Lifestyle

The plague that is; self-doubt

The definition of Self-doubt is: “The Lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities”

Wondering leaves me feeling sombre, I sense I am about to slide into a dark hole and assume any security in my life will sink with me. I often find myself sitting and wondering… what if I can’t do it, what if people don’t like me; what if their feelings aren’t real, what if these words and actions aren’t legitimate… I learnt at a young age to question myself; my parents were great, always encouraging and supportive of my adventures but once I got to school I knew I was different, both the way I looked and my character, and it was only a matter of time before other children picked up on this and the bullying began.

Self-doubt is a vicious circle for me – I doubt myself, I work up the courage to try; sometimes I succeed but sometimes I need to pick myself up and try again; it’s this failure or rejection that cuts deep and leaves a mental scar. I fear before I have even begun. I fear projects at work, I fear achievements in the gym, I fear the risk of personal relationships and probably the most obvious is – I fear social situations; I spend hours choosing “the perfect” outfit which drives my partner mad when I constantly seek his approval, I overthink communications before I meet anyone almost scripting what I am going to say, I use route planner to make sure I am there on time but then decide it’s fashionable to be late so wait around for ages, I am terrified of babies and children in case they cry or don’t find me fun to play with… The list could go on and on!

Reflect
    A place that helped me discover the important of trusting myself             Chub Cay, The Bahamas
Recently I have discovered the importance of reminding myself that the constant nagging feeling inside is only self-doubt rearing its ugly head and it’s actually a worthy feeling to have; after all if I had zero ounces of self-doubt it’d be extremely unhealthy. I have steps in place that I replay in my head:

  1. Take timeout with company

Take a break from whatever I doubt to talk with friends, family and colleagues – they INSPIRE my strength, courage and ambitions.

  1. No more excuses

Forget the fear of failing – jump in with 2 feet and be brave, if I am PREPARED I am ready to try.

  1. Do what is right for me

Stop relying on input, advice and validation from others – I have my own voice, my own opinion and I TRUST my values.

  1. Remember the good stuff

COUNTERACT negative thoughts with achievements, things I am proud of, things that I like about me.

 

The only person that stands between me and success is me!

Comment with your experience of self-doubt… Am i alone?

x

Lifestyle · Wildlife

#WorldPenguinDay

So I have literally only just discovered that today is World Penguin Day… I am considering writing to Filofax to include a note next year to remind me!

Penguins always fascinate me for hours upon end if we are ever lucky to see them on our travels! I mean… Have you ever seen a sad penguin? And have you ever felt down after watching a penguin waddle? The word alone melts my heart! It even sounds cute!

And then you have their traits, my favourite of which include:

  1. The waddle is their signature move and nobody judges it – have you ever walked across a room after leg day and had the stare from a stranger none the wiser who is asking themselves what the heck has she been up to?
  2. They OWN the monochrome fashion trend and make it anything but boring – how much time would this save me in the morning without the task of choosing which colour I should pick out that accommodates mood, company, surroundings, weather… etc.
  3. They can stay under water for approximately 20 minutes at a time – as a kid I spent hours and hours in the bath trying to hold my breath for a minute in readiness for my next swimming lesson at school. There is something pretty awesome about doing lengths underwater…
  4. The male penguin will search miles in order to find the perfect pebble for his lady before presenting it to her – is this not just the cutest proposal in the world?! Forget the cost and carat of the diamonds, this is sentiment at it’s best!
  5. They are loyal to the core; when they find their “mate” they are together for life! Can you imagine how different our lives would be if all of the human race were this committed? This is the stand out for me!

Penguin 2

It saddens me to think this marvelous species may one day be extinct! Let’s help spread awareness and celebrate these beautiful birds!

#worldpenguinday

x

Here is a few links to the more informative reads:

https://phys.org/news/2017-04-antarctic-urged-world-penguin-day.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2017/apr/25/10-emperor-penguin-facts-for-world-penguin-day-in-pictures

http://earthsky.org/earth/world-penguin-day-2017-state-of-antarctic-penguins-report

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Is Monday a treat?

Am I the only person who needs the existence of elation, joy or possibly reward to get me through a Monday?

Work is dull and cheerless whilst we get into the swing of being in the office again after 2 days of freedom! My alarm has been snoozed 3 times before I admit defeat and crawl out of bed, the time spent with family and friends seems like a mere distant memory and I am still hustling with the hangover that Friday night handed me on a plate! Nobody is positive nor productive until at least 11am on a Monday, it should be company policy for a late start!

I drag myself to the gym which is rammed with people who, like me, have the necessity of a Monday workout ingrained to be able to start the week well. I am surrounded by allies consumed with the guilt of swapping their salad for chips with their steak dinner, who buckled to peer pressure when they had the extra 3 glasses of wine in addition to the 3 they had already tracked calories for in my fitness pal!

Winter coffee

That being said – It’s the beginning of a 5 day fresh start!

I WILL make a difference at work and nail the far fetched target that has been looming since the beginning of FY16/17… this brings a whole new meaning to continual service improvement with excessive emphasis on the word continual rather than improvement.

I WILL stick to my healthy eating plan until Friday afternoon; I have all of my meals ready and waiting for me to inhale in ten seconds flat because it’s been 4 hours since I last ate!

I WILL win the competition with my gym achievements from last week… One extra rep, 5kg heavier, 1 mile further… The better my workout, the more food I can devour. Simple maths isn’t?

I WILL enjoy my famous Monday ritual that I look forward to, starting with the weekly hair wash that transforms me from Chewbacca to woman in minutes, the bubble bath that results in total relaxation and the chance to lose myself in the process of reading a few chapters of a new book!

So today I have sailed through Monday effortlessly and I can’t help but think it could be a result of this new blog. I have something to look forward to when I get home to an empty house in the evenings, I can put my thoughts to good use instead of chatting to the dogs like a crazy woman. I have this new relationship in life that I have fallen head over heels for; a relationship with my thoughts, my feelings and my mind… Monday has certainly been a treat!

How was your Monday? What do you do to make it through? Do you treat yourself for making it through the day?

x

 

Lifestyle

The beginning of a new training and nutrition plan

Earlier this week I caught up with a friend who has found herself in a content and happy place, she has lost a stone on a 12 week plan that was carefully calculated for her by an online coach. Her words to describe this “Seriously mate, I feel the best I have ever felt. I love the food plan and can’t wait to jump out of bed at 5:30am to get into the gym”

This girl is serious body goals! I mean, serious… the envy of many girls like myself who spend hours in the gym or kitchen as slaves to the chore of getting lean. Her results are insane! She is lean but has curves that scream ‘woman’, she has definition and tone to her muscle, her skin is a dewy picture of health and she is given off this aura about her that can only be described as ‘I am strong, independent! I’ve got this’…

Some would question why I care about training or nutrition as my selection of wording ‘chore’ doesn’t exactly shout from the rafters that this is one of my main passions in life.

This got me thinking; for a long time I have trained consistently and have pledged to a moderately clean diet! However dedication nor commitment haven’t ever been my primary goals; I’ve always looked for shortcuts, wanted quick fixes and I’m guilty of being beyond impatient when it comes to seeing results.

I sit and wonder whether I too could have such success if I take the bull by the horns and give this a real go! Am I motivated enough to stick to a plan for a predefined time period? Am I strong enough or fit enough to smash each rep or set scheduled into a daily plan? Am I kidding myself thinking that I can take this seriously enough to see results that so many others achieve? Am I willing to prioritise this lifestyle over booze and binges that special occasions lead me to each time? 

I spend hours scrolling through fitness posts on instagram and reading fitness blogs learning about other people’s journeys and this leads me to evaluate, what do I have to lose?  The devil on my shoulder rears it’s ugly head at this point and I counteract this carefree, go-getting attitude with self-doubt and criticism! And so the vicious circle begins again… 

The result of today’s deliberation has a different outcome, I have listened to the angelic side of my Jekyll and Hyde persona; I AM committing to an 8 week training and nutrition plan. I AM going to give this a go!

Meals are prepped, gym bag is packed and trainers are by the front door!


I would go as far as stating that I am even feeling somewhat excited about the prospect that tomorrow is day 1 of 56 attempts to nail this! 

Has anyone tried similar plans? I’d be interested in hearing your experiences and  any tips you have for staying motivated? 

K

X

Lifestyle

Tuesday Motivation 

Woke up today an hour after my alarm which immediately set me off on a back foot for the day! 

I’ve missed my morning cardio; I find this routine crucial for the instant mood lift I feel when endorphins get pumping around my brain, awakening my body and senses ready to attack Tuesday like the ninja warrior that I know I CAN be… 

Lazy and meal prep are two words I am using in the same sentence far too frequently at the moment. This has two effects: number one I am more likely to reach for quick fixes and number two I spend more money than necessary on lunch and snacking! Getting up an hour late for me, means I have failed my “clean eating” before the day has begun. I will now be reaching for the ever so familiar £3 meal deal in Tesco that is swiftly becoming my ‘go-to’ saviour to get me through the work week.

So… I am perfectly aware that only I can change my mindset and make things happen for myself. We are, after all, creatures of habit and it is essential that I get a good couple of weeks worth of routine under my belt to feel like I am in the swing of things again!

Here’s my action plan to get this started:

1. Write out my food diary 

2. Shop for the ingredients needed above

3. Go for a walk at lunchtime; even steady state cardio means I am moving!

4. Prep meals for the rest of the week when I get home this evening 

5. Take some “me time” tonight to relax – I will choose a bubble bath, light a candle and maybe have my audio book playing in the background

6. Don’t beat myself up; today is not yet over and tomorrow is a new day again

I will tick this list off as I complete each action today; this helps me feel mentally accomplished and automatically fills me with positivity and a sense of worth.

How do you re-motivate yourself after a bad morning? Do you have any top tips that would help me? 

X

Lifestyle

#PrayforManchester 

Waking up to headlines of 22 dead and more than 50 injured is a daunting concept on this beautiful sunny morning.

I woke up this morning 10 miles away from this devastating attack; it happened late last night… news spread fast with many offering help and support throughout the night. I consider myself blessed to be sat here writing this post but it distresses me greatly that not all families are so lucky today. 


Pure arrogance and brutality leave me shocked and in dismay. Choosing a venue brimming with young, carefree teens and parents who are there to celebrate a common interest is both tainted and terrifying. It will have taken months of saving pocket money and countless battles of persuasion with parents  for many of these teens to be there at their first concert solo! To have their freedom, independence and responsibility torn away from them so instantly is heart wrenching.

Parents accompanying youngsters to the concert must be beside themselves with guilt and torment; I cannot even begin to imagine the number of “what ifs” running through their minds.

There really are no words to summarise this post; it’s truly heartbreaking that we live in constant fear and apprehension of the next attack. We live on such a beautiful planet but in such an ugly world. 

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those affected by this distressing tragedy. 

X

Lifestyle

The anxiety of driving “home”…

 

The 300 hundred mile drive back “home” fills me with everlasting emotion every time I set off on my journey. I sit and immerse myself in the sensation of being knocked unconscious from when I turn my key and hit my accelerator right up to pulling on the handbrake and beeping to let my family know that I have arrived the other end… in between this is a blur of familiar emotions… some good, some bad.

To me home is a place where my family still live and a place where I find my oldest friends. Home is many precious memories of growing up with Dad being alive. Home helped me overcome school bullies and lose weight once and for all. Home handed me each brick that I needed to rebuild myself as a person after falling victim to grief and depression. Home gave me new found strength to take a chance on leaving and “starting” again. And home, as cliché as it sounds, will always be the place that forever holds my heart. 

All good emotion has a counterpart for me – and these are memories that scar!

Home is being bullied for obesity, being shy and different to classmates. Home is where we lost Dad to Leukaemia leaving a gaping hole in our lives. At home I rebelled and put mum through hell for years whilst I grieved selfishly for my loss. Home is somewhere I lost myself to alcohol, sex and drugs. Being home I recognise a distant memory of a reputation I made for myself that will haunt me for my lifetime. Home chinks one’s Armor a little more each time I leave; hugging loved ones, fighting back tears, waving frantically!

As I turn onto the motorway it’s as though I have a lifetime still to go before I reach home, I have approximately 3.5 hours to myself which until very recently would have had me quivering with fear… Each time I make this journey back home I torture myself with reasoning. I am my harshest critic – I replay all of the bad, mad and often sad decisions that I have made over the years. I consider choices that have impacted my life; I contemplate how compromises have influenced my relationships and respect how outcomes hinder my progress.

I recall nights that I can’t remember, waking up with people and in places that I can’t forget. I can still hear voices in my head encouraging me to have another drink or “pick-me-up” because the night isn’t over until I am at my most vulnerable passed out. I dredge up deep and dark places I took myself to following a big night out, I can still picture risks I was willing to take to deem myself “normal” again. I memorise expressions on family faces each time I relapsed and can still hear disappointment in voices judging me “not again”. I think about how many hearts I have broken over my manic years and suffer a dull ache inside of me knowing some still hurt today as a result of my decisions. I can identify with emptiness inside of me; it was often as though I was looking in through a window whilst I sprinted down a jagged path of destruction taking anyone whose path I crossed with me as collateral damage. The consideration of being beyond repair rings true, I couldn’t hurt more than I already did, I wasn’t me and I had nothing left to lose!

As I get closer to arriving “home” I deliberate, I am exhausted by efforts that I have put into arguing with my anxiety but have an air of elation that I am done with said emotion for a while. Recently I have hit a milestone; I can compartmentalize my feelings and emotions. Dedicating 3.5 hours to these feelings and emotions on my journey means I am able to lock-up this mind-set until next time. Each time I revisit this compartment I see a little progress, I have got to the point where after time there are feelings and emotions that can be set free… They no longer need to be put back in a box.  

Looking in you’d presume I cope well and have it all together now but inside there is plenty for me to understand and exceed. 

World Press Freedom Day

So why do I find forgiveness so hard?

I strive for perfection; I hate failing and I question every dubious choice that I have ever made. Was it another failure that I’m not ready to forgive myself for?

I want to move on and accept that I cannot change what has already happened, I must own mistakes I have made previously and let go of guilt held alongside them, it’s essential that I stop regretting past decisions and start living for today, for my future. I am in a better place now than I have ever been but forgiveness is a journey that I am just beginning on…

One day I hope to find a solution that helps me forgive myself – but until then, the anxiety of driving home I will face head on each time I visit!

X

Beauty

The original face and body moisturiser 

Astral. 

There is something really comforting about the fact that it’s been recommended down the generations of women in my family, and, I must say they all look fabulous! Nowhere near their birth age and there’s no Botox in sight.


The packaging, recently rebranded, see’s a minimalistic and modern take on the classic statement blue screw top plastic tub that I grew to love! The fact you can literally scrape every last drop out of the tub sits well with the penny-pincher in me – I detest wastage by packaging that is experienced far too often these days if you ask me! 

I always opt for the middle of the road 200ml tub; I think you can get a miniature 50ml and a massive 500ml if you desired but I find this sits best in my bathroom shelf, is small enough to take in my overnight bag and is sufficient in lasting me around 5 weeks of usage. 

The price is a bargain at £3.89 (200ml tub in Superdrug) no further words are needed to summarise. 

The cream itself is thick, almost whipped like texture, it looks luxurious with a real sheen to it oozing hydration! 

The scent is almost talc or soap like, very subtle but pleasant enough.

A little goes a long way – I take a marble size scoop which is ample for my neck and face and leftovers act as an instant hand cream! 

When applying it glides effortlessly, soothes right away and I can feel my skinabsorbing it  instantaneously. It leaves me looking dewey and bright; and this lasts, I wake up the next day with the same plump and refreshed look I went to bed with! Makes my gym look so simple… roll out of bed, pineapple hair on the head, clean the teeth and I’m ready! 

It has so many uses as well as a face cream for me!

I apply it to my feet under socks every third day which keeps my heels soft and prevents cracking. 

If I want a “dewey”‘finish makeup look I also use this as a primer, use very sparingly  if you give this a go. 

I remove my makeup with it… works a treat! Any product you want removing slides off with this and a cotton pad – definitely the best I’ve found for eye makeup removal.

For me, my mum and my nan it’s a clear winner! My “go-to” product time and time again.

Pros: value for money, my skin loves it, versatility

Cons: packaging does look basic 

I have combination type skin and suffer with the odd breakout. 

x

Lifestyle

Back in the 5am club! 

The last few weeks of succumbing to the urge of the snooze button have resulted in the revaluation of my commitment and accountability to the morning person, who I claim to be! 

For the first time in weeks I managed to get up on the first chime of my alarm. I have done it, I have broken the habit of the extra hour in bed! 

It’s just before 11am and each list item has a tick in “done” rather than “to-do”

  • Walk Dogs
  • Gym – Leg day 
  • Nutribullet 
  • 9am Conference call
  • Meal 1

What a feeling! When I consider everything that is complete for today so far, it feeds my enthusiasm for a repeat tomorrow. 


#tuesdaymotivation 

My Tuesday is ace so far – How is yours? 

x

Lifestyle

The good ones go too soon!

I woke up to my phone ringing at 3:30am this morning; it was a friend who isn’t the type to call me in the middle of the night so immediately I knew there had to be something wrong.  It was news that nobody could ever prepare for; her Dad had sadly passed away from a sudden heart-attack. The shock and heartache portrayed through her trembling voice and tears… Nobody knows how to react to that news, let alone where to begin with what to say to the people who have lost someone they love.

The words that rang alarm bells for me were “when does it get easier?”

I lost my own Dad 16 years ago and I guess that’s the reason she called me; in sheer hope and desperation that I may have an answer or magic recipe to help her cope with the devastation, grief and collapse of the world she has grown up in.

My Dad was a hero! Some might think I am biased but he genuinely was the type of guy you couldn’t help but love. He was tall, dark and handsome with the gift of the gab! He was ambitious without being arrogant, generous beyond belief and had an aura about him that earned respect when he walked into a room. He was sporty, competitive and knew how to be one of the lads but was still the gentlest of giants according to my friends growing up. He had the greatest sense of humour, knew how to entertain and certainly wasn’t afraid to be the brunt of a joke. He really was the best Dad a girl could wish for as cliché as it sounds.

Dad had battled with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia for 3 long years; at no point did anybody think Dad would die because dying wasn’t an option he was willing to take; the way that he fought was admirable. I never heard him complain once that he had a terminal illness, not even a mention to his friends. I never heard him say he felt sick from the chemotherapy or that he felt too mouth sore to eat food. I never heard him say he was afraid to lose his hair which was a trademark look throughout his life with the help of Black & White. I never heard him complain about the quantity of pills and injections that he endured each day. He never didn’t turn up for work due to illness, to the point he hosted meetings in the hospital if he wasn’t allowed home. And he certainly was never too ill to make time for his wife and 3 girls, creating magical memories. When I say his bravery deserves an award, I know his consultants, doctors and nurses would second that!

I remember the last time I saw him with such precision, things had taken a turn for the worse and he was being moved to a different hospital; he was barely conscious, had wires, machines and patches attached to every visible part of his body but I knew he wasn’t ready to stop fighting. Maybe I was naïve, maybe it was my age but I still had hope in my heart that it was just until next time… not goodbye.

So back to the question my friend asked “when does it get easier?”

I didn’t have an answer for her. I knew I couldn’t fix her pain. I knew I couldn’t assume that I knew what she was going through. Everyone copes differently!

The harsh reality for me is it hasn’t ever got easier. My life is simply very different. A huge piece of my heart has been shattered, the first man I ever loved will always be missing and our family will always be incomplete. No time can fix any of this; my life has been broken beyond any kind of repair, there is no sticky plaster or healing… Not even time.

Grief is always there for me. Sometimes I think I am doing ok and then all of a sudden the wrath hits me hard! Over time I have learned to understand some of the triggers; the film we watched the afternoon he passed, the song I heard walking into the church to celebrate his life, any black 3 series BMW as he had always chosen these as his company car, the smell of Jean-Paul Gaultier “Le Male” his fragrance of choice. Then there are everyday events through life that make the missing jigsaw piece in my life even more apparent; Birthdays, Christmas, promotions, moving into my first home, more recently my wedding day and hopefully one day in the future the birth of my own children.

I still feel hurt and sometimes anger. The thing that hurts me the most today is seeing the pain in Mums eyes and trying to imagine just how hard it must be for her to bring up 3 girls who are a constant reminder of her soulmate who has been stolen away. She has been a rock and Dad certainly would be proud, as are each of us to have this unbelievably strong woman as our Mum! The anger stems from frustration of the cruel world we live in; I call them the why’s; why my Dad, why take him so young, why us, why do the good ones go too soon?

I have muddled through the past 16 years and have found a way to cope with all of these emotions I feel still to this day; sometimes I cry, sometimes I take a deep breath and choke down the lump in my throat, sometimes I visit his gravestone and talk to him as if he were on the end of the phone, sometimes I want to sit in a room on my own and simply just replay the memories that I shared with Dad. I have learnt to cope because I know he would want me to live everyday as if it was my last just as he had.

In spite of all of the emotions I feel, the one that stands out to me the most is that fact that I consider myself to be very lucky. I was lucky enough to call this amazing man my Dad, even in the short space of time we shared this earth together he taught me so much about being the best person I can be, I have so many incredible memories of our time together and experiences that we shared, he helped create an untouchable bond between our family that is strong enough to overcome anything as long as we have each other. I know he is the angel who watches over us all.

I have learnt to live without my Dad, but it isn’t easier.

His legacy lives on in us all.

mY FIRST LOVEmY FIRST HEROALWAYS MY DAD

Now I find myself asking, am I alone with these feelings?

Comment to share similar posts below 

xxx