Tag Archives: Exercise

I Lost My Running Confidence… But I’m Getting It Back.

I Lost My Running Confidence... But I’m Getting It Back

Losing your running confidence is really quite difficult to deal with, but it’s even worse when you don’t necessarily want to admit it to yourself. I’ve finally came to terms with not running as much and as well as I once used to, so that’s what I wanted to focus on for today’s post. 

Running has been a real relationship for me in terms of having a great time with it but not knowing if I could continue with it. I would get so frustrated with it, I would feel defeated and not think I was progressing with it. On the other hand; I felt so proud of myself getting a personal best time or distance, I felt great afterwards (Thanks to that cheeky post-workout glow!) and when I did feel like I was progressing, it was fantastic.

As sad as it is to say, when the cold weather came in again, I think that’s when I started to feel the slump. I’m not great with cold weather at the best of times, but having to force myself out for a run was not something I was very good at, and it didn’t just make an impact on me. Scott ran less too and he can say that it wasn’t my fault, but I know that I was part of the reason for his lack of running. That’s just part of being in a relationship; finding out that you sacrifice something for your partner and there’s always a lesson in that, isn’t there? I know for me, I’m more conscience about exercise and because I feel cosier inside than outside; if I still feel okay to go out, I will do because it’s important for me and Scott.

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(This was at the Larne 10K and I would say that I was at the top of my running game; it was such a great race and I felt great afterwards despite it not being my PB time, although it was my second best.)

It’s disheartening for both of us to see our progress go down and I’m sure it will be something that Scott discusses at some point on his blog, but it was tough to see my learning curves build up and for them not to be so apparent anymore. I’m not as fast as I once was, I have to walk more than I used to and sometimes you can feel a little useless.

Towards the beginning of the year, I was running regular park runs which I really enjoyed but something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. Was it knowing that I used to be better? Was it the pressure I was putting on myself?

Yesterday (Saturday 4th May) was the first time in a month I had been running and I’ve been putting it off for a while, so instead of going to our usual spot by the beach, we went up to our local park where all my running really started. We done a two lap route of the top of the park and a couple of sprints so it wasn’t a very long session, but it was more than enough to get our hearts pumping. I’m glad that I’ve got a little piece of running confidence back but I don’t think I’ll truly get it back fully until I’m back where I was when I was at my best. That will take time and patience but it’s worth it one hundred percent.

strava3065251963898333238.jpg(This was our first gentle run yesterday. We decided not to go to the full 5K because we knew we were doing sprints afterwards.)

strava7792303457139840561.jpg(Sprints were fun! We only managed to do three altogether because we tired ourselves out a little too much on the first go, but it’s something we’re going to incorporate them into future sessions.)

I’m the type of person who needs to aim for a goal in order to move forward with something like this, and this is one of those times so I’m planning over the next week or so on what I should do, what do I need to aim for? It might be a time or a distance but as long as it gives me the motivation to move forward, that’s all that matters.

If you have any blog posts or videos you think would be a good recommendation for me to have a quick look at when it comes to motivation or getting back on track; let me know either down below, on Twitter or on Instagram. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really appreciate it! 

Four Mindset Changes To Help You Get Back On Track.

Copy of Testing Out Six Tidying and Decluttering Methods

Writing your first post after almost six weeks definitely feels strange but I’m glad to be back at it. If you have been following me on Instagram or even reading my previous posts, you’ll know that I had an incredible trip away to New York and Toronto but during this time, I chose not to blog and even when I came back, I took a scheduled break. Today’s post is Part One (of two) about how I’m changing my mindset to get back on track and while I took a break from the blog, this topic isn’t specific to that; this is more on a day-to-day life aspect. 

“Recognizing that you shouldn’t feel guilty.” 

Yes, you read that right; from the guilt queen herself, recognize that you shouldn’t feel guilty. For me, only up until recently, it was hard for me not to feel guilty about anything but it gets pretty exhausting carrying that around all the time. For the majority of the time, I try my best and sometimes it’s the right thing and sometimes it’s the wrong thing. I’ll give you an example; when we were away, I’d say our food was a really good balance of healthy and indulgent but not once on our trip did I think “I shouldn’t be eating this” which is a huge step for me, because it was important for me to enjoy every moment when I was there. I didn’t want to carry food guilt when I was trying to enjoy myself, and I think that’s understandable for a lot of people. There’s also so many activities that we didn’t get to do but I know that I have to understand that there was no way I was going to fit in everything I wanted to do, without feeling exhausted. I’m constantly reminding myself that I had an incredible trip that I never thought I would go on and I’m so grateful for that opportunity that I refuse to let myself feel annoyed about places or activities we didn’t get to see, because we did get to experience so much. 

“Choose what your priorities are after your break.” 

We all know that in order to progress in life or move forward day-to-day, we have priorities and everyone is different. Some have career focused goals that need more specific priorities than someone who is training for a gym competition. For me, I wanted to focus on two; getting my food back on track and exercising on a more consistent basis. The holiday was absolutely perfect for exercising because we were walking around 25,000 steps a day so we were constantly moving but it showed me that I hadn’t been on top of my game with exercise back home. It was the same with food; we treated ourselves when we were away but I wasn’t preparing food as well as I should have for my work lunches before that and I was using too many single use plastic options for those “lazy” days in work and I wanted to stop that. 

“Easing yourself back in step-by-step.” 

One of the biggest mistakes we all make is rushing into new things especially new habits and when we rush, we fail to give ourselves enough time to fit our new habit into our lives. We want it to be perfect right from the get-go no matter what habit we want to implement but unfortunately when we have that attitude and something goes wrong a day or even a week in, we’re discouraged instantly. That’s why we have to start slow and making sure consistency is key, rather than putting pressure on ourselves to live this perfect life change from the get-go. For example, as much as I would have loved back into a super focused gym routine six days a week and have every meal planned out; that wouldn’t have worked for a number of reasons. 1) That’s too much too fast and it’s much easier to commit to the gym or an exercise two or three times a week and build from there. 2) Planning out every meal sounds like an absolute dream but you have to remember that life happens, so planning out your breakfast and lunch still gives you that stability and having dinner be more spontaneous, still lets you let go of that control just enough. 3) Does taking on too much after a break not add extra pressure to your plate? Is it better to feel extra pressure or is it better to take your time and be able to navigate your lifestyle change easier? 

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” 

I’m more aware than anyone when it comes to setting goals because I used to be a chronic goal-setter but that sometimes held me back but while I would set all these goals, I wouldn’t have a plan in place to go through with them. Failure is essentially my fear and I always felt I had failed if I didn’t do something I had planned out as a goal. With years of knowledge, I know that the goal isn’t the be-all-end-all, it’s more to do with the step-by-step plan that you put in place to get to the end. For meal prep, I know I need to have a specific shopping list of ingredients, I also know that I need to plan out at least two hours of cooking time (including chopping) and I know I need a container to put the bulk meal into. It’s little easy steps like that that can help or hind your progress.  

victoria-wilson-34(Photography by Jess Lowe Photography)

In order to explain more in-depth about what I’ve been doing since I got back, I’ll write more about that in my next post to give you an example or two because this is part of my two-month goals essentially. At the start of the year, I explained that I was changing from three month goals to two months, but I missed March completely because I didn’t want the pressure of having a “goal” while we were away and I knew that April was my “getting back on track” month and that’s why I thought this two-parter would be a fantastic way to reflect that.  

Do you have any tips for getting back on track that you think I should know about? Let me know! I’m over on Twitter and Instagram but if you love blog comments, you can find them down below too. Thank you so much for reading today’s blog post, I really do appreciate it! 

My Solo Experience With A Personal Trainer.

As a woman being very interested in fitness, I realised I hadn’t shared my one and only experience of having a personal trainer. It was around three years ago so I wasn’t as knowledgeable about fitness as I am now but I was willing to give it a go. That’s what today’s post is all about. 

(Photograph from Pexels.com)

I had been at the gym for around a year and a half at this point and I wasn’t very close to the weights section at all. I was into cardio more than anything else; I had spent a year before I started going to the gym, working out in front of my TV so the cardio was nothing new but I wasn’t exactly pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t on the look out for a personal trainer but up popped a post on my news feed from a new training facility that had opened up a few miles away from me and to celebrate the opening, they were offering a discount. It worked out that it was only costing £10 for four sessions, which I thought was a bargain so I signed up. 

The woman who was my personal trainer was nice but was a little forward with me. We went through my diet and she seemed impressed with the majority of it; at this time I wasn’t vegan or vegetarian but I was gluten free and that limited my options severely. Now, I might not have known a lot about nutrition back then but even I knew that telling me that I shouldn’t eat carbs after 7pm was silly. I was still living at home so by the time I finished work, went to the gym and got home, it was after that time. I was told that the best meal for me would be chicken and vegetables. I wasn’t too overweight at that point and I simply wanted to lose a few pounds, so I wasn’t looking to drop a few stones. I still thought that the plain boring meal was excessive, I didn’t think that would work. 

athlete-barbell-bodybuilder-416717(Photograph from Pexels.com)

Our first training session was very different but I didn’t expect anything less because I had never done a personal training session before. We started off with our warm-up of course and then we had a mix of cardio and weights. That wasn’t a problem; the problem I had was the heaviness of the weights. I know when something is too heavy and these were, but she told me that I wasn’t used to them. I woke up sore the next day, and the next, and the next. It got to the stage where I couldn’t keep my arm straight for over a week, it really hurt and I had to walk around my office looking as if I was wearing an invisible bandage. I sent her a message a few days afterwards saying that I was really sore and I was told that I wasn’t used to the weights and it would be fine.  

I was dreading our second session to say the least, and I don’t remember a lot about it. I remember complaining about my arm and I really couldn’t believe that it was “getting used to the weight” I felt as if it was really hurt. I think we lowered the weights slightly but it was really tough. I also remember her asking me what I was going to have for dinner that evening and I said I was thinking of having sweet potato and even before I finished the sentence, she came out with “Oh no no, no carbs after seven, remember?” That infuriated me and I said that I would have some vegetables instead, but I think I went home and had sweet potato anyway. Again, I woke up the next day and the day after that, sore as ever. I sent her a message on Facebook letting her know that I didn’t think personal training was right for me so I wouldn’t be keeping up the sessions and she seemed fine about it. I had paid for the four sessions but I didn’t mind losing the other £20 because the pain I was in, was not worth the money to keep going. 

IMG_20170725_072959_792(Back when I first started running over a year ago.)

This entire experience put me off personal training for a long time. I didn’t like being given a limited diet to eat off, can you imagine if I had have been more naïve and stuck to it for a long time? What if I really thought that carbs after 7pm doesn’t work? It’s scary to think that information like this is being put out there. I also didn’t like being in that much pain, and believe me, from my very few weight exercises I had done in the gym back then, I knew the difference between brief muscle pain and pushing it too far pain.  

I believe the majority of personal trainers are out there to do good, I really do. I have been to a number of different group classes with different PT’s and they have been great but there are a small majority of trainers out there who are giving out horrible advice and that could put a dampener on the good guys. If you are interested in going to a personal trainer, my main advice would be do your research first! Find testimonials, read their reviews, find out about the work that they do (to see if it fits your goals) and consider their pricing (to see if it fits with your budget). A cheap offer might be convenient but is it too good to be true?  

I’m not against personal trainers at all and I believe the majority do fantastic work but if it is something you are very interested in, I don’t believe it’s something you can just find online in a few minutes. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and if you have any experiences like this (or good ones too!) then pass them onto me because I’d love to give them a read. 

How I Fell In Love With HIIT.

From the start of the year, I have drifted away slightly for the gym setting and because I was starting to run more, I felt like because I was running, I didn’t necessarily have to go to the gym as often. This Summer, I have incorporated a new workout structure into my routine, HIIT and that’s what today’s post is all about.

pexels-photo-866021(Photograph from Pexels.com)

If you don’t know what HIIT is (I’m sure most of you do though) it stands for high intensity interval training and according to Wikipedia, “is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods”. I had heard of HIIT before, it’s all over the internet at the minute so I wasn’t completely oblivious to it but it never occurred to me to add it in on a regular basis. Scott had originally shown me a workout or two and at the time, it completely exhausted me but I loved it. It was the first time in a long time where it had the same impact that running had, so thinking back now, it seems very strange that I didn’t keep it up.

As I mentioned at the beginning, my usage of the gym had slipped from the beginning of the year and because I was started to run more, it almost gave me the excuse not to use the gym as often as I should. My motivation had started to lower severely over the last few months too so that also became a factor for me.

So what prompted my interest in HIIT workouts again? Well, one of my favourite Instagrammers at the minute is @steffi_loves, a local personal trainer in Belfast who not only is one of the sweetest women you’ll see on Instagram (and real life) but she is incredibly motivating when it comes to fitness. She records her own fitness workouts for her website and Instagram and doesn’t make it seem like the toughest thing in the world to do either. She had announced that she was hosting a HIIT session with a brunch afterwards and I’m all about a good brunch so I decided to sign up. I was going through a period (and if I’m being honest, I still am) of low self-confidence so I was more nervous than I was excited, but I knew that if I wanted to get over that hurdle, I had to make myself uncomfortable, even if it was just for a morning.

pexels-photo-868757(Photograph from Pexels.com)

I don’t tend to go to a lot of group exercise classes, I prefer to workout on my own but after a while, I felt very at ease. At my local gym, when I hear group classes going on, there seems to be quite a lot of shouting from the instructor and that’s what puts me off. If I wanted to be shouted at, I would shout at myself, I don’t expect someone else to do it for me. I understand the reasons behind it; it’s meant motivate people to work out harder but it does the opposite for me. It simply makes me more annoyed and want to quit. Thankfully Stefanie wasn’t like this at all and I believe that was one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed the class so much.

Now unfortunately I can’t remember how many or all the names of the exercises we did on the day but if you’re looking for exercises to put together yourself, you can check Stefanie’s website or there are hundreds of resources online. For our class however, we did a body weight circuit with thirty seconds on and fifteen seconds off then we repeated that three times with a minute and a half break in between. Once that was done, we completed a ten minute cool down with cardio mixed in there but some stretches too. It was such a fantastic class and it gave me the same exhaustion that running did, so I knew something had really clicked.

(One of the first HIIT sessions I did on my own after going to Steff’s class)

My set-up is very simple at the minute but I don’t think it needs to be complicated. I choose to do these workouts in the gym but they are so easy to do at home too. All I need is a mat or a soft floor then depending on the body part I’m focusing on, some hand weights too. That’s it, it really is that simple.

(One of my most recent HIIT sessions focusing on the arms.)

It has really changed the way I look at my fitness performance. When I first started the gym around five years ago, I wouldn’t leave until I had at least completed an hour worth of exercise and I felt like I had to hit a certain amount of calories before I had left. Back then, I didn’t really know that the calories on the machine weren’t that accurate and I thought the longer you worked out, the better it was for you. I was very wrong but thankfully over the years, I have started to become more knowledgeable about fitness and how you should pair different machines with different body parts that you want to focus on. I’ve discovered this year that I have completely fallen in love with both running and HIIT and while I know I can’t workout this way every single day because your body does need recovery, it’s nice to know that I’m still learning about my body and the way certain exercise can impact it.

Thank you for reading today’s post; I’m really excited that I have become passionate about using the gym again and HIIT training has changed the way I workout as well as giving me that little kick up the butt that I needed when it came to fitness.

Spending Time On Your Own.

How often do you spend time alone? For me, I absolutely love spending time on my own but I know that when I was younger, my Mum would tell me that I would be in tears if I wasn’t getting someone else’s attention. One extreme to the other really, isn’t it? That’s what today’s post is all about; spending time on your own, how important I believe it is and what to do if you feel like you’re not ready yet. A few years ago, I wrote a very similar post about taking yourself out for a cup of tea but I’m opening up the conversation much further with today’s post. 

20161213_141159.jpg(When I went to Rome, it was a solo trip so I eat, drank, slept and explored on my own. I loved it!)

Most people don’t mind going out on their own to grab a cup of tea or have a day of shopping, but it can still be an uncomfortable experience, especially for those that suffer with anxiety like I do. Strangely, I love going out on my own but this only started a few years ago. I used to feel self-conscious that people would be looking at me thinking “Awk bless her, she’s on her own” when I would have a cup of tea on my own or when I decided to get a bite to eat. Eating in a restaurant isn’t the easiest thing in the world but it has got so much easier and I would say the ability to play on my phone or having a book in my bag has definitely helped matters too.  

I find it really strange how important time on your own is. I don’t think being on your own should be the be-all-end-all but I don’t think we should totally rely on being around people all the time either. As with anything, it’s all about that balance. Time on my own gives me space away from everyone else because I tend to feel claustrophobic at times if I’m around people all the time.  

So, what exactly do I love to do? Well, I wish I would do this more, but I love going to the cinema on my own. I love my boyfriend, I do and I really love going to the cinema with him, but I love having a large popcorn all to myself (not that he eats much of it when he’s with me anyway) and being silent for an hour and a half. There’s no pressure to have a conversation if you’re on your own. 


Going to a coffee shop on my own is something I’m really comfortable with. During my period of unemployment, I have made it a point to go one day a week to my favourite coffee shop with my laptop to work on my blog and to fill in job applications, and I love reading diving into a good book there too. It’s become one of my favourite days because I get to drink tea (and the occasional iced latte) and I have an amazingly productive day. Most of the time, I would cycle there and back too so I don’t tend to listen to a lot of music during that day either (I don’t believe you should be listening to anything while you’re so close to the road, safety first!) and that encourages me to listen to the world around me more than usual (It sounds cliché but it’s very true in this case). 

Speaking of exercise, I have always been one to exercise on my own. While I may walk to the gym with my boyfriend, we don’t work out together and when I used to go to the gym with my older brother when he would drive there, we never worked out together. I would say the only exception to this is running because I do sometimes run with Scott and because we don’t get run together a lot, I enjoy it more when we do. He got me into running after all so it’s nice to have someone beside you that is more experienced. I’ve started cycling more and that’s very much a solo activity (until Scott gets his own bike) and again, I don’t feel any pressure being on my own because I’m so concentrated on getting to my next location, I don’t tend to think what other people are thinking. 

IMG-20180710-WA0000-01.jpeg(The irony of my boyfriend taking this photograph when I’m talking about being on my own but for the majority of my cycling trips, I really am.)

I sometimes do struggle being on my own and more specifically, it’s when I’m at home. Living on my own, I’ve never felt lonely but being in the house when you have so many chores to do and you feel overwhelmed, that’s when your mind goes into overdrive. That’s when my anxiety and depression symptoms come into play and it’s really not a nice experience. My self-confidence has taken a dip recently because of a number of different factors so I do feel self-conscious being on my own outside at times, which is really difficult for me because I have loved it for so long now.  

My advice for anyone who struggles with being on their own is starting out with small steps. I would recommend writing out a list of what you love doing, either in the house or what you love doing with your friends. After that, look at the list and identify the activities you either haven’t tried to do alone or you’re worried about trying alone. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule; bowling will not be as much fun on your own because it won’t last very long and no one would blame you for not wanting to play a four person game, completely on your own. Say for example that you didn’t know whether you could go for a cup of tea or coffee on your own; in this case I would take my KeepCup with me (or any other reusable cup of your choice) and get my drink of choice in that, sit down for ten minutes in the coffee shop with either a book or my phone to keep me occupied. After ten minutes, if I still feel uncomfortable, I can leave and I won’t waste my drink because I can walk around with it. If I had to leave, I still sat there for ten minutes more than I would have done before. Next time, I can make it fifteen minutes and the time after that, I can sit for twenty. I did say baby steps after all, didn’t I?  

There are so many other examples I could give but it all depends on what you want to achieve from it. That’s why the list is important at the beginning; if you don’t want to go to a coffee shop, then don’t aim to do that because you feel like you have to.  

Thank you for reading today’s post; I feel it’s completely normal not to feel comfortable on your own but it’s all about pushing yourself a little outside your comfort zone enough to make a change sometimes. The one thing that I have noticed is that nobody actually cares that you’re on your own; I’ve never seen anyone point at me in the cinema or give me a look across the restaurant, you’ve often find that people are too considered with their own lives to even think about the person sitting on their own.  

Changing My Environmental Impact With Small Changes.


Sunday 22nd April 2018 marks a very special occasion, it’s known as Earth Day and considering I have started to look more consciously of my impact on the Earth; I wanted to write about the things that I have incorporated into my life. 

If you read my latest post on the Low Tox Box (which I’ll link here), you’ll know that I absolutely loved the box and I have used every single product ever since I got it. I’ll try my best not to repeat some of the same points that where in that post, so it’s not too repetitive. 

Using a reusable drink mug 

If you have known me personally for the last few years, you will know that I used to carry around one of my favourite possessions all the time. It was a tea flask, but it wasn’t any tea flask, it was a Dunder Mifflin flask. The Office US is one of my favourite television programmes and Dunder Mifflin was the name of the company. I would guess that I had this cup for about six or seven years, it was a very long time. Unfortunately I misplaced it, I think I might have accidentally set it down somewhere in the city centre and I never found it. Devastated was not the word I would use to describe how I felt but eventually I got over the loss and I was on the look out for a new cup. Being a woman who loves her research, I came across one particular product called a “Keep Cup” and I was more intrigued about the fact that it was glass. I try and not buy impulsively so I slept on it and a few days later, I seen a post by Flow Studio Boutique advertising that they sold them so I decided to buy one. 


I chose the grey coloured top from their cork series and reading that the cork is sustainability sourced, made that decision much easier. It’s a fantastic cup; I have the large size because I don’t believe in a small cup of tea. My only complaint about it would be that you have to be very careful for the first ten minutes when you’ve made your tea. The water is very warm when you’ve poured it in so the glass is hot as well so you have to make sure you hold it using the cork strip or your hand will be very sore. Apart from that, I would highly recommend it and I’m seeing more people in coffee shops using them, which is even better. 

What makes this change more beneficial in the long run is that more coffee shops are offering a discount for bringing your own cup with you rather than using disposable mugs. So you’re saving money and saving another cup from being thrown away. If you’re looking for an interesting read on the growing use of products like Keep Cup, The Independent wrote an article on the Latte Levvy back in January and went into further detail about the impact take-away cups have and what could be in store for the UK in the future, hopefully following the lead from Australia. 

Drinking Loose Leaf Tea 

Keeping on the theme of tea for a moment, I have been trying to minimise the amount of tea bags that I use and going for the loose leaf tea version instead. I’m not perfect, I still use them sometimes in work but my house is almost one hundred percent loose leaf, which I’m quite happy with.  


We’ve been told to put our tea bags into the food wastage bin, thinking that they are bio-degradable but I was very surprised to read that there are some brands out there that still use plastic in their bags, therefore not being biodegradable. This article from Country Living gives more details on the brands that do use plastic, the ones that don’t, and more importantly, what the brands that do use it, are currently planning on doing to change that. 

I tend to find that when I drink loose leaf, the flavour comes through much stronger and I know you shouldn’t do this, but I can get a second go from the leaves I used previously. It’s not as strong but it still gives a good flavour. I love this comparison from The Tea Spot on the difference between loose leaf tea bags and traditional tea bags, they go into more detail than I ever could. 

Walking to Work 

It’s very simple really but I know not everyone can do this. Whether that’s because you work further away or maybe physically you can’t walk that far, that’s absolutely fine but this is what I do (No judgement here.) My workplace is a little over thirty minutes away walking or seven minutes on the bus, and it’s much more sustainable and cheaper for me to walk to work. I get my steps up every day and it gives me time to myself to listen to a podcast on the way there. This article from Let’s Reach Success lists a number of good reasons why we should be walking to work if we live within the distance to do so and are (physical) able to. 

Using Energy Efficient Light Bulbs 

For some, this might not be an option and unfortunately, it isn’t for me. Most of my light bulbs are wired into the ceiling rather than being your standard lightbulb so if I can figure out if I can replace them, then I’ll be changing to energy efficient bulbs. The reason I’m bringing this up is when I lived at home, most of the rooms in the house had these light bulbs and I found it incredibly frustrating at times. Mainly because they took longer to light up rather regular bulbs; my problem was my patience and at the end of the day, waiting a little extra time shouldn’t be a reason not to use them if they’re going to make a difference to your energy usage.  

For the statistics, benefits and a more detailed answer, I would recommend this article by the U.S Department for Energy.

Meal Preparation 

You all know that I am a huge advocate of cooking in bulk for my work lunches, and if you cook it all at once; then you minimise your time used throughout the week cooking individual lunches, you lower the energy whether that be from the oven, stove or microwave and you lower your stress levels in the morning because you can grab and go rather than panic that you have nothing for lunch. I understand that it may not be for everyone but I urge you to try it for two weeks and I can guarantee you will feel great for it. Speaking from experience, it helps me every time knowing I have everything ready to go. 


I absolutely loved these blog posts from Project Meal Plan and Engine2Diet who both gave their top tips on being more eco-friendly when it came to meal prepping. If there’s one extra thing I need to do, it’s starting to use more glass tupperware rather than plastic (I reuse it though!) 

My Change of Diet 

I became vegan in January 2017 and I haven’t looked back since. (I wrote a blog post about which I’ll link here) Reducing my consumption of meat, dairy and fish products has made me feel more ethical conscious and while not everyone will want to do that, campaigns like Meatless Monday and Veganuary have had huge success in informing people on the damage that animal products also has does to our environment. I do a majority of my food shopping at a local supermarket but I have started buying my fruits at a local green grocers, and in doing this, you know that the majority of the fruit is coming more from a local area which overall means, less travel from being picked to shop front. I don’t feel like I’m qualified to give you the statistics on the more environmental side so I have found a great selection of articles that will give you a better sense of it. 

One Green Planet is an American company so their statistics are of course, based on the United States but I believe it is important none the less. The chocolate brand (and my favourite chocolate of all time) Ombar have an informative article on three environmental benefits and finally, CNN has a fantastic article from last year talking about the last effects of a vegan diet. 

I think it’s important to remember that even though there is one special day to celebrate Earth Day, we should be taking the initiative to celebrate Earth Day every day. It’s our planet, we have to look after it as best we can, and if you think you aren’t making a difference, look at the little things you do and change one thing.  

Before I finish up today’s post, I want to share some blog posts I found while writing this blog post that I couldn’t seem to fit within each section. 

A Considered Life with Sustainable Living Choices to Celebrate Earth Day. 
Crazy Blonde Life with 12 Things To Do For Earth Day and Every Day! 
Curiosity Stream with Celebrate Earth Day With These Top Five Documentary Picks.  
This Little Blog Of Mind with Plants: Why You Need Them In Your Home. 
Portle Bay Popcorn and The Eco Edit with Roxy Hempel: 5 Ways To Be More Eco-Conscious. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; it’s an important one to me and I think we should all be looking at our impact individually by changing our routines gradually one day at a time. 

Training for a 5K Race: Race Day!

Race Day had arrived; it was the day I had been training for for the last number of weeks. I can’t believe I’ve only been training for just over a month! I’ve went from just under 45 minutes to under 35 minutes in just a month, which I’m so happy with.


Having done the Park Run the day before (and set a new personal best), I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t going to match that time but if I got under 35 minutes, I would be happy. I was quite nervous, I’m not really sure why; I think it was because this was my target that I was aiming for and it was finally here.

Scott was running the 5K with me but there was the option of the 10K and the kids fun run too. We stood in the wrong line but we must have looked out of place so thankfully someone pointed out the right starting line about thirty seconds before we were due to start.

The race began slowly but surely; where the start line had started, it was leading to a bridge so it wasn’t very wide and we both knew we were going to lose some time here. The first minute or two was definitely not at the speed I’m used to, it was slower but with the way the course was laid out, there was really nothing we could do.

20170820_095633(I have no photographs from the race itself because it wasn’t the type of run to stop and take photographs but this was just before the race started.)

For the first three quarters of the race, I would say I was doing well. I had developed a sore tummy and my head started to pound but I was getting through it. If you read my post about running with negative mental health, then how I felt in that run was very similar on how I felt this day. My self-critical thoughts came thick and fast and unlike the day before, I wasn’t able to tell myself “I could do it”, it was like I was talking to a brick wall. I started to hate the running, I hated everyone around me, I wanted to quit, I started to panic and eventually I ended up having a panic attack weasing away not being able to breath. I was so embarrassed! I didn’t stop though so I was overwhelmed, running with a negative mindset, finding it hard to breath and struggling to find the energy to run at all. I cried and I must have looked like I really hated running but there was so much more going on in my head than I could have explained.

Scott every time has been really supportive when I have periods like this, running or not, he’s there just willing to listen. He did offer me some more positive re-enforcement than usual even though he knows I’m not a huge fan of it, but we were so close to finishing that I think he felt like I needed to hear it.

IMG-20170820-WA0004(This is me fresh faced just before starting the race!)

One of the big cons of the race was something that I didn’t notice until after but Scott noticed at just the right point. I seen him looking at his phone quite a lot towards the end and I thought he was constantly checking our time, but I didn’t ask about it because quite frankly, I was mentally drained and I didn’t care about my time. I just wanted the race to be over at this point. We get past a certain point and he said “I think this route is longer than 5K” so we do a sprint to the big “finish” sign and I stop my watch immediately. That’s when I noticed a difference. We all know (if you’ve read previous posts) that my FitBit plays up when it comes to the GPS aspect. So for the 5K in the Park Run, it comes up for me as 3.05 miles but my watch this time came up as 3.16miles so it was more than 5K. Because of this, my time was different and it came up as 35:28 meaning I didn’t hit my under 35 minutes aim. However, because Scott had been watching his distance and time, he stopped it at the exact 5K mark and our time according to his more trusting app was 34:25 meaning I came under my target!

20170824_211024(My timing and wrong distance according to my watch alongside my new medal!)

This sounds like there were more cons than pros in this race and I would say it was pretty evenly matched. I was disappointed in the distance especially for those going for personal bests and timings specifically but the atmosphere was really lovely with so many people there to cheer us on at the start and the end. The starting at the bridge slowed us down like I said but the views going through Victoria Park were gorgeous especially since I haven’t been there before.

(Scott and I with our medals!)

My next and final post in this “Training for a 5K Race” series will conclude with my overall thoughts on my performance, my results over the last few weeks and what’s next as well as a few more thoughts on the race day too.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you want to catch up on the previous posts of the series, they are all be linked below:
Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health.
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run
Training for a 5K Race: Last Minute Training!

Training for a 5K Race: Last Minute Training!

Saturday morning arrived, the day before the race so as some last minute training, I knew I was going to do the Park Run again. Scott was competing in his own race that morning so I went on my own instead.  I signed up to the correct Park Run this time (As I mentioned before,  I had done a previous Park Run so I convinced myself I was going to go to that one again, even though it’s about an hour and a half walk away) so I was able to get a time on the website this time. When you’re standing around on your own, you do wish you had someone with you but that doesn’t last too long before you head over to the start line.

(It was a sunnier day than last week but I put my hoody in my bag just in case.)

The first lap I really surprised myself at how I felt my pacing was; I was a comfortable tired but not too tired that I didn’t feel like I could go on. The only killer in both laps was the last hill of each, I struggled mentally with those and took a five second walk before starting back again but it wasn’t as hard as the previous week had been.

One change I made in this run was inward thinking. I have spoke to myself (inside my head) many times using positive mantras and encouragement but the times it didn’t work, I don’t think my head was in the right mindset. This run however, was very different for some reason. I lost count how many times I told myself “You can do this” and it worked. I can’t explain the feeling I had when I told myself that but normally “the other side” would say “No you can’t” but I didn’t have that on this occasion. The only thing were it was tough, like I explained in the last paragraph, was the last hill on each lap. I’m really happy I’m starting to break down that negative running barrier.

When it came to the finish, I was at the point where I couldn’t push myself to go faster for the last few metres, so it’s safe to say, I was very tired but I knew it was a good tired. I had only looked at my watch one time during the run and it was coming up close to the start of the second lap so I had an indication of a rough time.

I had not expected another personal best! Of course, instantly I knew I wasn’t going to pull this off in the race the next day but I didn’t care. I was so happy that I had a personal best under 34 minutes! My aim overall was under 35 minutes so this was like the little cherry on top! (If you’re wondering why my distance is wrong, read my last post about my first unofficial Park Run and it’s explained there!)

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you want to catch up on the previous posts of the series, they are all be linked below:
Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health.
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run

Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run.

So Saturday marked my first unofficial Park Run of 2017, and I say unofficial because I forgot to print out my little scanner code so I won’t get a time on the website but I don’t mind because both Scott and I recorded it individually; I recorded it on my FitBit Blaze and he recorded his on the Nike Running App.

IMG-20170812-WA0001-01(The starting line for the Park Run and of course, full photo credit goes to Scott because he’s taller and he’s better at getting overhead shots of the crowd.)

We arrived just on time, just after the little talk the volunteers give to the runners so we made our way around to the starting line and the laps themselves weren’t too different to how I had been running. The only difference was that we were starting at the western point of the pond and running down the hill to the pond towards the end which meant we had to run up the steep hill twice. The run was very similar to my one apart from those few points though, which I felt at ease with.

At the very beginning I had some of the self-critical thoughts and doubts creep into my head thinking that there was no way I could do it and they seem to creep back at the exact same place for the second (and final) lap. I’m glad I pushed through the thoughts but it’s not the nicest mindset to be in, it might just take a while for that to pass, right?

20170812_102727(It was quite a cloudy day and it wasn’t very warm but that worked in my favour during the run, because it seemed like the perfect temperature.)

One thing that I’ve found is my FitBit seems to be slightly off and I had noticed this a few times but the run on Saturday seemed to confirm this. The run altogether is 5K exactly yet my watch is knocking 0.1miles off my time which is quite frustrating so if you see me posting my watch times and it only says 3.02 miles, it’s really 3.12 which is just over 5K.

So what was my time? Well I’m so happy that I hit another Personal Best because Scott said to me just before the end, “You’ll be so surprised at the end.” and I said that I was preparing myself to be disappointed. When you’re running in a big group of people, because there are so many people in front of you, you feel like you’re running too slow and I always look back to that very first slow run that I spoke about so I always feel like I’m running at that speed.


My time was 35:42 according to Scott’s app, and it’s almost ten seconds more on my watch because I was so happy to finish that I forgot to hit the pause button, so that’s why there’s a few extra seconds on. According to Scott, from the first run we done together, I was doing a 14 minute mile and on this particular run, my average was 11:26 a mile, so quite the drop in times! As you can see from the watch statistics, it says 3.02 miles when really it was 3.10 miles so I’ll have to see if I can fix that somehow. It syncs with my GPS on my phone so I’m not sure what’s going on with it.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you want to catch up on the previous posts of the series, they are all be linked below:
Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health.
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 

Training for a 5K Run: The Lone Run.

So with less than two weeks to go until race day, I need to up my running game and this is my third run since signing up to the race less than a month ago. This was my first lone run because Scott had to work so I thought it would be good experience to see where not only my head would be but how far my own motivation would take me, even though on the day of the race, I know he’ll be there.

20170717_210915(How pretty are the swans?!)

If you remember back to my second race, I wasn’t in the greatest place mentally but I’m very happy to report that my head was in a much better place for this run. I described it as “losing motivation” to Scott but he said it’s more self-doubt that anything. I got round about half way of the course (I say “around”, I only checked my distance twice because I didn’t want to get too obsessed with checking it) and I felt like I couldn’t do the full distance. I added a few more hills into this run than previous two so I felt the extra challenge of those and I think those were fuelling the self doubt.

Running on my own definitely wasn’t as lonely as I thought it might be. I’m quite used to my own company anyway but I thought since I was in a public place, I might feel it more but surprisingly I didn’t. I had my music playing throughout so I didn’t feel like I needed conversation because of that. Something that I’m still struggling with is my breathing; it might sound silly but controlling your breathing while running is quite challenging. Thankfully because I have my headphones on, I don’t hear the very heavy breathing noises but if I didn’t, I don’t think I would be able to hear myself think.

IMG_20170811_064507_229(The evening’s statistics on my FitBit!)

As you can see with my FitBit above, my numbers were thirty seven minutes and forty eight seconds. As with the second run I ran a little further than the 3.1 miles so if you scale my numbers back to exactly the miles to match 5K, I would have completed it in the thirty six minute mark which matches my last run. I was really happy with my results; I didn’t expect the same timings because I didn’t feel like I had went at the same pace.

20170717_210217(The waterfalls in the park are so peaceful especially in the evening.)

Overall, I’m really happy with how the run went. I’m very happy that my time stayed the same and I’m glad that I was able to push past the self doubt because that’s probably something that will always play on my mind (and it’s not something that happens when I’m just running either). It’s less than a week and a half to go now until the race, exciting!

If you want to read about my introduction to this series, you’ll find it here and if you want to hear about my raw, emotional experience when running, you’ll find that post here. Thank you for reading the series so far, I can’t wait to share the rest of the journey with you!