30 Day September Glow Up Challenge

Introducing my 30 Day September Glow-Up Challenge, designed to get us feeling happier, healthier and fitter in time for spooky season.

I’m feeling loads better in terms of my shoulder injury recovery (I managed a lot of climbing with youngest in the park today, and I’m feeling confident I can handle pole class on Tuesday). It would be easy to slip back into being a bit sedentary now that I’m no longer in pain though, so don’t really need to continue the physio (I am going to be continuing with it for a while anyway, to be sure it’s healed, but the pain isn’t there to prompt me to anymore).

Thing is, being more active has made me feel loads better. My mood is boosted, I’m feeling more confident and capable and, most importantly, I’m feeling strong. The structure of having certain exercises I had to do daily definitely helped me. So I started looking for a structured fitness challenge.

There are loads of fitness challenges out there, but none of them quite aligned with my goals. So I started thinking about exactly what those goals were, and snaffled some bits from some other online challenges and self-help books and put together my own 30 day mind body and spirit glow up challenge. You’re very welcome to join in with me, I think it’s fairly adaptable to your own goals.

My goals when creating the challenge were:

• To develop healthier habits that I can carry forward

• To eat more consistently (more on that later)

• Build more movement into my day to counteract my sedentary job

• Be more generally hydrated

• Do all that in an hour a day (broken into chunks)

30 Day September Glow Up Challenge Rules:

Drink a minimum of 6 glasses of water a day

The number is fairly arbitrary, it’s a glass more than I’d drink on a day I was being mindful of my hydration. Pick a number you can stick to. If you never drink water, 6 might be too much for you. My glass is around 500ml, and my water bottle counts as two glasses.

Eat dinner with vegetables in it every day, and take your vitamins.

For me eating consistently is a challenge. I’m the only vegetarian in my household, and when the omnivores are eating meat I have a tendency to skip dinner and snack later. That isn’t helping me rebuild my strength after my injury, reach my fitness goals, or feed my brain the nourishment it needs to be creative. So for me, eating dinner every day is the goal. For you it could be give up sweet treats, or crisps, only eat meat once a week, or eat 5 bits of fruit and veg every day, depending on your goals. Pick something achievable, measurable and that won’t make you feel like you’re being punished. The idea here is to make small changes we can keep going with. Don’t restrict yourself too much in terms of calories though, you’ll be needing the energy.

A minimum of 20 minutes a day reading, writing, or meditating daily

Yes, audio books count. Yes, reading fiction counts. Yes, journalling counts, as does fiction writing (but not social media posting or reading or writing you have to do for your job). Listening to a meditation video counts. If you’re arty, making your art counts. The idea here is to feed your brain.

Minimum of 20 minutes outside each day

This one might be a challenge given I’m starting in September and I live in England, so I’ll probably be doing it in the rain. But I need more fresh air and more movement in my life. Brisk walking, running, a mix of both, playing in the park, throwing a ball for the dog, walking to the shops, it all counts as long as it’s outside.

Minimum of 20 minutes other movement a day

This can be weight training, hitting the gym, or stretching, doing a dance workout, trying out yoga or pilates, going to classes, joining a team, or doing it all at home. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s probably a good idea to switch stuff up to prevent boredom. Just make sure you always know what you’re going to do tomorrow, so you don’t procrastinate on deciding and end up doing nothing.

Wear sunscreen every day

My skin is definitely showing signs of sun damage so this is my self-care goal. Yours might be to moisturise daily, remove your make up before bed, wear lip balm, give your skin a break from make up, or try out new make up looks, stop wearing tracksuits all day, whatever makes you feel good. Choose something you can do quickly each day, that’s just for you.

Take a progress pic each day and write a word or two about how you feel.

This may seem silly because we aren’t doing hard-core workouts here, but sometimes subtle changes are hard to see when we are watching them happen. As well as keeping track of your progress, it’s also a way of keeping yourself accountable to the process. Do keep in mind though, that if you’re drinking lots and lots of water you’re not used to, you may bloat a little at first. It’s just water, it’ll go away when your body starts processing it more efficiently instead of storing it for when drought season hits again.

This looks like a lot, but if we were to do the minimum each day, it would take an hour all together. Out of the 24 hours in your day, arent you worth an hour?

30 Day September Glow Up Challenge Rules Recap

6 glasses of water per day

Eat healthy dinner and take vitamins each day

20 mins reading, writing or meditation

20 mins outside

20 mins indoor workout

Sunscreen every day

Progress pic each day

Good luck!

To make it easier for myself I made a little checklist for each day in advance in my notebook that goes everywhere with me. Here is a version you can print off to use if you like:

30 Day September Glow up Challenge printable

Remember, you can and should) adapt the challenge to suit your own goals and needs. If 40 mins of exercise is too much for you, make each 20 minute session 10 minutes instead. If you already use sunscreen daily, start using a night cream or eye cream. Choose the food goals that work for you, and that you can stick to. Listen to your body. This is all about nurturing and nourishing ourselves, not punishing ourselves.

The 30 day September glow up challenge starts on Friday 1st September 2023, but you can start anytime. I’ll be talking about the challenge as I go along on YouTube, and probably twitter and bluesky too. I’d love for you to join in, and if you need an accountability buddy for it just comment (here, YouTube, twitter, anywhere) and we can support each other.

Let’s glow!

Want more guidance on journalling and some prompts to help feed your brain? Check out My Strange Notebook, the self-love prompt journal for those too chaotic to journal.

If you came here hoping for a new story from me, and you’ve read the archive already, check out my Patreon for exclusive new shorts, poetry and book news, every month. Now with a two week free trial.

The Rot

The ice caps are melting. The humans knew about it for ages, but, despite all their gadgets and inventions, they’re slow to learn. That used to work in our favour.

Our people weren’t worried when old diseases, long since extinct, started reappearing again. We are small in number, and solitary creatures, so there was still plenty of blood to go around. They breed so quickly, even if a few million were wiped out by plagues, there were still billions more. And it’s not like we can catch their diseases, not even if they live in the blood we drink. It wasn’t our problem.

Continue reading “The Rot”


As you probably know, I’m not really one to make a resolution. And don’t get me started on New Year, New You! marketing emails. This poem is more of a promise, really, to myself. Maybe make this your resolution too.


My only quest 
for the new year
is to hunt my happy

I will seek out my song
and find the light that reflects 
from the broken dark
I will slay my demons
with a sword of laughter

I will not seek to be more than I am
to please anyone but myself
Instead I will learn to love 
every facet of who I already am

And know that is enough

My resolution this year
is to live fully 
rebelliously joyful

And taste every moment.


I don’t really know where this story came from. I guess since it’s Solstice today, I am pondering the nature of the festive season, and how it impacts invisible people. It doesn’t have a happy ending, but neither did The little Match Girl, which heavily inspires this story I’m, at least temporarily, naming Invisible.


Jack is as old as the wind, and a little older than the hills, and his beard could be no whiter.

His touch is cold enough to kill, so he bundles himself in thick furs and hide mittens. He won’t risk it happening again.

He can see her face even now, the invisible little match girl, lighting tiny flames to keep the cold away.

Continue reading “Invisible”

A Moment

Is A Moment a piece of flash fiction? Is it a scene in a much longer story? Is it a poem trapped in a cage of prose? I’ve no idea. But sit with me a moment and I’ll tell it to you, and you can decide.

Barefoot, she stands in the snow under the neon orange light of the lamppost, fingerless gloves hanging in tatters to hands that are gnarled by years of toil. She draws on the damp toothpick roll-up ferociously, drawing the thin blue smoke into her lungs as if it can warm her from the inside out.

Continue reading “A Moment”

Once Bitten

She can feel me watching her. Her unease has been rising steadily over the 20 minutes I’ve been tracking her, I can hear her heart speeding up, her breath catching a little, the pulse in her delicate, delicious neck throbbing a little faster from all the way across the street, 50 yards or so behind her.

Continue reading “Once Bitten”

Blue and Green

We labour under the midday sun, stumbling over the cracks in the parched earth. There is never enough water.

They say this was an ocean once – water as far as you can see in any direction. I can’t picture it. All we have here are the bleached skeletons of long dead beasts that roamed this place long ago. And the plastic. Everywhere the plastic.

Continue reading “Blue and Green”

TBR – Mid-Week Flash 106

My 11th hour offering for Week 106 of Miranda Kate’s mid-week flash challenge. This weeks photo prompt is of a bookstore/library in Yangzhou, eastern China, taken by photographer Shao Feng. If you want to join in with mid week flash, The General Guidelines can be found here, or you can join the Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.


When you first die, no one explains what has happened. You’re just in a queue, like you’re waiting at a bus stop. No one speaks. No one makes eye contact. So you wait.

Just when you think you can’t shuffle your feet or shift your weight anymore and you’re seriously considering tutting or something, you reach the gates.

Continue reading “TBR – Mid-Week Flash 106”

Character Interview

Gloria Nelson and Dr Charles Prinze

This character interview originally appeared on Suz Korb‘s blog, and it was a tricky write, because obviously Gloria and Charles are not at liberty to discuss their job, so wouldn’t take part in an interview like this. I really liked the dynamic between them in it though, so I thought that despite the obvious clumsiness of the opening, it was worth putting up here for readers that like these little extras. it contains very minor spoilers for A Tale of Two Princes, and is set before A Tale of Two Princes but after my current work in progress, working title: Malcolm The Were-Fox.


Today we will be joined by Dr Charles Prinze and social worker Gloria Nelson, both of whom work for an oddities and anomalies hospital. I’m not entirely certain what that is, so I am hoping to find out more in this interview.

The couple arrive, late and fairly breathless, to the cafe we are meeting at, still dressed for work. Dr Prinze is in his white lab coat and green scrubs trousers. He looks too young to be in charge of an entire ward, despite his three day stubble and the hint of grey at his temples. Ms Nelson is in head to toe blue scrubs, and she has several pens sticking out of her afro. I’m not sure if she is aware they are there or if she has forgotten. Dr Prinze looks serious, tired, like he has just come off a night shift. Ms Nelson is his opposite, bright smile and a bounce in her step like coming here is the highlight of her day. I get the immediate impression that her smile is as much a part of uniform as her scrubs.

I have been pre-warned that their time with me is short today, so as soon as they sat down and coffee has been ordered, we dive straight in.

Tell me about your job?

Dr Charles Prinze: Well, we work in a very special hospital called-
Gloria Nelson: Wait, are we allowed to say the name of the hospital?
Charles: You don’t think we should?
Gloria: Best to err on the safe side, I’d say. You know what they’re like.
Charles: I thought the rules had been relaxed for this interview?
Gloria: Well obviously. But still, we don’t want to break any confidentiality rules or anything. Perhaps it’s safest to say that we work in a hospital that deals with aliens, supernatural beings and other oddities, like they said we could, and leave it at that.

Gloria: Oh yes. Take Malcolm for example. Lovely lad, more humane than any human I have ever met, but he definitely comes under the supernatural umbrella, being a were-fox and all.
Charles: And then there’s the ETs. All aliens that want to seek political asylum on earth have to be quarantined first. It’s our job to look after their health care and screen them for obvious signs of disease or parasites before they can move into the asylum centre.

Continue reading “Character Interview”