COUCH TO 5K – WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE

As you might already know I’m running the Vitality London 10,000 at the end of May. Yep, that’s actually happening (well that’s the plan anyway!)

Not only will this be my first 10k race, it will be my first ever race. I’m part terrified, part excited, part terrified. Any previous attempts to run for more than 2 minutes have ended with me convincing myself I’m just not built for it, quickly returning to my comfort zone of long walks. After a knee operation and a long, boring wait for tendonitis to ease up I was happy just to be able to manage walking without pain. So there I remained, content with my daily mooch to the next village and back. A long enough walk to rack up a decent amount of steps and my daily therapy fix to boot- perfect.

This year however, when an opportunity came up for me to run as part of The Children’s Society team I knew it was just the motivation I needed to give running another try. It’s a wonderful charity that works with disadvantaged children dealing with a wide range of issues from child poverty to government policy, always working to transform the lives of vulnerable children. Being able to raise awareness for these guys through my blog while training for a 10k seemed like a no-brainer.

I thought I’d give you a little update on how it’s going so far. As the title of the post suggests, I’ve reached the halfway point of my training today *pats self on back* so I thought it might be useful for anyone considering the Couch – 5k to have a little insight of my experience.

Training

I decided to train using the C25K app as it’s the most well known, tried and tested approach I’m aware of. It’s tailored to first time runners and seems to have a good success rate. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it or used it before it’s an 8 week running plan aimed to gradually build up your running to 5k through a combination of walking and running, until you are strong enough to run without stopping. Each training session lasts between 30-40 minutes including a warm-up and cool-down.

Each week has three workouts ideally with a rest day in between which works perfectly for me. I drop the kids to school and do the workout straight after on Mon/Wed/Fri meaning I don’t have to worry about fitting a session in over the weekend.

I would say that before starting C25K my level of fitness was average. I’m no gym bunny but I do try to make a bit of an effort to move my body and keep active. The very first day of training was this: 5min warm up then alternate 60sec jogging and 90sec walking for 20min. Pff, I mean how hard can that be? Turns out it can be quite hard. Hmmm….so at that point I may have had a mild panic about how the hell I was ever going to run 10k if I was struggling on Day 1!

8 weeks on, I have somehow managed to learn to run continuously for 5k! I just have to read that back because it seems unbelievable to me. I’ve never before managed anywhere near that and I know for a fact that the only reason I haven’t quit weeks ago is because I can’t. I’ve committed to running 10k and not doing so, well it just isn’t an option.

When the voice on the app tells me to run, I run and I keep running until she says I can stop. It’s that simple. I reckon Forest Gump had the right idea you know, just keep on runnin’.

Some days are harder than others. In fact most days are a little bit hard but I’d liken it to childbirth in that once it’s over you feel an overwhelming sense of joy and completely forget the horror you’ve just endured.

Injury

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END OF AN ERA, NEW CHAPTER OR JUST MASSIVE MISTAKE?

So recently I’ve been contemplating going back to work sometime in the near future. Both the kids are in full time education and so the opportunity to return to the workplace is there if the right position were to come along.

Of course this would mean a real change to our current family dynamic and would bring with it a whole heap of challenges, childcare during holidays being the biggest and most obvious one.

In January I decided to dust off my CV have a tentative look to see what was out there (if anything) that would suit my requirements. I’m not really looking to get back on the career ladder as such, just something admin based that I can do well while still being around for the family as much as I can.

So here I am, noseying around on jobsites for something that might be remotely suitable when I spot an interesting little post that appears to tick a lot of boxes. On a whim I click the ‘Apply for this job’ button for the craic, my CV gets whizzed off through the interwebs and I crack on with life never giving it a second thought.

Until a few weeks later when I get a call from the company inviting me for an interview!! After a brief pause while I suddenly realised she hadn’t got the wrong number and that I had indeed applied for an actual job, I arrange an interview date.

Right, ok then. So that happened. I’m going for a job interview. For a job. A job that could actually be my job. It’s just an interview though, not an offer so no biggie right? If anything I should go purely because the last time I had a job interview I was a mere child, pre-marriage or parenthood, so I could really do with the practice.

Obviously I discussed it with Himself and he agreed that whatever the outcome I should go for the interview regardless.

So I did, this morning.

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A REASON TO RUN

I’m not a runner. I try, honestly I do but ultimately I get to a point where it all seems like a bit too much hard work and the same old excuses come thick and fast.

“I’m not built for running, my legs are too stumpy.”

“What if my old knee injury flares up?”

“It’s too cold/dark/late/wet”

“My asthma’s playing up, better not risk it”

“I’m tired”

“I don’t have time today”

“It’s too much faff, all that gear and gadgets.”
(I’m sorry but contrary to what I’ve read you don’t ‘just need a pair of trainers‘ to get started. What about your mobile for music/running apps, earphones, keys, gloves, jacket, drink, shades, hat and that’s not even including investing in actual running gear from head to toe.)

You could say I haven’t exactly embraced the idea in the past. Despite ‘Run the London Marathon’ featuring on my bucket list (the only sporting event I get ridiculously emotional about ever), I’ve just never had the motivation to stick at it for any length of time.

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100 THINGS CHUCK OUT CHALLENGE

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Whaddya mean never heard of it? The famous ‘100 Things Chuck Out Challenge’? Come on you must have seen the book? Alright, I admit I made it up. I mean AS IF someone could write an entire (best-selling) book about chucking stuff out and how it can lead to a more confident, successful you, giving you the courage to move on from negative relationships, achieve all your life goals and even lose weight while dancing in a meadow with magical unicorns, or something. That would be INSANE.

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Compact Home Office On A Budget

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One of the great things about blogging is that wherever you are, as long as you have access to your PC, tablet or mobile you can always busy yourself in someway or another. Drafting up a post from the comfort of your own bed or catching up on your favourite Instagram feed on the bus. This can be really handy but I never feel like I’m in the best frame of mind to write unless I’m sitting at a proper workspace. For months my proper workspace was the end of the kitchen table but I got sick of the laptop constantly being there along with the homework, marker pens, unidentified crafty creations etc etc. Oh, and sometimes we even needed to eat our meals on there.

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Lean in 15 (years!)

Happy 2017 lovely readers – I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and New Year filled with family, fun, food and festivities!!

NOW DROP AND GIVE ME 20!

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Because I saw you sneak that third slice of pudding with custard AND double cream and now you must be punished OK? At least that’s how I used to see New Years Day. One seriously big dose of guilt and self-loathing after weeks of eating and drinking with abandon, sometimes (but not always) served with a side of optimistic enthusiasm for the new me. The ‘definitely being good from today’ mentality that year after year guaranteed the same outcome – TOTAL FAILURE! Yup, whatever half-cocked new foodie hogwash was topping the Amazon book charts, it was in my basket quicker than you could say alkaline acai bowl. Sometimes, if I was feeling really enthusiastic I’d even treat myself to the celebrity endorsed fitness DVD de rigeur to ensure optimum success. Six-pack sorted.

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You, but better.

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Does anyone know what day it is ? Anyone? Christmas was on a Sunday, OK so Monday, Tue- it’s Tuesday! Definitely Tuesday. Oh no hang on, has it been two days or three?

Every year we have this weird week of not knowing much for certain, other than our bank accounts have been well and truly drained and our tummies have been well and truly stuffed. In a Quality Street-induced sugar coma we bumble our way through the post-Christmas fog, trying to find homes for the mountain of ‘stuff’ that has appeared and wondering how long until we can start boxing up the baubles and getting the house back into some sort of order.

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Gettin’ Hygge With It- Boxcitement Giveaway

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Yeah, yeah, I know it’s pronounced hoo-ga but that doesn’t stop my brain from seeing hygge as in ‘jiggy’ so just humour me ok?

A relatively new arrival to the UK, this Danish concept celebrates all things cosy and heart-warming. Think hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire with wooly socks and a good book and you get the idea. A more stark contrast to the recent trend for kale shots and courgetti you could not find. I’ll happily give myself to a lifestyle that encourages me to lie under a duvet and eat cinnamon rolls by candlelight. What’s not to like?

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OKIDO Subscription GIVEAWAY

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When it comes to kids magazines we have a love/hate relationship. The kids love them, I hate them. Gone are the days where I could carefully select a magazine for its educational and developmental benefits, nowadays it’s ALL ABOUT THE FREE TAT! Who cares about the actual content when there’s (another) free fairy wand or miniature skateboard thingy on offer eh? Fair to say I’d fallen out of love with the lot of them until I was recently sent some issues of ‘OKIDO- The Arts & Science Magazine for Kids’.

This is not your average kids magazine. For starters I’m a bit jealous of just how cool it looks. The whole design and illustration is fun, modern and enticing. Spud and Flump instantly recognised the characters from the hit Cbeebies show ‘Messy Goes To OKIDO’ and couldn’t wait to get stuck into them, pouring over the pages and pages of stories, puzzles and (secretly educational- shhhhh!) fun ideas.

The usually flimsy pages are replaced with high quality heavy paper giving the magazine a more book-like feel and making the cut-out activities sturdy and durable. Usually I try to get the kids magazines into the recycling bin as soon as possible without them noticing but I’m more than happy to keep hold of these for their reading baskets.

Each issue focuses on a topic (eg. water, dinosaurs, bodies, feelings) and offers lots of engaging and fun ways for children to learn and discover through stories, activities, games, doodles, recipes and poetry.

We learnt all about different types of dinosaurs and even have one of our own now!

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We followed the story of the water cycle, made our own boat and spent a soggy Saturday afternoon fishing from our own ‘indoor pond’!

Like most kids both mine are fascinated by anything to do with the body and there was lots of cool stuff for them to discover and do, the highlight of the entire magazine (for an 8 year old boy) being a game which involved farting – you can imagine the endless hilarity that caused between the pair of them!

There is so much to do that we haven’t managed half of it yet but so far OKIDO has been a huge hit with both the kids (and me!). It’s aimed at 3-8 year olds and although this seemed like a wide age range to me at first, looking through the issues I can see that this is probably true, younger readers would just need a helping hand from a grown up. In fact I’d even say children over 8 years would enjoy it too. It’s a bi-monthly magazine which retails at £4. You can subscribe for £19.99 for 6 copies which is fantastic value for money given just how much is crammed into each issue. To be in with a chance to win an annual subscription (6 copies) just click on the link below to take you to the entry form!

Ends 11/11/16 UK entries only please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If your little one is already a fan of Messy Monster and OKIDO you can find lots of lovely gift ideas on the website including adorable stationery (want), prints (want), toys, books and more.

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Disclosure: We were kindly sent these magazines for purposes of this review. All views are my own (and the kids!). 

Promoted on Competition Database, Super Lucky, Prize Finder, Loquax and Umeandthekids

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*VLOG* Boots No.7 Advent Calendar – Reveal

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Thinking of treating yourself to the Boots No.7 Bright Lights Big City Beauty Advent Calendar but not sure if it’s worth it? In this vlog I’ll show you exactly what you’re gonna get for your £39, trust me you will not be disappointed! Image result for no7 advent calendar 2016

There’s a lot of noise being made about this beauty booty and rightly so. I’m pretty traditional when it comes to makeup and I can honestly say there is not one dud product or ‘filler’ item among this little lot. If like me you’re keen to try the Protect & Perfect range but don’t want to fork out only to find it doesn’t suit your skin *sad, oily face emoji* you’ll be glad to hear there are 5 products to try from this range (actually the main reason I decided to buy it). In addition to that there are many full sized (or at least very generously sized) goodies and some useful tools of the trade too. Click the video or link below to see everything in the order it was intended to be opened (if not necessarily the date, sorry- not-sorry!) and scroll down for photos and  full list of products included. Then run. As fast as you can, wherever you are, to the nearest Boots store and grab one before they all go!

Boots No.7 Beauty Advent Calendar 2016 Reveal

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