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!

Today I ate my feelings

Advice, Personal Experience

I know there is no point getting stressed getting worried about the never ending list won’t solve anything and nor will eating my feelings

I thought I would be better at this.

Dealing with the stress.

Being organised.

It turns out when it comes to wedding planning, I am definitely a dysfunctional planner. I feel like I have left everything to the last moment and now its all getting on top of me.

I am lucky that I don’t suffer with anxiety. I have dark moments and blue days but nothing like the crippling anxiety I know that so many people struggle with day to day.

Except at the moment it here.

A lead weight in my chest. A dark hole in my brain that wants to shut down rather than get active.

I may just be tired, physically.

I know there is no point in getting stressed. I am actually on top of things and I still have a few weeks to go. 3 infact. And I can accomplish a lot in those weeks. Especially as the last one I am not at work at all.

But today I was quiet all day and I got so many side glances at work I knew they thought something wasn’t quite right.

Compulsive eater: saga of eating my feelings

Today I ate my feelings in the shape of Krispy Kremes. The first was a treat. The second was pure indulgence and the third was me dissolving into myself. Filling that void with pure sugar and eating it so quickly no one, not even myself could stop me. I crammed that thing into my mouth and it didn’t change a thing. I don’t enjoy it and I didn’t regret it.

Whenever I am angry or sad I crave bad food, today was not different except I am not sad but numb.

Numb and stuck.

I went to the gym for an hour this morning and then I destroyed my calorie intake in 9 bites.

I have support.

Every time I even hint I am stressed I am inundated with friends and family offering support and physical help.

I know what I need to do.

But I am stuck inside my own head and it’s a very quiet grey haunted place. To quote Bono

Stuck in the middle and you can’t get out of it

I will go home tonight, cook dinner and achieve a few wedding bits.

I will get a lovely puppy greeting and cuddle. A kiss from my fiancé a discussion about food and drink. Watch a few episodes of My Kitchen Rules Australia and Great British Bake off. I will read a bit of my new book as I tuck myself away for an early night at 10pm.

Pull my socks up and get on with it but it’s there.

tomorrow I will probably be fine before the next bout of anxiety nibbles away at me.

I am only writing this out loud because if anyone else is in the same situation then they should know that even though people don’t speak about it much it happens a lot.

Like I said before I don’t normally suffer from it all. I am truly blessed in that my mental health is pretty, well healthy.

5 Day Gym Challenge Will I Survive Day 1

body confidence, confidence, Fitness, Personal Experience, weight loss

My work wifehas challenged me to five days of gym, well five mornings

So I dutifullyexcepted I have no reasons not too. It is still pretty muggy in England at themoment so I don’t really want to lay in bed for and extra ten minutes, thenanother five.

Snooze button loves me did I mention it?

I am doing it but will I survive it?

Day 1

Day one he was late.

So I hopped on my favourite machine the rowing machine. Now out of all the activities I do this appears to burn the fewest calories but I like it. I like how rhythmic it is and how I try and burn more calories every minute. I normally do 5 minutes straight and move on to the next machine.

Today was no different, plus he still hadn’t turned up. So I did two minutes running whilst I waited.

I have never ventured upstairs in my gym before and it turns out this is where the more hardcore gymers fester. With their ripped abs and veiny necks, I wondered if I was in the right place. This apparently is where I would be trimming and toning this week.

He thought he would burn up all my Mars ice creams in ten minutes on this hellish machine that you have to run and with each step you move the machine. You add your drag and decide how long a break you get. It was so hard I walked most of it. Five minutes of this was not pleasant but I didn’t push myself hard enough so tomorrow I will have to try harder.

The machine from hell

Weights

Then he got me on the dumbbells . I am the biggest joke there is. The awesome lady next to me was pumping 8s so I was like, she looks strong I recon I can handle a 6. Nope,I have no upper body strength. So I wanted 4 and found I could not do that either there wasn’t a 3 so I tried the 2. And do you know what.

I struggled

But I did it.

The awesome warrior lady smiled at me and picked up a ten in each hand and smiledback proudly with my 2s!

I did thepush up on the bench exercise (so technical) and the reps where you bring themout to the side. My bingo wings are upset I am trying to reduce them. Tomorrow Iwill go up to a 3!

Legs a hoy

Then I tried the bar weight. The pole is 20kg and oh my got did I struggle. I couldn’t even add anything to it. Jon had to hold it the whole time in case I crushed myself. I also got the giggle a lot with this exercise, mainly because I am week. Tomorrow I am going to lift it from the floor. I can’t wait.

Covering up half my body is not what I want!

That was sarcasm.

Last implement of the day was a squat machine. Where you sit like a pregnant ladyand push a lot of weight. Finally, something I could do with ease. My legs haveall my strength. They are toned and muscular. Yes I have a wee bit off wobbleat the top but who cares. I love them and my bum. It’s a good bum.

It’s my stomach I am at war with. These exercises are going to be good for me. Today I feel energised and only a little sore. I probably won’t wake up feeling this ecstatic.

Oh and my Apple watch decided to pause so missed the majority of my exercise. Grrr. Still today is another day. Catch you tomorrow. Hopefully I will learn a few more gymwords so this can be a wee bit educational rather than me and my weakling body.

So I survived day one ….See you tomorrow

Dana

Wedding update: unconventional organisation

Personal Experience, Planning, Wedding

Okay so not long to go now and I am freaking out at the time.

Or no time. Did any one else feel like this?

Me and gav had a sit down and went through the things we need to do and things that are a waste of time!

Lots of our original plans were a little ambitious and a waste of time and money. As time is getting closer and money is getting tighter it’s happening.

The wedding is happening.

Update

We also got a few more bit done

We finally booked our cake tasting with Konditor and Cook! I am so happy and thinking of my curly wurst wedding cake. We want to try a few other flavours so that there is choice for our guests and I can’t wait for this.

This will be a proper wedding thing that we have done as so far every thing we have done has been in a different order.

Food

We ate at a restaurant and then asked if they did weddings! That’s how we landed our caterer. And we are so happy we did because they are so busy now that if we had asked even a month later I don’t think we would have got them and their food is divine.

All the bridesmaids dresses have been ordered. They are using there own shoes but I am worried about rain and wondering if I should by them wellies… I guess I can leave it last minute!

Gardening

From now until for ever I will grow Dahlias they are amazing. Every time I go into the garden they present me with the most insane blooms. I picked peaches and pinks with some dark purples to play with. It’s like the perfect bouquet everyday! I love them. The way they are blooming I won’t be having any for the wedding but I don’t mind.

My cafe au laits haven’t bloomed yet so I may get my favourite flower!

Charlotte is coming with me to check out the venue so we can start planning flowers and the set up. I can’t wait!

Panic stations

Actually I can. I can wait I know I have said it before but seriously it is coming around too quickly. I need more time but I am working 6 days a week and filling my weeknights with crafting.

It will get done but I am trying to get it done before the end of August so that September is not about creating but curating.

We are really excited to become husband and wife.

Thank you for joining us on our journey!

Get of your high horse and let me watch my Love Island

Personal Experience

I watch Love Island and I don’t care what you think of me. I am an intelligent feminist who bloody loves it. Who are you to judge.? Do you sit on your high horse spouting Shakespeare at me, nope?

I love my politics too, Brexit had me and Gavin debating every night about the campaign and how disillusioned it all is. I have many interests and a mind that is always full of questions. A bit of mindless TV helps me quiet my mind. It’s my TV therapy.

are all your TV choices perfect?

I don’t care about your choices. We live in a world where people have the right to an opinion which is fine, but I have the right not to hear it or read it.

Get off your high horse and accept that sometimes I watch drivel, okay I watch a lot of drivel. I also watch a lot of documentaries and art movies but I don’t put you down for your choices but you have no issue deriding me for mine. You also don’t praise me for what you deem a good decision in tv watching!

I am not talking about my friends who don’t approve, they know me, they know I love it. I know what they watch so I know that they don’t really judge me. Even if they do rub me for it!

I am just going to say this I love my TV. I do

I am generally drawing or working when I watch it but sometimes, I just like to zone out when I am making 1 million wedding invites.

So Love island is trashy, I don’t love the sexing on TV, that’s really grim. I also don’t like how bitchy it can get but a few years ago we had a game changer and she changed the show. Yes, I am talking about Camilla Thurlow. She taught everyone that they should be nice to each other and set the tone for the next two series. This year’s winners are two of the nicest people. In fact, with the exception of Curtis who appears very manipulative. All the top four couples are people I could see myself being friends with as they are appeared to be fairly decent human beings.

This year the contestants have been fairly respectful and chivalrous which has been lovely to see. Ovie and Greg came across as lovely guys and although Tommy and Calum were a little soft for my likening they were still very kind to the rest of the house. The girls had a little bit more drama about them but Amber was my favourite from the start, Francesca and Maura were hilarious and again Molly Mae was nice just a bit too soft.

It was all light hearted at the end of the day.

My point is, that before you judge someone’s TV choices remember that you wouldn’t like them judging you.

People like to spout issues of exploitation and low IQ, yet this year we had a Pharmacist and engineer, lawyer, a bio chemist fireman and scientist but you know they are all a bunch of thickos?

How quick are we to judge, yes a lot of them weren’t very bright, some have had some enhancement, not my type of look but they seem happy with themselves so I don’t mind. They are attractive bunch of people which I s why I used to watch Summer Bay and and lots of shows. I think that it is wonderful that the world is starting to understand mental health issues but is a show responsible for this? To a point but not solely.

I am not embarrassed to say that I watch Love island. I am embarrassed for you and your opinions. Do I come away from it thinking wow I learned something today? Or wow my life has changed because of that episode, nope, but I don’t kid myself either.

Some people watch games shows, fishing programs, David Attenborough on repeat. Me I am partial to my Sci Fi and Fantasy, Cooking programs I find soothing, Love a bit of Poirot as much as I like a dark gripping murder mystery.

My tastes, like my friends and my life are eclectic. I don’t belong in a box so please don’t put me in one. Could I live without Love Island, Of course but I feel that way about most TV, I just don’t want to.

I don’t begrudge you your TV therapy so get of your high horse and let me watch my love Island.

Images from ITV