Monday, 9 November 2015

I want to grow up... Happy

When I was in sixth form we regularly hosted dress up days for charities. One that sticks in my head vividly had the theme of what you want to be when you grow up.

To be honest at that age I had no idea what job I wanted to have when I was older, but I knew one thing. I wanted to be happy in whatever I was doing. I didn't want to persue something that didn't make me jump out of bed. I wanted to feel excited about going to work. I also knew that work wasn't the be all and end all. The life I saw for future me wasn't just about work, it was about life. I wanted a lifestyle that would make me happy not just a job. Life is about family, friends, experiences, hobbies, interests and so much more as well as work.

So I chose to customise a tshirt. I drew a massive smiley face on it because when I grew up I wanted to be HAPPY!

At sixth form that day, so many professions were covered. There were farmers, vet and doctors. My friend dressed up as a magician. But I was singled out that day by teachers. I was asked what on earth I'd dressed up as. Yes, maybe it wasn't clear. I explained. Once I had told them, I was told it wasn't a valid aspiration. Asked what I really wanted to do, as if happiness wasn't enough, that it couldn't possibly just have the that as an ambition. That my ambitions should be higher and further than just being happy. I was told I need to find a career. I needed to choose I job that was academic. That wanting to be happy wouldn't get me anywhere in life. 

Is this the message we want to giving to children? That academia is worth more than someone's happiness. That being seen to be 'successful' in a job is more important that emotional wellbeing.

Don't misunderstand. I have a job I love and am passionate about progressing and improving, but I won't be doing that at the expense of my own happiness.

Kate xx

Friday, 6 November 2015


When life gets crazy and pressures build up I always take myself to the beach. It calms me. Maybe it's the assurance that whatever happens in life, waves will come in and out. They will still crash into the sand, drawing pebbles back into it's depths. I look out to the sea and see the white topped waves crashing closer and my troubles seem to wash out with them. As the waves break onto the shore they also break into my thoughts. Swirling them round and taking them away until the sounds of the lapping lulls me to calmness.

It could be the enormity of looking out to sea. I am so lucky to be able to look out onto the North Sea. I know that the next land is France. In relation to the forces, power and magnitude of the sea my problems and worries seem insignificant. I am a small dot on the surface of the world. I think it's the feeling that you are not the centre of things. It's a place to get lost in whilst staying still.

When I stare out to sea I feel my mind is blank. This is good. It means I'm not worrying or pressured, I'm just me.

I think it's important to find somewhere to be calm. Where's your place to be calm?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Sneek Peak in my Scrapbook 6

Today's sneek peak seems to have a lot more colour than last time and it definitely more simple. I think I was in the mood where I just wanted to get something down on the paper. To cover the whiteness with colours. To take away the blankness and give meaning. I like the use of negative space in the first. The last page includes a Haiku that I wrote. I have written a whole post with Haikus which you can find here. I find they are a short way of being creative that I can definitely finish!

How have you been creative recently?

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Edinburgh Adventures Part 3

On our last full day in Edinburgh we went to Holyrood Palace which is the Queen's official residence in Scotland. Included in admission price was an audio guide tour. This took us through the ornately decorated rooms of the palace. I found it helpful to have information on each room and there were even options to find out more. However it did feel a little like a zombie tour where every moved in silence not communicating with anyone else. It made it difficult to share the visit with others you were with.

Once we had been led through the palace with our audio guide it was time to explore the surrounding gardens and ruined Holyrood Abbey. The Abbey, as with the rest of the house was steeped in history and we took a moment to quietly contemplate the past here. Walking round reading the names on memorial stones always makes me think of the stories behind the names (see this post as I've been thinking a lot about this subject). Autumn has really set in now and the gardens were subtly colourful. Summer brings in your face colour whereas autumnal colour wows in a less obvious but just as stunning way and with Arthur's Seat as a backdrop it was a lovely way to finish our holiday.

I had a fabulous break in Edinburgh and break is the best term for it. I have been feeling run down and exhausted the last couple of weeks and a break was necessary. I always feel calmer and more myself away from the daily stresses of life and being able to do what I want in my own time.

Tell me about your last holiday...

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Everyone Has a Story

I've learned that everyone has a story. Depending on how much they trust you they might tell you their story. It might be someone you've only just met who decides to tell you their story. It may be that you have to slowly gain their trust before they tell you.

You may sit for long hours whilst they tell you all at once. You'll hold their eye contact and see the sorrow in their eyes. You'll need to hug them tight so they know someone cares. You'll hope that they never hurt as much ever again, but ultimately how much they hurt right now is out of your control. The want and need to help will keep you awake at night, but the only thing to do is be there. There are problems in the world that you cannot fix, but can make better.

There will be other people who will drip feed their story. A reference there, a clue here so you'll have to piece it together yourself. A jigsaw of memories that build up a bigger picture. Still one to keep you awake and working out the best version of the future.

However some people will never tell you their story. It's theirs to choose who to tell. Don't assume it means that person has nothing to tell. Every human has a fragility. The most outgoing of people may be hiding the biggest sorrow. Secrets are kept by everyone. We must be mindful of this in our relations with others. You don't know how others will react on the inside. People bottle stories and send them out into the sea of the mind, but some day the waves will wash back and you have to deal with them.

If they trust you with that story hold it close to you. It's a precious sign of confidence in your relationship. It will bring you closer, but value it wisely.

Everyone has a story you just may not know it yet.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Edinburgh Adventures: Part 2

Day 3 consisted of a visit to Edinburgh castle. There was lots to see from regimental museums to the great hall. As we went in it suggested it would take about 2 hours to see everything but we must have been there for nearly 6 hours! We managed to choose the best day for weather for our visit and the sun stayed out all day and we even got some great sunset shots as we left.

Some highlights of the castle were seeing the crown jewels of Scotland. There was a huge queue for these in the middle of the day, but when we got to them later in the day we walked straight in and were given plenty of time in the room to look at the impressive crown, sword and sceptre. There were views across the city. We looked across to Carlton Hill where we had been the day before. Before watches and clocks were common the citizens of Edinburgh used these two landmarks to tell the time. At 1pm a white ball fell on Carlton Hill and a gun was fired at the Castle. Whilst the ball no longer exists we were there at 1pm when the gun went off.

For lunch we just chose to eat cake because we were on holiday and you're allowed to! I can vouch for the yumminess of both the carrot cake and chocolate truffle muffin. As we left the sun began to set and by the time we had walked to Princes Street Gardens and looked back to the castle it was dark.

How stunning is Edinburgh? I loved my break here. Have you been? Please share your adventures.

Kate xx

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Sneek Peak into my Scrapbook 5

My scrapbook always seems to reflect how I feel at the time. I did these two pages a few weeks ago when I was feeling low. They seem busy and chaotic which is exactly how my brain felt. The colours reflected my mood which was dark. Although it documents a really difficult point in my life I actually like these pages for their layered effect. I will have these to look back on, when I'm feeling better.

Does your art reflect your moods?

Kate xx

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Edinburgh Adventures: Part 1

Last week I finally got a week off work. I'd been looking forward to it for months and it was time to give Mum her Christmas present (from last year). Ever since I can remember she has asked for a holiday to Scotland for birthday or Christmas so here we were. After a 7 hour train journey we were greeted by that sight of the castle lit up in blue and decided to grab ourselves a yummy Italian to eat then settle down in the hotel. To be quite honest I was disappointed by the hotel as it was very shabby and dated, but we were there spending time together and that was enough.

On day two we decided to take a walk up Carlton Hill. Despite a grey day it offered great views across the city. You can just about see the castle and Waverley station in this photo. After this (it seemed to be a day of free things) we made our way to The Stand comedy club. On a Sunday you can enjoy Stu and Gary's Free Improv Show. The clue is in the title really, it's free! We enjoyed  hours of stomach aching laughter for absolutely no money. I would hugely recommend it and the drinks were cheap too! Lots of audience participation to steer the show, but don't worry they aren't going to pick on anyone in the audience. It's absolutely your choice if you want to join or not. Having just eaten I can't vouch for it, but the food looked amazing and smelled even better.

So that was a Sunday well spent. Look out for the rest of our Edinburgh adventures. Have you been to Edinburgh? Do share your adventures too.

Kate xx

Friday, 30 October 2015

Of course I can change a wheel

Let's first talk about the fun part of yesterday's outing. Before I get full out ranty. 

Me and Mum spent the day pottering around the historic village of Dunwich. I had visited Dunwich as a child on a geography school trip. All I remembered about the trip and therefore the village was measuring the length of pebbles and throwing oranges into the sea. Maybe it was something to do with long shore drift, maybe my school was just weird! Anyway it had been years since either of us had been. 

We started our visit in a little cafe on the top of the hill called Dingle Hill tearooms. Here we had a lovely lunch surrounded by trees. It was so secluded and enclosed that you could have been anywhere. After warming myself on toasted sandwiches and the thickest hot chocolate ever, we decided to wrap up and walk along the coast. It was blinking windy and a bit of a grey day, but the red boats along the shore gave welcome colour. This was once a major port, but much of the town has fallen into the sea. It's said that you can still hear the bells of the church toll from the seabed!

After a bracing walk we were ready to stick the heating of the car right up and warm up. However when we got back to the car we found we had a flat tyre. Bit of a nuisance, but both of us are more than capable of changing it. So we got on with it. That is until a middle aged man decided to come to our rescue! He stood as we worked. Literally just stood there watching. Commenting every 2 minutes with gems such as 'My wife would even know how to find the spare tyre' and 'Wow I didn't think you were going to be able to undo that'. And did not help once. But we didn't need him to. Before I was able to drive I was able to change a tyre. I have always been independent and do not need others to help me. It was the blatant fact that he didn't believe I could do it that annoyed me. Yes there will be some women that don't know or can't change and tyre, but I willing to bet some men can't either. Just because I am a young female does mean I am not capable of changing a tyre. Then once we'd done he sulked off with the passing words of 'My wife won't be impressed that I just stood watching'.

So we successfully ate lunch, had a walk and changed a tyre. Have you been in a situation where you are perfectly capable and someone doesn't believe you can?

Kate xx

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Sunset Moments

It has been almost a month since I frequented my little blog. Much has gone on and summer seems to go by in a flash. Summer for me equals busy busy busy days followed by cramming as much into the evenings as possible.

Therefore when I saw a barn owl swooping across my path as I journeyed home I took it as any opportunity to stop and take a moment to chill out. Barn owls are one of my favourite birds. Their ghostly white form can be found soaring over the meadows at this time of year. I was coming home at 9pm as the sun was setting and sat mesmerised by such a beautiful creature

Although the barn owl left after only a few minutes I stayed a while longer. Drinking in the wonderful colours of the sky as the sun dipped lower. A warm evening allowed me to sit amongst the tall grasses and wild dog roses to ponder life.

The roses reminded me it is summer, which the earlier downpour and chilly start to the evening had me doubting. However the hedgerows are full of wonderful wild flowers. I honestly could have stayed their all evening.

I like to take a moment out of a busy schedule to appreciate the beauty all around us. What has had you smiling this week?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Using my Driving Time Creatively

I spend a lot of time in the car. I travel a lot of for work. Most of the time I listen to music, but this week I've quite reflective. My head has been composing Haikus. Short poems of 3 lines. The first has 5 syllables, then 7 and then we're back to 5. I like the short format. I'm so bad at starting a project and then never getting around to finishing it. But even I can manage 3 lines! I like how it can capture a snapshot and you have to chose the words wisely. The following are all separate little poems depicting moments and people in my life.

Wish I could help you
so close, but thoughts so distant
breaking from within.

Things mount up too quick
little moments make life hard
and a rant spills out.

Both curled up in bed
sharing secrets in the dark
words never see light.

Honest thoughts waiting
you've given me a window
I let in the breeze.

He's ever watchful
regarding a passerby
eyes trained to their moves.

Little bit of him
same mannerisms, a book
that is a present.

Have you ever tried your hand at poetry?
Kate xx

Friday, 15 May 2015

Sneak Peek into my Scrapbook 4

Today is a colourful one. This week I have been looking out for those positive moments in life. The moments where you just have  to breath because your insides are all warm and fluffy. Because sometimes your insides can just be a bit grey and dreary. Nothing spectacular happens and you're just bobbing along. Feeling a bit "meh" about life. This week I've really tried to cheer myself up and find all these positive to turn my life from grey to technicolour.

The top quote I found in a little book gifted to me by a friend. It's a book of happiness and has many quotes and sayings that perk me up. This one jumped out at me. I really hope I bring a little sunshine into others lives so a little rubbing off on me wouldn't go amiss. It even warranted a page in my scrapbook.

The second page was done whilst my mind wandered. I scribbled mindlessly and painted without too much thought. It was calming to add random colours and patterns to the piece. I had time to think and create in my head.

What colourful moments have been brightening your week?
Kate xx

Monday, 4 May 2015

A Dose of Orange

I have to say orange is not my favourite colour. It's a little bit brash and in your face for me, but when I sat down I seemed drawn to it. It seemed like Spring may have got into my bones and made me want to use all the different bright, warm colours. The top double spread is a real layering up of different bits and bobs. There's some printing, watercolour, acrylic and some doodling over the top. I did my background with all the warm colours and then decided it needed a contrast. So low and behold we got bright blue circles which I instantly disliked. So I can back to it and added the doodlings and I think I can just about handle the circles now!

Can we just have a quick shout out for the wonderful Spring flowers that we have right now? We have bluebells, primroses, daisies and my depicted tulips. The riot of colour that they bring really makes me smile even just for the split second that I drive by.

I love how every time I sit down with my sketchbook I find myself forming s theme to my work. Do you feel drawn to a particular colour dependent on the weather, time of day or even mood you are in?

Kate xx

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Little Things Mounting Up

Little things have mounted up into a whole pile of stressy things recently. Work has been completely non stop. I literally can't remember the last time I had a day off and I'm not in much before 10pm most days. All this has culminated in a no sleep, eating random things at random times, grumpy kind of Kate. I don't like it at all. Last Saturday I was watching a film with friends and I just started crying. Baring in mind this was a comedy, I had no clue why tears were rushing down my face. An hour later with my best friend holding my hand and with me in full process of ugly crying, I could not stop myself. Much as I tried my body was shaking and I could not calm down.

This has left me down for the last week. Irritable and non motivated.

So I give you, a list of things I'm trying to do to make sure I'm feeling more myself:

  1. Get enough sleep! This sounds simple, but I'm a monster without sleep. If I don't get my 8 hours, I've started trying to fit in a nap around work or at least take some time out to just have a lay down and rest. My work hours are so random that this works a little easier than trying to fit in a long sleep sometimes.
  2. Make sure I have breakfast. I get hangry! Don't we all? So starting off the day right is important. Even if I just grab a cereal bar as I run out of the door (because I've been trying to maximise my sleep) it's got to be something.
  3. Have snacks, will eat. I'm always packing a couple of snacks with me. Then if I miss out on a meal (with my ever changing schedule this does happen) I can still keep up my energy levels.
  4. Try to let some things slide. I cannot be everywhere and helping everyone, much as I'd love to. Therefore some things are having to take a back seat so that I can get myself pepped up again 

Basically I just need to look after myself a little more. If anyone has any advice please do let me know, because not feeling myself doesn't feel great.
Kate xx

Monday, 16 March 2015

Why I've never hidden my scars

Some scars are internal and not so easily seen, but today I'm not being quite so metaphorical. Today I'm talking about an illness that nearly took my life and left me covered in scars.

When I was little I had meningitis. I was 3 and was a healthy child. Until one day that changed our lives. My parents have told me stories of that day and I am in awe of how fast things can change and how strong they were. So here is the story from the beginning.

That day I had a fever and was covered in red marks. My mum thought it was chicken pox as it was going around and rung a family friend who happened to be a nurse to confirm. No one really knew what the test for meningitis was just that there was something about a glass involved. I started getting more and more ill and was taken to an emergency doctors.

When we arrived the doctor immediately diagnosed meningitis and called an ambulance. I was going straight to hospital. My mum, very heavily pregnant at the time, came with me and I was balanced on her as we laid in the ambulance. She said the experience was very weird with the blue lights flashing and the speeds she had no idea where we were. Not to mention the small ceiling height windows that only allowed her to see the large mast on the way there.

Once we got to the hospital it was all systems go and I was very quickly transferred to Great Ormond Street. I was in intensive care, being helped to breath and sedated. It must of been so hard for my parents. In the space of a couple of hours I was in a critical condition and there was a moment when my Dad just had to walk away from my bedside. He thought I was going to die. That day he decided he would name the lorry we were renovating at the time "Kate". For a man who is not usually emotional, when I read this I weep everytime.

So here I am 17 years on. I spent 7 weeks in hospital. I have scarring across both legs. Sometimes people stare but I don't care...

Because I am lucky: I have no lasting damage, I can use all my limbs. I have no brain damage at all. That illness didn't get me. Those scars show what a little fighter I was aged 3. I healed every single piece of skin without plastic surgery. So I wear what I like: shorts and skirts in the summer. And when people ask or stare I explain, (Although my friend did start the rumour that I'd been attacked by a shark for a while!).

Some are not so lucky, but with early diagnosis deaths and disabilities can be prevented.
Symptoms include:
A rash that does not fade under pressure from a glass
Fever, with cold hands and feet
Drowsy and difficult to wake
Severe muscle pain
Severe headache
Dislike of bright lights
Confusion / irritability
Stiff Neck
Convulsions and seizures

For anymore information take a look on the Meningitis Now website. Acting quickly and knowing these signs could save someone's life!

Kate xx

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Sneak Peek into my Scrapbook 3

The paints are out again and this week watercolours seemed to be shouting at me. So I thought back to those primary school days of wax resist techniques and tried to recreate it. First I wasn't pressing hard enough with the white wax crayon so the wax resist is very faint in the first page. Therefore I decided to jazz up the page with some printing and a little red biro doodling. The second attempt was a lot more distinct and I was happy with the colour contrast with the deep purple. I can't decide whether I want to leave it nice and simple or stand working into that page. And then a stylised purple flower to finish.

What sort of creative loveliness have you been up to this week?
Kate xx

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Snow Musings

Recently I've been taking more time out of the day and just writing. Sitting down and letting the words tumble out of me. Whilst the weather back at the beginning of the month was being less than pleasant, I curled myself up, peered out of the window and the result is this little passage:

It started in the afternoon. From out of the window a snowflake caught my eye and suddenly a flurry started. There was no warning to its beginnings, but once the first flake had fallen the symptoms came suddenly. The sky turned a white-grey tone and the flakes were blending in as they fell. Until they fell quite obviously, freckling every surface. They then blend back into anonymity as the blanket forms. No single flake can take responsibility, but all together they have changed the look of the world. As darkness falls I am still gazing out of the window into a blue hued world. A dusting of icing sugar punctuated only by the warm orange car headlights infrequently making their slow progress.

It reminds me of a quote I once read

"A single raindrop never felt responsible for the flood"

Kate xx

Saturday, 28 February 2015

#BloggersGroupHug 18

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 MISTAKE.

Do we learn more from our successes or our perceived failures?

As a coach, I have always encouraged those I work with to experiment, to make mistakes in a supported safe environment. Because it is through these mistakes that we learn what is right for us. Through those mistakes we learn to change and improve. Yes, sometimes we fail, but it’s the way we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and quietly try again that shows great power and success.

Kate xx 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Sneak Peek into my Scrapbook 2

Last week was half term and I got a chance to really wind down and take some time to doodle and make a mess in my scrapbook. Those 3 days sat curled up with my paints have really refreshed me. I was able to think a lot about me and not about work. It has bridged it's way into this week and I feel like I've sailed through these past couple of days. So as it was recently Valentine's Day love, hearts and pink seem to have featured quite a lot. This is not deliberate by any shadow of doubt. Simply I go with whatever I'm feeling at that moment. I grab the closest piece of paper and start working.

I love seeing other's art and scrapbooks as it gives me so much inspiration so if you've posted something similar do leave your link.

Kate xx

Monday, 16 February 2015

#BloggersGroupHug 17

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 TIME.

My friend recently sent me a link to an old oasis song. The lyrics “While we’re living, the dreams we have as children fade away” really resonated with both of us. He is nearing his 50th birthday and would like to be doing the things he always dreamed of and I’m just starting on the path of adult living. Both of us are chasing the dream of our future and we mustn’t waste the time we have to do that. Time is precious and we should use it in pursuit of things we really want…
Otherwise it just fades away.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A Sneak Peek into my Scrapbook

The above scrapbook/journal pages were completely spontaneous. I sat down with my book and just started creating. They're not finished. They're not perfect, but they describe what was going on in my life right at these moments. I love when I can work completely instinctively. Without thinking I add some collage, some prints and ink without a thought of how the final image is going to arrive. I'm really happy with these 2 pages. The above shows how worried and under-confidenced (not a word, but I'm running with it) I was (maybe still am). The second feels like a clash between an order and chaotic existence. I'm currently looking for the perfect quote to sit in that box, so do give us a shout if you think you've got one.

I think I will be featuring a little more of my creativity and journaling and do share links to your posts with peeks into your journals. Who doesn't love looking at other's creative process?
Kate xx

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

#BloggersGroupHug 14

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 EIGHTEEN.

I turned eighteen nearly 2 years ago now and it seems like my world has changed so much since then. At eighteen I was burying my head in the sand. I had upcoming exams and no idea where I wanted to go after that. In the time since I have completed my cricket coaching qualifications, passed my driving test and had 2 jobs that I love. If you’d asked me then, I would have laughed at the thought of my job, but it pushes me harder than ever. I’m not shirking the responsibility. I have lots more heaped on me, but this time I’ve asked for it and want it.

Kate xx 

Friday, 23 January 2015

A Visit in the Depths of Winter

Today I paid a visit to my cricket club. A strange thing to do in the depths of winter, but as I drove past I felt an urge to turn in. A beautiful sight greeted me. The sun, still low in the sky, was bright and lit the ground up as if it was a a summer's day. If it wasn't for the frost that covered the grass, I could have been fooled by the clear, blue sky. I almost popped home for my cricket kit ready to start playing. The great chill stopped me in my tracks and I could see curls of steam rising from my warm car. The sun, though bright, was low on the horizon creating long shadows from those tall poplars that line the ground. It reminds me of the late summer evenings when I stood shaded by those same trees playing the game I love so much. Long ago that hive of activity: the sounds of bat on ball and excited fielders, chasing and encouraging. No banter flies around the field today. The world feels still and calm. Save for a couple of birds, the sky is unbroken by cloud and the silence is broken only be their song. As I sit at the edge of the deserted field, I remember that before long the frost will melt away and the sun will rise high the sky ready for another cricketing season.
Kate xx