Category Archives: fun

7 very important reasons why you should wear makeup when you run…

1. Just in case you’re running a marathon and you get overtaken by some gorgeous celebrity like James Cracknell and as you look at him as he speeds past you can flutter your eyelashes (pretending you always run this fast and have LOADS of breath to shout ‘Go James!’) cos now you’re BEST friends (well, if you run in the same race as a celebrity you’re nearly BFFs aren’t you?).

2. So that when you pull that face during a race that you’re finding really hard, the one where you’re trying to make it look like you’re just out for a jog and are finding the pace really easy – well at least you’ve got some definition around the eyes for the pics you’ll put up later on social media.

3. That point in the race. You know it – when you’re cruising and starting to think I can do this, I can, I can, well, now I’m not so sure, in fact now I’m really struggling with every fricking step, and a man in his 60s-70s pulls up alongside you and takes pity as he can see you’re struggling and that you’re the one who thought you could run faster than you actually can. When he starts chatting you up as he’s cruising and has nothing better to do than have a full blown conversation all the way round a really long race as he’s so ridiculously race fit even though he’s twice your age, and even though you haven’t got the breath to reply you can at least smile desperately through your beautifully made up eyes your thank you for his support (cos you know he’ll stick with you till the bitter end – he’s a pro, you’re the amateur).

4. We live in England. Half the year it’s dark. We all take on a pasty vampire look. If swooshing a bit of glamour glow lifts your spirits before a race, and makes you look more alive then dead, do it.

5. Because when you go out to get a PB you just gotta look your best, you put on that makeup girl, you’re going to look fantastic in that pic as you look up at the camera with your arms raised at you cross the line… oh no, the race hasn’t gone to plan and you went off WAY too fast, AGAIN, even though you PROMISED yourself you would never, ever make that mistake, and now here’s the line, I’m a state, my body isn’t doing what I want and those stomach cramps are getting really bad, nooooo, I’m going to throw up and cry at the same time – yes it’s a *cr-vomit* – oh God I forgot about the camera, damn, it got me, snot, tears and vomit – but did my mascara run? No? Really? Ah well, it was all worth it…

6. Cos when you were younger, hell, you didn’t need one drop of make-up you were just so gorgeous, and you knew it, then you’re training away and 15 – yes 15 years have just disappeared and now when you catch the first glimpse of yourself in the mirror you’re initial reaction is, who the hell is that really tired old looking woman, then you realize it’s you and while for years you thought if you just got more sleep you’d stop looking so tired, now you are reconciled to the fact that you don’t look tired, you look OLDER. Which is truly horrifying. How can this have happened to me? So you go out and spend £200 on products that you think will undo this damage (even though they can’t) and you put on the concealer for the under-eye wrinkles AND dark circles, and do not one, but two applications of mascara in the hope that no one will say… ‘You’re looking really tired today.’ Again. And you go out with this temporary mask on and in your head you feel just like you did when you were 20 and had energy and got lie-ins and more than two minutes to get your kit and bag ready for a race – and you go out and you believe in yourself for the duration of your race. And no one can take that feeling away from you, but some really rather expensive fluids that work out at about £5,000 per gram, if cleverly applied THEY can give you it. For 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon… And that feeling, it helps you to step back into your life, when you get home from your race, like someone from Ghostbusters with the ability to deflect the 50 requests you get in the first five minutes for food, for something to do, to tell off a sibling who hit someone else and the ambulance nearly had to be called. Even though you got up at 5am to travel, run a marathon, and you came straight home so you can get the roast dinner on and help everyone with their homework (because your 16-year-old is swinging off your umbilical cord, even when you’re 40 miles away, and your nearly 14-year-old wants you to come up with all the answers and she knows exactly how to get you to do this even though you say I’m not doing your homework for you then 30 minutes later you realise you’ve done it), as why would anyone want to rest after a marathon anyway?

7. You are a warrior princess. Never forget this. As you put on your kit before your race and your nerves give you caterpillars and butterflies in your stomach, get out whatever make-up you need and apply it. You are now battle-ready. This is your war paint. You are going to do battle with your body (this could mean losing control of different parts at different times and never knowing which part and when), your mind (you will be pounding the voices in your head every step as well as the ground beneath you) and the world. That world that laughed when you tried to run at school. Or told you you’d never lose your baby weight. Or you couldn’t possibly run 26.2 because you’re not a real runner. Or sighs every time you put on your trainers and say you’re going out for a run, as if it’s some crazy teenage phase you’ll grow out of soon. Put on your paint and show them YOU CAN – and actually, I don’t mind if I look good while I do.

Remember, she who dares…runs.

Addendum… my 10-year-old has done her homework since she was two, even though she wasn’t at school I made her do it. I ain’t making that mistake three times.
Disclaimer: you do not have to wear make-up to be happy or a runner; this applies especially to men
I get my make-up tips from my 13-year-old; she started young

I get my make-up tips from my 13-year-old; she started young

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Freejumping fun!

Oxygen Freejumping (Southampton)

Three humanoids, the girl variety. Can be tetchy, moody, irritable… explosive. Six weeks of a loooong, hot summer (well, OK not always hot but sometimes), where the days stretched forever and an hour could pass as slowly as the UK leaving the European Union.

Taking action
What do you do with the young creatures… you’ve done the beach, the shops, the library, the pool, dropping off with relatives, the forest, the beach again, and again… There comes a time in every mother’s summer holidays that you need… something else. Something more. When your children have so much natural energy that 16 hours of gymnastics, and five nights of dancing doesn’t reduce them to sleepy, passive snuggle-bugs that you can look at and think: “Awwwww, they’re just so cute…”

Amelie on the jumping wall

Amelie on the jumping wall

That despite of their activities they still rampage through your day/week/month as if they are trolls on 24-an-hour-day energy drinks. That’s when it’s time to stop. Think. Drive… drive as far as you have to… and take them to a trampoline park. We have these dotted all over the south, and there are now four, yes FOUR beautiful destinations in our locale where you can simply hand over your hard-earned dosh and let your children bounce until they can bounce no more. Though now it’s called freejumping.

Oxygen in Southampton reached out to me – yes, they knew. They knew my children’s natural birth defect is hyperactivity. Who told them? I don’t know. But there’s an uncanny way that people and places come into your life. It’s a supernatural divination… you find them, they find you. You like them and they like you. Destiny’s child am I, and if more than one person recommends something to me (a book, a Netflix orgininal, a country) I hear fate knocking at my door and I let it in. So we found ourselves on our way to Oxygen.

Let’s go back a year to the first exposure we had to the full-grown trampoline temples that we were to visit. As a family we were never going to be by-passed by this latest craze. Two dancers and one gymnast meant that as soon as any random child at one of the clubs/dance schools had tested out a trampoline park it wouldn’t take long for one of my girls to be nagging me to give it a go. We drove for nearly an hour to get to one the first time… yep, if energy has to be burnt sometimes you have to go a long way to do it. It was fun, exciting – sweaty – and really worthwhile, but, hey, can we have one of these places built a lot closer to home please trampoline business entrepreneurs?

And then about six months later another one appeared in the next city due east. Yes! Forget about the girls, I was so excited… a new place to take them and their need to burn energy every single day. Would they have coffee and wifi? We didn’t go on the opening day, we waited until the next day so that there wouldn’t be any queues. “What did you think?” I asked #2 and #3 on that day. Would it be good enough to pass their high level of expectation? “Pretty good,” #3 replied.

“I still want to try Oxygen in Southampton,” #2 said. What, another one? I rushed home, googled it and knew we had a purpose in life – another trampoline park to try, and this one even closer to our house. Only 20 minutes in the car. Bonus. Then everything else got in the way and it didn’t quite happen as soon as I thought it would, and then the summer holidays started. It was on my mental list of things to do. Like every summer holiday we’ve had together, I never quite managed to fit in everything I planned, so we headed over to Oxygen in the last week. It was our summer finale.

Amelie trying the back jumping wall… it was harder than it looked.

Do any children not like bouncing? I’m sure somewhere in the world there is a child who doesn’t but I don’t think we should take one out of billions as proof that your little bundle of love isn’t going to have a good time at Oxygen, or any other trampoline park near you.

I didn’t see anyone stropping, grizzling, whining or crying – and there were quite a few adults also having fun. I was offered the choice of bouncing too, but just giggled… the manager on duty had no idea how inflexible my back is, or how niggly my knees are. The last time I tried ice-skating my knees ached for weeks. No I had the pleasure of taking myself off for a lovely coffee and reading my book in the café while my girls burnt zillions of energy atoms to a crisp.
The only criticism the girls had at the end was not being allowed to do backflicks. There were signs on every wall saying this was not allowed. For them this was a shame as the other trampoline parks don’t enforce this rule. As they are gymnasts doing backflicks is second nature, so being on long strips of bouncy material and not being able to do them was annoying for them. You can explain it’s a safety issue, but at their age they just want to flip out (front flips are OK).

But I’ll let them speak for themselves…

It’s really easy to book your session online at Oxygen, they host birthday parties, there’s wifi if you want it, and if you’re little ones are under 5 there’s a Little O’s session just for them. Families with both under and over 5s can jump together during Family Bounce. And if your kids want more there’s a freerunning academy and school of trampolining to help them progress their skills. If it’s your fist time it’s a good idea to get your kids to wear shorts and t-shirts, too, as it doesn’t take long for them to overheat!

Freejumping makes children happy!

Freejumping makes children happy!

Will we be going back? I’m sure we will be making many, many trips to this uber-modern temple of fun.

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How will your star sign affect your marathon?

Does your star sign give you an insight into how your marathon race day may unfold? Astrology consultant Caroline Trowbridge ( gave me a little insight into what each sign of the zodiac should expect from their marathon experience…


Aries: You will approach your marathon as if you are at a battlefront, with huge determination and energy to get to your finish line, just like your ruler Mars. You are like a charging cavalry ready to attack and the marathon you will undoubtedly conquer! You will probably be one of the front runners (think of amazing Aries runners like Mo Farah and Roger Bannister and … ahem … *shewhodaresruns* ) and it won’t matter to you if you don’t have any support on the day. It would be wise in the first half of your race to use your strategy to conserve your energy, so you can go for glory on the finish line! You’ll want to compete against yourself to do your absolute best on the day. Remember, you’re the baby of the zodiac, so after your race make sure you plan in time to go get an ice cream, and plenty of rest – you may even have an afternoon nap!


Taurus: There’s no doubt that you will be really well prepared for race day, especially when it comes to nutrition and having your tunes lined up on your iPod. You will have enjoyed your pre-race carbo loading (did you mistakenly include alcohol?!). You won’t be so bothered about your time, for you the race will be about focusing on your senses; the roar of the crowd, the feel of rain on your skin. You can plod along for a very long time! Steely and determined there is no doubt you will finish; you will stick to your conservative planned pace although may walk, stop and talk to the band along the way. Ruled by Venus, you will be drawn to the music en route and the smell of food. After you’ll be eating a slap-up meal with your family – you will have deserved that pint!


Gemini: You deserve praise for doing the marathon, as often you flit between different events. You may use up a lot of energy on the way round chatting to everyone; your sunny disposition will ensure you make lots of friends. You will mentally prepare by thinking how you are going to get through each stage of the race, and you will keep your mind occupied as you run. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the race so you aren’t too tired from your nervous energy. Other runners will spot you a mile off as your nerves will show as you wring your hands. Your multi-faceted mercurial mind will guarantee success!


Cancer: You will have deep emotional reasons for running. A cause close to your heart will be the reason behind why you decided to run the marathon – it’s a good idea to have pictures of the people you love with you, and you will look out for your special supporters en route. They will be important anchors that help you get round. You will run your marathon alone (avoiding the TV cameras) if you need to, secure that you have done enough training to get through. Focus on the emotional reasons why you are running, and remember to breathe when you start welling up at the finish line.


Leo: Is it possible to run with a full camera crew, while you are also taking selfies?! It is for our Leo ladies! You can spot the Leo runner as an entourage of the opposite sex usually surrounds them. You are more than capable of running a marathon, but you will want to see your reflection in shop windows as you do – or you’ll be looking out for yourself on the TV highlights. You want to be seen to be doing well! Make sure you have your name in bold on your vest so everyone can cheer you – you love the adulation. You’ll want your support team around you at the finish, and to bask in your success. You’ll love being in the spotlight on race day, you may even be posting pictures of yourself on Instagram as you go along! This will be your greatest performance and the crowd’s support of you will only reinforce this!


Virgo: Have you been aware of every niggle during training? Has your diet been precise and scientific? Of course! Don’t forget your hand sanitiser for the portaloos as you may feel repulsed by the possibility of germs in them while you try and soothe your nervous tummy. You will wear the same kit as you do for every race. You’ll be nervous and will have to pop to the loo a lot – think about getting a Shewee! Your routine is crucial – you will have checked your shoelaces are tight enough over and over. Your training will have been precise and you will have stretched and rolled your muscles religiously. You’ll be mindful of how your body feels during the race. Try not to focus too much on your niggles and enjoy yourself as you cross the line! And take advantage of the free massages available in the recovery area.


Libra: Make sure you’ve prepared before the race – you’ll have had a manicure, your hair will be perfect and your make up too. You’ll look amazing and gorgeous as you race in the top brands. It’s all going to be about looking good! You may be racing with your loved one and, no doubt, you will steal sneaky kisses as you run. You’ll either be thinking about your loving partnership, and meeting up with your partner after, or, if you’re single, looking for that someone special when you run! Perhaps the love of your life is running right beside you. You’ll feel confident about your race and how great you’re going to look in the marathon photos at the finish!


Scorpio: It’s important for you to run your own race and not focus on everyone else. Don’t start strategising how you are going to take down the runner who overtook you at Mile 3, or who stepped on your trainer, or threw a water bottle across your path. If you focus on how others may be doing better than you this may sabotage your race Scorpio! The power of Pluto will see you through to the finish line. Take the time to enjoy the race and use your steely determination to believe in yourself; when you do this you are unstoppable! Your running is intense, it’s a passion and you’re formidable. So look up and take in what’s going on around you and enjoy this experience (it’s supposed to be a charitable event after all!).


Sagittarius: You’ve probably travelled the furthest to get to your marathon, maybe from all over the world, to run in the greatest cities. You’ll absorb the ambience of this historic city and all it has to over. This is just 26.2 miles of your incredibly exciting life. You’ll probably be chatting away all the way round. You’re incredibly capable if not always competitive. You may be guilty of not enough training but your natural ability will get you through. You may be clumsy or accident prone so look out on the cobbles and take extra care around the water stations. Even if you fall you’ll laugh it off as you’ll be buzzing at being at one of the world’s greatest events. As soon as you cross that line you’ll be thinking about the next big great adventure.


Capricorn: Did you start running because your work was putting together a team? Are you now approaching the marathon like work, with the pressure of raising money for your cause? You will approach this event like a business and will be a formidable fundraiser. You’ll be the one organising everyone in their training. However tough the marathon gets your ruler Saturn will make sure you can dig deep and carry on. It’s a metaphor for your life – teaching you how tough life can be but if you keep working hard you will make it to the end. You’re no stranger to hard work and discipline. You’ll want to lead and will get stronger as the race progresses. The marathon, like life, is an endurance test for you and one that you will master.


Aquarius: Your Uranus energy may make you an erratic runner. You may also be overwhelmed to be part of such a great humanitarian event. You’ll probably be running for a great cause, or those less fortunate than you; this will be very important to you. Your training may have come in fits and starts and might have been unpredictable, but you’ve made it to the start line! You, more than any runner, have all the latest and best gadgets. Technology is really important to you. You will probably spend your race focusing on your splits and heart rate. Avoid getting into any race day argy-bargies such as who gets the last safety pin, and make sure you have fun on your special day.


Pisces: Charity is your sole focus. You may be an elusive figure on the start line and it’s likely you will move through the pack without being noticed. Suddenly other runners will realise you’re next to them! You may have done all your training without letting on to friends that you were running a marathon – then just turn up on the day to surprise your colleagues or club mates. If you see someone in trouble during the race you will give up your goal to help them. You will prepare by imagining yourself running the race, maybe by replaying a movie of the event in your head where you hold the starring role. This is your Chariots of Fire moment, and you are the star! Then, when the race is over you may slip away with your medal, and might not even tell anyone you ran. The knowledge that you have raised money for your chosen charity is reward enough for you.

Caroline is an astrology consultant, energy healer, children’s author and actor. Find out what she is up to on facebook, twitter or at

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