Update #26

How are we already half way through the year?!

I know that I tend to mention a lot about how time seems to fly by, but it really is true. The older you get the faster time whizzes by! I mean it’s already been just over a month since I started my new job.

May was well and truly a foodie month for me. I went to a cheese festival and most recently the StrEAT food festival in London. Both events were very enjoyable and I got to sample some tasty food.

Last month I also ran my first parkrun in almost a year. It was good to see some familiar faces again and run a fairly gentle route (expect for the steep hill halfway through). My 17th parkrun was the slowest one I’ve done so far, in a time of 36 minutes and 50 seconds, but I’m sure that I can get back up to speed again. The fastest I’ve completed a parkrun in so far is 32 minutes and 1 second which I achieved in March last year.

I know that I’ve been quiet on the feminist front recently, I just haven’t had the chance to write about it. The most notable event that’s happened recently is the Northern Irish referendum which saw abortion being legalized. Abortion is of course a controversial topic, but I believe that Northern Ireland has taken a huge step forward. Northern Ireland has now given women choice over their bodies, especially those whose pregnancies are life threatening and now they can terminate it without having to travel overseas to Great Britain.

Another recent news story outlined the ‘excuses’ made by male bosses about why women aren’t hired as directors. It sickened me to hear some of the reasons why many companies have no or very little women in senior positions, such as ‘Women don’t belong in the board room‘, ‘Most women don’t want to the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board‘, and ‘I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to‘. With the move towards gender equality, sexism is still glaringly obvious within the workplace and the majority of senior positions are held by men. I’m sure that one day we will reach the point where equality is achieved in businesses and it won’t matter what gender you are.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

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Update #24

A belated Happy Easter to you all!

I was away in a lovely seaside town called Sheringham in Norfolk for a week with family and friends. My nephew was on his first holiday and even went swimming for the first time at a local leisure centre! It was nice to have a week away and the weather wasn’t actually too bad; I realise that other parts of the UK had it much worse over the Easter weekend.

First day in Sheringham

I am now back to being a carnivore after a successful third year of giving up meat for lent. I had a fry up on Easter Sunday morning, which included bacon, sausages and black pudding, I devoured a hog roast pork bap after swimming with my nephew and enjoyed a juicy rump steak last night when I got back from Sheringham. Each time I eat meat again I remind myself that I couldn’t give it up entirely and become a full time vegetarian- meat just tastes so good!

What a hog roast!

However during the period of lent, I don’t miss meat too much. I have the odd occasion where I fancy a bacon sandwich or a lamb roast dinner, but otherwise I enjoy trying out vegetarian options. Last month I had a go at making dauphinoise potatoes and veggie burgers, two new food cooking ventures for me. I also enjoyed making quinoa during lent and quite often had it in salads for lunch or mixed with sweetcorn and other beans for dinner.

Since giving up meat for the first time three years ago I have cut down my meat intake. I generally try to have meat just once a day for one meal, opt for vegetarian options and eat more fish.

Last month also marked three years since I started my blog! I find it crazy that it’s been that long, it doesn’t feel like three years to me. I really do enjoy keeping a blog and I will continue to post about my three favourite topics: feminism, fitness and food.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Three Years

On Thursday 5th March 2015, I wrote my first ever blog post… how has it already been three years since I set up my own blog?!

On this anniversary I usually like to thank those who read my blog, suggest ideas for potential posts and share my content. I am also grateful for those who have supported my blog over the past three years in the three areas which I focus on: feminism, fitness and food. Therefore I thought it would be a nice idea to look back over the three years and see how I have developed as a feminist fitness foodie!

It wasn’t until about six months after setting up my blog that I decided to brand myself in the way I do today. I originally focused on my Leicester heritage as my identity, with the tagline ‘Ey up’ which refers to a colloquial saying ‘Ey up me duck’. After a while I realised that feminism, fitness and food are important parts of my identity, so I changed my tagline to how I am known today: feminist fitness foodie.

Fitness

It was when I was out running on Thursday 5th March 2015, training for my first ever long distance run, that the idea to set up my blog was born. I knew for a long time that I had always wanted to write a blog, but I didn’t know where to start or what to focus on. While running I suddenly thought it would be a great idea to document and keep track of my training in the form of a blog.

Fitness is definitely the primary focus of my blog, and the topic I write most about. I am amazed at how far I have come in terms of my fitness. Since starting my blog I have ran in plenty of races, such as discovering the parkrun (5km) while on a holiday in Guernsey, completing two Race for Lifes (10km) in aid of Cancer Research UK and trying out eventful runs such as the Color Run (5km) and the Iron Run (6km).

Completing my first long distance run (10km)

When starting on my fitness venture, I never imagined that I would run a half marathon, which is the greatest fitness accomplishment so far and one which I’m still incredibly proud of. Coming from a childhood of bullying because of my body weight and not being taken seriously in physical education lessons used to deter me from thinking that I could achieve anything such as running a half marathon. I’ve proven it all wrong and learnt throughout my fitness journey that it doesn’t matter if you’re overweight; you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.

I completed my first half marathon on Sunday 15th October 2017 at the Leicester Marathon in a time of 2 hours and 47 minutes, while raising an incredible ÂŁ2837 for the Association of Air Ambulances. My aim this year is to beat that time and raise more money for a worthy cause (I’ll decide on a charity nearer the time).

Foodie

 I have my father to thank for my passion for food. He taught me how to cook and inspired me to try out different foods and recipes. To this day we still suggest ideas to each other and take it in turns to cook the family meals.

The anniversary of my blog also marks how long I have been giving up meat for lent. When I started my blog it was actually during lent, and the first time I had decided to give up eating meat. This means that the foodie part of my blog tends to be the most active during the period of lent, as I have a go at experimenting and trying out different vegetarian alternatives, the most recent one being quinoa.

I’ve never looked back at the first time I abstained from meat, and for the third year running I have adopted a vegetarian diet. I usually feel like my body has had some sort of detox when I’ve not eaten meat for over 40 days, but I must admit that I do look forward to eating bacon in a hot cross bun on Easter Sunday, another tradition which I’ve adopted.

Stuffed sweet potato skins

Of course I post throughout the year about food, including new recipes which aren’t vegetarian, baking sweet treats for charity events and special occasions, and even about food festivals.

I’ve been to the StrEAT Life Festival at Alexandra Palace in London for the past few years which is always good fun. I get to catch up with university friends and choose tasty food from a wide range of stalls, including Greek, French and Caribbean. I am very much looking forward to the Cheese Festival in Leicester on Saturday 14th April, which I’m treating my sister to as she is a huge cheese fan, and had to abstain recently from certain types of cheeses while she was pregnant.

My passion for food will never waver. I can’t imagine living without good food and I always aim to make everyday tasty!

Feminism

And finally onto feminism- one of the more controversial parts of my blog but an area which I believe is becoming less stigmatised and something which more people are proud to be associated with.

Feminism is an important part of my life, as I’m a believer in equality across all genders. It wasn’t until university that I realised that I could identify myself as a feminist, and one of my favourite aspects of my course was learning about gender theory. I learnt more about the history of feminism, masculinity theory, the different types of genders and most importantly, how gender is a social construct (it can be argued that sex is a social construct too).

I felt empowered after becoming enlightened about the implications of gender, and I’m glad to see a shift in attitudes towards gender. We’re all human beings at the end of the day, so it only makes sense that we’re equal. I believe that the world is making progress in terms of gender equality and it’s only the minority which we hear about on the news (I’m sure you know who I mean).

Some of you may remember that I posted about my dissertation on my blog. I was studying a Masters in English Studies when I first set up my blog, and my dissertation was titled ‘Fo(u)r Women’: British Female Poetry of the Second World War. I focused on four female poets who wrote about their experiences of the Second World War, as it is widely known that women’s experiences were underrepresented and that they served a major part in the war effort. There are so many amazing female poets but I could only focus on four for my dissertation, so I looked into Alice Coats, Vera Bax, Slyvia Read and Wrenne Jarman.

Handing in my dissertation!

Yesterday of course was International Women’s Day, which had a particular super woman theme on my social news feed. People were posting about the super women in their lives, whether it be their mothers, daughters, historical figures or even modern day celebrities- it was those women they find to be influential and powerful.

I have several super women figures in my life, most notably my mother who is an incredible woman and has always been there for me, and my sister who is doing extremely well as a new mother. I’m lucky to know so many fantastic women who I’m proud to support and know as my friends.

Recently people celebrated 100 years since women in the UK first gained the right to vote (those aged 30 and above). It wasn’t until 1928 when full emancipation was achieved, when all men and women aged 18 and above could vote. I find it intriguing that New Zealand was the first country in the world to allow women the right to vote in 1893, and then other countries eventually followed suit. Considering the course of human history, it’s only really very recently that women are on equal grounds to men in terms of the vote.

 

Again thank you to everyone who reads and supports my blog. Writing is one of my passions so I’m thrilled to be still writing my blog. Here’s to the next three years!

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Update #23

It’s now officially spring (if you use the meteorological calendar), but it’s definitely still winter in the UK! I was supposed to be going down to London today for a weekend away with some university friends, but due to the travel chaos caused by the Beast from the East and Storm Emma, I’ve decided not to take the risk and stay at home in the warm this weekend. It also gives me the opportunity to write my second update for 2018.

My dog Barney has been enjoying the snow!

February was definitely a foodie focused month as I started a meat free diet on Wednesday 14th February, aka Ash Wednesday. There have been a couple of occasions where I’ve missed meat (such as a lamb Sunday roast dinner), but mostly I’ve been fine and enjoy eating meat free alternatives. So far I’ve made a stuffed pepper, tomato pasta and vegetarian quiches with Mediterranean vegetables and feta. I also cooked up some quinoa which I’ve had with some main meals or for lunch.

Last month saw the unveiling of a new statue in Leicester city centre to commemorate 100 years of women’s suffrage and winning the vote (for women aged 30 and above). The statue is of Alice Hawkins, a suffragette who worked at a factory in Leicester and campaigned for votes for women.

I was hoping to go out for a long distance run in February, but I didn’t get round to it and the deteriorating weather hasn’t helped either. I salute the runners who still go out when it’s icy and cold outside- you’re all much braver than I am! I managed to get down to the gym a few times last month, but not as much as I would’ve liked. I’ll give myself a kick up the backside and make more of an effort this month.

Expect more homemade vegetarian recipes on my blog this March, and hopefully some more fitness focused blogs. Lent officially ends on the 1st April, which is when I’ll be away in Sheringham for a family holiday. It will be my nephew’s first holiday so my family and I are very much looking forward to it!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

 

Alice Hawkins

You must use your vote, we suffered for it.” (Alice Hawkins)

A statue was unveiled yesterday (Sunday 4th February) in Leicester to commemorate 100 years since women were first given the right to vote (women aged 30 and above). The seven foot bronze statue is of Alice Hawkins, an exceptional woman who led the suffragette movement in Leicester back in the early twentieth century.

A parade took place around the city centre which was led by Elaine Pantling, a city councillor who played the part of Alice Hawkins. Many other women dressed as suffragettes helped to lead the parade which lots of people joined.

 

The statue has been placed in the New Market Square in Leicester, an area of significance for the suffragette movement. The market was a busy area so suffragettes took the opportunity to demonstrate and campaign for votes for women, including Hawkins as well as Sylvia Pankhurst.

 

Statue of Alice Hawkins in Leicester

Hawkins was originally born in Stafford in 1863 but moved to Leicester in her twenties to work as a machinist at the Equity Shoe factory. She joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) when she realised the inequalities between men and women in the workplace. A Leicester branch of the WSPU was formed in 1907 shortly Hawkins had experienced her first imprisonment. Hawkins invited Pankhurst to Leicester to speak at a WSPU meeting, as well as the crowds in the New Market Square.

I couldn’t make it to the unveiling of this magnificent statue, but the coverage reflects how important it is for people to recognise the suffragettes fight for emancipation and that the move towards gender equality is still continuing today. You can check out the coverage of the parade and the unveiling of the statue on the Leicester Mercury website.

I’m thrilled that a statue has been made to commemorate the centenary since the major breakthrough was made, and in honour of an inspiring woman of ‘true grit’. I thank you Alice Hawkins for your bravery and determination to make the world a better place,. Thank you, ‘sister of freedom‘.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear

 

Sources:

Leicester Mercury

BBC News Leicestershire

Alice Hawkins Suffragette

Update #22

Here’s my first update for 2018!

January is usually considered as a ‘downish’ sort of month, since people are back into a routine after celebrating Christmas and the New Year, there’s Blue Monday which is half way through January, and of course people are trying to keep up their New Year’s Resolutions.

January for me has been quite the opposite and has flown by. I haven’t really set myself resolutions as I mentioned in my blog looking back at 2017, but this year I just want to be happy. 2018 has been a good start, which is mostly due to my sister giving birth to her first son, so I became an auntie recently! I’ve been enjoying and making the most of cuddles with my newly born nephew and I’m looking forward to the upcoming years of spoiling him with love.

This year has also been a good start as I’ve been going to the gym on a regular basis. I’ve managed to go twice a week recently and walking to work and back also helps to keep up my fitness. I’ve been contemplating going out for a long distance run which I’d like to do this month, in the hope that the weather is starting to improve. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to how hard it can be to go to the gym sometimes, but there’s the amazing feel good factor when you’ve had an intense workout, which I aim for when working out at the gym.

I recently went to a national poetry competition called UniSlam which was a fantastic experience. You can read about it on my poetry blog.

My next update should include a lot more content as there are a few things coming up. Firstly lent starts on 14th February, which feels really early this year! So from Valentine’s Day I will be on a meat free diet as I have done for the past two years. Secondly there’s a parade happening in Leicester this Sunday, which I can’t make but will definitely write a blog about. The parade is in honour of Alice Hawkins who was part of the suffragette movement in the early 20th century. A statue is being placed in Leicester so I will have a look at it some point next week and take a photo. And finally, I’ll hopefully embark on a long distance run, which I’ve not done since the half marathon.

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

A happy 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s already proving to be an interesting start of the year for me so far. My sister is due to give birth to her first child any time soon, so I’ll be becoming an auntie! My family is on high alert waiting for a phone call from my sister or brother-in-law. I wish them both a prosperous year ahead with plenty of joy and sweet times ahead.

So looking back at 2017 on my blog, my main focus was definitely fitness. I was more determined than ever to run my first half marathon, which I’m glad to have completed on Sunday 15th October 2017 in 2 hours and 47 minutes. With 9 months to train, I gradually built up the distance I was running, starting with 12.5km, then 15km for the Resolution Run, followed by 18km and then the target of 21km. The training was certainly challenging, especially as I experienced a brief period of pain in my shins. I was worried about this, but luckily the pain started to subside and I had no pain in my shins on the day itself. The Leicester half marathon was an incredible experience and one I’d like to take part in again!

After completing my first half marathon

Due to the nature of my training for the half marathon, I didn’t run in many parkruns last year since they are 5km. The last parkrun I ran was in May, which was my sixteenth parkrun. I was even contemplating reaching the 25 or 50 parkrun target last year, but waking up early every Saturday morning can prove challenging for me. I only need to run nine more parkruns to complete 25, so that could be possible to do this year.

On the foodie side, I gave up meat for lent as I have done for the past few years. I love experimenting with vegetarian options during this period of time. I made a vegetable pasta bake, had a go at making Spanish omelettes and a few vegetarian quiches. I also satisfied my sweet tooth a few times throughout the year, making a variety of cakes from lemon drizzle to a chocolate banana loaf. I will more than likely give up meat again for lent this year.

Lemon drizzle cake

Looking back at feminism last year, one of the biggest topics was definitely Donald Trump. I would love to have gone to one of the many worldwide marches protesting against Trump, which was known as ‘Women of the world unite‘. Another topic that became popular on social media was the taboo surrounding periods when Bodyform released a ‘controversial’ advert. The advert showed a young man buying menstrual products and a woman in the shower with blood running down her leg. I believe that this was a breakthrough as it was the first advert to show blood, which was aimed to help break the terrible taboo around period shaming. My most recent blog on feminism was briefly about sexist statements that I’ve heard throughout my life. I also wrote about a poem this called ‘Things I(we’ve) heard‘.

Bodyform’s new advert

As with last year, I’ve decided not to set myself any New Year’s resolutions for 2018. The simple truth is, I just want to be happy. Unfortunately I experienced a few things which really made me unhappy, and quite frankly a bit down too. My experiences from last year have made me realise that a weakness of mine is letting people walk over me. I don’t like disappointing people to the point where I end up putting myself at a disadvantage and often uncomfortable position. It’s a weakness that I need to work on, as I’ve put up with enough (sorry to use the word) s***.

Therefore this year I would like to be happy, not put up with nonsense and work towards becoming more willing to speak out when I need to, rather than letting things go aside. As well as this, I will take part in the Leicester half marathon again and work to beat my first time of 2 hours and 47 minutes. I will also give up meat for lent and continue being a feminist working towards gender equality!

Here’s to a prosperous 2018!

 

As always, happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear