close up of 3 dumbbells

Living in the World of Fitness and Exercise

The other day I was running on the treadmill and an idea came to mind for a new topic on the blog, that being, the world of fitness and exercise. There are many reasons why exercise is good for you including a boost in feel-good moods and making you stronger. I don’t mean that it’ll turn you into Mr Muscle man, I mean it could do if that’s what you’re going for… but it helps to keep the strength up in different parts of your body.

Loving your own body is hard, isn’t it? Well it sure is for me and there’s no doubt that you haven’t found at least one flaw with your body. On the fitness side of things is where it can get dangerous. You can damage your mind comparing your weight, capabilities and energy to others. The truth is, some people can run faster than others; swim lengths quicker than others, lift heavier weights than others etc.

Now I’m no fitness guru but I do know that it should be enjoyable. Once you see things from that perspective, it really does help. You live in your body every single day of your life, you shouldn’t be so harsh on something that helps you to develop and grow, mentally and physically.

My fear of going back to the gym since my teenage years was known very well by Danny. I would constantly say, “but they’ve got toned stomachs, they can go into the gym but no fear about who they see and what they can do in front of anyone…” I used to be with weighing myself every week. If I didn’t have a £1 coin on me, I’d ask Danny and he would say no straight away because I seen what I doing to myself.

I’m not overweight (and wasn’t then) nor am I underweight. I’m actually in the ‘ideal’ weight category. But I mean, shouldn’t ideal be what we’re comfortable with? Of course, if exercise and diet tips have been advised on a health level by your GP, nurse etc. then that’s different but I’m talking about loving your body for what it is including those flaws you see, no matter how they may or may not appear to others.

I can’t emphasise enough how your body is YOURS. There’s so much influence online, some good, some bad. You don’t have to be like anyone but you. I slack with the gym from time-to-time; eat those snacks that aren’t ‘good for you’ sometimes. But guess what? Both of those things are good for me. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step away and be in little piggy mode as I like to call it.

It’s amazing when you do the simplest thing and that’s doing what makes you happy. Sometimes it’s nice to push limits like training for a run if that’s your thing. It could be anything such as lowering the weight of an applicator but increasing the number of sets.

In school, I enjoyed running, it wasn’t my favourite thing. I was more of a rounders, circuit, a bundle of activities kinda girl. I was chosen for the relay in high school on sports day and I used to love it. Cross country was a thing that everyone used to hate (usually a punishment if someone complained about a sport or forgot their kit) but again I didn’t mind it.

Back in 2017 I completed my first 10k run with Danny. It wasn’t about being the fastest, it was about finishing the run for our grandparents and the charities we had chosen in memory of them. It did take a lot of training. We surprised ourselves yet again at Race for Life where we beat our goal by 5 minutes. A little encouragement from each other was all we needed.

The main point I’m trying to get across is start doing what you’re comfortable with. One day you might want to try something new and push yourself further but it’s okay if not. Keeping fit and exercising should and can be enjoyable.

I hope you’re going to come away from reading this post and look at your body in a more positive way.

birthday cake with candle and flower at the side

The First Birthday That You’re Not Here

As soon as uncle Dom’s funeral was over, I knew that I had to face Race for Life in memory of him, but I also knew that it wouldn’t end there because another date was coming up… it’s his birthday today.

Usually I would be getting ready to head up to his and auntie Linda’s house. But today I’m sat at home doing, well, nothing much to be honest. Uncle Dom always knew how to party and celebrating his birthday was one of the best type of parties he did ever throw, with the efforts from auntie Linda of course.

I always thought he would make the race and he would stay for his birthday but time just wasn’t on his side. Who’s going to dance those cowboy moves? Who’s going to gather the family spirit? I’m sure the house, on today especially, is very quiet without you. But auntie Linda can that time to think about all of your birthdays that the two of you spent together and smile.

One minute it’s grandad’s birthday, 4 days later it’s granny’s then 10 days later, here we are, on your birthday. Maybe you’re all up there together having a joint birthday party? I hope you’re celebrating in uncle Dom style.

I’m sending you a big hug from me and Danny, just like we always gave you when leaving your house after a visit and again when you were in hospital. Your card is here. You know how organised I am – I bought it back in June not long before you passed away.  So maybe this blog post can be my birthday card to you? Perhaps, even a little chat, with you on the listening end. After all, you did wish me a happy birthday twice this year.

Regardless of any little debates you had, you would always make me feel special. I’m no model but you always said I was. Whenever I had news about work or the house, you always encouraged me to go for whatever I wanted to. That’s something I’ll never forget about you.

I hope there is a way that we can communicate. Maybe the next time I look up for granny and grandad twinkling in the sky, I’ll see an extra star and think of you.

Cheers uncle Dom, *raising a pint* here’s to you.


Remember, grief affects us all in different ways. If you’re struggling to cope, take a look at the Macmillan Cancer Support page for guidance.

box of tissues on table

What to Expect When Having Septoplasty Surgery

Danny has had problems with his nose for years now – breathing, sneezing, and… snoring! His GP never really seen it as a concern. Then, after pushing for a second opinion he attended his appointment at Oaklands Hospital in Salford (as an NHS patient, not private).

His original date for the procedure was postponed until more recently, which I was quite happy about for the most part because it meant he could take part in Race for Life with me.

Having the septoplasty procedure

The procedure itself takes approximately 30-40 minutes.

What do they do?

Dependent on what’s required they do different things. With Danny, they shaved away some of the cartilage and stitched it back together. They also cauterised at the top.

How long until you can go home?

In most cases you can go home two hours after surgery (which was the case for Danny), but sometimes they will keep you in for longer if your nose doesn’t stop bleeding or if there’s a complication.

Recovering from septoplasty

The majority of people recover from septoplasty in 1-2 weeks before they can go back to school or work. The actual benefits aren’t usually fully felt for a good few months though.

Luckily, Danny had no bruising. However, bruising is something that can occur with others around the eyes and nose. Danny did suffer with quite a bit of bleeding from his nose and pain in his upper lip. He was advised to not sneeze or blow his nose for at least a week. It’s really important to remember to breathe from your mouth on a daily basis.

Being at home

Going home to your own comforts is good but there are things to remember. It’s important and worthwhile to lie on your back, keeping your head elevated with 2-3 pillows. There isn’t much that Danny has had to change around the house e.g. I can still spray Febreeze, however in moderation and not when he’s in the room.

As advised by the hospital, Danny stayed indoors which was terrible when we had the strong heatwave that hit the UK. After one week he did step outside to the shop to grab some dinner as he worked from home in his second week after surgery. He wasn’t allowed in an office as there are groups of people and air con where germs can spread very easily.

One thing Danny says I’ve got a terrible habit with is kicking in my sleep which usually involves me spreading my arms and legs out. So I kinda need to be careful to make sure I don’t hit his nose. I feel awful when I have brushed past it accidentally.

Have you ever had septoplasty surgery? What were the long-term benefits for you?

lots of tablets on a table

Coming off Propranolol Beta Blocker Medication to Treat Migraines

At the age of 16 I was prescribed propranolol medication to help reduce the frequency of migraines attacks. My dosage increased from 10mg to 80mg at the hospital. I’ve talked about the side effects of beta blockers before but my decision to gradually stop taking them was a big one to make. The biggest bother was extreme sensitivity to cold and pins and needles through my whole body. I also made the decision to stop with the hope it would help the discolouration in my skin. (I don’t have Raynaud’s Disease)I’d like to talk about the feelings I’ve had since I’ve stopped taking the medication. 

Body temperature

The biggest and best feeling of all has got to be not feeling so cold all of the time. Honestly, I know a lot of girls feel cold a lot of the time but it was just silly with me. The worst body parts affected had to be my hands and feet. My hands especially would get that cold, they would sting and hurt. I used to struggle writing, opening things, I was just a walking shiver really. Now I find it so much easier with choosing what clothes to wear and being able to get cosier is much easier because my body is at a temperature I like.

Pins and needles free

Okay this is a strange one because I think it always got mixed up on the symptoms side of migraines. For example, when I went to the doctors to talk about my hands discolouring and turning a crazy blue and grey, the pins and needles worsened. But because I had pins and needles every single day (I’m not kidding), I thought it was a part of me and it was normal. Clearly I was wrong. Around about a month after I stopped taking propranolol, there wasn’t a single tingling pain in my fingers or anywhere in my body. I feel amazing.

Less headaches

My migraines must have been slowly disappearing over the last few years (touch wood). The reason I was prescribed propranolol was due to having more than one migraine a week following sickness, blurry eye sight, flashes, losing balance etc. After being on the medication for a few years I expected at least one a month, maybe one severe migraine every couple months if I was lucky.

There’s no saying that stress won’t cause a migraine but I’ve gotten a whole lot better at realising the dangerous side effects of stress e.g. increase in blood pressure, shaking, diet etc. Thankfully, blood pressure medication is all I need to take on a daily basis now.

There’s an even bigger bonus, the headaches after a night out aren’t half as cruel as they used to be. I still can’t handle them like 18 year old me could though!

This post was based on advice by my GP keeping in mind the importance of keeping my body as natural as healthy as possible. I reduced my dosage from 80mg to 40mg to nothing. The last jump was a risk but it’s been a risk worth taking and for that, I’m so glad. I took propranolol for 8 years and it came to a point where they started to overpower my body. Each individual has different needs – mine being to consider what I’d rather cope with than put up with in the long run.

Have you ever taken propranolol for migraines? How do/did they make you feel? Tell me in the comments box below or via Twitter @explorewithtasha.

man and woman holding hands

Thoughts After Someone Loses Their Life to Cancer

Cancer – everyone hates hearing that word, right? For years it’s something that has hit people around me.

You hear about people to went to school with, their parents or relatives being diagnosed. Then there comes a time when it happens to your own. You’re aware that down the family history some people have suffered from it, some best it and some didn’t. But it doesn’t mean they didn’t fight it.

The fact that there’s over 200 cancers in the world makes this planet a very, very scary place to be. Cancer is happening right now. We ask ourselves why such an evil disease exists. The answer? I wish there was a valid one.

These things don’t just happen in films

Have you ever seen My Sister’s Keeper? I cried at that film, it’s so sad. However, I never really took into consideration how I would feel if someone close to me was diagnosed with cancer. That was until my uncle heard his likely diagnosis of cancer.

At the time they thought it was lymphoma. There was so much optimism to fight it as it’s a common type of cancer and the treatment would help. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. You know how everyone’s body is different? Well, my uncle’s body was hit harder by cancer than we thought. And it wasn’t only the physical aspects that changed. His actual diagnosis was neuroendocrine tumours.

Neuroendocrine? That’s the brain? Well, ‘neuro’ does relate to the nervous system. The reason why we hadn’t heard anything about this type of cancer before is because it’s a rare type. Me and mum went to ring each other at the same time pretending to one another that each of us weren’t worrying. But that wasn’t the truth. My heart was pounding with wonder and my mum was doing that thing where you’re trying to hold it together for someone.

What are neuroendocrine tumours?

Neuroendocrine cells are in the majority of organs in our body and have usually spread before they’re found. All of this information was a lot to take in but I couldn’t just let go of the feeling of hope I was holding onto.

If anything, I hoped for those around be to be stronger, and for me to be just as strong for them.

It’s one of the most difficult things to do when all you want to do is break down and cry – and several times you end up doing so.

Heartache is something that can tear you apart – especially seeing two people married for 40 years come to the end of their lives together.

The person who had the greatest amount of strength throughout all of this was uncle Dom. Knowing how concerned he used to be if I had the slightest of headaches to a severe migraine, he didn’t think it was fair to suffer pain. I can’t even imagine the amount of pain he was in. But he was still so invested in hearing about how we were and what we’ve been up to.

Keeping spirits high is an important thing to do during these times

Emotions can be very high. You’ve got to try your best to understand what someone’s going through. Sometimes, being there is all you can do.

As much as I would’ve loved for uncle Dom to have been there watching us run at the Race for Life event in Manchester, I hoped he was looking over me and Danny on the day. I told him I was doing the run for him so that’s what I had to do.

As soon as I heard the word ‘cancer’, alarm bells rang and I said, “I’m gonna look for a run with Cancer Research UK”.

It happened to be that, Race for Life was taking place on Sunday 14th July – the day that marked 40 years of marriage for my auntie and uncle. I can’t bring into so many words how I felt during that day. It was difficult for sure.

There are audio clips that you listen to before the race begins. Of course, tears were strolling down my face and I wasn’t the only one. Danny has been with me through every emotion. But when he had tears I wondered if I’d be able to do it. I stayed determined because I knew that the hardest part hadn’t hit me yet.

Heading towards the finish line

The part I was kinda dreading the most was approaching the finish line. And it was even more than I imagined it to be. As soon as I seen ‘FINISH’ in the distance, that was it. I ran faster and stayed focused, looking straight ahead.

When I reached the finish line I was shaking, not because of the energy used to participate in the race, it was all of the emotion I was holding inside in order to complete the race. Family cheered and I think the best reaction that got me was my dad’s proud expression on his face.

My auntie came looking for me and I was heading in her direction to run up to her. That moment was what it was all about. The huge hug from her was as if it was just us two in that moment in time. I felt her pain. But I also felt so much love. The hug had enough power to be from my auntie and uncle together.

Another date to remember

Uncle Dom’s birthday is coming up next month and being the organised person I am, I already bought his birthday card before he passed away. I’ll think of something special to commentate the day. I’m so pleased and amazed that we have reached £1,088 in our fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

I feel like it’s all over and I need to be doing something else. Maybe the series of blog posts I’ve written will help to raise awareness. I really hope they do.

Cancer might take our loved ones but it’ll never take the memories.

I’d like to thank Rosie at Race for Life, for being so understanding and helping to support me with raising awareness of uncle Dom’s story. For information on where to find your nearest Race for Life visit: https://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org

cloudy sky during the daytime

Worrying Over the Little Things

Ah, worrying over the little things is more common with people than you think. I like to think I’m a lot more in control of my worrying mind nowadays and that my ridiculously worrying days are over. For the most part that’s true but there are still small parts of me where the worrier in me remains. Maybe not always ‘worry’ but a constant wonder, you know?

Take the things that haven’t even happened yet. I get a sense of fear when thinking about seeing certain people in a sudden situation. Or, I still hold onto the wonder of what someone thinks of me if they see me. It’s weird because I know damn right that the person on the other side wouldn’t even have a care in the world.

Here’s what I (and you if you’re in the same boat) need to remember…

  1. There are amazing things happening in your life right now, try to spend more time focusing on those.
  2. Time spent worrying is often time wasted. Use your time wisely and think about the happiest things in your life.
  3. Whenever something’s getting to you (even though it probably shouldn’t), talk to someone because it will help.
  4. You can always write about your thoughts, just like me. Writing definitely is my therapy as it helps me to release what’s on my mind.
  5. Whenever you figure out the small triggers of your worry, try to distance yourself from them without giving them too much attention.

Living with your partner can help to reduce the negative thoughts and wonder going through your mind. They want you to be happy so don’t forget how lucky you are to have a home together and to cherish their company with every chance you get.

Hold onto the closest people in your life, they’ll always help you to see the brighter side to life, no matter what’s going on. A short and sweet post but something to think about, right?

I hope this post helps you if you’ve been worrying about the little things.