Posted in Baby OL, Family, Medal Display, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, Medals, My New Business, Ordinarylife, SA Medal Hangers, South Africa, Work

This week I am proud of…..

This week I am really battling to think of something I am proud of….

 

I know there are some things I probably should be proud of, but mostly I am pretty disappointed in myself.  I let a ball drop and now it feels like the whole lot are about to come crashing down.  I know I will probably look back in just over a month and realise it is not nearly as bad as I think (I HOPE), but at the moment it seem pretty terrible and getting worse.  But, it does not affect my family, health or anything that is really important to me so I will just have to deal with the problems as they arise.

 

So, what am I proud of??? This week I am very proud of my daughter. I was away all of last week in Cape Town for the Cape Cycle Tour Lifestyle Expo and she stayed behind with Andrew,  our nanny and my mom.  She coped remarkably well, even though she was sick.  I felt terrible about leaving her, but could not do anything about it. I am proud that she is such an independent soul.

photo (3)

I am also proud that even though I was having a major pity party last week Wednesday, when my stand at the expo came crashing around me about 30 seconds after I had finished putting it up, I managed to give myself a stern talking to and pull myself together, rebuild the stand and have a great expo.  At that stage I really just felt like coming home.

photo

What were you most proud of last week?

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Posted in Ordinarylife, Running, Trail Running, Training, Ultra Marathons

This week I am proud of…

This week I am proud of myself for completing my first trail ultra – and not losing my sense of humour once.  It is the second longest running race I have ever done and by far the longest time on my legs.  It took me 7h21 minutes.  I did the Addo Elephant Trail Run 44 km.  My first of 3 planned Ultra‘s for the year and the only one on trail.

I am not going to lie it was tough, but I loved it. There were parts where the trail was so steep that I slid back and a hill where I began to wonder why on earth I had not done more (read any) squats or lunges in preparation but all in all I did not find it too bad.

My sister and I and more than a few friends completed the 44km Addo Elephant Trail, there was also a 76km, which I did not even contemplate, although my husband has said he will not be surprised WHEN I tell him I am going to do it 🙂

I was a little nervous going into this – the route profile is hectic and well, it is 44km on trail so not for the faint hearted, but I had heard it was beautiful.

Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km Route Profile
Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km Route Profile

We ran through the Addo Elephant Park – but not the section with the elephants or lions (I might have run bit faster then….) and the area is absolutely breath-taking.  We started at Kabouga Gate and ended at Zuurberg Mountain Inn.  The scenery and terrain varied so much from dense bush to open plateaus with spectacular views.  There was even a rock pool that we swam in at the 37km mark and it was very difficult to get out of that cool water.

Here are few photos but they and my words do not do the area justice.

 

Addo Elephant Trail Run - The Start (do we look a little nervous....)
Addo Elephant Trail Run – The Start (do we look a little nervous….)
Addo Elephant Trail Run - still early(ish) on.
Addo Elephant Trail Run – still early(ish) on.
This was rather steep....
This was rather steep….
Sister Selfie
Sister Selfie
At the top
At the top
Addo Elephant Trail Run
Addo Elephant Trail Run
Addo Elephant Trail Run
Addo Elephant Trail Run
Addo Elephant Trail Run
Addo Elephant Trail Run
Yes, I know... It might have taken less than 7 hours 21 minutes if I had not stopped to take photos of spider webs
Yes, I know… It might have taken less than 7 hours 21 minutes if I had not stopped to take photos of spider webs

Thanks to everyone that ran with me, especially Heather, Nicola and Georgie.  Well done to everybody that finished both runs.

Not a medal, but very a very nice finishers memento
Not a medal, but very a very nice finishers memento

This year’s race was superbly organised by Free Spirit Adventures.  It was their first year having just taken it over and although I am not sure what it was like before to me they did a fantastic job.

 

What are you proud of this week (remember it does not have to be sports related)

Posted in Baking, Camping, Children, Children's Parties, Chocolate, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Camping themed 5th party

Camping was not my theme of choice for this year, but Little Miss K wanted camping and I liked the theme so camping it was.  I initially wanted a Book Worm party.

Quite a few of my friends said I was insane to go with Camping…Maybe insane was not quite the word they used, but mad was mentioned more than once, as was tempting fate. Our family record with camping is not a good one. We have been camping 4 times since Kaylin was born and 4 times we have ended up either at the doctors or casualty or both.

I decided actual camping and a camping theme party were vastly different and went with it anyway.

Here are the photos.  (I am quite proud of how it turned out)

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop
The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

She was very excited that I made them both out of icing and that they were both on the cake….

The Party Table - Camping
The Party Table – Camping
Camp Kaylin - Camping themed Cake
Camp Kaylin – Camping themed Cake
Mix your own Trail Mix
Mix your own Trail Mix
The party pack Backpacks (each guest was given a little torch inside)
The party pack Backpacks

 

The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each
The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each

 

I made these little backpacks using a little paper bag and some ribbon.  It was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Just make sure you find the paper bags with the flat base.

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks
Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

This is a disposable braai – but the grid was unnecessary as were the legs – so you could just use an aluminum roasting dish.

Wraps or Bedding Rolls
Wraps or Bedding Rolls

 

Bear Poop......
Bear Poop…… (chocolate, need I say more)

So this is what I did differently this year, than any of the other years.

Firstly – the biggest I did not have it at home.  Oh bliss – why did I ever do them at home before.

Secondly – I paid a little extra for the decor.  I looked through their themes, and then chose the closed to the theme I wanted. This is actually the venue’s fairy theme but I told them I did not want any fairy stuff just the woodland look.  I then made everything else to suit – red and green.

Thirdly – all the baked good are box mixes. I love making the little figures for the cakes, but dont actually like baking.  I find it stressful.  This was a lot easier.  Next time I might even just buy a pre-made cake and decorate it.

And then that is about it – once it is over you just pack up and go….

I have also realised that my daughter is nearly as bad as I am when it comes to planning birthdays in advance. She has already told me what themes she would like for the next 3.

Posted in What are you proud of this week

What are you proud of this week?

A friend and fellow runner ran an amazing race this weekend and she posted about it on Facebook, but she started her post “I am genuinely not trying to brag…”

I totally understood what she was trying to say but it has been bugging me!  Not the fact that she posted about her awesome run, not the fact that she has achieved so much, but the fact that she felt she need to clarify or play it down.  She was proud of what she and had achieved and how far she had come and wanted to tell people about it and rightly so, but….

But what!  I see this so often and I am guilty of it myself.  I am in the business of celebrating achievements but often don’t mention my own for fear of being thought to be big headed, or boastful or that I make somebody else feel bad that they have not achieved the same.  I will often get orders for medal hanger from friends of family members who are proud of each other, but less from people buying it for themselves.  I will also get orders from people who tell me all about their friends’ achievements and how proud they are of their friend only to find out that they have achieved just as much if not more.

And so, in keeping with blog theme and THIS post, we should all be proud of ourselves, no matter what the achievement.  Our first 5 km, our first 100m swim, our Mtb ride, our first Ultra Marathon or even the first cake that did not flop.  If somebody else has not quite gotten there, then we should encourage them to achieve, but not by downplaying our own achievements.  Our achievements should motivate them, not make them despondent.  When did it become a bad thing to brag a little?

So, what are you proud of this week – it does not have to be sports related.  I am very proud of the cake I decorated and party I threw for my daughter.  I think it turned out great.

And for the record I have given up baking from scratch – far too stressful.  The cake was a box mix.   I love decorating cakes but do not like baking…..

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I think should be a regular (hopefully weekly) feature… What are you proud of this week?  What do you think?

Posted in Comrades Marathon, Medals, Ordinarylife, Running, South Africa, Trail Running, Training, Training

Friendly City Marathon

On Saturday it was the Rafi’s Friendly City Marathon and it was my first big race for the year.  After the marathon in December I was not holding out much hope for it…

I trained a tiny bit more this time with a couple of runs around the 30km mark, but  I also realised that before my last one I did everything wrong so this time I made sure my race prep was better.  I ate properly the entire week leading up to it and especially the day before.  For me this means staying off the grains, eating more fats and making sure I get loads of green veggies in.  I also made sure that I was off my feet for most of Friday.

My other plans was to implement a run/walk strategy right from the start. They had a water point every 3 km and I planned to walk every single one of them, right from the third kilometer, whether I felt I need to or not.  I also planned on walking the two hills.  My plan in the December marathon was the total opposite.  I planned on running until 21km and then seeing what happened.

So, how did it go?  ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!

The smile says it all.
The smile says it all.

I could not have asked for a better marathon.  Not only did I get a personal best of over 21 minutes, I got a better seeding for Comrades (so now my sister and I are in the same batch) and better that all of that I loved every minute of it.  There was not a minute in the race where I felt like it was too far or I was aching.  There were a few points where I was counting down till the next water point so I could walk, but they seemed to come pretty quickly.

Right from the start I walked every water point.  It was so tempting to run the first few, especially the 3km one as I felt fine but I stuck to my plan.  The first time I walked not at a water point was on the first hill and that was in the last 10 km.  I had planned on walking that anyway.  I think my last 5 kilometers were about the quickest of the entire race.  I cannot believe the difference from the marathon 2 months ago!  It just shows what a difference a clear plan and good race prep can do.

Time Friendly City Marathon

I now feel so much more confident for the rest of my goals for this year.  My next major one is at the end of the month – the Addo Elephant Trail Run 44km.  At least with this, it’s a trail run so I will be taking my camera and appreciating the amazing scenery of the Eastern Cape.

Friendly City Marathon Medal

 

 

 

Posted in Ordinarylife

No more ordinary!

I have had this blog for nearly 8 years and over that time I have mentioned many times that I find it difficult to “label” myself.  I never call myself a “triathlete” a “runner” or an “artist” and yet this whole time I have been labelling myself as “ORDINARY

No more.  I am not ordinary!  My daughter is not ordinary!  She is not Little OL and I do not live “An Ordinary Life”

I did not do a word for 2014 but I am going to for 2015 and it is going to be “AWESOME”.

I have a VERY wise friend and she once said that you teach people how to treat you and she is so right!  I have let people treat me as ordinary, I have even labeled myself as ordinary, so how can I expect any different.

My reason for my blog title “An Ordinary Life” initially was not that I thought my life was ordinarily, it was that I thought it was anything but.  It was that I, a girl from an ordinary town, an ordinary family could live such an extraordinarily life.  And an extra ordinary life I do lead.  I make it that way.  And my family is also anything but ordinary.

My confidence levels over my 30’s and 40’s have sunk!  But I am reclaiming them. I have done some AWESOME things and intend to do a lot more.  I will not be called ordinary and I will no longer be treated as such.

So, firstly – for those of you that don’t know here are some of my some  achievements!

I am a MOMMY! (to the most extra ordinary 4 year old)

I am an IRONMAN

I am a ULTRA DISTANCE RUNNER

I am an ARTIST (and have actually sold quite a few paintings)

I am a WORLD TRAVELER – I have been around the globe, right around.  I have worked in 6 different countries and traveled to a lot more.

I am a UNIVERSITY GRADUATE.  I put myself through UNISA after returning to South Africa in 2000 and have a B.Com.

I am CLEVER – no explanation needed.

I have climbed KILOMANJARO, my sister mom and I climbed it to celebrate my mom’s 60th Birthday (yep, no ordinary family)

I once READ 365 Fiction books in one year.  I was in Std 9.  They were not all literary greats but it was still a book a day for a year….. Not including set works or text books.  Some books took me more than a day, but I read a quick read in between to make up. (yes, there were quite a few Mills and Boons in there – I was 16 ……) I read quickly – I still do.

I obtain provincial colours in ROLLER SKATING…. And came second in my age group on South Africa (I was 12)

At one stage I could speak, write and read SWEDISH fluently

I run my own COMPANY

I own several PROPERTIES

So, that is it for now… I am sure there is more stuff that I have done, accomplished and achieved!

My business is all about celebrating achievements and it is about time that I celebrated my own.

So from now, NO MORE ORDINARY!  I am not ordinarily, I have never been ordinary and I have no intention of ever being ordinary!

In the words of Anaïs Nin “Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments.”

An ordinary life

I am sorry I can’t credit the photo – I am not sure who took it.

Posted in Gardening, Ordinarylife

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

Posted in Family, Gardening, Ordinarylife

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
Posted in Baby OL, Cats, Children, Chocolate, Comrades Marathon, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Running, Training

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

 

Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Children's Parties, Crafts, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

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)