Getting back into the blogging rhythm

Just how long has it been? I think it’s been about 3 years, possibly a little less since I last posted on this blog. It’s been running quietly in the background , always here, but never added to. It’s been a crazy couple of years. I’ve packed in SOOOOO much.

What have I done since?

  • I got married. What a wonderful day that was! Can’t believe that I’ve just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.
  • I travelled to the Caribbean and swam with turtles. That was quite a way to celebrate our honeymoon.
  • My ten years in the Netherlands are coming to an end. Back in February I took a new job ‘back’ in the UK. It’s quite a strange feeling to be heading ‘home’. I hope I still like it. I’ll be talking more about that soon.
  • City trips. I have packed in a few visits to cities in Europe. I love it. The camping bug has stayed with us and we’re still popping to different place. Where to head outside Europe? Good suggestions welcome.
  • Life. Life has just been busy. It doesn’t take long to get out of sync with something.

I will get some of my new ideas into One Life soon. Great to be back guys.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

90,000 hits!

How has this happened?

How have I managed to lure in 90,000 hits to my blog?

Okay – it seems that cups of English tea have helped along the way… I’m not joking (I check my stats and how they find me).

 

I’ve been really ‘absent’ recently. I just haven’t had time to post – but my stats keep going up? How is that possible?

I really need to get some new stuff on the blog though.

 

Inspiration…

I need inspiration.

 

Bear with me people! More will come soon!

Dancing Through Life

So, my niece is also a blogger…. A recent discovery of mine, but one I want to share with my readers too.

Francesca is really keen on snapshots and photos – it’s quite different from my blog, but take a look and see what you think.

Read it here.

What did you think, guys?

Preparing for my BIG GAY 10K

I used to hate long distance running. I would watch runners go past and envy the fact that they could do it – and wondered why they liked it.

Strangely enough that all changed earlier this year. I had heard about an App for my phone which could help you get from ‘couch potato’ to a runner (possibly good enough for the Olympics… okay, I can dream).

I have stuck to the challenges and kept running a few times a week (once every two days when I’m being really good).

A friend of mine in London posted information about the first Big Gay 10K in London on Facebook and I was hooked…

A real challenge for me. Will you support me? Here’s my page.

What have I got myself into? The next thing I knew I was signing up for my very first ‘proper’ run. I am currently running distances of 3-4K. The 10K might just finish me off…

Here I am – Looking my most sporty….

I have set up a Just Giving page so that you can track my progress and see if I am still alive. Of course, I’ll be blogging more about it here too.

In short – this is what it’s all about.

  • It’s the FIRST ever Big Gay 10k run in London.
  • The run takes place on 30th September 2012.
  • The 10k has been put together to raise money for some of the UK’s leading Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender health and well-being charities.
  • The charities organising the event are London Friend and PACE.
  • The route will go along the River Thames – It means I get to run past icons like the London Eye, Tate Modern, Big Ben and Westminster! Fab!
  • You’re allowed to RUN it, WALK it, MINCE it…
  • It’s a great excuse to get my legs out.
  • I may not make it to October…

I would love it if you took the time to check out my Just Giving page – You may even like to make a small donation for the wonderful charity. (That’s the easy bit – I’ll be the one running around London in September).

January: Drama. Blues. Booze.

I thought it would be a good idea to summarise my months throughout 2012. It is set to be a cracker of a year (a great year, to all my non-English readers, or should I say readers from outside of northern England).

January started most dramatically. Bas, my husband-to-be (I love saying that), and I travelled back to The Netherlands after enjoying Christmas in the UK. The drive from England to the Channel Tunnel was horrendous. When I say horrendous I mean utterly vile. Scary. At-my-wits-end-scary. I thought my life would end at some point on that journey. The rain was torrential and never-ending. Once through the Channel Tunnel (and after a welcome 30-minute break on the train), we continued our hell-raising journey into France where the bloody rain continued. How could so much water fall from the sky? Belgium proved to be no better – The rain poured from the sky and our car barely managed to stay on the road. Driving through a swimming pool is never recommended and as the car shook, swerved and vibrated its way along, the thought went through my head on more than one occasion that skis may have been a better option than wheels. I lived to tell the tale though, so all’s well that ends well.

It was so much worse than this...

January also brings with it the worst time of year, the post-Christmas-blues. Apartments and houses look so bland and bare without the joyful Christmas decorations. Is it just me, or am I the only one who never ceases to be shocked at how bare a home can look without the decorations hanging? It never seems that bare in November…

I was back at work, greeted by a class full of happy little three-year olds all eager to see their friends again – and their teacher, of course. One little boy saw me on the first morning back and said my name with such enthusiasm. It was as though he’d not seen me for months, years – or as though he thought he may never have seen me again…. Bless.

In order to brighten the mood, we had friends over for a games evening. I love games. Bas does not. Therefore, we played games. And Bas loved them. I won’t hear a word against them. That is the basis of our relationship. I am right. 🙂 We played some great games – word games where one team had to name 10 things related to a category. The highlight of the night being when my team was asked to name 10 deserts… We looked puzzled and skipped the category. I don’t know deserts other than Gobi, Sahara… I’m struggling. We asked to hear the answers – clearly out of interest. Answer #1: Pavlova. I have to hold my hand up and admit that after a few glasses of wine I sat and pondered where this Pavlova desert may be. Possible Eastern Europe…? The penny did not take long to drop. DESSERTS! My wonderful other-half avoided reading the next answer – trifle. We would have been laughing into the early hours. I love games.

A fab game. You must play it.

Throughout the rest of January, we visited family in The Netherlands, caught up with friends, helped our wonderful friend-and-bride-to-be choose her wedding dress. Yay! We had a decorator in to plaster the kitchen (our kitchen shall be finished this year – finally); we watched Carnage and The Iron Lady (Streep must win Best Actress at the Oscars) at the cinema; and we had meals out. Good fun all round.

Oh, but then there was the party Sunday. The Sunday we shall not forget. It started with a neighbourhood borrel (drinks and nibbles) at the pub along the street from our apartment. All our Dutch neighbours were there – although we didn’t recognise a soul. Normally I know one or two – but the absence of everyone from our actual street made the stress-levels rise. I was using all my Dutch skills. Speak Dutch and survive. I survived – almost. We were labelled on entry with a post-it note from the very official looking ‘organiser’, power-dressed in red. After spelling my name repeatedly (in Dutch), I changed from Jamey to Jami to Jame where I finally gave in. I’d be Jame for the evening – for the quiet life. Jamie isn’t difficult to spell. What panicked me next was seeing the organisers hand out coloured flower stickers. There was a game to be played. Panic stations. I know, I know – I like games. But not in Dutch and not when I know that my Dutch partner is clearly not going to be in my team. We ended up separated. I must not panic. I must keep calm. Drink. Hours later, and after meeting some lovely neighbours we made our way, on bikes, to another party. You can see where this is going. We drank. We chatted. We drank and had a fantastic evening – until home time. That was when the wall of reality hit. Cycling home was an experience. 🙂

Oh – and January officially became my busiest month for hits on WordPress. Thanks guys!

What a month. January – you have been memorable.

Bring it on February!

My List for 2011: And how it went…

2011 promised to be a year of exciting events. I made this list at the end of 2010 and worked my way through them as times marched on. I wanted to save the memory so have cut it from my headings and popped it into a post.

New things need to arrive on my blog.

Total achieved for 2011: 14/35 (43%).

  1. Propose to my boyfriend. OK, this wasn’t on my blog list before I did it. It was in the list inside my head (but I couldn’t add it here until I’d done it – secrets and all). #1 on best things I have ever done.
  2. Visit Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. April ’11 – Fantastic times. Kuala Lumpur was a great city. The Patronas Towers – wow! Singapore is outstanding. I could live there! On top of those two destinations, we also made it to Bali for 5 days. A great holiday. Read my post about Malasia here and my post about Bali here.
  3. Travel to at least one European country that I have not been to before. Visited Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic in March. Great city! My first visit to the Česká republika was amazing. You can see what I discovered here.
  4. Read all of the Harry Potter books again. 29/8/11: I have read 4/7 books. Loving it. Read about them in My 2011 Books tab.
  5. Invent something.
  6. Pay off one credit card. Done. Yippeee! July 6th and the deed is done. This feels great!
  7. Learn a new skill. I should have said ‘start learning a new skill’. I’m learning how to play tennis and how to serve. I doubt Wimbledon 2012 is on the cards, but I’m surprisingly not as bad as I thought I would be.
  8. Visit at least three museums in The Netherlands (I must be more cultured in this country while I live here). Suggested places via WordPress so far have been…. De Pont in Tilburg & Waternoodmuseum in Zeeland. Museum #1 in February ’11: Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) – Went to see the ‘Dutch Masters’ exhibition. ‘Nice’ was the word of the day. I liked the works but I was not blown away. My favourite painting was one of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands by Andy Warhol.
  9. Go to the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf. It was an amazing experience. A spectacular production in Germany. The atmosphere inside the Arena with 35,000 people watching it LIVE will stay with me. What a party! The best Eurovision Final that I have seen LIVE. Congratulations to the winners, Azerbaijan.
  10. Make the most of my blog. I really feel that my blog is established now. I have great WP buddies. I am reaching a worldside audience and now I am understanding what my preffered style of writing is. I do need to make more effect with reading other blogs. There is so much out there to read. Great stuff. My target for hits this year is gonna be double, at least. I’m stunned. So very pleased.
  11. See my family in England more.
  12. Try harder to speak more Dutch. Working with Dutch children during a two-week summer school. The Dutch is just flowing. I’m certainly more chatty with the Dutch in-laws. 🙂 I can say I’m trying VERY hard now.
  13. Go to a least one tennis tournament.
  14. Start tennis lessons. I’ve started practising…. Lessons should begin in September (but they didn’t)… oh oh oh.
  15. Have a huge house party and invite loads of my brilliant friends (this happened in January 2012) – better late than never.
  16. Send a message in a bottle. Hmmm, I emptied a few bottles in 2011 but never managed to stay sober enough to fill one with a letter.
  17. Send a message tied to an inflated balloon.
  18. Post the replies (if any) on my blog.
  19. Make a complete and utter fool of myself. Oh what to choose…? Fool #1 To end my two-week job at the Summer School, I danced and sang in front of a room of non-English speaking parents. The songs – simple. Lots of repetition and lyrics that I won’t repeat. Did I look a fool? Hell, yeah! Fool #2 was on my camping holiday in France. I can’t dive. I tried, but I can’t. Luckily only Bas (my beloved) saw me springing from the pedalo. Thankfully. I dare not upload the photos to Facebook or WordPress. The shame would be too much. Not a classic diver’s pose.
  20. Attend a carnival.
  21. Kiss the love of my life on the top of a world landmark. Two kisses and two landmarks. Lucky me. 🙂 1st landmark: The Singapore Flyer. 2nd landmark: on the roof bar of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Yay!!
  22. Fart in a crowded place. Done. Silent but satisfying. This is a public blog, so no details necessary… But I hope the crowd at the Take That concert are all recovering well… 😉
  23. Research 10 more people to add to my family tree. I am shocked to have achieved this by 11th January 2011. The wonders of searching on Facebook for names and surnames that you know. The links are endless.
  24. Get back into my art. Complete a picture that I am proud of.
  25. Visit someone that I haven’t seen for over 5 years.
  26. Finish redecorating the kitchen. We’ve been in this apartment for 3 years now. It is time to finish those jobs. (This has been started).
  27. Dance in the rain. (Thanks to Melanie on WordPress).
  28. Read a book that is considered a ‘classic’.
  29. Enjoy a weekend away with Bas (and stay somewhere unusual).
  30. Write a letter to Santa.
  31. Sing karaoke. (Thanks Jim Chaney, I borrowed this one from your list).
  32. Reach 10,000 visitors to my blog, One Life – before December 31st 2011. Wow, wow, wow…. I don’t know how it happened but I’ve reached my target. It’s 18th May 2011 and today I passed the 10,000 visitors total. Thank you visitors for stopping by and reading my blog.
  33. Write a poem. I wrote some drunken limericks way back in Spring. I must type them and load them onto WP. Coming soon…
  34. Start doing some exercise (sit-ups will be a good start). (Thanks to Tilly Bud – for having a similar challenge on her blog). I am trying – I now have the ab machine, but still don’t have that wash-board stomach that I wished for…
  35. Try 3 new recipes (I’ll let you know how I get on with them). Receipe #1: Biscuits – I made these with the children I was working with on Summer School (a two week course for children to learn English). I’ll have to blog about it. Watch this space.