Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Tough 10K - Week 1

My first week of training has been a short and sweet one. I've gone out twice during this week and have done 1 mile each time. I'm an early bird so I've been running first thing in the morning before work but I might switch that up in the upcoming weeks and see how I feel going for a run after work. On top of that the weather has been rather cold and rainy but I guess I should get used to that since that's usually the forecast for November!

As you can see both of my miles were run in around 14 minutes which isn't too bad. Hopefully in the next couple of months I can knock that down a bit and also look at increasing the distance of my runs.  If I'm honest I never thought running was for me and I'm still not 100% sold on it yet but that might change in the next couple of weeks so let's do it!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Tough 10 Talk - Introduction

Fitness and health are something that tends to play on my mind a lot. Whether it's because of a news article, a magazine cover or a conversation at work it seems inevitable. The latter of these options is prominent in my life considering that I am undertaking a PhD in regenerative medicine and share office and lab space with students and researchers from different disciplines. 

So one way I though I could help both my fitness as well as give back to research was to challenge myself to complete a race. I chose Cancer Research UK as my neighbour recently passed away from pancreatic cancer, a rather difficult cancer to treat. I'm taking on the tough 10K which is a new set of runs that are over more difficult terrain. Mine is taking place at Margam Park along the mountain bike paths, and considering that it is in November it's likely to be pouring down with rain. 

Over the next couple of months I'm planning to keep you all updated on my running progress and being a complete novice I'm sure the journey will be a painful one but well worth it in the end. If anyone wishes to donate they can do so at my justgiving page.

Check in next week to see how my first week of training has gone!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Number One Rule For Girls - Rachel McIntyre

Title: The Number One Rule For Girls - Rachel McIntyre
Publisher: Egmont UK
Series: N/A
Service: NetGalley
Release Date: 25/02/2016
Pages: 309
Format: Kindle PDF

Rating: ★★★

Buy || Twitter || Website || Goodreads

Daisy knows a thing or two about love and romance. She's surrounded by it - in fact, there's no escape! Not only are her parents childhood sweethearts turned soulmates, they also run a vey successful wedding agency 'Something Borrowed', helping couples tie the knot in whatever frilly, quirky, tasteful, outrageous way they choose. So it's no surprise that Daisy has a pretty clear vision of how her life with her boyfriend Matt is going to pan out.

There's one major flaw in this plan - Matt and Daisy have split up! Determined not to brood, Daisy sets out to re-invent her life and her dreams. And that's when Toby enters the scene, who appears to be perfect, but is turning all the Rules upside down...

An irresistible exploration of post break-up life featuring Rachel McIntyre's trademark wit and observation.

Give us a few words…

Why do you say that?

I was invited to read The Number One Rule for Girls and was interested to pick it up and find that it wasn't entirely what I expected. The book follows 16 year old Daisy Green after she has split up with her boyfriend and deciding to attend college instead of sixth form. Daisy meets he prince in the form of Toby Smith but not everything is at it seems.

Rachel McIntyre dives into the world of girl codes, growing up and questionable choices in boyfriends.

The main theme that stuck out for me in this book was the controlling and abusive nature of Toby. Although it frustrated me how much Daisy would forgive him I also understand that rational thought is not always there, especially at 16. She sees him as her saviour and doesn't have to deal with loneliness at college when he is with her. Daisy ignores the advice of her friends starts to feel ostracised from her old group of friends.

I enjoyed seeing the development of the girls friendship throughout the book. They started as close friends with a solid set of rules and the strain of being at different colleges slowly takes its toll. New friendships are made and jealousy inevitably rears its ugly head.

As much as I did enjoy the book I did struggle with some of the embarrassing language and more cringe worthy scenes that felt a bit stereotypical for teenagers.

Overall I would recommend this book to an audience younger than myself. A mixture of lightheartedness and serious tones that we all deal with as we grow up.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Reasons To Stay Alive - Matt Haig

Title: Reasons To Stay Alive - Matt Haig
Publisher: Canongate Books
Series: N/A
Service: Own
Release Date: 07/01/2016
Pages: 254
Format: Paperback

Rating: ★★★

Buy || Twitter || Website || Goodreads

What does it mean to feel truly alive?

This is the true story of how Matt Haig came through crisis, triumphed over mental illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. Moving, funny and joyous, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth. 

Give us a few words…

Why do you say that?

Reasons to Stay Alive  has been a book on my TBR list for a little while and I am so glad that I finally got around to picking it up. As a person who has anxiety and depression it peaked my interest and really didn't disappoint.

I'm slowly getting used to book approaching mental illness from a more clinical and psychological point of view however Haig  does none of that in this book. He writes with a raw honesty which is appreciated and can be related to. This book journeys through his experience from the first moment, the rocky road he then struggled through for years before the break in the clouds and learning how to deal with his depression and anxiety.

For me, this book was heart breaking and yet made me think with Haig's own revelations not coming across as preaching but as possibilities. As I made my way through the story I couldn't help but think of people in my life that I would give this book to. Not just those who also suffer with mental illness but to those people in my life who don't quite understand it. I think Haig does a brilliant job in really stripping away the thought that it's just a down day or nervousness whilst still explaining that you do not have to let it win - which is a hard balance to strike.

I know this is a book I will be talking about to people for a long time. I highly recommend picking this up and taking a read if you wish to understand a little more about how mental illness can effect a life.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

January Wrap Up

Hello there! January always feels like the longest month of the year to me. The weather has been atrocious in Swansea with rain being a constant talking point.

New year, new start. I've made a commitment to the gym. This month I finally took the plunge and spoke to a personal trainer in order to help me lose weight and gain some definition. I haven't started yet but it took a lot for me to go and speak to someone about it. I'm actually looking forward to absorbing some knowledge from someone who is more knowledgable than myself.

Adulting? I often think about my future and where it is heading. For the longest time I have been thinking about studying medicine and becoming a doctor. A few of my friends know this and have encouraged me but this month I spoke to my PhD supervisor about it and he's giving me his backing and has been so helpful. It's terrifying thinking that I want to stay in education for another couple of years after finishing my PhD but I never want to live a life of what ifs...

Finished Reading:

  • Animal Farm - George Orwell

Currently Reading:

  • Binge - Tyler Oakley
It's been a short list this month but I plan on upping my game. I didn't realise just how much I had missed reading until I started again. It's been helping me keep my anxiety in check and it's nice to be away from a screen after being attached to it for work. 

According to Goodreads I've read 1 out of 20 books for my challenge so far and I'm on track. 

Hope you all had a more exciting January than I did!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2016 goals and plans

The start of a new year beckons people towards making goals that they hope to achieve in the next 300 and odd days. I am no exception to this and so I thought I would go ahead and share some of the goals and plans I have for 2016 with you all.

  1. To really give my all to my PhD. Things have been rocky over the last year as far as my research is concerned but this year I am ready to knuckle down and knock it out of the park. I want to show everyone what I am capable of!
  2. Lose the weight I've gained over the past year. I let my unhappiness at work seep into many parts my life and one of the results was gaining just over a stone in weight. I've been tired and feeling horrible and so this year is going to see me drop that again. I want to become fitter and healthier again.
  3. Do more of the things I love. 2015 saw me become a slave to work and not make time for anything I enjoyed. This year I want to reconnect with things that make me happy. I want to read more again, learn to surf, take up gymnastics - anything that makes me happy.
  4. To be more open about how I feel. It saddens me to see that there is still a stigma around mental illness and I want to try and shake off the taboo, if not in a wider sense then at least in my own life. I want to be more open about my highs and lows with the people I feel are closest to me in my life and maybe that will help with the rough patches I encounter.
  5. To be more grateful. In general I think I can get really caught up with the things I don't have. I really want to be able to appreciate the things that I have in my life and be grateful for small things.
So those are a dew of the things I'm aiming to do this year. What about you? Do you have any goals or plans for 2016?