31 Dec 2017

2017: an experience

Must add 'took many photos of sunsets from our new balcony' to the list

Sorry, A Place In The Sun has just started and I need to put something else on because I’m not watching old rich white couples buy second homes in hot countries while I sit here in my own filth with laryngitis, about to reflect on another long, long, expensive, year.

I’ve put Dinner Date on.

Right. Well. 2017. Was it better than 2016? Yes, arguably. Much less death in the family. I’ll take that. Was it a good year? I’m not sure. Probably. I struggle to accept and embrace the good shit. I’m very good at focusing on the negatives. Aren’t we all. So, I’m forcing myself to look back and grab the positives and put them on a pedestal to appreciate them and myself.

13 Dec 2017

My dreams don't have to scare me, fuck off

Look at my wanky quote

I went to an event at The Guardian about Generation Z. They’d carried out a survey with young people and shared the results, and then held a panel with some of those young people. The four of them were either at university or had just graduated, and I asked them: 

“I’m 24 and firmly in the middle of my quarter-life crisis *cue laughter from the room - thank you for rubbing my ego, i will live off this for at least three hours*. We’ve spoken a lot about education and careers this morning… I was just wondering if you had any other priorities and where they are on your list?”

Straight in at the deep end, no messing. 

Apart from one who briefly mentioned having a family would be important to her, the consensus was: Nope, career is pretty much everything, it’s what I focus on. 

It made me quite sad, and I'm not sure if I’m qualified to feel sad.

9 Nov 2017

I, um, joined a running club

When I wrote my post on how to run after a marathon back in June, and detailed my new running goals, never did I even write in code that I wanted to join a running club. Because I didn’t. It was never even in the back of my mind. The thought of joining a running club was ridiculous. Why? Well, 1) I’m not that kind of runner, and 2) That would mean joining a CLUB and being DEDICATED and, more importantly, TALKING TO PEOPLE. 

No. I absolutely had no intention of joining a running club…

‘had’, being the word here… because I have… joined a running club, I mean… and I actually feel fine about it… 

I’m fickle, ok, you know this.

30 Oct 2017

York, England (July 2017)

York Minster

It was time to venture up north. 

I’ve only been north of Birmingham (where my dad is from) a handful of times, and most of those times were when I was small so we could have been anywhere, I wouldn’t have known… Well, that’s a lie. I’ve always been obsessed with maps and, before the times of phones, apps, and SatNavs, I used to track our journeys in the back of the car with my finger running along the motorway. My dad had a big, black leathered map book that we used to replace every Christmas for him from WHSmith, and I loved our car running off the page and having to frantically find the next page for the next part of the journey.

WHAT A NERD. Anyway the point is, we more often went down south rather than up north, so Ryan and I decided that our next British getaway would take the plunge upwards to the land of hills and cheap house prices.

10 Oct 2017

Have the damn lunch break #WMHD17

Regent's Park, my lunch break

I read something a while ago from a guy who was moaning about millennials (that quota is now full, just so you’re aware) and their work ethics. Millennials are lazy, unmotivated, entitled, with dodgy values and priorities. They turn up to work and leave on time, they don’t check their work emails on the weekends, they take a FULL HOUR for their lunch break, and they don’t answer work calls outside of working hours. No mention of avocado, but almost a full house on my Millennials Bingo card, how about you?

It was slated, obviously, but it’s something I think about a lot, because I grew up surrounded by archaic work ethics that were drummed into me from childhood. I must work every day. I must say ‘yes’ and do as I’m told. I must never take a day off sick, I must not take all my annual leave, I must not moan about my pay or my workload. I must work overtime if it’s offered to me, I must be prepared to go above and beyond, I must be available outside of my working hours to show my dedication and flexibility. I must put as much money as I can into a pension, and I must work my way up the ladder until all that’s left is the empty drop at the top.

27 Sept 2017

Uni, mental health, and a break-in to *not* be saved

Bournemouth, 2014

I remember sitting at my desk with a bunch of bananas and two boxes of cereals bars, one open. I’d eaten half a bar then put it back, telling myself I’d have it for dinner later. I hadn’t stepped out of my tiny bedroom in days.

I’ve never spoken in detail about how bad my mental health was at university - especially during the first year - because I’m still learning myself just how bad it actually was. I didn’t enjoy university. That I knew and everyone knows. But fully understanding how unhealthy my thoughts and behaviours were is a long process, and quite hard to stomach. I’m open and honest about my mental health. I’m open and honest about a lot of things (I mean, I literally wrote about my GP putting her finger up my arse, so), but these thoughts and behaviours were often ridiculous and embarrassing and horrible, so I’ve never wanted others to know I was like that. 

But it’s the end of September and a lot of young people will be experiencing their first few weeks at university right now, and I feel such a sense of dread knowing there may be a lot of young people out there who might be about to experience their first year just as I did. The first few weeks at uni are such an integral time to not get ‘right’, as such, but to just fucking survive in a healthy way. Thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours in the first few weeks could set you up for the rest of your time at university. ‘Could’ being the imperative word here, because I’m learning now that nothing is ever set in stone. You can change. You’re always learning. I didn’t know that, and boy I wish I did.

14 Sept 2017


I dropped off my little cousin to her first day of work experience on Monday morning. I say ‘little’, she’s 21 next month. But I see her less than once a year and she’s absolutely, categorically still my baby cousin. She’s staying with Ryan and me this week - she lives in Birmingham and goes to uni in Edinburgh - and as soon as she was dropped off and my auntie said, “Here’s her porridge and here’s a bottle of Disaronno to say thank you,” they left and my cousin said, “This is like a movie where the child has lost its parents and is thrown to the nearest unwilling relatives,” and we laughed and I suddenly did feel like I’d adopted a small child.

1 Sept 2017

Riga, Latvia (June 2017)

House of the Blackheads

I’ll be honest, when Ryan said he wanted to go to Riga, I wondered the heck why, after tentatively asking if Riga was, indeed, the capital of Latvia. Or was it Lithuania? Or the other one?*

It was Latvia.

I didn’t know anyone who had been to Latvia. What was in Latvia? Why did he want to go to LATVIA? I’ve said Latvia too much. L a t v i a. 

Turns out that, quite obviously, Latvia has its own significant history with World War II, so of course Ryan wanted to go to Latvia. 

And so began another fun-filled weekend of history and war and museums, with a big ol’ extra dollop of communism. But, spoiler: Latvia is great. Go to Latvia. I’ll tell you why.

14 Aug 2017

Stop relying on those struggling to speak first

(CW: talk of suicide.)

I’m a bit irritated. 

I used to blog a lot when I was irritated. I loved having fierce emotions and strong opinions but when my mental health started going up the spout, my fierce emotions became a misdirected mess and I had no opinions on anything because what’s the fucking point, am I right. 

But I’m irritated and tired at a particular part of the mental health conversation so I’m here and ready to bang my gavel.

1 Aug 2017

Tips and tricks for new runners

I’m by no means an expert with running. I have no qualifications and I’ve never been coached. My progress from Couch to Marathon happened through running friends whose unsolicited advice I raged at but secretly took on board, stalking running communities on Instagram, a lot a lot a lot of Googling, and making shit up. Mostly the making shit up part.

But, as I’ve documented my running since day one, others have started running too and I’m often hit with Twitter and Instagram DM requests from strangers, and Facebook messages from old school friends, who want to know how to start running. 

This is support I can give. Support to encourage others to get their arses out the door, and empower them to realise that they CAN run, if they want to.

So, here are the most common questions I get and the most important advice I'd give. It’s not an IKEA instruction booklet to follow to the letter, or strict and heavy advice on the technicalities and science behind running and all that comes with it, but a bunch of lessons I’ve learned since opening my old wardrobe to see what I could wear to go for a run 694 days ago.

10 Jul 2017

Salzburg, Austria (May 2017)

At one point last year, during another conversation where my mum was moaning about not doing stuff and banging on about all the shit she wants to do, I turned around and went, “Then let’s go. Let’s do it. Next year, we’re going.”

I didn’t say it just (just) to shut her up. I said it because I was learning the art of ‘doing shit’ and it was about time she did too. We’re a family of excuse-makers and I was bored of it. So I told her we were going.

We were going to go to Salzburg, Austria. We were going to do the official Sound of Music tour. What on earth had I let myself in for?

29 Jun 2017

How do you run after a marathon?

It sounds stupid, doesn’t it? How do you run after you’ve  JUST RUN 26.2 MILES? Lots of running, that. You definitely know how to run.



I couldn’t run? It’s a thing. I’d heard of the thing and I oh-pish-poshed at the thing, and then I ran a marathon and thought I could, and would, never run again. 

It might have been the ‘post marathon-blues’ or something completely different, but this is how I became utterly fucking terrified of putting one foot in front of another post-ACTUAL MARATHON.

15 Jun 2017

I saved the life of my body, and now it could save another's

I had to weigh myself yesterday. I don’t have any scales in our flat, so I had to use a friend’s after work. I try to not make a habit of weighing myself, although I am low-key attempting to lose a bit of weight and have been all year. I tracked my weight during marathon training out of interest to see how my body was changing, and I lost quite a bit. It was pretty cool to see how your body adapts.

I weighed myself yesterday because Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, told me to. Because they rang me and told me I might be a match for someone with blood cancer. There’s someone out there who’s in need of a stem cell transplant and my profile came up as someone who could save them. I could save their life with my body. 

I could literally be saving a life.

1 Jun 2017

Prague, Czech Republic (September 2016)

This time it was MY turn to choose a weekend destination. 

It didn’t take too long to choose Prague having seen my Twitter, Facebook, and Insta feeds full of photos over the last six months. It was clearly a popular place to go, in both the summer and winter months. It looked beautiful and, pals, there's a BRIDGE and if you follow me on Insta then you’ll be well aware of my adoration for a good bridge.

25 May 2017

In defence of the Old Flat

I moaned about our old flat a lot. Any friend will tell you that I was gagging to move and my laptop keyboard will tell you that the ‘r’ ‘i’ ‘g’ ‘h’ ’t’ ‘m’ ‘o’ ‘v’ ‘e’ keys are now weak and faded. 

The flat was a tiny two-bed for what was essentially four people including our flatmate’s girlfriend. It was part of a very old building that had a lot wrong with it - it was falling apart - and as lovely as our landlady was, she was scatty, hard to get hold of and slightly, just ever so slightly, useless. 

The two guys, friends from uni, moved up to London and straight into this flat in the summer of 2013. Ryan and I had our first date the few weeks after he moved in (we went to London Zoo - I know, solid first date). Compared to the prices now, it was incredibly cheap for a two-bed flat in Zone 4, right next to a commuter station, and the landlady never increased the rent over the four years, not even when I moved in in November 2015. We had a park at the bottom of our road, didn’t have to pay for water, and the four of us got on wonderfully. 

Swings and roundabouts, you see. 

We could have stayed for a bit longer. We could have stuck it out. But our gut feeling told us to move on, up, and out, so we did. Ryan and I have moved to a beautiful, nearly-brand-new one-bed flat with a balcony, dishwasher, tumble dryer AND CARPETED BEDROOM just 15 minutes away from our old place. And it feels right. It already feels like home. 

But I’m not done talking about our old flat.

11 May 2017

On securely falling back into the pit

Slipping back into a depressive period when you’ve been so stable for a good few years is like receiving a letter to warn you of your fate and then descending into hell with a parachute. 

It’s gentle, expected, and eerie. You know this place, you recognise these feelings, and you’re not so scared and alone as you were before. 

If I wasn’t depressed, I’d be frustrated that I am, once again, depressed. I’d be angry and confused as to why I’ve found myself back being hopeless and helpless after doing so well for so long. But I’m depressed, so I’m not feeling that at all. I’m just looking at those feelings having a strop over the other side of room and thinking, “I can’t be arsed to feel that tbh, it’s too much effort and I just don’t care.”

4 May 2017

Bath, England (July 2016)

I had the idea of visiting Bath after I went to Bristol and realised it was down the road. If it wasn’t for lack of time, I probably would have nagged Ryan to drive us for the day but now I’m glad we dedicated a whole break to the place, because it’s bloody beautiful. 

We wanted to stay in a B&B for this break, but I didn’t know where to find good B&Bs so, like any normal person, I Googled ‘best B&Bs bath’ and was offered an array. Lord, there are a lot of B&Bs in Bath. Our stipulations were ‘parking’ and ‘near to city centre’ and ‘free WiFi’, obviously, and after much trawling I stumbled upon Pulteney House

Guys, they have pet rabbits. I was SOLD.

27 Apr 2017

London Marathon 2017: The Debrief

Hello. I ran a marathon.

Things I have done since running a marathon:

  • Told people I ran a marathon
  • Slept
  • Eaten a lot of takeaways 
  • Eaten a lot of chocolate 
  • Told more people I ran a marathon
  • Sniffed my medal 
  • Stared at my dirty marathon clothes in the corner 
  • Moved to a new flat
Because what else would I want to do the week after running a marathon other than pack up and move? 

Did I mention I ran a marathon?

10 Apr 2017

The Marathon Diaries #6: 2 weeks to go...

Beautiful calligraphy note from Ashley!

There is now a fortnight to go until the Virgin London Marathon 2017 and I keep violently switching between four different moods:

  1.  !!!!!!! FUUUUUUUCK !!!!!!!
  2. I am a badass, this is going to be fucking awesome, I’m going to SMASH IT and cannot wait.
  3. I am terrible, why did I think I could do this, I have not trained enough, I am an embarrassment. 
  4. What if I shit myself?
The fear of shitting myself is ever present. And so are my thoughts, which never shut up, so here we are with THIRTEEN days to go.

7 Apr 2017

Berlin, Germany (June 2016)

View from Panoramapunkt 

The idea was to go on a weekend break for my boyfriend, Ryan’s, birthday. We wanted a holiday but a week by a beach was too expensive, and going to Bristol for a packed weekend break for my birthday in 2015 ensured the city break bug was well and truly caught. So it seemed the logical step. 

Also it meant I didn't have to think of a present…

Also it meant he didn’t have to organise a night out in London which is way more expensive than it’s worth… 

Also, Brexit, so we suddenly loved Europe that little bit more.

But like we needed excuses. We wanted to travel.

27 Mar 2017

The Marathon Diaries #5: 4 weeks to go...

               My mantra. Massive thank you to my pal Charlotte for surprising me with this t-shirt!

It’s happened. The number of diaries I’ve now written is now more than the amount of weeks to go until the Virgin London Marathon 2017. Excuse me while I shit myself. 

Speaking of shitting myself, that’s a section in this edition. Yep, we’ve reached that stage now. We’re smack bang in the middle of the LONG long runs (I RAN 17 MILES YESTERDAY) and I have very little dignity left. 

I hope you’re ready for all this…

20 Mar 2017

These shadows of mine

Deep breath. 

This is hard. 

I’m sitting here in bed staving off huge panic and it’s just me and a blank screen. There’s no one here. I’m not using my voice, and maybe that’s part of the problem, but I can still hear myself throughout my body screaming at me to stop. To shut up. To forget it and carry on.

But it’s about time I said some things because I cannot keep doing this again and again. I cannot keep feeling like this again and again. I cannot keep my mouth shut in fear again and again. 

I feel a hypocrite. My career is based on giving young people empowerment and a strong, brave voice, to stand up for themselves and encourage them to realise they deserve the best. And while I can speak explicitly about my mental health, I’ve never been able to talk about my experiences of abuse. How does that work? One directly links the other. 

Another deep breath.

13 Mar 2017

The Marathon Diaries #4: 6 weeks to go...

I keep thinking I’m going to run out of things to say in these posts, but no, I ALWAYS HAVE A LOT TO SAY. Grab a cuppa, or large glass of wine, and settle in. God, I miss alcohol… 

Six weeks to go. A month and a half. The marathon is NEXT MONTH, LOL. However, six weeks for the school summer holidays always sounded like a lifetime so I’m just going to channel that, tbh. 

Rather than being terrified of the training, I’m now starting to think about the actual marathon day. Timings, trains, bags, meeting points and, most importantly…

9 Mar 2017

Travelling through travels

Cyprus, 1996

When I was a kid, we didn’t travel a lot. We had a good amount of holidays but they were to the same places every year - we never actually travelled in the sense of exploring new places. Holidays abroad would always see us in Cyprus and holidays in the UK would mostly see us in Paignton, Weymouth or Bournemouth. And that suited me fine. I liked my routine and was nervous of change; I liked knowing what to expect and that everything would be good and fine.

(The signs were there, my anxiety says. The signs were right bloody there.)

27 Feb 2017

The Marathon Diaries #3: 8 weeks to go...

Two months to go. Two. 

Half the training plan done, half the training plan left. 

It’s March on Wednesday and I’ll be saying the marathon will be ‘next month’. 

Jesus Christ.

Honestly, I don’t even think I was this nervous throughout my job interviews, degree exams, A-levels and GCSEs put together. I’m in a permanent state of anxiety, which is rather ironic considering I’m running for Heads Together and only started running in the first place to calm that damn anxiety. 

Help me.

Despite how ruddy chuffed I look in the above photo, I’m permanently exhausted, bored of talking about how my training is going, bored of that being the ONLY THING I ever talk about regardless, and gagging for a holiday. 

But, aside from the constant moaning, some nice this have happened in the last fortnight and I have discovered more… I’m trying to be positive… really…

20 Feb 2017

My mental health can't be defined, no matter how hard I try

I’ve been asked to write and speak about my mental health a lot lately for various people, platforms, and publications. And it’s great! Really. I’m so grateful to share my story and views, often surrounded by mental health professionals with an aim to support young people, and be a part of this huge mental health conversation. It’s important. I can only hope that I’m doing what I set out to do, and empowering people to stand up, speak out, and take notice of their own mental health. 


Of course there’s a but…

12 Feb 2017

The Marathon Diaries #2: 10 weeks to go...

How did three weeks just pass by? I JUST wrote about it being 13 weeks to go, didn’t I? DIDN’T I?!

When I first started training I thought about how tiring it was going to be dedicating FOUR MONTHS to the London Marathon, but now the cliché has well and truly shown itself by proving that time is flying by. I’ve finished six weeks of the training plan already, and the super long runs are slowly creeping up.

Oh boy.

So, here’s what I’ve learnt and thought, and what else has been happening, in the last three weeks of training...

4 Feb 2017

The last regeneration... hello Biscuits & Blisters!

Well! Look at this! It’s been a long week of designing, redesigning, googling, swearing, coding, and calling on friends for advice, but finally I have a new blog. Ish.

The hardest part of it all (aside from all the coding customisation) was rewriting my ‘About me’ page. I’ve had this blog for eight years now. EIGHT. I was 16 years old when I created it and it’s gone through so many regenerations in that time. It’s gone from Teen: Dreaming…, to echoamelie, to just my name. It’s gone from teenager to young woman, from GCSE student to graduate. It’s been through a lot and it’s seen a lot more. It needs therapy itself.

19 Jan 2017

The Marathon Diaries #1: 13 weeks to go...

I probably use Instagram now more than any other social media platform. It’s the first app I open when I wake up and the last one I check before I go to sleep, so it’s where I’ve been documenting my marathon training the most. 

‘Marathon training’. Every time I say it, or type it out, I choke. MARATHON. TRAINING. 

I like posting photos on Instagram of my new running gear, running routes, progress, good meals, and connecting with other runners so we can spur each other on. Instagram is pretty, and Facebook and Twitter are definitely not pretty. 

But I’m a writer by trade and by passion, and as this marathon *CHOKES* gets ever closer, I need a bigger outlet. I need to write about the fact I’m RUNNING THE FECKIN’ LONDON MARATHON IN 93 DAYS’ TIME. 

So, here I am. Hello, welcome back to my blog. Welcome back to my breakdown; this time of my feet/legs/hips, and not my head. A nice change.