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Start of Lent...

I am giving up booze, but taking up two things :-)

1. Run 40 miles in 40 days (do-able and good training for the Zurich 10K on 23rd April)
2. Write 40 letters to friends, near and far

I had terrible news this week. One of my University friends, who I shared a house with, has died by suicide. She was someone I read and commented on via facebook. I wish I had been a better friend and reached out more.

And today it has started snowing in Zurich - has winter finally arrived?
All my good intentions and relaxed vibes have been beaten into submission by my first week back at work and now I am coming down with a cold :-( Healthy eating not yet started, didn't run or get to the gym, no time even to read a book:-(

But here are the things I was grateful for this week - beautiful post christmas flowers I bought myself, both boys getting to be "king" by finding the king in their "Dreikönigskuchen", markus having a friend round for Friday pizza party and I even went out last night with a friend for drinks :-)


2016 Resolutions

My one big goal for this year is to finally lose weight. I have 20kg to lose to be healthy and fit. I am fed up of my clothes not fitting. My running bras are all too tight. My wedding ring feels tight. I know how much effort and mental energy it takes to lose weight. This is a lot of weight to lose, but I have all year. Slow and steady.

So how am I going to do it?

1. Food
I am doing to alternate juicing weeks with eating high protein/healthy fat low carbs. This has worked for me before. I have a juicer, a blender and various apps with healthy recipes in. I need to dramatically cut down on alcohol as well.

2. Exercise
I have renewed my gym membership - I hardly used it last year. I want to go to the gym twice a week.
I have started running again using a couch to 5k app - and will run three times a week
I will do the Zurich 10K in April.

3. Time for Me
More time reading and blogging. My healthy triangle is made up of running, reading, writing. If I spend less time sitting on sofa drinking red wine, then all these other things will happen. The weight loss, the exercise, the reading, writing & running

*Lose 20kg in 2016
*100 Books in 2016
*100 Blogs in 2016
*100 Runs in 2016
*100 Gym visits in 2016

That was the year that was 2015

2006 answers / 2007 answers / 2008 answers / 2009 answers / 2010 answers / 2011 answers / 2012 answers / 2013 answers / 2014 answers

Have taken out some of the questions and streamlined them...

What did you do in 2015 that you've never done before?
Led a team at work

Did you keep your New Years Resolutions and will you make more for next year?
In 2015 I wanted to read 100 booky (did 90), write 100 blog posts (did 83) and have monthly dates with Alan (done) and run 1000 kilometres (217 km)
This year, 2016, my big goal is to lose 20kg (and also read 100 books and write 100 blogs)

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Did anyone close to you die?
thankfully no

What countries did you visit?
UK, Minorca, Germany

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
More knowledge about my job!

What dates in 2014 will remain etched on your memory and why?
Starting my new job on 5th May

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Moving jobs internally, taking on a new team, surviving a steep learning curve

What was your biggest failure?
Failure to look after my health and wellbeing - I didn't go to the gym enough, run enough, eat well enough etc etc

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Stayed healthy, but didn't feel on top form - see previous question

What was the best thing you bought?
Juicer & Netflix subscription

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Still my wonderful sister...and my wonderful Alan

Where did most of your money go?
kinderkrippe, Kindergarten and on our summer holiday abroad

What did you get really really excited about?
Meeting my virtual running friends at the Run Mummy Run Retreat

What song will always remind you of 2015?
don't think I had one

Compared to this time last year are you:
a) happier or sadder - happier
b) thinner or fatter – fatter
c) richer or poorer - richer

What do you wish you'd done more of?
reading and blogging

What do you wish you'd done less of?
worrying (as every year)

How will you be spending Christmas?
We spent it here in Zurich just the 4 of us

What was your favourite month of 2015?
July&August - Boys' birthdays, family holiday in Minorca, Kate and boys came to stay

What was your favourite TV programme?
So, so many. Breaking bad, Suits, Elementary, White Collar, Master of None, Grace & Frankie

What was the best book you read?
Little Paris Bookshop: Nina George

What was your greatest musical discovery?
That I managed to get my "old" ipod to work again! Now have 160 GB hooked up to the speaker in the living room :-) & Spotify!

What did you want and get?
a Team at work and more responsibility

What did you want and not get?

What was your favourite film of this year?
Minions :-)

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 42, had an apero / goodbye party at work for my old team

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
more time to myself, to read and blog (same as last year)

What kept you sane?
my kindle, oh, and Alan :-)

Who did you miss?
my sister, we seem so far apart (same as last year)
my mates sal, mags, karen, caroline

Who was the best new person you met?
Lidia :-)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015
Step by step


2015 The Year in Pictures

It's been a busy year. Alan wrote his third book, about Agile Financial Management. Markus started losing his baby teeth (4 so far) and Patrick enjoyed watching the world "bumper ball" aka Rugby! I took over leadership of a group of eLearning Advisors and entered a steep learning curve about technology based learning.

We went for our very first family ski trip in March and Markus mastered the mountain! During the summer, Kate came to Zurich with her boys and we enjoyed week in the sun - at the lake, at the pool, travelling with steam train... They left and we then went to Minorca for a week at the pool and on the beach :-)

The year has ended with three of my favourite advent routines - an icy swim 111m across the Limmat river (Helen), steam train trip to the forest to meet Santa (all of us) and the Christmas run through the old town (Markus and Helen).
It was a very good year :-)

All my 2015 pictures

@40 Challenge - End of 2015

2015 I completed two more big challenges :-)
38. Find my next job

My challenges for 2016.......
4. 40 cups of tea with friends
11. Replace engagement ring
17. Learn 40 new recipes
18. Find and reach my ideal weight for health and fitness
22. Sail on Zurich Lake
26. Create album for me about being 40 (mini cards and photo frame)
32. Create photo album of professional shoots
36. Finish our wedding album !

My @40 challenge was originally intended to run from May 7th 2013 to May 6th 2014. Then of course I realized that I had taken on too many challenges for this to be feasible, many challenges were weekly or monthly, so a lot of work.

However, taking stock at the end of 2015, I have completed 22 of the 40, have 6 in progress and haven't started 11 of them - see below.

In Progress
4. 40 cups of tea with friends
11. Replace engagement ring
17. Learn 40 new recipes
18. Find and reach my ideal weight for health and fitness
22. Sail on Zurich Lake
26. Create album for me about being 40 (mini cards and photo frame)
32. Create photo album of professional shoots
36. Finish our wedding album !

Not started yet
3. Plan a family holiday in Canada in 2015 or 2016
9. Plant a Tree
10. Create a time capsule box for when I'm 80! (40 photos / cards / momentos)
20. Find spiritual director / church / nourish my spiritual self
29. Go to a radio or tv recording in London (have I got news for you, the news quiz, the now show etc)
30. Complete my patchwork quilt
33. Cake baking / decorating course / cooking course
35. Finish wedding sampler for M&M
37. Find a PhD supervisor (and therefore a topic)
24. Nanowrimo 2013

1. Reflect on the 40 best things I have done in my life so far
2. Find a userpic for @40
8. Visit Cheryl
12. Weekend in Brussels
13. Weekend in Manchester
14. Visit Parents on barge
15. Swim across Zurich lake in summer (and/or limmat river swim in December)
21. Attend TED zuerich in Oct 2013
31. Relive my student days in Sheffield
27. Attend 4 cultural events
5. Family Palmer weekend in UK
7. Night away with Mr.Ncot (without boys!) at Montana Hotel, Lucerne
6. Monthly dates with Mr.Ncot
16. Half Marathon / Marathon
19. Walk on Uetliberg once a month
23. Blog weekly
28. Redesign www.helenpalmer.co.uk (using flavors me)
39. Become a mentor
40. Alan's Joker
25. Family Photo Shoot
34. Take a private skiing lesson (either downhill or cross country)
38. Find my next job


Life is good, enjoy the little things. Someday you will look back and realize they were the big things.

I try very hard to be mindful, to appreciate my life and the blessings I have. This is not always easier in my self induced panic and rush and stress. But when I look back at my daily snapshots, I appreciate the little things :-) And I remember how much love, beauty and fun surrounds me each day!
Snapshots 2007 - 2015

Books read in 2015

Bricking It: Nick Harper
Kiss me under the mistletoe: Fiona Harper
Christmas at Lilac Cottage: Holly Martin
Blue Christmas Balls: Nick Spalding
Is that a Fish in your Ear?: David Bellos
The Secret of Happy Ever After: Lucy Dillon
7lbs in 7 days Super Juice Diet: Jason Vale
The SW19 Club: Nicola May
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules: Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet: Joe Cross
The Rosie Effect: Graeme Simsion
Lingo - A Language Spotter's Guide to Europe: Gaston Dorren
The First 90 Days: Michael D. Watkins
No Run Intended: Hannah Phillips</font>
The Woman who died a lot: Jasper Fforde</font>
Love Always: Harriet Evans</font>
The Woman who stole my life: Marian Keyes</font>
Then Came You: Jennifer Weiner</font>
Playing Big: Tara Mohr</font>
This book will save your life: A.M. Homes</font>
One hundred names: Cécilia Ahern</font>
Thanks for the memories: Cécilia Ahern</font>
The unexpected vacation of George Thring: Alastair Puddock</font>
Philomena: Martin Sixsmith</font>
Capital: John Lanchester
Leaders eat last: Simon Sinek
The Power of Habits: Charles Duhgg
Raising Boys: Stephen Biddulph
One of or Thursdays is missing: Jasper Fforde
First among sequels: Jasper Fforde
Something Rotten: Jasper Fforde
Well of Lost Plots: Jasper Fforde
Lost in a Good Book: Jasper Fforde
The Eyre Affair: Jasper Fforde
Why we get fat: Gary Taubes
I let you go: Claire Mackintosh
Little Paris Bookshop: Nina George
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Valley of Fear, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sign of the Four, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The complete Sherlock Holmes: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Year of Living Danishly: Helen Russell
The Real Life MBA: Jack & Suzy Welch
PS, I Love You: Caecilia Aherne
Eat & Run: Scott Jurek
The Hundred Foot Journey: Richard C Morais
The Children Act: Ian McEwan
A Real Boy: Christopher Stevens, Nicola Stevens
59 Seconds, think a little, change a lot: Richard Wiseman
You can take 6 months off: Tomer Lanis
Better than Before: Gretchen Rubin
Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery: Jenny Colgan
The Elephant Whisperer: Lawrence Anthony
Why do Buses come in threes?: Rob Eastaway
The Two of Us: Andy Jones
Fat Chance: Nick Spalding
The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams: Fiona Harper
Wicked words 6: anthology
Leaving Time: Jodi Picoult
The Curvy Girls Club: Michele Gorman
What She Wants: Cathy Kelly
Head over Heels in France: Samantha Brick
Complications: Atul Gawande
The Year of Taking Chances: Lucy Diamond
How to Find Fulfilling Work: Roman Krznaic
1'411 Facts to knock you sideways: John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, James Harkin
Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change it: Michael Grose
Starter For Ten: David Nicholls
Beyond Toddlerdom: Dr Christopher Green
The Photographer's Wife: Nick Alexander
The State We're In: Adele Parks
The Little Women Letters: Gabrielle Donnelly
Anne of Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery
Little Women & Good Wives: Louisa May Alcott
The Secret Garden: Frances Hodgson Burnett
How to Speak Money: John Lanchaster
Us: David Nicholls
You can go the distance! Marathon training guide: Bruce Van Horn
The Crane Wife: Patrick Ness
Stardust: Neil Gaiman
Fat Man to Green Man: From Unfit to Ultramarathon: Ira Rainey
Running with the Mind of Meditation: Sakyong Mipham
How to be a Productivity Ninja: Graham Allcott
Tickling The English: Dara O`Briain

Running Review 2015

This year running took a back seat to my new job. But I missed the running. I did no races, except for the Silvesterlauf with Markus (which was fab - he skipped the whole way).

But the best thing was being part of Run Mummy Run and going on the retreat in June 2016
Oh and I got new orthotics. Let's see if they make me run faster...

2016 I will do a 10k, a 10 mile and a half marathon and I will enjoy getting fit again :-)
Would love to run 500 km or more...

No of Runs: 42
Total Distance: 217.68 km
Run Time: 27:05:33
Avg Distance: 5.18km
Avg Run Time: 38:42
Average Pace: 7:28/km

No of Runs: 93
Total Distance: 706.9km
Run Time: 94:18:24
Avg Distance: 7.60km
Avg Run Time: 1:00:51
Average Pace: 8:00km

No of Runs: 31
Total Distance: 187.96km
Run Time: 26:06:06
Avg Distance: 6:06km
Avg Run Time: 50:31
Average Pace: 8:20km

No of Runs: 63
Total Distance: 327:32
Run Time: 42:38:17
Avg Distance: 5.20km
Avg Run Time: 40:36
Average Pace: 7:49km