A Moment In Time

I have done a few of these ‘Moment in Time’ posts now and I always really enjoy them. It’s a lovely way to pause, take a step back from the chaos of everyday life, reflect on what’s going on, exercise some gratitude and think forward. I invite (and encourage) you to create your own moment in time post. If you do, please leave a link in the comments – I’d love to see what your moment in time looks like.

Outside my window… it is dark and there is a chill in the air. January’s lethargy settles over everything as the world (and I) tries to stay awake.

I am thinking… about the future and how to build the one I want. I can see where I am aiming now but how I get from A to B is foggy.

I am thankful… to have some of our evenings and weekends back, now the work has finished on the house, to just spend some quiet time together.

In the kitchen… it is calm and clean and finally a space to enjoy being in. And my lovely husband is preparing this evening’s meal.

I am wearing… leggings and leotard under a longline cardigan and cosy socks, as I take a break between dance classes.

I am creating… draft two of my first novel (!), a blog post, a collection of poetry and short stories, bookstagram content, some snippets of creative writing and dances for our upcoming show.

I am going… to start taking vitamins to try and ward off the colds and various ailments I keep seeming to attract!

I am wondering… how to effectively build mindfulness into my day in a way that I will consistently stick to. I feel like mindfulness practice is something that I could benefit from hugely but I really seem to struggle to stick to any form of daily mindful practice.

I am reading… Muse Of Nightmares, Hollow City, The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes, Thinking Reading.

I am praying for… health, wellbeing and family.

I am hoping… for the courage, commitment and confidence I know it’s going to take to pursue my dreams.

I am looking forward to… the weekend.

I am learning… about effective copywriting and the processes through which we learn to read and acquire vocabulary.

Around the house… it is pleasantly orderly. We’re slowly clearing out the bits and pieces we no longer want around the house (watching Marie Kondo is having and effect on us…) and we’re enjoying taking pleasure in our home after a few months of madness.

I am pondering… the next steps in my career.

A favourite quote for today…

A life’s made of hope like a house is of bricks.
Matt Haig – The Truth Pixie

One of my favourite things… is to have a period of time when there is nothing I need to do. Time I can fill with reading or writing or watching something or listening to music or just simply taking time to be.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Start editing the novel

Draft some blog posts

Have dinner with my dad

Submit expression of interest and example work for a freelance opportunity

A peek into my day…

A brief pause between dance classes:

Winter Joy

My heart is so full. It’s Christmas and my brother is – wonderfully, unexpectedly -home. There are no words for the joy this has brought me. So instead, I will simply wish you joy and peace of your own and leave you with a wintry poem about light in the darkest part of the year.

Under Earthbound Stars

Just when it seems

That the world has

Withdrawn

Into itself

And skeletal trees stand testament to a

Lifeless

Season,

We hang stars on every branch and bough

And light candles in every window,

Bringing warm hope

To the cold night.

When it seems the whole world should be

Hibernating,

Hidden away and

Waiting

In quiet solitude

For the Sun’s return,

We gather.

Stories and laughter and gifts

Of Time

Or Trinkets

Are shared

Over vats of mulled goodness

Under a man-made Milky-Way

Of Earthbound stars.

And when the sharing is done

A sleepy

Silence

Settles itself,

Like a thick, woollen throw, around our weary shoulders.

We sigh and allow our stuffed selves to

Drift

Into a contented sleep

With a wish of snow upon our lips

And,

If we’re lucky,

We wake to find the world muted and muffled

By a new kind of

Magnificence.

And we are reminded of the

Beauty

That can be found in a

Blank

Page.

Merry Of Soul

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,

Say, could that lass be I?

Merry of soul she sailed on a day

Over the sea to Skye.

Billow and breeze, islands and seas,

Mountains of rain and sun,

All that was good, all that was fair,

All that was me is gone.

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,

Say, could that lass be I?

Merry of soul she sailed on a day

Over the sea to Skye.

We’re up in Scotland for a break away from all the building and DIY chaos at home. A little cottage in a little village, nestled in the midst of the Machar peninsula is just the ticket after weeks of plaster dust and builders in the house.

I had the Skye Boat Song (specifically the Outlander theme arrangement) in my head for the whole journey up here.

Scotland and I have a long and beautiful history. Many of my childhood holidays were spent in various Scottish locales and my memories of this beautiful country are filled with joy and wonder. It has always felt like a magical place to me. Even more than that, it somehow feels like home.

I love the wildness of the landscape.

I love the Celtic history, culture and folklore.

I love that it feels like a world away and coming home at the same time.

I’m so happy to discover a new part of Scotland with my love and our happy little pup. It was a fair drive up so for now we’re curling up in our cottage with books and food and nothing to worry about.

Happy Monday and ‘merry of soul’ indeed.

x

In This Moment

Outside my window… the sky stretches wide and blue overhead, streaked with wisps of white. The air is warm and still. The street is quiet. A summer weekday morning lull has settled over the neighbourhood. There is a white butterfly flutter past, stark against the red brick of the house across the road.

I am thinking… that I should probably get on with the work I have to do but I’m enjoying taking a moment to relax so I’m going to ignore that nagging should, just for a little while.

I am thankful… for the school holidays and the opportunities they give me. For the incredible friends and family I have around me. For the opportunities that are presenting themselves and the support from those around me to take them.

In the kitchen… there is currently complete chaos as the whole room is about to be ripped out and rebuilt! That’s the work I should be doing…finishing packing it up…just a little bit more lazy time first.

I am wearing… black treggings and a rust t-shirt – comfy clothes for a mooching round the house kind of day.

I am creating… a novel, a blog series, a collection of poetry and short stories, bookstagram content – so much of my creating these days is in writing form. It feels new and exciting and I love it.

I am going… to get around to packing up the kitchen…really soon…honest…

I am wondering… if I can squeeze a nap in somewhere today.

I am reading… Notes On A Nervous Planet, The Summer That Melted Everything, A Wrinkle In Time, Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince…this list goes on and on.

I am praying for… for calm.

I am hoping… for a smooth kitchen installation over the next couple of weeks.

I am looking forward to… a trip to Gladstone’s library with my mum in a few weeks time.

I am learning… that sometimes we have to accept uncomfortable truths and unpleasant feelings in order to deal with them and move on.

Around the house… it’s all very chaotic! The kitchen is in disarray, the dining room is piled high with boxes containing the new kitchen, the lounge currently has old furniture we’re getting rid of waiting to be collected later today, the main bathroom is tile-less and covered in plaster dust ready for its own makeover…I’m trying to focus on how fabulous it will all be when the work is done.

I am pondering… the direction I want to take.

A favourite quote for today… (I’m cheating and using a whole poem…)

One of my favourite things… is curling up under a blanket with a good book or a good film and forgetting the world for a bit.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Finish packing up the kitchen.

Take some photos for bookstagram.

Watch some TV.

Read some books.

Nap.

A peek into my day…

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:

While The Wind Howls

Outside the window, rain pummels and thunder rumbles. But in here it is warm and dry and quiet. An autumn medley of our favourite tunes plays softly through the house, and the smell of baking pies envelopes us in mouth-watering warmth. The world seems to settle. Our cosy home is filled with memories and promises; the bricks and mortar we bought have slowly taken on something of ourselves.

With the leaves turning down the street, our door closed against the storm, the tastes and smells of autumn bubbling in the oven, and the music of our happiest times playing through every room, it finally begins to go quiet behind my eyes. The comfort I’ve been missing in my busy days settles over my shoulders and across my brow. In this moment of peace, I am overwhelmed by my blessings and I see the depth of joy in my life.

For some it is adventure in the great wide somewhere that calls and lifts them. To escape to the new and the beauty of the unknown. But for me the greatest adventure has always been in this: in coming home. I cannot help but wonder that in the vastness of the universe, on this beautiful jewel of a planet, floating amongst the stars, there is a place that is so inherently me that it brings silent solace to the chaos of my busy human mind. As if, while the wind howled outside my door, the universe leaned in, wrapped a bubble of quiet warmth around me and whispered ‘this is for you’.

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…

My Life Right Now

Sooooo it appears I have been neglecting you…

My poor little blog has had next to no attention for too long. But I have a perfectly valid excuse (or ten)! You may remember this post? You know, the one where we GOT OUR OWN HOUSE!! Well it turns out that moving house, and then all the unpacking and building of furniture, and the ‘oh look the boiler appears to be leaking, we should probably get someone to fix that’ fun, and the deciding which rooms to decorate, and how to decorate, and then the whole lack of internet thing, means that the blog has had to take a bit of a back seat. Which I think is fair enough really.

But now the internet is back, most of the boxes are unpacked and we are slowly getting to the really fun bits of choosing wallpapers and paints and furnishings, I decided it was time to share a bit of our home with you. So here are just a few pictures of our house right now, and I can’t wait to share more as we start to make this lovely space our own.

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Our lovely red door!

 

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One of the very first things we did was get rid of the hideous plastic blind (that didn’t work and didn’t fit the window) in the lounge and replace it with pretty curtains. I love the double track which means if we want a bit of privacy, as the window looks straight onto the street, but still want light we can just draw our white curtains and leave the heavier red ones open! Perfect.

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Our lovely little dining room. I’m so excited about this space and all the possibilities it brings. I can’t wait to start having dinner parties in here! (‘Cause you know I’m that sophisticated…)

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Our little kitchen. You can’t tell from the pictures but this lovely little space is, unfortunately, very tired and a bit broken in places. It’s also very very humid in here! We will probably look at replacing the whole thing at some point but that has to wait way down at the bottom of the to-do list because…you know…we bought a house…and have no money. So time to start saving again!

So that’s the ground floor! The first floor is slightly less organised and unpacked so I’ll post some pictures when it’s a little more presentable. Thanks for letting me share, I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely summer weather! 🙂

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!

Wednesday Too…

So in an attempt to organise myself and keep on top of the housework as we prepare to move, I drew up a little weekly chart to remind me to do certain things on certain days. You know the type, Monday- clean kitchen, Tuesday – clean bathroom etc…

Today I got home from work and noticed that hubby has drawn up his own chart…

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