The first time buyer journey – part one

When we first decided we wanted to try and buy a house, we still lived in a shared house with friends. We had become very comfortable. Probably too comfortable. We were in a brilliant location, five minutes from Fulham Broadway tube station, surrounded by bars and restaurants and near most of our friends. We had fairly easy commutes, paid low rent, no bills and had enough disposable cash to flit away on holidays regularly. 

It took us about five months to let this sweet situation go and finally get the wheels in motion. We had about 5k saved up, which in the greater London house market is like having fairy dust- so we had to move home. 

It was not the easiest thing in the world, by any means, but we were lucky my parents live in south London and we could still get to work easily and pay much, much less in way of rent. 

That was ten months ago. Tonight we have our first viewing. It’s been a weird year, 2016, aside from like, Brexit, some of my favourite celebs dying and feeling generally disillusioned about the world, it’s also felt like hitting pause on life. I realise now though that doing that was the only way we could truly have moved forward. 

We’ve spent endless time over the past ten months scouting out locations, staring at Zoopla and Right Move, doing calculations and desperately trying not to spend money. 

The finding a new place to live part has been the hardest. We’re fairly open about what we move into it, but I don’t want to be flippant about where. We could probably afford a very small flat in my home town, but its close proximity to the city means it’s getting more expensive all the time. We don’t want to be far away from friends. We don’t want horribly long, cripplingly expensive commutes. We don’t want to have mortgage payments so big we have nothing left over. We don’t want to have to move again in a couple of years to get more space if we can help it. 

It’s quite the conundrum, home owning. It’s one I’m more than happy to have though and I know we’re very lucky to be in a position to do it all in this part of the country. But I have had a headache for five straight days now which is definitely a combination of stress and staring at a laptop all hours of the day and night, so it’s not all joy and excitement.

The next part is the viewings. I’ve only ever viewed to rent and that mostly involved glancing into a bedroom and nodding happily at a not-very-good ensuite then going for a drink with my friend who conducted the whole thing. There has been a lot of googling. A lot of questions to parents, colleagues, older friends. I even feel like I might start talking to my dog soon. 

We have our first viewings this week, so I’m keen to see how useful the questions and hints I’ve got scrawled in a notebook in the bottom of my bag will be. I’m also quite scared. 

Wish me luck. 

A few autumn reads


In the past few weeks I’ve been reading like it’s 2012. For context, I read all of Game of Thrones in 2012 along with 6 other books, so it was a strong year for page turning. I don’t know why I’m suddenly so desperate to read as much as possible, but I’m not complaining. It’s also seems like a good time to get stuck into something a bit more gritty. Winter is coming, after all.

Well, once we’ve had autumn.

These are books I’ve devoured recently and really, highly recommend. They also seem to have a bit of theme- end of the world or dark, so sorry about that, but they’re all rather brilliant.

The Passage- Justin Cronin

I read this simply because it was already downloaded on my boyfriend’s kindle and I needed something to pass time on a flight after forgetting my own book. I thought this was going to be some sort of coming of age story because of the title, but it’s actually about a secret government medical experiment that goes wrong and changes the world forever. If you like books with apocalyptic vibes, this is a must. It’s set in the US, but an entirely different US, where children grow up in a sanctuary because real life is to harrowing to inflict on their little brains. Think undead cults, a child who seems to be living forever, complicated relationships, love, death and survival.

Also, this book came to be after Justin Cronin’s young daughter told him his books were boring and he wanted him to write a book about a girl who wants to save the world, so they started planning it together on walks.

The Twelve- Justin Cronin

This is The Passage follow up, which I started reading about five seconds after finishing number one. Queue some space for this story- it’s a triology and number three came out this year. I didn’t find myself as wrapped up in this but if anything it invested me even more in the characters, so you finish absolutely having to get the third one under your belt.

The Fireman- Joe Hill

Carrying on with the theme of illnesses that are pretty bad for the human race, The Fireman is about a spore which causes humans to catch fire and burn to death. Those who catch it, get a scale on their skin, but not a lizard-type scale, a more delicate tattoo like pattern. The story follows a nurse called Harper who goes from well behaved wife and Mary Poppins loving child healer with a nice little house and a husband, to a kick ass nurse in the woods after the spore burns half the planet down. This is one of those stories where you’re never exactly sure where it’s going, and it changes pace a lot, so although it’s long, you don’t notice it too much. The detail also kind of made me feel weird when it comes to talking about what the spore, ‘dragonscale’, does to people because the detail is so good.

The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides 

This is an old book, and a bit of a cult classic so you might have already got to it, but I re-read it recently after first getting it in 2011 and it was just as brilliant second time round. It follows five tragic sisters and is told from the perspective of a group of boys who grew up obsessing over them and their sad, complicated actions. They become fascinating to the local community who can’t work out what’s wrong with them, or why they behave and act the way they do, and tells of how the family became more and more isolated as the parents lose grasp of their daughters. It’s not a lighthearted story in any way but it’s captivating, especially to read as a woman.

If anyone has read any apocalyptic stories lately I am now very much in that market, so do tell.

Image: Pixabay

Some favourites on a Friday

Where else am I going to bore people with how much I loved a dairy-free yogurt I bought accidentally in a lunch break panic? Exactly. So buckle up for all things currently in favour in my life including tea that won’t upset your bladder.

The Coconut Collaborative 

This was the panicked lunch purchase I made when there was a queue of people building up behind me in the tiny Sainsbury’s in Waterloo. I wanted a yogurt, felt under pressure from lots of angry looking people in suits trying to squeeze past me, so grabbed this thinking it was natural yogurt. Well it’s better than natural yogurt. It’s delicious. So delicious that I went back the next day for more. Then also the next day. I probably will also go get one today. It’s dairy-free, made from coconut milk and is so creamy. Highly recommend it especially if you’re a dairy-free eater.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople 

This little indie film is absolutely incredible. I laughed so much I got pains in my stomach and I also did a small cry at one point. It’s set in the New Zealand bush, involves a dog called Tupac and a genius little kid in a variety of bright hoodies, who likes gangster rap and sausages. It’s hilarious and pretty heartwarming and if you can find it still showing in a cinema then go see it. Watch the trailer here.  I really want to go to New Zealand.

NYX Concealer stick

As basic NYX as you can get I’m sure, but this doesn’t make my eternally oily skin more oily, or make the random dry patches look like a beach on my face. Also, there is actually a shade that matches my skin tone, which is frankly miraculous for a pale-but-not-really-fair girl. You really can’t beat NYX.

Rooibos tea

This is caffeine-free tea which doesn’t taste like grass in a mug- miraculous. I try to not drink too much caffeine because of cystitis and general bladder problems and this is a good alternative. I tried to get into proper green tea and I can’t, but this is really nice. I’d never heard of it before I found it in the kitchen at work, but if you’re a hot drink lover try it. It’ll never be Yorkshire tea, but it’s not half bad.


Adidas runners

I took my new running shoes out for their first 5k this week and after years of wearing Nike trainers for exercise, I’m a convert. I need a lot of ankle support when I run and shoes that are very cushioned for my hips (I am actually 100 years old) and these tick the boxes nicely. I got my immensely bright green ones abroad from the Central Adidas store in Cyprus, and they’re not online anymore, but if you’re looking for a change, I’d try Adidas. I’d always only been recommend Nike or Asics. Also go to Runner’s World (the store) and get on a treadmill and run- they can tell you which shoes you need based on the way you move. Science.


Two years of blogging: stats, lessons and gains


I didn’t actually realise WordPress told you about your blog anniversary and I clearly missed the year one announcement, because the little notification I got this week was a surprise. Two whole years of writing stuff on here and flinging it about on social media to see if it sticks/anyone reads it. I feel like I should be putting a party hat on my laptop and eating cake with it, but that’s just weird.

At first, I don’t think many people did read my blog and when I first activated this little page, I didn’t expect anyone to. I had another blog I’d been writing solely about a very niche topic, which had become popular in the appropriate community, was used by a couple of small charities and worked well for what it was. It felt weird to suddenly decide to write about anything, in my own name, and try and get strangers to read it and be interested by it. I wasn’t sure I would keep it up, but here we are, two years later, with actual subscribers and comments and followers. It still amazes me slightly.

I’m thankful that I spent a lazy, rainy Sunday two years ago setting this up, because if nothing else, it’s taught me a lot of very useful skills. Skills that have contributed to me getting a new job, made me much more tech savvy, spurred me on to get better at photography and given me a hobby that I really enjoy. I’m not sure how many more years I’ll keep going, and I don’t have a sparkly, organised plan of what I want to do next (maybe I should, I probably should) but for now here’s two years worth of lessons, numbers and reasons to give this is a go if you’ve been feeling tempted.

I’ve learnt:

  • How to work with HTML
  • How to use an SLR camera
  • How to connect with PRs
  • The importance of online communities
  • How to steadily grow a social media account with targeted content
  • How to better judge ideas and when to take risks
  • Better knowledge of blogging, digital marketing, outreach and how to interpret audiences

I’ve gained:

  • The experience of going to events and seeing the sort of stuff brands do behind the scenes, or behind the shelves, if you like
  • Feeling more confident in my writing skills
  • A whole load of new contacts and blogging friends who are empowering, talented and provide me with endless reading material
  • A place to vent about stuff, share stuff I like and generally splurge my feelings
  • A bigger connection with people who have the same health issues as me and a much better grasp on how to cope with those issues.
  • Confidence in putting myself out there

The numbers– I used to find it weird when people shared their stats on blogs because I was always scared of how inadequate mine would look, but I’ve since let that go. I’m still proud that people come by every day to read this blog, even when it’s lacking new content or I’ve been to busy to update. So here we go- this is where I’m at

  • I got my 430th email subscriber today
  • My current daily average has just risen to a steady average of 565 a day, sometimes more, sometimes slightly less
  • My highest ever hits day was last week with 702 page views
  • My stats, despite less content, have doubled this year
  • 7,701 page views occurred last month

There are certain posts and topics that carry my blog into the higher numbers I’ve been seeing lately. There are certain posts which consistently give me views, clicks and show up in my search data, which is obviously great, and this has given me a good idea of what works, what people want to read and what I should focus on going forward. It also reminds me that’s fine to write about whatever you want, because ultimately, a personal blog is a personal blog, despite how nice it feels to see lots of visitors and link clicks on a new post.

This is probably quite a boring blog birthday post. I don’t have anything spectacular to give away or a long gushing post about how much I love the blogging community and all that I’ve gained in the past two years (I do feel it I promise) but I like these little snippets into the workings of blogs. I’m trying to get back a bit of time balance to be able to post more frequently at the moment, because work and other health and fitness commitments have kept me very busy lately, but we’ll see.

If you are one of the people who regularly visit to read this blog, thank you VERY MUCH, it’s so, so appreciated.

5 times the Internet has been good lately #5 

I’ve been bad at actually posting anything lately because time is beating me. It wins every battle because it’s too fast. I can’t believe it’s mid-September. I can still even barely believe it’s 2016 actually, so I’m doing well. I’ve also been tucked away every spare hour I’ve had working on a writing project that’s new and is exciting but will probably take over my life soon, so there’s my excuses for being a bad blog owner. Although bizarrely my page views are at an all-time high, so basically posting less appears to be working for me. Go figure.

I have still been reading though, and thanks to a lot more time on trains than usual over the past ten days, I’ve got through a fair bit of Internet. These are my faves and I recommend reading them if you have some spare time or want something to do in that time you spend laying in your towel contemplating life after a shower (not just me, I’m certain).

Saturday morning pictures- Standard Issue 

This is more looking than reading, but I love this feature from Standard Issue. This week it’s full of retro advertising photos and I like them a lot. Some are weird, some are really weird, but it’s a good little browse.

London rental opportunity of the week- what happened in this dread house? – Vice

This was some nice light relief in my current search for a home and constant distress that houses in Notting Hill can go for 5mil and I’ll never live there. Also it’s written by my favourite Vicer Joel Golby. I don’t know what went down in this house and absolutely don’t want to know, but it made the house I recently saw with wrought iron fencing indoors seem like a dream come true.

Harry Potter horcrux theory- Radio Times

Another HP theory, I know I know. I don’t want to read them anymore either but I started reading this and then remembered that I’ll always read them because HP lit up my childhood and ignited my lasting love for literature that will span my life. Too strong?

What it feels like to die- The Atlantic

This isn’t as morbid as it sounds don’t worry. It’s actually really interesting and is about scientists work to understand what happens to our bodies before we die, and what near-death experiences report it to be like.

The real royal wedding- Radio Times

I watched a bit of Victoria on Sunday evening, and I really want to go back and watch it all, but during a scene on wedding talk it made me randomly look up what Vic and Albert’s wedding was actually like, just out of interest. Not my usual kind of thing but it has a bit of ‘white wedding’ tradition trivia in it, if you like that sort of stuff.

London’s Hidden Walks

We’ve had this at home for about a year now and when we moved in December, it was one of the only books that didn’t get shoved in storage. I’ve lived in south London all my life, but hadn’t visited barely any of the places the walks in here have taken me, because they are what the cover says- hidden.

It’s amazing how much I still haven’t seen of a city I spend almost all of my time in, so even if you are a Londoner, I highly recommend this little gem. If you’re a tourist in the city it’s easily as good. It’ll get you out of tourist traps, show you stuff that’s tucked away well out of site of the big attractions and teach you some stuff along the way.

We’ve done almost all of the walks in volume 1 now, but theres two more books full of maps and history to get through. Another thing this has proven really good for is cheap days out. While we’ve been saving we’ve used it to spend whole days wandering around London with a camera, spending barely anything and feeling like we’ve done loads.

We did the Notting Hill walk this week weekend, a place I’ve drifted through over the years, and worked on top of for a couple, but never really gotten to known. This is definitely one of the prettiest in there, and the best for a full day out as it takes in Portobello Road so you can hit the market for lunch.

Volume 1 covers Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Soho, Westminster and Whitehall, Inns of Court, Hampstead, Notting Hill, Southwark and Bankside, East Rotherhithe, Docklands and Spitalfields and Whitechapel. My favourite so far was Rotherhithe, mostly because of the gorgeous little streets full of flowers and flats that overlook the river and all of London, but are so quiet and quaint they feel a million miles away from it.

All of the walks are listed by distance, so you can work out which to do on how much time you have. There are a couple of really long ones, like Hampstead and Nottinghill which could easily fill up hours, and shorter ones like Westminster.

One thing isn’t so good for though, is giving you serious real estate lust. The houses hidden away in some of the Notting Hill mews almost look too perfect to be real. If you ever needed inspiration to make your first million, this book has you covered. You can get all three volumes on Amazon.




Waking up to health being your biggest fear and priority


If someone asked me to write a list of my top life priorities five years ago, my answers would have been so predictable. I had just finished uni, I was doing that thing where you start to question what life is about because you can’t be a student anymore, and I was desperate to keep up. Whatever everyone else was doing and making seem like the right thing- I wanted that. I wanted to get a good job, earn enough money to save each month, move in with my boyfriend as soon as possible, travel as much as I could and cling on to my uni friends. That was the top tier of wants. It was like a sudden rush of ‘must do this to be happy’ and that was all my brain focused on.

These things did quite quickly change, once I got used to the shock of no longer having ‘I am a student’ as an excuse for, well, everything. One thing I had never really thought on or troubled myself much over was health. I was okay. Probably considered a bit of a ‘sick note’ by some people due to my ability to catch any cold going round and take it to next level with a kick ass chest infection and some asthma sprinkled on top. Apart from that though I was mostly fine. I didn’t have any real health worries.

Fast forward five years and my priorities are now entirely different. This is not unexpected of course, five years is half a decade. It’s a long enough time to feel a shift in your life course, and mine has been shifted, in fact flipped entirely, by health. Not just my health, which has taken me down a very confusing and sore path the last few years, but the people I love too. I lost a grandparent, dealt with a parent getting a cancer diagnosis and not long after that, my best friend got cancer too. A parent and someone my own age who I had shared everything with for almost my entire life, had to fight cancer, and it was suddenly all about health.

When I first started feeling ill aged almost 22, I did everything I could to ignore it. I tried to sleep more, eat a bit better, take vitamins, self-diagnose with all sorts of stuff that would fix itself- but to no avail. I had no idea growing up that the aches, pains and strange symptoms I felt and had grown used to were linked to a rare disease, or how much it would alter my life from the day I woke up with a sore right shoulder. I thought everyone had the same grumbles as me, the same sharp pains in hands and feet, strange cramps in my hips and feet- I just thought it was part and parcel of growing up, so I never made a huge fuss.

You don’t plan for health, not really, but we all have it, be it good or bad, losing or winning.

After the shock of my mum and oldest friend having cancer, all I wanted was to be healthy. My priorities changed from wanting to do things, achieve things and own things, to just be alright. I wanted to make myself and everyone I loved better- better from cancer, better from any little ailment they might be suffering. We just had to be healthier and that was all that mattered.

That thing where you toast with a drink and someone says ‘your good health’- that suddenly made sense. Yes please, my good health and everyone else’s.

It seems a very adult and wise thing to wish for some reason, even though it shouldn’t and even though I’m hardly a serious youngster these days at the ripe old age of 26. Health just became my number one priority over night. It topped and still tops all the lists and I can’t see it shifting.

6 ways being an avid social media user has genuinely altered my life


When a colleague asked me if I go home from my job working on social media and spend the evening looking at even more social media, I wanted to say no. I suddenly wanted to be able to say that I’m not all-consumed by scrolling, posting, snapping, replying and commenting, but that would be a lie.

I spend my life online. Ever since I had to start a Twitter account as part of my studies at university, I’ve grown increasingly more wrapped up in the life I lead on the internet- because it is a life. It’s like having another life, but a version that’s in snippets and smaller updates. Starting this blog to connect with people who have the same rare disease as me was another thing that spurred on my social media use.

About four years ago, I was nowhere near the level of social consumption I am now. My Instagram account was stale, only being updated with photos from nights out or my dog weeks after they happen, I used Twitter for pretty much one function only (connecting with a certain health community) and my main Facebook use was posting photos. it was starting working in the digital marketing/social media sector that took things to a whole new level, which isn’t surprising. What does surprise me, is that I don’t want to put it down at the end of the day, despite it being a job 9-5, I don’t feel like I have had enough or need a break, I just keep going.

I’ve read loads of stuff about taking social media breaks and the benefits of unplugging and I did last year for a couple of weeks- one of which was spent deep in Irish countryside, so it was easier to pry myself away with no signal and no option but to surrender my phone to the bottom of the bag. But I don’t feel like I need to cleanse myself from all this time online. I recognise some part of the culture of sharing and looking so much at other people’s lives that’s bad for us. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that seeing what others have and comparing your life to what you see plastered over Instagram isn’t good practice. It makes some people very, deeply unhappy. Google it and you’ll find tons of people who blogged to say so- then probably shared their blog on social media. It all comes full circle.

I won’t be signing out and having a hiatus of the online world any time soon, but there are ways that it affects my life that I have become more and more aware of:

1) I get all of my inspiration from stuff I see on social media.

From travel, to bedding, to projects I want to take up in my spare time, I do things because others have done them and reported back on social media. Often just one photo sells me something, which is why brands love Instagram so much. Photos of places people are having holidays has pretty much dominated where I have wanted to travel to in the past couple of years. I no longer actively sit down and search for things I want to do, I just see and think ‘yep, gimme some of that.’ I’m not sure if this is good or bad- but seeing as Pinterest, a social site made for inspiration is thriving, it would seem I’m not alone.

2) My diet is impacted.

I so often decide I want to eat something because I see a photo on social media, or I see a recipe on shared. It used to be that someone would mention a certain food, or I’d smell it or see someone eating it, but now it’s all online- no nice smells (although how long until you can include the aromas of your Thai green curry on Instagram is anyone’s guess), no quick taste, no conversation- just a photo and I’m sold. Good for burger joints, bad for my bank balance. Though one positive is that most of the food I gravitate towards online is healthy, so the stuff I see and decide to eat is usually green and good for me.

3) I look at the world like I’m looking through a camera.

This is actually something that I annoy myself by doing. Photo sharing is pretty much my favourite part of social media, especially photos of places, be it a far-flung beach or a nice corner of London, I love it. Now though, it means I’m always looking at stuff for photo angles, or nice colour schemes, or thinking about how it might look cropped to a square. It’s annoying even typing it out. I’d like to drop this habit, but I don’t feel that’s likely.

4) I ‘know’ a wider variety of people than ever before

There’s a big difference between knowing someone personally, as in there are opportunities throughout the year when you get close enough to physically reach out and touch their arm or something, and talking to someone online. The idea of ‘online friends’ used to make me cringe. Why on earth would I want friends I haven’t even met in real life? How do people even call themselves friends when they’ve only ever typed to each other? In all honesty, I used to associate the idea with desperation or with people who don’t go outside, but that’s ridiculous. The internet is SUCH a big part of our lives now, as is social media, that unless you really keep yourself to yourself, you’re going to come across ‘strangers’ all the time. If you’re active on Twitter, you’ll likely end up tweeting strangers. You’ll start talking to them. You’ll read what they have to say, you’ll find common ground and get along. For me, this has mostly come about through actively participating in a health community, and from blogging. I ‘know’ people all over the country- know about their lives, their likes, dislikes, holidays, experiences, where they ate last night- it might sound weird to some, but it’s become the norm for me now.

5) It’s boosted my confidence

You’d think it would be the other way round, but actually, social media and being confronted with so much detail on others lives makes me feel comfortable. I don’t feel insecure or like I don’t measure up to the many people behind the many accounts I follow, who all put the best of themselves out there. If they can do it, why can’t I? This is probably something that affects social media users in a big way- caring too much what people think, but there are so many ‘users’ out there, I don’t really care if the odd person looks at something I’ve posted and thinks ‘ Lauren you are rubbish’. I feel in a way, quite liberated and a world away from the overly self-conscious person I once was.

6) I feel braver

Okay, so this might sound incredibly lame, and is probably a measure of the power of social media, but I take more risks and do more that scares me now because it’ll look good on social media. I only actually realised I was doing this very recently and the thought itself sounds a bit stupid, yet it’s done me a favour really. Paragliding, mountain climbing, tuk tuk driving,- amazing experiences and things I’ve loved doing, but mostly inspired to do because I’ve seen others do it online and wanted my own experience to share. It makes me braver. That sounds mad, but it’s true.




Fitness and body image: goals for the rest of 2016 and giving up on unrealistic aims


In my mind, I was going to come back from a two week holiday, have the August bank holiday weekend and then get straight back into my exercise and running routine. My hip injury healed, I got new running trainers, I was rested- it all made sense.

 What actually happened was M&S flapjacks, carbs, big homemade meals and wine and lots of staring at a screen while I caught up with work. Me and my pyjamas have really clocked up some quality time together. I also put on a pair of skinny jeans and nearly burst, which was a nice reminder of all the halloumi I ate in Cyprus.
Now I’ve been back a week though, I’m running out of excuses. I need to get back in the fitness game before I lose everything I built up. I am really motivated to do it, so I’m hoping it won’t be too hard to actually get out there and start moving. Baby steps.

I can’t believe it’s September. I’ve spent most of this year saving to move and looking forward to New York, and now that’s even two whole months in the past. My health has been really up and down lately, but I feel better on the whole so I want to make the most of the rest of the year. 2016 has turned into the year of a health transformation for me, so now I just need to make it to the end without mince pies and gingerbread defeating me. I work better when I have solid aims, but I can’t be bothered to make them farfetched and extreme, like get ripped abs by December or sign up to a marathon and run every morning or something. Never gonna happen. I want to look a certain way, but after so long of never making it happen, it’s time to readjust. It’s not happiness to constantly be feeling like you haven’t made it. Over and over again. 

Simple is better for now. Simple and realistic.

So, goals:

1) Start running 5k twice a week again. I was doing a lot more back in July but two injuries and almost a month out mean it’s back to warming up. Here’s hoping hypermobility doesn’t rear it’s ugly head again for a while. I like hips better in their sockets.

2) Keep up with physio stretches, rather than do them once, forget them, wake up in pain, repeat. It’s amazing how even though I know it does my damaged shoulders so much good, I continue to be appalling at doing them.

3) Try flotation. A friend of mine did this in Vauxhall and said it was incredibly relaxing. Essentially, you shower, then you go into a sort of giant bath in a pod and float in salty water so you feel weightless. They play music for the first part, then it drifts away and you float in silence (I love silence, so I am so up for this). The music comes back five minutes before the end of your hour session to let you know time is nearly up. I’m excited for this.

4) Perfect a foam rolling routine. If you exercise and you’ve never foam rolled, you need to get involved. It’s a way of loosening and strengthening muscles but can also be a standalone workout. It’s particularly good to make your legs feel more human and less deadweight after a heavy workout or long run. It’s painful, there’s no getting around it, but it’s definitely worthwhile trying. It’s supposedly very good for your abs too. I got my roller on Amazon for four little pounds.

5) Sign up to another 10k. Always a bit of risk for me given my unpredictable hips, but the last one felt so good. I felt like I had really achieved something solid because I had a medal and a time, which is stupid, because even the first time I ran 2k was an achievement, but it just felt so satisfying and will undoubtedly help motivate me to exercise more.

6) Get kitted up for outdoor winter exercise. The thought of running in the cold holds zero appeal to me. None. Zilch. Nada. But I have to try. If anyone has some recommendations on good winter kit, let me know, because outside of gloves and a hat, I have no idea.

7) Start making at least three dinners a week from scratch. I’m not bad at this as I love cooking but it’s not easy to be motivated after a days work to slave away in the kitchen chopping and mixing, but it’s worth it. Sauces, curries, stir fry, anything, it always tastes better when you make food from scratch. And you know, it’s healthy. Meat free Mondays was always something I tried to do before I moved out of my flat, so I want to get back into that routine.

The progress I made before my holiday was the biggest step I’ve ever taken fitness wise, with running weekly, doing a 10k, changing my diet up and gaining actual, visible muscle. It was even bigger progress considering the setbacks from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. One last push through the last quarter of the year and I can definitely put a success tick next to my goal to transform my fitness this year.

Must. Stay. Away. From. Haribo.


Sun, sea, mountains and food-photos from Cyprus

I spent the last two weeks of August in Cyprus- no secret if you follow me on any form of social media (sorry about that) and it was the most amazing holiday. I’ve been there many times throughout my life. It’s become a place my family gravitate to after my grandparents started spending summers (and some winters) there when I was a lanky young teenager. We all love it, so it was an obvious choice when my family decided to go n holiday together for the first time in five years.

We went back to the village we always used to stay in- Oroklini, set back a mile from the sea, nestled in a hillside and full of cute shops and old, whitewashed charm. We didn’t stay there the whole time because our pool took inspiration from the Olympic diving pool and turned green. We ended up staying in a villa in another little village a short drive away called Pyla.

Cyprus is for me, the ultimate sunshine holiday for relaxing, eating well and doing some adventuring. The good, hot weather is guaranteed in summer, literally we saw about four clouds in two weeks and I’ve only seen rain once in eight trips, which lasted about 4 minutes. The food is amazing, especially kleftiko which is lamb with tomatoes, herbs and potatoes baked in the oven for hours. Oh and halloumi- it’s the home of halloumi. More on why it’s the perfect here, and photos to prove it here:

Oroklini village, Larnaca


Mckenzy beach, Larnaca

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Troodos Mountains


Lania village- more on this little gem here