I DO NOT WHINE - KIDS WHINE
As I write this I'm feeling a little stiff and covered in a couple of colourful bruises, I know it isn't Wednesday yet, but couldn't wait to share this post! Last weekend (Saturday 29th July 2017) I completed my second Tough Mudder! For those of you who don't know it is an obstacle course that is usually between 11 and 13 miles, and consists of around 25 obstacles to overcome along the way. It's muddy, it's dirty, it's wet but most importantly it's ace! This isn't a race though it's about teamwork, you make friends along the way, share falls and laughs with other mudders, and in general have an epic experience (well I do anyway).
After booking my ticket last November I couldn't wait to get stuck in! I didn't realise how excited I was until I got to the course. I tackled it this year with my mate Connor. We arrived a little before half 10 with our tickets, ID, signed 'DEATH' waivers and start times in hand. The check in process is pretty straight forward once everything is in order you get a couple of wristbands*, a mudder number to pin to your shirt as well as a matching number for your bags. You can drop bags off for a £3 fee into the safe hands of the on site volunteers, or if you bring along family/ friends to watch as spectators then they can just keep hold of them for you. The band numbers helps you to locate your bag later and ensures no one else can collect it.
* Our wristbands included your mudder number, one for you and one for your bag so you can collect them afterwards from the bag drop. A new addition this year was a patterned one that related to your start time as they were enforcing this. Finally, we got a 'Mudder Legionnaire' one as it wasn't our first time at Tough Mudder. I think the last one is so you get the correct coloured headband at the end.
Ready to get started we headed towards the warm up zone (we were a little behind schedule so we had to wait in line, after just narrowly missing our official start time). Before we knew it we were dancing about, thrusting, hip shaking and 'Hoo-rah' -ing towards the starting line. On bended knee, we all recited the 'Tough Mudder' pledge and after an Eye of the Tiger countdown, we were off!
The course this time was in Yorkshire, up near Skipton, (last year we had chosen to do the North West one which is at Cholmondeley Castle) it was much more hilly that the North West course, which probably explained why they shaved a mile or two off for this one. It's recommended that you do have a good level of fitness, (I've upped my game since taking part in these kinds of events) some of the obstacles you definitely need it for and what better motivation to get into shape. However, it's not just physical it's about mental endurance too, there are things that test you and what you think you're able to do. I get a little nervous and excited for different obstacles, it's only natural but here's a little rundown of some things you can expect around the course.
I UNDERSTAND THAT TOUGH MUDDER IS NOT A RACE BUT A CHALLENGE
Now it is pretty easy to give you a rundown of the obstacles I found the most enjoyable, but the whole experience is brilliant. If you don't like heights you won't enjoy KONG or perhaps if you aren't keen on small spaces then I'd avoid SNOT ROCKET. Here are my favourite ones from this years event!
KONG - This one's more of a reward as it's only for people who have taken part in Tough Mudder before. Just before the very end of the course you head to an extra obstacle. Here you receive your special headband for whatever number TM event this is for you. After being rewarded with our GREEN 2X headbands, we climbed up some scaffolding to a platform. In front you is a line of gymnastic rings dangling over a large inflatable to cushion your fall. The aim is simple get to the other side! I completed this no problem although I'd have happily fallen as that did look like fun too!
BLOCK NESS MONSTER - I loved this one last year too! Its basically a large swimming pool with rotating blocks that run the width of the pool. You grab the edge and people push and pull to rotate each of the massive square logs. Then as it turns, you should swivel round and hold the edge to help pull down the other side and get the next lot of people successfully over. It's a laugh and just one example of working with your fellow mudders.
AUGUSTUS GLOOP / SNOT ROCKET - This one was brand new this year and if you've seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you will get the reference! Basically you slide into a pool of muddy water, then swim under a panel into a wooden box covered in mesh wiring. Next you duck into a black tube like pipe with a perspex window facing towards your fellow mudders. Inside the tubes there is water pouring in from above and you have to use the perspex ladders inside to climb up and out. Seriously it's so funny, I imagine I pulled some interesting faces whilst in that tube.
MUD MILE - People pay a lot of money for a good mud bath, well thats basically what this is. You climb over multiple mounds of slippy clay like mud. Piled up higher and higher, then slide down the other side into a bath like pool of the stuff. Its dirty fun and there's always another runner willing to give you a leg up where you need it.
PYRAMID SCHEME - Another great example of teamwork is the pyramid scheme, a white diagonal wall that tilts upwards. On this mudders take it in turns to lie against the white plastic panelling and climb on top of each other. Creating a sort of human ladder and helping to push fellow mudders up to the top. As you clamber over each other once at the top it is only fair to turn around and provide a helping hand out to those behind you. Return the favour, if a mudder helps you, then make sure you help another mudder. It's part of the experience.
I OVERCOME ALL FEARS
Like I said, there are some obstacles that people won't like but the challenge is to face them anyway. Here are a couple that I always feel a little intimidated by.
ARTIC ENEMA - Basically a skip filled with ICE, and I mean ICE cold water, seriously actual ice cubes! You slide in and are submerged in the water which takes your breath away. Once you surface there are mudder volunteers urging you to keep moving (for your own safety this is important) you don't want to stay still for too long. Once you get your bearings back, quickly swim under and climb out the other side. Then start running, before you know it you'll be feeling pretty refreshed but mostly back to a normal body temperature.
ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY - This was once described to me as feeling like 'sonic punches', I have to admit that it was a spot on description. The very last obstacle consists of a large extra muddy patch, with wooden scaffolding framing the mud above. Here is where lots of individually charged copper coloured wires dangle down. Run through it is my advice, you see people faceplant in the mud because it's quite a shock to the system when one catches you. I lost my shoe this time it got stuck as I was sprinting to the other side, and I wasn't willing to brave it again to retrieve it. Crossing the finish line in just one shoe and one sock is something I won't forget.
EVEREST - Last year I wasn't able to tackle this one, because it was near the end and I was too exhausted. This year I conquered it! It's basically a skate ramp/ half pipe structure that you have to run at full speed and reach for the top ledge. Luckily you can rely on your fellow mudders again here to assist you they'll pull you up if you can get most of the way. It's pretty daunting when stood at the bottom but you just need to push forward without looking back. Give it all you got, you'll surprise yourself.
FUNKY MONKEY - This year I have been working on my upper body strength, as I couldn't do a pull up just a few months ago. These are difficult monkey bars, the first stretch heads up on an incline, before hitting a more ninja warrior style second half. This part consists of valve like bars to hold on to that shift and rotate. I made it halfway which was an improvement on last year when I fell from the first monkey bar. Next year my goal is to make it all the way across.
HERO CARRY - This is a simple one but it's basically a piggy back, you and a team mate take it in turns to carry each other. Halfway you switch and it's just quite a funny sight to see girls carrying guys much bigger than they are, people underestimate the trust needed for things like this. Despite how it doesn't sound like much of a challenge it's more about the teamwork aspect again. People who do it solo, or those in odd numbers find strangers on the course to help them out and I really love that about it.
Along the way a few other mentionable ones are SKIDMARKED and the HERO WALLS, basically just big wooden walls propped up at different angles that you may need a push up to get over. In the HOLD YOUR WOOD one we got another two lads to help us carry (what I would say was basically a tree trunk) a large log over some walls and navigate it round a small obstacle course working as a team. Another new addition as last year we carried individually logs.
Then there are the GORILLA and CLIFFHANGER parts, these are often steep inclines to navigate round and over, its funny as you find lots of mudders fall on their bums (I know I did once or twice). The CREEK CRUSADES are not good if you don't like getting your feet wet! There are Hay bales to overcome, pipes to crawl through, something called the REBIRTH ... there's definitely something for everyone.
The best way to find out is to sign up yourself and see what it's all about. Trust me looking at pictures of the obstacles on the website doesn't quite come close to actually facing them on the course.
I HELP MY FELLOW MUDDERS COMPLETE THE COURSE
Tough Mudder is all about working with others, it's not in any way a selfish event and that's what I love about it! It's such a great way to meet people and really helps push you out of your comfort zone, which we all need sometimes. You celebrate together and when we spend most of our time on our phones or laptops, trying to avoid human interactions, it's important things like this are still going strong.
Currently, I'm waiting for the official course photos to go up on Friday and I will hopefully find a few entertaining shots to share with you all! (I will share this post again when I add the extra TM course photos). Until then we managed to get a few good pictures of us before and after with our hard earned headbands and bottles of cider. I'm definitely signing up again for next year and would even love to do the North West one in just six weeks time if I can scrape enough funds together for the ticket! I'm setting myself the challenge of doing it twice next year and thinking about raising some money in the process. I hope you all enjoyed reading some first hand experience and maybe will even consider signing up yourselves.
In the words of Christina Aguilera 'wanna get dirrty'.
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*Last week was a bit of a whirlwind with training for Tough Mudder, blog post coming very soon! So I have done 2 posts this Sunday to make up for missing last Wednesday. Enjoy.
Every month I can't resist a little splurge, it's only little because I'm saving to book some more travelling and paying for my flat as well. I'm on my best behaviour from this month onwards (but all those sales emails make it so difficult). Over the last month I have ordered and picked up a few bargain pieces though that I thought I would share with you.
Now it's hard not to browse over the SALE sections when on your lunch at work, I am definitely guilty of this, but sometimes it pays off big time! Whilst on TOPSHOP a couple of weeks ago I was browsing the accessories section when I stumbled across these beauties (pictured below). A pair of cat eye sunglasses, the chunky black frames with a zebra stained glass pattern make these the definition of statement shades. The main response was that I looked like cat-woman (I'll take that as a compliment), they were reduced from £18 to just £5. They're the perfect accessory to add to a simple little black dress or even jazz up a pair of jeans with a plain tee.
Next up are two more bargains, I found these whilst searching tirelessly through the sale rails in store. First up, a pair of embroidered denim shorts (I love anything with embroidery and floral patterns so these ticked all the boxes) they're mom fit and I couldn't resist getting them earlier this month. They don't come up too short, are slightly frayed at the bottom and on the front have two large embroidered roses, one on each leg. I fell in love with them, so much so that I wanted to find the perfect top to compliment them and create a unique look, so they've been sat in my drawers for the last couple of weeks waiting patiently. This led to my second purchase just on Friday, a black gingham top that is bardot styled. It has a slight cut out at the back and overlay sleeves with an off the shoulder bardot cut. The two contrast perfectly and teamed up with a pair of chunky black boots and maybe the sunglasses from earlier this will make a great outfit (I would like to do a mini shoot in it, if I can find myself a willing photographer to lend a hand).
(The shorts were £18 reduced from £36, and the top was £12 reduced from £24)
Next we have (above) these two beautiful statement necklaces. The first being a diamante drop down necklace with multiple delicate little charms along it as well as additional chains to link the piece together. This was reduced to just £3 from somewhere around £18! I couldn't resist it at that price it will make the perfect addition to my collection and dress up any outfit. I plan to wear it with a plain fitted black dress I have and some silver boots. I'm definitely due a night out in Manchester very soon...
Second is a chunky choker I found again for only £3 reduced from somewhere around £16.50. This is a combination of chunky silver chains for the main part, with drop down charms. The charms featured include an ornate silver elephant, two gold compass print coins and finally two little diamond shape drops. I've been looking for some major statement pieces lately and this choker is definitely that, I plan on pairing it with a plain blouse and a pair of black fitted, skinny jeans.
Pretty In Primark
Last weekend I also ventured to Liverpool with my little sister for a bit of retail therapy (it had been payday after all!). I don't usually venture into Primark honestly, however I've seen a lot of good haul vlogs lately and figured it was worth a little look.
I'm so glad I did! Not going to lie the place has changed a lot since the last time I shopped there. I tend to spend most my time looking at Topshop, Zara or Pull & Bear but for essentials especially these can be a little pricey. I went in to pick up some ankle trainer socks (bargain at just £2.50 for 7 pairs) but ended up leaving with a couple of other pretty in pink pieces.
First up we have this Minnie Mouse makeup/wash bag, Primark have a huge Disney range lately and I know it's been very popular from what I've seen online. I'm not usually drawn to these types of things but I had been needing a new makeup/wash bag and the rose gold detailing combined with a marble effect print, looked so well put together I know it'll get plenty of use. Not to mention it was only £4! Next we have the rose gold framed aviator glasses, for just £3! These little beauties really suit my face and the purple tinted frames are so delicate, the lenses aren't reflective like a lot of my previous pairs which is a nice change. They look much more expensive that they are and as I'm prone to breaking sunglasses I love picking up a range of pairs, but at lower prices, as I can go a little bit wilder with my choices. Perfect little summer staple.
Next the practical purchases included some ankle socks which I previously mentioned (not exciting enough to include a photo) and these rose gold and pink coat hangers. As my bedroom is all white these are the perfect contrast. I have a clothes rail and Primark hangers are perfectly affordable but don't look cheap like the plastic coat hangers you usually find for a similar price. I think Primark may be a more regular stop for me now, especially as I have yet to fully explore the homeware section!
Finally, I did find in the sale, at the beginning of July, for just £1 this western style choker! it looks a little like a belt which really intrigued me. I am a massive fan of drop down chokers and it has this beautiful fabric feel with ornate detailing on the ends, including a few beads adding to the long ties. I just can't get enough of these types of things this month! Next month will be pretty quiet on the shopping front while I work on paying for some travel stuff but I'm sure it won't be long before I have another haul to share.
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Hey everyone! So I'm pretty new to blogging but have already been so inspired by all the talented lads and ladies out there sharing their fashion tips, style, journeys and adventures. I'm a small fish in a very big pond, but I absolutely love being part of this community and am excited at the prospect of growing my very own blog. It's a lot of hard work but very rewarding to get a response, even from just one person.
So not long ago, I was nominated by hollwithawhy - Holly for the Liebster Award 2017 which is a tag floating around the blogosphere and helping new bloggers promote each other. I'm going to answer the questions Holly has asked before nominating 11 bloggers myself to take part.
There are a few rules:
1. What made you start a blog?
All the amazing guys and gals out there blogging. I had been looking for any videos of Trek America footage and stumbled on Charlotte Hole & Brogan Tate, who both had video blogged their experiences over in the states. It inspired me so much, that after binging on some of their content I realised I love travel, shopping and fashion so why couldn't I do this myself? I always love to be as busy as possible and being in the design industry it seemed like the perfect fit. I used to want to be an author growing up but found the creative industry calling too strong to resist.
2. What influences your blog posts?
It's all about my life experiences. Whether that be hiking up Ben Nevis on the weekend, shopping at the Trafford Centre or simply reflecting on what I've learnt this year. I love sharing what interests me because it might help or inspire others. For some of the content, it is just a safe space for me to share my opinions and things that I learn whilst navigating my twenties.
3. Where would you like to see your blog next summer?
Next summer I would like to be posting more travel inspired content as it's a massive passion of mine. Spending more of my weekends exploring parts of the UK and hiking up trails or mountains across Scotland and Wales. Whilst still getting to do a few fashion hauls along the way. I would love to have more interaction with my audience and build friendships from this with other people who share my passions.
4. Which blog have you been reading the longest?
Probably CH32.co.uk it was the first blog I stumbled across and I absolutely love it! Charlotte has such an amazing sense of style, she's travelled to some pretty cool places and gives honest reviews on stuff. She seems down to earth and I really the love just the overall style of the content she shares.
5. Would you consider linking your blog to a YouTube channel?
I am hoping to do this soon, I have friends who are vloggers and have been getting some video editing tips. I've just ordered my first action camera and plan on filming my Trek America experience this October, then hopefully I can take it to Tough Mudders, abroad on vacations and up mountains! It's a little way off yet but I think it's definitely in my future.
6. What is your favourite hobby apart from blogging?
This is an easy one, hiking. Anything that challenges me physically outdoors, which isn't just limited to walking but running, climbing mountains and taking part in events like Tough Mudder. It's so good for my mental and physical wellbeing and gives me some ace content to share with all you guys!
7. Where is your favourite holiday destination that you have visited?
I think my favourite destination so far has been Dublin. I love the rain and it's such a cosy city. I never felt bored when I was there, theres a warmth to the pubs and people I can't describe. It's full of culture, coffee and colourful street art. The highlight for me was visiting the science gallery that had some incredible exhibitions on display. I can't wait to visit again!
8. Where would you love to go that you have never been before?
I am desperate to see two places, New Zealand and The Faroe Islands. These landscapes are simply stunning and would give me so many places to hike and explore. Camping on the beach, seeing middle earth and the spray of the sea on a cliffs edge. I just love the outdoors, my perfect holiday destinations are places where you can be alone in nature and take a moment to appreciate the earths beauty.
9. What is your favourite beauty product?
This changes every month, but recently I have bleached my hair and fallen in love with Mark Hill Miraculous 2 Minute Mask. Haircare is particularly important (I'll be writing about my recent hair change soon!), after Tough Mudder this week my hair was dry and needed some love. This mask is a life saver! It smells amazing, very tropical, it's a smooth cream that instantly made my hair feel soft and silky. The condition improved in one wash. I leave it on longer and you can apparently even sleep in it which I am tempted to try.
10. What is your favourite blog post you’ve written?
I think that would have to be my 'Seven' blog post about the lessons I had learned so far this year. It's a very honest piece and unlike my other posts which document experiences or hauls, it was quite a personal one to write. I have more planned in the pipeline like this especially about dealing with weight loss and body confidence. As well as talking about the fun stuff like Tough Mudder and Topshop sales!
11. Why should we all read your blog?
That's hard to say, I think if you like hiking and fashion check it out. I'm just sharing what I enjoy and like to get involved in! Hoping I can inspire or help others who have similar interests and passions. If you like getting muddy and being out in nature then I plan on posting a lot more about that sort of stuff! If you like shopping (I'm a bit of an addict) then there will be posts for you guys aswell. Or I love reading blogs to learn about other people and find that everyones content in someway inspires me when writing my own!
There you go, hopefully you've learnt a little more about me from this and maybe you'll read some more of my blog. I hope you do. Thanks again to Holly for the nomination!
1. itslouloublog.wordpress.com - @LC_ninetytwo
2. randomdutchie.com - @random_dutchie
3. bobbihearts.com - @bobbihearts
4. terriblypersonal.com - @trrblypersonal
5. walkinmysteps.blogspot.co.uk - @BryBlogs
6. morningcoffeewithdee.com - @mcoffeewithdee
7. allykatsite.wordpress.com - @Allyvkat
8. jerseyfashion.blog - @jerseyfashion86
9. girltoblogger.com - @GirlToBlogger
10. jessicarhoades.co.uk - @JessicaJRhoades
11. logicaccordingtolydia.wordpress.com - @LydiaMac1
1. Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
2. How do you motivate yourself to keep blogging?
3. Tell me your favourite thing about blogging?
4. What's your proudest achievement?
5. What is your favourite fashion item you own?
6. Where do you go for blog inspiration?
7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
8. Where do you see yourself and your blog in 12 months time?
9. Do you prefer fashion or travel blogs?
10. How do you like to spend your free time?
11. What strengths do you have that have helped with your blog?
Thanks, I look forward to reading your blogs!
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This time next week I will be in a lot of pain, but filled with pride. Why? I hear you ask. Well because next Saturday I am taking part in my second Tough Mudder! (I have the orange headband to prove I've done it once already).
For those of you who don't know (check it out) it's not really a race but more an outdoor obstacle course, that's all about teamwork and challenging yourself. In their own words - Tough Mudder is no ordinary mud run - it’s an experience. An escape from the everyday. At Tough Mudder, you won’t just face your fears - you’ll knock them down. You’ll go over, around, and through them. You’ll test your strength, stamina, and grit, and you’ll help the Mudders around you to do the same. They run multiple courses up and down the country (even a half one if you're a bit intimidated by the thought of running a muddy half marathon), so wherever you are you can sign up and get involved.
This year we've opted for the Yorkshire one, near Skipton (brand new course). Now it's 13 miles in total, but along the way you encounter many obstacles, some fun, some painful, some cold and all of them difficult (you try climbing up a halfpipe after running 12 miles). Don't worry it's all part of the fun (apparently). I will be writing a whole post on my Tough Mudder experience for you guys next week, once I have recovered from the many injuries I am bound to sustain. This post however is more about training for events like this, and what I have been doing lately to prepare myself (nothing can really prepare you for this though).
KEEP ON MOVING
Now every month i get a delivery from TRIBE, I signed up to the first box for just £1! It's a subscription of 'Natural Sports Nutrition' tailored to your needs. The regular price is £8.95 per box, and in that you get 6 individual items. They provide a balance of carbs, protein and minerals, helping you to train stronger! I was so impressed after my first delivery I decided to keep them coming.
From a design point of view it's clever, eye catching and certainly makes a statement. That alone was enough to keep me wanting more (the designers curse). The box is bright orange so you can't miss when it arrives through the letterbox, with 'KEEP MOVING' proudly displayed on the top. Inside you'll find a mix of bars and shakes in an array of colours and flavours. When you sign up, TRIBE ask you a little about the fitness you do so they can work our the stuff they'll think you'll need. I have found they're spot on with this!
The box is illustrated inside with a picturesque mountain range and the words 'Eat Natural. Run free' they're all about motivation at TRIBE. The bars packaging is clear and concise, telling you exactly what is inside each bar (my favourite has to be the sour cherry & buckwheat one). Now I am particularly fond of the extra information I haven't found on a lot of healthy snack/ protein bars, which includes a little indication of when to eat them alongside your workout. Some say an hour or 45 mins before, others are to help refuel and so eat 15 mins after. As I am not an expert in protein it is really helpful to have this information clearly on each individual bar. They also include a little break down on the back of the carbohydrates, fats and proteins (which I understand a little bit more). I've definitely noticed the difference since starting to take in protein shakes and bars before or after my running workouts, I don't get cramps or feel as sickly as when I wasn't eating the right type of foods for my training.
Mentally (any type of fitness/ exercise) it is just as challenging as physically, but that's why especially in Tough Mudder you're encouraged to join in teams. I am doing it with my good friend Connor this year, we had a group of 5 last year but as I'm sure everyone knows, life gets in the way. I'm not going to lie it's brutal (but also a laugh) and I'm sure the pictures will tell a great story. I am both excited and nervous to get stuck in again. However, I am as prepared as I'll ever be and I found a quote over the weekend that summed it up for me perfectly, 'You don't train so it doesn't hurt. You train so you can tolerate it.'
Now fitness is part of my daily routine, I don't ever really stop training, at least not completely. Some weeks it's climbing mountains and others its taking part in fun runs. Mostly though I run between 12 and 18 miles a week, over three days. That's a run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday each is usually between 4 and 6 miles. It's usually after work or in an evening but on odd occasion I will run in the mornings if I feel particularly energetic. Spending this hour of the day outside training is a highlight, and over the past year it's not only changed my appearance but my outlook on a lot of things (as well as fuelling my passion for adventure).
As someone, who was on the verge of being a size 16 many moons ago, yes it's true I have the pictures to prove it, this is an achievement in itself. I adore running, it clears my head and helps me to feel comfortable in my own skin (which I am sure for many young women is a daily challenge). The run itself has changed dramatically! Last year I was training in my local gym on a treadmill (looking back felt very monotonous at the time) and now I run rain, wind or sun, mixing it up on multiple routes through local woodland and parks not far from my flat. Mapping out these whilst exploring was a lot of fun in itself.
On the weekends, I've been walking in Delamere a lot and will squeeze and extra run in, if it's a particularly quiet Sunday. I get outside as much as I can and even more so the closer TM gets! I will happily go walking for hours and even though it's not as vigorous as my run, the TRIBE bars are perfect to pack into a backpack for the journey. In my opinion, walking the dog, taking the kids to the park instead of the cinema or even taking a romantic stroll with a couple of coffees (rather than going out for a fancy dinner, or sitting in with a takeaway) are all simple steps to improving your own wellbeing.
It's all about mentality, you have to make it part of your routine and not a chore. However you can, make it fun! Signing up for events like Tough Mudder certainly motivates me to keep myself in good shape and even on the days when I've been working for 10 hours I find the time to fit in a short sprint. The TRIBE box has a lovely little quote etched onto the bottom, once you've consumed all your delicious snacks it reads "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon." That's what it's all about, supporting each other not who can run faster, who is skinnier or stronger but working together to achieve and accomplish our goals. It may take me longer than some of my fellow mudders, I may feel the burn and want to stop but we cheer each other on and help each other out. What better thing is there to be a part of, in a time when it's hard to trust other people and we don't often speak to strangers. These types of events bring you together with people of the same mindset and motivation, those are the people I want to get to know!
IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
I'm not going to lie, there will be a great deal of junk food consumed after this Saturday. It's rare I treat myself but I think I will definitely have earned it, it's important to remember that sometimes it's more good for you than you realise. I am very guilty of punishing myself more than rewarding. I am getting better though! If this post motivates even one person to sign up, or go for a run this afternoon it was worth it! I'm already convinced I will be signing up again next year and dragging along some first timer friends next summer (training starts again on Sunday).
I can't wait to fill you all in on the experience and claim my second headband (I think this one's green, not too sure, but I really want the pink one so that's only 8 Tough Mudders away...), having taken part before I also get to take on some of the extra hard obstacles (lucky me!). I plan on giving a run down of my top 5 obstacles and posting the 'sexy' before and after photos, so keep a look out.
I've got to survive the course first though, bring on the arctic enema!
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Hey guys, as I am writing this there are just 94 days before I go on my big adventure with TREK AMERICA! (I'm just a little bit excited). I've already been looking at trips for next year - I want to see all of the states in my lifetime. In October I will be starting off in San Francisco, trekking through Yosemite, living it up in Las Vegas, gazing over the Grand Canyon, racing down Route 66 and finally landing in L.A.
Whilst looking over the destinations, I started to put together a kit list and think about what appropriate outfits I would need for each stop along the way. (I do plan to put together a packing list later, which will include the more practical purchases as well, but for now I've been shopping for the fashion stuff). Even the hiking gear I've picked up includes some pretty sassy leggings. It's going to be key to plan ahead because I want to take as little as possible, so I may have to cut out a few outfits in the final weeks leading up to it.
(The outfit photos on the trip will be a lot more instagram worthy than my selfies here! But I am still just getting into the swing of things).
My first purchase was my backpack, I wanted something practical but also stylish, so I can use it again and again. This copper coloured River Island bag pictured (below right), I got from Asos on sale for just £10.50! (Reduced from £35). The size is perfect, and as it is unlikely to rain on my travels, I wasn't too concerned with it not being waterproof. The west coast is usually known for it's sunshine, but I'll pack a waterproof poncho just to be safe.
For the flight out, I always like to be comfortable which in this case means big sweatshirts, cosy tees and some oversized jeans. On this occasion, I will probably wear my walking boots to save space in my bag, packing the smaller footwear away in my suitcase. I'm going to need a gym bra, plenty of warm socks and clean cotton underwear for the days, nothing fancy more practical will be a must! There will be cosmetics, accessories, action camera, ration kits and a sleeping bag, as well as many other things to cram into my tiny suitcase!
FIRST STOP - SAN FRAN
I've heard San Francisco can get pretty chilly, so the warm layers seem like a good choice. For my time in the city, I am going with a mint green sweatshirt from Topshop I got in the SALE, (just £12, pictured above) with embroidered type on the front that says 'You Make Me Wonder'. As well as my 'Black Bears' oversized jumper from Topshop (above), and my cropped 'Alabama' jumper from Pull & Bear (above). I plan on pairing these with my Zara 'MOM' jeans and a pair of bejewelled statement sandals I got from Topshop (also on SALE for £10, I do love a bargain). Alongside these I have an aztec skater dress and purple print came both from Hollister, in case the weather is particularly friendly. I will be packing a fruity little crop top tee (Topshop, below) and a fringed floral embroidered kimono, to throw on over the top to really brighten up the outfit. These are all great for sightseeing and casual enough for simply picking up coffee in.
BEWARE OF BEARS
Yosemite will be all about hiking so for this I plan on taking my trusty timberland boots (we've climbed many mountains together). I will be pairing them with these leggings I picked up from Hollister's SALE. The pink ones are three quarters, while the grey and white print are full length, both very comfortable and flexible. Perfect for a full few days of physical activity! Probably throwing on a plain tank or tee with them and my 'Arizona' hoodie too, if needed. These days will be less about looking fashionable and more about being comfy for the days exploring the wilderness! I will be taking my pink Nike trainers for parts of the trek as I find these are much more easy going on my feet, plus I can go for an early morning run in the forest.
For the nights camping, I will be sure to pack my grey fluffy joggers and NASA short PJs, which should keep me perfectly snug under the stars on a night. I'm packing a 4 season sleeping bag, so if it gets particularly cold I can layer up all my jumpers to ensure I get a good nights sleep!
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS
Next stop, (the one I'm most excited for from a fashion point of view) VEGAS BABY! Now for this I actually picked up a dress a couple of months back using Shpock. The piece is from Topshop originally, I remember seeing it out in stores the other year and falling in love with it, but sadly I didn't love the price (around £90). Funnily enough, after moving into my flat it came up on the app, which tells you what people are selling nearby. It was in a size 8 (perfect) and the girl wanted to get rid of it for just a fiver. I couldn't believe my luck. The mini dress is a t-shirt style top which is covered in silver sequins (on one side), but when brushed the other way it transforms to a rusty copper colour. I couldn't think of a more appropriate destination to show it off. My second Vegas outfit is a cute white tank that reads 'Bad News' I picked up for around £5 from Pull & Bear, with a red faux leather mini skirt from Topshop. Both these I will pair with a simple black sandal, as heels may be a little too ambitious when I am trying to save space in my suitcase.
*Also (below left) I forgot to mention in Yosemite, is my Hollister All Weather Jacket, its fleece lined and so will be great for wet weather. Better to be safe than sorry!
GET YOUR KICKS (On Route 66)
We will then be heading on to Roue 66 and stopping in the Grand Canyon, so I imagine anything white should be avoided. For this I am taking two lots of options, some floaty dresses for our road trip stops on 66. For the actual trekking into the canyon I have my ripped black denim shorts as well as a couple of checked flannel shirts (paired with my trusty timberlands). The dress (above right), is an oversized shift style from Boohoo that should help me handle the heat. Dressed up with black sandals and a simple waist belt (that I have yet to find). You can see in the picture it is 90% black with some coloured embroidery, so should be safe in the desert sandy landscapes.
Above on the left I have on my favourite checked shirt from Topshop which has the word 'FEARLESS' stitched into the back, it is thin (good for warmer climates) and goes great with the denim shorts. (I also have a cactus bra top that reads 'Don't Touch', which I will be saving for the hike and if it gets too hot, I can show off). The outfits will be quite different transitioning from vegas, no mini dresses or skinny jeans here!
CITY OF ANGELS
L.A is our last stop, so it'll be time to smarten up and show off! I plan to take my bardot black mini dress (shown here on my Instagram), incase the sun is shining on us. However, I'll also be taking these black fitted check trousers (below) along with a festival print cami from Hollister and a satin feel crop marble look one, from Topshop. I imagine there will be lots of photo opportunities in this city and want to take advantage of them! I can't wait to start accessorising my outfits next!
I also plan on pulling out my floral denim Zara jeans and the cute patterned cami top from Hollister (mentioned earlier). Pairing them with my trainers for our sightseeing tour. I have seen a few chokers and necklaces I plan to order (hurry up payday!) and summer shades which will really give me that 'wow' factor. In L.A its all about standing out from the crowd. I definitely want to pick up a few more statement pieces to add to these outfits, maybe a scarf or belt.
Lets be honest you can never have too many pairs of sunglasses! Below are two pairs I have recently purchase, these include the futuristic kitten pair by Monki (top), as well as the tortoiseshell aqua coloured lens ones by ASOS (bottom). The other two pairs will soon be on there way to me, sorry I can't resist! Again, both from ASOS and on sale, so how could I possibly say no. (I will add some links in for these).
TALK TO THE PALM
Above is a SkinnyDip London choker that I've fallen in love with, but I also want to check out Primark for accessories, because I have heard some good things. When watching other fashion bloggers hauls, it surprises me how many fun pieces they have picked up. Accessorise will be another stop on my next shopping trip! What better excuse to write another haul post.
My packing will have to contain a ton of other pratical essentials but I think I have pretty much got the looking good part sorted! I'm planning on picking up some souvenirs while I am over there so hopefully the trip will result in plenty of future blogs. I'll also be taking better photos of my outfits in each of the cities and places while I am exploring my new surroundings. (Who doesn't love a little photoshoot opportunity).
I really want to put my very first VLOG together from the experience as well so look out for that! I've now got the next couple of months to pack it all down into the smallest case I can find! (It's a a difficult job, but someones got to do it). It seems a little while off yet, but I know it will be here before I know it, plus it'll probably take me a month to pack everything I need.
Note to self, don't forget UK to US plug adaptor...
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SALE! The NEXT sale to be exact, anyone who knows me knows I can't resist looking when theres a bright red SALE sign up. I recently moved into my own flat (nearly 4 months ago now) and that means I can get a little bit excited when it comes to homeware. I've suddenly got so much more space to work with, walls to fill and rooms to decorate. It was difficult not to buy a whole load of new items, have to be sensible sometimes. Instead this was more of a mini haul for a few decorative pieces, and I'm pretty happy with what I found.
Saturday morning at 7am I headed over to the Gemini store (with every intention just to window shop, oops!), an hour later I sat down in the corner of Costa with a coffee, to marvel at my purchases.
In my living room, I have a wall that is filled with a 'pick and mix' of frames, prints and photos. Mashing together modern and vintage styles, it's a pretty important centrepiece of my whole flat. With space still to fill I picked up this beautiful illustrated Hannah Cole print, that shows a series of dog breeds (It's as close to getting my own as I am going to get at the minute). It was just £8 reduced from £18 (I believe). I already have a flamingo print from NEXT the same size, they do a series of artist inspired prints each in a completely different style to the next. It was adorable and I had to have it.
Truth be told, I didn't completely boycott the fashion section fortunately. I recently ordered some Topshop boots that went out of stock, so I never actually received them and had been looking for a new pair of ankle ones. Instantly, I was drawn to this patent maroon pair with contrasting gold tone zips (just for show, the functional zip is actually the inside one, go figure). I live in a pair of black lace up ankle boots currently, but they are getting a bit worn and so I wanted another everyday pair for work. Choosing colour for me was a bit more of a risk (you can never go wrong with black) but they're super comfortable and as I write this already today I've had someone compliment me on them! Result.
Next, we have more photo frames because I always print my photos out. I've got a few full photo albums (need to invest in a couple more) and have yet to print out my 'Colour Run' pictures not to mention the mass of Trek America footage I will soon have to put on display! The top one is an adorable little light up hanging frame. This was just £3 in the SALE (now featuring a photo of me conquering Ben Nevis, I felt it was appropriate). The second lot of frames were just £4, they come in a set of 3 and I already have these actually in grey tones. I just couldn't resist the coloured ones too! They remind me of the Instagram style because of the square shape, working like viewfinders. I haven't yet decided where to hang these ones yet, and already think I'm going to try and pick some more up (they don't take up too much space and I would like some for my kitchen too).
Finally, textiles are a must have! The cushions in Next are always really cute and good quality, (I've got a bunch more cushions at home from here) and I was really drawn to these pink aztec print ones for just £4 each. My Bedroom is mostly white furniture with pops of colour thrown in through prints, a large wall tapestry, frames and some decorative candle holders. My current bedding is either a purple checked spread or a pale blue and pink floral print (both from Next too), which these cushions would also work very well with. However, on my hunt I came across this delicately detailed double bedding set. I couldn't help adding this to my basket (bedding is a necessity though, right?). It has a vintage feel, with the print not a million miles away from those antique crockery sets. I'm a sucker for prints, especially floral ones, and I really think the floral bedding and bold cushions contrast nicely. Perfect for summer nights.
Last, but not least I bought a set of tea towels, in a turquoise colour scheme with assorted tropical patterns. These were just £4 I think, my others were getting a little used and so these are a welcome addition to my home. That's my haul done. As you can tell from the stuff I bought, my house is a mis match of items. I try and keep to a particular colour scheme for each room but overall, throwing together different styles is all part of the fun. It gives the place personality and can look very stylish when the design is considered properly.
I'm still working on the decorating in my flat so bare with me, I am hoping to get photos up soon. There isn't a great deal left to do but between working, blogging and spending my spare time climbing mountains or training, it hasn't been getting the attention it quite deserves. That being said, I may get some painting done next weekend! If some opportunity for adventure doesn't come up first.
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Seven months of the year have passed already, WHERE DOES THE TIME GO! It's already July and we are now closer to Christmas than New Year. It is scary how as you get older each week seems to fly by. This year has been already so memorable, I've learnt a lot of things about who I am, people I surround myself with and life in general. I had originally today planned a Trek America Haul post but that instead will go up Sunday (mainly because I'm still waiting on a couple of deliveries), I will be showing you all the bits i've bought so far and some outfits I've got planned for each destination on the road.
Instead today my post is 'Seven', (as we are in the seventh month) lessons that I have learnt so far this year. In the last 12 months I have changed drastically I'm more confident, less naive, a little more cautious with people and found what I am passionate about. Without too much more chat, here are 'Seven' things I have figured out.
JANUARY - People aren't permanent.
I am not so much on about losing a loved one, but rather the people who walk out of your life, or slowly fade into the background. In the last year, people I used to speak to practically every day, I haven't heard from in months. We no longer talk and I miss them. That's ok. You remember the good with the bad and sometimes it was even your choice, but not always. The wild adventures, memories and experiences you shared, that bonded you together, no longer seem to matter. It's a rather painful realisation to have to come to terms with.
We fight, bicker, fall in love, fall out of love, unfollow, block, unfriend, ghost...
FEBRUARY - Impulsive decisions are the best decisions.
I believe so strongly in this. This year had a rocky start, you think you know how your life will pan out but its not really in your control. There are so many factors to consider, that in those moments when I just decide to say 'F*** it", I find myself doing the things that deep down I have been craving. I booked Trek America on a whim, one Saturday afternoon I started searching for holidays and next thing you know I'm flying halfway around the world, completely solo. ROAD TRIP! I've never been away on my own before. There's a first time for everything I suppose, but I couldn't be more excited (and a little nervous). I also got a tattoo done at an emotional low point, this isn't something I would particularly recommend, for me it was the right thing to do. I didn't ask anyone else opinion (they all found out on Instagram later) because at that moment in time I wanted to do it, so I did. It gave me closure and I love it more everyday. There's a ton more, I could go on for a while but in short (as long as you can afford to) buy the shoes.
MARCH - Conquer.
Toss your hair in a bun, drink some coffee, put on some Deftones and handle it. Overcoming something you thought you couldn't do is an amazing achievement. A few years ago I wouldn't have been able to run a mile. This year I climbed Ben Nevis (and not the easy way). This isn't just about the physical challenges though. You are your own worst critic and we often stop ourselves from going after what we really want. No matter what your goals, conquer one (or all) of them. I finally set up a design website after years of thinking about it just last month! Now, I'm writing this blog because I have always dreamt of doing it. It may not be pretty and the bugs aren't all worked out, but it's mine. I'm doing it! The more you conquer, the more strength you realise you have. I couldn't imagine my life would be the way it is today, but if I hadn't pushed myself to do a lot of stuff over the years that terrified me, it wouldn't be.
'If your Nerve, Deny you. Go above your Nerve.'
APRIL - Adulting is hard.
When I moved into my flat earlier this year the realisation hit me, this wasn't going to be a walk in the park. My days of endless shopping sprees were over and I couldn't be booking a holiday every other month (how I wish that I could). I had new responsibilities to take into account. Working out whether giving up over half my monthly pay check, so I could call my own place home, is a worthwhile sacrifice was a pretty major decision.
It cost an arm and a leg to move in and I still have so much decorating to do. It's definitely a 'fixer upper'. Funny thing is, I wouldn't have it any other way. Despite how difficult it can be at times (I really do miss Topshop), I've proved to myself I can do it. The new found independence is something I thrive on and honestly I finally feel like a grown up. You appreciate the little things so much more. Not only do I now have a whole new town to explore, places I can go walking, running and camping. There are new people to get to know. I'm happier because I look forward to going on holiday, or days out shopping (just like I used to) but they don't happen as often. Instead working in the garden, completing a DIY job, cooking a meal for friends and family coming round and going shopping for homeware, these are the moments I get excited about.
MAY - People can be petty.
When the noise is negative, block it out. People love to comment on your choices. Tell you, you aren't good enough, you shouldn't do that, question why you have made a decision that doesn't even impact them in any way. WHY? The world of social media and sharing means people think, just because they know one thing about you, it gives them the right to share there opinion. Let them rant, but don't listen. Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity.
JUNE - Get Involved.
The best events I have ever done are team ones. This year I just completed the 'Color Run' in Manchester. In a little over two weeks, I will be participating in my second ever 'Tough Mudder', with one of my close friends. Get Involved! It seriously makes such a difference to your wellbeing. You get to meet people you otherwise never would have, make memories with them and learn what working as a team is all about. Everyone at these kinds of things has a story, but it doesn't matter what brings you there, just that you are there. The atmosphere is electric and you get swept up in the spirit. It's all about just having fun, being yourself and getting stuck in. You won't regret it! Before you know it, it'll be an annual thing.
JULY - Learn to be less critical.
Every days a school day. Often when things are going good we start to overthink and bring ourselves down. Focusing on the negative rather than the positive. Phases of not caring what people think, then caring way too much. Is it worth stressing over or punishing ourselves? So I'm not a size 6 supermodel, I spent the whole weekend binge-watching Netflix or something I've been looking forward to didn't live up to the hype. One bad day doesn't make a bad week. When I way up the good with the bad (and the ugly), for 2017 I've had a ton more good than bad.
That's it, it's good to make a post that focuses on positive messages, I hope someone finds it helpful. let's see if the rest of the year has more important lessons in store.
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We're Going Shopping!
Yesterday we decided to head over to the Trafford Centre in Manchester, on the understanding that after I had done my mini shopping haul, food and Spider-man: Homecoming were on the agenda. The sun was shining when we arrived just after 10am. After a quick stop off for our daily caffeine fix, I was off to find some bargains.
The Trafford Centre is one of my favourite shopping destinations! It's not often I get to go and I always try to be sensible, but with so many stores under one roof its difficult to leave empty handed. It is an absolutely stunning building offering a unique shopping experience because of its unorthodox style of architecture. The centre is filled with all the biggest brands and labels from food to fashion which attracts the majority of shoppers. When it originally opened in 1998 it was the largest shopping centre in the UK. However, it lost that title soon after in 1999.
First stop, TOPSHOP! My go-to store, I always find that their collections suit my particular sense of style and combining that with a SALE, I figured I couldn't go wrong. It actually turned into a pretty disappointing selection this time. Nothing quite jumped out at me and I've been on the hunt for some statement pieces lately, anything out of the ordinary, that will really stand out over summer. I did manage to find a delicate little gold typographic necklace with the word 'mermaid' on it and an iron on pearl stitched shell patch. I instantly fell in love with these, on my third lap of the store, but my phone died before I could get a picture. As the queue was ridiculously long, I missed out on purchasing them but will have a browse online to see if I can find them!
Next PULL & BEAR caught my eye. This store is a perfect blend, I find it is affordable like H&M but offers way more in the way of fashion similar to Topshop. They have a huge selection of quirky illustrative tees, hoodies and sweatshirts. As well as the more adventurous patterned pieces, including tulle shirts and a shell print bra top, that made me feel like a mermaid for a minute. A quick visit to the changing rooms proved unsuccessful, but I did find some cute items that I considered buying.
Including a grey sweatshirt that had the phrase 'Yes But Not With You' written across it, I was tempted by this but managed to resist as my collection of hoodies is already pretty substantial. There was a cool camo shacket that was on sale for just £9.99 and a tulle oriental print blouse, that was sadly a little too transparent for my taste. In store I was completely in awe of a pair of mom jeans that I knew I wanted! They came in a bleached denim with paint strokes splashed down the legs, and ripped patches. Unfortunately, they only had these in a 6 which were a little too snug of a fit, or sizes 14 and up so I was forced to leave them behind. This did influence the rest of my shopping trip and spurred me onto a hunt for the perfect pair of mom jeans...
I then ended up in ZARA, after a few other fashion store stops along the way still not proving fruitful. I have only a couple of items from them but they really do have some out there fashion choices available, perfect for what I wanted. I always forget to check out Zara online when I am shopping but after today I think it will move further up my list! The SALE signs were bold and I was staying optimistic, despite the day so far being a bit dissapointing.
You really can't beat those red stickers though! Finally I found what I'd been searching for. A stunning pale pinky peach blouse, that was similar to an oversized tee but in a heavier cotton blend, with fluffy trim sleeves. It instantly caught my eye and I was in love, I knew I had to have it! It helped that the top had been reduced to just £5.99 and there was one left in a small, it was fate. Next, I made my way over to the denim, still lusting after the Pull & Bear jeans. It was quite the gold mine, so much so I bought not one but two pairs!
The first wear a standard ripped and pleated mom jean with a cutout ankle, these were just £9.99 reduced from £29.99. The fit was great and paired with some heeled boots I knew they were exactly the cut I had been looking for. They were lacking the paint marks but I figured I could always get a little creative with them myself, not that they need it. My favourite purchase of the day had to be a stunning pair of floral embroidered cropped fitted jeans. ZARA had large selection of embroidered denim on offer, but the pink palette and delicate flower bouquet on this particular pair was super pretty. These had also been reduced to £19.99 from £39.99, an absolute bargain and in my opinion I was basically saving money. Especially as I have always loved embroidered jeans but find they are often way too expensive, usually around the £50 mark in TOPSHOP and RIVER ISLAND.
Along the way I stopped into a few of my other favourite stores. Trying on some summer shades in RIVER ISLAND, I have recently purchased a couple of new pairs but I think they're my new weakness. The 'Old Sweet Shop' which had brand new vanilla latte pop tarts, it was difficult not to walk away with the whole stand. LUSH smelt just as amazing as always but my bathroom is so full of bits from my last visit, I gave it a miss on this occassion. SELFRIDGES always gets a look in, more so for the Food Hall and Art Prints sections personally. I've been on the hunt for these prints by Fred Birchal, after getting a 'Back to the Future' one the last time I was in store. As you can see below he creates graphic fashion prints based on popular characters from tv, film and music. I've been keeping an eye out for the 'Fight Club' one but not been lucky enough to find it yet. I was definitely considering the 'Indiana Jones' and 'Star Wars' one, but for now I'm holding out.
Love at First Bite
After working up an appetite from all the shopping over the last couple of hours, it was time to eat! We decided to try the Italian restaurant Est Est Est, it was a good choice. Danny had the Calzone A Vedura, stuffed with roasted Mediterranean vegetables & mushrooms in pomodoro sauce, he opted for it without the cheese (he's not a fan). I went with the Zucchini 'Spaghetti', spiralized courgettes with goats cheese, Mediterranean roasted vegetables, fresh basil and olive oil, accompanied by a salty side of olives.
The service was really good and the food itself was delicious! I've never had 'courgetti' before and was pleasantly surprised, it reminds me more of noodles and isn't as heavy on the stomach as normal pasta. The goats cheese and roast vegetables complimented it well, it was quite a healthy choice that left me satisfied without feeling stuffed like I usually do with pasta dishes. I also ordered a Strawberry & Basil Smash, a mix of strawberries, basil and a dash of agave lengthened with soda water, a great alternative to sparkling water. There is so much choice in the food hall at the Trafford Centre that it can be difficult to make a decision, I find every time I go we eat somewhere new. Although they have such a wide range, no matter what you fancy I'm sure you can find somewhere to cater to you. I would also recommend trying out GIRAFFE you won't be left hangry.
Popcorn & Peter Parker
After lunch we had a an hour to kill before the movie started and this gave us chance to go for another quick browse. Anyone who has seen my tattoo post will know I recently got an inking of the little blue alien Stitch. The DISNEY STORE had so much new merchandise I couldn't help snapping a few cute pictures. SELFRIDGES had also got in on the Disney action with some cute Mini Mouse themed cupcakes being sold on one of the pop up stalls, at the front of the store. I didn't pick anything up because I couldn't decide on any single item, so to prevent coming home with a bag of Disney magic, I managed to keep my spending in check.
It was soon time to head back over to the ODEON for 'Spider-Man: Homecoming', popcorn and pick & mix in hand, I was pretty damn excited! I've always been a pretty big fan of marvel, the 'X-Men' franchise is my usual go to. Either that or 'Guardians of the Galaxy', and after enjoying the previous Andrew Garfield 'The Amazing Spiderman' films I was optimistic about this one.
The film itself was the perfect blend of action & comedy, unlike the more recent marvel films, this one focused on the main character. It didn't get too distracted by pulling in other heroes from the marvel universe, but rather gave an insight into Peter Parker both with & without his Spider-man persona. I won't say too much on this because I wouldn't want to produce any spoilers, but stay for the after credits scene, both of them. As a graphic designer, I really have to mention the end credits animation! This was really well executed, in a collage scrapbook style of comic, the colour was eye catching and the imagery had a really sketchy feel. The soundtrack was awesome, since the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' playlists I have found myself just as excited for these, as the film itself.
The guys in charge of the soundtrack never fail to reintroduce me to some classics I have forgotten about, as well introduce me to some new gems I wasn't even aware of.
Finally, after a very long day we headed home. Stopping at Mr.Pretzel on our way out for a bag of cinnamon sugar pretzel bites, these tasted so good! There were even a couple of extra bites buried beneath the sugary sand at the very bottom of the bag. Saturday calories don't count right? I picked up a Blueberry Blast Smoothie from BOOST for the sunny car ride back as well, my sugar quota for the week was well and truly met. Any trip to the Trafford Centre turns into a full day event, I'm thinking another trip before Christmas is on the cards. I love Christmas shopping and with such a selection under one roof, I can usually get the whole family done in just one visit! Maybe I will nip to do a final Trek America shop for supplies as well, any excuse to do a bit of shopping...
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I AM HAPPY.
Last Saturday I woke up at 7am, arrived at my local coffee shop a little after 8 to grab myself some early morning fuel (caffeine fixes everything) and meet up with two friends. Where were we going? To take part in 'The Happiest 5K On The Planet'. The day was all about having fun and exercise.
The Color Run is a fun run raising money for the NSPCC. What makes it unique is as you make your way around the course, you run through color zones. These sections are filled with volunteers who proceed to throw powdered paint all over you! If that wasn't enough they've also included a foam party section. You arrive in a crisp white tee, this comes in the running pack you receive a couple of weeks before the race along with your runner number & pins to attach it to your shirt. There was also a headband, little typography tattoo transfer reading 'HAPPY' in gold and few other bits and pieces.
But as you can see from the photos the tee doesn't stay white for long...
It all started with a warm up session, that alternated between having tons of 'swag' thrown into the crowd including sunglasses, socks and wristbands. Who doesn't love a bit of free merchandise? To the Townsend twins taking the stage, getting us all moving to the music, all whilst being cheered on by a guy in a unconventional unicorn costume. After an hour and a half of dancing about, it was time to get to the starting line. The waves were about to begin.
I AM HEALTHY.
There are a lot of people, and I mean a lot. They let you go in waves and we were in the third lot of people to set off round the course which was located around the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Passing people of all ages and sizes, we started with Green, then Pink, Orange, Yellow, Red and a massive mountain of foam!
If you watch the video (I've linked below, shot by Yasmin & Amy, also known as A2Y Travellers), you will witness the fun in it's all it's chaotic, colourful glory. Including the soaking I got from the foam cannons. It's a pretty easy race, I personally run quite a few times a week usually around 6.5k so it wasn't very challenging but more just about having fun.
Approaching the finish line we were welcomed with bottles of water and a whole selection of food stalls from Coffee & Candyfloss to New York Bagels. We headed over to the stage where everyone was partying, dancing and celebrating after completing 'My Happiest 5K!' I don't think I have ever seen so much colour in one crowd. They handed out packets of the powdered paint & every so often started a colour countdown. This would lead to a massive rainbow being released, as people threw the powders into the air. As you can see underneath this turned the perfect blue sky into a canvas.
I AM ME.
The Color Run was without a doubt one of the most fun events, I have ever been involved in. The atmosphere was electric & more importantly it is an event that families, friends and even kids can do! You can walk, skip, dance or run your way to the finish line but one thing is for sure you wont leave without a massive smile on your face.
I already intend to sign up again next year & I'm considering the September one located in Bristol. I love anything fitness related but the messages being spread really resonated with me at this event. After the recent terror attacks, particularly in Manchester, it is heartwarming to see people all joining together & still getting involved in events just like this. Not being put off by the crowds of people but instead rallying together in the face of terror. Refusing to not go out & just enjoy being who we are, being happy!
Just like the posers we are, here is our action shot at the finish. If anyone is wondering whether to sign up or thinks they cant do it I promise you, you won't regret it this race is for EVERYONE. Not only that but rain or shine you can't help but enjoy yourself. It's important to enjoy the little moments.
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Beddgerlert Birthday Bash
Last week, I turned the grand old age of 24! For my birthday I wanted to climb Snowdon, I have done Ben Nevis & really want to do the three peaks before the year is out, so this would just leave Scafell. I decided to book a few days off work & on Wednesday afternoon we set off for Wales!
The drive itself isn't very long from mine, about 2 hours, and once you hit Wales there is plenty of stunning scenery to keep you distracted. I had booked for us to stay with 'Camping in the Forest' at there Beddgelert campsite in Snowdonia. When we arrived at the town of Beddgelert just before 5pm we were able to grab an ice-cream from this adorable little shop, Banana Chocolate Chip! Yum. There last customers of the day, we got there just in the knick of time. It looks pretty gloomy in the photos but in my opinion it is always ice-cream weather!
The campsite was just a short 2 minute drive from the village, a straight road & when we arrived we were welcomed by a lovely gentlemen who explained where everything was. I didn't take many photos of the campsite but would definitely stay again! The facilities were great, very clean toilet blocks with showers and hairdryers (all the essentials). The on-site shop was well stocked and even had a service where you could order fresh baked goods to be picked up the next morning. Once we had set up tent, in the drizzle we decided to walk into the village for a nosey.
On our little trip to the village we found a quiet pub, I forget the name but if you go you'd be sure to find it, this place isn't very big. With a bottle of Blonde Tom in hand I beat Danny at a round of pool, I was as surprised as he was as I am not skilled in pub sports at all! The only downside was that there didn't seem much on offer in the way of food places, so a short drive to Porthmadog was taken to bag ourselves some fish and chips. These definitely were worth the miles. Happy and fed we decided it was best to head back because the campsite gate closes at 10pm so if you do drive it is important to be back before then.
Soaked on Snowdon
After a surprisingly good nights sleep, we rose pretty early to pick up our baked goods & figure out where to go next for our day of hiking. It is important to note that having cash on you in Wales is a big plus, I planned for us to take the Rhyd Ddu path up Snowdon but when we hit the car park there wasn't a cash machine in sight, and we had to drive a bit to find one. It was £5 for the day here (very reasonable), you park next to the railway station & with not much more than a map we headed off again in a little bit of rain. I was reminded of the line from Jumanji, 'A little rain never hurt anybody.' and Robin Williams reply 'No, but a lot can kill you.'
The path itself is pretty clear at the beginning, the route is less used & I wanted to make it more of a challenge for myself. Being the first mountain I have done without my usual crew, I wanted to prove that I had acquired the skills to navigate by myself. It is a gradual climb at first through some sheep filled sections. It wasn't long before we bumped into two other hikers trying to find their way, asking if we had done the route before. I was able to figure out where we all needed to go (gold star for me) & we continued ahead. About an hour in it became a lot steeper, the path still in my opinion easy enough to follow and we eventually reached a section that had a very weathered fence, guiding you up, so not to fall over the edge. This was a good sign that not only were we headed the right way but that we were nearing the top.
The conditions were not ideal in the slightest, the rain and wind gradually began to get stronger as we got higher and with the mist not once clearing it was more like being on Mount Doom! 'One does not simply walk into Mordor'...
The path began to level out as we hit a knifes edge style ridge, I almost got blown over on my face a few times, the exposed sections were pretty hard on us. It was just here we passed a guy who shouted 'Not far to go now!' that was a very welcome message as we were both feeling the conditions being pretty soaked through at this point. (Vans and jeans are not ideal hiking gear just so you know, Danny learnt that the hard way). Luckily I had my walking boots, thermal leggings and base layers on so wasn't feeling too bad.
After making that last climb to the summit, for a quick photograph. We had earned a coffee in the little station & taking some time to dry off seemed sensible. Now the weather had worsened quite badly, so Danny and I thought about getting the train down, more so because he wasn't really dressed appropriately for the weather. In a sunnier climate I think he'd have been just fine. However, his dreams were shattered when shortly after we arrived they announced the train had broken down and so everyone had to make their way back down! The staff didn't look too pleased with this either.
This didn't bother me so much, I enjoyed the challenge. On previous climbs I have always been pretty lucky with the weather conditions. After purchasing some Snowdon hoodies & a rain poncho, because my other hoodie was also more of a mop at this point. We began our descent at a quicker pace than the climb upwards, because we were both eager to get back to the warmth of the car. Danny looking a little less amused than me!
Once back at the car, it had taken us a grand total of about 5 hours to go up & down, with us spending around half an hour in the cafe. What a birthday! I really thrive on pushing myself in these situations, as a few years ago I wouldn't have made it very far at all. It was beautiful even with the dreary weather. If anything this added to the experience, it means my next trip to Snowdon will be different again. I would love to take in some of those views on a clear summers day from the summit, as it was pretty lacking for us.
This particular climb was all about independence, being much more experienced than this time last year, I knew it was up to me to guide us and ensure we were being safe. I had to navigate which i have never previously done, more of a follower but this was really great experience for me. I look forward to a lot more climbs with groups and even a few solo. When we finally reached the train station we were both much happier, a quick change & heaters on we started the journey home to Northwich. The night consisted of lots of pizza, popcorn & very little moving. Safe to say it was probably one of my favourite birthdays so far. Just need to think about how to top it next year...
🍑 A B Y
Aby, 24. Northerner.