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 http://t.co/U2HuKC0CHR

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! http://t.co/yCf8ePIhW6

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! http://t.co/68c4sKl9y9

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?" http://t.co/XWnPJAkxNc

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! http://t.co/fCgmiHFapC

December 15, 2014 at 11:45PM: and the mince-pie making begins! I am a domestic goddess out of control :-) http://t.co/jiAY7DNFQb

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! http://t.co/3weSaepiOM

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! http://t.co/2PiWQncwCy

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! :-) http://t.co/3sVcPuBvDI

December 24, 2014 at 06:45PM: just seen santa's sleigh - aka, the international space station passing overhead - thanks to http://t.co/mVECVxd8Ou ! http://t.co/jbkadPdqRk

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!! http://t.co/T4tWzGIAmc

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 :-) http://t.co/XdKhU1FCHj

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 :-) http://t.co/Ui89kTpTx3

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! http://t.co/5Q994tnZci

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 :-) http://t.co/R3LsKV8eU6

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! http://t.co/j4jHEpVRN9

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 https://t.co/1f7LdCVaIL #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 ... http://t.co/ZFumJrQC9n

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 :-) http://t.co/2AJuTRRAJ6

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! http://t.co/CwUBtNsX7F

March 11, 2015 at 04:35PM: happy family in mountains of liechtenstein. we survived sledging :-) http://t.co/AJ2Ryfrmq4

March 12, 2015 at 05:16PM: apres ski when you're a parent, mulled wine alone in the bar with laptop booking summer holiday :-) http://t.co/J8TNVOYj6S

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! http://t.co/88q5z5Z1Ts

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 http://t.co/bn01Ltcbem

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! http://t.co/Y2LxuBRdDU


Resolutions Update

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


Books Read in 2014

Broke 60 barrier, next year want to reach 100 books read, just like the good old days. That's only 2 a week, should be possible, no?

Books Read in 2014
Just Between Us: Cathy Kelly
Make My Wish: Fiona Harper
Driving Home for Christmas: Emma Hannigan
The Silver Collection: Carole Matthews
Mum on the Run: Fiona Gibson
Christmas Magic: Cathy Kelly
The Christmas Cookie Club: Ann Pearlman
Christmas Gifts at the Beach Cafe: Lucy Diamond
Christmas at the Beach Cafe: Lucy Diamond
How the Inlaws wrecked Christmas: Fiona Gibson
Not in front of the corgis: Brian Hoey
The Beach Cafe: Lucy Diamond
The One You Really Want: Jill Mansell
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking: Oliver Burkeman
Help!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done: Oliver Burkeman
Overwhelmed: work, life and play when no-one has the time: Brigitte Schulze
A Race Like No Other: Liz Robbins
Red Love the story of an East German Family: Maxim Leo
What Alice Forgot: Liane Moriarty
We are all completely beside ourselves: Karen Jay Fowler
Ties that Bind: Catherine Deveney
Love Nina: Nina Stibbe
Reading Like a Writer: Francine Prose
The Way Back Home: Freya North
The Third Wife: Lisa Jewell
One Summer: David Baldacci
A Day at the Office: Matt Dunn
The Rosie Project: Gramee Simsion
The Knot: Mark Watson
A Hundred Pieces of Me: Lucy Dillon
Maeve's Times: Maeve Binchy
Chestnut Street: Maeve Binchy
I murdered my library: Linda Grant
Big Table, Busy Life: Allegra McEvedy
Are we Nearly There Yet?: Ben Hatch
Cruising Attitude: Heather Poole
Eat Move Sleepl: Tom Rath
Running like a Girl: Alexandra Heminsley
The One Plus One: Jojo Moyes
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared: Jonas Jonasson
Me Before You: Jojo Moyes
Lean In: Sheryl Sandberg
Marathoning for Mortals: John Bingham
Crossfire: Dick Francis
Life after Life: Kate Atkinson
Little Beach Street Bakery: Jenny Colgan
The Book Thief: Markus Zusak
Agile Risk Management: Alan Moran
The Busy Person's Guide to the Done List: idonethis.com
Keep on Running, The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict: Phil Hewitt
Daring Greatly: Brene Brown
One Thousand Gifts: Ann Voskamp
Nice cup of tea and a sit down: Nicey and Wifey
Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career: Herminia Ibarra
Carry On Warrior: Glennon Melton
The Last Letter from your Lover: Jojo Moyes
When we were bad: Charlotte Mendelson
The run fat bitch run marathon plan: Ruth Field
The Secret Life of Bees: Sue Monk Kidd
Sisterland: Curtis Sittenfeld
Play it Again: Alan Rushbridger
Born for Love: Bruce D Perry

2014 in Snapshots

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 - 2014



2015 Resolutions

*Read 100 Books
*Write 100 Blog Posts
*12 Monthly dates with mr.ncot
*Run 1000 kilometres

These are all things that make me happy and healthy. Bring it on 2015 :-)

Oh and to kick start my health, am doing #dryjanuary again! No booze for 31 days.

My Christmas Present to me...

.... is a night away at the Panorama resort and spa tomorrow! I am taking my christmas cards to write, plus the January editions of Red and Intelligent Life, plus my Kindle (hoping to read 2 more books by the end of the year), and apart from that will enjoy writing a few more blogs, sleeping on my own, going for a swim, sitting in the various steam rooms and generally thinking my thoughts :-)

Update 04.01.2015
Here are the photos!


Best. Run. Ever!

5.38 miles in the crisp cold and the snow. up the "house mountain" (Uetliberg), along the edge of the mountain, down and back along the base of the mountain. And then i just continued and ran home.

It was an excellent workout, hard going in the deep snow. But it was great passing people walking and sledging in the slow and every single runner I met smiled! We were hard core :-) Oh, and I met a dear friend who I have lost contact with (second time now in a week, it must be fate!)


That was the Year that was 2014

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

1. What did you do in 2013 that you've never done before?
Ran a marathon without injury (my only other marathon was 2001 with injury!)

2. Did you keep your New Years Resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Yes, I will make more for next year. for 2014 I wanted to read more books (yes, 60+ to 54 last year), use my good stuff up (yes, getting better at this), write more regularly (so so, need to work on this) and declutter the flat (ongoing challenge!)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin Karen with triplets Ethan, Savannah, Ryan

4. Did anyone close to you die?
thankfully no

5. What countries did you visit?
UK, France, Italy

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A different job

7. What dates in 2013 will remain etched on your memory and why?
Kate's boys moving in with her on 4th Feb, completing New York Marathon on 2nd Nov, getting promotion on 12th Dec

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Promotion, Marathon, Big project at work, 3 happy boys at home!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think I had one

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Stayed amazingly healthy

11. What was the best thing you bought?

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My wonderful sister who adopted 2 brothers and who is a fabulous Mum!

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
no one particularly

14. Where did most of your money go?
kinderkrippe, Kindergarten and credit card (partic. Amazon kindle!), plus New York Trip

15. What did you get really really excited about?
my running and my Marathon

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I got 99 problems bit a b*tch ain't one (my favourite, most politically incorrect running tune!)

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

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

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

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

21. What was your favourite month of 2013?
July&August - Boys' birthdays, family holiday in Italy & France, Markus started Kindergarten

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?
fell in love again with Alan

23. How many one night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
How I met your mother

25. Do you hate anyone now who you didn’t hate last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Bellowhead for running tunes

28. What did you want and get?
promotion at work, marathon success

29. What did you want and not get?

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Still don't go to the cinema very often- but Paddington was a family favourite!

31. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 41, had a quiet one at home

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

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
still slummy mummy, but getting thinner (same as last year)

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

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Tim Roth :-)

36.What political issue stirred you the most?
no one issue

37. Who did you miss?
my sister, we seem so far apart (same as last year)

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Kathrin (work friend) & RMR (online facebook group)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014
Step by step

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
I can't 99 problems but a b*tch ain't one :-)


@40 Challenge Update - End of 2014

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 2014, I have completed 20 of the 40, have 12 in progress and haven't started 8 of them - see below. Most of the ones not started involve long term craft projects that i keep putting off. Nonetheless, these are all challenges that I do want to completely, so who cares if the remaining 20 challenges take me until I'm 50 to complete :-)

mosaic8ee63b699fa59265c65bdd59f0ea88265065b2d6 (2)

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

In Progress
4. 40 cups of tea with friends
17. Learn 40 new recipes
18. Find and reach my ideal weight for health and fitness
38. Find my next job
11. Replace engagement ring
20. Find spiritual director / church / nourish my spiritual self
26. Create album for me about being 40
29. Go to a radio or tv recording in London (have I got news for you, the news quiz, the now show etc)

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)
22. Sail on Zurich Lake
30. Complete my patchwork quilt
32. Create photo album of professional shoots
33. Cake baking / decorating course / cooking course
34. Take a private skiing lesson (either downhill or cross country)
35. Finish wedding sampler for M&M
36. Finish our wedding album !
37. Find a PhD supervisor (and therefore a topic)
24. Nanowrimo 2013


Merry Christmas!

Small boys, stockings and remote controlled toys - what's not to like. Light lunch of salmon sandwiches and prosecco to follow shortly, roast duck breast with everything this everything :-)

Oh, and Father Christmas brought us a smart TV - we are all very excited!


24 days of advent streaking!

I am very happy to report that I have successfully completed my 24 days in Advent challenge - to run every day (min 1 mile) and to blog each day.

I got personal bests for 1 kilometre (5:39.8), 1 mile (9:46.1) and 5 kilometres (33:01) and found that running at 0630 was the best option. If this didn't happen, then it got stressful during the day trying to fit in a run. I was grateful for the new running challenge after the marathon and appreciated the fact that my legs held out and didn't complain!
- 24 runs
- total distance: 60.80km
- total time: 7:32:36
- average pace: 7:26 per kilometre
- average run time: 18:06 min
- average distance: 2.43 km

And my blogging? Here was the original list of all the blogs to be backdated, and I wrote all of them, except for the running review which I will do on Dec 31st. Some day I even wrote 2 or 3 posts. I had been regretting this year that there were so many events from the last year that I hadn't documented. And i was going to "write these entries off." But this challenge gave me the kick up the bottom i needed. The backdated posts weren't long, but they did fill in the gaps. It also meant that I had to get all my photos uploaded and up-to-date. My digital life is now in order again!

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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 @


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