July favourites

July was great! So busy but also so much fun. It seemed like it lasted forever and that was a good thing! This is what I loved last month.

Studying

My summer course was a bit of a let-down. It was too easy. I know that sounds all humblebraggy (Ooh, I’m so clever, it was so easy) but I worked my socks off last semester, the teaching was great and I learned loads. Not so for the summer course. I was grateful for the light workload, but disappointed I didn’t learn a lot of things I’d hoped it would teach me. Oh well – three more credits. Four more courses to go.

Reading

I managed three books this month.

The Breakaway is the autobiography of Nicole Cooke, one of the UK’s most successful cyclists. Not heard of her? That’s the point. She talked a lot about the challenges she’d had in her career by NOT being part of the fantastically successful British Cycling project but by paving her own way. She spoke harshly of drug-cheats in cycling and the impact it has on women’s cycling in particular. It’s not a comfy read but it’s a good one. One thing that it made me reflect was that I don’t watch much women’s sport. I LOVE cycling but I NEVER watch women’s cycling. Similarly, until last month, the UK never watched women’s football/soccer. Talking about it with the Husband, he pointed out that if women really believe in women’s sport and want to see it flourish and grow, we need to watch more of it. Because where the audience is, the sponsorship and money will go. So I’m resolving to watch more women’s sport!

Junction, Utah by Rebecca Lawton is set in Utah so I read it on our road trip. I like to read books set where I’m traveling. The reviews on amazon were excellent and the novel started brilliantly but it turned into a bit of a melodramatic saga between a lonely, widowed,introspective cowboy and a wild, untamable river-rafting-guide girl. Lots of eye-rolling.

Somewhere near the real-life Junction, Utah
Somewhere near the real-life Junction, Utah

In the Mountains is by Elizabeth von Arnim, who wrote the BEAUTIFUL Enchanted April. (If you haven’t read that novel, pick it up today and read it. So lovely). I LOVED this short little novel – the writing is so very beautiful as she describes returning to her mountain cabin in the Alps just after WW1, heartbroken and empty from the grief of losing everyone she loved and how the peace and beauty she finds up there starts her healing. The writing is BEAUTIFUL and I really really loved this. Currently my book of the year!

Watching

We watched the Tour de France every day and we loved it. It was particularly lovely because the Dude really got into it this year – he had a fantasy team as we did and it was so much fun sharing it with him. Less fun was explaining about ‘special medicine’ and cheating. The swines, they take the magic out of everything.

We watched American Sniper. Not as merica as we expected and actually pretty thought provoking. And then we rewatched Pretty Woman and I’d totally forgotten how beautiful and sweet this movie is! We started the new ‘Flashdance‘ – I loved the opening credits and the mass line-dancing scene but apart from that, it was dreadful.

Cooking

I looked after three five-year-olds one afternoon and decided we should do some baking. But my cupboards were pretty bare so we ended up making this applesauce cake. We actually made THREE of them, one each. It was fun and the cake was good.

If you’re feeling hippyish, these lentil ‘meatballs’ were delish! I made a huge batch and froze them, using them as my alternative when my boys eat meat.

Visiting

Apart from all the amazing things we were lucky enough to see on our roadtrip, we visited the Oakland Museum of California this month. It was my second visit, but it was enough to remind me that this is by far the best museum in the Bay Area. We followed it, as is traditional, with ice-cream at Lush Gelato in Piedmont. Their basil gelato was honestly like sitting in Florence people-watching and the Dude’s strawberry gelato was definitely the best strawberry ice-cream we’ve ever eaten. Delish.

I got to be an exhibit
I got to be an exhibit

Obsessing

I didn’t have much time to obsess this month due to studying, hanging out with the Dude, going on holiday and helping at Vacation Bible Camp at church. The only thing that I got a little obsessive over was camping. At the end of the month, we had two nights camping down in Santa Cruz which was a really lovely little break full of salt air and splashing in the ocean.

The downside of urban camping...is wifi!
Using a drawing app on Daddy’s computer…but yes, he SHOULD be climbing trees and getting mucky!

Looking Forward To

We have one more week in before the Dude starts school – we’re going to be making the most of them! We have his first ever mini ‘bike tour’ planned for this week!

I have two more weeks in August before my next course starts – my new lecturer has excellent reviews, I’m really excited about studying again!

Cycling – this month will be the bulk of my distance training for Surf City Aids Ride. I’m looking forward to getting at it.

Sneak preview of Sunday's Tour de Peninsula, report to come!

Running – I ran a scandalous 43 miles in July.  That’s fine, I focussed on cycling, but I was still a bit horrified and I REALLY want to run a bit more this month. As I hoped, the enforced hiatus from running is making me miss it loads (and appreciate it more). I’m aiming for 80 miles this month, let’s see how it goes.

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