Hey June

After a quiet month on the blog, I thought I’d continue from last month and jot down what I’ve been upto and what’s been going on in the quiet month of May. Heads-up, the majority of this month has just been working as I have plenty going on in June, so thought I’d better get my head down!

Monthly Verse ~ As I said last month, I try and pick a Bible verse that I return to

throughout the month to focus on. This month was Proverbs 3:5-6.

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A BIG verse, which is easier to say than to actually put into action.

Happy moments ~ A selection from the list of things that happened in the month that made me smile: Being motivated to run; time spent taking photos; Blue hair; coffee and chats; JANET’S OUTSIDE!; TV review writing; sorting the garden; the weather; Turkish food is yum!

I’m glad I keep a note of these things because I quickly forget what’s happened in a month, and it’s lovely to get to the end of it and see what has happened and gone on 🙂

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Look who I found 😀

Task tracking ~ I mixed up the tasks that I tracked this month, and to be honest they didn’t really work out all that well and I was bad at keeping up with them, however out of the 31 days in May I: Was up by 9am on 24 days (and you all thought I was lazy, I’m very proud of that, especially given that I work all sort of hours) Was in bed by 11pm on 10 days (not so proud of that one) and blogged 4 times (terrible effort).

In with task tracking this month I took a note of sleep (because who doesn’t love sleep), the most sleep I got was 10 hours on 17th – 18th May. The least amount of sleep I got was 4 hours on the 16th – 17th May (that explains the 10 hours then!)

About Today ~ I tasked myself to write one sentence each day about my day, which turns out to be an excellent way of revisiting what happened when. And although most days not much happened, I can see a few stand-out days to share with you:

5th May – Went to see Northanger Abbey at the theatre.

10th May – Went for a walk on a chilly evening and got some lovely moon shots (you can see them at the end of this post)

18th May – best day ever! Met up with Nicky, but saw Janet out of the window in Costa (I don’t think anyone will truly understand how amazing this was!)

19th May – Dyed my hair blue for Forget-Me-Not-Friday (Dementia Awareness) at work (and wore the best t-shirt in the world)

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23rd May – The largest spider I have ever seen (quite literally the size of a dinner plate) paid us a visit.

25th May – Spent the afternoon in Orford and my guest blog for Break a Leg was published.

Running ~ I’m still going! Having just completed week 6 this morning. If I continue at my current pace I shall complete the programme on the 22nd June (handy as I we go away just afterwards), so if I complete a June round-up I should be boasting of having completed the C25k plan! I’ll be blogging at the end of each week of runs (so Week 6 blog is imminent) so you can keep up with my progress here if interested, or if you’re doing the plan yourself.

Finally, I’ll leave you with my moon shots from earlier in the month. Thanks for reading 😀

C25K: W5D3

Couch to 5k: Week 5 Day 3

I did it!

There is no way at the start of this process I could have imagined running for 20mins non stop as I remember struggling with the early on weeks of 90 sec and 2 min intervals.

Week 5 is really daunting and the plans definitely up the intensity. For a start, they are no longer 3 of the same plan for the week – starting with 5min runs with walking, then 8 min runs with walking and then BAM a 20min run. My first reaction to this (when I scrolled ahead in the plan a number of weeks ago) was “there is no way I can go from running a solid 8mins to running a solid 20mins overnight”. I guess I was wrong.

Not including warm up and cool down walks I covered 1.73 miles (running at a pace of 11.36/mile), which is just over half the distance of 5k (3 miles). It’ll be interesting to see if, in 3 weeks, I can build to the required distance AND achieve 5k in 30mins, which I know I’ve been able to do in the past.

The most difficult part of the 20min run was actually at about 5mins in, where it was more of a mental battle than anything else. At that point I was thinking about how much I still had to go and that I was tiring. Of course, I wasn’t really tiring – it’s definitely a mental thing. The 10min-15min band of time was by far the easiest. Having reached 10mins I was really happy as the most I’d run so far in the plans was 8 minutes. I considered that I’d got half way and to back up now would be foolish. From that 10min high I breezed through until 15mins and then from then on it was just a countdown to 20mins. The last minute seemed like a long one!

So, if you’re trying out the couch to 5k app and are dreading this run, as I was, I’d just say that you can do it. You’ve just got to have a bit of trust in the app (it’s got you this far hasn’t it?) and in yourself. And as with any of it, if you can’t complete it you just repeat the week. There’s no race to finish the app in the 8 weeks, do it at your own pace to build your fitness.

Good luck to anyone doing Couch to 5k plans at the moment!

Oh, and here’s a running buddy I picked up on my warm-up walk:

*** Guest Blog by Chloe Buckles*** Neighbours ‘Ramsay Street’ Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 15 May 2017

I was asked to write the Ramsay Street Round up for Break a Leg – a great honour! It’s the first time I’ve been asked to write anything (other than an essay!) and as you all know how much I love those Ramsay Street residents I was more than happy to oblige!

You can find my review below.

Break A Leg

Message from Helen: As you may or may not know – I’ve been on my holidays recently so I have been in desperate need of help to keep up with my favourite soap, Neighbours. Luckily, I have a rather gifted young writer in my circle who is a super-fan of the show and was happy to lend a hand to her mate! So without further ado, here’s Chloe Buckles and her guest blog…

It’s been a tough week on Ramsay Street, with broken hearts, mentions of divorce and horrible first-boyfriends to contend with.

Here are the highlights…

Sonya’s downward spiral continues ~  Things have gone from bad to worse for Sonya this week. After being unable to ignore Tim Collins’ sly digs at her she’s unable to resist the temptation of downing a bottle or two. Unfortunately, this time, it’s in front of her friends, fellow council members and…

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Couch to 5k

This is the story of a girl who is terrible at motivating herself to continuously do anything. Who ‘flip flops’ from one idea to the next. Who goes 100% full steam into something one week, and has forgotten all about it the next week. That’s basically me. 100% enthusiasm, or 0% enthusiasm and getting in between is quite difficult.

So, to have reached the dizzy heights of week 5 of Couch to 5k is actually a much bigger deal than it seems. And for the most part, I’ve kept a lot of this off social media, simply because I know I’m a ‘flip flopper’ (it’s my new phrase, stolen from Neighbours of course!). But after 5 weeks I feel like it’s becoming normal and I’m really pleased with the progress I’m making.


Couch to 5k is a programme designed to help couch potatoes, or those that haven’t done a lot of running before, to slowly build their stamina up to run 5k (or 3 miles if you prefer). There are various apps you can get to take you through it. I have chosen the NHS choices one, it’s very ‘no frills’ so if you want an app that monitors your runs a bit more, or talks to you a bit more I’d probably shop elsewhere. So far (upto week 5) the app uses a combination of walking and running, slowly replacing walking minutes with running minutes. It’s very gradual but just hard enough to make it feel as though it’s doing you some good. When I look back and think about how ‘bad’ I felt even at week 2, I can’t believe how quickly my fitness has inproved.

For me, I think it’s also built confidence. Because it’s gradual it’s a case of just adding a little bit extra each week, with the knowledge that you completed runs the previous before and so it’s much more of a mental challenge than anythig else.

So, my next run is the ever frightening solid ’20 min run’ – a far cry from the nice run/walk programmes that I’ve been doing currently. However, so far, I’ve really noticed how much my fitness has improved in the last 4 weeks, and that’s plenty of reward in itself.

Hopefully I’ll be back here in 4 weeks telling you I’ve gone out and run 5k! See you then!

Oh, hey May!

Whoa guys, where did that April go?! April’s been a pretty good month for me and I thought I’d give myself a bit of a roundup of it. Starting with the fact that I started a journal, so I can now look back on what happened in the month – hooray!

My hope in starting a journal was somewhere to put everything together, instead of having a diary and various bits of paper and relying on my memory to remember the stuff I have to do. I also wanted one to be able to track what I’ve done and anything else that interests me. So, without further ado, here’s what April looked like:

Verse of the Month ~ I decided at the start of each month to pick a Bible verse that would over-arch the month and I’d attempt to remember revisit it every time I opened my notebook. April’s verse I chose was Galatians 6:10 “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.”

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Happy moments ~ When something especially nice happened (however small) I’ve jotted it down. This months moments were: Recognition and appreciation for hard work; Seeing my cousin; The boiler is fixed!; Thinking about all the things I love; Lunch out with James; First run of the year; Easter egg hunt with the inlaws; The perfect shower; God hitting me over the head with his Word; Early and productive mornings; When a plan comes together (that sounds far more evil than it should!); My lovely, comfy and amazing bed after a long day.

Task tracking ~ I tracked a few things that I wanted to know how well I was doing on. Here’s how I got on (30 days in April, for reference!). Blog posts published: 10 ; More than 6 hours sleep: 22 ; Read something from the Bible: 26 ; Spent more than 15mins tidying up: 15 ;  Made an effort to contact someone I’m not in regular touch with: 10

Dream Log ~ Possibly the favourite thing I’ve done. When I’ve remembered a dream I’ve written a quick sentence about it and how it made me feel. I think this is definitely one of those things you have to really think about because our brains, most of the time, just disregard our dreams as unimportant. There’s no doubt I missed quite a few because I simply forgot, but here’s what I had:

Took part in a play on stage ~ Couldn’t remember the emotion for this one. Probably awful!

Had to read aloud a long poem on a beach, but I couldn’t see it properly and the tide was coming in nearer and nearer ~ Terrified!

Owned a cafe and gave out free muffins ~ Happy 🙂 Although I’ve forgotten all about this dream until just now!

One of those hideous dreams where you’re naked ~ Eurgh!

Time of the month ~ No emotion here, but I dreamt it the day before, so thank you body for warning me. I’m very impressed.

Had to perform a song on stage infront of a room full of people. I didn’t know the words and the CD player broke ~ panicked

Got a job as a teacher and liked it ~ proud

That was it for April’s dreams. Most of them are ‘bad’ dreams, not so much the nightmarish kind, but certainly ones that play on things that make me nervous. I’m guessing that’s the way of my brain dealing with stuff I don’t like. I found keeping a log pretty fascinating, and I’ll definitely keep doing that and hopefully get better at recalling them.

Returned to Social Media ~ So, on the 11th April the biggest thing that happened was that I returned to social media after 30 days away. This is a challenge I’d 100% recommend doing to anyone and was really worthwhile. You can read how I got on here. Once returning I came up with a few ‘tasks’ for myself which I’m still looking to complete/grow on and I’ll let you know when I think I’ve managed it! I am definitely spending less time on social media now, afterwards and I’m also enjoying it a lot more. I’ve absolutely stopped pointlessly scrolling, especially through Facebook. So I’m really pleased with that.

Running ~ I started running in the last couple of weeks, using the C25k app. I’m not going to blow this out of proportion because I know that, at just under 2 weeks in, it’s all quite easy at the moment. But, fingers crossed that my motivation continues and I’m hoping that if I do a ‘May’ round up I’ll be telling you that I’m nearly at the end of the C25k programme 😀

So, I shall leave you with a couple of quotes that I stumbled across this month that I liked. Thanks for reading 🙂

“Be prepared, work hard and hope for a little luck. Recognise that the harder you work and the better prepared you are, the more luck you might have.” – Ed Bradley

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham.

Things I Love: TV

I realise that I could get some stick for this. Have you noticed that it’s somewhat frowned upon to state that “TV” as a hobby? Well, I’m going to do it here for you, because TV has a lot to offer, and I love it.

TV gets a bit of a bad reputation. Sitting down and watching TV is very much a ‘lazy mans’ game. It’s not really seen as a positive hobby. Listening to music is perfectly acceptable, or going to see a film or going to the theatre. And yet, when it comes to TV, it doesn’t have the same feelings attached to it. If you’re watching TV you’re missing out on everything ‘out there’, and although, of course, there’s always a balance needed (as with any hobby) I feel it doesn’t really get the credit it deserves.

TV sparks the imagination, and gives you insight into things you may never have seen otherwise (documentaries). It can be informative (current affairs), educational (quiz shows) or just absolutely spectacularly entertaining. There’s no doubt that if you find yourself in the midst of an excellent drama it can be all consuming for that one hour a week. TV also gives you a common ground with a lot of people, a spring board into more conversations.

It might also spark your interest in something else. How many people, do you think, have read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice after seeing the BBC’s adaptation (and Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy) of it?

TV that I love spreads across a lot of categories, but my main love lies with dramas. Usually crime related, but not always. Broadchurch, DCI Banks, Unforgotten are just a few that I’ve really enjoyed recently and have showcased some incredibly talented actors and actresses. It’s an all consuming world of figuring out ‘whodunnit’ whilst also connecting emotionally with the characters on screen – and I love getting lost in it.

I also have a love for continuing drama (Holby City/Casualty) and a certain soap (Sing it: ‘Everbody needs good…’) because that’s where my loyalties lie with the characters and attachments form, built on years of commitment! And for shows to produce quality TV viewing all year round is absolutely worth recognition, and it’s a shame if they get brushed under the carpet and everyone is missing the incredible pool of talent these actors and actressed have (as well as those involved in the storylining/scripting and production of such shows with such a high turnover of episodes).

TV has led me to ‘meet’ lots of lovely and wonderful people online and then ‘in reality’. And no doubt some of them are reading this because they’ll have seen the word ‘TV’ in a blog post and got all excited like I would do. And I’m very grateful for that part of it as well, and my life is much better for the lovely people I’ve come across over the years. And that shamelessly leads me into a bit of an encouragement to check out this website, which is run by one of my online buddies that I met through our shared love of TV. Visit her site and make sure you check out the ‘Break a Leg Awards 2017’ and add your favourites to the long list for the year (you can do that via @BreakALegReview on Twitter) to be in with a chance of an award.

So what’s your favourite type of TV? Favourite show overall? Do you have a show that it makes no sense for you to enjoy? Mine is Supernanny, it makes no sense for me to like it or watch it – but I have always enjoyed seeing how Jo Frost goes into chaos and brings order, in a way that gets the job done but with kindness and authority. There we go, I bet that’s not a show you would have picked for me, even those that know me well!

So next time someone says to you ‘oh I just watched TV’ I hope it gets a bit more of the credit it deserves 🙂

Anxious Chloe: Brain Fog and Reality

Do you ever get that feeling in the pit of your stomach? You know, the one where your entire insides do flips? When your legs go like jelly and your heart seems to skip several beats. Your hands begin to shake or go clammy and suddenly you’re hyper aware of every movement you’re making, every single muscle.

Infact, just typing about it is making me feel a bit like that!

Most people feel like that before something nerve-wracking; an interview perhaps, or before performing in someway, or maybe before having to give a presentation. Your body is preparing itself and the adrenaline is pumping round for a ‘fight or flight’ response.

I would never dream of claiming any sort of knowledge on anxiety beyond my own, it would be incredibly arrogant of me to say so. All I can do is admit to something on here what I think is probably very obvious to a lot of people but that I never talk about in the detail I’m about to, and I’m hoping by putting down everything I feel I might begin to make some headway in tackling it. I am a very anxious person.

And I’m going to be really upfront about this – I am not diagnosed with “anxiety” as a condition. Namely because I got brave going once to the doctors to try and do something about it and pretty much got a shrug of the shoulders, and admittance that, yes, I am obviously a nervous person and that’s it. The experience was entirely unhelpful and I haven’t been back with any anxiety-like symptoms since. What if everyone feels like this and I am just a drama-queen?

I’m just going to talk about one ‘symptom’ for the moment. My biggest and most common ‘symptom’ is the feeling of not being in reality. Now, I know that makes me sound a bit like I’ve completely lost my marbles, but I’ll try and explain is as best as I can.

Imagine you’re watching a film. Perhaps in 3D if you like, and you know the type of film where you are right involved in the action and you’re so engrossed in it. It’s all you’re thinking about in that moment, and you, as the spectator of the film have practically become a part of that film. But you can’t alter it’s path, and you can’t change it. You can just watch the action happen infront of you. You’re not really there. It’s still happening out of your reach all around you.

That’s sort of how I feel in an anxious situation. Well, infact, even in a situation where I don’t even realise I’m anxious. It’s as if what’s happening infront of me isn’t really happening, as if I’ve some how disconnected a lead in my head that makes things seems real. Things seems to happen slower and as if I’m not apart of them. I become really aware of every moment, and I become really sensitive to light. Everything seems brighter, and everything seems like it could be in a  dream. I’ve lost the link to reality, or I’m in some sort of ‘brain fog’.

This shouldn’t be confused into thinking that I have actually lost touch with reality. It’s not like when you’re a little bit drunk and you think you can do all these things that don’t affect you or anyone around you. It’s not that sort of feeling. Infact, in that moment of semi-drunkenness you’re more than likely very happy and content. This is the opposite of content, this is like you’re the only one in that little world and bubble. It’s fightening, lonely and very unpleasant. I suppose a little like if you have been really dizzy and the moment between the real frightening dizziness and normality when you just feel a bit ‘funny’ and out of touch.

Some of these moments are quite predictable for me after so many years of having them. They will almost always occur when I’m somewhere unfamiliar with a lot of people around me. They will always occur on a bus; on a train; in a waiting room (of any variety, not just the dentist!); in a busy high street; in a foreign country or unfamiliar city; in a classroom or group environment. But they do also happen at home, or somewhere I’m familiar or with people I know. I suppose it helps that it has happened so often, because I always know, logically, that I’m fine and that nothing bad is actually happening. But they can feel very frightening, especially if I’m on my own. You can tell yourself all the most sensible things in the world (and I’m a very sensible, logical person) but in that moment it’s very difficult to think about anything else other than the feeling your having. Of course, the more you think about it, the longer it takes to go away. This happens to me on a regular basis, sometimes daily. And then I won’t have the feeling for a few months and then it’ll come back again.

It won’t surprise you that, given I’m posting this, I’m currently in the midst of having this feeling on a near-daily basis and have been for the past few weeks. I have no reason to currently feel anxious or worried about anything. There have been no changes in my personal life, no additional pressure in any aspect of my life, it’s just like it for the moment. But instead of letting it go unmentioned, as I have done for so many years, I thought I’d mention it. Perhaps you have your own experience and think you can offer me some advice. I’ve read some advice that you should try and engage your senses to try and bring you back to ‘reality’, focusing on what is actually going on – but as yet that’s not been successful for me, so I’m just riding it out and hoping it’ll improve.

Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him? ~Calvin and Hobbes