Once in a while I get a bit..well, lazy, to be quite honest! So in order to kick start myself back into healthy mode I set myself a challenge. My 30 day running challenge began on the 1st of July.
I’ve always loved going for a run. After work being my chosen time to go, as it really helps clear the ole’ noggin’ from a busy day and helps me relax for the evening ahead. I know that it’s not just me, for many people running is a theraputic hobby. It’s just an added bonus that it’s a great thing to do for your fitness levels too.
If you’re getting stuck into the same old boring fitness schedule, or falling of the wagon with one too many summer BBQ’s, I’d definitely recommend setting yourself a 30 day challenge. It’s a long enough time to allow you to see results, but short enough so that you can keep committed. For me, doing a 30 day running challenge made loads of sense, as I already enjoy it!
The 30 Day Running Challenge
It’s a pretty simple concept. Run every day, for 30 days.
When we’re talking 30 days, it is good to remember that each day doesn’t have to be a Mo-Farah style dash. Tune into your body so you know when you can push it and when to take it easy. If you’re weight training in between runs (like me) then some days you might be too achey to go far, so just take it easy with a light jog.
3 Things I Learnt From Running Every Day
1) Footwear is super important. When I first started doing races I suffered a lot with blisters. However, making a small investment in some oxide tape and second skin socks did the trick. As long as I remember to tape up and keep my feet well moisturized they are just fine! You wouldn’t want something as trivial as a blister hampering your efforts.
2) Routes can get boring. Make sure you keep things interesting, don’t do the same run day in and day out. I combined running on treadmills with running out in the open, going to Park run each weekend with friends, or simply just trying a new route. If you keep things fresh it’s much easier to motivate yourself.
3) You will surprise yourself. At the end of my challenge I thought I would be so pleased to hang up the trainers and take a day off, but that wasn’t the case. I embraced running every day and when I did finally have that rest day at the end I missed my daily run! Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to hit the gym and not feel obliged to spend half an hour on a treadmill, but running is definitely in my blood now. I am mega proud to have covered 100 miles in a month too.
All in all, it was a great positive experience to set myself up with this 30 day challenge and I would recommend it to anybody. Whatever your fitness level is, you can tailor a challenge to suit. I wasn’t 100% perfect and life did get in the way sometimes, but I just let it be and carried on as best as possible. It’s really improved my running and just proved to me that I can stick to a plan if I put my mind to it! Over the next few months I’ll be setting myself some more challenges like this one in an aim to improve my fitness levels and lifestyle. It’s worked well so far, so why not!
..Did I mention I ran over 100 miles in a month? (J.k, I know I did I just wanted to show off! That’s like..four marathons, almost!).
This is something I have been meaning to do since the start of the year, a monthly allotment update. So here I am starting bang smack in the middle of summer instead with my July update.
I think July is a much nicer time of year to start documenting my efforts actually. As everything is growing mega fast with all this balmy hot weather we’ve been having. Each time I go out to the plot I have a little fist-punch moment when I see something growing. Here’s the good, the bad & the ugly:
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Successes:
Spuds. The potatoes this year are looking awesome. I’m growing two varieties, the salad potatoes are pretty much ready to be dug out, and some larger ones that I’ll use for roasting. As I’ve planted two varieties next to each other they have cross pollinated and I’ve got potato berries! Which can be used to grow a potato crop from seed. Also worth mentioning, I bought all my seed potatoes from Aldi for £1.50 a bag and they have grown so well! Definitely going to be back for more.
As you can probably tell from my strawberry recipes, the patch provided me many goodies this year too. I’ve also got an abundance of gooseberries that are ripe at the moment (queue some jam making!).
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Almost Ready:
Sometimes you have to just be patient with your crops. There are my raspberry canes that I transplanted from their old home (when I was a newbie I didn’t know you’re supposed to separate them so planted them all in one blob, oops). I’m not expecting much produce this year, but at least they have a permanent home now.
Let’s not forget the tomatoes. They are going wild with the hot weather so I absolutely can’t wait to tuck into these bad boys. Credit goes to the other half for looking after these crops!
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Failures:
Brocolli. I’ve really tried with brassicas but I haven’t had any luck. I tried to grow these lil fella’s from seed and they got totally munched on before they even had a chance to grow much. Fail. Will have to try to cover them next time around. I’m not too put off about this, as it’s the only crop that’s gone wrong this year. Four years at the game and I’m finally getting the hang of this. I haven’t even bothered with a picture because there’s absolutely nothing to show! So here’s me with some radishes instead..
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Total Disaster:
This. Just look at this. This little patch used to be home to our rhubarb, but it’s been neglected and now mother nature is claiming it back. It’s a bit of a nightmare really as it’s a bindweed hot bed. I did try to tackle it last weekend but it’s just too thick, theres too many nettles and I just don’t have it in me. Next best thing is to leave it to die back naturally and cover it over for next year. I don’t even get that much rhubarb out of it because it is competing with the grass, so I think it could do with a rest.
I could ramble on enlessly, but let’s leave it here for the July update. I’ve got some adventurous plants on the go too, which I’ll enlighten you about in my next post 🙂
This lemon & blueberry quinoa salad is versatile, vegan and drizzled with flavoursome lemon dressing!
Back when I did my stint at veganism this lemon & blueberry quinoa was my go-to salad. It has a lovely fresh flavour from the home made lemon dressing which pairs up beautifully with the blueberries. Serve with mixed leaves and a sprinkle of crunchy pumpkin seeds for a balanced and tasty lunch.
This simple salad doesn’t have too many ingredients, which is a bonus as there is less prep time, yet it still is bursting with quality fresh ingredients and flavours. Enough to convince you?
You can make this ahead to bring to work with you, or eat it straight away if time allows. This recipe doesn’t take long to put together, the longest part is waiting for the quinoa to cook.
I’m so sold on the lemon dressing that I think next time rather than making just enough for two salads, I’ll make a batch so I can use it on everything.
Vegan Blueberry & Lemon Quinoa Salad
A fresh salad, flavoured with zingy lemon dressing and topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds. Oh, and vegan too!
- 1/2 cup Quinoa
- 1 cup Fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp Pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp Lemon zest
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp Agave nectar (or honey)
- Salt & pepper
To make the quinoa heat up 1.5 cups of water in a pan. Rinse the quinoa and add to the boiling water, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.
Whilst the quinoa is on the go, prepare the lemon dressing. In a bowl mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, agave & mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Once the quinoa is ready, divide into two portions and plate up.
Time to assemble the rest of the salad. Add the blueberries and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle on the lemon dressing. To finish it off serve with some fresh salad leaves and baby plum tomatoes.
If there is one thing that makes cooking easier it is simplicity. This is so quick to throw together and it just shows that it’s not about complicated ingredients and flavours, it’s about pairing those that taste best. Hope you enjoy!Yum
It took me a while to jump onto the overnight oats bandwagon. I had seen loads of posts of people making these scrumptious looking breakfasts in fancy jars, but whenever I made it mine just seemed too runny – but don’t worry! I made the rookie error of using too much milk, in reality overnight oats require far less liquid than regular oats. If possible I always add in some chia seeds as they soak up the
milk, or if not a dollop of greek yoghurt makes a good addition and thickens it up too.
This recipe is one of my favourite weekday breakfasts, as the name suggests, you do have to make the effort to prep it the night before. But it’s so worth it when you, sleepy-eyed in the morning, make your way over to the fridge and remember breakfast is sat there waiting for you! You can heat it up if you like but I tend to just take it out the fridge and leave it on the side to get to room temp for a little while before tucking in.
This flavour combination is one I made up when I had a glut of apples and they were starting to go a bit soft and wrinkly, still good and flavoursome but not the sort you can crunch into as a snack. I peel and shred them into the mix, so if you have kids that are shy of eating their 5-a-day you can try this method to sneak in some fruit without them even noticing. My boyfriend is guilty of avoiding fruit but he always counts himself in when I offer to make overnight oats.
This recipe is full of fruit and goodness, plus the sprinkling of walnuts adds in some all important protein which will keep you going until your lunch.
Apple & Blueberry Walnut Crunch Overnight Oats
Fruity oats with a crunchy walnut topping, make ahead and enjoy for a tasty, hassle-free, breakfast.
- 1 Apple Any sweet variety
- 1 Cup Oats
- 1 tsp Chia Seeds
- 1 Cup Milk
- 2/3 Cup Blueberries Fresh or frozen
- 8 Walnuts chopped
- Honey or Maple Syrup To dress
1) Wash, peel and shred the apple, place the shredded apple into a bowl (you can make the mixture up in one large bowl and divide it into two at the end, or split all it into two bowls to start with).
2) Add in the oats to the bowl, then the chia seeds and the milk. Give the ingredients a good stir and make sure they are all combined. Split into two serving bowls.
3) Gently mix in the blueberries, I use frozen blueberries but use fresh if you prefer.
4) Chop the walnuts and sprinkle over the top.
5) Cover the bowls and leave in the fridge overnight. Leave the bowls out of the fridge for 30 mins before serving, or warm through in the microwave. Add more milk in if the oats have absorbed everything up and sweeten with honey or maple syrup.
Let me just start by saying breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, it also happens to be my favourite meal of the day. Nothing quite beats the sip of your first cup of coffee followed by a nice fruit filled breakfast. I am actually a sweet tooth breakfast person, so this ‘Shakshuka’ thing, I’ll be honest, despite the fact it sounds great and I’ve seen it many a time on café menus, it’s not what I would usually go for at breakfast time. But my boyfriend is the opposite, he loves all things savoury, plus we had some eggs in the fridge that just had to be used so I though, hey why not give it a go.
Shakshuka is something that we can thank the Arabs for introducing, it’s essentially eggs cooked over a rich and spicy tomato sauce. Which, let’s face it, is far more exciting then a greasy fried egg! Plus you get an injection of vitamin goodness from the veg based sauce. I’ve included my recipe below but you can add your own variations, some people prefer to use fresh tomatoes, and can be a great dish to cobble together with any leftover veg, it doesn’t necessarily have to use bell peppers. I think next time around I am going to add a spoon of harissa spices in to add that Tunusian zing I love!
It’s good to take your time over the base of the dish, I like to add my spices in to cook off and release the flavour before I put any of the tomatoes in, but you might have your own methods. It’s a great dish to improvise with as you just need a few spice cabinet staples, a tin of tomatoes and some veg to go with your eggs.
Shakshuka for two
1 tsbp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ red bell pepper, chopped into cubes
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato puree
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp smoked paprika
sprinkle of cayenne
few dashes of tabasco sauce (to taste)
salt and pepper
fresh cut parsley and spring onion to season
- Prepare all the ingredients. Peed and dice the onion, de-seed the pepper and chop into small cubes, peel and crush the garlic.
- Heat up 1 tsbp of olive oil in a medium sized pan and when hot add the onion, let it cook through for a few minutes until starting to lightly brown
- Add in the garlic and the diced pepper, let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the pepper begins to soften
- Stir in the cumin, paprika, smoked paprika and cayenne spices and leave to cook for a minute or so.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and puree and let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes
- Season with salt and pepper, this is the time to add your tabasco if you’d like a bit more of a kick
- Once the sauce is tasting how you like it and has reduced down a bit it is time to add your eggs, crack each egg into a cup and then make a little well in the sauce to plop it into (I forgot to make a well and my eggs were all over the place). Cover the whole pan over (if you don’t have a lid like me I used a chopping board!)
- Leave this to simmer now for 10-15 minutes, dependent on whether you want your eggs runny or cooked through.
- Lift the lid and now it is time to dish up! Separate in half and serve on two plates, garnish with the fresh parsley and spring onion. I like to serve with a clob of bread to mop up the delicious tomatoey sauce at the bottom!
The shakshuka went down a treat with the other half and I’m definitely a convert, although I think I’d be more inclined to have it for lunch.
PS: I know it’s supposed to be served straight up from the pan! But hey, it was just us two at the table so I went all portion-up with it, sorry purists!Yum
Like a lot of young people, at the start of it all, when I was about 18 and studying at college, all I wanted to do was unlock the key of how to get skinny and more importantly..STAY SKINNY.
Now I look back I realise that my thoughts on having a nice figure were a little off-kilter with a healthy lifestyle, but this is how my un-balanced (and to be quite honest, un-happy!) day would pan out.
Eating: Every calorie counted, every little bit of food to cross my lips had a value and was getting me closer to my oh-so-small daily allowance. I wasn’t working out at all, so aside from the long walk to and from college, I wasn’t giving my body the opportunity to burn off the food I was ingesting, so in my mind, the calories I got through had to be minimal..or I’d get fat.
Mistake To Avoid: Don’t starve. Don’t focus on calories like they are the key. Diet is very important, but remember your body burns an amount of calories in each given day just to function (your basal metabolic rate). Make sure you always have enough fuel to keep your body running like a well oiled machine.
Exercise: Non existant. To give myself some credit, I was studying far from where I lived so by the time I’d taken two trains and walked a couple of miles with a guitar and books (the joys of being a music student..), I’m sure it accounted for something. But I had nothing else going on. No gym classes or hobbies like netball.
Mistake To Avoid: Thinking that exercise isn’t important. Yes, you can lose weight without it, but it’s much better to incorporate some light exercise into your life, not just to keep your body looking nice, but to keep your mind healthy. I can’t believe what I was missing. It’ll be really hard to start with if you’re new to it, but as time goes on you will value this key part of your life that was gone for so long!
The Goal: 18 Year old Chrissy’s top priority was to have no fat and to weigh in as small as possible, the scales don’t lie, I thought.
Mistake To Avoid: Don’t set unrealistic goals. It always led me to disspointment, eg: the scales say I’m three pounds lighter that my goal weight, so why do I still have a paunchy belly?
It does not work that way. Your body is a machine with lots of elements that cause the dial on the scales to move. Water weight before your period, does that count? Also, muscle development will add weight but doing excercise will make you lose fat, so it’s hard to get an overall assessment just from a weigh in. You’ll know when the going is good from what you see in the mirror.
Looking back at where I stumbled, it all seems so obvious now, but when you are just starting and have no guidance you do it the hard way, learning from your mistakes.
Does any of the above resonate with you? Start to learn your bad habits and try to retrain your mind to think about them in a different light.
So you want to be skinny? Ask yourself, is that really what you want? Can you maintain your life so you look that way? Would you rather be healthy and the weight loss comes as a result?
Get your thinking caps on!Yum
I’m Chrissy and this is my blog.
I’m passionate about healthy living and through this blog I hope to inspire you with tips and tricks to lead a happy, healthy life.
Ditch the fads, ALL of them! This is not about the newest vegan trend or how to lose weight juicing, this is me, this is real life. I work 9-5, I pay bills, I have vices and cravings, I like a drink, I am as Jo Bloggs as they come.
A few years ago you would have not seen me set foot in a gym, pound the pavement running, or even cook anything myself unless it had instructions involving a microwave. Sounds familiar?This lifestyle took a while to unravel and so it should, humans are creatures of habit and no 10 day clense will change you for good.
Fastforward to the present and I am loving the updated version of myself. Exercise? It’s a hobby I really enjoy and manage to fit it in with my lifestyle. I can cook a healthy meal without having any recipe book infront of me and I’m used to the time constraints of modern living; a healthy, quick meal? easy! No cash? no problem!
Making small positive steps in the right direction is all you need to do. Get your mind over the hurdle of thinking you can’t acheive. Working little changes into your life will reap big results one day.
Sound a bit more realistic? I thought so!
If you think you could benefit with changing a few areas of yourself and your life, follow me. I can’t do the work for you but a little motivation and a few tips along the way never hurt anyone!
Hope to see you again soon,