24 September 2007

buon giorno!

My mum came to visit at the weekend and we went looking at wedding dresses. The good news is I have made my decision. The dress is chosen.

I am also nearly finished making our honeymoon bookings. We are not having a typical honeymoon - there will be a fair amount of travelling, but that's the kind of holiday we both enjoy.

We're going to Italy. Our trip begins with three nights in luxury in romantic Venice. I have always wanted to go and I think I am looking forward to this part the most. Then we will take the train to Florence where we will spend 2 nights before picking up a hire car and driving to our private villa in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. We will spend a relaxing 7 nights lazing by the pool, drinking wine and taking day trips to surrounding towns and villages. We then continue south to Rome, where we drop off the hire car and spend 3 nights seeing all the sights. From here we'll either pick up another hire car or use public transport to get to Sorrento where we will be based for the final 5 nights of our trip. From here we aim to take a day trip to Pompeii and do the Amalfi coast drive.

I cannot wait! I think I'm looking forward to this more than the wedding!

14 September 2007

the great north run!

In a few weeks time I am running my fourth Great North Run. After number three I swore I would never do it again, but here I am. I've had a two year gap, but that hasn't been long enough to forget how much pain is involved.

My training has been decent, for me, but you can never do enough. I am getting excited and nervous - it's 13.1 miles you know! That is a long way.

I am starting off with two other girls from work, which will be fun.

I am raising money for Beating Bowel Cancer and I would really appreciate your support and sponsorship for this worthy cause. Read why and sponsor me via my Justgiving page.

Lots of runners have set up training blogs. Here are some of my favourites:
They Say I Must Be "Mental" To Run (Great South Run)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (also at www.tism.co.uk)
Am I Ever Going To Do It?

When you are running alongside people like this you cannot fail to be inspired. Good luck everyone!

Here's me in 2003 and running with my sister, Caroline, in 2004.

10 September 2007

the police - twickenham

Last night we went to see Sting and The Police at Twickenham Stadium. They absolutely rocked! Sting looked and sounded amazing. It was my first time at a stadium concert and the atmosphere was brilliant. We had decent seats too.

We arrived early and parked in Nelson Primary School. This was fine on the way in, but not very well managed getting out. We queued for an hour!

We had a leisurely and delicious meal at Cafe Venice on Whitton High Street and then made our way down to the stadium. It was about a 10 minute walk and we got to our seats to catch the last half of Maximo Park.

The Police played all the favourites - the crowd went expecially wild for Every Little Thing She Does is Magic and everyone sang their hearts out to Walking On The Moon. They finished with an encore that included Every Breath You Take and the final song was Next To You.

To think that Sting was born in Wallsend, (and his dad was my best friend's mum's milkman - apparently!) he's quite an inspiration.

04 September 2007

nigella express

Nigella has never been one to skimp on luxurious, high-fat, high-sugar ingredients, and generally I don't have a problem with this. She's the one I turn to for cakes, biscuits, pies and other sumptuous treats. However, last night I caught the second half of her new show and I cringed with disgust at some of her concoctions.

The squid was good, an easy coating, a quick fry and some simple garlic mayonnaise. More than acceptable as a starter or dinner party snack.

The pork chops with gnocchi - what?! - I thought the idea was to give us things that are better than pre-packaged convenience foods. Obviously she wasn't thinking better in a healthy way, as she fried the pork, coated it with cream, boiled the (ready made) gnocchi and coated it with cream. Better in what way exactly? The most negative aspect of convenience foods, for me, is the lack of nutrients, but where were they in Nigella's pork dish? To top it off she tried to look cool by balancing the pork plate on her knee and eating with a fork whilst reading a handful of pretend paperwork. It's a good job the camera turned away before she attempted the chops with the fork alone - not pretty.

As if this wasn't bad enough the show climaxed with Nigella creating a sorry version of a bread and butter pudding using some stale croissants, sugar and... wait for it... more double cream. After chowing down on the first bowl, she them came back in her dressing gown to polish off the rest of the baking dish, topped off with MORE DOUBLE CREAM!

Maybe I should be applauding her for defying the current movement for wholesome, nutritious food, but she wasn't doing anything imaginative enough to fly that flag. She was putting together lazy fodder that wouldn't even make the grade on Ready Steady Cook then taking it to bed with her in a way that conjored up images of Fat Bastard covered in chicken grease. "I'm dead seeeexxxy, look at ma seeexxxy body!"

03 September 2007

wedding

It occurred to me that I haven't really written about our forthcoming wedding yet. No particular reason. I don't feel there is much to talk about, at least I didn't, but last week I went wedding dress shopping for the first time and WOW - I think that really brought it home - I'm getting married!!!

I feel I am on top of the organisation - the venue has been booked for over a year, the photographer is booked, the bridesmaids dresses are bought, the guest list is almost finalised, even the honeymoon is almost in the bag. I have decided on a loose theme to tie together the table decor, the cake, the flowers and the stationery - I am currently making some prototype invitations, once I decide on the design the first batch will go out early November.

After one day in only three shops I think I have found THE dress. My mum is coming down in a couple of weeks to give her all important opinion. Unfortunately, these bridal shops don't let you take photographs, (which is ridiculous), so it is very difficult to juggle the memories of the different dresses in your head and it is even harder to convey to your mum what you look like in a dress with only a picture from the internet.

I need to make a decision this month because it takes 5 months for the dresses to be ordered in! Then 6-8 weeks for any alterations.

So, what's left? The disco, the mens suits, menu tasting, the rings ...

The next few months are probably going to pass very quickly!