Running – It’s Gotten To Me Already 

I am only on week 4 of my couch to 5k training plan (illness has slowed me down a bit), but I have already booked races. 


Not so silly really, it is definately easier to run when you have a goal in sight. The last time I ran, I did this, so that I could raise money for The British Heart Foundation. My dad had, had a heart by pass operation, so when I found out that they were putting on a race locally, I entered with my hubby, trained and ran 5k. The race spurred me on. That time, no running light was flicked on but I continued other fitness that I enjoyed. 

This time and following on from my hubby running 10k’s, I had decided that I would get to 10k and run 10k races. Then I watched “Mind Over Marathon” and was inspired by their stories and effort. When I saw that “The Big Half” was announced, I excitedly texted my hubby suggesting that we enter. I was surprised when he said yes, as 5 days earlier he said entering a Marathon would be madness, and how would I fit training in. I’m not sure that I really want to run a marathon. Certainly not yet. That evening, we entered. It’s a new half marathon by the London marathon organisers, which follows half of the London marathon route. It’s not till March 2018 but gives me the push to keep going with running. 

I should reach being able to run 5k in another 5 weeks, so between then and next March is quite a while. What will I do in between. I’ve already booked the “Big Fun Run” being held in Leeds in August. I’ll be running for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It’s a 5k run, so I though that was a good start. Then I’m planning to do the “Abbey Dash” in November, a 10k race. I’d like to find another 10k race in Jan / early Feb. 

I’m enjoying running so far. I like the fact that I’m doing it and achieving it, but I am also enjoying the time to myself and listening to my music – although occasionally, I have to fast forward past a children’s song that pops up!

Will I get to a point when I think “I can’t do this”, at the moment I don’t know. I hope not, and I am sure the road to a 13 mile race, won’t be easy. I have colder days to come, when I realise that I won’t want to go running.  Hopefully, I will be spurred on by needing to complete a 13 mile race.  

Running – The start of something?

I’ve been watching as more and more of the people I know have taken up running, many by starting with couch to 5k. I have run before. I trained with my hubby to do a 5k race with him for the British Heart Foundation about 13 years ago. Post this, I have run on a treadmill as part of a gym routine. I’m not a natural runner. I’m not a natural exerciser either, but I need to get fitter and do something that fits in with working, running a home and having a 4 year old. 

My hubby runs. Not regularly, but most years he spends several months training for a 10k race. I am lucky have someone at home for support and advice, although we can’t run together this time round, as someone needs to look after the 4 year old!

A few weeks ago, I made the final decision to go for it. Although eager to get going, I knew that I had to get running shoes first. A bit of online research and asking people who I know run led me to go to a shop that does gait analysis. They said that I over probate, which fits in with being flat footed, so I knew I wasn’t being conned. What I was shocked about, though, was the price of them. I’ve paid £115 for a pair of Saucony Omni 15. I wasn’t expecting to pay more than £60! I had good help and advice from Up and Running, so decided to buy these from them. Knowing what works for me now, I may be able to pick up bargains online next time. As they are good for 500 – 600 miles, that will be in quite a while. 


They took 3 weekends to buy, having tried one pair at home and not liking it, then the shop needed to order a different size in. It’s worth being sure you have bought the right ones though. 

I am lucky enough to already have suitable clothes. Clothes that I had bought for other exercise that I have previously done, but I soon realised that I need 3 outfits for 3 runs. Being a working mum, most of my washing gets done at the weekend. You have to make life as easy as possible and not let something as simple as this be the excuse for not running. 

Next was to choose an app, so that I have a training plan to follow. For me it came down to which one was free, as well as one that was good. I found one by Public Health England on the App Store that looked just the job. It is a 9 week programme, with running 3 days a week, with the days in between as rest days. You get to choose your celebrity trainer – I’ve chosen Jo Whiley to join me on my run. It works well. She motivates you and tells you when to run, when to walk without you having to remember what you need to do and when or keep looking at your watch. 

I have done 3 runs so far, only the beginning but so far I am super proud of myself – for starting and for achieving “runs”. 

I am not necessarily enjoying running yet, but I am enjoying having time to listen to music that is on my phone and the upbeat feeling you get at the end of a session. 

My next decision, is whether to sign up for a race. 

Weleda Skin Food

I read about this in Sali Hughes book “Pretty Iconic” and thought that I should get a tube, especially as it wasn’t too expensive and could be bought at Holland and Barrett. 

I’m not sure that I really knew what I was going to do with this, so after a first try, I put it away. 

Then it’s moment arrived. My hands had got so dry that they had split. I decide to get my tube of Food Skin out of the drawer and use it as hand cream over night. The next day my skin has started to repair itself. I was so impressed with this. I kept using it for a few more days. 

It’s second job, was my legs becoming dry and flaky. Food Skin made them better overnight. 

I now know, that it is the product to have around, when your skin needs rescuing. I’m not sure that I would use it on my face (you can) as it feels rich and a bit greasy. 

It has a medicinal smell about it. Not unpleasant at all but not my favourite smell. It doesn’t put me off from using the product though.

I’m really not sure how I missed this product, as I have used Weleda Calendula Nappy Cream and thought that this was a great product for babies bottoms.  

For those who have not heard of the brand, Weleda is a German company that began in 1921 as a pharmaceutical laboratory, with a medicinal plant garden. Today it is a manufacturer of holistic natural cosmetics. 

Worth a try. Comment below and let me know what you think too. 

Who Said Riding A Bike Was Easy….

….Or not all children are the same. 

We bought our daughter a balance bike when she was 2 years old. Was she interested – no! Then when she was about 2 and 3/4 years old, she decided now was the time to ride. 


(Riding her Frog Balance Bike on The Otley Chevin.)

At 3 years old we started going to lessons with In Gear Cycling on the beautiful Otley Chevin. She had things to learn, and learn she did from Jonny. She stated off as the slowest in the group and nearly a year later she became the fastest. 

She was ready for a bike around June 2016, so after some investigation, we decided to visit Islabikes on our way back from our summer holiday in Devon. After all, they are lightweight aluminum kids bikes, designed to fit a child rider perfectly. All my research said that a lighter bike is easier to learn on. Supposedly, a move from a balance bike to a pedal bike is a doddle. Many just get on and go. 

At our Islabike visit (30 minute session booked in advance), she was measured for the correct bike and taken out on the track to try it. As I had suspected, she did not just get on and go, but we adults liked the bike and decided to buy one. It had to be pink!

Islabike Cnoc 16
(An impressive quality kids bike)

Since we got it, we have tried to get her riding it but she just didn’t get pedaling, so in the summer, I even booked her in for a session with Dave Burns of I want to Ride My Bike. He said that in an hour session, he gets kids riding. Ha ha! Not her, she was one of his very few failures. He uses Islabikes in his sessions. (I would still highly recommend him)

In the autumn, Jonny told us only to bring the bike to her cycling lessons. She was getting closer to riding but other things failed her. Firstly being too cold – I then bought her a warmer coast. Next week her feet got wet in her mesh trainers – I bought her some gortex boots. Now lessons for the beginners class are off till spring time. 

We have been taking her to the park to practice and at almost 4.5 years old, she is nearly getting the hang of cycling. We can’t let go of her yet though. 

I had envisioned the transition from her balance bike to cycling being easy peasy, after all, I kept reading this, and my nephew had shown this to be true. Really I knew it wouldn’t be like this for her. She can be slow to pick up new skills (balance bike) but when she is ready she will be ready. She does things at her own pace. She can be stubborn too, which doesn’t help. Also, she had never used anything with pedals before this bike. I think, If she’d used a tricycle, I’m sure that this would have helped. 

She is her own person and will be pedaling all by herself very soon. I keep forgetting that 4 1/2 is still a young age to learn to ride. 

The Wet Brush Review

Or how a brush revolutionised brushing my 4 year olds hair. 

I’d heard about this brush but I already owned a Tangle Teaser, so why would this be any better? Having spent day after day having painful hair brushing sessions with my daughter, I decided to get some new hair brushes with a Black Friday offer. 

This arrived, along with a Wet Brush comb and a Kent Bristle and Nylon Brush. 


Well of the three, The Wet Brush has been the big winner and given a thumbs up by me and the 4 year old. 

Hair brushing can never be entirely pain less, as there will be knots in longer hair from time to time, but I have genuinely been surprised at how good this brush is for both of us. Hair brushing has become such an easier task to do with the 4 year old, whether it’s brushing Wet or dry hair. 

My husband has been impressed with how the bristles have been engineered to just bend at the right time. It intreged the nerd in him, so he went off to read about it on the internet.

It’s so good that I use it too now and have just ordered another one for our swimming bag. This time we are going to try out the midi size. 

Tili Box from QVC

Beauty boxes are all the rage at the moment. These are boxes that are posted to your home, containing samples of make up and skincare products to try. There are lots of different subscription beauty box services, where for a monthly charge, you get a surprise box of skin care and make up samples to try. For many the low cost and idea of trying something new each month is appealing, especially when they are high end products that you don’t want to just buy and try. I get that feeling of having a parcel arrive, opening it and the excitement of seeing what’s inside. After a day working, this can be a lovely treat. 

Tili or “Try It, Love It” is QVC’s take on a beauty box. It is more expensive than some beauty boxes at £20 (delivered) but it isn’t a subscription service and you can see what you are getting in advance. If it doesn’t contain things that you want to try, don’t buy – easy. 

I’d heard good things about the Tili box, so when I read that box 3 was available, I went to take a look. It looked interesting and as it is based on the products that QVC sell, I knew the price of products that it contained would be of a good standard, making it a reasonable value box too. 

The box arrived in just a couple of days, – – super fast delivery from QVC. It was a lovely thing to arrive home to, after a week away. 


It’s a pretty pale green box with the products wrapped in tissue paper and sitting on a bed of shredded tissue. It looked gorgeous and felt like I was getting a little bit of luxury. Care had been taken to wrap the two glass products in bubble wrap. 


Inside the box are 10 samples, a mix of skin care and make up. I like that there is a mix and not just skincare. The box includes:

1 x Essie Mint Candy Apple Nail Polish (12ml) – a pastel mint green

1 x Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Coconut Breeze (40ml)

1 x Molton Brown Dewy Lily of The Valley & Star Anise Bath & Shower Gel (50ml)

1 x Australian Bodycare Skin Wash (50ml

1 x This Works In Transit Camera Close-up (20ml)

1 x Elemis Gentle Foaming Face Wash (30ml)

1 x Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner (15ml)

1 x Decleor Aromessence Mandarine Oil Serum (5ml)

1 x Doll 10 Lip Velvet (2ml) in one of three surprise shades – I received Material Girl (classic pink)

1 x Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick Extra (1.6g) in one of two surprise shades – I received Moonlight (creamy champagne)

For me the Elasticizer sample is great because I already use it and I’m looking forward to trying it in the coconut fragrance. Coconut is a favourite smell of mine. 

I have been wanting to try Pixi Glow Tonic for a little while, so a sample size is a good way to see if it’s for me or not. 

I already use Essie nail polishes. This isn’t a colour that I would choose but I will try in spring time. I may be pleasantly surprised. 

Molton Brown sample shower gels are great for weekends away. I have used several that I got with present purchase for trips away, so this will be coming with me on my next trip to London. 

I’m not a fan of skin washes, as I like to jot cloth cleanse. I may be giving the two included in here away. 

When I’ve worked out the best way to use This Works In Transit Camera Close-Up, I will give it a go. I’m never sure about products that claim they can multi task. 

The make up and serum oil will be all given a try out. 

I’m quite excited about trying this purchase out, and as I try them, I will review them on here. 

Choosing a School – My Difficult Experience

The 15th January was the closing date for primary school applications in England. This should have been a relatively easy decision for us, but It surprised us by being more difficult than we imagined. 
We got the letter about applying in October and found out what our priority school was. As we sit between two primary schools, we hadn’t been 100% sure which one was our closest but had the right inkling. Not that, that really mattered, as we are lucky to have an abundance of great primary schools in North Leeds. 

November 17th 2016 was the day the problem of choice occurred. Our two closest primary schools had decided, very handily, to have their open days on the same day and we decided to see a third nearby school in the afternoon. 

In preparation, we noted down things that we wanted to know – bullying policy, religious views, after school clubs etc., looked at their website and had a rough idea in our heads what we though about each one. 

That date will now be remembered as the day that the confusion began. All three schools were good, in their own way. We had hoped that at least one (and the one that we thought) would drop off our list or at least drop to a lower priority school to us but no, the one we planned not to like, threw a curve ball at us. 

Here began two months of umming and erring, what if we do this, what about that, pros and cons. Hubby worrying more than me – he’s a natural born worrier. I probably buried my head in the sand for a bit as 15th January seemed ages away. 

The biggest issue, was, that one was a religious school. My husband, isn’t a big fan of religious schools but like me, liked this school and it’s head teacher more than we had expected. How Much did we want her to go here and how much does going to a school the same religion as her really matter. There is no real right or wrong answer to this, just an opinion that you believe in.

Sensibility, finally helped us to come to a decision. A lack of after school facilities, and no retired family member able to collect her 3 afternoons a week consistently (after much discussion), meant that we had the decision made for us in the end really. We couldn’t find a local childminder either, who Take and pick up from the school, with space. Our first choice is our local priority school, that we can walk to, that has good SATS results, is Ofsted Outstanding, people say good things about it and has before and after school club facilities. Not a bad choice at all really. 

Am I completely happy. No. Is this irrational. Yes. Will it be the right choice for my daughter. I’m absolutely sure that it will be. 

Roll on 18th April, to see where she has been allocated to.

Some Sparkle and Strictly Ballroom the Musical 

The moment that I read that Strictly Ballroom was being turned in to a musical by West Yorkshire Playhouse (WYP) earlier this year, I was excited to say the least. One of my favourite films being turned in to a musical by the brilliant West Yorkshire Playhouse. 

Each Xmas, the WYP always put on a big show, more often than not a musical in the Quarry Theatre. Over recent years, I’ve seen Annie, White Christmas and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. They are all shows produced by themselves, sometimes in conjunction with another U.K. theatre and always fantastic seasonal shows. We are so lucky to have a theatre putting on “new” productions. 

I would have bought tickets the moment that I saw it advertised, but managed to restrain myself. Quite quickly, it was decided that I would pay for and go with my sister. Could there be a better present for another fan of the 1992 film.

The 28th December arrived, not only was it time to get ready for my evening out, but it was the day that I got to see my sister again (she lives in Brighton, so we only get to see each other a few times a year). The pair of us had our glitter ready, shoes, tops, earrings. How could we not?! So much so, my 4 year old has to put her glitter shoes and cardigan on, to match us. (Sorry, but we forgot to take photos).

7.30pm arrived, the curtain rose – unusual in this modern day theatre and we were transported in to the world of Ballroom. None of it seems quite as other worldly these days, with BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing but boy did it take me back to the film. The WYP captured the film perfectly, gave it humour, great songs and found a perfect cast to represent their film oppos. The attention to detail, so that fans didn’t feel short changed, was fantastic and if ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Some of the audience gave it a standing ovation and it deserved it. I didn’t stand, doing my British reserved thing. 

We left feeling elated and buzzing, as any happy ending musical should do. 

A few days later, the film was shown on BBC 4. I watched it again and it really did remind me, how true to the film they stayed and how good the film is. I’m a bit of a Baz Luhrmann fan. 

If you like musicals and sparkle, you should give this a go before it ends. To end 2016, seeing something so upbeat and hopeful, was perfection. Hopefully, it will move to London. It deserves to. I’m even tempted to go to see it again, it really was that good.