10 reasons to read more

One – Reading is for everyone. Okay, so you read one book by Dan Brown and you can’t handle the suspense, or decipher the intellectual gobbeldy-goop. I’d disagree with you when you said you didn’t enjoy it, but I wouldn’t judge you for it. Maybe you’ll say that means reading isn’t for you. Except there are millions of other books out there, all different. There’s one out there somewhere that’ll get you hooked. I know it.

Two – It’s fun and easy. You can claim that reading’s too much like hard work, but when you start reading you’ll realise it’s not. In fact, I feel more brain dead after a netflix binge than I do at the end of a book. Stick with it, the more you read the better your brain gets at it. Eventually, with perseverance and a little patience, you’ll forget to try. The story will come alive before your eyes.

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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.

I’ve been to the library to pick up some reading for a previously mentioned masters course. I’m hoping doing more reading will help me 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. Reckon I’ll need to do a few more grades if I’m going to apply to any further music courses. Would be fun to have lessons again. 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’ve been making an effort to read more since blogging about why the rest of the world should.

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.

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 keeping my fingers crossed that maybe they’ll have me back again some day soon.

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

Sunshine, friends and dodgy signal

I’m on a train, London bound and the sun is out and I’m happy as Larry but the signal keeps dropping in and out so this will have to be a quick one.

Feeling wonderful this week! Volunteering again has genuinely been so much fun and I’ve caught up with a few close friends who I haven’t seen in a really long time. Somehow, catching someone up on life always helps me see everything from a new perspective.

I might not be working at the moment, but I need to stop beating myself up for it. I’m lucky that there’s no pressure to pay rent here and I’m pleased to be helping the Alzheimer’s Society out again. Thanks to the fact I’m pretty good at saving and I’m very good at keeping busy, life’s pretty fine and dandy. Taking things a day at a time is the key. It’s looking too far into the future that’s daunting. It’s expensive houses and expensive masters degrees that have every twenty-something year old grumbling about the fact there’s no hope. 

I’m meeting up with two more wonderful people I haven’t seen in months today and I can’t wait. We’ve got a whole afternoon, but I know now that it’s going to fly by. Determined to make the most of it.

I love being on trains. Even busy ones. It doesn’t matter how much I do it, the novelty just doesn’t wear off. Okay, so if you’re standing like sardines on a hot summer’s day, perhaps that’s the exception. That aside, I always enjoy it. Can’t help wondering where everyone’s going and what they’re doing.

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’m taking a step back from being in schools. Fingers crossed I’ll be working again in no time… Whether I return to schools or do something new altogether. For now though, I’m going to get back into volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society. I loved going back into the office and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m keeping myself busy. Other than that there’s not much to report.

I’m sat on my bed, an old One Republic tune just shuffled its way into my speakers and I’m catching up on the events of last night. Sounds like I missed out on a good’un; I’ll make sure to be there next time. I’m feeling sleepy and 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. Smells like roast lunch is nearly ready, I’ll go lend a helping hand downstairs. Then I’ll work out how to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Spoiled Rotten

The smell of roast lunch is filling the whole house and I could not be happier. It’s been 4 whole weeks since my last roast and quite frankly, I’m not sure how I’ve survived. Lack of roast dinners aside, it’s been an amazing summer! … Amazing summer so far. (I’m in denial. It can’t be over yet).

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.

My family and I spent two amazing weeks at a huge resort in the Caribbean. Spoiled rotten with two pools, a section of the beach,  restaurants, a 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 focus on short term goals, as per.

First step, press publish on blog post. Step two, help Mummy Maggs plate up lunch. Step three, tuck in to lunch. Step four, decision time.

THREE, TWO, ONE, GO.

Here comes the sun (do dee do doo)

Genuinely struggling to piece this week together. It’s been a long one, a busy one, a stressful one at times but ultimately a good one. 

Wednesday was a very good day, I remember that. For my birthday, Dave bought him and myself tickets to see The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre.  For those who don’t know, The Woman in Black is a spooky, thriller that has been running at the Fortune Theatre since 1989. Both Dave and I have wanted to see it for years. It’s infamous for scaring audiences silly, but well known for being an exceptional play.

So I had booked the day off in advance, planning to spend the whole day with him. We took our time getting up and out of bed and then grabbed an amazing breakfast in a cafe called ‘A Canteen’. I 100% recommend it. We chilled in central park in the sunshine for a long while and then we headed into London. We popped to Maccy D’s super quick before the show started and then we got to the theatre just early enough for the nerves to build before it began. I’m not going to lie, while we sat waiting I began to wonder if going had been a good idea after all and whether I was going to be able to sit through it beginning to end and I’m glad it started when it did because a minute longer and I may have sissied out and walked straight back out the theatre.

I was so impressed. It was clever, funny, unpredictable, gripping and terrifying and I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be and more and I am so glad we went! It was just the right amount of scary. Not so scary I couldn’t watch, but scary enough to give me chills.

When we left the theatre it was a beautiful summer evening and I was ridiculously happy. We wandered home slowly via embankment and Hungerford Bridge. I do not think I will ever tire of looking at the view from that bridge. Nothing beats it.

Friday was the last day of this school term and I think I’ll remember it for a long time to come. It was probably one of the best days I’ve had at the school. We had a lot of fun and I admit, it all left me feeling a little emotional. Working at the school has been challenging, you’ll have gathered that if you’ve been keeping up, but it has also been amazing in so many ways. Many life decisions are to be made over the next month or so. Whether to stay at the school or not is something I’ll have to decide before anything else and right now, I feel so torn. I just hope to enjoy the summer and give myself the time to think it through. Hopefully time away will help.

This weekend has been super summery and a lot of fun too. I’ve caught up with friends, been out for a fantastic Chinese dinner, had a glass of wine or two, made plans for the next week, nearly finished my book and spent some more time in the sunshine. Here’s hoping this summer is everything I need it to be. 

Good friends, good food, good music and really good TV

My mum and I are SAT IN THE GARDEN. Yep, that’s right. The weather is officially that lovely. There’s not a cloud in the sky. I’m not even just being British. It’s proper summery. I’m wearing a dress and I’m not even the slightest bit chilly. 

As you can imagine having read my last post, the week got off to a shaky start. Monday was super stressful and honestly, I was not in a good state of mind. However, I took a day to pull myself together and things generally went onwards and upwards from there.

The week whizzed by. Before I knew it, I was curled up in bed on Friday night binge watching Netflix like I’d never been to work. Saturday was a lovely day. I got up early and rolled to my fitness class as per. Then I ate lots and napped. One of the ladies from work hosted a BBQ in the afternoon. The food was amazing, the weather was perfect and it was so good to spend time with the brilliant people I work with, without having to work. I had to rush off unfortunately, so I’m hoping there are more BBQs like it on the horizon.

Saturday night I headed to Bar Soho in London with Dave to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The music in the bar was excellent. I highly recommend it. The drinks were expensive and it was so ridiculously warm that on any other occasion I would have spent the night grumbling. Had the music not been so good there would have been no hope, but I was excited to see and meet all the people there and I had such a good time that I danced without a care in the world.

Sunday was spent being happily lazy with the friends who had let us crash with them for the night. We watched a few hilarious episodes of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ (which I’d never seen before and now intend to see more of). We put a film on and we cooked a roast dinner. I say we, Dave and I bought the ingredients and our hosts cooked. It was a delicious roast and we definitely owe them one.

When I got home yesterday evening, we had family over and everyone was sat out the in the garden chatting and drinking. We stayed there while the sun went down, time flew and before I knew it, it was time for bed; hence the lack of blog post. So, all that stuff I said about consistency and posting every Sunday without fail? Went out the window didn’t it.

I’ve downloaded Duolingo and I’m learning Italian! Dave’s doing the same; we’re using our competitive spirits to our advantage. So, right now I’m off to do the next lesson or two. One of my best friends has been living in Dubai for the past year and is finally home, so I’m hoping maybe I’ll see her later. If not, I’ll settle for another evening in the garden. This time with my book for company. 

“Always look ahead, but never look back” – Miles Davis

I just closed my laptop lid and then opened it again about five times in a row. Honestly? This week at work has been really hard, more challenging than ever, and right now I’m full of butterflies. The minute I’m done writing this I’m going to go sit at the piano and sing my heart out. The temptation is of course, to stop writing and just get straight to it, but if all of the ‘top tips for bloggers’ sites agree on anything, it’s that you have to be consistent. Blogging every Sunday except for when you don’t want to, doesn’t quite cut it. 

You know what? If this week has taught me anything it is that I have some amazing people in my life. Not only have I been reminded that the people in my life will support and love me no matter what, but I’ve found that many of the new people in my life are just as incredible.  

AND you know what? The past week aside, this weekend has been great! 

I very nearly backed out of doing anything and opted for a weekend curled up in bed in pyjamas. Instead, I walked ’round the corner to my best friends house. We spent Friday evening, talking everything through, drinking tea and listening to music. By the time I left, she had me convinced I could get on with it and have myself a good weekend.

So on Saturday, I jumped on a train and headed up to Birmingham to visit one of my friends and we went along to the Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival at Moseley Park. It was pretty awesome. The atmosphere was amazing. The rain held off until midnight. The music was varied and brilliant. The artists were all modest, appreciative and talented and each one of them looked like they were having the time of their life. The biggest names were Craig Charles (who was in attendance despite a leg injury and whizzed around all day on a mobility scooter) and Average White Band (who I didn’t think I’d heard of until they started playing hits like ‘Let’s go round again’ and I found somehow, I knew all of the words). Brian Augar was there too and I think he might have been my favourite. For those who don’t know, he’s a jazz keyboardist and he’s super cool. There was such a diverse audience of people too. I hadn’t known what to expect in the lead up, but I’ll definitely attend a jazz festival again and whether you enjoy jazz, funk or soul, or not, I’d definitely recommend it!

Today I came home to the smell of a very yummy lamb roast lunch, my dad announced that he has booked a summer holiday for us all, to celebrate his 50th birthday, and I’ve had time to finally sort my room out.

I’m moving forward; onwards and upwards! After all, everything should be that little bit easier to handle with a holiday on the horizon…

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 simply because I needed sleep.

The cup of tea I had when I collapsed on the sofa was absolutely incredible. First things first, I took some time to binge watch netflix (I hadn’t had the chance to do so during the week after all: Spontaneous after work drinks and various family stuff had taken up my time instead) Saying that, I did see the last episode of Game of Thrones Season 6 on Monday. WOAHHH it was fantastic.

Dave came over later Friday evening 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 up before popping into town for some bits and bobs I’ve been meaning to grab for weeks. We had a great time pulling together to get the gazebo upright and stable and then get the fairy lights just right. 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. 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. Ever the optimist! 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.

Why the good people in this world need to stick together

I’ve got the most horrid cough at the moment and yesterday I felt miserable and helpless because the doctor’s surgery was closed and I knew I wouldn’t have time for an appointment this week. My dad suggested I head to the pharmacy and chat to them. I was dubious because the last time I took a friend to a pharmacy the man behind the counter was anything but helpful. However, I spoke to a lovely lady, who went above and beyond to make me feel better and give me the best advice she could. I drove home beaming because not only had she made me feel like I could see this cough through, she’d reminded me that there are still lots of good people in this world.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like every time I nearly give up on humanity all together, someone or something restores my faith. What with England fans acting horrendously at the Euros in France, with politicians lying left, right and center in the wake of the EU referendum, with talented young musicians being shot down at concerts (need I go on?) it’s hard to keep the faith. However, whether I come across a video on youtube of someone doing something good, I hear that a celebrity has made a massive contribution to charity, I watch someone help an elderly man cross the road, or someone does something good for me, there are times when I’m reminded we’re not all bad.

I went into that pharmacy yesterday feeling miserable and grumpy and the women behind the counter turned my frown upside down. I think what’s important is that if it had been the other way round, I hope that I’d of been friendly enough to turn her day around.

My point is that good people need to restore the faith of good people. Good people need to stick together. If I’m preaching to the converted then good! Keep up the good work. Keep making conversation with the person stood behind the till in your corner shop, keep returning the smile when you catch a strangers eye in a shop or on a train, always be lovely to your hardworking waiter or waitress and don’t be scared to jump in when people around you need your help.

I know it’s hard, but let’s expect the best from each other and let’s not let it set us back when the best isn’t what we get. If you’ve been let down by the people around you more times than you can count and if you’ve witnessed first hand the poverty and the horridness that I only hear about on the news, you might not even be reading this because you might have closed the page already. If you are reading you’re probably rolling your eyes and smiling at my naivety.

Let’s stop acting like it’s naive to be optimistic because yes, sometimes being optimistic leaves you looking and feeling like a fool, but sometimes it pays off. Nine times out of ten, you’ll smile at a complete stranger and they’ll smile right back. That’s what counts. 

I promise there’s a post coming some time this week with an actual update on my life. If I’m honest, I’ve been putting it off because I’m not sure where to start. All is good though, don’t you worry! Just watch this space.