I was never a runner. Yes, I know I am a qualified PT but I have never been able to run. A few weeks in to starting at Gymshark, Gymshark Running Club (GSRC) was set up. Put simply, I did not want to go; however, as the newbie, I thought it would be an opportunity to make some new friends. I reluctantly dragged myself there one Monday night and struggled with 2.5K.

running gif

I decided I was never going back. 

The following week I went back.

I was annoyed at myself and adamant that I could do better. I thought back to when I first started weight training and how awful I was at that. If I could go from using 2KG dumbbells to bench-pressing almost body weight, I could run 2.5K.

That session I ran 2.5K. 

After I hit my first little milestone, I was hooked. I downloaded Strava and decided that I was going to be a ‘runner’. Twice a week, myself and the rest of GSRC (who are all fantastic runners) went out and I pushed myself to go further and/or faster in every single session. Once a club was set up on Strava and I began to see my miles compared to everyone else, I started to run outside of GSRC as well.

runner 1

The first time I went without stopping 

At the point of writing this blog post, I have been going to running club for about two months (maybe a little longer) and I am now running around 3.5 miles 3-4 times a week alongside 2-3  weight training sessions. I wouldn’t say I loved it while I was doing it (although I definitely enjoy it more now than I did at the start), but nothing beats the buzz once I have finished.

running 2

I even ran when I went back to visit home!! 

I would never leave behind weight training. Firstly, because I love it! And secondly, because I think it is a really important part of staying fit and healthy. However, my goals have now changed. Whereas when I was solely weight training my focus was entirely on aesthetics, I am not more focused on improving my fitness levels. Of course, I still want a peachy booty and rock hard abs, but I want to also be able to run comfortably. As cringe as it sounds, running has changed my whole outlook on what ‘healthy’ means to me.

If you’re looking at getting into running, here are a few of my top tips:

  1. Download Strava (or another running app). It really helps to keep me motivated and visually see my progress.
  2. Join a running club. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but I would really recommend it if you can. Not only will you feel more motivated, but the running community are so welcoming, you will probably find yourself making friends.
  3. Don’t stress too much about pace. Your body knows effort, not pace. Try your hardest there and then. Of course, continue to push yourself but remember than some days it will be harder than others.
  4. Get outdoors. Treadmills suck! I know I probably shouldn’t say that but, after  running outside, I would never go back to the treadmill. Outside is definitely more challenging, but it is so much more rewarding.
  5. Don’t neglect weights. Even if your goals are solely based on cardiovascular fitness, do not neglect weight training. It will help you run further and faster with better form and reduced risk of injury.

I am still very much a beginner and I have a long way to go, but I would now call myself a runner (something I never thought I would say) and I am pretty proud of that.

runnng 5

So, yeah, thanks GSRC. 

What are your top running tips? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask any questions you might have. 

running gif 2.gif

Jamie x 

cropped-header.png

A few months back I got my first EVER tattoo. I had wanted a tattoo for years and so, after months and months of looking at designs, myself and my Mum booked in to get matching tattoos. I am by no means an expert. I have one tiny tattoo on my ankle that took all of 15 minutes to do. HOWEVER, I did pick up some top tips during the process that I thought I would share with you incase you were considering getting your first tattoo. 

38482666_521262514971256_1814959875420061696_n

See, I told you it was small.

Take Your Time

Whatever you choose is going to be on your body forever so make sure you love the design! I am not one of these people who believes that every tattoo has to mean something but I do think you should invest time into making sure you’re 100% happy with the design. I had my design saved on my phone for about 6 months and kept looking at it to make sure I was definitely certain this was the first tattoo I wanted. It is also really important to consider placement. Originally I was going to get this on my side, however, after browsing the net I decided the ankle was the place to go and I love it.

Do Your Research

Make sure you research both the parlour and the tattoo artist before committing. Check out as many online reviews as possible and if you can, visit in person to check it all out and meet the artist that will be doing your tattoo. Artists tend to have certain styles they are really good at and other things they would rather avoid, so check them out on Facebook and have a look at some of their previous work to get a idea of style. If you’re wanting a dainty flower on your rib cage then maybe someone who specialises in big ass gothic dragons might not be the one for you… 

Don’t Be Tight

Don’t pick your parlour/artist based on how cheap they are. A tattoo is an investment and it’s better to spend that little bit more and be happy with it than end up on the next series of Tattoo Fixers.

Ask Questions 

As well as researching the artist make sure you ask them questions. You want to make sure you have a good rapport and your mind is at ease before the day.

Look After Yourself Prior

This is something that I had never really thought about until I met with my tattoo artist prior, but it is really important to make sure you take care of yourself beforehand. My advice would be don’t go to the shop drunk (#Maga2018 might seem like a good idea at the time but it probably won’t in the morning) and make sure you eat a decent meal and drink lots of water beforehand. I’d also recommend saying YES to the offer of a lollipop. 1) The sugar will keep your blood sugar levels elevated and stop you feeling sick. 2) You can bite of the stick when it gets a little bit sore. Plus you get a free lolly – win, win. 

Prepare Yourself (And Maybe Take A Friend)

I hate to break it to you but it is going to hurt. It’s not totally unbearable but you’re having ink carved into your skin with loads of little needles, obviously it’s not a bloody spa facial. To be fair, my artist did say the placement of mine might make it worse as it as going directly onto the ankle bone at points, so positioning does impact it. Obviously your pain threshold impacts things as well. I didn’t think it was too bad and I would definitely have another. Mum on the other hand…. I’m not too sure.

The Aftercare is CRUCIAL

Tattoo aftercare is really important and something that you really cannot neglect! You’ve probably spent a lot of money on your tattoo and it’s going to be there forever so it deserves to be shown some love. If you’re not supplied with aftercare treatment (I wasn’t) I would recommend Bepanthen+ applied at least twice a day for AT LEAST a few weeks. Listen carefully to the instructions your artist gives you and think about timing. You need to keep your tattoo out of direct sunshine and chlorinated so you don’t want to be getting in done the day before you go away.

I loved having my tattoo and I am really happy with how it turned out. I have definitely got the tattoo bug and am already planning a second on my ribs (again only a little one, don’t worry Mum!). If you’re looking for some inspiration for designs I would suggest looking on Instagram and Pinterest as there are some incredible pieces on there. I also have a board on my Pinterest dedication to my tattoo inspiration so go and check it out. 

Have you guys got any tattoos? Are you planning your first? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x 

header-1440x480

Sources:

https://www.hartandhuntingtonorlando.com/blog/11-tips-your-first-tattoo

First Tattoo Tips

https://www.bustle.com/articles/97422-tips-for-getting-your-first-tattoo-because-getting-inked-is-a-pretty-huge-pretty-permanent-life

I turn 22 tomorrow. Part of me is excited because, you know, presents but the other part of my wishes everything would just SLOW DOWN. The little 8 year old inside me still can’t quite comprehend that she’s an adult now, going to work and renting her own little house. When I first moved in I wasn’t ready for it, but I had no choice but to learn and learn FAST. That has often been the case with most of the lessons I have learnt throughout my 22 years on this earth. Life comes at you quickly and sometimes you just have to go with it and hope for the best. 

mum-2-

Started from the bottom…

37717581_896629300525615_4799862971050229760_n

Now we’re here.

  1. Always have a sanitary towel in your bag. You never know when mother nature is going to come-a-calling and you should always be prepared. After a few accidents and more than a few girls asking me if I had one spare in bathrooms, I learnt my lesson.
  2. You’re not going to ‘like’ everyone, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get along. Back in year 8 if I didn’t like someone they were automatically my worst enemy. As I have grown up I have learnt that I don’t have to ‘like’ someone to get on with them. It doesn’t mean they are bad people or that we have to be enemies, it might just mean we’re different and that’s okay – you’re not going to like everyone.
  3. Not everyone is going to like you. Following on from number 2, not everyone is going to like you and guess what? That’s okay too.
  4. Bitching says more about you than it does them. When I was younger everyone bitched about everyone. It was cruel and unnecessary. I learnt overtime that bitching about people said more about me than it did them. If you have a problem with someone the only way to resolve it is to speak to them.
  5. Pee after sex. This came as a shock to me but yes, pee after sex. Nobody wants a water infection.
  6. Relationships should be 50/50. You should never have to bleed yourself dry to maintain a relationship. Relationships should be an equal balance of give and take.
  7. Always have a bottle of water in your bag. Hydration really is key! Plus, bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment.
  8. Water looks a lot like vodka and lemonade – just keep your mouth shut. If you don’t want another drink just order tap water. Trust me, no one will notice and you’ll thank yourself for it the next day.
  9. Endings are a part of life. Endings aren’t always nice but they are a part of life and symbolise growth and change.
  10. There is no shame in vulnerability. I used to think that in order to get anywhere in life I had to be hard faced and emotionless. Remember all the Facebook quotes glorifying this? Turns out, there is no shame in vulnerability. In fact, I have grown up to find it an endearing quality in others. Without vulnerability I found that life was very lonely.
  11. Sex and self respect do not correlate. When I was younger I firmly believed that sex and self respect went hand in hand but overtime I have learnt that that is not the case. People have both self respect and sex – the two do not correlate. If they are happy and safe then it really doesn’t matter how many sexual partners an individual chooses to have.
  12. You’re going to need anti-ageing creams sooner than you thought. Okay so I haven’t got wrinkles and I’m not greying just yet BUT there is no harm in erring on the side of caution. I have recently brought myself an anti-ageing eye cream to help with early signs of ageing. Kind of expected that to be a purchase I made closer to my 40’s but there you go…
  13. Coffee is cheaper if you just make it at home. Yes I know this is obvious but honestly you will save SO much money if you cut down on your coffee shop habit and just make it at home.
  14. The laundry is not going to wash itself. Turns out it was Mum who did it! Who knew?
  15. You are your own priority. I spent a long time trying to be a people pleaser and it got me nowhere. The more I tried it seemed the less I was liked. I learnt that your happiness should be your first priority. The more I put me first, the more I found people like me who loved and supported me for who I am.
  16. Things hardly ever go to plan. Literally EVER. You really have just got to roll with every new opportunity. As a self confessed ‘planner’ this came as a shock to the system but hey, that’s life for you!
  17. Not everyone has the same heart as you. Sometimes people can be cruel and work from a different moral compass to yourself. Take lessons from these people should you come across them and remove them from your life. Do not sacrifice your inner peace for anyone.
  18. Mum knows best. It didn’t take me long to learn this but it did take me a long time to accept it. Mum’s really are always right. My Mum knows me better than I know myself and her advice always come from a place of selfless love.
  19. You don’t owe ‘looking pretty’ to anyone. Don’t want to wear make up? Don’t. Can’t be bothered to wash your hair? No worries. It took me a long time to learn this but you don’t have to ‘look pretty’. You do not owe being ‘visually appealing’ to someone – you are worth so much more than that.
  20. Heartbreak hurts but you get over it. I have had my heart broken. One time I never thought I would EVER get over it but I did. I still think about that person from time to time but it is usually with fondness. Heartbreak is a part of life. It sucks but you’re going to be fine.
  21. Dry shampoo is a gift from the gods. I thank the gods for the day dry shampoo was invented. Honestly the day I learnt I did not have to wash my hair every single day was a wonderful one.
  22. You’re never alone, even if you feel like it. There are times when I have felt very lonely but I have learnt that I am never alone. In a world where anyone is just a phone call away and friendships with your online pals are as real as friendships with those you have known in person you really are never alone. I promise.

38011877_902647176590494_861512023727407104_n

My last celebration living at home. 

I hope I never lose the little 8 year old inside of me who still jumps in puddles and will go out of her way to do the hop scotch on her route home from work. I might be an adult but I always want to be a child at heart. I always want to keep hold of that youthful, carefree fun whether I’m 22 or 82. Happy Birthday to me. 

crete 7

“We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public’ – Bryan White.

Jamie x 

header-1440x480

I don’t remember ever living with my Dad. My parents got divorced when I was about 6 months old. Throughout my childhood I had a pretty sporadic relationship with my Dad and so, for roughly the first ten years of my life, it was just me and my Mum. There are lots of stereotypes that surround single parent families that which I hope to prove are often not the case. Of course a single parent household brings with it difficulties, however, I have not only managed but I have thrived and learnt so many valuable life lessons through being bought up by my mother alone. These lessons have helped me become a braver, stronger and more independent person.

mum-2-

The first thing I learnt through being bought up by only my mother, is that your mother is the best and most loyal friend you could ask for. For the last 20 years, my mother has not only been my mum but has also been the best friend I could ask for. When I was growing up it was very difficult for Mum to juggle a social life whilst bringing up a child, which meant our relationship became as much friends as it was mother and daughter. Because of this, all my life I have had someone to confide in about anything and everything. Whatever I am going through, I never feel like I have to face anything alone and there are no conversational boundaries in our household, literally anything goes! Contrary to stereotypes surrounding single parent families, this relationship meant I never needed to go through the ‘rebellious’ teen stage and never felt the need to go behind my Mum’s back. Don’t get me wrong, there were and still are moments when my mother very much takes on her authoritative role but luckily this isn’t that often.

Through my life I have always adopted the philosophy ‘say yes and figure it out later’. Now, I’m the first to admit that this has sometimes left me in some pretty sticky situations but it has also opened doors for me that I never thought were possible. Each time I agree to something, whether it goes well or not, I take something away from it and develop as a person. I entirely put this attribute down to my single parent upbringing. I have never once seen my Mum give up. She might not know how to do everything at first, but she can turn her hand to anything when she needs to. My Mum admits that bring me up alone meant she had to improvise a lot, but she figured it out.

Despite research showing that children who grow up without fathers are more likely to be unhappy, my upbringing taught me very different. From watching my Mum thrive, I learnt from a young age that happiness should always be my main priority. I have sometimes struggled with this, as I think everyone does, but having this message instilled in me from an early age helps me immensely when dealing with tough situations. My Mum’s experience taught me never to stay in a relationship you’re unhappy with – you’ll be so much better off on your own. In every aspect of your life you should always respect yourself enough to walk away from something that is no longer helping you grow, whether that be a relationship or a career.

This brings me to the last and most important thing I’ve learnt from being bought up by a single parent. Be brave. No matter how hard things get, and things will get hard, things will always get better. They might not get better over night and sometimes it will seem like everything is against you, but give it time. Walking away from something (or someone), tackling new challenges alone and remaining positive and focused during your hardest times, is scary. But you can do it if you’re brave enough to. It’s okay that things aren’t ‘perfect’ all the time, in fact, things never will be ‘perfect’, but appreciate everything that is there in front of you and always try your best to give back.

Being bought up by a single parent has never made me lack faith in love or feel any bitterness. My Mum and Dad still have a good relationship and, when I turned 12 years old, my mother married my now step-dad who I love and consider, not only part of my family, but also a friend. If anything, I have seen the strength of love people can have for each other and the strength we have inside us. Looking back on my childhood now as I leave my teenage years, no part of me feels like it was lacking anything.

I will forever be grateful to my mother for giving me so much love and being the strongest role model I could have ever asked for.

Jamie x 

A few months back I was involved in a Twitter chat about Travel. We were discussing the impact that social media had on travel and whether that impact was positive or negative? I have to admit I was torn. Here was the answer I gave:

38538356_2101359273437567_4121566439624671232_n

It really got me thinking – if technology was able to have such profound impacts on a travelling habit, what is it doing to our relationships? In short, is technology helping or hindering relationships?

My initial thought was immediately a positive one. Living away from home and being in a long distance relationship, technology allows me to maintain relationships with those I wish were closest to me but can’t be. I am able to feel close to them, hear their voices and see their faces. It is the same with friends back home. Even now my friends from University are just a phone call away and I can always count on the group chat for a bit of motivation when I’m feeling down, usually in the form of ‘YASSS QUEEN SLAY’ (It’s kind of like I get to be a drunk girl in a toilet whenever I need it).

Other relationships that immediately came to mind was my relationship with other bloggers and people I have only ever come across through the world of social media. I have come across some wonderful people and genuinely feel as if I have a much wider support network than I would have had without social media. Naturally not every encounter is genuine one but that is surely the same when you meet people face to face. You can never truly know another persons motive and I think that not being face to face definitely makes it even harder, but online interactions have taught me a lot about the impact words can have on another individual and I have become a lot more considerate and empathetic.

However, there are certainly cons to the impact our ever-advancing technology is having upon of social interactions and consequently the relationships that we make. A very interesting (and important) point was raised in the chat by @wanderingpram.

38693265_1895914833804534_994738228462354432_n

If we apply this reduced need to be social to relationships we can certainly see how technology has the potential to seriously hinder them. Sure, it is great that answers are now only a few clicks away but that means google becomes the local sat in a bar or the person walking down the street who looks like they know where they’re going. We avoid interaction because it is no longer necessary to the point that when interaction is necessary we recoil in fear. Being told by google that your search was unsuccessful is a lot easier than the feeling of rejection that potentially comes from face to face interactions.

Last year I secured a place on the News UK Summer Internship where we had to opportunity to visit Unruly a marketing and advertising agency based in London. When there we were given a tour of a ‘house of the future’. This house had everything! The mirror could tell you if your outfit matched and what Zara shoes would go best with those black trousers – ‘They’re currently in the sale, would you like me to order them for you?’ The fridge would order your butter for you if you were running low, the bath would run itself if you needed a soak – the house did EVERYTHING, all you had to do was log in. What might surprise you is that this ‘house of the future’ was actually a house of 2020 – 2 YEARS AWAY! Obviously the vast majority could never afford technology like this but it would be there as an option for some. This level of technology meant that you would literally never have to leave the house should you not want to. You would never have to interact with anyone again apart from the person who delivered your groceries that your cupboard ordered for you when you were running short.

Technology and the impact of social media is certainly not black or white. In fact, it’s kind of a messy grey sort of colour. The sheer pace at which technology is developing terrifies me. In the house of 2020 I was simultaneously in awe and horrified. I never want to be in a situation where I don’t have to leave the house. Face to face social interactions and fulfilling and allow us to develop as individuals. However, interactions on social media too have allowed for me to develop patience, empathy and a willingness to be proven wrong. Just as with everything in life, it seems to be a case of small doses. As Sirius Black ever so wisely said (how do I manage to bring everything back to Harry Potter?):

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

The impact technology has on relationships, whether it helps or hinders, is ultimately down to us. What matters IS the part we choose to act on.

Technology can never rival the closeness of face to face interaction, but the reality is that is not always possible and when it isn’t I am grateful for technology being there to give a helping hand.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, let me know in the comments below! 

Jamie x 

header-1440x480