Thursday, 28 June 2018

The 37-27-42 Journey: 6 Weeks of 2B Mindset

It's safe to say that the last few weeks have been tricky with regard to healthy living. I've found myself veering off the rails more than once. In fact, here is my List of Shame:

  • I ate two burgers (one was buttermilk chicken and blue cheese, the other was supposedly a steak burger but was really just one of those cheapo burgers you get at the end of a night out) over my graduation weekend, and I do not regret eating either of them because they were both delicious.
  • My snack of choice while in my hotel room over the weekend was a tube of Texas BBQ Pringles.
  • I've been snacking in the evenings again. Not as bad as I used to, when I would just plough through chocolate and biscuits like there was no tomorrow, but still enough to violate the 'no snacks after dinner' rule.
  • The regular walks that my mum and I have been taking in the evenings are becoming more sparse, and the excuses are coming out in full force. I should point out that the excuses are from me - Mum still wants to walk because she's far more motivated than I am.
  • On my breaks at work, I've frequently been buying cakes and scones to snack on.

Yeah, it hasn't been a good few weeks for my healthy eating kick. That being said, my mum and I had our first check in on Tuesday, getting our measurements taken and getting weighed, and it turned out that I had lost 4.2% body fat as well as 5kg, which roughly translates to the 10lbs that I watched come off in the first few weeks of my 2B Mindset journey. And yes, that was amazing to see, but there's still a tiny part of me that's disappointed that it's not more, and that I haven't managed to dip down below the 14st mark. During the four days I was back in Dundee, I put on 2lbs. To be honest, I expected it to be more, and it was a relief to find that it was only two. But were those ice cream sundaes and big breakfasts and glasses of prosecco really worth it?

(Spoiler alert: they were. They definitely were.)

When it comes down to it, my weekend away was just one extended cheat day. I know that I could have tried a little harder to stay on track, but I was too busy celebrating to worry about how much water I was drinking or how many vegetables I was eating. I just need to pick myself back up and continue from here. It's not like the situation is unsalvageable. 

But there are other aspects of this lifestyle change that are starting to prove difficult.

Although I am by no means an experienced dietician or life coach, I have noticed that there are several things that affect how invested you are in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It's obviously important to keep a positive mindset when tackling a lifestyle change, but it's impossible to be positive all the time. I know that, when I have a lousy day at work or I'm feeling lazy or it's that time of the month and I JUST CAN'T DEAL ANYMORE, I just want to slouch on the sofa and tuck into a bar of chocolate or a big bowl of ice cream. And it's hard when temptation is still very much present, even though your home is mostly full of healthy food and even healthy snacks aren't going to count against you. At my job, I still find myself salivating over the meals that I take out to customers (not literally, otherwise I would be amazed if I'd made it through my first shift without getting sacked), and every day, I find myself getting almost triggered (the only word I can really think of to describe it) by something new. One day it might be a black pudding roll, the next it might be a tuna melt panini, the next it might be something as simple as a bowl of chips covered in salt and vinegar. Carbs, glorious carbs.

But it's the cakes that make it really hard. Big slabs of chocolate fudge cake the size of doorsteps, giant scones that you could use as paperweights, right down to the dainty little flapjacks that nobody buys: they're all guilty of making me hungry. And, as stated in my List of Shame, I've regularly been caving and eating a little something sweet during my morning breaks instead of a healthier option like baked pea crisps or a pot of fruit.

In short, I've fallen off the wagon a little. I think that a lot of it has just been bad timing, what with graduation, hay fever season and the drowsiness that it brings, and still feeling a little homesick after leaving Dundee for the foreseeable future. But that's not reason enough for me to just give up and go back to where I was, eating a whole pack of doughnuts in one day and still having room for pasta and garlic bread at dinner. I like how far I've already come in these last six weeks, and I like knowing that I'm becoming a healthier person. Knowing that I can occasionally treat myself is comforting, but I shouldn't allow myself to get carried away and eat until I feel ill. Now that all my graduation chocolates are out of the way, the rest of the journey should hopefully be a little easier.


Monday, 25 June 2018

A Day Off: Graduation

Image may contain: Maddie Bayley, smiling, standing and hat
Photo cred: Mum. Needed a new profile pic anyway.

This post was originally going to be about the velvet shoes I wore to my graduation ceremony on Thursday 21st June, and it was going to be an elaborate metaphor about letting go of old hang-ups (I have always hated velvet, yet found myself wearing a pair of velvet shoes to one of the most important events of my life) and embracing a new frame of mind now that I have successfully made the transition from university to the real world.

But I'll spare you all the pain of that idea. Instead, please endure the pain of me talking about what has been going through my head these last few days.

Graduation had been seeming more and more stressful the closer it came, but when it finally got to Thursday morning, when all our things were packed in the boot of the car and we were speeding down the dual carriageway to Dundee, I felt surprisingly calm. I barely even felt carsick, which is unusual for me. I knew that my amazing grandparents had picked up tickets for the ceremony and had also picked up my robe, so we all had the morning free to have breakfast together and take our time getting ready for the 2:30pm event. Such a load off our shoulders to know that things were going to plan. Although there was still an ominous thought in the back of my mind that things were going a little too smoothly and something would surely come along to ruin it, nothing actually did. I got to spend some quality time alone doing my makeup in the hotel room, my folks and I had a cute photoshoot outside (we found a cool statement wall and my dad insisted, but I wasn't exactly going to say 'no' since I loved how I looked in my robes and black dress), and we took a stroll up the road to the Caird Hall, milling around in the square and getting some more photos before we went in.

Image may contain: Maddie Bayley, smiling, phone and selfie
Cheeky mirror selfie to capture the finished look. Quick shoutout to the lipstick, Maybelline's SuperStay Matte Ink in the shade 'Heroine'. Lasted all day without a touch-up!

Image may contain: Maddie Bayley, smiling, standing
Photo cred: Mum. You can't really tell, but the trim on the robes is Slytherin green. Not my house, but still damn cool!

Image may contain: Maddie Bayley, smiling, close-up and outdoor
Hiding the nerves before the big moment. Never has a phrase beginning with the word 'welcome' sounded more threatening!

The ceremony itself is a bit of a blur. It was only an hour or so long, and I was literally the second person to cross the stage, so it was a relief to get my moment in the spotlight out of the way so that I could sit and watch everybody else. The honorary graduates, Dr. Sun Xiansheng and Anuja Dhir, had many a good word to say about Dundee, and I found myself hanging on to everything they told us about the place that I have called 'home' for the past four years. But I'll save my adoration for Dundee until a little later. I just find it incredible that these people who have travelled the world and achieved so many things still remember somewhere as seemingly insignificant on the world map as Dundee, Scotland.

(Side note: Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol fame was an honorary graduate at my friend's ceremony, and she tells me that the chorus sang 'Chasing Cars'. Must have been magical!)

Walking out of Caird Hall to the sound of bagpipes and drums was an unforgettable moment. As I made my way out with the crowd, walking down the steps under a sunny sky with the eyes of everybody in the square upon us, I truly felt like royalty. All I was missing was a tiara.

The rest of the evening was a happy whirlwind of catching up with friends, good food and one-too-many drinks. I spent the night at a lovely hotel where I could see the sunset over the Tay, a very familiar and comforting sight. Dundee may have changed in the four years that I have spent there, but it hasn't changed all that much. It's still the place I fell in love with way back in April 2014, when I sat down in a room in the Dalhousie Building to hear about the English & Creative Writing course for which I would later sign up. 

But my adventures in Dundee weren't quite over. Saturday meant Grad Ball, twelve hours of dancing and drinking and being with friends. I was so glad to be attending the ball with three people that I had met all the way back in Freshers' Week, people with whom I shared a flat in first year, people who have seen me at my lowest but who have also contributed to some of the happiest moments of my life. These are people who have always been there for me, and I will miss them just as much as Dundee itself. 

So, with all that in mind, it was necessary to make the most of the night. And boy, did we do just that! We got caricatures, went to a headphone disco, took a ride on the dodgems (not an easy task while wearing a full-length sequinned dress), and the list goes on. Cut to 5am when I was getting tired and cranky, wanting nothing more than to get back to the hotel and grab a few hours' worth of sleep before catching a train back to Aberdeen. The next morning, the only time I got to spend in the Dundee sunshine was during the walk from the Premier Inn to the train station, i.e. two minutes. 

The last four days have been crazy and emotional and exhausting, if I may rip those three adjectives straight from my personal Facebook post. The same could be said for my university journey as a whole. A retrospective on my uni experience is a whole blog post in itself, but I can safely sum it up in a few words by saying that I have managed to lose myself and find myself again about a dozen different times, it has managed to both make me and break me, and I have hit both my highest and lowest points along the way. But there is very little that I would change. I can't say that I have no regrets, because I'm the sort of person who doesn't take the risk and often ends up wondering what could have happened. Of course I have regrets.

But there is no better place I could have ended up than Dundee. It sucks that I'm leaving the city just as the world is starting to realise what an amazing place it truly is, how creative and innovative and friendly it is. People sold Dundee to me all those years ago by telling me that it was the 'largest village in Scotland', and they're right. It's essentially a town that's been mislabelled as a city, where you'll always run into people you know and where you're only a ten-minute walk from wherever you need to go. Dundee is sunny and small and sweet, and it's never been 'Scumdee' in my book. It's always been 'Sundee'.

I pray that it won't be long until I'm back there. For now, I'm staying in Aberdeenshire, which is nothing to gripe about because the countryside is beautiful, especially in summer, but it's not the same. Dundee is where I tasted real independence, where I had my first legal drink, where I went on spontaneous adventures and nights-out with wonderful people. And now, I've been awarded with a degree from their incredible university, a reminder of where I've been, of what I can do when I put my mind to it, and of how far I have yet to go.


Thursday, 14 June 2018

A Day Off: Moving Day & A Dose Of Reality

Today was supposed to be the day my dad and I spent clearing out my Dundee flat before I return for graduation next week to spend my last few days in the city there. Turns out today was the last day I would ever spend in the flat that I have called home for the last two years. I didn't even realise as I closed the front door for the last time that it in fact was the last time I would ever close that door.

And why was this goodbye so abrupt? Because I didn't read an email that had been sent to me a month ago, stating that my lease ended on June 16th, and that keys had to be returned to the office by the end of that day.

As such, this has screwed over my plans - and my whole family's plans - for my graduation, and this evening has been spent frantically trying to find alternative accommodation. Thankfully, despite the intimidating 'FULLY BOOKED' slogans written in red across almost every booking website, my folks and I have managed to find me a place (or should I say 'places' since I'll be staying at two hotels in the space of three days) to stay. My mistake is going to cost me a lot of money, let's just put it that way, plus I've let down not only my parents but also my lovely grandparents who are travelling up from England next week to see me graduate.

There is so much I could write about here in this post that would make it unbearably long: how, when I realised that all our plans for the week ahead were falling apart right before my eyes and that it was my fault, I was afraid to go home and face my disappointed mother and couldn't even think of what to say to my disappointed father on the drive there; how a telltale sign of my mental state at any given time is how cluttered my email inbox is; how I have once again found myself in a situation where I know that I should have learned my lessons by now. But, as I say, these topics would make this post far too long. I don't even know why I'm writing this. Maybe just because I'm so frustrated by the day's events and at myself for once again disappointing the ones I love that I feel the need to explain myself.

But even when I try to explain why this happened, I can't. I don't know why I got so lazy with checking emails. I barely know why I got so emotional when my parents criticised me for what I had done, criticism that was thoroughly deserved. Perhaps because I immediately knew what I had done was stupid, and didn't want to be lectured about why what I had done was stupid because I hated myself enough already without others piling on more reasons. Something tells me that these are all topics to be explored another day, either on here or with a therapist because this happens to me entirely too often. I act before I think, and only realise my mistakes after the fact, something that no rational, independent adult should really do, especially not one who doesn't take too well to criticism.

There is one thing that I can explain without fail, however: the fact that I was crying all the way home because I had unknowingly closed the front door to my flat for the last time. I never got to look out for the final time through the floor-to-ceiling window over the city rooftops, a view that had inspired so much poetry. I never got to look around at the now-bare walls and the empty shelves and the uncharacteristically-clean counter tops, at my entire university life reduced to piles of bags and boxes, and realise that I was not only about to move out, but also about to move on. I never got to say a formal goodbye to my little slice of independence, to a place that was sometimes the last place I wanted to be, but which was always home.

A combination of all of these emotions made me a bit of a wreck for the majority of the afternoon. Writing this with the benefit of a few hours of hindsight helps me realise that it's simply a sequence of unfortunate events that could have easily been avoided. I'm not writing this post to gain sympathy that I don't deserve or to rant for the sake of ranting. Maybe I should see this as a lesson that needs to be learned.

So, what have I learned? For one thing, I need to read my damn emails, because the second I start ignoring my inbox, that's when everything starts to slip. I still need to learn how to keep my cool, to take criticism without lashing out, and to rectify my mistakes as quickly as possible without freaking out or being fearful of what others might say. I need to stop making bad decisions, and when I make bad decisions, I need to learn how to say, 'There's no excuse for what I did and I'm sorry', instead of wildly trying to justify my actions with vague statements about how my head isn't in the right place.

Plenty to learn. Considering that I'm twenty-one years old (in fact, only a few months away from turning twenty-two), it's frightening to me that I still have so much to come to terms with, but maybe having a place like this to expand upon my thoughts will help. I can only hope, because things need to change now that I'm no longer in the warm, cuddly arms of university life, and find myself instead in the cold, grey adult world of taxes and mortgages and constant work. Eek.


Sunday, 10 June 2018

Poetry: Risk-Taking & InstaPoets

'overdramatic love poetry' (9/6/18)

'priorities' (9/6/18)

'pronunciation' (9/6/18)

Writing poetry is difficult. When you have little inspiration and find that even prompts aren't really doing anything for you lately, it can be borderline impossible to string a bunch of words together in a profound manner.

But poetry does not always have to be profound. The above poems are the first ones I've written in two weeks or so, and they're shallow little verses about crushes and physical attraction. Guess this is what people mean when they advise writers to write what they know, huh?

Even after having studied English & Creative Writing at university, I still consider myself an amateur poet. I admire poets, and I'm always desperate to come up with new and inventive ways of expressing myself through the written word, through rhyme, rhythm and structure. And sometimes, I am so desperate to find a new spin on an old concept or a new gimmick to draw in potential readers that it takes me an age to even write four lines.

Oh, how I love being a perfectionist.

This is where using Instagram as a platform for sharing writing becomes a frustrating practice. Much Instagram poetry is overly simplistic, where the definition of 'poetry' is stretched just thin enough for people to still believe that the words before them are meaningful in some way. This type of writing is not one that I can accurately describe. I would say that this pseudo-deep poetry takes the form of a five-word quote on a plain background, but there are plenty of very short poems that have hit me in the gut over the year I have been immersed in the writing community, so it is not an issue of length. It may be an issue of vocabulary, since plenty of writers believe that throwing a lot of long and obscure words into their works automatically makes them sound impressive. It does not. At the end of the day, however, writers are obviously allowed to express themselves in any way they like. Don't let an asshole on the Internet like me stop you from speaking your truth, fellow poets.

But I would very much like to say a few words about a certain Instagram poet that has gotten on my nerves over the last few months.

I began following this individual more out of fascination than anything else. His poetry didn't feel like poetry to me (and yes, everybody has a different opinion on what 'real poetry' is, and his follower count was far higher than mine can ever hope to be, so clearly there is a vast audience for poetry like his). It felt too simplistic, too pandering, and it always screamed 'woe is me' without having the self-awareness to back it up and make him sound like a sympathetic narrator. Not long ago, he rebranded and began writing more poems about love, as well as plenty of smutty poems, which drove many of his followers away. I stuck around while he joked about how he was weeding out the prudes and the weak ones. I didn't mind the smut, and some of it was even enjoyable in its scandalous nature. There's something intriguing about a writer revealing a different side to their personality.

But shortly after this, I unfollowed him. Because it dawned on me how odd his poetry truly was. It didn't read like sexy poetry, like a sensual exploration of words and sex and emotion. It read like a string of random, unconnected thoughts straight from the brain of a typical 'nice guy' obsessed with tits and ass. Sure, there were plenty of people who were totally into it, leaving heart-eye emojis and water-drop emojis in the comments (and they're totally entitled to their opinion - don't let me put you off enjoying the things that you enjoy), but everything about his writing started to annoy me. The smut no longer made my eyes widen or made me gasp from how dirty it was, but increasingly made me roll my eyes at how repetitive it had become. We get it, he likes sex. We get it, he thinks that his girl has a nice ass. We get it, he likes to describe sex using weird metaphors in an attempt to make him sound more interesting.

Which brings me back to my above poems. Yes, I may sound like a hypocrite for looking down upon one writer's smutty poems while writing and sharing my own, but hear me out. I find that it is difficult to write smutty poetry without sounding incredibly corny or downright crass. These are not necessarily bad labels, I should point out, because sexy poetry can have a sense of humour, making it less intense, or it can be played as deliberately lustful and almost aggressive in an attempt to shock an audience. But falling into both categories at the same time was what this particular InstaPoet achieved, and this culminated in his poetry simply sounding like locker room banter or embarrassing Tinder messages. The limited scope of things that he wrote about and the repetitive ways in which he described sex and relationships just began to bore me, and his "poems" were too frustratingly short to establish any kind of mood.

I think what I'm trying to say is that this poet got under my skin, and yet he inspired me to start writing smutty poetry of my own. Sex sells, after all, so this could potentially be a good thing for my follower count, plus I've found that it's just a fun exercise to write about the giddy feelings of shallow love and attraction. Since I only have 430 or so Instagram followers and I am not drastically changing my writing persona, this is not exactly a risk for me creatively, but it is a little unusual, and I'm in unexplored territory here. For one thing, family members follow me on Instagram, so it's weird to think that they are perhaps reading these poems about what should be secretive thoughts (sorry, lads) and for another thing, I'm so inexperienced in the area of sex and relationships that these works are pretty much just drawn from pure emotion, not necessarily interaction.

This post turned out to be far longer than I intended. Rereading it, I feel like it's gone nowhere, but poetry is something which I could talk about for hours, going round and round in circles. This post could be 10,000 words long and still not be resolved, so I'll just leave it here for now.

And let me just end this by stating for the record that I in no way think that I am superior to other InstaPoets. Everybody has their own unique style, and each style appeals to a different audience. I have my favourites, and my favourites will have their favourites too. And I'm sure that there are plenty of people who have given my poetry a chance, but have ultimately been unimpressed and decided to unfollow and never give my work another glance. That's absolutely okay. You do you. We all have our preferences, after all. Feel free to write on your blog about how cliché and emo my poetry is. I won't exactly disagree with you.


Thursday, 7 June 2018

The 37-27-42 Journey: 3 Weeks of 2B Mindset

Photo cred: my lovely dad

Yesterday, while I was clearing a table at work, a customer approached me and, with a disapproving look, told me that I should pull up my trousers because I was, in her words, “showing a little too much”. I did as I was told, and for a moment, I was embarrassed before I remembered that the reason I was looking a little indecent was because I had lost enough weight to warrant my skinny black trousers going slack around my hips. As of today, I have officially been eating and living according to the 2B Mindset method for three weeks, and since it’s made me lose enough weight to put me in this somewhat humiliating situation, I’d say that it’s working pretty well so far.

I’ve never been slim. I’ve never been good at exercising or eating vegetables or drinking water, and I’ve never been overly happy with my appearance as a result of these things. So, my mum and I decided to make a change together, to re-evaluate our lifestyles and spur each other on with our fresh new outlooks on food and eating.

When I was first measured, I weighed in at 14st 11lb, which was about a stone more than I had estimated beforehand, having not weighed myself in at least a year. Ignorance is bliss, after all. I also found out that my body fat percentage was sitting at 29.4, and in order to achieve a healthy weight, I had to reduce it to below 22 (if my memory serves me correctly). I may not be able to calculate my body fat content right now, but I do know that, when I stood on the scales this morning, I weighed in at 14st 2lb, a difference of 9lb in just 21 days. While this has fluctuated here and there, my weight has certainly been on the decrease. It was even as low as 14st 1lb at one point. I’m so close to being below 14st, I can almost taste it!

As a disclaimer, I should point out that some of that weight loss might not have been intentional since I came down with some sort of stomach bug last week, nothing serious but enough to make sure that I was a little paranoid about what I was putting in my mouth for about four days straight. However, I was told at the outset of my 2B Mindset journey that I would see weight start to melt off me with a new diet centred around eating mostly vegetables and drinking large amounts of water throughout the day (difficult on work days when you’re constantly having to dash to the bathroom, but hey ho), and I’m definitely seeing a difference, and not just in how my body looks, but also in little things like how much healthier my skin looks and how much more alert I feel.

I’ll happily admit that there are parts of this lifestyle change that I have not been able to keep up with. The tracking of every single thing that you eat, for example, or meeting my water quota every day. But I have been happy to discover that a diet that involves mostly vegetables has not been as boring and bland as I expected it to be. Vegetables are incredibly versatile foods, and it has been interesting to try out new dishes and experiment with different combinations and flavours. 

The downside of this? Eating healthily costs A LOT, something which is not as big a deal to me now that I am living with my folks once again as opposed to living alone on a student budget, but which still freaks me out just a little bit. It’s no wonder that people choose to eat unhealthily when junk food is addictive, cheap, and easy to make. But that’s a topic for another day. I’m coming for you, Jamie Oliver.

The Shakeology powder is helping a great deal as well with this lifestyle shift. My biggest problems when it came to food were snacking, too much sugar, and not enough water, and giving up snacking in the evenings was initially incredibly difficult. But drinking protein shakes in the evenings made up of chocolate Shakeology powder, coconut milk, a banana and a few cubes of ice helps to curb my cravings, meaning that I don’t (often) snack in the evenings anymore, and that dinner generally marks the end of that day’s calorific intake. However, 2B Mindset is not about all veg and no treats. A treat every now and then doesn’t do much harm when the rest of your diet is so filling and healthy, so for someone such as myself who has an insatiable sweet tooth, that is a welcome relief.

Now, excuse me while I finish the rest of my ‘congratulations on your 2:1’ chocolates, and then complain in the morning when I realise that I’ve put two pounds back on!

(And yes, the title of what I hope will become a series here on this blog is ripped straight from the lyrics of a Bruno Mars song in which he is guessing the measurements of a woman dancing in front of him in a club. I'm just that basic, plus the song is awesome. Pretty sure I will never achieve those exact dimensions, but let's just pretend that it's a cheeky/sleazy metaphor for how damn good it's gonna feel when I achieve some dimensions that I will actually feel proud of, shall we?)


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A Day Off: Highland Wildlife Park

Confession time: I didn't even know that the Highland Wildlife Park existed until the story of Hamish, the UK's first baby polar bear in 25 years, appeared on the BBC News. Today, my dad, brother and I took a wee trip (and by "wee trip", I mean "a two-hour-long drive during which I had to pee once and felt like I was going to throw up about ten separate times") up to the park to pay the little ball of white fuzz a visit.

And boy, this place did not disappoint!

It certainly helped that it was a gloriously sunny day, although I am now paying the price and nursing sunburns on my forearms and chest exclusively. The above photo, taken from a viewpoint overlooking what is labelled as potentially "the best view in Scotland", is damn good proof of that. No clouds in the sky, no chilly breeze, no nasty wasps ready to chase innocent visitors away from the animals. Just stunning sights and plenty of photo opportunities, which we naturally took full advantage of.

Photo cred: my brother

Photo cred: also my brother

Hamish and his mother Victoria were two of the first animals we saw, aside from a disgruntled crane and a swarm of black-headed gulls that my dad insisted were terns until I shut him down with the knowledge that I gained from my bird-watching phase all those years ago. There's something very special and also so sombre about seeing a real life polar bear in a conservation park; it's an emotion somewhere between relief and grief. 

But there's no getting around the fact that Hamish the polar bear cub is too cute for his own good. Watching him playing with his mum and ambling along after her was such a joy to see.

Aside from the park's star attraction, the animal that I enjoyed seeing the most was the elusive red panda, which I learned on the car ride up to the mountains is not actually related to the giant panda, but is more closely related to raccoons and skunks. You learn something new every day, I guess. My folks and I went back for a second visit, and it was lucky that we did, because we got to see the critter sitting on a platform high up in the enclosure, pretty much asking to be photographed. And so, we took far too many photos. However, my best photos turned out like this...

...and my brother's best photos turned out like this, thanks to a zoom lens and a determination to get the best shot possible:

It's actually unfair how great this shot is.

Anyway, here are some of the photos taken on my own Lumix G10 (sans zoom lens), each with a wee bit of a caption as opposed to long blocks of text. Enjoy!

One of two majestic Amur tigers

The enclosure housing the Japanese snow monkeys

Genuinely could have sat and watched these guys all day

Himalayan prayer flags strung up along the path to the red panda enclosure

Nice to know that my favourite city was only 58 miles away

There's a reason that Scotland is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world...
European bison blissfully unaware of my brother and I snapping some pics

The statue that greeted us at the entrance. They're clearly very proud of their polar bears.


Friday, 1 June 2018

A Fresh Start

This must be the thousandth time I’ve sat down to type out a first post on a fresh new blog. It’s a ritual as clear to me as opening up a brand new notebook, one that I chose because of its colourful cover, spiral binding and 90gsm paper, but which seemed far too perfect to write in, because to write in a notebook is to risk ruining the whole thing with a messy doodle or a sorry excuse for a poem.

But maybe messy is not a bad thing. Art is messy. Life is messy. I’m a messy person who would rather throw her clothes over the back of a chair than put them away in a drawer.

Hence this new blog. I’m diving once again into the blogosphere because, when I’m not blogging, I find myself full of ideas for potentially interesting (but in no way related) articles and opinionated pieces for which I have no outlet. So, here I go again, introducing myself to the Internet.

The last time I wrote an introduction to myself was on a WordPress blog back in late 2015, when I described myself thusly:

'I'd like to be able to describe myself in a way that makes me sound super interesting and cool, but in reality, I'm neither of those things. I'm a fairly nondescript, nineteen-year-old introvert who loves creative writing, mainstream electronic dance music and photography (if you can call snapping photos of the sunset on your iPhone "photography"). I have an unshakeable YouTube addiction, an unhealthy obsession with makeup, and an unrealistic dream of someday becoming a bestselling author. It sounds like the most overused cliché in the history of blogging, but I really am just an average girl with an average life.'

A few things have changed - I’m no longer nineteen but twenty-one, and my dream is no longer to become a bestselling author - but this description is still mostly accurate. I’m still introverted, I still adore creative writing (so much so that I have just completed my English & Creative Writing degree with a 2:1 - yay!), EDM is still my jam, and I’m still obsessed with YouTube and the culture surrounding it. 

Now that my university experience is over, I’m planning on taking on writing projects in the time that I am not working at my current full-time job. Amongst these projects is this blog, where I plan to write a little bit of everything. Here, I’ll be sharing the poetry that I post to my Instagram, the spoken word videos that I occasionally post to my YouTube channel, as well as opinionated articles, reviews, how my journey to lose weight is going…whatever I fancy writing, basically. If you fancy joining me for this wild ride, stay tuned to see whatever I post next! 
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