Dressing for life…

I think by now everyone knows that I love fashion. I love getting new pieces, I love putting outfits together. I love the confidence my clothes give me. When I was in college I strived to always be fashion forward. It was hard due to not ever having money, but because my days consisted of college and telly watching I wasn’t exactly restricted due to activity. So most days I looked very on-trend. Though I did get some odd looks. (Jaysus people it’s just a leather pencil skirt and cons!) I think this way of life was hugely influenced due to having a blog. I mean if I’m discussing clothes I have to look my best all the time, right?

But my life got busy and it became more than just college and blogging. I started working, started rowing, nephews came along, I started getting more active, I started baking and cooking, I moved out and started living with my boyfriend. And suddenly this need to be blog perfect fell by the way side. Unlike those fabulously stylish fashion bloggers I read about everyday, my job did not require me to look on-point on a daily basis and frankly it was becoming impractical. I mean I do love me some stilettos but they’re not my friend when I have to dash across town to the bank on my lunch break. And I adore white skinnies but I can’t exactly strut up to the rowing club in those, they would get destroyed! But that doesn’t mean I want to stop having fun with my clothes.

Yesterday is a wonderful example of this. As you can see from the above image I was driving a safety launch for some rowers going out for a Sunday spin. (You can also see that life jackets are in NO WAY flattering – I mean I look about thirty pounds heavier!) I could have changed my outfit from something less sensible to something more sensible but I don’t want to have to waste my day with unnecessary costume changes. No, yesterday I needed to be practical from start to finish. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to have fun. I still wanted to be me, I still wanted to show off some style. So I decided to dress for the persona of “chilled seventies surfer chick” which consisted of flares, vans, a surfer hoodie and an oversized plaid shirt. (Trust me it looked good sans life-jacket – why can’t safety be chic!?)

So in a long winded way, what I’m trying to say is that my style hasn’t really changed. I still love all the same things. But my attitude to dressing has changed. Style, to me, isn’t about mere aesthetics, but managing to find that balance between aestheticism and practicality, between what’s beautiful and what works for you. I’m no longer just dressing for my blog. I’m dressing for my life.

A lazy girls thoughts on getting fit, staying fit…

I was sort of sporty as a teenager. Sure that’s how I met my boyfriend. I was a rower then and fitness came easy to me. But the Leaving Cert came around and I felt I needed to “sort out my priorities.” Really, I think I just got sick of daily exercise and pushing myself physically (there is indeed a lazy bone in my body!) and I used my portfolio and the looming Leaving Cert as an excuse to quit. When I stopped, I stopped completely, I mean COMPLETELY. Looking back, I can see now how lazy I became. This must have annoyed the boyfriend no end as he was super fit and loved to be active. All I did was watch telly, hang out and eat. I ate a lot, like an athlete. No one mentioned calories to me, I had no idea what I was doing to myself. And it wasn’t until half way through my first year of college that my poor mum felt she had to tell me that I had lost my way. She was so upset when she was telling me, she felt like she was the worst person in the world. But she was right… 

 So I decided to make a change. But only with food. My diet changed but my activity level was still really low. This carried on for years. Trying to be healthy through food alone and completely half-assing any exercise I attempted. Starting off with great potential but getting bored and giving up again. I was sluggish, I was slow and I was deeply unhappy. It all came to a head one day when I just burst into tears because another dress in my wardrobe was too tight, was suffocating me. My weight was suffocating me. I wanted to run away from it, rip it off me and be free. My boyfriend simply said if I hate how I look and how I felt that much then change. It was only myself holding me back. My fear of the effort. This thought that I’m not really going to change, not like the people do in the magazines, not like those weightless spokes people. This stuck with me. But I started to run (with help and a wee bit of coaching from himself). Admittedly, my main goal was to lose weight but I started to have a little bit of energy, then a load of energy, soon there was an obvious spring in my step. I loved how agile, how nimble, how quick I was becoming. 

 So nearly two years passed and I got really into running, doing weekly 10k’s as if they were nothing! But I started to feel the niggle of that lazy bone again. I didn’t stop exercising but I began shortening my runs, I ran less frequently, no longer feeling guilty if I missed a run or two. I had the mindset that I had already achieved my goal. I had lost over 3 stone, I was a healthy, active person now, I didn’t need to kill myself on a 10k anymore. This was dangerous, but I fought this mindset and I managed to stay active, not letting long workdays and lazy Sundays to be the end of my new lifestyle. I was determined to not go back to that unhappy girl I used to be. 

Then by chance an old work colleague needed an extra bum in a new sport she was trying. That new sport was rowing. Went to one session and was nagged to join the team (thanks Emily). And all of a sudden I was out rowing a few times a week, only leisurely at first but then we started to get a taste for it and then, shockingly, we wanted to compete. This changed everything. Suddenly, we realised we had to up our training to five/six sessions a week. Long runs on the rowing machine, tough intervals, a little bit of weight training and drills after drills after drills. Instead of becoming more sedentary, I was becoming more active, becoming really fit, really fast, really strong. I’m a million miles away from the girl I used to be. I just wish I could tell her that it was all going to be worth it. That not only her body would change, but her health would improve, her attitude to life would change and she’d finally feel good in her skin. 

People, if you’ve done what I’ve done, changed your life and became fit and are worried about falling back, find a sport you enjoy and join a team. There is no better motivation than not wanting to let your teammates down. There is no better way to get through a tough session than doing it right next to someone going through the same shit. One goal in mind, motivating each other, being there together. 

I am forever thankful to my boyfriend for pushing me to achieve what I wanted and I want to thank my crew for not letting me fall back. Anything is possible with the right people beside you.