Monday, 28 March 2016

My Bank Holiday Weekend

Why does time off always seem to go by so fast? My five days off have sadly come to an end so I thought I would spend some time reflecting and sharing what I got up to. Thursday morning I dedicated to being kind to myself, relaxing in front of the tv catching up with some of the programmes I had recorded and having cuddles with my two cats. A few hours of the afternoon was spent looking at a job application I had promised myself I'd complete the week before. When school was finished I went bowling and stuffed myself with Pizza with a friend and his niece. Not a bad start to a little break from work!

Friday I spent the day with one of my closest friends, we did a little bit of shopping, me for my holiday and her for her baby who is due in May. We spent the afternoon taking some photographs of my friend, bump and her boyfriend. I know I'm a little biased but I think there are loads of really cute photos and am really pleased that I managed to capture some beautiful moments. I took most of them using the manual settings as I like to take them in black and white but I also tried to change different settings, wanting to get the light right and a blurred background in some (which didn't quite work). I have made the decision that after July when I hopefully, will know where I am going to be based for work, I am going to look into starting a photography course so I can learn more and improve my knowledge and skills.


Saturday was another day dedicated to relaxing. I didn't leave the house all day, I don't think I really left the sofa for very long.

Sunday was spent with family. My Sister, her boyfriend and I went to my parents for a roast dinner. Dinner was served around 2.30, I arrived just before two having left mine a bit earlier to pick up a few extra bits for my Sister and her boyfriend. My Sister arrived almost at the same time as the plates were being placed onto the table. It was lovely to have everyone sat together around the table, to spend time talking and laughing together. We swapped Easter Eggs and moved into the lounge to watch a film and some Gogglebox before heading home.

I'm not too sure why but I have not been in the best mood since Thursday. I find this odd and annoying because it has dampened my time off and things I enjoy like spending time with my friends and family. I wonder if it's stress and anxiety around the change that will quite possibly come in July when my contract ends at work. Although, I am feeling positive about the application I mentioned, I am still sad about changing teams as I have worked hard making friends and getting to know the colleagues in the team I am in and also there is a big cloud of uncertainty hanging over my head.

To try and shake this negative feeling off I knew I could not spend today inside so as soon as there was a break in the rain I grabbed my coat and walking boots and headed out. I drove to Brandon Country Park which is about an hour from where I live. I paid to park for over 2 hours which only cost me £2.50 and headed off into the forest. It was beautiful and peaceful. Even when the wind got up and blew hard through the trees it sounded like waves crashing on a shoreline which is always a comforting sound to me. I love the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air, the slight smells from the mud underfoot and the trees brought a smile to my face. A few patches of squelchy mud made me feel childlike and I wished I had my wellington boots on instead and could jump and wriggle around in it. I chose to do the 3.5 mile route and felt comfortable completing it alone as unlike some other places I have visited, this route is really well signposted so I had no fear or anxieties about getting lost. It took me just over an hour to get back to the visitor centre and café where I started, good timing as I was starting to get hungry. I popped in for an egg and cress bap and a latte which again only cost me about £5.50. I really should make more of an effort to visit more often, I felt really positive during my walk and on my way home. It felt good to have gotten out of the house, to get some fresh air, to be outside in open spaces, to feel productive and for the sun to show its face.

Hope you had a good bank holiday weekend, how did you spend it?

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Google Images
Last weekend a friend and I went to watch the modern adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, I enjoy watching shows in London but haven't been for a while. I often choose to see productions of films that I have seen; Dirty Dancing, Chicago, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are some that I have been to. My favourite show that I've seen so far has to be Legally Blonde, I went to see it three times! I like any excuse for a day out and love the energy, the buzz I often feel when I'm in London. I like the busyness, the rush, winding in and out of crowds. I'm not as keen on the traffic, grid-locked roads and the crowded tubes that are often close to bursting at the seams.

Last weekend, we were really lucky with the weather, although it was a little cloudy it was dry and warm enough for a light jacket and scarf. As was being performed at the National Theatre we decided to park near Tower Bridge and walk along the South Bank of the River Thames. I was aware of how happy I was simply being outside in the fresh air, as opposed to inside in an office or my car where I spend the majority of my time during the week. It was also lovely to be by the river, I love the sound of water; whether it's the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, a gentle flow of a stream or a water feature, the running of a bath or shower. There was also amazing views along the river, Tower Bridge, the Shard, the Gherkin, St Paul's Cathedral, modern glass buildings of all shapes and sizes alongside more classic architecture. We also passed the OXO building and the Tate Modern.

We arrived at the National Theatre about half an hour before the performance was due to begin to collect our tickets, get something to eat and pre-order our drinks for the interval. We grabbed a sandwich from the café in the theatre which I thought was reasonably priced, about £7 for a baguette and a slice of cake. We then headed up to the second floor to the Oliver Theatre for the show.

Our decision to go was very last minute but luckily there were a few seats left. When purchasing theatre tickets I usually pick the second from cheapest price band. I was pleasantly surprised when we located our seats a few moments before the show started. Because of the theatres small size, although our seats were two or three rows from the back of the Circle section, we were still not very far away from the stage.

I don't want to give too much of the storyline away but I found it really powerful and moving during some sections and felt that it covered some difficult but current topics about why people go online and the darker side of the online world well while still following the classic Alice in Wonderland storyline of self discovery we know, love and expect, as well as cleverly introducing the various, well known, characters along the way. I think one of my favourite parts was the Caterpillar, the costumes, lighting and effects but more importantly what he had to say. His question, the only question that really matters...

Who are you? 

Sunday, 13 March 2016


From Google Images

What does it mean to be female in todays society?

Recently, I have seen blog posts and news articles about being female, being a woman, from Lady Writes post 'Here's to the Girl Boss generation' and Tanya Burr's post 'Time for Girls' to International Women's Day which was celebrated on Tuesday the 8th of March. All of these things have led me to thinking more and more about what it means to be a woman in todays society.

Growing up as a teenager I rejected a lot of what I thought defined a girl. I wanted to be seen as strong not weak, I wanted to be on the same level as or better than the boys. Even at primary school I played football with my boy friends, I raced against them on sports day. For a long time my Uncle kept a photo of me running alongside two of the boys in my class. In high school I found I preferred being friends with boys, for a sort while I was the only girl in our small group of friends and I didn't want to be treated any differently by them because of it. I wanted to be seen by them as 'one of the guys.'

As an adult I have clear, strong views about wanting to be independent and about wanting to be in a balanced relationship where roles and chores are shared. At the moment I have no intention of becoming someone's housewife, however, that may change in the future. I also have my own views about how I would like to start a family, which again may not be seen as traditional by others. But does it and should it matter what others think of my choices?

Feminism by definition is 'the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.' I really enjoyed Emma Watson's UN speech about Feminism, especially where she talked about it being a movement for both men and women, where she discussed and challenged stereotypes of both men and women. You can find it here.

Am I a feminist?

I am not sure. What I do know is that I believe that women should have and exercise their right to make choices about their own lives. To choose who they want to be and who they want to be in a relationship with, whether they want to focus on their career or raising a family or juggle both.

Within Tanya's post there is a link to another website with many ways of getting involved and supporting gender equality and women. I clicked on the HeForShe tab as it was a campaign I heard about through Emma's speech. The campaign focuses on six areas where gender equality can be promoted; education, health, identity, work, violence and poverty.

 'How strongly do you feel influenced by traditional gender expectations?'
Image from Google Images

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Mother's Day

Image from Pinterest
On Father's Day last year I decided to write about my family as a whole because, although my Dad is a significant person in my life, he is one member of my family who are very important to me. If you want to have a read, you can find it here.

Well, today is Mother's Day and I will say the same. Mum is a special person in my life, however again, she is one part of the whole. My Sister and I show our appreciation for our parents unconditional love and support on these days with a gift and time spent together. I have previously referred to myself as a 'Daddy's girl' having always gone with him on work deliveries and worked for him for a few years. However, in the last two years my Mum and I have grown closer. I think it was and still is the support we give each other around the care of my Grandad. I can draw on my knowledge from working within health and social care as well as helping out with the physical caring role. I admire my Mum for her selflessness, always putting others before herself.

I read Lady Writes post 'Here's To The Girl Boss Generation' recently and it made me think about what it means to be a woman and also about the female role models in my life. I feel that I have had positive, strong female influences in my life; my Mum, Auntie and both Nan's. All have given me treasured experiences for which I am grateful. I continue to have strong females in my life who are total Girl Boss's by following their dreams and making choices for themselves, whether this is in their work or home life.

On the other side of the coin, I read Janet Street Porter's article in i last week where she questioned whether we should still celebrate Mums. For me personally, I like that there is a special day to reflect on who my Mum is and what she has done for me. As I mentioned in my previous post about family, I don't believe that all parental figures need to biological to be significant and meaningful, there are step-parents, adoptive parents and foster parents. I do agree with Janet when she argues for a recognition and celebration of 'anyone who looks after children and shoulders that responsibility.'

My thoughts are with those for whom Mothers Day might be a difficult, painful day. Those who do not have a positive relationship with their Mothers, have lost their Mothers and those who wish to but cannot become Mothers.

Do you celebrate Mother's Day? What does the day mean to you?