18 May 2015

Outdoor Adventures: Gelt Gladiator Mud Obstacle Race

On Saturday I entered my very first mud obstacle race, a new local event called Gelt Gladiator.  After spectating at Mark's events for years I really wanted to try one for myself.  Gelt Gladiator offered a 5k entry level for people new to these types of events, so this was perfect for me.

Above you can see my friend Emma and I before and after the event! I was SO nervous beforehand!
So we completed it! Taking a little longer than anticipated mainly due to long queues for each obstacle and there were no flat bits at all, so we did half running half walking.

All in all I did really enjoy it, most of it was a lot of fun.  When else do you get the opportunity to get yourself completely head to toe muddy and act like a big kid? My favourite bits by far where any obstacles involving mud and there was a LOT of mud! It's a bit shocking and cold the first mud pit your have to climb in but after, once already muddy, you just don't think about it, just climb straight in to the deep mud, yeah!

In one obstacle we were wading through thick sticky mud up to our knees, impossible to walk in, and the very real risk of loosing your trainers! One girl we saw had odd shoes on, she lost hers but found someone else's later! haha.  In another obstacle we had to crawl through a trench with liquid mud, rather like silky melted chocolate, underneath a fence, LOVED it!
This slide, above, was rather a shock for me. I think this was the obstacle I was looking forward to the most.  A massive slip and slide, yes please! I loved it, setting off, but I was going a little too fast towards the end.  I could see people getting out of the pool and it was only waist deep so thought I would just be able to catch myself with my feet. Ha no! Right under I went, full head submerge.  The one thing I was scared of the most.  I wear contact lenses so this was a bit freaky for me, and not massive fan of putting head under, plus this wasn't clean water!

I was a bit shocked and disorientated afterwards, but got up and quickly recovered and onto the next thing!  I love my arms and hands here, I am clearly trying in vain to slow myself down! haha.
 Where as Emma looks quite the opposite, she's loving it, with a far more elegant landing!

I think this photo sums up our Gelt experience really well.  Emma being brave and completing the obstacle properly and me sliding in on my bum! haha. If in doubt always slide in on your bum!

There were obstacles, mainly climbing ones, I couldn't do, but in general it was super fun. Something completely new to me and out of my comfort zone, so for that I am proud of myself.  But I think that might be me for obstacle events. I'm not competitive at all, and I just don't have the drive to better myself in these events.  I accept there will always be things I'm scared of.  But I did it, and it was certainly an experience. Maybe a normal running race, a 10k for example along a road, might be a better idea for me to work up to.

Have you entered any mud obstacle races?

14 May 2015

Etsy: Buying Handmade

I've said it loads before and I will say it again, but I just love love love buying handmade items from small designer makers! Etsy is my first stop off whenever I am looking to buy a gift for someone or in fact just want to splash some cash on myself (yeah mostly for myself!)

Buying handmade you get a unique gift, lovingly handcrafted, usually beautifully packaged and you support small designer makers.  I thought I would share a few things I have purchased recently... (mostly for myself!) because super talented designer makers need to be shouted about... 

Firstly lets mention the packaging again, surely THE best bit of buying from designer makers. SO much effort goes into packaging and making the parcel look beautiful.  I know when I sell little crafts bits I take so much time and effort over this.  It is super important, as this is your first impression and a reflection of your business. But sometimes these beautiful parcels are just too pretty to open!

A simple candy coloured sweet bag and stickers work wonders. Super cute!

So want to see what I bought... course you do...!

First up... well this really sells itself doesn't it, how beautiful is this new collection Layla Amber Hare necklace? Laser cut wood and hand painted. I've never seen anything quite like it before. I've worn it a few times now and have had loads of admiring glances and comments.

Go checkout Layla Amber's Etsy store here... and purchase some of her lovely creations for yourself.

Now I'm a super duper important business woman myself (LOL!) I was in need of a business card holder for my many business cards.  I also have new ones for the day job too.  Any excuse for a new pretty accessory! I love this card holder by the Beaded Garden in a Cath Kidston print.

Check out the Beaded Garden Etsy store right here... 

My littlest nephew had a special Naming Day recently, so he had to have a special card. It's quite tough finding Naming Day cards in the shops, and of course very limited choice so I did a search on Etsy.  I came across With Love From Josie's amazing cards and contacted her to see if she might customise one for a naming day.  Josie could not be more helpful and friendly, and of course no problem to make a naming day card.  I was super happy with it, so was my sister, beautifully made and of course unique.

Check out WithLoveFromJosie Etsy shop right here..

I love a perspex laser cut necklace, I actually spotted someone on my Instagram feed wearing a similar necklace and fell in love with everything in  Kayleigh O'Mara's Etsy shop. She sells lots of unique laser cut pieces and super cute illustrated cards. This bright yellow lovely is perfect for brightening up any outfit.

Go now to Kayleigh O'Mara's Etsy shop and purchase one yourself....

Ok, bought something from Etsy lately? I MUST see it... send me links to your fave shops... :-)

11 May 2015

A Visit to: Burghley House

This weekend we were lucky enough to be staying here, at the magnificently impressive Burghley House in Lincolnshire. OK, ok so we were camping in a tent in the garden, but it's a very very nice garden too!

We were at Burghley because Mark was taking part in a race in the grounds on Saturday.  We travelled up Friday night, set up the tent, then I had all of Saturday to explore whilst Mark was racing. 

Of course I was super keen to have a look round the house and gardens.  Burghley was built between 1555 and 1587 by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I.  You can read more about the house on the website here.  It cost me £13.50 for my ticket that got me into the house and gardens, which is very reasonable for visits to places like this.  Burghley House is a registered charity and run by its own trust, so I am happy to pay admission prices knowing all monies go back into preserving the beautiful house and treasures for future generations to enjoy.

When you get through the Admissions doors you are greeted by a beautiful little courtyard of cottages. I might even prefer to live in one of these than the main house...!
I was so impressed with how well kept the house is, packed with original furnishings and art works. There were friendly knowledgeable guides in each few rooms who were happy to chat with you and answer questions as you went round. You were free to wander through the route, and also it was great that you are permitted to take photos too.

I think the highlight for me was the Hell Staircase. A large staircase hall entirely covered with a painted mural depicting hell. It was pretty impossible for my poor photography skills and iPhone to take a picture to capture how awesome it was.

Outside I enjoyed a stroll through the Gardens of Surprise. A modern garden, full of fountains and mazes etc. It was very pretty and interesting to see what was in all the little hidden bits but I much preferred the Scultputre Gardens, with acres of paths and lawns to explore.
The Sculpture Gardens were home to er, sculptures! It was fun discovering them all hiding up trees and round corners.  These were my favourite ones!

Who doesn't get excited by a secret walled garden door? aaargh! And inside??? There were some bears having a picnic of course! (see photo above!).

I discovered a rather ornate boat house on a little lake... but I didn't want to wander too far, as I thought I might get a bit lost on my own and had to get back to try and find Mark.

I walked back down the side of the house, to take in the view. Check out that huge gold door, how cool would it be to walk through that?

I couldn't stop snapping photos as I walked away and looked back!

I love the Ha-Ha, if you don't know what that is, the next photo illustrates it.  There was a dip and then a large wall.  It doesn't look it but the wall is a lot taller than me.

But as you get further and further away you can no longer see the wall and it is as if the gardens sweep out for miles ahead of you. Very clever architectural feature, but also provides a bit of extra security for the house.

I lingered in this spot for ages and ages and sat down on the grass just gazing across.

So this is what we were here for... Mark's race,  little bit of a contrast to my day! This is Rat Race Dirty Weekend, probably the most hardcore of all the mud obstacle races.  It was a 20 mile run with 200 obstacles, crawling through mud, climbing things, swimming rivers etc etc. Here Mark is on the top of some ridiculous one, after having climbed up 4 8ft walls to get there! Madness! ;-P

But it has a great atmosphere, everyone camps, and on the Saturday night it turns into a music festival, with Ash headlining! So that was pretty fun.

Have you ever visited Burghley? or indeed competed in Rat Race?

7 May 2015

Models Own Neon Review

I was over visiting my little sister and baby James in Newcastle the other weekend and she happened to mention that there was a new nail varnish shop in the Metro Centre! In fact not just any shop, a little Model's Own shop, JUST selling nail varnish, but also in the shape of a nail varnish! WHAT!? I had to check it out....

It was quite busy in the Metro in a Saturday afternoon (lol!) so didn't try to get lots of photos for fear of being stared at.  But look at it OMG! Did I mention it jut sells nail varnish, row upon row all beautiful colours. It was like a dream, however it was also impossible to pick some! Of course I had to buy a couple, spending ban, what spending ban! It's a nail varnish shop, in the shape of a nail varnish!
There can't be many shades I don't already own so had to go for really 'out there' colours! hehe. I picked this neon green in Flip Flop shade NP201.

It took 3 coats to get to this vibrancy, I never like more than 2 coats, because you just know it's going to chip easily.  But if you are going to have this colour on your nails it has to be done right.  

I loved wearing this varnish, I couldn't stop looking at my nails, and I noticed some other funny looks at them too. It's SO bright! However bit disappointed that it didn't dry as super quick as some others (probably cos of the three coast required) plus as predicted it chipped off on the first day.  But for a night out or special occasion, I will def be wearing this again.

The other shade I picked out what Pukka Purple NP158. I'm not really a massive fan of varnish in reds, pinks and purples, they are 'too obvious' for nail colours, I like a blue, or a green or some other crazy colour.  So if you are going to go with obvious colours they have to be bright and a bit different in shade.  This purple is bright and pretty shade, but it is maybe not so different to other purples I own really.

It did go on really well, could probably get away with 1 coat, but I like 2.  It lasted really well and dried really well.  Feels like a quality polish. I would recommend this one.

Have you visited one of these little Models Own stores? What colours would you pick out?

6 May 2015

This Month... April

Stuff that made me smile...

«Keswick camping weekend «perfect weather «long walks «muddy biking «big burgers, «Easter eggs «pretty scenery «long weekends «camper van daydreaming «a Corey visitor «babysitting my perfect angel nephews «seeing our hard work at the house come together finally «Kara paddling in the river «treating mum and dad to a day out «an exciting business opportunity «running

Stuff I snapped...
«Playing with Kara at sunny lunchtimes «a lonesome Daisy on the lawn «A Corey visitor «pretty flowers
«I was bored on a train playing with my Beautiful Mess app! Can you tell! «My fave Meg photos «Baby James in his lion slippers! «My idea of selfies, «and a soppy one of Jo and Mark photos!
«A little present from myself «Pretty flowers «Kara dog playing like a puppy «THE nicest new yog discovery (only 99cals!)

Blog posts loved...

Helen is a fellow Cumbrian blogger, I loved this post, made me LOL! Helen's writing style is always super fun.  Completely agree with what Helen's message is here, about the growing up and 'settling down' expectations of your thirties.

OMG this made me unbelievably excited when this popped up on April 1st! I started watching fully taken in by the joke, only to realise it was a spoof half way through, boo! But I would SO watch that. I'm obsessed with anything these two do, so a full on documentary would be a dream.

This is a super useful post. We are flying to USA and Canada in the summer and it will be the longest flight I have ever been on, and er, I'm not an experienced flyer and well, yeah, I'm absolutely terrified.  Some of these tips will certainly come in handy to make it slightly more comfortable for me.

A new blog discovery this month.  You know when you have been blogging and reading blogs for years, you think you probably know or have heard of all the best blogs by now! How is it possible I have never come across Forever Amber before? LOVE it! Amber's blog is beautiful, her style is stunning but she is also incredibly funny! A fashion blog with a personality, awesome! Check it out NOW! This particular post had me in giggles.

Are you serious! How is it possible to have a tattoo that beautiful? She already has a stunning tattoo (That I have pinned about a billion times to my tattoo inspiration board!) now this one... This is a tiny post, really only a picture, but that tattoo needs to be shouted about... I wonder how much it costs for that artist....?

Goals for the Month...

In April I have...

... Blogged... 10 whole times! WIN! Super happy with this, I am super inspired and motivated with my blog recently.  I now have access to Photoshop too so can play with this to make my photos better and add little bits of writing to them.  I have loads of posts scheduled, dunno whats come over me! haha.

... Ran ... 17.2 miles, boo! :-( pissed off at this.  I have been letting the bad weather de-motivate me.  I have been for a fair few very rainy runs, and its not too bad, but trying to motivate yourself to go out for a few runs a week in heavy rain is tough.  Come on weather, get a little nicer so I can go out running more. 

... Cycled... 11 miles, boo again! We made 1 trip up to Whinlatter and did Red North and then blue.  I have still yet to get out after work on my local country road routes.  We had planned to spend the BH wknd checking out a new trail centre but we made the grown up decision to stay at home and work on the house, plus it rained a lot too. So hardly any biking has been done yet again this month.

... Saved more... still doing really well with savings, I am finding it tough, as I am not leaving myself much leftover each month, so no new outfits and no going out but I'm coping. it will all be worth it to have our amazing holiday! I would also really like a car too, so will be saving hard for this. 

Well what has May got in store for me... a little road trip camping adventure, my first ever mud obstacle race, another bank holiday, old friends visiting from London... loads to look forward to....

1 May 2015

Outdoor Adventures: Kirroughtree 7 Stanes Mountain Biking

We recently made a visit up to Scotland for a long weekend and whilst there we did a spot of mountain biking of course.  We were super keen to visit Kirroughtree, one of the 7 Stanes, neither of us had been before and we want to visit all 7 eventually!

The 7 Stanes are 7 mountain biking trail centres in Scotland, they are all pretty fantastic, 'Scotland's Mountain Biking Heaven'! We have now done 5: Ae, Mabie, Newcastleton, Dalbeatie and Kirroughtree, just 2 to go: Glentress and Glentrool.  Glentrool is in fact very close to here when we visited but all the trails were closed for forestry works, boo! so close!

Sadly some of Kirroughtree was closed when we visited too, but the red route had a diversion so we decided to do it anyway. Mountain biking of any kind is good for us! We were super impressed with the trail centre, big new building and play park, fancy bike shop and cafe, everything you could need.

We had to give the swings a test of course!

The trail itself was mostly diverted, but even the diverted tracks were super pretty.  Some of the trail actually took us on some footpaths and we came across this lovely little pond to stop and have lunch. Super lucky with the weather too.

Whilst we were sitting at the pond we checked the map to see if we would go past the 'stane' on our diversion. Each of the trail centres has a stane (or stone) along the course, each one different, so the idea for most mountain bikers is to collect them all! Here at Kiroughtree the stane is a shiny diamond shape.

It's a good job we checked the map at this point though as we noticed the stane was just over the other side of the pond and on a closed bit of trail, so we cycled up to it anyway for the obligatory stane photo.  Got to prove you were there!

The diverted route took us through a little farm to finish the trail, and I was super excited about this as there was a little field with teeny newborn lambs in, so we had to stop and watch them for a while!

Well I can't give Kirroughtree a full review as most of the red trail was closed, so we didn't really see any massive climbs or fun downhill sections.  But the visitor centre is certainly impressive.  I would love to go back sometime and give it a proper go once it's all back open.

Have you tried any of the 7 stanes routes? What's your fave?