Adulthood... one year in!

As my first year of being 30 comes to an end, I thought I'd reflect upon my first step into real adulthood. Was it any different? Did I grow? Progress? Learn anything? Does my future look bright? Is it orange?

You could say this has been an interesting year. I spent the first few months in LA, truly living in a bit of a bubble. The experience was the best of my life and it changed me incessantly. I came back, changed my job (well got a real job sort of), not before spending two weeks working in a hair salon with the most camp, most flamboyant Evisu jean wearing, receptionist, who told me the salon was not a 'top knot' friendly salon and then proceeded to do impressions of willy hungry men he had met at old school garage raves.

That particular job nearly sucked my soul and starved me of my top knot love, so I began working in a bar that consisted of two customers a day and a pair of the most small minded, ignorant men that said such eye opening statements... 'what's the point of chasing your dream, get a job, buy a house and do what we all do' followed by the other insightful mentions that 'the media is not to blame for (women's) insecurities with their body image, but we ourselves (women) are in fact our own worst enemies, we are a conniving,  competitive species hell bent on being the brightest flower with the brightest petals so we can win the muscle, to procreate, thus causing our own demise into eating disorders and the like'

Luckily the place went into liquidation before I bread crumbed someone's penis and dipped it into a boiling pot of old, dirty oil.

By this point half the year had gone by. I was half way through my first year of "the year that was going to be my year" I'd told my agent not to put me up for any acting jobs because truly, I didn't know what I wanted any more. I didn't know who I was without acting and I didn't know if I could survive without the possibility that life could just change dramatically, or if I'd survive without thinking I was on the path I'd always thought I was meant to be on.

When you come back from the land of opportunity you feel full of hope and enthusiasm. You then spend two months with irrational 'top knot phobe' men or guys with no more than one brain cell between them and the enthusiastic, excitement dies down and you coast for a little while figuring what next.

What next?

I'm a good coaster. I've been good at waiting for life to happen, for something to change without me doing much to steer it in another direction. Hence the trip to LA to try and shock me out of my comfort zone. But it's not long before your patterns catch up with you and you're at home tired from a days work watching an episode of First Dates, scrolling through Instagram replaying those words that shook things up in the first place.

Stop dreaming, start doing.

None of the above sounds very exciting. It's not the stuff IG filtered squares are made of. It's not the life I imagined when I balled my eyes out to my mum aged 24 telling her that I just knew, I was going to be a successful actress, I just knew it in my bones.

It's not that I stopped believing it, I just feel like I stopped wanting it. Or was that a figment is my imagination protecting me from the real thought, that maybe I didn't believe it was possible at all?

People talk about having a mid life crises. That you get to middle age and you start questioning what it was all about, the decisions you made, were they the right ones and should you have done it differently? Maybe our generation have these moments earlier. Because we are adorned with option after option. We see lives that look appealing to live, daily, and we heart it, comment on it, repost it, tag it... the whole world has been made 'obtainable' our dreams have been made acheivable, because our thumb brushes over it scrolling through what our lives could be like if we just... sort of... cropped and filtered it slightly.

I've been contemplating buying a Red Ferrari or starting flamenco classes and then you get reminded of what a horrendous state the world is in, and how humanity can burst your egotistical bubble and you ask yourself the question.

Am I living the life I want to? Am I doing all of the things I want to be doing? Would I be happy if this was all I ever did or all I ever was? Was who I was enough? And what does success really mean?I have a beautifully, lovely life, with lovely friends and a wonderful family. I am grateful beyond belief. What I do for a living, isn't who I am and I can accept that I can live in the moment and stop wanting or needing more (sun/money/plans/gap in between my thighs)

What is it that we are all chasing and wanting and needing? What is success and happiness and do they interconnect?

The Metro did an article on "Where are they now?" (Stars of Harry potter) and they had taken from my blog, that I had given up acting and become a personal trainer. My ego went into over drive. Hearing someone say out loud that I had given up on my dream, hit a nerve so deep that I felt numb. I didnt want to be that person. Even if I wasn't sure if it was my dream or not, I didnt want to be the one that had given up on her dreams. Its those people that never make it. All you have to do is just hang on in there.


A few months ago, prior to the article, I had gotten myself a new agent. One that I liked, one that was good, one that I wasn't scared to call and a new chapter begun. All the whilst gaining a growing client base of PT clients and finding my feet with what I really want to do with my life, in my life, for my life.

Some people may say I have too many fingers in too many pies (as a client liked to point out) "Oooo you want to do a lot don't you?" And for a slight moment I felt ashamed. How dare I. How silly of me to be so obnoxious to want to do more than one thing, or to attempt to try more than what is to be considered the norm. How ridiculous to think that I would try and take on all of the things I want to tackle.

What an obscene, absurd idea.

Turns out, after a realisation face plants you out of nowhere and old age (alright I'm not that old) makes you reassess what it is you really want, you come to the conclusion that perhaps you want it all. That maybe you want to be your own boss, you want to write a book, you want to facilitate young women workshops on self love and confidence, you want to train clients, and share the journey with other people and hopefully relate to their own, you want to help encourage healthier choices and write a fitness programme that will help get them their fitness goals, and more than anything I want it to be OK that I don't know how the hell I'm going to get there, that I am shit scared, cacking my pants; that it might not all turn out, in anyway that I may hope. Sometimes I have bad days and question my journey and other days I feel like Beyonce. I am fearful and vulnerable and we ask ourselves the question, are we progressing? At the right speed in the right direction? Can I trust the process, the path, the journey Im on. Will I survive it? Embrace it? Be, all, in it. Because what if I fail and suck at all the things I want to try. What if I try and none of them amount to 'success' whatever that success looks like on paper? And if not apparent in bright bold ink... what if I don't end up just plain and simply, happy? What if I don't doubletap a huge bright red heart on my own life feed, because I was too busy double tapping other peoples.

So as I reflect upon my adulthood as if I have all the time in the world and yet none at all, I take a deep breath and swallow the same fears I always had, accept now I'm not afraid to say them out loud, I'm not ashamed to say, I'm not sure if I will get all of the things I would like, but I am very, very up for trying.

30 days until I am over 31... lets go.

Inspo from Squat Mango...

For the launch of my new blog  I wanted to speak to girls who have inspired me to dream big, be open, honest and put myself out there. After deciding to do more 'lifestyle' posts about food and exercise (soon as it is a massive part of my life) This one in particular is a massive inspiration for me. I stalk her Instagram like a crazy fan girl and always look forward to her transformation posts and her honest captions about how her journey is going. I have been following Kayla Itsines on Instagram for years, and working her twelve week training programme recently, you end end up following a massive community. Natsbbg (who is now on week 35) is one of the many I started to follow. She is nothing but open in her posts about her fitness journey and she inspires me on those mornings when I want to sleep or snooze for hours on end, to get up and go to the gym, because hard work pays off. Natsbbg begun her own blog Squat Mango and is selling a recipe book off the back of her amazing hard work and transformations.  Nati talks a lot about what she eats and how she trains on her Instagram  so I wanted to ask this gorgeous girl some different questions. How she began believing in herself and what pushed her on her journey... It is so awesome to get to speak to other girls about body image and liking ourselves as it is something I have struggled with since I was an eleven year old kid standing in Tammy girl wishing I could wear a crop top and denim shorts. I wasn't in it alone.

Were you always confident?

I’ve had my times where I’ve been very confident, and I've also gone through some times where I have had 0 confidence. A lot of this confidence has depended on my body image. I was always fairly lean, until the end of high school / beginning of college. I started drinking A LOT and my then boyfriend broke up with me right when I was starting university. I partied way too much and started gaining weight. I started looking for acceptance while partying, thinking the more guys liked me, the more I would like myself. I was dependent on guys to feel good about myself. For example, there’d be nights where I’d go out and lots of guys would ask me to dance with them. This would be a successful night for me. Then there’d be nights where no one would ask me and I’d feel incredibly sad. Its weird to think about how much random men’s opinions would mean to me. There came a time where I decided I shouldn't put my happiness in other people’s hands, let alone random guys who actually meant nothing to me. I decided I was the maker of my own future. My life kind of took a turn, as I decided I didn't need a man or anyone for that matter to help me feel better about myself. I decided to be happy and confident and I learned to love myself despite my flaws. Turns out, a few weeks after I decided all this, I met my current boyfriend (we've been together for 4 years now!). I know this answer might not really answer the question well haha but what I mean to say is, I've had times where my confidence has been on the floor. I've lost and gained weight and this has always been something that affected how I viewed myself. But my confidence has been great ever since I started loving myself for who I am and not for who other people want me to be.

What actions do you take to be kinder to yourself (physically/mentally)

There’s days where I’m so hard on myself! I have to remind myself that in order to truly be happy, I have to be good to myself. I have to treat myself but I also have to maintain a healthy balance. Food is very important to me. I’ve started eating healthy and it has changed me, physically and mentally. But I’ve reached a stage where I can’t be healthy 100% of the time, so I do enjoy some treats now and then. And when I do, I beat myself up. But then I say to myself “HEY! YOU DESERVE IT!” because beating myself up isn’t going to help anyone! I wake up everyday and promise myself i’m going to make a good day out of it! I smile as much as I can and I think positively, even when i’m feeling down. It’s easy to get caught up in the bad things, and it’s important to remember how many good things I have going on in my life and I have to remain thankful.

Have you always dreamed big?

No! I’ve always dreamed small actually. I started this instagram thinking, “hm, maybe i’ll share my picture and inspire a few people”. I NEVER thought I would actually inspire so many people. I was looking for small jobs that didn’t really make me happy (i considered working in a bank.. what!??) and suddenly I decided, "hey.. I could make a recipe book! That’s not hard right?” I realised I could do anything I set my mind to! And now my recipe book is being sold all around the world and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve actually got a lot more plans for myself and my brand (squatmango) coming up!!

What would you say to your younger self, in hind sight, about loving yourself and body image?

Never let anyone define you. If you’re not happy about yourself today, make the necessary changes in order to be happier! Love yourself each and every day! Eat the right foods, and treat yourself right. Never settle for less than you deserve. You only have one body, so treat it right and love yourself every single day.

Love natsbbg x



A day in LA...

Well... I guess you could say a typical day involves a lot of hiking and a lot of driving. Yup, that's the truth. I will give a run down of a packed LA day and I promise I will try not drop too many wank stain cliche'd daily routines in there. But it's LA. There will be a few and I have to admit, I love em.

So I set my alarm for 7.15am every morning. I often snooze until 8am. I like a snooze. The little pockets of extra sleep are such treats that I feel like I am somehow beating the universe (sorry universe) When I do wake up I might do a sneaky five minutes on Instagram. Post a pic from the day before and then catch up with friends, family, the boyf on Whats app and such social media. Soon as the UK has been up for a good few hours, there is often a good hour of much needed voice notes and all that jazz. When I do finally rise, it's often a choice between, a gym work out (in the park) a hike or a run (I know, so freaking wank stainy) Now you add exercise into your routine out here like it's part of your day job. Because it sort of has to be, because here they sell things like giant pretzels with honey mayonnaise and candied walnuts and jars of cookie dough... so, yup, all the hiking... it's a must. Or I may need a helicopter to lift me out of the bedroom window by the end of the trip. 

Whilst we hike we do the cliche'd reflection. Where we are at in our lives, where we are going. Whether it's worth it, and then we look out at the view and pinch ourselves. Or course it is. We look at the houses in the hills and obviously discuss the house we will have when we book 'that' job. It won't be a house in Beverly Hills, but maybe Silverlake or Los Feliz. Well, a beach house down by Venice would be nice too, with a porch and comfy cushions. We'd have a pool at both places and my place would be all white. Because well, Pinterest makes all white houses look totally practical and beautiful all at the same time. Between reflection and actual hiking we take many pictures of us jumping in the air. After about thirty snaps, where we get two of us actually in the air... 

Exercise done, legs shaking, you're in need of some food. This whole routine may be counter productive, but it feels good all the same. I often have brekki at home, because you eat out a lot here. It is sort of justifiably acceptable to eat out a lot here, because food shopping can be pricey. And eating out can be slightly cheaper than at home. Errrm, any old excuse I know. And sometimes we are rebels and eat out for brekki too..

We then head to a coffee shop for some writing. We often talk about what we want to write, more than we actually write, but either way we feel productive. I have an attention span of a gnat so often find myself writing for thirty minutes and then doing life admin for ten, then blogging for twenty and then back to the script writing for another fifteen. We make plans, we drink things like a matcha late (a wank stain cliche I like) we discuss the next days hike, we remember we have lines to learn for an audition on Friday, have a panic and start reading the script. The phone rings, it's the agent. You have another audition, but it needs to be in South African. WTF... I do not have that one on my CV, sorry, resume. Erm, Saaath Afrrican? Ok, yup sure, I say with pretend confidence. Got it. I panic. I go through the phone book, is there anyone I know that is South African and then I curse that I do not have more diverse friends. Jeez. You Tube, that will be my saviour. Or as it turns out. District 9. Fantastic, entertainment whilst learning.

Once confident enough that the lines are in, iccent is aahh kay (that's my Saaath Afrrican, in case you were unaware) matcha chai mocha cino skinny late drank, we head home to get ready for whatever evening is planned. Usually dinner out, seeing other British people out here, cocktails or comedy gigs. Tonight we are heading to the Magic Castle. A castle where there is lots of magic, literally. And you have to dress up all glam... que... a must needed trip to the Melrose. Note to self... Budget! 

You go out, meet new people, talk a lot, listen even more, drink a couple of drinks, one if you are driving. No one wants a Linsday Lohan rep of D.U.I's. You head home and wake refreshed the next day for a quick hike (again) before heading to the audition, where as it turns out, they don't need you to do South African, your British accent will do. You smile so much with relief that you actually come away feeling good about the job you just did in the casting and you breath...

Now between all the plans and the writing and the doing there are moments... Moments that you get to yourself and you suddenly feel this overwhelming feeling of angst. It isn't all rainbow farts and glitter clouds out here. There are moments that your own ego get to you. I like being busy. Busy makes me feel like I have purpose and busy means I often don't notice any negative thoughts that might crop up in my head. But the moments in between can catch you unguarded. This town has a good way of doing that to you because you are usually so busy doing, that when you suddenly stop, it feels weird. Suddenly you are aware that you are far from your loved ones. The ones that laugh at all of your jokes and listen to all of your whining. The ones that you can fart in front of and wear joggers and crocs in front of, the ones that won't judge you if you do not do your eyebrows or you can say mean things in front of and yet they somehow know you're not a mean person. You realise you are far from the place where you can talk bout Kim K and yet your people still know you can talk about things that are far more stimulating too. You are far from a place where you don't have to talk yourself up all of the time, or explain where Slough is (Yes the place The Office was based) A place where you can sit on the sofa and not feel guilty about being outside, because, well, it's raining so of course you can veg out and eat ice cream in your pyjamas. In these moments you miss sarcasm, pubs, pavements that aren't broken, driving on the left, grumpy faces staring at you on the tube, TFL... 

And then you come to and the teeny moments where you feel lonely, subside. At the mere mention of public transport in London, you're back loving the sunshine, the hikes, the views, the sunshine, the kale, the coconut water, the roller blades, the clear blue skies, the opportunities, the business, the no work, the toy money and you slap yourself for not living in the moment and feeling sorry for yourself for that split second. 

Of course you are grateful to be here. Of course you love it. The lifestyle, the chances, the new people to meet, but I would be lying if I din't let on that their are moments of doubt and insecurity. Moments when you feel lonely. Times when all you want is to hug the person that knows you inside and out or debate with you're friends that know you inside and out. There are moments when you forget the journey you are on and want to recoil back into comfort.

But also in those times, you are fully aware that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. (Pinterest says so)