Tips for Staying Dry this April April 19 2016
April is notorious for its unreliable weather. With fitful showers throughout the day and deceivingly bright but flying visits from the sun, it's difficult to get anything that involves leaving the house done.
To help you get on with your day, we've put together a few tips on how to avoid getting totally drenched this April...
1. Waterproofness and Breathability
Sporting a waterproof jacket is the obvious means of tackling frequent rain showers. However, what is equally important but less known about is breathability. Waterproof qualities mean nothing without breathability. And likewise. While waterproof features stop rain getting through, breathability is about letting moisture from perspiration through. This will contribute to your overall comfort and warmth. It will take more than rain to ruin your day!
2. Use Bin Liners & Sandwich bags
Okay, so admittedly, bin liners playing a part in keeping you dry may have raised some eyebrows. No, we aren't suggesting you wear one (phew). But, have you ever had the contents of your bag get soaked on rainy days? Your notebook, chewing gum, a letter you intended to post... all soggy and falling apart... As if getting soaked yourself wasn't bad enough. Transferring the contents of your handbag or rucksack into a bin liner and then into your handbag/rucksack is the answer to this problem as it will help keep your belongings dry when it's really wet outside. For smaller items you want to keep dry a sandwich bag will also work a treat!
3. Appropriate Footwear & Waterproof Socks
It may be tempting to slip on those new pumps you've been dying to show off but you risk getting them potentially ruined along with your day if you let a sunny April spell deceive you! Let's face it there are few things more annoying than having wet feet for the day. If your favourite pair of shoes are getting a bit worn out why not invest in a pair of waterproof socks to eliminate any chance of leakage? And use those really rainy days as an excuse to crack out a pair of colourful wellies!
Waterproof jackets are all well and good but what about our poor exposed legs? Having your legs soaked while your torso remains protected can be pretty infuriating when you have to spend the whole day wearing wet jeans. That’s where a pair of overtrousers come to the rescue. Just like a waterproof coat for your legs, struggling through the day with uncomfortably wet legs will become a thing of the past. Much like our Mac in a Sac packable waterproof jackets, our packable overtrousers come in a handy sac, making them perfect for those out of the blue showers you really don’t have the time for.
Top 6 Best Things About Camping April 05 2016
In our technology driven world, the need for an escape from it all has become something we yearn for. The rejuvenating qualities of the outdoors seem much more appealing whenever we've spent our day staring at a screen. And whenever we finally do get out we realise how much we've taken what was at our very doorstep for granted. Whether you're a real outdoor enthusiast or only occasionally venture out to connect with the outdoors, camping is an activity that everyone can get into. It's the perfect way to do something a bit different but that's still extremely accessible. Just to get you into the mood to crack out your tent, we've compiled a list of the top five best things about camping.
1. Fresh Air
It’s surprising just how refreshing a breath of fresh air can be. After spending the day in a stuffy office or a couple of hours in a packed gym, getting a bit of fresh air in your lungs feels wonderful. Camping means surrounding yourself with a constant stream of fresh air.
2. The Views
It’s easy to forget just how calming surrounding ourselves with greenery can be. Maybe it’s the sound of a light breeze rustling through the trees or the smell of freshly cut grass, there's just something about being amid nature that's rejuvenating and good for the soul.
3. The Sound of Birds in the Morning
No one likes getting woken up, but being gently awoken by birds chirping contentedly in the trees above you is truly magical. Let birdsongs stir you out of your sleep and inspire you to get out exploring.
Perhaps it's the fresh air going to our heads but what is it about barbeques that makes it feel like it's completely fine to consume an obscene amount of burgers? When you're camping you can make every meal a barbeque, weather permitting of course. You might never want to return to normal meals again.
Let's be honest, when was the last time you really looked up at the stars? Lying on the grass in your back garden just doesn't hold the same kind of appeal as when you properly immerse yourself in nature. The stars seem so much brighter and expansive when you're in the great outdoors and really take the time to notice them.
6. Ghost Stories
When darkness falls, and you’re seated around the campfire, everyone knows that it’s the perfect time to tell ghost stories. Away from home and your own bed who know what you'll hear creep in the dead of the night...
Top 5 Travel Gifts for the Travel Junkie in Your Life March 29 2016
Travel, while being a great passion and hobby to have is also a pretty frustrating one at the same time because it isn't exactly something you can fit in after work a couple of nights a week is it? Instead, travel junkies compensate for this by endlessly researching, planning and dreaming about potential holidays, however realistic or absolutely wildest dreams material they may be. While planning trips can satiate the wanderlust bug to a certain extent, itching to get out travelling while waiting for your various trips to roll round can get even the most patient travel-lover pretty on edge and yearning stronger than ever for sunnier climes. To ease the impatient, itchy feet side effect of wanderlust, we think these gift ideas should go down a treat, whether they're for yourself or a fellow travel junkie.
Travel scratch mats are growing in popularity as gifts for the travel obsessed. A great way of documenting all the various places you've visited worldwide, the idea is that your map will arrive black and you’ll scratch off each place you've been to illuminating colour underneath. It’s a fun, visual way of tracking your footsteps across the world. Think of it as a visual checklist.
Okay, admittedly this isn’t the most exciting gift you could give someone but it just might become so whenever they’re stuck on a stuffy train from Munich to Venice to meet friends and notice their phone battery is about to kick it! A portable phone charger makes for a super handy present especially whenever smart phone battery life is so short.
Get your trip off to an excellent start by creating your own Old Fashioned in the air! Coming with everything you need to make two cocktails (bar the alcohol itself) you can bring a touch of class to your flight. It will feel more 1920's jazz bar than Easy Jet. Sort of.
For the grey days when the rain just doesn't seem to stop and all you want to do is book yourself on a one way ticket to Spain, your trusty day and night globe mug, filled with tea of course, will help. This heat sensitive mug lights up a map of the globe when there's a hot beverage in it, and shows the globe at night when your tea has gone lukewarm. It means you can keep your eyes on travelling the world even on the most mundane days.
Our Mac in a Sac packaway jacket is the perfect cover up whilst abroad. Not only will it keep you dry through its lightweight, waterproof and breathable features, it also packs away into a handy sac which is the perfect size for hand luggage.
Top Spring City Breaks March 22 2016
Satisfy your wanderlust with our pick of the top city breaks for this Spring!
If you're a big fan of sightseeing then Edinburgh is the city break for you, the picturesque Scottish capital is very easy on the eyes. It is also, most certainly, a city with stories to tell. Edinburgh's rich history is ingrained in the Gothic architecture which drapes the city in its intriguing past. Take a stroll down the Royal Mile for a step back into the Victorian era. The magnificent St. Giles Cathedral makes for a sightseeing delight by day but will strike you with fear when darkness descends. If you happen to be a horror buff then Edinburgh is without a doubt the city for you. Edinburgh has ghost stories aplenty to satisfy your dark side, The Royal Mile being an absolute hotspot for ghost tours. If horror isn't your thing however, have a taste of refinement with afternoon tea – you will find this is on offer in abundance in various eateries throughout the city. Afterwards, take a walk down Princes Street for a bit of window shopping... The view of the foreboding Edinburgh castle, nestled in the breezy hills opposite, will probably provide sufficient distraction however. You definitely will not be short on activities or sights to see in Edinburgh.
Hailed as birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a city you can get your fill of culture within. From the San Marco museum to the Duamo, although Florence is relatively small you won’t be short of things to do. Watch the sun set over the Arno from the medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge, browse the nearby market stalls and grab a bite of some fantastic Italian cuisine from the multitude of surrounding restaurants. Fancy heading further afield outside the hustle and bustle of the city? The Tuscan hills are within close distance meaning you can incorporate both city and breath-taking countryside all into one sun-filled trip.
Prague, Czech Republic
Cobbled lanes, lots of hidden nooks and spire topped architecture aplenty, Prague is a great city to simply lose yourself within and see what you find. Essential sightseeing includes the Charles Bridge, filled with unique, intricate statues. As a bonus you’ll also have a great view of the city from the bridge. The astronomical clock in Old Town is definitely worth checking out too. If you decide to go for a spot of shopping you will find that many shops are filled with dolls and puppets, some cute, some... not so cute. Some are downright harrowing. Definitely not for the faint-hearted. Luckily, Prague's beer has been described as some of the best in Europe, so never fear if you need a pint to steady your nerves!
Munich in the Spring/Summer has beautiful, sunny weather that’s perfect for exploring what the German city has to offer. First to tick off however is the Marienplatz, the main public square and a hotspot for tourists. Arrive for 11am and you’ll get to see the mechanical clock chime. Afterwards, make sure to head over to the nearby English Gardens to escape the hustle and bustle for a while. You can even get lunch in this large picturesque park as there are markets and restaurants spread throughout.
How to Make Exercise a Habit March 15 2016
Been mulling over the notion that you'd like to make exercise a habit? Creating goals or aspirations is easy but actually making an exercise habit and finding and maintaining the motivation to stick to it can be more difficult than the exercise itself. So, to make that exercise habit feel less like an uphill struggle and more like a walk in the park, we've got a few tips. Chances are your motivation is in short supply because you’re approaching the development of your exercise habit in the wrong way...
1. Set Easy, Realistic Short-Term Goals
This is probably the first and most important step in developing your exercise habit. Nothing will drag you down quite like repeatedly not meeting unattainable goals. Be kinder to yourself. Set easy, realistic short-term goals. This way, you'll get small tastes of success, and though it might be simply from taking a short brisk walk after work, it will be enough to make bigger things feel more within your reach. Starting off small and working your way up is much better than starting big and beating yourself up when it doesn't go your way.
2. Reward Yourself
The thoughts of a warm bath after a run or kicking back to watch a movie after a hard work out will help motivate you to get through your exercise. When your reward is finally achieved, working for it will make it feel all the more worth it. Don’t forget to set long-term rewards too. This could be buying yourself that pair of shoes you've had your eye on for months whenever you successfully stuck to your exercise habit for a whole month.
3. Be Clear and Specific
Having a laid out plan of exactly what exercise you want to do and when exactly you want to do it will make implementing an exercise habit into your daily routine feel more manageable. Whereas if you have a vague plan of attempting some form of exercise as some point in the day is the kind of plan that is almost destined to fall through right from the onset. It will feel like a more concrete, key part of your day if you have the specifics planned out early on.
4. Be Habit Driven, Not Results Driven
While having an end goal of weight loss and fitness in mind is probably what made you decide to start exercising in the first place, focusing wholly on these results can be a bad idea. This is because focusing exclusively on being ten pounds lighter will quickly develop frustration whenever this doesn't happen as quickly as you would like. Focusing on the implementation of a positive habit within your life will be easier than getting bogged down and frustrated by the changes that aren't happening quick enough. Instead, focus on the small things that you can change which will in turn change bigger things in the long-run.
Do you have an exercise habit? How do you stay motivated? Tweet us your tips and advice!
Spring Camping and Glamping Inspiration March 08 2016
After a long, dreary winter banished indoors, the arrival of March heralds the hopes for a bit of sunshine and warmth. What better way to get reacquainted with nature and its new lease of life than a Spring camping trip? From good old traditional tents to 'yurts' and pods, there's never been more choice for your accommodation preferences. Whether you're a camping enthusiast or a newbie looking to try something new, we've got a bit of Spring camping inspiration that will fit both bills!
Tucked away just outside the market town of Wimbourne, Farrs Meadow is a delightfully rural spot despite being just a convenient 15 min walk from Wimbourne. You'll have the choice of pitching your own tent, staying in a gypsy caravan, a unique stable/shack or a yurt. Farrs Meadow is a brilliant location if you want a relaxing trip away filled with lazy days lounging by the scenic pond, strolling through the woods or exploring the secret garden. And if you fancy venturing beyond the campsite parameters there’s the beautiful church Minister of St Cuthburga and the River Stour to pay a visit to.
With relaxed, bohemian festival vibes Faerie-Thyme, situated in Crwbin Wales is a wonderful choice to escape the humdrum of everyday life and access rejuvenation from the surrounding woodland. This is a choice suitable for a couples retreat as children and pets aren't allowed. So if your designated baby-sitter is free for the weekend then why not get away for a couple of days? With two vintage caravans available for hire and plenty of space for tents, campervans and caravans, there’s plenty of accommodation choices to suit your preferences at Faerie-Thyme.
Situated in Cumbria, The Quiet Side campsite looks down upon scenic Ullswater. With lots of varied walking routes and a hand-crafted walking guide upon arrival, The Quiet Side is a great choice if you plan on doing some exploring of the surrounding picturesque landscape whilst away. There’s also the option of hiring a rowing or motor boat and taking to the water for a more chilled out day of sailing. Family friendly, you’ll have the choice of a tent, a pod, or, intriguingly, 'a hobbit hole' to return to after a day's exploring.
Although we were intrigued by simply its name, Tea Pot Lane was recommended by The Observer in 'Glamping in Europe's Top 10 Luxury Campsites.' With lots of accommodation choices to boast of including cute country cottages and adorable tree houses you’ll have a hard time choosing what to sleep in during your stay at Tea Pot Lane. With cutesy vintage and festival vibes combined, Tea Pot Lane has a storybook feel to it (if its name didn't already give that away!) There's plenty to get up to from relaxing in the spa to trying something new such as surfing. There's also a hen house and a cute fairie garden to explore, perfect for kids. It's also pet friendly meaning no one needs to get left behind on your trip away.
Get Outdoors For Your Fitness Fix! March 03 2016
Nowadays, we have an endless supply of fitness options. Everywhere you turn it seems like there is an opportunity to 'drastically blast body fat' or 'drop a dress size in a week.' There are circuits, Zumba, spinning, aerobics, the gym and of course the ever-changing latest craze (such as having an 'exercise rave' in between leaving the office and putting on your spuds for dinner!). I'm a firm believer of 'each to their own' and if it works for you, then great! But I think there's more to exercise than just chasing those body targets and following the latest fitness craze. For me it's a very holistic experience, and it has to offer much more than just sweat and tears, to justify the large amount of time dedicated to it throughout my life. I always ask myself, 'what's in it for me?' So here's why I believe nature walks should be part of your regular fitness fix!
1. Get outdoors!
Research tells us that there is a plethora of benefits to being in the great outdoors. With regards to exercise it can increase the amount of endorphins released, it can lead to a longer period of time engaging in exercising, and it can result in a higher level of intensity during that exercise. Your workout just got instantly better by stepping outside.
2. Connect with Nature
Walking in a natural environment opens up a whole new world for us. First of all it can remind us of the true miracle and natural beauty of the world we live in. Simply watching a bird gather twigs to build a nest, or witnessing the change of seasons over time, can be very humbling. Secondly, the natural world can be immensely educational, as we learn about the moon cycles, the array of interesting coastal wildlife, witnessing spectacular night skies with rare meteor showers or the breath-taking views of the aurora borealis. And thirdly, nature walks often leave us feeling much less stressed and more appreciative for the simple things in life, as we recognise the joy and inner peace that often comes when watching a glorious sunset or an emerging rainbow.
3. Relax, refresh, revive
There is a special feeling that can come over you like a wave, when you are in the great outdoors. Something that is extremely different to when exercising in a packed gym or overcrowded aerobics class with loud music and people grunting and sweating all around you! It’s not hard to see why your mental health as well as your physical health is addressed while getting your fitness fit while out in nature.
4. Digital detox
By navigating towards nature, you are actively removing yourself away from the abundance of technology that we are constantly engaged with. There is no TV to stare at while on the treadmill, no pumping tunes to keep in time with, and no apps are needed to record your every rise and fall of your heartbeat. There are many more things that will grab your attention during your fitness session in the great outdoors, than having to update your Facebook status! Leave the technology behind, even just for one hour, and watch your focus shift more towards the amazing environment you are exercising in and how you are actually feeling, both physically and emotionally. Take away the distractions and simply enjoy your workout for what it is.
5. Re-connect with people
Take a friend of a family member with you on your fitness adventure in the great outdoors. It is extremely easy to drift apart or drastically reduce 'quality' time with our loved ones, as we rush about in this hectic modern lifestyle that most of us nowadays experience. Escaping in to nature somewhat forces us to engage with and really re-connect with other human beings. This small amount of time together can be vitally important. Do not underestimate the rippling effect of benefits that can ensue in to your lives by scheduling in regular time together in nature. Not only is it beneficial for existing relationships, but it also opens up opportunities to meet new people while out on your walks. Human connections and friendships are important and we need to ensure they are given the time they deserve. And what better way to do it while out exercising in our beautiful natural environment!
So now and again, I would strongly recommend that you hit those hills, brisk walk along the beach or wander through the woods. Embrace it and reap the many benefits. And if I haven't convinced you enough by now, then the other key benefit of getting outdoors for your fitness fix, is that - it's FREE! Now go grab your trainers, and explore...
Outdoor Ideas For You and Your Kids This Spring March 01 2016
It's official. Winter is winding down, the mornings are brighter and the evenings are longer. With the weather (hopefully!) improving, it's time to start planning some fun outdoor activities. However, if any lingering signs of winter are bringing you down, yes we're looking at you iced up windscreens; well we have some much needed inspiration for you on having fun outside!
1. Duck Feeding
Have you ever gone for a walk in the park and after seeing a few ducks, immediately regretted not planning ahead to bring a few slices of bread with you? Well, this time why not make a point of going out to the park with your little ones specifically to do a bit of duck feeding? Nothing gets you quite as excited for Spring like connecting with nature and its inhabitants!
2. Spring Hunt
Everyone knows the tell-tale signs of Spring - daffodils, snowdrops, baby animals and Easter eggs. However, since Easter eggs have been temptingly in stock since just after Christmas, why not plan a little day out in the great outdoors with a Spring checklist? Round the kids up and hunt out some of the bountiful signs of Spring abundant in nature. It will be almost guaranteed to make the winter months seem like a distant memory.
3. Help Birds Build Their Nests
It is possible. It's also super easy and affordable. Get yourself one of these mesh nesting wool holders (or even just a mesh bird feeder) then start to stock up on little scraps of wool which you and your little ones will then fill the holder/feeder with together. Then it's playing the waiting game to see what sorts of birds it will attract! Seeing the birds pull the wool out with their beaks and fly off to build their nest with it is sure to get your little nature enthusiasts' full undivided attention! Why not invest in a little pair of binoculars too to get a close up look at the birds?
4. Puddle Jumping
Whenever April showers strike instead of staying cooped up indoors why not make the most of it by cracking your wellies out and going for a splash about? Besides, April showers don't tend to stick around for too long before the sunshine is back again! Our handy waterproof overtrousers and Mac in a Sac packaway waterproof jackets provide the perfect cover up for when these temperamental showers make their appearance. Both coming in a handy stuff sac, they're ideal for popping into handbags and backpacks.
5. Plant Something
Now that we're finally getting into a season where things can now grow, let's celebrate that by planting something! Whether it's planting some sunflowers, strawberries or even an apple tree, get the kids involved and you'll have something to look after together and watch grow together throughout the Spring, Summer and even Autumn.
Monthly Round Up - February February 29 2016
Welcome to the February edition of your monthly round up from HQ! Keeping you in the loop with what's happening throughout the company.
Winter is finally on its last legs and we are setting our sights (and hopes) towards sunnier times! There's plenty to look forward to besides a bit more sunshine (hopefully!) and chocolate eggs!
For instance... we've been kept super busy with the upcoming launch of our new brand Lighthouse (psst... It's happening next month). It's been a really exciting time in the company and we can't wait for the official launch!
If you're feeling intrigued (you should be!) sign up now to gain early access to Lighthouse... www.lighthouseclothing.co.uk.
Lighthouse will be launching just in time to get you kitted out for the Spring/Summer 2016 season but we're also way ahead of the game - Our Autumn/Winter 2016 shoot happened this month. Here's a couple of exciting behind the scenes sneak peeks of what's to come in our Autumn/Winter 2016 range...
And as if that wasn’t far enough in advance, our designers have also been working tirelessly on the Spring/Summer 2017 range too!
That's just the tip of the ice-berg. We're launching the new and improved Mac in a Sac website next month with our brand new, exciting Mac in a Sac range.
In the meantime... Our Mac in a Sac clearance sale kicked off last week and we have big reductions (up to 35%) off some of our bestselling, most popular products... but snap yourself up a bargain asap as the stock is limited!
And finally, last but not least, we have a new item on its way for Spring/Summer 2016 in the Xtreme Series Range - Kinetic. Kinetic is a highly waterproof and breathable rainjacket. Its specialised, practical features will have you ready to tackle April showers and beyond with ease.
Keep up to date with all our exciting developments as they happen on our social media channels! We also love to see photos of our customers out and about in our products, so tweet us your photos!
Mac in a Sac
5 Reasons Why Your Dog is the Best Adventure Companion February 23 2016
It has long been said that dog is man's best friend and we think that this extends beyond enthusiastic tail wagging when you get home from work and evening cuddles on the sofa. Yep, we think that your furry friend is potentially the best companion for your outdoor adventures - whether that's walking, runny or simply a bit of exploring outdoors. So, if the friendship with your jogging partner has run its course, so to speak, read on for some reasons why you needn't look further than your own home for an outdoors buddy.
It can be pretty frustrating getting into the zone and building up a bit of speed when running only to realise you're leaving your companion in the dust. Or alternatively, if they're leaving you behind it can be equally if not more frustrating. So, if either of these dilemmas sound familiar, it might be time to get the leash out. Your dog might have four legs but he/she will be more than okay with keeping to your running speed, meaning lagging behind or getting ahead will be an issue no more. And you'll be able to make your runs/walks as long or as short as you like, there'll be no judgement or complaint from your eager pal. Just remember to fill his/her bowl with plenty of fresh water when you return home!
Negative vibes from your running companion getting you down? You can swap the sighing and complaints of your human companion for the boundless enthusiasm of your cute canine. Whenever returning home from work is the highlight of your pets' day, you can be sure they'll have nothing but energy for joining you on a walk or run.
3. Good company
If you're having a bad day and need to clear your head, getting our into the fresh air with a buddy who'll provide you with some silent company is sometimes the best thing for it.
Your furry friend certainly won't text you at the last minute to tell you they can't actually meet you in the park for a walk after all. Or be inexcusably late either! You can always rely on them to be in a good mood with you. As if we needed any more proof that dogs are better than humans.
5. Ready For All Terrains & Weather
Whether you're hitting the beach, exploring a forest park or strolling through country lanes, your four legged friend is ready to tackle all terrains with ease and enthusiasm. Constantly inquisitive by nature, you couldn't have a better companion for exploring the great outdoors with! He/she has a furry coat for protection from the elements, make sure you're protected too with a handy waterproof packaway Mac in a Sac.
Activities Your Mac in a Sac is Perfect For February 16 2016
Mac in a Sac is a really versatile piece of clothing that is perfect for lots of activities from travelling to cycling. Its handy stuff sac also means you can have an extra, protective piece of clothing without it taking up all the room in your handbag! So, for a bit of inspiration we've put together a list of just some activities your Mac in a Sac is perfect for!
1. City Breaks
With limited space in your hand luggage you need to be pretty savvy about what you take on your city break and what you leave at home. This can be a pretty difficult task, especially if you hate packing in the first place. When you plan your city break down to a tee, outfit planning is marginally easier. But, overall, the unpredictability of the weather can be difficult to plan around. You can make outfit planning that bit easier by popping your Mac in a Sac in your hand luggage. Just as handy for handbags as an umbrella but ten times more reliable. It also won't break when the wind blows too strongly!
2. School Trips
Whether it’s a trip to a forest park, an open farm or the zoo, the weather is prone to interfering on school trips. Leave behind their bulky puff coat for carrying around all day (and possibly leaving on the bus!) and pop their handy Mac in a Sac into their school bag instead. They can be free to enjoy the weather while it’s dry and be well equipped to tackle it if it turns nasty. Win-win!
3. Walking the Dog
Don’t let your furry friend down by keeping him/her cooped up in the house while it’s raining! Rainy days will no longer stop you from getting out with your pet through your Mac in a Sac's highly waterproof and breathable qualities. You can enjoy your walks together without interruption and your pet will thank you for it
If there's one place where the threat of rain looms with mighty force then it's UK festivals. You can be adequately prepared for this eventuality with your Mac in a Sac. You'll be protected from light rain and the heavier showers too. Decided to leave your bag back at the campsite? Not a problem, with a handy drawcord included on its stuff sac your Mac in a Sac can be tied around your belt so you can dance with ease when the sun comes out.
You might be freezing when you first hop on your bike, but after a few minutes cycling you’ll warm up rapidly. Your Mac in a Sac is ideal for cycling because its lightweight, breathable qualities help you stay comfortable when you start to perspire.
So what activities have you used your Mac in a Sac for? We always love seeing photos of our customers out and about in their Mac in a Sacs! Tweet us your pics!
Beautiful Areas of the UK to Explore February 09 2016
Seeing photos of sunny places every time you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed can be extremely frustrating especially when the sky here has assumed its usual stubborn, unimpressive grey veneer. Nothing can produce itchy feet to go and see the rest of the world quite like that same sight each day. If it's a bit early in the year to book your summer holidays, frustration levels are rising and you are in need of some travel inspiration, why not visit one of the beautiful locations that the UK has to boast of? Yes, they do exist I promise!
The Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
They say that when you visit the Giant's Causeway you are walking in the footsteps of giants, deriving from the old story of Finn McCool. The story goes that the giant Finn McCool built the causeway in order to go to battle with Scotland, across the sea. Arriving in Scotland and daunted by the size of his enemy he retreated home with his Scottish enemy hot on his trail. In order to save him, Finn's wife disguised him as a baby. This meant that when his Scottish foe arrived and saw the size of his baby, he figured he wouldn't be prepared to battle with the father of such a large baby. Running back home to Scotland his footsteps are said to have ripped up the causeway and left the remarkable columns of hexagonal rocks that have become so iconic for Northern Irish tourism. The other theory is that the rocks were made into the shape they are by a volcanic explosion sixty million years ago. Whatever you choose to believe this beautiful area of the UK is not one to be missed.
Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands
Much like the Giant's Causeway, Loch Ness is infamous for its myth and legend in the form of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster. 23 miles long and 700 ft deep, it is one of Scotland's largest lochs. Fringed by picturesque villages, Loch Ness makes for a lovely area to have a drive beside, taking in the expansive views of the Loch. Want to get a closer inspection? There are boat trips available if you're brave enough to enter Nessie's home. There is plenty of surrounding landscape to explore, if having a hike in the Scottish Highlands is up your alley. Additionally, fishing is a popular activity at Loch Ness with a great deal of different kinds of fish in its waters.
The Lake District, Cumbria, England
The Lake District was a popular area in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century for the Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats and Percy Shelley. Wordsworth, the most out of all the Romantic poets had a particular affinity with the Lake District finding its beauty and expansive, "untamed" countryside to be a source of sublime inspiration. It inspired his love for the natural word which is a core influence in his poetry. The Lake District is the ideal place to reinvigorate your love for the outdoors and become in tune with nature.
Brecon Beacons, Powys, South Wales
Covering approximately 520 sq miles of South and Mid Wales, Brecon Beacons is perfect to escape the grind. There is much more to offer beyond moorland, including a medieval church, castle, waterfalls and star gazing so good you can see the Milky Way. Although the park was established in 1957 there is a much deeper history behind it, just waiting to be explored. The park offers an insight into Wales's ancient past with 8 millennia of human activity evidenced in the land ranging from the Norman Conquest to a preserved glacial lake. Suffice to say, Brecon Beacons is not your average park.
Top Outdoor Challenges For 2016 February 02 2016
Whether you're big into cycling, wild about running or just fancy trying something different this year, 2016 won't be short of outdoor events across the UK to keep you fit and healthy. Many of these events are a great way to raise money for charity so if you want to set yourself a personal challenge and raise some money for a good cause while you're at it, then read on.
Where marathons and swimming can feel like very unitary, solo activities, hill walking is an activity you can enjoy the company of others in and share an amazing experience you'll remember forever. The breath-taking views from the top are also an additional, attractive perk of hill walking. Many hill walks are open challenges meaning that you can choose from a selection of charities to raise money for.
Ben Nevis, located in the Scottish Highlands is the highest mountain in Britain and a very popular spot. You have the option of undertaking your challenge in summer or if you're really brave, in winter. Other popular challenges include the Lake District 5 Peaks (15 July) and 24 Peaks (10 June) for more experienced hill walkers. Both Ben Nevis and the Lake District walks can be done at midnight to really take advantage of the scenery against the backdrop of a rising sun. However, if you're really passionate about mountaineering why not try the revered Welsh3000s (10 June)? It is one of the most challenging mountain climbs to undertake but has some amazing views to boast of.
If cycling is your thing, there's a wealth of interesting cycling events happening across the UK this year. The Edinburgh Night Ride is a 50 mile overnight cycle across Scotland's capital city happening on June 18. With sights that will include The Castle, Holyrood Palace, Scottish Parliament Buildings, the Fourth Road Bridge and even a coastal route thrown in for good measure, it will be a varied and extremely interesting cycle to say the least. If you fancy going further afield than the UK however, the London to Paris cycle is happening on 7 September for 5 days to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK. You will begin in London's city centre and finish off underneath the Eiffel Tower, having cycled a whopping 300 miles. And with Paris to enjoy afterwards what could be a better reward?
If you feel a bit daunted by the prospect of cycling all night or climbing up the highest mountain in Britain why not ease yourself into outdoor challenges by doing a fun run? Charities frequently hold fun runs and walks across the UK as they are an easy way for people to get active and involved with a good cause! This March 20th the Where's Wally Fun Run is happening in London's Clapham Commons to raise money for National Literary Trust. It's a manageable 1Km and you can jog, walk or run your way through it, dressed as Wally of course. However, if London is a bit too far afield look up fun runs and charity walks happening in near you!
Winter Workout Motivation January 26 2016
Whether your New Years resolutions involved running, cycling, walking or mountain climbing, most people's will have involved some form of fitness plan for self-improvement throughout the year ahead. However, a couple of weeks into January and the dark mornings, frosty footpaths and limited daylight of winter can get many people's spirits down. To beckon back that ever receding motivation we have put together a list of ways you can get yourself back on track when you feel yourself struggling.
If you started 2016 with the intention of getting up at 5am and running for an hour before getting ready for work then chances are, unless you have already been running for quite a while, you were defeated before you even really got started. Your workout shouldn't be a form of punishment and if you're making yourself get up at an ungodly hour before you even have a real investment or passion for the exercise then you've no real chance. And this does nothing to improve your waning motivation. Beginning with baby steps instead of a hardcore regime will foster better feelings about the workout itself. Then you can gradually up your game as you go along!
Goal Setting: Short Term/Mid Term/Long Term
Instead of having vague New Year workout "resolutions" for 2016, call them "goals" and put together a more concrete and detailed plan. Group your goals into short term, mid-term and long terms categories defined by months throughout the year. E.g. a goal set for December 2016 would be a long term goal but something you want to achieve by May would be a mid-term goal. Having this more detailed insight to what your goals are will make them feel immediately more achievable. Think of it as a year-long to-do list!
Have a Bit of Fun
Bring a bit of fun into your workout by compiling a running playlist if the repetitiveness is something getting to you. Songs with more than 120 beats per minute are meant to make exercise seem easier. Stumped for ideas? Spotify and Songza have some great playlists put together especially for working out purposes! If music just isn't cutting it though, fear not, because you can now run away from hordes of zombies whenever you feel like it. Yes, you heard me correctly, Zombies, Run! is an app with 200 different missions involving outrunning zombies who are hot on your trail. It's an adventure game that you actually have an active input beyond pressing buttons and who knows, it might be just what you need to get those motivation levels soaring.
Get Yourself a Nice Workout Kit
Working out can make even the most confident of us feel very self-conscious. If you throw on old clothes that don't necessarily make you feel very good about yourself, this will have a reflection on your motivation for going through with the workout at all. So, it's important to invest in a workout kit you'd actually like to be seen in. Factoring in comfort, warmth and breathability are all important key factors in putting together your workout kit. Don't get held back on those rainier days either by having a good waterproof coat at the ready too.
Is there a better source of motivation than the thought of having your favourite meal, watching that new show on Netflix or having a relaxing bath after your workout? Promising yourself these little treats for after you've finished your workout are important to keep yourself motivated and to recognise working out as being something rewarding within your life.
Revamping Dry January January 19 2016
Feeling guilty about not partaking in Dry January? Never fear, we're giving Dry January an entirely new meaning!
As it's one of the coldest, wettest months of the year, we recognise how important your clothing choices are in tackling the elements and the impact that these choices can have on your overall wellbeing. Let's face it, have you ever gotten soaked by the rain and been completely fine with it? The unpredictability of the weather and the way in which it affects our moods, (and sometimes our entire day) is quite often exacerbated by poor clothing choices, particularly outerwear. Your fur collared leather jacket might look great with your outfit but the moment you get caught in a rain shower it is an immediately regrettable choice. I know. I've been there. So, if for 2016, you want to finally say no to being cold and wet, we've compiled your Dry January guide to waterproof clothing, detailing all the different styles of jackets and coats and explaining how wash and reproof your Mac in a Sac when the time comes round to it.
You don't have to sacrifice style for comfort with Mac in a Sac. Available in a range of fourteen colours you can ensure your Mac in a Sac goes with whatever outfit you choose to wear! It's waterproof, windproof and breathable qualities will protect you from the elements so you're free to enjoy your day without the weather ruining it. With a concealable hood and adjustable drawcord you can customise your Mac in a Sac depending on the weather and your size. The Mac in a Sac Classic is also unisex so you can choose his and hers.
You'll get full coverage from the rain in this stylish, long length coat. Fully waterproof from top to bottom, this coat is perfect for those particularly nasty rainy days to ensure you can get on with your day as normal! Can also be packed away into its own stuff sac for when the sun decides to make an appearance. Flatteringly fitted with a detachable hood and belt so you can customize your look whatever way you want.
Retaining all of the waterproof, windproof and breathable features of the Classic Packaway, Elle comes in a range of cute polka dot patterns if the block colours of Classic aren't your thing! It still has all the practical protective features that the Classic packaway has but with an additional feminine twist.
Offering all the protective, rain proof qualities that the Classic has, this jacket is perfect for those particularly nippy, wintery days with an additional thermal Jersey lining to ensure you stay toasty. With breathable fabric, comfort cuffs and a packaway hood in the collar you can embrace the winter months without fear of feeling the chill in the air! With the option of packing it away into its own pocket, this jacket is really handy to throw into a handbag if you're in a rush. Like the Classic, the Strata jacket is also unisex.
And Something For The Kids!
Easily packed away into a compact sac, this raincoat can be kept in a school bag in case of rain showers at break time. Also perfect for school trips whenever the weather isn't in your favour. It is lightweight, breathable and waterproof with a concealed, adjustable hood.
This rainsuit/splash suit offers full length protection from the rain so that your little one doesn't need to hold back whenever there's a good looking puddle to splash in! Made from lightweight, waterproof material but sized so that it offers room for an extra layer underneath on the particularly chilly days.
Clothing Features Explained
- Waterproof 5000mm: This is the measurement used to determine how resistant to water a particular fabric is. What defines "waterproof" is set by standards determined through a test that entails placing a long column on top of a garment sample and then filling the column with water successively until it leaks. 5000mm translates to 5 metres worth of water resistance on most of our products, for instance, the Mac in a Sac 2. The garment has to withhold at least 1500mm to be 100% waterproof.
- Breathable 5000GSM: This tests the amount of water vapour (in grams) that pass through a 1 metre sq of fabric. Breathability is all about not allowing condensation to build up. This will, ultimately, keep you warmer.
- Fully Taped Seams: The stitching in waterproof clothing is normally a weak point because the tiny holes from the stitches aren't of course waterproof. Heat-shrunk taping is used on stitched seams in order to eliminate any chance of leakage.
- Concealed Hoods: Packaway jackets have their hood tucked under the collar meaning that it can be kept from getting in the way when it's too wet. It can also be adjusted with toggles.
- Reversed Zip: Zips on our products are made from both plastic and nylon. Through improving the zip for Mac in a Sac 2 and making it a reversible zip, its surface is much more flush to the outer-fabric. This also improves windproofing.
- 2 Way Zip: With 2 way zips the lower half of the zip can be unzipped whilst helpfully keeping the top section zipped. This proves useful for stepping into cars and also onto horses or bikes.
- Packaway: Many of our items can be stored in their own supplied stuff sack which is compact enough to be stored in a bag or briefcase for when it isn't raining.
- Adjustable Hem/Hood: Features can be adjusted easily using the elasticated cords and spring loaded toggles. This in turn will improve the fitting.
How to Care for Waterproof Products
Through wear, you may notice some of your Mac in a Sac's great rain resistance and breathability features are diminishing slightly as time goes on. This is an easily fixable issue meaning you can ensure your rain protection continues and you get your money's worth (and more) from your Mac in a Sac. The process involves washing your Mac in a Sac and (if needed) reproofing it also to restore its original rain resistance performance.
Washing Your Mac in a Sac
All Target Dry products are machine washable at 30 degrees, a delicate setting, if your washing machine provides this option. There are many different types of wash and re-proof products on the market, however, for your Mac in a Sac we recommend using NikWax Two-Stage treatment. This product can also be used on all sorts of outdoor equipment such as tents, awnings and rucksacks etc.
- Firstly, make sure to clean out the detergent dispenser of your washing machine as the chemicals in ordinary detergent can affect the features of your clothing through stripping down the waterproof coating which will make it more likely to produce leaks. Also make sure to do up any zips, buttons or Velcro tabs to avoid them getting caught in the washing machine.
- Washing too many items in the machine at once will impair the effectiveness of the wash. Limit it to two items at once and also ensure they are both waterproof items.
- Use three full caps (150ml) for medium/hard water or 2 full caps (100ml) for soft water.
- When wash completed, avoid scrunching or kneading your waterproof clothing as this is abrasive on the material.
If you find that the fabric of your Mac in a Sac is absorbing water as opposed to repelling it then it may be time to do some reproofing. This isn't necessary after every time you wash it, simply if you notice that it may need it.
Reproofing Your Mac in a Sac
There is no need to wait for your items to dry after washing, you can get straight to reproofing! Reproofing products can come in wash in format or spray on format. NikWax Two Stage Treatment is a wash-in treatment.
- Being a wash-in treatment it is again necessary to ensure that you remove any detergent build up in your detergent dispenser.
- Use a max of two waterproof items in the washing machine.
- Use two full caps (100ml) of NikWax TX Wash-In per garment.
- Wash on 30 degrees
- When finished, leave to dry in an airing cupboard or on a washing line (weather permitting of course).
Challenge Or Adventure December 21 2015
Every now and then, you decide to do something out of the ordinary. Something worthwhile. Something that will not only challenge you but also please you. Recently I had the privilege and pleasure of helping a group of local ladies fulfil that wish, as we embarked on the National Three Peaks Challenge.
This was one heck of a road trip! Leaving Belfast (in our snazzy Target Dry jackets), we first took on the highest peak in the UK, the mighty Ben Nevis in Scotland, before heading south to complete the extremely gorgeous and picturesque Scafell Pike in England, and finishing with the breath-taking Snowdon in Wales before sailing back to Dublin and driving north again to complete our challenge. Five countries travelled, three highest peaks climbed and nearly 1000 miles driven in 5 days. Needless to say a large glass of wine was entertained in the celebrations!
We chose to complete one peak a day, in comparison to the popular 24 hour challenge that seems to have grown rapidly over the last few years. It’s nice to see that the British Mountaineering Council is also recommending this approach. Personally, I am not a fan of the 24 hour structure. I feel it not only increases risk of injury when attempting to complete all three mountains in such a short time frame, but it also has a negative impact on the environment both on the hills and the surrounding areas in terms of traffic, littering and human waste. It also reduces the amount of financial spending taking place in local areas in terms of retail and tourism. The abundance of people being off loaded from a bus and ‘dumped’ on a mountain, to practically run straight up and down again, only to scramble straight back on to a bus….well, just simply fills me with a mixture of dread and disappointment!
I fully understand that taking on a challenge such as The Three Peaks, is often a test of physical and mental strength for a lot of people. I used to be a competitive athlete, so I get it! However, when it comes to the hills, I just don’t understand why you would want to rush that experience and miss out on fully enjoying your surroundings. Hiking against the clock, for me, takes away what hiking is all about. For me, submerging myself in nature in its purest form such as mountain ranges, is all about really appreciating the natural earth. It’s about watching cloud formations, watching weather systems approach, feeling the temperature change, the sun’s heat penetrate your body and the wind on your face. It’s about taking time to have a cup of tea and watch the ravens dance, listen to the wildlife sing their songs, and fully embrace the feeling of achievement and wholesomeness when finally standing on that summit. So, for me, I’m finding myself ask the question, ‘when did it all become about the challenge and not the experience’?
But hey, each to their own! I never say never, so who knows, one day I may find myself taking part in one of these challenges. Perhaps for a good cause such as a charity fundraiser. However, if I do, I will ensure I take the odd moment to look up, I won’t leave any trace and will gently look after the environment and surrounding areas that I have the privilege to explore.
Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy During Winter December 07 2015
With the weather starting to turn colder and the days getting shorter, you may be wondering how to stay fit and healthy this winter. Check out some of my top winter health tips below...
Keep Your Immune System Strong
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to keep your immune system running smoothly. Make sure you drink enough water, and eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veg. Give your immune system an extra boost with foods that are high in vitamin C, like lemons, kiwifruit, capsicum and broccoli.
The NHS recommend getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but instead most of us only get an average of six and a half. In winter, our bodies are naturally inclined to sleep more because of the longer nights - so embrace this and get all the rest you need.
During winter it's vital to stay active. Regular exercise will help strengthen your immune system, reduce stress levels, and help you stay on top of your fitness. Don't go overboard, though, as straining yourself too much will have the opposite effect. Aim for 20 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week.
Get Some Fresh Air
One of the most easily overlooked winter health tips is the importance of getting outdoors into the fresh air every day. As your body works harder to stay warm, it produces endorphins which will create a strong sense of happiness, plus your body needs a daily dose of Vitamin D. Take advantage of the season to try a new activity, like ice skating, which will help encourage you out of the house.
When you do head out into the outdoors this winter, make sure you protect yourself from the elements. Dress in layers of sweat resistant materials, and go for items which are easy to take on and off, so that you can adjust your body temperature easily - and don't forget the importance of a good waterproof outer layer to protect yourself from both wind and rain.
Time to hit the ‘reset’ button November 26 2015
Last night I had the most amazing workout. Ever.
I have been feeling a bit pressured with life recently so I am aware I need to make some peaceful time for myself to 'reset'. But I have also been feeling like I want to have bundles of energy to train hard and get through that massive To Do List. So, a bit muddled up lately. Do you ever get like that? Feel like you're spinning in circles and not getting anywhere fast?
For a while I've been craving a big workout with my beloved sandbags, and because it was such a beautiful evening I grabbed them and headed for the coast. I was definitely not disappointed.
The environment and pace of life of the great outdoors simply lent itself to the most perfect combination for a calm, but strong workout. I trained my body well, while also managing to calm my anxiety, decrease the stress levels, and gain some clarity again. I didn't leave feeling 'pumped' or buzzing full of high energy endorphins. I felt strong and content. A wonderful feeling.
I put together three different workout routines, which I really enjoyed, and the scenery...well, you can see for yourself! It certainly did the trick. The environment definitely contributed to me feeling totally energized, revitalized, strong and de-stressed. Amazing. And it's moments like this that reiterate why I am so passionate, through Tribal Fitness, to provide other women with the support to engage in similar outdoor training opportunities. The benefits really are endless.
Grab your trainers, fitness gear and of course a waterproof jacket and head outdoors. Whether it's for a run, jog or a power walk, you will feel calm, renewed and ready for what life may throw at you.
Five Health Benefits of Getting Outdoors October 06 2015
Whenever I was feeling ill as a child, my mum always took me out for a walk - to “get a breath of fresh air”. And in fact, there’s a lot to be said for that good old fashioned remedy; huge amounts of research and scientific studies have all proven that spending time outside in nature is fantastically good for us, for a variety of reasons…
The sounds and smells of natural environments are extremely beneficial for mental health, providing a sense of calm and aiding relaxation. Leading sound expert Julian Treasure says that birdsong is one of the most reassuring sounds to human ears, and other natural sounds are just as relaxing. Then there’s the smell of the forest: trees and plants emit an organic compound called phytoncides, and when inhaled this can help reduce anxiety.
Research undertaken by Professor Roger Ulrich at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden has shown that the countryside can have a positive impact on recovering from illnesses. In fact, he found that even a simple view of trees through a hospital window could improve recovery rates.
Vitamin D is produced and activated in our bodies when sunlight hits our skin. This vitamin helps fight certain conditions, including osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Regular exercise also helps to prevent some cancers, as well as tackling obesity which can lead to dozens of future problems.
Spending time in nature can also boost creativity and improve focus. Our everyday lives are over stimulating and getting outdoors can give our brains a break from that, restoring attention levels. Many really successful and creative people, including Goethe, Dickens, Darwin, Beethoven, and - more recently - Steve Jobs, were known for taking long walks to help them focus, so you’re in great company!
Being outdoors makes us feel good! Studies have shown show that activities outdoors, particularly in natural environments, make us feel more happy than the same activities performed indoors. People who live within 1km of a park or wooded area also experience less anxiety and depression than those living further away from green spaces, and spending time in nature has been proven to lower levels of stress and boost happiness.
So, there you have it - five excuses to take a break from work or whatever is stressing you out and just head outdoors. Of course, mother nature can't always be relied upon for a clear, dry day. Make sure you pop on a waterproof jacket to protect you from the elements. A packaway rain mac is the perfect solution for a lightweight, handy option to take with you on any outdoors trip.
Why Walking Is Good For You September 16 2015
If you’re not exactly a gym bunny, the thought of regular exercise might cause you to break out into a cold sweat or bring out the most creative and elaborate excuses.
For many, it’s the thought of being judged by other gym-goers or the fear of looking incredibly unfit and out of shape. It could also be the boredom factor. Running on a treadmill doesn’t exactly stimulate the senses.
Walking is arguably the easiest and most enjoyable form of exercise. You can get out and about, take in the scenery, breathe in the fresh air whilst knowing that you are doing the body the world of good. We run through a few of the top benefits of enjoying a brisk walk every now and again.
It helps with weight loss
A fast 30 minute walk will help you burn 150 calories, which is roughly the equivalent of one thin slice of pizza or 10 tortilla chips. A good walk will increase muscle mass and tone, which will in turn speed up your metabolism.
It reduces lethargy and increase energy levels
Ever suffer from an afternoon slump? A quick walk will help to increase oxygen supply to every cell in the body. Make sure to get out at lunchtime so you feel refreshed and awake.
It helps you sleep better
Oregon State University stated that ’30 minutes of brisk walking over five days could help you sleep more easily’. The study showed that the participants slept better and felt more alert during the day.
If you’re prone to spending an hour on your phone every evening, go for a quick walk a couple of hours before bedtime and set your phone on the other side of the room. You don’t want to undo the benefits of your evening stroll!
Improve your mood and feel happy
Being active releases endorphins, which helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Whilst a walk is not high intensity or a fat burning exercise, it does help to improve your mood and certainly the social aspect helps to make it much more enjoyable.
Check out your local or national walking clubs and get social to increase your motivation and improve your mental wellbeing. In Northern Ireland, there are several walking festivals or events that you can take part in. The Ramblers also have a finder tool so you can view details on your nearest walking club across the UK and Ireland.
Improve your general health
Getting outdoors not only improves your fitness, it can also help with your general health. Vitamin D is hard to get from food sources, but it can be generated from natural sunlight. Getting plenty of Vitamin D is vital for your bone health and immunity.
Walking also helps to lower your blood pressure and it can improve memory (by boosting cognitive performance) and enhance creativity in the young. This has all been proven through experimental studies from University institutions and health clinics. Walking genuinely is the best solution for improving your fitness, energy levels and your mental wellbeing.
Don't let the unpredictable British and Irish weather spoil your walking sessions, a packaway Mac in a Sac jacket is the perfect way to keep dry while staying fit.
Meet Guest Blogger Nikki; A Fitness & Outdoors Fanatic August 11 2015
My name is Nikki, and I’m an addict
Let’s get straight to the point…I have a passion for nature and for fitness. In fact, I think it’s bordering on the side of addiction. But hey, I’m cool with that. There are worse addictions!
So, hi! My name is Nikki, and I’m an addict!
As with any passion (or addiction), it exists, surely, for the primary aim of achieving happiness. And I am unbelievably thankful that I can very easily find this, every single day, by just walking out of my front door.
These passions have steered me from a very early age. I was the child who was always climbing trees, walking down streams, competing in many sports, and choosing to sit outside for as long as possible (even if it meant wrapping myself in a hundred layers, and under an umbrella!). I found school hard. Not necessarily academically, but because I found it a form of torture. For someone who has an addition to being outdoors and embracing nature, being trapped in a classroom for hours on end, just looking out the window at what’s on offer, is just plain cruel.
Growing into adulthood, my love of exercise and nature only strengthened, as I would spend endless hours watching the sea, taking photographs of wildlife and losing myself in countryside walks. The enormous amount of benefits that can be achieved from both physical activity and immersing yourself in the great outdoors, is well documented. It was therefore inevitable that I wanted to maximize on this and due to my sporting interest, I was to become involved in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years. I had found a career trying to help others achieve a similar level of addition! Perfect!
Or so I thought.
Despite my years of commitment of working within the health and fitness remit, I was not 100% happy. Sure, I was doing what I loved. I was training people and helping them to become healthier both physically and mentally. I was helping communities by providing them with sustainable activity opportunities. I was educating and encouraging children about the benefits of exercise. I was developing plans for new parks. I was writing obesity strategies for local government. I was running healthy eating programmes for families. But there was a missing part of the jigsaw. I needed to step away from the desk and get outside! And I wanted my clients to experience and understand the huge benefits of being outdoors, even if they weren’t being physically active. You see, I am totally passionate about encouraging people to explore the great outdoors more. Especially in Northern Ireland as we have amazing opportunities here, right on our doorstep, (and for free!), that many people are simply unaware of or just not utilizing!
There is a burning desire within me, to really support and encourage females and children to get outside and be active! For me it is one of the most important and fundamental issues in our society right now. (Oh dear, I can feel the passion in my belly bubbling up about this, so I shall step aside from this line of thought and leave that for another day!).
Despite my passion, addition, obsession, or whatever you want to call it at this stage; launching my own business, Tribal Fitness, was never on the horizon at all, and actually developed completely by accident and very much unexpectedly! But hey, you just gotta roll with the punches in life sometimes.
While on maternity leave I moved back to Northern Ireland, and me being me, I just couldn’t sit in and be surrounded by four walls and a mountain of nappies every day. I needed the walls to disappear and I needed to be walking on real mountains!
I mentioned in passing to other local mums that I was thinking of doing an outdoor exercise session once a week with my baby (I am a qualified pre/postnatal fitness instructor), just to keep me sane! Within ten minutes I had twenty names on the list. Alas, Tribal Fitness was born.
Within three years, I was saturated with demands and had to make the hard decision whether to scale back, scrap it all, or franchise. I franchised, and now have four totally amazing ladies running their own Tribes. And still looking for more!
This was fantastic! We were helping ladies through our female only bootcamps to engage in a realistic and fun way to keep healthy. Mums were also ecstatic as they were catered for with our Pramtastic sessions, which meant they didn’t need childcare to exercise in a safe group, and of course had the added bonus of meeting new friends. However, there were two more passions of mine that weren’t being fulfilled, and I had itchy feet again.
Children. I could go on and on and on forever about this, so I shall be extremely brief. I believe it is vitally important that our young children are not only educated, but also given the opportunities, alongside their parents, to embrace a healthy lifestyle, incorporating physical activity and a healthy approach to food. Thus, RunnerBeans Bootcamp was formed. (phew, I did well to keep that short.).
But my main itch was still the abundance of nature that was laying there, just waiting for these lovely ladies to discover. I was lucky enough that one of my best friends is a qualified mountain leader and activities instructor, and jumped at the chance of launching Tribal Fitness Adventures: an offshoot to the main company. We run regular day (and night!) hikes in the marvelous Mournes, as well as organizing trips away such as Carrauntoohil in Co Kerry, the highest peak in Ireland. All our trips are female only, so it gives women the chance to experience something different in a relaxed and friendly environment. A lot of ladies are under enormous amounts of pressure and often carry guilt about ‘taking time off’ from their role as ‘employee’ or ‘mum’ or ‘wife’ or ‘daughter’ but once they are surrounded by nature, the shoulders drop, the breathing slows and the worries are sent away in the wind. If just for one day. Many have commented that they simply would never had the experiences they’ve had if it wasn’t for Tribal Fitness. And that just makes me smile from ear to ear.
So, you can imagine how excited and proud I am about taking a group of these amazing ladies to complete the Three Peaks next weekend! Yep, awesome eh! Most of these ladies had never set foot on a mountain a year ago. Some had a fear of heights. Others have overcome health and fitness issues. It will be a fantastic achievement for each and every one of them prepared to give this amazing challenge a go. And I am extremely thankful to TargetDry for supporting this event, and for their very kind donation of waterproof jackets for the whole team, which will no doubt enhance our experience.
I look forward to sharing our Three Peaks experience with you, as well as discussing topics such as Children in Nature, Exercising Outdoors, Family Activities, Attitudes to Exercise, Top Tips & Handy Hints, Outdoor Holidays and Adventures, Clothing & Clobber, and much more.
However, in the meantime, please remember that the great outdoors is there for the taking. It is on offer 24/7 for every single person on this earth. Embrace it. In any way you can. And look after it, in every way you can.
Until we meet again, step outside, and choose adventure!
Summer Workout Kit Essentials July 29 2015
Although the weather lately has been a bit of washout, there’s still time to enjoy the ‘warmish’ temperatures and get a bit of a workout fitted in to your routine.
Whether you’re heading to the gym or getting out and about, here’s a list of the essentials that you will want to bring with you to ensure that you maxmise your workout session.
Filter water bottle – It stands to reason that if you’re working out, you need to stay hydrated. Brita make great filter water bottles so you can sip on clean filtered water whilst you go for a run or hop on the treadmill.
Face wipes – With all the sweat that your body produces during a fitness session, you will need to keep a couple of face wipes handy. Not only will they feel refreshing and soothing against your overheated skin, they will also clean away the sweat, oil and grime to help prevent breakouts.
Deodorant – We’re not talking your standard roll-on. Make sure to stock up on the 24-48 hour deodorants, that will keep you feeling fresh from your morning workout right through until the evening. Look for one that’s both long lasting and nourishing for your skin. After a tough fitness session, your skin will be dehydrated and warm, a nourishing deodorant will help to cool and hydrate your skin.
Suncreen – Even on an overcast day, you are still at danger of the sun’s rays damaging your skin. If you’re going on a power walk or a run, make sure that you lather on sunscreen to protect any exposed skin.
Glucose tablets – You can buy tablets that dissolve in water, but when you’re out and about, it might be a lot easier to take gluco chewable tablets. They help to give your body a bit of a glucose boost so you can keep going for longer.
Energy bar - A post-workout snack is great for giving your body a much needed hit of nutrition. Opt for a healthy, fruit-filled energy bar to put the vitamins and minerals back into your body.
SPF lip balm – Your lips are often forgotten when it comes to protecting your skin against the sun. Sweat can also leave them feeling a little dry and chapped. Pack a moisturizing lip balm with added sunscreen, so your lips are well nourished and hydrated.
Packaway Mac – The weather can be pretty unpredictable. Make sure your workout isn’t spoiled by any sudden showers and invest in a lightweight, waterproof, packaway mac.
10 Essentials For Any Camping Trip June 16 2015
Camping is one of those activities that either conjures up great memories of weekends away with the family/friends or nightmare situations where you run out of toilet roll, get covered in midge bites and can never quite manage to get the fire lit.
One way to have a great camping trip full of fond memories and to avoid any nasty disasters is to make sure that you have all the essentials you will need. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to bring water, your sleeping bag or no way of cooking or eating your BBQ food.
Follow our top essentials list for a fun camping break with friends or family.
A tent is the absolute core essential that will ensure you get a decent night’s sleep and protect you against the wind, rain and evening chill. Sure sleeping under the stars is really bringing it back to nature, but if there’s a sudden rain shower you may have to bring your trip to an abrupt end.
2. Sleeping bag
No self-respecting camping enthusiast would dare leave the house without a sleeping bag. Whether you’re an experienced or newbie camper, a sleeping bag should be one of the first things your pack. Even if you’re camping in a hot travel destination, the temperature will drop in the evenings and you don’t want to get a bad night’s sleep and wake up feeling not so fresh and rejuvenated.
3. Ground mat
Lying on the cold hard ground does not do your back any favours. Pack a ground mat so your sleeping bag doesn’t get cold and damp from any evening condensation. Bring an extra blanket with you if you fancy another layer between you, the ground and the mat.
How else could you share spooky ghost stories around the fire than with a torch?! Definitely one for the backpack, a torch comes in handy for any midnight trips to the toilet or for finding those left over crisps in the dark.
The weather forecast can often lie. When you’re expecting nice sunny days, it can be quite unsettling to see a dark raincloud head your way. Make sure you’re prepared for what nature throws at you with a good waterproof coat or jacket. It doesn’t have to take up much room, a waterproof packaway mac is great for providing a watertight barrier between you and the elements.
Becoming one with nature isn’t the cleanest of activities. Wipes come in handy for any mishaps, spillages and general hygiene.
7. Plastic Bags
Keep your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes by keeping a stash of plastic bags in your rucksack. They also come in handy for storing dirty dishes or general rubbish and left over food.
8. Stove/BBQ & Plastic Cutlery
Camping meals can be dull unless you have a portable stove or a disposable bbq. There are only so many packets of crisps or sweets that you can eat! There are loads of options when it comes to portable stoves for festivals and they are very reasonably priced and quite compact. If you do bring a stove then don’t forget your cutlery.
9. Portable phone charger
Whilst camping should be about switching off and getting back to nature, most of us can’t survive without our phones. Should anything happen whilst you’re out in the wilderness, at least a phone can help in getting emergency services to your aid. Portable phone chargers are a godsend when you don’t have a socket nearby.
10. Toilet roll
Last, but certainly not least, the absolute camping trip essential; toilet roll. Unless you have an encyclopedic brain, it’s unlikely that you will know every plant and leaf and which of those are poisonous and which are harmless. Best to stay on the safe side and avoid unwanted rashes with toilet roll or at least a packet of tissues.
The Festival season has officially begun!
If you’re heading off to any summer festivals across the UK, Ireland and Europe this year, make sure you are well prepared. The weather can be highly unpredictable and lets face it, there’s nothing worse than getting caught in torrential rain and stuck in a mud bath. It’s not fun if you're dressed in a t-shirt and shorts in cold, wet and windy conditions.
We’ve put together a few recommendations for your festival survival kit to make sure you get through it with as relatively little damage as possible. Packing the essentials gives you peace of mind that nothing will get in the way of spoiling your fun!
Backpack/rucksack - this goes without saying that you need a good quality, durable backpack that’s big enough to carry everything you need but that won’t weigh a ton. Don’t go overboard and pack the kitchen sink. Take a couple of changes of clothes and a few accessories to change up your look should you desire to.
Wellies - No self-respecting festival buff would be without wellies! Definitely not something to scrimp on, wellies need to be completely waterproof, fit well (to avoid any stuck in the mud situations) and of course it doesn’t hurt if they look funky and stylish. Check out our ladies and kiddies wellies that come in a range of different patterns and bright fun colours.
Plimsolls - when the weather is good, you won’t want to be donning the wellies. if you do, expect sweaty, smelly and heat swollen feet! Plimsolls take up minimum space in your bag and they can easily go with any outfit.
Plasters & Paracetamol - avoid any nasty blister eruptions with waterproof plasters. Protect your ankles and any minor cuts and help them heal. Packing paracetamol will help with any headaches (those unexpected and also those self-inflicted) and make sure you don’t miss out on any musical acts.
Sunscreen - even though the sky is cloudy, you can still get burnt! Cover any exposed areas and avoid the burnt tomato look.
Wet wipes - definitely, definitely one for the backpack. Easy to keep fresh and clean and easy to dispose of.
Torch - another essential that goes without saying! Festivals are for having fun and staying up all night. A torch will ensure you don’t stumble in the dark and will guide you on any late night trips to the portaloos.
Waterproofs - Unexpected showers can catch you at any moment. Make sure you still enjoy your weekend away even when the weather is lashing down. There are plenty of options out there if you’re looking for a fashionable mac or poncho, but chances are, if they’re cheap they will most likely fail to keep you warm and dry. Mac in a Sac polka dot ponchos and waterproof packaway jackets are perfect for ensuring that you enjoy the music without getting completely drenched.
Dry shampoo - Unless you want to stand under a freezing cold shower to wash your hair, you can keep your mop looking fresh with good old dry shampoo. Spraying it at the roots will keep it looking grease free and smelling clean.
Let us know what festivals you will be attending this summer, as well as your survival essentials!
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