Blatant plug for my new blog!

Hello you lovely lot ūüôā

Just a quick blog post to hopefully drive some traffic over to the new blog I’ve started……it’s more book related and am trying to split this page – this one being more for everyday bits and bobs and the other Bartlett’s Book Nook for reading and reviewing purposes.

Obviously i’d love it if people read both but can also understand those who just want a specific subject so thought i’d publish this and hopefully then people can have a choice of both pages!

I’ll be honest, this last year of as it were “general” blogging has been challenging but a supreme amount of fun and i’m hoping that this will continue tenfold in 2019. I’m looking to read classics to begin with, and ones that I do already know and love but have also given myself a reading challenge (shown below) to add some variety and introduce me to new authors or writing styles. I’m always open to suggestions so feel free to contact me, share your thoughts, suggestions, likes, dislikes and anything you feel I should read. I’m taking on all suggestions and will try to give everything a fair go.

So, yes, feel free to have a nose – ok, maybe not today as there isn’t any reviews on there yet – come back tomorrow to begin your journey but please like, follow, share and I hope everyone has a really wonderful New Years Eve – if you’re out be nice to the bar and wait staff and make sure you get home safe and sound and if you’re working, please keep safe, thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing a really thankless job and do not worry, the madness of NYE can only last a few more hours!

READING CHALLENGE 2019.JPG

 

 

Why do I blog?

Ever since I started blogging, people have been asking me why do I blog. Even I ask myself the same questions, ‚ÄúWhy do I blog?‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúShould I continue to blog?‚ÄĚ day in and day out.¬†I find myself constantly questioning myself, my worth and the point of it all……in thoughts such as these and many more!

I am not a good writer, why should I write?
There are so many great articles out there, why bother trying to reach that level?
There are so many people that are more knowledgeable than me, why try?
No one will read my blog, why should even write one – I talk to myself a lot anyway, why would anyone else want to read it?
I have never been a good writer, why should I try and inevitably fail …?
My content quality is shoddy…

This is a going to be written a fair while before I share it, the current 30 day subjects is scary – I’m stressing about writing every day. This isn’t easy and am tempted to go back to less blogs simply to give my brain a break haha!

But yes, why do I blog?

There are many things that I use this blog for, I wanted it to be about my crafting, my journey and the like but as time has gone by and i’ve done less of the actual work my cottage industry needs this blog has become more of a balance space for me. I do enjoy writing – fear about the daily challenges aside – and am genuinely baffled that some people actually seem to enjoy what I write, and am enjoying using this as more of a therapy tool for myself.

Sadness can be a drive:

I do have a very up/down mentality and I know that sometimes a tiny thing can have me feeling really down. I am trying to improve and be a better version of myself but know that it can be useful to vent on somewhere technically anonymous and then I don’t have to worry about the fallout when loved ones see that I am down. Does that make sense? I can vent, get all my feelings out and by the time I hit that publish button – often WEEKS after having the rant in the first place – I am totally done, whereas if I was to share on Facebook or Twitter my instant feelings I’d have people on me all the time checking on me and more to the point, stressing about me and I never want that.

To help me work through:

I write to keep me sane, to keep me calm and to keep me balanced. I am enjoying writing the day challenges as they often give me new things to think and talk about, it’s also a great way to ensure that I stand by my views, they make me think about things and I use the blog as a way for me to answer some of my own questions too. I know that there can be a fair few which duplicate but I am hoping to be more organised next year and maybe split the blog into different moods for different jobs…..cooking, books, craft work and general life. I’m not sure. I need to get more organised in so many ways!!

Why else would I blog?

To share my views:

I suppose in an ideal world, I’d like to write a blog which people enjoy spending time with. I’m never going to be able to do this full time – and to be fair, who would want me to be wittering away like that? – but I just enjoy when people comment or share and give me their thoughts. I love hearing what people think, or starting new conversations and I’m loving that on here, it is always a good way to help express myself and to aid me in finding my tribe.

Blogging has helped me (i’d like to think) that I do have an opinion, if I want to talk about something I should just throw myself into it and use this for me, for my platform, for my views.

I am genuinely really enjoying writing at the moment, I know I say that I stress – especially with a daily challenge when I don’t actually have much spare time and I would like to do it more and am hopeful that 2019 will be the year or crafting my work, however that decides to show itself – but I do really love writing, getting my thoughts on paper (or the computer) and being able to get them out!

What about yourselves? I’m assuming you are here for a purpose and if so, what is that? Have you changed the way you write in your time here or am I totally out of the loop?

Have a wonderful day, I love reading all the blogs I follow (and those I find randomly) and if anyone wants to suggest new things for me to read, please feel free!

Day 27: If I could have another talk with someone who isn’t here now………

This is a tricky one, there’s a few people in my life who I miss, who aren’t here to talk to and having to pick one of these people over all the others is HARD.

I think that as this is my blog, I’m going to break the rules a little bit.¬†I’m going to talk about a few people and the chats i hope we’d have.

I’ve spoken before about Sandra – a friend who lived in Spain when we were there, she passed away earlier this year and to be honest, veery time I think about her I cry so if you want to know about her, feel free to read the blog here:¬†Thoughts on the loss of a friend

In my life I’ve also lost a few family members, my cousin Kevin when I was very young and sadly, it’s been so long that I remember very little about him, he was always lovely to as far as I can remember and his death was sudden and unexpected so more like an instant loss. I’m sad that I didn’t know him better.

For the longest time, the most important person I knew who passed away was my nan, my mum’s mum. She was amazing my nanny, she looked after both myself and my brother and I used to love going to the market with her and she would buy us crinkly chips from a chip shop in Boston and we’d go to the riverside and sit and eat them and I loved that so much. When we moved into our house where she was going to live with us, I used to go and sit with her most evenings, she just used to accept me and love me and I think that’s why I hold so much guilt about her death. I’d had a birthday party – it was my 10th Birthday and when we’d got home we’d eaten and had a really fun evening. I’d gone to bed and realised that I needed batteries for my walkman (or something like that which i’d been given for my birthday) so I went downstairs to get some and she was in the kitchen washing up. She asked me to go and get her angina spray which I did and then I took myself back off to bed.

She died that night and I’ve never forgiven myself for just walking away, I should have stayed, I should have gone and got my mum, I should have done SOMETHING and I hate the fact I didn’t.

I know (well a lot of people have said) that she wouldn’t blame me for that but still, everytime I think about it, I tear up – like right now in fact – I wish it’d been something I didn’t have to deal with, it changed the life and way of our family and I know that as far as I’m concerned, my life was better afterwards – not because of it, but the way our life went made me a better person and I can only hope that if she is up there looking down, she isn’t too ashamed of the person I am. I’d like her to like me, even now.

I think that apart from Nanny, the only other real sense of loss and death I had was when a friend of mine was murdered.

Stevie was great, a friend of my brother back in the UK that when I moved back, really looked out for me, she was caring and loving but also could be completely blunt and honest, generally she was the “grown up” in our group – if we ever had bbqs she would be the cook; lest we poisoned ourselves! and despite the fact that I wasn’t living in Boston when she was killed, it really hit me hard. She was taken from us and I know that her death caused a lot of division in the group, simply because it sent us all down our own little paths of sadness and grief. My sister in law Bird rang me (on my mums birthday) to say she had been killed and I hated the fact I was so far away from them and couldn’t hug and weep with them, I was alone basically and I know that I unloaded on my mum – which was awful considering it was her special day but I’m so lucky because once again, she picked me up and made sure I was ok.

I went up to Boston to see my friends for my birthday and unfortunately, it turned out that was the day of Stevies Cremation. I couldn’t cope with going to the crem and just had a quiet time at the riverbank – where I spent time with my nan – and I cried and talked to her a lot. I miss her so much and hate that I hadn’t seen her in so long before her death but I am glad that the last time I saw her was such a surprise for both of us and her facial expression of shock, disbelief and then a massive grin and cuddle will stay with me forever.

There have of course been other people in my life who I have lost, but these are lets say the most heartbreaking for me. People who I loved who sadly I didn’t get enough time with.

I genuinely now would rather tell everyone how I feel about them and have them think i’m overly close or I am a soft touch. I never want to hear that I’ve lost someone – no matter how insignificant in my life – and feel that they didn’t know how important they were to me. I’d rather have love than hate and I’d hate to argue for example and then find out there’s no way to take the mean words back.

I know i’m a softy and a bit wet but still, having lost important people in my life, I need to keep those who I care about more in my life, I don’t like letting go and that is often why I will send letters, random gifts etc to my friends, they should know throughout the year how I feel as opposed to just doing it because it’s considered the norm……I hate Christmas for that exact reason, I have people stressing over what they can get for everyone they know and they would rather get Christmas crap than actually get something special for someone. I’d rather get a gift in March from someone who saw it and thought i’d love it as opposed to just something throwaway at Xmas anyday.

So, if I could have a chat with someone who isn’t here, I’m greedy, I’d want to speak to so many people, I’m not sure they’d like me, the person I am and the way I am but I’d like to think they see me and are happy I’m living my life, the best I can.

Day 24: What’s your hidden talent

A¬†talent¬†(or¬†gift, or¬†aptitude) is the skill that someone has to do something that is difficult. It is an ability that someone is born with. People say they are “born with a talent”. Someone who has talent is called¬†talented. Talented people may have more than one talent.¬†Music,¬†dancing,¬†acting,¬†sports, or other skills have people with talent.

Even if someone has talent they may still have to work very hard if they want to perform well. Some people become quite good at something even if they do not have much talent, but if they are willing to work very hard at the skill.

The word talent used to mean a weight and a piece of money in Assyria, Greece and Rome. This is the sense in which it is used in the Bible in the parable of the five talents (Matthew, xxv, 14-30).

I’m a bit puzzled about the topic of this blog, I mean, I understand people do have talents that don’t need to be shoved down other people’s throats but I don’t know why people should need to keep their talents hidden, Are we that uncomfortable that we cannot just accept some people’s talent? On one of the latest Drag Race series, one of the contestants is very plain in saying she has talent, she can sing, dance, act etc and she shouldn’t have to hide those things. She has to remain humble but not hide the talents away……it would be a waste if you have such talents to waste them and by hiding, I feel that’s exactly what is happening.

I dont actually think I have one……unless being able to drink like a fish once or twice a year counts. I took a couple of those online “who are you” quizzes and both told me my talent was Staying Calm, which for those who’ve seen/heard or read my rants will probably be a bit of a laugh really. I mean, I take 5 – 10 minutes per day when I get home to moan about everything…..even if i’ve had a brill day there will be something that has pissed me off but maybe I just try to hold it in and then process it when it isn’t actually going to negatively affect me!

There’s a lot of things that make me a talented person – empathy, language, some cooking talent, a good sense of humour and ability to make people laugh (at me or through something i’ve said or done – either way, i’ll take it!) but I wouldn’t say these things are hidden per se.

I am the person I am, not ideal but still I do try to be better and maybe it is a talent to constantly be pushing myself to be better? I genuinely don’t know.

Do you have a hidden talent? Why do you keep it hidden? Is it something that is good about you but that you dont want to shove it in people’s faces or is it something which very rarely needs a show off?

Maybe it’s something that changed for me as I got older, I used to feel a talent was something people had a natural ability for e.g. I have a good ear for language – not the best as I learned from a friend of mine when we both picked up a “Teach yourself Mandarin in 5 easy and 78 difficult lessons” (or some such) and spent half an hour reading whilst eating Chinese, at the end of that time, I could say the very basics: Hello, Goodbye, Thank you etc, he however was gibbering away like a native but I digress, I used to be very comfortable doing things, dancing, art, and other things whereas as I have aged, I feel less comfortable showing those things off especially as I am not very good at them – maybe it’s an ego thing, I mean I used to feel less worried about others judgement but then I’ve always been uncomfortable with judgement so maybe not. I genuinely do not know.

I think this is going to be another short one today, the topic has certainly made me think but it’s difficult to talk about a talent when you don’t feel you have one.

 

 

 

Day 22: What makes you sad


Sadness is an emotional pain associated with, or characterized by, feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, grief, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow. An individual experiencing sadness may become quiet or lethargic, and withdraw themselves from others. An example of severe sadness is depression, a mood which can be brought on by major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder. Crying can be an indication of sadness.[1]

Sadness is one of the “six basic emotions” described by¬†Paul Ekman, along with¬†happiness,¬†anger,¬†surprise,¬†fear, and¬†disgust.

I dont really like writing about what makes me sad because it’ll make me sad so this I cannot imagine will be a long topic.

I spend a lot of time feeling inadequate, not because i’m made to feel that way by other people but simply, that’s how I feel. Even when I am the only person in the room who can do what I can do I still don’t feel good enough. I know that this is something I need to work on and improve as it does make life tricky for other people around me and the fact that i’m like this makes me sad. I don’t know where it comes from and would rather it didn’t but just have to try and get better and to allow the negative voice it’s say but not to allow it to have the control over me it has done in the past.

Cruelty is another thing that makes me sad. I tend to be a very easily upset person when I see what horribleness exists within humanity. I tend to be more upset by cruelty to animals than to cruelty towards humans. I’m not saying that humans can treat each other as awfully as they do and i’m cool with that but more that humans often have a way of fighting back, which animals don’t. I adopted an Orangutan last year and am thinking¬†of doing the same for as long as I can, to ensure at least 1 little love is safe from the bad parts of humanity. I can’t save them all but I like to think my little attempt is better than nothing.

Ok, I just cannot keep writing about sad things so I’m now going to be more irreverent, these things still make me sad but are less likely to have me sobbing my eyes out on a regular basis.

Lack of cake makes me sad – to be honest, since I stopped eating things with Palm Oil in them, I have had a severe lack of sweet things which saddens me. I get the reason behind it and that is a good thing but there’s times when people in our office have bought in treats on their birthday and EVERYTHING has Palm in it. It’s so sad and depressing that it is in so much but the sacrifice is totally worth it.

I do love my job very much but something that makes me sad is that at no point has a job been offered to me in either Librarian-ship (I do apply for every opening that comes up but sadly i’ve never been that lucky) or a more unlikely but fun job would be beach and cocktail tester for someone like a holiday company. I’m sure if I had to i’d slum it around the world testing beautiful soft white sands and wonderful exciting cocktails for others, you know, cos i’m selfless like that.

so yes, there’s a few things that make me sad, i’m sure there’s so much more that I could add to this but i’m really trying to not focus on the bad things so I’d rather not go on. Sorry for the short one today, hopefully there will be more info and fun topics tomorrow ūüôā

 

Day 17 – Thoughts on Education

To be honest, i’m not sure how someone can be negative about education……I mean, who actually doesn’t want to be educated and aware of how the world works and why?

I had interesting times at school. I would say overall I enjoyed it, the places, the learning – not necessarily the people and the lack of confidence in myself or the stress I put myself under at the time for something which really, isn’t that big of a deal.

I’d like to share some fun stories from my school times throughout my life, about teachers who have inspired me and things which have shaped my views and behaviours! I have already spoken about let’s say, less than positive points in my learning, not being very confident, being bullied and the like but for this, I’d like to share snippets of stories which have had a positive influence on my life and the person I am. I hope that this shows my thoughts on Education and that also not all education is book learning based.

England – Tower Rd Primary School – Mr Pike – such a great teacher, who I don’t actually think was MY teacher at any point but he was definitely a massive influence and someone who made me question the world, and have a thirst for knowledge of how things worked and their places in the world overall. I’m lucky enough to have now found Mr Pike on social media and despite the fact he and I differ on a lot of views and opinions, I cannot thank him enough for being that first teacher who made me feel open to the world.

There are other great teachers that I had at Tower Rd but I cannot remember them all, there was the teacher who put up with myself a best friend acting out scenes from Monty Python, the art teacher who tried again and again to make me an artist, the piano teacher who couldn’t actually play piano, the teacher who let me take the school rabbit home for the holidays and even the English teacher who helped me with my squint and the stupid glasses/patches I had to wear. These people have all made me the person I began my life as (well, the first 11 years lets say) and that gave me a good base to work from.

I passed my 11+ (for younger readers, ask your parents) and went to the local girls grammar school, this was a strange few years for me as it was stressful at home, a bit disjointed with family life and a very sad time in our home and family. I found myself being bullied by some really awful human beings and thankfully the school librarian Miss Gallagher seemed to understand so she encouraged me, let me go in during the holidays to help out, made me feel comfortable and always willing to give new ideas/suggestions for someone who wanted to read everything. She genuinely got me interested in so many random things, plus was one of the first people I knew who was veggie/vegan leaning and I got a lot of info about things which interested her. I liked that she always treated me like an equal, as opposed to a student.

Mr and Mrs Ross were an epic teaching couple, he taught English and she taught Science (I cannot for the life of me remember which specific one) and in the years I was back in the High school after Spain were year heads. I was certain that they hated me – ok this is a bit dramatic, i’m pretty sure they didn’t hate me but I felt like they tolerated me, the fact I had come back off my own back and not gone through the standard system made me feel very out there and an oddity – but in the end of my time back in the sixth form I found them both to be really lovely supportive and made me Miss smiles in the U6 – how the heck that happened i have no idea!! Even she said when giving me the award that other people had brought up how positive as a person I was……I still to this day think they might have confused me with someone else!!

Moving to Spain when I was 14 was stressful and to begin with, I genuinely cannot remember anything about my teachers that I liked, there were ones who most definitely treated me differently due to the fact I was English. My language was not good enough in that first year and some issues did happen but as i’m trying to be positive I’m just going to focus on the fun teachers.

My favourite teacher, and actually someone who even then I considered more of a friend than a teacher was Vicente, my art teacher for the last year or so of Spanish school. He made us watch films and do creative projects and was always open to just learn about people. He and I shared a very similar music taste which as I was very singular whilst there, really helped me feel less weird. I can remember when a favourite band of both of ours brought out a new album, we knew there would be 1 copy in the music store in Malaga and both had plans to get it before the other. Running through a mall to beat a middle aged man to a quality album is a memory that will stay with me forever.

I’m actually really happy as Vicente and I are still friends, he keeps popping up in my life and I love seeing his gallery shows and the way his life has taken him. Am pleased he still accepts me for me though, he’s still incredibly encouraging – despite my general inability to do anything arty!!

The last teacher I will talk about is one who was a good teacher to me but a great show of how people power can have an effect, probably the first time I’ve ever seen that work in person.

The spanish teaching system is generally based on 1 year contracts, every new teaching student will be sent from school to school to hone their skills and our Music and religion teacher was actually brilliant and when we heard that he had been moved onto his next school we all felt like we would be detrimentally affected by this so the decision was made to have a student strike. We superglued all the doors and main school gates for a few days to no avail so then decided to actually have a sit out, we would refuse to go to classes until he was brought back.

To be honest, this was (and still sort of is) totally odd to me, I fully expected to be out there for say 20 mins before the teachers would just barrel out and order us inside with our tails between our legs……so 4 hours later I was getting cold and more importantly bored. I went home, deciding it would be better to at least do some homework or the like. Cue walking into the house to tell mum why I was home earlier……she totally didn’t believe me so (with my dad – for extra punishment if I was trying it on) frogmarched me down to my school gates to find out what I was on about…….EVERYONE was gone. I’ve never been so nervous in my life, bloody typical, I decided i’d had enough and went home, then the teachers had finally snapped and got everyone inside. I was cacking myself!!

Thankfully upon going inside the school I saw the school secretary who seemed surprised I was there, I explained why I was and her response to my parents at least made them see I was telling the truth. Scary but fun nonetheless.

We never did get that teacher back I don’t think but it certainly made me more likely to revolt in future about things I saw an issue with. Sometimes, lessons like that are invaluable.

I hope over the course of these little stories have given my opinion clearly, I loved learning – I still do – and I honestly feel it’s people like this who gave me this feeling and inspired me to always try more and learn more and see more.

I should also point out that there were a multitude of teachers I haven’t talked about, all good in their own way and therefore should not be ignored. I am immensely proud of my schooling and the person I have turned out to be, and I can only hope they feel the same way!

 

 

 

Day 15 – Write about your favourite childhood books.

I was obsessed with reading as a kid, I mean, pretty much all of my life as a younger person I was safe when I was surrounded by books. My brother and I were really lucky as kids but once he left home, I felt a lot lonelier and retreated more into the safety of books, this was only compounded by being the weirdo, the loner, the one who just generally was not liked by kids – that’s not 100% true, my friends were always and always have been amazing – but there were a lot of bullies who found me an ideal target to harass.

My mum says that even as a kid, she knew reading was a big thing for me because i’d read the back of packets, the papers, even when we went shopping, she knew I would take myself off to the paper/books area and just perch myself down and read. I got through countless books in this style which i’m sure the supermarket was thrilled about!

I had an excellent little book set as a child of the entirety of Beatrix Potter’s tales, all mini hardback with gorgeous artwork and they were kept in a special box, this was something that until very recently I have always had with me. I’ve never even dreamed of having kids so i’ve never really known what to do with them but you know when you have something childish yet wonderful that you can’t imagine being without? I think I gave them back to my mum and asked her to sell it, or at least find a home for them where hopefully they will bring as much joy to someone else as they did to me.

I was obsessed with Enid Blyton as a child, The Tales of the Faraway Tree made me wish for excitement, and new friends, and talking trees – ok, the last of those may have been less possible that the first two – and made me see magic in the oddest of places. She made me look at things differently and I’m sure that seeing creatures, clouds and trees and beginning to apply anthropomorphic characteristics to them comes from her.¬†¬†Plus another joy of a group of friends who stuck together through everything, through thick and thin was appealing to me, I know I had a small group of friends at that point of my life and we used to do similar escapades when we could – going on bike rides, building forts, just playing and imagining what our lives were going to be.

I included Jennings and Derbyshire in this list as although they were not specifically favourites of mine, they have a very special place in my heart as mum used to read them to me when I was in the bath as a kid. I used to love them and for a long time kind wanted to live in that jolly hockey sticks, ginger beer kind of world. I think maybe my obsession with Mallory Towers and the Twins at St Clair’s also started around this time and made me consider that that kind of life was an option – which at no point was it but I always remained hopeful!!

jennings

Reading back the previous list this is all sounding a bit 50s housewife dream kind of style of reading, I swear I read other things too! Like Point Horror – which I’ve no idea are still in existence or if you are younger than me and now asking yourself “what the fudge is a point horror?” but before I started reading lets say, more adult horror stories like Stephen King and Shaun Hutson (if you’ve not read his stuff and like some gore and mental horror then he’s a good person to investigate); I was a bit obsessed with a sort of horror light. It was a series of books which tended to be passed around my group of friends and mostly they were mild frights but for some reason I can remember one book (weirdly my brain has scrubbed over most of the details – including the name) which really terrified me! Well worth it to be scared in the middle of the day with all the lights on….I’m too much of a coward nowadays to read books like that anymore!

We moved to Spain when I was 14 and thankfully I got a lot of books as leaving gifts from people, these became my closest friends when I arrived as I spent so long stressing about not being able to hold even the most basic of conversations without massive pauses and a dictionary so the joy of just being able to open a book and not have to worry was a joy. This is where my love of Pratchett came from. I’d read some beforehand but they really took hold of my imagination at that point. As I said, I really relished having books I could read without having to worry about not being clever enough – which is how I always felt when speaking to people.

I know I’ve banged on about Pratchett in many of my blogs and #PratchettPostal is actually going really well (i’m buying up second hand copies or cheapish bundles from fleabay, advertising them on twitter and then sending them out to fellow fans/new readers. He was such an influence and support to me that I would love to pass that on. If you’ve never read Pratchett you’re missing out but if you are on twitter, come find me at @polmoose83 and maybe come get yourselves a new book – or just come and say hey anyway, I love to have many people around to talk to!

So there we have it, once again, no real specifics but many different options. I would love to be more of a book reviewer in specifics and have read a few good book blogs which have inspired me but currently I’m not sure i’m good enough at specifics and writing my views. We shall see what 2019 has to offer in the way of challenges.

Day 10 ‚Äď Best Trip Of Your Life

I’ve¬† been really lucky to be honest and travel has been a big thing for me, I haven’t taken advantage like I should have (travel while you can kids – it becomes harder as you get older) but even since I moved back to the UK, I have enjoyed travel and a variety of wonderful holidays.

I decided to write about a few places as some really stick in my brain but I also don’t want to make it seem like I have had only 1 good trip and the rest have all been mediocre.

  • CUBA
  • DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
  • PARIS
  • ISTANBUL
  • EGYPT
  • PRAGUE
  • BARCELONA

I have travelled a few places (from the list above) and every place I go – even if bad things happen like in Cuba, I feel lucky to have seen the places and experienced the life. I definitely try to relish the positives and kind of work past the negatives.

Cuba was the first place I had travelled alone, I had a real wanderlust when I was younger and when I left school, worked for a while, but Cuba was going to be my jumping off point. Unfortunately, I got mugged halfway through the first week and came home early, before I had seen and experienced what I wanted to – something which I regret to this day!¬† I did love the joy of seeing the crystal clear waters, and the fun of speaking with Cubans and actually finding out about their lives, which was mind-blowing and if someone had said to me “give me all of your possessions” I would have done – and then at least been able to keep hold of my passport! anyway, it was still a wonderful trip.

Sadly I don’t even think I have any of the photos I took in Cuba. I’ve moved about 10 times since then and somewhere along the way, they got lost but the memories of watching storms fly overhead, snorkelling with a barracuda, gorgeous flowers tumbling down in the main hall of the hotel and the wonderful 4 pools and azure sea. Sometimes memories are good enough.

I went to the Dom Rep years ago with the ex who shall not be named. It was a good holiday but unfortunately he managed to ruin a lot of it – we met some lovely people who he managed to push away with his attitude but still, it was nice to see dolphins, swim and feed fish with bread and to generally meet new people. I am still in touch with a wonderful couple we met and that for me is a real bonus. Again the Caribbean is superb and wonderful and despite the negatives from it, I managed to take away good memories.

Paris is somewhere really special for myself and my family. My dad lived and worked out there and it is most definitely his spiritual home. He loves spending time there and I adore being there with him and exploring and seeing how his world has been shaped by it. I try to spend time there as often as I can, I love eating at the restaurants he worked in and seeing the world he lived among. I do enjoy this and love learning random facts every time we go.

My parents and I went to Istanbul a few years ago for my mums birthday. It was really wonderful to be able to stand on 2 continents as it were and a really wonderful place to spend time (I’m not sure how comfortable I would be now as I have heard it is much less friendly to westerners now but I still enjoyed it and apart from a couple of places, I didn’t feel harassed or uncomfortable. It is a wonderful mix of culture and style, such wonderful places to see, lots of beautiful markets and buildings and despite my general dislike of Churches, I do really like Mosques and had a great time exploring and seeing the places which I had read about.

I was so lucky to go to Egypt years ago with my parents. I’d always dreamed of seeing the Pyramids and I actually never thought it would be possible so when I was given the opportunity I jumped at it. I loved it, it is stunning and wonderful but the level of poverty is scary. I would happily go back but feel that my own personal levels couldn’t handle it. I can remember haggling for an ashtray for a friend, and I realised I was haggling between 40 and 50 pence. Which I’d have been happy to pay full price if you see what I mean. I’m not sure how I could cope. I’d definitely recommend it to people though, just be aware of the looky looky men who are very brazen.

Prague was a great holiday, we went for my dad’s birthday and I have written about it previously (see the link here:¬†share about a recent holiday) but it is certainly somewhere I will be going back to. Full of history, culture, galleries, epic food and drink and a real great place to spend some time. Even those places which weren’t the most glam, were still fun.

Lastly I thought I’d talk about Barcelona. I truly love this place and spending time there, I feel comfortable and free there. Great bars, great buildings, fun places and epic restaurants. I used to travel there alone (very much like my dad with Paris) but am looking forward to showing it off to the man, sharing my life and the places I love with him, which, considering that Parc Guell is where I want to be scattered when I pass away, it would probably be a good thing for him to know where it is for example ūüėČ

So, I’ve finally reached the end of my list. Ok so not specifically “The best trip” of my life but I prefer seeing the positives in a lot of things, at least this was I can appreciate all the trips I take as opposed to trying to make one better than the rest.

I’m hoping to take the man somewhere sunny next year – somewhere cheap and cheerful is always appreciated and we’ve never actually gone somewhere warm so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears. I’d love somewhere with a bit of history and culture but also somewhere pretty and fun to enjoy nature and relax. Think that would cover all bases!

Day 8 ‚Äď What‚Äôs In Your Bag/Wallet

This is actually quite a timely challenge as i’ve just got my new backpack – i’m not really a handbag girl – but once i’ve listed what is in there, maybe you’ll see why I’m not able to be a handbag girl haha!

Ok, quick edit. My backpack hasn’t arrived yet so have decided to do a list of what’s in the bag and then as above, maybe you’ll see why a handbag is not for me (unless it’s massive anyway!)

I’m currently using a canvas shoulder bag which my work created to celebrate our summer services (locally known as the Breezers) these are open topped buses which travel around the area showing off some of the gorgeous places in Dorset. I like using the bag and also quite like the artwork which is very much like an old school train poster.

So, the standard stuff:

Hand Cream – I love a good smelling hand cream, I try not to use much make up and the like but i’m a sucker for a great smell and a light creamy, silky niceness. I’m currently using one I got for Xmas last year. It’s flavoured with Pink Pepper and Amyris which is actually really nice, not too floral and doesn’t leave my hands all greasy.

Wallet – well obviously, I need this as i’m always needing to go get snacks, or just to be able to pick up shopping once i’ve finished work – tonight for example is our Halloween celebrations – yeah, to be honest, i’m not really “into” Halloween but we’ve decided on getting some pizzas, curling up on the sofa and watching films which will scare us – we are both wussies so can’t imagine it’ll take long to be changing back to something more to our level, like Beetlejuice or something!!

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Tissues – I’ll be honest, these generally aren’t for me. I know that the man often has a runny nose or cold like symptoms and I tend to keep a supply for him.

House Keys – another sort of obvious one i’d assume, but I do have a massive bundle including my flat, my parents, some locker keys and generally too many key rings cos, when you collect tat, keyrings will ALWAYS be a good thing.

Books –¬† this is not always the case but lets say 85 – 90% of the time I will have a random paperback in my bag. Those who know me will know it’d most likely be a Pratchett but at the moment am re-reading a Louis Theroux book about his weird weekends.

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Headphones – these were possibly one of my favourite gifts I have ever been given. They are Skull Candy (so very bassey) and wireless so that means I actually can dance around the house without the risk of the wire getting caught on something and then breaking my phone/mp3 player. The man got them for me last year at Xmas, I think i’ve pretty much worn them everyday and I really really really love them!

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. I’m hoping that when my backpack arrives it will be big enough to carry my camera in it, I want a bag that can hold it safely but that isn’t too massive. Ideally i’ve seen a couple of friends with MASSIVE bags which carries their lives so please, keep your fingers crossed for me as I really don’t want to be carrying 2 bags with me so I can use my camera if the opportunity presents itself!

Once it’s arrived will update and let you all know, bet you can’t wait?!