Tips for walking to work

Hola! So, as I wrote last time, I’m now in a new job! Most days, I walk to work and very often walk back too (childcare pick up allowing…) This is fine, except it’s just short of 3 miles each way. I like to walk- I like to see the seasons changing and stomp out any tension. Plus, I had to decide whether I was willing to pay gym fees or after school club fees and, as it’s generally frowned upon to to send your kid to the pub for a few hours after school, my money goes on having him looked after.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(5)

I am very much dressed for the weather here, although I look miserable.

I’ve been walking to work since I was temping in September and I do really love it- but there are a few things that have made my life easier and more comfortable, which is super important when you’re walking so much everyday.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(2)

  • Breakfast- I will usually have a cup of tea and a smoothie made of Adagio’s Chocolate Matcha, banana and oat milk. This is good, because a) it means I have a banana before I’ve even woken up properly and b) I like to think that the matcha does me *some* good. It doesn’t have an overly chocolatey taste, but gives it a nice sweetness- just enough for the morning. I might also try and have something like toast or I’ll take something like oatcakes to eat at work, especially as the walk can make me really hungry. I also like using oat milk because it gives the smoothie a bit of a porridgey flavour and a bit of a fibre hit, which is obviously good (I think.)

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(1)

  • What I wear on my feet is very important, especially on a long walk. I will wear Doc Martens if the weather is bad, but they’re heavy. My go-to boots and shoes are Sketchers- they have memory foam and are lightweight, meaning I feel lighter on my feet and my legs don’t ache at the end of the day. (Benn bought me some Sketchers slippers for Christmas too. My feet feel permanently heavenly- and my posture is good as a result, too.)
  • I’d also recommend a good backpack- I hate my arms being restricted! I currently use one I picked up ages ago from the Ollie and Nic sale, but I’m on the hunt for something bigger- along the the lines of the Jansport bag I coveted at school but never got.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(3) The biggest things that have made the most difference to my walking commute though, are the following:

  • A good antiperspirant- no-one wants to be stinky! I experimented with different brands and found that this one is the best. Also, there’s no point wearing fancy perfume when you’re walking. I’ve resorted to bodysprays and lament the fact that Impuse no longer make Zen and/or O2 scents. Considering a Twitter campaign.
  • Keep Cup– I bought mine in November and I use it mostly on cold days, when I need warming up. With Pret and Costa offering money off hot drinks, and concern about the environment, this is just a bit of a no-brainer for me. Fun fact: as a result of taking this into work, I have caused six other people to buy one. Am awaiting my commission.
  • Bluetooth headphones and Spotify- I used to have rubbish headphones and a rubbish phone. It took ages to listen to anything and I spent a long time trying to get anything to work. My in-laws bought me a great pair of headphones and I treated myself to Spotify Premium and it has honestly improved my commute no end. I have podcasts and playlists and I can honestly say that I look forward to my walk to work every day. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(4)

*All of these products are here because I love them- there are no affiliate links on this post. I was sent the matcha to review, but will be purchasing this once my sample runs out!





#PaperHaul Featured: Pattern Lounge

It’s a grey day, as I write (the day after a visit by OFSTED too, at work. Joy!) I’m tryng to combat the blues by listening to Kylie Minogue and showing you some stationery inspired by the colour and heat of India. It’s this month’s #PaperHaul box!

20160511_122459The stationery in this box owes a lot to henna designs in particular (I LOVE henna. Some girls I went to school with showed me how to do it around 1997- when Gwen Stefani was doing it- and I never really mastered it, so I admire how intricate the designs are) and the colour palette is a warm one, full of reds, pinks and greens. There are no stickers in this box, which is a shame as they’re my favourite bit, but there’s plenty of other stuff.


Mini cards and gift tags

I must apologise, actually, how blue these photos are- lack of light and my cackhanded photography are to blame (as usual.)


Postcards and greetings card

I think the greetings card is my favourite thing in the whole box (with the exception of the washi tape, obv.) I have been sending a lot of postcards lately ‘just because’ and no doubt these two will make their way to a postbox soon.


Blank page notebook

The notebooks are starting to get seriously useful- I’m currently using one to record info for my freelance jobs, another one is being used to keep track of D’s various collections of lilliputian toys and another one is full of the mad stuff he says (to be presented to him when he is a gigantic 18 year old.) This one has blank pages, which is very useful for just about anything.


Washi tape

A lovely summery box… let’s just hope that the weather matches up to it in the next few days!

You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.


#PaperHaul Featured: Jodie Goolding

Ah, #PaperHaul, I love you. I love how, after a month where I’ve been a bit unsure about a box, the following month you produce a box that is so me it’s like you read my mind. March’s box really did pull a rabbit out of a, er, box sufficiently sized to fit through a standard UK letterbox.


If you read my #PaperHaul reviews regularly, you’ll know I’m a sucker for the animal boxes more than any other (but I’d like to put in my semi-regular request for a dinosaur themed box…) This month’s didn’t disappoint. What I like about it is that it’s on the right side of cute to not be too twee. Plus, the positive message is one I can really get behind. The notecards above are a perfect encapsulation of the overall feel of the box.


The postcards remind me of adult colouring books- and actually, it might be nice if you sent them to a friend who could colour them in. But that’s up to you- I’m not your boss or anything.


I am a worrier of the highest order. I am currently worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet and is only a possible problem. It’s definitely a skill. Wouldn’t it be nice if you sent this card to your worrisome friend?


The washi tape is another strong one this month. Most recently utilised on a child’s birthday present. (My hairdresser was amazed when she saw my washi tape bowl and couldn’t get over how many rolls I had. I like to think she was impressed.)


I love these larger-than-usual stickers! I’ve stuck them onto my writing case. I’d definitely like bigger stickers to be a thing sometimes, although I do also like the smaller stickers for decorating letters etc.


Finally, the notebook. It’s cute and I already have someone in mind for it.

Overall, a good box this month! I understand that every box won’t be to my taste, but I must say that I’ve found stashing the cards etc has been quite useful, as I always have something on hand, stationery-wise. I’d definitely say that #PaperHaul has made me seem 68% more organised when it comes to birthdays and other occasions.

You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.


#PaperHaul Featured: Dorkface

Hello! Welcome to another #PaperHaul review! Let’s start, shall we?

This month’s theme is HAIR.


I’m aware of Jemma of Dorkface’s work, as I frequently see it dotted about my Twitter timeline; I knew I’d be seeing something bright and fun when I delved into the box.


Aesthetically, it’s the complete opposite of last month’s more traditional box; this is illustration for the blogger generation. I like the brash, positive message and think that this box would be perfect for a teenage girl.

20160221_105522 This is this month’s card and the girl in the illustration reminds me of Amy Pond from Doctor Who. I like this card, but I do find it harder to give cards with faces on away… it can be tricky working out who to give/send them to. I still have the ginger afro man card from ages ago with no idea who will get that! It might just be me, though.

20160221_105550 Gift tags instead of stickers this month; the middle one looks like a young Tori Amos just took a selfie with her webcam…


20160221_105531 The mini-cards are full of attitude (they feel a bit like illustrated Instagram pictures! They’re very zeitgeist-y.)


The cover of this month’s notebook is fun- I like the contrast of Young Tori and the more androgynous character (who’s a bit Miley crossed with Annie Lennox, perhaps?)


Although the rest of the box isn’t really grabbing me (I’m not its target audience and I’m OK with that), I do LOVE this washi tape and think it’s perhaps my favourite washi of any box ever. I’d like to see more interesting patterns and ideas on the tapes and this is perfect.

Overall, I think that this box will be popular and almost makes me wish that I knew a teenage girl who would appreciate it- but it’s fun and bright, which is what stationery should be.

You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.


#PaperHaul Featured: Becca M Designs

Q: Why is everyone super happy when the mushroom’s in the pub?

A: Because he’s a funghi!

(I currently have a three year old going through a ‘dad joke’ phase. I’m not apologising.)

Anyway, welcome to January’s #PaperHaul review! This month, the illustrations are courtesy of Becca M Designs and have more than a whiff of Beatrix Potter crossed with William Morris (with a side order of Arthur Rackham.) And, as my bad joke hints, there’s a few mushrooms around.


These are the cards. Now, I’m more of a fan of the creature illustrations in this box (and no, the mouse isn’t drunk, my photography was just rubbish), but these cards are pretty. I’ve recently been accepted as a ‘letter friend’ for the older people’s charity Silver Line, in which I’ll be writing letters to someone who may not have much contact with the outside world. These cards will be lovely for introducing myself in the early days.


Despite the fact that snails were the BANE OF MY LIFE last year in the garden, and that I’m not a huge fan of frogs (well, when they’ve been traipsed into my house via the cat, I’m not), I love these stickers. I would re-purchase these if I could. 20160128_124659

Sorry for the MASSIVE PICTURE of washi tape, but I wanted to be clear when I explained why I wasn’t a fan of this month’s tape selection. I’m a fan of the bolder, brighter tapes. This one feels very delicate and it’s quite hard to see the pattern. On the other hand, I reckon lots of people will love it for its delicacy and hint of faded lace charm; YMMV.


The piece de resistance of this month’s box, though, is the notebook. The illustrations on the cover-inside and out- are so intricate and wonderfully detailed. Instead of lines, the pages have spots on them; perfect for field notes out in the wild, or for sketching interesting flora.


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I can say that, from initially not being sure what I thought of this box (other than ‘mushrooms?’), I’ve fallen in absolute love with it; the British flora and fauna will make my letters abroad pretty special.

You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.



#PaperHaul Featured: Eleanor Carter


Things I love:

  1. Foxes
  2. Bright colours
  3. My house
  4. Cups of tea
  5. Stationery

The latest #PaperHaul box- a collaboration with Eleanor Carter– is right up my street. If last month’s box tapped into my childhood, this one definitely represents all the things about life that make me happy as a grown up. It’s a coziness that is especially welcome in the cold, dark, dreary days of January.


Apologies for the terrible photography here- but aren’t those stickers super-cute? The washi tape has little caravans on it! Very sweet (although caravans remind me of the time I got badly sunburnt in Bridlington- I probably wouldn’t have minded so much if it had been as pretty a caravan as this one.) The fox is clearly the star this month.


The notebook is cute and I’ve got it earmarked for a friend who is cycling mad and also mentioned that she could do with somewhere to write knitting notes (they’re just the right side for a craft bag!) The Home Sweet Home card will end up being framed and placed somewhere to welcome guests and the bath card will probably end up being sent to someone who’s under the weather.

I love this and, a few months in, I’m loving the Featured series. It’s fun seeing an artist showcased and being able to look at their website (and buy stuff directly from them if it’s available!)

You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.



#PaperHaul Featured: Helz-Illustrates


November’s #PaperHaul box couldn’t contrast more with last month’s if it tried. To go from 40s Film Noir to 80s Lisa Frank-inspired design is bonkers, but it’s one of the reasons I love getting my monthly stationery fix. As a kid who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s, this batch of paper goodies is giving me a serious nostalgia fix.


The cards this month are BRILLIANT. I have already given the big ‘You’re Fabulous’ card to one of my friends for her birthday. She works too hard and is a lovely person- when you’re stressed, it’s a good thing to be reminded of your fabulosity. I’ve sent the rainbow card to a friend who’s readjusting to life back in Germany after an amazing few months working on a scientific study of whales in Iceland. I figured a cute card might cheer her up. The rest of these cards will be saved for future moments of unexpected cheer.


Can I just say how much I LOVE the monthly addition of the notebook? I mean, I’m firmly of the opinion that you can’t have too many notebooks. I did give this one to my fabulous-yet-stressed friend though. I thought the design would make her smile and how can you not be cheered up by a cute unicorn on your Notebook Of Important To Do Lists? The little card reminds me a bit of Jem (the old 80s cartoon, not the recent disastrous film.)



The sticky bits have yet to be deployed- but never fear, they will be! The stickers are bigger than the usual #PaperHaul offering, but I like it.

Now please excuse me while I go and watch old episodes of Rainbow Brite on YouTube. x

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You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.