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Misty mornings

Last couple of days I’ve woken at 5am.  I haven’t set the alarm, I just seem to have woken at that time and not been able to get back to sleep.

This morning I spoke to a couple of friends online who are in different time zones.  Then I stood at the window and looked out at the foggy landscape for a while.

The fog was thick, you couldn’t see much at all and it leant an eerie look to the landscape.  I always think fog makes a place look atmospheric.  It cloaks the area in mystery and transforms somewhere familiar into somewhere different entirely.  What could be hiding under the mist?  What treasures are hiding waiting to be discovered when those mists clear?  What possibilities lie beneath it?

Driving into work this morning a lot of people were being hesitant because they couldn’t see what was up ahead.  Most of them knew the way, but because the familiar landmarks had been taken away and they could only see a small amount ahead, folk were driving slower than usual.

Do we always need to see the whole road ahead?  Or do we only need to see the part we’re travelling on right now?

I’ve been guilty recently of focusing too much on the big goal, the destination I want to get to, that I’ve got stuck and not known what to do to get there, as it seemed so far away.

But I only really need to see a little bit further ahead.

If I see the road in front of me well enough to take that step, and keep on taking small steps towards my destination then I’ll get there.  And as I get more confident, as the mists clear, as the possibilities are revealed to me, then I can pick up speed and move quicker towards my goal.

 

Masterminding in a cold climate

I’ve just returned from Guernsey, it’s the coldest place in the world!  It even snowed while I was there.  When I stepped off the flight in Glasgow last night the weather felt positively tropical in comparison.

 

Guernsey - beautiful but freezing!

Guernsey – beautiful but freezing!

 

The reason I was in Guernsey was to mastermind with some of the top people in the fitness industry.  It was a weekend of knowledge bombs, realisations and learning, not always from the actual sessions.

 

Over the course of the weekend, in between freezing my ass off, I learned a number of things.  These are just a few of them:

 

ASK FOR HELP

Avoidance is not always a good policy and EVERYTHING is connected.  Recently I’ve been having a bit of a brain melt (I’ll come back to this in another post).  In going through this meltdown or whatever you want to label it, I came to question who I was, and what I had to offer the world. In doing so, I deliberately avoided the people who could probably have helped me through it quicker.  I probably suffered longer than I needed to because I didn’t think to reach out and ask for help.  I tried to do things on my own.  I forgot that it’s easier sometimes for someone outside of the situation to look at things and offer advice.  When you’re in a position where you can’t see the wood for the trees, ask someone with a higher vantage point to show you the way.  Sometimes your internal GPS is switched off ;).

 

YOU ALWAYS HAVE A BIT MORE TO GIVE

We did a training session on the Saturday evening before we went out partying.  It was brutal (I wasn’t cold during that…).   The first part of the session involved prowler relays.  When we got to what we thought was the last five minutes and were counting down the seconds until it was over – Jon added another five minutes on.  And I finished it.  Even though I thought I was done, there was still a bit more left in the tank.  I just had to dig a bit deeper to find it.

 

How I felt after training on Saturday...

How I felt after training on Saturday…

 

START YOUR MISSION

On Sunday we watched a Jay Abraham video, the basis of which was if you have knowledge and information that can help people – you’re actually doing them a disservice if you don’t share it.  During my meltdown I had been worrying that I didn’t know enough, that I still had more to learn.  But I DO have knowledge, and I DO have the ability to help people, so I should be sharing it with the world.  If I don’t I’m not succeeding in my mission to help people in any way I can.  I am enough, and I need to realize that and live it every day.

 

WEAR COOL SOCKS

Even if only you like them 🙂

How could you not love such fabulous socks?

How could you not love such fabulous socks?

So a successful weekend, a lot of information taken in – I’m still processing a lot of it.  And a lot of what I learned wasn’t in the ‘classroom’ but outside of it, over meals and drinks. Some of it was easy lessons, some a bit deeper, some of it was uncomfortable.  But all of it had an effect, including the 3am vodka shots that seemed a good idea at the time.

Healthy ‘pizza’

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring.  Here is a quick and easy recipe for chicken pizza that tastes great.

Take some chicken breasts and butterfly them.  If you want to make them more pizza-esque you can batter them with a rolling pin or meat hammer to flatten them out more.

Spread tomato puree over the chicken.

Top with whatever veg you want, these ones have onion, garlic, pepper, courgettes and mushrooms.  Think there are some anchovies on there too.  Add some salt, pepper and a bit of italian seasoning and they’re ready to go in the oven.

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Put in the oven at 200 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Eat and enjoy!

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Goldilocks and the three hair colours

This weekend I got my hair done, nothing unusual in that – I get it done every few weeks. However, this time I was getting it ‘fixed’.   I’ve had blonde hair for years, various different shades but blonde and no deviation.  I was known for being pedantic about my hair.  I even had a vision board for my hair colour.  I’m lucky my stylist Claire Gallacher was my friend before she started doing my hair.  She’s told me on numerous occasions that I’d have been ousted as a client by now if that hadn’t been the case.

In October I decided that I needed a change, I had become too safe with my hair and was getting too set in my ways.  I needed to shake it up a bit.  To be honest, it wasn’t just the hair, there were things going on in my life, I was making changes inside and I felt I had to illustrate those changes physically, so the hair colour was the most obvious way to do so.

So I became a brunette.  Bit of a drastic change, from a high lift light blonde to a dark chestnut brown with red in it.

Blonde hair to start with....

Blonde hair to start with….

My mum didn’t believe it was me when I text her a picture of it.  And I loved it, it was great, it’s amazing what a different hair colour can do. It changes your make up, the clothes you choose to wear, all sorts of stuff.  I’d forgotten that all that happened because it had been so long since I had made any changes to my coiffure.

Brunette coiffure - wee bit of a change!

Brunette coiffure – wee bit of a change!

Then in December, the day before Christmas Eve to be precise, Claire came to do my hair again. I told her I had enjoyed being a brunette, but I wanted to change again.  It didn’t feel ‘right’.  This time I wanted to try red.  So the colour was stripped out my hair and it was dyed red.  And I didn’t like it, it was too pale.  So Claire dyed it again, and I didn’t like it, it was too dark.  Claire had to go to another client so she left me the dye to put on again myself on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve and I put the dye on, washed it off, didn’t like it, again it just didn’t feel right.  Decided I wanted to be blonde again so called Claire to ask if I could bleach it out.  She warned me that if I did so, my hair would go a strange colour and she couldn’t do anything with it until the Friday after Christmas.

Did I listen?  No. I bought a tub of bleach and a bottle of peroxide, mixed it up and slapped it on.  And my hair did go a funny colour.  A strange white blonde with 2 inches of pinky orange roots.  Delightful.  And it had to stay that way until the Friday after Christmas, when Claire did some wizardry to it to make it look presentable and told me to leave it alone for a month to recover before she did anything else.

I think I spent a month with a ponytail in.  Then at the weekend it was fixed.  I’m now blonde again, a darker, more golden blonde with copper lowlights.  And I love it, it feels right again :).

So why am I telling you about my hair tribulations?  Do you really need to hear about the torture I put poor Claire through?  No, but the lesson I learned is this: I’m not a hairdresser, I haven’t spend time learning my craft, doing seminars and studying under the best there is to learn from all over the UK.  So how could I expect to do my own thing and get the results I wanted?  Yes, I managed to remove the red, but I didn’t do it the right way and I’m lucky I still have hair left.  If you want to do something – be it change your hair colour or lose weight and keep it off, find an expert, someone who knows what they are doing and go to them.  You’ll get better results in a shorter time.

It’s going to hurt.

This weekend I got lasered.

I have a very small tattoo at the base of my spine that I hate and I’ve been having laser treatment to have it removed.  When I say I’ve been having laser treatment, what I actually mean is that I have had one laser treatment a year for the last 4 years.  The recommended wait between sessions for tattoo removal is 6 weeks, so leaving a year between them is a bit excessive.  Why have I left it so long?  Because it hurts!!!!

Because the laser treatment hurts I have to psyche myself up to do it.  I procrastinate with it, even though I’m getting good results and I really want the tattoo to be removed.

One of my goals for 2013 is to be free of this tattoo by the end of the year, so in the spirit of this I made an apppointment for Saturday afternoon.  Off I went to the dermatologist, put the goggles on and lay face down on the bed, mentally preparing myself for the pain.

And it wasn’t that bad.

Don’t get me wrong, it hurt.  But nowhere near as bad as I imagined it.  Nowhere near as bad as I had built it up in my head to be.

So I made my next appointment and paid for it in advance, no chance of me chickening out.  This tattoo will be gone before the end of 2013.

But it got me thinking, what else do we put off because we think it’s going to hurt?  Over the course of the weekend I tackled another couple of tasks I’d been putting off, but when I actually got into them, they weren’t as bad as I had imagined them to be.

How many of you have made a resolution to lose weight or get fit for 2013?  How many of  you have put off starting because you think it’s going to hurt or be hard?  It doesn’t have to be  that way.

Time to Reflect

This morning I was flicking through a newspaper as I ate my breakfast. It, like most news outlets is still full of articles on the school shooting in Connecticut. I read one particular piece that had me welling up.

It was about a teacher who realising what was going on when she heard gunshots over the tannoy, moved her class of young children into the bathroom and barricaded the door with a bookcase. She begged them to stay silent by telling them that ‘bad guys were out there’. When the children got scared, she told them to ‘wait for the good guys, they’re on their way’ and asked them to show her their smile. Then, when she thought they were all to be killed, she told every child that she loved them very much so that it was the last thing they heard. All of them were saved.

A week today it is Christmas, we’re in the middle of a frenzy of shopping and cooking and stress about getting things done.

I’m taking some time to reflect and have gratitude for what I already have. The people in my life that I care about. And the realisation that although the world is a scary place sometimes, there is still good out there and people willing to help. ‘Good guys’ ARE out there.

 

 

Hot or Not?

So a while ago one of my friends posted this picture on their facebook feed.

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And it annoyed me.  In fact it led to me ranting in the comments section of the picture (sorry Sarah!).  It got me thinking about how much pressure we put on ourselves to look a certain way.  To have an ‘ideal’ body type that changes depending on what is in fashion at the time.  I remember when the Amazonian supermodels of the Cindy/Linda/Christy era gave way to the heroin chic waif look popularised by Kate Moss in the 90s.  Almost overnight women were expected to go from curvaceous and healthy to skinny and pale.  This has been happening for centuries, from the flappers in the 20s strapping down their breasts to fit in with the new fashion, to the corsetry and undergarments creating the hourglass shape of the Golden Age of Hollywood, it seems that through history body shapes have been cyclical.  Well, for women anyway.

But back to this picture – I’ve seen it posted on a few newsfeeds in various different permutations. This upsets me, in fact it annoys me hugely.  Because it perpetuates the hatred that women have for their bodies.  Plus it’s all lies.  Take the women in the top row – Heidi Montag – who probably has body dysmorphia given what she has put herself through.  Keira Knightly – her body type is tall, slender and lean, she’s never going to be an hourglass shape.  Then in the row below – the ‘old Hollywood’ actresses – who were all part of the Hollywood studio system which prescribed drugs to them to keep them compliant and their weight down.  They were on speed to stay thin, and sleeping tablets to bring them down and all sorts of other stuff in between.  I went to see Joan Collins live and she talked about how she was forever being told to lose weight and given all sorts of drugs daily.  Marilyn and Elizabeth were known drug users and had their own self image issues.

When as women are we going to realise that there is not one perfect body type, there is only perfect for you?  Everyone has a different genetic make up.  Short of surgery there’s no way in hell I will ever be capable of the figures in the bottom row.  I don’t have boobs, I barely have a waist and what ass I do have has been the result of lots of work in the gym. Should I be made to feel inferior because I’m genetically incapable of that ‘ideal’? Heidi in the top row has spent thousands on surgeries to try and make herself look like the bodies in the bottom row.  Is it healthy that she should be made to feel her own body isn’t enough?

We need to start to accept ourselves as we are and see the beauty in everyone.  Because everyone does have beauty within them. If you aren’t happy with where you are now and want to make changes to yourself then fine, do so, and recognise that if you are unhappy you are the person who holds the key to changing that.  The responsibility lies with you.  The blame lies with you.  The ability to change lies with you.  You are entirely capable of becoming the most amazing version of yourself and you absolutely deserve to.  But you shouldn’t be made to feel you have to conform to some ‘ideal’ which changes on a whim.  You should strive for your own personal vision of the best that you can be.  Equally if you are relatively happy with where you are now, how much better could you be?  How much healthier could you feel?  How much stronger?

Which I guess in a roundabout way takes me to why I live the way I do – why I eat a certain way, why I make time for exercise.  I do it because I want to challenge myself, to be a better version of me.  To be stronger, and healthier and focused.  Anyone who has known me for a long time knows that in school PE lessons and I were not friends.  I hated it, I forged notes and faked injuries to get out of it.  I didn’t see the point, I hated team games and the competition of them.  But then when I left school I found the gym, and I finally found an activity that I could enjoy, that I didn’t have to be part of a team to take part in. (I’m aware my lack of enjoyment of team games probably says something about my personality!)  Then late last year I found a trainer who changed the way I trained and ate, and a training group who were supportive and fun and I really started to get results.  And now I think everyone should have this, that everyone deserves the opportunity to put themselves first, and be the best version of themselves that they can be.  A place where they can train, get nutrition advice, have support and crucially have fun doing it.  So that when you feel tired and don’t want to train but go along and do it anyway because afterwards you feel great.  Taking a moment in the day to treat yourself with love, which is something we are all guilty of neglecting to do, a lot of the time (but hey, that’s a whole other post).

So I’ve rambled on for longer than I intended.  But I guess the takeaway from my musings is that you should aim for the stars, because you deserve to be the best version of yourself that you can be.  Whatever that means to you.

Namaste.