Favourites Of The Month #2

So, somehow January seemed to last a thousand years and then February has been and gone like one of those nights where you lay down, blink and suddenly your alarms going off and you don’t feel rested at all.

Therefore, I feel like there’s been about three days in the month and I haven’t been able to ~ingest much this month. However, there’s still a few good little titbits I’d love to tell you about.

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I’ve relived my 16 year old dream by re-reading Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. Not for the faint of hearted, it’s a collection of short stories. Stories that are so gruesome that every show of the book tour ended with someone being carted off in an ambulance where they’d pass out and crack their head at a particularly vommy bit.

Okay, maybe I didn’t sell that very well. They really explore the darker side of seemingly ordinary people and just how far people will go for their fifteen minutes of fame.

Due to a stinking chest infection, I’ve not been able to concentrate on too many books this month as I’m either constantly coughing up gunk or suffering from a raging headache. I did manage to read A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I had heard about since it was a show on Sky 1 last year. I had no idea what it was about, but it turned out to be a story about a vampire and a witch who fall in love ~against the odds. It wasn’t groundbreaking literature but if you’re poorly, or going on holiday and want something to read  other than books about beach-side cafes then I’d recommend it.

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We’re late to the party but have binge-watched Killing Eve in about three days this month. I’m wimpy so had to watch some of it behind a cushion, but what I saw I loved. To have the two main characters be female, they don’t rely on any men (in fact they kill lots of them) and the only character who mentions “childcare issues” to be a sixty year old man – it was amazing.

If you haven’t watched it yet, I’d recommend getting it in in the next few weeks. I have a feeling series 2 is coming out in the next month or so, so if you watch it ASAP you’ll skip that terrible feeling when you emerge from a solid week of living in a TV show and realise that you haven’t got anything to live for until 2020.

I’ve also watched Shane Dawson’s Conspiracy Series. My God, give that man a Netflix series already. In episode 1, he looks at the California fires that happened last year and whether our phones are listening to us all the time. Episode 2 looks at his friend who suspects they were being groomed for human trafficking (!!!) and whether Chuck E Cheese recycles left over pizzas. Note: you WILL order Pizza Hut after watching this, it really sells greasy pizza to you.

We’ve also watched Russian Doll on Netflix which is amazing. It’s basically the idea of Groundhog Day but it’s absolutely piss your pants funny. I also think it’s going to be a series we watch and then go on Reddit, realise there are loads of Easter Eggs and then go back and watch it again with new eyes.

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If you know me, then you’ll know how weird I get about David Tennant. It’s a stage of weird that 15 year old’s normally have for members of All Time Low. So I’ll try and hold it back whilst I tell you about his podcast.

Right.

That guy who’s kinda cool and Scottish and was the best Doctor in the history of Doctor Who and also played Casanova in that hilariously campy TV special and was also in Broadchurch where he just said the word MURDER in a Scottish accent, God he’s a great actor isn’t he, and did you see that video on Youtube where he got the special award at the NTA’s and he was just so happy and proud and cried when his dad was on the screen and have you seen his eyes? They’re so DREAMY.

Sorry.  Sorry.

Uh…David Tennant has a podcast out called David Tennant Does A Podcast With… and the episode with Olivia Colman is fantastic – you can tell they’re the best of friends and you feel you’re there laughing along with them. And in case you couldn’t tell, I’d happily listen to DT (as his friends on the podcast call him, don’t ya know) read out his shopping list. Definitely listen.

I’ve also been enjoying Last Podcast On The Left as usual, but a particular episode of note was Episode 351 which was about Ouija Boards. If you’re like me and love ~spooky shit then I’d definitely recommend.

There’s a whole world out there past the stories your Nan tells you about when she used a ouija board with her friend Bev and then the next morning she came down and found all the spoons mysteriously on the kitchen floor and all the photo frames of Great-Aunt Lynne upside down on the walls.

What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Chicken Pox Diaries

DAY 1: Elliot has had a spot on the back of his neck since he finished school on Thursday. I thought it was a bite and paid it no attention. However, he’s just had a wee and Reece has noticed two more spots on his groin. I ignore them, hoping it’s a bite.

I have a sore throat and feel a bit sniffly, which is just adding to the general malaise of the house.

By bedtime, he’s got this manky weird blister on his forehead and I accept my fate. The pox has arrived.

I realise we have the equivalent of one dose of Calpol left in the bottle and the pharmacy over the road is already closed. (WHY?!)

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DAY 2: The spots are growing in number and some are blistering, which is rank. Reece and I take it in turns to look at Elliot’s back and grimace at each other.

I feel even worse today. I spend my morning crying and my afternoon in the Out Of Hours doctor’s getting antibiotics and coughing up yellow gunk.

Elliot spends the day making Star Wars Lego creations and shouting about how much he loves The Simpsons. He says his first swear word, thanks to Bart Simpson. Crap.

I spend £10 in Boots on some cream to soothe itching I assume Elliot will be suffering from.

DAY 3: It’s Monday. I should be at work. Reece goes to work at 8am and I hold back tears.

I assume the day will be spent watching movies and drifting in and out of sleep. That’s what chicken pox is like, right?

Elliot watches four episodes of Lego Ninjago, three episodes of Captain Underpants and 3 Lego Star Wars films before lunch.

He also proclaims he is 0% itchy all day. I look at the cream on the kitchen side and almost weep.

Reece has to stay late at work and comes in at 9pm. I am desperate for sleep, but somehow end up watching Russian Doll for three hours instead.

 

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DAY 4: Starting to feel like I’m on house arrest. Elliot is re-watching the same episodes of Captain Underpants that we sat through yesterday.

My aunt comes round and sits with Elliot for five minutes whilst I run to the Co-op for essentials: kitchen roll, toilet roll, Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough.

Elliot asks for the “sock in the bath” again (filled with oats because it’s apparently soothing) and goes to bed easily, saying “tomorrow I will not watch any telly, I will Just Play.” Alright pal.

I’m wary of how easy this is seeming to be.

DAY 5: Elliot wakes up and announces it is the day of No Telly. About 9am we end up watching The Tempest on CBeebies for the seventy-third time.

I have to reign myself in from obsessively checking his spots every twenty minutes to check if they’re all scabbed and we can finally be on the home stretch. I end up falling down a Google hole of kids with rank scabs on their face.

My cousins come round to play and I suddenly realise how lovely and peaceful quarantine was.

Reece goes on a work night out, has too much champagne and I end up staying up until 1am on the phone to him as he’s drunk and convinced his train is going the wrong way. (He was sat backwards.)

Not even surprised that he is more stressful that the child suffering from blisters covering 60% of his body.

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DAY 6: We have scabbed! I have never cheered at the sight of a scab before but today it’s like Christmas! Scabmas!

I finally feel like we can go outside without worrying we’ll walk past The North Kent Pregnant People And People With Compromised Immune System Congregation out on a stroll and kill them all.

We go around the block on the scooter. Elliot says the sun seems too bright and I’m genuinely in shock  at how warm it is out there! We quickly retreat back indoors. I open a window so he can still get a semblance of fresh air.

Can’t imagine how much money I’ve saved since we haven’t been for a daily half-term wander around Wilkinsons.

Plans to go out with my mum tomorrow are back on now he’s officially Scabbiot. So excited to see other humans!

DAY 7: Elliot wakes up and proceeds to throw all the cushions off the sofa and all the coats off the stair banister and cackle menacingly at me all morning. He’s better.

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Couch To 5k Diary: Week 2 & 3

Hi and welcome back to Hayley Becomes Slightly Less Lazy.

Week 2 of my ~running journey started with the same excitement from Week 1, as I felt so positive that I could do this.

I’m a runner now, baby.

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Photo by Ev on Unsplash

I was wandering around between runs imagining how I could do a half marathon one day. Dreaming about waking up on a Saturday morning and doing a quick 10K before popping into town for a matcha tea with Reece and Elliot.

The initial embarassment of running around the block had begun to slip away and I became more confident in what I was doing. Going out at 8:30am on a Sunday morning helped, when you’re running and the only other people you see are also huffing and puffing it feels so much better.

It helps you to realise that no-one really sees you when you’re jogging along the street, even though you might be worrying that everyone is laughing at your wobbly bits.

Everyone has their own shit going on, whether they’re off on a jog at 8:30am themselves, off to church or off home after spending the night at some guy from the club’s house. No-one is going to give a monkeys about me jogging around the estate unless I a) run into them or b) accidentally sing Childish Gambino lyrics out loud.

Because yes, it’s also the perfect time to remember that you still know all the words to Freaks and Geeks.

ANYWAY. That was Week 2.

This marks the point where I gave up last time. I just couldn’t bear running for 90 seconds, and I started to worry that Ted Bundy was around every other corner so retreated inside the house for 12 months.

I was so worried about Week 3, especially as I’d made the mistake of looking ahead and realising I had to run for three whole minutes during that session.

But, I’m a runner! I grabbed my trainers and ran out excitedly into the street.

And. It was really fucking hard.

My legs ached, I couldn’t breathe properly and I felt defeated after cruising through the first two weeks.

It was also REALLY cold which might have had something to do with it.

After putting a plea out over Instagram stories asking why am I feeling so rough this week after being so good so far, I found a few tips.

Next week will be Week 3.2 and I’ll be making sure to drink more water (who knew coffee and cake wasn’t a sustainable diet?!), eat a snack before I go out and go back to listening to the back catalogue of Fall Out Boy as my trusty soundtrack.

Wish me luck!

Smear With A Little Bit Of Fear

The Internet has been awash recently with Fanny Chat. From that man who decided to mansplain what a vulva is to that Boohoo swimsuit that doesn’t seem to have a visible gusset, there’s been a bit of a hooha recent regarding …hoohas.

champ-neon-pink-boxing-uterus-sculpturepicture is from Zoe Buckman’s Mostly It’s Just Uncomfortable

Obviously I’m a bit late to the party talking about this but a few weeks ago, it was Cervical Cancer Awareness Week and my Instagram was full of people talking about their smear test, Instagram story-ing their trip to the GP, complete with an interview with the nurse whilst she’s quickly swiping your innards.

It felt a bit like that scene in Mean Girls with the Sex Ed teacher. Every five seconds I was being told “Book your smear test now or you WILL get CANCER and you WILL DIE. NOW. BOOK IT NOW. It’s not scary, DON’T WAIT, BOOK IT RIGHT NOW!!!”

Which is fucking terrifying.

Now there’s nothing wrong with encouraging people with a cervix to go and get checked. It’s a necessary evil.

However the emphasis on cancer and what could go wrong and DEATH if you delayed your appointment at all is just too much pressure.

As someone who had booked appointment after appointment since November, when I turned 25, but had to cancel them due to my implant-affected cycle, the guilt and anxiety I felt all the time was overwhelming.

Being told in one second that a smear test was nothing, it was two minutes of your time and then in the next breath that it was really painful and you might bleed for the rest of the day is really confusing. If you’re already anxious about the appointment, that’s not what you need.

ANYWAY. The point of this blog post is that yesterday I was actually able to make it to an appointment. And…without sounding patronising, it was okay. Not the best way to spend a Tuesday morning but needs must, I suppose.

And here are my tips, as someone who has been sitting and worrying about having this done for the past five months, on how to get through your smear test with only a little bit of fear. Because #SmearWithoutFear is a bit out of my reach.

  • Don’t wear jeans. Because getting changed in the Doctor’s is embarassing enough, you don’t need to add squeezing in and out of your skinny jeans to your to-do list. I wore a midi skirt so I didn’t have to worry about taking anything off and faffing around putting it back on.
  • Just put your pants on the floor. This was the worst moment of the entire thing, let’s be real. I took my pants off and just stood there. The nurse was on the other side of the curtain saying “just let me know when you’re ready!” and I was stood there with my pants in a ball in my hand looking around panicking. In the end, I just put them on the floor near the bed.
  • Breathe through it. It’s a little bit awkward, but you’re best to just breathe through the actual act and then it’s over before you know it. It is a bit cold, even though the nurse ran the speculum under the hot tap for me. (Can we just have a moment to let that sink in. Fully ran it under the hot tap.)
  • If you’re really worried, take two paracetamol before you go. I was panicking about the horror stories I’d hear of period-style cramps afterwards and bleeding and how sore it was for the nurse to swipe your cervix. I popped two tablets before dropping Elliot to school and even if it was just a bit of a placebo effect, it made me feel better. About four hours after the appointment, I started to get a bit crampy so had some Nurofen after my lunch and went on with my day.
  • If you’re nervous, tell them. The first thing the nurse asked me was if I was okay? She explained everything to me and was talking to me throughout the whole appointment. I’ve heard some nurses can get a bit cringey and talk to your cervix like it’s a cat they’re trying to chivvy into the carrier ready to go to the vets. Luckily, my nurse just spoke to me like a human being. ..however she did tell me I have a lovely cervix which made me walk around like Tobey Maguire when he goes evil in Spiderman 3.

I know you’re going to have been inundated with blog posts, Instagram posts, stories (I can’t get over the interview with the nurse, speculum in hand!) and YouTube videos taking you along for the ride, but I thought I’d throw in my two pence and tell you my experience.

Have you booked your smear test? Are you due one? Did you feel pressured because of the recent influx in fanny chat or did you find it comforting?

Realistic Renovations: ASOS Homeware

We’re back in the game, ladies and gents! I’m done with Christmas and birthdays and normal programming has resumed.

Which means I’ve got twitchy fingers and want to get started on the house again.

And when I say “get started on the house again” I mean…start shopping for decorative bits around the house whilst Reece does all the important work like tiling and painting and sawing etc.

So imagine my happiness when I see that ASOS have released a Homeware range.

It’s all stuff that is ~in fashion right about now, so there’s lots of pink and leopard print and macrame planters. Which luckily, is my jam!

Luckily for me and my budget, it’s also all quite reasonably priced so we’re not being unrealistic here.

I’m not about to sit here and tell you about the £25 toilet roll holder I saw online today. Hell no. We all know you can go to ASDA and buy one for about £9 maybe that will be perfectly fine.

ANYWAY. Enough about toilet roll holders. Let’s get onto the exciting bits.

ASOS Supply Bamboo Planter – £14

This is so cute! I think it’d look really good in my front room as I’m desperate to get some more greenery in there.

We’ve now got a big Ikea Kallax unit in our front room playing the part of bookshelf/toybox/holding all the photo frames we haven’t put up on the wall yet and I think that needs some fake plants on too.

But then I think everything needs more fake plants..

ASOS SUPPLY leopard and leaf double duvet – £35

This bedding is DREAMY. Leopard print AND florals?

I think it’d make a great statement if you were renting and were lacking in options of things to do with the walls/floors in your room. It’d also look great in a more luxe room, a bit like what they’ve done in the photo above with blush pink and that Farrow & Ball colour that everyone and their dog has used on Instagram.

(Although we’re on a budget so we’d go down to the Valspar stand and get them to colour match it for half the price – mwahaha!)

ASOS SUPPLY cheeky brush strokes tufted rug – £36

Just thought this rug looked mega cute.

And it’s really quite cheap too so if you’re renting a room at University or you’re really trying to decorate on a budget then this would be a great starting point. It’s amazing what rugs, blankets and statement cushions can do to an otherwise bland room.

ASOS SUPPLY Heart Shaped Basket – £18

Everyone always needs more baskets, right?

I think this would be so cute to store baby toys in. It could also be a cute stair basket (where you put all the shit that needs to go upstairs or downstairs and it looks better than a pile of rubbish stretching up the stairs) and would probably inspire me to actually take the washing upstairs if it was this cuuuuute!

ASOS SUPPLY pink pom pom bathmat – £16

Everything in this picture is really nice. LEOPARD PRINT TOWEL. PASTEL BASKET. BLUSH PINK POM POM BATHROOM MAT. I would just order it all but I can’t get away with any more towels – apparently we have enough?

This bathroom mat is really nice and looks like it’d be so soft when you’re soggy and cold after having a shower at 7am when it’s still dark outside. Plus it would make any manky old rented bathroom look a bit more chic~

I think this is only the first drop from ASOS with regards to their homeware so keep an eye on their website for the next bits to appear.

Let me know what you like the look of and if you’re going to pick anything up?

Favourites of the Month #1

Normally I would write a post all about things I’m reading at the moment, or things I’ve listened to recently or something along those lines. However – this month I have really tried to take time for myself.

I’m not going to use the s and c words because we all know they’re thrown around like a hot potato and I don’t want to sound like a broken record.

Or an influencer off Instagram who spent £26 on soap and is singing the praises of a really expensive spa they went to for free.

I’m just making sure that I’m watching more than just Homes Under The Hammer, listening to more than just Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and reading more than just long Instagram captions.

I also would like to become one of those people who has important things to say. Who knows things about current affairs other than “ain’t Brexit a load of shit, right?” and popular culture that isn’t just Simpsons quotes from 1999.

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With regards to reading, I’ve tried to hit the ground running as I haven’t read a book for approximately 4 years other than the Very Hungry Caterpillar and wanted to change that this year.

Eat, Drink, Run by Bryony Gordon was a very good read, especially during that January slump where you’re thinking about resolutions but don’t actually want to DO anything about them.

It’s all about how she went from being a complete couch potato drowning in mental health issues to someone who ran the marathon (twice!)

I found it inspiring but not patronising and would recommend to anyone who suffers from anxiety (or other ailments) and can’t see a way out of the hole.

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge was an eye-opening read. I became very aware of my privilege and my ignorance and am very glad I read it.

I genuinely think this book should be handed out to everyone on like, their 16th birthday so that they can grow into adulthood being a well-rounded adult instead of someone who hashtags #savetommyrobinson and votes for Brexit. (Ain’t it a load of shit, right?)

I can’t read and watch television at the same time, I have to listen to music that wouldn’t be out of place at Rainbow Rhythms (from that episode of Peep Show?) and pretend like Jeremy Kyle isn’t just one click away.

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Normally of an evening, I’m either watching Reece play Overwatch on the XBOX or watching Silent Witness out of the corner of my eye whilst I’m really concentrating on Candy Crush.

However, this week I’ve been home alone of an evening, which means it’s the perfect time to sit and binge watch a good show.

And binge watch I did. I’ve (finally) started How To Get Away With Murder. OH. MY. GOD. I have screamed at the telly at least five times this week because it keeps TWISTING and TURNING. It’s the tale of Annalise Keating, a criminal defence lawyer and a group of students that work for her as part of their degree. And there might be a little bit of murder, clue’s in the title.

I’m going to be honest with you and say I haven’t watched anything else all week, haha. But I am looking forward to watching Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and the new Shane Dawson Conspiracy series.

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Music-wise, I haven’t listened to much other than Chill~ playlists on Spotify and reliving the joy of A Flash Flood Of Colour by Enter Shikari as I’ve been jogging around the block.

Podcasts, however, have pretty much taken the place of my husband. Whilst I’m washing up, when I’m in the shower, when I’m cooking, cleaning, falling asleep. I love having that chatter around me.

My favourites this week are Love Stories with Dolly Alderton. Her latest episode was with Stanley Tucci and honestly, I’ve never found someone talking about pasta sexier. It’s also heartbreaking and warming in the same breath. I’d definitely recommend.

As always, I’ve been loving All Killa No Filla. Two female comedians talking us through serial killers from near and far, recent and historic. Plus they’re fucking funny.

I normally listen to them when I’m falling asleep, so have only got half way through but found myself cackling at a very angry discussion about whether a Do Not Disturb sign actually works when you’re in a hotel.

I’m probably flogging a dead horse by telling you all about these things. If you’re a little bit later to the party than I am, then let me know if you’re going to listen/watch/read anything I’ve mentioned above and how you found it?

PS. Especially if you’re going to watch How To Get Away With Murder message me because I need to talk about it, and my one-sided Facebook conversations with Reece on holiday aren’t cutting it.

Saying Goodbye To January

Today I want to celebrate with you all as we wave goodbye to January, the month that has lasted 37,000 years and everything that she holds. Bring on February, bring on Valentine’s Day and PANCAKES.

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Things that have made January absolute dog shit and should be forgotten about as we move into the real year that begins on 1st February.

The whole Piers Morgan sausage roll debate. I can’t think of anyone in life who actually likes Piers Morgan. I eat meat yet am actively searching out a Greggs that sells the vegan sausage rolls so I can eat one and enjoy it in a small action of “fuck you!” to that piece of ham.

That really cute dog died. I KNOW. And what made it even worse was that The Really Cute Dog died of a broken heart because his best friend died about a year ago! What a terrible start to the year.

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Brexit. Shouldn’t have even made it into 2019. NEXT.

People who couldn’t understand why others were doing Dry January and had to post snidey pictures about how much they love prosecco all the time. No-one cares about your slightly moist January.

The fact that Mrs Hinch has been famous for about six months and I still haven’t been able to buy my own Minkeh. This is a niche one but for those that get it, they’ll GET IT. I’m really sad and cannot fully commit to cleaning my house until I own one.

Local Facebook groups where everyone is racist. Really makes you want to pack up and move somewhere nice and liberal. And then you start thinking about Brexit again. And then you start grumbling about how it’s still Dry January and you could really do with a drink. And the cycle goes on forever.

Things that will get us through. Trudging through life one day at a time.

I remembered the other day I have churros in my freezer that I bought for Christmas and never ate. There’s always a silver lining. And I’ve got two: a packet of caramel churros and a packet of chocolate ones too!

Ariana Grande is really living for us all right now. I even bought a t-shirt with “thank u, next” written on it. I’ve not even got an ex, I’ve been with Reece since I was 15 years old yet you’d better believe I am in the shower screaming how grateful I am.

Brendon Urie is out there right now, living his life. Just think about how gorgeous he is and that’ll get you through the cold winter nights.

I have forgotten skinny jeans. I’m now living my life in a pair of leopard print culottes that I had to double check weren’t pyjamas when I bought them because they’re so ffff’in dreamy. I recommend that you do the same.

Somewhere in your house, you’ve forgotten about a pack of Christmas chocolate and/or biscuits. Let’s not talk about the tub at work that’s full of Bounty’s and shame. I was moving some of Elliot’s Christmas presents the other day and found a box of M&S chocolate biscuits. God bless me.

So as we say goodbye to this god-forsaken month; raise your glass of cheap prosecco high (I’m doing dry February as well, because I love pain so I’ll have a cuppa tea) and let’s celebrate being one step closer to leaving the EU!

Cheers!
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Dry January

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I’ve been drinking to the point of no return for as long as I can remember.

Passing out in the snow at the age of 16 in front of the boy I had a crush on. Being shoved into a taxi at University and waking up the next morning with no recollection of what club I’d even been taken out of. Even this New Years Eve, I don’t remember anything past half midnight.

For years, it was all fun and games (sort of) but recently I’ve realised that I really struggle to go to an event or a party without having a drink in my hand.

I decided that this year I was going to not drink for at least the entirety of January. For some, that might not sound like much of a feat but over Christmas, I drank a lot.

To be honest, for most of the year, an evening would consist of sitting in front of the telly with a rum and coke.

I think my body needs a break.

It runs into my blog post that I wrote earlier this month about how my word for the new year is brave.

And it’s definitely a challenge to go against my own routine and stop drinking for a month, or longer.

I don’t go out often, so it’s not like I have to sit there in the pub every Saturday night watching everyone else get bladdered whilst I sip a cup of tea.

We went out the other weekend to see Enter Shikari and we went to Nandos beforehand and I had a Coke and watched Reece have a cider. When we got to the venue, I used my friend’s O2 Priority and got two Pepsi Max’s for the price of one and then that was me sorted for the evening.

To be honest, I could tell the difference between my drinks being alcoholic or not. I was very nervous and quite shy, which is definitely not me after a few vodkas. I have also been known to get carried away at a gig and end up somewhere near the front being elbowed in the head but this time was different.

I was quite happy to stand at the back and enjoy the show. I’d also had a filling the day before, so was okay with the idea of rubbing Bonjela into my gums instead of throwing back shots of Jager.

And the fact that I woke up the next morning without the deep thumping headache that I’d become accustomed to after an child-free evening. That was quite nice.

To be truthful, I’ve really enjoyed being alcohol-free this January and I think I’m going to turn it into Dry February and possibly Dry March.

Although, we did get a LOT of gin for Christmas and we’re going away for our anniversary in March so surely I can have a celebratory cocktail for that.

I think I’m going to just take the next few months as a lesson in moderation.

Can I have one cocktail on my anniversary without having to be carried home? Can I have a vodka and lemonade at a gig without having a fight with a complete stranger? Will people stop asking me if I’m pregnant every time I reach for a glass of water instead of champagne when at a ~social function?

I’m hoping I’ll find out over the next few months.

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Couch To 5K: Week 1

I’ve started running again.

(I use that term loosely, by the way. It’s more “moving-slightly-faster-than-my-usual-stroll.”)

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I did start running back in 2017, got two weeks in and suddenly it started getting dark in the evenings and I got too scared and stopped. All through 2018 I put it off and put it off because I was just petrified again.

Until I woke up on 3rd January this year and decided it was third time lucky.  So I put on tracksuit bottoms, my scabby old New Balance trainers and told Elliot that I was going to go for a run whilst he was at school.

Because if you tell a five year old something, you’ve got to see it through. They have memories like elephants when you tell them something you’d rather they forgot.

When I’d started running previously, I listened to the Couch To 5K podcast which, in hindsight, I wouldn’t recommend.

You have a slightly robotic voice (sorry, lady that does the voice over for the C25K podcast) and cheesy music that sounds a bit like Ronan Keating and a bit like Gary Barlow playing in between.

And it was bearable. But not for long, so as I said, I gave up.

This time, however, I found the Couch To 5K app, where you get to pick someone to narrate your runs (I went for the lovely Jo Whiley) and you can listen to your own music, with a few interruptions from Jo to tell you when to run and when to stop.

Yes, I just called her Jo. We’re on first name terms now.

Anyway – long introduction over, I thought I’d tell you about what it’s actually follow this plan through, from the eyes (and legs) of someone who once proudly announced to her Year 10 class that she’d failed PE that term, and who begged her mum to write a note remarking that Hayley was on her period for the third week running and therefore would not be able to join in with PE again.

Jokes on me, lads, because I obviously came on my period on the day I planned my first run of 2019 for.

Week 1 of Couch To 5K consists of running for 60 seconds and walking for a minute and a half alternately for 20 minutes.

Sounds easy, right? HAHAHAHA.

I stuck to my promise to Elliot – I dropped him off and then set off to do some exercise. However, I forgot that all the parents that I normally avoid in the playground would now see my hefty frame jogging around.

And I panicked.

And I wanted to just go home, curl up on the sofa and watch a Shane Dawson video.

BUT. Instead I headed out of the back gate of the playground, wandered around a few streets where I couldn’t see anyone before heading off in the vague direction of my house.

And then the time came for my first run..jog..okay, power walk. Somehow, I found myself fighting past that voice in my head that says “You look like a bloody idiot. Who do you think you are? Someone who can actually do exercise? Everyone that looks at you is going to absolutely wet themselves laughing thinking YOU can do this?”

I put one foot in front of the other and actually jogged for the sixty seconds.

I cannot stress enough – it sounds like nothing. But it’s tough. And it’s okay to admit that it’s tough when the last exercise you did was lunging for a buttered piece of toast that your child nearly dropped on your freshly hoovered carpet.

Somehow the rest of  the run passed by in a haze of me nosing at whether everyone else’s recycling got taken that morning and a medley of Fall Out Boy’s greatest hits and before I knew it – it was time for my 5 minute cool down walk.

So obviously, I aimed that walk back up the hill, into the Co-Op, bought some milk and went straight home for a celebratory cup of tea.

You have to repeat each run three times, which sounds absolutely dire. BUT I’ll tell you a secret.

It gets easier. You might even find yourself wanting to go out for a jog.

That little voice that says people will be peeking through their curtains to laugh at you does go away eventually.

And before you know it, it’s time for week 2.

I’ll let you know how that one goes.

My Actual New Year’s Resolution

There is a definite line between people who see the new year as a chance to wash all their curtains, hoover under the sofa and re-organise the sock drawer and also those who see it as any other Wednesday.

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And I can see both sides.

Towards the end of 2018, I put off doing so many things as I kept saying to myself “I’ll do it in the new year” and now I can’t get away with that anymore.

I’ve seen people making lists of 20 things they want to change this year: lose a stone, stop smoking, become a millionaire and that’s fabulous. But I need to aim a bit smaller.

And I actually did write out a list. I didn’t really mean it when I wrote it, “lose weight, save money, exercise more…” All stuff I knew, come December, I’d be putting off until the new year again. I realised that I’d need to see things differently to actually get shit done.

This morning I was listening to Fearne Cotton’s podcast with Zoe Sugg and that definitely gave me a kick up the bum with regards to realising what I want to achieve from 2019.

I realised that this year I would like to be braver.

No, I don’t mean I’m going to book tickets to Thorpe Park and start watching Luther without the cushion in front of my face. I’m still going to have that strange, irrational fear of demons.

I mean I’m going to feel the fear and then do stuff anyway.

And I feel the fear on the regular. Anxiety is a big part of me, and always will be. I can’t make it go away, but I can stop abiding by it’s ridiculous rules.

Fear normally stops me from going for a run every other morning. (No, shut up, it’s not the fact I’ve done no exercise since I was forced to play bench ball in Year 10) and it’s fear that stops me from sharing the shit out of my blog posts and achieving the goals I set myself every month.

I deserve to reach my full potential, and I’m not going to let my own fear take over this year.

Like I said, I’m not turning into Yes Man and you definitely won’t see me jumping out of a plane wearing a parachute and a Go Pro on my head. But you might see me actually running around my local park, actually booking a dentist appointment and creating regular content on here.

I’ll let you know how it goes.