Tag Archives: Friends

Fuck Budget

The strap-line for this book is “how to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like” and it tells you exactly how to do that. Well not exactly, but it gives you the prompts to think about your life and come up with the things you’re willing to give a fuck about and the things you are not. It’s the things I am not willing to give a fuck about that are the ones I need to focus on as they suck up my time and energy and do not bring joy to my life. I’ve seen a few blog posts about fuck budgets this year and it’s taken me a while to nail mine since I devoured the book just before New Year. It has resonated with many people and I think that is great and encourage everyone to think about their own budgets.

Sarah Knight encourages you to think about your budget in terms of Things, Work, Friends and Family – in that order. It is similar set to the tidying up book by Marie Kondo, which I used to help me declutter my house last month. So it made logical sense to do this to declutter my mind.

My Fuck Budget for the rest of 2017:

Things

More fucks – spending money on things that bring me joy. Doing things, see things, and experiences things are important to me and spending money on these things is never wasted money. Travel and exploration is important to understand the world and something I want to continue to do for as long as possible.

Less fucks – stressing about saving as much as I can. I have set up an emergency fund and my pension is automatic so things are good. Savings for holidays is easier when you know it’s what you want to do. Stressing about having enough money for every single thing that could happen is no way to live as it will never be enough. Time to stop worrying about this.

More fucks – what I already have. I have a wonderful life and have a lot of great things in it, sometimes its easy to always be wanting more in the age of social media. I want to enjoy the things I already have rather than covet things others have or seem to have.

Less fucks – comparing myself to others. This is the thief of joy and one I am prone to more than I would like. I am going to try hard to not do this whether it is in real life, on social media, or at work.

Work

More fucks – gaining experience. Focusing on progression can be frustrating and so shifting that focus to look at all the experience I am gaining through the day to day work I do will make progression visible in small steps. Looking at the experiences I get on a daily/weekly/monthly basis will be much more fulfilling and in time will lead to the progression I seek.

Less fucks – taking time off. I need to stop feeling guilty if I get sick or just taking holiday. There will always be work to do, but it won’t be as enjoyable, fun or fulfilling if I don’t take the breaks I need.  I work for a flexible organisation that means I can take time for appointments without taking holiday, but that does mean in return I often work longer hours than required. It’s all about balance and everyone deserves proper breaks.

More fucks – professional connections. People are key to having a great workplace and enjoying the work I do. I want to put more effort into making connections with the people I work with, both on the professional level, but also where possible to create lasting friendships for the future.

Less fucks – money. I work for a charity and therefore the wages aren’t as high as doing the same job in other sectors, but I love the organisation I work for and money is not the main driver for doing what I do. Comparing myself or what I earn against others is not helpful.

Friends

More fucks – having meaningful connections with my few good friends more often. I don’t need a lot of friends and the ones I have are wonderful, but I know I don’t always stay connected with them so I want to improve on that. This also means I need to put myself out there a bit more and invite others to join me in things I want to do, rather than wait to be invited all the time.

Less fucks – being the token single friend. All my friends are married or getting married and there have been times I’ve let that get to me. I don’t want to stress about this and making comparisons is not a fun way to live. Everyone is making their own lives to be full and meaningful and that does not make mine any less so, so stop worrying about it.

More fucks – self love and respect. I love my friends and in order to really appreciate them I need to spend time loving and respecting myself so that I can do the same for them and ask for it in return. The times my energy is low is also the times I struggle with self-esteem  and start comparing and resenting people so putting myself first is really important.

Less fucks – saying no. I so often feel guilty for saying no to doing things with my friends, but I always have my own reason for doing so. Whether it is because I don’t enjoy the things suggested, it’s not in my budget, or I’m not feeling up to it mentally, they are all valid reasons and I don’t need to feel guilty about saying no.

Family

More fucks – quality time. This is similar to the one about my friends as I would much prefer to spend quality time with members of my family, rather than attend multiple events with too many people there. I want to enjoy the time I spend with them and have real connections, not just shallow ones because we are family. I need to make this clear and not allow myself to be guilted into just being there.

Less fucks – fitting in. I have felt a change over the last year or so to one where I don’t really fit in with my family anymore and that’s okay. I just want to be me and if that means people don’t like it I’ll change the time I spend with them. It relates to the one above as I want to spend quality time with the people who accept me for me.

More fucks – being myself. This again relates to the one above as in therapy I’ve been working through some stuff on feeling like I have to wear different masks to fit in. This has to stop and I want to focus on being myself and not worrying about what others think of that. I want to share the things I enjoy and if others find it weird or silly, so what, I’m happy being me.

Less fucks –  keeping everyone happy. Again this connects to all the other family ones. I worry too much about keeping others happy, when really I need to focus on myself as above. So I’m going to stop this and without going out of my way to hurt others, will stop worrying how others react to my decisions or actions. I can only control how I behave, not other people and it is not up to me to please everyone.

Wow that is a therapeutic process to go through. It really makes you think about what is taking up you time physically and mentally. I’m going to print this out and pin it to my fridge and above my desk as a reminder of what I am willing to spend my fucks on.

Wandering all over the place

I planned this post to be about my weekend away, but I ended up travelling quite a bit for work either side of the weekend and it’s felt like I’ve been all over the place both physically and mentally.

I started off my travels by heading to London for a last minute trip with work. I needed to catch up with a few people and all of them were at the London office so it made sense to head there for the whole day. I quite like going to London with work, but I do like it when I have a bit more time so I can add on an adventure like going to a museum exhibition or head to the Japan Centre for supplies. This was a rush job as I needed to be back in time to pack for the next location.


My next stop was Brighton! A trip with the girls for the marathon weekend. I’ve been going a few years now and it is always a great weekend. Two girls were doing the marathon, another two did the 10k and a few others did the local park run. I walked everywhere as my foot is still playing up with plantar fasciitis. It was super hot and I caught the sun while we were shopping and relaxing on the beach. We even bagged free t-shirts for taking part in a game that involved being broadcast on the big screen on the beach! 


Sunday involved coming back from Brighton with a quick stop at home and then driving up to the Lake District for another work trip. It wasn’t too bad as a friend drove back from Brighton so I only had the trip north to do. I hoped by going later in the afternoon I would miss the holiday traffic and I was right! I got up to Kendal at 8:30pm and crashed out. It worked out really well as I was refreshed for my 9am meeting in Grasmere.


The weather continued to be wonderful and spending the afternoon out around Grasmere was great. I love my job! After a day in the Lakres I then headed over to the Yorkshire Dales for another work trip. I met a work colleague for dinner in Settle and enjoyed a lovely evening and meal before more work in the Dales the following day.


The next was spent working from a local office with the local team. A piece of work I am doing is being tested up in the Dales and I don’t get to go up very often to work with the team and it’s always a good day. Fingers crossed I can work it out to go on a more regular basis.

After a day in the Dales it was time to head home. Unfortunately the traffic was not so kind on the way home and I got stuck and didn’t arrive home until 9:30pm. This is where my brain stopped working for 24 hours! I was so on form throughout all the travelling, but once back to normal I lose momentum and felt awful. I underestimated the impact of the travelling and paid for it by trying to push through it. Next time I need to plan in time to rest and rebalance. 

I love exploring but I also need the energy to do it and enjoy it. Just being able to pause in between is useful and I’m learning all the time what I need to do physically and mentally to be my best with everything I want to do.

Bridesmaid Body Positivity

I’ve been thinking a lot about body positivity lately and have Ben enjoying following amazing women on various social media platforms. But I still get really self conscious about my own body and appearance. I’ve also been putting my own mind to test recently as I was a bridesmaid at my best friends wedding. I always really wanted to do it for her and had fun arranging the hen do, but the bit that always. Oncerned me was finding the dress and then being comfortable in it all day.

I’m not one for wearing dresses at all. I just never feel comfortable in them. I tried on quite a few dresses when searching for my bridesmaid dress. I chose the one below as I liked the shape I saw reflected back in the mirror. I was also comfortable as it did not restrict my movement at all and I could easily sit down.  However I still felt very self conscious the whole time I was in it. It took a few drinks for me to enjoy dancing with my friends.

It wasn’t until after that I realised I didn’t get many photos of myself during the day. The one above and the one below were just as we finished getting ready. I prefer the photo above as I feel very forced posing in the one below. I would like to work on being able to look at photos of myself and not automatically look for the flaws I see. I want to look at them and see the happiness and other emotions and remember the moment. A work in progress for sure.

I did buy myself some shapewear to wear under the dress and actually I found it really good. I didn’t go for a tight, suck it all in thing, but rather something that slight smoothed the lines and had shorts as I hate tights! I didn’t buy the shapewear for anyone but myself. I wanted it to let me forget my flaws for the day and feel better about being in photos. I definitely noticed a difference as I didn’t feel I was holding everything in all day. I found I relaxed more than I would normally in a dress. It allowed me to enjoy myself freely.


I loved being my friends bridesmaid. It was an honour and I am so happy for her and her husband.


But I am the last single girl in the group. Another friend from school just got engaged and it’s stirred up feelings. This has made me feel a bit odd recently and I’ve been talking about it to my therapist. It’s not that I’m lonely or looking for a relationship. At some times I really think I don’t want one. I love being independent and selfish and wonder how I would fit in being in a relationship. I’m not sure how I’m feeling at the moment and just know it’s something I need to explore. I truly believe you don’t need to be in a relationship to be whole…

Wandering around Iceland

It’s been three weeks since I went to Iceland and for some reason I have struggled to sit down and write a blog post since – it’s very weird as I absolutely loved the trip and want to recommend it to everyone I know!

Iceland has been on my list of places to visit for ages, but the reputation of being quite expensive has always put me off while I wait ‘until I can afford it’. I have since changed my mind and believe you can travel anywhere you want on whatever budget you have and still have an amazing time! So, anyway back in early December a few friends got on to chatting about places we wanted to go and Iceland came up. Two of my friends have been before, but not seen the northern lights and myself and another friend hadn’t visited. So we were all up for heading out for a few days in January.

We got a really good deal on flight and accommodation (under £400 for return flights and 3 nights B&B hotel). We went with EasyJet and stayed at Storm Hotel, just off the main shopping street and close to the water front.

It was cold, but not as cold as the same time back in the UK. It also rained a lot! We made the most of it though and had a fantastic time exploring Reykjavik and further afield. The trips we went on probably doubled the price we paid for the flights and hotel, plus food and drink means be prepared to pay more once you’re out there.

The food was amazing! It was pricey for sure, but you can find places that are better value than others. The drinks are what astounded us as in many places they cost at least the same, if not more than the food. There are lots of happy hours at the bars and hotels, but if you’re doing trips you can’t always be back in time for 4-7pm slot. So we ended up not drinking at all – totally weird for a holiday, but totally worth it!

We took two main trips and had a third one cancelled because of the weather, all with Greyline. We went out to the Blue Lagoon. It was so weird as we got there at 8am and stayed until 12pm. It was pitch black, middle of the night dark! My brain was playing tricks on me as I kept thinking it was 8 or 9pm, not am. It was so quiet when we arrived and we got to explore while it was empty and dark. It had expanded since my friends went before so it was funny to find new places. It was also horizontal rain and so windy the lagoon was choppy with waves. It was so hilarious! You could not call it relaxing in the slightest, but it was fun and the water made my skin feel amazing!

The second trip we did was out to the Golden Circle. We went to see the UNESCO world heritage site called Þingvellir National Park which is home to Iceland‘s largest natural lake and the place where the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia split and drift apart.  It was raining so much I didn’t take my camera out at all.

We then went to Gullfoss waterfall, which was amazing. It was colder here and there was still some snow on the ground and parts of the waterfall was frozen over. It was loud and tranquil all at the same time. If you ignore the amount of people stood around you, you can see nothing for miles.

We then went to see the Geysir hot spring area. It was amazing to see the geysers bubble and explode at times. There was so much colour on the ground that I would love to go back as it was getting dark when we were there.

On last full day we further explored Reykjavik by taking the hop on hop off bus. You can easily walk around the city, but as it was raining so much we didn’t want to get cold and miserable walking around. It was good as we got see everything we wanted and also took a trip to the local public swimming pool which is geothermally heated.  I loved the wall art dotted all around the city and there is really good coffee!

We tried every night to go out and see the northern lights, but due to the weather we did not have the right conditions for them to appear. On the plus side we didn’t have to go out and try as they cancelled the trips during the day, which meant we could get a full refund.

It was great fun to go away with my friends and we are already planning a trip to Norway for next year to see if we can track down those pesky northern lights.

Henley Bridge to Bridge Marathon Swim

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I undertook my swimming challenge for this year and I still can’t quite believe I did it!

Last November I signed up for the Henley Bridge to Bridge Marathon swim. This a 14km swim from Henley to Marlow. My swim coach took part in 2015 and decided to get a team together and make it a social event for 2016. This meant we could train together and set up days when we would all do long distance swims so we wouldn’t be alone.

It was a long journey of training, but it actually kept me going through a time where I really could have given up swimming. I gave up pool swimming and solely focused on the open water swimming. It made huge difference to my mental strength to just focus on the one thing. Taking the pressure off made it much easier to enjoy the journey. I also changed waves so I could swim in the middle one, rather than the faster one – best decision ever!

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It was a very early start on Sunday 8th August – 4am to be exact! I drove to a friends house so we could then car share to Henley. We arrived at Henley at 6am and registered, waited for the group to arrive and got ready. This is where my nerves started to kick in and I focused on thinking about swimming at my own pace and making it to the end.

The sign in the photo below was from the very start and it was a great reminder of what the event was really about. We didn’t need to worry about time as it wasn’t a race. it was run as a sportive and all focused on getting everyone to the finish.

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The swim we split into 4 stages with 3 feed stops at the locks. The first stage was 4km, then 6km, then 1.5km, then 2.5km. Each feed stop had drinks and a variety of food. Hand sanitiser and extra vaseline was provided and you had a to walk at least 100m from the exit to the entry points.

The fist 4km was easy and the stop came up to surprise me. It was a very busy section as everyone in the one wave started together. It meant getting clear water was hard and I lost the two friends I was swimming with (we caught each other at the stop) so I just focused on swimming steady and trying to notice where we were on the river. I felt good for this section.

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The second section was the big one – 6km non-stop. it’s the furthest I’ve swam non-stop and I was surprised at how good I felt. The river changed as we swam along. We passed green fields and very big houses and felt like there was no one else around. When we got in at this section we were asked to keep to groups with a kayak, but there was a steady stream of people that they didn’t make anyone wait to start (they did in the slower wave I was told). There were a couple of points along this route where you could have taken the wrong split, but the kayakers with us were great and kept us on course the whole way. My friend got cramp around 4km in and we pauseda minute, but got going again and this is where my arms started to feel it. My friend picked up speed and I started to slow, but we worked well together and kept going.

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We stopped for a little longer at the next stop to make sure we had the energy and were hydrated. I topped up the vaseline around my neck and then was ready to go. We had to cross the river and walk across an island before getting back in at quite rocky point, but the flow of the weir was a nice push off to start the last 4 km. I found this stage the hardest as my arms ached and it was not quite long enough to find my rhythm after the 6km stretch. Mentally I had to work hard here and kept focused on even arm strokes and moving forward. My friend was able to lose me here, but we caught each other at the last stop.

The last stage was started by a jump into the river after a lock and staying out the way of the boats. It was around 11ish at the time and there were many more boats on the river than the rest of the time. Also we were heading into Marlow so the it was generally much busier on the towpath and the river itself. This stage was easier in a way because I knew it was the last, but it was also hard, because it was the last 2km of a 14km swim! I focused again on keeping steady and getting to the end. Energy wise I was, just tired, but my arms were struggling a lot by this point. I definitely could have done some extra conditioning training in the run up!

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I was so happy at the end. One because it was over and also because I had done it! I had swam the farthest I’ve ever swum (and probably ever will). It was also much sunnier than when we started and I knew I would be able to relax for a couple of hours waiting for the others to all finish before heading home.

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While we were waiting in the glorious sunshine we talked about what other swims we would like to do. Our coach will probably put another team to together for this event next year, but I don’t think I want to do it two years running. I would come and support though as I think it would be a lovely walk along the river to follow the swimmers. Instead we were thinking about Coniston in the Lake District. That could be a fun trip!

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I would recommend this swim to anyone doing long distance swimming. It was fun and really well organised. The feed stops were well stocked and the volunteers at each one were super helpful. The kayakers and start/finish crews were also amazing!

As long as you put in the training and do not underestimate the distance or the mental requirements of this type of swimming then you will absolutely fine. I stuck to feeding as I did in my training, which mainly involved gels and chocolate to take away the taste of the gels. That works for me, and take time to figure our what works for you. Some people didn’t feed, others used what was at the stops, and others used fruit and nut bars only. As everyone has a wear a tow float I found it easy to carry what I needed and it got lighter as you swam further.

Training wise I progressed from swimming around 3km a time to regularly swimming 5km, with longer swims of 7km to 11km every couple of weeks. I didn’t have a set plan in the end, but rather worked out what I needed to get to and fitted into my schedule as well as making sure I took part in the group long swims.

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Overall this was a fantastic day and a great achievement for me. If you fancy doing it go to the Henley Swim website and sign up for 2017! They also do shorter swims, including one that end at a pub with the medal being a bottle opener – open water swimming is for everyone!

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