Thursday, 16 October 2014

Add Some Spice to Your Autumn

Freezing cold winds and endless, fine rain, all topped off with an eternally grey, overcast sky. There’s no wonder why so many people bemoan the season of autumn; after all, summer is such a lovely, fun loving time- who in their right mind would want to swap sun bleached frolicking for hundreds of layers and a resolutely high heating bill? Though autumn can be a very depressing time for even the most chipper among us, there are ways you can add a little excitement and happiness into your days, brightening up the dull months.

Delicious Hot Drinks

Having a lovely, warming cup of tea or coffee during a cold day is a luxury many of us like to enjoy, but buying endless litres of that sweet, somewhat tedious creation, the pumpkin spice latte, is an act that can really put a dent in the bank account, right at the moment we’re feeling a little low. Save money, feel happy and simultaneously cease to be a slave of Starbucks by making your own! Surprisingly, there’s actually no pumpkin in the fall fad, the taste coming from sugar, cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg. No need to ever run to the coffee shop again! If you’re not a fan of the sweet latte but still love a coffee, try popping your coffee grounds into the freezer; they’ll stay fresh for weeks longer than if they were in the cupboard!

Cosy-fy Your Bedroom

The bedroom is our sanctuary, a place where we can escape, calm down and have some time to ourselves. Such is true; if not more true; in the autumnal months, but with summer trends likely still taking up space in the bedroom, hardly looking inviting, making your bedroom warm and cosy is a must. When it comes to beds, warm red, orange, burgundy- even patchwork- covers will make your room look great, and if you’re in need of a new bed, dark woods will make your bedroom all the more inviting; there’s lots of beds available at discounted online sites like bedstar, and you don’t need to fork out that much money for a great look. Candles and fairy lights are also must haves!

Warm Winter Cooking

With all that time you’ll be spending indoors out of the reach of the weather, autumn is a great time to indulge in a little cooking. Just today I have made a delicious, in season,  Butternut Squash and Ricotta lasagne (recipe to follow)...

Pumpkin or sweet potato soup is also a great choice for lunches, served with crusty bread, and a spiced apple cake will go down well with all members of the family. Autumn is a great time to cook hearty, warming dishes such as chilli con carne, beef stew, and that quintessential warmer, the roast dinner!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Ice Cream Dream

A good few weeks ago we were contacted by Waitrose and asked to take part in their Ice Cream Dreams challenge.

They sent us a link to their Amazing Ice Cream Recipes for inspiration and asked us to come up with some ideas with the children to create our own unique dream ice cream!

I was first up Now I LOVE raspberry ripple and I LOVE biscuits so I wanted to create something perfect for me. I poured some delicious Rowse Raspberry Coulis on to a plate as a base and using Waitrose Cornish Ice Cream as a base I used cookie cutters to serve two heart shaped ice creams on to the plate.
To finish I crushed some digestive biscuits and sprinkled them over the top.

It was absolutely delicious and would make a nice simple dessert after a romantic dinner.

Little E's loves animals so she decided to create a frog using grapes and chocolate chips. This is a great way of getting fruit in to fussy little ones as it involves them in making the dessert and they often try new things.

Chris went for a Winter inspired desert making a snowflake Vanilla and Chocolate Crumble ice cream with warm chocolate and gold fondant. He used Waitrose Gold Sparkle Dust mixed with melted chocolate which tasted amazing. He did steal my crushed biscuit idea though!

Finally Mister A got involved, although he was more interested in getting back to Minecraft so he just plonked a dollop of ice cream in to his bowl with some raspberry sauce. When I asked if he was going to decorate it he shook some gold dust on to it and ran off. It's spectacular isn't it!!

Why don't you head over to Waitrose and get some inspiration of your own. I think we'll be trying out Heston's Ice Cream Sandwich with fresh raspberry dipping sauce next!

We'd love you to share your ice cream dreams with us!

Disclosure: We were given Waitrose vouchers to buy the products used in this feature.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Kylie Kiss Me Once Tour (with Full Setlist)

On Wednesday night me and the hubster took a trip to the Echo Arena in Liverpool to see the amazing Kylie. I have been a fan since way back in the late 80's when I bought the Kylie album on tape - my first ever album.

Kylie did not disappoint!! Here's a few pics from the concert and the set list too...


Les Sex 
In My Arms 
Sexy Love 

Step Back in Time
Spinning Around
Your Disco Needs You
On a Night Like This

Hand on Your Heart / Never Too Late / Got to Be Certain / I Should Be So Lucky

Need You Tonight (INXS cover)

Can't Get You Out of My Head
Kids (unfortunately Robbie did not make an appearance)
Kiss Me Once

Get Outta My Way
Love at First Sight
Especially for You
All the Lovers

Encore: Into the Blue

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

*WIN* Tickets to see Disney On Ice at the Phones 4U Arena

Disney On Ice is returning to Manchester in October with the spectacular production of 100 Years Of Magic. It promises to be the celebration of the century, bringing to life Disney’s most remarkable characters from across the decades including Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse, joined by friends from the much loved Disney favourites such as Beauty & the Beast, Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Peter Pan and many more!

Join the celebration as more than 60 of Disney’s unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years Of Magic! You’ll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and many Disney Princesses. Be thrilled by exciting moments from The Lion King; Mulan; and Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story films; in a skating spectacular filled with magical Disney moments you’ll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years Of Magic comes to Manchester!

Second Time Mummy has teamed up with Disney On Ice to offer one lucky person the chance to win a family ticket* (*admits 4 people), to see the show at Phones 4u Arena Manchester on Thursday 16th October.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is answer the following question as a blog comment...

What is the name of Buzz and Woody’s cowgirl friend?

.... and confirm your entry on rafflecopter form. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years Of Magic is at Phones 4u Arena Manchester 15th – 19th October 2014 Tickets are priced between £14 - £39 For further ticket information telephone 0844 847 8000 or visit or

The prize is a family ticket (admitting 4 people) to go and see the Manchester showing of Disney On Ice - 100 Years of Magic at the Phones 4 U Arena on Thursday 16th October 2014. Travel and accomodation are not included.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Growing Up Too Fast #PowerOfSoft *sp*

Last week my youngest, my baby girl, started school. Last week my oldest, my baby boy, started junior school. Words can not describe the heart wrenching feeling that comes with waving goodbye to your little ones on their first day. My heart was broken... they are growing up too fast.

Little E was four years old just 3 weeks ago and now she's already a week in to the school year. It feels like only yesterday I was holding her and Mister A in my arms, cuddling them for the first time, staring in to their eyes as I fed them. But it feels like a lifetime ago...

Seven and a half years have passed since Mister A was born. No one could have prepared me for the intense love that a mother feels. I am so, so proud of my children and everything they do. There is no better feeling than snuggling up with them to talk about their day or watch a film on TV. They'll never be too old for cuddles!

So many children these days grow up too fast for the wrong reasons... because they're watching things they shouldn't on TV or playing 18 rated video games. In our house we have a motto....

Some people might think that this makes my children naive but I think it just makes my children, children.

The time really does go so fast when you have little ones so make the most of every single minute. Dance with them, sing with them and make memories that will last a lifetime.

My top tip for any new parents out there would be to blog if you can or keep a memory book or diary for you to look back on in future years when they are flying the nest... because before you know it you'll be waving them off to uni or travelling and memories of those little people you once knew will be the only thing you have.

I'll leave you with this video that will have you in tears!

Disclosure: I received some Fairy Non Bio products and payment in return for my memories.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Weekend in Wales - Attractions of Snowdonia Review

Living in West Lancashire we are lucky enough to be able to visit North Wales regularly. This year we have already made a couple of trips over the border to Prestatyn and Anglesey so when we were contacted by Attractions of Snowdonia and asked if we would like to spend the weekend visiting some of the local attractions we jumped at the chance. Soon after signing up,  Deri the roaming Dragon (the new Attractions of Snowdonia mascot) arrived to accompany us on our trip...

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway

We set off on Saturday morning (after some unexpected car troubles) and headed to Porthmadog - the home of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. Parking at the station is limited so we headed to a larger public car park - near Wilko's - not far from the station.  After collecting our tickets we jumped on board the steam train and set off from Porthmadog on the 13.35. The journey took us up through the hills through Minfford and Tan y Bwlch finally arriving at Blaenau Ffestiniog at 14.45.

The train has a number of carriages including a couple of first class cabins if you fancy a little luxury on your trip.

TOP TIP: There are 2 and 4 seat tables so try and board as early as possible to get some extra space.

We started the trip on 2 small 2 seater tables but as quite a few passengers left the train at Tan y Bwlch we were able to sit as a family eventually.

The time absolutely flew by and if I'm honest I was surprised how the sights along the journey managed to keep the children entertained for so long. We spotted sheep, waving walkers and please look out for the beautiful waterfall just before you reach Tan y Bwlch - it's stunning!

We took a picnic to save on pennies but a refreshment service is available on the train where you can order soft drinks, tea or coffee and even a selection of licenced drinks from spirits through to Welsh cider. After a short stop and a stretch of the legs at Ffestiniog, we boarded the train again ready for the 13½-mile journey back to the harbour of Porthmadog.We all really enjoyed our trip up to the mountains and we would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to take in the sights of Snowdonia in a truly relaxing way.

A guidebook is available to purchase on board for £5 where you can find out more about the Ffestiniog Railway. In it you can read about how Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways is the oldest independent railway company in the world - founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832 believe it or not. In fact, the company introduced the world's first narrow gauge steam locomotives in 1863 and four of the original locos still remain!

Once back at Porthmadog we took a quick trip to the harbour before heading to the hotel for the evening.

The Celtic Royal

We spent the night in the beautiful Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon, around a 30 minute hour drive from Porthmadog.

We were booked in to a family room, consisting of a double and 2 single beds. After unpacking we called down to reception to reserve a table for our evening meal.We were really disappointed not to have been able to get a later table in the restaurant (we wanted an 8 o'clock setting but we were forced to take 7.15 as the restaurant was fully booked -  rather annoyingly though it wasn't full at all even when we left at 9pm and we could only watch what looked to have been a beautiful sunset from the window rather than over at the quay.)

The food at Brasserie Draco more than made up for it though - was absolutely delicious -and my risotto was the best fish dish Ive had in years!

We retired for the night but being all in the same room meant that we were restricted in what time we could go to bed ourselves so we got an early night ready for tomorrow's adventures.

King Arthur's Labyrinth

We arrived at King Arthur's Labyrinth just before 1pm. We were booked on to the 1.30 trip so we took a wander round the centre. There are lots of little craft shops to explore - a chocolate shop where you can make your own bar, a wooden toy store and a candle shop where you can dip candles. If you book ahead you can even build a piece of rustic furniture! With little time to play with, the children immediately headed to the adventure playground and worked off some energy.

We arroved at King Arthur's Labyrinth store a little early so we were shown in to a video area while we waited. At 1.30 sharp, a lady came to take us in to a small seating area where we were told about the adventure ahead. After receiving our hard hats we took the short walk round to the entrance of the cavern.

TOP TIP: Wrap up warm and wear wellies if you can as it's very cold and damp inside the mountain.

We walked through to the dark passage to be greeted by a mysterious boatman who ushered us on board. We sailed along, through a waterfall (don't worry you won't get that wet!) and disembarked from our boat. We walked from cave to cave to see and hear the wonderful tales of King Arthur and his men including King Arthur’s final battle - the Battle of Camlan. It was really interesting and we loved walking through the tunnels.

There is lots more to do on the site including an another attraction -  Lost Legends of The Stone Circle where you can follow the snaking paths and navigate the maze to find mythical stories and The Stone Circle but we had to move quickly to reach our next destination so we ate our packed lunch and headed on.

Llechwedd Slate Caverns

The journey from the Labyrinth to Llechwedd took around 50 minutes. When we arrived on site there were 3 people flying overhead across the Quarry on the 'longest zip line course in the World' - it looked fantastic. The children are too young for that yet so Chris and I have talked about returning next Summer with Grandparents in tow so that we can have a go too! Anyway, I digress, we were there to visit the slate caverns.

After getting our tickets we walked to the mine area and, for the second time that day, donned our hard hats. We took a ride down to the mine on the steepest cable railway in Britain taking us hundreds of feet underground.

Our guide was fantastic, he told us about how the miners and their families lived during Victorian times. As you walk the half mile journey through the caverns you hear the voice of Sion Dolgarregddu - a young miner that went to work in the mine at just 12 years old. It was unbelievable to think how they must have worked the mines in such dark and dangerous conditions. The caverns were lit beautifully. Part of the tour sees you head down around 60 steps and as we moved through the lower caverns we came to a beautiful, natural underground lake - it was absolutely stunning. As we reached the end of the walk through, our guide gave us a demonstration of how the Victorian miners used their tools. We made our ascent up a further staircase and then back up top in the cable car. We finished the tour with a visit to the Mill where we were shown the ancient skill of slate splitting - Little E and Mister A were even given small pieces of slate to take away as a memento.

There is so much to do on site here from the zip wire and the mine tour to Bounce - the world’s first subterranean playground! Huge trampoline like nets are hung within two vast chambers at varying levels, linked together by walkways and slides, the biggest of which is a 60 foot slide! We would have loved to have a try but unfortunaley it was closed by the time we finished our tour. If all that wasnt enough then high up on 'Cribau', behind the historic headquarters of Llechwedd, there are four world beating downhill mountain bike tracks - not for the fainted hearted I would imagine but there are tracks for novices as well as more experienced riders. Finally on the way out we discovered a beatiful waterfall...

Seeing it was the perfect end to a fantastic weekend. Wales is such a beautiful country and we saw some breathtaking views on our 330 mile round trip. I'll leave you with some of the amazing Snowdonian scenery...

What's the Verdict?

We had the perfect weekend away and would highly recommend a visit to Snowdonia. To find out more about the huge amount of attractions that Snowdonia has to offer then visit - go on - do it now!!

In exchange for this review we received a Deri cuddly toy, complimentary admission to the attractions reviewed and an overnight hotel stay.

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Debenhams Back to School Competition #DebsDreamUniform

Since it's a rainy Bank Holiday Monday, the children are bored - at least I think they are - they've only told me a hundred times! Yesterday when I was catching up on my favourite blogs I came across The Debenhams Back to School Competition over at Mellow Mummy blog. So to stem the boredom Mister A headed over to the Debenhams website to complete the challenge....

He took about abhor to decide (I am not kidding!) and finally selected his ideal uniform from the selection of boys wear at Debenhams. These were his final choices...

Mantaray Long Sleeve Bear Top from £10
RJR John Rocha Turquoise Trousers from £18

Sketchers 'Yoke' High Tops £40

He loves the outfit so much that he decided to draw himself wearing it...

Here he is explaining why he choose his outfit...

Little E had a go too - although since she's only starting school in September the novelty of wearing a uniform hasn't yet worn off! She choose a Summer dress with a winter hat and scarf and some rainbow coloured Sketchers...

She did draw a picture too but she made me promise not to post it because she accidentally made her hair in to a beard!

So there you have it - our entry in the the #DebsDreamUniform Comp!

Your little ones can enter too over at or

Friday, 22 August 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Little E

I know it's a cliche but I really can't believe my little girl is 4 today. It's a big year for this little one as she is preparing to start school in September. I am so proud of her. It was actually during my pregnancy with Little E that I started this little old blog and it has opened up some amazing opportunities for all of us. We love you Little E - Happy Birthday!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Manchester Colour Run 2014

Back in June I was contacted by the lovely peeps at LV and asked if I would like to take part in the Manchester Color Run with a number of other bloggers. I'd never competed in a 'fun run' before but I was certainly up for the challenge to promote heatlhy living.

But what is The Color Run? (Spelt the American way!) It is a 5k race also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet! At every kilometre there is an amazing colour station where organisers pelt you with coloured powder paint. Sounded interesting!

On the morning of the run I headed to Manchester on the train wearing my compulsory white tee. I was a little nervous but excited about meeting the other bloggers. When I arrived I tweeted using the #LVLoveLife hashtag and subsequently met up with the lovely Danielle from Miss Danielle and Sonya from Once Upon a Glam

This is us looking all 'white' before we set off...

The route took us around the Ethiad Campus with colour stations at each kilometre...

We set off jogging but we ended up walking most of the way and soaking up the atmosphere. Everyone was embracing the sunshine and going colour crazy! It was such a great day - a lot of fun!

After the run there was a huge party with some top tunes...

We stayed to party for over an hour before I headed home on the train. I got a few looks from people on the train who quite clearly hadn't a clue why I was in such a state! It was a fantastic experience and I'd love to do it again with the children. Huge thanks to LV who provided me with a ticket for this event. You should check out their post about the Top 5 Fun Runs!

Monday, 30 June 2014

My Must-Have Running Kit

Since I took up running just under a year ago I've become a little bit addicted. I run a lot and I talk about running even more... I've even convinced a couple of people to have a go. One think I do get asked a lot is what kit you need. Really you don't need anything other than a pair of trainers and leggings and a tee to get started but wants the bug gets you, you'll want to invest in some extra pieces of kit to make your running even better. Here are my top pieces of kit that I couldn't live without...

What to wear...

I have LOADS of running tops from the likes of Primark, Matalan and Aldi but my absolute favourite is this Adidas that I bought from Sports Direct a couple of months ago. It's long enough to cover my bum so I don't have to worry about the wobble as I run!

My capris were from Lidl - although I need to invest in a new pair since I fell at the start of the Mersey Tunnel 10k and scuffed them.

My trainers have been with me for a year and will soon need replacing. They are lightweight New Balance that I got in the John Lewis sale - I ran with them for 10 months before I started using the orthopedic insoles.

Other than clothing here are some great additions to your kit...

Yurbuds Women’s Pro (RRP £25)

I love running with music, it helps me pace and allows me to forget about my breathing and run naturally. When I first started out my earphones were my biggest bugbear - constantly falling out of my ears and slowing me down. After a while I moved on to a cheap pair with ear cuffs but they didn't work either. I decided to ask the ladies in my RunMummyRun Facebook group and everyone was recommending the same brand - Yurbuds.

Since my Yurbuds arrived I've never looked back. I pop them in my ears and forget them. You don't feel them, they don't move, they stay were they are meant to be- they are AMAZING!

Next time you need new headphones (runner or not) I can highly recommend Yurbuds - and I do recommend them - ALL the time!

A bit about Yurbuds:
yurbuds sports earphones are designed to contour to the human ear so they never hurt and they never fall out. Designed by athletes for athletes, yurbuds provide premium sound quality, even while in motion. With exclusive TwistLock Technology - they never hurt, never fall out. Sweat and water resistant design FlexSoft comfort fit Ambient noise awareness Available in two ranges: Inspire for Women (pictured above) available in aqua, orange, yellow, green, pink and purple. Designed for women to fit smaller ears, two sizes in the box. Inspire Pro features a 3-button sweat and water resistant microphone that gives you full track, call, and volume control on your iPhone and iPod and a lifetime guarantee.

SOLE Softec Response RRP £35.00

About 6 weeks ago I was sent a pair of SOLE orthopaedic footbeds to trial. They basically mould to your feet and give you added support when you run. Until then I had always just ran with the standard trainer insoles. You basically pop them in the oven on a tray for a couple of minutes than pop them in your running shoes (once the existing soles have been taken out). You have to stand in them for a minute or so to allow the moulding to begin, then after that everytime you run you're shaping them to your natural stride. The first few runs felt a little odd and it felt like I was working new muscles in my legs but since then they've been great and I love the added support.

A bit about SOLE footbeds:
SOLE orthopaedic footbeds  give you unique support just where you need it by equalising pressure distribution, reducing plantar fascia strain, increasing balance and feel and providing natural heel cushioning. The moisture-wicking top sheet helps to keep your feet dry while the 1.6mm of Softec cushioning eases the pressure on your feet. You can achieve custom support from SOLE in minutes: simply heat the footbeds, place them in your shoes and step into them. The footbeds will mould to the shape of your feet as they cool to give you a unique, customised fit. SOLE Softec Response Footbeds cost £38 from

SOLE Dual Layer Socks  RRP from £11.50

One thing I did struggle with was socks - especially when I first got my trainers and again when I started running longer distances. Sometimes blisters can be inevitable on those occasions but with dual layer socks it's a lot less likely. I love the SOLE dual layers because they give you a lot of support for a sock and the two layers rub against each other rather than rubbing on your feet. I can definitely recommend these - I just wish they made them in brighter colours - and I'd love to see some compression socks from them too!

A bit about SOLE dual layer socks:
SOLE Dual Layer Socks have two layers of blended Tactel, Coolmax and Lycra to reduce friction on the skin and prevent blisters from developing. They have a TensorFit arch band that ensures the socks stay in place and provide additional support. The seamless technology gives added comfort, the super soft materials wick away moisture and the mesh panels in the socks ensure feet stay cool and dry. Available in different lengths from

ActiPatch RRP £19.99

If like me, falling over is part of your game then it's inevitable that from time to time you'll be out of action. A couple of weeks ago I fell at the start of my 10k, I still finished but afterwards my ankle swelled and it was quite sore. To be honest I was really skeptical that the ActiPatch would have any effect but I used it for a few nights and it reduced the swelling and pain very quickly. Chris has used it on his shoulder too and it's really helped - definitely a great thing to have in the house!

You just attach the device where the pain is and turn it on. You can wear it overnight or all day long - and the best thing is it REALLY works!

A bit about ActiPatch®:ActiPatch is a perfect solution for people, who suffer from any pain (especially after exercise) including sore muscles. ActiPatch® is an award-winning drug-free micro medical device which uses Electromagnetic Pulse Therapy to reduce pain and inflammation and accelerate healing. Its effectiveness has been clinically proven in eight medically published trials and has been shown to treat back and musculoskeletal pain on the body 5x better and 100% safer than over-the-counter drugs.

So there you have it - my must-have kit. It won't stop there either - Ive just treated myself to a Garmin Forerunner 220. I'm just getting to grips with that and I'll post a little review on here too!

Disclosure: I recieved the SOLE insoles and socks, the YurBuds and the ActiPatch to review for this post.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The One Where I Run My First Ever 10k

I did it... 10 days ago I ran my first ever 10k. Yes, I'm overweight, no I'm not an athlete but I did it... on the hottest day of the entire year. At first I was disappointed with my time but given that I started the race with a bad knee and the addition of all of the other mishaps that happened along the way I am proud that I completed the race and even got up and did it at all.

This time last year I had just accidentally won my place on the 5 mile National Lottery Back to the Stadium run on Twitter. I hated running. I'd never run anywhere in my entire life. Running for the bus was a struggle. But that day... that day that I got the tweet... really changed my life. I HAD to get fit. Gradually I began to run a couple of times a week. I didn't enjoy it - I was running because I had to, running because I was going to be in a race. As the weeks past I got in to it... I went from running to train to running for me. Then somethnig strange happened.. after the race, I didn't stop. I carried on running a couple of times a week and I enjoyed it.

So when work were gathering a team to compete and raise funds for the NSPCC I didn't hesitate. It would be my longest ever run but I wanted to do it... for me... and and for the kids.. obvs!

On the morning of the run I was so nervous. It was hot... really hot and I didn't start until 12.30pm when the weather would reach 25 degrees. Being an amateur I wasn't sure on how much water to drink pre race. I took it easy and gathered at the start line. The atmosphere was fabulous and then boom... we were off.

The first 1k was slow and steady but as I jogged round a corner I was distracted by something going on to the side of me. Something kept coming in to my line of vision, just on the corner of my eye.... I ignored it but it didn't go away. Finally I glanced to my left, only to see that it was my dad trying to take a picture of me! I slowed to help him out but as he still struggled to keep up he ran straight in to a car park meter. I giggled and ran off.

Soon I spotted the 2k marker. I was happy with my progress but the heat was starting to take its toll. My mouth was dry and I felt desperate for some liquid.

The water station was just before the 5k marker, just after my run past Old Trafford. I grabbed a bottle with the intention of slowly sipping but my body told me to drink drink drink. BIG MISTAKE. After that I really struggled. I soon got a stitch in my left side and after that it was less of a run and more of a hobble.. jog... walk.. hobble... jog...walk.

I reluctantly headed for the run through shower at 6.5k and that spurred me on a little but the stitch would not subside. By the time I hit 8k I was virtually walking and that's when my extremely hungover - been out on the Razz in Leeds the night before - friend Emma, caught up with me. She was feeling ill, I was broken. We jogged, talked and walked.

At 8k we were met with what I can only describe as a hose shooting a jet of water in to the air. It looked refreshing and we figured that the cold mist of water that we could see would refresh us. As we ran through it was like someone had poured a bucket of water on to our heads from a great height. As refreshing as that was on such a hot day, it meant all of the sweat from my head was washed in to my eyes. The salty water mixed with my contact lenses and a hint of mascara meant I was temporarily blinded just before the 9k marker!

I slowly regained my vision only to hear my son, Mister A shout "Mummy". My emotions got the better of me and tears filled my eyes. We upped the pace, we were nearly there... we ran but slowed again when we were safely out of view.

As we neared the finish line we spotted Emma's family and upped the pace again to cross the finish line in 1 hour and 24 minutes. I'm pretty sure I looked like I was going to vomit as I crossed the line, it was hard work in the heat but we did it!

Here I am at the start of the Great Manchester Run with my friend Cat - I'm smiling because the sun and stitch hadn't 'got me' yet!!!
I'm so proud of my achievement and proud that some of my friends have been inspired to start running too. I do get asked a lot about basic kit  so look out for my post this Saturday where I'll share my reviews in some fantastic must have buys if you love your running.

3k time 00:21:26
5k time 00:38:12
8k time 01:05:28
Finish 01:24:30

Sunday, 11 May 2014

#MorrisonsMums - Bank Holiday Shop

Last week, over the Bank Holiday weekend I was challenged by BritMums to become a #MorrisonsMum and complete my weekly shop at my local Morrisons store. Usually I do my 'big shop' at the local Tesco store (purely out of convenience) but to coincide with Morrisons new 'I'm Cheaper' campaign, I was given £80 in vouchers to spend.

I shopped on Friday and bought everything I had on my list for the Bank Holiday weekend - we were planning a BBQ so meat and salad items were a priority as well as our usual cereals, snacks and fruit.

One thing I did notice was that the fresh raw meat was a fantastic price. I regularly shop at Tesco and I've noticed that over the last few months the price of meat has rocketed. Asda has always been cheapest locally, however I find the meat to be really fatty and for that reason I would never do my big shop there as we tend to cook all of our meals from scratch.

The shop I did was focused on us hosting a family BBQ over the weekend however the weather was awful so we ended up eating the BBQ food for dinner over the course of the week. One of my favourite meals being the Morrisons Signature Kebabs served with cous cous and salad. I bought 2 flavour variations:Spiced Lamb with Apricot and Lamb and Mint Shish with the apricot versions being my favourite. The meal was delicious and fed the 4 of us for only £2.02 each..

If processed kebabs aren't your thing and you want something a little cheaper then why not try these delicious home made kebabs we had later in the week for only 95 pence per serving!!

The Verdict

I had always thought Morrisons to be a false economy - plenty of offers but all on the items that I believed were over priced in the first place. This shop has been a real eye-opener for me and I am really impressed. We cook from scratch at least 5 nights a week and Morrisons has really impressed me with the quality and price of their fresh meat - great value for money.

The shelves are amased with the new 'I'm cheaper' logo wherever you look from own brand ready meals through to famous brands like Coca-Cola, Birds Eye and Pampers.

Going forward I will seriously consider traveling the few extra miles to Morrisons, the only down side is that I'll miss out on my Tesco Clubcard points but maybe I'd prefer to take my value in the here and now.

For now, I would definitely recommend you shop there if you like home-made meals.