A weight off my mind and back on my belly

…That’s right, people. The NYPG hasn’t quite gone to plan in the past few weeks. I’ve been to parties, and enjoyed family barbecues, and sat eating ice lollies in an attempt to cool down in this beautiful, soul melting heat we’re experiencing in England at the moment.

It's too hot!!

It’s too hot!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not been doing too badly, everything considered. I have only put on half a pound in the past two weeks – but STILL.


My diet topic today therefore is stamina. Where do we find it? How do we cope when we suddenly realise this is going to be a much longer journey than we originally bargained for? Is it ok when you think you have none at all?

Let me start off by saying that without motivation, you can have no stamina. Whether that motivation be a simple ‘I want to lose that belly bulge’ or a rather dramatic ‘I must feel like a SUPERSTAR by the time I go to New York’, it is the key to you reaching your goal.

The thing is, once you’ve pondered over that goal and gone through that original burst of inspiration and determination, you’re left with a long, bleak road without chocolate and with many a weighing-scale set back.

*Enter Stamina, Center Stage*

Stamina is the driving force behind marathon runners, charity walkers, even Sunday strollers. It gets you through the tough times with fierce grit and a set jaw. It picks you up when you fall down and shoves you onwards, no protestations accepted.

It sits heavily on the weighing scales and propels you forward even when all you want to do is sit and mope.

And eat a bowl full of icing.

Stamina is something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us all. It comes from within, from our own determination, and I won’t lie, not everyone is cut out for it, at least not when it comes to food. I most definitely had no stamina when it came to not eating in between meals.

But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. I conquered that by putting myself in a position where it wouldn’t be possible to snack. I planned my meals for the week and bought only the bare essentials for those meals. My budget couldn’t then physically cover for snacks and so, over time, I taught myself stamina. You know yourself better than anyone. If you know the food is there, will you eat it? If so, remove the food. It’s not an impossible mountain to climb.

At least, it’s not an impossible mountain to climb most of the time. Sometimes, like I experienced today, we have zero stamina, no matter how much we are screaming at ourselves to ‘NOT PICK UP THAT CHEESE SLICE.’ The world is just begging to be eaten and you have no choice but to oblige.

But you know what? That’s ok.

Because that’s the beauty with stamina: it means that however often you fail, you find the will to pick yourself back up and try again.

So, maybe just today, don’t allow yourself to feel so guilty. Let the weight that accompanies calorie counting lift from your mind. Go out and enjoy that burger from the grill. Delight in the sweet sensation of chocolate sliding down your throat in all it’s creamy goodness. Go to an all-you-can-eat buffet with foods from around the world. Tell yourself you’re being adventurous.

And then try like hell to do better tomorrow.


I’ll let you know how my stamina holds up next week!


Leave, don’t leave


Soon, you will leave.

I think that is partly why I am so happy. It will be a release, a small window of time in which I can fly free, soar through space: be a comet burning and bright.

I need you gone. When I walk through the house, I walk through filtered memories, over the stain of tears on the carpet, past that place where love became rage so quickly.

Numbness consumes me. When we touch, my fingertips bounce off of you as though made of rubber. They feel nothing and leave no sensation behind. You ask me if I love you and my tongue swells up, filling my mouth, giving you an answer of silence even though inside I am screaming at you: YES.

Night brings with it the heaviness of the day, the gripes we ignored until they all come pouring out under the stars. Accusations and resentment, a fortress of destruction. We are two stick figures, waving swords haphazardly on the battlefield, hoping we hurt the other. Praying we don’t.

I need you gone.


Don’t leave.

This morning you cradled me in your arms. I didn’t pull away when you held my hand, stroked my back, soothed me. You seemed cautious, as if expecting me to leap from you like a startled deer.

I didn’t move, but I did come closer, atom by atom. It was safe electricity, a shadow of the untamed lightning that used to flash between us. The crackle and fizz was familiar, still.

Seconds ticked by and we still didn’t move. You looked at me and I at you and we breathed each other in. We were so close in that moment, closer than we had been in eons. It was a closeness that overrode the hurtful shouts and apologetic tears.

We let no darkness in for the rest of that day. We laughed and baked and carried out chores as if nothing was about to happen. I walked you to the bus stop and kissed you goodbye, telling you this would be good for us. Telling you not to be silly, we need this. I need this.

I watched as you waved from the window, the bus drawing further and further away. Your face became a pale dot in the distance as you mouthed at me the words: ‘I love you.’

I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think.

Pain came rushing in where once the numbness had been, but this pain was different. This was my own pain, my guilt, my regret, my solitude. My wish that I could be someone different, do something other than push you away.

Leave. Don’t leave.

Come back.

dont leave

‘The Trip of a Lifetime’ – Echoes of the Past (Part 3)

If you close your eyes and listen – I mean REALLY listen – you can hear the throbbing heartbeat of life, pounding out the rhythm upon which we all dance.

You can hear it in the whisper of a breeze, in the captivity of the stars, in the dust at our feet and in the mighty shadow of a cliff face. All around us is life, built upon the echo of what came before and the promise of what lies ahead.

* * *

When travelling, I believe it can be tantamount to a sin to not go out of your comfort zone and explore. How can you turn your back on undiscovered land and walk away, claiming to know a place better than when you arrived? So in the middle of the holiday, we journeyed up to the capital of the island.

In the Old City of Rhodes, people live wrapped in the blanket of history; they tiptoe around it and bow to the majesty of their past – and it is beautiful.

Surrounded by walls 40feet thick, it is like a hidden gem encrusted in rock. Though giant cannonballs litter the ground outside, they are merely marked failures of invasion: proud proof of the strength of the city within.

And what a city!

Every street you walk upon is built directly above the original walkways of the past. Each house is connected to the next, the only prevention from caving in fine archways spanning overhead. Cats lounge on doorsteps and grapes hug ancient trees. The market trickles through the alleyways and spills out to the harbour where boats bob in contented surety that their travels are not done. It transports you to a different time; one where community is the root of all life and children’s laughter is piercing and true.

The history is what gives this place such intense character. For years, it was guarded by Christian Knights of all ethnicities until it crumbled under invasions from the Turks. Intricate churches were transformed into sturdy mosques; palaces were turned into prisons; and a severe physical divide was driven through the city by the constructing of a fearsome wall.

However, I am not here to give you a history lesson (although I can recommend an excellent guide who can oblige). The city bears its scars with dignity: in the face of all this turmoil, it has emerged years later with its original Christian beliefs intact and its destroyed streets built anew.

This, to me, seems to be the very point of life itself. This city is a living breathing reminder of who we are and who we have been. It has come face to face with utter devastation and lived on as a cultural jewel. It thrums fiercely with spirit and rejoices in that which it holds dear.

* * *

Some people go away to another country and come back knowing a hotel complex like the back of their hand. By experiencing the heat and the pool, they think they have experienced the country.

Other people create their own adventures whilst away and start to listen to the earth around them.

The history within the Old City seemed to be saying that whatever is thrown at you, whoever pulls down the walls you have put up around yourself and challenges you with malice…

Stand tall.

Display your beauty.

Buoy yourself up on the heartbeat of life.