Trail Running – my favourite part of winter

This winter however has been FUN!!!

I have been running a lot more than last winter!  That was not hard, last winter I was off injured for the majority of the time.

There are some amazing trails around PE and we have been making the most of them.  Most of them are free, some you pay a nominal amount – all are very worth it.

Here are a few of my favourite photos

First, My favourite one of me running.  (Thank you Willie Lawson for taking it)

Pamela - Woodridge Trail Run

Me - Trail running, my happy place.  Woodridge Trail Run

3 Rivers Trails 12km

3 Rivers Trails, training run

3 Rivers Trails, training run

Baakens Valley Series organised by Free Spirit Adventures

Baakens Valley Series organised by Free Spirit Adventures

Alexandria Hiking Trail (thanks Linda Rowe Photography)

Alexandria running on the Hiking Trail (thanks Linda Rowe Photography) also organised by Free Spirit Adventures

My awesome sister (and Drylands partner)

My awesome sister (and Drylands partner)

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Under Van Staden’s Bridge. An informal run to support the Friends of van Stadens and the Flower Reserve

Did you know that it is free to visit the Van Stadens Flower reserve and there are walks, runs and mountain bike trails that you can use all year round.

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Crossways Farm Village

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King Protea 3 Rivers Trails – Crossways

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3 Rivers Trails – Crossways

Notes on the 3 of the venues:

In Port Elizabeth – Baakens Valley – FREE!!  There are many access points to the Valley all throughout the city.  It is free to run, walk or bike here but it is advisable to go in a group.  We have not had any problems but I have heard of some people being harrased or mugged. BE CAREFUL

Port Elizabeth – Surrounding areas:

Van Stadens Flower Reserve, access on on the same road as the Van Stadens Pass and Woodridge Schools. You can visit the Facebook group “Friends of Van Stadens or the website VAN STADENS: for more info.  The reserve spans both sides of the N2 and is stunning.  Entry is free of charge and there are easy walks, hikes and bike paths. There are also more challenging trails for running and walking. The vegetation is diverse and has wooded areas and fynbos.  It is awesome.

3 Rivers Trails - Crossways Farm Village  Cost R40.00 For more information visit their Facebook page or website 3 Rivers Trails.  The trails are marked and there are many different options for mountain biking, running and walking and all different distances. Each time we have been we have done a different route.  Those that did the Port Elizabeth leg of the Rhino Run will know it – this was the venue. Sign in and pay at the Crossways Farm Village Country Kitchen.  If you plan on doing parts of the Longmore Forest, you will also need a forestry permit.

If you would like to stay up to date on trail runs in the Port Elizabeth area there is a group on Facebook called Trail Adventures which is updated regularly.

A little bit more than “carried away”

So “a little bit carried away” might have been a little bit of an understatement.

Totally obsessed with succulents might be a little bit closer to the truth.  This weekend I took another small bed and filled it with succulents as well. This time, at least I did not pull out other plants – I had already managed to kill these a few months ago.  (I love gardening but don’t really have much of a green finger)

I bought the plants (except the air plants which we have in abundance) but everything else we had in the garden in other areas.  I think I like this one even more than the last – let’s see if I can keep them alive…..

More succulents

The plant in the cracked pot is supposed to be one that drapes over.  Lets hope it does.

 

Somebody else in our house also approves of the new gardens.

Cat Nap

Having this amazing weather in the middle of winter makes the garden the best place to be.  27 degrees today, not bad for Midwinter

I got a bit carried away….

Mr OL should know by now not to leave me alone in the garden with a pair of gardening shears….. It is pretty much the same as leaving me alone with a paint brush in my hand!  I tend to get a little bit carried away.

What started off as a gentle trim back of a slightly overgrown Plumbago ended up with this……..

 

My new succulent garden.  :-)

Succulent Garden

 

The gentle trim ended up with me hauling the whole bush out.  I had a few of the succulents already and bought a few more.   I also bought the white stones but the rest of the stuff I just repurposed from other areas of the garden.  The old gate I found at one of the properties I bought and it has been lying around here for a few years now.  I loved the shape but had no idea what to do with it.  The pots and rocks I had, and the air plants we also had.

I love how it turned out.  Hopefully it fills out a bit soon.  I also bought some draping succulents to put on the gat but then could not figure out how to attach them, so the air plants will just have to do for now.  At least when they flower they are a magnificent purple.

I don’t have before photos – as this project was slightly unplanned……

 

After I hauled out the Plumbago and other the plants that were hidden by it

After I hauled out the Plumbago and other the plants that were hidden by it

I put down a sheet to stop the weeds and so my stones did not disapear

I put down a sheet to stop the weeds and so my stones did not disapear

Trying to get the design right.....

Trying to get the design right…..

The planting starts (and I have already managed to kill one of them – one lost all its leaves just after this photo)

The end result

The end result

Currently I am….

I have seen this on a few blogs lately and have decided to do it as well.  Mostly as a catch up but also as some badly needed inspiration

 

Currently, I am…

Reading:  Running and Stuff by James Adams on my Kindle.  My sister worked with this man in London and suggested I read it.  I have only just started so can’t really comment but so far so good.  It is about ultra-running and if you are into that, then you will probably enjoy this book.  I have read a few books lately but can’t think of what they are.  I am terrible with titles and authors.

Listening to:  Whatever is on in my car, normally “The wheels on the bus……”  I used to listen to 5 FM but since Gareth Cliff left I have not been listening to it much. Also I spend a lot less time in my car now that I work from home.  I still take Little OL into school, but she has started requesting “her movies”  She means her CD.

Laughing at:  Little OL – I love how her language is developing and how she describes things and the stories she tells. She is like her father though, and does not talk that much, so when she does its really cute.

Little OL

Swooning over:  Succulent gardens….. I can’t even believe that I am writing that!

 

Planning:  On hiring a new nanny, although now we are looking for less of a nanny and more of a cleaner.  Possibly only 2 days a week although I don’t know what we will do when I travel to the various expo’s.  My mom normally comes with me but we might have to hire somebody to work the expo and have my mom stay and look after Little OL.  I hate having to interview people!

Eating lots of:  Lindt 70% Chocolate……..  LOTS!!

Excellence 70%

Feeling:  Excited, happy, nervous, proud, betrayed, stupid and cross all at once.  The excited, happy, nervous and proud part are life in general. The betrayed, stupid and cross part is just last week – nothing serious and I will get over it in the next week or so.

Discovering:  That I love Ultra-Running, but I am not good at training.  I need to get my butt back into gear and hit the roads again.  Please don’t tell anybody, but I think I want to run Comrades Marathon next year.  I just need to figure out a way to have a stand at the expo and run the marathon and have somebody at home to watch Little OL.  Unfortunately with Mr OL’s job it is not possible for him to take the time off to watch here and as he works 40km outside Port Elizabeth, in Uitenhage, he is not able to get back in time to fetch her from school.  Thankfully I have a year to figure all of this out.

Looking at:  Granny square blankets on Pinterest…. How hard can it be???

Wearing:  Boots, it is just about the only thing I love about winter.  That and I totally love the winter sun. Especially when it is cold outside and you find a patch of sun somewhere – I am like a cat…..

Cooking:  Tonight I made an awesome Butternut and Carrot soup – I surprised myself – especially as I just used left overs…. We had a roast meal on Sunday and had left over butternut and carrots.  I put it back in the oven and roasted/caramelised it a bit more tonight.  I then put it in a pot with some cream, milk, veggie stock and a little cayenne pepper.  I boiled it for a little bit and then pureed it.  Oh my word!  The roasting made it taste great.  I really hope it is a soup I can recreate.

 Wondering:  How I can convince Mr OL that his clothes really don’t need ironing….  I would put off hiring anybody at the moment if it were not for the fact that Mr OL wants ironed clothes.  He is fussy like that :-)

Trying out:  Various recipes from the Tim Noakes Real Food Revolution and Low Carb Living for Families.  Who knew you could do so much with cauliflower….

That’s about it from me for now.  What are you up too?

Thanks Julia, Mrs FF, Lynette and Robyn for the inspiration

 

An update…… (Yes really)

After a bit of “encouragement” from some fellow blogging friends, I have decided to update my blog.

I have no excuses except life and a new business got in the way.  I love blogging and stopping was not intentional.  I used to blog during working hours (my lunch break if any of my ex bosses are reading…..) and now that I am at home I don’t get that opportunity.

So, here are few things that have happened over the past couple of months

  • Business is going well and I LOVE working from home.  I am finding it a lot more stressful, and I am a lot busier than I was when I worked a full day.  I am not exactly sure how that works but I seemed to be able to fit more in back then.
  • I ran Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and LOVED IT!  It was tough, I was not sure I would finish at about the 15km mark but as soon as I got passed halfway I started to enjoy it.  I fell over one of the stupid cat’s eyes in the road but I think it might just have been the shot of adrenaline I needed.  Even though I hurt my hip, shoulder and elbow I had no grazes which was lucky.  I just wanted to finish under the 7 hour cut off and I did 6h53 so was very happy.
Halfway!

Halfway! With my running partners.

 

  • I am travelling more.  I should probably just say I am travelling.  More implies I did a little bit before.  I didn’t.  Now I do.  I am going to all the large sports expo’s around the country and having great fun.  My mom came with me to Durban for the Comrades expo and it was awesome.  It is so nice to meet up with so many people that I have only previously “met” via my Blog, Twitter or Facebook.  I will be coming up to Johannesburg again in November so hopefully I can make a plan and meet up with a few people when there.
  • Myself, and pretty much the rest of South Africa seem to be following a lower carb diet.  I dropped sugar from my tea and coffee about 2 years ago and am now consciously trying to eat less carbs.  Through this, I have realised that wheat and me don’t work well together.  It has been a very interesting experiment of one (me).  I started following the LCHF way of eating in January and have lost 8kg since then, although weight loss was not my primary reason.  I had not been feeling great for a while and although I did not realise it, I was having digestive issues.  By removing most carbs from my diet and then by reintroducing them (cheating) at various stages I noticed that I felt really awful after some things but perfectly fine after others.  I am still doing the LCHF thing unless Mr OL makes mash potatoes.  He makes great mash.

 

Then a few random things:

  • I still love trail running and my sister and I have entered the Dryland Traverse again – this time as a team. I am so glad its trail running season again.
  • I have decided after 42 years of not liking the look of succulent plants I want a succulent garden…… I went to a wedding and they had succulents as centre pieces and it looked amazing.  I have been collecting plants from various places so will keep you updated.
  • I want to learn how to crochet again…. I learnt at primary school but have not done any since.
  • Little OL is growing – and 4 is a gorgeous age (so much better than 3)

I must be getting old – succulent plants and crocheted items alway makes me think of old people – yikes

Airlines and Teddy Bears – a 4th Birthday party

And just like that she was 4!

I know parents say this all the time but wow. Time really does fly.

When we first started discussing themes for her 4th party, Little OL was very into aeroplanes so I began the planning early.  Unfortunately she saw the photos of her 2nd birthday party (teddy bears picnic) and said she wanted teddy bears again.  As I had already organised some of the stuff (and really wanted to do aeroplanes) we compromised.  I put teddy bears in the aeroplanes…. It worked quite well.

So, the theme of her party was and Airline theme (with teddy bears as the pilots)  Here are a few photos

I created the invitation using a template  I found HERE.  I also made the cover, but forgot to take a photo of that.  I created the logo on Inkscape, using an image from HERE

Boarding Pass Invitation

I think just Goggled and checked Pinterest for the rest of the ideas. Here is the link to my Pinterest Board.

 

Baggage Claim

Baggage Claim

I really wanted those old fashioned brown cardboard school suitcases that we used to have and thought I might find some when the “back to school” stuff was out, but no joy.  In the end I found this little lunch boxes and fortunately in the colours I wanted so I bought them.  (Pick n Pay)

 

Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds

Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds

The cupcakes were a disaster, but thank fully with the icing and the best out of 5 batches I managed to get enough.

 

Cake with Teddy Pilot

Cake with Teddy Pilot

The cake went a lot better – I used my favourite cake recipe, the Rainbow cake from the Whisk Kid, but only used shades of pink this time (once again, I forgot to take a photo of the inside).

 

Aeroplane Cookies

Aeroplane Cookies

I also made teddy bear biscuits to go alongside the planes, but Little OL ate them before the party……

Delicious Aeroplane food....

Delicious Aeroplane food….

 

For the adults Mr OL made some awesome sandwiches.  We did Chicken or Beef , poor  Mr OL kept asking if he couldn’t do some salami or ham etc and I insisted it had to be Chicken or Beef…. LOL.  I did do a few vegetarians ones though.

I made a few different signs and added in a few extra elements, like globes, Captain’s hat etc and all in all I am very happy with how the party turned out but, there are a few things I have decided.  From now on we will not be having the party at home. As the kids get older they need more entertainment (and space) and I will also be outsourcing some stuff.  I will not be making cupcakes etc next year.  I probably won’t bake the cake either, although I might make the topper (I enjoy that part)

 

Finally I ran a (stand-alone) marathon

Yes, yes, I know – bad blogger…..
I don’t even know where to start it’s been so long and so much has happened.
I guess the first thing I should say is I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME! It is has now been 3.5 months and it still feels like I am just on a Christmas holiday… Saying that, I have NEVER been as busy (you might have guessed by the lack of blog posts….)
My word for last year was DO and I think I am going to keep it for this year too – the picture that Cat gave me is up on my office wall and I look at it daily.
Besides starting a business I had another goal for last year and that was to run a stand-alone marathon (one not in an Ironman). I did not do that before December, but I am VERY proud to announce that I have however finally done one. I have however decided I am very odd (yes, I know…. ) A stand-alone marathon has scared me. I don’t know why? I know I can do the distance, I’ve done 2 Ironman races and they have a marathon in them, so I am not sure what I was worried about – and then I entered Two Oceans and needed a marathon to qualify. Suddenly a marathon did not scare me anymore. It is just a distance I needed to run to qualify for Two Ocean – which for some reason does not scare me either. Maybe it is just that I really like a challenge. Maybe I just needed a bigger goal? Who knows – all I do know is that I have now run a stand-alone marathon (with very little training) and have qualified for Two Oceans. FUN!
Now the real training begins…..My first Ultra

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