Story time

So I have been super busy – but here is a belated story about thing to do in London wrapped up in a little tale.

I am so tired, too tired, I don’t know if I can go on – this is too much – it’s way too much to ask of one person – I don’t know how anyone could be expected to do this – especially someone in my condition.

I was out Christmas shopping with my best friend and I had heels on for goodness sake.  This girl was a masochist.  This girl was also my best friend.  But come on there were limits.  I had been out for 5 hours now.  One shop after another, after another – then back again and because it was so much fun the first time.

I like to order online – it’s pain free (well, until you get the credit card bill) and it’s devoid of horrible stinky changing rooms, the clothes they send you don’t normally have lipstick smears all down them and when you can’t fit into that size 10 no one but you and your mirror knows.

My friend had it all wrong.  But then she would never not fit into a size 10.

My eyes wondered back to the cake store.  This is why I sometimes didn’t fit into a size 10.

Jolie called my name.  Again.  Apparently she had been screaming my name for some time from the fitting room, needing a second opinion…..why I am not quite sure – it’s not like she bothers to listen to me.  She’ll buy what she wants anyway…..actually it might be nice if she just bought something – 5 hours of shopping and not one shopping bag between us – this was getting beyond pathetic.

When I called Jolie out on this she huffed and threw the dress she was going to put back onto the cashiers counter and glared at me as she handed over her gold card.

‘Happy now’ she snapped.

It was definitely time for cake.

I steered her towards the cake store, stomping and moaning.  Until she saw the window display ‘Oooooooooo…..can I have a lick of yours?’ to anyone else this would sound weird- to me it was usual.  Jolie was a model.  She was gorgeous.  She barely ate.  No one is perfect though ay.

So I sat their stuffing my face whilst she looked at my cream swirl with longing.

I smiled, pastry and cream everywhere.

‘Dawn, you are just gross.’ Laughed my best friend.  She always knew how to make me feel good about myself.

‘I’m done with shopping here, let’s go somewhere more fun.’

I rolled my eyes – I knew she meant more shopping and not to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park – I had even tried to convince her all other tube lines were down and that was the only place we could get too, funnily she didn’t fall for it.

She didn’t like my suggestion of the southbank either.  It was followed by a noise and ‘People! Too many people.’ She didn’t care for the german market, the lovely hot chocolate or the roasted brazil nuts, couldn’t care less about the street performers, the only thing that had her swayed was the fairy lights but then she had plenty of those at home.

We tried the ice skating at the national history museum and that ended up with me twisting my ankle and almost calling a halt to the Christmas shopping expedition we were on today.  Jolie of course crashed into the most handsome man and ended up going out for drinks with him that night leaving me to suck on salted liquorice (who, why?) at the Finnish pop up market.

I tried in vain to get her to the London Chocolate Festival but yeah – you remember me saying she’s a model – that went down well.

Then I saw the sign of all signs – The Crick Crack Club’s Festival of Fairy Tales for Grown Ups.  Now how was I going to sell this to Jolie.  Fairy Tales and men rarely went hand in hand, I could say it was a story reading for grown ups but even I wouldn’t go to that and I was the book worm.  Maybe I could sell it on the crack club terms – well she is a model – they do drugs right?

I sighed.  I saw Jolie looking at some shoes.

Stroking some shoes.  A man’s hand.  Hey up this was a bit forward.  Then I saw it was Jimmy.  She could not stay away from this ars…..oh her ex boyfriend.  I had to keep my feelings about him to myself because every time there was a crisis and every time they split up I went to say what I felt but then two minutes later they were madly in love again.  He was a pig and I hated him.  My best friend deserved so much better but she saw something I didn’t – and not just him with no clothes on which thankfully I didn’t ever see, no I never had, no that time I barged into their room not knowing they were together has been erased from my memory, blocked out from the horror.  I saw nothing and that is the story I was sticking too, although maybe it gave me a hint as to why she kept going back to him – but that’s Jolie – rather fickle at times.

I sighed.  Then smiled, now I could go to this Crack Club by myself….oh, that bit didn’t sound so fun…..I quietly crept away.  I looked back at the cake shop.  One more wouldn’t hurt…………..

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Words of wisdom Wednesday

It’s story time again for you – a tea break tale or whatever you would like to call it, I hope you enjoy:

When you see a sunset do you think of the dying embers of a fire? Do you think of all the things you achieved that day or do you think about all the things you didn’t do? Do you see a sunset as final, depressing, an ending or does it fill you with joy?
I myself prefer sunsets, sunrises seem to imply something else, I can’t explain myself properly – there is something about a sunrise that seems seedy, you either can’t sleep or have been out too late, whereas a sunset is something to behold, to cherish, to make a point of seeking out and enjoying.

A sunset on a beach is one of the most beautiful things in the world to me and somewhere in the world this happens at the end of every day and it happens for free.

Those pure moments of magic, those pure moments of happiness, they are fleeting but they are often and it is those things that build up to make a happy time, or a happy life, or a happy episode.

It’s the little things in life. (How many male ego’s just soared about that one) but it’s true.  The little things touch your heart and make you smile the most.

Unless you are a bitch and then this story is probably not directed at you!

When someone is mega rich and they charter a helicopter to fly you to Paris for a meal (yeah happens all the time…..) but it’s like them spending £5, does is mean as much as the person that has 50 pence to spare but picks you a bunch of wild flowers, runs you a bubble bath and does the housework for you? NO, to me the person with the 50 pence wins hands down every time.  This is why I will never be living in a mansion.  And I am ok with this.

I think there are purer and truer things in life than money and yep hold the front page – money is essential but it’s not that important…..well yes pick me apart on that one – you need a roof over your head and food in your belly but as for trinkets and things – they might be nice but you don’t really need them now do you.  You can drown in your successes if you fall towards excess too much.  If you think that the trinkets and the fast cars are the important bits you are missing out on so much more.

When did you last take the time to notice a star filled night sky or to make a wish on a shooting star? To see a dandelion seed, catch it, make a wish and then let it fly away again? When did you last take a moment to notice the beautiful flower that has come out in bloom or to notice the cute little squirrel playing on the park fence?

When did you last stop and indulge in something you love – whether it be a big slice of cake or your favourite tv show – but to really indulge and not beat yourself up about the calorie count or worry about what you might be missing out on by taking a moment to invest in yourself and to slow down a little bit and to remove yourself from the rat race just for a moment or two.  That vital time of investing in yourself that we seem too quick to dismiss and not make time for or let other things leak in.  Change those ways and make it part of your routine – something as essential as eating and sleeping and breathing is.

Do you ever take the time to notice the sweet things that can happen right in front of your face or that little child that helps an old person pick something up that they have dropped.  The shy smile between two young lovers that are yet to admit their feelings, or the penny someone picked up to make a wish on, or the penny someone dropped so that someone else could feel lucky…………yes I did do that, I read it in a book and thought it was lovely so now and then when I have a moment or the mood takes me, or I feel that the world needs a bit more luck, I scatter my pennies! Deal with it.

Do you stop at all to think, to reflect, to notice that beauty that is all around you? Don’t ignore it – don’t forget it – happiness is not just a tiffany’s box you know!

Happiness is a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream shared with your best friend.

Happiness is that bass beat thumping through your chest when you see your favourite band live.

Happiness is being with your friends and someone produces teacups and a nice bottle of wine.

Happiness is finding £10 in your old coat that you were about to donate.

Happiness is reading a really good book, curled up on the sofa all snug and warm.

Happiness is being out in the woods with the sun trickling through the trees and hearing children playing outside, laughing.

Happiness is seeing your child in their first nativity play.

Happiness is laughing so hard that your tummy ahces.

Happiness is feeling the warm sun on your bare skin for the first time that year.

Happiness is the warm belly of a puppy dog.

Happiness is the smell of freshly baked bread.

Happiness is finding the other end of the rainbow.

Happiness is a kind word or a thoughtful deed from someone unexpected.

Happiness is being appreciated.

Happiness is a sunset marking the end of one day and biding its time for the next – each one a true gift – each one of them a fresh start if you so choose to let it be.

Let it be.

Happiness is everywhere, it is all around you, each and every day.   It doesn’t have to cost a penny; it is all there if you just let it be.

It’s Friday hooray..yippee and all of that!

So what are you all up to this weekend?
I have friends coming to stay and will be making sure Christmas is started off nicely – there will be trips to christmas stores, illuminated gardens, christmas wonderlands, lots of food and laughter – I can’t wait!

If you don’t know what you are up to yet – try any of these:

Illuminated festive trail around Kew Gardens after dark – £12.50 and is running until 4th January

http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/christmas/illuminated-trail/

London Illustration Fair

www.thelondonillustrationfair.co.uk/

Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park – an illuminated trail set out amongst the garden – apparently it is purely magical which sounds good enough to me!

http://www.enchantedwoodland.com/

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Winter Wonderland – To really get you in the Christmas spirit head down to Hyde park there will be stalls, food, entertainment, Christmas gifts a plenty!

http://www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

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The Independent Records Market – Records and Beer – a great combination – just don’t spill anything!

http://www.bangonpr.com/campaigns/event/independent-label-market-2013

London Feminist Film Festival – Films and talks at the Hackney Picture house

http://londonfeministfilmfestival.com/

Frock Me Vintage Fair, Chelsea Town Hall – lots of vintage lovelies!

www.frockmevintagefashion.com

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Dalston Christmas Market – It calls itself the most glamorous Christmas market…so there you go!!!

http://www.cityshowcasemarkets.com/dalston/dalson-christmas-market

Santa Paws Grotto – London’s first Santa’s grotto for dogs!  So if your doglet has been good this year you should call Lily’s kitchen on 020 7433 1863 for more info!

http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2013/11/18/christmas-grotto-for-dogs/

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Words of wisdom Wednesday

Today’s world is very immediate.  Everything is wanted and needed not just now but yesterday.  There’s some industries that have always been that way but it seems to seep into everything in life now.  People seem to be apathetic.  That word ‘common’ sense seems to be coming more and more uncommon.  Life is cheap.  It’s just another fast food style commodity.  Which is so wrong.  So very, very wrong.  Life is a beautiful gift, it is short, but wonderful.  You don’t have to be the next Madonna to make a difference…..in fact I’d urge you not to be the next Madonna.  ‘Fame’ is just a side effect of certain careers yet sadly it seems to be what so many now aim for – and they’ll do anything for it – sell their soul with a blink of an eye.  This saddens me.  The world of fame is ugly.  I think most people with money say their biggest thing they realised was that it’s not money that makes you happy.

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I remember Kurt Cobain saying he couldn’t wait to make a million bucks then he knew he, his family would be set for life.  Then he made his first million and he realised a lot of it went on staff, tax, legal fees and he was left with very little of that initial million.  He also said he got such joy out of bargain hunting, thrift store shopping and how when you can afford anything pretty much everything loses its sparkle.  When you don’t have money you do of course think that having money would be the answers to your prayers – and without a doubt it would make things….life easier but………isn’t it also truth that nothing worthwhile in life is easy?!  A bit of money to make life comfortable would be lovely but that is all you need.  As long as you have a roof over your head, food on the table, friends and a warm heart then that is all you need.  To me going to bed each night with a clean conscience, knowing I’ve tried to be a good, decent human, I’ve tried to be there for my friends, I’ve tried to be kind to other people and the earth and I’ve not knowingly caused pain or suffering to anyone or anything – then that to me is success.

Not if I appear on TV.  Not if I have a million in the bank.  Not if I am screwing over loads of people to become a ‘successful’ business person.  How many people can truly say they live with a clean conscience and no regrets?

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Well…me for one.  And that is how success should be rated.  Money just makes you want more, more things, more money, people become cheap, life becomes cheap.  Somewhere people lost the way – when you have young children thinking it is cool to die on the streets or to take a life on the streets to win ‘respect’ you know the very fabric of society is starting to unravel.

So stop thinking money and fame are the bee all and end all of life and the only way to find success, or that being notorious is something good – or that living fast and dying young is better than being alive and well and making a good difference in this world.

We need to get back to grass roots and remember what is really important and invest time and love into that.

The most valuable thing in the world isn’t gold or diamonds – it is time – time to do your own thing – to be yourself – to be creative – to explore – to look after your loved ones.

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Music Monday

Well hello – so I’ve been hit with this darn virus that’s going about – couldn’t breathe – almost lost my hearing – yeah it’s been most pleasant (please note the sarcasm).

So that would be why I’ve been absent for a few days – but such is life – these things happen but I will always come back – oh yes, that’s a threat ;op

So music……..I stumbled across a film called Flakes whilst I was off ill.  The girl rides a tricycle and they buy a silver bullet and work in a quirky little community based shop – all things I love the idea of, watching the film a track came on that I started humming along to – throat was still too sore to properly sing too (I hear the world sigh with relief at that), I paused for a moment and thought ‘Awww it’s the Wrens.  I’ve not listened to this track in ages!’

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So here is the track – to celebrate all things Monday like.

All Hallows Eve

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Throwback Thursday – featuring yours truely as Dracula’s Bride – with my Mom’s actual wedding veil on!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN PEOPLE!

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All Hallows eve.  The time we remember the dead, including saints, which were referred to or are referred to as Hallows and also a time to remember the martyrs and the departed believers.

So yup another religious affair – but respecting the dead sounds like it should be a nice affair not about scaring the bejesus out of someone and hassling people for sweets ;o)

Last year I really noticed how much bigger Halloween had become in the UK – it’s always been quite a major family affair in the U.S but I noticed the little lanterns being put outside the houses in the UK where you could go and visit – I then noticed the idiots old enough to know better walking around and kicking the lanterns down the street……anyway – you always have a few that are stupid don’t you!

I think originally it was a Christian fest influenced by a celtic harvest festival.

It was the Irish and the Scots that took this over to North America back in the 19th Century and although not celebrated all over the world there are many countries that do follow this tradition.

I have been told that the ancient Gaels believed that on October 31 the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead overlapped and the dead would come back to life and cause sickness and damage crops.

Or in todays’ world maybe the sickness is from too much candy and the damage comes from those few idiots like the kids I saw booting the lanterns down the street.  Apparently bonfires used to play a huge part in the festivities which apparently attracted bats – and this is how the bat became so heavily involved in Halloween.  The costumes people wore was to mimic the dead.

 

At the beginning of November way back when poorer people would go door to door on the scrounge and would be given food in return for prayers for the dead on the following day known as All Souls Day – and this practice became known as ‘Souling’.  Shakespeare gave a nod to all of this when he referred to someone as  ‘…like a beggar at Hallowmas.’

 

The earliest known recorded account of trick or treating was in 1911 when a paper in Ontario reported seeing children near the New York border dressed up and going door to door receiving nuts and sweets in return for saying rhymes and singing songs.  It is believed though that in the US it was children that had to explain to Adults what they were doing and adults were enraged at such a practise.  So who and what started such a big tradition is still a little confused but to me it’s about dressing up and candy – what’s not to love about that!

 

 

It’s Tuesday – go on treat yourself…..

My treat this week has been reading lots and lots.

Lots of YA books again but the joy of this is I can say it’s all research and hand over books to friends children afterwards so there is lots to gain from reading children’s books it would seem!

I read Smiles to Go.

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A lovely story about a science obsessed kid who has an annoying little sister – it follows his life and his science projects and some of the questions he has about the universe – it follows his friendships with his sister as an annoying little echo or a full on force in his face throughout the whole story.

Then something happens.  Something big.  So huge it has him questioning so many things but mainly – the whole idea of a sister and the sister that he has.

It’s a typical Jerry read – wonderful characters – and lots of insight and morals.  Some think he’s too forceful with the morals – but I think sometimes you gotta pack a punch! Metaphorically of course.

I also read Eggs.

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And I have to say – I did it – I finally found a book by Jerry that I was not so keen on.  There are two kids, David and Primrose – they don’t particularly fit in.  The one girl has decided to live in an old van parked in her driveway and she has a friend she goes to visit in the evening who is another misfit.  She collects garbage that she sells a junk fares to make money for snacks and to do up her van.  Then there is David – he is being brought up by his Nan whilst his dad is away working.  His Mother tragically died a little while before.  Primrose and David become firm friends – but pretend they hate each other. 

Although this book starts off ok and sounds like it’s going to be – it never really takes off and for once I never really got into the characters.

But it didn’t put me off.

I then went on to read:

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Jake and Lilly – twins – they do everything together – including sharing a room.  But suddenly all that changes – they get given their own rooms and Jake breaks away and makes his own friends.  There are wonderful messages about not picking on someone because they are different.  On how you can still be with someone and not have to suffocate them.  And just because you can’t see someone doesn’t mean they don’t care.  A beautiful read that brought me back to Jerry’s work nicely.

I also read Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning.

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This was about 17 year old Molly – who, along with her friends forms a band with songs such as Hello Kitty Speedboat, they are having fun.  Then they meet Dean and T who joined the band and bring an edge to it that rockets them to super stardom.  In Molly’s innocence and her wanting to be more grown up than she is – she ends up starting the story talking about how the record company is trying to sue her for millions of dollars.  A great read for anyone who wants to or wanted to start a band in their teens.  It puts in music, a little history lesson on life and on music – romance, betrayal and a lot about when things get out of control.  A fantastic read.

I always say there are too many books to read and not enough time –but that’s another great thing about YA books – I seem to eat them up! I always wanted to read like ET, I’m not quite there yet though.

Throwback Thursday

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And here I am – fresh out of hospital – covered in bruises (check out my neck) and so very pale from the anaemia.  This must be about 4 years ago? Something hadn’t gone quite right in the operation and they had to keep me in over night.  I was not best pleased.  I was then woken up on the hour every hour to have my vitals taken so a good night sleep was not on the menu.  The first time the nurse took my vitals she ran away and made an emergency call – she came back moments later and did all the tests again in haste and then look relieved.  Apparently all my vitals had dropped.  Then, in the morning, one of the surgeons gave me his mobile number saying I should call him direct if there were any problems.  Then they phoned me every day once I was home to make sure things were ok.  Not that this made me freak out at all and never did I find out just what they thought they may have done. This was the second operation this surgeon attempted and failed at…….the next time it was done was at another hospital – fingers crossed this one was third time lucky – although I did start to die on the operating theater……but that’s another story for another Thursday maybe!

Throwback Thursday

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This was a photo I took in the Summer of 2012, in the Highlands of Scotland.

It was at the Glenfinnan monument and Visitor Centre.  Many people just looked at the monument and went into the centre that is located across the road.  But if you venture a little further down the beaten track (which I think should be a rule in life) you will come out to this lovely stretch of water.

It was so quiet, so serene, so peaceful.  If I didn’t live in London I think I would still really appreciate the beauty and peace of the highlands but I think it’s that added extra when you live in a city that never sleeps.

I find the Highlands of Scotland really humbling, but in a positive way.  You can see and feel the power of nature, and just being around so much open space, clean air and lovely water falls.  The only drawback being the bitey things with wings, but many a shop sells spray to deal with such bites.  Or go on holiday with me as I seem to be the one in the group to always attract them for I am lucky like that.

Over the years I have noticed that I really need to get out of the city every now and then to slow myself back down again and get some calm restored.  To surround myself with nature and people that talk to each other (Londoners, don’t deny this you know what I mean haha).  I also notice I have an urge to be near water often and really miss the ocean when I have not been there for a while.

Which is exactly what I plan to do over the next few days – I am retreating to the woods and the ocean to get a little R&R.  So this is me signing off for the weekend – have yourselves a lovely one, and if you are stuck from something to do on Friday – get away to the Ocean.

 And just for your amusement – this is another shot I took of the same area whilst balancing on a rock – yeah it tipped me up!

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Words of wisdom Wednesday

‘Be kinder than is necessary.’

It seems like a good place to start for today’s (hopefully) uplifting message.  It’s ties in the book reviews of this week and is something I feel we could all do a little more and would all be happy to receive.

It’s very noticeable in London, and I think in some ways is a sign of the times, people are in such a rush, they have no time for anything or anyone, and just seem more angry…more aggressive.  I did wonder if this was just me getting older and losing my patience or tolerance for people but  I think overall the world is getting more aggressive.

We have lost the respect we have for the elderly.  We have lost the respect for customers if we work in a shop.  How many times do you are an inconvenience when you go into a shop these days and have to break up the staff chatting so you can be served?

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Back in my day I would’ve been hung drawn and quartered if I served people in a shop the way so many serve today.

Ok, I accept that is a gross generalisation, but it makes a point doesn’t it!

When someone serves you how they should, or says sorry when they bump into you – it sticks with you – it is nice, it is the way it should be.

When you walk down the street with a smile instead of a scowl the world feels that little bit better.

When instead of huffing and tutting when you are held up – just accept it and use it as a moment to daydream, sort out what you need to do for the day, take a moment to read for a bit longer, whatever is holding you up – getting you angry – take a deep breath and keep smiling.

Try to live a little more peacefully, a little more calmly. 

Try to smile.  Try to be nice.  Try to be kinder than is necessary.

We all rush so much – maybe more so in the city – there is a real pressure to be fabulous at all times – to be out – to be doing something ‘amazing darling.’ Which is all fine and good and I think we all need to have a few hedonistic years behind us but don’t forget about yourself – to invest in you – to look after yourself.  We feel guilty for turning the phone off and just curling up with a movie or a book.  To not want to go out and just hang out with ourselves.  We need to be comfortable with who we are to be able to get through life, to have the confidence in ourselves to be able to go out into the big bad world.  To have the recharge needed to live at today’s pace.

Try to be kind to yourself.  Try to be kinder than is necessary.

Adopt this mantra for friends, for family, for colleagues, for the random you see on the train/bus.

If you are at school or in the work place or out for an evening – don’t be the bitch that is slagging off anyone you feel threatened by.  It doesn’t make you prettier or thinner or more butch, it just shows an ugly side to your nature.

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If someone looks a little different don’t stare or laugh or be mean – take a moment to think about how that person probably feels – take a moment to think about what they have to face every day when life is tough enough.  Take a moment and be the brave one, be the strong one – strike out against the norm’ that society unwittingly creates sometimes and be the one to reach out a hand of friendship.  Be the one to be kinder than is necessary.

If you don’t like someone – rather than being a little bitch to them – maybe try to work out why – what are you threatened by? Are they too much like you? Do they express behaviour that you see in yourself that you don’t like? Are you not able to put them in a box so you feel threatened?  Maybe take the moral high ground and again offer out a hand of friendship.

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It takes far less effort to be nice.  It fills your own life with happiness when you are spreading happiness rather than meanness.

When you are responsible for someone else’s smile rather than their tears that has surely got to be a good thing.

The world can be such a cruel place that we can forget how beautiful it can also be, that’s not just mother nature – that’s people too.

It’s easy to forget that humans are good.  The news, the papers, the magazines, they are all filled with rot, such depressing stories – it’s easy to get demoralised.  Everyone is feeling the pinch on their wallet – the fear of housing stability….and to be honest – just getting through the day can be tough enough.

So if you find you are not that nice sometimes – try to change that – we all have off days but a bully is something different – a child bully is not nice but an adult bully is positively ugly.

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If we all looked after our nearest and dearest and looked after our little patch of earth the best we could and raised our children to be decent and kind human beans the world would be a much better place.  If we all tried just a little to be kind…..to be kinder…..to be kinder than is necessary…….we would live in a beautiful world.

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