5 Things In May

It’s been a little while since I have had time to write. Lots has been happening in my life, I thought then It would be a good idea to share some of the highlights with you in one post. So here goes….

I Ran My First 10k

On the 9th of May I achieved a huge personal goal. Along with my sister Michelle, AKA marathon runner, and Husband Chris who completes triathlons, I ran my first 10k. 

We took part in a runthrough chase the sun event at The Olympic Park in Stratford. 

I am so proud of myself especially as I had to push through the last km. My calf’s were starting to feel like I had weights attached to them, yup it hurt! 


My Fourteen Year Old Son is Taller than Me!

The difference In these two photographs is crazy. Since the second picture was taken he has grown even taller. 

This dawned on me the other day. Harrison has always been cheeky, however on this occasion he was being a bit too cheeky. I was telling him off and he was looking down at me! What!!! 

No wonder he has been eating me out of house and home. 



I Finally Finished ‘Me After You’ 

This was such a great book. It is the sequel to Jo Jo Moyes bestseller ‘Me before You’. Set a couple of months on, after Will takes his own life, the book tackles grief and whether you are able to move on. It has a somewhat humerous approach whilst managing not to make light of the subject matter. 

At times I did want to give the main character Louise a good old shake, other times I just wanted to hug her. 


I have been channeling my inner Marie Kondo

My head is in that place where I’m feeling it’s time to get my home and life organised. 

I have been having a good old clear out and a reorganise of my storage. I just want everything organised so that I can eventually be more productive with my time. The sight of all these neatly folded tops makes me so happy. 

Infinity War Was AMAZING!!

Okay so technically this was released in April, but it was May before we went to see it. 

It was such a good film. It’s not often the outcome of a film leaves you speechless. I left the cinema thinking ‘I don’t know how I feel about that!’ 

To be honest I’m still reeling at what happened and cannot wait into the second part next year. 

This is hands down my favourite Marvel film so far! 

So that’s at little update of what’s been happening In my life recently. 

Dandi Patch – A viable alternative to deodorants & anti-perspirants? 

Let’s be frank here, we all sweat. It’s one of those necessary body functions designed to to keep us cool. It’s no fun though when it starts to pong or leave embarrassing sweat patches on your outfit. No wonder the top two selling brands, lynx and female sure,  net a cool £172 million in annual U.K. Sales. (Source: statista)

For years many of us have hardly given a second thought about reaching for chemical based products in an effort to combat the odour.

It is only fairly recently, now that Aluminium free options are on sale, that I personally have questioned the safety of such ingredients. Can they really contribute to breast cancer?

So far I’m yet to come across any scientific evidence that it does, but given my family history with breast cancer I now use such products with caution.

Here’s the conundrum…I am yet to come across an Aluminium free anti-perspirant that works as effectively as one with it in.

I recently came across this product the dandi patch on the Latest In Beauty website. I definitely had to try this out!

So what is a Dandi Patch?

These triangular patches are designed to be a discreet and effective solution to the problem of underarm sweat marks and the inevitable odour.

They are the brain child of sisters Theresa Pope and Hayley Leete, who won ‘British Invention of the year’ back in 2015, for the product. The pads can be worn for up to 24 hours and claim to hold up to 2000 times the average amount of underarm sweat.

As sweat is trapped within the pad it means you no longer have to suffer those embarrassing damp sweat patches, bad odour or ruin a light coloured top with yellow staining. Why does sweat do that?



I’m got going to lie and pretend these things are sexy. They’re not! In fact to me it looks like I’m wearing a giant plaster. I certainly would only ever wear these with sleeves.

They are not uncomfortable but did take a little bit of getting used to.

I deliberately choose to wear a blouse that I have previously had a sweaty patch problem whilst wearing. Off I went to deliver my work presentation, feeling a little hot and bothered. I could already feel the nervous sweat starting.

One presentation down and the patches have done their thing. I might have been internally sweating but on the outside you would never know. There were no sweaty marks or unpleasant odour. They work!

I don’t think I could use these on a daily basis. I am far too conscious that I’m wearing them. However for certain occasions they are a great confidence booster. I didn’t have to worry about my appearance or how I smelt and could focus on the task at hand. Did I tell you I nailed that presentation?

Dandi patches are available in a pack of 10 for £8.99. They also come in a male sized patch as well.

Let me know whether you would ever try these out or if you have actually come across an Aluminium free deodorant that works.


2018 Personal Goals – 1st quarter update. 

At the start of 2018 I set myself a moderate list of things I wanted to achieve this year. You can see the full list here. Now that we are three months into 2018 I decided to revisit the list and share with you some items I have ticked off.

Last Thursday I finally went to see the musical Wicked. My sisters surprised me with tickets for my birthday (much better than a physical present). 

Having wanted to see the show for such a  long time I am pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint. The alternative look at the world of Oz is clever, thought provoking and very funny. 

On this occasion Elphaba was actually played by the understudy Laura Pick. She was brilliant, and to be honest, If my sister hadn’t told me she was actually the understudy I never would have known. 

If you love musicals but haven’t seen Wicked yet book it up, you won’t be disappointed. 

I can now officially say that I can cable knit. Surprisingly It is actually pretty simple once you know how. That is provided you stick to the pattern you are following. I rely heavily on a stitch counter and may have had to un pick my mistakes a few times. 

I’m currently working on a cardigan for my Manager’s new baby. I really need to pull my needles out and finish that one whilst on annual leave this week otherwise he will be too big for it. Did I ever tell you that I deserve an award for advanced procrastination? 

That will be why I have unfortunately fallen behind with my reading schedule. I love reading however I just seem to have got out of the habit. My goal of reading 24 books in 18 is going to be tough to achieve. I’m currently on my 4th book at the moment, whereas I should be starting my 7th by now. Oops! 

Note to self…Step away from Twitter! 

So that’s my quarterly update. I don’t think I’m doing too badly but there is definitely room to pull my proverbial socks up.

5 Birthday Freebies you too can enjoy. 

I turned 36 last week, yikes! It feels weird just writing that. Anyway…growing old bleat over, I do like to see my Birthday as an excuse to be a little bit indulgent. Thanks to my love of loyalty cards I’ve been able to do just that without damaging my pocket.

I thought it would be great idea to show my readers what Birthday freebies I picked up, just in case you didn’t know that these offers were available. FYI, I didn’t know about free booze from Miller & Carter,  until my brow waxer told me about it.

The Body Shop – 

If you are a member of their Love Your Body reward card you will receive a £5 gift voucher on your birthday.

I traded mine in for a mini of my favourite Hemp Hand Cream.

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Benefit Cosmetics – 

If you have a Benefit brow bar near you then make sure you book an appointment for a free brow wax. This has to be scheduled within two weeks either side of your birthday. You don’t need to sign up to a loyalty program just bring along proof of your birthday date to your appointment.

Paperchase

If you hold a Paperchase treat me card then you will receive a £5 voucher on your birthday. The voucher is valid for two weeks from that date and is automatically loaded onto your points card.

I traded mine in for a notebook and cute avocado stickers.

Miller & Carter 

So this I eluded to earlier. If you sign up to Steak Club you can get a free glass of prosecco for yourself and guests on your birthday. At least four of you need to be ordering a main course to qualify.

Now I know this isn’t a cheap please to eat but I was heading there anyway for my birthday meal anyway so of course I wasn’t going to miss out on my free bubbles!
Hobby Craft 

I haven’t actually claimed this one yet, but I have a few days left to do so.

If you are a member of the Hobbycraft Club you will get a £5 voucher on your birthday. Unlike other vouchers of this type you can use it not just on full price items but also sale and clearance items.

Mine will be going towards a knitting needle case. I have so many needles that all sit loosely in a mess. Finding the correct matching pair can be a nightmare.

I hope you found this post helpful.

An evening at the #MegaMysteryBus Event

On the 8th of February I had the opportunity to attend the #MegaMysteryBus blogger event in London. I didn’t quite know what to expect from the evening having not taken part in anything like this before. I was looking forward to it though as I knew we would be taking part in a bus tour around some of London’s most iconic places and that it would also involve a bit of sleuthing.

We met at the Radisson Blu hotel on Portman Square.  Here we were welcomed with drinks and nibbles and given a team number.  This provided us with the opportunity to break the ice and find our fellow team members before boarding the bus.


Each team was given a Sherlock adventure bag that contained clue cards, evidence bags and a computer tablet. We had to follow the instructions to solve the clues, find some mystery characters including Sherlock Holmes himself and gather evidence along the way. The bus took us to two different locations, Westminster Abbey and Trafalger Square. We also had to find our own way from Trafalger Square to Convent garden. No easy feat as I’m clueless when it comes to London. Yay for google maps then!

This was such a fun evening and I met some great girls, even if our team didn’t really have a clue what we were doing. Sleuthing definitely isn’t my fortay. It is no surprise our team placed in last HA HA!

This was definitely one of those evenings were it was about living in the moment, I think I took about two viable pictures the whole evening, we were just having too much fun.  I felt like I was living out my childhood dream of going on Treasure Hunt. Yep showing my age there.

Fortunately the organisers of the evening  SEO experts Search Laboratory had brought along a professional photographer Matt Chappell. The photos in this post are all his work. Well done for keeping up with four teams of crazy bloggers running around London.

Our Teams Evidence of The Hound – A Poo emoji key ring
Sid turned up for a surprise visit.
If you are looking for a budget Intercity coach operator do check out Mega Bus.  They offer fares from as little as £1 including a 20kg luggage allowance. The coaches are clean and comfortable, have free WiFi and toilet facilities. I have used them in the past to travel from London to Birmingham and found the whole experience very positive.

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February’s Reading List 

At the start of the year I set myself a few personal goals. One of those goals is to get back into reading by finishing up 26 books throughout 2018. 

So far I’ve finished two books;

Helen Forrester Lime Street at Two 

Paige Toon All about the hype 

Both of these books are part of mini series’ that I have now finished. They are very different but both equally great reads. Let me know if you would be interested in a book review on either of these. 

In order to stay on track and keep myself accountable I have decided to share my monthly reading list here on the blog. 

These are the books I plan to read in February; 

Paige ToonThe one we fell in love with 

Paige Toon is my favourite author. I received this book from my husband for Christmas… I just haven’t got round to reading it yet 

Jo-Jo MoyesAfter You 

I read Me Before You last year and really enjoyed it. It’s about time I read the sequel then. I also have the book on loan from my little sister so need to hurry up and give it back to her. 

I’m open to pushing my reading comfort zone so if you have any suggestions for books that you think I should be adding to my reading list please leave them in the comment section.

5 things that happened when I stopped eating refined sugar 

For the past 30 days I have been taking part in a challenge to remove junk from my diet including things like crisps, cakes and anything that contains added or refined sugar. 

People that know me well will appreciate how much of a challenge this has been for me. The first few days of this were tough. I had a withdrawal headache and was cranky because I couldn’t eat what I wanted. 

Fortunately I am part of a 30 day challenge group on Facebook, and my husband has also been on this challenge so there has been plenty of support. 

Now  at the end of this challenge I thought I would share the five things that I have discovered since giving up the sugar. 

  1. At the beginning of my sugar detox I felt really hungry. I started having to look at food in a different way. I am now looking at food for its nutritional benefits and its ability to keep me full.    For example at breakfast I am now eating overnight oats made with natural greek yogurt and berries rather than a cereal bar. My sugar levels are no longer spiking and then slumping. I have so much more energy and no longer have a dreadful late afternoon slump. 
  2. My skin is looking clearer. I can’t give you a scientific reason for this, it just does. I am definitely a vain person so this is enough for me to make a go of sticking to a sugar free diet. 
  3. Now that the natural flavours of food are no longer masked with sugar it tastes so much better. I’m really beginning to appreciate food again. Fruit like grapes and strawberries taste amazing and are enough to satisfy my usual post meal need for a sweet fix. Home made sweet potato crisps are heaven! 
  4. I have got used to the taste of food without added sugar. I can really taste hidden sugars in food. Simple things like a tin of baked beans taste really sweet. Too sweet In fact. I’ve now switched to Heinz No added sugar beans, which I hated before. 
  5. In a bid to avoid those hidden sugars I have made an effort to take a packed lunch to work. This has saved me money. Win Win! 

I know I will struggle to stick to a completely sugar free diet on long a term basis. There will always be the temptation to indulge In the odd bit of chocolate, particularly around my time of the month. Going forward though it is about making sensible choices. 

My first Pink parcel Experience 

Who else hates their period? I do, with a great big fat capital H! Saying that I do greet it each month with a ‘Halle-friggin-lujah’…I’ve dodged the pregnancy bullet. Those inevitable cramps and that not feeling truly clean experience are not welcome though! That’s why I decided I was going to give Pink Parcel a try. 

Pink Parcel is a monthly subscription service that promises to make those monthly visits ‘fuss free and fabulous’ The service combines treats, beauty products and those essential femcare products all delivered to you at home. This arrives in a discreet and well packaged parcel on a date of your choosing. 

My first concern was whether it would arrive in time. Fortunately it actually arrived roughly a week before my selected date. No problems there then.

Secondly, would I be sent the type of femcare product that I prefer to use? Thankfully you get to choose from a wide variety of brands and can pick, tampons, towels or even a combination of both. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this part of the box isn’t just an afterthought. You receive a good amount with a combination of items for both daytime and nighttime use. There is also even a little well filled ‘for now’ bag to keep in your handbag so you don’t ever get caught out. 

Also included in the box is a treat food item along with a healthy tea bag. I don’t know about you but I always crave chocolate around my time of the month. I also love a cup of tea!

January’s box theme is Positivity, so the beauty related products included reflect this. 

My favourite item included is the Made by Coopers Apothecary Happy Mist value £12. 

This can be used to spray in the air or onto fabrics. The lime, clementine and basil scent is very uplifting and definitely triggers the pleasure sensors. 

I was also pleased to see Browcote Waterproof Brow Gel. Value £6.99

Brow products are one of my favourite make-up items so I will definitely be trying this out. I’m that person that can happily leave the house with a bare face but I always have to have groomed brows. 

Laritzy is a makeup brand that I haven’t heard of before now. This eye pencil is what I consider to be a ‘safe’ introduction to the brand. This is the most expensive item in the box with an rrp of £18.00.

I have the shade shimmer which is a silver shade. I shall be trying this out in my waterline as an eye brightening product. The packaging states that it is free from Parabens and after checking their website I found out that they also do not test on animals. Both positives for me! 

The last item is a set of Bandzee Hair Ties value £5.95. 

I love this type of hair tie as they are strong yet don’t leave kinks in you hair. I do feel they are often very overpriced though, especially as I’m always loosing them. This was definitely a useful addition to this box. 
Over all I am really pleased with my first experience of Pink Parcel. The value of the contents far exceed the £12.95 price tag. I’m not going to lie sanitary towels are one of those essential items that I resent have to spend money on. This subscription service takes the pain out of it! I’m looking forward to seeing what February’s box brings. 

Gousto – The subscription service for busy foodies!

Well Hello! It’s been a while… Life got busy again! There never seems to enough hours in the day to do everything I’ve planned. Let’s be real here…I’m not the sort of girl to give up her sleep in favour of ticking something else off that never ending ‘to-do-list’. I am interested in anything that is going to save me time though. That’s why I decided to try out some recipe box services. The first Box I tried is Gousto box, and…… I am ridiculously impressed. Where has this been all my life? 


If you haven’t heard of Gousto box this is how it works. First up you sign up to a subscription service deciding whether you want a box for two or four people. Then you choose how many meals you want (up to four) when, and how often you want your meals delivered. Lastly you pick from a great selection of recipes and they send you everything you need straight to your front door. Simple!


My biggest concern about using this type of service was freshness. What happens if I’m not home? How does the raw meet keep from going bad throughout the delivery process? 

I was pleased to see that anything that needs to keep cool was packed into a wool cool biodegradable cool bag complete with Ice blocks. Everything was still cold so my concerns about the food spoiling was unnecessary.


The Ingredients themselves are all very fresh and of high quality. Where possible the items are delivered naked so packaging is kept to a minimum. How good does all that fresh food look? 

So far everything we have tried has been very tasty. Even my fussy youngest liked everything. The recipe cards are easy to follow and I love that everything is pre measured out for you. 

We are a family of five so ordered the four person box. The portion sizes are generous though so we have been able to stretch the meals to feed us all. Gousto do say on their website that they are adult portions and that a child wouldn’t necessarily require a full portion. 

Gousto box hasn’t removed the ‘having to cook’ element from my day, but it has completely simplified the process. No longer to I have to spend ages searching for interesting meals, making shopping lists and trying to source different ingredients. 

I have a diabetic son who has to carb count. This can often be tricky when cooking from scratch. All the nutritional information is listed on the recipe cards so this was actually really easy to work out. Another big time saver! 

The price of a Gousto box is structured depending on how many people you are ordering for And how many meals you choose. For us it works out as £47.75 which breaks down to £2.98 a portion. 

When you factor in the price of quality meat, 1 off ingredients, fuel costs, time saved and the removal of the ‘I can’t be bothered’ impulse take-away I feel that’s not a bad deal. 

If you wanted to try out Gousto for yourself this Link will get you your first two boxes half price. In the. Interest of disclosure I would also receive £15 credit to use on the website. 

For now I’ll leave you with some pictures of some of the tasty meals we have been enjoying. 




Bringing Back The Photo Album 

When the first digital camera was invented back in 1975 it was heavy, slow and could only record black and white images. It was never intended for commercial use. In fact It took until 1990 for the first digital camera to be commercially available.

Originally it was  slow to catch on but the digital camera was to revolutionise how we took and viewed our photographs. No longer did we have to wait for our films to be developed and printed by a professional. Our photos could be instantly viewed, the unflattering ones deleted. All that excitement and urgency to get our hands on our photos was no longer. 

Today most of us have a smartphone that can instantly capture and share moments to social media. The need to print our images seems even less. 

I don’t know about you but I have years worth of digital images stored in virtual space not being appreciated. The missed opportunities of this was only reinforced by the death of my mother this year. I had a realisation that all I had left of my Mum were memories. I wanted something tangible to help hold onto them. 

It may sound overly dramatic but this was a bit of a wake up call for me. 

I am currently working on a little project to get all my favourite pictures printed and into albums. I am very aware that this is going to end up being a costly and time consuming project. It will be worth it though.

Currently I am using the FreePrints app available for iPhone to print those images from my phone, social media and Dropbox accounts. What’s helpful is that you get 45 free prints a month, only having to pay for postage. 

The quality of the prints are great and delivery is fast. I would love to leave a link but is it is app that isn’t possible. The icon though is a white butterfly on a blue background (see screenshot below).

For photo albums I like to use ring bound scrapbooks as I can really personalise the layout of each page. I can also add newspaper cuttings and tickets from events. I feel like I am creating something special for me to look back in years from now.