2019 had been a kind year to me. I have done some great activities, been to some lovely places and achieved some cool things. I also gave myself time to write on my blog more, which is something I haven’t done in previous years. It has been great looking back at what I have achieved and decided to round it up.
Well 2019 hit me like a brick wall, my partner James broke his hip so he ended up with a four day hospital day. It was a truly awful time (at first the paramedics thought he would have to be airlifted to hospital and he only wasn’t due to the weather!). I was balancing going to work in Birmingham and then driving to Stoke and then Stafford hospitals. James also had to learn to walk again!
However one awesome thing which did happen was I did a collaboration post where I explored Birmingham with £40. I ate at my favourite cafe (Boston Tea Party), had a drink at Second Cup Coffee Company (a Canadian coffee company), and went to the Think Tank science museum. It was lovely to be chosen for a collaboration and it was a fun day out.
Other January blog posts – Book review – The Bed and Breakfast Star by Jacqueline Wilson
I had some races in the back of my mind that I wanted to do this year and one of them was running the Stafford Half. I had run the 10k before so I knew roughly what to expect regarding the route. I ran the half with my friend Louise and it was fun to run with a friend and even the hailstones a mile to the end didn’t stop us from achieving our times. I really got into crime fiction after borrowing my friends books therefore the book blog posts started to build up.
I also heard Ben Fogle speak at Warwick University. James is a massive fan but I had to admit I really enjoyed listening to his stories myself and I also got to sit first class for the first time ever on the Virgin Pendolino train (even it was from New Street to Coventry!).
I managed to tick off a race on my bucket list and that was Lincoln 10k. I am born and bred yellowbelly and in 2018 from googling one night I realised that a running race in Lincoln existed. Therefore I made sure it was on the list for 2019. It wasn’t the best race (I still cannot quite believe I paid to run around the Ermine Estate! and it didn’t even finish at Lincoln Cathedral due to road works but it was a chance to spend time with my Dad.
A few weeks later I also ran the Cannock Chase Trail Half Marathon. It was such a joy waking up and only having to drive five minutes to a race! It was tough going and although the race was cut short due to people messing with the signs (kudos to the event organisers who put on the race again FOR FREE!). I still recommend anyone to give a go running around.
I also went to the Keswick in the Lake District for holiday. I really needed the break and having a week where I went running and spending the time reading books and cross stitch was what I really needed. Additionally I went to the Parkrun in Keswick ( we forgot our bar codes and managed to get a shop in Keswick to print them out out for 10p!). This was James’ first run back from his broken hip and it took him double the amount of time but I was so proud!
April blog posts:
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
In May I completed the Hackney Half Marathon. Having resigned myself to the idea that I will never get a place at the London Marathon or the Royal Parks Half I thought the closest I will get will get to running a race in London will be this. I have to say I thought the race was really well thought out, there was a great festival atmosphere and the race medal and t-shirt were amazing as they were Nike! By far my favourite half marathon of that year!
I also ran the Birmingham 10k. It was my second time running as part of #Teamuob and although I hated the route (Great Run have changed the route for 2020 due to so many people complaining about it) and it rained (the weather was boiling hot the year before). It was also my first video on Youtube as I vlogged it.
Away from running I got an all expenses paid trip to Chicheley Hall near Milton Keynes which was incredible, they treated me really well and I felt like a star! I also visited Bletchley Park – which was a museum I have wanted to visited for a while now. I have an interest in World War Two and I learnt so much about code breaking and the role Alan Turing, Bletchley and the other code breakers played.
I joined a running group at work which I am still really enjoying now. I went to Switzerland for holiday and officially decided to and entered the Bournemouth Marathon. I also saw the Spice Girls after purchasing the tickets seven months earlier. It was really disappointing as you couldn’t hear them! Unfortunately I felt it wasn’t worth the money I paid to see them.
I entered in the Two Tunnels Half Marathon in Bath, which although I got injured about five miles to the end (I was hobbling at the end) it is such a beautiful course and myself and my friends had rented out a holiday home near Bath and it was a great weekend. The Parkrun in Bath was lovely as well. At one point you look over and you can see Bath in all its glory from below.
The Lichfield 10k was to be my final race before the Bournemouth Half. It was another bucket list race (they have a nice race shirt!) and the weather was great again. Unfortunately I couldn’t run the Bournemouth Marathon as I was ill on the week the marathon was but I wrote a blog post about my experience.
I also went on holiday to Gran Canaria. I had never been to Gran Canaria before but I enjoyed there being lots of sun, a fantastic hotel and to be able to go e-biking around the city and go stargazing were two particular highlights.
Charli XCX is an artist who I have admired for a long time. So to be able to see her live in Birmingham, she really didn’t disappoint. It was my first time in the 02 Institute in Birmingham and as the venue was quite small which felt intimate.
I also saw Little Boots on her reunion tour which was incredible as I have been a massive fan of her work especially ‘Hands’ her 2009 album. She put on a performance and she also did a DJ set afterwards and invited us all to it. Tickets for the concert went on sale back in August and originally ran out. I tweeted that I was gutted that I couldn’t get a ticket however, to my surprise, Little Boots tweeted and said there were tickets available from other ticket sellers. I purchased a ticket as soon as possible and am glad I did as the tickets sold out.
I completed 50 parkruns! It was one of my aims of 2019 and it has been a long hard slog but I did it (I think I did it over three years!). I was a bit worried at one point I wasn’t going to get there – what with being ill a lot (running really took a toll on my health and I was constantly run down!). I will do a full blog post about it soon!
December was such a wonderful month. I had been working really hard and was looking forward to a break. I spent Christmas with my family and friends, spent some time back home in Lincolnshire. Went out way too much for dinner and did lots of mountain biking and cycling.
James and I celebrated 10 years by going to Stratford in London for a ‘London 2012’ day. We went up the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower (although we couldn’t go down the slide as it was closed for testing), we were meant to have a beginners track cycling session but it was cancelled due to a leak in the velodrome roof.
However we did manage to go swimming at the Aquatics Centre ( I had never swam in an olympic sized pool before so that was an experience!). We stopped by a Pret and I purchased a tea and this adorable (and yummy) Melvin the Snowman biscuit, strolled around Westfield afterwards and went for tea at this Italian in Kentish Town. December really was a lovely end to the year and decade!
I would love to read your 2019 highlights below!
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