Take That, Rosetta!

Recently, I’ve been struggling for inspiration as to what to write. I’ve also been finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate as my anxiety is really getting the better of me at the moment.

This led me to discover daily writing prompts for blog posts. First one:

Take That, Rosetta!

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

You would think with having been born and brought up in Wales that I would be fluent in Welsh. Far from it unfortunately.
My parents moved to Wales in the 80s from the West Midlands. They don’t have the Brummie accent though before you ask!

I went to a pretty English school. They had Welsh lessons a couple of times a week but that was it really. You would throw yourself in with all your energy with any festivities though. St David’s Day was a good one where you would get extra points for dressing as a Welsh Lady.
In the area there are schools that teach through the medium of Welsh. I would definitely have struggled with that. I found it hard to keep up normally, especially with Maths. That is like a foreign language in its own right.

With language you generally have to immerse yourself in it to be able to learn it and really make sense of it. Want to learn French? Take a gap year in France and be a teaching assistant in the schools there. Your English will be a great foreign language for them and you will learn more French in return. It is a win win situation.
The difference with Wales is that a lot of English people have moved here over the years due to the idyllic life and the beautiful countryside. It isn’t like you have to speak the language to get by. It is a completely bilingual country. All the letters you receive in the post are in English and Welsh, the signs are in English and Welsh. All of my friends at school were also from similar backgrounds as myself with not being truly ‘native’. So when we met up to play we couldn’t just converse in Welsh as we all had English in common. We couldn’t just ask our parents for help with Welsh homework as they knew less than us.

Looking back it is such a shame Welsh isn’t encouraged more. Obviously you want the kids to understand what they are being taught but you also want to keep this ‘dying language’ alive. It shouldn’t just be kept as a language that the hill farmers know. A language gives a country its own unique identity. The more who know it the more vibrant and alive it will become.
Now if I wish to apply for any other jobs ‘do you speak welsh’ is literally one of the first questions. It really limits your options for the future.

There are of course evening classes I could attend, but again with having no one else in the family I could use it with I think my newly learnt skill would soon be forgotten.
It would be worth it though for my future as you never know what is around the corner. Just before Christmas there were a number of redundancies so you can never really be certain what will happen.

Plus there is the humourous side in that all English people will think you are rude and saying derogatory things about them! You might just be with your girly friends saying ‘that guy is a bit of alright’ and they think you are bad mouthing them just because they don’t understand what you are saying! But you wouldn’t immediately jump to that conclusion if you were abroad surely?!

It would definitely be useful for me to learn Welsh. It would also give me something to focus my time and energy on to take away all my worries about anxiety and the panic attacks I have been having.

One day. We will see!

Positive spin

It is funny how your emotions are very much swings and roundabouts.

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I woke up feeling low but okay. Knowing I wasn’t 100% I decided to have coco pops for breakfast to try and add a little boost to the start of my day! I even felt pretty confident and happy in myself after I had got ready. I’ve put my hair back today and it seems to just show off my face a little more. I will have to remember to do more with my hair now it is a little longer. It is a quick and simple trick to really make a ‘change’ to your appearance without blowing big budgets. Only issue is I’m rubbish at styling my hair. I usually end up hot and bothered with my hair looking a mess! But practise makes perfect. Plus the slightly ‘messy’ look seems to be in so I can only win.

It is a lovely day so sunnies it was for driving in to work. After putting my lunch in the fridge (something I’m making myself do now to ‘interact’ with my colleagues more) and making a cup of tea I walked into the office and settled at my desk…

How To Stop Panic Attacks

Seemingly seconds later my chest started to feel tight (like there is a strap around my chest and maybe someone trying to claw my ribs open with a crowbar) and my breathing a little elevated and quick. Why does this happen? What is causing it? There isn’t necessarily anything I can put my finger on in particular to explain why I’m feeling anxious. How come I managed to cope last week with more stresses but this week I’ve just been struggling.

I’m not sure if I mentioned, but I’m an orders coordinator at a data archive company. We store a lot of legacy data for clients in our warehouse and can send items next day back to the them on request. If they wish, we can scan the data and send the files digitally. We can also transcribe (copy) the data if it is on tape media to make it more accessible.

Perhaps my anxiety is triggered because literally as soon as I am sat down there are lots of emails that I have to flag on my to do list. Everything is always ‘priority’ and ‘urgent’ so you have to get your head around the whole picture and work out the best way to go about the tasks. But this just shows that I’m good at managing my time and juggling the tasks in hand to ensure everyone is happy.

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Perhaps my anxiety is triggered because my colleagues are at my desk asking me questions before I’ve even taken a sip of tea. But this just shows that I’m a fountain of knowledge and they just need my input into their tasks and appreciate my experience.

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Perhaps my anxiety is triggered because one of my colleagues that forms part of my team is off on holiday. I feel that everything now is falling at my door and I’m feeling swamped. But this just shows that I appreciate what others do and how they help me.

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So I’m just sat here doing deep breathing exercises and listing to the relaxing sounds on http://www.calm.com/. It all seems to help a little. Trying to put a positive spin on the things that are potentially making me anxious is also helping. I’m trying to tell that negative little voice in my head that it is wrong. It is taunting me. Repeating over and over ‘Nikki is going to cry’ in a way that only a horrid bully would do. I’m going to show it that although I have weak moments it doesn’t define me.
All this positivity is making me realise that I’m not just this useless ball of anxiety. I’m actually an essential cog in this machine!

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Escape at lunch

Everything seems to be getting the better of me today. I was sat at my desk in work feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

I decided to grab my sandwich and go for a walk during my lunch break. If I had just stayed in I would have festered in all the emotions I was experiencing. Better to try and do something to help myself than to let it consume me.
I’m so lucky that I am in such a beautiful area and that these are so close to my workplace!

The light shimmering on the estuary near Conwy was really lovely.
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Spring is definitely in bloom now.image

Conwy Castle and Conwy bridge in the distance.image

Obligatory selfie.image

Conwy Castle.image

The meandering pathway through the trees I took.image

Easter Weekend!

Long weekends are great. It gives you the time off you long for and is a chance to set new memories. But it can also give you too much time to think. More on that in a bit.

Caz knew he had to do some overtime at some point on the long weekend. The power was being switched off in one of the buildings at work. So to save the servers from kicking up errors or not being happy he would have to switch them off properly before the power went off and boot them up once the electricity was on again. It is probably only an hour of work and an hour of driving to and from the site but it can still potentially put a dampener on the weekend. Luckily though he was able to stay late on Thursday to switch things off. Plan is to put everything back on at 5pm on Monday ready for everyone coming in on Tuesday after the bank holiday. Looks like a lucky escape and we will have maximum time off to spend together doing nice things.

Friday

On the Friday we decided to visit our new house to see how the progress was panning out. We have quite a few decisions coming up soon about where to put light switches, sockets and other aspects. We will have to work out the layout for all the rooms to make sure we factor in enough plugs. Like will I be charging my phone by the side of the bed or maybe in the kitchen on the breakfast bar? Lots of little things to think about!

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For whatever reason we both found today quite draining and had a to have a nap in the afternoon! We have been quite busy lately with work and the house. When building a house you can’t ever really switch off. There are always bills to pay and decisions to make. Not that I’m not grateful for this opportunity, but I will be glad once it is over and I can think of nothing at all!

Saturday

Last year we went to a food, drink & lifestyle festival in Chester. When we heard it was on again this year at the Racecourse we booked ‘early bird’ tickets and couldn’t wait to go there!
http://chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk/
Due to pre-booking tickets, we were given preferential treatment and showed to a tarmacked area for parking. It had been quite wet for the last few days so any grass parking would have been pretty boggy. From what I understand though other visitors were being pointed in the direction of the nearest large car park and that the festival had stumped up the cost.

We had left home pretty early so I wanted breakfast!
First stop – I love crepes! We both had Nutella and banana crepes. Yummy!

Then we perused all the stalls, stands and marquees.
A lot of the vendors had such pretty and colourful products

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It can be a little difficult being a vegetarian at festivals. What can you eat?! There was pulled pork, sausages, burgers, meatballs… I was starting to feel I would have to go hungry! But then I came across a cute little Citroen Van with a wood burner installed which was selling fresh pizza! I always try and go for something a little different to what I normally would and had a garlic oil as the base (instead of tomato base) and cheese, wild mushrooms and wild garlic. It was really yummy and I don’t actually know how I wolfed it all down!
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There were also demonstrations by various celebrity and well known chefs. One of them was Simon Rimmer. I caught a sly shot of him in the picture above!
We went away with quite a lot of goodies! Cheese and onion twist, berry Danish pastry, cheesy loaf of bread, a selection of macaroons, brownies, cocoa flavoured popcorn, some very spicy veggie things, pies and some meat for Caz.
We also got a really lovely big serving bowl and a glass dragonfly ornament.

On our way back Caz had an appointment to test drive a Toyota Avensis. I was full of excitement about this prospect. Not. I generally see Toyotas as just boxes to get from A to B. Nothing interesting or unique about them. They just blend in and are silver 90% of the time.
Well, we spotted it and it was a really lovely dark grey. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a hankering towards a charcoal colour car. There is just something so classy and simple about it. We got in and I didn’t instantly fall asleep from boredom. It had a build in sat nav and rather funky sound system and the dashboard wasn’t made of recycled bin lids. It actually felt well made and designed with a bit of thought behind it.
We would be selling Caz’s current ‘commuter car’ to buy this – a Toyota Yaris.

We had such a lovely day out and about today so what I’m about to say makes me feel incredibly guilty. I feel rubbish. It is like the black cloud has just come over me and is trying to absorb me. I just don’t know how to shake it. My normal tricks to try and get out of this rut just aren’t even helping to take the edge off today. It feels like you are a bystander to your own life. You are there but aren’t partaking in anything that is going on. You don’t have input as to how you feel. You desperately don’t want to feel this way but don’t know how to get out of this zone. I end up mutely just holding myself while the world continues around me.

I think sometimes my mind needs a rest as much as my body does. When you have had to be strong for a while and keep going even though you just want to sit down cry can really leave you feeling drained. I should have at some point in this last week put my hands up at work and said I’m swamped, can someone give me a hand. But I didn’t. I just battled on regardless. I’m getting better at asking for help but for whatever reason I didn’t on this occasion. A combination of my colleague preparing to be off the following week, a couple difficult tasks from a client who doesn’t know the meaning of manners and just being pretty busy!

Late in the evening Caz said he was going to bed and did I want to go to. I said no. This was a mistake. I ended up searching for the most painless ways of killing myself. Apparently there isn’t really. Luckily the website I stumbled upon had a lot of advice. Talk to someone. Wait at least 3 days before carrying out any potential life ending plans.
http://lostallhope.com/

It isn’t that anything has gone catastrophically wrong but just I’ve felt so low and anxious for like a month now without any let up. I hear time and time again that depression is a treatable illness. But my experience of it is that it is never-ending and there is no way out. All I want is a brief rest-bite from this and to have a glimmer of hope and happiness for the future. I have been there, done that with counselling. It helped to a certain degree but I got to a point where it was more a nuisance than a help. I exercise, eat healthy, have a few hobbies and try and sound out my thoughts but I’ve been struggling with an inner voice that just won’t leave me alone. I don’t know if I should go back to my GP and ask about medications. I just want to find something to ease this.

Sunday

Sunday is probably going to be quite a lazy day. Besides, I don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything.

We sat in front of the TV and watched the first race of the season for British Touring cars. There have been lots of team changes, new faces, old faces, sponsor changes and different cars. I sat proudly wearing my Pirtek Tshirt and Fleece in support of Andrew Jordan now he has moved to MG from Honda.
We only got around to watching race 1 and 2 of the BTCC but it was such good fun! We shout at the telly at dodgy overtakes and cheer when our favourite teams or individuals win.

I mentioned about Caz potentially thinking about buying this car we test drove yesterday. Well, to afford the car we would probably have to sell the Scooby too. It would be a very reluctant sale on Caz’s part. We bought it in 2011 and it has been so good to us. Nothing has ever gone wrong on it or even hinted at wanting to fail. It is just such a good car! So fast too! I would desperately miss it too. I just feel so cool when driving it! But we have had it for quite a few years now and it is perhaps the time for Caz to try something new.

Well Caz ended up removing the fun decals we had put on the Subaru and then I gave it a good clean.
We took it up to an interesting spot and took the pictures for the ads.
If you want to share the link go ahead or if you know anyone that might be interested please let me know!

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http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/subaru/impreza-sti/subaru-impreza-wrx-sti-type-uk-widetrack-dccd/3881863

Monday

In a way, I feel I’ve not made the most of my long weekend.
Yes, we went to the Food & Drink festival but that is about it on the list of what I achieved.

So we booked tickets to go to the cinema to see the long awaited Fast & Furious 7.
I was curious as to how they would handle the fact that one of the main actors – Paul Walker – died during the filming. Without giving too much away, basically this film is a direct follow on from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (and we had a bit of a recap to Fast & Furious 6). The brother of one of the bad guys that the crew defeated is back to get revenge. They travel across a lot of the globe trying to stop the guy and use a load of technology to help them. They just don’t want to end up going to any more funerals for their crew members. Will they manage it?!
At the end is a montage in tribute to Paul Walker. There can’t have been a dry eye in the house after that. Too many feels.

I actually really enjoyed seeing the movie. Really Fast & Furious is a big budget film franchise with rubbish plots. But boy do Caz and I love it! We have seen all the movies together now and is just one of those funny traditions we will always do – go and see these crappy movies!

As it was a nice day, we decided to go out for lunch. We went to a local Water gardens that has a Dutch Pancake house attached. The restaurant was full when we arrived but they put our name down and told us to come back in a bit. We walked around the fishing lake, taking in the views and scenery as well as saying hello to the ducks and chickens that live at the water gardens.

What a view!

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Easter themed pancake!
I was sooo full afterwards!

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There are also tropical fish and other critters you can look at and purchase at the water gardens. They have reptiles and creepy crawlies too!

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When we got back home we had enough time to relax in the garden with a cup of tea before Caz had to go to work to finish his task of turning all the servers back on.

While he was gone I had cheese on toast for tea and decided to watch more of The Rock (you can never have enough of The Rock). I settled on watching Pain & Gain on netflix.
Based on a true story, 3 body builders decide that they deserve more. They kidnap and rob one of the clients at their gym and then realise they can’t just free him afterwards so they set about trying to kill him. They then decide that they didn’t get enough from that plan so want to do it again and accidentally kill two people. Their ways finally catch up with them and they get their comeuppance.
When the film finished I wasn’t sure if it was good or dire! It was meant to be a black comedy but felt like a bit of an endurance… It was over 2 hours! It had a pretty big cast in it with Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Ed Harris in it but for me that wasn’t enough. I often find these more dark tales fascinating and often watch documentaries taking a look into the minds of serial killers. But I think comedy wasn’t the way this film should have been portrayed. There has to be some respect and dignity towards the victims and that just wasn’t captured at all in this film.

This has been a long post! But then I guess I did quite a lot over the last 4 days.

I had better get an early night before work again tomorrow.
Today has been a better day but I never want to take these things for granted as I don’t know how fleeting these good moments might be.

Husband’s birthday!

Today, the 31st of March it is my Husband’s birthday!

He seems to have been truly spoilt in the presents department! New clothes, nice cheese, nibbles, new scents and plenty of vouchers to spend in garden centres (our favourite past time!).

I asked Caz if there was anything he wanted or needed for his birthday but that was as useful as talking to a wall! If he needs something, he gets it. If he spots something he likes, he gets it. So you usually have to be pretty inventive to find a suitable present for him!
He has been in to cars for as long as I remember. Some of the cars he has owned are an imported Honda Integra DC5 and a Subaru Impreza STi. He’s done many track days and is a true petrolhead!
I scoured eBay and managed to find an internal combustion engine model kit. I found one that was pre-owned but not used so sounded ideal.

Turns out this was an amazing idea of mine and he has actually wanted one of these model kits for years! Next stop full size engine!

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I spent Monday evening baking a birthday cake for Caz. What does everyone love? Peanut butter and chocolate. YUMMY!

So I found this recipe which ticked all the boxes!

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10499/peanut-butter-cake

Here are the two peanut butter cake layers cooling.image

Peanut butter and caramel filling went in before sandwiching the two layers of cake together.image

Melted chocolate was poured over as the topping!image

In the evening we went to our local American smokehouse (authentic american barbecue) restaurant.

I had cajun vegetable fajitas with a salted caramel shake!image

Caz went for the ‘All american xxxl roadhouse burger’. This is two burger patties with smoked bacon, pulled pork, cajun onion rings, american cheese, fries and slaw! He also had a vanilla soda!imageAll in all, I think he had a lovely time, even though he had to go to work during the day. But hopefully we will make up for this on the long Easter Weekend and go out to some other nice places and have a few other treats! 🙂

Productive weekend

Caz had to go to work on Saturday to do some overtime, so I decided to try and have a productive weekend.

I have to admit thy hat I actually went back to bed for a while after Caz left for work. A couple hours beauty sleep is just what the doctor ordered!

Once I was up, I made myself pancakes for breakfast. Yummy! 😍

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I even managed to put on two loads of washing. The washing machine won’t know what hit it!

A few years ago I inherited a few little bits of furniture from my Grandma when she passed away in 2010. Amongst the pieces are a pair of bedside cabinets.
When I received them they had a thick varnish lacquer on them in a mahogany style color.

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I felt bad wanting to alter the finish of them but thought my Grandma would approve. So I bought paint stripper and set about removing the varnish.
I managed to get them back to the original wood.

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Thinking about what finish to go for I decided to put a primer undercoat on.
We were planning on decorating our bedroom in a floral style with black and red being the main colours. Thing is, we never really got around to decorating the room and lived with bare walls for a long while… Now that we are building our new house we have decided to redecorate the room in more neutral (and saleable) colours.

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Knowing I wanted porcelain drawer knobs I bought these first. They are so cute!

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We found a lovely chocolate colour wallpaper with creamy colour flowers when we were shopping in B&Q. This would be perfect as a feature wall at the head of the bed. The other walls would be a neutral beige colour.
So this helped us decide what finish to now go for with the bedside cabinets – cocoa and cream!

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I bought chalk paints in the colours we wanted. I’d never used chalk paint before but had heard many good things about Annie Sloan paints. I can confirm that chalk paint is wonderful! There is no prep work apart from making sure the item is clean. You can put it on bare wood (this worked the best) or painted or varnished pieces. Paint it on and leave it to dry. Once dry you can put on the clear finishing wax to protect your handiwork.

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Caz had to drill the holes a little bigger so that we could put the knobs on. But now they are finished and are in place they really look good. Even if I do say so myself!

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Sunday wasn’t quite so productive. I seem to have burnt myself out just doing the little painting project yesterday. That is the joy of having hidden illnesses.

As we do every weekend, Caz and I visited our new house to see how it has progressed in the last week. Now it is a pretty weather tight shell, there aren’t as many huge differences. Some more insulation here. Some more external block work there. But it’s not like the first few weeks where it went from foundations slab to ground floor walls then first floor walls in a matter of a fortnight! It’s still exciting though and it feels more and more like home each time we visit.

The rest of the day we just snuggled on the sofa watching F1. This might turn out to be an interesting season!

10 positive things

I have accepted to do a challenge of writing 10 positive things about myself that has nothing to do with my mental health issues. This originated from https://bipolarwhispers.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/10-positive-things-a-challenge-to-my-readers-and-fellow-bloggers/ and then https://losttothedark.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/10-positive-things/ took on the challenge too, which inspired me to write my own list of 10 positive things.

I want you to write 10 positive things about you that have nothing to do with any of your mental health issues. Post them on your blog and link the link in the comments. If you are not comfortable writing a blog post and linking it, you can write the 10 things in my comments section on this post.

10 positive things about me:

  1. My husband, Carwyn, is the greatest thing to have entered my life! He manages to make me smile even when I feel it is so impossible my body just won’t remember how to raise the corners of my mouth. Without him I feel certain I wouldn’t be here today. He has given me a reason to live. We love a lot of the same things and I’m sure we were actually created from the same mould as we are so similar it is sometimes scary! Caz adds a vibrancy to my life and takes it from black and white to full technicolour.
  2. Bear with my while I get to my point! In 2012 my Grandpa passed away. I found this time really difficult to cope with and it hit me hard. I didn’t see my Grandpa tonnes over the years, just at the big holiday occasions like Christmas and Easter. But there was something about him that was so recognisable in me. His humour was very similar to mine as well as a lot of his thoughts and ideas on life. My Grandpa decided to leave some money to me in his will. I desperately wanted to make the most of the money as well as hopefully knowing I would have made him proud. So my husband and I thought we would put it towards the property market. We looked at houses for sale but nothing felt right. Then we thought back to our chilled out evenings watching Grand Designs. We decided to properly look into it before we ruled it out. We went to an estate agent and asked to have all the pamphlets for plots of land within our chosen area and budget. We went out for a drive and visited every plot for sale and one stuck in our minds. It was perfect. It was also owned by friends of the family! So we booked an appointment with an architect, got our dream home drawn up and then proceeded with our plans. Today the main shell of the house is there and hopefully in the next couple of months we will be moving in! I will eternally be grateful to my Grandpa for thinking of me in his will. I obviously would rather he was still here and could see my house in person and spend many happy days with us but I will live knowing that I put his money to the best use in bettering my life and making my future more stable and comfortable.
  3. I have a crude humour! I greatly believe this is a gene I inherited from my Dad’s side of the family. Fart jokes, stupid noises, whoopie cushions, puns, witty one liners… All get me howling in hysterics!
  4. I live in a beautiful part of the world in North Wales and am so grateful for it. I live a 5 minute stroll from the beach, but am also within a short drive from the big mountains such as Snowdon. I regularly go past castles and constantly remind myself how lucky I am to be living in such an amazing area. I thrive in this part of the world. Spending time out in nature really seems to boost me and it also inspires me.
  5. Reading has to be one of my favourite past times. As a child my parents read to me quite a lot. The Hobbit was regularly read to me and perhaps developed the fantasy world that now resides in my head! I then got to a point where reading became difficult to me. I found it hard to concentrate enough to read and I would end up re-reading many sentences and almost have to say bits out loud just to be able to move on from it. Although I have never been diagnosed with dyslexia, I do think I might have it to some degree. When writing with pen and paper I merge words and often really have to think which way around a b or d goes – they often get muddled around with me. But now I have rediscovered the joy of losing myself in a book. I tend to just pick up easy to read ‘chick lit’ novels but occasionally I will find something that really challenges me. Books about the war or more memoir type books are appearing on my radar now and although they can be difficult reads it is so life enriching and rewarding. I’ve also ventured into my local library and that has opened up another realm of options to me!
  6. I contain spare parts! In March 2011 my Dad donated one of his kidneys to me. Health problems had plagued me ever since I was a young child. So now I’ve got this new lease of life I want to make the most of it. To mark my kidney donation I have a plush zombie kidney! Maybe one day I will get a tattoo to commemorate it – a butterfly with a green charity ribbon as its body (this is for organ transplant and donation awareness) or the date in my Dad’s handwriting just above the scar on my lower abdomen.
  7. With my health problems I had always found exercising difficult. I would end up out of breath very quickly and quickly feel demotivated and unwilling to continue. But now I have a new sense of determination because Caz and I are hoping to begin thinking about starting a family (once we are settled in the new house). I want to achieve all I can within my limits. I want to do all I can without being hard on myself. In January I started running. When I say running I do a bit of jogging and a lot of quick walking! It has given me a sense of freedom I had never experienced before. I’m not great at it, which is frustrating but it shows just what I can do when I put my mind to it.
  8. I love baking. Not just because of the yummy rewards at the end but because in a relatively short time you then have something to show for your efforts. If I know someone is coming over I will bake a chocolate layer cake or scones. But more often than not I will just bake because it is something I enjoy doing. Because there are just two of us we can’t eat everything I make ourselves! Caz takes a lot of it to work and comes home with the compliments people have given to the cakes or biscuits. I have even made things for Caz to take to work on request! It’s nice to be acknowledged for something you do well!
  9. Fairies are something I collect. I currently have 6 fairy ornaments displayed on my sideboard. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about them. There is just something that draws me to them and if I spot one when I’m out and about in the shops I will have to impulse buy! The fairies I collect are pretty sexy and ethereal. I particularly love the ones by ‘Nemesis Now’
  10. I am vegetarian and have been now for over 12 years. It all began when I was in college and applying for all the free things on the internet. One of these happened to be a ‘going vegetarian’ pack with leaflets and information. I was shocked at the conditions animals were generally kept in and especially sickened by the process from farm to table. I pretty much decided there and then to become vegetarian. I love animals. I grew up with a dog being my ‘sister’ and would love to one day be in a position where I can volunteer my time to a rescue centre. I think being a vegetarian has helped maintain my kidney function as too high an amount of protein can be difficult for your kidneys to process. It has also helped my figure as it is a low fat diet!

When negativity is second nature to you it can be very hard to come up with even one positive thing about yourself. I also wanted to try not to record anything physical, because beauty is generally within and around us. It actually took me a good two days to come up with this listing! It was quite therapeutic having to overrule the negative voices in my head. It definitely got me thinking and maybe, just maybe, gave me an insight into how I could one day become. It is possible to be kind to myself and with daily practice it will gradually become my way of thinking.