It’s the May Day Bank Holiday weekend and I’m enjoying a rather lazy Sunday.  At some point soon I’ll be ‘forced’ to nap, but before I do I’m just going to thumb through the new issue of Red magazine that I’ve been saving for this very afternoon.

 

For some reason I didn’t cast my eye across the front cover.  Perhaps because Gwyneth’s beautiful face is there smiling back at me and to be honest with no make-up and a grubby Sunday top knot I really can’t take her on.  If I had, I might have registered that it’s the June issue I’m about to read.  The June Issue!

 

Twice a year, in January and May, UK mags do their utmost to support our never-ending drive to look half decent on holiday.  It doesn’t matter if you are heading to foreign shores, staying in the city, or hauling everything but the kitchen sink to a campsite in Cornwall, at some point, if nothing else your arms and legs will be on show and I’ve yet to meet any woman who doesn’t care about how she looks and nor have magazine editors.

 

I open a double-page spread with the headline The 7-Day Body Reset and know I’m in trouble.  A cursory glance at my phone confirms that yep, I’m due to go on holiday in just over 50 days.  Uh-oh!  I can definitely fit in the reset, but is the reset enough?  Unlikely!

 

And so it begins.  The pathway to a better body lies ahead, eating less junk and choosing food that makes me strong enough to run or do Hiit sessions almost every morning before work.  On the days that I’m not running I’m trying not to notice that I’m having trouble sitting on the sofa because I’m stiff as a board from doing Davina’s Intense Toning session.  That could actually be the aim, that I never sit down again!

 

It’s punishment really, for enjoying life, but what I’ve ‘packed on’ over the winter needs stripping back off again and I can’t give up the ghost.  I’m Not Givin In, well not yet anyway.

 

So to spur me on I’ve purchased a new pair of running tights and a very loud T.shirt from H&M.  Ever tight, I always shop here, because they offer a great range (that seems to grow in choice each season), with the latest looks at very reasonable prices.  So if I go ‘hard’ (wipes away tears of laughter) then I’ve had my money’s worth  and if I limp in across my imaginary finishing line half a stone shy of my goal, I haven’t wasted a fortune.

 

I like to run outdoors when it’s not raining so have opted for this bright, neon T.Shirt, which cost just £7.99.  It’s lightweight and I’m sure to be seen by drivers and dog-walkers.

H&M photo from Pinterest

H&M photo from Pinterest

Long sleeve-tees are also available in pretty shades, like this one for £14.99.

H&M photo from Pinterest

H&M photo from Pinterest

I like to wear sports tights for running and have the pair below, which I bought for £14.99.  They’re bright I know, but pop these bad boys on and the print disguises any lumps and bumps very nicely.  I wear size small in these, as I want them to be tight, I can’t stand bottoms that are constantly in need of pulling up.  The fabric is silky to touch and fast-drying.

H&M photo from Pinterest

I also really like these ones too.  Not for the faint-hearted I know, but…

H&M photo from Pinterest

H&M photo from Pinterest

The Sports Bra below isn’t one that I have, but the logo meets the inspirational objective.  It costs just £7.99 and I have found this style of bra to be really robust for running, and they wash up well. I have a few pairs in a similar design on rotation.

H&M photo from Pinterest

H&M photo from Pinterest

Should the weather turn, which it obviously does quite often, H&M has a range of lightweight jackets perfect for running.  The only thing I find disappointing is that they tend to be in black or grey, which isn’t great for being seen when crossing roads so I pop a neon tabard over the top. This running jacket is £29.99.

H&M photo from Pinterest 9

H&M photo from Pinterest

So I’ve got the gear.  I have no excuse not to move my body.  The playlist is compiled and I’m writing this very early in the morning, which can only mean one thing, I’m off for a run.

 

See you on the other side girls.

 

Gail. x

 

P.S.  Oh and if you’re thinking of joining the legions of fans who follow the SSS Plan by The Body Coach read my experience here before you part with your money, it’s not for everyone.

Hi All

 

This week’s post has been prompted by Post40bloggers, an online group that supports 40+ bloggers who I follow on Instagram and Twitter.  The group posted a picture last week asking for followers to share their favourite wedding/couple pics in celebration of Valentine’s Day, so I’ve been digging around for pictures from my wedding to share.

 

Getting married (for the first time) two months shy of turning the big 40 wasn’t really in my original life plan.  Like most young women I thought I would meet Mr Right at the ‘appropriate time’ in my youth and be settled down with children by the time I was forty.  That didn’t happen for me.  Newly bruised from a bad relationship that ended as my thirties began, I started this decade of my life with a heavy heart and pretty much alone.

 

Life goes on of course and I sought out new ways to have a fulfilling life, and as time continued to roll by, I gradually gave up on the idea that I would ever get married.  Fast forward some years and I’m living in London with a great group of friends and a fun, if not demanding, career that is going pretty well, when I go home for Christmas and bump into an old flame in Asda (yes, it’s a pretty epic love story!) of all places.

 

The relationship quickly took off and before I knew it I had moved back to Bristol, changed jobs, and we were living together.  We were married the following year at the Little Chapel of Flowers in Las Vegas.  Again, not a long held dream wedding destination, but it fitted our needs perfectly and turned out to be such a wonderful, romantic day.  With only us in attendance it kind of felt like we were eloping and if I had a dollar for every time a stranger congratulated us we’d have a bank full of good wishes to see us through the rest of our lives.

 

I didn’t get emotional on the day itself, I was too excited and couldn’t stop smiling, but the following afternoon we went back to the chapel to view our photos, all 200 of them!  As soon as I opened the album it started – big, loud, body-heaving sobs (much like Emma Thompon’s Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility) and a bucket-load of tears.  I think I cried for the same reason she did, I could finally exhale.  I was truly happy and content with the person sat next to me. I could give up the search, call off the dogs, cancel the online dating membership.

 

When I was single a friend of mine would say ‘there’s a lid for every pot’.   At times it would drive me mad, because you can feel like you’re the last lidless pot on the shelf, but the glint in her eyes gave me reason to hope.  It’s not everyone’s ideal life, to be married, but it has certainly brought a lot of joy to mine.

 

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Gail x

 

getting married

Hi

 

When you read this I will be lying on a beach in Thailand.  In fact I will be on Ko Phi Phi, staying at the Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort.  I will have stayed up into the night to see in the New Year, having attended the resort’s gala dinner and will likely be nursing a hangover before embarking on a little hair of the dog.

 

We have been to Phi Phi once before and are returning because SP loves it here.  It is the kind of resort where wearing no shoes is the norm and sitting at the beach bar enjoying the night sky is heaven.  There are few mod cons here, just you and nature on this tiny little island.  So while he plays Tarzan I try my hardest to be Jane and not moan about the ball of frizz that was once my hair!

ko phi phi

Home Sweet Home (Ko Phi Phi)

 

SP loves swimming with the fishes and I love him doing that too.   I need the head space that ‘annual leave’ gives us to sit with my own thoughts, looking back over the past 12 months and make plans for the new year.

 

2015 was a truly busy year, with six day weeks that knocked my work/life balance into oblivion and made me ever so slightly short-tempered and grumpy.   I’m not a fan of my grumpy self and nor is anyone else so although I’m writing this pre-Christmas I know already what needs to happen in 2016.

 

I love being a working woman and I’m proud of my accomplishments in  recent years, but I won’t feel successful if I don’t get the balance right.  There is more to life than work, but I often forget that.  This year is a case in point. Although I’ve had a few weekends away (I often work for a few hours on a Saturday), my holiday in the summer was a six night trip to Tuscany, where we constantly moved around the region.  The holiday was booked by me so I’ve only myself to blame. The result being I’m totally wiped out and I’ve been longing to get to The Beach (yes, the one in the film of the same name) since about October.

 

ko phi phi

Maya Beach on Ko Phi Phi

 

So when I get to The Beach I shall have with me a copy of Ariana Huffington’s book Thrive, very kindly lent to me by a friend, with me.

 

Arianaa Huffington - Thrive

Arianaa Huffington – Thrive

 

The book is a personal account of Arianna’s challenges to manage time and prioritise the demands of her career with family life.  If you don’t know, Arianna Huffington, is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and one of the most influential women in the world.

 

The book is a call-to-arms, Arianna aims to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world, drawing on a the latest ground-breaking research and scientific  findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep and physiology that reveal the transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging and giving.

 

I’m looking forward to it. The idea of being unplugged and present in the moment is definitely something I want to achieve.  I will no doubt think about the changes I want to make in my own life in 2016.  Making time to be unplugged is likely to be one of them.

 

With that in mind, I’m going ‘dark’ for two weeks.  I’ll be back on Friday 22nd January fully re-charged.  I hope.  You can see how my holiday is going over on Instagram.

 

Happy New Year all!

 

Gail  x

 

 

Hi Everyone

 

I’m so sorry, but Christmas madness has taken over this week and I just haven’t had time to write a post.  I’d rather not blog some half-baked, rushed drivel!

 

I finish work today and have three weeks off, so have been cramming lots on my ‘to do’ list to get everything done.  I’m so excited about my holiday.  Not only will I be getting ready for Christmas and catching up with family and friends, but also getting ready for a trip to foreign shores.

 

It’s been a long wait, but SP and I are off to Thailand just after Christmas, for a two week holiday that will see us hopping around three different islands. We have been before and are returning to Koh Phi Phi for our New Year celebration, and then we’re off to Koh Lanta and finally Krabi for a short stay in January.

 

I’ll be uploading pics on my Instagram feed so that you see what we get up to in Asia and of course I’ll be posting as normal next Friday and over Christmas.

 

I really need and I’m so looking forward to a little time out and some sun worshipping!

 

Have a lovely Christmas!  I hope you enjoy it with your nearest and dearest.

 

Gail x

 

If, like me, you end up popping a little something in the basket for yourself when Christmas shopping, you might be interested to know that there’s a new bar, The Confessional, that’s opened in Bath, where us sinners can grab a cocktail or two mid-shop.

The Confessional, Bath

The Christmas Market in Bath has become hugely popular for tourists in recently years (we’re going in a few weeks), so I’m glad that I know about this new bar, which can provide the perfect getaway when the crowds get too much.

 

Recently opened, this gorgeous underground bar is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city and is situated underneath The Octagon, a Grade II listed former chapel in Milsom Place.

 

I was lucky to be invited to the launch party and can tell you now that the bar’s signature Espresso Diablo, which is an intoxicating blend of rum, Pedro Ximenez sherry, coffee, maple and lemon oils, is utterly divine and naughtily moreish!

 

It’s their take on an Expresso Martini and having enjoyed this for the first at The Confessional, it has become my new favourite tipple.  I’m easily pleased, but don’t just take my word for it, Head Bartender, Callum, was recently named Bath’s Best Bartender in the Great Bath Feast Bartender Competition.  The guy’s got skills.

 

The Confessional, Bath

 

The bar serves plenty of deliciously crafted cocktails that you can choose from and there is a fantastic selection of local beers and ciders, including Wild Beer Co, Wiper & True, Electric Bear and Honey’s Midford Cider.

 

There are plenty of wines to choose from and you can buy by the glass, which makes it easier not to go overboard on drinking or spending.  Food-wise, you can choose from locally-sourced cheese and meat boards

 

But it’s the space that I really love.  There is a lovely relaxed atmosphere, the staff are really friendly and the ambience is intimate, yet buzzing.

 

The Confessional, Bath is open Thursday – Saturday 12pm- 12am and Sunday – Wednesday 12pm- 11pm and I think you’ll really like it.

 

See you at the bar!

 

Gail x