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    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets*

    Last week my mum had an operation. We had pretty scary news and I didn’t write about it anywhere because some things you just feel like you need to keep to yourself, you know? Anyway, with perfect timing, Blossoming Gifts kindly sent me a beautiful bouquet – something to cheer my mum up!

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Flowers

    After speaking to the lovely Abby, I settled on the Brighton Rock bouquet and we went for large. There are just so many bouquets on Blossoming Gifts, it’s hard to narrow the selection down! You can filter the results by type of occasion, like Birthday, Romance, Thank You, Sympathy, New Baby and more. That makes it a little easier.

    The Brighton Rock tandard bouquet has exactly the same flowers as the large, but it just has one less of each of the first four. So we got: Pink Oriental Lily x3, Miss Piggy Rose x4, Memory Lane Rose x4, Green Hypericum x4, Tanacetum Single Vegmo x2, Greenbell x2, Parvi Eucalyptus x2. Oh and not forgetting the little box of chocolates! That was a lovely surprise I hadn’t noticed on the list.

    They arrived whilst I was at work, and as the box was addressed to me it wasn’t opened for a good 5 hours or so. When I got home, I let my mum open the bouquet and arrange them (because I think her flower arranging is probably more experienced than mine!) and the first thing she said was oh, these are actually still quite wet! Weird, yes. But what she meant was that the bag holding the bouquet was still quite moist and doing the job of keeping the ends of the flowers hydrated. So I mean yeah, that’s a plus! Apparently the 10 million other bouquets she received didn’t have this.

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Arranging The Flowers

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Chocolates

    How often do you give flowers to someone? It feels like more of a ‘grown up’ thing, and I don’t totally feel grown up haha (still secretly 14) but yeah, I forget services like this exist. The flowers I were sent cost £41 (for large) which yeah, I guess are pricey compared to just buying a bunch from the shops, but you do get what you pay for. It’s all about the service (next day delivery available if you order before 6:30pm!) and the quality of the flowers. Those little touches. The prices did range though from around £20 to over £50 so I guess it just depends on your budget.

    We received the Brighton Rock bouquet on Tuesday morning, and (besides the arranging/chocolate ones) these photos were taken on the 3rd day. They still look fresh! The lilies haven’t opened yet either, so I know they’ll definitely last a good few days more at the minimum. They’re also delivered straight to the doorstep in a sturdy box and with instructions.

    I think most people would be happy to receive a bunch of flowers as a gift, and a service like this makes everything easier. (Except actually selecting a bouquet to send – there’s SO many!) Is it something you could do regularly? Probably not, but they’re fab as a treat or surprise! This was actually my mums third bunch of flowers since having her op (it’s a wonder none of us gained hayfever) and she’s since had a fourth. Each one has made her smile, all because they’ve been sent by different people with different messages alongside them!

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Brighton Rock Bouquet

    They’ve brightened up our living room anyway! Ever received or sent flowers like this?

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    Fitness

    Whitley 10k Race Recap; Chasing The Sub-60

    Sometimes you just see a challenge and take it. That’s what I did with the Wigan Half Marathon. After that, I kind of fell back on my running and lost all motivation, so signing up for the Whitley 10k 5 days before the start without having run properly for a month… Well that brought another challenge.

    HappyFinish

    Arriving at the Whitley 10k Starting Line

    I’d never driven to Whitley before, in fact I’d never even heard of the place until I discovered this 10k race, but it was actually a lot easier than expected. I used my satnav of course, but the race was sign posted from a few miles out so that was helpful. I’d seen in the instructions that we had to drive in through a different road to what the satnav may direct and this was easily found. The parking was also great too, and well directed by marshalls.

    We were really lucky over the weekend in that we got a couple more days of sunshine so arriving at such a pretty little village in the sunshine was lovely.

    Getting Past The First Few Miles

    Having not run for the past month, I did find the first couple of miles a little tough. It just felt like I took a little time to really settle in, but once I had it was all fine. Just before the halfway mark I settled into a good pace, and I was running alongside another women. We didn’t speak, but I felt like we were pacing each other. She may not have felt the same way, but hey, it sure helped me haha. I felt a little bad when I pulled away at around 5km, but I was feeling really good by that point and I’d been warned about a bit of a hill around the 6-7km mark and wanted to get a little speed in before possibly having to slow down for the climb.

    Struggling in Heat And Hills

    This sounds really arrogant as I write it, but the hill was actually no problem at all for me. I mean, it wasn’t great – I’m not a big fan of hills – but after the monstrous ones at the Wigan Half and the Blackburn 10k it was nothing really. Never did I think I’d say that! I dropped pace a little bit but I still managed to stay under 6:30 for that split so I was pleased enough with that. From then onwards it was go, go, go!

    The main problem I had was running in the heat. I’m just not used to it. I mean, we don’t really get many hot summery days do we?! Most of my race days have ended up being a little dreary or wet, so this was definitely different. I made a last minute decision to take a vest along and I’m so glad I did because if I’d attempted the run in the top I was originally wearing I would have been so uncomfortable. (And people were running in all black! How?!)

    SceneryMedla

    Do You Constantly Look At Your Garmin?

    Some people hate wearing watches and timing themselves when running. I am not one of those people. That said, I’ve learnt to just run and not constantly watch-check to see how I’m doing. Especially on Parkruns, I’ve just been running to how I feel. Sometimes it’s disappointing, like when I feel like I’ve been really pushing hard and then I don’t get a faster time, but honestly it’s made me enjoy the running so much more.

    Anyway, back onto the Whitley 10k… I checked my watch at 5km and I was just over 30 minutes. Not slow, but it meant I’d have to run the second half faster if I wanted that sub-60. I took on that challenge. After looking again around the 7-8km I realised I could do it if I just managed to keep under the 6min/km mark. I find looking at a watch constantly makes the run harder, because you’re aware of every little step, but I think if I hadn’t looked I might have just let my pace drop a little.

    The Finish Line

    With 1km to go, I didn’t have many people around me. I’d been picking off people as I ran, pushing myself that little bit faster each time. There was one lad, a few years younger than me I’m guessing and when I pulled up alongside him he definitely sped up a little. I managed to stay with him for a couple of minutes and then he pulled away and was into the distance! It pushed me though, and I knew I was super close to the end by now.

    Which brings me to the finish line. We headed back up a country lane and into the main area where everyone was waiting at the little community hall. The finish line was in sight, but oh, we had to run all the way around the parked cars first to get to that line?! This was pretty devastating, not going to lie haha. I’d just done almost 6 miles and this last 100 metres seemed SO far. But I pushed and pushed, and as I crossed the line the timer said 01:00:29. I knew my chip timing would be a little off from that, but I just didn’t know how much, and I only remembered to stop my Garmin after I’d had my chip taken off my shoe so that was out too.

    The Results

    It was a long few hours waiting for that result! I spent the next few hours watching the rugby (and seeing this amazing stadium entrance by the Red Devils Parachute Team!) and constantly checking my phone. Must have been around 4pm when I spotted the results online and did a little dance in the female toilets when I saw 00:59:53!! New PB and finally under the sub-60 10km. So, so pleased with myself. Winning the rugby match too was just a great end to a great day.

    RugbyEntrance

    You can see the full overview of my run stats on Strava here!

    My next race is the Great Manchester Run 10k… sub-59 maybe?

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    Currently Loving

    Currently Loving #7

    It’s been a while hasn’t it? I haven’t posted a Currently Loving in 5 months! These things probably won’t surprise you – they have me written all over them. My favourites never really change much do they?

    Currently Loving #7 | Netflix Xbox Candle

    Netflix Binge

    I recently rearranged my room so now I can sit in bed and enjoy Netflix from my tv instead of my laptop. It means I can be even more lazy than usual. Good thing? Still undecided. But hey, it means I’ve watched a lot more tv series/films! I’m using my brother’s old xbox and I literally just use it for Netflix and Youtube. As every other person here, I have been watching 13 Reasons Why. I read the Thirteen Reasons Why book way back in 2011 (and gave it 4* apparently!) so I was super excited for this series when I heard about it.

    I finished watching it last night and oh boy, those last few episodes are dark! If you struggle with suicide/self harm/rape or any of that kind of thing, it’s probably one to give a miss. I wasn’t expecting it to be so graphic, but honestly it does the job that it was aiming for. It shows the darker side of these things and it hits you hard! Couldn’t stop thinking about it as I was trying to get to sleep.

    Perfect Margarita Yankee Candle

    If you ever needed the perfect Spring scent, this is it. Super tangy and fresh and I’m loving the smell of lime filling my room. I never really go for the fruity candles, even though I love a good fruity scent. I have my eye on the Fresh Apple one too – definitely the next on my list.

    Currently Loving #7 | BearPaws Bugles

    Tasty Snacks

    I’m trying my best at work to take in healthier snacks for my mid-morning and afternoon slumps. Bear Claws are the current favourites. I always feel better getting the kids snack choices as I trust them a little more… Definitely filled with more natural sugars and just generally good snacks to eat. I’m a big fan of dried fruit bars/chews at the moment.

    Have you tried Bugles yet? They’re new but they’ve still been out a while now and I just never really see them about. These BBQ ones are my absolute faves. To be honest, I love BBQ anything so these were always going to be a winner for me. I think they have a cheesy flavour and possibly others but I haven’t tried any of them.

    Currently Loving #7 | Bottle Wigan

    Keeping Up Health

    I won this Brita filter bottle in a giveaway and I absolutely love it! I’ve never bought into these filter bottles because our tap water tastes fine and I can deal with it, but you can definitely taste the difference using this bottle. The filters seem to be quite expensive but I think they last 100 litres or so? I’m not fully sure… I may not have a filter in there all the time depending on this. It’s a great size though and hasn’t leaked yet – winner. I’m back to the gym (well, I’ve been twice in the past week…) so I’m really going to give my fitness a kick. That means healthier eating and just generally getting up and moving more.

    I’ve also been loving watching the rugby both at our ground and on tv. Thursday/Friday nights are for rugby league. I’m just glad we’re into Spring and heading towards the Summer months. Always good.

    What are you currently loving?

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    Fitness

    What Do You Listen To When Running?

    Some people run with music, some audiobooks, some podcasts, some nothing. I’d say I’m a mixture of all, but mostly audiobooks or nothing at the moment… So what do you listen to when running?

    IMG_0642

    Can You Concentrate on an Audiobook During a Run?

    Audiobooks have me in two minds. Currently my long runs are spent listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, and it’s great. As I’ve read the actual books so many times, I find it super easy listening material and I can always keep up with what’s happening. I mean I can pretty much recite them. Is that something to be proud of? (Well I am) Now I’ve tried another fiction audiobook and I just kept getting completely lost. Granted I tried this whilst commuting and not running, but it completely put me off fiction. Besides Harry Potter of course, for the above reasons…

    Non-fiction books are completely different though. You don’t really have to listen to intently and keep up with a storyline, which makes it a lot easier in my opinion. I listened to Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley at some point last year and absolutely loved it. As a book based on personal experiences, it felt like I was just listening to a friend chatting. Would recommend that book actually as it had me laughing out loud many times!

    Audiobooks are a definite no-no if you’re doing intervals or a tempo run or something other than easy and slow and I think most if not all runners would agree with that. How would you keep track?!

    IMG_0646

    So What About Podcasts When Running?

    I’d definitely put these in the same category as non-fiction books. Perfect for those long or easy runs. You could literally search for anything and there will be a podcast for it. I’ve got plenty of running related ones on the app I use (Podcast Addict) but I’ve also got TV series discussion ones (AfterBuzz), Serial, Stuff Mom Never Told You, Ted Radio Hour, The Black Tapes, Welcome to Nightvale and a few more. A good mixture!

    The thing is, I do sometimes zone out whilst on my long runs. The audio is great as background noise and a distraction, but I guess it’s not a time where I want to be putting all my focus into listening. This makes podcasts perfect because honestly it’s mostly just chatter depending on what you’re listening to and it doesn’t matter if you miss a few sentences here and there. As above, I wouldn’t choose a podcast for any fast training run!

    Use Music to Get Your Body Moving

    This is where music comes in. If I’m honest, I can’t remember the last time I listened to music when running. (Shows how much I do intervals/tempos – that needs to change!) I don’t have music on my phone and I cancelled my Spotify premium so you know, I’ve just managed without. I actually headed out for a run on Tuesday after work. I was a kilometre in when I realised I hadn’t put any music or podcasts or audiobooks on. So used to running without now at Park Run each week!

    So yes, I have a severe lack of interval/tempo/sprints and whatever else in my running training, but if I did motivational music has to be the way to go. All too often I’ve just put a random playlist on and then I’ll get a really slow song come on, and it just ruins your flow. You can find playlists on programs such as Spotify, or workout CDs that have music with a very specific tempo time. These are perfect for keeping you running at the pace your aiming for and I need to utilise them more.

    What do you listen to whilst running? Any favourites?

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    5 Reasons To..., Lifestyle

    5 Reasons To Love Spring

    Anyone who knows me (maybe even you guys on here) knows I hate winter. Me and cold weather do not mix. Take me to a hot country! That’s why I love Spring and what the start of it means…

    5 Reasons To Love Spring | Blossom Flowers

    #1 Love Longer Days

    The clocks going forward really sucks for the first week, but after that it is a delight. Coming home from work in the sunshine (when it appears) is one of the best feelings ever. I love the lighter evenings, I don’t feel like the day has disappeared when the sun sets at 8pm.

    #2 Love Spring Sunshine

    Yeah okay so we don’t get that much of it, but Spring signals the start of better weather. And it is better on the whole. You know when it’s sunny out, but not too humid or hot? I mean I love that too, but I do love the freshness of Spring weather. I’ve also discovered that driving down an empty motorway with the sun shining and music (mcfly) blasting is one of the better things about being able to drive. The sun is just a complete mood lifter. I need one of those SAD clocks/lights when Winter comes back around.

    #3 Love Insects

    A weird one maybe. Some people hate insects (why?!) but I love seeing butterflies floating around, bees sniffing out flowers, ladybirds and other small bugs flittering about. I love it. Also love a bit of macro photography, and Spring is the best time for that. Yes, I love all creatures great and small ;)

    #4 Love Pretty Flowers

    It seems like everyone takes a photo of blossom during Spring (that’s the best I’ve found above) but the light pink just looks so pretty against the blue sky. Also flowers seem to be everywhere in shops, there are daffodils littering any patches of grass outside and daisies will start to appear soon. Also, that embroidery fashion trend – I never thought I’d be into it but I am love all the flower embroidery I’m seeing!

    #5 Love Running In Shorts

    Running is always easier when it’s sunny outside. I mean the actual running is tougher the hotter the weather gets, but it’s a lot easier to get out there in the first place. I also prefer wearing shorts, but I’m not as brave as the crazies at Park Run who wear shorts all year round and in minus temperatures. No thank you!

    Do you love Spring? Another season your favourite?

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    Book Reviews, Books

    Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

    I think everyone is aware now that a live action Beauty and the Beast film has been released. I’m sure because the cinema I work at is still selling out, SO many people! But did you know there was also a book? Lost in a Book might just have one of the prettiest covers I have seen!

    BeautyAndTheBeast

    I didn’t realise it until I started reading, but Lost in a Book is actually an original story, based on the characters of Beauty and the Beast. Silly of me really, considering is says ‘An Enchanting Original Story’ on the front underneath the title… But hey, I was just too excited by how pretty it looked!

    An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

    Thoughts on Lost in a Book

    This story fits in with the film (if you haven’t seen the new one – go do it!) and we see Beast offering the library to Belle. This is where the story really starts. I really enjoyed Lost in a Book because it fit perfectly to the actual Beauty and the Beast story line, but we got a little more substance on things that could have happened within the time frame.

    We saw more of Belle’s relationship with all the enchanted objects (especially Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and Chip!) and it felt true to the original story. Believable. Jennifer Donnelly hasn’t changed any of the original characters really, she has just given them more life and a bit more of a story behind them. It’s refreshing to read something that keeps everything you loved from the very first cartoon, yet adds so much more.

    The chapters in the book were pretty short, and so would be perfect for those younger readers who can’t sit reading for hours on end. For me, some were a little too short and seemed a little pointless, but hey, better than no chapters at all! This helps the book move on too, it is quite a fast read for someone who does spend a lot of time reading.

    All in all a brilliant little original story to accompany the new live action film, and one that’s easy to follow for all ages – from young child to I-never-want-to-grow-up adult. (Me) And I touched a little on the live-action film above, but yes I definitely recommend! I’ll admit that the singing isn’t the strongest, but the film exceeded my expectations and the actual songs were great. I saw it twice…

    Read anything like Lost in a Book?

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    Life in...

    Happy Things in March ’17

    Another month down. March DRAGGED. I don’t know why, but it just really did.

    Bunch of Spring Flowers

    Maybe it’s the 5 weeks since payday… Maybe. It really has felt like a long 31 days though! I’ve had a few ‘events’ this month, but have also spent a lot of the time lying in bed watching random youtube videos or catching up on The Originals on Netflix.

    + Those two (or three?) glorious days of sunshine that we had.
    + I ran my first ever half marathon and didn’t die.
    + Had a relaxing spa day with my mum.
    + Saw Beauty and the Beast. Twice.
    + Bittersweet, but Vampire Diaries ended and whilst I’m still kind of sad, it was nice to see everything come together.
    + Ate at a few new restaurants with Luke and had amazing Tapas. (That’s the goal – try new independent places!)
    + The clocks went forward so we finally have lighter evenings back!
    + I finally read my second book of the year… Caraval.
    + We came 3rd out of over 30 in the pub quiz.
    + Little Big Shots on TV has to be one of the cutest/funniest/greatest shows of the year so far.
    + I got to try out my brother’s Nintendo Switch and play a bit of Zelda.

    I think that just about sums up March. I feel like I need to do something a little more exciting next month. Watch this space!

    How was your March?

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