Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #17

It's now been 2 weeks since the last Wonderful Wednesday post. Where on earth has that time gone? The weeks are seeming to fly by recently. Last week was a bit of a rubbish one. My period came with a vengeance and all I could do was nap whilst cuddling a hot water to myself. A couple of weeks ago I spoke about how I was able to read in the little pockets of time between work. Well last week they were dedicated to half hour power naps that left me groggy, but at least I could do stuff without feeling my eye lids drooping continuously. Whilst I'm over the pain and the worst of the tiredness, I still feel like I need a bit of a boost to get me through the week. I'm missing that special something that throws you out of bed in the morning and into the day.

All that above is the reason why last week you didn't get a dose of Wonderful Wednesday around here. This week I have got you a bumper edition with lots and lots of smile making things.

1. The smell of Honeysuckle. As you walk up the path to my front door you are sheltered by a large cherry blossom tree. Several times I have wax lyrical about blossom this Spring, but today I will tell you about the honeysuckle that winds itself around the tree. I will tell you about warm evenings walking up the path to the fragrant wafts of honeysuckle.

2. Stopping. This week may have been over in a rush, but I have been taking moments of stillness too. Stopping to watch the sunset. Stopping to taste my sandwich rather than shoving it in my mouth on the move. Stopping to listen to the birds sing in the morning.

3. Eurovision. Every year my friend hosts a Eurovision party. She takes it very seriously: A chart has to be made and each country gets marks in different categories. We ate pizza and kept up a running commentary on the acts to rival Graham Norton. A lovely evening giggling with friends.

4. Swathes of Lilac. Lilac seems to be the colour of the moment. Hedgerows have suddenly come alive with the palest of purple blooms. Houses seem to be covered with dripping bunches of wisteria. I love how as the seasons change I see a different colour pop out. There always seems to be one colour I am drawn to.

5.  Wedding invites. I got the invite for my first proper (I'm an adult now and one of my friends in getting married) wedding. I'm super excited and happy for Claire and Tilley and can't wait to share their day with them. Is this another step on the road to being an adult because it sure feels like it?

6. Cuddles with Ben. That fluffy creature is sure to give you some love even if you are feeling low. Something about his warm coming to sit next to you and demanding to be stroked makes you feel better.

7.  One week until tour. In less than a week, I embark on a 3 day journey with 12 15 year old girls. We will play cricket, go to the beach, eat fish and chips, have ice creams, hope to have some sleep and have so much fun. I'm so excited, but really nervous. This is the first trip I have organised completely on my own so I'm anxious that it all runs smoothly. However this week when the shirts and trophies arrived I realise we are going to have such a good time.

8. The best carrot cake. Yesterday I had a lunch meeting, but everyone decided we would just have cake (can't beat cake people)! I chose a giant slice of carrot cake. It was chocobloc with nuts and fruit and had such a lovely creamy cheese icing. Made a boring meeting 20 times better.

Whilst this week hasn't been the big things. I think it's still important to find the little things that are positive and making you happy. When everything doesn't feel so great picking out the good does lift your mood. For more goodies that are sure to make you smile go and read the rest of the gang's posts:SallyMichelleJoEmmaHelenCat and Katie. Or get involved on twitter with #WonderfulWednesday.

Kate xx

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Influence of One Photo

Ever since I can remember I have hated having my photo taken. I would hide in the back of a group or behind someone to avoid being the photo. I would make an excuse to go and be helpful just as the cameras came out.

I didn't have many photos of myself because every single one I have pored over and decided I didn't like. I'd had ingrained that I wasn't pretty

Also the photos didn't look like what I thought I looked like in my head. In my head I was more confident. I swished and swooshed my hair. Instead the photos looked limp and lifeless. I never truly looked happy, like I was either trying too hard or not a trace of a smile.

I notice every single imperfection. How my skin isn't perfect or my eyes crinkle when I smile. The odd front tooth that is slightly longer than the other. The fact that my hair is frizzy and doesn't sit smooth. I was drawn to these points and saw nothing else.

I also had the thought that by taking my own photo I was vain. That if I took a selfie then people would think I was too keen. Too happy with myself and what I looked like. I thought I would be crushed if I uploaded a photo and not a single person liked it. It would confirm every bothering voice in my head that said I didn't look good.

When I look at other people's photos I don't over analyse. I look for happiness and I look for beauty, but I find it often. I find it in a clear photo. I find it in laughter. I find it in almost every photo I see. I find it in the quirks that make them individual, which are often the things we over analyse in ourselves.

Then I took this photo. It was a combination of the sunshine and loving my freckles, but I took it. And since I haven't been able to stop looking at it. I'm looking at it like it's someone else's photo. A photo of a girl I know. And she's beautiful! I know because people told me. I know because I believe it.

For the first time in a good long time I do believe that. Maybe the likes and the comments helped. The first ones made me cry just a little. Because I'm not sure the last time I was described as beautiful. Maybe I shouldn't be placing worth on a couple of likes, but I think it is more than that. I can't stop staring at this photo. Yes it's me and I'm beautiful and I will not pick at anything about this photo.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #16

This week I came to the realisation that I am happy. I am content with my life right now and where I'm heading. This seems to me like a massive realisation. It crept up on me and smacked me in the face and has left me smiling most of the week. To be honest after the winter I had which was all a bit rubbish, this spring feels like a lot of new beginnings. New beginnings and getting my head back in the game.

I know I'm happy because I can be alone. That sounds strange, but I can just sit and feel contented. My thoughts don't suddenly stress over a little detail whenever I sit quietly. I am able to fully concentrate on little details of my everyday life without getting distracted by big existential questions. And WOW, the world is wonderful if you take the time to notice those little good bits.

Without further gushiness let's get on with those wonderful bits of the week:

1. Sleep. I know I'm feeling well when I sleep as soon as the head hits the pillow. When I've had a tiring but great day because my eye lids start drooping early and I pack in a good lot of sleep ready to wake early the next day for more. I don't have that whizzing turmoil of thoughts just complete blankness and contentness. This week has been made even better by a window open as I all asleep listening to the rain. If I don't sleep enough I am grouchy so getting at least 8 hours is so important to me.

2. Monday morning off. I spent my morning off in bed. I read some blogs, I had the window open and I ate nutella and banana on toast. The air was warm and just a smidgen of breeze came through the window. I watched out to see a great tit going about its business. Flying its way from floor to the roof stopping to pick at the cherry blossom petals that are creating a pinkish carpet. A simple, lovely moment.

3. Fruit. As the weather turns warmer I want to snack and not eat heavy meals. This can easily mean grazing on lots of crisps and chocolate. However I have been packing myself up a range of fruits. A pot of strawberries, a banana and raspberries with yoghurt. When the weather is good I seem drawn to fruit and lighter things to eat.

4. Evenings outside. Sitting on a rug as the air cools, chatting about anything and everything with new people. Eating ice cream as soon as you get home to cool down. Having time to train outside in the evenings. Time for dog walks to explore new places. Evening drives with the windows down and singing my heart out.

5. Spending time with my Mum. I still live at home so I see my mum every single day, but sometimes it's nice to be able to actually spend time together. On Saturday night we took ourselves out for a meal and had time to chat. We went to a pub a few villages away and I had the most ginormous plate of goodness. Southern fried chicken, topped with pulled pork, bacon and cheese. Served with onion rings and sweet potato fries. Even after that mountain of food we of course still had room for a chocolate and caramel fudge cake with salted caramel ice cream - even if we did have to have a little break! I also bumped into an old collegue from one of the schools I used to work in. It was lovely to catch up and keep in contact with her.

6. Sunshine!!! I can't believe I left this one until last, because it's making me feel all sorts of happy. My freckles have come out in spades and skin is turning a golden colour. Doesn't everything feel that much better when the sun is out? This week the weather has been gorgeous and having a job outside has been the best thing. I've been sporting my shorts and even bothered to shave my legs (the feel so smooth - I need to get out more).

What has made your week that little bit special? I hope you are feeling happy and contented this week. Let me know in the comments or on twitter (appreciate_day) with #WonderfulWednesday. For more Wonderful Wednesday goodness do go and read the rest of the gang's posts:SallyMichelleJoEmmaHelenCat and Katie. They are sure to put a smile on your face.

Kate xx

Monday, 9 May 2016

Sunny Sundays

Yesterday was a long, hot, enjoyable day.

I spent hours in the sun coaching different teams at the lovely ground in the top photo. This is a ground I've never been to before and it's great to be able to travel around the area finding new places. The villages in the surrounding area were so pretty, with thatched colourful houses. My players worked really hard despite the heat and it was enjoyable, but hard work!

I then moved on to another ground and helped coach at a match. Again outside in the heat, the players were disappointed with their performance, but such is sport. Some days go your way and others you learn and improve.

After spending all day in the sun and reapplying sun cream liberally (I will not turn into a tomato again this year!) I sat down for the first time that day and chatted. I coached the second half of the day with my best friend. We were both pretty disappointed and talked through lots of stuff about the game. We share a common goal of caring deeply about the players and wanting the best of them.

As the sun slowly grew more golden it was time to head home. I love to drive on summery evenings. I have the windows open and the cooling breeze makes me feel refreshed. As someone cut their grass that summery smell wafted through my window, as did someone's BBQ. There's always music turned up in my car but singing along to Heart's All Eighties was perfect for a Sunday night.

I know my way back, but thought I would take a shortcut as I saw a sign to where I needed to be. Turns out, it definitely was not a short cut, but it took me some really pretty villages. Places I'd never been before and had it not been nearly 8pm I would have stopped to explore further. My stomach was also telling me to get a move on as you don't get time to stop when coaching.

However I had to stop at this wood. It's so close to one of my favourite grounds, but unfortunately that was locked when I arrived. The ground is in a clearing in the middle of this wood and is a beautiful place to play. The dappled sunshine, with its golden glow, made me stand and look at the details. The things we gloss over everyday. Don't we live in such a beautiful place!?

My weekends are full of cricket. My job doesn't finish at 5pm on a Friday. But I was having a conversation yesterday about how important having a job you love is because it's a long life if you are waiting for 5pm. I'm incredibly lucky to do something I love.

Kate xx

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Wonderful Wednesday #15

Hello all, I hope you are having a pretty marvellous midweek. This week has been mega quick. You know those weeks that rush by in a blink of an eye and you wonder how on earth you crammed so much in? Well this week has been one of those. A happy, busy week. Which makes it all the much sweeter to look back and svour the moments of greatness.

Without anymore faffing, let's get this Wonderful Wednesday show on the road:

1. Sunsets. I know I harp on about sunsets for most of my life, but I think this one might be the most special. Let me set the scene: I was coaching in the evening and we were caught by surprise by a massive storm. One that comes quickly and absolutely drenches you to the skin. Everything was soggy and wet, but as soon as the rain had gone the players were ready to go out and train again (love their enthusiasm). On the drive home I was pretty cold, wet and tired, but then I was greeted by this sight! Isn't it ruddy marvellous? For good measure I'm now going to share a few more, because I just had to stop and take a minute to stare at the beauty. Sometimes the world takes me aback by its beauty.

2. Laughs. Laughing so hard that you have to stop because your stomach hurts. When you're convinced that laughing counts as cardio. When laughing becomes contagious because when you finally get over it someone else starts with another giggle and sets everyone off again. This week I went to see Romesh Ranganathan with some friends and he was very good. Hilarious, but down to earth. Relatable with so many of his jokes. A couple of hours where the main purpose of the event is to laugh has to be good for the soul. Laughter really is a wonderful medicine.

3. Good food, good friends. Saturday night saw a group of us go out for a meal. It had been weeks since we had seen each other, so it was time for catch ups and good food. With a big plate of lasagne, chips and garlic bread in front of me we chatted for hours and finished all off with a chocolate brownie sundae.

4. Midnight chats. Those chats where neither of you want to leave so you continue to talk about anything and everything. Where the most real and honest things get said, because somehow it's easier to say it in the dark. Through speech you are cso close to the other person. Bonding in the moonlight.

5. A wonderful lazy day. This bank holiday really crept up on me. I had loads of work booked in until I had to rearrange it all because everyone forgot it was bank holiday. It felt like a real bonus to me so obviously I used it wisely. I watched reruns of the Great British Bake Off and ate fudge. Homemade buttery fudge that just melts on your tongue.

6. Literacy test passed! I've done it. I've passed all the tests needed to get into university. Appart from a bit of form filling, I'm well on my way to uni. It feels weird. I'm so excited, but apprehensive at the same time. The literacy was definitely harder than the maths so I got myself in a bit of a state about it, but thankfully all went smoothly. Every little milestone takes me a little closer and I'm looking forward to it so much.

What has been making your week that extra special? Have you got some gorgeous sunset photos for me? Let me know in the comments or tweet me at appreciate_day using the #WonderfulWednesday.  Make sure you check out the rest of the Wonderful Wednesday gang: SallyMichelleJoEmmaHelenCat and Katie. Their lists of great stuff never fail to make me smile. I love the happiness and positivity.

Kate xx