How I love to laugh

“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”

~ Robert Frost

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I notice I’m laughing a lot, lately. Loud, belly laughter, that rumbles and ripples and bounces off the walls. Sometimes it’s about random shit, other times it’s about things that are ‘actually funny’.

I notice how much I love making other people laugh. I love, love, love, how humour ripples. I love how it’s contagious.

And I love how it makes me feel. That sense of pride and achievement about making someone chuckle is one of my favourite feelings. I feel warm inside and happy when it happens. And I love myself, when I do.

Just like I love myself when I make myself laugh, too. In fact, that’s one of my most favourite feelings, and one that differs from all the rest, because the warmth that floods my chest is warmth just for myself.

Not warmth for anyone else, but warmth for myself. In those moments I burst out laughing at my actions or my thoughts, or consequences of something I’ve been doing (or when there’s been no apparent connection and it’s seemingly just random, whatever it is that happens, that triggers laughter) I feel such fondness and appreciation for myself.

I feel grateful that I’ve got myself, and I feel grateful that I’m known to myself…that I get to see me as well as just feel me.

That, along with the video below, is a good reason to laugh.

Someone order some gin

I just want to get drunk. I want to kick this sobriety in the nuts and have a good (few) pints. I have wanted this for a while. This entire last year in fact. and there’s been a longing for some class A’s in there too – like a juicy cocktail to just temporarily bring some relief and fun to the emotional chaos and/or the pain. And just for the record, I ain’t never had any ‘problems’ with alcohol or drugs. Well, except for the teenage days when I used to down tumbler glasses of vodka, but everyone did that, right?

I’m a believer in Fun. In fact, if I had a middle name it would be that. I have never known life without it. And I have always been blessed with not ever needing alcohol or drugs to have a cracking good time. I tended to always be the one at festivals where people would roll up to me asking me ‘what I was on’ and I’d simply respond with a (probably really annoying) smile and just say ‘life’. Sometimes it was gin too but most of the time I was just high on the vibe. And one time MDMA but that’s another (hilarious) story.

I’m a big believer in getting a break. Getting a break from hanging out on top of your vat of dark and messy molasses – anytime but particularly in times of this kinda healing, when it’s so all encompassing and so hard to not be lying face first in. And, when you’re doing such a good freakin’ job too. It just asks for a mini-break. For the stepping off the side of the vat of shit and letting loose.

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I think a bit of gin was involved here.

For me, nature gives me that, or raving round my room to electro music in my pyjamas on a Saturday night. But just sometimes I long to have a raucous drunken time with my friends. I wish I didn’t care about myself so much. I wish I didn’t look after myself so freakin well and I wish I still did that thing of pushing myself like a mean ass bitch. Okay, I realise I don’t really wish these things but a part of me definitely does. And just to clarify, when I mean drunk, I mean it in the light and fluffy and fun sense. Not the lying-face-first-on-the-sidewalk kinda drunk.

The truth is though, I would literally be fucked if I got drunk. Even the light and fluffy kind. I would be knocked sideways into an oblivion of feeling like absolute shit. I’d fall face first into my vat of molasses and be hung over for about a month. I feel sick and have to lie down if I have a millimetre too much of my herbal tincture which has about 0.0002% alcohol in it. Bring gin into the equation and I’d be screwed. I have a drag of a friends roll up cigarette and I am high as a kite for a few minutes. Damn these sensitivities.

The other week I had had the most intense EMDR session ever. I met up with one of my favourite people in the world shortly after and I ranted on about how I just wanted to get drunk and have a cracking night out, dancing, laughing and stumbling home to let loose some of this intensity. ie I just wanted to HAVE FUN and feel like a ‘normal person’, whatever the hell that is. She wanted that too so we ranted on for a while and were so so tempted. Instead of hitting the town, we had a hilarious adventure across some hills instead. I had three sips of her beer and was drunk within a minute and hungover within three minutes. I went to open up my Safari on my phone the next day and it brought up this search below. It made me laugh so much. I just had to check with me Google that it was okay to get drunk after EMDR. Google said no. Google said go to alcohol therapy. That is not what is needed here. In fact quite the opposite.

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Instead we did this:

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This same chica above and I met up yesterday and this seems to be the topic of out conversations because in this haze of shit we’re both navigating through, we just want some freakin’ wild fun. Or not even that wild. Just normal twenty-something FUN would do. In reply to a text of hers this morning, wisely saying how we’ll get there someday soon without it fucking us up for days afterwards, I responded:

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I know I’ll be back in a few years with my dancing shoes on, and my gold hot-pants over my trousers. When friends are quietening down, I’ll be raving it up, but until then I’ll just enjoy the fun bits of a quiet life. It ain’t so bad really. All this talk is kinda just that – I wonder whether, if handed a pint and a healthy liver, I’d really want to get that drunk after all. Hangovers suck anyways.

Wardrobe, Schmoordrobe

I am so over my wardrobe it’s ridiculous. The only way I feel I can call it a wardrobe is because technically it is one: it is a wooden rectangular shaped piece of furniture with clothes in it. But my wardrobe in the broader sense – my collection of clothes – is crap.

I am So. Over. It. It feels like everything in there is either slightly (or completely) stained, got holes in because I tend to buy cheapo clothes, or it just is so last season (my last season, not Fashion’s last season – I don’t think I’ve ever been with the ‘seasons’). Today I headed into the centre of the city (UGH) with the intention of purchasing home making stuff that I needed, but – as is easily done – I got distracted by clothes shops. I also got FRUSTRATED with clothes shops. All I wanted to find were some cute summer shorts or some nice jeans – I was being realistic. I wasn’t hitting the highstreet with the aim to kit out this shoddy wardrobe of mine back home, even though I was longing to really. I just know my attention span for shopping is approximately 1.345 seconds. But still, even being realistic, there was bloody nothing in the three shops I tried. Last resort, I hit Fat Face and fell in love with a dress. I BOUGHT IT. I looked at the price label and swore loudly. I tried it on and I fell in love and thought, screw it. And fuck it felt good.

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I dream of having a collection of clothes I love. Or at least loving at least half of the collection of clothes. The minute I got home I put on the dress and I felt instantly good. Well, I mean good in myself. I felt fucking knackered but I wasn’t expecting a dress to give me beans. But there really is something to be said about feeling good in what you’re wearing. And, not giving two hoots about what the world thinks – it’s all about how you feel in it and whether you think you look good. I know this has been said a million times and it is old news that it is important to feel good but I think I am only just really seeing that.

I get terrified at the thought of spending proper money on clothes, but then recently have noticed myself investing in them. I buy so much of my stuff from chazza shops that I have worked out I deserve the odd investment. But recently this investment has come to a bit of a halt, and at a time I need it the most. SUMMER. I want to feel good when I wear my clothes. I don’t want to feel like the holey muddy scruffy one.

I really wear my clothes. I live in them, I dig in them, I cook in them, I jig in them, so I reckon it’s time to know it is totally okay to keep on investing in GOOD QUALITY and not shoddy quality that breaks a month down the line, leaving me needing to replace the item or just keep wearing it feeling a bit embarrassed or wearing a load of safety pins hidden inside the garment. I did take my new dress skateboarding five minutes after putting it on at home, and I am pleased to say it skateboarded well. It has a slight Middle Aged touch to it – the dress, not the skateboard – but it turns out Middle Aged dressed folk make for cool skateboarders. According to me.

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On a side note, I am obsessed with frozen peas. It’s the only non-organic vegetable I eat but I literally am eating by the bowl full. Dash of seasoning, dash of vinegar and a massive spoon full dash of BUTTER. Today I had them for breakfast and now I’m having them for an afternoon snack. Yesterday I ate at least three bowls too. Could be worse. Could be sweetcorn.

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Adios 25

So in about forty minutes I’ll be saying hello to 26 and adios to 25.

This evening I announced to a friend that I had decided I hate birthdays. She told me that was unfortunate timing seeing as mine is tomorrow. Then, about five minutes ago, I realised I don’t hate birthdays at all. I absolutely love them and I always have. They’re special. They’re the marking of a chapter. They’re the movement from the old into the brand spanking new. They’re a shift when sometimes you need it the most. They’re a moment in time when you get to sit back and honour your wisdom and growth you’ve gained over the twelve months previous. They’re a time when you are flooded with love that you can let flow in and hold and cherish for the year to come.

So I don’t hate birthdays, I just feel really sad about this one. There feels like a lot of sorrow attached to this one. There feels like a real need for love and friendship around and because of my handbag biking superman over the handlebars episode yesterday, my trip to my beloved coast has been postponed until tomorrow. So I sit here on my own, teary and reflective and realising that I really do love these times of the year. In this sadness is a lot of relief. Relief that this year is OVER. Relief that I am still on my way to finding me, just me, away from the complicated and fucked up family. Relief that things are beginning to ease, or at least the ease is in the sense that things are healing and it’s becoming clearer as to what is happenin’ rather than just a big foggy hazy mess of panic and pain. Now it’s happenin’…the healing’s happenin’. It always has been really, I just am letting it now.

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Teary eyed, I realise these tears hold a love for myself that has never been there before. A love that doesn’t need anyone else. These tears fall because I’m finally giving myself the love I have craved and desperately searched for, for so so long. This marks a birthday too. This birth of this love has been coming for a while now, and I can officially say it is here and is ever growing.

So I thought, for about two hours, that I hated birthdays and actually now I realise that is a load of bollocks. And I feel like anyone else who says they hate birthdays, actually beneath it all, just don’t know that they deserve the time and focus and effort. Or they don’t deserve the fuss-making – from themselves or from others. Or there’s underlying family shit that’s left them scarred for birthdays. That’s just my theory.

I’ve been dreading this birthday because of the connection with my family that birthdays always bring. The sorrow and loss, with this one being the strongest I thought it would be because of the nature of my lack of connection with them. But weirdly, it brings that up, but it brings it up in a way I can manage. It brings it up in Grief. Well, who knows what tomorrow will bring emotions wise. What I do now know it will bring is a knowing that it is safe to let this love that is about to flow my way, right into my heart. It’s safe for me to love me and let others to also. That defense against this birthday was a fear of feeling the love. But that ain’t no fun, and isn’t where I really want to be. I was just pretending to be tough and not give a shit. This pretence never lasts long with me…it’s just not how I roll no matter how hard I try sometimes.

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Part of me feels relieved 25 is over – thank fuck for that, I want to say. But actually I hold a lot of love for this mental crazy horrible and turmoil filled year, because with it has brought so much healing too. So much laying the foundations of lessons I was about to learn. So much pain that I never ever thought would end and now I see has, and so now I know this will always be. So much turmoil that I now know I can do, and get through, anything. So many big changes to lay more foundations of my relationship with myself, my friends, my family.

That’s all the philosophical type I’ve got energy for, for now. I’ve been feeling so sorry for myself all day because of my bike crash episode yesterday. I’m in so much pain, it’s a bit of a bitch. Apart from the odd twenty mins here and there, and a drink down the road with a friend, I’ve been in bed all day. So for the last eight minutes of my 25 year old self, I am going to do what 25 has taught me to do so well: I am going to look after myself and say goodnight to you all.

Twenty-five, I’ve loved you, I’ve hated you, I’ve cursed at you, I’ve thanked you, I’ve wondered what the hell I did to deserve you, I’ve noticed the luck you’ve brought with you, I’ve seen the lessons you’ve been here to bring and tried to embrace them all, I’ve longed for you to take a bit of a break, and most of all – I’ve wondered what I would have done without you.

By the time I’ve finished this post, it’s just hit midnight. I am officially 26. I couldn’t help but just think ‘jackpot’ and found a big grin just come upon my face. I made it. As posts full of love from friends are coming in on facebook, I realise again how I do actually really love these days.

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What a freakin’ year.

Talking grief

Grief is a natural part of life, but it can hurt like a bitch. It can show up in so many different ways for each of us and every tear always brings healing, as it does with everything else. Sometimes it can hit you and bring your to your knees, other times it can simply sit gently with you throughout your days.
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This is what it looks like to me. I wonder what it looks like to you?

A breakdown at the sink

There’s something fucking funny about Chronic Fatigue. Heartbreaking, but fucking funny.

The way that twenty minutes after getting up, you have to get back into bed again. The way that halfway through a meal I am too tired to keep eating so I stop and come back to it later, when it’s cold and withered…or I continue at it but can hardly chew, so end up giving myself indigestion because I’ve ingested whole chunks of chicken as apposed to nicely chewed mouthfuls.

Today is a classic one of those kinda days. I am so fucking tired I can hardly function but I can’t just lie in bed because…well, I just can’t. So instead I get up for ten minutes and attempt to do something, but am so fatigued I end up lying right where I started in the first place: BED. I have made my bed three times already and it’s only 12pm, each time with the motivation that that will be the last time I am lying in it today…but this kinda tiredness is as though I have been smacked in the face with a spade and am wearing a rucksack filled with a thousand tins of beans.

Ugh.

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It’s days like this I just want guidance. Guidance on how to manage this fecking thing. Like, am I feeling so exhausted because I have been trying so hard to get back into the world of work, and use my focus and energy and adrenaline (what’s left of it) to do productive stuff that I love? Or do I feel so tired because I got a lot of sun yesterday, on a lovely walk, with friends? Or do I feel tired because of the PMDD shit that’s going on, and it’s just that ‘time of the month’? Or do I feel tired because I am in the process of somatic experiencing (releasing trauma)? Or am I tired because I’m eating something that isn’t working for me? Or am I tired because it’s a combination of all those things? Or am I tired just for the crack?

All I want to do for myself today is walk to my favourite hill just down the road – it is hardly even a hill, so exertion is minimal – and write my journal. The minute I woke up that is what I wanted to do. There are, of course a bunch of other stuff I want and need to do, and will do, but this is the nurturing and resourcing thing I want to do. But have I got there? NO. I have headed out the door twice but crumbled on the bench half a second from the front door, feeling too like shit to continue.

But I can’t just lie around. Beneath this fatigue is a bunch of fucking anger at this situation, and this needs to be heard because otherwise it just buzzes around my body and makes everything ten times worse. In these moments, or on these days, it’s like a battle between what needs to be done and what you want to do, to keep your soul alive. The kitchen was looking as though a bunch of vegetable munching and tahini eating teenagers had had a week long party and not washed up for any of it…a lot of this mess is/was mine. So I knew today was the today something needed to be done about it but I felt too shit to wash up. Plus, I wanted to use any inch of motivation to do something nice for me.

On the second bench-sit-down/failed attempt to reach my hill, I decided to attack the sink. And what followed was hilarious. I was so cold but didn’t have the energy to walk up the two flights of stairs to my room to get some trousers and a jumper (today it’s sunny so I’m wearing shorts, obv.), AND do the washing up. That’s how it goes – work out how I can expend the least amount of energy possible, to conserve it for what’s needed. So, I got my down jacket and put it on and just imagined that my legs were super warm too. They weren’t. They were fucking freezing. I whacked on the hot water full pelt and squirted a months supply of washing up liquid onto my sponge, turned the music up in my ears, and started WASHING UP. And then…I started to cry. And then…I couldn’t stop! It would have been a fucking hilarious sight but thankfully no-one was there to see it. Me with bubbles up my elbows, water flying everywhere, my down jacket getting a soaking, my legs in goose bumps, and me sobbing over the sink.

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I sobbed, I scrubbed, I sobbed, I scrubbed. And then I looked around and it was all clean! But I wanted some more of that…the sobbing felt like such a release. And so I attacked the cooker too. I sobbed and scrubbed that too, but this felt a bit like I was trying too hard and the cooker is a bitch to clean, so I left that not feeling so inspired…more, frustrated.

I don’t know if I’m doing this ‘right’. I don’t know if there is a better way to manage your energy. I sure as hell think there is, but I haven’t worked it out yet. I don’t know if it’s good to push yourself sometimes. I don’t know if when I do, that is what makes me ten times worse the following day (PROBABLY). But what I do know is that to keep my soul alive I need to feel normal, human and capable. So, maybe what I needed was to move this anger around and have an outlet – the dirty dishes – and get it going. And it clearly worked. These kind of mini breakdowns is where healing happens: keeping it stuffed inside is where it doesn’t.

If in doubt, wash up. And if in even more doubt, wash up and have a good sob.

I only love myself when I’m cool

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I used to think self love was just one of those cheesy things that just the hippies I grew up with were into. Now I realise it’s something that we all need to be into. And actually, those hippies I grew up with weren’t actually ticking the boxes of self love in its entirety after all, I realise now. But that’s an entirely different conversation.

Self love, to me, means forgiving, nurturing, accepting, allowing for, honouring, and loving each and every part of you. Not just the pretty parts. Not just the cool parts. ALL OF IT. Recently I noticed my self love boxes were being ticked and I really felt like, for the first time in my life, I was really getting to grips with this nurturing stuff. Every day I was feeling this warm sense of pride for myself. And it was feeling just lovely. But then the anniversary hit and in the days, and week, that followed this I fell of the self love wagon and onto the shame one. The shame wagon was where I made a home for myself, got cosy and nested for a week. It was shit. It took a hell of a lot of effort to slowly wade my way out of the duvets that were keeping me there, quietly festering and sitting in the depths of my own emotions and hatred for myself.

But slowly, I began to do it and make my way back to the self love wagon. This only properly happened yesterday. And what a freaking’ relief. There were lots of little steps, but there was just this inability to let love in and to feel love that was stopping me make the final step outta the shitty shame wagon. I shared it with friends a bit – my feelings of shame – and I took myself out into the world when all I wanted to do (and had been doing rather a lot) was lie in bed at home. But nothing was properly shifting it. These little bits of encounters with love was lovely n all but my heart only opened up for about a few seconds and then it went on shut down again. And the most frustrating and painful thing of it all, was my inability to connect with any kinda love for myself. Zero was there…Zilch.

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There was the biggest resistance to the act of loving myself or letting others love me…like, so so physical I just couldn’t shift it…because of what I did, blah blah blah. Slowly I saw that actually the love was there – this stuff never goes anywhere, it just gets masked by other shit – but I just couldn’t trust that it was safe to connect with it. But, eventually I did. Through somatic experiencing in therapy, and a craniosacral appointment, things managed to click into place a bit more and my love was/is back.

But what I realised, through this whole lack of love venture was that self love is a whole lot fucking harder than I thought. I thought I was getting it but actually, I was getting it in relation to the bits of me that are, in my opinion, loveable. Not the other bits…like the high maintenance, complicated, frustrating, loser-ish, really-fucking-way-too-beyond-acceptable sensitive, HARD WORK, parts of me…hell no. Not those parts. I found myself laughing as I was on the phone to a friend saying, “I only love myself when I’m cool”. It was half a joke and half totes truth.

I was beginning to fall in love with my vulnerability, my sensitivity (up to a point), my need for nurturance – from me and from others, my imperfections, my anger, my need for gentleness, my weirdness, a little bit of my high maintenance… And any of those things that I wasn’t quite falling in love with, I was learning to forgive me for them or allowing for them to be there. But I kinda was learning to see that actually these things were loveable from the outside too. All these things I had shunned and tried my freakin’ hardest to NOT EXIST…there they were, and here they are. I just hadn’t allowed for them to be here before. But I definitely do not want to allow for all the other shit bits that I really find hard to love…like all the extra weird, extra hard work, extra fucking complicated and frustrating bits of me that I now realise are there. And not just there, but there with (shitty) flying colours.

Damn. I thought I’d gotten this self love business nailed. I’ve put that to the side though and I just trust that as I continue to grow – both in myself, and up – this ability to love the even wider whole of me, will come. I reckon it will. But fuck that’s scary, cos what if I end up loving myself and I’m a total nightmare bitch but I don’t realise because I love myself so much I don’t notice…? That’s what I trust my friends are for. To just give me the heads up if this happens. I’ve asked them.

Right now, as I have switched wagons and am sat back on my self love one, all I want to do is be with myself. All I wanna do is hang out, with me. Just me, myself and I. And y’know what? It’s fucking lovely. I saw friends today, at a festival/market down the road, and that was nice. But all I could think was how I wanted to be lying on the grass at my allotment, reading my book. Last night I sat for two hours on my favourite hill as the sun set, writing my journal, and just glowing with pride and love for myself. I think I’m making up for that week or two of shame, self hating, hell.

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With the risk of sounding like those bloody hippies I grew up with, I love myself today. A LOT. And I really mean it. And, it feels real good. I was looking at pictures of myself – actually, correction…I was taking pictures of myself to show off my somewhat dodgy self-done haircut for Instagram (YEP, we all have done it – the photo taking, maybe not the haircut), and then looking at them…and I kept on thinking, what a cool chick, who’s that girl? Oh, that’s me! Oh she’s lovely, beautiful, ace, and so loveable…yep, that’s me.

And that’s when it clicked. I love myself. I am feeling pretty cool today, despite the intense fatigue and pain, I feel pretty darn cool. And so what if I only love myself when I feel cool. My cool is a pretty wholesome cool. And fuck, that’s an achievement from six months ago. So I’ll take any love I can get from myself to me. The other lot of me will get loved when the time is right. Until then, I’m off to hang out with a film and FOOD. Just me, myself, and I.

Talk to strangers

Spontaneous adventures is how I roll. It’s been that way since the age of 18, when I headed off to New Zealand and Australia for a year, with just an NZ work visa and £600. And some clothes, obv. This bug of spontaneous adventure was in my bones for years before that, but this was the first time I properly chose it for myself. Needless to say, since then I have found myself in the coolest situations and on the most hilarious/amazing adventures, or just with a lush collection of new friends. All from talking to strangers.

This is still one of my favourite ways to pass the time. It has to be said it is ‘easier’ to do this, and the adventuring, whilst travelling because most of the other folk around you are doing it too. It’s kinda the done thing. But I’m a big believer of there being no reason why this travelling habit can’t continue on home turf.

Recently though, spontaneous adventures have felt scarce. A nugget of my being has felt neglected. There’s the odd random convo with a friendly shopkeeper, or a lovely interaction or road trip with a friend of a friend, but I have been missing the freedom and variety that comes from random encounters with friendly strangers. And it’s all been because of that fucking thing called Fear. What a knob.

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Yesterday, however, this nugget of need was well and truly filled, and the fear was punched directly in the face. A little while back, my super cool Swiss housemate – who moved out a month ago – introduced me to the super cool sport of Slacklining. Something I have always longed to give a go. When her and her slack line moved out, I figured I needed to find another super cool bunch to do this with, as I wasn’t up for looking like a tit on my own. Walking between two trees on a baggy bit of fabric in a local park – and falling on your arse a lot – is definitely cooler when you have friends to laugh at you too.

I joined a Facebook group for people slacklining in the area, where they announce who’s going where and when with their Slacks (if that’s what they call them). Being British spring, the weather’s been dodgy and so there hasn’t been much activity. Plus, that fucker Fear has been up in my face so I passed on any opportunity.

Yesterday though, they were down the road so I was 100% headed out that door to go find them. Only trouble was, in my beautifully time managed ways, I was two hours delayed in seeing the post. But I figured I’d head up there anyways. The Fear was dancing around in my face but I was so damn excited that I just stomped on through it and up the hill. It was the first time in a long time I had felt like myself, so I was not going to let that dancing fucker get in the way.

Y’know, a big part of this fear is purely the worry that I’m ‘weird’ because I love random adventures and have this ability to just make friends with anyone, anywhere, anytime and always – literally, always – end up doing something fun. The amount of times friends hear random stories of my interactions with random people I’ve just met on the street or in a park, is hilarious. And something I am known for. But for some reason I have become conscious of this talent of mine and decided maybe it’s weird. Not because of anything anyone has ever said, purely because of my overactive and noisy inner critic. What a knob he is too.

I cannot tell you how big my grin was when I realised I was headed there regardless of whether I was weird or not (we’re all bloody weird anyway), and I even had the thought that perhaps this skill of mine makes me cool, not weird, running round in my head. It doesn’t matter what it makes me, it just matters that it’s part of me, that’s all.

I saw a little group of people slacklining and so I figured it was them. I’d made a bartered arrangement with my Fear and decided that I could just walk to the park and turn around again, and do it properly next time, if it felt like too much. Baby steps, right? That’s what the anxiety pro’s say. Well, fuck baby steps. When I got there I couldn’t turn around it was just too exciting. I felt like I was Me.

Turns out they weren’t the folk from the Facebook group – they are a lovely bunch of French folk instead! There was potential for a big awkward moment when I found this out, where I could have moonwalked backwards out of sight, but instead we kept chatting. They were so lovely and so we spent the next three hours slacklining and playing frisbee, and laughing at each other making tits of ourselves. And championing each other as we got better and better.

There was another opportunity for a big awkward moment when I announced that I wanted to be able to bounce in the middle of the slackline – like the pro’s do – but after two seconds of trying, I catapulted directly backwards and landed arse first on the laps of three guys watching. Literally.

I was so rusty at frisbee I threw it off target by approximately 1,379 metres every single time, and hit most of the trees in the park, or narrowly missed dog walkers, rather than getting it into the hands of the other people. There was lots more laughter, jogging around after it, and vast quantities of apologising.

I walked home with tired feet and a happy soul. And a sore arse.

It was so worth it.

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Disclaimer: choose your stranger wisely. You don’t have to talk to every single one (you wouldn’t get anywhere for starters. Plus, some people are more game for spontaneity, or conversations, than other). Pick the one/s you feel drawn to. You’ll know the one. I do not hold responsibility for any stranger you do talk to who isn’t up for going on an adventure with you or sharing their slackline. (Their loss). Just try the next one.

Dance walks, tattoos & babies

The last ten days have been lush. They’ve been rough but the lush has definitely outweighed the rough, and I haven’t felt this in a long long while.

Last year I started Project 365 – taking a photo every day and posting it on twitter – but when the cafuffle hit last year this was brought to a swift end, but was soon taken up again in more of a haphazard way. I cannot, and will never, stop taking photos. It’s just what I do. But I just miss the routine of one pic daily – instead I take a whole bunch. So, instead of just sharing them on instagram I decided to start properly sharing them on here too. These are, after all, the snapshots of the wholesome bits of life. The reason I love photographs is that no matter what shit is going down, taking photos helps you capture the beauty, or fun or homely cosyness that’s always there too. So, here’s a taste of my last ten days.

My lovely friend and neighbour, Dee introduced me to the activity of Dance Walking. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds. And yes, we look as cool as it might sound too. It involves a walking silent disco. It’s like what you do when you’re heading home at 3am, drunk, except we were doing it at 4pm in broad daylight, completely sober. And one time in the rain. We intended on just hitting the woodland walk and heading up the hill to overlook part of the city, but ended up starting as soon as we’d set foot on the quaint little street just down from our roads. Lads cheered us on and high fiving us as they passed, one cool lady joining in with our silent groove, and various car toots and the odd weird grin from passerby’s who wondered what the hell was going on. It was wonderful. And now it’s all I want to do when I have energy – go for a city groove.

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I’ve been loving taking up a seat and looking at the city lights when it’s dark. I’m still not a city girl – I’m a country girl without a shadow of a doubt – but there’s magical about a city at night.

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I bought a SLOW COOKER. Best investment ever. Since then I have successful stunk out the house but have been, twice (or sometimes thrice) daily, eating bone broths. Anyone Paleo will understand this. Anyone not Paleo, get on it – they are so good for you it’s bonkers. And they taste out-of-this-world-delicious too (provided a hearty hunk of butter is added).

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I discovered what my hairstyle is when I fall asleep immediately after a salt water bath.

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I began my project for my herbalist – growing a whole range of herbs for the shop and photographing their lives as they grow. From seed, to seedling, to bud, to plant, to on the shelf as a tincture or tea. Pretty cool.

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I seem to be having birds wander into my life all the time at the moment and I’m loving it. This little fella, and his girlfriend, sat with me by the canal in the spring sunshine. I’d just come from an intense therapy session so some water & duck time was well needed.

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I finished off the editing I’d been doing for This Place Is Yours whilst my toes soaked up some sunshine. Super cool project – check it out. Editing was medicine for my soul.

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I went KICKBOXING. So. Cool. A load of anger had been brewing and I needed an outlet…a new one. And I fell in love with this. I felt like I was back in my teenage days. I arrived late (obv), and jumped into the jogging in a circle. Then we needed partners and I looked round the room with a worried face…but a lovely girl ran towards me immediately saying how she had a tonne of aggression to let out. I squealed ‘me too!’, and so we set about following the instructions and lamping each other, left hook, right hook. Then apologising. Then lamping each other. Then apologising. Then kicking each other. Then apologising and checking the other was okay. It was brilliant. Turns out I’m a bit of a natural. But it also turned out that these punches and kicks I could give so solidly, were not so welcomed by some pad holders! This will be a talent I develop I hope – knowing who to throw all your strength at in class, and who to lay low with. I woke up the next morning and could hardly move. It was worth every ache.

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For ages now I’ve had an obsession with graffiti/street art. So, I decided to give it a go. And I totally fell in love with this too. I dream of taking this up big time, but my environmental conscience and eco-anxiety was too strong and I don’t think I’ll do it again – it’s just too flippin’ full of chemicals…unless I can scheme a method of creating non-toxic graffiti spray paints.

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I hula-hula’d.

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I cwtch’d with this lovely thing.

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I learnt that slow cookers and shared houses don’t work so well…they get turned off. So, in return I leave a moody note.

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I ate NACHOS, as y’all know.

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I went veg warehouse shopping with new friends.

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Me and my broth lunch hit the road together most days.

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I napped and meditated in the woods or by the stream every day…this, too, was medicine for the soul.

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I planted some more funky seeds.

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I said hello to Vera.

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I ate CAKE. (Hippy wholesome cake, but still cake.)

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I felt so undescribably ill for a lot of the week (nothing to do with the nachos or cake – these were an attempt to help this shittyness!). I felt rough beyond words – like mega toxicity mixed with flu-like symptoms and so much physical pain…ugh. But, I worked out a few contributing factors, the main one being that my liver needed another boost. So, thanks to my herbalist, I got on the milk thistle and yoghurt again. My liver is thanking every time I eat this.

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We had lots of these. This is what life is about.

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I have indulged in daily salt baths to detox this crap outta my system – such a treat too. Eating dinner, watching Before Coco Chanel, and daydreaming that I was Audrey Tautou.

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A lovely friend I hadn’t seen in a year and a half hit the city with her lovely boy. We had numerous coffees, a walk, a dinner party and a fun packed trip to Ikea. It was lovely.

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And, I bought NEW BEDDING. What a treat.

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And…I got a tattoo! Better photo coming soon.

Photo on 2013-03-25 at 14.12 #3

The camera didn’t capture other coffees, walks in the woods, cosy writing time and naps on the sofa, but these were included in the ten days too. All in all it’s been really rather nice.