Our next steps….

Our time in Kenya is coming to an end. This is going to be a massive transition for us as we end one chapter and start planning our next one. In an attempt to have a soft landing in the UK we have decided to do a 3 month trip where we reflect on what to do next. We are going to spend 3 months visiting friends and family in our own travelling home!!!

The main topic in our house over the last few weeks has been campervans. This is a whole new world for us, full of its own lingo, websites and quirky knowledge. We need to get upto speed….and quickly!

We need to choose a van, plan our route and let you know what we are upto so that you can be part of our journey.

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Adventures in mud

It’s rainy season here in Kenya but we thought a weekend in Nairobi National Park would be fun. We got a bit more fun than we bargained for amidst the mud, buffalo patrolled roads and deep ponds! Our little Rav 4 did a great job for most of it but there was a really bad bit and we got properly stuck. Thankfully there was a Landrover round the corner which we flagged down. After pulling from the front and then the back, a snapped tow rope, a near charge from a buffalo we were freed from the sticky mud. All memories to add to our album of Kenya.

 

 

Adventures in linocut

Block printing is something I have been interested in for ages but taking the plunge to actually buy some kit was a big step. Finally with my birthday money this year I invested in some essentials. There is so much choice out there. maze and vale

If I lived in Australia I would have definitely gone for this Maze and Vale kit. I got my stuff from Intaglio Printmaker, which happened to be right round the corner from where I was staying in Borough, London. They have really knowledgeable staff who don’t mind spending time to advise novices like me! I might do a post on what you need to get started later.

I started off printing with acrylic paint which isnt the right stuff. It gave the blurred image below. 2015-05-04 16.44.43

I recently got myself some proper printing ink and had a go today at printing my first linocut image. Here are the results.

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Run baby, run

If you were to ask if I am a runner the answer is a definite no. I was the one puffing at the back of the dreaded cross country course we were forced into as teenagers. My love of running was not helped by the ignominy of having to wear blue gym knickers, in the middle of winter as we traipsed across the Lancaster countryside. Over the years I have occasionally dusted off my running shoes and pounded the tarmac, namely in the pretense of pleasing boyfriend of the time. Never more than 5km though. That was my limit.

I would describe myself as a walker with attitude who likes a challenge. So how did I find myself completing a half marathon last week and loving it? It wasn’t just any old run, it was The two oceans marathon, billed as the world’s most beautiful marathon and in a place that was on my short list of holiday destinations. So when my friends dropped out and offered us their places I didn’t hesitate too long before signing up.

Two Oceans Marathon

Here’s my quick list of what I did and what I didn’t do…..

  • Got together a training plan. I hadn’t run much more than 5km so working up to 21km was a bit of a challenge especially as I had 7 weeks. This plan worked for me.
  • Got myself a running buddy. Mainly my husband who gallantly ran at my pace even on race day. Other friends also supported along the way with my training runs.
  • Did other cross training stuff like yoga and swimming.
  •  Put my runs into an online programme

What I didn’t do

  • Change my diet. Carb load or low carb diet whatever is the trend now.
  • Get a fancy watch to track my running pace
  • Obsess over the schedule. Sometimes I skipped sessions
  • Take any diet supplements.

I don’t have any ground breaking tips but it’s true that on the day the atmosphere just spurs you on. The kilometers just sped by as I jogged along in a sea of humanity. I did my fair share of people watching, amazed at all the shapes and sizes and ages taking part.  What got me up one of the massive hills was focusing on a rather large, pink Lycra wrapped bottom. Whatever it takes.

So watch out all you non runners out there, you might find yourself signed up to run a marathon!

Christmas is coming

I’m getting really excited about Christmas. It was the Christmas Trust Fair at the weekend, full of great vendors such as Mango Patch which is an amazing textile company supporting single mums and Kamili Designs where I volunteer once a week. I got to help out on Kamili’s stall which was a great experience.

The Nairobi Music Society also held their Christmas concert where I had the privilege in joining the violins to blast out some great festive songs!

We have only got a few more days before heading to the UK for Christmas but I couldn’t resist putting up my “tree”. It was a bit of a variation on last years twigs and Im really pleased with how it turned out. IMG_0006 IMG_0001 IMG_0002

In the pink

What does one take to a Hen party in Kenya?! With limited retail outlets here to buy sexy undies or novelty toys I had to resort to a homemade present. I did toy with the idea of making a lacy garter but my recent baking obsession, inspired by Great British bake off, promoted me to make lingerie biscuits. Here are the results of my afternoons work!!

Shortbread just out of the oven

Shortbread just out of the oven

Outline done in thick royal icing

Outline done in thick royal icing

Icing "flooded" over biscuits

Icing “flooded” over biscuits

Displayed on pink tissue paper

Displayed on pink tissue paper

Hope there are not too many blushes when I give them to the bride to be!!

Wrapped up in glass paper and ready to go.

Wrapped up and ready to go.

I forgot to say that I had to improvise a homemade biscuit cutter from a tin. I just cut out both ends with a tin opener and then squished it into a a kind of heart shape!

Make a biscuit cutter out of a tin

Make a biscuit cutter out of a tin

What happens when hubby is out of town

Im not going to say I enjoy it when my husband is travelling but life is certainly different. Here are some of the things that have happened since he’s been gone.

Husband away

  • Left the door unlocked (by mistake)
  • Invited myself for a sleep over at a friends
  • Spent the whole afternoon making jewelry
  • Avoided supermarket shopping completely
  • Forgot to put fuel in the car
  • Eaten at random times
  • Watched a film in the bath on my laptop
  • Spontaneously had lunch with a friend
  • Stayed up late (er hem its now 00:50!!)
  • Had a girls night watching a film
  • Signed up to an online course on complexity!!
  • Missed the early morning running group……..twice!
  • Chatted on skype with distant friends
  • Haven’t used the teapot (its now got ants living in it!)
  • Caught up with girlie series and cried openly at every poignant moment
  • Planned all the things Im going to do when my husband gets back