My Relationship With Reading

I learned to read long before I went to school. My parents used to drive to our seaside holidays down South overnight in hopes my brother and I would sleep on the journey, yet I read in the light of car headlights driving by. By the age of 10 every librarian in my local library knew me by name. Yet since I started second year I’ve only read 2 non-academic books; what the hell happened?

As a child I was completely addicted to reading. I remember sitting up until midnight just trying to get to the end of whatever book I’d checked out of the library that week. My Dad would hear that I still had my radio on (because I was a weird kid that listened to the radio to fall asleep) and see my lights on when he was heading to bed, only to be met with the excuse of “I’ve only got a few more pages”. Sunday afternoons were reserved for going to the library and coming out with an armful of books, to the point where I was bored of the kids section and had moved onto the teenage section way earlier than was probably sensible. I loved escaping into a different reality and learning about different lives as I went, feeling as if I were worlds away from the very homogeneous environment that is rural Cumbria.

When I eventually got to secondary school I was suddenly made aware that I was a massive nerd. Reading a lot was a bit of an add on to the fact that I succeeded in school and was a tad of a teacher’s pet at times. For a while I flirted with the “yeah God reading is so uncool” thing and followed along with everyone else in denouncing books (which probably coincided with the emo phase I’m definitely not secretly still in). It obviously didn’t last very long, because I found social media and a whole community of people in Booktube that adore reading as much as I did.

But, since Sixth Form, I really haven’t read that much. I struggle to get through more than a couple of non-academic books in a term, which is quite surprising considering that a large part of my degree is reading, it just happens to not be in English anymore. In 2017 I only read 13 books. When I was 13 I’d have gotten through that in 2 months.

The thing is though that I don’t think I’ve necessarily fallen out of love with reading. When travelling I usually spend all of my flight time with a book in hand, and tend to take one out on my Metro journeys. I love waking up on a Sunday morning with a small workload and rain outside lending itself to lazing around in bed with strong coffee and a good read. I think the honest truth is that I just need to make more time for it, rather than spending the little time I have at home watching Netflix and oversleeping.

In conclusion: books are good and I want to read more of them in 2019. For some reason, I’ve pledged to read 40. If you want to watch me fail at that then you can check out my Goodreads, and if you’re interested in book-related posts; let me know!

-Megan, listening to The Wombats on Christmas Eve like a 15 year old anti-festivity indie stereotype

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2019 Goals

I wish I could say I hated clichés, but the reality just isn’t true. Surely if millions of people do something they can’t be wrong, right? (I mean, thousands of people elected a Tory government and they certainly weren’t right, but the idea fits the narrative of this post so forget the actual logic here)

Today’s cliché is making goals for 2019. I’m writing these out on the 2nd of January, as for New Year’s Eve I ended up choosing to go to a party with Alex at the last minute. It was a fantastic night and I had a great time, but unsurprisingly had a little bit of a bad head yesterday and had to wait until today to start on my goals. I feel like that’s not just me though, New Year’s Day definitely doesn’t count.

1. Complete dry January
One of my friends from back home has done this before and is choosing to do so again, and this year I’ve decided to join him. As a university student drinking culture is literally everywhere, meaning I usually waste a lot of time and money on being drunk or hungover, and I’m getting a bit bored of it. There are certain situations I enjoy more with a drink sure (clubbing Meg, you mean clubbing, because you’re far too anxious to do it sober), but most times I don’t really need to be drinking. I also have a lot of uni work due in at the end of this month (which I definitely haven’t started oops), so I don’t have time to be spending days hungover at the moment.

2. Run 10k
I’ve been into fitness for quite a while, but over the winter period I abandoned running completely. Back in the summer I was capable of running around 7km and was really building up to getting to my longtime goal of a 10k race. However, now I’m struggling to even do a basic 5k, because I’ve been neglecting cardio and opting for weights and toning work. I loved running when I was into it though, so I’m going to get myself signed up for a 10k race and start training.

3. Read 40 books
This is a very silly goal. In 2018 I read 29 books, the most in a lot of years. So obviously the most natural thing is to decide to read way more than I’ve read in a year since I was probably about 14. Amazing job Megan.

4. Stop buying from Amazon
Amazon are an absolutely terrible company. Their record on workers’ rights is nothing short of shocking, and since I finally got around to joining a union on New Year’s Day (really it was about all I achieved that day) I’d feel like a huge hypocrite if I kept supporting such a parasitic company. They’re also horrifically bad for the environment. I’m going to finish reading what books I’ve already bought on the Kindle app then hopefully find a new option for ereading, if anyone has any ideas let me know!

5. Take a photo everyday
This time last year I decided to post everyday on Instagram. It lasted a few months, but I soon learned that my life really isn’t exciting enough to make it Insta-worthy every single day. As a result I just stopped taking pictures, which is quite frankly a bit dumb for someone like me who spends half of their life looking back at old pictures because they can’t remember what happened yesterday, let alone years ago. So I thought fuck it, I’m taking photos for me now, the sillier the better.

6. Become a better activist by learning from others & campaigning more
I’m a bit of a lefty guys, it’s no secret if you follow my Twitter. At the end of last year I started campaigning for the Labour Party and I absolutely love doing it. It’s fantastic to get out on the doorstep and talk to people about why I believe what I do, and with the likelihood of a General Election this year it’s going to be more important than ever if we want to elect a Labour government. I’d also like to keep being involved in student politics before I head out on my year abroad, and hopefully get involved in the trade union I just joined. I just want people to have better lives, it’s really quite simple.

7. Practice my languages more
For someone who’s probably moving to South America at the end of the year, my Spanish really isn’t all that great. Or rather, I have zero confidence in speaking it whatsoever. I need to read and watch more in my non-native languages, as well as try and seek out more opportunities for speaking practice (I’m looking at you Amy, we need to reinstate cuppa & French/Spanish chats). I wish learning a fourth language was on this list, because after Milan and Berlin I’m absolutely dying to learn Italian or German, but I need to be patient and get good at the three I already speak.

 

I think that’s all. It sounds ridiculous to say this at such an early point in the year, but I have a good feeling about 2019. I’m in a very good place, and have so many exciting travels planned, which is all I could ever ask for really. What are your main goals this year?

-Megan, listening to a playlist entitled “Alternative Love Songs” (no, I’m not sure why either)

2018: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

We’ll talk about where I’ve been for a month and a bit in the next post, because before I truly start 2019 off on the blog I want to look back. I get weird and nostalgic at this time of year and tend to tweet too much and post too many pictures of what’s happened throughout my year. I thought the best way to relaunch my site would be to write about all of that, crazy emotions, highlights and lowlights included

The year started not with a bang, but a whimper. The lovely Alex hosted a fantastic New Year’s Eve celebration, before I went back to working for the rest of Christmas break. In January I got my second ever tattoo and saw my first ever premiership rugby game. My return to Durham included snow, Burns Night formal, and more Friday night Klute (if you know you know).

 

February was a very low month. It mostly consisted of walking miles and miles in hopes that I’d fix the mess in my head and generally struggling a lot. On the plus side The Feast of St Cuthbert happened, so I got a nice break from myself with added black tie, and spent a weekend seeing both Dead! and Marmozets.

March began with a breakup, and for some reason running back to the very hometown that was so intrinsically central to that old relationship in a snowstorm so bad that I almost got stranded. Looking back is so strange now, because I honestly think it was for the best and that I’ve grown exponentially as a person as a result, but it was obviously a difficult time. Anyway…. despite the sadness most of March turned out ok. I planned summer holidays with my friends, threw myself into Durham life, finally saw Moose Blood live and went to France on my final ever exchange. Before that trip I was struggling a lot with being back home and my identity, but after a social media break, immersing myself in French and meeting some fantastic new friends I began to stand a little taller once again. That was probably helped in part by starting therapy, and in part by starting to exercise and focus on myself again.

 

The last term of first year soon rolled around, a term essentially of two halves. To begin with obviously it was exam season, and whilst the exams themselves weren’t overly terrible I had periods of real low mood and spent a lot of time crying or sleeping. Not pretty, but it taught me that recovery is a process rather than a solution. In Durham we all stay around for a little while after exams, and I had such a great time! I had probably one of the best nights of my life at a college Eurovision party, saw Twin Atlantic, went to my first ever pride, visited Edinburgh, Cuth’s Day happened, we went to the seaside and I had visits from home friends. I also started this blog back then, something I’ve loved working on and being creative with ever since. On the last morning of term in June myself and my flatmates woke up at 4am to watch the sunrise together and it was everything.

 

This summer was chaotic, at times crazy, but downright fabulous. It all began with travelling to Berlin, Prague and Budapest with the best team I could ever hope for. After a week straight of work after landing back in the UK I headed down to Dorset to hang out with the same great pals. We enjoyed some rare British sunshine by the sea for a few days, and then headed up to Oxfordshire for Truck Festival. It was a bit of a beer-infused blur but I saw some amazing bands and got a questionable tan. I came home, got a recovery themed tattoo and went fully vegetarian because I’m a walking stereotype. I also climbed High Spy & Catbells, went on a good few nights out and took a trip to York.

 

I moved into my second year house in Durham a little earlier than most at the start of September, and I won’t lie, it was quite lonely. To solve that problem I quite literally ran away to Italy. I went to Milan for a few days on my own, and genuinely really enjoyed seeing a new city from the perspective of being a solo traveller. I also visited my school friend in Edinburgh (again) and went down to Manchester to finally see Halestorm live, after a lot of years of waiting. These trips were a good approach to feeling better in the short term, but my overwhelming memory of September is that of depression. Luckily, it didn’t last long.

 

Not long after I returned from Italy I started second year, and oh man it’s been good. I adore (most of) what I study this year, get to live with my best friends and love my city. I got involved in student politics for the first time this term, being elected LGBT+ officer of the Labour Club and helping with an NUS delegate elections campaign team, which has brought me a whole group of lovely new friends. I saw countless gigs, meaning I spent a lot of weekends in Manchester and nights driving to Newcastle and back. This term has definitely been the best one yet, and I honestly can’t wait to go back to Durham.

 

Since coming home between working and studying I haven’t really been up to all that much. I had a lovely quiet Christmas with all of my family and I just feel very lucky at the moment. I’m properly excited about what I do, (mostly) healthy, (mostly) happy, and (mostly) living my best life.

So apologies for the very long post, but 2018 has been a huge year for me. It’s had some highlights that I’d even consider life highlights, but at the same time has been a hard year in many respects. I feel like it’s been a year to progress, deal with things, and prepare for making 2019 the most kick-ass year ever.

-Megan, listening to Placebo (and wondering why I haven’t listened to them in a long while!)

My Fitness Routine & What I Eat in a Week: Summer Edition

Hello lovely people!

After posting about my Fitness Journey, a few people asked me to share my diet & exercise routines with you all. This post will be exactly that – what I eat in a week during summer and some of the workout routines I get up to at home. Full disclosure before I get into this, I follow a vegetarian diet and I’m not hugely pushing for weight loss, this is just my approach to an ethical and (vaguely) healthy lifestyle.

Monday

 

Breakfast: Baked oatmeal (cinnamon substituted for cacao powder), topped with strawberries, crunchy peanut butter & cacao nibs.
Lunch: Salad bowl with veggies, cous cous, boiled egg, chutney, hummus & lighter cheese, followed by a packet of Sunbites crisps. I’d just been to the greengrocers, and I always love a big salad when the veggies are still nice and fresh.
Dinner: Kidney bean curry with wholemeal rice, naan & sweetcorn. I wouldn’t usually go for naan but my friend had them left over, and in hindsight I probably won’t buy wholemeal rice in future – it’s pricey and not as nice.
Snacks: Apple with crunchy peanut butter (post-workout).

Workout: Leg day! Before all my workouts I do a quick cardio warmup (no more than 5 minutes of jogging & star-jumps usually) and stretch. I then move onto any workout I can find online, my current favourites being sexy leg toner (yes, cringy name) or HASFit’s butt and thigh workout.

Tuesday

 

Breakfast: Same as Monday. I’m loving this super filling breakfast! It’s great now that it’s starting to get colder too.
Lunch: Same salad as Tuesday, except I boxed it up to take with me whilst homeware shopping (and had to steal a fork from Asda to eat it with). Followed by Sunbites crisps (can you tell they’re on offer?) and an apple.
Dinner: Sausage casserole (made with Tesco vegetarian sausages & without the bacon) with wholemeal pasta & peas. I love this recipe so much, though the sausages tasted far too much like meat and it was a bit weird.
Snacks: Aldi Benefit Chocolate & Fudge bar, would not reccomend, they taste like cardboard.

Workout: Rest day! My only goals on rest days are hitting 10k steps and if I get time, going for a quick walk.

Wednesday

 

Breakfast: Smoothie bowl (frozen red fruits, spinach, water, banana, hemp powder) topped with strawberries, cacao nibs, chia seeds, granola & milled linseed. All these extra bits are mostly from Aldi by the way, don’t think I’m hitting up fancy healthfood shops.
Lunch: Tesco Healthy Living lentil & vegetable soup and two pitta breads. This soup tastes exactly like my Grandma’s, so I’m willing to forgive it’s high salt content.
Dinner: A second serving of the kidney bean curry, because when you’re living alone you just have to repeat meals.
Snacks: The curry was a pretty small portion, so I indulged and had pancakes made with soya milk for dessert (I regret nothing).

Workout: Run day! I’ve been working on increasing my distance, and I’m finding 6km my absolute limit at the moment. Not bad for a someone who detested running a few months ago.

Thursday

 

Breakfast: Porridge topped with banana & strawberry jam. Porridge is pretty much a winter student staple, it’s too cheap not to love.
Lunch: Pitta breads topped with hummus, fried veggies & 2 poached eggs. This is the epitome of “I don’t know what to eat for lunch so let’s just cook everything in the fridge.”
Dinner: A second serving of the sausage casserole because I defrosted it thinking it was chilli (I’m stupid). I had it with noodles though to change it up, because variety is the spice of life.
Snacks: Carrots & hummus (my favourite thing ever) and an Options white hot chocolate in the evening.

Workout: Rest day! I went for a pretty long walk to listen to an episode of Dear Hank and John, a totally awesome podcast.

Friday

 

Breakfast: Same as yesterday.
Lunch: Wholemeal wraps filled with hummus, falafel, veggies & lighter cheese, followed by strawberries and a Special K Biscuit Moments strawberry bar. This is an average lunch for a busy day at uni or work too, because it’s easily packable.
Dinner: Gnocchi with pesto topped with fried veggies and lighter cheese. This is a great quick dinner for busier days, as the gnocchi only takes about 5 minutes to cook.
Snacks: Apple & crunchy peanut butter, as I worked out in the morning and needed some post-workout protein. I also had a soya flat white whilst I worked in a cafe in the afternoon.

Workout: Arms & abs day! Sometimes I make up my own sequence using this chart or this one from Pinterest. If I want someone else to come up with my workout I use this abs & back workout, the muffin top melter (again, cringy), or something from Chloe Ting on YouTube.

Saturday

 

Breakfast: Red berries smoothie (frozen berries, banana, hemp protein powder, chia seeds, spinach, water), and then when I got back from Parkrun I had a banana with crunchy peanut butter and an Aldi Benefit chocolate & fudge bar.
Lunch: Wraps filled with hummus, falafel & fried veggies, popped back in the frying pan to toast. The wraps taste so much better when they’ve been toasted.
Dinner: I forgot to take a photo, but I had a stirfry made with Szechuan tomato sauce, veggies & fake chicken. I also had a beer with it because hey, it’s Saturday.
Snacks: Not sure if this counts as snacks but I went out for drinks with a friend that night so liquid calories happened. I also got chips on the way home because I’m a fake fitness blogger.

Workout: Today I ran my first Parkrun! I had a great time; the Durham course is beautiful and the people there were really welcoming. I also got my best 5k time to date – 33:39.

Sunday

 

Breakfast: Feeling a little worse for wear I dragged myself up to a bowl of baked oatmeal with jam.
Lunch: Wrap pizzas (think normal pizza but using a wholemeal wrap for the base instead of dough) topped with tomatoes & onion. This is easily my favourite lunch, and super filling.
Dinner: I call this “everything in the fridge” curry. I was trying to get things used up before I go on holiday, so I fried onions, baby sweetcorn, carrots, pepper & chickpeas then added balti paste & vegetable stock, and it actually turned out pretty nice! I had it with brown rice.
Snacks: Crispbreads dipped in hummus and a Special K biscuit moments bar (I get weirdly hungry after drinking).

Workout: After 2 days of workouts Sunday was a well-earned rest day.

 

So, that’s how I try and stay healthy in my daily life! You’ll probably see that it’s not the strictest diet and portion control, because to be honest I’m not a health fanatic. I’m a foodie and I don’t believe in diet culture, I just enjoy fitness and good homemade food. I will make an updated post when I go back to university to let you know how I fit fitness around studying, but for now, tell me what your favourite meal is in the comments!

-Megan, listening to JAWS and having a chilled morning

A Day in York, England

Hello lovely people!

My travel posts have been few and far between recently, because as I said in the August Edit, I just haven’t been anywhere. But eventually sitting inside your house and doing nothing all day gets really dull, so myself and my friend decided to take a trip to York a couple of weeks ago. This is what we got up to!

york

We arrived in York at around 11am, after a couple of hours of driving and a shuttle bus. I don’t usually opt for park & ride schemes as I find them a little cumbersome, but this one was too cheap to say no to in comparison to the extortionate city centre parking prices. I know you all love a good parking-based money saving tip, that’s what you came to this blog for right?

York is much like Durham. It has a cathedral, cobbled streets and a river running through it, so I felt very at home. More importantly, its traditional vibe means the city has absolutely beautiful architecture. It’s definitely one to just wander around and see what you can find, whether that be the ancient city walls or pretty side streets. The big attraction of the city however is York Minster, an extremely impressive looking building. We didn’t pay to enter the Minster, but it’s worth walking into the area before the box office to check out some of the stained glass windows, which are just stunning!

 

I wish I’d had more time to check out the city’s coffee shops, as there were some awesome looking espresso bars and places with locally roasted beans. I’m a bit of a coffee nerd, it has to be said. We did make time for lunch however, at the cafe attached to the Lawrance Apart-Hotel. It’s vibe was a little more corporate than I tend to prefer, but the prices were surprisingly acceptable and the staff very friendly! I had a mozzarella, pesto and tomato panini (vegetarian cafe staple), while Thomas opted for a bacon sandwich, which was commended for it’s value for money!

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I took a picture of my food! Am I a real blogger now?

Our main love in York however was the bookshops – God bless my bank account. The city is full of amazing second-hand bookshops which have books on everything from the history of Unilever (one of Thomas’ choices) to the specifics of what the communists were up to in Paris during the second world war written in French (no prizes for guessing that was one of my purchases). We spent a good couple of hours wandering around these places and uncovering some real gems. I’d highly reccomend Ken Spelman Bookseller for their second-hand stuff and Minster Gate Bookshop for their bargain basement (£3/4 for brand new novels? Yes please!).

 

It’s not just bookshops that York is great for though, it’s the shops in general. If you shy away from the high street you’ll come across some really quirky independent places with really friendly staff. Of course The Shambles is included in this; York’s famously narrow medieval street which is lined with some of the most fabulous smelling food shops ever! Just off The Shambles there’s also a lovely market which was again nice to wander around.

 

In conclusion if you like walking around and looking at pretty things, York is for you. For the bookshops and cafes alone I’ll definitely be making a return very soon – it’s so worth the trip!

-Megan, listening to…. actually nothing for once – THIS IS A FIRST!

 

 

 

Shuffle Songs Tag

Hello lovely people!

I was tagged in the “Shuffle Songs Tag” by Katie & Harry over at Nerds, Numbers, Natterings. I’ve seen this doing the rounds for a few weeks, and I won’t lie I’ve been waiting for someone to tag me ever since (attention seeking? me? never…), because it is right up my street. Essentially, you have to put your playlist on shuffle and write about the first ten songs to come up.

Now, I have a lot of playlists. I’m talking like a good 30. Thankfully I have one entitled “ensemble”, which consists of pretty much everything I’ve ever listened to. Let’s dive in!

Pixieskies (1)

1. Brianstorm – Arctic Monkeys

Back in the good old days of Arctic Monkeys, before Alex Turner turned into a beardy vegan wanker (yes I still love that joke). I remember this being absolutely mental when I saw them live, and I still love it 5 years later.

2. Fear of The Dark (Live at Donnington 1982) – Iron Maiden

I was raised on bands like Maiden, Sabbath and Whitesnake, so this is no surprise. I rarely listen to Iron Maiden’s studio albums; it’s just something about the nostalgic energy of their live albums that I love. This comes from Download Festival way before it was ever called Download, and there’s every chance that my Dad was there in the crowd that year. Fear of the Dark will always be a classic.

3. Suzanne – Creeper

Why don’t Creeper have more albums? This is the song I actually discovered them through, and it’s such a great single. Fast, catchy, and a big built-up chorus; Creeper are bringing goth punk back and I’m here for it.

4. Sockets – Slaves

This takes me right back to a sweaty Cumbrian venue in late 2016. From memory Slaves opened with this song, starting 45 minutes of total adrenaline and insane moshpits. I don’t listen to much pure punk, but this is an exception.

5. Any Port – Dead!

I’m still completely gutted that these guys split up a few months back, because their debut album is one of my favourites of the year. I managed to see them live back in March, and almost didn’t go as I was so sick with a flu that felt more like the plague than anything else, but I’m so glad I did now. Any Port is a tune, even though they’re gone you should still give the music a listen.

6. Kathleen – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Kathleen reminds me of summer 2016, mostly spent with an old group of friends going on our first adventures with our own cars. It’s feel-good, summery, and just outright lovely.

7. House on a Hill – The Pretty Reckless

I love this song almost entirely for it’s spoken introduction – “They have created a repressed society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness”. It’s all about how powerless we are as people against those who control us, and I think it’s crazy that this song was written in a pre-Trump world.

8. Something From Nothing – Foo Fighters

This is actually one of my least favourite Foos tracks, but I think that’s because I don’t have the same emotional connection with their newer music than with the songs that have been around my whole life. I do really love the groovy pre-chorus riff though.

9. Poison in Your Veins (Live) – Alter Bridge

I’m glad these guys came up, because it gives me an opportunity to shout out an extremely underrated band. This song is live from the O2 Arena, and shows off the beautiful combination of Mark Tremonti’s lead guitar skills and Myles Kennedy’s extremely unique voice. Seriously, if you love rock even a little bit, give them a listen.

10. No Roots – Alice Merton

Honestly I just like this because it’s catchy af and Radio X played it so many times when it came out that I learned all the words in about two days. No shame.

ensemble

So, that’s it! I could keep blabbering on about my favourite songs for days on end, but that’s for another post. Let me know what’s top of your playlist in the comments.

-Megan, shuffling through my main playlist (wow no shit Megs)

My Fitness Journey (aka how I got fit with minimal effort)

Hello lovely people!

Today I’m going to be talking about fitness! Us bloggers don’t spend all our time writing you know. I recently posted some progress pics over on my Instagram, and received lots of positive feedback from followers, so I thought I would explain how I went from couch potato to working out up to 4 times a week.

At the start of my third term at university I decided it was time to make positive changes in my life. I’d recently made the switch from part catered to completely self catered, meaning I had much more choice over what I ate and when I ate it. This meant two things; I could eat healthier and fit working out into my life more easily. Combined with my new-found need to become the powerful and successful woman I’d always dreamed of being after a year of some pretty dark times, I was set to get my life together.

fitness

Exercise

My relationship with exercise throughout my life has been, at best, rocky. As I said in a post I made after climbing a mountain recently, when I was in school I absolutely detested PE. My friends and I often purposely tried to derail the lessons (honestly, I feel for whoever had to teach us) if we actually turned up at all. In Sixth Form I improved slightly, signing up to a local gym and going fairly regularly. However, the moment that A-Levels got more intense I gave up, which I still regret now. It’s proven by a whole bunch of science (said like the expert I definitely am) that exercise is linked to reductions in stress levels, mood improvement and better self esteem (source: Mental Health Foundation).

Fast forward to first year at uni. After two terms of a similar “I’ll do it later” attitude, I decided it was time to kick my ass and get to exercising. My college has a cardio gym which was downstairs in my old house (honestly I don’t know what my excuse was when I literally walked past it multiple times a day), and whilst it is pretty badly equipped there’s space for  circuits along with some treadmills and the like. I started going a couple of times a week, and had a pretty standard routine. 20 minutes interval running, followed by a Kayla Itsines circuit (which I somehow found free online).

What helped was that a lot of my friends were joining me on this health kick. Every other day, as much as we could depending upon our schedules, we were in the gym at 5pm. This was helpful for lots of reasons. Going at the same time each day meant that it became part of my daily routine, and felt as normal as going out to uni in the morning. Moreover, I had that added motivation of not only letting myself down, but letting my friends down if I didn’t go. And, after the workout we often ate together, which ticked off socialising!

Towards the end of term I even got into running. One day myself and a friend headed to the gym as usual only to find that the room was locked. We decided not to waste our efforts and went for a run around the racecourse. I was so shocked to find out that I actually enjoyed the run, after having said for years that me and running just doesn’t work. Now I actively look forward to my cardio sessions, who knew?

Diet

As the statistic goes, fitness is 80% nutrition (source: Very Well Fit). I wouldn’t say I ate badly before I started this fitness journey, but there was definitely a lot of carbs involved. I’m looking at you, holidays to France and college menus filled with potatoes.

Cooking for myself all the time made me learn that eating healthy is really not difficult. My main tactic was to do a big food shop once a week, and simply avoid buying the rubbish foods. I learned pretty quickly that if there were no biscuits in the cupboard or pizza in the freezer I definitely wasn’t going to make the effort to walk to Tesco to buy some. An added bonus is that healthy food really doesn’t have to be expensive. Bulk cooking curries or chillis and freezing them is much quicker and cheaper than having chicken nuggets every night.

I’m not saying I’ve given up on unhealthy foods completely. You can definitely still find me necking pints on a Friday night or joining in with pizza & films night with my friends, but it isn’t everyday. These things have become a treat rather than a regular occurence, meaning I actually appreciate them more than I did before too.

4 Months On

I’ve been following this pattern for four months now, to the point where it’s no longer a change for me but just part of my lifestyle. Working out every other day is now a habit, and I’m setting myself goals and changing my playlists/workout plans to keep it exciting. For example, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been aiming to get my personal best for running a kilometre down to below 7 minutes. Today I completely smashed that, hitting 6″52 on my 5km run. I’ve also been trying out some different circuits I found on Pinterest.

Diet-wise, I’ve just recently gone vegetarian. Two of my housemates are vegetarian, and after travelling with them and following the diet for a while on and off I wanted to take the plunge completely. I’ve been officially vegetarian for about three weeks, but I think I could count the amount of times I’ve eaten meat in the last two months on  one hand. My motivations aren’t really fitness based (post coming soon), but I think it’s having a positive effect on my health at the same time.

When I move back to Durham in September I’m going to be joining a gym near my house, and I’m very excited to finally be able to play around in a big gym again. I’m also thinking about joining my local Parkrun, because the course in Durham is in the racecourse right next to my old accommodation, and it’s one of my favourite places in the city. My college wife and I are even going to try out pole fitness, so I’ll keep you updated when I inevitably get injured trying to be sexy and failing as usual.

 

What about you? Do you do a sport, or like me, prefer other ways of keeping fit? Let me know in the comments.

-Megan, listening to the playlist “Your Favourite Coffeehouse”, because I’m too skint to actually go to a coffee shop and write.