normally? 

Bye bye 2016

We are fast approaching the end of the year. It’s been a pretty shocking one in relation to high profile deaths, Brexit, US elections but for us here at alifetimeofdiy it hasn’t been a bad one. The good times have thankfully outnumbered the bad. 

I’ve struggled a lot with my anxiety towards the later part of the year but I feel I am coming out the other side now and am feeling almost excited to be starting a new year in a few days. 

I have a lot of plans for next year. We have started decorating the front room, we’ve bought a new sofa and Little Lady’s room is getting a shuffle around after we were gifted a cabin bed for her. 

My Day Zero List finishes on New Year’s Eve. I don’t feel I’ve achieved much over the last 1001 days even though I have managed to tick off over half of the items on there. I still have a few days left so I’ll do a round up possibly on New Year’s Day. 

I’ve started a new list to be started on the 6th April too. Hopefully I’ve set more realistic goals. 

I have recently been asked to blog about my running over at Run Wales so I will possibly not be blogging so much about my running here. I am planning to increase my crafty posts. Start showing some of my makes again. We’ve also got a lot of DIY planned for next year so keep a look out for those posts. 

I do hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and a relaxing week so far. 

How was 2016 for you?

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?

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. 

Build it and they will come

At the end of February the Toddler group I started last year was 1 year old. To be honest I couldn’t believe that it had lasted a year as numbers had been so low up until Christmas. I had started to doubt whether it should carry on past it’s first birthday. But thankfully God provided and for the past 3 months numbers have been increasing steadily.

In order to thank the faithful ones who had been coming since the beginning and to praise God for the increase in numbers I wanted to do something special for our birthday. I wanted it to be different and I wanted it to be fun. Then I had a crazy idea. The more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me. I mentioned it to hubby in passing and raising his eyebrows he reminded me that I would need permission from the church elders. There’s always one party pooper isn’t there?? Lol!!

I cautiously broached the idea with the elders and all 4 of them saw no problem with it at all. I truly am so blessed to work with the people I do. So what was the plan? The plan was to hold a beach party. But it was February so it would have to be inside 😉 I wanted to cover the floor of the vestry with sand and buckets and spades and let the kids build sandcastles.

Once it was approved by the elders I ordered almost a ton of play sand. Once ordered, I swayed between “A TON?? That’s way too much!!” and “ARGH!! I’ll need to buy more as it’ll never cover all the floor!”

It was due to arrive on the Thursday before so I cleared the room, swept and mopped and put down some tarpaulin. Then the delivery driver rang, he was 10 minutes away!! I couldn’t wait. I was lucky that the driver had a trolley to bring the pallet over the road and all the way up to the door. Hubby helped him push it up the small incline, (not that small when you are pushing a ton of sand up it 😉 ) I signed for it and it was time for the hard work to begin.

We had borrowed a gorgeous pink wheelbarrow from a friend and we began shovelling sand into the wheelbarrow, which hubby then bumped over the door step and into the church.

The first barrow of sand going down 🙂

The “beach” slowly started to appear in the vestry.

We shovelled and shovelled until there was no more sand left in the bag.

Then came the fun bit. Making it look like a beach.We bought palm tree decals (seen stuck to the doors) from the party aisle at my local What! store, we put up an umbrella and the little play tents.

Once that was all done I needed to cross off number 33 from my Day Zero List – Build a Sandcastle. It was the perfect opportunity. 🙂

The kids had an absolutely fantastic time and we also had a record number of attendees. I absolutely loved seeing their faces as they walked through the door and saw the sand. For some of them it was the very first time they had seen sand. Even the parents enjoyed themselves. It was the best 2 hours we’ve ever had and no one wanted to leave.

Well until I mentioned tidying up of course!!!!!

A tale of 5 parkruns

Number 90 on my Day Zero List is to Run 5 Different parkruns. My home parkrun is classed as Cardiff although a closer one has started since I joined up. To be fair, for the amount of time I’ve been signed up, I haven’t actually participated that many times. This is mainly due to the fact that Little Lady has always had swimming lessons on a Saturday morning which has clashed with parkrun. She’s now finished her lessons as the next step is competition which she isn’t interested in. 

This has opened up a lot more time for parkrunning so I’ve been trying to go more often. 

So which parkruns did I run?

1. Cardiff 

Cardiff is an out and back route and is very flat. It was here I got my one and only sub 30 5k  and the one that I am most familiar with.  

2. Porthcawl

Back last Easter we were lucky enough to be offered a caravan near the sea less than an hour away. I packed my running stuff in the hope of running along the shore line. Then Friday night I realised that there was a parkrun in Porthcawl. A few tweets later and I found out where the start line was. I decided to go for it. It was a lot different to Cardiff as it was so open to the elements but it was lovely running along the cliffs near the sea. 

 
3. Penallta (Caerphilly)

parkrun number 3 was the newly started Penallta parkrun. This one was the hardest one as it is quite hilly and has a lot of doubling back which I’m not keen on. However it runs through a country park and has gorgeous views. The cows and the ducks watch as the group runs past as do the fishermen on the lake. Little Lady and I ran this one to celebrate her birthday. I printed out race numbers and the volunteers were kind enough to agree to present her with a medal I had provided so that it could be like a proper race for her.   

4. Pontypridd 

That was pretty much it then as I don’t really like the stress of driving somewhere I don’t really know. Especially if there’s a deadline for getting there. New Year’s Day I went to Cardiff parkrun with a friend. She usually goes to Pontypridd parkrun but this was an extra one for New Year’s Day. She managed to persuade me to go to Pontypridd the next day. 

Little Lady came to run with me and it was absolutely bucketing down with rain. We spent 2 laps dodging massive puddles and the last lap we just decided to run right through them. We were already wet by then anyway and Little Lady absolutely loved splashing through the puddles! A few of my running club were also there and fair play to them they waiting to cheer us over the finish line. Little Lady thought it was brilliant.   

5. Newport

Which left one more for me to visit. The opportunity for some parkrun tourism came about thanks to the weather. Last weekend was so icy that most of our local parkruns cancelled. Newport however, is all trail so the icy conditions didn’t affect the course. 

Saturday morning was so cold as we set off

 
And I made sure I wore my woolly socks.   

The course itself was lovely and we ran loops around this rather lovely lake.   

Completing Newport gave me my 5parkruns and I get to cross off an item on my Day Zero List. 

Since then however I have heard of a few more within an hour’s drive. Can I make 10 different parkruns before the year is out? 

Caerphilly 10k

The Caerphilly 10k is in it’s third year this year and this was the first year I had entered. Ridiculous really as it’s right on my doorstep! Anyway this year was an important year for my running club as we have just been affiliated with Welsh Athletics and being a home race we were expecting a sea of blue. 

The club was not disappointed. After the race we couldn’t fit everyone on the stage for a club photo! 
The morning itself was overcast. I debated whether or not to wear a top under my vest as it wasn’t very warm. Thankfully I decided against that as by the time we had started the sun had come out and it was boiling! Sun burn was definitely a worry. 

In the run up to this race I kept saying I wanted a sub 70mins. I had told everyone in my running club my desired time and I was determined to do it. I had recently broken sub 30 5k and I knew I could break the 70minute mark for 10k. On paper it should have been easy for me to beat it. I regularly run 5k in 32-33mins. Double it and add a bit extra on and it still comes under 70mins. But I just couldn’t do it when I run 10k. I’d end up having to stop or I’d convince myself I was no where near and slow down. Every time I sabotaged myself. 😦

I was determined this wasn’t going to happen this time. I worked out the pace I needed which is pretty easy to work out really. I just needed to keep each km under 7mins. Maths isn’t my strong point but I do know my 7times table well enough to be able to work out each km as I’m running. 

I set off at the gun and ran the first km a bit quick really. The first part is uphill and I wanted to get that out of the way as quick as possible. Trouble was I’d gone too fast. I almost blew it before I’d started. I gave myself a good talking to and slowed down a bit. I told myself to go at my own pace and not worry what everyone else was doing. 

I met up with two other runners from my club and ran with them for a while before they went off in front. Normally that would have finished me off but I kept telling myself it didn’t matter. I continued to run at my own pace and it really paid off in that I actually got a half decent action photo kindly taken by a member of the running club. Thanks Rich x  

My hair is doing a mad thing and I look thick around the waist but I actually really like this shot. I look exactly how I felt at that point. Strong, happy and able. 😀

The council had advertised water stations at 4km and 8km so I didn’t take any water with me! Big mistake. Due to a council mess up there wasn’t any water at 4km or again at 8km. Massive fail. Thankfully the course double backs on itself at the 8km mark and the water station is at the turn around point. As I was running up the hill I spotted 3 ladies from the club running down the hill. They practically forced a bottle of water in my hand. Not knowing there was no water I almost didn’t take it but it was so hot I decided to take it anyway. As I got to the turn around point and saw the empty table I realised why they were so keen for me to take the bottle. I was so grateful to them at that point. Running down the hill I kept an eye out for another blue shirt and passed the bottle on to another club member. At that point who cares about germs! Lol! So many people who had been lucky enough to get water were passing them on to other runners. Good job we are all a friendly bunch! 😉

I started to lose it towards the end and had to walk. Another talking to though and I picked the pace back up. As I turned the last corner I saw one of our club coaches standing there. I knew he would have finished already (he does 10k in approx 35mins!) He was stood there looking for me! He ran the last part with me, forcing me to pick up the pace. The picture of me at that point is not as flattering as the first one!!

So….time? Did I get my sub 70? 

I did 😀  

I treated myself to an ice cream that I didn’t have to share with the kids! Bonus!

 Apart from the water mess up, which to be fair is inexcusable as they know how many people have signed up, I really enjoyed this race. The medal was pretty cool too. One of the nicest I’ve had and I got my sub 70. So a good day all round.  

Sub 65 next lol!  
  

Tea for two?

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Can you believe I found this post in my drafts folder, unfinished? This post is actually from last October!
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Item number 21 on my Day Zero List is to raise £500 for charity and this ties in nicely with number 78 – Organise a Charity Coffee morning at home.
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I chose a date and sent out invites to everyone I knew. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I made some cakes, and bought some cakes, and then I cleaned the house again! Having people round makes me very nervous. I feel that they are judging me and the house. I feel that the house has to be magazine perfect. I get myself worked up and so stressed that I hardly invite anyone around to the house. And this time I had invited a lot of people. :/
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In reality I had no need to worry as people were coming for tea and cake not to see the house (although I’m sure some did come for that reason 😉 ) I decided to keep the “coffee morning” theme going and arranged flowers in tea pots despite the eyebrow raising from hubby. I thought it all came together pretty well and I managed to raise quite a bit towards my £500 target.
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Rainbow Ripple

This post has been a long time coming.  But after months and months of rippling my Rainbow Blanket is finally finished 😀 

One of my favourite crochet blogs is attic24 If you haven’t read it I do recommend you pop over, Lucy is so talented with a hook and yarn. It was there I first came across a ripple and got it into my head to make a rainbow ripple throw for the settees in the front room. 

 
I tweeted this picture back in July last year. I was so excited that I had managed to actually make it ripple 😀But the first row was so hard!! I completed the first row and put it away – in the bottom of my knitting basket never to be seen again. I was gutted. I had seen so many people on Twitter say how easy it was but I found it took so much concentration that I didn’t want to think about it anymore 😞

The ripple stayed in the basket until April this year. We were offered the use of a friend’s caravan over the Easter weekend. While packing I had a look in my knitting basket to see if there were any unfinished projects I could take with me to do in the evenings. Can you guess what was staring back at me? Yep! I decided to give it one more chance, so I packed my hook and wool and off we went to the seaside. 

Once I got past the first row of the ripple, it was much much easier. The ripple, I assume, is established by then and easier to follow maybe? Whatever it was by the end of the weekend it looked like this:

  
How fab does that look? I was so impressed. However, it is so wide it was taking over half an hour per row! I kept thinking to myself “I’ll never finish this!” But then Jen came to my rescue when she tweeted about the 100 Day Project. I read about it and decided I would like to sign up for it. But what was I going to do for the 100 days? Yes I am a bit slow and it took me about an hour before I realised that I could combine both problems (what to do for 100days Project and Will I ever finish my Blanket?) and ripple one row every day. 

I used the hashtag #100daysofrippling on Instagram and started rippling. 

I rippled in the house and I rippled in public. 

  
I rippled around the kids

 
And I rippled while snacking (oops!)

  
I rippled sitting in the car, while waiting for Little Lady to do her swimming lesson, up my parents’ house. I literally took my blanket everywhere with me. I had so many lovely comments while out and about. I even inspired one swimming mummy to finish her crochet blanket 🙋🏻*high five*

By the end of the blanket I was crocheting each row a bit quicker and I was managing more than one row a day on some days. Eventually (due to running out of wool) I came to this:

 
The very last stitch! 

Ta-da

 I still have all the ends to weave in but the whole family loves it and so do I. To be honest I was so afraid that as it had taken so long that I wouldn’t like the finished product! 

The blanket took me about 5 weeks to make (once I actually got going) and cost me £16.47 in wool. I used 8x100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK and I used almost every single scrap of yarn I bought. 

Would I do it again? Yes definitely! 

As long as someone else starts me off 😉