Saturday fun

Lately I have been looking forward to the weekends even more than usual, mainly because it means outdoor fun with the husband preferably on a bicycle. We decided to cycle to Fleet today and go on a charity shop tour. There are loads of charity shops in Fleet and it's a somewhat decent cycling distance away. I took the Schwinn cruiser which meant I got to dress nicely.

dress is my garden party dress in sky blue, cardi is from New Look a few years back, ballerina pumps from Primark and the hair flowers are made by me

I came home with relatively few items. Only found a bag and two necklaces :-( but better than nothing. Plus we had a little Marks and Spencer's picnic and some amazing cake!!!

Bestestest pecan pie!! That's the kind of treat I pedal for. 

Happy weekend everyone!!!


Sailor style jeans

I made a pair of Burda 8488 in denim the other day. I have a pair in light denim already (never photographed and blogged)  which I have worn a lot. It's my lazy-can't-be-bothered-to-make-an-effort pair of jeans. When I saw this dark lightweight denim at my local fabric shop and I thought I should make another pair that is a little dressier. So here they are. 


little nautical detail
and stripey wedges of course

As if I sensed the news to come when I made them last week....I'm in need of more nautical fashions. I am moving to the UK's south-west coast soon. My husband just found out on Monday where we will be posted to next. We were hoping to move back to Germany for a few years but instead we are being transferred to Devon. I was a bit disappointed for a second as I would have loved living closer to my family and friends again, at least for a while. But on second thought, living close to the seaside in one of the most beautiful areas in the UK really isn't too bad. In fact I am now very much looking forward to the move. Please message me if you are living anywhere in the the area. I'd like to meet some local sewing buddies, vintage enthusiast or sport fanatics.


Weekend cycling: lady cyclist vs road racer or two bikes, two outfits, two missions

My husband and I spend this weekend indulging in one of our favourite activities, cycling. We went on a 60 mile bike ride on Saturday and a lazy afternoon ice cream run and stroll through Wokingham on Sunday. I have always enjoyed cycling on my Schwinn beach cruiser, wearing cute outfits and getting from A to B but whenever I saw road cyclists out on their bikes I never understood what they like about road cycling. It always seemed boring to me. Obviously road cycling is a hug part of triathlon, so it was inevitable for me to start cycling on a performance bike. It took me a few rides to kind of get into it as it's not the most comfortable experience at first and you really need to "break in" your rear end. It also doesn't allow for cute outfits, it's padded tights or shorts and tech shirts plus helmet....not so pretty. But let me tell you, going down a hill at 32 miles/hour is an awesome experience and the ground you can cover on a bike like that is amazing. I admit I'm very torn between pretty cycling and badass cycling now. So this weekend we decided to dedicate a day to each kind. 

Thames in Windsor
the not-so-lady-cyclist-look aka day glow goodness - better safe than road jam right?
Eton, we did go past the college but didn't stop for pictures...

Our Saturday ride took us from Wokingham to Reading, Maidenhead,Windsor, Eton, Windsor Park Ascot, Bracknell and back home. 60 miles total, that's a lot of cake and cider for me. You've got to reward yourself for all that work, right?

I slept very well that night, I guess passed out until late morning is the correct term. After lunch we decided to cycle into Wokingham again for some ice cream. This time I took Betty Schwinn and got to dress a little nicer. The shorts are my own creation from 2 years ago, still going strong. 

I feel a little Jackyl and Hyde sometimes when my love for sports and outdoorsy stuff collides with my love and passion for wearing pretty frocks.........oh well first world problem ey? 
Do you have any clashing hobbies and interests?


The cherry print wiggle dress

I have been making a lot of dresses featuring full gathered skirts or circle skirts lately and thought it was time for a different design. In one of my latest dress posts I was toying with the idea of using my sweet heart bodice in combination with a pencil skirt and so I did. I used a black cherry print cotton and the result is a cute little wiggle dress. 

had a good hair day, too

I think if I use this design again, I will make the skirt slightly longer. It's not too short but shorter than I usually wear. I also have this fabric in white waiting to be made up into something. Not sure what it's going to be yet. Any ideas?


How I got into running part 3: half marathons and marathons

It's time for part three on how I got into running and finally multi sport. You find part one and part two of this series here. For the first three years of running I was kind off training in phases. I would train for a few months, book a race and then once the race was over I would loose interest. So for a few weeks I wouldn't run and then get to the point where I felt my fitness slipping away. Then I would usually get back into it, feeling frustrated with having to take a few steps back and rebuild the fitness/endurance I had lost.

As mentioned in previous running post in 2010/2011 my husband went on tour to Afghanistan for six month over the autumn /winter months and I was left with lots of free time by myself. I was also made redundant at the time. I picked up running again to get out of the house and try to avoid the winter blues that way. I felt like I needed a new goal, something to focus on and decided that maybe I should attempt training for a half marathon. So I did, however for some reason I never booked a race. So I was training with no race day ahead and eventually burnt out or lost interest, I can't really remember. My husband and I also did a lot of travelling once he got back from tour and in that time I wasn't running too much. I learnt a lot from this experience though. I learned that I need a goal, a race and a strategy. You can't just consistently build up and increase distance or intensity or both.

We moved to the outskirts of Reading in January 2012 due to a course my husband was/still is taking here. I revisited the idea of running a half marathon. I picked the Bracknell half in April and used a runners world training plan to prepare. I also ran a 10k in Winchester as part of my preparation and really enjoyed following this plan, seeing progress as time went past. The actual race was great, although I had a cold on the day and got soaking wet as it was raining all day. You can read all about that race here
Totally soaked and exhausted after my first half marathon

Once I had bagged that half marathon I felt like I really enjoyed the longer distances and started toying with the idea of running a full marathon. You know just one to cross it of the bucket list. I found the Abingdon marathon in November and signed myself and my husband up for it. We didn't get into the race because it was full and had to stay on the waiting list in case a space became available. I thought, who is going to drop out of a marathon? I couldn't find any other marathons for that year and decided to sign up for Brighton 2013 instead. I love Brighton and running there would be amazing.
But then in July I got the news that we had made it into the Abingdon race, hooray!!, and training began. I tell you it's hard work training for a marathon throughout summer. (maybe not this year as there isn't even Spring weather apart from like 3 days scattered over the past months) If you want to train for a full marathon I would advise booking a Spring race instead of an autumn one.

In November 2012 my hubby and I ran our first full marathon. It was his first 26.2mi /42.2km, too. I am so lucky my husband is so supportive. He does his own training and trotts along with me on long runs, which must be so boring as I am A LOT slower than him.

after my first marathon

I was in A LOT OF PAIN for about a week after running this race. On the first day I could not even get up from the sofa by myself. My husband had to lift me into a standing position. I had to physically lift my legs to turn around in bed and I had to go up and down the stairs on my bum. It was bad!!! But it got better and I knew I would do this again. Well, I did about six month later in Brighton. The days after were painful again but not as much as the first time. The human body is an amazing thing and adapts well to stress and only ends up being stronger.

I also ran a 10 miler and two more half marathons in 2012 and realised that I am much more consistent with my running if I keep setting goals and have events booked along the way. After running my first full marathon, I felt like I can do anything I set my heart to. If I don't know how, I can learn it or train and practise for it but whatever I want to achieve, I can achieve. So after having conquered the almighty marathon, I knew I would not go any further than that. I am not interested in ultra running (yet, who knows what my crazy side will set my mind to in the future).
And that is what sparked the idea of triathlon but more about that next time.

Are any of you running any races in the near future? I know Porcelina is running her first 10k soon. You should head over to her blog and wish her good luck.


The rockabilly car show dress....

I ventured off from my usual floral dress creations with this dress. This car print fabric called for a relatively simple design and the pale pink colour for a very summery style.
So I went for a simple fitted bodice and added a halter strap because I'm not a huge fan of completely strapless. The skirt is a simple gathered dirndl style. Fortunately I finished this dress before that one sunny day of the past couple weeks we've had and got to wear it. I wonder if there will be one more change for a dress like that this year. I'm kind off loosing hope for a descent Summer with a lame spring like we had here in the UK :-(

I added a little bow to the neckline for some extra detail. I hope you've had some more chances to wear your summer dresses yet. 


Want to learn a new skill like how to do vintage hair? Check out The Amazings.......

A few weeks ago I was contacted by The Amazings, an organisation where retiring or retired people pass on their skills and knowledge in workshops and classes and currently offer about 200 real life courses.

Because their classes have been so successful, The Amazings are now branching out into online classes everyone can take part in, in their own time, revisit and retake as often as they like.
I was asked if I was interested in checking out their website and trying a class currently available. Since I am always interested in learning new things, I jumped at the chance. 

There are currently 8 online classes available with more being added every week. There is no charge to join the site but the classes themselves range in price from £8 to £20.

I decided to try out the retro hair do class as this is a subject I am always experimenting with and want to learn more about. The retro hair do course is £12 and for that you receive 
video tutorials for three vintage hairstyles with a modern twist. They are not authentic vintage but rather vintage inspired. A very charming and wonderful teacher Michael, who is a hairdresser and knows his craft, explains step by step how to recreate each style and provides tips and tricks alongside the videos like little "hand-me-outs" You can also communicate with fellow classmates and Michael, in case you feel like you need more information and help.

Michael is very sweet and seems to love his profession as a hair stylist. You can tell he is very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about what he is doing. I recommend watching all three videos first before getting started on your own hair. The setting of the hair is very similar for all three styles and is shown in each individual video. Michael explains a few extra bits in each video which will be useful, especially for people new to vintage hair styling. If you only watch one video at a time, trying to recreate a style you might miss a few bits of information for a successful finish. What I like is that Michael gives a few tips on what products to use and how. I also liked his little stories very much. 

Now, how did I do?

setting my hair, it pretty much looked the same for all three styles

I decided to have a go at all three hairstyles to see if you really can recreate them all by yourself with the help of this course. You will need a set of hot rollers for all three hair dos. Michael explains and shows how to roll and set your hair.

The first style is a 1930s inspired chignon to one side of the head. I really liked that style on the model and hers is a hair do I have not previously tried. (sorry I don't have a picture of her) 

Style number two, rockabilly.

The Amazings version (pictures The Amazings)

my version

The rockabilly inspired style. I'm not 100% into this do. It's a more messy take on the quiff and I prefer more sleek looks for myself. It did however turn out pretty much like the hair style on the model.

The third style is a 1960s Bridget Bardot inspired beehive. I love this style but I'm not sure it suits me that well. I haven't got layered hair so I had to tuck the front of my hair to the sides.

The Amazings model, isn't she gorgeous? source

and this is my version

My verdict: I really like the idea of The Amazings. I would like to try a real life class in the future and see what they are like. The online class format reminds me a bit of the Craftsy courses. I have never taken a craftsy class so I wont know if they actually are similar or not but the concept seems to be. If The Amazings keep doing what they are doing and add to their repertoire, I can't see why they won't become as popular. 

As far as the online class goes, I think it is a great class for people who want to try out some retro hair dos. The ways they are styled are very much geared at all girls and women who like a bit of a hair do that stands out from the mass, not necessarily just for vintage and retro enthusiasts.  The video tutorials are easy to follow and guide you to a satisfying result. Beginners might have to have a few goes at using the hot rollers and maybe each hairstyle won't be perfect straight away. But with time and practise, they will get there in no time. I like that you will learn techniques, little tips and tricks on how to do it by yourself (not with a wonderful hair stylist, styling your hair for you) and what products to use.

I would have liked to see an alternative to hot rollers for those people who don't own a set and don't want to buy one just to have a go. But maybe Michael will have an alternative if you contact him via the website for help. I didn't use the interactive possibilities. I also hope the prices will go down with increasing interest. I don't think £12 is too much for a class like that at all but with countless free tutorials on youtube and vimeo etc. there is a lot of competition.

Now go and check out The Amazings for yourself, try out a class and see what you think. There is anything from knitting to sewing to diy cosmetics etc.

Disclaimer: I got to try the online class for free however all opinions are my own.


My first Triathlon...

Last Sunday was finally THE DAY, I would compete in my very first triathlon. This has been a dream of mine for a while now. 
I will do a post on how I went from just running to multi-sport soon to continue my how-I-got-into-running-posts. Here are part 1 and part 2 of that series.
I was so exited about race day that I already thought the Saturday the weekend before that it was the day of the event. Pretty silly but I guess it helped getting my nerves out of the way. I couldn't sleep and was quite nervous and worried the whole day so when I realised on Sunday morning it was all false alarm and the race wasn't until the following weekend, I was very relieved.

This past Sunday started at 4:00 am for me but this time I had gotten some sleep and I was all calm and exited to go. I had all my kit packed the night before and just had to eat, put on my tri-suit and drive to the lake. Registration opened at 5:45 but we didn't get there until 6 am. I registered, racked my bike in the transition area and set up my space:  helmet, cycling gloves, shoes, food (gels, water and sports drinks just in case) and a few different shirts in case I needed to wear something over my tri-suit when coming out of the water. As this was my first triathlon, I didn't have a clue whether I would be cold in my wet clothing after the swim.

nervous much?

After setting up I had plenty of time to put on my wetsuit and make my way to the start. All participants got a short race brief and then it was time to go. I like the way the swim was organised. The men younger than 40 went in first, 10 minutes later the 40+ veteran men and then all women at 7:25. The swim is still the part that worries me most and I have heard horror stories of people swimming over other people and it all being a big mess. So with swimming being my weakest discipline and me being afraid to be pushed under I decided to start at the back of the pack. I also had not been in a lake for about 2 weeks so I was a little worried I would have wet suit issues again. 

getting in the lake

So anyways, once the veterans had taken off for their race, the ladies could get in the water to get acclimatised. I wanted to go in as soon as possible as I had problems adjusting to the cold of the water against my face in previous lake swims. It kind off takes my breath away and makes swimming that much harder. To my surprise the water was a lot warmer than at my previous lake swims and I felt comfortable very quickly. At this point I finally relaxed, forgot about all my anxieties and looked forward to the race. 
The swim was so much better than I thought. It took me 20 minutes to swim the 750 m course and I didn't come out of the lake last. That was one of my goals for the day. 

the women's swim pack
approaching the end of the swim
the hardest part is done

The first transition took me just under 5 minutes. Try to get out of a wetsuit in a hurry, then dry yourself as much as you can and get on some socks and shoes....sounds easy but man, it's hard work.

Next onto the bike part, 20 km road cycle. The first thing that happened was that my chain had come off while my bike was racked in transition but a nice marshal guy popped it back on for me while I was getting ready for the cycling. I then took a wrong turn on the course but thankfully realised it after just 100 m or so and then my chain came off again on the course. I managed to get it fixed and finished the cycle after 52 minutes.

My second transition was super fast, just about 1 minute 40. I only had to rack my bike, take off my helmet and cycling jacket (I can't believe I wore a cycling jacket....what a newbie I am....it's like dragging a parachute behind) I'm currently not cycling with clip in shoes so I was already wearing my running shoes on the bike and didn't need to change them.
I took a sip of sports drink and off I went on the 5 km run. 

The run was a trail run, which I think I had read before but must have tried to ignore as a fact. It was a very wobbly run on the first kilometre. The uneven ground and my legs having just cycled 20 km as hard as I could, didn't really help but eventually I got into it and finished the run in 28 minutes.

My total time was 1:45:30 which was about 15 minutes faster that I expected. I was aiming for a sub 2 hour finish but that good??? Who would have thought. Needless to say, I am hooked now and can't wait to do it all over again. I think I lost my last fears of lake swimming that day. I could even imagine going in just a bathing suit now if the water is warm enough. Of course looking at the wonderful?!? English summer we are having here, I won't have to prove that any time soon.

I must say, the race was very well organised. Everyone I met on the day, organisers, helpers and athletes, were super friendly and encouraging. I wasn't the only newbie there which was nice. And there was no difference being made between the elite and the first timers.
The only bummer was, that there were no medals for the finishers. Just a T-shirt :-( I love my medals.
But then I can't find my medal from my first 5 km race either. So no firstie medals in my collection.

Do you collect your race medals? Do you do triathlon, running or think about giving any of it a go? If you do, go for it. You will never regret it! EVER!