On Time and Progress

I’ve fallen into that trap again of not writing anything because I’m concerned that I need to be perfect, having a consistent theme and something of great importance to say before opening my mouth. And I don’t think my writing is good enough, or that the things I want to talk about are worthwhile enough, and I was without a camera for a good majority of the last year so my photography progress has stalled. It’s a common occurrence, one I’ve actually had before during the life cycle of this blog. But as I said back then, and I think bears repeating now,

You don’t know who your audience are – you don’t know their inner thoughts or feelings, you don’t know what makes them tick, you don’t know what they’ll jump on out of interest or shun in distaste. Don’t have the arrogance to presume that you are uninteresting to them, because you can not speak for them.

I had a lovely day out yesterday with a friend who said she enjoyed hearing about my life and my journey to where I am now as she found it inspiring. I was, and still am, extremely flattered by this and she made me feel interesting for once, so I’m just going to get straight back into it.

Recently a theme that’s been cropping up a lot is the passing of time and the lack of consistency in various aspects of my life. For example, yesterday I started a knitting project that I originally thought of doing about two years ago. My parents bought me the yarn the Christmas before last, and I kept planning on doing it ‘soon’. I picked it up this week on a whim – having fortunately received some Amazon vouchers from work, I decided to buy the required knitting needles on next day delivery. Thank you prime trial membership that I forgot to cancel several years ago, you’ve more than paid for yourself by now. And then made a start because… well, just because!

Continue reading →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Liking Food and Being Obnoxious

Recently I’ve been referring to myself as an obnoxious human being quite a lot. The reasons for this assertion are as follows: I’ve started liking One Direction, I kind of want to try a 3-day juice cleanse despite not believing any of the claims of the “science” behind them, and the other week I actually said the phrase “I’m not a hipster, I liked kale before it was cool”. I was partly joking around, but also telling the truth – my parents introduced my sister and I to kale years ago as just another variation of cabbage/greens that cropped up in Sunday roast dinners. And just earlier today I had the following exchange:

Me: I had an obnoxious lunch today. The main was a salad of tuna, red kidney beans, chickpeas, sweetcorn, red onion and parsley…

Friend: That sound nice. What’s obnoxious about that?

Me: Drink was ‘charcoal nut milk’ – water, almonds, black sesame paste, dates, vanilla, activated charcoal, himalayan pink salt. Snack was ‘crispy baobab & onion kale chips’.

Friend: Never mind.

I then went on to defend the choice of kale chips by explaining that I thought they were bacon & onion flavoured rather than baobab, and stating that the nutmilk was basically just a date and vanilla milkshake. Which it was, and a very tasty one at that. I enjoyed all my lunch immensely, but it brings me nicely to what I wanted to focus on in this post.

Continue reading →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Phones and Photos

I broke the camera on my phone a few months ago.

Or rather, a few months ago the camera on my phone stopped working. I think it was dropped one too many times, but whilst it still shows an image the focus mechanism vibrates every time you switch it on and as a result you only get blurry images.

I didn’t realise quite how much that would affect what I’m doing here. I was enjoying taking pictures to illustrate my posts and demonstrate whatever aspects of my life I was talking about, and I was also really enjoying learning more about photography and editing and improving the quality of my photos as time went on – as you can clearly see if you go back through my pictures here or on my instagram. Photography was fairly new to me – still is – and it’s frustrating that I haven’t been able to keep it going, keep learning and improving.

It means that I’ve used stock photos to brighten up the last couple of posts, and that makes my blog feel less authentic to me – the words are all mine, I’m talking about my life, so I don’t want generic pictures to go with that. I want you to see what I’m seeing.

Thinking of getting a new phone soon. Fixing the camera would probably cost about £70 anyway, and there are other problems with mine that I would like to resolve. Until then, I should continue working on this anyway, because there’s no need for photos if I can’t produce and improve the written content that is going up here. I’ve mentioned several times before about a want of perfectionism and how that can cause me not to post anything, even though I know that to improve takes time and practice and producing a lot of content.

I feel like I’m starting to appreciate that though. It might take time, but we’ll get there.

And hopefully have a nice shiny new camera to go with it.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr
This entry was posted in Life.

30 Days of Yoga Day 18: A Moving Meditation

A few weeks ago my mother and I decided to start a 30 day yoga challenge, specifically Yoga With Adriene – 30 Days of Yoga. This was a course I had done a couple of times before, although never in the supposed 30 days, but it had been several months since I’d done yoga at all regularly and I was trying to find a way to ease my mum into it. I kept extolling the benefits of yoga and she kept claiming she had no time. A mother-daughter 30 day challenge seemed to be the perfect fit, especially since I found that suggesting we do it first thing in the morning was the best way to stop my mum using the time excuse – I have to both get up earlier than she does for my job, and also leave the house about an hour earlier. If I could do it, she could easily do it.

So we began. And for the first week or so, I was very good at getting up at 6:30 to do my yoga before going down for the hotel breakfast, and I received a daily text from my mother claiming that she too had done hers for the day. It felt challenging, but I was enjoying it. My body clearly wasn’t used to doing half these poses anymore and I was glad we’d chosen a more gentle introduction than we could have done.

Of course, after several days I couldn’t manage to maintain my ‘every morning’ routine, and I decided to sleep in a little one Thursday instead. It was supposed to be a longer session, and Thursday mornings are always tighter for me as I have to pack and leave slightly earlier than usual so that I can check out of the hotel. Disappointed in myself, I wasn’t looking forward to telling my mum the next day that I’d fallen off track, and so I decided when I got back home that evening – back in London – that I would catch up and do it before bed.

Since then I’ve more often done my yoga just before bed than not, and I don’t mind that. Particularly since I have started doing more consistent workouts this last week as well, I’ve found that doing some stretching just before bed is a great way to unwind for the night, step away from my phone or laptop and stretch out my muscles from whatever I’ve put them through earlier in the day. It has also made me miss less days – and by that I mean I have only missed one so far and I’m on day 19 – because it’s a lot easier to find the time just before I go to bed than convince myself to get up in the morning. I think I still want to try getting up early and possibly doing a few stretches, but so long as I get my yoga done at some point during the day I’m not going to beat myself up about the time. It’s better than not doing it.

As for how I feel after doing yoga consistently for 18 days, I am definitely noticing a difference, though I wasn’t aware of this until last night. Yesterday was a great day, but it was a little exhausting. It was a very hot day and I’d started off fairly relaxed, lazing around my bedroom, but as the day went on I did a pretty intense 25 minute workout, followed by a 5 mile walk up and down a hill, and then going out for dinner with a friend in the evening and following that up with a 30+ minute walk. By the time I got home close to 10pm, I had done 25 minutes of intense exercise and 20,000 steps, it was still warm, and I was exhausted. I sat on my bed and thought that I would leave my yoga until today, because I was just too tired and my muscles were a little achy.

But after a few minutes I decided that I wanted to get it done. It was 20 minutes, and I could go to bed straight after. I realised that I’m starting to rely on doing yoga as an essential part of my daily routine, which is newly cultivated. It made me feel good to have got it done. But more than that, I noticed that it was coming easier to me. As I went through the session, I was tired and achy but I found myself getting more into my head than my body, if that makes sense. For the first time, I understood why people say that yoga can be a moving meditation.

Because I’ve done this for about three weeks now, I’m developing some strength and finding the moves a lot easier than I was in the first few days of practice. So I found myself spending less time paying attention to what my body was doing and whether I felt uncomfortable or not, and more time focussing on how my mind was feeling, and slowly quietening it and settling down for the night. It was only when I caught myself not really paying attention to doing a vinyasa, and yet managing to do it better than I ever have before (not collapsing to the ground for one thing) that I had this realisation. It was a calm, relaxing session, and I really felt like I could let go and just trust my body in what it was doing, rather than getting frustrated and trying to force myself into doing various things.

I’m sure there’ll be plenty of frustrations in my yoga practice in the future, but I felt that last night turned out to be a good way of showing myself what benefits having a daily practice can bring – and hopefully this will encourage me to keep it up once the 30 days have ended. I already have a plan of what I would like to move onto next. Having made this a daily part of my life, and knowing how I felt last night – like I really wanted to get it done despite being tired etc.. – I really feel better for it, and I hope that the benefits only continue to increase in future.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Laying bricks

I remember reading once that life – and goal setting – is like laying bricks. Whether you want to build a cottage or a cathedral you have to put down just one brick at a time. There are no short-cuts, it just has to be done. Eventually you’ll build what you’re trying to build.

One of the dangers with this, of course, is that you can both lose sight of the bigger picture for focussing on the small things, and also get overwhelmed with how long the journey seems to be taking; how long you’re going to have to do what you’re doing in order to get there.

Recently I think I’ve been having a problem with the latter issue and have been focussing on the wrong things. I’ve talked about how I let things go around Christmas and fell into bad habits, and I link that often in my mind with the fact that I haven’t really lost any weight since this time last year. So in the last month or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about how can I lose the weight – should I be counting calories, paying more attention to portion size, fitting in a few more workouts etc… I’ve been so focussed on what can I do to lose the weight now that I’ve not really been thinking about it in a long-term sustainable way.

Continue reading →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr