Goodbye 2014 – Hello 2015!

Well, last year was an amazing year, jam-packed full with some exciting stuff. I honestly can’t believe it’s over and a new year has begun already. At the end of September it seems I blinked and here I am in January! Is this a sign of getting old, or just being really busy? I’m hoping it’s the latter.

Anyway, I began 2014 with anticipation of my first half marathon to run, and knowing I would apply for the London Marathon (spoiler alert, I didn’t get in!) but I had no idea I’d be ending it with one of my friends having had a baby and another getting engaged. Who knows how 2015 will end? It’s been a fab year, and here’s a run down of what I have been up to:

January:

  • I began the year with my new 5 year Q&A diary. I started with good intentions but as with all these kinds of things I didn’t have the follow through and ended up forgetting to fill it in by about month 3. Bad Erin.
  • Training began for the MK Half Marathon.
  • I started the 30 day plank challenge, and gave up at that about midway through after realising my core wasn’t strong enough to start with and I was causing more damage than good. Maybe I’ll give it another go in 2015 now my core is a bit stronger.

February:

  • I saw Taylor Swift in her Red tour with Gary and my Niece.
  • We watched Dog Day Afternoon at the Southbank BFI as part of their Al Pacino Season.
  • We saw Pixar in Concert with music played by the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.

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  • I was in full swing with healthy food and meal preparation to accompany our training.
  • I was mostly listening to Afterglow by Wilkinson as my song of the moment.
  • I was a featured photographer on Red Bubble’s Front Page.

March:

  • My friend Jen and I tried our hands at Yoga.
  • I ran my first sub 30 minute 5k
  • Gary and I completed the MK 10k on the hottest day of the year so far.

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April:

  • I started the 100 Happy Days instagram project. (Look right for my instagram widget and to follow me there!)
  • We cheered on the runners at the London Marathon.
  • My music of choice this month was Mr Little Jeans – check her out!
  • Easter was spent with friends with a Good Friday meal out and then a roast dinner with the Book Club girls. We found out one of the girls was pregnant and due in November – the first book club baby!

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  • Gary, Tash and I ran the fairly disappointing Electric Run but it was fun to dress up!

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May:

  • This month saw Gary and I complete our first half marathon. It was a tough slog, but we did it!

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  • I spent a few weekends catching up with old friends and really enjoying the beautiful weather.
  • Gary and I went to Brighton with his family and I got my wish to see the sea!

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  • I was mostly listening to Hozier this month.

June:

  • In early June Gary and I went back to the O2 and saw Katy Perry in her Prismatic tour.

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  • I was very proud of my girls when we completed the Race for Life together with great finishing times.

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  • I became a World Cup widow and as a result worked my way through the complete series of Veronica Mars. It was rather fun actually!

July:

  • And so began my busiest month of the year as Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug turned 5 years old!
  • I spent time with friends at the local Waterside Festival and in the same weekend accidentally went to see Haim and Kings of Leon at the Mk Bowl.

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  • I went riding rollercoasters with my Sister-In-Law at Thorpe Park.
  • Gary and I visited Southend on Sea and saw the sea again.
  • We began regular cardio training after a break from the gym since the half marathon.
  • My BFF Jen’s hard work paid off as she looked amazing on stage at her bikini competition.

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  • We played tourist in London and visited Westminster Abbey.
  • Tash and I ran the Women’s Running 10k, this year in Milton Keynes, in the pouring rain.

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  • One of my top 3 events of the year happened this month: Hot Dub Time Machine on the Southbank. It really was the best party ever.
  • I coined the term Flogging.
  • Book Club Girl, Sarah announced her engagement!

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August:

  • We celebrated Sarah’s 30th Birthday in style with a wonderful picnic and BBQ party.
  • Gary and I went back in time with Secret Cinema
  • We tried our hands at Body Attack.
  • Robin Williams lost his battle with depression. Dialogue and discussion was opened up around the world and people were openly discussing mental disorders for the first time.
  • Gary and I saw Brief Encounter at the Royal Festival Hall with musical score performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
  • V Festival rocked our socks

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  • The internet was overtaken by the Ice Bucket Challenge
  • Two wonderful men were able to legally marry and I was able to share some of their day with them.

September:

  • This month I was mostly listening to Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran.
  • Gary surprised me and to celebrate our wedding anniversary we went to Disneyland Paris, the happiest place on earth!

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  • I joined Rock Choir with my Mum.

October:

  • Taylor Swift released 1989 so I pretty much rocked out to that for the whole month.
  • We threw a cute little baby shower for Book Clubber, Caz

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  • My first concert with Rock Choir was this month, supporting Kerry Ellis on her UK tour and singing on stage for the first time in 13 years. What a way to make my return!
  • Jen and I went to the Royal Festival Hall to see Lena Dunham speak for her world book tour.

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November:

  • Baby Leo was born and what a cutie he is!
The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!
The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!

 

  • Rock Choir had a lot of events in store for us including Hatfield Frost Fair and finally recording at Abbey Road!

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December:

  • Christmas came and went!
  • The Book Club met together for a New Year’s Eve Eve meal and resolutions/predictions were set for the following year. We said goodbye to Sarah for three months and as I type she’s winging her way to Orlando. Not jealous at all…. 😀

So you can see it was a pretty full 2014. I already have two runs booked for 2015 (Bupa 10,000 and Women’s Running 10k), a gig at the end of January (Hozier) and plans for V Festival. Sarah’s Hen party to Ibiza at the start of September and a potential spa evening with the Book Club girls in March. Fitness intentions are to be bikini confident by September and health intentions are to get hold of and beat the anxiety that controls me daily. I intend on winning this battle most of all, and I’ll start with my fear of driving which I have almost beaten but not quite.

I really can’t wait to see what 2015 holds and take you along for the ride!

2015… what’ya got for me?

God Bless Us, Everyone

I don’t know how it’s happened, but all of a sudden it’s Christmas Eve Eve! I type this as I watch A Muppet Christmas Carol and sip on a snowball. I finally got around to writing my Christmas cards this evening, and wrapping the last of the presents. My new Christmas jumper is twitching in my wardrobe, eager to be worn (I won it in a competition Fat Face were running on their Facebook page. It’s worth entering these things, apparently!)

Since I last wrote a few things have happened:

  • My good friend Tash ran her first half marathon in a very respectable time and I am super proud of her!
  • We went to London for our work’s Christmas party and saw some old friends.
  • The book club girls came over and we got to spend a chilled afternoon in each other’s company AND have cuddles with little baby Leo.
  • I’ve watched more Christmas movies. We now have The Grinch, Love Actually and Bernard and the Genie under our belts.
  • More Christmas lights have been added to our living room grotto and it’s super Christmassey!
  • I made and have delivered most of my handmade Christmas pressies for this year. I plan on blogging about them after Christmas since not everyone has had theirs yet. But they have seemed to go down well so far!

Christmas Eve tomorrow will be spent at work for most of the day, getting festive with my wonderful team and then G-Man and I will share a very festive KFC dinner and watch our traditional Christmas Eve films, The Holiday and then The Polar Express (with hot chocolate of course!) Last Christmas, Gary and I wrote letters to ourselves a year in the future all about the past year and what we expected for 2014. We don’t know what each other wrote, but tomorrow evening we’ll open them. It’s our first year doing this, and I have no idea what I wrote so I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what it says!

I honestly can’t believe that it’s almost the end of 2014 and I’m really looking forward to writing my round-up. It’s been such an amazing year and I really can’t wait for 2015!

So there’s nothing left to do but to wish all my readers a safe and exciting Christmas and New Year. I hope you are able to spend it with friends and family and that whatever your situation it’s filled with love. Merry Christmas!

I won a Christmas jumper!
I won a Christmas jumper!

 

The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!
The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!

 

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Getting festive in the supermarket

 

London Marathon 2014

Well Sunday was an epic day. We headed off early so we could get a good spot along Embankment, with a packed lunch each and a backpack full of jelly babies.

The weather was amazing as we took position under a shady tree and got ready to see the Elite runners go past.

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Eagerly awaiting Mo Farah’s appearance we were pleased we had arrived early enough to see the elite women come through first.

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I deliberately didn’t take a photo when Mo came past because I wanted to watch him go. He ran right along the barrier we were standing at and it’s amazing how fast and powerful he was even coming up to the 24 mile marker.

And then the rest of the masses started to slowly filter through. Firstly the young athletic Oxford and Cambridge types, who are obviously members of running clubs at their Colleges, and then more and more people appeared. It was amazing to see so many different types of people running together. At around 1pm we got the jelly babies out as we started to see walkers. They were welcomed by a lot of runners and it really made our experience more special as we were able to chat to some of the runners as they stopped for a sugar hit.

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I hadn’t noticed the woman waving at my camera in the photo above until I uploaded the pictures today! Also note that by this point very few people were actually running!

A highlight for me was when two middle-aged Chinese lady runners all dressed in pink stopped in front of us and I took a photo for them amongst the rest of the runners. They were so happy and proclaimed to me ‘we are sisters’ – they were having an amazing time! Of course there were the fancy dressed people, who I am in awe of since the weather was so warm.

Gary and I were following a couple of people all day on the Virgin Marathon website. We missed Gary’s friend and he must have run straight past us. I was following Mary from A Healthier Moo and managed to see her but she was well in The Zone, headphones in, and right across the road from me so couldn’t hear me shouting. She was looking so strong by this point, amazingly since most people were walking. She was ploughing through the walkers!

There were a few sad sights too though. One lady who pushed way too hard that she turned up at mile 24 really early on and was deliriously talking out load about just needing to sit down. White as a sheet she stumbled onto the curb and then lay down. A steward tried to lift her up and towards an aid station but as the runner couldn’t hold her own weight they had to get her stretchered off. Another young lady walked along the barriers, her headphones in hand, telling anyone who would listen “it’s so hard!” as she fought back the tears. As she walked towards me I shouted her name and told her to ‘come on’ and ‘you can do this, you’re nearly there!’ and as she passed me she started running again. A little further on another runner started to encourage her on. It’s a tough thing to do and no matter how prepared you are, you can fluff it on the day by not listening to your training or your body. The atmosphere and excitement can make your mind go to mush, and after 24 miles I can’t see how anyone could think straight.

Despite it looking so hard, the day was so inspiring, and on April 22nd I’m going to be amongst the virtual crowds putting my name into the ballot for next year.

Congratulations to all those amazing people who trained so hard and completed the London Marathon on Sunday. It’s an event worthy of any bucket list and now you can give it a big old tick!

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Goodbye 2013

Well, the end of the year is upon us. And what a year it’s been! It started out rubbish but so much has happened this year that I have to say it’s been one of the best.

At the end of 2012 I wrote this:

So 2013 – it’s going to be about change and planning for the future. It’s going to be about doing what we want to do and having fun. Getting healthier and being happy. I’m also going to be a blonde rather than a red-head! We want to get into our own house and make a place our own. 2013 looks promising and I can’t wait.

Well that was mostly true. I gave up on being blonde pretty soon into 2013 and I’m pleased I did – I’m a red-head at heart and that’s that! I started 2013 on the verge of being jobless, stuck in a terrible rental house with the world’s noisiest neighbours, family health issues and bored.

  • The biggest change to our lives was when we started running. I’m so glad I did. I’ve been running now since April and there’s no going back. The fact that Gary started running too was amazing and now I have two 5k and two 10k races under my belt. It’s not easy and it takes some motivation but we definitely spur each other on. I’m planning on writing a blog about my year in running soon, and detailing the fun planned for 2014.
  • We bought a house! Finally we landed ourselves an amazing place. It’s needs some work doing on it, but that’s part of making it our own. When we’re finished we could have our dream first home!
  • Health – My Dad got the all clear after being diagnosed with cancer at the end of last year. It’s been so tough for him but he’s remained strong and has come out stronger because of it. We’re all so proud of him. Gary’s health has also improved due to treatments which have allowed him to start running and keep at it. He’s tired all the time because of the Crohn’s but he’s powering through. We’ve both joined a gym to help us get stronger, which in turn will assist our running. Magic.
  • Work – since my retail job at the start of the year was temporary, I changed jobs with the help of a friend and now am in a position I love and finally out of retail. It’s also brought me closer to one of my best friends, which is amazing!
  • Friends – this year I’ve seen so much more of my friends and loved it! A group of us girls, we’ve named book club even though there are no books involved, and also seeing my other best friends regularly has been amazing. Seeing my friend Jen every day at work has brought us closer and she’s more of a sister from another mister now. I don’t know what I’d do without her! I’m really very lucky.
  • Music – since changing jobs I get to listen to the radio every day and as a result I’ve actually been fairly up to date with current releases for the first time in years. What’s more is I’ve actually liked some of it – who knew?!
  • I saw Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Frankie Valli this year, and also sat in a room with Al Pacino whilst he talked about his life.
  • Reading – well I’m currently 17 books behind my 40 book target. Since changing jobs I don’t really have the time for reading, but I’ve managed to read a couple of books in the last week or so.

My general outlook on life has remained positive. I took a massive risk with my job last year and was able to leave a permanent job for a temporary one which I knew I would enjoy much more. My mental attitude changed at that point and anything seemed possible. I felt like I wasn’t drained of all energy and prospects when I came home and I felt encouraged by the people I worked with. Towards the end of my contract, the manager told me everything would work out when I didn’t get the job I thought was mine to have. She was right. I got another job and within two months was also a home owner. Not bad eh? Everything most definitely happens for a reason.

And so we stand on the edge of the next year, peering over with anticipation of what will or will not be. I find that very exciting. It’s a chance for a new start, new months all unwritten and full of prospects. Parts of my 2014 are already planned. I’d like to have a holiday at some point, but other than that I have some races already booked into my calendar (more on those in my upcoming running post) I’m going to see Taylor Swift in February and Katy Perry in May. I want to become stronger and fitter and get a few steps closer to becoming the best version of myself.

So here’s to an amazing 2014 – make sure you ring it in good and proper!

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