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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
I am bit of a sucker for a good old subscription box. That’s why when I found out about Reading In Heels I immediately signed myself up. If you love reading and are open to reading something that you haven’t picked yourself, then this box is for you.
Each month you receive a book plus some extra luxury treats. This month the treats seemed to be themed around products designed to help you relax and get a good nights sleep. I’ve had a lot on my plate at work at the moment so this is something I really appreciated.
Included was a relaxing tealight sample from hopping hare candles. This has a gorgeous lavender scent with top notes of ylangylang. Full size candles range from £10-£38 and you can also pick up the tealight samples for just £1 from their website.
Next we have sleepy head beauty balm from Made by Coopers Apothecary . This 10g mini tin retails for £5 and you can get a larger 60g tin for £15. It has a Lavender and Frankincense scent. The top notes are much warmer than the candle.
Included also are two t2tea sleep tight Teabags, £7.50 for 25 and 2 pieces of Chins Kitchen Rose and Cardamom Nankhatai, £6.50 box. These are little fragrant Indian shortbreads. They were nice but not something I would rush out to buy myself.
This months book is Bad Romance by Emily Hill. The book is a selection of short stories that are darkly funny. I often have found myself literally sniggering as I read this book. Each story takes a fairly ordinary situation and then adds an unexpected twist. Often the heroines behave in way that society norms could consider to be fairly outrageous, they do so with a charming defiance.
I’ve found this perfect for keeping in my bag when I have a spare 5-10 minutes and feel the urge to indulge in a spot of reading. Life is often far to busy and fast paced and I sometimes just am looking for a spot of instant gratification. I don’t have to worry about getting to ‘the good bits’ and then having to stop reading.
A subscription costs £12.40 including P&P. This also includes access to the Reading In Heels digital book club, a place where you can leave reviews and discuss the book with other members.
As you can see it is well packaged so you items arrive safely.
Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of Reading in Heels. I am looking forward to seeing what next month brings.
On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to visit Hopefield Animal Sanctuary for an Influencer event that they were hosting .I took my Son along with me as I knew he would enjoy meeting the animals.
We were given a guided tour of the sanctuary and an informative talk telling us all about the necessary work that they do at Hopefield. After our tour we were then treated to a delicious vegan afternoon tea served up in their on site tearoom.
The sanctuary is located in Brentwood, not far from where I live in Essex. I had driven past it on many occasions as the paddocks back onto the A12, a road that I use regularly, but I had never actually visited. My view from the A12 gave the impression that Hopefield is a small horse sanctuary, which of course it is, however it is actually so much more.
The Sanctuary was founded In 1983 by Paula and Ernie Clark, after seeing the plight of the increasing number of abandoned ponies and cobs being left abandoned on Rainham Marshes. Today the Sanctuary is home to over 450 rescued animals, not just horses. They range from unwanted pet rabbits and cats, horses and cattle to the more exotic including tortoises, snakes, raccoons, alpaca and reindeer,
One of Hopefield’s first residents was Hope a 35 year old horse. Hope was rescued at just 6 months old from the meat market where she had been separated from her mother and was found hiding in a corner scared and alone.
Hope is a lovely horse and thanks to the care she has received is now quite used to human contact.
Hope suffers from a foot condition so cannot walk in mud. This is why her paddock is floored with concrete. It allows her to enjoy being outdoors even in wet conditions. This is just one example of how Hopefield will adapt its facilities to match an individual animals needs.
Hopefield operates with a no kill policy meaning that they will never put a healthy animal down. Some of the animals have been rescued from terrible conditions, injured, malnourished and with complex physiological issues. The team will do their best to provide the specialist care and treatment required.
Some of animals have found their way to Hopefield as they have been considered to no longer have any value for their previous owners. These male dairy cows for example would usually be destroyed at birth considered worthless.
Other residents have found themselves at Hopefield due to being purchased as unsuitable pets. These Racoon dogs might look very cute but do not make good pets. They found their way into the UK pet market from China. They are a wild animal though and cannot be domesticated. Luckily they were able to find a home at the sanctuary. Often unwanted animals are just dumped by their previous owners.
Hopefield do such fantastic work rescuing animals that would otherwise live a life that is full of suffering. They can only do this through fundraising and with the help of volunteers.
If you want to help you can do so by making a donation via their website. There is also an animal adoption scheme. We plan on adopting Slow Coach, the tortoise on the left in the picture below. He has scarring on his shell as he was kept in too small an enclosure. The heat lamps where so low they burnt his shell. This shell damage is permanent and will not grow back. It doesn’t slow him down though he was actually quite fast for a tortoise!
My Son instantly fell in love with Slow coach. He loves tortoises and wants one as a pet. We have had to tell him no though as it would be irresponsible of us to even entertain the idea. It is just not possible for us to provide the required home for one. My Son is excited to adopt Slow Coach though and will be able to visit him at Hopefield.
If you wanted to visit the Sanctuary and meet the animals for yourself it is open to the public. Opening times are Fridays through to Monday, between 11 and 4pm.
Entry fees are very reasonable at just £16 for a family ticket. (2 adults, 2 children).
A visit makes for a lovely afternoon out, not only to you get to see a wide variety of different animals but it is very educational and helps to support their ongoing work. The tea room is also a great place to grab refreshments whilst you are there. We really enjoyed our afternoon tea!
If you could adopt an animal what kind of animal would you adopt? Let me know in the comments.
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 JoJo 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 beenchanneling 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.