Got a case of the grey-weather blues? Brighten your day up with this blog post and my fluorescent Christmas Cards! The theme for this set is: 'May your Christmas be merry and bright' which is exactly what these limited-edition cards will ensure. We'll be finishing up the screenprinting today so they'll be ready to post out tomorrow. Get them now on this website (or email me for international orders) while they're hot off the press!
It was so exciting to see this year's Christmas cards in production and visit Gary and The Private Press. After moving to Brighton from London, I was keen to find a local screenprinter and am convinced I've found a gem. Their work is exquisite and Gary is a really nice guy to boot. Thanks for letting me come down and take a few pics – the cards look beautiful!
Speaking of the cards, they were created as part of my fundraising drive after securing a place to run for the MS Trust in the London Marathon. You can buy them now on my website or if you live overseas, send me an email and I'll arrange to get them to you.
Ho ho ho!
I'M RUNNING AGAIN and this is the sort of blog post where only a stock image will do. Yup. With full and encouraging permission from the physio I've officially begun training for the London Marathon 2016.
I was still feeling a bit of pain at our last session and was convinced the exercises he'd given me may have been doing some damage – though more from my overzealousness than his advice. I told him I was convinced my leg was still broken (see how it went from a fracture to a full on break?). I also mentioned that I may be prone to a bit of drama. He told me I was nothing compared to the elite athletes (who have a right to be a bit dramatic) and to get on the treadmill.
That made me trepidatious. But after doing some tests to make sure my leg was ok and after he explained the new way I would be running (higher cadence and shorter strides), I got on the treadmill. I ran three minutes at 180rpm and IT WAS OK! Today I was up to seven minutes. And it was STILL ok!
I'm thrilled. And running to a metronome app set to 180 beats per minute hasn't been as difficult as I thought. Apart from trying to drown out everyone else's rhythmic paces around me. For now I have to stick to the treadmill at the gym but look forward to getting back to seaside running soon. Stay tuned.
It’s been six weeks since I developed a fibular stress fracture. That's six weeks since I’ve been able to run. Being patient is difficult – I thought I’d be well back into the running gear by now.
On the other hand, I’ve learnt a heckuva lot about stress fractures and how common they are in any bouts of excessive sport. And what I can do to help recovery. And how long they take to heal.
Though the best thing to come out of this is that I found the most amazing physiotherapist. I honestly cannot rate Kevin Hall highly enough. This is someone who’s on his way to a PhD, who is a sportsperson himself (impressively, a triathlete) and who is one of the most well-read and knowledgeable people I’ve encountered on all things clinical and running-related.
One of the interesting things I learnt from Kevin is that it actually takes the bones two to three years to be marathon-ready and that first year runner’s injuries are highly common as the body attempts to adapt. The bones apparently restructure themselves by getting rid of a bit in order to rebuild themselves. Not too dissimilar to remodelling a house. Which of course is all good except the marathon I’m supposed to be running in is only five months away.
In any case, am hopeful I'll be in good form soon. In the words of Aesop, 'slow and steady wins the race'.
Last week, the fifth TEDx Brighton was launched and amongst a black and red wrist-band-wearing crowd, I was there. It was incredibly well-organised event with a surprise highlight for me – silent disco! Especially after a boozy Carluccio's lunch. Honestly, Fridays should be like that more often.
Dancing aside, there were a couple of speakers who really stood out. One was James Thompson who runs Black Badger Advanced Composites – a name that rolls off the tongue (his words). It wasn't just that he is an innovative jewellery designer, it was his story and his story-telling that was so captivating. He was the awkward kid with the speech impediment. Then overcame his obstacles. Then he was faced with more. And he might still have a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but here he is, creating rings not out of gold but out of stealth bombers – or the stuff stealth bombers are made of. After all, nearly everyone in the audience had something made of gold, only one person had a carbon fibre ring.
The second speaker was truly inspirational. Mark Shayler, visionary and co-founder of the Do Lectures, is the sort of speaker that really rouses the audience. Shucks, I was ready to go to a political rally and hold some placards after his talk. He was funny and engaging with a darn good point to make: it's not enough to do things better, but that we need to do better things. Right on!
I never thought I'd like running and am not quite sure how that happened. Seven months of pounding the pavement and half a marathon later, I feel trepidatious to admit I actually love it. Am not so sure my body agrees while I sit out October with a stress fracture though am hopeful I'm just suffering with 'first year runners' injuries'.
This running thing began last Autumn, after my partner was diagnosed with MS. I wanted to do something in return for all of the amazing support the doctors, nurses and MS charities provided during that time and had always toyed with the idea of running a marathon. I was told I ought to start perhaps a bit smaller – maybe with a half marathon or something and after a bit of persuasion I agreed. So, on behalf of the MS Trust, I signed up to do the Great North Run with 55,000 other runners. Three calf strains later (during training) and after many miles bounding along the seafront, I completed my first half marathon.
And then I signed up for the Brighton Half, the Brighton 10 and the Warrior Run though I wasn't able to do a couple of those due to my subsequent injury. I'm honestly not quite sure what's gotten into me and why I just can't sit quietly on the sofa watching Gogglebox. One of my friends suggested that runners get a bit 'possessed'. I'm going to ignore this and concentrate on the countdown until I can run again instead.
I do love the sparkly new area around Kings Cross though most of the time it's so bustly and busy that I don't notice things as much as I'd like. With the exception of this particular entrance to the station. It's the one place that's never seems terribly busy and therefore always makes me think I'm in a Twilight Zone/Sol LeWitt mash up – in a good way.
While organising some files recently, I came across a bit of crafting I did a couple of years ago for a friend's exhibition/workshop held at the V&A as part of the London Design Festival 2013.
Sarah Hyndman's Type Tasting projects were initially aimed at making typography accessible to everyone and for this workshop, she asked a range of people (Ralph Steadman and Alan Kitching included) to make words about creative London that reflect their meaning. My word was 'Hidden Gems' – and I thought it would be a great idea to hand cut the word 'GEMS' – which within it contain a hidden poem – of to reveal the word 'hidden' underneath. At 4am and still hand cutting, I was questioning the 'greatness' of the idea.
But in the end, seeing words hanging on the wall of the V&A, I think it was worth it!
The poem, incidentally, is a fragment of Abraham Cowley's On Repairing to Somerset-House:
And every day there passes by my side,
Up to its wester reach, the London tide,
The spring-tides of the term, my front looks down
On all the pride and business of the town...
My other fair and more majestic face...
Forever gazes on itself below,
In the best mirror that the world can show.