Berlin!

Almost a year ago I had a fit of madness and decided to apply for a place in the Berlin Marathon 2017. Having run  the marathon once before in 2015 and telling myself never again, I quite surprised myself with my application. In November, when the ballots were drawn, I found myself with a place and thought ‘What the heck, I’ve got a year to prepare.’ In the spring and summer I ran a few half marathons, didn’t particularly enjoy them and took longer and longer to complete each race. Throughout the training I’ve struggled both mentally and physically and so as the marathon approached I really wasn’t looking forward to it. In the few days before the event I was aching all over, had an almost permanent headache and wondered if I was even fit to take part. However, there was no way I was letting down all the people who sponsored and supported me, in particular my mum and dad, who came over from England for the occasion. I just kept telling myself I was in it to complete it and sod the time, no-one was going to think any less of me for taking a bit longer than last time. I spent the couple of days before the race dosed up on ibuprofen and repeating the mantras ‘I can do it’ and ‘Thank you’ over and over in my head.

As race day dawned I was so nervous and found myself wondering why the hell I’d put myself through this again, as its such a blooming long way to run, what was I thinking?! However, once there, the atmosphere completely took me over.

 

This photo was taken waiting to start by me on my tiptoes. It really doesn’t convey the massive amounts of runners stretching in front and behind us as far as they eye could see!

How amazing to be a part of something so huge. Even though it was a grey and fairly dismal day, there wasn’t a single part of the race that wasn’t lined with supporters, cheering, clapping and playing music and it really spurred me on. I decided to just set off at a nice steady, comfortable pace and see what happened. As I was so busy taking in the atmosphere and the sights, the kilometres actually seemed to whizz by and at around 14km I spotted Rich, little miss and my Mum and Dad, which gave me a massive boost. At the  20km mark I allowed myself a short walk and took the first of my power gels. I checked out my time so far and was astounded to find that I was actually doing really well and was on track to at least match and hopefully beat my previous time. This knowledge spurred me on no end and I can honestly say that I didn’t begin to struggle until around 36 km with only 6 to go. One of the hardest things at that stage when you’re on countdown to the finish line is that if you track your progress by gps the gps and the official mileage never exactly match. My watch was bleeping telling me I had reached 36km but it wasn’t until another 700m down the road that I passed the official sign for 36km and I have to say that really messed with my mind. I kept at it though, managed to spot my family again at around 40km (I even managed to run over and give little miss a kiss as I passed)and that really gave me the push I needed to get to the finish.

This was at the 40km mark, can you see the desperation in my eyes? Haha!

After all the worry and the self doubt, I am absolutely ecstatic to have beaten my previous time by almost 5 minutes, coming in at 04:19:54 which was beyond my wildest dreams.

Rich has been looking at all the statistics and has informed me that I came in at 4701 out of 11032 women, how amazing is that?! I am so so chuffed, particularly as a day later I’m not in nearly as much pain as last time, with just a few sore toes, one blister and a bit of aching. I would even go so far as to say that I may, possibly, be considering not totally ruling out ever  running another one. Watch this space…

 

Karen x

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Techy problems

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For a long time I’ve not been able to work out how to claim my blog on bloglovin, so here goes. I’m also going to try to change the name as originally I set it up as a box of buttons and then changed it to a box of allsorts and it has shown up on bloglovin as buttons ever since. If I can crack this I’ll be as happy as a pig in muck, spending time on complicated techy things really does stress me out, especially as it eats into valuable crafting time!

 

Karen x

 

Edit: Yes! I did it! Oink Oink!

Edit 2: Check me out, I even added a widget!

Let the joining commence…

It seems to have taken me an awfully long time to get to this point but I now have 42 squares all bordered in white ready to be joined! Woohoo!

I already love the eclectic feel of this blanket and just cannot wait to see it finished, which I’m hoping will spur me on to get it finished soon! I’m not going to set myself a time limit on when it will be finished but I’m really hoping it wont be too long now, its getting cold here and I need it for snuggling on the settee. I’m on a mission!

Karen x

Ceramic pot number 4

Last week I went back to my favourite ceramic studio and decorated another pot for my craft room.

I’m not quite as happy with this one as the colours didn’t show up as well as I thought they would but hey ho, its hand made and I still love it really.

It looks good lined up with the others, I just love how they’re all so bright but so different.

I’m all done for pen pots now but I could do with a little dish to put my washi tape in, I think that may be next!

Karen x

A quick fix!

On Thursday night I felt the need for a quick crafting fix, something I could start and finish in one evening…and here it is.

I drew around a heart on the bag in pencil, then took the pencil ‘for a walk’ before colouring in each section with fabric pens. I finished by outlining the heart and each section in black to make the colours stand out. Once it has been ironed it should be colour fast and withstand being machine washed.

I really love how it turned out but I have no idea what I’m going to use it for yet. I have a feeling it’s going to find a use in the craft room (if little miss doesn’t commandeer it for carrying around highly important things such as her stone and acorn collection!) There are lots more ideas for bag designs swimming around in my head so hopefully there may be more to see soon! 🙂

Karen x

summer holidays

How did the summer holidays fly past so quickly yet again? It only seems like yesterday that we broke up for the summer, 6 lovely long weeks stretched out ahead of us. Although it has flown, it has been a great summer. After my family left we had a week to prepare and pack the caravan and then it was off to Norfolk for 2 weeks. We were so so lucky with the weather and I actually came back from England with a tan…yes, I know, a tan in England! One of my sisters and her family stayed at the same site for the first week and my brother and sister in law stayed in their caravan on the pitch next to ours for the full 2 weeks.

Just look at that beautiful blue sky!

We also had a couple of friends stay for the middle weekend so it was a great mixture of relaxation and family time. The site didn’t have masses of facilities but there was a swimming pool and that kept little Miss happy. When we are away in the caravan we don’t tend to have lots of days out but spend a lot of time just enjoying being outdoors and making the most of being together. We did get a a few days out though, one being a day on the beach at Great Yarmouth. The day that we chose to go was lovely and warm and we even braved dipping our toes in the sea. There were a fair few people fully immersed and swimming in the sea but it was a bit too cold for me. It was so delightful watching little miss letting the waves splash over her toes (very cautiously at first, I might add). It was the first time she had been to a proper beach rather than a man made beach around a lake. We live quite a long way from the beach in Germany and although whenever we visit family in the England we are actually right at the seaside, it’s always been too cold to go. Plus, at Southport beach it takes about a half hours walk along the sand to even reach the sea! We’ll definitely have to make more of an effort to visit the beach next time we’re back though as she loved it so much. We did however, do the obligatory visit to the amusements whilst we were at the seaside. Far from being amused though, little Miss was not impressed when she put all of her ‘pennies’ into the machine and didn’t get anything out in return!

 

During our caravan holiday we also paid a visit to a farm at Wroxham barns. What a fabulous little place, Little miss loved being able to hold a chick and a Guinea pig. She was a bit nervous when they wriggled but did a great job, keeping still and calm, the chick was on the verge of falling asleep on her lap. She also helped to bottle feed the calves.

I think the highlight for us all (the adults at least) was taking a boat out on the Norfolk broads for the day. What an experience, pootling along the waterways, taking it in turns to drive the boat and enjoying the scenery. I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly good at driving it and much preferred leaving it to the boys. I actually took my crochet with me and managed to hook a few squares whilst Little Miss was being entertained by her Auntie Di. Rich was in his element and spent most of the time that he wasn’t driving, up on the outside of the boat. It’s definitely something we’d all love to do again.

Isn’t that view just beautiful!

It seems almost unbelievable that we’ve been back from the holiday for  2 weeks now…yes I know I’m a bit late posting about it. Since coming back from Norfolk we’ve continued to have beautiful weather and have been making the most of it, spending as much time outside as we can. We’ve been sitting outside a lot in the evenings (whereas normally we’d be inside with the tv on) and I’m determined to make the most of the good weather while it lasts.

It may be back to school for me tomorrow but it’s been a good break and I’m feeling refreshed. Long may that feeling last, I’m intend to do my best to hold on to it for as long as possible!

Karen X

Ceramic Pot number 3

After writing yesterday about taking the family to my favourite ceramic studio, it dawned on me that I hadn’t posted about the last pot that I made back at the beginning of July.

Each time I go, I try to use a different technique so that I am learning something new. so, this time I started off by putting tape on the pot to split it into lots of small sections. I had to make sure the tape was stuck down tight so no colour could leak out.

Then I chose 6 bright colours and painted each section fairly randomly, just trying to make sure that no 2 adjacent sections had the same colour.

After letting the paint dry it was time to pull the tape off. I LOVED this bit, seeing the sections emerge and the crisp white lines between each section.

Then I had to leave my pot with the lovely Sabine and wait for it to be glazed. It usually takes a few days for the glazing and I always wait with eager anticipation to see the finished result. Once again I was not disappointed!

 

I think it looks great with the other ones on my craft room desk.

Just 2 days ago I went back to the ceramic studio and decorated  1 last pot for my craft room …watch this space for the piccies!

Karen x

A family visit

At the start of the summer holidays we had a visit from my Mum, Dad, niece and nephew. It actually seems like a really long time ago now but I didn’t want to let it pass undocumented. They arrived on a Saturday lunch time to glorious weather so we made the most of it by spending the afternoon in the garden. The following day we got up early and went out to our local bakery/cafe for a German breakfast consisting of bread rolls, croissants, cheese, salami and ham. Yum yum. Rich, Little Miss and I go fairly often and it is always a highlight of my Mum and Dads visits here. Sunday was all about the food as later that day we went to the Libori. The Libori is a yearly festival with fairground rides, stalls to buy all sorts of bits and bobs that you never knew you needed until you saw them and lots of food and drink stalls. As with most German festivals it’s really just another reason for lots of people to get together and have a good old drink if I’m honest, not that that is a bad thing! Little Miss went on the carousel and then I took my parents and niece and nephew on to the big wheel while  Rich looked after her as she point blank refused to join us despite lots of persuasive tactics. The big wheel isn’t really a ride as such, it’s a little bit like a teeny tiny version of the London eye, it moves around very slowly and gives you a great view over Paderborn. When we got to the top my Mum, who usually doesn’t scare easily, got rather clammy hands and clung on for dear life. She was rather glad to get off it and let her shaking legs recover! After that we had the obligatory German bratwurst and pommes followed by yummy garlic mushrooms. I was a bit rubbish and took very few pictures but if you want to read more about the Libori festival and see some pictures click here.

Unfortunately Monday and Tuesday were very wet miserable days and so we did a bit of shopping and pottering around.

As Wednesday turned out to be another grey day threatening rain, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to my favourite ceramic studio. Unfortunately lots of other people had the same idea and because it was so busy (alongside the fact that I took a restless 3 1/2 year old who can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes, along with me) it wasn’t quite the usual relaxing experience. Nevertheless, everybody enjoyed themselves and came away happy with what they had decorated and with eager anticipation of the finished glazed product. My nephew painted a ‘crazy eyed hungover squirrel!’, my niece sponged a lovely pot with stars for her Mum, my Mum used the bubble blowing technique and some peel off hearts and stars to decorate a pot for her craft room and my Dad was rather pleased with his mug which he painted over peel off stars.

 

 

Now, I had envisaged helping little miss to decorate a plate or a bowl which she could use for her breakfast on a daily basis but as soon as she saw the aeroplane money box she was adamant that she was making a pink aeroplane and there was absolutely no dissuading her!

 

Little Miss’ reaction to her aeroplanewas absolutely lovely. She was so excited when we went to pick it up and she saw that it was so shiny.

When we got it home and she was given  some ‘pennies’ to put in it, her excitement was just priceless. It now has pride of place in our kitchen for all to see! I didn’t make anything this time as I needed to be free to help everyone else at it was their first time, plus I had to keep little Miss on task and stop her from bouncing around the walls and causing havoc! I have since been back and will post pictures just as soon as I pick up the finished article after glazing, eek I’m sooo excited!

Thankfully by the Thursday of my parents visit the weather had improved enough for a walk into Bad Lippspringe and a visit to our local ice cream parlour for waffles and ice cream, yum yum!

On Friday Mum persuaded us to go back into town to revisit the parts of the Libori that we didn’t get to see on our first visit. I was a little bit grumpy about going back as I didn’t relish the idea of walking around the stalls again (over the years I have been to the Libori numerous times so it’s not really that exciting for me any more) but I’m glad we did as I found  a lovely present for a good friend of mine with a special birthday coming up later this year.

All in all it was a lovely visit and as usual went by far too quickly. It was my niece and nephews first visit to Germany and they went home full of news about what a great time they’d had and are eager to come back again. We’d love to have them to visit again but next time I may have to hide the monopoly or set a time limit on the game as I will never get back the 3 evenings I spent being slowly and painfully bankrupted by my nephew!!

Karen x

 

Feeling lucky

When I’m out running I often think how lucky I am to live where I do, within 5 minutes I can be in the countryside surrounded by greenery and visually pleasing landscapes. Within just a 10 minute walk there is a field of flowers  where you can go along, cut your own flowers and put the money in an ‘honesty’ box.

I’ve often run past it but had never actually been before so, on Sunday,  we decided to take a stroll and pick some flowers.

What a beautiful place, there is something really peaceful about being surrounded by flowers, especially sunflowers, they are so bright and cheery, how can that shot of yellow sunshine not brighten up your day?

Little Miss loved choosing her two (which Daddy dutifully cut for her) and took the responsibility of carrying them carefully home very seriously.

Once home she also helped to fill a jug, cut the stems to size and arrange them. They now have pride of place in my hall and make me smile each time I go past.

Maybe next week we’ll go back and pick some Gladioli.

What makes you feel lucky to live where you do?

Karen X