Where have I been?

General
(Top left = me at Grey Ball, bottom left = me in Europe’s certified worst nightclub, second right = me sunbathing, bottom right = me graduating, pic on right is me with my doge TOBY, who we love.)

Oh, you know. A little of this, a little of that. I just haven’t felt much like writing! I was WRUNG OUT with tiredness and emotion, come the end of my degree. There were nights out and days in and plenty of goodbyes. There was love and light and tears and early mornings and all kinds of things going on. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to say.

Anyway, the point is: I’m back now. Maybe you missed me (although I know the answer to this is most likely, probably not). Now the craziness of the EnD oF aN ErA is over, I can get back to *relative* normality.

My goal is to post 2 or 3 times a week! I promise to be more consistent (at this point you’re probably reaching for the “unfollow” button, I know).

Consider this tho, where else are you going to get such #realtalk? I’m spending the summer working in a pet hotel, where there’s EIGHTY EIGHT dogs (yes, you read that right). And many many other animals, including cats, horses, rabbits, and even occasionally, someone’s pet rats. Lol. I’ve already been munched on by someone’s dear little pony (apparently my fingers must resemble carrots) and fell in love with a fluffy akita called YUKIO (how cute is that!).

NB: the hashtags are (mostly) #ironic.

I also really want to tell you about my graduation day, cause that was hella fun, and I discovered that I am a lot less fun than my sister, who is eight years older than me and by rights, the one that should have been complaining about being tired.

I have soooo much to tell you, dear friends. There’s been kisses and near-misses and general drams and fun timez. (Maybe I’ll make some of it up, to make my life seem more exciting. Who knows?) I even did a bar crawl consisting of all 14 Durham college bars, and actually COMPLETED IT! I either am super enthusiastic, or want nothing to do with a night out. Call me fickle, but it’s the truth.

Omg also I got rid of like 99% of my belongings in preparation for my move to Croatia (Sept 13th, looking at you). IT FEELS SO GOOD. It was like The Purge, but with my things. Based on this, I’d quite like to brag about my #fengshui abilities.

I don’t know why I’m typing like I’m an American Teen in every tween novel ever.

Right now I’m on my way to LDN! For like the 3rd time in my life. I am SO not a city girl.

Anyway, next post will be on SUNDAY, and it will be about PRIDE! Which is why I’m off to the capital.

 

Also going to be posting soon body image and exercise and how much I love carbs and how bad I feel if I don’t exercise and why that’s a bad thing and oh my gosh I have so much to say! I also want to review a book I recently read, which was really weird, even though it’s a classic. Maybe you can help me shed light on it.

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My “Finding Nemo” dress

 

To end with some wise advice:

in this world, it’s either yeet or be yeeted.” 

Love,

Cam

 

My “fitness” regime: body gals or nah?

fitness

Anyone reading this who knows me may feel an immediate sense of amusement. Cam, fitness…really? Yeah, I know. I have NO IDEA what I’m talking about. The few times I’ve set foot in a gym, I’ve been too overcome by the A). crippling embarrassment of exercising in front of other people and B). the crippling embarrassment of having to watch myself suffer in those massive mirrors they put everywhere, to actually do much exercise. (NB: WHY? Why would anyone in their right mind want to view themselves in ill-fitting lycra, failing miserably to keep up with the treadmill, as an old man in similarly ill-fitting lycra sprints sprit-lily away next to you?)

So as a NORMAL PERSON, who eats CHIPS and CAKE and looks terrible in spandex, I thought I’d share some of my worldly opinions. You didn’t ask for it, nobody asked for it, yet I still deliver. Enjoy.

Pls remember I am highly unqualified and eat a lot of chocolate and have no idea what I’m doing.

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1. What is fitness? 

When I Googled the definition, I was presented with the thrilling statement of fitness being “someone who is physically fit and healthy.”

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Being psychically fit and healthy?? How do I know when I reach this point? Is there a ceremony? Do you sprout wings or something? Man, being human is hard. By being physically fit, I presume Google means that you, like, have muscles which have the potential to be used. Surely that means everyone is…fit? Gah.

Today I only want to talk about the whole moving-your-body-and-reap-the-rewards thing. EXERCISE. 😨

In short, I think fitness essentially means having a body which is, well, generally FIT to perform daily tasks.

2. Why should I become “fitness”?

There are soooo many bloggers and insta-stars that are super fit and super healthy and they’re so inspirational and motivational but to be honest I have never felt able to keep up with them and it’s all just a bit stressful How does one even make overnight oats? And where do I buy the necessary mason jars?

I am not tanned, beautiful, motivated to CHANGE MY LIFE, and I don’t live in Melbourne or L.A.

I live in the grotty North of England, have shit hair, and buy most of my food from Tesco’s reduced section.

Maybe you #cantrelate, and are like oh my God Cam, you PEASANT, but seriously this is what I feel like! I had to unfollow Deliciously Ella on Instagram because her beautiful food, husband, dog, and 6am yoga classes were just depressing me on a daily basis, as I frantically slap foundation under my eyes in an attempt to conceal the fact I’d been up until 3am, binge watching shitty teen series on Netflix.

Apparently though, there are benefits to yeeting  yourself out and about occasionally.

MY NUMBER ONE REASON TO EXERCISE? 

Exercise produces serotonin, i.e. the HAPPY HORMONE!

EXERCISE IS BASICALLY A FREE, NATURAL ANTIDEPRESSANT. 

For a tragic piece of trash like myself, this is GREAT!

 

I’m sure there are other benefits, like living longer, reducing your probability of contracting all kinds of horrible diseases, and just generally not having a body which retains the shape of the sofa you’ve sat on all day, but this is sometimes the only reason I can force myself out in the cold winter air, or when I’m crying and hungover.

3. Staying “fitness” 

Thus far we have established that getting “fit” means having a body which has some stamina for exercise, and that that’s probably a good thing for your mental health.

If it’s so good for you then Cam, then how do you stay fit? In-between eating family bags of Malteasers, of course.

Basically I like to run and to swim, and I dabble in yoga (again with the broken heart thing – currently I’m into massive cardio as a way of pounding out my SAD THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS). I don’t do it all the time, I don’t have a routine, I just go when I feel like it. I usually exercise two or three times a week, mood-depending. You might fancy more or less, depending on circumstances. When I’m on my period, for example, I barely move from the beanbag in front of the telly.

NB: I am someone who is massively prone to illness, usually in the form of chest infections, and that usually knocks me back for about two weeks at a time. Then I start again, having lost whatever stamina I had previously built up. Meh.

The only thing we can do, I think, is to try.

I’m rubbish, I can barely stagger my way round a ParkRun, and can only breaststroke in a pool. But the point is, I go and I DO IT, which is the ONLY thing that matters! As young children and old people go sailing past me at significantly higher speeds, do I descend to a walk and give it up as a bad job? (Sometimes, yes) – No, I do not! I TRY AGAIN.

I’m really, really, not that interested in having the perfect body. Yes, I’m insecure but damn, I don’t have the goddamn TIME to spend preening myself to that extent. There’s animals to save and people to meet and things to do. And burpees? Who wants to VOLUNTARILY torture themselves that way when there’s CAKE in the world??

I actually enjoy running and swimming, and that’s why I do them, instead of say, spin class or weight lifting.

There is SO MUCH PRESSURE to conform to what the celebrities are doing, to what we see on Instagram, to what our friends our doing. I hate bike riding with a passion, and can’t think of anything worse than a dance class.

Maybe you do though! Please please please, for the love of God, if you decide to make yourself exercise, DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.

It can be anything. I only tried swimming recently: I didn’t learn to swim until I was 14 and for that reason, am less than amateur. I just decided to have a go one day and I really had a great time. Maybe you could do the same with rock climbing or something, I don’t know.

Just don’t start strapping weights to your ankles and subjecting yourself to crunches and squats, unless that’s what brings out your endorphin-smile. 

If you want to get fit, for whatever reason, it doesn’t have to be the be-all-and-end-all. It can be WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE. Hence my angry runs as a way of coping with emotional stress.

4. Okay Bye 

Sorry for the very strident post. Maybe you like BBG, or it changed your life or whatever. That’s totally cool, I’m well on board with that!! I might even try it myself, if I find myself wanting to.

What I’m NOT on board with is this manic desire to push your poor, potato-chip eating body to some kind of limit that the insta-celebs have made “accessible.

If it involves exercise before breakfast, I’m not interested.

YOU DO YOU, PLEASE. And do it with no pressure.

Love,

Cam.

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Showcasing my post-run “glow”

 

 

Ghost stories: inside the mind of an anorexic

Mental Health

Now, this is a topic about which I have a LOT to say. It’s not pretty, or uplifting, or even very funny, even with the passing of time. It’s really shitty, in fact. However, today I felt the stirrings of some old insecurities, and with that came the urge to write. 

Someone asked me if I was writing this blog in an attempt to “let go” of this history, and at the time I denied it, saying I simply wanted to share my story. But I’ve thought about it and I think what my friend said is probably true. I’m not over it. I can’t just pretend it never happened. Although maybe letting go is something I can share with you, in the same way.  

By the way, this story isn’t going to be published in neat, chronologically-ordered chapters. It’s broken and messy and probably quite incoherent. I hope you don’t mind because I, too, am messy and broken and quite incoherent. Heh. 

THIS POST MAY BE TRIGGERING TO THOSE WHO HAVE HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES. IF YOU DON’T THINK IT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO READ IT, PLEASE DON’T. 

The Prozac Diaries: Episode 1

Mental Health

It’s Saturday morning, and I have a headache. Not from alcohol, as you might expect of a girl who recently finished her degree and is enjoying the feeling of freedom. No. It’s because I ran out of Prozac, and am going into withdrawal.

Briefly, Budapest

travel

My experience of Budapest was a heady mix of aching feet and awe at the beauty of the city.

Highlights:

  • Food
  • Scenery
  • History
  • Cheap

Lowlights:

  • Effect of large quantity of dairy on Cam’s stomach.

Admittedly, the latter problem was my own fault and I can’t really blame the city. 

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Drinking out of a lightbulb

General

NB: I wrote this yesterday but fell asleep before I could post it…

Hello friends!

Today’s chronicle is written, I admit, slightly tipsily. I have been…DAY DRINKING. Now before you get all sniffy, it’s a beautiful day here and there’s a royal wedding going on, so why the heck not? Also I’m sad, gimme a break.

A friend took me to a very indie bar which is so extremely pretentious that guests have to know a secret code before being allowed in. And then you have to consult the satirical menu, which offers a self-effacing and self-conscious insight into the minds not only of the owners of the bar, but also into yourself. Should I dabble in a daiquiri? Bow to the bourbon? Who knows? Not I. Am I really so hipster that I would order….coffee from a secret bar? Overwhelmed by choice, I settled for a cheeky cocktail. Well, two. Actually three, if you count the can of Pimms I had from Tesco. Which probably explains why walking home turned into weaving home.

As I sipped my lemon-curd infused gin-based.. drink? (I have no idea what was actually in it), I considered my situation. Here I was, following fashions trends in a crop top and red trousers, enjoying a cocktail served in a lightbulb in a club so secret, perhaps even the owners didn’t know about it. The living embodiment of a hipster nightmare.

Is this really who I am? Someone who gets off on drinking fancy-ass lemonade from a toy milk bottle?

Actually, yes, yes I am.

The cocktails were great and I got quite merrily tipsy, and had to be refrained from getting a train to the nearest town with a Wagamamas (I am super craving it right now). Plus it felt cool to be drinking in an elite club out of illicit utensils, and on top of that, to be doing it in the middle of the goddamn day. The drinks had funny names, and it was all very aesthetic in the most pretentious, wonderful way. I think with stuff like this, you’ve either got to hate it with a passion, or embrace it for what it is: a nice bar which is a bit different and where they don’t skimp on gin measures.

Moral of the story: try something new today. For me, it was drinking very alcoholic cocktails out of a lightbulb at 3pm. For you, may I suggest an Irish coffee? A g&t as the sun sets? Or maybe something non-alcoholic. I’m a terrible influence, aren’t I? But you work hard, go treat yo self.

I should go now as I have to pack a suitcase; I’m leaving for Budapest tomorrow. I do not have great confidence in my drunk packing skills – do you think I’ll need my sequin jeans? Or a wetsuit? I DON’T KNOW. My suitcase is currently mostly full of eyeshadow palettes, so that might need rethinking.

Love,

Your unsober pal,

Cam

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Friend of bad influence! Or maybe good influence. I haven’t decided yet.

 

Hello and welcome!

General
Hi there!
 
If you hadn’t already guessed, the inevitable has happened – and I have decided to start BLOGGING *everybody cringes.* As if I wasn’t embarrassing enough anyway (check out my Insta). Still, I remain shameless about my propensity to over-share online. If reading about my trials and triumphs makes even one person feel better about themselves/ their own life, I will have won. Also low-key, my therapist told me that most of my problems would be solved if I just wrote them down and thought them through, so I will also be testing that theory.
 
More so than being an anthropologist (the subject of my undergrad degree) or a veterinarian (the subject of my next degree – we’ll get to that), I have always been a writer. Someone once called me “fat and weird” for reading books a lot when I was a pre-teen, but my hobby did leave me with the ability to string together a few sentences in a way that’s easy to read. Who’s laughing now? Probably them, actually…
 
So what should you expect from avocamilla.com?
 
Food 
 
Food, glorious food! Yes, I’m a (mostly) vegan. BUT before you turn away in disgust, I promise you I am not one of those vegans. I don’t CARE if you eat steak three times a day or are a gluten-free milk-free Paleo pescatarian. As long as you don’t send me sausages in the post or something, we’re cool. I will not preach about veganism or anything like that. I will just share my reality with you! Which is, admittedly, mostly guilty bags of Malteasers and the occasional cheesy pizza. *gasp!* And some meals that are just cous cous and ketchup – I’m a student, let me live. Sometimes I do make nice food (or have it made for me), and when I do, I’ll be sure to share it. But me and my baked beans are probably not going to make it onto the #foodporn hashtag.
 
Fitness 
 
Ha! Ha! Good one, Cam. If you know me in real life, you’ll be well aware that I am super pale, sickly, dramatically asthmatic (no, seriously) and generally do not look like someone who is #bodygoals at any given time. Despite this, I love to run and to swim. I do my best. Occasionally, I dabble in yoga (at present, however, I am nursing a broken heart and am favouring more intense exercise as a form of REVENGE).
 
Rest assured, I suck at both running AND swimming (I didn’t learn to swim until I was fourteen), but maybe you can help me achieve some kind of fitness level or goal. We can encourage one another to get out there and get moving. I do think exercise is an important part of life, but as a normal person with a normal body you will not find me hanging out in the weights area sipping a kale smoothie because, well, I’m probably in bed with a slice of toast and a hangover.
 
Mental health 
 
Okay, this is where it gets a bit heavy.
 
I am someone who struggles with mental health problems. Throughout my teenage years, I had anorexia, which was incredibly debilitating. Thankfully, I got the help I needed and have recovered fully from that awful disorder. But it’s still something I talk about a lot and fight every single day – yes, I live a normal life and eat what I like, when I like (hence why I don’t restrict myself cheese or cake or chocolate if I want it), but the problems which anorexia developed as a coping mechanism for, still remain, and I struggle massively with body insecurity.
 
These problems take the form of depression and anxiety. Panic attacks, SSRIs, all that jazz. And sometimes it makes every day a struggle.
 
Mental health forms a big part of our media coverage today. But what is “mental health”? How do we know when it’s “bad” or when it’s “good”? And what can we do to not feel like crap all the time?
 
I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some of them. Whether it’s books, or lifestyle changes, or quotes or websites or whatever, I hope to share what works for me. By letting you inside my mind, maybe you’ll see that you’re not alone, or be able to help a friend going through this stuff.
 
I am in no way qualified to give advice, so all I can do is share my experiences. Some of them are funny, and some are sad, but they’re all real, and from my heart. And if I got through them, you can too!
 
Travel 
 
I am fairly intrepid and I have some stories to share, mostly about the times I have visited Africa to spend my summers working with primates. One time I got hit in the head with a rock thrown by a chimpanzee! Also once I landed a drone a bit too near someone’s face. OOPS.
 
This September, I, a typical Yorkshire lass from the UK, will be moving to Croatia for SIX YEARS. From what I have described about myself, that seems crazy, doesn’t it! So I will definitely be posting about what it’s like to prepare to move away for such a long time, being an international student, and what life is like away from home.
 
Everything else 
 
I hope to share some of what I learn from my veterinary studies, as well as keeping up-to-date with anthropology. I promise to make it at least a little bit interesting, and not too gross. I’ll also be sharing music that is cheerful and uplifting, as I think music can do a lot to change your mood! Finally, I might share some of my fictional writing, some of which I’m quite proud of. Oh, and probably some “fashion” too. This will mostly involve me wearing brightly patterned shirts and grinning like a maniac because apparently I live in the 80s, despite the fact I wasn’t alive then. There’ll be some funny stories from university and from my family life, too. Plus I have a puppy, so watch out for pictures of him.
 
Anyway, enough rambling. I have a flight to catch. But I hope you are excited! I certainly am.
 
Love,
 
Cam
 
first post

It me! I was trying to show off my shoes but I look a bit silly instead. Still, you win some, you lose some.