About siany1

Fitness blogger, travel addict, couch-potato-come-fitness-aficionado, lover of pie and cake (it's a weakness) and hater of bananas. www.dashing-divas.com

Why moving isn’t everything, but it’s a start


So it’s exactly 5 weeks today until I make the big move to Italy (also the day of the Brighton half – my last UK race as a UK citizen).

Even the thought of going has lifted my spirits and got me back on the exercise and healthy eating wagon.

No more late nights drinking wine or smoking for me (well, not on a school night anyway). I’m not naive enough to think that Italy will be the answer to all of my prayers – far from it. I fully expect to go back a few steps before I can go forward, but my overall goal is simple: to improve my quality of life. Or indeed, to get a life.

By quality of life I mean simple things like making new friends and having time to see them at least once or twice a month, going out more, and having the time and energy to enjoy my passions: cooking, dressing well, writing more, and exercising.


My running buddies and I on our 2-hour long run this week.

I have the Northern European disease and it’s killing me from the inside. I work, I eat, I sleep and repeat. I don’t appreciate anything and a lot of the time I don’t really feel anything – I’m floating along in this existence not really knowing what any of it is for, but I do it because society dictates it. What’s the point in being this miserable if I have to buy myself material things that I don’t have time to use or appreciate, to help myself feel happy.  I am the embodiment of the saying ‘All dressed up with nowhere to go’.

I’m hoping Italy will remind me again to smile at the simple things in life and not worry about the trivial things and things that I cannot change (i.e., the fact that some people are arse holes, and clients often have unrealistic expectations).

If at the end of it all I land myself with a good Italian husband, well that’s a bonus right? ;-)

Where I’m going in 2015: Eat play love

So it’s been a long old while since I’ve posted – my life has changed a lot, mostly for the better but in other ways it’s been tough. No matter how confident, happy you are at not being stuck in a bad situation (i.e., not being in a pointless pinball relationship that was never going to amount to anything), being alone after 10 years of being attached is tough. Add to that working from home when you are naturally a very sociable person and you end up in all kinds of trouble.


I’ve dated with varying success and it’s been a huge amount of fun for the most part (highlight being man juggling 3 at the same time), but I’ve also let myself be manipulated by a particularly beautiful but slightly controlling Spanish man. My weight has fluctuated from healthy to 1-biscuit a day unhealthiness, and at times I have been hyperactive and had no more than 1-2 hours sleep.

I’m in a good place now – I know I can be on my own, and actually living on my own has brought out the best in me. I’m tidy, organised, I don’t waste time watching television, I’m learning a language (I’ve put in 40 hours of study since the start of December!) and I’ve thrown myself into my career. So what next?

New York

I’ve been very lucky to travel an awful lot this year – perhaps too much. Since May, I’ve been to Brazil, Panama City, Tokyo, and New York (with European trips between) and it got me thinking. I love travelling, speaking to people from different countries, I’m naturally inquisitive, and I love food and different cultures – why not live that life? I have no ties any more, I don’t have to compromise, or worry about anyone but myself and my life is my own!


I was in Tokyo and my colleague was meeting with someone from the Japan office and I thought ‘ooooh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to work at the Japan office or any office outside of the UK?’. It planted a seed in my head and that was it – after that point I had already left the UK in my head. After a particularly busy stretch at work, I booked some flights to New York and off I went 5 days later. I stayed with my ex from a few years back who has happily made a life for himself and again I thought ‘this could be me?’. So I stopped thinking about it and started acting. I got straight on the phone to a recruitment agent friend and applied for a job in Milan.

I chose Milan for various reasons – I really want to learn a romance language, it’s really central and has 2 airports (costing on average only £38 to fly to UK), it’s close to the mountains, and I adore all things Italian (ok, possibly not the ridiculous bureaucracy and the fact that there are indeed 2 different power sockets – what!?). The minute I applied I started listening to Paul Collins learn Italian. I didn’t hear anything from the company until about 10 days later and I had a telephone interview and then they invited me to Milan. Everyone at the company was really friendly and they put me up in a really posh hotel. They pulled out all the stops and I was suitably impressed. I could really see myself there and in Milan – I love fashion, I love eating, dating, socialising, I am a very warm and tactile person and I do wonder if in a past life maybe I was Italian? Sometimes I feel it in my veins. I’m pleased to say they offered me the job and a package that even my dad, who was initailly opposed to the idea, told me to take.

Now I’m packing up 34 years of my life into a van and I head off in little more than 5 weeks. It’s going to be very daunting I have no doubt. I am training for Boston Marathon too so I’m going to have to find running routes very quickly. Even going to the post office is going to be a challenge and I don’t know anyone there, but I know that if I lose the ego and perfectionist in me (learning a language is going to involve many embarrassing mistakes, but that’s OK), get out there and live I’ll be OK.

La vita è bella people, live it!


2014: Thank you and good night


In many ways, 2014 you have been an out and out bitch. I have gone through periods of eating hardly anything and sleeping for 1-2 hours a night for weeks on end, but I thank you for the lessons you have taught me.

I thank you for all the great friends I have made and for showing me that although I don’t yet have mr right, at least I’m not wasting my precious time with mr wrong. Thank you for helping me to see that I am beautiful on the inside and out, and for giving me the strength to hold my head up high with a new-found poise and confidence. Thank you for giving me the balls to take on a huge new challenge in 2015, and for giving me the dedication to learn an entirely new language and culture (still early days, but so far so good with my Italian). Thank you for giving me the mental strength to pick up the pace with my running and smash out a 1:51 half marathon at Oxford in October. Most of all, thank you for making me see that I don’t need to change, compromise, or give up on my dreams for any thing or any one.


Here’s to a brilliant and bright 2015 for one and all!

Fight for what you want people! xx

Finding my strong



Earlier this week the thought of having to pack all my things up, leave behind a newly fitted kitchen, and all I have invested (time and money) shocked me to the core. Then I realised that was all just ‘stuff’. It would be easy to think that the last 2 years have been a total waste of time, but I don’t see it like that. I’ve had the best of times and the worst of times, and I have been incredible fun and a nightmare. I’ve climbed mountains, run marathons, travelled, and found a job I’m happy with. I’ve picked myself up from rock bottom after choosing to move on from a life that others would give their right arm for but wasn’t right for me at the time, to be in happy place with myself. What it boils down to is that stuff doesn’t matter – people matter. There’s no point in me staying in a place where I’m not happy and the other person isn’t prepared to take me for who I am – an amazing/damaged/fragile/strong/intelligent/impetuous/determined/messy/loving person. I deserve the best I can get.

I could quite easily resort to eating pizza, drowning my sorrows with alcohol and foregoing my normal exercise regimen, but then the only person that hurts is me. So this week I have lifted weights, ran 13.5 miles, looked at flats, smiled and laughed with friends and family, discussed changes with work, sorted out unnecessary direct debits and I’m making a plan.

I’m focussing on the positives – the time on my own to do things that I haven’t done for ages: blog properly without question or guilt, workout every day, attend classes, learn a language, see friends, visit more places, go vegetarian and do precisely what I want.

This is my time now and I don’t want to waste a single second of it!


Do what you love


Since the London marathon, I have been struggling to get back the body and the fitness I had this time last year. I was lean, stronger and faster and, above all else, I was happier. I was training up to half marathons, running lots of 10ks and feeling good. BUT, I felt this need to sign up for a marathon. I got sucked in by the other runners at my club and people on Twitter and Facebook – I felt the pressure (albeit positive and well meaning) to join in. Thereafter followed boredom and misery for nigh on 6 months. I felt stressed and irritable, and I was a pain in the backside to be around. I irritated myself on pretty much a daily basis. I had turned into a marathon arsehole – I lived, breathed and slept marathons, and avoided socialising in case it interfered with the dreaded plan.

Then the RUNger set in (noun: the need to replenish energy stores used up after a long run with cake and shit food) and where once I had traces of abs trying to peak through, was a blob of gloop. In essence, marathon training had turned me into a blobby, slow and miserable loser.

Contrary to what others have said I would do, I haven’t come away from the marathon after all of that trauma and all-round bollox and thought ‘hey I’ll sign up for another one’; quite the opposite. I’ve looked at why I feel the need to self flagellate by signing up for things that are frankly horrible and not right for me, and I’ve looked at what I really want to do and what I enjoy. Life is supposed to be about fun after all, and that involves feeling good about ourselves and sharing that positivity with others.

Lately I have been indulging myself in pretty much anything I want to do and it’s been a huge amount of fun. I have been strength training daily with Julia Buckley‘s Extreme Inferno (more on that another time, but it’s great!) and my personal trainer, I’ve gone out and got drunk, I’ve learnt to love cycling and I’m going open-water swimming this week. I leave the watch at home and I’m ok with that.


I may not be a marathon runner, but I’m a happy, strong and positive runner and that’s what matters to me.


Back to Kilimanjaro


On a rainy day in July 2010, I was sitting on the train reading the Metro (a free London commuter paper) and I saw a large Alzheimer’s Society advertisement for Kilimanjaro. For some reason this really sparked something inside of me and I immediately signed up on a whim. Apart from hiking boots, I didn’t have one single piece of hiking, camping, exercise-related kit so I had to buy everything from scratch. The other point to mention is that I was really quite unfit and overweight. I didn’t let that put me off though and I did do a lot of hiking training for the trip. When Kilimanjaro came around, it was probably all a bit too much for me – I wasn’t used to camping, not washing for days, drinking slightly murky tasting water and being away from home comforts.


I was also carrying a bit more excess baggage than I should have been and the rest of it is pretty much a blur. I got quite bad altitude sickness and didn’t make the summit, and when I came back I was broken. For ages when people asked me about the trip and Kilimanjaro, I didn’t have a good word to say about it and now I’ve since realised it wasn’t the mountain I hated, but myself. What I did make though was huge changes to my life afterwards, which you can read about here. The shame and the disappointment kick started this love of exercise and travelling, and in that respect I am thankful, but I have unfinished business with that mountain…


So I am taking my new-found confidence having taken on Toubkal, Mont Blanc and Elbrus to go back and face Kilimanjaro again, this time for pure fun! Now I know what to expect and I am better prepared. I know that I can do it and, importantly, I can enjoy it this time. I’m also going to make the most of being there by visiting the orphanage and going on safari.

This is who I am now, and I’ve got this!…




I am climbing Kilimanjaro in August 2015 with Discover Adventure. Come and join me! x