It’s #TimeToTalk, Now

It’s easy to be too busy

Or say

It’s not the right time

To worry that you’ll make it worse

So you accept their fumbled

“Fine.”

It’s hard to find the moment

For hearing truth

And depth

But really we’re just finding excuses

To keep ourselves

Deaf

To all the pain that gathers

When people can’t speak

Truth

And have to keep it bottled up

For fear of hurting

You

But what happens when you leave it?

When you let the silence

Grow?

What if their pain is your pain too

But not asking means

You’ll never

Know?

So let’s all breathe together

Hold hands and take

A dive

Into conversation

With neighbours

Strangers

Friends

And lovers

Because

Now

Is The Time.

  • JH

***

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.

The Samaritans – http://www.samaritans.org

Mind – http://www.mind.org.uk

Young Minds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk

Papyrus (prevention of young suicide) – https://www.papyrus-uk.org

Self Harm UK – https://www.selfharm.co.uk

Time to Change – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org

Please do not struggle alone.

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Whatever The Weather

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur.

We’ve gained a family member in the shape of the most beautiful springer spaniel puppy; I’ve been more poorly than I’ve been in a very, very long time; my less than lovely anxiety beastie has been going a bit haywire, causing me all sorts of exciting issues when it comes to, you know, functioning; an work has been busy, busy, busy and I’m starting to come to know more of the challenges of my new role.

I’m not going to lie, some days have been really, really difficult. Some days it has felt like it is only my skin holding me together. I have felt lost and vulnerable and scared and wondered what on Earth I am going to do.

And then I realise: I’m already doing it.

Difficult though it can be I am doing it. I am getting up every day and, even when I feel anxious and panicky, I am living my life. Even though my proud streak makes me delay longer than I should, I am asking for help when I need it. And through all the hard, horrible, dim, grey days, there is always a little sunshine. There is my wonderful husband who knows just when to hold me quietly and just when to distract me and make me laugh; there is our gorgeous puppy who, even though she can be mischievous and is SUCH hard work, greets us every day with complete adoration and has brought even more love, fun and laughter into our lives; there my fabulous friends, who are always there with a kind word and a hug; there are my incredible colleagues, who are beyond supportive and make my job a joy even on the crappy days; and all my amazing family, whose love, support, wisdom, and understanding is abundant and invaluable.

So this half term week, as I balance rest and relaxation with puppy training and quality time with hubby, I will keep finding that sunshine. I urge you to do the same.

Even the tiniest glimmer is still a light in the dark and I’ve never known a star shine alone.

Here are just a few of my sunshiny stars:

God Bless, Take Care, Love You


There’s frost on the ground, but the sky burns

With the flaring amber of the setting sun.

There’s grief in our hearts, but joy in our souls

For that life lived and the love we’ve known.

There are tears on our cheeks, but laughter on our lips,

For the memories shared and tales retold.

He is

         Embracing his best love, with tears of joyful reunion.

We are

          Feeding the ducks on Langold Lake, with him telling jokes by our side.

He is

          Racing around on a long coveted Harley, chuckling like a school boy.

We are

           Playing dominoes for coppers, being tricked into extra pocket money.

He is

          Indulging in the biggest Yorkshire pudding he’s ever seen, with extra gravy of course.

We are

          Sitting at his feet watching cartoons and competing for who can laugh loudest and longest, at Pingu, Gromit, Tom and Jerry.

He is

          Saying: Goodbye,

                                  God bless,

                                           Take care,

                                                     Love you.

We are

           Saying: You too.

There is frost on the ground, but the sky burns

With the flaring amber of the setting sun.

The Opening at the Close

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A slightly belated happy New Year lovely people! I hope you had a wonderful and restful Christmas.

So another new year begins. As with them all it opens at the close of the last. I don’t know about you but 2014 was quite a year for me and mine. There was an awful lot of joy, happiness and exciting changes. There was also a lot of sadness, difficulty and heartbreak, both for myself and for people I love. Beginnings and endings all tied up together resulting in a rather confusing jumble of emotions.

There is a lot to reflect on from the last year: some good, some bad, some just…there. The thing that has really struck me from the last 12 months is how very very blessed I am with friends and family.

I have always considered myself lucky in this area but this last year has seen my gratitude for the presence of those closest to me soar. I truly have the most incredible people in my life. The love, support, encouragement, faith, constancy, fun, comfort and laughter brought by these amazing people is constant, and leaves me overwhelmed with love for them all.

In happiness and heartbreak I am always enveloped in the warmth of my friends and family and for that I am eternally grateful. To all of you wonderful people, you know who you are, thank you for all you bring to my life.

May 2015 be a very happy year for you all.x

Today’s the Day…

Seven years after starting my degree, today I finally graduate!

Warning: here comes the soppy bit…

I absolutely could not have done this degree without all the wonderful friends, family and colleagues who have supported me and there are a few who need special thank yous. My wonderful husband Dave; thank you for staying up late to read through my assignments; for putting up with my mini breakdowns every time an exam came round and for generally being incredibly supportive and encouraging. I know I spent a lot of time working trough the evening and weekends instead of spending time with you and not once did you complain. Thank you.

All my incredible parents, Neville, Cathy, Thel, Paul, Sue and Tony; thank you for talking me into it! For being so confident I could do it and do it well; for offering encouragement and advice when it got tough; for giving me somewhere to live and for helping me out so I could afford the fees for the last few years; for always being so happy and proud when my results came through. For being generally wonderful. Thank you.

My incredible mentors Susie and Cat; I literally could not have completed it without you! You gave up evenings to come and observe me; you always gave me encouraging and helpful feedback; you supported me when I hit tough spots; you fought my corner; you listened to my ideas and praised me and inspired me the whole way. I am a thousand times better at my job for having had you two awesome youth workers to guide me. Thank you.

Thank you to the Open University; without the opportunity you presented I’m not sure I would have ever completed a degree. So thank you for existing and operating the way you do.

There are many more people who have been part of this journey with me (you know who you are!). Thank you to you all.

Love you x

Summer Highlights

It’s that time already. Summer is drawing to a close, it’s time to head back to school, but before we do that I though I’d share some of the loveliness that has filled my summer this year…

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We had a fab visit from my oh so lovely sister in-law who had the honour of being the first guest to stay in our new house. We enjoyed the sunshine with walks and ice cream and BBQs. Lovely.

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We had the nicest day and night out in Stratford celebrating our first wedding anniversary (eek! A whole year!) followed by…

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…a wonderful week in and around Bath (read Baaaaarth!) with all my lovely in-laws. Lots of exploring local landmarks and touring the National Trust tea rooms!

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Then there was the gathering of the clan at the traction engine rally. This was in honour of my amazing Gran, who unfortunately was too poorly to be there with us. So we mooched around on her behalf, drank cider, enjoyed the dodge’ems and the merry-go-round, and sat round a log fire late into the night. I absolutely adore my fabulous family. 🙂

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We squeezed in a fab night out at Manchester’s Albert Hall to see Beirut. Boy can those guys play!!! Amazing music, amazing atmosphere and a great little venue.

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I had a longer-than-usual visit from my beautiful bestie Rachel, which unfortunately I didn’t take many picture of because we we’re too busy acting like five year olds. However we did document our baking disaster (above). I’m sure you’ll agree that our honeycomb free-from brownies look delicious in their raw state…and not so much once they had been baked into something that, quite frankly, you could build bridges out of. It was that solid. Note to self; do NOT put honeycomb in brownies. It doesn’t work.

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We did a bit of demolition on the outside of our house…

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And a bit of building too…

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And now it’s starting to look quite pretty! We just need a new path, a rebuild front step, and some foliage in pots and hey presto, we’ll be done. It’s very satisfying seeing these little areas come together.

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This week, just to finish off, I taught my first ever English classes! Super scary but went fairly well I think, and all good practice for my brand shiny new job as an English HLTA and mentor. Which I start next week. And am VERY nervous about. And excited about. And not really sure what I’m doing about. However I know I am going to be working with an amazing and lovely team of people who I can run crying and screaming to when it all gets a bit much. (Fingers crossed for not much on the crying and screaming front though!).

I’m now just enjoying the last couple of lazy days before the mayhem of a new term begins. Although to be honest I’m quite looking forward it. I always was an autumn girl…

Off On the Right Foot

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This has popped up on my Pinterest feed a lot recently. I think I may have pinned it about four times, calmly ignoring the ‘looks like you already pinned this‘ warning, because it is me to a T. I think it is absolutely one of the best things to find yourself in conversation, where you started out chatting about something possibly rather ordinary, like a book or a film, and seven hours later you’re still talking, having moved through every topic under the sun to now find yourself in deep space contemplating the origins of the universe.

These conversations are special because whether you’re talking to your mum or your best friend, or someone who you sat next to on a train, a deep connection is forged. They are the sort of conversations you will remember in years to come. You may not remember exactly what was talked about, but you’ll remember it happening. You’ll remember the feeling of connecting with another person, even if your views were opposing, because it’s just so HUMAN. There is something remarkable about a shared contemplation of life, the universe and everything. So next time you find yourself in a meandering conversation, where you started at A and suddenly find yourself at Llamas, embrace it! You never know when you might stumble across a better answer than 42.

 

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Home Sweet Home

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This week something epic happened.

We bought a house.

Or rather we finished the long process of buying a house.

And moved in.

So for the first time in our lives, and after six years of working and waiting and saving, we now live in a house that is OURS. Not our parent’s, not our friend’s, not rented from a landlord, but actually properly ours.

It has been a VERY long time coming but I’ll tell you something…it was worth every second of waiting and every penny saved. It is the MOST amazing feeling to go home to a house we know is ours, and to be able to start making it into our perfect little home.

Something else that has to be said at this point is that we absolutely could not have done it alone. We are so very blessed to have the support of our amazing families and we quite literally would not be here if it wasn’t for them. They’ve given us places to live so we could save some pennies rather than have to pay enormous amounts of rent, they’ve stored our stuff, (a lot of it. For years.) They’ve lent us money, they’ve given us money, they’ve encouraged and supported us, and celebrated with us each time we got closer. They’ve helped us move, they’ve cleaned and built furniture and brought food and been generally the most fantastic group of people we know. So from the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU and we love you more than you know.

Thank you also to my wonderful hubby, who has also been incredible every step of the way and has kept me calm when it’s been stressful. Thank you for wanting to share this wonderful life with me and for everything you do to make it so fabulous and happy.

Now I’m super excited about getting stuck into lots of projects to make our home sweet home even better!

People who Inspire

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I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned the amazing woman who is my mother on here before, but today was her birthday so it is definitely time to celebrate her amazing self a bit more…

My mum is incredible. She is strong, compassionate, creative, intelligent, loving, funny, thoughtful and fiercely optimistic. She is a constant source of comfort and inspiration. She is one of my best friends.

She loves books and music and chocolate and tea. I have vivid memories of singing loudly with her in the kitchen and in the car on the way to school, and a million other memories, big and small, which remind me how lucky I am. She has made me so much of who I am today.

She is still one of the first people I want to run to for a hug when things aren’t going well, and one of the first I want to call when I have good news.

An amazing woman and friend I would be lucky just to know her. To have her as my mum…well…there’s just no explaining how blessed I am.

Happy birthday mum, love you beyond words.x

People Who Inspire

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This is my dad. I love this guy. And today is his birthday, so he gets a whole special post!

My dad has been my rock and my strength and my inspiration for longer than I can remember. He has loved me beyond belief, given me everything I could need or want or hope for, but never allowed me to become spoilt, always showing me how to appreciate every little and big thing I am blessed with. He showed me the value of high expectations, but let me know it was ok if we don’t always meet them.

He has given me more happy memories that I can count. Has helped me grasp so many opportunities, overcome difficulties, celebrate successes. I would not be who I am without him being who he is and I am eternally grateful for all that he is and all that he does, and that fact that he is not only my dad but my friend as well.

I am one lucky girl.

So happy birthday dad. Love you forever.