Week Forty-One

This one’s for my Mum and her sisters, my aunties. I love you all so much.

The theme of 2019 has definitely been ups and downs. I’ve had months full of happy memories and positivity and other months that have been huge struggles. Whether it’s been my mental health getting me down or things going on at home. I don’t want to write a super gloomy post, but it’s felt like every time I was picking myself up again, something else has come along and knocked me down.

The above dedication goes out to my Mum and my aunties at a hard time for all of us. My Mum is going to be away from home for a long time and she probably won’t be home for Christmas and for me personally, worries about her and her sister and heart ache over missing her already have me feeling like the uphill climb that’s been 2019 just got steeper. But, this week, I’m reminded that life’s too short and we should be grateful for every little thing we can be.

Is it just me or, in this crazy adult life, isn’t a Saturday with no plans the best thing ever? I’m grateful for this moment right now. Sat with a cuppa, in our cosy living room, typing away to a blog I love to type away to. Dave’s stuck on a record by Greta Van Fleet and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I am. (It’s actually pretty awesome.) I’ve got Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sat next to me on the coffee table and a hot water bottle to cuddle. I’ve got candles lit and I’m wearing the cutest socks (which a group of my loveliest friends bought for me for one of my birthdays).

It’s been a mad few weeks. Between long days at work, band practice, the stuff going on with my family and the social stuff too, I’ve not done as much nothing as I’m doing today in a while.

It’s not all doom and gloom: To give you some of the highlights, since I last wrote:

Dave and I went to our nearest zoo from the new house. It’s ZSL Whipsnade and I highly recommend a visit. It turns out it’s the biggest zoo in the UK. We walked over 7 miles just wondering around and it’s great because there isn’t really any set route or paths to take. You just kinda get through the entrance and go on your own adventure. With regular pit stops for coffee and food between amazing animals, it makes for a great day. You feel like you’ve properly escaped. The animals’ enclosures are huge too and although this means you don’t necessarily get to see them all, it’s good to see that they’ve got so much space to roam. The zoo is properly focused on conservation and not just on guest satisfaction.

Dave and I also went to see Rodrigo Y Gabriella play at The Hammersmith Apollo. They were AMAZING. Such good performers and musicians and eeek. I’m a big fan!

Damballa Collective had our second gig which was at a lovely pub in Camden called The Golden Lion. I was still so ridiculously nervous and I was full of cold, but it was still great fun and I think we sounded good! We got paid in roast dinner too, which is the best thing ever.

I went along to an Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk to talk about Gifts in Wills and as ever, the event was beautiful (even on a very rainy Sunday morning) and I met so many inspirational people.

I drove up to Sheffield with my little sister to meet two of the members of one of her favourite metal bands. I’m still not convinced I’ll ever like their music, but they were really great guys and they made such a huge effort for their fans that day and it was actually a lot of fun to road trip up there together. We went to a really cool bar and I had the most amazing street food I’ve ever had.

I also met a lovely friend in Cheltenham for the day a couple of weeks back. We started with breakfast, had a stroll around the shops, saw the famous mechanical clock blow bubbles, wandered down through the parks and the older, prettier part of town and went to Cosy Club for a very yummy dinner. It was the bestest day.

I’m sure there’s other stuff I’ve forgotten too!

In summary, my heart goes out to my family, life is precious and not to be taken for granted no matter how busy and stressful it might feel at times and I’m so grateful for all the happy memories I continue to make and for today: A day of calm among the chaos.

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.

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?

Christmas was amazing. Somehow, I got three days in a row off of work!! The school term had finished, of course, but I’d fully expected the restaurant to pile on the shifts. I ended another school term on a high. On my last day at the school everyone wished me well and said they hoped to see me again soon. I’ve learned so much from my months there and I’m so 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.

Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains

Today is my grandad’s and my sister’s birthday. I love birthdays. Waking up this morning and jumping out of bed to give them my birthday wishes made me so happy. I love how everyone comes together too. My grandparents were here for the weekend and my brother came home too. My sister’s friends popped round with presents, we had bacon sandwiches, looked through old photos for memories sake and then I had to get off to work.

I’ve been at work for most of the afternoon so I’m now feasting on left over birthday cake and drinking the last of the red wine. Did feel a little down about the fact I had to work, but all in all I think it’s worked out okay: I got home in time to see them blow out their birthday candles and it seems to me the two of them have had really lovely days. Well deserved too!

It’s been another long and busy week. Not all work this week though. Managed to fit in an afternoon with the Alzheimer’s Society, an evening with Dave and a couple of evenings with friends. Spent Thursday night drinking cocktails which made a very nice change from carrying them on trays.

Can’t quite believe how quickly Christmas is coming up. Going to have to start making some time for Christmas shopping too. Can definitely tell winter is on the way. I’ve attached the fur back onto the hood of my coat, my scarf rack is out from behind the cupboard and so are my winter boots.

Another busy week ahead, for now I’m just looking forward to an early night. Bed’s going to feel amazing, it always does when you’re tired, especially when you’ve had a glass of wine.

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.

Continue reading “10 reasons to read more”

10 reasons to love the fact it’s October

“This year’s going way too fast”

“I’m cold. It’s raining. Where’s the summer gone?”

“Christmas stuff in the shops already !? What is the world coming to?”

Continue reading “10 reasons to love the fact it’s October”

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.

My short-term travel bucket list

I’ve got travelling on the brain. One of my best friends is off to live in Australia for six months starting in July and for the record, it is not okay. (Not only am I unbelievably jealous, but I’m really going to miss having her around.) This time last year I was finishing my degree and planning a trip to Europe for three months and so my timehop is driving me crazy. The fact it is June and it’s getting sunny makes me feel like holiday-ing more than ever. I was stood in Dave’s front garden talking to one of his neighbours about travelling the other day and no word of a lie, I nearly drove straight to the nearest airport and hopped on the first flight out.

Before we begin, know that actually, given the chance, I want to see the whole world. South America, India, China and Japan for example, aren’t on this list, but make no mistake, they’re on my radar. Cutting this down was ridiculously hard. For now though, this is my short-term travel bucket list. Five places to see in the near future:

Continue reading “My short-term travel bucket list”

The day before the day I go back to university

Having just spent five whole minutes sat in the middle of my bedroom floor wondering where on Earth I am supposed to begin, I am beginning to wonder whether I will ever get used to this whole ‘packing my bedroom into boxes’ thing. If I’m honest, when I sit in my room deciding what to pack, all I want to do is convert the entire bedroom into a car which I can drive to Cardiff, convert back into a room and then live in. Yes, I do still want all 5000 of my Jacqueline Wilson books and I am definitely going to need to pack every item of clothing I’ve ever owned due to a strange sentimental attachment I have to it all that I can’t really explain. Yes, I do want to take my silver spoon collection with me, all of my ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ CDs and every fluffy pen I bought during my last year of primary school. I need the pine furniture I grew up with, including the bunk bed… Even if it is no good for star-fishing in. My family and friends from Chelmsford can come along too right?

Ok, so I will not fit my whole bedroom and every Chelmsfordian I love in the car and I’m not actually quite that sentimental. My point is… this is the hardest part. I am really looking forward to heading back to university. The journey always goes amazingly quickly and I actually quite enjoy the four hours preparation time I get before life goes crazy again. Moving in is always good fun and so is the first night in or out with flatmates I’ve missed loads. Seeing my university friends, going on nights out and using my brain again always does me the world of good. So does having the freedom to order chinese at eleven in the evening just because I’m hungry, studying got too hard and chow mein is amazing.

The hardest part is today… the day you have to come to terms with the fact its time to pack up one life and continue living another. I can never help feeling a little emotional. Today is the day I empty my room and fill the hall way with an abundance of toiletries, books, clothes and high heeled shoes. The day I plan to spend packing, friend and family seeing and eating my body weight in food, but end up curled up on a sofa telling myself I will pack soon… Telling myself I’m not putting it off because I don’t want to think about leaving and saying goodbye, I am just making the most of home comforts.

But hey, all I’ve got to do is stop using my blog as an excuse, shut the laptop, pack, head out to dinner with an amazing friend and then sleep. Before I know it, it will be tomorrow.

‘Goodbye’ has a bad reputation, but it’s not always all that bad. Especially when its temporary.