A little life update: October

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Hello October! My oh my, how quickly has this year flown by already? I swear one minute it was March and after one blink it's nearly Christmas. It's scary as hell. With that, I realised I haven't properly written a blog for a while - simply because this year has been craaaaaazy. While I've got a spare moment or two I thought I would update you on what's been happenin'.

NEW JOB!

That's right. I mean, I started my new job in January 2017 so technically it's not new to those of you who know me but for the purpose of this blog, it's certainly news. Speaking of news... I've been working as a Trainee Journalist at the London Evening Standard. I'm ten months into my training contract and so far I've been absolutely loving it. For the first nine months I worked on the news desk and a week ago I moved onto the sports desk. I contribute across the board including beauty, fitness, fashion and comment pieces for The Independent. You can find examples of my work on my website. 

I COMPLETED THE NCTJ

The NCTJ is the Journalism Diploma every journalist needs to have completed in order to be a fully qualified (and accredited) journalist. I undertook the 20-week Fast Track Intensive diploma course from January and finished it in June. When they tell you it'll be intense and you should wave goodbye to your social life - they weren't kidding. It takes graft, long hours of your time and dedication to complete the course in its timeframe. Luckily I came out unscathed and even survived a few mental breakdowns but I can finally say I am *almost* done. I'm yet to secure my 100wpm shorthand but that'll come with time. 

I HAVE A BOYFRIEND!

Shock horror, I know. For a really long time I thought I'd be single but as the cliche goes - the right one will come along when the time is right (and when you're not looking!). The new beau, as my mother calls him, is a darling. I bagged myself a hot Aussie who is also a journalist and who corrects my grammar and spelling - as he should! It's safe to say I'm in a pretty good place right now and I'm excited to see where the relationship goes. Oh, and we're doing long distance. He moved back to Sydney - weeping.

MY MENTAL HEALTH IS STABLE

I say stable lightly. I haven't had a breakdown or a dip in my mental health for a while now. There are factors to this - see above. Although during my NCTJ studies, I did experience possibly the worst anxiety of my life. The kind of anxiety where you can't sleep, you drink too much caffeine because you're exhausted but know you need to stay awake, the persistent eye twitch, the lack of concentration and blurred vision, the heart palpitations, you name it. I had it and it sucked. It really, really sucked. On the other hand, I've been taking necessary steps to look out for the warning signs. Since my last *relapse* (yes I will call it that because that is what it is) I have kept a diary of my symptoms, what helps me deal with it and what foods or drinks to avoid during this time. It's actually really important that you try to manage your mental health from all perspectives. At least I do and for the time being it is working. Let's hope it continues this way.

I FINALLY WENT ON HOLIDAY

I went on two holidays actually. I didn't take a single day off this year and it was only thanks to my employer who emailed me to tell me this was when I decided to take time off. Sadly, because I hadn't used any of my annual leave, I had to book it all off in one go. So I had the whole of September off as annual leave - which was perfect actually because it was sunny, hot and I spent the majority of the time relaxing at home and reorganising my wardrobe. But I eventually saved up some cash (and borrowed some from my grandma) to allow me to afford a holiday with my beau to Sardinia in Italy which was just divine. I really needed the vitamin-d and the fresh air. I went for around five days and it was just perfect. I ate well, I sunbathed well, I laughed, I cried, I ran, I watched sunsets, I swam in the sea. If you're ever going to go on holiday and are stuck on places to visit - go to Sardinia, you won't regret it. It's super cheap and it's incredibly beautiful. The second holiday I went on was with...you guessed it, beau. We hired a cottage in a quaint village called Wirksworth which is just located outside of the Peak District in Derbyshire. We hired a car and drove three hours to our new little home and it was sublime. We made sure we booked a cottage with a real log fire and a cosy kitchen so we can welcome autumn in style. We even walked the Great Ridge and walked to the top of Mam Tor (to Huw's disgust but he did it, even though he complained the WHOLE way). We went to pubs, we drank local beer, we laughed, we cried, we had a really lovely time. 

I'M BOOKING A FLIGHT TO SYDNEY

Yup. So as I said above: I bagged myself a hot Aussie which means... there's a reason to fly to the other side of the world! He flew home to Sydney a week ago *sob sob* and I promised I would go and visit him in April. That has now changed to March and I have, so far, saved £250 towards my flight - WHICH IS GOOD FOR ME. I even stopped myself buying everything from the Uniqlo U collection just so I could save for my trip away. I've never been to Australia nor have I been that far away from home. The furthest I've travelled is China so Sydney will be very, very different. I hope to be staying with Huw for at least three weeks - it's the only way a 26h flight can be justified. But that's something to look forward to - sun, sea, happiness, boyfriend. Perhaps a new future is on the horizon, who knows!

MY INJURY IS BETTER

So I've been injured for a whole year. Yup, a whole year. My hip, quadriceps and knee have been damaged since 1 August 2016 when my leg decided to give way as I was walking to Randy's Wing Bar to eat unlimited chicken wings with my friends. My leg was killing me but I was so determined to get to this restaurant I just sucked up the pain and got on with it. I sat down, ate 50 chicken wings, and then couldn't get up. No, like, quite literally could not get up. My leg kept giving way. Five of my male friends all had to carry me (because I was insanely heavy from the 50 chicken wings I had digested) to Homerton Hospital in the pouring rain. I have been on and off crutches since haven't been able to train or run or even do much exercise and my physical health has declined because of it. BUT - fast forward a year, I am finally injury free and ready to start training. However, my approach to my training is different now. I've just managed to get passed the 5k threshold and my colleagues at work have encouraged me to join their Thursday running club at lunchtimes where we run on average of four miles which is doable for me at this point. I've been spending a lot of time in the gym concentrating on my stability, mobility and conditioning whilst doing bodyweight exercises and swimming. I do feel stronger and hopefully I'm ready to start booking a 10km, half marathon and later a marathon to get back into the swing of things. We'll see. Fingers crossed.