Thoughts with Grenfell Tower and London

I happened to be on Twitter in the early hours of Wednesday morning and saw reports coming in of a massive fire in a tower block in London. At the time, it was on one side of the building, spreading quickly and it was possible to see people flashing their lights from their rooms to let the fire services know that they were still in there. By the morning, the fire was still raging and had consumed almost the entire building.

The feeling of utter helplessness watching those images was overwhelming. Stories surfaced of truly awful things that people had had to experience to try and save themselves, and there are already confirmed deaths and a large number of people still missing.

In any tragedy of this magnitude I always try and seek anything positive, and was hugely uplifted by the endless reports of the local Londoners and then the nation who immediately opened their homes and started donations of money, food and clothing to the survivors who have lost everything that they owned. I cannot possibly imagine what the survivors must be going through, and I’m so proud of the way that everyone has pulled together in their support. This is what we do best.

As always, my thoughts are also with the brave firefighters who risked their lives to tackle the blaze and try and save those inside. I know from conversations that I’ve had with my fireman friend over the years that what they experience every day are stay with them for the rest of their lives, and we as a society are forever indebted to them for what they do…

My love and thoughts are with everyone affected…

A Party, a Squidge and a Time for Reflection

It’s been a busy few weeks. With a mixture of supply, invigilating GCSE examinations, freelance music, social media management and time spent with family and friends, every day has been different. I went to visit Squidge a little while ago, who is now nearly five months old and stayed with each family member so I had a chance to catch up with everyone, continued with my wedding planning, I have met up with friends for lunch and at the weekend I crashed an 18 year old’s birthday party, which at 35 years old felt a little silly, but it turned out to be a fantastic night. Continue reading

A Nice Easter Break

It’s back-to-work for many after the Easter holidays today and, as always, I have an enormous sense of relief that I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed.

The Bloke took a few weeks off work to coincide with the holidays, so I took a break away from the blog. I still maintained my Pinterest and Twitter social media management and my Facebook group, but decided not to write any posts until I actually had something to say. Continue reading

Ghosts of Students Past

Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while. We met through a project – the school that I worked at did an annual concert with an orchestra and he was the composer for the music that we performed.

He now works for my former University that is currently moving to a new building. When he was cleaning out some of the cupboards, he found this:

Continue reading

Justice for Brad’s Wife

Every so often, something on the internet really takes off, and as per usual, I am one of the last ones to hear about it.

Over the last few days, I have been following the saga surrounding Cracker Barrel in the US, a man named Brad and his wife.

Brad was incensed after his wife was allegedly fired from her job at a branch of Cracker Barrel after being told that she ‘wasn’t working out,’ despite the fact that she had worked there for eleven years. He took to his own Facebook page at the end of February after contacting the company for an explanation and received no response, which quickly went viral when he posted a similar thing on Cracker Barrel’s Facebook page. Continue reading

How to Stop Being a Doormat

How to stop being a doormat

It’s nice to be nice. It’s nice to do nice things for others. However, when nicety is unreciprocated, taken for granted or turns into an excuse for others to be dismissive of you as a human being, then it becomes a problem.

It occurred to me a few years ago that I was held in a very different regard by others to what I had always assumed. Activities and meet-ups often involved multiple changes that would inevitably make it more inconvenient and expensive for me. I spent hours waiting for people to turn up. I was repeatedly interrupted. I was owed money. It wasn’t uncommon for me to receive messages or have conversations that began with a phrase that I have come to loathe:

Can I ask a favour?

The favour. The seemingly easy and straight-forward request that would always turn into a complicated mess and leave me feeling stressed and resentful, particularly when there was no acknowledgement or thanks afterwards. And yet, the one time I remember needing help which would have meant someone having to go out of their way, not a single person responded. Not one. Continue reading

Moving Forward

imageIt’s been an emotional week for so many and even though I’m a Brit, I could empathise with the uncertainty that a number of my American friends felt, regardless of who they voted for, particularly in the fact that the whole Brexit fiasco is still nowhere near to being resolved here. It’s the start of a new era, and even though that things aren’t going in the direction that I would have necessarily chosen, it’s clear that there are changes ahead. I’ve seen many inspiring and motivational messages over the last few days and, above all, I hope that unity and tolerance prevails. There’s only one direction in which we can travel – forwards – and I hope that we all, both over here and in America can do it together. Continue reading

No Day But Today

No Day But TodayA little while ago I was invited to see a production of RENT at The Old Rep in Birmingham. I’ve always been a fan of the music, having performed a number of the songs as part of a choir when I was at college, but had never seen the musical itself.

Since then, it has become a minor obsession. We watched (and enjoyed) the musical live on the Tuesday, then rented the film on the Wednesday, watched it again on the Thursday and then I went out and bought the DVD on the Saturday, and we promptly watched it again. I’ve owned the soundtrack with the original Broadway cast for years, so we have listened to it in the car, and there hasn’t been a morning over the last few weeks where I haven’t woken up with part of at least one of the songs going around my head in a loop. Despite the fact that I can’t relate personally to many of the themes in the show, there’s just that something about it that both The Bloke and I have connected with. It has become our thing, even though it finished on Broadway years ago. Continue reading

It Smells Like Summer

SummerIt smells like summer this morning.

Despite having a bad night’s sleep, I woke up in a disgustingly good mood. The current heatwave we are experiencing means that it’s already beautifully warm, even at 8.00am, and when I stood outside the scent in the air somehow reminded me of foreign holidays I have been on. My Facebook feed is littered with complaints from hot and uncomfortable friends, and The Bloke, who can’t handle any sort of weather except temperate, clear and dry is struggling, but I love it – after what has seemed like an age of living in the cold and dark, it’s nice to feel some real sun on my face.

I did my last bit of freelance work yesterday for the summer, which means I now have two months off. Two months. I can’t believe how quickly this academic year has gone, and the fact that I have remained reasonably financially stable throughout. There were so many worries and anxieties that accompanied last summer, but I’ve been able to prepare for this one over the last year, and I know that as long as I don’t go out and blow all my money on cocktails (which is always a temptation), I should be fine until Christmas at least. I’ve been enjoying the last few weeks and for the first time ever I haven’t felt like I have counted down the days or desperately wished my life away just to have a break. How lucky I am. Continue reading

#TrigglyPuff

I awoke at 4am to find the hashtag #TrigglyPuff trending.

Students at the University of Massachusetts were protesting and heckling during a discussion and forum on the use of political correctness on campus.

However, it’s one person that has sparked the attention of social media, who have awarded her with the name of #TrigglyPuff, and, despite Twitter’s best efforts to censor the hashtag, it seems to be quickly gaining in popularity. Continue reading