Proud

Another post already!? Can you believe it?

I remember when I went through a phase of wishing and hoping and dreaming of my blog becoming a massive hit and me being given my own column in a hugely famous magazine. I went and read all these posts from other bloggers about how to gain a following and how to keep them captivated.

Keeping your followers captivated. Rule number one. Write consistently and frequently. One day, the same day, every week or something like that. Every day if possible.

My inspiration comes and goes. My blogspiration comes at the most random times and goes again in a flash! I admire all of the bloggers and writers out there that have deadlines and meet them. I honestly don’t know if I could ever actually write in such a regulated way and I suppose I’m just grateful for the small following I do have.

Right now I feel blogspired because I’m ill and mopey and yet I just stuck some music on, grabbed my book, got tea and within a few minutes, perked myself right up! I just caught myself smiling and I felt this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and happiness.

My throat hurts and I’ve got a cough. Isn’t that just the most annoying combination!?Apparently this is the week everyone gets sick. Monday was National Sickie Day. Unfairly named I’d say, seeing as the vast majority of people probably are genuinely ill and are not just faking it. After all, we’ve been cold for too long. We need spring.

I tell you what though… Dave’s been nagging me to have Lemon and Ginger tea when I’m full of cold for years and I don’t like lemon so I’ve been ignoring him. Until today that is. Today I’m drinking Pukka’s Lemon, Ginger and Honey tea and my goodness he was right all along! The ultimate cold buster. It’s a shame he’s not here to tell me he told me so.

Smiling goofily at my laptop right now’s got me thinking, it really is the little things in life. What makes you feel proud might seem to someone else not to be an accomplishment at all. But that’s why we should never ever compare ourselves to others. I think that’s why I wanted to write. Just to say I’m proud. And you should be too, of whatever little thing you’ve overcome today.

Today, I feel proud because I’m home alone and I’m unwell and I’ve no idea what I’m cooking for dinner and usually my butterflies would be fluttering, but instead I’m smiling. Hooray to that!

To New Beginnings

This year was for being daring, right?

I put an offer down on a flat with Dave, we got it, I handed in my notice at work, two weeks later we’ve got the keys and I’m moving to Watford!

I’m moving into a new flat, in a new town, finding a new job and I’m going to be living like a real-life adult! Call me irresponsible but I ran out of reasons not to go for it and so I did, I said yes and I couldn’t be happier.

Saying that, I’m currently sat in the middle of my floor, staring at my wardrobe and willing the clothes to fold and pack themselves. This leaving home malarky is as stressful as it is exciting and it is very exciting! Perhaps packing clothes can wait for now. With the help of my mum and a good friend I’ve made a lot of progress today anyway!

I hate to say it, but I think that’s a wrap on chapter two. No sad faces here though, this ending is the start of an exciting new beginning. Next time I write I should be in the flat! I’m smiling hugely just at the thought of it. Chapter three begins soon. Bring it on.

Time flies when you’re having fun

Last time I wrote I was going Christmas shopping and now Christmas has been and gone and a new year has begun. Can you believe it?

Christmas was amazing. Somehow, I got three days in a row off of work!! The school term had finished, of course, but I’d fully expected the restaurant to pile on the shifts. I ended another school term on a high. On my last day at the school everyone wished me well and said they hoped to see me again soon. I’ve learned so much from my months there and I’m so grateful.

Over the Christmas holidays, I’ve seen so much of my family and friends. I’ve eaten so much good food and I’ve received so many wonderful gifts. I couldn’t be more grateful or anymore filled with joy. I was working last night when the clocks struck midnight and 2017 began but it was still a surprisingly good start to the year: My manager bought bubbly and we all had a glass when the time came.

Every year I claim I don’t care. New year’s day? Just another day innit? Really I’m so excited. I love a fresh start. I’m a sucker for a new years resolution. I love opening up a new calender and starting a new diary. I’ve three diaries this year. One wonderfully ordinary. One beautiful travel journal. And the last is a journal of 365 acts of bravery. ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’.  That’s what it says. It’s filled with motivational quotes and in the front it says that the challenge is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. What’s not to love!?

The journal was a Christmas gift and is the inspiration for my earlier post ‘Fried egg in a bacon sandwich’ and my New Year’s resolution. I don’t know what this year is going to bring. Whatever the year throws at me, I’m going to be more daring. Say yes more. It’s going to be great. This year’s my year for being brave again.

I’m not sure what I’ve done today that was daring. Perhaps my brave act for today is still to come. What I can tell you is that the quote in my diary for today is…

“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” I like it. We all ought to stick our necks out a little more often.

There’s no place like home

It felt like the entirety of my weekend at home had been nothing more than a dream when I woke up this morning; the horribly stressful journey back to Cardiff being the disastrous ending that finally woke me up. It feels like I went to sleep after the Halloween party last Thursday and I’ve been asleep ever since. A big part of me wants to curl up and go back to dreaming of home so I don’t have to face today. Today is my first day at work and the day of my first rehearsal for my first concert of the semester. Today is terrifying.

Friday morning I wasn’t anywhere near as excited as I expected to be. I woke up with the biggest smile on my face, but only because the night before had been such great fun. I was happy because Halloween had been amazing and it hadn’t quite clicked that a megabus was going to take me home that afternoon. I got up, got ready and headed out to hand in my first music assignment of the year. I daydreamed my way through the entirety of my history lecture and then when I realised the time, half walked half ran home to pack. Time went by ridiculously quickly and before I knew it, I was sat on my bed eating my lunch as quickly as Bronwenly possible, because I knew I needed to get to the bus stop. In true Bronwen fashion I got half way up the road before realising I’d forgotten my purse and had to turn around to grab it. I caught the bus just as it was about to leave. The driver thankfully got down from his seat, smiled at me and let me chuck my bag in the hold. It took me six hours to get home, but when I did I was beyond happy. Home looked amazing and smelled amazing and my mum had left me a portion of chille con carne to reheat and eat when I got in.

Saturday morning my mum woke me up with a cup of tea and asked if I fancied a drive out of Chelmsford to pick my sister up from a family friend’s house. At first it felt ridiculous to even consider leaving my warm and comfortable bed, especially now I had a cup of tea in hand. As it dawned on me that this was day 1 of 2 at home I began to change my mind. I didn’t want to waste anymore time in bed. I jumped in the shower, my mum made us the most amazing breakfast and then we jumped in the car. I think I had forgotten just how much I love being behind the steering wheel. The drive left me on cloud nine. I spent the whole journey head bobbing and steering wheel tapping without shame. We joined our friends for a coffee in Costa before heading back. Sat with my mum and our family friends, drinking a Costa Caramel Latte I was ridiculously happy. I spent the afternoon being the laziest I’ve been in weeks and my dad ordered pizza in for dinner. We went to see the Fireworks display in Danbury (a Maggs family tradition at this time of year) and as usual it was incredible. Stood linking arms with my mum and brother, my dad with his arm around my sister just in front of us, I felt like I had the leading role in the very happy ending to a film. I was really ill when I got home, my guess is the cold got to me and the tiredness hit too. I missed out on joining some of my friends at the pub and had to head to bed at eleven before it felt like I had quite made the most of my day.

I got up fairly early again on Sunday, feeling much better after sleeping. It felt like I’d never left: I helped myself to cereal and joined my mum in the lounge. She was watching a Christmas film. Normally I would have objected considering November has only just begun but I was drawn in when one of the characters announced he was banning Christmas and the sale of toys. My mum made an amazing lamb roast dinner, I went shopping for work trousers and before I knew it I was packing up and heading back to Cardiff again. Saying a temporary goodbye to my family once again made me feel just as sad as usual. The journey home was horrible: Trains were late, I was late, buses were late, it rained loads, I did the walk home in a complete daze thinking only of bed and of putting my heavy bag down.

And then I woke up, back in Cardiff, curled up in bed as if I’d never been away.

Busy is Best

When I woke up Tuesday morning it was still dark. I felt like I should be jumping on an aeroplane and heading somewhere exciting, jumping behind the steering wheel of my car and driving across the country or just retreating under the duvet until the sun decided to put his hat on. In reality I’d set myself an early alarm so I would have enough time to wash my hair and get organised before my two hour lecture and my work induction. Being me, I still didn’t have enough time and I spent the morning running around like a headless chicken. The induction at work was almost a complete disaster, but I made it through and back out the shop with The Entertainer uniform in hand and rumbles in my tummy. I gave into temptation and dropped into Gregg’s, browsed all the shelves trying to convince myself to be experimental and try something new and then ordered my usual. (“A sausage, bean and cheese melt and a piece of Rocky Road, please?”) I had an amazingly productive afternoon, Chinese went really well, yet another walk home was filled with mine and my flatmates Chinese conversation and then I got an early night.

Wednesday was just as busy and just as amazing. I got up early, although it wasn’t dark this time. Had time for a cup of tea before leaving for lectures. Managed to enjoy lectures. Had an amazing lunch. Spent half the afternoon singing, first at choir and then in a practice room. Flopped in my flat mate’s room for hours while she baked bread (Inspired by the Great British Bake Off). Had a beautiful beef casserole dinner. Puzzled over more articles on the T’i-yung dichotomy in China. Went to a choir social at a pub five minutes walk from my front door and met lovely new people. Bought Chinese take away and curled up with my flatmates in the lounge, sharing jokes until the early hours of the morning.

I never thought I’d say it, but I think early mornings are the way forward. I’ve been up since eight today as well and I’ve been so productive that every part of me is buzzing. Laying in bed for hours every morning just leaves me feeling tired, smelly and lazy. Being busy is best. Goodbye wasted mornings.

Hippo-size and Happy

I should be the size of a hippo after eating everything I’ve eaten this week. I blame Papa Johns for tempting me with their 99p offer Tuesday night and Just Eat for making it so easy to order Chinese take away when you get home late on a Wednesday evening. My comfort food has become the occasional piece of healthy food I eat. The orange I ate after my Chinese takeaway for example, was so beautiful I think the vitamin C loving bits of me jumped for joy.

On Sunday night, this week terrified me. Now I’m sat on my bed, thinking about what I’m going to wear out tonight, surrounded by laundry that I discovered dries quickly hanging from the open sky lights in my room, procrastinating expertly and wondering what all the fuss was about. I’ve spent the afternoon curled up on the sofa drinking tea, reading the book on British History that I have become slightly addicted to and feeling productive despite the fact the book I was supposed to read today was based on the Dreyfus Affair in France.

I didn’t get into either the Opera or the Operatic Society concert. The audition went surprisingly well considering how ill I’d felt the day before. Expecting it to be a complete disaster I was pleased when I left and I had managed to at least sing the whole piece. Monday evening, after the audition when I met one of my best friends for coffee, I was feeling positive. Aside from managing to sing my piece, I’d spent a few hours in the library covering the reading for the lecture Tuesday morning and I’d been to my first music lecture of the year with out freaking out.

Tuesday, I think, was the best day. I may have had to get up at 7:30 for a lecture that exhausted my brain because it lasted an hour and a half, but I finished the day with 99 pence meat feast pizza, my first Chinese class and a night out. Chinese was brilliant. By the end of the lesson I was ridiculously excited about the fact I could say Chinese numbers 1-10, say hello, goodbye and thank you, tell someone my name is Bronwen and I am British and ask their name and nationality in return. Me and my flatmate spent the entirety of the walk home having the same conversation in Chinese over and over again. The night out was good, as they always seem to be, but the early start had got the better of me and I was home and tucked up in bed by two in the morning with McDonald’s chicken nuggets in my belly and a whopping great smile on my face.

After my lecture Wednesday morning (which I was very happy I made it out of bed and into) I went job hunting again. When I went to hand a CV into The Entertainer Toy Shop they wouldn’t take it. They said they had finished hiring for the Christmas period already, but told me to wait a moment so they could double check. I ended up in a group interview for two hours having much more fun than I would have expected to have in an interview. I was completely unprepared, but the staff all seemed friendly and welcoming and the spontaneity of it all meant my butterflies didn’t make even a brief appearance. They said they’d call me on Friday if they wanted me to attend the Christmas meeting and work with them over the season and on Friday I got a call. If everything goes well at the meeting I can consider myself employed. I am trying me very hardest not to jinx things by mentioning how excited I am about the idea of working at a Toy Shop over Christmas helping children choose what they want from Santa, but I AM SO EXCITED. Yes, Santa is real.

The rest of the week has been just as amazing. I had a lecture on Chinese history which I know I’m going to become geekishly interested in. I wore my jelly bean wellies out the house and successfully resisted the urge to jump in puddles or sing ‘Singing in the Rain’ whilst spinning my umbrella. I planned on heading out last night, but at the last minute chose to curl up with chicken, chips, an awesome friend and a disney movie instead of heading to the club. Tonight I am going out and I’ve spent so long trying to decide what to wear that I’m starting to wonder if I actually own nice clothes. Tomorrow I’m spending the day with my head in a book again, hopefully the right one this time.

I’m not an opera star just yet, but I am a Toy Shop sales assistant and I have conquered a week of lectures and loved it. I’m a happy Bronwen.

Singing goodbye to butterflies in the shower

Caught myself singing in the shower, wondered ’round with a towel turban on my head, left my stuff all over the sofa while I went out last night, sung opera in my bedroom, let my iTunes music shuffle freely without cringing when The Circle of Life started playing: One week here and it feels like home already.

As a fresher, I’d sit and read my book on my bed in my room, or perhaps on one of the hard chairs around the communal table in our kitchen. And don’t get me wrong, I loved our kitchen for all the amazing moments we shared and memories we created there. Right now though, I’m sat on an actual sofa, curled up among the cushions reading my book with a cuppa tea and loving life.

As soon as I wake up in the morning I come downstairs in my pyjamas. My bedroom door here is almost always open and so are everyone else’s. Heading out in the evenings is easy now we know where to head and on which nights. I can cook without embarrassing myself by asking silly questions, dropping things or burning myself. I know the quickest route into town and into University and back, and I didn’t have to try three different routes to find the best. This year I’m applying for jobs and even now I’m paying bills student budgeting doesn’t seem like such a scary concept.

Life as a second year student so far has been so incredibly different to life as a fresher. I feel so much more comfortable living with my friends, in a beautiful city that I now know and love.

We may still be lacking internet and our washing machine may be broken, but the butterflies that lived in my stomach permanently last year seem to have temporarily fallen asleep this year already. Who would have thought it!? Now to conquer the world.