Sunday, 20 July 2014

Slowly does it at Rutland Water

Rutland Water

What a beautiful morning for a run around Rutland Water. Well, not exactly around .... that's about 25 miles if you include the sticky out bit! It was more of a flat 3.5km out from the car park and 3.5km back.

I'm running the Berlin Marathon in September this year and doing ok with my training plan so far, but there's an awful awful long way still to go. I'm a bit worried about my knees, so I'm trying to engage bum (ie glutes) when I'm running, rather than just relying on my legs. I am beginning to wonder whether my slightly sore knees are more a result of the hundreds of stairs in my life ... maybe I should get a Stannah stairlift?!?! Someone else suggested a jetpack, which I quite like the sound of for marathon day.

Running on the treadmill has definitely helped me up my speed and I knocked 5 mins off my 5 km time today, which is great progress, although it just means that I now run very very slowly, instead of very very very slowly.

The first half of the run was pretty horrid. That's my own fault though for having a late night drinking on Friday. Drinking and training definitely don't mix, so I'm off the booze now until after I cross the finishing line. I'm fantasising about having a liter Stein of German beer when it's over. Until then, I think I'll leave the wine in its bottle.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brené Brown


The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is highly regarded internationally for her research into vulnerability and shame.

In The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion and Connection, Brené outlines how our mistakes actually contribute positively to our kids' development, well-being and sense of place in the world . Brené summarises it like this "It's actually our ability to embrace imperfection that will help us teach our children to have the courage to be authentic, the compassion to love themselves and others, and the sense of connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life." This is the wholehearted life.

According to Brené, it is impossible for us to "give" our children what we do not have ourselves. So if we want our kids to live a wholehearted life, we must first be doing so ourselves. To those of you that are already living the wholehearted dream - "you're amazing" (and you kind of already but humbly probably know it) - to the rest of us "you're amazing" (you just don't feel it yet). Here are Brené's 10 pointers for wholehearted living which are actually taken from her most recent book Daring Greatly:

1) Cultivate authenticity and let go of worrying about what people think

2) Cultivate self-compassion and let go of perfectionism

3) Cultivate resilience and let go of powerlessness

4) Cultivate gratitude and joy and let go of scarcity and fear

5) Cultivate intuition and trusting faith and let go of the need for certainty

6) Cultivate creativity and let go of comparison

7) Cultivate play and rest and let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth

8) Cultivate calm and stillness and let go of anxiety as lifestyle

9) Cultivate meaningful work and let go of self-doubt and supposed to

10) Cultivate laughter, song and dance and let go of being cool and always in control

You'll get a much better idea of what she's all about from her TED talks like this one on vulnerability





If you can make the time, I thoroughly recommend reading / listening to any of her work.




St George's Cross & Union Jack Crochet Cushion

In the run-up to the World Cup and to Wimbledon, I thought I'd get a bit patriotic and use up some old red, white and blue yarn that's been knocking about.

The plan was to try out some new granny squares to make a St George's Cross on one side and then somehow design a Union Jack pattern for the other side.

I really thought that I'd get enough viewing time out of England's World Cup squad and Andy Murray to be able to complete it.

Hmmmm .... that didn't go quite to plan, did it?


Union Jack

St George's Cross

What am I thinking?

It often depends on what I've been reading.

So, I've added a new page ... Inspiration ... where you can find quick summaries and useful links to author's blogs, TED talks, book reviews etc.

Over the last couple of years I've read and listened to a lot of books on my quest to understand the workings of the world better. If I enjoyed them, I'll be including them. I  might even throw some of my favorite craft books in for good measure!

It's a bit sparse at the moment, but I'll keep adding to it.


The kindness of strangers

A heartfelt thank you to knitnrun4sanity for her lovely message.

It got me thinking about the importance of connection and the tremendous impact that people can have on you consciously and subconsciously.

I hadn't really given it much thought until now, but it's partly down to her posts about running, that I've got off the couch and am training for the Berlin Marathon in September. Thanks for that too!

Missing ...

.... has anyone seen my last two years?

I'm not sure where they went.

A lot's happened since my last post. And so I find myself in the kind of position I would prefer not to be in. Maybe I'll write about it one day, maybe not. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to show that kind of vulnerability.

Let's see if I can climb out of hibernation and get back to this blog.

Friday, 13 July 2012

This poor neglected little blog

Paid work is glorious for its bill-paying rewards and as a freelancer I am eternally grateful for all the work that comes my way.

But it really gets in the way of blogging, tweeting and most importantly my adventures in crochet!

It had been so long since I'd picked up a hook, I actually experienced a certain level of performance anxiety as I started my latest project this week; which was particularly worrying as this project, along with another which is equally challenging, need to be finished by the end of this month, or my good witch step-mum position could well be toast!

The good news is, I'm cracking on with project 1, although I'm unravelling all of yesterday's experimental stitch work as it's not doing it for me. But that's a job for the weekend as today is a paid work day and I'm just squeezing this blog post in because my lack of attention here has been bothering me.

I've got some great new additions for my Patterns & Stitches page which I will sort through over the weekend and a couple of articles which I will start working on too. Hopefully, I will get the first birthday project complete, so I can share that too.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

And last place goes to ....

Team 118

Oops, sorry Nix!!

Nicola and friends/colleagues did a grand job yesterday competing for charity in Birmingham's Dragon Boat race. The team dressed up as the lads from 118 for the occasion.

Just in case you can't spot Nicola in the line-up photo, here's an action shot of her in close-up!
woman dressed as 118 118 character with wig and moustache
Barclays team dressed as 118 118 characters for Birmingham dragon boat race

Friday, 15 June 2012

What an unusual request ...

... finally completed, it's the kitchen apron in the style of the old East German flag or, more correctly, the flag of the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) / German Democratic Republic (GDR), which was in existence from 1959 to 1990.

The National Emblem of the flag features a hammer and compass surrounded by a ring of rye. I've made it into a pocket for cooking stuff .. not entirely sure what .. utensils or herbs maybe ... anyway, it's a pocket!

crochet flag of the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR)or German Democratic Republic (GDR)

I've not written a pattern for it yet, but I will do if anyone's interested. Leave me a comment and I'll get on it.

Check out Mr Whippy's Flake Plate

Mr Whippy Ice-Cream van with F7AKE (FLAKE) number plate


Spotted on Stamford Meadows - never noticed Gino's clever number plate before - bet that's worth a few £££

It certainly beats my disastrous Queen pictures