Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Inside Out

I haven't taken a blogging break on purpose. It's just sort of happened and I feel a little better for it. I have found over the last few months my blogging mojo has disappeared but last night something made me think 'I really want to blog about this.'

So here I am. I'm glad my mojo is back- for the time being anyway.

Last night I went and saw the new film Inside Out. The premise of the film is a little long winded but it was a really enjoyable movie. It's about these emotions in your brain that react to the memories you make, for a family film it's a little hard to explain it in it's entirety without stuttering and stopping to think.

However, the film did just that - it really got me thinking. At one point in the movie the emotion 'Joy' has to get back to the brain to make Riley (the person whose brain they control) happy again. But she doesn't want the emotion 'Sadness' to help her as she makes Riley sad. It seems really reasonable to think that right? I won't ruin the end of the movie but the ending really struck a chord with me.

Simply because on many occasions in order to feel happy we often have to feel feelings of anger, sadness, disgust and fear. I remember before I went through my breakdown people often said to me 'you always seem so bubbly' and I was questioned as to why I was 'happy all the time.' When in reality I was feeling quite the opposite!

Even though joy and sadness are polar opposites I have come to realise over the years that these feelings actually work in synergy together. A few years ago it would have sounded bizarre but the older I get the more sense it makes.

  • I felt immeasurable joy when I graduated a few years ago with my nursing degree but more often than not during my training I felt scared, worried and fearful if that day would ever come.
  • When I became an auntie I was so happy. But there was a lot of anxiety involved to see if everything would go smoothly with the pregnancies for Nicola and anticipation for their births to come.

  • In February I was chucked out of a plane doing my skydive. It was something I felt elation with after it happened. In the lead up to it my fear was through the roof and during the dive it was more relief and shock that I was currently pelting to the earth at crazy miles per hour.

  • A few years ago when I was going through the troughs of being diagnosed with depression there really was a feeling of no way out. I felt trapped and angry at what I was going through. Now I have more peaks it is only now I feel content. But my heart had to be broken into a million pieces first before it could heal.

I've realised that sometimes in order to feel happiness we need to face adversity. We have to know what it feels like to hit rock bottom before we climb the mountain. I have heard so many people say you have to lose sadness in order to feel happy? And to some extent that is true but not fully. We can't be happy all the time. We can't be strong all the time. We have to feel different emotions in order to find answers, clarify situations and prepare ourselves for new challenges.

Happiness is my favourite emotion to feel. It always will be and over the last month or so I have felt happier. I have exciting things to look forward to! But sometimes happiness and sadness need to be friends rather than enemies...otherwise it isn't complete.

So instead of saying you need to lose sadness in order to feel glad. Maybe sadness is the key to happiness after all?


Wednesday, 1 July 2015


I have been living in my house for a year now and the majority of what we have wanted done to the house has been completed.

One of the rooms I HATED was the bathroom. It was all tiled a nasty blue, the floor was rotten, the bath was marked, there was damp and in general it just felt grubby. We had it all ripped out in March and decorated it in April. I have never been a fan of theme rooms, even for baby nurseries I dislike 'themes'. I work with a lady who is designing a 'Frozen' themed room for her daughter and I can guarantee in a few years her daughter will outgrow it. I like rooms that can be regenerated and decorated in pieces rather than spend £££. I am not the sort of person who walks into a room and wants a 'Jungle' theme or 'Summer' themed room. I really like to keep things simple.

I hated this bathroom - ick!

In saying that my bathroom has become a 'seaside' theme and it literally just came together from a little sign in our bathroom. 

Lotte and I wanted to keep the colours of the bathroom blue since our towels and accessories were blue. Due to the fact we didn't have all the walls tiled and had some painted walls- there were some blank spaces. For a few weeks we didn't know what to fill the spaces with. I went on pinterest and typed in 'blue bathrooms' and saw a bathroom with a lifeguard ring in it. I loved it! So I trawled the internet in search of a blue life ring and it fits in so well.

So for the rest of the bathroom we decided to be in keeping with the beach theme. We will put a squiggle mirror up to represent a wave on the main wall. I really wanted to do something different in the window. I didn't see the point in putting up a blind since we don't need to block out light and I think they just collect dust if they're not used for their intended use. It took a while to think of something to dress the window until I came up with this...

I really wanted to incorporate some things that remind me of the beach/sea like messages in a bottle, shells, starfishes, sand and trawler netting. So that's what we have done to dress the window. I bought the trawler netting for £3 off amazon and we found the starfishes in Italy for 3 euros each. It's my favourite (and cheapest) part of the bathroom. I also filled a glass vase full of shells for the window sill.

I love how it is coming together. Also it is expensive to put in new bathrooms. Lotte and I were quite shocked at some of the quotes we received. So in order to get costs down we decided not to fully tile the bathroom and instead paint it. My friend gave us some spare floor tiles which we used to save cost and we also used storm wall which looks great and so much easier to clean!!!

So that's our bathroom :-)


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Stupendo Italia!

I returned home from Italy last week and I had such a nice relaxing time. I have only done a city break in Rome before. So it was great to fit some rest and relaxation in too. My friend and I stayed in the resort of Jesolo based on the Adriatic sea. I really did not want to come home, I just needed a little longer.

Whilst we were there we did two day trips. One was Venice and the other was Verona. These were two totally different but beautiful cities. My most favourite city in the world is Rome. I just felt like I was walking in an oil painting the whole time and Venice did just that too.

We walked along all the harbour, ate ice cream, walked through the church in St Marks square, had dinner by the grand canal, travelled through all the Venice back streets and of course, took a gondola ride. 

On the Gondola ride I was almost hoping there would be a rendition of the cornetto song. I know many Italians are probably face palming their foreheads right now. However, there were people singing opera and that made the gondola ride just as wonderful. 

Venice has everything you need for a theatre performance. An alluring beginning, hidden twists, a wonderful story, great costumes (masks), parts you could get totally lost in and an ending you'll never forget. I just thought it was stunning!

Towards the end of the trip we took a trip to Verona. Verona is famous as the setting for Shakespeare's play 'Romeo & Juliet'. I have to add right now that Shakespeare never visited Italy, ever. So his description of Verona in his play was spot on. Verona is not as big as I expected and fair bit of it has been modernised which I thought was a shame. However, the market street, amphitheatre and the medieval walls still remain. 

Being the typical romantic that I am I had to visit Juliet's balcony and I wrote her a letter. Have you ever seen 'Letters to Juliet' starring Amanda Seyfried? Well the people who run the house of Capulet - where Juliet 'lived' - have a group of Juliet's secretaries. They reply to all the letters Juliet receives as long as you leave return address. I look forward to receiving my letter soon. 

After Verona we took a quick trip to Serminone in Lake Garda for a wander round. Otherwise, my holiday was filled with reading, lazing by the pool, eating yummy ice cream and downing sipping on lovely cocktails. I definitely want to return!

Ciao Italia!


Saturday, 30 May 2015

365 Days

Dear Gran,

It has been 365 days since you left us. It's also been 365 days since I moved out of Mum and Dad's and started a new era of independence. I could so easily dwell on what you have missed since you passed but I refuse to do that.

Last May/June was such a blur. If I am honest I don't even remember crying that much after you had gone. But if I think about it I grieve for you in little pockets rather than big bursts. I cried when I saw a nursery rhyme in my nephew's book (Bobby Shafto- remember?) I cry whenever I see your handwriting. I cried when I didn't get a birthday card from you this year. I cried when I planted your rosebush in my new garden. I cry at the small things that I desperately miss about you.

If there is one thing I hate about grief is that it also makes you regret. I don't have a tonne but of course I wish I saw more of you. I wish I made more of an effort rather than rely on mum and my aunts to take care of you. Looking back I wish I had asked you about your wedding day to Grandad. I saw a framed picture of your wedding day in Aunt Lucy's house and all these questions popped up in my head. What time did you get married? Where did you get married? Did you have a first dance? If so what was the song? Since you have left I have realised that if I have a burning question- ask it. If I want to do something- do it!

I miss your funny sayings and words like 'don't be so daft' and 'it gives me the collywobbles.' I miss your love of reading and seeing books just stacked up beside your chair. As I write this so many memories just flood my brain. I remember you taking me to the jumble sales with the others. I remember how every Saturday you had a bag of sweets waiting for us. How we got £2 pocket money every other week. I even remember the smell of the coins as you handed them to us. I remember staying at yours most new years and waking up to the smell of bacon after you had walked the dog. Whenever I see Appletiser in the shops I ALWAYS think of you. You always bought Appletiser at Christmas and whenever we went over yours for a meal. If Appletiser was on the table then I knew it was some sort of special occasion. It's little things like that that just make me cherish my upbringing so much more.

If I am being totally frank then without you I wouldn't exist. I wouldn't have had the chance to be a sister or an auntie to Cohen and Honor. I wouldn't have three cousins. It's amazing how it takes just one person to create a family but it doesn't take one person to lose it either. Even when that one person goes the family just finds a way to stick together. I know you wouldn't agree but you were the glue that kept us all in touch. You were always the reason and never the exception. They say that beauty always springs from the ashes and I have to agree that since you have passed Mum, Lucy and Jo are a lot more closer now. I make it sound like they never bothered before which isn't true. But they make more effort because the glue isn't here anymore and it's so nice to see.

Even though I have never believed in your religion and faith I do know you're with Granddad now. For 20 years since his death you centred your life, routines and funny expressions around us. I so wish you could be here to see my new home, to have met Honor and to be in all of our futures. But I will tell you all about it...when I see you again.

If I have learnt anything from you then it's this. Family's true. If you don't have family then you don't have anything.

I miss you Gran, I really do.


Thursday, 21 May 2015


I have always been a confidante, or as my colleague Nathalie calls it - a 'bosom buddy'. People can tell me things, share their stories and issues. I advise - well try to - and I try my best to listen and offer suggestions. On my drive home from work yesterday I was listening to Radio1: The Surgery and the guest speaker mentioned this quote.

It really struck a chord with me. The things I see and hear can really take me aback. I never cease to not be surprised at peoples battles and torment. The truth is we never fully know what it is going on in peoples lives. Before I had my breakdown in 2013 I was completely ignorant of peoples conflicts, whether mentally or emotionally, I had no clue. It was not until I struggled to hide my negative thoughts, emotional outbursts and difficulty in trying to be (dare I say it) normal. That I appreciated when people were kind and sensitive towards me. They may never have understood the core of my issues but they were kind enough not to ask tricky questions. They allowed me to live and work in neutral and if I wanted to put on a bravado for a day I was never told not to.

We live in an era where looks can be so deceiving. A melting heart (and brain) can be so well hidden beneath the jokes and smiles. As a generation we can be so superficial and fail to even scratch the surface of a persons reality. So what do we do? We conceal our battles even more because is it really worth letting people in? We spend so much of our time looking for problems and issues that we fail to communicate and ask about them.

Most of the time I feel like I am fighting a battle. And it's not even a battle I expect or want to win. It's a battle of depression that I have shared a fair few times with people. But do you know what's worse? Since going through all of this I am still so shocked (and I still don't know why!) that people judge you because they see you the way they look at you. I will never forget when I had just started my therapy and I received an email from a friend I used to hang out with quite a lot. She had heard about what I had been going through and was reaching out to see if I was ok, rather sweet of her right?


I will never forget in her email that she told that I had to change the way I am and how I was thinking. She said that I may have been going through 'some things' but it was 'no excuse' to think or act the way I do. I want to repeat here that this woman was my friend and despite opening up to her she really had no clue. She was not being kind. I am not an angel and I am pretty certain that some of my actions or words at times can be less than pleasing. But we all live in a world that seems to be designed to where people want us to live the lives they do.

I mean it's actually an achievement to be yourself.

So it's true. We should be kind because everyone we come into contact with is fighting a battle we have know idea about. Today I had the pleasure of working (and hopefully teaching) a guy my age for two hours. He has been through many battles, and still is. After he had left I couldn't help but be reminded of the above quote again. But there is something I really want him to know and actually this goes for everyone.

You may be fighting many secret and hidden battles. But thank you for being really, completely, absolutely who you are.

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