Bowery Mural

My heart skip skips a beat

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Over the past month or so I've upped my game in terms of the fitness routine and classes I take part in on a weekly basis. I'm doing something every day of the week, and after a couple months break sporadic attendance, I finally started regular spin classes again. Well, two per week so far.

On the other days it's mostly cardio and strength and man what improvements I've seen in my strength and my body shape. My press ups are better and I can do more in a row, burpees are one of my most favourite things (I'm weird, I know!) and I can even do a plank lifting an arm up and alternate leg - I'm sure there must be a name for them - alternate planks maybe? Anyway, when I started I couldn't do half that so these improvements are great.

But here's a thing... I also go tone of those heart rate monitor thingamys. It's a strap and a little gizmo called a MyZone belt. You strap it to yourself. Exercise. Record the data. Boom. You can have challenges with friends (at the gym) and set yourself goals. Then. You discover that your heart rate is running high all of the time - queue mad panic! That's what I did. I panicked. By all calculations that I Googled, my maximum heart rate should be 183. So that's what was registered on my profile. Then I done a few classes and noticed that I was working quite hard. You have different zones and percentages, again depending on your max HR, weight etc. Anything above 70% is good when working out. As a side note, in a spin class you can see your results in real time as they relay it onto a big screen form a projector, so you know exactly hard you're working at any given time.

So, one Friday night, my first Friday night spin class in about a month, I strapped the MyZone to my body and set off on the class. Now, this class is an hour long and mostly high endurance tracks - meaning that we do long steady rides with very little rest in between. These rides can be 6-7 minutes long at a high pace with gears up high enough to give good resistance, then there's hill climbs and your maximum gears. All in all the toughest spin class I do. I could see myself in the green zone during the warm up. This is up to about 70% max HR. Then I hit yellow - phew - 70-80% max HR. And then BOOM, RED ZONE. 90-100% max HR, and that's where I stayed for most of the class. Like I said above, there's not much rest between tracks so from 6 minutes work you get about 1 minutes rest which isn't that much when you're puffing and panting away like an old workhorse. I mean I think I only reached 100% for about 20 seconds the whole class but I was going from 90-96% during the ride. I was chuffed. I always knew I worked hard in class because my train of thinking is this - what's the point if you aren't putting the effort in.

some stats

After class I was in the changing room chatting to a few others who were asking about the MyZone belt. I said I was fairly new to it but that it seemed okay. One lady piped in "I don't think yours is working properly. There's no way you could have been in the red zone for that long. It could be dangerous!". WTF! And why not exactly?

Why can't I be in the red zone for that long? My heart rate runs high when I'm exercising. I've had that checked before. According to this gizmo my resting hear rate is fairly low, around 58-60, which is proper decent. Who was this person to question my ability or effort?

That weekend I was googling heart rates, max heart rate, what happens when you're heart rate runs high during exercise etc etc... All because of that person.

On the downside I might keel over and die when I'm a little older! on the upside I could have the heart and lung capacity akin to Lance Armstrong. I am a machine! *wink*

So, for a minute there, my heart skip skipped a beat. And then I calmed down.

Side note: with a title like this post has, I wanted it to be about affairs of the heart rather than the actual workings of a heart. Oh well, next time...

Angela x

Rag and Bone Fedora

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I do love a good hat and had been after one of these babies for a long time. Then, when I went to New York I decided to take the plunge and buy one as the exchange rate was so good. So I popped into Rag and Bone on East Houston Street and after trying several styles and various sizes I opted for the safe black version. I figured it would go with anything.

Here we have my accessory of the year. The Rag and Bone floppy brimmed fedora hat. It's the perfect hat as far as I'm concerned. Excellent quality, 100% wool. Just the right hat height. Nice leather trim, and whenever I wear it I never feel like it's going to blow off my head. I haven't been out in gale-force winds wearing it though!

I even managed to successfully get it all the way home from New York in it's bag without it being squashed and misshaped. Result! There was one scary moment on the LHR - EDI flight when a late comer to the plane almost flung their rucksack on top of it in the overhead baggage but i managed to intervene, haha.

Angela x

Keepin' It Fresh

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Since returning from New York I'd been dying to find a stockist of Fresh products here in the UK. For the time time ever I've almost finished a lip balm. That's the Fresh Sugar original lip balm. It has SPF15 and smells just like the old fashioned sweeties, Kola Kubes, which I LOVE (pre-brace!). Delicious.

Anyway, I thought my luck was out until I tweeted asking @FreshBeauty and they kindly replied with details of how I could order from the London shop and they'd deliver. So that's just what i did last week. And the little box of delights arrived within one day, all neatly wrapped with a nice hand written note from Aimee, the assistant manager, whom I'd emailed with my order. Lovely.

What I got were: the Fresh Ruby lip treatment balm and the Fresh Petal lip treatment balm (a newish shade I think) (£18 each). I also got a little Christmas set called Sugar Wishes (£23) with the original Fresh Sugar lip balm and lip scrub. Happy Christmas to me. And finally I got a bottle of Fresh lemon sugar body lotion.

The lip treatment balms are a tried and tested formula for me. Not sticky, really moisturising and they smell amazing. The petal shade is kinda my lips but better and the ruby shade is my lips but a little pinker, brighter and much better - a nice Christmas shade if you're not into lipsticks. They look really pigmented in the tube but once on the lips it's like a tint of colour that you can easily build up for more colour wash. Perfect for me really since I have a drawer full of neglected lipsticks.

I've not opened the Christmas set as my original Fresh Sugar lip balm is still going and I won't crack open a new one until that is finished. I'm looking forward to trying the lip scrub though as winter is here I know my lips will be dry and flaky real soon.

The main event though is the body lotion (£18). Now, I don't like body lotions that are too strong (Pond's cocoa butter), or that don't sink into the skin and sit on top of it making you feel a little slimy (La Roche Posey iso urea lotion) but i do like to keep moisturised (Kiehl's Creme De Corps) as my skin can look almost snake-like if I haven't used lotion for a few days. And with the Kiehl's being a little on the expensive side for a small bottle, I thought I'd try a Fresh one. I opted for the Lemon Sugar scent as I thought it must be zingy scented and, well, fresh. And that it is. It's a lighter lotion than the Kiehl's. It rubs in perfectly and leaves a scent but not an overly strong scent. Just enough after a warming shower. It's lemony, sugary and wakes you up. The consistency means it sinks into your skin like a dream and doesn't leave that slimy film at all. My legs are especially dry but on leaving work and going to the gym afterwards they still felt hydrated from the morning. Perfect.

I wish Fresh Beauty was more easily available here in the UK. When Sephora started shipping to the UK I thought my troubles had ended but Fresh is one of the brands they don't ship the UK. We need to rectify that, Sephora and Fresh Beauty, please?!

Angela x

Been Busy

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Wow, it's been ages since I've posted here. Sorry!

There are only a few reasons why. Mostly because life has taken over and I've started having much needed early nights so by the time work is over and the gym has been ticked off my daily list. It's dinner and then pretty much bed time. Phew. But I'm going to try to really put the time in and get this blog up and running again.

So, what's been happening? Well, as sure as night turns to day it's only four and a bit weeks until Christmas. Where has 2014 gone?! I mean, wow, it's flown by. It's been quite a year. I finally started Christmas shopping last weekend. Got the nephews some stuff. Then I picked up loads of stuff from the Boots 3 for 2 shelves and then promptly put them all back when I decided they weren't what I wanted to buy. I was thinking, there's too much choice in there. Does anyone else get that feeling in Boots?

View from the gym at 7.30am

The Gym... has pretty much been my life for the past month or so. I've upped my fitness game and am there 7 days a week. My exercise classes change everyday but this week i even started running again (and we all know how much i am so not a runner!). I've not gone crazy though, 10-15 minutes on the treadmill, some weights, some rolling and stretching... It all adds up. Classes are mostly metafit; Shockfit circuits and strength training; and spin classes. Almost two weeks ago I got this heart rate monitor device called a MyZone that they sell in the gym. I mostly got it because I was curious to see how hard i am working and how many calories are being burnt off with each bead of sweat that drips off my pink face. I was surprised. In a good way! I seem to be working pretty hard. I mean I kinda knew that anyway, I can't really give anything more by the end of a workout, but the heart rate thing appears to be saying I work in the 'red zone' pretty regularly during a workout. (The red zone being 90-100% of your max HR). A few people have said it's not working properly - cheeky things(!), but after a week it's settled down and I think it's bang on. How dare they say I'm not working that hard. I know I am. The good thing about this Myzone belt is that you can set challenges up with groups of friends or other people at the gym, you can push each other on and get motivated. I'm currently 3rd in our little Christmas challenge. I plan on being at least 2nd (the guy in 1st place is wearing his all day every day i think!). We'll see how i get on in the next few weeks.

Work has been really busy and really crazy just now. There's loads going on and my workload is doubling. I seem to be at too many meetings for my liking plus I've got a full days' training next week that couldn't have come at a worse time. On the upside I got a new computer last week and it's great. Quite fast and I can still listen to my music during the day. Being busy is good but sometimes it's a bit overwhelming. I'm learning just to take a few moments out to have a cup of tea a put things into perspective. There's only so many hours in the working day and there's only so much one person can do. My mantra.

Anyway, they are by no means excuses but just some of the reasons this blog has taken a little back seat for a few weeks.

I'll be back...

Angela x

Going for a run

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Lovely day in Stirling, Stirling Castle

No, not a run as in a run around the park, or a run on a treadmill (however I did actually run on a treadmill for the first time in about two years his week)... Sideswerve! No, this is a run in the car.

Lately I've been feeling that my Saturday's have been waste days. Wasted in the sense that i haven't really done much on a Saturday for a while.

My Saturday's tend to go something like, wake, breakfast, drop the sister and nephews at football training, Insanity class at the gym, brunch at home, then... nothing much. There's the usual housework, food shopping etc but nothing of note. Then before you know it it's 6pm, time for dinner, Strictly and (let's be honest here) XFactor. Saturday? More like Saturdaze.

So, I thought to myself. I'll go for a run. So I did the first part of my Saturday routine, then shortly after lunch time, and a detour to my aunt's to find out he latest family mini crisis, I set off in the car in fairly decent weather and headed North.

First through Stirling and past the back end of Stirling Castle. What a great view. Then out towards Doune and Callendar then up through Crianlarich and I gave up at Tyndrum. The plan was to head to Glencoe with my camera and take a few wonderful shots to show you all here. The weather wasn't playing ball though and yes, at 3pm when I pulled into the Real Food Cafe at Tyndrum I knew I wasn't going any further.

It was windy and wet and pretty much no views to be had through some very low cloud so i grabbed a cup of tea and a slice of millionaire's shortbread, which by the way you'd need to be a millionaire to eat at £2.45 a slice! Kidding, but still a bit steap for a pretty underwhelming bit of chocolate shortbread. I sat there and ate half the cake and then set off back down the road. Which was a slow ass journey because lo and behold, just five miles into that journey, just past Crianlarich, I was stuck behind a police jeep escorting a huge ass aid load lorry with a crane on the back of it. ALL. THE. WAY. TO STIRLING. An hour and a half along wet winding roads behind this lorry. And because there were hills surrounding me the radio kept cutting out.

But the scenery was magnificent. Russet would be the colour I'd describe Scotland just now. Rusty coloured blankets covering the hillsides. Faded green trees lining the roads. And to set it all off a grey mist hanging in the air. Pretty perfect.

Don't you just love going for long drives? Where do you go?

Angela x

NYC: Central Park and Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Back to my travels after a brief interlude...

Monday saw me wander through central park after a breakfast on the rooftop of the Refinery hotel with this AMAZING view. BOOM!!

I headed out into central park via a detour to 5th Avenue and back to the hotel to get a new camera battery. Fail. Hopping on and off the subway it didn't take me that long and I was soon into the relatively quiet city oasis that is Central Park. It was wonderfully calm apart from a few runners and cyclists and the odd street performer.

It was near lunchtime by the time I reached the Boathouse Restaurant and so I grabbed a burger and fries at their takeout bar at to the rear of the main building. It was okay. Not that great if i'm honest. Live and learn. Once I had refuelled I walked to the Bethesda Fountain area and then onto the Alice in Wonderland statue. All the while wandering, I kept thinking how can it be so quiet in the middle of this vibrant city? The trees were a welcome noise dampener as well as much need shade from the daytime sun. Although there were grey clouds in the air too. I hoped it wasn't going to be another tropical downpour since I was without a jacket!

I made my way onto Park Avenue and into the Whitney Museum. There was a small queue that only took about 10 minutes for me to reach the entrance. Once inside I FaceTimed home to update the folks on my days adventuring. Floor by floor I took in all that Jeff Koons has to offer through the decades. From the silver whacky decanters to the wonderful giant balloon dog on a higher floor. One of my favourite things was the giant bundle of coloured plasticine. I mean it wasn't really plasticine but it looked just like it (except it was about 10 feet tall). Then there was a giant helium like balloon on the wall. So real looking but made from highly polished metal. I had fun taking some selfies in which you can hardly see me. Then there were those where you could - in the giant coloured animal head shaped mirrors. So cool.
Jeff Koons split rocker head at the Rockefeller centre

Th Whitney Museum


plasticine - playdoh?

The museum was busy and I thoroughly enjoyed my few hours spent there. Bonuses being the Andy Warhol originals. Wowsers.

Andy Worhol

After that I headed back to hotel to freshen up and have a bite to eat. Then I headed out into the muggy New York evening for some gift shopping. The NBA shop for the boys, the Bose shop for me. The Hershey's chocolate shop for others. Times Square was lively as usual but it didn't stop me hanging around to soak it all in, on my last night.

Back at the hotel I was knackered and was sprawled out on the bed when - wah wah wah - the fire alarm went off. I wasn't sure what it was at first but soon realised. I grabbed by bag and phone and headed down the fire escape at the back. The strange thing was there was only me and another family from a room on our floor - either this hotel was empty just now or we were the only ones taking notice of the fire alarm. The fire escape took us out the back of the hotel, so we walked around the front where the doormen were in no panic and indeed let us into the lobby. A few minutes later the siren of the FDNY could be heard and in strolled 4 firemen in full uniform. It was like Chicago Fire, except in New York haha. A few guests were milling around in the lobby so we sat down. The security man made an announcement to say it was a false alarm but a few firemen went up in the lifts just to be sure. The others stayed in the lobby and were trying to reset the random alarm that kept going off. About 20 minutes past and everything was fine. We were allowed back to our rooms and the FDNY went on their way - not without some guests taking pictures though.

Back in my room it was now 11pm and I still had some packing to do. I did as much as I could and settled into bed watching the latest episode of The Leftovers. All in all, another brilliant day in New York city.

Angela x

Alexander Wang for H&M - my wishlist

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I quite like this look, minus that beanie hat!

Tonight sees the launch of the much anticipated Alexander Wang for H&M collection in New York City. If there's one thing I love more than NYC, it's Alexander Wang clothes. It's a pity they're so expensive and I'm probably on the wrong side of height to weight ratio to be able to carry them off stylishly.

What I love about AW clothes are that they are sporty as well as being smart, and that's just my kind of style. Not to mention the bags. I love my dreamy grey leather Rocco bag.

When the newest H&M collaboration was announced back in April I marked the sate in my diary and booked a day off work so that I could 1) stake out the H&M store in Glasgow in the hope that i'm first in the queue and 2) so that whilst standing in that queue I can be on the world wide web ordering items that may not be in store. That is all assuming that the Glasgow store will be carrying the collection since my tiny local H&M in Stirling most likely won't be! (Boo).

The look book has been released this morning and I've already made my draft shopping list. It seems like women could make the crossover into the men's collection (if you like baggy clothes). I only hope H&M's website can cope better than it did last year when the Isabel Marant collection launched.

Here are my picks!

mesh jumper - £79.99

mesh top - (could be worn as dress) - £79.99

cropped sweatshirt - £34.99

crop top - £27.99
vest - £24.99

Images above courtesy of, full gallery here

The accessories look great - those little keyrings, the duffel bag, a sports towel, and a backpack! I predict the backpacks will be the first to go. Image below courtesy of

New gym bag?! Love this jumper too. I cannot get on board with that beanie hat though.

And... how good does Andy Carroll look in this picture!

What are your picks?

Angela x