Saturday, 1 August 2015

Acceptable in the 80s

Do you ever wonder what the 80s would look like in trainer form?
OH MY GOD JUST LOOK AT THEM SERIOUSLY.
I love them. Seriously, I am so in love with them. I admit, they are a seriously acquired taste, but I could not resist something so wonderfully garish. 
These bad boys are from Footlocker. Unfortunately, my beloved running shoes have seen better days and I've been in denial for the last few weeks. I've had them since April last year and I've probably done about 400 miles in them so they've seen better days. I've been getting blisters on my long runs at about 7 or 8 miles. Plus at the moment I'm running about 20 miles a week so between now and my half marathon (11 weeks to go!) they're going to get even more of a battering.
The problem is, buying running shoes stressing my out. Surely you know by now that I'm not exactly the kind of person who can just walk into a sports shop and pick up a pair of shoes. I had a running assessment in Sweatshop to get my last pair and I don't feel confident choosing the right shoes on my own, even though I know my feet are pretty neutral. I was really stressed out when it came to choosing new shoes. To the point where I nearly just ordered the exact same pair of trainers in a different colour.
I did absolutely loads of research before selecting this pair. I wanted something as similar as possible to my New Balance 980s. Of course, the garish print of these was what first attracted me to them, but I looked them up and they sounded perfect. They're actually triathlon shoes, but believe me there isn't one of those coming up in my future!
leggings - Sports Direct
black top - Sports Direct
sports bra - Nike
socks - Sports Direct
trainers - c/o Footlocker
I decided to try them out at Parkrun this morning so I got Phil to snap a few photos of me before. I wanted to take some more authentic photos of these. I wanted to take them outside, in my running kit with no makeup and my hair scraped back - because that's what I look like when I run! I did french plait the front of my hair when I normally just clip my fringe back to look slightly less grubby, but other than that this is my usual Parkrun get up.
So how were they? To be honest, they didn't feel much different to my other trainers - in a good way! They did feel quite nice and bouncy, and I tried to keep away from the puddles a bit more than usual! I'm really excited to wear them in a bit more and I'm pretty sure these are going to be the trainers I run my half marathon in! So thank you, Footlocker. Nobody is going to miss me in these!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Confessions


  • I really, really hate it when Phil goes away and it makes me feel super co-dependent and also like a really bad feminist which makes me sad.
  • Sometimes when Phil goes away I don't do the washing up for two days and consider eating crisps and dip for dinner.
  • Sometimes I really, really don't want to go for a run.
  • Sometimes it even makes me question why I'm training for a marathon in the first place.
  • I have a really bad time relaxing because I have this horrible idea of my life slipping away while I'm incessantly checking Facebook or watching TV.
  • I hate vacuuming and if Phil isn't here I definitely don't do it
  • I worry that people think I'm boring because I like early nights and not going out.
  • I worry that I try too hard.
  • I worry that while I'm trying to do the right thing and do things like give blood and train for a marathon and go to the library every day that people think I'm holier-than-thou. I do these things because they make me happy, not to show off. I actually really wish I could be more relaxed and could stop putting pressure on myself to do certain things and be a certain way.
  • I don't always like how Type A I am.
  • I worry that I don't clean my flat as much as I should. I worry that there's some cleaning somewhere that I've forgotten to do and one day I'm going to find a huge pile of mould/ants/dust.
  • I don't really have any idea what I'm doing a lot of the time, and I don't really know when I woke up and I was suddenly 25 and a grown up.
  • I post pictures of my meals and my runs and my workouts to Instagram so it looks like I have my life together. 
  • I worry about the future all the live-long day.
  • People are often really impressed with my to-do lists and my meal planning and my list of outgoing expenses each month, but the reality is I'm constantly anxious and writing lists and trying to keep on top of things is how I cope.
  • I wrote this because I really wanted a blog post with outfit photos but I haven't taken any for weeks and these days I pretty much live in jeans and tshirts and I'm kind of okay with that.
  • I want to be more honest on my blog but I'm scared of being so vulnerable.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dressing for the open air theatre

Does this look like the kind of thing someone would wear to an open-air theatre? A few weeks ago Quiz got in touch about creating an outfit for one of a series of summer activities, and after browsing through the list, I thought "open air theatre" sounded interesting - much more me than Marbella Spray Party or Radio 1 weekend in Ibiza. Plus I actually went to the open air theatre once. I was about seven and it was the Merchant of Venice in the park next to my parents' house. I remember my Mum encouraging me to read the play, but when it actually came down to the day all I remember was falling asleep on the grass and waking up covered in ant bites. Anyway.
So while I didn't wear this outfit to actually go to the open air theatre, I thought this would be a perfect outfit. A pretty floral dress - not too dressy but nice enough to not feel under-dressed, flats so your heels don't get stuck in the grass and a jacket to keep you warm just in case it gets a bit chilly in the evening. 
dress - c/o Quiz
shoes - c/o Quiz
jacket - Topshop
necklace - Debenhams
lipstick - MAC Girl about Town
While we didn't go to the theatre, we have had a really nice weekend. July has been bizarrely quiet for us, which has been both a blessing and a curse. I feel like it's so hard to get the balance right when it comes to how to spend your weekend. While we rarely do "nothing" on the weekends (and our "nothing" is probably other people's "pretty busy") when we do do "nothing" we often find ourselves getting to Sunday feeling like we have wasted the weekend. But if we have a crazy-busy weekend I feel like I spend the whole time chasing my tail, stressing out about fitting my runs in and worrying about when I'm going to do the washing or clean the flat.
Last weekend was one of the weekends we feel like we wasted. Phil was working away on Friday and didn't get home til 8.30pm, so Friday had disappeared by bedtime. On Saturday we went to parkrun, did the food shopping, went into town and got a coffee and did boring adult shopping in Wilko, and before we knew it it was time for bed. Then on Sunday we did the We Love Manchester 10K (I got another PB - 58:09 - over a minute faster than my last PB of 59:20!) and then went to Phil's parents for a BBQ and to watch Wimbledon. It felt like the whole weekend was over in the blink of an eye, so we were determined to not let that happen this weekend.
Phil's sister has been staying with us this week, which has been really, really lovely, and I wasn't home two of the nights this week so we were feeling like we hadn't had much time together. On Friday we went to a party, and then I went home while Phil and his friends went out and got up early for parkrun on Saturday. Yesterday we both had some work to do, then we went to the cinema to see Ant-Man, did the food shop and then chilled out and watched The Office. We decided yesterday we wanted to go on a day trip today to just feel like we'd "done" something, so I got up early to put on the washing and run 8 miles then we got on the train to Buxton. Buxton is an hour away from us on the train and it's a really nice journey, plus we managed to time it perfectly with their fringe festival and also the summer fete. We bought delicious olives and stone-baked pizzas, sat in the park and just enjoyed the sunshine. It felt like being on holiday! We did get tickets for a tram tour, but when we went to join the group it turned out he'd overbooked so we ended up just going home! It's been so nice to do something on a Sunday instead of just washing and running and food prep.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Boucle, Floral and Cinema Trips

Do you want to know how many times I've been to the cinema this weekend? Three times. Three whole times. At three different cinemas. I also went on Tuesday, which was also to a different cinema. So that's four times this week. That's a lot of sitting in a dark room. Can you tell I'm not exactly loving the hot, humid weather?
Seriously though, it's been great. On Friday Phil and I had date night, which was long overdue. Even though we live together and spend a lot of time together, it's so nice to get dressed up and go out once in a while. Phil was away Monday-Thursday this week because he went to Wimbledon with his Dad, so it was nice for us to get a proper evening to catch up. We went to Superstore which I've wanted to go to for ages. We had the yummiest cocktails (mine had a Maoam with it!) and I had the curried cod, which was huge and absolutely delicious. Then after dinner, we went to Fitzgerald's, which is a 1920s style speakeasy. It was perfect.
Yesterday we went to parkrun, where it was disgustingly hot and humid. I managed a gentle two mile run on Thursday but other than that I hadn't run for almost 2 weeks so I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle after being ill. Phil said when I finished I looked "a bit green" and he made me sit down for a bit. I did manage to get under 30 minutes (29:59 haha) but I was over 2 minutes over my PB!
Yesterday afternoon we went to Home to see Going Clear, the Scientology film. We tried to go see it on a whim on Thursday night, but as Home is such a small, independent cinema it was already sold out! (We went for a cheeky drink instead!) So yesterday afternoon, we went to see that. Came home, had dinner and then went to another cinema to see Terminator Genisys. Which was... disappointing. I've recently watched the first two Terminator films because they were on Phil's "films I need to have seen by now" list and LOVED them, especially Terminator 2. We went into the film with low expectations though, so we weren't really disappointed!
jeans - Topshop
top - Oasis c/o Clarity
pink jacket - River Island
necklace - Debenhams c/o Think Money
ballet flats - Dorothy Perkins
We have a 10K next weekend, so this morning Phil joined me for 5 slow, very sweaty miles, and then this afternoon we went to see the Amy Winehouse film, which was brilliant but quite upsetting. Tonight I'm planning to read a lot. I've been going to the library on my lunch break almost every day for the past month or so, and as a result I'm getting a lot of books read, which is great. But I'm also reserving a lot of books, and they seem to keep all coming in at once! Last week I read Margaret Atwood's Robber Bride, which I adored, Jonathan Franzen's essays How to be alone, which felt a bit dated, and then Kate Atkinson's Behind the scenes at the museum, which I properly mourned when it was over. I adore Kate Atkinson at the moment and I've just started Life after Life which I cannot put down. I'm so happy to have books back in my life again.
Hope you weekend has been great!

Charlotte x

Monday, 29 June 2015

Fab at Fifty (Quid)

A few weeks ago I received an email - "How fab can you look for £50?". I love a challenge like this, especially because at my core I'm actually really tight. Everything I buy is umm-ed and ahh-ed over profusely, I shop almost exclusively in Aldi and I get very upset if we run out of milk and have to buy it from the Spar next door (it's 50p more expensive!).

But while I love a bargain, ThinkMoney's challenge was to create a whole outfit for £50, which is no mean feat. I was given £50 worth of Love2Shop vouchers, which I could use at a variety of high street stores, but only instore and not online, and don't include my usual bargain meccas of Primark and H&M. I was going to have to really think about this.

It's once in a blue moon that I actually purchase clothes from physical shops, and even less frequently that I do so without consulting the website first. These days I'm not much of an impulse buyer. Most of my shopping is planned ahead from gaps I perceive in my wardrobe - spending hours browsing online or consulting Shopstyle. I can't remember the last time I just bought something without thinking ahead!

As it happened, I was going home last Saturday because my Mum was going to dye my hair for me (don't worry if you can't see any difference, that was completely the point) and she fancied a look around the shops first, so at the last minute before leaving the flat I grabbed the vouchers. I'm so glad I did.

It took me less than ten minutes in Debenhams to fall in love with this skirt. It was £20 in the sale, but I'm being extra-careful with money this month after having a little breakdown at the end of May (and as I said, I'm good with money!) so I knew I couldn't justify it. But then I remembered the vouchers! At £20, I had £30 left for the rest of the outfit. It was game on.

One element of the outfit I'd been worried about blowing my budget on was the shoes. I knew I wanted to create a daytime outfit so I only needed a pair of little ballet flats, but even at the cheap end of the scale they can be £20. As we walked through Debenhams my Mum said "you need some pale blue flats", and I'm not kidding you, the second I turned around I laid eyes on the shoes. £15! I was now onto £35, with £15 remaining for a top.

I decided I wanted a yellow top, and my Mum found one straight away, but at £18 it was just out of budget. We even went to the counter and got the girl to scan everything just in case anything was secretly reduced, but no, we were over budget. Then we stumbled over a display of simple jersey tops, and there was a yellow one - £8! With £7 left to spare we found a necklace and after a quick trip to the changing room we were done! We got to the counter, where the same girl who helped us earlier said "that's fifty pounds exactly"! So here's what we came up with...
Everything Debenhams with vouchers c/o ThinkMoney

Just for proof!
I was so happy with what we came up with. I wasn't sure about the tshirt at first because the skirt is slightly too big (they didn't have a smaller size and the opportunity was just too good to miss) so I would have preferred a looser top so it didn't draw attention to the waist of the skirt, but to be honest, I don't think you can tell! I'm really happy with this outfit, especially because I can definitely wear each of these items again. I've been wearing the necklace absolutely loads, the shoes and top will be perfect for summer and I cannot wait to wear this skirt in the autumn/winter.
I was hoping to get this post up last week but I've actually been ill for the last few days! I was off work sick last Monday due to feeling incredibly nauseated and fatigued and spent the whole morning in bed. I felt better on Tuesday and went into work but started with a cough. By Thursday I thought I was feeling better, but then Friday my sore throat and cough just got worse, and by Saturday the cough had gone straight on my chest and I had a horrible, wheezy cough. I'm not too proud to admit that I had a huge cry on Saturday morning when Phil told me it probably wasn't a good idea to go to Parkrun. At my Parkrun they have pacers on the last run of the month, and I was chasing another PB (even though I only got one the week before last - 27:47, which still seems insane to me considering three months ago I was working on getting under 30 minutes) but I knew deep down it would have been a bad idea, and it's a good job I didn't go! On Saturday we went to the theatre with my parents, Phil's parents and his sister, and after dinner Phil's Dad said to me "are you getting better or worse?" and I think that was the moment I realised I was actually getting worse!
I woke up yesterday with a throaty cough like I smoked 40 a day and no voice! I had to cancel all my plans for the day and ending up sleeping and on the sofa all day. I definitely didn't manage the 10 mile run I had planned! I'm feeling better today and I'm glad I pushed myself to work (even though I worked from home - I didn't want to infect everyone in the office/put makeup on) but choir is out for tonight cause I still can't speak properly, let alone sing!
So I'm home tonight feeling sorry for myself as Phil has just gone to his parents for the night as he's off to Wimbledon tomorrow! The only good thing about being ill is that I've had plenty of time to read (I read two books last Monday, finished one yesterday and am hoping to finish another tonight), but I'm hoping to have an early night tonight so I can try to go for a run tomorrow.
Hope you had a lovely weekend!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Dad.

Everyone loves my Dad. No, seriously, everyone loves my Dad. As the oldest boy in a family of eight he's (nearly everyone's) big brother. My uni friends do impressions of him because they think he's hilarious. I've never hear of anyone who doesn't like him, and if I did I'd know it was their issue.
If you had a look through my call log my Dad is probably the last person I called. He's the person I call the most. Even when we lived together he was always the first person I called at the end of the day. We call each other "mate" and we answer the phone with "yo." 
Dad is the person I call when I need ressurance, when I need advice. He's almost embarrassingly proud of me, always telling me how well I'm doing when I feel like I'm going nowhere. We might not agree on everything, but he's the one I go to to "put the world to rights."
My Dad is where I get my love of gummy sweets. Even now, at 25, if we have to pop to the shop for milk or bread or a drink, there's always a pound going for a bag of Haribo, which we've usually eaten before we get home.
He's also responsible for my love of country music. For my love of Jackson Browne and James Taylor. There are dozens of songs that remind me of my Dad, and barely a week goes by without him playing me a song on his iPad that he wants me to hear. We have so many songs that I already have our Father-daughter dance picked out for my wedding, and some songs that remind me of my Dad I can't even listen to because they make me cry so much.
My Dad taught me to drive. Forcing me to go out for an hour every night when I was 18 in the little red Corsa he bought me. Which I then crashed and wrote off. Ironically on Father's Day.
My Dad is the funniest person I know. Whenever one of us hears a joke or a funny story, we'll call with other one with "here's one for you." He loves funny Youtube videos and old Irish jokes. 
My Dad is where I get my penny-pinching from, and my love of fish fingers and baked beans. He's the reason I tell people "I'm a total Daddy's girl." I'm 25 but I'm still his little girl and I always will be. He's my superhero. And my blog's biggest fan.
When I asked my Dad what he wanted for Father's Day he said "Save your money. I just to see you." Now while that is a relief in one respect (my Dad is impossible to buy for because he basically hates spending money), I knew I had to get him something.
So we came up with a compromise.  I'd received an email from Mainline Menswear about a Pint of Thanks for Dad and thought this would be perfect. They asked me to choose Dad's favourite brand (I called him to ask) and his size and they would send him a selection of goodies for Father's Day.
Dad chose Lyle and Scott, and here's what came in his pint glass:
L-r: Pint glass, Lyle and Scott tshirt, Smints, Shaving cream and post-shaving balm, Lyle and Scott keyring, Lyle and Scott socks (all c/o Mainline Menswear)
And as you can see, Dad was pretty happy with his presents!
He even wore his tshirt for the rest of the day!
And of course, he got what he wanted for Father's Day too. I went home both Saturday and Sunday, and he drove me back to the flat on Saturday night so we could put the world to rights. Over a bag of Haribo, of course.
I love you, Dad!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Nailbox review

I've always loved the idea of subscription boxes.
I'm the kind of person who LOVES surprises and loves anticipation. I'll eat the part of the meal I'm looking forward to last. When it's my birthday I ask "which ones do I know about?" and open them first so I can savour the excitement of a surprise. Similarly, when it's someone else's birthday I give them an "order" to open their presents so the one I'm most excited about is last.
So as you can imagine, the idea of a subscription box is pretty exciting to me.
The only problem is that the majority of the ones I've come across have been beauty boxes, and I'm quite boring and predictable when it comes to beauty. I don't need 5 more mascaras or two new blushers, plus I always wonder whether things would match my skin tone (do they do surveys or something? They must do, right?). I also hate the idea of not getting fullsize products because I know what I'm like and I'll fall in love with something and I'll want it RIGHT NOW because I know I'll never be able to bring myself to use up the whole small one.
Anyway, I digress.

One thing I can never have enough of is nail polishes.
Ask anyone who lived with me at uni - I used to have dozens. Maybe almost 100.
I had every shade of pink, blue, red, yellow (remember when everyone used to do ombre nails and added various degrees of white to their existing colours? I genuinely just had enough colours to own five slightly different shades of blue. Okay, ten.), and often came home with a new polish only to find I already had it.
However when I went to America in 2012 I started biting my nails again and stopped painting them completely. It was also during a period of flux and moving and I ended up losing my entire nail polish collection somewhere during all the moving (I'm convinced they are all sadly dried up in a bag somewhere at my parents'). But last year (almost a year to the day) I had acrylic nails put on for the first time and managed to finally, FINALLY break my life-long nail biting habit.
So I started to rebuild my collection.
This time it was only two or three reds. Maybe only one yellow. Five shades of pink. 
As I mentioned in my last nail post, I have a bit of a nightmare with my nails and can't keep polish on for more than a day, so it felt redundant to spend loads of money on polishes and loads of time painting my nails, only to have to redo them again the next day.
As a result I have quite a sorry collection of nail polishes.
But despite rarely painting my nails, I love having them done. I always feel so pretty when I have my nails done, especially now I actually have nails and not just little stubs.

So when Nailbox got in touch a few weeks ago, I was so excited to find out a nail polish subscription box existed. And they're all full sized polishes! They contain brands such as Essie and OPI, and each box contains a selection of polishes and tools. So from £13.50 a month (or £15 for a one-off subscription) you can be getting at least four times that in products.

I received the May subscription box which contained:
Elegant touch cuticle pusher
ORLY Fiery Orange
Rimmel Lucky Lilac
Essie Status Symbol
Nicole by OPI Alex by the Books

I was really impressed with the selection, especially as I've never owned a cuticle pusher and also because, with perhaps the exception of Fiery Orange, these are the exact kind of colours I would choose if I was buying nail polish.

Naturally, I went straight in for the bright pink...
(I apologise - I am terrible at painting my nails!)
This was two coats with a base coat (Essie first base) and top coat (Sally Hansen) of Essie Status Symbol. I haven't tried the other colours yet, but I am so excited to try that lovely mint green! If you want to see swatches of the other colours you can find them at Nail Lacquer.

Overall, I was really impressed with Nailbox, so much so that I really, really want a subscription! It's the kind of thing I would love to receive as a gift, and it's perfect for someone who is a regular nail polish buyer because you get so many products for the price! Right now I would definitely sign up if I didn't think Phil would kill me for ending up with 48 new nail polishes over the course of a year...