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.

eviternity Vitamin C Super serum | Review & giveaway

I am a bit of a self confessed skincare junkie and just love trying out the latest new ingredients. Of course then, when I was offered the chance to try out eviternity’s Vitamin C Super serum, I jumped at the chance.

So you’re probably thinking Vitamin C in skincare is nothing new. The Vitamin C in this serum though is sourced from the Australian fruit Kakadu Plum. This little super fruit contains 100 times more vitamin C than Oranges, so it’s powerful stuff.

The serum promises to reduces the signs of aging, improve radiance and act as a natural antioxidant. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid, one of my favourite skincare ingredients, making it very hydrating.

I have been using the serum for a couple of weeks now and very pleased with it so far. The serum has a cloudy appearance and is not too tacky or sticky. It has a very light citrus scent that is nice and refreshing. The packaging is a brown class bottle with a handy dropper that helps to control the amount you use. Based on my use so far I would say a 30ml will last me approximately two months. With and RRP of £14.99 that makes this a great value product.

My skin is definitely looking brighter and feels very healthy at the moment. I have also noticed that I have managed to avoid the usual pre menstrual breakouts this month. For me that is a big deal. I feel it is to early to comment on the anti-aging benefits after two weeks but to be honest I don’t really have what I would consider to be wrinkles, just a few fine lines next to my eyes, not bad too bad for my 36 years.

Overall I am really pleased with this serum. I usually try to list any cons I find in product reviews but can’t actually think of any for this serum.

If you like the sound of the eviternity  super serum it is available either directly from their website or from Amazon. I also have a bottle to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Entry is via Rafflecopter and closes on 16th July. One winner will be picked at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Re-discovering Barry M Cosmetics | Everyday Make-up Basics

Mention the brand Barry M Cosmetics to me and I immediately think of nail polish and glittery dazzle dust pots. In my teens and early twenties this was one of my go to brands. I have to confess though as I have got older, and my tastes have changed, I felt like I had outgrown the brand.

A couple of weeks ago though, I was contacted by Barry M and offered the opportunity to try a selection of their products. Barry M are wanting more Mum’s to rediscover how the Brand is not just about glitter but fits quite nicely into everyday beauty routines.

Having had a couple of weeks to play with the products I am pleased to say that I have discovered some great make-up basics that I am reaching for on a daily basis.

All Night Long Foundation Stick £6.99

This is the first time I have used a foundation that is in stick form. I am enjoying the fact that it is mess free and very quick and easy to use. Perfect for busy mornings then! I just swipe the stick across my face and using my real Techniques buffing brush I blend it out.

I was sent the shade cashew, which is a bit on the dark side for me. I can get away with it though as long as I’m careful about how much I use.

As claimed this definitely is a medium coverage foundation. It evens out my skin tone and helps to improves the overall appearance of my skin without looking unnatural. I do have to use a small amount of concealer to neutralise the redness around my nose or to cover any major outbreaks, but then that is often the same with most foundations I have tried.

The picture below show before and after application. I haven’t used any concealer.

The foundation lasts well at work, any colour fade is even and I don’t experience any shiny or cakey patches. Do bear in mind that I use a water based primer as well as a setting spray.

Overall I am more than happy with this foundation and will continue to reach for it on a daily basis.

Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer £4.49

Again Barry M have got it right with the packaging for this product. This concealer has a handy built in brush making it quick and easy to apply.

The concealer contains cucumber and aloe extract so it feels refreshing under the eyes. It’s not too thick and heavy meaning that it doesn’t settle into any lines around the eye area.

Flawless Mist & Fix Setting Spray matte finish £4.99

I always use a setting spray with my makeup as I find it not only helps my foundation last longer but also improves the appearance of my makeup overall. At this budget price point Barry M’s offering is a option for everyday use. It definitely keeps me looking matte and shine free without that tacky feeling you can get in some setting sprays.

Lash Vegas 2 Black Mascara £4.99

If you like feathery separated lashes then this mascara is perfect for you. It has a long thin spiral shaped brush that grips and separates the lashes.

I do find I have to try not to blink until it dries as it is quite a wet formula. Once it’s dry though it stays put. I am a hay-fever suffer so this is no mean feat where I’m concerned.

I love the packaging for this mascara it looks and feels very sleek. It feels quite weighty in the hand giving the impression of a more luxurious product.

That’s Swell Plumping Lipgloss £4.99

This might look like just a clear lipgloss but I have absolutely fallen in love with it. The gloss has a minty bubblegum taste to it that feels soft and plumping on the lips. It is very comfortable to wear, unlike other plumping glosses I have tried.

I reach for it so regularly that it now lives in my work bag as it’s great for a quick fuss free freshen up.

Overall I have enjoyed using all of these products. Barry M is a great place to look for those necessary everyday basics. If you want a bit of glitter in your life too then they’ve got you covered.

To see the full range from Barry M check out their website here.

*post features PR samples

Reading In Heels | A book based subscription box

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.