Smiles and Sunshine

I honestly feel like a new woman. Spring has sprung and I feel like my former self is finally crawling out from under a rock. I so so so hate winter, and being cold and grey and dark everywhere makes me unhappy. The fact that the cold went on for SO long this year has really been just horrible and I am filled with joy that we now have lovely long evenings and finally had some sunshine this week.

So I thought I would share with you five things that make me smile in the last few weeks, and I hope that at least one of them will bring you some joy.

1. Marathon season

This year my wonderful boy started running. And weirdly loved it. It all started with the purchase of a pair of these while we were in the states last year, and has grown into a real passion. In particular, he is really convinced that running is really natural and shouldn’t need expensive shoes and crazy running gear that change the way your body does it’s thing, and has resulted in more than one argument discussion about why I dont feel it appropriate for him to run barefoot in Southampton!! But he has done amazingly, lost two stone and got super fit. A couple of weeks ago he ran the Brighton Marathon for JustLife, a charity set up by a former work colleague of mine, and he did amazingly. Despite a bit of a knee injury, he ran it in 4 hours 7 minutes. And we just had the best day. Marathons are, genuinely, the most incredible events. Literally, everyone taking part is doing it for amazing reasons. Well over half are doing it for charity, and incredible amounts of money are raised for great causes. It is so inspiring to see what people will do to help others. And even those that don’t run for charity, they’re running to be better, to be the best they can be at something, and that, too, is inspiring. The first few runners through are just incredible, strong and disciplined people, right through to the last few people, those dressed as rhinos or those in their 80’s running in memory of their murdered daughter, it really is an example of the power of the human spirit.

I had the immense privilege of working on marathon day at the cheer point for CLIC Sargent, the charity I work for. Apart from being hilarious (My brother was the star of our show with his pink hoody and megaphone), it was amazing to see people whose families have been affected by childhood cancer one way or another wanting to support other people going through it.

And I know you probably know 20 people who’ve run a marathon, and somehow that means it doesnt seem that amazing, but it genuinely is such an incredible feat, putting incredible strain on your body. I am blown away that Matt did it, and so very proud!!

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The sights at Boston, therefore, were harrowing. Just 28 hours after my boy crossed the line, we sat in horror looking on at the scenes from this other marathon.  It genuinely breaks my heart that we keep seeing these things, and that the world has got to this state. And yet, again, through this horrible situation, scenes of amazing bravery and human strength.

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Runners rushing from the finish line to go and give blood (believe me, if you’d seen Matt and Gary limping to get lunch the day before, this is impressive stuff), people registering to do the London Marathon less than a week after they had run in Boston to raise money for the victims. I saw this great quote on facebook, and its so true…and is another reason to smile

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2. Family time (almost)

I would imagine most of you know that my Mum and Dad live far away. like FAR away. Pretty much as far away as you can get. In fact, a mileage calculator tells me that from the airport in Southampton to the airport in Port Moresby is 9070 miles. Far.

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And to add to that, they dont live somewhere nice. Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world (according to Wikipedia…) because it is still tribal and each tribe lives according to its own ways and cultures. Because of this, it also has more languages spoken than any other country in the world (820)…although I think Mum and Dad mostly stick with English, with a bit of Pidgin thrown in (The Lords Prayer in Pidgin includes the line ‘forgive us our buggerups…I kid you not). 1/3 of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day and crime rates are high. I think at times we forget this, and get a bit complacent about where Mum and Dad are at, but this was brought crashing home a few weeks ago when I woke to an email to say that my Mum has been held up at gunpoint whilst out buying food for the Women’s World Day of Prayer. That is not something that makes for a focussed Wednesday at work…and I have found it so hard to get my head around my Mummy being in that kind of danger.

So it was a real treat this week that we got to see her. She is over here VERY briefly for a conference, but we managed to have lunch with her on Tuesday, and we will see her again for some of tomorrow. It was just so wonderfully normal to go to Nando’s with my Mum and have my brother joking around about which of us she has missed the most. And it did make me feel a bit better to know that she really is ok and that she doesnt feel too traumatised by her recent experience (she is awesome and kick ass and managed to get away from the idiots who held her up, so she’s a genuine hero)

Sadly my Dad couldn’t come with her. And he is pretty grumpy this week stuck in PNG on his own. But in just a couple of months they will both be home for a few weeks, so that is all wonderful. (The below photo was taken in Nandos…I dont know why the wall looks SO weird) (and i know it looks like I have a straw up my nose)

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3. This site

Look at the beautiful fabric. And the bias binding. AAAAAH!! I actually spent a bit of money there a couple of weeks ago to make a quilt for my friends’ baby, and it is so delicious!!

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4. Breakfast

Lately I’ve been trying to follow the ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper’ theory (we are still trying to stick with clean eating as far as possible too). I struggle so much with being hungry through the day at work, so we’re trying to have awesome protein-filled breakfasts to keep me full til lunch. This oatmeal casserole was awesome, even reheated the next day, this was one of Matt’s favourites, and smoked salmon and scrambled egg for breakfast makes me feel a bit fancy!

5.Holidays

This week we finally booked a holiday. This year we’ve struggled to work out what to do with holiday. Last year we spent a LOT of money on holidays, so we wanted to be a bit more frugal whilst we’re saving for a house. So we had a weekend away in March, we’re having a few days at Center Parcs in June, and we’ve just booked to go here in September. I am so excited about baguettes, and cheese, and pastries, and reading lots of books. I feel so blessed to have been able to travel a little in the last few years. I love seeing different bits of the world and have only ever been to France on school day trips so it’ll be great to see more of it. And maybe even get into Belgium too.

Enjoy the sunshine, I’ll be back soon 🙂

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