Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hunter

A super-quick set of photos I took before work the other day to show off my new wellies. Yes, I jumped on the Hunter bandwagon, but hear me out. Last winter I walked to work in my Uggs to keep my feet warm, but as Ugg-owners will know, they're not exactly waterproof. They also started to let in water, which made soggy feet a bit of an issue. My plan was to get some cheapy wellies and wear those to work for this winter, but I couldn't find any I liked. Except for one pair, which I spotted right in the middle of No Shopping November and promptly sold out by the time December rolled around. Anyway, I was still on the hunt for some nice wellies, and my thoughts started to turn towards some Hunter wellies. I just couldn't justify the price. I'm not super-outdoorsy and I knew they would only get worn to and from work and on the occasional wet Saturday. But yet, I wanted some. To cut a long story short, a few weeks ago AO.com were announced as the 4th Best Company to Work For in the UK for the second year running, and on the Monday we had a pretty mental day at work. We were welcomed in by firebreathers, there was pick n mix, an ice cream van, a photobooth with props in the canteen, a guy singing to us at lunch, a magician. And me being me, I instagrammed all of it. Now what I'd forgotten was that they were giving a prize for the best picture at work, and the winner won a £50 voucher. And because of my incessant Instagramming, I won. I could have the voucher for anywhere I wanted, but I knew Amazon had reasonably priced Hunters, so I decided to have them from there. And I actually found a pair for £66. So my £85 Hunters were actually purchased for £16, thanks to the wonderful company I work for! I now wear them to and from work and they keep my feet lovely and warm and dry (especially because it is always terrible weather in Horwich. It has some kind of horrible microclimate of grey raininess). Oh and then I change into my normal shoes when I get to work. I don't plod around in these all day! If you are thinking of getting some, mine were from here and a sized down to a size 5 as I heard they run big. I'm somewhere between a small 5.5 and a 6 so they're perfect in a 5, with normal socks and a pair of tights underneath. And of course, I had to get bright red!
dress- River island
cardigan- Debenhams
wellies- Amazon
The last few weeks have been pretty mad around here. But with my half marathon being over, I actually have some time to enjoy other pursuits! I'm currently off running for a week and then next week I'm starting a new routine of running and strength. I've got the Great Manchester Run in May so my aim is just to work towards that. People are already asking me when my next half marathon is going to be (and many are asking me when my first full marathon is going to be!), and at the moment the answer is next year. I've spent all my running time so far building up my distance so now I'm going to work on my speed. I want a good year or so to build up my speed and enjoy short, fast runs, with a day of strength training per week. I'm not letting it take over my life again! I've also asked for Insanity for my birthday and I'd like two months off to do that too. Speaking of which, YAY BIRTHDAY! It's my birthday on Sunday. I am twenty four. It feels like yesterday I was 16. Nope, that was 8 years ago. Eight years ago, wow! Phil and I are going out for dinner tomorrow (I always use my free Birthday meal voucher from Las Iguanas!) and then Saturday we're going to Alton Towers! I cannot wait. I am such a child and I love rides. Plus I haven't been on The Smiler yet! Then we're going to Phil's parents' for tea. My actual birthday is probably going to mostly a usual Sunday (minus my usual 10+ mile run!) but in the evening we're going out for a meal at Albert's, one of my favourite restuarants. I'm really looking forward to it! We're going out for a team lunch tomorrow too so it's definitely a weekend of ALL THE FOOD. I absolutely love my new job though! Working in social media is an absolute dream. It's so great to look forward to going to work everyday!
I'll be back next week to share my birthday presents! Have a lovely weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums for Sunday!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Half Marathon Training: I DID IT!

 
Well, I did it. 13.1 miles. 
And the honest truth? It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my whole life. But I did it.
I was nervous when I got there. Thankfully running into Phil and his family calmed my nerves. I was scared but excited at the starting line. Edging my way right to the back. Way past the 2 hour mark.
I didn't have a goal except to finish. But in the back of my mind I wanted to do it in under 3 hours.
As the crowd starting to move I picked up a good pace and got excited as I saw my first few miles come in at under 12 minutes. 
But after 3 miles I was already getting tired. 
At 5 miles I hit my stride. I was singing along to my music and enjoying the sunshine after starting out in hail.
At 9 miles I hit the wall.
Knowing I had 4 miles still to go.
Those last 4 miles were hard. Harder than anything I had ever experienced before.
The Wilmslow Half Marathon is marketed as a big race for serious athletes. Of which I am not. With only 4000 places I was naturally going to fall near the back but I didn't expect times when I couldn't see the person in front or the person behind. After a 2 and a half hour cut off they start to reopen the roads, which means if you're near the back like me, you have to watch for traffic too.
At 11 miles I lost hope of a 3 hour finish. I just wanted to get through it.
The exhaustion is indescribable. I was dragging my feet knowing I had miles to go. Knowing nearly everyone had already finished. Feeling disappointed that I was so near to the back. 
I still couldn't see the end after 12.5 miles and was starting to panic, but just as I was getting to 13 miles, the end was in sight.
So I sprinted.
I saw my Dad cheer me on from the side, long after most of the other spectators had gone, their friends and family having completed the race hours before.
I crossed the line at 3 hours 2 minutes with tears in my eyes.
And then I saw someone waving. And heard my favourite laugh. 
It was Phil, who had finished 40 minutes before (even with two dodgy knees!) and his family, waiting for me with my mum. 
I walked straight over to Phil and just dropped myself onto him. It was over.
I'd done it.
While part of me is beating myself up about my time, a year ago I couldn't run for a minute. I had no interest in running.
The people coming in with one hour and two hour times have been running for years, not just 9 months.
And regardless of my time, I made over £500 for the Alzheimer's society. And that's what matters.
So for every person who thinks they can't run a half marathon, go back a read my story.
Read from when I was so inspired by my friend Eve running the Great Manchester Run that I signed up for the following year's, despite never having run in my life.
The struggles and the injuries and the pain of my half marathon training.
A year ago I was just like you. Convinced I couldn't run. Would never run.
9 months after started to run I've completed a half marathon.
It is possible.
It's not easy, it's not always fun, and it bloody well hurts at times.
But the sense of achievement from completing something that you never thought you'd be able to do is worth it. 
And when I beat myself up about my time I think back to myself a year ago and how shocked I would be if I was told back then I'd run a half marathon.
Bring on next year.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

You can do anything, but not everything


Hi guys,

Just want to let you know that I'm still alive! Just busy, tired and uninspired!

The last few weeks have seen me start my second new job in 3 months, finish off my training for my half marathon (which is on Sunday!), commute an hour and a half to work and back everyday and enjoy some much-needed time with my boyfriend. Oh and choir and writing and cooking and sleeping.

I've been trying too much lately and instead of worrying about not blogging, I'm just going to accept that I haven't had time for it lately. My blog isn't going anywhere but recently I've needed to focus on myself for a little while. 

I promise I'll be back with an update on how my race went next week and I'll be back with outfits as soon as I can.

Love,

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Retro Vibe

I bought this dress before I knew every blogger and their dog had it. It is the quintessential blogger dress. It has everything- polka dots, cute collar, skater shape. But I did copy it from someone. Don't I always? I saw one of the girls at work wearing it a few weeks ago and straight away put "navy polka dot dress" into ShopStyle and there it was. The annoying thing is, she seems to wear it a lot to work so I'm too scared to wear it in case we wear it on the same day! Maybe I should make friends with her so we can come up with some kind of rota system. Anyway, I wore this a few weeks ago to go out for my Nan's birthday. I'm always a bit stumped when it comes to navy and tights. Do you go black tights and clash? Navy tights? If you go navy tights, what shoes do you go for? In the end I went for the classic red and navy combo and trusty nude tights. I apologise for the kind-of boring outfits lately. My creativity has been pretty low, especially as my mornings are so hectic, so I invested in new dresses instead of having to think about combinations. I've got a lot of free time this weekend though so I'm going to really spend some time outfit planning and getting ahead with blogging. I miss blogging when I'm busy!
polka dot dress- River Island
leather jacket- Boohoo
red heels- Marks and Spencer
Last week felt like the longest week ever. My manager was away on holiday so I was looking after all the display campaigns. I was doing pretty okay until there were questions I couldn't answer and unexpected things I couldn't do! Phil and I had a night in on Wednesday and then on Friday we had a double date with my friend Jenny and her boyfriend, which was lovely. I spent the weekend in Birmingham celebrating my friend Sarah's birthday- it was so good to see all of my uni girls! The only downside was due to a signally problem in Stoke it took me 3 hours to get home so I missed every little bit of sunshine on Sunday! I'm excited for Spring already, although time seems to be flying by. My half marathon is in less than two weeks (I'm so stressed about it I can't even talk about it!), and then it's my birthday! I'm organising to go to Alton Towers because I'm a child, and then on the Sunday (which is my actual birthday) I'm going out for a nice meal with my parents and Phil. And then it's April! I'm excited for April already. I'm away for my friend Katy's hen weekend in Amsterdam for a weekend, I have her wedding, and I'm going to see my favourite band, Brand New. Phil and I are hoping to sort out going to Venice in May or June too and I'm really hoping to get that booked next week!
I do have a (very late!) Month in Photos coming up this week too. New record on my latest one yet? Yep, I think so!

Have a great evening!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 2 March 2014

I want my pink shirt back!


Sorry for "long time no blog" again. It's not for lack of trying I promise! I've been so busy the last few weeks- in a good way, mind. The last two weeks have been full of fondue parties, cinema dates, trips to Birmingham to see my favourite girls, long runs, dinners out and work stuff (more on that later!). Plus yesterday was Phil's birthday! We went out for dinner on Friday to Solita in the Northern Quarter (we wanted to go to Dough but it was fully booked- we're hoping to get there this week though!), where we ate burgers and wine and celebrated. Then yesterday we woke up early to open presents (I got him a Liverpool FC onesie and board game and later on we went to collect his main present), had a mooch into town and a coffee and then went to see the Lego Movie, which was a lot of fun. We collected Phil's main present (I got him a print that from a distance looks like different coloured lines, but with a magnifying glass you can see it's actually every frame from Blade Runner), and then went back to watch Liverpool win 3-0 (Phil was a very happy boy after that!). In the evening we went out for dinner with his parents and brother and sister and ended up in TGI Friday's. Of course, we told the staff it was his birthday so they had to sing to him and embarrass him! Today is a standard Sunday- food shopping, a run and cooking dinner for the week. I'm on for a gentle 6 miles today. I am still so sore from last Sunday's 12 and I've been too sore to run much this week. Plus I gave blood on Thursday and it's really taken it out of me.
pink shirt- Primark
polka dot skirt- Matalan
leather jacket- Booho
boots- Miss Guided
necklace- Topshop
In other news I erm... have a new job! Yep, again! Don't worry I'm still at AO.com, I've just moved departments. I have a really great relationship with my manager and last week she took me to one side and told me there was a job going in the social media team and she thought I'd be really good at it and recommended that I apply. I cut a long story short, I got the job! I don't start for another couple of weeks as my manager, Larisha, is off this week (talk about a tough week- I had to learn last week how to manage everything on my department while she is away and also interview for a new position!) but I'm really excited. I'm really going to miss Larisha and I have loved working in display, but I've always wanted to work in social media, and the AO social media team is one of the best in the country so I can't wait to be a part of that!
I hope you have a lovely week! I think I'm in for a bit of a quieter one so I should be back to regular posting soon!

Charlotte x