Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travel:3 Things I've Learned About Travelling This Year

So far, 2015 is shaping up to be a year of journeys. In February I took my first trip to Paris with T, and in March we moved across London. Next week, I'm off (a bit unexpectedly) to Madeira.

Taking our Paris trip was a bit of an eye opener for me, as previously, I'd only ever travelled for R&R holidays, the idea of spending precious down time doing too much was slightly horrifying, but I had an amazing time in Paris, and although this next trip is set to be a bit of R&R, I'm also excited to see a bit more than just the resort swimming pool. With this in mind.... things I've learned about travel in 2015.

1. It's ok to wear Comfortable Shoes
I will never been that girl shimmying about in 5 inch heels on cobbled streets- in Paris, Milan, London or anyone else. One of my favourite ways to get a feel for a place is to walk about in it, and that usually means shoving my sneakers into my packing and then not taking them off for the entire (ok, maybe not quite entire) trip.

Moment of appreciation this grim sleety Tuesday please for my new sparkly shoes #JDStyle @jdsportsofficial
Best. Shoes. Ever. 
Converse Dainty Sneakers in Silver Glitter

2. A little research goes a long way
Some people like itineraries. I am not one of those people. But I do like to have a few ideas up my sleeve of things I definitely want to see or do, usually sorted by weather requirements, a few different kind of eating options close to anything we're choosing to see or do and a basic idea of the costs for entry, transport, and average restaurant prices.

It's a proper cheese restaurant when your bill comes on a Camembert box...
Not just dinner, a whole evening's entertainment

Based on a small amount of research, we still have the freedom to pick and choose from what we've found, depending on how we feel. For me, a holiday where I constantly feel pressured to go somewhere or cram something in isn't very relaxing and sounds a bit too much like hard work.

3. My way or the highway
Most importantly of all, this year I have learned that it's ok to do things my way. It's ok to not go to the biggest, most well known museums in a city in favour of something I know interests me more. It's ok to plan my day around a restaurant we really want to try. It's ok to decide that if the sun is blazing for the entirety of my Madeira trip, then the furthest I'm likely to venture beyond the swimming pool is out for dinner.

This handsome creature decided to take over T's sunlounger after attempting to come into the flat this morning. #newfriends
It's a hard life....
Spain, June 2014

One of the reasons I've avoided city breaks or holidays in new places is the idea that you have to spend every day rushing from place to place, seeing and doing as much as possible. That's not my style and it's not what I enjoy. Paris was a revelation in that we opted to plan to do only one thing per half day, and take our time enjoying a few things. Perhaps it has to do with the whole Fear Of Missing Out concept or maybe because I read a lot of blogs, I'm guilty of only seeing what's shown and not reading between the lines (Note: not a criticism of other bloggers, meant merely that we should all remember that there are things we all choose not to share) or perhaps it's just because this kind of trip is new to me, but taking a step back from how everyone else does it, and doing things my own way meant we had a great time and has left me looking forward to more new adventures.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

For The Journey: A Running Update

After writing about getting back to running (I say that like I was ever doing that much of it...) it's been really interesting on a personal level to feel like I can document the progress, especially now I have something to aim for with the Nike Women's 10km coming up in June.

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
Sunny Run Shadows

The biggest change I'm noticing lately is that I don't end up back at square one when I take time off. With our house move taking over my life for a few weeks, I was nervous about going back to my training program and was relieved and pleased in equal measures that I hadn't dropped much of the fitness I'd started to build up.

I've been very lucky to build a relationship with the brand Helly Hansen this year- they've gifted me some brilliant gear, including my favourite running tights and the only trainers I've ever worn that alleviate the knee pain I enjoy when running.

Gratuitous annoying picture of my running gear. I also won a competition to have my design printed on a pair of these tights today.
Tights & Trainers both gifted by Helly Hansen, Top from Mountain Warehouse

Helly's latest campaign via their app has been design based, aimed at women- when you log runs on the app, it unlocks new colours and patterns for the design of a unique pair of running tights. Cue exciting emails saying the design I submitted was voted in the top 5 and I'll be receiving a pair of my custom design tights.

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

I'm so excited to see how they come out and it's also not everyday that you get your own design printed on to a pair of running tights. As a side note- the #ThisIsMyStyle part of the app is still very much live, so if you fancy a go at designing your own pair, get your run on.

The next goal for me is to get over The Fear. Whenever the training goes up a level or I have had time off, The Fear of how hard it might be when I get back out there is often way worse than the getting back out there.  I'm resolving to at least try and enjoy myself with the exercise. Anyone else I know out there trying to find their way?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New Favourites: Things I Love in February & March

These posts are often a bit of a round up job as well, but I've bitched enough about moving house now, so I'll stick with the good bits.

1. Getting My Match On
I'm tired. My knee hurts. My hip hurts. But my @hellyhansen trainers match my nails and it's still all about these epic tights. #thisgirlcan
Tights & Trainers both gifted to me by Helly Hansen, Activewear top from Mountain Warehouse & Nails done in Cambs using GelII

STILL loving these Helly Hansen tights and trainers- the tights are perfection for spring both in aesthetic with the beautiful print and design- slightly longer than capri length, perfect thickness to keep out the chill breeze without overheating when the sun is shining on through. But best of all, unconsciously matching my gel manicure to my kit.

2. Glittery & Green
Green Breton stripes for going home from super sunny Hereford. I don't want to go back to reality. There's no 2004 Bollinger in reality.

I continue to live and die in my silver glitter converse, see also green spanish handbag and latterly this long sleeve green & cream breton style t-shirt from Primark. Inventive, no but goodness me is this easy dressing for the supremely busy/lazy.

3. All about that braid
Loved my Linda braid so much that I did my own French braid version today (because Dutch braiding screws with my head)
After getting my hair braided by The Braid Bar, my love for a decent braid (otherwise known as a way to not wash my hair for an additional 2-3 days) was totally re-ignited. For me, braids are actually super practical as well as time saving- originally, braiding my quite long hair was a way to keep it from getting tangled whilst wearing my cycle helmet, and whilst it's super windy at present, it's much the same principle. This is my own version, you can see what the girls did for me in this post about my Braid Bar experience

4. Valentines Vodka
I came across the East London Liquor Co at a food festival, and although I believe they're better known for their gin, their vodka is fabulous. Mine was a Valentines gift from Faceache and it's every bit as good as I recalled. They have a bar round the corner from my old flat. I'm gutted we never made it their whilst we still lived in stumbling distance.
Friday- thanks to @distillingine3 and @fevertreemixers

5. Keeping it real with cocktails
Sensing a theme? It would be fair to say I'm a drinker- I enjoy wine very much, have a love for Vodka so long as it's not flavoured and my grandfather has passed on a love of unusual and/or international spirits and liqueurs. Not everyone will approve, but luckily my mate Stuart, who I hadn't seen since January does. Cocktails and catch ups!
Happy Easter

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

From Where I Stand: What I Wore

I can't decide if I do these posts because I don't know what else to do with the instagram shots of my feet and legs or because I need to be reminded to wear something other than denim leggings and a jumper sometime soon.... So here we go.

March running (You can read about my foray into pavement pounding HERE)
FWIS Running Mar 2015
Clockwise from Top Left-
The sun came out and a German Shepherd puppy left some muddy pawprints behind
The sun stayed out and my awesome tights and manicure made it seem like Spring was coming
Matched my manicure with my trainers for a run where I felt like an epic failure
The manicure in question- completely unintentional that it matches my running kit so well, but isn't the colour fabulous? 

March in the office
FWIS Mar 2015 Shoes & Braids
Clockwise from top left-
CAT SHOES- what else do I say really? Except I also bought mouse versions because both pairs were on sale
I had a go at my own version of my Braid Bar braid, and it came out pretty well (read more HERE)
I spent a lot of time in denim leggings and big jumpers this month- gratuitous cat slippers also
When packing for the move, rediscovered this satchel as it had fallen out of the box I store my handbags in

March on the move....

Clockwise from top left- 
MOVE DAY.... subsequently spent almost 2 and a half weeks wearing nothing but denim leggings and jumpers... plus de change.... 
Hereford bound for Easter Weekend, it was super sunny so I wore these awesome sunglasses my mum brought back from the States for me. Incessantly. 
Green, for a change. Loving this easy breton tee from Primark. 
Getting my bike on whilst in Herefordshire. Totally screwed my left shoulder, but it was nice to stretch my bike (and my legs) 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Marching On: 5 More Things About Moving House

I've bitched, I've whined, I've spent more time and money in Ikea than I really care to review, but I've moved. The whole Adult Moving House thing is actually a bit shit, it used to be kind of exciting when I only had as much stuff as I could fit in my suitcase. SIGH. But we're in.

1. However much you have urged your partner to reduce their crap, they probably haven't.
4 packing boxes of miscellaneous crap... REALLY?!

2. It is entirely possible to get used to camp chairs and sometimes this is preferable to making Actual Grown Up Decisions about which sofa or armchairs to spend yet more money on.

We now have a living room that's useable and a kitchen that's most of the way to being clear too. Have worked my socks off today and now I'm knackered.

3. Purchasing a sofa, on a bank holiday Monday, from Ikea will result in an extremely full car and deranged smiling faces (and the opening of several bottles of wine)

This is our 'we've just bought £600 of sofa and it doesn't quite fit in the car' face. See also the 'oh goodness we have furniture to build to ought' face.

4. Being woken up by Bailiffs looking for a previous tenant. Not cool.

5. Assorted relatives and friend WILL try and offload their belongings on you under the guise of assisting you in your endeavours at furnishing a flat for the first time- some of this will be useful (not needing to buy new bedding when you upsize your bed SCORE), some of this will not (even we don't need 50 wine glasses....)

But hey, we're in. The living room looks mostly like a living room. The kitchen is mostly functioning, except for a dodgy light fitting and some mouse-related issues, and we have an actual grown up bed and some actual grown up wardrobes. Now.... for the broadband to be installed!