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What do you do with a bad meal?

So – I had a bad meal tonight. I was out with my husband, my parents, my sister and her husband at our local golf club where my Dad is a member. Now, normally the food is delicious. But tonight they were busy (they’d had a Winter League Dinner for all the golf club members) and so when we got there the food was a bit like it was thrown together. My fish and chips and mushy peas had under-fried chips and mushy fish with dry peas which is surely the wrong way round. However, the whole meal was bad because:

  1. We walked in late to a party that was already in place with loud music and drunken people and it felt like we were gatecrashing (especially as we couldn’t even get in because no-one was answering the intercom)
  2. My Dad had been there all day and was so drunk he could no longer speak correctly which really annoys me
  3. My Mum had been there long enough to forget that she “doesn’t smoke” (read: drunk as well) and was outside smoking which always pisses me off
  4. My Sister and her husband were being their usual flirtatious selves and charming the pants off all of Dad’s friends which makes me feel so unattractive
  5. Everyone in the golf club calls me “Vicki” which REALLY irritates the hell out of me as I haven’t been called that in over 12 years now so it always makes me feel like a child again

Yep – the whole night was like a throwback to 1989 when my natural seriousness and vegetarianism (it was a big thing in those days!) meant I had to sit at home while Mum and my Sis met my Dad after golf. But now that I’m older it seems I haven’t gotten any wiser because I still went tonight. However, I left early because my Sister tried to walk out as I was apparently upsetting her so I left first to give her nothing to upset her anymore. And, of course, my husband came with me. And, of course, when we get in the car he tells me that his dinner was bad as well…

I think I’ll eat in for a while. At least until I can feel like the mature and sensible adult I am rather than a pre-teen with issues!


Childhood memories

29 years ago I was in Primary 3 and a neighbour came into the classroom and began whispering with my teacher. I knew they were talking about me because they kept looking over and then the teacher told me that I had to go home to my neighbour’s house rather than my own. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Why were they talking about me? Had I been bad? Did Mum and Dad not love me any more? At my neighbours house I watched ‘John Craven’s Newsround’ which mentioned that two policemen had been killed in Northern Ireland and I still remember thinking how sad that must be for their families. I didn’t think that I would be one of those family members, but I was.

I only mention this because I have been thinking about how childhood incidents impact on adult behaviours and I have realised that this need to know what is going on all around me and to try and control everything in my life and to be perfect all the time stems from this incident 29 years ago.

My Uncle’s death was terrible and tore the heart out of my beloved grandparents but for me I hardly knew the man. Instead I grew up with the icon, the carefully crafted image from my Aunt and cousins. If he had lived he’d be 68 (I think) but our lives would be very different. I wouldn’t have had that experience of watching my Mum screaming and crying and not being able to help her or take her pain away, no matter how good I was. And he would just be an ordinary man instead of a saint.

I always thought I didn’t have any “incidents” in my childhood that could have caused my adult depression then bipolar disorder. It’s amazing what surfaces when you start to really look! I am so grateful for my yoga and meditation practice as they help me through this introspection.


Musings on business…

What I thought my business would be:

A yoga and Pilates studio that helped people stretch and grow both physically and mentally with classes and courses that are well attended. We would have a real community of like-minded people who support each other’s growth and other businesses would grow as a result of it (e.g. local craftspeople holding fairs; local artists displaying artworks; local coffee shops offering discounts to our customers and me offering discounts to theirs). Oh, and I would feel a part of this community but that I didn’t have to ‘head-up’ everything. I would also be earning enough to be able to relax a little and enjoy what I’ve created!


What scares me about my business:

That everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, would fall apart without me! After teaching yoga and Pilates for over 10 years and falling into things rather than properly designing my career, I have taken a leap of faith and opened up my own studio. This is scaring the c@~p out of me! Now I have to be a business owner as well as a yoga teacher. I have to clean/stock/secure/market the studio, arrange the classes, promote the courses (and design them as well) and, worst of all, apologise to teachers for the low numbers as the people of my local town are not flocking to my studio like I imagined they would! Add on to this the fact that my husband is currently unemployed, meaning I am the sole breadwinner and I am really scared to look at how little I’m actually earning…


What next:

Well, I just have to keep going, have a little patience, be open and honest (especially to myself) about my expectations. The most important thing is to stop panicking! I actually started to fill in an application form today for a community development job that would take me way back to a place I don’t want to go (Belfast!) and to a person I haven’t been for a long time. Then I stopped, pulled myself back from the precipice and went out to teach a GREAT Pilates class which had 4 regulars in it and 2 lovely new students (you know who you are and I thank you very much!). I then did what I always do, called my Mum, and together we worked out that I’m actually earning an okay amount of money and that the numbers are increasing week-on-week and nearly class-on-class. The community that I dreamt of is happening slowly but surely and will continue to happen. If you’re willing to help me…


What do you want from Stretch NI:

What do you think of the current timetable? Does it suit your needs? Do you have any desire for any other classes/teachers/times? What about our courses? Does personal development interest you? What other topics could we cover? Do you want to become a part of Friday Night Frolics (oo-er)? Join a bookclub? Learn to knit/crochet/sew/craft? Do you want to train as a Pilates Instructor? Do you know of anyone who might? Would you be interested in training to teach children’s yoga? Do you want to volunteer at the studio in exchange for free classes?

Answers to all these questions gratefully received,


I got the keys!!!!

Today has been pretty momentous! I got the keys to the NEW Stretch NI Studio today! After months of planning (and years of dreaming) I am finally opening a yoga and Pilates studio in my home town…Mum came up with me and, in spite of the dust and dirt, she still feels positive about the place. Then Dad and Chris came up for a nosy and both were impressed with the size and the natural light in the place. They were also full of plans for how to improve the place so I have a feeling that this is going to be a real family affair!

I am doing a big clean-up tomorrow with help from some volunteers at St Vincent de Paul and Chris will be painting up a storm so that the place will be presentable for our 12th September start. Yes, that soon! THIS Monday! The new website (which Chris and I were also working on all through our hols) will be launched on Friday so have a look at to see more details about the studio including class times and teachers.


Have you missed me?

I made a deliberate decision on June 1st to not blog for a week because I had completed my Ultimate Blog Challenge of blogging daily for a month and I felt like I (and you) needed a break! However, I cannot believe how much I missed getting all my thoughts down on the page so I really think that blogging’s the life for me! So, highlights from the past week include:

  1. 4 people signing up for the intensive Stretch NI Pilates Instructor Training. More are welcome cos it’s definitely gonna run!!!
  2. My wee cousin Mark getting a great new job, thanks to my magical CV skills.
  3. The swelling and bruising in my Mum’s arm reducing considerably. She’s even talking of returning to yoga next week!
  4. Last Thursday being the ‘hottest’ Flow Yoga class yet.
  5. Meeting the lovely Sarah for lunch last week and catching up after almost 2 years’ absence.
  6. Watching the entire 3 series of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ last weekend. I’m wearing leathers and driving my Honda like it’s a Harley!

I’ve had some disappointments too but nothing worth blogging about, honestly! In all, it’s been good … but it’s even better to be back.