Testing the SEATOSUMMIT dry sack

Last year, prior to a diving trip to Borneo, we bought a Seatosummit lightweight dry sack from a dive shop in KL.

8 litre capacity and weighing in at only a spectacular 58 grams.

I have just taken my lovely bright yellow dry bag with me on its first “summit” outing – a 2 week trek in the Himalayas in late Jan-early Feb.  The trek, on a frozen river, provided extreme weather day in, day out.  Cold, snow, sleet, and the possibility of having to ford glacial rivers (the latter didn’t happen, thank goodness).  I used the bag inside my daypack, to keep my camera, batteries, spare socks and spare gloves dry.

Perfect.

Everything dry, despite the fact we walked for hours in the snow.

Here’s the link to the Seatosummit website for these dry sacks.

It’s now been used on dive boats in Borneo and up in the harsh Himalayas, and has passed with flying colours.

Personally recommended.

I bought the bag, didn’t tell the shop nor the company that I blog.

Testing Reebok’s reversible running shorts

Late September & Delhi is at its worst.

Hot, humid, the fag-end of the monsoons – which explains all that heat and humidity.

So, of course, that is exactly when I decide to buy some new running trousers, and test drive them (as it were) in such an unforgiving climate.

Because I’d just bought some Reebok running shoes, I decided to try out their clothing range as well, and bought a pair of reversible running shorts –  well, more capri-length to be exact.

They are indeed reversible –  grey one side, black the other:

I have subsequently used these running shorts at least twice, if not thrice, a week since then, and 2 1/2 months on from humid September, I am every bit as pleased with them, and they show no sign of wear and tear.

They really do wick away the sweat, as advertised:

The only adjustment I made to the trousers when I bought them, was to cut off the care label, in order to make them truly reversible.  Like so:

 

It was stitched on in such a way that removing it was easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My only cavil – I do wish there was a pocket.

I bought & paid for the trousers myself, and no-one in Reebok knows that I blog.

They cost Rs 2699 (in late September 2016).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to buy these running shorts, you can get to Amazon very quickly, straight from this page.  Just click on either of the links below, and they’ll take you straight to their website…but, hey, you know all this stuff, right? 🙂

Travels with my Smith & Canova Power Purse

I have an amazingly resourceful sister who always finds truly amazing gifts for me, and has done for years.

But even so, on a scale of 1-10 of fab gifts I’ve received from her over the years, my Smith & Canova Power Purse comes in as a straight 10.

LOVE IT.

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My sister bought both daughter dearest and I a power purse, and it was difficult to choose a colour – but in the end, purple won.

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Basically this is a smart leather clutch which can absolutely be used as an evening bag, AND it comes with a built in power pack and a charging cable.

You charge the in-built battery, off you go, and when your phone needs charging – hey presto.  Done.  On the go.

Genius.

Here are the specs from their own website:

This sleek and stylish rechargeable clutch bag is a must have accessory for a busy girl on the go. It has a built in wafer thin power pack which will charge an average smart phone one and a half times. There are many pockets and card holders inside to carry your other essentials. Made in beautiful soft grain leather and available in a choice of colours.

    • Genuine leather
    • Internal zip pocket
    • 2 internal slip pockets
    • Gold fittings
    • Smith & Canova branded interior
    • Built in discreet 4200mAh power pack with 5 hours charge life
    • Compatible with all Andriod phones
    • iPhone adaptor must be purchased separately

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I take mine everywhere with me, and since it has space for credit cards and several pockets, it is ideal for travelling.

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And see, sometimes, I can even colour coordinate my Power Purse! (This was in Borneo, last month):

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And here’s the link to their website.

Jane paid for these (as I said earlier) & certainly no-one in Smith & Canova knows that I blog.

But…how nice that this company is based in the old home town, Leeds.

Testing the Reebok Z Strike Elite AND the Reebok One Distance 2.0

This is a slightly unusual review since it deals with 2 different Reebok shoes, one of which I had to return due to a flaw.

On 28 June 2016 I bought a pair of Reebok Z Strike Elite shoes from the Reebok store in DLF Mall, New Delhi, India.

This was my first Reebok purchase & I was impressed by the knowledgable sales staff (despite it being sale time, so busier than usual) and I bought a lovely blue pair of shoes:

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I now possessed 3 pairs of running shoes (#takingmyrunningseriously) and since I was part of a #100daysofrunning challenge, and therefore running every day, I rotated between my reeboks and 2 pairs of Adidas shoes.

I was running an average of 10k per day, but not wearing any pair of shoes on 2 consecutive days.  From the very first run, these shoes felt comfortable, great and cushion-y (is that a technical term?) and very light.  No teething problems, no blisters, nothing.

From Day One I loved the Z Strike Elite, and instagrammed to that effect.

Here you go, just a few images.

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Took my shoes to Borneo:

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And to Kuala Lumpur:

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But…at 162 km (I log my usage on mapmyrun.com) holes suddenly appeared in the heel area of both shoes.  Like so:

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I contacted Reebok –  and this part of my review now covers their customer service.

5 August: I email Reebok, sending the photos I have just shown you (above).

6 August: Reebok Customer Care replies, apologizing and asking for details, including a scan of the original invoice, which I didn’t have to hand, so on the

7 August: I sent a copy of my credit card statement.

9 August: Reebok replies asking me to get a duplicate invoice from the store.

OK.

10 August: I went back to the store in DLF mall, where they kindly printed out a duplicate invoice in no time at all, which I emailed to Customer Care.

11 August: Reebok email me to say I could go ahead and claim my replacement shoes.

 

Score card for Customer Service?

10/10.

They were quick, polite and efficient, as indeed were the staff in the shop.

BUT sadly the much-loved Z Strike Elite were no longer in stock, & so I had to get a different shoe, and pay around Rs3000 on top, since the sales are over.

So, with some regret – it’s out with the Z Strike & in with One Distance 2.0

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I did my first run in these shoes this morning, and first impressions?

I like them.  A lot.

I like the tag at the back when you put them on:

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Love the lime green.

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They felt as cushion-y and bouncy and comfortable from the word go as the Z Strike Elite.

Now, though, I shall watch the heels like a hawk, hoping there isn’t a repeat performance.

Has anyone else experienced this?  The inner lining wearing out so quickly?

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The store manager suggested it might be because I kept my shoes laced and pushed my feet in and out.

I absolutely don’t, and told him so.  So I actually have no explanation as to why the Z Strike Elite wore out so soon.

Anyway, onwards & upwards as they say – and let’s see how the One Distance 2.0 perform.

I’ll post a follow up review in a few weeks.

Neither Reebok nor the store knew that I blogged and I paid for the shoes myself.

How good is the Anker Solar Charger?

It’s very good, to answer my own question.

I have nothing but praise for the Anker portable solar charger.

I bought it before I went climbing in the Himalayas 2 summers ago, and it worked brilliantly, charging mobile phones mainly, both mine and my fellow team member’s.  Even though there was no connectivity for most of the climb in Ladakh, it meant I could use my phone to record video clips.

Some days, I attached the charger to my daypack (as in the photo below, which is not mine.  It’s from the internet) & I even charged my phone on the go.  Initially I did worry about the charger getting scratched on boulders (it didn’t, of course).

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Once we arrived in camp in the afternoons, out would come my charger and it would sit quietly there, as we all unpacked and set up camp.

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Super impressed and it is now a regular on all outdoors-y type trips, where power could be a problem.

Here are the charger’s vital stats:

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It has 2 USB charging points.

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It weighs in at 14.7oz / 417g so isn’t a liability in your day pack.

Totally recommended.

No one at Anker knows that I blog.

I paid for the charger myself, and bought it online.  As you can do now:

All the photos are from the internet.

AND…as I was looking for photos online to illustrate this review, I found this one, and learned a useful tip, which will be put to good use later this summer, when I’m back in Himalayas – hurray!

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Reviewing the Kalenji hydration backpack

Running in Delhi’s killer summer heat means that hydration is beyond a must.  It is, without exaggeration, a lifesaver.

I usually run with a handheld water bottle, but it doesn’t hold enough for the searing temperatures these days, so I have switched to using my Kalenji 2L backpack, and what an all round improvement.

Firstly, I have way more water available, but almost as importantly, because I’m not gripping a bottle, I am running more relaxed.

I set out every morning at about 5.30/5.45 at which time I don’t need my cap, so into the pack it goes.

A small snack – inside the pack.

My mobile phone goes into a zipped compartment, accessible from both sides, and the head-phones have their own exit.  Way safer than having the phone in my hand.

Can’t think why I haven’t been using this backpack every day.  Certainly makes for more streamlined running.

Totally recommended.

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I bought the backpack myself, and told no one that I blog.

Actually I lie. Technically, one of my running group, Samiksha Mehra, bought it for me from Decathlon in NOIDA. (All of which is to say that no one had/has any idea that I blog!)


In love with my T10 sports polo

Since I started running 2 1/2 years ago, I have acquired quite a collection of T shirts.  As one does.

Races, promotional runs, fun runs, our running club –  many of these events come with a T shirt.

t10sports in Gurgaon, just over the border from Delhi, makes Tshirts, fleeces, running jerseys, cycling shorts – pretty much all the essentials for sports, clothes-wise.  Caps, jerseys, polos, corporate gifts –  they are the go to people.

We used t10sports when we had our running group Ts made, with custom printing, logos, names etc, and the works was done quickly and efficiently.

I was lucky enough to win a voucher for a free personalised shirt from them in the recent Women’s Day 10km and opted this time for a polo, the first I’ve had from them.

I really like the fact that their polos are designed for women, meaning the cut and the sleeves are different and better suited to our body shape.  Mine was comfy from the first time I wore it.

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Nice cotton, and I really like the striped inset (below).

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Detail of the buttons.

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Check out their website for prices and sizes.

Prompt, efficient service.

Recommended.

I didn’t pay for this polo, since I won it as a prize, but we all paid for our running group Ts, and t10sports has no idea that I blog or write reviews.

How good are M&S sports socks?

At £6 a pair, these super cool-looking running socks are not cheap.  But after a month of daily, intensive use, I am happy to report that they are good and soft and cushioning and, actually, yes, well worth their £6.

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You see, they are more than “just’ a sock.

Here, read the M&S literature for yourself:

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They really do feel good.  Ditto my feet, after pounding the unforgiving Delhi pavements in our equally unforgiving pre-monsoon heat.

Am a sucker for L & R on my socks, I have to confess.

Ditto the cute message inside the sock, hidden from view.

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Personally recommended.

Value for money?

Yes, I think so.  Can’t quibble with something that keeps your feet blister-free.

Would I buy them again?

Yes, already did.  I tried them out for a couple of weeks in London & stockpiled before returning to Delhi.

Want a good running shop in London?

I live in India, where I haven’t yet been able to track down the gels that I am told are vital for running a marathon.

So on a recent trip to London I was thrilled to find a specialised running shop in East Sheen, just a few minutes drive away from Barnes, where I was based.

Aptly called ‘Up & running”, the shop has a quiet, unpushy air of professionalism about it.

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When I explained that not only was I new to running, but was also thinking about transiting from half to full marathon, the young woman in the shop could not have been more helpful.  A marathoner herself, she answered all my questions in great detail, explained about gels, gave me several (free) to take home and try, and was totally charming.  No hard sell, nothing but relaxed friendly service.

Just wished I’d needed more stuff…would happily have spent hours in Up & Running.

I paid my bill (a very snazzy belt to hold said gels) and did not tell them that I blog and write reviews.

Recommended, from one very pleasant interaction.

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How good are Adidas Energy Boost running shoes?

First things first.

I am not a running/fitness/shoe expert.

I am simply a freshly minted runner, who has gone from 0 – training for her first marathon in 18 months.  In other words, what I have to say about my new running shoes is 100% personal, and not “professional”.

After (literally) running through my old Revenergy Boost which saw me through my first-ever half marathon, as well as my second, third, fourth and fifth HMs, the time had come to replace them.  It almost felt disloyal to replace them, since they had shepherded me through so many late-in-life thrilling milestones, but after 7 months they were pretty worn out.

So, yes, I loved my old shoes – everything except the dull grey colour, if I am being honest – and decided to stick with what I knew, and bought another pair.

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Oh joy! The new version comes in a fab colour. Despite my age, there is nothing wrong with loving jazzy pink and purple shoes, now, is there?

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Aren’t they gorgeous?

Love the noticeably bouncy tread.  You really do feel as though you are bouncing along with extra energy, when you run in these shoes-see how worn down my faithful old ones were in comparison.

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The only thing I am less enthusiastic about in this new version of the Energy Boost is the tongue, which doesn’t open as wide as the older version did.  So I have taken to using a shoe tree to help me put them on, rather than forcing my foot in and damaging the back.

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Other than that, love ’em.

I have a tendency to pronate, and was told that these shoes will definitely help.

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Buying these beauties coincided with my signing up for a #100daysofrunning challenge, so I now have a clever phone app predicting the life of my new shoes.

Alas! After exactly one month, to the day, I have (it would appear) already used up over a third of their predicted lifespan.

Oh woe is me.

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I bought these shoes, paid for them myself, and did not tell the shop that I review and blog.

Recommended?

Absolutely.

Would I buy them again?

Yes, going to do exactly that.