2015 – half year review

Scarily the time has flown and tomorrow will be the 1st July. Rather than panic over where the last half-year has gone (I feel like I’ve blinked and missed months) I thought I’d dig out the goals I made in January and see what I’ve achieved. I avoided the usual lose weight – join a gym resolution because I make it every year and never stick to it. However! I have lost about 10lbs, I managed 4 Pilates before deciding I didn’t like it. And last week I did actually join a gym. And by join I filled out the registration form and got a card. I haven’t actually done anything with it yet. Oh and for the most part I’ve managed to walk 10,000 steps most days. I should probably not make this resolution more often. I wanted to for some reason talk more on social media. Anyone reading my last but one post will know I’ve actually gone in the other  direction and have talked less. Part of making that goal was linked to another one to get out more. I think essentially I was looking at ways to increase my social circle. I’ve definitely got out more. I joined three book clubs, went back to another that restarted last month and have attended quite a few work shops and meals with friends. A success so far then but one that can always be improved on and you can have fun going to new things. I wanted to increase the followers of my three blogs. For this one by the end of the year I hoped to be at 150. As of yesterday I hit 161 so a big thank you to everyone who reads these posts 🙂 My book blog I wanted to be at 100 – as of yesterday I was one short so on target to hit that at any time. My travel one I wanted to get to 70 and am at 49. Not too bad especially as it’s the one I’ve neglected a lot this year. So I need to make some more posts. I wanted to increase my spirituality and work on training to move into work coaching and healing. That’s ongoing and won’t be complete this year but I’ve started it and it feels like I’m on the oath I should be. Lastly I wanted to take part in a 10k event. While I didn’t do that I did raise money for a cancer charity through a 7 mile Midnight walk so good deed challenge has been met. Overall I’m astounded by how close I’ve come to achieving most of what I wanted to do and six months early at that. So what can I do going forward? I started a gratitude jar that I’ve been neglecting lately so I’m going to try to add to it more often. From tomorrow I’m taking part in a July mindfulness challenge which I’m quite looking forward to as well as gaining my crystal healing diploma. It’s going to be a busy month and I’m excited by what the rest of the year will bring me

Adventures in Travel
For the love of Books!!
Helen and Kirsty reviews

Borstal – short story

The first creative writing assignment I did as an OU student


Looking back my shift at the centre started as a night like any other. I-wing stands for isolation wing; not very original but at least you know what you’re getting. I’d been here ten years and thought I’d seen everything. This is where they put the worst of the young offenders; junkies, the Hep-C’s and AIDS kids and the just plain violent ones.

Each screw gets given two cells. There are usually five or six suicide attempts every week. On top of them you’ve got the ones that just like causing trouble. I saw Tommo heading to the showers with a kid

“Little shit has puked all up the walls” he said. “Two hours ago; jizz, now shit. Thinks he’s entertaining.”

“Gonna be puke again next” the kid smirked. “I just like to watch you clean up mate.”

“You’ll be laughing the other side of your face when you’ve spent the night in the bare cell, concrete bed and a hole to piss in. Happy Christmas kid, you’re gonna freeze.”

Yeah, I though, just another normal shift. That night my two cells were full. In I7 was Wee Billy, five feet two inches of adrenaline. When he wasn’t high on amphetamines he was high on E-numbers. He’s been in and out of the system for years, preferring to be off his face on drugs or locked up with us rather than be at home with his old man knocking ten bells out of him every night. Funny little shit, I’d quite like him if only he didn’t finance his drug habit by beating and robbing old ladies. He should be careful though. The next time he gets himself locked up he’s in with the adults. I checked through the slot and he was fast asleep, jittering and shaking as the drugs left his system again.

Then came I8. I could cope with the junkies and the screamers but this kid gave me the creeps just sitting there so quietly never making a sound. Billy hid from his parents through drugs, this kid…he chose to slit their throats. The warden didn’t know what to do with him. They put him in a cell, he tried to kill his roomie; let him into the canteen he shafted someone with a fork….Oh yeah this one scared the hell out of me. And as the night went on I was right to be very scared indeed….

Letting go of technology

I saw a Facebook post meme today that got me thinking:

“This summer put your phone away for a few days. Make some memories that no one knows about. Make some memories that are just yours”

In this age of oversharing – whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all teh new ones I’ve not bothered to learn it seems next to impossible to have a secret or do something just for yourself. We even photograph our food to share. I’ve been very guilty of this in the past. During times of my worst depression I spent hours on these sites (and the games) losing myself in other people’s lives. The over-sharing can be like watching a soap opera with some people. I’ve spent far too many hours flicking through status updates, pictures of cats and cute babies (ok there’s nothing wrong with the last two 🙂 ).

I’ve found lately though a need to get away from all this. After the crystal courses the other week (see my last post) I’ve taken myself away from the internet at weekends. I still have a flick though, like the odd post and share a few memes but compared to previous weekends I’m practically techno-free. I’ve even found myself going whole weekends with no TV.

I’m working towards paying off debts at the minute (One of my major goals over the next few years) and so I can’t afford to spend my weekends away. Instead I’ve taken to having ‘me time’. Being single with my son grown up means I can be as selfish as I wish to be. So I’ve been listening to favourite music and discovering some new tunes. Last weekend I read three books in three days. I’ve got some jobs done that I’ve been putting off. I’ve spent time with my mum, family and friends and increased my meditation times. I even took my annual trip to Ikea

None of which went (until this post) on the internet. No photo’s to share just some funny stories and quality time for myself and spent with others all of which I’ll keep to myself. I feel so much better for it. Maybe the next step is to step away from the laptop completely for the weekend, no sneaky peaks to see what others are doing. I’ve done it before and I always feel relaxed so it’s definitely something to consider.

It’s something we probably all should do now and again. Switch off from the mainframe and take some time to make memories just for yourself.

A Spiritual Day Out

The other week I attended a number of spiritual workshops over in Shepley, Huddersfield. Lots of crystals, angelic meditation and interesting results.

First up we had aura sprays. This is something I’ve never given much thought to in the past. We started with a meditation in which we were invited to meet our angel. My first thought was of Gabriel simply because I like the guy who plays him in Supernatural (me? shallow? sometimes…) but during the meditation I started thinking about Uriel instead. Not one I remember knowing about (my angel knowledge is a bit rubbish something I should probably work on)  but he stands for new ideas and knowledge and helps heal resentments and forgive people. All things I need as I go along my own journey.

Afterwards we were then given a pendulum, some essential oils, small crystals and water and got playing. I managed three sprays in the end – one to attract love, one to guide me on my path and one to attract the home I would like to live in (ideally in a place surrounded by like-minded people).

After the break we then moved onto manifestation. I loved this the most. Whether you want to be spiritual and do this with crystals and meditation or you have different beliefs and choose to skips those parts it’s a pretty fun way to think about what you want in life. In its simplest terms – it’s cutting up pictures of what you want and sticking them to a cork board. Me and a friend couldn’t get over how enjoyable it was to simply sit for a few hours playing with scissors and glue like we did as children.

Our final part of the day will appeal to some and not others as we had a talk about Atlantis, angels and crystal skulls. More meditation including an attempt at a past life followed by some healing. It’s an area I know little about but was fascinated with and want to explore more of. I’ve picked up a couple of Diana Cooper books so that’s my reading for the next few weeks

One thing I asked for was abundance. Ideally an abundance of love and money (who doesn’t). What I’ve noticed is that this is happening but not as I may have thought it. It may be my body language is changing as I welcome positive changes but I’ve noticed an increase in strangers talking to me, I’ve felt lighter in myself so this may be projecting outwards towards others. People keep giving me small gifts. Even though my monthly food group has a no birthday gift policy (there’s 8 of us it’s too expensive) last week I was given a few pressies. I’ve been invited to join in new groups forming and the funniest was during a time of great trauma (I ran out of teabags! For anyone who knows me this is bad). the next day a friend arrived complete with tim of tea. Whether these things happen all the time and I’m only just noticing I don;t know but even love in small doses lifts the spirit

I’m also finding coppers and 5 pence pieces everywhere. At the workshop I was told Tigers Eye crystal is good financial luck and if you carry some in your purse it will never be empty. This is certainly true as these small coins are currently everywhere! Hopefully the small love will manifest into a larger one and mr Right will turn up and the pennies will turn into pounds but what I am receiving at the minute fills me with joy.

I will be attending a crystal healing course at the end of July to be able to do more of this for other people as part of moving towards being a (spiritual) life coach. maybe I’ll see some of you soon for to play with the scissors and glue 🙂

Bucket List

Storytime with John

I have been seeing nothing but bucket list posts recently, I don’t know what it is…or why…the guess that makes the most sense to me is that perhaps there is a bucket sale down at the bucket store…so everyone has bought a bunch of buckets for really cheap – so to get some use out of said buckets they are throwing them on a bucket list and filling them with hot air balloons, camel rides, tattoos, and whatever else they can squeeze into them.

This is all well and good naturally ~ I mean it isn’t for me to tell you how to use your buckets, but I feel that rather than a tick box list it is better to try to alter our behaviour in order to create the best version of yourself you can be…this all sounds a little Blade Runnerish…but what I mean to say is that…

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Wedding Days – short

Another little story for you 🙂

‘First day of autumn ladies. I think we should get out the sunburnt orange dresses’

That’s Millie Molloy, owner of Molloy’s Weddings and my boss. If mannequins can have bosses that is. I don’t have a name like Mille and her two assistants I’m just me. A mannequin. I can think and see but little else. I’ve worked in a few stores over the years but this one is my favourite. I love the dresses I get to wear. I have lots of different styles but also such beautiful colours like the dress I’ve just been given; the tulle and satin the colour of orange leaves just fallen from trees.

The Bride is here with her gaggle of friends. This is their fourth fitting so far. I believe the term is ‘bridezilla’ but it seems harsh. She seems very stressed, everything must be perfect and just so and the same goes for her bridesmaids. The dresses must be the same length and same style. There were tears when one girl needed wide straps adding to her beautiful dress to hold up her ample bosom. The physical appearance seems to be uppermost on all these girls’ minds. I hear them talk of dieting and wanting to be in smaller sizes than they are. Is this what it’s like to be a real woman? The need to always be perfect?

Oh The Bride has Her with her today. Her is a bridesmaid but she comes in separately sometimes to look at the wedding dresses. I hear her talking to Millie about her own dream wedding and the dress she would have if only He would ask her. She has such sad eyes. I’ve seen them both, Her and Him as I stand in the shop window; me looking out and seeing everything, Her looking in and seeing only her distant dreams and Him looking like he wishes to be anywhere else except where he is. The unasked question is obvious to everyone and even The Bride puts aside her to-do lists to offer sympathy now and again.

Last week she tried on the dresses again. Her favourite is a 1940’s style with lots of fringing with no back and covered in beads and embellishments. She looked like a beautiful dancer missing her dance partner. She’s hinted that she may buy it anyway as it’s a timeless piece that can be worn any year but I think maybe not for any man. Is this again a human thing? To buy something that may never be worn may never even be seen. Hidden away somewhere along with the remnants of a broken heart.

Also in the group is the Sister: a lady who has no partner, no soul mate. I see Sister all the time; she walks past once a week. There is a hospital, homeless shelter and a court room nearby so maybe she goes past on her way to work. The Sister has hopeful eyes though rather than sad ones. I know from the wedding gossip that she is on her own but hopes one day to marry again, that her life partner is out there. When she stops by each week I can see her looking at the dresses through the window, mentally working out which one would suit her, which one would make her look old and trying to decide on the one that would showcase her timeless beauty the best. She seems to like the straighter sheath dresses that fall elegantly straight rather than the full bodice and lace of some of the dresses. Not for her the giant puffball and hooped underskirts. Will she ever meet her One? It’s not a concept I understand.

The assistants will talk to me while they change my clothes but I can’t call them friends. I wonder what they would do if I ever spoke back to them. Or the ladies as they remark on my dresses as they feel the lace, the beads, the satin.

‘That’s it. Everything is spot on. I can’t wait for next week’ trills The Bride. And then they are gone in a sweep of perfume and laughter. The Bride, finally finding the perfection she desires, Her; the sister wondering if the wedding will finally prompt Him into asking the Question she so desperately craves and Sister, so happy for her sibling but wondering when her own Knight in shining armour will appear. This is love; this friendship is what makes the world go around. If I were human this is all the love I would ask for.