2013, you were great

Okay, so this has happened quickly...

2013 - you were great! Here's a photo heavy summary of a great year...

The year started at our home in Henley on Thames, I attempted to cook and look after Andrew following international work and hospital surgery. 

New years day started with coffee on the river and early drinks in a beautiful hotel bar. Following a bout of sickness, 2013 was to be the year I nailed heart disease and it begun with hours daily in the gym. Between sweating out the excess of celebrations, I managed to find time to return to the flickr community which was instrumental in photographic development. 

I fell off the grid with the ecstasy of endorphins, lifting and spinning before 6am then running and swimming into the night. We headed towards the Scottish borders to celebrate Charlotte's (Andrews gorgeous sister) birthday. It was fantastic seeing the baby and how much he had grown so quickly! My pele case was also a new and much needed addition to my kit. 

My father arrived in the country and after wonderful catchups we headed to the coast where our family reside. The snow came down in droves, and with a new rear wheel drive car it seemed ambitious to assume easy single track driving. 

The intense gym attendance was organically amplifying itself. I saw fantastic changes to my health. I ventured out into the mountains with a wonderful team and experienced my first outdoor climb. 

At the same time contracting mild hypothermia and shivering into a drive through starbucks with Jimmy and the guys. This boosted my climbing ambitions, taking me from strength to strength. 

The month came to and end with Andrews gorgeous family staying at our home in Henley. I was asked to be a godparent to their beautiful baby which started the break on a fantastic high. 

March started with a 4am Airport drop at heathrow with the stunning JB before meeting the rest of the gang in Sweden. The journey was shared with a great group of people who I couldn't be happier spending my time with. We shared fantastic experiences and I truly fell in love with a great bunch of people. 

On the way home, following travel chaos Jimmy came to the rescue and found us confused and overlayered in the wilderness of West Berkshire. It was at this point that I was realising how much I would miss the guys as Andrew and I were exploring the next chapters.

The month continued with an offline hiatus as I lifted heavier and spun faster. This continued training helped me to push through the climbing grades and with the support from my buddies I was brimming with confidence. 

April saw the first in a two part hen night saga with a trip to Edinburgh with the girls. Following Jimmy's birthday earlier that week it seemed only right to kick start the season with a clandestine BBQ arrangement following post Edinburgh returns. 

The not so secret climbing club gathered on the south coast for more intense sessions on the rocks. We spent a wonderful weekend with my godparents and caught up with my parents following their return from travels. This time, the rocks felt good underhand in the warm spring sunshine. My confidence went from strength to strength. It also became apparent how my interests have evolved and how much I love my climbing buddies. 

Momma was a huge help preparing her house for the move to the Midlands. The prospect of spending more time with her and Cici became a huge luxury. The bunnies also seemed okay with the idea of two other humans to spoil them... 

It was during april that I transcended from brunette to linen blonde, a colour my personality fell in love with. The health push continued and the organic lifestyle was showing positive blood test results. 

Andrews fantastic parents joined us in Henley to help with the final packing. We emptied our first home together and bid farewell with optimism and relentlessly happy memories. I said goodbye to my colleagues and was left with the wise advice to "never move away from something, only ever move forward." 

Joining a new contract was exciting, the idea of a new environment induced flapping bugs in my tummy. I forgot how much I loved moving to new opportunities and the enthusiasm of starting again.  

I celebrated my birthday with our two families, no present could compare with my heart disease update. My cholesterol was down, and my tests showing positive results. With a continued plan, that was it! No more statins. I was on a huge health high but my lifestyle had to be stringently maintained. 

Packed up with three bearded guys, two boulder mats and leftover pizza slices, we crossed the channel and arrived in France just in time for breakfast. Small explorations en route to a forest south of Paris led us into realms of rural coffee and patisseries never thought possible. 250miles and few toll roads later we wound our way through a tiny village to a beautiful Gite. We proceeded to spend a few days climbing and refraining from any disastrous fractures before getting back onto the road and heading to the Champagne region, where we, well, spent three days drinking champagne of course. 

Returning home I soothed my rock induced bruises before frocking up with my girls for KBish's wedding day. Getting back in touch with old friends I discovered some local climbers, and a small bouldering location perfect for evening practice. 

Warm summer months when the kiddos start their holidays makes for a perfect time to hunker down and work. Avoiding holiday destinations which would be packed with families, July saw a month of hard work and quiet antics. 

We spent weekends in the nearby vaccinates quietly enjoying local regions and bouldering at locations nearby. 

The month started with a contract change to my working hours. I reduced my contract as a civil design engineer to a shorter working week. Giving me more time to dedicate back to myself and balance a summer of weddings. 

I got back on my wheel and found so much enthusiasm back in the blog. My focus was content creation - and a whole lot of it! Steering away from reliance on statistics was my motivation. I just wanted to keep putting fantastic inspiration out there! 

September began with the celebration of my godson's first birthday and a weekend exploring the south lakes. The entire family then flocked south to the coast for the annual Bridport Hat festival. Following breakfast Belinis at the Bull with the family we proceeded to locate my grandmother on a table facing the square where we could drop in and out of the crowds in running crouch prosecco stoopers. The thing about Bridport is that congregating in post south coast smuggling heritage gangswarm in town often leads to misplaced members. Centrally locating ourselves outside a drink house seemed the only rational idea in a cocktail state.

The week proceeding hats, Illy ventured northwards and we climbed in the Peak District before the end note of a broken toe. I (kinda) lived (appeared in his flat as habit, ate his food, mentally exacerbated him with Pilates demonstrations, and shared a love for slow moving uneventful films) with Illy in the South East and missed him loads, maybe equally as much as Andy who lived with him too but less in a freeloading more in a contractual agreement kinda way. 

Broken extremities meant only one thing, a Tipi break I the far reaches of Waze's maps. It was also time to pack up the kid and downsize her luxuries into student halls. We missed Cici but knew she would create a wonderful life in the country's second city. It also meant easy excuses for dinners out. Regular catchups and dinners in new locations was made even better with the addition of my favourite hockey player and Illy's closer location. I had missed the hockey player so much and it was perfect having her within a 30mile radius. 

October saw a lot more climbing. It was relentless. Evening sessions would only conclude when my phalange nerve endings became non receptive, and then some. Five times a week wasn't enough for me and all I could think about was the return of summer and getting outside again. My body fat dropped considerably and muscle mass increased. Definition became apparent and I became boyish in stature. The increased muscle and hormone impact destroyed the condition of my skin, but I didn't care, the blinkers were on and the ascent was in sight.  Jimmy had returned from his Atlantic sail and while clandestine celebrations were needed, I was addicted to the wall. Aside from vertical addictions, urban farming sparked an interest, and combined, led to the creation of my vertical vegetable garden. 

Midway through October the long blonde was exchanged for pixie shortness. An experience which has led to all sorts of social behavioural revelations. As a result of the crop, my ears now get very chilly, meaning that hats are beyond a necessity. 

Andrew's beautiful nephew celebrated his fourth birthday at a fantastic little local farm in Cumbria. We headed up for a weekend of celebrations, delicious coffee and wonderful humans. 

The next celebration was Vicky's and her driver bundled up four champagne heads to meet Abs from Five. Andrew and Illy, refined in their behaviour sipped whiskey and ate steak before we headed home to chase the stars in a mixing induced hill trek at two am. 

November commenced with the same dedication to the wall. We celebrated the (eventual!) wedding of two wonderful people and spent our evening with fantastic guests who imprinted such amazing insights. 

Shortly into the penultimate month of the year though, sickness struck. Throughout a course of weeks, variations of flu outbreaks were continuously batted between us. Despite inconceivable varieties of percriptions and drug store hauls, most of November is a time fog of horizontal sick days. Muscle mass depreciation kicked in fast, and by the time a Centre Parcs break arrived, my arms were too weak to pick up my Michael Kors let alone my own body weight. The break was much needed and so appreciated, taking the kiddos swimming and struggling to tread water reiterated that my strength was so low. 

December started with bouts of annual leave away from the office to give me time to continue building my portfolios. Getting back into communication with people and brands I want to collaborate really rung true to my evolving passions. 

My family were back under the same roof again and valuable time was spent with my family on the south coast. 

What you choose to do and where you choose to go in 2014, enjoy and take care! Huge wonderful wishes to a great bunch of readers :D 

All my love,