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Day 240 – You’ve earned this one!

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Day 240 – Nov 13th

I may as well not have bothered setting the alarm clock, I was awake 45 minutes before it went off and was unable to get back to sleep. The nerves were starting to settle in a bit now. I was still calm, but getting restless. I managed to grab a quick shower and should have found time for tea and breakfast, but was interested in neither. It was cold out, below freezing, and I was convinced that my motorbike was going to be cancelled today.

I layered up my clothing and headed out early on my motorbike to meet my instructor who was going to escort me over to the test centre. It was nice to jump on a proper motorbike, a Suzuki SV650, although the cold was beginning to ruin the fun a little. My fingers felt like they’d been caught in a slamming door, they were that painful!

Part 1 of the test was over quicky, tiredness, anxiety, and numb fingers meant it was sloppy, but I’d passed… only just! Still, it was a pass, and enough to get me onto part 2 of the test, which was getting out on the road. This felt even sloppier still, but when we got back to the test centre the examiner said it wasn’t a bad ride at all, and only marked me down on a couple of points… another pass! So with both part 1 and part 2 passed, that meant I had now got my full motorcycle license! I could get rid of the learner L plates, buy a bigger motorbike, take it on the motorway if I chose to, and even have a passenger on the back! I suddenly had an overwhelming sense of freedom and relief!

I am so glad I do not have to do that again!

I made it back to work for lunchtime to finish the day and after getting home decided to treat the family to a chip shop dinner to celebrate, and even got to wash it down with two bottle of Peroni courtesy of the very kind mother in law!

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Day 233 – Less excuses, more exercising

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Day 233 – Nov 6th

We’re a week into November, Winter is knocking on the door, and this morning we get a reminder of that as the mercury has only crept up to 1ºC as I climb onto my motorbike and head off to work, a little nervous that the last time I went out with frost on the road I wasn’t able to keep the bike upright as I pulled out of a junction. I was still quite new to riding and a fairly lively wobble and the bike went down. Thankfully that wasn’t the case today, and I made it to work in one piece.

The next three days I’d be cycling to work, a much more preferable option when its frosty out, firstly its easy to keep warm when you have to peddle uphill, and secondly the bike is easier to keep upright than a heavy motorbike.

Tonight I had committed myself to hitting the gym again after work, as I hadn’t been for a few weeks. I seem to have found plenty of excuses to not go, but really needed to just get off my lazy ass and do it! Usually I head straight for the cardio equipment when I am at the gym, but with a niggling foot injury giving me some bother I decided to do something different and get on the weight machines instead. It was nice to do something different, even though I was aware I had to cycle in the morning and could easily wake up in the morning with stiff legs. In the long run, if I use the weights regularly it will make the cycling easier.

One thing I that would really benefit me is some kind of training plan, but where do you begin with something like that without throwing money at a personal trainer??

Day 215 – A little bit of black (and white) magic

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Day 215 – Oct 18th

If there’s one thing little missy loves, it’s a bottle of warm milk before before bed, is asignificant featured her bedtime routine, but the simple fact is that she is not far from her second birthday, and I don’t think we’re going to be seeing these bottles for much longer. 

It’s not that we are desperate to take them off her, but they have to reach a natural end at some point and I think we’re getting close. She’s still having a bottle in the morning before breakfast, and I think that’ll be the first to go as we can easily replace that with breakfast itself, although the bedtime one may take a little longer as we scratch our heads trying to remember how we handled this situation with Olivia.

I grabbed this quick photo as I thought she looked so peaceful and calm in front of the TV drinking her milk, although when I reviewed the picture later on, it didn’t seem particularly special, it was just another photo and needed a little something doing to it. Some photos look nice in black and white, others just seem to leap off the screen when you remove the colour from the scene. This, for me, felt like one of the latter. 

How often do you make our photos black and white?

Day 204 – It’s worth the sacrifice

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Day 204 – Oct 7th

A slow start to the day meant that I had time to indulge myself in the Grand Prix qualifying while the wife took the eldest out to dance class. Just a shame I can’t do this every Saturday! 

Once she was home and qualifying had finished it was time for us to visit one of my sisters, we don’t go over very often, so it was nice to head over for a change, as they usually come to us when we see them. My sister loves collecting vintage trinkets and ornaments, and this made today’s photo fairly easy, there was an assortment of things I could have chosen. 

It might be Saturday night, but no staying up late and drinking tonight, it’s an early start in the morning for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix! Yes, that’s right, alarm set for 4:55am on a Sunday morning… out of choice!

Day 197 – With a little help from my friends

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Day 197 – Sep 30th

We had made no hard or fast plans for Saturday, and although the wife often likes the odd quiet weekend at home, I like to feel like I have done something with my weekend, and today was a day where we certainly ended up doing more than we expected.

I had been reminded that we were hoping to trial a dance class for Olivia and we missed out on it last weekend, so today was the day. We hadn’t told Olivia until the night before or she’d have been driving us insane asking about it numerous times every day.

Olivia loves music and dancing and we knew she’d be keen, and Clare had happened to find a reasonably priced class that allowed us to go free for the first session to see if Olivia liked it, which she did. I was aware that I probably wouldn’t be able to take any photos because of the other children there, but I took my camera along anyway, just in case there was an opportunity. The class was a bit hit, she loved it, and even though parents couldn’t go in and had to watch from a viewing window in a separate room, this didn’t faze her one bit. Looks like we’ll be going back next week!

After dance class we popped home for a little lunch before heading out to see some of our friends and their children. We certainly don’t see enough of them considering they are less than 10 minutes up the road, but today I had an objective, I was trying to recreate a photo of the mother with her son as a baby that I hadn’t taken, by shooting another with her little girl. It had been mentioned weeks ago, but as it was a favour and not a job, nothing had officially ever been put in the calendar. Today we finally got around to making a date, and although I took all my kit with me, in the end it was a fairly simple set up. The shot was low key, meaning predominantly dark, and needed to be taken at an angle and processed in black and white. Compared to the original shot, I got it pretty close and was quite pleased with my efforts, considering I wasn’t there for the original shot, and had no idea how it had been set up.

To finish the day off I’d also managed to arrange a few beers at the pub with a friend on the evening, which seems to be a rare treat these days. It was a nice end to the day, and this particular friend is one of my oldest friends that I have known since school, who also happened to be one of the best men at my wedding. It was nothing more than luck that we ended up living within a mile of each other, which makes it such a shame that I don’t see him more. Still, we discussed the idea of starting a movie night as I have quite a few great films in my collection that he’s never seen, so hopefully we can catch up a little more frequently in the future.

Day 187 – Why did you do it then?

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Day 187 – Sep 20th

Ah yes, hump day is here, we are now closer to Friday afternoon than Monday morning, its all downhill to the weekend from here. I had treated myself to a cruise into work on the motorbike, and even the weather was treating me to a dry day while on two wheels. I have committed myself to at least three days a week cycling as I need to make sure I keep up a regular amount of exercise each week, and although  I am already feeling the benefits, its nice to have a break in the middle and use a bit of horse power rather than leg power.

It is much nicer to get home not feeling all hot and sweaty and being able to pick the girls up without having to change out of a soggy top first… although today it seems that neither of them were especially interested in daddy getting home anyway. Olivia was burnt out from a shopping trip out on the bus with nanny and had collapsed on the sofa in front of the to before falling asleep shortly after I got back, and Chloe had only managed a 45 minute afternoon nap instead of her usual 2-3 hours and didn’t quite know what to do with herself, leaving her a little bit cranky in between smiles. 

Chloe loves to play and can get a bit rough at times, and has taken to head butting things lately, so today when she bumped her head on mommys knee it clearly hurt a bit. She got over it pretty quickly, but I still had to grab a photo as it was quite funny. She’ll soon learn to make the connection between head butting things and it hurting! 

Back out to the gym this evening, needing to keep up the exercise even though I didn’t cycle today. Feeling a little nervous about how much my foot is going to hurt in the morning if I run tonight, may need look into booking an appointment with a physio soon!

Day 162 – Game of Confusion

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Day 162 – Aug 26th

Gotta love the Argos fast track delivery, yesterday’s brand new BBQ was ordered in the afternoon and here in the evening, but it was too late to put it together. 

With the in-laws due over for a BBQ lunch, I had got some time in the morning to put it together, but was frustrated to find some damaged parts when I unpacked it. With no time to waste, I was straight on the phone, and thankfully Argos were really good and said that they’d have some new parts out that evening, even though I explained that I’d have to use the original damaged ones before they got here and took them back off me.

It was a lovely afternoon and great to be out in the garden enjoying our new furniture with the sun shining down on us. The in-laws hadn’t yet seen the newly renovated garden and were suitably impressed by it and also enjoyed their lunch cooked on our new BBQ which was much nicer to cook on than the old one.

With the girls in bed that evening, it was time for a little Sunday night drink, which is of course fully acceptable due to it being a bank holiday weekend. No Monday morning blues for us! With drink in hand, we turn to the TV and put on Game Of Thrones. Initially we’d put off watching it at all, as we were convinced it wasn’t really our thing, but with the constantly growing chatter about it everywhere we turned, it couldn’t be ignored. It was literally all over facebook, our friends were talking about it, and we just couldn’t seem to escape it. In the end curiosity got the better of us and we sighed and gave in. Thankfully our subscription to Sky TV allowed to access their boxsets collection and get started on the first season, right up to the last but one episode where, without warning, it deleted the entire first five seasons and left us high and dry not knowing what happened in the final episode. Both the wife and me, if we’re completely honest, still weren’t completely sure what was actually going on, it was all very confusing. There were so many names that were hard to remember, so many characters, so many different stories going on… we were promised big things with Game Of Thrones, and yet here we were almost at the end of the first season knowing that if anyone asked us to tell them about it and describe it to us or tell us about what had happened, we’d just respond with blank expressions and a shrugging of shoulders. I had to go begging and managed to borrow the first two seasons on DVD from my sister. We could finally finish the first season and cross our fingers that watching the second season would help us to understand what the hell was going on!

Tell me I’m not alone… I can’t be the only one thats given it a go and struggled to understand it?!

Day 158 – She’ll grow into them

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Day 158 – Aug 22nd

Day 2 of motorbike training on the beautiful Suzuki SV650 and I was really wishing I could afford to take one of these bikes home once I’d finished my training, but sadly the finances aren’t going to stretch that far at this current time.

Todays weather was vastly improved, in fact we were starting to overheat in all our protective clothing every time we stopped, still I’d rather get home sweaty with some scuffed clothing than with half an arm missing after the road turned into a cheese grater should I come off the bike. At least this meant the roads were dry and there was no worry about coming off in the wet!

I was gutted to hand this beast back over at the end of the day, but at least I had built up my confidence on riding a big bike, it was just a shame the test is still so a few weeks away.

I came home keen to cool off a bit and dumped my stuff, only to find Chloe promptly trying to fit into the motorbike boots, she loves trying other peoples shoes on! She’s such a character! The trousers and jacket were a little sweaty, so thankfully she didn’t touch those!

Day 131 – It can’t rain forever

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Day 131 – Jul 26th

With Olivia’s nursery day switched to today, we had to work out how to get her there this morning in the pouring rain. The instant and obvious choice was to jump in the car and drive round, which always pains me as it is walking distance… but Olivia was having none of it, and insisted on walking. My initial response was one of “oh for f**ks sake” muttered under my breath, but then I figured “so what… its just rain!”. What was my problem with throwing on a rain coat, putting up the umbrella and heading out for a refreshing walk in the rain? Well, quite simply there wasn’t one!

I guess we have become a little obsessed in these modern times, with things being made easy for us, getting away with being lazy, being comfortable and dry in our cars, not having to walk anywhere, getting places quickly and not having to wait for anything, and can become a little removed from the simplicities of walking in the rain, laughing with little ones as they jump in puddles, taking our time and remembering that life is about the journey, not the destination.

And so it was, rain coat on, umbrellas out, and off we walked to nursery, making sure Olivia had her boots on, as there was definitely going to be some puddle jumping going on!

It was good to see our friend Tracy today, who stopped by for a coffee with her two little ones. You always know when you’re in good company when you’re not quite sure where the time went when they come to leave! She’s such a good person, even with her lively son and baby daughter, she’s always offering to help and babysit if we need it, like she doesn’t have enough to do! Pre-babies, the four of us often used to enjoy drinks and dinner together, hopefully we’ll be able to do that again eventually when the little people begin to sleep properly.

Thankfully the morning rain did end, and the clouds vanished and the sun came out, giving way to a beautiful blue sky, so after Tracy left the three of us were able to take a family walk up to the nursery to pick Olivia up, and also stop off at the in-laws on the way home, before heading out for an unhealthy and nutrition free chip shop dinner for us and the girls!

Day 130 – Make plans, but be prepared to change them

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Day 138 – Jul 25th

A surprisingly warm day to kick the six weeks holiday off with. After walking Olivia up to nursery the rest of the day was a little unplanned, something I didn’t want to be happening for the rest of the holidays, we need to sit down and start planning a few activities, days out and visits to see family & friends. There is plenty we can do, although I don’t want to fill every day up. We need days at home to rest and relax, they are just as important, providing that we’re getting out and doing things on our list.

I needed to pop back into work to collect something I’d left there, and also needed to visit one of my sisters to drop something off as well. As the wife was out doing the food shopping, I took the motorbike and felt like I’d nearly cooked myself, all wrapped up in protective clothing in the sunshine! It’s nice that in the middle of the day during the holidays, the roads are so quiet. I am definitely beginning to feel the restrictions of a 125cc motorbike now, and cannot wait to get my theory test out of the way next week, then I am one step closer to taking my full test and upgrading the motorbike to something with a bit more poke. I am not wanting to pull wheelies, or race cars along dual carriageways, or anything like that, but part of the bonus of being on two wheels is being able to do things like jump to the front of a queue and pull away when you need to, rather than the car behind you trying to squeeze past because you’re just not accelerating fast enough.

With the girls in bed, it wasn’t long before the wife headed up and I was left alone downstairs, so I figured I would treat myself to a little drink to being on holiday, and although I hadn’t ticked much off the to-do list today, I am confident we’ll get plenty done over the next few weeks. Just need to get a bit more practised in getting to bed early now!

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