{WIAW} A day in the life of a postgraduate student

It’s been…dare I say it…10 months since my last day in the life post. How time flies, and how so much has changed. I still get nervous sharing a whole day of my food on the Internet but this week those nerves were calmed as I read Meghan’s NEDA post and I realised that this is just me, and it’s okay¬†ūüôā So, here’s Monday.

6.43ish am – I wake up naturally just before my alarm. I’m baaaack! Feel very excited that I am not waking up still exhausted for once and celebrate by scrolling through Instagram before getting dressed etc.

7am – eat a banana and almond butter that I forgot to photograph, great start. Get ready to leave for the day.

7.15am – leave the house and jog to the bus round the corner as I realise it is due to leave. Thank the bus driver for being nice not making me look like an idiot by driving off.

7.50am – arrive at CrossFit and stretch. Snap this photo on my walk from the bus stop of the City shining in the distance, smile at the sunny weather ūüôā

London sunshine

8am – workout time! Today was very upper body focussed. I’ll spare you the details of everything we did but the WOD was 21-15-9 handstand push-ups and pull-ups. I scaled to funky handstand push-up style things on a bar (I believe that’s the technical term) and ring rows.

9am – shower and get dressed into slightly more normal clothes.

normal

9.20am – catch the overground and tube to uni. Have a quick phone call with my friend until the signal goes and then crack on with eating my beautiful and bloody delicious breakfast of sweet potato, chicken and cashew butter.

sweet potato chicken cashew butter

9.50am – arrive at uni and attempt to finish breakfast before class starts.

10am – lecture time. Today we were learning about measuring and assessing human rights.

11.15am Рget hungry and snack on a Primal Pantry bar, these are seriously good by the way.

primal pantry bar

12pm – class finishes. Catch the tube home. On the tube I snack on a mini paleo muffin thing that I forget to photograph, it wasn’t very pretty anyway.

12.30pm – arrive home and assemble my lunch. Thank past me for being organised and doing food prep for once. Eat whilst watching the CrossFit Games Behind the Scenes because I’m cool like that.

beef butternut squash pepperRoast beef, butternut squash, red pepper, tahini and coconut aminos

banana nut butter cocoa powderBanana with cashew butter and cocoa powder for dipping

1.15pm – go through emails and do a Sainsbury’s online shop. Tiredness hits.

2pm – pack up my stuff and get ready to head off again. Change from trainers to boots and feel weird that I now resemble a ‘normal human being’.

IMG_1754

boots

2.10pm – leave to walk to the doctors.

2.30pm – doctors appointment.

2.50pm – leave the doctors and walk to the tube. Catch the tube to Leicester Square.

3.15pm – arrive at Timberyard and order myself an almond milk cappuccino. Aka thebomb.com. Settle down to work. Finish up a blog post for an international development charity I volunteer for and send it off. Call my dad. Research women’s rights in Brazil for an exciting Skype interview I have on Thursday night as part of a uni assignment. Explain that sadly the coffee and cake delivered to my table whilst I was in the loo aren’t mine and that someone else is probably waiting for them. Coffee and cake taken away.

almond cappuccino

5.50pm – leave and catch the tube home.

6.25pm – arrive home. Make dinner. Realise halfway through making my sweet potato hash that I have courgettes that need eating. Spiralise one and add to the hash. Congratulate myself on my new invention and wonder why nobody has ever done this before. Realise they probably have. Eat dinner whilst catching up on blog reading.

sweet potato hash eggs

cherries banana muffinFrozen cherries, another mini paleo muffin and cashew butter. There’s a reason this blog’s called Cherries & Chisme ūüėČ

7.30pm – back to work. More Brazil research. Feeling very tired.

8.30pm – phone call with my friend in Australia. She tells me I sound “like I’m very far away”. I reply that “I’m on the other side of the world, I don’t think I could be any further away”.

9pm – get ready for bed.

9.15pm – bed. Exhausted.

At the time I felt like I was eating a lot but I think this was due to not eating much the previous two days due to a lack of appetite, it was definitely back! I also ate a lot of nut butter, something I’ve been eating less of lately as it helps my stomach but these were small servings and they were delicious ūüėČ I’d have liked to have got some more work in but considering my day was all over the place I think I did the best I could, plus it was procrastination free. All in all not too shabby.

Head on over to Jenn for some more What I Ate Wednesday action!

How was your Monday? Do you judge what you eat a bit much sometimes?

I believe…

I believe that everyone is different, and that difference is something to celebrate.

I believe in experimenting and learning about your body each day. Find its groove, find what it loves and what makes you feel good. Even if it’s different to all your friends.

I believe that my body works best without gluten and with minimal grains, dairy, legumes and refined sugars.

I believe that just because my body works this way doesn’t mean yours will too. And I don’t have any right to tell you otherwise.

I believe, however, that real foods are essential to our health.

(Source)

I believe in the joy of movement and appreciating your body every day you can.

I believe that loving your body will bring you more happiness than berating it ever will. Life’s too short for that shizzle.

I believe that just because I believe the above, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be easy.

I believe that you should listen to this song whilst reading this post…

I believe that sleep may well be the most powerful healer.

I believe in the power of dreams.

I believe that one single song can turn your whole day around.

I believe that chocolate is an essential food group.

I believe that rest is vital and that afterwards your mind and body will work harder, faster, better, stronger.

I believe in saying yes more than saying no.

I believe that laughter is the best exercise – it strengthens both your abs and your soul.

I believe in taking each day as it comes.

I believe in writing, and finding your own way to express yourself.

I believe that having those few good friends who know you inside out is the most beautiful blessing.

I believe in gratitude, not everyone gets to lead the life you do.

I believe that travel will open your heart and mind to the magic of this world.

I believe that life is nothing without adventures, however big or small they may be.

I believe that anywhere can be home as long as your loved ones are there.

I believe that rain makes the sun shine even brighter after it passes.

I believe that fear is there to show you that you are heading in the right direction, and that great things are to come if you can just push through.

I believe that if you type believe this many times it starts to look like a really weird word.

What do you believe?

24 hours in…bed.

Well hello there blogging world. Totally didn’t mean that accidental blogging holiday to happen, a busy weekend followed by not enough sleep and the need to catch up on work meant that I was AWOL for the first part of the week and¬†then¬†I spent Thursday in bed for 24 hours with a horrible sickness bug. Not fun folks, not fun at all. I watched far too many films and ate one meal and a banana all day. But do not fear, for I am back! Phewph.

(Source)

I’ve surprised myself by just how disconnected I have felt this week, I’ve missed reading and commenting on blogs and most of all I’ve missed writing! For me, writing is definitely my outlet. A creative need¬†you might say. Which is somewhat strange¬†since I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty un-creative person otherwise…

Other fun things that happened this week included my dear dear iPhone breaking¬†on Monday after a week or so of technical tantrums. It’s been sent off by the lovely folks at Carphone Warehouse for a bit of TLC and should hopefully be back in two weeks… TWO WEEKS!!! I have a temporary phone shaped thing with no instagram, no whatsapp, and the world’s worst camera. So no pictures from me for a while. I know I know, you’re heartbroken.

On the plus side, this weekend is looking far more fun – my first Spanish lesson since July on Friday (/last) night, a much needed workout or two, dinner with uni friends and brunch with a couple of school friends who I haven’t seen in years. SO excited! Oh, and some work. Rather a lot of work to be honest… Hence me trying to not be toooo busy. But hey, at least I enjoy my degree! #geekout

Have a beautiful weekend and speak soon(er). Lots of fun things planned for the blog in the not so distant future!

What do you do on sick days? Any fun plans for the weekend?

Guilty as charged

You know how sometimes it’s the things that you really shouldn’t love that can give you the greatest happiness? The stupid indulgences, the ‘uncool’ things, or maybe just the downright weird… Yep, we’ve all got our guilty pleasures…

Blue

Any British kid growing up in the the 2000s will know exactly who I’m talking about. I loved them then and I love them now, Duncan was my very first crush and their songs never fail to make me smile. Plus¬†they’re going on tour soon!! Anyone want to come with me? Anyone? You know you want to.

Premier Inn

*Ahem* hear me out on this one okay. When I was at secondary school it felt like I was competing in rowing races around the UK pretty much every weekend, so seemingly every weekend I would find myself staying in a Premier Inn. The bed was always big and comfortable, I could watch TV from bed and eat as much as I wanted from the breakfast buffet – a teenager’s ideal? I reckon so. It was always kind of comforting for me that each hotel is exactly the same, and I felt a sense of familiarity as I travelled around from place to place. On the coach¬†home last week I found myself reminiscing as I passed one and I couldn’t help but smile.

Cadbury’s Mini Eggs

Normally I’m a bit of a chocolate snob, I like my chocolate with a high percentage and preferably Lindt or Green & Blacks. Then, once a year this little thing called Easter rolls around and for the few months preceeding the shops are full of Mini Eggs which I’ve always had a soft spot for. Now that I’ve worked on ditching my food fears I am able to enjoy them again guilt free! Well, kind of. The chocolate snob in me does quiver slightly…

(Source)

Long plane journeys

An excuse not to do anything productive and sleep/watch films at my will? And then when I wake up I’m in a new exciting location? Well okay then. I know I know, the food is trashy, the air is recycled and you’re squashed into an uncomfortable chair for a zillion hours too many. I. Don’t. Care. I love it so. And who doesn’t love people watching in airports beforehand? C’mon.

American dreaming

Yup. Sometimes I’d rather love to be a US blogger, shopping at Wholefoods and TJs, eating Justin’s almond butter willy nilly, snacking on Quest bars, ordering in from chipotle, spending my days at one of the countless CrossFit affiliates, shovelling mountains of snow from my driveway because it does actually snow properly at my fake imaginery home… You get the picture. Not that I’m stereotyping or anything here… But a girl can dream. Until she remembers that she’s British, lives in a flat, has to order Quest bars intermittently from Amazon and gets¬†excited about less than 1cm from snow. Ah well.

Made in Chelsea

Pure trashy absolutely awful brilliant escapism. Enough said.

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Getting ready for bed at 9.30pm

I may be in my early 20s and living in the biggest city in the UK but sometimes I’m just exhausted and need a lot of sleep… And getting up early does make you feel kinda smug (even though I’m not currently managing it…)

On that note, it’s Wednesday night and I’m sleepy… Good job Amanda’s given me cause to simply think out loud today.

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Tell me some of your guilty pleasures

Lessons from a weekend back home

First off, thank you so much for your sweet comments on Friday’s post. I was a bit nervous publishing my thoughts and troubles on the internet like that but it just goes to show what a loving community healthy living bloggers can be. So thank you!

I spent this past weekend back home in Herefordshire and it was blissful. There’s nothing like some country air to make you feel a bit better. Plus, time away from the ‘real world’ gives you some space to reflect, bringing valuable life lessons. Some serious, some…less so.

This weekend…

…I learnt that eggs and maple syrup are just as good as I remember from my first proper trip Stateside circa 2005.

eggs bacon maple syrup

…I learnt that taking your mum out for a belated birthday lunch is an excellent idea because you get to eat delicious food too. If you’re ever in Hereford be sure to check out La Madeline, I love it.

mushroom soup

…I learnt that food freedom is a wonderful thing, to feel included and free from fear. Because catching up with friends over hot chocolate and marshmallows is pure perfection on a cold winter’s day.

hot chocolate marshmallows

…I learnt that when tired and a bit ill my appetite is seriously impressive. Particularly when out for a treat dinner. Holy yum. Jules is well worth a visit, everything is fresh and local and the menu changes regularly.

olivesOlives

baked camembert

smoked aubergine pate(And sharing starters is always the best way to go – baked camembert // smoked aubergine p√Ęt√©)

pheasantPheasant and veggies for the win

ice creamIce cream steals my heart every time – chocolate sorbet // vanilla ice cream // salt caramel ice cream

…I learnt that Arrogant Frogs make delicious wine.

arrogant frog wine

…I learnt that it pays to live in a slightly backwards (!) town sometimes. Because this means that the new health food store hasn’t caught onto trends yet and charges ¬£4.95 for coconut butter that’s usually closer to a tenner #bargain.

coconut butter

…I learnt that¬†dresses that I’d previously gone off have become more interesting again. Well, they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

dress

…I learnt that ditching your fear of ‘processed chocolate’ is a bloody delicious move when it involves baking Mini Eggs into Amanda’s flourless chocolate brownies. I cannot put into words how divine these bad boys are.

mini eggs flourless chocolate brownies

…I learnt that I can still be a country girl no matter how much I love city life. Walks in the woods for the win.

credenhill park woods

credenhill park woods 2See the snow?!

credenhill park woods 3

…I learnt that my dad makes the best roast dinners. Although let’s be honest, I knew that already.

roast lamb

…and I learnt that sunsets from the coach journey home make me reflective, sad, content and happy all at the same time.

sunsetNo filter necessary

What did you learn this weekend?

It Ain’t Easy

Blogging and social media allow us to show the best of our lives, we’ve overcome the struggles and now we’re dancing in the light. But sometimes the struggles are still there, or new struggles arise. The past few weeks have been pretty rough round these parts. I’ve been drained from 2-3 months of churning out assignment after assignments (am pleased with all my results I’m happy to say!) and trying to balance my degree, a new internship, blogging, CrossFit, my health, some form of a social life with the people I love and visiting home to see my family¬†(my mum has MS – multiple sclerosis – and I like to make sure she’s okay).¬†It’s bloody hard.

Wednesday night found me in bed about 9.30pm crying on the phone to my dad because I just didn’t know what to do. For all of 2015 I’ve been on and off ill for no reason that I can fathom. I pride myself on working to be the healthiest version of myself so why on earth am I ill so much? Why can I not even make it to CrossFit 3 times a week? In my rowing days I was training 13 times a week, it’s almost laughable. Except when you feel you must be doing something wrong it isn’t quite so funny. I just want to be healthy.

Then there’s the fun of being in your early 20s and trying to figure out what the heck you’re going to do with your life. I know the field and, up until now, this was enough. I was always one of those people who had a rough idea what they were going to do, it was always okay. Now I feel downright lost. I love my degree but, man, why does it have to make everything so damn interesting? How am I meant to choose? How do you even find human rights jobs? Am I even qualified? Will they want me?

Life gets rough sometimes. I try and balance my blogging here between being positive but also honest and open. I’m not going to write about my awesome week when it involves taking a day off work and sitting on the sofa, not leaving the house all day. I am however going to write about my beautiful friend who came round to cook me pancakes for dinner, bringing with her love, laughter and smiles. Talking that night we realised how lucky the two of us really are. We have amazing educations, we have a roof over our heads, we have enough to eat, we have incredible friends, we love and we are loved. Life ain’t easy sometimes but if you look hard enough it’s not so bad. The haves can¬†overrule¬†the have nots if you choose to let¬†them.¬†

So please know, we all have struggles. I too feel lost sometimes and I too, at the age of 23, cry on the phone to my dad. I’m still figuring out, I still don’t know why my body isn’t cooperating with me and I still don’t know what I’m going to do…¬†it ain’t easy but it will be okay.¬†

winnie the pooh

Weekend Adventures & A Big Day Out

You know those weekends when you end up more tired than you were before they started? That’s how I feel right now, thank God for coffee or this post would have no words at all. It was certainly fun though and since hectic weekends don’t happen too often for me, you’ll see why in a minute, it was most definitely worth it.

This weekend included weird, to me, food. Also known as normal to other people. I mean, a bowl of¬†white rice with just veggies and¬†no meat? Who even am I? Sometimes you’ve just got to listen to what your body’s craving.

white rice and veggies

Luckily I had some pulled pork in the oven so by the time Friday dinner time rolled around I was back to my usual eating. Phewph.

pulled pork

This weekend included the toughest workout I have done in a long time. In the space for Saturday’s WOD on last week’s CrossFit schedule the was nothing other than the words ‘surprise’. This meant one thing. Running. And low and behold when I woke up on Saturday morning¬†it was snowing. The temptation to crawl back under the covers was strong to say the least but I persevered. After our strength session we found out that we were doing partner Murph… For those of you who aren’t CrossFitters this consisted of 1 mile run (together with your partner), 100 pull ups (50 each, I scaled to ring rows), 200 push ups (100 each), 300 air squats (150 each), 1 mile run again.¬†Ouch. It was the run at the end that got me, holy moly. Still, there’s nothing like kicking off your weekend with a good old sweat sesh and a sense of accomplishment.

Fortunately¬†for Cat¬†I wobbled home on my bike afterwards for a shower and to refuel before heading out to meet her at Marylebone station. Turns out, Saturday CrossFit sessions require an epic breakfast afterwards. Didn’t you know?

paleo porridge and eggsBreakfast on steroids

So, Cat and I had planned a Big Day Out for Saturday. For a long time now, in fact since before we even formally (i.e. non-virtually) met, we’ve been wanting to try out Paleo Restaurant in Leamington Spa, one of just two paleo restaurants in the UK. Yup, we were willing to travel cross-country all in the name of research. Legit.

The Big Day Out was off to a good start. We fuelled up with coffee at the station and caught our train on time. Off we trundled, through the pretty English countryside. It sure was good to see some rolling hills again for the country bumpkin (somewhere) in me. We left Banbury station, the stop before Leamington, chatting away in good spirits, putting the world (real and blogging) to rights. And then, the train stopped. We had no signal on our phones and the train driver helpfully informed us that neither did he, and so he didn’t know what was going on either. After waiting for a while, the train started slowly heading in the wrong direction. It felt like a lost creature, retreating from battle with its tail between its legs. Turns out, as those of you who follow me on Twitter may already know, there had been a landslip on the line and all trains between Banbury and Leamington Spa were suspended. Or rather, all trains were cancelled.

What did we do you ask? Well

Banbury

We spent the afternoon stuck in Banbury. Charming place isn’t it… (apologies to all people who live in Banbury…). We concluded that it had a lot of nail salons and closed up shops. Joyous.

BanburyOkay Banbury, you do have some pretty bits…

After much wandering around we stumbled upon the most random restaurant/pub/eating establishment I’ve been to in ages. It looks quite nice on the website actually but it was certainly…interesting. We, however, were certainly hungry. And in need of a vase of wine apparently.

vase of wine

Must to our happy surprise the food turned out to be pretty good. Cue a tree of lamb and chorizo skewers, potatoes and salad. Oh hello there.

lamb and chorizo skewersOh look, it’s Cat in the background! We really must remember to take an actual photo together some day

With it looking unlikely that we were going to get a train back to London anytime soon we decided pudding was the only way to go. They had an awesome range of ice cream flavours, after much deliberation I settled on the tiramisu and milk chocolate. So so good.

tiramisu chocolate ice cream

With some quietly content tummies we trudged back to the train station to find…A TRAIN!! It was a miracle. Chiltern Railways had finally got their act together and sent out a train from London to pick up us stragglers. Thank you kindly.

The rest of the weekend wasn’t quite so eventful and can be summed up in just a few sentences and a photo, since this post is getting rather long. Saturday night involved my first proper night out¬†out in a very long time, meaning Sunday was very sleepy indeed and spent with the sofa and a writing project I’m working on, followed by a much needed coffee and catch-up (both equally essential) at TAP Coffee near Oxford Circus.

TAP Coffee London

Look out for A Big Day Out Take 2, coming to a blog near you soon.

How was your weekend? Are you a big night out person, or do you tend to go for the chilled option like me?

This Girl Can

Those of you who live in the UK cannot have failed to have noticed the recent Sport England media campaign to get more women active and into sport. The idea behind it is to show women that they can do sport, irregardless of how they look whilst doing it. It aims to challenges stereotypes as we seem women ‘jiggling’, sweating and with make-up running yet having a great time. It seeks to help women ditch the insecurity over their bodies that puts many women off entering the world of sport by showing ‘normal’ women being active. Take a look for yourself:

The first time I watched it my instant reaction was¬†awesome! Finally we are looking past the ‘perfection’ that the media constantly bombards us with. Finally, we are holding up a diverse group of women as inspiration, no photoshopping, just pure real women. Too many people in the UK are inactive and so anything that helps promote sport, and movement, as fun and enjoyable is positive. Right?

Well, this is the thing. Upon reflection the sceptic in me started to wonder. There are plenty of other ‘types’ of real women that are not included in this advert. Where are the skinny girls? It’s not just women who ‘jiggle’ who are intimidated by their insecurities about their body. Where are the muscly girls? They’re real too and although, arguably, they already exercise they might not necessarily be comfortable about their bodies.

Real women jiggle. Real women have some body fat. Real women have very little body fat. Real women don’t have much muscle. Real women have muscle. And all these women may face insecurities about their bodies and feel uncomfortable whilst working out. I’ve been through many¬†of these stages with my own body and through all of them I have felt both confident and insecure.

It’s great to see the beginnings of a fight back against the media’s perception of perfection. But with this, we need to ensure that we don’t move from fat-shaming to skinny-shaming. We’ve moved from the infamous Kate Moss quote that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to fitspiration instead. Yet,¬†strong is the new skinny seems to be just another form of shaming. For some people, like myself, having muscle and curves is their healthy. For others, skinny is their healthy. Neither is right and neither is wrong.

Nevertheless, this is just a drop¬†in the ocean so maybe that’s the best way to see it. It’s a beginning. Perhaps I’m just bitter that there are not barbells involved… now that really would be a statement ūüėČ

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Too far too soon?!

The hashtag #ThisGirlCan has taken Twitter by storm and a quick search suggests to me that maybe I am wrong in thinking this way. The pure diversity of women taking part in this is outstanding, so for that I praise you. All I ask is that we get bigger and better, that we don’t stop here. For we have a long way to travel yet.

What are your thoughts?