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 Nine

Monday morning I rolled over to grab the tv remote, turned on the news and snoozed for ten minutes. I rolled out of bed and into the shower. I didn’t have time for a cuppa (because of the snooze – so worth it on a Monday morning) and I headed straight to the station once I was showered and dressed.

Pause there – I have to mention the weather.  The weather in England, was unheard of at the start of this week. In England, for three days it was t shirt weather. It was unseasonably warm and bright and sunny. The daffodils came out and everything.

Monday night, I got home, Dave and I cooked dinner together and then we watched TV until I fell asleep on him and had to go to bed.

Tuesday evening I met one of my best friends for dinner and we chatted away about books and music and exciting upcoming events (including one of our best friends’ wedding, eek!). My Gourmet Burger Kitchen burger was amazing and I journeyed home with my head in my book and smile on my face.

Wednesday was a normal working from home day. I did two loads of washing. I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen on my lunch break. I was in my element with the sun shining and the windows open and music playing. Another bud on the orchid that I have successfully grown, flowered beautifully. (Yes, I have successfully gotten an orchid to flower! Am I a real life adult now?) I played piano before dinner and then Dave and I cooked steaks and watched Oceans 8.

Thursday evening I met my sister for dinner which was super lovely. We had the best of evenings and I hope we’ll meet for dinner like that more often from now on. Sister time is golden.

Dave and I stayed at our friends’ on Friday night. They’re the best hosts ever and it was super chilled and super fun.

Saturday afternoon, once Dave and I were home, we just chillaxed. I read and snoozed on the sofa. We had chilli for dinner. We watched Goodfellas, which I totally agree is one of the best films ever. We drank wine and didn’t clock watch. I love not having to watch the clock on Friday and Saturday nights!

Right now, I’m sat on the sofa trying and failing to eat hula hoops, because I’ve put a face mask on and it’s dried too much for me to open my mouth. I woke up with a tummy full of butterflies and I felt like my head might explode. But I knew exactly what I had to do: I opened up the notes app on my phone and titled the note ‘Things that are stressing me out’. Then I wrote everything down until I felt better. I had a chat with my Dad which cheered me up no end. (Shout out to my Dad!). And now I’m committed to an afternoon of relaxation to make sure the butterflies are behind me.

I’ve always been more than happy to natter away openly about my anxiety and the challenges I am facing. The problem with writing a personal blog is that there is often stuff that happens in life that it’s not your place to share with the whole world wide web.

When I wrote at the end of Week Four, I mentioned that the year had gotten off to a tough start and I couldn’t really say anymore than that. I can’t really say anymore than that even now.

What I will say is that I’ve come to the realisation that normality is underrated and routine is not to be taken for granted. When things are ticking along just fine, we often find ourselves complaining we’re bored, but we don’t realise how lucky we are. Because when life turns upside down, you’ll find all you want is for life to go back to being boring again. 

I’m so glad March has come around. Spring in on the way and things can only get better.

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.’

There goes April

May is one of the best months of the year (not just because my birthday is in May) and I’m very happy it’s here. The sun starts to shine a little warmer in May. The trees are leafy again and the flowers are all out and about. Summer is officially on the horizon and it feels closer every day. We’re all a little more cheery again come May time. And this year we’ve two bank holidays to enjoy! And whether we love our jobs or not, the weeks always feel long and hard and the odd Monday off here and there helps us power on through.

Talking of work… I’ve officially been in my current position for more than a year. MORE THAN A YEAR I TELL YOU. I can hardly believe it. Time does fly, but I must admit that my first day feels like it was a very long time ago now. I still remember it very clearly and fondly. I feel as though I’ve come a long way in a year. In fact, when I think about how far I’ve come I begin to wonder how it can be that it has only been a year.

Somehow, it’s been nearly a month since Naomi and I were at Rhossili beach in Wales. Since then, Manchester United lost to West Brom, Dave and I bought furniture for the balcony, Britain was hit by a mini heat wave (perfect timing dontcha think?) and I went to Dublin for a few days with one of my best friends.

Dave, myself and his parents’ journeyed all the way up to Manchester to see United lose and we were not happy bunnies. However, that same weekend we bought the furniture for the balcony AND a shoe rack for the hall way and triumphantly put it all together. You lose some, you win some. SO excited to play host this summer and make use of the new set up.

The mini heat wave was simply amazing. It came just as we all felt like we couldn’t take one more day of doomy gloomy skies and chilly temperatures. It was just what we all needed. Besides me, everyone seemed so prepared too! Summer clothes were out in storm and the smell of sun cream filled the tube I got in the mornings. There I was stood in black trousers and a black blazer because my summer clothes were still hidden away and my legs were not in any state to be shown off to the world.

Oh well. I still enjoyed the sunshine plenty. Some friends and I had drinks outside a country pub. A work colleague and I spent a lunch break down by the Tower of London eating ice creams. AND my mum made the most wonderful jug of pimms when I popped by to see her and my dad at the weekend.

We had a fab time in Dublin and I’d recommend a visit. The people are simply lovely for one thing! I highly recommend the free walking tours, the Guinness Storehouse and the food, in general. I loved literally everything I ate while I was there. I particularly recommend a little place called ‘Boxty’ where potatoes are cooked to perfection. This place is proof that potatoes are the best of all foods.

BOXTY

Our walking tour guide was GREAT. He gave us heaps of insight into Ireland, it’s history and it’s people. Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral, the infamous ‘Spire’, they all have amazing histories and they’re all excellent spots for photos too.

DUBLIN FREE WALKING TOUR

I reckon the Guinness Storehouse had to be the highlight of our trip. (Although, one evening spent in a pub in Temple Bar listening to traditional Irish music was particularly magical too.) The storehouse experience was so great because it was all new. I’d never tried Guinness before (believe it or not I actually quite liked it), never learned how to properly taste a stout before and never poured my own pint before either. You have to breathe in through your nose, then sip, then breathe out through your nose… that’s the secret to the tasting. Thank me later.

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.

Musn’t Grumble

Recap: In my last post I was feeling great. I was back on the singing band wagon and I was happily busy and I was all set to go off and conquer life. Ironically, the day after I published my last post I was hit by a cold that came with a nasty sore throat and had to refrain from singing for a few days.

I couldn’t sing, but I did keep busy as ever. I managed to do another few days work in a school and volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Society for a day too. I spent a beautiful afternoon in the sun with Dave. I also went along to my fitness class as per usual. Middle of the day on Saturday, two of my best friends turned up on my doorstep dressed for a day in the sun. We decided to head to Tesco for BBQ food. The weather was amazing last weekend and we had the best of days. I’m actually smiling just writing about it.27dd8f73bccfd8085a3ec425a641004783ae4f9f_full

This week’s been exhausting. In fact, if I’d tried to write this post a couple of days ago I’m sure I just would have grumbled about being tired and feeling anxious and about the gloomy weather forecast for the weekend. The positivity that oozed from my last post would have been non-existent. I’d have never imagined that I could feel as optimistic as I do now.

Start of this week, I got what I think was food poisoning, which kind of stopped me in my tracks all together. I was just getting back on my feet after the cold, I’d enjoyed another busy week and then one of life’s lemons came flying out of nowhere. Musn’t grumble now though… Once I’d regained my strength I did three days work in another school! AND they would like to hire me on an ongoing basis! It’s been challenging so far, but I’ve actually really enjoyed it too. I’m gaining valuable experience and working with an amazing team of people. The school is for pupils with challenging behaviours and statements of Special Educational Needs and the more time I spend there, the more I think I might have to stick around. I found it particularly hard this week, because I don’t think I ever properly got over being ill. This weekend I’ve done nothing but chill and touch wood I think it’s done the trick.

largeI’m really excited about the few weeks ahead. In fact, I’m beginning to believe that when, on New Years Day, I said I thought 2016 was going to be my year, I just might have been right. I know that’s a big leap considering, but I feel good. I’m busy, I’m singing again AND working in schools so far has been really fulfilling. I’m finally beginning to take things in my stride. The butterflies have been around more than ever, but they haven’t stopped me taking each day as it comes. I kind of see what they mean when they say the world is my oyster.

I think I’m beginning to work out what kind of life I want to lead and just in time for my 22nd birthday. One week to go and I’m just beginning to get a little excited. It’ll be my first birthday celebrated at home in 4 years and it’s on a Sunday. I couldn’t be more chuffed.

So here we go again. Here’s hoping that this time next week there’ll be nothing worth moaning about. Going to get an early night tonight and hit the ground running tomorrow. BRING IT ON.

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.