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Monday, 8 February 2016

Slip


As I walk along the beach, the sound of lapping waves and soaring seagulls surrounds me. A salty wind picks up and tickles my ears. The sand is soft and golden. I turn my head to look back and see a set of footprints glistening in the sun. They follow me faithfully.
Making my way up the slope towards the cliff top, the bright afternoon light is invigorating.
And as I reach the highest point, I stop walking and look out across a glimmering sea. Boats bob gently on the surface and become part of the horizon. Just before the dirt track that runs alongside the edge, something catches my eye – a sign:
Warning:
Slippery surface.
I don’t know if it is the picture of the falling man, or the words, but I am suddenly aware of the wet earth beneath my feet. I push away a thought of landing flat on my face and continue on. Mud begins to clog the soles of my shoes. I slow my pace.
And when I eventually reach the ditch that spans across my path, I begin to think about fear and how it can stop us from moving forward. What if we fall again, what if we fail?
But there is only now. Just this single moment.
And so, under a cloudy sky, my feet lift off the ground and I leap across the muddy void.
Sometimes in life, we slip. Whether it be from a banana skin, a break-up, or a bad day, there will always be things that pop up, causing us to lose our balance. But for every fall, there is a get-back-up. And for every dust-yourself-down, there’s space for something new. Something wonderful. Something beautiful.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Another Journey



I'm up above the clouds once more. From 38,000ft up, I can see for miles. My magazine is closed on the table. A clear plastic cup containing what’s left of my sky-high cocktail, a small piece of ice and half a lemon slice sits next to it. I look out over the horizon. We soar high above white, fluffy clouds.
I used to wonder, as a child, what it would be like to be this far off the ground. I remember sitting in class, looking out over the cross-county field towards the airport runway and watching the planes take off one by one. I would dream of all the places in the world that I could visit one day, and of all the colourful people I would meet along the way.
As we bank gracefully left, the sun glares through the window and temporarily blinds me. I close my eyes. And within this isolation, a feeling of peace floods my body. I am free as a bird as I doze off into a light sleep.
The sound of the trolley being pushed back up the aisle for the final time pulls me gently back. Soon we will begin our descent. Soon we will be walking through passport control. Soon I will be boarding the DLR. And soon I will be back in my bedroom. Night will come, dawn will break, and there will be a new beginning once again.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Andalusian Dusk


There's only a few minutes left of day. The air is changing right in front of my very eyes. Soon, the sun will be gone and I will be indoors, sitting beside a roaring fire.
The mountains begin to turn a deep shade of red.
I tip my head backwards and see white contrails cutting diagonally across a dusky sky. I follow the plane’s journey as it makes its way over the mountain to disappear from sight. I wonder about all the people up there; some will be reading, some watching a movie, some dozing lightly.
In the distance, a pack of dogs bark as a chainsaw revs up. There is smoke billowing from a blaze somewhere up in the mountains.
And I breathe in deeply. The delicate scent of pink almond blossom rushes into my nose as I realise that change has come in…again.
It was so warm today, I felt my body relax and soak up every last ray of Andalusian sun. But now I zip up my jacket against the chilled evening air.
And as the birds make their final flight of the day back towards their nest, I pick up my phone and empty coffee cup to make my way indoors. Just as I am about to head up along the dusty path, something makes me stop. There, just poking out from behind a eucalyptus tree, sits a gigantic moon. And so I stand there for a while, holding my things, looking up into the evening sky. As a cool breeze blows through the trees, I can't help but feel that everything is exactly as it should be.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Travelling Companion



The first time I ever laid eyes on you, you were looking out through a window on Charing Cross Road. I knew instantly that you were the one. I stepped in from the cold...and the rest is history.
Our history - it was all meant to be. I will never forget the moments that we’ve shared together. My faithful one. You were there when I began my journey through Italy, and there as I walked into the Brazilian night. We've seen sleepy, romantic lakes and exciting new cities. I’ve lost count of the number of hotel rooms we’ve slept in over the years. The familiar click of a heavy door shutting behind us will stay with me forever.
We’ve been on quite a journey, you and I.
Do you remember the times we ran through airports with seconds to spare? Or the ones where we soared peacefully above oceans below?
We’ve struggled over cobbles and glided over concrete; travelled on tracks and roads and currents of air. You’ve been lifted and pulled and dragged and thrown. And still you stayed right by my side. There as I cried in the rain. And kissed in the dark. And laughed on a train. And fell. And got back up again.
So seeing your handle, finally broken and sitting next to a bin, makes me a little sad - sad that you will never again be hauled off a carousel in a brand new country. And sad that you won’t get to see my face as I laugh once again at the little moments that life can bring.
But with every ending comes a new beginning.
And I look forward to the day when you return, in a different form, to once again run with me through an airport with just seconds to spare.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Final moments



I'm sitting in the bay window looking out to sea. If I travelled in a straight line from this exact point, I would eventually reach the North Pole - no land would get in my way. 
People wrapped up in coats and hats amble along the stretching pier as waves lap gently at the metal pillars down below. 
And there's a chill in the air. 
I watch as seagulls float peacefully on the undulating surface and my mind suddenly jumps to a happy summer’s day in Brighton. 
As I glance back over the 12 months that has brought me friendship, laughter, love and loss, I think about all the little moments that make up a year. 
A couple standing at the end of the pier suddenly catch my eye as one of them leaps playfully into the air. He is captured on camera, and I witness the birth of an image that will last a lifetime.
Salty air rushes through the open window and I'm reminded that life is just a series of moments. There are moments that challenge us, and moments that change us. We laugh, we cry, we give, we grow. 
And as difficult as it may be, sometimes, we just have to follow our hearts and trust that everything happens for a reason. 


I wish you a very happy New Year. May 2016 bring you everything your heart truly desires. 


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Alignment



I was 2 when it last happened.
I might have been cuddling with my mum on the sofa or playing make-believe in my wigwam; laughing, crying or smearing chocolate around my little mouth. I was completely unaware of the celestial show happening just up in the sky. The lifelong scar that now sits on my body was barely a few months old.
38 years later, I am watching the moon rise slowly in the sky. It’s lifting away from the trees and up into the night. It bathes everything it touches in a silvery light. The hedges at the end of the field begin to disappear, and trees transform into gnarly silhouettes.
As we dance and spin through the blackness of space, we find ourselves, once again, next to a Christmas full moon. I sit on the bed looking out of the window with soft beams falling gently on my
face…and I breathe.
There are times in our life when everything is in tune and perfectly aligned - all is well in our wonderful world. Then there are moments when the rug gets pulled from under our feet and we struggle to simply get through the day - we are left disorientated, unable to see beyond the trees.
But it’s all about letting go and believing; having faith that everything will work out in the end. And just like this coming full moon on a Christmas day, some things will only ever happen when the time is right.



On this full moon Christmas Eve, I wish you all the love and happiness in the world. Shine bright.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Somewhere in between the trees




I step out into the cool morning air and pull the door closed gently behind me. I walk down the path and zip up my coat before reaching the gate.
Sunday morning in the city: quiet, damp, peaceful.
There is a still in the air that provides a perfect backdrop to my footsteps on the ground. My neighbours aren’t up yet. It feels as if the flying Parakeets and I are the only ones awake.
I snake my way up towards the common and into the woods. The familiar smell of rich earth and bark hits me, instantly filling my lungs. The ground is soft underfoot. I feel every single muscle in my body relax and release for the first time in ages.
And on I walk, hands in pockets, my mind a million miles away.
Past the tall Oak and just before the tangled blackberry bush, I am lost in my thoughts.
I wonder about where this year has gone. I wonder about my summer of love. And I wonder if letting go will ever get any easier for this amplified heart.
The rain that fell in the early hours of the morning glisten on the branches overhead.
And I’m suddenly struck by how beautiful everything looks. In amongst the weathered trees and fallen leaves, I dare to hope once more.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sunday silence


Sunday morning, not a cloud in the sky. There's a peacefulness in the air that I've not felt in a while. With only a gentle breeze wafting through the branches, the city is unusually quiet. I am alone but for the bees buzzing from one purple Chive flower to the next. Taking a sip of my freshly brewed coffee, I suddenly notice patches of damp stone on the ground. It must have rained heavily last night. Somewhere lost in a dream, I was oblivious to the cool downpour.
As I look up at the giant tree at the bottom of the garden, I smile at last month’s discovery of Parakeets. Lime green with long elegant tails, I couldn't believe my eyes at first. They seemed strangely out of place. My mind jumps quickly to São Paulo - the crazy, giant city that I called home for a short while.
The sun on my neck feels warm and comforting. The smell of honeysuckle is delicious.
Then there's a loud bang of a door slamming open. A child cries and a mother shouts. A plane’s engines whir overhead and a dog barks in the distance.
My moment of peace vanishes in an instant.
But as the city slowly comes to life all around me, and a butterfly flutters softly past my face, I can't help but feel that everything is exactly as it should be.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Boxfresh



It was a beautiful spring afternoon when I first spotted them. I wasn't even searching - they just appeared out of nowhere.
Completely smitten, I walked through the doorway and stepped onto the escalator. I watched shoppers glide down in the opposite direction, occasionally making eye contact with me.
I made my way over to the wall and plucked them from the shelf. Sitting down, I took off my well-worn shoes and laced up the new ones.
The second I saw their reflection in the mirror, I knew they were meant for me.
I was crazy in love.
And so, later that evening as a burning sunset surrounded us, we stepped out together for the first time.
We danced, carefree, into the early hours of the morning. We went out for brunch the next day. For a walk in the afternoon. And the cinema that evening. It was perfect.
Until they began to hurt. A lot.
Firm leather had started to rub unforgivingly on my ankle and Achilles heel. Every step was agony. The further I walked, the more uncomfortable they became. The sides continued to dig in cruelly, forgetting all the good times we were having together. The honeymoon was over.
I stoically wore them every day that week. Some days were worse than others.
Meanwhile, all around me, flowers were bursting out of the ground and nests were being built high up in the trees.
And then, one day, I noticed that the pain had completely vanished. There was no longer any rubbing or discomfort. All that remained was the gentle click-clack of soles meeting the pavement – just my handsome new shoes and I under a perfect blue sky.
And in amongst the swirling cherry blossom, I suddenly felt very lucky: Lucky to be healthy, alive, and surrounded by love.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Enough



I am too old. I am not cute. I am too short. I’m not successful enough. I don’t have a toned body. My hair is peppered with grey. I am single. I can’t drive.
And I care too much…
With my mind spinning out of control like a defective rocket, I try to control my thoughts - but the more I try, the harder it becomes. And I am suddenly submerged.
I watch as rain starts to fall. The cold drops splash down onto the windowpane, each one leaving a trail behind it like a comet. People outside come and go, scurrying to find shelter from the downpour.
And inside the battle rages on.
Sometimes, we are so hard on ourselves. Our own name-calling can be deeply hurtful. I can’t help but wonder if we were actually told these things by another person, how offended we would be. We wouldn’t accept it from anyone else…so why do we allow it from ourselves?
And then, just when I think that I will never be able to shake this feeling, my phone pings: a text from a friend - her message is simple and loving.
Three words. Twelve letters. One truth:
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
They circle my mind and slowly filter their way down into my heart.
And I smile.
There are times in our life when the inner voice of doubt gets so loud, we can hear nothing else - the voice that tells us we are not interesting enough, not clever enough, not good-looking enough.
And there will be ups and downs - moments when we think that we will never be enough.
But maybe, just maybe, we are actually better than we ever imagined.

Maybe we were always more than enough!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The music and the moments



A light early morning drizzle comes to rest gently on my face. I close the front door and breathe deeply. Pressing play, my short journey begins. I take the shortcut though the passageway towards the common. ‘No Doubt’ come playing out of my earphones. It seems that lately
 I’ve been listening to this album on a loop. In years to come, I wonder if the memories of now will come flooding back the second I hear these songs again.
An old lady comes shuffling along in the opposite direction. With a half-full shopping bag, she looks up at me. We catch each other’s eye, and for a few seconds we are connected. Her face is gentle and kind. And in our fleeting moment together, we smile. Everything seems to suddenly stop. Then, as she slips out of view, I wonder what she has experienced in life: her hopes, her dreams, her lessons.
I am lost in my thoughts as I continue onwards.
I see the man at the bus stop holding his son’s hand - I think of my dad. I see the lady pushing a newborn baby – I think of my friend. I see the guy who looks like someone I once loved – I wonder where he is now.
Flashes of moments come and go in the drizzle - a Saturday morning stroll through my past.
And as I arrive at the small supermarket, I wonder where my new friend is - the man who sells the Big Issue, with a face that could light up a room, is not there. Maybe I will see him next week.
I suddenly smile thinking about all the people in my life - the people who have been there right from the beginning, and the ones who will be there right at the end.
And then there are those who I have yet to meet…

Saturday, 21 February 2015

On Guard


It would definitely shatter a bone, or two. The heavy iron end would smash through anything that got in its way. The protruding spikes were blunt and weighty. A shiver runs down my spine as I picture how many people have been on the receiving end of its deadly blow. 
Next to them sits the beautifully crafted rifles. Delicately decorated in Mother of Pearl and ancient ivory, it is hard to imagine that something so aesthetically pleasing was made to kill.
There are silver daggers, steel swords, and pocketknives, all designed to swipe and chop and slice and stab.
Gazing through the glass case, which protects the protective armour, I admire the craftsmanship of the smooth metallic suit. Every piece hammered and shaped perfectly to fit the contours of a man’s body.
As I continue walking around the armoury room of the Wallace Collection, I am suddenly struck by a thought: for all the ways we protect ourselves in war - the shields, the armour, the heavy weaponry - what about the everyday? How do we protect ourselves against the many other dangers that lie in wait?
There are times in life when I could have done with an emotional coat of armour myself. I would have made use of its thick steel skin as a heavy defense – that way my feelings would never have been hurt, my heart never broken, or my self-confidence severely battered.
Life can be messy and disorientating sometimes. But as long as we love ourselves with all our imperfections, and protect our heart by keeping it open, that might just be all the armour we will ever need.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Been there...



I’ve seen it before. I’ve sat at my desk with a hot ginger tea. I’ve watched the steam swirl up and out of the blue mug. I’ve turned my head to look out of the glass: the same grey sky, the same cold breeze blowing through my open window.
With the same words written on the page of my orange Moleskine, in exactly the same order, with the same blue ink, everything seems to stop.
I’m lost in space, unable to orientate my body.
There’s nothing extraordinary about this moment. It is just a moment - a speck of living.
But I’ve been here before, witnessed everything in minute detail: my steady breath, quickening heartbeat and an energy spinning up my spine.
There’s something unsettling about this flash of déjà vu. And at the same time, quietly reassuring, familiar.
A million possibilities come flying out of this twice-lived moment.
I can’t help but wonder what I would do differently if I knew for sure what was coming around the corner? Would I change my words, my actions, my hopes?
As much as we want everything to be perfect, life is also about making mistakes. Without them, we would never grow. We would never look at ourselves and never find our inner strength. Sometimes we live and learn, sometimes we don’t.
There are mistakes that make us kick ourselves, and mistakes that cause us to cringe.
And then there are those that take us to another place entirely – a place where whatever happens, we know we will always be ok.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The edge of tomorrow



Another train journey, another fiery sunset burning across the sky.
People on the carriage are reading, and texting, and stretching and dozing. I want to pick up the book that I’ve been trying to finish for the past month…but I'm too sleepy. The music playing deep in my ears seems to be putting me into a trance. Lost in my thoughts, I drift over the trees towards the glowing horizon. The last of the day’s light reflects off glass and steel, temporarily blinding me between buildings.
Events of the past year have left me tired and disorientated.
Flying halfway back across the world, I discovered a new home and a new chapter.
I said ‘I love you’ to my mum for the last time, immensely grateful for one final, beautiful conversation. I’ve cried though two funerals of people I adored, and danced at the arrival of my gorgeous baby niece - The cycle of life, of love never-ending.
The train is warm and cosy. With hot air wafting out through vents under the seats, I unzip my coat. My hand reaches up towards the ice-cold window as we continue to speed through the city.
And I close my eyes.
There is a second where everything seems to stop spinning, just for the briefest of moments. Lost somewhere in-between the end of today and a new beginning, I suddenly feel at peace.
And as the final hours of this year drift slowly away, I am hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.
Hopeful for more love, more light, more laughter.

My love to you all, always.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Fall




Rain falls hard onto cold concrete slabs. Black umbrellas and glistening shoes surround me. I watch as people weave in and out of each other, hurrying to get home from a day at the office. I feel a strange comfort in the sound of the drops bouncing heavily off my umbrella. A memory of lying inside my tent in the pouring rain flashes through my mind and suddenly makes me feel 11 again. I am lost in the downpour.
And on I walk; people weaving, water falling, iPod playing - one foot in front of the other taking me closer to home.
A change of song and I’m suddenly aware that my face is wet. It takes me a moment to realize that it is not coming from the rain. Another wave of grief washes over me as I think of my lovely lady, gone.
There are times in our life when we fall. Whether from a break-up, the loss of a loved one or the many other things that life can sometimes throw in our path, one thing is for certain; nothing is final. Moments pass and eventually we find our feet. We change every day and grow in ways invisible to the naked eye.
The places we go and the people we meet will stay with us forever, etched in our heart like a heart in a tree.
And just when I think the rain is never going to end, the first few rays of a setting sun break out from behind the grey clouds…and change begins to happen once again.