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One week down, 51 to go! How has 2017 been treating you so far? I’ve an all-over-the-place week, but there are definitely some highlights to share.

You may have seen my horrified tweets about the fact that I’d managed to bring my dad’s laptop back to London after Christmas instead of my own. They’re both the same model in the exact same shade, so it’s an easier mistake to make than you might think. Long story short, mum decided to come to visit me in London on Friday to do the great laptop exchange of 2017. I showed her around a bit while she was here.

I also got back into reading this week. Read on and all shall be revealed.

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Another week and another behind-the-scenes of a Disney vlog! Can you believe that we’re on day eight already?

Today we went to Animal Kingdom in the morning, finishing off the attractions and shows that we missed on our first visit, and spent the afternoon and evening in Hollywood Studios. It was our first visit to the Studios and we managed to get up to a spot of mischief as well.

Watch the video, and then come back for my top tips.

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In January, it seems like the whole world is trying to get fit. Diet adverts shine down on us from every angle, from TV to the tube demanding that we shed the festive weight.

If you’re like me, you probably over-indulged at Christmas. That’s what it’s all about, right? Though I don’t believe that every calorie I consumed in December needs to be sweated out of me in January. It’s going to be a challenge to get back into my pre-Christmas routine, but I’m confident that with a bit of motivation I can get back into my normal eating habits and exercise routine before the month is out.

A bit of shared motivation is all we need to make it, right?

Just over a year ago, I found the motivation to start running. Mostly, it was the pair of discount running trainers that I’d bought in Florida staring at my accusatorily from the cupboard that made me finally lace them up. I downloaded a Couch to 5km app and headed out. The voice in the app helped me along by telling me when to start running and when to switch back into a walking pace. If you could call it running. It was more of a light jog and then being unable to breathe while stumbling along.

They always say that the first step is the hardest, and they were definitely right in my case.

As I lay on the sofa after that first run, sweating and trying to catch my breath, I felt it. A huge sense of accomplishment washed over me. I had done it. I had run, even if it was only for 45 seconds at a time, and had completed the first workout of a proper running program. I felt alive. I felt proud. And I felt like I could do it again – once I’d cooled off.

The next eight weeks involved me slowly getting better at running, following all of the commands on the app. Some weeks I had to repeat the training as I couldn’t face another week harder routines. Before long I was telling everyone that would listen that I ran for eight minutes straight. Eight whole minutes. Without even stopping! It was a revelation.

I was so surprised because I always thought that I was never designed to be a runner. I was one of those people who simply couldn’t do it, or so I told myself. Probably because lots of bits wobbled when I tried to go at a faster speed and I didn’t like the feeling of having a red and puffy face when I was out of breath.

I didn’t mind that face so much when it got me over the finish line of a half marathon. From 45 seconds of running to 2 hours and 27 minutes, completing my first half marathon around a year and a half later. I would never have believed it if you’d told me back then, but now I have the medal to prove it.

What does this all mean?

If I can do it, then you definitely can. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, after all, and that first one outside your front door is definitely the hardest. I thought that people would stop and stare at me. Now I tell myself that they’re staring because they wish they had the motivation to run as well.

My foray into the world of running has made me healthier than ever. It gives me mental balance and means that the only person I’m ever competing against is myself. And there’s no-one I enjoy beating more.

If you’re thinking of giving running a go, or already enjoy it, then I thought you might like to get some inspiration from my running playlist. I know every song on here inside out and it always pushes me to keep running for those extra few minutes.

 

How do you like to stay fit? Will you be doing anything new this January?

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The end of the year always gets me thinking. How did it all go? How does 2016 compare to the years that proceeded it? It was a year of mountainous highs and bottom-of-the-ocean lows. Like most people, I find it a lot easier to remember the negative. But the year that brought us the horrors of Brexit, also gave me a lot to smile about.

To spread a bit of 2016-positivity, I thought I’d share some of my top moments of the year. When I think about it, this year was actually a cracker.

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Dawn rose on day seven and two very tired people forced themselves out of bed. Our late night at the Halloween party meant that we didn’t get into bed until around 1am. Ambitious planning meant that we had to be out and heading to Magic Kingdom in the morning again. We had a very early lunch reservation at Be Our Guest. Breakfast turns into lunch at 11am, and our reservation was shortly after that. It was Alice’s first time in this highly-themed restaurant and she was suitably excited to be visiting.

After lunch, we crossed lots more rides and character meets off our list – including Gaston – and then headed to explore the new Disney Springs. After disappointing merchandise in Universal, we had money burning holes in our pockets so we went wild in World of Disney. Take a look at my holiday haul if you want to see what I bought.

Watch our day in the Magic Kingdom and at Disney Springs, and then read on for my tips of the day.

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