Run Or Dye – Chatsworth House

A few months ago I mentioned that I was taking part in a charity run called Run or Dye which is a 5km run based around the Hindu festival of Holi, also known as the ‘Festival of Colours’, Run or Dye gives runners the opportunity to experience and celebrate in full colour the thrill of the Festival and introduce the idea of ‘living life on purpose’.

run or dye

I’ve been running for a few months now so was really looking forward to this run,  it’s one of many runs that I’m taking part in on the run up to the London Marathon.   I went out on Friday evening with ‘Running Mama’ which is the NCT running group I have started and we did a lovely slow paced 5k jog as I didn’t want to tire myself out too much.  When I got back on the Friday evening I was feeling a little achy but I put it down to the fact I had walked/jogged over 14.6km over the course of the day.

run or dye 2015

We woke up early on Saturday morning as Run or Dye was in Derbyshire and it would take 1hr and 50 minutes to drive to the course.  Registration opened at 8am so we figured a 6.00am start would be best.

run or dye before

I got myself registered, picked up my t-shirt and was surprised at just how cold it was.  I know it’s autumn but it was freezing.  There was frost on the ground and freezing fog in the air.  I couldn’t wait to get warmed up and started.

run or dye colour

Everyone was in good spirits and making use of their free colour sachets, the warm up was great fun and although the run was delayed by 15 minutes it only fuelled the excitement.

I was 6 rows from the front at the start and got off to a great start.  I had aimed to complete the course in under 25 minutes and my first 2km were a breeze but that’s when things started to go wrong.

By the time I got to 2.5km I had a terrible pain in my left buttock and back of my leg, the pain was really bad but I put it down to doing too much on the Friday and ran through it.

At 3.5km I had slowed down to a fast walking pace which was faster than a slow jog but less painful, I made sure to sprint through the colour cannons at each remaining km though.  I’d texted David who was waiting at the finish with Arthur to let him know that I was in pain but would push through, I think he expected me to quit as he seemed surprised when I said I would continue.

run or dye finish

I finally finished after 32 minutes and as soon as I saw David and Arthur I couldn’t hold back the tears.  I felt like I’d not only let myself down but them too, I dragged them out of bed and on an almost two hour drive to Derbyshire where I left them standing around in the cold while I ran.  I’m running the London marathon for Save the Children next year and at the speed I ran this run my friend told me I would be looking at 4.5-5 hours to complete which just isn’t good enough.

When we got home on Saturday I felt terrible, so bad that I actually had to go and sleep for two hours which is something I haven’t done since I was pregnant with Arthur, I should have known then that something wasn’t right.  Saturday evening arrived and I had the most awful sinus pain and headache which just wouldn’t go away, I had the shivers so bad that I had to put the heating on.

Sunday was spent lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself and I’m writing this today (Monday morning) felling dreadful.  I now realise that I ran on Saturday just before coming down with an illness that was going to knock me out of my usual schedule, instead of feeling angry that my time was rubbish I should be feeling proud that I managed to run a 5km race a couple of hours before my body was overcome by sickness.

I’ll be signing up to Run or Dye 2016 and lets hope next year I don’t come down with sickness immediately after the race!

Did you participate in Run or Dye this year?


Me Time In Your Free Time

How many of us take some me time in our free time? I don’t that’s for sure.  Having said that it’s a very rare occasion when I actually get some free time and even then my mind is always on my family, I feel guilty that I’m having free time because it usually means that David is looking after the children so I’m thinking about when I’ll be able to give him some time to himself. It’s a vicious circle.


I was watching an advert for the new Autumn/Winter collection by Freemans and I felt incredibly jealous of the main star of the video, she was so glamorous and was wearing clothes that made her look great.  I tend to stick to the same clothes all the time which consists of a dark t-shirt, blazer, skinny jeans and converse, people know me by this look and if I’m ever wearing something different it always starts a conversation as to why.

Apparently the best things in life are Freemans as stated at the end of the video and I couldn’t wait to see if this was true, so when the amazing box of goodies* above arrived I couldn’t wait to delve right in and see if it made me feel as amazing as the star in the video had looked.

A pampering session will make anyone feel better about themselves and I’m sure most parents will agree that once children come along you just don’t get any quality me time to pamper yourself.  I had my first haircut in 2.5 years last Friday and I was only able to do this because Arthur was at nursery.  On an evening the last thing I usually want to do is soak in the bath because I know that no one else will do the cleaning, dishes, my work so long things are a thing of the past.

Bomb Cosmetics

I made a point of arranging some me time, I put some precious time aside for myself once I saw these delicious looking treats from Bomb Cosmetics*,  it was only and hour but what a difference that hour made. the rosehipster buttercup was the first one I tried and oh my goodness it was amazing being able to just lie back having quality me time while my skin was soothed from the outside.

Dead sea face mask

I even had time to apply a dead sea mud face mask* which left my skin feeling super soft and revitalised.  By this point I was starting to really believe that the best things in life were Freemans although I still didn’t look like the lady from the advert.

Freemans clothes

So the next thing for me to try was some new clothes.  New clothes can make you feel amazing right?  I can’t remember the last time I had me time when it comes to shopping, even internet shopping is always a rushed process so again like before I took time out for myself to select some new clothes*.  I went out of my comfort zone a little with my selections by picking a 3 in 1 top which I thought would be perfect as each item could be worn separately.  I picked out some skinny jeans which are a little on the snug side but as I kick up my marathon training I’m certain they will fit well soon, finally I picked out a really funky little jacket which can be worn with the neck up as shown in the photo or worn open.  I get incredibly warm even in the winter, I think it’s my north east of England blood so I prefer a light jacket to a heavy coat when the weather gets colder.

Freemans-clothes freemans-clothes freemans-clothes

So with my sweet scented skin, smooth face, polished toes and my new clothes I was really starting to feel as amazing as the lady in the advert had looked.  Arthur got in on the action, after all there is NO such thing as me time when you have children. I can confirm that the best things in life are in fact freemans and I now feel fabulous.

How often do you take time out for me time?

*Press Sample




Potty Training With Thomas & Friends

Arthur is 2.5 years old, his sister Lucie was out of nappies completely by the time she was 18 months this was her choice and the fact that Arthur is still in nappies is his choice.  I don’t want to push Arthur to potty train because I know it can have a detrimental effect so I encourage him gently instead.

According to the NHS 9 out of 10 children are dry during the day by the time they are 3 years old and by the age of four, most children are reliably dry but it’s worth remembering that every child is different, so it’s best not to compare your child with others.

Thomas and friends

Arthur is a bit of a book worm and we read at least 10 a day, we’ve been reading a couple of Egmont books together which feature Thomas & Friends which is a program Arthur loves to watch on tv and he also has some of the toys so the pictures in the book are familiar to him.

Thomas and friends book

The first book* is called My Thomas Potty Book which is a lovely hard back book which contains reward stickers.  Arthur has really enjoyed talking through the pictures in the book with me.  The language used in the book is simple and I really do think that Arthur understands what I’m saying to him.  It’s a very encouraging book and the message we have taken from the book is that there comes a time when we don’t need nappies anymore, it’s ok to have accidents and that’s ok we just need to try our best.  My only criticism about the book is that it’s very blue. In our home gender doesn’t have a colour but the book does seem to be very focused on what is deemed to be “male” oriented colours.

thomas and friends activity

The second book* we have been reading is the Thomas and Friends activity book which contains 2 sheets of stickers, 8 certificates and 10 reward charts.  The aim of this book is that you set personal challenges for your child like using the potty and when your child completes a challenge they get a sticker to add to their reward chart.  Allowing your child to select their own sticker and place it on the chart will motivate them to complete the challenge.  I don’t think Arthur fully understands the concept of consequences good or bad after an action so I’m going to put this to one side for a little bit longer and concentrate on the potty book for the time being.

potty training

We have had a potty in the house since Arthur was 2 months old.  It’s a seat potty with a removable section and Arthur has climbed and sat on it since he was mobile.

I believe that Arthur understands what a toilet is and what it’s used for as we don’t close the door when he comes upstairs with us, he likes to pass the toilet paper and when he notices the toilet roll has run out of paper he likes to go to the cupboard and get a new one.  He hasn’t asked to sit on the toilet and that’s fine.

We have had a couple of fluke incidents when Arthur has been sitting on his potty seat during nappy free time and has by complete accident done a poo or wee in the potty.  It may have been an accident but It’s better than doing it on the floor or in the bath.

I’m focusing a little more on the idea of using the potty/toilet when Arthur needs a wee or poo, I bought him some little pants which he calls “Arthur’s knickers” but I’m not pushing him to try them as he has only recently started nursery two mornings a week and I don’t want too many changes for him so it’s going to be a gradual and long term procedure.

I’d love to hear any potty training tips you have for me so please leave them in the comments below.

If you would like to win a copy of the books Egmont Publishing are offering one of my readers a set of their own.  Please fill in the Gleam form below.

Thomas and friends books

Thomas & Friends Potty Training book giveaway

 *Press Sample





Guardsman Leather Care

We bought our 2 seater leather sofa in 2012, I actually have a claim in with our warranty provider at the moment as the colour has worn away really badly but that’s a story for another time.  We also have a grey reclining chair with footstool that is over 30 years old and probably my favourite chair to sit in.  I prefer leather chairs to fabric as they are so much easier to clean especially if you have a spillage which often happens with a boisterous toddler in the house.

guardsman leather care

I dust the leather sofa and chair daily but clean the sofa, chair and fabric chair less often, about once a fortnight  but usually just with a damp cloth as I thought that was the most gentle thing to use so when I received a Guardsman leather care collection to try out I was interested to see how well it would clean my leather items.

The leather care collection box contains a Leather cleaner which is very gentle but can still effectively remove things like soil and surface grime to leave leather looking the best it can.  I used this on both the sofa and chair first and was astounded at how much grime was actually removed, if I’m honest I was actually ashamed that the chairs were so grubby.

Soap on chair guardsman

sponge guardsman leather care

The cleaning process is incredibly simple, you apply some of the cleaning solution on to the sponge which is included in the pack and wipe the leather, the cleaning solution creates a foam and I found that a little went a long way.

cloth guardsman leather

After cleaning you then buff the leather with the soft cloth which is also included in the pack and leave your chair to dry.

shine on leather

The second product I used was the leather Protector which creates an invisible shield to protect leather against damaging stains. When you have a clumsy teenager and a messy toddler it’s vital that your items are protected from spillages and sticky fingers so this is a great product to periodically treat your furniture with.  My furniture has its shine back, it was looking a bit dull but as you can see in the picture above, the leather is shining again.

The box also contained ink remover wipes which thankfully I don’t need at the moment but they are a good thing to have in should any ink or lipstick find its way on to my furniture.

Guardsman leather collection

£25 is a small price to pay for such a great cleaning pack, this will last us for quite a while and I now have peace of mind that if I do get a spillage on my furniture I have the correct products to clean them with.

I have a great demonstration video of the products in use which will be uploaded to my YouTube channel once my hard drive has been recovered so don’t forget to subscribe for updates.

Do you have leather furniture?  How do you clean it?




Starting Nursery

Last Friday I took the biggest step I’ve taken in 2.5 years.  I sat in a nursery with Arthur for an hour having his first of two settling in sessions.  This was a huge step for me and it took intervention from my friend to get me to this point.  I’ve know since Arthur was born that he would eventually go to a Montessori nursery but I wasn’t fully prepared for the day that he would start.

starting nursery

Today I was supposed to leave Arthur for an hour, I expected him to cry after me and hold on to me so I wouldn’t leave him.  After all we still co-sleep and spend every minute of our lives together apart from on a Thursday evening when I go running for an hour.  We’re a team, he’s my little friend and we have so much fun together.  Arthur learns from me and I learn from him, he’s made me more patient and a better parent.

Mother and Son

Arthur ran into the nursery today and didn’t even look back to see if I was following.  I handed his bag to his key worker who asked Arthur to say goodbye to me while I went shopping, he gave me a kiss and off he went to look at what was going on outside without a second glance.  I’m relieved that he wasn’t phased by being left but part of me is crushed that he didn’t seem to care I was going.

On my way out the nursery owner said I could leave him until 11.30 instead of 10.30 as he had made such a great start, I was sure he wouldn’t last that long without me so fully expected to be back within the hour.  At 10.15am I called the nursery as I hadn’t had any missed calls from them. I was convinced my phone was broken.  Arthur was having a great time.

I collected him at 11.30.  He was so happy to see me, I could see it in his face.  I let him finish off sorting some coloured cogs out as he was engrossed in what he was doing and asked if he wanted to come home which of course he did.  He left with the same gusto that he went in with.

It’s obvious I was more bothered about this transition than Arthur was.  I’ve been selfishly putting his start date off for months.  I’m glad that my friend made the decision to sort his settling in sessions out on behalf of me as I just wouldn’t have done it.

I know he will thrive at nursery, we share the same learning ethos.  Montessori education provides experiences which stimulate a child’s love of discovery. The children work at their own pace and consolidate knowledge and skills at each stage before moving on.

Arthur has demonstrated his independence today which is wonderful because the  Montessori environment encourages independence.   Children choose their own activities from low level shelves which give them free access to a range of activities throughout the day rather than being told what to do and having structure, after all we’re nurturing little humans not little robots.

The nursery teachers are gentle, sympathetic and encouraging which was incredibly important to me as a gentle/attachment parent.  They embrace cloth nappies and wipes and amber necklaces.  They don’t use negative words where possible and they treat the children with respect, allowing them to develop naturally at their own pace.

The Montessori environment is warm, happy and full of love just like the environment Arthur has at home.  I’m going to miss my little tornado on the two mornings he is at nursery but I am looking forward to having some free time.  I’ve even got a hair appointment for Friday which will be my first one since before he was born.

What would you do with two free morning a week?