The Seven Year Friendship Itch

Sadly, as we go into our late twenties and early thirties we notice our friendship group growing smaller and smaller.  Everyone seems to be busy settling down, spending more time with their partners and families, saving for a house or a wedding or not having anyone to babysit.  This is perfectly normal and so don't threat if you feel like you're losing your friends or perhaps that you're a bad friend that never has time for anyone anymore.

I'm definitely guilty of this.  Some of my closest friends I have only seen once or twice this year!  But when I think about it we have been travelling so much and saving to buy a house. I've been studying for exams which takes a lot of my spare time up and then trying to keep up with my blog and Instagram. A lot of my friends got married last year and have had babies this year so it's not as easy to get together like we used to.

I think the most important thing, however, is communication.  Making sure you just pick up the phone and dropping your friends a quick text to check in and ask how they are.  It doesn't require much of your time at all but it is so important.

Some friendships though can't be saved and that's okay.  You grow apart and have different priorities and as much as you try to make an effort with them if they don't give anything back you need to just let it go.  Or sometimes you may change as you grow older and don't have as much in common anymore.  That is okay too because chances are you will meet new people that you do have stuff in common with.

What's your best piece of friendship advice?

Lauren xx

Follow me here @wonky_lauren

Training For and Running My First Official 10K

I love exercise but I'm not a runner and never have been.  I've always had a gym membership but never went in the actual gym, always preferring to do classes (see my fitness regime here).  However, my boyfriend Tom is a runner, it's his 'thing' like classes are mine.  He's very good at it too.  He ran the marathon this year in under 4 hours despite the heat.

So when my friends (who are also runners) asked me if I wanted to sign up for the local 10k I was like errr nah.  I told Tom though and he was well up for it.  Easy for him to say as he can run 10k in his sleep!  In a moment of madness I thought maybe it might be good to train for something or maybe see what all the fuss is about with running.

The run took place this month and I sign up in June giving myself 4 months to train.  I did my research and found lots of training guides online.  This way I was able to build up to it gradually and hoped that by the time the run came around I could do it in under an hour. Tom was aiming for 40 minutes but forget that!

At first I did really well.  Running both weekend days and twice during the week at the gym. However, at the end of August I cancelled my gym membership because we were supposed to be moving house and travelling to that gym would be too far.  We then didn't move until the end of September and I still haven't signed up to a new gym.

So between cancelling my gym membership and moving house I tried to get in as many runs as I could.  I was doing 1 8km run a week which was tough at first but then got easier.  I planned out a few different routes which made it more interesting.  However, it was still taking me an hour to do 8km and I really wanted to do 10k in this time.

I tried the 10km about 3 weeks before the run and it really wasn't that bad although it took me an hour and 15.  I decided that maybe it wasn't about getting an amazing time but just finishing the run that counted so that's what I worked towards.  After moving I managed another two 5k runs which wasn't really enough but it's all I could do given the circumstances.

The day of the race came around and I was a little nervous but more excited as I was doing it with Tom and my friends so it was going to be fun and I realised I shouldn't take it so seriously and put pressure on myself to get a really good time, I just should enjoy it.  I decided I was probably going to get a time of around 1hr 10/15 and that was fine.

We headed off at 10.30 with Tom and my friends ahead of me, I was just going to take it at my own pace.  However, before we even left the park where the race started my shoe lace came undone and I had to stop to tie it up!  I also had my hoodie on because it was a bit cold when we were waiting around and then I had to tie that around my waist for the duration of the race which was a bit annoying.

Normally during my training runs I would stop every 1k for about 20 seconds to catch my breath, however, I didn't feel the need to stop until every 2k.  I think because I had everyone running around me it kept me going for a bit longer and I realised I could do better than I thought.  There were a few hills in this race which were tough but overall it was fun because you ran through woods and fields so it kept it interesting if nothing else!

I made it to the finish line after just 1hr and 2 minutes so I was so so happy with that time, even if Tom finished in 42 minutes and my friends in around 55 minutes.  I may even do it again next year if I can train properly and maybe get a personal best!  I've definitely picked up the running bug and now that I've moved to Greenwich will be running around the park frequently I think :)

Do you run?

Lauren xx

Follow me here @wonky_lauren

A Weekend in Newcastle

At the end of September I took a trip to Newcastle for the weekend.  The trip came about because we wanted to get tickets to see The Arctic Monkeys but as they sold out in London super fast we impulsively booked tickets for Newcastle instead and decided we would make a weekend of it.

This was the furthest north of England I'd ever been.  If I'm honest I'm always a little scared to go any further north than Cambridge, preferring my home comforts of the South!  I was pleasantly surprised though and would definitely go back.  Their night life is one of the best I've experienced in the UK!

We traveled on a Friday afternoon from King's Cross on a Virgin Train.  We get a third off our train tickets with our Two Together train pass.  Unfortunately because we had booked our tickets quite last minute we didn't have seated reserved which meant we were faced with standing for 3 hours along with all our luggage!

However, there were seats in First Class available so we paid £35 each to upgrade and had a nice relaxed journey up North.  First Class was amazing, the staff are so attentive, you got meals and drinks included and also free wifi the whole way which was great for me as I had a last minute project I was working on to finalise.

Once we arrived we checked into our hotel which was the Premier Inn Quayside.  It was lovely and had a great view over the water and bridges.  I love staying in Premier Inns because they are so good for the money and always so helpful should you have any problems.  I am planning to book with them again when I go to Cardiff in December.

The Arctic Monkey's gig was the Friday night so after chilling in the hotel for a bit we got ready and headed out.  We wanted to get food and drinks so we stopped at a place called Hop and Cleaver that did half price cocktails all night.  The cocktails were awesome too and the food was so so yummy!  I had the mac and cheese with a side of halloumi fries.

After several cocktails we made our way over to the Metro Arena along with thousands of other Arctic Monkey fans.  They were just amazing.  We had such a good time, singing and dancing along.  I saw them back in 2009 when they played Wembley and my boyfriend is such a big fan he saw them the week before in London at the 02.

On the Saturday we weren't sure what to do so my boyfriend suggested we catch the Newcastle v Leicester game.  I'm not a massive football fan but I do like watching live football for the atmosphere.  I agreed so long as we could check out the vegan place I'd found on my Happy Cow app.  I still try to eat vegan as much as I can but am not as strict now.

So that's what we settled on.  We made our way over to The Grumpy Panda for the most delicious vegan brunch.  I had the pancakes and Tom had the burger.  We also both had the milkshakes which were to die for!  Belly full and happy we took a slow walk over to St James Park for pre-game drinks and then entered the stadium.

If I'm honest I didn't really have a clue what was going on in the actual game but the atmosphere was great and it was a really nice stadium.  It was a beautifully clear day too so that definitely helped.  Once the game was over (I can't even remember who won!) we went back to our hotel to chill and decide where we wanted to go in the evening.

As we had already had a big night the night before (I'm in my 30s now!) we decided to just go for a nice meal and have a few quiet drinks.  I checked Tripadvisor to see what was around and we found an Indian restaurant called Raval which had 5 star reviews.  The food was very good and so were the cocktails although I wasn't overly impressed with the service, despite booking a table we still had to wait about 30 minutes to be seated.

The next morning we decided to just head straight back to London as we were excited to get back to our new house we had only moved into the week before!  We checked out of the Premier Inn which was nice and easy because you just had to drop your key card in the box by the front then we headed to the station to catch another Virgin train back home.

I would definitely recommend Newcastle for a city break.  There's so much to do, great food places and such a fun night out!  I really need to start visiting cities in the UK more often.

Have you been to Newcastle?

Lauren xx

Follow me here @wonky_lauren

Misty At The Trafalgar Studios

Last week I was kindly invited by Official London to see a performance of Misty at the Trafalgar Studios in London.  Misty is a play performed almost solely by one man.  It describes what it is like to be a person of colour living in London today and the struggles they come up against.  The actor Arinze Kene did an amazing job of portraying this in the most powerful way.

There are various metaphors used throughout the play such as the reference to 'viruses' being black people, blood cells being everyone else and the orange balloon being his ego which he constantly fights with.  I don't want to give the whole story away but if you're looking for something different and very real then you should definitely give this one a go.  

The play was such an eye-opener and I think a lot of us (especially white people) are guilty of not realising how much of a blessing our 'white privilege' really is.  It made me appreciate what I have and although we have come a long way from slavery, we still have a way to go in proving #BlackLivesMatter.

Tickets can be purchased from Official London Theatre.  However, if this isn't your thing and perhaps you prefer something more cheery like a musical, Official London Theatre have so many great shows on offer.

What was the last thing you saw at the theatre?

Lauren xx

Follow me here @wonky_lauren

* These tickets were gifted to me but all opinions are my own *

My Favourite Street Style Looks From London Fashion Week

Animal print

Bright pops of colour

What were your favourite looks?

Lauren xx

Follow me here @wonky_lauren

Halloween Costume Ideas

I'm not normally one for fancy dress parties, preferring instead to wear something more fashionable and on trend.  However, this year I have been invited to a Day of the Dead party (which I'm told is not the same as a traditional Halloween party) so I thought I would try to get into the spirit and find some inspiration for a costume.. that is maybe still slightly fashionable too.

Asda, as always, has a great range of costumes for affordable price budgets.  I don't want to spend much on a costume as I highly doubt I will wear it again.  I found this Day of the Dead dress that I may buy.

Missguided and Boohoo are also good online stores for buying affordable halloween costumes.  They sell more fashionable items that aren't necessarily fancy dress but logo tees and dresses with halloween slogans or motifs on them that you can just pair with jeans or a skirt and tights.

Or you can go all out and try places like Amazon or eBay for full-on frightful halloween get up.  

What will you be dressing up as this year?

Lauren xx

Follow me here @wonky_lauren