Finding out I didn’t get a place in the London Marathon (again!)

London marathon

In the past few weeks I’ve been stopping in my tracks and thinking; why, oh why did I apply for the London Marathon?

A number of reasons why I thought it was a stupid time for me to apply bubbled up in my mind whenever I was reminded of receiving the result soon.  I’ve just bought a house with my partner, meaning all of my spare money and time will be invested in that, do I even have time and money to invest in training for a marathon?  Training in those dark, cold nights will be hard.  Really hard, I thought.  Despite the fact I haven’t ran for a fair few months now, not properly, and I’ve definitely never ran anything over 10K.

And so my doubtful mind went on… and I thought, I bet this is the year I get in on a ballot entry. I could actually feel the dread growing as I visualised seeing an acceptance into the ballot letter.  “SHIT” would probably be my first reaction.  Or something stronger.

When the time came and I saw that packaged fleece and magazine near to my door, I was nervous.  It was facing down, as it always seems to be, and my heart was beating when I started to peel it over to reveal to myself either the ‘Sorry’ or ‘You’re In!’ message plastered over the magazine.  I felt very tense.

The first thing I saw was yellow.  ‘Sorry’.  A glum looking female runner.  Typical, I huffed and threw down the magazine back on the table.

Nike Womens Pegasus Running Shoes
Back in more motivating times (when I was running)

Bloody Ballot…

This year was the third year I’d applied for the London Marathon, and the third year I’d failed to get in.  In previous years I hyped myself up with ideas of vlogging my marathon progress, seeing myself going out on long scenic runs in the countryside and racking up the miles on the Nike Running app.

Although I felt this year didn’t feel like a good time, I thought I’d feel relief if I saw that ‘Sorry’ magazine again.  I was wrong, what I actually felt was the same as I did the previous two years when I saw that five lettered word; determination.

London marathon fleece and magazine

Applying for the London Marathon (again)

I’m determined to apply for the London Marathon once again again (when the ballot opens next year).  My determinations was/is mixed in with the images of me training, talking about training, researching about training, buying a whole new running wardrobe, figuring out which foods to eat, when to run, where to run.  But most of all, seeing images flash into my mind of marathon day, feeling like I’m bricking it before starting the race, the tears I might cry when I felt I couldn’t go on, to the visualisation of running that last mile with Buckingham Palace in my sights.

Because that’s really why I apply for the London Marathon, not because I’m fanatical about running – I’m not a great runner!  I hated it in school and I’ve only really taken it up in the past 3/4 years.  But there’s something about the London marathon which would feel like a great achievement I’d want to complete in my life, even if it’s just once.  Why London?  I’m British and it’s my capital, I’ve also lived within it and loved it dearly (and still do).  And it’s supposed to be the best.

So well done to all the lucky ballot entrants who got themselves a place.  I hope you laugh, cry, love and hate every minute of training to make getting past that finishing line a memory you’ll certainly never forget.

This year, I’ll have to lump for a 10k race instead.

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New Purchases Show & Tell – September 2017

New Purchases Show & Tell September 2017

The big news has finally been revealed; my boyfriend and I are officially homeowners. With a mortgage to start paying and a house to look after, it’s no surprise my New Purchases Show & Tell September 2017 is filled with buys that reflect that.

Looking back on my New Purchases Show & Tell for last year however, I was buying clothes for a new job and still reminiscing about Adele’s set at Glastonbury.  What a difference a year makes…

New Purchases Show & Tell September 2017 video

Dulux Once Paint – 49 seconds in
I lol at just typing this item into my post – I mean, who puts PAINT in their monthly favourites/new purchases?!  But it’s true, this paint saves SO MUCH TIME when painting white walls.  After giving our living room 5 coats at least, with the usual matte paint, it’s the room that has taken us the longest to decorate.  Whereas our bedroom only took 2 coats!  I rest my case.

Ikea Vimle 3-seat Sofa – 1:25 minutes in
I’ve been looking forward to the day I first stepped into an Ikea store since we decided to move out.  Having never been in one before, it was an interior heaven, but also a bit of an interior hell.  I explain more in my house vlogs, but what’s important is that we successful bought a banging yellow sofa.  I absolutely love it!

Simba mattress – 2:17 minutes in
I was so relieved David agreed with me when I said it’s worth spending a little bit more on a bed, considering the average human might spend up to 25 years of their time sleeping in it.  So after weeks of being targeted by Simba mattress ads on social media, I caved in.  But, after all, they did sound damn comfy and if we aren’t sure after 100 sleeps, we can send it back.  Although I doubt we’ll be doing that.

New Purchases Show & Tell September 2017

Stylus pens – 3:05 mintes in
Okay, this is a bit random, but I can explain.  After attempting several times to achieve that ‘cool’ handwritten look in my Instagram stories, and failing, I’ve bought these stylus pens.  I’m convinced Instagrammer’s must use these in their Instagram stories for that pretty handwriting, which is impossible to draw with just your finger.  Hence why I’ve bought these, here’s hoping I’ve figured out their secret.

ASOS PETITE Stretch Skinny Trousers – 4:08 minutes
In my previous New Purchases Show & Tell post for August, I could have pretty much renamed it WHAT I WORE instead (there was a lot of clothing buys!).  However, this month I’ve hardly bought any clothing (although I haven been weeping inside when I check the ‘New In’ section in the ASOS and TopShop apps.)  For £7.50, I had to whip these up and I’m glad I did!  They’re a skinny fit, without the uncomfortable digging in, making this bargain entirely worth it.

New Purchases Show & Tell September 2017

Next month… 

I feel like my New Purchases Show & Tell September 2017 has been a really weird one.  I’ve still not got over the fact I’ve included a tin of paint and a mattress in this, but don’t worry, I think next month I’ll be back to my normal purchases.

I’m also planning to go away at the end of the month, so I’ll be buying some travel purchases too.  (Although after spending a lot on the house, don’t expect this to be anywhere far flung.  A clue: it’s somewhere just a hop on a train away…)

I have not been asked, sponsored or paid to review any of these products.  I just like to shop!

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My Reading Challenge 2017: 9-month update!

My Reading Challenge 2017

After suffering a reading dip over the summer (busy work schedule, multiple weddings, oh and a Glastonbury to remember), I think I’m finally back on track with my Reading Challenge 2017.  (Although I’m still quite far behind reaching my target.)

Looking back on my Reading Challenge 2017: 6-month update post, I’m quite embarrassed that I only managed to cover 3 books.  (3! )  Since then, I’ve manage to read 6.  Nearly 7, but I haven’t quite finished that one yet, so it’s officially 6 – this is me trying to make myself sound better.

It’s going to be a steep reading hill for me to try and hit my target of 25 books, having only read 16 so far.  I hit 21 last year, which makes me feel both hopeful, and a bit panicky.

My Reading Challenge 2017 (what I’ve read so far…)

11. How to Be Both by Ali Smith
One magazine article somewhere gave the lowdown on the books to read as a woman.  How to Be Both was cited as seriously important, so I immediately saved it in my Goodread’s ‘Want to Read’ list.  A few years later and I find the book in the Kindle store, reduced, so I bought it.  I wasn’t expecting the opening poetic verses (if you read a particular part of the book first), but I soon settled into it.  There are two sequences in the book which are not to read in a set order.  So, whichever sequence you read first, you’ll soon be engaged in two stories cleverly interwoven with one another, between a child of recent times and a child of the renaissance. There was something quite spiritual about it.

12. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
Having read Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, again I couldn’t resist another Kindle bargain when I saw The Psychopath Test.  It’s hard for me to really put my finger on which book I preferred out of the two.  Regardless, this was such a fascinating read.  Jon goes on a journey in discovering the history, the psychology, traits and treatment of Psychopaths and even interviews a few too.  It was an addictive read.  I thought twice before sending a single tweet when I’d finished reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.  With The Psychopath Test, I’ve began to assess people I know who might be a psychopath.  (Sidenote: I think I’ve known at least one! )

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson review

13. Face (Compact,): Tools, Skin, Finishes by Sam Chapman, Nic Chapman, Pixiwoo
I was hesitant to include this in my reading challenge 2017 at first, however I’d be the first to defend beauty books and their place in literature and so I’ve chucked it in.  It was a quick read, not just from the picture-heavy pages, but because of the basic language too.  Face (Compact) would be quite useful for beginners in beauty, as I didn’t find anything I hadn’t already known.  (Although I’m not a beauty expert by any means!)

14. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A book I’ve always been intrigued to read and a book that was again on offer in the Kindle store.  The Nadsat language, which was created by Anthony Burgess, is why I wanted to read this.  Mostly to see if I could actually understand it.  Admittedly, it was confusing at first, but I was soon able to translate the words the more I saw them and from the context of the sentences they were in.  What I didn’t know was the hidden meanings behind them, many taken from Russian words, as discussed in the introduction by Blake Morrison.  It’s not all about the ultra-violence that the Stanley Kubrick film was later banned for.  It’s the interesting belief surrounding youth and law that propels the book in its entirety into a read to remember.

15. The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan
I started my Reading Challenge 2017 by reading Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live.  As I begun to read Kang Chol-Hwan’s account, North Korea was back in the headlines.  Having already read a North Korean defector’s tale, it was insightful to see another perspective in the country, although still as shocking.  Kang lived in Japan, before returning to North Korea, to then be sent to a concentration camp.  This is an incredible story and journey, through the horrors seen at the camp, the malnutrition he suffered, to his eventual escape and voyage to safety.  Another eye-opener from a survivor of the secret state.

The Girls by Emma Cline
Based on a review by Estée Lalonde, I’d like this book if cults and the Manson Family has ever been something I’ve found interesting.  That sentence alone sold it for me and she was right.  It’s a fictional tale told from a girl who is drawn into a cult, or rather the story of the Manson family just with name changes, according to reviews on Goodreads.  I feel a bit uneasy about Emma Cline sticking, or even copying, the Manson family story.  Although that doesn’t take away my enjoyment of the book.  It’s dark and absorbing.

My Reading Challenge 2017

16/25 books read

At the start of the year I calculated that I need to read at least 2 books a month to hit my 25 book target.  With only 3 months to go until the year is out, I now need to read 3 books a month to successfully reach my Reading Challenge 2017!  I’ve got some catching up to do…

Coming up (to-read): Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, An Illustrated History of Slavic Misery by John Bills and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think of them?  Share your thoughts, reviews or gripes in the comment section below.

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All front cover images on this post are embedded from Goodreads.com, please contact me if any image that appears here should be removed.

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Birchbox UK – September 2017

Birchbox UK September 2017 unboxing

I’m not sure where I saw or read it first, but when I found out Birchbox UK September 2017 would be partnering up with Oliver Bonas I was excited.  Out with the predictable ‘back to school’ themes and in with the stylish brand collaboration.  Ooh yeah!

Admittedly I haven’t shopped at Oliver Bonas, but that’s not to say they haven’t caught my eye.  Especially thanks to bloggers like Olivia Purvis, this box has came just at the right time.

Birchbox UK September 2017 Unboxing

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here; the theme isn’t just hey, we’ve partnered with Oliver Bonas! In fact, it’s Work Hard, Play Hard & Be Kind. A kind of work mantra, I suppose.

There were two arty designs to choose from this month.  I actually liked them both, which is rare, I’m usually pulled to one more than the other.  So as I couldn’t pick, I actually left it to Birchbox to decide for me and this is how I received this pink design box.

Samples

Birchbox UK September 2017 samples

We were given a cheeky little teaser at the back of last month’s leaflet, so I was already expecting a full size product!  The rest of the samples however, were a pleasant surprise:

Dr. Paw Paw Original Balm
Manna Kadar Fantasy 3-in-1 Blush, Highlighter, Eyeshadow (FULL SIZE!)
Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Glow Liquid
R + CO High Dive Moisture & Shine Cream
Polaar IcyMagic Instant Eye Contour Energiser

With the exception of Manna Kadar, every brand is new to me.  (You could say the same about Manna Kadar, as I hadn’t heard of them away from Birchbox.)  This can perhaps pee off some Birchbox subscribers, however these all look and feel quite like high-end ish products.

Another plus is that they’re not your typical product.  Oddly enough, I’ve found myself reaching for the Polaar IcyMagic Instant Eye Contour Energiser (a mouthful).  Especially after work when I’ve been working on a screen all day, this can feel quite cooling and soothing.

Birchbox UK September 2017 swatches

Despite being described as a champagne pink, I find the Manna Kadar 3-in-1 sliding into the brown territory.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although I think I’d have to go quite light if I was to wear it as a blush or highlighter.

I was particularly wooed by the Rouge Bunny Rouge’s packaging.  (I love that black on black.)  Again, I’d hope this applied light when mixing it with my usual body lotion. Maybe this could have been a better sample for a summer box, but then again I’m not against autumn/winter tanning.

Added Little Extras…

Birchbox UK September 2017 offer

As per usual when collaborating with a brand, Birchbox UK September 2017 added a little something extra for subscribers.  This Oliver Bonas Bergamot & Mint candle was on offer this month, which is usually £12 but was knocked down to £9.  (Or £7.65 thanks to my Birchbox VIP discount!)

I couldn’t miss out on this offer, with it sliding in at a perfect time for me, as I’ve just become a property owner (ooh it sounds so official!).  On the side I also received 15% off my next (and first!) Oliver Bonas order too.  Bangarang.

Box Round Up

We’ve been on a (at least one) full size item roll since April people, there’s no stopping Birchbox UK now!  Seriously though, this box is a strong one.  As I’ve said, the variety of products has really gripped me this month and I’m all about the brand collaboration.

No teasers for what could be on the cards next month yet.  Although we have been told to keep our eyes peeled on Friday 29th September for giveaways, exclusive treats and Facebook fun.

If you don’t subscribe to Birchbox but want to, subscribe here and get £5 worth of Birchbox points to spend at Birchbox!

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I have not been paid by, sponsored by or asked by Birchbox to make this blog post or video in any way – I just do it for the love!

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Birchbox UK September 2017 unboxing

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Life Update: We Bought a House!

Life update: we bought a house!

If you’ve not guessed it already, David and I have only gone and bought a bloody house!  (Shocked face emoji.)  It felt like we were saving forever and then it all happened, quite quickly.

There’s no escaping the news that it’s tough to get on the housing ladder for us millennials.  (I don’t actually mind being called that.)  And tough it certainly was, but we’ve finally got there.  Although, we’re about to start a whole new journey now, into the world of interior design, paying bills and err, house cleaning?

So as we’re here, talking about the big move, I thought I’d explain why I didn’t want to leave this life journey away from my blog.  When I first started this blog, it was mostly beauty focused.  But in the short year since it began, its slowly evolved and taken in more of the things, interests and topics that make me me.

(Of course I have been blogging for many years before this, owning up to 4 blogs.  After regularly failing to keep up with them all, I finally decided to knuckle down and get focused with just one, as my main creative outlet.  That’s when I am Small but the World is Big was born!)

Anyway, I realise I’ve explained this enough, but as I near the end of my twenties I can’t help but feel reflective.  And it’s this reflective mood that’s made me want to start reflecting on the other areas of my life in blog form.

So if you want to follow a millennial on the slightly older side of the spectrum, who’s stepping into becoming a property owner, but still talking about beauty, lifestyle and travel on the side, I’d personally love it if you stick around.

Watch the vlog:

Applying for a mortgage and the whole ‘looking for our house’ process was quite daunting to me at first.  That’s why I’m thinking of filming a Q&A video, so feel free to throw any of those BIG questions my way!

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