Tag: anxiety

Difficult Decision

Difficult Decision

I’m extremely surprised to be writing this but I have had to cancel my ultimate fantasy trip of travelling to Bolivia & Peru and hiking Machu Picchu.

My mental health has deteriorated again and I need to fund some therapy to get me back on track.

This will probably mean I need to adjust my challenges once again but I don’t need to worry about that just yet.

But for now I’m going to grieve about not going travelling just yet.




Anyone else had therapy before? What was your experience like? Any pointers?


#5 Complete

I am now a proud business owner! Here is how I got to this point.

Way back in secondary school (junior high school for the Americans) you have to decide what you want to do when you grow up. That’s such a hard choice when at 14 you are worrying about shaving your leg hair for P.E. or stropping over your mum buying you the wrong school shoes.

Image result for teenage angst

So I made the decision then that I’d like to be a Sport Psychologist. I loved my sport and wanted to help the athletes be the best they could. I got good grades for me to go to College (high school for those over the pond) and here I chose the relevant subjects for this career path. Human Biology and Psychology. For a start, giving teenagers a substitute teacher is just bad news so it didn’t surprise me when my paper came back as Ungraded in Biology (it was a much harder syllabus and I admit I switched off and misbehaved).

Second year of College I had to choose another subject so I took Business Studies. Which I aced. It may have helped that me and a friend had to sit in with all the first years so we actually concentrated. Also by this point my friendships changed and my attitude changed towards the education system. You realise all your hard work at the previous school means jack shit! Plus I had myself a part time job and just passed my driving test. Money became more of a pull then essays and exams. I think I was working more than attending College by the time I left with some ad-hoc grades.

A huge topic is University (College in America) and personal statements. I had no interest whatsoever in going. I had no idea what career I wanted and Sports Psychologist was out the window. Therefore I made the decision to not go to Uni. I didn’t want to waste my parents money on something I wasn’t 100% committed to.

Fast forward by whizzing through ski seasons in Canada & Austria and then working in the leisure industry. Working behind the scenes with money at G4S in England and Ireland which ended up me being signed off sick with anxiety and depression. So even after 26 years I still hadn’t found my niche of what I wanted to do.

I do not regret not going to Uni. I’ve had my party days in different countries and cities with travel buddies and rugby pals. I earned myself some decent money to pay for luxury trips to different states in the USA including Hawaii, Thailand and Canada.  At interviews for jobs I’ve always been under qualified but my attitude and life experience has been the factor for me being the successful candidate. I think the interview panel get bored of hearing the same old shit. I know I would.

Whilst I was off work with mental illness you get a lot of time to think. Ok mostly overthink but on my better days I managed to come up with the idea of setting up a dog walking business. Dogs didn’t care what I looked liked. Dogs loved you no matter what. Walking would get me out in the fresh air. Walking would help me keep fit. I took my parents dog out for walks whilst I was off work and ventured out into the forest or down to the beach. The fresh air cleared my head and made me sleep well at night.

I got myself a job within walking distance to home, only part time, with no weekend or bank holiday working. Result. This has given me time to do some research into qualifications and how to set up a small business. I applied for a start up business loan which got approved and subsequently paid for my qualifications. See #16 Complete to find out more about those.

Next task was to think of a business name! I like play on words and alliteration. I had to be careful not to steal or copy a name of a business already working within the area. So this is where Tails & Trails of Totton came from. I now needed a logo for stationary and websites etc. I asked my sister in law Ness to help me out.


Ness is a fashion designer by trade, she designs clothing for Tog 24 and gets to visit Hong Kong a lot. Check out the website here https://www.tog24.com/
However she also designs stationary. For her wedding she managed to design her own wedding invites etc. and then got asked by friends to do theirs. She got herself into her local papers too. Go visit her stationary website http://www.beautiful-ink.co.uk/

As you can tell I’m a fan of orange. Personally I don’t think the colour I used enough. But anyway I chose this simple design as its straight to the point. So I started to set up my Facebook Page and Instagram Account – you know the most important things first. I then got myself some uniform to wear around my local area whenever I was working.


And so I started to advertise to my friends and family. Luckily I already had a dog that I walked every Friday which I had been visiting for the past year. Showing the bank managers I had a steady but obviously low income.

I decided to advertise my business over the summer holidays and hope for the best. I managed to get 3 new customers. Result. I looked after a 3 month old puppy called Arnold a puggle called Brutus and had a week long stay with a Heinz variety called Benji.

Kernow; my Friday friend

Arnold; the cutest puppy I’ve seen



I feel I am well on my way to building up a client base and have no doubts it will take me a while until I can dive deep into my venture and work with the dogs full time. I have a few more goals within my business to achieve as well so will keep you up to date.

In the mean time go follow my Instagram account totton_tails_trails for more pictures of my clients or even give my page a like on Facebook


Blue signifies heaven

Blue signifies heaven

For those of you that don’t know what Tae Kwon Do is it’s a self defence martial art from Korea. Literally meaning hand and foot. For more information and see where your nearest class is (UK) follow this link:


Saturday just gone I graded for my blue belt. In the sweltering heat. Britain was having one of its rare heat waves and in the middle of the afternoon in a school gym hall I was wearing my full dobok (training suit) doing patterns and sparring. Sweaty Betty comes to mind.

To help you guys understand the belt system in Tae Kwon Do the order is below

White with Yellow Tag
Yellow with Green Tag
Green with Blue Tag
Blue with Red Tag
Red with Black Tag

So I am already over half way to get my black belt – yay! But I do need to knuckle down to achieve my black belt before I am 30. I’ve worked it out I will be hopefully be grading for my black belt in October 2019.

This grading has meant more than most. I was introduced to the Art back when I was 13/14 and a few friends I knew did it. I enjoyed it and got up to Green with Blue Tag. However as a teenager, more exciting things were available to me like trampolining and rugby. So I gave up.
My dad was very proud that I learnt to do a martial art as it teaches people how to be courteous, respectful and how to defend yourself. So when I stopped skiing and I got back my evenings from work, dad reminded me of how Tae Kwon Do could help me become more flexible by regularly stretching whilst gaining something out of it.
After putting it off for a good few months, I found my old club and sent off an email (heaven forbid I had to speak to a stranger straight away) to request me joining. My parents were impressed as I was going through a spell of depression and anxiety so pushing myself to go into a room full of strangers was a big step. However I knew the location and I knew the basics so in a way I covered my back to not have too many things to be anxious about.
I was told if I could prove my certificates from my previous training I could come back as the same belt I left on. Unfortunately I couldn’t. Thinking of all the places they could be and frantically making a mess trying to find them I decided I must have been frivolous and thrown them away. All I had were my belts – damn.
But this meant I could relearn the basics and not have to worry too much about the grading’s as I had a good understanding already of what would be waiting for me.

So like I said, this grading was more important than the rest. It meant that I have now come further than my previous time. I was at a point of giving up again as I was getting a little bored to doing the stuff I already knew. But I didn’t. I graded for my blue belt.

Pupils have to do all their set line work, patterns and sparring in front of Master Dew. (second in from the right)


Here he doesn’t look that scary as he is smiling and has his dobok on like me. But pop him in a suit and a serious face I could easily crap my pants. It also doesn’t help that he could kick my ass at 73 years of age! He is 8th Dan black belt – one off of the top belt. So I get a little nervous when it comes to grading days. It did show this time around as I made a few mistakes however I passed!

As a student of Tae Kwon Do you also have to learn Korean. Mostly for body parts, numbers 1-10 plus kicks and blocks. For example:
Elbow = Palkup
Knee = Moorup
Side Kick = Yop Chagi
Double Punch = Doo Jirugi
We then also have to remember certain dates for when Tae Kwon Do started in Britain and Korea. Don’t forget the meaning of your belts and patterns, how many moves they have plus a 63 word oath! The higher the grade the more you have to remember as you’re expected to still be able to recall anything from previous grading’s. A massive game of pot luck but I managed to get 3.5 out of 5.

Next grading is not until 6 months time. I can rest easy for now.

#14 What I learnt

#14 What I learnt

What did I learn from going to my first festival?

  • Take less crap!
    The least amount of times I have to go to and from the car to get things the better. For example we carried 2 lots of 6x1litre bottles of lemonade (for mixers) but we only drank 1 pack of 6. 

But this then does lead to….

  • Taking more money.
    Then I can buy soft drinks already chilled rather than trying to keep ones I’ve carried for half a mile cool in a tent. It also means I can buy more Viper 10 gear that I don’t need but I want and not feel guilty for. Plus no matter how much alcohol you smuggle in, you’ll either drink it all or you’ll fancy something different on the day (next year I’m getting me some cocktails). Lastly you can buy more food. We carried food in like snacky bits but because they were there I ate them. If I took more money I probably would have ate less as it wasn’t in the tent. I have even started budgeting for next year. Savings pot has £50 in there ready to go.

**Top Tip**
Girls if you’re looking for ways to smuggle drink into a festival use your assets that boys don’t have! Security can do pat down searches but they can not touch you where you could feel violated. Grab some drinking pouches and pop them in your bra!
ONLY FILL THEM THREE QUARTERS FULL. Mostly because one pouch burst and covered my friend in Pasoa. Make sure you take full water bottles with you every time you enter the festival (some times they told us to throw empty ones away) so you have something to decant your alcohol of choice into. Then every trip to the car you refill.

  • Only pack the essentials
    I know everyone has heard this before but I think this is more for myself to realise I don’t need ‘just in cases’ outfits. I actually took the correct amount of underwear for once! (N.B I’m not prone to wetting myself or anything but having spare undies just in case has always been a thing for me).
    Because you can get free t-shirts for doing challenges or you buy ones – you don’t really have to pack an outfit for the Monday. I was too tired to care what I looked like so the previous nights shorts and my new SCI-MIX t-shirt I was all set.
    Travel size toiletries just help reduce the weight you’re carrying.
    Don’t take a second set of rugby kit in case it gets wet and muddy the first day. I took another pair of shorts and socks – not needed! Plus if you’re going to get wet and muddy the next day whilst playing, I’d rather have one set of damp clothing to carry rather than two (again think of the weight). I did however take a vest top to change into between games. Due to our kit not being summer weather friendly, I didn’t want to get the shirt overly smelly.

**Top Tip**
If some of your group stay in other areas of the festival like us then there is a knack to take off your wristbands. First off your wristbands will need to look like this…..


When getting them put onto your wrist put two fingers on top to give your wrist a bit of natural breathing space. Then twist the extra material to the right to make a spiral. Then you can twist the clasp to the left. You know ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey’. Ta-dah! Sneak your friends into places. Try to do it incognito though.

  • Take a backpack.
    I stupidly took two kit bags that were more for carrying in your hands. What a plonker. You can spread more of the weight when you carry things on your back. So then I’ll have my hands free to hold awkward items and I shouldn’t need to stop as much because my arms are aching.
  • Wear my walking boots to the festival.
    I cant fit into welly boots because of my ginormous calf muscles (However I’ve recently learnt there are half welly boots and they fit!). Anyway I took my walking boots in case it rained and the ground became slippery etc. I only wore them for the army night out (to look authentic) but I realised it didn’t make my feet hurt so much. Traipsing across the fields in trainers the previous day didn’t do my feet or legs any good. Also I should have known this from when I’ve been skiing. You wear your winter boots on the plane to reduce weight in your luggage. **I am fully aware that I sound like a bore talking about supporting my feet and ankles. But anything that’ll make next year easier the better.**  


That’s all the technical stuff out the way.

In my previous post #14 – Day 3 it may have sounded like I was bitching on my friends. I apologise. So next year I going to follow these rules….

  • Do what the fuck I want.
    I’m very independent, so why I stuck around waiting politely for friends to get food or so we can walk home together I have no idea. I will invite people to come with me but I’m not waiting around for no one.
  • Care less.
    It’s a little hard due to my anxieties but its good to push myself. So I’ll stop caring about what people think of me. Stop caring about how I look. And stop caring about what others are up to. They are adults and can make their own decisions, I am not there to babysit them.
  • Help organise.
    Nina, our group organiser, was insane. She managed to get us tickets, kit, upgrades and so on. She was asking for money here, there any everywhere – which is the hardest thing to chase from people! I’m thinking next year I’ll offer her my services to make it a little less stressful for her. She was ill over the weekend due to catching germs from her house mate but I’m sure dealing with all of the last minute preparations for the festival didn’t help.
  • Always go explore the festival.
    I’m not missing my chance of meeting any more famous rugby players. Period.
  • Play more.
    I held back playing rugby because of my thoughts and feelings. Fingers crossed by May 2018 I’ll be healthier with my mental health and physical health. Due to only having a limited number of games I should be playing. Everyone else is.


**Finally, drink more and have a fucking good time**

#14 – Day 3

If you haven’t read these posts below, it may pay to, so this one will make some sense

#14 check! Day1

#14 – Day 2

Another early start this morning too. I think due to our yurts being white and letting all the sunlight through didn’t help to keep us asleep.

Definitely woke up drunk.

So did most of my team mates.

We bought our toasties (this time cheese, onion and tomato). Then had a dance to Mambo No. 5 and we felt better.

Lucky I took a new pack of face wipes with me. The cammo I left on my face last night was a mission in itself to remove. It also didn’t help that my forehead was sunburnt and a tad sore.

Our quarter final game was at 1140 on pitch 3 against UWE All Plaits. Me and Sam tag teamed each other during the game. We both were tired so doing a few 2-3 minute stints was enough for us. The games were becoming harder and more competitive. **Oh goodie! I thought** Even with hangovers, we managed to beat this team and get through to the semi finals.

Now another 2 hour wait. I led on the floor just concentrating on breathing and others were slugging around. No gallivanting adventures today.

The talk of us now winning the tournament was a hot topic amongst our team. Watching the other quarter finals in our league and working out who we may play against got me all nervous again. I didn’t want to play. **fuck you brain**

With no warm up at 1300 Maul of Duty played against Mystery Team (who knows who they were). I feigned sickness and refused to play (sorry team). Only because I didn’t want to be the reason for us not getting into the final – way too much pressure.

We were a man down from the start due to a team mate being a Dr. There was a neck injury on another pitch close by and Dr Ellis had gone to save the day. Due to stabilising the patient she couldn’t jump ship and tackle some bitches. There were a few big hits in this game and confusion with subs (as you can tell we are all slightly worse for wear and not on top form). At one point we had 8 players on the pitch and we scored a try. Whoopsie! This match ended with us losing but we all discussed how much fun we had and how we had gotten further than last year.

We quickly packed up and headed back to our yurts due to the spot of rain that had hit us. We were free for the rest of the day.

A team member was playing a union game this afternoon for her county, Dorset. Their opposition had cancelled last minute so were asking Hampshire ladies if they wanted to play instead. So this meant many other of my team mates were playing this game now also. I chose not to. I ate and slept! I felt much better afterwards so my pre-drink game was again strong.

Tonight we had tour shirts. Simply made but they each had individual nicknames on the back for everyone. He are a few…..


Please excuse my face at how red and sunburnt it is plus my facial expression – who knows why I posed like that!?!

My nickname was ‘I’ll be back’


This is mostly due to how the amount of times I’ve claimed to be giving up rugby. Somehow it just reels me back in. Just FYI the upcoming season I have committed to already. I will make sure I don’t regret my decision.

Our pre-drink games were more for everyone to get to know each other a bit better. Just quick fire questions and answers plus ‘never have I ever’. We were all happily chillaxing on our lazi-beds making new friends and shouting at passers by to enjoy their nights.



Team Harambe went and pre-drank with some other girls.

For me this wasn’t a big deal. Just because they talked to us first didn’t mean they were ours to keep. Apparently it did for other team members. Our team bonding games stopped whilst some of the girls talked to the army lads – cheer ladies. Apparently we were rude to their new friends the night before.

Flashback to last night, some Irish leprechauns entered the pre-drinking party – that’s cool. They didn’t introduce themselves – not so cool. Just sat there. I couldn’t have cared less and carried on drinking, singing and talking – admittedly not to them. Somehow the question was asked who they were and because we didn’t know them we sang a song at them about doing the washing up – fuck knows why. They left promptly after that.

So Team Harambe wanted to spend time with their new netball girls – not a problem. Rather than leaving it be, there were then discussions about all making friends so we could drink altogether. Basically our group judged the netballers and they judged us back. Did we need to be friends? Nope! I didn’t exactly apologise, instead I helped clear up our lazi beds etc. so we didn’t forget to do it later. Plus I was only wanting to go over to play rounders.

It was all a bit awkward at first so I watched the rounders and played when I could. This turned into teaching our new ‘friends’ how to tackle and jump in lineouts. This just confirmed why we didn’t like netballers.

**disclaimer – if you play netball please don’t be offended. It’s probably more that these people just weren’t my cup of tea rather than it being the fact they played netball.**

They girly screamed a lot. *rolls eyes*

They weren’t doing what we taught them properly – ok we were all drunk and its a little bit of fun but I then have to ask why fucking bother? *face palm at their efforts*

However we all seemed to agree on a passing game where you have to clap before catching the ball. Subsequently you’d have to drink if you didn’t clap before catching the ball, or clapped but the ball wasn’t passed to you. Everyone was happy.

Maul of Duty’s plan tonight was to go to every tent to check out the music as Mista Jam (who the fuck) and Artful Dodger (don’t worry I know this one) were playing. I thought last nights ‘quick march’ was painful – tonight was even worse. I’m not really sure why this was agreed. We successfully entered 3 different tents. But everywhere was packed. It had just started chucking it down and everyone was taking cover. So we ended up back at the VIP area. I was glad due to me knowing the songs again and actually having room to bust a groove.


A group of us were all happily dancing away but some peoples vaginas were taking over their lives. Always trying to be near Team Harambe or trying to make new ‘friends’. I started noticing that Harambe were moving away every time they saw us. How embarrassing. But those that were too drunk just kept trying.

I mean there is the argument that ‘girls and boys can not be friends’. http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/10/20/can-men-and-women-just-be-friends/
I believe that some can and some cant.

I have grown up playing football with boys for most of my primary and junior school life. It was much more fun than wondering the playground not achieving anything. I remember having many a play date with a boy and being the only one invited to his cinema birthday treat. It was platonic – I can’t remember no kisses. But this is when you don’t care about the social status of having a boyfriend.
Throughout senior school you fancy people. You write it in your school book or on the back of your hand. For me, it never went anywhere. So I learnt how to be friends with them. I’d rather have some male conversation in my life than just the girly chit chat. I was probably used for my brains at school but nevertheless I survived – just.
I have learnt that being friendly with guys and being honest about whether you’re in a relationship or not is the best way forward. Not like ‘Hi, I’m Lydia. I have a boyfriend, pleased to meet you’. But you get my drift – right?!

So when it came to hanging out with the army lads I kept all conversation about the festival, generic life questions and so on. You make the friendly greeting when walking past. But that’s it. No expectations. They returned the gestures, conversations and the odd hug here and there. Simples.

The fact they were now giving us a wide berth meant we were becoming needy and annoying. *face palm again*

I then remember some were trying to protect others dignity or make sure they behaved and I thought to myself – I’m not here for this – and headed back to the tent. My legs were aching still from walking, running, dancing etc. so my body didn’t mind and I’ve been on enough nights out to know how these things end. I knew I wasn’t going to miss out. So I made my way back via a food stand in the pissing rain.

Heavy Downpour

I found Mark from team Harambe stumbling around wondering where he had misplaced his friends. I should have walked past and said nothing. But I didn’t did I? Here he came up and hugged me and kissed me on the cheek asking where his team were. Kinda like this……..


*Please note he was not a peado* *Its more the picture that is representing the situation* *Mark is harmless*

I told him where he could find his friends and went on my way. But he followed. Crap. I kept lying to him that I was going to the toilet and I’ll meet him back at the VIP tent but he was having none of it. Somehow I lost him and rushed back to the tent with some food from El Fat Gringo.

OMG El Fat Gringo! Not only did I like it because I class myself as an El Fat Gringo but the food was to die for! If you’re thinking I’m a bit obsessed about food – you’d be right. Maybe reading Eating my emotions will help you understand me.

It was a shredded chicken fajita BBQ wrap. With all the trimmings – except jalapenos, I don’t do spicy. I could have bought 10 of them and not even felt the slightest bit guilty for scoffing the lot. I’m very much looking forward to eating these all weekend next year. I’ve been trying to find a link or something to share with you guys but alas no luck!

No sooner had I tucked myself into bed did I hear Mark shouting RUGBY at the top of his lungs. This was basically their teams call to help find each other. My directions weren’t clear enough for him somehow. So after no replies he starts checking peoples tents. Yes including mine. I didn’t mind he was just drunk and a bit lost. So after another 20 minutes repeated chat he went on his way. After another soaking wet hug and several claims of love toward each other. No point in me drying off then was there?!

As I wasn’t sleepy I started writing down some thoughts and feelings about the weekend to add to my blog. See! I did at least try! But soon enough my roomies had made their way back home. Cue for more chats about what had happened during the night and waiting for lost wanderers to return. Not forgetting hearing more drunken shouts mostly from Mark.

The thunder and lightning started again too and provided us with a great night time show. There must have been something soothing about it as we all fell asleep………




#14 – Day 2

#14 – Day 2

If you haven’t read #14 check! Day 1 then it may pay to otherwise this may not make much sense.

Saturday morning bright and early I was awake and not feeling hung-over. Bonus. Queued up for the famous toasties my friends were talking about. It was good. I had Hawaiian – cheese, ham and pineapple. I made a friend as there was a queue discussion as to how yucky or yummy pineapple is.

Our first game wasn’t until 1140 so plenty of time to get ready. Everyone was very excited to put on our designed kit. And I have to say I was too, even though I knew there had been a mix up in my shirt size plus I hadn’t miraculously lost that 2 stone I’ve been praying would just disappear. Our team name is Maul of Duty. Play on words from the famous console game.


**Please excuse my face. I’m feeling like a fat butch lesbian right now**

**Also my shorts are up so high to suck in my chub – the next day I let the chub hang**

We all rocked up in our kit and set up base camp on pitch 7. Our first opponents were Southampton Ladies. A big rival of ours within our normal rugby union league so the mentality of ‘we’ve got to win’ was inevitable. I then became more and more anxious. I knew I wasn’t fit enough to be running the whole length of the pitch if I missed a tackle. My thoughts kept building up and it made me not want to play.

I have been battling this with my mental health for a couple of seasons now. I’ve been conscious to my team mates reactions when I’ve been making mistakes or the wrong decisions. One time I came on as a sub on a critical cup game, (I hate being a sub as you get warmed with everyone and pumped up then you stand and watch) so I wasn’t raring to go like I was 50 minutes prior. I missed a tackle, the opposition scored (meaning they were now beating us) and swiftly after I got subbed back onto the bench. After seeing the captain lose her shit and talk to the coach – you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that it was about me.  This scenario has been etched in my brain since that day and has affected the way I play. I’m now always negative about my performance.

  1. I feel I carry the ball into contact too much.
    In my head = I’m keeping the ball in our possession as I know I can create the perfect ruck but not pass the ball 8 metres to my left (weaker hand).
    Friends thoughts = When I take the ball into contact I can either break through a gap to gain ground or I can take 2-3 people out of the game as it takes that many people to tackle me to the ground. Therefor creating an overlap opportunity.
    Other team mates = Immediate reaction to become frustrated and show it.
  2. I’m shovelling shit. (technical term used by my first rugby coach)
    In my head = I’m aware I need to pass the ball more so I’m trying to eliminate problem 1 but I’m now forcing the pass and creating more issues.

I could go on but you get the drift. I literally do my own head in.

Back to the festival…

With these thoughts now running through my head and the pressure I was feeling, I decided to sit out of this game. I had nothing to worry about as we won 34-5. I should have gone on to get the nerves out of my system. Hey -ho.

Our next game wasn’t until 1400 so we went off for a look around.


At different stalls they give away freebies or you can earn them for doing a challenge. We came across the SCI-MIX zone which gave us a free drinks bottle and a tester of their protein shakes. (https://www.sci-mx.co.uk/)

They had a bungee run where if you tapped both hands on the gold bit of the inflatable you got a free hat. For taking part you also got yourself a free ladies vest. So naturally we all tried it being our competitive selves. Here is my video below….

Please let me know if for some reason the video doesn’t work.

My friend managed to tap the gold area on her first go as well thinking she had won the hat. But the organisers then changed it to you then have to grab the hat to win it – sneaky bastards. So that’s why I took my 2nd and 3rd go. They sneakily hold the hat on the peak end so its harder to grab plus the hat isn’t fully extended, again making it shorter. I was gutted to just miss out but I was the closest out of our team. However I still managed to get a freebie top. For the ladies it was a lovely slinky vest. The small fitted my friend who is possibly a size 6 so I knew I wasn’t going to be fitting into one of them. Luckily I got a men’s XL t-shirt instead. 


We made our way back for our second game against the Manchester Ladies. These guys were clearly on tour and not taking it as seriously as us. My perfect game. So I made sure I started and played well. Nothing spectacular, like a break through the line or a try but I played. My mind calmed down. We won this game too.

Another two hour break was ahead of us and my feet were already aching from all the walking and running plus the sun and heat had arrived. So I opted to stay and look after everyone’s stuff instead of walking around making my legs worse and getting hot and bothered.

I enjoyed my alone time chilling on my lazi-bed and watching some rugby. Big mistake. My pals came back and told me they had all met Lewis Moody (ex England rugby captain). I could have cried. Only because it reminds me of a time when me and Grace were walking through the crowds at Twickenham and spotted Matt Dawson (another ex England Player) walking the opposite way. We ran back and got all excited and flustered asking for our picture with him. I took the photo first on Grace’s camera (our mobile didn’t have cameras back then) of her and Matt then she did the same for me. Both thanked him and ran off back to our friends. Later, whilst bragging to our other friends about who we met, we found out there was no picture of me and Matt Dawson. Grace had turned the camera off rather than pressing ‘capture’. We were both drunk so I get that these things do happen. But I still don’t let her forget it. Here is the proof I was in the same vicinity as Lewis Moody but I didn’t get to touch him. **cries**


He was there promoting his charity ‘The Lewis Moody Foundation’ which supports those who suffer from life threatening illnesses. Read more by following this link https://www.thelewismoodyfoundation.org/

Maul of Duty’s last game of the day was against Tequila Ruckingbirds. I played again in this game and was getting into the flow of the tournament. We came out winners after this game too. I took a notepad and pen to take notes for scores and such like but I ended up forgetting it and writing down all the funny shit we said instead. So I’m sorry for the lack of score info. But who cares we were undefeated. Our friends we made the day before aka ‘the army lads’ or ‘Team Harambe’ came to watch this game and were impressed. As we were done for the day – I was kinda bummed as I was just getting into the swing of it all – we all went back to our tents and started drinking.

Tonight was fancy dress. Army style. So our team name and kit designed all flowed through the weekend. Us ladies like to be all organised like this.

I love fancy dress. A motto I’ve used a lot is ‘go big or go home’. I’ve dressed up as the old guy from Disney’s UP! I drew the house and attached balloons to it all myself. I also went as a cereal killer to Halloween last year. As you can tell I like to do proper dress up, not sexy dress up or loosely dress up. I expect because fancy dress outfits don’t go up to my size or I’d feel absolutely ridiculous even if they did. I like to be comfy. So army vest, black shorts and boots – done. Myself and a couple others asked the army guys to do our cammo. I mean who better to do it and correctly?! So 5 minutes of a somewhat stranger stroking my face with paint I was ready.


The lads were dressing up as cheerleaders. So we returned the favour and did some make up and sorted out their wigs. Its funny how men act when dressing up as the opposite sex. Some had a good walk on them and others had the pout and fluttering eyes down to a tee.

We all went at pre-drinks rather heavily. We had smuggled in some spirits and I was making my way through a bottle of Archers. Team Harambe said we could go into their tent and pre drink with them too. We managed to fit in their yurt two of our lazi beds to create more seating – result. We mostly talked about our rugby games that day and also sang to anything that DJ ‘JB’ put on. These ranged from Disney’s Moana (I still haven’t managed to see this yet) to Queen. Considering we had been serenaded this morning by these guys singing Les Miserable to the whole Glamping area I wasn’t surprised by their song choices. I loved the fact all these boys were singing along. It was great fun. I think the bottle of Sambucca that was being passed around constantly also helped with all of us to let our inhibitions go and not give a fuck. I vaguely remember a Bournemouth 7s official videographer coming into the yurt filming our antics. We then repeatedly sang ‘there’s only 24 people in the yurt’.

Somehow it was decided it was time to go dancing. The plan was to head to the VIP area. Obviously it took all us girls longer to get there than if we were sober. Mostly because one guy was on crutches and Maul of Dut-onians had tour calls. We had;

  • man the tanks – consisted of 3 people making a tank
  • grenade – falling to the floor as if a grenade had gone off
  • sniper – laying on the ground with your imaginary gun 
  • attention – saluting (correctly I’ll add, we all had a lesson before heading out)
  • and others but I can’t remember


So ‘quick march’ wasn’t ever quick. Although I do remember 3 of us having a race and not stacking it or smashing into others around us – impressive eh?

The VIP tent was playing a good mixture of classics and newer songs that I knew, could sing and dance to. I didn’t care what people thought of my dancing, I was having a great time so I threw a lot of my massive dance shapes all over the tent. Nina even gave me a massive drunken hug and shouted in my ear ‘Lydia I’m so glad you’re here’. Who doesn’t love comments like that?

I know my limit when it comes to drinking so I didn’t buy any beers when we went ‘out out’. Except one for crutches. He asked me to hold his drink but somehow it ended up on the floor. So I squared up with him and we were all good. A cheap night again for me.

You’ll be pleased to know everyone left early to go get food. Hurrah! First decent bit of food. I went for Chinese. Sweet and sour chicken, noodles and chicken satay. Lovely Jubbly.

You see everyone making their way back to the camping area with their new best friends or weekend fling. I saw my toastie buddy from this morning so hugging each other like we were long lost relatives and skipping back to our tents made the trek much quicker.

Once back ‘after party’ was announced over at Team Harambe. We all bombarded in there ready to go. I saw one guy already tucked up in bed with duvet over his head either passed out or trying to sleep. I announced it wasn’t fair as I love my sleep too and made my way back to my tent. As girls do, we talked about the goings on of the night and discuss what’s going to happen with the girls still partying. Around 3am I think I crashed. The cammo left on my face can wait until the morning…….



#14 check! Day 1

#14 check! Day 1

First item can be ticked off the bucket list! #14 go to a festival.

The day had finally come that me and my rugby pals were all going to Bournemouth 7s. All the build up and excitement over the past few months decided to disappear, instead I had the sense of ‘WTF did I sign myself up for’. Not the best of starts.

Not sure where I was going – fuck

Loads of people – double fuck

Sun was blazingly hot – triple fuck

Seeing as my pals had been to Bournemouth 7s already they knew the drill so I followed like a little sheep until I got my bearings.  However I found out that I walk considerably slower than everyone else. (In the past I have refused to walk at ‘Londoners speed’ whilst visiting the capital because I had no rush to be anywhere). Once I knew where the toilets and many a beer tent were I was fine to dawdle.

I’m not too bad when it comes to a vast amount of people. What does it for me is my mind constantly thinking ‘were they looking at me?’ ‘are they judging me?’ ‘they are sure thinking I’m fat’ ‘they just made disgusted eyes at me’. Which is absurd. I’m sure half of the 30,000 + people that attended the weekend didn’t even know or care that I were there. But my mind told me differently. What a bitch.

The blaring hot sun. I have a love/hate relationship with that too. I love a tan but I just can’t do anything in the heat. I literally shut down as I get too hot very quickly. So there I am wearing a heavier t-shirt and shorts to cover up from the sun which meant that I sweated a lot more than if I had had a vest top on. Delightful. My mind now telling me everyone is staring at my sweaty brow. However I managed to keep on going to get our stuff in our tents so we could then get on with the rest of the weekend.

I had paid for a span dangle wristband of V.VIP so this meant I could jump the queue with 3 of my friends. It was so worth the money as the queuing system had no shelter. I would have melted if I had to wait for 2 hours in the midday day sun. But also on the other hand, if the British weather was its usual pissing with rain, everything would have been soaked.  I felt rather smug whilst walking past people who had clearly forgot to apply sun cream. That would teach the hot guy who was just wearing budgie smugglers to be ‘peacocking’.

The other half of my wristband was GLAMPING. No lugging a tent to and from the car or having arguments with your friends whilst trying to put it up or take it down. These tepees or yurts were fab! Blow up bed already set up for you with duvet, pillow, free coconut water and fairy lights to help you see at night. But we still had to do 3 trips to the car as we had seemed to have brought a metric tonne of crap with us. Plus side – I did my 10,000 steps by 3pm.

Unpacking done, now time for a little chill before the evening of drinking commences.

We had recently bought lazi-beds from Go Outdoors (click on link to find out more; http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/freedom-trail-lazi-bed-lounger-p397884) which were the best invention ever! We set them up outside our tent and sat in the sun trying to not get burnt. Some guys also thought they were cool as they ended up coming and siting with us for the rest of the afternoon. We all became fast friends. Yes that’s me with an umbrella hat on. I’m the definition of cool.


Friday night is a party just for players. So only one third of the arena was opened and only 4,000 people were on site partying. After having a shower and getting even more sweaty in the porta showers, we all headed out. My new friend is officially my bum bag. I’m a big fan of pockets myself but the bum bag had more room and was safer.

Tonight I was still working out my bearings and how I stood with some of my other team mates. I’ve known them now for nearly 3 years but I still get nervous and anxious in case they actually don’t like me and wonder why I am there. So I didn’t drink too much tonight. Bonus for my wallet but I may have looked a little awkward dancing as I definitely felt it! I’ve come to realise that I don’t actually know too many of the new songs out in the charts, so everyone was screaming when a cool new song came on but I was there like ‘Who is this?’ ‘I cant hear the lyrics’ like the 80 year old I am. **I am the eldest out of these guys at 27 and have been known as the fairy squad mother**

I hate dancing at the best of times. I prefer a good Macarena or cha cha slide where you know where you stand with the dance moves.  But after a while I relaxed and threw some of my medium shapes around the Somersby Cider tent.

Making plans for a group of people is always hard. The organiser makes sure everyone else is happy. You feel obliged to


But this night I wish I had! **Booooooo hiss bad friend** I all hear you shout. Well when it comes to friends and food – I chose food! Especially if you haven’t eaten properly all day and had a few cold ones. Drunken walk home food is essential for any night out.

I made actions to people I was getting food but then it was decided we would all go together at a certain time. So like a sheep I followed suit and waited. The time came and people were still having much fun making friends with guys. So I went off with another friend who was actually ready and found out that the food stalls were CLOSED. I REPEAT CLOSED. So then its having to explain it to everyone and the people moaning the most were the ones who weren’t ready at the scheduled time. So from that moment on in my eyes it was every man for himself. Don’t worry we didn’t all go hungry. We had snacks back at base but nothing substantial.

Got into the comfy bed and started to shut off. But there is never silence at a festival. There’s always one person who can stay up all night talking with the loudest voice a human could possibly have. I’m not one to complain as I’m sure I’ve been that person at some point so I snuggled down for some sleep.



the heavens open and a beautiful lightning show illuminated our tents until the wee hours of the morning. I love my sleep so I thought I would just sleep until late morning, an hour or so before we had to play rugby. No, no. I was up and awake at 0630.


More shenanigans to follow….


Eating my emotions

First off, apologies for how lengthy this post is. Getting thoughts, feelings etc. out of my head is one way for me to cope and relieve myself of so much that goes on in my brain. So bare with, bare with.

Learning that I was suffering from depression, stress and anxiety about 18 months ago was daunting but much the same a HUGE relief.

I first thought ‘finally I don’t have to go into work’.

It was crippling me. I woke up, went to work, came home, ate and slept. This sounds like a totally normal routine for the rest of the world. But the underlining things made it worse;

0430 wake up alarm, 40 minute commute – sometimes being stuck in traffic, dealing with staff asking repetitive and simple questions, being relied on for jobs way higher than my pay grade, being the only person who knew how to use this fantastic new machine, being promised a pay rise, not receiving said pay rise, not earning any time in lieu, other staff with the same job title as me receiving and earning time in lieu, having said members of staff thinking I was getting preferential treatment when I wasn’t, having to stay 3-5 hours past my finish time when same level staff went home dead on time, getting caught in an accident on the way home resulting in me being 5 hours late home. I could go on and on and on.

But this 24/5 crept up on me and made me feel worse and worse. Due to the nature of my job I can not discuss the happenings within the work place. So I came home stressed and couldn’t let this out. I would try to explain to my parents, friends and Tim but the machines and protocols were so hard to explain I gave up trying to explain as it felt like too much effort.

I became very irritable. I didn’t care about my personal standards or work standards. I just felt empty and didn’t know how to feel any more. I wanted to put myself into a car crash so I didn’t have to go to work the next day. Rugby, my main passion was a hate/hate relationship. Mostly because I was either too late to go to training or too damn tired. This was a massive change to the person who used to sing Disney and musical songs to her employees to cheer them up when we had no radio. Plus a massive change to the rugby captain who would turn up 30 minutes early to look at equipment and set up drills to help out the coach.

So once the Dr told me that it was normal to feel like this and that asking for help was the best step; I cried. I panicked having to tell my parents – the generation that hasn’t got the best knowledge of mental health. I didn’t tell my friends I was off work – it was only the fact my friend (who lived in the same street as me) noticed my car was actually at home between the hours of 6am & 3pm that she questioned what was up. I had regular appointments with my Dr and every time I cried. It was all very overwhelming. I was scared to tell Tim. We had just put down a deposit on a new build house, would he end up changing his mind about me now he knew I wasn’t well? I had every kind of thought an over thinker could have.

So the first 2 months I slept. No matter how much I slept I was always yawning and feeling tired. My mum was being very supportive but worried I was sleeping too much and was trying to get me to do odd jobs. But I didn’t want to. I needed to sleep.

It was as if I was a hibernating bear.


After this period I started to watch a lot of TV. Hurrah for Netflix who doesn’t judge you binge watching a 4 year TV series within 3 days. I started showering and looking after my personal hygiene more. I went to the Drs regularly and cried every time.

Medication was then discussed at a Drs appointment. I was reluctant at first but I could see that my mood and mental ability was just not improving. My dad had to get his head around it as well. I think he didn’t want me becoming reliant on the tablets like the ‘bad press stories’ he had read and heard within his life time. For the month of my body getting used to this medication, I felt sick and slept some more.

Slowly but surely I started telling jokes again. I smiled more. I became more affectionate towards everyone. My parents and Tim all said they were definitely noticing a difference. I felt like myself again. I remembered who I was again. It didn’t happen overnight however my realisation that I was becoming myself again did. Talking my feelings through with friends, family and my Dr made me think about myself more and how differently I was reacting to situations. I could see light at the end of my very dark tunnel.

Before and throughout this period my eating habits became more and more apparent. I over ate. My portions were increasing. My secret trips to the shop were increasing. Picking up sweet treats at the petrol station became a regular thing. I binge ate – ALOT. But I never had the urge to throw it all back up. I felt it was a waste of food. I literally looked like this……


I knew I ate my emotions. I ate when I was happy, sad, angry, excited, had a sense of failure or achievement. My list of ‘reasons’ was endless. I expressed my concerns again to my Dr who upped the anti with my mental health recovery. Therapy.

Oh good – I thought. A softly spoken person trying to make you feel better without hurting your feelings. This was my first reaction. But my relationship with my Dr was strong and I trusted her. The tablets had worked under her referral. So why would this be a waste of my time?

So after going through a therapy service called italk (click on this link to find out more http://www.italk.org.uk/about-us/) I felt better for seeing how many people were going through the same thing as me. For either the same reasons or completely different reasons. It helped me put some perspective into my life as well.

Just little things (please excuse my poor describing skills) image your brain as a bath filling up with water. The water represents your thoughts and feelings. If you keep letting the bath fill up, eventually it will overflow. This is the same as our brains, we cant cope with too much at once. (obviously people’s thresholds for this differs – so they would be a bigger or smaller bath tub) To stop the bath tub from overflowing, we would pull the plug and let the water drain. So to stop us from ‘overflowing’ or not being able to cope we need to find time to let our thoughts and feelings out. Draining our brain from ‘bad’ or ‘unhelpful’ thoughts. I hope this made sense? It did to me at the time!

So I did my course of sessions and felt good. I carried on with rebuilding my routine and life back to normal. But I was still eating my emotions.

I tried Slimming World for the third time. 1st time I was at College at it worked for me – it helped mum was doing it too and cooking all my meals etc. Second time was a new years resolution. I knew I had to do something about my weight and proactively signed myself up and went. But then I got signed off work with depression etc – it was all too much. This time I went with a friend to see if that became a more positive experience. I was feeling better in myself, I knew the drill so it wouldn’t be too daunting and if I could do this before Christmas time I could do it any time.

However it became a competition. Even though we didn’t have the snide comments of who lost of the most weight. In my head, Grace was doing better than me. She managed to lose weight when socialising with friends and for Christmas parties. She managed to lose weight whilst having 2 kids, working part time, having a dog and running a home. I just had myself and Tim. She motivated me with tips and ideas to help me but I just shot them down and put up my barriers. And ate my emotions. I treated myself to a takeaway if I had lost that week. I would get annoyed that I hadn’t lost weight so had a blow out day and ate every single nice thing in the house. It literally did my head in.

At my usual Drs appointment I shared my concern of not being in control of what I put in my mouth. I know some people will be reading this thinking, well don’t buy the bad things, of course you’re in control blah blah blah. But to me I’m not in control. My mind always wins over my physical body. I know an orange is better for me than a donut. I know a jacket potato is healthier for me than chips with my dinner. But my mind can somehow control my thought patterns for me to eat the wrong things.

With italk I wasn’t in the deep depths of depression / anxiety / stress for me to have more sessions with them. I expressed the eating habits with them too but I didn’t have enough symptoms to be classed as having an eating disorder. Probably because I didn’t actually throw anything back up or starve myself. So I felt a bit stuck.

Until my Dr said try getting in touch with this trust – Life Changes. (click on the link to find out more; http://www.lifechangescounselling.org.uk/)

I self referred and waited for my appointment to come through. My first time I went to the wrong place – I felt like a first class prick. But this actually made my first official appointment at the wrong place, which was now the right place, less daunting. I had already done the bus journey (I do drive but we are only a 1 car household), I knew the directions for me to walk the rest of the way, so all I had to do new this time was speak to a therapist!

So I did………reluctantly.

I was there to talk about food and my emotional attachment to it etc. My therapist was the same size as a pencil. I may be exaggerating but my arms were probably the size of her thighs. I was thinking YOU are going to help ME with my eating habits? I don’t think so love! Have you even SEEN a pizza?

The way therapy worked this time was me talking constantly. They encourage it. At first I talked about food and my habits making sure not to say names (as she didn’t know who the fuck they were so what’s the point). My therapist then proposes questions of the classic ‘and how did that make you feel?’. Cheesy as it sounds it makes you think and access. And ‘ding’ my time was up. I surprised myself at how much I talked to a complete stranger about my fucktard ways of choosing a caramel shortcake over an apple.

The next session was much easier to talk and I started saying names as ‘my friend’ was getting annoying. Plus I said anything that I was thinking or feeling. Regardless of how stupid / unimaginable / exaggerated it seemed, she would always listen and refer me back to the question at hand. ‘So how did that make you feel?’ 

My first ‘mind blown’ realisation was when she said to me ‘the only thing constant in life is change’.

I LOVE to plan. I like to control the situations I put myself into. But having some third party tell me – hang on a minute you cant physically or emotional control every single little detail of your life, made me think – fuck she’s totally right. Yes I could have got my mum or friend or any of you random strangers to tell me that for free. But the way she then explained it all to me just made so much sense.

I now don’t plan as often and don’t become bogged down if plans change.

My second realisation was actually related to me eating my emotions. I was feeling much better and happier that maybe I didn’t need any more sessions with her. But I had been going a bit off track with why I was there. So last week I started to talk about my eating habits again. How I’m still over eating even though I have learnt to love the body I’m in, to be happy with how I am right now and not eating because of an emotion. How I’m worried I am still putting on weight – eeeeekk! How I knew that 3 stone ago I needed to eat better etc. All she had to say to me was ‘What is food to you? When did this begin?’


It started as a kid. It was because you want the biggest piece of birthday cake you can get at a birthday party when you’re small. Food became a friend. My friends wouldn’t come and call on me to go out to play because I lived ‘too far away’ – I definitely did not FYI. But food never made plans which didn’t include me. Food became a pick me up for when I got bullied by people I used to hang around with. (I left the cool group because I didn’t smoke and I knew I actually wasn’t ‘cool’ but they didn’t like that I left them so then they started picking on me. WTF?) It became a comfort for when boys would put you in the sexiest ranking order. (I was always at the bottom – even though one of the guys who compiled the list quite possibly liked you back but wouldn’t admit it.) Food was a trick to overcome boredom. Food was a treat when you started earning your own money. Food was a competition within your family (my dad would raid our sweetie tin whilst doing the washing up so I had to get in there first to not miss out). Food was needed to fuel me for all my sporting activities I did. Food never judged me. Food was my constant.

So I have now realised that even though I may be putting on more and more weight at the moment (opposite to goal #26 of losing weight), I have to learn to undo possibly 20 years of bad habits. Now even I know that’s not going to happen overnight! So I may have to gain to eventually start losing.

My blog post May’s Mission talks about me and Tim giving up garlic bread. Sounds pathetic. But its a step in noticing that its a bad habit and how do we stop it. We still haven’t eaten any and I’m actually proud that we have stuck to something and know I don’t need garlic bread with every meal.

I talked to my parents about this too and told them that we hadn’t had a takeaway for a whole month either. We ate out – yes. We had McDonalds breakfast – yes. However it wasn’t because I couldn’t deal with the thought of cooking. It wasn’t because I was having a bad mental health day that we ordered a takeaway. It was because we had legitimate reasons. Eating out was date night. McDonalds breakfast was because Tim had sliced the tip of his finger off. They turned round and told us how well we were doing. They had both admitted that they actually realised what my relationship with food was as well. How in depth it has affected me. It wasn’t a case of ‘you need to exercise more’ or ‘do you really need that?’ or ‘you’re addicted to sugar’. Its now a case of supporting me through this long journey of me rewiring my brain to change what food is to me.

So although our diet isn’t healthier, my mental illness isn’t affecting my choices on food AS MUCH. I cant stress those last 2 words enough. I have a long way to come still but I am damn proud of my efforts so far.

Thanks for reading

Barbs x

Just FYI……I also thought these videos put a lot into perspective for me…..