Aloha from Hawaii

Hey peeps I hope everyone is having a lovely summer still. We have been loving Hawaii- now on our third Island- all so different but just wonderful. The first place we visited was Oahu, which has Honolulu on it (before we started looking into this trip, I thought it was all one island but it is loads)- anyway, a short drive from there to our hotel near to Waikiki beach. It was a lot like Miami beach- I liked it, but it was a big touristy city right by the beach, just a bit more laid back really. I went out for a run the first morning; luckily some of it had a board walk because running on the sand is such hard work (as someone commented to me!). My bright red face in the hotel lobby must have been a sight! View of Downtown and Waikiki beach from Diamond Head We went for a walk up to a place called Diamond Head (because people thought that the glittery stones were diamonds)- it was very steep but worth the amazing views- the car park looked very small from up there. We went to Pearl Harbor (spelling it the American way because it is American)- Andrew really wanted to see it, and it was interesting, but I did find it weird that people were having their pictures taken in front of the memorials and things. After that we had a more light hearted trip- to the Dole Pineapple Plantation! Mainly it was an excuse to buy some Dole whip (sort of a cross between frozen pineapple, frozen yoghurt and sorbet)- I have only ever had it at Disney before and it is yummy. Plus we got to ride the Pineapple Express (anyone else see that film? I thought it was going to be rubbish and about a bunch of stone-heads, but it was so funny)- and before we got on the train we had to pose for a photo while I held a real pineapple. Random. We had already eaten quite a bit before we decided to take photos! Even though I have seen them before, it was still funny to see how they grow. Also getting a bit obsessed with the beautiful hibiscus flowers that are everywhere. We also spent a day driving around the island- the North Shore was much more quaint, with lots of surf shops and little art shops and things. So many beautiful beaches and views of the sea. The scenery changes are so dramatic- sea on one side, volcanic valleys covered thickly in trees on the other. We got to see where Lost and Jurassic Park were filmed. On Friday night one of the hotels put on fireworks on the beach, so we watched those in the evening. Anyway, that is enough photos for now! After that we went to the Big Island (which apparently is actually called Hawaii but that was too confusing)- went to the volcano national park, and even saw some real lava! But I will save that for next time. Right, I thought I had a picture of me waving (for some cheesiness you know) but I don’t, so this is from the gardens at the pineapple plantation- seems a long time ago already! Bye for now xx

I love mountains

Hey peeps

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer- I hear it is finally hot in the UK- hurrah!

Gosh my visit to Canada seems a long time ago now. Last Friday we flew to Vancouver- by the time we landed it was something like 8pm in the UK, but midday there. We drove up into Whistler along the “sea to sky highway” with amazing views.

Once in Whistler village we forced ourselves to have a wander (whereas what I actually wanted to do was sleep) and have some dinner.

Of course I woke up at 5am the next morning- very bright and early!

Whistler village is so pretty- it reminded me a lot of the ski village at Lake Tahoe- lots of little shops, and lovely views of the mountains. We bought a 2 day pass for the lifts, and spent the days there in the mountains.

We got a gondola up, and then from there one day we got a chairlift even higher up- that was OK except for the fact that you then had to get the chairlift back down- it was super steep and high up!

Once up there, there were different hikes signposted around, although I am not sure I agreed with the difficulty levels- even the “easy” hikes had very steep bits, loose ground and you had to clamber over rocks.

At some points we could see across to another mountain range- the spike is from a volcano, and the rest of the mountain wore away, leaving only the central core.

I feel like the Vancouver olympic statue is so much nicer than our one, sorry London! Plus it is way up a mountain, which is always good.

From Whistler mountain we could see across to the other main ski mountain, Blackcombe mountain- the ski runs were very easy to see as gaps between the trees. Once we got over to that side, they turned out to be beautiful mountain meadows filled with wild flowers.

Hello from the mountain!

All the buildings had ladders underneath them, for when the snow did not reach as high as the door!

I liked the statue! But you had to be quick to get a photo before the next person came along.

Excited to be tall enough for something, for a change.

We also did the scariest thing- ride across from one mountain to the other, in a gondola. I thought it would go down one mountain, across the valley, and then up, but not, it was way up above the trees. I was not keen on this at all. And I had to do it on both days!!!

That is not from a helicopter, but from the gondola- so high up!

But the views were worth it- more hiking- more clambering over rocks- and we even got to see some marmots (they whistle, which is where the mountain gets its name from). They were not too bothered by people.

There were swarms of midgies all over this lake, but some fabulous views made it worth it (and the long hike).

And an even friendlier marmot!

The air was just so fresh.

Pretty sure Andrew had his camera out just in case I fell in!

Another ride on the gondola of terror.

But more beautiful views made it OK.

Mountain streams from all the ice/snow that was melting.

Meadows (ski runs) filled with flowers.

A grouse and her chicks walking across the path- there were loads of people on the path and they were not bothered at all.

Then we got the chair lift down the other mountain, and had a short walk back to Whistler village- over a gushing river.

Olympic rings!

We ate in the same restaurant each evening- The Old Spaghetti Factory. Last time we were in Canada we loved this place, and it did not disappoint. Yummy pasta, salad, sourdough, plus tea and a scoop of ice cream- a total bargain.

Then after 2 days there, we drove back to Vancouver for our flight to Hawaii. We left some time to stop along the way, and saw a few beautiful waterfalls.

So spectacular.

Anyway, that is enough photos for now! We have taken so many- it was very hard to cut it down to those.

Hawaii has also been fab, but I will post about that later. I am sure everyone has photo brain freeze or something to that effect.

Any news I have missed? What are you all up to?

And do you prefer mountains or beaches?



Packing and emptying

Packing my suitcase, and emptying my fridge that is!

Well the last few days I have been trying to use up everything (no photos again because for some reason I can’t get it to upload). Yesterdays breakfast was lovely- Alpro plain yoghurt, doughnut peach, and some pumpkin tea bread with pb. (I made the pumpkin teabread with 1 cup dried chopped figs, 1 cup raisins, soaked in 300ml tea, plus one cup of pumpkin puree, 2 cups flour, 2 eggs..)- delicious.

Last night was a Sweatshop run- we did a route that was about 3.2miles, and I kept the front of the group in sight- made it back in 31.35! Pretty fast, especially as it was hot!

Finishing that I had a lovely dinner of balsamic tofu (I pressed the tofu and then soaked it in balsamic and dried basil before baking) with a salad of beetroot and avocado- things that needed using up!

I have been sorting out things at the allotment a bit- some weeding, planting a few more plants, picking mountains of raspberries (and now eating them as they needed using up!).

Today I was packing (and waiting in for a parcel) and went out for a slow 4 mile run (in the baking heat this afternoon)- soon I shall be running along the beaches, or something like that.

I am taking my running shoes on holiday with me- I have never done this before, and usually take the opportunity to have a rest from running on holiday, as I think a rest makes you come back with more enthusiasm. Plus we always walk a lot on holiday- we are not ones for lounging about- we do a lot of sightseeing, so I never want to be tired from a run during a long walk or something. But this year I had a rather long enforced rest, and I am concious that when I get back I have 2 weeks before the GNR- not long to get up to that distance (13.1 miles- eek).  Andy is taking his too, so we are hoping to have a couple of runs together each week- not much, and not extending anything, but hopefully it will minimise the fitness loss. That is the plan anyway.

Our holiday is a rather special one- at Christmas we were meant to be going to New York, Washington and Philadephia for Christmas (and then to the beach in Florida) but as I was in hospital we had to cancel. Andy promised me that if we had to cancel it, we would go to Hawaii, and that is where we are headed! We have a stop in Vancouver, so are off to Whistler tomorrow, and then after that to a few of the Hawaiian islands- I cannot wait- might even get to visit the Dole pineapple plantation and see a volcano! Eek! Better finish my packing 🙂

Do you have any trips planned this summer?

Anywhere you can recommend?

Sweetie Tea!

Hey peeps

I hope everyone is still loving the Olympics- I sure am!

I got an email from Twinings this week, telling me all about their new range of teas, and I must say, they sound right up my street! They sent me a couple of them to try (Jasmine Pearls and Honeycomb Camomile) although I love the sound of the whole range.

They seem to be based on old fashioned sweet shop sweets- ones in jars that you used to buy a quarter of (makes me sound old, although I never knew what the quarter meant!).

Click on the links if you want to see photos, as my net-book is refusing to upload photos for some reason.

Honeycomb camomile tea (sounds nice- I really liked camomile tea when I tried it before, but have not bought any for ages): This is lovely- really mild and fresh tasting, with a hint of honey- sweet but not too sweet. The teabags are those fancy silk “temples” and they look so pretty with the yellow buds. The tea went a very bright yellow colour too.

Gingersnap Peach tea (sounds like it would be my favourite- on holiday last summer I became rather a fan of ginger peach tea). I will be on the look out for this as it just sounds amazing, and I bet it would make a nice iced tea too.

Mint Humbug tea (also sounds lovely- I do love a nice cup of mint tea)

Liquorice Allsorts Earl Grey Tea (This must come a close second in ones that I want to try- I am having an Earl Grey phase at the moment)

Jasmine Pearls Green Tea (athough I am not a massive green tea fan, it still looks pretty. Not sure what sweet they are aiming for though, any ideas?). This tea was very mild tasting, which I liked, as I often find green teas too strong, even if you only brew them for a minute or two (this recommended 2 mins). Again the tea “pearls” looked very pretty in the silk pyramids, and it turned the tea a very strong green colour. It was not as perfumed as other jasmine green teas that I have tried, but I preferred this one I think as it was overall milder in taste.

Which tea do you like the sound of the most? I am torn between the Gingersnap peach and the Earl Grey, although I like the sound of the mint and camomile too, those first two are a little more unusual.

What sweet would you love to see made into a tea?

Olympic day out

Warning- this post contains loads of photos!

Well the day finally arrived! We had tickets for athletics in the morning, and hockey in the evening. Lunch, raincoat, camera and water bottle packed, we headed to the underground (and even got the javelin train- what a fab idea).

The security was excellent- we walked right through in no time (no queues at all).

All the staff were so friendly (it was very “Disney”- they were all going ” we are so glad you are here, have a lovely day, let’s have a shout out to the New Zealand fans” etc) and it was signposted clearly.

This thing is so ugly though, especially the big concrete ribbon.

Woo-hoo: at our seats! By the way, the vast majority of these photos are by Andy as his camera has a good zoom etc.

Yes I was very excited to be there!

The stadium had a commentator (announcer?)- they explained what was happening, if they were heats who would go through, who the athletes were, what their records were (or if they had WR, OR’s etc) and so on. There was lots going on.

Those minis were for the javelins- once they had measured the throw they would put them on a mini and it would drive back to the start- as the athletes can choose from the pool of javelins- they don’t have their own.

Love the flame.

So, we got to see:

Women’s javelin (qualifiers)

Action shot! We did have a GB girl doing javelin but she didn’t qualify.

Men’s 110m hurdles- qualifiers. That was exciting- some of them knocked loads over though! We had a British guy (Andrew Turner?) qualify in his heat- exciting!

I love the dip they do as they get to the finish line.

The big screen would show things like their times, the WR and OR, the qualifying times, or the list of people who had qualified. I felt I knew what was going on. It was strange though because the athletes could obviously hear the announcer, so when they said things like “that’s not how she wanted to end her Olympics career” I felt a bit sorry for them to have to hear it about themselves!

Men’s triple jump– Phillips Idowu making an appearance after all that speculation.

More action shots!

Women’s 5000m qualifiers. I was very excited that I saw Jo Pavey, and also we had another Brit who qualified- Julia Bleasdale (although that confused me as they just said the surname so I was thinking it was Holly Bleasdale until I saw her!).

Men’s 200m qualifiers

There is so much macho strutting and stuff- they all have their little action to do to the cameras! Of course, the crowd went a bit crazy for Bolt- he lapped it up!

He was so fast, and really slowed down right at the end- he is amazing. His feet seem to grab the floor in front of him (no heel striking there!).

Blake was in another trial (and Bolt after the 100m said that he trains much harder)- he finished with a faster time in the end (than Bolt I mean) but they were all leaving some in the tank for the real race I think- again he really eased up when he got close to the finish line.

After the athletes finished, they had to go through rows of media interviews before they could leave the stadium. In one of the hurdles one of the men hurt himself, and hobbled off to a different exit, only to be told to go out the media exit. In the end a couple of other hurdlers (including the GB guy) went to help him walk as he was limping really badly.

I loved all the flags that went around the roof of the stadium.

Then we had a wander around the park- it is massive! I really didn’t appreciate how big it would be- it did say in our info it might take 30 mins to get to the venue after security, but I took that to mean it would take that long to go through security. Nope, it is just massive.

Think that is the boat from the Queen’s Jubilee? I really wanted to see the boat that Beckham drove (do you drive a boat?) in the opening ceremony!

There was a queue all the way up that hill of people having their photos taken, but we just did it from the side instead!

We sat in the park, had our picnic and watched the big screen for a bit.

Then we went to the shops- there is a massive Westfield. Oh my word it was so busy, but we were so excited to see a Pinkberry! Mainly because of it being on Curb your Enthusiasm! We shared one with mango and coconut- yum.

Then it was back for the hockey in the evening- this time at the Riverbank stadium. Very very pink!

GB were playing Spain- GB could draw to qualify, whereas Spain had to win.

A few action shots! In the end it finished 1-1. I don’t know much about hockey (trying to remember the rules from when I played it at school) and again the stadium announcers were very good as they would explain things like the penalty, time out, cards etc.

It rained quite a lot then, so we were glad of our rain coats.

After the games finished we had another wander around the park to see it lit up at night.

And then it was home 🙂

It was an amazing day, I felt so lucky to be there, and am so glad we persevered with the tickets (anyone who applied knows what a nightmare the system was). But it was just fantastic.


And well done to you if you got to the bottom of this post!

Olympic highlight so far?

Mine still has to be Mo Farah I think, that was such an exciting race.