Travel Journal-Persian Posts

Front cover

Front cover

Some of you already know that I write a couple of blogs (when the mood takes me!) my other blog being about my travels and experiences in Iran-Persian Posts. Over the past few days I have been catching up with my articles based on my 3-week holiday back in July 2014. Thank goodness then that I always keep a travel journal which I religiously and lovingly write up each evening so that I don’t forget even the smallest detail. It is amazing what you do forget and I love re-reading my journal weeks and months after my holiday.

My travel journal has come in very handy this whilst writing up my posts and I have managed to complete quite a few. We are already planning our 2015 visit so I must catch up before we go!

 

 

 

Travel journals are easy to put together and good fun. Collecting tickets and stubs, receipts, leaflets, postcards, menus, photos, labels and anything else that will stick onto the pages or slip into pockets is addictive but they give a great flavour of your travel experience and trigger memories otherwise filed away.

For this trip I used a great wire-bound book from paperchase. For £7.00 I got

Back cover

Back cover

lots of pages, both lined and plain so I could add my own drawings, plastic pockets and half-page paper pockets which were really useful to keep the leaflets and menus in.

You can buy the book online-Paperchase

If you are short of ideas but have collected a wealth of material, you will do worse than look on Pinterest for inspiration. There are lots of completed pages to view, ideas for travel-themed embellishments and layout designs as well as suggestions for what works well.

I will be writing another journal to cover my 2015 travels and have already got the book ready to pack! All I need now is to sort out the rest of my equipment to take and I will be set. Only 5 months early!

 

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to one and all!

This time last year I was looking forward to a busy busy 2014 and sure enough so it has been. Overall a very successful and happy one albeit against the usual backdrop of “depression expectancy.”

My New Year resolutions this year are few but hopefully more truly life-enhancing than the previous “Must lose weight,” “must exercise more,” “must eat healthier,” etc etc.

For 2015 my intentions are simple and two-fold.

(1) To stop living in fear of the black dog returning and to live my life in the moment and

(2) To go swimming 3 times a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am with the other “over 50’s”!

My biggest problem is accepting that life can be good. I must stop expecting the worst to happen and preparing accordingly. As sure as eggs are eggs (as my grandma used to say) it usually will. Granny wasn’t well educated but she had a pretty good grasp on the relationship between thought and behaviour and the self-fulfilling prophecy theory as explained by Merton. And so I must try and put my past experiences into perspective and take each day as it comes. Some days will be better than others but that’s normal. Hey! I think I’ve got this!

I have a great support network.

I have a fantastic husband.

I have an amazing son.

I have a wonderful family.

I have a cute puppy.

I have a job I love.

I work from home.

I have 4 months off work between February and June.

I have a house and family in Iran.

What have I got to worry or complain about?

Nothing.

I wish all my friends and family a happy and healthy 2015.

Guilty

Over the past 4 years my Blog and I have been great friends. Writing about my experiences really helps me to make sense of my bouts of depression and keeps me connected with the outside world when I don’t physically step outside of my front door. I have made some lovely friends on here so “Thank you Poppyposts”:)

I feel guilty now because I have a new life. A new life which has taken some time to reach but they say that everything comes to those who wait and put simply, I haven’t felt so well mentally for as long as I can remember.

I have been very busy with my new job, my new puppy and my new-found positivity but that’s no excuse to abandon my Blog for almost 3 months! So I am back but with a different focus. How to stay well and what works for me. I think I have found a balance and with a few tweaks 2015 could be the year when I finish up a much healthier person physically, mentally and emotionally. I can look forward to that I’m sure.

I know that I am incredibly lucky to have a hugely supportive family, group of friends and an understanding employer but I have also been brave enough to take my opportunities as they have presented themselves.

The saying goes;

She who is brave is free

She who is brave is free

 I do feel that I have finally been released to live my life as I chose. How brave am I?

001

The Spoon Theory

The Spoon Theory

When I read this article this morning I cried. Not because I was sad or upset but with relief because I may have found a way to describe how I feel to someone who looks at me and thinks I look OK. Someone who thinks that all my moans and groans about being tired, exhausted, and wiped out to the point of collapse and tears of frustration and pain are fiction. That’s the problem with an invisible illness. You look fine but underneath you are fighting to stay as normal as possible with every ounce of energy you have. If I could only find a way to explain that feeling, I would feel better. People would maybe understand and not judge. A little empathy and genuine concern costs nothing but you would think it costs the earth for its paucity.

I face any number of battles every morning before I go out of the house. I often use all my spoons before I get to work, and then I’m in deficit; running on empty whilst all the time destroying my engine. You can run on empty for a while. We all know that there is always something in reserve from what the car manufacturers tell you. Unfortunately when your body says enough is enough it’s usually time to wave the white flag and retire to bed for a while. Rest and recovery is vital in managing chronic fatigue syndrome and I spend most of my weekends in bed, either resting or asleep, just catching up from the week’s exertion. What a waste of time.

I hope that you will read about the Spoon Theory and imagine how it would impact you and your daily routine. It is the closest explanation I have seen for normally healthy people to start to understand what it is like to have depleted energy resources and reserves. I used to take my high energy for granted; Sport, competition, manic activity and multi-tasking were key skills of mine and I thrived on it. Now, I have to manage my energy supply. I only have so many spoons.

 

My new life

Jasper at 5 weeks

Jasper at 5 weeks

It’s been a while I know but I haven’t been idle. Far from it. I have been busy taking advantage of an amazing opportunity which has come my way out of the blue, but very welcome nonetheless. It’s funny how things just click together when the time is right and after a few years of long, depressing days, GCSE’s and A Level exams for my son Will, crippling fatigue and a 4-hour daily commute my luck has turned and I am on the cusp of a brand new life, and hopefully, a brand new me. Or at the very least, I get my old me back.

Firstly, I came back from my 3-week holiday in Iran back in July full of beans and determination to be positive and accepting of my illness. After two days of the dreaded 4-hour commute I was on my knees. I hadn’t realised just how exhausted I was before my holiday, as much mentally as physically, and how much the daily grind of the two-train-each-way journey to and from work ground me down.

I came home and in desperation posted on Facebook that I had had enough and needed a job which “feeds the soul, not sucks it dry.” In response to that post, a friend in another office suggested a role that would enable me to work from home. I couldn’t believe it and so I checked whether it was a truly viable option. Yes it was and (to cut a 3-month story very short) my new contract is finalised and I start my new role working from home on 1 October. What a difference that will make you cannot believe. I am still in denial but maybe after I have been up to Glasgow,where my new team is based, for two days next week, the reality will sink in.

One of the best things about working from home however is that I can, at last, have a dog. I love all animals and would have a house full if time and costs were no object, but I miss having a dog. The two cats we have are gorgeous and great company. Full of character and well behaved but I have wanted another dog for many years. It didn’t take me long to discuss this with hubby (who thankfully gave the green light) and after weeding out the breeds that are too big, too small, too ugly (!), too energetic and too high-maintenance I came down to two. A Cocker Spaniel or a Labrador. I am familiar with both breeds and felt that either one would suit us.

Whilst researching the Cocker Spaniel in more detail however, I came across a number of cross-breed options-posh-mongrels to dog snobs. Spoodles (Springer Spaniel/Poodle), Cavapoos (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle) and CockerPoos (Cocker Spaniel/Poodle). There were also other cross-breeds with equally silly names like Labradoodles but the best one in my opinion is the JackShit (Jack Russell/ Shitszu cross). But who would want a dog called a JackShit?!

Anyway I digress. Again, cutting the story short, I homed in on a Cockerpoo and after a seemingly endless wait of 5 weeks, we pick up Jasper next weekend.

I’m sure that I will have lots of stories and photos of Jasper in the coming weeks and months but here are a few to keep you going until he comes to his forever home next Saturday. My life is changing that’s for sure and all for the better. Could this be the start of my real recovery after so many relapses? I hope so and from what I have read about Cockerpoos and seen from our pup so far, he will be the ultimate anti-depressant! Roll on Saturday- it can’t come soon enough.