Glossy Box June 2013

Despite my misgivings about ordering things online, I somehow managed to persuade myself that signing up for a monthly GlossyBox was a good idea.

Since losing a bit of weight, I’m taking a bit more care over my appearance, and this seems like a good way to shake up my usual cosmetics routine, and try some premium products.  Plus, I always like little handbag sized versions of items. I opted for a 3 month contract, which was £30 up front, and I’ll have 3 lovely boxes to review.

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And what lovely boxes they are!  The packaging is exceptionally high quality, a very sturdy pink box, with the goodies inside wrapped in black tissue paper.  My only concern comes from an environmental point of view – thats a lot of packaging to dispose of.  I kept the pink ribbon and the box, which I’m sure I’ll find a use for.

So what was inside:

  • Figs and Rouge Lip Gloss in Cherry Blossom
  • Monu Hydrating Moisturiser
  • MeMeMe eye shadow in Dusk
  • Helen E Lip crayon in Red Carpet
  • John Frieda Frizz Ease serum

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The chubby lip crayon was quite a strong geranium red colour.  Despite this being one of my “autumn” shades, it’s a colour I have in clothes, but not one I’d usually put on my lips.  Maybe with a gloss over the top, for evening.

The grey eye shadow looked quite dark in its pot, but is a softer smokey shade when on.  I wore it to a Scottish dancing class, and my husband commented “You’re wearing make-up!” without specifically mentioning the eyes.

The John Frieda Frizz Ease is a handy sized serum – I have very short hair and never blow dry it, but I do use serums to give it a sort of spikey glossiness, and this one goes on easily and is non-sticky.

The moisturiser looked quite thick when I splodged it out of the bottle, but it absorbs well into the skin.

My favourite item is undoubtedly the Figs and Rouge lip gloss – it looks a deep cherry colour in the tube, but goes on slightly paler, and has a staying power that most other lip glosses don’t have.  The colour is great on me too, definitely a keeper!

12 Down: The Race is One!

Race week had come around at last! I did a short run on Monday, bringing in the last tricky (ie hilly) section of the course.

On Tuesday, I started to worry – I hadn’t received my pack with my number and time chip, nor an email telling me where to collect it. My husband worried me even more by asking if I was sure I’d actually registered.  I flicked back through my emails, back to January, where this had been a New Year’s resolution.  The sign-up email said that pack collection details were on the website.  The website gave me the collecting times from the leisure centre.  A quick check of my watch confirmed that I could go and get it right now, so off I sped.  Notices on the way into the pack collecting room advised you to have your registration number handy.  I tried to bring up my emails again on my phone, but to no avail.  I asked the assistant if my name would be sufficient, as I couldn’t remember my registration number.  She easily found me on the list, and announced:

“You’re number one!”

I laughed, and joked that it would probably be the only time you’d see that number next to my name, but it did feel special pinning it onto my running vest.  I made sure I had everything ready for the race on Wednesday evening, fixed the time chip to my shoe-lace, and went to bed content that I had done all I could.

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Wednesday dawned sunny, and just got warmer and warmer as the day wore on.  I took my dogs to the agility-fun park in the afternoon, mainly to take my mind off the race, and I ate fairly carby things during the day – overnight oats with berries for breakfast, cheese and crackers for lunch, some nuts a couple of hours before the race.  And lots of water.

At about 6, we drove as close to the leisure centre as we could – there was also a 10k and a fun run being held, so parking was scarce.  I went inside to join the queues of final-pee-ers, and didn’t have too long to wait before lining up with the other 975 half-marathoners.  I positioned myself near the “2 hrs 15” corral, though having done a mere 12 miles in 2 hrs 18 last week, that was an ambitious placing.

A cheer went up, and off we went, all the time chips clicking as the runners’ feet crossed the mat.  I pressed START on Mapmyrun, screwed my earphones in place, adjusted my Oakleys against the sun, now lower in the sky, and told myself “Let’s run this mother”.  I’m so glad I’d run about 80% of the route during training runs – there’s nothing quite so reassuring as turning a corner and going – Oh I know this road, I know where the hills are, I know what’s round the corner….I can do this.  Running is mental, and the more confidence boosts you can add the better.


By contrast, we got to the one bit of the route I was unfamiliar with, as it’s on a dual carriageway.  It doesn’t seem that steep when you’re driving it in the car, but it was a killer to run.  The “Mile 6” marker was half-way up it, and I slowed to a walk and fished out my energy-jelly, nibbling it as I marched to the top of the hill.


It was really warm, but I was struggling to take on water at the stations.  I tried once, and then felt very uncomfortable, almost nauseous afterwards.  I’d never used water during training runs, and it’s maybe something I’m going to have to look into further.  By the time I got to about Mile 12, I was feeling a bit light-headed, due to the heat and the dehydration.  But I knew this last part well, onlookers were great at clapping and cheering, and the iron-on letters of my name which Clic Sargent had provided meant I was getting personalized shouts of support!  I was feeling a surge of emotion building up through me, and I consciously had to tell myself not to cry until I was over the line.


As I turned into the finishing stretch, I could see the elapsed time just passing the 2 hours and 30 minutes mark, and for a moment I was disappointed that I hadn’t broken it.  Then I remembered my chip time would be a good 20 seconds off this – and indeed it was: 2 hours 29 minutes and 21 seconds!


My legs were in agony, and the first bottle of water barely touched the sides.


But I did it.  I run this mother.  Or rather, One runs this mother.  And I got a medal to prove it.


11 down – here we go!

11 weeks of training over – this week it’s the big race!

Running in Rain

It’s taper week, so no big long runs this week.  On Wednesday, exactly a week before the race, I chose to run late in the afternoon, as the race is in the evening.  I picked the final section of the race route – a not terribly attractive section through an industrial estate.  And it was raining – but then, it might well be raining during tehr ace, so its best to train in all sorts of conditions.  Actually, I don’t mind running in a fine mizzle – it’s almost nicer than running in blazing sunshine.

Running in Rings

I was heading to France for the weekend, but manage to sneak a quick run in on Friday morning before I left for the airport.  I took Max with me – he’s pretty good MOST of the time, but if he sees a bicycle he’s inclined to get over-excited, and start running behind my legs, then in front of me, and as soon as I switch the lead over to my other hand, he’ll run behind my legs again.  Daft mutt!

Running in Reims

After a lovely weekend with friends in Reims, I kept to my training schedule and found a wonderful space to do my Sunday morning run.

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La Coulee Verte is a streims 021retch of pathway beside the canal, and it was full of runners, rollerbladers, dog walkers, cyclists.  The canal itself had many ducks, houseboats, fishermen, kayaks,as well as some locks to run past.  The path was pretty flat, no hills to contend with, and absolutely beautiful, with fields of poppies, cherry gardens and ranks of tall trees to admire.

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Running to Raise…

I’m doing this to raise money for Clic Sargent – thank you to those who’ve given so generously, still time to make a donation!

5and2: egg quarko, and steamed sea bass

Had a pretty good fast on Monday, after an indulgent weekend.  Enjoyed my miso soup at lunchtime, and had a little carton of mandarin segments in juice mid-afternoon.

Mussels are fab – even my normally seafood-hating husband loves them.  And there’s plenty of packs in sauce available in supermarkets these days, so they make a quick dish that I can share with him.  We had the Tesco ones in a white wine and garlic sauce (126 calories per pack), and I even had enough calories for a small hunk of baguette to dunk into the sauce. Lovely!

I was experimenting with healthifying snack recipes, and I came up with this version of egg mayo, using quark instead.  Take one hard boiled egg, and smash it with a blob (30-50g) of plain quark.  Add celery salt and black pepper to taste.  Around 100 cals for that.  I had it piled onto a couple of ryvitas – the black pepper are my favourite flavour. Yum!

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Thursday’s fast was tricky – I had a blinding headache, which I fought off with Bovril, Marigold, and Miso, and went for an express head and neck massage during my lunch hour.  I regretted that, as she seemed to spend a lot of time trying to get the knots out of my shoulders with her elbows.  Ouch!

Lovely evening meal – fillets of sea bass, steamed with 2 thinly sliced chestnut mushrooms and 3 sliced spring onions, a few slivers of sushi ginger, and a splash of low-soy-sauce.  250-300 calories of  gourmet deliciousness – this is good enough even for non-fast days. Wow!

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I might take a break from 5and2ing for a while – it’s my half-marathon next week and I want to make sure I’ve fuelled my body properly for that.  And the following week we’re off on holiday.  I MAY try the occasional 24hr fast, but to be honest, it’s unlikely.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and keeeeeeeeeep fasting!

10 down, 2 to go

This was the week of The Big One – the longest run in my training Plan. After this we’re into a taper period to ensure legs and feet are in tip top condition.

For my Tuesday run, I did my consecutive-dog trick again.  This means I can exercise both dogs, one after the other, and still get my requisite half an hour in.  The weather was glorious – almost too hot – and I think the dogs enjoyed it as much as I did.

I was planning another run on Thursday evening, but my stomach had reacted badly to something I’d eaten, and I spent the evening just curled on the sofa.  I felt very guilty about missing a run, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Saturday’s ParkRun was bathed in that elusive sunshine, but sadly I discovered as I was leaving the house that my iPod was flat.  So I had to run without music.  This would be a good test – does music help me run faster or not?  I found the sounds interesting as I ran – Mini’s wheezing as she galloped along beside me, my own odd 2 in-3 out breathing rhythm, the slap-slap of my trainers. But what I discovered was that the real benefit of music is that it drowns out the negative voice in your head – I was still battling with the urge to stop, give up, just quit.  I tried giving my brain something else to do, so I started composing rhymes for my fellow runners;

Girl in purple, girl in blue, How to catch them, what to do?

Two young lads all dressed in white, Look like they could run all night

Passed by bloke all clad in yellow, He’s a very speedy fellow!

And the result?  28:44.  So I didn’t beat last week’s PB of 28:16, but I wasn’t far off!  To me, a sub-30 run is still a good result.

So Sunday dawned, still sunny.  I wanted to get out early in the day before the heat built up, and I was aiming to run 12 miles.  This was the longest of the training runs, and it would be my lifetime longest run.  I’d carb-loaded with spelt pasta the night before, spelt toast for breakfast, and ensured I’d been to the bathroom before leaving.  No dogs, and in the clothes I was intending to run in.  I started off running to the leisure centre, where the race will begin.  I followed the 10k course, keeping the Sprucefield ariel in my sights.  I’ve loved the way my runs have always been in the shadow of this iconic landmark – when I lived abroad, and was flying home via Dublin, passing the Sprucefield mast was always a sign that I was nearly home.  My charged-up shuffle was in good form, and gave me the beautiful 100 years by Five For Fighting, which reminded me of my old room-mate Anne-Marie, and made me smile.

Running along Blaris Rd, I felt the need for a bathroom, so I took a small detour off my planned route to McDonalds to use the facilities.  Better that than trying to carry on for the rest of the run in discomfort.  A short sharp uphill section on Ravernet Road, to omit the race section on the dual carriageway, and I was back at Waterloo Road.  This is a bit of a slog, but I’ve run it 4 or 5 times now, and I know where the tricky hills are.  Some fabulous views, though!   From there, it’s a lovely long downhill stretch of Ballynahinch Road, and other small hill at Altona Industrial Estate, and from there I just ran home.  Just under 12 miles, in 2 hrs 18 mins.

My new KSwiss trainers are pretty good – I’ve had no shin splints since I changed to them.  But they have a velcro-like attraction to bits of gravel, so I had to stop now and then to hoke these out of my soles.  And I was glad I was dog-less – there were lots of bikes about, Max’s nemesis, and more than a few runners, no doubt like me doing their long run before the race.

When I got home, I found that my lovely husband had posted a link on Facebook to my Fundraising page.  I want to publicly say how much his support has meant to me – he’s never complained about the time I spend running, or how the dairy changes to accommodate my runs, and he’s always keen to hear about my pace, and concerned about my safety when I run.  Had a great week fundraising, and a huge thank-you to my Scottish Dancing class who donated over £100.  The grand total is now around £300.

5and2 the perils of online shopping

I decided to treat myself to a colour in my hair this time. At husband’s suggestion, I was keen to go blonde, but my hairdresser felt that it would be too harsh for my colouring, so I’m a fiery redhead instead.

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I’m finding more and more of my clothes are just too baggy on me, so I thought I’d replace the sackfuls I’d given away with some key pieces for a stylish new wardrobe.  I consulted the wise style counsellors of Mumsnet, and ordered a lightweight jumper from Warehouse.  I placed the order from the comfort of my sofa last Saturday night.  They tried to deliver on Tuesday, but no-one was in, so they left a card.  I rang the number and asked them to redeliver on Wednesday.  This meant asking my husband to stay near the house, despite the glorious weather that he was dying to get out on a motorbike in. On Wednesday at 10 to 6, I got a call on my mobile to say that they couldn’t find my house.  (I don’t believe this).  I asked them to redeliver the next day.  On Thursday I rang to see what time they’d be delivering, but a guy in the depot said no, it would be Friday afternoon.  Friday came and went with neither communication nor delivery.  I rang on Saturday morning, only to be told that the package hadn’t left there since it was returned on Tuesday – none of the 3 people I’d spoken to during the week had written the message down!  I find all of this very hard to believe.  But seriously, how does a courier company like this (DPD) keep going?  That is customer service at its very worst.  Still no parcel, by the way.

Tuesday’s fast food was unremarkable – miso soup for lunch, homemade vegetable soup for dinner, and a ginger beer after dog-training.

Thursday’s fast lunch was broccoli and chilli soup.  I’d made this a while ago, but husband wasn’t too keen on it, so I froze what was leftover.  I had it with half a bag of alfresco salad from Tesco (25 cals for the half bag – very good crunchy snack food!).  The weather was so warm I just ate it cold.  It wasn’t too bad, tasted just a little oily, but later in the afternoon my stomach started to really complain.  I was due to go out for a run, but didn’t think it wise to be too far away from a loo, so I came home from work and just dozed on the sofa.  Not ideal, but at least it stopped me snacking.

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Friday weigh-in, still at 133 pounds.  I’m Ok with that, I know those last 3 pounds will come off slowly, and I have a half-marathon coming up so I want to make sure I’m properly fuelled for that, and then Disneyland Paris at the end of June!  If I can ever get my holiday wardrobe delivered….

9 down, 3 to go

Less than 3 weeks to go until the race!

I had my day off on Tuesday this week, but I had to take my car to the garage.  Since it was about 3 miles away, I chose to run home from the garage – part of that was the actual race route, which was handy.  It was a dry sunny morning, and my pacing was good.

On Thursday afternoon after work, the weather was glorious, and I linked 2 of my short routes together – started round the river, and then added on the Hillhall Road.  That was 7 km in 50 minutes.  As I was running through the bluebells, it occurred to me that I used to think when I was running “it’ll be good when it stops”.  Whereas I had such a smile on my face I was thinking “I’ll miss this when it stops!”.  The nice thing is – it doesn’t have to stop.

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Saturday’s parkrun had a delayed start, as three articulated lorries arrived in the park, not having been informed of our run.  So a bit of maneuvering was required to get them parked up somewhere safe, and marshalls ensured that there were no forklifts or similar operating while the run was underway.  My own start was then slowed as I had to fiddle a bit with the pouch I wear to carry my phone etc, so I could have been quicker at that point.  But no matter – a new PB of 28:16, and an average pace of sub-9 minute miles.

Having run almost 10 miles on the three previous Sunday long runs, this week according to the training plan I was to run 6 miles.  Since there’s a 10k race being run at the same time as the half-marathon (in fact I ran that 10k a few years ago), I though that would be a good one to have a go at.  So off I set at 8 in the morning to run 10 k before breakfast.  I’m constantly amazed at what my body is capable of!  In fact, by the time I added on the distance from my house to the leisure centre where the race starts, the total distance was 8.6 miles, done in just over an hour and a half (but with a very annoying and hyper Max to wrestle with for the last few miles, after he’d been spooked by a bicycle)

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Max when he’s NOT being hyper

Still time to donate to the great cause I’m raising funds for!

5 and 2 and 2 to 2

A slightly different approach this week, during which I have been awash with sandwiches!

Monday was a Bank Holiday, and also a Scottish Dancing party, so I didn’t fast (and had sandwiches for supper. Very odd they were too – tuna with grapes? And the dreaded raw onion in egg ones, bleurgh)
Tuesday was my day off – not normally a day I’d pick for fasting, but needs must. I had to take my car to the garage in the morning, and ran the 3 miles home afterwards. Around lunchtime I was hungry, so had a late brunch of tinned grapefruit segments with blueberries (70 calories)

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Mid afternoon I realised I was missing protein, so I had a pickled egg accompanied by some salad leaves and tomatoes (90 calories).

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Dinner was home made bolognese sauce with some zero noodle spaghetti (350 calories), before dog-training kept me busy during the evening.

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Enjoyed The Apprentice with a diet ginger-beer.
On Wednesday, I had a working lunch. This meant even more sandwiches, and my stomach was complaining all evening about this carb-fest.
Thursday arrived, with yet another working lunch and yet more sandwiches. I decided to try doing a 2pm-2pm fast which would allow me to eat the business lunch, but still be done fasting by the time Friday evening came around. And I have to say, it does have its attractions. Really, it’s a light meal one evening, skip breakfast the following morning and have a late lunch. I did find some issues – counting on MFP for starters! Usually I can track my non-fast days to my maintenance TDEE level, and also see that my fast days are coming in under 500. Using the 2pm-2pm approach, both Thursday AND Friday were knocked off whack, and I was having to make additional calculations in my head about how much I’d eaten and when. And emotionally – on Thursday evening, normally I’d be able to get through the evening going “nearly there, I can eat what I like tomorrow!” and planning my breakfast. But this time I was going to bed knowing that I would STILL be fasting in the morning.

Overall verdict – I’d do it again if I had to, but I prefer doing straightforward fast days. However, this might be a way that my mother could adapt to quite easily – she doesn’t really count calories, but if I gave her some suggested light dinner ideas, and just told her to skip breakfast and have a late lunch, then that’s really simple to follow.

So when Friday came around, I was happy to agree to my husband’s suggestion that we go out for dinner.  That IS one of the big attractions of this way of eating, that you can easily filt in working lunches and eating out.  We walked to the restaurant, but as we hadn’t booked, we had to wait at the bar for half an hour.  I ordered a fancy cocktail, husband posted a picture of me drinking it on Facebook, and minutes later my best friend was texting me, having seen it, to ask if that was the new Gok for Tu top, and wow didn’t I look fabulous!

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New low weight this week – 133 pounds, which is only 3 pounds away from goal.  I am enjoying buying clothes that say “size 8” on the label – and i’ve decided that at the hairdressers next week……I’m going blonde!