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I will put a little trigger warning in here before I get started, this post will be talking about miscarriage and still birth. I think it’s important that we talk about miscarriage, but I also understand that it can be very difficult for some to read, I don’t want to upset anyone.

My mother is one of the main reasons for me choosing to run the London Marathon for the Miscarriage Association, and the terrifying amazingness of fundraising. Until I was pregnant with Gladys, I never really understood what she had gone through when I was a child, and sometimes I feel terrible that I didn’t/couldn’t understand that.

My mother

I asked my mum if she’d be willing to write about her experiences, to better explain why what the Miscarriage Association does for those affected by miscarriage and healthcare professionals.

This is her story.

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I feel so pleased and proud of Gemma for taking part in this event to raise money for The Miscarriage Association. I am very lucky that I have two beautiful and wonderful daughters but they did not come easy.

I became pregnant soon after I was married, I was really pleased we had a lovely home, I told my mum and dad who were thrilled.

I was 13 weeks.

I started to bleed and went to see my doctor who at that time told me, Yes I think you are having a miscarriage go home and put anything you lose in a newspaper and come back and see me with it. I went though agony, did what he said and he confirmed I had miscarried, and said come back when you are three months pregnant. (1975)

Then during my next pregnancy having then not being taken care of or monitored enough I had a stilllborn baby, Ben (1982)

One of the happiest days of my life, Gemma born 4.30pm 9th April, 1983 (Grand National Day!) The first song I heard on the radio was Wooden Heart, Elvis Presley when I came around from having the c-section!

Years moved on and I became pregnant again, very sick as usual, very sore boobs, very thrilled as we had being doing a house up and it had come together a bit!(1987)

After awful pain and backache I went to hospital for a scan where could tell by the look on the nurses face that I was miscarrying, but I had to see a consultant who told me the baby was dead, and I would need to go though an enforced labour. I was 17/18 weeks pregnant.

I became pregnant again and was thrilled. I was 37 years old had got my beautiful little Gemma.

My second daughter Fay was born very prematurely at 25 weeks.

After lots of worry for 14 weeks in special care, she is now taller than Gemma and I and perfect.

I received no help, no counselling and I Love and support my Gemma and this charity so much please help Gemma to reach her target!

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Link to My fundraising page

I’m running a Virtual Race with some other fundraisers from the 1st Jan 2015 – 31st March 2015 -do you want a challenge for the start of 2015?

Angel Run is now live!

A virtual 5km, 10km or half marathon, where you decide when/where/walk/run/whatever!

The only constraints are the distance, the time span (1st Jan – 31st March, entries must be in by the 28th Feb).

Enter now!

Medal

This entry was first posted on my private blog. I was disappoint.  Back story is that I’d hurt my foot somehow (was worried it was a stress fracture at the time, was probably actually overtraining and some form of plantar fasciitis or ligament damage), so didn’t know if I’d even run the half – but had been fundraising and getting the tutu ready so was really hyped about doing it.

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Firstly I’m bloody disappointed at myself for going out too fast. I don’t know if my foot would have held better if I’d started off slower, but I would have definitely beaten my April time, even if I missed sub2 by a few minutes.

Start time was 16:00, which is really annoying really, as I spent the whole day stressing not really managing to fuel up as well as I’d like for fear of cramping or being too full (easier with morning/lunch race as I don’t ponder too much the lunch, breakfast is easy) – I suspect I could have had more carbs during the day than I actually had, water intake was ok.

Start was outside the palace in Stockholm, very very very pretty run on the whole – I would totally recommend it to anyone as a really nice route overall, even if I kinda hated it this time around. The race was well organised and set up – with clear places where you started dependant on start group etc. I am a bit stressed in crowds (going to be great in London then….) but it went okay.

Start group G, there was a 2hour time keeper runner that I had planned on following, which I introduced myself to – she wasn’t really that friendly – but meh, might have been the srs tutu.

Found the woman who was running on my sisters bib, she seemed rather excited – and we then moved towards the start for our group. Nerves and excitement grew, then we were off (missed my mum and sister who were on the other side).  The first km was through the main streets of stockholm with quite a few people watching before we went down into a tunnel. Close and uncomfortable, but soon we were out and running outside the train station and around Kungsholmen.  I felt pretty uncomfortable, couldn’t find a rythmn but still hoped it would come. First few km were in high 5min/km numbers (5:09-5:30) which i wasnt paying enough attention to.
First water station came at 3km, unfortunately I skipped it as it was packed with people – I shouldn’t have really.

Come 7-8km I realised that I was in trouble, I was longing for 12km, where my mum and sister were going to wave at the Garmin Power Zone – and somewhere along there the 2:00 hour pace keepers ran past me. I tried so hard to keep up, but at that point they were running 5:20min/km and it just wasnt going to work (guessing they had started slower and gone up to get pace as their pace should have been nearer 5:40), I passed 10km at somewhere 58minutes ish, and felt so totally shitty that I wasn’t even half way there. Foot was mostly okay at this point – I decided to just try to get a new PB.

There were a few small hills, nothing deadly, but I was feeling quite meh – losing the 2:00 time keepers hit me hard, and it was getting tougher.

12km came up, I started looking out for my mum/sister, but couldn’t see them, that really hit hard. Had some pepsi at the energy zone – spilled a lot of it over myself which was quite crappy. Floor also got really sticky. We went under the trainstation bridge, then through the tunnel/walkway through the houses of parliment (the cobbles SUCKED in my fivefingers), out to run in front of the palace on our way to the second loop around Södermalm.

At this point the race is on both sides of the road, with the other side of the road being the people who have ran Södermalm and are running towards the finish line around about 500m away. Most. disheartening. bit. ever. managed to smile (maniacally) at the photgraphers, and enjoy for a second running in front of the palace, but then it was into a mini-tunnel, and out onto a long stretch I’d been dreading which goes past the smaller exhibition hall (where the tattoo convention is held), then up and around Södermalm before curving back to the finish line.

Here was 15km, and at that point I pretty much gave up, the demons in my head told me I sucked ass and I actually walked for a while /stopped to see if anyone was behind me to join up with.  I regret this now – if I hadn’t mentally given in, sure my foot was hurting, I’d have got a new personal best.  Again something to learn from.  A band there was playing the proclaimers, which cheered me up a little bit, and I managed to get going again till around 17-18km when the 2:10 time keeper came past me, complimenting me on my skirt.  I said I’d try keep up with her and her group, and for a few km it worked. She was quite lovely and I talked a little bit with her, but as the hills (tiny slopes more like) came up, the group slowly moved into the distance and again the demons told me I was rubbish and I gave up and walk/ran a while.

At this point my awesome friend Emelie caught up with me, and again I ran a little bit with her – she however was on track to get a personal best, and I was in no fit state to try keep up, so she went off into the distance.

Finally 20km came up, including an cyclist who managed to block off a bit of the route, a god awful ramp in front of Slussen (seriously ick) and cobbles (sucky, even if I tried to convince myself it was just a foot massage). Finally it was back to the straight at Gamla Stan, and the last stretch!  There I talked a little with a few other runners, cheering each other on and the like…. I didn’t exactly manage to sprint though like some of my amazing friends, but all of a sudden… FINISH LINE (I did consider jumping into a porta potty just prior to the finish…. hahha) and Mum and Fay were there.

There was emotions, there were tears – but it was done.  I know this sounds pretty negative, but I did have an overall ace experience – just not the one I had expected/hoped.

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So much learning from that experience though, so much to take with me in the future.

Long time, no post. Seems when I go on a hiatus I *really* go on a hiatus.

So much has happened since I posted last about crochet patterns. Still crocheting, in fact I published my first pattern on ravelry this year:-

Look I’m a Winner!

I’m also running, and have got a place doing the Virgin London Marathon 2015 for The Miscarriage Association. Quite excited about that one, and planning on posting updates on here.

Thus far I’ve ran 4 races in 2014:-

Women’s Health Half Marathon

Stockholm Half Marathon

Sickla Gruvloppet (2,8km of MINE!)

Tjurruset (10kmish of terrain and mud!)

Next year I obviously have London Marathon, the rest is a bit fuzzy. There is talk of more terrain, obstacle courses, and so on – but we’ll see what I go in for.

RUN GREMLIN RUN! is the link to my donations page, all the money goes to The Miscarriage Association, yey!

I will be starting to post my pondering, fundraisings, etc, more frequently on here. Will also be posting a bit more about the races I’ve done this year.

yey!

 

 

So saturday 26th April 2014 was race day. Fabulous spring weather of 13 degrees, bright sunshine and a light breeze. The race itself, Woman’s Health Halvmarathon was held on a small island in Stockholms centre – Djurgården, which also houses Skansen their outdoor museum (I would have ran faster if e bears had escaped maybe)’ and a few other things like that. There were suppsed to be 2500 participants, but of that only 1900 or something showed up, but 98% completed, which is awssome. they had a time limit of 2 hours 45 minutes, which I was a bit scared of in the begining, but wasnt really an issue, plus the last lady came in around 2:55 so they weren’t strict about it, which was nice.

The race itself was two laps around the island (Djurgården) with the first being around 9km, and the second slightly longer at 12km. It’s a very very flat route, pretty much at sea level, with one slight hill around 5km on the first ‘varv’, 15km on the second (we’ll get to why I mention that later). They had water/energy points nearly every other km, with the first around 2km just after Skansen. They served water, isostar lemon, banana at one point and some energi bar thing later on.

My friend came up to race with me, so we met at our house and travelled in on public transport, something to love about living in a big city like stockholm. We made it to the start area about an hour before it began, plenty of time to have a wee (important!) have a last minute shoe crisis (minimalistic nike free 5.0 or 5fingers, the 5fingers won), then hand in the bag and go warm up. With the race being small for swedish race standards, it felt lovely to warm up in a big happy group as the gym actic or something took the stage.

At 11:00 the starting gun went for the competion class, and the rest of us moved forwards to start at 11:05. As I was expecting a pace around 6:30min/km I went to find the 2:29 pace keeper, though ended up sticking with the 2:19 lady instead (As those on facebook might know I was struck with a cold 2 weeks prior to the race, which simply hasnt fully gone away -though I’m begining to suspect pollen may be to blame a little as it is terribad right now). We started, and the first km or so I was overtaking people as I tried to find ‘my speed’, also somehow around 2km overtaking the 2:29?!?! Pace keeper when I’d started with 2:19 (who came in perfectly to the second). At 2km, my first water point I took a cup and tried to run with it, but it was pretty bad. I can’t always hit my mouth when sat down stationary, so not exactly sure how I thought running was any better. I continued to try find my pace, but by 4km got stich, which took till around 7km to go away. Kept running and at some point realised my friend was just 10people ahead – at which point I thought “bugger I’ve really gone too fast” so stuck to the people around me and their tempo for the rest of the lap.

The first lap felt long, but also fine – my playlist was on loudly – the surroundings were beautiful, and I could just lose myself in e moment. It felt good to be running beside people, with people. Water controls were a welcome pick up and I had no problems with the isostar lemon (risky,I know). By 10km I started ovetaking again. i’d already lost my friend again (turns out the daywas really against her and her stomach was not impressed) bohemian rhapsody came on around 12km, and I suspect ladies who were used to 10km races were losing pace. i went too far though, and at 15km and the only little hill in the whole darn race, I hit my wall.

I tried reciting arteries, how the pacemaker cell in the heart works, all of that, I was still running, but pace was down, I was being overtaken, my legs were tierd – my feet starting to hurt, I could tell there was a blister on my second toe forming (my feet arent really the right shape for 5finger running). Then a song came on my playlist – Less than Jake, a song that reminds me of my aunt who passed away a few years ago, and while everything still sucked – I knew I was going to get through it. The spotify playlist gods shone down on me and gave me two more calmer tracks (maybeshewill -he plays the stars pt2 and massive attack – teardrop) then kicked me back up the ass with some Aquabats! – The Legend is True!, 16-18km came and went, along with the final water stop.

The last 2km was a zig zag across a large openspace, where you could see the finish (and also a wee hill). That little tantalising moment made me realise that it was in the bag – up with the pace out with the frown, in with the shit eating grin and all of a sudden, boom. 21098m done. I thought I sprinted at the end, but looking at the footage I ran like a bloody gremlin. Once through the finish we were rewarded with a cool glass of cider, banana, water, and recieved our finishers bracelet – a pearl bracelet with silver plate with the marathon name and year.

When I got to the zig zag, I’d hoped to see my friend so we could maybe finish together, but couldnt see her. So after I was done I made my way to the finish line to cheer her (and peoeple on). I think the swedes may have thought I was potty though! Once she finished, we met my friends who had come to cheer me on, then went to the finishers tent for afternoon tea. Though swedes fail at scones, it was an awesome experience.

I’m still on a runners high, just hoping that I don’t do something silly and sign up for loads of races now!!!

Ey up!

It’s been a while, as much as I’d like to update all the time, it doesn’t seem to happen like it used to.  At the moment I’m on a crafting binge to try and do ALL THE CRAFTING before christmas, and give everyone lovely handmade treats instead of buying everything (yarn totally doesn’t count as something I buy, obviously).

So I’ve just completed a pair of fingerless mittens but I’ve realised though that posting pictures of this project might spoil it for the recipient, so I’m going to make another pair (plus I can test how it looks without a colour changing yarn) before posting the pattern – though it is really simple, so I don’t know if anyone even needs a pattern for it.

Hope everyone is well.

/gem

Caek

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Cake?

I’ve made this, and some cupcake coffee cup holders in the recent past – must do some more crafting!

 

Another blog post from me across at My Living City.

Hoping to get some time on here at the weekend to do an actual real update, who knows maybe I’ll manage it.

In the meantime have a new-years picture of some costumes I made and me and my pregnant self (in genuine 1970’s duds from my auntie).

 

Here’s an article over at mylivingcity that I helped with.

Love being pregnant somewhere like Stockholm, so many things to do and enjoy!

Hey Everyone! Hope you’re doing well – again sorry for escaping off the face of the earth – it happens from time to time with a little baby… ahem toddler on your hands. She’s grown so much, can hardly believe it’s nearly been a year.

 

Anyway I thought maybe you’d like to see what I’ve recently been making, and you know… maybe try it out yourself.

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These guys! Crochet sugar skulls to be exact – you can pretty much do whatever you want with them – garlands, sew them onto things.. the only limit is your imagination really.

So what do I need Gem?

4,5mm hook or there abouts to get the desired gauge.

white wool, black wool, coloured wool (I used acrylic 4ply leftovers)

Embroidery Needle plus a needle for sewing in the ends of the crochet.

Embroidery Thread in various colours.

White skully:-
Row 1chain (ch) 8single crochet (sc), turn and work into chain.
Row 2 ch1, 2sc in first, 6sc, 2sc in last (10 stitches)turn
Row 3 ch1, 10sc, turn (10)
Rows 4-onwards, Continue increasing  for one row, sc the next until you have the desired size, of top of skull, then do several rows just (chain then sc to end and turn) normal, before starting decreasing to the jaw – I decrease in the first 2 stitches and last too stitches.

Once it’s looking skull shaped tie off, and sew in the ends.

Eyes

I start with a magic circle (or you can chain 4, join and work into the hole in that)

Black:-

Row 1 6sc into magic circle (or around 4ch loop)

Row 2 Change to desired flower colour and ch4, slip stitch into the black, repeat going around, slip stitch into first, and tie off. Sew in one end, use other ends to attach to the skull where desired.

Embelishments:-

Use embroidery thread to sew the details onto the sugar skulls – Google is a great inspiration!

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Progress shots of the skulls

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Prototype finished.

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I’ve sewn mine onto blankets as embelishments, but really use your imagination, I think they would make great bunting, in which case you can incorporate them into a long crochet chain.