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Time goes so fast. This month just gone my husband, Darren, and I have been married for a year. I remember it like it was yesterday, yet so much has happened since I wrote my life update a whole year ago. In fact, it’s been a tough 12 months and we’ve had more than our fair share of ups and downs in the days since we became husband and wife.

Life’s Blows

Perhaps the most significant was when Darren broke his wrist, back in spring. We’d been out to buy roller blades, a hobby we both had as children and had decided to take back up to try and spend more time together, since most of our hobbies are individual, and the fact that I’m a serial busy person. We got back later than planned, and it was already dark but Darren, being a fairly experienced skater, was eager to test the new wheels. In what was the most unfortunate accident, he ended up completely shattering the end of his radius on his dominant hand, shunting all of the wrist bones down into the cavity. He also chipped the end of his ulnar.

To cut a long story short, he ended up having two operations – one to reduce and fix the fragments of bone with a titanium plate, and another to release the nerves that had been compressed by the dislodged bones. He was in a cast for 7 weeks, signed off work for 13, and has been left with two scars, severely limited range of motion, and pain and stiffness that will lead to arthritis in the next 5-10 years.

It’s been a hard 7 months since the injury; Darren has had to come to terms with the life changes he’s had to make as a result, but he’s an incredibly determined man and I’m so proud of his progress since coming out of that cast. I remember back to when I had my stress fracture last year, and the frustration and depression I felt through my injury – it pales into insignificance compared to what he’s been through.

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Darren is my rock. My confidante. My best friend.

The last gift I got him was the one that caused his injury, and I’ll never shake that feeling of responsibility – no matter how many times he tells me it’s not my fault. So I wanted the next gift I gave him to be a bit more personal than a pair of roller blades, as well as safer!

One of Darren’s biggest loves is design. He studied product design at college, and made the most amazing wooden chairs that looked like sculptures. On a day out in London we were at Southbank, where we had our engagement shoot, when we saw some wooden watches in the window of the Design Museum shop and I remember him looking at them for ages, clearly trying to justify adding another watch to his collection! So when JORD Wood Watches got in touch and asked if I’d like to review one of their collection of watches, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to share the benefits of my blog with the man I love. And this statement from their website couldn’t fit better:

“The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count. Moments are bigger than minutes and your watch should tell more than time.”

I want Darren to look at his watch and think of the time we spend together. To see the minutes ticking away not as time gone by, but time well spent. To me, it seemed like the perfect gift.

The Dover Koa Watch

The classic design of this Dover series watch is just stunning to look at. A self-winding watch, the cogs are fascinating to see working, and the fact that you don’t need a battery makes for a really interesting design where you can see all the way through the watch to the skin of your arm underneath. When I took it to get a link taken out, the man working on it commented on how he’d seen quite a lot of wooden watches recently, but that this was the first self-winding one he’d seen. I think it’s so unique-looking, that combination of Koa wood, native to Hawaii, the black surround and brushed metal cogs all combine to give a sleek steampunk feel.

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This is Darren’s first automatic watch – he has mostly battery operated ones but also a kinetic watch that he wears so infrequently he has to shake it around for ages and it’s still always wrong!

The wood is soft and smooth, and makes the watch so much lighter than others, perhaps not ideal for those who like the feel of a more solid, weighty watch, but it seems hardy enough. It does require a little more care than a silicone or metal strap, with lemon or orange oil extract recommended for cleaning, but it is splash-proof, which is good news for us as lovers of walking and the great-outdoors. I’m so convinced by the quality and design, I’m going to invest in a wood watch of my own – the women’s ones include some gorgeous colours and styles, including smaller size faces.

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The Dover Koa and Black watch comes in at $295 (£240 at today’s exchange rate), though they have watches starting from $129 (£105). JORD also ship worldwide for free, which I think is great, and the turnaround time is really good, meaning you have plenty of time if you’re thinking of a wood watch as a Christmas present! Just make sure you factor in customs charges if you’re ordering to the UK – I paid about £15 in duty once it had arrived.

WIN – Money Off at JORD

JORD have kindly given me a competition for one lucky reader to win a $75 e-gift code, and all entrants will receive a $20 e-gift code just for entering! All you have to do is provide your name and email on the competition page below. The competition ends on 6th November 2016. Good luck!

*** Enter the competition! ***

Thank you to JORD Wood Watches for the gift.

Photos taken with my Olympus PEN E-PL7* and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm 1:1.8 Lens*.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. As always, my opinion is my own and not affected by items or services gifted to me. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page. * Affiliate link. Affiliate links do not affect the price that you pay, but any commission earned helps me to pay the costs of running this site. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page.


Watch Gift Ideas

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Where the hell has summer gone? I can’t believe it’s September tomorrow, and I haven’t blogged for weeks! Usually this would stress me out no end, but I actually feel ok about it. After all, blogging is ultimately a hobby, and if I don’t post for a while nothing’s going to break and no-one’s going to starve. It’s ok!

But let me catch you up on what I’ve been doing, and why I’ve been too busy to blog these last few weeks.

What’s been happening?

We got a pet

Yup, Mr Ellis and I got ourselves a bird. A yellowback chattering lori, to be exact. His name is Kevin (yes, really!) and he’s amazing. We’ve always been dog people, but with both of us out of the house at work for most of the day we couldn’t give in to our desire for a Labrador. So we decided to get a bird, who we can leave at home in his cage for most of the day and let out to play with us for an hour or so in the evenings.

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The first couple of weeks were a little up and down, with a couple of incidents of biting, and us getting used to each other, but he’s settled in really well now and we’re totally smitten. He chatters away to himself when he’s playing, loves munching on apples and grapes, and goes mad for sponge fingers soaked in his porridge-like food. He also loves being scratched around his head and neck, wrestling with your fingers while throwing himself on his back, and sitting on your shoulders for safety between small doses of exploring the living room. Oh and he tests everything with his beak, tapping and pushing things with some hilarious curious noises.

We can’t get many good photos at the moment because Kevin loves shiny things and keeps flying at my phone/camera, but I’ll try to keep updating my social accounts with them when I can!

I turned 30

I’m now officially out of my 20s and well into adulthood. I’m pretty sure I can’t get away with being irresponsible by saying “well, I am in my 20s” anymore – I’ll have to find some other excuse. In fact, my first rebellious act as a 30 year old was to get my nose pierced!

I’ve never been worried about hitting 30 years of age. In fact, I’ve kind of been looking forward to it. But, I have to admit I do feel as though there’s now a new set of expectations on me to be making something of myself. There’s also the extra pressure of baby-making. I mean, I’m married and 30+ so pretty much every conversation is bound to touch on that at some point! The reality is, nothing is different now to when I was 29, and I plan to keep plugging away at life and trying to balance work-life with a life of things I love.

IMG_0010Putting all that aside, my husband made the day very special for me, and in the evening I celebrated with a party filled with lots of my favourite people. It was catered with the best food from our local smokehouse and grill, and I had the most amazing birthday cake made by my lovely friend Kelly… yes, that is a giant Ferrero Rocher on top! I was so lucky to be spoilt with lots of lovely cards and thoughtful gifts and came away feeling very loved.

I took time off

Trip to Poole

The day after my birthday Darren and I headed down to Poole for an overnight stay followed by a Segway tour of Upton Country Park (made possible by an experience voucher my brother got me for my last birthday). Segway was super fun and I’m so glad we gave it a go, and Poole Harbour is beautiful.

 

{THE ONLY WAY IS SEGWAY} Darren and I had a lovely day and night in Poole this weekend, starting with a delicious meal at our hotel, a walk along Poole harbour, a drive down to Sandbanks, ice cream by the water and then a Segway tour and afternoon tea at Upton Country Park 💛 Neither of us had been on a Segway before, but towards the end it felt pretty instinctive, and so much fun! I’d love to be able to spend every rest day like this! We’re back home now and ready to tuck into burgers from our favourite @willettsrealsmokehousebbq to end the weekend before another week off work 😊 How do you like to spend your rest days? #restdayfun #weekendaway #segway #segwayfun #looknohands

A photo posted by 🏋🏼 CrossFit 🙏🏼 Yoga 👟 Running (@fitcetera) on

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to venture over to Brownsea Island, which is supposed to be really nice too, so I’m sure we’ll make a return trip soon. Any excuse to go to the coast!

Tribal Clash

The following weekend I joined my CrossFit friends for a trip down to Dartmouth to support our team in Tribal Clash. If you want to know more about Tribal Clash then keep an eye out as I may well do a post about it on here, but for now I’ll just say that we had such a fun weekend of camping, CrossFit cheering, and maybe a little bit of drinking!

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Our team did us proud with a finish that qualifies us for a pre-ordered place next year, as well as clocking up some brilliant finishes in really tough events. There Team Raeda are above, Terry, Ricky, Kelly, Amy, Russ and Jo. Well done to them on an amazing debut performance!

Once again, my mobility got in the way and I couldn’t even be considered for the team, but luckily the buzz of it all is just as good for the spectators, and I’ve come away looking for ways to get involved in the future – whether as a competitor or a judge.

What’s next?

That’s about it in terms of catching up over the last few weeks. I’ve been catching up with work and, as always, now it feels like we were never away. But Darren and I are lucky to be off again next week as we head to Amsterdam for a few nights with friends. If you have any recommendations of things to see and places to go there please comment below or let me know on social! Also be sure to keep an eye out on my Instagram for snaps of the trip!

Then when we get back from Amsterdam I’ll be hitting the books for my third Open University module towards my degree in Sport, Fitness and Coaching!

In the meantime, keep an eye on the blog because I’ve got some great posts lined up for you! If there’s anything you want me to write about, feel free to comment below or get in touch on social!

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A lot has happened over the last couple of months and I thought I should take to time to give you, the loyal readers of my blog, a little update on where I’m at and why my blog has been a bit quiet.

Firstly, I got married!

Woohoo! Our wedding was the best day of my little life so far, and everything I’d hoped it would be. My husband (tehe!) and I enjoyed ourselves so much and genuinely took everything in to treasure forever. I want to take the time now to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for their kind messages, cards and gifts – we appreciate the thoughtfulness of our friends and family and are so lucky to be surrounded by such loving people.

Planning a wedding is supposedly (depending which source you use!) one of the top 10 most stressful things that can happen in life, but we were determined not to let it get the best of us and wanted to enjoy every moment. We stuck to that probably about 90% – there will always be those few things that slip through and make you stress out – but overall, my look back at wedding planning is a very happy one.

Our wedding day, Gaynes Park, Epping.

Our wedding day, Gaynes Park, Epping.

I went “back to school”

Some of you may know that I chose to leave my Sports Therapy degree course after the first year back in 2011. It was shortly after this that I started my blog – though I’d chosen to go back to working in a field completely unrelated to health and fitness, I couldn’t be away from the industry fully and that’s when fitcetera was born.

But, me being me, I couldn’t be away from my studies for long. I chose to pick up degree study again with the Open University – this time studying to complete my degree in Sport, Fitness and Coaching. Since the wedding and honeymoon I’ve been playing catch up (technically the study planner kicked off the week before our wedding!) and submitted my first tutor market assessment two weeks ago.

My first module is in Sports Psychology, which I’m absolutely loving, and I can’t wait to share some of what I’m learning with you in blog posts!

I also started PT studies

Just to add to my, frankly ridiculous, schedule, I also started my Level 3 Personal Training course with Health and Fitness Education (HFE). The syllabus for HFE’s Personal Training course involves 8 weeks of home study, followed by 3 x fortnightly attendance (practical) weekends, and then two case studies to submit before I complete the course.

I much prefer this approach to the more intensive attendance courses as it fits in more with my work, blog, fitness commitments. Check in on my weekly training diary (soon to return!) to find out how my course is going. I’ll also be doing a couple of “day in the life of” videos of my training so you can hopefully get a feel for what it’s like to be a PT in the making!

I’ve been writing more

Although my own blog has dropped off a little of late, I’ve actually been writing quite a lot for other publications. I’m lucky as a blogger to have been able to write for some pretty big names (have a look at my “work with me” page to find out more) and recently I’ve taken on more freelance and guest writing, including posts for MyProtein, MuscleFood, HFE, BESTFIT Magazine, as well as taking on some projects on my own website, such as my recent VIP Ski post. I love writing for other publications and sites, and seeing my work somewhere else always makes me proud to do what I do.

Christmas Survival Guide - BestFit Magazine

My A-Z of Surviving Christmas article for BestFit Magazine

So, that’s what I’ve been busy with over the last couple of months, and some of which will continue for years to come! I hope this has gone at least some way to explaining why my posts have been a bit few and far between – hopefully something I’ll be able to rectify over the coming weeks.

Have you had any life changes recently? I know a few people who have gone back to studying, either full time or part time, degree, short course or masters. Comments below if you’re one of them! I’d love to know what everyone’s studying!

Disclaimer – my training with HFE has been provided for in exchange for freelance writing services. As always, all opinions are my own and not affected by items gifted to me. To find out more about this and my policy, please see my Disclosure page.