I know, I know…. You have a kid, a job, a weekly shop to do and house to clean, and obviously no time for yourself EVER. Even though everyone bangs on about that you should exercise, there’s just no time for it! Until you:

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  • Make it part of your lifestyle – It’s time when you can focus on yourself and do something to make yourself feel better, time to think, get clarity and problem solve
  • Decide do walk, run or cycle to work. I am jealous of everyone who is able to to workout while commuting!
  • Go for a walk or run during your lunch time. Yes… I do work too far away to run or cycle, but thankfully I am able to go for a run during my lunch break. I would never ever do this pre-baby, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with going back to my desk with my post-workout hair. However, having baby means that I have so little time for myself that need to fit a workout in when I can!
  • Set a realistic goal, start small and build up… 15 min walk is better than none. 20 mins tomorrow.
  • Choose a workout that you enjoy – Running during lunch time is not everyone’s cup of tea. How about doing weights, playing badminton or circuit training (there are some really good ones on youtube!)
  • Commit to your new routine. Decide which days you going to exercise and stick to your routine!
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Lunch time gym

I remember my doctor’s confused face when I asked him when I’d be able to return to running, pretty much straight after I woke up from an operation back in July…

July ;(

He just quickly replied ‘it will be a few weeks’… Luckily enough I bounced back pretty quickly and was able to run a 10 km race in September. Still, I didn’t feel my strongest, and most definitely wasn’t looking forward to running a half marathon. I even tried to postpone my place, but was put off by the cost.

I’m so glad I didn’t, but slowly bit by bit I trained to run the race for ‘fun’ and just enjoy the ride. In the end, with very heavy legs managed to run a PB!
Honestly I could not have done it without knowing that my boys were waiting for me at the finish line and without all the support of the crowd ??
Such a great end to a running season which most definitely was full of high and lows. A great reminder of why I love running and why I love organised races:

Personal challenge – whether you’re a first timer or an experienced runner racing to beat your PB. Races require a lot of prep, time and determination, but the feeling of achievement is unbeatable!

 

long commute, 8 hours at work followed by track. time to myself.

Togetherness- I always well up when I see all those kids standing on the side of the road high fiving or giving out jelly babies. Or sleepy people who got out of bed early on a Sunday to stand outside in their pajamas to cheer everyone on.

I saw so many #WeStandTogether posters and runners with a bee tattoo! 🐝 Manchester and people united!🐝

To say nothing of all of the runners running for charity, helping other runners, marshals, and so on… I keep saying this; if you want to restore your faith in humanity, take part in a race. Get involved!

Sightseeing – I’ve done a few races overseas, which I have always treated as an unusual way of sightseeing. Today, I truly enjoyed discovering several different neighborhoods of Greater Manchester and sussing out some places where we could move one day – based on their ‘community feel’.

Last, but not least…

Beer (even non-alcoholic) and a Roast Dinner tastes the best after a race!

After the race

Until next one….

Thanks for reading x

I’m not sure when it started, but I know that having a baby have definitely amplified my hippie tendencies, it made me think more about our environmental impact, and increased my sense of responsibility for OUR planet.

I came across Greenpeace’s plastic calculator earlier this year, and even though I thought I was pretty good with doing my bit for the planet, I was shocked and surprised how much plastic I actually used EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t even think that cotton buds are plastic.

Soooo, one of my New Year Resolutions, that actually lasted even evolved further was to reduce my plastic footprint. This simple calculator made me think about how everything is disposable; from fashion, to plastic spoons that I used to use at work ONCE to stir my cuppa and throw them away, to nappies and baby wipes… and to that extra cup that I was given at Starbucks the other day when I asked for some cold almond milk as my coffee was too hot. It all adds up, and this post is not about guilt tripping, but about my realisation that we all have our bit to add, and about some small changes that I made this year and some that I am hoping to introduce in the near future; money and convenience permitting – as some of the eco products and solutions are more expensive and not as easily available, which I think might be a big barrier for people.

GROCERY SHOPPING

Reuse your bags. I reckon we are all used to taking your own bags when shopping. Unless you’re me and you leave the bags in the car and you end up either taking the trolley back to the car, or leave a supermarket with pockets stuffed with the shopping, or cuddling and balancing the rest of your shopping in your arms!

I read recently here that Tesco will stop selling their 5p carrier bags and will only sell 10p ‘bags for life’, which I personally don’t like, and so I better step up my shopping cuddling act, or always remember to take my bags.

Shopping online. Shopping for grocery online, either delivered to your door or ‘click and collect’ is a game changer. You save your time, it’s likely that you don’t end up with any impulse buys in your trolley, and you can either swap your plastic bags when using Ocado, or chose not to use any when you do Click and Collect with Tesco.

Buy fruit and veg by weight and don’t use individual bags unless you don’t need them. The single most surprising thing when I moved to the UK was that all the fruit and veg is prepacked and wrapped in plastic? Why? What do you do with those bags when you get home? They are usually binned straight away, aren’t they?

I also try to buy my fruit and veg locally (30 minute walk from home), but I understand that once I’m back at work I will not have time to do that :((( However, we ARE GETTING AN ALLOTMENT, so maybe all my dreams of growing our
own veg will come true next summer?

IMG_4961 Still a bit green, but its only August…

PERSONAL CARE

Swaps this year include:

Using sugar scrubs (love these from Other stories ) rather than scrubs containing microbeads that are harmful to marine life. From next year manufacturers won’t be able to add microbeads, so better to find your favourite substitute now

I also use natural face brushes and body brushes instead of sponges.

I’m also moving towards using organic soaps, and cruelty free makeup and cosmetic brands. Although I really struggled to find brands that are affordable (as the same price, or just a little bit more expensive than let’s say Max Factor or L’Oreal), so holler at me if you have any suggestions!
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HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

Oh my! Where do I start! I love my cleaning, so I am still trying to figure it out if I will ever move away from all my lovely toxic cleaning sprays… However, I have started to (sometimes) use lemon and water, or diluted apple cider vinegar for cleaning. I’m also making a conscious effort not to use as many trees, I mean, paper towels for cleaning.

Other swaps include:

Using reusable boxes and bowls and saucers instead of cling film (I’m on my last roll ever now!)

ON THE GO – TAKE AWAY

Simple swaps while on the go, are to carry a reusable water bottle with you (I guess that’s easier up North as the water is decent and you don’t get that limescaley taste that I cannot stand), use reusable coffee cups – love my keepcup and thermos cup.

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I’m also hoping to start using reusable cutlery when I go back to work.

BABY STUFF AND TOYS

Oh…where do I start… you need to be a parent to understand how many nappies and wipes (mainly wipes once babies are bit bigger) you go through every single day.
I was all enthusiastic about using a super cute looking reusable nappies, and laundry services before I had a kid, but once the baby arrived, that was definitely the last thing on my priority list, after keeping the baby alive, sleeping and generally finding my feet.

However, the simple changes I have actually managed to introduce is to try to use a reusable cloth to wipe his face and hands after meals at home rather than wet wipes.

I’m also moving towards using more and more bamboo dishes, and wooden toys, which we often get second hand – they are much more durable than plastic toys. I personally see so many benefits of wooden toys: as well as looking nicer ( hehe), they are educational and they encourage imagination, and ultimately they are biodegradable.
I’ve just googled for the benefits of wooden toys, and this article came up, which is quite helpful if you want to have a read.
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I Bought this activity cube for £6 on facebook market place. New one is about £40.

IMG_4968 I sometimes steal his lovely bamboo dishes hehe

Although, of course, we have some plastic toys that Oliver loves to play with (he’s one, so playing means banging to toys together), and walkers, and other stuff. Thankfully we got most of that stuff second hand, and I managed to sell the stuff that he doesn’t use anymore.

Thanks for reading and give me a shout if you can suggest any other swaps and ways to keep our planet tidy x

 

I take my running kit with me whenever I go away, whether it’s a short business trip, family holiday or a weekend at my parents. Even if I don’t use it, it’s almost my security blanket allowing me to escape, relax and have some time to myself.

However, if someone told me a few years ago that I’d be packing my running kit for a trip to Ibiza, I’d laugh them off. Especially since I like a good night out too…

So what’s like to run in Ibiza?

Terrain

We stayed in Cala Llonga, a resorty part of the island, which I have to say is absolutely stunning, and it’s miles apart from San Antonio – the second biggest town in Ibiza and home to many well know clubs, so basically the commercial part of the island.

The views in our area were breathtaking, and terrain wise it was a perfect mix of roads, trails (which were very challenging in places) and beaches.


I packed my Nike free run flyknit shoes based purely on the fact that they are breathable and I knew that the weather would be hot, and I don’t want to bake my poor feet he he.

They were a surprisingly good choice across all of the different types of terrain, even though some of the trails were quite rocky to say the least.

Season, the Weather and Hydration!

We went to Ibiza in early May, so just before all school half terms and holidays. There were enough holidaymakers around to remind you that it’s a popular tourist destination, but it wasn’t crowded. There was enough space to run on the beach and on the roads. It was quite nice to see some other tourists running too.

I have researched a number of routes on Strava prior to our holiday, but ended up running max 6 km from our hotel. That’s mainly to the fact that even though it was pleasantly warm during the day – up to 25 °C, I found it too hot to do a longer run. Which takes me to my next point; Set off early to avoid running in lunchtime sun, and take plenty of water to stay hydrated!

Alone or With a Group?

On our last trip to Ibiza Town I accidently discovered the Solo Runners running shop and running community. Unfortunately the shop was closed (siesta, hey!) so I didn’t have a chance to speak to anyone. However, it looks like if you don’t fancy running alone, you can join a running group in Ibiza.


I did it! I mean… we did it! We ran our first half marathon together. Me – a 32 (and a bit) year old RUNNER, and a new MUM. Him – 8 month old baby boy!

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This wasn’t my first half marathon, but it was my first race running with a pram, which made me as nervous as though it were my first half marathon.

Our race prep was spot on this time. By the time of the race Oliver was used to being in the pram for 2 hours, and so I wasn’t worried whether we will be able to complete the race. However, I was very nervous about how he would react to the crowds before and during the run, and how my competitive runner head would compete with my mum ‘hat’ and stopping for feeds, nappies, etc…. Every second counts in a race!

But let me start from beginning….

The night before

Ahhh I missed this feeling so much.. The feeling of nervousness and excitement you feel the night before the race, when you pack your bag, lay your kit on the floor to take a perfect instagram photo ha ha, and have some fueling carbs for dinner. Oliver did his bit and went to bed at 7pm and slept through the night.

My packing list for the run included:

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Nappies and nappy bags
  • Milk
  • Wipes
  • Rain cover – it rained obviously
  • Two gels
  • Mobile phone
  • Spare change
  • My race number and safety pins
  • Running kit

The race day

I have run the Wilmslow Half a couple of times before and so it felt great to be back in this familiar location. We arrived a bit later than in the past; I just didn’t fancy standing around too much with Oliver. We needed to be there early enough to feed him and change and soak up a bit of the race atmosphere and excitement.

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Arrival. And no, I didn’t run with the carrier.

There’s first time for everything

For the first time ever I started the race at the very end of the group to allow the runners to go through the narrow section of the road. There was just no point in trying to push through the crowds since this is a chipped race. I started the race with a very nice man, who was also running with a pram, but his little one was 18 months old, with a bunch runners in fancy dress and with a girl who ran the entire race backwards 🙂

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Another new thing was that I didn’t listen to any music or audiobooks during the race. I was so worried about the baby that I wanted to stay alert throughout the race. I actually really enjoyed being able to fully experience the race atmosphere this way. I got to chat to many people, which was great. Everyone was super encouraging, the runners and the spectators kept shouting ‘Go on mum, well done’, which made me weep multiple times during the race. Many people joked and asked if they could have a ride, and many blokes shouted ‘are you having a laugh’ when I overtook them! As always the spectators were brilliant and encouraging shouting their hearts out – this was great, but I was praying inside that they wouldn’t wake up the baby. I loved the atmosphere and as always I am ever so grateful to everyone who comes out to cheer the runners, because this makes a massive difference. If you want to believe in humanity – participate in any sporting event, the people are just so kind and lovely!

Pacing

I knew that this race is not about a PB, but about enjoying myself and listening to the baby’s needs – so if I needed to I’d stop to comfort him.

As for pacing, I only wanted to make sure that I won’t burn myself out at the beginning. After a while I went faster, but kept a comfortable speed. I felt strong, happy and very emotional. I couldn’t believe I’m racing again, only 8 months after giving birth, and i had my baby boy with me.

In the end Oliver slept through the race and I only needed to stop once to put the rain cover on. We loved every minute of the race and crossed finish line in 2:04!

Our splits

10km – 56:39
15 km – 1:26:13
20 km – 1:56:07
Half marathon distance – 2:04:52

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After the race we found Daddy to celebrate! We stayed around to have some food from the BBQ, and to feed Oliver as he had finally woken up, blissfully unaware that he just completed his first half marathon.

 

P.S. Our moment of fame in Wilmslow Guardian 
So what’s next?

We are still running roads and trails. We are hoping to run soon in Ibiza, and later on this year we are planning to run either the Manchester Half or the Amsterdam Half. Maybe there will be time to beat our first ‘pram time’?

Thanks for reading x