Currently – January & February

My lovely friend, Emma, from Nanny on the Run inspired me to write this post. I love a good “currently” post.

Drinking: so my gym has this water machine that has nice flavours and “added vitamins”. I like to have exciting Yanga water at the gym because, well, anything that helps make the gym a more enjoyable and happy thing is good in my eyes. I’ve been a strong advocate of BCAA’s but buying a tub every three months is quite expensive. So I decided to up my gym membership cost a few pounds to get unlimited “special water”. This should save me money in the long run (and plastic, every little helps).

Eating and Cooking: I’m the master of throwing meals together in an evening. As I was basically only cooking for myself I was happy with a hodge podge of different ingredients. I’d be the human dustbin for my parents as well, eating up any stuff they weren’t going to use or was about to go off. However, as Kyle and I see each other so frequently during the week I have to think a bit more creatively about dinner. Though, bless him, he says he’d be fine with my random meals I’d rather have the excuse to flex my culinary abilities and make more of an effort. I love cooking and I love being able to do new recipes again.

Recently we had steak with a cream cheese and mushroom sauce and roasted new potatoes. We also had a creamy chicken meal with a rosemary foaccica (I bought that, Jesus, I’m not Mary Berry yet).

It’s been really nice being able to cook “proper” meals again. Though we struggle at the weekend not to get lured into the temptation to eat out and get takeaways… baby steps eh.

Watching: Well Kyle and I go to the cinema every week now. I can’t tell you how much I fricking love this. How did I ever survive not seeing ALL THE FILMS before? With our shiny Unlimited cards, the cinema is our oyster. I didn’t hugely enjoy The Mule but I did love Beautiful Boy (well, I ugly sobbed my way through it). We saw Green Book last night and it was so good. Very heart warming, funny and fantastic acting.

On the series side of things, I’m loving You for all it’s weird creepiness and also Killing Eve (late to the game on this one).

Reading: I recently loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It gave such an insight into the concentration camps, but it was chilling. For work I’m reading Sprint, which is from the a guy from Google talking about how to solve and test problems. Very interesting.

Using: I go through a lot of moisturiser. I always moisturise my legs after I shower and I’ve recently been using two different kinds that have been sent to me to review from e’lifexir Natural Beauty

Elifexir Fitness Body Contouring Gel (£15.99)

It contains a host of ingredients designed to “shape and tone” the body. There’s caffeine to help tighten the skin, dragon eye extra to protect the skin and black elder to calm the skin and vitamins to help encourage collagen production. I don’t believe this help you lose weight or really tighten up your skin in a dramatic way, but I do love the smell and feel of the cream on me. My skin does feel a bit more supple after using it so that’s a bonus to me. Plus they’re vegan and cruelty-free.

Elifexir Actidren Revitalising Leg Cream (£15.99)

This cream aims to soothes and relax your legs, relieving them of the heavy feelings and anti-redness. Olive oil and Rutin, a citrus flavonoid found in plants help reduce that tired leg feeling.

I love using this cream after a hot shower after my long run. It’s quite soothing and my legs are so smooth afterwards. I love it. You don’t need a huge amount either and, most importantly, it’s not greasy or thick! It glides on and rubs in well.

Playing: I love chilling out with my Nintendo Switch. I’m addicted. It helps me use my phone less in an evening which is good. I’m currently glued to Skyrim, but I also love Crash Bandicoot (though I’m appalling at it). Yes, I am a little nerd at heart.

Craving: I need to lessen my chocolate consumption I swear. I can power through a big bag of peanut M&M’s like it’s nothing. Peanut M&M’s aren’t actually that great for my tummy either it seems. I get quite bad stomach pains the next day. It’s worth it though… I’m also still craving that Jayne Salad again. IT WAS SO GOOD.

I’m also currently addicted to these Flipz. Weirdly the “Unicorn” flavour is incredible. The white chocolate fudge flavour was too sweet but these are just right. Of course the dark/plain chocolate variety are a solid selection too.

Have you tried any “unicorn” flavoured foods? It’s a bit of a mental craze…

What book have you recently enjoyed?

Do you moisturise regularly?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the moisturisers for free in return for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Loving my job and getting geeky

When I left my old job I desperately wanted to work in digital marketing.

I was bored as a test analyst) and felt a bit lost. But I wanted to stay within the realms of IT…after doing some research I found that digital marketing sounded really appealing. It’s a huge area and, personally, I find it fascinating. How companies use social media, web design and email to engage with customers and, yes, promote sales.

I always wanted to work in marketing – ever since I did a Psychology degree. The psychological side of business is how I saw it. What encourages someone to buy a product or like a brand . There are so many factors. It’s not about hoodwinking people though, it’s about providing good services and products to the people who most want them, and helping them get a good understanding of the company.

Because I enjoy the job I do and want to progress I often read articles and books to help further my knowledge. In the digital marketing world, like IT in general, things move quickly so you kind of have to be on the ball. What might have worked yesterday won’t necessarily work today. Look how quickly things like social media move and how many updates and changes the different platforms go through.

I recently heard about a company called Campaign Monitor, who are a leading provider of email marketing services. It’s a company used by many small and large businesses alike (even schools and churches actually!).

They have a great resource of articles to do with email marketing that can help companies improve their best practices and increase customer retention and engagement. They also have funky looking info-graphics, like the below.

It’s exactly these kind of articles I love to get geeky about and find really interesting. This might not be of interest to you at all and be a bit random, but I love reading stuff like this. I’m in such a good place with my job and find it amazing that I genuinely enjoy reading outside of my working hours to further my career. FINALLY I can get excited about my job and actively read stuff in my own time. I’m one of THOSE people now. Yay!

Do you enjoy your job?

Do you know much about digital marketing?

**Disclaimer: though I was commissioned to write this post, all opinions of the website are my own honest ones. I’ve read many of the articles on this site and genuinely find them interesting and useful.**

Legging loving – SKINS DNAmic Ultimate Compression review

Leggings… oh leggings, how I do love you.

I’d say 80% of the time at the gym I’m wearing leggings. I feel less “exposed”. The harsh bright lights of the gym and the fact that you’re not really flying past people, but rather hanging out with them in the same space. And doing squats in shorts isn’t my favourite thing it must be said. So leggings at the gym = BIG tick.

But for running I do prefer to be a bit more “free”. In general my legs don’t get that cold. It’s more my upper body that feels the chills. However, I was recently sent some SKINS leggings to test out from their new DNAmic Ultimate Compression range. Though I was keen to just keep them for the gym, the Biblical rain and wind the other night pushed me to be a bit of a wuss and pop the leggings on.It was dark, miserable, cold and wet and I frankly didn’t want to go outside. But the idea of being a bit more covered up made the experience feel a bit more appealing. So on they went. Yes I realise actual skin is waterproof but these aren’t just regular leggings, they’re compression leggings. As a big fan of compression socks I was quite keen to give them a try.Compression gear enhances your natural blood flow, which can increase the oxygen supply to your muscles and remove lactic acid quicker. The compression is design in a way that it’s strategically placed on the areas where you’d need it the most, helping to keep you going and reduce injuries. For every single marathon I’ve run (and all my long runs) I always wear compression socks. I find they give my calves a bit of extra support and keep cramp at bay.The material of the leggings, as you can imagine, is quite tight but not overly so. I mean, let’s be honest, over the Christmas period I don’t think anyone is feeling their leanest but once you’ve got them on you don’t feel overly restricted (a big concern I had, even after all the Christmas chocolate I’ve been scoffing ;-)).

The design is high-waisted (apparently helping with core-support) – which I love. Anything high-waisted I’m totally on board with. And there’s a back pocket (always handy) and reflective details to keep you seen during those dark runs.

I personally really like these leggings. Though I’ll probably use them more for the gym and super cold runs, they do stick to you like a second skin but they’re not restrictive. I felt very much “at one” with the leggings, not fighting them – even though they had a compression feel to them. And happily they’re squat proof! No nasty see-through issues.They’re launching officially in February 2019, but have pre-launched just last week (18th December), replacing their existing A400 range.

Do you wear leggings or shorts for running?

Is that the same for going to the gym?

Do you wear compression gear?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the leggings for free in return for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Environmentally sustainable sportswear – SueMe review

I think we all know we need to be more environmentally conscious and eco-friendly.

Unless you’ve been living under a box, you’ll be well aware that plastic is our nemesis and we should all be trying to reduce how much we use. Though it’s ridiculously difficult as it’s permeated our lives so deeply. You cannot escape it. It wraps our food, our cosmetics, packaging, it’s in anything we buy really. It’s almost impossible to avoid it.

What else I’ve noticed is the trend of “fast fashion”. Clothes that are almost disposable. You wear them for a short period of time – because they’re on trend – and then you’re done with them as the next trend emerges. And because the clothes are so cheap, it’s easy to do. Personally I don’t follow the majority of trends. I’m not that into fashion and I like buying clothes that will last me and I won’t look stupid wearing next year.

I’m the first to admit don’t do enough to be environmentally sustainable but I do try and make a conscious effort in small ways throughout my day. Like using my reusable coffee mug, my metal straw, buying less bottles of fizzy drinks, recycling, re-using, composting… And not buying stupid stuff that won’t last.

This is why I was keen to get involved with SueMe. The company manufactures responsibly sourced sportswear while still being comfortable and performance-related. I was able to try two pairs of their underwear and a t-shirt. Firstly, I thought it was very cool that they send SEEDS (as in, for plants) with their items. I love this!Their underwear is made from 95% beech tree pulp and is manufactured to be CO2 neutral. Not only this but the fibres require less amount of land and a lower water consumption. The t-shirts are 70%  bamboo viscose as well as 30% organic cotton.The underwear is SO comfortable. They’re boy short style – so female boxers, if that’s the best terminology! And they fit so nicely and are super flattering. The material is very soft. You could wear these to run a marathon in and not suffer from the dreaded chafe, 100%. They are wickable, breathable and naturally antimicrobial, which is ideal for sports. Interesting the pants (knickers? Shorts?) were designed by the same guy who made Iain Thorpes’ swimsuit (the swimsuit he wore to win the Gold medal). So you know they’re decent!I love the t-shirt as well. They have some very cool designs (a lot of cycling themes) but I just loved the thunder storm one.

The t-shirts are made in line with Global Organic Textile Standard and Global Recycle Standard and as such are manufactured in a way to meet certain standards (e.g. the water is recycled in a closed-loop system). Obviously all of this would be kind of wasted if the clothes didn’t feel or look good – my verdict? I really like them. The t-shirt is nice and casual and perfect with jeans.These days I think we just need to take a bit more time and conscious thought to decide where we’re buying things from, whether we actually need them and what impact we’re having on the environment. I don’t think we can just float through life willy nilly and not be responsible for our actions anymore. And supporting more companies like SueMe is a good step in the right direction I think!

Do you follow fashion trends?

What do you do to be more environmentally conscious?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent these items from SueMe for free in exchange for a review post. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

My motivations for the gym

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you probably know two key things about me. One, I see myself as quite the injury-prone runner. And two, I love leggings. Happily I’ve been able to complement these two things into a very productive outcome. Just hear me out…

I’m a big fan of going to the gym. Yes I love running, of course, but I do really enjoy going to the gym as well. It hasn’t always been this way. I saw the gym as the enemy. A place of bewilderment and boredom. I would drag myself there when I was no longer able to run because I was suffering from a sore knee, hip, painful IT band or something along those lines. So I’d go to a Spinning class or use the elliptical machine, grudgingly. But never sort the actual issue out – the root cause.

After numerous of physio appointments it finally got through to me that I needed to actually make strength training part of my weekly routine. Sadly I’m not one of those seemingly superhuman people who can just run and do nothing else.

It was tough though. It took a lot of research, YouTube videos, physio help and guidance to become stronger, confident and actually happy to go to the gym.Where do leggings come into it though? Well, one of the reasons I love the gym is that I can be a bit more exciting with my fitness clothing. I don’t wear leggings when I run because I just prefer to wear shorts… but at the gym, leggings are my staple. What you look like at the gym really doesn’t matter of course, but for me it really helps to be wearing something I feel comfortable and, yes, look good. It helps make me feel good.

I’m quite a boring person with what I wear normally so it’s nice to be a bit more “jazzy” at the gym where anything goes in terms of colours and patterns. One of the sites I love is The Sports Edit. They have a fantastic range of very stylish gym wear – and items that will last, not fast fashion that you will chuck away after a few months.I was sent a pair of leggings and a top from the site to review and I can happily say I’m in love. Now you know I know my leggings. I know what makes a decent pair, what’s flattering and, most importantly what actually works at the gym in terms of comfort and actually exercising. These leggings are GORGEOUS. I’m not really a huge pattern fan but these are subtly different. I love how sparkly they are (they don’t actually feel sparkly and don’t drop glitter everywhere – something I was a bit worried about).
They’re the Alloy Ombre High Waisted Leggings from the brand Beyond Yoga and when I wore them at the gym I got quite a few compliments. One person asked if they were they my “disco leggings” for Christmas. I mean, I guess he’s right, they’re perfect for the Christmas season! But I will be wearing them all year round 🙂 They have a lovely high-waisted fit, are thick enough to be squat proof but not too thick to not be breathable.
The top is the Under Armour Accelerate Tank White 2.0. I love how simple it is but also that the back is open to give a bit of air and also so you can show off your sports bra at the back (I have some quite nice sports bra with some funky strapping which is always a shame to cover up under a t-shirt). I’ll be wearing this top for both the gym and running.In terms of my gym routine, currently I’m at the gym three-four times a week. I tend to do circuit classes which work the entire body, but in a more weights-focused way. Think less cardio, more strength. I also ensure I do at least one legs and glutes focused day. We’re talking squats, lunges, hip thrusts, single leg work and resistance band routines. I’ll do heavy barbel squats and hip thrusts to really target increasing my strength and then higher rep, lighter weight exercises to focus more on the endurance of my muscles. I can happily say I’ve remained uninjured for a good while now and I’m almost certain it’s because of my stronger body.

What keeps you motivated at the gym?

Do you have different clothes for running compared to what you were at the gym?

Do you look for gymwear that will last a long time or whatever is cheapest? For me it’s generally long lasting and quality – but this does tend to be more expensive, but in the long run it works out better!

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the leggings and top for free in exchange for a review on my blog. As always these are my own honest opinions!**