Up at the O2!

I am slowly but surely working my way through my exciting list of challenges, although now aged 31 and 4 months!! We had an amazing time climbing over the O2 with Kate and Mark. Our climb was at 8pm and it was a lovely clear evening, the views were magical over the east of London. It was amazing to see through Canary Wharf to Tower Bridge and to spot all sorts of other east London landmarks. I can highly recommend the climb – thanks for the challenge guys! Rx  



Fizzy Friday

What a wonderful way to celebrate the weekend… Kirsty D’s very wonderful challenge was to learn the difference between types of fizz. Kirsty was the perfect tutor, currently working in corporate sales for Corney & Barrow wine merchants and also studying for her latest wine exam, so this was an ideal revision session!! Kirsty, Kirsty M and I each tasted prosecco, champagne and cava. Kirsty was incredibly knowledgable and clear with her many fizz facts and we learned a lot about each variety. We used the BLIC (balanced length intensity complexity) method to discuss each. I have uploaded a photo of my notes which I hope make sense… I discovered all sorts of new information, got  answers to lots of questions and had a very lovely evening. Thanks so so much Kirsty for this fantastic challenge, you are a pro and it was definitely a favourite! Hopefully I will retain some of your wonderful knowledge! Good luck with the exam! Rx


Epic day of pics…

Marica and I spent the most wonderful day taking photos around Waterloo, Westminster, Whitehall and the Strand. I was so excited about this challenge – we have the same digital SLR and attended a photography course together years ago, needless to say she remembers A LOT more of it than I do and so she was the most wonderful tutor as we wandered and snapped! We met at Waterloo at 10.30 and followed a route impeccably and imaginatively planned by her husband Henry. Our cameras were put back in their cases at 4.30 after an amazing and very memorable day of photography (we also managed to squeeze in a delicious cream tea for lunch at the Cellarium cafe in Westminster Abbey whilst we sheltered from the rain!). It was the most mindful and focused few hours I’ve had for such a long time, we both commented that it was lovely to be tourists for the day and to look up and around in our gorgeous city, rather than marching around with a purpose, which we tend to do most of the time! A few of my 300 or so photos are below, Marica took some incredible shots which I can’t wait to see again soon. The next thing I have to do is decide which to get printed to complete my challenge, or maybe I’ll print one of hers…! Thanks so much Marica and Henry, such a special and memorable day. Rx

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Oil painting fun!

Today I completed my next challenge, to learn how to use oil paints… Sarah and I had a very fun and messy afternoon while she shared her creative wisdom and oil paint knowledge! We also had a visit from Sarah’s sis Anna and new baby Ruaridh, such a gorgeous wee man. We each had a canvas and painted for about 3 hours – I loved learning the techniques and watching the professional artist in action! I was pretty happy with my first attempt (Sarah’s painting was incredible!) and will look forward to next time. Thanks so much for the amazing challenge and for sharing your wisdom! Rx





Life drawing

This evening Lisa took me to an amazing drop in life drawing class in The Vaults underneath Waterloo Station, an incredible venue for a very fun evening! My only drawing experience was from school Art, which I dropped as soon as I could, I was awful!! Lisa, on the other hand, has always been a cool arty type and I remember her school uniform being covered in paint! I was slightly nervous but also very excited for this very different challenge. There were about 35 of us there drawing 2 female models, the poses varied from 30 seconds to 30 minutes over 2 hours. The tutor very quickly realised I was a total beginner and gave me some great tips. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, a very mindful and calm way to spend 2 hours totally focused on the moment. I will definitely be doing it again and can highly recommend the classes http://www.londondrawing.com. No photos from this eve as I’m very definitely still learning…! Thanks for a fantastic challeneg Lis! R x

Making a difference…

Today was dedicated to one of my challenges to ‘make a difference’ – a great challenge which I’ll be continuing to think about over the course of the year. The original email read…

My offering is that you “Make a Difference” – to strangers you pass as well as loved ones. A smile, a word, a phonecall, a wave, a kindness, a pop-in, a nod – a remembrance – just wee things to you but might just make someone’s day, or even week – or might even make them think how much it meant to them and encourage them to do the same for other people. It’s infectious ! In Japan they say “Greetings to each other are the flowers of the heart”.

The other day an old colleague wrote on facebook that she was collecting food for a family in need and, after contributing, it got me thinking… So I looked up my local food bank and today bought and donated 30 items that they were running low on (tinned meat, pasta sauce and basic toiletries). It felt like a good deed and for a great cause. You can find your nearest food bank via the Trussell Trust website http://www.trusselltrust.org/map. Thanks for the challenge Auntie Anne, I will continue to keep the Japanese quote in my mind! R x


Disney on Ice!

Last Friday night saw the next of my challenges, I went to see Disney on Ice at the NIA in Birmingham with Lucy Coops! Wow what a night – much singing and dancing fun had by all… Each classic Disney film took it in turns to amaze us with incredible ice skating, alongside original songs and voices. My favourites were Aladdin and The Lion King, Lucy’s favourite was the whole thing! A real childhood indulgence – thanks Lucy for the amazing challenge! R x





Picnic and play in the park

Last night Greg and I went to see To Kill A Mockingbird with Ed and Griff at the open air theatre in Regents Park. We had a delicious picnic in the park and then saw the play which was absolutely wonderful. It’s one of my favourite books and it was beautifully translated to the stage. The cast and set were amazing and it was so atmospheric seeing it in the open air! Luckily it was a lovely evening so no waterproofs were needed! We celebrated Ed and Griff’s exciting engagement news and had a wonderful evening. I can highly recommend seeing a play at the open air theatre (sadly it was the last night of TKAMB but it’s about to go on a national tour, catch it if you can!), and we will definitely be going again next summer… Thanks for the amazing challenge and a fabulous evening guys! Rx





Swamp swimming

On Sunday I completed the next of my challenges, swimming in one of the ponds on Hampstead Heath… I was excited about this one, but also very nervous as I am not a strong swimmer and hate not being able to see what’s underneath me! We took advantage of a break in Hurricane Bertha’s incredible rain storm and headed up to the Heath… I completed the challenge of one short swim to the buoy and back – a great sense of achievement despite the small distance! Thanks to Carolyn and Luke for the challenge (and for a delicious pre-swim brunch) and to Greg, Carolyn, Sarah and Adam for joining me in the water! Photos below, you can just see me high-fiving Carolyn after the challenge was completed! Rx



Great Scottish Bake Off

I was challenged to learn how to bake using vegetables in place of normal ingredients, I will be baking various things throughout the year testing lots of different recipes and vegetables! Kirsty and I made sweet potato brownies on Friday eve which we took to Sarah’s for supper on Saturday. The recipe was from the ‘Honestly Healthy’ cookbook. They were more successful than we had expected, but definitely more of a torte than a brownie!! Some of the ingredients were quite expensive (mainly from Whole Foods) but I thriftily used some of the sweet potato purée I’d made and frozen for Archie, perfect! Sarah served them with her lemon sherbet meringues, delicious. I would recommend them, but make sure you serve with creme fraiche or ice cream, otherwise they’re quite dry! But very yummy! Rx