Brighton, England

brighton-uk-16

I spent last weekend in Brighton with four girl friends, celebrating my friend’s birthday and I fell in love.

I arrived in Brighton tired, hungry, sweaty, clueless and with heavy bags in tow after a very long day at work.

The lively atmosphere gave me an immediate boost. Between the squeals of girls on hen nights, the excitable chatter of everyone around, the yells from lads on tour and the booming voices of train conductors, came the occasional squawk of a seagull, welcoming you to the seaside.

I needed to buy Aperol for the birthday girl. I couldn’t find it anywhere, which was a shame, but I did find that every single person I spoke to was jolly and helpful. Every off-licence owner tried to help me out, the people in Tesco and Sainsbury’s were eager to do what they could and even when they were telling me they didn’t sell what I wanted, they kept on smiling.  The people I passed on the street all seemed super carefree and happy. The driver of the taxi I eventually got was lovely too. I felt like I could have spoken to absolutely anyone and they would have tried to help me out.

The home we stayed in was booked through air b&b and it was absolutely stunning. The perfect seaside escape. It was a little way from the coast, but the seagulls could still be heard, never fear.

In my dreams I live in a house like this one when I grow up. It’s so tastefully decorated, so light and airy and everything has it’s place, but it looks lived in too. It’s just the right mix of old and new and it’s not too big or too small. It’s perfect. Aside from the fact it’s on a really really steep hill. Not only was the walk a challenge, but can you imagine trying to parallel park outside!?

I could have spent days exploring the centre of Brighton and I’ve still no idea how we got from one place to another. All I know is that on your way down to the coast you wonder through ‘the lanes’. There’s bunting everywhere, it’s a maze of madness that transports you to another time and there are shops and stools selling all sorts of bits and bobs. There’s something for everyone. There are so many cute independent shops. There’s so much street food and so many cute, eccentric cafes to be explored. Including Choccywoccydoodah which just has to be the craziest dessert cafe on Earth!

There are loads of cool independent bars and clubs on the seafront too, individual to Brighton. Not forgetting the cute arty shops down there and the fish and chip stands! Fish and chips is obligatory of course.

Brighton has the best of both though. There’s a big shopping centre with all your big name stores, there are chain restaurants and big bars and clubs with names you’d probably recognize.

The pier itself is the epitome of British Sea Front fun. There are arcades and fayre ground rides. I wasn’t crazy enough to brave the waltzers but those of us who did said they were sure they were the spinniest and fastest they’d ever been on. There’s donuts and ice cream and candy floss galore and there’s even a sit down restaurant and bar.

There are many other must-sees we missed simply because we didn’t have enough time. From the stunning Royal Pavillion to the Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton has culture and history too.

Wherever you wonder along the seafront the views are lovely. There’s even a massive 360 degrees moving observation tower you can go up, if that takes your fancy and you have the time. I imagine the views must be wonderful. Brighton’s beach isn’t sandy, it’s a pebble beach, but this doesn’t take away from the fact it’s really very pretty. I couldn’t take enough pictures. Particularly on a sunny day, the sea is so beautifully blue and everything looks so colourful and alive.

Colourful and alive. That’s Brighton for you. I can’t recommend it enough and I’ll definitely be back! I imagine there’s even more to discover than I know.

IT’S CHRISTMASSSS

I’m sat in the lounge drinking tea. I’m surrounded by Christmas decorations. The fireplace is cluttered with ornamental robins, Santas, snowmen and candles. The darker it gets outside, the brighter the lights on the tree and in the window shine. The whole room looks cheerful.

I had a piano lesson this afternoon. It’s been nearly five years since I gave up on my grade 5 and decided to focus on my singing. Now that I’m making money again I figure I can afford to allocate funds to getting back on the music band wagon. I’m so excited to be getting back into it again. The lesson was amazing… Just like back in the good old days: I’ve even got a practice diary.

Had a singing lesson last week too! There’s a strong possibility I’m going to be singing in concerts come April next year and as nervous as the thought of that makes me, it’ll be so good to be performing again. It’ll force me into singing more. In the new year, I’m going to pledge to set aside time for music and I’m really going to. I know I say it all the time, but there really is no better cure for butterflies and I need to take advantage of it. I spent just one hour at that piano today and I feel so much better for it.

I’ve one day off this week and it’s tomorrow. I’m going Christmas shopping with one of my best friends and I am so looking forward to it. She’s studying in Cambridge so it’s a chance to get away for the day as well. It’ll be a day full of laughter I’m sure. We both shop alike, so even though we’ve both got loads of presents to buy, it should be a stress free day. We’ll stop for plenty of tea and cake too. We’re going to need it.

I’m still working lots. If you spoke to any of my friends they’d probably tell you I’m a tired mess, but I’m not. I enjoy a grumble over how much work I’m doing and how my feet permanently hurt and how my body clock can’t work out when to sleep and when to wake up anymore, but really, I’m doing alright. I still fit down time in here and there.

It’s the most wonderful time of year and so far, I’m still loving hearing the Christmas songs everywhere I go.

A week in the life

Oh, I do love a Sunday.

This one feels like it has come around so fast; I feel like it was only a few minutes ago I was sat on that train writing last week’s post. I had a great day with my friends in London and didn’t want to come home. This week’s not been too shabby though:

I spent another two days volunteering and loved it as always.

I’ve been to the library to pick up some reading for a previously mentioned Music Therapy masters course. I’m hoping doing more reading will help me to make a more educated decision about whether or not said potential career path is really for me.

I also sat down at the piano and didn’t sing: I pushed the microphone to one side and had a muck about to see if I could remember my Grade 5 pieces. (I reckon I’ll need to do a few more grades if I’m going to apply to any further music courses.) It would be fun to have lessons again and I think if I promise to practice more than I did in high school, my old teacher might just have me back. We’ll see.

I backed out of my fitness class, but did go swimming, so that’s something.

I went on a ‘banging’ night out with some friends and I’m feelin’ 22 again. (I’ve been a bit of an old lady recently. Bed’s been my best friend.)

Dave came home! He’s been working away, so I haven’t seen him in a little while. It was very good to have him back, even if briefly.

Oh, and I spent a day helping out in a junior school! I enjoyed my time there, everyone was lovely, I appreciated the insight into mainstream education and I’m now even more excited for the opportunity on the horizon.

Full steam ahead really. Nothing else to report, just another week in my life.

September already, say what?

Seriously, where did the summer go!? It’s raining, I’m wearing socks and a cardigan, I feel the sudden urge to light candles again, I used my umbrella last night, help!

You know what? No need to panic. September is a funny kind of month. It might be raining now, but the sun could reappear at any point. I betcha I’ll just get used to grabbing a jacket on the way out of the house and suddenly it’ll be my sunglasses I need again. Britain is the king of mini heat waves.

For the whole of my life so far September has been a fresh start. It’s like the new year, except it’s only applicable to those still in education. New teachers, new classes, brand new exercise books, new homework diaries, new everything.

It seems that if you decide to work in education, when you finish education, the same still applies. I just can’t shake the feeling that a new chapter is beginning. I’m sad that summer is over, but also a little excited about the prospect of a new school year.

I’ve got a job on the horizon at another school for children with special educational needs, one a little closer to home and one where I hope to explore the music therapy avenue a little more.

Until that job begins, I’m going to get back into volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society. I went into the office to get all signed up again this week and I loved it. If Alzheimer’s Society could afford to pay me to do what I do as a volunteer, I’d do it for the rest of my life. I’m grateful I have some time to help again, before getting back to work.

Right now though, I’m sat on my bed, an old One Republic tune just shuffled its way into my speakers and I’m feeling sleepy. I’m wondering whether to read a new book or just carry on watching Homeland on Netflix. Reading might just make me want to nap, but watching Netflix always turns my brain to mush. Sometimes it’s hard being lazy. I know I’ll be dreaming of days like this in a month or two. Must enjoy it while it lasts. Lazy Sundays are tradition after all.

Spoiled Rotten

My alarm went off at 6am on the day of our flight. I was already packed. Packing took me an entire day, but that’s another story. We got a taxi bus to the airport, got there in perfect time, hopped on the plane and we were off. It was one of them huge planes designed only for long flights like ours and for once, I didn’t panic after take off. I actually quite enjoyed the plane food too. Good news all round.

When we got to our hotel in the Caribbean, I was stunned. I’d never seen anything like it.

This summer, my family and I spent two amazing weeks at a huge resort celebrating my Dad’s 50th birthday. We were spoiled rotten with two pools, a section of the beach, on-site restaurants, a HUGE buffet, a gym, a coffee shop, need I go on? I don’t recall ever having felt so relaxed! It was beautiful.

Now, I’m home again and I’m still not sure where I’m going from here, but I don’t really mind. Okay okay, I say that now… I had a teeny tiny wobble when I got home. I’d allowed myself to forget all about real life and came back down to Earth with a bit of a crash. Since then though, I’ve met up with friends, been to a sixtieth birthday party where drinks were served in teacups and headed into London to see a hilarious show. I’m trying to keep my head up, remind myself constantly that everything is going to be okay, and that I don’t have to have it all figured out just yet. It’s still summer and I’ve still time. I think this afternoon I’ll write a pro/con list, that always helps.

Bleary-eyed, still smiling

This week was a tiring one. In fact, I was so tired Friday afternoon I nearly fell asleep in training at work. Every time I closed my eyes it was almost too much effort to get them open again. The information being presented was interesting and valuable and yet I could not stop yawning. I came home with a tummy ache, because I ate way too much cheesy pasta at lunchtime and a head ache too.

Dave came over and we fell asleep in front of a film. We don’t often get time to chill like that so it was greatly appreciated and made me ridiculously happy.

Don’t ask me how, but I got up and went along to one of my fitness classes first thing Saturday morning. My friend and I were both knackered, so we were in it together. We got through it and out the other side with the help of the good music and the sunshine streaming in through the windows. When I got home, I fell asleep, still fully dressed in gym clothes, for another half an hour before getting breakfast. I woke up feeling happy and refreshed. I managed to toss together a really yummy fry-up for Dave and I, before jumping in the shower happy and full of food.

One of my best friends celebrated her birthday Saturday evening. Dave and I went ’round in the afternoon to help put the gazebo and fairy lights up. We had a great time! We got through a few cuppas along the way, but when we were finished the garden looked perfectly party-ready and rain-proof. It was a really good night in the end too. We drank, boogied, laughed and partied to our hearts content.

Today I enjoyed the longest lay-in I’ve had in a while. My mum cooked an amazing roast dinner, as ever. Dave and I watched a few episodes of Dexter and I popped over to my friend’s house to finally say a temporary goodbye to her, because she leaves for Australia tomorrow. I kept my cool while I was there, but got a little teary eyed on the drive home. I’m still proud I wasn’t a complete mess. Right now, I’m more excited for her than anything. I just hope she stays safe.

Currently, I’m sat watching the football with my family. It’s been an exciting match. I’m rooting for Iceland. They’re three goals behind (currently losing 5-2 with only five minutes to go), but they keep getting goals back and I’m still hopeful. There’s just something wonderful about the spirit of their fans and the fact they’re the underdogs. Can’t help wanting them to beat the odds.

I’m feeling happy at the end of a really lovely weekend. This week was a particularly stressful one and I’m so grateful for the fact this weekend has been everything I needed it to be. Its been chilled, relaxed, exciting and fun all at the same time. For once it hasn’t flown by either. I’m still pretty tired, but I know for sure I’ll be falling asleep tonight with a smile on my face and that feels like the most important thing.

British Summertime

It’s a funny kind of day today. Not sunny enough for long enough to sit outside, but sunny enough to make you feel guilty for sitting indoors. It’s warm when the sun’s out, but chilly when it’s not. I’m sat indoors, but I’m sat near the window if that counts for anything. 

*sighs* I’ve got that ‘end of the weekend’ feeling. At least I think that’s what it is. I’ve sat for about an hour and a half now wondering where all my enthusiasm for life is gone. I’m wondering how on Earth I’m going to write a chirpy blog post when I can’t even remember why I was so happy when I woke up this morning. As far as Dave knows, I’m keeping up with the Euros game on the tv. I enjoy watching a good football match, but when he said he wanted to watch the match this afternoon I couldn’t help feeling disgruntled. I am the definition of melancholy. This week has been fantastic and yet the look on my face right now is probably enough to convince anyone I’ve hit rock bottom. 

I had a lovely, chilled day at my grandparents last Sunday. My granny cooked an amazing roast dinner, I read a bit more of Life of Pi and I made a start on my scrapbook.

My weekday evenings were super busy. I did go along to help my singing teacher out at ‘Little to Big Voices’ and I was so impressed by all the talent amongst her pupils there. I saw episode 9 of Game of Thrones and it was EPIC and I won’t say anymore than that. I had dinner with one of my best friends. I went along to celebrate my Auntie’s birthday with her mid-week. She was so grateful to everyone for being there and her friends had bought her such lovely presents: It was a beautiful evening. I made it to a fitness class and believe me that was a challenge. I did a crazy amount of running around at work this week AND I went on a terrifying high ropes course with the kids. My legs and arms were killing me by the time Friday came around, but I was also feeling super positive about the job and the future.

My friend who’s off to Australia for six months had her Leaving Do yesterday. We BBQ’d all day (through sunshine and thunderstorms) and then went out out in the evening. I had such a good time and I hope she did too. I still can’t bear the thought of her going away for so long, but I just can’t wait to hear all about it when we skype.

I have a good feeling about this week. Adele’s 25 is now finally available for streaming which is going to make the drives to work much more enjoyable. On the topic of Adele, I cannot wait to watch her Glastonbury performance and reminisce about seeing her at the O2 back in March. It sounds like she took Glastonbury by storm. Pretty Little Liars Season 7 is out too. AND Episode 10 of Game of Thrones is on tomorrow night. In fact, there’s so much good tv I need to watch, who needs sunshine? Here’s hoping it rains all week so I can spend my evenings in bed catching up on tv, guilt-free.