Friday, 4 October 2013

The Joy of Animals

It's the beginning of October and it's safe to say it's the start of my favourite few months. As much I love summer, once you feel those nights draw in, you are ready to say your goodbyes to a warm, festival season and welcome autumn with open arms! Why? Well who doesn't love sitting next to a blazing fire in a house that smells of cherries and honey; drinking hot chocolate and adorned in knitwear, fur lined boots and hats!? 

October is the season of pumpkins, fireworks, mulled cider, frights and forest splendour with its rich, vibrant colours of gold, red and green. The falling leaves make beautiful cushions streaming through parks and a fresh, misty air surrounds us. I love love it! This said, the chill of winter is on the horizon where the skies appear greyer and a time of reflection comes to the fore. 
       These colder months always fill me with excitement for upcoming festive events, which are evidently a big thing for me: Joy of Christmas It is even more so exciting now I have my beautiful Mr KB to join with me :-)
With autumnal reflection close to mind, the season also encompasses sadness for me. I'm 100% an animal lover and am a happy furry baby mummy to two pets. I love cats (crazy cat ladies unite!) and in 2009 I adopted a gorgeous black boy: Billy. However, last October my precious one sadly passed away at aged 3. It was sudden, acute and terrible. Not a period I like to relieve, and like many tragic events, they end up in a box in my mind. He began sneezing and looking 'off colour'. Numerous visits to the vet and money spent on treatment & suchlike, an illness was not determined! A few weeks later, he was rushed to an emergency vets whereby more money was spent. Eventually, I had to make the decision to euthanise him. Heartbreaking. He was like a child and so I endured grief for my loss.  
For those people out there that cannot comprehend why people grieve the loss of a cat.. I say try having one then you'll see! It's equivalent to any animal, or human for that matter. Everyone has a unique reaction to the death of a beloved pet. My reaction: unashamed crying. My family and I buried Billy in our front garden with his favourite toy. My father made a wooden cross for him and planted three rose bushes. I miss his loving, wild, hunting nature and mysterious 'black cat' mentality. 
       I couldn't live without my cat, thus, I had to fill the void.  Along comes Matilda (tilly). A beautiful little princess with an obscure, somewhat aloof, personality: now 1 & 3 months. I'm not sure how long you should wait to mourn until you get a new cat, but she doesn't replace him at all and I'm so glad I have her! 

Our family cat is Tabitha, a 16 year old tortie. She's lived with us for 9 years. She 'adopted' us in 2004. Like a stray she'd venture in our house for food, however, she wished to always stick around longer. She was a large lady! We in fact made a nest for her believing she was pregnant. Eventually, we found the owner who claimed we could have her as Tabitha wasn't a lap cat and she didn't like that. Shameful woman!! Well, a year on from losing Billy, we're pretty sure she's on her last legs as her organs are failing right now :-( 

I believe people like to nurture and care for pets like children.  They share our homes and we form bonds with them, they provide us with heart-lifting pleasure and in fact, they comfort us. Tabitha came to my family at a perfect time: First introductions She looked after me when I was at my most vulnerable and helpless self, giving me purpose, happiness, love and positivity. As ridiculous as this may sound to some, I'm grateful for her and losing her will be heart-wrenching. 
       Animals provide mental and emotional benefits. The release of endorphins when in the company of an animal improves mood, alertness and health. There's no wonder cats and dogs are brought to ill patients in hospitals or retirement homes. The joy they give humans is so simple; all they ask for is food, shelter, affection & play. Their unique characters provide hours of entertainment and aid companionship. 

A month ago I've added another creature to my home. A cutiepie, golden syrian hamster named Pippin. Again, he keeps an inner child's sense of amazement alive in me and lightens any darker moments I might have :-)

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Life Thus Far: an overview

This post will certainly be a snapshot of my life of late. What a bad, bad blogger I am! I have decided to have "Life thus far" as a little chapter series for when chaos kicks in :-) My consistency is shocking and I apologise as it's not great form, however, this hiatus is not out of want or intention as these last couple of months have featured a fair few events and I'll hone in on a couple!

Number One
I celebrated my degree finale with my graduation ball and ceremony.. Doing a social work degree has been one of the toughest things I've done (there's been a few!) and I'm so relieved it's over, yet wish I still hard more time to find the perfect career choices. I don't know if anyone can off some insight, but from doing such an intensive degree, it's difficult to adjust to "reality"- the whole looking for the best job possible, it's easy to lose hope in life sometimes. Social work is competitive. Some people are lucky and get something quickly; me, well I'm getting there bit by bit. I guess I'm not alone...

Number Two
This is my saddest event. One of my close friends, who've I've known for eight years, devastatingly passed away. I attended Fénian's funeral a week ago, and I'm still in grieving mode. I may or may not do an entire post about this tragedy, but it's still raw. Due to his young age, I've never had to endure such pain. We didn't always have time to see each other often as we were busy and lived in different areas..but I know I was one of his few friends who understood him. I'm definitely not sure on the correct way to grieve but I've put him in a little box in my head. But tears aren't far away; rest in peace.

Number Three
Due to my anxieties over relationships, it's been a while since I've had a fully fledged relationship (be it, flings here or there, as mentioned!), but my dating guy is now officially mine. Since March in fact. The strange thing is, coupledom doesn't feel like odd territory, I think when something is right, you feel content very quickly :-). I'm 26 in three months and have certainly been wanting commitment for a long time!  He's a year & 1/2 younger which is different :-) It's strange how many coupley things we've experienced. He must really like my company ha! We went camping in the English Riviera a few weeks ago- Torquay. So beautiful..
             So yes, I'm adjusting to this new happiness nicely; me being me, I can find a worry every so know, a niggle or annoyance that Mr KB has etcetc, but this contentment enhances every emotion and I love that! 

In a somewhat follow up from a previous post, I am beginning to feel certain of destiny/fate. I feel we forge our own direction/purpose in life, but I believe our paths are somewhat "written in the stars". Mr KB and I fit well, I can't fathom how similar our wavelengths are are; seven months ago, I was unaware that he even existed! It almost is like there's a fixed order in the universe, like you are meant to meet someone. Furthermore, an individual can decide their fate through freewill, but there could be some things that are predetermined. Ahh I don't know, I could be talking crazy! But share some thoughts please if you have a belief on this said subject.  I shall love you and leave you with this picturesque picture, enjoy!

Brixham, Torquay

Monday, 1 July 2013

A question of Faith

I refer to myself as agnostic. Whereby, I am not sure I believe there is a God among us or not. If anything, I believe in spirituality; that there is a spiritual "force above" that guides our life's true destiny. To me, this is entirely separate to religion. In which, in reference to Christianity, I disagree with some concepts..going into no detail so to not offend, I hasten to add.      

This all being said, I was christened as a baby. My grandmother is fairly religious- more so in  her latter years so we are C of E children. However, my parents and intermediate family do not attend Church often, I must admit. This brings me to a question my father asked me in regards to why people have church weddings and christenings if they are not religious. It is a very fair point, but here are my two cents...

My thoughts on religion aside, I have always dreamt of a church wedding and insist on my (hopeful) future children to be christened. Personally, a ceremony in a church is meaningful and beautiful. Of course, I find a church to be atmospheric and the architecture  fantastic, but saying my vows before 'God' and a priest binds it for me. It's tradition and epitomises faith and promise to a person, whereby you can showcase your commitment in the most beautiful of ways. 

Sure, I don't classify myself as a Christian but a civil ceremony in a stately home or suchlike wouldn't feel right. Is this hypocrisy, to wish to marry in a place of worship? As for christenings, I share the same sentiment. It's a symbol of cleansing, protection of sin and announcing your precious gift. There may be many people that completely disagree with my opinions but the way I see it is, C of E accepts and welcomes people regardless of how religious they, so long as their reasons are understandable. The Church is supposedly non discriminatory and full of forgiveness, right?! 

This a deep subject and it also got me to wondering about faith and what will answer all those ontological questions that whirl through my mind. A bit off topic but Buddhism and Judaism have always interested me, looking at the nature of life, spirituality and culture.   

For instance, meditation and mindful awareness can only be positive practices to reduce stress and anxiety. Kabbalah is an interesting concept that is open to opinion, being it became popular with celebrities. Much research needed here as it is a bit cult-ish! In modern terms, it is the study of how to receive fulfilment in life; first stop, my little blog :-)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Panic stations at the ready!

So fellow bloggers, it has been an age. I have finished my degree, hurrah!! I have completely subsumed myself in work this year; be it: placement full time, assignments, portfolio and dissertation. It's not been much fun and there are still hoops to jump so to become absolutely qualified as a Social Worker. I am ecstatic it is done but I cannot shake off the feeling of being in limbo and final grades worry me. I don't know where to turn... I am in need of quick cash but jobs are few and far between. I guess I need to relax for a while :-)

Since February, I have been dating this amazing person (Mr KB, for now). I say this all loosely, as you may have read my exploits in my post Single Mundanities? but I do not wish to jinx this one. I like him far too much! Anyway, he has enabled me to have a few distractions from my academic work and instead of joining in on the "drinking escapades" that known peers have endured, I spent my time having dates with said person. Very lovely dates. 

During the last bank holiday, he flew me (yes, flew) to the seaside. Excited is an understatement, it's so much fun!!

That's it on this expedition. I feel I need to keep my mouth shut as men and me... work on paper but there's always a shed load of barriers in the way. I have many plans for my own future and I must get a move on, five years of my 20's left...oh lordy!! For the imminent future, I plan to immerse myself in challenges and this here blog :-)

What adventures have you had recently/or would like to experience? 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Brain Tumour Survival

March 2013 
You may or not be aware that it is brain tumour awareness month. Note the recent documentaries to raise such awareness. "Brain Doctors" follows the work of neurosurgeons at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.  Very close to my heart since I myself was operated upon there three times some eight years ago! My ninth (!!) Craniversary will be this May, and again in October- Two since my tumour had to be operated on again.  

You may think it was a long time ago that my tumour occurred. It indeed is, however, a shunt remains in my brain to drain cerebral fluid. Since my operations I have not stopped. Literally. I had to learn to walk again; learn to do many things again. I then had to get my education back on track. So much so that I am now 25 and fighting to finish my social work degree by May. This is not doing my head any favours. I'm not sure if I am getting a wake up call due to the month, but I've been getting headaches almost daily for a month or so. My tumour was benign but please do not think that makes things any easier. I was a rare case in that my childhood tumour was able to grow for an extra two years until I got any symptoms. 

I should have been at University today, however, I awoke with yet another shocking headache and my mother kindly gave me some tablets and then bought some even stronger ones. I now feel quite zombie-esque as I write this. With this in mind, I wish to thank my parents and brother for their kindness, empathy and understanding. I cannot thank them enough as I know it must be difficult to put up with my mood swings that can still occur.. I have part of my brain missing, what can I say?! 

I would also like you to acknowledge the vast amount of people who have endured this life-threatening illness. It's no piece of cake, and we may look, appear and act very normal  but side effects do not ever leave. I was never given physiotherapy so my mum took that role, along with many other roles. With our combined efforts, I still will never wear stiletto heels. As silly as it sounds, I get extremely frustrated with todays society of women who rule their life by how they look. I still have to check that I am walking o.k due to my slightly weak left-hand side. Spare some thoughts to the survivours in the world, and those less fortunate.    

19/20 years old here

Jon and I after my 2nd operation: May '04, aged 16

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Theatre Extravaganza!!

Ahhh, the theatre! So palacial, so beautiful and so very very British- in my eyes anyway! I'd like to think I'm a lover of fine arts..but I don't always like to embrace the costs!! There is something quite magical about the theatre. It's an exciting atmosphere that always manages to give me such a buzz... I experienced the land of theatre at a young age, as my grandmother would take my cousins and I to see a ballet or pantomime. Beatrix Potter, The Nutcracker (about a gazillion times!!), Peter Pan. I love it.

I have a list of musical shows/ballets/operas/plays that I've seen, that I hope grows and grows….

Romeo and Juliet
The Nutcracker
The tales of Beatrix Potter
The King and I
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Newly: Charlie and the chocolate Factory
Swan Lake
Jersey Boys

I'll also include other live shows which are equally as amazing. Many comedians..singers, oh and Lord of the Dance, which I have to say was utterly outstanding! My theatre companion of choice has always been my mum. We share the same loves of fine arts and I genuinely love spoiling her to a fancy night out :-)

Looking at this collection now seems far too sparse. I'm looking at tickets at the moment for Cats, Les Mis, Chicago, The woman in black, Swan lake and Sleeping Beauty.

Yep, I am obsessed!!! What about you? Do you have any glorious shows you have seen?? I'd love to know :-)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Stereotypes and Prejudices

There have been some times throughout my social work degree where I think, "Wow, I have learnt something".. which pleases me, since I do not wish to think I have wasted three years!! I mean, I have chosen to go into this profession. I hope to actually find a great job in said career and do well at it. Not desert the degree. 

A few days ago, some opinions were spouted by a couple of people during common discussion. I have to say that it really hit home about how much I have been learning and how I have grown professionally. I went on a 'Safeguarding Children' course yesterday that further cemented this for me. 

These particular people were discussing an 'oppressive and grim society' where young people start fights in towns in the afternoon and how classes have emerged in to one 'working-class' society. 
- if an adult with degree cannot get a job AT ALL how can a young person with no qualifications be expected to venture into employment. Especially with an economy that is as bleak as it is now in the UK? 

So here's the thing, I'm from a fairly middle-class background. I probably share societal views/norms that coincide but as I approach qualified social work status, I keep my personal opinions and professional values/judgements, separate.  However, I got to thinking about the social classes. Yes, there is perhaps no clear cut balance but middle-class snobbery is surely what breeds contempt? I cannot say I condone people who mindlessly take drugs, alcohol or begin fights in broad daylight! I mean, I was brought up in a town outside  of Birmingham where our house was regularly burgled into and drugs were found outside the back of house...Of course I didn't like that!!
      However, you cannot judge a person simply on looks, their aspirations or what they do with their days. Some people have experiences and issues that most fortunate people can't comprehend or visualise. Young people have been brought up in a society that is full of different cultures and values. They may be brought up in families that your own would 'look down upon'. Is it right to hold your head so high just because you have a better job, education, status or different taste in tv show?? Don't demonise or assert superiority over a young person who has not reaped the same benefits in life you may have.

You must be careful saying such strong opinions, people do fight back. Blame anyone, blame the Government. Everyone is different. For instance, I rarely eat McDonalds but that's simply because it's full of saturated fats..

This is just my two cents and I hope my honesty is appreciated!! Debates are welcome on this little blog :-) 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The winter blues.

A Happy New Year to you all. Hope everyone saw in 2013 in style! I had a lovely time, spent with all my loved ones..but yes, you've got it! I have the winter blues (booo!) I'm feeling a little run down. Second time in about a month. I blame work- as always :-) It's snowing here in little England at the moment. My garden is looking very lovely I must say! 

What I am in need of is a complete detox..Flush any nasty toxins out, that should make me feel better right?! What I really want though are these....


And then, to make me all better I shall buy these beauties...


Then finally I'll paint my nails and perhaps treat myself to a spray tan; I'm looking pale!! 

Love this shade

Enjoy your Sunday fellow bloggers and have a lovely day :-) Let me know of any tricks to ward off the gloomy blues!