Thursday, August 14, 2014

Excuses, excuses

With a new job and training for a half ironman, I never really get time to blog any more..

My last post was on June 13 and to say a lot has happened since then is somewhat of an understatement.

On July 13 I had a bike crash. I won't go into details, but suffice to say that I suffered multiple fractures, a punctured lung and had an operation to repair my shattered elbow and collar bone.

The fact that I was wearing a helmet probably saved my life. In hospital a neuro nurse mentioned that she saw many injuries that were far worse because the person was not wearing a helmet. So, if there is anyone out there that doesn't wear a helmet for whatever reason, please re-consider. It could save your life. I know it saved mine.

I'm at home now and have been recuperating for a couple of weeks. My first follow-up x-ray is tomorrow and I'm hoping for good news. I've been looking forward to this appointment for what feels like forever, but is actually only about 2 weeks. Why? You might wonder. Well.. firstly, I see it as a first step on my road to recovery ... and  ..... I finally get to leave the house. I've been out once in three weeks, in a wheelchair, as I'm non-weight bearning on my fractured pelvis, so you can imagine that I'm a little stir crazy...

Of course all bets are off as far as the half ironman is concerned... and any form of exercise at the moment, even walking.. so when you feel like you don't want to exercise, please get out there and take an extra step for me.

I just can't wait to go for a walk in the countryside with my dog.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A New Bathroom

Just by chance that I happened upon the Mumsnet blogger site tonight and saw a competition sponsored by Victoria Plumb . Do click the link and take their Great British Home survey. It's lots of fun - flip to the end of this blog post to see my results

It seems that bathrooms are the woe of my life. BB and I have installed two shower rooms and one 'powder room' in Labour of Love in France. There's no bath to be found, but the showers are fantastic. BB and I have a tiny ensute shower room in France with a walk-in shower big enough to share, and a huge concrete sink.

BB dropped some sort of harsh cleaner in the sink which stripped part of the vanish off it, so at some point we will have to replace the sink, which I'm gutted about.

Otherwise, the area is tiled in large shiny beige tiles, with some marble mosaic behind the sink and the shower, and it is gorgeous.

CC has a tiny, teeny shower room with a pink shower, and a pink sink unit. We have some mosaic tiles again behind the sink and shower with large white tiles. We also chose to put a pebble mosaic on the floor and travelled to Sussex to get the tiles as it's actually not easy to find pebble mosaic floor tiles. The reason we chose these was because the floor is uneven and these tiles would allow for this.

Here's a shot of CC's shower room showing the pink shower, the mosaic tiles and the white tiles and the polka dot shower curtain. It has a corner base to maximise the floor space.
.


As for the cloakroom, that is as yet untouched, we are just putting the finishing touches to the lounge - e.g. plasterboarding the walls, so the cloakroom will have to wait. That's not to say that I don't have plans for it. There is a toilet with a pump as the powder room is slightly below ground level, so the waste has to be pumped to ground level. See how technical my knowledge is !! So, we won't replace that.

There is a tiny sink with one tap and cold water only - who knew you could get such a thing. Obviously I plan to replace that with a larger sink with two taps, and probably some sort of unit hopefully involving glass blocks. I really like glass blocks...

Meanwhile back in the UK, the bathroom is another story. There is no shower.. The room is not large - it has wooden cladding around the walls. BB does not want to remove the cladding.. but, we would both like a shower installed.. so at the moment we are debating replacing the corner bath with a straight bath (awful problems finding one to fit in the small space). Then installing a small shower in the space that is left between the toilet and the bath.. Oh, and  BB also does not want to have to do a lot of re-tiling...
 

If that doesn't sound like a nightmare bathroom project I don't know what does...

Incidentally my Victoria Plumb Great British Home Survey quiz results were as follows:

Everything about you screams glamour; you always look photo-ready, whether you are working out, shopping in designer boutiques or snuggled up at home in your designer onesie. You crave home comforts that make a statement - a faux fur blanket, embellished cushions and lots of crushed velvet. You use neutral shades mixed with metallic. Pride of place are family portraits, kitchen gadgets and the keys to your Range Rover


Well I don't know about glamour and always looking photo ready... but I do have a faux fur blanket and embellished cushions. I have no crushed velvet, but I do favour lots of neutral shades with metallic. For example my kitchen has embelllished dark grey and silver wallpaper with an Indian style large print in silver on a slate grey background. It is gorgeous.

The previous photos of the kitchen on this blog are total proof that family portraits and kitchen gadgets take pride of place.. as for my car, not quite a Range Rover .. but yes, a Land Rover ...


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sexism Alive and Well in the UK

These last few weeks I've been seeing, reading and experiencing numerous examples of sexism alive and well in this our, so called, days of 'equal opportunity'. What on earth is going on ?

I was watching TV recently, most shows that I watch now have been pre-recorded, or it's something on delay TV, so I can fast-forward the adverts, but on this particular day I must have been watching something as it was broadcast and therefore not able to fast forward the ads.. and, oh my, what an eye opener !

First I watched a yoghurt advert (thankfully I don't recall the brand otherwise I would be boycotting ALL of their products) and watched a girl pour milk into a yoghurt, call it a milkshake and then hand it to her 'brother'. But why didn't the boy make the yoghurt-milkshake and then hand it to his 'sister' ??

Then there's the Boots summer ad; there's Mum rubbing cream on the kids, a young woman waxing 'some area' of her body - thankfully we don't see - and then another female - in a tent applying make-up, presumably at a festival or camping trip. My big question is : don't Boots sell to men any more ? I can tell you that Dads certainly do apply sunscreen to their kids, and males go to festivals and they also use wax. So, Boots, where were the men in your ad ???

Then, the worse one of all, was the shaving foam or razor advert - I don't recall which, mainly because I was gob-smacked at the man's need for the assistance of a female whilst he shaved - she was either stroking his face, or pulling the blade or something. I mean, for goodness sake, can I guy not shave his own face ??

The problem is not that I have a problem per se with these old fashioned adverts, but what sort of message does this send out to my teenage daughter? What sort of message does this give to young children, both boys and girls, watching these adverts ?

I've just read the book called 'Leaning In' by Sheryl Sandberg, and another book called 'Thrive' by Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington post. Both books talk about women needing to take a more prominent role in business and  the need for more females on the boards of major organisations.  I have one question about this - where are all the men talking about this ? Where are the men saying this is a good idea ? Why aren't the men saying it is a good idea ? Are men happy with the current status quo ?? Do men think there should be a better gender mix on today's executive boards ? Would they admit it if they didn't think it was a good idea..

Then, finally, in today's Times newspaper there's a crappy article about girls being 'dominant in the classroom', and that 'it takes a lot of  patience and commitment to get them to back down'. Wow. Is this the message that is being given to girls (in front of boys) in today's schools ? And we wonder why there are not more females on the executive boards of organisations. It seems that girls need to be given more of a voice in the classroom if there is ever going to be more women on executive boards, not less.

I was so shocked by this awful article that I asked my teenage daughter about her own experiences in her single-sex, grammar school. Attendees at this school are amongst some of the most intelligent young ladies in London and will go on to be our doctors, lawyers and MPs of tomorrow.  I asked her how the teachers handled the more dominants girls. Her reply was that there was no need, the girls are just respectful of the teacher.  Maybe the school teachers need to look a little close at their teaching in schools, rather than trying to make their female pupils 'back down'.

Can I be the only one shocked by this ? Leave me a comment  ..




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fulontri Duathlon

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon, so I thought I would take a moment to tell you about the Fulontri Duathlon that I competed in today down at Cranleigh in Surrey.


Actually, the course was an airfield (still in use !) and is also where Top Gear is filmed. Actually as BB drove in I did keep saying that we were 'the man is the reasonably priced car'. It was quite funny.


So.. as it was a duathlon, we started off with a run of 6km, which was two nice flat loops of 3km. The ground was rather pot-holey, but otherwise fine.. I completed that in about 28 minutes.


Then on the bike, 5 laps to make up 24km and this was round the outer road, where they do the car testing - so at this point I guess I was 'the girl on the reasonably priced bike'.


The course was flat, which was great, but this was not helped by the howling wind/beating rain, nor the faster athletes who kept whizzing past me - my top speed was 41km (which I was quite pleased with ..)


Third loop in, I saw BB not on his bike.. he had a puncture so it was game over for him today ..


On I plodded through the driving rain, that last lap felt long... but not as long as the first lap of the run was going to feel.


I got to T2, jumped off the bike and my legs wouldn't really move .. I racked the bike, took the helmet off and started running, but it wasn't really running more of a stagger.. consequently those faster riders who were on their 2nd lap, were now whizzing past me on the run too...


By the time of the second lap my running legs were back (kind of..) and I managed to over take one person.. thankfully the last 3km passed quickly and before I knew it I was crossing the line.


Although it was run and bike loops, which I don't particularly like, I would do this race again for the closed-road, flat, fast bike course. My results tell me that I was 5th female in my 40-45 age group, which I'm relatively pleased with.. The 24km bike too me 49 mins.. and that last 6km took me a whole 30  minutes. Overall my results were 1:49 so just under 1:50.


Here's a link to the site in case you fancy giving it a bash next year - you never know you might see me there.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Early Mother's Day Fun with notonthehighstreet.com #BYOM

When Mumsnet.com sent an email saying they were looking for ten bloggers to attend a pre-mother's day event hosted by notonthehighstreet.com, I thought how much fun it would be to take my Mum along and I applied to take part.


Dressing up fun !
 
My Mum is a cancer survivor and has been through so much over the years, with a full masectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and then the most awful reconstruction surgery. I really don't know how we got through those times, but we did, and I suppose it's only when I look back at those days, now that they are thankfully past, I realise just how damned awful they were. And .. just how much I love my Mum...
 As it happens, my Mum was unable to come along, so I took along my great friend Alice, who is herself a Mum, a Grandmother and still looking after her own Mum !

The event was hosted by notonthehighstreet.com at no. 5 Cavendish Square in central London - and we were handed champagne and cocktails on arrival, which went down very nicely indeed.

We wrote our 'what you would tell your pre-Mum self' on little wooden hearts which we placed on a wooden family tree.  I wrote that motherhood is hardwork, but worth it..

There was a fantastic photo booth where we were able to use some of the accessories available from notonthehighstreet.com, take some amusing photos and I had these great photos taken to send to my Mum - I totally love that hat !

 
Alice and I also particuarly liked this umbrella, and with the weather that we have had lately it would certainly come in handy ! It was decorated with lovely white flowers.

This umbrella is on my wish-list
There were the most beautiful, unusual and stylish accessories from notonthehighstreet.com dotted around the place, and Alice and I admired them, and constructed a mental wish-list ! I think the necklace on the right was our favourite.




So many lovely things to choose from..






Holly Tucker, one of the founders of notonthehighstreet.com did a heart-warming speech about her Mum and all the support she has given over the years,  and Odette Toilette who offers unique fragrance experiences did a really interesting presentation about perfumes through the ages. Feathers dipped in perfumes were passed around and Alice and I loved the White Musk one, but we were not so keen on the others!!



Later we were entertained by Shappi Khorsandi, who told some really funny jokes about what it means to be a mum - that we could all totally related to - well most of them anyway, I'm not so sure about the one concerning the Harry Potter 'game' and being locked in a cupboard !! Shappi went down a storm ! It was very funny when she asked me if I was recording the event.. I wasn't ..and you can see from this photograph that Sheppi is looking straight at me - love it !             
A telling-off from Sheppi !

A totally glamorous photo of Alice #BYOM (Bring Your Own Mum)

At Notonthehighstreet.com you will find unusual gifts and many personalised gifts too.  They have a wide range of lovely gifts for your Mum, Mother In Law, Second Mum or the person that is like a Mum to you for Mother's Day that they will love.
 
Here are a few of my favourite things .. (I'll be buying a gift for myself, as you know I have already been bought 2 pairs of trainers for Mother's day for my Half Ironman training !)
 

I want my keys on this...
 
.. and this on my wall ....

 
.. and this round my neck ...
  All too soon it was time to leave the lovely people from notonthehighstreet.com . Alice and I had a great time - and thank you for the lovely goody bag.










"I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity."



 
  


 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What is a Mom ?


If you look at a dictionary, the definition of the word Mom or Mother is: 'A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth', that's pretty dull isn't it ? Another definition says: 'Bring up (a child) with care and affection'. I think that's more like it..

But what about those of us that have second mums ? People that become so close to us that they, over the years, become like a second mother, and probably that you to them become a second daughter..

Not my Mum



When Mumsnet sent me an email to say that they were looking for some bloggers to take their Mum along to a special event hosted by Not On The High Street @NotOnTheHighStreet, I applied and thought nothing more of it.. you had to say why you wanted to take your Mum and I said that after her cancer battle and everything she has been through it would be nice to spoil my Mum to a lovely night out of entertainment. Just for me and my Mum. There didn't seem much point mentioning it to my Mum as I was pretty sure that we wouldn't be selected, I mean, what are the chances ... ?

Well, you could have blown me down with a feather duster, when an email arrived inviting me and my Mum along ! I called her and told her all about it.. bearing in mind that she lives over 100 miles away, I guess it was a long shot to expect her to jump on a train, or to ask my Dad to bring her down to London..'I'll call you back'.. was her response. She called back and said that my Dad had work to attend to and that the next day they would be looking after my sister's children, so the journey would be too tiring .. she said that she 'looked forward to seeing the pictures'... I tried hard to not be too disappointed..I guess she was doing that Mum thing and looking after my sister's children, so there you have it..

I guessed that I could potentially take another friend so I called my 'second Mum' . I met A when I first started working in London more than 17 years ago, and although we no longer work together and she is retired, she is still one of my best friends. We last met a couple of weeks ago for afternoon tea at The Wallace Collection in London. It was a great day out, and we renamed 'The Laughing Cavalier' to 'The Smug Cavalier' because, if you look, he does have rather a smug smile.. Otherwise, it's not really my kind of art - I prefer Kandinsky, Klimt and Tate Modern but there you have it ...

'A' checked with her parter that they had nothing planned for the evening, and A said that she would love to come with me. I'm really looking forward to spending the evening with A and I know we're going to have a great time, because, if I'm honest, we could have fun in a phone box.

Above is a photo of me and  A - we really did have a great time, watch out for a post over ther weekend with more information about exactly what we got  up to, and why.  #ItsAMumThing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Team Just The Two of Us

BB and I entered the Human Race Duathlon series for the first time this year, having entered numerous Human Race events over the years.

 Let me think which races we have completed from Human Race, here goes, right off the top of my head.. Kingston Wholefoods Breakfast run (8 or 16 miles) March and October (several times), Banaman triathlon, Wild man running race, Tuff man running race, Ice man running race and Windsor triathlon. I'm sure there are more too..

I can barely remember the first two races, they were so long ago now - before Christmas. The penultimate race I recall well, as BB came off his bike and bruised his ribs and I recall the absolutely hellish hills.

Although this last race was probably the toughest. It was at Eridge Park, it is situated in an elevated position and the wind just blows hard up there, so although you leave home in warm clothes, once there you wish you had a hat and a long-sleeved top.

The run was also the toughest of the 4, im my opinion... although the race had been rescheduled from February due to wet weather, the ground was still really wet and muddy. At one point I was heading downhill through mud at speed unable to stop myself - Scary !

I'm not sure if we will do the races again this year.. It's not a lot of fun sitting around in your kit whilst someone else does the bike... maybe I should cycle this year.. (or maybe not...)

It was great to get a write up on South London Harriers triathlon web site: here it is:

 

 
Have you completed any races as part of a team recently ?