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!

Stay healthy!

Nikki


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.

1. Tent

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.

4. Torch

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.

5. Waterproofs

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. 

6. Wipes

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.


Our Top Essentials To Help You Survive The Festival Season May 06 2015

source:magazin.salzburgerland.com

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!


Mac in a Sac - Now Offering Free Shipping to US Customers April 03 2015

Our Mac in a Sac range of waterproof packaway jackets and over-trousers, are retailed in many UK stores and distributed into many countries around Europe, Asia & South America.  

UK based customers buying direct from our website have enjoyed free shipping since our since launch late in 2012.  And today, we are pleased to announce that we can now offer FREE SHIPPING to customers from USA!

We understand that delivery costs can sometimes be an impediment when buying online, so we have worked hard to leverage the Amazon.com platform to move stock to a distribution centre in the US.  This allows us to fulfil orders from the USA quickly and easily, and offers the customer FREE Shipping. So its a WIN-WIN :)

You can view our range of products on our Amazon.com Storefront

We have the following products available:

 


The Mac in a Sac Neon: It’s here December 17 2014

Back in July we posted a sneak preview of our ‘new for Spring/Summer 2015’ Mac in a Sac Neon (find the blog post here). We are excited to announce that we have had an early introductory shipment of it and it is now available to buy from our online store!

It would make a perfect Christmas present if you know anyone who is a keen runner, loves getting out and about in the dark evenings or just generally loves the neon trend! Be sure not to wait too long to order though- we only have a limited amount of stock and we won’t be expecting a new shipment until early February! Get yours now and be one step ahead of the crowd!

Available in four vibrant shades of neon; yellow, pink, green and blue, there is something to suit everyone.

Here’s why it’s awesome:

  • It’s seriously waterproof with a rating of 5,000mm
  • It has an equally impressive breathability rating of 5,000gsm [find out more]
  • Windproof- no chilly winter breezes getting through this jacket!
  • Fully Taped Seams reinforce the high waterproof rating by protecting the seams against leaks
  • Packs into its own little neon sack
  • It has a concealed, adjustable hood that can be packed away when it’s not needed.
  • Reversed front zip and zipped front pockets keep all your valuable safe while you’re on the go
  • A generous back vent helps make this jacket’s breathability even better
  • Reversed contrast zips add an extra colour pop to brighten a rainy day
  • Elasticated comfort cuffs keep the sleeve tight to your wrist to keep water out.
  • An adjustable drawcord at the curved hem helps to cut drafts
  • Reflective branding and piping adds to the already high visibility of the jacket
  • It is designed for a unisex fit
  • It packs up small- at just 220mm in height and 95mm in width, it’s perfect for throwing in your backpack.
  • It only weighs 300g! You won’t even know it’s there
  • We even have an amazing 2 year guarantee on these jackets to protect against manufacturing faults!

So if you want to brighten these dark nights with a Mac in a Sac Neon, you'd better be quick! But don't worry, if your size and colour preference is sold out, we will have more in February. We hope you like them as much as we do.

:-)


Mac in a Sac on Tour in Micky Flanagan's Detour de France! November 27 2014

For his first-ever TV documentary, comedy favourite Micky Flanagan has left behind the comforts of his home in South London to explore the sights and sounds of France, jumping on a bike to put his own spin on the route taken by the Tour de France. A TV show about an amateur cyclist comedian attempting to take on one of the most gruelling tests of endurance in the world? What's not to like? Naturally, we couldn't resist giving it a watch.

Tuning into the series finale on Monday night, we were delighted to see that one of our Mac in a Sac 2 Packaway Jackets was accompanying him on his journey! Check out the circled jacket hanging casually on the back of the parisian chair opposite him in the still below! Perhaps hanging out to dry in the sun after it had protected him from a downpour...

We're always keeping an eye out for our products making little guest appearances on TV and we were especially pleased to see one of our jackets featured in such a fitting programme.

Our Mac in a Sac 2 Packaway Jacket is the perfect cover up for cyclists who are on the go through all types of weather. Here's why...

  • It's highly waterproof (with a resistance of 5,000mm), highly breathable (5,000gsm) & windproof.
  • It has fully taped seams, so no leaks!
  • It features a concealed, adjustable hood for when the weather turns really nasty.
  • Zipped front pockets will make sure you don't loose any of your belongings.
  • As if the 5,000gsm breathability rating wasn't good enough, we've even added a generous back vent to keep you even cooler.
  • An adjustable drawcord at the hem ensures the jacket is watertight.
  • Weighing a mere 281g, it's perfect for chucking in your backpack. You won't even know it's there!
  • Small and compact, it only measures 200mm by 82mm packed away!
  • It even comes with a 2 Year Guarantee just in case anything goes wrong with it. You. Are. Welcome...

So next time you're heading out on your bike, take a leaf out of Micky's book and make sure you are prepared for all Mother Nature has to throw at you; take a Mac in a Sac!


Six Fun Things to Do With the Kids on a Rainy Day November 13 2014

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re trapped indoors with nothing to do when the weather outside is simply too bad to venture out. Add 3 restless kids to the equation and you could have a nightmare situation on your hands. But not to worry! We are here to help with our top six things to do indoors on a rainy day.

Play an Imagination Game

Here are a couple of games that are great fun for the kids and can be played anywhere as there are no props required:

One-word story: Sit around in a circle and start off the game by saying, “Once upon a time,” then go around the room and have each person add a single word to the story. It’s a good idea to decide on a genre first like a fairy tale, ghost story, etc.

Improvised poetry: Start off by saying a line of poetry. Something simple and easy to rhyme with like, “The cat sat on the mat”. The next person must then say a line that rhymes with it, and so on.

Little Chefs

It’s a great idea to get the kids involved in the kitchen on a rainy day. Keep the recipes simple so there is nothing too difficult or dangerous. Home-made pizzas or Rice Krispie cakes are simple, delicious and great fun to make. You can enjoy your food when it is ready by having an indoor picnic- you could even invite the teddies too.

 

Organize Your Own Film Festival

Queue up some classics, old (Mary Poppins?) and new (Frozen?) and have a marathon screening. Keep a cosy throw on hand, a big bowl of popcorn to dip into, and settle in to enjoy the show(s).

Make You Own Instruments

You would be surprised at what you can do with what’s lying around the house. Tissue boxes with elastic bands can make great guitars, a couple of paper plates with milk bottle tops make tambourines and some dried rice or pasta in bottles, tins or plastic containers make great maracas and shakers. You could even bang pan lids together for cymbals and cooking pots with wooden spoons for drums. Then it’s time to get practising for the bands big debut!

Host a “Tea” Party

Play dress up in fancy clothes, set the table with the “good” china, and put on your most formal manners (be sure to extend your little finger and sip politely). On the menu: tea (for you), juice (for the kids), and easy egg or chicken salad sandwiches cut into fun shapes, thanks to the cookie cutters lurking in your cupboard. The kids can decide the guest list, being careful to choose which of their favourite dolls or stuffed animals are on it.

 

Have an Indoor Treasure Hunt

Play an indoor treasure hunt to keep the day lively. The kids will need to work as a team to uncover the treasure. Make a set of clues for the players to try and solve (try rhyming the clues for fun or writing riddles). Each clue will lead to the next one and then finally, to the treasure. Seal the clues in envelopes marked with a number like ‘2/7’, or “Two of Seven”). This will help the treasure hunters to keep track. The treasure can be anything you like such as a small toy (or a few depending on how many players are in the team), cinema tickets, maybe a stash of coins (regular or chocolate), or some sweets.

*OR if all else fails, you can always get the Kids' Mac in a Sacs on and head out in the rain anyway! The choice is yours!


Spooky Halloween Party Ideas for the Kids October 29 2014

With Halloween Weekend creeping up on us (no pun intended!) we thought it would be the perfect time to share some spooky party ideas that will get the kids super excited. We've included our favourite Halloween recipes for ghoulish, yet tasty party treats, and our pick of the best hair-raising party games that your kids will love.

Party Food

Our top three delicious and fun recipes to make your party the scariest (but tastiest) ever!

Slime Bug Cups

You will need:

  • 4 x 135g packs lime flavoured jelly
  • a selection of animal and bug sweets
  • 2 x 154g packs Oreo biscuits

Method:

  1. Follow the pack instructions to make the jelly. Pour a third of the mixture into 12 small pots (or glasses). Add a couple of bug sweets to each pot, then leave to set in the fridge. Keeping remaining jelly at room temperature.
  2. Once set, add more bugs to each pot, leaning some against the edges to make them poke out the top. Pour over a third of the jelly and leave to set in the fridge. Repeat with remaining bugs and jelly.
  3. For the soil topping, place cookies in a plastic bag and gently crush with a rolling pin.
  4. Just before serving, sprinkle a layer of soil over each slime cup, then top with a few left over creepy crawlies. Perfect!

 

Eye Ball Pops

You will need:

  • 100g/4oz Madeira cake
  • 100g Oreo cookies
  • 100g bar milk chocolate, melted
  • 200g bar white chocolate, melted
  • few Smarties and icing pens, to decorate

You will also need:

  • 10 wooden skewers
  • ½ small pumpkin or butternut squash, deseeded, to stand pops in

Method:

  1. Break up the Madeira cake and Oreos and whizz together in a food processor along with the melted milk chocolate.
  2. Tip the mixture into a bowl, then using your hands, roll into about 10 or 12 walnut-sized balls. Chill for 2 hrs until firm.
  3. Push a skewer into the base of each ball, then spoon the white chocolate over the balls to cover. Stand the cake pops in the pumpkin, then press a Smartie onto the surface while wet. Pop them back into the fridge until the chocolate has set. Before serving, using the icing pens, add a pupil to each Smartie and some red veins to the eyeballs.

 

Owl Cupcakes

You will need:

For the cupcakes

  • 280g butter, softened
  • 280g golden caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour, minus 1 rounded tbsp
  • 1 rounded tbsp cocoa powder
  • 6 medium eggs

For icing and decoration

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 280g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tube orange ready-to-use icing
  • 1 small bag Maltesers
  • 1 tube chocolate M&Ms minis (just the brown ones) or Cadbury's mini buttons
  • 1 tub jelly diamonds (just the orange ones)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with brown cases. Beat the cupcake ingredients to a smooth batter and spoon into the cases. Fill them up to the top (you may have a little left over). Bake for 20-25 mins until risen and spongy. Leave to cool on a rack.
  2. Beat the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Slice off the very tops of the cakes and cut each piece in half. Spread a generous layer of icing over each cake.
  3. Work on one cake at a time, squirt a pea-sized blob of orange icing onto two Maltesers and use to fix a brown M&M (or button) on each. Sit the eyes, two pieces of cake top (curved edge up) and a jelly diamond on the icing to make an owl. This can be great fun to get the kids to help with.

 

Party Games

Now that you have the food sorted out, it's time to invite the guests round and get the party started! Here's our top three party games to play at Halloween that the kids are sure to love. Enjoy!

Dress the Mummy

You will need:

  • a big supply of toilet paper!

Separate the party guests into groups of three or four (two is fine for smaller parties) and give them a few rolls of toilet paper. The object of the game is to try and turn one member of the group into a mummy by wrapping them up in the toilet roll! There are special prizes to be won for quickest or the best attempt.

Witches Cauldron

You will need:

  • a large cooking pot
  • a damp sponge
  • a shelled hard-boiled egg
  • a large piece of orange peel
  • selection of rubber toys from the toyshop (frog, snake, etc)
  • blindfold

Fill your cooking pot with items such as the above (and any other suitable things you can think of - you'll need enough items to allow each child a turn). Each child has a go at being blindfolded and sticking their hand into the 'cauldron' to find the imaginary item you name.

For example, you could ask them to look for: 'A hairy giant's tongue' (the damp sponge), 'a dragon's eye' (the egg), a goblin's skin (the orange peel), 'a frog/snake' (rubber toys), etc.  

Brain Digging

You will need:

  • a big bowl of cooked spaghetti
  • some ping-pong balls or similar
  • some small bags of sweets

Get the kids to dig in amongst some bits of 'brain' to find a trick or a treat! Cook a big pan of spaghetti, leave to cool for a moment and then turn into a big bowl. In amongst the pasta hide some ping-pong balls or similar. Three balls will have 'treat' written on them, and the other three will have 'trick' written on them. Each child gets a turn to dig through the 'brains' and pull out a ball. If they choose a trick ball they have to do a forfeit (something silly, like go for a run around the garden, or do a silly impression), but if they pick a treat they get a small prize, such as a small bag of sweets.

We hope you like our ideas for hosting the perfect kids spooky party! Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!


Tips for Running in the Winter Chill October 15 2014

After the hottest September on record, now in mid-October the chilly weather has finally set in. We’re finding it harder to get up in the mornings with the darkness still lingering at 7am and finding ourselves reaching for a woolly jumper to wear in to the office. It can be a very tempting time of year to hang up the gym gear and lie up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate and a film. Forget about the exercise routine for a couple of months and just relax indoors in the heat.

Tempting as it may be, there are too many benefits to ignore when it comes to keeping up your fitness routine through the winter months. You’ll keep your fitness levels high (not to mention your spirits!), improve your immune system and help keep those extra pounds at bay with the coming over-indulgent holiday season.

We’ve put together a post with a few tips for staying motivated, keeping up your routine and staying safe as you continue to run the roads in the darker mornings and evenings.

Wear the right clothes!

With the dark evenings setting in, now is the time to make sure you are wearing the right clothes to ensure you are visible to other runners, cyclists and motorists. Very often we see too many runners out in dark clothing which makes them hard to spot and consequently makes them very vulnerable. Make sure you invest in some high-vis gear such as our Mac in a Sac Active Lite Running Jacket, and you could even add some ankle and wrist straps to make you stand out even more.

Check the Weather

There’s nothing worse than heading out for a run and then getting caught in a downpour you weren’t expecting. The British winter can be extremely treacherous, casting all kinds of precipitation on you when you least expect it. Make sure you check the forecast and if you think the weather is looking too bad, don’t force yourself out the door for the sake of your routine. You could fall and hurt yourself in icy weather and then it could be even longer waiting to get out for your next run. If you insist on making it out in the rain, you will need a breathable waterproof jacket like our Mac in a Sac 2 to make sure you stay dry while keeping you well ventilated on your run.

Bring a Friend or Tell a Friend

You could plan to go running with a friend during the colder months. This will keep spirits high and will mean you have someone to motivate you when you’re not feeling in the mood to exercise. Even if you go running on your own, make sure you tell someone when and where you are running to and when you will be home. Safety first.

Motivation

It might be a good idea to plan your route ahead of your run. This way, you can plan to run a different route than usual to keep things interesting, or you could plan a shorter journey than you normally would run in warmer weather. Just keep telling yourself at least it’s not as long as usual!

Another good idea is to have a little treat waiting for you when you get home. Even if it’s just a cup of tea. Tell yourself you can’t have it unless you go for a run first.


Sneak Peak at our Spring/Summer 2015 Collection! October 02 2014

It's been a pretty crazy time in the Mac in a Sac office over the past few weeks! Remember our blog post on the new Mac in a Sac Neon a few weeks back? This week we've got another exciting preview for you!

Remember our pretty printed Elle Jacket from our Spring/Summer 2014 collection? We're happy to say that it will be returning next season! Samples of our brand new colours and prints have come in and we thought we just couldn't wait until next year for you all to see them! Well...we're just giving you one colour for now. We'll keep you in suspense about the rest.

The new Elle Jacket comes in this fun "dotty blue" polka-dot pattern with a bright fuchsia zip and cuffs.

 

For anyone not familiar with the Elle, it's just like our regular Mac in a Sac 2, but instead of being a unisex fit, this one is made just for the girls. It currently comes in four prints, three floral and one micro-dot. We will be adding this fresh blue polka-dot creation to the line-up in our Sping/Summer 2015 Collection!

Features:

Here's a little more info on the Elle Jacket. Perfect for keeping you dry at festivals, walks in the park or when you're out for a day's shopping.

  • Waterproof, Breathable & Windproof
  • Fully Taped Seams
  • Adjustable Drawcord at Hem
  • 2 Zipped Front Pockets
  • Concealed, Adjustable Hood
  • Comfort Cuff Tabs
  • Packs into Floral Sac with ribbon
  • 2 Year Guarantee

 

 


Our Top 5 Cycling Routes in Northern Ireland September 18 2014

September is a great time of year to get out on your bike and go exploring. It’s not too cold yet, but not as warm as it was in the height of summer. We thought this week would be perfect timing to bring you a blog post on all of the exciting routes you can take in our home country of Northern Ireland. We've been looking at all of Cycle NI's routes and we've chosen our top 5:

    1. Knockchree Cycle Route- Kilkeel, County Down (18 miles)

    A beautiful country route between Kilkeel and the country village of Attical. This route allows you to take in breath-taking views of the Mourne Mountains. This route is a circular route allowing you to begin and end in the same place. This route takes you past beautiful scenery such as the Whitewater River, Cranfield beach, Greencastle, and then up through the country roads to take a better look at the mountains. We highly recommend this route if you are in the area.

     

    2. Giants Causeway to Benone Cycle Route- Ballycastle, County Antrim- County Londonderry (22 miles)

    Another stunning cycle route takes you along the North Coast of Northern Ireland between the legendary Giants Causeway and Benone, passing through Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine and Castlerock. Quite a lot of this route follows a traffic-free shared use pathway adjacent to the Giants Causeway & Bushmills Heritage Railway line. With beautiful views of the coastline, this comes in at number 2 on our list of top cycle routes in Northern Ireland.

     

    3. White Rock and Mahee Island Cycle Route, County Down (27 Miles)

    This route follows along the western shores of Strangford Lough and Drumlin Country rewards cyclists with some of the finest views of the Lough to be had by bicycle. Castle Espie Wetland Centre and Nendrum monastic site are particular points of interest on this route. Passing through Kilmood and taking time to appreciate the historic St Mary’s Parish Church built in 1820, you can follow the ridge high above Lisbane from where Strangford Lough can be seen off to one side before re-joining the outward route back to Comber.

     

    4. A Country Down Tour, County Down (28 miles)

    This route gives a hilly ride through Drumlin country towards the south end of Lisburn. It takes you past lakes and loughs with great views of the Mourne Mountains, Belfast Hills and the Lagan Valley. This route is hilly for the most part with several short steep hills around Annahilt so it is recommended for experienced cyclists and people who are looking for a fitness challenge. There are also several fast descents on return to the Lagan Towpath so remember to take care.

    5. Castle Archdale Family Cycle, County Fermanagh (6 miles)

    We thought we would finish off our top five with a short 6 mile route that’s perfect for the whole family. The Castle Archdale Family Cycle Route is situated 15km north west of Enniskillen and explores 230 acres of mature forest. Situated on the shores of Lower Lough Erne, this route provides truly beautiful scenery for the whole family to enjoy.

    We hope you enjoyed our run down of our top cycling routes in Northern Ireland. For more information on any of these routes, visit www.cycleni.com. And as always- don't forget your Mac in a Sac! :)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Delivery Options September 04 2014

    One of the worst things about ordering online is wondering when your purchase will be delivered and if it will reach you on time for that holiday or business trip you have planned. Here at Mac in a Sac, we have done everything in our power to make sure that your parcel reaches you in as little time as possible.

    UK Standard Delivery - FREE!

    All of our UK orders are shipped out free of charge- no threshold spend limit to qualify for free shipping here! We use Royal Mail’s First Class delivery system which should have your parcel with you within 1-3 days of posting it. We regularly hear feedback from customers stating their surprise and delight at having their package delivered the very next day for free.

    Expedited Next Day Delivery

    If you are in a hurry to receive your order and need to have it guaranteed for delivery the next day, we have a Next Day Delivery shipping option which comes at a cost of £7.95.

    The added bonus of choosing this option is that you can use your unique tracking number and courier to find out how your order is progressing. Visit our Track Your Express Order page now to see where your expedited order is.

    If you have a question about international delivery, visit our Delivery & Returns page for all the information you need. If you still have unanswered questions, drop us an email at shop@macinasac.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


    Where can I wear my Mac in a Sac? August 21 2014

    What’s the perfect occasion to make sure you have your Mac in a Sac on hand? We have been reading all of your reviews telling us where you have worn your Mac in a Sacs or why you bought them and we must say we have loved reading your feedback! Here are some of the best ones…

    Disney Land

    We heard from one very happy customer telling us they had brought their Mac in a Sac on holiday to Disney Land, Florida! Perfect protection for all of those water rides. Thanks Zoobie69!

    Water Hose War

    One of the more surprising uses for our Mac in a Sacs was revealed in this review from Michael who bought one of our jackets back in April. We're glad you are getting good use out of your purchase!

    A Gift...

    Joshua bought one as a gift for a friend after finding his own so useful on a previous trip across the Scottish Highlands. Impressed with the value for money and the high performance level of the jacket, we're very happy to hear Joshua feels that he can recommend us! 

     

    Whale Watching

    It's always great to hear when our jackets get to do some traveling. In this case, one of our Mac in a Sacs found it's way across to Australia to go whale watching! Thanks for letting us know- we hope you enjoyed your trip!

    A Tour of Ireland

    It's equally exciting to hear that our Mac in a Sacs are being put to good use here at home in Northern Ireland. We loved this review from Graham who has visited the Causeway Coast and the Sperrin Mountains in our jacket.

    We want to say a huge thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences with us on our websites, Amazon and Trustpilot. Keep them coming! It's great to let others know about the sizing, quality and generally what to expect from our products. It also puts a big smile on the faces of all of the team here at Mac in a Sac! :)


    New colours in our Mac in a Sac Strata! August 06 2014

    August has just begun and some of our brand new Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection is starting to arrive with us already! This season, we are introducing two brand new colours in our thermal lined packaway Mac in a Sac Strata. Nautical Blue with a contrasting red zip and Acid Lime with an equally striking blue zip are our fresh new colours for the coming winter season.

    Both of these new colours are available to pre-order now. We are expecting them to arrive with us on the 16th August- not long to wait! Be sure to get your order placed soon to avoid any disappointment.

    We will do a full product review on the features of the Mac in a Sac Strata when the new colours come in, so stay tuned! 


    Mac in a Sac Neon: A Sneak Peak at our 2015 Collection! July 23 2014

    Last week, our team was over at Outdoor Friedrichshafen, one of the largest trade fairs for the outdoor sector in Friedrichshafen, Germany. We were very excited to be unveiling one of our new products for 2015: the Mac in a Sac Neon.

    Mac in a Sac Neon Packaway Jacket - Colour range

    Designed to make you stand out when out doing a spot of late-evening walking (and keep you dry, of course!), the new Mac in a Sac Neon will be available in 4 vibrant neon colours: Pink, Yellow, Blue and Green.

    Mac in a Sac Neon Stand

    As part of our Spring/Summer 2015 Collection, the new Mac in a Sac Neon will be set to hit stores in February/March time next year. We're excited to hear what you all think so be sure to drop us a comment on social media to let us know! :)


    Mac in a sac. Cag in a bag. Jacket in a Packet. Coat in a tote? July 02 2014

    It’s a handy, waterproof, packaway jacket.  But what do you call it? The answer to this question can yield a wide variety of answers!  Listening to our customer feedback and reviews it has been referred to as Pac a Mac or Cag in a Bag, and even Jacket in a Packet and a Coat in a Tote! You are an inventive bunch :-)

    With so many different names, we thought we’d give you a brief breakdown of a few different types of rain jackets. 

    Mackintosh Raincoat

    The Mackintosh or raincoat can trace its roots back to 1823 when Mr. Charles Mackintosh patented the first ‘waterproof fabric’, and started selling this form of raincoats the very next year.  Essentially the Mackintosh was a rubberised or rubber-laminated coat, and despite having early setbacks like smelling bad, stiffness and melting in hot weather, went on to spread all over the UK.

    Anorak Parka

    The terms Anorak and Parka are perhaps used interchangably, but strickly speaking an Anorak is a waterproof, hooded, pull-over jacket without a front-opening. We have the Caribou Inuit to thank for its invention, and they were originally made from Seal Skin, as recently resurrected by Bear Grylls in this Discover Channel Episode of Man Vs Wild Seal Skin Wetsuit!

    Cagoule

    The Cagoule itself has a variety of spellings including cagoule, cagoul, kagoule or kagool.  This term refers to a lightweight, weatherproof and hooded raincoat.  Variants generally include a packaway version with a ½ zip.

    Packaway Mac

    As raincoats have been improved and developed, the lightweight breathable fabrics have allowed for the products to become increasingly versatile.  A small lightweight waterproof packable jacket sounds like a great idea! As our customer feedback shows, these types of products have been referred to as Pac a Mac, Cag in a Bag or even a Mac in a Bag.

    The versatility of these products have meant that they are very well travelled!  Our Customers have told us that they have been used everywhere from the Inca Trail Walk to Disney Land Florida to, well, Bus Stops and Train Spotting!  

    Best Performing Packaway in its Class - Mac in a Sac

    Whether you call it an anorak, mackintosh or cagoule, or perhaps a Pac a Mac, Cag in a Bag or Mac in a Bag - We know that if you have a Mac in a Sac, you have the Best Performing Packaway in its Class.  We offer a lightweight, waterproof, breathable and packaway range of products.  We’ve tested our Mac in a Sac range to 5000mm for waterproofing, and 5000gsm for breathability, and offer a great range of colours to suit everyone!  

     


    Get ready for Summer with 20% OFF! June 20 2014

    The sun is out and the barbeque is burning... yep, it's the beginning of summer! And with that, comes the packing of the suitcase for your big summer get-away.

    This weekend we thought we would give you all a special treat to celebrate. We're offering you 20% OFF our entire range for the whole weekend! Just enter GETREADY20 at the checkout to claim your discount. But hurry- the offer will expire on Monday at 12 midnight.

    Enjoy! And from everyone at Mac in a Sac- have a great holiday!


    Mac in a Sac Classic vs. Mac in a Sac 2... What's the difference? June 19 2014

    Our Mac in a Sac Jacket is one of the most popular products in our range. The Mac in a Sac 2 Packaway Jacket (pictured below) replaced the Classic Mac in a Sac in 2012 and we are often asked about the differences between the two designs and what makes the new version an 'upgrade'. Below we have included two diagrams of the front and back features of the new jacket and what makes it even better than it's predecessor.

    Front features of the Mac in a Sac 2 Packaway Jacket

    The overall fit of the Mac in a Sac 2 is more tailored than the previous design, while still allowing room for another layer underneath. The zip has been reversed, making it more windproof and streamlined. A three piece hood provides the ultimate protection from the wind and rain and easily packs away into the collar when the shower is over. The cuffs have been changed to elastic rather than tabs to provide the perfect fit instantly. There is also reflective branding on the side to make sure you are seen if you are out walking at night.

     

    Back features of the Mac in a Sac 2 Packaway Jacket

    The new Mac in a Sac has the same high level of performance as the old one. It has a waterproof rating of 5000mm and a breathability of 5000gsm. There is a reflective safety strip along the back vent to ensure you will be seen from all angles on dark evenings. This is a notable upgrade as the old Mac in a Sac had no reflective branding or piping at all. We have also included a drawcord at the curved hem. The curved hem will give longer length coverage at the back while the drawcord will allow you to reduce any cold drafts and make the jacket even more windproof.  


    Sizing Guides: Hints & Tips June 05 2014

    There is no doubt that buying online has taken off in a way no one ever could have expected when the internet was first launched. With just a few clicks, you can see the product, read some reviews, buy it and have it delivered right to your door the very next day. What a world we live in, eh?

    But of course, with every silver lining, there is a grey cloud looming. How are you supposed to know which size to buy? Obviously you can’t try it on. And won’t it be really annoying to have to send it back if it doesn’t fit?

    Here at Mac in a Sac we have made a special effort to make sure this doesn’t happen. Our size charts on each product page are a little different to what you might expect. We understand that everyone likes different things- some people prefer a more relaxed fit and others, a more fitted style. Keeping this in mind, we have included the measurements of the actual coat, as opposed to the measurements of the person who will wear it. This means you can measure the coat against one you already have and decide which size will offer the best fit for you with ease. These measurements can be located under the "Size Chart/Guide" tab on each product page. 

    If you need a little extra help deciding which size will suit you best, we have included some sizing guides below which will give a more generic idea of our sizing.

    Women's Sizing Chart 

    Men's Sizing Chart

    Children's Sizing Chart


    The Khaki Poncho: New for Spring/Summer 2014 May 22 2014

    This summer sees the introduction of a new colour in our Poncho. We've designed a poncho for the outdoors-man who enjoys recreational activities such as bird-watching and shooting. When the rain comes on, our new Khaki Poncho is quick and easy to throw on over the top of your clothes and is big enough to keep your backpack and anything else you are carrying underneath dry too. The colour is designed to ensure you remain unseen by the wildlife around you and are able to carry on through the storms.

    Mac

    Features

    Including a high level of waterproofing and breathability, snap adjustable side openings to create the perfect fit around you and your backpack, and the fact that it packs conveniently into it's own pocket, the Khaki Poncho has plenty of features to prove why it's the best choice. You can see the full list of features below:

    • Waterproof (5000mm)
    • Breathable (5000gsm)
    • Windproof
    • Fully taped seams
    • Integral, adjustable hood
    • Packs into front pouch pocket
    • Pouch doubles as emergency pillow
    • Snap adjustable side openings
    • Reflective piping
    • Cycle wrist strips

    The Khaki Poncho is already proving to be popular so make sure you don't miss out! :)


    Special Offers and Giveaways to Celebrate the Giro d’Italia in Belfast! May 07 2014

    We’re very proud that Belfast, the home of our Mac in a Sac HQ, is to be the official host to the Giro d’Italia’s Big Start this weekend the 9th-11th May 2014. Local companies are celebrating all over Northern Ireland and we thought it was the perfect event to get involved with.

    About the Giro d’Italia

    The Giro d’Italia is one of the cycling world’s most elite and iconic events. It commands a huge worldwide audience of 775 million people, so naturally we are very excited to be involved with all of the buzz in Belfast surrounding the event. The start of the Giro d’Italia is rarely taken outside Italy but this year, Northern Ireland will host the Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ - a four day celebration (kicking off on Thursday night) of elite professional cycling with three competition stages visiting Belfast on Friday, the Causeway Coast on Saturday, and Armagh heading down towards Dublin on Sunday.

    "On 8 May 2014 over 200 elite cyclists and entourage will descend on Northern Ireland in search of glory. Belfast will host a welcome celebration to remember!"

    To give you a good idea of the routes the cyclists will be taking, we've included these three maps so you can see what will be happening each day...

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3

    How we're getting involved...

    To celebrate this exciting event, we're giving away 5 of our Fuchsia Pink Mac in a Sacs! If you would like to enter for your chance to win one, you can do so via the little pop-up entry on our home page, or you can like and share our Facebook post (pictured below) and like our page to double your chances.

     

    We're also offering a 15% discount off our entire range to all of our customers! Just enter 'GIRO15' at the checkout to claim your 15% off. Enjoy! :)

    So have a fantastic weekend, get out there and make the most of the event! We're looking forward to it!


    Product Spotlight: Unisex Travel Coat April 25 2014

    If the Easter holidays have taught us anything, it’s that our lovely British weather can be extremely unpredictable at times. One minute you’re reaching for your sunglasses and the next minute it’s started raining! One way you can stay prepared at all times is to carry around our Mac in a Sac Unisex Travel Coat in your bag. Here’s why it’s perfect for the springtime showers...

    New for our 2014 Spring/Summer Collection, our Unisex Travel Mac in a Sac is full length, meaning your legs will stay as dry as the rest of you when the rain comes on. This coat also packs away into its own pocket eliminating the possibility of losing the bag (you’d be surprised how many phone calls we get from poor souls looking for replacement bags after a windy day on the mountain). When packed away into the pocket, this super lightweight coat is small enough to fit comfortably into any rucksack or handbag.

    Featuring fully taped seams, the Unisex Travel Coat is completely waterproof, windproof and breathable, so you will be kept comfortable while protected from the rain. This coat incorporates a two-way zip designed for added comfort whilst seated and a concealed hood that packs into the collar. Other little details like a removable waist belt and a snap buttoned shoulder covering keep this coat stylish as well as functional.

    If you need a little more info, you can view the full list of features for this coat by clicking here.

    Perfect for hill walking or covering up while out and about in the town or country, the Mac in a Sac Unisex Travel Coat has got you covered.


    What's new for Mac in a Sac in Spring/Summer 2014? April 09 2014

    To our delight, we have managed to make it through the winter to the glorious spring time and we couldn’t be happier to see the temperatures rising. Of course, with the dawning of a new season comes the dawning of a new collection and we are very excited to introduce you all to our newest editions for Spring/Summer 2014.

    Over the next couple of weeks, we will be bringing you blog posts to introduce our new products, and we even have an exciting competition to look forward to! This week, we’re starting with the new colour that has been added to our Mac in a Sac Classic: Caribbean Sea.

    The Mac in a Sac Classic is the centrepiece of our collection. With its 5000mm waterproofing and 5000gsm breathability, fully taped seams and super lightweight ability to pack into a tiny bag that fits comfortably in your rucksack or handbag, its popularity comes as no surprise. The Classic is available in a total of ten colours so you are sure to find something that is right for you that promises to protect you from the unpredictable springtime elements.

    Colours:

    • Caribbean Sea
    • Fern Green
    • Bottle Green
    • Black
    • Navy
    • Orchid
    • Fuchsia
    • Canary Yellow
    • Royal Blue
    • True Red

    In our next Product Spotlight blog post, we'll be discussing a brand new edition to our Collection: the Unisex Travel Coat. Be sure to check it out!