Happiness is often the result of being too busy to be miserable. ~ Anonymous
I can’t make up my mind whether I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, however I can tell you that I have been very busy over the past few weeks and very happy; so maybe there’s something in it?
Not wishing to drone on for pages (okay I probably will…) and not having the time to produce several shorter blog posts, I’ve decided to simply run you through the highlights of the past month. In a nutshell: taking all four of our girls dancing, running the London Bupa 10k in a heatwave and a fabulous family weekend at my parent’s house.
When “bring-a-friend” day at the girl’s dancing school was announced, they were falling over themselves to invite Alice and Elisa (Darren’s girls – for those who don’t know). Luckily the dance school had also decided to team “bring-a-friend” with “watching week”, so Darren was able to sit in and watch his girls strut their stuff!
Elisa was first up with Eleni, and I have to say she was a natural! It was fantastic to see her having such a good time, pointing her toes, tapping away and joining in without any hint of fear. Eleni was in her element, leading Elisa around and showing her the ropes. Elisa did so well, in fact, that one of the teachers commented at the end of the class that she assumed she must attend dance lessons at home. Sadly, no. Which is a great shame, and waste of natural talent.
Alice was next up with Asri (after an hour’s break for lunch and a quick play at the park) and she too thoroughly enjoyed herself. She was a little more self conscious than her little sister but was soon in the swing of things — with a little encouragement from Daddy showing her how to do it from the sidelines (hilarious). Being in the older class with Asri she had some fairly complicated moves to replicate and did brilliantly well. Lots of photos in the gallery if you want to take a look.
After the excitement of the morning, we headed back to my house for a sleepover (sleep? ha!) and the girls occupied themselves with yet more dancing while Darren and I made pizzas. On Sunday we took them to Coral Reef swimming pool and then to the Bracknell Lookout centre, where they had a blast with the science exhibits and charging about the play area.
What is it with me and running events? After weeks of unseasonably cool weather the week of the London Bupa 10k arrives and we find ourselves in a heatwave. All my plans to beat my PB (1:13:15 at Dorney Lake in April) went out the window as surviving the course in the 28 degree heat became the goal of the morning. I was once again running alongside Darren and Alex (I say alongside… Darren is significantly faster than me and Alex left me behind at the 4k mark) and we were all rather worried about the heat. I have to say it is the first time I have seen Darren not be able to contain his nerves before a run.
Being asthmatic, I was a little concerned about my ability to breathe in the dead heat but by keeping a slow and steady pace I managed to avoid using my pump. I also kept the heat at a bay with an ingenious cooling system, which involved safety pinning small ice packs into a light weight scarf around my neck to cool the blood flow to my head. It didn’t take long for the ice packs to melt but by pouring water over my head on the way round, I managed to keep the scarf cool. A godsend!
Despite the heat, I really enjoyed myself. It was without doubt the best running event I’ve taken part in and for once I felt truly pleased with myself when I crossed the finish line. I managed to run the first 6k without stopping (a first in an actual event for me) before run/walking the last 4k. I crossed the line in a slightly disappointing 1:17:21, just under a minute slower than my 2011 time, however given the conditions I was still happy with my performance.
Darren did really well, finishing in 1:05:43, which considering he had been laid up with flu all week was impressive. Alex also did really well and crossed the line in 1:13:58.
After the race we took a stroll to Leicester Square for late lunch at Wagamamas with Alex, his Mum and little brother; a tasty and much needed treat! Hunger satisfied we strolled back to Paddington and headed home for a much needed evening of relaxation.
And so on to the long Jubilee Weekend…
For Darren’s 40th birthday my parents bought him a family photo shoot so that he had some lasting images of his year. The photo shoot booked in Gillingham (Medway) we planned to spend the weekend with all four girls at my parent’s house. After picking the girls up from school on Friday, we jumped in the car, zipped past to collect Darren and got on the road… And then we stopped and crawled the rest of the way! It took over 3 hours to complete a 1hr 30 minute journey, possibly the worst journey down to Kent I’ve had for quite some time. All I can say is, thank the Lord for in-car DVD players, which kept the girls amused for much of the journey. And for Darren, who kept me amused with his in-car dance moves! 🙂
Not long after arriving at Mum’s, Alice and Elisa were dropped off and chaos descended; I really must remember my ear plugs when they’re all together! It was a late night but we hit on the winning idea of putting them to bed with a DVD… an hour of movie watching and they were all chilled and ready for sleep.
Saturday morning’s photo shoot was a blast. I was convinced that at least one of the four girls would refuse to smile, or get an attack of camera shyness, but no! They loved every minute of it and where really disappointed when it was all over! While we were busy going through the photos on the photographer’s PC, they were busy arranging themselves for more photos… hilarious. We got a good mix of photos during the morning, plenty of the four girls, family shots and even a smoochy one of Darren and I!
The afternoon was spent at the Fun Drum letting the girls run off some steam before heading home for dinner. Lesson learnt from the night before, we put the girls to bed with a DVD and were rewarded with another smooth bedtime. Sunday plans to go to Winghams Wildlife Park took a nose dive owing to the miserable weather (what a difference a week makes) so we took the girls swimming instead, heading to another soft play (Kid Zone) for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Before long it was time for Darren to take his girls home, and then we got on the road back to Reading.
Big thanks to Mum and Dad for a smashing couple of days and for putting up with all the noise! 🙂
Asri and Eleni went off to Daddy’s on Monday morning, leaving Darren and I to chill out for a couple of days. Our original plan had been to walk another stretch of the Thames Path but the weather looking dodgy we opted for a day in London instead. We notched up 19.6km strolling around, taking snaps in a few old graffiti haunts and wandering around the British Museum. The day flew by and we just about made it home in time for the final episode of Game of Thrones Season II – enjoyed from the comfort of a sofa bed in the lounge with a glass of wine in hand!
Tuesday was chilled. I think I made it out of bed just before midday, drove home and spent a frantic couple of hours tidying and cleaning the house. Mum and Dad arrived just as I was putting the hoover away and we had an enjoyably relaxed afternoon and evening eating, watching the TV and chatting.
Busy… and very happy!