You’ve done it again! – NO ALAN YOU CARRNT!

Big day for me today, 3 months sober.

*Does a little dance… makes a little love… and pretty much gets down tonight*

I’m a proud, proud person. The achievement is phenomenal. You fat slobs might be on the sofa reading this thinking ‘ahhhh that’s easy!’ – Well it actually is, if you have a clear goal in mind! But seriously, try it, what do you need it for anyway?

On the other hand I seem to be stuffing my face full of sweets so I may need to cut down on them. Rather than crippling my liver with Jack Daniels (not a bad way to do it!) I will end up slipping myself uncontrollable into a skittles-induced diabetic coma… again… not a bad way to go!

That’s it for this post! Shocker, I know, I don’t need to ramble on like I am doing now because I’ve got to stage 3 of 12, 9 months to go! Easy!

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Adding this one in as a random and un-related photo – Sunday dinner cooked by Jules; Tarragon Chicken, crispy new potatoes with broccoli and green beans – 9.5/10 as nothing is perfect! I’m sure she’ll be happy with that as I’ve now published her cooking on the World Wide Web.

MELBOURNE! Catching up with F.R.I.E.N.D.S

I recently was in contact with one of my friends who I met in Melbourne more than 2 years ago. As this next part might be distressing for this particular person to read, I’ll keep it all anonymous and just give you the story without names etc.

So I met them in Melbourne, probably in September back in 2015. They came into my life by absolute fluke because that’s what traveling is all about, there are no set times, dates and rendezvous; things just happen for that ‘reason’ and you get on with having fun!

This individual was one of my favourites, we had things in common, like drinking excessive amounts of GOON (cheap Ozzie wine – it worked out as £1 for a pint!), watching copious amounts of cat videos in bed, which by the way is the best cure for ANY hangover, and just silly things like that. Stuff which is what F.R.I.E.N.D.S.H.I.P is made from!

Anyway, after weeks of doing stupid things and having fun, we went our separate ways because I got a job orange picking in the middle of nowhere and I ended up picking f*ck all oranges! Long story, yet again. Maybe another time.

This person and I kept in contact over Facebook Messenger and we recently re-kindled our friendship over a few voice calls and a video call! It made my DAY seeing them!

Literally nothing has changed, I don’t know what I expected but their voice was exactly the same and sense of humour is still as sick, twisted and bizarre as mine!

Anyhow… the reason that prompted them to talk to me in this instance was that my depression related website (this one) became apparent to them on their news feed when they went onto Facebook. So we got talking and I told them all about it, me, the depression, how I am fighting it, what I am doing to battle it and how I am telling it daily to get F*UCKED!

To my surprise they told me about them suffering to! I was gutted, heart-broken for them and had a genuine interest why. You never think such a happy, jolly, fun-loving character would have something like this, but that is such a stereotype nowadays, and I suppose such a cliché! As sad as it sounds, it really is. Why should these things happen to the best people? I mean, I am sure they happen to ALL types of people, but the best people it SHOULDN’T happen to! They should have immunity. But not the diplomatic kind!

(Lethal Weapon anyone…?)

The reason behind this was a suicide in the family, 2 years before they came traveling. Of course, you don’t introduce yourself and then immediately spill your life story to some handsome English man when your first meet, but you simply don’t expect it. When I found out over the phone I literally froze, I didn’t know what to say and just wanted to give them a big hug!

They had been struggling, as you would expect, for so many years and traveling was obviously a massive break for them, something to take the focus elsewhere and to try to get on with life I suppose. We talked on the phone about it and I couldn’t help feel so sad for them. I didn’t really know what to say. I have lost people very close to me, but not someone as close as this, and I hope I don’t for a long time.

Being 19 at the time, and having something like suicide take the life of an extremely close family member must and probably was so devastating for them. To know what I go through now is unbearable to think about. This individual obviously felt they couldn’t talk to anyone about whatever problem they might have had, which is the saddest part.

There is always someone to talk to. Easier said than done, as I have found out alongside so many others. But making that one call or sending that one little text can honestly and literally save your life of the life of someone so very close to you.

Sadness aside, we are meeting up, oh yeah, they aren’t from the UK which I think makes it more exciting! I am not even going to tell you where they are from to keep it even more anonymous!

There’s not a lot to report! [reflection]

As the title says, there is not really a lot to report! But, as you all know, that wouldn’t stop someone like me having a little ramble – So don’t think you have got away lightly!

So here goes…

I suppose this week has been all about reflection and looking back on what my ‘life’ was like before my current ‘I can conquer the World’ attitude.

I don’t like to be too deconstructive and harsh about myself, but I was fat, lethargic, overweight, unable to cope, struggling at work, lazy, had low-self esteem and amongst many other things I felt so unhappy with life. This all led me to believe that I couldn’t see how things were going to get better, so all these ‘bad’ attributes lead me to the road of the dark days – See the first post right here by clicking this link and see how bad things got for me.

I am not going to say I am ‘cured’ – Because I think that is near enough impossible. Nothing is curable, in my opinion of course, because something can ALWAYS return. I’d like to say I am prepared, this being the operative word. If my dark days try to come back and haunt me, again, I feel I will be ready and be able to rationalise those thoughts which bring a big lad (not so much anymore!) like me down so many pegs!

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2017 vs 2013

So the above image is obviously 2 photographs taken about four years apart. I was looking at myself in the mirror last week (standard when you are this good-looking) and thought, shit a brick! I am so much different. The photo on the right stood out for me and was an iconic moment from Geno’s 60th BBQ back in 2013 – So I extracted this out and placed it next to a recent photo of me from Rodney’s Pillar – Taken a few weeks back.

It’s almost a perfect picture because on the right we have a fit, healthy motivated Sam who has just completed his RP march. Then on the right we have Sam at a BBQ doing what he loves best and shoving his face full of food! Don’t get me wrong, I still do this but I moderation and in conjunction with HIIT exercises and multiple gymnasium visits!

Healthiness, fitness and that sort of thing aside, I am enjoying work a lot more. After really getting stuck in to some of the projects that Vodafone are rolling out, such as the new Tech Role – I really feel for the first time in a looooong time that I have some sort of purpose in life – Even if it’s temporarily it’s still a good feeling.

Depression makes me feel the complete opposite – Like I have no purpose at all. It makes me think ‘what’s the f*cking point in even being here, would anyone miss me?’ – When in actual fact if you have purpose in life, whatever it is, no matter how big or small, someone will always miss you and something like taking your own life is NEVER the answer.

For those reading I am NOT thinking about that at all, I am just looking back to how I felt, hence part of the title, [reflection]. I always get a few texts when I write these blog posts about 2-3 hours after I write them asking ‘Are you ok??’ – Which is lovely because who doesn’t like to know people care? But this is just a notification that I am feeling on top of the Woorrrrlllllllld! But please, for those who will remain anonymous, send them anyway!

Let’s get some juices flowing!

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Post-gym breakfast after an early morning workout on Sunday (the day of rest) – Oven baked field mushrooms soaked in garlic butter, crispy bacon and a double-egg
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Pan-fried chicken breast, egg noodles, glazed onions, cherry toms and a drizzle of oil followed by a generous coating of cracked black pepper
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Sea-shell shaped pasta, red pesto, feta, basil, oil, pepper – Accompanied by a homemade garlic butter embedded deep into a crusty French stick – C’était très bon!

I’ve always wanted to be something in my life, I’ve always wanted to make that difference and be recognised for it. Although I love helping people in my day-to-day job, there is no real recognition for what I (also we) do. Yes, we go to a conference every few months and have a laugh, learn something new and we are motivated for a few days afterwards, but after that it all really dies down.

I will be focusing my energy (as there is now an abundance of it) on my career.

A relationship can wait because I just can cope with all these women at once! Ha!

I am looking at doing something where I can really make a difference to people’s live, whether direct or indirect, and somehow get praise, recognition or some sort of good feeling from it. It’s life a selfish good deed which I am happy with – Why not get happiness out of making someone else happy!? Some might say (great Oasis song!) that sunshine follows thunder… no!… Some might say that you should put your own happiness first and do what makes you happy, but I think this really would. I love helping people in the shop now but it isn’t really a role where I am praised enough to my liking. There is not enough of a wow factor in it for me. I need more and I will go and search for it.

If there weren’t so many f*cktards who came into the shop it would make my life a lot easier… and that’s just the staff!

Why would you think something so ‘out of the blue’?

Depression is giving up on life, well, feeling like that or having those feelings inside your head even when you are at your happiest.

Strange eh?

It’s like, why would you even think like that? It’s really bizarre –  Just like making a trifle which consists of half a roast dinner and the traditional ingredients of cream, lady fingers and custard.

I think it’s fair to say this is the happiest I have ever felt in my life, yet something is counteracting it. I’m working incredibly hard to eradicate it but for some reason she’s not shifting – Just like when you ask a rather large-framed woman to give you her last piece of choccy cake.

You’ve got more chance of her walking up Rodney’s Pillar. In the dark. Backwards. With ankle weights.

Terry Crews fans and ‘EuroTraining’ you better have laughed at that one!

I’ve added these two photos as they are recent ones from my Instagram account. It’s a little if not a lot hypocritical of me because I slated social media in the past for being too ‘common’, but f*ck it, I can do what I want!

Anyway… my point being – I don’t really remember! Ha!

Oh yeah – It was about feeling the best in my life. These photos make me smile because they are from happy points in my life – Somewhere along the line they have made me smile and re-visiting these photos depicting our beautiful sunshine beating down on the wonderful landscapes we reside upon really is something special. Makes me take a deep breath every time I see them and think ‘wow, life has no real worries’. If something happens it happens. 

I hate that phrase because it’s stating the obvious but it’s a good one nevertheless.

Keeping up the fitness

I seem to have gone mad. If somebody had said 2 months ago that I was going to be fitness mad in 8 weeks time then I would have laughed in their face and sectioned them under the 136 Mental Health Act.

I am not really sure what it is – But something is driving me to complete all this exercise and keep my mind active, it feels so good, I literally feel invincible. I hope this isn’t a massive jinx now!

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This was a screen capture from a slow-motion video taken up Rodney’s Pillar today – Not sure what I am doing but I decided to jump and it looks pretty cool!

I think all these things I am doing, which are a little out of the ordinary for me, are brought on by my subconscious. Somewhere in the back of mind the word depression is floating around and my body wants and is trying so hard to eradicate it completely. Whether it will or not, who knows, but it’s certainly a battle I am winning at the moment.

This week of annual leave has been filled with exercise and food. It’s Kirsty’s birthday (anniversary of!) so I’ve been eating some unhealthy food but counteracting it with relentless exercise and keeping as active as possible.

I’ve mentioned this in previous blog posts – But my love of food has somewhat tripled or even quadrupled since I have given up alcohol. It’s not that fact that I am eating more of it but I get so excited when thinking, preparing and more so eating it!

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This was a close up of this morning’s food – Bread · Boiled Egg · Pan-Fried Spinach · Feta · Oil · Black Pepper – Try it, very easy to make and it’s delish!

I can definitely feel a change in my body. It’s a little over 9 weeks since I started going back to the gym, again! In the past I have wanted results far too quickly – They have inevitably not happened so I have given up far too easily. This time is different. I’ve been very tenacious with the attendance of how many times a week I visit this holy place. I’ve also attempted to ingrain a religious ‘debt’ in my mind so I won’t forgot to go (conveniently), say that I can’t be arsed or think of a piss-poor excuse as to why I am not going!

I am only cheating myself… blah blah blah… it sounds like a nagging wife/mother/other female family member when I read that back to myself but it couldn’t be nearer to the truth.

This week in photos

I visited Andrea (my counsellor) on Thursday and we had our fort-nightly catch up on how things are going. The one thing which was on my mind was the haziness in my head which was combined with over-salivation. I never thought of side-effects from the tablets I am taking, only because it had been 8 weeks without any major issues – It became apparent that this was the issue I was having the moment she mentioned it.

Weird feelings aside, I’m still feeling exceptionally good (touching wood as you read!) and I’m hoping it will last forever – Unlikely, but I am remaining as positive as possible for the reasons you all know!

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This was this morning, pre-blog post and soaking up the sun! Gorgeous – Apart from the Welsh mug! Sorry Mum, Dad, Kirsty, Ann, Phil… the whole family? Ok, I suppose I am Welsh after all.

Let’s start with food… because we all know it’s better than ANYTHING else on the planet!

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This was awesome. Brown bread, loaded with lashings of Lurpak, semi-fried leaf spinach, boiled eggs and a mountain of black pepper – Accompany this by a coffee and it’s the breakfast of champions!
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I started to get a little more creative for lunch – This was a post-hike snack (see photo below). So here we have toasted focaccia · pan-fried tomatoes · rocket · runny boiled eggs · feta · olive oil  drizzled over the top · black pepper

I always try to be as healthy as I can and I’ve always loved food. I’m as creative as I can be and I will normally try anything I haven’t done before. It may seem very simple and it is. Just 4 or 5 ingredients thrown together and presented well…ish.

I do like experimenting with food – I’m anal on the presentation too because that’s what you see on your plate – Pointless spending hours sicking around in the kitchen (Julie!) and then slamming it onto the plate and serving up a lump if mush! Presentation can make it that extra bit special – I’m sure it must add to the flavour because as you as you start to salivate those taste buds must send all sorts of signals to the brain.

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Robyn, Alfie dog and myself – This was yesterday – The top of the World! Well, close enough, it was Rodney’s Pillar standing at 1,204ft or 367 metres – Whatever the height, it was effing windy!
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The love of animals – Sometimes I think we all wish we loved life as much as animals love playing with their toys – Chance would be a fine thing. So here’s Ruby – Oddly enough she’s not playing with her ball, she’s found another toy and is looking rather sheepish.

 

Conjuring up a delight

I’ve not been sleeping well recently and for some reason I had in my mind last night I wanted to go to the gym when it first opened this morning; so I set the alarm for 0530 hours.

Miraculously I didn’t do what I normally do which is to be woken by my alarm which is the other side of the room, get up, turn it off and then crawl back to bed. There must be an invention out there somewhere which stops you doing that… Dragons?

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So the image above relates to my breakfast this morning – Pretty healthy. The one thing which put me off – Which obviously didn’t stop me eating it – Was when I pan-fried the spinach. It started off as big leaves as they were fresh, cold and slightly wet, but as they were cooking they shrivelled up (as you’d expect) and they reminded me of when you pour water over a spider in the bath to get rid – Their little legs morph into their bodies as they cling on for dear life, their life flashes before them as they inevitably get washed down the plug hole once again and they wonder how long it will take them to start their journey up into the bath for the one-hundredth time this week… again!

So, that’s what you will all think of from now on when you cook spinach… enjoy!

Ps. Presentation was poor!

 

I’VE DONE IT!

I obviously haven’t completed my 12 months of no alcohol but I have done 2 months – The 24th marks the day – Very proud and it’s a great achievement for me.

These bad-boys have helped me along my journey so far (see featured image) as they are almost exactly the same as actual Becks. The major difference is the no alcohol, naturally.

Upon checking the bottles though a few weeks back, I discovered on the front it clearly states ‘ALCOHOL FREE’ yet very contradictory, on the reverse in tiny letter it states ‘Not more than 0.05% ABV’.

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Hmmm… this got the cogs turning…

I have worked out that 1 bottle of Becks Blue is equal to 1 twentieth of a 1% bottle of Becks – So 20 would make it a whole 1. An average bottle of Becks would be around 5% – 4 of these would probably put me over the current drink & drive limit (35mg/100ml of blood) in England and Wales law book , so…

If I drank 400 Becks Blues then could I be penalised?! – The drink does say it’s ‘ALCOHOL FREE’…

I think if I could get arrested for drink-driving by consuming 400 bottles of Becks Blue within a couple of hours, then I should be awarded a medal in court, not a suspended sentence and 100 hours community service cleaning up dog faeces.

 

 

It’s really the simple things in life

What defines our life? Why do we care for our own existence?

To me, and I supposed to most of us out there who subconsciously think about this and for those who appear to ‘sail’ through life, it’s the little things; family, friends, the highs and lows (sometimes!), animals, food… and for me, the visual aspects of life.

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More goodness from the Food Fest – This was the man preparing my breakfast!

Here are a few snaps which have made me feel happy the last 2-3 weeks.

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Ludlow Food Festival with friends (Dan, Anna, Gav, Al) – For some reason I am not smiling… it was a good day though!
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GORGEOUS George – As happy as ‘Larry’!
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More goodness from the Food Fest – This was the man preparing my breakfast!
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Our family dog Oscar who we sadly had to put down last year – I will never forgot this little man. I think sometimes he is more missed than some people who have died that I was close too! This was him back on 2002.
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Walking to work one day last week – The ever-so-breathtaking view from Greyfriar’s Bridge in Shrewsbury – Almost symmetrical.

I’ve been thinking this week a lot about traveling again. One of my friends (Sally, in case you are reading this and you feel left out!) has recently come back from Barcelona. We didn’t even go into that much detail about her trip but just the fact she conquered a fear of traveling by herself made me smile so much.

I went with Robyn back in April 2015 to Australia and Sally’s trip brought back so many memories – Freedom, for one of them! Oh how I dread to think how Mandela felt back in the 90’s.

Work – I have been back at work now for 4-5 weeks – And I can honestly say I feel on top of the World! This is great to be back to the ‘old’ Sam, but there needs to be an end goal. I can save, save, save and spend, spend, spend – Even more than saving!… but, what’s my end goal going to be?!

For 6 months before traveling last time I saved so much for 6 months and almost cut out my social life – I was that determined and tenacious about the whole going away idea that I almost shut myself off from the World and worked my bollocks off to save enough to go with Robyn.

I have been on and off with with the idea of promotion for about a year – At the moment it seems like a lit more work, with a lot more stress, for only a little more money! Yes – It’s the experience I will gain and the position I will hold which will reflect good on me – But do I really want it? No, I don’t think so.

I have been told so many times over my time in retail that I am so much better than what I am currently doing, I am wasted in my job and that I need to get out. These back-handed compliments are all very well and good but please people, give me some direction! Haha!

The sales side of things I find incredibly easy to be honest – It’s the people management side of things I don’t find all that easy – Mainly because I am a perfectionist. This is something I have been told by my therapist/counsellor and it has become so much more apparent since she said it to me 2-3 weeks back.

At work – I’ll get angry or annoyed sometimes because people can’t do what I do – And that’s perform exceptionally well in sales and when providing customer service. In fact, it’s the best it has ever been at this current point in time as I write this blog – And I have just come out of a state of depression – You would think it would of had the opposite effect but NO!… I have worked so damn hard to get to thise stage in my life after my current down time – So long may it continue!

But… I’ve mellowed. I’ve started to accept that people are different and perform tasks in a different way to me. As long as they complete them, that’s the main thing. I will always be the best at what I do in a sales enviroment because that’s what drives me.

Maybe a new sales job could be on the cards!

Anybody want to be my secretary to organise my money when I start raking in the cash?!

Why is it ‘raking in the cash’? Why  not shovel it up with a poop-a-scoopa thingy? It’s not got the same ring to I suppose it but you would make a shit load 😉