Why do we write?

Someone asked me today about why I study English literature.  My answer was very simple: because I love writing.  I love to read what other people have written, learn from it and write things of my own.  For a long time, I saw writing as something I would do in the future but I’ve recently realised that I am already a writer.  Any one of us sat in front of our laptops, turning out blog post after blog post is a writer.

When I started this blog a couple of months ago, I had some idea about what I wanted to write about – books, art, vintage stuff and of course, guinea pigs.  Even over this relatively short time, the blog has adapted, much as I have changed myself.  I made the conscious decision to use this blog as a channel to celebrate different subjects, whether it was a review about a book I really enjoyed or a couple of cute pictures of my fish!  I’m a realist and I fully understand that life is not all rainbows and unicorns and that sometimes we need to talk about things that are uncomfortable or difficult in order to bring them into the public consciousness.  However, I want to write posts that make me smile and (hopefully) make others smile too!

Taking part in NaBloPoMo has been quite difficult for me in a number of ways – primarily through managing my time effectively.  When I first started, I assumed that all blogs needed to be planned well in advance, be of a certain length and had to include an image.  Ironically, some of my most popular posts this month have been ones I have come up with on the spot or snapshots of my day.

My question for all you fabulous bloogers out there is: what you have written that really makes you proud?  Was it a thought-provoking discussion piece?  Was it posting a really amazing image, photograph or drawing?  Was it being brave enough to say something heartfelt that you have never admitted before?

Irrespective of what it was about, remember that it was something you created and be proud.

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Autumn clean: the new spring clean?

Traditionally, we spring clean in order to get our homes and belongings ready for the summer.  However, it seems to make more sense to me get this done in the autumn as we spend more time in the house during the colder months than we do when it’s warming up.  Therefore, over the next few days, I am having a massive clear out.  I’ve had a charity bag on the go for a few weeks now; every time I discover an item of clothing I haven’t worn for ages or one I wear and then decide I don’t like, its been going in the bag (laundered first, obviously!).  The bag is getting pretty heavy and rather full now but my wardrobe is still quite literally, bursting at the seams!

With all the cold weather we’ve been having over the past few days, I decided that I would reclaim a fluffy leopard print dressing gown from the bag.  It was consigned to the charity when the weather was warmer but as I’m feeling the chill somewhat, I thought it might come in handy.  Having put it to one side, I got Fern and Rosebud out for a run.  They too thought it was ‘useful’ and proceeded to make a nest in it, curl up and go to sleep!  They weren’t particularly impressed by me lifting up the top of the ‘nest’ to take this picture but I couldn’t resist…

Rosebud’s hair seems to be getting longer by the day!

(I keep the girls on fleece and vetbed so they obviously assumed this was just an extension of their bed, albeit one they could burrow into and hide under!  Having seen this reaction, I definitely think I’ll get them some of those fleecy tunnels and guinea pig beds for Christmas.  I’ve seen a few on the internet and was wondering if anyone could recommend any good quality ones to me?)

I’m also trying to downsize a lot of ‘stuff’ as I want to make more space so that I can work on more artistic endeavours.  In response to some queries I’ve had recently, I’ve decided to start taking commissions for pieces, including pet portraits (or should I say pawtraits?!).  Exciting times!

Feeling Festive already?! Eek!

Our local Costa had their Xmas preview last night.  Mum and I spent a lovely couple of hours eating yummy cake, sipping tea and having a chat to the fantastically hard working baristas.

Despite having a great night (and I have to say, I did enjoy humming along to the Xmas tunes), it did leave me wondering whether I’m going to be sick and tired of Christmas by December 1st?  Ah, well it’s a chance I’m willing to take!

Making lists

I am a great one for making lists.  I make them at work and I make them at home.  I actually really like writing down all the things I have to do because once I’ve done them, I can put a great big flourishing tick next to them!  Ah, the sense of pride (and relief) from completing one more job.

This week I have outdone myself in terms of my lists.  Instead of the usual A4 sheet running down the page, I turned the paper landscape and divided it into 4 four columns.  This has nothing to do with making my list more aesthetically pleasing and everything to do with the fact that I have so much on at the moment I need to divide things into sections and compartmentalise the tasks a bit more.

Yesterday, I picked off most of the smaller or more generalised tasks, such as returning emails, visiting the opticians and updating my calendar with my next uni tutorial dates.  Most of the bigger stuff will probably get left until Friday and in the meantime, I’m sure the list will grow.  However, if I can keep chipping away at some of the tasks, I know I’ll reach the weekend without that overwhelming sense of being snowed under when all I really want to do is chill out.

I’m off to a fireworks display on Saturday evening so if I can get the bulk of my jobs done before then, that will be a lovely reward.  I’ll make sure I get some photos of the fireworks and you never know, I might even update you on how much of the list I actually do manage to complete!

Have a safe and happy fireworks night and please remember to check any bonfires before lighting in case there are any hedgehogs nesting under them.

Seeing things from a different perspective

A couple of weekends ago, we went for a walk in Salcey Forest.  The leaves were turning, the air was crisp and the sunlight made dappled patterns through the canopy of tree tops.

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There is a Tree Top walk through the forest, which enables you to see the forest from above like a bird or a squirrel.  What a wonderful reminder to look at things from a different perspective.  At ground level, trees are solid and rooted but at the top, they bend and sway elegantly in the breeze.  I was left with the overriding thought that there’s nothing wrong with having your head in the clouds so long as your feet are firmly placed on the ground!

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If you have the chance, visit Salcey as it’s a lovely place.  There are a number of different walks (including ones suitable for kids), cycle paths, bridleways, picnic faclities, on-site parking and a cafe.

Being happy

With the clocks going back and the darker nights setting in, I find it increasingly hard to stay motivated.  In the past, I’ve often felt like hibernating in the late autumn/winter; I dig my thickest jumpers out, wrap up and hide with a good book or film.  This year however, I am determined to stay positive and to try and enjoy the changing weather!

I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment and have decided to cut out alcohol for the entire month of November.  Whether this will be easy or not remains to be seen!  I’m also endeavouring to eat as healthily as possible and making fresh smoothies/protein shakes for breakfast.  I already eat a lot of vegetables and fruit so I’ve just got to stop going for those mid-afternoon pick-me-up chocolate bars now…

As strange as it may sound I really do love to exercise – particularly running – so I’m going to make sure I keep going for a run.  I’ll never be Paula Radcliffe but I can plod along at a consistent pace for quite a while.  I enjoy entering races (5k & 10k) and I’d love to do a half marathon next year.  Obviously, I’ll need to train…a lot!  Last year I did a 5 mile race in December dressed as Santa.  It was great fun even though I had a stinking cold and felt dreadful all the way round.  At least I was warm in my red fleece though!

I have an awful lot of reading to get through over the next month so I will still be treating myself to the odd hot chocolate (and marshmallows – rude not to) and I most probably will be wearing some kind of arctic fleece whilst doing so, but hey, a girl’s gotta pamper herself occasionally!

I’ve included this photo of fallen leaves I took last night – isn’t nature glorious?!

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Community

I got to thinking today about the notion of communities and community spirit.  As a fairly new member of the blogging community I am pleasantly surprised by how friendly and kind other bloggers have been.  I’m also happy to say that, through reading the work of other bloggers, I have learnt an awful lot of new stuff!

The things I write about on my blog are somewhat diverse but they are what makes me, well me!  Being part of this online community has enabled me to get an insight into the unique and wonderful worlds of others with similar interests to myself.  I live in quite a small town so the likelihood of me bumping into a guinea pig obsessed, vintage wearing individual with their nose buried in classic literature is pretty thin to say the least.  In contrast, I can type in the words ‘vintage’, ‘literature’ or ‘guinea pig’ and immediately be offered a plethora of potential writers to connect with.

The act of committing your thoughts, feelings and ideas into writing is a cathartic process and one that humans have been doing for hundreds of years.  How lucky are we that we can do that and then share those thoughts with others around the world with just a few key strokes?  It always makes me smile when I see that people in other countries have read my blog – it’s wonderful that people on the other side of the world to me are interested in what I have to say.  We really are part of a community and even though it’s an online one, surely it’s just as important as the traditional kind?

It’s raining? That’s ok…

IMG_1773.JPGUsually, I get down in the dumps when faced with a wet and windy day.  By definition, I call days like today ‘miserable’ and make the assumption that they are a bit or a write-off.  This got me thinking:  if I alter my perceptions of the bad weather, perhaps the nature of the day will improve?  Well, I didn’t manage to stop it raining but I did come up with five good reasons why a rainy day isn’t such a bad thing…

1.  It’s actually quite relaxing to hear the sound of rain pitter-pattering on the roof or the window.  Now obviously, this is best heard whilst tucked up in bed and not just before you’re about to set off to work on foot because the car won’t start (yes that was me last week!).

2.  Anything ‘outdoorsy’ that you do accomplish feels akin to climbing Everest.  Trudging through town this morning, weighed down by bags of veg (for the guineas & the rabbits), wood shavings and straw (for the rabbits), and then subsequently cleaning out the rabbits’ hutch made me feel like an intrepid explorer.  I’m not daunted by a little bit of rain!

3.  I can’t complain that my hair looks flat/thin/wispy.  It doesn’t.  It’s massive.  I look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards – and that some of the hedge is still lodged in there – but hair is definitely anything but flat!

4.  It’s totally acceptable to eat a ‘hearty’ lunch and by that I mean one that contains lots of veg…and gravy…nom.

5.  It’s also totally acceptable to sit in a comfy chair, with the heating on and read.  I do a lot of reading for my MA and today was just the right day to start getting my head round Don Juan.  Byron is actually bloody funny!

I’m not saying I want every day to be a rainy one because believe me, I don’t!  But once in a while, I guess it’s ok.