Monday, 26 September 2011

Tears, Pom-Poms and 13.1 Miles - Team Bangs On The Run 2.

Click play.

I wouldn't be exaggerating when I say that this weekend was one of the most emotional, powerful, inspiring weekends that I've ever experienced in my life. I feel like I may need to swallow a dictionary just to try describe how utterly amazing it was (and if you don't know what the hell I'm on about yet, well its the incredible Team Bangs On The Run 2 at Run To The Beat Half Marathon in London.)

Here we go.

My perspective is that of, and very proudly, Head Cheerleader. As most of you know, I was injured a while ago, blah blah, which meant - no running for me. Doesn't mean I can't stand and shake some pompoms though, does it?

This is going to be a long one, I hope you've got a brew handy or something.

I was stood with the sun beaming down on my face, pompoms in hand, "I Heart Team Bangs 2" t-shirt proudly showing, looking up towards the start line, where the most beautiful bunch of girls were deservedly getting their snaps taken by Nike. Reggie Yates was nattering on the stage behind me, playing the above song (which I had a little boogie to) and he then announced that the race was soon to start.

I can't begin to describe the amount of excitement I had bubbling up inside me.

9.45am came, and the runners began to filter up towards the start line in groups of 'colours' based on how quick they intended on finishing. There were 17,000 runners there, the first ladies up for Team Bangs were - the brains and beauty behind this group - Bangs, along with Elle and Sam. Cue lots of pompom shaking. Followed by tears on my part (some cheerleader huh?)

More runners in their groups came jogging round to the start. More tears were shed. Its hard to say what I was feeling. Mr Yates was playing almost every, single song that is on my personal running playlist; it made me want to be there with them, of course. It made my adrenaline pump. I was sad, yet proud of my achievements but more than anything it was a real realisation of what was just about to happen for them all and the goals they were about to smash - plus, I am a cry baby.

Then through the purple swarm of t-shirts I spotted my long limbed, gorgeous girlies heading towards the start with huge grins on their faces and amazing Team Bangs t-shirts on their backs (huge thank you's to Simon Freeman for those) - major pompom shaking happened.

Then that was it, they were off on their long 13.1 mile journey around London.

I stood for a while, to take in what exactly just happened, then realised I had said I'd be there cheering from mile 12, however my feet did not want to play game. I set off walking anyway, made it to the "500m to go" sign and decided to set up camp there. Around 40 minutes in, baring in mind I'd only just made it about half a mile up the road - some sort of rocket fuiled 'human' had made it 12 and a half miles around the course... Just have a little think about that. Mind blowing.

I had a little sit on the grass, took in some sunshine and wondered where they'd all be by now - thanks to Candie and her crazy tweet/run antics, I knew exactly that.

Unfortunately thats when I found out Cass had had to pull out a few miles in due to a bad accident, I was so gutted for her - but attempting that course and the training she had put in was a celebration in itself - and I hope she isn't being too hard on herself right now! :)!

After an hour or so of clapping (you begin to wonder if you're even doing it right) I was peering out for any white t-shirts I could spot... 1hr 50 ish in appeared the wonderful Bangs!  She was so in the zone she didn't notice the lunatic screaming, shouting & shaking things; dedication! (She also got a PB of 1.57 I believe, talk about impressive) Very shortly followed by Elle - who also was completely in the zone, and still rocking her shades. Begin me tweeting, excitedly about people finishing! The support for the team online was so heart-warming.

Next came Sam - who did spot me! Followed by the wonderful Sarah, powering through, joint after this came Michelle & Jo looking (rightly so) very happy & pleased - they also spotted me shaking about. Lauren was shortly after who did extremely well. Then "is that Cand... Yep, thats her! In her bra" - a point where looking out for white t-shirts clearly failed me! High fives and cheers where had. Next was Jayne - she looked so happy and even stopped for hugs! We then waited for Tahirah, and she did so, so well. I got up and quickly walked, hugged and cheered her on down the last 250m of the race...

...They were all over the finish line :) and I was beaming with pride. 

What these girls achieved - is beyond amazing. How many people do you know that can say they ran a half marathon? I know only these girls.

Being part of their life and seeing their journeys was an incredible honour. What they did to get to this point has been an inspiring story that each and every one of them should be extremely proud of. They are people I truly feel are meant to be in my life a very, very long time.

I never expected running to do such wonders to my life, or anyone elses. What is normally a chore to other people became my life, my routine and brought 12 other fantastic women into my world. They are all my rock, and we all have more adventures to come as part of Team Bangs on The Run 2. Which leads me to say the biggest 'thank you' of all time to Miss. Muireann, because without her this all wouldn't have happened.

It was a weekend I will never forget.

And as much as I enjoyed cheerleading - the next time I'm at a race, I will be in dri fit.

All I have to say is, Berlin Half, anyone?

See you then.

Courtesy of iD magazine, that I bought on the way home - Dreams and Aspirations issue.

It seemed fitting.



Friday, 23 September 2011

First Day Nerves

I was worried, I was clammy, I was searching in my bag for pens and paper...

Today was the first day, of my last year at uni,and I was as nervous as I've ever been on any other first day I've had in my life, if not ten times more.

I don't exactly know why today had such a profound effect on me, but it did.

I was sat in the lecture theatre, glasses on, pen in hand, near the front; pretty much a replica of my very first day as a fresher - wondering what was about to happen, if I'd understand it, and worried about all the work thats about to hit me.

It was just that. A wave of information to take in, important dates, exam weeks, even graduation, and it was all brought home to me just how important this year is about to be and how hard I am going to have to work.

Languages do not come naturally to me, it's difficult to say what it feels like to come from a "D" in my Spanish A Level to finishing a degree in Language Studies. Its nothing short of amazing to me, and there are days when I do feel proud of myself and I'm not ashamed to admit it. When I graduate I will be the only person to ever have a degree in my entire family.

Its been a difficult road, if we're being honest, and I have struggled and had to work harder when maybe other people who can finish work in one night,or dont have to revise, but hopefully - in the end, it will all be worth it.

On another note - I decided to apply to be a Language Ambassador today too, I think if anyone can talk about languages - its me. It's the one thing in life I truly enjoy and think I could passionately talk about, and trust me I could go on for a while - I'm excited, and hopefully if I get it, it will be an enjoyable role. I like to think I could at least inspire one other student to keep going with languages, even if it is tough.

Over all, I feel ready and quietly confident about this year, its going to stressful, hard work and frustrating but I think I can do this... Even if I just pass I will be happy.

So heres to the next nine months, and the adventure still to come.


yes, I am fully a geek - and I'm happy to accept that label :)


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Kitten Visit!

On Monday my friend came round with her new little kitten, Tiffany.

I'm not a cat person - but she is adorable. I'll admit it.

She seemed to love sitting in the table.

And sleeping in it.

Look at that little face!


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Cosmopolitan Blog Awards!

Guess who got short-listed?

This blog did!

Trust me when I say that I am more than surprised (my Team Bangs girls told me via Twitter, I had no idea!), but I'm very happy nonetheless! I entered, as I usually do with these things, expecting nothing more than a "thank you for registering!" type email - this time it turns out I actually have a chance!

There are a lot of amazing blogs out there, so I never thought mine would be chosen, but now its time to vote as the final decision is 50% vote, 50% panel. If you could do me a huuuuge favour and head over to this site - [click] i would be eternally grateful!

Simply enter your email address and find my blog under the "Student" category.

Thanks guys!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday Mixture.

A few things I like at the moment;

Regina Spektor, Samson; this song is beautiful, in an unusual way, I love her voice and a lot of her music.

Regina Spektor - Samson

 I've seen this little A-Z circulating around the blog world - so, on this rainy, dull day, I figured I might as well fill it in, maybe you'll learn something (interesting?) that you possibly wouldn't know otherwise.

A. Age: 22! (no more exciting birthdays for a while)
B. Bed size: Double.
C. Chore that you hate: Ironing is possibly the worst. thing. ever.
D. Dogs: Anni! If you know me, chances are you know (about) my dog. She's the best.
E. Essential start to your day: Breakfast! Any type, but breakfast is my essential. Green tea with Jasmine if possible!
F. Favorite color: At the moment - burgundy, deep greens and navy.
G. Gold or Silver:  Hum. I like both, but probably prefer silver.
H. Height: 5'9 ish?
I. Instruments you play: Tenor sax-a-ma-phone.
J. Job title: Student.
K. Kids: Zero. Would like - two.
L. Live: in Leeds, UK.
M. Mother’s name: Diane.
N. Nicknames: Can't say I've ever had one that stuck! (boring!)
O. Overnight hospital stays: Zero! I've been in and out but luckily never had to stay overnight.
P. Pet peeves: People chewing with their mouth open. It will make me want to put a fork in your eyeball.
Q. Quote from a movie: "In the end, I've come to believe in something I call "The Physics of the Quest." A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you're brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you." - Eat, Pray, Love.
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: My little sister Lucy (Jade Choppers) :)
T. Time you wake up: Depends on the day and/or the hangover.
U. Underwear: Must be comfy.
V. Vegetable you hate: Not a big fan of cauliflower, but generally I like most veggies.
W. What makes you run late:  I'm the type of person who likes to be 15 minutes early. Really.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: One, on my elbow, when I was about 11?
Y. Yummy food that you make: Um. Lemon drizzle cake?
Z. Zoo animal: Meerkats, otters, penguins, seals, hogs, elehpants... this list could go on a while!

This really is a mish-mash of a post, much like myself at the moment.

However, I get to go to London this weekend coming to cheer on my girls - the fabulous TeamBangsOnTheRun2 at Run To The Beat. So that will really be fun and  blogging should be back to normal.

I hope you all had a good weekend, and have a happy Monday x


Friday, 16 September 2011

Autumn Accessories.

The weather was so nice yesterday, despite my leg still hurting, I had to get outside and have a little wander... a little wander that took me to Topshop and Debenhams. Oops!

It definitely felt like autumn - the sun was out but my nose was cold. Always a good indicator.

I was just about to run out of my favourite perfume, Viktor & Rolf - Flower Bomb, so I headed to find a new one... It took a while to find any that didn't smell odd (to me) and then typically I found two that I liked [D&G - 18 La Lune and Chloé]. So I bought them both.

Problem solved.

And this is my new jacket! As I said yesterday I love getting a new jacket/coat around this time. This is from Topshop - £75; deep green outside, plaid inside and black corduroy near the zip. I love it!  Very casual and comfy, and I'm sure I will be wearing it a lot this Autumn :)

Happy Friday!


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Autumn Is Here!

Autumn is honestly one of my favourite seasons, which is probably a good thing because it doesn't feel like we've had a Summer here in the UK at all! Its rained, its poured, its been extremely windy - and now it's getting cold.

And I'm quite happy about it!

Any reason to wrap up warm is great to me, and this mid-season change of not knowing what the hell to wear is getting tiring! Boots, flats? Jumper, coat? The weather has been nothing short of loco and I just want it to be cold already!

I also absolutely love autumnal colours; burgandy, navy, burnt oranges, deep greens - all my favourites. But my main favourite thing to do in Autumn / Winter is get a new coat. Here are a couple I love at the moment.

  1. Topshop - Mohair Pea Coat by Unique

  2. Urban Outfitters - Pins & Needles Princess Coat

  3. Miss Selfridges - Khaki Animal Hood Parka

  4. Flannels - Burberry Brit Double Breasted Trench

What's your favourite thing about Autumn/Fall? :)


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

An Afternoon with My Padre.

It was great to get some fresh air. and the baklava on its own was worth a bit of pain in my leg!

We listened to Ray Charles in the car, bought some smelly roll on perfumes, looked for black seed oil (kind of glad we couldn't find it o_O) and finished off with a huge amount of rice, meat, naan bread and sweet tea in a Kurdish restaurant.

A nice way to spend the day :)


Monday, 12 September 2011

And that's it.

Today was the final straw that broke the metaphorical camels back...

I had my third physio / myofascial massage session, but instead of my ankle - we had to focus on a new injury, my calf muscle. When I was walking to the shop yesterday, I came back limping. Its torn and swollen and I've been recommended to rest, yet again for another 3 days.

We're 13 days away from the Half Marathon, and when I'm honest with myself, I know I cannot run this. Theres no way. Starting it, on my part, would be stupid. If I injured myself during it (which seems to be the only thing that happens when I run) what would I do?

I've already informed the Team that I'm out. And it was heartbreaking.

Now, if you would have told me last year that I would be sat crying because I can't run thirteen miles, I would have laughed in your face.

Team Bangs On The Run and Run To The Beat training became absolutely everything to me. It was my next big project. I applied while I was living in Spain, and I remember receiving the email that I had made the Team (the only team I've ever been in, or been chosen for) while I was walking around my sleepy Spanish village at 8am.

Its hard to put into words what running has done for my life (without getting too deep and cheesetastic) and just how much I love to bits the 13 other girls I've met along the way. Because it wasn't just a race to me, and I don't think many other people will understand how it feels for something I've worked so hard for, now to be unachievable. It was going to be the first 'hard to reach' goal I would have ever achieved, something so far out of my comfort zone that has grown to be an enjoyable release. It would have been so amazing to have done that with all the girls by my side, who are just the most wonderful individuals I've ever known... But I also believe if something is or isn't meant to be, then that is what will happen. Maybe this just isn't for me. Or maybe just not this year.

I like to think I've done absolutely everything I possibly can to get this right, from numerous gait analysis', three pairs of trainers, ankle supports, doctors appointments, ibuprofen and ice packs, resting for days on end... If nothing else I've proved to myself, that I'm a lot more determined than I think, I've grown as a person, and learnt a lot along the way (especially about injuries and muscles!)

I imagined a post like this would come after the Race. And how fantastic it was, and how much I love the Team. But instead this will be my last running post for a while (sure some of you are glad :))

I need to focus on repairing this disaster body of mine and finding other ways of exercising, but one thing I know for sure is that I've found an activity I love, people I love and I won't let this put me off.

This isn't completely over, yet.



Saturday, 10 September 2011

Making Friends with Me.

I'm sure I'm not the only woman out there who has, at some point, truly fallen out with herself.

By this I mean, hating everything about what you see in the mirror; every bump, every wobble, every dimple or unplucked eyebrow hair. Disliking where you are, or what you're doing with your life. Whether its media pressure, what's considered 'the norm' or your own high expectations, by thinking this way you generally end up feeling - horrible.

Well this has been happening to me, on & off, for as long as I've been able to look in a mirror and think "urgh." It's not just a vanity thing, but a deep rooted mental state of mind that has led me to change (normally about twice a year) everything about myself.

Hair colours, styles (a lot of them bad, or home-done and terrible (which I'm not saying is a bad thing, I'm just an idiot and can't do it) I've dieted, been vegan, been vegetarian, been a pescatarian. I've done pilates, I've counted calories, I've been up at the crack of dawn to obsessively exercise. I've changed my wardrobe from rock - to - hippy - to - student - to - baggy awful things - to - what I thought would make me fit in. I've cried and cried and wasted tears pathetically on myself - but why?

I simply didn't know who I was. (and I'm not claiming I still do, exactly) but I now know, that "I like me."

And it may seem like an easy thing to say / type, but actually, it really isn't. Me & myself have a long way to go to end up deeply, head over heels in love with each other, but for now 'like' will do.

There are so many reasons to love you for who you are, inside & out. But heres just a few, in case you need reminding :)

  1. You are unique. There is only one of you in this entire world. Just one. Make the most of you, because you're special. In whichever way 'making the best of you' may be, play your own strengths, discover new ones, do what makes you happy and you will see the benefit.

  2. People like people who like themselves. There's a line between confidence and arrogance, but people who like themselves are attractive to other people, because more often than not their happiness / confidence spills out. Your inner goodness will be appealing.

  3. Life becomes easier. To an extent. Liking yourself is one less worry for you to hold. One more weight off your shoulders. You have more time to focus on what makes you happy, going out there and doing it.

  4. "If they don't like you, its their loss" - quote, my Great Grandma. Stop trying to make everybody happy, because the truth is you never will. Please you first. In this world it is me, myself, and I and while it is great to think of others, trying to please everyone is impossible. People come in and out of your life for a reason, appreciate them while they're there, but don't worry when they leave.

  5. You minimize self sabotage. If you don’t like yourself, if you deep down don’t really think you deserve what you go after then you will tend to sabotage for yourself. Perhaps in subtle ways. You may get a gut feeling that this success is wrong and so you start doing stuff that screws things up. If you like yourself there will be a lot less self made obstacles in your mind to overcome on your path to success.

I'm not saying I'll stop changing the colour of my hair ;) (actually thinking of going back brunette at the moment) but, I have finally, for the first time in my life, come to accept who I am. And I'm not embarrassed to say that I like me, and neither should you.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Knowsley Safari Park.

Whilst my friend was over from Spain, we spent one of the days at a [Knowsley] Safari park.

I love animals and it's always great to see them so close up! My favourites will always be Meerkats and seeing a few little pups that were only 3 months old was amazing!

I've also been playing around with photo templates and really love these ones. More to come!

Here are some of the Originals.

Believe it or not, there are still photos to come from that trip! London next...

Click here for more travel photography...


Monday, 5 September 2011

The Running Diaries : Part "Back In The Game!"

Say hello to my new Asics!

Yes, the title is right - I am officially back up and running! Yaaay!

I am ecstatic, beyond pleased, excited, nervous, happy, nervous some more.

The Half Marathon target has finally appeared at the end of the tunnel (again) and the goal is almost achievable - we're two weeks six days away exactly until 'the Big Day.'

By no stretch of the imagination has this been an easy ride;  to go from couch potato to running 10k - to running 8 miles - to hopefully running a half marathon but, I have done it. Whether people believe I can / should be doing it, regardless, I have achieved what I set out to do, and I don't think Run To The Beat will be any different.


Not running for 7 - 10 days and literally sitting on the sofa all day, every day, has really put into perspective just how much this means to me. I am by no means thinking this is about to be an easy journey, but my determination has grown further and all I want is - to do this.

Running has become a major thing in my life - if not, my entire life, and to be told I couldn't run was so disappointing. So imagine my face when I went to "Up & Running," in Leeds for another gait analysis - and I was running without any pain!

My ankle survived its first run in weeks, whilst changing trainers and on a treadmill. I tested the Asics out on a two mile trot this morning and they felt like heaven. It wasn't an easy run, but I've got a few days to get back up to speed.


To get back into action I looked into physiotherapy. Myofascial Massage came up - a soft tissue massage that will help loosen the tight / damaged muscle to repair, and in turn helping my ankle. So, I went straight ahead, booked my first session and on Thursday, Rachel from Leeds Massage Ltd came round to the house with her table.

"This might feel a bit like a Chinese burn." - I was wondering if I could limp away from that point. And oh my, God did it feel like burning! I've never known anything like it, but as soon as she was done with massaging my calf muscle for an hour, my right leg felt great (a bit sore, but good).

I had my second session today, and yes it is still painful - but I do believe its helping, and hopefully there won't be any more issues!

If you have sports / muscle related problems, I would definitely recommend it.

Now what?

Training. Training. Training!

Its back to the hard stuff. I went for a two mile run today, and will continue to slowly build up, hopefully getting in a 10k + run before the Race. Ideally it would have been a lot more, but, what can you do?

I need all your fingers crossed there are no more injuries and that I will make it round the Half Marathon in one piece! Please & thank you :)

Also - if you feel like donating any change to the cause, please do so here! ->

Click to read more Running Diaries.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

This Is Perfect.

You know when you come across one of those things on the internet, and it makes you want to shout;


Well this is it.

And I just had to share it.

Gina: Yeah, that’s nice right? Well, it doesn’t exist ok. Look at the hair. The hair is long, it’s flowing, it’s like a river. Well, it’s a fucking weave ok? And the tits, please! I could hang my overcoat on them. Tits by design were invented to be suckled by babies. Yes, they’re purely functional. These are silicon city. And look, my favorite, the shaved pubis. Pubic hair being too unruly and all. Very key. This is a mockery, this is a sham, this is bullshit. Implants, collagen, plastic, capped teeth, the fat sucked out, the hair extended, the nose fixed, the bush shaved…These are not real women, all right? They’re beauty freaks. And they make all us normal women with our wrinkles, our puckered boobs, and our cellulite feel somehow inadequate. Well I don’t buy it, all right? But you fucking mooks, if you think that if there’s a chance in hell that you’ll end up with one of these women, you don’t give us real women anything approaching a commitment. It’s pathetic. I don’t know what you think you’re going to do. You’re going to end up eighty-years old, drooling in some nursing home, then you’re going to decide, it’s time to settle down, get married, have kids? What, are you going to find a cheerleader?

Tommy: I think you’re over simplifying.

Gina: Oh eat me. Look at Paul. With his models on the wall, his dog named Elle McPherson. He’s insane. He’s obsessed. You’re all obsessed. If you had an once of self-esteem, of self-worth, of self-confidence, you would realize that as trite as it may sound, beauty is truly skin-deep. And you know what, if you ever did hook one of those girls, I guarantee you’d be sick of her.

Tommy: Yeah, I suppose I’d get sick of her after about, what, twenty or thirty years?

Gina: Get over yourself. No mater how perfect the nipple, how supple the thigh, unless there is some other shit going on in the relationship, besides the physical, it’s going to get old, ok? And you guys, as a gender, have got to get a grip. Otherwise, the future of the human race is in jeopardy.

You've got admit, it's pretty great, right?


Thursday, 1 September 2011


A continuation of the UK trip (plus a slight gap, sorry!)


I really loved this city, more than I thought I would, if we're being honest. I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got there. Beautiful buildings, gorgeous parks and sunshine! 


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