When you come up for air: breathe

It’s been busy. Really busy. But getting home, getting space, getting wine and getting relaxed is like coming up for air. Forgetting the week, focusing on something else is like a breath of fresh air.

My evening. It won’t involve going out. Not tonight. It won’t involve tv or phone calls or messaging. Just a bit of music to relax to and then a little bit of piano. Then another playlist with a glass of wine.

I’m slightly obsessed with playing Beethoven’s moonlight sonata c# minor (yes I know it’s a hashtag but I couldn’t find a symbol for the sharp). I have been since mid December (I may have mentioned it). I’m through the first movement and even giving the second a go. The first is beautiful though. The first is like a soothing lullaby so obsessed or not it completely relaxes me. The daft thing is that, other than Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1, it’s the only thing I can now play on the piano.

I can’t even play the pieces in my beginner books yet. I have set them aside for just now. I bought the piano late last year as an impulse buy (yes I posted about it) and started playing again after not playing since my early teens. I have figured out that learning for learnings sake isn’t relaxing; learning pieces I love hearing is relaxing. So I think I might be doing this backward and starting off complicated.

I’m not sure how I’m managing to fit this in. Work, yoga, gym goals, work, socialising blah blah…all take time. Yoga, music and piano allow me the time to breathe. Step back a little, refocus, come up for air. Like a great holiday in the mountains or on a beach but more achievable on a regular basis. Especially when it’s not yet spring, not yet summer. Taking the time to breathe. My kind of mindfulness. Essentially what mindfulness should be; just taking the time to notice, to breathe, to be. This kind of thing is a necessity in life right?

What’s your breath of fresh air?

Header Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Women’s world cup football: c’mon the girls!

There’s a view about women’s football. It might be changing though. I’ve subscribed to this view. But sitting with a glass of wine after work on a Friday watching the opening game of the women’s world cup football (France the hosts against Korea), I really do need to think about why I had that view. Why men’s football has always felt more…well more like football…and what it is that makes us (or maybe it’s just me) think like that.


I have always watched football to some extent but wouldn’t say I’m an avid fan. I went to the Hearts games (Edinburgh team) when I was young and even had a season ticket. Scottish football however is something you really need to be dedicated to. Having lost interest over the years I picked up the bug of travelling with the Tartan Army of Scotland supporters. Feeling like a bit of an intruder given I have never had that proper ‘love’ of football, I went for the social aspect of the travel. There isn’t anything like it. The laughs, the camaraderie, the celebrations despite constant defeat, the sense of belonging and pride in your country. I literally had some of the best adventures to places I would never normally travel to. But am I any different to the men? Sure, I didn’t take my interest in it to the level of fan expertise, but all the other things I loved about it were the same thing everyone loved and still do about supporting football.

My view

So here it is. My view about football and why men like it. And why women’s football seems a bit, well, alien. It may not be right but I think there is something in this. I have listened to many a chat during Scotland trips, during work meetings (Glasgow football is a minefield of politics), during evenings in the pub and even listening to panels of footballers I’ve arranged for events. Football is a source of gossip. It is amazing how people (yes mainly men in my view) know all the in’s and outs of what is happening. It’s not just analysis of any one game. It’s the relationships, the politics, the intrigue, the banter, the negotiations, the commentary, the personalities and even more that seems to hold attention. You know when you get that, outdated, view by blokes that women are a bit gossipy. Well its cheeky of them given the content of their football chat. To be fair any female supporters of the game also engage in this; the point is that it’s about more than the 90 minutes.

So when we get women’s football into the mix there just isn’t enough history, politics, commentary and big personalities. Yet. So comments by a ‘shall remain nameless’ work colleague who described it as “too slow” probably only reflect the fact that all he had to engage in was the game he watched. It may have been the Scottish ‘punt it up the field’ approach rather than anything a bit more strategic, but in all honesty I think he just missed the ‘gossip’ and ‘banter’ that he gets with men’s football. Watching the France v Korea game there is honestly no visual difference (other than the ponytails wagging about) to a men’s international game. It looks like and feels like a game of football. Fair play to the organisers and the television channel who have made this ‘feel’ the same. It needed that.

Will it be just as popular?

I’d like to think so. The marketing is starting to take hold to give it the footing it needs. Posters, stories, lights and coverage. Well done to the organisers for this, as football that we want to watch and follow isn’t just about the game on the pitch. No games are slow, but games aren’t the only thing that holds our attention. The journey, the gossip, and pride need to be in the mix too. I am just hoping that our women’s Scotland team do better than our men’s. I also hope that it becomes more popular. C’mon the girls! C’mon Scotland!

Getting motivated to get out running

I’m not a natural runner. I would probably be better described as a slow jogger…or wobbler. However there are two times in the year where my motivation peaks. One of them is on the 1st January (every year) and the second is when the London Marathon is on. So whilst I am sitting in my pyjamas figuring out what to do with my Saturday (I slept in late today; oh the joy) I am also pondering if that should include a short run (jog).

Getting off the sofa

To be fair this is the easy bit. Just shoving on a good sports bra and trainers (along with other clothes, clearly) does the job. Then my runs follow a similar pattern. I stick on the endomodo for tracking and head out. Motivation to do this however can be affected by many factors. Firstly – I am a complete fair-weather jogger. The exception to this is my run in January just to prove my intention for a fitness filled year. So if the sun is shining, if it is not too hot, if it isn’t too cold, if it is definitely not in the middle of the day when there are lots of people about and if it is not in the evening when dark then I am probably good to go. I realise this puts in place a lot of obstacles.

What can help is seeing other people running. I drove home yesterday after work and when I hit Stockbridge there were lots of joggers and runners about. Some probably training for the Edinburgh half or full marathon (or even the 10k / 5k) and some just out having fun. It also helps that the London Marathon is something I like watching. Its on tomorrow. Maybe it helps just for the fact that I can never imagine myself doing it but am usually pretty inspired by all those that do.

A goal, a plan

I wasn’t joking about not being a natural runner so I do need a goal. Both types of runner in my head are equal: those natural regular runners and those who don’t really like it, but like the acheivement. I am never going to regularly run but I do know it is part of my yearly fitness routine and so I am happy not to be someone who runs to order. I don’t envy those folk who do it to relax but I am impressed by them. So my goal this year is a 10k (the most I have ever done in an event and only twice). The Edinburgh EMF 10k was the aim but my training buddy had an injury so we are going to look at one a bit later in the summer. This wasn’t a disappointment for me. The run, if we did it (and we did two years ago) is basically running up to the top of a volcano (albeit one that has never been active for about 350million years) and then running down and round a lake. The hills in that race never stop although there are a couple of good downhill sections. It still makes me laugh when I think back to a runner (who looked almost as bedraggled as me) stating rather loudly ‘not another bloody hill!’. Arthur’s Seat is a beautiful part of Edinburgh but if you fancy visiting I wouldn’t recommend running up it.

So my plan. Build slowly on distance and don’t worry about time. I have two runs in at 3k over the last few weeks (I do yoga so that is my excuse for the infrequency of this all) and will try for 5k in the next few weeks. I don’t use the apps with the walk jog walk type advice, but this can often happen naturally. I also don’t worry about time as I know I will never be fast and hopefully I can always make it in a race without the sweeper bus having to pick me up. Whilst this is always a real fear for a jogger type person like me, race day does something to make you faster and I also think they are pretty relaxed about the bus timings. I did do a park run last year though and was pretty afraid of being last. I reconciled this in my head that day by considering that for some reason only the really fit folk of Cramond (a lovely wee part of Edinburgh with a beach, ice cream van in the summer and cafes) had decided to run along the beachfront; other sensible folk just walked and meandered with their dogs.


Ok Im on this. I’ve located my running pair of trainers and the boulder holder bra and I’m going to stop writing. Just do it….as someone once said :-). Cue the sweat, red face and the waddle.

Header Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Water or Wine: not with food…apparently

My friend mentioned that they were stopping drinking fluids with their meal. I’m not one for fads as I tend to stick to the eat less, move more mantra; but this one kind of made sense to me. The plan – don’t drink 45 minutes before or after food.

This might be hard

Where on earth did she get this idea from? Why do it? Well she heard it, and I have since also heard it, on the Chris Evans breakfast show (radio show on virgin for those not in the UK). So I listened in and he was saying he had started to do this on the basis of an article in one of the daily papers. The idea (my very basic interpretation) is that drinking whilst eating meals can dilute the enzyme things that break down your food. It also means that you only drink in between meals and are less likely to snack. All this, so far, just sounded sensible. It might not be, as it seems to go against all beliefs about meals, but what the hell, I figured I should at least do a bit of research.

My (very limited) research on the topic

This involved only a few google searches but the results seem to agree. There was one that said there would be no impact on enzymes but there were quite a few blogs, bits of research, and advice that said to not drink with food. Times seem to differ and I saw one article saying don’t drink from 30 mins before to 2 hours after but this seemed a little extreme. So I have decided on the 45 before and 45 after rule to try out. The point to note (and one I have largely ignored) is that they usually quote water. I figure this is a good thing but I also figured this didn’t exclude wine. Just to balance out the fact that I am now waiting 45 minutes after my dinner to have….a glass of wine….I have also picked up on the advice of drinking water as soon as I wake in the morning to flush toxins (and generally start the day on a sanctimonious ‘I am healthy’ vibe). To be fair I am also drinking water after breakfast and lunch. I will after most dinners too; but this week I fancied a small glass of wine.

Two days in

It feels ok to wait for that drink. The before rule is easy but it is a little weird for the first 20 minutes after food. I haven’t been eating really healthily (I will try harder next week) but I have lost a couple of pounds. I do expect this to tail off but I think the benefits are wider. Hopefully my stomach is doing its thing without being drowned in wine or fizzy juice. That can only be a good thing. Well I don’t actually know if it is, but I haven’t seen anything to say it is a bad thing. I will keep going (for a bit anyway!) and maybe I will start to figure out some other healthy regimes.

Spring forward? Into bed with a cold

It’s typical isn’t it? On the week where it is my birthday and I have had lots of lovely plans – I get struck down with the cold. It is also the weekend where the clocks go forward to British summer time meaning spring is definitely in the air. And typically I get the cold. Described by others as flu (which I always disagree with as flu is really serious and I can still drag myself onto the sofa) but regardless of whether its flu or not I have symptoms such as: an overly runny nose, sore throat, hoarse / whispering voice and general feelings of rubbishness. I am however strongly holding on to the fact that constant moisturising of my face and balm hankies has worked in avoiding the cracked skin. No one wants a flakey nose!

In between the tissues

I did manage lunch yesterday with good friends and the weather is changing for the better. It is also good to feed a cold – surely. Massive burger later and a few red wines and you might not have even noticed. Apart from the fact that I would normally manage a few more wines. Lots of good advice later, and most things tried this week, to manage this cold and I now feel like an experienced tester of remedies (some better than others).

Get over it

I wish I would! So here was my list. And yes, yes I realise that colds are colds and nothing actually works to get rid of them other than time. But there is much needed symptom control.

First action – First Defence. Usually the thing I think works. I am convinced by this normally, but it didn’t work this time and so the cold bugs took over my nose, face, throat and neck…and pretty much my whole body started to feel rubbish.

Tiger balm next. The local Thailand brand (hot and cold) as I also think this works on literally every thing (sore muscles, insect bites etc. etc.). It definitely helps. Maybe I am just biased though.

Cough syrup – by the bucket load as no one wants to hear a raspy cough interspersed with gurgling as you try and get rid of the goo. Cough syrup is a must and yes it helps. I took it out to lunch with me (hidden in giant handbag) and I had a gurgle in the loo when the red wine bit the back of my throat and a few coughs ensued. It does work. Maybe the alcohol isn’t advised :-).

Then onto the tablets. I started with the ibuprofen but actually found a hot flannel (face cloth – but it sounds more like a grandmother type saying when you say flannel) to be better relief. I’ll try anything though so next onto the cold and flu tablets and to be fair they have given me some temporary relief.

Finally the friend advice (you know who you are!). Vicks on my feet and earlobe. Dutifully rubbed in for maximum effect (apparently it won’t work otherwise). The feeling – like the opposite of deep heat on your feet. Convinced – no! Will I keep going with this – yes. Do I have doubts – to be fair I think the easter egg I ate last night whilst on the sofa did more good. Why keep trying? It’s better to try things than to succumb to the damn cold.

When it’s over

Having a cold is like having hiccups. You forget about it when it’s over and can’t really remember how it all went away. I’m hoping that will happen today. It’s sunny so I am going to sit in the garden, get some sunshine and read my latest kindle book (The Rumour). Maybe that will be the cure.