If You Can’t Be Positive Be Quiet

‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’ – Aesop

I feel like I need to get something off my chest that’s been bugging me for a while now. I appreciate that a while back I wrote about how I hate open letters to people and I feel this may be veering down that path but bear with me for a moment.

Whilst this isn’t an open letter aimed at one person or indeed to anyone specific rather a group of people. I’ve been seeing quite a lot of negativity on social media recently and it’s really starting to wind me up. I’m not talking about people moaning about Brexit (it’s happening, get over it) or the new GBBO line up (it’s a TV show ffs) I’m talking about sly digs or shared memes having a unsubtle pop at someone specific. Despite it being *totally* obvious who you’re aiming it and it’s also, well it’s not very nice is it? And quite frankly women are the worse culprits because a lot of us seem to have an inability to be happy for someone else.

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I saw the worse of it back in January when we’d all eaten and drank ourselves into oblivion and some of us were trying so hard to get something that resembled a vitamin back into our bodies. My Instagram was awash with pictures of sweet potato and avocado and sweaty selfies and I loved every single one of them, why? Because I *like* those people. I follow these people because they’re my friends (or at least I wish I was friends with them). Why wouldn’t I show them support by liking a picture of their bland looking dinner which probably tastes like cardboard but will be helping them get back to where they want to be.

I don’t want to come across as some humourless crusader who can’t take a joke because believe me I love a good meme as much as the next person. We all have those groups of people on social media who rub us up the wrong way, the duck faces, the food snappers, the gym rats, the mummy brigade, not everything’s for everyone and of course it would take too much time to like or favourite every single thing you see.

But if you roll you eyes every time someone posts picture of themselves in a bikini or their hot dog legs on a beach or the massive slice of cheesecake their about to tuck into, then that’s on you not them. Because all of those things are cool, and well deserved and if you don’t like it then bloody unfollow them!

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I also don’t to claim to be spokesperson for everyone who posts a gym selfie on Instagram but if I could pick just one all encompassing word to describe myself it would be ‘average.’ So as your ‘average’ girl who posts gym selfies I’ll let you into a secret. I post gym selfies because I’m not confident about the way I look and I like the motivation or validation from other people to remind myself that I’m doing OK and I’m doing a good job. I work bloody hard to stay even remotely in shape and when you work hard at something, however narcissistic it may seem, you want everyone to know about it, because being told ‘well done’ by someone, even in the form of a like, feels good. And doing something, anything is better than being a sofa dwelling negative knobhead who sits behind their keyboard criticising everyone else.

We don’t know what pain other people have had in their lives and we don’t know what makes people happy, so in times where countries are trying to declare nuclear war on each other, how about we all just be a little bit kinder to each other, yeah?

I guess if this is an open letter to anyone, it’s an open letter to you; the person who posts sweaty gym pictures, or your big old bowl of pasta, or your finished dissertation, or a selfie of you voting, or are flogging your new business. Because you know what? Bloody well done you, you get the ultimate thumbs up from me, you go Glen Coco!

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Thanks to the gorgeous Pixie Tenenbaum who let me stalk her instagram account for pictures to use for this post, who helps me out in all manner of ways blogging and in daily life and who is a general all round badass chick!

Hadrian Road

Hadrian Road metro station is largely residential between Howden and Wallsend. As such, there isn’t much in the way of pubs nearby. We left the station via platform 1 and walked North onto South Terrace, then turned left onto Wallsend High Street and you’ll find The Coach and Horses about 8 minutes down on the left.

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I have to be completely honest and say that our visit left me feeling a little sad. Not because it was a bad pub, in fact quite the opposite. What made me sad was when we walked in we were greeted with a smattering of customers, and an empty bar (by that I mean the fridges and optics were completely bare) We were informed by the extremely friendly barman that all they had to offer was Fosters. Sadly, this absolutely beautiful building has been sold, and they were selling off their stock.

As we sat down with our 4 halves of Fosters we couldn’t help but wonder what on earth happened. The building is absolutely beautiful, and ginormous, and in fact it must have once been such an important part of the community that it’s actually attached to the town hall. At one time money was spent and love and attention was given to this place but unfortunately it’s not been treated kindly by the ebb and flow of economics in more recent times.

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I was unsure as to whether to include it in the guide at all, and just write off Hadrian Road and a station that simply does not have a pub you can visit, however with any luck whoever now owns the Coach and Horses will be able to give it a new lease of life and restore it to it’s former glory. It would be such a huge shame to not inject a bit more soul into what seems like the forgotten end of Wallsend High Street.

Contact:

Address: 261 High St E, Wallsend NE28 7RT

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro pub adventure here

H&M Cigarette Pants

‘My style is not that big. I wear heels, tight pants, and I wear diamonds’ – Donatella Versace

I’m the type of person who will chuck myself out of a plane on my honeymoon, and try the spiciest thing on a menu just to try and show off however when it comes to fashion I am anything but brave.

I’m apple-bottomed at best; fat-arsed would be a more accurate way to describe it, and as such, have always stuck to bootcut style things in a vein hope to try and balance out my massive hips and thighs. I was working in the centre of town recently and after what felt like a particularly trying meeting, I decided I needed a little pick me up and treat myself to some new clothes. I’m not in town often these days and usually rely on my local Tesco or ebay for my wardrobe which means I have an abundance of tops, but only staple bottoms that I’ve had for years and wear again and again.

My reasons for being drawn to these cigarette pants in H&M were 3 fold. 1. They came is loads of gorgeous colours and patterns 2. They were only £12.99 and 3. They were called ‘slacks’ on the label. Who doesn’t want to own a legitimate pair of slacks?!

Against my better judgement, and mainly because of the price and the fact I could do with some new black trousers I tried them on. I was surprised at how good they looked. As mentioned, a tapered leg isn’t something I would ever consider because I genuinely believe they, mixed with my gargantuan thighs, would make my legs looks like a carrot. However just because I thought they looked good, doesn’t really mean jack (I also once thought red parachute pants and yellow crocs – not together I hasten to add – looked good). So I did what any other girl in this situation would do; I sent it to my besties Whatsapp group for further opinion.

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With the thumbs up from my own personal Gok’s and a crisp £20 in my purse I took the plunge. And I have to say I’ve gotten loads of compliments since I’ve worn them. I even threw caution to the wind a bought a patterned pair, which for me, is so trendy it’s practically unheard of for me!

Here’s a hack for you hack fans; if you sign up for H&Ms newsletter, you get free delivery and 25% off one item off your first order under that address; so bearing in mind I only wanted to order one thing, and am never in town or the metro centre these days, I got my second pair, delivered home for £9.74 – sweet!

It just goes to show really that sometimes it pays to go out of your fashion comfort zone once and a while, and I’m planning on getting a red pair and a khaki pair when I get paid at the end of the month; I just hope I’m not writing in 5 years time about that awful time I was obsessed with cigarette pants! #fashionvictim

Is there anything you’ve been cautious of buying but actually ended up loving?

Byker

Travelling to Byker is a surprisingly pleasant journey if you’re coming from the centre of town as your travel past Ouseburn and over the Byker Viaduct which offers really pretty views of the Tyne and bridges.

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As you arrive at the station and exit through the main doors turn left towards Shields Road and you’ll see the pub that’s geographically the closest pub to the station which is The Raby.

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For reasons unknown to me, as we didn’t go in, but various people warned us off going there, so we turn left onto Shields Road and walked 5 minutes to The High Main, which is a rather large, bright and airy Wetherspoons pub.

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It’s a long thin pub with the bar on the right and, well if you’ve been in one Wetherspoons you’ve been in the all so you know the drill. They had a lot of ales on offer when we visited; not just your standard offering of Shipyard or Blonde Star that you often find in the North East, Dave had a pint of the Mosaic which was recommended by a woman at the bar and thought it was the best pint he’d had in a while. Me and Ruth were starting of gently with a half of cider which cost a mere pound – and there’s not much you can get for a pound these days!

Love them or hate them you can’t deny that Wetherspoons have a good knack of picking interesting buildings for their pubs and The High Main is no exception. It’s a very spacious with high ceilings and loads of natural light and the arches over the bar – apparently the building used to be an old Woolworths store so guessing the steel arches were once a warehouse or stockroom type affair.

The massive floor to ceiling windows were welcome when we visited as it was a glorious sunny Saturday, I only wish I’d noticed the beer garden at the back sooner – you have to make the post of any outside space in the North East whenever you can!

There are a couple of other pubs in the vicinity of Byker metro as well at The Raby; The Heaton Hotel and The Butchers are also along Shields Road should you fancy your own little Byker pub crawl however can’t comment on their facilities or indeed suitability!

Contact:

Address: 63 Shields Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1DL

Phone: 0191 228 4900

Website: https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/england/tyne-and-wear/the-high-main-newcastle-upon-tyne

You can see where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

 

Is it possible to drink yourself sober?

‘Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, it’s just god when he’s drunk’ – Tom Waits

It’s no secret that I enjoy a glass bottle of wine or two on a weekend so I believe I’m able to speak with some authority when it comes to being drunk. I’m afraid to say as well that I’m probably one of those annoying drunks who speaks too loud, has an opinion on everything, exposes everyone’s secrets then ends the night crying.

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My absolute favourite type of drinking is daytime drinking. Having a glass of wine with lunch in a pub on a Saturday (or Sunday if you’re not at work the next day) afternoon is the stuff dreams are made of. Of course that glass of wine with lunch inevitably leads to a few post drinks and before you know it it’s 5pm and you’re eyeballs deep in a session! So in my vast experience in all different types of drinking, it occurred to last Christmas day when we were cracking over the 6th bottle of wine (there were 10 of us!) is it actually possible to drink yourself sober?

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First, in true L’Oreal style, here comes the science bit so concentrate…It takes your liver approximately 1 hour to metabolise 1 unit of alcohol so technically if you drink less than 1 unit an hour you’ll never really be drunk (and where’s the fun in that?) so if you drank 5 pints it would take you 15 hours to fully sober up. In short, no, it is not medically possible to drink yourself sober.

We/I turn to alcohol for almost everything, if I’m celebrating, commiserating, bored, tired, can’t sleep, hungry, the list goes on. And we have quite a unique drinking culture in the UK as well, daytime and binge drinking are perfectly acceptable ways of passing the time (I’m not saying it’s a productive way to spend your time; it’s just acceptable). Every time I see my American friend Meagan and we open a bottle of wine she’ll inevitably end up saying something like ‘you’re so tiny but you can drink so much!’

I am of the belief that the longer period of time you’re drinking over, the more you pace yourself therefore the less drunk you feel. For me, it’s the Christmas day effect. We start drinking (albeit very slowly with a bucks fizz at about 11am) and continue through until perhaps midnight/1am. But because you don’t have as much of a time limit as you do when you’re just out for the evening, there’s no real rush and you’re just nicely keeping the alcohol levels steadily topped up thus giving your liver chance to metabolise it a bit better. As such I usually crawl into bed on Christmas night full of turkey and bubbles and bash out a solid 11 hour sleep.

Enjoying the all inclusive lifestyle back in January

We’ve also been on a few all inclusive holidays over the last few years and whilst we’ll no doubt have put away an obscene amount of units each day, I very rarely have hangovers on holiday because it’s nicely paced out throughout the day and when you can have whatever you want whenever you want, there isn’t the rush to get absolutely piss eyed. As with Christmas, you learn very quickly what’s appropriate to drunk when for example, bucks fizz, mimosa or bloody mary; very much a breakfast drink, after 1pm pretty much anything goes then you have your whiskeys and your baileys for the strasse.

This is all very tongue in cheek and I’m of course not trying to advocate excessively unhealthy lifetsyles. I try my best wherever possible to stay fit and healthy by going to the gym regularly, eating sensibly and almost never drink 5 days out of the week unless it’s a really special occasion. I just find it interesting that after I’ve been drinking slowly throughout the day have zero hangover the next morning whereas a few too many glasses on a Friday night because I’ve had a busy week at work and the Beer Monkey* has absolutely paid a visit and opened up the gates of hangover hell.

*Beer Monkey – n. Mythical Simian like creature that magically appears during the middle of the night to ruffle your hair, crap in your mouth and steal your money while you sleep. Often visits after you’ve been out on a heavy Friday or Saturday night and is known to favour between 3-4am whilst you’re totally wankered.

Regent Centre

When you live out in Bank Foot there’s nothing more frustrating than getting to a metro station and seeing the fatal words ‘next train terminates at Regent Centre’ ugh, so close yet so far. However more than once have we hopped on the train anyway and paid a visit to some of the great pubs that Gosforth High Street has to offer.

Despite Regent Centre interchange mainly servicing the small business park there, if you come out the metro station and turn right, you’ll find the first pub about 5 minutes down the road; The Gosforth Hotel.

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We visited on a rain soaked Saturday afternoon (is there any other kind in Newcastle) and due to it being a massive sports day; 2 rugby matches and a Newcastle game, it was absolutely heaving. It’s what my dad describes as a ‘proper Newcastle boozer’ and I think that sums it up perfectly. Yes it was packed to the rafters with rugby fans, but you’re in Newcastle remember and the atmosphere was brilliant.

There are actually two bars. The main bar straight ahead of you as you walk in an a kind of ‘overflow bar’ out the back, which I presume they only open when they have enough staff as it was shut when we went, despite it being so busy the windows had steamed up. Lovely.

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Down the the drinks. They always have an excellent selection of ales on, which changes regularly and there’s always a local brewery on offer such as Wylam or Mordue. The wine isnt going to win them any DWWA awards but it’s cold and less than a tenner a bottle. The decor is worn and traditional with dark wood and high tables with stools. There are a few lower tables and chairs round to the right as you walk in and more out the back if the second bar is open. They also serve basic pub grub daily and pretty reasonable prices.

It’s the kind of pub you can visit at 9pm on a saturday night or 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon and there will always be a nice atmosphere and there will always be someone in. I know, I know I always say I hate pubs that show non stop sport but hey, I’m a woman, I’m an enigma and I have exceptions to the rules. When you walk into a pub at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and everyone is enjoying the beer, the sport and the banter, it’s impossible not to get swept away with the atmosphere.

The Gosforth Hotel is our favourite ‘start and end’ pub as we walk from and to the metro station for a night out on Gosforth High Street. Other pubs worth checking out along that Street is the Brandling, The Job Bullman (which is a Wetherspoons, but a good Wetherspoons) and The County down the far end.

Contact:

High Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1HQ
Tel: 0191 285 6617
Website: http://www.greatukpubs.co.uk/gosforthhotelnewcastle

You can find out where else we’ve been on our adventure here

Run a 10 Minute Mile in My Shoes….

‘It’s not that your goals are physically impossible that’s keeping you from achieving them; it’s that you lack the self-discipline to stick to them. It’s physically possible to lose weight. It’s physically possible to exercise more’ – Daniel Goldstein

I’ll openly admit that I’m probably one of the messiest, laziest person you’re ever likely to meet, and I’m perfectly ok with that. It also wouldn’t be unfair to describe me as wishy washy or flaky. I can make up a million believable reasons not to do something if I really don’t want to. One thing you may not know about me however is that every now and again, I’ll decide to do something and I won’t stop until it’s done.

On example of that recently was saving up for a trip of a lifetime to Vegas with Meagan. Another was just before Christmas when I set myself a challenge of being able to run a mile in under 10 minutes. I’ve never been shy of the fact that I’m not a natural runner, I’m 5’4 – with only a foot of that made up of leg, and my thighs are as wide as they are long (think less Beyonce, more international sumo wrestler) but I do know what good exercise it is, it tones me up like nothing else, and as cheesy as it may sounds, that ‘runners high’ you get when you’re finished is pretty addictive.

I’ve challenged myself with exercise a few times in the past. In 2015 I did a ‘10K Everyday’ challenge I invented myself as a way to stay fit over the Easter weekend and it’s been on my bucket list for years now to complete a half marathon at some point. The reasons I decided on a 10 minute mile challenge were four fold:

  1. It was less time consuming than marathon training and was something I could tag onto the end of a standard workout
  2. It’s something that can be done in the gym – which in the cold winter months was a huge attraction
  3. I feel I have endurance exercise down, I can zone out on the crosstrainer for 90 minutes on a good day, but fast, high intensity isn’t something I do much of, so will be good to try something new
  4. The treadmill at my gym shows you running around a virtual 400m running track and when you grow up with Janine ‘Gazelle’ Weightman and Angela ‘School Cross Country Team’ Harrison as your best mates, I want to prove to 12 year old Helen that running round a running track isn’t the stuff of nightmares it once was.

So after about two and a half months training (about a month of being frustratingly stuck on 10:15mins), on Sunday 18th December 2016 I did it, I ran a mile in 10 minutes (in under 10 minutes actually) and it felt pretty bloody amazing.

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What’s even more bloody amazing is I’ve managed to do it again every time I’ve stepped on a treadmill since then as well, so it wasn’t just a one off – yippee!

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More photographic evidence from 04.04.2017

It feels good to set yourself a goal and achieve it. Not just achieve it actually but work it into your daily workout routine. Now I need to start thinking about what I’m going to do next; it’s Easter weekend again soon however I reckon the possibility of me running another 10K every day this year is slim to none – still, it’s something I can tell the grandkids I did once…