Thursday, 30 June 2011

New running shoes

New running shoes

New running shoes

On my day off on Tuesday I went into Liverpool to get my gait analysed at Up & Running, a specialist running shop. The lovely sales assistant asked me a few running related questions, like how many miles a week I was running, what I was training for, if I had any aches & pains because of running and she also looked at my current pair of running shoes. As soon as I tried my old pair on, she knew that they were too small for me. I had had a black toenail because of the pressure exerted on your big toe when you run and obviously my trainers were too small. They suggest that you go up a size in running shoes than your normal shoe, because your toes need more room to move around. I couldn't believe it when I ended up walking away with a pair of 6.5 shoes when I'm normally a size 5!

So I tried a few pairs of running shoes on and then I hopped onto the treadmill and ran for 2 minutes whilst being filmed on a webcam. They then play the film back to you with their special software, which looks at the way your feet move when you're running and the alignment of your ankle and leg. I am a neutral runner who heel strikes, but some people will put more pressure on the outside or inside of their feet, either being an under or overpronator. Different kinds of running shoes suit these different kinds of runners. I needed a shoe with no kind of arch support in it but with lots of heel support as I heel strike. I also needed a pair of shoes with lots of wiggle room for my toes to prevent black toe nails occurring again!

I chose this brightly coloured pair, Saucony Progrid Triumphs. They should have been £95 but because of the unpopularity of the bright colour, they were only £65. It may sound like a lot of money but the more you invest, generally the more mileage you will get out of the shoes. After running for over 6 months in a pair of £25 running shoes, I felt like I needed some more suitable shoes. Plus everyone will see me coming and know me as 'the girl with the bright orange trainers'. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

We're going to the chapel...

DSC01102

DSC01221
Dress - courtesy of Very.co.uk
Shoes - Topshop
Fascinator - handmade
Handbag - ? 

This is what I wore to Connie & Phu's wedding. The dress was sent to me via Very.co.uk and I really love the colour of it. It's a good job really because on the website the photo of it is very pale blue, whereas as you can see above it's more of a turquoise! I think I would have been so annoyed if I had bought it especially because of the colour, but luckily I prefer this turquoise colour. It was such a lovely weekend! It was quite stressful getting 90 cupcakes and one 3 layer cake down to Portmeirion in Wales, down all of the windy roads with unbelievably tight corners and hidden dips. A few of the cakes got smooshed, oops. Luckily I had baked a lot of spare ones so we were a-okay! The couple loved the cakes and I got lots of compliments on it so all the stress was worth it. Not sure if I will do it again but it was worth it once we got there in one piece!

cupcakes & cake

Pretty snazzy even if I do say so myself! 

The wedding was in Portmeirion which is a lovely little village that was built as a rich architect's personal project between 1925 and the 1970s. It was modelled on Italian villages but built into the Welsh hillside. It's a really quirky and unusual place, but was such a lovely place for a wedding. The food was also AMAZING. We had a chocolate & coffee tart with horlicks ice cream with dessert, it was so delicious. 


Portmeirion

It was lovely to travel to somewhere new we'd never been before for a wedding. However after having a weekend away it now feels like I'm still catching up with everything! I have so many errands to do and washing to catch up on. Hey ho. Congratulations Connie & Phu! 

P.S. I caught the bouquet too! (Is it cheating since we're already engaged? I dunno..but everyone told me to go up and I caught it! Haha!)

Friday, 24 June 2011

Running for cake

Coffee & walnut father's day cake

Coffee & walnut cake

I love coffee and coffee flavoured things. I am so upset that both Quality Street and Roses no longer do their coffee chocolates anymore. They were the best out of the whole box. However coffee seems to divide opinions. Scott is a coffee hater, therefore I never usually make many coffee flavoured things. However for Father's Day I decided to make this delicious coffee & walnut cake as both my Dad & Grandad are coffee lovers too. I used a Nigella Lawson recipe as she likes her coffee flavour to be quite strong, using espresso powder. The walnuts are also ground finely with the sugar, meaning that the cake is smooth with no chunks but with a slight nutty flavour. The buttercream was also AMAZING! And the best thing about this cake was that it was literally just 'throw everything into your food processor, mix, cook, DONE'. The recipe is available here. About half of the cake was leftover so I took it into work and it went down so well. Some people even said that they don't like coffee cakes usually but enjoyed this one immensely.


Since doing my run in Manchester in May, I have been a bit lazy with my running. I need the motivation of the race to keep me going. So, I have entered another race in September! It is the Southport 10k  and on the 4th September I'll be running along that promenade in the photograph above. 500m of the race is on the actual sand, which I think may be quite hard. However I am aiming for a sub 55 10k, which considering I have 11 weeks until the race and my current PB is 59.55, should be doable with lots of training and effort. I've devised a training plan to keep me motivated and committed. I think that if I KNOW I have to go for a run on a certain day and do a certain time or a certain speed, then I will stick to it. I really want to get that sub 55 10k! Then my next aim is for the Liverpool half marathon in March. I love running and how it helps me destress and I can feel my body getting stronger with every run. You honestly cannot beat the feeling of getting a personal best or finding each run easier as you train. Now a 5k is my easy, short run but I remember when even running 2k was a challenge. Plus, running regularly means I never have to feel guilty for having a slice of cake again...

Tomorrow I am off to a wedding in Wales, which I am quite looking forward to! I have made the wedding cake and cupcakes for the wedding too, I'll share photos when I return. Wish me luck getting them all there in one piece. What is everyone else doing this weekend?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Father's day

Sunday Sunday
Skirt - New Look
T-shirt - H&M
Bow brooch - Primark
Cardigan - Zara

This is what I wore on Sunday for Father's Day, we just had a paella with my grandparents and I made a yummy cake which I will share later this week. This outfit was quite unusual for me really because there is NO red in it! I don't wear purple often either, but I do like jewel colours including purple. I had to add a bit of red in the form of my lipstick though. I wore this for most of the day but then got changed into my old scruffy jeans to do some DIY with Scott in the garden. Last weekend we bought an old bench on eBay for £3! Well, technically we won it for £2.40 but we gave them £3 and felt a bit cheeky asking for the 60p change. It was still a complete bargain although it needed sanding down and re-varnishing. Luckily my Dad has an electric sander so we used that. God knows how long it would have taken if we had to do it all by hand! 

Bench - before

Here is the bench before, with Nina modelling it. It was being used in their bathroom so the water had obviously damaged it slightly and worn the varnish down. It was also quite scratched & just scruffy looking.

Bench afterwards

Bench after

And here it is after! This time with Pepe showing it off. The wood is so lovely when it's naked, it looks like a completely new bench. I bet that would be sold in Ikea for about £30! Which is still cheap, but not quite £3. I did about 10% of the work and Scott did 90% of it, teamwork! Yeah! I'm going to get to work on some other DIY projects though, like making matching cushions for our wallpaper. We went to the house on Saturday to measure up and we're getting a bit of a clearer idea of exactly how we want it. We're not quite sure when we will get the keys because they are still conveyancing, but hopefully in July. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Ship & Mitre

Friday Friday
Dress - New Look
Shoes - Topshop
Cardigan - Zara

Did you all have a lovely weekend? I had quite a busy weekend (all weekends seem to be busy these days with this house buying lark!). Friday I went to one of our favourite pubs in Liverpool though, The Ship & Mitre. It is a real ale pub with so many different choices of real ales, European beers, fruit beers and ciders. I always try a different one each time. This week they have had a Belgian beer festival on and as one of my friends has just returned from living in Belgium for 9 months, she wanted to go to drink some of her favourite beers she can't get over here. I tried the Floris Honey beer first and it was so so amazing, really tasted of honey! Then I had a cider called 'Greensleeves', which was mint & nettle flavour. That was so delicious with ice, really refreshing. The bar man gave us a try of all the ciders too, but I think this was my favourite. Really unusual. Then, I finished off with a pint of Rosarda rose beer. I have a real sweet tooth when it comes to beer and like the fruity lighter beers, although I can be partial to a nice bitter depending on my mood.



I wore my bargainous dress, £12 from New Look! It has a really cute bow detail at the back which I love (although my bra strap does peek out from above it slightly which irritated me) and the pattern kind of reminds me of dresses I would have worn in the 90s when I was a little girl. In a good way. I thought that the dress was quite girly so I put on my killer silver shoes to jazz it up a bit.

Friday

When we were in The Ship & Mitre we pondered whether many people actually buy any non-beer/cider drinks in there. I would feel quite silly going into a pub with over 80 different beers to choose from and settling for a G&T you could get anywhere! There are so many different varieties of beers, there's something to suit everyone. Are any of you beer or real ale drinkers?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Ruffled

Tuesday Tuesday
shoes - clarks
tights - dorothy perkins
dress - miss selfridge
cardigan - debenhams

I am on a roll posting now! I think that the blog meet up really inspired me to keep on blogging. I think that a big thing that put me off blogging was feeling the pressure to be constantly buying new clothes to blog and feeling guilty if I posted an old or recycled outfit. But to be honest, who really has the budget to showcase a new outfit every week? Especially when you're buying a house and saving money for that. I do miss the days when all of my income was just spent on clothes or rubbish sometimes, but knowing that I'll be able to own my own house and be independent is definitely more satisfying that having a new pair of shoes. I like to buy items that will last me and are versatile now. I don't go for faddy 'it' dresses that everyone wants. Take this dress for example. I bought this dress 3 years ago now and I still like to wear it. It's comfy but smart, so I can wear it for work, but it's also pretty enough that I can wear it for nights out or to dinner. The colour is also a staple colour in my wardrobe so I can mix and match it with lots of accessories. 

Do you ever feel pressured into blogging 'new' things all the time? I did, but now I am accepting that I have a wardrobe bulging with lovely clothes that will last me a long, long time and I'd much rather spend my money on other things now, to be honest. That doesn't mean I'm not interested in fashion, I just have different priorities at the moment. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Fashion babylon

Monday morning

dress - h&m
shoes - clarks

This dress is a staple work dress for me now. It is easy to throw on in the morning when my hair is wrapped up in a towel turban, has big pockets handy for carrying around junk in and is so so comfy. I have had this dress a long time (since I was an undergraduate) and have wore it lots and lots and lots. In fact I've worn it so much that's now a bit baggy on me, but not worn out yet. I will be so upset when it does finally bite the dust. 

fashionbabylon

This week I've been reading this trashy fashion novel, Fashion Babylon, after being recommended it by a colleague. It's part fiction, part fact. It follows a designer across 6 months and is peppered with so many fashion anecdotes, but it's also an inside peek into the real world of fashion and how a collection is really produced, from the Polish seamstress copying m&s shirts at the last minute, to the mad buying appointments with shops from small fashion boutiques to the big names such as Harrods or Saks. It also discusses the intricate details of the mark ups designers put on their clothes, which are then further marked up by the shops. One really interesting bit was about 'seeding' which is when designer's PRs target celebrities to give freebies to and then hope and pray that they wear them. It kind of reminded me of how some high street stores are now 'seeding' bloggers to give freebies to! I'm taking the whole book with a pinch of salt but some of the facts & anecdotes are rather interesting. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has the slightest bit of interest in fashion. 

Have you read any good trashy books lately? At the moment I'm not reading much, but this was the perfect way to de-stress as it was so easy to read and entertaining. 


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

You said everything about it moved on your career.

Thursday

Dress - Primark
Shoes - Primark

Oh. My. Gosh. An entirely Primark outfit! Considering that I haven't bought anything except for tights and knickers in Primark for about 2 years this is quite a feat. The dress was a sale find and only cost £5! I love wearing it for work, but my only gripe is that it has no pockets and also sometimes the bow undoes itself and I don't notice and spend the day looking like I can't dress myself. 

Oh yes, I never mentioned my haircut in my last post! I went for the chop and really like it. It is so much healthier than before and also so much easier to style in the morning. I've transferred libraries recently so have a bit of a longer journey to work so any saved time in the morning is a winner for me. I hated how long it would take for my hair to dry and then style.

I've also been buying and making a few new house things for our move! Below is a utensil holder from Laura Ashley that I love so much. I'm a sucker for anything owl shaped really! When I bought it I thought it was a vase, then my Mum suggested it would make a nice utensil holder and I noticed on the sticker it is actually a utensil holder. So I'll use it as that because it's so pretty it deserves to be on display all the time and not just when I have flowers in the house. 

New utensil holder



I also made my heart garland! I am quite pleased with it but would have liked some yellow yarn in there too. I just used yarn that I had in my crochet bags though so it was technically free and only took me a weekend to make. I like short and sweet projects like that, so that I can practice different techniques and have a quick result, but I would also really, really love to crochet a big blanket one day. 

Have you been making anything lately?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The meet up!

Saturday

Yesterday was the day of the meet up! I was so worried that no-one would turn up because even in the last week a lot of people ended up not being able to come, but it was a lovely day as 7 bloggers met up in Manchester, chatted about blogs (and how weird non-bloggers think we are), ate cake and went vintage shopping. Everyone was so so lovely! I wore my new bargain dress from New Look which was £15. (I'm on a bit of a self imposed clothes shopping ban because of the house, but I couldn't resist this as it was such a bargain.) My lovely blue necklace is a vintage find from Etsy. 

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Here are the lovely bloggers! L-R Zoe of Penny Blossoms, Danielle of A Blog from Blackpool, Joanna of Mrs Bossa does the Do, Char of t*rexes & tiaras, Alex of Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks and Pearl of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. 

Cake

Walrus

I couldn't eat yummy food and not take a photo of it! The first photo is a lovely piece of carrot cake that I had in Nexus and the second photo is the yummy bento box I had in Walrus. 

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We then went around some vintage shops in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and some of us tried on some clothes (I was veeeeery good with my clothes shopping ban and was sorely tempted but resisted) I loved the dress that Pearl tried on above but she didn't buy it. Alex also bought an amazing Lowry-esque print blouse. After I left Mrs B, Pearl & Alex all tried on jump suits and there are some photos on their blogs of that; I was sad I missed out on that! It looked like such a giggle. The whole afternoon was so much fun and absolutely flew by. We hope that we can arrange some more meet ups and events like this in the future. This was the first time I had ever met any fellow bloggers and it was so nice to discuss things like the pain of taking outfit photos in the winter, switching from blogspot to wordpress and having to explain 'umm yes I take photos of myself and put them on the Internet' to people who don't read blogs! 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

June already?!

Blackcurrants

Blackcurrant and almond cake

Cafetiere cosy

I can't quite believe it's June already! Here is a quick recap of things I've been up to: 

  • Gardening and baking. My blackcurrant plants have produced a real bounty of blackcurrants, so I baked a lovely blackcurrant and almond cake. It was so moist & delicious. The recipe for it can be found here. My courgette plants are just starting to become established so hopefully I will have a glut of courgettes in a few weeks if the snails can keep off them, and my strawberry plants are currently going bananas. 
  • Crocheting again! I made this little cafetiere cosy over the weekend WITH NO PATTERN! Well, I found a pattern in this book from the library, but when I started looking at it I realised that it was too big and not suitable for my cafetiere as the handles are at different positions so I just made it up. It's a bit slapdash on the bit where it buttons together as you can see here, but I'm really pleased with it overall. I need to teach myself to stop missing stitches or adding extra ones in though when working in rows! I find crocheting in the round so much easier for some reason. 
  • Aaand.. buying a house! It is really scary and I've been trying to keep quiet about it because I'm paranoid like that, but things seem to be going smoothly at the moment and the survey's been done and the solicitors are starting to do their thing so it seems a bit more real now. It's been quite stressful at times because you want to do so much to help the process along but you can't; and then there's the money worries too. But I am so excited about our first house together and can't wait to get in and decorate. Here's hoping the rest of the process goes smoothly! (I am still oh so paranoid something will go terribly wrong and we'll be heartbroken...wish us luck!)
  • Running & shredding. Oh my gosh, I am SO achey today after doing the 30 Day Shred yesterday! I never used to ache like that after it but I'm thinking maybe this is a good sign that I'm actually putting more effort in now that I'm fitter? I also have a black toenail at the moment from running because my trainers are actually terrible now, but I'm getting new ones for my birthday next month hopefully. 
  • And looking forward to the Manchester Meet-up! This Saturday between 2-4 at Nexus, Dale Street, Manchester, a group of fashion bloggers are meeting up for tea & cake to discuss blogging and meet each other. I'm really looking forward to it and hope that afterwards some of the other bloggers enthusiasm will rub off on me and I can throw myself back into the blog, because although I have felt at times like deleting it, I have also missed it too. Please come along to the meet up if you're in the North West or invite any bloggers you know in the area!

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