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A rare day off

I think I might have managed the perfect balance today! I took a rare day off and did the following:

- took boys to school
- then got the postbus to Hausen am Albis to pick up a secondhand Bose speaker for my old IPOD - and it sounds fabulous!
- read (Sourcery: Terry Pratchett)
- organized a whole bunch of treats and birthday cards & presents, then took them to the Post Office
- Went to the Dr - my iron levels are non-existent, so back on tablets again
- had a nap
- Changed over my winter clothes to summer clothes
- did some food shopping
- watched "The Crown" and knitted
- made courgette cheese scones
- picked boys up and we went to Sihlcity for a toyshop visit, then on to Vapiano for pizza and pasta with Alan
- read a few work emails
- now off to bed to watch more "Crown"

and hurrah, we have a bank holiday this Thursday. Family bike ride planned!

Resolutions 2019

1. Continue with no drinking, but think about whether I want to try and moderate?
2. Running - 5K Frauenlauf in June, 10K Greifenseelauf in September
3. Blog regularly - catch up with 2017 and 2018 blogs, then find my rhythm
4. Read 100 books - reading keeps me sane, I need more of it
5. Seriously plan for Nanowrimo (Slow course, Masterclass, creative writing)

And as an outcome, I want to finally shed the excess weight (20kg) and run 500 kilometres.

Review of Books Read in 2018

76 books read - yay, two up on last year, but not quite the 100 I was aiming for :-) But I did read 2 novels in German, want to increase this number in 2019 ( Schrottreif: Isabel Morf & Satzfetzen: Isobel Morf)

It was a difficult year for me personally and professionally and I did a lot of comfort reading / re-reading of old favourites, but also a lot of non-fiction reading about how to survive / thrive / be healthier. A good reading year!

Best Book (Fiction): Tracy Chevalier: Remarkable Creatures

Best Book (Non-Fiction): The Checklist: Atul Gawande & Slow Train to Switzerland: Diccon Bewes

Best Chicklit: Marian Keyes: The Break

Book which made me change/gave me most food for thought: Clare Pooley: The Sober Diaries & Why we Sleep: Matthew Walker

Best Old Favourite: Circle of Friends : Maeve Binchy

Author Discovery: The Other Side of the Wall : Andrea Mara

Worst Read: Mount: Jilly Cooper

2018 in pictures

2018 has been busy! Patrick left kindergarten and started school. Markus is in 3rd class and has a huge gang of friends. Both boys love playing football and Markus has joined a rubgy team. Alan is still at Educa, running a massive IT education project, and I am still at CS.

We spent our summer holiday in Switzerland and the boys and I had a camping trip with the Palmer gang in Derbyshire. In the autumn school holidays we got some sun and sea with a lovely family holiday in Portugal.

This advent Patrick and I took the steam train into the forest to find Santa.. Markus ran on his own for the first time in the Silvesterlauf though the old town., Patrick and I ran together.

1st row, left to right
Jan: Old Sofa
Jan: New Sofa
Feb: Sledging
Apr: Easter with the Swetes

2nd row, left to right
Apr: Boys with the Böög! (Sechseluute)
May: Helen, Mags, Sal, Amit in the Reichstag (Berlin)
June: Aunty Sharon pays a flying visit
July: Rugby Boys

3rd row, left to right
July: World Cup Fever
July: Camping in UK
August: Family holiday in Tessin
August: Patrick starts School

4th row, left to right
October: Portugal
November: Sal visits, trip to Rigi
Dec. Samichlaus & Steam Train
Dec: Silvesterlauf

Resolutions Update 2018

1. No alcohol: DId not drink all year - anxiety levels are down, sleep is up, weight unchanged, but most importantly I like myself again!

2. Running: This didn't really happen this year, was quite good at getting my 10'000 steps in, but running didn't take off. Did lots of physio, had lots of massages, setting myself up for success in 2019 :-) my iron levels were rubbish all year, which probably didn't help....

3. Blog daily: Didn't blog daily, but I did catch up with quite a lot of writing. Renewed focus on this in 2019...

4. Read 100 book: I'm calling this green - I read 76 and had a really good reading year, plus bought myself a comfy reading chair. I know that reading keeps me sane - need to do more of this in 2019!

List of books read in 2018 (76)

Books read in 2018: 76

The Knitting Circle: Ann Hood
Mount: Jilly Cooper
The Four - The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google: Scott Galloway
Talk Like TED: Carmine Gallo
The Picture of Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde
Radical Candour: Kim Malone Scott
Battlestar Surburbia: Chris McCudden
Rest: Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Evening class: Maeve Binchy
Why we Sleep: Matthew Walker
Jonathan Livingston Seagull: Richard Bach
The Forgotten Guide to Happiness: Sophie Jenkins
The Art of the Good Life: Rolf Dobelli
Lose it Right: James Fell
Beyond Toddlerdom: Dr Christopher Green
The Return Journey: Maeve Binchy
Run Fat Bitch Run: Ruth Field
168 Hours: Laura Vanderkam
Satzfetzen: Isobel Morf
Sexy Little Numbers: Lindsay Gordon
Cut the Crap: Ruth Field
The Inimitable Jeeves: PG Wodehouse</a>
Minding Frankie: Maeve Binchy
Lords & Ladies: Terry Pratchett
The Code of the Woosters: PG Wodehouse
Searching for Schindler: Thomas Keneally
The Winter of our Disconect: Susan Maushart
Thank You Jeeves: PG Wodehouse
Quentins: Maeve Binchy
The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature: Viv Groskop:
Prudence: Jilly Cooper
You talkin' to me?: Sam Leith
Tara Road: Maeve Binchy
The Glass Lake: Maeve Binchy
Option B: Sheryl Sandberg
Victorians Undone: Kathryn Hughes
The Checklist: Atul Gawande
Oh my God What a Complete Aisling: Emer Mclysaght & Sarah Breen
Past Secrets: Cathy Kelly
Slow Train to Switzerland: Diccon Bewes
The Other Side of the Wall : Andrea Mara
In the Unlikely Event : Judy Blume
Confessions of a Conjuror : Derren Brown
Circle of Friends : Maeve Binchy
Still Me : Jojo Moyes
After You : Jojo Moyes
Happy: Derren Brown
Balancing Act: Joanna Trollope
This Charming Man: Marian Keyes
Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix
The Diet Myth: Tim Spector
Light a penny candle: Maeve Binchy
The holiday home: Fern Britton
The Cotswolds Cookery Club: Alice Ross
Act Like a Leader: Herminia Ibarra
In Praise of Slow: Carl Honore
Anybody out there: Marian Keyes
A higher loyalty: James Comey
Those other Women: Nicola Moriarty
History of the World: Andrew Marr
Swiss Watching: Diccon Bewes
Schrottreif: Isabel Morf
Me Before You: Jojo Moyes
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: J.K.Rowling read with Markus
Keeping the Wolf from the Door: Bella Robertson
Focus in the Age of Distraction: Jane Piper
Lisa Jewell: The Girl
The Self Care Revolution: Suzy Reading
Tired of Thinking about Drinking: Bella Robertson
Jonathan Safran Foer: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Tracy Chevalier: Remarkable Creatures
Catherine Gray: The Unexpected Joy of being sober
David M. Barnett: Major Tom
Marian Keyes: The Break
Lotta Dann: Mrs D is going within
Clare Pooley: The Sober Diaries

Running in 2018

2018 was a bit of a running washout, I was very low on iron, had various niggles like backache etc. But I wish I had run more - it would certainly have helped! Here's to 2019 being a better running year....

No of Runs: 12
Total Distance: 41.17 km
Run Time: 7:11:44
Avg Distance: 3.43 km
Avg Run Time: 35:59
Average Pace: 10:29/km

No of Runs: 12
Total Distance: 39.18 km
Run Time: 5:55:39
Avg Distance: 3.26 km
Avg Run Time: 29:38
Average Pace: 9:05/km

No of Runs: 25
Total Distance: 124 km
Run Time: 18:53:47
Avg Distance: 4.77km
Avg Run Time: 43:36
Average Pace: 9:09/km

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


That was the year that was 2018

2017 answers /2016 answers / 2015 answers / 2014 answers / 2013 answers / 2012 answers / 2011 answers / 2010 answers / 2009 answers / 2008 answers / 2007 answers / 2006 answers

What did you do in 2018 that you've never done before?

Did you keep your New Years Resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I mostly kept my resolutions - click here for the summary!

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, Tamsin had Aren on Nov 28th!

Did anyone close to you die?
No, but one of my team members lost her brother in December

What countries did you visit?
UK, Poland, Portugal, Italy

What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
a new ipad?

What dates in 2018 will remain etched on your memory and why?
Jan 5th - when I got the news of the re-org
August 1st - the day my new team in Poland started

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Giving up alcohol, dealing with my stress, getting help, not having a burn-out

What was your biggest failure?
Not asking for help earlier

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Lots of stress, backache

What was the best thing you bought?
Subscription to calm, subscription to Spotify

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
AS in Poland - who kept the whole show on the road during the summer

Where did most of your money go?
Childcare and travel

What did you get really really excited about?

What song will always remind you of 2018?
Get It - Spiderhound
and any of his songs on the Dopamine EP

Compared to this time last year are you:
a) happier or sadder - much happier
b) thinner or fatter - same, but maybe a bit healthier
c) richer or poorer - richer

What do you wish you'd done more of?
read books, run, played with kids

What do you wish you'd done less of?
worried, faffed around online

How will you be spending Christmas?
we were here in Zurich, then in the UK from Dec 27th - 3rd Jan

What was your favourite month of 2018?
October - great family holiday in Portugal - and the first time I really relaxed all year!

What was your favourite TV programme?
Blacklist (again), You, The Good Place

What was the best book you read?
really hard to say, this one helped me finally stop drinking: Clare Pooley: The Sober Diaries &
this one helped me to sleep better: Why we Sleep: Matthew Walker
Review of books read in 2018

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Stll enjoying Spotify, other than that, my friend Spiderhound!

What did you want and get?
new garmin watch!

What did you want and not get?
new rucksack for work  (but arguably I have too many bags anyway...)

What was your favourite film of this year?
Bohemian Rhapsody - absolutely bloody loved it!

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I was 45 and I don't think we celebrated very much :-)
I did go to berlin sooon after for a long weekend with the Witches - which was AWESOME!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not losing my team....

What kept you sane?
Alan, many good books, getting more sleep, many many nice cups of tea

Who did you miss?
My Mum

Who was the best new person you met?
Sara and Ania

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018
"Es wird nie so heiss gegessen, wie gekocht"
It's never eaten as hot as it's cooked - ie things are usually as bad as we imagined... aka, we can survive all manners of nonsense...


Happy Christmas to you and yours, from my family here in Zurich! We're here for a few days, then off to the UK, but hoping for lots of lounging and watching christmas films and not doing very much time!

Sofa Selfie with new Christmas Blanket!

Over the Christmas Eve Finish Line...

It's been a mad scramble, but I think we're there. Spent the weekend deep cleaning the flat (why, why?) and today was last minute bits of shopping (leg of lamb for tomorrow, the traditional pointsettia) with M, which was really nice. This afternoon we even all made it to the sofa for an afternoon film!

I cooked us a nice chicken evening meal and then Mr.ncot spirited the kids to bed with his magic camomile and honey tea. The placebo effect worked, suprisingly! Then me in kitchen prepping for tomorrow, last batch of mincepices and marzipanning the cake, Mr.ncot doing last minute wrapping. And in between a quick phone call with my sis.

Christmas table, Ready for Santa, Marzipanned mini Christmas cakes

And now I need to have a nice bubbly bath, and then wait to pack the stockings. Both boys still firm believers :-) The excitement in our house cannot be higher... We didn't do the "searching the sky for santa" as in 2015 and 2014, but we did watch this funny cat & christmas decorations film and our Christmas family jib jab film. We're easily amused...