Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Favourites: 7 Things I'm in Love With This Month

I was only just bitching and whining about the change in seasons the other day, and I'm still feeling a tiny bit whinge-y, so I'm going to go right ahead and blame that on only just shaking the pretty gross infection that knocked me sideways. Pulling my away from my griping are a few things I'm a little bit in love with of late. So I'm sharing.

AW essentials F
Shoes, Clarks - Scarf, eBay - Hand Cream, Body Shop

Yeah, I caved and bought this knock-off version of that Zara Scarf. I almost bought the full priced real version when in a store (returning the trousers with the hilarious tiny tiny fit) recently, then decided to have a quick scout on eBay first. Many will think that was futile to save all of about £7 (I think the Zara version is £20?) but every little counts etc etc. I can also confirm that this scarf is big enough to double up as a blanket- no really, I needed to use it this way in hospital, never been so pleased with a new purchase.

In less snarky news, there's a full outfit post featuring these beautiful beautiful new shoes of perfection coming soon- long story short, green heels rock my world and these are my current runaroundeverywherenevertakethemoff shoes. And aren't they pretty?!

The cooler weather has dried my hands out something chronic, so whilst I'm sure you've read a zillion reviews of this Body Shop almond hand cream, I'm just here to tell you it's amazing, it smells beautiful and doesn't break the bank, even at full price (£5) and before we start talking about the endless discounts the Body Shop run.

AW essentials A
Poppy Pin, via Marks & Spencer - Watch, gift - Nail Polish, Models Own via Boots - Above Knuckle Rings, Bohemian Collective 

Remembrance is almost upon us and the Poppy Appeal campaign was launched officially last week. I always lose paper poppies and it's cringe worthy because T & I have a lot of events to attend in November if I'm without a poppy so I have taken to buying pins. This one came from M&S.

The watch is one dug out from storage in September, it was a gift at least 5 years ago and I forgot how much I love it.

The nail polish is a bit like that too- a gift from T, weirdly another occasion where I was pretty sick... anyway... and I was drawn to it when digging through my polishes this week. FYI it's called Green Envy, but I don't know if it's still available...

AW Rings

And the rings- I wear these almost every day, Above knuckle rings have been everywhere but I like that they're still a little more interesting than a standard band and they're the easiest thing to pull on for instant Idefinitelydidn'tforgettobringjewelleryinmyrucksackthismorning glamour.

7 simple things, but they're all making my life a tiny bit more joyous. It's the little things, right?!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Need To Talk About Lexa

Before taking a bit of a break from my blog, I had a bit of an experience on my bike that knocked me for six. On July 20th I cycled London to Southend to complete the Rapha Women's 100 challenge- aimed to get women all over the world out there on their bikes. I wasn't expecting it to be hard, and long story short, it was. And it left me wondering I should just sack off cycling altogether.

Poor T didn't know what to say or do, he cycled with me and he's not used to seeing my defeated either, but he did suggest with a bonus coming my way at work, it might be time to consider an upgrade in bike since part of my hardship was climbing hills on a bike without gears. I wasn't so sure it was worth bothering.

Finally getting round to stitching this on! #womenscycling
Hard earned, the #womens100 Roundel from Rapha and the baselayer I treated myself to instead of a crappy Strava T-shirt

But it turns out that going into a bike shop as a consolation after being in the dentist with a broken tooth is a bit like browsing shoes when I'm feeling a bit lacklustre. Costly... but quite productive.

The only downside is that it's got pink accents... 

Luckily bonus time coincided with sale time and after test riding a few road bikes I'd already had half an eye on before, I decided on a Trek Lexa SL Triple (It's actually still on sale in a 56cm frame for anyone looking). The Lexa is a female specific road bike that has several different specs (and as such comes in smaller frame sizes as well as having narrower bars and slightly different geometry) and I opted for the high end of the specifications- this is the SL Triple- for those not massively into bikes, it's light, it has 30 gears and came with upgraded tyres and gears and brakes compared to the 2 or 3 models below it.

Lexa Front

To say that it's been a turning point would be an understatement. The first ride was a bit wobbly- but I'm blaming that an the anaesthesia I was pumped full of, it's light, it's speedy, it's not uncomfortable to ride, I can't tell you how glad I am to have spent a little more than originally intended and not need to put hardcore tyre (non-protected tyres and broken glass do for many punctures make) and to end up with a broader range of gears.

Autumn cycling- all about @endura #supercommuter kit and new bikes
Autumn riding in all it's glory! 

T & I recently took our bikes to the edge of the Brecon National Park for a weekend whilst staying with family. Hills used to instil FEAR. When you only have one gear on your bike you have to put your whole body into getting you and the bike up it, If you slow down, you stop. Brecon was a crash course in getting over the fear and learning the gears- I've not ridden a gear bike since my age was in single figures...

This is without doubt a sporty bike, and a substantial step up from my city girl fixie, but I couldn't be happier. I never knew I was going to love cycling even close to as much as I actually do when I decided to buy a bike for a 10km commute to my office each day, and given that it was purchased via Cyclescheme for about £450 it did me well- I saved almost twice that much money in travel fares in just shy of a year I rode it and it got me more active than ever before. It gave me a hobby, new friends and some daily joy. I'm not sorry I didn't jump straight into a snazzy road bike. But it was my time.

Having been away from London for just under 6 weeks, I've been itching to get back on my bike for real and get out there- my new journey to work is much shorter and isn't 5 days per week so I'm going to see a big decline in monthly mileage, but T & I are both excited for Autumn riding on the weekends now we're a bit more evenly matched on the bike front- despite the rain that has been falling incessantly,I find the autumn is a beautiful time to ride as it's not freezing yet, but the decreased temperature from the summer months creates fewer challenges with hydration.

As ever, if you're interested in cycling- especially cycle commuting which brings so many benefits- shout me, I love to chat bikes and cycle and I'm the South East  #SuperCommuter for CycleScheme too (more on recent events with that soon).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hard Day's Night

Well. It's been a bitch of a month. I always knew launching a new company wasn't going to be easy, but travelling the length and breadth of the country and ending up in hospital within the last 30 days have not really helped my cause here.

Keeping it classy celebrating my uncle's 70th birthday
Classy as ever- wine in a tooth mug...

I shouldn't be bitching too hard about the travel. At the end of the month I ventured up to Hexham to celebrate a family 70th birthday party. It would be fair to say that this contingent of my family know how to party hard and so subsequently, T & I found ourselves with raging hangovers the following day, having been not quite the last ones standing at 0130. Unfortunately my Aunt & Uncle who hosted the bash were less than satisfied with the food provided, and truth be told, neither were we. Hungover and hungry is not a winning combination!

Unfortunately we had a funeral to go to exactly one week later which meant I remained working away from home for a week longer than expected. Nobody does board meetings like we do...

Board meeting debris
Currently trying to work out if we can legitimately hold an AGM in Barbados next year.... 

Finally back in London after almost 6 weeks away, I was greeted with a broken washing machine and an oven that wasn't working but that finally burnt out last night (send help... or vodka), and a huge change in seasons. Last time I was home for more than a few hours, I was still riding my bike in sleeveless baselayers and shorts and drying laundry outside.

Autumn cycling- all about @endura #supercommuter kit and new bikes
Autumn riding- back in hi-viz

Needless to say the ever shorter days and shall we say damp conditions have left no doubt that it's time to be back in my hi-viz jacket and there's a waterproof cover permanently attached to my rucksack. Oh, and the clothes airer is out from under the bed. I'm quite enjoy being back in my favourite biker jacket and jumpers but not so much that it's ok for my braid to leave it's own wet patch on my clothes....

Having finally gotten my head around the change in seasons, the war going on in my flat (trust me, don't ask) and the total drought of chefs we seem to be experiencing in London, I am kind of getting my head together. Or at least I was...

Yes, yes this is exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday night.
Saturday night and I like the way you move.... 

Yeah, after not being able to keep even water down, I caved and allowed myself to be dragged to A&E last week, where it turns out I had some kind of gall bladder infection. Me being me, I trundled home with my antibiotics after some serious IV painkillers and other assorted drugs thinking it was nothing, only to end up back in hospital all weekend. Yeah, turns out gall bladder infections don't just go away and when they don't it can be quite serious. Oh, did I mention the day after being finally let out, I had to have my wisdom teeth removed as well?!

I have lost almost 4kg in the last 7 days, mostly thanks to not being able to eat for the latter half of last week followed by an almost entirely liquid diet this week. I can't have wine and I also can't have dairy 2 hours either side of my antibiotics which basically rules out ice cream at any sensible time. On the plus side...

Mmmm. Dinner.
All the drugz

The solids I do get to inhale do at least have some decent qualities.

In short, I've had a busy month that ended with an especially shitty week and it's not made me miserable, I just feel a bit ground down by it all now. Lucky for me, there's a man who knows that cats, especially BIG stripey ones make it all better. T is taking me to see the tiger cubs at London Zoo this weekend as a 'please get better, stop being so pissed at life and don't make me come visit you in a hospital again soon' present. He's not all bad!

Yes, this little round up has been a bit of a rant post, but you know, sometimes it's good to let it out. I'm not ungrateful for the good bits either- racing T down Whitechapel and Mile End Road to get home was great fun, and I'm not kidding when I say my folks know how to party hard- there may or may not be pictures of my holding up my aunt's boobs.... And T graduated (properly) in this mix too. It was a pleasure and a privilege to celebrate that with him as we've been through a lot whilst he made his degree work for him and into finding a 'proper' job.

Tell me good things people- are the cubs as awesome I'm lead to believe? Have you been somewhere cool this month? Know of somewhere awesome to get ice cream (because whilst I can't have it, of course I want it!)?