100 followers!

100 Followers

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I now have just over 100 followers on my main blog!

Blogging has to be one of the best things I have ever decided to get into. I remember wanting to start one while I was an undergraduate university student, but I didn’t know where to start or what to focus my blog on. I finally set up my blog in March last year when I was training for my first ever race, which was the 10km Race for Life in Leicester on 5th July 2015. I originally set up my blog to keep track of my progress and also post vegetarian meals (I was abstaining from meat at the time since it was lent). I was also interested in posting blogs about feminism and contemporary issues surrounding sex and gender equality.

It was then in August that I decided to change the tag line of my blog from ‘Ey up’ (a colloquial phrase used in Leicester and the Midlands) to ‘Feminist Fitness Foodie’. I then set up a separate blog for my poetry on ‘Poclaretry‘ in December 2015 and became a guest blogger for ‘Viral Feminism‘ at the start of this year. I also set up a Facebook page very recently called Clare Bear, where I post my newly published blogs.

One of my main reasons for blogging is because I love writing. I like to write about topics related to my tagline and hopefully inspire or enlighten people. I’ve certainly been inspired and enlightened by the great amount of talent from bloggers on WordPress.

Blogging is also a brilliant way of keeping up to date with what’s going on in the world. You get to read personal and genuine accounts of people’s lives from all over the world, and engage in debates about various topics. I enjoy getting involved in reading comments on my own posts and other bloggers’ posts and sharing opinions and views.

Writing and posting blogs has also enhanced my employability. My newly published blogs are posted on Linkedin and I sometimes receive comments from people on this form of networking. Employers have enjoyed reading my blog, and it helped me to get the job I’m currently in now as a Product Copywriter, which I’ve been doing for just over two months now.

I’d like to say thank you very much to everyone who has supported me in my blogging over the past year, my family, friends and fellow bloggers. Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and comments on it. I’m also grateful for the supportive comments I’ve received and suggestions based on my posts.¬†Here’s to another year of writing and posting blogs!

As always, happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear ūüôā

 

Goals update #3

I’ve been enjoying the start of April, until today. I wanted to go out for a morning run before going on an old train this afternoon with some friends for a three course meal, but I threw up during the night. Today my stomach is killing me and I don’t want to eat or drink anything (I’m forcing myself to drink water). It seems I’ve caught a stomach bug, so instead of going out today, I’m chilling at home with my two dogs sleeping beside me and listening to choral music which I’m singing at two upcoming concerts. And what a better way to cheer myself up by writing a blog!

Many of you now know the drill. I set myself some goals on New Years Day and at the start of each month, I write a blog updating you all on how I’m doing in reaching my goals/resolutions. ¬†I’ve already achieved two of my goals and am working towards my other ones.

It’s always hard to decide where to start with a blog like this. I guess I’ll start off with poetry first, as something rather exciting happened last month. I went to the monthly poetry night Find The Right Words and decided to read some of my newer works. I didn’t know until shortly before that a podcast was being recorded! This was the first time that the organisers of the event decided to record the night. The podcast is available to listen to on soundcloud, which you can find on my blog about the evening.¬†I cringe at the sound of my own voice on a recording, but it’s so exciting for me that I’ve been recorded. The poem which you can listen to on the podcast is called ‘The time I found ¬£45’, which is also on my poetry blog Poclaretry if you wish to read it.

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I’ve definitely not met my goal of writing one poem a week. Even though I thought by setting this goal it would encourage me to write more, you can’t really force yourself to write something creative. It feels artificial and not genuine. However, walking to work the other day made me realise that one of the best ways for me to think of creative ideas is by walking. The time it takes me to walk to work allows me to think of all sorts of ideas, including blog posts. I definitely want to walk to work again very soon, especially with the improving weather conditions.

Of course walking to work more often will aid me in improving my fitness further. The walk to work is 2.4 miles, so 4.8 miles a day. Furthermore, I ran over 10km for the first time! I ran 14.5km in 1 hour and 37 minutes. Obviously I still have a way to go, another 6.5km to run the distance of a half marathon, but I am thrilled that I wasn’t struggling like I thought I might be when going past the 10km mark.

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After running 14.5km

My body weight is the same story as my previous goals update. Despite eating lots of chocolate and hot cross buns, I still weigh 15.9 stone. It’s a good thing that I’ve not piled on the pounds over Easter and going to the gym/running is helping out too. Unfortunately I won’t reach my goal of losing two stone by my sister’s wedding. It’s just over two months away and losing that much weight in such a short period of time would be detrimental to my health.

However, I’m currently happy with myself. There are parts of my body which I don’t like, but I think everyone is the same in that respect. I’d like to lose the body fat/weight on my upper arms and a bit off my stomach. I love my thighs, which are probably considered large in the society in which I live since I don’t have a thigh gap, and I love my calf muscles. I also feel great when I feel my bum jiggle¬†about while I’m running along; I love my large rear end. I feel flabulous!

Feminist wise, I’ve not done much recently. I was invited to join a facebook group which I love checking on a daily basis. It’s a group where feminists alike from all different backgrounds share their own experiences of sexism and/or gender equality, while also sharing motivational posts that feminism is still needed. I would like to write a blog about a recent internet movement where women post themselves with reasons why they don’t need feminism, which I saw on this facebook group. There are mixed views towards this, which I would like to explore in more depth.

Despite not getting any closer to my goal of losing two stone by June, I think I’m doing pretty well overall. I’d like to aim for running 17.5km this month, make a start in losing some body weight, write a feminist blog and write some poems. I also set up a facebook page last week, which you can like if you want to follow me on there too!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear

A refreshing commute

It’s almost been six weeks since I started my new job as a copywriter. It’s also been about that amount of time since I last walked to my place of work. Many of you may remember my blog on adaptability, where I explained how I’ve been having to change my lifestyle to incorporate my fitness. I previously worked in the city centre, which is over two miles from where I live, but now that I have a car and it only takes eight minutes to drive to my new location for work, it’s been more than tempting to drive to work everyday.

Driving to work doesn’t mean that I have been neglecting my fitness. I have been going to the gym in the morning before starting work, often managing to head down twice a week. I have also been going to the gym or going for a run outside during the weekends. However, I forgot how nice and refreshing it is to walk to work and back home each day.

I used to walk on average 4.8 miles a day  (24 miles a week) when I worked as a note taker in town. I did this rather than getting the bus, because catching the bus where I live is expensive, and parking is the same story. I only got the bus when I needed to get back home quickly or when the weather took a turn for the worst.

To get to my new place of work is the same distance as it is to where I previously worked, 2.4 miles, just in the opposite direction. I decided to ditch my car today and walk, as I had nothing to rush back home for and the weather was so nice this morning. It took me 45 minutes to get to work, which is what it used to take me to get into town. I also walked back home and almost got caught in some rain, but I was lucky to avoid it.

I had my headphones in and listened to a mix bag of music while walking, and my brain felt refreshed. I used to get all sorts of ideas flowing in my head when walking to work, ideas for blog posts and poetry. The music somehow helped as well, and I would often write down these ideas that magically appeared in my head as soon as I got to work.

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The creativity in my brain’s getting back into gear

Since it only takes me eight minutes to drive to work in the morning, I don’t get much time to think and I’m almost always concentrating on the road. Therefore my brain doesn’t get a chance to think of anything creative. Walking on my own with music playing in my headphones seems to be the best time for me to really think about all sorts of things, including thinking deeply about my life and even light hearted stuff.

I typed down an idea for a blog on my phone when I arrived at work today. I’m hoping to get this idea posted next week; I want to spend plenty of time on it as it will be a personal blog which I hope others will relate to or find comfort in.

Now that I’ve tried out walking to work, I definitely want to do it more often if I don’t get to head down to the gym. There will be days of course when I have to drive to work because there are some evenings when I have something going on. Walking overall though will save money on petrol and like with my previous job, I’m sitting down for the majority of the day, so walking is nice to do. I still went out for a ten minute walk during my lunch break, as I get bum and sometimes leg ache from sitting on a chair all day!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear

Social media savvy

I now have a facebook page! It’s called ‘Clare Bear’ and the link is facebook.com/clarebear7femfitfood. You can also follow me on Twitter; my account name is ClareBear_7.

I decided to set one up a Facebook page after I was having a look at some blogger’s home pages. Ever since I set up my blog I have been posting published blogs on my social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. This means that my friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter and Linkedin can see my blogs and comment externally, if they do not have an account with WordPress.

However, I believe that having a facebook page as a platform for my blog will help reach out to more people who may be interested in reading my blogs about feminism, fitness and food. I enjoy writing blogs about these topics and would like to become more engaged in discussions, particularly about feminism and sex/gender equality.

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The current photo cover on my Facebook page

As ever, I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from my family, friends, readers and bloggers, whether they’re part of the WordPress community or not. Setting up a blog has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made for a long time. While I mostly do it for the enjoyment of writing, my blog has helped me to understand more about people and the world and it really helped me out with my job hunting.

 

Thank you everyone! And as always, happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear

One year!

A year ago today my blog was born! I still remember the day when I was jogging in the early morning along the canal when it suddenly occured to me that I could blog about my ongoing training and progress for my first long distance run.

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I’ve come a long way since then. While I am about a stone heavier than I was a year ago, I consider myself fitter than I ever have been. I can run 10km non-stop in over an hour (my current record is 1 hour and 8 minutes!). I still eat sweet sugary snacks and desserts but I eat far more fruit, vegetables and salad than I used to. I aim to do intense exercise twice a week, something I never thought I’d do while I was a teen. I never ever thought I could be fit.

An important thing is I feel far more confident about myself. I believe I can accomplish greater things in terms of fitness. I will complete my first half marathon this year (in October). I have debunked the myth that you have to be thin to be fit, which I used to believe as a youngster, when my PE teachers would give me lower grades for ability just because I was overweight. That is definitely not the case.

I also feel much more informed about feminism. I was a bit worried at first about posting feminist blogs and issues concerning sex/gender, but all the ones I have done so far have been well received, and have even provoked discussion amongst readers and bloggers! I find the feminist blogs on WordPress so interesting and informative, and I’ve learnt so much from them as well, such as other people’s opinions of modern-day feminism and what it means to them. The blog I am still proud of to this day is the one about body hair– this one seems to have caused the most discussion.

My blog has come a long way since day one. I’ve blogged about all sorts of stuff, such as when I was writing about my dissertation for my Masters, reviews of gigs and even nostalgic activities, from making ironing bead patterns to colouring in!

Over the year though, I have aimed to become much more refined in what I blog about, hence why I changed my orginial colloquial tag line ‘Ey up’ to ‘Feminist Fitness Foodie’. This way bloggers will know what material I post. I used to post poems onto my blog but then I decided to set up a separate WordPress site called ‘Poclaretry’.

I’d like to say a big massive thank you to everyone who reads my blog and supports me by giving me ideas to write about and general encouragement. When I started blogging I thought it would be difficult to keep it going, especially while I was studying my Masters. However, I enjoy it so much and the topics I write about are always relevant to today in some shape or form. Blogging was actually a way for me to relax while I was studying (maybe procrastination too!) and many people seemed interested in my research when I blogged about it. I’m also grateful for the advice and comments I have received from bloggers and readers during my fitness journey.

I still can’t believe I’ve been blogging for a year- here’s to another year!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear ūüôā

Goals update #2

When did March get here?! It will also be three weeks tomorrow since I have given up meat for lent, which means the ‘lenters’ are¬†halfway there. I’m glad to say that I have achieved another one of my goals and am working towards other ones for 2016.

I had a voice test last week and passed, so I am now a member of the Leicester Philharmonic Choir! I sing first soprano i.e. squeaking all the high notes. I can’t wait to sing in my first concert with the choir in April. We’ll be singing John Rutter’s¬†Gloria, a couple of pieces by Henry Purcell and Paul Patterson’s¬†Magnificat. Last night at rehearsal we found out that Patterson will be attending the concert, so no pressure! Patterson’s¬†Magnificat¬†is very challenging but once we get to grips with it, the piece will sound magnificent.

As mentioned in my first goals update blog, I got a full-time graduate job as a copywriter. I have been working in this role for just over two weeks know, and I’m enjoying it. I still have time to write blogs as I can do this on weekday evenings and during the weekend.

Poetry wise, I’ve lacked creativity recently, or rather I haven’t found the time/gotten round to writing new material. Ideas used to flow into my head when I walked to work, but now it is a short drive to work and it’s difficult for me to think of creative ideas when you’ve got to focus on the road. I have mentioned recently that walking to my new place of work is an option, so hopefully I’ll do that soon and assist the creative juices in my brain.

I went to the poetry night Find the Right Words last month in Leicester which was amazing! I didn’t read out any poetry because I didn’t have the time to practice reading it out at home. I have some works which I really want to perform across to the audience without having a paper copy to read from. There is some fantastic talent at the monthly poetry nights which is inspiring, especially the way people read out and perform their works. I’m going to Find the Right Words this month, on 16th March and I will aim to read out some poetry this time.

I must admit, I’m feeling pretty fit at the moment. I’ve been getting down to the gym more frequently and I can push myself harder now in certain exercises than I could before. The muscles in my upper thighs are starting to become prominent again, and I ran 7.98km in one hour at the gym last week! My body weight is starting to shift now as well, which is a very good sign. I need to push myself a lot harder though, particularly in my eating habits, to lose two stone by my sister’s wedding in three month’s time!

Regarding feminism, I wrote my first guest blog for Viral Feminism! ¬†The article critiques the new line up for BBC’s motoring show¬†Top Gear, since there is only one female presenter out of a cast of seven. It seems to have been well received which makes me glad, because I spent a lot of time doing research as I am not a motor sport person. I learnt about the history of women in motor sport and their fantastic achievements over the years. Before this article on¬†Top Gear I was featured in a blog on the first anniversary of Viral Feminism, where I describe what feminism means to me. I will definitely be contributing more posts in the near future.

Before I know it the next month will be here, so I’d better get cracking with my goals. Easter will be over by the 1st April, so I’ll be able to eat meat again!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear

Graduation #2

Many of you will know that I was studying a Masters in English Studies last year. I posted blogs about my dissertation which was a study of female poetry of the Second World War, and I had to really knuckle down to finish it by mid-September during the summer. I found out in November that I passed and I had my graduation ceremony last Thursday at the University of Leicester!

Winter had just decided to arrive in the UK last week (not on the scale of America of course) so it was very cold on the morning of my ceremony. I arrived early with my parents, who dropped me off at the main campus while they went to the venue for the ceremony, De Montfort Hall. I grabbed my robes, had a professional photograph and then made my way over to the hall.

My parents were sitting inside the foyer with a hot drink each but the doors were locked. Security wouldn’t let me in yet, saying that it would be at least another half an hour before people would be allowed inside! I wondered how my parents managed to get in, but it turned out that my mum saw the door open and so they sneaked in for the warmth. The staff in the hall thought that my parents were staff helping out for the day!

While I was waiting outside with a few other graduates I played around with my selfie stick that I got for Christmas. At least my robes kept me warmish!

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Despite the comical start to the day, the ceremony was lovely. It was only 1 hour and 12 minutes which made the ceremony feel a bit more intimate compared to my undergraduate one which was considerably longer. It was nice to see my class mates again and update each other on what we’re up to in our post-Masters lives.

I completely forgot that the Princess Mako of Akishino from Japan was reading Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, and she graduated at the same ceremony as mine! So that was pretty cool!

I’m planning to write a blog at the start of February to give an update about how my New Year goals are going so far, which will include graduate job hunting, poetry and fitness.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear