Wild Swimming - Slippery Stones

Chances are that if you live in Sheffield you have heard of Slippery Stones. During long summer evenings or the hottest day of the year, it seems to come up in conversations quite a lot. I have only recently gone for the first time and was surprised as to just how lovely the place is. There is a small pool of water where the water is deep enough to jump into and have a little dip. This little pool represents Peak District really well- dark peaty coloured water surrounded by moorlands and hills. It really feels strangely magical out there. 

To jump or not to jump? 

How to get there 

From Sheffield - Drive or cycle to Ladybower and turn right towards Howden Reservoir.  Park at Fairholmes car park. If you don't have a car or you don't feel like cycling up, there are buses from Sheffield all the way to the car park. From there it is about 6 km walk or a bike ride. During the week you will actually be able to continue to drive further up the road to Kings Tree where the road ends. From this point, it's about 1km walk. Follow the path and just after a little bridge turn left and walk up the stream. The track from Kings Tree is more suitable for off road bikes although it has seen some desperate road bikes before.


Watch out for the slippery stones, I guess the clue is in the name. The water seems good quality and the water levels vary depending on rainfall. As always with wild swimming, do your research and exercise caution. Other than that, enjoy the experience! 

DIY Lululemon Strappy Back One Piece Swimming Costume

Climbing girl’s problem alert. One of the side effects of regular climbing and doing calisthenics is that your lats get bigger. I definitely welcome this as when it comes to climbing, the bigger the guns the better (up to a point of course ;) However, as a result, my old swimming costume got too small for me so I have decided to turn it into a DIY getting drawing inspiration from a Lululemon one piece.  I love the back straps on their design which you can fit to measure. I have used an old hand me down swimming costume so apart from a few supplies, I didn't have to buy anything new.

The original piece from Lululemon 

What you need 

One-piece swimming costume 
Elastic thread 
Chalk or something to mark the pattern 
Elastic (thin but at least 1cm wide)

     Old hand me down costume 

How to 

1. Mark how low you want the back slit to go. Take into account that the fabric stretches quite considerably. I have used a DVD case to mark a rectangle ( super professional I know ) as I wanted to replicate the rectangular shape of the back.  If you are using the same template,  place the cover in the middle of the back so that you have equal distance from the side seams and cut it out. Depending on the stretch of the fabric you might want to start with something smaller to make sure that the opening is not too big. 

1. Hem the edges using an elastic thread. I did it by hand but it would probably be neater if you used a sewing machine. 

2. Put the swimming costume on and mark where you want the front straps to start from. Make sure that you stretch the swimming costume in the same way as you will want to wear it. Give yourself a seam allowance which needs to be big enough so that you can attach the straps. Hem the edges. 

3. Now you can fit the straps. This is the most laborious step as you have to keep putting the costume on and off making sure that the tension is just right and even on both sides. Start with the top strap and attach it at the back first. I have literally just sewed it onto the hemmed edge on the inside so that you can't see it from the outside. Put the swimming costume on and tension the strap to the front. The straps are attached diagonally (elastic located at the top left of the right side of the chest goes to the top of the left side on the back). Make it as tight as you want and cut it. Repeat on the other side. In order to make the nice pattern at the back I have weaved the elastic in the following pattern.

There are 6 straps in total and the number corresponds to the straps at the back.

1 xxx 4
2 xxx 5
3 xxx 6

1 over 6 under 5 over 4
2 under 6 over 5 under 4
3 over 6 under 5 over 4

Work your way to the last straps, always in rows (so 1-4, 2-5, 3-6) in order for the straps to have an even tension. You need to weave the pattern as you go along. 

It took me quite a while to work out how to do this but I am really pleased with how it turned out. I used up a piece of clothing which was probably destined for landfill ( not sure just how many times you can pass on a swimming costume) so I am really pleased with it.  The end result is really sturdy as tested on several different beaches and a wild swim at Slippery Stones in the Peak District. :) 


Zero Waste Alternatives – The Klean Kanteen

One of the changes that I have made so far to reduce my rubbish is to eliminate plastic bottles. I drink a lot of water every day and so I always have a water bottle on me. I used to buy a Lucozade or a small plastic bottle of water and then just use that for a few days until I either lost the bottle or it started to smell funny. 

When out on my bike, I would use reusable plastic bike bottles.  After a while, no matter how much you wash them, the water just tastes horrible. (Especially when you are riding in the heat) That’s when I made one of the best investments so far by switching to a stainless steel bottle. Let me introduce the Klean Kanteen - stainless steel water bottle which lasts a lifetime and is leak proof and shatter proof.  And the best thing about it is that it fits in my bottle cage on my bike. No more disgusting water bottles! I take it everywhere with me, and I have several different sizes and caps. I fill it with tap water but I have used it for all sorts, as a coffee flask, soup carrier and even to take olive oil.  Even when it is really hot outside, the water always tastes fresh.
All of the caps are compatible with different bottles. I use the sports cap for cycling and screw top lid when I am out and about. It doesn’t leak which is perfect as I usually just throw it in my bag. As you can see from the image, the bottle has been used a lot but it is still going strong!
I usually just fill it up with tap water everywhere I go. Even when I am in town having a coffee or lunch I always ask to get it filled up and I have never been rejected so far. We are really lucky in the UK that tap water is safe to drink. There are more initiatives to get people to refill instead of buying which is awesome. 
It has saved me a lot of money already, as I would most definitely buy drinks when I am out so it’s a win win situation!
If you are planning to use it on your bike just check that it actually fits as not all bottle cages are created equal. When I ride someone else’s bike I usually just wrap the bottle in a sock, not the best looking solution but it does stop the annoying rattling :)

The Urban Cyclist

I have set myself a goal to start cycling around town a bit more. I love cycling and I do most of my miles around the Peaks or other beautiful locations when cycle touring. I have never been a huge fan of cycling in the city as it has a different purpose- the emphasis is on getting to your destination rather than enjoying the ride. Depending on where you live, the traffic also makes the whole experience quite stressful.

I wanted to challenge myself and to see if any of these ideas were actually just my own misconceptions and to see if I can find enjoyment in it. I learned that it’s all about preparation. Having a functioning bike, knowing the rules of the road and staying focused are your starting points. When you are prepared and confident about what you are doing, suddenly the enjoyment comes naturally and you have that feeling of freedom that the seasoned urban commuters talk about.  You can move at your own speed and you are connected to the environment as you feel all the up hills, down hills and weather changes. (Instead of getting peed off about the rain, I am trying to embrace it!)

The best thing is that you can get somewhere for free, have fun and actually enjoy the experience. There is something liberating about getting to where you need to be by bike, overtaking an overcrowded bus as it is waiting impatiently on the lights. You also get your exercise done without really thinking about it much. So really, it makes total sense. And the more bikes there are, the more cycle lanes= less cars= less traffic= less pollution.

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