Category Archives: My Life

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Choosing Hiking Boots | A Beginners’ Guide

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Recently I bought my first real pair of proper hiking boots – following weeks of researching, speaking to hikers and climbers and finally having a lengthy conversation with an ex-Himalayan Mountain Rescue guide and getting some boots professionally fitted.

I thought I’d share some of my newfound expertise as it can be rather a daunting purchase to make – they’re so expensive! If you’re a hiker, climber or walker please feel free to chip in with advice in the comments!

My first tip would be to go get your boots from a reputable retailer with well informed, experienced staff. They’ll be able to help you with the right fit, give you advice on materials and steer you in the right direction for what you’ll be using your boots for.
Obviously visiting a high street retailer isn’t in everyone’s budget, and with such great online deals available the temptation to blind buy can be very strong… so here are a few other pointers for buying that could help…

Your Size may not be Your Size. I bought boots 1 full size bigger than my regular, but I tried on other brands that were comfy in a huge range from 1 size smaller right the way up to 1.5sizes bigger. When buying online, many brands will give you the insole measurement in length. To guess the right fit, you want the insole to be about 1 finger width longer than where your big toe sits. This gives your foot enough space to wiggle and stops your toe bumping on the end of the shoe during descents, which would become super painful.

Proper Socks are Just as Important. I tried my first pair of boots (and the ones I bought in the end) on with regular ole thick boot socks and they were not very comfortable. I then tried them with proper hiking socks that had appropriate padding, and they were a dream. Buying proper socks is a must and you’ll thank yourself for it when you’re at the top of your hike with no blisters.

Material & Design is important. It really depends on the type of hiking you’ll be doing. Will you need crampons, will there be scrambling or tough terrain? Do you need/prefer ankle support? You don’t want super tough ice hiking boots for a walk in the Lake District, and you don’t want bog standard walking shoes for climbing Kilimanjaro.

Price is a factor. I’m not saying the most expensive boot will definitely be the best one, but £30 Sports Direct shoes simply won’t cut it for proper hikes. A good pair of boots should last years when looked after correctly – do your sums, if you’d replace a pair of £50 Karrimor walkers twice a year, buy some better quality ones that’ll last longer.

Ordered Online? Wear them Excessively at Home. Returns policies are great – and you can return most things unused under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – so make sure you love your boots and they fit you right before you take them outside. Wear them indoors, hike the stairs slowly and quickly, repeatedly, carrying things. Make yourself a ramp and walk up and down it. Rock your feet back and forth in them and take note of how they feel.

Look for the big 3. All trekking shoes for any environment should be, at minimum, waterproof, breathable and with a sturdy grip. Don’t settle for anything less.

Finally I want to share what I’ve discovered to be the most important questions to ask when buying hiking boots. If the answer to these is “yes” then the boots get a big fat “No!”

Does my toe touch the tip of the shoe when standing/walking on flat?

Does my toe touch the tip of the shoe when descending?

Does the shoe allow my foot to move side-to-side inside?

Does my heel lift inside the shoe when I walk on flat or ascend?

Are they excessively heavy?

Do they pinch my foot at the top or sides?

Hopefully these tips will help you choose some great walking shoes that fit properly and help you enjoy hours of comfortable trekking!

If you have any tips to add, please feel free to chip in.

Kitty

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The Joys of Simplicity

Hi guys! It’s been a while – I’m not sorry. Sometimes distance is just the ticket.

Whilst I’ve been on hiatus, I sought out new things – joining a local book club (bet thing ever) ramping up training sessions, signing up for a half marathon, purging belongings, making plans for the future. Not blogging, but lurking in the twittersphere watching.
Avoiding the drama that I never got involved with anyway.

I’ve cleansed my house, and subsequently my mind, and am feeling invigorated to continue writing.
I might as well continue anyway, I’ve paid up for my domain name…

Here’s to a new era of Suggestive Digestive with healthy body & mind, ethical approaches to fashion and beauty, travel inspirations to broaden the mind.
I might even sometimes write about work – that’s going well by the way.

After all, blogging isn’t just about marble backgrounds and cacti.

Kitty

 

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EU Referendum | Why I’m Pro-Stay & You Should Be Too. 

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The EU referendum is in a few short weeks and I’ve been holding off sharing my opinion for a while, waiting to see if the endless bile from pro and anti Brexit parties subsides. With no end in sight, I figured now is as good a time as any to share my thoughts on why it’s a better option to vote Stay.

Let me say, before I get going, that I’m not interested in any xenophobic venom or Daily Mail driven nonsense about bananas or immigrants “taking our jobs”. I don’t know everything about everything, but I also have a healthy suspicion of mainstream media. This argument is not entirely my own, rather I’ve stitched together sense from several pro-stay arguments, and thrown in some retorts to (really poorly researched) pro-Brexit arguments. But I agree with it all.

So, why should we vote stay?

1. Being part of the EU has secured fair working terms and conditions. (Hours, paid overtime, holidays, equal pay). Who doesn’t want that? Alright it might take a long time for those things to be abolished, or they might never disappear, but I’m rather happy with my lot as far as work regulations go!

2. Worried about terrorism? Why wouldn’t we want to be part of the EU where we can share information and resources with our closest neighbours? Incidentally this talk of “closing our borders” to “stop terrorists” entering the UK is nonsense – we’re an island, so we can vet everyone who enters naturally at our ports and offshore ports, and ‘homegrown terrorists’ are already here…

3. Free Trade & Movement of Goods. I’m reading a lot of idiotic things about this – things like how Canada negotiated trade relationships successfully with the EU. Conveniently this argument doesn’t note that Canada hadn’t left the EU beforehand. Why should the EU negotiate better trade terms with us after we leave? That’s sort of an unreasonable/unlikely outcome.

4 Visas. Have you ever tried to get a visa to work or visit somewhere? Why would you want to add that much extra work, cost or stress onto the price of your already increasing summer holiday? I very much value being able to hop on the Eurostar or ferry to Paris or Amsterdam at short notice, no paperwork required.

5 Jobs & Immigration. But the immigrants are taking all of our jobs! We have to stop it!! Are they? Do we?
Many EU nationals working in the UK take up jobs that “our own” people won’t do – because they get paid more here for that job than they do for their skilled professions back home. Or maybe they have no skilled profession, but it’s still more lucrative to be here, working for better money (and paying tax, shopping and generally supporting our economy might I add).
Plus.. as my favourite Mexican comedian says… if someone with no skills or prospects comes from another country, doesn’t speak the language and takes “your” job… then maybe you’re no good at your job.

6 Cameron vs EU. “Why should we trust a totally unelected body that’s not even based in our country?”. Because as a nation, we were trusted with Democracy and ended up with David Cameron. Would it be better if he made all the decisions? Because that would keep me up at night.

7 Tax Havens. Despite what Channel 5 and the Daily Mail tell you, “benefits scroungers” are not the big issue when it comes to obtaining money by deception. Huge earners placing money in offshore accounts to avoid tax are a big problem (I see you, Starbucks) – incidentally much of our mainstream media is owned by very influential and rich people who.. you guessed it… have offshore tax havens! So their newspapers are hardly going to push the Stay agenda, which has vowed to crack down on tax avoidance.

(Aside: If you have a problem with how much the EU costs….you should definitely have a problem with tax avoidance.)

8 Fear of the Unknown. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘better the devil you know’ and it’s true – we know what its like to be in the EU, and we don’t know a thing about what it’ll be like to leave. The predictions on what’ll happen if we leave (read: Propaganda) are all speculative and based on basically nothing, unless you count fear of foreign cultures and general bile. Since its formation, no other country has asked to leave. Many have asked to join (and did you know all EU members have to agree before that’s possible?) so isn’t that valuable at all?

I’ll end with a very popular slogan from the recent Scottish referendum stay campaign. Aren’t we Better Together?

Kitty

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