The Running Challenge | Two Weeks On

September 28, 2016

Hello there and good morning to you my friends.
I am LOVING getting back into running. In all seriousness, I am actually having so much fun it's ridiculous. Will I still be this chirpy in a few weeks time when the Autumn rain starts and I'm pushing my way through mountains of leaves? Possibly...possibly not...we'll see.

I am a big believer that fitness is much more fun and motivating when you have someone else to do it with. Never has this been more true than of this week. I have managed to convince a certain future female relative in law of mine to also download the Map my Run app (she had recently started to run was just giving a bit of encouragement) and we now have some challenges going on which has really spurred me on and motivated me to get my little bum in gear so that I can beat her! Not that I'm competitive or anything...much. I also convinced Rick to come with me on my run on Sunday which I really was not convinced I'd be able to do and was half joking when I suggested it, but he came and he motivated me. Team work!

So as per my challenge I have indeed been running three times. Let's see how those went...

On Thursday I ran 2.89km and it took just over 25 minutes. Don't judge me for this pitiful time please because from the green dot (start) up until the first major corner is all up a MASSIVE hill, and this really affected my times. Annoying, but part of life and something that I will have to improve upon. I will happily admit that I walked up most of the afore mentioned hill. 

My second run this week was on Saturday afternoon, and you may notice that it is a one-way run, not circular like before. I wanted to be able to do a long stretch of running without having to navigate any hills and kill my legs, so I got Rick to drive Bosun and me 3km away so that we could run home un-interrupted by hills. Is this cheating? I really don't care if it is. I ran the whole way (except for opening gates) and was muchly proud of myself...and my time was clearly much better.

Sunday was the occasion that Rick joined Bosun and me. We did a "there and back again" sort of run. There was a bit of a MASSIVE uphill involved in this run, but Rick would not let me even contemplate walking it. He says that even if you're basically pigeon stepping, you are going to "run" up this hill. So I was basically going even slower than I would have been walking, but I was on my toes, doing tiny little steps, just concentrating on the ground in front of me and I did it, I "ran" up that hill. And ran is in inverted commas because I use the term very loosely.

I have also set myself a mini challenge, within this running challenge. Can I do that? Yes I can...because this is my blog. Basically the MASSIVE hill that I first talked about, on Thursday's workout, I have not been able to run up yet. I really really REALLY want to be able to do that, so I have set myself a challenge to be able to run up that (I haven't designated a time...because I don't feel that's necessary). And what's the best motivation? A reward, and this is a real thing that I read about in the latest issue of Trail Running. Rewards are a great motivation. So when, and only when, I can run up this massive hill without stopping, I am going to treat myself to some new under-armour running gear. There are a few t-shirts and leggings that I really want, but they are a bit expensive, so I am going to earn them. I will let you know how that goes. Also, Trail Running is a great magazine so I recommend it. Highly.

And in closing, no I am not a gambling addict, but I have downloaded the free version of Map my Run which means that I have to endure adverts popping up every now and again. If I pay for the full version then I lose the adverts...I'm considering it.

How have you beautiful people been getting on with staying healthy?

Mary Higgins Clark | Daddy's Gone A-Hunting

September 25, 2016

This is the first Mary Higgins Clark novel that I've read. I'd heard that she's pretty good at the whole suspense/thriller type genre and so I thought I would give it a go. I saw that one of my friends on Goodreads had recently read this and given it 4 stars so I was like...meh...let's take a stab at this.

The story is centred around a family that have been making top quality reproduction antiques for three generations, The company is starting to get into some financial difficulty and then one evening there is a gas leak and an explosion which burns the entire company building to the ground including the factory and also the museum where they store their collection of priceless antiques.

To make matters worse, a member of the family, Kate and an ex employee are pulled from the debris of the building after the explosion. The ex employee is dead, but Kate is in a coma and lies in hospital with her family visiting and waiting for her to wake up to explain what happened.

Investigators discover that there are signs of foul play and within the company building and it seems to point towards someone having deliberately caused the explosion to be able to claim the insurance money. Since Kate and the ex employee were the only ones in the building at the time, all the blame seems to be pointing towards them.

Other sub-plots seem to inter-twine with the main story line. There are some missing young girls from years ago, a missing homeless guy that left his family that may or may not have killed one of those missing girls etc.


I wouldn't say that it's one of the most complex and well thought out plots I've ever read. There were some holes where I feel MHC had a good idea but didn't really think it all through and answer all the questions that are raised. The characters did seem a bit stereotypical and flat. Typical new-york pretty girls from rich families that have skeletons in the cupboards. There are love interests to comfort the pretty girls in their times of need and they somehow all end up within the same plot link-ups.

I will say though that I wasn't fully expecting that ending, and that is why I gave the book three stars (it otherwise would have got two). All the way through the book I did suspect the girls' father as being crooked. It was pretty obvious that we were being lead towards him...also...the title is Daddy's Gone A-Hunting so....But I genuinely did not even think for a second that he could have possibly been the dead brother. It does bring a lot of the questions together nicely and for that I give MHC kudos.

Over all I would recommend this book if you want something easy and fluffy to read on a train journey, just to keep you occupied. It's definitely NOT something that you should delve into if you're used to reading Kathy Reichs or James Patterson however.

Have you read this book? Discuss!

The Running Challenge | One Week On

September 21, 2016

Hello my friends and a happy Wednesday to you! There's me last week writing a blog post with a round up of lots of Autumn themed things and we appear to be in the midst of some sort of crazy late summer. Heat waves, thunder storms, sweaty nights. I really don't know where I stand right now. All I know is that last night was a really uncomfortable, sticky night...yet when I woke up, there was a frost outside. Seriously, Autumn anyone? Please?! I'm just sitting here praying for pumpkins and mittens!
But...I digress...
The point of today's post is to give you a weekly update on how I am doing with my Running Challenge that I began last week. If you're a regular here you may have seen my other challenges that I have undertaken in a bid to life a healthier, more active lifestyle. I did a water challenge and a five-a-day challenge.

So I began my challenge last week, and the aim was that I was going to run three times a week. I left the distance and duration deliberately ambiguous because I didn't really know where I was at with regards to fitness and where I needed to start from. Well I can tell you that this week I have indeed managed to go running three times. Bosun has thoroughly enjoyed himself, he is my main running buddy...and he will always do better than me...always.

At the weekend I downloaded a running app called Map my Run by Under Armour (I really like Under Armour) so my first run that I did on Thursday doesn't count (boo!) but I went running on Sunday and Tuesday and those runs have both been tracked. I really like this app. It's easy to use, straight forward in the way it reports your workout stats to you, and you can connect it to other fitness devices if you have them such as fitbits, garmins, apple watch etc.

So my cool new app has set me a personal target of running for a total of 1 hour a week and then we'll go from there to see how I can improve. This is a very do-able target as it stands and I'm confident I will achieve it as it appears that I am doing 20 minutes, three times a week anyway. The app hopefully will then set me new targets every week to improve my fitness. And by the way if you're wondering why it took me more time to run a shorter distance, it's because it was A LOT of uphill!

I will check in with you next week and let you know how I'm getting on with my running. I've actually really enjoyed it so far. Bosun got a little bit confused at first. He always gets excited when I stick my wellies on, but he didn't connect me tying up my Asics with going out so he was very surprised to find out that we were going to do something fun. I mainly jog, but do little sprint races with Bosun just to get my heart pumping and to make sure he has as much fun as possible. I think he likes it.

Have you been getting back into fitness?

Dorset Apple Cake | Recipe

September 18, 2016
Hello Friends!

September is here and with that means a massive glut of apples. I have 3 apple trees in my garden, one of which provides me with the most gorgeous, huge, delicious cookers. There are many different ways in which I can use these apples, but my favourite way? It has to be Dorset Apple Cake, the food of my ancestors. (I'm originally from Dorset if anybody didn't already know that.)

Here is the recipe that I use to make my Dorset Apple Cake, and as I mention whenever I share a cooking post with you, please be aware that I use a really temperamental gas oven which may work a little differently to yours. As you're cooking the cake, keep checking to make sure you're not burning it. This recipe is really, really easy and doesn't take long at all.

A lot of people use round cake tins to make Dorset Apple Cake but I prefer to use a loaf tin, because it makes it easier to slice and slicing is very important as I usually eat this in the afternoon with butter spread on top and a cup of tea. This recipe will also make 12 little Dorset Apple Cupcakes.


  • 2 large cooking apples (peeled, cored and diced into small cubes)
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 110g butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar 
  • 1 medium egg (beaten)
  • splash of milk


  • Preheat oven to 190°C and thoroughly grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  • Put the flour and butter in a mixing bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar, egg, milk and diced apples.
  • Spoon into the loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until top is golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then tip out onto a cooling rack to cool fully.

Are you a big Dorset Apple Cake fan? Discuss!

The Running Challenge (For Want of a Better Name)

September 14, 2016
So I've done The Water Challenge whereby I attempted to drink 2 litres of water a day for a month and was successful and have managed to carry that on. I did the Five-a-Day challenge where I attempted to get all five portions of fruit and veg a day for a month...successful...and I still do that.
And now...I have for you...The Running Challenge. I really couldn't think up a better name for this...I tried.

I used to do a bit of running. I did the race for life a few times and did the Cheddar Gorge 10k a few years back to raise money for the RNLI. Since I've moved up to Northumberland, I have let my running slide ever so slightly and feel verrrrry guilty about it. And by ever so slightly...I mean that I have been running twice in two years.

I can feel physically that my fitness has dwindled and I am really, really desperate to get back to where I was before. I think one of the reasons that running hasn't appealed to me so much is because I am mostly surrounded by hills. I always do off-road running so a few slopes are part of what I was used to...but Northumberland hills are ridiculous. So I am going to embrace the hills, dust off my running shoes and get back to it.

My aim for this challenge is to run three times a week. One of the plus sides to running will be that I can incorporate my half of the dog-walks in with my runs, so Bosun will be properly chuffed with running to keep up with mummy!

As I've mentioned before, these challenges that I'm undertaking are not about body-image. I am not unhappy with my body and trying to lose weight or anything like that. I am merely trying to improve my over-all well-being and fitness. I want to look beautiful and glowing on my wedding day. And it's also becoming a distinct likelihood that we will be talking about possibly having children in the next few years. I want to make sure that my body is 100% ready for the nine  month ordeal that I'm going to put it through, Exercise will go a long way towards strengthening my core muscles where I need them most!

As per usual I will be keeping you updated.
How are you keeping fit?

My Autumn Etsy Favourites

September 12, 2016
It's September! In my book that's officially Autumn, despite apparently experiencing some of the hottest september days on record...
I really enjoyed doing my Summer Etsy Round-up, so here I have done another round-up, this time based on all things Autumn (or Fall if you're American) and there are truly some BEAUTIFUL items out there!


Fox Scarf//£8.00//Futureity2

Autumn fifties vintage dress//£120.00//Oh my Honey Shop

Hand Knit Gloves//£18.00//Arty Cousin Jenny


Green Man Handbag Charm//£12.00//Cornish Dragon

Pumpkin Keyring//£5.00//WeeSleepyBeeCrafts


Needle Felted Pumpkin Brooch//£10.00//Middlemistmakes1

Fox Beaded Bracelet//£4.00//Fairy Fountain Gifts

Acorn Earrings//£22.00//Gwydions Garden

Needle Felted Deer Ring//£12.00//Middlemistmakes1


Baby Pumpkin PotPourri//£4.50//Sarah Benning

Hexagonal Autumn Tea-light jars//£5.00//LunarCreations7

Autumn Wreath//£32.50//DragonflyArtDesign1

100% Beeswax Pinecone Candles//£3.50//MeltedGlassbySteph

Full Length Autumn Apron//£23.23//Trinnyella

There's something about the colours of Autumn that make every body want to snuggle up with a book, drink tea and wear orange all the time! Where I live in my little pocket of Northumberland is an absolute STUNNER of a place once the leaves start to turn...I will be posting many a picture.
I hope you find something on this page that you love. Even if you don't buy anything, go on over and give the items a little "heart" as it really does make the Etsy sellers day.

Pierre LeMaitre | Blood Wedding

September 05, 2016

"...he does not stir. She bows her head, looks at him, hugs him to her belly and weeps. No-one could imagine the depths of her misery."

I was very lucky to be gifted this signed copy of an uncorrected bound proof of this book by Elizabeth Masters from Quercus books.

**This Review Contains Spoilers**

Sophie finds herself on the run when she wakes up one morning and Leo, the child for whom she is employed as a nanny, has been brutally murdered. Sophie has no recollection of committing this murder but...she must have done it...there's nobody else that could have done it...right?
We learn that over the course of several years, Sophie's mental health has been deteriorating. It drives a huge wedge between her and her husband as well as losing her a great job. She loses things, forgets appointments, messes up her contraceptive pill, manages to send private photos to places they shouldn't go...and she has no recollection of any of it.
She is too scared to tell her husband what is going on for fear that he might have her put into a psychiatric unit. One day he has a terrible car accident which leaves him almost completely paralysed and in a wheel chair, forcing Sophie to take care of him. Her mental decline continues, she finds herself putting her husband in even more danger...almost burning him to death and accidentally tipping him over..but having no recollection of it.
Eventually, her husband dies in a terrible accident involving his wheelchair and a staircase. Sophie is forced to take a Nanny's job to survive and her mental health still continues to decline.
Once on the run, she takes cash in hand jobs and changes her appearance and name to stay ahead of the law. She comes up with a master plan to marry a man she's met on the internet which will give her a new life and a chance to start again. She meets the perfect candidate, Frantz who is a loving, gentle man who agrees to marry her.

I liked...

Wow the suspense in this book is unreal! This is the first of Lemaitre's books that I've read and I certainly will be reading more. The ability to create true suspense is a really rare quality in an author. There are only a few authors that I've read that have managed to create a really still, quiet, scary atmosphere for me when reading...and Lemaitre is one of them! Today, I received my Tesco order of groceries, and I was so sure I'd ordered potatoes...but there were no potatoes on my order...and I was like "Oh my's happening to me!"
On doing some research, I found out that Lemaitre is a trained psycologist...and this makes total sense. He knows exactly how to portray crazy!
The way the story is told through two different accounts. The first being Sophie's account. You really feel her pain and feel so sorry for her as she's experiencing all these terrible events. The second account is through Frantz's journal. You realise that Frantz is some crazy, mental, bizarre man who has been stalking Sophie and is the sole cause for her mental decline. He describes sneaking into her house and moving things, changing passwords and cancelling appointments and honestly, really honestly I felt absolute outrage. I was sat here on the sofa just yelling "stop it!" into the book. Kudos Lemaitre, kudos.
I like that Sophie still has a small support network, despite being a wanted fugitive. Her father and a close friend of hers both help her when she's trying to sort out what to do with Frantz and both prove to be great assets. I like that. 
I really liked the ending! I was kind of hoping that Sophie would get her life back in order and wouldn't let Frantz Von Crazy win, but I really couldn't have imagined such a fantastic ending. Drugging him, dressing him in his mother's wedding dress, him jumping out the window, and you collecting his inheritance? Yes please! Genius!

I didn't like...

I don't know whether it was supposed to be a surprise or not...because it really wasn't...but I pretty much knew from the beginning of Frantz's chapter that he was the man that Sophie was marrying. I think his name was deliberately not mentioned in Sophie's chapter so as to try and stop you making that connection. But I was convinced it was him...that could have been done a bit better. But quite honestly that is my only criticism of this book. 

Genuinely I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a suspenseful, creepy, genius piece of writing that will have you guessing, yelling and crying from start to finish. Your opinions and everything that you think you've figured out will do a full 180 throughout the course of the book, Read it!

Have you read this book? Discuss!
Also, I'm nearly halfway through my goodreads reading challenge for 2016. I'm doing quite pitifully but once I have some more spare time in November, I'll smash it!

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