Monday, 30 April 2012

022: Snippets.....

I want to tease you!  So here are a few snippets from the things I'm working on at the moment.
Can you guess which one will be part of a May Bank Holiday giveaway?  Pop by later in the week when I will reveal all and announce a gorgeous giveaway that I'm sure you will all love!

A snippet of cream, brown and flowers..........

A snippet of red, white and blue............

A snippet of pretty lilac...........

A snippet of white, aqua and neon yellow (clue: these definitely aren't in the giveaway!).......

Some people drool over 'Jimmy Choos' some die for a pair of 'Louboutins', but my heart goes a flutter when I bring home a new pair of trainers!  I've only been out in them twice but they feel like a dream and it feels great to see them all bright and clean before they have been used in the rain and the mud. (For any running nuts like me - these are Asics GT 2170)

For major muddy runs I have a separate pair of trail shoes that I use to run off road (click here for a muddy photo of my trail shoes), and these are currently drying out after an absolute soaking on a 10k trail race around the Errwood Reservoir in the Goyt Valley, Peak District (click here) last Thursday evening.  I'm sorry I haven't got any photos to show you but the whole place was waterlogged and the rain was coming down almost horizontally so the camera just couldn't come out.  Within the first few minutes of the race my feet had been totally immersed in muddy potholes and were soaked through...after that you just don't care and wade through anything .. small streams included!  What could have been a very picturesque race became a battle against the elements, waterlogged fields, slippery wooden bridges, muddy trails being washed away with rain, biting wind on the top ridges, tree roots and slippy stones waiting to trip you up ...... but my main thought as I ran was of enjoyment and the exuberant feeling of BEING ALIVE!!!!   Yes, you hear me right, it was a terrible evening, the harshest of conditions but oh my goodness it was fun!

So running around the dry pavements this evening on my normal 5 mile run will seem a little uneventful, except I will have that lovely feeling of my springy new trainers and the little snippets of clean white, aqua and neon yellow as I look down.......wonder how long that will last!?

Goodbye for now
Fleur xx

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

021: London Marathon Report

What a fantastic weekend in London we've had!

I'll tell you all about the London Marathon in a minute, but first I wanted to share some photos of Buckingham Palace.  Each evening the palace is lit up with projected images from 'Face Britain' (click here for more info).  This project is encouraging young people aged 4-16 in the UK to create a self portrait which can be uploaded onto the project's online gallery and will then form part of the installation images projected onto Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.  My daughter took part at school, so her image will be projected onto the palace ...but unfortunately it's all random so I didn't see it whilst I was in front of the palace.  It was a spectacular scene and made me very proud to be British!!

So, now let me tell you about the London Marathon.  I go down to London each year to watch the Postie run, so I have a regular viewing spot that I always go to just next to the Tower of London as the runners come off Tower Bridge and approach the 13 mile (halfway) point.  As you can see contrary to all the weather reports the sky was blue and the sun was out as I got to my spot around 8.45am.

The first entrants we saw were the Mens' Wheelchairs, this photo is actually David Weir MBE (British Paralympic) who went on to win the Mens Wheelchair title.  As they pass by you cannot believe the speed and the sheer determination on their faces ..very humbling.

Next came the elite women, unfortunately the winner of the Women's race Mary Keitany is behind the motorcyclist on my photo.  They went by with ease, their pace is astounding after 13 miles!

Then came the men, the eventual Male race winner Wilson Kipsang is in the orange vest in the left hand side of the photo.

After all the elite came by, the crowds of normal runners started to appear, hundreds upon hundreds.  At a few points I panicked that the depth of runners was so deep that I would miss the Postie, but amazingly when I wasn't expecting he appeared, ran up to me and gave me a kiss and a big smile!  Of course all the supporters around all went 'arrrh!'  I was really pleased to see him, he looked steady and relaxed, and was ahead of schedule.  Then my next journey began as I jumped on the Tube to St James Park to try and get a space on Birdcage walk to see him as he came towards the latter stage.  Luck was on my side and I got a good vantage point, and again he saw me with ease as he steadily aimed for the last 600 metres.

The photos above were taken on Birdcage walk at the 600 metres to go stage.  Unfortunately they don't show the Postie as I couldn't get my camera out in time when he passed by, as he was quicker than I expected.  

The Postie ended up finishing in 3:51, which although isn't his fastest time at London, was actually under the 4 hours which he was aiming for this year.  He had been diagnosed with a medical condition just before Christmas (don't worry not life threatening) which meant that his aim of 3 hrs 30 had to be postponed for London this year until he regains his previous fitness.  So I was extremely proud of him to have continued to train and re-evaluate his target.  He is now already planning his next marathon so that he can have a go at getting around 3.30... he's mad!! 

It was a great weekend, and upon my return I'm overwhelmed with the lovely messages of support that have been thank you very much.

Apologies that this has been a NO knitting post, service will resume very shortly!

Goodbye for now.

Friday, 20 April 2012

020: And I'm Ready for the Weekend........!!

Well it's Friday evening and I just love that 'it's the weekend' feeling!  This weekend is especially exciting as we are off to London as the Postie is running the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday. 

So firstly before we set off on our journey down south, I want to thank everyone for their lovely comments after my last post regarding my running PB and my new cherry cardigan.  I also want to apologise that there won't be much knitting going on this weekend, but here's a peek of something on my needles at the moment.  I can't say too much about it as it's a secret!  It's actually nearly finished now but I can't show you that photo or you will guess what it is ..... will reveal all next week.

I hope whatever you are up to this weekend you have a lovely time (in between the April showers) and can I ask you all to keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't rain heavily on Sunday morning for all the marathon runners in London (including the Postie!)

Goodbye for now
Fleur xx

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

019: Unexpected Outcomes....

Sometimes you get unexpected outcomes .... this weekend I had two!

No 1: Unexpected Outcome

Yes, it's finally finished.  As my regular followers know I'm a runner and to use running as a metaphor this cardigan has been a marathon!!  It has been a hard slog, sometimes I didn't think I'd make it, but I persevered even after two fronts were ripped back!  My original design has changed along the way and the finished cardigan is quite different to the first ideas I had ..... but I'm happy with the outcome .. and I think I deserve a medal!

What do I love about it?

I love the spring green edging detail, and how the front edging on each side actually curls up almost making a little corded edge ... an unexpected detail!

 I love the texture of the chain stitch cherry stalks.

I love the perfectly matched little buttons, just the exact same shade as the cherries.

I love that it is finished!!

No 2: Unexpected Outcome

Do you remember that I told you I was running a 10k?  You may also remember that I said that I was running it just to get round as I couldn't chase any times as I was still suffering with the after effects of my cold.  So Sunday morning dawned, I started coughing as soon as I got out of bed!  I ate my porridge and honey and sat there wondering what on earth I was doing.  An hour later and a trip on the motorway, my heart sunk and I felt sick when I saw the first 'Caution Runners' sign which indicated we were nearly at Race Headquarters (a village hall full of tea & cakes, lots of men with their pale white legs on display and the smell of deep heat!).  

30 minutes to go before the start I thought I'd better show willing and put on my chip ( a little device that you attach to your trainer which records your start and finish time when your run over the chip mats - very clever!)  Then I had a little walk to the start and decided I'd better take my fleece off and have a warm up!!  Oh my goodness, the blue sky and fluffy white clouds above did look beautiful but there was an ice cold breeze which felt wintry on my bare shoulders and arms.

11.00 am soon came and I stood at the start thinking about what I could have been doing instead on a Sunday morning, then bang, the start gun went off and we were running!  Yes, I was running and as the kilometres passed by I kept waiting to descend into a coughing fit, but no, lady luck was smiling on me, as was the sun by 3 kms and very pleasant it was too.  Then I remembered why I love running, down country lanes I ran, past farms with dogs barking, glimpsing lambs in the fields either side, encountering beautiful views round each corner and the sun shining down warming me as I ran.  Yes, I thought, where else would I rather be!  I got so carried away that I nearly dropped down in surprise as I came through the finish line and the Postie met me with a beaming smile, wow a PB!!  I'd managed to run the 10k in 53:06, knocking 54 seconds of my previous time, and I still don't know how I did it?  Don't you just love an unexpected outcome!

Goodbye for now
Fleur xx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

018: Yarn around.......and running around!

Hi there,  I'm feeling a little better today,  hurray!!!!!

I went out for a run last night as planned but I couldn't do any speed work at all, every time I tried I descended into a coughing fit, so I ended up just doing a steady five miles at a comfortable pace.. but it was great to be back out in the fresh air.

I thought today I'd join in with the 'Yarn Along' that Ginny from Small Things is currently running, you can visit her blog here.

As you can see I'm sewing in the arms to my little Cherry Cardigan and until I get this finished I am totally ignoring the other two projects half finished on my needles although I can hear them calling 'knit me! knit me!'  My new batch of lilac cotton yarn is also shouting at me from inside my knitting bag so I have decided to put some cheese in my ears so I can't hear their calls.......

As part of the yarn along I have to tell you about my current read as well as my crafty project.  So as you will see I'm still reading the Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson.  You may remember me telling you in January that I was planning to read the three books in the saga this year, and I am now nearly two thirds through the second book 'The Girl who Played With Fire',  so I'm progressing quite well.  The Postie has already purchased the third book for me so I need to get a move on !!

For all you crafters who are also interested in my running I have a fortnight of exciting running news. I know from the amazing response I've had since starting my blog that many of you also enjoy hearing about my other more active love - running.  This weekend I will be racing at a 10k, though I think my recent cold may mean that I will be just running to get round rather than chasing a PB. The following week I will be traveling down to London with the Postie who for some reason has decided to run the London Marathon for the seventh time (YES, SEVENTH!!).  Although I won't be running myself I'm so excited as I just love to watch and cheer them all on.  From Elite runners to disabled wheelchair entrants, serious club runners to charity fancy dress runners ...  the London Marathon is a fantastic spectacle to watch and I can't wait!

Whatever you are doing this week I hope that you all enjoy yourself especially if you get the chance to enjoy some spring sunshine, which unfortunately seems to have disappeared in Cheshire this week.

Goodbye for now
Fleur xx

Saturday, 7 April 2012

017: Disappointments.....

This has been a disappointing week .......... the main reason being is that I started with a really nasty cold and have felt under the weather all week.
I haven't been out for a run since Tuesday, and this was such a struggle trying to breathe that I cut it shorter than usual ...... disappointed!

I've had the knitting out but although I've managed to knit the two sleeves for my cherry cardigan I really haven't felt up to blocking and sewing it all together...... disappointed!

( Some knitters I know always feel that the sewing up is the quick job at the end, but I think that it is one of the most important aspects of the whole project.  Blocking the individual pieces really helps the overall appearance of the garment and ensures that it fits together perfectly.  Shoddy seaming is one of my pet hates, so I spend a lot of effort neatly seaming.  So this week I really did feel that my concentration wasn't 100% so I didn't attempt any sewing up as I didn't want to ruin the cardigan just to get it finished in a rush.)

I bought some daffodils for Easter a couple of days ago to cheer me up, they were tightly budded and were displayed in a bucket with a picture of beautiful golden daffodils.  Unfortunately they opened up to be a white frilly type of narcissus, which many people would love, but I wanted simple golden daffodils, cheery yellow daffodils, smiley nodding daffodils ....... disappointed!

Hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend, I'm hoping to get over this cold so that by Tuesday I'll be back out running as I have a 10k race next Sunday 15th April, so I need to get fit again!

Goodbye for now.