Friday, 1 August 2014

My first festival

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My first festival! I know, what have I been doing all my life? This is what I wore; pretty standard demin shorts and floral crown (on my favourite curls, love it when they appear), coral tee, polka dot blouse, boots, bag and jewellery.

Fully aware I have spots in this shot, only pointing it out so you don't think I have food on my face. (anyone else always ask their OH if they have food on their face? I do. Paranoia) but I heart this selfie of us together.

This was all about pints of semi warm beer, the travel chair, being overdressed, loud music (good/bad/ugly) and a giggle with Chris. It was only a small scale event and it was good to get out and enjoy ourselves a few weeks ago.

selfiefestival legsAre there any local Norfolk/Suffolk festivals I shouldn't miss? Talk to me!


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve in the Yare Valley

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At the weekend we ventured along to Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve in the Yare valley in the Norfolk Broads. The fen is an RSPB run reserve with hides overlooking the water, giving bird watchers a good seat for spying a diverse array of wildlife. Personally, I'd prefer to walk miles and miles seeing gorgeous views and little insects and pretty plants over sitting on my behind for an hour waiting to see something any day of the week. The best thing about Strumpshaw Fen was that there are three way marked trails to keep people with itchy feet busy. The Fen, Meadow & Woodland trails offer the chance to see a variety of different wildlife. In order to make the longest circular walk we took the Woodland trail then joined the Fen trail at the furthest point, the map they give you is a help although the paths were easy to follow anyway. I'd guess the total distance was around 5k taking us a couple of hours to complete (we stopped a lot!). There is an entry fee of £3.50 per adult which I feel is a touch high, maybe £2 would be more in line with what is offered but then I'm not an eager bird watcher so wasn't making the most of the facilities.

Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve

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We did see a good lot of lovely things; the swallowtail caterpillars were striking, the woodland trail was quite literally buzzing with life. I wasn't fast enough to capture most of the magical dragonflies and have to say I did get a little shrieky when butterflies fluttered too close. The paths were in excellent order, good underfoot.

Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve

Strumpshaw Fen was a delightful place to visit and I'd definitely recommend for fellow wildlife enthusiasts.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

I will follow in your afterglow

hawcarefree at the beachboho beach lookboho sunset girlaiiEver had the most magical evening midweek when you get the most phenomenal sunset where the rich orange glow saturates everything it touches? That's what happened last week. We returned to Wells-Next-The-Sea on a balmy Wednesday (I know, deja-vu) but I wont apologise as I took some different pictures which I absolutely love and I'll be sharing those with you soon too.

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My red printed denim shorts are a firm old favourite, it's not often I find something that fits so well and makes me really smile. Another random find probably from ebay a few years ago. Worn with my treasured Joules blouse which is still available in a mini polka dot colour way on sale which I thought looked pretty good flapping freely over my black vest top (The Norfolk Boutique).

Who remembers what life was like before I found these ankle boots (I know, but seriously they are perfect for every occasion). My floral crown did receive some odd looks as I walked along the quay upon arrival, not sure they were ready for such a sight. Chris insinuates that I plummeted headfirst into a hedgerow, which paints an amusing picture in my head.


Photograph overload a little bit but I was fascinated how these turned out (I haven't edited the light or put a filter on) and note how I definitely look happy in at least a couple. Body confidence is something I've had cause to think about recently; Belle du Brighton wrote an excellent piece just the other day which reminded me again. I used to be particularly aware of what I looked like, kind of anxious and awkward, thinking I looked plain/ugly/just a bit rubbish. It was very tiring and pretty draining really always second guessing about what other people thought, though I imagine it's how many girls feel about themselves growing up. Lately, I've come to the conclusion that the 'people' I thought were judging me are women, all women. Chris doesn't even notice if my hair is a bird's nest, my cardigan is buttoned up wrong or one turn up is completely different to the other, many other guys (but not all) fall into the same boat as this. My brother asked me where my glasses were recently, I haven't worn glasses full time for about three years...

Sophie in the sticks

It's hard to pinpoint when I stopped caring, but I'd have a stab at around May 2013 when I wore this pussybow dress

nothing specifically triggered it, maybe something just snapped inside me and I couldn't be doing with it dragging me down any longer. Conversely, I feel like since I stopped caring what I look like, I look better, my style is freer and more relaxed.

The term 'body confidence' is one which irritates me too somewhat, in my mind it stands akin to arrogance so personally I wouldn't call myself body confident, just carefree and looking after myself. Eat clean, exercise sensibly, dress to please yourself. That's got to be the winning formula.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Setting goals and working towards them


Setting goals and working towards them is something that keeps me motivated on making progress. Back in the spring, my diet and exercise underwent analysis by Josh Mann  which gave me a good number of points to work on with a few changes to make. Although I didn't follow all the advice to the letter, there were a few key elements which I took note of and applied.

Firstly, I looked at my diet; knowing that I'd been a bit/lot greedy on my carbs it was quite apparent where to cut down (I miss you....), upping my protein and fat intake has been a joy on balance so I've got no grumbles. 

Secondly, there was a weird chain of events whereby my boot camp training was cancelled for around three weeks after I received my advice from Josh, so in keeping with his suggestion to ditch the boot camp training in favour of getting in more runs. I was taking longer runs as well as intervals and averaging 4 runs a week. It was fun to start with! I liked grabbing my running shoes and heading out but by week three my enthusiasm had waned somewhat so when I heard that our boot camp was starting up I just.couldn't.stay.away. 

I once went to a talk by a world class horse rider (I've forgotten who it was, I'm ashamed to say) who amongst all her pearls of wisdom shared this; a horse she was training up loved to jump but hated flat work schooling and the more they tried to work on the dressage the more unproductive it became. To combat this they used what the horse did love to work on things it wasn't keep on. I'm seeing myself as that horse. I can use what really keeps me upbeat to work on everything else. I now run twice a week, two boot camp sessions plus one interval session as well. You know what? I feel better than ever and because I've found a balance that works for me. I tell as many people as I can; the key to exercise is to find something you love, something that you will want to keep doing again and again.


What I've been slowly been getting round to telling you is that I reached one of my goals, a recent 5k road race provided the perfect opportunity on lovely flat roads for me to give it my shot. My official race time was 22:10 but it was a race time, not chipped start to finish. My watch gave me the answer I had been hoping for. The week before the race I kept very positive about it; drumming into my head the times for each k so I would be able to keep on track to run sub 22 minutes. I discreetly asked for people to tweet me some good luck and a kindly response really lifted my spirits and filled me with that little bit more energy. I never actually considered at any point on that morning that I was aiming for 13 seconds off a previous season's best, a full 29 seconds off this season's best effort. There didn't seem an enormity of ask, or a crisis of confidence, it just felt like I'd laid out my plan and I was just going to tick each box as I came to them. At 3k I was still on track; but my mind does get very garbled by this point, thinking straight is hard. I got confused at 4k, thinking it was someone else's watch beeping so missed my time check, so had no idea what my time was other than I was fading and all I wanted to do was stop. I mentally gritted my teeth and kept going; I bloody wasn't going to let all those hours of training go to waste, all those times I could have just flopped on the sofa with cake. This really meant something to me so I gave it everything I could, everything I had left in the tank. My timer went off meters before the line so my reflex action walloped it as I ran. Even through the jostle of finishers I say my official race time as I crossed the line and my heart did sink a little while being handed my complimentary water, getting my chip removed then returning to find a medal and banana. Chris asked me what my time was and it was only then I actually looked at my watch; to my disbelief it showed my precisely what I should have seen; 21:59. 

I'd love to say I was over the moon but I couldn't really feel anything but sick as a parrot and desperately tired, which lasted a good few minutes. The idea of making that goal when I started running would have been insane, goals should be SMART don't forget. Make a goal which you realistically can work towards and make that achievement. Then make a new goal, work, achieve, repeat.


When I heard that Josh Mann Fitness had started up a boot camp class in Wymondham I just couldn't resist going along on a cool Sunday morning to be put through my paces. You have a fair idea of how things are going with the warm up and first exercises. I have to say I've never squatted as much in my life - two days on and I've still got DOMS, hurrah! With a session like this you will always find the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. We did partner work whereby each person did a different exercise then swapped once one of us had completed the reps. I'd not done this before and thought it worked far better than setting a time limit - you feel an obligation not to leave your partner suffering for too long! The workout really pushed me; with everything from weighted squats, press ups, crunches, rope throwing, shuttle runs, jumps, weighted walks, lunges, planking.... the list goes on.  The thing I think works best about about a class like this is that is is so inclusive; you work with others or alone, doing as much as you can sometimes with a considered weight. The activities always vary, no two weeks are the same which keeps things interesting. Josh was a great instructor; both focused and encouraging too; he definitely got the best out of us. You don't need much equipment, though he did bring an exciting range of shiny new kettle bells which I felt a little magpie-ish around and a few cones, hurdles, rope etc. 

Boot camp is something most people would really get stuck into - I'm sure of it, but you do have to give it a try! If you are in the Wymondham area you ought to get yourself along, the first session is free so there are no excuses! You can find out all about the class at Project FIIT. I'm gutted I don't live close enough to make it every week! 

Have you ever tried boot camp? You should. 

What about your fitness goals, do you make them and what are they?