Day #266 22.09.16

One of the massive bonuses of working from home is being able to do exercise-outdoorsy stuff in my lunch break if I want. Today I ran to my nearest hill and did a little 5km run in the sun with hill repeats in the middle. I’d like to say they were hill sprints but well, quite frankly, they weren’t anything remotely sprinty.

Beaut way to split the day up. Now back to the screen.



Move on.

I sent this picture to a friend the other week, a friend who was having a tough time with something, someone.


It’s spot on. Easier said than done, of course. I’m sure we’ve all been there. Toxic relationships, toxic friendships, maybe even toxic family or toxic work environment.

And sometimes, we cling on, even when we know we shouldn’t. Feeling bad, even though the brain tells us not to. Ending up not feeling good enough for someone, or understanding why something won’t go our way or someone won’t feel the way we want them to.

Relationships can be really fucking complicated. Or they can be easy. Or both. So many people stay in relationships that aren’t healthy, that are toxic. Relationships they really need to get out of. But yet they stay; for a variety of reasons. Scared to be on their own, scared they won’t find anyone else, children, financial reasons, sometimes abuse and control. Sometimes people don’t really realise they’re unhappy, but maybe they know they’re not happy but perhaps don’t feel it’s enough to do something about it. You know, sometimes people are looking for a reason to leave, and that if there’s not a big ‘thing’ that happens, then low level shit behaviour is not enough to leave or end a relationship/friendship etc.


Just not being happy is enough of a reason. Of course it is. Yep, easier said than done, but also easier done than said sometimes. Short term pain, long term gain. If a relationship, friendship etc is making you unhappy, then you can do something about it. You don’t have to stay with that person. You don’t have to make a go of things, or make an effort.

Because that’s the ‘sunken costs fallacy’ that causes people to make poor relationship decisions. “I don’t want to throw away X years together” for example.

Are you basically saying to yourself that you’ve invested so much that you cannot notice your thoughts and feelings telling you to end this relationship? This divorces you from you inner thoughts and the quiet feelings that might guide you in your life and you can end up in a neglectful relationship with yourself. In other words, thinking about what already has been may prevent you from deciding what you want your life to be.

It’s a mistake to think that the amount of investment in a relationship automatically adds value to it. It doesn’t. The value of the relationship consists of what is happening in the present and in the future. The past is done. The past is useful in predicting the future, but the past by itself doesn’t actually add any value. The length of a relationship or the amount of effort put into a relationship doesn’t actually add value. If it’s clear that a relationship won’t serve you in the future, your previous investment in the relationship won’t change that and you’ll still be in the same position.

Yes, it’s hard, but don’t let the rest of your life be dictated by what has been. It doesn’t have to continue to be. What your future contains is down to you.

And so to my friend, I told them, yeah, I know you can’t just turn off feelings and all that, but you can try to look at things objectively, look at what’s been and what could come, think about your own integrity and self worth and realise you’re worth more, much more than that little crapbag who wasn’t the person you thought, who wasn’t the person you fell in love with. That person never existed. You don’t need someone else to validate you or make you happy. That comes from you. Other people just compliment that.

Go be a bourbon drinking dancing unicorn instead.



Day #264 20.09.16

Got my arse into gear and went out for a [very purposely slow] run to get some miles in my legs for the half marathon next week. Wanted to do at least 8 miles (just under 13km) and ended up doing 16km which is just under 10 miles. Chuffed with that. No knee pain, which is excellent, and I could have ran a bit more. Feeling pretty confident for next week now, that I might actually make it round. I don’t care about a time, I just want to finish.


BMF turn arty

BMF isn’t just some fitness classes in the park a few times a week. It’s a community; a friendship group, a ready set of like-minded people to do stuff with, mostly there’s always someone who’s up for anything. Like Enid Blyton’s famous five, BMF Cheltenham are collecting a list of adventures:

This time it’s BMF turn arty. Alex, our resident artist at BMF, offered to organise an evening of portrait drawing. No burpees or running in sight, just easels, paper, snacks and a little tipple or two.

I offered to be the portrait model to see what it’s like being a model for artists, mainly because I want to try life modelling but also because I am shit at drawing, and being on that side of the easel wouldn’t have worked out well. This meant I got to basically sit in a chair and drink wine and eat snacks.  Sounds pretty good to me.

The group had the hard stuff to do. Alex talked a bit about how to draw faces, and sizes and perspectives and stuff (in all honesty I was concentrating on taking a few photos and eating crisps at that point), and then went through a series of exercises to start with, such as time limited sketches and musical-easels, everyone moving around the easels drawing over each others drawings. The hardest part of that seemed to be people knowing which way clockwise was.


Nigel’s first attempt at drawing was excellent. I thought he’d captured my best side.


As the evening progressed, so did the banter behind the easels. I couldn’t see what they were drawing or referring to, so it was quite amusing. But at that point I was just concentrating on staying still and trying not to pass out due to the fact the room was about eleventy-million degrees due to the heatwave that week.

The artists moved onto charcoal and some kind of magic paper that they could rub out to make light bits and rub everything out if they went wrong. There’s probably a technical name for it but I have no idea what it is. I just thought of it like some kind of artistic manual etch a sketch.

After a while, a silence filled the room. The banter stopped and everyone got their concentrating faces on while creating their masterpieces, and after more snack/wine breaks the room was full of pictures of me, Sian and Maja (who also sat). Which was a bit weird.


I thought everyone did brilliantly, and yet again it was just a top evening with a cracking group of people. So many laughs, bit of bants and for a lot of people a chance to try something new.

And you thought BMF was just fitness.


Day #262 18.09.16

“Let’s take a selfie James for my photo a day”. “OK.” <doesn’t turn around> Spoilsport. I did actually get a selfie later on face on but this photo makes me laugh more. Sunday strolling on the hill on my doorstep before we demolished Sunday dinners the size of our heads at The Swan. Love lazy Sundays.


Day #261 17.09.16

September’s Devil Mud Run. 8km hilly as fuck course with mud and stuff to climb over, under and through. Great fun with this little bunch. I CAN confirm though, that drinking gin and prosecco the night before and still having a cold that’s sat on your lungs is NOT great preparation for a run such as this. Luckily this lot did not leave me behind while I was coughing my way up the hills. Sadly we did suffer a loss; Karl’s sock never made it out the mud pit. So long little friend.


Get your kit off.

So I’ve just arranged to be a life model in a couple of weeks. It’s been something I’ve wanted to try for a while, ever since I’ve wanted a painting of me for my bedroom and a off the cuff remark about that ended up with a drunken half naked drawing session with a recruitment consultant/amateur artist from London called Will.

Let’s get this clear. 

I’m not an exhibitionist. I don’t like being the centre of attention, and don’t really like being stared at by groups of people.

You’re probably thinking why then, choose to get naked and stand around while a group of people stare intently at you for a couple of hours, and immortalise you to canvas?

My answer would be “why not”?

I’m a big fan of getting out of the comfort zone. I think it’s good for me to do things that scare me a little, make me a little nervous and stretch me. MASSIVE fan of trying new things.

I don’t particularly mind being naked as such (I’ll go topless on holiday, for example) and like to think I’m pretty body confident. But this will really test this. Am I actually? Or is it one of those things that’s easy to say but not so easy to do? If I’m a bit nervous, does that mean that actually I’m not as confident as I say I am?

Society, culture and the media all have different views on nudity that we’ve grown up with. When I’ve told some people about this, there’s sniggers and smutty remarks. Others are horrified and tell me they wouldn’t be able to do it. Does this say something about me, them or our attitudes to nudity in general? We’re pretty much all the same under our clothes, so what are these cloaks we carry around and hide behind?

This is art. I can’t imagine anything less sexual or sensual than sitting or standing naked in an art room under a lamp being scrutinised. I’m pretty sure the artists aren’t going to be sitting there leering at me and making judgements on my body. If they are judging, then that says more about them that me; it’s their business, not mine.

I find it fascinating to think that me, in my raw naked form, will be turned into pieces of art by a group of people with different perceptions and interpretations.

I’m really looking forward to exploring all the different feelings and thought processes that are going to come with this experience. Will it be liberating? How will I feel that first time? It’s all unknown. Right now I can only guess, in a couple of weeks I’ll know for sure.

Paps: keeping life interesting since 2011.