Thoughts on turning 28

Originally, this post was titled 28 thoughts on turning 28. Just before posting it, I realised that my list of 28 insights on turning 28 was cliché, dull, and probably not 100% honest. Therefore, here are my honest thoughts on turning the big 2-8 in a few days…

When I was a young and foolish whippersnapper, I thought that as I approached my late twenties I’d be:

  • Rich
  • Married
  • An extremely successful author (I spent ridiculous amounts of time writing novels as a child)
  • Able to cook more extravagant dishes than pasta & cheese
  • A homeowner þ

How times have changed! All of the above, bar the one point that I have ticked off, are now of little importance to me.

What is important to me now?

  • Taking good care of myself. Taking good care of my brain. Not drinking 86 glasses of wine every Friday night. Running, running, running. My Babcia (Grandmother) always told me that there is nothing more important than your health, and I think this has finally clicked. This is now my priority over everything.  
  • Spending my £ on experiences, not things. When I think back to some of the things I purchased in my early 20s, I feel slightly nauseous! My original 30 before 30 list, created around 10 years ago, consisted of things such as ‘own a Chanel 2.55 handbag’, because I thought this was the ultimate symbol of having a successful, fulfilling career. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t aspire towards material possessions – but it just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I have no interest in spending my limited funds on an overpriced handbag. I would rather visit new places, learn new perspectives and consume experiences.
  • Stability and security; two things that make the teenage me want to cry with boredom. Being sensible with my £ and saving up for the important things…sorry to be so dull, but it’s true!
  • Spending my time with people who truly make me happy. It’s not about the number of people around you; having a strong support network of people you can rely on in difficult times is so important. Be kind to these people. Be kind to everyone, unless they’re a moron, in which case you don’t need to be kind to them all the time.

Reading back on this post, it still sounds a little cliché. I also feel weird about the fact that I’m not writing in complete sentences; this post has no structure (THE HORROR). However, these are my honest thoughts at this present moment in time. Perhaps this time next year I will have some sort of epiphany and be able to come up with some mind-blowing life lessons…but until then, I shall embrace my late 20’s in all its gloriousness and boringness and sensibleness.

Anxiety and Running

I am writing this post for two reasons: 

  1. To put it very simply – I find it beneficial. Writing about mental health is a method of expressing feelings that are sometimes too difficult to put into words. 
  2. I hope that by sharing my own experiences, it might help people who are feeling a similar way. Personally, I prefer reading incredibly open and honest blogs, particularly when it comes to mental health. It’s always comforting to know that of course you’re not alone. 

So, here is a recap of the past week…

Last Thursday, with 4 weeks to go until London Marathon, I was feeling strong, prepared and motivated. I had just recovered from a chest infection and was so excited to continue with my training. 

However, the following day I woke up feeling quite the opposite. I felt breathless, clammy and restless; all familiar symptoms of an oncoming unpleasant period of anxiety. The following three days consisted of multiple panic attacks, one of which took place during an organised 20-mile training run with hundreds of other runners. This REALLY bothered me; running has always been my safe, happy place, and this is the first time that my anxiety has interfered with that.

I spent the next couple of days pondering whether I should even be running a marathon; am I mentally strong enough at this current point in time? What if I have another mid-race panic attack, but this time in front of tens of thousands of people? 

After many wasted hours of unnecessary panic, I came to the following conclusion… so what?! What’s the worst that can happen? If for some reason I do have a panic attack during the marathon, I can walk for a bit. Yes, I’d be disappointed – but I haven’t dedicated over three months of hard, consistent training to give up at this late stage. 

Thanks to a variety of coping mechanisms and a fantastic support network which I am so grateful for, I’ve been feeling a lot calmer over the past few days. I’ve been able to shift my mindset and manage the panic attacks in a more effective way. 

I’m not saying for a second that my anxiety has magically been ‘cured’ – this is something that I’ve been working on managing for years, and I still have a long way to go. My point is that amongst the sheeny shiny perfectly curated Instagram squares, and the overly enthusiastic ‘NO DAYS OFF’ Strava beasts (I say ‘beasts’ in a kind and loving way of course), there are hundreds and thousands and millions of people who are struggling with their mental health.

There is nobody on this planet who is in a constant state of joy and happiness, and we should talk about that more openly. I am an expert at hiding my feelings, because quite frankly sometimes it’s easier to pretend that nothing is happening – however, I’ve finally realised that ignoring my emotions has a negative impact on my mental health.  

I could write a novel on this topic, so I’m going to end this post here before it turns into War and Peace. Some final thoughts – talk to people, overshare, talk to people some more. Shame has no place in your life.

Spring has Sprung (Predictable); A New Chapter ft. Imposter Syndrome

Apologies for the incredibly cliché title (cue 86,472 ‘spring has sprung’ Instagram captions featuring 86,472 23-year-old females posing provocatively next to blossom trees), but it seemed apt for this post.

After spending a magical long weekend in Dubrovnik and taking the rest of this week off work, I’ve had some time to reflect on the past couple of weeks of marathon training (or lack of marathon training), and mentally prepare myself for a busy month ahead. Whilst I’m not going to ramble on about how spring brings about new growth, fresh starts, new beginnings etc., I do find this time of year very refreshing, and coincidentally this year the new season aligns with an exciting new chapter for me as a few days ago I moved into my new flat.

I cannot believe that I am now an actual REAL-LIFE home owner. It blows my mind. But, at the same time, it doesn’t really blow my mind given the fact that I have been saving up for over a decade to get to this stage.

On this note, I wanted to delve into imposter syndrome – definition: a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. I know a lot of women (and men, but predominantly women) who despite having accomplished great things, struggle with self-belief.

Although this may sound materialistic, my new flat is my greatest achievement. This is not related to my flat itself, although yessss I am excited to purchase unnecessary seahorse ornaments and bellow “NOT UNDER MY ROOF” if anyone dares wear shoes inside. It’s about the hard work and sacrifice that has gone into becoming a homeowner; completing my master’s degree whilst juggling a full-time job, the little sacrifices, and everything else that has led up to this point.

However, there is part of me that feels like a fraud. I feel guilty for my privilege, and the fact that I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can buy a property. Whenever someone asks me how I can afford to buy alone (which in my opinion is an intrusive question, and one that I am asked frequently) I always feel the need to reassure them that for the next few years at least money will be very tight, that the property prices in South London are far more affordable etc. Essentially, I am avoiding the question, when the simple and honest answer is that I worked hard and saved.

There is, of course, a fine line between humility and hubris. I truly believe that arrogance is one of the ugliest traits, and I would genuinely be mortified if anything in this post comes across as boastful or overly self-indulgent.

My point is that I am proud of what I have achieved, and I want to see more women celebrate their achievements – because you have EVERY right to celebrate, proudly and unapologetically.

International Women’s Day 2019

Every year there is the same inevitable and rather tiresome backlash that takes place around International Women’s Day, and this year was no different…

“Why should I celebrate International Women’s Day when there’s no International Men’s Day?!”

Firstly, there is an International Men’s Day, taking place annually on 19th November. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of men’s well-being and to promote positive male role models. There is a strong focus on mental health problems, toxic masculinity and marginalised groups within men. Celebrated in over 60 countries, I can confirm that this day most definitely exists – and I think it’s a day of great importance.

Secondly, BORE OFF. The original aim of IWD is to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”. IWD is a day of recognition, support and celebration, and it is essential – whether you agree with it or not.

#BalanceforBetter is the theme for this year’s IWD; to achieve full gender equality for women around the world. This initiative incorporates improving awareness of discrimination, celebrating women’s achievements, and a focus on reducing the pay gap between men and women.

There are, of course, many other issues that are being addressed. However, I wanted to highlight the global gender pay gap, as I have worked with people who have denied its existence. I have also worked with people who feel that because the pay gap is not prominent in their line of work, it’s simply not an issue. No matter how much you try to deny it Hortencia, the gender pay gap is not a mythical unicorn.

The more people that question the importance of the day just proves why we still need it. The gender pay gap has improved ever so slightly, and only six countries in the world provide men and women with equal legal work rights.

We live in a world where women and girls are still denied basic rights. There is so much work to be done, and I think it’s fantastic that IWD highlights this.

HOWEVER…the slight sceptic in me would like to point out that if you truly care about women’s rights, then you should demonstrate this every day as opposed to once per year. I’ve seen some highly questionable posts over the past few days from brands, ‘influencers’ and other individuals. IWD is not about supporting women one day per year, and it’s certainly not about giving or receiving gifts (SORRY, but it makes me feel a little bit queasy that this day is becoming commercialised. I received an email the other day titled ‘Five Budget-Friendly Gifts for International Women’s Day’…seriously?!)

Final thoughts: IWD does not end on March 8th.

Why You Will Never Catch Me Drinking Celery Juice

CELERY JUICE…yet another obscene health craze that has taken over my Instagram feed. I tend to ignore ridiculous diets and alleged superfoods, but upon overhearing a teenage girl on the train proudly stating, “I had celery juice for breakfast and I’m not going to eat until 6pm”, I felt riled up enough to blog about the holy celery.

After carrying out some extensive research, it seems like the supposed benefits of drinking celery juice are as follows:

  • Clears skin and reduces bloating
  • Aids weight loss
  • Great for hydration
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • Boosts your immune system
  • A useful remedy for mental health problems (?!?!?!)

From speaking to medical professionals, including a friend who is a nutritionist, it appears that celery does indeed have anti-inflammatory properties, therefore could be beneficial for those with digestive issues. Given the fact that celery is 95% water, it goes without saying that it’s hydrating…and the rest is elaborate pseudoscience invented by Anthony William, founder of the celery juice ‘movement’.

William, also known as The Medical Medium, has no medical expertise and is most certainly not a nutritionist. William was ‘born with the unique ability to converse with Spirit of Compassion who provides him with extraordinarily accurate health information that’s often far ahead of its time.’ This is the opening line of his homepage (I wish I was joking) …need I say more?!

Of course, this post is not just about celery, nor is it about the fraud that is Anthony William. It’s about how we, as a society, perceive certain foods and abuse the concept of healthy eating.

I could have picked J.Lo’s recent no sugar & no carbs ‘challenge’ or any of Kim Kardashian’s ridiculous meal replacement shakes. There are hundreds if not thousands of moronic celebrities, irresponsible pseudoscientists and various other ‘experts’ you shouldn’t trust – far too many to name and shame!

I can’t believe we are STILL having this conversation in 2019. There are no miraculous superfoods, there are no healing foods, and celery is certainly not ‘truly the saviour when it comes to chronic illnesses.’

Please don’t take nutrition advice from a man who recommends such bizarre and questionable health solutions.

Please don’t feel that you must drink juiced bitter stalks on an empty stomach and then starve yourself for the rest of the day.

I am, obviously, not a nutritionist or a medical professional. However, one thing I do know is that ultimately, we should be eating for pleasure, thus the conversation I overheard on the train genuinely upset me.

As with all health trends of a similar nature, one must always question the source.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter! Equally, I’d love to hear whether anyone genuinely loves the taste of celery sticks smushed together first thing in the morning!

January/Winter Gratitude

I have found January to be a very exciting yet overwhelming month, with starting a new job, marathon training, buying my first little flat (!!!), a variety of volunteering commitments, financial struggles (new flat = permanently in the -£ for the next 86 years), etc.

Like many others, I have found myself counting down the days until January is over and we’re one month closer to spring. However, I also believe that by wishing time away you miss all the great things that are happening right now.

Something that has really helped me over the past couple of months, and in general when I’m feeling overwhelmed, is the five senses mindfulness exercise. This is an exercise that I discovered during CBT, focusing on bringing awareness to each of the five senses (I promise this isn’t as wishy-washy as it sounds).

This exercise involves isolating one sense at a time, essentially allowing you to reconnect to the present. I have a list on my phone that I refer to whenever I feel a bit overwhelmed – this list is too long to share, but here are a few of my favourites: 


Old books, new books, all the books.


Sipping a cup of tea. I know I’m supposed to say herbal tea, but that would be a lie – I am, of course, referring to a classic English breakfast.


Listening to Fleetwood Mac. Obvs. My marathon training playlist is also quite spectacular.


Experiencing the sunrise on a morning run. Reading screenshots of positive messages sent by friends and family. Looking through photos of inspirational places I have been, or any photos that trigger great memories.


Taking a warm bath. Spending a couple of minutes stroking a dog/cat/any animal that isn’t a tarantula.

All the above are simple things that I can do to calm my mind. Usually, I will pick one sense and focus solely on that – for me, taste and sight are usually the most effective self-soothing strategies.

I understand that there are many different versions of the five senses mindfulness exercise; this is just what works best for me, and of course, you need to work out what works best for you.

I know a lot of people are feeling a little bit wintered-out (I don’t think that’s a legitimate phrase but urban dictionary says it is soooo that’s that) – so why not give this exercise a go?

Please do let me know if you try this (or if it’s something that you already implement) – I would love to hear what your thoughts are and whether you think this is a helpful tool.

My Thoughts on Veganuary

I’ve read multiple articles recently referring to Veganuary* as ‘the latest trend’, ‘a celebrity fad’, ‘great for a New Year detox’ etc. This irritates me for obvious reasons, and in honour of my fourth year of Veganuary, I felt compelled to delve into this further.

I think Veganuary is a fantastic campaign, and a fantastic charity. We’re all aware that we should be reducing our meat consumption, therefore focusing on more plant-based foods. We know that eating vegan is a great way to address animal welfare and environmental issues (climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and saving water to name a few).

What I do have an issue with is extremist propaganda (ahemmm the What the Health documentary) and the claims that following a plant-based diet will automatically lead to weight loss and a variety of perceived health benefits. I could write a whole post about What the Health**, but I’ll save that for another time!

So, why am I partaking in Veganuary?

I’m not a vegan, but over the past four years I have considerably reduced my animal product consumption; I don’t eat dairy, and in general I eat meat once or twice per week. I say in general because over the Christmas period, I definitely did not adhere to this!

The reasons behind reducing my animal product consumption are predominantly all those that I mentioned above, plus the fact that cutting out dairy has significantly improved my eczema. Also, 95% of my favourite foods are vegan which definitely helps!

I am NOT taking part in Veganuary as a form of ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxing’ my body, and I don’t approve of Veganuary being labelled a fad regime. Detoxing, of course, is a scam…and it’s a scam which should not be linked to veganism.

To clarify, I’m not claiming that the health benefits of eating vegan are redundant, in fact quite the opposite – the fact that cutting out (some) animal products has improved a skin condition that I have suffered from since birth definitely highlights this! My point is that a vegan meal is not necessarily a healthier option. There are healthy and unhealthy approaches to a vegan diet, just like every. single. other. diet.

There are PLENTY of compelling reasons not to eat animal products but using Veganuary as a ‘detox’ is absolutely not one of them.

*Veganuary is a non-profit organisation encouraging people to follow a vegan diet throughout the month of January.

**What the Health is a Netflix documentary promoting a vegan diet. I’ve watched some compelling documentaries on veganism and vegetarianism, but this documentary is full of inaccuracies, questionable claims and pseudo-science.

2018 Review and Self-Reflection

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as no doubt you have read 86 million ‘2018 self-reflection’ blogs already!

2018 was a weird but wonderful year, and I wanted to share some of my highlights/poignant moments, because it’s important to celebrate success and not shy away from it.


I began training for my second marathon, taking on the Beast of the East and freezing my bojanglies off for 4 months.


Perhaps a menial highlight, but I discovered that I really like curry – it’s been pretty life changing!


I took part in my first 20-mile race, in which I threw up on someone’s shoes but then proceeded to eat three slices of cake.


Putting pen to paper and sharing my thoughts is something I greatly enjoy, therefore after much internal debate I started this blog!


A key learning rather than a highlight – DON’T suffer in silence. In May, I confronted my mental health issues after almost a decade of self-denial. Acceptance of this has been an overwhelmingly positive turning point – I may write a separate post about this at a later date.


I started running with the 5am club and made some fantastic, inspirational, slightly crazy new friends.


I took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, which is something I’ve wanted to do for many years. I’m so up for the National Three Peaks Challenge this summer – is anyone keen?!


I quit my job in order to pursue my passion – this was terrifying, but I am so, SO glad that I took the plunge.


I took part in the Great North Run, which wasn’t particularly great, but I did run my fastest half marathon with very little training which gave me a much-needed self-confidence boost.


I travelled to Malawi to join Dame Kelly Holmes and a team of 20 on the 2018 Orbis Challenge. It’s impossible to sum up this adventure in a couple of sentences… just. incredible.


Ahhh, the month of unicorns – I finally got my tattoo cover up and I blooooody love it! (Sorry Dad. Sorry Grandma).


I volunteered at Crisis at Christmas, alongside an amazing friend who I met this year. If you’re interested in finding out a little bit more about this, check out my latest post.

To summarise my year…

I realised that health & happiness is all that really matters. I recognised the importance of positive friendships (female friendships in particular) and became more aware of the influence that other people were having on me. I also made a conscious effort to be a little bit kinder to myself.

Before this gets waaaay too deep and meaningful, I’ll simply wish a (slightly belated) happy new year to you all! Thank you ever so much for supporting my blog, and I hope you will continue to read my ramblings in 2019.


Mell x

Volunteering with Crisis at Christmas

For the second year running, over Christmas, I volunteered at Crisis, a charity which provides immediate help for homeless people over the festive period.

Over the past couple of months, I have been encouraging friends and family to volunteer with me, or at their local centre. There were a few lovely people (thank you!) who got on board straight away, but in general there seems to be a perception that volunteering over the Christmas period is the ultimate act of self-sacrifice. I (obviously) disagree – but I do completely understand why one may choose not to volunteer over the festive period, when time spent with family and loved ones is often rare but golden.

I thought it might be useful to provide a brief summary of my time at Crisis, in the hope that maybe it will convince a few people to sign up in 2019.

What happens during a typical Crisis shift?

Crisis run Christmas centres in 15 locations across the UK, housing more than 4,500 guests over an eight-day period.

As a general volunteer, you can take part in a wide range of tasks including greeting and registering new guests, serving food, helping to run activities, maintaining facilities etc.

If you’ve got a specific skill, the centres offer a variety of services such as hairdressing, dentistry, medical consultations and counselling services.  

I think my most memorable shift was Christmas Eve 2017. I got chatting to a guest, who was training to become a nail technician – he gave me the most in-depth summary of my cuticles I have ever heard (I loved it). This conversation was not particularly poignant – but as it was my first ever shift, it was intensely eye-opening.

Sit and talk to guests, learn from them, deepen your understanding, don’t make assumptions and don’t be ignorant.

What are my reasons for volunteering?

This is an easy question to answer – I simply can’t think of a single reason NOT to volunteer.

Nobody should have to wake up homeless on Christmas Day (or any day!!), and if I can help in any way, no matter how miniscule, then why wouldn’t I?

I also really value meeting people from all walks of lives – this applies to both volunteers and guests – and hearing their unique stories and experiences.

How can you help?

If possible, give time, not money; volunteering is one of the most effective ways to make a valuable impact. Homelessness is on the rise, thus your support is more important than ever.

If you are unable to volunteer at a Crisis centre, there are plenty of other ways you can help!

Have you volunteered with Crisis or any of the other fantastic homeless charities within the UK? If so, I would love to hear about your experiences.

My Top Three Podcasts of 2018

In the listening versus reading debate, I am far more partial to the latter – thus finding a podcast that truly engages me can be quite a task. That being said, there are so many fantastic podcasts out there.

Here are three of the best, in no particular order (that’s a lie as number one is definitely my no. 1).

1.Table Manners with Jessie Ware

This is my absolute favourite.

Table Manners has been described as ‘an ode to food’, which it is, but it’s also so much more. Jessie, along with her mother, Lennie, cooks a three-course meal for their celebrity guest. Whilst each episode is predominantly centred around the guest, what I love most about this podcast is the way Jessie interacts with Lennie – their relationship is so endearing and authentic.

Some highlights include:

  • Mel B
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Paloma Faith

A little suggestion for the next guest – PICK ME. I may not be a celebrity, but I do love delicious food, plus I think we’d have a really great time.

2. The Guilty Feminist

Feminist podcasts are becoming a crowded space, but every single episode of The Guilty Feminist (that I’ve listened to – which is most of them!) has been thought-provoking, humorous, sad and infuriating all at once.

Deborah Frances-White explores a wide range of topics including female friendship, toxic masculinity, diet culture and gender stereotypes. There’s nothing more relatable, and in my opinion, there’s no better podcast that explores the complexities of modern day feminism in an honest but light-hearted manner.

Some highlights include:

  • Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies
  • Repeal the Eighth with Helen Linehan
  • Mental Health with Milly Thomas

3. Stuff You Should Know

Hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, this podcast is essentially about how things work. This covers politics, sociology, history, current affairs and many other topics.

I have a love/hate relationship with Stuff You Should Know. Josh and Chuck go off on a tangent frequently, and whilst some might view this as authentic (i.e. it sounds natural and conversational), I find it sloppy and irritating. I don’t want to listen to 45 minutes of unengaging banter and inside jokes (sorry Josh and Chuck).

However, I really enjoy learning alllll the things, and this podcast has taught me many things!

Some highlights include:

  • How Grief Works
  • How Search and Rescue Dogs Work
  • How Kleptomania Works

If you have any podcast recommendations, please do let me know!

Why You Should Never Comment on Someone’s Food Choices

(Just me with a bread roll, you’re welcome.)

Last week, over a period of three days, I received 12 comments on my food choices. These comments came from the same three people – here are a few of my favourites:

“Mell’s eating chocolate! Bet that makes a nice change from all the rabbit food? HMMM?”

“Do you weigh out your water too?”  (This comment is made to me every morning when I weigh out my oats, followed by said person laughing hysterically at his own joke. Every. Single. Morning.)

“Oh, for god’s sake, what’s the point in you coming if you’re not going to drink?!”

A few years ago, when I first began making changes to my diet, I would simply laugh these comments off. Sometimes I would panic and make up excuses regarding my food choices – “I’m not drinking tonight as I’m taking antibiotics” was a classic.

The truth is that I no longer wish to drink on a regular basis, and I weigh out my food because I want to ensure that I’m eating enough to fuel my running – it’s as simple as that. Obviously, I shouldn’t have to justify my eating habits. I’m genuinely curious, why do you care what I eat?! Perhaps this is a cultural, gender or generational thing?

Weight loss/gain comments come under the same remit. I was recently congratulated (?!) on my weight, informed that the reason my running has improved is due to apparent weight loss, and advised to “keep up the good work.”

Just a polite reminder: “You’ve lost/gained weight” is not necessarily a compliment; in fact, this comment made me feel extremely awkward. I know that I’m not alone in this, and I’ve had numerous conversations with friends who have been put in similarly uncomfortable situations.

This may sound like a trivial issue, but it is closely linked with harmful societal norms about women’s bodies.

Criticising somebody else’s food preferences, or their weight, is an invasion of their privacy.

If you are genuinely concerned about someone’s eating habits, then, of course, that’s a completely different issue. If you are simply projecting your own negativity insecurities onto others, then I would politely (but not that politely) ask you to mind your own business.

Some people love to judge and condemn others (shout out to Hortencia), and I still haven’t worked out the most effective way to deal with these comments. Any tips on this would be much appreciated, as the festive period is rife for “OOOOOH should you be eating that?!”

Christmas Sadness ft. Indulgent Guinea Pigs

Amidst the copious amounts of Christmas gift guides, clever marketing tactics and delicious recipes, I wanted to touch upon something that I wish was discussed more often.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve felt differently about Christmas. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but volunteering at Crisis and my trip to Malawi are certainly contributing factors. DON’T PANIC, I haven’t turned into a massive Scrooge; my values have simply evolved with age, and that’s completely natural.

I adored Christmas growing up, surrounded by family and friends and unnecessary amounts of tasty treats. I’m incredibly privileged, which perhaps gives me no right to have Christmas sadness, but nonetheless there it is simmering away like a sad brussel sprout.

We’re all aware that Christmas is a celebration of mindless consumerism at its finest. I came to terms with that a long time ago, but I think it really hit me this year when somebody asked me (in early October?!) if I had finished buying all my Christmas presents yet. No, Hortencia, of course I haven’t you raging lunatic.

A small part of my Christmas sadness comes down to the fact that most of the festive celebrations that I loved so much as a young whippersnapper are no longer in existence. The main part is my internal eye-roll when Hortencia boasts about spending £3500 on her guinea pig. It’s the unrealistic expectations of perfection, the unnecessary pressure to be happy, the set of rules and regulations that can be so difficult for a lot of people.

I know I am being hypocritical; over the festive period, I will most certainly be partaking in activities such as visiting Winter Wonderland and spending £92345 on a mug of mulled wine which contains 1% wine, 99% water.

I’ll also be volunteering* again, running a LOT, working, and of course spending time with my favourite people. I will be gifting people with experiences rather than mindless tat/unwanted presents and cards.

I hope this doesn’t come across as preachy; I know that I’m not doing anything ground-breaking and of course I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about enjoying Christmas! However, I do believe that you should focus on whatever makes you feel happy and fulfilled, rather than what you feel you ‘should’ be doing over the festive period.

In the least dramatic way possible, Christmas will never be what it once was for me, and that’s a good thing.

*I will write a separate blog about Crisis and some of the other charity work that I will be doing. I would like to emphasise that I strongly agree with the mantra ‘Volunteering is for life, not just for Christmas.’