Looking back at 2013

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When I look back at 2013 it seems like it was a very long year and yet it all flew by in the blink of an eye.

I achieved so much this year, some things were quite momentous, some were small and personal and others were simply things that were long over due.

P1020422Richard and I finally got to Vancouver and Vancouver Island in September and this truly was the holiday of a lifetime.  I find it difficult to switch off and usually only manage to do so a couple of days before our return.  This was not the case with Canada as the country is truly magical.  There was so much to take in, to see and explore – I honestly did not want to come home.

From bear prints on the beach, driving through storms on Vancouver Island and enjoying beaches where we were the only occupants – I could not fault this holiday.  I want to return to Canada as soon as we can to drink in more of this wonderful country.

We’ve also visited Luxembourg, Spain and several places around the UK thanks to a glorious summer.

Hanging around London with Enda and Jon was fun – it’s not often you get to dangle off the front of a building with your friends!  (I want to do it again!)

One of the things I wanted to do before heading to Canada was to learn to ride a bike.  The intention was to cycle around Stanley Park but we ended up walking as it seemed the best way to be able to take in the sights.

That’s not a problem though as I learnt to ride quickly and am now the owner of my first ever bike – a bike whose purchase has benefited communities in Africa.

A friend told me about council run schemes to get everyone cycling and this extends to adults.  Thankfully there were courses in Colchester and apart from some early apprehension and nerves I soon got on with it and was cycling in no time.  I still have much to learn (through experience) but having only had two or three lessons I am now cycling to the station (in the summer at least) and am enjoying the freedom the bike gives me.

I didn’t complete the lessons this year (I don’t have to but want to do the road proficiency lesson), but hope to do this in the new year.  Thankfully though that’s one childhood hate conquered for good (thanks Steph).

20130721-091645.jpg2013 has been a great year for concerts and I have seen many acts in many different places this year.  One of the most memorable was Goldfrapp at Somerset House – a fantastic band in a brilliant setting – the perfect summers evening in London (thanks Paul).

Richard and I attended an Eliane Elias concert at Union Chapel in the autumn and I was blown away by her talent and her musical heritage – a fantastic woman with a stunning voice, the female Tony Bennett.  And of course the one concert I have constantly raved about was Woodkid – I cannot express just how great the show was – if you get the chance to  go see him you really should.

There have been some excellent exhibitions in London this year and I have tried to attend as many as I could.  I loved The Light Show and the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective.  Others though are best forgotten (moving scenery at the Barbican was terrible – so terrible in fact I can’t even remember its actual name!).

My running continued from strength to strength and thanks to Paul I got out in London and went for runs during my lunch break (although I am not a fan of the crowds).  We completed the Richmond Park 10K in the spring which was very picturesque and this helped put me in a good mental place for the half marathon training – it also helps to have such great coaching and support from Paul (plus other friends who are avid runners).

At the beginning of the year I was lucky enough to win a place at the Nike Flyknit run in London.  Sadly I didn’t get to keep the trainers but I did enjoy a night run through London which I will never forget – I doubt I will be running through London with flares and neon glow sticks any time soon!

xIMG_2594Of course my biggest achievement was completing the Royal Parks Half Marathon at the beginning of October.  A race that I managed to convince many of my friends to run with me and they all seemed to enjoy it as much as I did (didn’t you Enda, Em, Paul… 😃 )

This really proved I can (quite literally) go the distance and that I have the will and the discipline to train and achieve such great things…  It was also great to raise £1,600 for the British Heart Foundation (thanks to all who sponsored and supported me) and I enjoyed a great day training with the BHF in central London – although next time I wouldn’t want to do it on the hottest day of the year!

Running has not only made me fitter is has also got me to adapt my diet as I wanted to make sure I was training right and backing this up with a sufficient diet.  I used to hate pasta and as I am allergic to tomatoes have pretty much avoided it until now.  Surprising Richard and myself I am now regularly eating pasta which has not only extended my diet but has also opened up my choices of restaurant when we go out (just as long as it’s available with a white sauce!).

Richard and I are very settled in our house and I love being in Colchester – although we don’t actually go into town that much, the location is great for walking, running and exploring.  I have explored so much this year and most through running which I discovered is literally on our doorstep. I would not have achieved half as much as I have this year had we been living somewhere else.

We’ve been creative with the DIY skills this year too, adding the odd splash of colour to most of the rooms in the house.  It’s been hard work at times but well worth it.  Our house really is our home and I am so happy to come home each nice to such a lovely home which I get to enjoy with Richard and Brandy).

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I am grateful that my parents are still fighting fit and enjoying life – there was a scare earlier in the year but my mum has bounced back well and for this I am grateful.

Richard and I celebrated our 7th Civil Partnership Anniversary and we had a very romantic weekend in Luxembourg.  Richard truly is my rock and I don’t know what I would do without him in my life.  Spending time together in Canada was magical and being proud to tell him I could now ride a bike was a highlight as I could see how pleased of me he was.

I am also grateful for my friends,  some of whom have been very supportive and inspiring through the year.  They’ve really made 2013 fun.

We are hurtling towards 2014 and it’s going to be a big one for me as I turn 40 at the beginning of February.  We already have a trip home to my parents to celebrate and then Richard and I are off to New York to celebrate in style 😃    I hope to carry on running and enjoying everything that has made 2013 so memorable.  Have a great new year everyone!

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