I don’t usually plan much of a shindig for my birthday these days. Last year was a big birthday (21 I know!) so we had some lovely celebrations planned, but this year I was quite happy for it to pass me by pretty nonchalantly. However it ended up being a rather lovely weekend, and one of our busiest for a while, so of course I had to bring my camera along for the ride.
We started off the weekend in style with an impromptu stay at The Grove. In case you haven’t heard of The Grove, it’s a luxury five star hotel set in 300 acres of beautiful grounds in Hertfordshire- I took so many photos so will do a post dedicated to it soon, but it really is such a stunning place. It’s only about forty minutes from us, so really handy to get to as well. We spent Friday and most of Saturday (my birthday) there, before heading home and going to my Mum’s for a birthday celebration meal. It was lovely to see my family as always.
Sunday was spent running my third ever half marathon- I am still running, although I hit a bit of a blip around Christmas where I didn’t run for a few weeks- this was my first real break since I started over a year ago, and I must admit to struggling with motivation. However the last couple of weeks I have been back training and being motivated again and I have really enjoyed getting back into the swing of things. I do find half marathon’s hard- especially on my legs, at mile twelve I really was struggling with knee pain, but I love to push myself and my body. Then Sunday afternoon we headed over to my Grandma’s for yet another little birthday meal and yet another cake!
Here is our weekend in iPhone and DSLR Photos and a little video too….
Checking out their room- we had interconnecting rooms at The Grove, which is obviously every parent’s dream! No sitting in the bathroom at 7.30 in an attempt to get them to sleep!
Chilling out in the room for a bit- I love this photo of my pair. She is becoming such a Daddy’s girl, which is both lovely and slightly annoying in equal measure- she was supposed to be my one! 😉
Busy drawing with the hotel pencils- obviously.
Mads and I headed off for a little walk around the grounds while Daddy and LL went to get something from the shop- the late afternoon sunshine was beautiful and I had such a lovely hour with my girl.
Such a beautiful light- and yay for daffodils- Spring is definitely on it’s way.
Of course I am slightly biased- but she is just so lovely. She is going through a funny stage at the moment again where she is testing the boundaries- some days she can make me worn out by the end of it and then some days she can just be delightful.
The Grove has a man made beach and an outdoor swimming pool within a secret walled garden- I can imagine it’s absolutely amazing in the Summer. But we still managed a play on it and Mads loved building sandcastles!
I can’t remember what we were talking about here but I remember she was making me giggle- she has the wildest imagination.
Reunited with the other two member’s of our team.
The grounds were stunning- we spent ages walking around and taking them all in.
I love this photo of her- golden light how I love you.
We headed over to ‘The Stables’- one of the three restaurants at The Grove for dinner. As any parent will know, you never know how a three course dinner out will go with little people- but our little ladies were on their best behaviour which was lovely. We actually managed to relax and talk during our meal- although the iPad babysitter’s did come out by the time pudding came!
We woke on Saturday to my birthday! I put this photo on instagram, but I was thoughtfully spoilt by Mr E- he is very thoughtful when it comes to gifts. I got some lovely new running gear, some gorgeous Russian Dolls (I have a weird obsession for them) that I have wanted for ages but never told him about, some truffles, a book on salad, some sunglasses and a few other little bits and bobs.
Every birthday has to start with waffles right?
The Grove organises a holiday club for little people where they play games, do arts and crafts and go out and about- we put the girls in there just for an hour to see what it was like. We didn’t have much time to ourselves but we grabbed a juice from the juice bar- my smoothie was delicious.
We managed a little walk in the grounds together before it was time to go and pick up the girls- Saturday was the first day it really felt like Spring to me.
Reunited with this terrible twosome and we headed back to The Stables for a light lunch- the kids menu was really good and LL was excited to see they had her favourite Peanut Butter sandwiches!
Two little mermaids trying out the kids pool- the hotel has a lovely Spa pool and an outdoor pool, but there is also a dedicated pool for young children too.
On Sunday I headed to my home city of Cambridge to take part in the Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon. It was my third ever half marathon and I was incredibly nervous before- firstly because I am not good with crowds and there were over 4500 people there and secondly because I had only really been back training for about three weeks. There was a great atmosphere though, with people high fiving you and shouting your name as you ran round.
I finished the race in a time of 1:50:04- I couldn’t actually believe it and I did get tears in my eyes when I finished. As I hadn’t been training for very long I was aiming to get it in just under two hours so I was absolutely shocked and thrilled with my time- I was 270th female back out of 1587 competing. I find them so tough, both physically and mentally, but as any runner will know the feeling you get when you cross the finish line is just so incredible and addictive.
A little video I made all about a lovely weekend…
All in all it was a great birthday weekend- it was just by chance that we happened to go to The Grove on that particular day, but I am glad we did as it made my birthday feel that little bit more special. I was so tired on Sunday when I got into bed after the race and this wasn’t made any easier by the fact we had a little person in our bed. We are in the middle of decorating the girls new room and our new study so at the moment our house has been turned upside down, and as Mads doesn’t currently have a bed she is in sleeping with us- she loves this and is so excited, but it’s tiring for us as our bed is only small! This week is going to be a little crazy as we have so much to do in terms of their new room, plus we both have a lot on with work, so it was nice to have a real family weekend to enjoy together.