Almost a year to the day since we’d last seen each other, me and Laura were reunited as I made the trip down to Dorset to stay with her for a few days. A mini holiday was very much needed – I was so keen to get away from my normal surroundings, break away from my routine and it was the perfect opportunity to challenge Anorexia and push myself outside of my comfort zone.
It’s safe to say that a lot of bread, hummus and coffee were consumed over the course of the week but I wouldn’t have had it any other way! It was so lovely to actually have some company and friend time for once. Last year I was so anxious about my stay because food and exercise were out of my control but this year I was nothing but excited about getting the opportunity to challenge all of that.
I overcame food rules, ate things that I hadn’t in years and challenged myself at every possible opportunity. Whilst extreme hunger was still niggling away in the background, I feel as if I made so much progress in such a short space of time. And I didn’t realise until I came home feeling like a completely different person, just how much the trip was needed.
As I did last year, I wanted to write a post sharing all of our adventures and of course all the foodie details too!
20.08.19 | Reunited and Pottery Painting
The only downside about travelling down to see Laura is the 5 hour long journey that it takes to get there. I don’t usually have much luck when it comes to trains, but other than a quick sprint to catch my connecting train, the journey itself was relatively stress free. Having left my house in Cheshire at 9.30am, I arrived in Bournemouth shortly after 2pm where we were reunited at the train station and it was straight to cafe called All Fired Up, for pottery painting.
I’m not the most artistic person, but when Laura suggested we paint pottery I actually got quite excited. We both opted for the small bowls with ears, with our intention to make them look like rabbits although they definitely turned out more like cats in the end, however the whole process was surprisingly therapeutic! Accompanied by iced coffee, a good catch up and a quick browse around the shops, it was such a lovely first afternoon.
From Bournemouth, we headed home to Laura’s, where I was greeted by Albi. We settled down for the night with a Quorn curry, peshwari naan, dessert buddha bowls and Mamma Mia 2.
21.08.19 | Durdle Door
After starting the day with chocolate chip and peanut butter pancakes, we were well fulled for the drive to Durdle door. We stopped off at Coffee Salloon in Wareham on the way, for their famous vanilla iced coffee and I opted for the soft baked Vegan cookie, whilst Laura tried the orange cake and both were delicious!
The drive through Lulworth was incredible. The houses looked like something from a picture book – painted pretty pastel colours, decorated with flowers and complete with intricately thatched roofs, it was so hard to believe that they were real.
Durdle door is a landmark that stands out to me from all of my GCSE Geography lessons and it was even more stunning in person. With crystal clear blue water and a sky to match, you’d find it hard to believe that you were still in the UK.
We found a cute pub, The Castle Inn, for lunch which was equally as aesthetically pleasing as it’s surroundings, with it’s cream exterior and thatched roof. The staff were so friendly and it was easy to see why it’s winner of the Fever Tree garden of the year. We found ourselves a table outside and ordered ourselves marinated watermelon salads – with a side of chips of course!
We took the scenic drive back home, surrounded by blue skies and rolling hills, it was one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever seen.
That afternoon, we baked Vegan chocolate muffins which turned out to be incredible! They were perfectly chocolatey, moist and fluffy and it’s definitely safe to say that the trip helped to restore faith in my baking skills!
We decided on a tapas / mezze style dinner consisting of veggie burgers, falafels, hummus, salad, mashed avocado, toasted pitta and bread rolls for dinner. Usually meals that aren’t portioned out cause me so much anxiety and although it definitely made me feel a little uncomfortable at first, I actually enjoyed it so much.
22.08.19 | Shopping and Fireworks
Our road trip to Ikea definitely wouldn’t have been complete without a stop at the Starbucks drive thru – it was my first in years (I actually went on to have another later in the day) and was 100% worth the challenge.
It being my first ever visit, I was definitely a little over excited to finally be in Ikea. Whilst Laura stocked up on all of the Uni essentials, I was conscious of having to carry everything back on the train home and so it was just a phone holder and a new bowl for me.
We had a browse around West Quay shopping centre, before heading to the Real Greek for lunch. Their menu is so affordable and the staff were all so friendly. We both opted for the Greek Trio in which you customise your own tiered food stand with a number of dishes – with options for everyone from meat eaters to Vegans. We coincidentally happened to order the same:
- Greek flatbread
It definitely took me back to mine and my mum’s Greek holiday 4 years ago and was probably one of the best meals that I’ve eaten out. There was so much more on the menu that I wanted to try, it’s just a shame that they don’t have any restaurants up North!
We enjoyed our mezze style dinner so much the previous evening that we opted to have the same again (I did say that a lot of bread and hummus was consumed during the week) before we headed to Poole Quay to watch the firework display above the water.
23.08.19 | Bike Rides and Sun
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed last years bike ride, and so this year we did the same. Helmets on, we set off on the 30 minute cycle to Wimborne and the weather was definitely on our side.
We had a lovely wander around the village, stopped off for lunch and had a browse in the charity shops before cycling back home.
After a busy morning, we spent the afternoon outside reading and enjoying the sunshine. Although it’s safe to say that the whole sunbathing thing definitely doesn’t suit me well and to say that I got burnt would be an understatement!
Laura made us the Aloo Dum from Pixie Turner’s The Wellness Rebel book and it’s definitely a recipe that I will be recreating at home. Chunks of sweet and regular potato in a delicious perfectly spiced sauce, served with mango chutney and toasted pitta bread.
That evening I finally got to watch The Incredibles (it only took me 14 years) and enjoyed it way more than I thought that I would. Now it’s left me desperate to watch the second!
24.08.19 | Baking, Iced Coffee and Reading
After a busy few days, we were definitely in need of some chill time. Laura headed out to park run in the morning whilst I made myself breakfast and we decided to spend the day at home.
I finally got to try one of Laura’s famous iced coffees before we put on a playlist and baked blueberry muffins. It was toasted falafel, hummus and chutney sandwiches for lunch and we spent the afternoon sat out in the garden reading our books (I managed to read almost 3 during my stay) – although we’d learnt from my mistake the day before and stayed in the shade this time.
Laura suggested homemade pizza for tea and it was definitely too good of an offer to turn down. She made the dough by hand and we played Bananagrams whilst waiting for it to rise. Topped with a homemade vegetable tomato sauce and extra veggies, they were so delicious. Then it was off to the beach for a late night walk, before settling down for the final evening.
25.08.19 | Vegan Cafe’s and Home Time
We had a chilled Sunday morning – walked Albi, got ready and sat in the garden and chatted over an iced coffee before heading in to Bournemouth for lunch.
After having to rearrange our plans last minute the previous year because Laura didn’t realise that it was closed on a Wednesday, there was only one place to head for lunch – Mad Cucumber.
I finally got the try their famous chocolate slop smoothie (banana, dates, cocoa powder and avocado), along with their potato and butternut hash which was accompanied by a moreish coconut and mango tahini dressing.
After an emotional goodbye at the train station (yes, I did cry!) I was sent off with a jar of homemade chutney and one of our homemade blueberry muffins for my travels (it always amazes me how much better baking tastes the next day). I was back on the train for what was a very hot, but thankfully straight forward journey home.
Challenges and Fears That I Faced
- Coffee syrups
- Eating cake mix
- Different drinks – fruit squash, elder flower press
- Ate a wider variety of foods
- Different breakfasts, lunch and dinners
- Took the time to sit down, relax and chill – read, sunbathed or simply did nothing!
- Ate at different times
- Extra snacks
- Tried new foods
- Sharing food – having half and half each
- Revisited foods that I hadn’t had in years
- I had my first Starbucks in years (2 in one day in fact!)
- Wore shorts
- Didn’t weigh my food
- Ate out at restaurants
- Had a ‘2 course’ breakfast
- Ate whilst walking / in the street
- Had a break from Yoga (last year I’d woken up before Laura and set up a yoga mat and the spare room because I was too scared about what would happen if I didn’t exercise)
- I didn’t check calories once!
- Woke up every day without setting an alarm
Since coming home
- I’ve stopped weighing out food
- Stopped compulsively using the stairs
- Stopped counting my chews
- Stopped eating alone, in silence or with the kitchen door shut
- Stopped eating with my eyes closed
- Brave enough to leave the house with my legs out! (even after the sunburn incident)
- Continuing to add in more variety at all of my meals and snacks
- Increased my intake
- Tried orange juice for the first time in years!
- Started eating more ‘normally’ – eating quicker, focusing less intently on my food
- Taking different routes on the dog walk (Anorexia likes to create lots of routines)
- Back to being less calorie aware and not checking them at all!
- Even more relaxed about food timings and routine
- Eating more types of fruit that I’d been too scared of – Watermelon, apples etc
- Learning that not everything has to be the same every day – my body isn’t a robot!
- Went out for ice cream with my Mum
- Feel so much more positive and free
Staying with Laura has given me so much more food inspiration and confidence that I know that I need to implement now that I’m back home. I was eating more freely and eating more during my stay, as well as a different variety of foods which did result in quite a substantial weight gain. Aside from the extreme hunger, I didn’t feel as if I’d restricted myself at any point. It sounds cliche but this trip has made me feel as if I can achieve anything!
I have gained weight recently, but with it I’ve gained so much life and food freedom and I know that things can only get better from this point. Seeing my body change isn’t easy, but I’m more accepting of weight gain than ever before. Plus there’s no way that I’m prepared to give up any of the things that I can now do and eat now, in return for being in a smaller body again.
In Dorset I didn’t question or plan what I was eating – it wasn’t until someone pointed it out to me in a message that I’d eaten bread or carbohydrate based products 4+ times in a day – whereas a month ago I wasn’t eating a single slice of bread! It also highlighted that at times, it almost feels as if Anorexia isn’t there at all.
Weirdly I didn’t feel that guilty for challenging myself either, there were definitely times when it crept in – for example when I had a flapjack with lunch. At first when the guilt came in I tried to justify it – ‘it’s OK because I need to gain weight’ but simply, I wanted the flapjack so I ate it. And that’s what all of my food choices should be like. If I hadn’t been so focused on food because of the extreme hunger, then I think that the trip could have been even more ED free.
Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to use the word ruined, the extreme hunger that I’ve still been experiencing definitely tainted the trip a little – I so badly didn’t want to feel like that while I was there and it did make me quite upset at times. It made it difficult to cope physically and it’s also frustrating when you’re trying to enjoy food and eating out. Understandably it’s hard for other people to get a grasp on when they’re eating the same or even less than you and are so full that they couldn’t eat another thing, yet you feel as if you haven’t eaten at all.
Overall I actually feel the happiest that I have in a LONG time and I finally feel as if my personality is coming back. My mum said that I look different (that might be the sunburn) and that my overall mood and attitude have improved. I’ve come home feeling like a new person, with a completely different outlook and perspective. I’m so excited to implement these changes at home and face new challenges too.
Where have you been away this summer? What challenges or fears have you overcome? Leave them in the comments below or let me know over on Instagram @nourishingyas x