Lee Valley Velodrome Track Taster Experience

Back in December, along with my sister and our husbands, we had a fantastic evening out in London. This was not your typical night out and definitely falls into the category of ‘out of the ordinary’. Forget preparing for the evening with a cute dress and heels. Instead we needed leggings, trainers and a helmet.

We visited the Lee Valley Velo Park in Stratford. This is the track that was cycled by our amazingly talented Olympic team back in 2012. The park is now open to the public and almost anyone can have go on the track.

We signed up for the one hour track taster session. This coach led session aims to get you used to using a fixed wheel bike (it has no brakes or gears) and safely riding the track.

I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous about trying this out. I do not have a good track record with bikes. Back in primary school I basically got thrown off the cycling proficiency course because I was considered a danger to myself. Oh the shame!

I definitely surprised myself though. I managed to cycle the track without falling off and even get up some height. That was quite scary as you have to be travelling at a good consistent speed. If you slow or stop peddling suddenly the bike will slide down the track wall. I kept saying to myself ‘just keep peddling…..just keep peddling’ even if my thighs were burning.

Scariness aside it felt incredibly exhilarating travelling at speed and feeling the rush of air against you.

I have to say it was actually easier than I thought it would be. It is however very tiring and you really feel it in your legs. The professional cyclists are super fit.

The taster session costs £45 and lasts for an hour. If you can go during an off peak session it’s £35. Bookings can be made directly through the the Lee Valley website.

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Addressing my hoarding tendencies

Hello. My name is Katy and I have bit of a hoarding problem. Finally I’ve said it. It feels good to get that off my chest.

Now I’m not one of those extreme hoarders that documentaries have been made about for Television. I don’t have stacks of old magazines, bags of string or boxes of items I’m saving because I think they ‘might be useful’ one day. No that’s definitely isn’t me.

My hoarding tendencies are a bit more specific. They cover the area of beauty products. I have a shocking amount of Makeup, fake tan, lip balms and shower gel of all things. Shower gel is a problem area for some reason? I have several back ups for my backups.

I sit in my bathroom trying to relax and feel all zen like but It’s a struggle. There is too much stuff. It’s a mess. As a result my mind is a mess, and I can’t switch off. In all honesty I’ve been starting to feel a bit weighed down by it all.

There is a want within me to declutter the excess. I have attempted several times to sort through the things that I need to declutter. Alas each time I’ve previously tried I would come up with a reason why not too.

I’ve spent money on the item.

Someone bought it as a gift so I should keep it.

I might need this at some point for my blog.

I feel guilty for being wasteful.

It’s a limited edition product or has been discontinued.

I’m not keen on the item but I’ll use it when I run out of similar items…..FYI it will probably take me at least 18 months to reach this point with shower gels alone!

The item hasn’t had a chance to fulfil its purpose. Yup utter nonsense basically!

I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.

Anyway you could be thinking ‘where is she going with this?’

Well I finally feel like I reached a point that I can stop the bullshit and successfully sort through the excess. I have Marie Kondo to thank for this.

(Let me pause for a few of you to eye roll…..yes I’m another one ‘jumping on the band wagon’)

Anyway I’m about halfway through Marie’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it’s really helped me to let go. I applied her ‘Does it bring me Joy?’ rule to my wardrobe with great success. It’s worked for books and it’s worked for organising my papers. I’m now moving onto the area of Komono (miscellaneous items).

I am confident I can apply this rule to my problem areas and declutter without the guilt. The excess I will try to discard in a way that is as waste free as possible. I’m possibly going to have to be a bit creative with that.

I also feel I’ve accepted the fact that if I had really wanted to try out something I would have done it as soon as that item came into my possession rather than hoard it.

I definitely went through a period of time where I had an interesting relationship with shopping. I was doing it because I was feeling low and using the buzz of getting something new to lift my mood. I don’t feel I’m in that place anymore so no longer over shop. Those items I purchased during this period I feel I can part with guilt free because I’ve already experienced the ‘buzz’ from having that item. They have fulfilled their purpose, for me anyway, and someone else may appreciate them more.

If you are feel like you are drowning in too much stuff but are struggling to part with things this book is definitely worth a read. I’m not sure I’d say it’s ‘Life Changing’ but a useful tool for ‘habit breaking’.

Let me know your thoughts on this. Have you read Marie Kondo’s book? Have you watched her Netflix show? Do you think it’s wasteful to discard personal belongings so readily?

Lucy Locket Loves Athleisure Leggings | Rave review

Just a quick one from me today. I wanted to share my love for the newest additions to my legging collection.

These are the Athleisure leggings from the small independent brand Lucy Locket Loves.

Lucy Locket Loves Athleisure leggings

They retail for the very reasonable price of £15.00 and are definitely worth every penny.

The fabric is a nice thick soft jersey that I’m finding perfect for running in at this time of year, basically warm but not too warm. They held their own well in -3 degrees!

I was a bit dubious about the sizing of the leggings before they arrived as they only come in two sizes:

Size 1 – 8-14

Size 2 14 – 20.

I would describe myself as a small size 8 so was concerned that the size 1 would be too big. Happily they fit just fine and I’ve had no falling down whilst running issues. Believe me it wouldn’t be the first time!

My sister wears the same size in these leggings and usually wears a dress size 12. She is pictured wearing an Alice in Wonderland pair in the first picture. Clearly these are magic leggings as one size fits a wide range of people.

I’ve worn and washed the leggings a good few times now and they still look and feel perfect. It is worth noting that I air dry them in a clothes airer. I’m not brave enough to test them out in a tumble dryer.

The two designs I have are no longer available but there are still plenty of designs available on the website. Mine are also quite dark and not so colourful as many of the other designs. There is plenty to suit all tastes though.

The Lucy Locket Loves Facebook page also says that they are getting a delivery of new stock this week. Nice! I’m trying to justify a new purchase now.

I’ve signed up to run the London Landmarks Half Marathon

Soo….I may have signed up to run my first half marathon. The London Landmarks Half to be exact. Last year I made a decent go at running my first 10k, but this is twice that distance.

I still haven’t decided whether I’m excited or pooping my pants. 13.1 miles is quite the distance for a girl that hated P.E.

I suppose it could be worse, I could have been daft enough to sign up to do a full marathon? Noooo…. I’ll leave that one to my big sister, husband and little brother. (They are doing the Brighton Marathon this year)

On the 24th March I shall be running as part of the Breast Cancer Now team. This is a charity that is significant to me as two years ago my Mum lost her fight against Breast Cancer.

I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to experience this. Sadly though so many families are going through exactly the same thing right now. Life can be very sucky at times can’t it!

Image : breastcancernow.org

Breast Cancer Now‘s aim is to ensure that by 2050 no one will die from breast cancer. How? By carrying out that all important research into the causes, genetic risk factors and targeted drug discovery. It was such research that gave my family an extra 8 years with our Mum.

Training is going to be tough, I’m going to need all the support I can get. Even if its just encouragement to get out and train on a day that a) I’m feeling Meh! Or b) the weather is grim. I’m definitely more of a fair weather runner.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to the cause you can do so through my Just Giving page.

Wish me luck, I shall keep you updated on how the training goes.

Route map source: llhm.co.uk

The unplanned blog break

Hey!

You haven’t heard from me in a while. It’s been roughly 2 1/2 months to be exact. I 100% hadn’t planned to be away from the blogging world for such a long period. My extended break happened by accident.

I had a bout of writers block, and to be quite frank was feeling very uninspired. A couple of times I sat down to try to write but was having to force it. For me that’s not good, it just didn’t feel natural. I wasn’t enjoying it and didn’t feel I was producing anything I felt worthy of publishing. It was definitely time to take a break.

I would be lying if I said that taking a break was a conscious decision. It wasn’t and just seemed to happen naturally. This included me virtually abandoning Twitter as well. I’ve never been great with twitter anyway, so my lack of presence there probably went unnoticed. This isn’t me being ‘oh poor me’, I’m just telling you how it is.

Life has definitely been super busy (I work in retail management) and before I knew it Christmas came and went and we are in 2019. I think my poor brain was clogged up with floor planning, stock management issues and a whole lot of extra random trouble shooting that goes on between Black Friday and the the End of Season sales. It’s not been all work though there has been a good amount of socialising too.

I’ve also been studying towards an NVQ in Managing People, that is specific to the retail sector. I have my final exams very soon so have been preparing for that. Those kick off on the 9th January so hopefully after then I will have some more free time. Saying that I have just signed up to run my first half marathon in March. Plus I’ve joined a Kick Boxing class so I’m not quite sure how much free time I will actually have whilst training??

I blame my over achieving big sister, she has definitely inspired me to push myself more. Ive always been a classic 2nd child who is more than happy to coast it.

Anyway this is me officially breaking radio silence. I don’t plan on making any rigid blog schedules or promises about how often I’m going to produce content. I want to keep it natural and write when I’m feeling fully inspired. That may mean some weeks you get a few blog posts and others just one. Basically if it stops being fun then I’m not going to force myself. Especially as this isn’t my job, it’s a hobby.

This seems a very natural place to stop so that’s all from me for today.

It’s Nap time! – Using a Space Mask

Having just worked seven days straight, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been feeling a wee bit on the worn out side. When it comes to my day off then I’m more than likely going to have a nap a some point. Yup, I’m not afraid to admit that at 36, I still need a nap!

It was perfect timing then that my reading in heels box arrived containing a Space Mask. A what now?….Yes you read right…I said ‘space mask’.

A space mask is a self heating eye mask that soothes and relaxes you, allowing you to drift off to sleep. The mask is made from soft feeling material with iron powder encased within. The Iron powder heats up on contact with oxygen. I found the heat lasted for about 20 minutes. It also is meant to have a light Jasmin scent however I couldn’t actually smell this.

There are loops on either side of the mask that you pop over your ears keeping it in place. This is a great touch as it allows you to find your natural sleep position without it falling off.

I really enjoyed the warm feeling, I felt that this would be great to use if you have a headache.

The foil pouches are super handy so you could keep one in your handbag. Ideal then if you are traveling or are someone that suffers from regular headaches. I also think it would be worth giving one of these a go if you are someone that struggles to drop off to sleep.

Me… I’m not above finding a quiet corner at work and having a power nap during my lunch break. What about you?

A pack of 5 masks costs £15 + p&p from spacemasks.com

Take that Dress into Autumn With Wingz

Do you have a favourite dress that you want to wear all year round, but isn’t always seasonally appropriate?

Of course you can opt to wear a cardigan over your dress but what if you don’t want to cover it up?

How about adding some sleeves?

Now I’m not suggesting you whip out your sewing machine, I’m certainly not that talented anyway. Nor do I have time.

No I have a much simpler option…

Let me introduce you to Wingz. I would describe Wingz as not quite a bra, not quite a top.

Pop these on under your chosen sleeveless dress and you now have a dress with sleeves that will see you into Autumn.

The option I have here are the full length fitted sleeves in Black. They are very simple fuss free option providing a casual look.

Do watch the helpful video on the Wingz website for how to put on. I did get in a bit of a tangle the first time. Don’t ask! It was one of those should have read the Instructions first moments. Once on though they are comfortable to wear.

My Wingz definitely fall into the wardrobe basics category. However there are many dressier options available in fitted lace, floaty chiffon, flared sleeves interesting prints, and bright colours.

Not only are Wingz a good transitional solution to have on hand in a capsule wardrobe but they are also an ideal solution if you are not comfortable having your arms out.

Wingz are small enough to carry in a day bag as an instant cover up if you find yourself catching a bit too much sun but don’t want an extra layer. Fellow fair skinned ladies will appreciate this.

The black full fitted sleeve option is priced at £16.99. Prices range from £9.99 up to £45.

Do you think these are a good idea? What type of Wingz would you choose?

When In Rome| Rome Travel Diary

My favorite topic in History class was 100% The Roman Empire. To me the ancient Romans just seemed so innovative and clever, strong, feisty and even a little bit glamorous. A visit to Rome then has always been on the agenda.

Originally we were planning to arrange our own trip by booking elements separately, however that was proving complicated, so in the end we took the easy option and booked a package with Easy Jet. We flew into Fiumicino airport and took a pre-booked mini bus transfer to our hotel. At 10 in the evening this took us around 45 minutes.

We were staying in the very central location of the Trevi Palace Luxury Apartments, just a stones throw away from the always bustling Trevi Fountain. This recently restored mid 17th century palace is a welcome cool and calm retreat in what is noisy and crowded part of the city.

The comfortable air-conditioned rooms all have wooden beamed ceilings and views over the quirky rooftops and cobbled alleyways that lead up to the Trevi Fountain itself. The corridors retain their original stone stairwells and marble flooring, original iron fretwork can still be seen in the many little apertures dotted around the place. The breakfast room even features the original well sunk into the middle of its floor,  now covered with a glass top that you can walk over, if you dare… Don’t expect access to an on site bar but there are plenty to choose from in the surrounding streets.

We had a lovely evening drinking prosecco and Aperol Spritz at the roof top terrace bar of the Relais Fontana Di Trevi Hotel. This is a perfect spot to take in the picturesque fountain away from the crowds.

Trevi Fountain

Our first full day we spent visiting the Colosseum. We booked a tour through trip advisor that included exclusive entry through the gladiator entrance and access to the arena floor.

I definitely recommend doing this in advance as it can be a little bit chaotic around the colosseum ticket offices. It is also the only way you will be able to see the Colosseum from this view point.

Gladiator Entrance – The Colosseum

The tour was very informative and our tour guide was particularly good with the Children.

On our second day we visited The Vatican museums. Like all the major landmarks in Rome this was very very busy. Having heard about the queues from other people this was another activity that I pre booked. I’m so glad I did as this as ‘skip the line tickets’ meant no queues and it made getting through the security checks and registration a breeze. I’m not sure of the reason for it but most places we visited in Rome required us registering the children before we could visit.

For me the Vatican museums were rather overwhelming. Before we had actually got anywhere near the Sistine Chapel we had seen so many dramatic ceilings, sculptures and works of art. It truly is a special place. Expect to spend a few hours wandering around.

I took a lot of photos, be warned. However I don’t actually have a picture of the Sistine Chapel itself as you are not allowed to take photos .

Being the Catholic girl that I am of course I was going to behave myself. Much to my delight and surprise my good behaviour was rewarded. A Priest came into the chapel, asked for quite, and then invited those that wished to join him in prayer to do so.

It was a very special moment for me and I’m not ashamed of saying I got a little bit emotional. Hands up if you have also cried tears of happiness in the Sistine Chapel!

Spiral Staircase – The Vatican Museums

Our next day was a very chilled one. We had been for dinner the night before at Il Chianti which is a very authentic local traditional restaurant in the trevi fountain areas. We then went for supposedly a quick night cap. Well… said nightcap turned into a bit of a late night. We had got talking to a couple of girls from Texas and before we knew it a good couple of hours of sipping wine and good conversation had passed.

Er…When in Rome?

On our last day we visited the Villa Borghese Gardens for a wander in the shaded avenues and to take advantage of the view point over Piazza del Popolo. Here you can see most of Rome including a particularly good view of The Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica.

Piazza Del Popolo

Within the park you can also hire out Segways for €10 if you fancy a bit of outdoor fun, as well as bikes and pedal carts. The Kids had great fun wizzing around.

Of course we had to do a little bit of shopping, I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to visit a Sephora or come home without an Italian leather handbag.

Via Del Corso leads directly off of piazza del popolo. It has many well known brands as well as some reasonably priced independent shops.

This is also a good opportunity to visit The Spanish Steps as they are just off of the road that runs adjacent.

The Spanish Steps

FYI Sephora is directly across from the Spanish Steps if your interested.

Rome was a crazy whirlwind of sightseeing, fresh pasta and gelato, so much gelato. A relaxing trip it is not. Would I go back? Definitely!

Running with Orthosole Max Cushion Insoles

Last Sunday I completed the Cancer Research race for life 10k event along with my Big Sister and Cousin. That’s my second one under the belt now. There were no PB’s to be had on the day as it was a super hot but there was a great atmosphere. The event also seemed like the ideal opportunity to try out my new insoles from Orthosole .

I was gifted a pair of Women’s Max Cushion Insoles rrp £40 from Orthosole to test out, in return for an honest review.

Described as the ‘Ultimate performance’ style the insoles are customisable to suit the individual wearers needs. Each set comes with 6 support pads that can be switched up as required providing up to 9 different wear options.

Anyone that runs will understand that a good supportive running shoe makes a huge difference when it comes to performance and avoiding injury. They will also appreciate how difficult it is to find a shoe with the right level of support as we are all different, so for me having so many options to work with is a big deal.

There are two pad sections of the insole that can be customised, which are the arch pad and the metatarsal pad.

The Arch Pad – provides support to help control pronation and alignment of the foot and body.

This is a big problem area for me as I have one leg longer than the other and my right foot tends to roll in. I literally fall over my own feet!

The Metatarsal Pad – helps improve weight distribution, circulation, cushioning and protects the ball of the foot.

The Insoles are sold in shoe sizes, and can be trimmed down to fit if necessary. I’m a half size but didn’t find this a problem. After removing my existing insoles, as instructed, the Orthosoles fitted in quite snuggly.

It took me a few attempts to find the combination of pads that felt most comfortable. The pads were quick and easy to switch up though as they have Velcro backing.

When wearing the Insoles I immediately could feel the difference, my foot and leg alignment felt much straighter. I also usually experience some mild pain in the knee of my shorter leg when distance running but on this occasion I didn’t.

I did start to feel a bit of an ache in my arch area during the last 1 km of my run. I think this is probably because I’m not used to running with my foot in that position and need to get used to it. Either that or I need to try a lighter support pad next time. That’s the beauty of the these particular insoles though I can keep trying out different options till I’m 100% happy.

Orthosole offer loads of different insole options to suit different types of footwear. They even offer a set designed to be worn with heels. I definitely want to try those out In the future. You never know I might be able to wear heels on the Reg?

South East Bloggers Club | An evening at Jump Street

It seems crazy to think that it has been over two weeks since I attended the South East Bloggers Event at Jump Street in Chelmsford. Where has the time gone?

What a great evening it was though and definitely outside of what I would normally be getting up to on a Thursday night.

The evening provided the opportunity to try out the trampoline park as well as meet with some lifestyle brands.

I throughly enjoyed the trampolines, my inner child resurfaced itself big time!

As well as Jump Street the venue also houses Essex’s only clip n climb . This colourful arena houses 32 different climbing challenges as well as a vertical drop slide. I was not brave enough to try that. I’m a wimp!

I do want to go back and try out some of the climbing challenges though. The stairway to heaven in the front of this picture looks pretty interesting.

Energy spent we also had the opportunity to have a go at customising a design on a purse to take home using the happy fabric heat press.

We had a chat with Orthosole who create customisable insoles. They have gifted me a pair to try out at home in my running shoes. I will tell you more about that in a separate more detailed blog post.

We also met with the creator of Chelsea candles. These hand poured soy wax candles smelt and looked great. I definitely want to pick one up in The future.

Lastly a representative for Farleighs Hospice who talked to us about the work that they do and some of their upcoming fundraising work.

Overall it was a really fun evening and I offer a huge thanks to the ladies at Southeastbloggers for organising it.