Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner….

Greetings and salutations! Yes, I have yet again neglected to blog. I will endeavour to explain my reasons so stick with me. As you may already be aware from my last post, there were epic plans in place to make the leap from Belfast to set up a new life in the big schmoke of London town! I made the move on 7th September, it was exciting and delightful and LIVING THE DREAM, however for the past couple of weeks things got D.A.R.K.

I attempted to write a post on Wednesday but on reflection I am so SO glad I didn’t post it. My brain was not in the most jovial of places, in fact i was downright VERKLEMPT with the despair.

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An artist’s impression of my last 3 weeks

Moving to London has been my dream for more of my adult life than I care to mention because OLD. I have been ecstatic about it as soon as it became a possibility. I had originally planned to make the move to be over here in June but then I got cold feet because I was petrified to leave my family, my friends and my permanent job. I had been fighting for a permanent post since November 2014 and finally got one so when all of this came to fruition, London was put on the back burner. I had internal conversations with myself about how things would be fine in Belfast. I could visit London often and all would be well in the world, but it wasn’t enough.

I think in a way, getting the permanent post was the thing that pushed me harder towards leaving. I couldn’t look at my life and think that was it. This is how things will be until I retire. So that gave me the drive I needed to push forward and take the terrifying steps required to fly the nest.

When I arrived on 7th September I was IN DEMAND work wise, one of the councils was desperate to interview me so I had zero fear about finding work. This remained the case for a few days and once my friend from home returned to Belfast I only had a few days until my London housemate came back. I was on cloud 9. I was living in London, in a kick ass apartment, in the area I love with one of my closest amigos. What was not to love?

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My actual park

As the days went past there was no sign of the interview. I signed up with an agency before moving here and have a great relationship with my recruitment agent who was DEFINITE that finding work wouldn’t be an issue. In fact, at the start, no one in my life, including myself had any doubts that the full time job was just on the horizon. However, things do not move at the fast pace I was expecting. I have been employed since I was 15 years old, cut to me at 37 – living the actual dream but having fear paralysis because the money was all going out of the bank and nothing was coming in….

That fact hit me like a brick in the face. I’m living my dream, actually living my dream – I should be enjoying my time – but I couldn’t. I genuinely lost the ability to feel anything other than fear. The first interview came in and it was a week or so away. This gave me ample preparation time – something I forgot to mention (lies, I told everyone) is that I am horrendous at interviews – not only am I horrendous at interviews I hadn’t had a proper formal interview since 2006. The one that makes me think I am horrendous at interviews was when I went for a post with zero preparation and walked out halfway through because the fear paralysis meant I was unable to speak so rather than stay there I fled. Of course when I spoke about this with anyone else I made it into a joke because that’s how I roll. Internally I was mortified and remain mortified to this day…..

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Anyhoo, so I had a week or so to prepare. And boy, did I prepare. I hand wrote 14 pages of notes, multiple times. I looked at relevant questions, I answered them multiple times. I read and re-read everything – MULTIPLE TIMES. Then the day of the interview arrived and I drove through Central London like a lunatic to get there. I was early because I’m always early and I read through everything again. Everything is different here, I mean everything. I was not expecting the building to look like it did, I was definitely not in Kansas anymore. But I went to the interview and I hadn’t prepped appropriately for what the role was for. I can blame any number of people – including me – for that rookie mistake. The interview wasn’t terrible but I knew I didn’t have the post. That’s when the darkness really set in.

I came back from the interview and told my housemate all about it. That night over dinner I had the first of several tear and snot laden meltdowns to come over then next week or so. I can only describe how I was feeling as complete imposter syndrome. I was convinced, despite being reassured constantly, that any minute now someone or something would come and take all of this away from me.

I’m not just talking financially, there is nothing like a little bit of adversity to bring all of the monsters to the surface. I was convinced that I wasn’t good enough. The negative tapes I have had playing in my head for YEARS that I had been able to silence really successfully all came back on a loop. “You’re not good enough,” “no-one likes you anyway,” “people take one look at you and know you shouldn’t be here,” etc.

Living alone as I have done for the past 10 years – you develop routines when these things happen. My routine is to retreat into myself and literally hide away – I can pretend over text or on social media that everything is great! I had some of my friends from home texting me to see how things were going and I could lie my way through all of that quite easily. The only people that knew I wasn’t dealing well with any of this were my parents because they know me better than anyone and my housemate, who I believed in my head was questioning every decision she had made to buy into this journey with me for the next 3 years. Internally I was beating myself up repeatedly and I couldn’t see the wood for the trees and all of the trees were made of direct debits and bills that I couldn’t afford to pay and everyone was going to leave me because I was unworthy and I shouldn’t be here and who did I think I was to think I deserved the chance to change my life because I’m an emotional vacuum and now I’m going to be a financial vacuum and it’s because of who I am and my personality and I deserve to lose everything etc etc

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What’s even more fun about ALL of that thinking is that I have learned over the years that I am in control of how I think and feel and no-one else. How I respond to situations is up to me, no-one can hurt me unless I let them SO – cut to me not only feeling horrendous but knowing I was doing all of this to myself because in reality I shouldn’t care. If someone’s behaviour makes me feel some kinda way then I KNOW I need to buckle up and get over it. I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating that was for me. Don’t worry, this bit is going to end soon and we will get on to happier tales but I just wanted to illustrate where my head was at.

So, needless to say that interview was not successful. I had another interview coming up and instead of seeing this as an opportunity it compacted the dread even more. The negative tapes started playing their B-sides which haven’t been a thing for a number of years – those are the darkest of the dark – I was questioning everything and everyone and still trying to get my head around new legislation, policies and procedures. There is nothing quite as tiring as the feelings associated with trying to sell yourself as an A+ stellar whizkid when your brain is telling you the exact opposite, in really REALLY detailed and intricate ways.

Fast forward to a night out pre interview where I drank an entire bottle of gin to myself and a bottle of wine and I was a mess. As anyone with half a brain knows, alcohol is not the answer. I am beyond blessed to have supportive people in my life right now who can see me and who can see past the external behaviour and how telling it is of internalised past trauma. I have not always been so lucky, as I have touched on in previous blog posts – however my brain had reverted back to circa 2015 and I was beyond lost and also EXTREMELY embarrassed to the point where I hated myself even more – not that I knew that was possible – but guess what, IT WAS!!

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Live footage of me (in the blue, I’m not an animal) after too much gin

I spent all of the Monday prepping for the interview, luckily I had 12 hours of sleep and many carbs – I did my research and my readings and plotted for my journey. That night I spoke to a friend from home and for the first time I admitted aloud to someone that I wasn’t having the greatest time and I was so pleasantly surprised by the reaction. Although I always like to live by the “what would you tell someone else who was in your position,” which generates kindness towards myself – I don’t actually ever like to put myself in the position where I tell people what is happening to allow anyone to be kind to me. I think I realised that even though I may have silenced the negative tapes in my head it’s like they are still running on must with subtitles on in the background – I don’t always hear them but the information is still there.

I went to the interview and it went really well. Then came the waiting game to hear if I had the job. I mean I knew I had it, someone just needed to tell me. It was then that I realised how much my self worth is tied into having a job. It’s more than that really, I came to London to make a new life for myself – in order to do that I need to have a job, I need to have a purpose. When you are in the caring profession it’s a vocation, it’s not just a job. When it becomes just a job you need to leave, IMHO.

Cue 4 days of waiting and wondering – I was so scared to spend even a penny on a tube fare in case I didn’t have a job. I didn’t want to leave the house in case my phone signal was crap. I didn’t want to make phone calls in case I missed the phone call. I went for coffee with my friend Lynne from home and terrified her with where my head was at (thank you Lynne, you are an actual life saver) I badgered the agency, I think they could have been well within their rights to arrest me for stalking. I decided to throw caution to the wind and went to see Wicked (I want to do a whole other blog post about why I am actually Elphaba but that is neither here nor there) then finally on Friday (as in yesterday) I decided to stop caring. I went to the National Gallery to get my culture on and to not be waiting by the phone, of course I had my phone in my hand the entire time. My phone rang just as i was looking at a Picasso piece that really resembles Jigsaw from the Saw movies (yes, that’s my cultural awareness) and the guy from the agency told me I had been offered the job.

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Jigsaw, no?

I wanted to scream. I of course could not because a gallery was probably not the best place to go when awaiting a life changing phone call but anyway – I actually felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. It was a physical sensation. I felt taller and lighter and able to stand up and breathe and my face relaxed and my internal organs stopped knotting and I stopped hating everything about myself and all of that happened in ONE call. Of course I accepted the post (more quietly than I wanted to) and I did the one ‘extravagant’ thing I promised my housemate I would do when I got a job. I went straight to Jo Malone and bought us candles for our flat. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than to take a picture of the bag and send it to her with the caption, “Do you remember what his means?” – which of course she did because she is awesome.

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So – after all of that insanity I want to jot down my realisations – do not let my tale put you off making life changing decisions – let it be a cautionary tale;

  • If you want to live the dream, sometimes you have to wade through a nightmare – everyone has their own personal fears, I had to meet all of mine head on within 4 weeks of being here on all levels, personal within my relationships and friendships, financial and emotional – DO NOT LET THIS PUT YOU OFF – keep the good people around you and be kind to yourself – I know this is easier said than done – go to a gallery, see a show, get out of your own head – even if it’s a centimetre outside of it
  • Surround yourself with good people – After years upon years of surrounding myself with the wrong people it is easy to let past experiences have an impact on the present day. Having the right people around you will prove to you on a daily (or in my case, hourly) basis that you are worthy of love and of care. The right people will call you out when necessary but will also be your biggest cheerleaders – don’t mistake being called out and supported for being called out and admonished – there is a huge difference – one is about growing and the other is about keeping you in a box.

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  • You are in charge of your own feelings and responses BUT it’s okay to have some off days – Perceptions of ill treatment by others, actual ill treatment by others and unfair situations will happen, REGULARLY. Being overwhelmed by these can happen when other aspects of your life feel beyond your control. Do not beat yourself up for having some wallow time. Your friends and family will not leave you in the dirt or make you feel any worse. If this has happened to you before, as it has to me, then you are better off without them – even though it may not seem like it at the time. Just because you are feeling sad or hopeless does not make you a bad person – do not isolate yourself – even if you are snotting into your curry. Name your feelings and talk them through with someone you trust. Learning to trust people after being annihilated takes time – my circle is small but I am learning to widen it. People make mistakes all the time, be as forgiving to yourself as you are of others
  • MUSIC IS THERAPY – Something I found that really helped me through was listening to music. Any kind of music, the cheesier the better in fact. Believe me, once you identify the fact that you can relate to Elphaba AND Glinda then things don’t seem so serious.
  • Talk to your friends and family – Don’t feel like everything has to be so guarded and so protected when things aren’t going well. I know for a fact that I am devastated when I learn that anyone I care about has been going through a tough time and hasn’t called on me for support. Rest assured that your friends will want to be there to support you.

Those are my most recent learnings – I bet everyone is MAD that I have disregarded all blogging rules by being SUPER WORDY. I don’t make any apologies for it. I want to share where my head has been and you can all just be grateful I didn’t share the post I started on Wednesday….

So there you have it, this is a synopsis of my recent few weeks in a nutshell. I am so happy to say that I can FINALLY begin to enjoy living the dream, my way!

I wanted to also take this opportunity to thank anyone and everyone who has stuck by me over the past few weeks, especially to my housemate who had to experience first hand the fuckery of my braining when in crisis and for proving that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Thanks for not deserting me, to the victor goes the spoils ❤

Life Update

HELLO!!! How have you been? What have you been up to? Have you done something jolly with your hair?

Oh it has been such a long time! I figure that rehashing the last bajillion days since I posted would be totally moot so I won’t bore you with the gory details.

I will however bring you right up to speed at an amazing rate of knots. Hold on to your hats. As of 7th September I will be leaving Norn Iron for good and setting up residence in London TAHN!

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It’s been a dream of mine for YEARS and finally I took the leap – this has not been a decision I have made lightly, there have been multitudes of tears and a whole lotta laughter at how absolutely sieve like my brain can be when forced into months of constant thinking.

I wanted to post to keep you all up to speed, if anyone is still here. And for those of you who will be just joining me I’ll hopefully be documenting the trials and tribulations of starting a new life in the big schmoke.

I adore Belfast, I will be back often to visit the parentals and my good buddies but London will be my new home and I am sure I will find plenty to blog about when I land there!

Ps yes, I am bringing the cat…..

Pps I met Miranda Sings……

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It’s been 17 days….

Omg, I can’t actually believe it has been 17 days since I last posted! To say things have been hectic would be an utter understatement. I’ve been thinking about control and what it really means to have it and of course to lose it. Now I don’t mean self-control, well I suppose in a way I do, but it’s more to do with my apparent need to have control over everything I do.

My control issues stem from way back but were most definitely exacerbated in the black hole that was 2015-2016 when I realised that no matter what you do, you can never control other people’s responses to you, you can only control your ultimate response. Like even if you tie yourself to a train track to display the levels of care you have for someone, sometimes that just isn’t reciprocated and I could not wrap my head around that.

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Actual footage of me being held down by my need for control…

I’ve recently started taking a lot more risks and opening myself up a lot more to people and still those feelings can creep into my brain. But the one thing I always remember is that I can only control what I do about things. I will never change who I am and I wouldn’t want to either. I will always be a helper and a caregiver and I consider myself lucky to have linked in with an amazing group of people who appreciate what I do. My need for control has always been about a fear of things ending. It’s like as soon as I get on the happy train I am literally looking out the window for my stop. I have always struggled with just giving into the moment and allowing myself to just be happy! I am suspicious and I am guarded to some degree but this was my way of protecting myself – more recently I have been able to let this go and just be. Ohh what a difference this makes! I promise if you try it you’ll really like it….

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I listened to an amazing podcast the other evening. My friend recommended Gangaji to me a while back and OMG I am in love. Like I want her at my dream dinner party, along with Temple Grandin (again another amazing recommendation from a friend). The episode I listened to most recently was The Illusion of Control and it was like ‘HOW YOU KNOW, GANGAJI?’

I guess the whole point of this post was to share that link with you and I went the wafflers way about it. Forgive me, I just have a lot of words. In other news, I am still on the Slimming World train and I have lost 5lbs already. I still have a way to go but I’m focused and determined that this is going to be the year I shed the weight, both physically and emotionally.

If you’ve listened to any amazing podcasts or you’ve received some life advice that has changed your outlook, let me know in the comments!

With a brain like this….

…. who needs enemies? Amirite? Self – sabotage is one of those things that I wax lyrical about on an almost daily basis. Absolutely NO ONE can put me off track more than myself. With 2018 well under way and with so much amazing stuff in the pipeline for this year, you would think that my brain would FINALLY be kicking into gear. Well, you would be wrong, sorry about that. Well, that’s an exaggeration, I am getting WAY better at certain things but then there are others that I am firmly on board the struggle-bus with. I suppose that is why I have decided to take this to blog-land. I tend to find when I write stuff down it suddenly loses a lot of it’s impact in my head, like it takes the steam out of the relentless mixtape of ‘Now That’s What I Call…… You’re Gonna Fail (1981-present).”

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There have been multiple things that I have achieved that I never thought I would be able to. Sticking to a meditation schedule (66 days and counting), stopping smoking (9 weeks and counting) saving money everyday (I managed that for 365 days last year AND am on track again AND MORE this year) – so WHY is it that there are certain aspects that I struggle so badly with?

The thing that I really find difficult is my relationship with food. I am an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, sad, bored, excited, scared and even when I am just baseline. Being a walking emotion, this means that food and I spend a LOT of time together. An unhealthy amount really. Like, literally unhealthy. I have put on SO much weight that it’s uncomfortable for me to even think about. Another reason why I came here, because I NEED to think about it. I need to start processing what is actually going on in order to make the changes that I need to and that I actually REALLY WANT to. Sometimes wanting something is all it takes and sometimes wanting it isn’t enough and it needs broken down, planned for and executed with a degree of skill and thought and I think that’s where I am at….

I have always struggled with diet, I was a chubber as a child and I don’t think I have ever really had a good insight into what I actually look like. I have always thought of myself as the ‘fat one’ in any of my friendship groups. It’s only when I look back at photographs of me that I can see that I wasn’t actually ever as big as I thought. When I moved into my own house in 2009 things started to decline. When you don’t have another person to judge you for ordering 3 times in one night from Just Eat it kind of becomes a non-event. I mean, I am aware that this is excessive by any stretch of the imagination but I am one of those people who needs to be held accountable. The faceless ease of the time of the interwebs has been my platform to find what I am REALLY good at but it has also been my undoing in this particular way….

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I’m not very good at holding myself accountable, I guess it stems from somewhat unhealthy relationships where I have never really felt ‘good enough’ and therefore I have a constant need to please others. When the people I care about are happy, I too am happy. I place a lot of weight (pardon the pun) on that, which is also something that I need to work on. I am an empath and I tend to pick up on the unhappiness of others (which is really REALLY unhelpful in my line of day job) but instead of attributing that to what THEY are feeling I automatically kick into ‘helper’ mode and I try to fix everything. When I can’t fix it, I feel even worse, even though the emotion or the problem was not mine to deal with. Can’t control that? EAT IT! This is why meditation has been such a godsend – it is beginning to chip away at those feelings of responsibility and internalisation and is giving me the platform to identify what is mine to hold and what is not. This is NOT an easy thing to do.

So when it comes to food, I need to hold myself accountable BUT I cannot do this on my own (ironical) as I have proven repeatedly. I first joined Slimming World in 2013 and I lost 40lbs. I have put all of that and then some back on. I always found that when I had a week where I maintained or I put on, even 1/2 a lb, instead of looking at the bigger picture of where I was going, it put me off entirely and I would go on a binge rampage. Then I would feel like I had messed everything up and that would send me into a spiral of actually really messing everything up.

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I rejoined Slimming World in 2017 and I lost 13lbs and then the same thing happened again. It’s only been more recently, and I strongly believe that the meditation has something to do with it, that I have started to feel a shift in my thinking. I finally feel ready to go back to a class so I have made a plan to rejoin on Tuesday 9th January 2018. The group in itself and the walk to the scale on Day 1 should be enough to get me into the first week.

This is what I need to tell myself: Those weeks I put on or I maintain are going to happen, that’s when I need to continue to stick to the plan. It’s not that I need to make changes to a system that works. I know what I am doing and I have done it before. I know that I am unhappy with where I am right now and I want to get out of the shame spiral. I have seen it work for others so well and I know it can and has worked for me. I know all of these things. But here’s the bit I struggle with…. I also know that this demon is the one that has the most OVERWHELMING ability to make all of that knowledge disappear and in what seems like an instant I am eyeballs deep in pizza and chips and ice cream.

So, dear reader, I ask you to come on this journey with me. I know it must feel like every lifestyle blogger is writing about NEW YEAR NEW ME and all of that but I really REALLY need your help. I need you to hold me accountable as I make my way in this. I promise not every blog post will be about Slimming World, there are too many other things happening for me to focus solely on that. But I do want to share my thinking, when I find out how to overcome certain things that have been a struggle, because I know that I will and hopefully those things will help you too. Onwards and downwards, eh??

2017 – WTF

Hello! I have been debating over whether or not to write a ‘Farewell 2017’ post because it always seems so cliche. However I really DO have a lot of lessons learned this year and I think they might be useful to other people so watch as I get all cliche on you.

  1. Social Media is REALITY

This year I have been spending a LOT of time on social media as part of my job. I have watched as people’s social media presence has grown and developed into something beautiful and positive and warm. They have welcomed differences of opinion as chances to help each other to grow and expand any close mindedness on either side and new friendships have been cultivated that have surpassed the realms of the interwebs….

I have also watched people become bitter antagonistic trolls of anything and anyone they don’t agree with or understand. I know that social media is a place to express yourself. I do it multiple times a day. Here’s the thing, if you wouldn’t have the balls to approach a person in real life and say it to their face, don’t do it on social media. Would you actively seek out people in real life with a differing opinion and then belittle them and make them feel stupid for posting a comment online about a reality TV show? It’s beyond disappointing and it doesn’t say very much about where we’re headed on a social level if all of our differences of opinion are dealt with by using emojis and memes….

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Retweeting something that someone else has said does not make you an activist. Slagging someone off for causing hurt or harm to others does NOT make you a better person than the person you are degrading, it makes you the SAME as them. Worse than that, slagging a group of people off, whose lifestyle you don’t agree with yet has done ZERO harm to you, makes you Donald Trump. You can’t change the world with one tweet, especially not a negative one, it makes you look petty and pathetic.  It’s the 2017 equivalent of throwing your toys out of the pram.

For 2018 – post positively. If you must seek someone out, make it someone who you admire and tell them that you admire them and why. Pay it forward instead of dragging it backwards

 2.  Social Media is POWERFUL

At the beginning of the year I was asked by one of my dearest friends to help her set up and run social media accounts for a charitable activist group that she had been thinking about starting for a while. Of course I said yes and I am delighted to say that we have grown a really strong following online, not only that, we have held 2 really successful events this year and have made cash money for groups and projects that have lost their funding.

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Getting involved in this has definitely given me a good focus for the year and has shown me that if used in the right way, social media can most definitely make a difference. We’ll be a whole year old in January 2018 and we have more plans afoot to keep growing and providing assistance for those who need it most. Slide in my DM’s for more info 🙂

3. Meditation is key

Okay so I have lost count of the amount of people who have told me that they really think I would benefit from meditation. I also really struggle when I have to tell people they were right and I was wrong, but hey, I WAS WRONG. I believed that I was too busy to meditate. Too busy to take time for myself. Yet I would waste SO MUCH TIME watching 13 minute YouTube videos on cat fails. I have used the Headspace app everyday for 60 days now and I can really feel the benefits. I’m looking forward to taking this into 2018 and maybe branching out into other apps, podcasts etc

If you are toying with the idea of getting started I promise you won’t regret it. It’s literally only 10 minutes out of your entire day. Plus, it’s a little bit of you time that we all deserve, let me know if you try it out or if you are using any other apps that you think are good!

4. Toxicville – Population 2

Over the past couple of years, I have shed some friends that were toxic for me. My life has improved ten fold because of it and I don’t regret a single thing. The only thing is, I am now HYPER AWARE of when I am being treated like a mug. If the only time someone contacts you is when they are having a hard time and need you to console them, then you need to not always be available. Friendships are NOT based on one person being the damsel in distress and the other person ALWAYS being the rescuer. These are unhealthy relationships and in time the rescuer will need a bit of rescuing but the damsel will be out there living their best life……. until they aren’t.

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I remember when I was living in Toxicville and was absolutely IN BITS and I text to tell my friend and the response I got was along the lines of, ‘well, that’s your journey, could you get me this book from Amazon?’ I can’t tell you how many times I had to get kicked in the actual face before I realised that I was the only one to make it stop, which I eventually did. Best decision of my life. Talk it through with your person, maybe it has been an oversight and they will work on correcting that. Don’t settle in 2018

5. Make a 5 Phase Plan

If you have things you want to achieve in 2018, make yourself a 5 phase plan (a la Uncle Jim in Haters Back Off). Massive goals seem much more achievable if you break them into smaller steps. I’m currently in the process of working through my own 5 phase plan and so far it’s going well. There’s going to be more about that in 2018

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6. Save money

This year I didn’t have a resolution as such. I did start trying to put away some money. I read online somewhere that if you put away 1p on 1st January, 2p on 2nd January and continue like that all year, you can save quite a bit of money for Christmas presents etc. Today I put away my final £3.65 and tomorrow I will go back to 1p in the jar. This money paid for my MOT, my car tax and my Christmas presents as well as helping me out of a couple of financial holes. I couldn’t recommend this highly enough. Get you a jar and drop those pennies in!!

THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!

There you have it, those are the main points I have taken from 2017 and will carry with me into 2018. What have you learned about this year that has changed your life and your outlook? Let me know in the comments!! Happy 2018, see you on the other side….

Relaunch imminent….

Hello ladies and germs!!

OMG I am so sorry to have disappeared. Things have been SUPER crazy and I have been beyond busy with work and werk and everything in between. I am 100% determined to get this blog relaunched and up and running in January 2018. There are so many exciting things in the pipeline for this next year that I really can’t NOT blog. If I kept this all to myself my head might explode.

Thank you for bearing with me! I promise you won’t regret it. This incoming year we’re going to be looking at music releases, travel, book reviews, life altering decision making, self care skills, health and wellness and SO MUCH MORE!

So my gift to you this festive season is the promise that I WILL BE BACK!!

Happy Holidays and I’ll see you in 2018 ❤

L xx

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Let’s start at the very beginning…

Hello again! Some of you may remember when I started this blog last August, that the main premise was to document when I did anything that was ‘new.’ Queue a revert back to form and the lowdown on my latest newness!

I have always wanted to try kickboxing. I always thought that my levels of internalised rage could have gone to a better home and been unleashed in a much more enjoyable manner. Just ask Stevie, I didn’t earn the nickname of Brunter for nothing….

Needless to say it has taken me to reach the age of 36 before I actually decided to investigate this further. I took to the Googles and researched local classes in the Belfast area and found one that called my name. The Beginner Ladies classes take place in Victory Martial Arts (formerly Fighting Fit NI) and I signed myself up for 4 weeks of training for the great value price of £39.

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My first class was on Saturday morning. I got up and got ready and then spent an hour talking myself into and out of going. Ohhh the excuses I can make are AMAZING. Luckily having realised that about myself (see last post) I got into the car and made my way to class. I was greeted by trainer, Les McMaster. This was the start of the 4 week programme, I had already missed the first night because of work but when I emailed prior to signing up I was 100% reassured that starting on the Saturday wouldn’t be an issue. I had all of the usual worries about going, what if I was the only new person? What if everyone else was super fit? What if I collapsed due to sheer exhaustion?

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When I went in there were another 2 girls also going to their first class! Huzzah! I was not alone! We all looked suitably terrified but this was soon alleviated when we all got chatting and Les showed us around.

The class itself was AMAZING. The warm up was enough to make me want to lie down in a heap but there is definitely something to be said about having someone actually instructing. I am one of the worst people when I go to the gym, I get easily distracted when I have no guidance so this was perfect for me.

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We then launched into a series of kicks, alone at first and then we partnered up. I almost squealed with happiness when the pads were produced and we got to practice with partners. Again, never be scared to go to classes like this alone, there is ALWAYS someone else who will be in the same boat and what better way to make friends than by kicking them (sometimes a bit harshly). The amount of “oh sorry’s” and “oops did that hurt” that were said that day probably went into double figures.

When it was time to cool down I can honestly say that I haven’t felt as good in a long time. When I fall off the wagon the first thing to go is my eating, closely followed by my exercise so when I started regaining control of the food beast, it felt like it was only natural to get back not the exercise.

My second class is tonight. I still can’t lift my legs above ankle height from Saturday so COME AT ME, SMALL PEOPLE!!

Have you started any new exercise routines recently? Have you ever wanted to give a specific sport a go but always decide not to at the last minute? I know I’m not alone here guys. If you have an interest in Kickboxing / Self-Defence then give the guys at Victory a call and see what they have to suit! There are classes for all ages and abilities so get down and check it out for yourself!

Until next time…..