31 May 2013

Questions Part 3

Back into the series and today I am answering a question from Bethan Thomas. She asked: Why do you blog? What is your inspiration? What so you like about it and what do you find hard about it?

Some quality questions and ones which have got my thinking.

So first up WHY?
I first started to blog because my friend Rachel was blogging and I figured as I was leaving Aber it would be a good way for people to keep in touch with what I was up to. Then it turned into a way of articulating what God was saying to me and now it has evolved into a way of me being able to reflect out loud (well through typing) about what is going on, what I think, life, God, issues etc. I think I find it quite hard to reflect introvertly, I just don't spend lots of time thinking deeply. But I do find blogging helps me to work out what I actually think and why. 

I think life is my inspiration. I mean I often will blog about things that have happened to me throughout the day, or things I have been thinking about, topics in the news etc. I think my inspiration is things I find interesting and I just share them in the hope that others will find them interesting. Quite often I will blog about what God has been speaking to me about because I think it's good to share when you hear from God to encourage others. In general though my inspiration is all around me!

I really like how it's so random who reads it. Like when I was doing my Live Below The Line Challenge I was so surprised by the number of people, who I had no idea that they read my blog, commenting on how I was doing. I also like sharing things that maybe are a bit difficult and having the support of an online community. While I can't ring all my friends and talk to them all the time, I can write and both friends, and relative strangers can respond. I also really like how much I actually find blogging to be a bit of a release. Especially when I feel there are lots of things in my head. 

I do find it difficult knowing the line of appropriateness when it comes to blogging. Like when I am annoyed do I really need to let the world know? But then I want to be genuine and not just show one side of my life. I also find it tricky to keep things fresh and not just get into a boring rut of blogging about me...I don't want to become self obsessed. I don't like it when dodgy spammers use my link to my URL - in fact I actually hate that. But apart from that I sometimes find it difficult to know where to start, there are lots of things in this head of mine and sometimes I'll start writing something and by the time I finish it's about a totally different topic. 

In general, I have found blogging to be really fruitful, both for keeping in touch with people, and also for helping me to process. 

30 May 2013

Thankful Thursday

I'm interrupting my series on answering questions to share my thanks for a specific friend who has been super amazing in the last couple weeks. 

Bec Lemen-Hogarth

Now I know Bec (formally known as Splodge) from university. We were on the Women's Cricket Team together in my first (and possibly second?) year. As she was a couple years ahead of me she left Aberystwyth and we kind of fell out of contact with each other. 

HOWEVER, over the last few weeks that contact has been re-kindled as Bec turns out to be the most useful and generous person ever. You may remember my bike endured a brutal attack in which the back wheel was taken...well Bec turns out to be a bit of a bike whizz and is building me a new wheel!! 

In addition to this I am doing a sponsored cycle ride in September for XLP which basically is riding through 4 countries in 4 days...(my poor bum!) and Bec is going to teach my everything she knows, plus potentially lend me a bike!

You know when you are like "wow, you have literally just solved my problem", well she has done that on a number of occasions now and I am very thankful for her. 

Thanks Bec!

29 May 2013

Questions Part 2

Continuing my series on answering questions, I got asked to post about my work and who I work with - from Chris Henriette.

So here we go. 

I work for a Christian Youth-work Charity called XLP - www.xlp.org.uk 

I've been working there as Senior Youth Worker in Lewisham since Sept 2011. These are the main people I work with. 

At the absolute top is our CEO Patrick Regan (OBE)

He set XLP up in 1996 in response to a stabbing in a local school playground. Now XLP works in about 65 schools and 24 estates across 7 London Boroughs. Patrick leads XLP with a Senior Management Team of 5/6 others. I get to meet with him and the other borough leaders for a monthly mentoring group which is a great way to both learn together and have the chance to be real together too.

Then my line manager is Chris Henriette

Chris is definitely the most unique line manager I have ever had. Ranging from doing his job incredibly well and making sure we are all trained properly...to wrestling and crushing me in an impromptu sumo session. He is quality and I have really appreciated his wisdom in knowing how to handle situations and move things forward in Lewisham. 

Then there are the other Borough Leaders - Tom, Tashomi, Sarah, Naomi, Cerys and Rachel

1. 2. 
4. 5. 

Can you guess who's who? These guys do my job in different boroughs and are totally hilarious. They make my life a lot of fun and let me tell you getting 7/8 youth workers all together for meetings genuinely is an inspired time...! (Tom's pictorial agendas are on another level)

Then each of us have our own team of gap year/degree students. Here is my team

(from left) Matt, JP, Hannah, Dave, Me, Sam, Dav and Nick

So I manage these guys and direct the youth work we all do in Lewisham. They are total jokers as you might be aware - search my post about Lunge Along with Lewisham if you are unsure....

As well as these people, there are those who do all the admin work/publicity for XLP, and those who head up our mentoring work, people who drive and head up the XLP buses, those who coordinate the gap year students, those who run sports projects and arts projects and loads of volunteers who help on different projects. 

This is most of us at the start of this academic year. It's safe to say I work with a lot of really fun people and am really blessed to call my colleagues friends. 


27 May 2013

Questions Part 1

So in response to my last post about asking questions, a few have been posed. 

First up is "What has God taught you in the last year?" from Thomas Ashmead

Pretty deep to start with but a solid question too. 

So I feel like God has taught me loads and having thought about this I wonder how I can really narrow it down...but I'll start and see what happens.

  • HIS FAITHFULNESS: God has definitely been teaching me about his faithfulness. I think in this world we are so not used to grace that I forget that God is different. I get things wrong continually - and a lot of the time it's the same stuff I keep screwing up on. Yet, God's love for me does not change - he is faithful every day. I think in particular I really struggle with trusting God fully with all areas of my life and not just being independent and thinking I can do things better. So when I have tried things my own way and they fail I sometimes expect God to be angry or say "I told you so"...I am always really surprised when he still pulls through for me. He is not like people - he doesn't hold grudges - God is completely who he says he is, slow to anger and rich in love.
Which leads me onto the next thing 
  • I SHOULD TRUST: Time and time again I find it difficult to trust God, mainly because it means letting go of the control (which I like to have). Yet in the last year God has shown me in a number of ways that I can trust him. For example, I really wanted to move to a place that would be a bit of an oasis for me, yet I didn't really know anyone who I could live with and I didn't have much money to move anywhere...yet I prayed and God totally sorted it out in his timing and I love where I live. Also, around Christmas I was thinking through what I was doing with my life and I had a bit of a freak out that I wasn't changing the world and that I was going to be 25 and still didn't necessarily have a "career" - but God really spoke to me about trusting that I was in the place I was supposed to be and that he would tell me when to move on. I still really struggle to trust God and if I'm honest I am pretty rubbish because I generally have a cycle of - try something myself, fail, try again, fail, think about asking God, actually ask God, watch him do something amazing, resolve to not be so stupid next time...and repeat. I feel like in theory I have no reason not to trust God so I get frustrated when I am ridiculous and do things my own way. Still learning.
  • HE'S GENUINE: I guess I mean that God is interested in the real me, you know the one under all the masks, the one who has bad days, and thinks awful thoughts. God wants to know that version of me rather than the one I let people see. I think because God has been teaching me this it has made me think more about my relationships with other people and how I relate to my friends. I know that the best friends I have are the people who have seen me at bad times and yet still love me, and vice versa - yet I still struggle to show the "real" me to people. It's a vulnerable scary place, yet it's living life properly and engaging with people the way we were supposed to. I think knowing that God knows everything about me and yet still loves me gives me a bit of confidence that other people might. Clearly God is infinitely more loving that we can ever be, but knowing that God loves me helps me to let down the walls and allow people to be really know me.
  • I SHOULD TAKE RISKS: I think I blogged about this a little bit when I came back from the HTB Conference - felt like God was speaking to me about taking more risks and not playing it safe. This links into the whole trust thing but yea I know that God has just been nudging me to step out and do things that seem a bit weird/crazy even if I look a little stupid. 
  • GOD IS USING ME: The other day I was walking home and I was just thinking about how I want to do big things. How I don't want my life to be boring or meaningless. I think to some extent we all want to be heroes - we all want to be recognised and appreciated for doing things. I think sometimes my head gets too big and I need to realise I'm not all that important. But I was just lamenting the fact that sometimes it feels like I'm stuck in a rut and not seeing any huge change in any of the young people I work with. But God spoke to me about how he uses the faithful people, those who stick at things for years and years and invest into situations. He also reminded me about how a lot of the time we might not see the impact we are having, but that doesn't mean he's not using us. 
So those are some of the things God has been teaching me over the last year, I'm sure there are more but hopefully those will encourage you for now. 

23 May 2013


Today I haven't gone to work because I am croaking like a frog and tomorrow I am supposed to be taking some girls from one of the groups I run away for the weekend. 

So I'm at home catching up on emails and admin and wanted to write a blog post. But sometimes the inspiration just isn't there, or there is just too much in my head that I don't know where to start.

I figured it would be a good idea to ask you - the people who read - what you would like to hear about.

So, over the next few days you can do one of the following:

  • post a question in the comments section of the blog
  • tweet me a question @smiley_nai using the hashtag #question
  • post a question on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/naomi.allen.16
You can ask about anything, life, faith, hobbies, struggles. I can't guarantee that I'll answer all questions but I'll do my best to touch on as many as possible. 

If there's something you've been yearning to know...now is your chance. Get in touch. 

20 May 2013

Myths about Christians

On Saturday I had a really bad day. I found out that I had had my cards stolen out of my pocket on the bus...

...this was annoying for a number of reasons:

  • My purse was stolen in March and so I had just replaced all the lost cards
  • Because I hadn't got around to replacing my purse I was storing everything of value in my Oyster card case (for those that don't know what an oyster card is, it's a plastic card that you put money onto to allow you to use public transport in London)
  • That was the 5th debit card I have lost had since the New Year (one expired, one dropped in a drain, one got stolen, one a card machine ate in Aberystwyth and now this one has been stolen)
  • I had only had the most recent debit card for 8 days
  • It costs to replace a drivers license and young persons railcard
  • It means you can't get money out over the weekend as banks are shut 

Anyway, it's made me not want to blog over the last few days because to be honest I was just really frustrated and angry...and I didn't feel like I had anything particularly positive to say. 

However, I was thinking that if you didn't know me and you were reading this blog, you might be tempted to think that I am always positive. But if I'm honest on days like Saturday I was the grumpiest person around. I was swearing at God about why he was letting this happen to me, I was stomping around getting annoyed at how life was going to be a lot more difficult in the short term. 

And reflecting over all of that I realised that even as a Christian I believe a few myths about what Christians should be like. I wanted to take a few moments to identify and "out" these myths. 

#1. Christians never get angry/annoyed/upset - generally I think I am a pretty laid-back type of person. And I guess I am very conscious that I should trust God for things. I want to look like I am trusting God for all that I need - I never want to look out of control because it might look like I'm not trusting God. Fact is, I'm terrible at letting go and fully trusting that God has my best interests at heart. I am massively independent and struggle to relinquish control, even though in my head I know it's the best solution. I realised this on Saturday when I was frantically trying to work out back up plans...he had it in hand.

#2. Christians are horribly nice all of the time - NOT TRUE. On Saturday I don't think I was particularly nice to anyone. In fact I was potentially horrible to a number of people. I think there is this stereotype that Christians can be sickly sweet (a bit like Ned Flanders off the Simpsons) and just never say or do anything nasty. That is not true...well not for me anyway. 

#3. Christians are better than all other people - I was really struck by this myth on Sunday as we were talking about it in the Youth session I was running. A lot of the time I am tempted to feel smug about the fact that I have a relationship with God and how silly everyone else is for totally missing the point. The fact is, God doesn't love me any more than he loves all those that haven't chosen him. I have absolutely NO right to think I am more important, because I'm not. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 - I am included in that "all" part. I am blown away at how gracious God is - he chooses to love those that have chosen him, and continues to love them despite all the time they do his name no favours; and he also loves those that will never choose him.

#4. Christians have life sorted - What a joke. I think I used to believe that when I was a grown up I'd have a better idea of what it was that God wanted me to do and I would trust in him to provide all that I needed to live life for his glory. I officially am a grown up now and have been for a number of years...I seriously don't have it sorted. I am where I am and I trust that God is using me and that he will show me what to do next. But even in that there are so many questions that sometimes I go in circles not really getting anywhere trying to work out what I should be doing with my life. 

#5. Christians love having new people enter into the faith - Don't get me wrong I think nearly all of us do actually love people choosing Christ. But we don't like change. In fact Christians are actually terrible at change. There have been denominations created because of changes in Church history. When we get lots of new people becoming Christians there is a shift and it means life needs to change. We need to be that little bit more caring, observant, patient with new people, we need to make time to get to know new faces, names, families. We need to adjust to different service schedules or serving rotas. Christians struggle with change.

Now why have I thrown those myths out there?? Well I guess 2 reasons:
  1. I want you to know I am totally human. I am flawed and weak and I get things wrong all the time
  2. I don't want to live in a way that allows these myths to either be believed by myself, or to be displayed through my actions. I want to be real. I want to show when I'm angry and not just feel like "oh no, I'm a Christian, what kind of witness will it be if I'm annoyed". Clearly I do think that being wise about my own actions and words is very important; but I want to have integrity that that is the real me, and not just a Christian mask I have put on to be something I think I "should" be.
Anymore myths out there that I've missed?

14 May 2013


Today I had the total privilege of attending the HTB (Holy Trinity Brompton) Leadership Conference at the Royal Albert Hall. My Church generously offered to take me as a bit of a last minute thing so it was a bit of a surprise. I was joining with about 5000 others to hear from a variety of leaders on their experiences and to learn from the best. 

Now you may or may not know about my relationship with leadership. I feel like growing up I was put in positions of leadership without really realising what was happening. I think my personality potentially lends itself to leadership in the sense that I like meeting people and organising things. When I was in school I was elected Head Girl and at University I was a Captain, President and Vice President of different clubs/groups. Following Uni I was elected to be a student representative for student welfare issues and now I lead a team of youth workers. I find it difficult to remember a time when I haven't been a leader in some sense of the word. 

However, have I ever really been trained in leadership? Well, maybe basic training but nothing particularly in depth or focused. I think to some extent we are all leaders. We all have influence, whether it's in our work place, or in our families or friendship groups - there are opportunities for leadership. My Church did a series in Sunday morning teaching on Leadership and I would really recommend listening to one of the talks entitled "Know Yourself" by Steve Tibbert  - it's all about being self aware enough to know that how you see yourself is the same as how others see you. 

This conference I was at today was fantastic at really getting to the nitty gritty of what is important in leadership. I listened to talks by Patrick Lencioni, Cardinal Schonborn, Eleanor Mumford, Ken Costa and the heads of a number of international multi-million pound businesses. They were all inspirational, engaging speakers who clearly have a wealth of experience, but essentially they were all saying the same thing. 

Good leaders are real people. They are vulnerable with those they work with, can admit their mistakes and take responsibility for them. They are real. 

It seems very simple. 

And yet. It's hard! 

The first speaker was this guy called Patrick Lencioni who was talking about the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. The first thing that you have to get right if you are going to have a productive team is trust. And trust can be hard to cultivate. Essentially trust only happens when people are open, honest and vulnerable. A lot of the time it needs to be the leader who initiates this. 

So I want to be a good leader. I know that this is an area where I haven't necessarily focused my energies - but I can see that good teams only flourish when they have a good leader. But this means I need to be real - real with the things I struggle with/am scared about, real in relationships with team members, real with my opinions, real in dealing with conflict and making tough decisions. 

I feel like I have absorbed loads that is still marinading in my brain, but for now this is what I am taking away and what I am going to try and work on. 

13 May 2013

People Blessing

This weekend has been A LOT of fun. It has also been hugely productive and jam-packed. 

Beth and I have a garden which hadn't been touched since I moved in in October - I think Beth had done some stuff in it last summer but safe to say it was VERY overgrown. We're talking shin/knee length grass, totally overgrown path, loads of weeds...it was bad. 

So considering we were having a garden party in the evening we needed the garden to be in at least a passable state. So it was time to call in the troops (aka the parents) and some extra volunteers in the form of friends. I am so blessed to have people who are so giving of their time and energy and so willing to help me out. 

We cleared both my front and back garden - filled 10 garden waste bags of grass/weeds/rubbish and managed to stay pretty dry despite the clouds trying to rain intermittently. I now have a lawn and a path! I have to give massive credit to the people who came to help us. My mum and dad just turned up and set to work clearing, mowing and generally being helpful. Davina from my team came and spent her energy clearing the front which looks amazing! Annie was great at just being directed and getting on with it. It's amazing how much you get done with more people. In one afternoon my garden was transformed.

And then....

We had loads of people come over to appreciate it! 

In the evening we hosted "Braidwood House Of Fun Garden Party" which was a BBQ and general house party. It was a lot of fun - we had about 40 guests, a lot of meat and a lot of laughter. Highlights for me probably included:

  • Making a totally embarrassing comment when the first guests arrived.
  • Watching my friends mingle and meet new people.
  • My friend Sian turning up with Baileys Chocolate Cupcakes!
  • My other friend Jo making the best Eton Mess EVER.
  • Staying up late laughing until my stomach ached. 
Then on Sunday I was going to Church and a lovely lady called Clare picked me up on the way - such a blessing. I was in both services at my Church as I was giving a notice about a Youth Group I am starting in a few weeks and I was just struck by how there are a lot of people who totally bless me there. I am lucky enough to be going to the Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) Leadership Conference in the Royal Albert Hall tomorrow because my Church offered me the ticket. 

I think God is really showing me how much he loves me through people. I find as an extrovert it's sometimes difficult to hear God in the quiet and I more often than not hear God through other people, in conversations, through sermons or through other people praying. People are a massive blessing. Being part of a community is a brilliant place to be. It's something God is showing me more and more.

Also I have been listening to an album and this song is one that I really liked so I thought I would share. 

9 May 2013


Today has been a day filled of panic. 

I have realised I don't like panic. It's a bit of a stress isn't it. 

Over the bank holiday my office's server was being updated - it meant my laptop needed to be updated and so it was in the office from Friday til yesterday. Now today I turned it on to look up a rota and...everything was gone...!

Everything I'd worked on since I began the job with XLP, gone. You know when you are in the moment of realisation...when suddenly through your head a list of expletives string together as you understand the gravity of the situation. Yep. That was me.

However, I couldn't dwell on the discovery as I was due to be meeting someone and needed to get going...so I pelted out the door and quick marched to the station where much to my dismay I found the second panic of the day. 

My bike (which doesn't actually belong to me, but is on extended loan from a lady in my Church), had been locked at Hither Green since last Thursday when I rode there and totally forgot that that's where I had left it. Until today when I saw it from across the platform where it was parked...and someone has gone and pinched the back wheel...not just the tyre, literally the whole wheel. 


So then I had things like "I wonder how much a new wheel is to buy?" and "how do I even find out what size wheel I need?" going through my head. I have no idea when it comes to technical/practical things, and this just seemed like another thing on top of finding out about losing my work. 

Anyway, thankfully meeting my friend Sarah proved to be highly fruitful as she prayed that my  computer issues would be resolved and my work would be saved. And would you know it - it worked!! I came home and found that my files were all still there - but they had been saved onto the network rather than on my actual laptop. All good. 

So then I was like ok well God - you can make work be fine...can you make people return stolen wheels?! I'm still waiting for that...but I reckon he can. 

Anyway - it's been a day of mild panic. Thankfully it's been relatively short lived and the blood pressure has dropped back to it's normal levels of healthiness. 

Lesson learnt - praying solves things and brings peace. Should do it more.

8 May 2013

Safe Place

Firstly, thank you so so much to everyone who has continued to support my "live below the line" after it's completion on Friday night. We have now reached £375 for the work of Tearfund - that is totally amazing and way more than I ever envisaged raising. Thanks so much for being part of the experience.

I finished the challenge on Friday night and on Saturday I jetted off for the weekend to Aberystwyth. 

Now this weekend was exciting for a number of reasons: 

You may remember I was in Aberystwyth last year too (you can read about it here), as every year on this bank holiday weekend the cricket club gathers for a graduates vs current students tournament. It's always great to catch up with how everyone past and present is getting on - the nights out make for great banter. This year we played a brilliant game involving a 10p, a body part, and a pint glass. 

As well as seeing those guys, I also managed to catch up with lots of people who I knew from various sports teams who were visiting for the annual Rugby 7's Tournament. This was great as a number of people I hadn't seen since I left Aber 2 years ago. It's so weird to all be back in the same place but a couple years on and to hear what people are doing! Great to catch up though. 

Also this weekend a number of my friends from Christian Union were back in Aber because the Rector of one of the Churches was celebrating 25 years in ministry at St Michael's Church. Stuart and Pru Bell are total winners - they have been people who massively influenced me while I was at university in terms of my understanding of God's word and how to live a life that is pointing to Jesus. The Church had organised a weekend of surprises and it was massive fun getting to be a part of it. 

Finally I was able to catch up with the congregation at the main Church I went to at uni - Elim Christian Fellowship. This was brilliant for me as since I have left the Church has gained a new pastor and it was great to see how the Church is growing and that God is moving really powerfully. 

I guess going back to Aberystwyth has always been something that I have loved because I still know people there. Especially on weekends like this where lots of people are back at the same time, it can make it feel as if nothing much has changed. I think I had a realisation over the weekend that Aberystwyth has been my "safe place" - it's a place I was massively blessed by throughout my student days and I have fond (fond isn't strong enough but I can't think of a better word) memories of the people and places around here. 

I feel like every time I visit God seems to speak to me more clearly than any where else. I don't know if that's because the pace of life is generally slower with more time for listening, or because I am stuck on a train for a long time and so have little else to do. But I know that I am always super blessed by my time and that God seems to refresh me. 

I guess this trip was a little scary as Stuart announced his retirement at the end of the summer. Firstly to me that was scary because Stu and Pru have been solid people who I have looked up to and respected massively - the idea that they are retiring is unsettling, what if their replacement is rubbish?! This will also have an implication on who goes back to visit as a number of my friends are people who attended that Church and so might not be so inclined to go now. Things change, life moves on. I don't know whether Aber will always be my safe place or if it was just for a season, I just know I have appreciated it so much.

Up until now Aberystwyth has been one place where I just experience God through creation and hopefully that won't change - the sea, the mountains, the beautiful countryside. I have loved it! I still do. I know I'll be back next year - we'll see what's changed by then. 

ps. I was practising my photo taking skills - Nom/Malc have they improved yet?

3 May 2013

Live Below The Line - Day 5

Anticipation. Today has been full of it. The feeling of almost being free to eat and drink at my leisure without worrying (too much) about the cost. 

Psychologically I have been really up-beat today. It's sunny, it's the last day of living below the line...tomorrow I can guzzle a can of ginger beer in careless abandon. 

Not for everyone though. If I really was living below the poverty line on £1 a day, every day I would be worrying about next week and if I had enough money to make it through. One of the big drawbacks to living on so little is the impossibility of being able to buy in bulk. So you live hand to mouth on a regular basis. Whereas my mindset was focused on doing this for one week, they have the fear of doing it week after week. 
I was quite impressed by how much I had left for today -
Breakfast: 1 bowl of cornflakes - they are getting mixed with some muesli tomorrow.
Lunch: chicken flavoured noodles and 4 slices of bread/toast with lemon curd
Dinner: rice with onion, carrot, kidney beans and sweetcorn and vegetable stock.
Snack whilst dinner was cooking - fried egg on toast.

Even after that I have a third of a loaf of bread left, half a bag of rice, half a bag of cornflakes, 2 thirds of veg stock and a lot of pepper. Not too bad at all

Final thoughts: Despite this week being challenging in many respects, I have really enjoyed getting more of an idea about what it is like to live on this very limited amount. Experiencing something first hand always helps me to understand more about what it's really like for those in that position - it's an eye-opener.

I have been really surprised to see how many people have come on the journey with me - whether it's through reading my blogs or seeing my statuses, or talking to others about the project or sponsoring me. I just want to say a massive thank you! I have appreciated all the support so so much. It's made the week a lot more bearable.

If you would like to sponsor me then this is last time I'll tell you that the link you need is https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/naomiallen 

Now off to bed so I can wake up and have something different to basics cornflakes.

2 May 2013

Live Below The Line - Day 4

Long. Today has been long. Which has meant I have been hungry and tired. 

I had quite an early meeting to start the day with which meant my breakfast was moved to being earlier...which then meant when 12pm rolled around my stomach was quite literally growling...however I didn't want to eat my whole lunch because normally we wait and eat lunch a bit later on a Thursday after our lunch club...so I had part of my lunch 2 slices of toast with lemon curd. 

After the lunch club about 2pm I was able to enjoy the rest which was another 2 slices of bread with lemon curd and a packet of chicken flavoured noodles. This was enough to fill me up for a good while. However, I was running a bus session on an estate until about 5:15 when I had to dash away to a conference that XLP was hosting and so ate my last apple on the way. 

Got the conference and was serving refreshments (worst job ever when you can't eat/drink any!) and once that was done (about 7:30) I was able to eat my pasta with tomato/onion flavouring snack. It was just something to see me through as I knew I wouldn't be getting home until about 10-10:30ish. 

However, I'm home and I cannot bring myself to cook anything. 2 reasons, I am exhausted and the idea of standing over a stove is not fun, also cooking is great when you know it's worth it. With my limited ingredients I know that whatever I cook will be fine - but not great. 

It's got me thinking about how many other people who live on £1 a day just skip meals because they don't have the energy. I am definitely not eating my recommended 2000 calories - so I don't have the normal amount of energy I would have. Skipping meals is not fun. It makes you a bit grumpy...well me at least. 

Last thing - I've caught myself thinking about all the food I'm going to eat come Saturday as a bit of a binge. But, to be honest, I think that defeats the point somewhat. The idea isn't to go without only to then gorge myself - I want to take on what I've learnt and really think about how much I consume, do I need it? How can I use my money wisely? 

That said, I will definitely be buying a can of ginger beer on Saturday.  

With 1 day to go if you haven't sponsored me and would like to please visit my live below the line page https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/naomiallen

1 May 2013

Live Below The Line - Day 3

Temptation Day. 

After doing this for 2 days with relatively few opportunities to cheat, today was difficult.

Firstly, I was working in a school where as part of our work we get free lunch with the kids. Not today. I managed to steer clear of the canteen and was actually not feeling too hungry...until some kids brought food into the classroom where I was.

Then I met up with a friend and the temptation was to get a drink other than water and sit in the sun (a nice lemonade perhaps) - but I didn't.

Then I went to a meeting where there were cakes on the table...managed to resist the urge.

Finished off with a trip to the pub quiz with my Church small group where people offered to share food with everyone...just about managed to stay strong (which was particularly impressive as I hadn't had a chance to have dinner yet, so was ravenous).

This whole idea of food being readily available yet out of reach is one I am getting my head around. I mean for people living on £1 a day there is food in the shops, food is there, it's not like there is a shortage; however, they cannot access it. The funds they have are too limited meaning it is out of reach. For me even living on £1 a day I have easy access to more food - friends sharing, free school dinners etc...even this is a luxury most people do not have.

My friends Naomi and Malcolm (check out their photography website here) enlightened me to some people who are doing Live Below Line but with a "rich girl" (normal Western shop) and a "poor girl" (£1 a day) they have to eat their meals together and are blogging about it - you can take a look here

So today what did I eat:
Breakfast: 1 bowl of cornflakes (it's seriously being forced down now...)
Lunch: pasta shells with tomato/onion flavouring (actually better than I thought they would be!) 2 slices of bread with lemon curd
Snack: banana
Dinner: Jacket Potato with carrots/sweetcorn/kidneybeans in gravy. 

This dinner was defo my favourite so far - think my mouth appreciated a change from rice mush. 

I have noticed that my concentration is being affected by my diet. Today I found it really difficult to focus in meetings and by 8pm when I was at the pub quiz I was on a different planet! Also seeing how my patience is a bit weaker than it normally is. It's so weird how diet/amount of food has such a big impact on our bodies!

Last thing - today I hit the £350 for sponsorship. Thank you so SO much everyone who has contributed. I cannot say how much of an encouragement that is. If you haven't done it yet and would like to the link is https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/naomiallen