On being somebody’s Valentine…

Four years ago I left home to start university. Everyone was busy telling me how much I would love it, how much if would thrive. I, on the other hand, had spent the preceding summer convincing myself that I had not got my A level grades that would secure my place. I had already part filled next year’s application forms, booked a few driving lessons in and applied for a few jobs so the blow might not fall so hard. So when the big fat confirmation letter fell through the letterbox in August, just a month before term was due to start, I found myself in a bit of a pickle.

Just 4 weeks later, I found myself alone in a room that didn’t feel like mine, on a corridor of the most eclectic mix I people I could ever expect to meet. It was almost a perfectly representative sample if every clique from college. The loud and bolshy rugby lad, the crazy party girl, the punky chic into all sorts of weirdness that she felt needed sharing loudly over dinner, the quiet kid that didn’t speak, and then there was the boy next door.

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight. In fact I spent the first few weeks of term convinced his name was Steve (it’s not…) and only really had any interaction over pleasantries such as whose milk this was in the fridge, and could I please borrow a tea bag.

I found myself deeply miserable at uni. I suddenly found myself stressed to the heavens about everything, gave myself gastritis that rendered me a nauseous wreck the majority of the time and realised that my cooking skills did not even stretch to basic at best. I was strongly considering dropping out and seeing if I could defer a year on health grounds. So when I got a text from said boy asking if I’d like to go for a drink sometime, I baulked and knocked it out the park. How could I possibly entertain the notion of dating when I could barely hold myself together for a day of lectures?!

A few months of persistent efforts and truly horrendously awkward dates later, we finally gave up and called it official. This was a boy who would sit with me while I spent hours forcing down tiny meals, with my phone in his hand threatening to call my mum if I didn’t finish that chicken sweet and sour. A boy who had seen me in my PJ’s at 3am fire alarms with bed hair and sleepy eyes, seen my horrific attempts at cooking, heard me throwing up near enough daily, and yet was still interested.

That first year, I told him that I didn’t do valentines day. Mainly because I honestly didn’t really buy all the sappy ‘one-and-only’ stuff. I figured mostly you just ended up with someone convenient and muddled along with them for a while. I thought it was so commercial; after all, why do you need one day to appreciate the person you supposedly love all year round?

To some extent, I still believe that, about the commercialism. However, four years later, having fallen totally head over heels for that boy next door, I can’t say I don’t believe in love anymore. It’s amazing to have someone who is unconditionally there for you, and so in sync with the way you think that there are times when you don’t have to say anything at all. And to be able to celebrate that, and have a day to show them how much that means isn’t all that bad. Not with presents and lavish expense, but with time. Setting aside a little time to spend purely with each other, no distractions. So that was how our valentines day went. We had a lazy morning with American Blueberry Pancakes watching a live-streamed band contest in our PJs. Then we went out for dinner at our favourite local Indian, challenging each other to try something different to our usual order. We’re both massive foodie people, so this was just perfect. We ended our evening curled up on the sofa with a good film. To some, this would seem boring and unimaginative, but for us, just spending time enjoying things we have in common is just fine.

So now, I would say yes, I do ‘do’ valentines day, but I do it my way.



Being Brave!

I’ve been the new kid a fair few times in my life, and never quite mastered the art. Changing schools, starting university; full of horrendously awkward encounters where I’m trying desperately to work out how to not come across as totally off this planet. But going through my degree, which has involved switching placements every few weeks, joining a new team every month or so, I’ve learnt to just grab things a tad by the proverbials. And so that was how I approached walking in to my first ballet class in 12 years yesterday.

As it happened, I really shouldn’t have stressed quite as much as I did. After eventually finding the entrance to the place down a dark alley, praying that I would make it inside with all my major organs unscathed, I walked in to find an empty waiting room. Claiming a chair, I waited a while, then another girl walked in, looking just as relieved as I’d felt to finally find the front door. Pretty simultaneously, we twigged that neither one of us had any idea what we were doing. And that’s when the third girl turned up… also new. And that was the turnout for the evening. And it was great! We had to talk to each other, because none of us knew anyone else there, and we ended up having a great class because no-one was having to play catch up.

Turns out that ballet is a little like riding a bike. Less than a minute into warm up barre exercises, my muscles cottoned on what we were up to and went ‘Ah ha! We’ve totally done this before… We’ll take it from here!’ It all came back, and being back in the studio felt like the most natural thing in the world.

Then I woke up this morning.
I spent today googling to try and put a name to the new muscles I’ve discovered I have. And back I shall go next week!


Smile no. 2

My second smile of the year links to my elusions in my very first post about old passions… I’ve been trying for a long time to find a good way to keep fit and stay healthy, and it occured to me that maybe I had the answer all along, it was just a door I thought I’d locked and bolted a long time ago.

100115 006As a child I was always dancing. Taxi of Mum used to ferry me from class to class, week after week, to summer schools and show weeks all over the place. And when I wasn’t at classes or rehearsals, I was putting on ‘shows’ in my bedroom – curtains drawn, desk lamp on the floor as my ‘spotlight’, CD blaring. But life happens, and through various moves, growing pains and generally being far too busy, I ended up hanging up my ballet shoes and stowing my leotards in the attic to gather dust.

12 years later, I’m going back to ballet school. Instead of trying to make myself enjoy a new fitness tactic, I’m just going to dust off an old one that I have always loved and missed. I’ve found a few adult classes in my local area, and am trying them out next week. (Watch this space!!)

So my smile this week – my new ballet shoes. I’ve spent the evening sewing elastics – Mum, I now have a totally new appreciation for the years and years you spent grimacing every time my feet grew, or I needed a different colour pair for a costume!!


Hello World!

Happy New Year from a Little Scruffy Owl! It’s a little late, but that’s pretty true to form…

So guess I ought to introduce myself. I’m a twenty-something preparing to leave my five year degree and venture into the real world, trying to find my balance in my new branches. 2015 is a year of big changes for me; starting the job I’ve spent 5 years working towards but will never be ready for, travelling, moving again, and that’s just the things I know about…! There are an awful lot of uncertainties in the next 12 months, so instead of making loads of resolutions this year, I decided to focus on how I can improve the little things in my life. Mini-projects, things to aim for. Here are a few of them that I hope you’ll enjoy following…

1. Smile for the Week
2014 wasn’t a year of smiles for me, so that’s my biggest focus this year. I love finding smiles in the small things, so my first mini-project is to find a smile a week to blog about, something I’ll try and capture in a photograph – a skill I’m hoping to improve!

2. Prove that getting fit can be fun…
To both myself, and anyone else out there who has, like me, always belonged to Camp ‘I’ve got a music lesson that just happens to fall in PE class and any other excuse I can possibly dream up’… As part of this I’m starting off my year by exploring re-igniting an old passion, but more about that in another post!

3. Find some excitement in healthy eating…
I am a professional level chocoholic. I think nothing of having a box of chocolate fingers for dinner, followed by a breakfast of choloate orange. So I’m starting January with a serious detox… no chocolate, biscuits or cake. Talk about cold turnkey… and not just those Christmas left overs!! So far, it’s made me seriously aware of just how much of my diet was made up with snacky stuff – so now I’ve cut it out, I’m hungry all the time. Which means finding new things to eat. Trouble is, I’m also a bit of a culinary tornado. So my experimentations are likely to lead to disaster, destruction, and a whole lot of washing up, but some of them might be yummy, which I’ll of course share….

4. Get out and enjoy the world
I’m a bit of a couch potato. I love my netflix subscription and an quite happy to let my weekends pass me by in a warm haze of duvet, pyjamas, and whatever series I’m currently hooked on. But that leads to a lot of things on my “I want to see and do…” list not getting ticked off. So this year, I’m going to try my best to just go do, rather than find a hundred excuses for why I need that lie in…

So that’s pretty much me, and what this blog is all about. In a big world full of negativity, I’m just a little scruffy owl trying to make sense of it all, and find things to smile about.