The Half Year Blog Birthday

Curled up on the sofa with a panicked dog (thanks Guy Fawkes) and a rotten cold (thanks London commuting) has given me an opportunity to catch up on my email, my diary planning and forced me to stop and take stock. Its been 6 months since I started writing this blog, and while it hasn’t quite turned out how I had envisioned it (what does?) I think I may be getting a better of idea of what I would like to do with it. Or rather what I’d like to do with my writing/ photography. The fact is,  it hasn’t gone to plan. But then again this year has not really gone to plan either, and it has been a huge lesson in going with the flow, which is not my natural state, being an anxious control freak.

2014 was going to be a new beginning. I was taking my running up a notch, I was going to travel more, I had big ideas.

My year with Run Dem Crew has been nothing short of inspiring, stepping up pace groups, epic cheering, international racing, new friends, old friends and race bling galore. Most importantly, I learned to run for the joy of it and finding that same joy in supporting others, and that times and speed were only a small part of it. And as our captain Charlie Dark always says, Run Dem is also a bridge to other things. I’ve found the courage to finally take the plunge buy a bike and start cycling and even give up my anti-yoga petition and succumb to the charms of Vinyasa (and the DOMS, near God).

There have been a few bumps along the way, we moved house in April throwing our schedules out of whack (they’re still a bit all over the shop) and a sprained ankle in particular that has slowed things down, plus a lack of motivation in the late summer, added to the on going work-life balance that I do not always get right. My blackberry obsession is never ending, and if I get one thing right in the next 6 months its that I need to master ‘switching off’.

I’ve started writing more, and ironically from that from that decided I need to up my photography game – that finding different ways to tell the story are increasingly important to me, and that I need to experiment with way of combing these more.

We travelled. A lot. We found our way to Thailand, to Berlin, to Morocco, a quick trip over to New York for good measure and a few unexpected days in South Africa. Our family visited us here in London, we got to play tourists in our own town and reconnected. My passport is smug and exhausted. To be honest I am a little exhausted.

So its odd that I feel like I should have been doing more. I feel I should have taken more time off my half marathon PB, that I should have found more time to train, that I haven’t spent enough time out of London, and that my writing hasn’t been a higher priority, which is true, because you know, life happens.

Perhaps the yoga will help me learn to be more flexible in all areas of my life.Let go and make space, my instructor says. Now that’s a mantra I can get with. I need to make peace with where I am rather than where I would like to be.

So between now and next May I’d like to re-evaluate my goals

* Get with the meditation vibes and learn to just BREATHE

* Get up to 50 miles on the bike by the end of the year, no mad racing, just steady!

* Run for joy. And repeat.

* Get snappy. Lose the filters

* Stop taking the piss out of the yogis

Whoo saaa bishes.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

IMG_1771

 

It’s warm. I don’t have my coat.  I walked down through Soho with my leather jacket slung over my handbag. Coming up the escalator at Tottenham Court Road, it could have been late July, humid and damp outside out the station, there is little relief exiting the underground. No bracing cold wind to chase away the stall tube air. But its not late July, it October, and by 7pm the sun is long gone and the festive lights are strung up ahead of the Friday night revellers, not yet lit but ominously signalling the onslaught of the Christmas. Friday night in Soho, unseasonably warm and its Halloween. Mischief and Mayhem wait in the wings, but for now she’s all perfectly applied black eyeliner, ladderless stockings and strategically positioned fangs. No one’s sold their soul just yet.

I’m not in costume tonight. I’m meeting old friends and taking a hiatus from hell raising, so the only make up I’m sporting is a slash of red lipstick which after  kissing everyone hello, is smudged over various cheeks and foreheads. Having a table outside the bar we have front row seats for the warm up show, meaning our conversation is peppered with phrases like ‘check out the  tossers dressed as power-rangers’ and mistaking a sexy waitress for our actual waitress more than once. The pubs have spilled out their costumed customers, doors flung wide open to the warm air. Jack’o lanterns winking in the windows, fake spider webbing over neon strip lighting.

By midnight I’m heading back home (for fear of turning into a pumpkin) and Soho has got involved. Her eyeliner is smudged, and the stockings are ripped. Three zombies are vomiting in succession outside a sex shop, a few sugar crazed 7 year olds are chasing each other down Dean street without parents, on scooters, knocking over a witch who can no longer balance on her stilettos. A couple are having a row at the bus stop, she is red eyed and shouting, he shuffling from one foot to another, his monster mask hanging around his neck looking forlorn and not nearly as scary as the his enraged girl who shoving him with her plastic pitchfork. Catwoman and her corpse bride pal are laughing behind their mobile phones, snapping gum and selfies while the N52 rumbles into view.

A dead marine jumps in front of me ‘BOO!’ he shouts,so close to my face I can smell the rancid booze and cigarette on his breath. Its feels violent. He laughs when I tell him to back off, he falls in with his undead platoon, whooping down Regent Street, shoving each other into the traffic. I give up on the bus when the countdown ticks up, 189  Cricklewood 20 mins – contemplating another 5 mins of the shrieking ghoulish hen party currently infesting the bus shelter is horrific enough.  I’ll have to brave the last tube fright fest and take my chances.

By the time I get home I’ve encountered a vampire Alice in Wonderland and a coven of witches taking over the local kebab shop, and a trio of escaped convicts trying to negotiate with a minicab driver ‘honestly we’ll be 5 minutes mate, we’ll be right back…’

I fall into bed, wishing  I could remember where I packed away my Carrie prom dress, the samurai sword from Kill Bill and my Cruella wig. I used to have this holiday licked. Next year, I’ll even carve a pumpkin.

London at its best, and its worst, dressed up as it’s darkest fantasies and best nightmares. Trick or Treat?