Week 4 walking progress


  • Total for week 4 = 34 miles
  • Average per day for this week (34 / 7) = 4.86
  • Running total = 85 + 34 = 119 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 119) = 931

Another good week to finish off January! This week I’ve looked for additional opportunities to get a few more miles in; for example, rather than taking the car to the local supermarket yesterday I set off with my backpack (in the rain) and walked there and back which added another 3 miles to my total! My husband thought I was mad… and needless to say, he stayed at home!

I also did 10 miles today with a local walking club which is a good way to increase my mileage in a social way. This is a different walking club to my usual one but there are a few to choose from in my local area.




Preparing for my vegan month

Delicious vegan food in La Paz, Bolivia

Throughout our year of travels in 2016, my husband Chris and I got a real taste for vegan food. It can be difficult to stay healthy while on the road long term particularly as we mostly stayed in budget accommodations. Often breakfast would be a piece of cake and a coffee! We discovered many vegan restaurants, often in unlikely places, and always offering delicious healthy food!

For example, the above picture was of a delicious meal served in the vegan Cafe Vida in La Paz, Bolivia. As mentioned in our La Paz blog post, this delightful little cafe was, according to Trip Advisor, the then number 1 of 324 restaurants in La Paz! Incredible for a country well known for being large consumers of meat.

We found other amazing vegan cafes and restaurants in places such as Peru, Prague, Thailand and Cambodia. They were all able to create delicious vegan masterpieces without the need for a single animal to be involved.

So, while I already have a taste for lovely vegan food, I haven’t yet committed myself to trying a full month of being a vegan.

I’ve missed Veganuary, a concept which has a website with loads of information to help people to try a vegan lifestyle in January. There are recipes and a list of popular restaurant chains who offer vegan food as part of their menu which will be really helpful.

I’m planning to try a vegetarian month in March, then a vegan month in April. I’m really looking forward to both!

Roll on ‘Vegapril’



Pondering… why become a vegetarian for a month?

Vegetable market in Hoi An, Vietnam

For the last few years I’ve gradually eaten less and less meat. The more I see awful videos of the abuse suffered by animals the more I’ve gravitated towards a semi vegetarian and vegan diet. I’ve also been influenced by my husband Chris, who has only eaten organic chicken (rarely) and fish since I’ve known him. And my daughter, Zoe, who became a vegan in 2016. Zoe has a point when she says “there are so many alternatives so why do you have to eat an animal?”

Many people become vegetarian for health benefits although as Harvard Health explains, you could eat a diet full of pizza, ice cream and cakes which is still technically vegetarian but not the healthiest!

So I have decided to try a vegetarian diet for the month of March just to see how things go and to consider whether this is right for me. Will I miss eating fish? Are there plenty of alternatives? Will I end up eating too much cheese and gain weight? Will I be sick of vegetable lasagne by 1st April? Will report back in due course…













January book review(s)

Book read: Kamikazi Kangaroo’s! 20,000 Miles Around Australia. One Van, Two Girls… And An Idiot. by Tony James Slater

My first book review following the challenge I set myself to read a book each month. 

Even though the author is nearly half my age and (by his own admission) a weird bumbling idiot I really enjoyed reading this book. The book follows Tony’s adventures and escapades of driving around Australia in a battered old camper van, together with his sister and her friend.

They have an enviable carefree lifestyle which lacks any real responsibility or any sense of direction. They have no money and no plans but somehow seem to get by with odd jobs along the way.

The book is somewhat crude and even a bit cringy in places but still hilarious all the way through… It gave a great insight into this kind of lifestyle and a real sense of escapism as I sat reading it (via the Kindle app on my iPad) as I commuted in and out of work.

I enjoyed learning more about Australia and loved Tony’s account of the Bibbulmun Track which inspired me to consider a long distance trail in the future… and a road trip around Australia…

(I have no kangaroo pics…)

So… you might have noticed.. ahem… the heading of this post states ‘reviews’… yes… after not picking up a book for possibly 4 or 5 years I managed to get through TWO books already this month! I’ve enjoyed the sense of escapism (as mentioned above) that reading these type of adventure books brings… a good way to relax and get inspired too…

OK… here is book number 2:

Book read: Just Off For A Walk by Stephen Reynolds

Review: This book is an account of the authors incredible adventures as he walks the entire 630 mile South West Coast Path in one go! He is an average 37 year old office worker who discovered a passion for walking.

While well written it’s not as hilariously funny as the Kamikazee Kangaroos book as mentioned above but Stephen does have a good sense of humour. He has no ego and seems a really decent chap.

I can’t believe his diet… all he seemed to eat was chips, mars bars, some kind of spicy sausage/pepperoni and Weetabix every day… I mean, every single day…. he was doing wonders for his body and his physical fitness levels yet he filled his body with junk…

Anyway, Stephen also inspired me to do this awesome long distance trail at some point! I don’t think my work will allow another career break for a while so I’ll just have to put this on hold… actually I first thought about doing the South West coast path about 12 years ago when I first heard about it… this book has only but fuelled another ambition…




Week 3 walking progress


  • Total for week 3 = 39 miles
  • Average per day for this week (39 / 7) = 5.57
  • Running total = 46 + 39 = 85 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 85) = 965

I’m pleased I managed to walk 39 miles this week which is quite a psychological boost as it has given me a few miles in the bag towards my target. As well as 2 x 5 or 6 mile treks in Portugal on Monday and Tuesday, I did two walks at the weekend; an 8.5 mile local trek with a group of friends (in the rain) and a 10.5 mile trek with a local walking club (in the snow).

Sunday’s 10.5 mile snowy walk


Week 2 walking progress

Rather than listing every time I walk anywhere I have been keeping a separate record and will just update the progress in order to keep track.


  • Total for week 2 = 21 miles
  • Average per day for this week (21 / 7) = 3
  • Running total = 25 + 21 = 46 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 46) = 1004

Keeping such a record and being conscious of this challenge has had quite an impact on my motivation to achieve this. I am constantly looking for opportunities to clock up these miles which is having a positive impact on my resolve to get fitter!

For example, offering to accompany my father when he took his dog for a walk every morning in Portugal recently and making a point of refusing lifts to and from the station from my husband!


A winter break in the Algarve


My first trip of 2018 was a short break to visit my Dad and Step-Mum who retired in Lagos, a historic yet buzzing town in Portugal’s Algarve.

I’m currently compiling two fuller blog posts for our main travel blog, one on the stunning coastal trekking available along this dramatic coast line and one more general post about some of the attractions in this area.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather; it was constantly sunny and the temperature reached about 17 degrees in the afternoons. This isn’t always the case… when my children were at school I used to take them down to Lagos during the February half term holiday to see their grand-parents. Most years the weather was indeed warm and sunny although one year we did have a week of cloud and rain!

Anyway… it was lovely to spend time with my parents on this short trip. They are both in their early 70’s and without wishing to sound morbid, I have become more conscious throughout the last couple of years (since our life changing 2016 global trip) that a) things can change in an instant; and b) parents don’t last forever.

As mentioned, this is my first trip of 2018… I have a few planned as I am determined to make the most of this year. As I scan through my 50@50 list I have started to wonder if I have been too ambitious and whether I will actually be able to afford to do everything I’ve set out to achieve… some of the trips have been paid for and others thankfully are not too expensive.

Over the years I have also found that travel doesn’t have to be unaffordable either, so in a bid to demonstrate this, I will publish the costs of all of my 2018 trips and total the overall cost of them at the end of the year.

  • 4 days short stay airport carpark: £25 (£50 / 2)
  • Ryanair flight to Faro: £50 (each)
  • 4 days hire car with Budget Rental cars: £25 (£50 / 2)
  • Accommodation: *free
  • Meals and spend: £100 (per person)

Approximate total cost per person: £200

*free accommodation although we took my parents out for a meal as a ‘thank you’ for putting us up… (or should that be ‘putting up with us’…)

There are so many lovely coastal walks in the area that you don’t need much spending money to keep yourself entertained. Meals are also reasonably priced too, particularly if you avoid the main touristy areas and find lovely little typical Portuguese restaurants.





Detox results!

Weight today: 9 st 6 lb

I’ve now completed my first 50@50 challenge by sticking to my detox for a week! And with a bonus of losing 4 lb this week too… yay!

This has meant:

  • No alcohol for 7 days – achieved!
  • No processed food – achieved!
  • No sugary food – achieved!
  • No ‘bad’ carbs (white bread, cakes, biscuits, pastries etc) – achieved!
  • Lots of vegetables and fruit – achieved!

I did manage to keep to around 1150 calories on average which wasn’t too difficult and combined this with quite a lot of exercise:

  • Swimming
  • 2 x gym sessions
  • 10 mile walk on Sunday
  • 2 x 5 mile walks
  • 1 x 3 mile walk

I generally prefer to eat healthy food rather than junk food. But making this extra effort has definitely motivated me to continue with the whole package of more exercise, better quality food and an overall healthier lifestyle on my countdown to 50!

I would recommend a week of focussing on a healthy detox and I am planning to continue eating as well as I can in order to continue to tackle my “bordering high” cholesterol levels. However I must say I’m looking forward to a glass of red tonight! I’m in the ‘red wine is good for you‘ club and not planning on an alcohol-free lifestyle any time soon…



Week 1 walking progress

This is a newly added challenge… as I enjoy walking and trekking I decided to add a walking challenge for this year!

personalised walking challenge…

Many people pledge to ‘Walk 1000 miles in a year‘ for various reasons but probably mainly for the excellent health and wellbeing benefits you achieve by regular walking. These include:

  • Burns extra calories
  • Builds stamina
  • Strengthens your heart
  • Reduces the likelihood of many serious diseases
  • Keeps you active
  • Improves your mood
  • Its free

My spin on this is to walk 1050 miles this year… an extra 50 in my year of turning 50…

This is an average of 2.88 miles a day or 20.16 miles a week

I don’t have a fit bit or app or anything to calculate this accurately so I will just estimate the extra walking i.e. where I have chosen to walk rather than drive or take public transport or any specific walking or trekking I undertake.

For example, week 1:

  • Mon: (New Years Day = couch potato = 0)
  • Tue: walk to and from train stations (work journey) = 5 miles
  • Wed: walk to swimming pool and back = 1 mile
  • Thu: walk to town centre and back = 2 miles
  • Fri: walk to and from stations = 5 miles
  • Sat: walk to town centre and back = 2 miles
  • Sun: organised walking club walk = 10 miles


  • Total for week 1 = 25 miles
  • Average per day for this week (25 / 7) = 3.57
  • Running total = 25 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 25) = 1025


Hiking in the Peak District



Detox update…

A quick update…

Following the tweak on Day 1 where I decided 800 calories is too low and I also found the effects of cutting out coffee were worse than just drinking it (when coffee is almost the new super food…) things have gone well so far…

I’ve been eating super healthy food and so far have consumed no alcohol, processed food or junk food since Wednesday. I am genuinely starting to feel more energetic, positive and healthy… all good stuff!

My diet today (Saturday: Day 4):

  • Breakfast: smoked salmon and fried egg (I’m rubbish at poaching so fried the egg in a tiny bit of olive oil)
  • Snack: handful of blueberries
  • Lunch: avocado, hummus, tomatoes, rocket, red pepper, raw carrot with a dressing of balsamic vinegar
  • Dinner: home made broccoli and stilton soup (we’re having a bit of a craving on this at the moment…)
  • Snack: handful of unsalted nuts (walnuts, cashews and macadamias)

Estimated at around 1100 calories

Just 3 more days to go…