I Run, Therefore I Am A Runner

As I make my slow return to running, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘runner’. You see, as I’ve been away from running since the start of April, and have to very carefully ease myself back in on my still-healing ankle, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a bad runner.

And then it hit me.

If I go out and run, that makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I go out every day, or once a week, or even less often than that, taking part in the activity of running makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 minute and then walk for 1 minute. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 mile or 10 miles. I have never been a fast runner, even at my peak, but d’you know what? A 15 minute mile is just as far as a 7 minute mile.

I’ve never taken running overly seriously. I’ve always written my own training plans, changed things up on the fly, and if I’m being perfectly honest, last year I didn’t really train for any of the half marathons that I ran. I guess I’ve always been lucky to be able to get away with it, but things are different now. I’m finding it hard being so set back from where I was before, and feeling the pressure of my upcoming marathon, but it is just that, a setback. Setbacks are made to be overcome.

But despite all this, I’m still a runner. I don’t have to run a 10K every day to call myself a runner, I don’t have to have a precise training and nutrition plan to call myself a runner, and I don’t have to be a fast runner to call myself a runner. Anyone who gets out and runs is a runner, and that’s what counts.

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Paris, I’m coming back!

Happy Thursday y’all! (I had to check that it’s actually Thursday because working from home means I have no sense of what day of the week it is!)

I’m in a pretty great mood today because last night Matthew and I booked ourselves a little trip to.. Disneyland Paris! Eeek!

Believe it or not, I actually haven’t stepped foot into a Disney park at all this year, and I honestly have found it much harder than I thought I would – especially after spoiling myself with so many trips over the last few years! Anyway, with Matthew officially starting with easyJet on September 17th, we had wanted to get away on a little trip in the week before then, and had played around with the idea of a couple of places in Europe, then last night he called me up and said he’d found a pretty good deal on 4 nights in Paris, and next thing I knew it was booked!

We’re staying offsite, which I’m actually quite excited about because I haven’t actually stayed offsite before, and as I’m getting an annual pass (yay!), I plan on squeezing in a whole bunch of trips in the next year and doing them as cheaply as possible, I know that offsite is gonna be the way to do it. I’m so psyched to be becoming an AP holder again, especially now I’ll be able to take advantage of Matthew’s staff travel to fly super cheap and go more often than I have done before!

It’ll also be our first trip to Paris together, and believe it or not, only actually our second time in a Disney park together! I haven’t been to Paris in almost a year, and as that was for a RunDisney weekend it wasn’t really a proper park trip, so I can’t wait to just be in the parks with my favourite person and not have to worry about running a half marathon the next morning!

Oh, and did I mention it’s only 25 days away?! I’m so excited!

Things I Am When I’m Not A Disney Fan

Because its what I talk about 90% of the time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Disney is all I really care about. Truth is, though, there are actually a lot of other fandoms that I belong to, and while I might not always talk about them as much, many of them mean as much to me as Disney does.

I have loved Lord of the Rings since the first film came out. I was only 7 when the first movie came out (2001), so no, I hadn’t read all the books before seeing the films, but I have read them all now. The movies were a HUGE part of my childhood, and once we had them on DVD, me and my sister would watch them at least once a month, if not most weekends – all extended versions, for any other fans who care about these things. As well as the story itself, we became obsessed with all of the behind the scenes features on the DVDs (there are two discs worth for each film), which we’ve watched way more times than is probably considered normal.

The last Lord of the Rings film, Return of the King, was actually the first film I ever cried at. I was 9 years old at the time, and I wasn’t crying because the end of the film was sad, I was crying because I was sad that it was the last Lord of the Rings film, and there wouldn’t be any more movies; this was way before any of The Hobbit films had been announced.

I also LOVE musicals. Its probably the only thing that makes me wish I lived in London because I could quite easily go to a show every night. I saw a lot of musicals as a young kid because my parents have always been musical fans, but it wasn’t until I was about 11/12 that I really got into them. I’m super lucky to have seen a lot of musicals on West End, and even a handful on Broadway, and my all time favourite musical is Rent, with other favourites including Avenue Q (which is actually the musical I’ve seen the most times), Wicked and Spamalot. I’ve also seen a lot of the classics, like Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and I even saw Cats when I was very young.

And even though I’ve actually seen more musicals than I can even remember sometimes, I’ve still got a list as long as my arm of more shows that I would love to see, with the top of the list being Legally Blonde and Hamilton.

I’m also a Potterhead, I love building Lego and doing sudokus and I’m a sucker for a crime/detective show on TV (I’m patiently awaiting the return of Death in Paradise). Disney is a huge part of my life, but I am more than just a Disney fan.

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A Timeless Gift*

Despite everything having been a total whirlwind over the last few months, Matthew and I have had a lot to celebrate lately. We bought our first house and became homeowners in May, celebrated our two year anniversary in June, and Matthew finally started his new job at the end of July, so its been exciting times all round.

Of course we celebrated all of these wonderful moments at the times they occurred, but with all the craziness going on, I felt they were a little rushed, and I wanted to commemorate them with the right gift, which I was really struggling to find. Matthew has always supported me in everything I’ve done, and he’s worked so hard over the last few years to get his dream job, I wanted something that wasn’t just an every day sort of present, I wanted to get him something that was special. So when I was contacted by the wonderful team at Jord Watches, I instantly knew that this was an opportunity I wanted to share with him.

A watch makes an amazing gift for a special occasion, but these watches are in a world of their own. This stunning Hyde watch is just one of the wonderfully unique wooden watches that Jord have to offer – and no, you read that right, its actually wooden!

Matthew chose the Ebony & Iron finish, which is beautifully subtle but every time I see it I’m absolutely amazed at how intricate the design is. The darker colour makes styling the watch effortless, and it goes well with everything in his wardrobe. It was custom sized to his wrist measurement, and came in this incredible presentation box, which just added to the whole unboxing experience.

And while I did let Matthew choose the watch itself, I did surprise him by opting to have the back of the watch engraved with our anniversary date to add that extra personal touch to commemorate the last two years we’ve spent together.

This watch just made all my gift choosing worries disappear. Being able to have it engraved meant I could use it as a way of celebrating our special day, but also what’s wonderful about giving a watch is that in Matthew’s new job as a pilot, he’s actually required to wear a watch at all times, so I could also use this opportunity to gift him something that he’ll wear and use all the time, but that’s more than just practical, its stylish.

Jord make these incredible wooden watches in both men’s and women’s styles, plus they also do amazing wooden straps for Apple watches, so there’s really something for everyone, and with that in mind, how do you fancy winning $100 credit towards a watch of your own, or so that you too can give someone a truly timeless gift? Simply fill out the giveaway form here – plus you’ll get a 10% off code just for entering! Giveaway closes September 9th at 11:59pm.

Wooden Wrist Watch

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*This post contains gifted items. All views are my own.

1000 Blog Posts Later

This is it, blog post #1000.

In reality, this blog post is no different to any other post I’ve written, but it does mark an incredible milestone in my blogging life. Honestly, there are not many things in my life that I have stuck with for this long.

This year has probably been the hardest year for me in terms of blogging. In previous years I have always maintained at least 5-6 blog posts a week, which I know is a pretty impressive achievement considering I’ve always done this along side working full time, but this year there has just been so many other distractions and changes in my life which have got in the way.

D’you know what? That’s ok. The things that have distracted me from blogging this year have been mainly wonderful. So much time has gone into buying and moving into our house, but as the the biggest adventure of my life to date, of course it was going to take priority over blogging, and the great thing about it is that I now have a whole load of new content ideas because of it.

A huge portion of my spare time this year has also gone into my Etsy store. At the start of the year, I set myself a little target of what I wanted to make from my store each month, and when in January I surpassed it within the first week, I knew that something good was happening, and things just got better and better. Well, long story short, now we’ve moved, my Etsy store is now my full time job, along with my other small businesses. In my wildest dreams I did not think I’d be doing this back at the start of the year, but we’re only just a week into August and I’ve already covered my mortgage payment, which makes me so frickin’ proud. It also means that I’m not squeezing custom orders into my evenings and weekends, so hello more time for blogging again!

So 1000 posts later, I’m still here, and I’m still loving this little corner of the internet of mine. In October, Lottie Does will be 5 years old, and of course I’ll be celebrating big time then, but this post is a little mini celebration for me!

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How Relateable Do Bloggers Actually Have To Be?

I’ve been thinking a lot about bloggers and relate-ability lately. Let’s face it, the aim of the game for most bloggers is to create content that people are going to want to read, right? But do readers always want to see something that they can relate to?

I recently read a really interesting post by Hannah from The Giraffe’s Life about why Zoella is considered by many to be unrelateable, and I agreed with many of the points put forward; personally I’ve never really been that bothered by Zoella anyway. But regardless of whether or not her millions of fans actually relate to her life of million pound mansions, jetting off to 5 star hotels and being on the cover of every magazine under the sun, they still want to watch her videos and read her posts, which got me thinking about whether or not bloggers do actually need to be relateable?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I kinda like reading about things that I would never actually be able to do myself. Clickbait-y titles like ‘I spent £700 in Primark’ are intriguing, and I can’t help but want to see what on earth was purchased to rack up that receipt total.

From my own stats, I know that my most popular posts are my holiday diaries, especially when I’m in Disney parks, and while I’d love to live in a world where being in Disney parks is considered everyday, I know that it isn’t.

And yes, on the flipside I do love a high end makeup dupe, a budget city break and quick, easy recipe posts, but I’m also super nosey and would love to see what it was like at the latest Spectrum release party, because it’s something that I’d never get to experience myself.

I think also that there’s a huge difference between the relate-ability of a blogger and the relate-ability of their content. A relateable blogger could do the most unrelateable activities, and I’d still read what crazy stuff they’d be up to, but an unrelateable blogger could buy five things under £5 from Primark and I’d have that little meh feeling when I read it, so I guess in that respect relate-ability is kinda important.

These are just my own personal musings on the subject, I’d love to hear your thoughts so drop me a comment!

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DIY Porg Meringues

Its not May the 4th, and its not any time around a film being released, but I figured I actually didn’t need an excuse to share what I feel like is one of the cutest baking posts I’ve done in a long time. Well, it is actually the first time in ages that I’ve done a baking post, and its my first time baking in my new house, so ok, there’s the excuse!

Like them or loathe them (but seriously, who doesn’t like them?!), Porgs sorta stole the show in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fun fact: the porgs were actually created as the island that the scenes were filmed on was populated with a whole load of puffins, and it was easier to CGI the porgs over all the puffins than it was to remove the puffins from the shots, so porgs are basically just space puffins. But I digress..

I’ve had the idea for these cute little sweet treats in my head for a little while now, and here they are – they’re a super simple bake and only 4 ingredients too! I always use the BBC Good Food Ultimate Meringue recipe for meringues, as below, but if you have your own go-to meringue recipe you can use that!

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 100C, and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. On the back of my greaseproof paper I drew a porg template ready for piping later, but you don’t have to do this.

Whisk your egg whites using a hand or stand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then up the speed a little and add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, waiting a few seconds between each spoonful. Once the caster sugar has all been added, your mix should look nice and shiny! Sift the icing sugar into the egg mix  one third at a time, and fold in gently using a metal spoon until smooth.

Now how you shape your porg is totally up to you, I used a piping bag but I imagine you could do it no problem using a spoon. Pipe/spoon your porg shapes onto the greaseproof paper leaving a little bit of space between each one – don’t worry about them being too peak-y or being all the same shape, it gives them character! Bake for 1 hour 30 mins, and then leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

To give yourself a nice flat canvas to work on, flip your meringues so that the flat side is the front of your porg, and now you’ve got yourself an army of little meringue porgs, you’re gonna want to melt down your chocolate. As you’re gonna be dipping, I suggest doing this in a fairly small bowl so that you’ve got some depth.

Take a porg, and working from wing to wing, dip and turn your meringue to create a chocolate border around your porg, then place them onto greaseproof paper to dry. You can then use either a piping bag or toothpick dipped in chocolate to add facial features. Pop your porgs in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden, and you’re all done!

The meringues can be stored in a sealed container for about a week, if they last that long..