Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Selection Day with Runners World UK & Vifit Sport

Just over a week ago an email dropped into my mailbox which made me stop, and I had to read it about 5 times before it actually sank in, I had been invited to a selection day with Runners World and Vifit Sport. A few weeks before I had entered a competition with Runners World that I had seen them promoting on Instagram, the opportunity to win a place in the London Marathon 2018 and along with that, get professional advice and couching to get you there. This for me is a dream so I entered with my story of my latest asthma diagnosis. It was at the back of my mind but never in a million years did I think that I would actually be selected to go to the selection day in London, as lets be honest, I'm just little old me! I just knew that I had to go and I would do anything to make it happen. Luckily I have the most supportive husband in the world and he told me to go for it, so with childcare arranged and the hotel roomed booked my trip to the Lee Valley Athletics Centre was a go.

I was already in London on the Thursday so I made my way to my hotel early evening in the hope of a good nights sleep and some rest, because if I'm honest I was terrified of what Friday was going to involve. I'm not the most outgoing person and it takes me a while to come out of my shell but I just knew my comfort zone was going to have to be jumped out of and into the unknown with a big smile I would go. Friday morning came and I arrived at Lee Valley Athletic Centre with plenty of time just so I could settle my nerves and make myself familiar with the place.


Upon arriving I was greeted by one of the Runners World team who asked me to fill out a form to say I was happy to be filmed. Now I know it said about photography and filming in the email but I hadn't given it much thought between choosing what I was going to wear and trying to remember packing said kit into my suitcase, so I had applied NO makeup and had sprites my hair with some dry shampoo. I then began to regret that decision when I saw the camera crew! Haha so I was going to appear on film and in photographs looking as I had just got out of bed, because thats the look I had going on.

Any how I had to just get over that and get on with the exciting day ahead. We were all given #missionmarathon t-shirts to wear, which made me feel a little less intimidated as we all looked the same! The next half an hour was spent chatting with fellow selecties and having head shots done. Now as out of my comfort zone as that was I'm looking forward to seeing the finished results, and it made me feel rather professional.Everyone I spoke to was so lovely as everyone was in the same boat, also wanting that place pretty badly. I also tried to keep that smile on my face and not pull any silly faces, which I'm known to do, knowing the cameras were floating about.

There were three teams in which only one from each team would win a london marathon place as there were 3 in total up for grabs, #finishliners which was the team I was part of, #breaking4 who were those hoping to complete the marathon within 4 hours and #speeddemons which were those who were aiming to complete within 3 hours. It was great to meet those with a passion for running just like mine, and that actually got it! Our days were then split into 3 sessions - Run, Recover and Repeat. These sessions were going to cover all bases when it comes to running and it would help those who would be selecting the winners to get a feel of what we were all like.

The #finishliners
Our first session as the #finishliners was the Run session. We made our way out onto the running track to complete this first session. This had got to be the one session I was most excited about as I have always wanted to run on a proper athletic track. It was taken by Jane Vongvorachoti, an Olympic marathoner at Rio 2016 and Joe Mackie. Once on the track we did a warm up where we ran casually around the track while having a chat with the other team members. It was then onto a drills session before we ran our mile round the track. I was 20 seconds off a personal best with the mile as I started out slower than usual as I didn't want to tire myself out too soon. The run around that track was just incredible, the flatness of it considering I live in one of the hilliest places I know and the bounce on the track just made the running seem effortless - although my chest would say different as I had to go off after and have a puff on the old inhaler.

Such a close to PB in the track session
From this session it was into the Repeat session which was a Q&A with Ben Green and Andy Dixon (Runners World editor), who are both sub 3 hours marathon runners, which I find incredible. This was a great session in which we asked questions as well as they both gave advice on marathon running, and running in general. I got a lot out of this session especially with regards in how to increase my speed as I thought I had hit my top speed of running. We also spoke about training schedules and how to get the most out of them.

The last session of the day was with Andy Vincent, a PT, who talked us through and showed us some foam rolling technics and what he believes works and what doesn't. I have to admit I am not great at the old stretching after a run, especially after a race, so the technics I have taken away will help me especially as I have flat right foot and suffer from time to time with ankle pain because of it. The stretch we did with our big toe, really helped with this, because as I have been running runvember my ankles have been getting a pounding.

All in all the day was such a brilliant experience and one that I will always remember. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to do this day and I have fingers, toes and everything else crossed that that place has my name on it. And if it doesn't I honestly wish the winners all the best and I look forward to following their journey, while creating a new journey for myself with the Bournemouth marathon in October 2018.

Monday, 11 September 2017

What's Next?

As you may have noticed I have been a bit absent from the blog for the past 6 months and I honestly haven't got a reason for that. Nothing really major changed 6 months ago which made me stop blogging, I just lost my words and my passion to put my thoughts down for all to read. I think I started to worry if what I was writing was interesting to other people and I didn't want to start writing posts for the sake of writing them. I want my posts and words to have passion in them and that went away for a while, but I think they are back.

We had the most incredible summer having days out and generally enjoying each others company. I turned 30 which was an amazing few weeks with lots of fizz, laughs and love. I was taking in our time together without having the worry of feeling like I needed to document it for the internet world to see. This I believe was all down to the fact Noah, my youngest, started school just over a week ago. I subcontiously was savouring our time together and selfishly keeping it to myself. 

Last Friday, 1st September, Noah set off into school for the first time and Finley started in year 1. That day was emotional for us all, due to the fact it was all new and all change from that day forward. I have been used to having some time at home while Noah was at preschool but for some reason school felt a whole lot different. He is still on less than half days and doesn't actually start full days until the end of September but there is some shifting that has gone on in my head and its been a struggle to get used to.

I have been poorly so this helped slightly take my mind off of it, but slowly as I have got better my mind has been going into overdrive about the future. Where am I going in this journey of ours? I'm not going to lie, but I currently feel a little bit lost. I work from home for a few hours a week but this isn't going to keep my mind busy for the 6 hours they are at school and also I have a feeling of needing to find me again.

Jobs have bee applied for so I have my fingers crossed for those, but then I worry about how we will cope during the holidays, as the holidays which the jobs offer don't cover the time they have off school in the year. Then I begin to think should I stick with what I am doing now as this is perfect for us with regards to the school runs, but then I start to think about what people think of me. Do people think I should get a job? Do they think I'm lazy? Then other times I think, do you know what who cares what anyone else thinks!

I am incredibly lucky that I get to do what I do and that I don't have to worry about childcare, and I hope everyone knows that I know that. I think I just need to find my place in our new normal as no one knows what the future will throw at us!


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Living In The Moment

For January I decided to challenge myself to come off of Facebook for a month as I felt I was spending far too much time on there and it was a place to procrastinate. 

And I did it, yay!!

How I am not entirely sure as I am the first one to admit that I am a social media obsessor and it is basically my job to be on social media! But I have to be honest and say it was pretty refreshing, even if a little bit frustrating at times when people around me were talking about things they had seen on Facebook and I didn't have the first clue what they were on about.

The other thing I did was not start over my photo a day challenge that I was doing on Instagram. I wanted to start living in the moment and not feel like I had to be taking a photo to document as my photo of the day. I found in 2016 I was finding myself forcing activities onto us so that my photo would be good for that day, and that isn't what I want to do. 

Since doing these two things I have found that I haven't taken so many photos, which I feel bad about in a way, but I have been in that moment and I have been present. I'm not saying that those who take lots of pictures and document them aren't living in the moment as we are all different, but I wasn't. I was living behind the camera trying to make our lives more exciting, when in fact they didn't need to be but I was trying to do something that wasn't us.

I have found myself sitting on the floor playing board games with the boys and not having to stop the game to take a photo. We have been on walks where I have been present the whole time and not been distracted with 'when will be the best photo opportunity'. We have been to a cafe and had hot chocolates with no phones in sight, just the boys and I, talking about the random stuff a 3 & 5 year old talk about.

This may sound all a bit dramatic but my approach on life has changed a little bit, I am starting to go with the flow a bit more and I really like it. I am trying not to plan too much stuff to do and trying to just chill out a bit more. I was finding myself trying to prove myself to other people with photos, trying to show everyone that I am a good mum and that I do all these things with the boys. But I didn't need to. No one else matters but these two boys and what THEY think of me. And they love me whatever we do, even if it is just making them a hot chocolate at home as the praise and love I get from them is phenomenal. 

Photos are lovely but lets me honest, in 10 years time who is going to look at a ton of photos of the boys sitting watching a film, and that is the kind of thing I was finding myself taking a photo of rather than sitting with them and enjoying their hands in mine and sharing their sweets. I am also more present in the evenings, I am watching programmes and actually knowing what is going on and not having to ask Mr C what just happened. My evenings are now a bit more chilled with me catching up on some tv without me on my phone ALL night, as that is what I was doing.

Now with it being the 1st February I am back on Facebook, as lets be honest a month is enough to be out of the social media loop, but I am going to try and curb my time on it and try not to get back into old habits.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Minion Mania In Our House

From the very moment that the boys watched the Minion movies they loved them and everything about them. They are funny little yellow characters which act silly and this is what they found so funny. I have lost count the amount of times that we have watched the films but they are still going strong in our house and I can't see a time in the near future when they will be getting old or boring.

When I was asked if we would like to review some Minion products I of course had to say yes, knowing how much the boys would love them. When a big box arrived I didn't have a clue what it was as I had forgotten that I had said we would like to review them. On opening the box I was gobsmacked with how much was in there and couldn't wait for the boys to get home to open them up and start playing.


The toys which we were sent to review were Fireman Lucy, Minion Kevin, Bob, Minion Dave, a teddy Minion and a Dancing Bob. 

Dave and Kevin both had a launcher which was so easy to use and because they both had one the boys had a ball firing them at each other. They are such sturdy toys that have been well made so they can take a lot of playing with by a 3 and 5 year old.


Fireman Lucy was also a brilliant hit as you could change her outfits, and it was very simple to do for little hands. You could have her bun on, or you could change it to a head piece that you see some of the minions wearing in the films. As we have watched the films so much all the toys that we received the boys could relate to and were easy to play with.

Bob and the minion cuddly toy have also been played with many a times, even though they don't do anything they get added into the play with other toys. With Bob you can take his royal cloak off and one his arms, the cloak fits on the other Minions so it has been on all the other characters since we received them.

I have to say that the biggest hit had to be the dancing Bob! He interacts with the boys by dancing and talking when they talk to him which when you are 3 & 5, even for myself and my husband, this is brilliant. He then sings and dances around the room when has been great fun to play with from all by all the family. You start him off by pressing a button on his foot and from there he will dance and sing 3 different songs, which he does on the request of the boys as he will respond to their voices.

These toys are firmly in our toy box and are played with on a daily basis and as you can see from the picture above, they bring a lot of happiness to the boys!

* We were kindly sent these to review. All opinions are 100% my own. *

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Stunning JORD Wood Watch


I have had the same watch now for over 6 years and it has been on my wrist nearly everyday, apart from a few weeks when the boys were newborns as I thought I would scratch them with it. If I don't have a watch on my wrist I feel naked and a little bit lost, I think this may be a little bit of a control thing and the fact I need to know the time. 

All of the time.

When I was contacted by JORD wood watches and asked if I would like to review a watch I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to update my watch after so many years. While looking through their website at the women's watches they had so many beautiful ones to choose from but in the end I went for the FRANKIE 35 series, Zebrawood & Navy. The combination of the colour of the wood and the navy looked beautiful so couldn't wait for it to arrive.

When it arrived it came in the most stunning wooden box with the watch secured around a pillow. The packaging makes such an impact that it would make a beautiful gift for someone special. The watch was everything I thought it would look like, it was even more beautiful in real life. Upon getting it out of the box I couldn't get over just how light the watch was, considering it was made from wood. It is that light that you would even forget that it was on your wrist at all, but that wasn't going to happen to me as all I kept doing was staring at it! And flashing the beauty of it around.




I have had so many comments on the watch since wearing it as it is such a unique watch and not one you would see everyday. It goes with any outfit, be it on the school run or if I am going on a night out with friends. It really does fit so perfectly on my wrist and even with the face being a dark navy, it is still so clear and at a swift glance I get to see the time.



I am really excited to be able to offer you a chance to WIN a $75 voucher to spend on a Luxury Wood Watch and everyone who enters (excluding the winner) will receive a $20 voucher. All you have to do is click here to enter - Good luck!

Term & Conditions

- There will only be one winner of the $75 voucher
- The competition runs until 22/01/2017
- The $75 winners voucher and the $20 vouchers will be said until 15/05/2017
- Winners will be chosen at random

* This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. All opinions are 100% my own. *

Monday, 9 January 2017

Cosy Pyjamas from Sense Organics

The boys are very much like me and love their pyjamas, they would happily stay in them all day if they were allowed. And some days we do! So with this being said I am always on the look out for cosy and snuggly pyjamas that are soft on their skin and comfortable, as thats what everyone wants from pyjamas right?!

I was contacted by Sense Organics and asked if we would like to review some of their products and on looking at their website the boys organic cotton pyjamas were the best fit for us. We chose the Grey Stripe Peter Pan pyjama set for Noah and the Reindeer Print Teal, Long John for Finley. The sizes I chose were 3-4 and 5-6 with Noah being 3 and Finley being 5.


They arrived not long after I had let them know our choices and they were everything you could ask for in pyjamas, soft and roomie so that during the night they weren't restricted.  The sizes I had gone for were perfect for the boys. The fabric is 100% organic cotton so this explains the softness of the pyjamas. The designs were gorgeous and I couldn't wait to get the boys in them to try them out.



That night after the bath they put them on and were in love with them as much as I was, they even sat nicely to have their photos taken which is a first, along with some silly playing too!



They have been the boys favourite pyjama sets to go to when asked to chose their pyjamas of a night and they wash brilliantly, which is a good thing as they have been worn so much!


* We were kindly sent the pyjamas to review. All opinions are 100% my own.*

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Expectations

Expectations are the one thing that is sure to ruin a day out or a planned event, why is this? Because nothing will ever live up to our expectations. Our expectations are full of smiles and giggles, throughout the whole day and do not involve tears, tantrums and tired children. These things seem to get forgotten when we are thinking about plans.

I love my boys to bits and I wouldn't change them for the world, but days out with them never live up to my expectations because they will cry, they will tantrum and they will be stroppy - but that is children for you and this is something that I need to factor into my expectations because once I do I will stop feeling as I do right now.

I won't go into details but we had a family evening out last night and as lovely as it was, it wasn't how I expected or wanted it to go. Finley was extremely tired as this term at school has taken it out of him and as much as he wanted to skate, he didn't want to actually skate. And the photo I wanted to get with Father Christmas didn't happen so I came away feeling a little deflated and a little guilty for feeling that way as we had really had a lovely evening. It just didn't live up to my expectations, which were fairy lights, laughter ALL the time and no tantrums. But I need to remember we had a good time despite this and the boys loved time with Mummy and Daddy.

This is something I tend to do a lot of the time and I put myself under a lot of pressure to make things perfect. Well my perfect isn't what the boys would call perfect, they would be happy with a McDonalds and a slightly late night. But I try and go for everything which in all honesty they are not at the age to appreciate, and I'm not saying that in a bad way because I don't want them to expect lots of expensive things, I just set myself up for a fall trying to make things perfect.

I think I need to take a step back and just go with it, stop making so many plans and really stop worrying about what others think of me. I'm not saying that I don't appreciate the time we have as a family, as I really do and love every second, I am saying that I put a shadow over my own experience as I think of the expectations I had. That shadow isn't anywhere near the boys as they would have had a brilliant time and will forget the tears on the ice rink next week and just remember seeing Father Christmas and skating round with a blue seal!

Advice to myself - chill out!!


Monday, 5 December 2016

The Shack - American Inspired Meals Review

We love to try new food in our house and when it is something that we don't have to cook ourselves it is even better. When I was asked if we would like to try some products from the new The Shack range at Iceland I accepted and was excited to give them a try. A parcel arrived a few days later and to my surprise they were the meals, all 9 of them! This would keep us going for a while.


The all looked really tasty and as it happened that evening I was going to a girl friends house for some food and wine. I suggested that I took some of the food round for us all to try so that I could get a few opinions on what the food was like. That evening we tried the Chicken, Waffle & Buffalo sauce, Smokey House Beef Burrito, Chilli Beef Wedges and the Chicken Fajita. They are really easy to cook, you can either chose to oven cook them or use the microwave, depending on how speedy you want your meal. We chose to oven cook them which took out 45 minutes for all of them to be cooked at the same time. My favourite of that night had to be the Chicken, Waffle & Buffalo Sauce as I have quite a sweet tooth and it was nice to try something a little bit different. The chicken and waffle went together really well and the sauce just added some sweetness to the meal. The girls also agreed this was their favourite too. We all tried the others and liked them but they all do have a little bit of a kick to them with the spiciness of them.

I loved really enjoyed the Smokey House Beef Burrito but I think if I had had a bit of our cream with it, it would have taken away the kick of the spice in it. The other meals we have been trying over the last few weeks and we really like them for convince as, with the above meal, they are simple and easy to cook when you want proper meal but don't fancy cooking something. I really liked the Mac & Jack and it was so cheesy, but again with a little bit of a kick. The Ultimate Burger was a bit hit as it has the pulled pork and the brioche bun with I think just make a burger amazing!

We really enjoyed all the meals that we were sent, if a little bit on the spice side. I would recommend these meals to anyone that wants a taste of America at home, but if you aren't a fan of spice I don't think these meals would be for you. The instructions on the packaging is very straight forward so they are very easy to follow.

It was really nice to try something different for our teas over the last few weeks as we tend to eat the same foods every week, so the change was nice.

* We were kindly sent The Shack meals through to review. All opinions are 100% my own.*


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