Things I’m loving lately – April

Easter is one of those holidays that for me is pretty much entirely about food. Chocolate, roast dinners, marzipan, cake. Yep I love it.

I was super chuffed to receive several eggs this year. A Hotel Chocolat one from my parents, an epic Cadbury’s Daim one from from Kyle, two lush ones from Kyle’s mum, one from a work friend and one from Kyle’s dad. I mean WHAT. (I loved that Kyle’s mum crossed out the “pine” in pineapple as well hehe).

The Hotel Chocolat egg is an egg I absolutely adore. It’s PROPERLY thick. I got the Rocky Road to Caramel one and the two halves are different. One is
caramel chocolate and the other is milk chocolate with cookies and puffed rice. And it’s full of chocolates as well!

But even for me this was a tough ask to eat a large amount. It’s very rich.

The Daim egg from Kyle though… not that I can eat in one (albeit long) sitting. I managed to hold off until the other evening when I sat watching telly with Kyle while I worked my way through it.

Yes I felt a little sick afterwards. But I bloody loved it. Most of the time I can exercise levels of moderation and control but when it comes to Easter eggs, I really struggle (and chicken wings I guess…). I just thoroughly enjoy having a pig out on chocolate from time to time.

I was recently sent a set of clothes from Squat Wolf, who make fitness clothing. Now clearly I am a fan of fitness clothing (helloooo leggings) so I was really excited.

First up was the hoodie, called the She Wolf Crop Hoodie in mustard. I’m a big fan of the mustard colour and it did not disappoint.

The material is super soft and feels quality. It’s not a super thick hoodie but it’s thick enough to keep you warm. I love that it’s cropped as well (check me out being semi-fashionable!). It looks great with high-waisted leggings. This was probably my favourite item and I wear it all the time.

Of course I had to try a pair of leggings. I went for the Athena Leggings in deep fuchsia.

I love the colour of these and they feel so soft. I also like the little contour bits they have on the bum. But they’re not my favourite leggings. They don’t fit quite as nicely as other leggings I’ve had (though in fairness I am comparing them to the likes of Nike and Lululemon).

Perhaps there’s a bit too much material and the design of the waist bit doesn’t quite work for me in terms of the style. That said, they’re squat proof and I can move easily in them – so perfect for working out.

I also got a beautiful sports bra (the Stripes Bra). I love this design!

The back is really pretty and it’s just long enough that I feel comfortable wearing it on it’s own with high-waisted leggings. I don’t feel like I’m showing too much tummy.

It’s also a lovely thick material and has those modesty pads as well to keep everything nice and concealed. I’m obviously not the most blessed in the boobage department but I do feel well supported.

The last item is a pair of their joggers, the She Wolf Do Knot Joggers in black.

They have a slight shine to the material and are super soft. They also have two pieces of material that you tie together which is quite funky. It does make me chuckle a little that the description says they’re ideal for just chilling out (which I agree with) or for going for a jog. Nooo nooo. You would not run in these. But lazing about the house? Absolutely. They’re super comfortable.

The fit is a little odd but I think that’s because it’s fashion and the style and I clearly am not that stylish! I do like them though and will definitely be wearing them mooching about at home.

They have a good range of different colours and other styles, so if this is your thing have a look!

What Easter eggs did you enjoy?

What’s your favourite chocolate?

Do you like wearing fitness clothing around the house?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent these products for free in exchange for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Don’t be a d***head

I’m feeling very behind with my blogging. So let’s catch up.

I got back from Barcelona last week (I’m mid-writing my recap of that) late Tuesday night. I woke up after a solid night’s sleep and then went out for a run Wednesday morning. The run felt fine in terms of my legs. Whew! Nothing broken or injured post marathon, always a good sign.

However not long after I suddenly went downhill. I wasn’t well. I suppose this makes a lot of sense considering I’d just run a marathon and then had a couple of days of non-stop sight-seeing and walking (over 30,000 steps per day!). Then getting on a plane… yeah my body wasn’t having any of it.

I took Thursday and Friday off of work. It was genuinely the case that getting out of bed was an effort. I had to have little to-do lists like have a shower, make breakfast… everything was so hard. And I spent pretty much my entire time on the sofa falling down a black hole of YouTube watching mindless make-up vlogging (I don’t even wear make-up but find these so fascinating and quite cathartic to watch) or napping.

I was actually really gutted to not be going into work Friday as we had one of our Wiggle Run Outs and this time it was going to have SIS visiting – so lots of freebies and cool info. Charlotte Purdue was supposed to be joining the run as well. I was genuinely so sad to miss running with such a running legend and inspiration. However, it turned out in the end that because she’d won the Big Half the weekend before she had to go and do an interview elsewhere so she couldn’t come in. I was somewhat mollified by this!

And now my rant shall beginth.

I had lots in my plan that I was going to get done. I had gym visits, runs and I was RARING to go to get back into my training ready for the Manchester Marathon – at the time about three weeks or so away. Did I feel a bit rubbish not being able to get out because I was ill? Of course I did. Mentally I wanted to get back out there. Did I feel guilty sitting on the sofa all day doing less than 5,000 steps a day? A little bit as it’s not my default.

I spent a lot of time hanging out with this guy

But I knew this was exactly what my body needed. It was tired. I felt exhausted. I felt unwell. Did I miss meals or modify what I was eating to account for the fact that my movement was pretty much zero? Nope. Nutrition (CALORIES) is even more important at times like this. Did I worry I was suddenly going to lose all my fitness, put on a stone and become a blob? Not at all. Don’t be daft. Even if I had to take a month off – yes I would absolutely be getting itchy feet and narked off but if that’s what your body needs, YOU HAVE TO DO IT.

A roast dinner with all the trimmings and pudding to help me get better

Don’t go and test the waters despite STILL FEELING ILL. Go out for a run when you know you’re 100% better, rather than using biometric feedback from your watch (your easy pace isn’t feeling easy, your HR is all over the place). I’m sorry no. You know when you’re not well. We don’t need gadgets to justify us getting outside – look, look, I’m well my data tells me so! No. HOW DO YOU FEEL?

There should be no guilt or worry associated with missing training because you’re not well. Looking after yourself and self-care should be your main priority. What kind of training are you really going to achieve with pushing your body to do things when all it wants is to get better?

very much the sloth existence while being looked after

I’m just glad that I waited until I felt better before I tried running again. I’m back to health, my running is fine, I have no carry on effects. I got over my illness quickly because I prioritised my health not my fitness.

Onto something a bit more cool. I was recently sent some socks from MP Magic Socks.

They began as a crowdfunding venture and due to really positive feedback they took off (even mentioned in places like USA Today, The Times, Mashable, Mirror, etc.

I love that they have the “left” and “right” labels too

They’re unique in that they’re made from fabric that uses three metals: silver, copper and zinc, which gives greater antibacterial protection than any single metal alone. Smelly socks obviously are no one’s cup of tea so these are super handy.

For someone who does a fair bit of travelling I’m a BIG fan. ESPECIALLY on planes. I hate wearing shoes when I’m on a flight but there’s always the fear that you take your shoes off and your feet aren’t smelling of roses. I actually wore these on the way back from Barcelona on the flight. They’re super soft and my feet smelt absolutely fine – despite it being quite toasty in the airport and plane. Hurrah!

Do you cope well with being ill?

How do you get better when you’re ill?

Do you take your shoes off on planes?

**Full Disclosure: I was sent the socks free in return for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own.**


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.**