Dating in reverse……

I have mentioned dating in my previous blog and I think dating in a pandemic is really hard! I mean, what do you do, wait for the pandemic to end before you navigate the dating scene or just give it a virtual try and see what happens??

If there is something I have learnt from the last few months, I DO NOT need a man for happiness, I have independence, my own home, a good job, a side business, amazing colleagues, supportive friends and the most delicious (in my mum’s words ‘dollies house’) house!! I am incredibly happy, so for a man to fit in, he really needs to enhance that experience, not just show up and expect me to be grateful!

Anyway, as I said before (being the independent woman that I now am) decided to go on tinder 😉 – it was an experience – BUT a guy slid into my Facebook DM’s (we already knew each other from years ago but hadn’t seen each other for years) and asked if I remembered him, what was someone like me doing on a dating app and he thought he would bypass Tinder and go straight for messenger to see if he could ‘jump the queue’. Well somehow, that made me really laugh and he had me at ‘jump the queue’ 😉

So we spent a good month chatting on messenger, then WhatsApp, video chat etc. We (socially distanced) met to see if we liked each other in person (I mean, we might have terrified each other in real life, so it was good to check we didn’t before we were down a rabbit hole of 6 months facetiming, later!) then I was quite clear that I would be bubbling with my sister for a while. So, queue yet another month or so of phone calls/facetime and messaging.

Of course, in lockdown, there isn’t much you can do other than video call, when we did, we would both pretty much be in casual wear or PJ’s, I think because we had spent so much time speaking and getting to know each other we were just that comfortable. Plus, I did nothing but laugh when we chatted, which was such a welcome relief.

I have spoken to a few other people who have met during lockdown and it’s a similar situation. I call it ‘Dating in Reverse’.  Normally you meet someone and it’s all awkward first dates, worrying about your outfit, what to talk about etc. it takes ages until you feel comfy enough to swap your skinny jeans for PJ’s, read your book in bed or just binge watch TV. But here we are in this pandemic and we are getting to know the person in depth due to the amount of calls/facetime etc. This isn’t something you usually do when you can date under normal conditions. It’s a while until you get to the ‘comfy’ stage.

So at the moment, we are (all of those dating) getting to the comfy stage really early, which I think is due to that phenomenon of actually getting to know someone! But it feels easy, comfortable and relaxed and I genuinely think that’s such a good thing. Plus, we have the actual dating bit to look forward to (dating in reverse!), wow, imagine, if you like someone with bad hair, PJ’s, a penchant for lazing around, binge watching TV (I mean this is just me!), how much better will they be when we are all dressed up with haircuts?! (Or maybe not, stranger things have happened to put us off people 😉!)

So, how are things going with ‘jump the queue’ guy, well you will just have to tune in for more, but he can cook – really well (more on that later), makes me laugh all the time and we are enjoying each other’s company and are both happy. Plus, we both have the biggest love for ‘The Big Bang Theory’, which I love as it’s one of my fave shows!! We will see how it goes and hopefully decent clothes and good haircuts won’t put us off! 😉

All I will say is that ‘Dating in reverse’ has taught me some stuff, it is so worth spending time getting to know someone, more talking, less ‘dating’, can you hold an 8 hour conversation (yes myself and ‘jump the queue guy’ have done that, I may also have had a little nap in the middle!)? But, if you can find yourself doing that, still laughing, still reluctant to put down the phone, then that’s only a good thing. 🙂

#Notallmen

I had to weigh in on this, I usually like to keep my blogs fairly light hearted but ffs hasn’t it been a heavy week for women. So much has gone on that has made our blood boil, made us despair, feel fed up, disappointed, angry and all we can do is share, share, share on social media.

#notallmen has been the biggest hashtag this week, which beggar’s belief and just goes to show how much men will come together when they think it is an attack on them. But what about when it is an attack on women, all day, every day, where are the men then? They are sitting there, not getting involved because they don’t believe it is them or their friends.

If men spent as much time advocating for the very basic rights of women as they do defending themselves, we might be in a better position. I do not dislike men, I like the company of men, but as I get older I realise that I don’t want to be around men that aren’t willing to listen, to understand, to educate themselves on the abuse against women by men.

Yes men get attacked but it is mainly by MEN – so when men say, ‘oh yeah but men get raped/attacked’, yes, but by WHO???? So why as a man are you still ignoring women or belittling their experience?? Have you not realised that is mainly men that are the problem?

I was catcalled at school when I was about 12 for the size of my boobs (I developed early), I’ve been wolf whistled and intimidated by men on the streets, I have been told to ‘smile love’, I have been physically attacked in a lift because I said I wasn’t interested, I’ve been touched when I didn’t asked to be, had my bum slapped, my vagina grabbed, my leg rubbed, I’ve crossed the street, walked a bit faster, ducked into a shop etc. etc. much like every other woman. IT IS NOT OKAY.

Now, on the basis of #notallmen I have had males that have looked after me, seen me safe, not taken advantage, checked I got home ok, but this is a fundamental human respect, not just a good guy mentality surely?

We really aren’t going to see a change until men start taking a stand, educate your fellow men, call them out, don’t engage in sexism/misogyny, read books or articles that give you stats and information. Yes, I appreciate that for men, it is nerve racking, that you might get called ‘a pussy’, ‘to man up’ or may get ridiculed etc. but to point out again, this vitriol is coming from MEN. Do you want these people in your life?? Also (as my work bestie said) the worst thing they have to worry about is being ridiculed, not actually being raped or murdered. I can’t tell you how many times my friends have taken the mickey out of me for the things I have said, but I have never worried one of them might actually attack me. Because I trust that they are good people!

Not all women are good either, I get that, I have been bullied by females- a lot, that is scarring, yes I could be attacked by a bunch of females but it is far less likely than being harassed/attacked/frightened by a male.

On my 40th birthday, I had a party in a pub that was 5 mins down the road. On the way home, my feet were in so much agony (from my stupid heels!), I sent my then boyfriend home to get my trainers whilst I perched on a wall. 3 women came out and asked if I was ok, did I need help, and they stood outside with me until my BF had come back with better shoes (I had explained the situation!) – I mean how amazing is that. Women surrounding me, to make sure I was safe, and didn’t get attacked by a man!

And if you are a ‘not all men’ man, ask yourself, how many times have you felt unsafe, worried about turning a man down, having to lie and say you have a boyfriend because they will respect a man more than your right to say no. If you are a #notallmen then for the love of god, stick with us females and call out the misogyny and harassment and help make the world a safer place.  

And let’s take a moment to remember a female, who did nothing wrong, who just walked home and got attacked and murdered by a member of society that is there to supposedly keep us safe #RIPSarahEverard

Dating with a stoma?

Dating is so much fun, like the funnest (not a word I know), you get all the good bits of someone and even if they are not that good it’s a funny date story to recall. So, if you’re lucky, you get chemistry, butterflies and compatibility. If you are not lucky, you find yourself squished into a plant hoping to get away…(yes I have done that!).

But it is fun, even when you are in a good relationship, I bet you still miss the heady feeling of a first date or the anticipation of what is to come, it doesn’t mean you want to go down that road, but you can miss it.

Whether you are new to a stoma, facing one, like me are entering the dating world after years with the same person or simply curious then hopefully this blog will help!

So, here I am, single for the first time in almost 10 years and it’s so fu*&%ng amazing ha ha! I love living alone, I love having control over my own life, I love knowing I can live how I like and just be me! That’s not to say having a partner isn’t great, but I am learning it’s not everything.

In a nutshell, you can 100% date when you have a stoma, it’s up to you when you tell someone and take it at your own pace. Personally, I like to get it out in the open straight away, I mean if someone is going to be put off by it, I would rather know straight away so I am not wasting my time. If someone is put off by it, it IS NOT a reflection on you, it is a reflection on them. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad person either, they just don’t understand it, but, whatever their reasons, you can make a swift and dignified exit.

I have never had a negative experience when telling men (I talk about men here as that is the sex I choose to date), in fact (and as awful as this sounds) I have used it to try and put men off! This was in the early days of having it, I would get chatted up in a bar and I would say ‘oh btw I have a stoma bag’ thinking they would do a U-turn, but nope, the usual reaction was either ‘oh what’s that then’ or ‘oh I don’t care about that’ or something along those lines. So, what you think is going to be really scary actually isn’t and I genuinely think most people aren’t that bothered.

So, I find myself navigating dating, not just for the first time in years but in a pandemic! Plus, I was always with the ex, before the stoma (albeit a few weeks) but he stuck around. So, it’s my first time dating with a stoma, so to speak.

Some of my best stories have come from the worst dates, and some of my best (men) memories have come from great dates, that may not have worked out but gave me a glimpse of what I would like. I mean, we are in the 21st century, so what if we date a guy for a month or two then call it a day, or a year, or a week, who says we must have a relationship for life? I am not just saying that because I am now single, but I remember always thinking that when I was young. (I also thought I would get married 3 times like Joan Collins, but I am yet to even come close to a sparkling diamond ring 😉 so I don’t think I will bother with that idea now!)

Confession time, now there is no urgent need to date right now, we are locked up, can’t go on proper dates and I have only been single for 6 months. However, one Sunday, I was bored, had devoured a glass or 2 of wine and thought I would sign up to a dating app! Ha ha, that was an experience, for me, it was a good one, (massive ego boost too, not gonna lie) chatted to quite a few men, but I soon got bored so came off it. Anyway, when I would speak to men (I am not talking about the ones that message saying ‘hi, how are you’ then never engage in any further conversation) but any that I might chat to for a bit longer, maybe going over to WhatsApp…. I would let them know that I have a stoma, personally I would rather they know, if they are put off by it then I can say bye and crack on with my life. But my experience, so far, really has been a positive one. TBF, there can’t be many people that don’t know I live with a stoma – for those who know me or follow me on social media, you will know I am very open about it, it is nothing to be ashamed of and I see no reason to hide it. But it is still a bit of a nerve-racking thing to deal with when meeting (albeit virtually right now!) potential new dates.

So, I guess what I am trying to say, is own it, be proud of it, think of what you have gone through to get to the point of needing a stoma, that makes you bad ass, any potential partner should realise that and be in awe of you. You will be able to date and kiss and have sex and everything else that people without stomas do.

Whether you have a stoma or not and are navigating the dating world, good luck, be safe, have fun and bloody well ENJOY IT!!

Coming out of the pandemic and feeling sad???

I felt compelled to write on this as I know I am not the only one feeling it. It sounds weird right? I mean, here we are excited to see family and friends and hug them, to live a ‘normal’ life, go to the pub, a nice restaurant, out for coffees, on DATES!!! Maybe, even a concert and fingers crossed A HOLIDAY!!

So why does the thought of coming through the pandemic and back to normal life fill me with some anxiety? It’s obviously become our ‘new normal’, we’ve got used to it even though we are fed up of it. We have laughed at the memes that come out 5 minutes after Boris’s announcements, have loved Chris Whitty ‘next slide please’, are we getting more furlough courtesy of Rishi’s sudden unlimited pot of money, the relief of not having to wash our hair for another day or squeeze into skinny jeans, eating crisps for breakfast (is that just me?) not feeling pressure to go to the gym or on a night out we don’t really want to?

Now, we are facing the societal pressures, the need to dress up and look fancy, commute to the office, bound in with our healthy salad and bouncy hair and quite frankly it just feels a bit too much to be facing. I liken it to a long hospital stay, it’s horrible, not a place you want to be, you want to leave and be in your own home, get your hair done and dance with the girls/boys, but when you are discharged, you feel a bit bereft, not sure what to do, someone isn’t tending to you 24 hours, you have to think about life again, and it’s all, well, a bit strange.

If you are feeling a bit anxious/sad/overwhelmed about coming out of lockdown, then please don’t. You are not alone and I think we all have mixed feelings. The best feeling in the world will be those hugs then swiftly followed by the condensation on a cold glass of champagne on a summer’s day 😉 (jokes it will be hugs, hair then champagne!). 

This third lockdown has got us all a bit feral and we will all come out a bit unkempt, unruly and please for the love of god girls, ditch the bras and the heels (if you choose, but really – ditch them 😉). I mean really, can we stand in solidarity on this one?!

Sure some people will come out with bouncy shiny hair and a six pack, but that doesn’t have to be you, your journey has been different, your life will have been different and if we come out alive (albeit looking like something that fell out of a Yeti’s mouth) then that’s a really positive thing. Your journey will change as we get through the ease of restriction and you will adapt again. And can we learn from it? Say no to things you don’t want to do, negotiate with work for flexi working, go for that promotion/new job, stay at home more if that’s what you want, maybe take the pressure off.

We’ve all been in some kind of bubble and sometimes that’s a sticky, stick to your lips and nose, pink bubblegum bubble and other times it’s been one of those bubbles you blow yourself and create pretty patterns in the sky, but it’s hard to leave a bubble.

All I can say, is life will change again, but we adapted before and will do so again and I always say this…. IT GETS SO MUCH BETTER!! So, if you are feeling in two minds (and even feeling a bit guilty about it, as I am) about the situation then I can recommend, putting on some cheesy tunes, just your underwear (you may want to close the blinds, but no judgement if not, it’s only bodies – we all have them!) pour a glass of wine and DANCE IT THE HELL OUT!!

See you on the dancefloor – June 21st 2021 (but can we keep the 10pm curfew for over 40’s please 😉)!!

Getting a Haircut During Lockdown | Haircut Meme on ME.ME

When you think your life has fallen apart…

.

7 months ago I was in a solid (more on the solid later, different blog to come) relationship, no financial worries, a gorgeous house, on lovely furlough, 2 gorgeous kitties (that I adopted), yes we may have been in a pandemic, but life looked pretty good??

Well one month on from that I had lost my relationship, my home, my cats, my security, I moved in with my mum (not ideal at 41, but thank goodness for her), I had no idea if I would keep my job, let alone get another one, and no idea where I might live.

My ex and I were ok, no hard feelings but it was still a navigation. I didn’t grieve properly for a number of reasons, I got involved with someone I really shouldn’t have (massive rebound and avoidance of feelings situation) and that in itself caused more issues than I needed to deal with!

However, not all so bad as the gyms re-opened and I could get back to lifting some heavy arsed weights again! I even got some personal bests (not bad considering it had been so long!), think all the grief/rage/shock turned me into the hulk ha ha. So I started feeling like a real bad ass strong woman (physically) which I cannot stress enough does so much for you mentally too.

The ex and I owned a property together which we rented out, so after much deliberation on my part (buy somewhere new, live in the property etc.) I decided to move into the co-owned property. So we had to give notice to a tenant who had been amazing (which is really hard, although said tenant was brilliant about it all). Of course, Covid meant 6 months’ notice (do not disagree with this) but suddenly my 2 months with mum felt like it was going to be a year! Anyway, let us fast forward and the tenant found somewhere and could move out early Dec. So, cue me, going into project management, take after my mum, practical mode.

Book decorators, book electrician, book carpet, blinds, order new furniture (yes everything, I took nothing, not even a bin) co-ordinate it all to turn up in practical arrangements. Of course, Covid had other plans, my decorator got Covid, so that had to be put back, which meant everything else had to be rearranged (obviously completely acceptable lol!). In the meantime, furniture was turning up left right and centre, some at the new house, some at mum’s and some at the ex’s! Phew was that all stressful!

I think in 3 weeks I had all furniture arrive, electrics done, maintenance, heating and gas repairs/new things, new blinds, new carpets and flooring, decoration, flat pack assembled, wi-fi and all technical stuff, plus I packed up from two homes, moved it all with just myself and mum (Cue ‘mum, I appreciate your help but it’s easier if I do it on my own!! I am bad ass remember’!!). Majority of things unpacked all rooms looking gorgeous and cosy. I then spent three weeks on my garden sun lounger in my living room whilst I eagerly awaited the arrival of my new sofa! Anyone else done a Microsoft teams meeting from a sun lounger?!

So yes, you could say it was a stressful time and when I look back I am WTF??? But I have said this before I am my mother’s daughter and roll my sleeves up and get done what needs to be done. I also had some very supportive friends and family that helped. My female work colleagues were also my biggest allies despite us living far apart.

So 6 months on, I live in my gorgeous (very elegantly pink) home, with everything I have chosen myself, with the things I have wanted for so long. I LOVE my new home, I live alone but have found a happiness I didn’t think I could get again. My ex and I are on really good terms and have a really nice relationship which I hope (I am sure we will) will keep,(he has also been very generous and supportive and I love him for that)  I am far more social than before (albeit distanced!), I have my Greek and my Greek group, I have started a side business in travel, I am in fact super productive*

Oh and here is something that has surprised even me….I eat food, not shit diet food, but proper food, I am enjoying food again, you know, not a low calorie meal or a ‘substitute’ I am actually eating food and ENJOYING it, who knew!!

I still miss the gym and can’t wait to pick up some heavy arsed weights again but how the hell I ever got up at 5am most days is beyond me!

But the moral of my story is….  You can have the shittiest time (and please don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or professionals if you are) but that life can turn around in just 6 months! It does get better, hang on in there, look to the future with a positive vibe, get help if you need it but just know that life does and will get better – that I can promise you.

And, if you are wondering what this has to do with a stoma, the F* all but it’s just another thing you have to deal with in the literall shit storm of your life – but even that can be navigated! And if you are wondering what happens when a long term romance breaks down and you have stoma, what next……I have good news for you but you’ll have to tune in again 😉

(*Disclaimer I also spend a lot of time on the sofa eating carbs and watching rubbish TV!)

The art of trampolining…..

Well really, I’m not sure there is any, but more on that later! 

So, last year, Mike and I went on our merry way to Kos, so determined was I to be buffed to perfection, confident and gorgeous, I spent the preceding months wearing myself out with gym visits, low carb meals, lots of walking and quite frankly abject misery! We arrived on holiday and I was ‘body confident’, I felt I had achieved what I wanted (for who? No idea on that one!) but spent the 11 days in a bit of a blue mood. It was like I had a heavy feeling in my soul that wouldn’t shift and I didn’t know why. We had it all, swim up room, champagne and extra leg room on the flight, waiter service round our pool, fab meals etc. etc. But the fog didn’t lift. I still had a great holiday but there was something missing.

About 3 months ago I stopped going to the gym, I just couldn’t face it, so thought perhaps I just needed a couple of weeks off, but yeah, I still haven’t gone back! What I have been doing is going to more of my sisters classes , where she invkokes an atmosphere of friendlyness and body positivity. She is encouraging, fun and supportive and all the fab women that attend are like minded – I LOVE IT! So, come rain or shine (and there had been a lot of shine) I have attended and even when it was boiling hot, I saved my refreshing soda (ahem, and vodka) for when I was home! 

The result has been a more confident me, I even ate (shock, horror) carbs and drank (a lot?) of wine and the result are the pics I post! I didn’t think I would feel good without the gym and a low carb diet but sitting by my swim up pool ( this is now non-negotiable 😂) not feeling irritated by people having fun (true story) I realise it because of this;

A support network of women who are all fabulous and have their own battles – an amazing sister who is working tirelessly to build up her business and help women to feel good – exercise I enjoy not just ‘feel I should do’ and the ability to eat ALL the carbs!! Oh yeah and trampolining – almost forgot…..

The most fun I’ve ever had whilst exercising – BOUNCEFIT – jumping on mini trampolines to fun music 🎶 doesn’t feel like work and yet it has kept me in good shape! Give it a go, have fun, be positive and feel the support 🙂 btw there is no art to it, just have to have fun!! 

Xx

Please stop apologising….

I see so many people apologising on their social media feeds for too many pictures, for some it’s lots of baby pics, for others it might be all the holiday snaps, whatever it is I often see people saying ‘sorry for so many pics of (insert word here)’. But I don’t see why we should apologise for snaps we choose to put on our feed in-case it offends someone/people. That is what the unfollow or unfriend buttons are for – if you don’t like the things people post or it offends you – go away!

Personally I love seeing people’s baby pics and holiday snaps. I don’t have children and my niece is all grown up so I love seeing cute little babies on my feed – it makes a change from political rants and ‘what’s up hun?’ status’s/comments. I also love seeing the holiday photos, mainly because I am incredibly nosy and love to snoop on what others are up to and what they are wearing, plus it might give me inspiration as to where to take my next holiday. And who doesn’t love a picture of hot dog legs facing the pool or a Greek sunset on a dreary day, even if it does invoke a touch of envy that I am sat staring at a computer screen!

I have been guilty of posting pictures which I am sure many people find boring, you know, like the knobby ‘healthy salad’ (#healthy #natural #healthyfood #feelinggood) picture so I can feel all smug in my virtuous lifestyle – what you don’t see is the picture of me crying in the corner because I actually want chips (I don’t actually cry in the corner but have come close when eating said salad!). But I won’t apologise for it or the photos of my (moderate) champagne habit because that’s what I feel like doing at the time.

If you don’t like it unfollow or whatever but we really shouldn’t be apologising for our harmless choices in the pictures we choose to post!

And on that note I am reeeeallly not going to apologise for not posting in aaaggggees but I am definitely going to do it more – accompanied by pictures of course!

Sorry not sorry

Swimming with an ostomy…

So I got thinking, after seeing a few forum posts about swimming with an ostomy, that maybe I should write about it. I kind of take it for granted now, it doesn’t really occur to me that people might be nervous about it but I guess they are. 

I’ve never really been one for swimming, even without my stoma, I’ve never really liked the whole process, get in swimwear, get wet,  do a length or two whilst wondering if you are in the ‘serious swimmer’ lane cos you crossed the boundary by mistake, dry off in a changing room with questionable hair on the floor (eww), put on clothes, go home, shower, eat a chocolate dipper (cos swimming makes you hungry?) – eurgh just far too much hassle. I’m more of a, I’m on holiday, it’s hot, I need to cool off, keep my head above water whilst I dip kind of girl. I’m a crap swimmer anyway, totally inelegant, I don’t have ‘beach hair’ and I splutter like my life depended on it if the water so much as touches my nose. 

But one day life comes along and says “hey you, you’re a bit fabulous so I need to give you this bag to wear on your tummy, but don’t worry it’s only poo” and cue tears of ‘but I want to still wear a bikini and can i still swim’. 

Well you can do both, we’ve seen the fab pics of people with stomas rocking their swimwear, proudly displaying their bags, so much so, I assume everyone does it, but I guess for every one person showing their ostomy are 20 people too scared or self conscious to show theirs. 


A year after my op (I had two bags one for my ileostomy, one for my mucous fistula, because of that, both bags were a bit unpredictable) I decided a holiday courtesy of someone other than the nhs was needed. First holiday was a bit nerve racking but I made it! Of course the biggest thing was the swimming pool. River Island Are amazing for high waisted bikinis and I bought loads and still do to this day, from them. I’ve never Been ashamed of my stoma but a high waist helped me feel more confident in the pool. I remember joining in a daytime pool game activity and it was bursting balloons in the pool between each other (omg what if my bag bursts…..!) I just went for it, I just shouted not my tummy! No-one questioned it or even cared and I had a great time. 

I do remember going to Turkey a couple of years ago and the main pool was closed because apparently someone had poo’d in it, I had a mini heart attack, what if that was me and my bag…but I realised it was totally illogical and I was just being paranoid! (Btw it wasn’t me, apparently it was some kid!!). Last year, 4 years after my op, I decided it was time to get some sun on my belly and wore (what I call) a normal bikini every day! I even swam like it, yes I was nervous, yes my insides were flip flopping more than if I’d taken my trusty super drys across a tsunami but I did it! I never don’t feel nervous, it’s a huge thing to show to the world but it’s really just a giant plaster. 

We should never be ashamed of the things that save our lives, take a deep breath, plunge or toe dip into that water, I promise it’s gets easier! (With just wish I had fabulous wavy beach hair to go with it!). 

Hiking through nature with a Lidl carrier bag……

Yes that truly happened but before I get to that… 

Last week, Mike and I had a lovely week in Crete, same place we went last year so we knew what to expect. We booked another swim up room as I have decided I can’t possibly do public poolside again as it’s much better for my ostomy 😉 

There is a trip called the Samaria Gorge which we wanted to do last year but for one reason or another never made it. So, to ensure we did it this year we pre-booked before we went. It’s basically a 16km trek down a steep gorge but with the best views nature has to offer. It’s a long old day, but well worth it. You don’t need special walking gear, trainers will suffice and a bag to carry a few essentials. 


We decided one rucksack between us would be enough, we didn’t need much, a couple of towels for the swim in the sea at the end, suncream, plasters (a change of bag kit for me) plus a few other essentials I can’t go without (lipgloss, kindle, etc.!). We decided to order a packed lunch each from reception and expected a sandwich, piece of fruit and bottle of water each, what we actually got was a lot more and two large paper bags! So we decided to keep this in a lidl carrier bag!


Now you may be wondering why we happened to have a Lidl carrier bag in Crete? Well, the all inclusive package doesn’t serve sparkling wine (I know, it’s a shocking state of affairs) but there is a fridge in the room and a Lidl down the road. So a little daily walk ensued to Lidl to purchase some bubbly for me to sip poolside. Of course we had to purchase a carrier bag for my bottles. 

So back to the hike, we’re all prepared with our rucksack, dressed in shorts, vests and trainers and up at 5.30am to catch the coach at 6am. We board the coach and there are the obligatory stops to pick up other keen explorers. At one stop, a man and his wife got on and Mike said to me – ooh we’ve got a professional. So there’s this man with his hiking boots, fancy rucksack and walking poles and there’s us with our Lidl carrier bag! All I kept saying was “we can’t go hiking in the Samaria Gorge with a Lidl carrier bag!” 


After a bit of kerfuffle at the stop prior to the gorge due to some confusion over the money paid we were a bit delayed getting off, meanwhile, Mr Pro keeps shaking his head, obviously so keen is he to get off and be first to finish (so eager he didn’t even wait for his wife when we did eventually get going). We were dropped off at the top of the gorge ready for a very steep descent down a narrow and rocky pathway and in true Brit fashion, a few of us are moaning about the delay rather than admiring the scenery. I, however, as Mike had the rucksack, had the Lidl carrier bag and kept denouncing that ‘I can’t possibly hike with a Lidl carrier bag! (A few fellow hikers did find this rather amusing). “It’s slowing me down”,I proclaimed,”I’ll be quicker if we can get rid of it”. Mike thinks it was about 1km in, I am convinced it was more like 2km, when we stopped to eat a few supplies and tie the bag to the rucksack. As it happens, I didn’t speed up but it was a relief to not be hiking with that Lidl carrier bag anymore – now it was Mike’s responsibility. 


So we trekked through beautiful scenery, it really was breath taking and I would highly recommend it. It’s definitely tough, navigating streams, rocks, boulders and narrow pathways (and very questionable toilets) but well worth it. The whole of this trek done with a Lidl carrier bag tied to our rucksack. 


Finally, after about 5.5 hours we reached the end, full of euphoria, not because we’d finished but because we were finally able to store the Lidl carrier bag INSIDE the rucksack! 


Looking forward to a swim, we stopped for a bite to eat first (and a glass of wine of course) and went down to the beach. But the wind got up so it was a bit too chilly for a swim, so the towels we packed that took up room (hence the Lidl carrier bag) weren’t used, except they did come in handy when rather windswept we got onto the boat that was to take us to our coach and we deployed them as blankets. 


I would definitely recommend the Gorge if you’re ever in Crete and if you do it, maybe stow away a Lidl carrier bag just in case…….. 

Bollocks to the salad…

Is what I thought a couple of weeks ago when I decided to try and lose a couple of pounds for my impending holiday.

A bit of background, the last couple of months at work have been hectic to say the least, I have probably been away more than I have been at home and have basically been living out of a hotel (does a Travelodge count as a hotel?!) and a suitcase. It’s really, really hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle  when you are away so much, I really do try but sometimes the urge to give into the wine or the chocolate after a long arsed day is too much.

With only a few weeks until my holiday I decided to take action and up the health and fitness regime to shift those additional pounds that crept on. I was still working away lots and before I knew it I had 17 days to go. I can do this I thought, I will just give up everything that is nice and fun and tasty until I go away, it’s easy, I can eat mainly salad and veg and not drink wine for 17 days. I lasted 5 days, (go me!) until my sister text to say they were having Pimms in the garden and I was invited! And then I just thought, bollocks to the salad, I cannot be arsed to keep depriving myself because I am 2-3 pounds heavier than I want to be.

In the few days before the lure of the Pimms, I was miserable, I was hungry and felt tired and cranky. I just couldn’t do it to myself anymore. I’m bored of feeling bad about myself because I had potatoes for dinner or a sandwich instead of a salad for lunch. I am bored of feeling like a rabbit because all I seem to do is crunch bloody crunch all day long. I am tired of exercising iron clad willpower when it comes to not eating a biscuit or a piece of chocolate (I am still waiting for that will power to come to the surface in the face of wine!). I am fed up of trying to haul myself out of bed every morning to spend an hour in the gym and feeling guilty when I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy doing so, I want to give my body nourishment and strengthen it so it can deal with life’s curve-balls. But I don’t want to live a life of restriction that never includes a chocolate hobnob again.

I do not want to saute my broccoli, I don’t even know what sauteing is – isn’t it just a fancy word for frying?? I don’t want to eat kale and cous cous for lunch or to have to marinade my chicken for 4 hours for it to be tasty. That is why Marks and Spencer exists – so people like me can throw our veg in the microwave. I don’t like avocado and even if I did I wouldn’t want it for breakfast, I don’t want to snack on 5 almonds or take my Tupperware dish everywhere I go. So I said bollocks to it and decided that I would try to feel OK with the little extra padding and be happy instead. And weirdly enough, when  you stop stressing about food and let go a little bit your body rewards you with feeling better. I think my mum describes it perfectly –  I asked her what she had for her dinner one night and she replied with “a shit boring salad, I might just have fish and chips”!! Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to dive head first into a vat of donuts (no matter how much I want to) but I am just going to try and relax a little, maybe try thinking about my body in a positive manner instead of hating it. After all, it kept me alive during the most grueling of times and it now keeps me healthy, so I really ought to be grateful to it.

Tomorrow is the day I go away to sunny Crete and you know what, rather than stressing over my body not being the same as it was when I went away last year, I am going to enjoy the fact that I am able to go on holiday, that I can travel, that I can feel the sun on my face and make more memories with Mike, you know the important stuff. It’s a long process, trying to come to terms with your body, especially when you have an Ostomy, but I am going to really try. I have naturally ordered  champagne for my outward flight tomorrow and I may just raise a glass to my shit boring salad!!

 

Salad 2