Outfit: Wedding guest – my favourite dress

Wedding season is now over for me so this post is a little late – I just haven’t had time to take any photos! But I wanted to feature this dress which has seen me through 3 out of 4 weddings I’ve attended this year.

I bought this for a winter wedding way back in February but I loved it so much I wore it again in May and August! It was a barginous £28 in a sale at Miss Selfridge.

I’m not a huge fan of more traditional formal/prom style dresses – A line styles in particular don’t suit my frame very well. I’m always on the hunt for something a bit unusual. My other wedding go-to is this floral jumpsuit, also from Miss Selfridge.

I rarely wear long dresses but I LOVE the maxi-length cape sides of the dress. It perfectly combines the swishyness of a long dress with a practicality (and leg reveal!) of a short one. The long sections create a beautiful elegant movement when you walk. And predictably, it’s fun to dance in! When the music stepped up a level I just tied the sides around the body of the dress out of the way 🙂

To brighten up the outfit I paired the dress with a mustard-yellow suede fringed clutch (Oasis) and my ‘comfy’ burnt orange block heels (Office). Admittedly this dress would look better with higher heels – let’s be honest, everyone’s legs look better with higher heels! But after years of wearing ridiculous heels I’m trying to give my feet and my knees a break.

This dress definitely delivers on swish-factor! Would you wear a dress like this?

H x

 

EAT: Combining healthy eating and training

Since I’ve stepped up my training for my charity cycle ride in September I’ve been especially conscious of my diet.I like to think I’m a fairly healthy eater anyway but increasing your calorie intake in a healthy way is a different challenge.

 

Here are a couple of my staples on a training day….

Breakfast: Porridge or fruit museli. My tip: soaking porridge oats overnight speeds up breakfast a little the following morning!

Lunch: Quinoa salad with tuna, cherry tomatoes, avocado and feta.

Simply mix with some olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar and lemon juice and you’re good to go. I sometimes add a shake of flaxseeds and/or sunflower seeds for a little extra protein crunch. I do lots of variations on this, sometimes adding peppers or olives to the mix.

Yes, I know quinoa is quite expensive and a bit of a faff to cook (if you don’t use packets… yesterday I split half of mine in the sink and had to spend ages rescuing and washing it!) But I really like it as an alternative to rice and pasta – it’s filling without being stodgy and goes so well with so many different things. The extra protein content is an added bonus!

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Snacks! Energy bars, nuts, dried fruit…and if you need it, a second lunch…

I’m always hungry, even when I’m not doing loads of exercise. They don’t call me Hangry Harri for nothing! At work I have a desk drawer full of snacks. On cycling days I even have an Outlook calendar reminder at 3pm for my ‘Second lunch’ (usually a quick chicken or tuna sandwhich). Otherwise I will be super grumpy on the ride home.

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Smoothies!

I’m not a huge fan of eating fruit, so blending things together is a great option for me. It’s also useful for masking the taste of food I’m not keen on: I hate bananas, but I’ll sometimes pop a few pieces into a smoothie for an extra nutritional hit.

Frozen fruit mixes are a great – you always have something on hand. A berry mix is my go-to – I might add some yoghurt to thicken it up and if I’ve been exercising, a small scoop of protein powder as well. At the moment I’m using Maxinutrition strawberry flavoured powder. I’m not an expert in this area but for me useful addition to my recovery routine.

These are just a couple of highlights from my diet right now – if I can eat sensibly, then anyone can!

H x

How to Spend a Sunny Weekend in Exeter

Last weekend I had booked in a long-overdue catch up with two of my closest uni friends – time to motor down the M5 to Exeter, Devon for a chilled weekend involving sun, sea, sand and icecream!

Saturday started with a quick visit to  The Donkey Sanctury, Sidmouth. It’s great to read about (and support!) the rescue activities and see the donkeys in a happy environment. I’m particularly fond of the fluffy ones! Here’s a selection of my many donkey pictures….

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Next up was Seaton Bay, where we hired a couple of kayaks (from these guys) and braved the choppy waters for a mini sea adventure! I have to admit that we didn’t get very far (we spent too much time laughing and bumping into each other). I tried stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding recently as well – if only I lived nearer a lake or the sea…

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Back in Exeter, we headed to the quay for dinner. I love this area – the old industrial buildings give it lots of character and it’s especially popular on a sunny Saturday evening.Thanks to my friend J’s blagging skills we managed to get a table outside On the Waterfront – the perfect spot for cider and pizza in the evening sun! J and I went half and half with different toppings on one of their 16″ pizzas. So good, but finishing it was an Olympic effort – we saved a few cheeky slices for evening munchies!

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Next up was an open air cinema event, held in Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens. We watched The Martian (definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it!). We were armed with blankets and snacks but I still wasn’t really prepared for 2 and a half hours lying outside. It wasn’t the most comfortable of film experiences! Some couples in front of us had the right idea with a full pillows and duvet setup going on…

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Sunday was chill-time. We spent the day on the beach at Exmouth. I love a day on a good ol’ British beach, even if by the afternoon I had to take shelter under my beach towel to avoid getting sunburnt..

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Unfortunately, this weekend is not so sunny. I should be cycling…but it’s so wet and windy! Time for some DIY instead, while I dream of last weekend’s beach time…

H x

Making an Effort

A little while ago I listened to a radio show discussion about young people, particularly girls, believing it wasn’t ‘cool to be smart’. In my mind, caring about being smart is closely connected to caring about working hard – caring about putting effort in.

I think I’m quite an earnest person. In my teenage years, in the minefield that was high school, studying the relaxed, ‘don’t care’ attitude of some of my classmates was practically an additional subject for me. From what I remember, enthusiasm or passion – shown by anyone –  often resulted in teasing. When did not caring get so cool?

I’m definitely not a teenager anymore, but sometimes I still encounter the same attitudes among ‘adults’. I’ve had a pretty exhausting/frustrating day at work which has also partly inspired this post.If you are someone who puts effort into (almost) everything they do, however insignificant or boring, it’s so depressing to deal with people who can’t be bothered. What’s the point in doing anything in life if you do a half-arsed job?

Anyway, rant over. Hard work does pay off and there will always be someone out there who appreciates what you do, whatever it is. Here’s to enthusiastic people!

Time for some positivity – I’m actually having a pretty good week! Bike training for September’s cycle ride (read what I’m doing here) is going well – cycling the 15 miles to and from work is feeling easier each time. I’m also looking forward to visiting some old uni friends this weekend 🙂

Hope everyone else is having a good week!

H x

House: Circular Shelving Unit

#firstworldproblems… In the aftermath of styling your #shelfie, your living room looks like a bomb has gone off in a card/gift shop – you are surrounded by completely random items, most of which my boyfriend would call’tat’. You have also realised that you don’t own enough ‘matching’ items, of the right size, that look good together…

I spotted this little circular shelving unit in the recently opened Tiger store in The Mall (Bristol),while on an impromptu shopping trip. I already had various circular/ hoop shelf DIY tutorials saved on Pinterest but at only £12 I could’t pass this up!

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I love items with an industrial/vintage feel and with it’s dark metal frame and slim wooden shelves it looks really striking. The design may not be perfect (the visible fixings detract from the otherwise clean aesthetic) but I love it anyway. The spaces are quite small and uneven which makes styling this a bit difficult. Any tips/ ideas out there?

I finished another set of shelves a few weeks ago and next on my to-do list is some more open shelving for the kitchen. I’m all over shelves at the moment!

H x