This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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I’m back from Rome!

I’ll do a dedicated blog post, but thought I’d pop in and let you know I’m back and raring to go.

It was a tiring but really awesome week, with lots of walking, eating and sight-seeing.

I also took loads of photos!

I’ll share more in my Rome post, but head over to my instagram for more over the next few days.

After we returned from Rome we headed straight to London the next day for our next adventure – Moulin Rouge by Secret Cinema! Again, if you’ve read my other Secret Cinema blogs, you’ll know I wait until Secret Cinema have released their event video before posting – I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone until SC have decided to share the details first.

I will say, that I think it was the best yet! Here’s what we wore:

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I had a flouncy skirt on too, but more of that when I post about it down the line. It was an awesome night! But we were so tired from Rome we didn’t stay for the after party.

That’s my trouble – I always like to enjoy things to the point where I’m knackered so after Rome this little outing may have been one too many. It was an awesome night though, and I’m so glad we were able to get tickets.

Back to work on Monday, and to normality – I’ve still got the travel bug though, so who knows where I’ll be going next!

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

I am writing this in the midst of storm Doris…. she’s a windy one….

These past weeks have been both busy and uneventful! I got ‘The Cold’ so spent a good 5 days flat on my back (that’s what she said) trying to stop snot coming out of my nose. I’m feeling almost all the way better now, which is awesome.

The time I spent resting meant I wasn’t able to film or post as much as I had wanted, but I did manage to watch the whole of season 2 of How to Get Away With Murder. Now I just have to wait for Netflix to hurry up and get the third season up.

Last week I posted a really nerve-wracking blog post on the subject of mental health. It had some opinions in there that I’d not really heard anyone else speak out about, and I don’t tend to blog about my mental health a whole lot, so I was worried what people might think. But the response has been 100% supportive and many people agreed with me, so that was awesome.

I also posted the first part of my make-up tour video on my YouTube channel, and I’ve had so many comments, views and new subscribers! When I say ‘so many’ I mean more than 2 or 3 which is my standard – I’m so grateful for all of the interactions I receive, and this time around it’s been lovely to see so many new faces!

I also finally found the majority of my costume for the Secret Cinema Moulin Rouge event we’re attending towards the end of the March. It’s handy that there’s a bit of a corset trend happening at the moment, because there was quite a bit to choose from. I don’t want to go full corset because that’s really not my style, but thankfully my character isn’t that kind of girl, so I’m pretty pleased with what I managed to pick up!

I ended my working week on Wednesday last week, and had two days off as I’m using up my holiday allowance at work. I’m saw some friends, and visited London, so expect some more videos soon! It’d been so long since I just had a solo mooch around the city!

Anyhow, if you want to watch my latest video, you can find it below – it’s a long one so grab a cuppa!

 

Secret Cinema: Dirty Dancing

 

Way way back in July, I attended my second Secret Cinema event. This time was to see Dirty Dancing, and continuing my tradition, I vowed not to post a blog about it until Secret Cinema uploaded their video.

Finally, months later they’ve done it! So first of all if you want to watch their video of the event you can see it here:

And if you can watch that all the way to the end and not feel excited and uplifted then you’re dead inside.

The first Secret Cinema experience I’d had was seeing Back to The Future, and that was massively impressive. This was slightly less so, but still awesome.

I don’t know whether it was because I had so much going on in my life, but I didn’t really involve myself in the prep for this event as much as I’d done previously. But I still rocked my costume:

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With all Secret Cinema events, phones and cameras are banned so I didn’t take photos but you can get the atmosphere from the video. Everyone was getting involved with dance classes, volley ball and the talent show. There were different booths and areas to go and visit and characters from the movie were walking around.

The movie was shown and despite the sound not being great everyone was really into it, clapping, whooping, dancing and singing.

It was a great night and I can’t wait to see what else Secret Cinema have planned!

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A List of Good Things (so far!) 2016

This year has started off awesome, with tons of things planned and a good feeling about the year ahead.

With a few things already booked for this year, at the end of last, we’ve topped those off with a few more. No doubt more will happen as we go along, but here’s what I’m excited about so far!:

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  • My awesome friend Sarah is getting married in a couple of months, and I’m lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids! I’m so excited about the lead up to it, the day and also the week after as most of us will be staying around the area for a little holiday!
  • A couple of weeks later Gary’s cousin gets married, so I get a second wedding to go to, this time as a guest.

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  • Secret Cinema presents Dirty Dancing in July. After going to their Back to The Future screening we knew we wanted to go to another one, and Dirty Dancing seemed like an amazing choice. Great music, great atmosphere and great movie. We can’t wait!
  • In September Gary and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and to celebrate this in style we’re heading to Orlando for two weeks of sun, Disney and rollercoasters! I’ve never been, but as a mahooosive Disney and Harry Potter fan I’m beside myself with excitement over the parks. Plus we’ll be extending our summer by visiting at the end of September. And no doubt when we come home British winter will be in full swing…..
  • Speaking of Harry Potter:

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We landed some tickets to this Harry Potter play and managed to get them for THIS YEAR. Getting tickets was crazy hard for some unknown reason….. *eyeroll* So in October we’ll be heading off to London for two plays in one day…. intriguing!

  • Also in October, my Mum and Dad celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary and there’s a party to be had!
  • Guy Fawkes night is extra special this year because earlier in the day we will have visited London for Jurassic Park in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. We went to a Pixar show at the Royal Albert Hall and also Back to The Future in Concert last year and really enjoyed them both. Gary loves musical score, and we both love the score from Jurassic Park so it’ll be a treat to see it live! We’re hoping that as we’ll be in London anyway there might be a good local fireworks display to visit afterwards!

And that’s it for the year so far. We’d hoped to Hot Dub Time Machine it again, but the only local-ish gig is whilst we’re in Florida, and we wanted to go to V Festival but the line-up is a bit rubbish. Still I reckon we’ve got a good year to come! And who knows what else will pop up along the way 🙂

Going Back in Time Part 2

Since all the shows are now complete, here’s the second part of my Secret Cinema experience. If you missed the first part, you might want to read it here. Are you ready to go back in time?

And so we left our hotel room. Dressed up in our 1955 get up it took a certain level of bravery to walk through the hotel lobby. Gary’s outfit could have passed as fairly normal attire, such is the fashion at the moment, but mine not so much. At least we were in London, a place where alternative dress sense is embraced.

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I can understand why people like to dress 50’s at the moment, it’s so darn comfortable. My Vivien of Holloway blue tartan skirt was a high-waisted circle of wonderfulness. It swished and swirled and showed off my hour-glass figure. I’ve been blessed with 34″ hips and a 28″ waist but can’t often show it off! I might never wear anything else. Anyway, I digress…..
We hopped on the underground from Canary Wharf to Stratford. A lot of people had been saying we should get off at Stratford and walk to the Olympic Park, where the event was being held, but we had been instructed to travel to Hackney Wick station where we would be directed onwards. At Stratford we were amazed to see masses of people in 50’s dress from all walks of life. There were farmers, businessmen, students, shop girls – and so much effort had been put into costumes. By the time we hopped off the train anyone wearing present day clothing was in a minority.
We were directed by American speaking Policemen, and as it turned out we just walked 15 minutes back to where we’d come from and towards Stratford. There wasn’t any need for this detour, other than I guess from a logistical aspect they didn’t want hoards of people arriving at Stratford station and marching through already busy areas of London. It was a lovely day and by now the sun was shining. It was quite windy but it being a warm wind, it was welcomed, and so it was a pleasant walk taking in the sights.
Soon, up ahead, you could see the big Department of Social Services building complete with clock tower and huge projection screen, a Ferris Wheel and hear 1950’s music playing.

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We joined a fairly short queue to get into the complex and while we waited Cast members walked along the line, some high school girls and some bullies. At the gate we were welcomed to the Town Fair. Our tickets were scanned, bags were checked for food and then we had wrist bands attached. We were asked if we had ‘communication devices’ on us and our wrist bands were marked as stating ‘No’. Secret Cinema’s policy is ‘Tell No One’ with no cameras or phones allowed on site, or face ejection. You could, however, buy disposable cameras inside.
Once we’d been ushered through, we headed into The Peabody’s Twin Pines Ranch. We were immediately greeted by Mrs Peabody who grabbed hold of Gary and told him he was going to be baptised. He was sat on Otis Peabody’s knee whilst we stood in a circle around him, spoke an initiation prayer and then they rubbed water on Gary’s head as we shouted ‘Amen’. Then we did a little yokel jig and Gary was ‘branded’ with a big red P on his forehead and me on my arm (since I protested I didn’t want it on my head! Mrs Peabody was kind to me) It being standard paper stamping ink it took a good scrub to get it off!
And then we headed into Hill Valley. After a quick photo shoot
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we wandered through the houses looking at the McFly, Tannen and Doc’s homes. A school bus drove to and fro collecting students, who had to show their student IDs to the school, whilst other classic cars picked people up and took them to various locations.
The atmosphere inside was brilliant. Because people had gone to such efforts on their costumes you couldn’t tell who was Cast and who was Guest. The stewards were all in costumes but wore red sashes so you knew who to ask if you needed help.

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Hill Valley Square in the movie
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Hill Valley Square as created by Secret Cinema

Different shop fronts were set up, and depending on what ID you’d been assigned you could head to your place of business, work or school and get assignments to complete. One such assignment for the Students included showing your ID at the school and being given work experience to head on over to the Realtor and sell someone a house.

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And then you hit the town square, a square of fake turf in the centre of it all. People had already set up home with blankets and gotten comfy for the movie screening later, but we wanted to look around some more, there being around 3 hours until the film was likely to start. We headed over to the fun fair where a ferris wheel was spinning, there were games and other stands, and then over to the school.

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The whole place was marshaled to perfection with Cast members making sure people were using the zebra crossings and not in danger from all the classic cars and vehicles moving around the square. Inside the school there were lockers where you could leave photos, ID cards and homework and then you entered the school hall which was set up for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. A band stage set up at one end and a bar at the other, it was a classic school dance situation – meaning everyone was standing around the edge or at the bar, but soon in true Flash Mob style, people who had been standing at the sides began to swing dance to the music, one by one, and you realised they were Cast. By this time we’d already been interacted with by loads of cast members, one of whom came and spoke to us and turned out to be one of the principal dancers. Not long into the dancing they had a huge amount of people doing a choreographed routine in unison with them. It was a spectacle!
We headed out of the school (as we did a very shady and sweaty kid asked us if we’d seen Principal Strickland….) and found a spot on the green. Having seen some of the effects set up on our meanders we knew we wanted to be on the left and near the front and managed to get a good spot to set up. At this point Gary headed off to Lou’s Cafe to bring back some dinner.
A couple sat down next to where I was holding the fort, who it turned out later on were Secret Cinema veterans, and I noticed they’d been Peabody branded too. The woman showed me some sweets she’d bought from a concession seller  – I’d seen them walking around with little boxes. Inside were two massive sugar-coated jellies, like pastilles, but flavoured with either Gin, Scotch and another I forget. I was told that if you ate three of these sweets you were over the drink drive limit – needless to say I decided to give those a miss!
Gary returned with some food, chips and an amazing burger (courtesy of Byron) and we sat and watched the world go by. In front of us Cast members walked around the town and interacted, Biff drove around in his car with his gang (who sometimes got out and talked to those sitting on the green), Doc and George appeared as well as lots of other principal cast. The Cast members walking around the square chatted to each other about homework, boys and general Hill Valley life as if this was where they lived, all in American accents, and totally oblivious to anything other than this world. And all this time a 1950’s Hill Valley radio station played from a shop front near by. 50’s hits, adverts and interviews . Postal workers ambled through the seated masses shouting out for people, and as it turned out some of these letters contained missions for the guests who had registered at their places of work. The ladies could sign up for Miss Hill Valley and join the upcoming parade, cheerleaders taught their cheers, tug of war competitions went on, fights ensued between cast members and were broken up with the Sheriff and his policemen. There was never a dull moment. And then all of a sudden Rapper’s Delight started playing. It was so strange hearing a different decade’s music and we all looked around really confused and then realised they were bringing in the 80’s aspect of Back to the Future.
Everyone was up and dancing whilst Biff’s gang ran around confused and 3D came past us asking ‘What’s going on?’ as bright lycra clad dancers and Adidas track suited break dancers streamed past. They took the dancing right on into the School where they joined the dance which was in full swing. Then they lead right back out and onto the school bus with loads of students and rode around dancing to the beats.
And then it was time for the Hill Valley parade. Cast and guests walked and drove around the square whilst everyone waved and cheered. It felt like you were really inside Hill Valley and in the 50s. Everyone was happy and relaxed and getting involved. Then the prom king and queen were announced and Marvin Berry and the Starlighters came onto the Clock Tower steps to perform (introduced by Marvin’s cousin Chuck) and everyone had a good dance. Then Marty came on and performed The Power of Love. The crowd went wild! But all of a sudden the sound distorted, chaos ensued on town hall steps and the screen came to life….. the movie was starting!
The Universal logo came on screen and everyone settled back into their spots on the green. Watching the movie was great. Everyone booed and cheered and really interacted. Cast members came out at various parts to act out the scenes in front of you, including one of the most important cast members – the Delorean! There were light effects, flashes and bangs, fire, stunts and lots of fast moving cars, along with some great projection effects. Pivotal scenes like George knocking out Biff and Doc descending from the Clock Tower re-connecting the cable were acted out to huge cheers and shouts. The crowd was so involved that even when Marty played Johnny B. Goode everyone got up on their feet again and danced like they were in the movie, whilst swing dancers boogied up on the steps.
Once the movie was over, the band came back out to do a couple of songs and then everyone started to leave, but first we lined up to collect our photo, our one pictorial memento from the day.
The whole thing was immense, immersive and totally worth all the effort. There were some people who just came in jeans and a t-shirt and must have felt out of place. I’m so pleased we dressed up and became part of the show. We interacted with so many of the cast too, they were working really hard to make sure everyone was involved. There was little need to bring all the extra bits that we’d been asked for (red sunglasses for girls, yellow for boys, a stop watch, photos, homework) but you were able to use them or not to be involved as little or as much as you’d like. We know there was stuff we missed out on. We didn’t go to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance proper, because we’d gotten our spot on the grass, we didn’t visit the Peabody’s ranch fair and we didn’t go into the indoor theatre. But it didn’t matter. Our experience was just that, our experience.

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People moaned at a £50 ticket price, but honestly I don’t know how they can make a great deal of profit on that price considering what we’d seen. We left the site and felt sad that we had to come back to 2014, put on normal clothes and get plugged into the real world again. It had been lovely to leave my phone at the hotel, not take photos of everything and just rely on the memories of the day.
We came away bigger Back to the Future fans (not sure this was possible for Gary!) and huge Secret Cinema fans…. but shhh it’s a secret – tell no one.

Going Back In Time Pt.1

This post contains no event spoilers, other than one majorly publicised photo of the site before it was complete.

It all began with a simple tweet. A Back to The Future related indication from movie event creators Secret Cinema. We’d been following them on twitter and via email for a few years after hearing that there was a company who would transport you into a movie – and most of the time you wouldn’t know what the movie was until the event began.

Future Cinema, set up in 2005 and launched at Glastonbury’s cinema tent, began to show short and full length movies to cinema fans with actors and scene sets surrounding them to create a more immersive experience. Their first Secret Cinema show, 2007, took place in a series of tunnels underneath London Bridge bringing to life Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, a film about an accidental murder committed by a skateboarder. Since then they’ve shown a host of movies including Ghostbusters, Alien, Bladerunner and The Shawshank Redemption (which was notoriously hardcore as all guests were ordered to strip to their long johns and put on inmate clothing whilst being shouted at and ordered around an old school made into a prison by guards).

Once signed up to the mailing list Secret Cinema will send you a cryptic email in advance of ticket sales. They’ll be written in the style of the movie and contain hints – but you never really know what the film will be. You don’t even know when you buy the tickets AND you don’t know the location. Once you’ve bought your tickets, you’ll be sent further emails with tasks, assignments, costume requirements and eventually a meeting place – which isn’t necessarily where you’ll be watching the movie (in the case of Shawshank, guests were split into lines of gender and piled onto State Penitentiary buses) For Lawrence of Arabia (2010) I remember following the unveiling on Twitter along with the guests – they had to follow clues through London markets, picking up parts of their costumes on the way to their meeting place.

I’m all for the heightened movie going experience but have a certain level of anxiety attributed to the unknown, so I didn’t really want to commit to a fully secret Secret Cinema. But when the Back to the Future hints started appearing, and since it’s Gary’s all time favourite film, I knew it was a no brainer.

So on the day of ticket sales Gary and I sat with anticipation at our work computers ready to grab two tickets. But two hours, and a lot of frustration later, no one had tickets. Secret Cinema had vastly underestimated the demand for their three weeks of shows and the provider’s servers had buckled. They closed the ticket sales and announced a resale the next day. And thankfully we got tickets. Secret Cinema quickly announced they’d double the shows and extended until August 31st (there’s still tickets available if you want to go!)

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And so began the emails with cryptic instructions, messages from the Mayor, new identities were handed out (I’m Linda Berrier, hi!), groups joined. We were asked to buy coloured sunglasses, prepare photographs, print out business cards and IDs and given costume advice. They set up a diner and costume shop in Shoreditch to visit ahead of the shows and printed newspapers.

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People, who didn’t really understand what Secret Cinema was all about began to moan about the extent of preparation they would need to go to, that they didn’t know where they’d be going so couldn’t book hotels (even though the clues were all there) and that they couldn’t take their phones into the show. But I was all up for it. I found my outfit and couldn’t wait to share a sneaky peak to the world:

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But then on press preview day, one day before the start of their run, something went wrong and the show was cancelled. And then it was cancelled for the first proper date too….. the deluge of anger and complaints was HUGE. It even made the news that evening. Some kind of council dispute had halted preparations and the site wasn’t finished.

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Photos of a bare site started popping up and concern fell upon all those with tickets. People had travelled from all over the world only to turn up, many without their phones since they weren’t allowed and so unable to see the cancellation notifications, and were devastated (but offered refunds or reschedules). The anger carried on until a press release announced that the whole first weekend would be cancelled until the issues had been resolved – it was a double-edged sword since this meant those booked for those dates could be sure they weren’t going so wouldn’t make unneccessary trips, but also meant so many people were disappointed. The announcement stated that the first show would be the following Thursday with a press preview on the Wednesday.

Thankfully this all went ahead and the weather was beautiful for it. From that point trolls and moaners were told to move on and get over it by those who had decided to reschedule. We just wanted to enjoy it!

The weather forecast looked fantastic all week, except for the day we were going (of course) but thankfully this changed and rain was only predicted for the morning. Gary and I headed off to London on Saturday morning and checked into our hotel in Canary Wharf. After a quick Wasabi lunch we went back to the hotel and started to get ready for the show. Excitement was at an all time high and as soon as my costume was on I just wanted to get there – IDs, photographs, sunglasses and blanket in hand, all that was left was to go back in time……..

Since Secret Cinema’s policy is Tell No One, the second part of this event recap will be posted once all the dates of the show have been completed, so as not to spoil it for anyone who is going. Stay tuned!

This Week I Have Been Mostly…

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I’ve been absent from the blogging world for a week or so now – not by choice, but because I came down with a curious bout of who knows what which meant every few hours I had to nap for a few hours and then I felt a little better. It’s something which has hit 3 other members of my family so far, and apparently is doing the rounds.

So, other than doing some serious resting, this is what I’ve been up to:

  • Preparing for the Secret Cinema presents Back to The Future which is coming up soon. So far for this event I have become friends with Goldie Wilson on Facebook, found out that my name is really Linda and I’m a student of Hill Valley High, created my own Facebook page for Linda and visited Ruth’s Frock shop in Hoxton to have a look at what I could wear to the big dance! I did find a skirt there but once I got it home and put my outfit together it all looked rather ‘land girl’ and too 40’s, so I’ve found an alternative outfit. I also picked up a copy of the Hill Valley newspaper to catch up on ‘current’ affairs.

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  • We also popped to Boxpark and tried a couple of the famous Dum Dum doughnuts. They weren’t all that.

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  • G Man and I went to a friend’s house where we had a cake afternoon. We’d all made so much cake that the table groaned under frosting and sugar. It was all yummy!

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I made some of my famous cinnamon buns with maple icing.

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  • And other than all this I’ve been doing some research for my upcoming blogs and enjoying the weather. I’m still not feeling all better, but making sure I relax enough so that I can enjoy the upcoming weekend – there’s some really fun stuff planned!

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Raining, Running & Raving

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog this week for a number of reasons. The main one being that I just didn’t feel like blogging this week. The weather’s been humid and rainy, I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself for various reasons and it all kinda came to a head midweek last week. I felt like I was losing control and was very overwhelmed.

You’ll be pleased to know that with a lot of support from a close friend and my husband, I’m feeling a lot more like myself today.

So this week there’s been some massively heavy downpours mingled with humid temperatures and strong winds and it’s made it hard to choose what to wear! One of the days this week was 14 degrees and today is 22 as I sit in my garden typing this.

Midweek Gary managed to get hold of Secret Cinema’s latest venture, which is bringing Back To The Future alive and building Hill Valley in a secret location. Ticket sales smashed records for length of time to sell out. We got tickets for August 2nd so we have some time to think about costumes. I really can’t wait. We watched the movie last night so we could get some clothing inspiration!

We also got tickets to an event in July that we wanted to go to last year but only found out about it last minute. Hot Dub Time Machine is a dance party event where the DJ plays music from the 50’s all the way to present day, chronologically. It looks amazing from the video on their website, so I can’t wait to see what it’s like in person!

Today was a rather special day as I got to run the Race For Life with three great friends. It was one of the girl’s first race ever and another of the girl’s first race for life. With a batch of supporters there to cheer us on we battled the heat and hills and really earned our medals. And it really was a hot one AND annoyingly I lost part of my run when my watch paused and I didn’t notice it until who knows when! I measured 3.01 on my Garmin so thankfully I only lost a bit.  I had to walk much more than I would have liked – the heat effects me really fast! But we made it nevertheless and each enjoyed our brioche and bottled water at the end!

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We even found the energy to sport our running kit around a vintage fair that was trading from the shopping centre, so way too many people have seen my short clad legs today 🙂 (including you lucky pups!)

It was a lovely end to a really tough week. I’m really lucky to have such amazing friends around me, and words can’t explain how amazing G-Man is.

Next I’m training for the Women’s Running 10k in exactly a month, which is taking place in MK this year and I definitely have at least one of my lovely girlfriends running it with me. Bring it on!

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