Rediscovering your past love…

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For once I am not referring to men, or women. No I’m talking about hobbies and those things we used to love doing, yet somehow no longer have the time too. I’ve many, we all have, things in our past that we were almost obsessed with at the time. I danced, nearly gave up school for dance school at 11, swam for my county, amateur dramatics – performances, singing, dancing the whole she-bang (nearly drama school instead of Uni)… I played cards, was an avid poker fan, read for fun before Uni got in the way, played Badminton, Rock climbed…. and of course, the crux of and purpose of my post.

Played the piano. Since returning home for the summer and getting to play as much as I want, having a piano back has been quite something. I’d forgotten how much I’d missed it, the hours of practising, getting a piece, then playing as though you always could, the sanitation, my hands dancing over the chords and arpeggios, my long nails clicking against the ivories with each note. I couldn’t be any happier when sat at my piano for hours.

I get wrist cramp, I swear, I get up make a cuppa in a mood only to return with a “right you bastard” as I stare out the music, the notes, the staves tormenting me. It’s a love hate relationship and I love every minute of it. It’s not that I’m amazing, I gave up lessons after my grade 5 exam, not wanting to put myself through the torment of a theory exam, which now… you could say seems pointless but never mind, Oh! to be young and headstrong. But what does make the difference…

Its my passion. Its something I will always enjoy doing. I rarely play for others, I find it unnerving, I’m happy playing in the hall and if people can hear well then I hope they enjoy. But I play for me. For the personal accomplishment, for my own pleasure, for the satisfaction of completing something. There are rare moments in life when we can literally acknowledge progress, doing well. We work hard at work and feel like we’ve made headway but there’s no proof, maybe a smaller pile of papers, we cultivate friendships, but there’s no pat on the back, there’s just another name in a phone book and maybe an occasional text… That’s pessimistic I realise. But playing the piano for me is progress and accomplishment personified.

I can see me having learnt, I can feel the change and the growth in my playing, in my repertoire, in my mood. I have a favourite composer, I will save the details for a later blog but I determined to learn all of his work. I know that seems somewhat daft and copycat. I have no desire to learn or write my own music, it’s not one of my talents, I know that already, but what I do know is I love his pieces, I like playing them, the way they feel, the running notes, the epic crescendo’s, the softness…

So, this post really only has one message, as ever as a conclusion. What’s your passion? Go find something you loved doing, and do it. Whether it was a squash game with buddies every week, or a bath that you no longer get time to take, or swimming … or anything. Rediscover it, explore it, enjoy it. We only live once and life’s far to full of the un-fun stuff. Its time reclaimed the things we do love.

A little bit Self Absorbed.

For the first time in a long time I can say I became totally absorbed in my life. Somehow, somewhere I have lost two weeks of my time to what I can only describe as a surreal reality. Not to sound overly vague or highfalutin, but literally time seems to have disappeared as I became totally immersed in my own world.

I’ve met someone.  Now that’s a big statement when only out of a relationship for 8 weeks, even if it was a long time coming, and I’m not saying that this is the one, the love of my life or anything like that. But we do seem to get on, too well. I am fully aware that what I may be feeling or experiencing is just a rebound, is a continuation of my past relationship of which I will snap out of, realise it isn’t me and need some time, that I may be feeling needy and lonely and wanting someone to fill a void in my life but whichever…

I’m happy. I’m happily being made happy and happy to enjoy being so. I believe in life we meet people for a purpose. I’ll go into it more one day and it might sound harsh but its true. So maybe my new beau’s purpose is simply to make me realise I need time, or that I’m not over my ex, or whatever but he’s making me happy – happier than I ever was before.

He makes me laugh till I cry, is immature and fun in a way that I’d forgotten how to be, is cute and cheeky and spirited, he adores me and makes me feel special, makes me feel important, respected, wanted… I’d forgotten how that had felt. Even in a long-term relationship I’d forgotten, because we didn’t have that. And its a lovely surprise and treat to feel so.

Do not get me wrong, I am not simply leading this boy up the garden path just for my own enjoyment, I care for him a great deal, having known him for two years, I respect him, treasure his opinion, care for his welfare, and like him immensely. This is not early doors in that sense. What I mean though is despite outcome, sometimes you just have to live.

It would be easy to say there are reasons this shouldnt happen or I shouldnt go along with it, get caught up in things when I’m vulnerable even if not feeling it whatsoever, yet why. Experience as I’ve said before should never be passed up. One of my favourite lines from a film is from the Bucket List, “Three things to remember when you get older – Never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard-on and never trust a fart” its crude in a way that suits me but its got a point. My own memento would be, “Never waste an experience, never pass up an opportunity, never forget a feeling.”

Dont wait and waste days thinking what you should be doing, do what makes you happy. Enjoy life and take every hand that s offered to you, never forget how it felt to be liked, loved how someone made you feel before it went sour, how pain hurts and experience scars, but learn from it.

I’m not one for being self-absorbed but the two weeks when my new beau was staying have flown by. I wanted nothing more than to just be with him, like a teenage crush or a virgins first touch, I wanted to just be near to stare at him, kiss him, snuggle him… and all the more adult less fantastical features of relationships. We walked. we cycled country lanes and down hill courses, slept and sun bathed on sun-kissed beaches, talked till the early hours, snuggled in bed, ate out, ate in, ate off each other… you get the picture. If you could imagine a perfect two weeks, I’ve had it.

And I’ve woken up with a bump. I’ve been one of those who forgets her friends, forgets her responsibilities, gets absorbed in a fantasy and forgets what life’s about… and yet arent I allowed? sometimes? To be selfish, to be absorbed and wanted and liked and quiet and irresponsible and childish and all those other things. Isn’t life, living for the moment? Capturing life’s essence and enjoying the time we have?

I may not be going on holiday this year, but I’ve had the vacation I needed, right at home, I’ve forgotten my life and my woes and been happily washed away to a foreign land where nothing but sun fun and frolicking were the order of the day. So maybe we should all take a day off or two, enjoy ourselves a bit.

And I’ll certainly enjoy this new little chapter and turn of events, whatever it may hold for me.

The joys of Mobility.

I’d never really given it a thought, what it means to be mobile, the sense of mobility and its function in our lives. It wasn’t until both my legs were cast and I struggled to move around as normal that it occurred to me. I wasn’t disabled by any means, and I do not think I will ever comprehend how difficult it must be to be impaired in such a way but I was hindered. I was stared at and commented on, I was unable to get about in my usual way, struggled to move in spaces and around town, struggled to move on with my life.

Yes I don’t just mean mobility literally but more in the sense of upward mobility, life’s mobility of continuing on a journey. Since the news of my legs and what not I haven’t been able to, get on with things as I was. University is effectively on hold awaiting test results to decide whether I return or take a year out for recovery, I can’t drive or get to see people with my legs in cast, I am stunted in this place, in this time, in my life as it is at present.

I take it for granted that I can do what I want, that I have the freedom, the means, to further myself and do as I wish. To go to University, to study, to live independently, to plan a career, to make long goals, to develop myself into, well an academic – supposedly.

How many people don’t have that opportunity, the means or the start in life, the physical ability and are therefore hindered in choices, maybe mentally they are held back by experiences or mental health issues, or maybe they aren’t born in the right area, in the right class, the right colour, they don’t fit the demographic that allows us to move on and have chances in life.

Are we all Naive to think that we are all as free as each other, to do as we please, to have the same chances? So yes we all get an education by the state, but anyone who has worked in more than one school, even a classroom can tell you the differences in education received by students not just in the teaching but in the classroom environment and the children’s ability to learn within their group.

Are we to believe we live in a society where racism, gender, sexuality still doesn’t affect those employed, the opportunities we have, that it doesn’t have a bearing on the decisions and the opportunities of others? I am grateful that I have the opportunities I do in life, and am thankful for the start I was given by my parents. I have chosen my career to try to help others, to impart knowledge, to give everyone the same opportunities, but life is unfair, and it hinders some of us.

We are held back by aspects of our lives, we are hindered by our experiences, we are changed by our environment, we are dictated to by the state. The only thing we can hope to do is, try, be happy and  continue to fight. Not literally with violence but to not give up on a dream, on an idea, on a desire, on our ambitions. Its important, its something we can all do, despite whatever may be in our ways, and its the one thing we can all hang on to.

I dropped out of college due to health problems, I passed my GCSE’s with 5 after having not attended school in the last two years, and suddenly the specifications for my board of examinations changed. I had to restart my two-year studies, and be way behind. I found another way, I wanted to do an access course, I was too young, had to pay 6 grands worth of fees, every excuse and measure, and rule book was thrown in my face. So I wrote to the council, I wrote to the education secretary, I got my place on my course and ended up at University just a year later than I should’ve, even more determined to study than I had been before. I didn’t stop there, I went into schools preaching about access courses, the chances they offer, I worked in schools helping as a Volunteer Teaching Assistant, I showed people that you didn’t have to be Einstein to do well, but everyone had a talent.

I’m not perfect, and I am not a saint, please do not think I am trying to preach my own praises, I’m simply saying that, mobility is a something we all take for granted. The right to move, to go where, to do as we please, to have the opportunities we all share, and its something we should always strive for, work for, look for – something we should remember and cherish.

Quiet Time.

“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practise improves us, but we need quiet time to find us, to figure things out, to emerge from new discoveries, to unearth original answers”  – Dr Esther Buchholz

So I’ve been a little quiet of late, well for a week at least. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about blogging, or that I thought that well, I didn’t need to. More, simply put that… I didn’t feel like talking. There are times in your life when tis important to spend time with yourself, not really thinking about anything. Just spending time, sitting, clearing your mind rather than spending too much time contemplating the world.

For me I spend a lot of time in my head. I enjoy working through stuff, contemplating stuff, musing in thought and thinking about every little detail. Not of situations or people, I’m not one for getting paranoid or hung up over the little details, “What did he mean by that” – that sorta thing. More about general big picture stuff, or my own thought processes, my reactions to stuff. I’m a great believer in thought and the power of the mind, in growing as a person, in finding out about yourself, in understanding yourself, in healing yourself…

So i’ll apologise for my absence. But I needed some quiet time and that’s nothing against you it is just I wanted some time out from all of that. The past week has thrown up a lot of things to think about, too many in fact that I simply needed time to recuperate my brain and then spend some time over the next coming week going through stuff, getting my head around this weeks events.

Next time you feel like you need a break, from life, from relationships, from your own mind and its thoughts, then take one. Sit back and clear your head completely. Its easier said than done and I promise you it won’t happen over night but you will finally get to that point that you can sit and just, think of… nothing. Clarity, clear minded clarity.

So I’m back out of quiet time, ready to hopefully share my minds ramblings with you once again. I cant guarantee they’ll be any less jumbled or more coherent, written with more purpose or  intention than usual but they will at least be coming from an un-jumbled uncomplicated place.

Hips, Hernia’s and Headf*cks.

I guess all my posts of late have been leading up to this one – My general mood state and life at present. I guess it might put things in a bit of perspective. I hadn’t and haven’t really wanted to go into details, I’m a positive sort of person and I haven’t felt like going into details. But the more people I connect with in our lovely blogging community I guess it doesn’t matter.

This idea I keep badgering on about, about loving yourself, being less critical, being positive is because, I guess that’s precisely what I’m having to be that moment. Resilient. I’ve just broken up with my partner of two years, currently sat with both my legs cast awaiting news of a massive operation, with a 25% chance of walking afterwards.

I’m a girl with incredibly unlucky health. This year it would appear it’s finally come to a head. I’ve had problems with my lower limbs for years, taking strong painkillers everyday that have caused my stomach to bleed and my liver to panic, my kidneys to struggle, my general health to diminish. I’ve collapsed ankle joints, femoral anteversion (my knees point inwards so I can’t bend my legs without them touching) and hips that dislocate. I spend a great deal of time struggling to walk or on crutches, with swollen joints and agonising aches.

Yesterday I went for a scan of my abdomen and have two congenital hernia’s, holes in my stomach wall I was born with and my intestines are poking through the muscular wall, causing a great deal of discomfort for years and never realising what it was. I’ve a heart condition, that causes me to randomly blackout and feel as though I’m having a mild heart-attack, not being able to breathe, shaking uncontrollably and slipping in and out of consciousness.

I’ve had depression since a child. Diagnosed ten years ago, I’ve had everything, CBT, counselling, Psychotherapy, and drugs everyday. My brain simply doesn’t make those lovely happy chemicals that keep us all ticking over nicely. To put it simply, I’m a bit of a mess at the moment.

Everyday is a struggle to get up, find the energy, suffering with insomnia, no sleep because of pain and discomfort, I spend much of my time uncomfortable and wandering whats the point. But there is one, I refuse to give in and have everything affect me. So I may be clinically depressed, always in a state of depression, but if you met me you’d see I’m one of the happiest, most positive people you’ll ever meet.

So it may be a well placed mask, a front to cover up how I feel, but to be honest, my life isn’t that awful. I refuse to give in, lay back and feel sorry for myself. I’ve a lot on my plate yes, but it isn’t unmanageable. It isn’t something I can’t handle, it’s just life. Its full of ups and downs and curveballs and mine, well are just as anyone elses I guess.

I refuse to be self loathing, self-interested, self obsessed. To think about my life and no one else and get down about it. It’s just one of those things I deal with and I’m ok with that. You’ll never hear me moaning that I’m in pain, that I’m not feeling great. I’ll never say I’m having a bad day or I can’t cope because, tomorrow I could be fine. I stay positive, look for the good in life and focus on being happy, whatever that means.

Life isn’t a box of chocolates. We can’t pick the path we’re given or the things we have to deal with, but we still have to. Whether I feel like it or not, I still have a life to lead, things to be doing, things to concentrate on. I have many things going for me and that’s what we all must remember. I’ll no doubt go into detail about everything at some point, but to be honest, I don’t feel the need to dwell, to linger on things that I can’t control.

Best to carry on, to remind yourself that life could be far far worse, and carry,well in my case, hobble on 🙂 Everyone has problems, no ones are worse than anyone elses because they’re relative to what we’ve dealt with in the past, what we’ve had to face, a small bump to one person could be a big deal to someone else. It’s not ok to put someone else down or demean them for being upset about something trivial, if indeed it’s affecting them, well. It’s all about being understanding and respectful of other people and their lives.

I like my life, for all its ups and downs and traumas. So its stressful, so I’m likely to have a heart-attack by the time I’m thirty, likely to end in a wheelchair and to struggle everyday to want to be here and carry on, but it’s what makes me. We are made by our experiences. I have resilience, self-respect and a self-awareness others can only dream of. I am the person I am because of what I deal with. I cope because I have done and will always continue to do so.

I am positive because I want to be, because life’s to short and life is about the ride, the journey. I enjoy living, I enjoy my pain, it makes me feel alive, I enjoy the struggles because it’s when your realise who you really are, what you’re truly about – your essence and core is, revealed almost.

This may be the only time you hear me being, negative if you like. And it’s not so much that, it’s just stating life as it is. I’m not asking for sympathy of for people to be concerned about me. I don’t bang on about health issues for attention or love. I am just me.  So I may hide whats really going on, I may wear a front some days, present a happier me than I’m really feeling but, it’s not that I don’t want people to know, that I’m ashamed or that I think people would think I’m a whiny bitch… It’s just, it isn’t a big deal to me – it isn’t a focus.

What is, is being happy, helping others, getting my education, spending time with loved ones, bettering myself as a person, enjoying every minute as maybe pessimistically put, It might be your last. That’s not negative, its optimistic. If you live life as though today is your last day, you never waste time, you embrace every second, even if that’s sitting down and doing nothing or out and about making the most of your day.

Lies, Laughter and Life.

We all lie. We do it everyday, all day. We present the us we want to be seen, the one that’s perfectly happy, with no problems, dressed and looking spotless or unintentionally not. We pretend to lead the life we want to, and cover up all the blemishes in the brick work.

It’s not intentional, we just do. We aren’t the same at home as we are at work, the same at work as we are out on a night out, the same there as we are with friends, or with a partner. We all lie to get through the day. We pretend to know what we’re doing and yet really, we don’t. We’re all bumbling along pretending to know what we’re doing.

But we don’t really. None of us do. We’re all trying to make our way through life the best way we can. We make mistakes try to forget we havent, try to learn and rush headlong into the next drama, dilemma and discovery. Isn’t that the fun in life though?

It makes me wonder though, what do we hide. What do we hide about ourselves. I guess it relates to this idea of being to harsh with ourselves, but we do hold a lot back. I’m a surprisingly private person, this blog is fairly liberating to speak my mind. I’m not a closed book,I’m open and honest but rarely will you hear me in person actually talking directly about my life. I just tend, not too. Not intentionally, just that’s me I guess. Private is private.

With those that do know me well, and are involved, they know as well as I do – there’s a little bit of me you’ll never touch. A little piece of me I keep just to myself, not just my deepest darkest secrets, well not primarily, but the essence of me. People say I’m mysterious, or intriguing whether I agree or not I’d debate but… however long we’re together they feel like they’re always getting to know me, finding things out. I like holding something back. You give everything of yourself, to someone, especially a partner and they leave, what do you have?

What’s important is to not conceal the true you completely. You can’t be guarded, a closed text, something that people have to prise into, or they wont. They’ll give up, they’ll think you’re hard work and they’ll realise they never will get you. The world doesn’t have to know your business but someone has to know, you.

It was listening to this song and musing further about my recent more, philosophical posts that I just thought- Maybe we should take the time to make sure we do know everyone around us, that we’ve really connected. After a break down of a relationship of a year and a half, we realised, we never dated. We never got to know each other, properly. Things got complicated and shit happens as does in life, and other things got in the way, he moved away, then there was family problems. Somehow we didn’t have the time to find us or find each other out. We’ve lived fairly, superficially, liking each other, loving each other but missing something in between.

How many people do you know and yet know nothing about? How many people in your life you spend a great deal of time with, get on with, laugh with but no virtually nothing about them and they you. It’s a surprising number and I think, well, its kind of funny. What an odd way to spend our lives and yet we do. Maybe those friendships work and survive because we don’t get bogged down with each others problems and become friends that are agony aunts, comrades and counsellors all in one, maybe. Or maybe we don’t feel the need because, it’s easier not to get to know someone, and just, have acquaintances. Less effort, less time, less… energy wasted if you don’t get on. After all, maybe you can just be there and be the support by your presence, doesn’t mean they need to know all your woes or you them. You’re the, positive friend.

Well anyways. Another fleeting thought…The Weepies, ‘Nobody knows me at all’, from ‘Say I am you.’

When I was a child everybody smiled, nobody knows me at all
Very late at night and in the morning light, nobody knows me at all
Now I got lots of friends, yes, but then again, nobody knows me at all
Kids and a wife, it’s a beautiful life, nobody knows me at allAnd oh when the lights are low
Oh with someone I don’t knowI don’t give a damn, I’m happy as a clam, nobody knows me at all
Ah, what can you do? There’s nobody like you. Nobody knows me at allI know how you feel, no secrets to reveal, nobody knows me at all
Very late at night and in the morning light, nobody knows me at all
Nobody knows me, nobody knows me, nobody knows me at all

We’re all to critical, we’re complex creatures.

We are all culprits of the self-critical. How hard to we push ourselves, work ourselves, how self analytical. As people we are so eager to focus on our own faults, to draw attention to the times we do things wrong, get it wrong, make a bad decision. We obsess about our negative qualities, the place about ourselves we don’t like, the worst parts of us.

None of us are terrible, we aren’t murderers, we haven’t committed any great crime, we haven’t truly hurt someone beyond repair, and yet we act as though we have. We beat ourselves up, riddle ourselves with guilt, of shame over the silliest things.

Sometimes things go wrong. Relationships don’t work, despite how every much work and effort we put in. Sometimes situations don’t go quite right, despite the best of intentions, situations or our comments, our actions are taken the wrong way. We cannot predict how people will take anything we do or say, and yet we take it to heart when someone  doesn’t understand what we meant, what we were trying to do. We don’t take the time to say, we didn’t mean it like that, we explain and yet we still take it personally, as though we really did mean for things to go badly.

How many times do we accept a compliment. This may just be me, but I’m not one for self praise. If someone gives me a compliment, it’s normally followed by a quick thought of, what’s their intention, what do they want, what are they trying to get… How ridiculous a way of thinking. Maybe they just, wanted to make you feel good, maybe they just said it because they were thinking it, with no thought or provocation, just a simple comment. Why don’t we just accept our good qualities, focus on them, say thank you and receive praise gracefully.

Why do we have to be so self-critical. I have made a point of being positive, of accepting that we aren’t going to get on with everyone, not everyone is going to understand our point of view, or even like it. That we can’t change, so believe in your own beliefs, your intention, your heart. Accept yourself for all its qualities good and bad.

I am no perfect individual, I make mistakes. I’m quick to write people off for not being my sort of people, to stop putting effort in when others aren’t putting the same back – that doesn’t make me a bad person, that s just a part of me. I make an effort to be different, to acknowledge this, and to try to change. But I don’t think I’m a bad person for it, I don’t beat myself up, I accept that I have high expectations of friends and that people aren’t perfect, people fall short of them.

I’ve made mistakes. I’m screwed up good relationships, given up, been focused on the negatives, been to slow to forgive. Its human nature, we’re hurt, we’re upset, we can’t see the trees from the wood. But we should. We should take the time to understand ourselves, the way we work, the way we think, why we act certain ways.

We should all strive to be the best person we can, but we shouldn’t be too harsh. We are after all only human, we’re a flawed species to start with. We are overly emotional, or not emotional enough, we’re quick to judge, to pass comment, to jump to conclusions or assumptions. Why not just accept it and try to acknowledge when we’re doing so, but not be hating ourselves because of it.

I welcome my flaws, it makes me human, it makes me a rounded individual. My mistakes have given me lessons, experience, I wouldn’t change anything because of it. I’ve been wrapped up in my own life and own problems when I shouldn’t have been, I’ve been overly harsh when I needn’t have been, but guess what. I’ve learnt. I’ve grown, I’ve become a fuller person because of it so I’m going to suggest…

We give ourselves a break. Love ourselves, take the time to think about ourselves. We’re all good people deep down, trying to muddle through life as we can, find the right path, our way through a world of inconsistency, problems and drama. To be loved and accepted we must love ourselves, our whole selves. Believe in you. Love you.  Strive to be the best you, you can and then… Well regardless of outcome situation, you can never disappoint yourself. Let alone anyone else.

I’m a person and I love myself, in the most non arrogant, not overly confident or self-assured way possible. Lets all do the same.

Coffee Houses: Kitsch, Cute and Comfortable Corners.

I read a post on ‘Freshly Pressed’ that made me think: It was about coffee houses, little unique coffee shops, that are as individual as the coffee blends themselves. Now I’m not talking Starbucks or costa, cafe Nero or wherever else you choose to frequent. I’m talking, family run, homemade, kitsch little gems that are hidden off the main streets, and have that, bohemian, individual, ‘totally comfortable at home’  feel.

If you don’t know of one, then I’m afraid to say, you’re missing out. Start poking around the back streets where you live, the cobbled rows of old houses, get off the walk or the high street and start exploring. Find all the little shops that are totally unique, the shop that is everything just cakes, the hippy clothes, full of incense and glorious handmade jewellery, scarves of every colour and pattern…

For me, a cup of coffee, or more specifically a mug, a heavy, broad handled steaming mug full – is an experience. Its an actual moment, a pleasure. To sit back in a comfy chair, with a book, on my own in my mind, with friends or watching passers-by, an experience I cherish. The mix of coffee beans and milk, of that bitter and rich taste, that smooth and warm feeling as you sip, warming your hands on the mug. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or now, ask anyone, everyone fancies an ice-cold beer or a pimms, both of which I am not adverse to, but nine times out of ten. I want a coffee.

Now lets clarify what I mean by coffee. If you’re talking about Tesco’s finest instant, then you mistake what I mean by coffee. If you’re a coffee hater and have drunk that rubbish, then there is your first problem. Lets set it straight, I’m talking proper ground coffee, fresh coffee, from a cafetière. I don’t need a fancy coffee maker, that makes me a cappuccino, or an espresso, or a mocha with all its percolating, steaming and shaking. I mean just simple, push down and filter coffee.

Now back to the place. If you are to sit and enjoy anything it’s not just about the activity, it’s the environment. Reading  a book is blissful on your bed with the sun streaming in, surrounded by cushions and quilt; on a beach, with the sun dancing off the pages, the wind ruffling them gently, sunning yourself at the same time; in a hammock, wrapped up, swaying gently, with a pillow under your head and the wind in the trees… it’s the whole experience not just the what.

I’m lucky to have two fabulous coffee shops in my home towns. I say home towns because as a student, I class myself to have two, the home where I grew up, the city I spent my youth, finding myself, exploring, feeling every bit the adult in my naivety; and my new home. The place I chose, the city I live on my own, spend my days walking about, studying, frequenting book shops and cafe’s alike. Norwich, and Lincoln, if you wanted a name.

First there’s Morellos, Norwich. Family run, quirky, girly, homemade and kitsch – This place is straight out of Cath Kitsons catalogue, before she even became a household name. With cute little momentos, signs, vintage pictures, flowery teapots, hand-made cotton flowers, hooks with straw hats and ribbons, and mismatched chairs, its perfect in its own way.  They serve fresh coffee, homemade lunches, handmade cakes and treats, and all with a friendly hug for anyone who stops through the door. It truly is a beautiful place to spend your time. For me is the place I went with my mum, girly and cute,  lunches sat after a hard days shopping, surrounded by floral prints and lace, it was like a little girls heaven, and to be honest, it’s still one of my favourite places in this world.

The second is the award-winning, rated one of the top ten coffee shops in the country, Cafe Aroma, Lincoln. Its got that charm of a proper Italian coffee shop. Coffee served on a board, with a glass of water as it should be. No fuss, no pretence, the coffee speaks for itself. The upstairs is like a bohemian dream, full of little corners to snuggle into and enjoy. One one is mismatched with large tables, odd chairs, window seats covered in cushions of every pattern, and the walls covered in music sheets, making the most interesting wall paper. There is artwork from local artists, all abstract and obscure, bright and colourful, much like the shop itself. Next through an arch and curtain is the den. Stacked wall to wall with a bookcase full of every novel and story you could ever hope to read, big comfy leather sofas, and coffee tables, the windows draped with rich fabrics and curtains… its like being in your own den, the sort as a child you’d have died to make, attempted to in your bedroom under a quilt.

Both offer an experience, a sense of belonging, a real atmosphere of calm, tranquility, of enjoyment and individualism. There the sort of places you frequent with friends for a quick drink and six hours, 7 coffee’s and a few shortbreads later, your still there, curled up in a big chair, or perched at a table, chatting away, hopelessly happy to stay there all day. If you live in either of these places, you must visit, absolutely without fail.

And if you don’t, isn’t it about time you found your own place? That special little corner of a room, a room that gives you a hug as you come in and a smile, to sit, to think, to muse, to dwell, to drink coffee, to socialize, to have a meeting, to read… to be you. What are you waiting for?

Have heart, Live for your Dream.

Never before have I felt compassion and genuine heartbroken sympathy for another individual like I did on the last stroke of this years Wimbledon. It’s not the loss of the nation, him letting us down or anything like that… To see a man, whose dreams, childhood dream is smashed away from him, when he tried so hard – is devastating.

We all have dreams, things we’d like to accomplish, some we give up on, some we can’t complete, some change… To be so close and to have done your best, must be so difficult. As I said the other day, I am overjoyed, proud and overwhelmed that he made it there, that he beat him in the first set, that he gave it his all. I just know, as was clear on his face, that for him, he feels like he’s let himself down, like his worlds crumbled in a few short hours.

Yesterday a dream came true for Marray and Nielsen, two men, not even meant to play in the doubles, let alone become champions, and in the same weekend, anothers is put on hold for another year. Everyone has a time, everyone has a goal, maybe this year it wasn’t meant to be, maybe Federer was just, to on form, maybe there was too much expectation… But we know someday, he’ll make it. Never have I seen a player more deserving than he. Never have I seen an individual want something so much, so clearly.

I have but a final thought, and the true reason behind an overly emotional (blame the time of the month)  post. Never give up on your dreams. Whatever your set backs, whatever obstacles are put in your way, always believe. Always have faith. You will succeed, with passion, determination and heart. For me Andy is today’s hero and my tennis star. Our true nations winner of today. For compassion, for determination, for composure, for grace and humility in defeat.

If we all had the same passion and emotion to everything we did in life, and believed in ourselves that much, the world would be a richer place.

Wimbledon, A National Treasure.

So it’s finally happened. I know there will be a thousand posts about the tennis tournament, people wishing Andy the best of Luck, pinning their hopes on one game. For those of who you aren’t clued up for the first time in 76 years an Englishman is in the final of Wimbledon.I say Englishman, there has always been a lot of contention surrounding Murray, when he’s losing he’s Scottish, when he’s doing well he’s England’s next best thing, that I guess is the way of the media, they want to sell papers, make controversial headlines and if they back what they think is local opinion or put something that will cause debate on front page, well then they will. I guess poor Murray’s just had enough stick.

Either way, he is our guy, born on bred on these shores, if not down the Southern End. Watching todays seminal final, the sublime first two sets and then the third, him crumble under the pressure, Tsonga suddenly come out with some strokes of pure genius and the fight that was the last set. It was one of those moments I can appreciate what all the fuss is about. I was out of my seat, cheering, urging him on, heart pounding, feeling his pain, his stress, urging him to do well.

What’s more, is I’m not fussed about the title for England or for us, but for him. To see a grown man cry and breakdown at making the final, that shows how much it means to him. I was so pleased for him, for his achievement, for his victory after struggling for two sets. I just, want him to do well, because you can see it’s all he’s ever wanted, the Wimbledon title, for a year at least.

For those of you who don’t understand what all the fuss is about, Wimbledon is kind of, an English Thing. It’s an event and tournament everyone loves, not like football where you support a team or if your female, normally don’t have that much time for. The Tennis on those greens, on centre court, on the outside lawns is, somewhat of a treasure. It’s all very English, Tennis; like Cream Tea’s and scones, bowling and croquet; it’s the old school Englishman, with his walking stick and wife with her parasol. It goes back to a time when we were great, when we were undoubtedly English.

Wimbledon itself is the centre of the summer for many. There have been films on it, endless coverage on telly and in the papers, it’s our thing. The grounds are famous; all players from around the globe know of the lawns, of playing at Wimbledon, what it means. They’re the best grass courts in the world, and there the place that everyone wants to do well, just because its Wimbledon, not because it’s a grand slam or because it’s another tournament, there is something special the place itself.

It’s the atmosphere. There is a buzz, tennis, comes alive. Everyone after watching that wants to be tennis pro, sling a cable knit sweater over their shoulders and a polo shirt, eat strawberries in the sun and watch a marvellous sport. We all want to be in whites, serving for set, there with the crowd cheering, that sense of achievement. We want to be sat up on Henman hill or in the stands staring down, cheering along, sighing and applauding every forehand and backhand, lob and slice. It doesn’t matter who’s playing either, it’s about the tennis, the amazing matches.

There have been some epic games in recent years, some amazing titles, the never-ending Federer- Nadal battles, Djokovic last season and to date last year’s champion, for two more days at least. But of course, we all remember the record-breaking match of Isner and Mahut. The longest, ever recorded and ever played tennis match, in history. It was Wimbledon 2012, The American took on the Frenchmen in the first round, both eager to make a good start and move on. It had been a close match all the way through. It came down to a tiebreak in the final set, incredibly tense, each man matched well. It was only the first round and both men burned each other out, knocking each other out of the competition, one by defeat, one from sheer exhaustion. The match totalled an incredible 11 hours five minutes and finished up, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7(7-9), 7-6(7-3), 70-68. Yes that was Seventy, Sixty eight, a total of 183 games. It was an endless battle; each man served over 100 aces that day, and made history.

Its events like that, not just of that grand scale, but that level of tennis, that desire to win, to strive to do well on those courts, that atmosphere that make Wimbledon what it is. We all desire to go, to be there, in the crowd, to soak up that atmosphere, to see anyone, everyone, the big seeds and the freshers coming in that season.

It’s another one of those events that reminds us of our national pride, that thing I was talking of the other day, it’s something I am proud is British, that I treasure each year, it makes a British summer, along with the rubbish weather, endless coastlines and seaside holidays. So can you imagine, to have someone representing our country, in the final. The last man to do so was, in 1936 by Fred Perry, who had also won the two previous years. Standing at Wimbledon, a statue to the legend still stands today, and since then, no Englishman has been able to reach the title.  We had Henman and he never made it, now we have Murray, and we all pray they’ll be a statue in his name soon. He’ll be the player we all remember for breaking the English Wimbledon Winners drought, the man we’ll consider the treasure of our tennis history.

I’m not going to sit here and say Murray should win, there is enough pressure on him after all, but, Wouldn’t it be fantastic? It would make 2012 the UK’s true sporting sensation. He’s on good form, there’s a sense of timing, of things coming together, a glimmer of hope for all us Wimbledon and Tennis Fanatics, could this be our time?  I’m too jumbled with nerves, elation, pride and ecstasy to even write reasonably, with clarity and cohesion let alone start predicting scores and pinning the hopes of a nation on the racket of one man. I’m  just proud he’s got this far, proud to have the chance  at winning and for his personal achievement, proud to have sat sharing that experience with my nation, all watching and enthralled all the same. Come Sunday my only hope, is that he plays well, to give it the best shot, I hope he is as proud as we are for him taking us all to a final we won’t forget, whatever the outcome.

Come Sunday the country will be sat, glued to their telly’s, with munchies and refreshments ready, hardly daring to go to the loo, to glance away from the screen, to breath, desperately urging the our nations hopeful on. I’ll be there, talking to Andy, Yelling Murray Chants at the top of my lungs, jumping up and down, crying out in elation, and hopefully, hopefully…Triumph. Whatever Sunday holds, a records already been broken and It’s a match, no of us will miss.