Moonwalk London Tips

May 21, 2019

I walked my first full moonwalk last weekend. It was awesome, I am so pleased I did it and enjoyed every minute.

While it was all still fresh in my mind I thought I’d share my experiences and tips for making it as much fun as I found it.

Firstly, trust the training. I followed the training schedule they sent me in my pack almost to the letter, I didn’t necessarily get out on all the walks on the days they suggested but I did do all the walks in each week, usually with 2 walks mid week and one long one at the weekend. I also went to my usual yoga class once a week for a full body stretch and as my ‘other activity’. The training really helps increase your fitness and helps you understand what you need to take with you on the walks and what you need to do for recovery. It’s amazing how much quicker your recovery after the longer walks gets as you progress. Sign up to ‘Map my Walk’ or another free walking app to log your walks with distances and times to see how you are progressing, you can also see how many calories you are burning to justify a big bit of cake when you finish.

Buy new shoes. I had no idea what I was looking for with walking shoes, just made sure I bought a pair of proper ‘power walking’ trainers (not boots for pavement walking), I bought a pair of inexpensive shoes from Decathlon that were a half size bigger than my usual size, to allow for swelling. I also bought a couple of pairs of proper running socks that are lovely and smooth on your foot to minimise blister risk.

Find a friend. I signed up for the moonwalk with my friend, we were unable to get out on the midweek walks together but made sure to do the long ones together, this allowed us to work out a compatible pace and keep each other company, if you are on your own, sign up to see if anyone else locally is training too. We planned our walks with google maps, putting in landmarks along a route and seeing how to make up the distance, always train on pavement and hard surface. We are lucky enough to live near Windsor Great park so planned a lot of our walks through here to avoid traffic and enjoy some lovely views, this definitely helps keep you motivated. On the shorter, lonelier walks I listened to podcasts and music to keep me occupied, although walked a lot faster when the dance tunes were on.

Bring Snacks. I honestly didn’t realise how much lactic acid hurts, I didn’t realise this until we got up to the 12/14 mile walks but came home very achey and miserable until I realised that these aches in my thighs and hips went away within 30 mins of getting home. I did some research and planned to eat something each hour of the walk, a bit of cereal bar, a quarter of a peanut butter sandwich, a wethers original, all help to keep you going and put off the lactic ache. Water also helps, but you’re not sweating much while walking so don’t need loads like with other exercise (and you really want to limit the amount you need to wee).

Look after your feet, but not too much. Once a week I made sure to exfoliate my feet throughly and trim my toenails and regularly applied vaseline or foot balm to keep them as soft and supple as possible without removing too much of the hard skin that was protecting my feet from all the walking. While walking if your feet are at all uncomfortable sort it out immediately, this meant retying tight laces, removing small stones, smoothing out socks etc. Miraculously I didn’t get any blisters, in training or on the walk.

Stretch. I found that if I did stretches during my daily routine it was easier to fit them in. So I would do lunges and hamstring stretches while brushing my teeth and would touch my toes or ‘tabletop’ stretch on the kitchen worktop while waiting for the kettle to boil.

Decorate you bra/Plan your outfit. you might feel like a bit of a fool getting on the train in a sparkly bra and gold leggings. But trust me, once you get to Moonwalk City, you’ll wish you wore even more glitter!

Don’t get there too early. We planned to arrive at Clapham Common at 9pm and didn’t set off until quarter past 11. That’s a lot of waiting around in the cold in your bra. The Pasta they give you is ok but we thought the rice was better, get a different option to your friend and share/swap.

During the walk, remember to eat/drink on the way around. Make friends with your fellow walkers. Enjoy yourself, take in the sights, many are lit up pink just for you, the route takes in a lot of landmarks so make sure to take a selfie with each of them. Don’t forget to take some cheeky ibuprofen to put off the aches and help get you through the night. The hot chocolate they were handing out in Sloane Square might have been the most delicious I’ve ever had, hot and sweet it made me very happy.

After the walk, don’t stop. We made sure to keep moving, picking up our bags and heading back to the train station before fatigue and stiffness kicked in. We were heading back to Clapham Junction, where there is a couple of coffee shops and a Sainsbury’s where breakfast supplies can be bought for the journey home. On the train I removed my walking shoes and gave my feet a quick freshen up with a baby wipe, and put on a  pair of trusty Birkenstocks, it was ultimate foot bliss!

Make sure to check train times for the Sunday return journey. As you may be aware, train services are bonkers on a Sunday, we were very lucky there was no evil Bus Replacement Service or Maintenance works on our line, but we did manage to get on a train that didn’t stop at our destination station! Here is the problem with travelling while very tired.

Once home I had a shower and put on some lovely clean pjs and a pair of DVT (compression) socks. (I wore these after the 20 mile training walk too, I found them to really help with calf aches and make my feet feel much lighter, don’t know if its advised to wear them but  I loved them!) Then I went to bed for a few hours.

If you are considering the moonwalk – do it! and if you are already signed up – good luck and I might see you there!

 

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These were last year’s costumes. It was only while discussing them with a friend that I remembered I hadn’t posted about them. They are of course Matilda and Miss Honey from Roald Dahl’s brilliant book.

These were easy peasy to make and based on the Quentin Blake illustrations below.

The Matilda costume was created from 2 primark blue t shirts one long sleeved one (cheaper) sleeveless vest that were both in the same material. They were both adult ladies ones, the long sleeved was a size 6 and the other the largest I could find, size 20 I think. First I took the long sleeve tee in to fit my daughter a bit better I did this by increasing the seams on the shoulders and down the sides the sleeves were narrow enough. This brought the neckline up a bit and made it into more of a boat neck – the excess fabric simply tucks inside. The skirt was made from the other bigger t shirt. I cut the top part off just under the armpits to create large tube and attached this to the adapted long sleeve tee, with a half shearing elastic stitch that I’ve used for t shirt dresses before. (Hand wind your bobbin with a colour matched elastic, with normal cotton thread in the needle sew as usual to self gather and maintain t shirt stretch). The other bits of this outfit are white plimsoles from primark and a faux/clip in fringe bought from eBay. The book prop is a cereal box with a piece of pipe lagging stretched over one side and hot glued in place covered in paper and painted.

Miss Honey’s was even easier! Bought a long sleeve orange t shirt from eBay and made the skirt from a  large men’s grey t shirt from the charity shop. I cut the t-shirt from arm pit to arm pit, keeping the bottom hem and side seams, I turned over the top of this large tube of fabric and hemmed it, and ran a length of elastic through this. Miss honey scarf is a silver grey napkin from the charity shop, and her glasses are pound land reading glasses with the lenses popped out.

Hope your World Book day outfits are as simple as this to make?

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Peacock Butterfly Costume

November 3, 2015

   
 
We made this costume recently for the ‘Ugly Bug Ball’ at school. 

After deciding she wanted to be a Peacock Butterfly (of course!) my original low effort costume idea was to buy a butterfly kite and attach the wings to a long sleeve t shirt. But my thriftiness got the better of me so decided to paint the wing pattern onto white lining fabric instead. 

  
We drew the pattern onto half the fabric (1m length of 150cm wide) with a sharpie/permanent marker. Then painted in each colour with ready mixed poster paint. I traced the outline into the second wing through the thin fabric.

Unfortunately the left wing got a bit crumpled while it was still wet, so if I was making this again I’d leave it to dry flat before moving it. 

I cut out each wing and stitched it onto the back of a black long sleeve t shirt. I attached elastic loops to the ends of the wings to go onto her fingers, this meant she could take these off so the wings could fold up behind her for travelling in the car/sitting at school. 

She wore the wing t shirt with black leggings and antenna made from pipe cleaners and an Alice band. 

  
It was Halloween last week, I was not prepared. I had agreed to make this costume before and little girls never forget a promise, so I was reminded of it 2 days before All Hallows’ Eve. 

Fortunately I had a plan and some old t shirts from the 99p charity shop. The base grey dress is an extra large men’s t shirt with the sleeves removed and two new seams to bring it into shape

  
I used the sleeves from an orange and a teal t shirt and patched them onto the grey base dress, then took the shoulder areas of the orange and a mint green one for the shoulder patches. A large panel of the real t shirt went onto the skirt with an orange patch. It was all a bit mix and match much like Sally herself. 

  
Then I took a black permanent marker and drew on the stitches around each patch and some patterns on the coloured patches. Some stripes, spots and swirls. I also drew some lines of stitches over an old pair of white tights. 

She also had a pair of stripey socks to go over the tights but she wore her wellies for this picture, which is a shame. 

Elsa from Frozen Costume

August 26, 2014

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For her birthday Alice was given tickets for ‘sing a long a frozen’, at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square and as the audience is encouraged to wear appropriate dress up, we had a sudden demand for a Frozen dress for her to wear. Her sister had her Anna Coronation Dress I made for her (posted previously).

I bought 2 ladies camisole vests size 8 in sky blue from Primark, to make the base of the dress. I cut across one from armpit to armpit and sewed this to the bottom of the other vest to make it dress length. These vests had adjustable bra type straps so I was able to reduce the length to fit Alice (and leave growing room). I bought a sparkly, sequinned net curtain from a bargain homeshop (can’t remember the name of it) for £6.99, this became the cape part of the dress. I used the whole width of the curtain and gathered it to fit the vest dress from front strap to front strap around the back and then sewed it on. I had the bits of light blue sparkly fabrics left over from a mermaid costume (I still haven’t posted about!). The sequinned one was part of a dress bought from eBay and the metallic fabric came from a top bought in a charity shop. I didn’t have enough of either to use just that so ‘patchworked’ the two fabrics onto the vest dress as appliqué. I tried sewing this on with my sewing machine, but it really didn’t like the sequins so after replacing the needle twice I resorted to hand sewing the pieces on and adding a few iridescent sequins that came in a mixed bag from Poundland.
I was undecided about the need for the sleeves, as we were going to the sing along in August, but at the last minute took a pair of white sparkly tights from H&M size 13-14, and cut one leg off and removed the toe part to create a long tube, then cut a long slash half way along so Alice could put her arms into the two sleeves and have a piece of the tights fabric across her shoulders and back, which I think was quite successful.
At the last minute I added two elastic loops to the corners of the cape, to go on her fingers so she was able to hold it up, so it wouldn’t snag on the escalators for the tube.
She looked amazing and was very pleased with her Elsa dress, and we got lots of lovely comments on both the girls dresses, both on our way there and at the event, which was lots of fun and a great 5 year olds birthday treat.

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I believe this is technically known as an IKEA hack. Take a cheapo IKEA basic piece of furniture and make it look a bit less cheap and basic with paint/knobs etc.

This is for Martha's new bedroom and kept me busy today before the early school run for end of term. The Rast unit was £20 from IKEA last week. The teak colour woodstain/varnish was from Homebase (chosen to match an existing wardrobe) and I gave it an extra coat of clear on top. I picked the knobs up in TK Maxx, they were in packs of 4 hand painted vintagey knobs I like the mix and match look of them the wardrobe got some of these as well!

The hack involved making the flat pack unit (without the back board and drawer runners) and painting this and the drawer fronts 3 coats of teak varnish then one of clear to seal it properly – I imagine a few bedtime drinks will be spilled over it in the future! Then finishing the drawer build adding the new knobs and adding the runners and backboard to the unit.

Can't wait to get it in her new bedroom, but I need to wait for the carpet fitters first.

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It’s been a while, but am returning to posting with this costume made for my now 7 year old (how has that happened?). Her best friend is having a Frozen themed party next week and it seems this current Disney Frozen kiddy craze means there are no costumes to buy anywhere! And as the best friends have been Anna and Elsa every playtime since Christmas I felt I should get the sewing machine out!
I am in the middle of a house overhaul and in a recent cull of my collection of vintage fabrics found this 60s Regency Stripe fabric in dark olive green and cream, perfect for Anna’s skirt as worn to her sister Elsa’s coronation in the film. Before I found this I did have a plan to use a solid green dress lining I have and sew a contrast colour satin ribbon in stripes which I still think would work pretty well.
To make the skirt I sewed box pleats in 6″ lengths at the waist of the skirt, hiding the cream stripes inside, my fabric was only about 36″ wide so I used double width and sewed two seams to join the front to the back. I sewed a generous hem in the top and elasticated the waist gathering the pleated fabric to the size of Martha’s waist. Then cut and hemmed the bottom.
The corset top of Anna’s dress is a black spaghetti strap ladies vest from H&M in XS (£3.99). I had to shorten the straps by about 6″ unpicking them from the back cutting them shorter and reattaching. I then cut the hem of the vest into a point at the front and straight at the back a little lower than Martha’s waist so it would hide the waistband of the skirt. Then I edged the top and bottom with gold ribbon, I didn’t bother to hem the vest.
For the little capped sleeves I cut two squashed semi circles out of doubled over emerald green satin fabric. (The fold is the straight edge) and sewed them together right sides in leaving a gap in the middle of the curved edge to pull them right sides out. Then I attached the gold braid with bobbles on around the curved edge with a zigzag stitch also sealing up the gap. These were attached by hand sewing the end points to the vest top where the straps are joined to the body of the vest.
I know Anna’s sleeves in the film are edged with green lace, but I didn’t have any, however I found the gold bobble trim in another box of collected vintage sewing stuff and they reminded me of the bobble trim on Anna’s travelling cloak! (Yes I have done my homework!) I also had a plan to embellish the front of the corset with blue and pink fabric paint, but Martha is happy with it as it is and I am slightly afraid of spoiling what I think is a pretty decent job!
If necessity means that any readers out there are driven to trying out this make for their own Frozen costume, I would recommend looking for a similar curtain/upholstery fabric on eBay or Etsy, useful search terms would be regency/brocade/jacquard stripe. Or try the ribbon stripe effect. Please let me know how your projects turn out?