30 May 2016

My Healthy Hot Chocolate Alternative


supergreen superfoods Bioglan Wispa

Hot chocolate is something a lot of people like to indulge in. A nice warm, sweet drink at the end of the day before bed or maybe with a good book.
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21 May 2016

A Dene Day with Dora and Gem


On Thursday I headed off for a walk with the two lovely labs that I borrow. 
They are called Dora and Gem, Dora being the younger lab and Gem the slightly older. 
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My Summer WeightLoss Plan!


Hello there!
It feels so good to be back blogging and vlogging! I have been so busy tidying and sorting out my flat in this first proper week off for my summer holidays.

I also realised that it was around 10 weeks exactly until I went home for my internship for a month and to visit family. So perfect timing to get roughly 2 months worth of working out and better dieting on the go!

When I go home things will change but more on that later!






Being at the Tour de Yorkshire was so inspiring. I got to get really close to all the women I admire and I was determined to get a road bike following it. 

I made myself a fitness instagram (CycleswithWolvesFitness- Follow it here) to keep track of things and to log all the smaller moments etc rather than flooding my blog with all my fitness stuff. 


I will be using a few things to help me along this journey- but more of that in another post! 

So over the summer I will be aiming to do these main points:

  • Workout everyday and burn at least 500 calories
  • Drink 2 Litres of water a day
  • Be light enough to ride by the time next semester classes roll around. ( Around October time!)
  • To fill up my little Gym Diary with workouts!
  • To make a list of memories that aren't all about numbers and weight loss! ( Cool things i've seen, workouts i've loved etc!) 
I'm not going to update this weekly I don't think, unless it's to do with the progress that week. But actual weightloss updates I'm going to keep to a 5-week plan. As it's enough time to see a difference compared to every week (due to fluctuation etc) 

Wish me luck!


Don't forget to follow me below!

 S x
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12 May 2016

The Greatest Day Ever!

We all have exams that seem an upward struggle. A module that just always seems to get in our way and that we can't wrap our heads around. 




For me last year, this was my Shorthand exam. I started the year slightly later than the other first years as there were a few admin problems switching courses, causing me to miss my first shorthand class. Throughout the year I struggled with attendance due to medical issues and in the exam, I was hit with the worst exam anxiety I've had in years. The long and short of it, I failed and was allowed to drag it through to second year.

So all of this academic year I've been studying my second year modules as well as Shorthand. Our exam was to the speed of 40wpm, the beginner speed. Most journalists can do 100wpm but hey I have to start somewhere.

I suck at it to be honest. But I had to pass it or otherwise face having to leave university due to regulations and rules that state you can't stay on the course trailing modules. 

I suffer from pretty bad anxiety and I take medication for it but this exam literally became the reason I took it everyday. The worry and stress of all this pressure got to me. I'd gained weight. I'd not been able to sleep properly in weeks, constantly napping and staying awake all night. I'd have the worst night time blues I'd had in years and every night when I tried to settle down to go to bed, I would be filled with a balloon of anxiety that I felt would pop at any moment and have me crying with the pressure. I would even revise at midnight and into the early hours of the morning, just so I could add an extra bit of time onto the hours of revision I had planned for the days.

I decided a logical, systematic approach was the best way to tackle this mountain. I say mountain because like an actual mountain, I was pretty sure I couldn't get over this summit. It just seemed impossible.

I spoke to my module tutor and she told me that it has never taken more than 60 hours of work for someone to grasp 40wpm shorthand and the best thing to do was little and often, only about 30 minutes at a time and pay more attention to dictation and shortforms and phrases. For those who don't know what I mean, in shorthand you can shorten common phrases to one conjoined squiggle or 'shortform' to mean that phrase. For example, one little squiggle could be read as ' we shall be able to' and all it is is the squiggles for the letters 'W Sh B Ableto' all shoved together. 

My shorthand tutor was so helpful. Despite my problems with it, she continued to help me and advise me what to do during revision. I stuck to her advice as much as I could and practiced as much as I could without burning myself out. 
On Monday, I had a horrendous panic attack before the exam. I was still at home but I honestly believed I couldn't do it. But I turned up and waited outside for my turn for the exam and I sat and wrote out all the key notes from each chapter and practiced the stuff I always slipped up on and tried to keep a level head. I made sure I stayed hydrated and calm whilst I packed up and walked into the exam hall. I made sure that I couldn't have anxiety over my sometimes awful hearing and sat right at the front as close to my tutor as I could get.

Then it began. 

2 minutes of dictation at 40wpm. 
A 30 second break.
2 minutes of further dictation at 40wpm.
2 minute break.
20 minute transcription time.

I slipped up near the end of the second passage and panicked but kept going hoping my brain would fill in the blanks, and thankfully my brain remembered it as it was one of the most complex sentences in the piece. 

In about half an hour it was over. All I could do was sit and wait to be told the next day whether I had passed or not or whether I would have to go through it all again for the followng week. 

Now to anyone who has read this far, it may seem that hey it's just an exam, calm down.

But for me, exams are everything. I was the academic kid in my family and I always did well when I applied myself, so to find myself unable to grasp something over an entire year was hard. I tried to see it as a challenge, a hurdle that was big but that I could jump. I would switch between confidence and despair whilst revising on the flip# of a coin and it terrified me. 

I had finally found a course I was willing to stick long hours into, that I enjoyed and I felt used my abilities and talents well and the idea that it could be taken away from me just because I couldn't grasp one exam- I couldn't handle it. I made a spreadsheet with hours of the day and days of the week on and filled out blocks of revision on it- making sure to reach my goal of at least 60 hours revision. 

I stopped blogging and vlogging because my coursework and revision for this exam was far too important to mess up. 

The next day I recieved an email telling me to come in to collect my exam paper. I dressed in half a minute and raced down to a taxi waiting outside. I wasn't wasting time cycling or walking- I needed to see my results as soon as possible. 

I was so nervous, constantly reminding myself not to be too upset if I had failed and that I still had a week before the resit. But also telling myself that I had felt confident for the first time in awhile as I left the exam hall, but not to expect to have passed just so I didn't get my hopes dashed.

I went into the office and collected my paper, flicking through to the end of my writing and saw a '97%'. My stomach did a strange flopping jump. A happy but nervous jump.

Now before you think I passed with amazing flying colours and I'm a drama queen. A shorthand pass is 97%. You need 97% accuracy in your transcription in order to pass. We were allowed to make 5 mistakes.

I spoke to other students who's marks had a straight pass or fail written on their paper and I was so nervous as mine didn't say either. I went to speak to my tutor, emailed another two and waited to celebrate. I knew in my head the pass mark was 97% and I had 97% but I was not going to celebrate until I saw the words come through from a tutor. 

And they did. 

I HAD DONE IT!



~

It's now two days later and I still can't believe I passed it. I kept kind of waiting for an email telling me I had to resit next week. I still can't get over the feeling of passing something you never thought you could! Of showing your anxiety who's boss!

Andrew and I went out for a drink and a quick chat in between his lectures for a quick celebration and are going out later in the week when we both have time off to properly celebrate. All the stress is gone now. I have nothing to worry about other than passing my law exam on Friday, but I enjoy writing essays and I did two years of law previously, so it doesn't scare me like other exams do. 

Months of revision and panic and stress are pretty much over and has settled into usual exam anxiety, the stuff that all students get. But I'm just going to spend the rest of today sat revising from my powerpoints and notes and not stress about it- this exam is going to be nowhere near as stressful.

People always tell you to calm down when you have anxiety but sometimes it can be the drive and push you need to do well- it can get the adrenaline flowing and make you act forcefully and mindfully of your own future. I knew my future career would have been in jeopardy if I didn't pass that exam and that sort of pressure and anxiety was what drove me. 

I had a lot of support from family and friends, with my parents sending me supportive emails most nights when they knew I'd be studying and not sleeping. It really sometimes is the little things that show that people love and want the best for you.

So for anyone out there suffering with anxiety, especially exam anxiety, it can sometimes be a great motivator and a great thing in your life. It will make you feel awful and you must do all you can to keep it at bay. Do what you need to do to make yourself feel better and try not to be hard on yourself or set unrealistic standards for yourself.

I will write another post about more exam related ideas such as ways to beat stress etc but for me I found having company whilst revising ( as I live alone) really helped. I also used Borrowmydoggy a lot to give me some company whilst I revised as well as got me out of the house. 



I hope everyone has a good time during exam season and that the pressure isn't too much and you get the results you want!


Don't forget to follow me below! 

S x
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9 May 2016

Tour De Yorkshire: Mens Stage 2


Finally I have all my photos from the afternoon of the Otley start of the Tour de Yorkshire. I've decided to just share the photos rather than explain how the afternoon went as it was the same as the Womens Race. 






















Bernie Eisel










Don't forget to follow me below! 
S x
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3 May 2016

Tour De Yorkshire: Women's Race




Last Friday we headed down to Leeds for the Tour de Yorkshire. For those who might not be in the know, the Tour de Yorkshire is a 3 day cycling race around Yorkshire. Recently, a womens race joined this weekend of racing in the north, with this year being something quite special.

For one of my assignments for my 'Journalism and Design' module we had to find 3 news stories and write a 500 word article as well as creating a podcast and a video for each of them.


So for one of them I chose this years womens race as it was making headline news, especially with all the controversy at the moment within the sport of cycling to do with equality as well as generally in sport about the gender pay gap.

This race was going to be a monumental change to women's cycling and the most lucrative of the calendar. The gender pay gap has been everywhere in the news and this race, sponsored by ASDA, was coughing up £50,000 in prize money for individuals and teams with the individual winner of the womens race earning around £15,000. This prize money is higher than even if a man won all three stages of the weekend!

The women also won the right to have the race televised live (although that was completely ballsed up by the TV companies) as well as to race the exact same route the men were going to race later on that day.

Andrew has got me really into cycling again. I used to love it with my family but I rarely see them now because of university and the cost of travelling home, so to have something we can enjoy watching and doing together was exciting. 

I wasn't sure about going to The Tour De Yorkshire as my exams start next week and I always get nervous about revision but I do want to be a sports journalist some day and it meant a weekend away for literally nothing so why not!

Dani King 
dame sarah storey
Dame Sarah Storey

We arrived at around 8am on the Saturday morning just before the womens race began. We headed through Otley to the stage where all the teams had to sign in. I got into the second row, so quite close and not such a bad distance to get some good photos! 

Most people seemed to have not turned up for such an early start but you wouldn't have known it at the time as there was plenty of people there cheering on the women!

I thought it was great, as someone who wants to get more into cycling it was great to see these potential role models up close and see what they achieve!

yorkshire

The weather was absolutely perfect if not a little crisp and changed throughout the day from sunny and warm to very cold but we dealt with it by hiding in the crowds or ducking indoors for a bacon roll and a cup of tea!

Team GB cycling
Team GB 
Lizzie Armitstead
Lizzie Armitstead

As soon as the last team signed in we all rushed to the streetside barriers to get a view of the cars all lined up ready for the race. So many people, so many banners and a lot of colour noise and excitement whilst the countdown happened.



The cars set off with Otley born and bred rider, Lizzie Armitstead, the World Road Race Champion set off at the head of the race! 



Otley is a really small village and they did a loop around it before heading out towards Doncaster. They headed up the road we drove down and round a roundabout, probably a mile away if that, and we ran as fast as we could to get back round to the other side of the loop, ( literally down the street) but they had already gone past! 





Walking around Otley for a few hours, we waited patiently for the mens race to begin. No-one had any idea as to when the team buses were going to arrive so it was a bit of a tense wait. 




And they were away! Which left us with a few hours to kill until the mens race. 

Luckily, Otley was filled with lots of people and a Spectator's hub which had a huge screen for watching the racing as well as the previous days ride whilst we waited for the live coverage. 

Whilst we walked around we saw plenty of banners, the Leeds Pipe Band playing and the local youth cycling team playing around. We even got a little chat with the Town Crier who did the announcing!




We headed down to the Spectators Hub which had lots of food trucks, and inflatables and stalls for people to mill around. This was where I found out about the Yorkshire Bike Libraries scheme (blog post to come soon!) 




The RNLI were even there fundraising!


it even had a Yorkshire Pudding on the roof!


You couldn't have an event in Yorkshire without Aunt Bessie's being there giving out free Yorkshire pudding mix. (We poor students lapped them and the free Mug Shots up!)




For me one of the exciting things for me was meeting the BBC Radio Leeds team.

I have got myself a placement for my degree at Cyclist magazine over the summer so any experience or tips I can get, I'll take them!

I sat and watched them interview the Mayor of Otley and it was really interesting to watch the team walking around the carpark whilst doing their radio work. I even got to speak to one of them and got lots of advice as to what I should be doing at University to get ahead in my career!





Overall, I had a great morning at the womens race. It was really quite brilliant to be there documenting this race that is hopefully going to set a trend in womens cycling! Hopefully from now on the big races will offer the same money and the same challenges and media coverage as the mens race because these women are phenomenal athletes! 

Mens race photos and a vlog will be coming soon! 

Don't forget to follow me below! S x
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