IN REARVIEW // September 2016

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona

As I mentioned at the end of last month, I was over in Spain when the month of September rolled around. Having arrived there late on the 30th of August, I spent a wonderful couple of days exploring Barcelona on my own, with the 1st of the month caught up in Gaudi-inspired awe as I visited Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia, before a night-time trip to the magic fountain of Montjuic.

The next day saw me hop on a train for the five hour journey south to Alicante (a ride that passed by surprisingly quickly, helped by the roomy seats, foot rests and in-built music system) where my parents met me for vegan cakes and a walk around the marina before driving an hour further south to our little Costa Blanca'n retreat.

Pink salt lakes - Torrevieja Costa Blanca

I got to spend a week with them, enjoying their company, the pool and the sun. We visited the pink salt lakes of Torrevieja; sampled the vegetarian offerings of the area; wandered round markets in numerous small towns; took in the historical sites of Orihuela; had a barbecue and s'mores on the roof terrace; joined in a local pub quiz; went snorkelling for the first time ever; and found my 100th Geocache on Torrevieja's pier!

It was a really relaxing break and a much-needed escape - a chance to switch off and not worry about being or doing anything; time for my brain to stop struggling to focus on any particular thing; and the excuse of language letting me off with the most minimal interactions. It was a brief period of peace.

Of course, holidays always end and reality sets back in.

Prior to heading off to Spain, I'd really been struggling again. I'd been back and forth to the hospital, but avoided the admission that various professionals were suggesting, fearful but determined and feeling like I needed to make my trip, for me. Evidently I made it (somewhat surprisingly), but it only acted as a momentary pause button on all those struggles and the inpatient admission became reality almost as soon as I got back home.

I was still there when September ended - am still an inpatient now - on a ward that is louder and more chaotic than I've ever known it to be. Thankfully, I've been getting out and about a fair bit, with the doctors granting me the occasional overnight or weekend pass.

Banchory beast race - bloggers and the beast
Photo via Beast Race Facebook.

One of those weekend passes saw me spend my Saturday taking part in the Banchory Beast Race with fellow bloggers Christy and AmeyA 10km obstacle course race, I signed up for it some months back, thinking it would give me a goal - something to focus on - and that training would occupy my time in the lull between the wedding and my holiday. Alas, the training never quite happened and I went along feeling intensely worried that I would prove myself disgustingly unfit and would keep the other girls back waiting for me. As it was, my fitness levels weren't as poor as I feared and the three of us kept together and conquered every obstacle, from scrambling hills to freezing lochs, and successfully tamed the beast! Not only were we successful, but I actually had a brilliant time and lots of fun along the way - though I definitely got off lightly compared to Christy and Amey's painful collision!

deeside local food festival

When we weren't conquering beasts, Christy and I spent some time defeating the foodie offerings of the Deeside Local Food Festival held at Cults Academy. Inside, there were all kinds of treats on offer, from gin and craft beer to seafood and butcher's meat; from fresh vegetables to freshly made cakes; from honeys and preserves to tablet, fudge and other sweets. The vendors outside, meanwhile, had us munching on overflowing burritos from Fresh Mex and delicious ice-cream from Stew 'N' Drew's and it was nice to pass an afternoon being reminded of just how much this area has in store.

As usual, I'm ending my review focussing on my belly as I can't think what else I've been up to besides drinking coffee and eating too much food! 

Overall, it's fair to say that September was a bit of a mixed month, but there were certainly plenty positives to feel grateful for. I hope the same is true for you! 


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