Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Unknown

For some people thoughts of the unknown spark excitement, for others, like me, fear and many other uncomfortable feelings. This is the main, and only reason really, why I am struggling to feel excited about starting my new job tomorrow. I am allowing my nervousness to engulf me. Whenever I get nervous about something I try to employ two strategies to help, one possibly more productive than the other. The first is avoidance or procrastination, this was evident in the days leading up to my recent road trip. The second is planning and preparation. This is possibly to reduce what will be unknown, because somethings will be known, therefore reducing some of my anxiety.

To prepare for my new role I have done a few things;

1. Shop, purchasing new items for my work wardrobe. During my final university placement I started to create my work wardrobe. It mostly consists of denim and black jeans and a variety of different shirts. I like to look smart but it is not the type of job that requires a suit, luckily for me because I feel much more comfortable in my jeans.

2. Thinking about a new fitness schedule and getting back into jogging. When I was going out three times a week last year it began to feel much easier and I began to look forward to jogs as a time to clear my head.

3. Staying on the theme of improving my overall health, I have been planning healthy meals and snacks to keep me going during my long days. Starting slowly with a student cookbook I failed to make use of during the last three years. I also found a simple recipe for banana and raisin flapjacks on Gourmet Mum.

Allowing my uncomfortable feelings to be at the forefront of my mind can lead me to focus too heavily on the negative. One of my closest friends once quite honestly told me this and she is a hundred per cent correct. It is something I have been trying to change. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a situation I need to make more of an effort to see the good and positive opportunities it could bring.

Image from Pinterest

Thursday, 25 June 2015


I am finally home after three weeks away, two on holiday and one staying with my Grandad to be his carer while my parents had a break and flew to Menorca for a week in the sun. My boys enjoyed being home, after staying at my Grandad's for the three weeks. Being home means they have their cat flap and their independence back. They can roam free in the garden and neighbouring ones.



This coming July will mark the three of us living in this house for four years! It has gone so quick and I can't quite believe all that has happened during that time. The year I moved out of my parents home and into my own I changed my career, to the health and social care sector not knowing if it would be for me as it turned out it is, been to university to further that career and am starting a new job in the field on Monday. I have also been fortunate enough to go one holidays with friends, family and on my own and spend lots of quality time with friends and family doing everyday things as well as going to festivals and celebrating things in their lives. Things like, returning from travelling, gaining qualifications, getting a dream job, new homes and engagements.

It took a while, a few years in fact, for this house to really feel like my home. Perhaps it was because I always kept myself quite busy and had such a lot going on in my life to really spend much time at home or much time making it mine. It has only been the last few years when walking through the front door I got 'aw I'm home' feeling. It may have been time but I think it helped that I started to make small changes too. I bought little items, lamps, pictures and candles and re-painted a few rooms.

On one hand I wish I had re-vamped the whole house before I moved in so it was new, fresh and felt more like mine but on the other I kind of like that the house in evolving and growing with me. Three things I'm planning to do this year;

1. re-paint the kitchen
2. paint the stairs
3. put more of my photographs up on the walls

The kitchen needs to be re-painted out of necessity more than choice, last year I had a leak in my bathroom which caused a whole in my kitchen ceiling. This has since been repaired but I have not gotten around to re-painting. Currently, I have a lovely plaster coloured ceiling. The two main reasons for avoiding this has been that I do not like the idea of painting a ceiling or around my cupboards, both just look really awkward! Last year I painted my banister white to match the doors, for some reason the previous owner had white doors all through the house but kept the dark wood banister. It only took me three years to change it. The small pieces of carpet I have downstairs in the lounge and the stairs and upstairs landing is old and needs replacing but I'm not sure I want to change it for me carpet, I have heard carpet can be quite expensive. Instead, I thought about taking up the carpet, sanding the wood underneath and painting it, although I still need to firmly decide on a colour. My thoughts are heading towards a slate grey, this is because white will show the dirt and black is too dark. I also thought that slate grey would go nicely with the pastel pink in the hallway and upstairs landing. We will see...

Finally, I have had an interest in photography for a few years but usually end up taking a load of photo's and then doing nothing with them. I want that to change. Amongst other things, I also want to actually learn how to use my DSLR camera properly instead of leaving it on its automatic setting, pointing it and clicking the button. For Christmas my parents had one of my photographs printed and I have it framed on my wall by the dining table. It's a photograph of a place that is very special to me and allows me to feel calm, peaceful and reflective when I look at it. I would like to get a few photos from my recent road trip printed, partly as a reminder to myself that I did it and that I saw some really stunning sights.

Sunday, 21 June 2015


Today is Father's Day but as well as thinking about how important my Dad is to me, I decided to also reflect on how other members of my family are too. This is because although my Dad is a very significant person in my life he is one member of my family who are all important to me. I come from quite a small family but we are quite compact, sadly we used to be closer. Growing up there were many family dinners where we would all gather together and sit around the table for hours talking, eating and drinking. In the last few years we have drifted apart a little, growing in different directions and living our lives separately. However, having said all of this, we are still there for each other. The thing love most abut my family and something I am extremely grateful for is that if something happens we all pull together and are there to help and support each other. 

Both my parents have made sacrifices so that my sister and I have always had perhaps not what we wanted but what we needed. Getting things we wanted was reserved for special occasions. I think this has made us value our possessions and gifts. My family have taught me to have a good work ethic. I am happy to work hard to get what I want and to work my way up. I feel this is what I have been doing for the last five years, since moving into health and social care and will continue to do in my new job. On the subject of my career in the health and social sector, my parents also allow and support me to make my own choices even if they are not sure they are the right ones. Changing my career was a decision they were concerned about, they were not sure it was for me, I was not sure either at the time but it was something I wanted to try and it worked. They have allowed me to find my way while letting me know that they are behind me, ready to catch me if I fall. I feel very lucky to have such good relationships with my parents and my sister. My sister is younger than me but as she is the less feisty of the two of us, she is often the person I turn to for advice on how to manage things in a calmer manner. I think we have grown closer in recent years as we have gotten older and I love this. There are also other close family members who I have spent time with during my childhood and now in adulthood who have taught me a lot and provided many great experiences and for those I am extremely thankful. 

Overall I am definitely a family girl and feel for those who do not or who have not had similar experiences as me. I like days like Mother's and Father's Day to take the time to reflect on what my parents have done for me and continue to do for me, to say I love you and thank you. I am also aware that parental figures do not have to be biological, they may be step parents, adoptive parents or foster carers, all of which can offer love, stability, guidance and support. All can be significant. I hope I can use my positive experiences with children who enter my life through family or friends.  

Image from Pinterest

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Road Trip: Holiday and Personal Challenge

I had the idea to go on a road trip in the UK at the beginning of the year. I wanted to have a holiday and to get away for a while after finishing university. I decided to stay in the UK because I thought about going alone and am not brave enough to go abroad, especially for the first time. I also started thinking that we live in an amazing country and I have not seen very much of it, usually choosing to go abroad for holidays because there is often more guarantee of nice, hot weather. I cannot say whether my trip in the UK was more expensive than going abroad because 1, I went away for two weeks, usually abroad I would go for one and 2, I decided not to calculate the total of my recent trip because I think too much about spending money so I would have constantly been watching what I spend and therefore, holding back. The decision to go alone arose from friends having other plans and the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of challenging myself. I swayed between feelings of excitement and nervousness. My nervousness was displayed through avoidance. The day before I left instead of finalising my itinerary (I'm a bit of a planner) and packing I went to the cinema. When I did get around to packing, before going to bed that night, I packed almost everything (prepared for all types of British weather). This was ok because I had the space in my car, what I didn't consider though, was carrying my full size suitcase and other bags up the many stairs to each of my rooms and back down again on the day of my departure. I had big plans to do some crazy things, things that I haven't done before, like kayaking and surfing (feel like you should if you visit Cornwall).

This didn't quite happen. I felt a little deflated towards the end of my trip because I felt I hadn't achieved what I wanted to. However, throughout the trip I weighed up my own feelings, what I wanted to do and what I thought I should be doing. In the end I decided that I should be enjoying myself and doing what I wanted to do rather than constantly trying to challenge myself and stress myself out. So I did a lot of wandering around exploring, quite often accompanied by my camera and book and broke up my days with coffee and food breaks. I experienced euphoric feelings of freedom at periods while I was away, it felt so nice to be away from daily stresses and responsibilities. Although, on the other hand, at times I was not sure how I felt. I think this is because I am currently in limbo, one chapter is closing and I am waiting for another to begin. As I have already written about, I have submitted my final university assignments and am awaiting the results and am due to start a new job in around two weeks. I also felt a great sense of space, whether I was by the beach in Bournemouth and Cornwall or out on the Moors in Dartmoor National Park or by the rivers in Bristol and Bath.


Hopefully more photos will follow but my laptop is running really slowly and I fear it may not handle ones from my DSLR and there are no more phone camera pictures because on my third day away it broke!

Thursday, 11 June 2015


An ideal many contemplate and strive for,
A concept held in the eye of the beholder. 

When we judge ourselves and others,
Do we simply skim the surface, 
Or do we dive much deeper.

Misguided in our definition,
Is it sometimes forgotten that beauty grows from within. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

What I'm Reading: Street Cat Bob

Something I really enjoy is reading. My enjoyment for it was discovered when I was quite young, reading books to family members or to myself when out on trips and holidays together. Now I often read before bed to help distract my mind from the number of things on my to do list, on warm days sat in my garden or on holidays.

Recently, my mum passed me a book that she picked up at a local doctors surgery. The book was free and part of World Book Night. World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency and shares free books within communities, the only thing they ask in return is that when you have finished reading the book you pass it along to someone else.

The book I received from mum was 'Street Cat Bob'.

The version I read was a quick read edition produced for World Book Night, although it was a shorter version, the book still offered an insight into addiction, homelessness, recovery and friendship. The story demonstrated peoples capacity for change but also reflected societies negative view of those who struggle with addictions and who live on the street. Prior to Bob's arrival (the authors feline companion), James, the author, felt invisible on the streets of London. Having Bob by his side made individuals passing feel James was more approachable giving James the opportunity to talk to others about himself and his situation, giving him back the feeling of being a real person, having an identity.

University placement and voluntary experiences have given me an insight and greater understanding about some of the reasons behind addiction and homelessness. This knowledge was the key that opened my mind to other thoughts and perspectives. I think I am less judgmental because of this and now try to view each person I meet as an individual instead of making an assumption based upon a stereotype. While on my road trip, after reading Street Cat Bob, I stopped and spoke to a Big Issue seller and bought my first magazine.

We cannot know what has led people to their current position in life unless we take the time to ask and to listen.

Positive quote: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Image from Pinterest

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Struggling to Pause

Blue water,
Sparkling from the shining sun,
The sound of the ocean,

Wide open beaches,
Create the feeling of space,
The gentle lapping of the sea against the shore,
The illusion of time.

Yet I cannot pause and relax,
The need to push on,
For fear of missing something
Swells inside,
The need to see everything,
Do everything,
Make the most of everything.

What if making the most of everything,
Is sitting still, silent,
Taking in the beautiful scenery,
To be in the moment instead of pondering the next.

So I lay out my towel,
Sink my feet into the sand,
And I sit, still, silent,
Gazing out at the blue water,
Sparkling from the shining sun. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


At school, I took art at GCSE, I was not that good at drawing or painting realistic images but enjoyed prints, abstract and mixed media. I also enjoy photography, however I am not sure I am very good at any of these things. I like the thought of being creative, the freedom and expression it allows but I do not make time for it in my day to day life. This is something I want to change. One of the reasons I wanted to have this blog is to have a space for creativity, through writing and photography. I also want to learn how to customise the page, that may take some time though so please bear with.

I discovered the blog Emma Inks while on the train home from a hen party in London on Sunday. I was particularly excited by her post about the #ArtyProject. A project created by two beauty bloggers to dedicate time to being arty. A theme is revealed every two months and the bloggers involved will post every two weeks with their ideas and progress in relation to their piece of art and the current theme. The project is open to anyone who wants to join.

Current theme: Beauty

I think the two months for this theme is coming to an end so I do not think I will be able to create a piece of art for it but am hoping to join in with the next one. I did have a think about being creative with the theme though and thought I might write a poem. I have scribbled a few notes in my pad and looked through Pinterest for some other ideas and inspiration.

What I find really interesting about the #ArtyProject is how the different people taking part approach the subject.

"Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself" -Coco Chanel (via @beautyhigh) // #QuotesToLiveBy
Image from Pinterest

Pinterest led me to a photo project, Atlas of Beauty, by Mihaela Noroc. 

'I realized that beauty is everywhere'

 'There are many aspects of beauty'   

Mihaela Noroc
Mihaela Noroc
Though ultimately, the project affirmed Noroc's beliefs.
Mihaela Noroc
This led to her photo project "Atlas of Beauty," where she spent the next 15 months traveling the world taking pictures of women in 37 different countries.
Mihaela Noroc
Mihaela Noroc