Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Half marathon training Week 5/21

I found this post still sitting as a draft, I must have forgotten to publish it. This is from the week commencing Monday 23 March. Lots has changed since then. This was the last run I did. Who know when I'll go out for a run again. I've resurrected my yoga practice since we've been in lockdown, and in fact we do lunchtime yoga all four of us together as a family which is frankly lovely. Running will be on the agenda again one day but my half-marathon goal might not be. Who can say?




Monday - Goal pace repeats
I switched Friday's goal pace repeats to today because I keep skipping them due to better offers. At least if I get them out of the way early in the week then it's done.

This was very bloody hard and I'm not entirely sure why. My watch was showing me terrible paces, over 9 min/km, which didn't seem right but I felt very puffed right from the start. I had to walk all but the gentlest hills. Then things seemed to improve and I found my pace, and it turned out that I'd managed negative splits - my last split was the fastest. Totally intentional.

I was supposed to do 6x 800m at goal pace but I only did five due to being totally wiped.

As I mentioned in my last post, NZ will be on full lockdown imminently, and I can't pretend I'm not looking forward to a bit of a break from training. Garmin continues to tell me that my training is unproductive which, although I try to ignore it, is frustrating and de-motivating.

When lockdown is over - whenever that may be - I'll be running for the fun of it for a while. I'm going to pause my training plan and remember why I started running in the first place and find those happy runs again.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Half marathon training Week 4/21

Monday - Hill Repeats




Having taken five days off I was looking forward to seeing how I did with this workout, especially after last week's "unproductive" debacle.

I was thrilled to find that not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself, but I have now popped back into "maintaining" status. I know I said that I wasn't going to take it all too seriously, but it is still nice to see Garmin accurately reflect how I felt after this run.

I made sure I drank plenty of water beforehand, and had a decent breakfast of sourdough and peanut butter. As usual I started off with some cadence and AG (acceleration-glider) work, then into the hill repeats. Fifteen seconds up, recover one minute, then fifteen seconds down. I had already decided that 15 seconds was a ludicrously short run so I was going to sprint these.

It was awesome! This week I had six repeats, so two more than last time, and I really gave it my all. My last split was also my fastest - 3:56/km! STOKED with that, needless to say.

3.44km avg pace 7:48/km, best pace 3:56/km!!

Wednesday - Long Easy Run
The plan has me down for a 14.48km run (what's with the random distances? My OCD can't take it), but I already decided last week to cut this down to 10 or 12km. I'm hoping that with good fueling, carrying water and snacks I can make this a good workout.

The best part about my short break is that I'm looking forward to my runs again. I wasn't dreading it, but I realise now that the last couple of runs I was just sort of doing it because I was supposed to, not because I actually wanted to. Whereas this week I've been looking forward to this run pretty much since Monday lunchtime.

I started my day with a bowl of porridge. I decided to let Garmin make a course for me (which I would come to regret - read on). I took 350ml water and half an OSM bar to snack on. I quickly realised that using courses and coach at the same time, my watch would only show me the map during my run, with a very quick pace update each km. Because of this I struggled to pace myself - once again setting out too fast and then flagging for the last few km.

I also quickly discovered that I should have paid closer attention to route Garmin created. I spent the first part running along the main highway into town with traffic roaring in my ears and fumes in my face. I then cut across to the beach and the second part was along the coastal path with never-ending little rolling hills. The whole run was on hard concrete paths. It was hard. I took lots of walk breaks. Once I got away from the rushing traffic I also quickly learned why runners like soft water bottles - the sloshing sound of the water in my belt was enough to drive me insane.

Overall it was a good run - although I don't think it fit the description long easy run. It was long and hard. Garmin agrees because it's dropped me back to "unproductive" again. I'm not going to worry about that though because I did managed to run right to the end and I wasn't totally exhausted. I also recorded my fastest 5km and 10km in this run which goes to show that I was going faster than I probably should have.

Bring on the goal pace repeats on Friday!

11.9km avg pace 7:41/km

Friday - walk




I have no good excuse really, except I felt far more like going for a walk than for a run. And it was beautiful.


And that was that for this week of training. It's a very strange time. As COVID-19 seeps into every facet of our lives, it feels like everything around us is shutting down. My race isn't until November and what a very different world it will be then.

As I write this, NZ will be in full lockdown within 48 hours. I'm not sure what that means for my running but I suspect things might have to go on hold for a while, and that's perfectly ok with me.

The trails aren't going anywhere.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Half marathon training - Week 3/21



Tuesday - Magic Mile
This was supposed to happen on Monday but since Monday was a public holiday with sideways rain, and we were helping my MIL settle into her newly built house, I rescheduled it to Tuesday. I definitely appreciate the flexibility of the Garmin coach program.

Anyway, this workout consisted of the usual cadence drills, acceleration-glider drills, followed by a one-mile run at a fast-ish pace, or as Jeff says more succinctly in the instructional video, slightly faster than you'd run on a good day.

I thought I did ok with this, it was a quick half-hour workout, but at the end my watch told me that my training was "unproductive"! The notes say that although my training load is good, my fitness is decreasing (!!), so I may need more rest or better nutrition.

I decided to see what it says after Wednesday's long run, and if still unproductive I will skip, reduce, or reschedule Friday's goal pace repeats. Might also be time for a steak dinner, as I don't eat a lot of meat and my iron levels are often low.

3.35km avg pace 7:51/km

Wednesday - Run Walk Run 8km
The idea of this workout is to take many short walk breaks throughout the run. The frequency of the walk breaks is dependent on your time goal, which for my half-marathon is 2 hours 40 minutes. Based on that, I should be aiming to run about a 12 minute mile. Based on that, Coach Jeff says I should be running 60 seconds then walking 30 seconds for the whole run.

BUGGER THAT. I can't think of a more annoying way to run. Yes, I probably should have given it a go because I can see how it would enable me to practise faster running speeds, and I promise I will do it properly in a future workout. But today I just set out at my happy pace (around 7:30/km) and ran the 8km with a few short walk breaks.

This confirmed for me that I must bring water and something sugary on these longer runs. Because I'm "only" doing 8km I tend to think I don't need anything, but at my pace 8km is over an hour's running and by the 45 minute mark I felt very depleted. I can almost feel the moment my body runs out of fuel and my legs become lead. My brain tries to tell me I'm running faster because it feels like more effort, but my watch tells me that I'm actually slowing down. By the end of today's run I even felt a little woozy. Not good.

Because of this I wasn't surprised to see that my training status is still "unproductive". I'm going to change my run day breakfast. I have been having cereal or a hot cross bun, but I'll be switching to porridge or toast with peanut butter and see if that helps.

8.7km avg pace 7:31/km

Friday - Goal Pace Repeats
I decided to give these a miss and start fresh next week. Having done this workout last week I know it's another hour at least and I thought it might be sensible to just give my body a rest.


I've since done some reading online about this "unproductive" training status and will probably not put too much stock in it. I did feel tired at the end of Wednesday's run, my mileage has increased sharply these past two weeks, and I knew I probably wasn't fuelling effectively.

However, I do feel generally well and not exhausted (except at the end of a run) so I'll be continuing the plan, albeit cautiously. I see next week I'm supposed to do a 15km run which I will probably cut short to about 10km. Now that my half marathon isn't until July I don't have to rush myself, and I want to keep enjoying my running and I certainly don't want to get injured from pushing too hard too soon.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Starting school

Since this isn't actually a running blog but in fact a blog of my life, we're going to break with the running posts for a moment so I can make a record of my big girl starting school last week.


I think I've mentioned here before that she was extremely excited and extremely ready.

The reality is, of course, often different from the expectation, and she has found it hard. Just about every morning for the past week and a half she's told me that she doesn't want to go to school. The night before her first day she told me she had changed her mind and didn't want to start school until next year, actually.

We've talked a lot about how it's normal and natural to feel nervous and scared, that everyone no matter how confident they seem, feels that way when doing something new. I reminded her how scared she was starting kindy and look at her now!

She's not a person who loves change (who does, I suppose?) and school is a huge change from the very free atmosphere of the kindy she was lucky enough to attend.

It hadn't been all struggle at school though. I asked her last week if she'd met anyone new at school. "I've made dozens of friends," came the reply. She loves reading her readers, and getting stickers on her bucket (the school's rewards system).

She's been dying to learn to read, and seeing it start to click for her is as exciting for me as it is for her. I'm not so bothered by the learning though, that will come one way or another. I don't care if she learns nothing this year except to love learning, and to love school.

After all, she's only got thirteen years left to go.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Half marathon training - Week 2/21



Ok so I've actually been running for four weeks (it was one month exactly on 4 March!), but in order not to confuse the hell out of myself I've called this post "week 2 of 21", because that's where I'm up to on my half-marathon training plan. Week 1 was last week in which I only did a benchmark run on the Saturday.

Make sense? Not really? Good. Let's move on.

So, let's just go back to the start of the HM training plan, which was sort of halfway through last week. As I explained in my previous post, I switched from the C25K plan to a Garmin coach training plan because I was starting to realise that I would need more than just run/walk intervals to do a half marathon later this year.  I'm also probably not aiming for the race in July anymore but we'll talk about that later.

So, once I switched on the Garmin training plan last week I had to do a quick benchmark run so the plan could calculate my workouts for this week.

Saturday - Benchmark run
I could have made this a lot easier on myself had I not decided to head out at 2pm. And decided to run on an asphalt path. It was hot. Thank god it was only 9 minutes long. I had thought I might carry on for a longer run but I canned it as soon as the benchmark part was done.  I did shave 25 seconds per km off my pace though, so can't be mad about that.

7:22/km

Monday - Hill repeats
I was a little nervous of this and had to ask a friend where to find a suitable hill. But actually I was pleasantly surprised how easy a workout it was.

I started with cadence drills to work on taking many small steps low to the ground - managed this quite well, followed by accelerator-glider drills which is about smoothly transitioning from a run to a walk and back again - found this quite tricky, and lastly the dreaded hill repeats.

I could have made the hills repeats easier for myself if I'd read my watch properly and seen that the running intervals weren't all uphill. I couldn't figure out why I kept running out of hill and it was only on the last two repeats that I realised every other run was downhill. That made a lot more sense than the way I was doing it. DUH PRUE.

3.8km avg pace 8:30/km (walk breaks)

Wednesday - Long run
The notes for this one say oh so casually, "Run 11.26km at an easy pace". That's great, Coach Jeff, but that's almost double how far I've ever run to date! I was nervous and also yep, a bit excited for the challenge of this one. I kept my expectations very low and planned to set out slow and run for as long as I could before I needed a walk break.



Well... I RAN 10KM. Yes I'm shouting. I've never even run 3km without a walk break. Apparently Coach Jeff does know what he's on about.

The best part is that this happened on my one month anniversary of starting running! Serendipitous.

I guess I found the perfect pace and I kept it up pretty consistently for (almost) the whole run. My mind played a few tricks on me, like at one point my legs felt like lead weights, then my knees hurt for a bit, then my ankles. Nothing persisted though so I just kept going. I definitely should have brought water though, and possibly something sugary because once I hit 10km I also hit an invisible wall and could barely get back to the car. I kept trying to run just a little longer but I was so tired I had nothing left, and I was RAVENOUS. I was also so thirsty I nearly asked a total stranger for a drink of water. I plodded the last 1.5km back to the car probably looking defeated and very red but actually feeling seriously pumped and amazed.

Suddenly the half marathon doesn't look so unachievable!

11.6km (!!) avg pace 8:04/km (no walk breaks!)

Friday - Goal pace repeats
Based on the epic (for me) length of Wednesday's long run, I thought this might be another short session like Monday's. But once I calculated how long it'd take me to do all the various repeats we're looking at about an hour here too.

The run started with some more of Jeff's beloved cadence and acceleration-glider drills before getting into the goal pace repeats. I definitely had some troubling finding and maintaining my goal pace. My watch was buzzing more or less constantly to tell me I was running too fast or slow. I sort of got the hang of it by the last couple of repeats. When I did find my pace I realised it's definitely a sort of sweet spot for me. Any slower and I feel tired and heavy, any faster and I get too puffed.

I did wonder though, whether my goal pace should feel more challenging at this stage of the training plan. I might be able to adjust my goal as the plan progresses, we'll see.

7.5km avg pace 8:19/km (walk breaks)


I mentioned earlier than I'm probably not going to enter the HM race in July. While it's very possible that I could finish the race, I don't want to feel overly pressured in my training to be ready in such a short space of time. Although I've made huge leaps this week, let's not forget I was doing literally no exercise a month ago.

There is a beautiful - and hilly, eek - race in Rotorua in November which looks really appealing, and it means my husband and kids could come too and be able to do some touristy activities in between supporting me at the race.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Couch to half marathon - Week 3




It's interesting the stuff that motivates me to go for my runs. I had a dip in motivation to get out there on Monday morning this week, the new school plus kindy run takes more time and it was tempting to just head on home.

It made me realise that it's kind of perverse what gets me out there. All I had to think about is how I'd feel after the run is finished, and off I went.

Of note this week is that after my long run on Wednesday I decided to switch from the couch to 5km program I was following to one of the Garmin Coach half marathon training programs.

While I'm progressing well with the c25k, I'm a little dissatisfied with only doing run/walk intervals as my only training.  I'm sure that if I'm to run 21.1km in July, I need to mix it up and do speed drills, work on cadence, and so on.  Just run/walking is not going to get me there.

I've picked Coach Jeff Galloway since he does use a run/walk method as the basis of his training, so it's not a massive change from what I've been doing.  He is also the only coach who offers just three workouts per week, which suits me since I only have three days during the week on which I can run. Plus it means if I miss a workout during the week, there's a chance of making it up on the weekend.

I set my goal in the Garmin app for a half marathon in July, with a time goal of 2 hours 40 minutes. It's the longest time goal you can set within the program and it looks achievable but challenging for me.

Something that clicked for me this week as I increase my mileage is to sloowww down... Which sounds paradoxical when I'm talking about setting a time goal for my race.

But, as I wrote last week, comparison can get me in a low mood (see also lack of motivation above).  I need to find the pace that is comfortable for me right now, not what I think I should be doing.  Slowing down, and not caring what my watch tells me about my pace, has made such a difference. I can run comfortably for five minutes. I could definitely run for longer than that. It was an exciting realisation.

Monday
5km along local walkway. Average pace 7:48/km.

Wednesday
"Long" run.  I put long in inverted commas because for now "long" means only 5.69km.



Friday
Lake walk with friend. A very fast walking friend!! It was a truly stunning location (see photo at the top of this post), which made the sweaty toil easier to take and I'll definitely be back there for some runs.



Saturday
Quick benchmark run in the mid-afternoon, to set up the Garmin half-marathon program. Not my most brilliant idea running at that time of day, but I had to squeeze it into a busy day and even in the boiling sun I still managed to shave about 30 seconds/km off my pace from the last benchmark run I completed only two weeks ago. Definitely happy with that.



My next run is on Monday, and it's the first workout in my new Garmin program. I should be happy because, guess what, it's cadence drills and hill repeats! I'm a little nervous but also looking forward to the challenge...






Monday, 24 February 2020

Couch to half marathon - Week 2

Checking the calendar just now I realised I've been running not quite three weeks. That was the reality check I needed to calm down a bit regarding my progress.



The great thing about having a Garmin and apps like Strava is that you can track your progress to a breathtaking degree. The problem with having a Garmin and apps like Strava is that you can see everyone else's progress as well and get very discouraged by their speed and distance, conveniently forgetting that 99% of the people you're looking at have been running for months, if not years.

I don't need to be running a 5 minute kilometre less than three weeks in, and if I was I would probably be on track for an injury.

So how are things actually progressing then?

I've just completed Week 4 of my C25K Garmin app, with six weeks to go. Assuming I don't skip forward again, that has me running 5km in late March/early April. Then I have about fourteen weeks to get to the half marathon. Seems tight to me, but we'll see.



I have been lengthening the runs on the app, or adding in another one at the end of the session, so I'm probably further along than the app would say.  I can (somewhat...) comfortably run for 5 minutes at a time now, with a pace varying from about 6:30 to 7:00 minutes per kilometre. For the non-runners, that means I'm running at about 8kph.

This past week I had to skip Monday's run as one of my kids was home sick from kindy, so I only got in two runs. I also didn't do my long run on Sunday morning as me leaving the house seems to wake the kids and ruins my husband's sleep in! I wouldn't normally care but he has to get up early during the week for work, so I guess he deserves one lie in. I suppose.

Most people seem to do their long run on the weekend, but I may have to fit in my long run on a weekday when I have time after kindy and school drop off - yes, our now five year old started school today! - and then I can just do a short run on Saturday mornings before swimming.  I'm envious of runners who don't have to juggle their runs around family commitments.  Just lace up whenever and head home whenever! One day, one day.

I cracked 5km last Friday, still with run/walk intervals, but it was good to remind myself how far it is. I did another 5km this morning and I'll try to keep that up, time permitting, and just increase the amount of it I'm actually running as opposed to walking.

So, that's the update for this week!  Onwards...

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Couch to half-marathon

Okay so after the revelation the other day that I'm going to try and run a half-marathon in six months' time, let's break this down a bit.

Maybe one day I can look back at how far I've come?!  ...Which means recording the ugly truth about where I am right now.

I've just turned 39 years old.  I'm what fitness apps like to call "essentially sedentary" - other than housework and lifting my kids occasionally, I do no physical activity whatsoever.  Occasionally I might go for a walk with a friend or my mum when she's here visiting.  Sometimes I ride my bike on the driveway with the kids.  I load firewood in winter.  That's it.  I suppose it's worth noting but of no relevance whatsoever that I am a "healthy" weight.  And that's hopefully the last time you'll hear me mention that topic.

My fitness history is patchy at best.  I'm no athlete.  I was never good at sports at school, although I did enjoy cross country despite never being the fastest or actually, you know, joining the team or anything.  Through my adult life I've had periods of time where I've been a committed gym member, and of course I did do that 5K back in 2013 as previous mentioned.  But for the past eight or so years I've done basically no exercise, and I wouldn't describe myself as a naturally active person at all.

So long story short, I am very definitely starting from zero.  The half-marathon is in July.

My goal is to finish.  To run 99% of it.

So that covers my history and my goal.  Where are we at today?

As of today, I've been running for basically two weeks.  I'm doing run/walk intervals to increase my endurance in the time-honoured C25K method.  Today I ran for five minutes to set a benchmark for my shiny new Garmin watch (it's a Forerunner 245 for those of you taking notes).  I ran a pace of 7:42/km, which means it's going to take me at least 2-3 hours to run the half-marathon... if my very poor maths hasn't failed me.

For the past two weeks I've been doing three runs per week but I'm hoping to increase it to four, running while my girls are at kindy/school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with a long run early on Sunday mornings.

At this early stage I really can't picture how I will achieve my goal.  I find running very hard.  There's no "easy conversational pace" for me, it's all just very hard work.  I'm motivated by the idea of achieving something that feels impossible right now.  Although it's difficult I do enjoy the challenge and of course it feels great knowing you're doing something good for your wellbeing.  On the days I run I get more stuff done, I eat better, and I drink more water.

I'll try to update here once a week or so.  Apologies to those of you who are here for the trees and the knitting posts.  It's going to be a lot about running for a while...


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Running


In a totally unexpected turn of events, I seem to be training for a half marathon.

I haven't run more than ten steps since 2013 when I did The Color Run, a 5km race, back when we lived in Perth.  I trained for the race for about two or three months, enjoyed every moment, made plans for all these other events I was going to do that year... and then promptly lost all motivation after the race, and that was that.

Until now!

I have this friend who runs, like really runs.  I mean, she runs 25km at 5am.  On a Sunday.  I know.

Even though I think she's demented, I can't get enough of hearing about her running. I love everything about it.  Finally, last week she and her other demented runner friend gave me the perfectly timed prod I needed to just go for a run myself.

Very bloody dark

I downloaded a "couch to 5km" (C25K) app, and set off at 5.30am.  It was extremely bloody dark and I was packing my daks a bit, but I think that just made me run faster.  And I loved it.  By the afternoon I was already dying to go for my next run.

Less dark. More better

I knew I needed a goal though.  Since I'd already done a 5km race, I thought I'd aim a little higher and go for a 10K race. By my calculations I would be ready by about May, which it turns out is not a great time of year for races locally.  My friend recommended the Cape Egmont Half Marathon in July, which also has an option to run it as a team, taking half the distance each.  I could do that, she slyly pointed out, or I could go for the whole 21.1km.

Could I??

Is it really physically possible for a total non-athlete like me to go from essentially sedentary to running a half-marathon in barely six months?


I guess I'm about to find out...

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Life since July

It's been almost a month since I started writing this post so I'd better get it finished before the end of the year races up to meet me.

Brace yourself for a massive news dump...

Let's divide this into categories, and we'll start with the youngest member of the family.

A - now three years old, dammit, and don't you forget it.  Anytime she hears the number three she exclaims, "That's how many I'm are!"

I remember that with J the jump from two to three felt big, and I've noticed it again this time.  She's using the toilet full time (still in nappies at night), pedals her big girl bike, tells me, "Leave now!" when I drop her off to kindy, and generally believes herself to be in charge of the household.  When I tell her, "You are not the boss here," she puts her pudgy hands on her hips and retorts, "Yes, I, are!"

I'm enjoying her more than ever.  If you can't tell from the above exchange she's bossy and funny and independent.  She adores her big sister and one of her favourite things to do is to list off everyone she loves, ticking them off on her fingers: "I love myself, and Daddy, and Mummy, and J, and Poppa, and Nan, and Grandpa, and..." The list is long and I think how lucky she is to have so many people to count.



Giving the Japanese garden exhibit at Pukekura Park a going over





Next up let's discuss J, my sweet and enquiring girl whose brain has gone berserk these last few months.  Boy is that girl ready for school.  All day long she peppers me with questions and facts.   "Do rubbish truck drivers enjoy collecting rubbish?  How high is the sky?  Did you know, pelicans are water birds.  What happens when we die?  How do plants make flowers?  What is air made of?  Does Father Christmas go to South Africa?  Did you know, the wind is caused when air heats or cools." And on, and on, and on ALL DAY.

Earlier this year she was very excited for school, but I didn't think she was actually intellectually ready.  Now, however, OH YES SHE IS READY.  That brain is so thirsty for knowledge it's exhausting.

The school has a fantastic transition program where the new entrants attend a program for an hour each week to get to know the school, their teachers, and their classmates, in the term before they start school.  We started attending the transition program a few weeks ago, although she won't be starting until late February next year (after her fifth birthday).  She adores her school visits and asks me every day when it's time to go back.  They've been handing out readers and she earnestly sits on the couch at home, pointing at the words with her finger as she was shown as she "reads".  Of course, what's actually happening that she's got the book memorised, but as an avid reader myself it's lovely to see this happy introduction to the world of reading.

She also loves to sit down with a sheet of paper and a pencil and draw any letters she knows the shape of, and then asks me what they are.  So when I say she's ready for school, the kid is ready.  Just three months to wait...

She's a prolific and (to my highly biased eye) quite talented artist.  She's able to add small numbers together, loves witches - her favourite character in Sleeping Beauty is Maleficent, would happily spend all day outside pottering around watering plants, picking flowers or walking through the paddocks.  She - in fact both girls - love to bake and I can't start even the smallest task in the kitchen without both of them dragging up a stool each to help.  It's worthwhile remembering that I dreamt of this stuff when they were babies and I was exhausted and a bit miserable.









Let's talk garden.  Since the weather has finally warmed up of course everything has sprung into life, including the weeds.

We've planted out a few veggies but after being super organised very early in the piece and raising some seeds, I kind of took my eye off the ball and now it's almost summer with not much actually in the ground. 

At the moment we've got onions and leeks left over from winter, beetroot, beans, peas, rainbow chard, broccoli, a couple of tiny tomato plants, and that's it.  Oh and the raspberry, which is covered in tiny green fruit and I'm beside myself at the thought of the bounty in a month or two.



Yes that is a lamb standing on its mother. This ewe is the most patient attentive mother you've ever seen.


This is Emily, my orphan lamb from last year.  In case you can't tell from that look, we love each other very much.


We've had numerous calves, including several fostered onto existing mothers which if I'm honest was a massive pain in the ass.

...But they are very cute so sign me up again for next year.


Gosh this is a very long ago photo of the vegetable garden. It's nowhere near this neat at the moment.







Another very exciting thing that happened (sort of) recently is my sister, who we'll call Auntie A, came to visit.  This was back in September and it feels so long ago now I can't believe it was only a couple of months.

She was only here for four days and the girls managed to both come down with conjunctivitis right in time for her visit, but we had a FAB.U.LOUS time, even with the kids in tow.  I'm not ashamed to admit we started drinking mid-morning although in hindsight maybe it wasn't the best idea because now I can hardly remember anything from our time together.

I do remember fun though!

And she was suitably appreciative of B's cooking


We managed one leisurely breakfast at the Federal Store


And of course I took her to Back Beach during a flying tour around New Plymouth where I permitted her to take photos out the window of a moving vehicle.


More exciting developments in my life recently include leaving the house!  In heels sometimes!  And make up!  As the girls get older it seems so much easier to leave them and actually have a bit of a social life.

It's no secret that I love being at home, and I really love my alone time.  But it's been nice to mix it up with some time out and about amongst grown ups too.

In the past month or two I've been to the races twice, and out to dinner three times, I think?  I even put a dress on for the races!  Novel.  As I said, it's been nice to re-enter the adult world, to have a reason to put on make up and curate an outfit.  Now I just need to work on my conversational skills so I have something to talk about besides my kids.

Is it worse to talk about your kids or your pets I wonder?


Last item on the agenda, and well done for making it this far if you're still with me, is knitting!  Yay!  Everyone's favourite topic!

I'm still click clacking away, and really enjoying myself.  I've even started selling some small items to a local baby shop. I'm not going to make my fortune but it's a nice way to have my hobby pay for itself.

At the moment they have two of my rompers available, you can find them here and here, NZ residents only, sorry!  I'm working on some more colours as we speak.

Since July I've made a sweater for myself, a dress for J, a couple of dolls' baskets for the girls, a dolls' sweater (and released the pattern!), a rainbow sweater for Auntie A, and another sweater for myself.  Whew!

Currently on my needles is another, ahem, sweater for myself, and as mentioned above more baby rompers for the shop.

One of the sweaters I made for myself. Terrible photo and I am actually happy with it, don't let the facial expression fool you!

Ok!  I think we're all caught up.

Next post will probably be following Christmas which, to be a total cliche, I can't believe is less than a month away.

Ok A is hassling me nonstop for some lunch so I'd really better go.  Hope you are well and looking forward to the end of the year and all that that entails. 

I'll leave you with this sentiment on that note: