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Monday 28 October 2019

Bringing in Autumn with the Bumble Biggie in The New Forest *Ad Gifted

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. The leaves are turning, there's a chill in the air and it's still a great time to go camping. So when Bumble Campers asked me if I'd like to try out their "Bumble Biggie" I jumped at the chance.

Bumble Biggie

I've worked with Bumble Campers on a gifting basis twice before, using their traditional Bumble Bus 2 sleepers to travel to The Peak District and to The Lake District for a wedding. Both trips were brilliant so I was keen to road test the Bumble Biggie and see how it compared.

Bumble Campers Bumble Biggie

It's safe to say this camper is more than comfortable for two people, having a large living area inside equipped with kitchen, area, sink, cupboard storage, shelving and a seating area converting into a full size double bed. You can also stand up fully in this van which is great for moving around and the built in lights are perfect for the darker autumn evenings.

So with the perfect place to call home for the weekend, we set off to The New Forest in search of autumn colours, wild ponies and tasty food.

I got the inspiration to visit The New Forest from travel blogger Jess who had said how beautiful it was and that she'd plan to go back again in autumn sometime. I'm so glad I took her up on her recommendation as the forest did not disappoint when it came to beautiful burnt oranges, red and yellows of the falling leaves and wild mushrooms growing everywhere.

There was also talk of wild ponies being about. Before travelling down I did wonder if we'd be lucky enough to see any roaming about but it turns out there are lots of them and they're dotted around all over. We came across plenty on our walks through the forest as well as driving to our destinations.

She's A Gentry, the New Forest

You're advised not to feed or go near the ponies but as you can see some of them are rather friendly and inquisitive!

Whilst in the New Forest we visited a lovely village known as Burley. This picturesque village in set in the heart of the new forest with ponies and cattle grazing and roaming freely and its stooped in history also, having a pub dating back to the 16th century which was used by smugglers and highwaymen. It's also where the famous white witch Sybil Leek lived and there's even a gift shop called "Coven of Witches". It's the perfect place to visit around Halloween. Whilst we were there they had lots of Halloween themed stalls, fancy dress competitions and more which definitely helped to get you in the Halloween mood.

We also ventured to another place on Jess' recommendation known as The Pig. This beautiful hotel and restaurant is tucked away in Brokenhurst and is the perfect place to relax, unwind and have impeccable food.

The Pig Hotel, New Forest

The Pig Hotel, New Forest

The Pig Hotel, New Forest

 The dining of The Pig is known as the "Conservatory Restaurant" full of beautiful rustic charm with herbs and plants growing throughout. All of the food is locally sourced, making the menu contemporary and ever changing with whats in season in the area. The Pig has it's own kitchen garden and greenhouse which make up the produce for the days menu and the food is just divine.

The Pig Hotel, New Forest

They also have a commitment to source their produce from within a 25 mile radius of the restaurant, meaning they support local suppliers and the ingredients are always what is in season at that time.

The Pig Hotel, New Forest

The Pig Hotel, New Forest

The Pig Hotel, New Forest

The food tasted absolutely gorgeous and incredibly fresh and it was well worth a visit.

She's A Gentry

We had a little wander around the grounds after lunch and I couldn't help but have a little look in the greenhouse! I'd definitely like to visit The Pig again and perhaps even stay. They have spa treatments, accommodation and lovely walks which would make for another lovely weekend away!

So that was our trip to The New Forest! I'm definitely going to hire the Bumble Biggie in future. It's my favourite camper van from Bumble Campers to date and made our camping trip comfortable and cosy for autumn getaway/ The New Forest was also a great place to visit and definitely got us in the autumn mood. I definitely want to return and explore more of the area as it's so lovely and I'd highly recommend it for this time of year!

Have you tried the Bumble Biggie or been to the New Forest?

* I was kindly gifted the use of Bumble Camper's Bumble Biggie for the weekend in exchange for social media coverage. 

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Finding Running in my Thirties

This is a post that quite honestly I never thought I'd be writing in a million years. My relationship with exercise over the years had been next to non existent until March this year.

Having hit 30 years of age in December 2018, I thought I was content and happy with my rather laid back (read lazy) lifestyle. That was until I decided to do a Parkrun on a whim when visiting my Dad...

I hadn't done a Parkrun in around three years but thought to myself it's "only a 5k, I can do that easy!" Having done no exercise let alone running for three years I soon realized a mile in that actually it's really quite hard. I couldn't breathe and everything hurt which led me to give up and that point I thought oh f*ck and cried... At that moment it dawned on me just how unfit I was and if I didn't do anything about it now, it would only get worse as I got older. I was also quite angry at myself for letting myself give up so easily and not have the will power to continue so two days later I downloaded the "Couch to 5k" app and my love for running was born.

I remember my first few runs with the couch to 5k app, running for 90 seconds then walking for 60 and so on but it was manageable and thought- yes finally I've found something I enjoy! Being outdoors and in the countryside ignited so many feelings of joy for nature and the feeling of freedom- something that has massively helped to improve my mental health. Before I knew it I'd completed the twelve week challenge and could run a full 5k- something I don't think I'd ever done before. Yes I could run a 5k before that but did I stop to walk a bit? Yes. Do I do that now? Nope! And that's what led me to head to Run Fest Run- a running event that i'd highly recommend to all runners but especially newbie runners like myself as the atmosphere, the community, the people and the fun races really help to boost your confidence!

During my couch to 5k running, a friend of mine recommended a book called "Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Hemmingsley. I bought it straight away and oh my goodness the way that woman writes about running is simply mesmerising. She talks about everything from people in her life being pessimistic about her running a marathon, to completing several marathons and how running has helped her not only with her fitness but to build relationships with her family and friends. Her words were so uplifting to me that when the 2019 London Marathon was televised- i signed up... At this point I couldn't even run 5k but fuelled by Alexandra's words and a passion for my new found exercise, I signed up to the ballot and then shortly after signed up to the Manchester Marathon on the advice that you're guaranteed a spot if you sign up before a certain date.

So that near enough brings me to present day... I've signed up for a flipping marathon!! Having completed a 5k, the next challenge for me was a 10k and weirdly I managed to run further than that 4 weeks before the race! This really gave me the confidence I needed to know I could run the race. The race itself was the Bedford Twilight 10k which I did on my own. To tell you that I was a "tad" nervous is an understatement...Having ran 5k races with my husband prior, he was like my security blanket and would spur me on during the runs but this time I only had myself to rely on. As hard as it was, it gave me real character building and I proved to myself that I can do it and that I'm more resilient than I realised.

I'm currently training for a half marathon later in the year before the full on marathon in April whoop!

So what has running taught me?

Firstly, I find running is amazing for your mental health. I'd been hearing the likes of Fearne Cotton, Chris Evans, Vassos etc bang on about running many times before and thought oh for goodness sake it cant be that great but once you get into it, it really helps to clear your head and it's almost like being in a meditative state. When I run I feel all my worries, anxiety and fears disparate around me and all I concentrate on are my beautiful surroundings, my feet hitting the ground and my breathing. I love to run to music too and certain tracks on my playlist add to that feeling of freedom and happiness. And it's true what they say about the endorphins (who else thinks of dolphins when that word is used). I adore the feeling running gives me. It's much better than any drug, shopping splurge or alcohol can give you. If running is an addiction it's a bloody good one.

Now yes running can be wonderous and gorgeous and make you feel euphoric but don't get me wrong it can be bloody tough too. There are days when I really can't be bothered but hand on heart I can always say that regardless of how I feel prior to a run, I never regret a run once I'm finished. It's a sense of achievement and being like "wow" my body is amazing.

Through building up my mileage I have seen a change in my body. I haven't really lost weight as such but I've noticed that my legs feel strong and solid now. You can't grab jiggle anymore and my legs crave the pavement if I haven't run in a few days.

So that's my news and the best thing I've discovered since turning 30. I'll probably do some more running related posts on the lead up to the marathon and like I say it's really a brilliant tool for your mental health which has led me to run for Mind- the mental health charity for the Manchester Marathon. If you fancy sponsoring me you can donate here-

In the meantime, come say hi on Strava and talk to me all you like about running because I bloody love it!

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