From Marathons to Motherhood

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Oh hi

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. There are a few reasons for this. This blog started as a place for me to record my fitness and weight loss efforts, it also followed part of my infertility and IVF journey.

Then I got pregnant. Naturally.

And suddenly I felt like I had nothing of relevance to say. I was so anxious and scared during the first pregnancy that I found myself withdrawing from sharing anything. Then after my daughter was born I made a couple of efforts to get back into fitness and lose the weight I’d gained but just as I was getting somewhere I fell pregnant again, nine months postpartum. It was at this point that I accepted that I wasn’t going to update this blog anymore, and made it private.

I then continued writing the book that I had been writing (mostly in my head) for years. I had a few thousand scattered words in a Word document but nothing of any structure. Using the impending second birth as a deadline I wrote and wrote in any spare time I had. When my daughter napped, I wrote. When my husband was home, I wrote. And I did it. I wrote the book. It was published. And then I had my son the same month.

Since then I’ve been simply adjusting to life as a mum of two (with an 18 month age gap). I’m exhausted, but not a day goes by that I don’t realise how lucky I am to have them — they are my little miracles. It amazes me to think that I was preparing myself to live a childless life and then it all completely changed. Life is funny like that.


So that brings me back to the purpose of this blog. I have weight to lose, I have fitness to improve, but I’m not currently being successful at either thing. I’m seven months postpartum right now. I’m hoping that one day soon it’ll just click and I’ll find the focus to get ‘back on track’ with my eating and working out. Fit in the workouts somehow.


Aside from struggling to stick to the theme of this blog since having children, there’s another reason that I’ve been quiet. I’ve struggled with my mental health. It utterly shocked me to experience post natal depression after going through seven years of infertility and finally having children, but nevertheless, it happened. After having my daughter I was genuinely afraid to talk about how I was feeling. It took me a long time to seek help from a doctor. Second time round I felt somehow more prepared for how it might feel, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have difficult periods. There was a lot of family drama outside of my little bubble of me, my husband and my children, and little things became catastrophic to me. A judgemental and unnecessary comment on a photo of mine on Instagram from a relative’s friend upset me way more than it should have. That, combined with the other drama and my anxiety, set in motion a dark period where I deleted all my public social media, detached myself from the book I’d written, and tried to hide myself away. The drama and the comment occurred in the first couple of post partum months where everything’s a delicate balance, physically and mentally. And during that difficult post partum time all that drama took a toll on me. I’m still trying to build myself back up and regain some confidence.

That’s the thing, post natal depression felt like another failure to me. I know that’s a
ridiculous statement, but after a feeling like a failure for such a long time after the years of infertility it was just another failure to add to my incredibly long, anxiety fuelled list. I’m working on detangling myself from those issues. When I was writing and going through the publishing process with my book I kept it all a secret because I didn’t want to deal with potentially negative comments from people and because I was worried it would somehow all fail before it was even published. I told everyone on the same day that it was being released. Some people were so encouraging and others just didn’t care. It was such an immensely personal story to share, some days I still wish I could just hit unpublish somewhere and run away with it and hide. But it’s out there and I’ve had messages from people going through what I went through and that makes it worthwhile. It really does.


I think I would like to start updating this blog again. Slowly try and open up again after shutting myself off.

We’ll see.


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Monty Bojangles Milky Mischief Truffles

Along with most of the general population, I love chocolate. Recently I was sent a box of chocolates to try and as my birthday was approaching it seemed an ideal time to treat myself. I turned 33 last Sunday so decided that was the perfect time to try them. I shared them with my husband (had to really). As normal opinions are entirely my own.
Monty Bojanges Milky Mischief are lighter, milkier chocolate truffles. Very yummy.

Things I love:

The chocolates themselves: I love truffles and these are gorgeous — very moreish…

The packaging is lovely — bright, colourful, playful.

There’s a generous amount of chocolates in the box.

Thing I’m not so keen on:

This is probably only an issue for people who tend to overindulge, but because all the chocolates are loose in a bag there’s a temptation to eat a few too many. Not that we ate them all quickly or anything… Ok we did. I don’t regret it.
Lovely chocolates for a special treat — £4 in Tesco so not overly expensive either.



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Steps and sleep #nationalfitnessday

It’s National Fitness Day today, but as I have little to say fitness-wise at the moment, I thought it would be fun to share some stats from Jawbone. (Jawbone is a wearable device which monitors your activity, sleep, etc.)


I love knowing my stats (I have a Fitbit, which works in the same way). I’m not achieving many steps at the moment for a few reasons — one of which being my bad back. But I also love knowing how many hours I’m sleeping at night.

So… which countries get the most steps per day?

Top Ten Most Active Countries

Spain 9,546 steps per day
Italy 9,208
Ireland 8,985
Portugal 8,884
Sweden 8,779
Russia 8,742
Denmark 8,708
United Kingdom 8,693
Switzerland 8,686
Austria 8,679
(Data has been aggregated by country using data from Jawbone.)

Well done, Spain. Almost 1000 more steps a day than the UK! I think it’s interesting to note that none of the countries are hitting 10,000 steps a day on average — I know this is a UK NHS recommendation but I assume that it’s a similar number worldwide.

The UK wins for sleep — we get on average 7.25 hours a night. Followed by Ireland with 7.18 hours a night and Austria with 7.11 hours.

So we may only be 8th on the active list but we’re first for sleep and that’s important too! My baby still wakes in the night so I’m lagging behind the UK average for sleep at the moment (and steps!).

I really think wearable technology is so helpful for monitoring activity levels — seeing it all there on your phone/laptop just makes it all so easy — great for seeing improvements and building up activity without getting overwhelmed.

What do you think? How many steps do you manage each day?






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A no bake brownie to satisfy those ‘bake off’ cravings

I’m watching the first episode of The Great British Bake Off on catch up. I want cake! But… I need cake that’s a bit more weight loss friendly/healthy!

So, I’ve got a healthy recipe by Amanda Hamilton to share which will easily satisfy those sweet cravings! And no actual baking involved which means there’s no chance of a baking disaster! Haha.

Udo’s Choice: Raw Chocolate and Nut Brownie with Ganache Frosting
Serves 4
By Amanda Hamilton, TV Nutritionist


100 g Dates
50 g Walnuts
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
35 Almonds – Whole
1 tsp Udo’s Oil
15 g Raw Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
30 ml Almond Milk
50 g Raw Dark Chocolate – 70% min

Amanda Hamilton’s Cooking Method

1. Soak dates in warm water for 10 minutes and drain well.
2. Place the 3/4 of the walnuts and all of the almonds in food processor and process until finely ground.
3. Add the cacao powder and half of the sea salt and pulse to combine. Place to one side.
4. Now add the dates to the food processor and process until only small bits remain.
5. Return the blended nuts to the food processor and pulse until a dough consistency is achieved, addingmore dates if the mixture does not hold together when squeezed in your hand.
6. Add the brownie mixture to a small parchment lined dish and before pressing.
7. Then press down with hands until it is flat and firm. (I like laying down a piece of plastic wrap toprevent sticking and get it really flat).
8. FOR THE GANACHE: Add almond milk (or soy or coconut) to a small saucepan and gently heat, take offthe heat and immediately add finely chopped dark chocolate to the warm milk and loosely cover.
Don’t touch for 2 minutes so it can melt.
9. Add the remaining salt and whisk to incorporate, then the Udo’s oil (coconut also works) and maplesyrup and use a whisk to mix. Set in fridge for 10 minutes to thicken.
10. Remove from fridge and spread the frosting brownies generously over the brownie mix and top withthe remaining walnuts chopped up and cacao nibs (optional).
11. Refrigerate again until the frosting has set and slice into even squares before serving.

**Store brownies in an airtight container to keep fresh. Will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature, or in the freezer for at least 1 month (though best when fresh**
Ganache brownies - Udo's Choice


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Slimming World / a life update

I know, I’ve been super quiet on here… But in truth I haven’t had much of a fitness nature to say. I feel I may need to write more posts about parenting/life/food or the posts really are going to be few and far between at the moment.

So, why have the fitness posts been non existent?

  1. I broke my toe — no really, I did.
  2. I found myself struggling to balance diet/exercise/parenting/other aspects of life.

My baby is eight months old already but even so I am still adapting and learning this whole parenting thing and it remains my priority. I would love to say I’ve got my shit together enough to have everything balanced well, but I don’t. When my toe is finally healed I will attempt to introduce the at home workouts/running back into my life — but no stress, no schedules, I’ll do what I can, when I can. For now it’s short walks and that’s it! Speaking of the baby, she is just so awesome. She’s crawling, standing (holding on), climbing and desperate to be steady on her feet and walk. Life with a baby is crazy but wonderful. There is some light at the end of the fitness tunnel though — I’m resuming the fitness education stuff — in October I’ll be attending a two day course with Laura (Maximum Sloth), which should be good fun.

One thing that’s actually going well at the moment is Slimming World. I decided I needed some help losing the baby weight — a focus really — and I’d heard so many good things about SW that I decided to go for it. So I’m doing SW online. I won’t lie, it took weeks for me to get into it, and only really the last two weeks have I really felt like I’ve got it. I’ve started posting all my meals on my Instagram as I wanted an alternative to a paper food diary. I love posting the photos (even if my breakfast is practically the same thing every day!) as I find it really satisfying to look back on what I’ve made/eaten that day. It is really helping me control my eating, which is nothing but a good thing. And I’m cooking pretty much everything from scratch. I’m so close to losing one stone now — I don’t feel like I’m dieting, I feel like I’m learning or being reminded how to eat well and not binge — is that the whole point? Anyway, love Slimming World!

Here’s last week’s food —






A 5k, a 10k, and all the bits in between

IMG_6946The 5k

A few weeks ago I did a 5k colour run (Kolor Dash) in Newport. This was my first event since having the baby and I knew I couldn’t run it all so was just going to have fun. Ended up covered in colour and had a good laugh. Laura’s written a post about this event, which sums it all up nicely – Kolor Dash.



The 10k

Two weeks ago Laura and I did the Sospan 10k. Again, I am nowhere near ready to run 10k so there was a lot of walking but I’m glad I did it, even if I struggled! I’ve done this 10k twice before and this was by far my slowest but right now it isn’t about time it’s about just doing it. Reclaiming fitness after having a baby is a challenge! It was my best run since having the baby, so that’s positive. (Laura’s blog post about the 10k  – Sospan 10k.)

The bits in between

Well, I was meant to do the Swansea Half Marathon with my husband the week before the 10k, and was content to run/walk at the back, but that week my parents separated (I won’t be going into detail about this) and that understandably changed our plans for that week.

Before the 5k I was doing really well with my workouts — the weather had been good so I was able to get out and run with the baby and I had the enthusiasm to get the indoor workouts done. In between the two events things changed a bit as the dementors have been bothering me and I’ve found my enthusiasm has dwindled. This week I’m clawing it back a bit and I’ve managed to get a couple of workouts in, but with everything that’s going on I’m just being easy on myself — been doing yoga rather than HIIT, for example.

I’ve spoken about my frustration about my weight gain before (2 stone in pregnancy and a further stone postpartum) and while I know exactly what to do to lose weight (previously having lost 7 stone…) I just felt that my old way of doing things wasn’t working now. Having a baby changes your life immeasurably so I thought a new structure for weight loss would be beneficial to me so I’ve started doing Slimming World. I’ve been doing it almost four weeks and I’ve lost 10lb so far, so I’m pleased.

Moving forward

-Not going to follow any exercise plans (I started a 12 week one and quickly realised that I was stressing if life got in the way), just going to exercise whenever I can/want to.
-Keep going with Slimming World.
-Two more running events planned for this year (one at the end of August and the other in October) so I’m not going to worry, just plan to run or run/walk and have a good time — if I come last, I come last.
-Be easy on myself and not stress about getting back to previous fitness levels. The dementors are scary enough so I just need to be kind to myself and focus on enjoying life with my little family.

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Recent reading

I thought I would just do a quick post to list some books that I’ve read recently/currently reading (pregnancy/baby related or fitness) as it might be of interest to anyone looking for something informative/interesting to read.

Baby/pregnancy related:


All informative books. Handy details and very readable (not boring). The milestones books are quick reference books and Your Fit Pregnancy is an excellent handbook for use during pregnancy.



Jillian — of course, I love her. More classic Jillian in Slim for Life.

No Run Intended is a funny memoir of Hannah E Phillips’ experience of running. Enjoyed it!

I’ve only just started Nell McAndrew’s book but it’s good so far — she’s a fantastic runner so I’m looking forward to reading more.

[Images all link to the Amazon pages for each book for ease — plenty of reviews there 🙂 ]