Dec 31

Reviewing 2013

That’s it. The year is done, 2013 is over, 364 and a half days have been experienced. So that means it’s time to look back on my ambitions for 2013 and see if I achieved them! The framework was Change, Connect and Challenge, a way of structuring my thoughts for the year. Practically, I split these into 4 areas – physical, relationships, career, and experiences.

Physical

This was me in November.

This is me on Nov 2011 (I actually can’t find one from 2012)

I said that I was going to change physically, that I was going to get thinner and fitter and healthier. But I’ve said that in previous years too, what made this one different? The external pressures were the same, the internal monologue was the same, but this time, the INFORMATION I had was different and that changed the internal motivation. I could see far more about where I was and where I was going. As predicted, the FITBIT was the trigger. Not just counting inputs, but being able to assess output and then understand the balance between them made the difference in my brain. Every step counted, every piece of food weighed and assessed – and manage the gap.

The second element was finding exercise that was easy to add to my life. And that was not the gym, although I have used that a lot, but it was running. There was a random challenge from Juliet on a night out, about running a half marathon in September stuck on my mind and the following morning, I took a look at the site and entries had literally just opened. So I entered the Run to the Beat half. Which meant I had to train, had to have a programme, had to have more structure than a few gym classes a week. My sister also entered, which meant I now had a remote competitor to challenge on training too.

So I ran. I entered shorter races, I found out about parkrun and along the way, I put my name down for the London Marathon, (as of course, you never get in first time), as that had been a random fantasy every April as I watched people run.

I lost 4 stone (for non-Uk people, that’s 56lbs0. I ran my half marathon, and another 2 weeks later and then I found out that I HAD got into the marathon, so training continues…this journey is only just beginning!

My training miles

running

Relationships

Better, but still work to be done on this. Internet dating was a failure, did not do that at all well. But did better at getting out and seeing people

Career

The plans and development that were being discussed at the beginning of the year never came to fruition, opportunities changed and flexed. I spoke at a couple of conferences, about social media and preserving brand voice, had a number of articles published (through employer PR team) and was on TV a few times, again talking social media. So not as much as I wanted, but still, in the main, a good year. There will be major changes coming up though, but more on that when looking at 2014.

Experiences

The LOOP: I completed the bottom half of this, from Erith to Hatton Cross, but then put it on hold as I could not fit it in with the running training. I plan to complete in 2014.

Christopher Wren Churches: I did almost all of them in one mad day in December.

Japan: the trip to Japan was a major success! The race was brilliant, the country was amazing and I had a brilliant time! Just read the daily blog posts

What else?

  • I went to Barcelona to watch F1 Testing
  • I took trips to see cathedrals to York and Arundel
  • I had a go at learning to surf.
  • I was in the audience for the BAFTA TV awards.
  • I went to conferences: TEDx Houses of Parliament, Over the Air at Bletchley Park and Playful 2013
  • I went to Silverstone for the F1, Goodwood for the cars and Henley for the rowing
  • I ran around the Olympic Park for 5 miles and finished the run in the Olympic stadium
  • I got to drive the Jaguar F-Type for a weekend

All in all, a good year!

Dec 29

2013 – Week 52

Christmas Week, that weird one (which carries on into next week) where life does not follow normal pattern!

Reading

Doing

I spent almost the whole week at the parents doing family things! I was due to travel on the Monday via train, but with the bad weather that was predicted, Dad came to pick me up on the Sunday. Good job too, as many trains were disrupted. So the week was spent catching up with family,, a bit of eating, a bit of drinking and a lovely walk in the Clent Hills on Boxing day. I also got my Dad set up on Flickr so he can put his many years of holiday photos on there instead of them being stuck across a couple of machines.

Training

A combination of injury recovery and being at parents meant training was a little mixed this week.

  • Gym session with 15miles on bike, some weights then a a short 2.5mile run back home (in the pouring rain!)
  • 5.6 miles steady run around Himley Park/Baggeridge Woods on Christmas Day. It was a gorgeous bright morning and the park was filled with dog walkers
  • Park run with my sister Sarah (who’s training for a half marathon), plus my other sister’s husband Paul. It was the first park run for both. I ran round with Paul, who has not run for ages and definitely not since his accident – but running with one arm was manageable, he just needs better trainers!
  • 15miles steady around Richmond Park. I started off with the local running club group but they were going far too fast for my plan for the day, so I dropped back and completed it in just over 2.5 hours.

Dec 23

2013 – Week 51

The year is nearly done. Thoughts turn to plans for 2014, personal, professional, what ambitions will I set myself for the year?

Reading

Doing

The week before Christmas seemed to mainly involve having Christmas dinner with people! Or drinks. In total, had 3 dinners this week with various groups of friends, at a restaurant, a pub and a dinner party at home. Setting myself up well for the holidays – where I need to get out and do some more things!

Training

Not so good, another week with an injury, so planning on spending the next week focusing on stretching and strengthening before getting back out there.

Dec 16

2013 – Week 50

An interesting week, with potential for huge changes. But more on that as they crystalise!

Reading

  • Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregellis. An interesting Alt-history story, the first in a trilogy. What happens if the Germans had harnessed mental powers in WW2 and what would be the UK response.
  • The Brilliant Hack that brought Foursquare back from the dead on Wired. Story around the latest changes to Foursquare. I’ve been a consistent user of the app for years but recently it lost its way. When looking for recs, want to know what’s available in the street I’m standing in, not something a few miles away. The latest version has brought that back, so I’m happy about that. I’m also going to be more of a old fashioned user, as I like it to track my visits. If you do that, you can great maps like this! (So I rarely go NW or SE in London…)

    Foursquare Checkins - London - first half of 2012

  • Train times vs House Prices. by Anna Powell-Smith. Turning data into information. Where is the best place to buy to minimise commute and maximise value?
  • Concussions and Rugby in The Guardian. A story of rugby, a schoolboy and Second Impact Syndrome

Doing

  • Went for cocktails with friends at Purl. Lovely place!
  • Went to the launch party for The Walk, the new app from my friends at Six to Start. It’s had some great coverage!
  • Drinks with an ex-colleague who has just started a role at the National Gallery. Sounds really exciting!!!
  • Dinner and drinks with friends over from San Francisco. Had a brilliant meal at Hakkasan, had my first glass of Chateau Margaux (mmmm!) and then introduced them to a London pub the week before holidays. A trip to De Hems was spent watching people in Christmas jumpers try and hook up whislt singing along to 80′s songs mixed with Christmas songs. Can you believe they’d never heard of a Fairytale of New York?!

    Chateau Margaux

Training

It was my first official week of the marathon training, as I start the 18 week training plan. It kicks off with 8 miles with 4miles at half-marathon pace, then the rest of the week as steady runs. The knee brace is working well, I’m nursing a shin injury so being a little careful, but things going well.

Dec 08

2013 – Week 49

Reading

  • Odon Childbirth device: Car mechanic uncorks a revolution. A feature about Jorge Odon, a car mechanic from Argentine, who has invented a new device to help with childbirth.
  • What we can learn from fake tears on social media (The Kernal). Why people push their grief onto social media when a celebrity dies. (something you would rarely see me doing, I never know the person!)
  • Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett. I didn’t want to start, as it could be the last book from Pratchett. He’s an author I’ve bought all the stories,the first when he was signing books in Blackwells when I was at college. At that point, there was no queue at all, something that would never happen these days.

Doing

  • A little work dinner for a pitch team, just some wine and Italian. It was the first time I’d been to Vapiano’s, where you queue up to order your pasta or pizza. Decided I don’t like the system. Ordering at a counter and waiting for them to bring it is one thing (like GBK, or Nando’s), but don’t like the having to wait around for the order to be cooked!
  • An evening out at Fashion Fringe. The 10th year of this event had a little celebration, announcing that it was also the last year. Not my usual event, but it was a lot of fun, with wine and sushi and loads of interesting dresses to take a look at. There were apparently celebrities there, but my usual lack of recognition was there and failed to see anyone I could put a name too!
    FashionFringe London
  • It was time for the office Christmas party on Wednesday. A well put together evening at UFF Tea Merchants, where it’s all styled like the 30s. We had a band playing old time music with a lead singer aged 74, who was pretty brilliant. Overall, a very good night. I left at a reasonable time without going overboard, which meant I then had the pleasure of watching the office the following morning struggle! :-)
  • I used my last spare day on Friday. A long run, followed by a lovely lunch at the Cinnamon Club then a trip to the National Gallery. it was supposed to be wrapped up with drinks with a friend, but their work got in the way.
    Venison
  • Nelson Mandela died on Thursday night, so wandering around town on the Friday there were gatherings at the statue in Parliament Square and outside the embassy in Trafalgar Square, where people were queuing to sign a book of remembrance.
    Memorial

Training

After a week off for injury, I was back training this week.

  • 3.34 miles @ 9:57 paces. Fairly steady run
  • 3.05 miles @ avg9:46 pace. Interval runs, with fast 1k pieces (well, sort of)
  • 9.03 miles @ 10:42 pace. Steady run around Richmond Park
  • 16:04 miles @ 10:45 pace. Another run around Richmond Park, along with the hills. My farthest run yet! Felt pretty good, although last mile was painful, but I kept up the pace. There was a santa run there at the same time, but did not fins myself in the middle of them!
    Santa Run in Richmond Park
Dec 03

Boots Blogger Event – Sensationail

Last week I attended a blogger event, pulled together under the auspices of Boots I believe. It was aimed at beauty bloggers, so not 100% sure why I was on the list, but it was a very good event, looking at 2 different devices that use light to help you in the quest for looking and feeling good.

First of these was the more straightforward. It’s Sensationail, a system that provides you with the ability to use gel nail varnish at home. The key component is a light nail dryer. Powered by LED lights, (so it stays reasonably cool), the lamp dries the layers in 60 seconds, so that it easy to create great looking nails.

Sensationail Starter Kit

Sensationail Starter Kit

I like wearing nail varnish, but it is something I don’t do very often. i tend to have 2 major problems. First, getting the varnish on and getting it dried before it smudges and smears. Secondly, keeping it on as I’m prone to too many chips.

The system seems to help me with both problems. The process to paint your nails does take a while, with at least 5 different layers to be added – cleaner, base 1, base 2, polish layer (there can be more than one), then top coat. But with the light system, it dries very quickly, so I never managed to get it smudged.

So far, I have not managed to chip the gel polish. I have, however, managed to flake of sections but this is directly attributed to where I did not finish the application properly, either taking it too far onto skin or not capping the nail. the ones where I managed to get it all right, it sticks on well without chipping. The lesson? I need a LOT more practice!

Two other things I was told that sounds good – you can mix the colours to make your own new ones and it’s great for nail art as you can paint and wipe until it’s right before setting it.

Not my usual post, but it was a great event and I picked up a lot of tips. Perfect for dressing up for the Christmas party this week!

Dec 02

2013 – Week 48

Reading

Doing

  • Took a day off on Monday and used it to wander round London looking at Sir Christopher Wren Churches

    Wren's Churches

  • On the same day had lunch at the Michelin starred Club Gascon. Gorgeous!
  • On Wednesday, attended a blogger event at the May Fair Hotel, where we got to look at the Sensationails gel nail varnish system and the iPulse Smooth Skin System. Had a great talk by a professor of laser physics! Full write up to follow.
  • On Friday, I was at another brand event, this one a pop-up bar for Grey Goose. Gorgeous cocktails and a very, very slick event showcasing the brand. Very impressive dressing and service. I ended up going on to club with some people from the event, having a really good night and a very late finish :-)
  • Saturday was shopping day. Having reached target size, headed out to the Westfield stores to collate the start of the capsule wardrobe, over an above my work jeans/tops. Very successful outing with all the required pieces purchased in a couple of hours!
  • Put the tree up! Yes, it’s early, but I like the lights in an evening!

Training

There as none. A knee injury necessitated taking the week off. I rested, started added some specific strength exercises and bought a knew support. Took a light run on Sunday to test it and so far so good