Tuesday, 29 July 2014

New Zealand here I come.

Oh yes!

Time for another holiday and this is going to be an awesome trip thanks to my friend Oli. Oli has been travelling and working across Australia for the last two years. He plans to return home next spring but wants to go to a few surrounding countries beforehand.

I had planned to meet him in Fiji and then head to NZ together but due to the time I have I cannot fit it all in. So I'd rather concentrate on one country.

I fly into Auckland next February and will then travel across the two islands over 2 1/2 weeks. I will fly out of Christchurch and make my way home.

I have always wanted to visit New Zealand, granted it hasn't been high up on my 'to visit list'. But I would love to see Oli and to travel with him would be a great way of seeing the world and catching up with him again. So does anyone recommend anything to see and do whilst over there?

I know NZ is famous for sports like white water rafting, bungee jumping etc but I would love to know if there is anything else that should be on my NZ travel list? I am travelling to Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch with some towns in-between the cities. What's the weather like? Is it pricey to eat out? What's it like to shop price wise? Easy to travel around?

I cannot wait!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Welcome Home

I am so excited to be able to show you my house! I moved in in May but with everything that's been going on I have only just got round to doing a video and editing.

Moving day was a bittersweet day. The day I got the keys to the house was sadly the day my Gran passed away. The painting, building and re-arranging of the house gave me a good distraction but it was also a reminder of the house my Gran would never see.

The actual transition in moving has been fine. I LOVE having my own place. I LOVE being able to have a quiet space. I LOVE being able to put my personality into the house. I do miss my family and sometimes I do miss the mayhem of living with a big family. However, I find the moments spent with my family has a lot more quality and my time with them is more intentional. 

I live with my housemate Lotte, she's a really good friend and also on my wavelength. She is great to live with and she is also a nurse doing shift work. So we have moments where we see each other lots and then times where we are passing ships. It's a great set up and I am very lucky.

So thank you to everyone who sent cards and messages. It's good to be in my new home and to anyone that wants to visit England/London, there's space at mine. Enjoy the video and...welcome to my house :)

As mentioned in the video Lotte and I do have plans to jazz up the house. They include:
  1. A new bathroom suite.
  2. Plastering the utility area and the wall between the garden doors.
  3. Eventually turning part of the utility area into a downstairs toilet.
  4. Removing the boards on the staircase and replacing them with spindles, this will hopefully open it up. 
  5. Landscaping the front garden.
  6. Getting a new front door.
We have also achieved lots of house improvements too, which have been costly but so worth it!
  1. We had wood flooring put throughout the house.
  2. We had the fascia boarding replaced to prevent damp.
  3. Had brand new guttering installed.
  4. Cavity wall and loft insulation added. 
  5. We have decorated every single room and still not finished!
It's hard work but we really enjoy it. One of the things I have been blessed with in some inheritance from my Gran. Some of her money will go towards the house improvements. So even though she isn't alive to come visit, she has helped significantly in helping to make my house a home.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Green Fingers

For anyone that knows me, knows that I do not have a green bone in my body. I am still surprised the orchid I received from my sister as a house warming present is still alive! Since moving into my own house the one place I have neglected is the garden. Lotte (my housemate) and I have no desire to maintain the garden. We mow the lawn when we have to and we clean the garden furniture when we have to.

Since my Gran passed away we have been sorting out her home to get ready to sell. I have acquired some of her garden tools and since been inspired to put them to good use. My Grandparents loved gardening! I remember as a little girl my granddad showing me his vegetable patches and my gran loved flowers. Before her hip broke 3 years ago she was still kneeling down doing the weeding and potting new plants.

So I decided that I want a bit of them in my garden. We have some small flower beds that I de-weeded this week and put compost in. I had never used a garden spade or trowel in my life until this week. It was an experience I tell you but I can now see why people enjoy gardening. You get lost in your little world and its nice to be outside!

My Granddad always loved roses. He had rose bushes, rose climbers, rose ramblers in his gardens and whenever I see a rose I immediately think of him. The more perfume the rose has the better! My Gran always loved any flowers that were yellow.

So I decided to buy a yellow rose and put two worlds together. Below is the finished result. It needs to grow up the trellis but I have decorated the rose with some solar lights. I am really pleased with it and I hope my grandparents approve.

I miss them so much. After I planted the rose I walked into my living room in a sweaty mess. I am so glad they're together again but today was also a bittersweet reminder that they're not here anymore. I can't help but start crying when I repeat that sentence in my head.

They're not here anymore...but a rose reminding me of them does make me remember. And I am so grateful that I can do that.

I think there's a while to go until I appear on gardeners world or attend a flower show. But I am so glad that a corner of my garden is dedicated to them. My childhood was made so full because of them and my heart will always be happy I had them to call Gran and Granddad.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

One year on

It's been one year since I had my breakdown. It's a shame I'll never forget the date as it's the same day as my best friends birthday. Yet, sometimes I think it's important to not forget so you can see how far you have come. When this week rolled around I found it difficult to digest.

Has it really been one year?

Because it sure feels like just yesterday I was having panic attacks and sobbing uncontrollably at 'the mess' I was in. On the other hand I have learnt so much about myself and in a way I am kind of thankful for what happened, as I wouldn't have the mindset I do now.

I have learnt...

1) That I know 'me' best. Before the breakdown I would always worry about not pleasing people and I always felt like I was running around putting everyone else first. I still do worry at times but nowhere near to the extent I did. I know what I need and I know which foot is goes in front of the other. I do not need to follow anyone else's lead. If I need a day to relax and do nothing then I will. If I need the chance to be alone and away from people then I will. I have no-one to justify my decisions to right now and I am a lot happier for it.

2) If you do not seek help then you're fighting a losing battle. I remember on the day I broke down my mum marching me to the doctors. If I am honest the day is a real blur but I do remember her saying I needed to speak to someone. I am so thankful she did. I would not have had the therapy and counselling I needed, the right medications to take and the understanding at work. No matter how strong we think we are, we can't do it all. This was a huge monster I was facing and it still is, but I can handle it now and that's thanks to the help I received.

3) It's okay to say no. This kind of goes in line with the first one but I have always been a yes person. I take on more than I can chew. If it meant less sleep, I would still do it. If it meant i had to skip a meal, I would still do it. If it meant using my one day off to work overtime, I would still do it. I never ever put my needs first! And now I know why I would be so ratty and snap people's heads off. I have lived in a world where it seems we have to please other people in order to gain recognition or score more brownie points. I have had enough of that. So now if a request is made to me, I think about it, and really question if I can put 100% of my effort and time into it. I feel so much better for it.

4) The people who were around then are still here now. I have always heard the saying that you only know who your true friends (and family!) are when you go through something difficult. It's very true! I only bother with people who are willing to bother with me. It's sad that it takes something bad to happen in order to make that realisation but it's also helped me no end. I know who I can go to, who I can open up to and if it were to ever happen again. They would still be there at the top of the staircase cheering me on.

5) The pain is not in my head. I remember this time last year I kept trying to tell myself that all the sadness, anxiety and paranoia was all in my head. Since I could not pin point physically where the hurt was sitting on my body, it therefore couldn't be real! I remember the only time I felt better was when I had a shower because I felt 'cleansed' and that I could wash all the negativity away. Through therapy and counselling i have accepted that my pain is real. It exists and it has made all the difference in acknowledging that.

6) I do not need to fix or change myself. I rather like me now. I never used to. I would always blame myself for having this dark cloud loom above me. I was my own worst enemy and it was my fault that all this happened to me. Since seeking help and being on medication I have learnt that I am fractured. I have faults but I am not to blame. I think that's been the hardest part of this whole journey, to accept that I did not do this to myself.

I really hope I continue to get better. I know I will never be healed, and to be honest I don't want to be. Of course, I hate having depression and getting anxious over things. Yet, I have loved seeing what help is out there. The charities, the counselling, the therapies etc, they all exist for a reason and they are fantastic services. Sometimes trying to see a positive in a negative can be a wondrous thing. Just like now, it sucks that this time last year was very difficult but it's also awesome that a year later I can tell you what it's like on the other side...

...and I'm okay.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Summertime Hodgepodge

It's good to be taking part in Hodgepodge this week! I'm hoping to show you round my new home next week on my blog.

1) July is National Anti-Boredom month. When was the last time you were bored? What's your go-to cure for boredom?

I am very rarely bored. If I have nothing to do then I fill it with something. I was a little bored yesterday as it was my day off but now I own a house theres always some sort of cleaning or catching up to do.

2) What's the last thing you made a reservation for?

Probably getting my nails done last week.

3) What's one thing on your summer 'bucket list'? Any plans to make it happen?

Since I have just bought my house my housemate and I have a lot of things we want to update/change. I really want to get out fascia boarding and guttering sorted. We have it all booked in, it just needs to be done!

4) What's your favourite summertime sip?

Archers and Lemonade.

5) What do you find is the best way to handle another persons hostility and hopefully ease tension?

I often find people who are hostile don't want to talk. So I don't interrogate them with even more questions. I deal with some hostile people at work and I tend to just avoid them. However, if it's a patient then I just see to them when needed and try not to act humorous/jokey.

6) Your favourite film set in summer?

I love the notebook, especially the summer scenes filmed in Charleston.

7) What word are you using too much lately?

I am using the word 'boom' a lot lately. So when I complete something at work I say 'boom' instead of 'done.' It's different I guess.

8) Insert your own random thought here.

I am trying to 'fill' and empty part of my lounge with something. We have a corner that is just blank. We have a vase of reeds but something is needed on the wall. We have a mirror and canvas on another wall already. Any ideas?

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Ex Story

All break ups suck. They're heartbreaking and I genuinely would not wish the feelings on my worst enemy. However, it's true what they say - things do get easier and over time you learn to appreciate what you had with the person rather than what you lost.

It's coming up to a year since I had my breakdown and over the last few weeks I have been thinking about the heartbreak I had over a relationship breakdown at the time. It doesn't matter if you're 17 or 70. Break ups are tough but I do believe they mould you. When we are younger we have this image of who we want to fall in love with, what we want, need and resent. Yet, when it comes to having a relationship with someone it is so much more different than you imagined - in good and bad ways. This may seem like a strange post but I want to go over my significant relationships and how they have changed my perspective as I have grown.

When I was 17 I met Oli. He lived in Spain and I lived in England. We met whilst I was on holiday over there and it wasn't a holiday romance either. Oli and I got on really well! I'll always remember the day we met chatting for ages on a rubber boat in the pool. It is still to this day one of the best conversations I have had with anyone. A few days later Oli told me he liked me and I was touched but we lived in different countries - it was never going to work. However, over the next year Oli and I stayed in contact and struck up a really good friendship. I started opening up to him and found that I could not stop thinking about him. We admitted our feelings for each other and started a relationship, albeit parts of it was long distance. It was tough at the time but for a year we stuck it out and had the best time. Even though we did break up, we still remained friends. To many that's strange isn't it? To remain friends with an ex. But I think what helped was that Oli and I were friends first. Our whole relationship was formed on the basis of a friendship and I think that is so crucial.

Looking back I realised that I needed someone who was a strong communicator and Oli was so good at that. But there were times I needed Oli here with me and vice versa. Ultimately distance was our enemy but I am so thankful we were able to move past the heartache and go back to our foundation - friendship. He's an amazing friend and I am so glad he is part of my life.

When I was 19 I met Brad. I was a student nurse and he worked in theatres on one of my placements. I was smitten with him from the word go. I'll never forget how he gave his number to my mentor because he was too nervous to give it to me. Brad was very passionate and a lot of fun!!! I realised straight away that life would never be boring with him in it. We were together for a year and that year was full of spontaneity and excitement. However, Brad was not a communicator! I refuse to compare boyfriends as it isn't fair but I always felt like I was calling, texting or arranging meet ups. It started to get a little irritating and the effort certainly wasn't 50/50. I soon found myself resenting him rather than loving him and the excitement soon fizzled out. We had no common ground to build from and it became too much of an effort to keep the spark alive. This was a tough break up!!! I was in the middle of my nursing degree and my grades certainly took a battering. Life seemed less colourful with Brad not in it but I soon realised that I could still have that with a future boyfriend.

A few months later I met Andy. We knew each other from school so it was good to have that common link between us. He was great at talking and our conversations were always flowing. I really liked him and he was a real manly/rugged man. I found that so attractive! Sadly after a few months Andy broke up with me. It was a really crap time! Nursing school was full on, I still wasn't over Brad and a guy broke up with me. it sucked! Yet, I realised in order to be in a relationship I needed to be emotionally ready - which I wasn't. I just felt lonely and threw myself into things that were going well.

A few years ago I met Simon. He was a complete surprise because I never expected to meet anyone like him. He was romantic, complimentary, listened and just loved so passionately! I felt like the luckiest girl in the world and I still feel lucky to have been with him. It was almost like I had everything I wanted in a man and we had the best few years together. We went on holidays, great day trips, organised surprises for each other and I could be honest with him too. He was the first man that I thought about marrying and settling down with. As much as I loved it I did find it too intense. There were times where I felt a little suffocated because we were both so passionate and giving everything 100% that we didn't take time to smell the roses. It was very full on! Sadly, it was also the time my mental illness started to take fold. I decided to be selfish and end the relationship. I can hands down say it was one of the toughest things I have ever done - to walk away from love.

Now I am better and receiving treatment I started to feel like I could get back in the dating game. A few months ago I started dating and even though some of them were rubbish it was good to get out there and meet people. In April I met a guy called Jack but I decided to not share him immediately. I wanted to get to know him and also I was a little unsure if I wanted to be in a relationship. I met him at a time my mum was having her cancer scare, my gran was very ill and I was about to go on holiday. My heart wasn't really in it to think about having a relationship with someone. However, once my mum was given the all clear, gran was not suffering and I returned from my travels. Jack was still there wanting to date me. He's fun, attractive, manly, great to talk to and we share the same interests like travel and music. He's really refreshing to have around and I hope it continues to work out between us. I can't help but grin when I talk about him.

It's funny how different relationships make you realise what you want and don't need. I remember in my teens how I wanted a prince charming and now I really don't haha! I guess it works like that in all our relationships with people. The more we grow the more we realise. Anyone feel like that?

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