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.

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.

Not all who wander are lost

This week, unlike last week, I had very little planned. The Alzheimer’s Society had bagseed me to help them out on Thursday, but nothing else was even penciled in my diary. I spent Sunday night at the pub with a great group of people and another night playing cards with some of them too. I’ve finished season one of House M.D and I’ve made absolutely no progress with the scrapbook. Last I heard, the teaching agency who interviewed me last week are still waiting on my references, so no news on the job front just yet either.

I’ve been spending a joyful amount of time outdoors. I love this time of year, if not for the obvious reasons, just because I rediscover my spirit of adventure. As much as I love cosy nights in, my fluffy slippers and galaxy hot chocolate, I can’t help but dream all winter of light evenings and Pimms and lemonade and fruit salad and days spent sat in a dress and sandals in the sunshine with a good book.

On Tuesday, my boyfriend (Dave from here on in. There’s something about the word boyfriend that makes me squirm) and I had a whole day free to spend together for the first time in a very long time. He picked me up and we just drove a little while in the hope of finding somewhere new to explore. We ended up at Danbury Common and before long we were lost in the woods. Well, I was lost. Dave’s sense of direction got us back to the car no trouble at all when we decided it was time for food. It’s an amazing place and although I’m sure it looks even prettier in the summer, I think we timed our visit perfectly: There were still muddy puddles to be avoided and there were still piles of leaves around for me to stomp through like a child. It was warm enough, but not so hot we had to stop every few minutes for water.

I met one of my oldest friends at a country pub for lunch on Wednesday and like in all the best stories, we just found ourselves full of food and headed up a path that would take us on an adventure towards a lovely village I’d never been to before. This story gets most exciting when we see a very angry looking grey cloud in the distance, but take our chances and carry on going anyway. Half an hour later we’ve been hit with rain and hail and wind and we’re hiding in a bus shelter shivering, we’re drenched and we can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation is.

You only have to mention Essex before stereotypes spring into the minds of anyone listening. I’m sure you’re now thinking about fake tan before I’ve even had chance to say the words beautiful and countryside. I’m not saying that the stereotypes aren’t true. (In fact I can personally testify to the fact that the majority of them are, but that we wouldn’t have it any other way.) I’m just saying that it is a shame that people don’t know just how beautiful Essex is, particularly on a sunny day.

When the rain and hail subsided and the skies cleared, we finished our walk in bright sunshine and everything around us shone and I couldn’t help but wish every person on Earth could see what I was seeing.

My winter boots are done for. We didn’t avoid all the mud on Tuesday and I certainly couldn’t keep them dry on Wednesday and now I think they’ve had enough. They’re also the reason for the massive blisters on my heels, but I’ll let them off the hook: They’ve lasted me well and honestly, I cannot wait to go and invest in a pair of summery trainers and some new sandals. After all, spring is here.