A Visit to Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome Starry Night

This is no ordinary art exhibition…

What has become abundantly clear amidst the chaos and confusion of the last seven months is just how essential the arts are, with many turning to art and culture within their own homes as a form of mental stimulation, creativity and self-care.

While I certainly count my blessings, some of the things I have missed the most during lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have been the theatre and museums. Seeing a show or an exhibition – usually several times a month – provided an often much-needed opportunity to switch off from the stresses of the day, relax and immerse myself in an amazing performance or stunning piece of artwork by talented performers and creatives.

I’m a huge Van Gogh fan, being lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, see The Starry Night at the MOMA in New York and Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and consequently I was ecstatic when I saw that the world-renowned Van Gogh Alive Experience was being premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Continue reading

Autumn Thoughts

The atmosphere in the house has been difficult to adjust to. It has been a week since Poppy passed away and for the first time in seventeen years there hasn’t been a cat in the house to get under my feet, yell at me for breakfast or test out the acoustics of the bathroom by singing their favourite songs at 3.00am. I have found it difficult not to walk up and down the stairs in a certain way to accommodate a feline zooming past me, or to open a door slowly just in case their was a cat sitting behind it, and for the first few days the sight of an empty kitty bed made me break down in tears. My lovely neighbour works with an animal sanctuary and so she very kindly agreed to pass all of Poppy’s things on so that they can go to help another animal in need, which has made me feel a little better. Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 29: Aspirations and Goals

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

Daily Gratitude Challenge Goals and aspirations

Day 29 of the Daily Gratitude Challenge is all about aspirations and goals. Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 22: Lessons Learned

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

Daily Gratitude Challenge What life lessons are you grateful for

Day 22 of the Daily Gratitude Challenge is all about lessons learned. While it may not be obvious at the time, lessons learned (particularly when they are learned the hard way) are instrumental in our psychological and emotional growth. This is an opportunity to look at the lessons you are grateful for, and how their impact has made you a better person. Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 6: Challenges

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

What challenges have you overcome (1)

Day 6 of the Daily Gratitude Challenge is about challenges that you have overcome and are grateful for the experience. Often a topic covered during the interview process, embracing and overcoming challenge demonstrates strength of character and resilience. Whether it is a personal fear, person or situation, this is an opportunity to consider the challenges that you have conquered and are a better person for it.  Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 4: The Greatest Advice I’ve Ever Received

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 4 Greatest Pieces of Advice

Day 4 of the Daily Gratitude Challenge focuses on advice. Whether the advice we receive comes directly from the words and actions of family, close friends and colleagues or from books, TV and films, people in power or celebrities, I have taken advice from all areas of my life and am grateful for it. Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 3: Moments and Memories

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

Day 3 focuses on moments and memories. I take hundreds of photographs wherever I go because I feel the need to record the moments I experience and preserve the memories I have of amazing places and people, but I always make sure to stop and take a few minutes to be mindful of where I am and what is happening. I value the memories that I have, particularly when things are tough. Here are just a select few,

Moments and Memories I am Grateful For:

Note: I haven’t included as many travel memories as there is a specific travel topic later in the challenge.

Daily Gratitude Challenge Moments and Memories

Time I spent with my Grandfather. A northern Englishman to the core, he wore a flat cap and grey cardigans and regularly asked me if I was ‘courting’ anyone (despite the fact that I was 10 at the time). He liked musicals and snooker, made up his own lyrics to songs and whenever visited he always had a little white paper bag with a selection of chocolates for us. He was adopted, and so in 2014 I set out to trace his ancestry and I found his birth mother – it was a fascinating journey and not only gave me a bit more of an understanding as to what his early life must have been like, but a greater appreciation of his kindness despite that adversity that he faced. He passed away when I was 16, and it would have been his 100th birthday last year.

The day I surprised my mum by turning up unexpectedly on my 21st birthday when she thought I was at uni. I loved the look on her face when I told her to look outside her office window. Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 1: It’s the Little Things

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

It's the Little Things - Daily Gratitude Challenge

Day 1 focuses on the little things – the everyday things that are all too easy to take for granted. Whether it is that first cup of coffee in a morning, a letter from a friend, a beautiful sunset or the unconditional love of a pet, there are lots of things in our daily lives that pass us by without acknowledgement. Continue reading

A Weekend in Manchester and Some Personal Time

It’s been a while since I blogged without purpose. I’ve missed it – the act of writing has always been therapeutic. On a personal level I’ve been busier than ever – I’ve met a whole bunch of brilliant people and my workload has reached capacity, which is amazing, but the downside of this is there’s little time for doing nothing.

I received a message from my friends from 6th form to meet up for a meal in Manchester – we have known each other for over twenty years and have stayed in contact, meeting up every so often to catch up. They’re a great group of women – all are doing well for themselves with families and jobs, and I love the fact that even though I don’t see or speak to them for months at a time, we slip back into conversation as though I had seen them yesterday.

I decided to make an extended trip out of it and booked myself into a hotel room for the night. To my recollection there has only been a single time I’ve done that during the time The Bloke and I have been together (which was when he had a minor heart operation) so the concept was somewhat of a novelty, despite the fact that The Bloke is more than supportive of any time I want to myself. Continue reading

2019: A Year in Review

As I was creating my Bullet Journal spreads at the beginning of the year I decided to incorporate a Memories and Highlights page, not only to keep track of all the positive things that I experienced, but also to serve as a gratitude list. I have diligently filled it in all year.

It turned out to be invaluable. I haven’t particularly felt like I have enjoyed this year very much and my mental health has been low at times, but being able to look at an entire page of experiences, events and things that have brought joy to my daily life has successfully served as a reminder of how much fun I’ve had and how lucky I am. Granted, there have been a few things personally and professionally that haven’t been pleasant, but these have been far outweighed by the positive.

Here are just some of the fantastic things that have happened in 2019… Continue reading