Week Eleven

About this time last week I was stood in the middle of a nearby field, with my Mum, in a state of complete and utter panic, having walked for an hour or so (in circles) and having lost all sense of direction. I was absolutely convinced we’d ended up miles away from home and I had no idea how to find our way back. It was very windy and a little rainy and I was cream crackered and when I rang Dave, my world was ending.

He found us in ten minutes. Yep. Turns out, we hadn’t strayed far at all and I’d gotten all in a tizz over nothing. Story of my life.

Right now, one week later, I’m safely curled up under a blanket, with an orange juice and lemonade (branching out from the usual cup of tea!) and I’m over half way through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I hope I won’t get myself in too much trouble with Harry Potter fans for saying, I’ve struggled with this one so far. It’s picking up now, but the first half was a bit of a slog.

11 weeks ago I resolved to do a lot of things. I know one of them was to snooze my alarm less and that has gone well and truly out of the window (perhaps this week will be the week!). Another was to join some fitness classes and no, that has not happened. BUT this week I might start wearing my Fitbit again and at least take the stairs when I can. Dun dun dunnn.

I guess the resolutions that were most important to me were the ones that involved me rediscovering music: Music has always been so important to me. And yet, it has gradually dropped out of my life since I finished my Music and History degree in 2015. I only really listen to music when I’m driving. I barely ever play my piano or ukulele anymore.

This week, I’ve been working on two new covers on the ukulele! YES I HAVE. And I’ve been working on two new originals at the piano. I’ve also created a playlist for music to listen to at work.  Don’t ask why I hadn’t done that sooner… Who knows!? But now that I have, it’s great to be able to switch the office noise off for a bit now and again and get properly in the zone.

I feel stronger today than I have in a long time and I know lots of things have contributed to getting me there this week. My lovely team at work for one. My organisation last Sunday and the to do lists that I stuck to. The brilliant day spent with one of my best friends yesterday, wandering the Museum of London and catching up over dinner.

I can’t help thinking that music has literally given me strength though. This blog is called ‘Singing Goodbye to Butterflies’ after all. I always feel invincible after time spent singing. The feeling’s like nothing else.

All’s left to do now is find a choir or a band to join. I need to get working with other musicians again. I want my music mojo back.

I hope that whatever your passions are, you can make the time to pursue them. Because life often gets in the way and we simply shouldn’t let it.

Week Nine

Monday morning I rolled over to grab the tv remote, turned on the news and snoozed for ten minutes. I rolled out of bed and into the shower. I didn’t have time for a cuppa (because of the snooze – so worth it on a Monday morning) and I headed straight to the station once I was showered and dressed.

Pause there – I have to mention the weather.  The weather in England, was unheard of at the start of this week. In England, for three days it was t shirt weather. It was unseasonably warm and bright and sunny. The daffodils came out and everything.

Monday night, I got home, Dave and I cooked dinner together and then we watched TV until I fell asleep on him and had to go to bed.

Tuesday evening I met one of my best friends for dinner and we chatted away about books and music and exciting upcoming events (including one of our best friends’ wedding, eek!). My Gourmet Burger Kitchen burger was amazing and I journeyed home with my head in my book and smile on my face.

Wednesday was a normal working from home day. I did two loads of washing. I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen on my lunch break. I was in my element with the sun shining and the windows open and music playing. Another bud on the orchid that I have successfully grown, flowered beautifully. (Yes, I have successfully gotten an orchid to flower! Am I a real life adult now?) I played piano before dinner and then Dave and I cooked steaks and watched Oceans 8.

Thursday evening I met my sister for dinner which was super lovely. We had the best of evenings and I hope we’ll meet for dinner like that more often from now on. Sister time is golden.

Dave and I stayed at our friends’ on Friday night. They’re the best hosts ever and it was super chilled and super fun.

Saturday afternoon, once Dave and I were home, we just chillaxed. I read and snoozed on the sofa. We had chilli for dinner. We watched Goodfellas, which I totally agree is one of the best films ever. We drank wine and didn’t clock watch. I love not having to watch the clock on Friday and Saturday nights!

Right now, I’m sat on the sofa trying and failing to eat hula hoops, because I’ve put a face mask on and it’s dried too much for me to open my mouth. I woke up with a tummy full of butterflies and I felt like my head might explode. But I knew exactly what I had to do: I opened up the notes app on my phone and titled the note ‘Things that are stressing me out’. Then I wrote everything down until I felt better. I had a chat with my Dad which cheered me up no end. (Shout out to my Dad!). And now I’m committed to an afternoon of relaxation to make sure the butterflies are behind me.

I’ve always been more than happy to natter away openly about my anxiety and the challenges I am facing. The problem with writing a personal blog is that there is often stuff that happens in life that it’s not your place to share with the whole world wide web.

When I wrote at the end of Week Four, I mentioned that the year had gotten off to a tough start and I couldn’t really say anymore than that. I can’t really say anymore than that even now.

What I will say is that I’ve come to the realisation that normality is underrated and routine is not to be taken for granted. When things are ticking along just fine, we often find ourselves complaining we’re bored, but we don’t realise how lucky we are. Because when life turns upside down, you’ll find all you want is for life to go back to being boring again. 

I’m so glad March has come around. Spring in on the way and things can only get better.

Week Six

This time one week ago, I was in Paris with one of my bestest friends. I think it was Sunday night that we spent up at Montmartre admiring Le Sacre Coeur. We found a fantastic restaurant to have dinner, where two men were playing guitars and the food was great. The French waiter convinced me to order the ‘good wine’ for an extra four euro and he was EXTREMELY peeved when my friend wouldn’t be so easily swayed.

We had a lovely time in Paris. I had received mixed reviews in the lead up to our trip. It seems people either love it or hate it. I loved it. I can’t wait to go back already. We stayed in Bastille (which I would highly recommend doing) and, for three nights, were in a brilliant area full of lively bars and restaurants, cute cafes and amazing bakeries. I didn’t buy macaroons to bring home; I felt like they should be saved for Paris. I regret my decision already. I MISS MACAROONS. (I know I could probably find them in London, but it just wouldn’t be the same!)

We drank plenty of wine and ate cheese and meats and crepes and macaroons galore. One delicacy we didn’t brave was the snails. Did we miss out? My sister would tell me we did, but I really don’t think I could have done it.

We were doing good with the French by the end of the trip too! We definitely gained confidence as we went along. At breakfast on the final day, I successfully told the waitress I’d like a coffee, but then sissied out and ordered my eggs in English. I was half way there at least! Je pense que notre francais etait tres bon!

We came back from Paris on Monday and so for me, week number six began on Tuesday. I expected work to be absolute madness (and by the end of the week it was), but I’d left things surprisingly organised and on Tuesday I was able to ease myself back in gently.

The week actually flew by and Friday came around nice and quickly.

Friday evening just gone was lovely. I spent it at a best friend’s house treating myself to a face mask and a fresh coat of paint on my nails. She cooked me an incredibly tasty chicken stir fry and we watched rubbish TV until I was too sleepy to keep my eyes open any longer.

It’s been quite a chilled weekend really. We had no plans. I’m currently working on my Level 2 assessment for my qualification and therefore have spent the majority of today with my head in a book. The best kind of Sundays are though, right? Now the sweet potato chips are in the oven, steaks are at the ready, the bottle of red wine has officially been opened and we’re going to stick a movie on.

Simply, Paris is lovely, work is mad, weekends are the bestest and let’s please not mention the New Years’ Resolutions again just yet.

Week Four

Week four of 2019 began, for all of us, with Blue Monday. On Blue Monday, I felt surprisingly yellowI spent the tube journey smiling to myself like a fool. I was determined not to let the whole ‘Blue Monday’ label convince me that it was going to be a difficult day. After all, I did a little bit of research and it turns out that Blue Monday is a term which was created by a holiday company just to sell trips abroad! I’d had a wonderful weekend with a lovely friend and it’d left me feeling refreshed and determined. I’d decided this week was my do-over. Chapter five, take two.

It’s been a tough start to the year, for reasons I can’t really share with the world wide web. This was the first week I was back to some kind of normality again. This week, I had to go back to answering the question ‘How are you?’ without crying. In the end, this week was definitely a week for cutting myself some slack and giving myself a pat on the back for the little things I did better. Tough start to the year or not, I think we should all get better at rewarding ourselves for the small, everyday successes. Life’s not easy, even at the best of times…

Tuesday I worked from home, caught up on some studying, got myself organised for the rest of the week and made a sandwich for lunch on Wednesday. (making the sandwich was a step in the right direction sure, but it took all of two minutes, which did cause me to question why I ever spend money on lunch and can’t seem to make time to simply butter some bread and stick some ham on it every evening).

On Wednesday morning the butterflies woke up when I did and I wanted to hide away at home and go back to sleep. I perked myself up, kicked myself into action and that night, spent a lovely evening with a group of friends at an amazing italian restaurant called Pasta Brown. It’s in Covent Garden and if you haven’t been and you can go, you should. I had the Penne Pasta Brown and a slice of chocolate fudge cake and left very full and very happy. So full and happy that I fell asleep at 9:30pm, shortly after getting home.

The week soon came to an end and it’s been a chilled weekend thank goodness. Yesterday morning’s lie-in made me feel brand new. I left bed to grab tea, breakfast and my book. I then sat with the tv on (Saturday Kitchen made good background) and read, in bed, until lunch time.  In the afternoon Dave and I headed into London to meet two friends for a drink and a bite to eat. We hadn’t seen them in FOREVER and it was super lovely to catch up.

I was up reading late last night and indulged in another glorious lie-in this morning. I’m now nearly half way through Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I am COMPLETELY hooked. It’s amazing.

Now Week Four’s nearly over and I’m just pleased I got up and at ’em every day and I was organised for once.

Dave and I are headed back to Chelmsford for the day today. Roast dinner at my mum and dad’s and over to see his parents’ too. I love Sundays.

2019 is just beginning. Plenty of time for resolutions yet.

Week Zero

I’m curled up on the sofa at my parents’ and I’ve spent the whole day in my PJs. The Christmas tree is twinkling and the living room is super cosy.

It’s odd isn’t it? This week between Christmas and New Year. No-one knows which day of the week it is. Our New Year’s resolutions don’t need putting into action until January 1st so we’re all in limbo.

Some people strip the decorations down, find places for all their gifts and spring clean a few months early. Other people cling onto Christmas for as long as humanely possible; cooking turkey everything, leaving the decorations up, watching Christmas films, eating chocolate and being extremely lazy. Others among us sit in traffic and battle the crowds to browse the sale racks for bargains. I myself fully intend to treat myself to some new jeans, that don’t have holes in, asap. Many of us have family and friends to visit and find ourselves doing the rounds. The parents among you have to find ways to entertain the kids until the school term starts again. I do not envy you. Some of you have had to go back to work already. Ugh. Poor you guys.

New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing. Why do we feel we need to improve ourselves every year? Why are we so hard on ourselves and why should this year be any different from the last anyway?

Ridiculously, I always imagine I’ll have sooooo much more time when the new year begins. For example, this year I’m telling myself that I’ll join a couple of fitness classes, sing more, join a choir, find a rehearsal space for songwriting, make my lunch and take it into work every day, study, get out more, stay on top of the laundry and cook proper meals. I’m resolving to do all of these things despite the fact that I struggled through November and December barely finding the time to buy Christmas presents or paint my nails. Supposedly, in January, anything is possible. No wonder we all end up feeling sad and deflated when the 1st Feb comes around.

I also want to worry less. How I’ll manage that with so many goals to achieve, who knows? Most of all, I just want to worry less about what other people are thinking. I cannot read minds, so why do I waste so much time trying to? What even is the point? It’s irrational and oh, who am I kidding?

These will be the good old days. Regardless of whether I worry too much or I make time for all of the above, I want to remember that. I want to remember to make the most of every moment because time is flying by.

HELLO CHAPTER FIVE!

Putting the world to WRITEs

This blog had an about page when I first set it up. Eventually I deleted it, because I thought people would be best placed to find out about me, and about the blog, by just reading it.

In my about page I described the blog as a series of colloquial, honest diary entries. I guess that’s what they are. I’ve written in my diary since I was… well, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write in my diary. And when the idea for the blog came about, it was because I’d written a diary entry that I thought I’d like to share with the world. That diary entry became my first blog post.

I’ve always had that urge to share how I’m feeling. I remember being little and writing diary entries, then ripping out the pages and hiding them in a place where I knew my mum and dad would find them. I hoped that they would find them and read them and understand how I was feeling. I always felt like I could put stuff down better in writing.

I guess this all occurred to me today, because I woke up anxious and I’ve gone to write in my diary. I was typing away when I realised I’d written to my diary a lot recently and I hadn’t written a blog post in a long time. I sincerely hope I’m not finally going to want to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself after all of this time. I truly believe a problem shared is a problem halved and I would never encourage anyone else to keep all their feelings buried deep down inside. I hope that’s not the case and I don’t think it is.

I think it’s less about not writing here and more about writing there. In my diary, I can write the doomy gloomy stuff without worrying the people I love. Because I’m fine. There’s just some stuff that’s better off on paper, than in my head. It’s refreshing to be writing at the moment without worrying about how it’s coming across or even thinking about it. Life’s busy and time spent writing in my diary, is pretty much the only writing time I’m getting. So, it’s simply become a choice of one or the other for now.

So, here’s a kind of open and kind of honest holding post. A post to say, if you’re new here then this is what my page is all about and you’ve got some time to catch up before I carry on. A post to say, if you’ve been following my blog all this time, I will be back! And to highly recommend writing to all of you. Because writing how I’m feeling has always done wonders for me and at the moment, I don’t know what I’d do without my diary.

Happy

MORNING. Now, I don’t want to rub it in, but… Oh stuff it! My weekend starts here. Hooray!

I really should not be blogging. My auntie will be here at midday and I’ve so much life admin to complete before she gets here. The flat’s a little messy, should probably do a quick clean up. Oh. And laundry… Must clean clothes or will have nothing to wear when Monday comes around again.

I woke up feeling all gooey and happy and inspired this morning and that hasn’t happened for a long time. Most likely this is because I am oh so excited for my long weekend. I’m catching up with my auntie. We’re off to Cardiff. I’m seeing Passenger play at the Welsh Millennium Centre. Dave and I are heading back to Chelmsford on Saturday. On Sunday I get to have my first Mummy Maggs roast dinner in a long time and treat my dad to gifts and hugs for Father’s Day.

It could also be that Dave and I had a particularly lovely evening together yesterday.

It could be that I’m getting into my stride a little more at work. I’m not letting it stress me out so much and I’m learning to remember that I’m a human and not a machine and there’s only so much I can do in a day. About time eh?

It could be that I went on a glorious spa day with one of my besties on Sunday. My goodness it was exactly what we both needed!

We headed to Imagine Spa in King’s Lynn. The treatments were wonderful. We had a mud chamber treatment which was really good fun as well as being relaxing and detoxing and all that jazz. The relaxation room was the perfect escape and there was a lovely pool and jacuzzi.

It was almost perfect. Almost, but for two things. It was very small andddd they didn’t sell any food! None at all. We had been prewarned by a friend who’d been before so we made sure we had plenty of breakfast. But when we left at three, having been there since half nine, we were oh so hungry!

It could be that when I woke up randomly at quarter past six this morning and got up to close the bedroom window, a peep outside at the early morning, coupled with the smell of early morning fresh air took me straight back to a particularly wonderful early morning my sister and I had a while back now. We were in the Caribbean celebrating my dad’s 50th birthday and we snuck out down to the beach early to see the sunrise and I hadn’t thought about it in a long time but I’m realising now that it may be one of my happiest, most treasured memories.

I remember trying to read through Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy’ when I was having a particularly hard time of it (maybe about a year ago now) and getting to a page that asked you to list 5 of your worst memories and 5 of your best. I remember it taking me all of a minute to think of the negative stuff… To remember the bad times. I wrote them down one by one, getting more emotional all the time. It then took me a very long time to remember some happy times. I know it sounds crazy. Perhaps it was because I’d listed the bad things first and got too caught up. Trying desperately to remember the good times, I just got more and more upset. I remember getting annoyed at Fearne too. Thinking that the task she set was clearly just too hard and had just brought me down. Sadly, I never wrote my happy memories down and I never picked the book up again.

I’ve always firmly believed that dwelling on the past just brings you down. I’ve always loved to quote that line from Lion King that Pumba says that always makes me chuckle.

“YOU GOTTA PUT YOUR BEHIIIIND IN THE PAST”

It’s true to an extent. But what about all the happy memories we leave behind!? I think it’s about time I started remembering them all again. Maybe I’ll start a scrapbook or a photo album containing my happiest memories. Maybe I’ll pick up ‘Happy’ and get reading again.

Hey! I had no idea this post would bring me to such a meaningful conclusion. Perhaps I should write first thing in the morning more often! Since remembering that beautiful morning in the Caribbean, I can’t stop thinking of more and more magical, happy memories. Its as if a switch has flicked and they’ve all come flooding back at once.

What an amazing way to begin a weekend that will hopefully be filled with more happy memories to add to the collection.

Let the good times roll.

Balance

The weekend before last was a bank holiday weekend and it was sunny. So, in summary, it was the best kind of a weekend. I spent it chilling mostly, but also bbq-ing, shopping and eating.

The BBQ featured lamb and mint kebabs and Pimms and lemonade and chips and dips and olives and cheese and some of my favourite girl pals… Need I say more?

When I went shopping, I went with my favourite shopping companion and we made a truly lovely day of it. I bought a couple of summery tops, a nice dress, the CUTEST Jungle Book and Harry Potter themed Pjs and some running trousers… Because now I have them, I’ve got to get fit right?

Fast forward a little bit and on the Monday night Dave cooked me dinner and we sat out on the balcony drinking wine and eating while the sun set. Goodness, it’s easy to make an evening like that sound super cheesy and romantic but if you wanna know the real truth… We ate, the sun set and then we very quickly retreated indoors to watch the TV because it got wayyy too cold out there.

Sunday evening was the bestest bit of the weekend though. I spent Sunday evening at the beach with my family (sadly, minus my brother who is away at university). I’d popped by my parents’ house for a roast dinner. My mum cooked beef and the yummiest yorkshire puddings. We were all happy and full of food when my sister suggested we head to the beach for the evening. Surprisingly my dad said he’d drive us and before long we were all in his car, speeding down the motorway with the roof down. WOOP WOOP.

Walton on the Naze is one of my favourite places to be in all of the world. It’s been that way ever since I went for the first time with a group of friends in high school. Needless to say, strolling down the beach that evening with my family made me very happy. Nothing like a walk by the sea to clear a head.

In the land of film and tv I’ve been gradually working my way through the Marvel films, watching them in the order in which they were released. Last weekend was the most chilled weekend we’ve had in ages. I watched Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. Then, this week I’ve watched Thor Rangnarok AND Spiderman Homecoming. You’d think I’d be all Marvelled out, but I. am. loving it. Can’t wait to get myself to the cinema and see Infinity War now that I actually stand a chance of understanding what’s going on.

This week I’ve been reminded how much my routine means to me. I’ve realised just how important it is that I have a routine. My routine’s been all up in the air this last few weeks and life has felt a little too unfamiliar. It’s been full of long weekends and Bank Holidays and exciting things, but it’s been setting me on edge. This week things have finally been back to normal. I didn’t realise how on edge I was until calm was restored again. Any longer and I think I may have popped. And you know what? I think normal is underrated.

That’s not to say that I’m not looking forward to another busy week next week. My birthday is next week! I’ve an exciting event to attend for work one day. And I’ve the Friday booked off for a hen do weekend. Eek! Busy is good… But I’ve certainly appreciated a bit of normality this week too. I guess it’s all about balance. It’s just like Einstein said… ‘Life is like riding a bicycle.’

Saying yes to new adventures

Oh boy oh boy. I cannot believe how time is flying!

First up, you need to know about a little cafe in Croydon called The Ludoquist. Nearly a month ago now Dave and I were staying with a couple of our loveliest friends. We spent a whole afternoon at The Ludoquist and were sorry to have to leave. It’s a board game cafe. They’ve more board games than you can imagine and to top it off, they sell great coffee and sweets in little glass bowls! There’s other, more substantial food and beer too! You pay £3 if you wanna play the board games and it’s so busy that your best off booking a table in advance.

While we’re talking recommendations, a couple of weeks back Dave and I went to the Secret Cinema in London. Secret location, secret world, secret identity, all that jazz. Secret Cinema are a company who literally build the world of the film. You enter a whole new world, full of incredibly talented actors and spend the night in character, as if you were a character from the movie. Then you sit and watch the film and then you party in the world after, until you decide it’s time to retreat back to real life. The website might do it more justice than I’m doing it, if you’re really interested.

SECRET CINEMA LONDON

I actually felt dubious to begin with. The film showing at the moment is Blade Runner and while I appreciate that it is an incredible cinematic masterpiece and the music is AMAZING, it’s not my kind of thing. Also, the future world depicted in Blade Runner is kinda scary if you ask me and I wasn’t sure I wanted in. I needn’t have worried. We had a brilliant night. I wouldn’t be surprised if we make it a yearly thing, like so many people seem to do once they’ve discovered it. No spoilers here, but WOW. If you can get tickets, go!

I spent last weekend in Wales with one of my best friends. Here come more recommendations… We had a lovely time. From drinking cocktails in Turtle Bay and brunching in Cosy Club to exploring Cardiff and strolling down Swansea beaches, we did about everything you can do to make the most of your weekend. The sun even shined on us.

Brunch in Cosy Club was amazing but it was well and truly trumped by brunch on Sunday in a little place called The Junction, right by Swansea Beach. We both ordered the Junction special and we had no regrets. £8.50 for poached egg, potatoes, chorizo, cheese, lardons, avocado and spinach all fried up and served in one grill. A FEAST FOR THE TASTE BUDS I tell you. And they did a vegetarian option too! Recommendation number three, if you’re ever in the area.

I did not intend for this post to end up being a list of recommendations, but I’m not sorry it did. I love that I’m discovering all these new and amazing places and that I can shout about them too! Life has been busy and exciting recently, but I’ve had plenty of chill time too. I’m feeling happy and calm and balanced and by golly I hope it lasts.

To infinity and beyond

Drinking tea and hoping that with tea comes much blogspiration because I’ve no idea where to start.

If you’re a close friend of mine I’ve probably had a rant or a grumble at you this week. Its been one of them weeks. I’ve oozed negativity. So much so, when it came to yoga on Wednesday I was excited as ever, but just couldn’t get into it. I spent the whole class feeling awkward and tense. You’ll hopefully be glad to hear, that right now I’m feeling chirpy and wondering what on Earth I’ve had to moan about.

The highlight of this week has to have been my afternoon spent in London’s Sky Garden.

That’s where things started to take a turn for the better. I highly recommend a visit. It’s free of charge for starters! They advise that you book in advance to skip the queues, that’s all. London looks so beautiful from up there. It doesn’t take much to bring out the cheese ball in me and being up there definitely did. Looking out at St Paul’s through the massive glass windows I felt all gooey and happy and grateful. I remember when working in London was something I dreamed about and now, it’s my every day. Eek!

I spent Friday night celebrating a friend’s birthday at Dinerama, Shoreditch. I highly recommend a visit to Dinerama too. It was AWESOME. Converted to suit winter with a ceiling and walls and heaters, this collection of street food stands and pop up bars catered for everyone. Music, food, drink and lots of friends made for a fab atmosphere and a super chilled, very fun evening.

I guess I have to admit that it is probably no coincidence that my new found positivity arrives just after Dave and I spent a whole day together yesterday for the first time in a long time. I’ve sat in enough counselling sessions to know that your happiness should never be dependent on the presence of another human being and I’d like to think I’d have turned things around anyway, but yesterday just helped… A lot. And hey! As I get older I believe more and more that most of time, the best advise any one can give you is that you should just cut yourself some slack. If you need someone else or to be somewhere else just for a little while, to make yourself feel strong again, then sometimes you just gotta embrace it.