Friday, 26 May 2017

Perranporth Adventuring

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

Wonderful Wednesday #61

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:  SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and Emma and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram - #Wonderfulwednesday

Kate xx

Monday, 22 May 2017

Weekend on My Own

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.

Kate xx

Friday, 19 May 2017

Creating at University

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.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #60

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: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and Emma and use the hashtag on twitter and instagram.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #59

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: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and Emma use the hashtag #wonderfulwednesday or comment below.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #58

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: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and Emma. Let us know what's been making your week special in the comments or #wonderfulwednesday

Kate xx

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Baylham Rare Breeds Farm

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.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #57

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: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and Emma. Give me a shout if your name isn't on the list. The gang is evergrowing!

Kate xx

Monday, 24 April 2017

My First Swim for 10 Years

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

Kate xx

Friday, 21 April 2017

Yellow is the Colour of the Moment

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.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #56

Welcome to another of my wonderful Wednesday witterings. This week you find me relaxed. Chilled as my Grandma puts it. She really does think she's down with the kids! As I'm still at home, I have spent most of my time just pottering. Doing bits and pieces here and there. Spending time with lovely people and generally just appreciating how magnificent this place I call home is. Whether it's my lovely family and friends, the gorgeous scenery (which I fear I took for granted for years) or the spaniel one, it's been lovely in a slow way.

1. Norwich. This is another place I took for granted when I lived here. Take my day there on Thursday. t comprised of cheese scones the size of my head from an independent cafe, watching the amazing Kinks musical, Sunny Afternoon and then happening upon an LGBT protest. Not to mention the hour spent happily in the new library surround by calm and lots of books!

2. Just the best frites. Another day, another catch up meal. It seems to be the talk of these holidays. This time the most amazing frites (cos I'm so down with the french lingo) were coupled with chats about religion and love and loss and belonging. I'm astounded by the intellect of my closest friends and how important our deep chats are.

3. Blossom. The tree that sits halfway down my garden has just exploded this week. The cherry blossom was threatening it all of last week and today it sits in the sunshine a complete riot of pink, the tree bursting with blooms.

4. Just a little thank you. Just a small boy after his first cricket session ever rushing over to me to thank me, with the biggest smile on his face. Closely followed my his mum who thanked me for even letting him join and taking the time to help him. Those are the first steps on his journey and it's why I coach.

5. Training for myself. This week I have been spending time working on myself. An hour bowling on my own on a completely deserted field (until 3 teenage boys turned up and were complete idiots, but less said about the better). An hour spent improving myself for me.

6. Talented others. My friend is a pretty marvellous musician and spending Easter Sunday evening in a country pub with a cider and her acoustic/ folky tunes was lovely. She played a real mix of songs from 80s classics all the way to Taylor Swift all adapted in her style. But it was her rendition of Songbird that got me. A beautiful song, played to perfection. I wanted to weep, but you know packed pub and all...

7. Sunset walks. Rounding off a lovely bank holiday weekend with walking Ben with my brother. We went just as the sun started to dip below the horizon. I go on about sunsets a lot, but they really do bring me joy. I never get tired of how they change and are unique. Plus spending precious moments with my brother is special too.

And there we have it for another week. By the time I write next week's post I will be back in Plymouth and am highly likely to be a lot more busy, but for now I will spend the last few days here taking it easy. For more head over to the rest of the gang: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and Emma.  Let me know if you are also #wonderfulwednesday - ing and I'll add you to my list. Let me know what has made your week a little bit special by commenting or getting involved on twitter. We're such a friendly bunch, promise!

Kate xx

Friday, 14 April 2017

My First Wicket

I remember the first wicket I ever got in a boys match. The team were short, so incredibly short that both my brother and I had been called in. My brother 3 years younger than the others and me a girl. The first time a girl had ever played in the boys teams for my club. But this game could help decide the league standings and the manager wasn't going to concede for no reason.

Lingo, our manager, who I never saw out of his shorts and flip flops even in the cold evenings of junior cricket, was young. Must have been younger than I am now. But he had faith in this muddle of youngsters that we called our team. He got us on his side with a wide grin, banter and a kick about before our cricket match instead of the normal warm up.

I had been training with these boys for a few months. The club had decided that to extend the girls we would be in the nets with the boys. There was no question of whether we should be welcomed there. The boys saw as other players, but this was not true of our opposition. That evening as we arrived at our home ground the opposition were less than impressed that they would be facing a girl. In fact their chests puffed as if they knew they already had the game in the bag.

It wasn't until late into the game that I was called on to bowl. Just when the game was getting tight. When the match could have swung either way and either side could sense victory. The pressure was on. As I stood at the end of my mark I felt everyone watching me. That's the funny thing about cricket, the individual performance within a team game. The limelight being on you even though you stand on the pitch with 10 teammates.

The moment of watching myself bowl it etched in my brain even now. I can remember the batter standing ready and the long, deep breath I took before I ran in. The keeper and first slip clapping their hands together in encouragement then settling themselves into position. The ball looping through the air and the twitch of movement as the batsman made his decisions just the split second too early. Bat curved upwards and away from his body so the ball jumped into the air. The dive forwards the fielder made to clasp his hands under the ball just before it hit the ground. As he rolled to protect the precious ball from spilling I had realisation of what had happened. I had the scoring batsman out. I had the opposition out and I had won the match for my team.

Then with the elation that hit so did my teammates. Boys who I only vaguely knew. Had met only a few times in my life came running towards me with grins gripping their faces. The rain of high fives and hugs came quickly. Players running from all parts of the field to converge here. To share the celebrations between me and the catcher. And in that moment I was accepted. I became part of the team. I had proved that I could do it.

These boys became my teammates for the next 4 years and beyond. I trained with them and played games every week. I could recognise each one by the way they stood from the other side of the field such was our closeness. I grew up with them, they became my other brothers.

But then life happens. People drop out of cricket for all sorts of reasons. School work too much, real work takes priority and some lose the love for the game. I left the club for another and now I hardly speak to my former teammates. But I have a bank of wonderful memories both on and off the pitch that all started from this moment and this wicket.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #55

Well aren't we the luckiest of duckies with the weather we are having right now? I have spent most of this week basking in the sunshine and appreciating days when I don't have to take a jacket with me. This week has been a busy one of making the most of being home. It's lovely to see so many of my gorgeous friends and family. We've packed lots in, but it's also lovely to not be on a time schedule. I'm really in the holiday vibe of relaxation. Therefore this is a bumper massive list of happy things. Some big and some tiny moments that make me happy.

1. All of the food. Oh my goodness I have had the most delicious food since being back. It seems that all social occasions involve food. I've been for some yummy meals and cake dates. Think pulled pork burgers, baked camembert, chocolate calzone and too many cakes to name.

2. The best company. This links to the above point. This week has been all about catching up with friends and family. To spend hours catching up on life. To laughing out loud over the silliest things. To reminiscing with my oldest friends. To talk over life plans and getting excited.

3. Sunshine. Long afternoons have been spent out in the sunshine this week. Whether I have been studying, chatting or playing with Ben being out in the sunshine makes me happy. My freckles are exploding and it really lifts my mood. Also it means you can sneak in cheeky beach trips!

4. Reading. I was given a late birthday present this week of The Art of Being Normal. It's been so long since I have sat down and read a book cover to cover. This was a book that I could not put down. I had tears in my eyes as I read parts of it. It's an amazing book that will make you stay up until 2am to finish it if you're not careful. Also quick shout out to libraries for being amazing places filled with stories and welcoming and free.

5. Ben. Is the cutest spaniel ever. Sorry Michelle, but I'm biased. I've been soaking up all the time I can with him recently because I miss him so much at university. He's wants attention all the time and is prepared to give so much love. Even if that does mean him sitting on you when you're reading in the garden.

6. Accomplishment. This weekend was one of DIY. My brother's new house needs a bit of work and so it was all hands on deck this weekend. My dad drummed practical skills into me at a very early age (I wasn't allowed to drive until I could change my tyre)! So now I'm very happy to get involved and use my skills. By Sunday lunchtime I had hung 2 doors and stacked 3 trailer loads of firewood and was feeling accomplished. Even better was the gentle family banter going on all day and watching my dad fall off a treadmill.

7. Piglets. Back in January my best friend had piglets. Even though they are bigger now they are still so cute and I had my first visit to them. They all have their own little personalities and when I fed them they all reacted differently.

8. Rolled up jeans. I am of course the height of fashion and by that I mean I wear exactly what feels comfortable for the weather and what I'm doing. This week has been all about rolled up jeans when it's not quite warm enough for a pair of shorts. I love my shorts but rolling up my jeans just that little bit feels like a good halfway house now that Spring has sprung. It does however mean that my Grandma keeps asking me if I have grown and need new jeans!

So that's my little list of happy this week. For more head over to the rest of the gang: SallyJoHelenMichelleSarah, CatSamEl KerriMimmiMartina , Peta, Kelly and Emma.  Let me know if you are also #wonderfulwednesday - ing and I'll add you to my list. Let me know what has made your week a little bit special.

Kate xx

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Spring Sunsets

Quarter to 8 on a Sunday evening found me pulling on my Dad's oldest, most comfy jumper over my dress and sticking my wellies on ready to chase the sunset. A peak out of my window as I was working showed me the colours of the sky changing and I just knew I needed to be outside. Down the drive and along the road armed with my camera. As I nearer the footpath that opens out into the biggest of skies, the view unhampered by buildings or trees, I broke into a jog. Keen not to miss anymore of the sky's performance.

The sky was painted in pinks and blues. The clouds rushing like brushstrokes across the sky. And I simply stood. I watched the clouds change and the dark sky behind me gradually sweep forwards. There was nobody in sight and the gentle wind billowed at my skirt. The only sounds the tweetings of the birds as they went to bed.

The stillness is important to me. I have written so many times on this blog about taking time to be quiet and still in nature. It calms me and makes me feel peaceful. My mind is calm too. My thoughts still as I concentrate on the small changes around me. Much has been written about mindfulness and I'm not sure I fully understand the concept, but this is what it is to me. Being still, watching nature and using all your senses. Being aware of the small changes around you and in this I feel calm.

This is so important to me and I must remember to make moments like these a regular part of my days.

Kate xx

Friday, 7 April 2017

Every Person's story: The folded newspaper

This is a poem written in response to a moment. A moment and a person that I saw on the tube. Every person has a story to tell and I am hoping to capture these moments in a new series of creative writing.

She held the paper clenched in her hand.
Paper folded neatly into squares
which she had unfolded and folded so many times
edges feathered and frayed.

As the newspaper opens again
I saw the face of a man widen
The article based solely on him
an obituary or maybe a profile.

But why the fascination with this mystery man?
emblazoned across the newsprint and her heart
as she tucked the square inside her jacket pocket
Checking it was safe and patting twice.

Could this man be someone she longs for?
A former lover or a long lost family member
Or someone she despises?
Someone she is looking for.

She smooths the photo over again and reads
looking for clues in the writing
and as her tube stop arrives she safely stows
ready to find the meaning from the words.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Wonderful Wednesday #54

I'm currently tucked up in my own bed at home. This week has me absolutely exhausted. With travelling on Friday night and a full schedule of coaching ever since, I've been tucked up in bed early ever since. I've even found myself dosing in front of the TV. I'm looking forward to a couple of lie ins to get me back in routine. However the week has been brilliant and when my best friend asked 'Are you happy?' I answered with a resounding yes. So on with the things that have been making me happy...

1. Chocolate orange brownie. Every month there's a market at university. The street food always smells so good, but I find myself gravitating to the brownie stand. Thick, gooey slabs of brownie in every flavour you can imagine. My difficult decision was a classic chocolate orange and it was a perfect pick me up for a long afternoon of lectures.

2. Going home. I love university so much, but it makes me appreciate home and my family so much too.

3. Smiling players. The moment the massive beam comes on a player's face because they have achieved something they never thought possible is the reason I coach. This week I have been lucky enough to work with a huge range of players: from the 7 year old who absolutely smashed the ball to the 13 year old county player who nailed a new technical aspect and the lady who was a complete beginner who bowled someone out. All are equally as special and have a huge part of my heart.

4. Late Birthday cake. My Grandma came round yesterday with a large tin of chocolate cake that she'd decorated with chocolate sprinkles. Every year she has always made me a birthday cake, so it was lovely of her to keep up that tradition even when I'm not at home.

5. House tours. My brother showed me round his new house and I can't wait until he's decorated it all. It's a little rough around the edges right now, but the space is so nice and it has so many lovely features - think wooden beams and original doors. He's so excited which makes it even lovelier.

6. Sunny afternoons. Just spent sat in the garden chatting with my mum. Mum's still quite weak so spending a lot of time sitting. But being outside in the sunshine was a lovely way to while away the hours. We spotted all the birds flitting around the garden and tried to persuade our silly spaniel not to tear up his bedding.

7. Warm Showers. The restorative type after doing exercise. When you can already feel the aches coming and the warm water washes them away. Where you turn the shower up real warm because it loosens all your muscles and you come out feeling so relaxed and sleepy.

8. Yellow fields. The oil seed rape is just starting to bloom in fields all around and it's creating swathes of yellow across the countryside. Although many rue it as it aggravates hay fever, I love the vibrant colour and how it breaks up the brown and green of the fields. It's another sign of the spring coming for me and I didn't realise how unique it is to my area at home.

9. Sweet Potatoes. I've had some absolutely stonking sweet potato dishes this week. In an attempt to use up every item of fresh produce I had in the cupboard before returning home I made a huge batch of cheesy jackets with sweet potatoes. I baked the potatoes then scooped out the middles and mixed in cheese, caramelised onion and veg and grilled with even more cheese. Then just yesterday my mum made some amazing roast sweet potatoes - perfect accompaniment to roast chicken!

So that's another 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 if I've missed you off and share what's been making your week special.

Kate xx

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