365 project

Day 300 – We’ll just have to make the best of it

Day 300 – Jan 12th

Day 300, the last big milestone in the project if numbers mean anything to you. It is Friday night, and the torture of Dry January continues. It is lovely to be home from work early to spend an extra hour with the girls, but once they are in bed, we usually crack open the wine, open a bag of snacks of some variety or even one of those tubes that “once you’ve popped you just can’t stop”… you know the brand, then spend at least 20 minutes trying to find a decent film to watch, before we get 45 minutes into it only for me to notice that the wife is fast asleep and the film we finally compromised on could have actually been one that I really wanted to see instead! Ah yes, I love Friday nights at home, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Taking a month off the booze was a decision I have taken before, and failed at after a mere two weeks on my previous attempt. I don’t drink a lot, and never during the week unless I am on holiday, so it is only on a Friday and Saturday night that I actually miss it, and only because it has become such a habit, and a pleasant way to unwind at the end of the week, but its true, I do look forward to a drink at the weekend.

Still, my liver isn’t going to complain too much, my wallet seems a little relieved, but the big winner from all this I am hoping is going to be my waistline. The snack amnesty is still in force, along with the alcohol, and to be fair, both are going well. I am not missing any of them too much at the moment to consider myself weakened by their temptation. The results on the weighing scales have been positive, by doing nothing more than cutting out snacks and booze, I can see the weight falling off almost instantly. Of course, hitting the gym has helped a bit too, and I am looking forward to heading back at the weekend to see if I can push this running a bit harder!

So not our usual Friday night, but I am honestly missing the drink and snacks far less than I was expecting to. This bodes well for the rest of the month!

365 project

Day 296 – Hair today, gone tomorrow

Day 296 – Jan 8th

Right, its waited long enough… time for the winter coat to be shed. I haven’t been to the barbers for years, I have been cutting my own hair for about 10 years now, and so out come the clippers again. It’s a fairly easy job, although it does require a second pair of hands, not something I’d risk doing on my own, as I literally do not have eyes in the back of my head! The wife will help with the area at the back that I can’t see, and she is becoming quite a dab hand at it now! The whole process can be done in about 20 minutes, then as I am at home I can throw myself through the shower to wash all the loose hair off.

The only problem with taking the clippers to my hair, and also losing all the facial hair at this time of year is that you really feel the cold. It really couldn’t stay though, I have been blessed with a thick head of hair and the curly gene from my mom, so in my college days of long hair I had girls envious of my thick and wavy locks. These days, as it never gets that long, on a bad day the curls and waves can make me look either homeless or like I’ve been in a fight with a tight sweater whilst trying to get it over my head! Still, spring is on the way, and I need to look a bit more human again. There is a certain pleasure with being able jump out of bed and know that regardless of how much time you have to get ready, your hair at least will be exactly the same as when you went to bed.

365 project, Photography

Day 286 – The best camera is the one you have on you

Day 286 – Dec 29th

As one advert on TV recently described this period of the year, its the Chrimbo Limbo. Yes, its that week between Christmas and New Year where no-one quite knows what to do with themselves and most people’s diets have resorted to chocolates, left-over turkey, pringles and sausage rolls.

Our week wasn’t too far from this, and so after meeting our friends in the morning at a local Harvester restaurant for their unlimited breakfast deal, which kept us fed for most of the day, there was a trip to Aldi to restock the cupboards and a stop off at the in-laws, and our afternoon didn’t get much more exciting than this. As I often did while out and about, I’d brought a camera with me, which is pretty much compulsory when you are doing a 365 project. Todays particular photo was a moment I didn’t want to miss and I didn’t have my camera on me at the time, so iPhone to the rescue, and I am loving the new iPhone 8 Plus camera.

Moment captured.

365 project, Photography

Day 243 – I just wish I could do more

Day 243 – Nov 15th

The last few nights I have been making more of an effort to get to bed at a sensible time, only for any success I have been having to be pretty much wiped out by one little lady who hasn’t been very well, and another not so little one who, instead of sleeping through the night like she normally does, decided that for some reason she absolutely must get out of bed in the middle of the night for a hug!!

Olivia usually sleeps well and doesn’t wake until the sun comes up in the morning, so we’re a bit confused as to what is waking her. I just wish she’d stay in bed and not feel that she has to come in to wake us too!

Chloe, on the other hand, has been genuinely not well. She’s had an on/off temperature for a couple of days, and has been off her food, and not drinking as much as we’d like her to. Today has been a better day, although its still a series of highs and lows. One minute she’s all cuddles and looking very sorry for herself, and yet just a few minutes later and she’s running around the living room like she’s never had a thing wrong with her.

It looks like she is starting to get a little better, very slowly, although it doesn’t help when she won’t let us give her any medicine, so we’re having to sneak it into drinks and yoghurts where we can. The most important things are drinks and sleep though, both of those in enough quantities will speed the recovery along as nicely.

365 project

Day 240 – You’ve earned this one!

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!

365 project, Photography

Day 233 – Less excuses, more exercising

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??

365 project

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

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?

365 project, Photography

Day 204 – It’s worth the sacrifice

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!

365 project

Day 197 – With a little help from my friends

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.

365 project

Day 187 – Why did you do it then?

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!