The #ShineWalk Sights of London

Last week I gave you an update on how we did at the Cancer Research UK #ShineWalk.

It was a surreal experience, and I am so glad we managed to complete the half marathon!

Now, being in London meant that even though it was raining, there were plenty of amazing sights we wandered past, and London sure is beautiful by night, wet or not!

I promised I would share the images, so here they are! Courtesy of my Huawei Pro P20 phone!

 

You can see the iconic Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and a few other places!

And here are a few images of different things we saw, en route.

 

Love a bit of graffiti, and Jack the Clipper? Perfect! I think I need to visit The Clink in the daylight!

But one of my favourite images is this. No filter used either!

London 15

And this one, I tried to take using a night filter, but as we were walking, I got this funny effect, which I really like!

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Amateur photographer that I am, I think I did okay!

 

Shine Walk London 2018 – We Did It! #ShineWalk

So, on Saturday the 22nd of September, my Tootie Frootie ladies and I shone!

We attempted the Cancer Research UK Shine Walk through London, a Half Marathon, to raise funds for further cancer-related research and to help sufferers and survivors.

Let’s be honest, I am not a preparer for these things… I went on a treadmill a few times and then my exercise bike, but nothing else…

I decided to dedicate this one to my sister-in-law’s mum (Mummo) and my Hubby’s uncle (Mammu) who are undergoing treatment at the moment.

 

Here we are, 7 eager walkers, loaded with our rucksacks and overnight luggage!

At the Station

We arrived in London early and checked into our rather luxurious apartment for the night in Mayfair, no less! Shaw House, opposite the Bahamian Embassy with plaques for famous novelists and prime ministers of the past having lived there!

It was raining… and there was no avoiding that we were in for a wet evening, and possibly the whole night!

But at 5PM we set off on our adventure!

 

So, the atmosphere was pretty electric, even though it rained an awful lot at the beginning. We arrived a little earlier than expected and ate a fortifying burger and chips, then proceeded to find places to shelter until the actual start.

We even got some face painting done with UV crayons that required UV light for the full effects!

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There was a large starting arena where the warm-ups, and excitement build up was taking place, before we were allowed to start.

The two hours were rather soggy, and we wondered whether we would be like drowned rats by the end, but thankfully the weather changed and it dried up.

There were several pit stops along the way, where various snacks were given out and water bottles, and there were plentiful Portaloos too. Thing is, no one wants to really use one, so we carried on along and found a Macdonalds! Though they were rather uncharitable, and one branch had totally shut it’s toilet area off, conveniently as the walkers were passing! We passed a smaller one, and waited half an hour to use their disabled loos as they had shut the main ones too! (Rather uncharitable, Maccy-D’s!)

But we were able to really appreciate the beautiful sites of London by night, passing St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, The Globe Theatre, the London Eye, to name a few. Photo opportunities were plentiful too!

A few of us had really built up momentum, up until the toilet break fiasco, where that having to stop for a while meant our legs got a chance to start complaining… and that was 5 miles in, still 8 to go! I must admit to us popping a few ibuprofen pills to ward off the building aches! And we carried on, sometimes arms linked, sometimes separated, but we always got back together and continued through to the end.

It was great walking into the finish arena, as they personally announced every walker’s name, as they walked through, under the finish line, saying Thank You to each of us!

Medals got, official photos taken, it was fab!!! ( Though the watery hot choc was a bit of a disappointment! Still, can’t complain, it was free!)

Having started at 7.39pm, we finished at around 1.10am, (thought the Cancer Research message to me said 1.41am!) with one half an hour pitstop for toilet breaks, and really achy legs!

We did it!

And here is my medal!

I;m done!

A quick cab ride home, where our cabbie was a trained London Tour guide, peppering our journey with lots of trivia about the sights we were passing, we arrived and toasted ourselves, in our pyjamas, the buzz not rubbing off for a while! Girlie talk meant sleep did not come until 5.30am, and we were awake before 9am.

Showers all round, then we ended up in Henry’s, Mayfair for a lovely celebratory lunch, before heading off home, achy, tired, and content!

Lunch post walk

And when I finally arrived home, the first thing I did was run a bath…

Bath

…before falling asleep for a couple of hours!

Oh, and you may wonder how we did with our fundraising… well, with Gift Aid added, we have raised over £2000!

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And there may still be a few more donations to come. Even Cancer Research UK appreciated everything we did!

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But there you go, my first official Half Marathon – done! And I feel fantastic! (Tired – but fantastic!)

Oh, and I took some pretty amazing photos of the sights we saw around the areas we walked, so a post will follow with those images soon!

 

 

February 8 – Flash Fiction – Fireweed

Charli’s prompt this week:

February 8, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fireweed. You can use it as the plant, a flower, a metaphor or as the name of someone or something. Go where the prompt leads. Burn bright when you write.

“It’s hard to believe the carnage that happened here a short while ago.” Olivia looked around at the bombsite where once her home had stood.
Across the whole area, pretty purple flowers grew, giving the destroyed street a hazy filter.
“That rosebay willowherb has just taken over. It’ll take an age to clear it up too, before we can even think of rebuilding…” Janet sighed.
Fireweed… that’s what they call that, across the Atlantic, where I’m from.” Chuck, the GI who had befriended them at the dance the night previously, said. “It sure loves a bit of burned ground!”

 

I’m not great at researching pieces, often just going where my mind takes me with prompts, but with this one, I had to do a little reading first, as I didn’t know much about fireweed, and other than cracking a joke about fire and wee… my imagination was coming up with nothing! Apparently, fireweed was rife where the bombs had razed parts of London to the ground, during World War 2.

https://carrotranch.com/2018/02/08/february-8-flash-fiction-challenge/

Whisked Away! Anniversary Fun – #MondayBlogs

Unless you weren’t reading my scheduled posts (if not, why not?!) on the weekend, you know that it was our wedding anniversary and I was whisked away for a night, no children, just us!

We rarely get a chance to spend time together alone. Date nights happen so rarely, so this opportunity was seized with both hands!

The day started with lovely flowers and gifts, including a new charm for my Pandora bracelet! and a romantic breakfast!

So we disposed of dropped off the children to their grandparents, and headed off into London.

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It was a grey day, the Shard was even swamped in low cloud! I was kinda glad we hadn’t booked dinner there, wouldn’t have been much of a view, would it!?

But we arrived at our hotel, The Grange, Tower Bridge in good time and checked in. Ironically the room number we were assigned was 1118 – and our anniversary is 18th November… 11/18! A good sign?

Hubby Dearest still tried to wangle an upgrade… but a suite, even at a discounted rate, would have been £250 extra… no thanks!

Inside the room, there was a surprise. Towel swans in a heart, and an anniversary brownie! The view showed the Shard and the Gherkin too. The room was lovely though, the bathroom beautiful, and the bed, oh so comfy!

But we weren’t in there long… my stomach was trying to get my attention, and we needed to eat, so we popped to the Wetherspoons next door, and grabbed a late lunch, and bubbles, obviously!

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Back to the hotel, we pondered over whether to stay in, and use the spa facilities, or to go out… but before that Hubby needed to have another try and getting a better room! (He does like to try!) We were moved to the 14th floor for an even higher, clearer view, but a similar room. Dumping our stuff there, we decided to head off into the West End and see what we could do.

And it was so pretty in Leicester Square! There was a Christmas market on, the lights twinkling, and everyone wrapped up in hats and scarves as it was a cold night!

After popping into a last minute theatre ticket booth, we ended up with tickets to see 42nd Street, starring Sheena Easton, and a voucher for a free hot drink and cake at the Theatre Cafe!

Drink and cake consumed, we sauntered over to the theatre, taking in some of the shops around, including some beautiful old book stores…

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Then we arrived at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in Covent Garden.

The show was sold out. The theatre packed. We propped up to the bar and more bubbles consumed, (glasses 5-6 of the day) along with a random half an hour conversation with an older couple from Somerset! (You know me and random conversations, but this one was started by Hubby Dearest for a change!)

The show itself was magnificent! I clapped until my hands were red, and sang along to songs I knew, grinning from ear to ear at the ones I didn’t and harking back to the days I wished I could have learned how to tap dance!

Hubby Dearest wasn’t as enamoured of the production but he’s not your musical theatre sort to be honest. Still he had beer. He was hapy!

After the show, we pondered over whether to grab dinner, but having a late lunch and then cake before the show meant that we were still not hungry, so we walked around a little before heading back to the hotel.

More bubbles…

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We chatted and people watched… and giggled at a John Malcovich lookalike who was falling asleep on the barstool, and ended up having to be escorted to his room. By this time it was nearing midnight, and I was getting hungry and tired too…

The room beckoned, as did the room service menu!

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A club sandwich, and a portion of nachos later, we were ready to go to bed…

I shall not report back on the night hours!

And in the morning we were able to enjoy a complimentary breakfast and a late checkout.

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There was so much food, I wasn’t able to eat the rest of the day (maybe that was a good thing!)

We travelled back home, stopping to grab some groceries on the way, before being reunited with our babies.

It was a wonderful weekend, which ended up with me and Lil Princess at the Walk-In Drs… She has an infected bite which has developed into impetigo – eek! And I have the start of a throat virus… wonderful!

Still, the memories are made, the time we spent, precious. I can’t complain!

Thanks for all the congratulations and wishes Peeps! Your words mean a whole lot to me! ❤

 

A Lovely Weekend! #Birthday

Hey Peeps!

I’m sat here at the tail end of my birthday weekend, tired, happy, full, and ready for bed!

But I wanted to let you know what my weekend was like.

Hubby Dearest arranged for us to go to London, the four of us, for a night away, for my birthday!

We arrived at the Park Plaza Waterloo, the children and I poked our noses around the reception, whilst Hubby Dearest worked his magic, getting us upgraded and breakfast in the Executive lounge!

We saw some fantastic figurines and got a free cookie too!

The room was lovely, with a view of the Shard and other wonderful buildings.

Everything was electronic, lights, curtains, locks and all!

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They even gave the kids complimentary back packs!

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The children wanted to go swimming, but I was not in the mood to exercise! They went with Daddy, whilst I chilled out. The Pool and Gym area also had a Spa.

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Once they were sated, we got ready and went for a walk to the London Eye, and across the bridge towards the Houses of Parliament, complete with the silent for now, Big Ben!

There was even ‘Mr Bean’ entertaining folks!

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We decided to wander over to the West End, rather than catch a train. We stopped at Trafalgar Square, and saw some wonderful street art.

Lil Princess is not a walker so we had to stop several times for her to complain… and she got a piggy back from her Dad for a while too!

En route to drinks and dinner, we stopped at the Leicester Square Lego store, and I met Shakespeare!

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A cheeky cocktail at TGI Fridays, then we went to Wong Kei’s, our favourite Chinese restaurant!

If you’ve not heard of Wong Kei’s before, I have to tell you; Their food is WONDERFUL. Seriously! But they are as famous for their customer service, as their food. They don’t smile, you get sat with other people, they can be down right rude, to be honest, but because we know that is what they are about, it is so funny! And because, for some of them it is an act, you do get the smiles from them, sneakily!

The food, as I mentioned, was yum! And the portions are large, so we ended up with a lot left. Instead of letting it go to waste, the children decided they wanted to give it to some one who was in need. We got two take away boxes and made up two complete meals, with chopsticks too, and got ready to find someone who needed food.

London streets are full of homeless folk, and you don’t always know what is the best to do. But the kids did me proud. We found a lady, with dog, who was so grateful for a warm meal.

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The second meal given, we walked home again. London by night is so beautiful!

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And here’s something I hadn’t seen before… the portaloo type urinals that have been put up in places, to stop drunk blokes relieving themselves in the doorways at night…

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My little family made me very proud. ❤

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This morning, I was woken by a phone call from my Finndian family, and my brother and nephew serenading me from a Helsinki tram!

And then presents appeared, complete with a poem from Lil Princess, and a Power Point presentation about why I’m a great mum, from Lil Man!

My very own Pandora Bracelet! Bless them!

We ate a hearty three-course breakfast (Gonna have to get back on the healthy eating wagon after this last few weeks!) and literally rolled out of the Executive Lounge!

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After checking out, we made our way home where I was spoiled again by my in-laws!

This was topped off by a takeaway pizza, and then a birthday cheesecake at home!

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But it wasn’t just this that made my weekend good. Seeing that nearly a hundred of you took me up on my birthday gift to you was so pleasing, and the fact that I hit #1 in the Poetry download chart on UK Kindle was the icing on the cake! I can say I am a ‘Bestseller’ now I guess!!!!

I am now sat on my bed, getting ready for my first day back to school.

Tired, but happy.

Thank you for putting up with my constant badgering over the last month, first the #RiNoWriMo challenge, I set myself, then the free book promos… You are all angels, and I feel blessed that I have such a supportive blogily behind me!

I must go now, and get ready for the next chapter in my life as a teacher… More on that in another post!

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