Sunday, 21 April 2013

New Adventures

As anyone who has been around this locale for a while will well know, I'm not good at staying in one place for long.

I get bored quickly, and so I tend to move around a lot, both physically and metaphorically. Staying still is falling behind in my book - it's missing out and wasting what precious little time we have .... and I've already done enough of that in my life.

So, although, I'm only just back from Africa, and the dust has barely settled (sometimes literally when I empty out something else that came on the trip with me and find yet more sand appearing on the floor!), I'm already well into planning the next Grand Adventure. If I'm really honest, I've been musing over the planning of it for months now - planning the planning, so to speak - but now I can finally crack on with it.

And to that end, this is how I'm spending my Sunday afternoon:

Yep - French homework. With cake, because I haven't done French for a very long time and my head feels like it's exploding very gently. It's a long story as to how I arrived at this point, but suffice to say it's both exciting and scary in equal measures.

You see, I'm thinking of jacking in my job, or at least putting it on hold for 6 months, and prancing off to Europe to spend a season on the slopes.

Yes. Eeeeek, indeed.

In short, this is born of a number of different factors. I love travelling, and feel most contented when I'm out there in the big wide world. On my life list (what do you mean I haven't posted that up here yet?? I keep meaning to, and will do so shortly), I have a goal to live abroad for at least 4 months. Also on that list is learning to ski a black run competently and learning a foreign language properly.

My life list got written a year or more ago, and has been sitting in my drafts folder as a work in progress ever since - intermittently added to, but for some reason never published. But since I drafted it, I started to focus on what I wanted in life, and more importantly what I could do to achieve the goals I can influence.

Rewind a couple of years to 2010, to when I finally decided to do something about my unhappiness with my life, and get someone qualified to help me understand it. One of the biggest things I took away from my counselling sessions was that I needed to stop comparing myself to other people and just be me. A hard thing to be, when I wasn't entirely sure who "me" was. So I went to Costa Rica a week later and just enjoyed it, and "was", and it was that trip that crystallised that feeling I now constantly seek of just being in the moment and soaking up the foreign, beautiful, exotic different-ness around me.

When I got back, I made the leap of moving to Bristol because it was what I needed - to be on my own and discover what I wanted and needed. A roller coaster couple of years later, I'm starting to understand what makes me happy in life. I can't remember if my counsellor ever explicitly said to me that it was quite ok to be me and be different, if that what was what I wanted, but it was certainly the direction she sent me off in. So while many of my friends back home are busy getting engaged, married, decorating homes, trying for children and generally living and loving the middle class ideal, I'm slowly becoming more adventurous and less tied down. They are genuinely happy, which is all I want for them, and I've stopped trying to be them and not being happy with it. Maybe that's all in my future, but I'm not ready for it yet.

The funny thing is that, in not following the crowd, I've discovered there are so many other people out there doing the same, that they're a veritable crowd of their own!

Back to the topic of French lessons. It turns out that moving to bristol bought me into contact with a lot of people who'd all done ski seasons, and quite without realising it, I realised it was something I was very keen to do myself. Of course, being me, I want to do it on my own terms, so no chalet hosting or repping for me - what I'm after is slightly different, so we'll have to see if I'm lucky enough to land the job I want . I've seen a couple advertised from previous seasons that would be perfect, so now I just have to make myself as qualified and appealing as possible to try and land one. I figured brushing up my French would be a good start. Plus it's fun to be learning again.

And since this blog also focuses on my health, eating hasn't been too shabby this weekend either, lots of sleep, and I'm pleased to report that my back's feeling a little better today, which leads me to hope the physio was wrong on Friday (or at least overly pessimistic) and that it won't take months to settle down. Because I'd quite like a summer spent outside and having fun!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Work Life Balance

It's easy to stop taking such good care of yourself when life is busy and work is stressful. Given how I was feeling last week, it therefore seemed obvious to me that while the busy period rumbles on at work, I need to take extra care of myself rather than less.

With that in mind, I've had a rather relaxed weekend as far as I could. I worked in the office for 7 hours yesterday, and had to pop in for a couple more today, but other than that, I've taken the time to connect with friends, have a good night's sleep and eat well. I've enjoyed catching up with a tv series that I enjoy (the gloriously melodramatic Revenge), and have de-cluttered a few more things from my bookshelf in passing.

This care feels like it might finally be starting to pay off - I feel a little less bloated, and a little less tired and stressed. Even my back feels a little less grumbly than it did, although I still find it hard not to get frustrated at the slow progress on that front. But persistence not perfection is, like always, key.

I'm going to attempt to get a little swimming in this week, or just pool-walking depending on how it feels, and I'm going to try Pilates again too. It's slow and painful, but it's the route back to being active. I'll also be aiming for more quality sleep and some more solid eating.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Pushing Through

Sometimes, especially when you've had a period when you've not been feeling so good in yourself, the effect of looking after yourself again isn't so immediately obvious. You start eating right again, getting some decent sleep and relaxation time, maybe even exercising again, but you still feel the lingering after-effects of what came before for a little while longer.

So it is with me this week. I've made my lunches and dinners and put them ready in the fridge (it's one of my horrible, long, stressy weeks at work where I'm very grateful not to have to think at mealtimes), and I've been getting to bed early and trying to unwind properly in the evenings, but I still feel horribly bloated and tired.

Still, I know if I keep going in this vein, I will feel better. Spring is coming, I'm having physio for an injury that will surely start to feel better soon, the bloatedness will eventually go away, and my energy will slowly return. It will. I just need to keep looking after myself, and not back-slide to a woe-is-me mentality where "treating" myself is the aner that will really hurt me more.

I'm also in a bit of a spring clean phase at the moment too. I don't have time (or energy or willpower) to do a huge all-in-one clean out / up, so I'm doing little bits here and little bits there instead. There is a growing pile of things by my bedroom door to be recycled or disposed of, as I try and de-clutter my life a bit. Similarly, I'm making tough decisions in my financial life to make progress with my debts, and I know I'm slowly getting there. I'm even car-free at the moment to save some money on that front, which is scary but I'm going to see if I can make it work!!!

It's all really just a matter of knowing what you're true goals are and pushing through a little bit at a time to achieve them.

Please remind me of that the next time I'm feeling like it will never happen!! :-)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


I have to confess to feeling a little under the weather at the moment. Not because of illness, although I do have that annoying closed-up feeling in my throat that signifies I may get a cold soon, but because of my back and life. Whilst I was away in Africa, my back injury flared up once more. Nothing as bad as it has been previously, but it was sore. And it kept being sore. 5 weeks later and it's still bloody sore!!

I decided last week that enough was enough, and it was time to seek out the help of a physio, but up until yesterday it just didn't feel like I was making any progress at all with it. After physio last week it felt worse, which she'd warned me it might. I also mistakenly indulged in a little dancing at the weekend at a black-tie party we were at (at the urging of friends) and even that 20 mins caused a significant increase in pain on Sunday and Monday. Honestly, yesterday I wanted to cry as it's just been going on so long now.

On top of that, last week ended up being a solid week of eating out. I was dodging restaurant meals where I could, but it was still one takeaway, 3 restaurant meals, a dinner party and a night out drinking .... and by the end of that I felt rubbish. After the first two meals, I realised how many more were still to go and did my best to minimise the damage, but I still felt horrible by Sunday.

So here we find me, feeling bloated and over-salted, and grumpy from pain, and fidgety from lack of exercise. The sun and Spring has finally made some kind of appearance and I'm too stiff and painful to do anything about it ... I've been scared to exercise for fear of making things worse.

BUT ... I've decided that I can't let any of that define me. I can't magically cure my back, so I have to just give it the time to heal, and there are still things I can do. The physio's suggested gentle swimming, cross trainer (carefully) and some walking, and I'm allowed to try Pilates and see how that goes. I have no more eating out / drinking dates this week, so I'm back in control of my food. I don't have control of everything, but I do have control of some things and I can take advantage of that.

And today? I feel a little less bloated, and my back feels a little less painful. Baby steps in the right direction.

Having said that, I may skip weigh-in tonight .... I don't think I need to see that number on the scales!!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013



Is this thing on?

I've ummed and ahhed about posting here, but whilst I have continued to blog elsewhere in the year since I left this little space alone, I've often felt like I was just muttering to myself, and missed the feedback I often got on here. At the same time, I left this alone as I realised it had been found by some people I knew, and I'm not sure if a year is enough time to have let that interest die down. I guess we'll find out.

Anyhow - hello.

Much has changed in a year, and some things have changed not at all. I went travelling round Africa for just over a month, I dated and had my heart stomped on a little ... and then I bounced back. I changed my hair colour, I switched from Weightwatchers to Slimming World and I ran my first adventure race. I'm also still in the same old job and living the same old life. And my weight is pretty much how we left off last year - a little higher than I would like, but still pretty much under control.

I'm currently fresh back from travelling (Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, thank you very much), and still trying to settle back in to life in the Real World, whilst planning how to keep life as interesting as possible in the future. And with Christmas and travelling now out of the way, I'm keen to settle down and get this annoying stone or so off that I've been waging war on all year.

So if you'd like make yourself comfortable, we shall begin.