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.

Advertisements

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:

The Family We Choose

I have known from a very young age that family is important. I have been blessed to have a family that knows this too. My family, both immediate and extended, has always been a close one: we enjoy spending time together, take care of one another, love one another, and treat each other with respect. This has always been important to me and I have always been grateful for the family I have. I know not everyone is so lucky.

The care and closeness between us is always especially apparent at times of grief or trouble. When the chips are down everyone pitches in and we hold each other up. I could write a considerable amount about my wonderful family and the way in which we rally round each other in good times and bad, but I actually want to write about something else. I want to write about the family we choose. I want to write about friends.

I have never been one for having hundreds of friends: a small number of particularly close friends has always suited me better. I have been very fortunate over the years to have made friends with some incredible people, and they have become the family I chose. They have rallied round and held me up through good times and bad. They have celebrated with me in triumph and have consoled me in sorrow.

I have more friends at this point in my life than I have ever had before and I have been truly overwhelmed by their love and support as I come to terms with my family’s latest loss. There have been small gestures in the form of text messages and post it notes simply saying ‘I love you’, ‘Ring if you need anything’, ‘Have some cake’ (left with cake!). There have been specific pages in specific books, bookmarked and left for me, from friends knowing there is nothing they can say to make it better but that I might find comfort from the words of a favourite character or author. 



There have been deliveries of beautiful flowers, late night visits with doughnuts and more flowers, thoughtful gifts to make me smile: the list goes on. The care and attention my friends have given over to lifting me up when I feel down has moved me deeply. I feel so blessed to have this family that I chose as well as the one I was born too.


I’ve run out of words. I don’t quite know how to express what’s happening in my head and my heart. So I’ll finish with this: to all my friends, thank you for being the incredible people that you are and for the love, care, and friendship you have shown me. Whether this has come as messages, hugs, book pages, flowers, gifts, cake, or simply a smile, thank you. It means more than you know.

Xx

Anyday Musings

This ‘Anyday Memewas stolen from: Aromantic Aardvark


1. What is your dream career, and what path do you plan to take to get there? 

This has changed so much over the years that I’m not really sure right now. I love the career I’m in, supporting young people in school to succeed in English, so I guess that’s the path I’ll continue to persue as long as I continue to enjoy and do well at it. I officially received notification of my HLTA status last week (yay) so there aren’t any more qualifications I need to be able to do this job, however I’m always interested and excited to develop as a professional and I would like to get more involved in whole school literacy work so maybe there’s something to look into there.

That said, if we are talking dream dream careers then recently I keep daydreaming about being a writer…

 2. Who do you aspire most to be like? 
Oh gosh that’s tricky! I don’t think there is any one person I aspire to be like. I aspire to be a combination of all the people I look up to most; my mum, dad, brother, husband and best friends all top that list.

 3. What do you like in a best friend? 
Someone I can be silly with. Someone I can belly-laugh with. Someone I can cry with. Someone I can have intellectual conversations with. Someone I can sit in silence with. Someone who just ‘gets’ me and who I just ‘get’ in return. Someone who it doesn’t matter if we haven’t seen each other, or even spoken, for ages because when we do it’s like we never stopped. I’m lucky enough to have more than one of these people in my life!

4. Do you currently have any squishes (people you really want to be best friends with)? 
I really want to be best friends with the people I’m already best friends with…so that’s handy! Although I do have a bit of a celebrity squish on Emma Watson…

5. What is your ideal platonic relationship? 
Ummm….this seems like a strange question…see answer to Q.3.

6. Best late night IM/phone conversation story. 
I’m usually sleeping late at night so don’t have many of these, I’d probably have to go way back to when my now-hubby was just a friend. We had some awesome MSN chats! We used to have conversations about what music we were listening to, except rather than giving a straight answer we’d just send a lyric and then the conversation would turn into us messaging the entire song back and forth. Good times. 😊

7. List one person you’d like to wear the sweater of, one person you’d like to bake cookies with, and one person you’d like to drive around and get lost with. (can be celebrities or fictional characters, has to be three different people and not all the same person) 
Really I could do any and all of these things with any and all of these people, however since you’re making me choose…

Wear the sweater of – hubby dearest. I always used to steal his sweaters, harder to do now we live in the same house, he can just steal them back!
Bake cookies with – one (or all) of my favourite ladies: Mum, Heti, Rach – can’t choose between them but I know they’d all be up for baking cookies!!
Drive around and get lost with – my dad. I love driving with my dad, although honestly it’s very unlikely I’d ever get lost with him.

8. Describe your current best friend(s). 
Se answers to question 3 – this is exactly what all my best friends are like.

9. What is a strange, little-known fact about you? 
Daddy longlegs freak me out.

10. What is a career you wanted to have when you were younger, and still kind of want to have now? 
Ballerina. Artist. Interior designer.

11. If you could have tea and pleasant conversation with one person, who would it be? 
I could go for pleasant conversation with most people really…but I don’t drink tea so make mine a hot chocolate or a fruit juice!

12. If you had a time machine, what era would you go to? 
Early 19th Century.

13. What celebrity or historical figure would you love to have as your best friend and why? 
Emma Watson because she is awesome! Seriously though, what an incredible young woman and role model for all: UN ambassador for women, founder of HeforShe, played one of the best female literary characters ever, has not allowed fame and fortune to go to her head or stand in the way of her education and has used it to become an advocate for people around the world who may struggle to use their own voice…I don’t think I need to go on. And she always seems so lovely and down to earth!

14. What fictional character would you love to have as your best friend and why? 
Hermione Granger.

15. If you could have one wish, what would it be (cannot be related to romance or sex)? 
To never feel unnecessary fear or anxiety, or experience a panic attack, ever again.


16. If you were trapped on a deserted island and could only take one item, what would it be? 
A book…please don’t ask me which one…
Am I allowed a pencil as well?

17. If you could pick one career other than the one you are pursuing/plan to pursue, what would it be? 
Writer.

18. What is your best memory you have with a friend? 
I’m really not sure I can pick one, I have too many good ones!  

19. Do you have any peculiar interests that most people don’t know about? 
Not peculiar ones, no. At least I don’t think so.


20. What were your favorite childhood toys? Do you still have them? 
Playmobile, which I don’t still have, my teddy bear Snowy, which I do, and a ton of children’s books (yes they count as toys) of which I still have my favourites.

21. Favorite baked good? 
Cake! Of the sponge variety with melted chocolate on top. Or chocolate chips. Or butter cream.

22. If your best friend were here right now, what would you do with them (cannot list best friend as your romantic/sexual partner) ? 
Talk and laugh and watch Disney films probably.

23. Who would you love to play video games with? 
I don’t really love to play video games but when I do my favourite person to play them with is my hubby.

24. If you could visit any country, which one would it be? 
Why do you keep making me choose one thing?!

Probably either New Zealand or Canada.

25. Are there any friends you miss having around?
I miss having Rach around because she insists on living far away.

This Girl Can – Empowering or Undermining?

If you haven’t already seen it, you really need to watch the Sport England, This Girl Can video. This one right here:

Now when I first saw it I loved it! I thought “Hooray! Real women who look healthy and happy!”. It made me want to go to dance glass with my friends, go to the gym, get sweaty and not care about it. Even better, for once it wasn’t because I thought I needed to do something to get in shape, or change my body, but because the video reminded me how good it feels to do exercise I enjoy.

Then I read this article which gave me pause for thought. Is the positive message of body acceptance really undermined by the use of the word ‘girl’ as opposed to ‘woman’? It is really still giving in to societal norms of objectifying female flesh?

The article really made me pause and think about the video and the message it was actually sending…and I stick by my original feelings. I think the video is empowering and positive. I think it encourages women to feel comfortable with their bodies and to do exercise, not because it will give them the ‘perfect’ body, but because it will keep them healthy and happy. I don’t feel patronised or undermined by the use of the word ‘girl’ because although I know myself to be a strong independent woman there is, and always will be, part of me that feels like a little girl. The part that finds wonder in everyday things and lets her imagination get wildly carried away with itself and loves disney forever.

I also think the video shows women engaging positively with each other as friends and teammates. I think the whole idea behind the campaign is great and I really hope that it inspires women to feel more comfortable with who they are.

#THISGIRLCAN

😃

The Opening at the Close

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/e24/63047607/files/2015/01/img_7954.jpg

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

Words of Wisdom

Yesterday I had the loveliest evening with one of my favourite ladies. We ate good food and watched a good film and had a lovely old catch up. During the course of the evening this lovely friend of mine also came out with a real gem of wisdom. So important is it’s message I decided it needed it’s own blog post. And indeed it’s own motivational poster format…

IMG_7040.JPG

Read it well and take it to heart folks. Truer words there never were!

Love you H. ❤️

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…

IMG_3124.JPG

IMG_3126.JPG

IMG_3486.JPG

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.

IMG_3291.JPG

IMG_3322.JPG

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

IMG_3191.JPG

IMG_3401.JPG

IMG_3394.JPG

IMG_3385.JPG

IMG_3487.JPG

IMG_3376.JPG

IMG_3374.JPG

IMG_3372.JPG

IMG_3490.JPG

IMG_3492.JPG

IMG_3488.JPG

…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!

IMG_3508.JPG

IMG_3497.JPG

IMG_3496.JPG

IMG_3498.JPG

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. 🙂

IMG_3499.JPG

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.

IMG_3500.JPG

IMG_3501.JPG

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.

IMG_3502.JPG

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

IMG_3503.JPG

And a bit of building too…

IMG_3504.JPG

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.

IMG_3505.JPG

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…