The Time I Went To London Town

Someone this weekend said I was really funny, I won’t say who because I was earwigging their conversation. But my name and the phrase “really funny” were in the same sentence. Hopefully the word “isn’t” wasn’t in there too. So because of this and the fact that I took far too many pics, I thought I’d write about my time in London Town, with pictures for your viewing pleasure.

I’ll set the scene: I volunteer with the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club. (NEVITC to stop me from writing North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club every time. Ack, just done it again) And last weekend was the National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships (NVITC so I don’t have to keep writing National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships and not to be confused with NEVITC, which stands for….) I give in. Anyway, we all went down to London Town.

As a prisoner of the North East I look forward to every time I get to leave. Especially when the destination is London Town.

My weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts. Waiting for the Metro at 7am, I was hoping to get the front seat. I get on at the second stop, so the odds were in my favour. I got stood at the end of the platform, waiting for the Metro to arrive, eyeing up the opposition who were also trying to get said seat. The tension was building as the Metro turned the bend into our view. As the train got closer we all squinted to see if there was anyone in the highly wanted seat. The was a collective sigh as…. THERE WAS A WOMAN SAT IN THE FRONT SEAT!! The heartbreak.

(I’m one of the 8 people in the world who hasn’t read 50 Shades of Grey, but that last paragraph is how I imagine it to go if it was about Metros. 50 Shades of Trains)

Anyway, back on track. (Did you see what I did there? Track.)

After my huge disappointment I did finally arrive in Newcastle to do my last bit of packing in Boots.

Packing isn’t a skill of mine. I can’t pack light, I can’t pack sensibly, my brain doesn’t engage, I just put everything in. For two nights, I packed 4 bras and only two going out tops. Priorities, innit. Both of which were slightly damp when I unpacked, resulting in me having to go for tea in my tennis gear. I had originally tried to pack 4 pairs of shoes for the two nights, but unfortunately I couldn’t fit them all in the case. So next time I go anywhere I may need a lesson on packing a suitcase.

Once I’d finished my packing and got myself caffeine to wake up, we boarded the train. I made myself a special Train to London Town playlist, which was essentially all the songs my 16 year old angst ridden self listened to. I’d share the link, but Spotify web app is a pain. But I promise it’s amazing. 2005 was a unreal year for music.

When we got to London Town our first port of call was the National Tennis Centre to drop off the suitcases. While I was waiting/loitering in reception I noticed two people walking up the stairs. Both oddly familiar. One of them happened to be Ross Hutchins, the other Andy Murray. I managed to get a photo from a distance like a total creeper.

Not in pic: Me stood behind a bush.

Not in pic: Me stood behind a bush trying not to make it obvious that I’m taking a photo.

After my tennis player stalking, the next stop was Wimbledon for a tour. And it was brilliant! Seeing the place empty was bizarre, but seeing the bits you don’t usually see was amazing! I took ridiculous amounts of photos, most of my hands or feet, but I’ve added a few pics below:


Someone mentioned to the NEVITC crew that the bar was open...

Someone mentioned to the NEVITC crew that the bar was open…

That time my all time fave won a (junior) Grand Slam

That time my all time fave won a (junior) Grand Slam

My official job title for the weekend was “On Court Assistant” or “Ball Girl”. I prefer Ball Girl. or #TopBallGirl. Chief Button Clicker, Hot Drink Maker, Chair Colour Co-Ordinator, etc. Whichever. I’ll answer to any.

Saturday was the first day of the NVITC and as #TopBallGirl I was supposed to be on court, however I was slightly led astray and spent the day making drinks, taking photos, colour co-ordinating chairs and being Chief Button Clicker at the first ever National Visually Impaired Tennis Awards. Pacing myself. All Saturday morning I had been looking forward to my dinner so much, I’d sat to have it, opened the box to find my ham and cheese sandwich was in brown bread. I’d not been that disappointed since Paul left S Club 7… Heartbreaking.

After the heart break of the brown bread I ploughed on and cemented my place as #TopBallGirl, spending all Sunday on court. Though I’m not on any of the official tournament photos I do have proof that I did actually step on court.

Proof I set foot on court!

Proof I set foot on court!

Not sure I could be a line judge though. I tend to overthink things, so if someone asked me if the ball was out I’d have create a list in my head of all the reasons for and against the ball possibly going out and end up without a definite answer and be more confused than when I started off. Not a fan of a beige trouser either, tried some beige jeans on a few weeks ago, it looked like I wasn’t wearing anything, and that’s not the look I aim for.

Where was I? Oh yes, Sunday. After all the excitement of the tennising and ball girlling I did have to leave and return home, which is always a bit sad. But after an awful drive to Kings Cross, it was time to say goodbye to London Town till next time (I’ve still got £28.50 on my Oyster Card, so I’ll be back just to spend that!)

I started writing this on Saturday night, but I didn’t have a fairytale ending that made everyone go: “Aw, I’m glad it worked out like that.” Well that was until the final leg of the journey home… After arriving back in Newcastle and trekking through Newcastle City Centre, we got to the Metro Station and had a genius idea to try and get the front seat. The likelihood of getting the front seat was slim. This was Newcastle on a Sunday night, but you’ve got to give things a go regardless of how much chance you think you’ve got. As folk say: “You can’t win the lottery, unless you buy a ticket”. So we stood at the front of the platform, just like I had done two days previous. Watching the minutes count down till “Due” appeared on the announcement board. The Metro got closer and as it swept up the platform we looked at that wanted front seat, unfortunately there were two women sat there. The weekend wasn’t going to have that fairytale ending. Or was it?! As the Metro stopped and the doors opened, people started to exit… Including the two ladies from the front seat! I kid you not, I’ve never moved so quick to get that front seat!  Woo!

Front seat of the Metro!

Front seat of the Metro!

I’ve got my serious face on, now this doesn’t happen very often so take note. Massive thanks to NEVITC for inviting me to London Town, I’ve never met a nicer, funnier and amazing bunch of people. Massive thanks to all the players, volunteers, folk who turned up to watch and the poor barman who we embarrassed on Saturday night. The whole weekend was one I’ll never forget, from sitting in the cold watching the airplanes, to being woken up by some amazing shower singing, to the actual tennis. I learnt a lot over the weekend about myself and other things. How to Snapchat and WhatsApp (Though I’ve sort of forgot) and that Pops crisps are mega nice (see the serious face didn’t last very long).

National Tennis Centre by night.

National Tennis Centre by night.

I bid you all farewell, thanks for reading.


Twenty Four and Two Halves…

I’ve been meaning to write this blog since July, but I keep getting distracted by everything.. Mostly YouTube, the “oh, I’ll just watch this video” and before you know it you’ve sat for hours watching total nonsense…

Talking of YouTube: The YouTube recommendations are usually quite good. Mine usually consist of Tegan and Sara, Strictly Come Dancing and Taylor Swift. What more could you want? However, a few weeks ago I was looking at my YouTube recommendations and out of no where appeared: “TOM DALEY 2015 CALENDAR”.

What could I have possibly been watching for YouTube to think: “You know what, I think Ashleigh would like to see Tom Daley in his tiny pants!!!”


So in July I turned 24 and two halves. (That’s 25 for the mathematically challenged amongst us) Or a quarter of a century, half way to 50, whatever you want to call it. Awful.

I’m sticking with 24 and two halves… Yes, it’s a pain to write, but 25 sounds very adult.

Another problem I have with being 24 and halves, is that I don’t look 24 and halves… I don’t know what that looks like… There’s no guide to looking 24 and two halves.

Not a week goes by when someone asks ms if I’m at college, at first you laugh it off. Hahahaaaa. Then after the 39th person asks you about what A-Levels you’re going to take you start to go mad…


Then there’s getting ID’d… I know they’ve got to do it, but when you’re buying a bottle of wine and the woman on the till looks at you and asks very politely (like you’re a child) if the bottle of wine is yours, you have to stop yourself from all the sarcastic answers in the world and just say: “Yes, this is my bottle of wine. I am an adult person”. While doing a face…


There’s a lady who asks me for ID every time I go in the shop, but she doesn’t just ask for ID, she’ll ask anyone in the vicinity how old they think I look. Usually they say 15, some might push the boat out and say 16. This one man once said 47, but he was off his head.

So, I look 12. We’ve established that. It’s annoying and a pain for so many reasons. There are plus sides, I got junior priced tennis courts over the summer, someone obviously thought I was under 16… I wasn’t gonna argue!

Obviously it’d be worse if I Iooked mega old, but for the sake of this blog let’s go with it!

How do I change looking 12?

Obviously, my side mullet haircut doesn’t help the situation. People automatically look and think: “No responsible adult would have hair like that, they must be a child! Give them some sweets!”

During the summer this child come up to me, looked me up and down, judging me. A child. She was about 10. Looking me up… and down… From head… to foot… Then came out with the wonderfully friendly question of: “Why’d you get your haircut like that?!?!”, “Erm, because…”. “I don’t like it”, she replied as she continued to judge me from head to foot. Not wanting me to leave with any happiness left, she added: “I don’t like your shoes either”… I obviously apologised for my hair and shoes and promptly left. I’m still getting over it now.


But, what else could make me look more Twenty Four and Two Halves??

I could try and dress older?

Not that old, obviously.

I did get some adult shoes. They have little heels and make me sound very adult as I flutter around places. Like a moth. Though, I’ve never seen a moth in brogues.. I’ve seen a moth on a brogue, but that was when I smashed it’s head in.

I bought a blazer too! I have an issue with blazers. Most people can carry them off perfect, I on the other hand look like I’m playing dress up as a Geography Teacher.

I was very tempted to get some leather trousers, because my wardrobe doesn’t scream “Tegan and Sara Reject” enough.  Unfortunately my legs and Top Shop don’t get along, so my leather trouser dream ended before it really got started.

WAISTCOAT!! Old(er) people always wear waistcoats! So, i bought a waistcoat! From Baker by Ted Baker… Yes, that’s the kids section of Ted Baker… I bought a waistcoat from the kids section of Ted Baker.. (It was aged 11). Me and my boy child frame do well with kids clothes! It makes me look a cross between Russell Brand and a snooker player. Not sure if that’s the ideal look…

I do like a shirt and jumper combo, however someone the other day described me as a “young slip of a thing” when I was wearing said shirt and jumper combo. THEY THOUGHT I WAS ABOUT 11!!!! Plus my jumper makes me look like an extra from ‘Last Christmas’ video by Wham…

Braces. For some bizarre reason over the summer I thought that braces were the missing link in my wardrobe. I searched everywhere for them. I have worn them once. What happened was I saw a pic of Kate Moennig and thought: “Yep, I can rock braces, I can go there.”


When in reality, I look more like:


Bobby Ball..

The main problem is Pinterest. I sit and look at what people are wearing and think: “Yep, I could wear that. I’d totally rock that look”. I possibly could, but if you’ve ever been to Sunderland you’ll know that we’re not on top of fashion. High waisted short shorts, very see through leggings, tracksuits, MULLETS!! I’ve noticed a lot of folk walking around rocking a mullet. I’m talking a proper mullet; Business at the front, party at the back. It needs to stop, Sunderland.

Aside from fashion, what else could make me not look 12?

Maybe Gok Wan is right and it’s “all about the confidence!!”.Mel B

Maybe I when I rock up to places I need to go through the door like:


“I have arrived, someone get me chocolate! If you need me, me and my children clothes will be over here being all confident!”

Then folk will be like, “Oh, she looks Twenty Four and Two Halves!”




PS. No moths were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Why I lost at tennis…

So, every Monday I play tennis. I don’t seem to be getting any better, but it’s still fun.  Sometimes we stay for another hour and play singles/doubles…

I don’t mind losing doubles because you can blame the other person(always their fault), but losing singles is a different matter.

We’ve played singles about 6-7 times, but I’ve managed to win them all. Even coming back from 1-5 down to win 7-5. (I know, I deserved a pat on the back that night…) But on Monday night, I lost…. 6-3. Lost. Didn’t win. Lost.

I did go 1-0 up and 40-15 in the second game, I was thinking about celebrating my 6-0 win… Then it all went to pot. Totally.

But why?

Well from 4-1 down I was too busy creating a pie chart in my head as to why I had lost and this is what I come up with:

The other person was better than me.


I’m not very good at tennis

I can’t serve… Or much else.


The insole in my shoe fell out (that did actually happen)

This actually happened! I had taken my shoe off at the time and woosh, the insole fell out. That was my delaying technique while I was 0-30 down… It didn’t work.

My knee hurt

My knee was fine when I was 1-0 up. I was flighting around like a woodpecker(yes, they are very flighty, with brilliant knees). But as I got beat my knee strangely started to hurt more. Funny that..

My knee hurt so much that I developed a limp

I was 5-1 down, so you can only imagine how bad my knee had gotten by that point. Literally dragging it around.


Being called Fiona for 18 months has finally taken its toll.

18 months. 18 whole months of some calling you the wrong name and not having it in me to go: “Em, my name isn’t Fiona… It’s Ashleigh… They don’t even sound similar… STOP CALLING ME FIONA!!!!!” And breathe….


The fancy Lucozade made me feel sick

I have great issues with sports drinks, because lets face it they don’t really do anything. You see the Lucozade advert where they’re all on those machines and the ones drinking Lucozade survive longest and run furthest… No. They don’t make a difference.

No one said my nails were nice and it was affecting me mentally

My nails are always amazing and when people don’t say they’re nice… It’s sad and clearly affects me mentally. (I’m convinced)


I used Trevor Sorbie shampoo and it smells of sick.. I was making me queasy.

Back to the feeling queasy…


My fringe was in my eyes.

My fringe is too long.


We were on court 1 and I’m easily distracted by anything or anyone outside.

I have the attention span of a… What’s that over there…

I was distracted by the music on in the back ground. Walk this Way by Run DMC was a highlight.

So my attention span… Music doesn’t help. Especially then it’s KC and the Sunshine Band and Run DMC/Aerosmith… Tunes.

I was walking this way, to Run DMC

I challenge anyone to listen to Walk This Way by Run DMC/Aerosmith and not feel the need to do a Beyonce walk… It is impossible.


It was the walk… That’s why I lost.

Here’s a breakdown in form of a pie-chart.




So, it’s clearly my inner Beyonce that is making me rubbish at tennis…

Glad that’s all sorted.

That Perfect Job

We all have that dream job, some more ambitious than others, some more easier to get than others. But we all have one.

When you’re on the look out for your dream job and you first see it being advertised your little face lights up! It’s like Santa has been and left what you’ve always wanted. Except this time you have to fill in an application form and go through the excruciating wait for some sort of response and then hopefully interview.

On the application form you pull out all the stops. It’s not like the interview, you can think about things. Write them down, re-write them, ask the woman next door if it’s good, ask the post man if he thinks it’s good, ask the lady at the supermarket… etc.

I like to get out the big guns when I apply for a job that I really really want.

The middle name.

As long as it’s a good middle name. I’m not going to get all Katie Hopkins on you, but I’d say my middle name is more employable that my actual name. What evs…

Once you’ve pressed send and sent the application form, there is nothing else you can do. Well, apart from stalking the company that you’ve applied for and try to get into their heads, but I wouldn’t advise that. You’re more likely to get a restraining order than an interview.

So, the wait begins. What could be two weeks feels like two years. You start keeping a diary of when the post man arrives, letting him know when he’s late and that you are waiting for something VERY important, therefore it would be better if he was on time. No dilly-dallying! Asking him to put a “no post” letter through the door on the days you have no post, so you know that he’s been.

BUT, one day you drag yourself to the door to get the post and in amongst all the pizza leaflets is the letter you’ve been waiting for. The letter that confirms that you have an interview for your dream job. Scream!

After kidnapping the postman to help celebrate your achievement, it’s time for the interview preparation with said postman.  You change into your best interview outfit and find the post man a tie to put on so he looks professional. Oh, probably best to make the Postman a sandwich or something. Polite.

After endless hours of interview preparation, going over every possible question they could ask:

  • Why do you want this job? (It’s perfect)
  • What can you bring to the job? (Cake, chocolate?)
  • Which TV Character would you compare yourself to? (Heads up, don’t say all the main characters from Big Bang. Nut allergy like Howard, can’t talk to people like Raj, wise like Leonard, everything else Sheldon and your car has an engine light on like Penny.)
  • Where would you like to be in 5 years time? (In a nice car?)

Finally the day arrives. The interview day. D-Day. Like Elvis once said, it’s now or never…

You arrive feeling physically sick. This is it. No pressure. That Elvis song repeating in your head…

Now, this is where it can go one of two ways. You either Be More Leonard, oozing confidence, swooshing your hair, having a perfect answer for everything.

Or, you go down the route of your mind going blank. Getting stuck at “hello”. Answering questions with a noise and revealing your lucky Pokemon card in hope that it will some how bring you luck.

Then there’s the wait. The unknown. Did I do well? Did my lucky Pokemon card do its job? You unfortunately let your imagination run wild. You think about how you will reveal it to everyone, what you’ll wear on your first day, what you’ll take for dinner, what you’ll take your dinner in, etc. The list goes on. Your mind is in overdrive.

Your  phone rings, the number on your screen is the number from the interview. It’s now or never.


The moment you hear: “Unfortunately, you didn’t get the job.” and your dream job dream is over(try saying that out loud). Smashed into hundreds and hundreds of tiny little pieces. Nothing you can do to hoover them all up and put them back together. That’s it. Gone. Someone else got your perfect job.

Nothing can make it better, you sit in your pyjamas and make a playlist of dream crushing songs. Looking at people in jobs and thinking “you’re better than me, you have a job. Well done you! You are of the upper echelons of the world and I am hopeless. Ashleigh Hopeless of 10 Hopeless Avenue, Hopelessville, Hopelessland.”

You start to wonder what the point is? Why you? Everyone one else has managed to get them selves a job, and you just can’t.

People try and tell you it’s not the end of the world and you simply look at them and reply: “it is”, before returning to creating your dream crushing playlist.

  1. A Million Love Songs – Take That (A Million applications later… Here I am… Weep)
  2. Alibi – 30 Seconds to Mars
  3. All Time Low – Will Young
  4. Clown – Emeli Sande
  5. Drops of Jupiter – Train
  6. Drowned – Tim Minchin
  7. Everybody Hurts – REM
  8. Feeling A Moment (slip away) – Feeder
  9. I Have Nothing – Whitney Houston
  10. If You Leave Me Now – John Barrowman (Yes, I listen to John Barrowman. What of it?)
  11. Just Be – Paloma Faith
  12. Just The Way I’m Feeling – Feeder
  13. Last Resort – Papa Roach (Let’s go all moody teenager)
  14. Leave Right Now – Will Young
  15. Let Her Go – Passenger
  16. Losing Grip – Avril Lavigne (Moody Teenager again)
  17. Love Ain’t Here Anymore – Take That
  18. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
  19. Perfect – Pink
  20. Proud – Heather Small
  21. Said it All – Take That
  22. This Ain’t A Love Song – Scouting For Girls
  23. This Years Love – David Grey (Be careful with this one, you may have to issue localised flood warning when listening to it.)

Nothing can make it better.

However, you do have a few options after you’ve completed your Dream Crushing Playlist:

  1. Buy something to cheer yourself up. Don’t. Buying a pair of £100 sunglasses isn’t going to achieve anything. Well, you’ll have nice sunglasses. But, if you live in a country where it’s raining/dull/overcast 80% of the time, there’s probably better things to be spending £100 on. Apparently.
  2. Find out who got the job and follow them, tutting every time they do something wrong. Don’t do that, as much as you’d like to, it’s weird.
  3. Sit, listening to your Dream Crushing playlist while watching day time TV. Don’t watch day time TV. You’re never going to cook anything that they make on This Morning, nor will you learn anything from Watching Loose Women and no, you don’t have any antiques in you’re house that you could take on Dickinson’s Real Deal.
  4. Get feedback, work on what they say. So when the job comes up again, boom, you’re there. They don’t have a reason to not give you the job, right? (I’ll get back to you on that)

Regardless of which option you choose (I chose 1 and 4), it’s not the end of the world. There will be other dream jobs, there will be other chances to apply and if you chose option 4, you’ll be ready and prepared for the next time.

Have you experience the pain of not getting your dream job?

How did you handle it?

What would be on your Dream Crushing Playlist?

Olympic Legacy and all that…

The masses asked for a new blog so I present to you, the masses, a new blog!

When I say masses I actually mean one person, but all masses have to start somewhere. I’ve said masses too much, this isn’t the best start.

Moving on..

If you read my last blog (it was a while ago) about my Olympic excuses you’ll know that I was looking for a new sport, if you haven’t read it I suggest you immediately go and read it here! It has pictures drawn by my own fair hand!

So, I evaluated the situation, I thought of sports that I could try but it didn’t go as planned:

Judo – Fully booked and I’m scared of someone breaking me.


Equestrian – I’m terrified of horses. Neigh.


Archery – Fully booked.

Cricket – Well, I’d still like to give cricket a go. I’m really good at standing around in fields waiting for something to happen…


Swimming – My inability to swim might not be the best start.


Tennis – I already play tennis and I’ve established that Victoria Azarenka has nothing to worry about. But it’s still a laugh.


Rugby – Played Touch Rugby once. One girls got clawed in the mouth, blood, everything. I’d rather not.

Table Tennis – a sport for prisoners.


That left one possible sport. Football. I can do that, ball, foot, kick, easy right?

First point of call was finding a team! I didn’t want to go out and get everything and not have a team… At the time Sunderland only had one team and they’re pretty good, I don’t think they’d accept me rocking up with my bandy legs shouting over the fence “let me play!”. Especially if I rocked up in my Leeds top.


So after a bit of this and that, whisper, whisper, etc. I found a team, a new team that were starting in Sunderland. Happy days!!

So before I had time to shout “Warnock Out” I was at my local JJB getting some boots.

I went on to buy some for the simple reason that they were white. Never mind all this hoo-haa about boots making you better at this and that. Unless they’re miracle workers, they ain’t gonna to make me any better.

I did have fun embarrassing a teenage boy when choosing my boots, he picked a pair up, I picked the same ones up and his sister shouted: “ha, they’re girls boots!” Then he put them down. Mwuahahah.

So when I got home I looked up who wore my boots…

We all remember that miss by Fernando Torres against Manchester United? The one where he missed an open goal, yep? He was wearing my boots. What chance do I have? They’ve made Fernando Torres rubbish, what am I going to be like? Deary me. I’ve not kicked a ball in 7 years, this could be embarrassing.


So I rocked up one afternoon and had a kickabout with some random college kid for about an hour and a half. I hadn’t kicked a ball in 7 years and after I could barely walk back to the car. My legs were cramping up, I couldn’t breathe, I was the colour of a tomato, but I had played football for the first time in forever! Yes! I could still play football! I hadn’t lost the ability to kick the ball, which is a start.

So as the weeks went on we trained, we trained a bit more, I was mistaken for an Under 15.. Then finally the season began! Woop!

The moment we’d been looking forward to was finally upon us! Our first game of the season, would we win? Would we put aside the fact most of us hadn’t actually a full 90 minutes for ages? Would we surprise ourselves and get a win? Would we?

I feel like I’ve built this up too much… It’s going to be the biggest disappointment since Will Young won Pop Idol in 2002. Sorry.

To cut a long story short, no. We didn’t put aside the fact that most of us hadn’t played a full 90 minutes, we didn’t surprise ourselves and get a win.

But. We moved onto the next game and we lost. On to the next game, which we won!!!! Yes! However, that game signalled the end of the Fernando Torres boots. I made up the myth or the myth I made up or I up made a myth? (I don’t know, I’ve said the word ‘myth’ too many times and now it feels like I have a lisp. But the words are there, it’s up to you to put them in the right order! Do something!) Anyway… I made up a myth(or whatever) that said boots were hurting my knees and ankles, added to the fact that they were making me rubbish (see Fernando Torres), so I had to change them. And I did.

For these:


Blue for training on them horrible 3g pitches and the yellow ones for playing…

However, there was one problem. I’m a size 8 (I don’t have big feet, they’re an average size, everyone with small feet are freaks) and the yellow boots were a 6 1/2. You can to the maths…

The weeks after buying my new boots, it snowed, it rained, it rained a bit more and a bit more after that. Till finally we had a game and my new tiny boots could get a sort of a run out. Yippee!

You know that maths I suggested you do, well here’s the answer:
Size 8 feet + size 6 1/2 boots = pain, blisters, toes crying.

Well done if you got it. High-Fives all round.

Since my feet falling apart, it’s snowed more than ever before. We’ve played a few more games, even winning one (1). I’ve suggested being a corner flag, at one point I wanted to be a goalkeeper then realised what a stupid idea that was, I had a close encounter with the floor, I wrote my name in the snow and I realised it might not have been the Fernando Torres boots that were making me ‘not very good’…

I’m blaming the weather for my rubbishness, I’ll be like Luke Varney when the warm weather turns up! Hmm.

Anyway, if you fancied doing something after the Olympics and you haven’t, why not?

If you have, what have you done?


Olympic Excuses

“Inspire a Generation”, depress another.

While watching the Olympics I spent most of my time thinking of reasons as to why I am not an Olympic athlete. I am at the perfect age to be there running or throwing or kicking something to Olympic gold. There’s some athletes that look about 8! They only olympics they should be taking part in is on the PlayStation!

So after a long thought I’ve come up with some excuses reasons as to why I wasn’t taking part in the Olympics..


Swimming was never a possibility, I can’t swim and I’m generally terrified of deep water. Just the thought of that 10m diving board makes me feel queasy. The PE teachers at school tried to teach me to swim but they asked me to get in the pool in my pyjamas, I said no and that was the end of my swimming career. However I do have a bronze swimming badge and a certificate for swimming 5m with a float. I know, Rebecca Addlington will be shaking in her shoes now.

Top of the podium with my 5m certificate.

As for diving, I don’t think me rocking up in my life jacket, goggles and nose thing would quite go down well. With myself never mind anybody else!

Throwing events. 

I am not built for Javelin, I am built like a Javelin. I think we only did Javelin and Discus once at school, the teacher probably saw how bad we were and decided that were rubbish and just give in. We did Shot Put a few times but it’d leave my hand and instantly hit the fall. There’s a build you have to be for throwing events and I am not it.


Now I slightly followed Womens Football before the Olympics, but I never thought I’d be arguing with someone on Twitter about who to take off, it’s been mad.

However, this is the one that I’ve sat all the way though going “that should be me that”. I loved playing football and played for my school team till I was 11 and then retired because girls couldn’t play in the boys team and you need more than 4 players to start a girls team. I even had a t-shirt that said: “When I grow up I’m going to play for Sunderland AFC.” My t-shirt betrayed!

So at the age of 23 I’d love to get back playing football again, so if there’s any teams around Sunderland reading this and you need someone who’d happily run about for 90 minutes with pretty perfect nails and a nice selection of hairbands then I am that person. @AshleighBaines <- tweet me.

Equestrian (Horse Dancing)

This is my new favourite sport. Dancing horses! What more could you possibly want? You may not know this, to qualify for a place in the GB Equestrian team you have to have said “Tally Ho!” at least once a day since birth. Unfortunately, I’ve only said it twice in 23 years. The world will never get to see a horse dance to Agadoo, which is such a shame.

I blame PE for my lack of Equestrian taking part. Whenever we had to take our horses to school it was always a mare getting it on the bus.

I’ve got ‘neigh’ chance..


Running fast was never one of my strong points. When we played ‘Nicky, nocky, nine doors’ I’d always get my friend to do the knocking so I could get a head start. But (yes, there’s a but), 800m was event, 2004 was the year, our school athletics day was the location. I trained every dinner time for weeks, I was going to win 800m for my house. The day arrived, it was throwing on the morning, running on the afternoon. After a morning of sitting about I was ready, the teacher called the 800m race and forward I stepped with 4 others. There I was mentally preparing myself for the next few minutes, eyeing up the competition. “I’ll beat her, she’s a smoker.”, “She’ll not do any good, she runs like an ostrich.” And then, the ‘Head Girl” who happened to be in the same house as me stepped forward and said: “I’m doing this race now.” What argument did I have against a head girl? So, off I trotted, I sat down and watched the race that I had trained so hard for. Now you’ll be thinking: “But Ashleigh, surely she took your place in the race because she was the next Mariya Savinova?” Not quite. She ran round with her friend and finished joint last. Well done her! When she was late for a lesson I’d announce: “ She’s probably running here, that’s why she’s late!” I know, off the cuff.

Hitting Each Other/Pushing Each Other Events

(Boxing, Taikwondo, Wrestling, Judo)

Hit me! Hit me! Don’t him me! I’ll hit you! I’d love to have a go at hitting someone, but as soon as they hit me I’d have to politely ask them to stop and then suggest we end this debacle with a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Plus, my nails would take a beating. Dislike.

How about we settle this with a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”?

That’s the same with Taekwondo. Imagine someone not just kicking you but trying to kick you in the head! Can’t be having that! What if they had smelly feet? Vile.

Wrestling was possibly the most bizarre event of the Olympics. I watched it once and there was Wrestling ring or chiars or event back stage drama. It was just two men in tight outfits trying to.. well.. wrestle each other. For Rio I’d like them to adopt some ideas from WWE: Walk on music, create some sort of story line, allow the wrestlers to use props etc. Make. It. Happen.

The London 2012 Olympics has also made me far too competitive. I found myself racing an old man down the crisp aisle in Sainsburys with a trolley, I even pushed the trolley forward at the finish line. It was like Chris Hoy in the Velodrome!

You never know if trolley pushing gets in the Olympics, I might get to Rio in 2016..

See you then!


I told the careers advisor at school I’d be Wimbledon Champion 2010, luckily for the Williams sisters I couldn’t find my racket last year.

I didn’t say I would be the Australian Open Champion or the French Open Champion or even the US Open Champion, because they’re not Wimbledon are they? Wimbledon is special, Wimbledon has more tradition than the other three Grand Slams put together. I sit here writing this in a full white outfit, including t-shirt, shorts, hoodie (incase it gets cold, wristband, headband, socks, sunglasses, watch(I’m going all Federer) and shoes (they’re silver but they fit in well with my outfit). The rather far away picture shows me in my white outfit.


I have to admit, it makes me weep a bit knowing that the likes of Caroline Wozniaki, Petra Kvitova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are younger that me and they’re in the top 20 in the world.

What makes me weep even more is seeing Laura Robson who’s like 8 and Heather Watson who’s about 10 playing at Wimbledon. I have had to stop my self bursting into the song ‘It Should’ve Been Me’. But I hope Laura Robson all the best in her game against Maria Sharapova and I was devastated for Heather Watson getting beat, bless her little cotton socks. I’d like to challenge them both to a game, but they’re busy with playing tennis and stuff (I’d so win).

But don’t be sad, I haven’t given up on my tennis career, I have the outfit and a racket and on Virtua Tennis 2011 I became a ‘Tennis Legend’. What more do I need?

I am hoping that when me and Tasman go and play tennis a scout stops us and says that I’m brilliant an asks if I’d like to attend some Tennis Academy. Now obviously, I’d think about it and ponder for a good 32 seconds. In a few years time I’d like to see a Baines, Keothavong, Robson, Watson semi-final line-up.

But anyway as this is a Wimbledon Special, my favourites to win are Roger Federer (Really I only want to see him in 3D on BBC) and Caroline Wozniaki.

I’ll give you all a shout when Mr. Tennis Academy gets in touch.

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