Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Run Traveller Run!

Over 30K in the last five days. 13K planned for Saturday. Sprints tomorrow night.

Running is slowly taking over T's life.

T, along with a few friends, is booked in to run the Royal Parks Half-Marathon in October. The Royal Parks is one of the best running events in London - it's route goes past some of the most memorable London icons, such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Palace and it goes all through Hyde Park.

Now this all sounds lovely, except the furthest T has run previously in a race is 10k. Now, she knows that lots and lots of people have run half-marathons before and it's not really that big a deal - but T is a little bit scared. In fact, she is practically shaking in her running shoes, so to speak. T has many worrying questions racing through her mind, like, 'What if I run out of steam after 10K?', or 'What if I get a really sore knee or shin and simply can't run anymore?', or, perhaps even more embarrassingly, 'What if I have to take an emergency bathroom break in the middle of the race?'.

In order to get over the shakiness and the silly questions, T and one London friend have created a very strict schedule to make sure that they are ready. They have approximately 12 weeks until the starting gun sounds. The schedule has involved hill runs, intervals, long runs and a bit of swimming to give the knees a rest. One of the best things that T has discovered while preparing for the race is all of the running clubs that are around. One that she and her friend are now visiting on a Monday night is the Niketown Running Club.

The running club is seriously motivating. There are many people to race against on the night and there are a few freebies thrown in as well; you receive a free chip (so you can sign in easily), a free shirt after 3 runs and a bottle of water after each race - bargain! Each Monday night you can choose to run 3, 4 or 7 miles. We have been signing up to do the 7 mile run, which is led by a lovely grey-haired woman who is at least in her late 50's. Oh and the most humbling thing is that she absolutely whips us! She is so fast!

Each time we run it is different, sometimes we can sail through 7 miles without too much discomfort, but other times, particular this week for T, it can be absolute struggle-town! She was hurting about a quarter of the way into the race. Now even though this was tough, T secretly likes it better when it hurts like this. It seems to make finishing so much sweeter.

So that is where T is at with her running. Twelve weeks of serious training to go before her first half-marathon.

And...just between you and her, she absolutely loves it!

If anyone has any running or half-marathon tips (like what to do if you need to go to the loo!) - feel free to share in the comments section below. T would love to hear any advice!

photo by flickr

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


T has been admiring a blog from afar for the last few weeks. It was Flattie who introduced her to 'the rockstar diaries'; a blog which follows a couple in D.C who are interested in photography, cupcakes, burgers and all sorts of things. Naomi, the main writer, is adorable and the blog quickly became a daily read for Traveller.

Yesterday, 'the rockstar diaries' published a list of 'ten things that make me ridiculously happy' by Traveller. It sounds silly, but T was very excited! The lists are a recent project that 'the rockstar diaries' started to help them (and their readers) enjoy the small and simple things in life.

Click here for the link. Check out the other lists as well - just reading them really does make you smile.
{photo via flickr}

Monday, 27 July 2009

A Weekend in London

Typically, T and hubbie's favourite weekends have been those that have been spent away in an exciting location such as Barcelona or Paris, or even close by in Bath or York - nevertheless T has had a lovely weekend simply spent here, with friends, in London.

It started with a Friday night burger ....

Hubbie has spoken about these burgers for months, and T has to admit, they were pretty darn good!

Then brunch with family and the new addition...

Brunch saw brother meeting with cousin for the first time in eight years! A happy occasion enjoyed over hot croissants, pain au chocolat and pancakes!
Following the brunch, we then met up with some Aussie friends, and took cousin, her fiance and our friends to see 'As you like it' at The Globe. The performance was wonderful - so beautiful in the moon light and such great actors and musicians. The Globe is one of T's favourite places to see Shakespeare, as they really try to recreate the performance as to how it would have been 400 years ago.
Then, on Sunday, flattie and T had a super girly day in Selfridges on Oxford Street, followed by a movie and nails night in our little flat! The day in Selfridges consisted of lipstick, sushi and cupcakes and the evening consisted of indie chick flick 'Rachel Getting Married' and Ben & Jerry's Choc Fudge Brownie...bliss! Isn't flattie pretty in her new red lipstick? The cupcakes are from Lola's in Selfridges; they were key lime flavour and...delicious!

As the weekend has drawn to a close, it is lucky that T has Nike Running Club on Monday night! A mere 7 miles to burn off all those croissants, cupcakes, icecream, the burger and everything else that she didn't mention!

Friday, 24 July 2009

A little bit of silliness...

The great cultural divide.

Something silly to help you enjoy your weekend!

Another reason to love London...

These gorgeous sunflowers can be found at your local supermarket!
Thanks cousin, for the lovely gift.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

A bit of cul-cha

Traveller had been looking forward to her summer holiday for weeks, whereby she imagined days and days of doing whatever she wanted in one of the most exciting cities in the world. However, what T didn't anticipate was that London is also one of the most expensive places to live and travel; how was she going to entertain herself without spending all of her hard earned cash?

Well, truth beknown, that while London is expensive, it probably has the most free events of any city that T has been to. You can watch free concerts, have free entry into museums, experience free tours, watch free plays, and anything else you can wangle your way into!

Upon reading a fantastic book about the things you can do in London (after borrowing it from the library of course!), T uncovered a wide range of fun activities that will keep her occupied for the next month and a half.

The most recent free event that T attended was a free lunchtime talk at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.

The lectures are featured at the museum's theatre from Tuesday to Saturday at 1pm every week of the year. Yesterday's lecture was on the musuem's current focus painting, Caravaggio's 'Supper at Emmaus'. It was a 45 minute discussion of why the painting was so extraordinary and the learned chap that spoke also pointed out many interesting parts of the painting and what they were symbolic of - so fascinating!

T understands that this isn't really everyone's cup of tea, her cousin's fiance is her case in point as he fidgeted his way through most of the talk, however, she is not deterred and can't wait to go and experience more of what Free London has to offer. Perhaps she should now go under the pseudonym of Thrifty Traveller?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The New Addition

Traveller and hubbie welcome their new niece, Mimi Rose, to the world. Arriving fashionably late on Sunday morning, T can already tell that she is going to be one cool chick.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Hey Jude: Part Two

On Tuesday evening, T, hubbie and her flatties rushed off to the Wyndham Theatre, more excited than you can imagine. They arrived at the theatre, greeted some of their friends from the morning and then took to their box seats! Because it was such a special occasion that the company had been planning for over a year and a half, their seats even had presents on them. We could not believe it. We usually spend £3.50 on a program, however, we were given a program, a copy of the play (an edition printed for this particular performance, with Jude's photo on the front) and a poster!

When Jude Law's name was first announced as performing Hamlet at the Wyndham, T has to admit that she was a little dubious as to whether he could pull it off. Well, after about three minutes, she cast all doubts aside and enjoyed a truly phenomenal performance of the Bard's best play. He was outstanding! The best part was, our little box was so close to the stage, that as T watched, Jude looked her in the eye about four fun!

During interval we made plans with our friends from NC to have a drink after the show. Before that, we were going to go to the stage door and wait so Jude could sign our plays or programs. After the show, the director and Jude gave a quick talk about the performance and why they decided to fill a theatre for free (to provide London with an audience in the future) and then we all raced downstairs to get prime spots at the stage door.

After a little wait, Jude came out and there were so many people there! There were people that hadn't come out of the show and just wanted him to sign photographs, passers-by, paparazzi and audience members. He was very gracious; he signed as many as he could and even signed five professional photographs for a very pushy man (T doesn't know if she could be so gracious!). T did manage to stammer out a few words to him, to which he responded very kindly - a very lovely actor!

After the procuring of the autographs, T, flatties and their new friends made their way to the pub right near the theatre, for a drink and a chat about the peformance. We had a great time and even noticed that the actors seemed to frequent the same pub. So, as our lucky day would have it, we had a chat to the actor who played Horatio and then one flattie declared her admiration for the actor who played Laertes (we had seen him in Twelfth Night). They were very nice and very normal and were so inspired by performing in front of such an enthusiastic crowd; it was really lovely to see the night from their perspective.

Then we went home, twenty-one hours after we had arrived at the theatre that morning.

A perfect day!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Hey Jude: Part One

This week Traveller experienced what could possibly be her best day in London so far. Seriously. She could, in her excitement, even go so far as to say that it was the best day in her life so far - but that might be a little too much, considering she has experienced her own wedding and numerous other life-changing events prior to this wonderful day!

The day began with an alarm buzzing at 4:30am. T awoke, changed and ran out of the house with one of her flatties, to catch a red bus into Leicester Square. T usually loves the red buses. They are cheap, convenient and provide a lovely look at the city while you are on your way somewhere. However, at 4:30am they are a completely different experience! T and her flattie had to hold their breath the entire time they were on the bus out of concern that they might puke with the pure stench of the many intoxicated people...on a Tuesday morning!

They made it out alive and to their destination in record time. Destination = Wyndham Theatre. This was the theatre where Jude Law was currently playing Hamlet. T and her flatmates had been to the entire Wyndham season; they had seen Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov, Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night and Judi Dench in Madame de Sade. You think with all of this experience they would have remembered to secure tickets to Jude early - however, before they knew it...they were all sold out! Thus, an early morning line-up was in order, as the Wyndham holds 30 standing tickets aside to sell on the day.

They arrived at Leicester Square at 5am on the dot and were met with two Americans from North Carolina, who were there to do the exact same thing. Will and Bill (T kids you not) were father and son from the southern states, and soon became fast friends. T and flattie chatted to Will and Bill and various other theatre enthusiasts as they joined the queue. It was quite astonishing how quickly five hours flew by and before we knew it - we were at the box office! (It is worth a quick mention, that T, flattie and our North Carolina friends had to assert authority a few times during our five hour wait, in order to fight off the various queue jumpers that came our way. Some pretended they didn't understand what we were saying, some sat down right in front of us and said they were there first and others just creeped closer and closer. But to no avail; T and her posse of Americans fought them off with all the kindness of spirit they could muster at that hour in the morning.)

As the clock struck ten, the doors opened and our American friends took their rightful place at the front of the queue. T and flattie hung close behind to see what type of standing room they were receiving, how much it cost, and if by some heavenly chance, there were any seats left. To their surprise they heard muffled words like, 'an under 26 evening sponsored by the company', 'free to you because you lined up,' and these fateful and beautiful words, 'and there is also this box in the grand circle which is yours for free'. Will, Bill and family gasped and stammered their way through the transaction and then said to the rest of us, 'Y' is on us!' Flattie and I looked at each other and tried to be happy for our new friends, muttering kind phrases such as, 'they deserve it', and 'how fantastic'. We gulped and took a step towards the desk. T quickly stuttered in her quietest voice, 'I guess there aren't any seats left?' The lady looked at T, surprised, and said, 'Why yes, there are these two boxes just for you. For free!' T's knees started to knock, her voice shook and she did everything she could possibly do to stop herself yelling, 'Yahooooooo!!!!' She coolly nodded, spelt her name out, and then skipped over to her American friends as they all took photos of each other, in their unfathomable glee.

After sharing coffee, we and our queue friends went our separate ways and looked forward to seeing each other that evening. T and flattie promptly went home, shared their good news with the world wide web through facebook and then T had a three hour nap to prepare herself for Hamlet...and Jude!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Holidays are Bliss!

It would seem that full-time teaching has led to Traveller being an inept blogger.

The last few months have been full of many experiences - some fabulous, some quirky and some, quite simply, dreary. There has been a long weekend in Barcelona, a day in Brighton, a few concerts, a couple of plays and loads of school work.

No matter how busy being a teacher can make you, the one insurpassable positive about the profession is the weeks and weeks of holidays! Traveller is currently on nine weeks holiday (week 2) and is looking forward to doing some serious blogging! She is going to aim for a blog a day (feeling the pressure already!) and fill you -blog-readers - in with as many details as you can possibly handle.

The most important thing to mention is that T and her lovely hubbie are just peachy. We love our new city and the many adventures it has brought us so far.


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