Week Twenty

It’s late in the day for a blog post, I know. As the weekend comes to an end, I’m feeling particularly melancholy and blogging always makes me feel chirpier, so here we are.

It feels like Sunday evening came around very quickly. It feels like only a few minutes ago, I was rolling out of bed (post- eurovision lie in was a necessity) and getting to work spring cleaning with Dave. The flat needed a good tidy and we rewarded ourselves with a lovely lunch out, so it’s been a good day all in all. I just can’t believe it’s nearly over.

I suppose, there’s still time. Time to get a real wriggle on with the studying. Time to chill and have dinner. Time to curl up with a movie and probably fall asleep in the middle of it.

Week twenty was a great week, if only because we were back to routine and that’s always a bit of a relief after a hectic few weeks in a row. That and the fact that the weather has been so beautiful!

This week I felt a little more on top of everything on the work front. Bank holidays are great, but I’d only just really caught up at work after Easter and then May came around and threw me off track again.  I needed this full five day week to get back on track. I had a very productive and equally lovely working from home day: I spent it working out on the balcony and cooked turkey dinosaurs at lunch time.

In other news, I started reading Adam Kay’s ‘This is going to hurt’ this week and I’m flying through it! I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a full 5 stars from me! The book is hilarious, but also eye-opening. Reading it is so enjoyable, but at the same time so frustrating. Basically, the book contains lots of Adam Kay’s diary entries from when he was a junior doctor. He helpfully translates the medical language and he’s brutally honest. It’s terrifying actually, to hear about the challenges our NHS staff face every day and the lengths they are pushed to. When reading it on the tubes, I felt like getting everyone’s attention and reading extracts out loud to the carriage just to raise more awareness.

I saw two of my best friends and caught up with my sister this week too. A good week is a week that contains multiple catch ups over food and drink…

My sister and I went for dinner on Thursday, which was lovely as ever.

Friday night was spent at Las Iguanas with one of the friends, numerous cocktails and tapas. She brought me the loveliest necklace for my birthday (which happens to be on Wednesday… And I’m going to be 25… EEK!) and we had a wonderful time catching up on life.

Yesterday, I drove to Salisbury to see the other friend. Escaping London was the absolute bestest. It took me ages to get past Heathrow and out the other side, but once I was away from the motorways and off onto the A roads in Wiltshire, I immediately felt happier. I whizzed down the roads, fields for miles on either side of me, until I reached her lovely flat. I was so happy to see her: It’d been way too long! We got a really yummy lunch in town and then did some shopping. I’m relieved to say that I successfully purchased my costume for my birthday party next week…

I can’t quite believe I’m going to be 25! I feel like this is it. This is the best age to be. I’d quite happily pause here for a bit. Determined to celebrate this year. For a few years in a row, I’ve not really made a thing of my birthday. I’m a stressy host anyway and getting everyone together always feels like a huge ordeal. A huge ordeal, that I will have undertaken by the time next Sunday comes around! I’m getting all my friends together this year, for a fancy dress party. Everyone’s coming as something beginning with ‘B’ and so far, I’m more excited than nervous. I just hope everyone has a great time and I can get my 26th year off to a strong start. Absolutely no stressing about hosting allowed. See you on the other side!

Week Fourteen

Hoorayyy. As week fourteen draws to a close I cannot help smiling. I’m off to see my Dad and my sister as soon as I’ve hit publish and I’m so looking forward to a roast dinner.

It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve made so many amazing memories. In the true spirit of chapter five, I’ve chucked myself head first into everything!

Since I last wrote, I’ve been to see George Ezra at the O2. HE WAS AMAZING. I’ve been to a 1920s themed Speakeasy Festival in a big old house in Cardiff and then literally walked down memory lane, towards the city centre, bare foot, with my heels in my hands. I went along to see one of my best friends perform with her fabulous Technicolor choir and enjoyed a good boogie with her and the choir afterwards. I’ve had numerous pub lunches and dinner dates (my favourite things). I went along to a uni friend’s hen do and partied two nights in a row. TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW I TELL YOU. (And I was exhausted come Sunday… how my 18 year old self ever coped with freshers I will never know.)

Most of these things were in the diary and in the approach to all this craziness I felt apprehensive. I wasn’t certain I was in the right frame of mind. There’s still lots going on that I can’t share with you all and I’m still spending a lot of time feeling the impact of it all. I’m so glad I pushed through though. I could easily have opted for a night in my PJs or a day with my head in a book. But as much as I love nights in and book worm days, sometimes getting out of the house and spending time making brilliant memories with amazing friends is what’s going to get you through.

These few weeks have been about me remembering that you can allow yourself to get out and enjoy yourself, without feeling guilty for ignoring the stuff you’re feeling sad about. In fact, it’s really important to compartmentalise. We all need to remember that. Being able to go out and enjoy yourself doesn’t mean you don’t care enough: You’re not ignoring things, you’re just putting them to the back of your mind when you need to. Because parts of your life can be fantastic while others fall apart. That’s just how it goes. And if you try to feel everything, all the time, sooner or later you’ll explode.

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.

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 on Saturday 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.

I have since watched the last episode of Friends. Yes, 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 also 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.

To infinity and beyond

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 the 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.

Yoga, Tagine, Prosecco and a Shark Tale

I made it to my first yoga class! And I’ve been again since and I’m already looking forward to going again this week. I’ve found me a truly wonderful class. I’ve been to a few yoga classes before and found that they’re all different. I think it is worth taking the time to find a class that really works for you and I am very pleased to say that I think I have done just that. The instructor is amazing and the session left me feeling refreshed and renewed both times.

Life’s been busy, good busy and this weekend has been a good’un.

Friday night I headed to the George Tavern in Whitechapel with some people from work. It’s a live music venue and the musicians who played were all so talented! ‘Friend of Dave’ was a beat-boxer equipped with a maraca and a harmonica and you would not believe the textures he created all by himself. He played feel good tunes that put smiles on everyone’s faces. ‘Austrumkalns’ were a Latvian ensemble. They are a flautist, cellist, violinist, guitarist and percussionist and they played Latvian folk songs. They were beautiful. They even planted Latvian dancers in the pub to get everyone on their feet. I had one of them ‘must mentally capture this and store the memory vividly forever’ moments. The headliners were ‘Erin Black and the Devil’s Hand’ who were fantastic. Every member of the band was super talented, all introduced individually at the beginning of the set. They had every single person captivated until the set ended and everyone darted out for their last trains home, myself included.

Saturday I met a good friend for lunch in Kensington before heading over to the V&A for the Opera Passion exhibition. I highly recommend the Lebanese restaurant we went to (Comptoir Libanais), which I believe is part of a chain. I had halloumi and tomato and a lamb tagine and loved every single bite. We finished the meal off with a mint tea and a hot chocolate (hot chocolate for me, of course) and then headed back out into the rain to get to the museum. The exhibition itself was brilliant. No spoilers, go check it out if you can! I’d never been to the V&A before and I’m going to have to go back. So many things captured my interest on the way through! May need more than one visit. I had no idea how humongous it was.

Another lovely friend of mine came to stay last night. We had a proper girls night and it was simply lovely. Highlights include listening to Sam Smith’s new album, popping open a bottle of prosecco and face masks.

I’m curled up on the sofa with a cuppa right now. Shark Tale’s on the TV and it’s just coming to the end credits. Car Wash is playing, you know the scene?, and I’ve just turned the volume up. I think once I’ve finished writing this I’m going to have chicken kievs for dinner. I’m going to carry on reading Lauren Graham’s autobiography while it cooks. It’s based around her time spent playing Loralai Gilmore in Gilmore Girls, it was a Christmas present and I’m loving it. It’s a lot of fun.

I’ve started learning a Katie Melua piece on the piano, so I ought to get a little more practice in tonight too. I’m pretending like it’s not Monday tomorrow. What is it about Mondays? I’ve butterflies just thinking about it. In this case though, we’re really truly in it together. We’ll all struggle through Monday morning and we’ll all be alright once we’ve had a cup of tea or coffee or two.

Hey there Chapter Four

I love my job, but going back to work after the Christmas break has been SO INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT.

I think it has something to do with the fact the weather is all doom and gloom. That and the fact it’s a whole ‘nother 11 months or so until Christmas comes around again! The holiday ads are out in force and I’m not surprised. I’m perfectly happy right now, curled up on the sofa with candles lit and music playing, but I still can’t help wishing I were on a beach somewhere sunny.

Familiarity is my friend this year. I hope that this year, nothing changes. I could really use a year spent living in the same place, doing the same job. It’s been a long time since I finished a year in the same place I began it. Don’t get me wrong, moving forwards, progressing and evolving as a young person is great. But you have to admit, there’s something comforting about adventuring and exploring and always knowing that home is waiting right where you left it.

It’s January. We’ve a cupboard full of chocolate and a whole year ahead of us. This year, this chapter, I’m focusing on the here and the now. The future can wait.

It’s complicated

We, people in general, tend to overcomplicate things. Life’s fairly simple when you think about it. We’re born. Some things go wrong and some things go right. Some of us are lucky and some of us are incredibly unlucky. Some people like us and some people don’t. We make friends and we lose them. Then at some point it all has to end and most of the time people are sad to see other people go, regardless of what we may have done or not done, because at the end of the day the loss of life is simply sad.

This isn’t coming from a place of complete randomness. Life has felt overwhelmingly complicated recently.

When I nipped quickly into the Paperchase at London Euston a couple of weeks ago to grab a diary, because things were a little crazy and I needed to keep track, I was just excited to be back from travelling, to be rolling on with work and to have so many fantastic plans ahead.

This week, I’ve done nothing but wish life was simpler. I’ve felt like I’m losing track. Suddenly work feels like my whole life and as much as I love my job, I can’t help freaking out about all the important things I don’t have time for. The days haven’t felt as long as they did in the beginning and there’s not enough time and everything’s been a muddle.

Then out of nowhere, today has been simple.

I simply slept for as long as I needed and then rolled out of bed at 11am. Dave cooked a not so simple, very impressive breakfast, but I helped where I could and sipped tea when I couldn’t. I sat outside and read my book and then I got too hot and moved indoors. Then I convinced Dave to walk round to McDonald’s with me and we bought McFlurrys. We don’t feel like cooking, so we’re simply ordering in.

I feel like today has done me the world of good. Stepping out of the craziness of it all for just a little while has put my feet back on the ground again. I feel like I’d been swept up in a flurry of madness and now I’m back on solid ground.

Not only does this remind me of the value of slowing down once in a while, but I now feel like a complete wally. From an outside perspective, looking back, life’s been simple all along really.

I have got to stop over-complicating things! (As if it’s that easy)

Everyday’s an adventure

My first few weeks at the new job were great. Unsurprisingly, life just got better when I wasn’t stuck in the flat all day everyday. As you’ll know if you read the last post, I adjusted super fast to the new pace of life. Once I was on a roll I just kept rolling. I still love my job. The people I work with are lovely. I love the work we do. I love how much my brain hurts at the end of a day and how much time I get to read now I’m a commuter.

Just over a week ago, I got back after an incredible two weeks spent travelling Europe with one of my best friends. I can’t even begin to tell you what a great time we had. From walking miles through cities and mountains, to boogy-ing the night away with new friends from all over the world, it was literally one amazing day after another.

Now it’s back to every day life, but it doesn’t feel everyday. Everyday feels like an adventure somehow. I’m getting the bus every day this week, for example, because something’s wrong with the suspension on my old little car. This is an adventure in itself. Today the moody bus driver tried to tell me off for not signalling him right. I put one hand up and waved and he nearly drove straight past. He stopped a little past me, in the middle of the road so I had to walk tentatively up to the doors. He opened them, but only to say ‘You waving at me!?’ whilst imitating my wave like it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever seen accompanied by a fake cheesy smile and everything. He wasn’t very happy, but he let me on in the end at least.

Right now I’m sat on my bed with the balcony doors as wide open as they can be and the heat from the laptop is still almost unbearable. I’m not complaining though. I feel like I’m still on holiday in this weather. Passenger is playing from my Spotify, unsurprisingly. I’m about to pick up the book I’m currently reading, which I think I might finish tonight and I can’t stop admiring the bedroom carpet which I hoovered for the first time since we moved in. It’s the little things eh?

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?

I ended the school term on a high – my position at the school having come to an end. On my last day, everyone wished me well and said they hoped I’d pop by from time to time and that I’d stick with it, no-matter how long it takes. I’ve learned so much from my months there. Becoming a music therapist won’t be easy and it may be way in my future yet, but I’ve found a real passion and for that, I am 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.