#BEDM- Being Beautiful

… or attemting it, at least! Today’s ‘blog every day in May’ post is about fashion and beauty and grooming and that sort of thing.

Now I LOVE the idea of fashion and beauty and grooming and that sort of thing and dedicate huge amouts of time to window shopping and reading stuff, but on an everyday basis, I’m pretty slapdash. I’m not saying that I don’t need a little help along the way, but I’ve got reasonable skin, hair that tends to behave itself and am fair, so can get away with being a little lackadasical on the old hair removal front, so on the whole, I’m pretty minimal on the ‘routine’ front.

I have decided though, to try and make a little bit more effort with my nails- I love a bit of nail varnish, and have a veritable rainbow of polishes but the fact that I spend half my life with my hands in cake batter, and a fair portion of the rest of it destroying my nails opening up boxes of stuff at conferences, mean that my hands fall to the bottom of my (short) grooming list.

I was facebook stalking on a conversation that two of the girls I have riding lessons with were having, and they said they did their nails every Thursday night after our lesson, so I decided to take my cue from them and  painted them a minty green colour, in honour of the fact that it matched the tshirt I was going running in on Saturday. Three people commented on how nice it looked over the course of the weekend and on Monday, when it got a bit scruddy looking, and i dutifully took it off with proper remover, in contrast to my usual trick of picking it off over the course of a fortnight.

I also indulged at the weekend in a new colour, a washed out coral from Maybelline’s bleached neons range. I saw a whole blog post about the range and took a liking to the coral heat colour. Can’t for the life of me find the original post now, but who knows, maybe the writer will happen across this and reveal themselves! and also picked up boots cuticle oil (to attempt to counteract my bad bad habit of picking at those bad boys when they start splitting) and a base coat, because I thought that my minty green looked a liittle bit ridgey.

So now i have a slightly greasy ipad screen from my cuticle oil application efforts, and am quite looking forward to Thursday night, when i get to try out my new groovy shade!

Post script- by the powers of the internet the bleached neons blogger has revealled herself- its Briege Flynn, from Rare Opals– one of the many blogs I’m now stalking off the back of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May!


Owning the night

Hooray, I made it! Yesterday I ran my first 10k.

A small back story- yes yes, in 2007 I ran in the London marathon and did a half too in my training, but I didn’t know how to push myself properly and walked loads, so the race yesterday marked the longest I’d run in one go. So there you go!

I made a bit of a boo boo by going out on Friday for some beers at the bavarian beer house. And those steins are blooming huge, so two of them equaled 4 pints (plus I had an awesome shot that involved putting a sachet of sherbet in your mouth, adding vodka and shaking. I’m really not usually a shot drinker but this was delicious!).

So consequently I woke up on Saturday feeling a tiny bit jaded! Happily the 10k in question was an evening run, so after a pie in Debenhams restaurant and an afternoon snooze I felt pretty on top of things again.  The race was a nike-organised affair, ‘we own the night’. A women only race, which is held in a few different cities around Europe. The entrance fee wasnt cheap- just shy of £30 but for that, you got a technical tshirt and tote bag and a pretty cool post-race medal


The start line was about 20 minutes from the nearest station, so we traipsed over, along with thousands of others, and actually timed it perfectly for the obligatory 15 minutes queue for the portaloos, leaving kit bag with Paul, the supportive boyfriend, in stark comparison to Mark who decided (somewhat sensibly) to stay at home, out of the drizzle, and to line up in the start pens. I put myself in the penultimate pen, for people running in about an hour and 10 minutes, which meant a fair bit of standing while the earlier pens got going.  It was a two lap course, so in a bad bit of timing, the first wave were starting the second lap as us slower souls were starting the first, which must have been a bit annoying for the fast people, as there were LOADS of us- I felt like the crowd didn’t thin out until the 4th km!


Anyway, that was really the only negative, and didn’t really affect me-apart from that it was awesome! A fantastic atmosphere- it was held in Victoria Park, which has quites a few pubs around the outside, so in spite of the rubbish weather there were quite a few tiddly people standing outside cheering, plus music on the course- steel band, brass band, a dj, plus these really cool light tunnels which you ran through with flashy lights, music, smoke machines and the like. I had one bum kilometre, just after the brass band at k 3- they were playing the kinks and I got all excited, really sped up in glee and got a massive stitch, but apart from that had a lovely time enjoying the atmosphere, and felt like I flew round the second lap!


After the finish line were GOODIE BAGS!  I am such a massive fan of free stuff that I generally don’t care if it’s utter rubbish.  This had popcorn- goood, coffee coconut water- grim, lemonade coconut water- not dared to try, several sachets of showers gel and moisturiser and stuff, a voucher for a glass of bubbly (a nice touch but the queue for the bar was massive and it was cold and we were knackered so reluctantly decided to skip it) and a finishers medal, except in this case, it wasn’t a medal, but a very cool necklace, with tiny rose, silver and gold disks with the race details on, in a liberty print gift box-easily the swankiest medal ever!


Thanks to a good old timing chip, finishing times were available pretty much immediately, and although I had a rough idea how I’d done, thanks to endomondo on my phone and the fact that I’d overtaken the hour and 10 pacer, but was still extremely chuffed to get my official time of 1.08.19 – a shade better than what I’d gone for, and very pleasing for a first go!

Then it was train home, a late night cup of tea and bowl of coco pops (although by 11 o clock, I really didn’t want to eat anything) and was asleep almost  before I got in bed! Will definitely be signing up for this race again next year

Here we go round the gooseberry bush

AKA ‘the one where Gemma tries (with varying degrees of success) to grow things

Now, I am meant to be blogging every day in may as part of the BEDM challange. Today’s post prompt is ‘motivation’. Which is oh so ironic, because yesterday I couldn’t even be bothered to blog at all- instead I went for a very windy horse riding lesson, where my trusty steed spooked every time the wind picked up, and then came home and sat on the sofa, while doing sweet bum crack all. So evidently not being the best placed to write about motivational topics, I’ve decided to write about my new goosberry bush instead.

I’m not really sure why I put myself through this- I love the idea of having a kitchen garden, but after last year’s rubbish attempts at vegetable growing (tomatoes- yielded 3, courgettes got dead, rocket… reasonably successful) I decided this year to go in a bit more low key(see- no motivation at all), and not to faff around growing things from seeds, which apparently I suck at. Instead, I’m going for a few pots of herbs, because fresh herbs are mighty expensive, and possibly some rocket, seeing as it worked out quite well last year, even though it just looks like you’re growing a big old pot of weeds- but then I went to the garden centre last week, and found a gooseberry bush. So I bought it. And planted it in a patch of very wormy mud at the end of the garden. I screamed A LOT.

I’m now dreaming of summer when I can make all kinds of gooseberry-related loveliness, like these…

Gooseberry and elderflower fool
Roast duck and gooseberry jam
Gooseberry gin (oh my!)

And loads of other stuff I want to try, but can never find gooseberries in the shop at the relevant moment, due to the fact that they’re not mega popular and have a seemingly very short growing season. Well,  no longer!! So roll on proper summer, when I’m hoping my little plant will have somehow magically produced loads of fruit without me actually doing anything particular!

Running with technology

Today’s #BEDM post prompt is all about technology. Which is convenient, because there’s been a little task I’ve been meaning to do for a few weeks now!

I run a fair bit. I run with a rather massive phone in one hand, which plays my music/radio, and tracks how far I’ve gone via lovely lovely Endomondo.

Having seen several photos of me, I look a tiny bit ridiculous running about with my phone, and I do have a horrible habit of checking it regularly to see what my pace is like, which makes it look like I’m trying to send a text message or something, so Mark suggested that what with my birthday coming up and everything, I look at perhaps getting a running watch.

There’s a baffling world of watches out there, from the cheap and cheerful to one that would probably give you a massage and make you a protein shake post-run, so I decided that I want the following (demanding or what!)

-Decent GPS-Pace calculator
-Lap timing
-Ability to count in miles and KMs
-Able to download data to computer (or phone or something) to enable geeky graph drawing and obsessive statistic collection

And I don’t really want to spend any more than £150- I reckon my birthday present pennies will just about cover that (thanks very much generous relatives!)

After a brief forage online, I’ve found these watches, which seem to fit the bill…

Nike small1- Nike+ Sports Watch (Currently £115 in Halfords)
From the brief reviews, people are saying that this is good, with GPS powered by TomTom, but a bit rigid in that you can’t configure the display, and the website that the stuff downloads to is rubbish (I can well believe that- Nike websites tend to be a bit ‘style over substance’ in my humble opinion). And I must admit, I’m not a massive fan of the way the watch actually looks… kinda reminds me of lego


TomTom small2- TomTom Runner (£149.99)
Weird, eh- two watches with TomTom stuff in them. From what I gather, TomTom got bored of collaborating with Nike and decided to go it alone. The good stuff- is apparently very user-friendly while you’re running, customisable, lightweight and comfortable, but a teensy bit slow to connect to the GPS, and a bit odd in that it comes in two parts (the watch and the strap)


Forerunner small3- Garmin Forerunner 10 (£99.99)
Proper runners seem to like Garmins, but the price hops up alarmingly over the range- The ’10’ seems to my unexpert eye to do basically the same as the Nike and the TomTom but is a geoff-load cheaper, and it comes in a few pretty colours to boot- I quite like the purple! The minuses- a reasonably short battery life, but I can’t say I’m planning on doing any runs longer than five hours in the near future!  The plusses- Small (excellent for my teeny weeny wrists), good GPS connectivity and simple to use.

Would it be wrong to say I basically want the Garmin one becuase it comes in a pretty colour? All three are flagged as good ‘beginners’ watches, or ones for people that don’t need a ridiculous amount of functions, all have pretty good reviews, but I like the way the Garmin looks, so I think that could be on my present list for this year!

Something to be passionate about

Today’s BEDM prompt is ‘passion projects’ – something you do for fun, which you’d like to make some cash out of.

Conveniently, I do actually have one of these, of sorts- a fair few years ago, well, about five, my sister was getting married. And wedding cakes were coming out pricey, particularly as she wanted one of those (as they were then) new fangled cupcake towers. So I stepped up to the plate and in spite of never having baked anything more complicated than a wonky chocolate sponge, said I’d make her wedding cakes.

It was a rip roaring success and I enjoyed myself so much that I decided to put myself out there on a little corner of the web, called the Little Gem Bakery. And to my great stonking surprise, as well as taking orders from people I knew, I was getting emails from total strangers- it really was very odd!

My collection of cake making equipment grew to epic proportions and I started taking on a silly amount of work- there was one weekend when I made three wedding cakes and a birthday order, from my tiny weeny kitchen and something had to give, so I asked my fantabulous husband to help out- Mark comes from the loins of an expert cake decorator and is super artsy, so he was well placed to help make decorations, models and various fiddly bits, as well as occasionally being in charge of weilding the cake mixer.

About eighteen months ago, we were moving house, things were getting a bit busy with my actual work work and i just sort of wanted my evenings and weekends back, so I made the decision to slow things down. The website’s still up, but in an epic bit of crap buisnesswomanry, I’ve been turning down more orders than I’ve taken on this year. If I’m entirely honest, i think i might just allow it to grind to a halt over the next year- I am super grateful that I enjoy my ‘proper’ job so much that I’ve not needed to take the plunge with my passion project and go it full time, and have been able to make sure that cake baking carries on being enjoyable!

#BEDM 4. A post about films

Oops, falling off the blog every day in May bandwagon already- I went or for dinner with the ladies of the rugby club yesterday then met Mark in the pub, a night which ended up with 4 of us eating pizza and potato waffles at 2.30 in the morning.

Consequently I was feeling a little bit jaded yesterday. We did manage to rouse ourselves to go to a boot sale (didn’t buy anything- was mainly baby clothes) then helped my mum cut down a massive bush in her garden (punctuated by snail races with my cousins), but apart from that we spent the rest of the evening loafing and consequently, I couldn’t be bothered to blog so you may get an am and pm edition today!

The topic for day 4 was sci fi, due to it being May the 4th, like in star wars, gettit? While I don’t mind a bit odd sci fi,  I must confess I didn’t see the original three star wars films until about 3 years ago, and so, I’m probably not best placed to write on the topic and thought I’d present a brief rundown of my top 5 films instead.  In no particular order.  It feels disloyal to place one as absolute top!

*The Rocky Horror Picture Show- I suppose this could be loosely construed as sci fi actually! I watched this pretty much every weekend of my childhood, at my nans.  Still have no idea why it was deemed to be appropriate viewing for my child self, what with the killing, (vaguely comical) violence, sexy times and the nudity (and I guess the transvestites!), but still, I have continued on the tradition by watching it regularly through adulthood. In fact we watched it on Saturday after the pub. And yes, I did make everyone do the time warp

*Pulp Fiction- I didn’t see this when it was released and actually saw it about 10 years later at uni, when some company, I think it was diet coke, was doing a promotion where you could watch classic films on the silver screen, so we picked this one, and I was amazed! I loved the whole thing so much- the script, the characters, the mad back and forth timeline, that I didn’t even care what was in the suitcase

*Sister Act 2- Back in the Habit- I loved the first sister act, and remember me and my sister badgering my mum to take us to see it. Singing nuns didn’t really do it for her though, so she took us to the nearest shopping centre, bought us our tickets and went shopping, so I think this marks the earliest memory of me going to the flicks solo. And I still remember the elation when they won first place in the choir competition.  It Rocked My Tiny World

*American Pie- AKA the first film me and Mark watched together. I remember struggling to breathe because I was laughing so much. Obviously the superior film in the series (I’ve not even bothered to watch those band camp spin off ones), we both loved them all really, because the characters were the same sort of age as us and the films when they were released matched our lives, so watching them again makes me feel all nostalgic

*Dirty Dancing- another one that actually, thinking about it was a bit weird for a child to be watching, but watch it I did copiously, then I went off with my friends and we tried to re-enact THAT final dance.  Never did manage the lift though.

So there you have it-the majority aren’t classics, in fact I think many people would denounce Sister Act 2 as being down right crap, but I love every one and would happily watch all of them back to back again today!

My bog-standard Saturday Morning

Continuing with my ‘a post a day in May’ quest, today it was suggested that you should write a post about an average Saturday morning…

0700 alarm call-Rouse self from slumbers, make oversized cup of tea in my cool cupcake mug and suitably childish cereal to be consumed in bed. A break from the norm today- I had toasted crumpets and marmite.  Last week’s coco pops didn’t agree with me and made a bit of a break for the surface just as we were about to line up on the parkrun start line, necessitating a bit of a toilet dash!


I then hang out in bed messing around on ipad and listening to 5live until it’s time to put on running gear and head out to local parkrun.  If you don’t know what parkrun is, then… you should. Is marvellous (in a nutshell, free, weekly, timed 5km runs in parks up and down the country.

After loping round 5km of park, it’s time to head home for a shower, breakfast number 2- usually something egg-based- and a brief sit down before we tackle some domestic stuff- usually a quick tidy, a very quick hover and a speed speedy bit of dusting, while checking the parkrun website obsessively until the results come in, which then sets my mood for the day up as to whether im pleased with my performance or not

Then the morning is done and I tend to head off to my mum’s,  depositing Mark at the local rugby club if he playing and it’s onwards with my day!

#BEDM Day 2- Favourite posts

Day 2 of the #BEDM challange, and it’s a chance to toot your blogular horn by posting your five favourite posts from your blog- Here are mine:

The one where I thought I’d grow some vegetables

The one where I went to Frisco

The one where I whooped my PB at parkrun (a feat never to be repeated, unfortunately!)

A post with lots of likes- The one where I attempted the 5:2 diet – bloody sadists, why have so many people liked this post?!

And finally, the most favoured post on the blog-  the one where I made an ice cream sundae bar. No idea why, but this post has like three times the ‘views’ of all of my others- Proof if proof were needed that people just really like icecream