sophie didn't do anything at all.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

/ i miss home.

You might have gathered I spend half my life travelling. Not even to anywhere exciting - just up and down the country. With my mum now living just north of York I have yet another journey to learn and it's exhausting!

I cannot wait for the day I have somewhere to truly call home - where I can unpack and not have to move out for a good few years! 


At present, the small house up a hill is home.


I love being outside - even in the rain! These are a few photos I like to glance at when I'm feeling unsettled. I take them when I'm aimlessly wandering around - so they're calming. Don't worry, I'm under no illusions regarding skill, just that I like taking photos.



Candid shots make me feel so sneaky, but they completely capture a person. This is how much concentration is on his face when turning it on - I'm still teaching copy and paste....


Yes there are a lot of car selfies. Amazingly - my dad requests them. We'll be driving along and he'll go 'where's the whatsit?' (by which he means, my phone) and demand that not only do I snap a shot - but that he gets to examine it right then and there. On the motorway.
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Sunday, 23 February 2014

/ weekly wind-down 8

This week has been perfect.

On wednesday I changed hair colour again. I got a bit emotional as the hairdresser applied dark brown to my overly bleached locks - I realised I hide far too much behind that outrageous head of hair. Admittedly, I kept it an obvious unnatural shade so that if it looked bad I could blame it on a dodgy bleaching session. Going back to basic brown took away that excuse. I now have to style my hair.

I flew home at the weekend. Turns out the dad secretly signed me up to help at a rowing race he had organised. 

It's honestly the only way I get to spend time with him - he's the busiest man on the planet. 

believe it or not. he's going through a phase of making me take pictures of us and put them on facebook. I promise, I don't necessarily want bald men on my timeline.
From an entirely rowers perspective these floods have been a nightmare. No club has had a good winter of training and the knock on effect will be seen later on in the season. The tidal stretch of the Thames has been at a record high with a stronger stream than most are used to. The race that my dad organised? He had to remove all novice entries and change the start time to coincide with the supposed 'flood' - where the river should be coming in. However, the picture above shows 'low' tide where it's definitely still ebbing. Hah. 

This week I am thankful for:
the incredible weather - not being flooded. sending a lot of love to those who are :(
my new perfume. oops...
having a job as flexible as mine

this photograph is definitely not after i fell in.
The lust list:
a teleport system. I love travelling to see my dad but it's exhausting (you try 600 miles in two days)
new sensible shoes!! suggestions please?
a new recipe book... in need of inspiration!

love sophie

xox

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

| procrastination.

I discovered something recently. 

I don't actually procrastinate.

I'm always getting something done. 
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Monday, 17 February 2014

/ film / Insidious 2

As you know, I can't stand horror films. 

As I'm typing, the intros are playing. I've already jumped twice. 

Oh my god. Why is it that photographs with old people in the background appear to be the scariest? Granted, she's a creepy ghost.

Josh has a 'friend' who visits every night. Great. Hey Elise, your idea of going to find her was probably your best. Bright spark you are. NO DON'T LOOK IN THE CLOSET. I missed this bit because I shut my eyes. apparently it scratched like a cat. 

So we have a flashback. The music is terrifying. I can't cope. Dead old lady - let us get the Silent Witness team on it. 

I like the scenes that are just about normal family life. I think it's incredible how terrifying the sound balance can make a film, silence against really loud thuds. Right. Stress levels have hit 7/10 already. 

Why would you have such a creepy basement. WHY ARE PEOPLE INCAPABLE OF TURNING ON THE LIGHTS.

As a human I am more scared of the dark than I should be. I have a night light. But don't tell anyone. 

I AM NEVER HAVING CHILDREN. Or if I do they have to have quiet toys.  

My one objection to this film is that they all look the same. The mum, the grandma - same hair. Young Josh and Dalton = definitely the same actor. 

HANG ON. Did she just shoot the baby?

Oh phew. Let's play Yahtzee with the spirits. They love a bit of that - some of them can spell. 

 I know we're all on an economy drive but why can't we turn on the lights? Horror films would make so much more sense if they did. 

Well obviously Josh would try and turn off the beep beep machine - Parker's pretty pissed and tries to strangle him. Worst scene yet. Damn it Lorraine you're seeing ghosts. 

Josh, why are your teeth falling out? You mucky pup.

Ghostbusters? Where did speccy mcgee and tubby come from?

[Side note: I have googled kittens with ducks]

Hang on. Where did the dead nuns come from.

As I predicted earlier on, the spirits talk to Dalton through a tin can and scared me so I had to take a break and turn around. My face has been in a pillow - and now we've got men dressing as women killing other people. 

This experience is no fun.

I do not like nasty people. However, the odds of beating a fat guy, a nerd and the old man are fairly easy.

This is like an episode of doctor who mixed with jeremy kyle and Murder She Wrote - and a bit of fight club I guess. 

What started out as terrifying has just turned into a load of people hitting each other on the head.

I have genuinely missed out on some of the plot and what.

Hang on, where have they gone? God damn it Dalton you can't just sleep at a time like this. Well okay, if you insist.

Well. Hi new random characters. That was nice getting emotionally attached for all of 10 seconds.

[I was going to attach a relevant picture here, but got scared]



Yep.





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Sunday, 16 February 2014

/ weekly wind-down 7

This week has literally flown by.

Sorry for being a tad AWOL (on all accounts) - I have no time whatsoever. Appalling excuse, I know. I'm going to try and rejiggle my life. 


I can only apologise that most of my pictures lately have been 'pole related'. My time is currently spread  between, pole, the gym, lectures, eating (too much) and sleeping (too little).



I know this photo isn't going to win any awards - but waking up to that kind of sky just lifts your spirits. In case you wondered, the wall is to stop the zombie apocalypse (... we live opposite a huge graveyard...). 

This week I am thankful for
the relatively tame weather! with half the country sinking, I feel dry ground should really be appreciated.
tickets to see the Matthew Bourne version of Swan Lake!!!
I ran 9 miles on wednesday. tick.

The lust list
FOOD.
that is all.
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Thursday, 13 February 2014

/ fitness / updates updates updates

Yesterday I ran 9 miles.

I feel like that deserves a small pat on the back. 7 months ago, even 1 mile would have been a struggle.

In the running world 9 miles is but a warm up - but for me that was a real milestone. We did time it (around 2 hours) to work out the pace for next time.

we run a long way in one direction. then get the metro back.
I think the best thing someone once said to me was 'your legs will only stop if you tell them to'. In the midst of fatigue and a desire to curl up it seems to be the only thing I can focus in on. That, and singing a certain S Club 7 song...

For the next 4 weeks or so we will be completing one long run a week and two slightly shorter supplementary ones in between. I'll also be working on upper body strength and general core stability - mainly through a dance physique class (which by the way is not for the faint hearted).

love sophie

xox

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

/ weekly wind-down 6

I ran 8 miles on Wednesday - we ended up at the coast. Felt justified in stopping as otherwise we'd have to swim..

Plus. Valentines is on Friday - if I get asked another time if I'm sad I'm single things will kick off.

This week I am thankful for
Three new dresses from ASOS. three!
the weather changing. subtlety, yes, but it's there. The sun is flexing people.
my new hand blender - falafel making has never been such a breeze...
my mum taking me to Carluccio's for lunch. in case you were wondering - yes that is my absolute favourite place to dine. take notes.

The lust list
new running trainers and a sports bra. mine are bearing the brunt of a fairly intense workout schedule. sorry.
to be able to do the splits - not a biggie, but i need a new party trick.

if only you saw this side on. i'm so far off it's not even funny.
love sophie

xox

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Friday, 7 February 2014

/ fitness / Tough Guy.

I don't really know where to begin. This is going to be a shamefully long post because I don't think you can do Tough Guy justice without.

Ross and I have a very strict rule about attitude. You have to stay positive. We would hate each other by the end of a course otherwise. In between random conversations and high fiving other competitors, we usually manage to stay quite cheerful and high spirited. Tough Guy challenged that. 


I put my body through complete and utter hell. Dubbed as the most difficult race ever, Tough Guy really lived up to it's name. Yes, a lot of the build up is just hype but that Sunday was honestly my mentally toughest experience. 

My fitness
Since Men's Health I have definitely upped my game. Consistent training since July has left me with a fairly decent level of fitness, but I could have done with more speed. 10 miles is a long way to be dawdling.
Over christmas I hit the gym hard, with 3 hour sessions 3 times a week and runs outside in between. On top of essays and socializing I was wiped out (slightly relieved to head back to uni) but stronger than I've ever been.

This race isn't for the faint hearted.

The day before
I got the train to York from which my mum would drive us to Wolverhampton. We'd made the smart decision to stay the night in a hotel and get me completely carbed up. I was beyond nervous but forced every scrap of food into my tummy that I could. The best bit of the whole experience ;). 

The day itself
Woke up at 6.30. Stretched. Had one protein shake and 2 pints of water.

Dressed, packed bags (that was stressful working out what I'd need) before heading down for the hotel breakfast.

I had:
- 1 bowl of granola with a good helping of berry compote and fruit
- 2 slices of toast with honey and marmite
- a full english 
- some chocolate
- 3 cups of tea and some apple juice


We left at around 9 and drove the short distance to race location. Already it was tipping it down, the rain being driven by a gusty wind.
Stepping out of the car we sank into horrible mud and it really hit me what I was going to do. Tough Guy isn't dubbed the most difficult race for no reason.
Plus, we had a weeks worth of heavy rain to contend with. The ground was nowhere near dry or solid.

The race
There are so many subsections to this. Looking back, it was just one long blur of pain, cold and tears.

I challenge you to find someone else who didn't have a quiet sob to themselves.

To begin with is a 6 mile 'run' - the Country Miles - with an interspersion of obstacles.

The slalom
A succession of hill climbs; hills too steep to run up and too slippery to run down. There are at least 15, but you start to lose track of both time and space - single minded intent on completing each ascent and descent. The ground was so slick by the time we got there it was more a case of climbing human chains and falling over one another on the way down.

After this you 'ran' for a bit (slid, squelched, slipped and fell) before getting into what I can only describe as a swollen stream, which we were moving into. The body shocking, cold, cold water. We were never dry for long after this point. Despite the relative mildness of this January the driving wind drew out any sense of warmth. Cargo nets, wall climbs and crawls featured for the next few kilometers.

Me: Ross - how much fun are we having?
Ross: All the fun.

The river
This was a twisted version of a water obstacle if ever I saw one. A different body of water to the other one, and much deeper. The river was fenced off into sections meaning every time you clambered in, waded across and hauled yourself out - you had to do it again. I cannot emphasize the mental strength required here to get back in and do it again. 20 times. There were no handholds, the bank was slick from the hundreds of other bodies who had done it before  me and once you were in the cold sapped your strength. Relentless.
Ross and I quickly teamed up with three other men and we took it in turns to give leg ups or pull the others out. It was safety in numbers.

It was then another mile of running, climbing, slipping, crawling, and cold water.

The wade 
Marking the beginning of the killing fields, this is often described as one of the first 'knock out' obstacles. It sounds easy - a 150m chest high wade out, a turn and then a wade  back.



It is not easy. Sure, when you first jump in it doesn't seem so bad. Your legs still function and you have all that warmth from the running. 10m in you realise it's all down to you. Every person who completed this had to do it through mental toughness alone. Melodramatic, maybe, but I challenge you to force yourself to do it.
The walk out is hard, but turning around and seeing how far back you have to go is worse. The shorter members of the pack were really struggling and we saw one man being pulled out by officials.
I turned to Ross, his infectious grin slipping from his face, and starting belting out the first song in my head (Gold dust - DJ Fresh, in case you wondered). He joined in, and it visibly lifted the competitors around us. No problem guys.

Numb legs didn't help with the next obstacles. Not at all.
The hurdles became near impossible, and it was here that I crashed my right knee into the wood sending pain through my leg. That slowed me down a tad.

There were two massive A-frames that followed, with your first taste of the electric shocks that send fear through aged competitors. I'll admit, they sting.

The fun bit - the Killing Zone

Running round the corner into your support team is probably one of the best feelings in the world. They gave us such a boost (and some wine gums).


Honestly, this was the last time either I or Ross properly smiled that day.



Those walls don't look too bad, but we probably clambered over 100 of them in total. There's no grip either.



Crawling through tyres with no feeling in your legs or hands is near impossible.



By this point, mud and water just doesn't clock on the radar. What does, however, is sinking up to your knees in boggy sludge and having to haul yourself along.



You had to climb. If I had just woken up this would have been easy, but lifting any limb higher than it wanted to be was difficult by this point. Ross was struggling more with the cold than I, his response changed to 'enough, Sophie, we are having enough'.



The rope was hard. Dead arms and numb hands led to people falling off and hurting themselves. Thankfully Ross and I made it across and down the other side. After this was more water, crawling and climbing. Never ending I'm afraid.

The torture chamber
I had been dreading this.

A dark, underground space no more than 3 foot in height, requiring you to crawl from one side to the other whilst being electrocuted and then squeezing yourself into a tunnel with no sign of light at the other end. You could hear grown men screaming and shouting. terrifying in the pitch black.

This video gives you an idea.

I got shocked three times. That's quite impressive, but it hurts. It really hurts your already tired and cold body and completely takes away any shred of mental push you had. The mud was thick and in your face, the tentacles felt like people were grabbing at your feet and you couldn't see a thing.
When Ross and I got to the tunnel I was ready to throw in the towel. He convinced me to follow him and talked  me through the whole time. I'm not massive, but even so  there wasn't much room at all (remember the nightmares I'd been having). The panic did set in about halfway through, my head was scraping the top and the progress was painfully slow.

we were beyond exhausted

We'd forgotten about this
I know I sound very melodramatic - but the course is designed to test every ounce of your will.
They exhaust you on the run, get you cold and wet before pushing you around an assault course that would test you on a good day.

And then they go too far.

I'd read about this bit. I'd practiced getting cold, I'd practiced mentally staying calm, but nothing could prepare me for the reality.

You  have to slide into a smallish lake up to your shoulders. You have to wade quite far out before ducking under a succession of planks laying across the water. Full submersion. I managed the first one fine, and we began wading towards the other 4.


I was fine, honestly. And then I lost my footing. I couldn't see Ross and I couldn't focus. I have never been that cold or scared before and had a full blown panic attack. I know it sounds truly pathetic, but I couldn't do anything but scream I wanted out. A lovely official grabbed me - pulling me onto safe ground. Then I started sobbing. That kind of cold does that to you.


Ross managed all of the dunks. But when I was re-united with him one thing was clear. We were  both in a bad way, and getting worse. He had thrown his gloves in the water during a spate of delirium and I was still in shock. Looking at the men and women hauling themselves along - we weren't the only ones. The pace of the pack dropped significantly here.


After that ordeal, it stopped being fun. I'm going to  be honest, we both considered stepping over the barriers and calling it a day. Because he'd been in the water a lot longer than me, Ross was cold, and it was affecting his everything. He'd lost coordination, wasn't talking much and had a vicious shiver.

I ventured the question 'how much fun are we having' but was just met with a long hard stare. That's when you know Ross is cold. He never looks even remotely cross.



I can't really remember the last bit of the race. All I know is that every step was hard and my body hated me. We climbed, crawled, jogged, and jumped. Then did it again.



There was barbed wire, more electric tentacles and a never ending series of logs and nets.



Then we could see it. The finish line. The beautiful place where they had our medals and hot chocolate. My legs hurt, my chest hurt, I couldn't breathe or see properly and my feet felt a million miles away. I think I punched Ross's shoulder and he flashed me a brief, but definitely there smile -  knowing we were 100m away from the end of it all was euphoric.

Problem was it was up a hill. Following another wade. I couldn't really feel the water at this point, and everyone was moving at a snails pace anyway.



Walking up to where our proud parents waited was one of the most surreal experiences. They were all close to tears. I had no energy left to cry.

We had done it.



If you wanted a photo that summed up how we felt, look no further. Exhausted.



Post race we weren't 'released' until our hands were cleaned and we'd had a large hot chocolate. To  be quite honest, we were in much better condition than a lot of others. Most were receiving medical attention and utterly unable to stand.

You leave your dignity at the door when you agree to compete in a race where hypothermia is pretty much guaranteed. Because we'd stopped moving, Ross and I started to deteriorate pretty quickly and that was slightly alarming. Our mums rushed to pull off the layers and layers of lycra, fighting with mud and non-responsive limbs. We didn't care that we were both being stripped to our underwear in a room filled with hundreds of people - just that the cold was in our bones and we needed to get warm.

I passed out in the car on the way home.

What we learnt.
What didn't we?

I think to start with I'm going to say 3503 people entered this years Tough Guy. 3003 turned up and 2228 finished. 775 people DNF. Now, that's a stat. 1 in every 4 that pulled out.

The course is doable, but only just. We had a slow enough time that I shan't bore you with it - but we still have the medals hanging round our necks. We are tough guys.

Cold. I have never realised how dangerous being that cold could be. Until you've been neck deep multiple times in freezing lake water, don't say otherwise.

There's a place in your brain that you hide when you  hurt. I've now been there. It's quiet, calm but a long way away from consciousness. I don't plan on going back for a while.

Having a good level of fitness was important, but as was preparation, food and a small dose of determination. The hardest aspect of Tough Guy - they don't stop - you complete one hurdle and they throw five more at you.

I'm not even going to pretend this is the end. 4 days later, we got our entries in for Tough Mudder and Rat Race Dirty Weekend. Maybe see you there?

love sophie

xox

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

| beauty | review | Alterna | Bamboo Range 48 hour Sustainable Volume Spray

This is another one of my British Beauty Blogger products. I wasn't too excited by a volume boost, I always skim over this type of product in the shops (I have far too many others to be buying!!).


The claims
Natural good for you ingredients and clinically proven formulas, Alterna Haircare's product will transform your hair in just one use. 
Bamboo 48 Hour sustainable volume spray is a weightless spray that immediately thickens each strand, amplifying full bodied all over volume that last for 48 hours. 

The reality 
I used the spray on wet hair before drying it with my hair dryer. 


As I always mention - my hair is fairly voluminous anyway, so it had to be sprayed onto the roots and keep there! On my first application I was a bit worried it would just make my hair huge, and give it a horrible texture.

It lasted for ages - I normally forget about my hair during the day at uni , but I'll be honest and say that I felt more blow-dried and bouncy. Thankfully, it also didn't make it feel greasy or stiff (something I hate about hair products). It smells pretty sophisticated too. 

It is a bit unnecessary however. If you have really thin hair and are looking for a 'healthy' alternative then I'd recommend it. Back-combing and hairspray works just as well though and works out a little cheaper. This is a 'I have eighteen pounds spare to spend on something extravagant for my hair' kind of thing.

Price - £18.00

love sophie

xox

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Sunday, 2 February 2014

/ weekly wind-down 5

Two days into my 'Feel Good February' and I'm dying from caffeine deprivation.

I also can't believe that last weekend I completed Tough Guy. Can we just have a moment here.


This week I am thankful for
The boy, Ross, my mum and Ross's parents. They stood in the rain for 4 hours whilst Ross and I slogged out the course. At least we were 'busy'. But despite their lack of fun, the difference they made to our morale was what ultimately got us across the line
My overdraft - until I get paid this month the money isn't mine and I have to eat a lot of food

The lust list
more race entries. I am so ready to get back out there!!
again I'm going to request more time (mainly for sleep.. I need about a week off after that race)


love sophie

xox

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