Featured

Words to live by.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0416.JPG

Have compassion.

Say yes more.

Skip the small talk.

Change your goals. Don’t stick to a training plan you don’t love to meet a goal that now isn’t a priority. Lift the way you want to. Train for life, not for abs or a dress or to be ‘good enough’ to join Vogue’s favourite class.

Ask for what you want.

If they say no, do it for yourself.

Start a ‘fuck off fund’, turn it into a ‘saying yes fund’ because realising that you’re settling for ‘just fine’ is enough of a reason to make a change. Give yourself courage to take risks, explore more and be a modern adventurer.

The most important moments aren’t in your AI-generated Facebook photo montage.

Text him first.

Don’t dwell on the missed gym sessions, skipped runs, evenings not spent writing your CV or learning French or finding out how to code. Remember why you didn’t get up at 5:30 – the three ‘last drinks’, the friends you danced long into the night with, the spontaneous weekend away, the meals that made you ecstatically happy but too full to train.

Continue reading “Words to live by.”

Brave?

We’re brave like Vikings in this new dating world.

Brave enough to put six photos out into the world for all the eligible singletons (and friends peering over shoulders) to see.

Brave enough to make the first move: a shy “hey” or an outright invitation to bed, half-hidden in a joke moulded from scraps of information gleaned from reading and re-reading a four line bio.

Brave enough to empty our bank accounts on five pound forty pints and lip-numblingly cool rooftop cocktails, buying Battersea brunches and Shoreditch street feasts, tickets to pop-up exhibitions and crazier golf rounds as spontaneous evenings spiral towards second dates. Brave enough to put it on the credit card, close our eyes and think of the reward points, knowing we’ll be eating beans on toast til payday.

Brave enough to lean in for a kiss, steal a last glance back as they slide into an Uber, slip a soft invitation for late night tea into the air as the bell clangs for last orders.

Brave enough to book dinner reservations two weeks in advance; extend invites to parties full of friends she hasn’t met yet; fend off questions from those same friends about when ‘seeing someone’ fades into ‘couple’ status; book flights and hotel rooms and gig tickets and while away client meetings fervently texting him under the table.

But at some point we become cowards.

We falter when we question our commitment to or interest in continuing forwards. We aren’t brave enough to speak or call or hug or text or even risk bumping into them on the 8.14 tube we know they always take to work because we took it too, tumbling into each other around a germ-ridden pole after three hours’ sleep and a few sips of that promised tea.

Shields are up and silence holds as the ending begins, pierced only by the heavy beep of a painstakingly polite message from the one who can’t bear not to know: “Still fancy seeing that exhibition on Thursday?”. “Want to go on a second a date, be friends or not speak again?”. “Hey, so shall we rearrange again or should I be taking the hint that you’d rather not see me again?”

Why can’t we be bravest at the end, safely enveloped in the knowledge that we’ll never see them again?

Extroversion isn’t all spontatenous dates, campfire dancing and sparking profound conversations.

Sometimes it’s feeling every fibre of the knot in your stomach stretch as two tug of war teams battle it out in your brain.

Yes, you have a sudden and seemingly insatiable desire to dance, laugh and have that unexpected conversation about Brexit and childcare funding (that really is my jam… all three in one evening would be ideal). Yes, you want to see the small towns’ streetlights light up the lake in the blackness of night.

But also yes, your cold/tonsilits/let’s not label it and just be grateful you made it up the volcano illness comes back at 6 or 7pm every day. And definitely yes, it would be much easier if your dorm-mates were chatty and wanted to make the ten minute walk into town with you. Because being an extrovert doesn’t mean that you love walking into a room (or bar) solo, especially when you know everyone else there will have met in dorms or on treks beforehand. Continue reading “Extroversion isn’t all spontatenous dates, campfire dancing and sparking profound conversations.”

When the label no longer fits: a radical departure from introversion

Growing up, I was always ‘the quiet girl’ in class and groups; very chatty at home or with close friends but reserved and ultra-polite outside.

It wasn’t a surprise to be categorised as an introvert by a Myers-Briggs test in the first week of my graduate job, or to receive feedback from my first placement saying that I could be more vocal with my ideas. School reports in that vein always made my parents laugh, as they could hardly believe that the child who wouldn’t stop talking after school could have so few words to say from 9 – 5.

I spent much of 2016 at work (in a new role and definitely not known for being quiet – growing rapidly in confidence, asserting my opinion and making real change throughout my department and organisation) and at home. Intense time pressure, unparalled belief in our vision to genuinely revolutionise biomedical teaching, small teams and insatiable project requirements led to my average working hours ticking up from 45 to 50, 60, 70… even 90 once all the 3am email exchanges and tube journeys spent composing and re-drafting emails were added. Loving your work is fantastic, though when it becomes your raison d’etre it’s often impossible to switch off… new ideas don’t just burst into your head in office hours, and I could rarely ‘hold that thought’ until the next day. Continue reading “When the label no longer fits: a radical departure from introversion”

El Tope Nacional.

City: San Jose, Costa Rica.

Hotel: Holiday Inn San Jose-Aurora

What I saw: criollo horse celebratory parade, a dozen very similar shoe shops on Avenida Central, backstreets and possibly a queue for a speakeasy on Christmas evening.

Small win: Costa Rican tap water is not only safe to drink, but tastes better than many bottled waters.

New words: Tico (person from Costa Rica), frijoles (beans… as in arroz con frijoles) Continue reading “El Tope Nacional.”

San Jose.

It’s Christmas Day in Madrid and there’s a glistening tree in the hotel reception, but it doesn’t feel like home and it doesn’t feel like an adventure.

Somewhere in between the two is no-man’s land, that period where mild panic about all the things you haven’t packed, haven’t read, haven’t sent blur into a blasé auto-pilot. You’re in airport mode, already succumbing to the quiescence of a twelve hour flight where you’ll be contactless with only your thoughts, a book and distinctly average classic films for company. Continue reading “San Jose.”