Monday, 20 June 2016

Celebrating some good news...

So, you might remember that interview for a Marketing Assistant job I went for a couple of weeks ago. Well, I'm happy to announce that I got the job!!

I was so so thrilled to get the call, I genuinely wasn't getting my hopes up just in case, but I was so happy when they rang. Last week they still had to check my references, so I didn't tell anyone just in case it all went wrong – but they rang me up again on Friday to formally offer me the job, and to ask if I could start on Tuesday (i.e. tomorrow). So I said yes! I'm so so excited! I'm so looking forward to tomorrow and throwing myself into a new role – it's been a long time coming, but I finally feel like I'm exactly where I should be :).

The past few days have passed in a tired blur – I've been working in the cafe five days straight and let me tell you, if you've never been a waitress or a waiter, it's hard work running around all day. I have nothing but respect for waiters and waitresses and chefs everywhere. Today I woke up and the only thing that got me out of bed was the thought that it was my last shift today. I've loved working in the cafe for the past month – everyone has been so friendly, and I will genuinely miss the people I worked with (although I'll obviously still visit for ice-cream every weekend).

I also feel like I've been unusually sociable the past few days; going out for bridesmaids dress fittings, seeing old friends etc. Last night I went to the Full Moon Cinema again (if you haven't already, you can read about ourcommunity run cinema here) – this month's showing was 'Birdman' and, as promised, I took my stash of specially bought chocolate and my parents with me this time. My parents hated the film – I wasn't sure if they'd like it or not, but no, they told me afterwards in great detail how much they disliked it. But on the plus side, they had a good chat with the other people there during the intermission and after the film. And I met another writer! Imagine that - two writers in the same village! This guy is younger than me, and wants to get into writing, so I offered to help him out if he ever needed it – it was so nice to find a real life writer in, well, in real life. Plus, on my day off last week, I finally managed to get some writing done! It was mainly backstory and stuff that I would never keep in an actual novel, but it felt so good to be writing again. I definitely need to make it more of a priority in the evenings.

So that's it! That's all my news! Hope you're all having a lovely week :)

Have you had any good news this week? Have you ever seen the film 'Birdman'? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

To dream, or not to dream, that is the question...

I'm coming to the end of reading The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, and I genuinely don't know what I'm going to do with my life once I finish this series. It's by far the best series I've read in years. If you haven't read it yet and you're into paranormal/fantasy books, I strongly recommend it.

So to stave off the inevitable moment when I have to leave Gansey, Blue and the rest of the Raven Boys behind forever, I thought I'd write this blog post instead. Part of the reason I love this series so much is because it revolves around the idea of different forms of magic; and one of these is the idea of being psychic.

I have always wanted to visit a psychic, but I'm too scared in case they tell me I'm going to die young, or I'm marrying the wrong person or something. True fact: my mum visited a psychic and the woman told her that there were two men in her life, but she'd be married by the end of the year. She was going out with one guy at the time, but she knew my dad through mutual friends - not that she thought anything of what the woman said. But she ended up splitting up with her boyfriend and, in November that year, after a whirlwind romance (kinda) she married my dad.

Given that I raised on that story (and many others involving my godmother and her psychic ways), I've always had a soft spot for the idea of being psychic and predicting future events. So today, I'm going to share with you my brush with being 'psychic' - let me know what you think in the comments below - do you think I'm reading too much into things, or have you had any experiences like my own?

I guess it started out when I was young, but it seems to have gotten stronger over the years. Just simple things at first, that I never gave any thought to - thinking about a song for no reason, then turning on the radio and that exact song would be playing; thinking about a particular Simpsons episode, and then that night, that would be the episode on TV; thinking about a particular person and then that person would text/call me moments later. Just last night, I was scrolling through Facebook, when Coldplay's 'Fix You' came into my head - the very next post I saw when I scrolled down the screen was a video for Coldplay playing 'Fix You' live at a recent concert - bearing in mind not one of my friends went to that concert, or had mentioned the band to me at all beforehand, nor had I heard a Coldplay song in days (I don't particularly like them so I never listen to them). On Sunday at work, I randomly thought about a couple that had come in a few weeks ago and I hadn't seen since...twenty minutes later they were the very next people to walk through the door.

In August 2014 I visited Copenhagen for a long weekend with my friend. I had a good time, but I returned thinking that now I'd seen the city, I had no urge to return. But in February 2015, I woke up one day with the strongest urge to revisit Copenhagen. I couldn't explain it - it was all I could think about. I've never before woken up with such a strong urge to visit a particular city before. For the next three days, I woke up with the same feeling - all I could about was travelling back to Copenhagen. On the third day, the horrific shootings in Copenhagen occurred. My feelings about returning to Copenhagen ceased abruptly. I have never again experienced the urge to go back there.

But it's my dreams that really freak me out sometimes. I've been a lucid dreamer since I was a teenager (because who wants to be stuck in a nightmare, when you can change your dreams to suit you?) - I thought this was pretty normal, until I happened to tell a uni friend one day and she thought  that was the weirdest thing ever. Turns out not everyone can manipulate their dreams...

When I was 12 or 13, I dreamt about a girl at school that I wasn't friends with having highlights put into her hair. The next day at school, she showed up with highlights in her hair. Not a major coincidence perhaps, but still a little strange. But then last year I dreamt that my best friend was getting married - I texted her to tell her and we both laughed about it. The next week, I had the same dream again...three days later her boyfriend proposed to her. He hadn't told a soul he was going to propose, not even his parents or Emma's parents knew about it.

A few months ago, I dreamt about a child in the class I was teaching - let's call him Adam. In my dream, Adam fell over and scraped the left hand side of his face pretty badly. The next day at work, I watched as the other Adam in my class (there were two) fell over on the playground. When I ran over to help him, I received a shock; his face was injured exactly as I had seen it in my dream. The only difference was that I'd dreamed about the other Adam being injured.

The most recent of these dreams happened last week. I dreamt that a man needed an epi-pen because he was allergic to nuts. Even in my dream, I had a very strong feeling about this epi-pen - because the word 'epi-pen' has never popped up in my dreams before, and that's chiefly why I remembered this dream. The next day at work, a couple came in and ordered food but they asked me if I could leave the peas off their son's plate. I said sure, and the mum said, 'it's because my son is allergic to peas - he needs an epi-pen if he has them.' Again, something that could be a trivial thing, but still a very odd coincidence.

I know reading through all these events probably won't sound like much. Even when I read back over what I've written, I find myself questioning if all these things really meant something or not. But even so, I think it's an interesting story to tell. I've always loved dreaming - one of the main reasons I don't like to get drunk is because it affects my ability to dream - I hate not dreaming. To me, it's just normal to dream every night, and then remember them for days afterwards. I can still remember some of my dreams from childhood. It's just something I've trained myself to do. Also, I love trying to figure my dreams out - I find it fascinating when something that has happened to be that day pops up in my dreams. I guess it's a bit weird dreaming about something that hasn't happened yet, but I'm kinda getting used to it now.

Have you ever experienced anything similar? Have you ever had dreams that have come true, or experienced strong feelings about something/someone for no reason? Or do you think that people read more into it than necessary?

Friday, 10 June 2016

Switching off the negative light...

Guys, I just wanted to share a little bit of Friday love with you all today.

I've had a couple of comments saying that I sound happier in my recent blog posts, and the fact is, I feel happier in myself. I feel more at peace with myself than I have for years, and even though I hadn't picked up on it, that's coming out in my writing.

Of course, as you all know by now (I swear I'll stop going on about it soon), the main reason why I feel so much better in myself is because I've moved back up to Cumbria. Although I never would've admitted it in my younger, more rebellious, days, Cumbria is where my home is. Although I still want to travel and see the world, it no longer seems quite like the urgent mission it once was. Don't get me wrong, I still want to travel and explore and do new things...but I know now that Cumbria is the place I will always come back to in the end.

And it's amazing how much being at peace and happy with yourself changes your perception on life. I had an inkling when I lived in Norfolk that I was seeing the world in a negative light, but I never realised until I moved exactly how unhappy I was and how much it affected my day to day life. At times, I felt so isolated and lonely, even though I'm so happy with The Engineer and I enjoyed my day job. But I felt as though I couldn't make proper friends at my job no matter how hard I tried; and if I saw on social media that the group of people from work that I hung out with had met up without asking me, I would cry for days simply because I felt so isolated from everyone. Looking back, it's easy for me to admit that I wasn't in the best place.

Now though, I feel like I'm slowly re-gaining some of my self-confidence. I want to stop and talk to people in the village (on Monday night I spent and unexpected hour at a neighbour's house, just having a chat - this is why I love Cumbria), I've starting to look people in the eye more, and - most importantly - I feel like I can handle situations better. Before if I had a problem, I felt like it was the end of the world. Now if something goes wrong, I may feel a bit anxious, but then I think, 'okay, this is the problem, so let's find a solution'. At the time of writing this blog post, I hadn't heard back from my interview on Tuesday, but even hearing the outcome of that doesn't scare me as much as I thought it would - what will be will be, and I'll just have to face whatever happens when it happens.

And because I feel like I'm in a better place mentally, physically I feel like I'm holding myself better too. I'm standing up taller, I'm smiling more and I'm not ashamed of who I am. Last Saturday, I attended a friend's wedding - the sun was shining, I was in good company, and for the first time in a long long time, I felt good about myself (despite mother bear's insistence that my lipstick was far too red). And there's nothing wrong with that - people should embrace who they are, and celebrate themselves as much as possible. So that's why I've included some photos of the wedding below - because I'm proud of myself to be standing in the sun with my best friend and my family, smiling at the world.

Let's hope that that negative light stays switched off for good.

Have great weekend, folks!

The Engineer, Me and The Sister's Boyfriend

 Ditto :)

Me and The Engineer 

Me and The Sister

Me and The Engineer :)

Have you ever realised that your perception of life has changed because of a certain situation? How did you handle it? What are you up to this weekend?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Waiting Game...

I feel like today has been a good day.

The sun is still shining (unusual for Cumbria), I got bits and pieces of wedding prep done (mother bear would probably disagree, but hey, at least I feel like I've made an effort!) and I had my interview for a new job.

I won't go into specifics of the interview because I'm absolutely terrified I'm going to jinx it, but I'd like to say it went well - hopefully I can let you know more either at the end of this week, or sometime next week, once I hear back from them. That's the hard part now; I've been preparing for this interview for three weeks, and now once again I'm stuck in the agonising waiting game. I feel like I've been waiting forever for the past few weeks to hurry up, and yet, now it seems like it's over in a blur - but I'm sure the next few days/week will feel slow now too.

I'm not getting my hopes up, though. Not because I don't want the job (I can't tell you how badly I want it - it sounds amazing), but because I'm more cautious about getting my hopes up this time around. I'm planning a blog post about the last interview I had, and how I felt after I got rejected from that job, but suffice to say, I'm definitely erring on the side of caution this time around just in case. I'd hate to get all my hopes up, just to have them dashed again.

But I've definitely learnt a lot from the last interview I had - I was more confident giving my presentation this time around, and because I told myself before the interview I wasn't going to get the job, I felt a lot calmer and less pressured - hopefully that came across in my interview answers.  I know it probably sounds strange to tell yourself that you won't succeed before you even get into the interview, but to me, this technique works. I don't get all wound up and anxious; instead I think to myself, 'oh well, I'll just do the very best I can and see what happens'. And this way, I know that even if I don't get the job, then at the very least I've gained more valuable experience that I can put into practice at my next interview.

Do you have a technique to help you cope during interviews? Are you playing the waiting game at the moment for anything?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

IWSG June: The Guilt Trip

Morning everyone! It's that time of the month again where writers from across the blogosphere get together to share their fears and encourage one another - if you'd like to find out more about the Insecure Writer's Support Group, you can check out their official website here.

As you're probably all aware, recently I moved back to Cumbria with the Engineer, and since then, I feel like I haven't really stopped. From helping my dad milk the cows every morning and most nights, to working in the cafe most days, then doing various wedding bits and bobs in my spare time (both for my wedding and the several others I'm attending this year), having my hen party this weekend (so good, but so so tired now), entertaining my friend that came to visit me from London, preparing for a job interview next week and just generally trying to sort my life out now that I've can guess where I'm going with this. I've barely had time to stop and catch my breath, let alone write.

I feel guilty for not having the time to write - I know that when I normally say that, generally I mean that I DO have the time to write, I just couldn't be bothered. But this month, time just seems to be slipping away from me. Plus, now that I live with my parents, I feel kinda awkward sitting at the laptop all day. I love my parents, but they are definitely the kind of people who, when they see you're sitting at a computer, will stop and ask, 'oh, what are you up to?' or (more likely in my parent's case) say, 'Great, you're not doing anything - can you come and help with X,Y and Z?' - which makes me feel like I can't just sit and write, even if I did have the time.

On the plus side though, my characters are popping back into my head more and more. Even though I can't sit and get the words out onto the page, I love thinking about my characters and my story and generally just musing over what I'll write next, when I do get the chance. So it's nice to know that my characters haven't completely abandoned me, even if I do feel guilty for not writing about them more often!

Do you feel guilty for not writing, even though you have a valid reason not to? Do you feel awkward writing in front of other people? How's your writing going this month?