26 January 2015

Travel Dilemma | Contact Lenses

Since I started wearing contact lenses over a decade ago, they have transformed my confidence (dramatic but try). I wear them most days and couldn't be without them... could I for travelling? would I be prepared to?
Transporting and wearing contact lenses travelling is not always the most practical thing, but I decided that for my 4 month trip I could manage it. With only a 40 litre backpack (it's small enough to be carry-on) my main concern was the contact lens solution: I knew I couldn't carry a 4-month supply in my backpack.

Here are the things that I would consider before you pack your lens:

1. How much solution do you use and will you need for your trip?
Track how long it takes you to use a bottle of solution before you leave so you can plan accordingly. Allow yourself plenty of solution as the nature of travelling may mean that you take your contact lenses out more.

If you've run out of time to do this, generously fill your pot with solution to measure how much you use. Add about 10ml extra for cleaning the lens. Now divide this number by the ml in the bottle and you have an estimate of how many days each bottle will last you.

2. Do you know where you can buy more lenses or solution when required?
I had to really search online boards to understand where I would and wouldn't be able to purchase contact lens solution in Asia. If you're visiting Europe or America ask on message boards which stores stock contact lens solution and good brands to buy.

Countries that I found contact lens solution in/would guess you can find in large cities include: Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia (on the large touristy islands like Bali).

Countries where I would not expect to easily source items: Laos, Cambodia and Fiji.
NOTE: This is speculation. I bought solution in Thailand and instructed my friend and boyfriend, who met me during the trip, to bring supplies to ensure I had enough for the duration.

3. How will you ensure that your lenses remain sterile?
Be extra diligent when washing your hands. I would carry anti bacterial hand soap with you which is great when faced with horrible, dirty bars of soap at hostels or guesthouses.

4. Would a combination of lenses fit your needs?
I carried a limited number of disposable contact lens for use when partying or on night trains for when I wasn't convoked they would be taken care of properly, making sure my monthly lenses remained sterile. The optician will want to see you to assess your suitable for different types of lenses even if you've used them before, so make sure you leave plenty of time to stock up.

5. How will you ensure you have the correct lens prior to your trip?... and won't have a bundle stacked up upon your return
Inform your contact lens provider that you won't in the country and they may be able to give you an advance in lens, as they did for me. Ask if they can cancel/freeze the standing order while you're away.

6. Will airline regulations be a problem with regards to your contact lens solution?
If you are not planning to check in a bag contact lens solution, as with all liquids, must be in bottles below 100ml. Specsavers sends out their solution in 250ml bottles and it isn't easy to decant due to the specialised tip on the bottle. Why not try going in store and to see if you can swap the larger bottles for their sample 100ml size.

Alternatively, larger airports in the UK should stock 100ml bottles of solution in Boots. I would only wait til the airport if you're absolutely certain you want to use your bag as carry on and you've exhausted all other options.

If you have any questions about taking contact lenses travelling feel free to comment below, tweet me or write on Blog of Beanie Facebook page.

24 January 2015

If running the London Marathon taught me anything about running...

I may have less than a decade of running under my belt and no science degree, but I think I may be able to offer some advice. If you're a beginner aiming for the stars or have good foundations, there are a few things to remember


Listen to your body. Running is no sport for martyrs. That twinge could be nothing or it could be something, but you just won't know until you've seen someone about it. Going to your doctor may be a long slog and the NHS is unlikely to cover you for treatment until it's already serious. Get to know a good osteopath (hello brother) or sports phyiso.

Running around Marina Bay Sands in Singapore


Get 'PROPER' running trainers. Many trainers are branded as running shoes, but will do you little good. Try places like Alton Sports (Farnham & Alton, UK) and Sweatshop (National) where they will do gait analysis. Don't be afraid to take the shoes back after a couple of runs as good sports shops will refit unsuitable shoes.

A photo posted by Beanie Watson (@blogofbeanie) on
Get a 'PROPER' sports bra. Even if you only have small boobs, the right bra will be more comfortable, give you the right support, stop your boobs heading south and prevent chaffing. Ladies, this is not a cleavage contest.

Support your training

Support your training with stretching sessions and workouts focusing on strength and core.
Runner's World recently published an article explaining how you use your core when running and most importantly exercises to strength them. 

Get Appy

I've always used Nike+ to track my runs. It's useful to see how far and how fast your going even when you're only jogging for 10 minutes at once.

A photo posted by Beanie Watson (@blogofbeanie) on

Nike Training Club offers a huge variety of workouts from 15 minute stretching, yoga or core workout 45 minute strength workouts. With running aficionados like Paula Radcliffe and constantly new content, it has remained in use for years. Their new design includes setting a four-week long program which can integrate running with Nike+.

A photo posted by Beanie Watson (@blogofbeanie) on
Other people use Strava and Walk Jog Run to track their distance and pace.

Feel free to tweet me any questions you have about starting running, running a marathon or anything else running related OR find me on Blog of Beanie Facebook page