29 June 2011

The BIG summer project


BIG being the operative word in this title! So I've been having a massive clear out in my room since I've been back from Uni, just going through stuff and getting rid of what I don't use/want/need and such like. A lot of its pretty simple and fairly straightforward to make decisions about, but some of it isn't. Like stuff with memories attached. Now, in theory, I know that getting emotionally attached to an object is pretty daft - because its not the object you're actually attached to, its the memories that the object invokes. People tend to hate the idea of getting rid of something that has 'sentimental value,' as if, they'll forget the memories if that object isn't there to remind them - but if the object is so treasured, the memories that precious, then would you forget them without the object? If you would, then it seems that the object isn't all that important in the first place because the memories aren't.... but if you would, then surely the object is equally unimportant because you're going to remember everything anyway. This does kind of make sense. So much so that people have based entire lifestyles on the concept of owning very little.  Minimalism.

However, as much as I understand this in theory, in practice... well in practice its a lot harder. I don't want to get rid of some of my christening presents, I want to keep them. I don't feel that this is a bad thing - I highly doubt that by retaining a teddy bear money box I am going to stunt my emotional development, restrain my creativity and end up feeling trapped and unsatisfied with my life. Keeping shoes that are so uncomfortable I never wear them however, well yeah thats pretty pointless. Same with clothes I never wear, books I've read and won't read again and other such stuff.

There's other stuff I don't want to get rid of. A whole box of it in fact, I call it my memory box and its full of stuff that I've kept because it reminds me of important and special moments of my life. Its quite a big box, and there's literally no space left it it, so I was trying to decide what to do with it all. Some of it, I'll probably get rid of, I don't remember the last time I went through it - things that seemed vitally important then may not now.  Some stuff I know will stay, in the box, until the next time I empty it and go through it. I'll keep it then as well, every time I sort that box, some stuff will go straight back in, where it will remain until the next time. Which seems like a bit of a waste to me, so I've decided to go through my box  and actually do something with all the stuff in it. More precisely, I'm going to make a scrapbook. It won't be my first one, I've been working on a baby scrapbook for a while now and I made a mini-book for one of my friends birthdays last year. I think its going to be a bit of a challenge though, I've never scrapped without pictures before and although I can probably find pictures to go with some stuff in the family albums there's definitely going to be some things that are picture-less.


I really wanna dive straight into this and just get started, but I know from experience that a small amount of planning is needed if I want to be pleased with the results, so I've kinda planned it out in my head (and now here too!). To start with, I'm going to go through everything and check that I still want it and can remember why I kept it. As I do this I'm going to start a sort of journal to track my thoughts and memories about each object - which should make the journalling a lot easier! Once I've done this, I can get started on the scrapbook itself - which is just a standard 12x12 with posts so I can add extra pages if I want to.

I'm so excited!

24 June 2011

☮ Five For Friday

I actually can't believe its Friday already! This week has gone so fast, but I've done absolutely tons so I'm not too bothered. This week, five things that I love:

1) My dog. He's like, my best friend. He listens to me ramble on about absolutely nothing and is always pleased to see me. And he fetches my knitting needles for me, which is both adorable and really helpful when I can't be bothered to go and get them.

2) White tea, I know tea keeps appearing on these lists... but I really do love it! I had white tea for the first time this week, its like, a zingier version of green tea. Is zingier even a word? 

3) Conversations with people I've never met. There's something wonderfully happy-inducing about having a really good conversation with a total stranger. 

4) This book, my nan gave it to me and its made knitting patchwork blanket squares so much more interesting. Its also really good practice for me, as I have a problem keeping track of where I am in a knitting pattern. I try to note it down but then I have to let go of one needle to pick up a pen/pencil and my flow gets all interrupted. Its such a dilemma. If anyone has any tips on this, I would be super grateful!

5) Curling up with a good book and losing track of time

Hope everyone had an awesome week!

23 June 2011

52 lists in 52 weeks #3

The beach where I first learned to sea fish

This weeks list was very topical: "things I learned from my dad", I'm a bit late in posting this, but Fathers day isn't the greatest day of the year for me and I wanted to wait until I could write this as a positive list rather than a list of all the reasons that make me miss him. 
I had to narrow this down, one because I didn't want to bore the socks off of anyone but also because there was simply too much to write. This was actually a really nice list to write, I don't think we really appreciate our parents as much as we should do until we sit down and actually think about everything that they've taught us and done for us. 

Things I learned from my Father

* How to set a fishing line
* To see the beauty in everything
* How to find and repair a puncture
* To spot constellations
* (& my mother) How wonderful marriage can be
* To work hard, play hard and love harder

But perhaps most importantly, although this was a joint effort by both of my parents - they taught me how to love. Which of course, is the most important lesson we ever learn. 

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.

Food and Photography

Managed to get hold of a camera yesterday, only a compact so I didn't quite have the same control over everything that I'm used to but it felt good to be able to take pictures again.. I got really out of the habit whilst I was at uni, I was reluctant to carry my DSLR around with me in case it got broken/stolen and its pretty heavy to carry around all day. I had a compact but the picture quality was so poor that I kinda gave up on it! I know what they say about workmen and tools...but the annoyingly slow shutter speed really got on my nerves! I've somehow managed to get the memory card stuck in the camera, so hopefully I'll get a call from the camera workshop sometime soon. 

I made fruit salad yesterday. It was beautiful, I have this really weird obsession with texture. I absolutely love it, I think its why I go barefoot so much, I like the way it feels to walk without the barrier of socks and shoes. So when I make foody stuff, I tend to use my hands. Not only do I love the way food feels but I also feel more connected to what I'm eating. I'm not a massive fan of ready meals and pre-prepared stuff, I got into the habit of eating it while I was at Uni and it just wasn't the same. Food made from scratch always seems to taste better, whether its pasta sauce, bread, cake, soup... 
We went to the farm shop to get the strawberries and raspberries because they grow them there  - usually we pick our own but we didn't have time. The little box they come in even says 'zero food miles', healthy local food - what more could you want?! 

Up until this post I've been getting most of my images from weheartit, and I've been linking back to there, but I've been feeling a bit bad about it as it means I can't credit the original photographer. So from now on, the plan is to just use my own images - which hopefully will force me to get out there and be creative with my camera. Its funny, once I get back into the mindset I start seeing photographs absolutely everywhere. 

This is my favourite, kinda loving the high contrast & saturation look at the moment. And the colours look so good! Apologies for the really bad quality, I saved all of them as really tiny files by mistake. Oops. 

17 June 2011

Live Big & Dream Bigger - Summer 2011


I sometimes think I'm too easily inspired. I read about a project that someone's doing and immediately want to try it, I get ideas for photography projects at completely random and inappropriate moments, I read people's blogs and fall in love with what they write about. I find the simplest things totally captivating. 

But then I think, well is this a bad thing? People comment on it, but is it wrong to find the world amazing? To want to try so many different things you know you'll never get time to do them all? Why  shouldn't I love walking barefoot? Why is it so wrong to want to go outside as soon as it starts raining? Is it wrong that sometimes I can't get to sleep because I have so many ideas that I need to write down? 

I think not.

I've changed a lot this year, outwardly at least. Inwardly, not so much - but I've learnt to be myself more, to not care so much what people think of me, to stand up for what I think if right and to just go with what I feel. I want this summer to be about that, I want to be inspired & amazed, to feel free and explore. I want to be enchanted & alive. 

So in typical me fashion...I wrote a list

They say sharing goals makes them more achievable, so I'm sharing some of my summer list with you guys - who knows, I might even give you some ideas! I'm not sharing all of it because its a HUGE list. And some of its pretty boring. So I've just picked some of it; 

* Read all the books on my list - I feel like I've lost my connection to reading the last few months, so I've written a huge list of books I want to read, hopefully I can get through them all before I go back to Uni

 Clear out my room and my stuff. Just, clear some space.

*  Write/start a novel - I've wanted to do this for SO many years, while I have three months off seems a good time to start 

* Bake lots

* Perfect my muffin recipe

* Go for random walks to new places with the dog

* Spend time with family and friends

So there it is, some of the things I'm going to be filling my summer with. I would lovelovelove to hear from you guys if you have any summer goals, or if you have any ideas for me (:

☮ Five For Friday


1) The fact I have awesome friends. I adore the people that share my life. They make me happy and they accept me for who I am, can you really ask for much more?

2) Tea. I just, love tea. It solves everything. Moving out of halls this week really stressed me out - total stuff overload. Sit down in the middle of chaos with a cuppa? Problem solved!

3) My beautiful, wonderful, completely dysfunctional family. They ground me.

4) I was lucky enough to learn to read, and therefore gain the ability to completely lose myself in a non-existent world. 

5) The feel of mud when you walk barefoot after its been raining. 

Hope y'all have had an awesome week too 

16 June 2011

52 Lists In 52 Weeks #1(2)


I have a slight obsession with lists. I make lists for pretty much everything. Books I've read, films I want to see, things to get done today, this week, this month, lists of lists I need to make... get my drift? And I am totally, 100% guilty of adding something to my to-do lists that wasn't on there before, simply so I can cross it off. I have absolutely no idea why I do this, it just makes my lists look longer. However, the immense amount of satisfaction I get from crossing an item off a list it totally worth it. Even if I do end up with lists that have REALLY obvious or stupid stuff on them - such as 'brush teeth' or 'go to work'. I mean, its not really like I'm gonna forget to do them now is it? 

Anyway, I digress! The entire point of this post is that I stumbled across something completely awesome this morning - involving lists. See? Awesome. Its called 52 lists in 52 weeks, and you can read about it here - but pretty much the name says it all. Each week either Kellie (the genius behind the whole idea) or a guest poster will create a list, and then invite everyone taking part to write their own lists - either the same or on a similar theme. Unfortunately I missed the first week, but it was just to create a daily to-do list - which I pretty much do anyway. Every day. Sometimes more than once! I'm just going to pick up from the second week, I think it'll be quite an interesting project - especially if the topics make me think a little harder about things I wouldn't have otherwise. There's also been a whole community set up around this which is really cool, if any of you want to take part - just check out the link & you can add your own lists to the bottom of the posts. The nice thing is the lack of numbers. I like this. I have freedom to make my lists whatever length it makes sense for them to be. From what I gather, the idea of the project is to be creative with the lists, but as I don't have my scanner set up just yet and my poor camera is at the repair shop - I'll just be scrawling mine down in some old notebook and typing them up. 

What have you learned from a place you have visited?

In the autumn of 2008 I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks in California, on a kind of mini road trip with my family. Which was pretty awesome. So, in absolutely no order...
  1. Being near the sea makes me happy. Wherever I am. 
  2. Elephant seals are really lazy
  3. American pink lemonade is awesome
  4. When I was at the Grand Canyon, I realised that although I understood the age of the Earth in terms of number - that kind of timescale really is kind of impossible to get your head around. Its weird to think of the things that have happened while those rocks have been there. 
  5. Sunsets in the desert and extraordinarily and exquisitely beautiful
  6.  It is actually possible to listen to the same tour guide talk for over 14 hours and not go completely insane
  7. Vegas really is a city that literally never sleeps.
  8. Halloween in the US is practically a different holiday to in the UK. I spent Halloween in a fairly small town and the sense of community was incredible. Totally different to the 'turn the lights off and pretend we aren't home' attitude that seems to b prevalent here.
  9. Sometimes I take far far too many pictures. 
  10. I'm not bad at carving pumpkins!
  11. The lady that runs the pizza shop at the end  of the street where my uncle lives makes her dough fresh every morning. And she loves health food. 
I loved the fact that I was on holiday but still got to get involved in what was going on in the local community, it was a new experience for me, and infinitely more rewarding than staying in a hotel complex and doing the 'tourist' routine. 


13 June 2011

Its Time To Grow Up & Start Acting Like A Child


Growing up comes with responsibilities - isn't that what we're always told? But no-one talks about the responsibility that you have to yourself. To take care of yourself. Not just your physical self but your mind as well - you have a responsibility to yourself to have fun, to do things you love, to take some time out and BE rather than DO.

Me and some friends on mine went for a walk the other day, we'd planned to cook dinner and watch a movie after a day of revision - but it was gorgeous outside and we wanted to make the most of it. When I was a kid, the first thing I wanted to do when we went somewhere new was explore - that was half the fun. Finding new places, seeing new things. Yet somewhere along the line, this got lost. New places didn't mean exploring, they meant finding new jobs, figuring out how long it would take to walk to school - 'exploring' meant finding ATM's and the nearest place to buy milk.
Now how does it possibly make sense to know less about your environment as an adult than you did as a child?

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do...Explore. Dream. Discover."  - Mark Twain

So we walked further down the road than I'd ever been before. We found pubs that we kinda wished we'd known about, and a gorgeous church. I ran with no shoes on, went down streets just to see what was there, played on swings and made myself dizzy on a roundabout. We argued about which street to take and sat and watched the world go by just because we could. I forgot about everything apart from the moments we were living in. 

We acted like kids, came home after dark, thirsty, tired, with muddy feet and extraordinarily happy. 

So go, get lost, explore, find something new - see everything through the eyes of a child. Just take care of your mind for a bit.

10 June 2011

☮ Five For Friday

1) Its warm enough to wear cowboy boots & little summer dresses 

2) My last exam of this year was yesterday, and now the whole summer is mine

3) Opening a window when there's a storm to hear the rain

4) The amazing relationship I have with my mother

5) Finding new places completely by accident 

Hope you've all had an amazing week!

08 June 2011

Lemon Juice & Morning Smiles

Over the last few months I've developed a sort of routine for my mornings, its become an essential part of my day. I love the morning, its a beautiful time of day, especially here, in this place which is full of students. The night here means people, artificial lights and noise, but in the morning - there's quiet, peace and the first few hours of daylight which always seem somewhat surreal to me. Those first few hours, before my flatmates are awake, before I can hear people outside - those hours are exclusively mine. To run, to write, to dance, to practice yoga, to sing, to make music - to just be me. Before the day begins to place demands on me, and before I have things that need doing - I can take those moments and just be me.
Every day I meditate, take a few minutes to just clear my head, be still and just breathe. The sitting cross-legged thing doesn't really work for me, it just doesn't click. But I have this teacup, and a matching saucer. Every morning I drink hot water with lemon juice, always with my favourite teacup and always always with the saucer. Holding that cup, feeling its familiar shape  while I'm drinking - thats my meditation, it signifies the end of my precious morning hours and the start of my day. 

“And barefoot or first thing in the morning, I feel beautiful. Because I feel like me. I didn't always feel that way, but I feel that way now."

It makes me feel good, I start the day with a smile, a clear head and a decision that the day ahead is going to be awesome. I believe that everyone should start their day like this, you don't have to get up early, you don't have to drink something particular - just take a few moments to yourself, slow down and decide the day is going to be awesome. 
Start with a smile and wear it all day 

04 June 2011

Facebook, Productivity and Meaningful Relationships

As exam season approaches, and often throughout the rest of the academic year as well - every student has to deal with procrastination. As far as student life goes, procrastination is pretty much our biggest battle. There's so much else going on that it can be easy to put work off. And when there's nothing going on...well it seems that its still pretty easy to avoid work.
Facebook is often blamed as one of the worst culprits, alongside youtube, twitter and the seemingly irresistable call of daytime T.V (Jeremy Kyle anyone?).

Myself? Facebook is definitely my biggest distraction, I used to find myself 'just checking' every few minutes or so, as if something life-changing is suddenly about to appear on my news feed. I would find myself looking at pictures of people I hardly knew, which when you stop to actually think about it - is quite weird! I mean, you wouldn't look up somebody you once went to school with, knock on their door and ask to look through their photo albums - would you?

I stopped to think about how much time I was actually wasting... Which turned out to be quite a lot!

To be honest, half of the people (or as it turned out, more than half) on my 'friends' list, weren't really friends at all. I mean, I knew them all - to the point where I'd recognise them in the street. But I wouldn't have stopped to speak to them. I think for many people, especially of my generation and younger, the number of 'friends' you have on social networking sites is somehow related to your social status. People with 'more' are cooler, people without obviously aren't that cool otherwise they'd have more friends... But honestly, who actually has 784 friends? It

"Friend - a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty."

So why, I asked myself, was I wasting precious time on them? I didn't really care about these people, never actually interacted with them in any way, yet I was apparently 'friends' with them. So I set aside half an hour, and I went through my friends list. I asked myself, every time, 'would I stop to speak to this person?' and if my answer was no, then I deleted them. I then went on a similar purge with all the pages that I'd ever 'liked'.
Only the stuff I'm actually interested in now shows up on my news feed - the people I care about and the things I care about. And ironically, I now spend a lot less time logged in. Which means I spend less time using it as a procrastination tool, and I tend to get things done a bit faster. So I can go out and spend proper, quality time with the people that I love, instead of interacting with them over the internet.

Having fewer online 'friends' had given me better relationships with my actual friends. Who'd have thought?

03 June 2011

Welcome To Five For Friday


This is the first in a series that I'll (try!) to post every Friday, of 5 things of the little things that I'm thankful for, or have loved about this week. I believe that its hugely important that every now and again we stop. And breathe. And just think about how lucky we are, how amazing our lives are. Even when everything seems to be going horribly wrong, there is still so much that we can be happy about. We just need to take the time to appreciate all those little things. 

☮ Five For Friday 

1. The fact that the blisters on my feet have healed, and I am finally able to run properly again. 

2. The beautiful sounds that me and my guitar are able to make 

3. Going to see one of my favourite country singers and falling in love with the music of the support act (

4.  The way everything smells after it rains, and how happy the birds always seem

5. Having amazing friends who support me even when they don't understand what I'm doing

If anyone happens to stumble across this - feel free to comment with your five - I'd absolutely love to hear them! 

01 June 2011

A Mindfood Day

I took a break from revision today. 
I took a whole day off. 
And I pretty much did nothing, all day. At least, by other people's standards it was nothing. 
But to me it was everything. 


Is what today was dedicated to. Now don't get me wrong, I adore my degree, the stuff that I'm learning is fascinating, exciting and amazing. 
But sometimes I need a break from that.  
And thats what today was. 
I discovered some amazing new blogs, read posts that inspired me, filled my head with ideas, made me feel shiny and new. And it made me re-evaluate a few things, gave me things to think about. 
I discovered some amazing photographers, and revisited the photo's of those who I already love. I saw beautiful images, that provoked a real emotional response. 
I looked out the window, and just watched. Watched the world go by. The clouds pass. Was amazed by how much I miss when I'm absorbed in other things.

I fed my mind today, and I feel amazing for it. 

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