I know I promised to blog more…

… But then life got in the way.

After I wrote my holiday review, I had literally two days in between one holiday and going to Dublin for a weekend. And then, after being away for the weekend, my hours had changed so I was working six days a week. And, on my day off, I have to take my Nan to the post office, because my Granddad doesn’t want her to go on her own as she had a fall in April and hurt her head.

I have genuinely been so busy, I haven’t had much of a chance to think. I started Crossfit classes properly to get my fitness back on track – and before my second class had started, I fell off a stack of weights into the bars and hurt my back, so had to stop my fitness completely for three weeks now. And now I’m pretty much recovered, I had a car accident so don’t have a car – the quote came in today and it probably means my car will be written off :(

Tomorrow, I’m starting a juice cleanse for three days. My diet has been shocking and, because I’ve not been exercising, I’ve been putting on a lot of weight. My family are holding a party on Saturday, I don’t eat vegetables and I figured that this would be a way to lose a little bit of weight as well as get nutrients my body needs but doesn’t get due to my fussiness. I’ll try and write a review about it after I’ve done it. But no promises.

Workwise, everything’s going fine. Yes, six days a week, but also, baby swimming teaching so not the worst job ever. I have about six weeks left until I have three weeks off, paid holiday. So it’s not all that bad. My hair and skin are definitely feeling being in the water for all that time though. My skin has got so dry and sore that the rubbing of my Fitbit Flex has started off some eczema on my wrist!

Dublin was amazing. It was my first time ever going and I’m mentally planning my next trip there, hopefully with D. I’m pretty sure I should’ve been living there all my life. The people are great, the place is so great to explore and the live music was incredible. I really need to find an excuse or find a way to include Dublin more in my life. It was so refreshing. I can’t believe it was a month ago! This month has really flown.

So what are the upcoming plans? Fix my car/buy a new car. Back to the gym. More weight loss (hopefully). Holiday in August. Surprise weekend trip for D’s birthday in October. And then Christmas.

Do you ever feel like you just lose the reigns on life sometimes? I completely feel like this year has ran away from me. I can’t believe it’s July already tomorrow.

Why I hate TripAdvisor. Review of my Holiday.

So, if you don’t follow me on Instagram or we’re not Facebook friends, you wouldn’t have known that I went on holiday for a couple of weeks. It was incredible!! But first, I want to tell you why I hate TripAdvisor.

We booked our holiday to Cancun in October last year. We walked into the travel agents and D told the woman that he’s booking a holiday there and then, because we really felt like we needed to get away. And that’s what we did. Booked a holiday, deposit paid. Awesomeness.

D is a TripAdvisor addict. As soon as we booked Egypt last year, he was looking at all of the reviews, all of the photos, all of the questions. Everything. And, as a result, he discovered the hotel we’d booked in Cancun had a beach with a huge seaweed problem. No worries, says I. Let’s book another hotel in Cancun. So, after a couple of weeks of TripAdvisor surfing, D chose another hotel in Cancun, we paid the £100 administrative fee to the travel agent and we were still going on holiday.

Another few weeks had passed and D had been looking at TripAdvisor every single night. And had discovered that this new Cancun hotel was in a sort of strip next to other hotels, which looked pretty cramped. So D looked at all other options. We spent, what felt like, forever looking at reviews (both TripAdvisor and travel agent) and started looking at different countries. It took us forever, but we finally settled on Dominican Republic, paid another £100 and we were still going on holiday.

To be honest, the next part is a bit of a blur, but same old scenario. It got to the point where I banned D from looking at TripAdvisor for a week, because it was no longer exciting to go on holiday. We had already spent £200 more than what we had originally intended. But after that week, he TripAdvisor surfed again, decided there was something that didn’t settle well with what we had booked (I think he had read something that someone had been stealing in the rooms, but this was all the way back in February, so I can’t remember completely), we forked out yet another £100 administrative fee and had finally settled on Mauritius. I had told him that regardless of what he saw on TripAdvisor, we were not changing again and, if something really didn’t settle with him, we would cancel the whole damn thing altogether.

The main reason I hate TripAdvisor is this; people are looking for the negatives when they are meant to be enjoying themselves and relaxing on holiday. People write small novels about how they ran a white glove across a unit and discovered a speck of dust. About how the bartender didn’t know their drink after a few days at the resort. About how the beach is too sandy, the water is too wet and there are no chips as an option at dinner. I read some of the reviews and I seriously question how these people function in their everyday lives, at work or otherwise, with their constant nit-picking.

I completely appreciate the whole point of TripAdvisor, the clue’s in the name; to advise people on their upcoming trips. However, have we really become that sort of complaining society that we look at all the unimportant parts and not look at something as a whole? Does getting sand in your beach bag really put such a huge dampener on your holiday, that you couldn’t possibly enjoy anything else about it? What’s worse is that, having a TripAdvisor account, it has sort of made me into this person. And I hate it.

So, I decided to write a real review on my blog about the hotel we stayed at, because I wanted it to be true and honest, rather than a list of bullet points saying the worst thing about a resort.

We stayed at Ambre Resort and Spa, Belle Mare in Mauritius. It’s an all-inclusive resort, and we went with Thomson. The flight was loooooooong. Eleven hours. We left on a Sunday afternoon, arrived on a Monday early morning and were shattered. We had arranged a private transfer from the airport to the hotel, which took about an hour. I fell asleep in the car on D and I remember it feeling really humid in Mauritius, although it was absolutely tipping it down with rain.

We arrived at the hotel, greeted by smiley staff and a cold wet flannel. Bags were taken from us and taken straight to the room and we had to fill in some forms, just to say who we are and give some contact information. We were taken to our room by a lady – she didn’t show us directly to our room, but pointed us in the right direction – and we went in. We weren’t overwhelmed with the room, which looked quite tired, as if it needed to be repainted, but I think the pair of us were cranky and just wanted to sleep. But honestly, the room stank of damp. D investigated and there were fag ends outside on the veranda of our room. It felt like our room just hadn’t been used in a long time and almost forgotten. These are not nitty gritty TripAdvisor points – these were real life complaints that you would complain about if you were anywhere. I stormed down there, tired and in desperate need of a nap, and told reception that we needed to change our room. They told me the hotel was fully booked, but they’d get the housekeeper to our room. Literally, within five minutes, we had fresh new sheets and the room had been completely quarantined. We then napped.

IMG_6254Now, when we go on holiday, D and I literally like to sit by the beach and not do very much at all. Our plan was to chill for a week and actually go on excursions for the second week, but we did not move from our familiar sunbeds, just outside our room on the beach. I’m sure my one has a butt dent in it from where I didn’t move for hours. There were waiters wandering up and down the beach, asking if you wanted anything to drink and they were really great. We tipped each of them as we felt so bad that we were down the other end of the beach, ages away from the bar. The cocktails and beer that were all inclusive in our price were amazing, very refreshing and loads of choice. The beach was really relaxing, the beach was white sands. Although there was some seaweed, staff cleared it early in the morning. And really, seaweed can’t be helped, especially when the weather is rainy for a few minutes, sunny for most of the day and the tides are unpredictably in and out. There are a lot of local sellers, selling souvenirs and excursions, but we weren’t interested and they didn’t really bother us that much. I don’t go in the sea, but it looked very shallow. D had said that it wasn’t much of a lagoon (which had been stated online), there weren’t many fishes for snorkelling, but we did venture on the rocks and had a look in the pools to see some different fish.

IMG_6269The food at this hotel was incredible. There was so much choice, a chance to try new things and some familiar food for those who don’t venture out of their comfort zones. For breakfast, we went to the Indigo restaurant, by reception, and it was my favourite meal of the day. I had fresh omelettes from the omelette station and chicken sausages almost everyday… and sometimes a naughty crepe with lemon and sugar. So much fruit, cold meats and cheeses, pastries. Really impressed. For lunch, we alternated between La Plage restaurant and the pool bar. La Plage was another buffet, but mostly BBQ based with some fries. The pool bar offered pizza, burgers, paninis – mostly familiar food. We did not have a bad meal at either restaurant, so really spoiled for choice. For dinner, we didn’t stray from the Indigo restaurant – although there are two a la carte restaurants that you have to book at 9am on the day you want to eat there, but there was a queue and we really weren’t that fussed as the food at the Indigo buffet was great. Again, such a huge selection. On Fridays, they host a Mauritian buffet, so it’s a chance to try their local foods from their culture. I was super impressed with the fresh naan breads that they bake there and then. In the evenings, we’d go to the HxH lounge bar, which was mostly empty and lovely to just chill out in the evenings. The waiters there were amazing and really attentive.

After the room complaint on the first day, we didn’t really have any other issues with the room. It’s just somewhere to sleep, at the end of the day. There is a fitness centre (lol) if you really want to be good on holiday – it does have scales if you want to weigh in, like I did. We used both pools, which are super clean, quite chilly when you get in, but get your shoulders in and you’re fine. I had a facial at the spa and I couldn’t recommend that enough! D was really surprised with how clear my skin looked – in a nice way!

So, would I go to Mauritius again? Yeah, probably. But I probably wouldn’t stay at this hotel again. I know the Mauritian people inject a lot of money into their tourism, however I think there are just a few of the littler things that need to be sorted at the hotel. It does look very run down and, with only one bar open during the day and with that bar being the focus point of any entertainment, it becomes really very crowded for a 297 room hotel. The staff and the service were incredible, very attentive and extremely helpful.

… And now, to write my TripAdvisor review…

Weighing In: An Update

So I have four weeks until my holiday to Mauritius. I have been working out on my bikini body for about a month. I rejoined Weight Watchers, I’ve been going to the gym as often as I can and following the Running for Weight Loss app on my phone (until I destroyed my phone this week).

I figured that I’ll start posting more about my weight and my weight loss goals. If it didn’t motivate anyone else, I know it motivated me for posting. My Weight Watchers weigh in day is on Fridays, so I’ll try and post on Friday evenings – I won’t be going out on Friday evenings from next week as I’m back in the pool at ridiculous o’clock on a Saturday.

So what’s been happening in my little weigh in world so far? Well. This.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 16.17.03So far, I’ve lost 1.4lbs this year. That is terrible. But, surprisingly, I’ve been working out more and my body fat percentage has gone down. I definitely need to drink more water to flush out everything that’s not been flushed. That’s a gross way of putting it, but it’s true.

My aim for weighing in next week is 2lbs off. I don’t have any plans, I’m back to work, but I can squeeze fit in the gym around that anyway. Going to go and walk the dog now…

Five Years On

Yesterday marked five years since my Dad had passed.

It’s gone quickly and slowly at the same time. But what surprised me the most was how unemotional I was at this particular ‘milestone’ – I’m sure that’s the wrong word. I thought I’d be an emotional wreck. But no. I spoke to D about it because I just felt like I *should* have been more emotional, but his response was that I don’t just miss my Dad on that one day, but every single day of every single year and it’s just become a lot easier for me to live with. I still have my break down moments but, just because it has been five years to the day, it doesn’t mean that I should be any more emotional.

And he’s right.

Last night, I went for ham, egg and chips with my family, like we do every anniversary of my Dad. It was nice but I think I was the only one who wasn’t necessarily feeling that emotional about the whole thing. There were no tears, no awkward pauses. We didn’t really mention my Dad, although we all ordered ham, egg and chips in his memory.

This week I have been super distracted, even if I am aware of the time of year when it rolls around. I managed to break my phone twice and my laptop once. My Nan had a fall and I spent most of Thursday, sitting with my Granddad to ensure the pair of them didn’t worry about the other so much – she’s fine, 15 stitches on the top of her head, but she’s tough as nails and was laughing about the whole experience by the time she got home (they don’t make them like they used to because I know I’d be moaning the whole time!).

A lot has changed in five years. It’s a real shame he hasn’t been here to see it, because most of them have been good times instead of bad, other than the redundancy where I felt like I needed him more than ever. But things are settling, people move on and it gets easier to deal with. Loads of his pub friends couldn’t even believe it had been five years and last night, I was greeted with “It just felt like yesterday”s and in a lot of ways, it does.

The average mourning process lasts about seven years. We’re nearly all the way through. But he’ll never be forgotten anyway, no matter how many years go by.

It’s Been A While…

Who else started singing the Stain’d song in their head from the early 2000s when they saw the title?? Just me?? Oh okay then.

I have to warn you, this post does not have any structure. I’ve just written it and scrolled back to the top so I could write this little disclaimer. It’s almost like I’ve verbally vomited all over this, so bear with it – if you make it to the end, good on you! If not, don’t worry about it – I’m a bit scatty tonight.

So it’s been a while since I wrote on my blog. And I just wanted to go through everything, maybe to clear my head, maybe to reassure myself everything’s fine, maybe it’s just because I have a stinking cold and D is playing COD (serious COD widow over here!), so it’s something for me to do. I’ll let you choose.

Towards the end of the year and into the beginning of this year, I think I was pretty depressed. I know the term ‘depressed’ is probably overused in today’s society, but I really think I was the lowest I’d been for a good old while – probably since my Dad died. I look over my posts, my old Facebook statuses and compare it with how I am now, and I think I thought I’d hit rock bottom. There was a moment before Christmas where I took my Nan to Tescos and just cried the whole time I was there, which is not particularly a highlight of my life. I was exhausted, I didn’t know what I was doing with my life and working crappy hours in two different jobs (one of which was the one of the shittiest jobs I’ve ever worked), with not a lot of social life on the side. But now, dear readers, I am feeling much more like myself again. And it feels amazeballs.

I honestly think The Redundancy of February 2014 had hit me harder than I thought it did. And seriously, it’s taken me this long to sort of get over that, even though I’m back to where I was again with teaching swimming lessons for 15 hours a week (instead of the 7.5 hours in my last post!).

I have been thinking, especially recently, that the problem with where I’m at in life is that I never had a plan of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t. And, when I was working in the Sports Centre the other week (the other job that I’m holding – I can never have just one job like a normal person!), I saw an old school friend who was now a teacher at a private school, and I wondered to myself, “How and when did she know she wanted to do that?!” I never had the ambition (maybe that’s the wrong word…) or the motivation (definitely the right word!) to figure out what I wanted to do when I was older as I’m so laid back, I’m nearly horizontal; and this woman, at the same age as me, had an inkling of who she wanted to be, decided to major in a subject at university, convert that into secondary school teaching and was now in a really good job, instead of coasting from job to job throughout life – completely what I feel like I’m doing right now. I know you shouldn’t compare to other people, but it’s hard not to when you see those who are successful whilst you’re trying to wrestle with the Sports Centre till. Stupid computers.

I’m not saying that coasting is bad though. I was completely honest in an interview the other week and when the interviewer asked me where I wanted to be in five years, I answered, “Well, wherever I end up. I just want to be happy and, if that means still in this job should I get it, I’m happy with that.” Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. But if they don’t want happy employees, so be it. I don’t think I was really sold on that job anyway…

I really do love swimming teaching. Yes, it’s something I didn’t really need to go to university for, but I’m good at it and it makes me happy. I could’ve woken up in a really bad mood and an hour of teaching some babies or toddlers and seeing them confident and progress through the levels is great. Do I think I’ll be doing it in five years? Maybe, maybe not. Honestly, it sort of depends where my head is at, really. Swimming teaching is making me physically sick – I was off work today and I’ll definitely be off tomorrow, and in my last post, I was sick from swimming teaching then too! – so it also depends on if my immune system bucks the hell up and gets on with it or not. I think it’s one of the pools I’m teaching at, and I think my bosses think that too, so hopefully the owners will change their ways and sort it out, so I (and the other instructors, because they’ve been sick there too!) won’t be sick anymore.

I have more exciting plans this year that are developing. I’ll probably divulge on them a little more when they’re more cemented. The three sort of main things that are going on are a) my holiday to Mauritius (in less than 50 days! Not that I’m counting…); b) a weekend away in Dublin (I’ve never been before and I’m really excited!); and c) The Color Run in London with D this year (which I wanted to do last year, but found out about it all too late, so didn’t end up doing it!). The problem is that they’re all happening within a month, so I’ll need to find something else to look forward to after that, but I’m still really excited.

It’s quite good not to have a plan in that respect, I guess. It’s nice to have aims of what you want to do over a year. And these events are really the first ones, even though they’ll be happening nearly half way through the year. But it’s still something to look forward to and I’d rather that than nothing at all.

January Update

So I decided to give up with my franchise adventure. The seller was forcing me too much, so I decided to bow out. The weird news is now I’m back to baby swimming lessons! I sort of fell back into it. I started by covering an instructor who was abroad in the New Year, so I was covering her lessons. And now, I’m teaching for 7.5 hours per week, alongside covering teachers (which there has been a lot of recently, due to laryngitis, perforated ear drum and just general flu!) and I’m currently in Greenwich, helping this Water Babies franchise with their admin stuff. I covered for 14 hours at the weekend, so I’ve actually lost my voice…

I did miss swimming teaching and it seems like this is the direction my life is going into now, so I have inquired with my franchise about any courses that can help further my career! Cool, eh? I’m basically hoping to be the most qualified swimming teacher the world has ever seen :)

In terms of weight loss, I actually lost 6lbs! Go team. I decided to break down my weight loss goal into small, achievable goals. So the first goal is 10% of my actual body weight. I have a way left to go, but I’m hoping that I’ll reach that in a month and a half, ish. Here’s hoping anyway. In a couple of months, I’m going to Mauritius, so I am more determined than ever to get my bikini bod on. I’m tempted to take a progress picture tonight and see how much my body changes up until April (I go in May).

But yeah. Life is going on. I am still exercising all of my possible options, but if this is all I’m getting for now, that’s all I’m getting. And I’m happy with that. For now.

See ya later, 2014.

Happy New Year, readers. We finally made it to 2015 and, honestly, I probably couldn’t feel more relieved. 2014 SUCKED. This is going to be a more reflective post about my year and what I want to change for the future, so bear with me – it probably won’t have much structure…

The beginning of the year, I was faced with redundancy of my perfect job. A job I believe I should still be doing now, which provided me with variety, highlighted my skills and revealed my passion, alongside linking my degree and all of my work experience all in one. Regardless, I continued to work for them under a different role, but found that the lack of variety and the non-exercise of the knowledge I learned at uni was not what I wanted so I quit, not knowing where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do.

Still, as one door closes another one opens – or so I thought – and I started the on-going struggle of trying to buy a franchise, together with working a shitty job that I hate. And that has been my life since September. I’m actually pulling the plug on everything now, as I’m so tired of it all.

My weight in 2014 hasn’t changed as much as I thought or in the way I thought it would. I put on. I’d like to say stress was a factor – it probably was, but the fact is I didn’t stop eating junk and I didn’t exercise as much as I wanted to. Something I seriously NEED to change for 2015.

A strain was emphasised in 2014 – I won’t go in much detail but I don’t think things will ever really be the same again. With this though, I discovered who the people were that I could really count on and, as I grow older, these are few and far between. I realised that I really don’t have many friends around me, which makes me extremely lonely.

The one thing that didn’t really suck in 2014 was my relationship with D. In fact, that grew stronger and we’re now planning things that I didn’t think I would. More on that in another post, I think.

My resolutions for 2015 are to lose weight (again!), find my happy place and to find a job that I’m happy in. I’ve completely lost sight of what I’m actually doing here. I don’t really fit in and I’ve got to make a change to make me happier. I don’t really know where to start but something’s got to give because I’ve not even been sleeping properly and that’s terrible when even your subconscious knows something’s up!

And so today, I’m going to write a huge list of what I want to do this year. And I’ll stick to it. For my own sanity and for a better year.