Thursday, 31 December 2009

The end of a decade

I keep forgetting that this New Year's Eve signals the end of this first decade in the 21st century... for all that I keep thinking "I'll be glad to see the end of 2009", I realise that the past ten years have perhaps been the most changeable in my life, so let's look back...

2000 was a year of realisation for me - I took my GCSEs that year and for the first time realised how academic I was. It was the year I changed my plans to become a teacher to follow the advice of others and go to University, changing my career path from the one I had thought I would follow for many years. This was good and bad and I still see both sides of this decision - it really was a significant year. It was also the year I wrote a poem that made me realise that I had progressed from a child who wrote well for her age to someone who wrote well full stop... this would lead me to where I am today, eventually...

2001 was the year I developed a bit more independence, I went on my first holiday without adults to take me, as my friend and I travelled across England to visit a friend in Wales by train. I was still a very shy teenager, getting more and more fearful of the day I would have to leave home and strike my way in the world alone, but I knew I still had some time to enjoy having more freedom but still no real responsibilities - life was good.

2002 was the year I stopped working. I sat in class for the first time in my life, bored, uninterested and I was miserable. I think this was the first time I ever felt truly depressed and it followed a long period of illness (I know today that long bouts of illness, particularly of the hormonal kind, really do affect my ability to keep going emotionally, but then I just felt lost and alone.) I beat myself up a lot that year, and for many years to come, and did things I would never normally do. I lost friends, and strained my relationship with family, but gained the knowledge that those who truly love me would love me no matter how much I pushed them away. It was a hard year.

It was also the year I started university and spent the last 3 months of the year trying to fit in and make friends. I found that hard, but it also changed me forever. I became more confident, I began to see I could survive in the adult world. I learnt a lot about myself, and I realised that the future was not so bleak as I thought it might be... my depression lifted. It was also the year I made new friendships that continue to delight me to this day.

And it was the year I went abroad with friends rather than family for the first time. This was hard, yet exciting. Yes, 2002 was a pivotal year for me, hence 3 paragraphs on it!

2003 was the year I finally began to fit in to university. It was the year I realised I had earnt my place there. It was also the year I first visited Russia - interesting, to say the least. And it was the year my poetry truly began to flow and become more beautiful and thoughtful. It was also the year I began to move away from organised religion (having only really spent a couple of years in it) and turned back to my roots in spirituality, developing a keener interest in delving deeper to understand my faith, rather than simply having it... sometimes this is good, sometimes not so good, but it is a journey I enjoy, and which has introduced me to so many wonderful people I never would have met otherwise. It was the year I discovered the world of internet forums.

It was also the year I first went on camp to look after teenage girls with disabilities. I discovered a whole new passion for life and wished that summer could have gone on forever.

2004 was the year I went to Germany. I developed deep and lasting memories of my time there, from how timid I was to how brave I became, from how I worried constantly about my language to speaking freely and not worrying whether I made mistakes or not, from wanting to give something back to society to being involved with a voluntary organisation I adored. It was the year I began to question whether all the information I had gathered relating to spirituality would really stand in my way to living this sort of life always... I still wonder about that one.

It was also the year I realised I could write about anything at all, and I did just that. Napkins, envelopes, scraps of paper here and there became covered in thoughts, ideas, poems and stories. It was a year of flowing creativity in which I found inspiration everywhere, I lost that for a while but it is finally starting to come back.

2005 was the year I went to Russia and was one of the hardest of my life. I battled depression and mood swings due to hormonal medication I took whilst there. I battled these whilst being in a country so foreign to me, with a complete loss of confidence in my language ability and the constant fear of what my landlady would do next. It was also the year I turned 21.

It was the year I had my first laparoscopy and finally found out that I had endometriosis after years of suffering agonising pain and being ignored and sometimes embarrassed by the doctors. It was, however, a hideous experience which put me off hospitals in a big way and made the next three months of my life hell. It was the last time I had a proper period. It was a strange year.

It was also the year I started my final year at university, on which 80% of my entire degree rested. It was the year I chose to focus on more on what I wanted, and the year I began to see how strong I could be. I became an administrator on an internet forum and devoted so much of my time to the site. I learnt HTML and began to read blogs. I also began my Reiki training this year.

2006 was the year I graduated and finally felt free - now I could choose my own destiny (or so I thought at the time!) It was a year when the lecturers went on strike and nobody knew how it would affect their final year, but I no longer cared. It was the year I started work and realised I hated my job... it was the year I chose to leave one job and start doing something I loved - the year I started working in childcare.

It was also the year I first moved to Cambridge and struggled to make ends meet - the first time I had struggled, despite my careful budgeting. It was the year I developed IBS and an intolerance to wheat, too much dairy and foods high in fibre.

And it was the year I first began a blog! I didn't know what I was doing or where it was going, but it was fun and since then I have dreamt more and more of how it would develop and I truly hope that this coming year may see some of those dreams become reality...

2007 was the year that I met Tim!! Tim, the love of my life, brought me so much hope and happiness and became my best friend. We had a slow blossoming romance but once it moved from friendship to more we quickly realised this was it - by 2008 we would be living together.

It was the year I began a job I loved - note-taking and support work at the University, a job that suited me perfectly and which I hope to perhaps return to in the near future. It was the year I began to think my dreams were all becoming reality. I wrote stories that gained great reviews online, I had the perfect partner and life was my oyster...

2008 was the year when my world came crashing down around me. It began so happily by setting up home with Tim but quickly went to pot as he lost his job and I struggled to make ends meet and eventually had to leave childcare (despite having the chance to go almost straight to the top of the career ladder) because of ill-health and finances. I suffered terribly with first labyrinthitis and then with my endo, leading the doctors to put me into a fake menopausal state which screwed me up royally...

It was, however, a beautiful year when I saw Tim start a new career he loved and I found out I did have the potential to work in a challenging environment and be a leader. It was hard, but we survived.

2009 was the hardest year yet... after months of being terribly ill I had an operation for my endo and am currently going through yet another "fake menopause". It all got on top of me (the feeling ill all the time, the financial strain, the pressures of work) and I became more depressed than ever before, crying for hours almost every night. It was a year of challenge for us both.

It was the year my parents house burnt down due to an electrical fault in the loft - the year they were lucky it happened during the evening and not at night as the fire alarm didn't go off. It was the year my childhood home went up in flames and I could do nothing to help my family as they lived too far away. It was a year of feeling helpless...

But it was also a good year in many ways. We got to live in a beautiful house in an amazing neighbourhood. We spent time with loved ones we hadn't seen in ages. We went to Italy for a wedding and Tim proposed to me whilst we were there. We began to plan for our future, thinking not only of our own house and having more time together but also about a family of our own, especially after the birth of our nephew. It was a year of looking forward and finding hope once more... it was a year of decisions

So what will 2010 and the coming decade bring us? Well, my dad will retire in February, giving us more time to see him enjoy his life. We will be leaving Cambridge to return to Lincoln and set up home in a place we hope to be for the next 5 - 10 years. We hope it will bring more time to spend at home and with that improved health. Perhaps by this time next year we may be married or looking forward to starting a family. Within the next decade at least we hope to be married, in our own home, raising a family in the perfect way for us... it will be an amazing decade, with so many changes and I hope that you will continue to pop by and visit us from time to time, let's hope I'll still be blogging in 10 more years when we can see how many of these things came to pass.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and look forward to keeping in touch with you all throughout 2010. xx

Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas Day!!!

It's Christmas Day - yippee! It doesn't feel much like Christmas, for I woke to an empty house this morning, rather than one full of family and excitement. Tim is working at the hospital until 3pm, so I got up, ate my Christmas breakfast treat (a wheat-free bagel) and watched Heidi on tv - oh how I love the book, and the film was quite magnificent too.

The phone has been busy for the past hour, calling family to wish them a Merry Christmas, and the kettle is boiling to make me a nice hot drink to enjoy whilst preparing the Christmas dinner - duck this year. Our presents are peeping out from under the tree and I cannot wait for Tim to get home so that the festivities can start properly. It will be a short day, as he is due back at work at 7am tomorrow morning, but it will be ours to spend together. Christmas Day has become a very quiet day for us, closing ourselves of from the world to just enjoy each other's company. I know that our future Christmasses will be full of family and friends, so I do try to enjoy this time as best I can, even though they seem quite small at times... after all Christmas is about loved ones and who do I love more than my darling?

My parents will be arriving tomorrow morning for another quiet get-together, which I am ever so excited about, and who knows, by this time next year we may be surrounded by family on the big day itself... so much to hope for the future and so many memories to think back upon from Christmasses past... but for today I am focussing just on the here and now, for I have my loved one coming home to spend the most special day of the year with me. I do hope you have your special ones close to you too, today.

Have a wonderful Christmas, one and all. Thank you for popping by this blog over the past month, I hope to see you all in the very near future. But for now, be merry and glad and enjoy the magic of Christmas.


Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve is here at last!

I do hope you have been good and will be going to bed early tonight in hopes that Santa will visit you with lots of gifts. I cannot believe it is Christmas Eve, a day full of magic and wonder, excitement and anticipation... so much to wait for and look forward to!

Christmas officially started for me at 2pm today when the doors of the tourist office closed and I left work. Carols were playing on the radio on the way home, and a man from Norad came on the air to explain how they "track" Santa's progress, just minutes after I'd been telling Tim about it and how we should log on to see how Santa is doing on this, his busy night! Do pop by if you have time and see what is going on - just click on the link above!

Take care, my dear readers, thank you for stopping by this month and enjoying it with me - don't forget there will be one last poem posted tomorrow! And please don't think the fun is all over once Christmas Day has been and gone... just like the joy and magic of Christmas can be held in your heart throughout the year, I hope to continue the joy that this series of poems has brought to me and you by posting far more regularly, so do check in every once in a while.

For now though I shall leave you to snuggle up warm, leave out a little treat or two for Santa and his reindeer and curl up in bed with dreams of what tomorrow may bring, whatever your plans are!

Merry Christmas xx

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

December 23rd

And this is the second of Tim's videos (scroll down to the previous post for his first one!) Again, I encourage you to leave a comment for Tim to thank him for helping me bring the past two days' poems to you despite my feeling rough with a cold!

We are now celebrating "Christmas Eve Eve" and very excited we are about it too. The last bits of food have been bought, I have a half day left and although Tim is working both Christmas Day and Boxing Day we still have plans to make them extra special for the two of us, and our film watching has been planned. We watched Star Wars: A New Hope today, ready to watch the "snowy" second film on Christmas Day (we couldn't watch Star Wars tomorrow night as that is reserved for The Wizard of Oz, of course!) The last few gifts are wrapped and ready to be taken by Santa for delivery, the last few cards to be distributed will go tomorrow and we are all set for the Big Day - yay, it has come at last!

Send me (and all those around me at work who are ill with colds) good thoughts to have a runny/stuffy-nosed-free Christmas Day. And also spare a thought for all those people who will already be queueing up ready for the Service at King's College Chapel tomorrow... yes, some people do go so early, although most don't venture out until tomorrow to be fair!! Even so, you need to be in the queue by 9am to hope to get in from 1.30pm ready for the 3pm start... not fun on a cold, winter's day, especially seeing as how cold it has been of late. But of course, how magical if you do manage it... in fact today I was talking to a girl from Amsterdam who used to watch it on tv as a child and said that it signalled the start of Christmas for her, so she was desperate to be there in person and was aiming to be in the queue by 7am! Personally I can think of warmer ways to spend Christmas Eve, but I can see the charm of being there for the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons!

22nd December

And here it is - Tim's reading of today's poem (only one day late!) You wouldn't believe how vain my boy is - "I need make-up, I'm too shiny", and "I need this poinsettia to be placed *just right*" and "what is this glare on me, it makes me look cross-eyed"... oh boy!

But what a great job he did of it, please do leave him a comment to thank him for taking over for me whilst I was feeling rough (and also for showing me how to minimise the camera screen so I can actually read the words whilst recording, rather than having to memorise them all!) I need to prove to him how wonderful he was at reading the poems, so he may have another go in the future sometime, so do, do leave a comment, please!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A delay in posting...

I am feeling a bit poorly today, think I am going down with a cold, so Tim has offered to record today's poem for me. However he too is feeling a bit rough and so has promised he will record both today's and tomorrow's poems after work tomorrow. This means you will all get to see him and I get a couple of days off from learning poems - not that I mind, but when you're tired and a bit muzzled in the head due to an oncoming cold, remembering words is not the easiest of things to do!

So, see you tomorrow night with the next two poems!

Bis dann xx

Monday, 21 December 2009

December 21st

Today's post is rather late on account of it being the Winter Solstice. It seems so long ago that Tim and I decided we'd have this day off to celebrate, especially as we will only have half of Christmas Day together. We started the day with a lazy morning (despite being rudely awoken at 5.30am by his alarm, which he had forgotten to turn off). We had a scrumptious breakfast of bacon, eggs and beans on toast, followed by the watching of It's a Wonderful Life whilst sitting by an open fire.

I may have mentioned having watched this film already this year, but it is one of my all-time favourite films and I could watch it over and over again (although I had to fast-forward the part where Uncle Billy lost the money as Tim couldn't cope with that part - it really is a sad part and one where I really want to shout at Mr. Potter and all those men like him in our world, so I can understand why he didn't want to watch that part!) Anyway, I have managed to watch all but 3 of my Christmas favourites - The Bishop's Wife, The Polar Express and The Wizard of Oz... the latter has to be watched on Christmas Eve, as explained in this previous post, and The Polar Express has to be watched before Christmas Eve but not too far in advance, but the Bishop's Wife may have to wait until one of the days after Christmas... isn't it funny how we have these habits and traditions which may seem so strange to others but make perfect sense to us. I have to say though, I haven't done too badly to say I have watched nearly all my Christmas favs, some of them more than once this year *ahem*

The rest of our afternoon was spent making mince pies, adding dried fruit and crushed nuts to make the mincemeat spread even further... we then celebrated the Winter Solstice by burning our wishes for the coming year on the fire, taking the lit advent candle out into the snowy garden and eating a mince pie fresh out the oven, before scurrying back inside to the warmth of the fire. It is only just dying down after a day of burning happily for us. The rest of this evening is going to be spent watching Gremlins a film that terrified me beyond words as a child but which amuses me now - it is the closest thing to a Christmas film I can get Tim to watch as he claims one film a day is his quota. We have this running argument that I watch far more of his favourite films and tv shows than he does mine (his argument being he has watched films like Ladies in Lavender and that my films are "girly" whereas his films are ones would enjoy, seen as though I like sci-fi and adventure... hmmm seems to me watching Aliens was a little beyond what I would like to watch, but he still refused to watch that little girl's all-time favourite Dirty Dancing last night, so I think I have a way to go yet in twisting his arm! We have a deal though this year... if I can watch my favourite films he can watch the Star Wars Trilogy over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day - sound fair to you? It does to me...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

December 20th

I'm pretty sure if I was Santa I would be so glad the Elves were working hard to keep me warm, I hate to be cold and at this time of year can be found quite regularly hugging a hot water bottle. Having said that, there is something very magical and lovely about wrapping up in many layers before heading out the door in the morning, and returning home out of the cold to wrap up in a blanket, with a hot drink and a good book. One of my overwhelming memories of Christmas is the wrapping up for an after-dinner family walk on Christmas Day (or, when we were younger, a trip outside to try out a new bike, roller skates, pogo stick or whatever gift we had received that year!) The fresh, cold air was so refreshing after stuffing ourselves with too much food and getting too hot from excitement and sitting by the fire. We've enjoyed a few late night and daytime walks recently, wrapping up in so many layers that I could barely move my arms, but it was wonderful. I hope you're having a good time, whether it is cold where you are or warm, and that the coming week will see you nice and cosy as Christmas nears.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

December 19th

Well, the snow is still here and thanks to my unexpected "snow day" yesterday we got ahead in preparing for today's family party. The potatoes are ready to be loaded, the peanut butter cups are all done (though if any are left by the time the party comes is another matter!), and the nuts are ready to be spiced. We still have a lot to do, as most of the food needs to be prepared just a few hours in advance of the party - but we are well on our way!

We also got to take some lovely snowy pictures around the village yesterday - perhaps we have found next year's Christmas card already, you never know! We're busy here at number 22 preparing for the next week or two - everything is decorated but the last few bits of food need to be bought for Christmas Day, our best clothes need to be washed and ironed so we're at our best, and there are still a few Christmas favourites to be watched on tv. But all in all we are feeling pretty good about this year, as we are more prepared than usual, I hope you have everything sorted now too, so you can enjoy this last week's run up to the Big Day!


Thursday, 17 December 2009

December 18th - SNOW DAY!

Today I am stranded at home due to snow. For those readers who live in a place where snow is a normal occurrence, 2-4 inches of snow may seem like a crazy reason for everything to grind to a halt. Having lived a winter in Russia I would tend to agree, but you have to remember that in England we will only get one or two snowfalls a year, if that, and very rarely this heavy. This means that we aren't prepared... we have normal, everyday tyres on our cars, making driving dangerous, and we have gritters to put salt on the road, but no snow ploughs to clear it - we just don't need he resources to deal with this kind of weather, so when it does come we are stuck.

Many people in this region spent the night in their cars after being stuck on the roads - how awful! I'm lucky that I got home before the snow started to settle - it began around 7pm last night and by the time I went to bed a white blanket was over the whole neighbourhood. It is so beautiful, but I cannot help but worry about those who were stuck or who are trying their hardest to get to work today. My manager told me yesterday that I would probably have problems getting to work, as I live in a village with 3 buses a day which goes along minor village and country roads which won't have been gritted. Everyone else lives either closer or along main roads, so I know it is ok for me to call in and take a day off because, well, I *tried* to get in... I went out for my bus and was then told by a passer-by that the radio news has mentioned it wouldn't be running today. In a way I am glad... we are expecting possibly more snow today - I didn't want to spend the night at work because I couldn't get home!!

Last night I thought, "what a shame it happened this week and not next, when we'd have a White Christmas", but now I realise it's probably a good job it is this week rather than next... can you imagine trying to get home and spending Christmas Eve in your car? What about those people trying to fly home for Christmas... after the scare that BA would strike and flights might be cancelled, the new threat of snow stopping flights must be a worry for those trying to get home to loved ones abroad.

So, although I love the snow and am wishing for a "white Christmas"... my thoughts are sent to those who this may deeply affect. Having said that, I am now going to find a book to curl up on the sofa with and enjoy my first "snow day" for years!

December 17th

Unlike most children, I don't think I ever starred in a Nativity - well not until playing the star at church when I was 17!! I don't quite know how this happened, maybe I was part of one at playschool, when I was too young to remember, but at primary school it never happened. My first Christmas, aged 5, I was one of 4 girls chosen to sit on stage and then at one part of the performance we had to skip off the stage, dance around the Christmas tree alone, then with our teddy bears and then skip back on stage (don't ask me what happened in the rest of the performance, I have no idea... I also have no idea why I was chosen to dance as I had never had dance lessons).

In the January I skipped into the second class, so my next Christmas, aged 6, I was in the third year. I was off when the parts were given out, so I was given a bauble to hang on the Christmas Tree - our year's part of the performance was to tell the story of the Christmas tree. At one point, the girl who was playing the Christmas tree was not going to be there, so I was given the part... but then on the day of the performance she was there and a girl was missing from the year below, so I was turfed off, given a halo of tinsel and told to stand up after a certain carol and say in a loud voice "S is for the shepherds". Needless to say, my mum was shocked to see my doing something different to what I'd told her I would be doing, but it went well.

I forget what happened after that... the junior years tended to put on a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan... we did The Mikado but I can't remember if it was Christmas or not. The next two years I remember singing but not being "in" a play and the final year we did Cinderella and I was in the choir. Then I went to secondary school and apart from one year when I took part in the chorus of the annual Christmas show (that year, Return to the Forbidden Planet), I never went on stage again. Not at Christmas.

So there you have it... I never played Mary, or an Angel, or even the donkey. Even so, watching children in a Nativity still means "Christmas" to me... I saw younger friends taking part, I saw it on tv, I saw it in church... oh I lie... I remember now, I played the Angel at church when the Girl Guides put on a Nativity - oh the shame of having lied to you all!! What a good job I wrote this post, I reminded me of my moment of glory as the Angel bringing good news, and creeping round the back of the pews to get from the choir stalls where I visited Mary, to the pulpit where I announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds. Good times, good times...

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

December 16th

One of the things I love most about Christmas are the memories we make and the traditions we create for ourselves. I can remember things from nearly every single Christmas, like when my mum forgot she had puts some eggs on to boil and they exploded in the kitchen, or the time I went to church and sang in the choir and saw all the little kids playing on their new bikes out in the street on the way, or the year I only thought to write to Santa on Christmas Eve so he didn't have time to get what I asked for, and left me a note promising to bring it next year, or even the time I had the flu... believe it or not, despite it being my worst Christmas ever (I went to bed on Christmas Eve feeling fine and then couldn't bear the sight or smell of food or any light for the whole of Christmas Day), I still remember things like my mum sharing her maltesers with me in an attempt to get me to eat anything! There's always a memory to be had, even in the worst of times!

And the traditions... one year my parents were watching the film Cliffhanger and, being the empathic wuss that I am, I had to go out after the lady fell off the rope (that still makes me shudder). Lucky for me, the Wizard of Oz was playing on another channel and I watched that. The year after it was shown again and from that moment I have had to watch this film every Christmas Eve (usually at 9pm, because that means it finishes in perfect time for me to go to bed!) And then there is good old Jim Reeves... my dad loves Jim Reeves and Christmas morning, unwrapping our presents would not be the same without his crooning, and I have some songs ready on Spotify (my new best friend) ready for Christmas Day. And Christmas morning would not be the same without something special for breakfast... unfortunately this year Tim is working Christmas morning, so I won't see him until the afternoon when, I hope, I will greet him with a festive feast to fill us to bursting... this will be our third Christmas together, but only our second living together, so we have yet to create any firm traditions of our own, but I know that with every year we spend together these will come.

So tell me, what memories and traditions do you have for Christmas?

We interrupt this blog... tell you about the wonderful Christmas feeling I just got upon hearing the faint sound of children singing Little Donkey somewhere in the neighbourhood. I ran to the window, opened it wide and listened with joy to the happy, excited voices of a children's choir singing one of the most beautiful Christmas songs - heaven. And they were really good, too!

There can't be anything more magical than being a child at Christmas. I remember the wonder and joy I felt as Christmas neared - the singing of songs that told of a tale that happened so long ago I couldn't even begin to comprehend, the opening of the Advent calendar, counting down the days until Santa arrived, indeed laying in bed, being as quiet as a mouse and not daring to get up to go to the toilet in case he was downstairs and I scared him away before he left them all (hehe, I was a funny child), and waking up in the morning, waiting for my mum to come and tell me it was ok to get up, it really was morning, and sneaking a peek into the living room to look at all the gifts before going for breakfast in my parent's bedroom with just one gift to open before we ate...

I remember making decorations and hanging them up with pride, the Christmas nativity we put on for the parents and dressing in tinsel, then watching a Disney film whilst waiting for my mum to come and take me home, and even more I remember making cards and presents for Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Elves and the Reindeer, for after all they worked so hard to bring us all presents, I thought they deserved some presents too! But, alas, that magic is harder and harder to find these days. The magic gets overshadowed by commitments, whether it be studying, working or keeping house, doing the laundry or the weekly shop, working out the finances and realising you can't buy so-and-so the best gift EVER and then trawling through the net to find the second-best-gift-EVER at a much more reasonable price (don't you just love the internet?)

This year I feel the magic for the first time in a few years... I don't know what it is, perhaps it is the fact that after months and months of being so on-edge and down-hearted that feeling this cheerful seems magical in itself. Maybe it is the hope that this is the start of new and better things. Maybe it is even the fact that with my Advent series I can feel the magic of wonder and excitement I used to have and am looking forward to many more years of this as we grow older and have children around us... and maybe, just maybe, it is because Christmas really is magical and I am finally remembering that.

We interrupt this post... because... whilst my window was open to listen to "Jingle Bells" as the children went further on their way, I heard such a clatter and turned to find Kitty was jumping through it and she has been sat beside me, on top of me, nudging me and purring in my ear to get my attention and I think it is time she got some, don't you?

Don't forget to scroll down to the next post for today's video poem xx

December 15th

A little earlier than usual, today's video was pre-recorded, meaning I could get it up as soon as my computer was ready to go! Today is my last day off before returning to work, so I hope to get a few more videos recorded today, enabling me to put the posts up first thing instead of rushing to do them each night after a long day at work!

Last night I decided to visit some new blogs and realised why I love blogging so very much... some blogs are just heart-warming and inspirational from the moment the first page loads, with beautiful photos, excellent layouts and honest, down-to-earth posts. I feel this blog is somewhat lacking the magic I wanted to create and am thinking of ways to take it forward in the New Year... I have decided 2010 is going to be "our year", when our life together starts to really take off after the long hard battles we have faced. I'm not going to wish Christmas away, as I love Christmas so very much, but I can honestly say that this year the New Year and the long winter actually holds a lot of hope for me as well, meaning that come Spring I am hoping that we shall be well on our way... I wonder what resolutions we will make and keep!

Monday, 14 December 2009

December 14th

I had planned to spend today getting ahead with recording some videos for the coming week (especially as Tim pointed out that Christmas is actually next week!!) but instead I spent most of my morning snuggled up on the sofa with my favourite little girl (cat) in the world and just when I thought it was safe to start recording she turned up at the window again. Have I ever mentioned that this cat got fed up of waiting at the door for someone to notice her and so she comes and sits by the window, peering in and begging for someone to open it and let her inside? One morning, as I sat eating my breakfast I heard an almighty clatter... she'd only gone and tried jumping through it whilst it was closed... bless. I am so going to miss her when we leave, so I am making sure I have the longest cuddles with her for as long as we are here, which means you will have to excuse me when the ends of my videos get a little distracted or a post or two is a little bit late...

I hope you have sent your letter to Santa... if you haven't, make sure you leave it some place where the star can pick it up and carry it to the North Pole!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

December 13th

I've yet to see the little robin who has been keeping an eye on Tim and myself, but I have no doubt he has been hiding somewhere in the holly or the ivy, watching us closely to make sure we have been doing everything we could to be "nice and kind and sweet". Today that meant going shopping for some of the food we need for next week's family gathering, such an exciting thing to plan. I don't want to spoil the surprise of what we will be having, but I think we have managed to rustle up a lovely spread with the help of a few festive cookbooks. Christmas is such a fun time to do things for others and I cannot wait as this will be the first Christmas Tim and I have hosted, the first of many, I hope.


December 12th

Again this one is a tad late... but what a reason for it! We took our niece and a friend to the theatre yesterday to see "A Merry Little Christmas" by Gomito Productions. As with all their productions, this one was full of magic and excitement... the Christmas Trolls entertained us all with carol singing before we entered the theatre, they then told us a tale of Lucy as she tried to recapture the magic of Christmas and save the Christmas Fairy. We met the funny old Yeti, were scared by the hungry wolf and heard about Santa's big flight from a couple of reindeer. The combination of life action and puppets was so amazing, being showered in snow was wonderfully festive and getting to sit on the very front row was a real treat. So I'm sorry that today's poem is late... but how could I post when I was relishing the Christmas magic of such a performance.

The fun continued as we drove home with two little girls spraying us with more snow they had collected from the stage and it was all we could do not to fall about with hysterical laughter ourselves. This is what Christmas is all about - being a child and enjoying the wonder and magic that Christmas brings. I do hope that this series is helping to spread the magic a little bit, and will be back with more every day this week!


December 11th

I am two days behind in posting this video... but what a great two days they were! I'll start with Friday...

Today has been spent looking forward to the rest of Advent, working on the poems for each day that Christmas Eve draws closer. Santa and his Elves have been so very busy, but their work is coming close to completion, just like mine. The toys are all made, the gifts are ready to be wrapped, and the focus now is on getting the sack loaded, the sleigh cleaned and the reindeer looking their best. There may even be some time for some fun and games - just like tonight's party under the tree!

I hope your Advent work is almost done and you too are looking forward to the fun of the festive season xx

Thursday, 10 December 2009

December 10th

I got some of the greatest news today from a dear online friend, and then spent the afternoon answering the door to parcel after parcel as Christmas gifts arrived, wrapping said gifts before the recipient emerged from bed (he is on night shifts this week, giving me chance to be sneaky, you see), and then packing away books and dvds ready for our move and making room for more Christmas decorations *yay* All in all it has been a fantastic day!

I hope you have had a wonderful day too... I'll be back soon with, I hope, some more videos...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

December 9th

Advent is such a busy time of year (no wonder Santa's elves work so hard!!), even though I bought and wrapped most of our presents in November and have written all but the last few Christmas cards, I am still finding that there is so much left to plan and do. That doesn't mean I want it any other way, but it does explain why so often, the dreams and ideas I wish to fulfil each Christmas never seem to come to fruition... one year I may manage the completely homemade Christmas of my dreams, but this year we'll settle for a nice, simple Christmas where the focus is on being together rather than what we are doing or giving.

That being said, I am so looking forward to the few little bits we do have planned - taking our niece to the theatre, having Tim's family round for a get-together, spending Christmas afternoon just the two of us, having my parents down on Boxing Day, and again spending New Year's alone. Christmas has always been one of my most favourite times of year, mostly due to the magic and wonder that it brings, but also very much due to the focus it brings to family and friends and those around us who we may not have given as much attention to as we might have liked.

I'm off now to put up the cards which have just arrived through our letterbox and to find another Christmas movie to warm my heart with festive fun - have a lovely day xx

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

December 8th

I had awful troubles remembering today's poem all the way through, and recorded the video far too many times. This version isn't the greatest, but I am afraid it was the only one with the complete poem, so please do excuse the quality of it.

I haven't really made any cards this year, like so many of my projects and ideas they failed to start due to lack of time. Part of this is due to the amount of cards I send out as I just love to use this time of year to catch up with all those people I may not have had time to speak to over the past year, as well as sending loving messages to those we may have seen but want to remind how much they mean to us. Tim was always amazed by just how many cards I receive at Christmas, maybe it is a "girl thing" but I have always received as many cards as I send out.

My grandma, however, is the queen of Christmas cards. Each year her card writing amounts into triple figures (I couldn't say how many, I lose count) and her living room is covered from floor to ceiling with cards she receives. My grandma is the greatest example of what Christmas is all about - she loves to give, she loves to bake, she loves to sing, she loves to be with friends and family and she just brims with festive spirit. I can only hope I have as much festive cheer when I reach her age!

I hope your Christmas card writing is going well, don't forget to get those cards in the post before the last posting dates!

Monday, 7 December 2009

December 7th

Don't forget to check out yesterday's video (which I only posted earlier today *ahem*) or any other videos you may have missed this month. And if you are enjoying these videos, please do leave us a comment and/or pass on the link to your friends and family. The more people who view these videos, the happier I will be.

As a child I always wondered what happened at the North Pole - what were Santa's reindeer doing, how did they keep fit, did the Elves sing as they worked and what did Santa do with his time off (did he even have any time off?) This year, these video poems hope to give an idea of what could be going on up at the North Pole during advent and I hope that you are enjoying them, and would love to hear from you what you think is happening all the way up north... so get your imaginations cracking, some pens and crayons out and have a go, it really is lots of fun!

December 6th (a day late)

Whoops... I know I said on Saturday that I wasn't going to worry about getting my videos up first thing in the morning, but I didn't mean to miss a whole day! Yesterday was lost in a blur of getting out of bed incredibly late, having to do the weekly food shop, talking to friends and family and watching good Sunday evening tv. I love this time of year, the tv seems to have so much to offer in the evening, and I find myself enjoying an evening or two of curling up on the sofa and watching tv, listening to the wind and rain outside and just chilling out.

I cannot help but be reminded at this time of year how very lucky we are to have a roof over our heads and food in our cupboards. Life has been far from easy for us this past year and a bit, but we are incredibly blessed to be loved and supported by so many, we always manage to get by (even if I do sometimes despair that we aren't getting anywhere!)

I have found that my poetry has sat unfinished this past week, due to spending time with family and friends and taking time to simply "be" and remember how lucky we are and how apparent misfortune can actually bring about changes which can bring about far more benefits and blessings than you could ever imagine. Having spent that time I now know I need to start cracking on finishing this series, and tomorrow I shall have the house to myself so I think it's time I started catching up and getting ahead if I can, because I am sure the closer Christmas comes the busier we shall be. But how thankful I am to have had some time to slow down and just live for a while, I do hope you are finding some time for that amongst the bustle of this busy season too.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

December 5th

December is such a busy time, I cannot believe how fast it is going... each day I think "I'll record all of my videos today and then I'll be able to post them each morning", only to find that one thing after another pops up and takes me away from the computer and before I know it another day has gone by and it is already half way through the next afternoon (or evening) and I am late in getting that day's poem up, let alone recording the rest!

I wanted this project to take my writing to a new level - I wanted to see how well I could write to a set time frame and if I could write a series of poems in the same time and metre throughout, so that the whole thing flowed. I also wanted to see how videos would work both on my blog and as a way of introducing poetry, as I know sometimes it is hard to read a poem and really get the emotion and intonation that was behind the creating of it. The project is going well, but I don't want to burden myself too much with getting the poems up first thing in the morning and making the videos perfect (or worrying that the sound and picture quality is not so perfect). This is, after all, a project I am doing as an experiment and for fun, so I am trying not to get hung up on these things - one thing I am learning in my life right now is that I don't have to be perfect and neither does my work, reaching for perfection just makes me miserable.

So, you may find that each day's poem gets posted later and later in the day and maybe the videos aren't the greatest quality, because right now I am learning to enjoy the run up to Christmas without panicking about all the things that I usually panic about (whether at this time or year or any other).

Wishing you all a happy Advent

Just to say... (December 5th)'s poem is on its way, but I haven't had chance to record it so far due to taking my sister to the train station and then battling our way through town on one of the busiest Saturdays of the year (there's a winter fair here first Saturday of December, plus ice skating and usual Christmas shoppers plus a massive closing down sale in one of the bookstores). I would record it now, but am waiting for a skype call from someone and don't want to miss it due to filming... so check back soon


Friday, 4 December 2009

December 4th

My sister has just pointed out that it is only 3 weeks until Christmas - already only 3 weeks!! I have finally caught the Christmas bug, having watched a million Christmas films and wrapped all the presents... sometimes it takes me a while to feel like Christmas is actually here again, but now that the house is decorated and the presents all sent to Santa, ready for delivery on Christmas Eve, I feel like Christmas has finally come.

I can still remember my excitement the first time I put the Christmas presents I had wrapped in a drawer and then when I went to check on them they had already been magicked away... wow, Santa and his elves really do work fast! I hope you've wrapped your presents and put them away safely for Santa to find and deliver, but don't worry if you haven't managed it just yet, Santa will always find time to pick up a present or two right up until Christmas Eve... now there's service!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

December 3rd

Today's video was recorded too many times for me to count... our darling cat, who actually belongs to our neighbours but pops round every day for cuddles, kept distracting me half way through and I'd forget what words I was supposed to be saying. In fact this final copy was not the greatest ever and I apologise for the state of it, but it was the only one where I made it all the way through to the end of the poem! Maybe one day I'll post the bloopers, but for today I'll just add this second video so you can see the true star of the show - Pippi

Tim and I have reached a sad moment where we have chosen to take my health and our future ahead of everything else right now and so are moving on from number 22, the gorgeous house we have called home for 1 year instead of more as we had hoped. And do you know the hardest part of this move... knowing we won't get to see this lovely little girl every day (just thinking of it makes me want to cry a little). So I am going to leave this post here and go snuggle with my favourite girl in the whole world.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

December 2nd

Well, sorry it's a tad late today - my sister came to stay and we've been watching Holiday Inn whilst trying to get the fire started for the video (yes, despite both of us being ex-Girl Guides we are useless as getting fires going good and strong!)

Because it took so long as well, I didn't have time to learn and rehearse today's poem, so my sister became a make-shift autocue (what else are sisters for?) So you may notice I don't quite look at the screen or hear a sudden rustling halfway through, that's the old-fashioned technology of a piece of paper with the poem written on it being turned over... we're nothing if not classy here!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who popped over yesterday and to those who sent me a message of encouragement - this is turning into a lovely project. But for now I'm going to leave you whilst we go off to watch Father Christmas (the cartoon that is).

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

December 1st

It's the first of December today - that means our advent calendars are all hung on the wall, waiting to be opened and all manner of treats start to come our way! I am looking forward to opening each of our calendars every morning (we currently have four in our house) and am over the moon that one of my favourite people online has created a perfect Advent widget - go check out Cherry Menlove's Advent Calendar at

But most of all I am excited to be bringing this Advent series to you all. Writing is one of my greatest pleasures in life and taking it to this new level of recording a poem a day is so much fun, I do hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have. Please do leave us a comment to tell us what you think so far, and don't hesitate to contact me if you would like a written copy of any of the poems I post.

And why not have a go at writing a Christmas poem of your own, it would make a lovely present for someone, or an alternative Christmas card. Or why not take some pictures or paint something Chrismassy to get you in the mood... here's one of my favourite pictures so far this year

Right, I am off now to finish sprucing up the house with Christmas cheer, let's hope our tree is decked from top to toe in time for tomorrow's video!!

Have a wonderful Advent
Amanda xx

Monday, 30 November 2009

It's nearly time...

I am so excited about this project, although there is an awful lot of work still to be done in order to get it all finished - but what fun!

Please do pass on this link to anybody you think may enjoy following this series, it would mean a lot to me. I have been writing for years but never really put my work "out there" and really wanted it to succeed. I have posted bits and pieces before on here and created handmade anthologies for friends and family, but now that I have been working to let go of fear and feelings of inadequacy, I hope to take it much further and it would be great to see this first project go well.

I may post regular musings during December, but they will always be after the day's poem has been published... in fact I probably will as I still have to tell you all how the hypnotherapy went (which was a major factor in helping me realise this long-term dream to spread my writing in this way!) And on that note, if you are in the Cambridgeshire area, why not consider popping over and having a look at

Anyway I better get cracking on these videos, so bye for now

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Christmas is coming!!

It's the 24th November today - do you know that means it's only a month until Christmas Eve??? Wow!

So, in preparation for my Advent series of poems, I wanted to bring a bit of pre-Christmas joy and excitement to the blog.

I would love it if you could pass on the link to this blog to anybody you think would enjoy hearing the antics of the elves and Santa up in the North Pole during this busy time of year. Stick it on Facebook, Tweet about it or just send the link in an email to your friends... the more people that read it the happier I will be, as the whole fun in writing such things is knowing that people are getting joy from reading it!

If any of you blogging friends know how to make a little button for it and/or would be willing to post it as a link on your blog during the Advent season, please do let me know. I want to spread the word as far and wide as I can... it is an exciting prospect to think it might spread around the interweb for a short time, so who's with me?

And here, for your pre-Christmas fun, is a short poem:

As autumn leaves start to fall
And drops of rain both big and small
The corners of our mouths drop low
Anticipating winter’s snow

But with the winter comes such joy
For every little girl and boy
Who knows that Christmas comes our way
With each and every passing day

As the days go on and on
They know that it won’t be too long
Before their parents come to see
Them in the school nativity

And after that, it’s Christmas Eve
They hope that Santa will be pleased
And leave them toys for being good
And doing all they know they should

So as we grow, let’s not forget
The joy we felt the joy we’ll get
If we forget our winter blues
And walk through Christmas in children’s shoes.

Happy 24th November, all

Amanda xx

Friday, 20 November 2009

On a more positive note...

Following on from my last post (and also trying to leave it behind) we saw the gynaecologist yesterday and he has prescribed medication similar to the one I was on last year, plus patches to help with the side-effects. We're hoping this may go better than last year. I had hypnotherapy today (more on that in another post) and have been signed off work for two weeks to relax and gie th medication time to kick in. Oh, and I've also asked for an appointment with occupational health, so all in all I am doing everything I can to try and improve the situation and that makes me feel a bit less helpless and a lot more hopeful...

So, moving on, I wanted to introduce an idea to you all. I am currently in the process of writing a series of poems entitled "Advent at the North Pole". Now, as I am hoping this will run once a day throughout the month of December (well, until Christmas Day that is), there is much left for me to do. So, I won't be able to make any pictures to go at the top of each post, and as the poems will be aimed at children (and adults alike), I think it would be nice to have a few pictures, however small or simple, to head each post. So I'm asking a favour of you... would you draw me a picture of an elf, Santa's workshop, his reindeer, the big man himself or anything else associated with the North Pole and send it to me, with permission to post it on my blog (with your name, if you wish, and a link to your blog/site, of course!) It doesn't matter how simple, complex, good, bad, you think it is... anything is better than nothing and I would love to have a group of pictures to post... you could send me more than one if you like...

My email is dreamslastforever [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Whatever happened to just being happy?

For those of you who have followed my blog due to endometriosis connections, I am sure you will understand the following blog post, for those of you who have not been affected by endo, I hope you won't see this post as a simple "moan" or "attack", it is simply a truthful expression of how I feel, right now.

These past few weeks have been tough on both me and Tim, and I cannot ever remember crying so much for so long. This past year has really taken it out of me and I feel ready to break, in fact I think I already have broken a little bit, based on the amount of tears that have spilled recently. And these aren't just my own, for poor Tim has had to try and console me, knowing that there was nothing he could really do to make things better. I am battling a "invisible condition" that even I forget is there making me feel so rubbish sometimes... sometimes I forget and think it is all my fault, that if only I could just pull myself together things wouldn't be so bad.

It all started about a month ago when suddenly my urge to have children turned up a gear. A friend at work told me she had dreamt I was pregnant, and then I dreamt we had a baby, two nights running... except the baby wasn't quite ours and we weren't prepared to look after it (as in we didn't have any equipment, feed etc, not that we didn't want to!) This sparked a whole rush a emotions, such as "I want children, now" and "what if we leave it too late to try and find the endo causes more damage and we can't have children?" and "I'm already feeling so ill now, how will my body cope with being pregnant?" and "what if this is all pointless worrying, what if we already can't have children?"... and so on and so forth. I began to get really depressed about how my lifelong dream of having children was becoming a nightmare - why should something so wonderful become a decision that has to be made based more on the best time healthwise and whether we have enough finances, rather than that we actually want children? Why does endo (and all those other factors that affect people's lives) have to screw things up?

As the weeks went on I got more and more exhausted. My immune system is low due to exhaustion and fatigue (I cannot count the times I have fallen asleep on the bus to work because I am so tired). I am working full-time, commuting which puts my days up to 12 hours out of the house and I am angry that I am doing something any healthy person would find hard, whilst trying to battle feeling ill all at the same time. When did society get so messed up that my generation is worse off than the one before? Why is no choice hidden behind a so-called "free-choice"... no woman really has a choice whether to work or not, it's not that easy. Most women have to work just to survive, and those who can come out of work have to make many sacrifices just to do so... whatever happened to family values (and by that I mean simply being able to put the family first, not having to).

All this was happening whilst a cold caught hold of me... a cold that just will not go away, dragging at my very little energy until I have none left and feel like I just cannot go on any longer. I fear for what damage I could do by pushing myself so far beyond my limits, yet I have no choice when I have to work just to pay the rent. We have no choice, Tim and I, we have to fight on. But what happens when you just cannot fight any longer?

We are left with dying hopes that our appointment with the gynaecologist tomorrow may come up with some solutions for us. I cannot take feeling this low any longer, and I cannot take knowing the adverse effects my mood has on Tim. We are a young couple and life should be fun, not a struggle every day. My manager asked me in my performance review where I saw myself heading and what aspirations I had for the future... I've been told a few times I'm not ambitious enough, but you know what, my greatest ambitions are to be healthy and to have a family, what is wrong with that? Why do we have such a focus on careers and achievements and "having it all"... whatever happened to just being happy?

I know this feeling is, in the big scheme of things, only momentary and that things will get better, but it becomes harder and harder to hold on to that hope when each day just drags us down that little bit further. I grasp desperately at solutions, but none of them work and the guilt that I feel for putting so much pressure on Tim and myself to make our lives easier is unfair to us both. Sometimes I wish we just had a fairy godmother who could come and wave her wand and make everything better... please think of us tomorrow as we head to the hospital for our appointment, for the gynaecologist is our one hope of finding a solution the root of this whole mess - the endo!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Life's too short

A very dear friend of mine died last week. She was still very young, with a teenage son, and leaves behind her many people saddened by the loss.

Yet every single one of those people are so thankful to have crossed paths with her and been blessed with the beautiful friendship she was always so ready and willing to offer. Despite being in unimaginable pain at times, she always managed to reach out a hand of love and comfort to others, no matter who they were or how they had met, and she was a true inspiration to many.

Indeed, when I held a "writer's group" a couple of years back to encourage others to find the joy in writing, she was so overwhelmed and overjoyed by the freedom she found in realising that every writer has their own "ingredients" and makes their own "recipes"... one person may make a fantastic carrot cake but struggle with a chicken curry, whilst two people may make chocolate brownies and each have different people enjoy theirs best, despite them being so similar. She was a real inspiration to me as I led this group and I cannot tell you how beautiful some of the things she wrote were.

I only ever got to meet her once in person, as we met and kept in touch online for the most part. But that one weekend I spent in her company was so wonderful - I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, nor enjoyed such a "lazy" weekend. Spiritually she was a wonder, and inspired me in that way too: the videos she posted online and the pictures she created were astounding, so full of love and light.

Amazingly I didn't cry when I found out she had passed, despite having cried so desperately every day for about a week previously. In fact the day she died was the first day I didn't cry, which may seem strange to you, but to me it makes perfect sense... she was so full of love, the inspiration I felt when thinking back upon her life filled me with a quiet peace rather than sadness. Of course I was sad, don't get me wrong, but I was filled with love for her and what she meant to so many people.

I will miss her terribly, especially as I had wanted to go back and spend another weekend with her and invited her to our wedding so that she could meet Tim as well, but I know she will be with us in spirit. Even now she is inspiring me, as I realise that life really is too short to spend worrying... life is for living and we should never forget that, for she never did!!

My previous blog was called "Dream of Living"... seeing that title every time I logged on reminded me to keep hold of my dreams. I lost that sight for some time and my dreams began to be shunned for all manner of "responsibilities" and things... but now I feel it is time to reclaim them and really strive to fulfil them all.

Darling Josie, you were an inspiration to me throughout our friendship and I thank you for inspiring me still. I do not know what way my dreams will take me, but I know that I am now ready to grab hold and live the dream, right here, right now.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Writing the pain - a new project

This week has been hell for me. My whole world seemed to crumble as my emotions got the better of me. Every so often this happens. I can be riding on top of the world one day and the next *WHAM* there I am, completely inconsolable. Initially I thought I was going crazy, but over the years I have noticed a pattern - hormones! Just recently this is what happened, my hormones got the better of me and nothing could stop me from crying. It was at this point, in his desperation to "fix" it, Tim came up with the idea that I should write. So I did.

Writing has always been incredibly therapeutic for me, but this past year I seem to have fallen out of the habit. When I look back I realise that the times in my life when I was most at peace were also the times in my life when I wrote the most.

I am very lucky in that writing comes natural to me. I'm even luckier in that, on the whole, people enjoy reading what I write. (Either that, or they just don't like to say otherwise!!) I've also noticed that the one thing that people always say to me is that they enjoyed the "honesty" of my words, the depths of emotion and the fact I do not hold back. With this in mind I have decided to try a new venture, one which I hope will not only benefit me but also others...

My venture is, to write about life with Endometriosis. I am hoping that what I write will not only be comforting and inspiring to other sufferers but also informational to others and maybe even touch them through common ground, such as similar desires for life and the strength to carry on through the darkest times. Perhaps this is a big task, perhaps it will only serve me... but I hope not!

With this in mind, I ask any of you who read this, to play it forward and pass on the word about this project. I will try and set up a unique page for my "Endo posts" and a link in the sidebar (with icon) that may be posted elsewhere. I would also like to encourage others to try and write/create regarding their life. Endometriosis is an unknown condition to many, and it why so many of us suffer when no-one understands. This could be said of many things in life, I know, but this is the one I struggle with... and writing what you know is the way to move others.

So without further ado, here is my first contribution (written on the bus home last night... yes I write anywhere and everywhere!!)

A Lover Gone Bad

Do you know what it's like to be me,
do you really understand?
Do you have any idea
what hell I live through, every day?
Well, do you?

Anger and fear are friends of mine -
you may recognise them, here by my side
They've visited you when I've come to call,
you thought I was just bein cruel,
didn't you?

Pain is a lover I take to bed,
he comes and goes as he pleases...
have you ever known the hurt of a lover gone bad,
never knowing when he'll return,
or when he'll beat you again?
Have you?

Perhaps I'm too harsh, you do try to help
and I know that you care for me too.
But please, do not tell me "It's not so bad"
or worse, that you understand
unless it really is true.

I'm sure that this may sound very harsh to some, but as always I write from the heart. I know I am loved, and so many people try to help, but so often the overwhelming feeling of having a condition like Endometriosis is being completely and utterly alone. I hope that this poem will comfort those who know that pain only too well, and maybe help to explain to those who don't just what it is like.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Frozen by fear

The last couple of weeks something BIG has come into my thoughts. This something BIG is an aspect of life I have been looking forward to since a very young age (I'd say I became aware of it when I was about 9). It is something I trusted I would get when I got older, something I wanted so much that it directed my career and life choices. It is something I never thought would be a hard decision to make once I reached a certain age... but here I am and the decision is so hard!

When you're little you never worry about money, health and all those other factors that come in to major life choices. Heck, even as short a time back as 2 years when I chose to move to Cambridge to live with Tim I didn't think about these things... and life got tough! The last two years have been so trying for us, but so special in so many ways (I know just how deep our love is for each other now). However the troubles we've had financially and the difficulties with my health have made me rethink so many things, and often through fear.

I now feel completely paralysed from the fear of what "may" happen. This is nothing new to me as I was very timid as a child and wanted to stay in my safe little box forever. Once I learnt to push my boundaries I decided that however tough it may get, it was all worth it. But now there is not just myself to think about, but others too. How will my decisions affect those in my life. These are big decisions and I can't make them just for me.

Yet there is a part of me that is aching so much for the thing I have wanted for so many years that I can't bear it. I want to say "stuff it" and just go for my dream. This isn't helped by the fact that I feel fearful that there may be problems ahead due to my health and that also my job may not be very secure due to the current climate. There are far too many variables for me to worry about and I wish I could just shut the negatives out long enough to listen to the real positives.

That is why I am going to see a hypnotherapist this weekend. I have wanted to try this for a couple of years, knowing how fear has directed my life from about the age of 9 as well (weird, huh) and that however much logic I put to the fears they still grab hold of me and shake sometimes. I am fed up of living in fear and want to live for now. I must say, seeing the film "UP" the other day really brought this home... if I let circumstance stop me from having my dream, I may live my whole life never knowing it. And although I will experience other amazing things, this one dream is so important I do not want to forsake it.

Until then, my thoughts continue to be occupied (or plagued) by the decision that lies ahead...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Long time no blog...

Ok, I think maybe changing my old blog to a new joint blog was a bit of a let down... I felt too pressurised to find something "joint" to talk about, rather than just writing about whatever came into my head as I did on the old one and Tim, well Tim just seemed to forget all about it - bless!

So what's new, you ask! Well...

1. My parents' house is still without a roof thanks to the insurance company holding up the rebuild after the fire. I went up to Lincoln to see them last week and saw both the house and the damage, plus their temporary accommodations - both very strange to get used to. It's bizarre walking through the home you grew up in and seeing it in such a damaged way and reminds me just how lucky my family were that it happened in the early evening rather than at night when the fumes would have consumed them - so grateful!!

2. I've been busy making things for both Christmas and the new baby (our nephew-to-be) - lots of fun but also very hard to fit in around the long working days. I also wrote and painted a poem for a colleague's retirement party, which made me remember how much I love writing and making things.

3. Tim's car failed it's MOT (well it was 16 years old!!) so we now have almost exactly the same car, only now it is white instead of dark blue and 3 years younger - very hard to get used to the "same, same but different" feel of it.

4. The neighbourhood cat that comes in to have cuddles and kisses with us (but never really wants to eat anything we give her!) almost got our hamster the other day *gasp* - I ran upstairs after thinking she'd gone quiet (I was busying crocheting a bootee at the time) and she shot across the room from the cage to the cupboard - naughty Kitty!! The ext day the hamster (who thinks he's a lemming) leapt off the sofa and ran so fast I didn't know where he had gone and it took us 10 minutes of frantic searching to find him under the stairs behind the shoe rack... panic over!

5. The rest of my time has been taken up by worrying: how will we ever pay off the last bit of debt, save up for a wedding, have enough money to live and have kids, will my health suffer when we decide to have kids and I take the coil out and the endo has free reign, will I have to work full-time just to afford to have kids when I'd much rather stay home with them, should Tim really have to support me though... etc etc etc... boy I am and always have been one of the world's worst (or greatest) worriers. It does me no good, however, and I am currently trying to trust in "the plan" and give up my worries to God (or fate or whatever you like to call it, or not, whichever the case may be. Quite frankly I don't know who I think is in charge of "the plan" but it certainly isn't me and for once that makes me happy!)

So yeah, that's about where we're at. Things at work are *ahem* interesting... we've moved, so many people are complaining about this and that, the recession is biting butts etc, same thing as everywhere and it's tiring as anything... but my colleagues are wonderful, and I have a job ... so who can complain?

Anyway better go, have to go to work now and will miss my bus if I don't run soon
Have a wonderful day, all xx

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Ok I have been a bad blogger... I have left this poor new blog alone for far too long. But how can a girl think of blogging when all her online time is spent researching dresses, colour themes and all other wonderful wedding planning?? Since T popped the big question, my mind has been occupied with working out what I want, who I want to be there and how the day might go - poor old boy! My dad mentioned he had unleashed a monster and that our first dance should be Monster by The Automatic (thanks Dad). But then I thought, why shouldn't I blog about this, seen as though this blog is about our life together... what bigger part of our lives could there be than marriage (well of our lives so far, anyway)? So without further ado I shall leave you with some images of my current inspiration - enjoy...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Roma - beautiful, romantic Roma

We recently went to Rome for one of my best friend's wedding - it began at 4.30, then after the ceremony and a few drinks we headed to the beach for sunset photos.. how romantic!

I have never, ever eaten so much in my entire life as we ate at the wedding, let alone in Rome itself... the Italians sure love their food, and why not when it tastes sooooo good!

We spent the rest of our time there running round, trying to see as much as possible, which was
a LOT!! You can tell just how hot it was by hot tired I look in most of the photos...

We saw the Vatican...

the baths at Caracalla...

the Colosseum...

the palatine and house of Augustus...

the Roman forums...

and so much more. We even saw lots of TIM...

TIM was everywhere...

But I liked my Tim the best... especially when he proposed...

of course I said YES!!

Now I just have to save up some money and decide what kind of wedding I actually want (now that it is real and not a dream it's quite hard to decide... I hope it will be as beautiful as my friend's wedding!!)

We can't have it on a beach...

But it will be romantic... how could it not after such a romantic engagement?

NB: more photos and tales will follow, I promise, when I manage to get them uploaded

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Painting from the Heart

I haven't really done any painting for years and even then I only dabbled a bit here and there. I did art GCSE but only covered the basics and although I have always been inspired by the work of others, the written word was always my medium.

But lately I have felt "stuck". I just couldn't write like I used to and certainly couldn't find the place in my heart where inspiration lived. I was so busy trying to write what I thought other people would like that it became a chore.

This is a pattern I follow in my life too: too little self-worth makes me try to please others far more than pleasing myself and enjoying who I am. Embarrassed by my dreams and interests I hide them away and then tear myself apart emotionally when the life I create for myself does not live up to those same dreams.

So, last night I decided to take Tim's advice and do something purely for the pleasure of it. I started by watching a documentary about teenage parents, which led me to watch some videos on YouTube of birth (I have always had a massive interest in pregnancy, birth and the beginning of life) and I felt something inside me stirring... that's when the sketches at the start of this post came into being.

I wanted to explore the beauty of life, rather than the mundane, everyday grind which can get us down so often. Moments of joy that will last in our memories forever. Birth is one such moment. Nurturing a child is another. And so the first in a series of paintings, brought straight from the heart, developed. And here is the finished product.

Well, I say finished... I haven't decided yet whether to paint a background or not. I'm really rather pleased with how it came out - I love the simplicity of it and am astounded that I managed to actually get some shading in there. I'm starting to think that maybe, by doing something I love, I might even create things other people will love too. What do you think?

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Happy Lughnasadh

Did you know that August 1st sees the celebration of Lughnasadh? No, neither did I until Tim thoughtfully bought me a magazine to read whilst feeling poorly (I blame the 2000 tourists that seem to be pouring through our doors each day this summer... one of them is bound to pass on something "icky"). Lughnasadh is, apparently, the day that the ancient Celts used to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest and enjoy the last days of summer before the return of the Dark Year (autumn and winter). I also discovered that this is where the Christian festival of Lammas has its roots. Don't you just love learning things like this?

According to the article I read there were several ways of celebrating during this festival: craft fayres and roasting on spits, along with horse racing and bards and minstrels were all key parts of the day. It was, quite simply, a day of thanking the earth for her bounty and making offerings to her, such as a lash of mead poured on the land. The magazine suggests such a celebration is easier at the end of the month, when barbecues and family get-togethers are possible during the bank holiday weekend - but I am not going to let this day go past without a mention (not when I only found out about it yesterday!!)

So how are we celebrating Lughnasadh? Well... Tim is following his plans of cleaning the boiler in preparation for the coming months when we will need it to be working at peak efficiency - sounds like a good way to prepare. And I am going to spend the day, whilst recovering, thanking the earth for her blessings of food in our garden (I think I'll try making a salad or something) and picking up an old craft project I have put aside. Not exactly as the article suggests, but I did only have a few hours to prepare!!

But most importantly, I think we shall sit tonight quietly contemplating the blessings this summer has brought us and the dreams we have for our future. I hope you will find the time to sit and just "be" for a while too this weekend.

Happy Lugh, everybody x

Monday, 27 July 2009

"Hi" from Tim

Hello. Im the one who will dig up usfeul (and not so) useful info and stories. I love any thing mysterious and fortean (look it up !) and I am also a bit of a nerd when it comes to certain subjects.
For some reason, like most men, I have lots of random bits of information in my head which pops out and must be said to the confusement of others: its said a little bit of information is a dangerous thing - in my case its not dangerous just annoying . (edit by Amanda - VERY annoying when said information is given by interrupting me in mid-conversation!!)

So I hope to post useful stuff as well as such as recipes and how to's . Im gonna start collecting bits and peices so by the time I come back I will have a dearth of recipes and info (or maybe one recipe and a how to) so cin cin to you all for now .

Friday, 17 July 2009


For those of you who know me from my previous blog, Dream of Living, thanks for joining us over here at our new home on the internet! For everyone else - thanks for taking the time to pop by and meet us.

I, Amanda, have been blogging for several years now but I always seemed to lose direction and coherence. My posts would ramble on in random directions and I would go for long stints without posting anything at all. I would write about what I thought was "readable" and hold the things I longed to share back in notebooks and conversations with Tim.

These conversations led to Tim deciding he'd like to take an active part in my blog and the idea to start a joint one and have a fresh start was a real buzz. But what would we blog about? I love
to sing, write, and create and Tim loves to take photographs, listen to me sing and ask me what it is I am creating. He is the one who brings me back down to earth when my creativity takes full hold of me and I forget that life doesn't always work the way I want it to, whilst still encouraging me to let it all out and share it with others. So that's what we're going to do. I will create and Tim will record, ask questions and share with you all the random knowledge he has (which is staggering really when I think just how much random knowledge he possesses!)

Me and You is about our life together - we only started on this journey such a short time ago and already it has thrown us many twists and turns to deal with. Yet here we are, at number 22, loving the life we have chosen. Join us as we try to figure out all the "adult" things in our life - paying the rent, keeping house, growing vegetables and keeping the weeds at bay. And enjoy with us the fruits our of labours - the days off, the garden, the times with friends and the things we create.

And if you want a list of what's to come, here's a little teaser:
  • Projects around the house and garden
  • Videos of singing, crafts and more
  • Stories and poems to read (and listen to)
  • Photos to admire (and print if you like)
  • Giveaways and prizes (when we're feeling really generous!)
Oh, and a little smidgen of madness too!