Tuesday, January 26, 2016

5 Life Lessons I Learned Through Fitness

I've learned a lot about myself in the last 10 years, and whilst I might now only be 26, there a lot of lessons I certainly wish hadn't taken me this long to learn. On a bi-weekly basis I wish I could show my 16 year old self what I'm doing right now- cheering on my team mates in an end of session relay race at running club when it's sub-zero temperatures outside, crossing the line of a marathon, being too full to eat enough calories in a day to meet my basal calorie needs, and not feeling guilty at all.

ÜBER PINK in @hellyhansen for a #winterduel run
January 20th 2015- Day 1, Week 1 of C25K

You're unlikely to ever see me posing in an Insta-fitness-guru style before and after of my squishy tummy next to me with shredded abs. I'm not a poster girl for marathon running (oh the things I wish I'd known...), and I'm not preaching. But as someone who gets down and dirty with her own sweaty self to exercise 4-5 times per week, I do think I'm pretty well qualified to tell you what I learned from embracing fitness, having been the teenager that found any and every excuse to skive PE at school and the one who thought that the very best way to maintain a weight that my peers thought was acceptable was to skip at least one meal per day.

1. Thinking more isn't always a bad thing
Longer runs and cycles give me a lot of headspace- whether I'm doing those things with or without company. Many's the time I wish I could hit the shutdown button on my brain and stop churning through the endless lists, the concerns, the should I have done this differently doubts, but for mystical magical reasons unknown to me, the simple act of moving about a bit more usually gives me some clarity to see solutions, the anxieties I create for myself in perspective and I focus on things I can do, rather than the many, many things I can't.

2. Grown ups didn't start out grown up
That girl who always used to throw the netball really hard and high so I couldn't catch it, because my inability to catch a ball in normal circumstances, the ones who used to comment on how disgusting my fat legs were, the woman who cheers for me when she sees me putting in sprint effort at the end of my training run, the people I ask if they fancy joining me for a ride, the person who compliments the power I have in my strong legs.... they are a little bit the same. Those people who picked on you at school or laughed at you from a bus stop, most of us grow-up someday and that's not to say they were right to do it, but the sooner you can surround yourselves with the people who did grow out of judging and name calling and disdain, the sooner you'll realise that amateur or pro, most people who enjoy sports or fitness take sincere enjoyment in seeing others improve and reach their goals, regardless of their own level.

3. But don't hold everything up to the same measure
For every good experience I've had in gyms, swimming pools, whilst out running solo, running races taking classes or going to group training, there's probably been at least one bad one. the guy who jumped from foot to foot right behind me the entire time I was using a piece of gym equipment because, clearly I was taking too long for his taste, the overheard mutters of how tight my swimwear was, people yelling at me from vehicles. But it's worth it. It's worth it when you find a trainer who gets that you understand you need to be a healthy weight but you're not prepared to be defined by the number on the scale. When the people you see once or twice a week are the ones cheering you across a finish line, and they mean it. When you can ignore those nasty judgey little comments, because they don't know who you are or where you came from to get where you are. It might take a while to find these things, but go in open minded because not everyone or everything will be as bad as your worst experience, or as great as your best one.

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin

4. The value is not in what you do, but how you do it
If you train, run, swim, cycle, play, tackle, shoot or whatever it is that you do, do it with energy, do it because you can and because you want to. Do it to improve, to encourage and to b able to do it as much or as little as you want. Don't judge people's achievements, don't judge at all, but the ones who give it everything they've got, they deserve a special mention because I can virtually guarantee they're getting the most out of it.

5. Every step counts
One of the most disheartening thing I've seen more recently is people's (mostly women) need to dismiss their goals because someone else is doing something harder, faster, further, longer or bigger. For everyone who is proud to run a mile, there'll be someone you know who's completed a marathon. But it isn't about them. It's about you. If you set yourself a target or a goal, and you achieve it, celebrate that. And remember that we all have to start somewhere, none of us were born running, dancing or scoring goals, and we don't all have the same priorities either- just because you can do something, doesn't always mean you want to.

ÜBER PINK in @hellyhansen for a #winterduel run

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Things That Happen When I Wear Real Clothes

Working from home or a home office gives me far more flexibility than I ever had in my more traditional management job previously. Gone are the days of 'no patterns' or 'must wear a jacket to attend meetings' and these days it's not unusual for me to wear nothing but my Sketchers memory foam boots (I call them my 'slippers' but they are in fact boots) and my trainers for an entire week. It's also not unusual for me to leave the house only to go running... This inevitably means there are two camps of people who react to me wearing 'real' clothes- the ones who see me wearing leggings and a massive jumper all day, and the ones who only ever see me in my running kit with my hair scraped back.

1. You look so... different?!
Usually from fellow runners. Because yes, not wearing running tights and putting make-up on (even at my low skill level) changes my appearance quite significantly. Especially with my current penchant for dark lipstick and regularly styling my hair.

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin
What do you mean it's weird to just put a jumper on over my kit all morning rather than get dressed to get changed later? 

2. People realise I'm quite short
In another life, I wore heels every single day. Not skyscrapers, but heels enough for people to think of me as about average height thanks to an extra inch or two. Now I only wear them erratically, people notice I've suddenly gained those inches and subsequently realise that I am in fact, quite short.

3. Mirror mirror on the wall...
Well look who scrubbed up alright after all! Call me vain, but I do find catch myself glancing at mirrors as I pass when I'm wearing make-up and more than the denim leggings with a hole in them. A combination of disbelief that I don't actually look too rough and momentary thought that maybe I should just make more effort all the time usually precede my thinking that really it's all a bit too much effort for a normal day when I don't leave the house.

Off to an 80th birthday afternoon tea. Rock n roll lifestyle right here.
Rock n roll baby- off out to.... an 80h birthday afternoon tea! 

4. Why do I have nothing to wear?
Well that would be because you are so obsessive when it comes to clearing things out that you don't wear regularly Chloe. And since you don't count going for dinner as a regular occurrence, yes, yes you were foolish enough to get rid of that nice top that makes your skinny jeans and ankle boots look sort of interesting.

5. See also... why does nothing fit?
If, by some miracle I have managed not to get rid of that dress in my wardrobe I haven't worn since this time last year, I always seem a bit surprised that it not longer fits like it used to. I haven't lost or gained vast amounts of weight in the last 12-18 months, but my shaped has changed quite a lot due to the running, cycling and other training I do. And those changes in size and shape seem to be a continuing theme. It's always a bit gutting to realise the much depended upon dress for every night out is no longer viable and the stressful process of replacement could easily take weeks!

Denim Dress & Tan Ankle Boots
Things you can't see in the picture- the excess 4 inches of fabric the belt has gather in at the back of the dress.... 

Whilst it's easy to think this is a 'work from home' problem, I can imagine this must happen to those of you work in uniforms or environments that require specialist clothing? Let me know what I've missed from this list if this happens to you! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Goal Setting: Something New For 2016

Goal setting you're probably bored witless of by now. But it's new for me. It's not something I normally enter into in the new year period, for someone who is quite obsessive when they take something on (see 2015 and running a marathon for details...), goals can be a bad thing as much as a good thing- there is a value in knowing when something is too big or too much in the scale you have set yourself.

I learned some hard lessons about pushing myself in 2015, I took myself from 0 to marathon in 8 months flat. I'm sure for some people that will seem achievable, for me it was stupid. From damage done from past injuries to time commitments, I took on too much and although I completed the marathon, it took me a month to recover and it wasn't the greatest experience I've ever had.

So, 2016. Firstly, why now? Well because contrary to the above, I very much enjoy having something to aim for. I'm a 'black and white' kind of a person, so having a clear aim or goal to reach and reaching it suits my nature. And because sport and fitness have become a part of my lifestyle and that goes hand in hand with setting some goals. Realising that at 26, unless I put some effort into being stronger and fitter, I could well see myself suffering serious health problems in the next 2 decades has been an eye opener.

Oh, and I have a shiny new Moleskine diary (which is begging to be stickered) and looking back through my last one before filing it away made me realise I set myself goals all the time and I'd be more effective if I planned them a bit better (cough *marathon training* cough).

Really hope some cool stickers come my way before too long. My 2016 diary is very naked compared to 2014/15
New vs Old... my diary is begging to be defaced! 

Onto the goals then...

1. Sub 1:00 10k
A running one to kick off with, unsurprisingly. My love of 10k distance came from the many races I took on last year for my 100k Cancer Research challenge. To keep it interesting, I'd like to see my personal best drop below 60 mins. I'm currently at 1:06:47 for my personal best, and am reaping the many benefits of more targeted running training from BRC (the running club I belong to) so this feels achievable and the horrible competitive bit of me is kept happy with a challenge.

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin
10k... I'm coming for you! 

2. Complete a crossword
I love puzzles. The Times codeword is my absolute favourite and I can generally complete them within 40 mins. The crossword is another story and T & I even in a joint effort of a Saturday afternoon can rarely complete one entirely. I'd love to crack one, just one this year!

3. Stop buying clothes that don't fit
This might sound like an odd one, but I can't seem to get into the habit of buying the right size. I always seem to end up with something that's a size too big, or a bit too loose. I lost a lot of confidence in my early 20's and I seem to have taken to hiding in denim leggings and oversized jumpers. Now the New Year hype is over (you can read about why I don't do clear outs in January HERE), I am on a mission to lose a few things that I know are too big. They make me look and feel about as glamorous as a sack of potatoes, and there's no need for it. Sport and exercise have given me back some me that has been missing and it's time that translated back into my wardrobe.

Off to an 80th birthday afternoon tea. Rock n roll lifestyle right here.
I don't scrub up too badly really. Time to keep that at the front of my mind. 

There's nothing earth shattering here, but it's helpful sometimes to get things down in a format that means I have to use my words like an adult- it can be difficult to untangle this stuff in my head. Looking back on my blog is also something I really find fun at the end of a year. My blog has been and remains a personal blog- so it only seems fair to be throwing some goals and aims in here.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fitness: Things I've Learned About Running Races

When I started couch25k last year, I never imagined I'd be running a marathon 6 months later. I learned a lot in 2015 about running races as at a very amateur level.

I have no desire to be categorised in my age or gender group and coming in the top percentage of people running isn't my aim, but running set distances and getting a buzz out of beating my own times has been great fun and it's something I'm continuing this year, despite finishing my challenge to run 100 competitive kilometres. But... Races can be scary things. Especially if you're not exactly the... sporty... type and you very obviously have no idea what you're doing! Here's a few things I've learned along the way that you might find useful...

1. Bigger is not always better
If you run a big race with thousands of people, a cool medal, a t-shirt, a bar, a race village and a postcode all to itself, you will notice that there are usually more bathrooms, better freebies at the end of lots of people who want you to spend your money on *things* before and after. These races are more likely to cost between £40 and £50 and some may argue that you get what you pay for. And yes, you get more *stuff* and the water stations on the course will probably give you a whole bottle not a plastic cup to spill all over yourself. The downside is that the course can be very crowded- 10,000 people is a lot of people, and conversely if you aren't running with someone you know it can be very lonely as I have found that although not unpleasant or unfriendly, the atmosphere is much less... intimate?

Another weekend and this time it's all the more important. I had a chance to catch my grandfather prior to surgery in just over a week's time. Surgery developed through research I want to help secure a future for. Today I'm running 10% of my 100 competiti
Nike Women's 10km kit 2015. A fun race but a bit lonely despite it being 10,000 women strong

Smaller races cost much less or are sometimes free and are often much more limited in numbers. Whilst the facilities may be more basic, I've met some really lovely people on these courses and people tend to be a bit more interested in what's going on around them, especially if they see lone runners and even more so those who appear to be struggling. These races are a lot of fun and if they're local to you, you may even make some friends. The start line is also much easier to find! The only downside is that many of the smaller races are not chip timed which means it's up to you and/or the volunteer with the stopwatch at the finish to work out  how fast (or not in my case) you ran the course.

2. Never assume there is going to be a bag-drop
Luckily for me, I have never been caught out on this one. Unless it is specifically mentioned, always assume you won't be able to leave belongings anywhere and that you will need to carry everything with you- I find this harder when it's warm enough to run in a t-shirt but too chilly to stand around in one and am usually left jogging about near the start line for way longer than is ideal prior to the race.

This morning I'm running the Amba City of London Mile. It's the first 1.6 of the 100 competitive kilometres I'm running before my 27th birthday to raise money for @cancerresearchuk because I believe that MORE people should survive a cancer diagnosis, not
If it doesn't fit in a pocket or an armband, it doesn't come

3. Take your own tissues
I've never been to a race yet that doesn't have bathrooms of some kind, often portaloos. And different events will have different levels of preparation. Many will not have enough toilet paper to keep the toilets stocked and I guarantee this is the day your insides will decide you need more than a last minute wee before the race! I usually take a pack of travel tissues and if I don't want to carry them, leave them for the next person- Karma and all that!

4. Volunteers can make or break a race
So on the note of karma, be nice to them. Most volunteers are great, their encouragement can keep you going in tough patches, they're usually pretty quick to notice if something more serious is wrong, and anyone handing out Wine Gums should be bowed down to. Smile, and they'll not only smile with you but they'll probably scream your name and applaud you. Some might even play air guitar for you. Remember these people are giving up their time to get you through your race and if you're being rained on, so are they without the benefit of a run to keep them warm. Say thank you, smile, play nicely.

In 2014 I said I'd never be the kind of person to run a marathon. In 2015 I ran a marathon and 6 other races. On NYE I will rip over 100km of competitive running having raised about £1200 for @cr_uk it's been a hell of a year.
I ran 4 different Race For Life events this year, including the marathon. The volunteers are incredible! 

5. Terror is normal
I found my first full race a terrifying prospect as I waited in my pen near the start. Turns out so did three of the ladies stood around me and so we all had a laugh at our mutual terror, stupidity and incredulity that we had entered this thing. If it's your first race or your hundredth, it's ok. And especially if it's your first, runners are actually quite nice and I've found that there's always someone who is there with words of wisdom and support.

Racing is not for everyone but I do think have a distance race to aim for helped get me out of the door on the wetter colder days of last February and March. I really enjoy the buzz of a race, not because everyone else is there, but because it gives me a chance to beat my own best and be better. I've also had some experiences at races which remind me there is some humanity left in the world and there are plenty of great people around- everything from shared terror at the start line to people stopping to make sure I was ok even though I'd just stopped to stretch and people sharing their snacks and drinks when they can see someone else needs a boost. Running and exercise is such a personal journey, but sometimes, it's people who keep the journey moving forward.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What I Wore: ASOS Railton Ankle Boots

I have such a love-hate relationship with ankle boots. Finding the right ones (the ones that don't make my legs look like tree trunks and cut me off without an ankle) is so hard. For a while I resigned myself to just not being able to wear them at all, but with a bit of work I have found one or two pairs that work for me. These are shiny new ankle boots from the ASOS sale and I think not bad for £21 (still in stock in everything but a size 6 by the looks of things).

Ankle Boots2
Top- Primark, Jeans- American Eagle, Railton Ankle Boots- ASOS Sale


So they sit much lower on the foot than most, which I need as I have chubby ankles and my legs are quite muscular because that's where I hold most of my power for running and cycling. It's unusual for me to find there's much room around the ankle, but I seem to manage it in these, which is nice as it makes those chubster ankles look slightly more delicate!


I like the point in the toe for a bit of elegance and the contrast heel is nice for a more casual look. They're super comfy but one word of warning- the soles are smooth so a wet day is not an idea first wear! 

All in all, a good find, which is nice because they're the only one of 7 pairs of shoes I ordered in the sale that fit- what is it with TOMS shoes btw? I tried 2 difference sizes but still couldn't get them to fit, which is a shame because they would be perfect for the holiday I have planned in March. 

So yeah. Ankle boots. And yes, my hair is getting steadily shorter! I love it and looking back on pictures from 2015 made me wonder why I didn't do it sooner. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Winter Beauty Favourites

Aaaaah winter. Throughout the year, my skincare doesn't actually change that much as temperature doesn't seem to make that much difference to my troublesome skin. Light levels on the other hand have sent me hurtling towards dark lipsticks and weightier perfumes...


That said, both of these skincare products deserve a mention, because I think they're awesome. The Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean but without drying it out, and the Ren Glycolactic mask is massively discounted via a number of online beauty sellers at the moment (this 75ml bottle was £25.60). The mask I first tried a sample tube of from a free beauty box and wondered why I hadn't discovered it sooner. It has a slightly sticky texture and I find takes some washing off, but leaves my skin softer, brighter and seems to assist in getting rid of breakouts and blackheads. Worth every penny.

So, onto the pretty things. I had a massive bit of a splurge in Vegas in October and came home with lots of new things. Included in this were these 2 beautiful new lipsticks.


The top left is a BITE lip crayon in Tannin and is the bottom swatch in the picture of my hand. I find it shows much darker on the lip, more of a berry red, and it has the oddest but loveliest dry texture why I like as I'm not constantly wondering if it's smearing everywhere (lipstick newbie, right here).

The MAC tube is called The Hang-Up and is the top swatch and I love it for a kind of Vampy red. by a long shot my favourite lipstick purchase of 2015, and I did get a touch carried away with lipstick last year.

And spot the odd one out... The handbag sized bottle of YSL Black Opium was part of a gift set with a 50ml bottle of the EDP that I used my Boots points to treat myself to when there were awesome deals to be had on fragrance before Christmas. I'd been eyeing the scent up for a while as my other favourite winter perfume (Gucci Premiere) was running out rapidly.

And a few things I won't be hurrying to replace...

Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial. I know so many who rave about it, but it just did nothing for me and at £32 a shot, I was very disappointed.
Rimmel Exaggerate Lipliner. Awkward shape, horrid shade of red, nightmare to apply, didn't stay put. Enough said.
Hot cloth cleansers. I've tried 3 or 4, never found one yet that doesn't make me break out. No thank you.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Fitness: Winter Running Favourites

I started running in 2015 in February, so whilst it was chilly, the temperatures on really went upwards as my running and training increased. I feel like I spent most of the year trying to hydrate and worrying about the volume of electrolytes that were escaping my body through sweat. So now it's turned a bit cooler (despite winter being distinctly late to the party), here's 3 of my winter running essentials that have made the chillier days and nights easier when putting one foot in front of the other.


I have harped on about Helly Hansen Norviz (you can read my full review of the Norviz running kit here) kit since I first saw it in January last year. When I got my hands on some back in September, it didn't disappoint in performance. I love the top, but as much a surprise to me as anyone else, it's the tights I love the most. Comfortable, check. Warm, check. Pocket, check. Visibility patches, check. And the pink has grown on me, not to say I haven't been eyeing up another pair in black given they're reduced to almost half price at £33 in the sale.

Talking about @hellyhansen NorViz on my blog today. Link in bio chloelikestotalk.co.uk
Light up, light up.... 

FLASHING HAT! Sorry. I'm not sorry at all. My poor little ears suffer when it's windy and I get ear and jaw ache, this hat was a sale bargain from Mountain Warehouse (hat with flashing light available here) at £15 with an extra 20% off and keeps my ears tucked away and makes me nice and easy to spot amidst my running club buddies. It's the little things!

Another Mountain Warehouse favourite, I now have 6 of these base layer tops, because at £12.50 (again, I got an extra 20% off in my sale haul) and they are my absolute favouritest. They're not super skinny fitted like a traditional base layer which makes the ideal for running and other training in the spring and the autumn as stand alone shirts or under layers such as when freezing ones bits off when it's a mere 3 degrees above. Ahem. But seriously, they're a really flattering fit, they're stretchy, they don't have seams in annoying places that itch like fury (Nike, I'm looking at you) and they're dry about 5 minutes after being pulled from the washing machine (yay for winter laundry problems). The style is called Panna, they come in grey, green and a few other colours and they're cut true to size if not on the generous side. Oh, and they do a short sleeve t-shirt version for the spring. What on earth more could you possible want?!

Teeny, tiny little sale order... but seriously 3 tops, a sports bra, socks and some spare bike lights for £40.... 

Other less glamorous things I have come to love in cooler months... Victoria's Secret Everyday Perfect pants- they've got a smooth finish, no tags, come in a zillion colours and have substantial cotton inside bits. My favourite pants for exercising in. I bought 4 for $20 in the US, but you can get them here too.

I could buy a pair of gloves for running, or I could use my reflective bike gloves I already have.... They're not super padded in the palms, so I'm happy away using them on cooler nights.

Is it ever possible to have enough sports bras? I run and train 4+ times per week, so no, not really. I have a couple of higher end ones which are brilliant but I also have a medium impact one from H&M which is great for non-running training and a couple from Mountain Warehouse which are similar.

Will these things get you through snowy or icy runs, no. If the weather does turn super chilled as it's forecasted to do, I'm am class A screwed because I've never needed to own loads of super heavy weight outdoor running clothes. But for now, I'm content to wrap up in layers and there is something quite pleasant about coming in warm from a run on a cold day, feeling justified in the slug of amaretto going into your post-shower hot chocolate!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

What I Wore: The Little Black Dress

This post contains items sent to me by the brand for review. I have not been otherwise compensated for writing this post or featuring this item and all views and opinions are my own. 

Ok, so here's a confession for you, the only black dress in my wardrobe until recently was a dress I bought for a funeral and have retained for the same purpose. Everything else in my wardrobe seems to either be green or patterned. I don't have a problem with that, but realised it might be nice to have an LBD in there somewhere.

In my humble opinion, a simple black dress is the ultimate answer to 'WTF is the dress code'. Unless it's über formal (which happens to me more than I'd like, but I digress) then it's simple, stylish and goes with any given jacket in my wardrobe and most of my shoes! Luxemme is a new site to me, they take their inspiration from Parisian chic and wanted to create a brand offering up affordable on trend styles that aren't just cheap imitations.

Their full range includes everything from jackets to jumpsuits but they also have a standout limited edition line which features just a few designs of en vogue pieces that are available in a short run of 25. Once they're gone, they're gone. This Anita swing dress is part of that limited edition line (although if you hurry, there's still a few left), and I love the simplicity of the dress which enables me to indulge in some of my favourite additions.

Dress, c/o Luxemme £35

So, can we talk about the tights for a sec? They are Wolford, a gift from my parents form their trip to the States recently. I love the tie front look, I was dreading opening them and find lots of strings to tie together, but of course, they have flesh coloured patches rather and a small bow sticked on where they 'tie' together at the front. I love it as a small detail although I've since found that they look better with a slightly higher heel with my chubby ankles. Incidentally, these are Clarks heels and the red colour is a DREAM.

I'm off to research how I can improve my low light photography, because you can tell, I'm struggling in a big way (I know, it's a whinge you've heard a thousand times). I didn't help myself as these pictures were taken old skool style, as in just before I went out somewhere when this is actually what I wore, not a photo shoot set up in advance. I know, shock horror.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

5 New Year Things I Can't Be Bothered With

And so it has begun. For the past 5 days my social media feeds have been filled with everything from pledges to love thy neighbour to advertising for weight loss programs. Conversation with family and friends has ranged from 'don't make me go back to adulting (work)' to '2016 is definitely the year I'm saving 99% of my salary to buy a house and still having a social life and eating 3 meals per day'. I tweeted this on the first Monday after new year in 2015, and well.... nothing has changed!

New Years Resolutions I can't be bothered with photo 16212932445_8d87763259_o_zpsd9lycvp2.jpg

1. Giving up booze
Dry January irritates the hell out of me. Advertised and encouraged as a good way to start the new year in a healthy fashion, but then, oh, yes, you want me to sponsor you for it. I'm please for you if you want to give your liver a little helping hand cleansing all those toxins you might have succumbed to over the Christmas period, but please don't ask me to sponsor your new found allegiance to your internal organs.

Friday- thanks to @distillingine3 and @fevertreemixers

2. Decluttering or clearing out
I'm a bit obsessive about clearing things out and have many times gotten rid of things I've later regretted not having in my cupboards or wardrobe. The temptation is strong- there are new things that have had to homes found for them, I've had extended periods of time in my flat noticing untidy shelves or a drawer that needs organising. But if I can overdo clearance on a normal day, I am a tiny bit terrified of what might happen should I get caught up in new year hype. 

3. Going back to work
You've had two weeks off for the Christmas period? I'm pleased for you. Whilst I've not been working as full on as I would usually, the nature of our business means that it never really stops. Being associated with the catering and hospitality sector actually means now is as good a time to take holidays as any, or in my case, implement the hell out of my new strategies for the 2016 season. 

4. Joining a gym
Because I hate working out surrounded by lots of people and the logistics of needing to be in a specific place have time and again proven to be the downfall of using a membership. Add more into my training routine, cool. New goal for my 10k time, for sure. Gyms, step away from the membership application. 

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin

5. Losing weight
Yes, I should be a couple of kilos lighter than I am, no, I'm not making potentially damaging changes to my diet for the first month of the year to suffer for it through the rest of 2016. I am returning a bit more 'to normal' which means ditching the weak-willed-Wednesday-wine (if you're raising your eyebrows re: Dry January, normal for me is not drinking Mon-Thurs...) and eating 3 meals a day, non of which have their main feature as cheese. But there will be no veto on the remainder of the Christmas cake and all of the extra training I have plotted for January has to do with the little challenge I set myself for my first 10k race of the year, exactly one month after my last race of 2015. Because competitive, me, hell no. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

My Year 2015: A Mixed Bag

2015, done and dusted. It's been a mixed one, I talked about running yesterday and this is the rest of it in a TL;DR version...



2015- the year I started running, I even signed up to a race, and everything. T took me to Paris so 2015 is also the year I decided I needed to see a bit more of the world.


We moved out of our flatshare with a couple who split up/got back together/split up/got back together etc etc. It was beyond stressful and thats before we started having to buy and build shit loads of furniture.

So naturally a week later, we decided to visit my grandparents for Easter weekend and spend it cycling and drinking cider.... Easter Weekend success!



In May we managed a sunny week in Funchal, Madeira. It was stunning and somewhere I'd revisit. My personal life went to hell, and with my 10km race looming, I made my maiden race the City Mile (1 mile race). The beginning you might say....



... because I spent most of the rest of the summer doing this... My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer and I decided that cancer had claimed enough of my family for its own. I embarked on my challenge to run 100km between my birthday on 03.06.15 and my next birthday. Including a marathon. I also stopped drinking for a while.


In September I seemed to have gotten my shit together again and actually did some pretty cool stuff. We went to Paradise Wildlife Park in Herts. to see the largest collection of big cats in the UK and went off to sunny Margate with friends. I donned feathers and lipstick for a day at Ascot c/o T's workplace and drank a lot of champagne in their private box, we also had breakfast with Martin Morales (of Ceviche/Andina) dangling over London. It was incredible.

I ran a fucking MARATHON. 4th October 2015.

PicMonkey Collage



In the autumn I cut my hair and ran away to Vegas. Ok, so I didn't run away, I went for a wedding. 2 of the most supportive people who have propped me up for at least half of 2015 got married and I won a couple of hundred dollars, what's not to like.

I also took my first ever decent(ish) picture of a firework at Alexandra Palace.



December has been a tough month. A friend died very unexpected at the beginning of the month and it left both T & I a bit lost and heartbroken for his wife and family. But in the spirit of a truly vibrant person, we made an effort to celebrate his life and raised a glass (or 5) to his memory and set my Christmas tree tealight going for some atmosphere.

I completed my final race of 2015 on NYE (you can read a bit more about why that's important in my post from yesterday- an honest review of my year of running).

Between grief, preparation for my final race, mayhem with Cumbria flooding (I have business in Cumbria) and elderly relatives being unwell it's been an odd month and Christmas passed me by in the sense that it still doesn't feel like it happened.

But 2016 is here. I made it and Happy New Year to you all. I'm off to raid the box of chocolates for the only 2 or 3 I actually like before my Dad hoovers the whole lot up!