So it has been about a year since I last posted. I have to say I have missed it and I have gone to write posts but then run out of time or something else has happened that was more important. Writing is something that I love to do but usually find I don’t have enough hours in the day which is a shame as I find writing this blog as a kind of therapy. It allows me to get out of my head and focus on writing a recipe or something else. It is a good outlet and something I need to allow more time for. However, my life over the past year has changed and therefore, so has my vision on where I want this blog to go and what type of thing I want to focus on in the future. With that in mind, this post is almost an update on what I have been doing with my life and how it has changed and what the future holds.
About a year ago I started a new job. I had quit my previous job 6 months prior in order to pursue the career I really wanted to get into, event management. I did a short course at City Uni and then set about finding a job. After a few lets just say interesting job interviews and some tears over worrying that I would never find the job I wanted, I finally landed a 12 month maternity cover at a prestigious business organisation. I learnt so much, got to create and execute so many interesting events and I made some amazing friends. However, in June it was over and I was back on the job hunt again, finding my next career move in events. it was tough, I guess I guess I thought having gained so much experience I would be snapped straight up. It took me 3 months and affected my mental health quite a bit. I did not deal with rejection or bad interviews well and it was difficult to focus. Finally however, I landed a job and although still battling with thoughts that I am not good enough and I will fail (more on this later) I am glad to be working again, I’ll be even happier when my first pay cheque arrives!
As my previous post on grief alludes to, I lost my Grandma over two years ago. She was a shining light in my life and I will spend the rest of my life trying to be even an inch of the loving, kind woman she was. It did mean I started getting closer to my Grandpa. During my period of unemployment for the first six months of 2017, I was able to go spend weekends with him. He would take me out to his favourite fish restaurant and tell the waiters that I was his date. We would then proceed to sit at the table for what seemed like hours, he would tell me all about his life and I became closer and closer to him. However, he was not the man he had been when my Grandma had been with us. Years of dialysis were taking a toll on his body. In October last year he was admitted into hospital the day before his 95th birthday with gangrene in his legs. It was obvious that he would not survive the poison that this was causing. He stuck out Christmas and we had the best day full of laughter and happiness. My Mum called me the last week of January, Grandpa had made the extremely brave decision to come off dialysis. The whole process took a week, the entire family were with him and on Sunday 4th February, he passed away in his sleep in the house he had built. In July we buried his ashes alongside the love of his life. Finally they are together again.
So the Friday before my Grandpa passed, my partner and I officially bought our first flat together. It was a bittersweet moment, on the one hand I was ecstatic that we had taken this next step in our relationship together and on the other hand I was dealing with the devastation that I was about to lose my Grandpa. However, we got to tell him that we had bought the flat before he slipped away and he was so pleased for me and what we were doing.
We began the process of searching for a property last September and we saw many different flats. We didn’t set out looking for a project but then we came across our flat and we knew it was the right one for us, even if we could see it needed work. It was everything we wanted, great location, outside space and good size rooms. We could see what we wanted to do with it and the potential it had, it was a no brainer for us. We are currently in the process of getting permission to extend the flat an change it in the way we want. We did have the bathroom redone as soon as we arrived, as it was in a bit of a state when we bought the house over. Think dingy black and white vinyl mouldy flooring, flaky white painting on the walls, exposed pipes… it was a bit of a mess! However, I now have a beautiful bathroom in its place. I am so excited to have our own place and even more excited that we do have a project to keep me busy. I am especially looking forward to a new kitchen so I can create even more yummy recipes!
Last Autumn I chatted with some of my new work mates who were thinking of signing up for the Hackney half marathon the following May and they all encouraged me to sign up. So with massive apprehension, I did just that. Now I have never run a race before. When I first learned to walk I used to drag my right foot along the floor. I had to have a correctional block put into my shoes to sort me out. The doctors reckon it may have been a reaction to a live polio injection but either way it left me with weak ankles and weak wrists. This didn’t make much difference to me for most my life despite the correctional block until I was about 12 years old. I had been running long distance races for a while and I was quite good at it. Then during one 1500m race I suddenly went over on my right ankle. It triggered a lad of problems and I have been doing a lot to correct and strengthen my ankles since. The thought, therefore, of running a race seemed rather scary but I wanted to do it, to push myself and see what I could achieve. I also decided to raise money for two different charities in honour of my grandparents. For Grandma I raised money for Alzheimers and for my Grandpa it was for kidney research. It helped my motivation knowing that I was doing it for two amazing causes and that it was for my beloved grandparents. It made me feel like I was doing something to remember them by and it made me feel closer to them. The run up to the race was hard but I completed it in 2h 39mins. Unfortunately my left knee started giving way about mile 10. I really wanted to complete it in two and a half hours but who knows maybe next year!
My health has been up and down this past year. As any one who has read my previous post on osteoarthritis knows my ongoing struggles with my hands but as I spoke about above, my knees have also given me some problems. Seven years ago I had a steroid injection in my right knee as it was seizing up and causing me immense amounts of pain and I haven’t had any problems since. In the last couple of years and especially leading up to the half marathon my left knee has been causing me some pain. It has meant that I had to put exercise has on hold for two months but more on that later.
I have also had struggles with my stomach. I was having a lot of problems everyday with my stomach, it was giving me massive pains and unpleasant trips to the bathroom. I figured it was something I was allergic to so contacted a specialist in the area. Instead of taking an allergy test, she advised me to do something called the elimination diet. It is the you take what your put into your body right down to only specific things for two weeks and then slowly reintroduce different food groups/foods depending. I will do an entire separate blog post on the process but essentially after a very long process and a very grouchy me, I found out that my stomach does not take kindly to milk, yoghurt and goats cheese. So it is some but not all dairy. My stomach massively improved after that which has been great.
Recently however, I started having problems again with my stomach, it was very bloated and painful. I have seen myself put on weight because of this. It may be because of the lack of exercise as well but it has made me feel rather sluggish and horrible. I saw a nutritionist recently who has given me some ideas and things to add in my diet to help with the weight loss and my stomach problems. I will keep you updated.
As mentioned above my knee has meant that I wasn’t able to work out for two months, that even included a brisk walk as it hurt my knee which then seized up. However, I went back to the same doctor and had a steroid injection in my left knee which has really helped. I am currently having physio and I went back to the gym this week, slowly but surely! I have also started swimming and I am about to start yoga and pilates. I have a long way to go but I am so excited to be able to work out and start feeling better in myself.
All of the above led me to feel rather down and out. I have started suffering from panic attacks in the middle of the night when trying to fall asleep and suddenly my mind takes off on a thought and it goes into a million other places and before I know it I am panicking about everything in the world.
Therefore, after some advice from a friend, I started cognitive behavioural therapy through my local “let’s talk”. It deals with why we worry and how to deal with that worry. I am two weeks in so haven’t learnt all the tools yet but once it is over I will write a post on it.
Other steps I have taken to try to change my thought process and feelings is with mindfulness. Using the Headspace app, I now dedicate 10 mins every morning to peace and quiet to try to get a hold of my thoughts and what they do to me. Some days are better than others but it is definitely helping and when I feel like things are getting too much and I am having a panic attack I try and settle my mind with breaths and what I have learnt through the mindfulness. I would really recommend people taking some time in their mornings to try and have some stillness before the day starts. I am also using the app to help me sleep. Have only tried it twice but so far I have fallen sleep rather quickly!
Future of the blog
So all in all thats been my year! Lots of ups and downs but starting to get on the straight and narrow again. Which brings me to where I see this blog going. Obviously I will continue to post recipes but I want to also blog about other things. I travel a lot so will start posting travel posts with helpful tips and know hows from places I visit. I will also be posting my home improvements, I am exited to be sharing my overhaul of each room! On top of that I will do some more posts about mental health, my exercise and fitness and my personal health. It has been a long year and I am glad that I am finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.