The Japan Plan – My rough ideas for my dream trip

Hello friends

On the 19th of this month (TOMORROW FREAKING TOMORROW) I am finally going to a place I’ve been dreaming of going to for years- JAPAN! I am going with my Mum for two weeks, travelling to 3 places and trying to cram in as much as possible without killing each other or ourselves in the process. So welcome to my Japan Plan!

 

Departure

I fly with my Mum on the 19th October. We are flying with Emirates at 2.30 in the afternoon, with a stop over in Dubai. We land at Narita Airport at 5.35 (UK time I believe, Japan is 8 hours ahead of us.)

 

First Stop: Narita

We land in Narita, and we are spending two nights here: Friday 20th and Saturday 21st October. We are staying at Hotel Keisei Narita-Ekimae, which is just under 9km away from the airport. We are travelling to the airport by shuttle bus I believe (pray for us) which is roughly a ten minute journey if Google maps is not lying to us (it probably is.) We are spending two nights here to get our bearings, and to explore a shrine or two that are here. I’m super excited to explore this town, from what I’ve seen in pictures online it looks peaceful and beautiful. When Mum and I started planning our trip we decided to fly into Narita, but were unsure of if we was going to stay here for a long time or not. We originally planned to stay here long term, realised how mad we was for deciding this and decided to stay for two nights instead.  The one shrine I would really, really like to go and see on one of these days is Naritasan Shinshoji. It looks beautiful from what I’ve seen online, and the gardens look amazing! There are bars and restaurants near to this shrine that are supposed to be amazing, so it would be really cool if we can check them out as well!

 

Second Stop: Osaka

 

After our few days in Narita we move onto the furthest point of our trip: Osaka! We are using the bullet train to travel to Osaka, which is going to take a goof few hours, but it is an experience. You cannot come to Japan and not use the bullet train! We are staying in Osaka from Sunday 22nd October to Wednesday 25th October at Sarasa Hotel Shinsaibashi. There are a few things that we want to do in Osaka, but the main thing we are doing is taking a day trip to Nara, and I cannot tell you how freaking excited I am about that! For years I have wanted to go to Nara and feed the tame deer that bow to you for a biscuit, and to know that I am finally going to do the one thing I’ve been wanting to do is so damn amazing. I am actually going to cry tears of happiness! Another thing that my Mum and I really want to see is Osaka Castle and the grounds around it. Osaka Castle looks beautiful and something that a lot of people that have been to Osaka recommend doing. We also plan to try and check out Minoo Park, Sumiyoshi Shrine (which we are planning on seeing on the same day that we see the castle,) and Hozenji Yokocho AKA Alleyway of Wonders. Hozenji Yokocho is something I stumbled across by accident when looking for things to do, and after seeing someone call it the Alleyway of Wonders I was intrigued! There are bars, eateries and at the end there is a statue of the kami Fudomyoo. Fudomyoo is the kami of fury, and scares people into enlightenment with his scary appearance. The statue is super mossy from all of the water that has been poured over him, and moss is repected in Japan (there’s a random fact for you!)

 

Onwards: Kyoto

From Osaka we move onward to Kyoto, arriving at Japaning Hotel Kiyomizu Gojo on Wednesday 25th October, and leaving Monday 30th October. I can’t remember what part of Kyoto (North, East, South, West and Central) our hotel is based in.  We intend on seeing as much as we can so I’ll break down our plan for each area we plan on visiting. We know we won’t get to see everything on this list, but we like having a variety of places to explore.

Northern Kyoto: We really want to see Kamo-Shrine, Sanzenin Temple, Takao/ wooden valley, Kibune and Kurama. Kibune and Kurama are two small villages north of Kyoto tucked up in the mountains. They are rural, supposed to be quiet, beautiful and lovely places to spend a day walking around. Takao, the shrine and the temple are another places that we are visiting for the scenery, to soak up the sights and just admire. The temple has a moss garden, and is supposed to be beautiful during the autumn season.

Central Kyoto: There is only one thing we want to see in central Kyoto, and that a market that is supposed to be huge, and just wonderful to walk around and look at. I cannot remember the exact name of what the market is called, if we do visiti I’ll make a note of the name and let you know if my follow up blog!

Western Kyoto: In western Kyoto we were to see Kokedera, which means “Moss Temple.” There are some beautiful gardens at Kokedera, but you have to reserve visiting via mail, which we didn’t realise until it was too late unfortunately.

Southern Kyoto: In southern Kyoto there are two temples and a shrine that we would love to try and see. We want to see Fushimi Shrine, which is famous for it’s torii gates, which follows trails into a wooded forest. The shrine is one of several dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Fox statues are across the ground as the foxes were thought to be Inari’s messengers. Tofukuji Temple is supposed to be beautiful to catch the autumn leaves, which we are hoping we will! Daigoji Temple is a world heritage site, and includes a whole mountain side!

Eastern Kyoto: Eastern Kyoto is home to Shinnyodo Temple, Nanzenji Temple,Eikando Temple, Gion and Higashyama district. Higashiyama is home to traditional old Kyoto, where there are narrow lanes, wooden buildings and traditional merchat shops lining the streets. I am really hoping we get to explore this district!We want to visit the temples for beautiful scenery, but Eikando is especially famous for how beautiful it looks in the Autumn season, and its evening illuminations. Gion is a famous geisha district filled with ochaya (teahouses,) shops and restaurants where Geishas (geiko in Kyoto dialect) and maiko (geiko apprenntices) entertain.

 

Whilst we are in Kyoto we also want to try and attend a tea ceremony, try on Kimonos and visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove if we have the chance. I know there is a lot on this list, but I want to let you know just how much there is to possibly explore in this area if you are wanting to visit Kyoto. There are so many temples, shrines and traditional areas to explore, it’s really difficult to chose where to visit!

 

The final stop: Tokyo!

From Kyoto we will travel to our final place on our visit: Tokyo! You cannot come to Japan and not experience Tokyo! We will book into Hotel Wing International Select Asakusa Komagata (yes, seriously that is the name) on Monday 30th October until the day we fly back home, that being Monday 2nd November.  IT MEANS WE’RE IN TOKYO FOR HALLOWEEN BABY! One of the main reasons I wanted to come to Tokyo is that my friend is living in one of the small town areas in Tokyo with his wife, anad apart from the flying visit from him just over a week ago, its been two years since I’ve seen them! We’re hopefully going to meet up, get drunk and he’s going to show us around some cool little placces and areas he has found in his time living there. The one thing I really, REALLY want to do is visit the Pokemon Centre. I am a little pokè nerd, and I’ve been wanting to visit one of these shops since I found out that they existed! My Mum wants to visit the Metro Politician Government Building Observation rooms, which is supposed to be real neat for getting good views across Tokyo! We have no plan set in stone for what we are doing to do, I think we are going to see what is going on around us! We’re staying in Asakusa, which is a quiet part of old Tokyo, and according to my friend, is going to be lovely for seeing things that are off the tourist track and finding things that not everyone will see.  We decided to stay here as it isn’t in the middle of the madness, and for how close it is to my friend. We don’t have a set plan for Halloween either, again we are going to see what is happening around us. The only thing we didn’t want to do for Halloween is spend it in an area that was going to crazy and have people packed in like Sardines. No thank you! I am so excited to spend Halloween in Japan however, and check out all of the cute lil Halloween decorations, just experience something different and spend either Halloween or the day after with my friend.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my Japan Plan, I’ll be posting a follow up blog with pictures (expect ALL OF THE PICTURES) that I will more than likely post in two parts.

See you in two weeks friends!

 

Peace and light

Keri xo

Featured

Blog: My Self Harm story

Yesterday was World Mental Health day. It is something some of us have never experienced. Some have either had friends or family suffer from mental illness, and possibly even lost someone they loved because of it. Some suffer from mental illnesses, and have either thought about or tried to commit suicide. When I was younger, I used to self-harm a lot. It is something that I feel still is misunderstood greatly. I’m hoping by speaking out, this may help someone understand what they are feeling, or what someone they know if going through and realise that they are not alone.

 

Self-Harm, what it is, what people can do to hurt themselves, what the signs are.

Self-harm is when someone hurts them self on purpose, for a variety of reasons. It is normally a coping mechanism, a way to punish themselves or an outlet for emotional pain/trauma they are experiencing. It is sometimes a cry for help, but they do not normally self-harm because they want to die (but they can have feelings of wanting to die, and may possibly self-harm a lot before they try to die by suicide.)

There are many different ways someone can hurt themselves on purpose. These include

  • cutting themselves
  • burning themselves
  • hair pulling
  • scratching themselves
  • taking excessive tablets/ drinking toxic chemicals
  • drinking a lot of alcohol
  • starving themselves
  • hitting themselves

but self-harm can manifest itself in many different ways. Many self-harmers tend to be secretive, so you may not see the signs of someone hurting them self straight away.

However, there are ways to spot that someone is hurting themselves. If you think someone is, they may show signs of

  • wearing long sleeves/ jeans no matter what the weather is like
  • unexplained injuries: bruises, burns, cuts in unusual places
  • low mood
  • feeling anxious and/or tearful
  • being withdrawn, quiet and being not as talkative

 

There are many more signs to look out for. There are also a number of helpful services that can help you, if you are struggling, or to support you if you know someone who is struggling. Please check out

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/self-injury/Pages/Introduction.aspx

for more information about self-harm, what to do and services that can help.

 

“I think my friend/ family member is self-harming, what can I do?”

I just want to say, that I am not professionally trained. Any advice/ possible help I’ve posted here is what had helped me when I was self-harming. I’ve also posted what was said to me that didn’t help me at all, sometimes hurt and hindered me. Please remember, that my experiences will not be the same as someone else’s experience. Everyone goes through and experiences things differently. Just because someone may not behaved in the way I did, it is not to say that their battle is any less valid, or real.

If you do think that someone you know is self-harming, the first thing you can do is talk to them. Be kind, be compassionate and most importantly, listen to them. Try to be reasonable with them. Don’t push them into talking to you if they won’t open up, don’t get angry with them. Tell them that you are worried, you care and that you are there for them. They might come to you, but knowing that there is someone who is looking out for you can be a massive relief, and make you feel less alone.

If that person does open up to you, listen properly to what they have to say, and try to comprehend how they are feeling. There is nothing more frustrating that opening up to someone, to find that they haven’t listened to a word you said, or not tried to understand how you are feeling. Don’t try to make them show you any injuries they may have, it’s a big step to just tell someone. Don’t tell them that they are stupid or attention seeking. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT TELL THEM THAT IF THEY LOVED YOU, THEY WOULDN’T DO IT. That is the worse thing you could say to someone who is self-harming. We often are punishing ourselves for something, and already feel incredibly guilty over what the discovery of this would to do the ones we love. Just reaffirm your love for them, how much you care for them, and if they do let you in, look after them. Hug them tightly.

The person that is self-harming may ask you not to tell anyone and this is a really difficult thing to be asked of. If you tell someone, you can break that person’s trust, causing them to withdraw even more into themselves. But if you don’t, they can possibly hurt themselves more, and end up seriously hurting themselves. I will say this: go with your gut instinct. If you are sure that they are as okay as they can possibly be, and not in a position where they would purposely hurt themselves badly to risk their life or put themselves in a dangerous situation, hold off going straight to their parent’s or another friend to tell them. As I have mentioned, doing this can cause them to withdraw more into themselves, or cut you out of their life without a second thought. I done this to a friend who went and told my Mum, when I wasn’t in any immediate danger, or at a point where I was going to cause myself some serious damage. I had felt so betrayed and hurt, and I feel that it made things worse for me in the long run. If you feel you need to speak to someone, speak to a school nurse if you are still at school. Speak to organisations online, or friends online. There are plenty of support systems for you to speak to someone and get advice on how to support someone who is hurting themselves, and how to make sure you look after yourself as well. It’s a difficult thing to be told, so you need to make sure that you don’t neglect yourself when trying to look out for someone.

If you feel like they are in a place where they are going to seriously hurt themselves/ endanger their life, tell someone that they trust. A parent, sibling, partner, it doesn’t matter as long as it is someone that the self-harmer trusts. In extreme cases, where you are worried that they may of hurt themselves badly, either on purpose or accidentally, or taken it a step further, call the police and ambulance services. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Parents, I can imagine that it feels like your world has flipped upside down if you discover that your child is self-harming. Your instinct is going to be to wrap your child up in cotton wool, and be incredibly over-protective. Try to talk to them if they haven’t come and spoken to you. Go to their GP or speak to their school about counselling sessions. They may not want to speak to you because they feel guilty, scared, maybe even ashamed, so speaking to someone that they don’t know may help them a lot. I know it certainly did for me. It’s difficult, but self-harmers can be super sensitive, and may be pushed into covering their tracks and their habits even more carefully if they feel smothered, or if they feel that people are behaving in a over-protective manner.

Most importantly, take it seriously. It may be a cry for help, hinting at troubles they cannot express, but do not write it off as a ‘joke’ or attention seeking. That person is struggling, to be pushed to a point where hurting themselves is the only outlet. Felling like they are not being taken seriously could push them over the edge.

 

My Story (possible triggers, please be warned)

 

When I was 13, I experienced something that changed me (I won’t go into it on this blog) but it is something that made me learn of true fear, and realise that not everyone that appears to be a friend, is a friend. I coped with the trauma of what I had experienced for a few months, but slowly everything just built up and about 6 months later, I had started hurting myself. It started off with little scratches/ cuts on the side of my hands, and then progressed into cutting my arms and my legs. At the time, I hadn’t even realised what I was doing is classed as self harm. My Mum had noticed these cuts on the sides of my hands, and had tried to explain that she had seen cuts like these on people who are sick. I was so unaware of mental illness, I remember telling her that I wasn’t sick and that I was fine, I had “fell over” (FYI guys, people can see straight through those kind of lies. Just be honest with them.) I remember after that I took more care to hide them. I think it was then I had started cutting my arms, using sweatbands, arm warmers, even a watch once, to hide the cuts. I wasn’t willing to open up to anyone and tell them what had happened to me, and what I was doing to myself to cope with the pain of everything.

Slowly over time, I became more dependent on self-harm to survive the internal struggle. I had tried to stop several times, but always returned to old habits. Little scratches became cuts over time, that spread up and down my arms and legs. I started doing the classic wearing jeans in the summer, sweatbands and the like in the summer to hide what I was doing. I put on a front but inside I was scared, sensitive, worried and feeling guilty. I had been caught a few times, sat down with my parents and had talks about it, where I had heard once “if you love us you wouldn’t do this” and I would mumble half-hearted apologies and promises to come and talk and not to do it again.

Struggling to deal with what had happened to me, and being bullied at school for how I looked and then my self-harming, I had started self-harming on a daily basis at first, which then progressed to several times a day. It had become a habit, an addiction that helped me get through the day, to stop me falling apart, to help me survive school. I had started to receive counselling at school after a few of my friends had persuaded me to see the nurse, and get referred to the counselor. He was really good, and had helped me start to learn how to cope with what had happened to me. I don’t think I saw him for every long, but my memory is hazy at parts. I’m sure that I could see what he could do for me recovery wise, but I wasn’t ready to recover and leave behind the very thing that was my comforter.I saw him on and off over the last 3 years at school, and I am grateful for what he did do for me. I didn’t realise it at the time, but looking back I can see that he gave me the foundations to recover when I was ready to do it on my own terms.

I carried on as I was, hurting myself several times a day, sometimes between lessons, always at break times. I was withdrawing into myself, loosing my appetite,   becoming quieter than normal, just observing but rarely taking part. I was falling deeper down the rabbit hole, until one day, I had hurt myself badly enough that I scared myself, and actually asked for help. It has been the only time I’ve taken myself to hospital because of something I had done to myself. I remember being terrified the whole time I was there not for me but for what it would do to my parents if they had found out. The staff there had wanted to admit me into a unit, but with a stroke of luck the school nurse was there, who fought for me. She believed that I had been trying to stop (a few weeks ago I had attempted to give it up again) and argued that going into a unit would undo all my progress. She eventually won, and I was free to go home. I have never, ever been more thankful for someone blindly fighting for me.

Recovery

That incident was the beginning of the end of my relationship with self-harm. A few months later I had my GCSE’s and left school. Leaving behind a place and an environment that I struggled with helped me massively with my recovery. Another thing that had helped me, was being sent by the school to a day out in London to a self-harm thing (I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember Julian Clary was there. Helpful, I know.) I was sent with another girl in my year, someone who had bullied me for self-harming. I discovered on that day that she was also self-harming, and had taken it out on me as she couldn’t process what she was doing to herself. I remember we had talked openly and honestly, and that day we had made peace with each other, and for me, I had peace with a part of myself.

I started hurting myself when I was 13, and was doing it consistently until I was 16. The last time I had done it, I was 17 and really really pissed with myself for doing it. The road to recovery was long, difficult and testing. There were days and times that were really, really difficult to not stray back to old habits and give in. Don’t be to hard on yourself if you are trying to move on and recover.  Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to realise just how far you come. A relapse isn’t something to beat yourself up about, we all have had relapses when we are trying to break this habit. It took me well over a year to finally let go of the habit that I had been dependent on for 3 years. I had to learn to cope with emotions and situations the way that other people do, and I really struggled with dealing my emotions. Relearning that I am a sensitive soul helped me in parts. I spent a lot of my time recovering counting the days that I had been ‘clean’ and then hurting myself again, to then be really angry with myself to undoing all of my hard work. Every time that you go that extra hour, that extra day, that extra week without hurting yourself, you should be really proud of yourself. It is tough, it may be one of the toughest things you ever have to do for yourself. Believe in yourself, you can do this, you will own and possess a strength you never knew you had. If you are struggling, speak to others or have experienced, or are experiencing the same battles that you are.

 

Tips for resisting an urge

Here are a few tips that have helped me, or helped others, to overcome a urge to hurt themselves

  • writing your feelings down
  • rubbing an ice cube over the area you want to cut
  • excerising
  • talking to friends
  • talking to people in similar situations online
  • blogging
  • vlogging
  • writing songs or poetry
  • scribbling a pen over and over a page until it rips through
  • reading
  • listening to music, in particular angry songs

I hope one of these will help you, you are looking for a way to help distract you. There are so many other ideas online that will help you. You will find the one thing that works for you, sometimes you just have to try things out until you do find the thing that really helps you;

 

I had hurt myself badly enough to leave scars that would never disappear. There are some that to others, are invisible at first but I know that they are there, existing, a reminder of a darkness I had faced on my own and survived. There are some that I can’t remember doing to myself, and some that I will always remember clearly. There are times I can remember doing it clearly, and there are times when it was just a blur.

I am not expecting everyone to understand. Self-harm is an incredibly complex thing to get your head around, the fact that someone would deliberately hurt themselves is so confusing. It is difficult for those of us that have done to, to see either fresh wounds or old scars on someone else, to realise that someone has once hurt or is hurting as much as we once did. Don’t stare at someone who has scars from self-harm. It may of taken them a lot of guts to not hide them away.

Self-harm scars are not romantic, They are not pretty. They are not things that our lovers kiss tenderly. They are things that complete strangers feel that they have the right to judge you for, and comment on. They feel like they have the right to touch them, because you were brave enough to not hide them, and ask you how you “got them”or why you done it, to then get angry or upset when you choose not to disclose that information. Try not to project your own confusion and anger back onto that person who has self-harmed. Try to talk in a reasonable manner, open your mind and not to judge them.

_MG_2448
Here you can see some of my scars on my left arm. Unfortunately, i do not have any pictures of what my arm looked like before I had it tattooed.

 

Suicide attempts and self-harm among teenagers are on the rise. Living in a time when this is happening, we need to look out for each other more, and show some more compassion and understanding.

 

Love and light,

Keri

IMG_1866
My left wrist. It is the arm that has the worse scars. I am more comfortable with this arm being out on show now that my tattoos conceal a lot of the damage I had done to myself.
IMG_1867
My right wrist. Nowhere near as bad as my left, due to me being right handed. There are still scars that will never fade away completely.

Missing Wonderland

You were the rabbit hole,

and I was sucked right in,

Drunk off the lies,

the thought of your skin.

I crawled in deeper,

hungry for more,

frantically falling

until I hit the floor.

Thirsty for praise

a need for love,

the want for you

running in my blood.

And then I looked in the mirror

and saw the castle behind me

and realized I wasn’t Alice

but I was the Queen.

Keeper of hearts,

breaker of yours

unaware of your truth

until it broke on the floor.

Keeper, breaker, endless wish maker,

I live, and dream of the day

you come back to me

and take my breath away.

And then I woke up.

Dead dreams.

 

 

Written 28th August 2017.

I FINALLY SAW EVANESCENCE AFTER TEN YEARS (and my inner 15 year old self is screaming with happiness)

June 13th, Hammersmith, London. I had just travelled here with three friends to watch Evanescence after ten years of waiting. I am not lying, my inner 15 year old was screaming with excitement! Evanescence were playing in Hammersmith Apollo, a venue I had never been to before.

All I can say about the queue is thank god we joined it when we did, because it was crazy long by the time we were close to the doors! There was such a nice vibe when queing, everyone seemed really excited and there was no hostility or anyone being nasty at all. There was one guy on his own in front of us, who turned to talk to us every now and then, and that in itself gave the evening good vibes.

The atmosphere inside was AMAZING! the whole place was buzzing and as we walked around we could sense everyone’s excitement. We managed to get rather close to the stage considering the number of people there, which I was just amazed by!

 

The Support Act:

 

There was only one supporting band, who were Arcane Roots. I’m not going to write a huge amount as I wasn’t a huge fan of them, but they were good to listen to as a supporting band. Despite it not being to my personal taste I didn’t dislike them a huge amount, I thought they were talented.

 

EVANESCENCE

 

I can’t remember the order the songs were played in, or all of the songs, but I’ll write about the songs that I recognized and loved.

Evanescence opened up with “Everybody’s Fool” and it was like I was transported back to my teenage years again. I had loved this song at school, especially when the bullying from the girls was getting to me. Every time I had felt low I had listened to this, so for the show to open up with this gave me goosebumps and made me feel 15 again.

“Going under” was the 3rd song on the set list. It was just as dark and glorious as I had hoped it to sound, and another song I had absolutely adored in my teenage years. It’s a song that makes my best friend feel powerful, and I would agree. What an song live. Those bits where Amy isn’t really singing, like’s like a powerful whisper? Even better live.

“Lithium” is just as haunting and beautiful live as it is on the album. Amy’s vocals really stand out live, and although she sounded amazing on every song, this song was one of the ones that gave me shivers as she was singing it. Seeing Amy play the piano on this song was just amazing, it added so much to the feeling inside the venue.

The next song I recognized was “Haunted” and it is another song I had loved. You know when you hear the first 5 seconds and inside you’re saying “AH NO WAY!” This song made me feel like this hearing those first few seconds.

OH. MY. “My Immortal” was the next song I recognized after “Haunted” and instantly recognized it from the first few keys of the piano. It is just indescribable how it made me feel hearing it live. I felt it to be more powerful, expressive and touching live. The room was so so quiet, the only sound was Amy Lee’s vocals and the piano. This song makes me want to cry at the best of times, so hearing it live when I was feeling a little wobbly made me want to weep. I looked at my friends when Amy was singing and THANKFULLY I didn’t catch eye contact with them otherwise that would of been the undoing of me. After the gig we had discussed how close we all were to crying, and how we would of wept if we has caught eye contact with each other. This was probably one of my most favourite songs from that night. It gave me goosebumps, hearing it live meant so so much to me. This song has always meant a lot to me. It’s a song that will always be raw on my emotions.

I think it was sometime between “My Immortal” and “Whisper” the three guys in front of us had turned around, seen how short I am and offered for me to go in front of them, despite being close to my height, which I was thought was so so kind! They even offered to give me a shoulder carry between them, but I had to turn them down! I was wearing a dress and I HATE being shoulder carried. Piggy back is okay, but any other carry is a complete NO GO ZONE. (I was dropped as a kid and had flown a distance, and I think this is the reason I hate it so much.)

“Whisper” is a song I love to badly sing my little heart out to, and I did exactly that with this song! The crowd were rather quiet for this song, I think I a lot of us were still reeling from how amazing “My Immortal” was. I felt this song was the best song to follow up “My Immortal,” it just felt so fitting.

“Call Me When You’re Sober” was the song afterwards and I SQUEALED with excitement. I love that song so much, I listened to it so much when I had a difficult breakup and it made me feel powerful and strong, and not breakdown to the bullshit rumors that were being spread, and the horrible words that were designed to make me feel worthless about myself. You know that bit where her voice goes high and then back down to what it was? It’s glorious live.

Just before “Imaginery” started playing, two lovely girls in front of me noticed me standing behind them, and insisted I stood in front of them because they were taller than me. I was so thankful, everyone that I had met at this gig had been so so kind and considerate. I want to thank those random strangers for being considerate, they really made the gig much more charming for me.

“Bring Me To Life” was the song they played before the encore. Within the first few keys the crowd were roaring, it was the song we had all been waiting for. Hearing this song live was just the best, my inner 15 year old was crying. Amy sung both parts, until the crowd starting singing all of the male vocals back to her, it felt like the whole room was dueting with her and it was simply magical. I literally have no words for what it was like, all I can say that the end note was spine tingling. I have no idea how everyone felt, but I felt that it sounded even better live than it did on the album.

The encore song was “Disappear” and although it was one I haven’t heard before, it it was marvellous to hear it. Those first few notes just grabbed your attention, and it felt like Amy had sung it with such power. Although it wasn’t the song I thought they would end with, I really loved this song being the encore song. It had a strength to it that I really enjoyed.

 

After the gig, my friends and I all concluded that Evanescence are so so fantastic to see performing, and we all enjoyed them live. I can hand on heart say that we all thought they sounded better live. I don’t know what words can describe it really, they just are indescribable. If you have ever had thoughts about seeing them, I will always tell you to do it and that they are worth the money, and getting home at 2am for.

Being shy and what it’s like for me

Hey friends,

I have always been shy, ever since I was a little kid. I remember clinging to my mum when she tried to make me go off to a group of kids and make friends. And in all honesty, I’ve not gotten much better as a woman in her mid twenties.

When I was younger, I hated being in a group and only knowing one or two people out of the whole group. I used to feel so awkward, and never sure of what to say. If there were more stronger, confident characters in the group, I used to shrink into myself and not say a lot at all. I hated it when we had to stand up and do something in front of the class by ourselves. LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT PUBLIC SPEAKING. Honestly, knowing that we were going to have to read something out in class would make me feel sick.

As I got older, I didn’t seem to grow out of it. Being hit by depression and self-harm in my teens intensified the shyness. I remember this one time I had to stand up and read a short essay about my idols, and how crippled I felt by my shyness. I read the entire thing without stopping, and almost threw myself into my seat afterwards. I do remember a lot of my class being unusually supportive, and being somewhat kind.

The only thing I have ever gone and done without knowing anyone who was going to be there, was applying for college. I cannot tell you how brave and accomplished I felt for doing so! The best thing about it? When it came to my audition (I was applying for music) I felt so shy that I made the guy who was interviewing me turn around whilst I played the drums. I find this hilarious to talk about now, but at the time I was so embarrassed of how shy I was. On the first day of college, I found out that one of the guy in my little gang of friends was also going to college. I thought it was fab having someone to walk in with, until I realized that he was walking in the same direction as myself. I asked him if he happened to be on the music course, which he did.

College had done wonders for my confidence, which in turn helped my shyness. I was thankfully put in a band that only had one strong character, who turned out to be a total babe once you go to know her. The other 4 members were chilled AF, really cool about the fact that I was quiet and didn’t really talk. There was one member who had turned and talked to me on the very first day, and we found that we had a love of Busted in common, and ever since we have been firm friends. James really brought me out of my shell and helped me to become friends with everyone else.

I’ve been the same with work. Always super quiet until I get to know my job, and know the people working there. I’ve also only had one job where I didn’t know anyone who worked there, until they hired another girl in my year later a few weeks !

 

What I am trying to say in the mad ramblings is that at almost 26 years of age is that I still struggle with being shy and just how much I feel like it holds me back. I am continuously searching new ways to help me fight against it.

I always get reminders of how shy I am. When the dubsmash app came out, I remember a friend sitting in my living room videoing herself doing it, whilst I sat there amazed at how she wasn’t shy about doing it at all. That is the kind of thing I wouldn’t even do alone! I can cope with photos, but filming is a no go unless I’m 4 pints down. The same friend was organizing a birthday surprise for her boyfriend where we had to video ourselves saying happy birthday and telling a favourite memory of us and send it to her. I couldn’t do it, and that’s when I realized enough is enough.

The only thing that works so far is getting drunk, and that just isn’t practical! I’ve even bought myself a camera to try and start filming myself talking to try and help. I recently went to a march against fox hunting, and I couldn’t film myself talking about it after, in a massive city in which no one knows me. I’m determined to overcome this. I have realized that confidence plays a part in how badly I suffer with my shyness, so I’m taking steps in building my confidence. I am hoping that this will improve this a little, although I think I will always be shy, it’s just a part of who I am.

 

Just know if I don’t seem to talk to you but talk to others I know, I am not ‘aloof’ or ‘arrogant,’ I just haven’t found a subject that I feel I can talk easily to you about without completely taking over, or I haven’t drunk enough! I am not purposely being rude, I am just terrible at making friends! Also, please bare that in mind next time you meet someone who is quiet and suffers terribly from resting bitch face like myself. Don’t take it personally, and don’t presume we don’t like you.

 

Peace and light x

Owning a rescue dog (and all of its love and troubles)

About ten years ago, one guy got fed up of his neighbours mistreating their dog, starving her and keeping her outside in the cold. He posted about how he wanted to rescue her and take her to someone who would love her and treat her kindly (he was unable to look after her himself.) My dad saw his post, and decided he had to give her a chance. He drove for miles up north met the neighbour, and decided there was no way he would come back without her once he saw her. He brought her back home, and she exploded into our lives with a bang.

Within seconds of setting my eyes on this poor, starved dog who had no front claws at all (from jumping up at the neighbours wall when he sneaked food out to her, we later learnt) I fell in love. We all felt excited about having her, until we quickly realized how much it would take to tame her, and gain her trust.

IN THE BEGINNING

It took us all of 5 minutes to learnt that she wasn’t house trained. IN EVERY. SINGLE. WAY. She ran straight into one of my step-sister’s bedrooms and pissed on her bed. And done it on my dad and his partner’s bed. She chased the cats from the excitement, and our darling kittens didn’t come inside for two days. She dared to go near my cat (who was Satan in fur) and received a bloody big scratch for her troubles. She hid all of her food at first, a defense mechanism from where she had hardly been fed. She would eat some food incredibly quickly, and then pick up her bowl, take it off to her bed and eat the rest of it there. Any treats where buried in her bed, my dad’s bed and about every nook and cranny possible. Within a few days she had either peed or pooped on everyone beds. Apart from mine because I was sensible ruled by the cat who allowed no one bar her human slave in her kingdom. She chewed shoes. She chewed through bin bags. It had gotten so strained within a week that my Dad’s partner told him that if the kittens didn’t start coming back in she had to go. I cried my eyes out, for it was unfair to both the kittens and poor, poor Brody. I remember seeing the kittens sitting out in the rain, and wishing we could all come together.

THE RAIN AFTER THE STORM

I think it was a matter of days after my dad’s partner saying that Brody would have to go that the kittens finally came in and she learnt that she didn’t have to chase them. Things are starting to get better. Brody was pretty much house trained, everyone wised up and kept their bedroom doors shut so there couldn’t be any more accidents. We still had issues to work through. Brody, for all her love and affection, still hated and was terrified of somethings. I remember clearly throwing a can of deodorant to one of the girls when they asked to borrow it, over Brody’s head, and she cowered. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I had ever seen. Somebody (my dad, says it all really) decided it would be great if we taught Brody to bark. Which was great until she barked at EVERYTHING. Parked cars, cars driving past, people walking past, every single dog, the cloud shadows floating through our garden. You name it, she barked at it. She hated the hoover and would attack the hoover pole at every opportunity, and continuously bark at it. She would eat one of Leaf’s shoes on a regular basis. She would carry on smelling Mally’s bum and get swiped for her efforts. However, she blossomed with all the love we gave her, and she gave us no end of affection, especially my dad, who she just simply adored. She got along well with Kayla, our German Shepard, and all of the cats bar mine. (Mally hated everyone apart from me, so we didn’t expect much from her). At some point Brody taught herself to jump over the garden fence, and this became troublesome. She would just take herself out for walks, and someone would always bring her home. One day Dad told us about how he was around the corner from home, and found her sitting on the corner of the road, looking pleased as punch when he came over to her. So we had to plant hedges to stop the little shit from going AWOL and possibly hurting herself. This caused no end of trouble with the neighbours, but we couldn’t let our little nugget get lost or hurt.

Brody and Kayla

(Brody and Kayla in the picture above)

Training

Despite Brody picking up the house training well, everything else went to pot. Months we spent teaching her paw, only for her to slide out form her weight every time we picked up her paw. Deciding it was a lost cause we started to not try so hard with her, only for a cousin to come round, ask her paw and she done it! Basically, she only learnt what she thought she needed, which made it really amusing, and kept us on our toes! I remember one Christmas we kept finding celebration wrappers around the house, and it was only the Bounty chocolate one that was being left. We was complexed as to who it was as none of us liked it, and then realized in horror it must of been Brody! One day we all piled into the kitchen, and looked on into the living room to look through the latch to see if it was her. She went to the bowl we kept them in, sniffed out the Bounty one, put her paw down on one side, twisted her head, bit the other side, twisted her head back to unwrap it,  and got her chocolate! We couldn’t believe she had done this, and quickly moved the chocolates so she couldn’t get to anymore.

Another things Brody had no interest in learning was recall. The first time Dad let her off the lead, she made a break for it as she caught the scent of a rabbit, and Dad luckily managed to find her with the help of Kayla. Even now, after all this time and our continuous efforts to train her, she wouldn’t come back if we let her off the lead, and she used to pull until the last few months, old age has done something to her!

I’ve managed to train her to do a few things. Together we’ve mastered paw and other paw, high five and what I call the ‘bro paw.’ The best thing about these? She will not do them for Dad. Even if he has a treat or a nice piece of meat for her, she will just walk away from him and it’s just bloody hilarious! Another thing I’ve taught her to do is keep still for when I brush her, and it’s another glorious thing she will not do for my dad at all.

THE LAST HOUSE

When my dad and his girlfriend broke up, we moved back to Nan’s, at first without Brody. We felt it would of been too unfair for her to be moved into another house, away from the one place she felt safe in, away from her dog buddy and to be put into a completely different environment. About a month later my dad got a phone call saying that we had to take Brody, as she was rather wild and behaving badly without him. Apparently she had been growling at the workmen coming into my dad’s ex girlfriends house, she wouldn’t go for walks, wouldn’t really eat and kept escaping. My dad said yes to her coming back instantly. She was home and with us within the hour.

She was better behaved for my dad, but boy did she sulk! She refused to acknowledge him once her initial excitement wore off, only sitting with me, and refusing to leave my side. She was moving her food bowl half way through meals, and needing a lot of love. It took her a fair while for her to settle into a quieter house hold, but she soon learnt that my Nan was almost always in, and took advantage of her willingness to give out affection. She showed many signs of anxiety, such as the moving of her food bowl and her following you around. Another new thing she started to do was hiding in the cupboard under the stairs and curl up at the far end, once she taught herself to unlock the door. Her going into her cupboard was a sign of her starting to feel anxious about her being left on her own.

There was a day when my Dad had come home to find the house trashed. I remember it clearly, it was Valentine’s Day 4/5 years ago. My Nan was away, Dad and I had been out at work all day. Dad had come home to find that Brody has completely emptied her cupboard, shredded her lead, collar and chewed the end off her brush. She had also gone into the bin cupboard and pulled the bag out without ripping it, and had eaten the remains of last night’s spag bol and the contents of the empty ashtrays. Oh, and garlic bread, which we later found buried down the back of the sofa and in little piles up the stairs. She taken some rubbish through to the living room, and then taken herself off upstairs to throw up in my Dad’s lovely clean bedding. She had thrown up a mixture of spag bol and fag butts in the pillows, re-eaten it and then thrown up again and buried it inside the pillows themselves. Brody had then gone and puked in Nan’s bed seeing as Dad hadn’t of shut her door properly. It was like the day she came home all over again, complete carnage in every room bar mine because I’m sensible and kept the bloody door shut. Needless to say, I found it hilarious as I had know  Brody had done something wrong by how quickly she had greeted me at the door. Importantly, our lesson was learnt: Brody just wasn’t settled enough to be left on her own all day.

Fast forward to now: Brody is more than happy to be left on her own, she quickly got used to it when Nan had to go away and look after Great Nan before she passed away. My Nan spent weeks away at a time, and although she had been on holiday’s before and Brody was fine, she had to get used to it and she did. My boyfriend, my brother or one of my friends come and sit with her if we are going out in the evening. Evening’s are still a time that makes Brody anxious to be left alone, especially around firework and thunderstorm season. I remember running home to be with her as it has started to rain and rumble, and I didn’t want my poor baby being alone and scared. She also used to be super scared of fireworks, she used to cower and shake so badly. She expressed all of the signs of being anxious, including a lot of lip licking. Now, she barks at them like she’s telling them off, and I’m so proud of her for overcoming that fear. She still doesn’t like thunderstorms, but I know of plenty of dogs that don’t. She still hates being cold, she still hates the rain but loves her head being towel dried (yeah I’m confused about that one as well. We just couldn’t get a ‘normal’ dog could we?) She will snuggle up to you in bed to the point where you’re on the edge of the bed. Which has just reminded me, she taught herself how to get under the covers so the duvet was covering her whilst her head was on the pillow, which is really, REALLY FRICKEN CUTE GUYS. SERIOUSLY. She never used to scrounge, but now does (someone has been really naughty *tuts*) She still doesn’t listen to my Nan, but she loves a good fuss, still loves meeting my friends, still loves eating things she isn’t fucking supposed to. She still decides who I date, thankfully she loved my boyfriend of over 2 years the moment she met him and still loves him. She hated the last one, and he turned out to be a complete jackass, so there’s a dating tip guys: If your pet hates them, ditch them. All in all, she’s just an older chilled dog who loves being a mischievous shithead and being given attention. Still hates baths though, just ask Meg.

HER SPECIAL TRAITS:

She’s so sensitive to people who are sick or pregnant, and super gentle with kids. When Leaf was expecting her twins, she made sure she didn’t bump into her or tread on her toes like she did with us. She would curl up with her head on Leaf’s bump. When the twins arrived she was so gentle and caring with them, in fact she was so much better than Kayla was! She had to much patience with them, I remember one of them falling asleep on her and she didn’t move for the next few hours they were asleep. Whenever they cried she would run to them. I had friends over one night, and my friend’s girlfriend was pregnant and Brody didn’t try and bounce all over her. She was super gentle with her, sitting at her feet and being so caring. When Nan’s friends came over with her daughter and grandchildren Brody was so well behaved again. Their 5 year old grandchild was nervous of dogs, and it was like she knew. She didn’t rush and run about, she sat within their arm reach, and waited for them to pet her before she came closer. She adored the baby though, and just sat there whilst the baby played with her. Finally, one of my Nan’s friends had cancer, and she had popped over to see my Nan. Brody didn’t jump up once or try to climb into her lap for a cuddle, she waited until she was sat and settled before she went to her for some attention. She’s naughty, but she’s so adorable that when she is naughty she makes you laugh! When I was sick with a kidney infection she spent the weekend in my bed with me, snuggled up in the single bed I had back then, and she HATED the lack of space. She’s super special, my girl. I love her.

Why I wanted to write about Brody

I wanted to write about my beloved rottie cross as I wanted to show people that dogs that have come from difficult backgrounds aren’t always dangerous or vicious, and they often can bring so much wonder and joy to our homes and hearts. However, they do need a lot of love, patience and understanding. A lot of thinking needs to be done. Do you have a home that will suit one? Can you give them the home they need? Are you prepared for having months, possibly years of trying to train a dog out of the habits it has gained from it’s tougher time of living? Will your pets/ children get along with this new addition? Will the new addition get along with them?

We didn’t get Brody the normal way, we know that. I don’t think we have ever considered a rescue dog before, but after having Brody I have changed my mind. I’ve realized that those dogs stuck in rescue shelters all over deserve love and a forever home as much as any other dog.

Brody lived in two awful homes before she came to us. We don’t know much about the first home, but her second ‘family’ (the one we took her from) had adopted her from a rescue shelter, only to use her for breeding puppies and beating her, and keeping her outside when they had no need for her. When the kind next door neighbour had gone round and told them that he had found a new home for her, they weren’t even bothered. They happily gave her away. I have no idea how people can be so cruel and keep a pet that they know they don’t want, or want to look after. I’m just bloody glad we’ve got her. She is a part of our family, and now she’s getting older we are appreciating every extra year we get with her. I didn’t have space for more love for another pet, but she barreled her way into my heart and there she has stayed.

Right, that’s me done, pinky promise. Sorry for the essay, I just bloody love my dog, and want people to realize that rescue dogs are just of deserving. Too many good dogs spend their lives in kennels waiting for their forever home. Go and look around, you might just find your next best friend waiting in one.

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50 things we need to remind ourselves/ remember.

  1. It’s perfectly fine if you didn’t go to university.
  2. It’s also okay if you didn’t get good grades in school
  3.  Sometimes it’s WHO you know, not what you know that gets your foot in the door.
  4. If you break up with your long term partner when you’re in your late twenties it doesn’t mean you’ll be on the shelf forever. You’re hot. You’ve still got it.
  5. A lot more of us have no fucking idea what we’re doing. You’re not the only one.
  6. If you have no idea who you are, welcome to the club. A lot of us have been here for ages but have kept it on the down low.
  7. Being unmarried and childless does not mean you’re unsuccessful.
  8. If you haven’t found your dream career, relax. Your time will come.
  9. If you’re a lady who approaching 30 and still haven’t had kids, at least one person will tell you that your biological clock is ticking. And you’ll want to beat them with that fucking clock.
  10. Not everyone grows out of their weird little quirks (or in my case personality.) Weirdness comes into fashion. Your time will come, and you’ll be so authentic everyone will want to be like you.
  11. Your fashion will come into fashion
  12. Don’t let people belittle you because of your age.
  13. Or gender.
  14. Or your sexuality.
  15. Do that one thing you’ve been dreaming of but scares you. It will be the most fucking fantastic thing and it will do wonders for you.
  16. Your mental health matters.
  17. Spending time on making your self better, instead of travelling, does not mean you’ve been wasting your time.
  18. YOUR. HEALTH. IS. IMPORTANT.
  19. Don’t wait until things are at breaking point before you get help. It can make it so much harder to make yourself better.
  20. Your physical health is also important.
  21. Go spend time with that friend. You never know if they will still be here by the end of the year.
  22. You’re going to realise that when you thought you were fat you weren’t.
  23. And as you get older the weight will be easily put on and will be hard to loose (for a lot of us.)
  24. What is right for us will make some people unhappy. If they really love you, they will try to be happy for you and accept the situation.
  25. Some of your closest friends will change, and you will leave them behind.
  26. You might fall in love with someone who is completely different from anyone you’ve ever dated and it will be magical AF.
  27. It’s never too late to travel.
  28. Don’t stay in a relationship you’re unhappy in. It’s never too late to go, and life is too short to spend it miserable.
  29. Don’t let your pain take away your kindness and your sensitivity.
  30. But loss and pain of a friend or family member can change your outlook on things, and make you realise the small stuff really doesn’t matter.
  31. Not everyone you meet will like you. And that’s fine.
  32. Don’t take crap for and from anyone.
  33. Don’t make major changes to yourself just to make someone happy. Fuck that.
  34. You are always stronger than you realise.
  35. Learn to love yourself
  36. Being selfish for your own being is being selfless to yourself. You have to put yourself more often than you do.
  37. Try not to say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone you love.
  38. Try not to say things about strangers or to strangers that you wouldn’t say to the people you love.
  39. Not everyone is as happy as they make out on social media.
  40. Take a break from the internet every now and then. Especially when your on holiday.
  41. The amount of followers you have on social media does not dictate your worth, your beauty and who you are as a person.
  42. Neither does your weight.
  43. Seriously, if weighing yourself makes you sad, bin the bloody thing.
  44. Give that random person that compliment you was thinking. You never know, they might of just needed to hear it.
  45. If your friends make you feel sad/ embarrassed for being you, dump them.
  46. Friendship break ups exist and they are just as sad as relationship break ups.
  47. Enjoy yourself at every opportunity.
  48. Life is too short to spend it miserable
  49. Take photos of those happy times.
  50. Live a happy and memorable life.

Sense of self

I had never given any thought to how I flit from hair colour to hair colour, never taking to a style longer than a year or so. I  believed it was a quirk of mine, but I was completely at ease with it.Then I watched Emma Blackery’s video on her lack of sense of self, and there was so many things I could relate to: how my music taste and general behaviour  is influenced by whatever I have seen online and fallen in love with, how I generally drift through different friendship groups (bar that one particular group, I love you my little weirdos) and how I cannot stop going through fazes of liking different things.

The easiest way to describe it is that it’s like being a shape shifter, a chameleon, an indecisive fuck, a beautifully blank canvas.

Let’s start with the clothing crisis, the one being that I CANNOT MAKE UP MY FUCKING MIND ON WHAT CLOTHES I SHOULD WEAR. I constantly flip flop from wanting to look all dark and mysterious through to wanting to be a super cute real like anime character (I have problems, I am aware.) Band t-shirts, flannel shirts, playsuits, 50’s style shirts, skinny jeans, big baggy ‘skater’ jeans, you name the style, I’ve probably worn it aaaaaaaaaaaand sadly got the pictures as proof. I thought it was something my young self was going through as I tried to work out who I was, what I felt fitted me perfectly.

Ten years down the line I’m in my mid twenties and still unable to decide on what I want in my wardrobe. Yeah,  SURE changing it up is nice and all, but I wish I could settle on a ‘base’ style and work around that, from the girly days to the comfy days. I keep throwing them fashion turds at the wall, and hoping I find one that sticks. So far, I seem to have a little bit from almost every style that I try to weave into my everyday look. I am trying to relax about not really dressing like a lot of my friends or people I follow online, and trying to stick to what I like at the time. The only definite factor in my style is that I like alternative fashion.

Back when I was an unhappy teenager, all I wanted was to be happy and confident. Now I’m happy,  I can’t decide on a dream to chase, something that I think I would love to do. I’ve flipflopped from photographing gigs, to making a body positive page to modelling, back to photographing. I’ve enjoyed them all, but nothing keeps my interest for long. I guess when I find that thing I will know, for now however it’s difficult to keep up with myself and what directions my passions are taking. Even as I am writing this blog, I am flip flopping from idea to idea.

Making choices about what I wanted to learn was also something I really struggled with. My GCSE choices were french (I sucked) music (because I’ve always loved it) and geography (I thought I would learn exotic things about our world, not about the bloody weather.) I went behind my Mum’s back and chose music as a choice instead of something that would help me with a career, much to her disappointment. And I pretty much failed all of them, but that story is for another time. After school, I went to college and chose music again because I couldn’t do the course I wanted due to a lack of GCSE grades and because if in doubt or stuck, just drum and hope for the best, which is how I actually got into the course. I am grateful that I ended up on that music course, as it gave me the confidence boost I needed, a wonderful group of friends, one in particular that I am still friends with and adore and it’s left me with some memories that still make me laugh at the antics we used to get up to. I do sometimes wish I could of decided on something permanent and studied really hard and gone to uni, but I am fine with the path I have taken, and what I’ve learned along the way instead. I’ve never had a permanent dream, yet I am never staying in the same place hoping it will come to me. I am chasing it, blindly, but I am moving regardless.

I’ve come to learn that I have such a wide taste in fashion, music and hobbies because of the many different individuals that have influenced me in my life. Different friendship groups have given me many different memories and experiences and I really appreciate that. Thank you guys, for making me the varied person that I am.

Not really knowing what I want to look like or who I am to be is a strange yet marvellous thing. I am exploring so many different directions and done many things that I might not of had I not been indecisive with myself. Here’s to the next faze in my life.

Laters, xo.