TIME AFTER TIME| JOURNAL

For once in my forsaken life, I managed to watch the clocks go back at 2am this morning.

I can’t say it was as iconic as seeing in the new year, but there was a certain air about the place.

Mainly due to the cats poorly timed sulphuric wind-passing.

I quite fancied recording my thoughts on the day of the clock change as I feel it is something that happens twice a year,  and something no one ever gives a real frig over.

Granted it could be the 4 day-old left over Spaghetti Bolognese I ate yesterday, or the old hormones, but something does feel different today.

Is it the time shift?

Is it the fact it’s a damn sight colder?

I don’t know, but it definitely feels more like Autumn/Winter.

And that’s fine by me.

However, what isn’t fine by me, is how quickly said time seems to be passing these days.

Everyone’s saying it.

And the more I think about it, the more I realise how little I’m achieving.

How little I’m getting done in my life. How little I’m enjoying ‘time’.

Days, months, years are just merging into one and nothing feels special anymore.

I live in a constant fear of what’s around the corner so much, that I lose sight of how precious the present is.

And for someone who has studied Buddhism, that’s quite embarrassing.

It’s 2017 (fast approaching 2018) and I don’t know if, as a race, humans have really grasped the concept of time.

And how it cannot be reset, travelled back to, fast forwarded…

Paused while you get your shit together…

Our earthly clocks are ticking constantly while we figure things out, get drunk, eat Burger King, feel resentful at our Amazon delivery taking a little longer to get to us than usual.

Jeez, trust me, if I could turn back time and right all my eff-up’s and change decisions then I would because I’m not one of those lucky buggers who claim they regret nothing.

I regret a lot.

And that is how it’s meant to be.

So we can learn from mistakes we make and keep growing into a more mature, knowledgeable and informed person.

Basically, time is not slowing down or pausing for anyone and the need to live in the moment and make each second count, is greater than ever.

Cringe and vomit, I know.

But it’s kinda true.

Maybe I’ll just speak for myself instead of the rest of us here, but going forward from this moment, I am going to make far more of an effort to be in the present and focus on making that work, before making my unknown future the first priority. Because that may never come.

OK, I need to wrap this fella up. I’m getting far too morbid for a sunny Sunday morning in Autumn.

Live now and live honestly.

K, bye.

 

HEARTLINES| JOURNAL

It’s not been a great summer, and my normal enthusiasm for Autumn is non-existent.

I’m currently sat on my bed, recovering from a 3 day migraine, which I thought yesterday I was going to die from, feeling very bitter and resentful that my cat is having a shit-ton more fun than me, curled up on a letter from my bank, fast asleep.

I’ve been pretty absent in the blogging scene so far this year and even though no one appears to read my blog, I thought I would document why I have been so MIA, just in case someone drops by.

The start of the year saw me immerse myself fully into a motorhome obsession, which laid me to then buying one. I spent quite a lot of time renovating it and painting bits here and there and actually living in it for a few months. A genuine interest which soon turned to complete disaster and has now resulted in me putting it up for sale. I had planned on blogging the whole journey, but something always stopped me. I realise now it was probably the lack of trust that it was the right thing to do.

I have explained in previous posts the reason behind the motorhome; it wasn’t a purchase-on-a-limb.. It was a well thought out project to enable me to have my own space and live independently but still be close to home. Where I’m needed.

Anyway, complete write off. Moving on…

Spring. My mother’s health starts declining again and she is diagnosed with Osteoperosis. This is an ongoing problem and causes a lot of stress and worry on my part. Something I have experienced my whole life. I cannot remember a time when I have not been worried about her health, and I just pray (in my own little way) that it doesn’t get any worse than this.

Alongside said stress and worry, came the difficulties at work and in my friendship circle. Everything felt so turbulent and for a very long time, I felt as though I didn’t have anyone to turn to. To talk.

And not be judged.

Because that’s something I’ve felt up against so much this year.

Being judged and misunderstood by those I previously thought had my back, in times which have been extremely dark for me.

Spring also saw me go to the doctor and explain said dark feelings and after admitting just how tough everything seemed, she prescribed anti-depressants and told me to self-refer for talking therapy again.

Well, the anti-depressants were a complete and utter shit storm of near death experiences and the realisation that because of my M.E. my intolerance and sensitivity to medication was all too strong to continue.

And as for the talking therapy (which is so what I need), the only day they don’t work is the only day I don’t either.

So I’m back to square one, considering private £50 a session counselling which I can’t afford and wondering what the point is anymore in seeking help.

Off you go with a prescription and a leaflet but there doesn’t seem to be anything beyond that.

If the talking therapy lot don’t work 5 days a week, you’re stuffed.

If prescription meds are too strong, you’re stuffed.

For now its chocolate cake and Bach’s Rescue Remedy. (Not sponsored)

Moving on to end of Summer, beginning of Autumn.

My grandfather has a bout of shingles and is admitted to hospital for 2 months.

At 90 years old, he’s always been a resilient man, but watching his health decline has been a horrible thing.

His mobility, which was not great before the shingles, has worsened and now he is back home with my Granny, things are more stressful than ever.

I just wish I could do more to care for them on a daily basis. And care for my mother too.

If that could become my full time job I’d do it.

Then there is my own physical health.

My M.E. has been worse than ever this year and I guess that’s because of the stress I’ve been under. I find I feel worse when I’m very worried.

Holding down a 36 hour a week job is also getting the better of me.

I’m having more sick days than I would like and although I have an understanding team who can see when I’m struggling, it does make me wonder for how much longer I can really keep it up.

And that freaks me out so much.

I recently flew out to Norway to stay with my very lovely friends again. I was so ill leading up to going and the day before I was bed ridden with a temperature, but something in me rose above it and convinced my poorly state to get a grip and go.

Honestly? It was difficult to go while everyone was so unwell and things seemed so unsettled with the family, but I knew I needed a break from it. Something I very rarely give in to.

The pressure and worry had been eating away at my already prominent depression and to get away would be the calm in among the tornado that I needed to gather stock and come back refreshed and more able to cope.

And while I would have loved blogging to be my saviour through all this chaos of mind and body, I couldn’t bring myself to write. And as an aspiring Journalist, this has worried senseless too.

I think seeing all the glossy blogs out there with their successes and brand triumphs, I feared writing from the heart. Because I don’t know if that’s what people want from a blog anymore.

The raw, unfiltered, un-edited version of someone’s heart.

Their soul.

But here I am. With my heart and my soul.

Risking it.

I am going to blog more, but it will be more this style. Rather than advice and reviews and beauty hauls I can’t afford.

The style I’ve always seen blogging as.

From the heart.

Raw.

And honest.

Amy

10 WAYS TO SURVIVE A FLIGHT

You know how it is; You’ve just sat down in your seat after being battered by crappy British weather, while standing on the aeroplane steps waiting for the diva a few passengers ahead to find space for her three over-sized cases.

You’ve been pushed, shoved, brushed up against and had numerous pieces of luggage get to know the side of your head very well and the struggle to find your aisle seat is real.

So, hiding your exhausted glee when your seat number magically appears in front of you like a handsome dark-haired knight on a white horse, the next round of horror appears when you see who you get as a plane buddy.

Now, this could be a grumpy middle-aged person who smells of coffee and cigarettes, being very obvious with their disdain at being in such close proximity with youth. Or it could be a stuffy businessman with his bluetooth tusk attached to his ear and has already ordered three double whiskey’s before the plane has even taken off, and smells only of the whiskey’s the night before and the mint gum to ‘mask’ it.

But you know realistically it will never be a sexy doctor with the face of an angel, the scent of a Dior male model and the personality of someone with actual social skills.

Never.

So, feeling like an expert at this having spent the whole of yesterday plane hopping and travelling around Europe, I thought I would share my sanity (and health) saving tips to make any plane journey, a little more enjoyable.

No matter who you’re sat next to.

1. Windeze

I mean, I know it’s probably tempting to release your intestinal gasses freely if you’re sat next to the world’s most awful person, but the air is circulated so… What goes around, comes around.

When I fly, I find my stomach often bloats due to air pressure or thanks to the excessive amount of air I’ve over-breathed during a period of panic about the left phalange. (Cue Friends nostalgia)

In short, pop a Windeze just before the flight and you and your plane bud will enjoy the air you breathe, a little more.

2. Keep Hydrated 

And I don’t mean with alcoholic beverages, free or not. Alcohol only ever dehydrated you and will serve no purpose whatsoever. The effects of alcohol are increased at high altitude so you’re at risk of getting drunk very quickly, having a shocking hangover and/or acting a total k-nob on a plane. Which, lets face it, aint a smart move.

So, buy a bottle of water after security or on the plane and get drinking. It will help keep your skin hydrated too, as flights are prone to dry out skin. If you’re not keen on neat water, you could carry a small fruit juice squeeze bottle in your carry on as they’re under 100mls and are very compact. Most supermarkets sell them.

3. Wear Roomy Layers

If, like me, you suffer from bloating or the odd roll of extra stomach when sat in the worlds most uncomfortable chair, wearing loose-fitting clothing is the best thing you’ll ever do. We all know that those plane lap-belts are positioned in the very unflattering area just under your belly, and despite efforts to yank it up and push one’s stomach under the belt, you still end up looking like you’re on your way to audition for the next docudrama for The Worlds Fattest Woman.

Also the temperature on planes is more unstable than the current UK markets, so wearing layers will definitely keep you comfortable and covered.

Win win. (I hate that saying)

4. Anti-Sickness Tablet

But don’t do what I did and take it too soon before the flight and dramatically stumble to the toilet as soon as the belt sign light turned off just after take off, and heave loudly into the metal loo. In a room the size of a coffin. During turbulence. Then have to make your way back to your seat looking worse for wear, rummaging around for mints.

No, take the tablet at the time stated on the packet like a sensible human being and it’ll work a treat.

*Always read instruction leaflet before taking because safety first.

5. Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel/Wipes

Airlines are very open these days on admitting planes are not the most hygienic of places.

If you’re flying with a budget airline or with an aircraft that does multiple flights a day, it is well-known that thorough cleaning is not always guaranteed, therefore, many germs will still be around the aircraft and on your seat/ table.

So pretty simple, use hand gels or wipes regularly and before eating. And you should remain fairly healthy.

6. Headphones

Audio books, music, downloaded films… The list goes on for the many uses of a pair of headphones. But there, for me, is nothing worse than the annoying sound you get with sitting in close proximity of someone you don’t know.

Chewing gum, noisy eating, low murmuring, snoring. ARRGHH!!!

Give me a plane-ful of screaming children or a crying baby any day but noisy eaters and crisp packet rustling is my petest hate, as my mother would say.

So, on top of entertainment, headphones are very useful for drowning out the inconsiderate.

7. Pay Attention To Instructions

When I said in the title “10 Ways To Survive A Flight”, I didn’t just mean surviving the annoying, germy bits.

Those safety instructions demonstrated by the flight attendants are for a good reason. And what better reason than your safety.

If you’re a frequent flyer you may assume you know all the safety procedures and therefore, may not pay attention. But safety procedures can differ slightly between airlines and it’s always good to be fully in the know of where your life jacket is and how the oxygen masks work.

For example, it was only this flying trip that I fully understood you have to tug on the oxygen pipe to activate it when putting the mask on. I didn’t need to thankfully, but it was helpful to know.

Don’t be that person on their phone or already with your sleep mask on while the flight attendants are ensuring your safety.

8. Smelling Salts/Olbas Stick

So, the worst thing possible (apart from crashing) has happened.

You’ve sat next to someone smelly. They either haven’t taken a Windeze or they haven’t washed in three years and now you’re sat next to them with air circulation and stomach protruding lap belts and your nose literally feels like it’s about to die.

Ah ha! But you have brought along a small jar of smelling salts or =, my favourite, the Olbas inhalant stick and you can use this essentially to block out the hideous smell next to you. All the while pretending you have a cold, so you’re not blatantly obvious that you can’t handle the odour.

Also good for congestion if the air pressure is getting you right in the sinuses.

9. Move Your Legs

Because deep vein thrombosis.

10. Lip Balm

Unless you have an unfulfilled desire to look like you have just trekked the Sahara Desert, I strongly suggest you invest in a lip balm. It doesn’t need to be a million pound one from Diptique (or whatever), but just a simple lip balm with good moisturising goodness will keep your lips smooth and hydrated.

So there you have it. 10 ways to survive a flight.

A couple of disclaimers:

  1. This post is not sponsored by Windeze
  2. Yes I do bloat, I did vomit and my tolerance levels to vile noises is unhealthily low.
  3. I’m not glamorous. But I don’t smell, drink or eat noisily so 10 Gryffindor points to me!

Safe travels…

BLOGGING / HEALTH UPDATE|DIARY

Happy old Amy is back with another happy update…

But what truly defines happy anyway?

So I've blogged three times this year and to the normal human being ( but what truly defines normal), it would be a clear indication that my commitment to blogging has faded and the only way forward now would be to sever all links to the internet, delete everything and go back from whence I came.

However, it's not quite like that for me. I still love having a blog, and I love writing for it and I love knowing people have read my posts. But, these days, thanks to my ever worsening condition, I genuinely have very little energy left after a 9 hour shift and 36 hour week to do anything other than eat dinner and fall asleep.

Let me give you a little context…

As you can read on the "about me" page, I suffer from a chronic illness called M.E.
I have done since I was seven years old and have gone through stages of my 19 year battle with it experiencing different levels of symptoms and numerous 'flare ups'.

(I am planning on writing a blog post dedicated to living with M.E., so I won't go into it too heavily now.)

At the moment, and for the past few months, I am finding it increasingly more difficult to get through each day, and doing anything other than my shifts at work, is near to impossible.

Including putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, engaging my brain to create.
And that makes me very sad.

I want my career to be in writing. I desperately want my blog to grow and have wonderful content. I very much would like to continue my Journalism course I have started but have no energy to pick back up.

My heart and soul is in writing; my body says no.
And if writing is too difficult, what else is there? If writing is too difficult, how the hell am I still on my feet all day every day rushing around?

All of my energy (literally all), is being put in to work and keeping my job. But I know, I can feel, this cannot go on for much longer. I am running out of energy, and most of all, strength.

My limbs are now so weak, I wake up feeling like I have trekked the Amazon jungle. A heavy dull ache consuming my legs and my head feeling like it's been stuffed with cotton wool.
And the struggle is all too real to force myself out of bed and go to work.
It's not where I should be and the time for complete burn out is lingering in the not so distant future.

And that's a worry. A big worry.

So blogging has taken a back seat and I've missed it terribly. And I'm not going to make any promises to blog daily or weekly or even monthly. I will blog when I have the strength and energy, and that may be tonight or tomorrow and then again in a few weeks; who knows?

But I do miss it, and if there was any way I could dedicate more time to it, I would.

All that remains this morning (it's 6.50am) is to finish my coffee & croissant and get ready for work. No im not feeling fit enough and no im not looking forward to it, but it is what it is.

From the epitome of happiness itself,

Amy x

50 GET TO KNOW ME QUESTIONS| PART 1

 

1. What’s your favorite candle scent? Summer Rain and Forrest Berries 
2. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister? Gemma Arterton
3. What male celebrity do you wish was your brother? Joe Thatcher
4. How old do you think you’ll be when you get married? 30>
5. Do you know a hoarder? Me
6. Can you do a split? Hell no
7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike? 3
8. How many oceans have you swam in? 1
9. How many countries have you been to? 6
10. Is anyone in your family in the army? No
11. What would you name your daughter if you had one? Florence
12. What would you name your son if you had one? Noah
13. What’s the worst grade you got on a test? D
14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child? Th Worst Witch 
15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight? A Witch 
16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? Harry Potter                                                  17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent? British
18. Did your mother go to college? Yes
19. Are your grandparents still married? Yes
20. Have you ever taken karate lessons? No but planning to 
21. Do you know who Kermit the frog is? Who doesn’t?
22. What’s the first amusement park you’ve been to? None. Avoid them like the plague!
23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in? Russian
24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray? Grey
25. Is your father bald? Almost
26. Do you know triplets? No No No
27. Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook? Titanic
28. Have you ever had Indian food? Yes
29. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant? Giraffe
30. Have you ever been to Olive Garden? Where?
31. Do you belong to any warehouse stores (Costco, BJ’s, etc.)? Nope
32. What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender? Peter
33. If you have a nickname, what is it? Miss Frilly Socks
34. Who’s your favorite person in the world? My Mum 
35. Would you rather live in a rural area or in the suburbs? Suburbs if I had to choose, but mostly the city
36. Can you whistle? For about 5 seconds.
37. Do you sleep with a nightlight? Fairy lights… Completely different.
38. Do you eat breakfast every morning? No
39. Do you take any pills or medication daily? Yes
40. What medical conditions do you have? Myalgic Encephalopathy
41. How many times have you been to the hospital? Loads, a bit for me but mostly others
42. Have you ever seen Finding Nemo? Yes
43. Where do you buy your jeans? From whoever does my fit… I’m very fussy
44. What’s the last compliment you got? You’re not as mad as you look
45. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning? Yes 🙁
46. What flavor tea do you enjoy? Twinings English Breakfast and most fruit teas
47. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? 7
48. What religion will you raise your children to practice? Kid’s aren’t part of the plan but hypothetically, spiritually
49. How old were you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real? About 4. It was a harsh life                                            50. Hair colour? Currently Auburn

MID-CENTURY MEN IN A 21ST CENTURY WORLD

I am a woman. A 25 year-old, single woman.

I have been smiled at, cat called, wolf-whistled to, shouted at, dated, flirted with, loved and broken-up-with.

I have experienced what I believe to be a fair amount of the male behaviour in it’s many forms, and like a lot of girls in their mid-twenties, it’s something I have grown to deal with.

However, over the positively grotesque excuse of a New Year weekend, I have found myself intimidated by not one, but two men.

Both of whom, I know.

Now, while I don’t acknowledge myself as a feminist, I have always embodied certain traits of one. That said, I tend to avoid using the word feminist as it sounds like a convenient label for the self-sufficient, able-bodied woman who knows her rights.

I am not a feminist per se. I am an independent, self-sufficient, able-bodied woman with my own opinions, my own views, my own mind and my own voice. Gone are the days of being dependent on the approval of a man, the protection of a male presence and the need of love.

Gone.

I am far more mature in my needs nowadays.

Now, I desire something every woman on this planet should desire.

Respect.

Respect from both sexes. Regardless of age, religion or culture.

One incident occurred while I was in town two days ago. I cannot go in to too much detail as I know the offensive individual through him being a patient at work, therefore I’m limited on how detailed I can get with the circumstances around this.

Cutting along a very few stories short, I found myself walking past a side road that the individual and his mate were emerging from together. I walk on in front and remain very aware that the two are walking a distance behind me. After a few seconds, I hear the one I know shout to his mate about my “sexy bum”, and he proceeded to call after me to get a response.

Shocked and infuriated by what had just happened, without too much overthinking I turned on my heel too look at him and said the following; “Please do not approach me in public and make comments like that”.

Good, I stood up for myself, walked the other way and despite shaking like a leaf, I didn’t look back.

What I did do however, is hide in a courtyard alleyway for 20 minutes until I thought the coast was clear. Feeling rather pinned to the spot and feeling like an English spy in 1930’s Germany, I slowly walked back in to the main part of town concealing myself behind a line of huge stone pillars outside a theatre as I scurried between each pillar, stopping at each one, peering round it then moving to the next one. Granted, I was getting a few odd looks of ‘is this woman filming a new BBC spy thriller and making a serious hash out of it, or is she just off her flaming rocker?’.

I flew into a well known high street store to get me a long cardigan; a) to cover up my “sexy bum” and b) to conceal my outfit so I was a little more difficult to identify again, should he and his mate have reappeared. Aha, my days watching spy films weren’t a waste!

I then made my way to Starbucks, after stopping off at a crystal shop to try and find a crystal for protection, but to no avail.

Starbucks was packed and the only seats available were some stools next to the ovens and bins (which seemed vaguely fitting) and after collecting my tall classic hot chocolate, no cream from ‘Kevin’, I lurched up on to the bar stool spilling a bit of the drink in the process.

It was upon this stool that for the following 30 minutes I gathered stock, tried to calm myself and questioned my inner me as to why I had been so affected by what had happened. I mean, it could have been a lot worse…

A scene from Sherlock came to mind, as I sat in Starbucks, shaking, overly aware of my surroundings and feeling very jumpy. If you’re a Sherlock fan, cast your mind back to Series 2 Episode 2, “The Hounds of Bakserville” when Sherlock had just seen the ‘hound’ in the woods and had been so terrified by his reaction to it more than seeing it and allowing his vulnerable side to be on show and ready for analyzing.

That was me. More scared by my own response than by what had happened. Now, and this is something I’ve tried to get across to the different women I’ve told about this, if it had been a random guy I didn’t know and who I did not have a professional connection to, guaranteed I’d have shrugged it off, not responded and carried on about my day. It’s happened before.

But no.  I knew him and he crossed a serious line. And in that split second between his comment and my processing of it, I chose to respond. React. And I asked myself “should I have reacted?”. My saving graces however are the fact it was in public and I responded without shouting or using any offensive words, so I have that to my advantage.

For the rest of the day I felt vulnerable and quite affected by this incident. Far more so than if it had just been a random guy. Far more.

That was New Years Eve. I couldn’t celebrate as I’d been so worn out by the stress of what had happened, I’d gone to bed early with a microwave meal and a tension headache.

The next day, New Years Day, I woke up, head ache gone and I was ready to face the outside world again.

Cue the next disaster…

I visit my grandparents every Sunday and have done for the last 25 years. They only live round the corner from me so travelling time is on the lower end on 5 minutes. However, they live 2 houses away from a man who takes an unhealthy amount of interest in my personal life and more often than not, I bump in to him on my way down to see my grandparents.

A couple of months ago, he bumped in to me on my way to the bus stop. I was in a rush as I was going to the bank and he asked me why I was going there. If that isn’t intrusive enough, he delays me further by trying to speedily force out of me what I’m doing at the bank and in a bid to get rid of home I say it’s something important and top secret, as most people’s banking affairs are. Oh no, this fed the fire and for the next 2 minutes tried to get it out of me. Luckily my bus pulled up and I was able to flee, but ever since then, I’ve dreaded bumping into him in fear of interrogation round number two.

Well, guess what happened yesterday…

Merrily walking down to my grandparents, I’m about 20 paces away from my grannies drive when I see him emerge from his and make a b-line to me.

My heart sank and I braced myself for the onslaught on hell.

Turns out I didn’t brace myself hard enough.

In a way I’m pretty sure Marine’s are taught how to confuse and disorientate a target, he came right up close to my face, having complete disregard for my personal space, moved from side to side like he had some sort of infectious disease in a bid to stop me walking past him, and proceeded to ask me in a disturbingly manic way, how I’d gotten on at the bank. All with a rye little grin on his face.

Not wanting to blurt out “oh I got a loan of a lot of money so I can buy a motorhome to live in”, as this would encourage yet more harassment, I dodged around the subject once again telling him it was nothing big and was a secret. Any normal human being would surely accept this and leave the matter alone. But no, he goaded and goaded and goaded until my Granny appeared up the drive and waved to me calling me in for coffee. “My saviour” I thought, “sent from above”. I called back “hello Granny” and told the man I had to go. Moving round me a few foot steps more, he then mocked me and said in the most patronising way possible, ‘hello granny?’.

I couldn’t believe this man could be so offensive.

I started to walk in the direction of safety (my grandparent’s drive) and he made some ridiculous comment about always seeing them and I made some other sarcastic comment back and ran up the drive as quickly as I could.

Now, for me, this goes way beyond busybody neighbour syndrome and I’m now admitting to myself, after years of hassle from him, that it’s gotten as far as harassing, unwanted attention and almost obsession over my personal life, my finances, my job, life choices and who I chose to see every weekend. Not to mention the obstruction of my path just so he can pry out of me all my worldly secrets.

My grandmother made a very valid point yesterday, while dolloping large spoonfuls of sherry trifle in to a dish in a bid to calm me down, that while I’m this feisty, no nonsense woman on the outside, when it comes down a personal attack, I’m a vulnerable little girl who needs to essentially grow a pair (my words on that last bit, not hers).

I fully agreed, while shoveling in said sherry trifle at alarming speed. I big myself to be strong and confident, but when I am being intimidated, I have the self assertion of a slug in beer.

I once stopped a fight between two men in a train station, single-handedly while my ex-boyfriend and others just stood and watched. I didn’t shake, I didn’t stutter. I knew what I needed to say and do and it worked. Instantly. But when I’m on the receiving end, when it’s me being attacked, either verbally, personally or emotionally, I falter.

And that, my dear reader, is what I am going to change this year. Whether I take self development courses, karate lessons or skype Jackie Chan for one to one advice on self defense, by the end of this year I will know how to handle situations I feel personally threatened by and learn how to talk myself out of questions I believe I don’t have to answer.

If anyone has any recommendations on books, courses or similar teachings, I’d be very grateful to receive them.

Now, I’m approaching the 2000 word count, so I’d better rat pack this thing up.

I am a self-sufficient, able-bodied woman who knows her rights. But I am also a woman who still worries about sticking up for herself to people who are either troublesome down-and-outs or who are much older. And my point is that if you feel threatened and intimidated unreasonably by anyone, no matter your age, religion or culture, you have the right to speak out and stand up for yourself.

This is not mid-century Britain.

Do not continue to be afraid of men who think they have a higher social standing than you or have the upper hand. They don’t and they’re ridiculous.

Don’t wait to be rescued. Have your own voice and use it. Have your own will and use it.

There you have it, I may sound silly and naive, but I’ve learnt a valuable lesson and identified the next step I need to take for self-development and growth to be an even stronger, more self-sufficient and able-bodied woman.

Awareness, acceptance, and action. The key to becoming a stronger woman.

Amy

NORWAY 2016|PHOTO’S 2 

Trollstigen (Path of the trolls). The long and winding road.

On a coach tour through Geirangerfjord. I was the luckiest girl alive to get to go on this trip. It was an incredible day with breath taking scenery, stomach churning drops down mountains and smoked salmon and cheese sandwiches.

Geirangerfjord. This needs no words 🙂


After the coach tour, we had the best hot chocolate ever in an adorable café Geiranger Sjokolade. We chatted to the tour guide who was lovely. She moved to Norway with her husband from France and lives on a little island just off mainland Norway.

Being in this unique café, having such relaxed and friendly conversations with people, some I’d just met and some I hadn’t seen for years, gave me a huge feeling of warmth and happiness.

This cafe was opposite where we had the hot chocolate. I love how fresh and coordinated it looks. And with the steep hill with houses on in the background, I felt like it was a true Norwegian sight.

NORWAY 2016|PHOTO’S 1

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Here is part one of some of the photo’s I took while I was in Norway in the summer. Best trip of my life!

Fishing for the first time for mackerel in a Fjord (below).

Panoramic of Øna island

Lighthouse on Øna island.

We stumbled upon this sweet church on Øna island. It was next to a glorious beach where we were brace enough to paddle. Freezing is just one way to describe the water.

One of my favourite views on Øna island. It feels mystical that a lighthouse is at the centre of a small fishing village. At night is must be magical.

There were little plant pots outside the homes of the villagers, which brought this very quiet, serene place, to life.

BATHING IN HISTORIC CHARM

 

As I potter down a cobbled street lined with unique shops that exude an individuality so charming that I can’t help but feel drawn to explore, I hear the faint strum of a guitar and the low melody of a street performer, just a short distance away.

Surrounded by the welcoming sounds of bells ringing as people enter shops and the glorious sight of geranium-filled hanging baskets decorating the elegant 18th century Georgian architecture, I find myself in the wonderful city of Bath, Somerset.

Famous for well-known marvels such as Jane Austen, William Herschel and Thomas Baldwin, whom of which was the respected architect of Great Pulteney Street and Bath Guildhall (and probably not a relation), the Georgian city is steeped in fascinating history and rich character.

Over the years, Bath has shone in being an exceedingly clever city, more so now than when it first rose to fame, when founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD. For it has retained most pleasingly, its natural history, elegance and quaint atmosphere, whilst in turn moving with the times and becoming one of the most stylish, creative and sought after places to live.

There is an eclectic feel towards almost every street I turn down in Bath. One second I could walk past a building which has been a firm favourite in the city for many many years like Jolly’s, and the next I’ll be walking past Santoro’s only shop in the world.

Which brings me nicely onto Milsom Street. Understandably seen by many as the most fashionable street in Bath for many years, it offers a wide range of independednt and intriguing shops, such as Waterstones, India Jane, Vinegar Hill, Santoro, Paperchase, Hobbs and Café Rouge. There are also a couple of banks, a card shop and Milsom Place which takes you through a sweet passage, away from the bustle of main street Bath and eventually leads you to the likes of Jamie’s Italian, Cath Kidston and other little shops dotted around each curve and corner of tranquil.

Moving away from Milsom Street, there are an overwhelming amount of attractions still to cover, each and every one of them, a true delight and offering a unique experience for all. The Roman Bath’s is of course, compulsory, as is the Thermae spa itself; and attached to that is The Pump Rooms. It is in that room you will experience quite simply the true taste and atmosphere of the elegance and charm Bath holds within its heart. I have been most fortunate to visit there twice and both times I have enjoyed the three-piece orchestra playing softly in the back of the room, offering a welcome background melody while I sipped the best hot chocolate and nibbled the best cream scones I think I’ll probably find in the whole of Bath.

Onward’s now to the Parade Gardens. A firm favourite of mine, especially in the summer. Just around the corner from Pulteney Bridge, entry to the gardens does incur a fee, but for about £1.50, it is completely and utterly worth it. As I walk down the slope (there are steps but I always forget as I’m too excited by this point), I leave the cars, pedestrians and shops behind me as I walk towards the idyllic setting of paths and lawns and flowers and benches. To some, this may do absolutely nothing, to me, it calms me instantly as I wind my way through topiary hedges and majestic flower beds poised to thrill the influx of tourists and visitors. Once out of the magical entwining of leaves and paths, the view which I am then greeted with and the feeling it creates is something I assume to be very close to a child discovering Narnia in their wardrobe. Stunning views of Pulteney Bridge, the weir and the River Avon envelop my eyes and melt my heart. And if all of that wasn’t the most pleasing thing since tea with jam and bread, there are even some sneaky views of Bath Rugby ground and the big screen, so in the summer, the sports enthusiasts can take a peek from a distance at the games in full swing. Also in the summer there are picnics to be enjoyed, deck chairs to be lounged on and the occasional wedding to wonder at. From April to September the garden café opens for all to enjoy and hydrate. Concerts are also held in the bandstand in the centre of the lawn during summer months, which I’ve heard are events not to be missed if you’re in the area.

Just watch out for little teams of ducks which gather at unsuspecting feet while one eats a sandwich on a bench, waiting in earnest to be fed. Cheeky but sweet.

Other highly esteemed places to indulge in while in the area are, Sally Lunn’s, The Royal Crescent, The Circus, The Jane Austen Centre, Victoria Park, botanical gardens, Bath skyline and the really very good, ghost walk. I’ve done this a few times and it’s a real treat. Best done in the Autumn when nights are darker and the mist descends…

There are, of course, a myriad of other truly wonderful places to visit and things to do in Bath but I will leave you with this, an excellent website to navigate and plan your adventures around this beautiful city.

Bath, a true necessity for the mind, soul and body.