This week I’ve tried harder to exercise. For two days consecutively I popped to my local gym, running for half an hour each time.

My current routine includes a 10 minute warm up slow jog at 5km/h on the tread mill. Then I have a cool down minute and re-hyrdate as I walk at a slow speed. 

Next I do another 20 minute round. Beginning at 5km/h in the first 5 minutes, increasing that to 6 in the next 5 and 7km/h for the last ten- at least, that’s what I’m doing now.


Unfortunately, being inexperienced, initially I didn’t think to increase my speed gradually. I decided jumping from 5km/h to 7km/h wouldn’t be an issue- I was wrong. Consequently, I’ve given myself a little present called overloaded calves (Merry Christmas from me to me.)

After pain tips.

Note, (although you probably already have) I’m by no means a professional. When discovering what works or doesn’t I will update my routine. Regarding muscle ache, I’ve found that ibuprofen gel is helpful for tight calfs-  worsened by another blunder I made when discounting the importance of leg stretches before and after (promise me that you will touch those toes several times!) The calfs should not feel terribly bad afterwards if you stretch well. Too much ibuprofen would also do more harm than good long term so please don’t think to rely on it! I’m not a medical person and am not encouraging this. However on this occasion, personally, it eased my ache. The best time to run is supposedly between 4pm-5pm. Apparently, the body is at optimum temperature at this time thus muscles are more supple and less prone to pain.


As well as my standard day time meals, I’m going to attempt ‘power snack’ an hour before running. I’ll be reaching for sultanas- because they’ve got all that sugary energy (and I like them.) Additionally,  oranges are supposedly able to reduce muscle pain, hence I’ll be having one of those too. Eating a heavy calory meal after excercise, it is claimed, burns more calories than eating it before hand too. 

If you see room for improvement with this routine please share in the comments. I’m keen to improve! Thanks for reading and I hope have a good week.

Lucy x


Today I, Lucy ‘lets do a Harry Pottter Marathon’ Sullivan went REAL LIFE running- yes, you read that right. For someone who’s never been particularly ‘athletic’ shall we say, I was quite pleased (and also shocked) with how far I managed to push myself. I’d like to keep this up. 

 One of my goals for the next year is to actually become healthier myself. Apposing couch-patatoing my way  through watching other people excersise on YouTube. (In their defence, patatoes are pretty healthy aren’t they?  They should have phrased it ‘couch-doughnut’ …which makes much more sense, right?) *Awkward pause.* Anyway, from this excersise, which I plan to carry out twice a week, I want to see if it will award me the following:

1) A calmer and more focused mind  (A necessity, I’m currently about chilled as a vindaloo- a freshly cooked, non Aldis freezer version.) 

2) Clearer skin (my face being acne wonderland,  as magical as that sounds, is not quite so exciting.)

3) Energy (here’s looking at you university. Need I say more?) 

Additionally, from the wisdom of Elle Woods “Excersise gives  you endorphins, endorphins make you happy..”

Lucy x

All The Bright Places.

All The Bright Places is an extremely powerful story. Theodore Finch is adventurous, witty and suffering with a form of mental illness. Finch has days that are filled with dark moments, but there are bright moments too. For example, Finch loves Violet Markey. She is his bright place and together they are the brightest place. This is not to suggest that Violet is without her struggles. Mirrored by Finch, Violet too considers ending her life until it receives another unanticipated jolt. Someone – Finch – shows her a bright place and a self she was sure she could never return to. Something happened in Violet’s life and she tortures her mind by thinking about it constantly and desperately wishes to turn back time; that could make these thoughts go away. Finch understands what this is like. He too wants to escape the prison of his mind, guarded by dark thoughts. Yet, he feels that he can’t and helps Violet to escape  instead. As Violet confides in Finch, her anxious thoughts dissipate. However, Finch keeps his thoughts locked away, to shield others. It is harder for Finch to escape them because he is trying to escape alone.

For me these characters represent two types of sufferers: Someone who is struggling alone and another who is receiving help. There is a stark difference between the journey for the two.

If you’re reading this and you’re suffering I want to be another person to ask you to please – please – not go through this alone . However messed up you think things may seem, you can be okay – please talk about it. You deserve to be happy and you deserve not to feel this way. It is not your fault – it can change. You deserve all the bright places.

You are all the colours in one at full brightness.”


Paper Towns.


Paper towns, is in short an eye opener. The protagonist Quentin has been in love with his neighbour Margo Wroth Speigleman since their childhood. However when an unhappy Margo mysteriously disappears leaving Quentin bewildered, he begins to wonder if he really knew her at all. Along with her disappearance, Margo herself becomes a mystery to Quentin; especially since their lack of communication throughout highschool in which he admired her ‘unprecedented’ beauty and ‘bad ass’ fearlessness from afar.

Ultimately, Quentin is infatuated with the idea of Margo. Hence, he is in love with his Margo. Here is a poignant quote from the novel: ‘ sometimes the way you think about a person isn’t how they actually are.’ For example you may find someone hilarious, attractive and go about thinking that they’re the absolute one for you. If things don’t work out maybe you wonder why because they’re ‘perfect’ for you. But are they? Is that really them? Or is that just a paper person you’ve cut out scenarios for with the scissors of your imagination?

While it may not be possible for you to become another person, as Walt Whitman appears to do in ‘Song of Myself,’ perhaps it is possible for you to gage a true understanding of people, if you abandon your expectations of them. As the old saying goes, expectation often leads to disappointment. Indeed, it seems that people often expect too much from one another. When striping back all the bravado, we are all human, with endless human thoughts and feelings of anxiety, excitement, happiness and sadness etc. Quentin realises that once he learns to let go of his expectation of Margo, he can love her for who she truly is and not how he expects her to be.

Looking For Alaska -John Green.


John Green does not write in the conventional crime thriller style.
However, I can imagine his books appealing to many mystery lovers.
Ultimately, his work is filled with depth and meaning. He creates seemingly complex characters, using their narrative to unravel the moral behind his stories.  This is something to appreciate about him as a writer. Green cleverly utilises intricate plots to unravel a truth that should be obvious to us, yet it is not. Almost as if the moral itself is hidden in a labyrinth.

Green intertwines the work of others in his novels. I find this intriguing, there is always a reason behind the reference.  ‘The General In His Labyrinth’ by Marquéz features in ‘Looking For Alaska.’ Many of the events that follow revolve around the protagonist Alaska’s question ‘How do you escape the labyrinth of suffering?’ I comment on this part as its answer was both profound and in my opinion, true.  The protagonist Pudge concludes that to escape pain you must forgive, not only others but yourself too.

‘The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.’ -Miles Halter -John Green.

A Thousand Splendid Suns Plot.


This tale begins at the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, in the poverty stricken, fictitious village of ‘Gul De Man.’ Its powerful plot centralises around two protagonists; the first being Mariam Jo. Mariam is one of the many daughters of her thrice married father Jalil. Unlike her siblings, she is born out of wedlock. Consequently, she is outcast along with her unmarried and hence bitter mother Nana. Mariam’s tragic life further unravels on her fifteenth birthday. She decides to visit her father with innocent hope that he will take her to his cinema. Her mother cannot withstand the thought of Mariam leaving her to be with Jalil. Nana, who was solely punished after conceiving Mariam with Jalil, believes that ‘a mans accusing finger always points to a woman.’ Through no true fault of Mariam, a depressed Nana  commits suicide, seeing Mariam’s visit to her father as a betrayal. Mariam, truly alone, is left to become further cast away by her indifferent father. For his convenience, she is speedily married off for a dowry to a shoemaker who is more than half her age. His name is Rasheed. Her married life brings her nothing but a fortune of unhappiness.
Mariam’s inability to produce children affords her years of tyranny and abuse at the hands of her violent and controlling husband. 

Years later, during the late 1980’s collapse of the communist Najibullah government, civil war breaks out in Kabul.  Now emerges the second protagonist, Laila: a beautiful and bright young girl, blissfully in love with a boy named Tariq. In the outbreak of war under the Taliban, the pair are threatened with separation and in there final moments together Laila falls pregnant; both are unaware. Tariq is then forced to flee the city of Kabul with his family. Meanwhile, Laila’s world shatters almost completely as her beloved parents are killed in their home by a Taliban air raid. In the aftermath, Laila is pulled from the rubble by none other than her neighbour Rasheed. He entraps Laila as he buys her medication for her wounds. While it is Mariam who nurses her back to health, Rasheed quite clearly has designs on the young Laila. He concocts a convoluted plan and brings her the news that Tariq, too, has been found dead. Desperately crushed and alone, Laila hastily accepts Rasheed’s marriage proposal. She has become aware that she had missed a cycle and is acutely aware of how the Taliban would respond to an an ‘illegitimate’ conception. However, she believes that her baby is a blessing and the one reminder she has left of her only love, Tariq.

When a daughter is born Laila names her ‘Aziza’ meaning ‘the cherished one.’ Rasheed turns on Laila now that she has not procured him the son he demands. His cruel treatment of Mariam extends to Laila and the two women live fear of their husband and the Taliban together. After Mariam’s initial bitterness towards Laila, the women develop a bond as strong as mother and daughter. Laila soon falls pregnant again by the forceful Rasheed and gives birth to a boy who he names Zamal. In the not so distant future, a very much alive Tariq returns. He finds Laila who is overcome with joy, turning to anguish and  regret as she realises Rasheed has tricked her in the most conniving way. Once Rasheed learns that Tariq has returned, he looses control after finding Laila has spoken to Tariq and attempts to beat her to death.  Mariam knows there is only one way to prevent a fatal blow upon Laila and with all her might brings one down upon Rasheed with a shovel. 

They have to endure Rasheed no longer. However, the remaining threat of the Taliban haunts them. Mariam knows the only way to truly end their mutual sufferance is to give herself up to the Taliban. She then sacrifices herself, confessing that she had killed Rasheed. Her selfless act allows Laila the freedom of life, to do with it as she chooses. She then marries Tariq and flees the horrors of Kabul. Inspired by her beloved friend, Laila gathers the courage to return and help rebuild lives in Kabul. In her new life, she finds that she is having a third child. She has not decided on a boys name, but if it is to be a girl, her name will be Mariam.

In a future post I will review this masterful story. This plot account is for those who are unfamiliar with ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and wish to keep up to date with my posts.

Do Not Bomb Syria!

The act of bombing Syria will be wrong. Innocent civilians will be caught in the crossfire. Lives, families and loved ones will be torn apart, baring consequence for the extremist minority. In certain cases this will fuel a desire for revenge and terrorism could worsen. I will never agree with this decision.

Public Speaking Confidence.

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced’– James Baldwin

It seems to me that with age my confidence has dipped. Having to attend an environment when you don’t want to be there can be very difficult, especially if you feel as though you can’t stand it. I experienced this feeling today during a presentation. Sometimes I’ll be able to present with confidence and actually enjoy the experience; other times I want to run out of the room. Speaking and reading in front of people is something I thrived off in the past; truthfully, being on a stage was a dream of my younger self. Today was a different story. I found it hard to present and felt very embarrassed talking in front of a group (basically I was nervous). My thoughts became clouded as I was talking and although I knew what needed to be said, I couldn’t say it. My heart beat against my chest, heat rose into my cheeks and I felt like an idiot talking. It wasn’t very nice and it made me feel a bit down.

HOWEVER, I think I need to write this note to myself and to others who find speaking in front of people hard: It’s not the end of world and it’s okay to be nervous. It’s okay if your voice is shaky. It’s okay if your eyes water and you stress cry afterwards. If you do say something that doesn’t sound 100% polished, don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter. Avoid ruminating on the ‘I looked stupid’ idea if possible. Conversely if you find this impossible, consider that A) no one’s going to overly mind and B) you’ll forget about it soon enough; it’ll be fine and there are worse things than jumbling up a few words.

Now, with a clearer perspective it’s easier for me to give this advice. Although, at the time it’s hard to shrug off the negativity of embarrassment. The main thing I’d encourage others to do (as I’m trying to do myself) is not to let it get to you afterwards for too long. It’s happened, c’est la vie. In university I’m going to try and join some sort of club, because I want to be a confident speaker. As I’ve said in a previous post, a balance is needed between effort and forcefulness. Don’t force your self but make an effort to give yourself a chance.