Monday, 23 February 2015

The Big Birthday Road Trip

So, it's booked. The big birthday USA road trip will definitely be happening this Summer. I am EXCITED. We'll fly over to the USA for three weeks, starting in Las Vegas and working our way across through Death Valley National Park, Yosemite National Park, Sonoma wine country, San Francisco, down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) over a few days to San Diego, before heading back up the coast for our final stop in Los Angeles.

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(I'm a bit in love with all of the cute place illustrations on

We've researched each place and booked each of our overnight stops independently, which has afforded us lots of flexibility in price and location. We toyed with the idea of booking as we travel but given the popularity of the PCH route, especially in the Summer months, we decided against it. The scenery, our itinerary and our bed will change drastically with each place we visit. We'll sleep in a room in one of the themed casino hotels in Vegas, sweat it out in a tent in the middle of the desert, hide food from bears in a forest tent cabin in Yosemite, guzzle wine by a fire pit at a tranquil bed and breakfast in Sonoma, head down to the beach from our private room at an apartment in Santa Monica, and swim in The Chamberlain's rooftop pool in 'WeHo'. I'm especially excited to spend two nights in this safari tent at El Capitan Canyon, just north of Santa Barbara. We're big fans of the film Sideways and plan to head to Bulleton and visit the Hitching Post!


Daily question at the moment: 'What are you most excited about RIGHT NOW about our holiday?"
At this very moment, here are my top five: 
  • hiking in Yosemite
  • food trucks
  • sunset over the Grand Canyon and remembering when I shared the view with my Dad in 2001
  • wine tasting
  • 4th July fireworks in San Diego 

If you want evidence of quite how distracting planning this trip has become, you can find my ever-growing Pinterest board here! 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Thirty Minus Four Weeks

It's four weeks until my thirtieth birthday. I've not posted about my 30 for Thirty progress for a while, but I have been crossing a few off here and there, and making plans to complete others over the coming months. One I've been working on since January is #13. Run a 10K

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I remember deciding to join a school friend when she signed up for the cross-country lunchtime club in Year 7. I quickly swapped it for choir and orchestra, preferring these to running around the local park in gym knickers. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy exercising and recognise all of its physical and psychological health-related rewards. I have just never been a runner and usually avoid the treadmill when I'm at the gym. For the past five years, I've gone almost weekly to an aqua run class which is brilliant and a great cardio workout, but the most I could run out of the swimming pool, before passing out, was probably around five minutes, and that would've been on a very good day! 

I fear 'run' a 10K might have been too optimistic as a 30 for Thirty goal, but I do really want to see what I can train my body to do. People say that it's a case of building it up slowly, not giving up after the first few painful, beetroot-faced runs. So, in the cold, windy days of January, I decided to start my slow build up. My sister-in-law suggested one of the many different 'couch to 10K' run programs and within the week I was on a treadmill at the gym faced with 9 repetitions of 1 minute run, 2 minute walk. For a runner, simple. For me, it was a daunting prospect. The poor man next to me had to put up with heavy breathing, sweating and muttered cursing. I was so pleased with myself afterwards!

Yesterday was the first session of week 5 and I'm impressed by the difference from day 1 to now. I never thought I'd see over 5K on my distance reader. Yesterday it read just under 6K, from a 46 minute effort (5 minute warm up walk, 5 minute cool down walk, and 9 reps of 3 run, 1 walk). I'm curious to know just how much I can push my lazy little body. I'm enjoying the buzz (afterwards, more than during!). As the nights get lighter I'll start running around the nearby park as I've been assured that it's easier to keep going for longer when you're outside. There's a Spring 10K in Liverpool in May and I'm really tempted to sign up and see what I can manage. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

January 2015

  • Welcoming the New Year in PJs with champagne, candles and a good movie
  • Family time on the first day of 2015
  • Celebrating M's 30th with a weekend with family at a cosy forest lodge near Delamere Forest: relaxing in the hot tub, sipping champagne, blowing up balloons, wrapping up for forest walks, overeating, playing lots board games, cosying up by a log fire.
  • More celebrations, just the two of us, finally eating at Kaasbah, Birdman at Fact, and cocktails
  • A Sunday breakfast with friends and playing board games until late
  • Dinner and Pandemic with friends
  • Burgers, beer and the fun sounds of Alvvays at the Deaf Institute
  • M's band's last gig (for a while), followed up by Friday night send off drinks for the band's guitarist who has moved to Scotland
  • First Aid Kit at Manchester's Apollo. An unplugged version of Ghost Town - amazing!
  • Planning and Pinning for California
  • A Sunday afternoon at Liverpool's Albert Dock visiting the Tate Liverpool to view their Andy Warhol collection
  • Birthday cake and catch ups with friends in Birmingham
  • Booking a birthday trip to Paris with friends
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