Friday, 31 March 2017

Spring Studying



On a sunny Monday morning there was no part of me that wanted to stay inside. However, my mountain of coursework dictated that work must be done. So the next best thing was to gather up all my textbooks and find somewhere to work outside. There's something about being outside and the sunshine that makes me so much more motivated.

Unfortunately there's a lack of green spaces on my university campus as it's right in the middle of the city so I headed to our nearest park. Beaumont Park is less than 10 minute walk from my house so it's a lovely break from the business of the city. I mentioned this park back in the Autumn and it was lovely to look back and see the changes in the park.


Spring had definitely sprung in the park and carpets of daffodils bloomed under the trees. The sun was so warm that I didn't even need my cardi and I could roll up the legs of my dungarees. The horse chestnuts were bursting out in foliage. It reminded me of my mum. In the Spring when we were little she would spend the whole time stopping us at every horse chestnut and tell us 'the sticky buds are popping'. I'm so grateful she's given me this appreciation of nature.



The rest of the week has not had the sunny days on Monday, but at least that does mean the library doesn't feel so confining. Where's your favourite place to study? Is getting outside important to you?


Kate xx

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #53


Hello, sunshiney weather, longer brighter evenings and the promise of spring. This clock change has got me all sorts of happy and spring definitely gives me that motivating jolt. I'm so happy to see glimpses of blossom on the trees and, as my mum would say, 'the sticky buds popping' on the horse chestnuts. This week has been one of getting outside and enjoying nature.

1. Progress. This week I finished my placement and I was so proud to see the progress the children I had worked with had made. It was incredible to think of what they had learnt in such a short space of time and being part of that was amazing.

2. Early morning walks. On Saturday I had an appointment at 9am so I made the 1 and a half mile walk in beautiful sunshine. I choose a route where I could meander through the park and take in the daffodils and dogs. After walking back I felt so motivated for the day. Being active in the morning makes my days seem longer and I can get so much more done. I feel productive, especially when the sun's out!

3. So many dogs. This weekend also saw a visit to the Hoe which is a park right next to the sea here in Plymouth. With the sun out most of Plymouth and their dogs had gravitated there. This meant that I spent my whole time shouting 'DOG!' at highly inappropriate volumes and stroking every single one that came within a 10 metre radius. This was all well and good until a cheeky beagle started trying to eat our picnic then there was a quick scramble to hide the doughnuts.

4. Sunset walks. My flatmates and I finished our weekend with a walk to the sea to watch the sunset. As the pinkish hues danced across the sky and the light faded we chatted about anything and everything. Laughing so much that people stopped to look our way. A lovely way to finish our weekend.

5. Club day. The cricket club spent Sunday playing sports against each other. Spending a day in the company of my teammates whilst raising money was lovely although everyone got very over competitive!

6. Meals cooked for me. Last night after a long 9-6 stint at uni I looked out of the window to see the rain chucking it down. Thankfully for me I had a quick dash to my friends flat which is mere metres from my lecture building where she cooked dinner for me. One of the boring, effortfilled things about university is deciding what to cook so having her cook for me was such a break. She cooked enchiladas which were full of spicy tomatoey, cheesey goodness. I really enjoy sharing a meal with someone and being able to just chat.


7. Park studying. Monday saw sunshine where I didn't even need a jumper! The likelihood of me spending much time indoors was narrow, but I do have a lot of work to do. Therefore I decided to find myself a different study space. I took a walk down to the park and armed with supplies (a kinder beuno) read and took notes in the sunshine. Again may have got distracted by a few dogs, but I felt so much happier being outside.

8. Weird and wonderful combinations. I have only 3 days until I go home for Easter and we're in the home straight in regards to food. I don't want to do another shop which would spoil over Easter so I'm mixing up my combinations. My current go to breakfast sounds really weird, but tastes so yummy. I have been mixing a handful of porridge oats and chopped up dried apricots into greek yoghurt then adding a swirl of nutella on top.

So that's another sun filled week of happiness. For more listings of joy head on over to: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and our lovely newest addition Emma. Do let me know f I've missed you off and share what's been making your week special.

Kate xx

Monday, 27 March 2017

Planning for Summer


Can we just take a moment to appreciate the sunny days we've been having in the last week? We even had 2 in a row on a weekend! A sunny weekend and very little scheduled makes me happy. It included early morning sunshine walks and lazy afternoons chatting whilst looking out to see. The weekend was full of picnics, impromptu games and quick walks to watch the sunset over the sea. The sunshine always makes me feel brighter and more motivated. I want to be active. Waking up to sunshine pouring through my skylight makes me want to rush at the day. And even better, when you're not walking home in the dark, but slowly watching the sky gain a pinkish tinge and fade.

This has got me thinking about warmer days ahead. When shorts are my go to outfit and the sun bronzes skin and bleaches hair. My summer is already pretty packed so here's what I'm looking forward to:

1. My Placement. The last thing I'll be doing in university this year is a 4 week placement. I am so excited to get to know the children for a longer period of time and see their progression through that time. Having just finished one placement, I'm already so excited for the next one.

2. Majorca. My flatmate lives out in Majorca so I will be spending a few days out there with her this summer. I'm looking forward to seeing where she lives and experiencing the warm beaches! We'll be staying at hers and exploring the island.

3. Work. This sounds like a weird one, but I've really missed being fully involved in cricket whilst I've been at university so spending the summer at cricket festivals will be amazing. Spending my days watching cricket in the sunshine is my perfect job and the fact that I get to it in such beautiful surroundings will make it even better.

4. Seeing my family and friends. Living the other side of the country makes me cherish the time spent with friends and family even more. I'm excited for beach trips, picnics, dog walks, pub garden catch ups and all sorts of other fun activities.

5. Girls holiday. For the past 3 years me and 2 friends have had a short city break every summer. It's lovely to spend time with them exploring a city and the surrounding areas. This summer we've settled on a long weekend spent in Canterbury and exploring Kent. These girls are my closest friends, but I'm spending uni so far from them so I'm really looking forward to this.

6. Bristol trip. I'm going to be spending a couple of nights in Bristol. This is a city that I'm really excited to explore as I've heard so much about it's arty, quirky character. I'm going down to watch a cricket match with my friend, but am bound to explore the city too.

Whilst these are the main things I have booked in for my summer I know that there will so many other lovely memories that will be thrown in. Has this gorgeous weather got you excited for summer? What have you got planned?

Kate xx

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #52


As I write this I sit absolutely stuffed from such a large batch of fajitas and getting to that sleepy stage. I'm back on placement this week and it might be the most tiring one ever. I am completely whacked, but finding a little pocket of time before bed to pick out the happy moments of the week.

1. A new dress. Wednesday night it was time to dress up. The birthday girl had ordered us into little black dresses and we obeyed. There's something quite exciting about waiting for a package to arrive bearing new clothes. Trying them on and feeling happy. My new black dress is all sorts of comfortable, hides the massive bruise I have from a cricket ball on my leg and fits so well (always my fear with buying online). One happy buyer.

2. Early morning brightness. This week on placement the 6am starts have been made that little bit easier by the amount of sunlight flooding into my room. I think when you wake up to a bright room it's so much easier to extract yourself from the cosy duvet than darkness. It's giving me so much more motivation.

3. Colour coordinated days. Those days when your outfit completely matches right down to the pattern in your scarf. My first day of placement was one of those days. I felt so professional and pt together which, in turn, made me feel a better teacher somehow. It's funny how a good outfit can really change your mood.

4. Stories. Last week my tutor gave me a children's novel to read. It's the first time I have read a fiction book for pleasure for months. Waking up to a few pages or reading just before bed has been all sorts of wonderful. I'd forgotten how you can get lost in the pages of story. It's a little escapism into a different world, this one full of pirates and paradise. I need to make more time to read.

5. Vegetables. I think as the weather turns warmer and brighter that I crave crispy crunchy vegetables. This week I have been knocking my five a day out of the park as I load all my meals with vegetables. From couscous piled high with vegetables to salads in my lunchbox. I also love how colourful it makes my food.

6. Team meals. As I've said before I love how close my cricket team is and this week after training we decided to go for a spontaneous dinner. Spending time just chatting and relaxing with these girls is lovely.

7. Proud big sister. This week marks the completion date for my baby brother buying a house and I'm super proud of him. At just 18 getting on the property ladder is such a big achievement and I can't wait to get back at Easter and help hm decorate.

8. Getting in just before the rain. This is one of those little things that definitely make my day brighter and I've managed it twice this week. Once I walked back from coaching (about a fifteen minute walk) just before a massive downpour and last night walking back from the bus stop I felt the first spots. Thankfully I got in just before the worst of it.

So that's the happy moments of the week. I want to say a special thank you to all of those who have sent their wishes to my mum. She's doing so much better and should be out of hospital today! For more wonderful head to the rest of the gang's posts: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta and Kelly. If I've missed you off this list I am sorry. Give me a shout and I'm add you on!

Kate xx

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Magnolias


I drive down the same streets where I was a passenger all those years ago. The magnolia blooms planted in the sixties when these houses cropped up, are just peeking their heads out of the soft casings. Back then, the air felt grey and cold. That March was harsher to reflect the journey. A journey I took so many times to the hospital.

The air today is light and spring is on its way. Those blooms I once saw cowering away from the harsh cold are breaking through to the brightness outside. I make the same journey. Passed the streets of identikit houses. Each owner trying to mark theirs out as different. Putting their stamp on the home by painting the door a cheery red or planting daffodils to reach their heads up to the sunshine. Others are marked out in different ways. With the remnants of a once rally car slowly rusting or the hedge torn up to make way for parking. The grass decaying away with every passing of wheels over lawn. 
 
Passed those houses and back to the same hospital. Back then, the wards and corridors felt like a maze. The big institution encapsulating my grandfather who seemed so small in those walls and a large bed engulfing him. The man I knew no longer there. No longer the one who carefully and patiently showed me how to paint. How to load the brush with colour and blend. His caring hands gnarled from so many years of manual work, delicate in their ability to plait my hair in the way he did for his show horses. Who helped me tend to plants on his allotment. The skills he passed me fresh still in my mind, but lost to him as he stayed in that bed.


Today I know where to go. An adult following signs not the way of my parents. I see the hospital as a place of rest and recovery. My mum, sat on the chair next to the bed, still cracks jokes and her eyes crinkle to share the laughter where her breath can’t. Even in the couple of days I have made this journey, the breath is returning to her lungs as the life returns in the spring. As the magnolia flowers break their winter coats she will grow stronger and my last journey today leaves her safe. Safe in the knowledge that she will get better. 

Kate xx

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #51

Today's Wonderful Wednesday is written at 6am from my childhood bedroom. This week has been rocky with my mum in hospital and I've taken a few days back in Suffolk. I made the journey home to see my mum. Whilst she's not great, she definitely getting better and I can return home this afternoon knowing she'll be ok. But even in the weeks where things seem grey and tears were shed there's always wonderful moments that we should appreciate...

1. Daffodils. Everywhere I look their sunny heads are brightening the place. I bought a bunch of tight buds on a whim at the supermarket on Friday and marvelled all weekend at how quickly their blooms unfurled. The bunch, sat on my desk in a pitcher formerly from Wetherspoons, never failed to cheer my spirits.

2. Cinnamon Buns. I've said this so many times, but sometimes all you need is a walk on your own. Even when the weather is all misty and murky a walk to the sea always calms me. I sat on a bench right next to the lighthouse and watched boats go across the sound. The best addition to this; a cinnamon bun the size of my head!

3. Train travel. Whilst my reason for a 6 hour train journey was not a joyous one the actual act of travel is something |I enjoy. The hours stretched out with nothing but a good book and the perfect excuse to read it. I seem to have lost the time to read so the hours on a train were lovely. That is until I met the most fascinating woman who I chatted to for hours! I love hearing other people's stories.

4. No coat. This week I have not had to put on a coat once! It feels a little bit like the seasons are changing. I was even brave enough not to bring one home with me.

5. Empty flat. This weekend I had the flat all to myself just for an evening and it was absolute bliss. I put early 00's tunes on full blast and danced through the corridor. I had a lovely luxurious shower whilst still belting out my tunes at the top of my voice. And then I snuggled up nice and early to watch TV and eat chocolate.

6. Lemon, ginger and honey tea. This is a new discovery for me and a perfect evening drink. My flatmate had left a few teabags in her cupboard when she moved out and I am not one to waste. A big mug of this to get me warm and snug after an evening training was just what I needed. It's like a zingy, comforting hug.

7. Spending time with my brother. I miss my family when I'm at uni. I miss singing at the top of our lungs on nighttime drives. I miss sharing Chinese food straight from the packet. I miss all those silly little phrases and inside jokes. It was lovely to be with him for a little while.

And there we have another week of moments captured. Little happy moment that make me smile. For more check out these lovely ladies: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta and Kelly or share on twitter with #wonderfulwednesday.

Kate xx

Saturday, 11 March 2017

So Far Away


For the first time since I started university I've realised how far away from home I am. How far from my family and friends. How a train journey can take 7 hours whilst the coach can take half a day. The 350 miles that separate us can feel small when I pick up the phone, but the gulf is so enormously wide when someone the other end needs me.

There's no easy way to pop home. No teleporter that could just take me back to give a hug. With my mum in hospital all I want is to hold her hand but instead I'm so far away and feeling helpless. Not knowing whether I should hop on that train home and turn up at home in the middle of the night still unable to do anything. The video calls with my family don't help. They don't let me know how much I should rush.

Whilst currently it's nothing too serious, it's got me thinking. With me so far away anything could happen. I imagine that the last time I saw her walking through the barriers at the train station here in Plymouth. As she waved goodbye and I cried as I knew I wouldn't see her for a month.

Now I cry because what if something happens when I am here and they are there. And I can't rush down the road. Or pop in. When a trek across the country leaves me stranded at the bottom of the country away from them all.

I feel so far from her. Not being able to talk to her as she struggles for breath. I feel she must be so alone. When you're a child in hospital your parents look after you, but as an adult no one is there day and night. Just stroking your hair and holding your hand. I want to be there for her like all the many times she's been there for me.

Kate xx

Friday, 10 March 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #50


I've made it to 50 of these little wonderful Wednesday posts and for that I'm giving myself a pat on the back. Who knew I could keep up, sometimes doggy paddling through treacle whilst Micheal Phelps cruises along in the fast lane, but always keeping going. Sometimes I confuse myself with my metaphors, that one is a little niche! What I'm trying to say is 50 is a pretty huge number and lots and lots of wonderful. We should be thankful to the lovely Sally for inspiring the start of the happiest little gang of wonderful Wednesdayers.

1. Birthday. On Tuesday I had my 22nd birthday. My flatmates woke me early with presents and met me off the us from placement. They'd filled me room with balloons and had plenty of festivities planned. I spent the evening surrounded by the lovely people I have met here at uni. The only downfall was apparently when you reach 22 the worst hangovers in the world kick in!

2. Smores pancake. Possibly my best cooking moment ever. I have been shovelling pancakes into my mouth since pancake day. Every year I remember how good pancakes are and just want them for every meal. The best topping ever though - spread nutella over them then sprinkle marshmallows on top. Zap in the microwave so the marshmallows go all gooey. So good!

3. Cricket. Ok so I know this one always features, but food and cricket pretty much are my life. Last weekend I played the final of the league that our uni team are in. Last year the uni didn't win a single game so we've done so well to get to the final and although we lost it was such a close game. I'm proud to be part of such a great team of friends. Afterwards we went for a meal and sat laughing for hours. Teammates who become friends are the best.

4. Ed's new album. I have not stopped listening to it since it was released. It's such a mix of catchy tunes and ones that punch you right in the feels.

5. The faintest rainbows. On Sunday morning I woke up in that comfy, warm state where I could just hear the rain on my skylight. As I woke up properly from dosing I looked up and saw the faintest rainbow as the sun tried to push through the clouds.

6. Powerbounce. I'm such an advocate for trying new exercise so when I saw a have a go class for powerbounce on campus I gathered my team of girls and signed up. Yes well though we were going to fall through or off the mini trampolines, yes we didn't look anything like the instructor as we flailed out of time and yes it was hard work, but we laughed together and realised that we actually could do it and had lots of fun. Why not try something new this week?

Well that's all for now folks. It's been another busy week and I'm taking my birthday as the excuse for being late! However, these lovely ladies were smack bang on time and made my Wednesday reading so much better. Go read now:  JoHelenMichelleSarahKateCatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta and Kelly! Share your thoughts on twitter (#wonderfulwednesday) or in the comments.

Kate xx

Friday, 3 March 2017

Wembury Beach


On one of the sunniest days of February, with my oldest friends in Plymouth, we went exploring. I had heard rumours of how beautiful Wembury beach is and it didn't disappoint. Just a few miles outside Plymouth you could be fooled that you are nowhere near the city. Despite it being the sunniest day of half term the beach wasn't too busy. We packed ourself a picnic and sat people watching.


For all you dog lovers, this is a perfect pooch spotting area. I'm just going to give you the mental image of a dachshund trying to paddle its way through the rock pools. Or the spaniel who went running through and soaked everyone within a 100yrd radius. Or the little fluffy puppy who really wasn't sure about the water, but when he finally did get in came out looking half the size with all it's fur sticking to its sides.
Ok so we did a lot of dog watching...


We also explored the rock pools. Noticing how the water rippled over the sand and the many barnacles that clung to one side of the rocks. We were like kids again. Climbing and clambering over the rocks. Feeling the sponging texture of swaiths of seaweed. Drawing messages in the sand and watching them get washed away again.


We then climbed to the top of a nearby hill on which stands the village church. Sitting on a bench looking out to sea we deliberated life and talked about plans for the future. As the sun set and the tinges of pink started to creep across the sky my friend asked us to be 'protectors and guardians' of her future child. The equivilant of a godparent and I am so honoured. A moment on that bench where we hugged and I will never forget.


Kate xx

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #49

Told you last week the train journey from Exeter to Plymouth is spectacular.
When I started thinking about this week's list I thought it was a prett run of the mill kind of week and I wouldn't have much to say. I guess the beauty of taking the time to write these little lists is that it really makes you think and pick out thosse brilliant moments. They might not be earth shatteringly large or change your life, but if all these moments add up then they make life so much better. Taking time to be grateful for them makes me so much happier.

1. This Girl Can. I cannot get on board with this campaign enough. From the first time I saw all sorts of ladies getting their freak on in the first advert I was hooked. It made me think that it was ok to try something new. It brought exercise to so many who thought it was only for a certain type of woman. Now there's a new advert, narrated by Maya Angelo. With the poem that I talked about last Wonderful Wednesday - Phenomenal Women. At coaching this week I wore my #thisgirlcan top with pride as I inspired our next generation of girls to enjoy sport.

2. That pizza sitting at the bottom of the freezer. When you have the worst day and you just feel rubbish and you realise that you have a pizza. You can whack it in the oven and have cheesey goodness with minimum effort. Thank you and well done past Kate.

3. Going out to dinner just because. On Saturday night my flatmate and I were home alone so we decided to treat ourselves to dinner out. No special occasion, just vouchers that meant we wouldn't have to pay for it.

4. Lifts. The weather has been pretty dire recently and any time I've left the house I've been soaked to the skin. That's why I'm particularly grateful for lifts to training and work.

5. Tipsy chats that turn into big plans. I'll set the scene... I've finished a uni presentation, we decide to go for a pint. The afternoon of drinking was going well until I realised I was meeting someone. Well turns out a little bit of tipsy allows you to be a bit more confident in your abilities and talk yourself up a bit more. I wouldn't recommend it, but this conversation turned into big plans. Into exciting things for the future and people that are prepared to put time in to support me do it.

6. Focused library time. Saturday morning. In the library early doors. Took in my lunch. Smashed out 1300 words in 3 hours. Bish Bash Bosh!

7. Feeling exercise tired. You know that kind of dull ache that means you moved and used all the muscles in your body. Although you ache all over it kind of delicious because it shows how much you worked and how awesome your body is. I always feel drowsy afterwards and fall into such a deep, comfy sleep that when I wake I feel rested completely.

8. The biggest sausage sandwich. There is always room for food on Wonderful Wednesday and this is no exception. (I may have already mentioned pizza and a meal out, but run with me.) After coaching in the evening in a very cold sports hall and hot sausage sandwich was just the ticket. I had fresh, seedy bread, a generous, maybe excessive amount of sausage and lashings of ketchup. Perfect warm up food.

9. Pancakes. A Wonderful Wednesday in pancake day week without mention of the wonderful foods would be sacrilege. Mine were spread with nutella and filled with slices of banana. Yum.

And with that we hurtle into March. This year seems to be flying by! What has been making your week that little bit more special? Share using #wonderfulwednesday, comment and find out what's been making the rest of the gang smile:  JoHelenMichelleSarahSallyCatSamEl Kerri's,Mimmi'sLynsey Martina's AND lovely Isabelle.

Kate xx