Pirates of the Caribbean…?

Here we are in Olympic year! After seven long years of waiting, the Games are almost upon us. For the first time, I’m hitting January and thinking “Great! It’s a new year!” Normally I’d be pulling myself together and trying not to moan about the weather…

I’ve got no right at all to complain about the wind and rain that has battered my poor old house over the last few days. For the first time as a mum, I spent Christmas with my family away from home in much warmer climes. We were lucky enough to be invited by Royal Caribbean to enjoy a cruise from Florida to Mexico, via Haiti and Jamaica. Non-stop sunshine and so much for the kids to do. Jon and I felt able to relax and let them get on with their own fun; quite a rare treat with three very lively boys. There were 5,000 people on board, but the ship was so vast and the service so good that it never felt like that. Those crew members earn their money, let me tell you. The only disappointment for my youngest was not seeing Captain Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl; I said that perhaps they were pillaging elsewhere on the high seas and that we couldn’t expect them to catch a modern ship with their sailing boat.

Christmas Day itself was spent in a seaside house on the Floridian coast. I’d been quite unsure about being away from home, but I needn’t have worried. Some of Jon’s family joined us and made it feel properly festive. We had a tree with stockings under it, a very early morning and a long day enjoying all the little presents that Santa brought. Best of all was the Christmas Day swim; I’ve heard people talk about it, but I never thought I’d do it! That plus a sirloin steak BBQ made it a very different, but very enjoyable day.

The highlight of the whole trip was running bare footed on the beach. It feels so different running like that. The sand was just right – not too soft, not too hard – and even Jon noticed that I was beasting it. I just felt so great. A long, sandy beach, no people in sight; what more could you want? Even the two massive blisters I got under my big toes didn’t spoil it for me!

Despite all the running, I managed to put on some serious weight, due mainly to a daily breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup. Oh and a margherita in mid-afternoon! When we first arrived, the pancake stack looked impossibly huge; by the last day, I was eating the lot without batting an eyelid. Yum!

And now it’s back to reality. But like I said, this year is a very special one, so although the diary is mad from now until September, it’s going to be a year that we’ll all remember. I’d like to think that by the time the Olympics actually arrive, I’ll have lost the excess poundage I picked up in Florida. And on that note, I’m off to paddle down the lane in my running shoes…now where’s my wetsuit??

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