Staying motivated during isolation- I am not

Advice, Personal Experience

Motivation is still at Zero


I am so impressed by everyones attitudes to this situation. I am not motivated at all. Yes I will be baking banana bread today and yes I have cleared out the garden but I am still working. I am actually busier then I have ever been and I am working super long days. So even though I am currently working at home not a lot has changed for me.

I actually enjoyed working from home. I planned our lunches and and cooked our dinners we walked Frank every day. We are now a zero waste food house hold. I understand stand that we should always should have been. Isolating is teaching us how much to appreciate the food you have. We are using up all the fresh bits first although they seem easier to replace.


I still have minimum motivation.

Zero

Online food shopping


We gutted the kitchen cupboards at the weekend
Ripped everything out and wrote everything down. Like everything in life, me and Gavin are hoarders. Food hoarders if you are really fond of spices, bbq sauce and noodles, we will survive.

We appear to have a soba noodle obsession.


I just wanted to check before I did an order that we have enough food in the house and this has helped me massively. But I don’t blame online shoppers for overstocking their shelves! How can we when you can only get delivery once a month if you are lucky. If we are not allowed out and we are trying to stay away from people then online shopping should be a godsend.


But no one can get a slot.


We will be fine for no, maybe a month, if we just live on noodles!

Lack of motivation


I am still working.


You may know that I work in retail it’s an online company so we are busy. Busier than Christmas and dealing with a lot of impatient people. Who don’t understand that there is a crisis on which means delays. This is leading to zero motivation at the moment. Gav is used to me screaming at the laptop and getting stressed.

Work is really tiring me out. Don’t leave a comment telling me I am lucky to be working. Yes I am lucky to be working but I am not used to dealing with such negativity and lack of understanding. I have to process what is going on in the world as well as people yelling at me because there parcel is delayed.

Peoples perspectives are pissing me off.

Coping during isolation

Working means I have little time to relax. I don’t have any excess time to be creative, to plan the things I want to do. My daily roles haven’t changed that much but everything else has. When I sit down and think about all the deaths and sickness I find it overwhelming.

We are living in scary times.

I deleted Facebook because I don’t want to hear people’s opinions on everything. All my news comes from the BBC. I downloaded the app so I even get notifications which is also scary.

Our government lied to us and downplayed the severity of Covid-19 which is still making me so angry.

We don’t know what is happing or going to happen. So we need to let everyone get along how they must. Am I coping?…. well I am getting everyday but I am so busy or tied I don’t have a lot of time for me.

I read a post on how we are actually privileged to be able to stay home, feed ourselves, clean ourselves. At first I was a bit annoyed at this post. Now I understand the relevance and the privileged position of us. It wasn’t about shaming us it was about putting things in perspective.

It’s time to put things in perspective!

You perspective matters but please be kind to people and patience really is a virtue.

7 Things I didn’t expect about Japan

Honeymoon, Personal Experience, Travel

We did a lot of research before we went to Japan. We learned about Japanese etiquette so we didn’t insult anyone. Japan is super forgiving if you apologise but somethings still surprised us about Japan. So here is 7 things we didn’t expect about Japan.

For the love of eggs

The Japanese love eggs, boiled, raw, baked you name it. They will even stuff it in a little octopus! We have eggs sandwiches that made us drool. We queued for 15 minutes to get an omelette on a stick ( that we are still drooling about). My favourite was the stained eggs that come In The ramen!

But my absolute favourite egg was the one we had with breakfast. It was basically like a lightly poached egg, with a perfect reddy orange yoke still in its shell. We had it with our rice and mixed in the rest of our ingredients. I can’t tell you how good that breakfast was.

Ramen Eggs



Hakone eggs!!!

Stone the crows

Okay don’t stone them! Every place we went there were huge crows everywhere. They are magnificent birds that caw loudly fight and play. They are pretty brave and fearless and will walk right up to you.

I love crows I think they are clever and I like the fact they are hardly alone. When me and Gav were first dating he was walking me to the pub and teasing me about something. Two crows were fighting and fell out of the sky landing on Gavs head. Quite rightly he freaked out and ran down the road. We laughed afterwards but I just looked at him and said karma. Since then I feel an affinity with crows! If there is a spirit animal then mine would be a crow.

When we were walking through the castle at Osaka we had to walk through a small wooded area. The trees were absolutely filled with crows cawing and chasing each other. Gav was a little freaked out so for the whole holiday I teased him that the crows were following him. When we got to to Kyoto the crows were super confident!

My spirit animal

Plastic is not so fantastic but it is hygienic!!

So plastic is an issue in Japan. Everything is wrapped or double wrapped. Packaging is far too much however. We were in Japan during Covid-19 so everything being in wrapped made sense. No germs were being transferred unless you touched the packaging.

I did get into the habit of showing a bag I was carrying with me but it was crazy how they would give you a bag for everything. Maybe because it just doesn’t happen in the Uk anymore we are cutting back on plastic. I am self isolating at the moment but if I was allowed to shop I would be reaching for those plastic wrapped fruit…. sorry.

Plastic may be bad for the environment but it is hygienic. I just think our government needs to invest in recycling plastics so we stop sending them to the dump. After all a lot of plastic can be recycled.

Bullet trains

Organisation can be achieved on public transport

We all know that Japan is highly efficient when it comes to public transport but seriously! Everything was on time, trains, tubes, buses. Japanese people hate being late! Hate it!

We had one incident where we were sat on the bus and was about to leave. Some tourists meandered over with their suitcases I think there were 6 of them. The bus driver told them they had to hurry because he had to leave. They slowly got on the bus. The bus driver wanted to yell at them. In stead he turned into superman and lifted all the cases up and stacked them on the bus blocking the back door so he could leave on time. He was furious and it rubbed off on the bus. This family made us all late!

So if you visit Japan don’t be late. If you live anywhere be courteous and arrive on time. Lateness is for fools!

Japanese standards in cooking

We never had a bad meal in Japan whether it was a cheap eats or a fancy meal. That doesn’t mean we had perfect meals every time. Because we didn’t. But the food standards where just good everywhere. When I was disappointed in food it wasn’t because it wasn’t good it’s just because we had already had better.

Gav even liked the Lawsons ( minisupermarket) chicken and hot food! Me not so much but we tried all the food at the stations, food stalls, restaurants and supermarkets. We tried lots and different food and I was so impressed with the standards of food!

Gyoza

Japan doesn’t do street food

So yes you can buy street food in Japan, and yes it is authentic Japanese food. Japan doesn’t like eating outside they take such pride in the food and everywhere is filled with tiny restaurants some don’t have seats just tables but street food nope. Street food is for tourists. It’s becoming more popular with the younger generation but in general it’s not a thing.

You probably already know that you should not walk and eat or drink! It is highly frowned upon and if you do buy food from a food stall or market they ask you to eat at the side. You will see signs up in the markets in english stating not to walk and eat. You get used to it except for the drinking! Although I do feel like you can get away with it more.

Service charge

You don’t tip in Japan they find it insulting however restaurants and bars sometimes have a cover charge. Now everywhere we went we were informed before we sat down. Now to make up for this you often get like a bowl of peanuts or snacks! We never had an issue with it except when an empty bar wanted to charge us 700yen but he had to make his money some how. And he turned out to be full of knowledge and really friendly.

Lots of restaurants have rules like you must order a drink each etc. All these rules are either as you enter or the first page in a menu, they don’t hide them. It can be frustrating when you have to pay an extra £6 just to sit down and have a drink but the cocktails were about £9-12 so that wasn’t to bad cheaper than many London bars so we just always orders two drinks each so we didn’t notice the costs!

Old fashioned at the Bees Knees Kyoto
S


So we learned a lot about Japan, before we left and while we were out there. We are already planning our next trip out there. What we want to do and see!

Have you been to Japan? What surprised you about it?

Hakone, I wish I stayed a wee bit longer

Honeymoon, Personal Experience, Travel

So lots of Japanese people head to Hakone for the Onsens. Being tourists we wanted to see Mount Fuji, take a trip in the pirate ship, eat volcano cooked eggs and take the ropeways. Which is fine but we didn’t really get out to the restaurant and walk anywhere but the touristy areas. And there really isn’t anything wrong with that but if we had had more time we would have loved to explore more.

We left Tokyo at about 11 and got on the bullet train to Hakone. We packed a bento lunch and watched Japan whiz by. It was easy. We had booked our seats E and D so that we could see Mount Fuji the whole way. Japanese travel efficiently is something all countries should aim to achieve.

When we arrived we booked a Hakone 1-2 day pass and it was worth it. There had been a landslide so the little train was out of action so instead we hopped on the bus for 40 minutes. Dropped off our rucksacks and headed straight for the rope way.

Mount Fuji

This area of Japan is so serene with all the trees, rivers streams trickling down the mountain. Clouds often cover the peak of Mount Fuji so rather than relaxing in our hotel we wanted to get straight up and see it, in case it was Hidden The next day. With clear skies above us we checked into our hotel and went straight our again.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that gondolas are my absolute favourite thing even though I am scared of heights I don’t mind being in one. And because tourist levels were super low we got a gondola to ourselves. We rode it to the top and entered what can only be described as the dragons den.



The Dragons Den

Now it says that if you have asthma then you shouldn’t go up here. Gavin said he was fine and wanted to go so we went up anyway and he didn’t suffer at all. I am not saying people should go up if they do have asthma but you guys know your levels. The conditions on the day we went up were lovely so I think that helped.

This place was magical they said that a few years ago an earthquake opened up small fissures adding to this dramatic sulphuric smoke. I took so many photos I was completely in love with nature’s drama. There was still a lot of trees plants and birds around which felt slightly out of place. I want to do a bit more research on this place.

We walked around for a bit then headed to the gift shop. The museum was closed but everything else was open. So in Hakone they have magical eggs that are cooked in the volcanic water boiled for 60minutes and they turn black. Now legend has it that for every egg you eat you live an extra 7 years.

They come in bags of 5 so I ate two and Gav ate 3. We also had a curry pan and a beer so we were pretty full. They are just normal boiled eggs they don’t smell or taste any different. But 7 extra years guys! I had to try.

So we went all the way over then back again, which felt right as this is definitely Hobbit country and Smaug is definitely hiding beneath this mountain.

Prince Eric’s boat

We wanted to catch the last pirate ship of the night. Accross the lake, I thought it would be amazing to watch the sunset whilst we were on the ship however I forgot that the mountains would block out the light so it was really pretty but no sky drama. It looked like the boat at the start of the Little Mermaid. This boat is purely for tourists and it’s all for show. The journey was cold and pretty and we stayed outside drinking instant coffee and had a good old laugh.

At the end of this we hopped on a bus back to our hotel where are rooms where ready and dinner was served in just 15minutes so we ran upstairs to change into our traditional robes yukata.

Even though we had only spent a few hours travelling we were both tired so even though the food was great I didn’t have much of an appetite. I will pop the hotel food in its own blog just because it was exceptional.

Dinner and Onsen

The restaurant was full and we were the only tourists there which makes a nice change. We ate our amazing meal and then jumped in the Onsen. ( we didn’t jump in we had to do all the bits first!) I had the whole place to myself so we could really enjoy it.

It was nice to have an early night. We had breakfast which was a epic feast that I am still dreaming about another Onsen at it was our last one for a while and then thought we would do a bit more sight seeing.

We visited the Hakone open air museum which was lovely but modern art isn’t really my favourite. We did enjoy all the Henry Moore’s as well as the actual grounds were impressive. The Picasso wasn’t my favourite but we were lucky because it was fairly empty and we got to wander around at our own pace.

Outrage favourite bit was actually the foot Onsen which was beautiful and we were the only ones in it so we took our time and just took in the park. There we a few your cherry trees blossoming but not incredible pictures yet!

We divided to visit Hakone town have a wonder round the shops eat amazing cheesecake and mocha from ancient store holders. We wish we could have stayed a bit longer but Hiroshima was calling us.

We then took two bullet trains to Hiroshima.

Even though we spent the night there we really didn’t get the chance to explore this wonderful place. So when we return we already know that we will book two nights minimum here and spend some actual time visiting bits of the Hakone deserves a bit more time and effort.

First day in Tokyo… an early start

Personal Experience, Travel

When we arrived at Tokyo it was 6am and we were understandably tired. Our hotel would not let us check in Till 3, so we had some time to kill. Our hotel was in Shinjuku and we decided to head there and just have a walk around and take in the sights. Our luggage was forwarded to our hotel so we didn’t have to lug them around.

We decided to get off at Harujuku. We knew full well that not much would be open at they time but it would be nice to see bit. I was in my snowboarding coat and it was 17 degrees so we searched a few shops for something I could change into. In the end gGav gave me his shirt and I wore it like a dress.

We found a little coffee shop and ordered an egg sandwich. The shop had a hatch so we ordered from there and the door to the right looked into it. The cutest Dalmatian puppy stood at the door and we were invited in. The cafe was also a dog groomers. So we had puppies running round our feet. It was wonderful.

Sandwich was delicious too

If you want an excellent cup of coffee I would definitely recommend this place. Whyte Sandwiches. It was a tiny place but was super clean and they were all about sustainability and looking after the planet. We chilled here playing with the dogs and setting up our WiFi which was super easy.

Then after a bit of hunting for a dress I never bought, Harujuku started to get busier. We had seen the amazing candle floss here and even though it was early we thought that as we may not be back to Harujuku it was now or never. A little girl stood in the door way holding a candy floss that was half the size of her. The look of elation was exactly how I was about to feel when I got mine.

Every colour was a different flavour !

We wondered around a lot, the streets started filling up but it never got swamped. Then we headed back to our hotel. It was 13.30 and we just wanted to see if our room was ready. It was, thank god, because we were both exhausted. We decided not to fight our jetlag and set our alarms for 4 hours. We both passed out pretty fast.

Our room was small but immaculate and the view over Japan was insane.

When we woke up still feeling tired but more ourselves, we headed to the roof for an Onsen. Onsens are hot baths, shallow so you can’t swim but deep enough for your privacy. You can’t wear clothes and you have to wash before you go in. I will write a little blog on them when I get home.

I was so nervous about being naked infront of other women I ran to the shower cubicles and then ran to the Onsen. About 5 minutes later I realised there was an outside Onsen. It was cold and the water was hot.

This is the view from the other side

Din dins

We knew we wouldn’t have too much energy so we got ready and headed out. It was about 8pm by the time we left our hotel. We headed for memory lane or Piss Alley. We did get a wee bit lost and went down the wrong lane but we easily found the right one. We stopped at the first yakatori place on the left and had a grisly meatball and some tasty chicken all downed with Japanese beer.

Which is so good.

Then we went to another yakitori place had more beer with more meat. I read somewhere that if in doubt head to the Albatross bar so we went there for a few cocktails. A nice old fashioned followed by a spicy gin. It was really cool in there and we will probably is it again.

Then it was about half ten! Where does the time go we started heading home and Gav saw a sign for gyoza so we went to the second floor of a building and had last ordered with two sides of gyoza. You had to order through an iPad and it was all Japanese so we ordered 3 beers by mistake!

We drank them and ate up and by the time we arrived at our hotel it was almost 12.

So we hit the hay.

It was a lot to do on our first day but the Onsen really helped us relax as well as the 4 hour nap. When we woke the next day we were a little tired but we haven’t suffered from jetlag.

My advice to you is sleep if you need it just not for too long and if you can get to an Onsen then have one. Book a private Onsen if you don’t like to share.

That was our first day in Japan and we loved it. Good food. Good drinks! A perfect way to start our honeymoon.

Things I have learned about myself

Advice, Personal Experience

I was never going to write this post. I didn’t really believe in looking back that far but then I got a notification. Facebook shared a post from over ten years ago. It was a brief message to the world sharing how much pain I was in.

Dana:

It flashed up and I allowed my self a small smile at the pain that you can only feel when someone you love stops loving you. It was such a long time ago but I had decided to share it so publicly.

I don’t remember writing it but I am sure I wrote it hoping that the one it was aimed at would also feel pain or regret or at least guilt. At the end of the day it was my choice to emigrate to the other side of the world. It was also my choice to return back to the UK. To London where I had lived as a student and rebuild my life. Because except for my friends I really had nothing in London.

No home, no job and no family. London can be a very lonely place.

I allowed myself self reflection and thought about how much I had grown and all the things that would not be as they are now if that question had never been asked. The outcome would have been the same but maybe it would have been another six months of a bad feeling. 6 months of knowing it was over but refusing to let it go without a fight.

I had to ask.

Because I already knew.

“You don’t love me any more do you?”

I wanted to take them back the minute I said them. I wanted to fill my mouth and cram them back in. Each painful word piling on top of the other.But it was too late and they were true.

It was over.

It didn’t end as quickly as that, it dragged out and it doesn’t need repeating. There was no hate just hurt. No mean words but lots of sadness and confusion.

After Thailand, Seychelles and France I flew home.

I returned to London with a few hundred pounds and overstuffed suitcases. Just two pieces of luggage .

That was my life.

There were trials and tribulations and Becky and Charlotte looked after me. Offering me a roof over my head, helping me find work and a place to live.

I sorted myself out, my life out. It took time and a lot of dark moments. There were also a lot of wonderful moments too. Lots of laughter and possibilities.

I found myself again.

And then I found Gavin.

I needed time to heal so I waited before I put myself out there for love and trust.

So what I have learned about myself is that I am stronger than I ever thought. That building yourself up takes time and effort.

I am happy and lucky.

But most of all social media remembers everything. So if you don’t want people to know then keep it to yourself or Facebook will haunt you forever.

D

Half Marathon my first run

Fitness, Personal Experience, running

Yesterday’s blog was about prep! Today I am updating you on the race, I was too tired yesterday! I was surprisingly calm when I arrived for my first Half Marathon. Because we were a group we got to talk and laugh.

I forgot to tape my knees which was silly

I went to get my name and my boss had given my married name. This is the first time I had been called Mrs Townsend at an even which was strange. It didn’t bother me but I did think Dana PAYET was running!

We were lucky

The rain had miraculously stopped but there was still a chill in the air. I decided to set myself a target or 2hr45 as a best and 3hrs I would be happy with! I read that an average half marathon runner normally run it in 2hrs30 but I hadn’t put enough training in to get that score.

We had to fill out our incase of emergency and attach our numbers to the front of our tops. We waited at the back of the queue and I tried to stay behind my 3 hour pacer but I lost them.

So I just started going. Because of the rain the crowds were a bit thin on the ground but the cheering was lovely. I just put my head down and focused on my pace. I didn’t want to go too fast too soon.

Getting into the zone

I ran without music, and it was fine. Because my longerst run was 8k I wanted to give myself a task of no walking until I hit 10K. There was a drink station at 9k6 so I did rest before. But I kept it up. There was a nasty hill that we had to run up but the park bit of the run was lovely.

I just got into the zone of running and it was fine.

Then we ran through the fields. This road was gorgeous, nice tarmac and beautiful winding path. The 2hr45 pacers caught me up and I found new strength to run with them. The fields were so gorgeous I wanted to take a photo but I didn’t want to stop so I kept going. Then right before we turned left I had to walk for a bit.

It’s October and we were surrounded by pumpkins. I managed a quick shot and then ran on.

Pushing yourself is not the same as punishing yourself.

Then we went through a muddy lake Forrest area and it was so pretty and my second favourite part of the run. I was shattered so there was more walking then running at this point. But the group I was in was doing the same. Pushing yourself is not the same as punishing yourself! I had moments of struggle and after an hour and a half I realised I didn’t want to run for much longer. So I quickened my pace and walked less.

We had to go through streets which had people cheering us on which was nice and encouraged me to run at these points. My foot was aching and when I walked I limped so it was easier to run. As I turned the corner I saw my husband and dog cheering me on. I passed him my cap and a single tear ran down my face. We were at mile 9 and I was still running!

That’s me blowing him a kiss but it doesn’t look like it. I was very focused. Having loved ones to support you makes the run.

It got narrow and muddy but I just kept going I had to!

I caught up with Jay and he kept telling me to run when I didn’t want to. So I ran off a fair distance so I could rest to my time table not his. Running is personal and when I just had two miles left I was totally spent. Plus I beat him which made me feel great!

So I kept going.

I ran when I could and walked to take the edge off. My foot was so sore and walking made me limp so walking was only an option for a few paces.

When I saw that finish line through the fence nothing could stop me.

I just wanted it to be over!

I was so tired so I pushed through and ran.

I ran to the end. The announcement said the time was 2.45 so I ran a bit faster!

I wanted to hit my target!

And I did!

2.45.19 and I was happy!

13 miles 21kilometers I did it.

I was so tired but I did it. Gav and Frank being there filled me with such joy!

That was my elation.

It lasted about 1 minute until I was tired again!

It felt good to know that I can push myself but I needed more training!

That will have to be an update in my next blog!! Right now I need more rest!

The stress has eased and now I am just grateful

Advice, Personal Experience, Planning, self care

I feel better now

I do

I have been having a few rants and stresses lately. I know when family get involved it can all get a bit much but it’s important to know that they are here for you.

Mine have been amazing

And when I say my family that also includes my friends and people that are in my life.

I have said before that me and Gavin are very different. He hates excluding people and always feels like the bigger the better. He also welcomes new friends into his life all the time. I never have to worry about being late because Gav will have made a friend at the bar or on the way in.

He is so welcoming and I am but not as much. I don’t go out of my way to make new friends because the friendships I have had for years are so precious to me. I don’t get to spend enough time with them so without being horrible I don’t need more friends.

I hold them close to my heart and I would do anything for them. And I know that they would do the same.

The stress has eased. It may have to do with the fact that we have got a lot done. The list has halved. Things have been ordered and arrived and there are just a few makes left to do.

Monday is a prep day

Tuesday is a family day

Wednesday is when I completed the seating plan

Thursday is organise the house day

Friday is set up day

Saturday is the day

It’s almost here and it’s too late to worry about things that are out of my control.

Dear Mother Nature please don’t rain!!

My friends and family are banding around to make this day magical for me and Gavin. I took out my mother in law and mum for a prethankyou so that they would know how much there roles in my life mean to me.

I am feeling really grateful that one, Gav decided to marry me and two, that my friends and family are here to support me and Gavin.

Because we need it.

We need them here with us. I am starting to get excited now!