Monday, 30 January 2017

Kindness to Friends and Family


My new year word this year is kindness. I choose this because it can relate to so many aspects of my life. You can read my post about it here. Today I'd like to focus on how you can be kind to your friends and family. I am incredibly lucky to have several groups of friends: from teammates, to school friends, to flatmates and course mates. I know I will have someone there to support me and have fun. These friendships are incredibly important to me and showing kindness to these people is important. I also have a close family who are incredible. I've been thinking about how I can show my kindness to these lovely people n my life:


1. Always think about the kindness thing to say. We can be guilty of saying things that aren't the kindness in the name of banter. Having this occur to me I know that these words that are said in a jokey way can really hurt. I aim to monitor what I'm saying to always be kind.

2. Send small messages to friends to let them know I'm thinking of them. These could be emails, letters or even a post it note. Knowing someone is thinking of you is really special.

3. Give little presents. Even thought there's not a celebration a little present can really lift spirits. It doesn't have to be big or expensive, but the thought means so much. In fact a sentimental present that means something to you and the receiver of the present goes a lot further than a standard gift.

4. Give compliments and mean them. So often I see my friends wearing something beautiful or doing something that makes me so proud of them. I need to recognise that more often and let them know. 

5. Tell the people I care of how much I love them. This is a big one for me. I think it's so important that you let the ones you know how much you love them. So often we keep our feelings close, but 

6. Take time to ring people. Hearing their voice is so important. This is especially true for friends and family who are far away or that you don't see that often. The sound of their voice is such a bigger emotional connection than a quick message. I know, for example, that my Grandma really appreciates me ringing and having a chat. It can really brighten someone's day.

7. Allocate time to spend with friends. Life is busy, we all know that. We juggle a range of commitments, but taking the time to spend with friends and family is important. By allocating that time you show that they are important to you.

I'd love to hear any more ideas of how you show kindness to family and friends.
Kate xx

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Sunset Stillness



This week I finished all the essays and decided I needed space. I'd been cooped up in the library and my room reading, writing and checking for weeks and it was time to get outside. My first thought was to go to the coast, but I needed a vast expanse of space where I could be on my own. Despite the sea always calming me, in Plymouth it is so close to the town that you feel a little penned in. I needed to see for miles and be alone.


I choose to walk to Central Park just as the sun was descending from the sky. Central Park is up on a large hill so I could see right across Plymouth and appreciate just how large the city is. I live in such a small part of it that I forget this large city around me. Finding the vastness around me always puts things into perspective for me. It's like looking out to sea at gallons of water or looking up at the stars millions of miles away. I don't feel insignificant, but that there's such large forces out there is remarkable.


I stood alone at the topmost part of the hill. I stood still. Stillness can be just as important as the bustle and business that I had left at the edge of the park. Our lives are regularly moving and I have extolled the virtues of that many times, but I find stillness and contemplation just as important. In that moment I listened and I felt. I heard the distant cars and the clatter of the railway. I felt the chill of the wind as it whipped my messy hair around my face. The strands tickling my cheeks and my hands stuck deep in my pockets for warmth. I watched the ever changing light which fascinates me.


I stood there until the last light of the sunset made gilded the clouds. I breathed the cold air then slowly took myself home feeling calmer and happier. Moments out of your day to nourish your soul with beauty and happiness are so important.


Kate xx

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #45


Can we take a few minutes to just look out of the window and breathe? That's what I did in the early morning moments of Tuesday as I captured this shot. This week has been hectic and a little bit stressful as a write and rewrite and try to find a house for next year. Therefore, these moments of quiet and happiness are so important. My mission for you this week is to take a moment to breathe. To look out on this wonderful world and think. Then spend the rest of the time absolutely smashing it like the awesome people you are.

1. Football course. Yesterday I spent the day learning and growing. I attended a course aimed to help teach football in schools. It was so engaging and gave me lots of ideas. The tutor was great and answered all our questions using his own experience. I can't wait to put these ideas into practise.

2. Sunrise. I've already waxed lyrical about this one, but there's something special about the colours in the sky and waking up so early that everything is still and quiet.

3. Piglets. My best friend has two pigs, Mollie and Connie and this week Connie had piglets. The continuous photos of tiny, tiny black pigs has been making me squeal. They are just so little and cute.


4. Hot chocolate. In a massive travel mug that I took to the library on Monday. I had a cough and a headache, but I also had lots of essay to write so motivation was definitely needed. Sipping a toasty hot chocolate as I worked was a little thing I could do to make myself feel better.

5. Women's March. I can't tell you how much my heart sang as I saw the global photos of the women's march on Saturday. I wish I had been walking with my friend and her banners. However I see a force of women (that should be the collective noun right?) who are fighting for women's rights. This is why I'm a feminist. This is why we should accept everyone. It has inspired me.

6. Rachael Heyhoe-Flint. This week saw the death of a pioneer. A true inspiration in women's sport. Although this has saddened me greatly I have taken such energy from her. I met her two years ago in the House of Lords where she spoke about the need for girls to be inspired to play sport. As England Cricket captain, she campaigned for publicity and sponsorship even becoming a journalist to report on her own games. She captained the first ever women's game at the home of cricket, Lords, long before women were allowed to even enter the club room. She was one of the first members of the MCC the recognised founders of cricket. She expected equal rights for women in sport and fought hard for them. Since retiring, she sat on boards for international and national organisations, not just in cricket, but also football. This powerful force of a woman has driven me to want more. To expect the rights that I deserve, but also work tirelessly so that the next generation can experience them. An amazing woman should be remembered in this legacy.

7. Breakfast. Friday morning was the last day that all my flatmates were together. With some moving out this week it's been sad. So a farewell breakfast was in order. A full English whilst chatting was just the ticket and set me up nicely for the day. Did I mention I had possibly the best milkshake ever? Nutella milkshake that tastes exactly like the spread! I'll be going back just for that.

So that's it for another week. Looking back, lots has inspired me this week and despite fending off a cough and cold I'm feeling good. Once I have written these last thousand words I'll be free from assignments for a month or so. It'll be time to use all this exciting energy in practise. For more Wonderful Wednesday goodness take a look at the rest of the gang's posts: JoHelenMichelleSarahSallyCatSamEl Kerri's,Mimmi'sMartina's AND lovely Isabelle, follow along with #wonderfulwednesday on twitter or instagram, let me know what's made you smile n the comments or better still, write your own post!

Kate xx

Monday, 23 January 2017

Walk around Debenham






The weather here in the last few days has been blue skies, but there's a nip in the air that makes me long for summer. When warmth caresses your skin turning it a golden tan.

So today I'm remembering an adventure from last summer. Sunny days always make me want to get outside and explore. There are such beautiful places right on my doorstep that I am yet to venture to.

Debenham is one of those places that aren't on the road to anywhere. I wouldn't just pass through, but it's definitely worth the detour. An afternoon with no work and a gorgeous summery day were the perfect excuse to explore.

The main street through the town is lined by beautiful houses of varying ages. There's a novelty feel to the town. The colourful houses with carefully tended gardens are swathed in bunting. I took a leisurely walk and popped in and out of the many independent shops.


After walking the length of the main street I settled outside Vanilla Bake House for a refreshing bite to eat. It was a perfect spot to people watch. The florist opposite popped in with a delivery of flowers for the tables and people walked past at a leisurely pace. I enjoyed a refreshing rose lemonade and a gluten free ginger cake which was perfect to refuel after my wander. 

The streets were filled with tiny independent shops. I browsed everything from antiques, hardware, gifts and cards. All the shopkeepers were friendly and chatty. Such a pleasant afternoon in the sunshine.

Kate xx

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hugs


I want to talk about hugs.

Hugs that are so tight and go on for so long because you don't want to let go of the person. Where you have to squeeze your eyes so tightly shut because otherwise you may just weep a little bit. The knowledge that you may not see that person for a while keeps that hug going for slightly longer.

Hugs to say, I'm home. To say hello. To say I'm back.

Hugs to hold in the pain. That encircle you with another body like armour to protect you from the outside world. Where you become one entity against the world. A team that will make it through together.

Hugs to welcome. To snuggle yourself in the love of another. Where you feel that warmth of mutual kindness. The hug is so soft and comfortable that it feels like that teddy you had when you were little and just made you feel ok.

Hugs to say thank you. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for putting up with all my little quirks and foibles.

Hugs that are often. When you walk in the room or just because you feel like it. Just because a snuggle would be nice. When you get a message that says 'I'll be back in 5 and I'll come in for a cuddle'.

Hugs have been proven to enhance your wellbeing. Physical contact with another reduces loneliness and makes you happy. So today, hug the ones you love. Hug people and mean it. The average hug lasts 3 seconds. Hold them tight for as long as you can.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #44


First up, how cute is this little table and chairs? I came across it tucked in this little alcove on a walk during the week. It was hiding away surrounded by these pots of flowers and definitely brightened my day. Now on with the week. It's been one of those weeks where nothing has really stood out. A week of grey drizzly days and spending my time tweaking essays. Well that's what I thought until I started writing this post. From then on in I remembered all the wonderful things that had occurred this week. I love these posts for jogging my memory and making me appreciate the little moments.

1. First game of the year. I played my first game of cricket of 2017 on Sunday. We started off to a flier with a great win. It's been lovely to meet up with the team again after Christmas and get started. The B team also played this week. We all stood on the balcony cheering them on as many played their first game ever. We have a lovely supportive club. I just can't wait for next week's game now.

2. Spontaneous adventures. This week my flatmates and I decided to go on adventure. We went for a nighttime walk around a local country park. Being out there in the open made me think of home. It was so quiet and you could see the stars. It's the first time since I've been in Plymouth that I've seen the stars.

3. Rain on my skylight. Waking up gently to the sound of rain on the skylight is such a relaxing feeling. I knew that I hadn't got anywhere I needed to be in the morning so I could remain in that fuzzy just woken up state and just listen.

4. Food. It's been a really good food week. From Mexican bean burgers with homemade sweet potato chips and veg, to homemade pasta sauce stuffed full of veggies and covered with melted cheese. My mum gave me some really dark chocolate for Christmas so I've been rationing that through this week and dosing up on honey and lemon to keep the dreaded winter lurgy away.

5. Friends who share interests. In real life I talk about cricket a lot. It's my major passion and something I love. When you find a friend who asks whether you'd like to come over just to watch the cricket that someone special. My friend and I spent the afternoon eating bread rolls fresh from the oven whilst watching and chatting cricket. Not everyone's idea of fun, but pretty perfect for me.

6. Kind actions. This week I helped my flatmate proof read her essay. A little thing that we all do for each other. I came back from uni the next day to find she had bought me and new plate and bowl. Bearing in mind that I only owned one plate before this, it was a really practical and thoughtful gift. The plate and bowl are covered in blue polka dots and are so lovely. I did not expect anything, but I am so grateful for my present.

7. Watching films that make you feel. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when we watched Room the other night. I'm not going to spoil the plot for you, but just say I highly recommend it. It's moving and hard hitting, but will draw you in to the drama.

And that's it for another week. In between library visits and writing essays I've still found time to appreciate moments that have made me smile. I think that's what's so special about #wonderfulwednesday and why you should get involved. Comment below what has made your week, use #wonderfulwednesday on twitter or instagram and head over to JoHelenMichelleSarahSallyCatSamEl Kerri's,Mimmi'sMartina's AND lovely Isabelle.

Kate xx

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Active Aging

This is one of the few photos I have of my grandma as she hates having her photo taken.

My Grandma has a twin called Joan. They are 83 in a month’s time, but every time my grandma visits her twin she gets told off. Told off for doing too much.

My Grandma wakes up every morning at 6am she makes herself a pot of tea and makes breakfast for her and my aunt. When my aunt has gone to work, my grandma walks down the road to get the morning papers. Joan tells her off. She could have those delivered.

During the morning she will go and work on her allotment. Here she grows everything – from tomatoes in her poly tunnel, to strawberries in their cage and potatoes that she puts in by hand. Joan doesn’t understand why she bothers. You can get all those vegetables at the supermarket or even have them delivered to her.

But that allotment isn’t just her working hard, it’s a little community. They all help each other. While my grandma will give everyone jars of homemade tomato chutney and excess strawberries, in return she gains eggs from the chickens and fresh raspberries. But it’s not just produce she gains. She gains the friendship and communication of the fellow allotment owners. So many old people live in isolation, but here she has a community looking out for her.

During the afternoon she will clean the house. Taking pride in the dusting of my late Grandad’s bowling trophies. Again Joan tells her off. She could have someone in to do that. My grandma’s argument against every telling off is that while she can do it, she will. She is very active. She cycles round the village and bakes cakes for everyone.

In contrast, her twin Joan has never been active. Their careers were so very different and this has continued into their older age. Whilst my grandma worked in the orchards picking apples, my great aunt worked in a shop. Whilst my grandma enjoyed every aspect of PE and sport, Joan did everything she could to avoid it.

I can see the benefits of being active and my grandma inspires me to do this throughout my life. She is fitter and healthier than her twin. More than this she has a greater motivation to do things for herself. She has told me how much it will frustrate her when her body declines and she can’t do things for herself, but at 82 and as active as she is, she is an inspiration.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Aldeburgh


One of my last days spent in Suffolk was a day spent by the seaside. Aldeburgh is one of my favourite beaches. Despite its stony shore it has such a good chip shop. A visit is never complete without a bag of chips, open and dowsed with salt and vinegar.


There was such a beautiful hazy winter sunshine and the wind had died down. Perfect for a walk along the beach.


On the beach had been placed a Christmas tree. It was a local art project where people could leave messages for those who weren't spending Christmas with them. The remembrance tree was decorated with moving messages and stones around the base had been written on too. Staring out to sea was a moment for reflection and calm.


Finally, we reached Maggi Hambling's Shell which sits on the beach in Aldeburgh. It reads ' I hear those voices, that will not be drowned'. In a world where uncertainty prevails don't let your kind hearted voice be drowned.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #43


This week has been one of transition. This time last week I was snuggled up in my bed at home, snacking on the last remnants of the celebrations tin and brie (but not together, that would be weird) and contemplating how Christmas could have gone so quickly. This week I'm still in my PJs, but this time having been observing in a school all day and done an hour of dance fitness. Although I admit shedding a few tears on the train back down to Plymouth, I'm so happy I'm back. My motivation is sky high right now. I've been getting up early and falling into bed exhausted everyday because I've packed so much in. To be honest this motivation has come at a pretty good time with 3 essays to write in the next couple of weeks. However, there's always time to notice those little things that make life better, so on with the show...

1.   Farewell meals. My oldest friends cooked me a farewell meal of vegetarian enchiladas on Friday night. Sat round the table talking about anything and everything it's sad to know I'm now hundred of miles away from these girls. I can't wait for them to come and visit me in February.

2.  Running around the garden with Ben. I don’t know if he knew I was going back to university the next day, but Ben was so excited to see me. He ran out of his kennel and ran round the garden. He kept coming up for a quick cuddle and then running off again. In the end we were both just running round the garden happy.

3. Bacon, Brie and red onion chutney sandwiches. To be eaten greedily before jumping on a 6 hour train ride back to university. A great combination.

4. Seeing my flatmates. I never thought that after meeting people for 3 months I would become so attached to them. But I definitely missed them over Christmas. It's lovely to be able to just pop into their room for a catch up, have someone to share your day with or just a hug.

5. Cooking together. Our first meal all together back in the flat, we cooked bangers and mash. We cooked together and sat round the table to catch up on life. We're like our own little family and have the dramas that come with it, but support each other through essays, tears and worries. 

6. Coaching for the first time. Since I've been down n Devon I've been itching to coach again. I miss my cricket so much and so when the opportunity came up to coach I grabbed it. If I hadn't have joined the cricket club here at uni it would never have come up so I'm very thankful. I forgot how much of a buzz I get from watching players progress and knowing I have had made a difference. Connecting with new players makes me really excited to see how they improve through the weeks. One of the girls came on so much and told me she felt so much more confident at the end. 

7. Giggling all the way through exercise. After a cancelled cricket training session my friend and I really wanted to do some exercise. So we stuck on some dance fitness videos in her room. We spent so much time laughing I'm fairly certain that I got more of an ab work out from giggling. In her tiny room we ended up bashing into the wardrobe, turning the completely wrong ways and finding every move hilarious. I've never done quite so many squats in a row and certainly couldn't get my leg up as high as the woman on the video, but we had so much fun doing it. 

So that's another week gone. I'm sure they're getting quicker or maybe that's just because I have deadlines! For more wonderful do head over to see what has been making the gang smile: JoHelenMichelleSarahSallyCatSamEl , KerriMimmiMartina and Isabelle. Let us know what's made your week by a comment or use #WonderfulWednesday on twitter or instagram.

Have a great week lovelies
Kate xx

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Exercise for the new year


At this time of the year there is a lot of pressure on exercising specifically to lose weight. Whilst I would not judge anyone for this goal, it is constantly in the media. This can be really harmful for some people. However I am truly an advocate for exercise as it has so many benefits.

So many people are put off exercise due to poor experiences of PE. This could be anything from being made to go outside in the cold to the clothing that they were made to wear. If the teacher was not supportive or in some cases insulting this can make people have very negative thoughts about exercise in general. I am not saying this is the case for all and there’s some amazing teachers out there. I hope to become one and help inspire children to enjoy exercise throughout their lifetime.

There are so many different ways to exercise out there and I truly believe there is something for everyone. They do not have to look like the activity you were made to do in school or even set foot in a gym.

There are many reason to get involved in exercise:

1. To be stronger. This was one of my main reasons I got more highly involved in training. I wanted to improve my core strength as this would help my balance in everyday life.

2. To improve mental wellbeing. As well as the tonne of endorphins (happy hormones) that are proven to fill your body after exercise it is also proven that doing physical activity throughout your life can enhance your quality of life.

3. As a social activity. I love being part of a team and have met so many of my friends through sport. Even if you don’t like team sports there will be plenty of opportunities to meet people through exercise classes or even just when walking in the park.

4. To improve your skills. I find that making myself better and seeing progress is a major motivator. Seeing yourself get better is a major boost and makes me want to continue.

5. To try something new. Have you ever though that you’d love to try a certain sport or activity. Why not try now? I recently tried handball and loved it. Trying something new mean you are learning all the time and will see significant progress. I know this can be daunting because we hate being bad at something, but I know that there will be people at clubs to help support you. Be brave. 

There are so many benefits of exercise so why not get involved this new year.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #42


Welcome to the first Wonderful Wednesday of 2017. Pull up a chair and snuggle up with a cup of something warm because it seems to have got a whole lot chillier since we passed Christmas. I've been scraping ice off my car and waking to crisp, clear, frosty mornings. The ones that lead to the most beautiful of wintry sunsets mere hours later. Despite these shortened days I've been cramming them to the top with seeing friends, spending time with my family and eating. At the weekend I head south, back to university, so I want to make the most of every moment here.

1. Bookshops. A friend and I spent a lovely morning mooching around bookshops. For every shelf we had a recommendation or a story to tell about a book. Her enthusiasm for reading really got to me as I realised how few books I'd read recently. I used to be under their bed covers with a torch reading way past my bedtime, but now I hardly read a book that is not related to my course. Partly because I have very few books with me down at university. I can't wait to find the library in Plymouth and start reading her massive recommendation list.

2. Sunsets. This must have featured on at least the last 3 wonderful Wednesdays, but I can't get over how beautiful the sunsets are in Suffolk. Every evening I rush outside with my camera to capture the last moments of light. I've even had to stop the car this week to have Adele on the radio full blast and just watch the sun setting. This week we even go to see Venus which you can see as the bright star just below the moon here.


3. New Year. I laughed and smiled myself into the new year surrounded by some of my oldest friends. We sipped wine, held hands and sung Auld Lang Syne. At midnight we pulled every party popper known to man then hugged. We sang along to Robbie and watched the fireworks.  Then clad in PJs we watched the Hannah Montana movie as our eyes drooped. It's the happiest new year I have had.

4. Early nights. That lead to early mornings and productive days. I love curling up all warm and snug to an early night sometimes. My sleeping pattern has shifted into lay ins so I'm determined to get back into my usual pattern ready for working again.

5. Plaits. More specifically dutch braids. This week I have been experimenting with my hair as I have more time to play. Having nailed a single dutch braid, I went for two. Feeling slightly like a more complicated version of the pigtails I have when I was 7 wasn't a bad thing and I even had compliments during the day.


6. Knitwear shopping trips. My mum and I are not great shoppers. We usually spend more time eating on a trip than shopping. This trip was no exception - we stopped for big bowls of pasta and the lightest, gooiest chocolate orange cake. However I also bought some soft, snuggly cardigans that are already firm favourites and perfect for keeping warm this winter.

So that's what's been making my week special, but the fun does not stop there. These lovely ladies  JoHelenMichelleSarahSallyCatSamEl , KerriMimmiMartina and Isabelle all write about the best bits of their week. To join in leave us a comment, use the hashtag on twitter or instagram or write your own post. 

I'm going to whisper this really quietly, but there's mention of a little meet up between our Wonderful Wednesday gang and I simple cannot contain my excitement. I may have been running around the house singing, but these rumours can't be confirmed. Watch this space!

Kate xx

Monday, 2 January 2017

Boxing Day in Photos



It seems a Boxing Day tradition to go for a walk. To blow the cobwebs from the indulgence of Christmas. This year the cobwebs were well and truly blown. Despite the photos looking a beautiful blue, the wind was brisk and strong.


My Mum and I had packed a picnic, including all the best bits of Christmas. The nice ham cut thickly into sandwiches and slathered in the onion chutney that is only eaten at this time of the year. We ate large chunks of quiche and posh crisps. This was washed down with that posh fizzy grape juice. The non alcohol alternative that always surfaces at festive times. It was drunk out of posh plastic cups. The ones out of a long forgotten about picnic set adorned with flowers. However the wind was too biting for chilly, outside picnics, so all was balanced in the car with the heating keeping us toasty.


We then ventured on a walk around Beccles Quay which, after following signs, took us the Beccles Fen. Although brisk it was lovely to get moving again and spend time with my mum.


How was your Christmas period and what did you get up to?

Kate xx