The September Round-Up

September was eventful, but not quite as I expected.

BONKERS FOR CONKERS

It was nice to still have the last blasts of summer, albeit not that you'd notice it too much in my office as the aircon is Baltic. On days when it was 30 degrees outside I was hiding under my Harry Potter hoodie. This also set off something completely unexpected; a neck injury, which started off innocently enough with me thinking I'd slept funny and been a bit stressed but no, it was more serious than that. 

It's been a month of physio, eletrotherapy, massage, heat pads and much Kinesio tape, all of which were new to me. 



(So much for this being a cheaper month, I jinxed that!). We're now working through 'untangling' knots in my shoulders (barf) and learning how to sleep NOT on my front ::grumbles::

Despite borked neck, I still did lots. I went to see Richmond play their first home game in the Championship to celebrate a friend's birthday:



I clearly need to give more love to this team, as I'm sure my love for the Cubs over the last couple of years is what helped turn their luck around. More Richmond home games for me.


I went to see Amy Schumer with my fave couple:




I celebrated my 5th anniversary at work (and our 5th anniversary of the London office) with pizza - and yes, it's a Nutella pizza, and yes, it was as good as it sounds.




It's hard to believe I've been there for 5 years, since the company was a month old! Working for a start-up has been such an experience and I've really enjoyed it. It's a shame the market has been so slow this year (I work in Energy - Oil & Gas) and we've had some tough decisions to make, but I'm so thankful for my job and it keeping me gainfully employed, especially over this last year. 

I went to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising with my friend and we lost our shit over some of things in there which reminded us of our youth, I flipping loved that Pac-Man board game.





I spent a Sunday in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, in a desperate attempt to absorb the last weekends of summer sunshine.





On top of that was trips to the Hunterian Museum and the British Museum. London sure has some nice places to go when it's the week before payday and you don't want to spend all your money.

I celebrated another friends birthday by taking him to the Yonderland Series 3 premiere with Q&A with the cast at the BFI; I'm bonkers for Horrible Histories, so I couldn't miss out on this.




After that my week was a blur of cinema, dinners, theatre and not enough sleep. Remind me to have a weekend off in October, yes?

Stuff from me this month:



Cool things from the internet this month:

Amy Schumer's The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. This book is such a surprise as Amy covers a lot of topics, from sex and shoplifting, to gun laws and introversion. I was going through the book when I went to see her, so I felt like I knew a bit more about 'offstage Amy' when watching her be funny as hell on stage. The chapter on introversion is so good and made me want to be friends with her forever. 

Bury It by CHVRCHES. This song is totally my jam. I've even quoted bits of the lyrics on texts. IT'S LOVE. The video is brilliant too.

Tilted by Christine and the Queens. I'm a big fan of ASMR videos on YouTube and this song has a section with great ASMR qualities. 

iPhone 6S prices dropping like crazy, so I treated myself to a 128gb one (which was the same price as a 16bg one, thanks Carphone Warehouse).



LOOK AT ALL THAT SPACE!!!


My baseball Team, Chicago Cubs, doing me SO PROUD this season. I've even bought MLB TV so I can watch the last handful of games.

My Favorite Murder podcast, introduced to me by a friend and it's so good! Maybe don't listen to too many episodes before bedtime, though. 

All my favourite TV shows coming back on; like The Fall and Catfish. YAAAS!

I feel like I need to look after myself a lot in October. So far it's looking like a quiet from the middle of the month and I should try to keep it that way. After my neck doing one this month it's made me think a lot about my body and how I treat it. Number of massages ever had? ZERO. That changes this month. After this injury I want to keep my body in top form (as I run it ragged all over London) so I need to make myself commit to frequent deep tissue massages, so that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. It's the one thing I've always taken for granted, that my body will work forever perfectly, but even cars need tune-ups, so that's what I'm going to make sure I do more of from now on.

In addition, I set myself a challenge to follow the Government guidelines for weekly activity for 10 weeks, which is 150 minutes of 'moderate' activity per week. I had to check what 'moderate' was, and it turned out my daily walking commute wasn't covering it. So I've added some 'moderate' exercise into my routine. It's a lot easier than I thought it would be! I've got a history of overexercising, so this keeps me within an upper limit but also challenges me to improve my fitness (which is all I want to do).

This calls for new Sketchers! 

And I need to start taking my Vitamin D, because now the equinox is done, those earlier nights are rolling in fast.  
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Letting Shit Go

Funny story, two recent posts on here were on the same two subjects I wrote about when I started this reincarnation of my blog three years ago. It's made me realise how much my life has changed in the last three years but also recognising that those posts (in fact, this entire blog) were the start of a new phase in my life.

With that in mind, I decided a few weeks ago that it was time to let go of the one last thing from my 'old' life that I'd been holding on to - my food & fitness blog.




(You can blame Facebook for this post, it's always bloody Facebook that sends people into a spin, isn't it?)

The On This Day thing threw up an old blog post from a good 5 years ago, back when I was well into health & fitness or, to be perfectly honest, obsessing about food and overexercising in a desperate attempt to not gain any weight. 

I'm not proud of this, but I'm also not embarrassed because I'm a firm believer that you cannot get to point C in life without going through A and B, so without all that I wouldn't be where I am today. However, I decided it was time to take that blog out of the ether.

I'd hate someone who was having a low self-esteem, or bad body confidence day to find that blog and think that's the life they have to craft to feel better about themselves because 1) it's impossible, as I hid so much from my posts, especially the damage dieting was doing to my mental health and 2) because being that obsessed about calorie intake, calorie burns and maintaining a small dress size is no way to live a happy life.

I feel like I can say that now from a point of wisdom. I've been bigger, I've been smaller, I've come to just be. Size now means nothing to me. Weight means nothing to me. Calories mean nothing to me. 

Because none of these things matter to who YOU authentically are

When I was a lot younger (around age 16/17) I had bundles of self-confidence. Some of the teenage girls I associated with didn't like it, they thought I was big headed, but I just liked the way I looked. I can't remember what dress size I wore then (my guess is 14-16) but I didn't really worry about it. I wore what I wanted, I ate what I wanted and I exercised a few times a week. All in all, I felt great about myself.

Then in my twenties, Weight Watchers happened. 

As much as I felt appreciative at the time for what that diet club did for me, I no longer feel that way. It tied my self-esteem and self-worth to a number on a scale. In fact, every diet since has done the same. Diets ruined my body confidence. I only ever felt worthy if I kept within a weight range, or ate a certain way, or exercised a certain number of calories off. Food had a scary power over me; it was reward, it was punishment, it was guilt, it was something I couldn't be trusted with.

Fucking food! The stuff we use for fuel, fun and health. I ruined it for myself by believing some dumbass faux-health dogma. And you know what the worst thing is? These diet clubs now have the audacity to market themselves as 'healthy eating' and 'healthy lifestyle' clubs. But they weigh you every week when you attend? GET IN THE FRIGGING SEA.

Diet mentality taken almost 2 years for me to shift. You thought losing weight was hard? Trust me, losing diet mentality is harder, and I have a short memory. Everyone has their way of doing it and what works great for one person might not for another (like a diet, LOL, IRONY ALARM) as it's a very sensitive, personal thing and therefore all you can do is listen to yourself. Trust your intuition. Not Points or Syns or whatever the fuck else you call them. Not using Fitbits to track your every move and dictate to you how much you're allowed to eat today. 

Just listen to you. Your body really does know best. It won't stuff you full. It won't starve you. It will ask for exactly what it needs.

Listening to my body meant I had to gain weight. 

Weight gain for me was the most terrifying thing. It was the worst thing. I couldn't think of anything worse than gaining weight and people commenting on it. 

Newsflash: I gained weight and no one has commented on it. 

I thought I'd feel so ashamed of how I looked and want to hide.

Newsflash: I think I look great. In fact I have more body confidence now than I've had during my whole adult life.  

I thought I'd never be able to eat well or exercise as well if I gained weight, I'd automatically be lazy. 

Newsflash: I eat what my body needs, wants and I exercise better now than I've done for years, on my terms, with no fitness trackers, and just for fun. 

Basically, I had to rewire my brain and remove all this negativity about weight gain and fatphobia and body image. I had to go back to 17 year old me and live on her terms. It's the best thing I've ever done.

No one cares what you look like. No one cares that you eat clean. No one cares what you weigh. No one cares how many calories you burned today.





But if you care SO MUCH that it's stressing you out and you lose hours per day thinking and/or worrying about it, it ruins your holiday or weekend away and makes you no fun to be around,  you might want to take a step back and go talk to someone about it. 

So, my old blog has been made private. I'm not hiding it due to fierce embarrassment of that part of my life, I can't hide it, it was who I was, how I felt and what I did to myself for YEARS. I'm really proud of the writing I did, I just don't like the content. That content is not me. Turns out, it never really was.

(There's also the small admin matter of having sponsored posts on there, which I cannot be bothered to declare and therefore making it private is the easiest way to keep it all for my reference but remove it from public digestion.) 

There's been a lot of me changes in the last three years, and as far as this one is concerned, it's for the better. 

You go do you, as authentically as you can. 


Authentic me wears flouncy shirts to work. YAAAS. 


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It's Britney, Bitch

This month sees the ninth chapter of The Bible being published, I of course mean Britney's latest album; Glory.

The Guardian celebrated this by writing an article with 10 of the best Britney songs in it. I don't mean to sound negative, but it sucks, so superfan here ::waves:: is going to write a blog post with a better list.

I have the goods to back up this article; I've been a fan since day one, I've an extensive CD and DVD collection (I might have gone minimal, but I'm not throwing those things out!) and I've been to three (count 'em, THREE) of Britney's world tours. 

No, YOU'RE obsessed. 

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

... Baby One More Time (1999)

The title track of this album is my karaoke song, it's full of cute love songs (I've definitely sang Born to Make you Happy when a bit drunk) and she does a fantastic cover of The Beat Goes On at the end of the album too.




Oops!...I Did It Again (2000)

Stronger. That is all. 



Britney (2001)

I remember playing this album a lot and watching the Live in Vegas DVD of this with my best friend even more. I think I like this album so much because of the positive associations with that dvd. Her cover of I Love Rock n' Roll has is another karaoke favourite, Overprotected was another night out with the girls dancing favourite ... and then there's a I'm a Slave 4U. I don't know what it is about this song but every time I've seen it performed live ... goosebumps.



In the Zone (2003)

This album opens with the collaboration with Madonna on Me Against the Music (and this mix is an absolute banger), there's the 'suicide' video that accompanied Everytime and the legend that is Toxic. Frankly, if anyone doesn't think this is the best pop song of the 2000's, then I'd question your judgement.




Toxic was famously turned down my Kylie Minogue, which made me start Googling songs that were turned down by other artists. Britney turned down Umbrella, which went to Rihanna. Small word, innit?


A greatest hits album made an appearance in 2004, which gave us a decent cover of a Bobby Brown song, sadly the video had K-Fed all over it. Ugh, Britney.


Blackout (2007)

2007 was a rough year in Britney terms and as much as I wasn't keen on this album at first, it's a grower. Piece of Me is a fantastic 'fuck you' to the press and Ooh Ooh Baby is a brilliant sexy dance track. 



Circus (2008)

This album accompanied another world tour so I listened to it A LOT. If the repetition in Womanizer didn't hook you, then nothing can. My top album track is Lace and Leather but as album tracks vary on release locations, outside the UK you can find one called Quicksand, which was orginally penned by Lady Gaga. As much as Gaga now says it's barely recognisable from the track she handed over I think you can still hear her stylistic fingerprints all over it.





Femme Fatale (2011)

Okay, this one I did play to death because I loved it. This showed the start of the EDM phase for Britney and therefore there's a lot of bangers on here. I Wanna Go - banger. Up and Down - banger. Trouble for Me - sexy banger. Then there's Criminal, which was filmed in London, so it has a special place in my heart.



She snuck out 3 at the same time, which as you would predict, is about threesomes (oh you!) and we have to talk about this collab with Rihanna, because ... wow.



Britney Jean (2013)

EDM ALARM! Work Bitch has landed! This is an absolute BANGER (capslock necessary) and was the start of Vegas Residency Britney (a trip I'm trying to line up for my next big birthday in a few years time). I'm very fond of Perfume too, as let's be honest, we've all been that girl at some point in life...




And so we arrive at Glory, 17 years on. At the time of writing I've only heard one track as I'm a good girl who avoids spoilers, and I like to listen to an album in the correct track listing order for the first couple of times (did The Beatles and Taylor Swift teach us nothing?!) so you'll probably get my views on it at a later date.

Maybe in another 9 albums time, eh?


If you'd like a Britney playlist, come have a blast of mine on Spotify. 
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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have had no way of avoiding my Edinburgh updates and story posts a couple of weeks back, I went up for a long weekend at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.




I'd not been since 2013, so this time I wanted to make a longer weekend of it and see as many shows as I possibly could.

I AirBnB'd again (does anyone use hotels since these things existed? I love AirBnb!) and stayed in a small flat down by the Scottish Parliament.






This was perfect as it was a big walk up a hill every morning, but a big walk down hill after a long day!



Here's the shows I went to:

Bethany Black - (Extra)Ordinary

Abandoman - Life + Rhymes

Mitch Benn - Don't Fear the Reaper

Dolly Wants to Die

Robert Newman: The Brain Show

Brandon Burns and Colt Cabana do Comedy Commentary to Bad Wresting Matches!

The nice thing about Fringe is that you can do a really wide variety of shows, which I did. Bethany does funny, self-deprecating stand up about her life and all the twists she's experienced along the way, Abandoman do improvised rap, with a celtic twist (there was a hip-hop ceilidh, I'm not even joking), Mitch, who I first heard on Radio 4, writes brilliant parody-feel songs about life (and in this case, death) interspersed with stand-up, Dolly allowed the brilliant Helen Monks to tell audiences how stupid somethings in life really are (mashed up with some satire and feminism), Robert did a lovely, heart-warming show about brain science and emotions and Brandon and Colt did exactly what their show title said they would - and I laughed so hard that my face hurt. That deserved a selfie with Colt: 

Everyone loves a muppet face selfie!

Aside from all these brilliant shows, there was tons of other things to indulge in. I went to some amazing places for food and drink, like the super stylish The City Cafe, whose breakfast is enormous and comes with bottomless coffee for £8.50.




I found a Tanqueray Secret Gin Garden, where I tried Jinzu for the first time, with apple and elderflower:






My friend & I spent a lot of time just hanging out it George's Square between shows as it was pretty central and was home to a few venues and bars. A pint of Coast to Coast was only £4.50 and each one was filled to the brim!





There was an impressionist exhibition on at the National Gallery, which could not have been more up my street as I love me some Monet and Van Gogh.




But also Edinburgh is just BEAUTIFUL!





I mean, it's hilly, so you need at least 2 pairs of comfy shoes to rotate. The venues can be far apart, so leave an hour between your shows (not 20 minutes, like I had between Mitch and Helen's shows ...) and you will see 4 seasons in one day when it comes to weather, so bring layers and a brolly.


All hillwalking. Thanks for the cardio, Edinburgh. 


Despite extending my stay longer than last time, I'm going to have to extend my trip longer next time, as there was easily another day of shows I could have done.

Edinburgh, I'll be back next year. For longer, with more shoes.


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