Monday, 19 March 2018

Caernarfon: photo diary

Okayyyy so it may only be a few hours away by car, and I may have only stayed one night...but this trip was absolutely lovely so naturally I wanted to share it on this 'ere blog thing. I've always enjoyed visiting new places, in this instance Caernarfon wasn't new to me, but it was the first time I'd been as an adult. It gave me a new appreciation for the small welsh town that I hadn't had previously.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Stephen Hawking: thought-provoking even in death.

On the 14th March 2018, the world woke to the news that the brilliantly iconic Stephen Hawking had passed away aged 76. To me it symbolizes a great loss to the world. I feel honored to have shared a part of my lifetime with such a person.
Stephen Hawking
He's known twofold among-st the world. Partially for his brilliant mind, to have such a brain to not only understand out of this world theories but be able to create and support your own is a rare thing. His novel, "A Brief History of Time" sold over 10 million copies and was on the Sunday Times  bestseller list for over 4 years.  He was known for his views on numerous topics and was not afraid of causing academic controversy.

The other side of the coin comes of course, from living with MND (Motor Neurone Disease)since his early twenties. To the majority of the world, to picture Stephen Hawking is to see the wheels and hear that slightly americanised robotic voice. Its something that drew him outside of the scientific sphere ofinfuence and into the public eye. He went on to use his popularity a gap between science and the public mind in ways that have yet to be replicated. He featured cameos on numerous shows from The Simpsons to Star Trek and culminated his IMDB with a film depicted of his life starring Eddie Redmayne: The Theory of Everything.
He campaigned and succeded in gaining disabled access throughout Oxford University. A good portion of his life he worked within the realms of disability outreach, using his publicity to improve peoples knowledge of disability rights and in protecting those rights.

In the hours since his passing, the internet has blown up with messages of respect and mourning. One message however stands strong amongst the well-wishers, that he was " a great man despite  his disease". Of course, as I stated above, Hawking is known publicly as much for his condition as he is his mind.
What isn't known is that messages like that reflect and attitude that an be harmful for those living with chronic illness.

Let me explain a bit more. To say that someone is good at something despite living with a chronic condition is to not see them as a whole person. Instead you are cherry-picking the qualities you are complimenting to meet the ideal of an able-bodied person.
For example, Hawking was an amazing person for all his achievements AND  he had MND. it's a simple change but actually reflects a better understanding. His achievements are not a testament to his condition, they are of what he himself could achieve. Yes, they may have only been possible with technology to provide speech, or of a wheel chair to allow him mobility but they are his.
It's important we see people as a whole person, not just components. To respect that some peoples goals might be different compared to other peoples because of how their day to day life is. To some people a goal might be to write a best selling physics novel, or it could be to get dressed every day in one week.
It's not to say that they are limited by their illness, and that any goal they achieve is despite of it. It's to recognise that they are a person as a whole and that they can still have goals and dreams.

As someone who does work in the NHS, we are conditioned to treat the acute problem. Your knee is sore? Heres pain relief. Problem with your shoulder? Send for a short course of physio.
We are conditioned to treat the smaller things, to not see someone as a whole person. It's something I try to work around in m own practise. To work with people to set goals, not despite their condition,  but that have meaning to them and are achievable.

I sit here as an able-bodied person, and it's still something that I find hard not to say. Yet I'm trying. So next time, think about how you phrase things, because often it reflects more about you than the person you're talking about.

Even in death, Hawking challenges how we see the world.

Abi x


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Liverpool Urban Hair and Fashion Awards

Before Christmas  I attended a little event on my own in a local Liverpool restaurant, I got chatting to lovely ladies and had a great night.

Fast forward a few months and I’m sat at the Liverpool Urban Hair and Fashion Awards. Random, I know. But it’s one of the many things that we chatted about that fateful night and that really caught my imagination.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

5 reasons to start running

I sit here typing, legs tired, mind relaxed and heart light. I'm back from a run and cheesy as it sounds I feel great.

I started running properly about a year ago. It helped me keep focused at a time when I needed a big distraction and an even bigger confidence boost. This post isn't about how everyone should try running. I'm not being that person, because I know its not suited for everyone. Instead its targeted at those of you who are thinking of starting. Who don't really know whether its for them or if they even could. Here are just a few reasons why I lace up my running shoes and work up a sweat:

1/ Goals//
Goals are important. Not necessarily the achieving of them(although obvs thats great) but aiming for them. Having something you're heading towards can give anything a bit of purpose.
Running is a great sport for setting goals. They can be as big or as little as you like, they simply have to be meaningful to you. I set a big goal after the Liverpool Rock'n'Roll marathon to run a half marathon in less then 2hrs30. I've since signed up for 2 halfs this year so we can see how close I get!

2/ Confidence//
Following closely behind goal setting is confidence. As well as that larger goal I mentioned, I've also set a smaller goal to be consistently running under 10 minute miles. The more running I'm doing the more consistent I'm getting and I feel this year I'll get that so that pretty much all my running will be at that pace. It's a long slog but actually makes me really confident seeing the progress I'm making. Even if we look at an early post I wrote last year, my average mileage was around 13:30 so its made big leaps and bounds in only a year.

3/ Friends//
We are looooading up on cheese today but starting running has helped me become closer to some of my friends. Most Tuesdays I go running with a few gal pals and its great, we can have a good natter and it helps push me to run better as they're a lot faster than me! Running is one of the most accessible sports around, anyone can do it and anyone can talk about it. Even people who have been running for years, who smash out the miles at paces you can only dream of will happily chat to you about it. I've yet to meet a runner who talks down to another runner, they always want to see you succeed as much as you do.

4/ Body image//
I won't sit here and tell you I lost shit tons of weight because it would be a big ass lie. I lost a little bit of weight when I first started, like a couple of pounds but I didn't make any changes to my diet so I wasn't expecting to and it slowly crept back up. Instead what I noticed was that I gradually became more toned, mostly my legs. So while the scales didn't change, I still found that I was having to do a little less squeezing into some of my tight er clothes. Feeling that little bit more sassy really helped my body image. I still weigh the same but I don't care as much as I used to about that. Instead I have a new appreciation for my own strength. I don't see that I have big legs,  I see legs that have the strength and endurance to run for miles. Its that trust in my own body that pushed me to start playing hockey again for the first time since high school.

5/ Mentality//
As if all that wasn't enough, for me running helps me stay on top of my mental health. I know that exercise doesn't work for everyone but for me it's a biiig part of me feeling well. Even on days where I haven't walked as much I feel angsty and irritable, it has a massive effect on my mood. Going running helps me to clear my mind. I can use it either as a distraction or as a focus as needed. It's time thats mostly for me, even if I do go for a run with others!

Theres just a few reasons I like to run, it's something I used to hate but have really come to love.

Abi x

P.S.: do you want more running related posts?
P.P.S. yep. theres a wee amazon affiliate link tucked away in this post, brownie points if you find it.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

5 Money Saving Apps You Need

On the 10th January 2018, I officially passed my driving test after nearly a year of learning. Once the initial shock wore off it didn't take long until I had my set on getting a car. The catch? It costs a lot of money. I've been saving for a while but I now have a clear goal in mind, to put towards a deposit for a car.

I consider myself quite thrifty though, I always look for bargains and try to make my money stretch further as is. For a while I've been using a few different apps to save up my pennies and today I want to share them with you. All these apps I've had for at least 6 months, some longer so they really are ones I use. Sadly no sponsorships, just my opinion guys, gals and others.

1/ Quidco// I've started with this as it's my biggest earner. I's a cashback app that you can use online or just from your phone. If I'm buying anything I always have a quick check to see if they have any offers on. The downside is that it can take a good while for tracked transactions to be approved, but once they are its all yours! I'll hold my hands up, the majority of my purchases made through this are takeaways, but even if it's only 20p I earn, its money I would have spent anyway. It all adds up in the end! It also includes the likes of utilities, so I'd say have a look around at what extra offers you might be able to get next time you're switching provider.
If you're interested in trying it out and then use my referral code. Once you save up £5.00, we'll both get an extra £5.00!

2/ Viewsbank//
This one is a little different. It's actually a polling app. They have a daily poll Mon-Fri and answering gains you a solid 10p. They also have extra questionnaires that tend to offer bigger incentives up to£1-2. It doesn't sound much but actually if you use it consistently it doesn't take tooo long to reach the payment threshold of £12. I've had at least 3 payments since I started using this about a year ago and I'm well on to another. The only issue I have is remembering in the week to log in! The app also includes general polls you can take part in but I typically stick to the paying ones.

3/ CheckoutSmart//
This app works to promote new products by offering cashback. I don't use it as often as the products really vary but by keeping an eye on it I've picked up a few freebies or cheap deals on things I already intended to buy. It's worth just checking every now and then.

4/ Receipt Hog//
This is my favourite of the money saving apps. It works in that you earn coins which translate to paypal pay offs. You earn coins in several ways, the first from scanning receipts from the likes of grocery stores and health stores. The other by using the little "hog slots" machine, you earn spins from scanning receipts from clothes and electrical stores. It's a slow builder but I like it because it's a bit quirky and doesn't require me to spend any extra money, just scan after purchases I've already made. It rewards consistent weekly use with spins and then coins as you move through the levels.
I'll admit I haven't had a cash payout even though I've hit one of the thresholds (it is slow to accumulate the coins) but I'm saving for one of the bigger prizes.

5/ Skyscanner +Airbnb/
Okay, you got me, they are two different apps. I just wanted to include them as I've used both a few times to save me some money on trips away and accommodation. I know that technically I'd save more by having no trips but you got to cut a gal some slack! By using these two, the trips I have splashed on have been cheaper than they otherwise would have been. Skyscanner helps to find cheap flights, while Airbnb gives options for a variety of different rooms/flats/homes to stay in once you've decided on your destination. Both are available as apps and websites.
If you do want to check out Airbnb, then use my referral link. You get £25 in travel credit, and then once you complete a trip I get £15! Not a bad offer eh?

So just a few apps I use on the regular, see what you think and let me know how it goes.

Abi x

P.S. nobody paid me for this little post, sadly, so no bias over here guys. I will benefit if you click on the referral links though, so be a doll?

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Book review: This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

I'll be honest I don't often read non-fiction but This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay  caught my eye back before Christmas. I think if I hadn't been a Physio I probably wouldn't have been drawn to a memoir collection, but the medical connection drew me in.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Book blog tour: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

It seems only yesterday that I was reviewing Jane Harper's excellent first novel, The Dry. For me its a stand out book, not only for being a great thriller but for also being one of the first book blog tours I took part in.

In the same way that since then my blogging has come along way, so too has Harper's work. I was approached a little while back to take part in the tour for her second novel, Force of Nature, and was really happy to have the opportunity to do so.

The book takes place in the same world we left in The Dry but could easily be read as a stand alone. It sets a dark tone from the very beginning, where we follow the survivors of a work retreat gone very wrong.
The question from the start is simple, What happened to Alice Russell? An issue that haunts the characters throughout the story. The answer is not a simple one and I'll confess I didn't guess the ending (this once) but once you know it feels like the only way it could have possibly ended. Still we see how Detective Aaron Falk, the protagonist from The Dry and those entangled in the story sift through the facts to find the dark truth.

I talked in my review of her debut novel of the spectacular imagery she is able to create. Again, that really shines through. As someone who has never been to Australia and in fact lives in a totally different climate, it still feels believable and incredibly real to be in the depths of the Australian bushland. 

Overall the book gets a solid 9/10 for me. I don't know if Harper intends to write any further books within this series but I will be awaiting her next work with bated breathe.

Abi x

I was sent this book with the sole purpose to review it. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, popped a few affiliate links in, gal's gonna eat y'know.