Sunday, 24 February 2013

What a week!

It's the end of half term and the end of a very busy week indeed. Today as part of our year's investigation into the celebrations of other cultures we had our own version of Purim and the end of Lunar New Year festivities. As a bit of extra multicultural spice, youngest insisted I make curry for our celebration meal.

Two sorts of curry, and cocktail umbrellas in the girlies' drinks. Plus party poppers.
We did attempt Hamantaschen. The children each made a fruit filling and I made the pastry. I think it ended up more free-style than the tradtional shape, but it was fun. And as far as the pastry went, not a soggy bottom in sight!

In stitching news: Today I finished mummy and baby platypus and have almost made a Fuschia Groan outfit for eldest for the upcoming World Book Day. We're dressing up for it at work too but I miss out this year as I have to be in hospital that day. Boo. I love dressing up!

Platypuses. I got the nostrils in the wrong place!
 Running news: I haven't been able to train for 3 weeks now, but this weekend I have been pain free for the first time! Physio is booked for the coming week but if I can I'll try a 10 minute gentle run tomorrow just to see what happens. Competing in the marathon in May is looking unlikely but right now I have to settle just for getting fit and strong again and maybe find another marathon to attempt later in the year.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


It's been a while. Busy at work, seemingly never-ending lurgy sapping my energy, treatments for my running injury, huge rearranging of the space at home... One of those times where one is really busy indeed but has nothing of interest to say. I could wax lyrical about being able to hang the washing outside for the first time in months and actually bring it in dry at the end of the day. A most ordinary event but one that always gives me a tiny glow of hope: warmer, brighter weather is on the way.

Towards the end of last week the crocuses suddenly appeared. One day there were faint spikes of purple and yellow and the next the garden was full of ankle-high floral fireworks. Even the primroses have got going. The daffodils remain reticent though. In another fit of optimism I dug out a pack of broad bean seeds and planted the lot, then tipped all the remaining orange thyme seeds onto another seed tray and stuck them in the propagator. Maybe this year will be better...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ups and Downs

It was a very busy weekend. There was the usual rush on homework (and the usual tantrums from my eldest!). My 6 year old produced a fantastic piece of writing for her Fire of London project. Apart from asking me for some spelllings she did it all by herself. Here's  page of it:

She used speech marks, exclamation marks, a semi-colon, complex connectives, paragraphs and some wonderful vocabulary. Where did it all come from?!

As well as homework we did lots of Chinese New Year activities- dragon making, colouring in of snakes and dragons, fortune cookie baking- although as usual I ended up on lantern-making!

What about running? Runing remains off limits and I spent the weekend in so much pain. With the children at home and needing attention most of the time I barely found time to do any stretching. Yesterday I finally managed 2 short yoga sessions and that has made so much difference. This morning I was even up extra early to fit in a short burst of yoga. I think the half an hour spent teaching dance to some of my year 5 children this afternoon was a bit much though as I can feel my hip in particular really tightening up now.

Time now to get out the mat and undo the damage of the day.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Friday, hoorah!

Yesterday was just really busy.

Today I went for a treatment to see if I can get this running injury fixed. Interesting to have my suspicions confirmed as to the cause. Somehow I just have to find the time for stretching 2-3 times a day. Fitting in one yoga session a day is easy- but as I can hardly move first thing in the morning making time for a second session will be a challenge.

In other news:
Here's the honey bee I made the other day.

 I made a butterfly yesterday but I don't like it. The wings haven't come out right even though I followed the pattern exactly. Tomorrow I might treat myself to a trip to the fabulous Knitting Hut ( and get some new yarns so I can make a fly or a bumble bee.

In the meantime it's time to prepare for Chinese New Year...

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Heavy things

Since running is out the window for now I've decided to try to rekindle my love for weights. I used to love using weights and found the discipline and rhythm of it almost meditative. What I didn't like was that once I got very fit and strong it made me a bit agressive. Since I've been running and practising yoga regularly I prefer the fluid movement I find in those activities rather than the slightly edgy way I have of moving when I train with weights a lot. But not being able to run has meant I've lost so much muscle tone that it's time I did something about that. I'm hoping that if I stick to light weights and continue with regular yoga practice I can rebuild strength without losing freedom of movement.

Inspired by my children's karate teacher, Sensei Gareth, ( I'm also trying hard to eat more mindfully. I don't need to lose weight but not being able to take the kind of exercise I'm used to makes it doubly important to take care of what I eat and make sure it's all good stuff. Being vegetarian (more or less) I can't follow even a modified paleo diet, but I can eat more fruit and rely a bit less on toast! I've completely failed on the alcohol front though. Wine helps to suppress this horrid cough that I can't quite shift and it does work well with ibuprofen to dull the hip pain.

On a lighter note, I'm now knitting a honey bee.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Lurgy continues. At work there's me coughing and lots of the children coughing so the classroom is even noisier than usual! And there are 16 very excited children eagerly anticipating a lesson in Victorian dance. To prepare for next week's trip to Holdenby House ( I'm teaching them to dance a quadrille. Specifically the Lobster Quadrille. With instructions such as 'lobster your partner'  and  'grand starfish all the way home' it should be a hoot.

Can you tell what it is yet? It's the start of the latest project. Watch this blog for updates!

And here is the finished caterpillar. I altered the pattern slightly which I think works better.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Progress, perhaps

Well the running's on hold for now. Managed to get an appointment with my GP who's ordered a bone density scan and things so although nothing is happening right now at least things are moving in the right direction. This evening I tried out a new yoga DVD (Christine Felstead) which is aimed at runners. It was ok though not quite what I was expecting. It's a faster pace than the other DVDs I have (all Barbara Benagh who is just great) with a few new poses and so I can cover more ground in less time so to speak.

In the meantime I've started knitting a caterpillar for my latest project. I'm a bit concerned that in DK yarn it's going to end up a bit bigger than I want but as I've not used the pattern before I can only knit it and see. The green I'm using is a bit yuck- a kind of silky cotton sort of texture but I'm using some fluffy very fine yarn with it for a bit of interest. The pattern is from
although I have the UK edition.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Finishing projects

Another dreadful day as far as running goes- I've been in so much pain yesterday and today it's left me in tears. Time to pay up and see the osteopath again. Anything to get a diagnosis and a plan of action to fix things. Right now a marathon in May looks like an impossibility.

But I've finished the cushion cover! It hasn't turned out quite right but I think it'll be ok. And I'm well on the way to canibalising a skirt from the charity shop and making it into a Victorian apron for our Victorian day at work. I have some lovely frilled broderie anglaise-type stuff for trimming it.

Here's the front of the cushion. It does rather look like an enormous hedgehog!

And the back of the cushion.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Downs and ups

Yesterday was a Bad Day. I knew I shouldn't run so walked the required time instead. A couple of times I really wanted to break into a gentle run and tried- agony. A whole new pain. Maybe I'm doing the wrong thing and should just give up running.

To console myself I almost managed to finish up the current knitting project- a cushion cover using the Katia Rizos yarn. Just a few rows left and I need to choose some lovely buttons. Photo to come when it's all finished. Maybe then I should knit myself some new legs.

Friday, 1 February 2013


Day two of being off work. I hate being ill. Yesterday I didn't even feel up to knitting, that's how bad it was. Today I hate being ill even more because I should have a training run today. The thought of a horrid red square showing a missed run is galling. I know I shouldn't even contemplate training today but I so very badly want to get out and run!

I wonder if yoga counts as cross training? I've seen this subject debated on various running forums and I guess in the end it depends on each person. Recently I've begun 'mindful running'- instead of running with an empty mind I try to stay focussed on posture, stride, core, and free muscles. It is much more tiring because of the mental effort, but I think it has improved how I run. Because of this I think that for me yoga does count as cross training. The poses stretch and strengthen muscles, and the practice of minfulness (which is after all an essential element of yoga) will have a beneficial effect on mental fitness and balance.

The mental side of running and physical fitness is complicated for me. If I'm running lots, as I was last summer, I feel great physically and mentally. Almost invincible. If I feel down then muscles tighten, I get inury problems, get more down because I can't run and my whole well-being spirals down. If I can return to regular yoga practice I hope to keep that negative spiral under control. Easier said than done though- work, children, running the house all need my attention. It's hard to find a quiet place in the day.