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12.8.17

The Unexpected Boyfriend

I half expected him to not turn up. Or for it to be a stitch up.
After 4 days of messaging pretty much non stop and getting to know each other I was so excited to meet him. My heart was racing, my stomach full of butterflies, my head completely distracted with thoughts of him.

I hadn't been on a date for 9 months after bad luck and feeling like it just wasn't for me anymore.
I had pretty much given up on the idea of meeting someone, and the thought of dating again petrified me. 
In fact, I didn't really expect to be going on a date. 
My intentions, when I signed up to Tinder, were simply to get a bit of attention from matches but that was it. 
No number exchanging, no personal information, no getting my hopes up and NO DATES!

Until I saw him. 

Other than full on fancying him just by seeing his photos, something intrigued me about him. I tapped the tick and my heart sank a little when I didn't get the "It's a match" notification.
Nevermind, I thought, I'm not here to date so maybe it's for the best. Besides, he would probably have a dull personality and not be someone I would click with, I told myself to try and feel better. It's silly isn't it, how not being told you are matched can feel like instant rejection.
It was weird, I couldn't get this guy out of my mind and almost considered deleting the app to reinstall it so I could find him again and use my Superlike for him in a bid to grab his attention.
 
Then again, I wasn't there to date so that would be a waste. And besides, I wanted to grab his attention for being me rather than hunting for it.

Then........I got a notification.
IT'S A MATCH.
I had obviously seen him before he saw me which was why there was no instant match.
I'm not that awful after all.
I found myself looking at his photos all over again. 
Making the most of it until he would unmatch.
Using my "fuck it" for the day I messaged him. He wouldn't reply anyway, which wouldn't matter because you know, I wasn't there to date. 

What the........he replied.
He. 
Has. 
Replied.
Remembering I wasn't there to date and reminding myself of my experiences last year I didn't get my hopes up.
Surely within half an hour he would be inappropriate and the conversation will be dead.
Which would be fine. I wasn't expecting him to be perfect, and nothing was going to happen.
And you know, I wasn't there to date so it didn't matter.

I accidentally broke my no number exchanging rule, my no getting my hopes up rule and my NO DATES rule. 
And I'm so glad I did.
Three days after we started messaging we were driving to meet each other. 

I tried so hard to not have expectations. But I knew what I ideally wanted. To fancy him just as I did from his photos, for him to be as chatty as he had been in messages and for him to be as funny as he had been. 

As we got out of our cars and he greeted me with a massive hug and kiss on the cheek and immediately showed a confident and relaxed personality I just knew this was going to be an amazing first date. 
Something just felt so right.

Four hours of laughing. Laughing so hard at times that I had to beg him to stop as my tummy was hurting and I couldn't breathe.
Holding hands on the beach, talking, feeling like I had known this man for a lot longer than I had. Feeling so comfortable in his company and like I didn't want the time to ever come to an end.

I couldn't believe my luck. Surely he wouldn't want to see me again? 
The end of the date proved me wrong and as we made plans to meet 3 days later and got in our cars to go our separate ways I sent a text to my mum.
"I could easily fall in love with him." 

And almost 7 weeks on...I was right. 
I feel like the luckiest woman to have met someone like him. To have met someone who is everything I asked for. 
To have him to call my boyfriend.

I did easily fall in love with him. 
And I'm so glad I did.

Euphoria #tt2016

When I think back to 3 years ago....well...3 and a half years ago....and my attitude and thinking towards motorbikes, and road racing it was completely different to how I feel now.
I thought it was selfish. How could these men, and women, risk their lives, put their families through the anxiety and nervousness of the dangerous speeds they travel on these machines. I didn't understand the thrill.

My brother has a motorbike and has done for years. I never really wanted to think about the dangers of it. I've always thought, and still do, that he is a safe rider, and seeing these riders involved in Road Racing made me feel a bit sick really. So I avoided it.

I watched Road. And I fell in love a bit with their passion. However, I also felt heartbreak at the sadness of the loss of lives involved in the sport.
In fact, I struggled to see it as a proper sport. How is it a sport when it is so dangerous?! When they are riding these bikes at such ridiculous speeds. On normal roads. Normal roads with tight bends, blind spots, humps and bumps.
I'd never enjoy it. I would never understand it, not properly.
I knew of the Dunlops, I loved their passion...but would never understand it.

Until I went. Until in 2015 when the first bike came past. I've written so many times about how the sound, the speed, the atmosphere, the adrenaline filled my body and pierced its way through my skin and into my blood and my heart.
At that point I didn't fully appreciate it. I still felt it was selfish. I still didn't understand it completely.
But the thrill....as a spectator. As a fan. I understood that thrill.
With only 5 days there, I think I was pretty overwhelmed and had a lot to take in. The dangers of it seemed to be more prominent to me than anything else and I tried so much to get my head around who was racing, how the racing worked and so on. I was only there for practice week so a lot of my days were filled with exploring the amazing island.
I had a few personal things going on too which filled my head. But I knew one thing for sure.....I wanted to get to know this sport some more and I knew I would be back.

Then in 2016, when I first planned this post. And edited the photo. Set the title and the plan of the post. I got it. I got it all.
I understood it.

Despite the danger, the end result, not even just the winning but the actual TAKING PART and succeeding. Completing the 37.73 mile race is enough. Of course, winning and getting a podium, being recognised for being one of the best, setting records and so on is surely everyones main aim and dream. However, just completing the circuit is an amazing achievement.

This year, 2017, I was lucky enough to be treated by my amazing brother and to get a seat in one of the grandstands. The one we were sat on was the one that saw all the riders come in at the end of the race. It amazed me how many people walked away from the stand once the "big boys" came in. However, we stayed until the last bike came in.
It was a massive wake up call for me to see the reactions of the racers as they came in.
A group of three stuck in my mind. As they came in they stopped and accepted the praise and applause from the crowd, and their reaction was enough to give me goosebumps.
They looked liked winners.
They celebrated like winners.
Because they had completed the course.
That was enough for them.

So many people, who are not into road racing or bikes, seem shocked at the deaths and the injuries sustained by the racers. And 3 years ago, I would have been shocked too. But looking into it, and experiencing it, it's almost the norm. The deaths, the injuries, the accidents, the sadness, the heartache...it's expected.
It's not what anyone wants, of course, but tragedy, it is inevitable. 

In an interview Robert Dunlop said he would rather die doing the sport he loves than to be ill for 6 months and to end up dying.
And at first although I thought it was selfish, I then got it. I understood it.
I now understand it.

And everytime those bikes speed past, or there is an accident...either a small one, or a fatal one, I remind myself that they are doing what they love.
They know the risks.
And they take the chance.
I realise how thrilling it is for me to watch, and how much more thrilling it must be for them.
I can't even imagine how it must feel to be on that bike. How through each section of the course they must have this feeling of achievement, but also of knowing the toughest parts are yet to come, or have just gone past.

I now understand it as a sport.
I have masses of respect for each and every rider, for their families, for the sport.
And especially respect for the fallen riders...and have hope that before they died, they managed to feel and experience Euphoria. At least once.

 noun: euphoria
a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. 
"in his euphoria, he had become convinced he could defeat them"
synonyms:elation, happiness, joy, joyousness, delight, glee, excitement, exhilaration, animation, jubilation, exultation

Quote taken from the film Road. Photo my own.

8.8.17

Mann Cat Sanctuary | TT2017

This year I was spending two weeks on the Isle of Man, longer than the previous 5 days in 2015 and 8 in 2016. And was able to explore the island after deciding to drive over in my car. With that in mind I came up with a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to visit when the racing wasn't on.

As a Crazy Cat Lady and a mummy to two cats I had to visit the Mann Cat Sanctuary. Now, to be honest, I like dogs as much as I like cats. I only really have my two cats because of my ex-husband, cats would never really have been my choice of pets. However, after reading about the Cat Sanctuary I really wanted to visit to see what it was like.

The sanctuary was founded in 1996, by Sue Critchley and Carole Corlett, to provide a safe and peaceful haven for unwanted, disabled and traumatised cats.
There is no entry fee, but a suggested donation of £5 or a gift of a box of cat food pouches. I went to the supermarket and ended up taking a big bag of cat food tins instead of just a box of pouches.

I had this idea that it would be all magical and beautiful. As I pulled up in the car park I was immediately made welcome....by a couple of cats which was lovely. I loved that they were there straight away, even if I was a little nervous at driving with them so close to my car. After a stroke and giving them some love I walked up towards the Sanctuary and saw a member of staff. Not knowing where to go or what to do with the food I lifted the bag up and happily said "I came with gifts" *massive cheesy smile".
I was told quite bluntly "Up in the Sanctuary" and felt slightly deflated. No "thank you" or "welcome". Nevermind, more of a welcome in the Sanctuary surely. Again, I didn't get it.
They took the bag of food, placed it on the counter and then I was free to have a look around. I guess I kind of expected a bit more of a welcome, a bit more of a "this is what we are, this is what we are about, these are the places you can go" but nothing.
A little deflated and overwhelmed I headed outside. Although there were volunteers around again, I wasn't really acknowledged which was really disappointing.
I sat for a while and felt better by having at one point a little queue of cats waiting to jump on my lap for a cuddle and some attention. It was one of those moments when I wished I had more hands.

After around 45 minutes I decided to leave. I walked inside, again hoping for some acknowledgement, but nothing.
I also felt like it was missing a hygiene element and as I left I was surprised there was no facility to wash my hands. I thought a bottle of antibacterial gel would have been a necessity. Especially when some of the cats are clearly poorly.

Despite being disappointed by the Sanctuary I did fall in love with one of the cats and if I could have done, I would have stolen it. I loved how it looked like it posed and smiled.  He/she would have been the ultimate souvenir.


Flixton Aviation Museum | Summer List

Two weeks ago we created our Summer List. A list of things I wanted to achieve and get done with the boys in the summer holidays. 
That afternoon we headed out to cross the first thing off our list, choosing Flixton Air Museum.
The air museum is around a half an hour-40 minute drive from us and is something we have considered before and driven past a few times, but never visited.

First established in 1972 as the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Society, the museum houses a varied array of over 60 complete or partial aircraft as well as uniforms, photographs, medals and a variety of other war and aviation related memorabilia

The weather wasn't great, although it was just a slight drizzle it was enough that the grass was quite damp leaving us with wet feet. However, we were still able to enjoy the planes outside and to enjoy looking in the hangars and offices at the various articles.

The Aviation Museum is free to enter, which seemed like madness at first to me. However, with donation boxes dotted all around I'm sure they make more money through that than they would with an entry fee system...at least I'd like to think so anyway.

With a cafe, a little shop to buy a souvenir...and an ice cream...it is a great way to spend a couple of hours for adults and children.
We'll definitely be visiting again.


6.8.17

July Lust List

Although I've had a Pinterest account for a long time now I had mostly used it for quotes. Until two years ago when I discovered tattoos and then more recently I've become absolutely obsessed with it.
Pinning tattoos, nails, make up, hair, quotes and articles.

I wanted to put together monthly posts..."Lust Lists" sharing basically what I have been lusting after the most.

Since I took my engagement and wedding ring off it has annoyed me and frustrated me that I have marks left on my finger. 
For almost two years I have debated getting a tattoo on that finger. Something that is relevant to love and my heart. I wanted a puzzle piece originally until I looked into it and thought that actually, it wouldn't look quite right as the pieces would be straight on three edges with just one to interlock. It would look a bit too boring. 
I now pretty much have my heart set on getting a padlock, or some kind of keyhole. Thinking that maybe one day someone might get a tattoo of a key so they are matching. Wishful thinking, But it's something I love...love...LOVE...the idea of. 


After nail biting again I went back to having my nails done. Oh thank goodness I did! I wanted something bright and slightly summery but not tooooooo bright. I loved coral/orange and definitely wanted something along those things, with an accent nail too. 


I am lucky enough to be going to Paris in September for my birthday. I am tempted to be super cheesey and a complete loser, and to look like a full on toursit and to buy a 'Bonjour' tshirt or jumper. I'm so excited to be going and feel like maybe the Bonjour jumper would be particularly useful if the weather is slightly chilly whilst we explore Paris for the day. 



5.8.17

Me and Mine | July 2017

With the summer holidays now here I am determined to try and do as much as I can with the boys.
We have our Summer List to go through to try and make sure we get out and spend time together.
It's hard when it is just the 3 of us somewhere pretty and special as I don't have anyone to grab a cheeky snapshot of us. However, I am going to make the most of having a phone that I can just whip out and capture as many moments as possible. 

I'm not only going to include photos of the 3 of us, but any photos of me and just one of the boys too. 

The first 7 photos below were taken on a day out to a local Abbey. It is so beautiful. We did then visit a gorgeous beach but my old phone was shocking and the battery died before we got there. Nevermind. 
I absolutely love that in pretty much every photo Harry is pulling a funny face. He would smile up until the last moment when I would stop looking at the screen and look at the camera lens, then pull a face. Then wait until I looked back at the photo and would laugh.
The 8th photo was of a Harry-Mummy morning at a birthday party for a school friend of his. 
9th was at an aviation museum we visited and have wanted to visit for a while. The weather was slightly drizzly so we only had a short visit...and again....low phone battery so I didn't get as many photos as I wanted but I did take my camera to get photos of the boys and of the planes.
10th photo is us at TKMaxx...I took this photo as a joke in all honesty because I see on Instagram these perfect lift shots and of mums and children shopping. But actually I kind of like it. 
And the last one...clearly just us at home. With a sneaky little appearance from Walter laying in the back. 

With a month left of the holidays now and lots of other plans I'm hoping the next post is full of even more photos of me and my little team.

25.7.17

Summer List

With the boys being shared 50/50 between me and my ex-husband, I want to try and make the most of my days with them in the school holidays.
I find it far too easy to be lazy and to spend days at home rather than actually getting out and enjoying ourselves.
I'll put things off too easily, "lets stay at home today. We can go somewhere tomorrow/the next day/the next day" and before you know it they are back at school and I am full of regret and disappointment in myself.

Having met someone who has a son and does a lot with him I feel like I have had the kick up the bum I needed to make more of an effort with my boys.

So I put together a list of places to visit this summer. If I can manage to at least cross off 50% of the list I will be happy. However, the aim is 75%.
I made sure I have a mixture of indoor activities, outdoor activities, paid for entry and of course...FREE days out too!

Bring on the Summer!!.....she says as it starts to rain outside.


17.7.17

Lust List | June 2017

Although I've had a Pinterest account for a long time now I had mostly used it for quotes. Until two years ago when I discovered tattoos and then more recently I've become absolutely obsessed with it.
Pinning tattoos, nails, make up, hair, quotes and articles.

I wanted to put together monthly posts..."Lust Lists" sharing basically what I have been lusting after the most.

After seeing and falling in love with the lip colour Jamie Genevieve used in her summer make up tutorial I desperately had to get it. I went shopping with a friend of mine and we managed to find a Boots that sold the colour Jamie was wearing and I had a serious lust fest over the other colours in the range. I wanted to see how well the soft matte lip cream lasted before I went and bought more colours and so far I am impressed and have therefore made a list of future purchases.



With my holiday to the Isle of Man planned I was being positive about what the weather would be like and decided to go shopping for some shorts. I absolutely love denim shorts. Knee length ones don't suit me at all so I do tend to go for shorter shorts...especially as I also have my thigh tattoo which I do like to show off.
I loved these shorts I found in Peacocks. They only cost £10 and were super comfortable and stretchy. I find that Peacocks can be a bit hit and miss with quality but these are fantastic and really well made. I have a special soft spot for the 90's stripe pair too. 



13.7.17

Your Beautiful Life

I love looking back on old Instagram posts. Reigniting certain memories. 
I've always been quite open about my life. Probably an oversharer to some, but I document the good and the bad days. And have never been bothered about doing that because it felt right.

In the last 3 weeks, I've gone back over Instagram and hardly recognised a lot of what I had previously posted. The quotes and the moments of feeling down, because I realised that it wasn't me. It was nothing significant, relevant and actually, my life was ok. I just had this tint over it, a negative tint, of something I was going through that was damaging me. That was making me blind to all of the good things in my life. Blind to who I am and what I deserved. 
I started to feel so negatively about myself. I stopped wanting to completely make an effort. I compared myself to so many other people. I thought I wasn't good enough. 
I thought I didn't deserve to be happy and wouldn't find myself someone who saw me as being beautiful. 

I was just this damaged person. Cracked and chipped. A cast off. A second. Not worth being a priority. Not worth much at all.

Looking through those posts made me feel sorry for that version of me who felt like that was real life. 
That person who doubted everything. Who felt emotionally, mentally controlled and bullied...when she shouldn't have been. 

And then it all changed, 3 weeks ago.  
When compliments from a stranger gave me a boost. When conversations about tattoos made me feel like I wasn't unattractive. When someone came along who wanted to get to know me. 
I couldn't quite believe it at first. As I looked at his photos and got butterflies in my tummy, and how I didn't want to stop texting him to get to know more about him.

In no time at all, I felt happy. I felt like I was worth so much more than I and felt in a while. 
A 4 hour walk along the beach, laughing, joking, with flirtatious knocking into him, and a little bit of hand holding, made my body feel so overwhelmed with happiness that I didn't quite know how to cope. 
A battle in my head occured. Was this real? Surely he didn't enjoy himself too? I waited for the message to say he wasn't into me.
2 and a half weeks on, that message still hasn't arrived. Instead, messages that make me smile the biggest smiles. Messages that make me feel good about myself. That make me feel important, wanted, attractive...

I've not felt so excited about life or so happy and content in a long time. 
I've not felt so strong but at the same time, so comforted and supported for a long time. 

This new me. The one who smiles more often than she cries. The one who wakes up everyday and looks forward to what each day brings. The one who looks back on the past week and feels happy by what has happened. 
The one who is excited for her future. Who appreciates how beautiful her life is and how it will only get better.

The me from the past, the one who would post sad things on Instagram, posts that I have now deleted to clear my head and to help forget about how I felt, I've turn the pages on her, and am so ready for this next chapter. 

10.7.17

Isle of Man 2017 | Fairy Bridge

I remember when I first went to the Isle of Man. My brother told me that on the way to the campsite the taxi would be taking me past the Fairy Bridge and told me I had to wave and say hello to the fairies for good luck.
The taxi driver pointed the bridge out to me, I saw bikes parked on the road and leather clad men stood looking down at the stream and reading the tree and the messages on the stones. I didn't wave, it felt a bit silly to be honest, although the idea was sweet and I certainly didn't expect to see grown men in leathers, big beards...proper MEN, standing saying hello to fairies.

My brother took me along to the bridge the following day and we had a look. The tributes were lovely, but I didn't really pay too much attention to what was there. Last year being the same.

This year though, I had a day of exploring by myself and I went along in my car and decided to take my camera...and thankfully took my sunglasses to hide the tears that filled my eyes.
I decided to really take time to look at what was pinned to the trees, the special items people had hung from branches, the etched marks in the stones, the stickers on the Fairy Bridge sign. The plaques rested by the stream, the bike gloves laid in tribute to a fallen rider.

The more I go to the island, the more I watch the sport, the more I learn about it, the more I feel this emotional, mental link to anything to do with the island and with the sport itself. Not even the sport, just bikes too I suppose.

Reading the tributes made me think back to who I was back in 2015 when I thought it was all a bit silly. The Fairy Bridge to me, now, brings everyone together. It gives everyone, of all ages, race, nationality or belief, a little hope and comfort.

As I stood there, longer than others, watching people come and go, I realised the change in how my body felt. My head felt lighter, my body felt lifted. Because although a lot of what you read and see is sad, the atmosphere at the Fairy Bridge is beautiful. Truly beautiful.

And now everytime I drive past that bridge, I wave and say hello to those Fairies. For good luck, and for respect.


30.6.17

Me and Mine | June 2017

When I was married we used to take part in the Me and Mine project every month. When things started to not feel right anymore, when the photos felt forced and when I looked at them and thought "That doesn't look like my family anymore" I stopped joining in.

For almost two years I have had my new family unit. One woman. Two boys. (And two cats and a few fish too) And it's taken a while for me to feel like I can be accepted being this unit and not the "perfect family" anymore.
You lose friends when your home life adjusts. People don't know what to say to you. And that's ok. But in this environment, in "the blogging world", there is this overwhelming feeling of being outcast if you no longer fit those ideals.

But now I feel like sticking a finger up at those ideals. My family is my family. Whether or not we fit the mould. Whether or not we have one, two or three members less than others.
I don't look at photos and feel like there is someone missing.
I look at photos and see my family. And I'm proud of that.
It doesn't matter if we don't look like other peoples vision of a family, or if to others we don't fit in. We are happy, we love each other and that is all that counts.
And I am so proud of us.