Dreams memories reflections

The year 2013 went tits up in Rhal-land and turned out to be one of the toughest, most painful and yet necessary years of my life. After battling with poverty, injury, isolation, heartbreak and relocating from Scotland back to the greatest city in the world, although I learned a lot about myself, something has to change. As the year of hard knocks draws to a close, it’s time to sort my shit out and make some plans.

Early adventurer

Early adventurer

Returning to London has been bittersweet. I am so happy to be close to my friends and family and ecstatic to be back running after months of injury. But I’m also haunted by a sense of failure, sad to leave some special people behind and frustrated at reaching this point in my life (34.5) with no fucking clue what’s going on.

I always assumed I’d have a house, husband, career and gaggle of chubby babies by now. The truth is, the most expensive thing I possess is a pink BMX and my wardrobe consists largely of £3.99 H&M Lycra miniskirts. I live off hummus and I don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent next month. To that end, I’ve decided to write a plan of my hopes and aspirations for the year ahead. Behold the launch of the official year of Rhalou. I hereby give you all permission to remind me to stick to the plan if July rolls around and I’m still slogging out in budget Lycra and licking hummus instead of making something of my life.

Get a job
Okay I admit it, I suck at freelancing. I’m a woman of routine. I like being in an office every day, wearing actual clothes and interacting with interesting people. I’ve been freelance for 18 months now, which basically means I’ve lived in pyjamas for over a year. In 2014 I would like to get a well-paid, exciting, challenging and fulfilling job with a progressive company where my writing and editing skills are put to good use. I would also like to earn enough money to get taxis home from the pub instead of shuffling drunkenly on to the bloody night bus at 4am every Sunday.

Get ripped
After taking time out due to injury it’s been a long slow climb back to fitness, but in a funny way rediscovering running has been like falling in love all over again. All the clichés about coming back stronger are true. When you get knocked back, if you’ve got true grit you come back fighting and this time I’m determined to get it right. I don’t give a rat’s arse about speed, PBs or elusive ultra fitness. I run because I want to be healthy, happy and look good in hotpants. I’m determined not to get injured again, and to that end I’ve taken up yoga, returned to the weight’s room and I refuse to run faster than the speed of conversation until I am ready. Watch this space.

Seek out adventure
Moving to the Scottish mountains was a baptism of fire. I absolutely loved the wilderness, but at the same time I realised I need friends, pubs, H&M and Starbucks to sustain me as a human being. Even the most beautiful, ethereal and majestic countryside in the world sucks arse if you’ve got no one to share it with, so I came home. I haven’t turned my back on the mountains though. Since being back in the city I’ve realised I need both in my life. I want to be a city girl who buggers off to the wilderness for a mountain fix every few weeks. Who fancies a road trip?

Write that book
Despite trying to write one since I was six, I have never finished a book (in my own name). Aside from the whole moving to the Scottish mountains episode, there are some cool stories I should probably tell you. There was that time I lived in a commune, or when I climbed the fence at Glastonbury when I was only 14, or the gay millionaire my granny married, or that time I was an extra in a porn film about zombies. Please remind me to write that book.

Be content
I’ve been cursed with an adventurous streak which compels me to shake up my entire life every couple of years and turn everything on its head. I’ve walked away from countless friends, jobs, homes, relationships and pets without so much as a backward glance. This may sound fun and reckless, but it doesn’t get me any closer to living the conventional dream and having a stable income so I can pay for those elusive late-night taxis. In 2014 I will learn to cherish what I already have; loyal and brilliant friends, a family that loves me, a city to call my home and legs that can run and run and run.


  1. December 17, 2013 / 5:11 pm

    You rock, Rhal. Just sayin’. And although it may not be the wilderness of Scotland, Brighton is always calling your name for fun in lycra followed by gin and hotpants.

    • December 17, 2013 / 5:14 pm

      Hey gorgeous! I would bloody love that. I need some sexy sea air. Let’s make it happen x x x (although you’ll have to slow down for my sausage legs)

  2. kathleen @kat_rocket
    December 17, 2013 / 5:32 pm

    I need you to write your book! All the best for 2014 Rhalou. You are amazing and you deserve all the things you dream of xxx

    • December 18, 2013 / 10:03 am

      Thank you lovely Kat. I will I will! Hope your dreams come true too. Roll on 2014 x x

  3. Victoria Holloway
    December 17, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    I don’t know you but we follow mutual runners and I ended up following you on Twitter. Your blog was very honest and brave. Keep up the writing and keep running. I envy your ability to write in such an open and real way. Good luch for 2014. Victoria

    • December 18, 2013 / 10:04 am

      Hey Victoria, thanks for your lovely comment, it makes me so happy to know people read my ramblings! I’ll stick at it, hope you have a lovely Christmas and NY xx

  4. dommy
    December 17, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Taxis are well overrated.
    You’ve truly made it when you actively enjoy the night bus, or better still avoid it altogether by being happy to go home on the last train.

    • December 18, 2013 / 10:06 am

      Ten years of night buses, they ca do one. What we need is a bit of sunshine so we can stroll home leisurely at dawn and stop off for pancakes.

  5. December 17, 2013 / 11:01 pm

    Love this! Right behind you disco bombshell xxx

    • December 18, 2013 / 10:06 am

      Aaah yeeeah thanks hotpants, 2014 is gonna be sexy as hell, I can feel it x x x

  6. December 18, 2013 / 8:55 am

    Rhalou this is actually spooky – I suck at freelancing, sitting in pyjamas and I also come to the realisation, if just for the sake of my dwindling fashion sense, I needed to get a job. After spending 3 months juggling endless interviews, writing tests whilst trying to work more than full time (and worrying about making ends meet), I finally got a job starting in January. I thought by now I would have a ring on my finger and be content, but I do wonder if I’ve missed that boat. Best of luck Rhalou – having a plan is half the battle. We will get back on our feet and smash 2014! xxx

    • December 18, 2013 / 10:09 am

      Hey, congrats on the new job! Hope it goes really well. And never lose faith in love, when you need it the least it will spring up on you. Men have a funny way of doing that. Here’s hoping I get to escape the freelance hole soon too. Roll on 2014 x x x

  7. December 18, 2013 / 10:31 am

    Awesome blog post! I don’t know you personally but discovering you on Twitter has made me laugh a whole lot (in a good way!) and it’s inspiring to see you make a great 2014 happen. I’ve had some big ups and downs these last few years and this year hasn’t been as bloody fantastic as I’d hoped – hoping to join you in the best year yet next year! Cheers for sharing such an honest post.

    • December 18, 2013 / 10:39 am

      Thank you! I bloody love Twitter, it has introduced me to so many funny, cool and interesting people over the past couple of years. Sorry to hear you’ve had a tough time too, but yeeeeahhhh roll on 2014, I keep saying this (hope i don’t jinx it) but I have a really good feeling about the year ahead. And no regrets, all the shit stuff has made me realise what I do want out of life, and insight is a blessing, right. xxx

  8. Rich
    December 18, 2013 / 10:36 am

    I’m sure with hindsight & those rose-tinted disco specs you’ll not regret any of it. I took exactly the same approach through my 30s, some of my best friends and the most interesting people I know still haven’t settled down to a conventional lifestyle and they’re in their 60s.
    Just as good now as it was then.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQlJ3vOp6nI

    • December 18, 2013 / 1:11 pm

      Bloody hell. I watched the video and wept like a baby. That was rather lovely, thank you. And amen to unconventional lifestyles (to a point) x

  9. Mark Wright
    December 18, 2013 / 11:48 am

    A great read, I too have walked away from countless friends, jobs, homes and relationships without so much as a backward glance. It looks as though 2014 will begin with a new flat and a yet another new start. As for possessions, well I’ve learnt things aren’t important – people are important!

    Good luck, have a brave and beautiful 2014!

    • December 18, 2013 / 1:12 pm

      Thank you! You too, I hope your new home is a happy one. Reinvention is healthy. And you’re not wrong about friends. Hope your 2014 is a hot shower of happy times x

  10. January 25, 2014 / 9:04 pm

    You go girl!
    Life really does kick us in the butt sometimes. I had some really tough times a few years ago but came out of it stronger and happier. Life now is so much better! Go on and smash your goals in 2014.!

    • January 26, 2014 / 2:53 pm

      Thanks hotpants! It’s on the up… Writing that blog seemed to do the trick x x x

  11. Daisy BINNIE
    May 6, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    Hey Cousin! So we’re over a third of the year in…..hows the Year of Rhalou shaping up? Hope each step is taking you in the right direction. Have enjoyed your more recent blogs too…. x x x

Leave a Reply