Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Well isn't it blooming boiling? Not complaining, it's gorgeous, but I have no idea how to dress to main professionalism whilst not turning into a sweaty mess. As it is I'm failing. If anyone has any ideas please send them my way. Despite the hot weather frying my brain, I'm actually buzzing. I've met some exciting people this week who have really enthused me. Their zest for life has got me ready to explore and follow lots of interests.
1. Honeysuckle. Walking through the dusk air and coming across a massive trail of honeysuckle. I smelled it first. The heady aroma which reminds me of summer evenings and the bush that winds it's way around the cherry blossom tree at home.
2. The young blind lad explaining how he uses his stick to the older blind ice cream seller. It was just a lovely moment of intergenerational community seen on the streets of Plymouth. Nuff said.
3. Watching the sun set. I bang on about sunsets all of the time, but there's something magical about the whole sky turning a range of beautiful colours. It makes me calm. One better, watching the sun set over the sea. Pure bliss
4. Ice cream in the freezer. Did I mention it was warm? Well as I walk in the door after a long day at placement all I've been craving is something cool. Thankfully past me thought of this and stocked the freezer with ice creams. So my evening routine is now completed with magnum in hand.
5. Cold showers. Some days nothing will cool you down like a dunk in a cold shower and all day I've spent waiting for the moment I can jump in. It also means I can have wet hair for the next hour (let's be honest, it's probably even less due to the incredible drying powers of the weather) which keeps me cooler too.
6. The comfort of a sports bra. My friend and I headed out for a drink and a gossip on Sunday and I tried to dress for the heat. Having moseyed around the flat in pjs for the morning to keep cool I really didn't want to be wearing anything uncomfy. Enter the sports bra. I've been wearing them everyday and, without wires, they are so much more pleasant.
7. Strawberry and Elderflower wine. A revelation for summery evenings, this wine is all fruity and light. I've been serving it ice cold and it's a perfect refreshing drink.
8. Meeting interesting people. Cos blimey oh Riley, people are interesting. If you take the time to find out their story then you'll never guess all the amazing passions and experiences that they have. Talking to people is always time well spent and inspires me to pursue as many things in life as possible.
That's all from a very early morning list maker. Even at half 6 I'm feeling warm, but looking forward to another day in the sun. Now over to you... tell me what's made your week special and check out the rest of the gang: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma's blogs and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram - #WonderfulWednesday.
Sunday, 18 June 2017
The university year is coming to an end.
We've meandered along, knowing that time was passing, but not realising the quickness of its progress. With days rolling into one another, I felt I would always be here. But summer has come and with it the end of the year.
The end became clear as my friends started to leave. They all have homes to go to over the summer. Some a mere hour away from Plymouth, but like me, others are further afield. Train journeys with time for naps and even planes to negotiate.
As people left we became reflective. Seeking out the moments that would stay with us from the past year. Mulling over them as if sharing them would ingrain the memory onto our brain, where we could keep it forever. The sharing of moments highlighted the amazing year we had and made everyone want to cling on tighter. To stay a few more days. But the days kept powering on and before long I was giving last goodbyes. Eating last meals together and hugging for that second longer than I would usually.
The trickle of leavers started, but it wasn't until I found myself with only one more night until I was alone in the flat that it came into sharp focus.
My last flatmate and one night left.
With that night we were spontaneous. We walked and chatted. We ate a large portion of chips, whilst sitting watching the many boats out to sea. The sun scorched, reminding us of the imminence of summer. As we were suitably full and the sea breeze started to chill, we wandered into a bar.
We admired the beautiful people, who were dressed up ready for a night out. Dressed to impress. The happy, laughing atmosphere reflective of our year. The year hadn't all been smiles, but the end of the year was a cause for celebration. I had met so many amazing people and experienced lots of new and exciting things.
With a cocktail in hand, we started wondering and making up stories for the people around us. The two ladies, who were very well turned out, sharing a bottle of champers from an ice bucket. The guy sat waiting for his date. His knee involuntarily tapping, showing his nervousness. The cackling group of ladies in the corner. Displays of happiness and closeness clearly visible. And the guy who persisted on his mission to throw a ball of paper into a glass the other end of the group table and finally ran a lap of the bar in honour of his success.
As the music got louder and the singing started we took our leave. Out into the still, warm air just as the sky was turning a deep, blush pink. We picked our way across rocks and down to the water's edge. We sat, curled in our togetherness, watching the sun as it set. The colours caressing the barely perseptable waves so that the sea was gilded with the sun's last light. Everything was still as we looked out to sea. Both of us quiet, drinking in the moment.
That moment will forever be the end of first year. The sun setting, the full stop to the year. The happiness and bustle of the bar in complete contrast to the calm of looking out to sea, but both reminiscent of the experiences I have had at university.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
This sign, that I saw on the wall on my walk to the supermarket, pretty much sums up the week. Love really is greater than hate. Life's pretty short and it's so important to share love and let those you love know how much they mean to you. Living at uni is a funny thing. You spend half of your year miles away from family and friends, but just when it's time to go home and see them, you have to wrench yourself away from the friends you've made there. So it's a time for hugs, for kind words and for love always. To be honest that's what the whole world needs too.
1. Enchiladas. On the last dinner before my friend went come for the summer she cooked a massive dish of enchiladas. A spicy, warming meal after a rainy, long day on placement was just perfect. I'm going to miss her loads over the summer so it was important we said a proper goodbye.
2. Doughnuts. Friday morning I was flagging big time. Placement does make you tired so I was so thankful when a lovely teaching assistant brought around a bag of doughnuts. The sugary hit was exactly what I needed to speed through the rest of the day.
3. Light mornings. My 6.30am wake up call doesn't feel such a struggle when I have sun streaming through the window. On Tuesday I woke up to blue skies through my skylight and it made a world of difference. It was lovely to see the skip in everyone's step and the cheery 'Morning's that greeted me.
4. Pencil skirts. Because coordinating my outfit for placement makes me feel like I can take on the world. My placement wardrobe consists of pencil skirts, tailored trousers and buttoned up shirts, which all make me feel so put together. The more put together I feel, the more confident so that's got to be up there!
5. Dog Spotting. To be honest this is a daily occurrence in my life, but going to new places means new opportunities to make friends with hounds. The morning walk through the woods gives plenty of opportunities and just this morning I had a cuddle with some adorable Labradors. Made my morning brighter.
6. Milkshakes. More importantly, milkshakes of the chocolate orange variety sipped slowly whilst catching up with flatmates. When they are so thick and creamy that you need a spoon to shovel in the remnants between giggles and possibly the best/ weirdest turtle impression. You never knew I had such extraordinary talents!
7. Motivating messages. I woke up on Monday morning to a message from my friend. It was just lovely about how she knew I could be an amazing teacher and detailing lots of lovely things she thought about me. It was the perfect motivation I needed to propel me out of bed and skipping along ready to be observed.
So that's my week and what's made me smile. Now over to you... tell me what's made your week special and check out the rest of the gang: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma's blogs and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram - #Wonderfulwednesday.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Every part of my body tells a story.
That scar on right elbow, a mark of when I tried to handstand in a park. On the concrete path that was sloping away from me and fell forward straight onto my elbow. But the memory of trying to do gymnastics with lovely flatmates and the giggles we had lives on with the scar. And taking the skin off it because I ran and jumped headlong onto a crash mat and won the challenge to see who could slide on it the furthest.
My lips that still need a ton of moisturising lip balm on them after a summer two years ago when I sunburnt them so much that they turned purple. But the hot weather of that summer brings memories of coaching cricket every single day for 3 months and the happy, proud moments that those days brought.
The scars on my legs that my best friend in high school told everyone happened when I was bitten by a shark. She told the story to protect me, so I didn't have explain to everyone. They actually mark a 3 year old's incredible survival from meningitis. A horrible disease that I'm incredibly lucky only marked me with scars.
The freckles that exist all year round, but multiply with even a sniff of sunshine. They link me to my mum. The same dapple over our nose connecting us both and making it obvious that I am her daughter.
The long straight scar that bisects my right foot. The cut made by a surgeon to realign my ankle and help a child walk again. The little girl that was in wheelchair and learnt to walk gradually with the help of a zimmer frame.
The arms with muscles. The right hand arm more defined from every cricket ball I have thrown or bowled. They show the afternoons spent playing the game I love. With teammates and colleagues who have shaped the way I am as a person. I am proud of the strength I have and my body's ability to play sport.
My body is so much more than it's appearance because behind every part of it is meaning and the story of my experience.
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
This week I'm tired. I'm tired of all the hurt in the world. The attack on Saturday night felt like a physical punch to the stomach. I worried about all my loved ones. I worried for all those innocent people. I worried.
I'm also mega tired as I have started placement. Maybe that's what has made me that bit more emotional, but being on and working with children all day is exhausting. So this week we need a dose of appreciating the good things more than most...
1. A drive over the moors. Sunday saw a 4 hour round trip drive through the most beautiful Dartmoor roads. They wound and bent. Up the steepest of slopes to reach the top and look over valleys. We were surrounded by green. And to get to a cricket ground with a sea view. Where I could walk a couple of metres from the boundary rope onto the beach. A pretty perfect location.
2. Late night chats. When sat sipping water to alleviate tomorrow's inevitable headache. With my best friend, slumped on her bed. Words tangled and stumbled over.
3. Flippy dresses. Those ones with floaty skirts worn to awards evenings set right next to the marina. With my teammates all dressed up celebrating an amazing year of playing cricket together. There was possibly an award for yours truly chucked in for good measure.
4. Pizza just when you need it. When you have a thumping headache and stomach cramps and you just about manage to crawl into bed at the end of the day. Then your flatmate walks in with pizza and sweet potato chips, you know you've got a keeper!
5. Music in the park. Just strolling through town and happening upon a little community music festival. We whiled away a couple of hours listening to local bands and having a go at flamenco dancing.
6. Wild Garlic. My walk from the bus to placement takes me through a little wood. This week we've had so many rain showers, but the smell after them is so pungent. It's the smell of greenness and growing mixed with the wild garlic in the woods.
7. Long Hugs. Because I won't see people for the next few months or even longer. People are graduating, moving on. We are all dispersing across the country for summer. Those hugs will be the last moments of holding together until we see each other again.
That's it for this week. For more from the gang head to: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma's blogs and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram - #Wonderfulwednesday.
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Well I almost feel like I'm on holiday right now. I've had a week and a half off and am in full relaxation mode. Probably not for the best as I start placement on Monday, but for now I'm making the most of it. I say this snuggled in bed with the sun streaming through the window and the comfiest big tshirt and new paisley pj shorts on. We've had a swelter of a week which may or may not have caused a little bit of burn, but has meant I've been outside at every opportunity.
1. Best cake ever. I'm talking layers of brownie, butter cream and salted caramel. We took it away to sit overlooking the sea when we realised we had no idea how to eat the thing without a fork. Needless to say we managed after a quick scurry through bags for tissues.
2. Beach BBQs. The hottest day of the year and one of my flatmate's last night in Plymouth was spent eating a bbq overlooking the sea. We stuffed rolls with burgers and bacon and ate the ultimate bbq food of potato salad. Then after a little rest needed after maybe one burger too many, we played cricket with cans for wickets and much hilarity.
3. Golf. Trying something new is always a bit scary. There's that trepidation that you're going to be absolutely rubbish it at and a physical skill seems to be worse somehow. With this in mind me and a friend decided to have a go at pitch and putt golf and had such a good time. Yes we were a bit rubbish, but we laughed along together, gave each other hints and improved loads. It was so nice to something out of our comfort zones and have a go.
4. Party Tea. Just to celebrate Friday and because I can, on Friday I made myself what my mum used to describe as party tea. Cutting my sandwiches up into little triangles and then having little bits on the plate - tomatoes, salad, potato salad and crisps. All arranged symmetrically on the plate.
5. Lightening. We had the most awesome storm on Friday night. The air had been heavy and ready for a storm all day and when the rain came it cleared the air. But following the downpour came the lightening. Lightening that lit the sky up every few seconds with absolutely no thunder. I stood outside and just drunk it in because nature is pretty phenomenal.
6. Mooching round Totnes and more good cake. I am truly honoured that this little blog and #wonderfulwednesday has brought so many lovely ladies into my life. Michelle from Life Outside London is no exception. In fact a mooch around Totnes with her whilst talking about anything and everything gave me all the warm and fuzzies. If you aren't following her, you need to. She's a babe and knows the best places for cake!
7. Just the right temperature. For lazing in the park with my book in shorts and a tshirt without worrying about burning. Burning has been a real issue for me this week. I have been peak ginger by burning whilst smothered in sun cream so a little dip in heat was pleasant. Also it was a perfect dog watching spot.
8. Last game with my uni girls. 5 hours of laughter and trying our absolute best. I have a little thing that grinds my gears in cricket and it's when players turn up to play and then get no involvement in the match. Luckily I play in a team that makes sure everyone gets an even chance, so we all made awesome contributions. Also special mention for an absolutely stonking cricket tea which meant running was infinitely harder afterwards, but totally worth it.
Wow, that's been a lovely list of things that have made me happy. Writing them all down makes me relive all those wonderful memories and never fails to bring a smile to my face. For more lovely moments head over to the rest of the gang: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram - #Wonderfulwednesday.
Friday, 26 May 2017
Last weekend I was feeling like an adventure. A solo adventure. So after hearing about how beautiful the beach at Perranporth was I booked one night and got a train and bus through the Cornish countryside to get there. Spontaneously by Monday night I was sat on the beach. I think it may have been one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
What I did
Well the beach definitely did not disappoint so I spent a lot of time sat looking out to sea and generally contemplating life. Being by the coast makes me all sorts of happy and calm. The beach is 3 miles long, I know because on Tuesday morning I decided to walk the whole length of the beach and back. The beach is popular with surfers, but I made do with a little bit of paddling and climbing on the rocks. I had an explore of the rock pools and funny caverns made in the cliffs. The little town has a range of gift shops and after a wander, I was back on the beach reading my book.
Where I stayed
I stayed in the most amazing youth hostel situated right up on the cliffs on one side of Perranporth. The above photo was taken from right outside and the view from the window was stunning. I fell asleep to the sounds of the waves, but not before having a lovely evening of interesting conversation with the other guests. The bed was really cheap and ideal for travelling.
What I ate
Now to the good bit! The food was absolutely great and I ate every meal outside. I started with eating fish and chips on the beach whilst I watched the sunset. Next morning I ate freshly baked pastries for breakfast. After my trek along the beach I was starving and had a spit roast pork roll with apple sauce bought straight from the local butcher. It was so full and yummy. You can't go to Cornwall without having a pasty and this one may have been the best I've ever eaten. Finally just before getting back on the bus, I had 2 scoops of ice cream - 1 chocolate orange and 1 malteaser flavour. Both scrummy. All the food came from local independent traders which was what the high street was made up of. No Costa here, but good local products.
I had an amazing time and can't wait to explore more of Cornwall. I would thoroughly recommend Perranporth and would love more recommendations of places to go on solo trips.
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Well I'm all of a buzz this week. I just can't stop doing and moving and being. Maybe it's the sunshine. Maybe it's the buzz of a little freedom and a great big world of possibilities. Either way I'm really enjoying it. It makes me feel a lot more like me. I'll being guided by what feels right and wonderful for me and that's a pretty darn lovely thing if you ask me. And with the sun set to get even warmer in the next few days I'm a little bit excited.
Anyway, on with the merriment of the past week...
1. Last lecture of the year. Can you believe that I have finished every lecture for my first year? The time has gone so quickly. With just a 4 week placement to go I can almost taste the summer coming.
2. Ice Cream. Namely 3 of the biggest scoops of smooth, creamy ice cream eaten with those little plastic spoons whilst catching up with my old housemates. I choose 1 scoop each of Jaffa, Ferrero Rocher and Cherry and they were blooming marvellous.
3. The best yoghurt. You know some days you're wandering the supermarket and big up something that never usually goes in your basket, but is set to always find itself there in the future. I usually just big up a large tub of greek yoghurt which lasts me the week, but next to it on the shelf was ginger flavoured yoghurt. I love ginger flavoured things so had to give it a try. The yoghurt is delicately flavoured, but the deal breaker is the pieces of ginger in the yoghurt which give it the fiery kick. I many have eaten the whole large pot in 2 sittings. The second sitting may have had chopped up dark chocolate in it.
4. Blogger's brunch. A chance comment on Alice's blog had me invited to meet the lovely ladies of Plymouth Bloggers. And with food like this on the menu who can resist. I had a lovely time meeting new people and chatting. Looking forward to seeing them again.
5. Libraries. Because the world of books is endless and inspiring and absolutely free in your local library. It took me minutes to join with a lovely helpful lady and I was soon lugging a bag full of books back to mine. It also means that I could sit on the beach reading a book.
6. Good Deeds. From the train station into town is a big hill and as I got off the train yesterday I saw an elderly couple really struggling with all their luggage. I carried some up to the top of the hill for them and they were so grateful. Little kindnesses is what the world needs.
7. An adventure. I'm not going to say too much about this because I want to tell you everything all together, but there were trains and buses and amazing food and sea views and thinking.
So it turns out I talk about food a lot! But when it's this good who cares. For more Wonderful Wednesday's with slightly less food rambling (although I can't promise anything) head over to the rest of the gang: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram - #Wonderfulwednesday
Monday, 22 May 2017
Years ago I wrote myself a bucket list. I probably still have the scraps of paper somewhere at home. It had lots of conventional things on there. Places to travel and experiences to have. But I had taken the time to think more personally. One of the big things I wanted to do was to spend a portion of life living on my own.
Now I'm not an anti social person. I have a wide circle of friends from different groups and walks of life. I love spending time with them, but living feels different. I like to have my space. To feel in control of my environment, but also to recharge. However, it always worries me that I will be lonely.
This weekend I got a taste of what it might be like. With one flatmate at home and the other away working, I had the flat to myself. I was worried that I would rattle around, not knowing what to do with myself. That I would feel the need for contact with someone as I spent so much time on my own.
What happened was completely different. I felt myself more proactive than ever before. I eagerly sought out experiences that I wanted to do. I didn't have to think about what everyone else wanted to do. Although this comes across maybe selfishly, it was nice to put myself first. I contacted friends and asked if they wanted to hang out. I took myself out for a walk just because. I plucked up the courage to join a bloggers' brunch. I spend ages browsing bookshops.
Because I had time. Acres of the stuff and no agenda. I could meander through the weekend with no pressure of time. I felt myself breathing deeper and relaxing.
I swapped our lazy house days for being active and getting outside. Instead of still being in bed at lunchtime I woke early every morning to fit more into the day and felt myself sink into bed early. Tired, but happy. Wanting to go to sleep ready for the next day.
And there were little things too. The way that I could play feel-good music nice and loud as I got ready early in the morning without waking anyone. The fact that I could dance around the kitchen as I cooked my tea. And sing at the top of my voice in the longest shower without anyone telling me to hurry up. And make my washing into a den and sit a read my book there. Or just leave my shopping all over the kitchen floor whilst I drank ice cold milk in an attempt to cool down.
By myself I became more spontaneous. I sought out the opportunities that I wanted. I may have booked myself a little adventure.
I was also self sufficient. Those mugs in the sink that I'd been leaving for ages because someone else might wash them became my problem. I made sure everything was clean and put back when I'd finished with them. Pockets of time were used getting on top of things - my washing, paperwork and planning. When my flatmates arrived home that was the first thing they noticed - that everything was tidy.
Living alone is definitely something I want to do, this experience has confirmed that. I felt happier and more energised to choose things that make me happy.
Friday, 19 May 2017
It's been so long since I have done anything remotely arty so knowing I had 3 hours of practical art sounds like a perfect way to spend a Wednesday morning. We started outside, armed with clipboards, pens and pencils. Through baltic winds we drew skylines without taking our pens off the paper, with our left hand and without looking at the page.
To warm up from our chilly encounter, we huddled inside the top of our university building and drew small details of buildings from different perspectives.
Finally back in the classroom we started abstracting the shapes onto a collaborative piece in marker pens. We added pattern and colour with oil pastels before washing with inks. I was so proud of our final piece. It's colourful and expressive and we all had great fun making it together. I can't wait to use all I've learnt with children.
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Good morning, lovely Wednesday crew. How are we all doing? I think I'll be spending today mostly dodging the raindrops that seem to be the norm right now. Where did all that gorgeous spring sunshine go to, because I'd really love it to hurry up back. It's been a busy old week which feels a little like the end of something. Anyway, quickly on to the good things of the week...
1. Dressing up. Last week me and my lovely university cricket team were nominated for most improved team at the university sports awards. This involved a posh dinner and awards ceremony and the chance to dress up. I opted for a navy playsuit and spent the night feeling might fine. It's funny what a few curls in your hair, a new outfit and a glass of wine can do. We may not have won the award, but we had a great night.
2. Eurovision. It is an absolute tradition with my friends to watch Eurovision, eat picky, buffet food and score the acts. We have a very specific scoring system honed through years of practise. Every year the rulers and coloured pens come out to make a beautiful scoring sheet. We mulled through the archives as we waited for the show to start and reminisced through the memories. More were made and I'm fairly certain Moldova were robbed. Did you see their sassy saxophone player?
3. Just silly laughter. Spending time with my flatmates watching the sun go down and making human pyramids. The ones who you can be totally yourself with are keepers.
4. Another cricket game. We have had so much rain this week and as I looked out of the window on Thursday afternoon and saw the rain falling my hopes of playing cricket that evening diminished. However just before we were due to start the clouds cleared and left a lovely evening. A nice close game and a beautiful sunset on the journey home made it a good evening.
5. Train journeys. I went home this weekend to attend a cricket course and was out of Plymouth for a mere 36 hours of which over 1/3 of those were spent travelling. I really enjoy travelling on the train. I had time to read the wonderful words of Laura Jane Williams, to listen to the stories of the people around me and generally ponder life. Plus the views aren't bad either.
6. Awards. The university year is coming to an end with only one more lecture and 4 weeks placement left. Our PE group decided to celebrate this fact. We spent an afternoon playing dodgeball and generally being competitive before creating our own awards ceremony. We voted on all those silly prom kind of awards and giggled over nominations and winners.
7. A little bird just making its merry way. As I walked into town a little bird seemed to follow me. Tip tapping it's way down the street and bobbing across the pavement. That moment of slowing to watch its actions put a smile on my face. Sometimes the smallest moments matter the most.
8. Bowling. Another end of year shindig this time with our seminar group. I really surprising myself with how well I did, although the first few went down the alley like bouncing bombs!
9. Reflecting and being a better me. My course on Sunday was all about reflecting on my coaching and understanding strengths and weaknesses in order to improve. It was hard. Harder than I expected to recognise my workings, but since I have been using it in my life. Taking that bit of time to reflect about where I want to go and how I'm doing getting myself there.
10. Sleepovers. When I went home I spent my first night staying at my brother's house. He left me a mug and everything ready for a super yummy hot chocolate then we discussed everything from life insurance to puppies until we fell asleep. I'm sure I've written it before, but I really am proud of him.
And there we have it. Another round up of the week's happy moments. Hope you all have a fabulous week and let me know what's making you smile. In the mean time check out the rest of the #wonderfulwednesday gang: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram.
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Good morning and welcome to the sunshine. Despite hiding from the inevitable burn I am really rather enjoying this sunshiney weather we've been having recently. It makes me want to get outside and now that I have handed my final assignment of the year in that's fully what I intend to do.
1. Forest Walk. Last Wednesday I spent the day on a walk around a forest and exploring all the ways you could use the natural environment to teach children. We skimmed stones and built dens. I used a flint to start my very own fire. The moment of realising I could do it and watching my little pile of shavings burn was pretty cool. We then toasted marshmallows and had hot chocolate whilst singing. What a lovely group to be with. Despite the hike up the hill, the views were amazing and bluebells carpeted the woods.
2. Light evenings. Those evenings when it's 8.30pm and still warm enough to have the window open and the light streaming in. The sky is still blue and bright and the music from the nearby bar gently drifts in.
3. Books. Another little order of books came this week and now that my assignments are finished I can indulge in some reading for pleasure rather than academic texts. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into Laura Jane Williams offerings. Her blog is amazing too. Go and check her out here.
4. Fajitas. Friday night was Fajita night. After 2 hours of intense training we had a mountain of food. The packet may have stated it was to serve 4, but I think they were wrong as me and my friend devoured the lot.
5. First Game of the Season. It's the moment I've been waiting for since Septembers last year when I packed my outdoor kit away. The first game of the outdoor cricket season is always special and to share it with my uni team, some of whom it was their first outdoor game ever, was amazing. We came against a strong opposition, but everyone did so well. Also the cricket tea was damn good and if that's not enough reason for you to play a sport I don't know what is.
6. Waffles and walks. Last night my flatmates and I headed down to the Hoe to watch the sunset. The weather was warm and we spent a while sitting on the grass and attempting gymnastics. We absolutely nailed the human pyramid, just saying. Then as the sun started setting we walked towards it in the hope of a good view. What we stumbled upon instead was an amazing pudding restaurant with gelato, sundaes and waffles galore. I had what is possibly the best waffle ever topped with chocolate sauce, banana and brownies.
7. Shorts weather. This may possibly be my favourite time of the year. The moment where the weather just tips over into warm enough for me to get my legs out. With newly shaved legs (the smoothness is so good) I've been rocking shorts for sport and everyday this week. They are just so practical and comfortable.
There's another list of happy things. Today will mostly be spent watching cricket and getting dolled up to go to an awards ceremony where our uni team is nominated for an award. Fingers firmly crossed, but just excited for a lovely night with the girls. For more wonderful moments check out the rest of the gang: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma use the hashtag #wonderfulwednesday or comment below.
Wednesday, 3 May 2017
Another week has gone by in a blink of an eye. I can't quite believe that I only have 2 more months of university left of my first year. It seems to have gone by so quickly. Again this week I have been mostly hunkered down in the library writing my last assignments. Thankfully I've had time to squeeze in some little plans to keep my motivation going.
1. Arty. This week we covered art teaching in our university seminars. I had so much fun getting creative again. We used so many different materials and techniques. Working individually then creating a collaborative piece. More to follow on this...
2. Cricket watching. Last Wednesday was the first game of the season for the university men's teams and we all had a lovely afternoon watching. What can be better than an afternoon in the sun with cider and sweets making you a little hyper and a good game of cricket to watch? Oh yes, a uni win! This week one of my really good friends will be making her first appearance for the men's teams. Not just hers, but the first woman ever. Sending her massive luck, although she won't need it, she's amazing!
3. Good food. A chilled out evening of lovely food, much cheese and chat was a good way to spend Thursday evening. My flatmate had just finished an exam and it was time to celebrate.
4. Being videoed. This one is mainly a shout out to improving oneself (don't know why it went all posh there). In the next couple of months I am doing another course in cricket coaching. Before I go I have to create a video of myself coaching. Whilst it was so awkward and I never knew I did so many weird arm actions, I am so looking forward to using the video to improve myself.
5. Cooking together. Just a nights in with flatmates sharing the cooking duties and creating mountains of curry and spag bol. Then chatting whilst you trying to trek through the massive portions that you've somehow managed to make.
6. The arrival of books. A couple of very lovely Amazon orders came this week. Having sent most of uni reading academic books, I missed reading for pleasure. I spent the bank holiday afternoon snuggled up from the rain reading and it was all kinds of lovely.
7. Having an 8am library buddy. The library is starting to become a bit of a chore, especially when I know everyone else is in bed. This week my friend has been joining me for the early starts and it's been nice to have company especially when she brings mini rolls!
8. Long catch up phone calls. When you are 6 hours the other side of the country a long chat with friends is important. Whilst we message all the time, it's not quite the same as listening to their voice. So an hour of Sunday afternoon was spent just chatting about cricket and life.
And there we have another week. Today will mostly be spent in a forest learning how to teach in the outdoors and trying to keep up with the cricket scores. Hope you are all having a lovely week. For more happy moments head over to the rest of the #WonderfulWednesday gang: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma. Let us know what's been making your week special in the comments or #wonderfulwednesday
Saturday, 29 April 2017
First up, I will not be apologising for the amount of baby animals in this post. You can thank me later and be jealous that I got to stroke them.
Last weekend, a couple of friends and I ventured to Baylham Rare Breeds Farm. Tucked a couple of minutes away from Needham Market, the farm is set in beautiful surrounding by a lake and watermill. After parking up, there's a short walk to the farm, but you are actively encouraged to play pooh sticks on the bridges on the way. As we were waiting for one of us to join us we started the visit with a cheese scone in the little cafe. Reasonable priced, huge and tasty this definitely started off the visit right. The selection of cakes also looked very tempting and were all handmade.
Then it was time to explore the fields and houses of the farm armed with our bags of food and instructions how to feed the animals. First up was the lambing shed. The lambs were so inquisitive and came over for a stroke.
Then we went out onto the fields where the older lambs, alpacas, pigs, cows and sheep were. Halfway round we found a hollow tree and as mentioned in Wonderful Wednesday climbed for the first time in ages! There was also a few swings and things for us to have a natter on.
Then lastly my absolute favourites! These piglets are only 2 weeks old and they were playing like puppies. I couldn't get any photos of them playing as they just moved too quickly. They were jumping around, over each other and onto their food tray. When we were in this building for the second time (they were too cute not to go back) their handler was there too and picked up one of the piglets for us to have a stroke.
After a rematch of pooh sticks on the walk back to the car (I won both rounds, not competitive at all) it was time to head home. It was such a lovely afternoon, but I'd say there's not enough to keep you entertained for a whole day.
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
This week seems to have gone by in a flash of an eye, but when I look back I constantly surprise myself by how much I manage to pack into a week. Whether it be big, lovely days spent with friends and family or tiny moments that make my day, there's just so much to notice and be thankful for when you sit down and think about it.
I'm now back at university and am writing this in the library at 8am. Although it's different at university there's still lots of lovely things going on. Let's get started...
1. Early starts and bacon rolls. When I say early starts I mean dragging myself out of the house at 5am ready for a day at working at a children's farm fair. Whilst the early morning wasn't exactly joyous, the bacon roll and the excitement of the children more than made up for it.
2. Climbing trees. I haven't climbed a tree for years. It's one of those things that seem stuck in childhood. However, two of my friends and I were walking around a rare breeds farm at the weekend (more to follow, I can promise photos of baby animals) and saw the perfect tree. A hollow inside so big we could all fit inside and plenty of footholds. We spent a lovely few minutes giggling as we got stuck and helped each other to sit on the branches where we pondered life. Only one scratched ear, so not too bad on the injuries front either!
3. Becoming an All Star. If you haven't heard of All Stars cricket, either you have been living under a rock or have no interest in cricket for 5-8year old children. Either way I will be extolling the virtues. I did a course to run this programme last week and I can honestly say I think it's brilliant. The activities are fun and engaging and every participant gets a whole load of personalised kit too. For more information go to the All Stars website because they explain it so much better than me! I came away from the course inspired and had so much fun.
4. Running fast. I've been upping my training as the cricket season draws closer and this week I was so happy with myself. I came to realisation that I was running pretty darn quick. For someone that's always disliked running it came as a surprise but I was very happy.
5. Chinese food. Last dinner at home and it now seems to be a bit of a tradition to have a Chinese. My family always get a mix of dishes and share and always always go for seconds!
6. First clean sheets night back at uni. Coming back into my room I thanked past me who had folded freshly washed sheets on top of the bed ready to be put on the bed as soon as I got in. With comfy PJs, the window open just a little to let in the breeze and me tired from a long train journey, I slept so soundly!
7. This marriage proposal. Calm down everyone, it's not mine. It's just a lovely, lovely bit of news from the week that made me smile.
8. Early morning productivity. Getting up nice and early and getting back into a productive routine has been brilliant this week. I've been setting off for the library at 8 o-clock and squeezing a couple of hours of work in before my day starts. I'm pretty busy in the next few weeks with assignments and courses so I'm scheduling work in around what I already have on.
9. Light evenings. Ok, I probably talk about this one quite a lot, but last night at half past 8 there was still a glimmer of light in the sky. Yes half past 8! Another thing upping my motivation this week.
Wow! That turned into a massive list and every time the longer I st the more things I think of. Today I'm off for a 3 hour art session then to watch my first cricket game of the season. Can't wait! Hope you're having an equally amazing Wednesday and rest of your week. Please do share the moments that have made you smile using #wonderfulwednesday on twitter, comment below and definitely go and check out the other lovely Wonderful Wednesday-ers: Sally, Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri, Mimmi, Martina , Peta, Kelly and Emma. Give me a shout if your name isn't on the list. The gang is evergrowing!
Monday, 24 April 2017
Every moment of the build up to swimming scared me.
From the first moment I chose the compulsory university swimming session the furthest time away I started panicking. Panicking because I had not entered a swimming pool for 10 years and had no clue if my limbs even knew what to do anymore. Not that they had been coordinated and fishlike even then. I worried that I would splash uncontrollably and ultimately sink. I would do this in front of my classmates and me a PE specialist. I worried what my body would look like in a swimming costume. The thought of anyone seeing my scars and being that exposed. So I just put it off.
But things far in the future have a habit of creeping up on me quickly. And now it’s only 2 weeks away. I didn’t own a swimming costume and my limbs had no more idea how to move in water than I did.
The first bridge to cross, and a scary one, was something to wear. Having not owned even a bikini for the beach in 10 years it scared me. It scared me that my body would be that on show. Shopping is always an ordeal and this promised to be worse. But I found something, shaved my legs and got in the car.
Which found me sitting in a swimming pool car park just before lunchtime on a Tuesday. Watching cars move in and out and having to call my friend. Just to calm me and encourage me. It found me at the reception desk bumbling over my words and the receptionist thinking I wanted to swim outdoors! Hoping I wouldn’t see anyone I know and immediately bumping into someone and having a polite conversation as I innerly squirmed.
Then I was in a very small changing room worrying that everyone in this pool would be amazing swimmers. I would be lapped and laughed at when I couldn’t even float. What if I panicked, embarrassed myself and had to be rescued by the lifeguards? I paused. Spent just a little too long organising my clothes. Willingly there to be more time before I had to get in the water. I fumbled with the lock on the locker. Wanting to rush it, but my hands not responding. The walk to the pool was the longest of my life even though the steps in were just by the door. You are exposed. I went in by myself and I felt that all eyes were on me, but honestly I doubt they were.
Once I got in the water I could look around. There were a few children taken swimming by grandparents happily bobbing about and playing with toys. A lane set out at the far side with nobody in it. I started and tried. Front crawl seemed like the place to start. With my head in the water my arms and legs seemed to know what to do. That was until I needed to breathe. The lifting of my head made me sink and I had to put my feel down. Breast stroke was next and equally as unsuccessful.
But then I remembered how as a child I had always preferred backstroke. I moved into the lane to prevent colliding with any children and began. I did my first length. And then realised I could do another. I didn’t need to stop to breathe or worry about my feet. I was conscious of my fingers propelling myself through the water. My feet hardly splashing but kicking much more strongly than I imagined. I had a rhythm. 3 kicks between each stroke. Counting carefully and breathing deeply I continued.
At one point a ten year old boy joined me in the lane. They had a quick front crawl and I was happy to let him go first and lap me. I could focus on me. As my body remembered how it was supposed to move it needed my attention. It was a conscious movement and left me little space to think of anything else. Few moments to worry of the enormity of what I was doing. I kept this up for 45 minutes. Much longer than I had imagined.
Before I knew it I was home, with the smell of chlorine still clinging and my hair dripping slightly. Clinging too was the sense of achievement. Of overcoming something that had held me with fear for so many years. The worry of incompetence mixed with fear of exposure had stopped me enjoying exercise for so long.
I tweeted and the response was phenomenal. I had tweets from people that shared this fear or those that had also overcome it. But what struck me the most were the cheerleaders. The people who I had never met, but were so proud and encouraging. So thank you, because that kept me on this river of emotional high for even longer.
Now I’m ready to tackle the university swimming session and I would encourage you to swim too. Or do that thing that you’ve been wanting to do, but fear has held you back. I have found that the trepidation before the things is so much worse than the moment you throw yourself in.
Guess what? #thisgirlcan
Friday, 21 April 2017
Right now there's great big splashes of yellow all over the countryside. They liven up the usual green and brown crops. The oilseed rape seems to me the sunniest of the fields. Right after the last hit of yellow from daffodils, primroses and celandine the fields come into their own. Despite Spring being a time of pastels, it is yellow that I really associate with the season.
Recently I've taken to picking up a book and finding a location to just read for an hour or so.
This weeks reading: Following On by Emma John (a memoir based on Emma's teenage obsession with the England Cricket team). A wonderfully, relatable book about how a fan follows a sports team and the foibles of cricket. She looks back and interviews players from the time, contrasting her youthful naive views with that of the players.
This week's location: Right next to this beautiful yellow field in beautiful sunshine.
This week's outfit: The comfiest tshirt under my dungarees just rolled up at the cuff for springtime sunshine.