Tuesday, 9 June 2015

FMS Photo a Day: April and May 2015

I posted a few FMS Photo a Day pics on here before (about 2 years ago) then promptly gave up and forgot that the challenge existed. For the uninitiated, it's a photo a day challenge organised by Chantelle, aka Fat Mum Slim. Although I didn't manage one a day, I did upload quite a few in April and May this year (apologies for the repetition if you already follow me on Instagram)!

27: In My Bedroom
Chee-Chee's internet debut! My Grandad bought Chee-Chee for me when I was little and he's followed me on my numerous house moves ever since. FYI, he has a Geordie accent.

28: Prepare
Every single meal I cook from scratch starts off like this. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

29: I walked here
The path from the front door of my flats. Another gloriously sunny day, clearly.

30: Need
Tea. I always need tea. I love tea. TEA.

3: A Cup Of...
Cawfee. On an extremely instagram-able table. I felt like a proper twat taking this photo.

6: 10 O'Clock
Waiting for a train. Obviously. I went to a meeting about my new volunteer job and it went well. Yay!

9: Peaceful
Roath Park lake in Cardiff. I took this last summer when Pete and I were in Cardiff for Beth's wedding. I took Pete on a mini-tour of all my favourite bits of Cardiff and we had the perfect weather for it. Such an awesome day.

13: Hands
This picture freaks me out.

28: Pink
We came across this bad boy when clearing my Grandma's house. It is hideously pink, and massive. I won it in a raffle at school when I was 5. My Mum was thrilled for me (not).

30: Over There...
The view from a walk in Somerset. Somerset: so beautiful yet so oppressive (to me)!

31: Ha Ha Ha
No shit.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

[2015: 23] The Week With The...

Exercise laziness. For the first time is absolutely ages, I only exercised twice this week. Although I did work hard during those sessions (see the photo above) I'm disappointed in myself for making excuses not to go more often. Maybe I tempted fate by posting about how I became a 'gym person'! Either way, more effort is definitely required next week!

Patio usage. One of the things we loved about our flat when we chose it was its patio, which leads onto the communal garden. Although it's a small-ish flat, that really does make it feel much more spacious. Now that we're finally getting some nice weather, I've been able to make good use of my hammock, and about an hour ago we finished our first ever patio BBQ!

Weekend in Bournemouth. Right now I am MEGA TIRED because we've just got back from a luvverly weekend in Bournemouth; it involved hanging out with Pete's family, going to the beach, walking in the New Forest, and taking photos of a pretty bowling lawn (obvs).

Visit from Marta. Friday evening was very exciting because I saw my friend Marta! I met her when I was volunteering in Norway, and it's been a year since I last saw her. As she was in London for the weekend with her new man, we took the opportunity to meet for dinner and drinks. I love it when you meet old friends and slip straight back into the friendship like you saw each other yesterday...

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Weekend Wanderlust: Montserrat, Spain

It's been faaaaaaar too long since I've done a Weekend Wanderlust post. When we went to Barcelona last year we took a day trip to Montserrat, which is in the mountains near(ish) the city. FYI, Wikipedia tells me that there's also a Caribbean island called Montserrat, but that would have been a little impractical as a day trip from Barcelona, y'know?

As we'd both been to Barcelona before, we decided that we'd spend one day of our holiday outside of the city, so that we could do something totally new. It wasn't really beach weather, so we plumped for mountains instead. Getting there was pretty easy; you get a train from central Barcelona to the foot of the mountain, then either the cable car or the rack railway up to Montserrat itself. If you're interested, there's some actual travel information here.

Montserrat is famous for its monastery, which is built high up the mountain and, judging by the size of the queue, contains a statue type thing that is loaded with religious significance. It was a lovely building, and definitely worth looking around, but I was all about the views (...bout the views, no churches).

There are a few different funiculars you take to travel further up into the mountains. After I'd explained to Pete for the 50th time what a funicular was, we had a walk and enjoyed the views (once the fog had cleared!). 

I'd definitely recommend a day trip to Montserrat. It's something you'd want to do on a dry and quite clear day, so that you can make the most of the views and walks. Tip: once you get there the food options are a bit limited, so take a picnic. Thrifty, innit?


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Worried About Getting Old? You Should Be Grateful.

I've been thinking about ageing, and death, quite a lot recently (I really am a ray of sunshine). There are reasons for this, but first...

A few weeks ago I read an article in which Judi Dench complained about her age, claiming that 'There's nothing good about being 80.'

Actually, Judi, there is something good about being 80. The good thing about being 80 is that you got to 80. Some people don't make it to 50, or 30, or even 10.

I haven't been thinking about ageing and death just because I'm an obsessive, cynical, depressive; there are other reasons. The first was that I went to visit my Grandma (who's 81) in her nursing home on Saturday. It broke my heart to see such a head-strong, formidable woman left frail and fading away because of Parkinson's Disease. Honestly, I hope that she doesn't have to suffer much longer.

The second thing that happened was, a couple of months ago, an old school friend died of cancer. At (only just) 29. If Emma hadn't died, then seeing my Gran would probably have made me feel incredibly depressed about ageing, and dreading getting to 80. Instead, as much as I hate my Gran's current situation, I really am happy that she had 79 happy (well, up and down but generally happy) years on the planet.

The more I thought about Dench's comments, the more angry I got. How dare a woman who has lived a privileged, healthy and successful life complain about the fact that it's gone on for a long time? Does she not realise how incredibly lucky she is?

So, what's the message here?

If you're reading this, and you're well enough to leave the house, then you're in a privileged position. Sometimes we all (and I most definitely include myself in that) need to remember that and take time to enjoy just being here. We really are bloody lucky.

P.S. If all this grief talk has left you in need of a good, cathartic and ultimately uplifting cry, this might be worth a watch... It's beautiful, and it made me cry like a baby when I watched it yesterday.

[note: I debated including a semi-ironic 'YOLO' in this post but I couldn't bring myself to type it, even semi-ironically]

Monday, 1 June 2015

[2015: 22] The Week With The...

Cliff-top walk. You know you're getting old when you limit your bank holiday Sunday drinking (stopping after two tequilas) so you can go on a day trip to Eastbourne on the Monday. Walking, tea drinking and cake eating. Classic bank holiday fodder.

Half term catch ups. School holidays always provide the best opportunities for a good catch up. This week I managed to get down to Somerset for four days, where I hung out with my parents and my awesome friend Kirsty (and her equally awesome sister and boyfriend). I have mixed feelings about Somerset; I really miss being near my family and friends, and it's such a beautiful area... but I have serious doubts about whether I could live there again full time. But we can talk about that another time! While I was there I saw the...

Terrifying turkey! The terrifying turkey (who lives on a farm near my parents' house) probably merits it's own post (I'm that scared of it). Look at that creepy neck!!!

End of Blog Every Day in May. Yesterday was the end of May and, therefore, the end of BEDM (obviously). I'm really glad I took part; it's encouraged me to post loads, discover new blogs and engage more with other lovely bloggers (I posted about what I've learned from it here).

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Six Things I Learned from Doing Blog Every Day in May (and Some Links) #BEDM

And now, the end is near, and so I face the final currrrrrrrrrrtain...

Sorry. I know I've got a terrible singing voice.

Blog Every Day in May has come to an end, and I learned some stuff!

BEDM is seriously motivating. Although I didn't post every single day (see below) I managed to 20 which I think is pretty good going, especially because before May I'd only managed to post 10 times this year!
It doesn't matter if you don't stick to the rules. I started the month off determined to post every day, and racked my brains to think of ways to stick to the topic. After a week or so I ended up missing a couple of days... and nothing terrible happened. It became much more fun when I  gave up on the rules (and anyway, I'm trying not to care about what people think of me)!
Blogging shouldn't be a chore. About halfway through the month I did start to feel a bit stressed about the fact that I didn't have time to read and comment much (I get stressed easily!). I gave myself a good talking to and remembered that it's supposed to be fun. I have a lot of admiration for bloggers like Corrine who manage to work full time, post almost every day and engage with their followers, but that's just not for me!
I should write 'heavy' posts more often. I've often found myself avoiding writing longer posts about more serious topics; partly because it felt too much like hard work, and partly because I worried that I didn't really have anything particularly clever or insightful to say. However, my post-election-rage-fuelled post about mental health funding went down very well, and that has definitely encouraged me to try and write more posts in the same vein.
I love Internet People*. BEDM pushed me to comment more, tweet more and generally engage more online. This has reminded me of how awesome my internetz friendz are... Twitter was the perfect post-election support group, and made for the perfect Eurovision party. The internet: making introverts enjoy 'socialising' since 1999.
BEDM is great for discovering new blogs (and bloggers). So...

Here are a few of the ace new blogs I discovered through #BEDM:

Is That You Darling I love Jane's book-themed posts, and I'm hoping to do a little collaborative post soon!
Zusterschap Collective A feminist lifestyle blog that hosts contributions based on a monthly theme. Funny and refreshing... May's theme was women's bodies and I've been nodding along in agreement a lot!
KezzieAG and Nomad Seeks Home. Two funny, unpretentious diary/lifestyle blogs. I love finding and reading blogs like these!

...there are many more and I'll definitely be continuing that list in my next 'links' post!

*A friend once described me as an 'Internet Person' and I bloody loved it.