Embracing the cheesier side of life

For someone who doesn’t have much love for actual, edible cheeses I do love the cheesier things in life – I’m the queen of sappy, cheesy emotions, I love cheesy scenes in movies, to see a flash mob in real life is a bucket list goal for me, and above all, I adore cheesy music!

It occured to me recently that I have been actively limiting myself to one ‘cheesy’ thing at a time – taking it easy. But is there really such a thing as too much cheese (rhetorical, I know many people will say yes but I don’t want you to).

Earlier in the summer I went for what turned into a rather epic walk early one Saturday morning with my friend Kristen and as we were walking through Hyde Park, stopped for hot drinks in Starbucks etc we decided that for no reason at all our lives that day felt like we were in a chick flick. Now, being chick flick plot experts this could only mean one thing – guy accidentally bumps into us as he runs to catch a frisbee/bump into a guy in Starbucks who spills our drink and him and his friend ask us for drinks to say sorry/some other cliched meet cute… obviously!

Anyway, as we were discussing this we passed by the Serpentine (man-made lake in Hyde park) where we noticed paddle boats for hire – new scenario, we’re in a paddle boat and find ourselves bumping into another paddle boat containing two handsome men, one of them falls in, we all laugh, live happily ever after and all that. We had to follow through.

Suddenly we thought, if we can plan to do something as cheesy as hiring a paddle boat in London (while living in London and without the excuse of being tourists) what other cheesy stuff could we do?! Thus began the best google doc of all time (possibly). To give the full list now would be telling but its going to be ridiculously fun 🙂

Last weekend item number one was ticked off the list – hiring a paddle boat in Hyde Park. Though no meet cute occured on this occasion in was brilliantly silly fun. In our planning we completely forgot the work-out aspect of pedaling through water! Not easy let me tell you! There were many drifting breaks incorporated into the hour we had on the water – in which Kristen recited poetry (very dramatically) – because if you’re going to do something cheesy you may as well go crazy on the cheese, right?! On one or two occasions we seemed to get ourselves trapped in a wind vortex (on a very non windy day) unable to stop turning in circles – my thighs certainly felt that struggle!

Conclusion: ridiculously fun but next time (or for anyone inspired by my above description) snacks and prosecco are required.

Paddle Boating

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Beginnings

Abigail awoke with a jolt to the sound of a chirruping, hiccupping from some unknown creature which to be honest could have been inside or outside her room. She wasn’t too sure and was reluctant to open her eyes to find out. The morning was bright and sunny but frosty so the desire to curl up and roll herself into a duvet cocoon was over-powering. However, within minutes Debbie burst in the door:

“OH DARLING! YOU’RE STILL ASLEEP! BUT IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY dow-now-now…”

Try as she might to ignore the dancing presence in her bedroom, Abi found the enthusiasm contagious and within minutes the two girls were shaking and bopping and twisting… like it wasn’t a Monday morning. The giggling, dancing fete was brought to an abrupt halt by Frank, who stood sobbing at the door. Abi quickly stopped the merriment and ran to console him.

“I’m not sad Abi, I’m just so thrilled this day has come but also sad to see you go. That probably doesn’t make much sense to you right now but it will some day.”

She kissed him on the cheek and ran to her wardrobe – what on earth was she going to wear!? Pretty dress? Cool jeans and a top? Within minutes her clothes had been completely ransacked and lay in piles on the bedroom floor. Normally such chaos would cause Debbie to loose her cool – she was not a fan of any sort of mess – but today she remained pensive, quietly picking up and folding the clothes Abi was dropping around her.

“Do you think they’ll like me? Is my bag big enough? Will I like them? What if they’re mean? What if I miss you? What if something happens and you’re not there? WHAT ABOUT BEN?!”

This last query was accompanied by Abi holding aloft the stuffed brown bear she had received for her fourth birthday and had gone everywhere with her since. She assumed (correctly) that where she was going would not be a place for Ben. This was something she had to do alone. Always knowing how to handle Abi’s panics, Debbie hugged her deeply and explained that life is full of what ifs but finding out was what living is all about. She explained that there is always going to be things to fear, if you want to be afraid, but Abi was stronger than that – Abi was going to be brave and happy and try new things, and sometimes leave Ben behind because she could always come back later and tell him stories of her adventures. This soothed Abi and she quickly returned to over-excitement as she thought about what lay ahead of her today.

With the help of Debbie and Frank, the perfect outfit was finally selected. Abi knew she was gorgeous – didn’t people tell her all the time. Though they insisted on calling her outfit a dress, which she knew to be wrong now… its not a dress, it’s a mogel! She had never seen another mogel on any of her shopping trips with Debbie but her aunts insisted that this is what it was. Who was she to question them?

Abi practically had to be pinned down for Debbie to do something with her hair. Her excitement was just too grand. She ran down the stairs singing ‘today’s the day, today’s the day, its finally here! Today’s the daaaaayyyy yeah”.

Frank had breakfast ready for her. They were late and she knew it. She gobbled down the weetabix and fruit sloppily and wipe her face on her sleeve.

Ronald, the resident spaniel, was strolling through the front hall when Abi pounced;

“Ronaldo! Don’t be sad, I’ll return and tell you all about it! I know you’ve been crying all night but its going to be great! Though I am scared, I wish you could come with me in case anyone is mean…”

Suddenly Abi could feel tears welling up – how were there tears left?! She had cried with Debbie for days leading up to this. Cried for joy, fear, excitement, panic. She had cried when she didn’t know what she was crying about. A big change was coming and they could all feel it. An impromptu team meeting was called! Ben, Ronald and Abi huddled together for one last group hug and pep talk:

“Ok guys, here we go! I’ve got my brand new bag, I’m pretty, I have my smile on (as per Franks instructions). I promise, I’ll tell you everything this evening. Wish me luck!” Ronald yawned widely in response.

Abi was shucking on her coat and picking up her bag, heading for the door with Debbie and Frank when suddenly Frank stopped dead in his tracks.

“Picture! We must take a picture!!” He ran into the sitting room and emerged within seconds with the fancy Kodak Abi knew she wasn’t supposed to touch (but did sometimes for the thrill). Frank began setting up the Kodak and snapping like he had only minutes left to ever take a picture again. Debbie had her phone out, though whether she was taking photos or recordings Abi wasn’t sure so she did a quick dance routine and a few poses just in case. Now it really was time to go though. The bus pulled up outside of the house. The photographers stopped what they were doing and quickly hugged and kissed Abi – both were in floods of tears now but insisting they were ‘happy tears’. Abi really wasn’t sure at this point if she was supposed to be happy or sad or laughing or crying. All she knew was that her legs suddenly felt very wobbly and a swarm of butterflies had began fluttering all around her stomach. Just before getting onto the bus Abi looked back at Frank and Debbie one last time (and hoped she’d see them again soon!)

“Bye mom!!! By Dad!!!”.

“Goodbye darling! Have a wonderful first day at school. We love you!”

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Perception is everything

I’m not sure how much any of you have noticed but in the past two years my life has changed, I have changed monumentally because my perceptions have changed – my perceptions about the world but also my perceptions about myself. This is going to sound like ‘fluff’ but it really is amazing to be able to see the good in things (most of the time – there are obviously days I still struggle) and being happy for happiness sake. Funnily enough, the changes in my perception and in my demeanour as a result have had a knock-on effect on the external happiness factors in my life (friends, family, work etc).

When i think about the person I used to be I feel sad for that other girl. That old version of me who self-bullied and had a skewed version of her reality. When I think about that person I remember the time that was wasted on constant, exhausting doubt and negativity (‘why does anyone ever want to hang out with me’ etc). But when I think about that person I am also happy that she’s gone. I’m grateful for my altered, improved perceptions (‘woohoo people want to hang out with me! Life’s great!’). I am a calmer person and less of a worrier.

I’m not sure I was given adequate warning about what being an adult really is like 🙂 We are all constantly achieving/struggling/fighting/overcoming things in our lives. The important thing to remember is:

Always believe in your soul (turn it up)

I’m reading an awesome book that my dad gifted to me at the start of the year (because he was reading it at the time and found it so brilliant he bought a copy for me too – Dad, you’re so right! This book rocks! Thank you x ). There are many things in the book that have struck chords with me about perception and the realities each of us create around ourselves. The following is something that had particular effect on me:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change.

The courage and awareness to change the one I can

And the wisdom to know it’s me.

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Spring has sprung!

…though it might not feel like it – IT’S.FREEZING!

If you’re still feeling a bit nonchalant and un-enthused about the new year, I have listed here some inspiring songs to get you back in the mood to grab life by the horns! Stuff you January!!! (angry fist shake!)

Raise Your Glass – Pink

Gives You Hell – All American Rejects

Days Like This – Van Morrisson

Shake it Off – Taylor Swift

Good Life – One Republic

We Are Done – Madden Brothers

I’m Still Standing – Elton Joh

Hold On – Wilson Phillips

Float On – Modest Mouse

Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Hit me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benetar

Its My Life – Bon Jovi

Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine

Any more suggestions???

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‘Google It’

I have a dislike for the phrase – a strong dislike. Firstly, I’m well aware of the existence of Google and its ability to provide all of the answers but if we stop asking eachother questions are relying on technology to inform us, doesn’t that mean we’re losing the art of conversation? Why bother talk at all – the internet will answer everything. If I ask you a question – I don’t just want the answer, I want your opinion, I want your experience, I want conversation.

Secondly, if the predisposition is to ‘Google’ such things as recipes, ‘how to’ instructions, how to play chess/football/[insert activity here] then we’re going to lose out – or perhaps I should say that future generations are going to lose out because there won’t be family recipes passed down through generations, there won’t be hours spent together learning how to change a tyre, how to play an instrument. There won’t be a necessity for group training activities because everyone’s got Google at their fingertips. My grandmother made THE BEST brown bread in the world – she’s gone now but that memory lives on because her children learned from her, from the master. Google will give you the answers, but you will learn the answers from experience and human interaction.

When you type ‘how to live’ into Google, the first three options are:

How to live life to the full

How to live in the present

How to live a healthy lifestyle

… really?!

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Hello 2015 (ten days late!)

First, I want to reflect on the monumental year that was 2014:

I joined a gym! (shock horror! – and actually had some ‘guns’ for a period of time…I say guns… I mean if guns had babies…)
I got a kindle (again, shock horror!)
I realised that Ed Sheeran is a very awesome guy
I GOT MY FIRST PROPER PUBLISHING JOB!
I learned just how much good friends and my family are essential to my well-being (though I had my suspicions already)
My brother got married!!! – amazing weekend, thanks guys!
I reunited with some of my amazing family that I hadn’t seen in seven years and it was glorious
I had brilliant weekend in Paris with Han that I will cherish forever (Thank you!)
I had an unexpected weekend in Spain with my parents! Brilliant! (Thank you!)
I BECAME A GOD MOTHER!
I cemented my reputation in work as the queen of 80s music (inevitable)

…so yeah, 2014 = pretty freaking awesome!!

But now we have another new year, another fresh start, another chance for adventures of epic proportions. I’ve been reflecting a lot in these past ten days on what I can do to make it count, to avoid future regrets. I’m not sure why but I have issues with the term ‘resolutions’. It just annoys me as a word… But I do have a plan – because we can be better, do better, aim higher, be happier, experience more. The world is looking like a scary place at the moment, I know. A lot of terrible things are happening and millions are suffering. Which leads me to ask the question – if you are currently lucky enough to be happy, healthy, and free shouldn’t you do everything in your power to not waste that?

Life can be beautiful but in the words of Van Morrisson “The world is what you make it, baby”

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Lets face the music…

…and dance!!

Dance therapy is a thing right? Surely! Well anyway, work is so insanely busy at the moment (and only set to get worse) that I’ve been quite stressed out as of late and putting myself under a lot of pressure. This is all despite the fact that I make sure I avoid staying in work late (because that’s a vicious cycle to get into), get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise – yet I still work myself into such a state that I ache with worry at times. So this weekend I was thinking over all of this and about how I’m going to get through the next 2 months (which I already mentioned are set to be even busier) and I came up with dancing! Dancing in the evenings after work, releasing the stress in a way that’ll make me laugh. Being a little bit silly seems like a great remedy!

Much to my own amazement I continue to face the gym. I measure my progress here by my trainer’s insults. When I started he told me his grandmother was fitter than me. Three months ago he told me his mother did a better workout than me. Just under two weeks ago he told me my friend is much better than me – and she’s two years younger than me so I think that is pretty awesome progress! 🙂 I now have some semblence of muscles forming, strengh building up – all a complete first for me.

I’m still shockingly bad at getting out there and doing London things. It’s just far too easy to do very little at the weekends after a busy week at work. So I figure I should start an ever-evolving list of activities/things I want to do and see – and just get out there! I gotta make this place start to feel a bit more like a home to me, right?

One of these days I will visit Belfast! I keep thinking about it, and talking about it. I still haven’t been back once in a whole year. I miss it SO MUCH. It was definitely a super happy time in my life 🙂

Oh yeah, funny story… I’ve been barred from a pub! Ha!!! Well, it’s one of those things everyone needs to tick of the list, right…

Happy Sunday people!

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