The night before

Hey all,

I hope everyone is having a good day. I was just updating my pages (project 365 and 30 things before thirty) and I felt inspired to write a little ‘something-something’ about it.

I updated the 30 before 30 page and I felt incredibly proud of myself. I found myself realising that I may not have done everything on the list as per written and there are a few items left to do, however, I remain incredibly proud of myself. I have managed to complete something without feeling guilty or undeserving of it. It’s impossible not to feel that I have superseded my expectancies of the list and I know my life and most important, my outlook on it, is completely different. I spent years wishing for everything to be perfect, only to be left feeling disappointed in myself. Reflecting upon that now, it was never going to work and I was never going to win. But I think I did that for a reason. I think I did that to prove to myself that I was not worth anything. Every time I failed, it was a confirmation that I did not deserve it and “it was not right”. Looking back, how did I hate myself so much?

Since started and now coming to the end of this decade, I have learned some serious life lessons and started to develop three of the most beautiful life skills that I think we all need.

  1. Patience – I have learnt the importance of being patient. Being patient with myself, with others, with strangers. Things take time. Hearts heals, people do forget, life continues to occur whether you are ready or not. Everything just takes some time to readjust and I have to just refocus. I have learned to breathe, to wait for the good moments, to ride out the storm and to enjoy the quiet moments. I learned that life is all about dancing in the rain, thunder, hurricanes and whatever the world and others throw at you.
  2. Self-love – I have learned that love starts and ends with you. In order to love anyone, you have to love yourself. You have to look inside and find things that you do like about yourself and hold onto those. Expand on those without fear that you will fail or fall. Because even if you do, you can then love your ability to start again, your ability to never give up and your ability to let go of something that is not working. I can openly say that I love my smile, my ability to talk to anyone, my commitment to work, etc. I can say this without worrying about sounding arrogant or cocky because it is not about that. It’s about knowing my strength and my likes and my dislikes and continuously improving myself for me. Nothing is always negative but if you focus on that, then yes life does feel that way. You have to reteach yourself to look for the positive.
  3. Forgiveness – Finally, I have learned to forgive myself. I am starting to look back over my life and forgiving myself for the mistakes I made, for the things I said and for the hurt I caused myself. Additionally, I am forgiving others for their mistakes, for the mutual pain caused. I am learning to sit comfortably in my dirty laundry and change the narrative of my life and the experiences that have continued to cause me pain for years. I am changing my perspective and forgiving myself for doing the best I could. I am no longer going to punish myself for my mistakes. I will apologize, take responsibility and learn from those mistakes. If others want to forget me then I understand, you have to do what you need to do. However, from my experience, holding on to pain and anger only makes things worse. You have to forgive and reflect on why that experience makes you anger still? what purpose does the anger have? and why is it so important to hold onto it? I found myself asking this to myself over and over again and I realized it is just not important. It is not important to hold a grudge.

The most important lesson I have learned is that it is not important to waste my only life holding onto negative experiences. My father died and I was holding onto a dead man, why? I will remember him always without putting myself through pain over and over again. I forgive him for leaving and I forgive myself for hating him at times. In exchange, I found inner strength and a desire to be a good wife to Liv. Someone who listens and supports her. Someone who will be there through it all, whatever it is, rather than do it alone like you did dad. I have your face father, but I do not have your identity. I have my own and I will only ever be me. Sorry if that is a disappointment to you but I forgive myself for your mistakes and that you left long before your died. I forgive myself for shouldering that blame for years because I thought it was mine to hold onto and I am sorry for holding onto you. I am now sitting comfortably in my memories of you and smiling now, glad to have had some time with you. I am easily removing the shackles I put on myself and I am able to walk away from the city limits of my Painsville. Thank you for bringing me into this world and leaving me stronger. I am sorry I cannot stay with you anymore but I am still breathing. I am choosing to breathe and live a life that you did not want to anymore. I chose to not waste more time trying to hold onto your ashes.

So shackle free and sitting comfortable, welcome to 30, Ivy

xxx

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Another one off the list

Hey everyone,

So it’s been a busy old week this end which means I haven’t been here (obviously) but I did get to go to Norwich and tick off another item on my 30 before 30 lost. Well, actually two things off it.

First off, I got to see the northern lights ( in a LED form) but it was incredible. It’s called the tunnel of light (more information here) and it’s truly an experience. I got to witness will a wonderland display that reflected the patterns and colors of the Northern Lights. A few stats for you – this is 45-meters long, 4 meters high and 6 meters wide made from 50,000 pulsating LEDs – and as the website has said, it’s “a display of mesmeric dancing beams, the likes of which the city has never seen before”. All I can describe it as is magical. I have previously been to Iceland and due to bad weather was not able to see the lights. But this was a surprise pre-anniversary trip from my fiancée.. yes you heard right… I am getting married. Like I said in a previous post. A LOT has changed. I will introduce her in a different post but for now, just know that she is incredible.

Secondly, on my list of this to do, I got to do an act of kindness. We decided to get business cards made. These ones:

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We left them all around the city of Norwich for people to find – on the train there and back, in coffee shops, restaurants, book shops (especially in self-help books and books about overcoming anxiety and depression) and in card shops. We want to let others know that someone thought they were lovely. And I caught one guy on the train look at it, smile and put it in his pocket. That feeling for worth it. His smile for genuine and he didn’t even know it was us. It felt good.

 

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Sorry it’s blurry!

 

Also, we ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant and as we left it was raining and since I had a few drinks of wine – I cleverly decided that I wanted ice cream. So we went to Tesco’s (other brands are available) and got a box of almond Magnums. As we were leaving, I heard. A girl say do you sell umbrellas. I turned to my backpack, pulled out my umbrella and gave it to her. She looked at me and was shocked that I would give her mine. I said “I don’t need it! I have a water proof jacket and I am about to eat ice cream in the rain. Take it.” She thanked me and left. Now that felt good. It was like a sense of freedom to my need to acquire things. It wasn’t an expensive umbrella but it was mine. It was mine and I gave it to a better cause. And as we walked to the station in the rain, I was dancing to myself and laughing with my fiancée. I just realized that another one off the list!! She laughed at me and gave me that look that I fell for six months ago. She saw me and smiled and called me a silly sausage for eating ice cream in the rain. It was so easy to see the brighter side to life. I treasured the moment of gratitude received over the thing I had.

It’s funny because of years ago, I lived for the moments where I gave my heart and everything I had away without the worry of it returning. But over the years, the heart breaks and bitter souls that I have crossed, I have found myself hard to the world and selfish. Selfish with my time, patience, and love. And I guess I saw this without realizing it until now because I put it on my list of 30 things before 30 and didn’t know why. But my heart knew before my head could work it out. Since I have made this list, I have realized the world is a cold place, but you don’t have to be a haven for that. You can let it wash over you and change your day. We are all one decision away for radically changing our lives. If you don’t like who you are, change it. We are not trees. We have not chained down, however, heavy weighted and complex the locks are. You are in control of this life, your life, and you can be anyone you want to be. You just have to find the courage.

Until next time,

Ivy xx

Coffee & macaroons – hello 29! 

Good morning all,

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to meeeeeee, happy birthday to me.

Aww what a day. It was so incredible. London is such a love of my life. I got the train in early in the morning and the sun was shining. I read some of my latest romance friction (A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly). A secret love of mine- reading love stories. For work I read academic literature all day as I did for both my undergraduate and master degrees so when I read for pleasure – I love to read horribly easy reading cheesy totally cringe worthy material. And I am not ashamed. I wasn’t lying when I said my life involved around the idea of love and I fall in love with those characters and these stories. I smile at the shock entrances of Mr (or Mrs) Right, I laugh at the awkward moments, and cry at each heartbreak. I live through my heart and in every one of those stories – as I do with my Sunday Stories now. (Sorry about the tangent there)

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So, I got the train, smiling to myself at Katherine and Warwick’s first meeting in the book – so awkward by the way – as he rolled his suitcase over her foot. Cringe!!! I know he will win her back. I then put my book down and flick through my “London coffee guide” for my next victim. I chose a great place with outside sitting to enjoy the sunshine and my third love (after coffee and love itself) people watching. I scan the pages for the city area and there it is – Curators Coffee Studio. I got off the train and walk across the bridge – permanently looking right at London bridge and thinking “London is so incredible. I am so lucky.” I use the map in the book and walk up. I go inside, it’s got a cute, modern, industrial feeling and the staff are so friendly. I instantly smell coffee aromas of orange and chocolate and ask what they are roasting today. The beautiful woman says “today it’s exhibition – our own blend from Brazil with tasting notes of orange, almond and chocolate.”  Sounds to die for. I grab a flat white and head outside. It’s a business man’s side of town and all the suits are out mingling and dealing deals. I sit and watch the world go by, taking in the view. Is smiling like this all day acceptable? I must look crazy! Haha

Anyways, the coffee is to die for. It’s so smooth  and the chocolate and almond is just enough to taste. I read more of my book and an hour flies past me. I grab a bag of the beans for home and get a free coffee too. I take it to go and I wonder the street of London. I am listening to Kygo’s new album and happy birthday comes on. I smile to myself and get all giddy. If you haven’t heard of his new album (cloud nine) then go to soundcloud and have a listen for free. It’s so good. It’s chilled, relaxed, and very Kygo sounding. I love the songs oasis, happy birthday and raging.

So I wonder around taking in the hustle and bustle of London for about an hour, meet my brother in law for lunch (he is a lawyer). We go to Taylor street barista near bank, I have this incredible dragon salad with duck and pomegranate. So good and it’s amazing to see jimmy. I adore him. He treats me because he always does despite the Tyson worthy fight I put up. I leave him after lunch and head to the venue at St Katherine’s dock. I get in and there are work benches with all the ingredients laid out and this chef, ready to teach. I say hello and take a sit next to a group of girls who came together. I get chatting to them, all London girls out for some girly time.

 

“RIGHT” said chef. And we are off, sieving flour and almonds, cracking eggs, folding, beating, colouring, and having the time of my life. The macaroons are tricky not because of the ingredients, it’s the technical side of things. Chef yells “foul” if we are going wrong. I, of course, get a few fouls. But then I get them right – on baking paper ready to go. Into the oven and we are off. He asks if it’s anyone birthday and I say mine. He presents me with a special macaroon freshly made with mascarpone, peanut marmalade, chocolate and margarita salt. OMG incredible!!!
I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures but I did sneak a few. Hehe. Please don’t tell chef Chris. Before I know it, it’s five o’clock and I have mastered the macaroon. Tick to that. I grab a train home to go to the local pub and meet all my friends for a glass of wine (and another) I got cards, a Guinness and ginger homemade cake by Hannah, and an amazing scarf. Home by 11 and I am pooped. What a day. I am smiling to myself right now. It was incredible.

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So I am off to birthday breakfast with a friend and to turn 29 today.

So much love,

Ivy xx