Sunday, 28 May 2017

Morning nerves

Do you ever feel like you have been waiting for something so long that it's actually a big surprise when it finally arrives? That's how I feel right now. 
I'm sat down, just a few hours away one from attending my first ever race. A fucking half marathon. 
I can't believe it's here. I signed up months ago and it's finally the day. I'm incredibly nervous, I've slept really badly because of it and I'm worried I'm going to be pushing myself too much today. 

I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far though. Under my own steam I've been training for today. I've been my own motivator and coach and it's definitely not been an easy journey. 
I've seen my fitness improving slowly but surely yet I'm worried it's not going to be enough for today. 
I remember back in March when I was signing up distinctly thinking I could always quit beforehand if I don't train enough.
I'm really glad I didn't. Although a part of me is annoyed at myself nonetheless for not having quit already. Yep, it's pretty noisy in my head at the moment. 
Still, today I'm going to give it my all. I'm not looking for a time, simply to finish in one piece. The journey itself has been an achievement for me and I can't wait to finally complete this bloody race!  

What are your tips for pre race nerves? 
Abi x

Saturday, 13 May 2017

I don't need your validation

In my head that's said to the intro of Rolling Stones Satisfaction... It seems a dramatic title but actually it's meant as a gentle nudge of education.
I consider myself quite a confident person, I'm mostly quite comfortable in my own skin. To me, a lot of that comes from the fact that I don't use others opinions of me to validate my own. 
Deep, I know. It's something that is easier to say than do. It's something that's taken me a few years to really accept about myself. In fact I used to think I was a bit weird growing up because I didn't seem to want the same stuff other girls at school wanted. 
From 14+ I stopped paying attention to what the popular kids were doing because it was never things I could see myself doing. I would spend every minute available reading, to the extent that I'd read whilst walking between classes(yes, I did fall over a few times) because that's what I enjoyed doing. 

I was lucky in that I had a small core group of friends(you know who you are) who understood that that's what I'd do every lunch and break. People that knew I would crack sarcastic  comments and slightly inappropriate remarks at every opportunity. I didn't need the validation of the people around me to be myself. Instead of made friends with people who would accept me as I wanted to be. To me, that meant that the only person who's opinion I would be bothered by was my own.

What I'm saying is, at the end of the day, surround yourself with people who make you relaxed. If you catch yourself acting other than you would naturally  ask yourself why is that? Why don't you feel you comfortable being yourself around them? 

I guess what this rambles mess is trying to say is that we don't need others validation. It's such a bloody simple thing but it can take years to actually live it.

Abi x

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pinky pins haul

Hey guys! This post is actually pretty self explanatory. I recently took the plunge and bought a denim jacket. Doesn't sound like much of a plunge but it really is for me. For a long time I had this idea that they didn't suit me. I'm not sure where this came from but I decided to challenge it. 
I literally tried on about 20 jackets that I'd liked on the hanger and I was surprised to find most then looked alright. (Shocking). 
In the end I chose this bad boy from Forever 21. It was a steal at £23 ( plus I used my blue light card for an extra 10% off). My only bug bear is that if has two fake pockets at the top. Like why do clothes manufacturers do that? It's seriously bloody annoying haha. Otherwise I really love my wee jacket, and have worn a lot with this nice weather we've had going on.
In order to do it justice for me though, I wanted to add a little bit of chars here to it. 
If you look online there's tons of places selling patches and pins at the moment. For me, I wanted try out Punky Pins, there products always seem to have that little extra something. I like the variety in patches but pins just appeal to me more in general. So I ended up picking out three badass pins.
Here's what I got:

I'll admit the book pin is channeling my inner spirit. I saw it and wanted it haha. The feminist pin was too cute not to get, although I think they missed a trick on not calling the Gem-inist... The final pin I chose was this Alice pin which I stole for half price from the sale. 
Altogether this is what they look like: 
It's only a like affect but I think they look pretty cool. 
The prices for most of the pins were around £6-£8, with a few half price In the sale. They came really quickly too which was a bonus. Arrived all wrapped in cute tissue paper that I totally forgot to take pic of because... I'm a bad blogger lmao. 
Overalll I'm made up with my purchases and the little extra something they add to my look. 

Have you seen any nice pins? Which ones should I get next? 

Abi x

Ps this isn't sponsored or nowt, I'm just a happy bunny with my purchases! 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Running, so far...

If I'm honest, this wasn't the post I wanted to write today. I wanted to talk about the good things that have happened recently, talk about the amazing CarnLIVal event that happened the other week, my work on self-dating and other fun things. They all involve a certain degree of happiness to do them justice. Today however, at the time of writing, I'm in a foul mood. It's hard to say why but today I'm definitely much lower in mood.

With that in mind I wanted to talk about a more neutral topic. So that those other posts can be written when I can truly do them justice. This post is instead about a more neutral topic. Today I want to chat about my running progress so far.

At the time of posting I'm around a month away from the half marathon. My first ever race. Part of me I amazed that I have managed to keep up my training. I'm slowly falling in love with running. 
It has so many amazing effects in me that I'm seriously glad I signed up in the first place.
At the moment I'm running roughly three times a week. I'll admit on my longer runs I'm not getting in as many miles as I'd have wanted to by this point, but I'm also not far off my aims. 
The crunch point for me is the speed. In averaging around 13:30 minutes per mile on my better runs. So I've started doing more sprint work and incline running to really push myself.
I don't know what to expect on race day, but I'm really hoping I can push myself that little faster in the moment.
Until then, all I can do is keep training. Stay motivated and keep challenging myself appropriately. 
Any tips for me?
Abi X

Monday, 10 April 2017

It's okay to have setbacks

Well, hello there leading title... It's true though. It's okay to not get things right the first time round. It's okay to not know what you want, to play it safe. 
It's also okay to take risks, to experiment. It's not often life throws a curveball that gives you a chance to explore and get to know yourself better. 
It's okay to try new things and get it wrong. Maybe you don't really suit red hair, but how will you know unless you try it?
It's okay to push yourself and realise you're still in those same old habits. I mean, yet became habitual for a reason? It's the comfort zone, the well worn path.  Even if you hadn't realised it, it's okay to say stop, this isnt what I was after. Or that that attempt to change the pattern don't quite work.
It's okay to not have a plan. To want to explore avenues. It's okay to accept help from those around you, it doesn't make you any less independent. No one has more power over you than you do. 

I guess what this post is trying to say is that it's okay to be you. Even if you're not yet sure what that means.

Abi x

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Self-date 1: Romantic stroll

If you're a bit confused about the title of today's post then I recommend you read this post here. Today I'm talking you through my first "self-date" in which I went for a walk along the stunning Liverpool waterfront.

Now, admittedly going by myself meant the romance was turned down low. Yet it was so freeing to do something purely because I wanted to. 
I'd planned to do a little shopping, pick up a few bits I needed but it was such a sunny day I couldn't resist walking down to the docks. Could you?
It was genuinely so relaxing. I was in no rush and even treated myself to a cheeky ice cream. 
If you're ever up in Liverpool I'd absolutely recommend a walk round the docks. It's a place steeped in history and amazing architecture. It's full of cute shops, cool bars and yummy restaurants.Great if you're with others or flying solo like me.

Where do you recommend I go on my next self-date?

Abi x

Self-date 2: Networking

Okayyy, so technically this isn't a date but hear me out. After attending the #livbloggersignite I took the advice of the Future Boss Club and signed up for a few networking events on Eventbrite.
The first of which was a really cool launch party for Spaces in the beautiful Tea Factory building on Wood Street.
Still confused how this relates to dating?? Well the way I see it is that it takes quite a bit of courage to attend an event completely out of your sphere of influence, knowing no one and network like a star. It was a little bit of a trial of fire for me. I wanted be confident in myself and my brand, even if it is only a wee blog where I talk to myself! It gave me a chance to talk about the passion and time I spend with Blue Striped Square.
The chance to meet new people and talk about their passions. To... try yummy food and lose at Scalextric racing. 
I had great night in total even if i did feel a tad out of place at times! 
The event was a launch party or an amazing set of office spaces. Like, drop dead amazing. It's made me very jealous that I work in a very big standard office in a hospital. My office certainly doesn't equipped with a totally modern shared kitchen or unisex toilets. It doesn't have the opportunity to network with new people and creatively interact. It doesn't come in a stunning architectural mix of old brick and modern glass. 

Abi X
No question today but I dare you to challenge yourself! 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017


I read a lovely post by Northern Blood the other day, talking about how, before we date others we should date ourselves. Deep right? It really struck home to me and reminded me of a point I made in this post.

Having been in long term relationship my whole adult life, one that has now ended, my sense of self has taken a hit. 
I've made lots of positive changes ( and loving them) but I'm still feeling a little lost at times. 
Going back to that blog post by Northern Blood, she recommends everyone should date themselves( at any point in life). To me, this sounds like a fun way to get to know myself again as well as adjusting to being a single pringle. 
So watch this space guys...

Abi x

Still not sold on it? Then check out Abbey's blog post,she gives a few pros to it!

Round up 1: with #LivBloggersIgnite

Things are a little busy at the moment, so I thought it would be nice to start doing a few wee round uo posts. Todays post is about last Saturday, I felt like I didn't stop all day!

The driving lesson
I'm cracking my way through these now, even starting a few maneuvers. Its creeping close rto my theory test so I'll be hitting the books very soon, eek!

Blog events are like buses, nothing for ages then two come along at once! This Saturday I was lucky enough to attend the #LivBloggersIgnite workshop in Liverpool. It was lovely to see lot of local bloggers again and meet a few new faces, in the cutesy Tapas restaurant Roja Pinchos. The event consisted on a few different talks, all quite detailed and varying around blogging. My favourite was probably the one by Future Boss Club leader Jayne who challenged us to up our Networking game. Also received talks from Edward Ridding about Wordpress, Jurga all about #INSPO mag and a finale from Jenny Mugridge. We all received a cheeky free glass of Cava and a snazzy Goody bag! (Bonus).
 There was also a classic selfie spot but I'm afraid the red light made it a wee bit demonic!Thanks Ruth for the invite!

Anarchist book fair
Held just down the road from the blogger event was an anarchist book fair. I had a lovely stroll through it and even picked up a wee book. Admittedly I didn't get the one I really wanted as I didn't have enough change. Still, it was a cool thing to stuble upon.

Race evening
Finally, until the twee hours of the morning I was at a charity race evening for our local cadets unit(which my sister takes part in). It was great fun and 20% of the profits went to the victims of the New Ferry explosion.

Quite a busy day, wouldn't you agree?
Have you enjoyed this style of post?

Abi x

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Looking forward

After my last post I felt it was only fair if I told you a few things I've been doing lately to keep positive. Mostly I've been making plans, giving myself things to count down to instead of counting how long since.... 
1. Dying my hair// this is something I've wanted to do again for ages. Hopefully by the time this post goes live I'll have had it done 🙌
2. Races// I've signed up to two over the summer. It's not easy but the training has been keeping me busy and actually making me feel pretty good about myself(bonus). 
3. Blog events// these seem to be like buses, I have had none for a while then two come along at once! I had such fun at the #Carlival event before Christmas that it's giving me all the giddy feels for the next few weeks! 
4. Blogging// not just the events, I've been really enjoying writing at the moment. It's cathartic to have somewhere you can just spew out words and feelings.
5.Driving// the lessons continue and I'm inching my way closer to being a fully qualified driver!

There we have it, a few things on my radar at the moment. Between these lot and work and friends, my plate is pretty darn full. In fact it's great, and I'm loving the positive changes I've been making.

What's going on with you guys? 

Abi x

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Surviving the end of a long term relationship

Well, that's a loaded title and a half. If you hadn't guessed from that title, I recently left a long term relationship. I won't give you all the juicy details, but we were together 4 and a half years, lived together and he initiated the ending. Yeah....

As you can imagine, it's thrown me for a loop. The setup of my life has suddenly changed. The plans and future I was aiming for suddenly stopped existing.
I never really realised how intertwined our lives were until they weren't. 

Self identity:
To me, being with someone was a crucial part of my self identity. It gave me confidence and security that I've never had on my own. I haven't been single in nearly 5 years, thats a long fecking time.

I loved where we were living. It was a wee part of the country in drivable distance of cities.  The key word being drivable. Public transport did exist but poorly. So for work, instead I cycled. I would often have a lift from the ex or family for social things but I'd also avoid doing things after work because it was such a faff. It made me incredibly isolated and lonely at times.We were living there based on requirements for his uni course. 
But now? Now I'm back with my parents, 5 years after first moving out and it's a heck of an adjustment.

Leading on from that, you would expect a division in friends. For me, this didn't happen. We didn't have many(well none) mutual friends any more. I probably should have taken that as a sign.

This is something Im really struggling with at the moment. Quite a few of the things I enjoyed were introduced to me by my ex. Part of me wants to avoid them at all costs but the truth is that would make me more miserable not less. It's a choice you have to make on an individual basis.

This is a big one. I'm sorry if it grosses you out but it's just as important as everything else I've talked about. Essentially I have been with the same person so so so long. It's hard for me to sit here and imagine kissing any one else. It feels weird. 
Even stranger is my sexuality. It's not something that comes up a lot but I identify as bisexual. I always have. Yet it's often over looked because I was in cisgender long term monogamous Herero relationship. It's strange for me to recognise those feelings again after so long. At the end of the day, when I do start dating again it's not going to be simple. 

I debated writing this post, because of how personal I knew it would get. In the end, writing it helped me think things through and I hope it helps others. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

20 thoughts on your first driving lesson

I recently posted about how I've finally, after lots of deliberation and stress, finally started driving lessons. It's not something I take lightly and I'm still scared shitless every time I'm behind the wheel. So in an attempt to bring a bit of humour to the situation I came up with the post about what went through my head before my first lesson. Enjoy... 

1. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god
2. Is it too late to cancel? 
3. Shut the instructors here...
4. Thank the Lord, I'm in the passenger seat, can't harm anyone from here
5. Cool were going to a quiet road.
6. Da fuck are we?
7. Okay, it's time
8. I'm getting the cockpit drill( must not giggle)
9. It's time to set off
10. Mental screaming
11.*at 10mph* this isn't so bad
12. Woah were up to 20 mph, I'm not ready for this
13. Turn left?? Can't we keep going straight...
14. Successfully navigated the corner
15. And another...
16. We literally going circle here lol
17. Time to pull over
18. MUST not hit that tree
19. Annnnnd we stall to a stop
20. Same again next week?

In truth I'm up to my fourth lesson now and while I'm still very nervous in also kinda loving it.

Can you drive? 
Abi x

Monday, 6 March 2017

Blog tour: Dead Embers by Matt Brolly

Hey everybody! So in todays post were talking about the latest installment about DCI Lambert. I was lucky enough to be included in the blog tour for the newest novel, Dead Embers.

A little bit about the book:

Title: Dead Embers (DCI Michael Lambert #3)
Author: Matt Brolly
Release Date: 6th March 2017
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: Canelo
Format: ebook


 We pick up with DCI Lambert following what appears to be a house fire but inside the bodies of a senior police officer and her husband is found. Their child, traumatized but alive. It starts this way, drawing you in with the cruel deaths and becomes a twisting tale of terror and deception. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and the ending in particular was stellar. Theres nothing worse than a crime thriller that doesnt have a satisfying ending for me!
Now, I haven't read the first two books in the series but I can assure Dead Embers is readable as a stand alone novel. At times the back up of information from the previous books is a little tedious but that settles down past the first few chapters. Its hardly a complaint as it allows Dead Embers to be taken as a whole, and not judged compared to the other books.

Overall, I throughly recommend the book. I'm giving it a 8.5/10 rating, and hopefully I'll get chance to read the first two in the series soon!

About the author:

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

Would you read this book?
Abi x