My Happy Place

019DEFDC-245A-4602-97A0-834E58A67B82I have definitely found my happy place. I’ve been making a real effort to get out and walk more and I’m loving it. I’m really lucky as about ten minutes walk from my house is the nature reserve, multiple walks and the river. I’ve been combining my love of photography with my walking. I’ve taken literally hundreds of pictures!

The nature reserve is my perfect place to unwind after a long day; I can forget about everything that’s happened and just enjoy the beauty of the nature around me. It’s different everyday and ever changing so there’s always something new to see. The reserve is also the perfect start to the day if I go early in the morning.

I love knowing just where to go to see if the Robin is there, or to see if the cygnets are out. I know where the moorhen is nesting and which flowers are out in the wildflower meadow. There are butterflies and bees and I’ve heard the cuckoo many times. I know where the wren lives and where the ducks’ batchelor perch is!

The only problem is that I can easily lose track of time and lose a couple of hours down there!

 

 

The strangest feeling

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Today the strangest thing happened. I went back to work after the holidays – and I actually felt confident! I never usually feel confident. Nervous yes, anxious yes, stressed yes but never confident. And what’s even stranger is it stayed like that all day!

I didn’t even have to deal with the crippling anxiety the night before. It’s a very weird feeling. Nice, but weird. Today I walked in and I felt comfortable with who I was. I felt confident that I could do my job and do it pretty well! I rocked that confidence outfit today 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selfish?

 

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Took me a while to realise this one…. that it’s not selfish to put yourself first. I know that if I don’t get enough down time then I’m totally useless. I now actively plan in free days so I can regroup. Since I’ve been doing this I actually feel much happier because I’m not stretching myself in every direction. I enjoy the time with other people much more because I’m more relaxed. Never feel bad for taking the time for youself … after all who will look after you if you don’t?

Gifts of all sorts

 

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I’m actually not the biggest fan of receiving presents, which makes me sound ungrateful. I’m not, I just get a bit embarrassed when people give me things as I often think I don’t deserve them.

However, I love giving gifts to people. I love the smile on their face when you give a gift and I love to spoil my friends. I love that I have the ability to bring a little happiness to people’s  days . For me the happiness is definitely in the giving part.

I also love to give gifts you can’t wrap up like words and smiles and hugs. I know how much it means to me when people say something nice or give a compliment so as often as I can I try to say the nice things that’s I think. People often act surprised when you give a compliment because it’s all too easy to rush along in our busy lives and keep our heads down.

I have learnt that life is too short to let the nice things go unsaid. So I tell the people who are important to me that they are important. And I try to say the compliments that I think.  It’s not always easy but having found my own happiness I want to share it out!

Solitude

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Recently I have been much more in touch with my introverted side. People always say that I can’t possibly be an introvert because I’m loud and chatty and don’t come across as shy. Well you don’t have to be shy to be an introvert. Introversion is defined as ‘the preference for  situations that are not overly stimulating. Introverts value their space and they don’t let just anyone in.’ (So if I confide in you, feel honoured!)

I love my friends and I love spending time with them, I literally wouldn’t be without them. But I prefer to socialise in small groups and find big and busy social gatherings a huge challenge. I also hate, really hate, being the centre of attention which is why I find birthdays so tricky (more about that another time) and talking to  groups of adults. Strangely though, I have no problem with groups of children – pretty lucky in job eh!

I also need and crave solitude. I love my busy life with teaching and brownies and rainbows but I spend all of my days surrounded by people who need me to interact with them. I love this, I love the strange and random conversations I have with children. I love their frankness and openness. I love catching up with my friends in the staffroom at lunchtime. I love chatting to my best friends on the phone or meeting for coffee.

However, I also love my alone time. I love to come home to my house, to kick off my shoes and chill on my bed watching whatever I want. I love long bubbly baths. I love to escape with a good book. I love to go for a walk and catch some pokemon or take my camera and practise my photography.

And what’s more I don’t just love my solitude, I need it. One thing I have learnt about myself is that in order to function and keep my mental health at its best I need to have time alone to reset. I actively now plan in days to do this as I need it so much. And I no longer feel bad about doing so and prioritising my own needs. Sometimes we have to put ourselves first. And that’s ok. It’s taken me a while to realise that but it’s ok. It really is.

Surprises

1C6D8BEF-C6A3-48FB-BDF1-D014085FF47C.jpegJust a happy little moment when someone bothered to send me a little surprise in the post. Was such a lovely thing to come home to, nestled in amongst the circulars and bills was a package that I didn’t order. I was very confused to start with – had someone sent it to me in error?

I went through the list of people I thought it could be. No one knew anything. And I was still guessing the next morning when I got a message saying “I hope ou like your earrings” and it was none other than my lovely co-blogger. Just a happy end of January present.

And I love her even more for recognising that January is a difficult time for me and doing something amazingly lovely to celebrate me making it through.

Books, Books, Books

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This holiday I have rediscovered my love of reading. I had been finding it hard to concentrate and to justify the time spent reading. I was also finding it hard to ‘get into’ any books. I’d picked up many old favourites and tried to read them but stopped after a few chapters. I tried new books, old books, fiction, biography, non-fiction and poetrybut I could not reclaim my reading bug.

So yesterday I took a whole day out, put down my phone and my iPad, curled up on my bed and read. I finished ‘Call the Midwife’ by Jennifer Worth (the book the series is based on) which I had started about a month ago. I then opened Nick Skelton’s autobiography ‘Gold’. And then it happened, the magic came back. The smell of the new book, the feel of the pages and the total escapism. I read, and I read. I didn’t even stop for lunch! I made myself some cheese and crackers and propped the book up on the table. I felt again that need to keep reading and to keep turning the pages. I also read ‘All because of Henry’ by Nuala Gardner. This is the sequel to ‘A Friend like Henry’ about an autistic boy and his dog. And then I couldn’t stop, I was trawling my bookshelves for what to read next. I’ve started ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ also by Jennifer Worth and I’m half way through already. I must have read for 12 hours yesterday. But I’ve got it back! I found my reading bug again.

Fireworks

2D2BF4F1-41FD-49A3-90DF-F21F77551BB2There has always been something magical about fireworks to me. The colours, the smell, the patterns, the contrast against the dark sky and the surprise of what explodes next. There’s also something nostalgic about dressing in your warmest clothes, dusting off the hat and scarf and heading off into what is usually one of the first really dark nights of the winter. Last night I did that. I stood, in cold so intense I could see my breath and hardly feel my fingers, in eager anticipation of the display. The shooting flames of the bonfire dying away, the chatter of excited crowds and the smell of burgers and hot chocolate filled the air. Every so often there’s a blob of colour as torchlight and glow sticks appear.  There’s the waiting, for that sudden moment when the the sky fills with colour. The oohs and ahs as the showers of stars fill the sky. The bangs and whistles and the hiss as the display starts. Then the explosion of colours and patterns that sparkle and flash and spin their way through the pitch dark sky. I don’t think I will ever tire of watching fireworks!

Make up moments

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Until about ten years ago I’d never really worn make up at all. Then I acquired a few bits and wore it occasionally when I went out. The reason I gave was that I was allergic to most makeup and my skin was too sensitive. In truth these were excuses. I didn’t like myself enough at that point to make the effort to look good. I didn’t think I deserved to look nice and I didn’t want to be considered attractive by other people.

Since I came out on here over three months ago things couldn’t be more different. I’ve felt so much more confident and happier and I am actually starting to wear make up, not just a little bit occasionally but actually properly and regularly. Now I am certainly not saying that I need makeup to feel good about myself, quite the opposite. Because I like myself I think I deserve to look nice and I like the way I look when I wear makeup.

Ive actually had several people compliment me for the way my make up looks! Yes me, who didn’t have a clue how to do more than put on mascara! I’ve spent more money on makeup and beauty products in the last three months than I think I have done in the rest of my life lol.

I like experimenting with different looks and colours and products. I like learning how to get better at something. I like how I look both with and without makeup on. Makeup up is most definitely a happy little moment for me now!

Summer Fun

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Summer seems while ago now I’m back at work and in the routines again. But I just wanted to tell you about my summer. I didn’t do anything particularly special, no holidays of a lifetime or anything, but I had fun, lots of fun.

I laughed lots, I caught up with lots of friends, I read, I relaxed and I ate out far more than my bank balance or my waist line allowed for! But most of all I learnt to love myself a little bit.

I enjoyed my own company sometimes, although there were days where I drove myself mad too! I discovered the world of make up and I love it! I actually like the way I look when I step out the house in the morning. And I learnt to be more myself and not to care as much what people think.

Its still definitely a work in progress but this summer I definitely took some big steps towards learning to love myself.