My Pal My Fitness Pal and Other Stories

tumblr_n6ioniUYbf1smffw1o1_500I am the Queen of “I’ll get back on track Monday”.

I am the Queen of being focused for four days of the week and then falling face first off the wagon into a plate of Party Rings as soon as Friday arrives.

I am the Stop-Start Queen of the World.

The thing is: I want to be better, feel better and look better but I like food and ‘bad things’. I like sugar and chips. I love savoury snacking over a film.

I like living life with tasty things in it; and in my mouth.

I don’t hate my body by any stretch. If anything I’m happy as I am, until I have to buy clothing or catch a glimpse of myself in an unposed photograph. It’s then that I get the feelings of inadequacy and I start being really horrible to myself.

This post is not about dieting, it is about the seemingly simple act of putting less shit into my body and moving it more. In those terms I feel I can do this and I can do this with the help of my friend My Fitness Pal.

Have you met MFP? It’s an app on your phone (and/or computer) that allows you to track what you’re putting into yourself, food and exercise wise. It’s calorie counting basically and, depressing as that sounds, it works. For me at least.

There’s something very satisfying about logging everything that passes your lips. There’s definitely something about racking up a healthy exercise deficit, knowing that the two walks you took yesterday meant you could have something delicious to eat.

It’s good to know that essentially there are no bad foods, so long as you moderate; AMAZING to know that there are only 55 calories in a single Vodka and Diet Coke, which means you can have four and not wander off your chosen path.

All that sounds incredibly boring doesn’t it, now that I have read it back? I guess the concept of cutting back on the things you love is boring in itself. It’s not very rock n’ roll to say “No thanks” to excess but then I’m no snake hipped Juliette Lewis type and never have been.

I want to love myself and this leads me to the second part of this post. With this plan to take better care oftumblr_mo051uB3Uo1qz6f9yo1_1280 my body must come kindness. I’ve talked about Self Love before and that’s another thing; it’s easy to say you’re going to practice it and quite another to actually do it.

I am going to do it and this is how; these are the new rules:

  • Get out everyday at least once to clear the mind. Anything I am working though that needs addressing I can wrestle with while I’m outside, moving.
  • A friend once told a group of us that the only response to a compliment is “Thank you”. Years later I completely agree. Sometimes you have to stop yourself mid-“oh it’s all make-up…” but it has to be done. Just say thank you.
  • Self-deprecation is an endearing quality but it can go too far. Before putting yourself down to gain a laugh from someone else, think about it.
  • Wear what you like. Experiment. Just go for it. None of us are getting any younger, who wants to look back and think of all the cool stuff you could have ROCKED THE SHIT OUT OF but were too scared to.
  • #selfie if you want to. Obviously there are people who are against the #selfie phenomenon but I see it as a way to feel comfortable in your own skin. I see it as an important part of loving yourself and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

So there it is, the new rules for a more loving life. Less crap, more movement and radical Self Love, in no particular order.

Emails of a Fool

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Think before you send, fool

I did a bad thing yesterday and worst than it being bad, it was simply stupid; a real rookie mistake.

The worst thing about what I did – and  don’t worry, nobody died or was sacked or punched – is that I feel so guilty about it.

I hurt a person’s feelings and that never feels wonderful, even if you intended to. After the fact I think, if you’re a normal human, you will always feel that niggle of regret.

This all relates to my previous post, which I have now password protected (if you’re curious I can send you the password).

It relates to me forgetting myself for a moment and sending a barbed email (complete with Tina Fey animate .gif) (always appropriate), and said email being read and misconstrued (ish), by someone other than the intended recipient.

Basically, I’m a heel and a bit of a twat for doing it in the first place.

However, it opened up a dialogue that cleared the air and hopefully will strengthen whatever it is we have as a relationship. It’s a tumultuous one, but it is a relationship nonetheless, and one that needs to stay on track for now.

Moral of the story is, as always, bite your tongue, Christa, you wally. Even if only at work.

*face palm*

Red or Dead

tumblr_nc72uaorcJ1rlvym3o1_500As with my enormous bottom, I always thought of my red hair as a hindrance.

There were times I would curse my mystery benefactor, the one who bestowed the ginger gene upon me without permission and skipped maniacally into the sunset never to be seen again. His myth was replaced with the one about the milkman and I cursed him for decades.

Aunts and relations I had never seen before, nor since, would come out of the woodwork on special occasions to gush about it.

“Women pay thousands for hair the colour of yours” they would repeat, over and over; and I would stand there with my faux-family smile taped on until it was over.

Nothing if not polite.

I was not what you would consider a graceful young person and my teenage years were particularly horrific. I have hair that can be controlled by no man, woman or warrior and even my mother, in all her glory, couldn’t tame the beast.

While my cousin’s strawberry locks were wrestled into delightful french plaits and swinging ponies, with pretty accessories that made her look like baby Carmen Miranda, mine was as coarse as a horse’s. It wasn’t the kind of hair one simply twisted up and before long I ended up with a very unbecoming crop, courtesy of Mama.

Picture the scene. A toothy ginger girl with an orange short back and sides sent into the world to find her way. It was soul affirming (eventually) but then I felt ugly and unique in a freakish way; absorbed in my own adolescent self-pity.

As I grew up and the reins of control vis-a-vis my head follicles passed into my own hands, I took it through a series of experimental phases as all teenagers do. I regret not colouring it better and am highly jealous of all the pastels wafting around today, but I did visit every possible shade of red from pillar box to maroon. You could say, although I dyed it a lot, I never really veered off the crimson path.

Except for once with the blue-black. We don’t talk about the blue-black period…

My new crazy Brighton life saw it cut into the ‘Kelly Osbourne’ circa The Osbournes and that was lovely. I would slap on Directions hair dye like it was going out of style and our white bath took on a vaguely pink tint as the years passed.

As I travelled and settled then moved on again, as my life took many twists and turns, the one constant was my hair. I would always take the time to keep my colour fresh. When I started talking to my now husband whilst still in Canada, I was working Scarlet Power, a dark red that would glow like lava in the sunlight.

In the end I decided to try my natural shade back on for size. It was a decision fuelled by my age, if I’m honest. I didn’t want to be ‘brassy’ coming into my mid-thirties and I’m not one to go to a hairdresser to have it done responsibly. Plus, I have a perfectly okay colour so before it starts to turn grey, I might as well enjoy the window.

Now I get the same compliments I did as a kid but this time round I can appreciate them. My best friend said I looked like a mermaid the other day, and there’s no higher compliment than that, is there?

It’s taken me over thirty years to be okay with who I really am and I’m going to enjoy it now, dammit.

*swishes hair and flounces off into the sunset*

Blogging 101: Love Your Theme

Today’s assignment: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with yours. Try one you’re drawn to, and one you’d never use. Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (17th September 2014)

I’m not doing this today and I shall tell you why. It’s not just because I’m a stubborn one.

I love my theme at the moment. I try new ones most weekends when I’m faffing about on my blog and I’ll always try the newest one for size. I always revert back to this one or the classic, Runo Light. I also have a soft spot for Greyzed and Elegant Grunge.

I love crisp minimalism on my blog and I love to see that on the blogs I read. Some of the blogs I adore most are just very simple in their design which means that their words and images stand out all the more. No smoke and mirrors, just crisp pale backgrounds and sharp words.

My blogging pet hate is having to strain my eyes to make out a sentence. Block coloured backgrounds and white writing just give me a migraine.

So, I’m staying as I am for now thank you. This theme is like my current favourite dress and I’m working it like Bey.

Here’s this picture of The Goose being encouraging though. That’s something, right?

Hey-Girl-Ryan-Gosling-Blogger

UPDATE: I did actually go away and think about this and ended up clearing my sidebars of junk. Much as I love Instagram and Goodreads, people don’t necessarily care what I’m currently reading or what I ate for breakfast last Saturday. So I had a clear out and I think it looks better. Yey!

Blogging 101: Dream Reader

Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it. Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (16th September 2014)

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My dream reader is YOU!

My dream reader is anyone who wants to read me! I‘ve never really thought about it before this morning.

Sure, I fantasise about the moment I receive the call from a well-known publication (Elle or Things & Ink magazine for example) and am offered a regular column within their pages. I think that’s a job I’d be really good at you know; regular columnist. Of course, this is just a pipe dream and the reality of it is, I’m happy if one person likes what I say. Even if that one person is my gloriously biased mother.

I must admit that I have received some really nice feedback lately from people I would never have expected would be into my writing; and that feels bloody fantastic. I will never tire of hearing that something I have constructed has touched someone, or made them nod in agreement, or fist pump the air in triumph because they’ve been there too. It’s the best feeling in the world.

So today I’m to write for my dream reader and maybe try something new. I’m useless at that and I don’t think the post I am thinking about is that much of a departure from my usual style but let’s see shall we?

What is bravery?

All too often the word is thrown around like confetti and I wonder is it always valid? I’ve been called brave before, mainly for stepping outside my comfort zone or doing an activity alone. A few months back a couple of middle-aged ladies praised me on my courage in turning up to Zumba class on my own.

You’d think I’d slayed a dragon with my nail file that day and although it’s nice to be commended for anything even slightly out of the ordinary, in that scenario I don’t think I deserved it. I hadn’t even thought twice about going it alone, in fact even though I live with someone, I often do things solo and insist on it being that way.

Bravery to me is far bolder. It’s impulsive, two feet first shit. Clicking your fingers to Destiny Child’s Survivor as you smash life against the odds; being ill and fighting back. Being ill and letting go.

Bravery is dancing to your own beat whatever the rhythm. Picking your life up off the kitchen floor seconds after it’s exploded there and piecing in back together.

Bravery is moving to another country to give another life a chance. Putting yourself out there with new people, fighting against your self-consciousness to make new friends.

Bravery is risking it all for a boy you once knew. It’s trust and hope and faith, in yourself and others. Maybe I am brave after all. Maybe we’re all brave people, making brave choices every single day.

Maybe brave will always be ambiguous; one man’s lion taming is another man’s dining out alone.

That’s it I think. Right there.

She says bravely pressing ‘Publish’ on her imperfect waffle.

What do you think is the definition of bravery, Dream Reader?

NB: The new-to-me element in this post? Picture of two kittens on their smartphones? Does that count?

Blogging 101: Say Your Name

For no other reason than woman with a dinosaur head!

Today’s assignment: edit your title and tagline. Make your readers’ first impression a good one!
Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (15th September 2014)

I’ve decided not to do the assignment today because that’s just how I roll (not really).

I have good reason to excuse myself and it’s not just because I’m being pig headed. I genuinely love both my title and my tagline, and it took me a good while to arrive at them. I will, however, talk more about them and why I am sticking to my guns.

In yesterday’s Introduction, I explained why I chose the blog name I did and what it means to me.

My tagline is a little different, in that I just like it. I saw the term ‘force majeure’ in the Terms & Conditions of something and I liked it immediately, even though I didn’t know what it really meant. It was listed in a segment talking about ‘forces of nature’ and ‘acts of God’ so I knew it would be something big and it is!

Force majeure in the dictionary is defined like so:

Noun

  • Law
    Unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract
  • Irresistible compulsion or superior strength

Wikipedia goes into even more detail, if you like law and law talk.

Anyway, as soon as I had wrapped my tiny brain around what it meant, I decided it would work well on my blog. I mentioned it to my mum and she thought it was very humble of me (not). Of course it’s meant to be tongue in cheek. I don’t honestly consider myself a superior being or strength, but it’s kind of cute, right?

A few months ago though, I found out that good old Eddie Izzard (who grew up in my hometown) called his tour by the same name. I like to think he stole it from right under my nose since mine’s been in print since March, but the truth is, he was already on the road in 2013 and I’m just not that original.

Still, originality (or lack thereof) aside, I’m not changing it and I can’t imagine that I ever will. I have this thing where I can get very angsty if my blog doesn’t look exactly as I think it should.

I’m not driven by what other people say (although I love feedback), it’s just a very personal thing. I think I’m there are the moment, aesthetically speaking.

So there we are. I’m not changing for the foreseeable future and you can’t make me!

See you tomorrow for Day 3.