A friend of mine Kathryn from @the_mother_hen_ has set a challenge of a blog a day for those who do blogs or some variant of it to overcome writers block.
I'm not terribly religious when it comes to this blog, never have been. But it's always something I enjoy doing. So what the hell, I'm doing this for shits and giggles.
âFirst day of the challenge is to talk about 10 interesting facts about myself.
I already hate this challenge... JK Kathryn. Lol!
I'm not good at thinking of interesting facts about myself because I'm a pretty open book and feel like the most interesting things about me, most people probably already know. Unless I really don't like you and keep my cards to my chest lmao!
10) I really like pole dance
It's no secret really, I have pole related posts on this blog, and on my Instagram page lol!
I've been doing pole for nearly 3 years. I absolutely love it. Some see it as a slutty thing, IDGAS personally. People can think what they want. I do it because I enjoy it, it makes me fitter, it's sexy (When you get it) and you feel like you've achieved something when you've worked hard on a move and you finally get it. Absolutely exhilarating! :) It's also been such a safety net for my mental health. Nothing promotes a happier mind than going to a studio where you get to have a good laugh at your own expense and at others, cheering each other on and being encouraged by others!
9) I love yoga and stretching
I've always wanted to be able to do the splits, since I was a little girl. I went to gymnastics from the age of 6-7 then gave it up as I came home every night exhausted as a wee kiddie, then struggled to get up in the morning for school (more so than usual). Throughout my late teens and early twenties I'd set new years resolutions in order to be able to do 2 things 1) handstands (working on my forearms stands instead, they're going great by the way) 2) splits. These two I never was consistent at keeping up with. Consistency is a big contributing factor as to whether or not you see results or not (#lifetip) I had dabbled in practicing my splits from 2015-2017 but nothing ever that serious. Until 2018. I decided enough was enough and I was going to have a bit more of a goal with my yoga practice and stretching physically. (I know yoga is more than just stretching, I like to keep my mental yoga practice private for the most part)
So here we are a year and a bit later and I have about an inch to go before touch down.
As for my forearm stand, I've pretty much got it but have had to let it go to the wayside for the time being for some health reasons.
8) I meditate for 20 mins every day
Gonna sound like a hippy dippy prick here, but whatever lol.
The first couple of months Kyle and I were married we meditated every day and it really helped with adjusting to a new life in a different country, new area etc. Then I started a new job and it took a back seat (probably at the time where I needed to meditate the most.) We took it up again a month ago, and I'm honestly loving it. There were times at the start where it was difficult to get it done but I always felt better afterward for it, and that's what kept me going.
It helps I find first thing in the morning before I even look at my phone, I can't explain and don't really like to explain what it does for me. But it's pretty good.
â7) I'm vegan... Don't you know XD
Everyone hates vegans lmao I know already XD
I don't eat anything that comes out of an animal or is an animal. I don't like to preach it from the roof tops. If someone brings it up and is genuinely curious about it then I'm happy to chat about it. But if someone seems a bit judgy about it then I'll just keep it short and sweet and it generally goes something like this:
Person: I hear you're a vegan... why? *generally it's more apparent in the person's tone of voice
Me: I like eating plants <changes the topic>
Sometimes if it seems like the person is curious but kinda wants to debate it. I just say
Me: I couldn't kill an animal so I don't want to ask someone else to kill it for me. Simple.
...And leave it at that.
I might get hate from other vegans about this, in that I'm not evangelical about it. I was passionate and excited about it at the start. But I never enjoyed getting into debates about it in the first place. Not my job to change someones mind and I can't physically change their mind so it's up to them really at the end of the day.
6) I'm a Nurse
I've been qualified for nearly 5 years (I still can't believe it's been that long, feels like no time from I left uni)
I've worked in a lot of different settings in those 5 years. Mostly Emergency Departments, a bit of surgical experience thrown in there too along with some cancer care.
Now I'm about to undergo training to become a Nurse Practitioner and I'm dead excited.
Lots of learning and a bit learning curve. But I'm excited about taking the next step in furthering myself :)
5) I've been married for a year and a half (nearly) and walked up the aisle to "Cinema - Benny Benassi... The piano version XD
True story ;) My husband Kyle and I are married for nearly a year and a half, we've been together 10 years and have known each other for 11. We are both from N. Ireland but now live in England
4) I have an unhealthy obsession with Cadbury's Bourneville chocolate
It was a huge problem a few years ago where I was eating 6 a day, I kid you not.
It was bad, my colleagues started noticing that I'd have one on every break (during a 13 hour shift we had 3 breaks) so I started buying an extra chocolate bar at each break so I could enjoy it without people watching me.
I cut down to 1 a day, then 1 a week and lost nearly 2 stone (with the help of healthier eating, working out and pole)
Then I started eating one a day again. Now I am doing much better in that I didn't have one for a whole 2 weeks.
I'm not craving it as often now which is great. But I am known to have a really bad sweet tooth. So I make a smoothie in the morning instead and honestly it helps a lot.
3) I have an addiction to eye lash extensions
I. ADORE. EYELASH. EXTENSIONS. They can look so good when they're done right.
When we moved to the area we now live in I had to give up on my regular lash extensions as we had to save money since I knew I'd be out of work for a little while until I got a job and eventually got started (it takes a surprising amount of time to actually get started a job in nursing, the amount of HR paperwork is astounding)
Now I'm in a stable job I'm finally getting my lashes back at the end of this month and I'm seriously excited to feel glam again and not have to worry about making my face presentable when I walk out the door. It has saved me so much time in the mornings. Who can say no to an extra 5 mins in bed in the morning??
4) I sleep walk... really badly
26 years old and I talk in tongues in my sleep, have conversations with people who aren't there, and literally jump out of bed when I think there is something in the bed that shouldn't be there. My parents always thought I'd grow out of it, but much to the despair of my husband. Alas, I have not.
We have a few ideas of what triggers it, 1) overheating (I do love my layers) 2) stress 3) indigestion (random but true)
The worst cases were when I was a kid, I'd walk down the hall and draw on the condensation of the windows (according to my dad) (... not spooky at all)
When my husband and I were dating, me and his family went over to visit him in America when he was studying, I shared a bedroom with my now sister in law (poor Jodie has been the subject of my many episodes as we shared a room a lot as teenagers on holidays) woke up to me touching her face asking her if she needed help getting cling film off her face. I have no recollection of this whatsoever. Apparently I also did a couple of laps of the living room, again no recollection.
I'd love to see a sleep specialist about it as I am more curious than anything lol! Sometimes I wake myself mid sentence. When I lived with my Gran for a couple of months 2 years ago I had a dream my old Belfast neighbour vomited on my bed and so even in my sleep I went into nurse mode. I cracked all the windows open and woke up the other side of the room with the lights on full whack... lmao that was kinda funny. I'm just glad I woke up and had the sense to shut the windows again. I've on numerous occasions tried to help imaginary dream characters through their "seizures" woken myself up by touching the cold floor thinking there was a person there. Oh I have many wonderful and hilarious tales of my antics when I am sleeping.
3) I love a good karaoke
At my sister in law's wedding, I got rather drunk and sang Shania Twain - Man I feel like a woman. Needless to say I did not feel like a woman the next morning. As many fellow wedding guests loved to remind me. I still can't live it down. It was funny I have to say.
Honestly, if you ask nicely I "might" share the video with you. The only reason I haven't shared it here is because I can't download it from facebook XD
2) I really struggle to walk in heals
flats all the way! Unless they have got a really good ankle support then I'm crap. I went to pole heals flow classes before and the amount of times I buckled because I can't hold my own body weight in 6 inch heals was unbelievable.
1) I much prefer online shopping to actually going into a busy store.
dont get me wrong if the store is empty then I'll gladly chose it over online shopping. But for now I'd much rather be comfortable and not sweaty when picking outfits or stuff I want
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there on the internet when it comes to budgeting and saving money.
I'm going to share some of my best ones that I have picked up over the years. I'm pretty sure I've done blog posts on this topic before but it's always good to update and recap.
Here is some cheap ideas you can do if you are a little bit broke or more and still feel the need to treat yo self.
1) Home made beauty products
If you are in a pinch and you need to get some new beauty products but you don't really have the cash to burn for it.
Then look into some DIY beauty products.
For me, I like to keep it simple. I forgot that green tea has a lot of beauty and health benefits. So drinking more of that is beneficial for your insides, and if it is good for your insides then your outside will show it too. Not only this, but let some extra green tea cool down and put it in a spray bottle. This will act as a nice eye spray if you get itchy eyes like me.
If you want your hair to grow or give it a good deep condition but can't afford to buy a mask, use coconut oil or olive oil if you have some in the house.
Other stuff I discovered recently was that flax seed is meant to be amazing for healthy hair and improving growth of hair.
If you want to vamp up your living space or bedroom, youtube videos on budget DIY are always inspiring and helpful. Raid through your recycling bin and see if anything can be salvaged. Don't throw too much stuff away like jewellery boxes etc, you might be able to upcycle them.
3) Discount websites are your best friend
So if it's coming up to Christmas or you have a month with a lot of birthdays in it. The likes of Wowcher and Groupon are great for getting ideas on gifts for people and at an affordable price.
If you want to shop online for products, open a new window tab and type in the place you are shopping and include the words " discount code <insert year here>" and this might help you to get some good deals going.
Some really good clothing websites that are affordable if your wardrobe needs a spruce up are listed below. Just bare in mind that you might be best looking at the websites sizing chart as I find different shops use different sizing methods. (ridiculous but whatever)
Now onto the saving part.
What is it you want to save for?
First things first, fold page in half like a hot dog.
On one side write down your short term goals and the other side write down your long term goals.
2) Research your Goals thoroughly
Then take each item and give it it's own page. Write that goal in the middle of the page and brain storm all other costs that are involved with your goal.
For instance, if you want to save for a car, you will need to write down that petrol will be needed to keep the car going, tax, insurance. You can use comparison websites to gauge an idea of what these costs might look like.
3) Income and Outgoings
Now work out how much money you spend each month, look at your bank statements.
Write them all down, look at each area individually. You might be spending £40 a week on snacks, you could evaluate where you shop and if there is anywhere you can buy them cheaper.
For instance I found that buying snacks in my job was working out to be cheaper than bulk buying them in a local shop.
Highlight all the bills you CANNOT NOT PAY... This includes but isn't limited to, electric bills, rent, mortgage, food, car payments, insurance, gas, phone payments oil etc.
Research if you are getting the best deal out of all your mandatory bills.
E.g. I personally found paying for a phone outright and buying a good model but not a high end brand such as iPhone or Samsung etc can work out so much cheaper. Buying a sim only deal with cheaper brands such as ID or GiffGaff can save you so much money.
I was paying £40 a month for a phone AND sim and that was WITH NHS discount!!
I'm now paying £16.50 a month for my sim and I've already paid for my phone.
Bigger bills such as electric etc you can use the likes of moneysupermarket.com or uswitch to find out if you are paying the best deal for your bills.
4) Tally up your numbers
Work out how much you can save if you buy different products how much money you will or ideally will have at the end of the month. Then work out how much you can put aside each month.
Ideally it's better to put more aside than you spend. That way it forces your to be mindful of what you need to spend your left over money on.
However depending on your financial abilities, it's good to start small and work your way up.
5) Find cheap things to do
There is nothing worse than not being able to do anything because you're broke
Something I discovered recently is that Groupon has outings and getaway break discounts! Keep your eye on that. Cheap ideas for things to do when you are bored.
But also make a list of things you can do that are free.
This could be a home workout instead of a gym membership, going for a walk, crafting stuff with recycled items, tidying and cleaning, Pinterest can be very helpful for getting inspiration for things to do that are free. Tailor it to your interests and what you have currently.
These are some tips that I have found to be very helpful to me in order to try and save for different things.
I managed to save enough money to take 6 weeks off work, buy a photoshoot for my new baby nephew, birthday and anniversary gifts.
The key is to be realistic. If you need any more advice the Money Advice Service is great for tips and budgeting tools that you will find beneficial.
I know I harp on about how amazing pole is. But it is my hobby. It keeps me sane. It's something I enjoy and I have made friends from doing it. That said. I want to express how amazing it is to have a hobby. To have something that you enjoy doing for you. For all the good selfish reasons. For instance, the social aspect of a hobby. Meeting like minded people, Destressing, Therapy. I have found that in nursing it can be hard to make friends at times. Because you don't know who you can trust, who will report you and who may have to put you in your place a bit, even if you do get on well together. It's great to have friends in work that you can be comrades with. But it's so important to have friends outside of work encase it doesn't work out the way you had planned. I've found from doing pole for the last two years that this has especially been the case. I've loved meeting people from different backgrounds that have different careers and chatting to them about their lives, finding out what makes them tick and discussing different things as well as the banter. The last few months I wouldn't have gotten through if it wasn't for my pole friends. A lot of people pursue a career that they are passionate about; which is great. But like me a lot of people the passion can sometimes become fatigued or take a different priority level in life. So it's always a good call to have e something else that you do that you love purely for fun, destressing and enjoyment So this is a really quick blog post to say that you should pursue a hobby outside of your work. It's something to work towards, a good stress outlet and a great way to meet like minded people.
It has been a while since I posted on my blog. Now that I have 6 whole weeks off without having to work or think about anything I thought I might get back into it. We are nearly one year married. Where did that time go??? We are officially moved out of our flat and (technically homeless) about to move to a new city with a fresh start and a new job for both of us in the loop. We are both seriously excited about the future. We have had some chats about what we want over the next few years and what we would like to happen in relation to work, location, career, family etc. And it is all looking really good! I'm still poling away. I went to class last night actually for the last time in Bournemouth and they had a banner and cards for me leaving. I was so chuffed. The girls even took me out for dinner and cake and all it was great. It's so funny cause moving to Bournemouth I was so worried about not making friends, being misinterpreted and therefore rubbing people up the wrong way with my different sense of humour and accent. I've been so happily wrong. The girls I've made friends with here are reliable, friendly, helpful and constructive. They're a great bunch and I will miss not seeing them as regularly. Work has been grand aswell. They're a great bunch that I've been working with. A few rocky bumps along the way but it happens in nursing. I have a little nephew on the way. Which is a part of the reason that we are currently on route home to Northern Ireland. Alongside other reasons, like to see family and spend proper time with them instead of a few rushed days. Sister's birthday, brother in law birthday and GCSE results. (still can't believe that he is even old enough to be doing GCSEs) mum and dad's wedding anniversary. All coming up this month. Not to mention going on a late honey moon to Spain at the end of September. Then Kyle will start his new job. It's all go at the moment. There is a lot to look forward to so am feeling very grateful at the moment. But yes. Currently on a plane back to NI. Got a phone call from my mother in law, nice and brother in law all telling me that they miss us and can't wait for us to come home. So we are beyond excited to see everyone.
It's been a while from I have posted anything on my blog and I feel compelled to write some stuff. I might bulk write a few posts and then post them one every few days.
This one is about my progress in pole.
I haven't been to pole as much in the last month or so due to some life changes (no I'm not pregnant XD) and adjustments. But that's for another post.
However I've been thinking about how much I have come along in the space of 2 years that I've been poling. I still can't believe it's been 2 years!
The moves I can do now I would never have dreamed I'd be able to do. I still have a long way to go. A lot more moves to learn and a lot more perfecting to do before I'd consider myself graceful at it.
But I thought I'd share some of my instagram photos of the moves I'm able to do.
This one below is called "Pole Hug" I love it! It looks so graceful but it's a bitch on the inner arms! Leaves you with shocking bruises! But all in the name of pole dance eh? hahaha!!
This one below is called "Felicity" I really like it! Very Elegant looking and rather flattering on the tum tum XD haha!
This one is called "Rainbow". The hardest part about it is leaning back into it, once you're down it's grand. It's the letting go part can be terrifying if you over think it. (wow deep or what eh?)
THIS NEXT ONE .... UGHHHH!! I love it! But it's a bitch!! XD It's called "Bow and Arrow" but I keep forgetting which leg holds onto the pole and which one bends! I nearly give our Sami (pole instructor) a heart attack each time! Not the best photo! But I aim to get better at this one and more graceful looking!
This next one the caption says it all ... So I'm just gonna leave this one right here :D
This next one is called "Sexy Flexy" it was a lot easier to get into this than I had originally thought it was going to be! Some bendiness required to a certain point but I love this one :D
I couldn't recommend getting into pole enough! It has seriously taught me so much about myself.
What frustrates me from time to time is how many people I've met who put in zero effort into something and expect to see results from doing absolutely nothing.
How does that even make sense?
How can you complain about not getting something that you didn't go and get, didn't work for didn't even try or put in less than half effort into?
It's one thing to be upset cause you worked hard and didn't get something you wanted. But you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn from mistakes and you try again. Whatever that might be for you.
It's the people who say "I can't do this" when they tried once and gave up and continue to complain that they can't do it that baffle me.
It could be a confidence thing. Which is tricky because you might be struggling with something. But don't let it jepordise your future opportunities. Don't wait to be more confident. Because what does that actually look like? Noone is 100% confident 100% of the time.
You can't let your life be dictated by waiting for something to pick you up and give you confidence. It's something that clicks within you. It takes a breaking point where you decided when enough is enough and you're gonna grab something, (or someone haha) by the balls and just go for it.
I've heard a lot of mental health campaigners on Facebook say that people need to be more open about mental health. That we need to talk more about it and encourage everyone to be real and authentic about how they feel.
Here's my take, cause I know you care so much haha!
Yes, tell people, but only those worthy of knowing. Only for those who actually care or show an incling of love towards you. That might seem like you've ruled out a lot of people. But I'm talking the people who are constant features in your life in a good way.
Whether that's a parent/step parent, sibling, significant other, friend, long lost friend.
Reach out and tell someone.
My argument however would be not to tell people who don't have your best interest at heart.
Don't tell work colleagues, or acquaintances or friends that aren't really people you would trust. If they don't care they don't deserve to know about your mental health. Because said people are liable to use this against you, and cause further damage to your mental health.
People also talk and are at risk of gossiping about you and your mental health. Keep anything to do with health, be it physical or mental health on a "strictly need to know basis". Because people who don't care about you won't have the balls to tell you people are talking about you behind your back, but they'll give you clues to let you know that they know about your mental health and are happy to talk about it behind your back.
We all like the idea of saving money.
Here's some tips I've found to help save a bit extra each week.
1.) Take Away food
Obviously try and reduce the amount of take aways you eat in a week (*cough* guilty) However!! One really good tip for saving money on takeaways is to make your own rice at home.
Whether you get the food delivered or your going to collect it from the shop. Put some rice on in advance, order your meal (minus) rice and you'll save yourself a bit of money.
How? Takeaways normally charge around £2 for a portion of rice. How much does it cost for a bag of rice in your local supermarket? £1.50 or there about. You get my point.
2) Declutter and Sell
I declutter every week, the house seems to be constantly coming down with stuff.
So far in the last 5 months, I've gotten rid of 6 bags of clothes between the two of us.
You could take these to a jumble sale and make some money, sell it on ebay, or if you're take it to one of those "Cash 4 Clothes" shops.
3) Grocery shopping
Buy your fruits and veg from lidl/aldi/morrisons and buy anything you can't get from these shops from bigger chains.
Most people can spend over £25 in a big chain shop easily, so why not save yourself running from one shop to the next. So run to aldi and get your fruit and veg and beans etc. and order an online shop of stuff you can't get from those shops. Saving money and time :)
4) Sign up for Clothing shop emails
They will let you know when various sales are on. You can click directly on the link and it will take you to the sale page, meaning if you're looking for gifts, or just something for yourself, you'll get it for cheaper.
Also, said emails will most likely and frequently send you discount codes
5) Insurance and Car outgoings
Shop around, go on comparison websites such as "compare the market" and "money supermarket". I'd even suggest chosing a "10 month" insurance plan in order to spread your funds out during the year.
For example: my insurance is up in May, my Tax is up in may and my car's first MOT and next service is due in May... It's also my Birthday in May. So May's an expensive month. So I've brought my MOT forward to this week coming. I can't change the tax but two years ago I chose a 10 month insurance plan so my car insurance would be due for renewal in July (plus it works out slightly cheaper)
It helps to spread out bills like this so you aren't attacked from all angles and gives you just a bit more wiggle room if you end up having some kind of emergency that you need to pay for.
Hope these are helpful :)
I've talked a little bit in previous blog posts about fat shaming and skinny shaming but I wanted to go deeper into it.
I love body positivity and I love the fundamental message to love who you are for you.
It's such a simple thing but so difficult to apply. So I love to see things on social media about how we should embrace ourselves, flaws included, and I mean that.
It can be so difficult to love yourself for so many reasons. Most of which being that we don't look our best 100% of the time. Be it because of hormonal changes due to time of the month causing breakouts, pale skin, dark circles, bloating and just feeling a bit "meh" about yourself in general. Or pregnancy, swollen ankles, stretch marks, gaining weight. Sciatica, varicose veins etc. Or sometimes it's due to feeling off our game, over working, not allowing enough time to properly take care of yourself due to juggling so much.
It could be to do with poor mental health, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc.
Sometimes it is so refreshing to be reminded that we are worthy, more than adequate and deserving of love, and respect.
That said, I feel like there are extremes to everything in life.
In this body positivity movement there are essentially the "Skinny Shamers" and the "Fat Shamers".
I find both sides extremely depressing and draining.
What both sides have in common is that neither are healthy in the long term.
Sure most people will lose and gain weight in a lifetime. But to continue to stay in one state or the other will have an impact on your health and well being in the future.
A lot of people will say that "Just because someone is larger doesn't mean that they aren't healthy. Doesn't necessarily mean that they will have diabetes, hypertension etc. Don't judge a book by it's cover." Which is fair, to a point. People who are overweight aren't necessarily going to automatically have heart disease. But being overweight is a contributing factor for developing it. That's the thing. These conditions don't just appear over night. They accumulate. Your body compensates. It isn't healthy in the long run. There are plenty of studies that provide evidence that being overweight increases your risk of developing co-morbidities such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. It isn't fat shaming when your doctor says that your blood pressure is higher than the average person and that to try and combat this it would be best to attempt to lose some weight, then with your consent refer you to a dietician. That is helpful. What would be considered fat shaming would be if you attended your GP and they said in a less than tactful way "You need to lose weight, you'll get a heart attack at this rate". I've seen people use this approach and it's less than productive in helping people achieve a healthier lifestyle.
On the other side of the coin, being underweight or being obsessed with being skinny or losing weight, over exercising and envisioning yourself to look like Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss can be also just as detrimental to your own health and well being. If you're a female, and you reduce your calorie intake enough you can suffer from what's called Amenorrhea; which is when you're body tries to compensate for the fact that it isn't getting any nutrients so it stops your reproductive organs from working in order to help your body to survive. It literally goes into survival mode. Muscle wastage can occur as a result of having burned so much fat. Obsession can occur no matter what stage you're at, to the point that you can think of nothing else, having a detrimental effect on your mental well being. There are studies that suggest that you mightn't have any body dissatisfaction but there is a link between reduced mental health and being underweight. These aren't things that can happen over night but things that accumulate over time.
There are health reasons on both sides of the argument that can contribute to weight gain or weight loss. Certain medications can contribute to weight gain such as steroids. Hormone conditions such as PCOS or Thyroid conditions can contribute to weight gain. Stress for some people can be a contributing factor in relation to stress and comfort eating.
Digestive conditions such as coelic disease can contribute to weight loss. Stress can result in people losing their appetite and thus induce weight loss and so on and so forth.
So yes there are contributing factors that might cause weight gain/loss. I'm totally understanding towards this fact.
It also depends on a persons body shape and anatomy as to why they might look like they carry more weight or less weight than the next person.
Neither extreme side of this body positivity movement is healthy in the long run. It should be about balance.
(Photo credit below: https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/size-doesnt-matter-chart-proves/)
The image above perfectly depicts that body shape can have an impact of how you carry weight. Just because you're skinny at 4" 9 doesn't mean you'll look exactly like Kate Moss at 5" 5.
"OK, but body positivity is about accepting you for you, right? So live and let live"
Well, sure, accepting yourself for you is perfectly healthy from a mental health stand point. However like I mentioned before, neither case of being too skinny or too large is healthy in the long run and is known to run into further health complications in the future.
There's nothing to say that someone large or skinny can be strong, flexible, confident and sexy. But there will be a higher risk of developing health issues in the future.
References worth looking at:
Being overweight can lead to health problems:
Being underweight can lead to health problems:
I am a 25 year old nurse, who is trying to find herself. This blog will contain epiphanies I have, my yoga progress and other such things. Enjoy. :)