2019, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

10 years on…

Ten years ago tomorrow my life changed…some of you may sigh and call me dramatic but life really did change the minute we found out Stephen Gately had died.

I still to this day feel fortunate to have been at Emma’s I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I was alone. It’s funny as we had seen Ronan on a TV show about the Carpenters and then I stayed at Emma’s, we’d had a nice meal out with her family and gone to sleep like any other time.

To then be woken at 3am to Emma’s sister giving us the earth shattering news. Neither of us wanted to believe it, imagining it to be a sick joke. We’d both turned our phones off but when we powered them up we both had hundreds of messages from mutual friends, my family and school friends that neither of us had spoken to in years.

In speaking to loved ones and on Emma putting the TV on our fears case true.

Early that year we’d made comments on not understanding it when Michael Jackson died but when Steo passed it hit us like a train. I’d been a massive Boyzone fan since I was small and all I’d wanted was to meet them. I had met all of them bar Mikey during their solo time but when they reunited in 2007 I was given that chance to go all round the country seeing them and making friends.

That child I was would never have believed how lucky I was….Boyzone will always be a five piece and they will always mean the world to me. They let me escape when I needed to and their music always lifts my mood. Steo lives on in the music and he’s never forgotten.

This is still one of my most treasured photos

Grief is a funny thing that effects us all. I’ve changed so much since 2009 but that raw emotion is still there. It’s not always tears but it’s definitely there.

Advertisements
2019, A thought? A question, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

Senses…

Now to start this post I’m going to have to ramble slightly so I apologise in advance. At the beginning of July well to be honest it could have been from the end of June but I remember it being July as I had tried to get a doctors appointment before my weekend in Dublin. I had been struggling with a piercing earache where it was leaking and all sorts leaving me in pain and slightly death.

It seems whenever I’m unwell I cannot be seen by a GP so I’m usually sat in urgent care or listening to advice from others. I went to Ireland for the weekend and I had a great time although I was still struggling with an earache. So on my return I went to Boots and purchased Earex, it helped for a bit, the puss stopped and the pain subsided temporarily at least. Mid August I was seriously struggling but with a holiday looming I wanted some answers and I wanted something to dull the pain so I went through the process of trying to be seen.

In August I was given both ear drops and then antibiotics (first via urgent care, second via an actual appointment with a GP) it improved but I knew deep down I wasn’t done with the ear pain. I then managed to get a doctors appointment and was seen by a helpful lady who told me what I knew, my ear was still blocked and I would need to be seen by ENT. That again seemed to be another battle, if they had listened to me before my holiday I would have been seen by ENT earlier.

My first experience in ENT left me in tears and I was grateful for a good book and to have work to get back to. Not only did I feel lost I felt vulnerable, having studied Physical Education and most recently fitness I know a lot of technical terms but of the ear I’m baffled. I understand that the NHS do an amazing job and are seriously stretched but on the occasions I’ve been seen I’ve been made to feel like an inconvenience. I didn’t understand what the doctors were telling me and I instantly burst into tears.

Thankfully my fears weren’t as bad as I first thought but it’s a long process that I’m still waiting on. I had to go back the following Monday – the hearing test was well explained to me and I felt somewhat better now I was being listened to. When I was then called in to see the doctor I instantly felt that vulnerability and sadness once again. On my initial appointment I was told on my next visit I would have the hearing test and the MRI and from there I would know if I needed an operation. That wasn’t the case and when I explained my frustrations and asked if there were any dos and don’ts in the meantime whilst I await the MRI letter I was merely treated like an inconvenience – like why would you ask something so stupid?

Here I was thinking that your hearing was an important part of daily life.

To my surprise it wasn’t an eight week wait for my letter regarding an MRI appointment on 1st October I arrived home after my induction for my new job to a letter for an appointment on 4th October. So as I type the continuation of this blog post I’ve had my MRI and it wasn’t fun in the slightest. That’s over with now to await my results.

Having just started a new job it’s not ideal at all but I’m hoping that seeing as I was seen a lot sooner than expected I hope that means my full hearing could be back with me soon.

The one thing that’s terrified me in this whole experience is how vulnerable I have felt. I can’t hear people walking by me until they are right in my face. It’s also made me value my senses a lot more than I have before. Feeling helpless is heartbreaking and my journey isn’t over yet but I’m trying to make the best of a bad situation.

I love audiobooks but as it stands I’ve put a hold on my audible account as my hearing is limited unless I’m listening in the comfort of my own home. I guess the positive there is that I save some money.

I’ll keep you posted…that’s if your interested.

2019, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

My Blogger Journey

So yesterday I asked what you would like to see on the blog today and a personal post won. I’ve been at work today and it’s been a hectic day to say the least, but I’ve been racking my brains with what to write and my blogger journey just kept coming to the forefront of my mind.

I’ve already mentioned my Fight Klub and my fitness stuff including the Exercise to Music qualification and everything that’s gone with that. Alongside my Slimming World journey and what that’s taught me in relation to my relationship with food so I thought let’s delve into being a blogger.

My blog originally started over on Blogger and it was called the Ramblings of a London Girl- I loved it but there was no real focus and I was often posting short posts just to post and quotes etc. Over on Blogger I had started writing book reviews as books and reading is a passion I’ve had since I was small. I have to mention my beloved Grandad Sam – my most favourite bookworm whose birthday it is today. I miss him dearly and this morning I finished listening to the audiobook of a George Orwell Classic and I instantly missed him once again.

I knew nothing about book blogging and then a friend of mine Casey was looking for reviewers to join her over on Dark-readers.com also a blogger site. I jumped at the chance, and just like that I was a book blogger being invited to events and meeting lots of other likeminded readers. It took me a while to realise that on Dark Readers I could review any books not just fantasy and paranormal although back then I was heavily invested in angels and vampires. So much so I had to take a break from those books. I then decided I wanted to talk about a number of subjects and I was interested to try a WordPress blog.

Hayleyslilworld was born – I used this platform for book, film and quite possibly theatre reviews. I undertook a number of writing prompts spoke of events I went to and used it as an outlet to share some of the articles I had via various work placements at publications and online.

Life was good I had two platforms to share content. Casey and I drifted apart and on Hayleyslilworld I started to receive a huge number of troll like messages getting to the point I didn’t want to blog anymore. Every time I received a notification I was scared to read it until I couldn’t take anymore and I made the page private and stopped altogether.

Hayley Reviews – which I write from now originally started as a blog about my volunteering with Cancer Research until I moved over to be a paid member of staff. I had got an ok following and thought it was a shame to get rid of it. So I changed the name and started talking about books. I had a few contacts from the Dark Readers days but some of the publishers moved on and my reading habits changed in some aspects.

Of late now the main hardcore studying has been done I’m now getting my reading mojo back and I’m loving it. It made my day last week to have been the first review for Daisy Tate that was a blogger highlight, and this month my reading has been great so much so I’ve started penning my what did I read in July and I’m so chuffed with the results already and there’s still a week or so to go. Although major fail I forgot my latest paperback read I’ve been missing it all day and I had hoped to finish it today.

Watch this space.

I’m looking at doing more questions and adding different additions to the blog. So give me a shout if you have a burning question or you would like to see me do something specific the meme’s have been working quite well of late.

Also if you’re an author or another blogger who would love to guest over at Hayley Reviews also give me a shout.

I look forward to hearing from you.

2019, Fitness, Me, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

Self Doubt

Now today there should be a well overdue Thriller review but after some fantastic news yesterday and some insightful conversations I decided to pen a more personal post.

Anyone that knows me even if you don’t particularly like me knows I’m a damn hard worker. You tell me no and I’m determined to prove you wrong, I have always been the same.

When I was at school I really enjoyed PE even took it as part of my GCSES but I was made to feel that I wasn’t good enough. So as much as it was something I truly enjoyed I looked into other passions and this one was shelved. At school it’s easy to get the necessary exercise in your day and then exams and life take over.

Anyway I’m rambling now.

Last year I found out a lot about me my habits, traits and I have changed so much in a year.

Not only am I eating things I would never have imagined I’m pushing myself both mentally and physically.

Almost a year ago I discovered Fight Klub a high intensity workout to music using punch bags. From the moment I took part I was addicted and had to work out when I could go again. I regularly attend the Falconwood class and sometimes make the Bexleyheath class. Between better eating and dedication I’m now a lot fitter than I was. At my first ever class I loved it but I was so out of my depth.

In November 2018 I took a few weeks out of work to study Exercise to Music – a course that opened my eyes and my imagination. I was one of nine ladies on the course and how each of us changed during those few weeks was impressive. I had done all the course work that I could before the course had start so in that instance I was a few segments ahead but for me nerves always take over on exam day.

On the course we did both theory exams back to back – I didn’t do badly I got 26 for Anatomy and 24 for Principles the pass mark was 28. I was deflated but had to let it go as I wouldn’t have had a chance to retake until after my practical exam.

Illness meant my practical was pretty much a car crash but my girls from the course were amazing and I got some really great feedback I felt awful and I felt like I had let myself down. So I had a bit of time going back over my theory and some time out for me.

As I have a full time job it was then trying to work out when I could take the exams. So on 10th April I went in and retook my Principles exam I improved I got 26 still two short of a pass. As these exams are multiple choice there’s no actual feedback I was frustrated but I had my Anatomy exam two weeks later so had no time to dwell. I felt much more confident and hadn’t over checked my answers and second guessed myself or so I thought. Over a week later I got an email to say I had got 24 that was two less than what I’d got on the course.

That nagging doubt and negativity crept in. I was also frustrated as the exams are done on Wednesday evenings and Wednesday’s are a pretty crazy day at work so I couldn’t see when I could redo any of them. After a few chats I had put in to redo my Principles exam on 29th May – I did some of the same revision plus I took a tutors advice and went back onto the online portal and in re-listening to it and doing the quizzes I started to see my confidence peak. Seeing as I get plagued by nerves I also decided to try Kalms tablets so I took them for a few days before and on the day of my exam.

Yesterday I received the email that would make my week I passed my Principles exam with a score of 29. I’m now one step closer to the ETM Exercise to Music qualification I’ve had a brief email chat with the tutor who gave me some advice and encouragement and I’m hoping to get booked on go retake my Anatomy exam on the 19th.

One step closer to ETM and one step closer to becoming a Fight Klub instructor.

2018, A thought? A question, Me, Monday motivation and smiles, Off Topic, personal, update

Ask Away….

Happy Monday all.

It’s the start of a brand new week and I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re happy and healthy.

A while ago I asked for questions on my Twitter in lieu of writing a blog post answering said questions and it fizzled out. So yesterday I asked again on my Twitter and Facebook account. So far I have two fabulous questions. I’m aiming for 10-20 before I can warrant sharing my answers.

2018, Fitness, Me, Off Topic, personal

Change

I had a manager from my O2 at the O2 days who used to say it takes 28 days to form a habit. This speech would regularly come out if there were major changes and especially when he thought we wouldn’t ever be willing to try and get on board. After having a night out with my old pals it got me thinking.

Now I’ve mentioned before and I dare say it will come up again, in April I joined Slimming World and my relationship with food changed. Some of you think I’m not eating properly and that couldn’t be further from the truth if anything I eat more these days it’s just what I’m eating and how I’m making it. That’s the key.

What I’ve noticed threefold is I don’t eat in the same way. I’m more appreciative and my sweet tooth is still there it’s just not as greedy as it once was which is a good thing for my health.

I’ve always been quite an active person but in finding Slimming World I shortly after found Fight Klub and for the first time in a while I felt truly excited. If I can’t make a class I’m grumpy. Recently when I hurt my back I missed two weeks of classes. This week I returned at a lower pace although I don’t think my right shoulder thinks that was the case saying that this morning it’s feeling a lot better but I haven’t reached work yet.

Now I’m a target member I’m not trying to loose any more weight. I’m now trying to find the right balance. I’m still enjoying trying new things and there’s still a number of things I’d love to make. I’m line with that on 12th November I’m embarking on an ETM Exercise To Music course and for the first time in ages I’m truly excited to study once again. I did GCSE PE and I honestly thought i’d have done more with it and now I’m on a whole new journey. This year has been remarkable for me and when opportunity knocks say yes what’s the worst that can happen. There are a few other potentials which I haven’t ruled out either.

I have recently become a Just Strong ambassador, I’m extremely new to this but I’m very much on board for inspiring and empowering women. I have just received my package but as I was out having a cheeky night off I haven’t opened it as yet. I dare say there will be an update on this as I cannot wait to try on my new gear. www.juststrong.com as a thank you to you beauties I am able to share with you my 10% discount code HAYLTHO10 I will be reviewing the top and jogging bottoms that I have purchased. If you have any questions or would like me to try something also get in touch. I’ve seen a few girls modelling the hoodies and I maybe swayed on that as these days are getting colder.

2018, Fitness, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

If in doubt Fight it out….

I had a number of options for blog posts today and I never expected it to be this. I also never expected it to be this late in the evening. I promise no complaining and bookish goodness tomorrow. I have some gorgeous guest posts that I cannot wait to share with you.

I had a fabulous holiday and considering I was only by the seaside the weather was pretty good, and it was great to spend time with my family including my four week old niece and nephew alongside their big sister. I’d hit my Slimming World target on the Monday before I left and I expected there to be some changes. I hadn’t been a complete pig but the scales upset me last night. I don’t think it helped that I’d had a strange work day and since returning from holiday I’ve had an awful sore throat cue me feeling extremely sorry for myself.

Today I have had a good and organised food day. I’m starting to cough up crap (sorry tmi) and I’ve just finished an awesome Fight Klub class. This class has me well and truly addicted, I’m hooked and I hate missing it. I’ve even got to the point I’m now changing my plans to fit in another session tomorrow. In that hour I let out some aggression and hopefully sweated out this awful bug that I feel I have.

This is the definition of Fight Klub that is stated on the group I attend in Bexleyheath and Falconwood.

FIGHT KLUB® is the boxing and martial arts inspired workout scene sweeping the nation! Using FIGHT KLUB®’s uniquely designed punch bag, the workout is formed of structured combinations of authentic boxing, kick boxing and Thai boxing moves. Suitable for ALL levels of fitness and set to Drum & Bass and House music, the workout hits all major muscle groups in the upper and lower body. Participants benefit from improvements in cardiovascular endurance, core strength, weight loss and muscle tone.

I literally cannot imagine life without this class, so much so I’ve even started thinking about becoming a trainer. Not that I think I’m anywhere near as awesome as Maxine and Sarah are. So through some crap stuff this week I have found my strength and determination thanks to friends, family and Fight Klub. If in doubt fight it out. HOW MANY??

https://ravingklubbers.com

2018, Me, Off Topic, Uncategorized, update

My Fitness Journey….

Hey welcome to Hayley Reviews, today I am going away from bookishness and talking about me.

In my younger years I was one of those girls who people said could eat anything and wouldn’t put on weight that soon changed. I’ve never minded fruit but I can honestly say I rarely smashed my five a day. As for vegetables – as a child I had a best mate whose mum would serve up all sorts of veg and expect you to eat it whether you liked it or not. To this day I blame her for Brussel Sprouts – I did try them again quite recently and I can honestly say I can live without them.

If at the beginning of this year you had said to me that I would one be trying to actually cook rather than throwing something in the oven and two that I would willingly want broccoli, spinach and cauliflower with my dinner I would have laughed in your face. Now I’m upset if I run out of spinach or Broccoli or if Sainsbury’s don’t have Butternut Squaffles in stock.

They do say your taste buds change every seven years and they really do. I have such a sweet tooth yet it’s been curbed quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love a hot choc and I’m still impartial to chocolates just not to the excess I would have before. I have also learnt that a lot of the time it was merely through boredom or because it was there. In working in such a busy environment where there are often lots of people around it was often easier to just snack on crap. Fast forward to August 2018 and the thought of some of the things I would have gauged on makes me feel physically sick.

On 16th April 2018 I joined Slimming World – a number of people asked me why and a number of people also said I shouldn’t have. Having seen a number of friends do well from Slimming World I thought what the hell. What do I have to lose. In joining I took one look at the plan and was instantly thinking what am I going to eat. Natasha my consultant was super helpful- she told me not to focus on what I wouldn’t eat and to look at what I would. My first week was a little strange and I somehow managed to put together some odd meals. In that week I managed to lose 3lb but I hadn’t had much speed food.

What is speed food? I hear you say. These are fruit and vegetables that help speed up your metabolism – quite quickly I found a flow that I could enjoy. With my breakfast I often have Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries which are all speedy fruits and with meals it’s often Mushrooms, Carrots, Spinach, Butternut Squash and Broccoli to name a few. Before Slimming World I ate Carrots and Mushrooms but the other vegetables I hadn’t tried in a long time.

On 13th August 2018 I hit my target weight – this was a very good Monday for me, I had said to myself as I got closer that I wanted to be at target before my family holiday to the seaside and I made it. As you know I’m away as we speak and I’ve had a sketchy food week but I have had some fruit and Weetabix on a few mornings and some semi Slimming World friendly stuff. In town I found a gorgeous Mushroom Risotto which if possible I would love to sample again before we leave – it hasn’t happened so far.

I know there are Slimming World recipes for this so this will be happening when I return home.

Alongside my food and my walking I started attending a number of fitness classes. I have been doing Zumba on/off for years and I still really enjoy it. I managed to get a few free passes to some Boxfit classes. I did Boxfit on Blackheath common and then I found Fight Klub. That’s another thing I wouldn’t have thought a boxing based fitness class would be my thing but I love it and when I miss it, I’m seriously annoyed. Last week I managed to fit in two sessions which I was also meant to do the week before but due to trainer sickness that didn’t happen.

What has surprised me….I’m now a target member- I’ve missed a weigh in week as I’m away but I’m intrigued to see how I fair. As I have relaxed a little this week I have been shocked at the changes. Back in April/May time I purchased this…

On the Friday night before we left home I decided my working week was done and my me time had started so I would sample this. I had two quite small glasses and found it super super sweet. I also realised that I can’t drink normal coke – I asked for a vodka and Diet Coke and was given a normal coke and yet again it was too sweet. I’m pleased to report my love of an Irish coffee and of fudge still stands but once again my body will tell me when I have had too much. I’m also noticing a difference to how I feel when I’ve eaten fatty foods.

The picture on the left was taken at a book event with friends on 30th April so two weeks into my SW journey and the pic on the right was taken in July around the World Cup. I’ve also had a number of non scale victories in the fact I need pretty much a new wardrobe and the stuff that used to be tight now fits.

Thank you to those who took part in my poll yesterday, meaning I actually finished writing this piece.

What would you like to see tomorrow? Book Review, Author Guest Post, or something different. You guys get first refusal on what tomorrow holds.

2018, Football’s Coming Home, Off Topic, update

Football’s Coming Home…

Between a crazy work day and a football match I literally forgot that I had half started a book cover challenge blog post for yesterday. It will be finished and will more than likely feature tomorrow but as for today I have to mention the England game. I’m sorry if you’re hoping that my bookish ramblings would mean no Football mentions.

As a child Euro 96 was my first real memory of England playing in a big competition.

For me Terry Venables and his mixed team of experience and youth were golden.

The country were invested in the lads and if there was a game on you could bet the shops and the streets were eerily quiet. Then those penalties happened with our lads wearing grey and us being defeated. It was my first real sense of anticipation and disappointment – I was hooked on the team and hated seeing how much stick Gareth Southgate and Stuart Pearce went through as a result. I absolutely hate how the media turn on those we invested in.

Last night Gareth Southgate’s extremely young England team made history and broke the curse that ridiculed Gareth for years. We won on penalties – my heart could not cope and I literally cried.

For me what he has achieved with these lads is a sense of belief that now is our time. Not just in the lads but we actually believe it. I was certain we would get through last night – I wasn’t prepared for the nerves to be shot like that but a number of players who I had little personal faith in came through and that experience will change them as players going forward.

It’s such an exciting time to be English and to be alive. That little bit of history we made last night was just the beginning the tip of the iceberg and yes we will be on tender hooks come Saturday but let’s do this.

Bookish ramblings will resume tomorrow 🙂

2018, A thought? A question, Blog Tour, Book Snippet, Off Topic

Blogging, blog tours and reading what I want…

First off if you follow my Twitter account HayleyTOfficial you would have already seen me talking with a few friends about reading for pleasure and reading for a time frame.

Now I wasn’t going to post this as I didn’t want to just sound like I’m moaning. As many of you who know me will be aware I have had a crazy work life and I haven’t been very well which has limited my reading time. In lieu of that I have left certain books to last minute thinking I would be able to get them read and it’s felt like a chore. I sat up until the small hours finishing a book and making sure the review was up because I absolutely hate letting people down. This week I’ve had a few social days catching up with friends and seeing theatre and on Wednesday when I was lucky enough to meet up with Catriona aka Fabbookfiend I had a headache for most of that day because I had pushed myself. Later that night I knew I should have read something for a tour but Catriona has simply said read for you and it truly did make me smile.

This is not me saying I won’t be doing blog tours as I love finding books and authors that I would never have come across. This is me saying I will do my best to honour my commitments but I want to read more of the books that I’m itching for.

Like right now I want to read Darren O’Sullivan’s Close Your Eyes I have read the prologue and a snippet and yes it’s awesome. I want to read Paige Toon’s Five Years From Now I have read the sampler and it left me wanting more….I have the next instalments of Victoria Walters Random Acts Of Kindness and having heard a snippet of the Sunday Lunch club I’m also desperate for more.

I just want to say I really do appreciate the bloggers who run and organise tours and because you guys are awesome I love to help but as it stands I don’t want my love of reading and blogging to die because I’m reading to demand and not for actual want. To lighten my blog later on there will be a second post featuring Anita Cassidy. Watch this space..