Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Sand Angels | Shadows | New Year

Beyond the fireworks, celebrations, cork popping and merriment there is but one truth. We have left 2012 behind and have welcomed in a new year.
Personally I had much to enjoy from 2012, the obvious highlights that have been documented time and again such as The Queens Jubilee and the Olympics certainly rubber stamped certain dates in history as well as bringing a much needed cohesion to a society if only for a short while. It also highlighted how social media has reinforced that cohesiveness on many levels. I for one enjoyed the opening ceremony not only with Mr T but with many of you on Twitter, making the experience incredibly inclusive. Sofalising was certainly something to be experienced and I am not ashamed to say I enjoyed it very much!

Personal highlights included birthday celebrations when both Mr T and myself turned 40, we raised many a glass to our inclusion into the 4th decade of our lives. I also became a life long member of the "I have run a marathon club". In May 2012 I ran the North Dorset Village Marathon in 4 hours 7 seconds. I competed in my first triathlon as well as saying hello to the world of adventure racing. All of these events had me being in the best shape ever, not bad for this 40 year old maid!!
40th party celebrations

Roseland Adventure Race

Taking to it like a duck to water!!

Marathon finish line

Most surprising of all I became a mud runner. I was introduced fairly swiftly to the trails and coast paths around this gorgeous part of Cornwall by fellow runners who were training for the Grizzly 2012 run. I was finding my injuries increasing as I started to increase my road running mileage, I took to the trails to enable me to gain strength and miles whilst limiting the injuries and fell in love with the feeling I got from it all. Lots of squeals and laughs as we were slipping and sliding through trails, much chatting as we reconvened at the next stile to take on board the view or a jelly baby or two. I totally and utterly caught the mud running bug.
If you want to read about how it makes you feel, this wonderful blog post by Katie Davis for the Mud Crew Events sums it up perfectly.

Last but not least I can include myself within the Mumpreneur category. This year saw Avril Sainsbury and myself introduce The Wire Digital Marketing & PR agency to the masses!! A venture that has been hugely gratifying in these first few months whilst also being amazingly hard work. I'm not one to shy away from giving myself challenges though and am happy to take the journey forward into 2013.

New Years Day has been a day of enjoying what is around me, my family, my environment and my ability to engage my body in the activity it enjoys the most. It has also been a day to ensure that I take stock of what is good in my life and nurture those who are so very dear to me.
Happy New Year to you all x x

Sand Angels | Shadows | New Year

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Cheer - the edible version

Every Christmas I like to produce something handmade, these days with children, work and the general mayhem that Christmas thrusts on our household I tend to leave the sewing machine covered in dust and end up making something in the kitchen. Nigella, I am not but somehow the scents of festive food encourages me to partake in matters of a highly domestic affair as well as having the obligatory tipple of mulled wine whilst I am doing said domestic tasks!!
Friends are not the only victims recipients of the Christmas cheer produced in the kitchen, oh no, so too are the teachers of both my boys - they must LOVE Christmas ;)

This evening I have mostly been making a regular of mine at this time of year - Pistachio & Szechuan Pepeer Biscotti. Given with a bottle of a sweet dessert wine such as Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise it goes down a treat. As I tweeted a photograph of the process, I received a request to share the recipe. The scent of the warmed szechuan pepper corns and the caraway seeds is enough to make me pour a mulled wine even if I started the first batch at a little past 4.30pm - well it's Christmas for gods sake!!! Here is my gift to you - the recipe.

The process - wish it was scratch & sniff!

Makes about 30

1-1 and a half tsp szechuan pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds
325g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
170g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
100g shelled pistachio nuts

Preheat oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with parchment.
Dry fry the pepper & seeds in frying pan over medium heat until fragrant, cool slightly then grind in a mortar to a rough powder.
Mix the flour & baking powder & salt. Stir in the sugar and the spices. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Mix to a firm dough, get your hands in. Once mixed the dough should be firm enough to just hold it's shape. Work in the pistachios.
Dust hands with flour, divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a plump log. Put on the baking sheet and bake for 45 mins until lightly tanned and firm.
Take out of the oven and reduce the heat to 130C. using a serrated knife, slice each loaf diagonally into pieces roughly 1cm thick. Arrange on a wire rack then put it directly into the oven with no tray underneath. Cook for a further 20-30mins until dried and hard.

Enjoy the festive season, one and all x x

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The runner took a stroll in the deep dark wood...

....in fact it went more like this. This runner took a run through the deep sunny woods,the runner smelt the woods and the woods smelt good. It was wonderful to be out there this morning. The sun was dappling through the trees and the ground was soft underfoot, the streams were flowing well after the recent rainfalls and this runner was in good spirits. There were no gruffalos though ;)
I saw only a handful of people along the way, it was just me and my run. It was blissful and nspired by runners I was privileged to meet yesterday.

Yesterday I went to support friends and fellow runners at the National Trusts Mouth to Mouth 10K off road run. In it's second year it is a fairly new race on the calendar but one not to be missed. I took part last year and enjoyed it immensely, not only was it a fairly small affair but so friendly and unassuming.
Jeff Cherrington from the North Cornwall National Trust was organising it as a keen runner himself he was best placed to select a route that inspired and challenged the most seasoned off roader. That it did! With hills that were nothing but epic, to woodland that was tranquil, to streams that were well, more like rivers yesterday, it really was a wonderful way to spend a morning.
I managed to miss the start as TJ's swimming lesson and Mr T's weekly cycle ride infringed on it slightly but was able to catch the finish where the first runner in was a Bude RATS member and was cheered in appropriately.
From then on it was a steady stream of runners, slip sliding their way down the descent back to Sandymouth, over the bridge to the home straight. Conditions were soggy, boggy and slippery and many runners were having to walk down descents due to the nature of the terrain after the rainfalls that hit N Cornwall in the last few days.
They all crossed the line with smiles on their faces and mud plastered up their legs to receive a warm welcome from a small but perfectly formed support network. Marshalls were along the route with one water station beautifully supervised by @thedaytodavis and Bridget, cheering people along the way with words of encouragement.
I managed to meet two runners from Twitter who I had tweeted many times and who have proved to be fellow mud lovers!!! @PhilippaDavey and Emily aka @plymfitness made their way to the North Cornish coast to take part in the Mouth to Mouth. It was great to meet them and get their reaction to the race. As they had both taken part in the Commando Challenge recently, they were used to getting down and dirty on trails and were taking this one on in the same style. They both commented that it was a tougher beast than the Challenge which I was quite pleased to hear as next year we have a team going into the Challenge from the mud runners in Bude RATS and my name is on the list! 
To top it off, there were medals for all participants, a T shirt and even some bling for category placers of which Emily was one of these!!
All in all, a great run in a spectacular location with some fantastic runners. For all those interested in next years race, keep an eye out on @NorthCornwallNT for information.
Philippa and Emily