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My favourite things

15 Jul

(Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Sound Of Music on you.)

I declare that something is ‘my favourite thing’ every day, at least once. By now, I must have about 10,000 favourite things but here are just ten that never change (in no particular order)…

My family

They have always done everything for me. I’ve not been easy to take care of but they have given up so much to do so. We have our silly in-jokes and we drive each other crazy but we’re really close and I wouldn’t change that for the world. 

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Listening to the rain whilst wrapped in a duvet

Apparently the sound of the rain on the top of a tent is one of life’s greatest sounds, but I don’t really do camping. I like hearing the wind and rain bash against the windows whilst tucked up under my duvet. Lights off, eyes closed.

Big cities

I grew up in the Kent countryside, in between the beach and London. Looking back now it was perfect because I had access to everything I needed but it was London that drew me back time after time. I spent my weekends up there as a teenager and still get a heart swell moment every time I go back for visits. New York and Paris do the same – but London will always be the most special. 

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Chocolate 

Not all day, not every day but cosying up with a good book and a bar of chocolate is one of my happy places. 

Playing with my friends’ babies

I’ve always loved babies but there’s something special when they’re tiny versions of your favourite people in the world. With their chubby baby wrists and heart melting giggles, spending time with them always makes me feel happy. And gives my friends a break.

Ollie

New shoes

I love the feeling of slipping on a new pair of shoes for the very first time. How a perfect pair of heels can make you feel like a different person and transform an outfit. My feet never change size so I shall spoil them.

Standing up high and watching the world go by

I love heights. Some of my favourite places in the world are up high – standing at the top of the White Cliffs of Dover and looking out to sea, the top of the Eiffel Tower/Empire State Building. It helps me think. From up there you can see the whole world spread out beneath you and suddenly whatever problem you have seems rather insignificant. 

Paris

 

Lengthy, crazy text conversations with my friends

My friends and I text a lot in group messages. I can go for a shower and come back to 40 messages waiting. Coming home after a day at work having left my phone behind nearly sends it into meltdown. We talk about everything. Silly things, personal things, things we’ve never told anyone else. I’m one of those crazy people that laughs out loud to their phone. 

Football

I used to beg my dad to let me stay up on Saturdays to watch Match of the Day. I love how it brings people together from all over the world. How it means the same in any language. Liverpool FC became my team of choice early on and were my first professional football match. I love the passion and the pride of Anfield. 

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Milkshake

I have amazing memories of visiting tea rooms with my grandma. The kind with net curtains in the windows and chequered table cloths. Tall sundae glass, full to the brim with flavouring out the bottle and milk so frothy you can see the bubbles, topped with two bendy straws. 

Tour time

From 2001 – 2012,  I spent pretty much all my spare time (and some time when I was meant to be elsewhere) travelling around the country with my friends to watch Westlife. It started when we were in our early teens and just carried on, getting bigger and bigger. It was an excuse to catch up, go dancing and act like teenagers again. I miss it but there’s so many memories that make it all worthwhile. 

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People watching

14 Apr

I love the way people gasp when they reach that bit of a book. And the way they lean forward in their seat as the movie they’re watching takes a dramatic turn. I love watching their eyes narrow and their lips purse as they try to work out what’s coming next.

I love the way people watch football matches from behind their fingers. And the way they fling their arms around the stranger next to them when their team scores a goal. I love the way people look up at their idols on stage and dance with their arms above their head like nothing else matters.

I love the way people play with their hair or bite their lip when they’re talking. And the way they twist the stem of a wine glass in between their fingers. I love the look in people’s eyes when they watch someone they love and realise that they never want to look at anyone else for the rest of their life.

I love the way people close their eyes and transport themselves to somewhere far away. The, sometimes heartbreaking, glimpse of disappointment when they wake up and realise they’re still right where they always were. I admire the strength of people when they blink away tears, take a deep breath and carry on regardless.

I fall in love with people and their lives all the time. I fall in love with their mannerisms and their character before I’ve even had chance to ask their name. Sometimes our paths cross for just seconds and we’ll never meet again but I remember them fondly anyway.

I fall in love with people’s strengths and their weaknesses. With the twinkle in their eyes or a cheeky smile that hides a million secrets. I fall in love with their daydreams, their nightmares and their ambitions. I fall in love with their resilience, their determination and the innate belief that things will work out.

There is a certain kind of wonder that only comes from watching and experiencing the world through the lives of others. People are too complex and too beautiful to ever make perfect sense.

Find The Time

8 Jan

There’s something I’ve learnt over the past few weeks. Nothing will ever compare to just spending your time doing what you love.

You can find a job you quite like and not dread the alarm going off every morning. You can visit various family and friends who you kind of get on with.

Sometimes I just quite like to do nothing. The kind of nothing that would drive other people crazy. I like to sit in my pyjamas and watch rubbish telly all day. I like to order takeaway and sit on the floor eating it with D. I sometimes like not seeing other people for days at a time – when it’s my decision to and not illness induced.

I started a new job just before Christmas and whilst I enjoy it, I’m still trying to get to grips with how it all works. One thing it has taught me so far is to never take things for granted. I wonder whether I should swap my ‘do nothing’ days for something else, something that makes a difference, something that’s exciting. But then that wouldn’t be me.

We have this hanging on the wall in our flat, to remind us every day of what’s important…

For 2012, I promise to really try to find the time. The time to do all this and to enjoy it. After all, isn’t that what life is – just one big adventure…

The A-Z of me

12 Oct
Blogs are a strange thing. I share more on here via the power of written words than you’d ever get out of me if we met face to face. I like to know more about people, perhaps it’s because I’m nosy as anything, but I am fascinated by others. And I don’t mean that stuff we carefully edit and then choose to share with the world, but those little hidden aspects of people’s personalities that aren’t immediately obvious.

My lovely friend Lucy tagged me in her blog post and, although we know each other well enough after 10 years of friendship, I thought it was an interesting way of telling the world a little bit more so decided to join in the fun.

Give it a go yourself – and don’t forget to link back so I can learn more about you all too!

ANORAK…Do you have a sad side? 
The fact I still like boybands at the age of 25 is probably considered sad. In fact, I’m told so – regularly.

BODY…What physical attribute would you most like to change?  
My height. I always wanted to be a little bit shorter so I could wear heels and not tower above my friends.

CELEBRITY…Which one would you most like to date and why?
Zac Efron. Melt.

DEBUT …Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging?
When I was in hospital I started writing a diary about how I was feeling and what was going on. As I started writing more and more frequently and the internet became available (the genius that was dial up), I transferred over. I do still have a notebook that I write in the more traditional way though!

ERROR …What’s been your biggest regret?
Not realising earlier on what my heart really wanted.

FUNNY – who’s making you laugh?
My work colleagues make me smile every day.

GRAND…If we gave you one right now what would you spend it on?
I’d spend part of it on a Biology course to get me up to speed for my future nursing degree. And the rest would probably disappear into the wedding fund.

HOLIDAY… What’s your favourite destination?
Strolling the streets of Paris without a care in the world.

IRRITATE… What’s your most annoying habit?
Probably that I’m very easily distracted. My attention gets diverted frequently, but I do always finish what I started…eventually!

JOKER…Whats your favourite joke {the one that makes you laugh everytime you hear it}?
Why do penguins walk softly? Because they can’t walk hardly. Yeah…

KENNEL… Do you have any pets?
Not at the moment, but I am a little bit desperate for something small and cute and cuddly.

LOVE…Are you single, married, engaged, living with a long term partner?
Engaged.

MEAL… Whats your ultimate starter, main and dessert?
I’d actually prefer a combination of different snacks. Some Salt & Vinegar Squares, a Babybel, some Milkybar Buttons, some chips (with or without cheese)…

NOW…If you could be anywhere right now where would you be and who with?
Drinking cocktails on the terrace of a beautiful villa with my best girls putting the world to rights and laughing about it.

OFF DUTY…What do you do in your spare time?
Read. Write. Pretty much anything to do with words.

PROUD MOMENTS …What are you most proud of?
Following my heart, no matter how much it scares me.

QUEASY …What turns your stomach?
Hmm, not that much actually!

RELAX…How do you relax?
Curling up with a hot chocolate and a good book so I could lose myself in another world for a little while.

SONG…What’s your favourite song of all time?
I have different favourite songs for different people and different memories. Some songs I don’t actually like but they make me smile because of what/who they represent.

TIME …If you could go back in time and relive it again, when would you choose?
The time I spent with people who are no longer here. I’d tell myself to appreciate everything they say, everything they do and everything we experience together because after they’re gone I can only think back to what we should have done and not what we did.

UNKNOWN…Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows?
I don’t think I have any secrets that nobody knows!

VOCAL…. Who is your favourite artist?
Aside from my obligatory love for Westlife, it’s got to be Buble.

WORK….. What is your dream job, and are you doing it now?
I’m not yet no but I’ve made some big choices that have finally put me on the right path.

XRAY…Any broken bones?
I broke my arm when I was younger. Same arm, same bone and at the same time as my little sister. The only thing different was how we did. I whacked my arm against a pool table running round it. Ouch.

YIKES…What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
The first thing that comes to mind is fainting at work and having to curl up under my desk. Then being carried out, down the steps and to hospital. Yeah, red face at that one.

ZOO…. If you were an animal, which one would you be?
A penguin.

Self-confessed book worm

20 Sep

My love of reading began as soon as I could pick up a hard-backed baby book and chew on the edges. I started learning how to put the words together alongside the unmistakable brilliance of Jennifer Yellow Hat – I even dressed up as her at a school dress up day once. I would read plays as if they were novels and read stories to my baby sister constantly. I’d even write my own books, binding them together with staples to make them look real. I didn’t go anywhere without a book in my bag or a notebook to capture all my ideas.

Reading and words for me became my creative outlet and my comfort blanket. If things were all going a bit pear shaped, I was only a few pages away from losing myself in a fictional world of somebody else’s imagination.

I’ve just got back from a week in Spain and read my way through 7 books – pretty much one a day. It was my idea of holiday heaven. The only problems that mattered were those faced by the characters wrapped up in those pages and I got myself so caught up in their dramas that my own real world seemed so very far away.

I link the books I was reading back to what was happening in my life at that time.

The Christmas Stories For Little Children book reminds me of how simple and exciting Christmas was as a child. It was a present from my Grandma and I would read them constantly – even in the height of summer – until I knew them all off by heart.

Anne of Green Gables is probably one of my most favourite classics ever. I could read it over and over and never get bored.

I was in the middle of reading Jane Eyre for the first time just before I got ill and ended up in hospital. As such it took me a very long time to bring myself to finishing it as I was constantly reminded of how poorly I felt.

When I first started back at school after a stint in hospital, we had a new English teacher. She introduced me to I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and to this day I’ve not read another book that even comes close to having such an impact on me.

And when we got engaged, my momentous reading material of choice was Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. Not the romantic chick lit books I usually lean towards on holiday but now will always make me feel generally happy. On turning every page I would catch a glimpse of my ring sparkling in the sun and smile to myself.

Which books have helped shape your life? I’d love to read them too!

 

Musings of a birthday girl: From 15 to 25

26 Aug

When I was 15 I wrote a list of ten things I wanted to do in the next ten years. I’ve found them scrawled amongst diary entries in various notebooks stashed under my bed and, as today is my 25th birthday, I wanted to share it with you…in actual order…

  1. Write a book
  2. Get married
  3. Buy a pony
  4. Learn to drive
  5. Ride an elephant
  6. Own some Christian Louboutin shoes
  7. Run a marathon
  8. Go to Paris
  9. Perform on stage
  10. Get better

I remember writing this. I was in bed in the children’s ward of our local hospital. It was a sunny day and the window was open next to me. I had a bruise the length of my arm from a blood test gone wrong and a new boy was moving into the bed opposite me. He was slightly older than I was, with dark hair and I thought he looked just like Robbie Williams but younger. The ‘play therapist’ – do hospitals still have such things? – told me it might help to write down 10 things I wanted to do. Little did she know that was standard practice for me, but I thought I’d do as she said as the only other option was drawing and I’m definitely not an artist.

It looks like a very simple plan for life, but it’s number 10 that tugs at every heart string I’ve ever had for my teenage self.I obviously hate the fact that I even had to make getting better an option but what I love most is that it’s right at the bottom of my 10 things. It was all my life revolved around at that moment but I was still more interested in everything else – even running a marathon or performing on stage, which now sound beyond awful to me!

So, how have I done with this particular list?

  1. Working on it
  2. Next year
  3. Never going to happen. I’ve gone off them anyway since one threw me off – how very dare it?!
  4. Done! Eventually.
  5. Not yet
  6. Still full of hope for the flash of red soles to grace my feet
  7. Does a half count?
  8. Done!
  9. Done!
  10. Getting there…

Sharing Is Caring

17 Aug


Sometimes the courage to get up and keep on going is just a little out of reach. It’s times like these that the only people who will understand are the people who have been in your shoes and felt exactly what you are feeling.

You all know how important I think talking to other patients is. It always helps to remember you’re not alone and no matter what you’re feeling or where it hurts, there’s always going to be someone who’s been there, done that and got the spoonie t-shirt. By the way, if you’re a bit bamboozled by the spoonie reference hop on over to www.butyoudontlooksick.com and check out ‘The Spoon Theory‘. It becomes a way of life.

This week I have been introduced to a new internet network called Health Unlocked, which encourages patients with any illness to log on and chat to others.

When you register, you join into a specific community which will put you in touch with other patients who have also joined that network. Through posting blogs, asking questions and answering polls, you can really start to get to grips with anything they might be feeling concerned about right there along with others. I’ve only been a member a few days and am already convinced it could become a useful tool for future flares and frustration!

I’m in the Lupus UK community and you can join by following this link and filling in a few details – www.lupusuk.healthunlocked.com/

Hope to see some of you along there soon so we can get sharing and helping each other out. Like they say, a problem shared is a problem halved and trying again tomorrow is more than half the battle.

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