Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas Week

I hope you all had a splendid Christmas with loved ones around you.

I have had a lovely Christmas starting on Christmas Eve. As always my friends from school reunite to celebrate the year. It's an opportunity to catch up with everyone who has been scattered across the country and, this year, the world. It's great to hear the tales of dancing in Disneyland, German language courses and beautiful new nephews. Everyone is following their dreams. They are all individual to them and so exciting. As these stories were recounted there was a palpable enthusiasm in the room. I'm so happy and proud to have such motivated, inspiring friends.

Next stop was Christmas day which was spent with my immediate family. I love giving gifts and had spent time picking out ones that my family would appreciate. The smiles definitely showed the time was worth it. The biggest smile has to go to my Mum who ever since I can remember has been asking for a holiday to Scotland. My present to her is a long weekend in Edinburgh, but she'll have to wait until October as that's my next little bit of time off. I can't wait!

Jump forward a couple of days to Saturday and I received my Mum's present. I knew we were going to London and personally wasn't that fond of the 6am train journey. However this was forgiven when it turned out we were going to see Charlie and the Chocolate factory. The chocolaty magic was definitely there and I was astounded at the many effects used. Well work a watch even for big kids like me!

And to today, the last day of Christmas week. A long walk as the sun was setting with my brother and Ben. I live in such a fantastically beautiful part of the world and I should remember this. Above are the photos of the walk.

Hope you had a fantastic Christmas.
Kate x

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Traditions Tag

Christmas Sunset walk from 2 years ago
The lovely Danielle from Underland to Wonderland tagged me in a Christmas traditions post. As Christmas seems to have crept up ever-so quickly and I haven't shared any of it over on the little space of mine, I though it was a wonderful way to give you an insight into my Christmas. Hold on tight it's a whistle stop tour...

1. When does Christmas start for you?
The second I finished work yesterday. I'd really been counting down this year and the drive home I stuck on some Christmas tunes and started to relax. However as I work in schools, it seems to have been Christmas since October. Everywhere is covered in glitter and all I've been hearing are Nativity play songs.

2. What is one Christmas film you have to watch?
I have to say I'm not a great film and I have no real tradition here. This year I have managed to see Nativity for the first time and the classic Snowman. My friend introduced me to Love Actually and this might be my favourite, but I haven't squeezed it in yet.

3. Do you bake a Christmas cake or buy one?
Neither. My Grandma has always baked us one, but I have to admit to not liking it. I'd much rather ice cream or some chocolaty goodness.

4. When do you put up your Christmas tree?
It went up yesterday. The last couple of weeks have been manic so I haven't got around to it. I'll be decorating it tomorrow... along with the many other last minute things I have to do!

5. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?
Fake. It lives in my brothers wardrobe for the rest of the year. When I was younger we used to have real ones and they now live out in my garden.

6. When do you start playing Christmas music?
November? I love both carols and Christmas pop songs and so they're on as soon as possible. I'll stick them on to motivate me to do my work. I've even been listening to them as I workout too! I also do some surprisingly "good" renditions of them.

7. Do you use the same Christmas Decorations each year or buy new ones?
The same, but we usually buy one new one each year. Our Christmas tree seems to show a history of the family with a few childish homemade decorations, some coordinating ones, some treasured gifts and some recently crafted ones. A bit of a mish mash, but I love it!

8. How do you spend Christmas Eve?
With friends. We always convene with oodles of food and play silly party games. It's lovely to get together and share gifts and time over the predominately family time.

9. Advent calendar or no advent calendar?
Yes, yes, yes. My Grandma always gives me one. This year It's Peppa Pig. Yes I am a mature, adult member of society!

10. Do you leave a snack out for Santa and his reindeer?
Not any more. I'm usually out late on Christmas Eve and fall into bed so leaving a snack is not high on my agenda and with no small children in the house it's not a necessity.

11. How does Santa get into your house?
No idea, you'd have to ask him. He is magic after all!

12. Mince Pies, yay or nay?
Only when warmed slightly and with a good dollop of cream.

13. Snowballs, eggnog or mulled wine?
None of the above. I'm not a massive drinker and none of these tickle my fancy.

14. What scents remind you of Christmas?
Cinnamon, gingerbread, mulled wine, pine, chocolate orange.

15. How do you spend Christmas Day?
Get up (a little bit later than I used to) and find my stocking. Then go downstairs and unwrap pressies. Create a random outfit from gifted clothing and dress in this. Eat breakfast (anything goes on Christmas day right?) and then travel to my Grandmas. We usually have a hot chocolate whilst opening presents from the rest of my family. Then back home for dinner, crackers etc. In the afternoon we usually have a chill in front of the TV for a while and then catch the sunset whilst all walking the dog.

Thanks Danielle. Feel free to give this tag a go.
Kate x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Little Things: Seven

This week has been pretty grim. I've been feeling under the weather for the past 3 weeks and lost my voice for 3 days (special to my boss for laughing). Does anyone else get into a bit of a slump around this time of year? You supposed to be all excited for Christmas, but there's still 3 more days to work (yes I'm on a countdown). As I've lost my mojo a little this week I've really had to work hard to appreciate those little things that make you smile:
  • Having a parent tell you how much they appreciate what you're doing and that their child is loving your gymnastics club. 
  • Taking the time to have lunch with my Grandma. A warm bacon and cheese toastie served with a hot chocolate was just what I needed when the weather was dull and grey and I was snuffly. 
  • Spending Saturday evening baking gingerbread men, women and ningas with 2 of my best friends. I am the proud own of a range of gingerbread cutters and we made full use of them. With the gingery smell still lingering we snuggled under a duvet to munch our way through our makings. A simple Christmassy evening with lovely company.
  • The small kindness of a Christmas card. The effort of hand writing in your best handwriting, using a special pen (bonus points for gold or silver). The crooked handwriting of a child. In a digital world we can forget the importance of putting pen to paper and sending a card to those we love.
  • A wonderful sunset as I finished my shopping on Sunday evening. Driving home whilst taking sneaky peeks at the beautiful pinks and orange slashes across the sky was such a beautiful way to end the day.
  • Having a friend send me the recipe to a hot toddy because he knew how ill I was. That's all it said just a recipe and no explanation, but I really appreciated it!
What has kept you going this week? And do you have any magical cures for losing your mojo?

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Inspired by the Night Sky

This week I've been feeling ever so inspired and intrigued by the starry nights we've been having recently. I love how you can see so many stars from so very far away.  The other night I drove home and got out of my car to see the most amazing amount of stars. I love that you see some stars so brightly but on clear nights you can see all the twinkly, small stars too. Plus I saw my very first shooting star. It was very fast and my mum blinked and missed it, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't an airplane! When I get home from work every night it's dark. This used to get to me a little (I like my sunshine), but this week I've really been focusing on seeing those pretty little stars. This inspired me to take my stars with me everyday so I painted my nails with a dark blue undercoat and covered them in the prettiest bronze glitter.

My brother is studying photography and the last photo above is one of his. He's thinking about time and motion and is a little sneak peek into my very cold evening with sparklers and fire. They turned out really great and I look forward to showing you lot the rest. He really is talented, that boy!

What has been inspiring you recently?
Kate xx

Friday, 21 November 2014

#BloggersGroupHug 4

BloggersGroupHug is all about S.U.S, Support, Unity and Similarity. Read all about it here and join in.

This week Jade has given us the word CURRENTLY

Currently I have been feeling quite nostalgic. I’ve been looking back through old photos and listening to some of my favourite songs from my childhood. This is partly because I have just booked to see S Club 7 in their reunion tour (not excited at all). Then I came across 2 quotes that I wrote way back when I was 15. The first, my best friend made into this photo of us, or our fingers! I love the memories it conjures up and how relevant both quotes still are today.

"Give yourself time to notice those small things that if you run past, you may never see. But stroll a while and everywhere will come alive with detail."

Kate xx

Thursday, 13 November 2014

#BloggersGroupHug 3

BloggersGroupHug is all about S.U.S, Support, Unity and Similarity. Read all about it here and join in.

This week has given us the word STORY

We are all different. Lives made up of small experiences that are just as important as the milestones. Someone's favourite drink may remind them of the first time they drank it with a group of friends, curled up on a big double bed, sharing secrets after prom. Or the song that takes them back to a fabulous gig where friends performed it. Maybe the smell of a specific perfume that always reminds them of their Mum as she got ready to go out. These all add up to create a story, a life story that is individual to that person.

I'm loving the prompts Jade is giving us. It gives us a chance to be very creative. Can't wait for the roundup to see what everyone else has written.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What to do with a Bag of Leaves 2

This my latest foray into the arty world. I've always loved watercolours, from when I had my first set with the big blocks of paint which you whirled around so much they ended up having a hole in the centre of each colour. I'm by no means a proper watercolourist (is that even a word) and my very talented friend always tells me off for my technique. Probably because there isn't really a technique. More pop on the colour and see how it goes. The inspiration for these leaves came from the pile of leaves I collected in my handbag a week or so ago. Take a look at my other arty response here. I spent my Saturday evening snuggled up on the sofa with some comedy on the TV having a little dabble. Hope you like my response. As ever, you creative people, let me know how to improve.

Kate xx

Thursday, 6 November 2014

#BloggersGroupHug 2

BloggersGroupHug is all about S.U.S, Support, Unity and Similarity. Read all about it here and join in.

This week Jade has given us the word YEARS.

You wake up in January with the hangover of Christmas and New Year. You begrudgingly drag yourself out of bed into February. I open my presents before breakfast in March then open the door to a typical April shower. For me May sniffs of the work I trot off to and the exams I sat. The morning brightens in June and July until it’s time for a glorious lunch break and mini holiday that is August. September is the start again, back to work. As the gloom descends, October creeps in and November lights up the night sky. And as we snuggle up with December, we get ready to sleep, safe in the knowledge that we’ll do the same tomorrow or should that be next year?

Do take a look over at Jade's blog where she was kind enough to feature me in her roundup post last week. I love reading what everyone else writes based on the word so do link across.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

What to do with a bag of leaves 1

So as I was out walking the other week I ended up with a bag of leaves. Autumn is full of beautiful colours and I love the crunch of leaves under my feet. So now that I have all these leaves I decided I had to do something with them. Seeing as I also wanted to show more arty stuff around here I thought I'd start with a simple pencil drawing. Now this is my first drawing in about 3 years so it's nowhere near perfect and it didn't come out so well on the photo. But none the less here it is my first attempt to turn a bag of leaves into something creative.

Kate xx

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Worcester Adventures

Last Saturday I had a little adventure to Worcester. The main aim of the trip, which incidentally took over 5 hours on the train, was to look around the University and facilities. However after this was over we still had a couple of hours until  our train we decided to explore the city. Now I know there are many more obvious places in Worcester: the cathedral, the river Severn etc. However my passion as you know is cricket and knowing I could tick off seeing another county ground was an opportunity I couldn't miss. It was getting gloomy and the ground was completely empty. It felt sort of eerie. It reminded me of all the people who had played at the ground and inspired me. Every ground I go to inspires me. I want to do better in my own game, but as a coach it would mean the world to me if one of my players played on such a big stage one day. Yep I like to aim high! I loved seeing this old abandoned pavilion at the back of the ground. The history around these places always seems to overwhelm me.
 Then I saw this sign and got annoyed by the Ladies being shoved in their own pavilion. That happens to be the small rickety one in the centre of the photo below whereas in the right of this photo is the main pavilion. That there is great disparity in sport still, disappoints me
 After all this exploring we needed a warm up and sustenance before the long train journey back and this hot chocolate made me smile. The extra moment it took to make the design was well worth it because it brought a smile to my face. Thanks bearded cafe guy!

I love finding these places that bring back memories or exude their past. I have many more cricket grounds to get round! Do you have places you'd recommend that have this kind of atmosphere (even on a bleak grey day!)?

Kate xx

Monday, 3 November 2014

My Holiday

Although officially my holiday finishes now it feel like it was over 2 days ago with this weekend being so busy and work slipping it's way in. Saturday was a cross country train journey for a visit to Worcester today I have spent working (yep I thought I was on holiday too), so Friday felt like my last real day. My holiday has been just what I needed. I was starting to feel run down and a little all over the place so when some work got cancelled (yes that's the only reason I got a little break) I was more than relieved. I thought I'd share what I managed to pack in:

First was a day with my best friend. We hadn't really got any plans until the night before when we decided we might peruse the charity shops in nearby Bury St. Edmunds and have a picnic in the Abbey Gardens. This sounded like a beautiful plan. As you know, plans change though. The next morning she found out her Uni placement had fallen through and we ended up spending the morning on the phone trying to sort it out. We got it all sorted, but it was nice to be there for those crazy moments to help out. We then went out for the cheapest yummiest jacket potato ever at only 3 pounds 50! It was heaped with tuna mayo and came with a generous salad. Eating it outside whilst people watching made it even better.

For the next 2 days I relaxed! This sounds like an ordinary sentence, but for me this is a milestone. I'm always doing something and to just spend a few days watching TV, listening to music and eating is quite a revelation. I am guilty of wanting to be busy all of the time which has resulted in me not having time off since Easter. It was beginning to get to me and I never felt at my best. As I work with children I started to pick up any and every bug that was going around.

Then Thursday night I wrote a list. It was of all those little jobs that you never get around to but kind of wish you had time for. I then scheduled into my Friday and believe it or not I got them done. Which left a little time for a lovely wander with my dog Ben. I couldn't believe how warm it was and I feel like this might be the last bare legged day of the year. I still haven't quite got over all the beautiful colours so I came back with a bag overflowing with fallen leaves. Hopefully inspiring me to do a little something creative with them this week.

So now it's Monday morning and back to routine. I'm so glad I was able to have this time to rest and get myself ready for the next bash at life! Anyone had slightly more exciting holidays than me or just taken time to rest and recuperate.

Kate xx

Friday, 31 October 2014

Initial Doodling

The other evening I sat myself down with watercolours and coloured pencils. It had been a really long time since I'd taken the time to create something. So I thought I'd start simple. I just thought about lettering and decided to experiment with my initial. I first went for something quite formal and neat. But then I'm not a very neat person so this ended up a little lopsided! I then went for a natural look with entwining branches and leaves. After I'd finished painting this was the one I was least keen on, but I found that once I'd worked into it with different browns and greens it grew on me (see what I did there!). The last is definitely my favourite. The mix of colours really remind me of the autumnal colours outside, or the fire of the bonfire that I'm excited about going to on Sunday. I love the contrast of the black pattern over the top.

Do give me some feedback. From being away from art for a while and for some quick doodles (these took me less than half an hour) I'm very pleased with them, but they are in no way the finished article.

Kate xx

Monday, 27 October 2014

#BloggersGroupHug 1

A couple of weeks ago during a twitter Jade from Jasey Jade came up with the hashtag #BloggersGroupHug. From there it has run and here we are. Jade came up with a new series between bloggers. Here's what she has to say about it:

"The Bloggers Group Hug.
We are a Community, a Group. A group of people who are bloggers. 
We all blog but just in Different ways  because we are Individual Souls  with different interests 
but yet similar because we are bloggers. 

A Group Hug means to me: Support, Unity  & Similarity .

So the idea is that all of you who would like to participate, will receive One Word every week ( depends on how many bloggers will join). A word that you will have to describe in 100 words maximum. The description can be in a funny way, a deep way, unrealistic way, used in a short story or you can use pictures. It's up to you, because a word may come to you in a different way then it would to others, but yet you are writing like every other blogger out there .

So BloggersGroupHug is really all about showing:
Support  by excepting how every single one of you interpreted a word
Unity  by working together
Similarity by doing the same thing, writing and also *maybe* show similarity in your answers"

The first word we were given was HUG and here is my response:

Did you know the average hug is only 3 seconds long? I have no idea how someone came up with that statistic, but it seems an awfully short time to me. I suppose statistics don't tell you everything and this one certainly doesn't tell you the frequency in which people hug or indeed why. A hug can be a greeting, a goodbye, something that says I'm here for you. It makes me think of love and comfort, warmth and safety. It creates a connection between people you know well or may just have met. Hugs, however long, are important.

I look forward to reading what everyone else has written so if you are joining in please your link.
You can read more about it here

Kate xx

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Looking forward to...

Autumn is really here now and there's lots going on. I hope everyone is well and we can keep up with each other through the business! Sometimes there are just some many exciting things in your life and you can't wait for them to all happen at once. I thought I'd share some of the things I'm really looking forward to right now.

6 days off in a row! Can I just reiterate that this pleasure has not been mine since Easter time and I will be making the most of them. The volume of work I've done recently has left little time for me. I will spending it relaxing, catching up with sleep and doing lots of things for me. I've been feeling a little run down the last couple of weeks so lots of rest and being able to choose what I want to do will be fantastic.

A spontaneous day. Me and one of my best friends have a day booked in to do something. We have no idea what that thing might be yet and that's what I love. I'm excited to jump in the car and go somewhere. I know that wherever we go will involve a good consumption of yummy food and much laughter.

Fireworks. This year one of the teams I coach are having a fireworks get-together and awards evening. I will be like a proud mumma whilst watching the kids I coach get their awards and with hot dogs and bowls of soup on offer we shall gather around a bonfire and watch fireworks. It sounds like a perfect evening. I must remember to bundle up nice and warm.

A trip to London. Ever since my friend moved in to her new flat in London I've been itching for a weekend down there. I will be catching the train down at the end of November which is just perfect as we plan lots of Christmassy activities, plus an afternoon tea of course. I'm so excited for mulled wine, decoration buying and any other Christmassy things we can think of. (holler if you have ideas London people?).

I am starting to teach my first Arts Award class. I love the concept of Arts Award which is to get all children involved in all forms of art and give them the opportunity to explore and develop to their own potential. I will be basing it around dance and look forward to it so much!

Second training session tonight. I've signed up to train with a new cricket team. It's a ladies team which is something I'm really looking forward to I have played with girls since I was 14. I went a couple of weeks ago for the first time and the ladies made me feel so welcome that I have been looking forward to going so much. Unfortunately it's only every other week so I'm also looking to do some other new exercise in between. Again suggestions very welcome, I especially want to work on core strength.

What are you looking forward to in the very short term or maybe a little further afield?
Kate xx

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Autumnal Sunday Strolls

After a day snuggled under a duvet regretting a not so great curry I decided it was time to get out into the air. I must say I felt so much better for some fresh air and a roam around the countryside. I took my brother and our dog and it was lovely to have a bit of time catching up with him too. Sometimes you forget that where you live is actually very beautiful. Because we see it every day, we become slightly immune. I looked through these photos and couldn't believe the colours. I love the golden light of the evening that sneaks around the trees creating dappled shadows. The oranges, greens, reds and browns of the leaves as they fall to the ground. There were so many more photos I could have shown you and it was such a hard choice which to showcase. The light was drawing in as we walked home having walked further than expected, but what a gorgeous sunset to finish the walk with.

I wrapped up really warm in a charity shop denim shirt, the only jeans I've ever found that actually fit (they're from Tesco if you're interested) and a cute cherry print scarf. And last but not least I have my massive woolen cardi. My Grandma knitted me this 2 years ago and I love it. My friends have nicknamed it the "sheep jumper" and it's so warm and snuggly. Perfect autumn wear.

Kate xx

P.s. excuse the poor photo quality on the last photo. But the colours were so pretty and skipping down the road is always a good thing!