Happy 2014!

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you had a good new year’s eve and I hope you have a wonderful and successful 2014 :-)

Things have been really hectic for me recently and I’m thinking about taking a little break from blogging. Not a permanent one or anything, just so time away from it. I’ve been feeling really guilty about not writing and it has been weighing on my mind. So rather than turn blogging into a chore I thought it would be good to take a proper break from it all and come back feeling refreshed!

I hope you all have a fantastic start the new year!

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from We Heart It}

1. My red hair! Yep, I took the plunge and finally had my hair dyed red. It is such a beautiful colour, I can’t stop looking at it in the mirror, I’m really happy with it. So far everyone has loved it and I’m so glad I was brave enough to make the change!

2. Carol concerts. Yesterday evening I sang in my old county youth choir’s Christmas carol concert and it was so much fun. I adore carols so I’m always happy to get to sing them and I really like the choir’s music director so I was really grateful to get a chance to join them for the concert. My parents came to listen and it was lovely to get to catch up with some old friends.

3. Treating myself. Something about it almost being Christmas makes me want to buy more, especially luxurious things (who knows why!). So I bought myself a new lingerie set because I just couldn’t resist and then decided to invest in YSL’s new Youth Liberator foundation which is brilliant. It may be materialistic but it genuinely does lift my spirits to have lovely new things.

4. Roast dinners with the family. My grandfather came round for Sunday lunch earlier today and we had a delicious meal of roast chicken followed by apple crumble – so good!

5. Opening my advent calendar everyday. I get a lot of childish pleasure from opening the little windows everyday and getting to see the cute pictures behind the doors (yes I have a picture calendar rather than a chocolate one).

6. Events. This week, and of course next week, I have lots of events to go to, from carol singing to nights out and coffee meet-ups to birthday parties and I’m looking forward to them all.

7. Getting hugely excited for Christmas!! It is only 10 days away and I’ll be going back home for the holidays next weekend and I’m really looking forward to being able to curl up with my cat and watch Christmas films like The Holiday with my sister, baking plenty of mince pies with my mother, wrapping presents, preparing things for Christmas Eve and everything that follows!

Hope you’re all having a great December and are equally excited for Christmas :-)

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

Well apparently tonight is one of those looong nights when sleep eludes me completely so, rather than lie in the dark attempting to divert my thoughts away from slightly depressing issues, I figured I may as well get back up and write this post. Thankfully I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow morning so I’ll be okay!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from Donna Hay}

1. Getting our Christmas tree! One of the things I have been most excited about for Christmas this year is that after many years of having an artificial tree my parents decided we could go back to having a real one. I just think real trees are just that little bit better, the smell is wonderful and there is just something a little bit magical about having a real tree in your house all lit up. Plus it’s always so much fun to go out as a family and choose our tree!

2. Spending a lovely Christmassy afternoon with my family. Family time is especially important to me around Christmas time and we had such a nice time decorating the tree, setting up the nativity (minus the Magi and baby Jesus of course) and eating mince pies.

3. Volunteering! I had my first volunteering session at the scheme for young people with Asperger’s and Autistic on Thursday and it went really well. The other people working there are really friendly and helpful and the boys attending the group seem like a really nice group of teens. I think it’s going to be such a rewarding learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back already.

4. Christmas jumpers. Definitely enough said.

5. Looking forward to many of my lovely friends coming back next weekend. I’ve already been informed by one that she has a very busy schedule (mentioning no names haha) but I’m hoping they’ll all have the time to squeeze in time to see me!

6. Sending and receiving Christmas cards. This post has become incredibly Christmas themed but then it is the second weekend of December so I think it’s allowed. But I love writing my nearest and dearest festive cards and seeing a card come through the letterbox always brightens my day.

7. I may or may not have taken the plunge and booked a hair appointment this Friday so come this time next week I might have rather different locks!

Hope you are enjoying the festivities and have a great week :-)

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

Before I jump into all of the brilliant positive things that happened last week, I just want to let everyone know that things are okay, I’m just about hanging in here. Last week was one of the toughest weeks I have had in a while and I also have to apologise that I didn’t get this post up on Sunday, I had an assignment due in yesterday

Things are hopefully going to improve now that I’m not so stressed and the doctor upped my medication so hopefully I’ll be able to see past the blur of pain again soon…

Anyway, moving swiftly on!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from norrfrid}

1. First of all, as I couldn’t not include this as a HUGE happy thing, the wonderfully caring and heartwarming comments I received on my last post. I was so overwhelmed to get such a kind response and I really want to thank Abigail and Jessica, from the bottom of my heart, you have no idea how much it helped me to read them.

2. December is finally here! Anyone who knows me at all will know that I adore Christmas and everything about it, but the build up is almost the best bit of all. This weekend we had our annual tradition of making the Christmas cake at the beginning of the month, everyone has to take turns stirring the mix and when it’s your turn to mix you make a wish. I also have my little mini advent calendar set up in my bedroom and my fairy lights around my window. This time of year is so magical…

3. Mince pies. My mother and I made the first batch this weekend and they are, as happens every year, even better than I remember. The flaky pastry, the sweetness of the mincemeat. Enough said really.

4. Having my first essay of the term handed in. It may have seemed impossibly stressful trying to get it in but now that it is I feel so incredibly relieved!

5. I finally received my DBS form which means I can go ahead and start my volunteering position with the scheme for young people with Asperger Syndrome and Autism. I start on Thursday afternoon and I’m really excited (and a little nervous), I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like this before so I know I am going to learn so much from it. I’m so looking forward to meeting all of the teens in the group as well as the people I’ll be working with.

6. Seeing my family at the weekend. My parents always know what I need and came to pick me up so that I could write my essay tucked up in my ridiculously comfy bed instead of my horrible (okay I may be exaggerating, but only a little!) uni bed. It was lovely to be looked after for a couple of days.

7. Christmas present shopping! I absolutely love buying presents for people, but it’s even more fun at Christmas as it means buying something for everyone. I always spend lots of time figuring out what to get people and I love finding things that are more meaningful because it’s worth the time spent when you get to give it to the recipient and see their reaction :-)

I hope you’re all having a brilliant December so far!

Sophie x

Fed Up. Afraid.

Fed up.

Frustrated.

In so much pain it is almost impossible to concentrate.

Disclaimer: If you don’t want to read what will probably be somewhat of a downer then I suggest you don’t read this and wait till the next time I post something! It’s just that, this is my blog, my space to write, and today I’m struggling so I think I just need somewhere to be able to vent.

When you have a chronic condition like mine, one with no cure, not even an exact treatment, one that even doctors don’t quite understand, it is difficult to explain it to other people. I mean who would want to sit and listen to what it’s like to no longer remember what life without some kind of pain was like? Who could be expected to able to understand that on one day my energy levels might be at 50% and I can actually leave the house and do something I enjoy but the next they might be close to zero and I can’t do much but lie in bed for absolutely no explainable reason? Who could actually be expected to be prepared to be there through all of the lows?

When I was in my first year of university I wrote a post on what it means to suffer from fibromyalgia. Things go up and down but nothing has changed, not really.

I have to admit that I’m afraid. I’m afraid of being taken seriously by people who can’t, and sometimes refuse to, understand. I’m afraid that going to see a doctor and expressing just how bad things can be will have them turn to the same old easy option of deciding that if I’m struggling I must be depressed because of course it couldn’t possibly be completely normal to struggle when your body feels like it has given up on you. I’m afraid that this is it, for the rest of my life. I’m afraid that many of my friends just don’t see what it really means so don’t really support me. And I think one of things I’m most afraid of right now, as I am single after so long, is that no man will ever be prepared to deal with this. How can I ever expect to meet someone and not frighten them away because they don’t want to face the side of me that isn’t all light and sunshine?

In life I can be cynical, my sense of humour can be rather dry and self-deprecating. But I am a positive, happy person. I believe in the power of the simple things. I believe that we should love freely, and as much as we can. I believe in making the most of what we have, and being grateful for everything we are given in life.

I want to live my own life as much as I can, I have goals, I put the energy I do have into projects and things which will make me happier. I give as much as I possibly have to the people that I care about, the people that I love. I just fear that sometimes, because no matter how I choose to live my fibromyalgia will always be a part of me, that I won’t be good enough. What if I’m not enough?

Sophie x

All Roads Lead to Rome – Day 2.

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‘When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls – the World.’

- Lord Byron, Childe Harold

I feel like going to Rome without  ever getting to see the Colosseum is a little like going to Paris and not ever seeing the Eiffel Tower so I was really excited to get a chance to spend a morning there. You may wonder what else there is to do other than walk around and admire the brilliance of the Roman architecture but you’d be wrong. Around the inside of the Colosseum they have heaps of display cases filled with all sorts of fascinating items; from sculptures of the Colosseum as it was when first built, to items excavated from the site.

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It’s hard to put into words just how awe-inspiring the Colosseum really is, the scale of the stands, the magnitude of the amount of work the whole building would have taken to design and then construct. It’s difficult to envisage something of this size and intricacy being built now but to know that it was built almost 2000 years ago is mind-blowing. As you walk around the walls you can’t help but imagine not only the huge number of people who have sat here over the many years – the Colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 70,000 people but also the somewhat sobering number of people and animals who fought and died in the arena below. There is a buzz as there are so many people all excited to see the great building but there is also a sense of hush as people contemplate exactly what it means to be standing in the Colosseum.

It’s amazing to be able to stand in a building almost two millenniums old which despite its age is still greatly intact!

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We spent a long morning in the Colosseum before returning to the area around our hotel for a late lunch. As you can imagine the food options in Rome are incredibly plentiful, and it’s difficult to know which of the many restaurants to stop at for food. After a few minutes of wandering we came across a really traditional, authentic looking Italian trattoria which served great pastas and some of the most fantastic desserts I’ve ever seen on the same menu. After much deliberation Aimee and I decided to pick two and share them, a classic tiramisu and a delicious truffle ice cream bomb. I wish that my camera hadn’t already been packed for the flight because I think the photo alone would be enough to make you hungry!

Then suddenly, the weekend was over far too soon and with heavy hearts we had to haul our suitcases onto the coach, head off to the airport and leave behind this amazing city. Italy is just simply stunning  and I cannot wait to return as soon as I can and discover more of its wonders, there is still so much of Rome to visit, let alone the rest of the country…

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from notetosarah tumblr}

1. The memories from Rome last weekend. I keep going through my photos and reminiscing about the beauty of the city, I hope that one day I get a chance to go back and see more of it!

2. Finally feeling well enough to enjoy a great night out with some of my friends at uni. We all got dressed up (which, I can’t lie, is one of my favourite parts of the night!) and had a few drinks at our house before heading out to dance and meet some of the boys. I haven’t had a night out since Halloween so it was really good to blow off some steam and let my hair down.

3. Pasta with fresh pesto. The pesto was on special offer so I treated myself and imagined I was somewhere warm and sunny in the Med…

4. Being invited to sing in a Christmas concert with the county youth choir I used to be part of. I adore Christmas carols so it is lovely to get to go sing them in a concert and it also hopefully means I’ll get to see some of my old choir friends.

5. Popping home to have dinner with my father and my sister on Saturday evening. My mother was away for the weekend so they invited me round for steak and chips. I never really eat meat when I’m away at uni but having peppercorn sauce over a lovely medium steak is such a delicious treat.

6. Getting out my winter duvet – so comfy.

7. I have a week to finish my first assignment (definitely not a happy thing haha) but next weekend marks the beginning of December and I’m definitely going home for a couple of days to make the first batch of mince pies and light the advent candle for the first time!

Sophie x