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?


Wednesday 8 July 2020

Mila Simone | Azzura Essence Vitamin C Serum*

Skin care is something that I’ve become more and more mindful of as I’ve got older. It’s something that never used to be all that important, but as time started to do its thing on my skin I’ve been making sure to take steps to slow and prevent signs of ageing.

Naturally, this means that I’m all for trying new skin care items, so when Mila Simone reached out asking if I would like to try their Vitamin C serum I of course said yes. Rest assured, this product was gifted but with no obligation to post anything here, and as always I’ll be sharing my honest thoughts on the serum. If you'd like to know more about gifted products see my disclaimer for more information.

The price point for this serum is a pretty reasonable £20 for a 20ml bottle, and it can conveniently be purchased via Amazon. It claims it will help reduce fine lines and smooth out blemishes all while making your skin appear brighter and more youthful. All pretty appealing if you ask me, especially given that my skin hasn’t been all that happy with me of late.

I was pretty pleased with the packaging of this product when I first used it. It has a clean, attractive look, whilst still being sturdy and good quality. Bottles that come with a dropper, tend to show their quality when you go to use them, because product will leak from the dropper without you wanting it to. I had no such trouble with this, and the serum stayed put until I wanted it. The narrowed point toward the end of the dropper is unique, and not something I’ve come across with products of similar packaging.

I use this serum after my cleanser and toner, and follow up with my typical moisturiser. It absorbs into the skin pretty much instantly, so there is absolutely no need to wait around for it to fully absorb into the skin before you can go onto the next step in your routine. Even at the point of first application, I could already feel a difference in my skin. It felt smoother, and it felt as though my moisturiser applied to my skin better too, almost as if my skin had been prepped for it.

The serum doesn't really have a scent to it, so if you are someone who isn't a fan of various smells on and around your face this is suitable for you. I personally prefer skincare that doesn't have a strong scent simply because my primer and foundation do and I don't want the multiple products clashing and conflicting.

Thanks to my oily skin, I typically wake up each morning to a few new spots to attack with my popping tool, but since using this serum, I’ve not found it to be a problem. On top of that, my skin feels smoother, and the various discolouration across my skin is faded and almost gone. As my face looks and feels so much smoother, my make up application is easier and generates better results when it comes to my foundation - which it doesn’t interfere with at all, so this serum is fine to use in the morning on days you are wearing makeup.

All in all, I’m really pleased with this product, and as much as I didn’t think it would do badly, I didn’t think it would do as well as it did. I was so pleasantly surprised in fact, that this has now become part of my usual routine.

Have you introduced any new products to your routine lately?


Monday 6 July 2020

Couch to 5K | Week 4

I can’t quite believe I’m about to start my fifth week of the Couch to 5K! When I first started I wasn’t sure if it’s something I would consistently keep up with so I’m really pleased to still be going strong with it -
  and I daresay, I’m actually starting to enjoy it. This week progressed to an alternation of 3 and 5 minute runs, with 5 being the longest so far. It was also my first week with my new Under Armor running trainers so I was keen to see what the difference would be, especially as far as the pain in my arches was concerned.

Run One

It was quite overcast when I set out for this run and much cooler than it had been in the previous weeks which was a massive help. I found that I didn’t struggle with running three minutes at all, and upon getting to the end of the first running section felt like I could have kept going had I wanted to. The five minutes felt much harder by comparison and I found myself in need of my inhaler a couple of times throughout the run. The section where I needed to run for five minutes happened to be up hill and facing into the wind too which made it harder.


I ended this run feeling quite frustrated that I’d had to pause, or didn’t make it to the end of the full five minutes. Although I really shouldn’t beat myself up because this is the longest I’ve had to run so far since starting Couch to 5K, and I’ve made great improvements from that first run.


On a positive note, I didn’t have any pain in my feet or ankles at all, and my new trainers were far more comfortable that my old ones.


Run Two

For this run I felt very unrefuelled. I hadn’t eaten a great deal during the day and really felt the difference for this run. It was once again a very windy day and much like my previous run my longer running sections were both facing into the wind and slightly uphill. I did much better with the longer running today than I had on Monday, but it was certainly a struggle to hit five minutes’ worth of continuous running.


Run Three

Given my lack of energy on my previous run I made sure to eat the right foods this time to ensure I was well energised. I also took a puff of my inhaler on the warm up walk before actually running, which I felt helped quite a lot. As with before, the sections where I had to run for three minutes felt absolutely fine, and I feel like I had a pretty good pace going.


When it came to the five minute running section I did something slightly different this time. When I got to the end of the bottom of the field I run laps round, rather than continuing up the incline and into the wind I turned around and carried on back the way I had come from. This meant that I carried on running on a flat without the wind to impede me and it made a massive difference. I could make it to the end of the five minutes and still felt like I had the energy to keep going, which I did. Obviously I’m going to have to get to a point where I can run up inclines but that doesn’t need to be right now, so for the time being I’m happy I could run to the time I needed to.


When it came to the end of the run and was time to do the warm down walk I decided to do another lap of the field which added another mile to my run, making it my longest run so far.



I didn’t end up doing a run on the weekend so don’t know how my running off the C25K app has changed this week, although in run three I beat a lot of my existing PBs so I can certainly see an improvement compared to last week. I feel like I’ve fallen into a really good routine when it comes to running, to the point that it feels quite habitual now. Part of me wants to start adding more runs into my week, but as that would prevent me having rest day I’m holding off for now, especially given that each week is getting harder I need to give my body the chance to recover between runs.


Just as I’d hoped, the new trainers made a massive difference this week. There was a tiny bit of pain in my arches towards the very end of running but nothing like I’ve experienced in previous weeks. I guess it just goes to show quite how important proper footwear can be!


I’m now entering my fifth week feeling excited for whatever challenge is in store next.


Friday 3 July 2020

July Goals | 2020

May was a month that brought good times as well as some frustrating times. I deliberately set quite simple goals for May, that would also be helpful when it came to my well-being in various ways, and I'm pretty pleased with how I did. 

During June however, I didn’t even get round to writing up any goals for that month. June was the month I was supposed to get married, which left me feeling quite deflated and not really up for posting much. Rather than trying to force myself to write something I really wasn’t interested in I decided to let myself have the break instead. Now that I feel like I have the energy and motivation once again, as much as it’s a little late, let’s have a look at my goals for May and see how I did with them; 

Keep up the water 
I've started to implement the rule that each time I have a cup of coffee, I must also have a large glass of water, and let me tell you, I drink a lot of coffee. It's been working pretty well, and with all the extra liquid to consume means I've actually been having less caffeine and more water in its place, which is great. I've also been working green tea into my day to further cut down on the coffee. 

Do some online training 
Working from home has given me so much more time, even within the same working hours. I can structure my day so much better now that I can control and remove distractions. I've managed to hop on a few mental health and well-being training sessions as well as a few insurance related training sessions. I’ve got a few more set up for July as well, and my manager and I have started discussions around my company funding me next set of insurance qualifications, which is great. 

Cover more miles 
I managed to walk just over 80 miles in the month of April so I'm pretty pleased. I've been going on longer and longer walks and finding all sorts of new places. I actually did less miles in June, but that was because I had started Couch to 5K so was running instead of walking.

Flexible working 
My formal request is in for permanent home working! In a rather promising move, my company sent a questionnaire to all employees to test the waters and see what we wanted in terms of flexible working, 80% of us want an option for home working so hopefully this means we'll have something in place in the near future. 

Plan some date nights 
We've had a couple of date nights or days, especially as we've had a week off recently. It's been lovely to spend time together and have time dedicated just for us. 

Send some letters 
I brought myself a new writing set which arrived in the middle of last month so I sent a friend a letter with some photos and a couple of seeds that I kept back from my red sun flowers last year. I'm getting regular updates on the happy plants that she's now growing in her conservatory, and she loved getting a few nice photos of us and all our friends in the post out of the blue. 

As I said, I'm pretty pleased with how I did with my goals in May, even if I didn’t actually write about them at the time. 

Now, let’s have a look at my goals for July; 

Keep up Couch to 5k 
You may have seen in some previous posts that I’ve decided to give the couch to 5k a go. So far it’s going quite well, and I want to keep it up through July – although I think I may need to move my runs to cooler parts of the day! If only I was a morning person! 

Shift some weight 
If you’ve read my June look back you’ll have seen that I’ve gained a little bit of weight since lockdown began. A lot of it has shifted already since I’ve started running 3 to 4 times a week but I’d like to take a little more off. I don’t want to be too focused on ‘scales weight’ as that isn’t really important so I’ve invested in some ‘smart scales’ which I’ll be posting about once I’ve used them a little longer – so watch this space! 

Find some new backdrops 
Something I’ve been slack on of late is blog and Instagram photos. I’m struggling to get back into a groove with it. I’ve not purchased anything new for my images in a while so hopefully some new props, and especially backdrops will do the trick. 

Write some more content
I have loads of half written posts sat in my drafts folder. I want to finish and publish at least 3 of them this month. Not just to get them out of my drafts but also to get some new posts out. I feel like I haven’t done a product review in ages despite having loads of half written ones that really wouldn’t take that much to finish. I also want to get a few new posts together from scratch, especially given that I feel like my blog is mainly Couch to 5k and look back posts at the moment. 

SEO & Traffic 
Over the past few months I’ve been slowly working to improve my Domain Authority (DA) and have started to see it slowly creep up. I’d love to get it to double figures, which I’m currently on the cusp of so I’ll be trying to do some odd bits and pieces to improve it. In addition to that, my views took a massive hit as we entered lockdown, mainly because I wasn’t really posting or promoting. That too is starting to creep back up so my goal is to try and get back to my pre-covid views – and then beat them! It’s probably a good idea that I get on top of my comments too. There are a few pending approval, and a few that have published that I’ve not got round to replying to. I really do appreciate each and every comment so I really do need to get caught up with these. 

 Do something different with my hair 
Those of you who know me will know that I had vibrant red hair for a long time, and then switched back to my natural brown a few months ago to give my hair a break. I want to work my way back to the red, but there’s a few colours I want to try out first, so deciding what I want and doing it is a goal for this month. 

Check my credit score 
It really doesn’t feel like that long ago since we moved in, but Mike and I are looking to re-mortgage towards the end of the year. My credit rating has always been pretty good, so I’m not particularly worried about it but it feels like a good idea to check it now rather than when there isn’t any time to improve it if it happens to be lower than it should be. Better to be safe than sorry right? 

Do some baking 
I haven’t done much baking in the past few weeks, despite it being something I really enjoy. I want to make sure I set some time aside to do cook up some culinary treats! This is perhaps slightly conflicting with my second goal… but it is my birthday this month so the calories don’t count on that day right? 

 That just about rounds up my goals for July. There’s a fair few in there, but given I have a whole month for them it should be very achievable. 

 What are your goals for this month?


Wednesday 1 July 2020

June Look Back | 2020

June felt like a bit of a roller-coaster for me, so I’m quite glad to now be in July. It’s now the month of my birthday, the last birthday that starts with a 2 in fact (eeek) and it’s also this blogs first birthday too!  

The month of June is the month that Mike and I were supposed to get married. The start of June we were supposed to be in Nashville, Tennessee with our closest friends and family for our wedding day, but that’s now been postponed to 2021. When we arrived home, we were supposed to then have a very small legal wedding here in the UK, just us, the two witnesses and the registrar. Simply because it was easier, cheaper and far less stressful to do it that way than jump through all the hoops required to have our overseas wedding be legal here at home. Heck, if we could have avoided the witnesses we would have, simply because that day wasn’t the ‘special’ one as far as we are concerned.


Sadly we didn’t get the UK side done either, as our local registry office in Norwich had postponed all ceremonies. They’ve now been given the go ahead by the government from 4th July, where they’ll start to re-book all the couples in the same position as us, but with the backlog dating back to March, we could be waiting a little while. It doesn’t sound like the council have quite decided how they are going to go about things yet, which is rather frustrating given that suspension of ceremonies was obviously going to be lifted at some point. It’s kind of like sitting at a traffic light and being surprised when it turns green… Either way, things seem to be moving in the right direction so hopefully we’ll receive some good news on that front soon.

Our lovely friends have been absolutely fantastic, and my closest friend and bridesmaid Katie even surprised us by giving us our wedding present from them all, on the day we were supposed to get married. They’ve put together a lovely book full of photos of Mike and I throughout the years and each written their own little messages wishing us well in our married life. She’s forewarned she’ll be taking the book back, as there were loads of people she couldn’t get it to thanks to lockdown, but it was really thoughtful of her not only to put it together, but to let us see it on our would-be wedding day. The thought and care that went into everything cheered us up immensely and enforced quite how lucky we are to have such wonderful people in our lives.


Something that was rather a shame though, was when she then mentioned parents. She told us she hadn’t managed to get the book to Mike’s Mum at all as she lives a few counties away, but that his mum had written a message for us to read instead that she had sent to Katie via text. At that point Katie turned to me, with an expression that could only ever mean bad news and told us “we did manage to get it to your parents… but they refused to sign it”. She then went onto explain that she’d passed it to my brother so that he could get it to my family so they could sign it, but they’d refused and had apparently come out with some hurtful comments toward Mike.


A call with my brother told me all I needed to know, and he explained to me that they had refused to sign it because there weren’t photos of them (despite blank pages being left in the middle of the book for photos of us both with our families) and because our friends referred to us as ‘family’ within a lot of their comments, which was somehow perceived as hurtful. In addition to that he told me that my Dad in particular had come out with some very hurtful comments in a later phone call, the targets appearing to be mainly Mike, with a few jabs at my bridesmaids too.


It’s such a shame, because my parents and I have been patching up our relationship over the past few months, and I’ve made a real effort to reach out and keep in touch with them, and they’ve twisted it. They’ve taken something good, and well-meaning and tried to turn it rotten. Considering we went a year with no contact not that long ago, and we’ve been attempting to fix and mend things it’s a massive shame. I had feared things wouldn’t truly change and would eventually start to slip, but I’m disappointed that I was right. Of course lots of excuses have been made about not signing the book, but the larger issue of disrespectful and hurtful comments being made about those closet to me was glossed over and ignored. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on my family issues too much, so let’s move on.


There was a lot of positivity this month that followed the slightly relaxed restrictions on lock down. It’s been lovely to be able to see people, even if it does feel very strange to still have to stay away from them. I’m a hugger, I hug my friends when I see them, when they leave, or at random other points so having to break that habit has felt nothing short of weird. Weirdness aside, seeing them, catching up with them and having a small slither of normality has been wonderful. My friend Katie and I have been off on a few more walks together and explored more of the beautiful country side near our homes, and there’s also been the odd BBQ in the garden too.


Since lockdown I’ve gained a little bit of weight, which I’d like to try and shift. With the combination of a lot of lockdown snacks and an extreme lack of exercise if was nothing short of inevitable really. I’ve started Couch to 5k, which so far I’m enjoying and hopefully it’ll get me more into running so I can improve my fitness and shirt some pounds.


A couple of months ago I submitted a flexible working request to my work to allow me to work from home on a permanent basis. Whilst there has been no formal response yet my work have made it clear last week that it’s something they are seriously considering and willing to work towards for everyone that wants it, so hopefully I have some positive news on the horizon.


That just about sums up my June. Hopefully we’ll have more glorious weather for July and my birthday!


How was your June?

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