One Of A Kind: Helly Hansen x This Is My Style

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

This post contains products sent to me by Helly Hansen as a competition prize. All views are my own.

WAY back in the spring, Helly Hansen had a campaign running on their app called This Is My Style. By logging runs on the app, it enabled users to unlock various design features for a pair of tights with the added incentive that you could win your design printed on a one of a kind pair of tights. Excitingly, one of my designs was a winner- and so a patient wait for manufacturing began.

The tights I designed on the @hellyhansen #thisismystyle app are being made up into real tights for me! Excitement.
My design in the app

Even better for me, the design was to be be produced onto one of my favourite HH products- a 7/8 Capris that I already have a couple of pairs of- you can read my review of the winter styles and patterns right HERE.

Excitingly, I had an email from the forever lovely people at ADPR last week to say THEY'RE HERE! That's right- one of a kind, all for me tights.

Helly Hansen Tights
Sneaky little first look

The REAL DEAL! To say these excite me (yes my life is that dull and devoid of other meaning) is an understatement. One. Of. A. Kind.....


Custom one-of-a-kind Helly Hansen VTR 7/8 Capris, c/o Helly Hansen as competition winner

Aren't they beautiful?! I love the coral red and the geometric bits of the print, I love the slightly purple hue to the blue and I love that nobody else has the same pair as me. As ever, huge thanks go to Helly Hansen and ADPR for getting these amazing, amazing tights to me and for running such a cool competition. 

What I Wore: Lord Mayor's Banquet 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Once in a lifetime he said. I'll never get the chance to do it again, he said.

In 2013, my partner was commander of the honour guard for the Prime Minister at the Lord Mayor's Banquet. It's a formal dinner held each year welcoming the new Lord Mayor of the City of London into their position and is attended by assorted members of the High Courts, cabinet and diplomatic community as well as merchants and livery from the City of London. The dress code is white tie- the next step up from black tie. Last time I had about 2 weeks notice to find something to wear, this year, I got a whole month, aren't I the lucky one.

LMB 2015
Commander of the guard. And me. 
From Where I Stand.... institutional carpets the country over. This one is Davies St.
Nothing exceptional- I'm not bold enough for sequins at events like these, but I covered everything I needed to! The star of the show this year for me, was having someone else do my hair for me. 

LMB Hair
Hair by the lovely people at Rockalily Cuts

In the wake of recent world events- I write this having just read of an explosion in a Nigerian town previously targeted by Boko Haram but also horrors of violence and disasters in Beirut, Japan, Mexico and of course Paris, the speeches by numerous officials were of particular interest to me this year. I do not and continue to choose not to share politics here or (for the most part) my social media channels, but I would hope the message that we must not allow those who support the oppression of choice and democracy to divide us or to set us turning upon each other as human beings is one you can join me in. I stand united not for or with Paris, but for all human beings. 

What I Wore: Denim Dress & Tan Ankle Boots

Saturday, November 14, 2015

There have been many cheap dresses from eBay in the last 3-4 years. Some managed a wear or two before I realised that an Asian large definitely isn't large enough for me, and some have lasted the course. This denim shirt dress has seen me through some seriously sticky summer days and it's all the right kind of awesome with a jumper over it for chilly chilly winter days. A keeper you might say, for around £5, I'm not going to argue.

Denim Dress & Tan Ankle Boots
Shirt dress- old via eBay, Belt- old from Primark, Boots- Clarks

Ironically, this dress is actually now a touch on the large side for me, luckily it's nothing a belt doesn't sort out, and given those buttons all the way down are actually poppers, it's nice not to have to worry about my boobs quite literally breaking free!

The boots. We need to talk about these ankle boots from Clarks. 

Tan Ankle Boots

Remember these from my post about wearing navy blue in autumn in October? They're still working hard for me and I love them, especially as they're cut a little lower on the ankle than most ankle boots- it gives me some definition back in my chubby chubby legs. Note to self, it's probably time to get back out there and running again after a very lacklustre effort post-marathon last month.... 

Denim Dress & Ankle Boots

Revolutionary? No. But this boots-dress-massive scarf combo leaves me feeling like actually dressed myself properly with minimal input in actually dressing myself properly. Made sense to me, but it's ok, I'll go snuggle back up in my massive scarf. 

Fitness: On Taking A Break

Friday, November 13, 2015

So far this year I've run 98km in races alone. I can't actually bring myself to count the hundreds of training kilometres I've clocked up since I donned trainers and pounded pavement for the first time back in January. I've cycled over 500km (although at one time I used to do that in a month) and since August I've dropped a whole dress size and I'm on the way to another thanks to a whole range of improvements to my training and eating for my activity levels. I ran a freakin' marathon for goodness sake.

But since October hit, so has a bit of a wall. The marathon hit me hard and it took a little bit of my soul with it when it was finally over. That combined with additional work responsibilities, a trip stateside and the darker nights means in a month I've exercised less than 5 times, compared to the 4-5 times per week I was getting through this summer.

First run since the clocks changed and with raging hay fever symptoms. I'm so attractive right now with my snotty nose & streaming eyes & sweat. #thisgirlcan

Y'know, it feels great. I'm really looking forward to going to running club a couple of times this week and not feeling that I *should* be doing something at a certain level, but taking it at the level I currently find myself at. I'm excited to plan some new PT with my trainer and for the first time in months, I don't feel guilty or lazy or ashamed that I haven't really done that much. Mostly because I came to realise I needed to take a break.

Goals and targets are great, regular sports and exercise are great too, but there is such a thing as too much and it's ok to need time to recalibrate as one goal comes to an end and you rethink your approach to whatever your fitness of choice may be. It's ok to accept that you can't do everything all the time and for some people (I include myself here) there are more important things than making yourself go for a run in the dark which will leave you hurting, feeling miserable and with a growing sense of failure. For some, the 'go hard or go home' approach coupled with the mantra 'you'll only regret the workout you didn't do' is much needed motivation, I'm pleased for you if so. We all have to find a way to make shit happen. But if you're already a driven person. if you tend towards being perfectionist or obsessive about reaching targets, your brain and your battered body might just thank you for signing out of instagram, twitter and pinterest, and going for dinner with your friend rather than sticking to your training plan, going away for a weekend and not packing your trainers for a long run before breakfast on Sunday or admitting that your twingy ankle is going to benefit far more from a marathon session of The Good Wife than it is a threshold run.

Life is too short. Say yes to the fun day out.

I've found it so easy to be swept along with signing up for event and event, session after session and hauling my behind out of bed at 0600 on the one day of the week I don't need to, just because ohmygodIhaven'texercisedenoughI'msuchabadhuman hits me. If you spend 6 days of your 7 day holiday worrying about your training plan has fallen to pieces because the most exercise you've done is swimming across to the pool bar, is that really any more or less healthy than the not doing anything in the first place? I'd say you're not doing yourself any favours.

In this brave new world of hotel room workout videos and social media schedules, it's time to give yourself a reality check. It's someone's business to post a daily fitness routine, it doesn't mean you have to do it. Hotel workout youtube videos might be great for someone who has to work away a lot, but is that what you want from your holiday? And most of all, listen to your body and your mood and your own sense of wellbeing. Feeling constantly under the weather? Injury that won't quite go away? Feeling reluctant every time you don trainers? Maybe it's time to take a step back and breathe. Enjoy life. Take a deep breath. Reassess. And don't you dare allow yourself to feel guilty for it.

Adventures: Las Vegas Highlights

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ain't jetlag a massive bitch. It's taken me almost 2 days to get over flying back from the States, not great when it's remembrance weekend and I've got services etc to attend with T's regiment.

BUT at least I'm suffering off the back of something good, 6 days in Sin City itself, Las Vegas. I went out because my friends got married out there on Halloween, no pictures of the wedding because the bride and groom want them to stay private for now, but it was certainly an experience to see a Little White Chapel Wedding...


I went out with my mother & grandmother (otherwise known as rent-a-crowd if you have a wedding, FYI) and we stayed in apartment off the strip because we did some jiggery pokery with timeshare weeks and swaps. We flew direct from Gatwick with Virgin, and we were out for a total of 6 nights. 

I'd never been to Vegas before, and it's certainly different. Best description... all life found here. I'd also say that once you get over the novelty of whatever each hotel theme is, there's not that much to do that isn't eating, drinking, shopping or gambling on the strip.

Probably the only good picture I managed to take of a hotel on the strip

Not the strip and one of the coolest signs. I wish I'd been able to get a better shot

Once we got over the wedding and and the mayhem that is Vegas, we did manage to fit a few things in...

The mothership & I

We drank Margaritas... we decided that Halloween was a good opportunity to crack out some swish masks....

Doing the Gondola thing at the Venetian... The gondoliers can actually sing! 

The Venetian has it's own little canal running through part of the hotel and for about $20 per person, you can take yourself to Venice because the surroundings are to scale replicas of Venice Streets. If nothing else, it was fun. 

Vegas High Roller
The High Roller at Linq Hotel 

Like everything in Vegas, bigger is better. This 'orbital viewing platform' is just like the London Eye, except it's 109ft taller. They get really hacked off if you refer to it as a ferris wheel! The views from it are incredible and it was pretty good value for $17.50.

Getting Lucky in Vegas
You kinda can't go to Vegas without hitting a Casino...

So.... Casinos. I walked past and through many and felt they were a little sad- lots of people mindlessly loading money into digital slots. In the end my mother & I headed to the Venetian casino on our last evening, which was a little more buzzing than some we'd seen, and headed for the biggest, shiniest machine we could find. I don't know how to play most of the other casino games, and we figured we could afford to lose $20 in a slot machine. I'm quite lucky, and I have been since I was a kid, so without really knowing what we were doing- much to the amusement of all the people watching, my total cash out was $225 and change. Not bad for a half hour giggling at a machine. My mum managed $75 and we walked away happy. I bought my super tacky poker chip cushion as a little reminder of my win. 

And then it was time to come home. 

Vegas by night
Early evening flight out of McCarran

I did manage a few other fun things in Vegas- I did some serious shopping which I'll be showing off over the coming weeks no doubt, and we also managed a helicopter tour out over the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. I find Lake Mead and the provision for water in that part of the States fascinating, so once I've finally gotten around to editing my pictures, there'll be another separate post about that too. 

Vegas is an odd place to go. Initially I wasn't sure I'd want to go back, but on reflection, I'd do it again with T, mostly because they have some huge nightclubs with headline DJs I'd kill to see. But unless you're into proper gambling or you're prepared to venture out of town regularly, it seemed to me to be a bit same-y. the same shops, the same food, the same frozen margaritas... Not that it stopped us from having fun!