Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Hello Forties!

I speak to you now as a mature, middle aged woman!   Well, perhaps not.  I have had the most amazing birthday celebrations.

It all started on Friday night at a local comedy night - some up-and-coming comedians at the Breakneck Comedy event were huge hits and some not so much.  But the company was great despite the chatterbox amongst us who kept on getting abuse from the host :o)

On Saturday I was collected early morning by my awesome "childhood" friends - the ones who know the depths of my soul and the things that have shaped my character.  These girls also hold the greatest secrets and most excruciating "embarrassing moment" stories...all of which cannot be shared because of the repercussions.  They know TOO much.  These lovely friends took me for a bit of pampering at Jo Malone then lunch at Malmaison then whisked off to our hotel to get ready for the evening.  The 9 of us were all staying overnight in 3 adjoining rooms - slumber party heaven.  But first we had a date with the Dirty Dancing show which made us laugh, cry, dance and sing at the top of our voices.  We all grew up with the Dirty Dancing movie so it held a lot of memories for us.  I can honestly say that the show was EPIC in every way - possibly the best show I've been to.  What can 9 girls do after such an awesome show?  Well, go to an 80's club to reminisce about our partying days of course. 

And boy did we party?  The climax has to be Deacon Blue's Real Gone Kid - it is common knowledge that the first 2 bars of that song means we have to drop everything and run onto the dance floor and jump, stamp and sing!  Our 40 years caught up with us (me in particular) at about 2am and we retired to our hotel for the night.

The Sunday morning surprise from the girls was this gorgeous cake:

I want to thank the girls for making my birthday weekend one of the best ever.  I love you guys and appreciate our friendships.

Sunday was supposed to be a chill out day.  My mum arrived with Skye in the afternoon and we watched the Dirty Dancing movie then cracked open the wine.  It was a special time because my mum has recovered well from a period of illness that had us all a bit worried and tense so double celebrations all round.  We had a lovely meal and some wine, met up with my mum's partner and had an earlish night when I said goodbye to my 30s...

Monday 2nd April - my birthday.  Oh what a perfect day.  My brother, sis-in-law and nephew arrived in the morning and we embarked on a new walk (fresh start to the 40s) which was supposed to take less than an hour but we ended up walking for over 2 hours.  A testing time for my mum's health and for Skye's legs too.  But we all came out of the walk feeling refreshed and invigorated albeit very hungry.  The 2nd time in as many days when I've succumbed to the hungry cries for the ultimate carbs - a pie from the local baker.

The 6 of us went out for a gorgeous meal in the evening when my family presented me with another cake (oh my colleagues at work are going to love all this cake):

I can't express enough how much I've loved every minute of my 40th birthday.  My family and friends are awesome.  I've received absolutely stunning gifts that I will treasure forever.  I have been overwhelmed by the cards, phone calls, texts and Facebook messages so I want to say a massive thank you to you all.  You are the best.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Holiday Booked!

My birthday treat to myself this year is a trip to Uganda to see gorillas and chimpanzees.  An absolute dream holiday and one I've been longing to do for years.

And to top it all, my friend, Debbie, is coming too.  I love going on adventure holidays like this one but it's not everyones cup of tea, so I've usually been travelling solo.  Which is not a hardship because you meet some wonderful like-minded people on these trips (like my beautiful friends from the Borneo trip).

Even reading our itinerary brings a tear to my eye at the thought I might actually see these wonderful creatures up close.  AWESOME.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

I rest my case...

People have been debating this for years and now I can scientifically prove that:

Working is bad for your blog life !!!

Bear with me please...on the build up to the big birthday (5 days to go), I have lots to do but I will be back, I promise.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Dougal's Back!

I am over the moon to tell you that Dougal is back on the road!!!

And what a joy it was to drive him for the first time in 4 months.

Although I have been lovingly washing and waxing Dougal over the winter to keep the winter rain from taking it's toll, I wasn't so good at keeping Dougal's battery ticking over.  As a result his battery went completely flat a few weeks ago.  Fortunately, the "ace campervan man" came to the rescue today and helped me recharge the battery enough to get him started and take him for a 30 minute drive.  I could almost feel Dougal smiling as he cruised along the dual carriageway. 

And my smile was huge too J

Week 34

Lets blame work for this week's post being late.

Oh how I'd forgotten how I hate early starts.  Getting up at 5.20am and taking Skye for a walk when most of my neighbourhood are still in bed is strange...

Anyway getting back to my last week of freedom.  I think I mentioned how ill I was feeling last Monday. Well, the illness grew into a full blown cough and cold and stopped me from doing exercise.  I hang my head in shame as I tell you that last week's exercise total came to a measly one!

But I did manage to cram a lot of other things into the week despite feeling poorly (and quite sorry for myself) including a trip to the dentist, a facial, a yoga session, a trip to the doctors (nothing serious), a quiz night and a meal out with my dad and his wife as a huge thank you for selling my Punto (thanks again dad!).

At the weekend, I did a bit of shopping (looking for a dress for the big birthday) and failed to find anything...and to end the week; Sunday was a couch day.  I spent it watching Gone with the Wind - what a long film.  But a classic and I can see why.

I'll save the work edition for Week 35.

5 weeks to go...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Week 33

Well, that was a strange day...

So that you can fully appreciate my week, let me take you back to last Monday. I started a highly productive week with a one mile swim.  On Tuesday my handyman arrived and ticked off some of the jobs I've had on my to-do list for years including fitting a hanging rail to a wardrobe and installing a whirly gig in my garden (ah the smell of outside dried clothes - you cannot beat it). I have a problem doing nothing (i.e. on my laptop) whilst someone is working hard in my house/garden so I decided to do a bit of gardening. Quite a bit of gardening actually as I cut back all my plants in the front garden, filling 3 garden bags. With a quick stop for a cuppy with a friend, I was off to my Body Balance class in the evening (exercise no 2). On Wednesday I had a trip to the movies to see the award winning film, The Artist (which I would highly recommend) followed by a Body Combat class in the evening (are you counting this - no. 3). On Thursday I started the day with yoga and finished it by rearranging my wardrobe and making space for my (ahem) 50 pairs of shoes.  Well actually, it started as 60 pairs but I only have room for 50 so I had the awful task of deciding which shoes went to the charity shop.  It was a tense moment and I literally had to bag the shoes and take them straight round to the shop.  Friday was an easy day with a leisurely swim (that's exercise no 5 in case you've lost count).  On Saturday I was out and about from 10am till 6pm including 4 hours of driving in snow conditions.  I know you must be exhausted from reading all this...bearing in mind that Skye is getting 2 x 30 minute walks per day too.

So you'd think that Sunday would be a day of rest...alas NO - I went to a yoga workshop (ran by my good friend Julie - who is a wonderful instructor).  A two hour workshop of Ashtanga yoga (or rather power yoga) which pushes your body to the limit. Some of the postures are so intense - it is, quite literally, the hardest workout I have given my body.  A relaxing hot bath followed the workout and then a good friend of mine popped round for a session of reiki.  I was so looking forward to reiki - I was hoping that some of the reiki energy would seep into my body and ease out my aches and pains.  After my friend left I finally relaxed and vegged out.

So that was a total of 6 workouts this week!!!  Unbelievable isn't it?

As you can imagine, I woke up today feeling aches and pains all over my body.  Every movement I make is painful.  My poor shoulders and my aching hip flexers (which have never been stretched like that before).  So not exactly the best day to make an appearance at my new job!  What was I thinking?

I had agreed with my boss that I would go into work today to get some of the admin out of the way so I can start afresh next Monday.  It was bizarre driving up to my old office (I can't remember if I mentioned that I'm going back to work for the company I left last July to embark on my exploratory career change).  Everything was familiar to me.  The people are great but the weirdest thing is the feeling like I'd never left.  So strange.  I only stayed a few hours and came home and threw off my work clothes (wearing heels during the day just doesn't feel right) and took Skye out for a long walk.  I finally collapsed on the sofa early evening and have given my poor body a night off exercise.  I still don't feel 100%.  It almost feels like sensory overload...

Am I looking forward to going back to work?  In all honesty, not really.  I am one of those people who can happily busy myself every day as long as I have a dog to walk.  But in reality, I miss the banter of my work colleagues.  And I'm not a millionaire so I cannot fund a career break forever so, like most people, I need to work.  It's going to be strange for a while but I'll settle back into the routine.  I have to say, working a shorter week is going to be fantastic.  But I do dread next Monday.  A full day of work - oh how I'm going to miss Skye.

6 weeks to go...

Monday, 13 February 2012

Week 32

I still like driving my car...

I did 5 lots of exercise this week - that is possibly a record for me.  I can't see this lasting but I will try my hardest to keep up the good intentions.  Swimming feels so good when I'm actually in the pool but its the getting there and the cold(ish) showers afterwards that doesn't appeal as much.  I can actually feel my stamina increasing each time I swim and my time-trials are getting better.  So much so that I decided I would try "butterfly" stroke for one length (25m). OMG...DO NOT TRY THIS UNLESS YOU ARE SUPER FIT.  I could barely lift my shoulders out of the water.  How embarrassing.  I bet the lifeguards were laughing at me when my final 2 strokes looked more like doggy paddle.

Talking of dogs, Skye is doing great.  I've started to increase her exercise and she is off lead most of the time now (unless there's a bouncy dog in the area).  She's looking incredible.  I'm constantly looking for any signs of a limp and sometimes my eyes deceive me and I think I see her walking oddly but maybe I'm just so used to seeing her limping.  Either way, she is doing very well.  We did a favourite walk in the woods this week - in the past she used to walk behind me - now she is striding in front of me most of the way round.  I know she has a bit of arthritis in her elbows so she might limp now and again but the initial signs are good.  The next two weeks I need to build up her off lead playing and jumping in and out of the car.  She will be going back to my lovely dog-walker, Gladys, at the end of the month when I start my job so I need to ensure she's fully fit by then.  Mental note to give her some reiki this week.

I had friends round to my house on Thursday for a meal and a reiki swap.  It was so good to practise my reiki on humans again as opposed to animals.  I am still available to practise on any willing people who want to try reiki.  Even when I go back to work, I'll only be working 3 days so will have time to dedicate to my studies, my volunteering and my reiki.

With a couple of trips to visit my mum (who is a bit poorly just now) that was my week.  Get well soon, Mum!!!

7 weeks to go...