Well, my first blog post. So much to think about, not least what I am going to say, how, who my target audience is, my tone of voice, how honest, how deluded. I am surprised I haven't given up at the first hurdle but there again when I look back at this year there have been so many hurdles I thought about putting myself forward for the GB Olympic team (note: an attempt at humour).
It's been a big year. At the end of 2015 I suffered a depressive episode. Depression is something I have struggled with all my life, rather ironically a lot of it has been centred around my relationship with food and my distorted body image (more on that later), ironic because I am about to embark on a 3 month journey to train to be a chef at the world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. I should imagine there will be a lot of food, it being a cookery school an' all. This demonstrates how far I've come, but there again I believe this is exactly where I am meant to be.
On my journey to recovery I've tried many things to combat the dark cloud that moved in I've worked really hard to overcome this particular episode, not all of them successful but I definitely give myself 10 out of 10 for trying; I embraced mindfulness (the raisin thing is quite odd), I started a Happiness Planner (beautiful branding but I found I was rather non-committal, maybe a little jazz hands for me), I attempted to stick post-it notes with positive affirmations around the house (is it me or are post-it notes just not what they used to be? Needless to say they fell down faster than I put them up). I do not mock these things, they are all wonderful ways to be present and focus on the amazing aspects of life that pass us by, however for me the answer wasn't found in a book or a planner but within me. It came down to being brave and going on a adventure that I hope will give me a new direction, a new path and will enable me to do something I am passionate about. Because I do believe it is possible to always do what you love.
So, back to the food and irony. Over the past four years I have completely changed my relationship with food. I used to be totally scared of it, quite obsessive, I should imagine quite boring, although I am sure there are some people who think I am still quite boring about food. Foodie types do have a habit of irritating non-foodie types especially if they are banging on about the benefits of chia every five seconds (sorry). The point is it that I didn't have a clue what to eat, I was always struggling to lose that half a stone, you know that magic half a stone that is going to change your life? Now I wasn't overweight, far from it, I was just unhappy, confused and had a life time of negative associations with food to work through. My story is no different to anyone else that has healed themselves with food and nutrition; you start to feel and see the benefits and you never look back. Slowly the weight (if it's there to lose) starts to come off, the energy levels increase, you start to be a little less boring and obsessive about food because it doesn't consume and dominate your every moment. Now I love food. Nutrition is the gateway to good health, it is the ultimate jazz hands to the dance floor. It is the bomb.
So I suppose my story is two-fold, it is about changing my life at the grand old age of 40, leaving a job that I loved to take a punt, to believe that the entrepreneur inside me deserves to go to the life party. It is also about being brave and tackling the demons we all have in us head on.
I don't know where Kitchen & Soul is going to go, all I know is it begins with Ballymaloe Cookery School on Monday 19th September 2016.
How do I feel?
I am excited about:
- Living on an organic farm
- Living in Ireland
- Milking a cow
- Making cheese
- Tasting wine
- Meeting new people
I am terrified about:
- Meeting new people (this is like a whole other blog post)
- Putting on weight with all the cooking
- Not being able to exercise (this keeps me sane)
- Being totally useless at the cooking bit
- Realising I've made a terrible mistake, being unemployed, being 40, being stranded in Ireland (these are the irrational fears but good to get them out)
I am now on the countdown. I fly on Sunday 18th September. It's happening. This is it. You ready? Buckle up beautiful people I'm going for a ride. This is not a joke, I have purchased a fold-up bicycle, if nothing else this will provide enough laughs for everyone. It rains a lot in Ireland and I do not really take to waterproof trousers.