Saturday, 20 February 2016

Hitting The Slopes

I'm off to La Plagne, France today for a week of skiing, fun & frolics! 
17 of us in total & more excited than ever to getaway! 
I'll be on Instagram - don't you just love IG? Say Hi!! 
Back in a week, byeeeeee! :-)

Friday, 19 February 2016

Carefully Considered Cheeky Bargains

Hello Lovelies! So, after sharing with you how I trimmed down my wardrobe, I'm feeling the need to share a few purchases I have made recently. Mainly with money received for my birthday :-)

I carefully consider any purchase and try to always buy in the sale. I see something and if I find I am still thinking about it a couple of weeks later and it is still available, then that means it has my name on it! This is how I roll! ;-)

First up, as usual, shoes!! Who doesn't love shoes? My shoe of choice is an ankle boot. These beauty's by Hudson from Office were a bargain in the sale at £44.00, sadly sold out but plenty of ankle boots still available on sale!

As you saw yesterday I gave my Kurt Geiger's to my daughter. I have lived in these for years and even wear with a suit at work. This time though these bright Vans replaced them, which I adore! New slim fit for women too. So many styles, I could have bought loads. Plus half price = Bonus! Love the back zip!

I have a navy leather jacket that I love more as it gets that beaten up look. Worn throughout the year, it's a fashion must have. This I bought in the sale from Muubaa with 70% off, the colour is described as 'concrete grey' but it is a grey plummy looking colour. Bag one while you can!

Lastly my love of Sweaty Betty is well documented. This jumpsuit is perfect for apres ski, original price £175 I bagged at £75. I've just looked though and none left :-(

So, that's it. I think you'll agree there's some great buys there, with longevity. 

Are you an impulse buyer or do you think about a purchase for a while like me?
Have you bagged anything in the sale?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Great Big Wardrobe Shake Up

I have given my wardrobe a mahoosive overhaul over the last few weekends. I wrote here about simplifying belongings & life generally.

I have been really strict asking myself  -  Do I love it? Does it fit? Does it suit? But I think the most important one is 'When did I last wear it?'

Sometimes I'd have that little voice - you know the one, it goes "But I really like these" the voice of reason then would go "Ok, so you really like them so why haven't you worn them in three years?" Charity Bag!!!

I know some people do things like turn the hangers round when they've worn something, or tie a ribbon round the top of the hanger to help them to get rid of excess, but I know what I have and haven't worn.

I'm comfortable in my skin and with what suits and what doesn't. I have 'my uniform!' It turns out it's navy, grey & cream! Or striped as you can see.....

So here is my wardrobe before I started - I also have work clothes in another wardrobe. You can see everything is crammed in - there are more shoes under my bed! & the drawer below my hanging space. I pulled everything out of the bottom of the wardrobe to start, but left everything hanging up. I then just went through every item, one by one. Some stayed, some went...

Here's what I knew could go straight away. These boots to my Daughter - the Kurt Geiger I wear with smart trousers for work but they are starting to wear on the heel, my daughter loves them. The boots I haven't worn for years & really like them???? hard to part but they had to go!

Some of these shoes I am selling in a dress agency which I haven't done before, some for the charity shop. I know what I love and wear time and again in the shoe department - no rash purchases for me in future! It's ridiculous how much we accumulate - we wear 20-30% of our clothes 70-80% of the time on average. I would say that's me! What about you? 

Accessories going, being given to friends who I know will get more wear out of them, or again my charity shop of choice Help The Aged, who I am registered with for tax relief. The little denim bag has sneaked back in as I am going to a couple of festivals this year and it may be useful???

Going to try selling these at my local dress agency. Before Christmas I sold a few things on Ebay and got bit really hard. A Hush dress with tags still attached went for three pounds - I was nearly sick - that was just one item at that time. I am loath to put these particular items on Ebay.

You can have too many pairs of jeans, yes you can!! Other's will say you can't - but they is wrong!

These I will try on Ebay......ggggrrrrr. 

& here is my finished wardrobe, less cluttered, pleases me more than you could know, haha! Admittedly still shoes under the bed......the Sweaty Betty bag I put the bottom of longer items in so they don't get dusty on the wardrobe base.

This is my jumble of workout gear - cycling, running, pilates.....No wonder I can never find anything!

Here it is tipped out .........

Not very often I run every day, so here is what I decided to keep. I do need another pair of long running pants. That's the beauty in having a good sort out. It does help you to see what you need also. I am focussing on need not want.....hhhhmmmmm, let's see how long it lasts!

 Pilates wear - all keepers
 I often have a cycling holiday so best to hang on to most stuff, although some went, mainly because it was dingy.

Here is what went - I took it to work and it all went, lots of free technical t-shirts from doing races. I am always going to skip on the t-shirt now. 

 Trunk sorted! :-) This makes me happy! No frantic searching, with ten minutes to go from now on!

 I really enjoyed this sort out, it is really cathartic and almost addictive. The more I purged the more I wanted to get rid of. I actually became stricter with myself during the whole process.

I have had a few new items sneak in since I did this clearout which I'm going to share tomorrow. But they were purchases that I really thought about first, not rash purchases. This is how I hope to be now. In many ways I am becoming a much more considerate shopper.

Thanks so much for dropping by. I hope I've maybe inspired some of you to have a sort out yourselves - if you do, enjoy it! XX

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Meditation & The Heart Chakra

On Saturday I attended another Meditation Session at my Pilates Studio (also a Yoga Studio). The sessions are aimed at the yogi's but my trainer says that I am a yogi at heart! :-)

So, with it being Valentine's Day (almost), it was all about the heart. The heart chakra (Anahata), energy point of love, empathy and compassion towards oneself and others.

The session was made up of guided meditations interspersed with yoga poses that help to open the chest area drawing energy into the heart. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, replenishing, re energising.

Sue had decorated the studio beautifully with hearts and candles, little white trees dotted about with tiny red hearts decorating their branches, music playing softly. I have come to think of this space as my sanctuary. A place I can just completely shut off from the pressures of work. The blue on the back wall & ceiling is a lovely deep blue, the rest white, such a soothing atmosphere.

Afterwards we went through to the studio conservatory, lit with gorgeous fairy lights and lamps casting wonderful colours & patterns onto the walls, and enjoyed fresh fruit, spritzers and 'love tea' from Pukka all whilst spending time with others looking for a little peace in their lives.
We all received a gift to take home; chocolate hearts, love tea and a jade heart necklace, such a sweet gift, with so much meaning attached to it. Memories made to treasure.

Do you do yoga or meditate? I keep thinking I should try yoga again, I might be more open to it....

Hope your week is going well!

Monday, 15 February 2016

2 Week Challenge #Running

Gosh, where did last week go? Despite a crazy week I managed to run every day apart from Friday & Saturday - I know, I know, but you know what I'm not considering it a fail on my initial intention....

On Friday morning  I was being filmed for a TV programme (I can share here in a few weeks time - exciting!!!) and in the afternoon me and Mr.L went to Manchester to see one of my favourite bands - 'Hurts' at Manchester Academy & had a wonderful time. Not sure of you have heard of them, they remind me of the 80's! My era!

Saturday I had the usual running around and in the afternoon a 2 hour meditation session - I wasn't going to spoil the benefits of that by then putting my trainers on!

I ran a lot in the dark, be it morning or evening, although one evening it was light enough to run without a head torch - the light is slowly returning!

I think it did me good to have 2 days off as yesterday Mr.L dragged me out on a mystery run. We ran together at a lovely leisurely pace along the canal and did 8 miles. So, so happy with this. Sometimes I lack conviction that I can do it, despite doing a half marathon last year and he sees this. If he had told me I was doing 8 miles I'd have said no!

So here just a few picture of my run yesterday, you can see other running adventures here on Instagram! Here with my ever faithful Olly.....It was a beautiful, crisp day :-)
 Olly needing a drink!

Thank you for dropping by, have you got anything that you hope to achieve this year or challenge yourself to do? 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

2 Week Challenge #Run2

I need to get back my love of running. I was there oh so fleetingly, really loving running last year. I know it is there inside. I know it helps me sort my head out!! The best reason alone for loving running again!!

So, I want to make myself accountable - here - if you'll let me?

I am challenging myself to run every day for the next two weeks starting Saturday 6th February. I want to focus on enjoying my route, improving my pace, controlling my breathing. I won't be running far, no more than 5k for now! :-)

I ran for the 7th time since my op today (Sunday), my second for this challenge. I ran in snow for the first time ever on #Run3- I did a little video on Instagram So funny. My time has improved by 2 minutes a kilometre!

I need to spend some time looking at races for later in the year. Trail running is my favourite, keeping me motivated - ever changing terrain keeps it interesting (unlike long boring roads), they are tough, but there's a real sense of achievement for me when I finish. I love leaping like a mountain goat, feeling fabulous & strong!

Thank you so much for visiting this little corner of my World!
Back tomorrow with wardrobe adventures!

Around Here Lately

My brain is mashed/mush/fried! & I am  not sleeping - again, well unless I pop a tablet. That makes it hard for me to clarify thoughts and write here. So, a little catch up. Hello! Nice to see you here!

I was due to start my much mentioned Diploma in Massage two weeks ago. This the first trepidous step towards what I hoped would bring a career change. Sadly on the day it was due to start I had a call to say it had been cancelled due to not enough people wanting to do it. I find myself thinking "Is this my path?" This is the third time of booking and for one reason or another not starting.....I'm a big believer in the old adage 'things happen for a reason'. Right now those stars are not aligning.....Currently researching private providers - I prefer to be in the classroom, not distance learning.

I have been back at work on a phased return following my hysterectomy for three weeks now. I won't pretend it's been easy. The old overwhelming feelings and insomnia biting! I've been exhausted. The pooch has got used to me returning home and having a brew before I walk him - how dare I!!

We (as in work) had the good news that the NHS Trust we work for won the tender for our service to continue, followed by swiftly being told there isn't enough money in the pot to pay all of my team - so we go into consultation on the first of April, more stress, trying to secure our jobs, going up against colleagues. Not nice.

& so, I am sure you begin to see why the opening sentence - if you have carried on reading!!

This weekend has been about replenishing myself, ready for work, trying to sort out my head, get some clarity. This helps. Being right here. Mr.L has been looking after me, cooking nutritious meals, I have read, run, sorted out my wardrobe as discussed here and I will share later.

In the meantime I keep looking at this quote, written for me maybe?

Bye for now you lovely people!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Lemoncurd Cake

Since I realised I was gluten intolerant, I have made the same cake over and over (a chocolate brownie recipe on the back of the Doves Farm flour), whereas previously I would make lots of varieties of cake.

I think I have been slightly worried if other recipes would turn out. Making a christmas cake with gluten free flour and it being a great success has made me decide, if I see a recipe I fancy trying just go for it! :-)

I don't know why but I always feel I am nurturing my family when I bake, same if I make porridge, pancakes, rice pudding or Sunday roast!! ;-)

So, at weekend I made this gorgeously moist lemoncurd cake, I used bog standard lemon curd for the main body of the recipe, but for the top I used extra special 'Limun' a gift from a friend!

3/4 jar of decent lemoncurd
6oz sugar
6oz soft butter
3 eggs
8oz self raising flour (I used Doves Farm Gluten Free)

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3
Line an 8"/20cm cake tin with baking paper

Beat half the lemoncurd with the sugar and butter.
Add the eggs and mix one at a time.
Fold in the flour.
Put into your prepared tin.
Drop the remaining lemoncurd in teaspoons over the surface.

Bake for around 45 minutes, checking for browning half way through and covering if necessary with tin foil.

Cool, put the kettle on, sit yourself down and enjoy!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Good For Body & Soul

I have done three days back at work, on reduced hours. Today has been my day off. Already I have three A4 pages of things I need to do/sort/organise. Feelings of being overwhelmed have started. I don't know why this is happening to me. It started before I finished for my hysterectomy. This is how I know things need to change and I am hopeful that 2016 is going to be the year!

So, this got me to thinking. What will help? What can I do for myself, for my body and soul? What helps my coping mechanism? What puts me in a positive frame of mind - gives me an I can attitude? A friend once said "You have to be the most positive person I have ever met!" I wonder would he say that now?

If I had to write a list of what helps me to deal with everyday stresses and work what would be on it? What would I like to fit into my precious free time?  I wrote it down, and here I share it with you, in no particular order! ;-)

Reading - I joined with Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees and her Year in Books - my reviews here. A no pressure reading group, choose a book, do a linky to her site (this sadly no longer is how it works), do a quick review and name your next book in the first few days of a new month. No pressure, but you still feel accountable, which helps to keep your reading mojo up. I read every night without fail, especially as I no longer allow screen time to interrupt my circadian rhythm.

Walking Olly - My pooch gets me out of bed each and every morning. Yes, sometimes I feel sluggish but by the time I am home after a half hour morning walk, currently in the pitch black, those endorphins have kicked in and I feel more energised.

Running - Slowly getting back into it after my hysterectomy. Running is fab in that you are out and back as quickly as you want! No 'I haven't got time' excuses. Have 10 minutes spare? That's 10 minutes of cardio more than if you were sat down!! Running also helps to rid me of any tightness in my neck and shoulders and sets up other good habits - eating clean, drinking more water. 

Exploring New Places - Especially if it involves a historic house and parkland aka National Trust Membership which is what my parents bought me for Christmas - looking forward to planning! A small tip, if you purchase National Trust Scotland membership, it is cheaper but you can get into all the English National Trust places ;-).  It's good to learn new things about how people lived, to visit somewhere you haven't been before; shown to improve our mental capacity. Also it gives you something interesting to chat about!

Meditation - I am really getting into meditating. Most people meditate in the morning, but I can't find the time with walking Olly, juicing and the need to leave for work by 7.50am. I have been using my Headspace App - free trial here but also am going to try Tara Brach Meditations  as recommended by Leo from Zen Habits. I tend to meditate when I get in from work and find that it re energises me for the evening ahead.

Blogging! Yay! - I really enjoy sitting down to write. A creative outlet - or not? I am continually amazed that people visit this little corner of my world and come back!! I don't get lots of comments but when I do I love it, the interaction is inspiring, here and on Instagram!

Juicing - I started juicing in October 2014 and swear by it for improved all round health. Bright eyes, clear skin, more energy, a kick start to the day, no aches and pains, no tummy ache as it helped me to realise I have a gluten intolerance. 

Pilates - Once a week, more if I could! This says it all!! My Pilates Studio is my sanctuary. I go in and for the few minutes before the lesson starts lie on my mat with my eyes closed; heavenly. Something I definitely want to do more of this year, hopefully study and share the love ;-)

Family Time, Friends,  Loving & Laughing - Goes without saying. My family has grown by one and there is nothing better than seeing this little tink become a toddler. I am very lucky that I have a husband who makes me laugh every day - yes, really, even after 28 years. It really is the best medicine. I don't have loads of friends but those who I do have are the dogs, a positive influence, always encouraging, themselves inspirational, special indeed. Family time, especially when we are all together, a gift!

No Facebook - Came off Facebook in November. I include it here as a positive thing. I was disappearing down a rabbit hole with it. The telling thing is I haven't missed it at all!!! It's free'd up time to do all the things above haha! It was useful when I was leading my Beginner's Running Group but currently I shan't be leading as I start College next week. So, not needed!!

Other Random's - 
  • Using my Clarisonic regularly - sounds a funny one, but it's two minutes three times a week well spent which gives me beautifully smooth skin.
  • Having my eyebrows threaded and dyed every 6 weeks - adds definition helping to frame my face. The only beauty treatment I have regularly.
  • Haircuts every 3 months, only at the College, but who doesn't feel better after a haircut?
  • Painted toenails especially when I am running :-)
  • Eating clean as in lots of fruit and veg, protein, limited gluten free carbs.
  • Drinking water - I aim for 8 glasses (4 pints) daily for clarity of mind, ability to run without needing to carry water, clear skin, more energy.
  • Cycling; another challenge for 2016 coming up!
Gosh, this has to win the award for the longest blogpost I have ever written. It's been good to give me some clarity of what I would like to fit into my week, to care for and nurture myself, both body and mind, aiding sleep and coping ability at work which is a good thing right?

How do you take care of your body and soul? What would you like to fit into your week? Do you manage to fit in things that you know are good for you?

 Do share! XX