Category Archives: Lifestyle

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. 

My Sunday Photo 

I’ve seen quite a few other bloggers share a Sunday photo each week. This is usually accompanied by a little explanation of what is happening in that photo and what it means to them. I loved this idea so have decided to introduce this as a regular feature on Schoolrunbeauty.com.

Now my first photo is not a deep and meaningful family shot. Nope it basically demonstrates what a Plank I am. 


Yes Katy managed to set fire to the dinner this week! The downstairs of the house stank of smoke for about three days! 

In my defence I was knackered after a very busy day at work. I didn’t want to cook! I wanted a takeaway! Listening to the Husbands reasoning on why we really should be well behaved and cook, I got on with it. This is where it went very wrong!

Cooking pasta is piss easy. My ten year old can do it! Apparently my tired brain can’t though. I had put water on to boil, managed to switch on the wrong hob, of which I’d left a packet of pasta on. Queue the flames! Bang went my quiet five minutes to indulge in a cuppa. 

Did I get that much wanted takeaway? Nope. We now had a mess to clean up alongside trying to get something edible on the table. I’ve spent several days since trying to scrape melted plastic of the ceramic hob. Alas I think it’s probably ruined. Bugger! 

So moral of the story….I should shave got the Takeaway!!! 

2017 Bucket List Update

At the start of 2017 I created a list of the  17 things I wanted to do this year. I have actually managed to do a few things on that list. 

It’s is crazy to me that it is the end of July and we are officially over halfway through the 2017. Where has the year gone? 

So much has happened in such a relatively short space of time. My life now  is very different to what it was like at the start of the year. 

Some of those things have been amazing opportunities such as going full time and being promoted at work. Other things have been very sad such as loosing my mum back in January. It has been bittersweet.

I decided it was about time that I revisited the Bucket List and gave you a little up date on my progress. 
London Zoo 

Way back in April we visited London Zoo. I enjoyed seeing all the animals but also loved all the old architecture, many of which are listed buildings. The Giraffe house with its huge split doors was built in 1836. 

Catch a Wave 

I said I was going to embrace the sea this summer and catch a wave. Well yay for it being so warm in the run up to summer as it actually wasn’t that cold when we finally headed down to North Devon for our summer holiday. 
I tried out both bodyboarding and Surfing. The later is much harder and I still haven’t got up off my stomach. I have the bruised and scratched knees to prove though that I did  indeed catch and ride a wave. 


Not quite sure if I’m pulling of the surfer girl look? 


Try Avocado on Toast 

I’m counting this Smashed Avocado and Bacon on Sour dough toast, from Jamaica Blue in Chelmsford, as ticking something off my list. It’s not quite the super healthy blogger cliche version but this appealed to me much more. In fact I enjoyed it so much I’ve been back a couple of times. 


Read the Harry Potter Series 

My son and I are making good progress reading through the Harry Potter series. We  have got as far as Goblet of Fire. 

I love this one to one time I have with my youngest. We don’t get to do it every day due to work constraints, which is why it has taken us so long. I’m sure we will have finished the series by the end of the year.

Visit Ireland 

Lastly I have booked my flights to visit family in Ireland this coming September. It will be a whirlwind weekend trip but I can’t wait. We are have a big girly weekend at my Aunts in a part of Ireland I have never visited before. 

We are a little over halfway through the year. So far I have ticked off or planned for 5 items on my list. With 12 still left I’m going have to pull my finger out if I want to tick them off before the end of 2017. 

Of course I will keep you updated when that happens.

Day Tripping | ZSL London Zoo

On Saturday I finally got to tick one of the bigger items off my 2017 bucket list.  We took the children to ZSL London Zoo. We got up early, packed a picnic and drove up to London. 

We had had much debate over whether we were going to get the train to Regents Park or brave driving. In the end the fact that there was the hassle of a rail replacement service, the decision was made for us.

It was actually really simple getting there by car and we were able to park in the Zoo’s car park which is a very short walk from the entrance. The cost of parking is £14.50 for the day. This extra fee is kind of annoying as entry price to the zoo is so high, but reasonable for London prices. It’s not a big car park so I would advise getting there for opening time if you plan on doing this. 

We were able to save some money on our entry fee by trading in Tesco club card vouchers. This is worth bearing in mind if you are planning a visit as it can save you a lot of money on your entrance fee

London Zoo is the worlds oldest scientific Zoo, it opened in 1828 as collection for scientific study. Today the zoo is a registered charity and undertakes important conservation work on critically endangered species such as its successful Sumatra Tiger breeding program. 


Throughout the day there are various different talks and feeds that you can watch. These are very popular so it’s worth planning your day around these if you want a good view point. 

Highlights for me included the Reptile house and the Aquarium. Aside from being able to view a huge variety of species, the buildings themselves are very interesting. Opened in 1927 they are great example of architecture of that time period, with original features still present. 

The reptile house featured in Harry Potter: The Philosophers Stone. We spent a lot of time trying to work out which particular tank Dudley got stuck in. 






The Animal enclosures are very open with a good amount of outdoor space. Rather than glass enclosures, moats, low fences and netting are widely used. It does feel that you are able to get quite a close up view of the animals. 

The Gorrila enclosure is a particularly good example of this.



We spent a good five hours at London Zoo, there is plenty to see and do including a children’s hands on area, climbing frames and a traditional carousel.

It is possible to see all of the animals in one visit but not necessarily all of the talks. You can become an annual member of ZSL that allows you unlimited entry to both ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For our family, if we paid by direct debit, the annual membership fee is roughly the same as the gate price if  we were to visit each of the zoos just once. This is something worth considering if you wanted to visit both or more than once a year. 

We took a lot of pictures during our visit so I’m going to end this post by sharing some of the best with you. 




My Current thoughts on Minimalism | I watched ‘that’ Netflix Documentary 

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been trying to downsize and de clutter my life. One of my first areas to tackle was my bulging wardrobe using the Project333 method. You can read more about that in this post here

Things have certainly improved in that department, though I did fall off the wagon a bit recently. I am a self confessed shopaholic so you can imagine how much of a challenge changing this behavioural pattern has been. 

After deciding that I needed some inspiration I decided to watch the Netflix documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. You can find more information on it here. Whilst I wouldn’t say that this has been life changing or I’ve had an epiphany, I do feel I took some important lessons from it. 

The documentary touched on America’s consumer led throw away culture and why this has been the norm. The ability to participate in conspicuous consumption is seen as part of fulfilling that American dream. In laymans terms this means that we have been conditioned to believe that what we consume in terms of material possessions portrays how successful and happy in life we are. Obviously I’m not an American or living in America but this rings true of most progressive countries. 

This is a notion that I completely agree with. As a society we have indeed become accustomed to that misguided need to seek  fulfilment from material things. The problem is that sense of fulfilment is often short lived before we are dissatisfied and looking for the next ‘must have’ item. That buzz you get from buying something new and sharing it on Instagram is what feeds the habit. 

Retailers convince us that if we are having a bad day or simply feeling a bit down that some retail therapy is the answer to our problems. It’s not though! A new pair of shoes won’t change the fact that your job sucks or your boyfriend cheated on you. 

I feel I have made a conscious decision to change my ways. This isn’t going to happen overnight though. I’m going to use a huge cliche now. I’m on a bit of a journey of discovery and gradually working out what things are important to me. 

Since downsizing my wardrobe, back in November I have been a lot happier. Even though I have less clothes I never say to myself I have nothing to wear. Why? Well for a start every damn item in that wardrobe I love. If something doesn’t fit or make me feel special I’m not going to hold onto it. 

Now I know that plays into the whole throw away fashion problem but hear me out. I am learning to be mindful about what I consume. I ask myself questions such as ‘Do I actually need this?’. 

I would be lying if I said I had completely stuck to the project 333 method of managing my wardrobe. Just working in fashion retail presents temptation on a daily basis. As part of my job I am required to act as a brand ambassador and dress in the latest collections that are on sale at work. For this reason my work wardrobe is constantly changing to keep up to date. 

It is much easier for me to control the basics. Recently I bought two pairs of jeans, one black and one blue. That could seem excessive but I had lost weight and the two pairs of jeans I already owned kept falling down. Instead of holding on to those jeans that didn’t fit I took them along to my local charity shop. In the past I probably would have held on to them ‘just in case’. For me being able to let go of material possessions that no longer serve a purpose to me is a big step forward. 

I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as a minimalist. I enjoy shopping and collecting pretty things. One thing I picked up from the documentary is that It’s okay to have a collection if you feel it genuinely adds value to your life. That is the key thought process I have in mind now when deciding whether to give space in my life to a particular material item. 

As an example I have what most people would consider a large amount of makeup and beauty products. I see trying out new products and reviewing them on my blog as a rewarding hobby. 

I am making small changes in this area though. If I don’t like a product or it doesn’t work for me then realistically I’m not going to reach for it. What is the point of hoarding something if I don’t use it. It is just going to sit there untouched and getting closer and closer to its expiration date, losing any value it had. Somebody else though might love what doesn’t work for me so these are now going to be passed on.

I used to have 3 separate beauty subscription services delivered each month. Why? Well I had justified it by saying that this was a more cost effective way of trying out new products. I only have one body though so this was excessive. I couldn’t possibly use everything in one month. 

At present I have just one subscription service. I tried going cold turkey but found I really did actually miss receiving my monthly beauty package. That is okay though I haven’t failed and one is a vast improvement on three. 

If you have access to Netflix it is definitely worth checking the documentary on minimalist living out. I’m very aware that this type of lifestyle isn’t for everyone but it certainly helps you to see through the clutter and work out what is important in your life. 

Let me know your thoughts on this.

Life lately – it’s been a while!

It’s been a little while since I’ve sat down to write a blog post. There have been a couple of big reasons for this. 

Let’s get the negative one out of the way first…I’ve been lacking in inspiration. Yup I’ve been having a few head scratching moments and come up blank. 

My other excuses are far more positive and mainly due to a lack of time. Back in February I gained a promotion at work. This has meant switching from a part time role to full time. I’m still learning how to juggle without dropping too many balls. Let’s just say family, work then sleep have taken priority in that order. Blogging has taken a very firm back seat. 

I’m not complaining though I promise. I love my job and feel I’ve finally found a company to work for that fits who I am. I hope to grow with them and work towards gaining another promotion when the next opportunity arises. At the moment I’m like a sponge trying to soak up all the new skills and knowledge I can get. That’s probably why my brain has switched off from blog post inspiration. 

I’ve also found having this to focus on hugely beneficial when it has come to dealing with my feelings surrounding my mums death. It seems strange to me that she has been gone for over two months now, that it’s been a whole month since her funeral. The hardest thing to come to term with is that Death is so final and life will carry on regardless. All these great things are happening in my life and Yet I can’t tell my Mum. Mmmm….

Mother’s Day was an interesting experience. I was very anti the whole occasion and kept yelling at every promotional email, TV advert or instore display to F-Off! How inconsiderate of them? Did they not know I had just lost my mum and that it was like a slap in the face? 

Well off course not…don’t be a prat Katy! Grief  does that to you sometimes though. 

Wow that got a bit deeper than I intended! 

Back to the positives…

The kids have just broken up from school for the spring holidays. I have a weeks annual leave coming up so that means time to do some fun stuff. We have a trip planned to London Zoo and I hope to finally see Beauty and the Beast. (Still pissed off at Primark that I didn’t get my chip mug #chipgate).

I did buy some pretty bedding from Primark though, mainly because I haven’t had time to wash my old sheets. Lazy I know! I told you I’m still getting used to working full time. 


After not seeing the Hubby for about three days post Westminster attack (the pitfalls of being married to a police officer) we managed to cram in a lunch date. Byron burger is fast becoming one of my guilty pleasures. Their new menu is so so good. 

I had the limited edition Korean inspired Kimicheese burger  which involves Korean BBQ glaze, bacon, Freddar cheese, crispy onions, kimchi cucumbers, Gochuchang sauce and Ssamjang mayonnaise. 


I didn’t stop there either I also had the Gangnam fries which come with Freddar cheese sauce, jalapeños and Gochuchang sauce. 

Book wise I’ve just finished reading Bridget Jones Baby. If ever I feel I haven’t got my shit together I reach for a bit of Bridget she makes a mess of things far more than I do!

I’m currently reading Reap the Harvest by Margaret Dickinson. This falls into the saga genre and is that last in a trilogy that spans three generations of women who lives centre around a coastal farm in Lincolnshire. This book is set in the 50’s, previous books weee set in the 20’s and 30/40’s. 

So that’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to recently. I hope to be a little bit more productive throughout April.

Alternative Valentines Gift ideas. 

With Valentine’s Day just a week away the blogger curated gift guides are popping up all over the place. I hate to be a negative nelly but so far I’m uninspired. 

Come on!! Someone be a bit more original then sharing the same Lush gift set, heart shaped box of chocolates and perfume. 

If that’s what you’re into then feel free to tell me to shut up. Me though I’m after something just a little bit different. 

Ever one to take matters into my own hands I put my thinking cap on and came up with some alternative gift ideas. 

Here goes…..

Most couples have a special song that they consider theirs. For my husband and I it is Everlong by Foofighters. Previously I have gifted my husband a framed print of some of the lyrics from the song. 

This print is fairly basic. I found it on Amazon a couple of years ago but there are loads of different styles available now. If you are feeling creative a nice idea is to DIY one. Who says you need to fork out a ton of money on a valentines gift?  I also spotted cushions printed wth song lyrics which I thought were a fab idea. 

This personalised sound wave print from Not on the high street takes this special song idea to a whole new level. You can completely customise it to any song you like! 

This metallic one is a tad on the pricey side at £30 however there are cheaper options available on the website. 

Is your partner a wine lover? This taste lab kit from honest grapes is such a fun gift. Starting from £35 each kit contains 10 test tubes of artisan wines in both white and red. It comes with a quiz booklet that leads you through tasting the wines. 

My Husband was gifted one of these kits at Christmas, we had a very fun evening that didn’t involve the TV or the distraction of mobile phones. If you add a cheese board then you have a great date night.  

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that don’t cost very much but require a little bit time and effort. I have always loved the idea of love coupons so have finally got off my bum and had a go at making some. 

The idea behind this is that you give your loved one a coupon book of pledges. These can be romantic, naughty or just the opportunity to do something nice for them. The  recipient chooses when they want to redeem a coupon so this can be extended beyond Valentine’s Day. 

I used luggage tags and red raffia to make mine so it was super easy. The hardest part was actually deciding on my pledges. That and not smudging the Ink. 



What do you think of these ideas? Would you be happy to receive something like this or are you a valentines traditionalist?  

The 2017 bucket list

I’m not making any New Years resolutions this year. Why? Well I always break them, so I don’t actually see the point. Instead I’ve created myself a bucket list of 17 things I want to do in 2017. 

I’m not saying I’m going to complete every last one of the items on this list but I’m going to give it a damn good go. 

Some of the items on my list are very simple, others will take a bit of planning. It includes day trips to places that I have been saying I have wanted to visit for goodness knows how long, but never seem to have got around to.

There are some craft activities that I have had the materials at home to do for a crazy long time but still haven’t got round to tackling . 

If I just manage to get half of this list completed this year then I’m in for a fun 2017.

Here goes; 

  1. Go and see the Musical Wicked.
  2. Run 5k.
  3. Learn to cable knit. 
  4. Catch a wave. 
  5. Visit London Zoo.
  6. Take the kids to see ‘the changing of the guards’ at Buckingham Palace. 
  7. Try mashed avocado on toast. How can I claim to be a blogger and never have tried this? 
  8. Make an Origami Crane mobile. 
  9. Visit Tiptree Jam Museum.
  10. Visit Brighton, in particular ‘The Lanes’.
  11. Go for afternoon tea at The Ritz.
  12. Finishing reading the Harry Potter series with my Son. 
  13. Make a Pavlova.
  14. Make a skirt. I have had the material for this for about two years now. 
  15. Paint the bedroom. It hasn’t been done since we moved In ten years ago. I’m desperate to get it done this year. 
  16. Eat fish & chips out of the paper, whislt sat on the seafront and watching the sun go down. 
  17. Last but not least…Visit my family in Ireland. Even if it’s just for 1 night. It’s been far too long! 

So that is everything on my bucket list for 2017. Realistically none of it is that unachievable. I just need to stop putting things off. What do they say? You only live once! 

The Bloggersxmas2016 Event | #Blogmas Day 2

A couple of weekends ago I was fortunate to be able to attend the #bloggersxmas held at Finches Pub in Finsbury Square, London. 

After getting completely lost, with no Internet connection on my phone so I couldn’t even check google maps,  I finally arrived about 20 minutes late. The hubby had to talk me through directions over the phone in the end! 

Anyway, late and slightly flustered I was greeted by jasmine and Kirsty, authors of Soeursdeluxe.com, who organised the event. They were lovely and very welcoming. 

The event was a chance to meet up with other bloggers and to meet some exciting brands. After a glass of refreshing Apple punch I had a little wander around the brands showcases. There was a good mix of brands I already new and some new discoveries. Here is a quick round up of the best. 

Online boutique  Mikko specialise in luxury fashion created by talented designers from across Europe.

I loved the simplicity of their dresses and super chunky knitwear. Some of the pieces were modelled by Mikko’s representatives who kindly posed for photos. (Sorry I forgot your names) Don’t they look fab though! 

This is defiantly a brand I will be checking out in the future. 

Aromand is a British brand based in Berkshire that create luxury hand made candles, reed diffusers and room sprays. 


The scents are unique and very sophisticated. I had the chance to have a chat with Sue who develops the scents and makes the products. 

She takes inspiration from her husband who is a chef and adopts a similar approach to recipe development when creating new scents. 

My favourite has to be Berries and Black Pepper. Berry scents can often be too sweet and overpowering for me but the addition of black pepper adds a balanced spiciness to the fragrance. 

All of her products are beautifully gift wrapped as well. 

I’m gutted my photography was not up to scratch on the day as it really doesn’t do the brand justice. 

Jewelled Buddha is a brand that has captured my heart. I’m saving my pennies so I can purchase one of their handcrafted sari necklaces in the near future. 

All of the scarves and necklaces are created from repurposed saris meaning each piece is one-of-a-kind. 

Jewelled Budda works in partnership with Indian based social enterprise, Wandering silk, ensuring the skilled women who create each necklace and scarf are paid a fair wage, experience regular employment and safe working conditions. 

The brand is truly inspiring in its promotion of zero waste and empowering of women. 

Annoyingly I was so busy chatting to Harjit about the brand and its work I totally forgot to take any photos of the gorgeous necklaces and scarfs. Do check out their website though here.

I have always been a fan of Joe Browns who were at the event showcasing their Christmas collection. It is Beautiful, with a capital B. 

Other creatives showcasing at the event included; the very talented Sheena Bulsara who creates one-of-a-kind jewellery, Katherine Ellizerbeth Millinery and Gia who were displaying their soon to launch collection of clutch bags. 

Sheena Bulsara’s piece inspired by her time living in Paris
Hats created by Katherine Elizerbeth Millinery


The event was sponsored by jewellerybox.co.uk who provided the bags for our goody bags we were lucky to receive. We were gifted by brands including skinfix, freeman beauty, popband, PNY, yankeecandle and my beauty matches. 


I will let you know how I get on with some of these goodies in the future. Spoiler alert though, I’m already loving the Burt’s Bees lip balm and skinfix handcream. 

Creating a Capsule Wardrobe using the Project 333 Method

In my previous blog post I talked about how I wanted to downsize and declutter my life. I started to embark on a rather ruthless clear out of my wardrobe yesterday in the hope of creating myself a functional yet still stylish capsule wardrobe.

Shamefully I’ve managed to fill two black bin bags for either the charity shop or recycling centre. These are all items I’ve been hanging on to but truthfully do not wear, and the drawers are still fairly full. They just shut now!
My reliance on a few select items from my wardrobe has become more apparent since I started working in a clothing store. I have to wear their clothing to work as my uniform, and since I’m there usually 4 or 5 days a week, most of my other items in my wardrobe get ignored.

This realisation is part of what has spurred me on to change my habits. I want to have a go at creating an easy to use capsule wardrobe.

Having read a few blog posts for some advice as to where to start I came across Project 333. This is basically a minimalist fashion challenge that encourages you to dress with 33 items or less for a period of three months. You can read more about the challenge here in this blog post by Courtney of bemorewithless.com. 

I think this is the perfect tool to help me create the more simplified life I’m seeking. So this weekend I shall be selecting some key pieces from what is left after I have purged my wardrobe to see me through the next 3 months. The rest for now is going to be boxed up and stored away where I can’t get at them. Im sure my Husband will be delighted as his shirts will no longer be crushed in our shared wardrobe.

I’m not going to select a full 33 piece wardrobe straight away as I don’t want to ban myself from completely purchasing anything over the next 3 months. Also I want to cover myself for any occasion that I might not have anything suitable for without breaking the rules of Project 333.

Those original challenge rules are;

  • The 33 items includes Clothing, Accessories, Outerwear and Shoes.
  • It doesn’t include sentimental jewelry items such as my wedding and engagement ring. (I never take them off accept when doing something messy like making meatballs) underwear, sleepwear or workout gear.
  • Workout gear is only for working out in – no cheating  and wearing that then!

I was having a very tough time narrowing down my selection. This is because a vast majority of it is taken up with essential work related items. I worked out 4 items would automatically be used up on accessories for work.

My Husband suggested I bend the rules slightly as this was uniform and not include those particular accessories towards my total. I was reluctant at first but he pointed out how much I had actually downsized already.


This pile is predominantly summer clothes so it was actually quite easy for me to decide to put it into storage. I will take it out next year and decide what I want to keep then.

What is left in my wardrobe is very much a winter wardrobe and hopefully will cover all eventualities.

At the moment there are 30 items on the list. There are 1 or 2 that I was unsure about so I may remove them at a later date if I find I’m not wearing them. So for now that leaves me able to add 3 items. Though if I do remove those other items that will give me the option to replace them.

I know I am going to have to get a pair of shoes to wear for Christmas Parties as I don’t have any suitable. I’m thinking some kind of black court shoe would be the most versatile.

The Christmas period will be interesting, I’ve selected 1 very ‘dressy’ dress and that’s it. Eeeek!! lets see how I manage.

This is what remains in my wardrobe. Some of it is missing though as it is currently in the wash.

I will try to share some outfit posts in the future, be warned though I’m a bit useless at those as I’m an awkward poser. What do models do with their hands???
I will also share any new additions to my capsule wardrobe over the next three months. That will be a rare occurrence though. As it stands I can only add three things. Oh god help me!

Let me know what you think of this challenge, even if you think I’m mad!