Victoria’s Notebook

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.

Sun Dust

Sorry for the minor interruption in posts here for a while, when moving my website to a new host, I inadvertently dropped it. All is fit and mended now though, so I’m back with a new story for you, inspired by Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Flash prompt featuring Sun Dust:

Image shows a bottle Labeled “Sun Dust”

Anyone can join in with mid-week flash, you can find the general guidelines here if you’re feeling inspired by the prompt image.

Sun Dust

It isn’t my fault really. Except it is, I guess. Can’t resist a market, that’s my trouble. So when we stumbled on a cute little indoor emporium on holiday, I had to go in. I told my husband it would be nice and cool inside, built into the cliff as it was, so it would give us a chance to get out of the summer sun. He begrudgingly agreed, and, knowing how I am at these places, found himself a little alcove and settled down for a drink and a long wait while I had a poke around.

Continue reading “Sun Dust”

Painting Over Mother

Painting Over Mother is my entry for this week’s Mid Week Flash (week 242!), which is run by Miranda Kate. The picture this week was taken by her. Anyone can enter this weekly flash challenge. The General Guidelines can be found here. Come and write!

Painting Over Mother image- looking up at a staircase and hallway, painted white

Painting Over Mother

It was no good trying to put it off any longer. The hallway, stairs and landing hadn’t been painted since she moved in, 10 years ago now, and it was looking filthy and tired. Far from home feeling like an inviting sanctuary, Lucy found herself getting depressed as soon as she opened the door. It had to be done.

Continue reading “Painting Over Mother”

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”

In The Liminal

Mid-Week Flash Challenge – Week 229

It has been a while since I joined in with Miranda Kate’s mid-week flash challenge, but this little piece – which I’ve called In The Liminal for now, but I’m not sure about that title-just popped up in my head out of nowhere. It wasn’t until I was halfway through writing it that I realised it was actually set in the universe of the very first novel I tried to write: Standing Room Only On The Soulbus. Maybe one day I will return to that long since abandoned novel, now that I actually know how to write one.

If you want to join in with mid-week flash, the General Guidelines can be found here, and everyone is welcome.

This week’s photoprompt was taken by @dbereton on twitter. This was taken in a hotel in Hammersmith, London. 

In The Liminal

When you die, there is a light. That part, people have got right. Everything else….Well. It’s a bit tricky to explain to a human, no offense, because your senses are really quite limited. We do our best to make it easy on you, but often we use…let’s just say visual metaphors. Not illusions as such, but stories, to help you come to terms with the incomprehensible.

Continue reading “In The Liminal”


Production poster for Samsara – based on my short story, The Door

A few of you may remember that a couple of years ago my short story, The Door, was made into a short film by BlackCave Productions. The pandemic of course, delayed the release, but now the short film – called Samsara- based on the story is here!

Continue reading “Samsara”

NaNo – Now What?

NaNo Now What? A guide to recovering after writing a novel

In 2020 I attempted – and managed- my biggest NaNoWriMo challenge to date: 80,000 words in 30 days, an epic sequel to my previous NaNoWriMo effort, which followed Malcolm The Werefox from A Tale of Two Princes. Along the way lots of fellow writers, and those interested in attempting the challenge themselves, asked questions about my process, but being caught up in it, I didn’t have time to fully respond. So in this mini-series I’m going to break down my processes step by step to help you make the most of NaNoWriMo 2021. This post is for the post NaNoWriMo slump, where you’re looking at a mess of words and thinking ‘Great, I managed NaNo! Now what?’

Continue reading “NaNo – Now What?”

Top 5 Tips for Smashing NaNoWriMo

5 top tips t smashing NaNoWriMo

In 2020 I attempted – and managed- my biggest NaNoWriMo challenge to date: 80,000 words in 30 days. Along the way lots of fellow writers, and those interested in attempting the challenge themselves, asked questions about my process, but being caught up in it, I didn’t have time to fully respond. So in this mini-series I’m going to break down my processes step by step to help you make the most of NaNoWriMo 2021. This section focuses on the month of November itself, and my top 5 tips for smashing NaNoWriMo itself.

Continue reading “Top 5 Tips for Smashing NaNoWriMo”

5 Top Tips To smashing Your Preptober

5 Top Tips to Smashing Your Preptober

Getting the most out of your novel planning time

In 2020 I attempted – and managed- my biggest NaNoWriMo challenge to date: 80,000 words in 30 days, an epic sequel to my previous NaNoWriMo effort, which followed Malcolm The Werefox from A Tale of Two Princes. Along the way lots of fellow writers, and those interested in attempting the challenge themselves, asked questions about my process, but being caught up in it, I didn’t have time to fully respond. So in this mini-series I’m going to break down my processes step by step to help you make the most of NaNoWriMo 2021, starting with my Top 5 Tips to Smashing Your Preptober.

Continue reading “5 Top Tips To smashing Your Preptober”

Pool of Players – Author Interview

Regular followers of this blog will already be familiar with Miranda Kate (aka Miranda Boers) from my sporadic attempts at her regular Mid Week Flash challenge. You may not know she is also a fantastic, genre-bending author with a string of dark and twisty novels under her belt. Miranda Kate’s Pool of Players, sequel to The Game, is out today (1st June 2021), and I convinced her to take some time out of her launch day to come have a chat about the book, her attitude to writing, and what her favourite dinosaur is…

Continue reading “Pool of Players – Author Interview”

Peter and Jane

This little slice of story has been knocking about in my head for a week or so, ever since @winklesbloke posted this picture of a very creepy traffic calming measure.

Image shows an unconvincing and creepy plastic statue of a school girl, next to a road traffic sign that warns of pedestrians in the road.  She stands around three feet high, very straight backed with her arms straight by her sides like a soldier standing to attention. She has unnaturally bright yellow hair, a painted on red school jumper, grey school skirt and red socks, with black buckle up shoes. Her eyes are piercingly bright blue.
Photo credit: @winklesbloke

She put me in mind of a being from the same dimension as Peter and Jane,* who had somehow crossed over to our world. She wouldn’t get out of my head, so I had to trap her in a story.

Continue reading “Peter and Jane”

My Strange Notebook

My Strange Notebook is the journal for those too chaotically creative to journal!

Contains creative prompts to help you get started with writing your own strange stories, doodle pages, pages to empty out your brain, and journal prompts to help you feel more confident, self-assurred and positive during these strange times.

Or you could just use it for your shopping lists. It’s entirely your call.

My Strange Notebook is 225 pages and the size of a standard paperback, making it easy to carry around wherever you go. The pages are fully bound so they won’t fall out, however rough you are with it.

Reviewers Say…

“You look at the prompt, think “oh, that’s daft!” then think “Yes, but…..” & have a go, and accept the challenge, & lo & behold, you’re scribbling something!
We all need a kick up the backside sometimes!”

I really love this note book.
Beautifully designed, very well made and the small touches, such as the creative prompts really make it stand out

It’s chunkier & thicker than I expected & beautifully designed inside. I love it.”

Buy direct from the author and get a free pen

Order your copy on Amazon now

Fancy reading some Strange Stories to get you in the mood? Try Strange Love, Strange Worlds, A Tale of Two Princes, or Once Upon A Twisted Fairytale.