NEWTS #10: WWWP5k in Manchester, UK

I came across this post last week, and was instantly inspired. I was going to run a 5k as my TSN of the week. Not just any 5k though – the Worldwide WordPress 5k ! I encourage all of you to take part too in any way you’d like – check out the post to find out more.

Once a week, a park nearby holds a 5K Park Run. There was no excuse now. So here I was, at midnight, registering myself for this park run the next day and feeling excited. Skip forward to 8am the next morning, to my alarm blaring out. It took me a full 34 minutes of laying awake in bed to convince myself to get up. I went through all the pros and cons of getting out of my cozy, warm cocoon. Luckily, the ‘long-term happiness’ arguments beat the ‘short-term satisfaction’ ones. Well done, me.

25 minutes later: I was gathered around the start line in the park with about 200 other keen beans. It was a great atmosphere. It was a beautiful morning. Everyone was upbeat. I went alone (didn’t manage to convince my housemates to join me at such an early hour..), but it didn’t matter. I just stood there, overhearing groups of friends fretting over not wanting to come last, old pals catching up on their summers, and sensible runners sharing stretching tips. I felt like I was already part of the community. It felt good.

They blew the whistle, and off we went. 5K is long. Bearing in mind that I hadn’t done much (if any !) exercise in a year or so, this proved to be quite the challenge. I was doing well, keeping a steady pace, until about 10 minutes in. Then I had to walk on and off. The toughest part was when a volunteer went ‘nearly halfway there!’ when I thought I was much further. It was truly dispiriting.

37 minutes a.w. (‘after whistle’), I was crossing the finishing line ! I was one of the last few, but it still felt good to finish. I had completed a 5k ! Those who bothered to stay behind cheered for everyone as they crossed the finish line. I found it a bit embarrassing, because my face was SO RED, but it still felt awesome.

That feeling of accomplishment got me through the next couple of days of aching muscles. The idea of climbing stairs would reduce me to internal tears – it was that bad. I should have listened more closely to the stretching tips. Next time !




NEWTS #5: Canoeing

Yes, canoeing. I told you my challenges would get more interesting. I went all out this week and decided to make the most of my time in Norwich by going canoeing.

The swans who now hate me.

I went with my cousins, sisters and friends. The six of us got into pairs, hiring out three canoes overall. I was a little nervous getting into the boat because it was wobblier than I would have liked. The guy helping us in was friendly though, and reassured me.

The scenery from the river we were canoeing along was beautiful. It was so serene and the colours were so natural. Canoeing is fun but also very tiring on the arms. I had to take a break every few strokes with the ore.

So peaceful. I creeped myself out when I tried to look deeply into the water though. Water plants are disturbing.

We nearly crashed into boats, we went through an insect-infested bush and we nearly toppled over in our canoe. We also canoed right into a massive flock of swans as we raced back (not sure if flock is the right word here, but google failed me. So blame google, not me). That wasn’t terrifying at all for me, sitting in the front…

I don’t have much else to say about this experience, apart from the fact that I would do it again. I would maybe however pick a different partner to pair up with as most of the above was due to him.



NEWTS #4: Oil Painting

For my grandma’s 80th birthday, we rented a place in Norfolk for a mini family reunion (that’s why I haven’t blogged in a while). Norfolk is not the most interesting place (apologies to any offended), but it is quite scenic. So on my way to a shopping trip, out of nowhere, I decided my challenge of the week was to have a go at painting a beautiful landscape ! I’ve always been a fan of sketching and I’ve done a few pieces on the side but I haven’t done much with paints at all.

The first thing to do was to decide what kind of paints I wanted to use. I went to an art shop and was immediately drawn to oil paints. However, being the thorough person I am, I messaged my super artistic friend asking for advice. I asked her to help me choose between acrylics, watercolour and oil paints and she was great (thanks Lucy) ! Skip forward to that evening and I’d ordered my oil painting starter kit and some turp off amazon !

Once we got to Norfolk, I decided to start with a mini practice piece of Teriyaki (my hamster). I know painting animals is nothing like painting landscapes but I love him too much not to paint him ! I also love drawing/painting eyes. Here’s how it turned out:


I was quite happy with that, so the next day I went ahead and started the landscape. I chose a beautiful view of the broad (not a lake, as my grandparents constantly reminded me) from a jetty in the back garden. I started while it was cloudy but I painted using the colours that showed when the sun came out. It was really tricky to get all the colours right. I found painting this landscape hard. The trees and sky were okay then it all went downhill after that. Apart from Seb the swan – I’m quite proud of him ! The lily pads were really tough, the reeds were difficult and the current on the water (due to wind) was hard to grasp. I also didn’t have time to finish it because family time had to happen and I couldn’t just stay on the jetty without socialising. I’m really not pleased with this second painting and I kinda hate posting it on here but I know I shouldn’t care so much – that’s why I am posting it.

The lake (I don’t care if it’s technically a broad – looks like a lake to me !).
My version of the lake.

All in all I loved oil painting because it ignited my creative side a bit, which I’ve been unconsciously suppressing for a while. I still have some paint leftover so I may experiment with it a bit more. However, oil painting is a lot of effort and takes forever to dry, so I might go back to sketching for a bit and go from there !


Here are some extra photos of me in action:

Me, painting on the jetty.
My little sister’s hilarious snapchat of me.

NEWTS #3: Independent at an Independent

Okay, I decided to take it easy this week too with my challenge, but I promise they will get more ‘challenging’ as I go on. Summer makes me lazy okay.

This week, I decided to go to the cinema on my own. That’s something I’ve never done, although I have watched movies on my own before. I also decided to try out an independent cinema nearby that I’ve been wanting to go to since I spotted it 3 years ago. 2 birds with one stone and all that. So I looked up the cinema timetable and found some titles I liked, watched some trailers, changed my mind about some of them, narrowed it down by taking into account date and time, and voila: I settled on Arrietty. (I struggled to pick between Arrietty and Princess Mononoke, but Arrietty won because it was on earlier. Don’t fret though, Princess Mononoke is on my list!).


So I’d never been much into anime until I became friends with someone who was. We watched Death Note together and the odd movie, which I loved. I really like the storylines because I find them quite quirky and original. Arrietty is rated U so I half expected to be the oldest one at the cinema. Nevertheless, as I walked in (right on time, may I add), there was already a middle aged man in the front row. I picked a seat near the back and right in the centre of the row. I was curious to see who else was coming to see it. A mother and toddler, a young girl who brought a book to read during the trailers (I like that!), an elderly man (who decided to sit 2 seats away from me in a practically empty cinema…. 👌🏾) and a group of giggly girls. I got comfy in my seat and tried my best not to choke on my too-peppery-homemade popcorn.

The film was beautiful. I know it’s animated, so the scenery wasn’t real, but it was still pretty to look at. It reminded me a bit of thumbelina. I really would recommend it. It’s easy to watch. Some parts of the story were not explained however. At the end of the film I felt that it hadn’t really wrapped up, if you know what I mean. I can focus on the positive here, in that I can create my own explanations. So I made up my own ending on the journey home. I won’t write it down (spoilers), but I’ll hint to the fact that I prefer realistic over happy endings.

Overall, I found the experience of going to the cinema alone quite hassle-free and efficient. It was even quite relaxing (bar getting lost on the way and not knowing whether I would miss the beginning of the film). There were quite a few people on their own too, so it doesn’t feel that weird !

Some lovely geese were waiting for me after the film to congratulate me on completing my TNS (‘try something new’) this week.


P.S. You are welcome to drop me a message if you have seen it and really would like to know what ending/explanation I came up with. I will try not to forget it.


Thoughts on the Daily Prompt: Carefree


Carefree. I like that word. Carefree. The more I think about it though, the more ways I find of interpreting it. Now, I think it’s actually quite a complicated word.

So I google-defined it. “Carefreeadjective. Free from anxiety or responsibility, e.g. ‘we were young and carefree’.”

Well that word couldn’t be any more relevant to my life right now. For the past two years my sole wish was to be carefree. I was in my final two years of a stressful degree and I wished nothing more than for it to be over, and that I didn’t have to constantly stress over all these assignments that I couldn’t seem to do well in. Two years of constant stress inevitably took its toll and now I’ve been a graduate for just over a week and surprise, surprise – still not carefree. Instead, I’m left with this anxiety and feeling of responsibility that I can’t seem to shake off. ‘We were young and carefree’. I’m always hearing that association. Well I’m young, but I feel a bit lost. ‘Carefree’ just doesn’t seem to want to find me.

Let’s rewind a bit. When I first read that word on the Daily Prompt, I was drawn to it. My immediate interpretation of the word was a powerful visual one. The image just popped into my head (almost in a carefree way). It was me, with my arms spread out like wings, almost flying off a cliff side, jumping into a beautiful sea. It was sunny, I was happy, feeling light and.. you guessed it – carefree. So in that sense, carefree, to me, is almost synonymous with being fearless.

Then, I looked at it differently. Carefree = not caring. I remember a time when I didn’t care. But I wasn’t happy. It was the bad, numb kind of not caring. There we go, carefree can’t be all that good then. Caring is important. Caring is a form of love. A life of apathy is, in my opinion, the worst there could be.

So, as with anything, there has to be a compromise. I’ve definitely grown out of my whole ‘black and white’ view of the world. It’s all just different shades of grey (not a reference to 50 shades – never touched that book). No one wants anxiety, but everyone wants some form of responsibility – to feel needed, a purpose. This is probably why multi-millionaires are always constantly working to be bigger and better. No one wants to be totally carefree. We all like a bit of stress (not too much), a bit of excitement, something to work towards. Then we want a couple of weeks of holiday a year where we can act carefree, but then we can go back and resume our ‘care-full’ life.

Just a thought…