Friday, 28 March 2014

March Reads


I've hardly read any books this month, in fact just reading this one has been a struggle! Firstly, it's so long (for me). It has 529 pages and I really only tend to stick to books that are 300-400 because I have the attention span of a fish. However, as I don't like not finishing a book, I've managed to slowly make my way through it!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
I chose this book after hearing so may great things about it. It's been number one in the Amazon charts, WHSmith charts and won awards in 2013, so I felt like it was worth taking a look at! I think I was drawn to it because I'd read that this book questions whether we would get things 'right' if we had the chance to start life again. So, the story is about a lady named Ursula Todd but details of her life just suddenly stop. The story begins again and again, each time her life changing either drastically or marginally. It is set mostly throughout the war period so is quite a serious book, which is probably why I, unfortunately, didn't enjoy it perhaps as much as I should have done. That being said, it is written beautifully - I just think it was a little too heavy for me to be reading whilst being swamped in assignments!

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Running

This morning I completed my first training run outside. So far, I've been using my best friend's gym pass and going on a treadmill, but it expired on Friday. I am not someone who likes spending money on the gym because I'm not going to get enough use out of it, and if I'm honest, I'd rather buy clothes or makeup! Anyway, this means that any training I do for the Great Manchester Run, is going to have to be outside.

I set my alarm for 7:30 this morning to go running. I was tired and quite frankly, wanted to remain in bed. However, the sun was shining so I went anyway. I have found some ongoing country roads by my house and my run this morning was absolutely glorious. I felt the warmth of the sun, was refreshed by hail and rain, and saw some beautiful views. It was also really nice to see other runners and cyclists out this morning, all of who greeted me as I passed. 

I am not a runner and have always been cynical when others have been running and finished 'feeling wonderful'. However, this morning I got that. It was so nice to escape and just be. Although I finished with soaking wet hair, freezing cold feet and dirty shoes, I managed to run 4 miles this morning and felt amazing.
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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Inspirational?

Firstly, I am not writing this because I'm fishing for compliments, more to discuss what defines an inspiration.

Today during my volunteering, I listened to a lady practise a speech on her experiences with mental health, in which she will deliver tomorrow for 300 people. To me, that is inspirational. She is getting up, completely unashamed, to talk about her mental health so that others are encouraged to talk more openly about their mental health, and hopefully to reduce some of the stigma which is attached to it.

Shortly afterwards, I felt like I should disclose why I was there. It's something I ever intended on doing really - which is kind of stupid because surely they would speak more openly with me if they actually knew that I know what it feels like. Anyway, it was perhaps the hardest conversation about mental health in which I've had in a long time. Yes, people know about my experiences with Anorexia, but only close friends and some family members. If you see me in the street now, you wouldn't know that I still frantically google a menu when asked to go out for dinner or that I have difficulty eating more when I've done some exercise etc. It's a very hidden illness now. More so than it ever has been because I look normal (whatever that is).

I am all for raising awareness but in reality, I don't actually do it. I don't promote this blog due to the fear of being judged or certain people finding out. I'm afraid that people will think I'm crazy, or that it will affect future career opportunities. I don't tell people who I meet regularly about what it's like. It's awful that I still feel very ashamed but it's just me being honest.

However, today I have been given a different spin on this. Imagine if I were to actively speak out - I could be the voice of so many eating disorder sufferers. I could inspire them and be living proof that things do and can get better. Sure, it's not easy but it's worth the struggle. I know I've come a long way, and to some that may be inspirational, but maybe it's time to actually stop thinking about myself and put others first - be a real inspiration?
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Monday, 17 March 2014

Time & Conversation

I think it has finally dawned on me that my second year at Uni is almost over. All I have left is 2 weeks this term, 3 weeks for Easter and then 2-3 weeks after Easter. That is all. 

I think time is flying faster than usual too because I really am so busy. I have two assignments due in on the 2nd April, which means I'm just drowning in books and journals. I am also continuing my volunteering work, my part time job, train for a 10k run, as well as trying to sort out my own health - 'pin cushion' is my new nickname, which is almost true considering the amount of blood tests and vaccinations I've had recently. I don't always think being busy is a bad thing though, quite the opposite really. It just takes more effort than usual, to give yourself a minute to actually stop, think and breathe!

I think today it hit me more, because we were handed information about our 3rd year dissertations. I have a vague idea on what I would like to do and who I want my supervisor to be, so after the talk I sent an email asking to speak to him. Within minutes, I was talking to him about diets, eating disorders and obesity, which are all of his areas of interest. I have no idea why, but I told him I was recovering from Anorexia (and have also been Obese) and we were there for 30 minutes just chatting away. Turns out he had Anorexia too! We spoke about carbs, diets, meat sweats, the media - it was the most surreal of conversations but it was completely natural. It's one thing I'm beginning to love about revealing my mental health status. It can sometimes bring two complete strangers together, and instantly develop a mutual respect and understanding for one another. He also recommended books for me to read, which I will most definitely do on payday! It was a very rare moment, but something I do love about the simple art of conversation. 

I'm also weirdly looking forward to my dissertation too - never thought I'd write that!

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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Little things #4

I know I say this every time on here, but my life is so busy right now, I genuinely don't know what day it is. However, I am a great believer in creating time - there is always time for the things that you want to do, or that are important to you. I thought when I entered the Manchester 10k run, I'd have no time to train but I have been getting up earlier - creating time. 

Work, Uni and assignments aside, on Sunday my Grandparents came up to visit me. My housemates had all returned home for the weekend, meaning I was alone, so it was nice to spend the day with some company. I took them into Liverpool on the train, and we spent hours looking for my Birthday present (which isn't until April but they wanted to get me something when they had me there to choose), and wandering the city.

We stopped at YoSushi for lunch, which is probably one of my favourite places! There is a new menu, so I tried to duck and hoisin salad, katsu prawns, and decided to have a dessert with my Grandad. This is probably extremely normal and trivial to most people, but I've not done this in so long so it was extra special to share the moment with him. We both opted for a warm banana and chocolate spring roll, with strawberry dipping sauce. It was so worth it!


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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Fundraising Update

This week has been so unbelievably busy, I genuinely don't know where time has gone. On Sunday, I spent the entire day with 2 of my housemates, watching them bake cakes for a bake sale that they kindly held for me as I had lectures all day. I've said on here before, and will reiterate, I really do have the best friends. They managed to raise a lovely £50 for me towards my target, putting me now at £337.50 in just 3 weeks. Thank you, thank you, thank you to anyone who has donated. It really does mean the world to me :-) 

We celebrated this success, at my best friend's birthday meal. We went to the local pub for some food and drink, and we enjoyed each other's friendship and company. It felt good to actually be there with her, after everything she has done for me throughout my journey. Having a birthday meal with her felt like a huge way of saying thank you!

After this, I signed up for the Manchester Great Run (10k), to help me raise even more hopefully! This is huge for me, as I'm not really a runner. My biggest ever race has been the race for life 5k, so this is now double! Also, given my past, exercise is a risky topic but I can honestly say that I intend on fueling my body correctly so that I can raise money for VESL, and make my body stronger.








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Sunday, 2 March 2014

A Sunday worth documenting

It's not very often that I actually spontaneously write about my day on this blog, but today has been a day that I want to remember. Tomorrow I am holding a bake sale at Uni, in hope to fund raise money for my trip to Thailand. I say I, what I should say is that two of my housemates are running the entire thing for me as I'm in lectures all day! I really do have the best set of friends in the entire world.

Therefore, they have spent the entire day baking and decorating cakes (whilst I've just watched from afar as I will simply ruin it!). My kitchen looks like a cake factory! We've had music playing, silly photos have been taken - and I also managed to conduct an interview for my lab report assignment - that's definitely productive in my books.

Here are a few photos from today - one of my favourite Sundays in a long time :)



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