Come Join Me Over Here!

Hi there!

I'm glad you've come to read my blog, but unfortunately I don't live here any more!

Feel free to trawl through my archives or look up my posts on Scoliosis which will always be at home here, but when you're ready please come and join me at my new home:

See you there!

Catherine Ann x

Friday, 30 August 2013

Surrounded by Awesome... Pixipots!

Welcome to this weekend's "surrounded by awesome" post! I was so excited about this one that I suppose I'm a day or two early, but I felt like I was on a roll! I'm really enjoying researching and writing these... if you think you'd be an ideal candidate for "surrounded by awesome" please do contact me by emailing or leaving a comment below and I'll be in touch! I always send people my article to be OK-ed before I post it, so don't worry about me being mean! I always write about things I'm excited about anyway, so if you want me to plug your product/project/personality then please, don't hesitate. 

Now, onto Pixipots! 

As some of you know, a while ago I was asked to write an article about bullying for, who also agreed to advertise my art competition on their facebook page. While I’m not a member of my local group due to other commitments, I’ve followed their projects for a couple of months now. It’s really struck me how enthusiastic everyone is, always willing to lend a hand and help young people shine.

Someone who’s certainly shone is nineteen-year-old Vanessa Mulhall. With the help of Foroige’s Youth Entrepreneurship Programme NFTE, she has set up her own business. NFTE encourages enterprise among young people and teaches them how to be successful in business.

Enterprise is defined as people using their initiative to come up with ideas that they can turn into a business, and that’s exactly what this young lady has done. Vanessa’s very own enterprise takes the form of “Pixipots”. The idea for Pixipots came when she caught sight of a ceramic ornament in her grandmother’s house which always made her smile. Suddenly there it was... an idea! She decided to decorate plant pots so that they could be used for storage and ornaments. Off she went to Art and Hobby to get paint and decorations. She was delighted with how her first pot turned out and saw an opportunity from it!

I think that the unique selling point of Pixipots is that they’re fun, colourful and totally homemade. For me, it makes a huge difference knowing that your ornament or desk tidy has been hand-painted with care by someone who really loves what they’re doing and is willing to put time and effort into it. For me, there’s something so special about that.

At first, Vanessa set up Pixipots as a way of earning a little extra cash (which we’d all love to do!) but as time has passed it’s clear how passionate she has become about her craft. Anyone can see that she loves what she is doing—she has been working on Pixipots for three years now, after all! Such commitment has led to her selling pots to people like government representatives! So far she has sold over 300 pots!

I know that embarking on something like this can be really tough and requires a lot of willpower. I was curious to see how Vanessa had changed as a person since beginning her business. She told me that before she started Pixipots she was shy and quiet. Now, she finds herself talking to people she’s never met! She’s much more outgoing and confident, which she never would have expected. I’ve been emailing her back and forth and her confidence is clear as well as her passion for what she does.

Interestingly, she doesn’t actually see herself as an artist and wouldn’t dream of studying art in college. She really enjoys making the pots but doesn’t want art to become a “job” for her, which I understand. Sometimes, it’s best to keep a pastime separate from your work or education.

I really admire Vanessa’s commitment and wish her all the best! If you’re interested in buying a Pixipot, you can check out her blog. I found her on Twitter but I’ve just looked at her Facebook page and I think that’s the place to go, it has pictures of a variety of Pixipots as well as more information and updates! 

Now I’m off to clear a space on my desk for one of these bad boys! 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

A Healthy Appetite... Take Three!

So this is my totally originally and inventively titled third “healthy appetite” post...  Let’s go over the plans.
Week one, I decided to do half an hour’s exercise every day and stop eating so many unhealthy snacks. Both of these have gone really well! I’ve actually found the exercise to be enjoyable, great when I’m stressed out after a long day—I just go for a jog. It’s not really strenuous stuff, but I’m feeling better for it. The snacking’s reduced a lot, too: I’ve started really pausing to think about whether I’m actually hungry. If I am, then sure, I’ll have something, but if I’m not, I know that I’d just be snacking out of boredom, so I just go and do something else.

Week two, and two more resolutions were added to the list—remember, these are being accumulated. I’m not just forgetting the previous week when it ends! So on top of more moving and less snacking, I also decided to spend less time on the computer and cut down on my caffeine intake. The computer resolution has kind of been followed, but I really should have set specific time limits. Now I have things to do for school, I’m on it a lot less, and I’ve handwritten most of my stories or blog posts so I can type them up quickly without multiple trips to Facebook. This still does need a lot of work, though, but hopefully the back-to-school timetable I’ve written will help a lot. Does anyone have any tips for staying off the social networks?

Cutting the caffeine has actually been fun! I’ve only just realised how dependent I was on my tea and coffee. Initially, I missed the instant wakefulness I’d get in the morning, but I’m enjoying a more gradual refreshing experience these days: initially I’ll be tired, but once I’m awake my energy lasts longer. I’ve been drinking herbal teas mostly, allowing myself one cup of regular tea/coffee a day, but to be honest right now I’m not feeling the need for it that much. I’ve been drinking a new tea, Barry’s Lemon and Ginger, which I am in love with and would highly recommend. It’s really tasty and has a warming spice to it, which was the kind of thing I’d miss from regular tea. The only negative was that the tea bags kept breaking leaving me perilously close to either choking on tea leaves or finding "The Grim" in the bottom of my cup! I think I just got part of a bad batch though! 

(Look Tiger and Duchess, I'm using the mug you got me!)

This has also helped with the snacking as I don’t feel such a need for a biscuit or cake as I would if I had a regular cup of tea. Other teas I enjoy are mixed berry tea, which I have as a treat with a spoonful of honey—so tasty—and occasionally a peppermint tea. Question: does anyone actually enjoy green tea? I know it’s good for you and all, and I think I know one, maybe two people who like it, but seriously? In the words of Elephant: “I don’t think you’re supposed to like it. It's just god for you.” Would love to know, comment if you’re a fan! Defend your beverage!

Now, onto this Thursday’s resolutions!  I’ve decided to add an extra hour of exercise to my week at some point, probably on the weekends, where I’ll go for a long walk or a swim, or maybe look into starting some aerobics or something... this could be fun! I’m also going to try and organise the way I eat during the school day so I have healthy food that actually fills me up till I can eat again—yes everyone, that was my stomach rumbling during Irish. And biology. Sorry. I’ll be posting about that soon, with lots of recipes if I find them! My big problem seems to be finding a healthy break-time snack that’s more filling than just a piece of fruit...
Since that last one wasn’t really a proper, life-changing thing, I’m also going to try drinking my eight glasses of water per day, as I tend to forget this when I go back to school. Dehydration just makes it hard to concentrate and I always feel like rubbish when I haven’t drunk enough.

With school just back, I think that’s enough to be getting on with!

I hope you guys are enjoying these posts and I really look forward to sharing my recipes with you. I’m doing the last post next week, but I’ll come back to this in a couple of months to let you all know if I’m sticking to my plans! As always, I’d love to hear about your resolutions. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

School... La Rentrée

That’s right: the French language has a whole entire word for that time in August or September when we all head back to school. I wish we had one in the English language because, no matter how you feel about it, la rentrée is kind of a big deal...

Many of us have to admit, myself included, that going back to school can be kind of exciting. Fresh new notebooks and schoolbags, brightly coloured pens and pencils... then there are the healthy school lunches I’ll be showing you (which, let’s be honest, usually last for about a week...) and seeing your friends each day or even making new ones.

Sometimes, however, the return to school can come with a lot of apprehension. Maybe you’re worried about starting somewhere new or going into an exam year like me.

This time last year, Wolf and I were about to begin Fifth Year, so we made a list of things we’d do to make it all more bearable. I don’t recall that we actually stuck to it, but it was nice to give ourselves something to look forward to and to know that the next year wouldn’t entirely be gloom and stress.

Here are a few things you might like to try to make the next term, especially if it’s a tough one, a little more manageable.

·         Plan things to look forward to. Once in a while, do something really fun and make a memory—in a couple of weeks, Bambi, Crow, Bambi’s boyfriend and I will all be going to see the author Patrick Ness in Dublin, so I’ll have that to look forward to if ever a day really drags. Intersperse your “memory makers” with little “treats” like a long chat with a friend over coffee or an evening painting your nails... (do any boys want to weigh in here???) I plan to publish a list of such “treats” in a later post, but today I had another idea. I’m also going to make a bucket list of fun things I’d love to do in school. I got the idea when a teacher let down her teacup and said to Wolf and I that she hoped nobody took it... suddenly it seemed like the best idea ever to just steal a teacher’s mug of tea (I was really tired). So I thought I’d make a list of fun stuff like that, only obviously where everyone finds it funny and nobody suffers! Last year, I put up a poster in the girls’ bathroom saying “The chamber of secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir beware...” (yes everyone, it was I) and got an accomplice to do the same in the boys’.  The list is planned for next Tuesday (sticking to the Blog Book!) so look out!
·         Have some junk on hand. I know I’ve been going on about healthy living lately, and it’s totally important when you go back to school, but just occasionally you’re going to come home with a mountain of work to do and you’ll need some good old-fashioned rubbish to keep you going. You’ll need that bag of Haribos to dip into halfway through an essay, or those cheesy puffs to nibble on when you settle down with your notes. Last year I made a roll of cookie dough and froze it, slicing off pieces to bake so I had fresh cookies whenever I wanted.
·         Exercise. As I’ve actually been doing some lately, I’ve realised that it can be a great stress buster—I know, I know why haven’t I been doing it all along?. Fit a jog or walk into your routine so that next time you get frustrated over the workload, you can pound your frustration on the pavement and let the fresh air clear your head.

So these are my tips, in case you feel like you’ve got the world on your shoulders! (Picture courtsey of Mollie)

Monday, 26 August 2013

School... Doom and Desolation

Before I start, I just want to apologise that this post is late, even though none of you were really waiting for it. I have a new "blog book" now where I write out all my plans and posts, so I can keep on top of everything. Sadly, this didn't account for my internet totally cutting out yesterday. I live kind of in the middle of nowhere, so this may happen a fair bit. Rest assured, I'm not dead... just pretty irritated at times ;) 

Ok folks. A couple of nights back I had the first of the Leaving Cert Dreams. Which is a lot earlier than expected: I’ve got around nine months to go, after all. Holy crap: nine months? Is that all? I’ve just panicked myself by typing that. God.

Basically, I’d been looking at prospectuses (interestingly, as discovered by Bambi and I a while back, not prospecti), and talking to my family about personal statements (I plan to apply through UCAS) and the grades I would need. This led to me having a dream of opening an envelope full of C3s and Ds and not knowing how it had happened. It was horrible.

Doing well at school has always been really important to me. For the most part, I enjoy going to school—the learning aspect, anyway. Even when I was having a hard time with issues like bullying, there was still a part of me that knew it was important to suffer through this as long as I got to come to school and be the best student I could be. It was also around this time I first started looking at universities, because I’ve always said that the worst feeling in the world is not having anything to look forward to. If you’re having a bad time, you should look to the future, visualise a place you’ll be happy, and think about what you need to do to get there.

So about three years ago, I began to look at universities in Britain. I’ve since more or less decided on going there for many reasons: lots of my family live over there, I have some experience as my parents, Tiger, Duchess, Elephant and Panther all did the same, I like the idea of the university considering all attributes as opposed to just points... there are several factors in my decision. I’ve also been looking at the Scottish system and it seems more diverse than the English and Welsh ones—you can study modules from up to four subjects over the course of your degree. If you were to ask me this second what university I’d like to go to, I’d probably say Edinburgh: it seems to have everything I’m looking for. I’ll probably do a profile of some unis later so you can all tell me what you think. If you’re applying here or abroad, I’d love to hear about your choices and why you made them.

The bottom line, however, is that no matter where I decide to go: if I want to go to Britain or somehow drastically change my mind and end up staying here or indeed leaving for Australia, Canada, America... one thing will be certain—I’m going to need the best grades possible to give me the most amount of choice.

I feel like now is the time to apologise in advance to my friends for the nervous wreck I’ll inevitably become at some point over the next year. To Phoenix and Wolf who will have to suffer through school with me: I’m sorry if I get stressed out and bite your heads off. To Bambi: I’m sorry if I forget to read all your stuff or get jealous of how well you do at school. To Crow: I’m sorry if I act like a complete girl and demand constant sympathy for stuff that doesn’t even matter. And to my parents: for all of the above and more, I’m sorry, but in a year’s time I’ll be out of your hair (or lack thereof, in dad’s case), so just bear with me please. 

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be posting on the theme of school again. I’ll talk about studying and all the stresses that come with it, but I’m also going to add some healthy lunch recipes, so it won’t all be heavy!

Later on, I’ll be opening up an “Ask Mr. Minnock” section. Some of you may know that my dad was a teacher for many years, and an award-winning one at that. He helps me with anything I need school-wise, perhaps if I didn’t understand the way the teacher explained a topic (or if they didn’t) and he's very knowledgeable about the different ways in which various people learn and revise. Right now he’s been  working on maths with me, and I have to say he’s one of the only teachers I’ve ever had who doesn’t make me feel like a complete idiot when I don’t understand something.

So if you have a question or are struggling with something at school, simply send an email to with “Ask Mr. Minnock” as the subject and I’ll pass it on to him. No matter how massive or miniscule the issue is, he’ll either find you an answer or find someone else who can help.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

When All Else Fails... Cakepops.

Some of you may recall me mentioning a few weeks back that I'd bought one of those new giant cupcake moulds and was dying to try it out! I decided to make a cake for Duchess and Tiger's arrival, recklessly disregarding the rule that you never try something new on a special occasion.

In short, it was a complete and utter disaster. I had to make two lots of mixture as I underestimated the size, then due to some problem to do with a) the fan in the oven and b) the fact that the two parts of the cake were very different sizes, there was a very burnt-on-the-outside-raw-on-the-inside type situation...

Also, it rose wrong.

What was I to do? Not one to let these things get to me (ha, ha), I *calmly* made up some bright pink butter icing, crumbled the salvageable cake, mixed them together and shaped into cake pops.

But I still wanted it to be some kind of feature. Cake pops, cookies and cupcakes are all very well (very, very, very well in fact), but nothing beats that sense of occasion that comes with a cake.

So I simply piled them up on a board and did some decorating! A cross between cake pops and a croque en bouche, by the looks of things... pretty yummy, though!

Go forth, readers, and make the best out of your ridiculous mess-ups! 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Healthy Appetite... Cut the Caffeine!

Hi guys! I’m sticking with my plan to incorporate two new things into my regime every week! Last week it was doing half an hour’s exercise every day, which has actually been fun! I’ve mostly been walking or jogging, nothing major, but I also started on some other exercise routines which I was kind of surprised to find myself enjoying! I think I will keep this up and then up the ante in the next few weeks. The other thing I tried to do was eat less unhealthy snacks which, aside from a pitfall in the shape of a burger and chips, (oh and some muffins, but that was a special occasion!), has gone really well as you can see by my recipes!
I hope I can keep these up! Now, onto this week. My next two goals will be to stop consuming so much caffeine and stop spending so much time on the computer! I think these’ll probably be pretty hard as they’re both things we can get addicted to in one way or another.

It’s no secret that I love tea. There’s nothing I like better than curling up in front of the telly with a hot cup of tea in my hand! Everyone knows me for enjoying a cuppa, so much so that Bambi’s little sister once came into a room where about six of us were sitting, totally ignored everyone else and said to me “Would you like a cup of tea?” While it was awesome to be singled out and waited on, it’s probably not a good sign... I’m also really fond of coffee on occasion. And then there’s iced coffee. Iced tea. Various soft drinks.

So I’ve decided to cut caffeine as much as possible this week, to see what kind of effect it has on me! I think this will also help with my snacking: when I have a cup of regular tea, there’s always the urge for biscuits or cake, but not so much when I drink a cup of herbal/ fruit tea. We’re not exactly short of variety in my house due to a gift I gave my equally tea-loving mum for her last birthday... I’ll be very interested to see how it all turns out. I’ve found a whole list of foods which supposedly wake you up more naturally than a cup of coffee, so I’ll try some out and review them for next week’s post. They include water, apples, almonds, dark chocolate (wahey!), and bananas to name but a few. I’ll be spoiled for choice, don’t you worry!

The computer one’s gonna be pretty hard, though. I’ve been overly fond of Facebook since I joined, and I always type when writing fiction because my ideas move faster than most known pens... but since I started blogging it’s gotten a little out of hand (no offense, I love you guys), coupled with the fact that some of the people I’m now closest to live pretty far away. I could spend hours writing or reading blog posts, connecting with other bloggers or just chatting on Facebook/Twitter. Even my mum’s noticed that I need to cut down and I’ve agreed with her.

I went camping with my friends at the weekend, so I managed to live without the internet for a little while... I’m now going to try hand-writing my drafts for posts and then just typing them up, remembering that the world won’t end if I don’t check Facebook and setting time limits for when I just need to step away from the computer and go outside for some good old fresh air and exercise!

...This may mean I’ll have to learn how to talk to my friends on the phone. Gulp.

So those are my two new goals for this week! I’ll let you know how I get on in next week’s post! Wish me luck... 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Food, Glorious Food... Low Fat Lemon Cake

Today’s recipe is still part of my “Healthy Appetite” theme, but it’s actually a really yummy cake! You need a treat every now and again, but this cake is pretty innocent as it doesn’t contain any butter! I was pretty sceptical at first (in fact I’ve seen the recipe in my book for a decade and never tried it) but as it’s Delia Smith I thought I may as well show my commitment to my favourite chef (and my healthy regime!) and give it a whirl!

It turned out to be so great that I wondered: why haven’t I been doing this all along? I thought I’d share it with you guys, but I made a few changes to the recipe. Hers was for a “whisked fatless sponge”  but I decided to make it a lemon drizzle in case it needed extra flavour (it probably wasn’t the healthiest edition to douse it in sugar and lemon juice, but there it is, you can’t have everything). I also substituted a little wholemeal flour for added fibre, which made for a really good texture. The cake was a little drier than a buttery sponge, but I actually found this rather nice!
I strongly recommend that you adapt this to suit your favourite cake recipes. If anyone wants to try chocolate, I feel like that would be amazing!

50g (2oz) Plain Flour
25g (1oz) Wholemeal Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
3 Eggs
75g (3oz) Sugar
1 Lemon
2 tbsp Sugar (for the topping)
An Electric Mixer (or Damn Manly Man with a handheld whisk, but I recommend the former)

1) Separate the eggs and place the whites in the bowl of the electric mixer (or hand them to your Damn Manly Man and tell him they questioned his authority). Whisk until they are a white cloud which will remain in a peak if you make one with your spoon.

2) Meanwhile, mix the yolks with the sugar and beat them with a fork until thick and pale.

3) Zest the lemon and mix the peel in with the yolk and sugar. Then add the flour, baking powder and egg whites alternately, a spoon at a time. It’s important to fold them in as gently as possible (and I never say this) so that the air you incorporated into the egg whites stays there and helps the mixture rise.

4) Pour the mix into a lined tin and bake at 180° for 25-30 mins, or until a metal skewer (or butter knife, fork... anything that will stab) comes out clean.

5) Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Mix with the sugar and pour over the cake. Serve immediately, while still warm if possible, and enjoy a guilt-free (well, sort of) treat! 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Competition Finalists!

Hi guys!

Just a quick post to let you know about the finalists for the art competition!

The whole competition was a huge success, I was delighted with the results and so, so grateful for every picture I recieved. There really was some incredible talent on display; it showed that teenagers really can do anything!

The five pictures my judges chose can be found on my facebook page in the "Art Competition" album. Cast your votes by liking your favourite pictures! I'm sure the finalists Mollie, Jemma, Tara and Niamh will be delighted to recieve your comments, too!

Best of luck to all the girls, and thanks to everyone who supported the competition!

I can't wait to send the prize to the winner! 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Food, Glorious Food... Hummus with a Twist

I wasn’t sure whether to title this post under “Food Glorious Food” or “A Healthy Appetite” as it is part of my health kick, but I decided it would be best to keep all the food posts under the one heading so you can look for them. As soon as I can get up the willpower to sift through my Pinterest boards, I’ll let you know, and hopefully you’ll be able to find all my recipes and health tips in one place! Two places even... Yeah, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Anyway, today I took some inspiration for two recipes from when looking for a healthy but filling snack. One was for a dip made with cannellini beans, the other for hummus with beetroot. I decided to combine the two and, served with salad, it ended up making a yummy dinner full of low-fat protein, vitamins and fibre.

It also gave me a chance to use some of the beetroot from the garden... bonus! Beetroot is high in potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A and C and some B vitamins. It’s been known to reduce blood pressure and do all manner of other wonderful things, but if you’re sick of having it out of a jar full of vinegar (I know I am), this recipe makes a great alternative way to add it to your diet.

100g dried chickpeas
100g dried cannelini beans
2 large beetroot
The juice of 1 lemon
4 spring onions
Black pepper
(Make sure you have a blender, too!)

1) You'll need to soak the chickpeas and cannellini beans in water (1:5 water probably) overnight till they’ve softened.
2) To prepare the beetroot, just wash them and take off the tops and tails... make sure you save all the leaves as they can be eaten!
3) Boil the chickpeas and beans together in one saucepan for about 40 minutes, and the beetroot in another for half an hour.
4) Drain the beans, and if the skin hasn’t slipped off the beetroot, peel it off WHILE WEARING RUBBER GLOVES. Unless you want purple hands, of course. Who knows? They might come into fashion... any day now...
5) Place all ingredients in the blender to combine. Do so in small quantities, as when pulses are blended their skins can make the mixture dry and hard to process. Persevere, and you’ll be left with a bowl of purple goodness. Ensure that you taste as you mix, and add more pepper or spice to taste.
6) Serve this dish with crudités to dip. I used the beetroot stalks (surprisingly scrummy) and cucumber, but you could also try carrot or celery sticks. 

I made the beetroot leaves and some tomatoes into a side salad. Intended as a snack, this turned out to be a really filling meal. There was loads left over so I boxed it up into the fridge, and it was delicious cold on wholemeal toast! Would strongly recommend for a lunch box... but more ideas on that later. 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Surrounded By Awesome... Blogging!!

So I’ve been blogging for almost five months now, and while that may not seem very long it has led to some amazing opportunities, such as writing articles for other sites like Foroige and making some amazing new friends. Every time I reach a milestone with my views or receive a nice comment or email, I always think about how lucky I am that I’ve got such good reception.

For that reason I want as many people as possible to share the great feeling I get when my work is recognised. That’s why I’ve begun a new segment called “Surrounded by Awesome”. Each weekend, I’ll be featuring something which I think deserves a shout-out. Whether it’s a local band who should be more famous, a teenager starting a business from scratch or a book I’ve fallen in love with, I’ll be letting you know. So if you happen to be awesome, maybe you’re doing something a bit different or have found your greatest passion, please send me an email to get featured!

I thought I’d get the ball rolling with a list of blogs I follow. I wasn’t really a regular reader of blogs until I decided to start my own, at which point I began following a few for tips and advice. Since then, I’ve become pretty addicted! I’ve had to separate into two categories: my absolute favourite blogs and those written by my best friends I follow on Blogger, and others I follow on a site called Bloglovin where you can check in any time and mark the ones you liked/ read. If you’d like to follow me there, go ahead!

 <a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

^They forced me to write that. I was terrified.

So here we are, in no particular order, a full list of every blog I follow! Get clicking and delve into my collection... I hope you find something you like in there!

Le Renard et Rose

Clothes, Cameras and Coffee 

Zoe Figgle... Just a Girl  

Story of My Life 

Wholesome Ireland  

Where The Heart Is 

The Imperfect Beauty 

Life of a Proactive Procrastinator 

Kings and Queens of Tomorrow 

Fleur De Force 

An Awfully Big Blog Adventure 

An Unconventional Librarian 

Creating Laura 

Dear Saul 

Everything and Anything To Love 

Literary Bits 

My Randomness and Life
The Roman Mysteries 

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

The Inside Out Beauty

So that’s my list, kind of an eclectic mix! I hope you find something you like. See if you can go on a friend hunt and find Crow, Bambi or Thumper!   Have a great weekend, everyone! And remember to let me know if you’re awesome...I’m sure you are! Xxx

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Healthy Appetite... Cut The Crap!

I don’t know if my regular readers have noticed, but I don’t lead the healthiest of lifestyles (come to think of it, I don’t know if I have regular readers). I’ve been having lots of holiday fun with my family for the past week, but decided that the second they went back, I would start to do something about my health. I’m not particularly unhealthy (thanks to my mum who’s never allowed too much junk) but things kind of go all over the place in the summer. My goal isn’t to lose weight really, it’s just to live a healthier lifestyle. Also, those of you who’ve followed my scoliosis story will know just how lucky I am to have the body that I have... so I really should be looking after it better.

For the next while I’ll be “cutting the crap” in two ways. I’ll cut the literal crap from my diet, and try to choose healthier options. I’ll also cut the crap excuses about exercise, such as...
·        It’s raining. It always rains here, I may as well get used to it. Or make the most of rare dryness.
·         I suck at team sports. I do. People at school get visibly upset when I’m put on their team. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other ways to exercise!
·         People are staring at me. From cars and so on, you know. But really, who cares? My health is way more important.
·         I have other things to do. I need to remember that exercise is one of the most important things to do, and Thumper recently pointed out to me that half an hour of exercise is just 2% of the day. Come on, what else would I be doing?

Regarding diet... I won’t be going on one! I’m not a fan of “diet” being used as a verb. I strongly believe in three proper square meals a day, and if you’re hungry, then for goodness’ sake, EAT! I also feel that things like cakes etc in moderation are fine! However I’m going to try to stick to those three meals and ask myself whether or not I am actually hungry. I’ll be choosing some healthier options, too, so you can expect healthy recipes to appear soon, particularly when I write some “back to school” posts, where I’ll include nutritious lunchbox ideas!

I’m not going to be making a huge list of optimistic resolutions, because I know myself well enough by now to be sure I won’t stick to something like that. I read in a magazine, I think it was “Glamour” that it’s best to focus on just two areas of life you want to improve so that you don’t get overwhelmed. I love this idea and have decided to adapt it to improve my health. I’ll be introducing two new things into my routine and waiting till they’re almost second nature before I introduce two more. The first things will probably be doing some proper exercise every day, whether it’s walking, jogging, swimming etc, and the second will probably be having less snacks throughout the day.

I won’t publish my plans etc on here because I know some of you will be saying “that’s nothing!” while others might say “that’d be too much for me!” and comparing yourself to your peers doesn’t usually end well... but I will be posting updates on my progress (or lack thereof), which hopefully will motivate me and perhaps inspire you! If you’re looking for a more rigid plan, then Bambi and Thumper have both written some very well-thought out plans on the topic. I really admire these girls as I believe that they’re capable of sticking to these plans, but for me I think it would be intimidating! They’re stronger women than I am (and probably a lot less lazy), but hopefully we can keep each other motivated!

Whether you want to make a big plan like Bambi and Thumper, or take it in smaller chunks like me, I’d love to hear from you. Maybe you’re already fit and healthy? Maybe you think it’s time for a change, too? I’d love to hear from you at or below in the comments, and I know if you follow the links to Bambi and Thumper’s blogs, they’ll be happy to talk, too! I also know a lovely girl called Mollie who told me she wants to do something like this, I think “brain foor and bunny food” was the phrase she used, so if you head over to her site she’d love to chat as well, I’m sure.

Wish me luck!