Thursday, 13 August 2020

Skin Alchemists | The Humble Warrior

One of the reasons I've fallen head over heels in love with my Moi-mem subscription box is that it provides me with luxury products to try. Most of the time is products and brands that I have never come across before, and they usually come with a price tag that would make me contemplate for a while before taking the plunge and buying them. Skin Alchemists is a brand I have come across once before with a luxurious skin treating candle, so when I pulled their beautifully packaged product from within my Moi-meme box, I knew it was one I would want to look into more.

Upon reading more about the brand I loved them even more, discovering that the create their products in small batches to ensure maximum freshness. Their products are formulated with 100% natural, organic, unrefined and unbleached butters and oils. Each and every batch is bespoke, meaning products can vary slightly in terms of colour and fragrance as the harvest seasons change.


Their story begins with the brands founder, Theresa. Theresa was born and raised in the Caribbean, and after migrating to London found that the combination of fast-paced city living, processed food and of course the polluted air had a negative effect on her skin. Upon returning to St Lucia, with the fresh food and clean air her skin became clear again. Having come from a family of herbalists, Theresa was inspired to replicate the natural benefits of the Caribbean upon her return to London in the form of organic skincare, and thus Skin Alchemists was born.


Something that really drew me in was the emotion around the brand. It’s not just skin care to Theresa, there is an almost romantic and sensual feeling to it. Quality ingredients are at the heart of each and every creation, but there’s an experience that comes with using these products. The experience of pressing pause on life, if only for a few minutes to really take in and enjoy the process of the self-care ritual. Even the instructions on the box scream luxury to me;


“Shake bottle and pour a small pool into palm. Gently rub palms together to warm the oil, bring to nose and take a deep breath exhaling slowly, three times. Massage into fact, neck and décolletage to stimulate circulation and release environmental debris. Follow by cushioning your face in a warm steamy face cloth. Hold for 5. Softly sweep cloth over oiled areas. Repeat if necessary.”


In addition, there has clearly been a lot of thought that has gone into the packaging. The oil is encased within a dark navy glass bottle, to help shield out light and protect the potency of the ingredients within. Other than the tiny pump tip, the entire bottle, pump and outer carton are fully recyclable. The products are 100% natural, vegan and cruelty free.


Being a cleansing oil, The Humble Warrior is an ‘oil pulling’ product. Oil pulling is a technique that can be used in both skin care or oral hygiene. In terms of this skin care, it comes in the form of a blend of both large and small molecules of oil that detoxify the skin and lift stubborn makeup and cleanse pores of oil, dirt and debris.


The use of oil on the face has previously been something I’ve been wary of and hesitant with. Being of an oily skin type, the natural logic is that oil on the skin creates more oil. However, the reality of it is that oily skin is typically a build-up of excess sebum or oil. The use of products that strip your skin of that sebum also strips the natural oils too, which makes your skin think it is lacking in what it needs, so it produces more. By using an oil that is complementary to your skin, it doesn’t feel the need to over produce more oil. Sebum and grease can be gentle removed and the natural oils our skin wants can remain intact.


Upon using this product for the first time I followed the instructions on the box, which truly made for a more relaxing experience than “rub product on, rub product off” as is my usual routine. The oil itself smells absolutely divine. I can’t quite describe the scent, I can pick up on a lavender like tone, although it isn’t sweet, but if I had to describe it I would say it had a very sensual scent to it.

The oil is thick and a dark amber colour and glides onto the skin making it easy to distribute and massage. I prefer to use mine in a warm shower after I have already removed most of my makeup and while my pores are open due to the heat. Around 4 to 5 squirts of product is perfect to cover my face, neck and chest area. The oil does use a very slight residue on the skin, which does shift if you wipe away a few more times with a damp cloth. I personally use this oil as the first step for a double cleanse, so know that I don’t need to worry as I’ll be going in with a cleanser that is not oil based immediately after.


The Humble Warrior has become a staple within my pamper routine and I have incorporate it into my evening routine pretty much daily. It leaves my skin looking and feeling clear, and has added a certain degree of plumpness to my skin since using on a regular basis. When I use this cleansing oil it doesn’t feel like part of my normal routine and feels far more like a treat. With the addition of this product my evening skin care routine has become my little portion of ‘me’ time to enjoy. The biggest test for me when it comes to product is the morning after use. If a product hasn’t worked for my skin I tend to wake with oil slicked skin and a host of new spots. Each and every morning following the Humble Warrior has greeted my with clear, spot and oil free skin.


It’s been an absolute pleasure using this oil, and it’s one that I’ll be re-purchasing for myself when this runs out. It can be brought on the Skin Alchemists website at £30 for 60ml, £18 for 30ml or is available within the ‘love bites’ range at £5 for 5ml, so there are plenty of options when it comes to size. So if you are a lover of carefully crafted, artisanal skincare products I would highly recommend you grab yourself a mini or two to try out.


Have you tried and Skin Alchemists products before? What did you think?



Monday, 10 August 2020

Couch to... who? I've gone awol

Eight weeks ago I set out on my first couch to 5k run, not really knowing what to expect from it. Running has never been something I’ve ever done for fun, not did I ever think that was ever going to change. I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever been particularly good at any kind of distance running either. Cross country in high school was my worst nightmare, and I’d come up with all kinds of excused as to why I couldn’t do it. My strengths have always been with short sharp sprinting, and with sports like American Football, that’s always been fine. Ideal in fact given my position.


I started to couch to 5k with the view to increase my overall fitness levels, build stamina and of course drop a little weight. It was important to me that I started off at a safe, manageable level and built up at a sensible pace as I started to improve. This was even more important given that I had a few things to contend with; my asthma, my previously fractured shin as well as the metalwork in my ankle from an old but rather significant injury.


Now that eight weeks have passed I would just about stretch to say (and it is just) that I have started to enjoy running. Granted, I spend most of it feeling like I’m dying, desperately puffing at my asthma inhaler, but I’m seeing progress and the exercise makes me feel pretty good too. So why have I taken a break from couch to 5k with so little of it left?


Well, as much as the first five or six weeks really set a great groundwork for me, the elevation after that is quite intense. Last week the app wanted me to run for 28 minutes straight. No stopping and no slowing. It was then congratulating me at the end with “well done! You just ran for 28 minutes straight!” when I knew full well that I hadn’t, even though the app didn’t know that.


So for the next few weeks I’ve decided to ditch the app and just run. I’ll run for as far and long as I can, and just accept that I can’t run for half an hour without slowing to a walk every now and then – which let’s face it, is a pretty long time to run non-stop!


Now that I’ve covered a couple of runs, things seem to be going well. So far this week I managed a 4 and a half mile run, which is the furthest I’ve run ever. The day after I didn’t do so well, managing only 2 miles although I had forgotten my asthma inhaler and it was a lot warmer outside. I’m slowly getting a little quicker with each run I do, which shows that I must be running for more of it than I have in the past.


I’ll probably keep up this awol running for a couple of weeks to let me fitness build up a little more, and then I’ll come back to couch to 5k, when running for 28 minutes (and longer) starts to become a little more realistic for me. I’m not too bothered about it, given that in my first week or so a mile and a half to two miles felt like a long run. Now I’m able to do more than double that reasonably comfortably.


As far as I’m concerned, progress is progress. As long as I stick to my running and keep getting better week on week, I’m happy.  


Monday, 3 August 2020

August Goals

Hello August! I can’t quite fathom how fast this year is going, although given how 2020 has been that’s perhaps not a bad thing..

A new month of course means a new set of goals, but first let’s have a look at how I did with the goals I set for last month;

Keep up Couch to 5k

I’ve successfully kept this up and am now nearing my final week!

Shift some weight

I’ve not done fantastically with this but it was my birthday in July, so there was no way I was going to deny myself some indulgence. Some healthier eating combined with my running has helped my shift a few pounds, and it’ll start to get easier now that the gyms are open again.

Find some new backdrops

So whilst I didn’t find any new backdrops, I did scour a nearby woodland for some bark, which I have used to take a few product photos with. I’ve also been making a point of moving around the house to create backdrops from things we have. For example, the old, sun bleached whiskey barrel outside is great when its bright out!

Write some more content

I’ve finished off a few posts and even taken some photos for them, so I have a few that are ready to go in August, so I’m putting this down as a win.

SEO & Traffic

This went even better than I planned! I’ve managed to move my domain authority into double figures, I’ve worked through and tweaked some older posts to make them more SEO friendly, and I managed more than 1,000 more views this month compared to last, so I’m really pleased! 


Do something different with my hair

Well… I tried to, but it didn’t really work. I wanted a dark pink toward my roots that faded down to a candy floss pink towards my ends, but I just couldn’t get my hair light enough for such a pale colour. Sure, it was pretty blonde, but I didn’t want to keep bleaching it, and silver tone shampoo only helped so far and didn’t quite eliminate the copper tone. I’ve now gone over the whole thing with some red I had left over, so I’ve gone full circle and back to vibrant red!

Check my credit score

I had a little look at my credit score, and everything looks as it should. I’ll start doing some bits to boost it a little more over the next few months, as I’d like it as close to ‘perfect’ as possible.

Do some baking

There wasn’t a lot of baking done in July, but I did make banana bread and cinnamon swirls so I did do a little!


I’m pretty pleased with how I got on with last month’s goals, and if I do say so myself think I did pretty well with them. So let’s have a look at my goals for next month;

Have some date nights

As ‘eat out to help out’ is going on through August I want to take the opportunity to go on some date nights with Mike. I’ve had a look online and there’s a pretty extensive list of places taking part, some of which I’ve never heard of, so it’ll be nice to go to some different places together.

Drop a little more weight

I’ve done pretty well and dropped some pounds, but I’d like to shift a little bit more. I’ve had some new supplements arrive which include a fat burner and a pre-workout, so hopefully these will give me a little boost and help me hit my target.

Start getting up earlier

We’ve now been told at work that we’ll be returning to the office around September time, which means I’ll have to factor getting ready time and an hour commute back into my mornings. It’s safe to say I’m not looking forward to it. To try and soften the blow a little I want to start getting up closer to my regular time, so that I can start to adjust to it now and not be exhausted when I return to my old routine.  

Beat last month’s blog views

I was doing really well with my views, until Covid happened and they dropped right down. I’m now almost back to my pre-covid numbers, but I’d quite like to keep increasing them, and beat them if I can.


Have a day on the coast

We’ve had such lovely weather of late, and should do for a little while still so I’d like to have a day at the beach.

Get back in the gym

I’ve been doing pretty well with my running, but now that the gym is open again I’d like to get back into some swimming and be able to do some weights. Although I think I’ll keep my cardio to outside still.

Refresh some more posts

Some of my posts are quite old now, so I’d like to get some of them rewritten, updated and make them more SEO friendly. There’s quite a lot of them so working through a few now should help me in the long run.


That sums up all of my upcoming goals for August. I’ve kept the number quite small to try and keep them as  manageable as I can.

What are your goals for this month?  



Thursday, 30 July 2020 / Norwich, UK

Couch to 5K - Week 7

Now I know that this post is ever so slightly late, but I shifted my week around last week, and what with it being my birthday as well hadn't quite finished this post at my usual time. Having now completed week 7 I'm on the final stretch... with just the final two weeks to go, which feels rather odd because I don't feel as though I've been running for all that long. Although I suppose for proper running people, 7 weeks really isn’t that long.


Week 7 carried on with the increased periods of running that have become more and more common in the past few weeks. All three runs for week 7 are comprised of the same aim; run for 25 minutes solid. It sounds like another big step, and I'll be honest, I feel like the app has missed some weeks. Obviously I'm not a personal trainer, but to move from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, up to 25 minutes in the space of 5 days (assuming one rest day between each run) feels very optimistic. Too optimistic really. I feel like a week of 15 minute runs to bridge the gap wouldn't have been a bad idea.



Run One

To be honest there was nothing particularly special about this run. As I’m still working from home I’d got into my gym kit earlier in the day so was ready to go the moment it hit 5pm – I’ll be really sad when I have to commute again.


It was rather warm and my hay fever has been going mental so my chest had felt quite blocked up most of the day and was very apparent while I was running. Even so, I managed to keep a fairly reasonable pace with very few instances where I needed to slow to a walk.


Run Two

It’s amazing how much your mood can impact your performance in sport. I set of for this run over an hour late, because I’d stayed past my finish time to try and help a client who seemed to want to do nothing but be aggressive to anyone and everyone he interacted with, despite his problem being completely his own fault. So it’s safe to say I was feeling pretty pissed off, but that seemed to help with my energy levels through this run, and I even managed an extra mile and a half on the end.


Perhaps angry running is the way forward..


Run Three

When I set out for this run my hay fever was going absolutely crazy, the reason for which became apparent when I got to the field I run round. It was in the process of being harvested, so there was a lot of dust in the air. Luckily for me, the farmers had started from the outside and were working their way in and were happy for me to still run laps around their field – I had a brief fear that I’d have to run around the estate where people can see me.


I don’t know if it was the recently cleared field or if I was just having a good day, but this run went really well. I still can’t run for 25 minutes solid but I can run for most of it, and my breaks where I slow to a walk are typically no more than about 20 seconds. I felt like I had some energy left after this one, so I added another mile to the end.



All in all this week has gone pretty well, with extra miles being added to 2 out of the 3 runs. I’m tracking my running on Strava and I’m getting much quicker, which in turn is meaning I’m covering more distance within the time. I’m beating at least one personal best each week, which is doing great for my motivation as well.



Wednesday, 29 July 2020 / Norwich, UK

Creating the Perfect Media Kit with Design Bundles*

From the moment I first started blogging I feel like I took a plunge into the unknown and there’s been a lot of learning as I go along with plenty of trial and error since. Those who are bloggers themselves will know all too well that blogging touches on many different skills at the same time and there is a lot more to it than first meets the eye. You need to be a competent writer, a researcher, a photographer, you need to promote your blog to draw in traffic and make all the effort worthwhile, and that’s just to function. There is then another layer of complexity added when it comes to learning about domain authority, how to get paid for blogging and how to find and pitch to brands you would like to work with now or in the future.


Earlier in July was my blogs one year anniversary, and I have to say since starting this blog a year ago I feel like I’ve come a very long way, started to learn the ropes a little and sunk into some semblance of a routine. Mind you, as much as there are lessons I’ve learned over time, there’s a lot of things I wish I had known months ago. From the obvious points like the importance of promoting on multiple outlets rather than just Instagram, to the importance of regular posting. Something new that I have started to learn about recently, that I wish I had done back at the very beginning is the importance of approaching brands using a media kit. Pitching to brands is a whole other skill in itself, and one that is necessary as you start to grow.


There are many benefits to approaching brands rather than waiting in the hope that they contact you, to sum up just a few;


  • You put yourself in front of brands who may not of heard of you yet

  • It is more proactive approach than waiting for them to contact you first

  • It’s easier to pick brands that suit you and your blog

  • You can start building a relationship with the brand even if you don’t get a collaboration straight away

  • It can help you plan your time and your posts more effectively

The most effective way to reach out to a brand you want to work with is by using a media kit, and the key thing to remember is you don't have to have a certain number of followers or readers to start putting one together. 


What is a media kit I hear you ask? A media kit is a document you put together to allow brands to quickly and easily find out key information about you and your blog. It gives them an overview of who you are, your statistics, what you do and why they should chose to work with you. Think of a media kit as the blogging equivalent of a CV. Your media kit should be attractive and informative, but not spread over pages and pages. You don’t want to overwhelm them with reams of text on a page. If you can manage it one page is ideal, but if you have more to include really you want to avoid going over two pages.


When it came to first putting a media kit together I’ll admit, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I wasn’t 100% sure what I needed to include or what I wanted the end product to look like. I bounced around with my theme and tried to include too much at once, which resulted in a sloppy template and me being unhappy with what I had produced, so guess what? I didn’t use it.


There is a saying that we use a lot in my home “everything is easy when you know how to do it” and I found this to be so true with the media kit. As much as scrolling endlessly through examples online was kind of helpful, what I needed was something a little more ‘plug and play’ something that was ready to go, and this is where Design Bundles come in.


Design Bundles first started out back in July 2016, with a goal of providing graphics and templates that were high in quality whilst still being affordable. With over 150,000 different designs and products to choose from, there will be something for each and every creative project you undertake. From Scrapbook Designs, to posters, teaching aids and of course media kits, there are thousands upon thousands of well-priced options to choose from. With free templates available, along with options for as little as a couple of pounds it doesn’t matter what your budget is, there will be something that is perfect for you.


With so many different options to choose between I struggled to find a favorite among the beautiful, crisp designs, but eventually chose at attractive and neutral template that was well within my budget range. As you can see, the template is laid out beautifully, and all I needed to do was update it with my blogs individual statistics and information. The process was wonderfully straight forward, and within a few short minutes I had the perfect media kit that was ready to use. 


The template is easy to edit and keep up to date, so there isn’t any stress when it comes to making sure the information within your media kit is always accurate. Design Bundles also offer a 24/7 tech support service, so if you did find yourself struggling for whatever reason, you can rest assured that there will be someone able and willing to help. You also get unlimited downloads of your purchased template, so if like me you jump between computers or move files around a lot you don’t need to worry that you won’t be able to get to your template. 


Having struggled to create my own template from scratch, I’m glad to have discovered an easy and cost effective place to source future templates for any of my blogging and creative needs.


This is a sponsored post however, all views and opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.


Thursday, 23 July 2020

30 Before 30

Happy birthday to ME! I can’t quite believe that yesterday was my last birthday that starts with a 2… and as much as I have been assured by my older friends and colleagues that your 30’s are actually better than your 20’s I still feel like I’m hovering at the edge of a huge milestone. Which I suppose I am.


Last year I put together a little 30 before 30 list, that I never actually published or shared, so given that it’s my final year to get all of these ticked off I thought it would be a nice idea to share it today. Reading from lots of other lists floating around online, I struggled a little bit in some ways to put this list together. I already know how to drive, have lived with a friend, already own my own home (my second one in fact) and I’m getting married next year, so a lot of the ‘big’ or more common things have already been ticked off. Even so, I really enjoyed putting this list of goals for my final year in my 20’s together.

1 Get a dog
Back when I was growing up I always had a dog, and have always wanted one of my own in my adult life. There’s never been the right time for one, as I’ve either lived in a rented house, or when I brought my first home I wasn’t around enough that it would have been fair to have one. I’m now at a point where I own my home, have the space and more importantly have the time. Mike has agreed too, so at the point we know where we stand with working from home in the future we’ll be able to start looking for our new addition to our little family!

2 See the Northern Lights

This has been on my bucket list for a long time so I really hope I can get it crossed off!

3 Go back to Nashville
I was supposed to have goneback to Nashville to get married this year, but it’s now been pushed back to June 2021. To be fair, of all the things we planned around as potential issues or roadblocks, a global pandemic wasn’t one of them.

4 Three Peaks
I’ve really fallen in love with walking and covering some mileage outside. I’ve been up Snowdon once many, many years ago, (and it was on the train so doesn’t really count) so I’d love to do the three peaks – I’ll bet the scenery is absolutely beautiful.

5 See more of the UK

We have some stunning places around the UK and I’d like to see some of them rather than just going abroad for holidays. This could probably be wrapped up with my previous goal.

6 Run 5k without stopping
I’m somewhat on my way with this one having started the Couch to 5K a few weeks ago.

7 Get more tattoos!
Despite having a fair amount of ink already, I want more! I’ve got plans for several, so hopefully I’ll be able to get at least a few of them done or started before I’m 30.

8 Get Married
Much like our trip to Nashville, this was interrupted by Covid-19. We’re all rescheduled now, so fingers crossed nothing else gets in our way!

9 Go on a girls trip
Be it a day, a weekend or longer I want to get my gal pals together and go on a trip together!

10 Get more house plants
I’ve got a nice little collection going at the moment, but I’d love more plants in other rooms of the house – I even brought myself a little watering can to care for my future plant babies!

11 Be in more photos
There’s many times that I’m behind the camera, and other than the odd group selfie I’m not in a huge amount of photos. Photos become memories, so I’d love to have more to keep. In fact on that basis I want to make sure I get many more photos in general, regardless of if I am in them or not.

12 Have a wardrobe I am happy with
I have tones of clothes I never wear, and they are taking up valuable space for me to get new things that I will wear. My goal is to have a wardrobe full of clothes I love and wear. A bit of a stretch for me perhaps..


13 Run a touch mudder course

Given how much these kind of events have been impacted I’ll settle for having one booked by the time I’m 30. Now I just need to rope a friend or two into doing it with me..

14 Get more piercings

I’ve got a rather extensive list of piecing’s I want, so hopefully I can get at least a few of them.

15 Go to C2C
I swear, we just aren’t destined to go. We’ve had tickets the past three years running and something has always come up and stopped us going. Although as we had tickets for this year which was postponed due to Covid they do carry over to next year so fingers crossed we get to go this time! 

16 Give Blood
This one is probably going to be pretty difficult for me and I wouldn't be that surprised if I didn't tick it off. I had a rather traumatic experience as a small child and don’t do well with blood tests. It’s typical that I pass out. I still want to give blood though, as it could save someone’s life one day – although perhaps I’ll have to forewarn them!

17 Have a picnic
Not on a picnic bench or populated area. I want something in the middle of nowhere, with no one to be seen for miles around.  


18 Complete a 30 day no spend challenge

Excluding of course things like my bills and food.

19 Redecorate a room in my home

I keep banging on about redoing my beauty room and not getting round to it. I’ll probably end up redecorating all other rooms in my home before I get to that one!

20 Visit a pumpkin patch again
I had such a great time hunting down my perfect pumpkin with the girls last year, and just as good a time using it to make a floral arrangement. I’d like to do the same again.

21 Learn about and invest in some shares
I’ll admit, I still don’t know a great deal about this, but I’d love to learn and start building a little portfolio of shares. I've got a little account running with fake money to get the hang of it, so hopefully in time I'll be able to step up to real cash.

22 Go glamping
I’ve been camping several times, but never glamping. It would be nice to have all the perks of camping but be able to sleep in an actual bed!

23 Have Christmas at home
I hate the stress thatsurrounds Christmas when it comes to people demanding your time when all you want to do is enjoy the time off work and relax. We had Christmas at home last year and it was lovely, so I want to do it again.

24 Group Holiday
Spending time with my close friends brings me so much joy, so I’d love for us all to go away somewhere together, have fun and relax.

25 Save for something big
Although I’m not sure what that ‘big’ thing is yet.

26 Make a blanket fort and have a movie night
As a kid my brother and I used to love making blanket forts, with sheets draped over the TV. I want to recreate it with fairy lights and an abundance of snacks.

27 Volunteer my time
Admittedly I haven’t got as far as deciding what I want to volunteer my time for yet, but there’s loads of options. From something as simple as helping my local community pick up litter in our local area to doing something on a regular basis, I want to give my time to help others.


28 Make more time for reading

I’m a little hesitant to set a target number of books to read, but I used to love reading in the evenings and have stopped again recently. I want to start introducing it again.

29 Do something for our anniversary
Our anniversary is in December, and the last two years we’ve not really been able to celebrate properly, so I want us to do something just the two of us to celebrate.

30 Make a 40 before 40 list
It would be interesting to know if I’m still blogging by then – I suppose time will tell!


Do you have a list of things to do before you hit a certain age?


Monday, 20 July 2020

Couch to 5K Week 6

Just like last week, this week brought with it three different runs to complete, rather than the same run three times as has been done before in previous weeks. In fact this week was exactly the same as last week in that the first run required running for 5 minutes at a time. The second run required 10 minutes at a time, and the final run was to be a continuous 25 minutes. Having done this once already I felt a little more at ease with these runs, knowing that I could very nearly run for the full 25 minutes when I made the attempt last week.


Run One

I’ll be honest, I absolutely hated this run, and kind of wish I’d have just taken a rest day and moved my schedule. I had a terrible night’s sleep the night before, felt nauseous and was under fuelled for my run as I hadn’t been able to eat much in the day time. The whole thing felt like a struggle (and it was) and I felt drained before I had even got through the warm up walk, which didn’t set me up well for my run at all.


My low energy levels meant that my pace was very slow and there was a lot of stopping – not stopping as in slowing to a walk, I’m taking kneeling on the floor stopping. Given that my fitness is much better than this I was clearly under the weather and really should have listened to what my body was telling me. Whilst I didn’t injure myself or anything like that, this is the kind of run when these things occur.


Run Two

Having had a rest day, slept better and taken in a good amount of food and water I felt much better as I was going into this run. I was a little cautious given how low energy I had been a few days prior, but I didn’t have any problems at all for this run.


I ran for the full 10 minutes it wanted me to with little struggle and even had the energy to add another mile onto the end of my run, so this was a vast improvement from just two days prior where I couldn’t even manage 2 minutes.


Run Three

Perhaps I was just having an off week or something, but this run was very similar to run one. Admittedly I wasn’t quite as tired as I had been for my first run of the week, but I still felt very low on energy. Rather frustratingly my Strava switched itself to kilometres rather than miles so it was hard for me to know what my pace was while I was running. When I checked the settings at the end of my run, it told me that it was recording in miles, so who knows what happened to it.


About 12 minutes in I slipped on a section of uneven ground and pulled the inside of my calf down into my ankle which caused a lot of pain for the duration of my run. In fact it was enough pain that I ended up having to walk for most of the remainder of the route and had a nice swelling starting to appear when I got home. Luckily I have a rather large supply of ice packs, heat packs and ibuprofen gel so was able to calm it down.



Due to my little slip during the third run of the week, I didn’t do any additional runs over the weekend, deciding to let my leg and ankle rest instead. It doesn’t feel like much more than a tweaked muscle so I’m not too worried about it causing too much trouble on my next week, but I guess that’ll become apparent when I next try to run on it. All I can do is take it slow and steady and listen to what my body is telling me.


Friday, 17 July 2020

The Body Shop - Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask*

After my recent little Body Shop haul in which I purchased the Glow Protect Vitamin C lotion  I knew I wanted to grab myself some more bits from the range to try out. That opportunity presented itself in for the form of a raffle on a Facebook group I’m part of, where participants could purchase ‘tickets’ in the form of Marvel characters for the chance to win a prize. I decided to enter, and managed to snag my two chosen characters; agent Romanov and Deadpool. Luck was on myside and with the help of Deadpool I won the prize of a full size mask and a full size peel of my choice.


Being of an oily skin type I went for the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, as the consultant advised me that this was the most suitable mask within their range for my various skin needs. I had a little look on the Body Shop website before it arrived and found out that this mask has been formulated without parabens, paraffin, silicone or mineral oil. Packed with bamboo charcoal from the Himalayan foothills and green tea leaves from Japan, this face mask is said to draw out impurities and refine the appearance of pores for healthy, glowing looking skin.


The mask is 100% vegan and described as a ‘tingling’ mask, so I knew to expect there to be some sensation in my skin when I came to use it. Charcoal is a key ingredient in many products designed to remove oil and dirt because the charcoal itself absorbs oil and bacteria that it makes contact with. In fact I have a charcoal based powder for my teeth for that exact result. At £18 for 75ml or just £6 for 15ml I would consider it to be very affordable. I have a friends birthday coming up later in the year and I’m putting together a little hamper of treats for her, so a small selection of 15ml masks will make a perfect addition to her other gifts.

Given how well the Vitamin C Glow Protect lotion has done for me I was excited to try this mask out, and when I did I wasn’t left wanting. A little goes a very long way, so this pot should last me quite some time, especially as I like to rotate through my stock of masks depending on what my skin needs at the time. This particular mask is suitable for use 2-3 times a week, but I would always suggest you observe and respond to how your skin feels, especially as this mask doubles as a gentle exfoliator.

The packaging is attractive and simple, with darkened glass to protect the potency of the product inside from potential light damage.

As I mentioned before, the mask is described as a tingling mask so I expected there to be exactly that when I applied the mask to my freshly cleansed skin. This wasn’t really the case, and I would say that the mask had more of a cooling sensation than a tingling one. Either way, it wasn’t an unpleasant or irritating feeling and subsided fairly quickly as the mask began to dry. I didn’t need a huge amount to cover my whole face and the product is easy to distribute evenly, although I was using a mask brush and not my fingers which always helps.

I can sometimes find masks, in particular clay based masks slightly annoying when they a drying out and bits of product flake off and make a mess at over the place. I was pleased to see that this one stayed put on my skin, where it should be and I think part of that is down to only a small amount being needed, rather than having a thick layer of product.  

Masks such as this one can sometimes be a little difficult to remove but a trick I’ve learned is to wet the mask again before you start to remove it. It softens the mask and allows it to come away from the skin without having to scrub hard it, which can cause aggravation to the skin.  I found even without wetting the mask it still didn’t really require a lot of work to remove and was quite happy to come away onto the damp flannel I was using so there was no mess in my sink either. I always cleanse my skin after a mask to make sure I’ve removed everything from my skin, and I found that there was very little mask left on my skin to clear up.

Products aimed at treating oily skin can sometimes leave mine feeling a little dry and dehydrated, but I found after this mask that my skin felt soft and smooth. My excess oil had all been removed leaving my skin looking matte, but it hadn’t left me feeling dried out. I followed up with my regular toner and serums but didn’t feel the need to apply any kind of moisturiser afterwards, which was a nice change. I had no tightness or stiffness in my skin, and had it been the morning could have just applied make up straight away and carried on with my day.

My pores looked slightly smaller, especially the larger pores around my nose, and I found that the positive effects of this mask lasted for a few days rather than being gone by the next morning. The mask is certainly gentle enough on my skin that I could use a few times a week, to perhaps even every other day if I wanted to, and given how little is needed it would still last a good length of time.

All in all, this has become one of my most reached to masks over the past few weeks, and having never tried any of the Body Shop masks previously it’s safe to say that I’m hooked on them and will be getting myself some more.

Have you tried any Body Shop masks before? What did you think?

* This item was gifted to me as a prize in a Body Shop online raffle. This was not affiliated with Em’s World Blog in any way, and there was no obligation to post. Please see my disclaimer for more information regarding gifted products.


Monday, 13 July 2020

Couch to 5K | Week 5

We’re another week on, and I’ve now completed my fifth week of Couch to 5K! This week was very different to all of the previous ones in terms of how the different runs were laid out. In previous weeks, I’ve had to do the same run three times over, but for this week each of my three runs were very different to each other. When I read ahead to see what I’d be doing I was a little taken aback. In my previous week, my longest run was 5 minutes, which is the same as the first run of this week, which is fine.

However, for my second run of the week the app wanted me to run for 8 minutes straight which looked like a good progression from the 5 minutes a day or so before. For the third run of the week however, there was only one running section, which was to last a whole 20 minutes. Being four times as long as the run at the start of the week I felt that this was a pretty significant jump to be made in just a few days

As much as following the instructions of the app has served me well so far, it felt like it was perhaps too big of a jump, and rather optimistic. So with that in mind, let’s have a look to see how I got on last week;

Run One

This was running increments of 5 minutes at a time, which I’d done a little of in the previous week so felt somewhat prepared for. My chest felt quite bunged up before I left thanks to my hay fever so I made sure to take my inhaler before I started. I needed it a few times throughout this run, but I’m pleased to say that I could run for five minutes non-stop and still feel reasonably comfortable.

I did the same thing as last week in terms of changing my route around to make sure I wasn’t running up the incline and remained on reasonably flat ground, which I feel was a help.

Run Two

For this run I needed to up my running time to 8 minutes at a time. I know it probably doesn’t sound like much, but you can really feel the difference between running 5 minutes to running for 8. Especially if you aren’t used to it.

Being conscious of this I made sure to have a reasonable lunch and eat a banana around mid-afternoon in an attempt to make sure I had a reasonable amount of energy in my system ready for my run. I feel like this made a reasonable difference when I was out because I managed the whole 8 minutes (twice) without too much of a struggle. Pacing has always been the biggest problem for me, as I constantly feel like I want to sprint but I managed to keep a pretty stead speed for the duration of my running on this day, which I think it a large factor to me being able to complete the full duration.

When I finished this run I still felt like I had a reasonable amount of energy so I ran for an extra mile, taking my total to just over 3 miles.  

Run Three

As I mentioned earlier, the third and final run for week 5 was the one I was kind of worried about. Progressing from 5 minute running sections on the Monday to a full 20 minutes with no breaks by Friday with only an 8 minute section on the Wednesday to bridge the gap felt like it would be too big of a jump. I guess progression doesn’t happen in the comfort zone, and the app hasn’t let me down so far.

Just like with the second run I made sure to eat well during the day so that I was well fuelled. I knew that 20 minutes was too long for me to keep turning around so I ended up just doing laps of the field which meant that there was the odd uphill section included. I didn’t actually manage to run for a full 20 minutes without stopping, but I did manage to only have two periods where I slowed down and only for about 10-15 seconds each. So whilst I didn’t manage the whole think in one go my breaks were very short – and my first one was after almost 12 minutes of running, so I was quite pleased.  

That same week I managed to get out for another run on the Sunday. It was just a slow, lazy run, especially given that I went out in the middle of the day so it was still very warm, plus I hadn’t eaten yet so was running on empty. It wasn’t my fastest run, but it wasn’t my slowest either, and the fact that I was out in the first place is testament to how well this process is going.


Before I started C25K the idea of going out for a run for any length of time just wasn’t in my remit. So the fact that I’m not only going, but also going more than I need to shows huge process in my mind-set. I’m now entering week 6, and officially have less to go than I’ve done. It’s flown by, and at the moment I’m really glad I started.  

Have you ever tried Couch to 5k?

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