Friday, 26 February 2016

My Lenten Promise.

It’s currently just over two weeks into Lent, which for me means 40 days and 40 nights of trying (and sometimes failing) not to eat crisps and chocolate. The thing is I’m not really all that religious but for whatever reason, maybe it IS a higher power, I am finally able to exercise some semblance of self-control.

For those who didn’t spend 13 years in the Catholic school system, Pancake day is simply a wonderful excuse to eat batter based treats but for me, Shrove Tuesday has always marked the start of a personal challenge. A campaign against my gluttonous, greedy ways.

I have half-heartedly been on a diet since my early teens, trying to find the secret to skinny. Along the way I’ve mostly just discovered how much I bloody love carbs, and cheese and things that are deep-fried. 

My relationship with exercise is also predictably rocky. I love the way it makes me feel when I get there but the biggest hurdle is getting out of the door. This exercise dread often wins and with that comes an oppressive wave of guilt (the Catholicism coming out to play again).

I may seem like somewhat of a hypocrite, embracing one religious practice while ignoring many of the others but for this small period of time I can try a little harder, push a little further and eat a little less rubbish. And once it’s all over, who knows, maybe I’ll be a changed woman…

…or maybe not.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016


A few months ago I started writing this piece for the annual Elle Writing Competition but predictably I got distracted by real life (most likely a Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathon or some sort of baked good) and didn’t submit it in time. The subject was ‘Relationship Goals’ and this is the egotistical outcome…

I have a wonderfully supportive family, effervescent and inspiring friends and a loyal and loving boyfriend. I am lucky in that I am surrounded by positive people who enrich my life in so many ways. For me, the relationship that takes the most work is the one I have with myself.

At 28 I feel less like myself than ever. I can be plagued with insecurities and irrational anxieties. At school I was smart, at university I was partying and now, in my late twenties, I sometimes feel lost.

The older I get, the more self-critical I become. It’s easy to doubt my talents, question my purpose and criticise my body. Once a bold and confident clotheshorse I now find myself in loose fitting black clothing or baggy boyfriend jeans. I don’t feel sexy or pretty, so I cover up, which in turn makes me feel less sexy and less pretty.

And it’s not just the superficial things that lead me to a semi-schizophrenic war on myself: I no longer believe my own hype. Back in the day I’d fake it till I made it, but now I regularly work myself into a tizzy desperately trying to impress.

I don’t think that the humble hashtag is helping. Social Media makes it easy for us to worship false goals: the ultimate bikini body, the Pinterest-perfect abode, the sexy, shiny social set. We now constantly compare our apparently mediocre lives with the carefully curated snapshots of others. At what cost?

I’ve decided that in 2016 I will work to maintain my marvellous relationships, take each day as the glorious gift that it is and above all, be kind to myself. This is not a goal, it’s a mantra.

N.B. #RelationshipGoals has a whopping 2,031,388 posts on Instagram. Let's stop posting our ambitions on the Internet and instead work on making them a reality.