About

Short Version

British. Writer. Solo Traveller. Flexitarian. Workshop leader and Carer. I want to play a part in helping to redefine age and what we think is possible as we get older, which is what keeps me searching for different ways to improve my health, exciting places to travel and alternative ways of living. I am a firm believer in personal growth and self development.

I was on the road towards ill health and sitting in front of the TV with only my cat for company. I wasn’t happy with the road I was travelling so I decided to make some changes.

ZESTIZM is my personal lifestyle blog which focuses on my attempts to change lanes, to live more, have adventures and fear less. I am aiming to rediscover my zest for life through adventure, food and movement. To regain my health and work on my saggy bits so that I am fitter, leaner and stronger.


Longer Version

Writer

I self-published my book and love writing flash fiction stories. I have always loved writing. Never really confident enough to think about becoming a writer or studying creative writing. So, I fulfilled my dream by self publishing my own book and being happy with that – I write for the joy of it and I love writing memoir type stories because its my personal history.

I also love notebooks. As brilliant as computers are I still love the feeling of putting pen to paper. One day I hope to have my own set of published notebooks that I will sell.

  • The Handover – Monday Monologue
    I walked right into a situation that I could have avoided if only I was more aware of my surroundings. I was preoccupied you see. There’s only 30 minutes for lunch and in that time we are expected to find food and eat it. In my rush to be back on time I missed the silence. I’ve got to be back at work on time for the handover. I know how much she loves to humiliate me when I’m late. The pleasure shines all over her smug face as her ears turn red and her nostrils flare. I don’t know why I take it from her really, I should say something but that will only make matters worse. So you see I had other things on my mind and it took a while to register that the supermarket was deserted. Not a soul in sight, which should of made me wonder what was going on but it was the handover see, I was going through what I needed to say so I could get it right. After all it’s not normal for a place to be empty at one in the afternoon but do we really pay that much attention to other people when we are busy in our own thoughts. Along with the sandwich I grabbed an energy drink and a large cupcake. It was at that moment I felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck as my brain raised the alarm. It alerted me to the fact that there was no one else in the aisle. It made me pay attention but I wasn’t worried, not in that moment anyway, because i knew there’d be someone sat at the checkout. I needed to pay for my lunch and get out. There was no time for questions. Maybe the place had opened late. A cashier will have all the answers. I felt the air stop midway in my chest as I walked towards the checkout and noticed them all empty. I thought about leaving without paying because what else could I do? I spent a little too long thinking about my options. I should have dropped the food and left. The cold hard steel against my temple and the stern instructions not to move told me that this deserted supermarket was in trouble. I was led towards the back of the store. It was too late for me to do anything other than what I was told. I knew in that moment that I wouldn’t make the handover. —————————— Monday Monologue inspiration I use the Monday Monologue over at Morgen’s online short story writing group as inspiration for today’s story. Her challenge was:
    Monday Monologue: your character is a supermarket at lunchtime and the place is deserted
  • Flash fiction story : Wait and dream
    I watch the bumper cars and listen to the 80s tune that blares out of the cheap speakers, distorting the words so you have no idea what’s being sung unless you happen to know the song. The sound is so loud that it makes conversation impossible. The music mixes and blends in with the screams of hysterical girls in the distance as they loop round the roller coaster for the third time. We jump into a bumper car and I squeal as people ram into us and us into them. I can smell your scent. Taste the toffee apple you just ate on your lips when you kiss me. It all feels so real. Later, I see you standing there throwing rings around goldfish bowls. You win two fish that you proudly hand over to me as a gift. I love the gift but I am tired now and I want to go home. My body is aching and I am hungry. I have a strong feeling that I can’t go home, not yet, but I don’t know why. I ask you to take me home but you don’t reply. As we walk around the fairground your face takes on a serious look and it makes me nervous. Scared. I’m always here for you, you tell me, whenever you need to get away. When you need to escape from it all I’ll be right here waiting. I don’t understand. My stomach flips over like a fish on land and desperate for water. The hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention and my thoughts dart round my head uncontrollably making it difficult for me to think straight. The fear is palpable as it pours out of me filling the space between us. I don’t want to leave you. If I can’t go home then I want to go back to the bumper cars but I can’t. I can feel it is time to go because he’s kicking me and it hurts. The pain is a signal that it is time to leave. I watch you fade as consciousness dawns on me and the fear growing inside me increases. ‘Get up NOW,’ he screams and throws down a plate in front of me. It contains nothing but plain, dry, stale bread. My eyes adjust and my mind reminds me that what I left behind was a dream and my reality is here. I am back between my four stone walls, splattered with the pain and blood of prisoners past. These walls and those bars keep me away from everyone I love. ‘Get up NOW,’ he screams again. I feel a wave of pain flow through my stomach as he kicks me again and despite the pain I drag myself off the floor and sit against the wall so the kicking will stop. ‘EAT.’ His voice demands and I do as I am told. I can’t believe I have to endure another day in this hell. I came here to help, to assist those who need it and yet I am seen by the rebels as a trouble maker, a nuisance, a way to get demands met, so they took me and four others. The sounds of their screams, these others that I have never met, have become a constant daytime distraction and I fear for the long term damage to my mental health. I have been taken and all I can do is wait, and dream.
  • Number 79 bus
    I always sit on the same seat when I get on the 79 bus. I can’t believe how busy it is and that someone else is sitting in my seat. This overweight blonde woman who looks as if she is in a bit of a panic and I wonder if she has a problem. Maybe she’s late for her next massage client. He’s a big chap and she needs to be quite firm. Sometimes he pays for ‘extras’ and, being the obliging girl that she is, she lets him have at it. She needs the extra money to feed little Johnnie and keep her unemployed younger lover in fags and booze. As my hand shoots up to my mouth to quell my impending giggle I notice the man next to me staring. Nosy bastard. Finally blonde fatty gets up and I get myself ready to take her place and sit in my regular spot but a loud black man on the phone, with unusually small hands, beats me to it. He uses those small hands to dig graves. He works at the local cemetery and they have to give him extra time to dig the holes on account of his unusually small hands. Then at night he uses that large voice to sing karaoke in the pub. The women are always impressed by his deep voice and large body but wonder about the size of his hands and whether they are an early indication of lacking in other departments. When HE gets up to leave there is someone standing waiting for a seat. He is directly in front of me so I can’t push past to get to my favourite spot. I assume he is going to be the next person in the hot seat but as luck would have it he is getting off and moves towards the stairs. As people shuffle forward to get off the bus new people get on and would you believe it, before I have a chance to take up my position some guy with long greasy hair jumps in. He looks as if he could do with being fed a meal or two so he doesn’t blow over in the wind. He has no life, no friends and only his old mother and her cat for company. She cooks him egg and chips every Friday night and records countdown so they can watch it together later that evening. He has never worked and yet he is never at home during the way. She often wonders where he spends his days but is too afraid to ask in case he tells her to mind her own f’ing business; his standard reply to most of her questions. This skinny greasy haired man and his nights are spent playing online games and watching lesbian porn. He prefers girl on girl porn to the regular stuff. The next stop is mine so I am going to have to forego my spot for today. As I stand up to get off I notice a woman sitting a few chairs behind me get up and sit in the chair I just vacated and I can’t help but wonder how her story about me went.

Travel

When my youngest turned 18 and went off to university in 2017 I decided it was a good time to start my travel dream. Crete in July 2018 was my first trip, followed by Antigua in 2019.

In July 2020 I bought a van and converted it into a campervan, which I now live in when I am not working. I wanted to  travel around the UK, Wales, Scotland and Ireland but because of the pandemic this has been put on hold.

Weight Loss Journey

In February 2014, while running a workshop called ‘Memory to Memoirs’ one of the participants took a photo of me. When I saw the photo I couldn’t believe how much weight I had put on. I was having trouble walking and moving at that time and with no mirrors in the house never thought to check on my weight.

By March 2014 I decided I had to start losing weight. This time I wanted to take a different approach. My focus was on changing my mindset about food. After years of losing weight that I put back on (plus extra) I wanted the cycle to end.

I didn’t weigh myself for the first couple of weeks and by the time I did I weighed in at 22 stones 4 lbs (312 lbs – 141 kg). My clothes size was 24 at that time. I had a lot of work to do.

The film ‘Fat Sick and Nearly Dead’ by Joe Cross got me into juicing and I researched FASTING (which has been a great help), plus eating low energy density foods, which means eating loads of fruit and vegetables. I was on my way.

By 2016 I had lost a total of 73 lbs (5 stones 2lbs – 33kgs). It was slow progress, almost 1 or 2 lbs a week. Then I hit a weight loss plateau that lasted for two years. I didn’t regain my weight but I couldn’t lose any. Despite that my dress size continued to drop.

Now in 2019 I am using everything that helped me when I first started and my weight is going down again. As of August 2019 I am 233 lbs (16 stones 9 lbs). A total loss of 84 lbs (6 stones  – 38 kgs).

UPDATE: As of December 2020 I am 196 lbs (14 stones). A total loss of 112 lbs,  8 stones or 50 kgs.

Most importantly though I have worked on my mindset. Why I eat when I eat, why I eat when I am not hungry. I have focused on my emotional eating, portion control and the triggers that lead down the path of unhealthy eating.

I am now focusing on my fitness as I am to improve the strengthen and flexibility of my body so it is STRONG and not SAGGY.

Trained Teacher

For nearly 20 years I worked freelance, running workshops for local community groups and eventually my own workshops on blogging and writing your memoirs.

In 2017 I decided to go back to employment, working with agencies to enjoy the flexibility. The jobs on offer were either Customer Service or Healthcare Assistant, being paid minimum wage on a zero hour contract. I work as a live-in carer, which gives me the flexibility to work when I want to and stop when I want time off.

I have developed a workshop called from Memory to Memoirs that I hope to develop into something I can do on a regular basis in 2021.