Week One

I hoped I’d be writing this at 3 o clock in the afternoon, curled up with a cuppa and feeling triumphant. Instead, it’s quarter to eight, dinner is nearly ready (thank goodness) and I’m completely and utterly cream crackered.

If a little later in the day than expected, we have been triumphant. We left the flat at 8am yesterday morning, Ikea bound. We were there when it opened and we SMASHED our shop. We’ve then spent the weekend getting stuff well and truly sorted out. We did a general clear out and clean up on New Year’s Day and I thought we’d done well then. This weekend, we took clearing out and cleaning up to a whole new level.

We had the Ikea trip in the diary for a while and the shopping list had grown longer and longer. With the list at the ready, we tried our hardest not to impulse buy, but we did grab a wooden spoon, a couple of fancy hand soap holders and a mini footstool just because. And they’ve all come in really useful already, so there!

I’m super happy with our all new, organised home, but phew am I glad to have it all sorted. I wish I had another day now, just to chill and get a bit more life admin done, but I’ll just have to make the most of the next couple of hours before bed.

The week began with New Year’s Eve. I was lucky enough to be working from home; allowing me enough time to get ready and get on a train, with Dave, into London. I’ve only ever been into London once on New Year’s Eve before and even then, we steered clear of central London. This time, one of my amazing best friends had invited us into her offices near Embankment to watch the fireworks. We took wine and snacks and games and we set up in a meeting room until midnight. At midnight we headed out onto a perfectly positioned balcony where we had the BEST view of the display at the London Eye. I’m not even kidding. It was spectacular and I feel very grateful to have had the chance to experience it like that.

Getting home was a whole ‘nother adventure. It was as if the world was ending. Lots of the roads were closed, of course. There were people everywhere. There were policemen everywhere. The majority of people were just in very high spirits. There were also people fighting and falling and yelling and shoving. It was complete and utter madness. It was completely surreal. As we wondered through the streets back to the tube station, I felt very free and very scared all at the same time. It was a huge relief to be home when we eventually got here at 3:30 am… Almost as much of a relief as it was to know there was no need to set an alarm in the morning. Here’s to whoever declared New Year’s Day a bank holiday!

Despite the bank holiday, last week was extremely hard work. I feel like we can all agree on that. Going back to work after the break was harder than ever before… I’m sure of it. The clocks slowed down, I was permanently hungry (not used to keeping to mealtimes I suppose) and suddenly, when Wednesday came around, staying up past 9pm was almost impossible. Wednesday was my first day back in the office and I started off super chirpy. By the time I met a friend for lunch, I was already feeling the January blues. Then, come the evening, I was desperately trying to keep my eyes open, at the pub, with a great group of friends, drinking coca-cola. I’m desperately hoping that things will be that little bit easier tomorrow.

Only 3 months and 13 days until the next bank holiday! We’ve got this.

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.’

Bring on the cherry blossom

I’m a winter girl through and through but my goodness am I ready for spring now. I’m so excited. No can do though apparently. Have you heard the ‘Beast from the East’ returns this weekend? Please no!

The Beast from the East! The last time I wrote, it hadn’t even hit us just yet! I’ve always loved snow. I couldn’t have hated it more by the end of that week. It’s not really the snow itself. I don’t mind trudging through it or sticking on the extra layers. It’s the fact that when it snows in the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom grinds to a halt. So many plans cancelled. So many journeys disrupted.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though…

Friday night, at the tail end of this traumatic week, it was still snowing. I hated knowing I couldn’t go out even if I wanted to. I couldn’t stop thinking about that dinner and cinema trip that never happened, the shopping spree never had, the girl’s spa weekend that we’d had to call off! So, when two crazy friends of mine booked a cab and told me they were off out into town for drinks despite the weather, I couldn’t resist. SNOW, WHAT SNOW!? Yeah! Stuff you snow! The snow certainly didn’t stop us from having a truly FAB evening and I’m so glad we went.

The snow may have called off the spa trip that me and some of my friends had planned, but we weren’t letting that ruin our weekend either. We gathered together armed with face masks, olives, chips and dips, prosecco and comfy pants and we had a lovely time together anyway.

Sunday morning the snow was gone. I was so unbelievably happy. It’s been over a week since that glorious day.

I have since watched the last episode of Friends. Yep, I’d never seen the last episode of Friends before. Yes, Dave and I did buy the box set when we moved into the flat and have just now finished watching it chronologically from start to finish. Yes, I did sob into my glass of red wine for the entirety of the episode which, by the way, couldn’t have been more perfect.

I’ve started reading George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo’ and I’m a massive fan already. It won the Man Booker Prize in 2017 and yet, I’ve seen surprisingly varied reviews. Personally, I’m not surprised it won the award. I’m currently on team 5 star. I’m only half way through, so this may not be my final verdict but so far I find it to be imaginative, captivating and absolutely bonkers, in a great way.

2018 is flying by, but it really has been a good’un so far. With more exciting plans on the horizon I’m feeling positive.

I simply have to finish by paying tribute to the incredible man that was Stephen Hawking. I’ve seen so many different Hawking quotes used to pay tribute to him today and seen so many people trying to sum up his magnificence. I think the best way we can all pay tribute to him is by letting the life he led serve as inspiration to us all: To live life to the full and to never give up. R.I.P Stephen Hawking.

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.

Let go of the familiar and embrace the new

I was super happy and excited but goodness I was nervous. A small part of me was just rationally worrying about the new job itself. Whether I’d be able to do it, whether the people would be as nice as I hoped, whether I’d impress like I wanted to.

I was also having nightmares about being late on my first day. Nightmares that varied from stressfully realistic and scarily weird. I had one in which I kept trying to get through doorways but random people in my life would be standing in them telling me it wasn’t safe and by the end I was shouting (luckily just in the dream) at the top of my lungs that they had to get out of my way because I had to get to work! You don’t have to be a psychologist to figure out I was very scared I’d be late.

Most of me was simply just terrified about the change from unemployment to employment. Even with 7 days a week free to do as I pleased I felt like time was going too fast and there was never enough of it. How would I cope? How would I find time to do the things I love? How would I keep in contact with all of my friends and family? How would I sleep and eat enough? How would I live!?

Commuting for the first time was a strange experience. When I walked onto the station platform singing quietly to myself at 8am, I felt like I was walking into a school assembly late. Everyone looked miserable. Everyone was sat or stood in silence. Everyone seemed to glare at me as I walked past. Pretty girls looked me up and down like I didn’t belong.

Of course, half the issue was that I was so tense and uncomfortable. The minute I walked onto that platform I forgot all about where I was headed. All I knew was that I felt small and unsure and this was all new and I wasn’t sure I liked it and a big part of me wanted to run back home to bed. I was more nervous than I knew and it didn’t take much to knock me off balance.

However, from the moment I got to work onwards, my first day ROCKED. Everyone I met was super lovely. I really enjoyed the work I did and the more I found out about my role the more I knew I was going to love it. My team took me out for lunch.

There came a point when I realised where I was, both physically and just in life and suddenly a big goofy smile spread from cheek to cheek. I was in my favourite city, working in one of them fancy office buildings, wearing fancy office clothes and doing a job I already took pride in and loved. This change didn’t happen gradually. I didn’t go through a period of adaptation. Maybe you aren’t supposed to. Maybe the reason I’ve struggled with change so much in life is because I’ve always had too much time to think about it. This time was like no other. I’m not being dramatic. Literally, one minute I was panicking. I felt like I was spiralling, losing control, time was running away with me. The next minute I realised I was calm and I settled into the swing of things and before long it was like nothing had changed at all.

I’m another 5 commutes down now and its not strange anymore. If the pretty girls are still looking me up and down I’m not seeing them because I’m too happy and confident to notice. Or my head is in my book which I’ve already mastered the art of reading wherever I am.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve just been through a change. 3 days into the job and everything is second nature. It honestly feels like I’ve been doing this for years and that is strange and wonderful all at once. Life never fails to amaze me.

Adventure of a Lifetime

Oh my goodness, where to start?

I did go to Reading to celebrate being 22, yet again. I turned up and my wonderful friends were waiting with cards and presents which made me ridiculously happy. Our night out started with Prosecco and ended with MacDonald’s, need I say more? If you’ve never tried MacDonald’s cheesy bites, be sure to do so next time you go. They’re the bee’s knees.

Life goes on. I’m still enjoying my work. It’s been a couple of weeks since half term break and I’m still going strong. I must admit that a week off at half term got me used to the easy life again and that I was worried about getting back into the swing of things. I needn’t have stressed though, getting back into it was easy as pie! If anything I went back to work after half term feeling more confident, even if I’d managed to catch a horrid cough.

I’ve had a bit of a revelation in that I think maybe it’s the care and therapeutic support side of my job I prefer to the teaching side (dun, dun, dunnn), but I’m still not making any real plans for the future. I’m going to keep crossing bridges as I come to them and setting short term goals, Tim Minchin style. I think I want to work with people, helping people. Perhaps I’ll look into Music Therapy, do some research and see where that takes me. Maybe I could do a masters in a couple of years time? The prospect sounds amazing, but baby steps.  

This week, I went to see Coldplay at Wembley! We headed into London early so we could set up somewhere and catch the football. The England v Wales game was a good’un; it kept us all on the edge of our seats. Even I squealed when we went and got that goal in the 92nd minute.

Coldplay put on such an amazing show. There were bouncy balls in the audience and lots of confetti and fireworks. They sang all the crowd pleasers and some extras. They made beautiful tributes to David Bowie and Muhammad Ali and I cried. They did an acoustic section as well as performing all out on the main stage. I don’t know what gives Chris Martin all his endless energy, but whatever it is, I want some.

It was such a good day. I’d give almost anything to relive the moment when the pub full of fans erupted because England scored or the moment when I looked up at the open roof of Wembley stadium and literally saw ‘A sky full of confetti stars’.

Other than that, I’ve spent a lot of time recently just chilling at my best friends’ houses and loving it. I went to see X-Men Apocalypse, which I thought was REALLY enjoyable. I’ve been keeping up to date with Game of Thrones… AHHHH. I’m going to be helping my singing teacher out at a choir she runs, which should be good fun. My friend and I are still keeping up the fitness classes… just. We missed a couple, but we made up for that by doing two last week.

Tomorrow’s Father’s Day and we’re spending it at my grandparents house and I’m really looking forward to a proper chilled Sunday before another week of work. I might finally get on with this scrapbook of mine, or at least finish my book. I’m reading Life of Pi and I’m half way through and so far, it is awesome.

On that note, all that’s left to say is an early Happy Father’s Day to my dad (who just happens to be the best dad in the world) and to all the wonderful dad’s out there. If any of you are reading, I hope you have the best of days. Tomorrow, the tv controller really is all yours and you’re free to make as many dad jokes as you fancy. Enjoy it while it lasts.