Thursday, 26 April 2012

It's the simple things...

It’s all about appreciating the small things in life… These are some that have made me happy this week:

Yes the tv series is awesome but nothing can touch just how amazing the books are… I’m completely obsessed and cannot put them down.

Click Here
Nothing can cheer you up more on a crappy day in work than hearing your favourite band play in one of the screens <3

I have reached my first stone this week, one down - many more to go! 

My sunflowers are coming along nicely :)

Click Here
Fab song to bellow out in the car when no one is around to hear ya sing…

Flicking about on the tv the other night and this was on, 
I forgot how cheese-tastic this movie really is!

I love finding simple yet powerful images that make you think.

And finally…

Who can resist this face?? 

Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”   Emily Dickinson


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dear Emma

The only rule I had when I started this blog was to be honest and speak about what was on my mind, trying not to hold back out of fear or concern but I was also aware that everyone has different views about life and not everyone would agree with what I talk about. With that on my mind I was prepared for a little reaction from people around me whenever I released a blog, hoping that if it was negative I could deal with it. What I wasn’t prepared for was such a positive reaction from people and some of the really lovely things that has been said to me. The past week has been especially touching as coincidentally a few close members of my extended family separately contacted me with some very heartfelt comments about my blog and how they thought about me; I actually found it very humbling and was really touched by it so I would like to say thank you (you know who you are) for being so uplifting and positive :) 

My reaction to hearing such nice things was typically “I didn’t think they thought so highly of me” and “I didn’t realise I had made that much of an impact for them to think that way” which I verbalised to my mam in a stunned kind of way and we talked about how you affect people around you on a daily basis and never realise it. You could make someone’s day with a comment or a helping hand and to you it was a passing insignificant interaction. I thought wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone knew how much they were needed or wanted in the world by their families, friends, work colleagues, strangers… when someone does something or means something to you in your life that you would tell them so that they know. I have decided I’m going to do more of it, starting right now actually.

Dear Emma,

You are probably going to kill me for writing this so publicly but I have to because, well, there is an unwritten rule that the older sister has to mortify the younger one at least once a month to keep them in check. Now my only real issue is where to start! Well it all started on the 2nd of May when… nah this isn’t “this is your life” haha. There might be an embarrassing picture though be warned!

I’m proud to call you my sister, there is no one out there like you (which you will happily declare to anyone around regardless if they are listening or not haha). You are so intelligent yet you don’t seem to realise it – you underestimate just how smart you actually are. You are such a quick thinker and you have great knack for recognising your own strengths too and then using them to the full. I have never met anyone (bar Dad) who has your level of motivation for life. It’s as if you don’t have a stop button sometimes, you just see your target and shoot off to get it. You are stunningly beautiful not to mention really photogenic. I love how quirky you are, how you express yourself and how ditzy you can be when you are giddy haha. You are hilarious. Like I mean can’t breathe, totally uncontrollable, I’m-going-to-wet-myself-laughing hilarious… and yes you are witty and colourful, extremely loud and very confident yet underneath that you have a very emotional depth to your soul which for me is the true nature of how good a person you are. 

I love being around you, you put me at ease and it feels like home when your there.  I can still see us under the stairs writing our newspaper or laying under the Christmas tree in the hall looking up among the branches at the lights – do you remember making a nest for the robin? Or racing across the corridor to jump on each other’s beds… There were the nights where we would move the bed so that if we left the doors open we could talk to each other.  That’s not to mention the midnight trips to Tescos, the night you climbed into Roo’s bed in the kitchen, the umpteen movies we would watch at like 3am when the rents were up in bed and I won’t talk about the drunken stuff hahaha! We have laughed, we have cried, we have argued and we have sat in silence but through everything I have always felt safe with you, I trust you and I owe my sanity to you. You have been there for me through everything; you were the shoulder I cried on and the most understanding when I didn’t even understand things myself. You have changed me in so many ways by just being you and I want you to know how special you are not only to me but to so many others who I know would feel the same way.

I miss you every day but I love how you are living your life for you and not settling for something that would make you unhappy. It also gives me an excuse to take loads of little holidays throughout the year haha…

I love you,
Yay-yay xx

P.s. I did warn you about the pic… sorry.

“It's funny, but have you ever noticed that the more special something is, the more people seem to take it for granted? It's like they think it won't ever change.” Nicholas Sparks, The Wedding

Monday, 16 April 2012

"Sara's Mask"

I’m not perfect. In fact I have a lot of flaws, some that are obvious and some that maybe I hide just well enough that some people don’t notice them, but flaws which I clearly see on a regular basis. “No no no Sarah, that’s not true!” I hear you cry in unison but alas there was a time that all I could see around me where my own flaws and I started to believe that there was nothing positive or right about myself, almost define myself by them. I was so convinced that they were also blatant to others that I would spend a lot of my time and energy worried about how people seen me. I could never truly sit and enjoy whatever was going on around me as there was always some part of my brain conscious of how I was sitting or what I was saying or trying to read signals people where giving off in response to anything I did or said. It seems like I put a lot of pressure on myself – and yes I did – but to be honest I was so used to it, it was routine for me. I never expected for things to change even though I had always wished they would. 

My main issue was confidence; I didn’t have any at all. In fact the more I think of it the more I’m convinced everything else stemmed in some way or another from my complete lack of confidence in myself. The funniest thing about all this is to ask anyone around me people would say I’m an extremely confident chatty person. Sure I come from a very large, loud family (on both sides) which contains a lot of very strong personalities and more importantly very free-thinking, independent and confident women who really wouldn’t think twice to call you out on something if you overstepped the mark.  Growing up with that around me was a great, I was never afraid to speak my mind at home (I think there were a lot of times they wished I’d shut up!) and I had a lot of positive role models to learn from.  But appearances can be very deceiving; a lot of it was just a mask I put on. It’s as if somewhere along the line I just couldn’t connect the person I was in the house to the person I was out in the big bad world. I think everyone wears a mask at some point in their life; it’s a natural coping mechanism that people use when in a scenario they aren’t quite in control of… Sometimes you have to wear one like having a bad day while in work etc. but for me I felt like it was all the time and it disconnected me from people because I wore it so much. 

Over the years, well mainly the last 3 actually, things have dramatically changed for me. A lot of that was down to certain individuals in my life who through positive or negative influence caused me to see things differently. I learnt a lot of life lessons too which of course woke me up a bit not to mention the usual heartbreak thrown in for good measure. There were loads of factors which over time just seemed make me more aware of how introverted I really was. Now I’m a lot more confident in general (though I still do have the little voice from time to time on alert) and I’m slowly unfolding my wings a little. 

Other things that I noted about myself; I get very emotional very easily, I love to procrastinate when it comes to something significant or important – almost as if I can delay it until the very last second possible, I hate confrontation and would back down a lot rather than risk rocking the boat (this doesn’t apply to at home before Emma buts in to correct me on that ha), I have a tendency to beat myself up about things after they have happened or are out of my control, up until very recently I would not go through with plans that I had made – Id find some way of backing out of doing them… I really could go on and on here hahaha! Anyways, the point is I have loads of things I need to work on for myself and it seems to me that the only way I am able to get around this is to meet it head on,  realise who I really am and accept myself flaws and all. 

I’m not declaring that you should just accept ALL your flaws and do nothing about them either. I think who you are at your core and who you are as a person is good enough - is worthy enough for all the love and happiness you can grasp. We all have strengths and weaknesses but if there are things that you are unhappy about on the surface that don’t change you but enhance your life, then yeah you should work on them and give it everything you’ve got. I personally put so much emphasis on what role I play on this Earth, it's as if I would fail in life if I didn't live up to something which makes a difference. So much so that until I found the massage, I literally felt like a failure most of the time. Once you don’t lose yourself within the process of whatever your try to work on then it’s all gravy. I just think you should try your best and put your all into everything you do in life but I don’t think that you should define yourself by what results you get from that. This blog is me trying to be ok with the things that I can’t change, improve the things that I can and all the while maintain the core of who I am as a person; I’m striving for the best version of myself.

The reason why I’m talking about all of this is not to massage my own ego by talking about myself, it’s to share with you and put into practice something that I think society as a whole really needs to do; Talk about things openly.  It’s hard to do, it’s not something that everyone would welcome and I can assure you I’m nervous even trying it out here but I think it’s what people need. Why hide feelings and fears from each other? I know that if I read or talked to someone who felt like I did at that time then things might have been different. Maybe even easier…  

“The box is only temporary.”  Taken from Arrival of the Bee Box by Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Time to get creative

I find it remarkable how something small can set of a chain of thoughts which snowball into the ramblings of my blog. I have been very… um what would be the word… organic? about how I have written so far; I tend to just let it happen and when I feel I have something definite I want to write about I just write it. So far I have been lucky in that any time I went to write I had something I wanted to talk about but the last few days nothing was happening for me. I kept thinking ok well I still need to write something down cos I don’t want to leave it too long between blogs but I wasn’t happy with anything I came up with, it felt forced. However, about an hour ago I was floating around on twitter reading bits and bobs when I clicked on a link sent from one of my work friends to another. Looking at the site, out of nowhere I flowed with different things I wanted to talk about, the main one being creativity and individuality. 

Technology is fantastic. We can do more in an instant now then we could do ten years ago in a day or possibly a week. It allows us to communicate with people anywhere in the world as if they are sitting in the same room. We can have instant access to knowledge, music, art, movies, books – you name it, you can probably buy it or download it online. We can express ourselves online in an on-going public format, we can create a persona that we can control, we can learn about society in general without even leaving our sofas (or in my case often my bed) and it is also a great outlet for creativity.
You can find loads of websites dedicated to art and graphic design, some with tutorials about how to recreate images etc. etc. and of course without the assistance of my laptop, the electricity that’s keeping it running, the internet that it’s connected to and the countless other forms of technology that it interacts with between my house and yours, you would not be currently reading my haphazard formulation of thoughts on your nice bright screen. I love technology. 


Now don’t pretend - you all knew there was a but coming it was only a matter of when! Within all of this advancement I do have 1 large concern - that we are losing some of our individuality. By that I mean what sets us apart from each other… These days everything seems to be computerised (is that even a word?), everything is uniform and spell checked and perfect. The human qualities are slowly being taken out of the equation. 

I often watch the program “who do you think you are?” where celebrities research their family history. They travel to places connected to their ancestors, check records and find old pictures which shape the story of their family tree. Usually one of the most important pieces both emotionally and of course from sociological point of view would be a birth certificate or log book which displayed the signature of the person. It was something that they touched and left their mark on. It was also something that no one else could replicate, it was their unique signature. Recently my uncle found the signature of my great grandfather on a census taken in 1911 and sent a picture around so that we could see it. I was fascinated – here was the actual signature! It was really neat and cursive which surprised me. I don’t know why but I had assumed that he would have been an ordinary man with basic skills (I had no reason to believe this, I just assumed) and here was a beautiful, well-practiced signature. The thought that crossed my mind at this point was in 50/60/70 years’ time when a member of my future family look back at records, all they will see are computer logs and printed names and my signature will be lost forever. 

With all of this uniformity and perfection there seems to be a general attitude change too. It’s an instant gratification syndrome; why make something when you can buy it ready and perfect in minutes? why learn something when you can just Google the answer when you want to? why read something when you can just watch the movie instead? To me humans aren’t perfect, we do our best, we make mistakes, we come up with solutions and we learn then for the next time. So why should everything else be perfect? You bake a cake from scratch, it flops so you go back and try again. This time it tastes great but its lopsided, you got most of it right and it’s homemade. To me that is more satisfying then just picking up one around the corner as I find I care more about things that I invest my time in. 

I just worry that I too am getting sucked into losing the creative impulse I used to have. I have noticed that I would happily express myself online faster than expressing myself in person. When I spend excessive amounts of time on my laptop, I don’t create or make or bake or explore my artistic side. I sit blankly at a screen and take in useless information instead of tasking my brain. So that’s something I am going to change. I’m going to try and have some creative influence in my everyday life; be it cooking food from scratch, trying new things, making some things instead of buying them, growing plants, coming up with solutions myself instead of instantly searching online for the answer – anything that gets my brain active and expresses who I am away from the curtain of the internet. Can’t hurt to try right? 

Like I said, I’m on here writing to you through modern technology, I’m not knocking it. I just don’t want to become a generic person with generic ideals and a generic lifestyle. Oh yes, here is the link that I clicked which resulted in this blog:

"I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird." Paul McCartney 


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Constant dripping hollows out a stone

Life for me is like a journey down a path with twists, turns, bumps and potholes. At times I don’t see the end destination, other times I have a clear road map of where I’m going and there are pit-stops along the way that can be either planned or show up unexpectedly.  I get bursts of inspiration and clear thinking were I can plan my route and give myself direction but more often than not I find it so hard to keep the momentum or motivation of things that I set out to do; eat healthy, drink more water, get fit, get proper sleep, learn something new, engage more with society and spend more time doing things rather than sitting online wasting time. I set out a goal and try finding a realistic path to that goal – be it a list of things to complete or a step by step of how I will do whatever the task is.  The first few days or weeks I’m all guns blazing, everything is so positive and do-able! Then I tend to run out of steam and notice I’m lagging behind what I set out to do. It’s so hard to JUST. STAY. FOCUSED.

I have a habit of falling back in to old bad habits almost like a comfortable auto pilot mode just at the moment when really I need my motivation the most. I will stay up late watching something online or reading, wake up tired and un-refreshed, don’t leave enough time to eat a breakfast, forget to bring food with me to work, don’t drink any water and find myself all over the place for the day playing catch up. I then get home from work tired so don’t go out for a walk or get exercise, think ah I will do all that *insert objective for the evening* later and probably fall asleep on the sofa in front of the TV and/or laptop. Of course that means I wouldn’t sleep whenever I did go to bed that night and the cycle continues on into the next day. 

The first thing someone will say to me if I verbalise my frustration is that I’m “doing great” or “not to be so hard on” myself or even “don’t worry about it!” But that’s the thing - I DO have to be hard on myself, it’s the only way I can keep from surrendering to my bad habits. If I want something to happen or need something to change the only way I can do that is by actively keeping on top of things… so this is what I do:

When I set out a goal I create an image or mantra that goes with that goal, it’s tied to it in my mind like a new sapling tree is to a wooden post. It has to be a positive statement or objective, it can be as long or as short as you want it to be and you can either make it up yourself or you can find one that someone else has written.  When I get to a point where my motivation needs a push I say it to myself (sometimes even out loud to enforce it), reminding myself why I’m doing or not doing whatever it is that I’m up against. Ok I will give you some examples so that you can understand what I mean:

“Just be”

Some of you might recognise this from my tattoo; it was born out of the idea that I did not have to “Be” anything other than myself, that I am good enough as I am. I used it (still do sometimes) at a time when I was always scared of what others thought of me and how I could measure up to any standards that I felt I was not good enough to meet. I don’t have to be more intelligent, be funnier, be thinner, be prettier, be more successful – I just had to be. 


This is my newest favourite haha, it reminds me to stop procrastinating on tasks that I know are important for my future. 


This one is a more recent one and it’s connected to body image more than anything else. For a while there a few weeks ago I was watching all of Marilyn Monroe’s movies and what really clicked with me was how real a body shape she had compared to what we are fed today from the media. If she is seen as one of the most beautiful icons for our time with a curvy figure like that, then I would rather aspire to her then to the walking skeletons we see on the catwalk.

“Is this nutrition for my body?” 

Plain and straight forward, if I’m about to eat something that isn’t healthy haha. I don’t always have to say yes to eat it but it keeps my focus in the correct frame of mind. 

 “I don’t drink coffee”

This one isn’t mine but my mam’s; a few years ago she had to give up coffee which she found really difficult. The problem was that when she denied herself something she felt she couldn’t stay positive about it. I told her it was more positive to say she didn’t do something rather than couldn’t have something, that way you don’t feel you’re losing out. 

This all goes back to a book I once read years ago during a really crappy time which talked about how your thoughts influence your mood. The part that really stayed with me was (and I’m paraphrasing here as I can’t find the quote off hand) every thought that you have is like a drop of water; on its own it may be small but each drop gathers and becomes an ocean.  If you can change one drop/thought at a time from a negative to a positive then over time, you will create a positive ocean/mood/outlook on life. I really liked that idea because to me seeing things as a whole can be very daunting while breaking things down into manageable pieces is easier to accomplish. It sounds a bit corny but for me it really seems to work.

And if in doubt as my mam says “Delay and distract”. 

“If you want to succeed in the world must make your own opportunities as you go on. The man who waits for some seventh wave to toss him on dry land will find that the seventh wave is a long time a coming. You can commit no greater folly than to sit by the roadside until someone comes along and invites you to ride with him to wealth or influence” John B. Gough


P.S. Update on the seedlings :)