Friday, November 28, 2014

Memories of Greece

I love the ocean. I love its enormity, its depth and its reputation as an uncontrollable force not to be reckoned with. The ocean never fails to make me feel small. This in itself is what puts things into perspective – everyday worries become distant concerns as life on the water gives you an unimaginable sense of freedom. It was sailing around the Greek Islands in 2008 that presented me with this realisation.

We organised the trip through a company called Sailing Holidays – we give them money and in return they give us a boat for two weeks and a guide boat to follow to different islands around the Greek coast. When you arrive, you become part of a flotilla, which makes the trip extremely sociable and constantly filled with various laughable events; including dinghy races (which happened to be the moment we realised ours had a hole in and preceded to row and scoop water out simultaneously), cocktail making competitions and an awards evening to finish off the trip. We managed to scoop ourselves the Golden Shield after all the mishaps – we lost a bucket, a solar shower and even a dinghy, which we later found bobbing on the ocean. However, we later became the height of everyone’s entertainment when we found ourselves lost at sea and slept on the wrong island for the night. 

The beauty of this journey was that my brother came with us. As an impressionable teenager he had given up on family holidays at the age of sixteen, but it appeared that sailing around Greece was an opportunity not to be passed up. My mother’s cousin also joined us. Interestingly enough she had little swimming ability, in actual fact she had no swimming ability, which made living on a boat for two weeks interesting to say the least. 

The days were filled with cruising along the water, dolphin searching and sitting on the front of the boat singing along to Nickleback’s ‘Rockstar’. We witnessed the most beautiful bays in some of the more remote Greek Islands with one tavern and a small number of residents, as well as some busier towns where we could hit the shops and eat out in the restaurants. Nothing however, beat falling asleep on the deck under the stars and waking up in the morning with the ocean at your feet. 

It really was an incredible experience, living on the ocean, and six years on my family continue to dream of the day when we will be able to go back and do it all over again.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Anniversary weekend | Cleethorpes

The second part of our weekend adventure entailed a trip to Cleethorpes. Cleethorpes is a seaside resort on the estuary of the Humber in North East Lincolnshire and was probably the most perfect way to spend the day. It was a freezing cold Sunday, in November, but the sun was shining and the wind kept at bay; which was certainly the best we could have hoped for.

Cleethorpes is what I would call a typical English seaside; arcades, crazy golf, candy floss and addictive claw games in which you waste endless amounts of twenty pence coins attempting to win a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cuddly toy. For those of you, that like me, think that in the end the claw will give up and hand you over your prize, you’re wrong. It picks it up; each time getting closer to the drop hole, and then on queue, lets it slip out of its grasp moments before it’s yours. It’s an emotional turmoil, which makes you invest more than just your leftover coins. I have to confess that I was sucked in by the chance of winning Donatello in toy form, it is almost concerning how addictive some of these arcade games are, one goes there with a sensible mind and a tight budget, but within moments is willingly handing over all their money. 

One activity that is as addictive though requires less emotional investment than the claw, is one known as… the dance mat. For those of you that have never endorsed in the brilliance that is the dance mat, you have been deprived. I began self-assured and excelled (though followed by a brief period of overconfidence and failure) it has and will always be, my favourite arcade game (closely followed by air hockey of course). I could spend all day in an arcade centre, lucky for me there isn’t one close by or my degree would have been severely neglected over the past two years. 

The rest of the day was spent doing what we do best; eating unhealthy food, stroking ponies on the sand (sadly I was too big to ride them), walking along the beach and people watching, which soon turned into dog watching – the winter rules of the beach allow owners to bring their pets, meaning on a Sunday, the beach was full with some very lovely furry friends. 

I have to say, I was dubious about how much fun a beach could be in the winter, but it was perfect and I will definitely spend many more winter days at the seaside.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Anniversary weekend | York

On Sunday November 9th, Jake and myself had officially been together for a year. It’s scary how fast time flies, but it was only fair to mark the occasion with an adventure filled weekend. That and it was also a perfect excuse for me to visit places I had never been to before. Over the last year I have spent a significant amount of time up in Yorkshire with Jake, but have explored little of the surrounding towns and cities. Last Saturday, we headed on the train to York, a beautiful historic city that has been on my list to visit for a while now.

The day began on a high. I started taking photos of the gorgeous church; the wall surrounding the city and the little quaint streets filled with shops and of course lots of people. Then before long, as predicted by the weather forecast, the heavens opened. Refusing to let the rain ruin our day out, Jake and myself proceeded to wander around the city, heading into shops and for a coffee to dry off in between bouts of walking in the rain. 

Besides coffee, I bought a couple of Christmas presents. This year I am so incredibly proud of my organisational skills when it comes to Christmas shopping (no more Christmas eve trips for last minute gifts). I also walked into the Disney store and fell in love with a big, fluffy, strawberry smelling, Lotso. After some excited jumps, squeals and soppy eyed looks in Jakes direction, I left York with a new addition to the family. 

Sadly the bad weather meant my camera spent most of the day in Jake’s rucksack, so only a handful of pictures were captured, but York was beautiful and I will definitely be returning when the forecast predicts some sunshine.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Be the reason somebody smiles

Kindness is contagious, that is the motto of the ‘I Am Girl ’ campaign that I adore so much. It’s about working together, pulling people up as opposed to putting them down. It doesn’t take much out of your day to tell somebody how wonderful he or she is. It could be somebody you love, a friend you haven’t seen in years, or a complete stranger who you tell to ‘have an incredible day’. You could give somebody a warm smile, a hug, pick up the phone or send him or her a note.

I kindly received a message from a follower on tumblr who told me to ‘have an amazing day’, and I couldn’t help but smile. To think that somebody I had never met took two seconds out of her day to improve mine made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So I did the same to another, passing on the well wishes that had been kindly sent my way. 

It is such a small task, yet it is something we all seem to forget. We become so wrapped up in the events of our own lives that we pass over opportunities to make somebody smile. So message a stranger, pick up the phone and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, tell the girl on the tube who is clearly dressed up for a date that she looks great, send a tweet of appreciation to the user who always makes you laugh, or write a letter to your mother telling her that she is the most incredible woman you have ever met, and that every day you aspire to be just like her. 

Take a few minutes out of your day to be the reason somebody smiles. Let’s get everybody grinning like chimpanzees.
A photo that always makes me smile. This beauty was captured during an Arctic Monkeys concert last June.


Saturday, November 01, 2014

Happy snaps from October 31

Halloween began with one of mine and Lisa's infamous walks, and ended with fancy dress, pumpkin carving and Hocus Pocus. As always, I took advantage of the various photo opportunities throughout the day. To read the full story of our walkabout, head over to Lisa's blog, Lisiloo
Hope you all had a great halloween :)

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