Foxy by 40 – Walk Report

Autumn walks

Time for a Operation Foxy By 40 update. Just 3 and-a-bit months to go!

I managed 21 of 31 days of the Walking Every Day In May thing. That may sound like a shoddy result, but it’s a huge improvement on the months before.

Some lessons learned:

1. If I don’t walk first thing in the morning, I rarely make it happen. Work deadlines, chores, cat patting, YouTube tutorial-watching, hair washing and other flimsy excuses abound. So I’m better off walking while still half asleep, before negotiations can begin.

2. That said, lunchtime walks on office days are brilliant for restoring inner peace. And topping up the pollen levels, so I can annoy people with my sneezing and crying all afternoon.

3. I’ve gained a new appreciation of Dunfermline’s town centre. I’m guilty of having the office/Marks & Spencer/bus station blinkers on and had stopped noticing the rest.

Dunfermline walks

4. I’m yet to meet a crappy mood that couldn’t be turned around with a spot of forest bathing.

5. I’ve been doing more weekend walks with Gareth and discovering new places. The bleached hills of Glen Devon on a genuinely hot and cloudless day (below right) felt like we’d Tardis-ed it to Australia.

Forest walk and Glen Devon walk

7. The Running Buddy is a pretty good magnetic pouch to carry phone and keys.

8. Turns out a little walk can be a big thing. I’m just going to blurt here that I’ve been a bit wobbly of mind lately. And I’ve been taking really, really shoddy care of myself. It snowballed into a big mucky snowball, full of twigs and crisp packets and indifference. So going for a simple walk started as an act of desperation, really. No expectations. But the more I toddle along, smelling the roses and dodging the dog turds, the clearer my mind feels and the more the mojo flickers. It feels good to move for the sake of moving, because it’s a caring thing to do. Not to be thinking of muscle groups or calorie burn. So I’ll keep on walking.

9. After reading that I was pining for my strong-kneed kickboxing days, Gareth arrived home a few weeks ago with a… punching bag! He bought it off a colleague who was about to put it on Gumtree. It was a brilliant surprise!

Our house is kind of wee, so the only place it fits is the kitchen. I now believe that every kitchen should have a punching bag! Nothing like a flurry of fists while waiting for the kettle to boil.

In other Operation news, I’m still mucking around with new hobbies. I’m slowly finding my way around the sewing machine and have completed a grand total of one project! It was a scarf/hairband kind of thing that I will never wear in public.

I’m also experimenting with knitting again, and made an iPad cover which somehow turned out to be about 1.5 iPads wide due to an unfortunate counting error. Never mind, Ziggy adopted it as a pillow.

Crafting with Ziggy

The photos at top are from November 2016 – a previous attempt at walking every day 😉


Ask The Millennials

Last month this blog turned 17. After some idle number crunching, I realised that two of the women I’m working with at the moment are about the same age that I was when I started! #elderly

(I’m doing some part-time contracting at the mo, so I have a great balance of home working days  – pyjama-ed, talking to the cat – and a couple of office days working with an awesome team of young’uns. It keeps me from going full-hermit.)

Leanne and Mairi are ace… hilarious, sharp, driven, thoughtful. They seem to have their shit together way, way more than I did at their age. When I started writing here in May 2000, I was obsessed with Ed from Radiohead, the size of my arse, and my invisible love life. I was curious to find out – what were they into back then? What was hot on the 2000 pre-tween scene? And what are they obsessed with today, now that they’re the age I was back then?

(Hmm… slightly clumsy sentence!)

It’s time to…. Ask the Millennials!


Leanne Butchart and Mairi McKay

Left:
Leanne Butchart, 25, from Edinburgh
Right:
Mairi McKay
 (and her pal Neil Gaiman), 24, from a wee town in Fife


1. What were you doing in May 2000?
LEANNE:  I was 8 years old and living in Roquefort-les-Pins in the South of France. I was obsessed with Westlife and spent all my pocket money on Pokemon cards which I used to play with my sisters. I was in CE2 (3rd grade) which is when I had my favourite teacher from primary school Monsieur Palomba.

I was also just in general living the good life since we used to get an hour or over an hour for lunch, so we would go home eat baguette and cheese and swim in the pool before going back to class.

Une baguette

Wee MairiMAIRI:  I looked like this in 2000. Well, technically, it’s what I looked moments before the year 2000 – that was my outfit of choice for the New Year’s Eve millennium ceilidh. I would’ve been seven years old in May 2000, living in the same house I live in now. I was in primary three at school, with a wonderful teacher called Mrs Wishart, she was the first teacher I ever accidentally called “mum”.

I had not long got some new wheels in the form of a Hot Wheels scooter, which was bright orange, and to this day I wince when I think about that thing slamming into my ankles.

2. Back to the present. What keeps you awake at night?
LEANNE:  As someone who grew up around people from all countries and backgrounds and who moved around a fair bit, the way the world looks at multiculturalism these days worries me. I worry that we are going back to an age I thought was long gone of shaming people for where they are from. We’re living in an age of fear at the moment and I hope that this is not something that continues.

MAIRI:  At the moment I feel uneasy about the general political climate. I have those ‘how did this even happen?!’ moments roughly once a week, but I see so many people have been spurned into action, and I’m slowly starting to feel more positive and like change is possible.

On a more personal level, I worry about absolutely everything, but mostly animals. My animal worries this week have ranged from ‘I better check this car park for any dogs locked in hot cars’ to ‘is that cat hurt or just lying down?’. It was just lying down. And not best pleased by my investigation.

3. What makes you feel optimistic, hopeful or excited right now?
LEANNE:  What keeps me optimistic and hopeful is the world’s reactions to the horrific world events that are becoming more and more frequent. I hope the world continues to come together as one again.

On a more personal level what gets me excited is the prospect of seeing more of the world. I love to travel and every year try to go somewhere new and experience a new culture.

MAIRI:  The thing that makes me feel most excited right now is that so many cool people are creating the things that they want to see. My friends Heather and Laura released a book in March called Nasty Women which is an anthology of essays written by women about what it’s like to be a woman in the 21st century. I also recently backed a Kickstarter for a mental health magazine called Marbles, and it’s absolutely brilliant. People are making their voices heard.

I’m also hopeful that 2018 will be Scotland’s year in the Six Nations!

Six Nations

4. What are you current obsessions?

TV show

LEANNE:  The show I rewatch the most without getting tired of it in the slightest is The Office (the US one).

MAIRI:  I’m the binge drinker equivalent of a TV watcher; I go months without watching anything at all, then I’ll spend 36 hours straight watching back-to-back episodes of something. I’m confident that if I was to shuffle off this mortal coil any time soon, Netflix would be the first to know from their judgy ‘are you still watching?’ function. At the moment, I cannot get enough of true crime documentaries!

Food

LEANNE:  CHEESE and pizza

MAIRI:  I’m slightly obsessed with Rococo’s white chocolate with Cardamom. Sounds weird, tastes amazing, and is far too moreish.

Leanne's pizzaWarning: Leanne’s Instagram feed may induce hunger

Music

LEANNE:  Kind of really into the stuff I listened to as a teen like Panic! At the Disco (A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out album obvs, not anything new)

MAIRI:  I’m a bit stuck in the 90s when it comes to my music choice. I have a really eclectic taste in music: Nirvana, 2Pac, Oasis and De La Soul are all regulars on my Spotify, along with lots of cheesy pop (B*Witched anyone?). But to give a more 21st century answer, Milky Chance are my current jam, especially when I’m working, there’s something very soothing about their kind of techno-folkiness.

Book

LEANNE:  I read a lot but I think the one I have been recommending the most lately is Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, it’s so interesting and I just relate so much to it.

MAIRI:  My To Be Read pile is completely out of hand. Have you ever heard of the idea of Tsundoku? It’s Japanese and is used to describe buying more books than you could ever possibly read. Tsundoku definitely describes my book-buying habits. A. Edward Newton was a publisher who said, ‘“The buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching toward infinity…”.

I think that sounds pretty nice. Okay so I haven’t read as many books as you but my soul is closer to infinity than yours, so there! Next on my never-ending TBR pile are some fabulous Aussie books: Clementine Ford’s Fight Like a Girl, Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall and The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood.

App

LEANNE:  Instagram is probably my most used app.

MAIRI:  I couldn’t live without Slack. I know that’s a very geeky answer, but it’s true. It’s streamlined, cuts out thousands of emails from my inbox, and you can make your own custom emojis! I spend a lot of time on the Reddit app too, it’s where I get the majority of my news, I love reading perspectives on stories from all over the world.

Celebrity crush

LEANNE:  Gotta be Chris Pratt (even when he was Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec)

Chris Pratt

MAIRI:  I have a longstanding crush on Charlie Hunnam. I’m aware that he’s not actually his character from Sons of Anarchy, but I have a thing for tattoos and motorcycles, and have you seen his smile?!

Charlie Hunnam

Thing to do on a weekend

LEANNE:  Go for brunch!

MAIRI:  I love going to book festivals/events as often as possible, and there’s no shortage of them as Scotland is great for creative events. I recently visited the donkey sanctuary in the Borders. So I basically spend as much time as I can around books or animals!

Waffles from The Pantry, EdinburghPB&J waffles from The Pantry, Edinburgh. Pic by Leanne.

Place to go

LEANNE:  South of France. Just get all the feels when I’m back there.

MAIRI:  I enjoy spending time outdoors, specifically around water (looking at, not being in!). It sounds so cliche but I get this sense of peace whenever I’m by the coast or at the loch.

Anything else you’re really into right now?

LEANNE:  Weirdly, the gym. Very weird for me… almost ashamed to admit it.

MAIRI:  I’m really into pin badges at the moment, and highly recommend Veronica Dearly and her fabulous creations.

Veronica Dearly - Cat Hair Don't Care Badge

5. What year feels like the start of “retro” or old school to you?
LEANNE:  The year 2000 for some reason. It was such an important year and I was at that age when I had an awareness of it. Whenever I realise that babies born in 2000 are now 17, I feel so old.

MAIRI:  For some reason my brain seems to skip the noughties entirely when I think about how much time has passed. I think 1997 was ten years ago (that probably says a lot about my numeracy skills), so I always have to remind myself that a whole generation have grown up after me! I think that the 90s feels retro now. I suppose the 90s has to be retro really seeing as it’s had a revival in the fashion world – I just hope they don’t bring back the skort.

Skorts
Just say no

6. What are you favourite retro things?
LEANNE:  I’m really into retro music and am a fan of 90’s fashion (definitely not early 00’s fashion… those were times that fashion should forget).

MAIRI:  I love watching old kids’ TV shows – Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Round the Twist, and Saved by the Bell are among my favourites. A few other things that create major nostalgia for me are dance mats, inflatable chairs, Tamagotchis and snap bracelets.

Tamagotchi

7. Does anything bug you about the way your generation is perceived? #avocadotoast
LEANNE:  I think we’re perceived as being very materialistic and needing technology to survive, and while I do feel the need to have my phone on me at all times, I don’t think we are completely dependent on technology.

MAIRI:  Not particularly, I know millennials are a hot topic at the moment for loads of reasons, but I think this generation is having a hugely positive impact on so many issues and that’s what matters.

8. Picture your life 17 years from now. Where would you like to be in 2034?
LEANNE:  I will have travelled the world and will be continuing to do so, and successful enough to afford that. I think I would like to be in a committed relationship and have children by this point. I want to be successful in my working career but not spending all my time in work. I grew up with a Dad who hated his job, but at the end of it it brought him an incredible life outside of that, and I think that’s more important. When you’re looking back on your life, I think you’ll remember the memories you made outside of work.

MAIRI:  2034 seems impossibly far away at the moment, and I don’t really have a life plan but I’d love to own a bookshop somewhere down the line. I’m not sure what the future holds but as long as I’m happy, and my family are friends are too, that’s all I can ask.

Huge thanks to you both for your time! You can find Mairi on Instagram and Twitter, and Leanne on Instagram and her fab food blog.


Comrie walk

My exercise mojo has been M.I.A. for about five years and I want it back. In 2012 an orthopaedic specialist advised I cease various fun but pain-inducing activities (e.g. kickboxing and squatting) to preserve what remained of my right knee’s cartilage. While I like being pain-free now, there’s been long periods where “preservation” has translated to “doing sweet feck-all exercise”. At other […]

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