If we ever needed encouragement…

We all have days, days when we want to give up, days when we can’t see any point, days when we take yet another knock and think, is it all worth it? It doesn’t matter if it’s at work, if its home life, it’s a hobby, or an interest. Whether its something we’ve just started like that new gym regime, or something we’ve been doing for ages – trying to see ourselves better. Some days it’s a little bit too much effort.

Well, if there ever was a story to inspire, it comes once again in my beloved Mr Murray, who after his Wimbledon defeat, myself and the English Nation poured their hearts out for. A dream whipped away by the greatest man in tennis. We all said, how do you bounce back? How can you overcome something that took so much emotional strength from you, and so much passion to reach in the first place.

By winning, in straight 3 sets, 28 days later, beating the same man, on the same court, and take home a gold medal. It was never going to be an easy task but a glimmer of hope, a window of opportunity opened  and Andy took it. Maybe it was a grudge match, made it was revenge, maybe it was to prove himself but prove he did. The same emotional, shaky and unsure Andy had disappeared. A new man stood in front of us all.

Calm, collected, full of composure and relaxed. He played the best tennis of his life, he threaded the needle down the line more times than we’d ever seen, his shots were sublime, his speed and reaction as fast as ever, and Federer looked, well tired. It’s not to say that he wasn’t, that he wasn’t himself having an off day, but Murray took advantage.

He showed that in loss there is not defeat. That with hard work, with self belief and courage, you can bounce back and achieve whatever you wish. He won, the biggest match of his life, in perfect form and made us all realise, we need not give up on our dreams.

Rutherford, who went on to win a gold medal in the long jump, after defeat in Beijing, nearly gave up, nearly quit his sport and retired for good. How he would have kicked himself. He wouldn’t have realised his potential, wouldn’t have realised his dreams, and accepted his place as Olympic Champion. It would have been easier, to accept and to give up, but with more time, harder work, and the same support – just shows what can be achieved.

We need not give up on things we feel passionate about, when the boat gets rocked and a storm brews, when life seems to throw hurdle and hail storm, it may knock you down but it wont break you. For me, it was another time to realise that despite life’s woes there are so many things to be happy about, so much to look forward to, so much to strive for – so much more to achieve.

We’ll all have our break, it might not be in sporting history in front of 15,000 people, but we all have our moments, our chance to shine, our spotlights, surrounded by our fans – our families, our friends, our partners – ready to celebrate with us. Whatever your back breaker is, lets not give up just yet, because in a months time, your life could have changed completely.

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You could write a book…

How many times is that bantared around? Anyone with a half creative brain, anyone studying English, anyone have ever had an english lesson, everyone thinks could be a writer. It’s mentioned like, going shopping or popping to the gym or losing a few pounds.

No. simply no. We cannot all write novels. We are not all gifted enough, it’s a skill, yes everyone can write to a degree, everyone can put across their voice, can write a little bit of a prose, can write things that their friends will gush over, but as in, getting a publishing contract and hundreds of sales, enough to live?

No. I didn’t take the creative writing modules at Uni for the simple reason, that I couldn’t handle, hearing people every seminar saying, I’m writing my second book, this is an excerpt from my first novel, I’m currently finishing off my first paperback… instead I had to listen to everyone bitching about it. Yes there are a lot of authors out there, but compared to the number of people actually living in a  country or in the world? It’s a TINY percentage and it’s getting harder, with funding limited and publishers not so keen to print.

Oh yeah, anyone can self publish, but that isn’t quite the same thing is it? The same sense of achievement, the same sort of, book deal that everyone (it seems) craves. I’m sorry to sound like a heartless woman, damning everyone’s hopes and dreams of literary success, I’m just a realist. I would love to be a writer, a full-time erotic fiction writer…

Oh yes, that’s the other half of my brain, spent delving into dark corners and crevices of passionate embraces and sexy encounters. I would love, adore, to be that good, to give up the day job, teaching and to just write, to do product reviews and enjoy my dark side. But it isn’t going to happen. I don’t write fiction, I write erotic tales, there’s no romance,  no plot, it’s just sex and that’s what I love – and it wouldn’t sell.

I hate this culture of everyone being an author. celebrities bringing out books by the week. Do you actually think they write them? Not some poor twit that can’t make it and is hoping that one day they’ll be recognised by their amazing skills in putting across Katie Price’s life story, and writing something rewarding.

I have an unbelievable amount of respect for writers, for authors and for publishers. The hours writers spend on their own, immersed in their own thoughts, in a story, trawling over sentences and syntax, and trying to get it, just right. Publishers, for the tine and commitment in reading, re reading, editing, making sure we get the very best novel from an author that they can. Its gruelling – it’s not an easy job. What if it doesn’t sell, what if your ill and behind on a deadline, what if you can’t pay your rent, what if you realise, you weren’t that good?

I am not disillusioned, but I am respectfully envious, not of their success, not of their lifestyle, but of their ability, that they have found their niche, and a skill that many of us just simply don’t have. Well, I guess that concludes my rant. Maybe one day we’ll all have a book, maybe we’ll all write about our lives and keep it hidden for eyes one day to see, maybe we’ll call it a diary or something…

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.

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

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?

Like to be Liked.

What I’m about to say isn’t going to make me too popular I imagine, but I believe what I’m about to say many of us will have to admit to whether we like to or not. I’m talking about being liked. We all like, to be liked. Thats a given, no one wants enemies or adversaries, we all want to get along with people, to make friends, to fit in, be found funny, interesting, attractive…

That’s more to my point, we all secretly like to be liked, in that way. We all want to be fancied, to be found desirable, to be wanted by others. It’s a confidence kick, it’s a boost of the self-esteem, and it makes us feel alive. When you walk down the road, how many of us give people the eye, or catch people giving us it? It makes you feel good, gives you a smile, so you obligingly smile back at them, feeling a bigger spring in your step and lighter at heart.

How many boys walk along hand in hand with their girlfriend, their better half and shamelessly eye up every pair of legs, tits and pretty face that passes them by? Most. But what about the girls? We all walk with a gentle sway, up straight, we glance at faces as we pass them, we smile to ourselves and check ourselves out in shop windows… are we really any different? Do we walk in that way we know will attract attention because we like it? Do we secretly love it when someone chats us up in front of friends or even our partner, because it reminds them and you, your something worth keeping?

I don’t think its unfair to say most of us do, even those who are happily married, or settled, its human nature. After all window shopping is only the start. But what about something more? A friend of mine was chatting saying how she had snuggled up to someone she, knew she didn’t like that way, but knew he liked her… so that would be, Leading him on right? No. Its not all as black and white as that. If you aren’t making advances or promises, then I’ll disagree.

We’ve all wanted to be made to feel special, feel attractive, had someone to cuddle. It’s normally when we’re out of a breakup or single for a while – you get the blues. You just want that special someone there, the ex or mr/missus right and they’re not. But someone is, someone you care about, someone you’re comfortable with, that you can sit and cuddle, and laugh with, curl up on the sofa with under a blanket.

It isn’t something awful; taking it any further, well that’s different. That’s engaging sex and affection and emotion into the equation, and well know how those things complicate matters.  I’m a very tactile individual, with everyone, friends, people I’ve just met. I’m always one to put a hand on someone arm when I’m talking and lean in, to hug people I’ve just met, to lean my leg over someone when we’re sat talking… To me, its only natural. I’d find it odd to be the other way, so to me, a cuddle. Well its just a cuddle. It’s just you snuggling into someone for a bit of comfort, warmth and security, nothing to write home about.

So next time your with a friend, your feeling a bit lonely and they’ve popped over for company, you see them shuffle a bit closer, and you feel like laying against them. Do it, make a comment about having them there as a mate when you need them if you feel you need to lay down parameters. We’re all to fussy about being touchy feely, getting to close, about being over friendly, the barriers between men and women as friends. What does it matter? Really, no one can be hurt by a cuddle or a snuggle.