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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Sarah, Sarah, wherefore art thou, Sarah?

First things first: I am not Sarah.

Sorry to disappoint people but I am not the lovely person whose words you thought you were about to read. As many of you know Sarah has been having a slightly rough time recently with a nasty lump in her hand which has been causing a revolting amount of pain. The good news is that Sarah made it into surgery on Tuesday and the lump is no more!

The bad news is people that she has to rest her hand now for three weeks while the incision heals and nerves do... whatever it is that nerves do when they've been messed around with. So unfortunately Sarah will be temporarily absent from the blogosphere while she recovers. She had set up a week of guest posts for her recovery but unfortunately due to her initial surgery being cancelled these have already been posted. Oh dear, do these surgeons not understand the pressures bloggers are under?!

I am sure you will all join with me in saying a huge "GET WELL SOON" to our lovely Scribbles and a message to Scruffy bunny to give Sarah lots of cuddles and not to eat her bandages!

And never worry, I'm sure that once Sarah has rested properly and had some physio, she'll be back....

So until then, Sarah will be popping up on Twitter so please stop by and wish her all the best.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Matched with MaxMara...

Most of you all know with a budget more ASOS than Alexander Mcqueen I'm not what you would call a designer hoarder, in fact, don't tell anyone but most of my designer clothes have come from charity shops - most of the designer looks I see gracing the pages of Vogue magazine are quite frankly not really made for my figure or style and some shouldn't really be ever worn away from those pages. However I have a little space in my heart for a few designers that can never fail and one of them is MaxMara. With 50 years of Italian tradition in their pretty back pockets I find MaxMara clean cut, sophisticated tailoring a breath of fresh air in the crazy world of fashion. Most of MaxMara's looks exude the type of woman I want to be, and there is no harm in dreaming is there? If it's not the clean lines, or structured shapes its the clever uses of tonal colour that come up trumps with the newest collection. Not as well know as some of the bigger designer brands, I will always be a fan of the smoothness of MaxMara's campaigns  - despite not quite being at the point in my life where I can cram my wardrobe full of it.

Here are my latest loves from MaxMara at Matches Fashion all teamed with my high street favourites:

Ester Dress £325 MaxMara at Matches Fashion
1-Letitia Shoes £30 Topshop
2- 'Gamma' Nail varnish £13.50 Illamasqua
3- Black Bow clutch £10.00 Dorothy Perkins

Superga Dress £328 MaxMara at Matches Fashion
2- Pointed court shoes £68 Topshop
3- Leaf cluster choker necklace £25 Oasis
4- Leather 'Othello' handbag £59.00 Fiorelli
5- Twill Blazer £24.99 New Look

Vibo Waterfall Cardigan £468 MaxMara at Matches Fashion
1- Burnt Orange Jeans £40 Topshop
2- Aintree Ticket leopard flats £40 Clarks
3- Tencel Denim Shirt £28 Next
4- Mixed chain choker £8.90 Forever21

Have you heard of MaxMara before? do you mix designer with high street?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Getting SpaFit with The Bodyshop...

You don't need me to tell you how everyone is going 'keep fit' mad in time for the holidays and with the Olympics just finishing everyone is pretending they are in TeamGB and getting out there and working out! I'm a big fan of this and giving each and everyone of you the big thumbs up *holds thumbs up*

At the moment it's not humanely possible for me to do anymore, I cycle to work and back (12 miles) and run every other night so all in all I think I'm done with the ol' exercising, but my quest to look less like a sack of spuds and more like Zoe Saldana (yeah my latest girl crush) is a never ending one. I am not well known for taking care of my skin, complexion, looks, blah, blah, blah, and like most of you, I buy and follow and practically lick the beauty pages of the glossy mags (yeah, cos that'll help) in order to get some extra hints and tips and this is where I saw this next product from The Bodyshop.

Called SpaFit you can guarantee that caught my eyes first, that and the bright yellow packaging (makes you think of Summer right) Labelled as a range that will help tone and smooth the skin with various products from massage oil to intensive toning concentrate. Not being able to decide what product to choose and of being slightly A: in awe that these products could help me look 'schwing' on the beach an B: dubious that it is all lies, and with a special introductory price I thought why the hell not and brought the SpaFit smoothing and refining scrub - I quote "Enriched with 100% natural-origin citrus and caffeine ingredients" I was itching to give this a whirl.

Firstly, let me just say I LOVED the little jar it came in, it reminded me of the quaint little jars of jam you get when you have a scone... mmm scones.... anyway, as soon as I snapped open the jar the citrus smell zinged out and smacked me on the nose. I applied this to already wet skin and rubbed in with The Bodyshop's Smooth and Renew body loofah mitt that you can buy HERE It gently scratches the skin but in a good way, it's a very gentle exfoiliation on the skin but its the smell that is mesmerizing, it almost smells like I'm rubbing a very gritty orange over my legs.. nice huh!? After rinsing, already I could feel the difference on my skin - the smoothness of my skin was unbelievable - it was silk-like, and more noticeably on my arms and legs was the look of my skin. Especially on my legs the skin tone looked more even and less blemished, oh, and did I mention I smelt AMAZING... yeah, cos it did.

Overall, I loved this product and I have continued to use this on a twice weekly basis and I have noticed the texture of my skin has drastically improved, however I haven't noticed my fat sausage legs fitting into my skinny jeans any easier nor have I got limbs like Giselle, but I have noticed a difference in the way they feel. I do however think the £14.00 price tag is a tad steep for it, and it will depend on how many times you use it to see how economical it is. You can have a look at the SpaFit range HERE

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Patriotic beading....

I've been hankering after something for such a long time, and no not just winning the lottery, a border terrier puppy or something packaged from Chanel, we're talking Pandora Beads For as long as I can remember Ive wanted a Pandora bracelet filled to the brim with beads that I've hand picked myself that all mean something to me and yet still I have not fulfilled my craving.
I'm sure most of you have heard of Pandora beads - I've always favoured them over the more well known Link of London charm bracelet. There is something about a Pandora bracelet that is exquisitely beautiful, a little bit quirky and something collectable. All you do is pick the bracelet, either fabric,leather,silver or gold and then you're away. Picking your charms is, I can only imaging, the really really fun part, picking from anything that takes your fancy, I'm thinking shoes... animals... fruit....cameras to hearts... There is far too much choice that I know once I start I wont be able to stop, but first on my list is the Best of British beads! They are so cute and SO right for this time of year what with the Jubilee, Wimbledon and now the Olympics, here are my favourites
Don't you think they're oh so cute and typically English! Do any of you own a Pandora? and what beads do you have?

**Please note: this post is a sponsored blog post however I do really LOVE Pandora beads and I will get one SOON*

Friday, 10 August 2012

Guest Blog: The Return of Temporary Tattoos

The last guest blog of the week - I know, I'm sad too, but here we have the lush Jayne bringing us back to our childhood with a brilliant review!

If you’re a child of the 90s you’ll have fond memories of wanting Spice Girls style tattoos, you have one of those plastic mesh armlets or chokers and loved getting free temporary tattoos with publications such as Shout, Mizz and Girl Talk. I used to love them and my Mum did not.

I’m so excited to see that these nostalgic tattoo transfers have made a come back and this time they have grown up!
Skin Art have released a set of four themed tattoo transfer sets and a glitter tattoo set (which I’ll review over on my own blog very soon) which you can pick up in most larger Boots stores in the section where make up brushes and false nails are.

And guess what? They haven’t changed one bit! You just cut around the design that you would like and stick it on, wet the back and the design transfers. I dabbed it dry and set it with a little loose powder and it looked great! It lasted me well over a week and fooled a few people into thinking it was real. Really easy to apply, they look great and last ages. 

So, if you’re too chicken to get a real tattoo, or if you’re thinking about getting one theses are a great, affordable and mega fun way to rock skin art. I've been wearing them all the time, but they would be ideal for a festival, party of holiday. 

Watch out on my own blog where I’ll be trying out some more products in the range very soon! 

Want more of Jayne and her fab reviews? Click HERE

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Guest Blog: What IS she wearing....

Time for the fourth guest blog for you and boy oh boy is this a goody! There are no pictures needed for this genius piece of writing from the lovely Sarah (great name huh!) I just know you'll be nodding with recognition and laughing through the fun!

Do you remember what it was like being back in school, walking in the first time you changed your hairstyle? I do. I was literally shaking as I walked across the playground. My previously long hair, centre parted with no style, had been changed into an under-the-ear bob with a fringe and layers. Admittedly, it was a very bad idea with my very round face but it was the 1990’s and it was a fashionable style. Also, I was 11 years old. Give me a break.

The girls who I don’t like (or should I say, don’t like me) are all sitting on their bench with their highlighted hair and tiny waists. All their schoolbags have the right logos and they are all wearing the latest fashion of length of school skirt, which I am sure I will read about next week in Sugar magazine. Why I am always so behind? I cut mine off so it barely covered my bottom and the very next day they all came in wearing maxi skirts. Why does this happen? How did they know on “mufti day” to wear a sharply tailored suede suit (I say again, the 1990’s) or outfit that was a perfect copy of Baby Spice? Why did I wear a miniskirt, tights, Doc Martens and a woollen jumper on the front of which was a velvet teddy bear that said “Cuddle Me”?

My friends are at the other end, a writing mass of bottle-end glasses, acne, obesity, and in one case, an NHS plastic foot that lead to the nickname “Hopalong”. I can hear the giggles starting. A few of them point. Why didn’t I wear a hat? Why didn’t my Mum stop me from having this style that in my mind make me looks like Linda Evangelista but in reality makes me look like Ruth Madoc in Hi-de-Hi? Oh, the horror. The shame.

This was 13 years ago. My goodness, I am old. But have I ever really let this feeling go?

Finding out who you are and what you like is a long, painful and difficult process. I made an awful lot of mistakes along the way and this lead to a mad-professor style bonfire in my back garden burning all the photos of crimes against fashion. The funny thing is, we all know deep down that actually, we can wear our hair, clothes and make-up however we please and no-one has the right to say a damn thing. It isn’t up to anyone except you. But does the fear ever really go away?

Now, in my old age (ha) I’m not too bothered about looking a prat. I think I’ve been called so many names over the years that I’ve learnt not to care. If someone said to me “Name your favourite outfit”, it would have to be an acid green cardigan, black t shirt which bears the legend “I Love Zombies” on the front, a leopardskin miniskirt, leggings and brothel creepers. I do little to tame my insane mass of hair (it’s blonde, but I dye it blue, yeah, take that society) and I usually look like I’ve climbed into the tumble dryer with the contents of my make up bag. I do have a fondness for a lot of gel eyeliner and violently red lipstick. It’s just what I like. I look in the mirror before I go out, and whilst I might sigh at my jelly-belly or enormous boobs, I still feel happy. I wear what I wear because I like it. I am no longer trying to make a statement, like I was in my teenage years, or trying to stand out- I just happened to see these items on a hanger on a shop and thought “That’s for me.”

I was on a train to London a short time ago to meet a friend. I was feeling a little unorthodox that day and had on a shocker of a grunge outfit. Little babydoll floral dress that is far too low cut to be anywhere near decent, leggings, humungous dirty biker boots and a raggedy old cardigan that is the exact shade of mould. For some reason, my mind told me that morning “You should match your eye make up to your cardigan” and I did, leaving me looking like I had a very worrying infection. A mass of young girls dressed head to toe in the latest fashions, all of them perfectly brown and perfectly made-up get on and I know, I just know, that they are talking about me. I can see the whispers, the points, and the giggles. If I was a teenager, I would have probably got off at the next station and waited for another train before I carried on. Instead, I just turned my ipod up and sniffed loudly.

When I was younger, getting dressed every morning was a trial. I was an individual, just like all my friends. I moved from a Goth (black jeans and a black top, overlaid with a black chiffon top with batwing sleeves and a crucifix on the front) to a rocker (big baggy combat trousers and a Soulfly t-shirt that said “Jump mother****** Jump” several times on the back) to a punk (Mohican, belt like tartan miniskirt and a safety pin everywhere one can put a safety pin) to a Kurt Cobain look-a-like (bleach blonde hair, big white sunglasses, large red and black striped jumper.) Some days I was a bit Ghost World, little Peter Pan collar dresses and odd charity shop finds. Some days I was just generally weird, wearing a bizarre mustard coloured sundress that was my Mum’s from the 1970’s and a big disgusting denim jacket that I found in our loft. But I highly recommend this to anyone. It’s actually very freeing because you learn how to handle the stares and the comments. In fact, you welcome them. If no-one says anything as you strut your funky stuff down the High Street wearing a Happy Mondays t shirt, a midi-length tartan skirt, purple lizard print tights and orange Doc Martens (I am sorry to say I really wore that) then you haven’t gone far-out enough and the next day may arrive wearing a voluminous batik dress with a pigeon as a hat.

Taste is a personal thing. I’ve messed around with my appearance so much the pictures of my past are barely recognisable. I’ve had my hair blonde, blue, green, pink, purple, black, red, brown and every colour in between, including an unfortunate Cruella-De-Vil creation where half of it was black and half of it was white. I’ve shaved it, straightened it, curled it, bleached it, dyed it, dreadlocked it and hacked it all off with a pair of kitchen scissors. I wear it up, wear it down, and most probably wear it out. I’ve had enormous caterpillar style eyebrows and little thin ones like Mae West. I’ve worn a bucket of white foundation and so much eyeliner I needed a sandblaster to get it off. I’ve worn a discreet slick of BB Cream and the merest hint of coffee coloured eye shadow. I’ve had my nose pierced twice, lip pierced 3 times, belly button 4 times and I used to have 26 ear piercings in each ear. Now I wear only 3 in each ear and one in my nose. When I was told I needed glasses, I wasn’t happy, but now I’ve found something else to focus on and have nearly 10 pairs- from delicate lady-like ones with no frames to socking great Jarvis Cocker ones that make me look like I should be studying photography in Shoreditch. My taste will never stop evolving and changing as I find more and more things that I love and want to try out.

Once you make peace with yourself your appearance will follow. I will always be deathly milk white, always quite chunky and always have completely unmanageable hair that makes me look like I’ve been licking a plug socket. It’s just who I am, and I’ve come to accept it.

I am in firm support of anyone with regards to whatever they want to wear. If you think you look good, then work it girl! More power to you. I really need to find out where that girl got that star-print jumpsuit, I could rock that for sure.

For more of Sarah's genius words catch here HERE

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Guest Blog: Aspinal of London: The Roma Cuff

Third guest blog for you! This blog post provides us accessory junkies a bit of eye-candy! self-proclaimed style and beauty junkie, Beth of 'LifebyBeth' shows us exactly what we should all be wearing!

This time 3 years ago, I had never heard of Aspinal of London. At that time I can't say I had the interest in, or the budget for handmade leather goods.

When I switched into a new role with my current employer, my new boss introduced me to the brand via their beautiful Folios. I call them "gateway leather" because they lead you to other products!  The role I had just taken was field based and in my company if you are in a sales focused/client facing role, you need to look the part. So I got a pale pink A5 folio (with cream suede lining). Then a Tiffany-esque blue one (with lime green lining). Then came the silver lizard leather business card holder. Then there was the purple croc business card holder.  Do you see a pattern here?  I’m hooked.

For my birthday this year I got a gorgeous cobalt blue Barbarella handbag and then, as a gift I was given two of their beautiful leather cuffs one in silver with a black leather inlay and the other gold, with a rose gold inlay. 

The cuffs are now top of my want list. Not specific ones, I want them all. ALL. The two below are my recent additions, both in the Roma design.

They are a gold coloured metal which is very sturdy. It doesn't bend much which means they retain their shape and they don’t warp or end up trapped around your wrist so you have to bend them beyond recognition to get them off. I also haven't found any tarnishing to the metal itself and I'm not getting any green marks on my skin as is so often then case with costume jewellery. I do give them a quick polish with a microfibre cloth every now and then, but they don’t seem to lose their lustre at all.

The leather inlays are lovely and smooth and the bright colours of these make them fun whilst still being elegant.  They’re bright enough to make you smile but not so bright as not to be office appropriate.

I got these two cuffs in the sale for half price, making them just short of £40 each.  Full price they are £79 but as a treat, I think its great value for such pretty, well made pieces and based on the ones I have I know I will get many years of wear out of them.

Aspinal have great sales with lots of items at half price so I would highly recommend signing up to their mailing list so you know when the next sale is. There are plenty of bargains to be had!

I would also like to make a point of saying that their customer service is excellent. Both in store and via telephone the staff are friendly and helpful, and as I'd expect for a luxury brand they will go the extra mile to help you out if they can.

For more info, or to drool over their other pretties check out 

If you enjoyed that and want more musings, go check out Beth's blog HERE

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Guest Blog: Three Beauty Blogger Cliche Favourites Worth the Hype!

Second guest blog for you my lovelies and its the very welcome return of Sam from http://samantha-avena.com/ fame! Here she gives us the real low down on those 'supposed' must-have beauty buys!

I've said it before and I'll say it again; there are products that circulate the blogosphere like wild fire, some worthy of the hype & others - not so much, but I don't think you can judge until you try. So here are my thoughts on the current cliche purchases of this month!

Three products that I just had to try out for myself were; the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (£5.99), Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm (£9.50) and Collection 2000 16 hour Lasting Perfection Concealer (£4.19 - cheaper in Superdrug *hint*).

I'm just going to go ahead and say I am genuinely impressed with all three. Hate to sound like a makeup snob; but as a rule I think you get what you pay for and normally I wouldn't really look at Collection 2000 as a brand I would buy, however that thought has been fully blasted from my mind by the quality of these products.

So starting with possibly the most talked about/wanted of the three; the Nuxe Reve de Miel. 

I'm a big Blistex fan, generally assuming - a lip balm, is a lip balm, is a lip balm, no? Well... This is something else. This wonderfully creamy, lemon-y / honey scent balm is so long lasting, so moisturising and just all-round awesome, I couldnt love it anymore if I tried. Claiming to be a product that "restores suppleness and comfort to dry, chapped lips" - I would say it does exactly that and then some. I put the balm on for bed and wake up with it still there! I don't have to constantly reapply and after just one small swipe of balm it stays put & does its job perfectly. My lips wil no longer be sore & dry! Hurray! I couldn't recommend it more. This will 100% become a staple in my makeup bag!

Secondly, The Collection 2000 Concealer.

As mentioned above, I've never owned anything for Collection 2000, although as a cruelty free - super cheap brand, I really shouldn't be overlooking it. The Lasting Perfection Concealer is something I've seen pop up on many 'FOTD' pictures, even with some super makeup gurus using it on tutorials - I figured at the £4 mark it wouldn't break the bank to try it. I can't say it lasts for 16hrs, as I'm pretty sure I never keep my makeup on that long anyway! But it is a lovely, super creamy concealer that is very long lasting - I can say that much. I have number 2 'light' and it does match my skin quite nicely. I use it mainly under my eyes and it does a great job of lighting up and concealing my under-eye bags! I prefer it to my Benefit Erase Paste as it doesnt sit in any creases - so if you're looking for a nice, cheap alternative - I'd point you in that direction!

Finally, the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains - don't you role your eyes!

I've never tried any type of 'chubby stick' makeup before, or generally any of those big pencil products; so I was a little curious to see how these worked. I swatched shade 'Crush' in Superdrug and pretty much instantly knew I had to have it.
 I'm a sucker for berry/purple lipsticks, and this was just that. I was surprised how easily it glided on, as I'd always assume these things are quite dry? How very wrong I was! The JBK Balm stains are so lovely and moisturising AND super pigmented. The go on very easily and are buildable, so depending what mood you're in - you can always add more or less! I didn't see many other colours I liked but I'm very pleased with Crush and as its summer I think I will be using this often for its longevity and no-hair-sticking-to-it-like-lipgloss-ivity.

And thats it! Have you ever tried any of these products? Do you think they're worth the hype or not? 

For more of the gorgeous Sam, go check out her blog HERE

Monday, 6 August 2012

Guest Blog: Why I Love Colour...

First guest blog for you is by the rather lovely and style concious Emily Jayne. Emily Jayne is on a one woman mission to show women all over that fashion is for everyone and how you can all go out and feel fabulous, which to me is pretty much awesome!

How many colours are in your wardrobe? Many people are pretty surprised when they count them up to find just how few they wear. In my day job as a personal stylist I tend to find that for the mostpart, people stick to neutrals – greys and black, with the odd splash of purple, blue, teal, or maybe red. I was one of these people once, I pretty much wore black all of the time, but now my wardrobe looks like something akin to a rainbow, and I love it! Increasing the amount of colour I wear has genuinely changed how I feel about what I wear, and I’m quite proud to say I have gone without wearing black for almost 4 years now (except at Halloween and the odd funeral!). Here’s why I love colour:

Wearing colour makes you feel good.

One thing that I’ve noticed since wearing more colour is the enormous emotional impact it has. On days when I feel like I need a bit of oomph? It’s got to be red – even if I’m feeling down in the dumps a red lippy and a matching frock or blouse gets me feeling on top of the world again. Nothing feels more sultry for a night out to me than midnight blue or deep purples, and yellow? Well, quite predictably wearing yellow makes me feel like my own ray of sunshine.

Wearing the right colour makes you look good.

One of the reasons I started wearing more colour is that I came to the realisation that black actually doesn’t suit me. I’m very fair, and to be honest, black makes me look like a ghost – it brings out the shadows under my eyes, and instead of looking fair , I just look pale and wan. Wearing lighter, brighter colours makes my skin look better, brings out the shine in my hair, and even makes my eyes sparkle a little – no longer do I feel the need to layer on fake tan for a night out to give me ‘a bit of colour’, my clothes do it for me.

Wearing colour makes you stand out from the crowd.

I’m aware that I may occasionally go a little bit crazy with the amount of colour I wear – I do get comments like ‘ooh, where are you going? A wedding?’ (erm, nope, just to run some errands actually) but I’ve also been stopped in the street for someone to tell me how much they love my sparkly shoes, or tell me that they wish they wore as much colour, or that they’ve been inspired to buy a canary yellow skirt. I generally find that dressing, like I do, as a human rainbow, is generally pretty infectious – much like a smile.

So, what’s your feel-good colour? And how many different colours have you worn in the last week?

Go check out Emily Jayne's Blog HERE

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Guest Blog Week....

I have been a bad bad blogger - my heart has been somewhere else and that 'else' has been with 'the day job' , worrying about an impending operation and trying to get half marathon ready - all three of which I am failing on. I'm sorry, forgive me?

So with me preparing to go into hospital on Monday for a really long-awaited operation on my hand I asked some of you lovely blogger people if you''d kindly write me a blog post for whilst I'm out of action and you lovelies offered up your kind typy skills and sent me in your blog posts! However, along came Thursday and a phonecall from the hospital to say the operation Id been waiting for since March, has had to be postponed until the end of this month. To say I was devastated was a complete understatement and after many a tears were shed I asked if these kind bloggers still minded me posting their amazing blogs!

So as of tomorrow I have a weeks worth of amazing guest blogs from bloggers all over that really make me smile: we have beauty, style, confidence, humour and reviews - it is all there, so I hope you all welcome them with eager arms and give them massive squishy hugs on my behalf.

I'm sorry for being such a poor blogger, I am working hard on my organisation and getting myself back on track........

Friday, 3 August 2012

An ode to.... Betsy

You may be forgiven for thinking I was going ramble on about my granny, and as nice as it would've been, this ‘ode to’ post couldn't be further from talking about a loved one. This ode is to my bicycle, and yes, my bicycle has a name and her name is Betsy. She is however, like most grandmas:  little bit slow moving, she squeaks and groans a little, could do with modernising and generally is a little bit old, but I love Betsy.. I love her more than I love a lot of things in my life, and what she doesn't have in mod cons, she makes up for it in the way she handles and treats me, This Betsy, is my ode to you…

I remember putting in my request for you about 6/7 years ago, I was in my early 20’s and I wanted to relive my youth and get a bike. I was never a brilliant cyclist, we all knew it took me about 4 years to master the art of riding a bike without those ruddy stabilisers, but I still loved cycling all the same, nothing could put me off. When I opened you on Christmas morning I was no longer 22 I was 7 again ‘And I couldn’t have been happier: you were slicked in silver paint with vibrant sections of the brightest pink known to man, you were everything I wanted and more and I fell in love with you there and then. Dying to take you out but with the bad weather rearing its ugly head I had to wait until I took you out onto the open road. I had to refrain myself from sitting on you in the shed whilst peering outside just wishing those darn clouds would move away. Our first ride out together was good wasn’t it? You were as smooth as oil, your peddles turned with ease and most of all, you looked good Betsy, and I looked good with you. Over the years you joined me on many local adventures: we would occasionally cycle to the shops together to pick up a weekend treat or two, I still remember when I bought you your first bell – you remember, the one that said “ I LOVE MY BIKE” I knew you liked that bell. The bell was right.

I remember those elusive words I muttered that Saturday afternoon in June when I thought it would be a great idea to start cycling to work: I mean why not? It was just another adventure for us right? I quickly found, come that Monday, that there were a lot of other people you there doing the same thing, except they all looked different from me and you, they all had fancy bikes. I wasn’t embarrassed of you Betsy, oh no, but I was well aware we were the ‘non-cyclists of the cycling world’ that’s for sure. With their slim, light bikes that weaved in and out traffic, their curly handlebars that allowed them to go that little bit faster – they weren’t the same as you Betsy, alas they never had your bell did they?! I got used to the disapproving glances, the way pedestrians would turn around at the rattling noises coming from the road: yeah it was me and you Bets – yeah, you were a bit rattly, it didn’t bother me half as much as it bothered everyone else. You had gotten a little old that I knew, the effort to keep up with these young speedy things always proved a little bit too much for us and so we would slink to the back of the pile and take in our surroundings – I like to think we got more out of our rides than most – who’d wanna go so fast that the trees around us were a blur anyway? Then that first fateful day came, peddling on our same daily route, it was a crisp ol’ Jack Frost type morning, and even you groaned when we pushed off, I heard ya. But when we reached that roundabout and that car came from nowhere, I knew instantly this wasn’t good. Hitting my peddle first, all I was aware of was you skidding and the feeling of being pushed, a car had hit us. It wasn’t bad, I got straight back up after – grazed knees and hands were not something new to me, but it was you Betsy I was worried about – had they hurt your fragile body? messed with your gears? It was a close shave, both of us were A-ok. I remember climbing back on to you Betsy and despite a few more rattles and clanging, we were back on our way again. I felt lucky.

After the third time we got hit, only last year, upon walking away from it relatively unscathed I just remember thanking you – thanking Betsy for keeping me safe, she made sure that she got the brunt of the accident not me, that was special, that was friendship.

Betsy, you may not have cost thousands of pounds, you may not even look that pretty anymore, you may squeak, groan, rattle and cause a loud scene occasionally but nothing can take away the fact we have some damn good adventures together! A well-travelled bike – cycling across Berkshire, Bucks, Devon and Cornwall, through the Cotswold's, there have been some good times, experiencing nature, getting horrifically wet, disgustingly muddy but overall we always laughed together. You Betsy are a dream bike…. A great bike… I don’t care what people say, to me, you are number one.

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