Sunday 12 July 2015

5K Cancer Research UK Race for Life

Well the hills of Heaton Park were a shock to the system (never again will I take the flatness of Holland for granted!) and the crowds were difficult to manoeuvre around too! BUT I did it – I ran a 5K Race for Life this morning in loving memory of my Nanna Eva. Despite the hills (that I've not once trained on!) I didn't stop or walk once and also managed to achieve my best time yet of just under 36 minutes! A million thank yous to everyone who has supported me on this journey with kind words of encouragement, to those that have sponsored me helping me to more than double my original target with an astounding £422.48 raised so far for such a special, life changing charity, and to my nearest and dearest who were there to cheer me on this morning, catch me when I collapsed at the end, then buy me celebratory ice cream – love you all. An extremely emotional and empowering experience today that I will remember forever and that I am very proud of. An amazing and unforgettable day 💗

Tuesday 14 April 2015


Well, boys and girls, I bet you never thought you'd see the day this girl was physically capable of running for half an hour straight without dropping down dead?! And more than than, not only enjoying it but actually quite addicted and often itching to get out for a run! 

Well, I'm pleased to tell you, folks, that I have just got back from completing my very last session of the Couch to 5K Programme and I'm absolutely thrilled with what I have achieved in such a short space of time. Granted, the programme, due to illness and holidays and life generally getting in the way, took longer than the 9 weeks it states it will take and I have accumulated more than the 27 sessions it should have been completed in, BUT I have done it and what an amazing feeling that is! 

I've now got 12 weeks before the race to speed up as I'm still being overtaken by EVERYONE (cue a barrage of mortifying high school cross country memories!) and haven't actually yet run a distance of 5km because, with my current pace, that would be impossible to achieve within the 30 minute running time you have during week 9 of the programme. My aim now is to improve my current pace of about 8min per km to 7min per km in order to run the 5K race in 35mins. 

I've just achieved the first part of my challenge so I'm hopeful I can achieve the next! Bring it on! :) 

Thursday 8 January 2015

Dutchie for LIFE...?!

What a day! I spent ten hours sorting through the science room and technician's room from top to bottom, which was actually a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be. AND I also received some very exciting news which was a huge surprise; I found out, one year earlier than expected, that my contract has been renewed... INDEFINITELY!! So I'm here for life, if I want to be!

I've not had job security sine 2010 when I resigned from my job and left for Korea. I've enjoyed every moment of my four and half years of adventure and not knowing what's next (it's been VERY good for me!!) but I'm now looking forward to feeling settled in one place. Absolutely over the moon!

(Worst day ever to be doing Dry January! I want a glass of celebratory wine!!! >.< )

Saturday 18 October 2014

The Day I Fell Off My Bike for the First Time

Wednesday was a great day! The weather was great, (after a very dreary Tuesday) the kids were great, (the best day with my new class yet!) I felt great, the interview I had for a post of additional responsibility went really well, I managed to make it for a quick drink with friends after work, (which doesn't seem to have been possible much so far this term) it was meditation club day, and it was the first time I properly experienced the maximum benefit of having a bike to get you from A to B to C to D quickly. Life. Was. Great. And then BAM! I had my first bike accident. The accident I'd been anticipating and freaking out about since the very first time I got on the thing. And it was all down to tram tracks - bloody tram tracks - the cause of so many of my friends' accidents too.

Luckily, the worst of it was a few cuts and bruises, and ripped trousers and ruined shoes. I'm so thankful because it could have been soooo much worse especially as it was at one of the busiest junctions in Den Haag and with a bus right behind me! Lovely passers-by were on hand to help me up and rescue my phone and I made myself get straight back on the bike despite being shaky and petrified.

That's what life is about, is it not? Picking yourself up after a fall, dusting yourself off, and getting straight back on the bike. Life's too short to be afraid of what might be. You have got to keep on moving forward and taking risks no matter how scary that might be.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

30 before 30...

Well, here I am! I have reached the last year of my twenties and it's less than 365 days to go till the big 3-0! I plan to make this the BEST. YEAR. EVERRRR! and partake in a whole host of exciting and challenging activities throughout the year. I want to make this year enjoyable and memorable and grab hold of every opportunity and completely live life to the full! The things on this list consist of things that I love, things that I despise, things I have always wanted to do, things that I have been putting off for too long, things that will be all about the fun and pure indulgence, things that will challenge me to the max and make me cry and swear, and things that I have never had the confidence to believe that I could achieve but know I will once I put my mind to it. So without further ado, here's the list...

1. Go to Australia
2. Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef
3. Take 365 photos on my DSLR (one per day for the whole year) and blog each one
4. Train for and run a 5K Race for Life
5. Blog at least once per month
6. (Attempt to) Climb a mountain
7. Go for a ride on a canal boat
8. Make my own afternoon tea from scratch
9. Read at least three classic novels that I haven't read before
10. Take a skiing lesson
11. Begin THE book!
12. Sew something (anything!)
13. Learn a new language (Dutch!)
14. Learn one new recipe per month and compile in a recipe book
15. Eat pizza and gelato in Italy
16. Go to Oktoberfest, wear a dirndl and drink lots of beer
17. Volunteer
18. Perform on stage
19. Go camping - GLAMPING! (preferably at a music festival!)
20. Have cocktails in Cloud 23
21. Cycle to another Dutch city
22. Print and display my favourite photographs
22. Make photo books of all my adventures
23. Have a curry on the Curry Mile
24. See a Ballet 
25. Be a vegetarian for a month
26. Take up yoga
27. Complete my dining room chairs restoration project
28. Learn how to knit
29. Sleep on a beach and wake up in time to watch the sunrise
30. Get to the point where meditation becomes a part of daily life

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Reflection, Gratitude, Positivity

Be grateful, be positive and reflect often. These three things helped immensely on my path to happiness and I still make sure that at the end of every day I reflect on the day I've had by writing down the things that have made me happy in my journal. Whatever kind of day it's been, I focus on the good and I'm thankful for it and this helps me to go to sleep in a positive mindset ready to begin a new day.

It's particularly important that I do that tonight and this is what I'm focussing on as I go to sleep...

Obama and pals, you can come again!

Over the last two days The Hague has played host to all the most ‘important people’ in the world who have been here for the third Nuclear Security Summit. Now, I personally believe ‘Nuclear Security Summit’ is just code to hide the fact that what they’re actually doing is following yours truly around the world. Think about it, of the three summits there have been to date, two have been in cities around the world, on opposite sides, that I have lived in at that time: South Korea 2012 and now The Hague 2014. South Korea and The Hague of ALL the cities in the world? Come on. Coincidence? I think not. ;)

Anyway, despite the helicopters flying around till silly o’clock last night keeping me awake and the perceived hype and ridiculousness leading up to it over the past few weeks, it’s been quite a pleasant experience.  Having the summit here has meant, due to various factors such as road closures, that a lot of the children have been unable to come to school leaving us with very small class sizes; only half of the year group has been in school on both days. Yesterday we split all the children into two groups meaning the children got to work with new peers and meet up with friends they were grouped with last year. It also meant that each of the teachers in our year group got some free time to spend on planning and preparation which was great and meant I had a particularly productive start to the week. Today we kept the children from our own classes together meaning I had only 12 children to teach all day which was bliss! At one point I had only one child in my Letters and Sounds group - hilarious!

It’s been such a relaxed, quiet couple of days in which we’ve been able to give the children in our care some special focussed attention and really chat to them and get to know them. An aspect of the profession that often gets overlooked due to busy timetables and the constant pressure of levels and progress. So the past two days have been a nice reminder that beneath all that are the children - the individuals - who you became a teacher for.