Rants and Raves #36

Things have been fairly busy round here but I thought I’d drop in a little Rants and Raves posts because I do like getting these things off my chest 😉

Rant: So I bought new trainers straight after the Tokyo Marathon because I thought I’d like a fresh start and all that jazz. I’m a Mizuno, Brooks and ASICS fan, but I do tend to favour Mizuno. Or at least I did. I’ve actually been loving running in my Brooks Adrenaline GTS’s but Mizuno’s are a bit cheaper and in general I seem to wear them more. So for around £50 on Amazon I found my usual trainers and went for them.They’re the Mizuno Wave Paradox 2 – in such a lovely colour. I wore them on a few of my post-marathon runs and then hurt my ankle/lower calf. Since then I’ve not worn these trainers again. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the trainers that caused my injury and most likely was the fact that I jumped straight back into some tough running less than a week after a marathon…but my irrational brain doesn’t want to wear the trainers now! I know this is ridiculous. My Brooks will be seeing the end of their time soon and it seems ridiculous to buy another pair of new trainers just because I’ve convinced myself the above trainers aren’t good. Does anyone else get these irrational fears (almost superstitions) about things like this?

Rant: Easter eggs sitting in my living room but aren’t for me.Ahh the daily temptation. I’ve bought a selection of eggs for family and friends and I did this early so there wouldn’t be an issue closer to Easter. On that note, isn’t it ridiculous just how many eggs are sold over Easter? Supermarkets have stacks and stacks of them and yet still they’ll be a dearth of supplies the closer it gets to Easter. It does make me worry about the amount of food packaging waste generated…I hope people recycle where they can.

Also, let’s ignore that that’s a Lindt reindeer and not a bunny. I was going to buy a bunny when my mum told me she had one I could have instead as my parents don’t want any eggs or chocolate as they’re trying to be more healthy. However, it turns out she had a spare reindeer instead – from Christmas. *Sighs*

Rave: Being an adult now (well, in terms of my age anyway I suppose), I don’t get many Easter eggs. My parents still treat me to one. I’m very cheeky and ask for a ludicrously expensive one. However because I’m all “sad and alone with no one to love me” (I believe this is how my mother thinks of me now) they buy this to make up for things (“things” being that very generic and all-encompassing term for the fact that I’m still single). Behold the Extra Thick Patisserie Egg from Hotel Chocolat.

It contains *clears throat* two egg halves, one 50% milk chocolate and pecan praline to be like a pecan pie and the other caramel chocolate, mascarpone, yoghurt and pinch of salt to be like a salted caramel cheesecake. And the full of chocolates themed as puddings, such as carrot cake, treacle tart, Eton mess and fudge sundae, amongst others. The hardship will be trying to not eat this all at once – I think I might die of sugar overload otherwise.

Rant: And speaking of being all single and alone (by the way, this is entirely tongue and cheeky – I actually am very happy right now. If you intend on pitying me, please leave immediately), I have one dress that I can’t wear unless I’m getting changed at someone else’s house.It’s impossible. I can’t do up the back. I can’t do it up before I get into it because it’s too tight then to get over my shoulders or hips, and I can’t reach around because the buttons are tiny. When people make dresses they need to consider single people!

Whew, actually quite a few rants today!

Natruflex Supplement – The Naked Pharamacy

And lastly I have a review from a company called The Naked Pharmacy. This company is a “natural pharmacy dedicated to evidence-based natural medicines, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals” [Source]. I was sent the Natruflex product.

This contains a high strength of turmeric and black pepper which provides a daily dose of 760mg total Curcuminoids and 19mg Piperine (95% strength of both active ingredients). Apparently these give joint and muscular benefits, reducing discomfort. The supplement also contains magnesium.

The supplement is gluten-free, suitable for vegetarians and not tested on animals.I had a little look on examine.com (which is a great website for checking scientific claims of supplements) and it seems there’s some evidence behind curcuminoid as being helpful to the body. But I’m neither a pharmacist nor a doctor (or anything science-related) so this is a very laymen point of view. I can’t say I’ve felt a huge difference but it is something I’d continue to take as I know how good turmeric is supposed to be for inflammation and, let’s be honest, I need all the help I can get to avoid injuries!

And finally, a lovely little Rave to finish off with. SUNSHINE! At the beach no less! Good days are coming, wheeee!

How are you enjoying these sunnier days?

Do you use turmeric to boost your body?

What Easter egg, if any, are you planning on eating?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the supplement from The Naked Pharmacy for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Sunny parkrun and I’m long running again!

This weekend was nice and chilled. Sometimes you need a weekend that you don’t do much and catch up on life, you know?

I headed to Netley Abbey parkrun on Saturday morning. I got there early, as usual, to help set-up the course. The chapel is being renovated for the next 18 months so the course has to change due to where the construction is going on. This meant a bit of confusion and rushing around as it wasn’t our standard set-up. Both the start and the finish were in different places and though the general route remains largely the same (still have that hill we have to do three times) it is a bit different and meant that we had to put our 1k markets, cones and arrows in different places.

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I’d brought Alfie with me as I knew my friend Mike wasn’t going to be running and said he was happy to look after him while I ran. I always feel mean if I leave Alfie behind when the weather is so lovely. So it was nice to bring him and give him chance to race around when we set up.

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It was quite warm so the run wasn’t that easy and there seemed to be a lot more exposure to the sun on the new route.

Netley July parkrun 3Photo credit: Ken Grist

I listened to some music for once, which I haven’t done in ages but as I had my Aftershokz headphones I thought it might be a nice change. They still let me hear my surroundings so I don’t feel as ‘locked in’ when I run.

Netley July parkrunPhoto credit: Ken Grist

Each lap I waved to Mike and Alfie. Alfie at first didn’t really notice me and then when he saw me his little face just looked like “where are you going? Come back!”.

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My time was 23:10 which I was chuffed with as I did put some effort in (it was about a minute quicker than I’ve been doing recently). I think the course is a bit easier than it used to be though as it has less turns but I’ll take it!

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Then I headed back to Mike and Alfie to cheer some of the others in. The weather was just beautiful but I was a sweaty mess!

There were some great milestones achieved this parkrun: a few 50s and a 250th! And course that meant cake…

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Very tasty! Then we headed to the cafe for a drink. I had an ice cold sparkling water instead of my peppermint tea as it was far too warm and I treated Alfie to some dog ice cream!

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Basically it’s frozen fruit puree with a few other relatively normal and human-safe ingredients so we all tried a bit. Not especially creamy but nice enough. Alfie certainly liked it (though I had to ‘mush’ it up for him as he couldn’t be pigged to spend his time licking away it).

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Then it was back home to have some breakfast, shower and then head to my parent’s house. They’re currently on holiday and had asked me to check in on the house and water their plants. As I was also meeting up with some friends that evening who lived in the area I planned on spending the night as well. It also meant my run the next day could be along my favourite coastal route.

I took Alfie down the beach for a nice long walk and it was just bliss.

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I bought an ice cold Fanta Zero from the ice cream van and was in heaven. The walk took about an hour and I listened to a podcast and might have played some Pokémon Go Winking smile Though this absolutely rinsed my battery.

I went to my friend’s house a bit later on and we ordered in some takeaway and had a very nice chilled evening watching the old classic, Wall Street. It was a lovely relaxed evening.

The next morning I got up and headed out for my first longish run in a while. I planned to do eight miles as I’d run five miles previously and if I’m planning on doing Chester marathon in the beginning of October I need to be increasing my mileage. I didn’t want too big a jump but I felt eight would be good.

Though it was overcast the run was still hot. I felt fairly comfortable though and the miles ticked by. I briefly thought about a tap that I knew was at the beach and would be at mile 6ish. I probably could have survived the run without water but I couldn’t get it out of my head. When I got there I couldn’t see anywhere that it said drinking water (nor that it wasn’t drinking water). But I knew people used the water for their beach huts – though I wasn’t sure if they boiled it first or not. In the end the desire for water was too much and I decided to risk it. It was nice and cold. Finger’s crossed I’m OK!

Somehow I’d gotten my route wrong (how do I always manage this?) and ended up going passed 8 miles. I decided to continue on to 8.5 miles then walk home. But then when I reached 8.5 I still felt good so pushed to 9. Then I stopped and walked home, which was about less than half a mile. I felt good though definitely like I’d run 9 miles, of which I haven’t done in a good few weeks!

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It was so nice to have a run that felt good. My hamstring is pretty much back to normal. After seeing my physio a couple of times and, as I’ve said before, he didn’t think it was my actual hamstring that was the issue. He worked on loosening my back (which was probably tweaking my sciatic nerve) and realigned my pelvis. So things have been a lot better. I’m back to squatting and deadlifting at the gym again (though not stiff-legged deadlifts just yet).

The rest of the day was life admin and chores. I also had a wonderful nap in the afternoon, perfect Sunday chill time. So basically my weekend was quiet but lovely Smile

Did you go to parkrun this weekend?

Would you drink from a suspect tap if you were thirsty?

Fashionably Fit: Summer Style

Hello there! I think we can safely say summer is well and truly here. Well, us Brits needed something new about the weather to moan about right?

It’s not secret that I get up stupidly early to run. Currently we’re talking at 5.10-20am depending on how far I go. When people hear this their usual response (unless they’re a fellow runner) is “you are mental, why on earth?” Sure I could run in the evening but I love being out there in the morning before most people are awake. And the best part is that the sun is shining! When my alarm goes off I’m actually OK to get up because the sun has been beaming through our white curtains and has gradually woken me out of a deep sleep anyway.

I always tell people who are interested in getting fit or starting running, it’s so much easier to start in spring and summer than winter. I detest getting up so early in winter because it’s like the middle of the night. It’s cold. It’s usually wet. I’m grumpy. So the motivation isn’t there. Therefore summer is a great place to start these good habits.

But before and during summer, us women get hounded by that nasty stock phrase: getting “bikini body” ready. The obsession begins just before summer, flashed across every women-focused magazine (“lose 7lbs in 7 minutes!” or something similar). To combat this horrid obsession SportsShoes think that rather than focus on the ‘perfect bikini body’ the better solution for body confidence is to don some colourful, high performance kit and go for a run in the sun. Nothing is more empowering I’d say.

I’m a huge fan of Nike and SportsShoes has a great range of technical active wear which will help women look good, feel great and ultimately boost their confidence. I could live in my workout gear (seriously) so for me it’s important to feel and look good in it.

I was sent some cool Nike gear to trial and review. A number of very summer-focused running and workout tops. Perfect for the heat!

IMG_7252 This purple running top (find it HERE) was perfect when I went on a 15 mile bike ride the other Saturday and running in general.

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The fabric wicks the sweat away from my skin so I don’t get all sweaty and sticky. There’s all little holes in the back as well to keep you cool.

Another top was the below yellow one (found HERE):IMG_7253 It is very bright. I love that about it! It’s also made from very thin material (slightly see-through?) but keeps you very cool. I adore this top.

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Again made from the technical material to help sweat wicking (nice phrase there). In retrospect not a great top to wear with my tiny shorts but it was seriously hot that day so I didn’t care (let’s not talk about the very cheeky joking remark I got about looking like I was just out of Anne Summer’s – how rude!)

The below top (find HERE) I initially thought was just a regular workout top in that it was just cotton, but it’s actually made from that wicking fabric too so I can run in it without any chafing issues.

IMG_7211It’s a little big on me but I quite like that – it’s airy and cool.

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Another top is a plain black one (found HERE).

Netley Abbey parkrun 19.07.14 The top is a nice feel but it does slip down a bit which was a bit annoying. I was wearing a pink sports bra underneath to jazz it up so it wasn’t too big a deal. It is quite loose and light so cool in the hot weather.

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The final top is more of a gym top than a running top (find it HERE) as it’s a bit thicker and I’m sure it would rub under my arms (that dreaded chafe…).

 

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It’s such a nice colour though. I tend to wear a lot of dark colours in both normal life and running, so it’s nice to add some more bright colours to my stock! Again it’s made from the wicking fabric. And it’s very soft feeling.

I love the summer because you can really wear so much more exciting work out gear. In winter there’s a lot of jackets and leggings which is never as exciting. Plus during the summer you can get a nice tan on your arms and legs (though not always with great tan lines!)

What do you wear during the summer to workout?

Does what you wear help build your confidence?

What colours do you prefer for your workout clothes? 

**Full disclosure: These products were sent to me for free in order to review, but all opinions are my own. The links provided are not affiliated links.**

I’m back! Mexico recap–part 1

Hello! Wow it seems ages since I last blogged. Yep sadly, my holiday is over. 

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I am back in the UK. Well, I’ve been back since last Wednesday but needed a bit more time to normalise back into reality. You know what it’s like. Blissful time in the beautiful sunshine…then bam back to the real world.

Honestly, the holiday was amazing. And do you know what? We had half a day of rain. The rest of the time it was HOT, HUMID and sunny, sunny, sunny. So my fears of rubbish weather were unfounded. Hurrah!IMG_5182

Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin with my recap. I will save all the food yumminess until Wednesday and focus on what we did instead for this post. Though I will say, the food…oh wow, it was so good. So much, so good, so yummy.

We left at 5am on Friday morning to get to the airport and have some breakfast.IMG_5041

Very excited, but a bit tired and dishevelled looking

OK, OK I will show one meal! If you’ve been a long-time reader (kudos to you Winking smile) then you know how I adore Jamie Oliver restaurants. So we had to go to the Jamie’s Italian for breakfast. It’s just a holiday essential in my eyes. And believe me, you cannot start a holiday in any better way.

Jamie Oliver breakfast

I umm’ed and arr-ed for about five seconds before thinking “sod it” and ordering this beast of a meal. Go big of go home Winking smile And how I love my husband. He got the same but he hates black pudding so I got his. Amazing. I’m not ashamed to say I cleared this plate all except a few spoonful’s of beans and a couple of fried potatoes. Embarrassingly I wasn’t hungry at all for our in-flight meal (how unsurprising) and had to have it in sat front of me on my little table for so long a flight attendant thought I didn’t want it! I was like “hold up lady, I will eat this. But give me a little time!”.

The flight was fine (movie watching makes everything good in my book) and then we got a coach from Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen. Instantly the heat hit us. It was unreal.

The hotel was beautiful. It was just amazing. We went to bed quite early Mexico time as it was six hours behind British time so we were pooped! Then we got up early (5am!! Thank you jet lag) and decided to go for a run. Might as well!

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This was the hotel lobby at 6am. It was still really hot but the sun wasn’t out yet so it was much ‘easier’ to run in the morning. Plus the beautiful sunrise along the beach definitely helps!

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We didn’t do any actual beach running. It’s really not my thing. Sand in trainers and way too much hard work…so we stuck to the roads. We weren’t alone in our running – there were a fair few locals and other tourists out and about so it didn’t feel strange at all. But the heat. Wow it was oppression. Within one minute of running I was sweating and tired. It added at least one minute on to my usual running times. There was just no way I could go faster. Plus it was nice to just run at a slower pace.

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You might think I’m mad running on holiday but I loved it! I feel weird not running and it’s such a big part of who I am that I couldn’t not run. At times it was tough (when is running not??) but it felt great being out so early and seeing Mexico wake up. Getting back all invigorated for the day as well was brilliant.

Ben and me enjoyed a lot of chilling by the pool time…

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Chilling by the beach time…

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And chilling by the bar time…

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The bar was right next to the pool and a great place to take a break from the sun. I’m not a big drinker so I stuck to tomato juice (where have you been all my life??), iced coffee and diet coke (my absolute addiction). Ben enjoyed the local beer Winking smile

I quite enjoyed putting a podcast on and walking along the beach as well (I’m not overly good at sitting and doing nothing for long periods of time), which I didn’t realise would be quite a work out for my calves!

And lots of swimming in the sea!IMG_5330

Ben and me were so cool, we had goggles (damn you contact lenses)

The sea was perfectly refreshing, not cold but not warm. And so, so clear.

We also did a few excursions. One day we went to Chichen Itza which is a city that was originally built by the ancient Mayans where we saw the Temple of Kukulkan – a seventh wonder of the world!

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We had an hour long tour and found out so much interesting information – there’s a smaller pyramid inside that one! And the Mayans used to sacrifice people at the top of the temple (if you’ve seen Apocalypto it’s similar to that).

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We had such a hilarious day. Our tour guide was a hoot. He wasn’t even meaning to be. He was just was hilarious. We still do impressions of him now. Yep, we’re that couple.

From there we then went to the ‘Sacred Blue Cenote’. Here we got to swim in a crazy underground pool of fresh water (there’s a small hole in the ‘roof’ and that’s it). It was freezing but so refreshing considering the humid heat.

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Another day we went speedboating. We had our own little speedboat and there were about 4 others and we followed the speedboat in front but we could speed up and zig-zag which was quite terrifying. Then when we got so far out we stopped and the instructor gave us snorkels and we went snorkelling and saw some amazing coral reef and fish.

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Terrible photo sorry – it’s a photo of a photo we bought

Unfortunately the afternoon of our anniversary saw a major downpour of rain. But we didn’t really mind – it was quite a nice break from the intense sun. And we had prime positions at the bar.

Mexico rain

For our anniversary meal we chose to go to one of the restaurants that you had to book for in the morning. We chose the Steakhouse.

Anniversary meal

I enjoyed a lovely glass of Sangria with fresh fruit!

It was perfect. Not to get too mushy, but I do love my husband and it’s been such a truly amazing first year Smile

Right, I will leave it there. I have a few more excursions to talk about which I’ll save for another post. Wednesday will all be about FOOD (and a bit more about my running). And as an all-inclusive holiday, there was a lot of food. And puddings. Open-mouthed smile

Have you ever been to Mexico before?

Have you ever been to an all-inclusive? I had never been to one before and I was just amazed (and a little shocked) at how much food was available ALL THE TIME.

Running/working out on holiday – do you take it easy or carry on as normal? Or have a break entirely?

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Hi guys, I hope you had a beautifully sunny weekend. In the UK we had two scorching day. It was fabulous.

On Saturday Ben and me decided to go for a change of scenery for our usual weekly Parkrun and go to a different location. [If you’re not familiar with Parkruns, they’re basically free, weekly timed 5km races. They happen all over the UK, and the world! We love them because they’re a great place to practice your race style and get a speed workout in. Also a great place to meet up with our running friends]. We went to the Southampton one, which is just a few more minutes away than our local one.

I wasn’t going to aim for a PB (PR) as I didn’t want to ruin any recovery my leg had done (aren’t I broken record??) a week before our New Forest 10 mile race. But I did want a fairly reasonable time. I had also been warned of a hill on the first mile as well. Because it was an anniversary Parkrun for Southampton there was a pacing event on and an amazing 500 people showed up!

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I decided to stick with the 22 minute guy and see what happened. The first mile I felt nice and comfortable with the pacer and pushed through the hill. After the hill I felt happy that the worst was over and then decided I had enough in the tank to push on on my own. I decided to pick people off and keep the pace going strong on the second mile. The third mile I saw a glimmer of a chance of beating my PB but it became tough to dig deep. I saw a woman towards the end and decided to get past her. I presumed that because it was such a big event about 20 women had probably already finished. But I thought what the hell, one place up in the female list couldn’t hurt.

She wasn’t having it at all. As soon as I started over-taking she picked up the pace until we were sprinting each other to the finish line. I couldn’t hold on and so she beat me to it. I was happy for her to beat me, she deserved it!

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Not too shabby considering my PB for a 5km (hill-free) is 20:26, and placed 71st overall. And I came second female!! I had no idea that I had been trying to overtake the first female. Maybe if I’d have known I’d have tried a bit harder. Doubtful as I tried really hard!

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After showering, Ben and me enjoyed a lovely ice bath at home. So I sat in it and Ben sat on the edge with his foot in the water (as his ankle has been giving him grief recently). I had a cup of coffee and we both played games on our iPhones. That’s love Winking smile

After thoroughly numbing my lower body I then got myself dressed and a guy from my running club came over to test out some kinesio tape on my leg. Previously he had asked if anyone at the club wanted a free trial of it as he wanted to see if it really worked (he’s a trained physio but just does it in his spare time). I thought why not, what have I got to lose.

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Apart from looking like a berk! Considering all the issues I’ve had with my leg lately I thought it couldn’t hurt to have a bit of support for my long run the next day.

Yep I stayed in shorts all day long as well and got some funny looks on my walk with Alfie later. I felt like a proper athlete though. Ha.

Saturday evening we watched The Impossible. So good but not a particularly relaxing watch. Lots of painful moments as well.

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Sunday morning started with a 10 mile run. I got up early to try and beat the heat. It was still blinking hot at 8am though! I never take water with me on runs as I never need it but I just thought I better take something with me just in case. So I popped £2 in my mini shorts pocket (mini pocket, not mini shorts. There’s no Beyoncé round here). As I hit three miles I thought “yeah this is rough”. So I jumped into the nearest shop and bought a drink to take with me. So glad I did as honestly I think I either wouldn’t have survived the run or I would have had to have cut it short. Be sensible in the heat!!

I really struggled. It didn’t feel like it was my legs or my stamina holding me back. It was the oppressive heat. It just overwhelmed me. I finished my water by mile eight and then it was a thirsty two miles back.

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I got back and I was desperate for water and stupidly hot. And sweaty. Nice.

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I am honestly now dreading next week’s 10 mile race. It starts at 11.15!! I mean seriously?! No one in their right mind should be running at that time if it’s like this! Definitely going to carry water with me.

After showering Ben and me decided to drop in on my parent’s to see them and it turns out they were considering having a BBQ. Well…it would have been rude not to have stayed!! More on that in another post…

Hope you had a great weekend!

Was it a hot weekend for you? What do you do in the sunny weather?

Did you run this weekend? How did you survive??

Do you take water on your runs?

What’s your favourite kind of film? I love the drama ones where there’s a good story but I also like a good comedy. In fact, I quite like any kind of film (except horror) when the story is good and the acting is believable. And any eye-candy. That always helps Winking smile