My idea of a nice jog is definitely less pounding the pavements and more getting lost in the woods (and covered in mud in the process). I’ve been very good at training for my fast-approaching Endurance Life coastal trail run in Exmoor this weekend, so I’m rewarding myself with some of this lovely gear.
I doubt I have to introduce you to the coolest backback on the block – Fjallraven’s iconic Kanken design. I’ve been wanting one of these dinky-yet-durable rucksacks for ages, so I have been very happy reviewing this oxblood beauty from the Fjallraven Kanken rucksack range at Blackleaf (from £47.95). On Saturday it came to meet ponies in the New Forest with me. Awww.
My cosy new Ronja jacket, £150 from Didriksons at Outdoor World Direct, has been keeping me warm all winter. Here’s my review of a snow-friendly coat that feels like you’re wearing a waterproof cuddle.
Last weekend we went a-wassailing at Somerset’s beautiful Ethicurean restaurant, nestled in the Barley Wood Walled Garden. We recited poems to apple trees to bring about a good cider harvest, watched a mummer’s play and ate posh cheese on toast. Lovely.
Other girls may lust over Louboutins, but I like hiking boots. I really like hiking boots. Mainly because I can actually walk around in them without falling over. Here’s my review of how my latest pair, HiGear Snowdown women’s walking boots, £44.99 from Go Outdoors, have dealt with a Christmas full of hills, dales and healthy doses of mud.
The mucky pups over at Muddy Race asked me to write a little review of my latest foray into cross-country obstacle running – last weekend’s 12k Monster Race. There were cow pats, 10ft walls, ice baths and some delightfully gloopy mud to contend with – heaven.
Whether you’re off on a ski season, planning a little foray to the Alps or just want to keep your toes toasty on wintery walks, a pair of chunky snow boots are an outdoor wardrobe essential. Here’s my review of Meindl Sölden snow boots, £85.49 from Complete Outdoors in time for the winter.
I do like rugged outdoors gear that also manages to be über beautiful. Hence, I have a bit of a style crush on my new Fjallraven rucksack, £125.99 from Complete Outdoors, which I have been cycling with, hiking with and, er, pug cuddling with. I also made Pete cart it around on the beach. Doesn’t he look nice?
The thunderstorms rumbling over Bristol made me all happy as I got to stomp about in puddles in my new Jack Wolfskin Vapor Trail XT jacket (£140). It’s now with me on a monsoon-y adventure in the Thai jungle, dealing with storms, sweat and having Chang beer spilled down it on a daily basis.
I love outdoors kit you can boast about. “Dude, you think your jacket is light? Mine weighs half as much as piece of paper. Yeah, PAPER.”
So I greatly enjoyed testing out my new Flyweight Softshell jacket from Jack Wolfskin (£80) whilst mountain biking around in the Negev Desert in Israel last week. It was hot.
Magnificent coastlines, bubbling hot tubs and Cornish cream teas are some of my all-time favourite things, so the delightfully grown-up and rather decadent Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth was right up my street.
It’s all springlike and sunshiney suddenly! I feel very happy indeed. The only issue I seem to be having is that I can’t seem to get dressing for unpredictable showers and bursts of sunshine, and have spent most of my time putting on and taking off jumpers at half-hour intervals. Luckily my sartorial dilemmas have been sold by Target Dry. Makers of my all-time favourite raincoats, Mac in a Sacs, they’ve launched a gorgeous new collection of lightweight, waterproof coverups in new shades and patterns, like this lovely floral Elle jacket (£29.99).
This lovely little beanie is the newest addition to my hat collection, thanks to the fab outdoorsy kids over at Sealskinz. I’ve always been a big fan of their brilliant waterproof ski gloves so I was very excited to try out this knitted number from their new season collection in rain, wind and snow to see how it shaped up.
I do like a good baselayer – especially one as fluffy and soft as my new Shimana merino layer, £29.99 from the fantastic Mountain Warehouse. After a very chilly week skiing in Val Thorens (chilly when not being cuddled by friendly bears) I’ve been wearing it long-distance running, so it’s had a pretty exhaustive test, all in all.
I spent last week skiing like a loon in Val Thorens, and the fab folk at Mountain Warehouse kitted me out before I left for my Three Valleys adventure with this gorgeous purple Heavenly Extreme Ski Jacket, £69.99. Seven days of relentless bombing down pistes, falling over in powder and attempting to look cool in the park seemed like the ideal way to put it through its paces.
I like post. Especially when it’s a box containing a lovely new pair of Hi-Tec Lynx trail hiking boots (£54.00) from the very nice people at Go Outdoors. My new boots are a pretty dove grey and they are all soft and suedey. But are they as comfy as they look?
If you’re as much of a fan as I am of going off on adventures down rivers in wooden canoes, Famous Five Style (lashings of ginger beer optional), you may have used a storm kettle before. If you haven’t, it’s going to be your new best friend, and we’ve got one to give away, too!
In preparation for my epic ski adventure, coming soon to The Girl Outdoors (well, once I actually hit the slopes), the amazing outdoorsy peeps at Webtogs have sent me a lovely North Face fleece to test out in chilly Britain before I wear it whilst falling over a lot on an Italian mountain. Read on to see how it measured up, or get your own here for £34.
I’m off on a ski season to Cervinia, Italy in December, which I am so excited about that I can’t sleep at night without cuddling my new woolly hat. The fact that I can’t ski very well is clearly immaterial in my night-time fantasies of perfectly executed black runs. I am busy figuring out what gear to take with me to the mountains, so I was very pleased when the lovely people at Gear Zone sent me over some sun creams from French company Annecy to test.
My fabulous friends at Webtogs sent me a pair of Base Camp flip flops to take with me on my Finnish adventure because where better to test them than an actual base camp? We were staying in log cabins in the Lapland wilderness whilst hiking and rafting, so I had plenty of time to wear them in on our adventures. The Base Camps are available here for £12.50.
Shoe company Cushe sent me a gorgeous fuzzy pair of IT boot cuffs for me to kick about in. As the company is big on sustainability, comfort, and a chilled-out surf vibe, all stuff I like, I was more then happy to test them out and about.
My beautiful new green Resolve jacket (£64.99), courtesy of the fabulous people at Webtogs, came with me to Glastonbury last week, where we both managed to have a pretty fabulous time despite the rain. As the weather was horrible for the first three days, it was the perfect time to properly test out my Resolve, and see if it could stand twelve hours straight moshing in a field whilst keeping me dry.
I’m heading to Glastonbury next week, and am so excited I’m a bit worried I’m going to burn out before I even get there. The amount of bands I want to see and muddy dancing I want to do means I’m going to need a mega-comfy sleeping bag to see me through the long weekend, so I was very excited when Tesco sent me a big squashy package in the post: a Gelert Lakeside Deluxe sleeping bag (£45.00). As I was off camping last weekend I thought I’d give it a test run and see if it was up to a hardcore week of moshing.
Last weekend I headed to Rest Bay for a surfing session in the cold cold Welsh sea. Besides catching a few waves I also tested out my lovely stripy new pair of Keen Venice sandals (which cost £62.99 from the fab people at Web Togs). I’d worn them around town and on walks, but would they live up to their waterproof, non-slip claims?
Last weekend a gang of 13 of us packed into some small, unreliable cars and drove from Cardiff to Snowdon. Watch out for a proper post on how much my buttocks ached after scaling the peak, coming soon! However the mountain was also the perfect place to give my pretty new Keen boots (which cost £76.49 on Web Togs) a real work out, and to see if they could go the distance without giving me blisters.