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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.

I left pinterest not too long ago, and so I’m missing out on somewhere easy to keep my crafty ideas – but here’s some idea’s that I’ve saved in my favourites folder recently.

Patterns in crochet!

Editing photographs is something I’m still terrible at – though I try really hard still. Here’s some newborn editing tips.

Soft pretzels of deliciousness -recipe I followed while nesting in late pregnancy. Nom.
How to make a granny square – used this for my magpie blanket and a cushion I made not so long ago. Going to use it to make another cushion soon.

Blog of the runner up from masterchef a few years back. Interesting and quite funny.
Lemon Scented Pull-Apart Bread
Lemon Milk – An alternative when there’s no buttermilk

As a treat for finishing my course, I bought Diablo 3 and have been playing it with hubby on an evening after the little one is asleep.

We completed the game this evening on the first difficulty, and as a treat he took me to the cow level  whimsyshire.  All I can say is HAHAHAHA but more awesomely I ended up with a shiny  rainbow sword – Spectrum ‘This fantastical blade is the physical manifestation of unicorn smiles, bright rainbow colors, shooting star wishes, and teddy bear giggles.’

Rather amusing!

As for Diablo 3, I can see why some of my friends weren’t into the idea – it’s a little bit short for a 60 euro game, and yeah – a bit ‘blizzardy’. But as a hack and slash to play through and drop in and out of it’s been great. It’s reminded me of my shortcomings as a gamer (aka I like to stand in the fire), and ultimately why at the end I was pretty crappy in WoW, but it’s been rather good fun with my little wizard – and the replay-ability with dungeons that change everytime is really quite funky.  Plus I need to go back to whimsyshire!

Semi Final 2, Eurovision 2012

My favourite from this evening:-

1. Sweden – Euphoria

Okay, so I’m biased – but I do think this is a good contender for the throne, but better than Saade for sure.

2. Ukraine – Be my best

3. Georgia – I’m a Joker
Finally something fun!

4. Slovakia – Don’t Close your eyes
Melodic almost like Faith no More.

5. Norway – Stay
Bit like Eric Saade, but very pop – always good to have something nice and upbeat

6. Lithuania – love is blind

OoTD – Monday

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How unexciting huh?

This is about as ace as it gets.

  • long top – from a pair of leggings
  • Vest – Monsoon
  • Skirt – Etsy (will drag up a link)