Monthly Archives: April 2013

Early Morning Part 1


Image  Balmoral Dawn

Apparently I join a long list of illustrious and successful individuals in getting up before the dawn.  Included is Brett Yormack who at 4.30 am is in the office sending out motivational emails and Benjamin Franklin who used to get up at 5am and ask himself ‘What good can I do today?’.  I share the timing with BF but usually lie there sternly saying to myself ‘do not go back to sleep, do not go back to sleep’ when Sam suddenly and violently elbows me in the eye which then gives me the real motivation I need.  From about midnight Sam is usually waiting for this moment when he can kick me out and snuggle down.  BF’s mantra is inspirational isn’t it?  I would just love to be in the position to do any good at all, on any day let alone ever day.  I bumped into a friend yesterday on Mosman’s main drag, both with our children and we ended up laughing at the thought of a trip into a lovely new shop that has opened where she suggested we’d be best advised to proffer our credit cards on entry in order to pay for damages.  Along with the number of people accidentally knee-capped by my boys it’s not so much ‘What good can I do?’ rather I offer up a little hopeful prayer, ‘Please don’t let any of them (children) cause serious law-suit worthy damage today, or suffer any physical trauma more than a grazed knee or a bee sting or enrage a fellow citizen of the lower north shore to such a degree I end up getting an earful accompanied by that look that says ‘you are the most ineffective and hopeless mother I’ve ever clapped eyes on’.  If I can just get them through the day as friends (disagreements about winning or losing don’t, can’t begin to count) and without having to yell so loudly in public that all trading in our local shopping centre comes to an abrupt stop I will have achieved much.  So my fellow early risers can keep their conglomerates ticking over, keep sending out those emails, I’ll just concentrate on motivating myself and quashing the rebellions in my little kingdom.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?  Let me know how you roll in the mornings, over or out and up and at ’em?

We had a fabulous party for Edward on Saturday.  Surrounded by great friends down by the water in the sunshine we all felt very blessed and the added hilarity caused by the sausage rolls travelling there on the roof of the car made us weep with welcome laughter.

edward prosecco  Edward enjoying the Prosecco since I can’t!

edward cake  The Ninjago cake.  Thanks for the green ninja Oli!

My ankle is still sore, it looks like I have tendonitis – caused by doing too much too quickly, typical impatient me.  I am pushing on regardless though I may have to moderate my goal of getting round the course in an hour or less.  And Andrew may need to book a couple of days off work since I may well take to my bed after the run (and the boozy lunch to follow!).

Vital stats

Longest run 36.44 mins – roughly once around the course of the run, give or take a few wrong turns (see last post).  After this I am pretty sure I will make it round, the state I’ll be in by the end doesn’t bear thinking about.  Much Sauv B will be required to dull the pain I fear!

Weight – 64.6 (too much birthday cake)

Money raised – $440, woo hoo!  THANK YOU!

This week I have been

Reading Beneath the Darkening Sky by Majok Tulba.  Brutal but beautifully written with the strongest narration I’ve read for a long time.  Wow.  Read it quickly.

Watching ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ gorgeously filmed and quirky,  sad but uplifting.

Cooking  Nigella’s everyday brownies with Sam – just what you need everyday, a zillion calories per sq inch!

everyday brownies sam cooking brownies


Halfway and a birthday.


WP_000394.jpg   Blowing out the sparkler.

Happy Birthday Edward!  Three.  Wow.  I didn’t get a minute yesterday to really think about that but I can’t believe that my little one is three.  Three is when they just begin, slowly slowly to move away.  He begins at day-care for one day a week on Monday which I’m excited about and trying not to think about in equal measures.

No need to think about it just now, there is plenty to keep me busy.  I’ve just written my ‘to do’ list for this morning:

  • make teddy cars
  • make Ninjago spinners (pipecleaners)
  • cook sausage rolls
  • make sandwiches
  • make fairy bread
  • put prizes into bag
  • sort music for games
  • pack bags (sounds tempting)
  • slice beef
  • feed everyone breakfast and self coffee

And this is our casual, small party with close friends.  Bloody hell.  William is desperate to go bowling for his (in three weeks) which we have been saying no to, however….

I have at least made the cake, just ready to be decorated.  I was going for a Ninjago (for those of you not familiar a Lego series about four ninja saving the world) desert scene but it has ended up looking more like the apocalyptic ending from a low budget sci-fi movie.  Perhaps the Lego minifigures and pipecleaners will help?  Still, there are always the homemade sausage rolls to gawp at, looking as they do like bandaged willies!  I think the standard would undoubtedly have been higher in all areas had I had a lovely cold glass of Sauv B on hand.  I can’t remember ever having undertaken a birthday cake without and one year got positively sozzled with Katie which resulted in Iggle Piggle being a rather alarming shade of blue.  Never mind the medal I’ll get for running, a medal for surviving a sons birthday weekend without even a spritzer (what’s the point?) will be much harder earned.

I managed my practice run around the course yesterday which was painful but worth it I think as I now believe I might just make it round on my own instead of relying on grabbing the back of someones shirt and hoping to be pulled. It was also a worthy exercise in map-reading, or rather an affirmation that I can’t.  Andrew and the boys were waiting to cheer me on in at the first corner at the Art Gallery when Sam suddenly spotted me at the far side behind the building having run through the car park and loading bay.  I continued to go wrong, finding myself at the top of a massive flight of steps which I chose to go all the way down before changing my mind…  Anyway, I finally found the boys who had had a lovely time eating ice-cream.

WP_000390.jpg   My view after running 4.57Kms


Image  My practice route.  Compare to the real route here:

I’ve taken up too much of my valuable party organising time, time to get to that list.

Thanks for reading everyone – please follow me via the link to the right – and thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far.  The good news is that though I’m only halfway in time I’m over halfway to my minimum fundraising target!  Help me get there and then past it!  All you need is a credit card, no Australian banking links.  Click on the link to donate to this great cause and a brave brave wee boy.




WP_000369  Bugger.

It’s Anzac Day here in Australia which means Andrew is at home.  Thank goodness as I really need to rest my ankle which hasn’t been right since Tuesday after my thrilling personal best run on Monday evening. It’s not as sore as it looks but my trainer (husband) is telling me to rest it so not to aggravate it.  Easier said than done in the middle of the school hols with a birthday party looming.

I feel very emotional about it and keep welling up when I think about the run.  It’s such a dilemma as on the one hand I know I should rest it but at the same time there is no way at the moment I’d manage the whole way around so I really need to train.  I’m so worried I’ve left it too late.  I can’t bear the idea of letting Darcy and everyone who is supporting me down.

I’ll post an update tomorrow and fingers crossed I’ll still manage the 4km practice round the course.



Thanks Mum!


As I write this I am sitting not at the kitchen table as usual but at my massive desk in the spare room (another of my whimsical purchases and now one of the most irritating pieces of furniture we own – outdone only in awfulness by Andrew’s old bachelor futon which simply doesn’t fit anywhere).  The problem I can foresee with this arrangement is that I have never liked being away from the action, this is why I don’t like having afternoon naps, fear of missing out (officially now recognised as FOMO – invented by me!).

However, we have changed things around in our little house to give me the best chance of writing, at least I now have lovely blank walls on which I can tinker away with mood boards and large lists, in fact I think I can put off actually writing anything ‘proper’ for at least a couple of weeks.  More about this anon.

This running malarkey is all feeling rather real this week, in under three weeks I have to somehow run, and keep running, for a whole hour.  Oh god.  An hour is my goal, which with current stats looks possible but current distances are half what I’ll have to manage so  how do I know I’m not going to collapse??  Last night I broke through a major barrier and managed to run with only one minute stop for 25 minutes.  Can I make up the other half I need to in two and a half weeks?

The reason it’s feeling so real is that I got my race number through the post.  I read the information for participants cover to cover (twice) to see where the section was saying if you  suddenly get jelly legs and just feel like a nice lie down with a cup of tea and a cosy blanket was but it seems they had omitted it by mistake.  I’m sure there’ll be a nice tent manned by the nice St John’s people who’ll let me have a sit down.  Or not.


Watching me get this nervous was Sam who looked at the pictures on the leaflet with me and was full of interest.  I decided to confide my fears in him, my gorgeous kind-hearted wee boy:

J:  This is what Mummy’s going to be doing in a couple of weeks, that’s pretty cool isn’t it poppet?*

S:  Yes!

J:  I have to admit, I’m not sure I can do it Sam.

S:  (Looking very solemnly at me.)  No, Mummy, I don’t think so,

Thanks a bunch!  Andrew has well and truly started operation support mummy now and the boys are very keen to help.  This mainly involves pressing buttons on my watch and chucking water at me when I get home looking a bit hot.  William is desperate to come running with me though, as desperate as I am for him not to for fear he’ll outlast me.

I have a major goal looming at the end of the week.  To celebrate Edward’s birthday and the last day of the hols we are heading into town to see Andrew and allow me an opportunity to run the course of the MDC just so I can get a feel for it – well, half of it.  Doing 8kms means two laps of the course so I’ll go once round on Friday.  It wouldn’t be fair on Edward to do any longer…

We’re on school hols at the moment which gives me some lovely opportunities to take some fab pics of the boys.  Here are a couple.



I want to dedicate this post to my Mum as I think of her with thanks every time I run.  Without her speech and drama lessons (alright, elocution when I began) from an early age I wouldn’t have understood breathing technique and how to best maximise lung capacity.  Despite my having had a long and committed relationship with the Marlboro man (over now for a while thankfully) I find, thank god, that I can breathe really quite well! Who’d have thought those diagrams of the diaphragm would come back so many years later. Thank you Mum!

This week I’ve been

Reading back copy of the Life section of the SMH before submitting a pitch.

Listening to a chorus of coughing from the Cahill boys.

Cooking boring suppers but planning a green ninja birthday cake.




ImageNot a bad place to train.

Australia has a reputation as the ultimate sporting nation and there is no doubt that sport here is very much more visable than anywhere else I’ve been (on account of the climate no doubt which I’m not going to mention much at the risk of alienating readers in cooler climes.)  There is a real ‘gymkit culture’, that is that sports clothing is not confined to the pitch, court or gym but is absolutely acceptable day wear.  (This could very well be the same everywhere and something I have just never noticed since I have traditionally existed at the other end of the active spectrum and the other end of the day.)  I have embraced this and not only because it means elasticated waists are de rigueur.  There are other reasons I just can’t think of them right now, oh my god, if anything is ever to make you feel old it is the submission to comfort over style.  Was it really me that was given lectures about being cold at a party or uncomfy on a plane, why did I not listen to my mum?

There is no doubt it is great for children though and the options are all there, from surfing to rockclimbing via tennis and paddle-boarding.  After dropping off Sam yesterday at a holiday sports camp William suddenly requested tennis lessons which I have to admit I wouldn’t be averse to, I really rather like the idea of being a tennis mum, at least you’d get to sit down and watch in mostly decent weather rather than standing at the side of a muddy pitch in freezing weather watching your precious baby get bashed about.  I’m all for the boys having exposure to as many sports as possible (still unsure though about Andrew’s suggestion of gymnastics for William after a display of his upper body strength in a door frame) so that they can find something they really enjoy (not worrying about the fame and riches, yet).  Tennis racquets for everyone’s birthday then.

I have been trying to remember any noteworthy sporting moments in my life and can only think of a few.

  1. Tennis.  Robert and I should be very much better at tennis than we are having had a court at home when we were little.  I’m not sure it got off to the best start for me as my main memory is of the Liverpudlian builders who let us climb on the piles of gravel and gave us revolting sweeties.  Anyway, the magnificent rate of tennis ball loss meant we spent more time in the front field and on the back road finding balls with which to continue our game than we did actually playing.
  2. Hockey.  When I first went to the Mount at age 11 I only myself and Libby Clements had played hockey before.  For the first and only time in my life I was better at a sport than somebody else!  This very quickly changed (Hannah Redfern, Katie Sessions, Rachel Bayes…) but not before I was listed in the first XI under 13’s – I seem to remember there was a flu epidemic at the time.  My big match was played away from home at QM’s in Escrick.  My devoted dad endured a six hour round trip for this important occasion.  I only played half a match.  I will forever have the memory of him yelling proudly (I think) from the sidelines all the while probably realising that his daughter’s future did not lie on the sportsfield.
  3. Rowing.  Mr Davey got some of us into rowing at school (what the man had ever had to do with a boat we couldn’t fathom, perhaps he was eyeing up the mens eight too) which went well for a few terms.  I think it got us out of morning meeting a few Sundays which was one drawcard, as was the mens eight…
  4. Gym membership.  The only time I have ever belonged to a gym was the Edinburgh Uni gym before getting married and I fear that was simply to flash my wedding mags about as I half-heartedly pushed the cross-trainer.  The treadmill was easier for page turning.
  5. Running.  Now.  My new sport and hopefully the one that will prove the most successful – in fundraising if not prowess.  My gait is not elegant, I turn a really unattractive shade of red but I do feel better for it, I think.

All in all, not a spectacular sporting resume but I have had some laughs (along with some chaps – that’s on the legs in cold weather just to clarify – and a drenching or two).  I hope my boys try lots of sports, enjoy some and if they excel I’ll see you at Murrayfield or in SW19!

Vital stats:

Longest run (run/walk) – 5.6km in 44.15

Longest run without stopping 7.55mins – aiming to improve this today

Weight – 64.9 (very disappointing, may be compensating for the lack of wine with nuts and things, hmm)

This weeks I’ve been

Reading my Red and Country Living mags, my monthly indulgence, my heart is still in the country!

Listening to Flower of Scotland (school holiday homework as set by me) and Abba gold as we play yet another round of musical statues (the prize is one Jelly Baby).

Cooking with William, sausage and mustard rolls (see pic. I know, I’ll never get a job as a food stylist!) which he chose to cook out of the Junior Masterchef cookery book – they were delicious and will be a party food staple in our house from now on.


One day of practice is like one day of clean living. It doesn’t do you any good.” Abe Lemons A month on the other hand…


Woo hoo!  It’s 5.20 on Monday morning and I’m feeling very proud of myself having made it through the weekend sustained by only elderflower cordial and peppermint tea.  Thank god for the entertainment from the boys, I’m sure it will be much bloody harder once they resume normal fighting mode, I really don’t know what came over them this weekend!

I am longing for a weekend of lounging but fear those days are well and truly over with the advent of Saturday morning sports (football – soccer for the Aussies reading – for William and rugby for Sam).  Sam bizarrely had two matches last Saturday then a break for three weeks – to give the little blighters time to recover from the shock of watching various fathers run around with flapping and pointing arms getting redder and redder in the face from lack of oxygen due to over-use of the whistle while the boys skipped and hopped all over the place trying to keep out of their way – it was quite hilarious!  I would have taken some pictures (for when Sam is playing for Scotland and pictures of his first ever match will be highly sought after…) but I was distracted by Edward sitting in the buggy being sick – an auspicious beginning all round.

But this Saturday was all about William, with whom I had an interesting conversation on arrival at the ground:

W:  “I have a feeling we’re going to beat the Panthers Mummy.”

J:  “Me too darling.”

W:  “They don’t sound very scary, or very fast.”

J:  “Do you think?  I think a black panther actually is pretty fast.”

W:  “Oh, I was thinking about the pink panther…”

I can’t now speak for laughing.  In the end the Mosman Lightning did in fact beat the slow, friendly Panthers with William scoring the winning goal. This was their First Ever Win, an enormous and hard-won milestone finally reached after 6 months, go Mosman Lightning!

lightning after winningMosman Lightning and mascot/hooligan

I decided to run home from the football ground, a nice almost straight, pretty much flat (and so not too challenging…I hoped) couple of kilometers.  This was put to the boys as a race.  As they were busy stuffing their faces with sausages at the time I had a nice head start and merrily set off.  I think that this method is training is what started Paula Radcliffe off with her interesting sideways head movement – she ran looking over her shoulder every few steps I’m sure.  There’s nothing like knowing you’re about to be overtaken but you just don’t know when to keep you moving.  But at 2.12 kilometers I had to stop as I thought I was going to puke, the dilemma and the pressure were very hard to bear but those of you who will know Mosman will appreciate the shame that vomiting halfway up the highstreet would cause.  Those of you not in Sydney imagine, Wimbledon Village, Stockbridge, the high street inAlderly Edge, Bridge Street in Kelso…..

But I did make it home first and with a sprint finish (from the gate to the front door, about 10 meters) recorded a time of 2.79kms in 21.17, that’s 7.38 mins per km, hmm.

Thanks for reading, I’ll try to be less verbose in future but probably won’t manage so those people who like a short pithy blog can just skip to the end and the vital stats…

Longest run – 7.11 mins (mini improvement)

Fastest 1km – 2.58 (pretty bloody good)

Days without Sauv B – 4 (amaaazing!  and includes other intoxicating liquors eg cooking sherry, meths, dettol)

This weekend I’ve been

Watching- Rise of the Guardians – family movie night on Saturday, isn’t it gorgeous, and Jude Law’s voiceover, mmmm!

Listening to – the Trance soundtrack, brilliant Danny Boyle direction, like the film, very cool.

Reading – less than I’d like to, I’ve just finished Maggie O’Farrell’s latest , Advice for a Heatwave which I loved.  She is the most brilliant Britist (Scottish!) novelist around just now in my opinion, beautiful prose, such well drawn characters.  You find you have sympathy where you intended none.

Cooking – Sunday night eggs, thank you thank you Neil Perry, the most divine easy supper, made this for the second time with some trepidation as the last time I was really hungry and was just at that stage of tiddlyness where anything tastes amazing but it was, thank god, just as good.  Here’s a link

Weekend hurdle cleared!

One month, and counting…


Today is the first day of the hardcore training I am going to have to undertake in order that there will be even the tiniest chance of me making it round the 8K course of the Mothers’ Day Classic on the 12th May.  In order to make the journey a little easier I have decided to forgo booze although today the blind panic that is accompanying this decision is making it seem impossible.  Very unfair that it should start on a Friday and at the beginning of the school hols when the need of that chilled glass of Sauv B becomes even more great.  I’m sure on Monday I will be extraordinarily pleased with myself but today it’s making me grumpy!

I’m not quite sure of the exact reason I decided to sign up for the run, one of my many random spur of the moment decisions.  I should think lots of you are quite incredulous and are wondering what has happened, time for a change of me I suppose!  Since making this snap decision I have heard about a little boy called Darcy Wilson who is 6 and has Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer.  I have decided to ‘do it for Darcy’ and I hope that after reading his story and following my progress (which is going to be bloody hard going for me but is fully put in perspective when I think about this brave wee boy) you will all find a few dollars or pounds to give to this incredibly deserving family.  Please have a look at the page ‘Doing it for Darcy’.  It is truly inspirational.

Sponsorship details will follow soon.

Some vital stats from today as a starting point:

My weight – 65.3 kgs (weight loss is going to be incidental but an added bonus I hope)

My time around Balmoral Oval, 0.7K – 4.35 mins (the fact that I can in fact run this distance at all is amazing in itself)

My longest run (as recorded by my snazzy new Garmin watch) – 7 mins 26 seconds – this is not a good sign…

Finally, a fond photo of the last bottle of Sauv B for the foreseeable future!




Hello and thanks for reading!  I am going to log the last month of my journey towards my first ever ‘fun run’ (for pretty much my entire life those two words have been for me mutually exclusive and it has taken something big to begin the process of change).  As my friends will attest,  I am one ‘the unsporty’ verging probably on the conspicuously inactive unless you count running after small boys.  Even this though is happening less as we have very cleverly produced enough of them to run after each other rendering me surplus to requirements.

Anyway, on that very subject I would like to introduce to you a little boy called Darcy who, at 7, is just a few months older than my eldest, William.  I was told about him by Mardi, my great friend Becca’s Mum.  Darcy has Neuroblastoma and is currently undergoing immunotherapy.  It is impossible to hear about serious childhood illness and not feel humbled by the courage shown by these amazing kids.  Darcy is just that boy.  I am going to run my 8ks for Darcy and hope to hell that all of you understand just how massive an undertaking it is for me.  And that’s only the run, we still have to consider the Sauv B!  I am the mother whose first glass accompanies the ‘thank god they’re finally bloody well asleep’ moment.  Pretty much every night.  Until tonight when I am having my last few glasses of the good stuff (actually pretty average stuff) and then swearing off it for a month.  Bloody hell, don’t know what possessed me really, oh yes, Darcy Wilson.

I will be in touch very shortly about my fundraising page.

Julia x