First ParkRun

This week I took part in my first ever ParkRun, and I wanted to share with you all about it.

First off if you haven’t heard of ParkRun it’s a free timed event, 5k in distance that takes place across the UK and beyond. You can find out more about it here. Or visit my How to ParkRun post.

I signed up for ParkRun a while ago, knowing that I couldn’t make a run for a while due to work commitments. But I did know that at the next opportunity I’d give it a go. Those that have been around a while on here will know that I did manage to work through the majority of Couch to 5k last year and did make it to that all important 5k. However, beyond that, motivation waned and I hadn’t done any running since about July/August. So I knew, on Saturday, 5k (or 3 miles if you prefer) was a big ask. Although a fairly manageable distance, even for the unfit, it’s further than you’re going to find comfortable on no exercise. Especially at a degree over freezing – brr!

Despite the temperature, it didn’t stop a turn out of almost 350 people. 350 people decided it was a good idea to go for a run on a day a degree above freezing. I know. Mad.

I set myself a comfortable target of finishing, and bonus points if I could do so within 40 minutes, which my husband deemed to be a very generous target. But I was realistic about my fitness, and anything quicker would be impressive for me.

I’d say my comfortablity limit was reached at abut 3k, just over half way. At that point I was ready to call it done and I was definitely lagging and my husband ‘couldn’t run any slower’. By 4k I’d ‘stopped’ for a power walk, which I wish I hadn’t – do you know how hard it is to restart after an unplanned walk? All I could think about was the next time I could walk. Which was probably about 1/2k from the end, by the way.

I’m using this experience as a baseline, things can only get better and I’m hoping the next time I take part it’ll be with a quicker time and a more comfortable run.



I like to know exactly what’s going to happen when I try something new. So here’s a guide to ParkRun, attempting to answer all those ‘newbie’ questions I had before my first last weekend.

So, ParkRun is a free timed 5k event that usually takes place at 9am on a Saturday morning. There is also a Junior ParkRun that takes place on a Sunday.

So what do I need to do first?

Sign up! Use the website to find your nearest ParkRun, and then register with them. This is a short form and you’ll receive an email containing your barcode that you’ll need to take with you on the day. The barcode is the way of your receiving your results and timings.

Do I have to sign up?

No, you don’t have to. But if you don’t sign up you won’t get a time.

What time do I need to get there?

For your first time you’ll probably want to be there about 15-20mins before the start at 9am. This will give you time to get familiar with the area, and I’d recommend having a stretch too…! There’ll be a short briefing beforehand of any areas that might be hazardous (extra muddy etc) and a mention for those that have reached some milestones.

What about when I arrive?

For your first ParkRun there’s the option of having a short newbie chat with one of the volunteers with other new runners. This is a briefing for both those that haven’t been to ParkRun before and also for those that haven’t run at this location before. The volunteer will tell you how ParkRun works and also some specifics about the course. You can also ask any questions.

Do I need to do anything else beforehand?

Nope. Keep your barcode safe in your pocket (or sock, or attached to you somehow) as you’ll only need this at the end of the run. You don’t need to do anything else when you arrive. You don’t need to ‘sign in’ or anything like that.

Time to run…

It is stressed that ParkRun is a timed event, and not a race. So therefore you’re encouraged to go at your own pace and enjoy the experience, not to think of it as a race. You can run, jog or walk. Therefore, when you head to the start you’re going to want to position yourself correctly. If you’re like me (new and unfit) you’ll want to start at the back to avoid being trampled. More experienced runners to the front.

I don’t want to come last.

It’s physically impossible to come last, as there’s a trail walker sweeping up at the back. He or she will always be the last over the line. So that’s one load off your mind!

What happens at the end?

When you cross that finish line with relief and pride you’ll be funnelled in order to collect a small chip. Make sure you stay in line and in the position you crossed the line until you pick up your chip. You must take a chip, even if you don’t have a barcode or don’t want to know your time. Timings are done based on positions, so if one person does take their chip it throws the result out. Once you’ve picked it up you can then go and collapse on the ground in a heap. When you’re suitably ready, find the area where they are scanning chips and barcodes. This will link your position and time to your barcode for when results are later posted. If you don’t have a barcode, you must still hand in your chip.

Then what?

Later on that day you’ll receive an email (or text if you’ve signed up to that service) stating your position, how many runners took part and your time. You’ll also get an idea of how well you did based on your age and gender.


I hope that helped all you possible newbies out there answer some newbie questions – because I definitely had them! If you have any more pop them in the comments and I’ll try and answer.


Neighbours: Hit and Run ~ Review

Always excited to have the opportunity to review the best soap opera on our TV 😁

Entertainment Views

Welcome back Chloe Buckles, guest reviewing her beloved soap operaNeighbours for me and in this case she’s selected the late night special! Here are her thoughts…

If you were a solid watcher of Neighbours in the 90’s then Monday evening’s 10pm one-hour special of the UK’s favourite Australian soap was the place to be without a doubt! Nostalgic, with some familiar faces of ex-cast, the show put on its best impression of a movie and encouraged us to get reminiscent of the 1990’s.

We kicked off with a Spice Girls intro instead of the usual opening titles, starting up the full themed 90’s party atmosphere as we headed off into Toadie’s (Ryan Moloney) 21st birthday party, seeing the return of familiar faces Stu Parker (Blair McDonough), Lance Wilkinson (Andrew Bibby) and Stonie Rebecchi (Anthony Engelman) – dressed as…

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Time To Talk Day 2018

The 1st February is officially Time To Talk Day – a day encouraging people to talk about mental health and increasing the awareness of it and trying to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Mental health is named all wrong, I think. Mental health is simply a part of your health. No different to physical health. There are things you can do to improve and maintain your physical health (exercise, healthy eating) and also things you might do to support your mental health. And just like physical health, all the healthy eating and exercise in the world won’t stop you facing mental health issues.

The difference is that although we talk about physical health in the case of good or bad, we all agree that we have physical health. And yet when we discuss mental health we only discuss it if we have are struggling. ‘Mental health’ carries a whole weight with it, if someone has ‘mental health’ then immediately we’re thinking and wondering what’s wrong. ‘Physical health’ doesn’t carry the same misconceptions and burdens as the phrase ‘mental health’.

The truth is, whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we all have mental health. And, quite honestly, mental health is simply ‘health’. It all adds up to the big picture. At least, that is how I see it.

It’s really easy to be stubborn to mental health, there’s the odd bad days and passing feelings. And then there’s not looking at it in the face, not admitting the monster niggling at the back of your mind, because, ‘you’re fine’ and you don’t want to be ‘crazy’. Because you’re stronger than that, better than that. I’ll feel alright tomorrow. But suddenly there’s been a weeks worth, a months worth of tomorrows and when was the last time you felt ‘normal’?

In the same way that you go to the doctors when your physical health takes a turn, it’s important to recognise when mental health needs help too. And, in all honesty, you’re the only one who knows deep down how you feel and what you’re hiding beneath the busyness of your life.

To everyone going through a difficult time with mental health issues at the moment, I think you’re awesome. Because you’re still here and you’re still fighting. And sometimes that’s just getting up in the morning, and that’s perfectly OK. Finding someone you trust to share your journey with, and getting professional help when you need it is so important, but a massive step. And if you’ve done that, that’s something to be hugely proud of yourself for – the bravery of admitting you’re not OK takes all the courage in the world. And wanting to change that when you’re at your lowest? That’s reason enough to show you are strong enough to come out the other side.

Time to Change





Jauary Challenge Update: Meditation and Mindfulness


Remember that thing I said I’d do where I’d try meditation for 30 days – still doing it! But I do confess, I missed a day! However, only the one which means I’m currently on Day 16 of the current pack I’m working through, thanks to the guided meditation app Headspace. What I’m actually doing is probably more likely described as Mindfulness, essentially quiet time focusing on the breath.

Most days I go for the minimum 10 minute sessions, occassionally 15 minutes. I tried 20 minutes but that was pushing it! But when I’m further towards the end I might give it another go. Meditation is definitely something that takes practice, and it takes a little while to stop feeling ‘silly’, but once you overcome that I can definitely see the benefits.

If you’re new to meditation and want to give it a go I can recommend the basics pack on Headspace, which you can access for free by downloading it. These are introductions to meditation/mindfulness and you can adjust the length of your session to as little as 3 minutes if sitting for long periods intimidates you. When you’ve completed the basics pack you can try out the first session of some of the paid for packs, which include focuses from all parts of life – from mental health to work life or relationships.

So, having completed 16 days what am I learning? Mainly that taking 10minutes in silence (with some guidance!) is really, really nice. Life moves really quickly for all of us, always onto the next thing before we’ve finished the thing before. Scheduling into your day time for yourself to just sit is really relaxing. And although the idea is to clear the mind and focus on breathing there’s a benefit also to seeing what’s on my mind. The pack I’m currently working through uses noting to try and recognise a thought or feeling and ‘note’ it before going back to focusing on the breath. You can see the video animation for noting by clicking here. It’s really clear when there’s something on my mind because it’ll keep coming back to me during the session, or thoughts around the same ‘topic’. When I finish the session I know that XYZ needs dealing with or thinking about and then I can continue with my day. It is the constant to-do list conversation with myself that is my biggest distraction in finidng quiet time. But, as I said, meditation is definitely a skill tha needs practicing , so there’s no use beating myself up over it.

I can’t say this experience is likely to make me meditate daily for life, but I will certainly see out the rest of the month and I can also see why so many people take up this, or similar, practices.

I’ll see you all at 30 days!

Meditation and mindfulness

As mentioned in my previous blog post, one of the things I’d like to do this year is some more of the 30 day challenges that I’ve dabbled with in the past. In order to get the new year off to a calming and relaxing start I have subscribed, for one month, to Headspace a guided meditation and mindfulness app to see how much meditation or mindfulness could impact on my daily life.

I’m not sure about you, but when I hear ‘meditation’ the picture that springs in my mind is a buddhist monk sat cross-legged, possibly on top of a mountain for hours on end. And although meditation is an important part of the Buddhist religion, it really isn’t much more than allowing yourself time and space in quiet. And I’m good at being quiet!


In fact, the Headspace app promises me a ‘happier and healthier life’ by using their guided meditations – so what is there to worry about? And although meditation isn’t a word that is often associated with Christianity, it’s not all that far off a quiet time of prayer, that Jesus encouraged us to do in quietness and solitude.

I am not unfamiliar with Headspace, I have worked my way through the free Basics pack on two occasions (a year or so apart) but not with much regularity – doing a bit and then leaving it a fews days (or weeks) and doing a bit more. I can tell you, if mediation is something you haven’t done before the initial reaction it is “I feel totally ridiculous”. I’d encourage you to stick with it because there is benefit in taking time away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, even for just 5 minutes to yourself.

Bye 2017!


Where have I been? Where did I go? Blogging in 2017 was going so well…

Well friends – hi! First, sorry for the silence. If I was to stick to a hobby consistently for more than 6 months then that would be the true indication that something was wrong! But I did miss this little corner of the internet.

In truth, it’s simply been a busy few months – but with nothing exciting to share with you all. I have been getting stressed and worried about a few things and I didn’t want to bring that into this space, so the blog went off for a short while. And although not a great deal has changed I did want to make sure I saw out 2017 with a short post.

THANK YOU to everyone that has kept up with this blog over the year. I enjoy writing, but if someone reads it that’s just a bonus really – so thank you so much. This has been the most blogged year for me, with this being the 33rd blog in the bag, not including the opportunity I had to blog for Break A Leg earlier on in the year. Being given the opportunity to blog for someone elses website is a true honour that I am very grateful for.

Climbing Snowdon has definitely been one of the best but most exhausting things of the year and an experience I won’t forget (still getting over that beautiful view!). Hubby is already asking which mountain are we going up this year. I’ll be honest – I’m not sure if my knees will manage another one! Twinning this with the opportunity to be a bridesmaid for a friend made for an all-round excellent start to the summer.

Another highlight (also at the beginning of summer) was working towards improving my fitness and managing to complete a 5k run using the majority of the C25k training plan. My only regret is that I didn’t keep going, but perhaps that’s one for next year and you might see a 10k out of me. Nonetheless, running an organised race this year would be fantastic, and joining Park Run perhaps for those Saturday’s when I’m not at work.

The challenge I set myself earlier in the year was Going a Month Without Social Media . This was fantastic, and I’d recommend it to anyone who spends a prolonged amount of time scrolling. But did it dramatically alter my life? Well, no. But I don’t have those little annoying red bubbles anymore on any of my social media apps, and beyond Facebook Messenger and emails I have no notifications from my apps either so that I don’t find myself accidentally falling into Social Media. 30 day challenges are definitely something I want to do more of, and I’m hoping to do more of them in 2018 – both removing things and trying new things for a month. If you have any you think would do me good let me know, I’d love some ideas!

Anyway, as I said, thank you for reading along this year. I hope you all had a lovely Christmastime whatever you got upto and I wish all a very happy New Year 🙂