Once more with feeling. 

This last week has been an invigorating one for me, with a range of activities kick-starting my insides, like that pilot light that needs a bit of work, but eventually the blue returns. 

It began with Nocturnal animals at the cinema, seeing films filled with talent always gets my brain back into gear, this thriller drama was refreshing and engaging. 

The next thing was going alone to see my favourite theatre company perform Things I know to be true at Chichester Festival Theatre. I went alone, and this is not something I’ve done before. But I did it, with minimal discomfort, and a lot of thought provoking enjoyment because this is my passion.  Thought provoking theatre. With strong themes around family, ambition and values, it was an important reminder of how lucky I am to have a supportive network, despite different values.  

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them was my Friday night jaunt to the local 1920 cinema.  The film itself was perfect for losing yourself in a different world for an hour or so.  Because sometimes that’s just what your brain needs. 

Walking the dogs has provided me with an excuse to take a lunch break for a change.  The difference this makes to my head space, productivity and ability to get through the working week has been far greater than I thought. The wind in my face and the crisp air, blast my senses awake, dusting off the long term sleep deprived fatigue. 
Lastly, we went to see Arrival yesterday.   It was prolific in its storytelling, cinematic experience, demonstrating the importance of Communication in a world of fear.  I nearly cried within the first five minutes, but the film speaks on a far deeper level than that, leaving you deep in thought for quite some time.  

I want every week to feel like this, to feel rejuvenated and itching to have more exposure to those things that feed my soul. 

What has kick-started you this week? 

TRAVEL: Seal watching in the Scottish Highlands

As a child I was always equally fascinated and in fear of the sea, perhaps it steams from watching Titanic at 11 years old, or perhaps it is the sheer vastness and mystic that surrounds it.  One particular memory I have is the excitement and trepidation I felt one particular summer holiday spent in Greece.

My family had decided to go on a boat trip with a local Greecian, to soak up the sun, eat local food and watch out for Dolphins.  When I wasn’t on my Game gear trying to coax the dolphins out with my game Echo the dolphin, I was looking into the deep blue sea imagining falling in.  What an odd thing for a child to be imagining, but I suppose that is the kind of thing that happens when you have such a vivid imagination- always envisioning every possible outcome.  We never did spot any dolphins that day, but I will always remember the excitement and hope I felt as every wave crest dropped.

As i’ve mentioned before, we want Ophelia to learn about the world around her, drink in the environment, embrace nature and the Scottish Highlands is the perfect place to start.

A short journey from Ophelia’s Papa’s house is Plockton; a small village dotted along the loch edge.  In the Winter, this sleepy village hibernates, with little to keep the village thriving in the bleak mid winter.  Come Summer, this place is awash with walkers, tourists, kayakers, sailers.

Calum has been running his Seal watching boat trips for longer than he would care to admit, he knows his stuff and makes for the perfect host; sharing his knowledge of growing up in this sleepy village and of course, the seals.  We got to see two herds of seals on this 1 hour boat trip; each time with 30+ scattered across the rocks, one lot with mere week old pups by their side.  The sheer beauty of these animals has to be seen to be believed, with Calum getting us close enough to fully appreciate them, without interfering with their wellbeing.

Our second viewing was half an hour or so up the road at  Glenelg, where we took the old cattle ferry across to the hide a short walk up the mountain.  On the ferry crossing we spotted several grey seals sticking those big eyes up over the waves and spashing their flippers.  It wasn’t until we got up to the hide however, that we got a true picture for the nature surrounding us.  Hide records detailed that a Sea eagle had been spotted half an hour before we arrived, we were happy simply to be able to follow some more grey seals that were bobbing along the shallow water’s edge.  It wasn’t until we looked further, that we spotted the rest of the gang.  On first glance, they could be mistaken for rocks, they camoflaged so perfectly in the fog, but it was infact a herd of common seals all laid out on the pebbly beach.  At any one time there were several other common seals bobbing and weaving along the water edge.  Mesmorising.

We’re linking up again with Our Seaside baby’s  wonderful travel series.

Worthing: family day out at Ferring Country Centre

I lived in Ferring for 20 years of my life, yet I can’t remember ever having been to the Country Centre there. Mother reliably informs me that I had been, but still, I feel terrible that I didn’t go more often.
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Having returned to West Sussex last year, after buying a house, I finally got round to taking Ophelia to the Country Centre, along with my family, Callum’s family and in laws as a treat for Mother’s day afternoon tea.
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Ferring Country Centre is comprised of a garden centre, riding stables, cafe, small animal farm and playground. It is run for and by the Disabled Riding Association, money raised goes towards horse riding as therapy, which is actually something I wrote an essay on for my OT training.
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The cafe is spacious and has some indoor toys for a range of kid ages to get stuck into.  The toys are a bit worn but a lovely addition for rainy days.
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Outside the playground is great for toddler aged kids, with swings, a roundabout, seesaw, frame, trampoline and animal noise interactive boards.
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The farm has a surprising amount of variety including ducks, pigs, donkeys tortoises, horses and even llama! Have you ever seen a llama run?! I sure have! Ophelia found it hilarious and she loved stroking the donkeys and making noises at the pigs.
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Ophelia and her cousin loved it and we’ll definitely be back again, at every age there are new ways to engage the children.

Learning that less is more

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This poor blog has been rather neglected for quite some time. Many reasons have led to this, not least lack of time, a step back from technology time and a loss of passion. These all feed into a change of perspective.

You see, last year was the year I realised something had to change. I couldn’t carry on working myself sick, I couldn’t carry on trying to spread myself as thin as ice, I couldn’t carry on feeling guilt about everything.

So I stopped. Took a physical and emotional step back. This step back has been the catalyst for some massive psychological changes around here, and it had to be.  You see, last June and subsequent months, I had what my Neurologist now suspects is a retinal anorism (although I’m awaiting MRI scans) associated with migraines.

When something happens in your life, it’s only natural you reevaluate things, none more so when it’s lifestyle related. Something had to give, but what?

I had to learn to let go. Before now I had been so consumed by not feeling like a good enough worker, mother, friend, family member, person-which then led to me behaving or doing things in order to rectify that, e.g constantly communicating with people, trying to arrange seeing people all the time, working outside work hours, getting stressed when the house was untidy. It was exhausting!Or was that the lack of sleep?! Who knows!

I focused on what I felt was most important to expel my energy on and tried not to worry about the others.
It has also really helped that my phone is broken so writing texts or using apps is mostly not possible! The downside of this is that I come across as…apathetic? Breezy? Callum often accuses me of not caring about things around the house. I do, but I’ve just learnt to acknowledge it and remember worrying about it, isn’t going to achieve anything. This is quite a revolution for me, often called ‘worry wart’ by my Mum.

Learning to worry less is not easy, it has meant a big shift and refocus in my train of thought. I’ve had to accept that at the moment, I need to focus on getting Ophelia to sleep, so staying in to focus on that in evenings has to take priority, even if I’m desperate for social interaction.

Whilst these sacrifices will be short lived, I hope my health isn’t.