The winter thief


I’m sitting here writing this while Olly is at the gym, and I’ve just finished watching two back to back episodes of Silent Witness. I’m a lard arse. A lazy moose. I’ve lost my get-up-and-go. I reluctantly get out of bed in the mornings, as late as possible, go to work, come back from work, and then sit down. And once I’m sat, why oh why is it so damn hard to get back up? If I have no real, pressing reason to leave the flat, then I won’t leave it. And if I don’t leave, it’s too easy to be unproductive. I haven’t always been like this, I think to myself. So why the unfortunate current state of self? The winter thief. That is my answer. The winter thief, that is winter itself.

I find the cold displeasing. If that cold is compounded by darkness I am further displeased. Add rain, or heaven forbid rain and wind together, and you can bet your last Rolo that I will be tucked up somewhere warm and dry with snacks. Winter. Dark mornings. Dark evenings. Miserable, beautiful, but miserable weather. You steal my motivation, my enthusiasm, my inspiration to do ANYTHING. You with your frost and hail, sleet and thunder. Do one.

I have to face facts. Winter isn’t going anywhere just yet. And, at this rate, neither is my spare tyre. I said to Olly the other day that people are going to start mistaking me for a garage. As much as we laughed, it’s a serious thing. I wrote a post a while back about lifestyle changes and although I’ve achieved some I have a long way to go. And I’m not doing it for anyone except myself.

So, watch yourself winter, I’m stealing my shit back.

I’m going to join a gym (yawn). A gym which I know I will hate going to, but be glad when I’ve been. I’m going to make even more healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies with my gadget pal the NutriBullet. Put a pile of kale on my plate and I’ll tell you where to stick it, but blend it with other bits and pieces and you will never know how bad it could have tasted. I’m also going to try and continue getting up earlier (I only manage this on occasion at the moment). I know how good I can feel after a morning workout so why can’t I just do it more often.

I saw this earlier. It might inspire you in the same way it has inspired me. I want to be a girl that can too. I can sit down and be pathetic watching Mad Men (it’s about advertising though and therefore counts as work, right?) with one two pots of strawberry and banana flavoured Munch Bunch beside me, but I can also sweat like a pig while kicking some ass and let my endorphins spread their rusty wings.

From now on, POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE. That’s all I really need. And no winter thief should be able to take that.


What December means to me

Hello December

It’s that time again. The chill I feel in my bones, the mist I make when I breathe, and the frost which sleeps on my car, all tells me that we have turned the twelfth corner of 2014. We have entered the final chapter of the year, and who knows what will be written on its pages. November arrived in a flurry of fallen leaves and promptly left again. Which leaves us only with December, and all its glory. I’m not one of those people who has my Christmas tree up by now, listens only to Christmas albums on repeat, and has the presents already wrapped and under said tree. Far from it. Having said that, I am incredibly partial to some festive cheer and I feel content knowing that Christmas is on its way. Why? For me, it’s all about family.

When I properly moved to Cardiff 4 years ago I knew I wouldn’t be able to see my family very often. It’s a sacrifice I made to pursue a career good enough to be able to live very comfortably. However, that career was short-lived. I was miserable. What is the point in living very comfortably when, most of the time, you just don’t feel happy? I digress. Having lived away from my family for so long, it’s times like December when I feel a bubbling excitement. Not just because I will soon be eating Christmas ham while sipping bucks fizz, devouring a big fat turkey, and stuffing myself with as many pigs in blankets as I can possibly stomach, but because I will be going home. They say it’s where the heart is.

This year, I will be spending Christmas Day and Boxing Day at Olly’s parents’ and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to feel when the time comes. It will be the first time I wake up on Christmas morning without my mum, dad and sister. I might even cry a little. The voice inside is saying ‘You’re 26 woman! Grow up!’ That may be true. But for me, the charm of Christmas is about being a child again. I want to hold on to everything I loved about that time of year when I was young. Sleeping in the same room as my sister on Christmas Eve and opening our stockings together in the early hours. A Christmas morning walk. Trying to de-stress my mum. Sorting the presents under the tree into piles for the family. Dressing the dogs in their bows and bells and laughing as they help us unwrap. Listening to the same tape (yes, tape) of Christmas tunes over and over while we eat lunch as a big family. Playing board games long into the evening. Curling into the sofa to read. Laughing. Laughing lots.

I don’t want things to change. I know they have to, but I don’t want them to. I don’t have either grandpas around any more, my uncle, aunt and cousins are gone, and one of our beloved border collies passed away earlier this year. I’m in a relationship and it’s only fair that we split Christmases between our equivalent families. My sister is also now in a relationship which means she will be doing the same. What I have to come to terms with, is that it isn’t Christmas itself which makes anything special. It is simply being surrounded by the people I love. It doesn’t matter what day of the year it is. Things will inevitably be different. The important thing is that I try and embrace those differences.

This year, December will be about remembering the ones I have lost, smiling at the memories, loving the ones I still have, making new memories, chatting to my parents late into the night, reading, writing, walking, eating, laughing. And wondering what 2015 might have in store.

What does December mean to you?

10 reasons to be happy summer is over

Sunset through corn

The summer is special.  Being in the great warm outdoors is something I couldn’t live without.  Bright evening bike rides, golden hour strolls, or just sitting on a bench somewhere watching the world go by, summer makes me feel as if there is life to live once work has finished for the day.  And at the weekend, the world is your oyster.

But we have to be honest with ourselves.  The sun has set on summertime.  Soon the darkness will eat everything up before I even step foot out of the office in the evenings, and that is always a sad time of year.  It limits my options.  It also encourages me to simply go home and curl up in the warm comfort of home, which is not acceptable every day of the week; I am not a mouse.  But instead of feeling miserable that it’s almost ‘that time of year’ again, I have put together 10 reasons to be happy that summer is officially out, and autumn and winter are in.

1. Hot bubble baths

Baths are one of my favourite things in the whole world, but they aren’t really acceptable in the summer.  Why would you want to make yourself hotter and sweatier when it’s 20+ degrees outside?  Ok, so that doesn’t happen a huge amount in the UK.  But when that temperature drops, so do my clothes.  An evening spent in a piping hot bath full of Radox bubbles and lavender oil is number 1 on my ‘How to Relax’ list.  It’s also the place where I do a lot of reading and make pretty much all of my phone calls.

2. Cuddles in bed

No longer will Olly be able to get away with the excuse ‘I’m too hot’ when I climb into bed and transform myself into a limpet or demand to be spooned.

3. Scented candles

Despite their energy saving abilities, lighting candles just isn’t the done during summertime.  But with dusk creeping up on us earlier and earlier, fire up those babies and fill your home with the scent of whatever takes your fancy.  I’m a fan of musky and floral (but not overly sweet) scents and I have just purchased this wild jasmine scented candle tin.  Has anyone tried it?

4. Considerably better TV

Common sense often escapes me.  I mentioned to Olly the other day that TV had been rubbish recently and I couldn’t understand why.  He kindly clarified that as most people are out enjoying the pleasant late evenings, a good gritty drama just wouldn’t get the audience.   It seems so obvious now…  So, I am looking forward to what the BBC and ITV have in store over the next few months.  I sincerely hope the second series of Broadchurch will be as good as the first.

5. Guilt-free lie-ins

The guilt which I experience from lying in and effectively ‘wasting away’ my mornings decreases during the colder months.  If there’s no sun to lap up outside, there’s no harm in rotting away under the duvet, right?

6. Soups and slow cooker meals

Thick soups and hearty stews are just plain wrong in hot weather.  The word ‘stew’ is practically defined as ‘something you eat when it is cold and miserable outside’.

7. Full length pyjamas

I am one of those people who changes out of normal clothes the moment I walk in the front door.  Off with you restrictive black chinos!  Get back in your drawer denim jeans!  In the earlier evening, I opt for joggers which are fluffy and cosy on the inside.  But later on, the full length pyjamas come out to play.  Ahh is there anything more comfortable?  I’ve dropped a hint to Olly that I want a new pair of luxury winter pyjamas, but he just laughs at the words ‘luxury’ and ‘pyjamas’ together.  Which leads me to believe that my current ones make me look like a pauper.

8. The chance of snow

The white stuff is pretty darn beautiful.  I don’t want to drive in it, and I would rather not be out in it for too long because my fingers and lips turn blue, but I could sure look at it all day long.

9. Colour changes

My favourite thing about Autumn is the colour of the leaves turning to a rusty, golden brown and peppering the ground.  And they are still a lot of fun to kick around.

10.  Countdown to Christmas

It’s ages off, and I can’t stand seeing all the paraphernalia in the shops when it’s only September, but Christmas has a habit of creeping up on you.  Now that I live quite far away from where I was brought up, and where my parents still live, the excitement of Christmas is all about family.  And food, obviously.

Is there anything you would add to the list?