I can’t believe 2012 is coming to an end. Wow what an amazing year it’s been. I feel like I need to talk about everything that’s happened to me this year, it’s been a year of wonderful friends, fabulous holidays, glorious weddings, many laughs and achievements, along with sad moments too.
Run Laura Run…
This year I properly started to run, no more occasional quick jogs that turn in to walks, this year I set myself the challenge of a 5k run and dedicated an hour each Saturday and Sunday to follow the Couch to 5k app. And it worked, surprisingly well and, dare I say it, I enjoyed it. I like getting out in the fresh air and clearing my head and forgetting everything else. For that small amount of time I feel truly calm and relaxed, odd I know as I’m usually boiling and my legs and lungs are burning, not to mention that my legs feel the pain for a least 48 hours after the actual event! Also through running I’ve been able to explore my city so much more. London is so diverse. Even in the small area around me I can run through the parks of Clapham, along the roads of Stockwell and Brixton or enjoy the views of both the Southbank and The Embankment alongside the River Thames, perfect. Another plus side is that it has helped me lose weight, but more about that later. I completed my planned 5k, a Race for Life on Clapham Common in July (the below pic, shows myself and my sister Fi pre-run), and since then I’ve been trying to increase to 10k. In all honesty I’ve got a bit stuck, so part of 2013’s plan is to get the 10k done asap and move on to further distances. I’ve even signed up for updates for the Royal Parks half marathon as I plan to run that, I’ve realised that I run better when I have something to work towards.
Race for Life 2012
Birth(days), death and Australia
In April it was my birthday, and also the month of my three week trip to Australia. I have lots of family over there you see as my Mum’s brother, sister and parents emigrated there in the 70’s. So now there is a whole legion of relations along the east coast. My cousin was getting married so it was the perfect opportunity to hop on a plane and see everyone. Unfortunately I didn’t get there in time to see everyone. You see my beloved Grampy died one week before we arrived, in fact it was the day before my birthday – crappy birthday for me, you could say. He had been battling cancer for a few years, so it wasn’t a shock but there was something so cruel about being so close to seeing him, but not getting the chance. I also missed the funeral by three days, some stupid rule in Australian morgues apparently so part of him being gone still doesn’t seem real. Anyway it was a slightly more subdued arrival than I would have liked, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was lovely to spend time with my Nanna, Aunt’s, Uncles and cousins. I was able to meet cousin’s children for the first time and visit great places. My Mum, sister and I even spend a couple of days in the Hunter Valley which was so relaxing. I visited friends in Sydney and also headed up to Bundaberg to see all my northern cousins. They are so lovely and the wedding was a gorgeous day, so relaxed and family orientated and in a stunning garden setting.
Here’s me being eaten by a parrot…
Making friends with a parrot
How brilliant was the Queen’s Jubilee? Living in London meant that I was surrounded by all thing British from May onwards and I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. There was such a feeling of Britishness around, there was tons of bunting everywhere and it was okay to make cakes and drink tea. I loved all the paraphernalia that the shops had in and I especially loved the extra bank holiday. I enjoyed the celebrations at my parents house with a barbecue and I even watched some of the river pageant. My family and I of course got our bake on and made some jubilee biscuits…
Jubilee Bunting biscuits
Olympic and Paralympic London
Most of my summer was taken up by the Olympics and Paralympics. I certainly understand how lucky I am to have these two great sporting events in my home city and therefore I made sure to make the most of these. I watched countless hours of sport on the TV – I love sport so it was hardly a hardship! But I loved how having the Games in London got literally everyone talking about and watching them. From young and old, it seemed that everyone in London knew exactly what was going on in each event and we would all join in the excitement of any medals that Team GB would win. I love that as Britons we have such a funny way of dealing with competitive sport. We don’t expect people to win so when they do we get so excited, and for most of us any type of medal is enough! I love it. I was lucky enough to get to a few events, some won through the ballot and others booked only weeks before the event. I watched the men’s road cycling event for free as it went (almost) past my parents house. I was fantastic to see everyone lining the roads with flags and the cyclists were so fast, they whizzed past super fast.
The Men’s Cycle road race in Ripley
My sisters and I went to see a morning’s field hockey on the first day, the arena in the park was amazing and the view was fantastic, we could see the rest of the Olympic park and the Canary Wharf behind it.
Early morning hockey at the Riverside Arena
Then there was a night of Olympic volleyball at the superb venue at Horse Guard’s Parade. Followed by the first night of athletics with the whole family at the Olympic Stadium.
Sunset over The London Eye from the Volleyball stadium at Horse Guard’s Parade
An empty Olympic Stadium
I also managed to get tickets to the Wheelchair basketball, which was absolutely brutal and a fantastic way to round off the weeks of sport. Once everything was over life was suddenly quite boring!
Unusually for me I’ve been to three weddings this year. First a garden wedding in Australia. Then a friend of mine got married in Kent, queue an action packed hen weekend, followed by a lovely church ceremony and a gorgeous house & garden reception venue. Think fairy lights, vintage teacups and sculptured gardens. And of course the photo booth – fabulous! The final wedding of the year was a Christmas wedding, taking place on the Saturday before Christmas. The church was decorated with Christmas trees and the reception, in a gorgeous old school featured mulled wine, roaring fires and a hog roast leading to a very relaxed affair, which is just what you need so close to the mania of Christmas. I can’t help but finding it surprising that all three weddings were so different from each other but then I suppose that’s the point of weddings, each couple put their own stamp on their day.
Things to be proud of –
My brilliantly brainy younger sister got into Sheffield University and I could not have been more pleased. She’s work so hard that to see her getting there is brilliant. Plus it means I have an excuse to head up to visit her all the time. I’ve only been to Sheffield once so far, but it was brilliant. Plus you’ve got the gorgeous Peak District nearby, perfect for long lazy walks.
The Peak District
As well as my trip to Australia I’ve managed to get out to Portugal twice this year. The perks of having parents with an apartment share means I can enjoy a relatively cheap jaunt to sunnier climates. UTTER BLISS!
Becoming a better me
Through a combination of running, walking, less snacking and smaller portions I have managed to lose just under 3 stone (or at least I had until Christmas happened, I don’t dare go near a scales at the moment!). And honestly, it hasn’t been as hard as I expected. In February I had this idea that I wanted to try and eat more sensibly and maybe drop a bit of weight. Or at least not put any more on, but I don’t think I ever believed that I would make such a huge change in less than a year. Saying I feel like a differnet person is a cliche, but I kind of do. But now that I’ve done what I have, I’m determined to finish the job. In fact for 2013 I have three fitness goals (not resolutions, I hate that word); I want to lose a bit more weight, I want to tone up a bit and I want to run a half-marathon. Easy right?!
And in between all of that there’s been Karaoke sessions, baking, trips around the country with friends, lovely food and wine, country walks, fun at work, trips to the theatre, broken toes, hen weekends and hen nights, countless barbecues, numerous Starbucks cups and lazy evenings in front of the fire. I seriously hope that 2013 is just as good.
p.s. Have a Happy New Year everyone