Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Project: I Will Look Awesome In My Wedding Dress - Update

It's been a while. I saw little point in updating on my progress over the Christmas period as I drank my weight in beer and ate my weight in cheese (I LOVE CHEESE).

OK, maybe I wasn't that bad this year but I certainly ate and drank more than normal. By the time I got to the last weekend of the break I could no longer drink beer. I had simply had enough.

I evened out some of the consumption over the festive break by running up in the Lakes and also managed to fit in a few gym sessions in the run up to Christmas.

I've been back on a full on health kick for a week now. No full on detox this year but I have drastically reduced my alcohol intake and gone back to my healthier meals (helped by a bumper delivery of fruit and veg thanks to Ocado).


w/e 13th Dec 2015
w/e 10th Jan 2016
Weight
69kg
68.5kg
Bust
37”
37”
Waist
32”
32”
Hips
38”
38”
Thighs
22”
22.5”

Ok - fairly static since before Christmas. Not necessarily a bad thing though. My marathon training has fully kicked in now so I suspect I will be toning up a little more in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie : My Tribute to a True Music Legend

Today has truly been a sad day. Today we lost a music legend. Today we said goodbye to David Bowie.

Our Bowie Print in our Flat
It's been a sad time for us what with the passing of Lemmy over the Christmas period. The news today came as a big shock.

So many have already paid tribute. I won't rehash what they have said but just pass on my own memories.

As a kid I loved a Space Oddity. Being one of the only kids at school who wasn't into NKOTB or other bands of the day, I instead was a listener of Capital Gold. My parents both have awesome taste in music so I grew up listening to a lot of rock and pop from their era rather than my own.

I have mentioned before my love of all things spacey and despite the dark overtones of Space Oddity,  whenever I hear the song it makes me smile.

Today I have been listening to a lot of Bowie and it has amazed me how many tracks I love and remember. I had completely forgotten Bowie had written The Man who Sold the World having only really listened to the Nirvana cover of late.

I had also forgotten the brilliant Little Wonder from 97, the fact the opening scenes from Guardian of the Galaxy is set to Moonage Daydream, the wonderful Modern Love (which will no doubt have to make at appearance at the wedding),  and of course Under Pressure with the fabulous Queen.

There really are too many to list to be honest. Recently one of my fondest memories is the sound of Heroes playing as the GB team stepped out onto the track at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. The sense of pride felt when that played will never be forgotten.

Taken far too soon from us, but what a hell of a legacy to have left behind. RIP David Bowie, The Goblin King. Gone but you will never be forgotten!








Monday, January 04, 2016

New Year, New Gear!

It's that time of year where there are a lot of New Year, New Me posts, tweets and blogs going around. I know as I have been terrible for it in the past.

This year I am not going to do the usual. This year it is all about the new gear and continuing to progress on Project: I Will Look Awesome in My Wedding Dress.

Prior to Christmas I was progressing well but like most, Christmas has been filled with far too much booze and food. I have pretty much undone the good work in the previous month but I am not letting that get me down. Instead I have got some new gear to motivate me.

I got quite lucky in the sales this year and grabbed myself some New Year bargains to help with my training. New trainers for fitness stuff, new running trainers, a new skipping rope (hopefully one that @BreatheFitPT approves of), new gym mitts (weight training can be quite tough on the hands) and a few bits of running gear.

Definitely feeling prepared for some intense training over the coming weeks. I have my running plan, my weight training programme from @BreatheFitPT and the start of a much healthier eating plan.

My New Year sports goods haul



Saturday, January 02, 2016

Flooding in Kendal

Andy and I have been in up in the Lake District to visit his family over the Christmas period.

Prior to our arrival this year, his home town, Kendal was affected by the terrible flooding that hit the North West in December as a result of Storm Desmond.

The Kent in Kendal is a pretty dangerous river at the best of times due to the speed at which it flows. It is fairly low down so to try and imagine how it rose nearly 8ft in a day is mind boggling.

Whilst here we have been out running and passed through a number of the worst hit communities. Seeing people's possessions piled into skips outside houses, business destroyed and walls washed away is very sobering and sad.

We have heard tales of those who have been forced out of their homes for the next year until their houses can be made structurally sound again. We have seen other houses propped up as supporting walls have been swept away with the sheer force of the water.

But we have also heard about the community spirit - the fundraising event at the local leisure centre, the collections at various different places, a once white elephant in the town providing much needed housing for those who have been driven from their homes.

I saw photos the other day of floods in my local neighbourhood, Rotherhithe, from the 1950's. I forget how lucky we are in London to be protected by the Thames Barrier in the event of a flooding (although not sure how places east of the barrier would fare in the event of increased water levels).

As I sit here typing whilst the rain falls yet again, I cannot help but feel weather events such as those that caused the floods are likely to become more frequent. Hopefully more will be done now to ensure future flooding doesn't happen and that homes will be built in sensible places rather than areas prone to flooding (on the way to Oxenholme Station they are building some new homes. The field in which construction is only just starting is currently a new lake for the area).

For now, I hope for a speed return for people to their homes and for insurance companies to do what they need to do and not to later penalise people for something they have absolutely no control over.

The River Kent - the force of the water has brought rocks downstream and deposited them creating a large island in the centre of town which pushes the water levels up during high tide.

A footbridge in town closed due to the floods. Large tree trunks have struck the bridge when the river was flowing higher damaging the bridge

Friday, January 01, 2016

My Year in Awesomeness

What a year! I have had some truly awesome times and sadly some sad times but I shall only focus on the awesomeness for this post! Because lets face it, no one wants to start the new year reading about sad stuff.

January

As always, this was a fairly quiet month for us as we embarked on the annual de-tox. We met @BreatheFitPT in January and started bootcamp which kick-started a new fitness regime for us in the new year.

Andy and I at bootcamp - Photo courtesy of @BreatheFitPT


We also had our annual walk in Knole Park in Sevenoaks - a tradition my friends started nearly 10 years ago now and one I hope we will continue to uphold for many years to come.

Deer in Knole Park - Sevenoaks


February

Well, there is only one thing to really say about February. During a trip to Bruges in Belgium, Andy and I got engaged at the top of the Belfort tower, moments before the bells would have drowned him out! It was fantastic! The views from the Belfort are amazing. Afterwards we headed to a local bar, rang our families and celebrated with an American couple drinking insanely strong Belgian beers!



March

March was a fairly quiet month but we did enjoy Andy's parents company for one weekend including a lovely meal up on the Roof Gardens in Kensington.

Out on the roof terrace at Kensington Roof Gardens

We also continued our decorating of dad's place and finally finished the front room.

Dad's Front room - decorated

April

As part of my Wine Women and Wool group, I had my first ever piece of art displayed in a gallery. Ok mine was not that great compared to the others in the group but nonetheless it was nice to have it on display.

A selection of knitted wreaths from the display - mine is the one on the bottom right

May

I took the Urban Fox Craft's stall along with mum to Surrey Docks Farm again in May for the Spring Fair. We are still learning a lot about what stock to take and when but we have sold a fair bit of what we have made this year which is a bonus.

Mum and I at Surrey Docks Farm for the Spring Fair

Andy and I also finally got round to having our engagement drinks in May with many friends and family. I also failed to take a single photo!

June

Welcome to the mental month! June was epic.

We kicked off with another fantastic trip to Aberdeen for the BrewDog AGM with a fantastic business round up and some amazing live bands.

Andy and I at the BrewDog AGM

The following weekend we headed to Download festival. It rained pretty much all weekend but it didn't stop Andy and I having a fantastic time. We even got to go side of stage for Clutch.

Clutch from the side of the stage at Download
Andy at a very muddy Download

Next up myself, Tadders and Louise took part in the Cancer Research Pretty Muddy 5k Run.

Tadders, Louise and I at Pretty Muddy
June also saw the start of games nights with a night at Anthony's and the first initiation of Cards Against Humanity.

The gambling version of Trivial Pursuit

Topping off the month was Jeff and Sarah's wedding down in Surrey. A great day with great friends.

Wedding Selfie!
July

Andy turned 40 in July, and I surprised him with a trip to Berlin. I also surprised him by arranging for a group of friends and his family to meet us out there. Logistical nightmare but so glad Tadders and I pulled it off.

Cannot go to Berlin without going to a beer garden

 Andy and I also took part in our first 10k of the year at the Olympic Stadium.

Watching the remaining runners finishing at the Olympic Stadium post run
August

Continuing the sporty theme, Andy and I completed Ride London Classic 100 - a 100 mile ride through London and Surrey. We had trained hard for it at the Olympic Park on the road track and on the day the training paid off with a decent time of just over 6 hours.

At the finish - 100 miles later
September

Summer holiday time - and this year a return to Turkey and the beautiful resort of Kalkan. We highly recommend it!

Kalkan, Turkey
We were supposed to be training in Kalkan for Run to the Beat but the hills were just too steep. But we took part when we return anyway. It wasn't the fastest run for either of us but still faster than last year.

Post run celebratory non-alcoholic beer
October

We headed up to Nottingham at the start of October for our friend Ash's birthday, and a bit of a scouting mission for me for my Hen do the following month. But went and watched some ice hockey - my first game for a while!

Ice Rink Selfie
We also went back to Manchester in October for our second visit to the Indy Beercon. A lot of amazing beer was consumed and already looking forward to going again in 2016.



We also got to explore the pubs of Penn near High Wycombe with my bridesmaid Debbie and her partner Matt.



Oh and Andy and I enjoyed dressing up for halloween again.



November

The hen do arrived a lot quicker than I expected. I absolutely loved it (even though I was forced to dress up a little bit - however I was spared from plastic man bits). A weekend in Nottingham with two club nights at Rock City, Ice Hockey, ping pong and train beers.

My name on the score board!

Me and some of the hens (there were too many to fit in one picture)
I also survived my first movie marathon in November. Andy, Tadders and I went to see the Avengers Part 2 movie marathon which consisted of Iron Man 3, Thor: Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant Man. I didn't manage to stay awake the whole way through but I did see most of the films.

The before and after photo

December

It was a fairly busy December to remain in keeping with the rest of the year. We saw Clutch at Brixton academy.



December is normally a month long booze fest for us but this year we sensibly/madly signed up to a 10k back at the Olympic Park, this time for the Mo Farah Foundation 10k. Despite the less that impressive wet weather, the course was quite good fun and we managed to both smash our personal bests. Andy's previous best was 48 minutes. His new PB was 43.29. I managed to shave 3 minutes from my best time (previous best was 57.31, new personal best now 54.29) but my best 10k of the year had been 1hr 2mins so a massive 8 minutes off my best time for the year. Happy days!

With possibly the best medals of the year!
Next up was Christmas jumper day which I decided to go all out for this year in the name of charity.

Andy chuffed to be seen with me in the pub
Christmas was as awesome as ever. A day of cooking, good company and so much booze.


And to finish the year off - Star Wars and a day trip to Lancaster to drink lots of craft beer and pay tribute to Lemmy in The Pub with a game of pool.



WHOA!! What a bloody awesome year! I started writing this post this morning and it has taken most of today to finish it - and I didn't manage to cover everything!

2015 has been pretty epic. And 2016 is shaping up to been even more so with our wedding, mini-moon oh and both of us running marathons!

Happy New Year All!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Top Ten Albums of the Year 2015 - No.1 : Faith No More

Faith No More - Sol Invictus



I was pretty late to the party when it came to Faith No More, only really getting into them back in 2008 after attending a weekend at ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas which was curated by Mike Patton.

I hadn't realised how long it had been since they had released a studio album (it had been nearly 18 years since the last album before Sol Invictus hit the shelves). I had been fortunate enough to see Faith No More during their reunion tour in 2010 at Brixton Academy and having only got into them a few years before hand, I hadn't had to wait as long as others.

The first track I heard was Superhero which definitely caught my attention. However when I first listened to the album I was left a little underwhelmed as it seemed to be the only track of that calibre on the album.

But then I saw them live, twice within a month. Suddenly the whole album clicked into place and having seen both performances opened with Motherf**ker I totally got it to the point it became my most listened to album of 2015, hence the No.1 spot.

The album has some very bizarre tracks (as you would expect). I especially like to think that Mike Patton was stoned one day watching Disney's UP when he came up with "Cone of Shame". This is just how my mind works.

I highly recommend giving this album a listen (well actually a few as it is most definitely a grower) as well as all the albums in my Top Ten this year.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Top Ten Albums of the Year 2015 - No.2 : Muse

Muse - Drones



Muse albums for me over the past few years have been pretty hit and miss. I absolutely loved Absolution and was also a big fan of Black Holes and Revelations (although it does have a couple of tracks on it I am not massively keen on). Resistance was a real let down for me and The 2nd Law promised much but ultimately failed to deliver on what should have been an awesome concept. That said it does have some great tracks on the album.

I didn't want to get too excited this time on the back of one song so after hearing Psycho, which uses a much played interlude which any fan will recognised from Muse's live shows, I reserved judgement until hearing more of the album. By the time I had heard most of the album I was incredibly excited for it's release.

It does miss out on the top spot though for two reasons - 1) Globalist was only available to Spotify Premium users leading me to believe it was the most amazing song on the album. It is not. 2) the acapella track at the end. It has grown on me but it is very odd!

Live, the tracks are amazing. It's not Absolution brilliant in my mind but I have really enjoyed listening to it and the theme carries really well through the duration of the album. I again had difficulty picking a track from this album but decided to go back to that first track that I heard from the album.