Sunday, 15 March 2015

This Girl Can

I never wanted to be the girl who let a break up break her. Unfortunately it happens to the best of us and despite my best intentions I let a break up break me. My self esteem has always been on shaky ground and quite frankly I can't ever remember a time when I've particularly liked what I saw in the mirror. The break up was very tough on me, I'd put myself out there and fell head over heels in love with somebody, who as it turns out did not feel the same way. One of my biggest weaknesses is that I define my self worth on my partner or relationship. This is also called codependency and is incredibly dangerous. After the break up I found myself suddenly alone for the first time in over 4 and a half years. I'd always had a boyfriend to act as my crutch and suddenly I was reluctantly alone.

My confidence took a nose dive. If the person I loved didn't want to be with me and didn't like me, why should I like and care about myself? I wallowed in the throes of self pity and low self esteem for 6 months. At times under eating and at times over eating. There were lots of tears. It was messy. As a person who has been 3 years self harm free (see here and here) it was a very difficult and challenging time for me and brought up some feelings I thought I'd worked through.

So after Christmas and some harsh words from my mother, I decided to do something about it. I signed up for a gym membership and spent an eye watering sum of money on a personal trainer.

I've always had a fear of the gym and judgement. 5 weeks ago I couldn't even run for a minute (not an understatement at all) and the thought of people watching me and laughing at my wobbly bum was too much for my poor little self esteem to handle. However, enter This Girl Can. I think we as women have a hard deal. We're expected to look perfect and be perfect, but god forbid we wobble and sweat in the process. It always feels like everyone else is doing and being better than you and the fear of judgement can hold you back.

As hard and horrible as the gym can be, it's given me something productive to occupy my time with. It's given me a purpose and it's become part of my routine, something I am loath to ignore. Every day when I make it to the gym and get that little bit faster and stronger, is a successful day for me.

I've had to learn the hard way, that 'self love' is just that. You have to learn to accept and love yourself, nobody else can do that for you. So the gym for me is about doing something for myself and finding some sort of acceptance with the only body I have. If I lose some pounds (preferably stones) along the road to self acceptance then that's a benefit too. I accept that I'm going to be slow, but I'm already faster than I was when I was sat on the couch. And to quote This Girl Can - I jiggle therefore I am.

It's not been easy, but my ex boyfriend's favourite saying was 'if it was easy then everybody would be doing it' so at least I have him to thank for that motto. That and when I run on the treadmill I imagine I'm running over the bodies of all the boys who ever wronged me because this girl certainly can.

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Sunday, 8 March 2015

Nina Eats - Pitch Bar and Eatery

Because I have friends in high place (cough, WGP, cough) the girls and me were lucky enough to attend the launch of a brand spanking new Cardiff estaurant: Pitch Bar and Eatery. Located on one of Cardiff's busiest and most popular streets it beckons you in with a beautiful interior and the promise of locally sourced goodness.

Pitch say they are "Fiercely independent, priding ourself on simple, honest, modern Welsh food. Obsessively, we seek the best, most mouth-watering ingredients we can find locally from farmers, growers, makers and markets, fusing them together to create innovative flavours and vibrant, sumptuous dishes; putting our passion for your palate on a plate." So of course I was excited to be attending. The girls and I put our best shoes on and off we went.

Welcomed with at the door with big smiles and a lovely Hendricks gin and cucumber, the night was off to a good start. We were treated to sample boards of some of Pitch's signature dishes. The standouts included the glazed belly pork, pea soup, Welsh Rarebit (of course), lamb and veggie bean burgers. I'm still dreaming (and drooling) about the belly pork and bean burger. The pork was served with some warm apple sauce and the lamb came with some tasty balsamic oil. The bean burger was beyond tasty, I mean who doesn't love mini burgers? I'm not normally a fan of pea soup but the flavours were extremely delicious and fresh, top marks for presentation as well it's not every day you do a shot of pea soup.

Even though we only had little tasters it really did the job in putting across the values of Pitch and how tasty their food. We definitely had more than one of each taster... sorry not sorry.

Thank you for having us Pitch, we're already planning a visit back, who can say no to gin and food? If you too want to give Pitch a shot book in advance or you'll be disappointed!

Pitch Bar and Eatery, 3 Mill Lane, CF10 1FL
Telephone: 029 2022 8882

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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Things Nina Did - A Solo Weekend Break

Antico Restaurant

I had to go to our offices in London for work and decided to make a weekend out of it. It was a bit of a spur of the moment thing but I wanted some time to myself out of Cardiff and to explore a new city. It was quite exciting knowing I had a weekend to myself to go exploring and treat myself. I booked myself into the Tower Hill Motel 1 which is a German hotel chain that I've stayed in before in Germany. It's a stones throw from Tower Bridge making it a perfect location to explore and shop.

It was so freeing to have some alone time, it felt pretty decadent having dinner by myself with only a chilled glass of white wine and book for company. It was a great way to unwind and just take a step back from everything.

On Saturday it actually turned out that an old school friend of mine was in London visiting her boyfriend so we all met up and went to see the Tudor exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (we're such geeks). I can really recommend it, there isn't an entry fee and it's fascinating to see pictures you've only ever seen in history books in real life. That morning I also caught up with another friend from school, it was so great to catch up and see what she's up to after school. 

London is pretty hectic and fast paced but it was great (and sad for my credit card) to be able to go into shops that we don't have here in Cardiff. I could have spent hours in & Others Stories, COS and the Charlotte Tilbury counter in Fenwick. I still haven't looked at my bank balance to double check the damage.

In the evening I treated myself to some German food at Fisher's, I wanted to go here ever since I read Gourmet Gorro's review of the place. The dining room alone is a thing of beauty and you feel like you're in a Wes Anderson movie. I haven't been to Germany for over a year now so it was literally a taste of home.

Sunday was a little less manic, I explored Brick Lane which was just a ten minute walk from my hotel. It's certainly an interesting area with some vintage gems to be found although I generally found that the 'vintage' prices were quite steep. Also there's certainly a 'Brick Lane look' which I don't fulfil but that's fine. Kensington on the other hand is more my neck of the woods. I went here with the specific purpose of picking up some Russell and Bromley loafers in the children's size (saving myself over £100 so can't complain). Kensington Gardens were stunning and a lovely place to get away from the masses. I of course also popped into Harrods but that was beyond overwhelming, there's something insane about seeing bags that cost more than your rent.

All in all it was a great weekend. I've had to be pretty independent from the age of 14. I've lived by myself and had to travel by myself for almost 10 years now but that doesn't mean I've always felt good in my own skin or enjoyed my own company. My weekend break by myself pushed me a little outside of my comfort zone and showed me that it's okay to spend time by yourself. I'm learning to feel comfortable in my own skin, it can be hard and scary sometimes but everyone should travel by themselves at least once in their life. It's very freeing and satisfying setting off by yourself.

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