What I learnt in 2018

For the first time in ages I got dressed up, did my make up and curled my hair. Starting 2019 in style!

Hello my dears! Happy new year! I hope you had a fantastic start to it. I was down the Peninsula with my lovely Em celebrating it at Portsea Hotel. It was a great time and I’ll be writing a post about it soon. It’s been a little while since my last post and I thought with 2018 coming to an end it was time to turn back to the blog and reflect back on these extremely eventful twelve months. A life changing twelve months. At the beginning of this year if someone would have told me I would be sitting in this flat here in Elsternwick in Melbourne in AUSTRALIA writing this post, I’m not sure I would’ve believed them. Things can really change in a short space of time. One move can change your course for life. This year didn’t come off to the best start but if it’s one thing I truly did this year is find myself again. As I mentioned before, I was pretty broken when I came to Australia. I was emotionally drained and this place has healed me and reminded me of the person I am and want to be. I feel the happiest I’ve been for a while.

So without further ado, here are a couple of things I’ve learnt in 2018 and will be taking with me into 2019:

1. Go with the flow

I have always been a planner. I plan everything, I suppose to have as much control over situations as I can. I’m not quite sure why but I enjoy planning. Since moving to Australia I have noticed this mindset shift. It must be something in the water or the air air here because I’ve never felt so chilled in my life. I’ve definitely have become more of a go with the flow person and let things just happen rather than plan for everything. I do still plan a bit (can’t entirely let go of my old ways) but it’s nice to just let things be as well and let them unfold naturally.

2. Friends are everywhere

A big learning this year is you can find great people everywhere. When I moved over to Melbourne from Glasgow I didn’t have any friends here at all. The last time I had to start from scratch like this was when I moved to Glasgow but then I was going to uni and you naturally will find friends there through your halls and course. To find friends in the adult world is a different story. I keep on thinking how lucky I am to have a passion like training Crossfit and how you naturally find friends there who have similar interests and vibes as you. I have no idea how I otherwise would’ve made friends. I can’t imagine my life without these people now. I even live with one of them, Mim (I don’t think I’d survive without her). This was also proven to me once again when I went to Sydney last week and met my friends Christian and Sam. We clicked immediately. It was a bit nervy travelling alone but I think if you go in with a positive mindset and are happy to talk to people you’ll always find your tribe.

3. You can’t save people

Wow, this was a tough one this year. Leaving a relationship because of the other half fighting a battle you can’t help them with anymore. I had gotten to a point where this battle was taking a massive toll on me, more than I realised when I was in it. I tried everything in my power to help but in the end I had to accept the fact that it was not meant to be fixed by me. I couldn’t fix it as much as I tried and hoped I somehow could. It wasn’t my fault, even though I sometimes blamed myself thinking I could do more, be more supportive. I do think you can be a support and help people but what I realised is that you can only go so far, the rest is up to them. I was stubborn and didn’t want to give up but eventually came to the realisation that I had given it everything I got, I was losing myself and it was time to let go.

4. I love this planet

This year I’ve taken a giant leap when it come to my lifestyle and diet. I’ve worked so hard to minimise my waste in ways that I can control. I’ve also pretty much now taken the leap and become fully vegan or plant based. It’s what I identify more with now than anything else. At the beginning of the year I was still eating eggs and even fish/seafood once in a while. What I’ve come to the conclusion is that I love this planet we’re on and in order for it to continue existing eating plant based is the way to go. I also don’t want to hurt animals because of what I eat. I’m feeling great and do not think my plant-based diet is limiting in anyway. I feel like I look the best I’ve done as well in terms of physique too which is always a nice bonus. To look back at old photos from the beginning of this year to where I am not is pretty eye opening. It just shows that you grow muscle and train hard being fuelled by plants.

Living in Melbourne has helped considerably with this, having vegan options everywhere readily available I never feel like I miss out. The discovery of tofu scramble allowed be to say goodbye to eggs and as time has gone by I no longer miss fish or seafood that much. I’m still of the opinion that if I really want to eat something I will, I’m not going to label limit me but for now I’m very happy living this way and doing my bit for the planet. It’s a great feeling, you feel empowered every day knowing you’ve saved the planet a little bit for the environment and the animals. One thing I will say is I don’t see myself ever eating meat again, you never know, things may change but yes that door is closed for the foreseeable future.

5. Drinking

This is a point I didn’t really saw coming. You guys know last year I only drank like four drinks the entire year and since coming to Australia I can put my hands up and say that it’s been more drinks than I can count on my two hands. It’s been fun being single and going out once in a while with my friends. We have had some amazing nights. My main reasoning for not drinking before was because of my training but to be honest I’ve never felt fitter or stronger than I do now and I really don’t feel like it’s affected it at all. I still wouldn’t go out days in a row but every now and again it’s a good time! Still not a fan of the hangover the next day but I guess it forces me to take a day off the gym too haha.

6. I love tofu and tempeh

As a lot of people are, I was very sceptical towards soy products up until this year. I was convinced it was not the best for my health and stayed clear of it as much as I could. Well, I can say that’s changed. After doing a lot of reading about it I’m no all on board and I’ve become a bit obsessed, especially with tempeh. I have tempeh almost every day and tofu is pretty great too. Both tempeh and tofu are so easy to chuck in a pan and quickly cook up on when I come home starving from training. Definitely a game changer.

7. I can make it on my own

I was in a relationship for almost six years. Six years with another person by my side, through the good times and the bad I always had him there to support me. We grew up together, chased our dreams together, found our passions together. I was convinced for a while we were meant to be together forever. I have learned that things change and that’s okay. I believe it happens for a reason. I was scared for us to end. I wasn’t sure what my life would be without him. He was my life. However, I made it to Australia all on my own and have since built an entire life here without his support. All from having nothing here. I’ve gone through hardships without having him by my side, which I always relied on and I made it through. I knew I would deep inside but I think this year I was reminded that I can do it myself, with a bit of help from my friends and family. I’m a strong independent woman 😉

8. Australia

I absolutely love Australia. This place is a dream come true and whatever I thought it would be, it’s even better. I never thought it could be. I feel right at home here. When I came to this place and met all the incredible people I’ve met I felt like it was a puzzle piece that had finally been put into place. Like there was a place for me waiting all this time. How everyone just kind of fit me into their lives here. All these incredible people. I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve all of them in my life but I’m going to cherish all of them forever.

9. Things will be okay

I was going through one of the most difficult times at the beginning of this year. I felt like a shell of a person. I cried several times a week and I felt like my life was on hold. I was waiting for some kind of change to happen. For something to get better. The turning point was when my parents and friends encouraged me to book my flight to Australia. They realised I needed a change, a fresh start and direction in life. Once I got here everything started to change, I got to step out of my bubble in Glasgow and got new perspective on things. No matter how difficult things seem to be, if you are willing to work for it, things will be okay. It’ll get easier.

10. Training is life

Haha okay, I suppose that’s nothing new but 2018 has been a fantastic year of training! I remember sitting down writing my fitness goals here on the blog at the beginning of the year (I’ll be writing a separate post on this soon) and I come out of 2018 improved in so many ways. I’ve had time to compete in three competitions (two individual and one partner) where I’ve placed better than I could’ve imagined. I’ve mastered new skills like toes to bar, handstand push ups, double unders and improved my upper body strength considerably. I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I’m currently working on muscle ups. I’m attempting handstand walks. Things I never thought I could even dream of. I’ve lifted heavier than I ever had and wow, my running is the best it’s ever been. I’m happy to say that whenever there’s a running workout now, I know I stand a good chance of having one of the best times. Something I NEVER thought would happen.

It’s not been easy and at time I’ve been extremely frustrated with the lack of progress through periods. I’ve injured myself like with shin splints, smashing my chest just before Battle of the Bluff and I don’t think anyone in my gym will forget when I face planted attempting handstand walks haha. It’s a constant grind and things don’t always go your way but oh man, do I love it. It really is my happy place.

11. Screw fear

Fear, the thing that can hold you back from living life to the fullest. The “what if” and being scared of the unknown. How many times haven’t we let fear stop us from doing something? I know I’ve been guilty of it. In 2018 something switched. I went to Australia despite the fact I was absolutely terrified, I had no idea what was waiting here. All on my own. I entered my first individual Crossfit comp, Rainhill Trials in Manchester. I was terrified. I entered two more comps down here in Australia even though they scared me too. I booked my first solo trip over Christmas to Bondi. I had never travelled alone before. I went on a couple of dates with guys I didn’t even know, despite I was worried it was going to be awkward.

If it’s one thing I’ve learnt through all of this is it’s okay to be scared or nervous. It’s a completely natural thing. What is not okay is to let it dictate your life. The more you break down these walls and limitations you set on yourself the less scary it gets. My solo trip to Bondi was nowhere near as scary as moving over to Australia on my own. I was nowhere near as nervous at Battle of the Bluff as I was at Rainhill. You learn from each experience and you grow more confident and stronger with each little win over the fear. When that voice of doubt comes creeping in I think, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” and if it happens, so what? It’ll be okay and you learn from it and move on. The big reward of doing it and is that you may win so much more. If I hadn’t booked that one way ticket, I wouldn’t be here where I am now. I would’ve missed out on so much just because I was avoiding a little period of fear and discomfort.

Those are some of things I’m taking away from 2018. I feel like I’ve grown a lot this year and become so content and happy in myself. I have this inner calm and confidence I haven’t felt before. I feel like I’ve really become me again, not even again, I’ve found myself and become a new and better me. I’ve found people who appreciate me for exactly who I am and where I feel loved no matter what. I’m lucky to have them spread all over the world and thankfully I’ve got social media to turn to whenever I want to speak to them.

I walk out of 2018 as if I’ve run a long marathon and finally crossed the finish line. It’s been filled with ups and downs. Relationships ending, being single for the first time in almost 6 years and a new life beginning. New adventures on the other side of the globe. I feel like 2019 is going to be an exciting year.

Happy New Year my dears. I’m hoping it will be bring more content to this blog. I can’t promise anything still but I’ll do my very best. I want to find that spark and passion for writing again.

M xxx

South Melbourne Market

So much amazing produce everywhere
For lunch we went for Vietnamese food, I chose a veggie laksa!

Nicola suggested that we would go and visit the South Melbourne Market on Wednesday morning. A large indoor market open Wednesday to Sunday in Port Melbourne (I think it is). It’s located in a lovely area filled with shops, cafés and restaurants. The market itself has got food stalls, vegetable and fruit stalls, flower stalls, clothing stalls and everything else you could possibly think of really.

We didn’t end up having that much time there in the end because Oscar (the middle child was going to kindergarten (or “kinder” as everyone calls it here) and we took a bit longer than planned to get there. We still managed to look at a fair amount. I feel like I could’ve spent hours there! The plan was for me to stay behind and look around a bit more before making my way back home when they headed back. However, this didn’t quite go to plan when I realised as we were standing in the queue to order our Vietnamese food that my purse was nowhere to be seen in my bag!

I’ve got quite a big bag that I carry around and I looked through it several times thinking it must be there somewhere but eventually I had to admit to myself it wasn’t there. So weird I thought as I had made a point in the morning to make sure I had it with me. Then it hit me, had I been pick pocketed? The market was full of people after all, although I walk around with my handbag held tightly so it would’ve been rather impressive if someone had managed to get into it and stolen the purse. We got out of the queue and went to check the car just in case I had dropped it on the floor or on the seat, nope, nothing.

Nicola asked me what I wanted to do and I said that we should still go and have lunch. Either it was stolen and then calling banks and blocking cards could wait until after lunch or it was hopefully at home. No point in letting that ruin our time at the market just then. I felt surprisingly calm about it. We had our lunch, had another browse about some stalls before we had to start heading back. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to stay for longer but I’ll for certain go back and take more time to look at everything but I liked what I saw in the little time we had.

We got home and I had a vague memory of sitting by the dining table with my bag and walked straight there. What a relief it was when I saw my purse lying there! So glad I didn’t have to frantically call all my banks to cancel my bank cards. I haven’t yet changed my address for a lot of them, which means it would’ve taken forever for them to arrive most likely. Drama over. I must’ve gotten distracted or something when sorting my purse out with all my cards and forgotten it on the table.

So that was our little trip to the market! I took a slightly different turn but ended well. Phew!

This morning I was at Crossfit Red Bluff again. Today we did overhead squats for the first part of the class. One of my favourite movements so I was really happy when I saw that on the board. I haven’t done them for a while either so I really enjoyed that. Then for the second part, the more high intensity part you aimed to do 5 rounds in 15 minutes. First you rowed 270 metres, then 12 overhead squats and 12 pull ups. I got to round 4 which I was happy with considering pull ups are not my best movement.

I also paid to take part in their trivia night next Saturday at the box. It sounds really fun. They told me I could bring a friend but I don’t really have any friends yet (hehe) so they said there’ll be someone from the box I can team up with most likely. I’m not quite sure what kind of trivia it will be but I know there will be food and I’m looking forward to meeting more people from the box. Every single person I’ve met so far has been so nice to me.

Some of the guys in the class invited me to join in on their rowing practise in the box tomorrow around five as well so I’ll be going to that. I get so happy every time I get invited to do something haha. Means I might be maybe doing something right! God you forget sort of how to make friends when you have friends at home. I’m so glad I’ve at least got somewhere to go to meet people until I find a job. Some of my closest friends I’ve met through going to the gym and classes so here’s hoping I’ll find them soon. Friendship is really not something you can force, it needs to just happen on it’s own. The guys at the box have got great banter so we’ll see! Haha I sound slightly desperate don’t I? Maddie’s mission of finding friends continues 😛

My first days in Melbourne

My first glimpse of Melbourne

My fist Aussie breakie! So yum

We’ve had some sunshine but majority rain so far! Not very common everyone has been telling me

An incredible lunch at Oasis Bakery

The lovely main street in Hampton
Hello lovelies! Wow still can’t believe when I’m writing this title that I’m in Melbourne, I’m in freaking Australia. I’ve been dreaming about this for so long and now I’m in Jamie’s big brother’s and wife’s house here in a suburb just outside Melbourne with all their kids, living the Melbourne life. It feels like it all happened so quickly. I did not feel ready to leave and say bye to be honest but I don’t think you can ever feel ready to just pack up and leave for the other side of the world. There’ll always be something that you feel is holding you back. The 22 hour journey down was actually very pain free and I managed to sleep for a bit and stay awake for the latter part of it so I could sleep when I arrived in Melbourne at ten in the evening.

I was a bit nervous about the customs because I might’ve watched a few too many episodes of their border control but it was actually no problem at all. The most time consuming thing when I arrived was waiting for my two bags. It took forever because the plane was so big. Once I was all cleared and went through the doors to the arrivals hall I got a ride down to Hampton where they live and have been here since. Jamie’s big brother and wife have so kindly offered me to stay for a month whilst I get settled in. I can’t explain how grateful I am to have a place to land when everything is completely new and plus it gives us a chance to spend a bit of time together.

So far it’s been amazing! Okay the weather has been quite rainy and windy since I arrived but everyone keeps on reassuring me this is the worst it’s been for years and it isn’t like this at all usually. It is autumn so it doesn’t surprise me entirely that it’s a bit rainy. Although the beginning of today was just stunning!

Since I’ve arrived we’ve been out for a lovely breakfast and lunch. The food so far has been just as amazing as I thought it would be. Soooooo gooooood. I’ve spent loads of time with the kids. I’ve opened a bank account, applied for a tax file number which I’ll need when I got a job, we had a drive though the inner city of Melbourne and I’ve joined a Crossfit box nearby(I’ll be writing a separate post about that). This afternoon we spent a while on Brighton Beach. It was a bit windy and cold but it was really fun to see the famous beach huts there.

On the agenda now is to go exploring in the city, sign up to Medicare, get an Aussie phone number, find a job and eventually find a flat. It would also be nice to make some friends hehe.

Leaving Glasgow was a difficult move and I doubted my decision at times. I still wasn’t entirely convinced on the plane journey over. It was just so hard to leave everything behind. Now after a couple of days here I can say that I’m so happy I took the leap. Australia is just as amazing as I remember it from when I was here with my family when I was younger and I’m so excited to be experiencing it in my twenties.

It’s getting late here now and I need to get some sleep! The jet lag has been alright, one night I barely slept because I woke up and my body thought it was the middle of the day UK time, not two in the morning Aussie time… Other than that I have managed to sleep through the night. During the days I hit a slump in the afternoon but power though it.

Speak soon, M xxx

Goodbye G5

I was met by this on the board ❤
It was so cute that they printed off my blogger header and added the “Down Under”

Stella snuck an extra “I” into Australia, just for an extra station haha.

Photos and beautiful memories everywhere

First present opening

Teamed up with my girls Kate and Faye

Working hard…

Trying out my awesome new vest!

Some more gifts
How pretty is my new hoodie?!
Hi guys from Melbourne!  Wow this is the longest break I’ve taken from the blog for a while! It’s just been absolutely manic this past week trying to get organised and with the nerves building up. It was so many “goodbyes” or as I say “see you laters” and was extremely tough. Tougher than what I was prepared for. The final two days I bursted into tears every other minute almost! I was so scared and sad to leave everyone. I was really excited too but the others emotions took over a little bit towards the end. I do know I’ll see everyone again, but it will probably be a while. A strange feeling when you’re used to seeing a lot of them daily or weekly!

On Saturday I had my goodbye workout at G5. My last Metabolic Mayhem and I’m sitting here trying to do it all justice in writing. The morning, the G5 crew and Stella. I’m trying find words to type that can explain what went through my head and it’s tough. It really is. I don’t feel like any words could do this place or the people justice but I’m going to try my best because I want to remember it all.

I walked with Kate down to G5 that morning, I loved having having company down. I was so happy she managed to come along for the workout. We got there and as soon as I stepped into the gym I saw a balloon. I walked closer to the board and it was covered with photos of my blog header with a “Down Under” added to it as well as were some incredible photos of many amazing moments I’ve had with everyone. I thought I was at least going to make it through a little bit longer than that before the tears came but I couldn’t help it. It was one of the nicest things I’d ever seen. I just couldn’t believe that it was for me. Then I went to the toilet and there was a big photo on the mirror and all over the gym there were pictures. They’d put so much time and effort into this morning and I felt so spoilt with love. We were 30 people there. 30 people there to celebrate the final Metabolic Mayhem with me. That was just incredible.

People started to arrive and when it was time Stella started off the class with a little speech introducing our big workout and then handed me a gift that I needed to open before we got started. Everyone went silent and stared haha. I opened it and it was a black vest and on the back it said “Built by Bartram” with the Gym G5 logo underneath in a shiny rose gold print. Funnily enough I made a joke about that I needed a vest like that the other day for me to bring to Melbourne. They had it all figured out already. I loved it!

To warm up we did an 800m run and we got put into teams of three for Maddie’s Special “Surfer-Koala-Roo” WOD. I was paired up with my girls Faye and Kate, which made me so happy. It was such a warm morning and we were sweating buckets throughout the different stations. I had a lovely sweat patch on my bum. That has never happened before! I thought it was Glasgow probably making me used to training in warmer climates hehe. We had ten different stations and 6 minutes work on each. Taking turns doing the movements or doing some synchronised. There were deadlifts (my fave), double unders, “Ozzie” swings, weighted vest runs, wall balls, assault bike, burpees and so much more. We were having a great time working through all the stations.

I held it together on the crying throughout the entire thing until we got to the third last station, which was wall balls for us. Faye did her wall balls and then came up to give me a hug whilst Kate was doing hers. Then she disappeared outside and came back and was crying and then I started crying and then Kate turned around and was wondering what was going on! I then had to do wall balls crying. So funny. Then for the final stations it was on and off crying haha. Thanks Faye for setting me off!

The final station was single arm dumbbell snatches and some of the girls were cheering me on for my final reps of my final Metabolic Mayhem. It was tough and emotional and I felt such joy and sadness at the same time. We then got a photo by the shutter of our sweaty faces before we headed back to the board. Stella wanted to say some words but first she gave me a second gift. I opened it and it was a gigantic box of tissues! They know me too well. Then Stella made her speech and the things she said were just the loveliest words. I couldn’t believe they were about me and it made me realise once again how far I’d come and how important G5 has been to me on my journey in so many ways, not just for my fitness but it’s made me grow as a person. I then got a hug and another present. I was speechless, I never expected so many presents. In this big lululemon bag was another wrapped up gift, a beautiful pink hoodie with the print “#G5FAMILY” on the back. I loved it. It was far too kind. Then there was a massive card full with beautiful pictures of moments with my G5 crew all over it and wonderful words on the inside from everyone.

I attempted to say a few words after all of that to everyone but I was so emotional I barely even remember what I said or if it made sense. I hope it did. Amongst the things I tried to say was, I’m sad to go but leaving now makes me think of when I was leaving Sweden it was sad but I felt safe leaving because I knew my family would always be there. The same goes for my G5 family, they’re my Scottish family and as sad I am to leave them I know I’ll always have them here and they’ve got my back. I know I can always come home to them. G5 is so much more than just a gym. It’ll always have a special place in my heart. It really will.

When I stepped through those doors for the first time, I didn’t know it then but it changed my life. It really did. I will always be grateful for that. I really will. I knew there’d be loads of amazing gyms in Melbourne, but G5 would be a tough one to follow up. I was a bit nervous about going to a new gym to be honest but I know I’d find a new place and meet new amazing people.

After the speech Carole and Nadia had baked some lovely cakes people tucked into and everyone hung about and chatted for a bit. I got so many hugs and good lucks. There were tears and there was so much joy. Lots of pictures snapped and lovely Ros who recently started at G5 came in to just give me a little gift which was a little angel to keep me safe during my trip. It was incredibly thoughtful. I also got a lovely card from baby Samúéil. The cutest thing I’ve ever read. One by one people started to head off and then it was time for brunch for some of the crew who still had time to hang out.

We went to the G5 usual, Gusto and Relish. They don’t usually take bookings but had so kindly reserved a table for us on this day. We arrived and our little area had been decorated with balloons. Again, I just couldn’t believe it was for me. We had a great time sitting there eating some delicious food and just chatting until it was time for everyone to get on with their days.

Luckily I was back in the next morning for my actual final session in the gym but I knew not everyone was going to be there and it was open gym so it’s not quite the same. After that, that was it. All those sessions together and all those amazing memories. I really had no idea what I had coming when I went into G5, no idea. Who would’ve thought a few years later I’ve competed twice in Crossfit and have done my Crossfit Level 1 course? Definitely not me. I’m forever a better person because of this place and the people in it. I know I’ll be back one day. This is not the end. I’m just soon beginning a new chapter in my story. I’m hoping further along in my book I’ll be back and see these people. I’ll be leaving a little part of me in this special place. Until then I’ll always be grateful for our time together. It’s been the time of my life and I know there’s so many more exciting things to come.

Before I finish this post I have to give a big mention to the incredible woman that is Stella Bartram. What a lady she is. What an inspiration she is. One of a kind and I’m a lucky person to call her my friend. The commitment she shows to her members and how much she helps them is crazy considering how she runs the entire gym herself. She chases people who haven’t showed up for while, offers anyone who wants it butrion coaching, runs classes and does PT sessions. She cares about every single member’s life outside the gym and knows what’s going on in everyone’s lives. She can see when you’re going through a tough time and offers support. I don’t know how she does it. She is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met and if you’re in Glasgow, she’s the woman you need to turn to to get your health and fitness in check. Being trained by her has been amazing. Thank you Stella, I can’t thank you enough.

And thank you everyone at G5. I love you, I always will. Thank you. Thank you so much. I can’t stop typing because I feel like I could go on forever, like I somehow don’t want this post to end because I don’t want my time at G5 to end but now I need to get to bed.

More posts about Melbourne and everything will be up soon. I’m back in action now and so excited to get writing about my life down here!

Speak soon my dears, M xxx