Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bournemouth Half Marathon Race Recap

I can't believe I am actually (and willingly) sitting down to write this recap before the Nike Run to the Beat Recap. (Maybe because I have all sorts of angst towards that race and everything I want to say about it sounds like bitch bitch bitch whine whine whine. I probably can't even write it at this point.)

Anyway, on Sunday, the 6th of October 2013, I ran the inaugural half marathon of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival. (There was a 5K and 10K on the Saturday, and a half and full marathon on the Sunday).

Alex and I pre-race! Note to self, race in obnoxious shorts more often!

I didn't have many expectations for this race. Sure, it would be great to PR. But inaugural races could also be quite messy. And I didn't run anything over 6 miles since Run to the Beat. So my expectations were quite low.

And damnit, if my expectations and goals were high I probably would not have PRed, but by golly I did!

Here are the Spark Notes :

1. My previous PR from Brighton was 2:24:45. My shiny new PR is 2:21:07.

2. I am the queen of positive splitting.... But we already knew this.

3. The course was gorgeous! I think this has been my favourite race so far. We ran along the beach side for probably 50% of the race, and also ran around 2 piers. The finish area was packed with amazing spectators.

4. The course was also mostly flat. One short-ish hill around mile 8 I think (you can see a dip in my splits where I walked up 2/3 of the hill. No shame.)

5. This was by far the best I have felt during a half. I remember hitting a wall in Brighton at around miles 7 and 8. And Run to the Beat was just one big freakin' wall in general. But this time, the miles flew by and I felt strong!

Here are the not so Spark Notes :

In Type-A fashion, I had everything set up and packed the night before. I had my obnoxious Lululmeon shorts set out. I had my yummy chocolate Gu in my race belt. I had my 2 water bottles washed, filled with water, and put in the fridge overnight. And in the fridge is where they remained for the entire race. Oops.

Yes, I forgot my water. Fun fact about me : I am the thirstiest person alive. If there is not water within grabbing distance I am panicking. That's just me in normal day to day life, yet alone when I am running.

I didn't panic. I didn't even say anything because I didn't want Alex, his parents, or the dog (yes, the dog came to cheer me on... Or play on the beach... Whatever.) to panic either. I just stayed positive and hoped that there was enough water on the course. And spoiler alert, there was plenty of water along the course. That's definitely a first!

See, does he look worried to you?

I listened to some pump up music at the start and decided to get comfy (as comfy as standing and stretching can be before you run 13.1 miles) since I was in the 2nd to last corral. However, I didn't even get a chance to see how many minutes it took me to cross the start line since I passed it so fast! I've never started a race so freakin' quickly before! Or on time! This was already proving to be a fantastic race!

The first few miles were actually quite spectator-less. I was very sad because I basically thrive off of spectators energy and enthusiasm. I kept thinking that if this was going to be what it was like for the entire race than I was screwed.

My goal (as always) was to start off slower than I thought, but also to not look at my Garmin. I turned the face of my watch to the inside of my wrist so I couldn't even sneak a glimpse. I did actually sneak a glimpse just at the 2 mile mark where I saw a sub-10 minute mile. 'Turn it the eff down, Taylor' is actually what I said in my head except with a more colourful word.

There was an 'out and back' I believe around mile 3 or 4, which a lot of people didn't like because I guess that makes it more daunting seeing people running the other way with no immediate turn in sight. I actually really like it because it makes the course seem more energetic and lively.

I saw the fam at around mile 4. I felt pretty okay since we just passed a water station. I annoyingly kept the water bottle in my hand from water station to water station in fear of needing water. I also wanted it in case I wanted to spontaneously take a Gu but didn't have water. (Although I ditched that idea at about mile 8 when I realised the water stations were actually quite frequent).

Obnoxious shorts, coming through!
Mile 6 was around the time we started running along the beach. It was amazing. The sun was shining, but at no point did I feel overly hot or sweaty. It was quite sunny and I desperately wanted my sunglasses, but I never got that uncomfortable 'I'm hot, I'm sweaty, I wish a cloud would permanently block the sun' feeling. It was amazing. And this is where I noticed the biggest difference in this race. These awkward middle 'you're only halfway there but not quite in the double digits yet' miles flew by.

I saw the fam again at about mile 7 and I still felt really good. Apparently I missed a real comedy moment not even 2 minutes prior where Finlay (our dog) pulled Alex's mum and sent her tumbling to the ground. It was really nice to see them so many times throughout the course!

We left the beach area and faced the only hill of the course. I took my second Gu at this point because I was half power walking half trying to get my breath back. It was absolutely disgusting (and for the record, I'm pretty good with Gu. I only really have the chocolate outrage ones now because those are the ones I can tolerate best). I couldn't water it down no matter much I tried. It literally felt like someone put a massive dollop of frosting on my tongue. It sucked.

The good part was that the top of the hill had lots of volunteers who were motivating everything to get going again. It was fantastic. And then we were back on the beach again! I could run on the beach forever I think!

This is a terrible picture from the start of the race, but look at what I'm wearing compared to the guy behind me! Emphasis on WE'RE RUNNING ALONG  A BEACH!!!

I knew I slowed down a bit from the beginning (see, queen of positive splitting) but I knew it wasn't as drastic as when I slowed down during my first half marathon. Mile 10 is when I realised a PR was definitely manageable. And I told myself that if I had a chance to PR and didn't fight for it, I would be super pissed off at myself.

The last 5K was another out and back, and we actually got a glimpse of the finishing line at around mile 10 as well. It was another one of those moments that other runners got really annoyed about but I absolutely loved. Only 5K to go! I can do that in my sleep!

I focused on not going too fast, but staying on target for a PR. I had a 3rd Gu with me just in case I needed more umph, but as my last attempt at taking a Gu was dreadful I decided the time it would take me to choke it down would be too costly. Slow and steady wins the race, people.

The turn around point could not come soon enough. I remember feeling so happy. Yes, this was in fact the final stretch and it was the best I've ever felt.

With less than one mile to go we ran onto the second pier (I can't remember where the 1st pier was... oops!). I looked at my watch for one last time and unless I went tumbling from the pier to the ocean I was definitely going to PR.

The finishing area was packed with the best spectators ever. I didn't even look around to find the fam; I knew if I saw them I would start crying.

Finish line... taken after I finished!

The best thing I ever did was train myself to run on tired legs. I can't sprint at the best of times, but I turn into Usain Bolt (yeah, I wish) when I see a finish line. If any finishing pictures were taken that day I do not want to see them, because I sprinted my way past a number of people to get my glorious time of 2:21:07 and then burst into tears. Happy tears, of course!

Awesome bling!

Not even a month prior to this race, I ran the Nike Run to the Beat half in 2:31:47. Did I really take 10 minutes off that time??! Yes, yes I did!

And when we got home, you would think that Finlay just ran a half marathon instead of me....

Pooped pup....

If anyone is looking for a good race in the south of England, I would definitely recommend this one! I plan on running it again next year!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Recent Reads Of Summer

Right, so part of my internet and general happiness hiatus also included a tiny reading hiatus. I haven't been reading at the pace that I normally do, but I've still managed to squeeze in a few reads before bed time!

Here are some of my recent page turners!

1. Winger by Andrew Smith - Probably my favourite book in a long time. It's so normal. And hilarious. It kind of reminds me of the male version of Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld but without the socially awkward main character. I originally saw the book on this list and I'm so glad I bought it! It's about a high schooler at boarding school and his life in a crap dorm, on the rugby team, and being 2 years younger than everyone in his grade. Really easy read, and includes cartoon that the main character draws himself to narrate his life!

2. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close - Again, a book that is so completely normal. (My taste in books goes one of two ways : the completely normal lives of people or dystopian over the top plots.) I enjoyed it  mainly because I could totally relate to the characters (mostly the 20-something and wtf am I doing at my job aspect of it) and it was such an easy read! I'd definitely recommend it if you want a girly read and you're going through a quarter life crisis! (And even if you're not, you'll still like it!)

3. Gone Series by Michael Grant - Right, so I basically plowed my way through this series. Six books in total. I was completely hooked. Mostly I just wanted to know how the hell it was going to end! There were aspects of it that totally annoyed me; there were so many useless characters that I just wanted to write out of the book! But in all honestly, I liked the concept of it. Basically, everyone over the age of 15 goes 'poof' one day and they can't escape this dome that traps everyone inside. If you like this type of genre, I think you'd like this series. However, be warned that all of the main characters are 14 years or younger. It's an immature read at times, but I think overall I was able to look past it.

Side note, I still have not finished The Host. I cannot get into it. Has anyone read it before? Is it just really slow to get into?

What have you read recently that you enjoyed or would recommend? I have loads more books on my list; I'd love to hear what's on yours!

Monday, August 19, 2013

What's Next?

Lets catch up, shall we?

It has been a while since I typed something that hasn't been oh woe is me, and I'm finally at a place where I don't feel like that either.

Ultimate Birthday Margaritas definitely help.

So what's next? What have I been up to these past few weeks months that justifies my hiatus?

What's next in....

1. Running - This week was the first week I ran. I mean actually ran. Like I used to. And it didn't feel like work. I also got moved up a group in the running club a couple of weeks ago, meaning I'm one step closer to the sub 3:00 marathoner group! Let's be honest, that's not happening. But I can dream, right?

I'm glad running has made me happy again, because I have a hefty (for me) race calendar for the rest of the year. In less than a month I'm doing the Nike Run to the Beat half in London, which I am super excited about! It's going to be the biggest race I have ever participated in!

I also signed up for the Bournemouth Half (inaugural race, and also includes a marathon, 10K, and 5K! I love marathon festivals!) and the Great South Run, which sold out before I was able to sign up for it last year and I'm so excited to take part this year!

What's next in....

2. My career - Sooo... I quit my job.

I quit my job before I had another job to go to. And I wouldn't change anything about that incredibly risky decision.

I remember I was so excited to get a big girl job in England. After months of not being able to work, I finally felt like things were coming into place.

And then it became quite obvious that it was not the role I thought it would be. But I thought I could stick it out for a bit. (Side note, it totally reminded me of Selena quitting her job. So weird that I remember that, but the post really stuck with me!)

And then it just got worse. And don't judge me, but I was actually crying every morning before work just dreading the day that hadn't even started yet.

It didn't just happen over night; I didn't just wake up one morning and say 'I hate my job'. It's definitely been a long time coming.

But after much help from Alex and his family, I put my notice in. I had already passed my probation period, so unfortunately for me I had to give one months notice. Ugh. But my last day is August 30, so I'm nearly there!

And in case the anticipation is killing you, I do have a new job to go to now!

More on this topic later.

What's next in.... 

3. My life - Alex and I bought our own place! Like actually bought! As in, we have a mortgage!

We're moving at the end of the month, and I couldn't be happier!!

More on that later as well; I just wanted to let you guys know!

See, I wasn't lying when I said exciting things are happening on this side of the pond!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Number 23

(I've been starting all of my blog posts with 'sorry for the internet hiatus' or 'I know I'm in a blogging lull', so we'll just skip that and cut to the chase. Exciting things are happening on this side of the pond and you'll find out about it soon enough!)

Today is my 23rd birthday!

I used to hate my birthday; I'd rather celebrate another person's birthday any day. But since turning 20 I've actually come to enjoy it!!

Last year, I wrote 22 things I have learned in 22 years of being on planet Earth.

This year, I'm writing another 23 things!

Here we go!

1. If you don't love what you're doing, don't do it - Job related woes... Seriously, what have I been thinking?! More on that later.

2. It's okay to be a crazy cat lady - I miss my cat. And I'm getting a cat in the near future.

3. It's also okay to be a crazy dog lady - Which I am as well.

Follow @heytayk on Instagram if you love Labradoodles!

4. Run with other people or with a club - I used to be a total solo runner. Now I dread running by myself!

5. Tea is amazing - Enough said.

I love this picture!

6. Scuba diving is possibly even more amazing - Also enough said. I want to be certified NOW.

7. It's okay to sit in bed and read all day long - and finish the book in a day as well....

8. It's also okay to sit in bed and re-read the same books you've already read all day long - See #7. 

9. Good pickles (gherkins?!) are SO HARD to find in England - Seriously, it's okay to sell pickled eggs and pickled onions in this country, but I have not found good PICKLES. (Except by getting a boatload on my Subway sandwich.)

10. Finding out one of your fave stores ships abroad (for free!!!) may not be a good thing - Lululemon... you will be the death of me and my bank account. Side note, if you didn't know Lululemon was sold in the UK, now you do! You're welcome!

But now I have a top to match my Team Sparkle skirt! And that's the most important thing...

11. If you don't like heels, don't wear heels! - Easy enough lesson right? Wrong. I always end up heels in hand in the middle of a night out. I've vowed never to wear heels again. I like flats. Judge me.

12. Don't roll your ankle, fall over, and cry in front of the sub 3:00 marathoners in your running club - Now I'm not saying that I've personally done this (yes I am), but just don't do it. Awkward!

13. Always go 'Ultimate' at TGIFridays - Margaritas the size of your head. It's worth it.

14. Going to a concert by yourself is actually fun - No shame here. Thought I was going to look like a doughnut sitting by myself, but actually had a grand old time.

15. Don't eat olives before you run - I learned the hard way.

16. Germany and Belgium are amazing - Travel there. You won't be sorry.

17. Egypt is also amazing - I'd go back to Sharm El Sheikh in a heartbeat.

Not in Sharm... but still a great experience!

18. Don't feel bad if you don't know what you want to do with your life - Just be happy! Things will fall into place!

19. If you want the polka dot trousers, just buy the polka dot trousers - Don't let thoughts like 'are these weird?' or 'will these make me look stupid?' stop you. Just buy them! Everyone loves polka dots!

20. Just because you don't know how to iron doesn't make you any less of an adult - I refuse to iron. I just do.

21. Salt and Vinegar flavour works for everything - Crisps, chips, peanuts, rice cakes. Who woulda thought?! 

22. Wear sparkles often - See Team Sparkle skirt above for prime example.

23. Sing Taylor Swift songs all day every day - 'I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22' (not anymore, oops!)

See you in a year for 24 more life lessons from an older and wiser Taylor!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Remember When Surveys Were Cool?

I don't know where this 'old school blogging' thing came from, but I kind of like it! I actually think it's more like old school MySpace survey posting, but that's okay. Remember when that was cool?

I saw this one from Meghan and thought why not! I'm a massive fan of useless facts anyway.

Here are my ABCs!

A. Attached or Single? I'm married! 

B. Best Friend? I have the 3 best friends who are far far away in America.

That's actually only 2 of them. I couldn't find a non-embarrassing pic of the 4 of us! Oops!

C. Cake or pie? I'm going to say cupcakes. I know, I really like being difficult.

D. Day of choice? Saturday, duh!

E. Essential Item? I'm sad to say this, but my iPad is incredibly essential.

F. Favorite color? Lime green

G. Gummy bears or worms? Sour worms for sure!

H. Home town? Boca Raton, Florida. If you watch Glee, it's the city where Sue Sylvester says she has her vacation home in.

I. Favorite Indulgence?  I could eat chips/fries all day everyday. And salt and vinegar crisps/chips. And bread. And just food. Seriously, I love food. I'd rather savory food than sweets any day.

J. January or July? January makes me sad because Christmas is over and normal life starts again, so I'm going to say July.

K. Kids? None.

L. Life isn’t complete without? People who make you smile. 

M. Marriage date? If you're from America, I got married on 2/8/13. If you're from the UK (or everywhere else in the world), I got married on 8/2/13.

I love this picture even though I look squinty.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 1 older sister

O. Oranges or Apples? Both!

P. Phobias? Needles! They're my absolute worst fear. I often start crying just thinking about them.

Q. Quotes? “If you can't laugh at yourself, life’s gonna seem a whole lot longer than you like.”

R. Reasons to smile? A fantastic run, getting an awaited package in the post, being with people you love, 3 day weekends, going home from work on a Friday night.

S. Season of choice? Late fall / Early winter

T. Tag 5 People. I tag you, you, you, you, and you! 

U. Unknown fact about me? I spent my childhood obsessing over Nsync, and specifically Lance Bass from Nsync. Spoiler alert : He's openly gay now.

V. Vegetable? I really love asparagus. And edamame! Is that a vegetable?

W. Worst habit?  Saying "um" a lot.

X. Xray or Ultrasound? I've had a million x-rays.  

Y. Your favorite food? Spicy buffalo wings with a side of curly fries.

Z. Zodiac sign? Leo! 

Your turn! Tell me some of your ABCs and then do it for yourself! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where Have I Been?! And RAtP turns 1!

Hi Guys!

I've been neglecting the internet. I know. I'm sorry.

And I didn't really go on hiatus on the best of notes now did I?

I promise I'm alive and well.

Going off my last post, I'm still in a work rut. I haven't been happy. And I haven't felt like writing about it.

Actually, I haven't been doing much of anything besides working and then sulking about work. I've not only neglected the internet, but I have also neglected running. Everything after work has started to feel like, dare I say it, homework. I'm being completely serious; I've been so drained from trying to put on a brave face from 9 to 5 that I felt like anything after that is more work.

I'm getting better at feeling better though. I think.

I ran a race last Sunday!

Why yes, those are brand new running shoes! Thanks for noticing!

It was the Tesco Race for Life 10K. It wasn't chip timed, and my unofficial time sucked anyway thanks to my lack of training and also having a cold. But it was a great feeling to race again. I thought I forgot how to run. Nope, I remembered!

But some exciting things are happening on this side of the pond! (And it's not baby related so don't even go there) Nothing is 100% official yet so I'm not saying anything. But I'm excited! (And have been on Pinterest up a storm trying to prepare.) 

In my little work rut hiatus, I completely missed my blogs first birthday!

On Friday, the 13th of July 2012, I wrote my first rambling blog post. Go find it if you want but it's kind of a train wreck.

And my header used to look like this.... oh the days!

Here's to a few more years of blog ramblings! And here's to being positive. Seriously, I need an IV drip of positivity right now!

Long time no talk! How have you been?! What's new in the world of the internet?

Monday, June 24, 2013

What Do You Do When You Don't Know What To Do?

Let's pretend I have my life completely together and got my dream job after graduating university. What exactly would I be doing in this perfect world?

The answer: I have no freakin' clue.

When I was 8, I wanted to be a teacher. And then a teacher family friend of ours said "Don't be a teacher; do something that makes more money!" That quote has stuck with me ever since.

Then when I was 10 I wanted to be a photojournalist. That was my absolute dream job! That is, until high school when I took my first media/journalism class and decided I actually hated it.

For the rest of my high school years, I was convinced I was going to be a screen writer. Yep, I loved writing and decided I could write movies. Then I got to college and realized I was no where near competitive enough for the industry.

So all of that being said, here I am in my twenties with a degree in psychology/sociology.

Oh yes, because that makes sense!

I have a job, I'm thankful for my job, and I like having a job (read: I like having a paycheck and a Mon-Fri schedule). 

But where is that "dream job"? Actually, what is my "dream job"?

What exactly do you do when you don't know what to do? Is it doing the whole "I'm working in an office now, but I don't want to do it for the rest of my life" thing? Because if that's what you do, I'm nailing that perfectly!

Don't get me wrong, I love where I am in my life. I love living with Alex in England. I love the freedom we have now to do whatever we want. However, I'd really like to wake up 5 days a week and not go "ugh... Is it 5:30 yet?"

I know success comes from those who work hard, and I'm not asking to be handed something to make my life easier. Trust me, I'm no stranger to hard work. I'd just like to know what I'm working hard towards at this point.

Does that make sense?

Anyone else have "I'm clueless in my 20s" syndrome, or has anyone escaped this? How do/did you cope?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tips For Hot Running

So the title may be a bit misleading. I'm not talking about hot running as in sexy running. Did you think that?? Silly you.

I really mean hot weather running.

I like to think I'm a pro at hot weather running being from south Florida and all. And Lindsay was the one who got me thinking about running in overly hot and humid weather when she tweeted about the insane temperatures for the Princess Half. Seriously, Florida sucks sometimes.

But the weather is getting warmer (for most of the world... Not England... #expatproblems) and soon it will be summer!

So I made a list for all you runners out there! My early days of running were not pretty. It took me a couple of years to stumble upon a majority of these tips, so here you go!

Yeah? Have they tested that theory in Florida summers?

Most of these are for when your training or just out for a run, although some of them can be applied to racing as well! 

1. Stay close to home - Don't venture too far away unless you absolutely have to. That way, you don't have to carry as much with you! Keep your water bottle and a spare towel (for excess sweat) in the shade by your house and make sure your route passes your house so you can stop and cool off.

2. Stop every lap to hydrate and wipe sweat - I always found I ran better when I stopped for water instead of carrying it around with me. Also, I always felt better using a small towel every mile or so to get sweat off my face. I know it's easy to get in a groove and not want to stop; but it's worth it.

3. Avoid bulky items - Loads of people are attached to their iPhone and just strap it on to their arm. However, the best present I ever received was my iPod shuffle. It weights close to nothing and when it's hot outside, I don't have to strap anything to my arm that just makes me sweat even more!

4. Put loads of ice in your water bottle - It'll melt and keep your drink cool! But as I said in step 1, leave it by your house! Otherwise the ice makes it heavy.

5. Have distance or time goals - It's so easy to say it's way too hot and just give up. If you wanted to run 3 miles, run 3 miles. It's hot, you're sweaty, you'll live. Just remember to listen to your body and don't over do it.

6. Absolutely no cotton! - Do I really need to elaborate?

7. Try cycling or breaking up your workout - Cycling is still hard work, but is a good break from running from time to time! I always liked cycling for a bit after a shorter run (if I was still up for it). The wind in my face felt really good. It was less about the 'exercise' and more about the 'just chillin on a bike winding down' feeling.

8. Avoid 'peak heat' times - Don't go out in the middle of the day. It's a rookie mistake that I have definitely made. In summer, I normally went about an hour or 30 minutes before it got dark depending on how long my run was going to be. 

9. Have another bottle of water in the fridge - You'll be glad you did when you get home! Sometimes I've even had to run inside and replace my water bottle with the one in the fridge if it's a really hot day!

10. Keep hair out of your face and off your shoulders and back - Another rookie mistake is the ponytail. Some people with long hair don't mind it. I cannot run in a ponytail if it's hot. Messy bun all the way. I hate the way my hair will stick to my face and shoulders. I'd also recommend headbands to keep frizz away! These headbands are a lifesaver! (Seriously, I don't get paid to talk about them; they are just that awesome!)

11. Be careful - Know your limit. It's genuinely okay to slow down or walk. Another good reason to stay close to home.

12. Make sweatbands your best friend - They're amazing. And cheap! I only wear the wrist ones, but I swear by them, especially in a race when I don't have a towel!

What are your tips for running in hot weather?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Scuba Diving In Egypt - Boat Trip Part 2

It seems like every Egypt post I have done so far I've said "this was the best" or "this was our favorite part!"

I think scuba diving in the Red Sea takes the cake though!!

What we did was called a "Discovery Dive". Basically we took a crash course on how to scuba dive properly. We had a certified diver with us at all times.

Scuba diving was both easier and harder than I thought it would be. I thought it would be really easy to get water in your mouth or in your goggles, or to forget how to breathe right into the oxygen tank, but it actually wasn't that bad!

I also thought it would be easy swimming around down there. Nope. Not for me. Alex was a natural scuba diver and was able to let go of our guides arm. Me, on the hand, well I started floating up any time the guide let go of me. So I just grabbed on to him the whole time! Oops!

(That's the "I'm Okay!" hand sign.)

Despite all of my difficulties when it came to the actual "diving" part, I'd definitely scuba dive again!

We ended up going down about 5 meters and spent a good 20-25 down there exploring the coral and seeing a ridiculous amount of fish. We even saw a sting ray!

Look at that fish trying to photo bomb me here! Rude!

(I know I know I'm making that silly hand sign in every picture. The photographer told me to!)

Alex and I decided right then and there that we want to look into getting certified! It was one of the best experiences of my life!

Have you ever been scuba diving or is it something you want to try??

Monday, June 17, 2013

Snorkeling In Egypt - Boat Trip Part 1

On our last full day in Egypt, Alex and I took a boat trip into the Red Sea to go scuba diving, which you will hear all about tomorrow! However, they also gave us the opportunity to go snorkeling!

Don't mind my 700 chins in this picture.....

(And FYI, thank heavens for my underwater camera!)

I've been snorkeling twice before, once in Mexico and once in Maui. But snorkeling in the Red Sea was amazing!

There were so many different types of fish! We even found Nemo! I didn't get a picture though...

The coral was absolutely gorgeous and just swarming with sea life!

My flippers.... How exciting....

There were also dolphins that were swimming all around and under the boat! I've never seen so many in my life! The people who worked on the boat said they've never seen that many dolphins before either!

Alex and I back on the boat looking quite squinty from the sun!

Snorkeling was definitely a fun experience. But scuba diving was way better! Tune in tomorrow for our Boat Trip Part 2!

Have you ever gone snorkeling before? Where was it? What did you see?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Owl Be Sweatin' Across the Pond

You know I love running.

You know I love owls.

Did I ever imagine that it would be possible to combine the two?! No way!

I came across the Owl Be Sweatin' Etsy shop a few weeks ago and was so excited! Not going to lie; the name is definitely what drew me to this wonderful shop, but I am so happy it did! They sell headbands specifically designed not to budge on your head while you run or exercise. Not to mention they are beyond cute!

Let me backtrack here: I'm not really a headband wearing runner. I sometimes would wear the so called 'no-slip' (lies!!) ones that I picked up at Target or a Lululemon one that collected and retained my sweat more than anything else. I was constantly having to adjust them! It just wasn't worth the hassle.

Never again will I settle for lackluster headbands. I promise these Owl Be Sweatin' ones will change your life! (I sound like one of those cheesy sales people you see on TV... I promise I'm not!)

How cute?!

All the headbands come with an adjustable strap, and when I say they do not budge, I mean they do not budge. I've ran outside in them and on a treadmill; they stayed put the entire time! No slipping whatsoever. I even tested them out around the house; it didn't move and didn't give me a headache! Quite the miracle as far as headbands go!

They have a bunch of styles to choose from! I had a hard time picking which ones I wanted to buy, but couldn't say no to the owl print! Typical Tay.

Sidenote, I don't even use those headphones for running. If Owl' Be Sweatin wants to make the perfect headphones too I'd be all over that.

I also picked out this chevron one; isn't the color just perfect for spring/summer?!

Both of mine are the 1 inch headbands, which work very well with my hair. It kept all my frizz back the entire time! They also have 1.5 inch thickness if you need a bit more coverage.

Honestly, if you are a runner or any kind of athlete, these are perfect in every way possible. I mean it!

What do you think?? Are you a headband wearing runner or a headband skeptic like I was?? Visit their shop and see for yourself!

(This is not a sponsored post. I paid for the headbands with my own money; I contacted one of the shop owners Mallory and asked if they would be kind enough to ship to England which was an amazing favor she did for me! All opinions are my own!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cairo In A Day

While in Egypt, Alex and I stayed in a city called Sharm El Sheikh, which is on the Sinai Peninsula. It was only about a 45 minute plane ride to Cairo, so we decided to take a day trip!

(Side note, I would definitely recommend booking a tour with a known travel group. It may cost a bit more money, but it's way safer. Cairo is not the prettiest city...) 

It was a long day, but we got a lot done!

Mosque at the Citadel of Salah Al-Din.

Since we were in a Mosque, all the women had to cover up. AKA pay about 50p to rent this lovely get up. Alex took this as a photo opportunity. The look on my face says 'I love you, but you're super annoying.'

We then went to the Egyptian Museum which was really cool! Unfortunately, cameras aren't allowed inside so I couldn't get any pictures. But the things they had in there were beyond amazing! The most impressive bits were the mask of Tutankhamun, and (for an extra fee) the mummy room!

(Just some of our ticket stubs from the day!)

Next we drove to Giza to see the pyramids!

I couldn't believe how close you could get to the pyramids! I mean, you could just go up and touch them. You could even climb them if you wanted to!

Sphinx! (Side note, love the guy in the background.)

Seriously, how amazing does this look? So impressive! Also, do clouds exist in Egypt? I don't think I saw a cloud the entire time I was there. Just sun... and lots of it if you couldn't tell from this photo!

General Thoughts: I'm glad we went to Cairo, but I don't think I'd ever go back. (I'd go back to Sharm El Sheikh in a heartbeat though!) It's an amazing place to visit and admire once. Like I said, it's not pretty. I'd recommend taking the day trip to see the sites, and then you'll have a lifetime of memories and bragging rights! 

Have you ever been to Cairo or is it on your bucket list??

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hotel In Egypt

Like I said yesterday, Alex and I had tons of fun during our week in Egypt!

Our favorite trips were definitely Cairo (which you'll see tomorrow!) and going scuba diving in the Red Sea.

However, I think my favorite thing about this holiday was that we spent 90% of the time relaxing in the gorgeous hotel! No obligations, no schedules, no phones. The biggest decision we had to make was which pool to lay by!

And this was by far the best one! It even had a swim up bar in it!

Plenty of chairs and space to get sun! I think during the day the temperature was usually 40 degrees Celsius!

This is the view from our balcony. Yes, we had a massive balcony! If I didn't love the water so much I could have just laid out on the balcony the entire trip.

One of the 80 million camels we saw in Egypt! Funny story actually.... When we walked by this one, my brain went "Oh that's fake." And then I was like, "Wait a minute, I'm in Egypt! That's a real camel!" It was just chilling outside our hotel. No big deal.

I was so sad to leave this amazing hotel! I'd go back tomorrow if I could!

What are some of your favorite memories from a vacation/holiday/weekend trip? Would you go back and do it all again?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

With Love, From Egypt

I'm baaaack!

After 7 relaxing/hot/fun days in Egypt, I'm finally back home in England.

Alex and I did everything imaginable on this holiday. We went to the pool and water park everyday, we went snorkeling and scuba diving (!!!!!), and even took a day trip to Cairo.

I miss Egypt so much, but it's always good to be home!

Pics and stories to come soon, stay tuned!! xx

Friday, May 31, 2013

Adventure Time

So if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been less than quiet about what's happening tomorrow morning.... 

Actually it has been a #TweetingOverload.

Tomorrow Alex and I head off to Egypt for a week!

(And please do not judge me for the massive typo in this picture. I didn't make it, nor could I find another version of it. It made me LOL and I needed to share it!)

I will be blissfully MIA for the next week on another continent! I'm excited to take lots of pictures; finally my underwater camera will be of some use! I might even vlog (do I dare?!) a bit while I'm there! No promises though; I think my voice is absolutely cringe on tape.

See you soon! xx

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Soon To Be Recent Reads

(In case you missed it, here is what I'd actually classify as Recent Reads if you're looking for something new!)

There are many (read: LOADS) of books on my radar at the moment, so I thought I'd share with you what's next on my list!

Look at me getting all artsy with the photo! #not

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling - I am super excited for this book! I love Mindy; I wish I was half as funny as she is. I got the sample (always get the sample... they're free!!) on my iPad and was cracking up within minutes. I can't wait to open this up sometime this weekend!

The Host by Stephanie Meyer - I was very skeptical to buy this. I'm like the anti-Twilight advocate of the world. (Okay okay, I read Twilight when I was 16 and loved it. And then my love just faded into hatred.) But I saw it for £3.99 at Sainsbury's and thought 'why not?' I also couldn't resist because it was made into a movie, and being on the pro-books side on the books v. movies debate I knew I had to give it a chance!

(Sidenote, I'm a few chapters in and actually had to re-read the back to figure out the plot. Totally did not start off the way I expected, but we'll go with it!)

1984 by George Orwell - Random. I know. I've been meaning to read it for a while now since it is the original book in this dystopian literature craze (can you call it a craze now?), but I'm kind of.... nervous. When I think of 1984 I think about required school reading (cringe. who ever liked those?!), except for the fact that I never had to read it for school! I did have to read Animal Farm when I was 13, and that wasn't so bad. So I'm giving this a shot. I'm not expecting Hunger Games/Divergent/Delirium/Matched type of reading. But I will give it a shot.

What do you have on your bookshelf waiting to be read at the moment?