Category Archives: Challenges

How I prepare for 5k

For the last two years I went each year on a 5k race, both very enjoyable: Run or Dye and Color Run. This year I’m going on a serious 5k race: Women’s Running Race Series, sponsored by Roots Collective. I want to get a good time, so I have to prepare. I made a schedule that works with the other things I have to do. I allowed one month for training. I’m relatively fit to begin with, so I think a month is enough.

01 Roots

In this post I’m going to talk about the workouts, the food and drinks. These delicious blends by Roots Collective will help me get to my goals. If you follow my blog, you know that I try to eat as healthy as I can. Recently I blogged about 1 year of daily smoothies and a few months ago I’ve challenged myself to have 10-a-day for 1 week.

02 Program

This is the program I’ve created for this month. After I’ll finish it, I’m going to talk about the program again, to see how it went. I don’t think running is enough to get ready for a race, so I inserted a few Insanity cardio workouts in the program. I did Insanity back in 2012 and it felt great, it’s a hard working out regime, but it’s so good. When I say it’s hard, it’s really really hard. But this is how I can get good results in a short period of time, so it’s worth it.

I made sure I can do that workout in that day and I hope I can finish it as it is. So far I did what I planned and I’m very happy with the progress.

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My goals for 2017

Today is the 9th anniversary of the day I became vegetarian. I wanted to write something meaningful about this, but I already blogged about The Best Thing About Being Vegetarian, how it was a few years ago. If you want to read more about my thoughts regarding this, don’t miss Not suitable for vegetarians and all the recipes on my food blog CookStyle. As I didn’t have any ideas, I  postponed the meaningful post for next year, when I’ll be celebrating a decade of vegetarianism. So, I will post the list of goals for this year.
There is a different list for my blogging goals. I want to keep them separate, as they are easier to manage.


1. 365 Project. Last year I did the 365 project, well 366, and I loved it. It was so nice to look at the end of the month on what I did. My husband and I had a look a couple of days ago at all the months and it was lovely to see how much we did last year. I want to continue this year. I’m not sure how I will share the pictures after each month, but I still have time to figure that out.

2. Sew more. I want to sew another skirt or maybe a dress. I also have planned to sew a handbag from old jeans. I saw a few great ideas on Pinterest and I do have a few old jeans I can use. I can’t wait.

3. Make 5 from 40 before 40 list. Last year I did more than 5, so this year I will set a lower goal and hopefully I can do more.

4. Craft. I want to try some craft projects and maybe even sharing them on the blog, if they turned out to be helpful (and they actually work).

5. Good things jar. Last year I had the good things jar, but I didn’t put as many notes in it as I should have. This year I want to write more on notes and give up the Good things updates I used to write on the blog in the last 2 years.

Only 5 goals and quite easy to do, but I don’t want more this year. I want to travel and I’ll make a bucket list of things I want to see this year, as I think that deserves a post on its own.

Personal Goals for 2016 – How I did

Last year I finished all my goals, but this year Snowdon caught me out. Anyway, I did everything else and I’m pleased. I have new ideas of goals for next year. This is how I did.


1. Good things jar. DONE! I wrote the notes at the beginning of the year, but kept forgetting about it. So I don’t have a lot of notes at the moment. I will try one more year, maybe I will be more consistent. Even so, I think I did pretty good.

2. Hike to the top of Snowdon. I said that if it’s on the list I’ll have to do it. I didn’t.

3. Cross a few things from that 40 before 40 list. DONE! I didn’t set up a specific number, but I did quite a few this year:
4. Grow edible flowers.
9. Buy a caravan or at least make a trip with a rented caravan.
11. Sew a dress/skirt from scratch.
14. Do something I’m scared of.
24. Complete a 30 days working out challenge without missing a day.
27. Buy a collectible with Michael Schumacher.
34. Do more than 200 push-ups in a workout.
40. Buy a membership somewhere.

4. Read 3 biographies. DONE! There is Something I’ve Been Dying to Tell You, by Linda Bellingham; Common sense rules: What You Really Need to Know about Business by Deborah Meaden; The way I see it. Rants, revelations and rules for life by Alan Sugar and Coco Chanel (Critical Lives) by Linda Simon.

5. Take on 5 challenges. DONE! I did: Smoothie challenge in June and I still do it, with a little twist; 30 Days Push Up Challenge and 365 Project, technically is not over yet, as we still have a few days in the year, but it’s going to good; I want to keep it next year too. Also there a couple of challenges related to blogging, the monthly  posts about farm/mill, cooking updates and reviews.  In total there are more than 5.

Did you set up goals for this year? How did you do?

Books I’ve enjoyed lately #3

My reading challenge is more than half way through and it’s something I sometimes struggle with. I wish I could read more, but I don’t have enough time or mood for reading. Even so, I managed to read a few books, and, more importantly, books I wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t for the reading challenge. The last update was a few months ago. Since then 4 months had passed and the themes to the reading challenge were: May – Folklore Month; June – Epic Tome Month (over 600 pages); July – Biography Month and August – Horror Month.


Green Men & White swans. The Folklore of British Pub Names by Jacqueline Simpson

This was so interesting, much more exciting than I’ve anticipated. I should make a disclaimer: you will not be able to look at the pub names as before. Joking aside, it’s quite fun to read it. The meaning of some of the pubs are interesting, like Good Woman, Green Man, Blind beggar, Cheese rollers, Childe of Hale, Royal Oak.
Some of the pubs are closed, like Jane Shore, a pub in Shoreditch, named after a notorious medieval beauty, mistress of Edward IV. After the King’s death, she became destitute and is believed she died in a ditch, hence the name Shoreditch. That is not true, as Shoreditch is documented before her time, but it makes an interesting story.

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30 days Smoothie Challenge

Last year, in June, I took the Colourful Smoothie Challenge. It was interesting and I want to do it again this year. Last year I didn’t finish the challenge, the last 2-3 days I wasn’t able to make smoothies, but this year I have a plan. I will be away for a few days, so when I can’t use my blender, I will buy smoothies from the supermarket. I’m also thinking of other alternatives, like taking the shaker with me and making a smoothie with natural juice and add things like Chia seeds, cocoa powder and shake it. I’m not sure it will work, but I think it should.

this is a chocolate and orange smoothie I made last year

I will take pictures of my smoothies and I will share them on twitter. If you want to join in for the whole smoothie challenge or just a few days, tag me on twitter and I’ll RT your picture. If you are looking for inspiration, I’ve made a Pinterest board for smoothies last year and I’m going to update it this year with new ideas for smoothies.

This year I will pair the smoothie challenge with a 30 days working out challenge. It will be an easy challenge, only 10 minutes a day. In those 10 minutes I can do push-ups (if you read my blog you know I love push ups), routines that I will find from youtube or apps, running, yoga or stretch. The hard part will be to do something every single day. As I said, I will be away and then it will get interesting to see what I can do to keep up with my working out routine.

Would you like to take part in this 30 days Smoothie challenge? Would you like to take both challenges? Let me know.

Books I’ve enjoyed lately #2

The last two months I was busy with other things, but I must admit I wasn’t that keen on reading books despite the lack of time. I read only one SCI-FI book in March and two autobiographies in April-early May. They are part of my reading challenge. I didn’t read any other work related books. For this month I didn’t toke the books from the library yet, I’ll do that on Friday when I’m going to Lightnight. I hope the mood for reading will come back.
Regardless of all this, I really liked the 3 books I’ve read and I would recommend all of them.

Common sense rules What You Really Need to Know about Business by Deborah Meaden
Common sense rules: What You Really Need to Know about Business by Deborah Meaden

I like Deborah from the way she is at Dragon’s Den. I like her even more now, after reading her book. The book “does what it says on the tin”, it’s all about common sense rules. I loved it. The way Deborah presented her stories was as inspirational as the stories themselves.
She feels comfortable to write about personal things, but without oversharing. I liked her advises and her way of thinking. It was interesting to read about her story of selling Weststar. I also thought it’s quite interesting how she implemented rules to empower the employees so they can take better care of their customers.
In the book, she talks about popular myths about entrepreneurship and I liked that part too. Myths are well… myths. She also talks about the importance of the business plan, a part ignored by small businesses.
It’s a lovely book and if you ever want to open a business, reading it will give you a very good insight of what can happen.

Continue reading Books I’ve enjoyed lately #2

30 Days Push Up Challenge

A few months ago, in February, I set up a 5 minutes exercise routine: as many push-ups as I can in 5 minutes, every day. I wanted to see how much I can improve if I do those 5 minutes of push-ups for a month, hence my 30 Days Push-up Challenge. The results are great, I went from 81 to 116, and at the same time I learned a thing or two about how my body responds to the same workout each day.

01 /04 – 81 11/04 – 101 21/04 – 110
02/04 – 85 12/04 – 102 22/04 – 107
03/04 – 86 13/04 – 95 23/04 – 111
04/04 – 86 14/04 – 105 24/04 – none
05/04 – 90 15/04 – 104 25/04 – 107
06/04 – 94 16/04 – 106 26/04 – 109
07/04 – 93 17/04 – none 27/04 – 110
08/04 – 100 18/04 – 108 28/04 – none
09/04 – 101 19/04 – none 29/04 – 116
10/04 – 100 20/04 – 110 30/04 – 115

30 Days Push Up Challenge
My goals when I started the challenge was to do more than 100. I managed to reach that goal on 8th. So I made a new goal, to reach 110 and I reached that on 20th. I’m, obviously, very happy with the results.

Another goal was to do these push-ups every single day. I couldn’t do that, due to a few factors. I realized that doing every day push-ups meant I would solicit my body more than I should. I felt some pressure on the knees and elbows. I decided to have the Sunday off and this is why I didn’t do any push-ups on 17th and 24th.

On 19th I couldn’t do it, I was tired and my husband said it’s not a good idea. I had to agree with him, taking a challenge is not only about motivation, but I think it’s about knowing when to stop too. Being safe is paramount, so I skipped that day. One day, I can’t remember when exactly (next time I should write notes when I’m taking a similar challenge), I was able to do the push-ups with 10 minutes to spare in the day. In the morning I did 20 minutes of yoga, so the day wasn’t completely wasted.
On 28th I had a cold and quite high temperature, I took an aspirin and a paracetamol in the evening, another set of pills next morning and I was fine. As I avoid taking medication, over the counter pills have a fast effect on me. I think my immune system is better due to my diet and activity levels, but that is another discussion.

Another day I should mention is the 13th. When I’m doing the push-ups, I have the phone in front of me. I can look at the seconds and decide how much time I should spend on breaks. On 13th I’ve decided not to look at the phone and do how I feel. I did less, so having the timer on and looking at it is a motivation to push. Also I think I can better manage my breaks if I see how much time passed.

In the last 2 days I changed my approach and, as you can see, the results were better. At the beginning of the month, I was doing as many push-ups as I could, then a break and so on. I was starting with a series of 20-25 and I was doing less and less in the series as I was starting to get tired. In the last two days I’ve decided to try something else, because I’m like that, I can’t do every single day the same thing without coming up with lots of ideas. I did short series, of 10, with 10-15 seconds breaks between them. This meant I was able to do more push-ups and that was surprising for me.

The 30 Days Push Up Challenge is over and I can say I enjoyed it a lot. I want to continue doing 5 minutes of push-ups once every week, as part of another challenge, or just to keep my push-up numbers up.

After this challenge I can say that I want to try another one, a 5 or 10 minutes challenge to exercise each day, but not the same thing, to do cardio or push-ups (I love push-ups) or yoga (instead of a day off) or squats. With this approach, of 5 minutes of intense exercise, but different, it would be ok.

These are my thoughts after a 30 Days Push Up Challenge. Do you take fitness challenges? Would you like to try a push-up challenge?