Autumn Beauty Favourites

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


After a whirlwind summer, I'm looking forward to a few fun things this Autumn- a couple of weekends off, being super lazy and going for long lunches or brunches and a quick trip to Vegas for a wedding in particular. Definitely a good excuse to indulge in some nice new make-up... 

I've been a mineral make-up girl for about a decade, and I was recently introduced to Mii, a new mineral brand produced by the same people who make Jessica nail products. They were aiming to put all the best bits of the mineral make-up ranges on the market into one range of products. This is the first time I've strayed away from Bare Minerals, and I'm really impressed so far. The foundation feels so light you can forget there's anything on your skin at all, and there's no patchyness which I've struggled with lately with my BM foundation- change in formula there end I suspect. It doesn't require a mineral veil, only a primer if desired, and I find the coverage to be on a parr with any mineral make-up I've come across. The bronzer (top LHS) is really nice combination of tones to bring a subtle glow and the outer packaging feels really solid, so the whole compact is travel friendly. 

I'm totally hooked on a darker lip this year, having never really been interested in lip colour before. Both of the above are Revlon- the top berry coloured crayon is ColorBurst Balm Stain in crush, a simple berry with a slight shimmer, easy to apply and due to the stain nature, keeps colour going for hours. The brick red colour at the bottom is one the new Ultra HD Lipstick shades. I love the colour for a muted red, but Revlon, why must you make a lipstick so clumsy in shape- best applied with a brush for precision as the bullet is big, blunt and a bit of a nightmare. 

And lastly, still clinging to the last memories of sunshine and warmth, the Valentina fragrance by Valentino is light and sweet in a grown up way and it reminds me of summer for reasons unknown. It's my current method of brightening a grey day. 

Recovery: Life After A Marathon

Monday, October 5, 2015

I spent most of the week leading up to the marathon wishing for it to be over. I'm well aware that lots of people will have been rolling their eyes wondering why I can't just talk about something else aside running or food for a while, or putting me in the little category box that is 'dickish people who have one of those hobbies that just has to be so much tougher than anything else'. And it's sort of true- I have spent the last 17 weeks thinking about food and/or running for what feels like 80% of the time.


But now I'm recovering, here's a few things you should know...

It's not a hobby and I didn't do it for fun. 
When I signed up for the marathon I couldn't run one full kilometre, let alone a mile or more. This challenge was supposed to be exactly that, a challenge that I felt comfortable asking people to dig into their pockets and piggy banks to support. I have no intention of running more marathons.

It's a commitment
The reason people who train for and run these distances talk about it so much is because the requirements the training and preparation put on you and your lifestyle are vast, far reaching and personally, left little room for much else. I haven't been able to ride my bike as much, I haven't been able to eat some of the things I love, I have had to put food (as a fuel) right near the top of my priority list, and by the time I've eaten enough for a 3-4 hour run, done the run, showered and eaten enough to recover from the run, there isn't much weekend left. But see point one- there's a reason.

However much people told me so, I've never once felt I was doing something incredible
There have been times I enjoyed the training, times I enjoyed some of the races. I love that I'm now fit enough to run further than just the bus stop, but I've also cried, I've resented the training, the eating, the need to not have the glass of wine on a Saturday night, and I've been miserable whilst I try and manage my battered ankles and knees. I did something that thousands of people do every year, and the only reason it was such a deal for me is because I went from zero to marathon to keep the people I love alive. I don't feel a sense of achievement, I don't think I'm superhuman and I don't think that there are now no limits to my own achievements. I'm just glad I now have time to ride my bike, I can have cheese and several glasses of wine on Saturday nights and I can make weekend plans without worrying about where I'll find time to run for hours on end.


I had it easy
Having read people's stories and training woes and heard other people talk about what they do to train for a marathon and beyond, I realised that despite my problematic joints, I didn't have it that hard. I didn't have many runs where the added mileage felt like more than I could handle, and my aches and pains post-run have been limited (aside injury) to one day.

Carb loading and eating more calories for training doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want
Quite the opposite, I've wasted spent so much time trying to balance the nutritional value of what I've eaten in a day, that I could probably have worked a second job. I'm bored of sweet potatoes, bagels and brown rice, and not being able to eat as much fresh fruit/veg as you would normally or you would like to is not fun, I too would love a glass of wine and a plate of nachos, and I too would love to enjoy that piece of cake.


You must be losing weight with all this training you're doing...
No, actually I'm not especially. And FYI, that's quite offensive and relies on the assumption that so many great campaigns are trying to dispel- not all women exercise just to lose weight.

On Sunday 4th October I completed the Race For Life Marathon as part of a personal challenge to run 100km in 2015 raising money for Cancer Research UK. You can read more about the other races and my reasons for running by clicking HERE for my JustGiving Page.

What I Wore: Marathon Day

Saturday, October 3, 2015

So the past tense maybe isn't quite right for this, but we'll roll with my usual title for now! It's marathon day tomorrow and I'm in an awkward place at the moment- I'm terrified and I also can't wait for it to be over so I can have my life back again.


Helly Hansen 7/8 tights, Cancer Research Jersey (it has my NAME on it), Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 trainers, all important race number

Here's what I'll be pulling on tomorrow as I embark on the challenge of my life. If you want to know more about why I decided to be one of *those* people who runs a marathon, you can check out the rest of my Marathon Week posts HERE

New Favourites: Things I Loved in September

Friday, October 2, 2015

Oh September. It's such a funny month- business wise, it's still summer, the season is still in full swing with what we do and it's been an excellent September for business. The early September sun was coupled with a cool breeze and the whole month has felt autumnal to me- the knitwear is back out and I've just ordered a sneaky new coat- it was on sale, in my defence. Darkness is coming in quickly and I'm back to my 'light up like christmas' campaign when it comes to sportswear for running club, oh and training has been blighted by injury.

Here's my September Favourites though, so it's not all doom and gloom!

I couldn't resist the #thisgirlcan t-shirt from Marks & Spencer since I missed out on the original ones. These are even better with new colour ways and the shape is a looser draped cut. Doing my bit to support women in sport.


As the evenings have pulled in, we're now doing running club in the dark. Cue reflective everything! My 'Thunder Thighs' House of Astbury tights don't look all that visible being black, but the print is actually reflective. Cool, right. The Helly Hansen black top also doesn't look like it screams visibility. The below was taken with flash....

Look at it glow...

I'll be talking more about this top next week- the people at Helly Hansen very generously agreed to support my winter running for the end of my challenge to run 100km this year with some of their training kit.


I've always liked peanut butter and it's a damn good job. I feel like I've eaten little else besides bananas and peanut butter, so the earned a spot.


I've talked about Serozinc before but my skin has been super upset with me of late (thanks to trying a new product, lesson learned). Serozinc really helps to dry out any spots and generally clean things up, especially at a time when I'm exercising heavily and regularly.


All this exercising also has an impact on my hair. I try not to wash it every day because it leaves the ends in really poor condition, and rely on dry shampoo both for freshening up and also for a bit of volume because my hair is quite fine. This Tresemée version was on a 3 for 2 deal in Boots recently and I really like it- it's not heavy or powdery, it doesn't smell too strongly of anything particular and it doesn't leave my hair with chalky white streaks. The holy grail?



Chafing is real. I learned the hard way in the summer after running a 10km Race For Life and suffering full on broken skin from chafing afterwards. Some people recommend BodyGlide, but I prefer this coconut oil to help avoid nasty rubbing. A true life savour and not bade for moisturising my poor dry legs either. Oh and it's half the price of a tube of BodyGlide. Winning...

Oh September, a funny month indeed, and now it's October, I can't wait to have fun things to favourite at the end of October.

#Bodymode30DayChallenge - Part 3

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

MADE IT! If you're wondering what this is all about, you should check out my posts for Part 1 and Part 2....

So it's the end of the 30 Day Challenge, hurrah. I've had what seems like every obstacle in the way of this challenge- injury, illness, holiday, trainer induced mat burn.... but I'm still standing (yeah, yeah, yeah!).

Day 21: Mondays in my office can be absolute mayhem, and this one sure was. At least it's a rest day. I quite liked the Daily Challenge prompt... 9 favourite ways to exercise with 9 days to go... this might have featured heavily...

Take me back.
Chloe <3 her Lexa

Day 22: 8 days to go, just over a week. Tuesday is always my 'back in the game day'. 1st run of the week, first work out of the week, back in rhythm and routine and today was ALL about upping my reps for my upper body challenge (in the absence of upping my weights). I suspect this is going to burn like a motherbitch tomorrow. Today's Daily Challenge prompt.... one word to see me through to the end. 



Day 23: Running club, finally back to being fit enough to spend my Wednesday evening getting everyone through Fartlek relays. I also had an epic calorie fail and didn't eat enough- note to self, I will feel rubbish if I don't eat enough, which is neither big nor clever less than 2 weeks before a Marathon! The Daily Challenge prompt about delayed gratification was interesting read on the science of breaking habits. As humans we're wired to make connections based on giving in to what we want, but by holding off or doing something alternative, you can break habits and form new ones too. I've always been a 'right here, right now' kind of person so it's fascinating to read how that affects my habits, and goes a long way to explaining how going cold turkey on a vice can work out to be a very effective method of breaking a habit- a month without drinking has certainly cured my weeknight wine habit!

Day 24: AND MORE running club. It's always fun to show up and find there's lots of people for running club and to have a bit of fun with some of the people I've gotten to know. The upper body workout with more repetitions are producing a killer burn in my shoulders too! No commando bleep test for me either, although I used to kill this at school- almost always the last girl standing...

Day 25: When your trainer tries to kill you 2.0. More grazed elbows- the left side this time, so I have nicely matching mat burn on both elbows. I can't even bring myself to practise #highplanklowplank because it's so ridiculously hard. There are also the words which have no doubt sparked fear amongst all clients... new equipment... On a slightly more serious and less whinging note- bring on the heavier kettlebells, these upper body workouts might not be giving my serious visual results, but I'm definitely stronger for it, which is more important to me at the moment, especially having realised it's preventing the hypermobility I never realised I had in my joints. Joy. I skipped out on the daily challenge, I was too busy carb loading (drinking wine...) to celebrate my mum's birthday before she heads off for an envy inducing holiday.

Friday night wine o'clock face...

Day 26: REST DAY! I was living for my rest day this week, I've been super tired and it's partly my own fault for not eating enough. No Daily Challenge Twerking for me, just more carbs ready for a race tomorrow.

Day 27: Awkward moment when you realise your smug little attempt at good pacing is utterly screwed by a brutal 4km uphill finish. Trail running and my dodgy ankles do not mix, the Oundle Magnificent 10 wasn't so magnificent to me and I was grateful to pull off my kit, have a shower and move on from the race. 55km of my challenge down and sometimes I think I'm getting worse at this running business rather than better.

The Oundle not so Magnificent not quite 10km race.... 

Day 28: Monday Monday.... Can't quite believe we have a mere 2 days left of the challenge. Monday is, as ever my other rest day and much needed after a rough race yesterday and a beating from Jenna the Osteo this morning. The day 27 Daily Challenge prompt was all about goal setting and something the Grüppenührer has asked me to look at for my training sessions. Today has been a bit about concentrating on all the little things that I'd like to aim for, to see if I can come up with something good. There will be no more marathons after Sunday, so that's not up there, although I'd like to see an improvement on my 10km distance as that's been my favourite. I am desperate to be injury free because every time I have to stop doing something because a body part is giving up, my soul chips a little bit more.

Day 29: It feels kind of fitting that the day before the end of my challenge, is the first workout of the week. 4 sets of 16 repetitions for every upper body exercise complete, compared to 3 sets of 8 when I started! The Daily Challenge prompt- do something that scares you. Well, I've bitten the bullet and committed to PT for the next 2 months, in fact, right up to Christmas. Given the new tools of torture the master has up her sleeves, it became scary today!

Day 30: That's it. 30 days done and dusted. It's been awesome to have a reason to stick with a particular set of exercises and a regime. I'm enjoying the weights and strength side of things, which leaves me thinking I might be able to persuade Michelle to incorporate plenty more of it in forthcoming sessions. Because I was, in essence late to the party with joining the challenge, I don't have any before pictures or measurements- I'm a bit gutted as it would have been interesting to see if I'm imagining the new firmness of my biceps.... even if the bingo wings are still swinging a bit! Whilst not attributable directly to the 30 Day Challenge, I'm currently down a dress size in my jeans and several things I've worn lately are distinctly looser than they were last time I wore them. I will not be defined by a number on the scale, or even the number on the tape measure, I'm quite happy for you to judge me by the confidence that comes with wearing a dress & jacket that were the wrong side of snug 12 months ago, and being happy to look my reflection up and down in the mirror.

Had such a blast at #ascot yesterday and now I'm having full on Sunday blues after a week off.