It has been a busy old week between jobs and I have been trying very hard to not just to do tasks, but also get some treats in - see lists below!

I was mostly successful in balancing tasks and treats. I am up to date with photos and blogs. I can see my desk again. Our finances are in order. Patrick's bike tyres are pumped up. It's the little things that make the difference. I now have plucked eyebrows, and nice new gold nails with Shellac :-) I exercised every day and even managed a misty walk on the Uetliberg. Done some thinking about my new job and got some rest. Even did some reading for pleasure!

However, my new laptop is still not quite setup and I didn't finish one tasks related to my old job. But hey, who needs 100% completion rate?
My work bag is packed for tomorrow, clothes laid out, Sherlock Holmes omnibus to read on my kindle.

I realized this week though that I finally have all my digital tools lined up, synchronizing and working well.

My digital brain is on Evernote. I can handwrite notes onto my ipad (or iphone) with the Moleskine app or with Penultimate and these notes sync to Evernote. I can even export these notes back into livejournal for a blog post. Plus each note I go to to record what I actually got done. here's today's examples. Helps me recognize that I do get rather a lot done...

But I have just seen news abot Livescribe who have a real pen and real paper notebooks and yet the smartpen automatically replicates the "analogue" page onto a digital page. They've teamed up with Moleskine and Evernote. A match made in heaven. I want :-)

I just realized I have no tag for all things techie / gadgety / digital :-( How is this possible?
New tag for all my techie woes and joys and wishes! gadgetgirl

Patrick at 42 to 46 Months

Months 46, 45, 44, 43, 42

Our Patrick is a funny boy, loud, giggler, takes what he wants, constantly annoys Markus, but then can turn round and be very sweet to him. They are often best buddies, playing nicely together. Markus recently taught him Rock, Paper, Scissors - although we are not sure that Patrick has quite got it yet. He grins at markus, waits to see Markus' choice, and then just copies him :-) He is cheeky but adorable and does get away with a certain amount of mischief.

He loves dressing up, and adores the adult 3D movie glasses, heaven knows how he can see out of them well enough to draw.

Below is a typical sequence of events - Patrick puts something on his head, looks grumpy, tries not to smile, giggles

his swiss german is also coming along nicely, as is his "Swiss-english": Me Not! Wait a second (favourite phrase, second only to "But....") He mixes up his prepositions, using "From" when he means "for"
There are some words that he still says in his particular way; pur-rise (for surprise, ie dessert),
airyplane, amimal
me watch funny? = can I watch television?

Patrick is a great fan of the "beep beep" ie the kitchen timer for solving disputes. They can have the toy until the beeper, when the toy is then shared. There is always a race to see who will turn off the beeper -cue more arguments.

He often still naps after lunch. He can do without it, but then he has his five o'clock existential crisis. When he sleeps, it's in the class child pose. He goes to bed with "goat, muggie, pillow". We are still trying to get him to give up the "muggie" (for "nuggi" ie dummy). When he does deign to get into bed (he is the master of many final calls for pee pee, poo poo, more water, more light, less light etc) then the pillow has to be the right way up and correctly aligned. It's like watching a dog circle around and around in the basket before settling! We then have to sign either "twinkle twinkle" or "you are my sunshine" for patrick (with him joining in!) and then "do do do" ie Brahm's lullaby for Markus. He does love his singing!

He loves his swimming even more, he is a right little water baby, and even tries "diving" in the bath. His lessons with First Flow are finishing soon, so i am on the look out for the next type of lessons.

Best Buddies


Markus at 65 to 69 months

Months 69, 68, 67, 66, 65

Another 4 months have flown by and Markus is growing in front of our eyes. He has a growth support and a number 2 blade cut (courtesy of Mr.ncot!) He was very happy that he a hair cut like Daddy :)

He speaks fluent swiss german at Kindergarten and a strange hybrid at home, often using German verbs in the middle of an english sentence ie "Patrick is lueging!" (luegen = to lie). Also German phrases translated directly into english ie "I want to draw something out" (ausmalen, de) for "I want to colour something in!" English sentences also often come out with German word order ie "Do we don't have..."
When I hear him speaking swiss german at kindergarten, he is fluent, with perfect pronounciation and he looks and sounds like a different boy. Slightly disconcerting ;-)

He brings new phrases and gestures home from Kindergarten, too. He crosses his arms (like an X) in front of him if something is "verboten". Favourite questions... "How did you know that?" "I didn't notice that" "What does that write?" (ie what does that say) and "How is that called?" (rather than What!)
Oh, and we are just starting the stage of jokes that don't make sense. The intonation, ryhthm, syntax is correct - it's just that they are not funny.

I think they have been teaching them "Rock, paper, scissors" at Kindergarten, except it's called "Schere Stein Papier" (ie scissors, stone, paper) and he has enjoyed teaching Patrick how to play. Noughts and Crosses (Tic Tac Too) is also a favourite, as is "I spy" (by colour) and "I'm thinking of an animal".

I want to say he is getting better at getting to sleep and that he is dry at night, but that would be slightly optimistic. We do have a very cute 5 kiss routine at bedtime. Cheek, cheek, chin, forehead, nose - and if I am very lucky, one for luck.

He loves and fights with Patrick in equal measure. They will place nicely for 10 minutes and then I "feel" the tension rising and then i hear the arguments and the hitting. The Adjudicator is the kitchen timer - most often heard phrase "Markus, you can play with it until the beep beep goes." We have just started in the "That's not fair!" wailing/screeching phase. Why do I never get to... Why does Patrick always,..... etc ad nauseum.

He is enjoying swimming but is not being very challenged at the moment, so i am trying to find him another lesson. He sometimes has drum lessons with his friend Venus on a Saturday. We have also started on playdates with friends from Kindergarten, which is good fun. His favourite thing though is drawing. He is extremely prolific and imaginative. He draws scenes from things he has seen on his favourite films, like the Room on the Broom, or from ipad games. I can't keep up with the scanning and the curating :) He made a mural at Kindergarten by sticking many many A4 pieces of paper together in landscape - it took him days...

I can't believe that we have less than 3 months to go before he starts his second year of kindergarten. I remind myself daily to be mindful of how he is now and at every stage. Each time I blink, he seems a step older and further away. And as the photo below shows, he already looks like his future teenager self.


Resolutions Update, April 2015

Here are my 2015 resolutions, how am I doing so far?

- 7 books (now at 41 read)

- 3 blogs

- No Date with Alan :-(

- 3 runs
- 19.76 km
- 2:30:43
- Avg pace 7:38/ km

- Total KM this year: 133.43
- Total time this year: 16:15:10
- Avg pace this year: 7:19

Tweeting in the Gaps April 2015

April 06, 2015 at 02:51PM: "I want to draw something out" (small boy M) = "I want to colour in" in our family's swiss german english hybrid dialect!

April 06, 2015 at 03:52PM: small boy P's version of swiss german english includes - "Me Not" & his favourite phase "wait a second!" #pmm

April 09, 2015 at 07:04PM: I def need a "gone recharging" sign :-)

April 11, 2015 at 04:50PM: Alan & his two mini-mes have left the building. MUST NOT start cleaning the flat :-) resist & spent time on myself!

April 11, 2015 at 05:36PM: aargh! Setting up new laptop is a PITA. i knew there was a reason it had been stuck in the box for month. Don't like the look of win8!

April 11, 2015 at 05:36PM: have turned new laptop on and installed chrome. That will do for now. more later when I've had a drink or two!

April 12, 2015 at 09:34AM: Such an important service. please retweet.

April 14, 2015 at 08:21AM: My gorgeous boys! M. has the teenager look going on already! #mgm #pmm

April 14, 2015 at 09:43AM: #selc15 happy to be at my first swiss e-learning conf. ready to learn!

April 14, 2015 at 10:41AM: what is the definition of kulturelles lernen? #selc15

April 14, 2015 at 10:53AM: @e_trude @stollerschai super, danke!

April 14, 2015 at 11:31AM: Intelligent life mag on the new youtube Stars #selc15

April 14, 2015 at 06:04PM: @SimonDueckert danke dir! bin jetzt daheim und schaue den Link an :-)

April 14, 2015 at 06:06PM: @phwampfler thanks for sharing and myth busting!

April 14, 2015 at 09:27PM: @stollerschai Super, ganz herzlichen dank! Bin leider morgen nicht dabei.

April 18, 2015 at 08:18PM: V happy to be flying alone to London then Bristol - off to surprise the parental who have been in NZ since jan!

April 18, 2015 at 11:23PM: Back in blighty and Heathrow seems to have had a facelift!! Happy to be "home"

April 19, 2015 at 11:38AM: Great Sunday British breakfast!

April 20, 2015 at 05:00PM: Nicest airport lounge so far :-) goodbye family & Bristol - already missing you!

April 24, 2015 at 05:42PM: leaving my desk for last time :-(

April 27, 2015 at 03:33PM: Marathon training begins today - I ran 6.28km in 0:48:36. That's 7:44 min/km!

April 29, 2015 at 04:09PM: Beautiful run in the sun, 6.74km in 0:50:30. That's 7:30 min/km


Anchorage Revisited!

Almost exactly a year ago, my parents sold the family home and moved a few miles away to a smaller place. I have written about The Anchorage here and on twitter #anchorage.

Last weekend I returned to Bristol to surprise my parents, who have been living it up and travelling in Australia / NZ for the last three months (baby boomers, what can you do?) I arrived LHR late Sat evening and stayed overnight at Reading Travelodge (oh the glamour!)

My parents now live in a lovely semi-detached house in Mangotsfield, about 3 miles from Frenchay. They sold "the Anchorage" and moved out May last year, but this was the first chance I had to visit them. Since my visit was a surprise, my sister (who as already in Bristol with her boys) had texted me instructions from leaving the motorway. But this invisible force led me. Left the M4 J19 on automatic pilot, M32 J1, and I just had to drive down in Frenchay. It was me going home.

I had had this irrational fear that the house would be torn down, or unrecognizable beyond belief, but I wanted to face me fear and see for myself how it was. I drove slowly past and it was all still there and recognizable. I parked down by the bridge and walked back up the hill and took some shots. There were 2 guys outside and one said (nicely) "There's a lady taking photos of our house!" So I introduced myself and they gave me the full guided tour of the works. I think they were proud of what they had done and wanted an appreciative audience, which I was.

They reckon it will be a few weeks before it is finished. The house felt the same, slightly bigger windows adn more light. They had most of the smaller rooms through, to create much larger, open rooms. The view from my bedroom window was the same as ever and just as relaxing. Seeing the house again closed the circle for me, gave me closure. I felt that I was able to say Goodbye to the house properly.

Sundy and Monday were great. Kate and her boys, my parents and I went out to a lovely old country pub for Sunday lunch. On Monday my parents and I went for a walk around Frenchay and Vassal's park. It was a beautiful, sunny Spring day and the village looked its best. It was lovely to walk down and around memory lane. I can't remember the last time I did that. All in all I felt refreshed and renewed after the weekend, with many fond memories of Frenchay and the Anchorage. I hope that I can provide my boys with the same sort of family home as my parents did.

Row 1, L-R: Built up wall behind house, my room and windows
Row 2, L-R: Downstairs room, outside of house, bridge at bottom of hill

Row 1, L-R: Common with church, telephone box, post box, Me!
Row 2, L-R: Vassal's Park
Row 3, L-R: View of house from park, my parents, entrance way, common
Row 4, L-R: Frenchay common, St John Baptist Church x 2, Common

So excited to be starting a new role at the company on Tuesday. I will be working with the Online Academy team of Talent Development, leading the team of e-learning advisors. I am excited by what i have to learn and what i can bring to the role :-) Meets many of the thoughts I wrote down in a career seminar five years ago :-)


I joined my company on 6th June 2006 and since then have basically worked in sub teams of the same department, doing the same role. I have been a Program Manager for a wide variety of training initiatives across the bank. I have been lucky enough to travel to the US, Singapore, Poland and London for my job. I have delivered many trainings and done even more project planning, financial management and mindless admin! I have seen colleague come and go, and survived three re-organisations within the last five years.

Since working here I have had two kids, got 2 promotions, moved desks 7 times, had three bosses and two bosses. And through it all, mr.ncot has been there for me :-)

What will I miss? My internal clients, my massive whiteboard, my window view, but mostly my wonderful colleagues. But we will be on the same floor when we move end of May!

It was a hard decision to move, to leave behind my comfort zone, my mastery, my projects, my position within the team. And yet I had a long term goal to make a change in 2015, following my promotion last year. And yet it was completely the right decision, no decision needed....


Countdown to next Marathon :-)

So, I am signed up for the first ever Bristol-Bath Marathon on October 25th 2015. This is my neck of the woods, so thought it would be a fun race. However, after signing up, i checked out the route profile :-)

I should have known it would be hilly - I do know the area. Just hoping i will get good family and friend support to get me up those hills :-)

Since i only have 174 days to go, I have sorted out my goals and trainings plans.

1. Finish in good spirits and no injuries
2. Goal - under 6 hours
3. On a good day Goal - under 5:45
4. On a very good day with a following wind - under 5:30

To this end, I am using the ASICs website which takes your age, gender, goal, how hard you want to train (moderate) and how often (3 times a week) and gives a you a plan and goals (for me 5:33!)
When you log your runs, it tells you how many runs you have completed out of the total, and how many kilometres out of the total. At this stage, this should a slightly depressing dashboard, but I find it oddly reassuring and motivating :-)
I need to remember to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable - as my work colleague would say "Es passiert dir nichts..."

Running helped me last year to find time for myself, hold myself accountable to a goal, get functionally fit and have an outlet for my work stress. Hoping for similar positives this year :-)
And if this marathon goes well, would love to run Zurich marathon in 2016 (but it has a 5:30 cut off!)
I think there is something seriously, psychologically wrong with me :-) I can delay my gratification almost without limit. My old laptop is seriously on it's last legs - bought it just before Patrick was born, so it must be almost 4 years old now. The fan overheats, the battery is bust, it switches itself off without warning, it heats up my lap to ridiculous temperatures. So before Christmas, I bought a new HP laptop, since i had been paid out my overtime for work. Since then however, the new laptop has been sitting in its box. I just can't quite get round to setting it up.

Why? Do I think I don't deserve a new laptop? Am I worried at how long it will take to set up? Do I think that I should let the old one die a death first? I am all out of excuses and now Alan has taken the boys out and I promised to at least turn the damn thing on and start setting it up.

So what am I doing instead? Blogging about it. FFS. Someone give me a kick up the bum and tell me to get started on it! More to follow....

Easter in Zürich, Part 2

Easter Sunday was lovely, we were invited to lunch with our lovely friends up the hill and a lot of fun was had by all. Kids played nicely together for hours, big people sat on sofa and drank wine and talked running. We even managed a very quick easter egg hunt in the cold spring sun. Success :-) oh and I even painted my nails a very festive bright orange to match our coloured boiled eggs!

Easter in Zürich, Part 1

Yesterday was a beautifully sunny Spring day in Zürich and the first day of the long easter weekend. As per usual I was wanting elaborate plans to be made. As it was, we just ambled out in the afternoon, some of the party in dressing up style and walked down by the lake. The lake promenade was full to bursting, but it was lovely, lots of action, many bubbles, and icecreams were had. Sometimes I need to remember that it's good to just go with the flow and see what happens, a la Alan style :-)

Today it rained and rained so we took to the boys to the opening of the new kids drop off area at sihlcity, whilst we did some shopping. Now followed by pizza for boys and Alan is making us sushi - yum yum! Life is good :-)

Tweeting in the Gaps Dec 2014 - March 2015

December 01, 2014 at 06:53AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Canal - Bplatz - ... route, time 24:50, 3.54 km, average 7:01.

December 01, 2014 at 08:36AM: just completed day 1 of advent streak! With a pb for mile (09:52) it's a great start :-) #festiverunningselfies #rmr

December 02, 2014 at 06:27AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit short route, time 13:52, 1.71 km, average 8:07.

December 04, 2014 at 06:31AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit short route, time 11:53, 1.65 km, ahead of best run 1:59, average 7:13.

December 05, 2014 at 06:26AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit short route, time 12:57, 1.80 km, ahead of median run 0:56, average 7:12.

December 06, 2014 at 09:46AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit short route, time 11:34, 1.78 km, ahead of best run 0:19, average 6:31.

December 07, 2014 at 12:30PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit route, time 34:23, 3.23 km, ahead of median run 1:36, average 10:38.

December 07, 2014 at 06:46PM: There is nothing nicer than eavesdropping on your kids playing nicely with Granny!

December 10, 2014 at 06:30AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit short route, time 12:04, 2.07 km, ahead of median run 0:03, average 5:51.

December 11, 2014 at 06:33AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit short route, time 12:06, 1.71 km, ahead of median run 0:01, average 7:04.

December 12, 2014 at 08:02PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on sihl, rietberg, l... route, time 41:11, 5.35 km, ahead of median run 3:16, average 7:41.
December 14, 2014 at 12:09PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on a new route, time 15:07, 1.50 km, average 10:05.
December 14, 2014 at 12:52PM: ready to go! 1.5km silvesterlauf here we come!

December 14, 2014 at 01:23PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Race - Silvesterl... route, time 12:23, 1.72 km, average 7:12.

December 14, 2014 at 01:33PM: very proud finisher in 12.33. first words on finishing? "that was too short. When can we do the next race?"

December 14, 2014 at 09:32PM: finally doing the christmas cake - fruit has soaked all week, cake tin lined, cake mixture being assembled, 5 hours in oven tomorrow!

December 14, 2014 at 09:33PM: update on today's race result - we were 408th out of 785, 12.13 mins (winners were 6.58 mins). M. has gone to bed wearing medal :-)

December 15, 2014 at 06:39AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Canal - Bplatz - ... route, time 24:25, 3.43 km, ahead of best run 0:25, average 7:07.

December 15, 2014 at 11:38AM: kitchen smells deeply of christmas, cake still has 3.5 hours to go! I am now ravenous :-) Better start making the mince pies then!

December 15, 2014 at 09:14PM: christmas cookie factory in full swing - melting choc overload :-) Hope the nursery & kindergarten staff enjoy them!

December 15, 2014 at 11:45PM: and the mince-pie making begins! I am a domestic goddess out of control :-)

December 15, 2014 at 11:47PM: Think i might have overcatered on the mince pies! ah, what the hell, it's Christmas! Palmer Patisserie is now closed!

December 16, 2014 at 06:33AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit short route, time 12:02, 1.65 km, ahead of median run 0:04, average 7:16.

December 17, 2014 at 04:48PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Work to home route, time 12:37, 1.93 km, ahead of best run 6:29, average 6:32.

December 18, 2014 at 05:55PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Kindergarten to home route, time 14:09, 1.84 km, ahead of best run 12:00, average 7:41.

December 18, 2014 at 06:14PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on home to kindergarten route, time 11:50, 1.72 km, ahead of best run 16:05, average 6:53.

December 18, 2014 at 07:46PM: last stage of choccie biscuit making / presents for krippe and nursery staff!

December 19, 2014 at 07:25PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Work to home route, time 22:20, 2.10 km, ahead of median run 1:03, average 10:37.

December 20, 2014 at 12:26PM: how is it possible that I have been up & busy since 0730 this morning, but still haven't managed to drink a nice hot cupf of tea?

December 20, 2014 at 07:43PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl circuit route, time 21:08, 3.18 km, ahead of best run 8:37, average 6:39.

December 21, 2014 at 02:14PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Sihl, Allemand, u... route, time 45:22, 6.97 km, ahead of best run 0:50, average 6:31.

December 22, 2014 at 08:23AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *Sihl circuit short route, time 11:51, 1.71 km, ahead of median run 0:13, average 6:56.

December 22, 2014 at 10:28PM: Oops! I seem to have signed up for the first ever Bristol to Bath Half Marathon :-) alreet me lover? Running back to my roots... #runbb

December 22, 2014 at 10:29PM: you can take the girl out of bristol, but you can't take the bristol out of the girl can't wait to run bristol to bath marathon. #runbb #rmr

December 23, 2014 at 12:31PM: oops! cutting my finger tidsy was not on my todo list :-(

December 24, 2014 at 04:58PM: pottering in the kitchen, making mince pies, listening to carols on classicfm - I am my Mother! :-)

December 24, 2014 at 06:45PM: just seen santa's sleigh - aka, the international space station passing overhead - thanks to !

December 24, 2014 at 07:14PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *Sihl circuit short route, time 11:43, 1.61 km, behind best run 0:09, average 7:18.

December 24, 2014 at 07:52PM: the wine is mulling, the pears are poaching, the duck is marinating & i am gin and tonicing! Happy Christmas eve :-)

December 25, 2014 at 02:13AM: omg! it's hard being father christmas! 0215 and only now are both boys adleep in their proper beds!

"December 25, 2014 at 07:23PM: kitchen looks like a small bomb has hit it - it smells very nice though :-) Plating up in 10 mins (give or take the odd disaster!)"

December 26, 2014 at 04:39PM: having a late eighties flashback - listening to Johnnie hates Jazz, one of my presents yesterday :-)

December 27, 2014 at 05:55PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Allmendbruecke route, time 43:01, 5.64 km, average 7:38.

December 28, 2014 at 03:03PM: finished sorting our finances and paying bills - feels good to be up to date. Now off to run in the snow!

December 28, 2014 at 05:35PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Triemli-bridgeinw... route, time 47:13, 5.18 km, average 9:07.

December 28, 2014 at 05:36PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Triemli to home route, time 18:52, 2.67 km, average 7:03.

December 28, 2014 at 05:52PM: Happy wedding anniversary to my lovely Alan and me :-) 14 years... and we haven't aged a bit!!

December 28, 2014 at 09:03PM: a bit late, but am now finally marzipanning the christmas cake, should be ready for new year's eve at this rate :-)

December 28, 2014 at 09:03PM: on the same theme - now finally writing christmas / new years cards :-)
December 29, 2014 at 02:29PM: arrived at hotel - it sure is a hard life :-)

December 29, 2014 at 11:38PM: finally written all the christmas cards - hurrah!

December 30, 2014 at 09:57PM: view from clouds restaurant at prime tower overlooking hardbruecke!

December 31, 2014 at 11:19PM: must be NYE - have just written 5 blog posts! Ready to start 2015!

January 01, 2015 at 01:14PM: day 1 of #dryjanuary - feeling excited at starting, can hear clinking of bottles as hubbie does recycling :-)

January 01, 2015 at 09:48PM: christmas cake iced, to be decorated by boys tomorrow. We might even get to eat it before the holidays end...

January 01, 2015 at 10:15PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Allmendbruecke an... route, time 45:37, 5.68 km, average 8:02.

January 02, 2015 at 10:46AM: i am such a gadget geek girl :-) licing my new garmin vivosmart :-)

January 03, 2015 at 11:33AM: 2015 "read 100 books" challenge going well - 2 read already and it's only 3rd Jan :-) #ilovereadingoverchristmas

January 03, 2015 at 02:25PM: Just had impromptu art History lession with 5 yr old. Turner, Monet, Constable. On Constable "oh that's very good" #mgm

January 03, 2015 at 02:26PM: But his fav Artist of the there was Turner and his "sinking ships":-) #mgm

January 03, 2015 at 05:22PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on a new route, time 30:08, 4.09 km, average 7:22.

January 04, 2015 at 11:04AM: the christmas cake is finally iced - with a little help from my friends m & p!

January 04, 2015 at 07:26PM: Flat has been de-christmassed and cleaned. Feel sad at this but also strangely relieved :-) #backtonormal

January 04, 2015 at 07:32PM: Four days of january, 4 books read :-) The pace will slow down when work starts on Tuesday.... #100booksin2015

January 08, 2015 at 07:29PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on home chindsgi home route, time 25:21, 3.20 km, average 7:55.

January 08, 2015 at 07:35PM: finally run & logged my first #jantastic 30min run for the #rmr team. Only 2 more to go by Sunday :-)

January 10, 2015 at 08:45PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on sihl, rietberg, l... route, time 42:57, 5.54 km, ahead of median run 1:30, average 7:45.

January 11, 2015 at 05:35PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on home chindsgi home route, time 24:07, 3.20 km, ahead of best run 1:14, average 7:32.

January 11, 2015 at 08:33PM: bit of slow struggle, but 3 runs logged for #rmr team for #jantastic!

January 12, 2015 at 10:18PM: Loving Loving this advert about Woman & Sport #thisgirlcan

January 13, 2015 at 01:54PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *Work lunch lap & ... route, time 31:46, 4.95 km, behind best run 1:27, average 6:25.

January 16, 2015 at 07:02PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on home work chindsg... route, time 32:28, 4.41 km, average 7:22.

January 18, 2015 at 03:55PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Allmendbruecke an... route, time 45:26, 5.89 km, ahead of best run 0:11, average 7:43.

January 19, 2015 at 10:44PM: Been watching & loving "lie to me" on Netflix, just seen final episode without realizing, gutted is not the word - Come back Carl Lightman!

January 25, 2015 at 05:50PM: Finished Walk with #runmeter, on a new route, time 1:06:45, 6.60 km, average 10:07.

January 26, 2015 at 10:41AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on Gym bridge gym route, time 38:23, 5.12 km, average 7:30.

January 30, 2015 at 12:54PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *Work lunch lap & ... route, time 30:57, 4.33 km, behind best run 0:38, average 7:09.

February 15, 2015 at 01:15PM: late to the party as ever, but watching & loving "Sherlock" with Cumberbatch & Freeman!

February 15, 2015 at 08:50PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on hoecklerbruecke 8k route, time 58:35, 7.97 km, ahead of best run 1:12, average 7:21.

February 16, 2015 at 08:50AM: starbucks to kickstart my day off. how much can i get done before picking child up at 2? achtung, fertig, los ...

February 18, 2015 at 12:54PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *Work lunch lap & ... route, time 29:28, 4.25 km, ahead of best run 0:51, average 6:56.

February 18, 2015 at 01:00PM: good run :-)

February 22, 2015 at 08:22PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *maneggbruecke 9.8km route, time 1:07:33, 9.86 km, average 6:51.

February 23, 2015 at 10:06AM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *gym hill up down... route, time 31:00, 4.17 km, average 7:26.

March 01, 2015 at 03:56PM: absolute bliss - boys peacefully playing trains together & making choo choo noises. How long was this state of nirvana last? :-)

March 01, 2015 at 04:02PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on *maneggbruecke & ... route, time 1:12:46, 10.04 km, average 7:15.

March 11, 2015 at 09:55AM: leaving for our first winter holiday in the mountains!

March 11, 2015 at 04:35PM: happy family in mountains of liechtenstein. we survived sledging :-)

March 12, 2015 at 05:16PM: apres ski when you're a parent, mulled wine alone in the bar with laptop booking summer holiday :-)

March 12, 2015 at 05:21PM: Good Day Skiing, M ploughing & turning like a good 'un, falling over & laughing like a loon w instructor Florian!

March 12, 2015 at 05:22PM: I have a 2 hour lesson & remember how to do parallel turns after 20 years! 4 times down mountain, inc. a few hairy red runs! Very happy :-)

March 22, 2015 at 11:22AM: Greater love hath no woman, than to be the one first up at the weekend :-)

March 22, 2015 at 11:22AM: Greater love hath no husband, than to be doing the swiss tax form for 2014!

March 23, 2015 at 08:36AM: According to this list, I am more than germanized :-) Even the kids, step 3! 10 Steps to Germanize Yourself

March 29, 2015 at 12:46PM: have lost my running mojo but am now off for a slow 10k in order to find it again :-) #thisgirlcan

March 29, 2015 at 02:18PM: Finished Run with #runmeter, on a new route, time 1:17:51, 11.40 km, average 6:50.

March 30, 2015 at 10:04AM: why can my 3yr old "play bedtime" perfectly with all his toys during the day, but be unable to follow it himself come evening? #pmm

March 30, 2015 at 10:05AM: 3 year olds favourite expression of moment? "Wait a second!" followed closely by "me watch funny?" (TV) #pmm

March 30, 2015 at 10:05AM: Follow up question - bad mama tactic to stick said 3yr old in front of TV, so I can a few tasks done? #pmm

March 31, 2015 at 09:42PM: I just bought: 'You Can Take Six Months Off" - written by a CS friend & colleague!


Resolutions Update, Jan - March 2015

Here are my 2015 resolutions, how am I doing so far?

March Monthly update
- 10 books
- Dinner out with Alan, followed by whisky at Helvatia Hotel
- 2 blogs
- 2 runs
- 21.44 km
- 2:30:37
- Avg pace 7:02 / km

Feb Monthly update
- 8 books
- Sushi at Globus, followed by "The imitation game"
- 0 blogs
- 6 runs
- 37.20 km
- 4:20:52
- Avg pace 7:01 / km

Jan Monthly update
16 books
3 blogs
Jan 2nd "Mr Turner" with alan
Running Totals (jantastic)
- 11 runs
- 49.39 km
- 6:09:32
- Avg pace 7:29 / km

First Family Ski-ing Holiday!

We are just back from our first ever family skiing holiday :-) The last couple of winters the boys have been to young and certain people in the family (mr.ncot!) have been busy with MBA weekends. This year I was in two minds about whether we should go. I have to admit that the first time it feels like a big effort. Getting all the kit together. Deciding when and where to go.

We went back to the Gorfion Family Hotel in Malbun, Lichtenstein (about 90 mins drive away). We last stayed there in October 2012 - photos here! I remembered that the kids ski area was just by the hotel, so decided this was an easy way to do our first ski holiday. We arrived last Weds and stayed til Saturday. We booked private lessons for the kids and for me :-)

I had thought that our daredevil stunt man Patrick (now 3.5 years) would have taken to the slopes and not looked back. But in the first half hour, the ski instructor gently told us that he didn't think joint lessons were going to work. Patrick managed to get the skis on and do one gentle slope before "falling on my BOTTTOM *giggle* ". After that he was very happy to go sledging with Alan. Markus was the dark horse of the family. In total, he had 8 hours of lessons. After 1 hour, he could stop and start to turn. He spent 2 hours learning to plough turn on the nursery slope and (mostly) learnt how to use the button lift. He learnt how to get on, but would just fall off at the top and wait to be rescued, rather than dismount correctly :-)

Day 2 we (ski instructor Florian and me) take him on the chairlift on the mountain. He went up and down the mountain three times. Day 3 he manages 4 runs down the mountain. He adored Florian and would just follow him down the blue slopes. He negotiated bumps, curves, tunnels and at times braked his way down very steep blue slopes. His little legs juddered but he just kept going on. He had a few falls and one which made him stop and cry for a few minutes, but then Florian picked him up, dusted him off and Markus just followed him again! At the end of the 4 days, he cried because he didn't want to leave. "Proud" was not the word :-)

I had 4 hours of lessons and discovered to my surprise, that I could still ski after more than *cough* 25 years. Last time I ski-ed it was 1989, I had a florescent ski suit (with matching lip gloss) and I had a massive crush on the Austrian ski instructor!!
1989 skiing austria

This time I was just grateful that I could remember how to do parallel turns. I went down blue and red runs and felt no fear, although a few times I did wonder how I was going to get to the bottom! BUT IT WAS FUN :-) and I was so proud of myself. I had tried snowboarding in 2005-2007 but had always felt fairly anxious about it all, even if my blogs told a different story. I am now sticking to ski-ing!

We had time as family to eat together, go swimming, play and generally it felt a lot longer than 4 days. The weather was gorgeous and the hotel was brilliant. Now I feel that I know how it all works. Next winter we will go for a week and will book the boys onto courses. Wonder how long it will take before they are better than me? :-)

The first week back at work and school after Christmas break is always rough and tough. Work was busier than it should have been - took me 4 days to get on top of my emails and to remember what I was supposed to be doing - and I had only had 2 weeks off!

We got some nice photos of our us in front of the Christmas tree - I love the second, with my kids sticking their tongues out. I now understand why my Mum got so annoyed when we pulled faces and never let her get any "nice photos" of us all!
IMG_1134 IMG_1122

In other news, I have read 6 books already and it's only 11th January!

My running challenge Jantastic has been a bit harder. The Challenge runs Jan - Mar and you set your own targets. In January it's about setting a routine. I thought 3 runs a week of 30 minutes would be eay to do - but this first week I nearly didn't manage it. My runs have been slow and hard going. The only highlight was realizing that if Markus rides his bike home from Kindergarten and run, he is the perfect pacer :-)

Oh, and I am loving my new Garmin vivosmart. Tracks my steps, sleep, links to myfitnesspal and shows me my text messages. My dear husband despairs of my gadget habit!

Christmas 2014

We have had a lovely Christmas Break, we stayed here on our own - the first time ever that we haven't gone somewhere or had someone staying. The two weeks have rushed by, but on the other hand we seem to have done quite a lot!

We sky-gazed on Christmas Eve to see Santa's sleigh way up in the sky (thanks to the International Space Station), there were stockings and presents to unwrap, we ate a lot all holiday and nobody got up very early! There was also a fair bit of slobbing on the sofa enjoying the new Smart TV! I escaped for a day to the Panorama resort and Spa to unwind and Alan kept writing his second book. I read 11 books over the fortnight and enjoyed cooking some really special festive family meals for us and our friends.

I finally finished icing the cake on 4th Jan and send the christmas cards on Dec 30th. It snowed during the week - I went for a run on the Uetliberg in the fresh, deep snow, whilst Alan and the boys made a snowman and a snowdog. Alan and I went for a gorgeous meal to celebrate our wedding anniversary - "Clouds" in Prime Tower, overlooking Hardbrücke. Thank you Kerry for babysitting! At the start of the holiday, we went to the cinema to see Paddington, which was great. And on Friday last week Alan and I found a babysitter, so that we can have the afternoon free to see "Mr Turner" - which is also to be recommended. I also caught up with all my blogs, website updates, photos on flickr, so now feel digitally up-to-date again!

mosaic0a7e99ab6655a01e6d9c430c81dbfebdae917460 (2)

My Name is Helen and I am a book-a-holic

I have just counted up all the books waiting to be read. I have 32 on my kindle and a further 56 on my mount TBR (toberead) and a further 20 Harvard Business Review Magazines hiding under my bedside table.

Let the reading commence (2 books read already in 2015 out of my challenged 100!) and more importantly, let the book buying cease :-) It is just too easy on the kindle...


Running Review 2015

This was a good year - a 10k, a 10miler, 2 HMs, one Marathon! I faced my fears and run awayway. I helped a colleague run her first race (Berne Frauenlauf in June 2014) and ran with Markus in his first race (Silvesterlauf). I stopped apologizing for being a slow runner and was proud of my achievements and my slow, steady, strong stubborness :-) Next Year I am motivated to train more and get fastetr!

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


Who is nice-cup-of-tea?


I am tea-drinking, book-loving, gadget-girl, british expat, who writes about living, working, running and bringing up my family in Zurich.

You can find me online @


RSS Atom
Powered by