Saturday, March 22, 2014

Early Mother's Day Fun with notonthehighstreet.com #BYOM

When Mumsnet.com sent an email saying they were looking for ten bloggers to attend a pre-mother's day event hosted by notonthehighstreet.com, I thought how much fun it would be to take my Mum along and I applied to take part.


Dressing up fun !
 
My Mum is a cancer survivor and has been through so much over the years, with a full masectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and then the most awful reconstruction surgery. I really don't know how we got through those times, but we did, and I suppose it's only when I look back at those days, now that they are thankfully past, I realise just how damned awful they were. And .. just how much I love my Mum...
 As it happens, my Mum was unable to come along, so I took along my great friend Alice, who is herself a Mum, a Grandmother and still looking after her own Mum !

The event was hosted by notonthehighstreet.com at no. 5 Cavendish Square in central London - and we were handed champagne and cocktails on arrival, which went down very nicely indeed.

We wrote our 'what you would tell your pre-Mum self' on little wooden hearts which we placed on a wooden family tree.  I wrote that motherhood is hardwork, but worth it..

There was a fantastic photo booth where we were able to use some of the accessories available from notonthehighstreet.com, take some amusing photos and I had these great photos taken to send to my Mum - I totally love that hat !

 
Alice and I also particuarly liked this umbrella, and with the weather that we have had lately it would certainly come in handy ! It was decorated with lovely white flowers.

This umbrella is on my wish-list
There were the most beautiful, unusual and stylish accessories from notonthehighstreet.com dotted around the place, and Alice and I admired them, and constructed a mental wish-list ! I think the necklace on the right was our favourite.




So many lovely things to choose from..






Holly Tucker, one of the founders of notonthehighstreet.com did a heart-warming speech about her Mum and all the support she has given over the years,  and Odette Toilette who offers unique fragrance experiences did a really interesting presentation about perfumes through the ages. Feathers dipped in perfumes were passed around and Alice and I loved the White Musk one, but we were not so keen on the others!!



Later we were entertained by Shappi Khorsandi, who told some really funny jokes about what it means to be a mum - that we could all totally related to - well most of them anyway, I'm not so sure about the one concerning the Harry Potter 'game' and being locked in a cupboard !! Shappi went down a storm ! It was very funny when she asked me if I was recording the event.. I wasn't ..and you can see from this photograph that Sheppi is looking straight at me - love it !             
A telling-off from Sheppi !

A totally glamorous photo of Alice #BYOM (Bring Your Own Mum)

At Notonthehighstreet.com you will find unusual gifts and many personalised gifts too.  They have a wide range of lovely gifts for your Mum, Mother In Law, Second Mum or the person that is like a Mum to you for Mother's Day that they will love.
 
Here are a few of my favourite things .. (I'll be buying a gift for myself, as you know I have already been bought 2 pairs of trainers for Mother's day for my Half Ironman training !)
 

I want my keys on this...
 
.. and this on my wall ....

 
.. and this round my neck ...
  All too soon it was time to leave the lovely people from notonthehighstreet.com . Alice and I had a great time - and thank you for the lovely goody bag.










"I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity."



 
  


 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What is a Mom ?


If you look at a dictionary, the definition of the word Mom or Mother is: 'A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth', that's pretty dull isn't it ? Another definition says: 'Bring up (a child) with care and affection'. I think that's more like it..

But what about those of us that have second mums ? People that become so close to us that they, over the years, become like a second mother, and probably that you to them become a second daughter..

Not my Mum



When Mumsnet sent me an email to say that they were looking for some bloggers to take their Mum along to a special event hosted by Not On The High Street @NotOnTheHighStreet, I applied and thought nothing more of it.. you had to say why you wanted to take your Mum and I said that after her cancer battle and everything she has been through it would be nice to spoil my Mum to a lovely night out of entertainment. Just for me and my Mum. There didn't seem much point mentioning it to my Mum as I was pretty sure that we wouldn't be selected, I mean, what are the chances ... ?

Well, you could have blown me down with a feather duster, when an email arrived inviting me and my Mum along ! I called her and told her all about it.. bearing in mind that she lives over 100 miles away, I guess it was a long shot to expect her to jump on a train, or to ask my Dad to bring her down to London..'I'll call you back'.. was her response. She called back and said that my Dad had work to attend to and that the next day they would be looking after my sister's children, so the journey would be too tiring .. she said that she 'looked forward to seeing the pictures'... I tried hard to not be too disappointed..I guess she was doing that Mum thing and looking after my sister's children, so there you have it..

I guessed that I could potentially take another friend so I called my 'second Mum' . I met A when I first started working in London more than 17 years ago, and although we no longer work together and she is retired, she is still one of my best friends. We last met a couple of weeks ago for afternoon tea at The Wallace Collection in London. It was a great day out, and we renamed 'The Laughing Cavalier' to 'The Smug Cavalier' because, if you look, he does have rather a smug smile.. Otherwise, it's not really my kind of art - I prefer Kandinsky, Klimt and Tate Modern but there you have it ...

'A' checked with her parter that they had nothing planned for the evening, and A said that she would love to come with me. I'm really looking forward to spending the evening with A and I know we're going to have a great time, because, if I'm honest, we could have fun in a phone box.

Above is a photo of me and  A - we really did have a great time, watch out for a post over ther weekend with more information about exactly what we got  up to, and why.  #ItsAMumThing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Team Just The Two of Us

BB and I entered the Human Race Duathlon series for the first time this year, having entered numerous Human Race events over the years.

 Let me think which races we have completed from Human Race, here goes, right off the top of my head.. Kingston Wholefoods Breakfast run (8 or 16 miles) March and October (several times), Banaman triathlon, Wild man running race, Tuff man running race, Ice man running race and Windsor triathlon. I'm sure there are more too..

I can barely remember the first two races, they were so long ago now - before Christmas. The penultimate race I recall well, as BB came off his bike and bruised his ribs and I recall the absolutely hellish hills.

Although this last race was probably the toughest. It was at Eridge Park, it is situated in an elevated position and the wind just blows hard up there, so although you leave home in warm clothes, once there you wish you had a hat and a long-sleeved top.

The run was also the toughest of the 4, im my opinion... although the race had been rescheduled from February due to wet weather, the ground was still really wet and muddy. At one point I was heading downhill through mud at speed unable to stop myself - Scary !

I'm not sure if we will do the races again this year.. It's not a lot of fun sitting around in your kit whilst someone else does the bike... maybe I should cycle this year.. (or maybe not...)

It was great to get a write up on South London Harriers triathlon web site: here it is:

 

 
Have you completed any races as part of a team recently ? 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Triathlon show 2014

 
We didn't make it to the annual  2013 triathlon show held at Sandown race course in Surrey, so it was great to be back there today for the 2014 show - it's been on my calendar for quite a while..
 
We got up nice and early so we could get there as soon as it opened.
Here are some reasons to go next year:
 
1) You can enter the 10km race. I entered a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it.
 
2) You can see some new cool products. I bought a cool, innovative display for race medals. Our race medals were hung over a picture frame in the kitchen, which contains race photos. They looked ok, but sometimes they fell off. They look much better now, see the photo below. The slogan says 'Runner's kitchen' . I will put the sign up properly (at some point) but that's an improvement already if you ask me ! You can also get these signs custom-made with your own slogan. The owner is a lovely chap who has had this family business running for a year and  the web site is here: http://www.runnerswall.co.uk/index.php
 
 

 

 
2) New nutritional products 
 
I've always struggled with nutrition. Before, after and during a race, nutrition is very important. Jack Oat bar is a new product by an inspiration, innovative, new company.
The sample that I tasted at the Jack Oat Bar stand, was nice and moist and I mentioned that it tasted like a homemade flapjack, that's because it's made with only 5 ingredients, I was told. I've seen from the web site that I can buy the product on-line, and it is also available from some UK-based stockists. too. I wish them well with the new product, and I am looking forward to trying it before I head out for a run tomorrow.
 
Check out the web site here: http://www.jackoatbar.com It's available in cranberry, original and chocolate-chip flavours.
  

3) Discounted products
You can get some great show-only discounts. Many vendors offer end-of-line products and some genuine special offers are also available. We bought 3 pairs of trainers.

4) Training information
There are various seminars running over the course of the show. Today, we listened to a motivating informative talk by Joe Beer. If you don't know who Joe Beer is I suggest you take a look at 220 Triathlon magazine where Joe writes a regular column. Here's the link : http://www.220triathlon.com/

One thing I found amusing today was the assumption that it was BB that was interested in sport, rather than the female next to him - e.g. me ! I was also surprised that some of the vendors were unaware that triathlon is a growing sport amongst youths. CC did her first race at the age of 8 so nearly five years ago now.

Most disappointing was the chap at CompressSport who was not the least bit interested in why I might want to buy the product - the funny thing is that I was probably one of their first customers, and I have promoted the product ever since. I tried on various other Compress - type products today, but, it has to be said, that they are not as good as my CompressSport calf guards, but I didn't buy a new pair today..

All I would say is that you can never assume who your customer base might be...

Let's hope that everything that I saw, bought or learned today takes me one step closer to achieving my 2014 goal - Hever Castle half ironman http://www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk/gauntlet/.

If you are interested in triathlon, I would highly recommend the show.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

New Stuff

I'm all about trying new things .. whether it's Chinese week at home (Yakitori chicken anyone?) or Vegan week, or thinking about a new exercise challenge, .. At work, my latest ideas is to introduce an electronic notice board,  I'm not sure if that will come to fruition yet, but  I hope so.

I love cooking so I completed a Food Hygiene course and got the certificate, purchased some business insurance and tried selling my wares at a couple of 'Green fair's.' That was seriously at lot of fun !

With two marathons under my belt, it's time for a new exercise challenge.. something that is really going to push me .. although that second marathon did a fine good job of that .. it was a long time ago..

I have until September to crank up my training and I'm looking forward to the challenge: here is the link to the race web site, which has information about the race and other 2014 race challenges  http://www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk/

I can't imagine a life where I didn't push myself or strive to learn new things.. At one point, I thought I had 'completed my learning' this was just after I had finished my MBA. In hindsight, I think I was probably just burned out from studying. Since then I've passed an MCP and done numerous other exams..

Do you push the envelope or go with the flow ? What's your challenge for 2014 ?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ice Man - January 2014

We had a great race last weekend... until BB came off his bike  at 20mph and we ended up in A&E ! He has bruised ribs, which are very painful, but slowly recoverning. Of course, it is all recorded on the GoPro, so I will post the film once we have edited it.

It was a gorgeous day, and the race was well organised by Human Race Events.

Here are a couple of photos- go to the Human Race web site and have a look - there's a race for everyone!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Merry Christmas

I love Christmas. Here are my top ten reasons:

1. Family - it's a time for getting together and spending time with loved ones. Or not. As I usually go to France at some point over the Festive season I invariably 'do Christmas' with my folks in early December, and then off I go guilt-free. I have to say, that I love my early-December Christmas.

2. Parties - My BB has got into the habit of buying me a lovely new dress for Christmas. How sweet is that ! He never buys anything in a style that I would buy, and so much the better for it,  I always love it ! In the drudge of work and the day-to-day, it's nice to get dressed up and go and party!

3. Christmas cards - I love Christmas cards. I love sending and receiving them. I love e-cards too. I recycle cards and make gift tags for the following year too. I did take a 'year off' from cards last year, but I'm back with a vengeance this year.

4. Christmas Decorations - The decorations are not yet up at home. I have decorated the office, with snowflakes on the office windows, poinsettias on the windows sill, snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, some tinsel and a little tree. Who needs to do home with an office like that?? Home will get done at some point.

5. Gifts - I love shopping for gifts. I do a lot of shopping on-line these days, but I still like going to my local shopping centre too, even if there are crowds, and stopping off for a warming coffee en route.

6. Children - It's all about the children isn't it ? Isn't it ? My CC will soon be a teenager and I'm detetermined for Christmas to be as Christmassy as ever ...

7. Christmas Lunch- I'm very specific about my Christmas lunch. I have an actual aversion to not cooking it myself, as I know what I like. My Christmas lunch is very important, and can be totally ruined by a dodgy piece of broccoli or squash. I know, I know that sounds ungrateful, like I said, I'll happily cook Christmas lunch...

8. Christmas Food - I must be the only person that loses weight in the run up to Christmas. As much as I love a Christmas lunch (my stylee), I can only eat it once. I absolutely cannot eat three roast dinners a week for every week in December. No way. In fact, I really don't like that everything is over-embellished at Christmas. Carrots in honey and orange and sprinkled with sesame seeds ? No thanks, just steamed carrots will be fine thank you. Brussel sprouts with chestnuts and bacon. No. Just brussel sprouts please. etc. etc...  So, if there's an invitation for a Christmas lunch, I will wish you well and go off for a jog.

9. The weather - If it snows, great! If it's cold, that's great too. If it's warm ? That's just plain wrong.

10. Christmas Carols - I'm not a religous person. I don't go to church. I do believe in being a good person, being kind to others, being thoughtful and polite, and being a good citizen. I don't feel I need to go to church to live that kind of life, nor to feel that there is some 'thing' that guides me and drives me. I never feel more connected then when I am singing a Christmas carol. This year I will actually be singing carols myself as I have joined a Christmas choir. Bring it on !!

That's my top ten - what's your favourite, or least favourite things about the festive season ?