Showing posts from 2016

A Little Life Update

I didn’t intend to take such a long break from posting here, or any break at all, really. I’ve been writing but not publishing. Writing as a way to try and process thoughts I don’t understand myself yet. There’s been a lot going on over the last few months. I’ve written on here about my journey with anxiety over a number of years, and about the fact that in June this year I completely crashed with my anxiety and depression. There’s been a lot of rebuilding going on. A lot of pulling thoughts apart to their very roots and learning how to change them so they’re no longer damaging. Finally, I acknowledged that I needed to face everything properly, rather than continuing to wear a mask and pretending I was ok. It’s been going well. I found a counsellor who understands me. He knows what I’m describing before I finish describing it. He doesn’t let me get away with taking the easy route, and he challenges beliefs I’ve been leaning on for years. About a month ago, I realised that things were actuall…

The Bodyguard, the musical

I’m going to start by laying my cards on the table: I was not a huge fan of The Bodyguard the musical. 
What I did like and enjoy was a tribute to Whitney Houston featuring one of my very favourite voices, Beverley Knight.
I know people absolutely love this musical and I desperately wanted to feel the same way but I just didn’t. I came away happy because I saw Beverley Knight and Rachel John perform stunning renditions of classic songs. That was the part I loved.
Beverley Knight (Rachel Marron) is a firm favourite of mine, a position confirmed further when I saw her in Memphis last year. In Memphis her character, her songs and the rest of the cast were all fantastic. In this, she is one of only a couple of standouts, and the beauty of her role is not so much in the acting as it is in the music. She is a star, and she performs the role of a star well. One Moment in Time had me in tears, and I Will Always Love You was breath-taking.
Rachel John (who, in fact, was also in Memphis) takes…

A Year in London - The Update

Yesterday marked exactly a year since I moved to London.
I didn’t think it would ever be a move I would make, but it has led to one of the busiest years of my life and probably the one in which I have changed and learned the most.
The move was about breaking out of my comfort zone, and throwing off the comfort blankets I’d surrounded myself with.
Without challenging myself, I was never going to overcome a lot of the fears I had built up and learned to live with.
The timings suddenly clicked. I was really unhappy in my job, living alone with the flexibility to move, and there was nothing tying me to stay in the same place.
When the job hunt began, I was offered a role at a company I’ve admired for years, which sealed the deal and to London I came.
It’s been a year of extreme highs and some very real lows, and one year on I can say it’s been one of the biggest learning experiences I’ve had.
I’m in a new city, facing ‘fears’ like the tube, living with strangers, and adjusting to a new w…

10 tips for finding a room to rent in London

Finding a place to rent can be a bit of a nightmare.
Finding a room to rent in London is on another level.
It’s definitely stressful and it’s definitely fast-paced, so almost a year after moving I thought I’d try to share some tips. There are places out there. It can be very easy to panic as places move quickly and the process can be overwhelming, but people are always on the move and there are options out there if you keep calm and look properly.Know what you want. Do you want an extension of university life, living with people who are also going to be your friends, or do you want a quiet place you can head home to after work or socialising? Think carefully about the type of environment you want to be in.Visit multiple places. So many places look ok online, but the reality can be a different story. I saw places that looked about triple the size online, I went to a house where the other three occupants smoked and left beer bottles everywhere, I went to one house that was hidden away d…

Groundhog Day, the musical

As soon as I heard tickets for Tim Minchin’s latest project, Groundhog Day, had been released, I bought my ticket. I’ve not actually seen the classic film, so my thoughts are based on the musical as a standalone, having known nothing about the story.
I have really mixed feelings about the show, which overall are very positive but with a few question marks left over. I’m going to start with the less positive thoughts and move through to the highlights.
Firstly, it really was ‘a show of two halves’. Act One was fantastic: slick, laugh-out-loud funny, great staging and we spent the interval talking about how brilliantly the show had been done. Act Two retained the feeling of the show but felt incomplete. I think for me this was partly because I just wasn’t the biggest fan of the story. I like the concept but the context is a little odd and I found it very hard to identify with many characters. Even the main character I really enjoyed watching and thought it was played brilliantly but I …

A Trip to Brighton

A couple of weeks ago, I took my first trip to Brighton for my birthday weekend.

It's a place people go on and on about and so many love, so I was really looking forward to it.

After to everything I've been going through recently it was the perfect escape from London and opportunity to slow the pace and take time to relax.

We arrived Saturday morning and had a cooked breakfast looking over the beach, followed by a stroll along the pier. Sitting and chatting on the pier was the perfect place to be able to mull over my thoughts and clear out some of the things that have been contributing to my state of mind over the last couple of months.

I loved The Lanes, although they weren't what I expected at all. They're such a maze of cute little shops and great to wander. I've got to say, I loved the way such a huge proportion of the shops in Brighton are independent. All the usual chains were there, but the overall feel was a very independent one with so many interesting thi…

Matilda the Musical

I think I enjoyed my second visit to Matilda the Musical even more than my first a few years ago.
I was worried that because I loved it so much first time round I’d have built it up too much, but it was every bit as brilliant as I remembered.
I also saw it from a completely different perspective this time, sitting on the third row, rather than up at the top back of the theatre.
I often describe Tim Minchin as a Roald Dahl for grown-ups, and I think his input is part of what makes the show so fantastic. It feels so authentically ‘Roald Dahl’, yet adds even more layers.
The musical is all about Matilda’s love of stories and storytelling and I think this is what makes it so magical. The wordplay is very clever, and the lyrics fantastic. Just listen to ‘The School Song’, preferably watching clips to see the staging, and you’ll see just how clever every moment of the show is.

What I love most about the musical is the added depth, and the story of the escapologist’s daughter – no spoilers …

24 thoughts on my 24th birthday

24 sounds kind of grown up.
Didn’t I turn 21 five minutes ago?
This year has been a bit action-packed: new job, new city, new house…
I cannot wait for a trip away at the weekend.
I used to think 24 year-olds would be settled and have their whole lives sorted.
I’ve done a lot of learning about myself this year.
Those I’d count as the people I’m closest to now aren’t the same list as on my last birthday and that’s ok.
I can’t believe it’s a year since my last birthday, one of my absolute favourites (think Wimbledon and amazing friends).
Birthdays always feel like a fresh start, with new opportunities.
I feel like this is going to be a big year. There are lots of things going on in my brain and lots of plans both arranged and with the potential to happen.
I’m going to continue looking after myself. The last month has taught me how important that is.
I want to continue exploring. There are so many places even just in the UK I’m desperate to see, so I want to carry on the exploring I’ve been doing th…

La Tasca, West India Quay

One thing I love about London is finding those pockets that don’t feel like you’re in a big city at all.
Canary Wharf during the week is so busy, but at the weekend all is calm.
West India Quay is an area that reminds me a lot of Liverpool, and house some great restaurants along the river.
A couple of weeks ago my dad came to visit, and we headed over that way to sit in the sunshine outside La Tasca, West India Quay.

It was my first La Tasca trip, and although I’m not able to eat widely at the moment because of what’s been going on with my anxiety, the trip confirmed I need to return as soon as I’m eating more again!

Between three of us we ordered six dishes to share which was a good amount, we’d maybe have added one more if my appetite was at its normal levels.
The menu is extensive and varied, and I was really impressed by the price for the quantity and quality of food we received.

We ordered: Pan Del Ajo (garlic toasted breads)Triple Cooked Patatas BravasCalamaresGoat’s Cheese and S…

The Art of Colouring In

Colouring books.
When the magazines and adverts first started telling me that’s how I’d be relaxing and that colouring books for adults would be so popular, I paid no attention whatsoever.
And then my sister bought me a mindfulness colouring book last Christmas.
Armed with my coloured pencils, I decided to give it a bit of a go while watching tv.
And I fell for it.
It really works.
As someone who has anxiety and in general is and over-thinker and likes to be occupied, it provides that perfect balance between having a task to focus on but that task being creative and relaxing.
Once I finished that book, I moved onto others. Harry Potter ones inspired by my trip to the studio tour and a Narnia one because I needed a break from flowers and nature.
There are so many options out there, and my doubt was definitely proven wrong.
Do you use colouring in as a way to relax?

Hello, July 2016

Hello, July.
I’m really, really glad to see you.
You’ve always been my favourite month, my birthday month, my happy month.
June was really hard.
In June I hit a brick wall when it came to my anxiety and depression and I had to press reset.
I spent two weeks sleeping, reading, learning.
I returned to work. I’m building up my food intake. I’m building healthy habits. I’m learning to cope.
But it’s been a hard, hard month.
There have been achievements during it and I’ve learned an awful lot, but I’m ready for the fresh feel of a new month.
I’ve come out of June with a new outlook.
Rather than masking my problems and pretending I’m fine, I need to tackle them properly. Fully. For good.
Take on those deep-rooted issues I’ve spent three years just masking and ‘getting on with’.
It’s been hard, and there’s a long road ahead, but long term these changes will make a huge difference to my health and my happiness.
So, July. I’m glad to see you.
I’ve got the best month lined up.
I’m seeing Matil…

The Reading List #41

A couple of the books in this week’s reading list were much-hyped when they first came out, which I think sometimes makes me judge them more harshly. When I’m told a book is fantastic, I set such high expectations that sometimes it’s easy to be let down.
This week’s list was a bit of a mixture – some I loved, and others just didn’t wow me.

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

This is the diary of Nao, which has been transported via a tsunami, and will change the life of its reader. The only way I can describe this book is stunning. It calls into question things like what it means to be human, to be alive, and to live in the moment. It’s a story of loss, growing up, and family, and stories which have been left behind. I’d call this a must-read: it’s beautiful.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler

Set against the backdrop of the Roaring Twenties, this is a story of a woman trying to find her own identity from behind her husband’s shadow. The jazz and indulgence throughout per…