Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10K Recap – 2017

Last week saw my biggest running achievement when I ran 10km as part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. I wanted to challenge myself beyond the 4/5km I can quite comfortably plod along a couple of times a week. It was a really great experience- much more fun than I’d thought, actually!

If you’re familiar with Edinburgh, you’ll know it’s very hilly. The 10K route is gorgeous, but it’s quite tough. There’s a very steep hill at the start for about 2km, and another incredibly steep hill coming out of the innocent railway cycle path. Of course, what goes up must come down and so there were also downhill stretches where we could catch our breath.

This is the first time I’ve run in an event with so many other people, and so I was very conscious of not going too fast and trying to keep up with people around me. I really just wanted to finish! We had a slow start up the aforementioned hill but must have paced ourselves well as we had energy left in the last kilometre to fly towards the finish line. My time was 1 hour and 6 minutes, which I’m absolutely delighted with.

Now, I do like an inspirational quote. One of my favourites is something Nelson Mandela said: “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” Now you may laugh and roll your eyes, and I agree that this was intended for much bigger things than my running a 10K. But it’s something I’ve found I really really love about running. It all seemed crazy at first. Running for three minutes seemed crazy, running for eight minutes seemed crazy, as did fifteen and twenty when I made it up to that. But I did it, and now I’ve plodded along for over an hour! I get to keep doing things that I once thought were crazy and unachievable and just “not for me”, and it’s the best feeling!

I really enjoyed the structured training, increasing my long run at the weekend and trying intervals and hill runs throughout the week. The atmosphere on the day was just brilliant, so positive and friendly. Would I do it again? Yes please!

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April Favourites | 2017

I’ve got something a little bit different today- I love reading these kind of posts on other people’s blogs so I thought I’d share the things that have made me happy this month!

 

 

  • Seeing my best friend (and eating our favourite ice cream)

I finally made a trip down to see one of my favourite people for the first time in about nine months. I was feeling so unwell but since Katherine is an absolute gem of a friend we had a lovely relaxing weekend. We even managed to squeeze in an Amorino ice cream (all their sorbets are totally lactose and soy free, including the chocolate one, hooray!) and it almost felt like we were back in Paris. 

  • The return of PLL

Pretty Little Liars is back and I’m delighted. I’m happy because I love PLL, excited because there’s finally going to be an ending, and a wee bit sad because this is the final half season.

  • Fodmap friendly baking

Craig has made this absolutely delicious fodmap friendly cake not once, not twice, but three times this month.

It was recommended by a fellow low-fodmapper, and how very grateful I am. It’s quick and easy (so I’ve been told) and it’s seriously yummy. The recipe is here if you’re interested- it’s gluten free but Craig used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make it low-fodmap too.

  • Dawn O’Porter’s book signing

I took a trip through to Glasgow and met up with another Paris pal to go to Dawn O’Porter’s Glamour Book Club event for the launch of her new book The Cows. Dawn O’Porter is such an inspiration. It was a fab evening and I loved listening to Dawn talk about female solidarity, the pressures of being a woman and why we should be taking YOLO seriously. And that brings me onto…

  • The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

I finished reading The Cows in two days and would definitely recommend it. It’s a bit lighter than anything I’ve read recently, as well as being intelligent and very funny. The themes could be considered quite provocative and I think that’s the point- Dawn O’Porter wants to challenge us to think about how we judge others.  

  • Bryony Gordon’s Mad World podcast

I’m always looking out for new podcasts to listen to. I was very excited to hear about this, and even more so when I found out the first guest was none other than Prince Harry! Bryony Gordon’s podcast is basically encouraging conversations about mental health. I think it’s a huge deal for someone as high-profile as him to advocate looking after your mental health and I was amazed at how open and honest Prince Harry was in his episode.

  • Trip to Alnwick Castle

Craig and I had a fab day trip to Alnwick Castle, via Lindisfarne. We stopped at Lindisfarne on the way down since neither of us had been before.

Unfortunately the castle is closed for renovations at the moment, but the island itself was still very interesting to see. We then drove down to Alnwick and spent a rather chilly afternoon there exploring Alnwick Castle.

It’s absolutely beautiful and a must for any Harry Potter fan! The last time I was there I was young enough to take part in the flying lessons on the lawn used for filming the scenes in the Philosopher’s Stone…I’m maybe a bit too old now but it’s still pretty magical.

  • Submitting my final piece of PGDE coursework

My final piece of academic writing has been submitted! Keeping all fingers and toes crossed that I’ve passed everything. I’ve just got one more placement to go!

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The Worst 6 Things About Living with IBS

April happens to be a very exciting month…it’s IBS awareness month! I’ve found that people can have a few misconceptions about IBS and the impact it can have on someone’s life. And it’s no wonder, because it’s so taboo to discuss digestive health. I would like to think of myself as being quite an open person, so here I am ready to break that poo taboo and share with you the worst things about living with IBS.

    1. It’s not just having an upset stomach.
      There are all the digestive symptoms to deal with- constipation, diarrhea, cramps, bloating, flatulence, indigestion, a gurgling tummy- but then there’s also the nausea, back pain, headaches and fatigue. Pick a few in combination.
    2. It’s unpredictable.
      If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I follow a low fodmap diet to relieve my symptoms. The majority of the time this really makes a huge difference. However, I’ve still occasionally been surprised by a flare up- so for me that’s cramps and spasms with extreme bloating and either constipation or diarrhea. And prior to eating low fodmap, every meal was a gamble to see what it would do to my tummy.
    3. Stress makes it worse.
      Healthy mind, healthy body. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If I am stressed, there is no telling what my tummy will do. This year I have actually aimed to get all my uni work finished a few days before I normally would, so I can factor in time for my tummy to turn against me. I also struggle with anxiety and this only exacerbates any IBS symptoms.
    4. It impacts your social life.
      It’s all about the FOMO. I know you don’t need to drink alcohol to have fun, but it’s quite isolating to be 21 and it just not be an option for me. Going out for drinks is tricky to navigate when I can literally drink water or orange squash. I also have had to cancel plans if I have a flare up, which is frustrating and makes me feel very guilty.
    5. Eating out is a nightmare.
      I just hate sitting there saying ‘Can I have this, but without…’ and reeling off the list of ingredients I can’t eat. I’m quite a picky eater anyway but felt like I was finally getting better, and now I feel a bit sidelined by the restrictive low fodmap diet. I suppose I’m lucky in that I’ve never been a foodie, but I do love the social aspect of food. Now it just causes me stress. And that takes us back to point 2.
    6. It’s an invisible illness.
      If you have a sports injury, the assumption is that it hurts. But all the nights I’ve woken up in crippling pain, or the times I’ve sat through a lecture counting down from 10 over and over again to try to cope with the pain, nobody sees that. This of course is also a benefit, because at least I look healthy. Someone actually said to me ‘I don’t know how you can look so healthy when you eat such a restricted diet’ as if they were suspicious about the validity of my health or my restricted diet, I’m not sure which. Granted, sometimes I do look six months pregnant by the end of the day, but apart from this you wouldn’t know the impact it has on my life. And as with other invisible illnesses, it’s very tricky for people to understand or take seriously.

I don’t want this to be all gloom and doom. Living with IBS is limiting, potentially embarrassing and just downright unpleasant, but I am relieved that it’s IBS and not something life threatening. I think it’s great that I’m now much better informed about what exactly I eat and what goes into my food. I’m also much more in tune with my body and how I’m feeling. If I’m following the low fodmap diet my symptoms are under control and I can feel ‘normal’. I do try my best to stay positive, because like it or not this is now part of my life!

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World Book Day: My Favourite Books

Happy World Book Day! 2017 is an extra special year, as it’s the 20th anniversary of the day dedicated to the excitement of reading.

I’ve always loved books. I was that child who was constantly reading. At night, I used to wait until Mum and Dad went downstairs then sit by my door so I could read from the light in the hall (sorry if this is a surprise but I’m sure I wasn’t as sly as I thought I was). I read anything and everything. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library with my granda and him taking books out on his card for me. Now, whilst I don’t have as much time for reading as I would like I rarely go anywhere without my kindle and try to squeeze reading time in whenever I can.

I love World Book Day and that it exists, because reading has been such a huge and formative part of my life and it’s wonderful to see its importance being celebrated! I thought I’d share a few of my favourite books to mark the occasion. Here they are, in no particular order at all.

Continue reading “World Book Day: My Favourite Books”

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My 2017 Goals

Happy New Year!

With the start of a new year comes the inevitable new year’s resolutions. Resolutions are a bit much for me because, realistically, I just know I’m very unlikely to keep them and I don’t like to put unnecessary pressure on myself. Actually there was one year when I was nine and I totally stopped biting my nails overnight, after years of trying, but I think that’s the only time I’ve ever managed. However, I’m a big fan of setting smaller goals for myself and whilst I know you don’t need to wait until the new year, there’s just something about the clean slate that makes me put a bit more effort in.

In 2017 I will…

Run 10K
It turns out I really like running and I’ve settled quite happily around the 5km mark. I want to give myself a challenge this year to make it up to 10km.

Go on Duolingo more often
I used to be really good at going on Duolingo but I’ve since had to start my Danish and German trees from the bottom again because I just couldn’t remember enough. I’d like to better at it this year!

Read 20 books
I love reading, and I’ll never manage to read as much as I want to. I use goodreads so I’m now very aware of how many books there are on my ‘to read’ list! 

Watch The Godfather trilogy
I’ve just never watched The Godfather and it feels like one of those films that you should have seen, so 2017 is going to be my year to get that sorted out!

Try to like broccoli, rocket and salmon
I used to be the pickiest eater ever (or at least that’s what it felt like to me). I’ve got much better, but have now had to cut a whole load of foods out again with my low fodmap lifestyle. I just don’t like any of these but I know I should, so I’m going to try. 2016 was the year of the courgette for me, so who knows what I can achieve in 2017 😉

Write in my journal 3 times a week
I’ve kept journals on and off for years, and it’s so nice to be able to flick back through them. I’m going to try to write something at least three times a week. It’s actually a really therapeutic way to end the day- depending on what your day’s been like I suppose!

Cook more
Craig (voluntarily) does most of the cooking, and now that I’m basically having to make everything from scratch it is quite the undertaking. It’s not something I particularly enjoy but it’s something I need to get better at.

Be kind to myself
I think I’ve been getting better at self-care this year, and it’s something I know I’ll need to keep making a conscious effort to do when life is super busy.

I know it might seem silly to set goals like this but I just think that if you don’t at least try to make a change, then nothing will change. And really, all you can do is your best. I’m excited!

Let me know if you’ve set yourself any goals! Wishing you all a wonderful start to the year and all the best for 2017.

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My Little Box – December 2016

I wanted to share this because the arrival of a My Little Box always makes my day! It’s a monthly subscription box, and so for £15 a month you get a little surprise in the post with a selection of home and beauty goodies. I subscribe on and off depending on what my bank balance is like. It does feel like quite a lot to spend, but I’ve basically stopped drinking coffee and alcohol so my justification is that this is purchased with the money I’m saving!

I love My Little Box because of the selection of products- I’ve had gloves, a cushion cover, a coffee cup, even a t-shirt as well as some lovely trial sized makeup products. You always get a product from My Little Beauty, their own brand, and these have been some of my favourites. Plus, you get a little magazine related to whatever is in your box.

I was so excited to open the December box. Each box has a theme, and quite fittingly this is the Christmas Box. Look how pretty it is.

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My December Box contained:

My Little Box | A candy cane (now hanging on the Christmas tree!)

My Little Box | A ‘Feu de bois: un matin d’hiver’ scented candle

Kusmi | A little tin of ‘Tsarevna’ tea (a blend of black tea, orange and spices)

Tiptree | A tiny pot of salted caramel spread

Lou. Yetu | A gold cuff bracelet

L’Occitane | A mini almond shower oil

My Little Beauty | A smokey eyeshadow duo

Courrèges | A sample of  ‘Hyperbole’ perfume

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I think it’s a lovely selection. The candle is a particular favourite as it smells so festive. I’m very pleased with the mini shower oil and perfume as it means I don’t need to decant anything for taking to Berlin for our super quick trip. I’m excited to try the tea too! I love having the opportunity to try things I normally wouldn’t, and everything here feels like a special treat. And that’s really why I love it so much, a wee present to me from me!

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