Tag Archives: Scotland

HNY 2021

New Year was truly lovely, but saying goodbye to 2020 has taken an extra 72 hours.

I celebrated New Years Eve with my boyfriend, lots of lovely food, cocktails delivered from a fab local bar and a kick ass playlist. We counted down on the door step, in the rain watching the neighbours firework display across the road. We clinked glasses, kissed, took some pics and went inside to resume kicking/heading balloons around and drinking champagne. It was perfect.

Happy New Year 2021

Waking up 6 or so hours later, it didn’t feel like a fresh start. It felt like Friday. A normal, run of the mill day in tier 3. We cleaned up. Okay, he cleaned up. We went for a wander along the waterfront and did some laundry. He napped. The whole weekend has felt much the same. We watched films, cooked, cleaned up, went for walks and covid tests, showered, etc. All very samey.

It’s now Sunday, and tomorrow feels like a brand new start. What is it about Mondays? The kids are home. Work emails have restarted, I’ve considered ironing some uniforms, although no one knows what will happen in terms of schools re-opening. Does anyone believe anything the government say anymore?

I’m ready for 2021. I’m excited. Nervous, but overall excited. I feel like I need to write. There are words and ideas swirling around in my brain, desperate for a creative outlet. A portion of this has been spent creating shorthand and portfolio study aids for my students during the festive break. Transcribing football press conferences, Oscar winners speeches and celeb interviews certainly breaks up the more traditional ‘ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to this council meeting’ openers!

The prospect of travel, new career opportunities and a little personal growth is keeping my spirits up. My boyfriend and I had booked to go to Rome when lockdown 1 began. Travel plans grounded, we managed 4 fantastic days away in Scotland in the summer instead. This year I’m hoping I’ll finally get to see Thomas Keats’ final resting place, as well as the ancient architecture and delicious Italian cuisine!

Work wise – things are mega busy this month. My first cohort of journalism students sit their final exams in late January and fly the nest! It’s foot firmly on the gas until then, however, post 22nd January, I’ve no idea what will be. Will there be bank hours available? Will I be out of the job? Who knows? I am loving teaching but I understand that education isn’t an option for as many people, given the year we’ve had, and so application numbers will be down. Gulp.

I have kept my hand in. I was published with Explore Liverpool last month. Fellow Evertonian and all round fundraising legend, Phill Hayward has embarked on a year long challenge to support Wirral Mind. Naturally I want Phill to get as much support and donations as possible so we organised an interview and hey presto! You can read his story here.

Cambridge based publisher, Kettle’s Yard also published my poetry submission in December. Take a look at this collaborative piece, dedicated to NHS staff and key workers.

New Year Resolutions never work out for me. I lack discipline. It’s something that holds me back from achieving my ill thought out goals, and by January 3rd, I’m usually done. This time I haven’t set any goals, until January 3rd, so I’m already winning, right?

Inspired by the one and only Dawn O’Porter – whose excellent list of 2021 to-do’s had me nodding and smiling in agreement, this is where I’m going to be in December 2021.

1 – Yes! It’s a massive cliche, but I will be lighter, fitter and healthier. You can’t outrun/cycle a bad diet and being hot at 40 is rapidly approaching! Body overhaul time.

2 – Sleep more. I love my bed and this one sounds pretty easy, but in order to get more than 5 hours, I must be more organised. Double whammy. Sleep app redownloaded!

3 – Read more books. Another double bubble here, because in order to turn more pages, I simply have to put my damn phone down. I have no less than 14 books to read and it’s only January!

4 – Stop swearing. I would fit right in on any turn of the century docklands with my overuse of the f-word and co. It’s unbecoming and I will instead expand my vocabulary to be more ‘Susie Dent’.

5 – Write a book. I’ve been threatening this for years. I’ve attempted it a few times and lost confidence. Published in 2021 sounds good.

6 – Clean and wear my glasses regularly. It’s not rocket science. I can’t see. Don’t know why I make it so difficult for myself.

7 – Learn to play Z Cars on the piano.

8 – DON’T dye my hair. I have been going steadily silver for about 10 years. In August 2020 I decided to stop dying my hair. This is the longest I’ve ever gone and I currently have about 3 inches of white/silver hair. I’ve come this far. 2021 will not break my resolve!

So that’s it. Come December 2021 I will be a fit and healthy, white haired, well read, well rested, published piano playing author with clean lenses. Who’s with me?

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My September Song(s)

Ready for some new music? My September Song(s) Playlist features a right mash-up. From K Pop to Motown, RNB to Warren G. 30 songs, 2 hours, 1 playlist. 

After a recent road trip to Scotland this summer, I realised that I’m absolutely rubbish at compiling playlists. Never one to be beaten (why am I so competitive, why?) I’ve started investing in a monthly playlist to share on Itunes/Apple Music.

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I’ve gone with a 30 song format, one track for each day, you know, in case listening to my taste in music is too much to bear. I’ve fallen in love with some new music this summer and mixed it in with K Pop influences (BTS, Dynamite was playing during my MRI last week and I LOVE it).

My love for Motown, RNB, and Hip Hop tunes will never die and so there’s always going to be some Alicia Keys, Marvin Gaye, and or Prince in there somewhere. September has also brought about a new fascination with Taylor Swift (bit random, I know) but Peace is a gorgeous track that caught my attention on shuffle. Give it a go and see what you think.

I’m also revisiting Alicia Keys V John Legend as part of the Apple Music Versus series. I love listening to their commentary as the songs begin.

I love these tracks, all 30 of them. At some point or another, they’ve provided the soundtrack to some random (or not) event in my life, which has made me abundantly happy.

Listen to my September Apple Music playlist, here.

All feedback welcome, including song recommendations!

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Summer Tunes

My August 2020 mixtape is bursting with classic summer tunes and new music for your ear lobes.

I was late updating the Mixtape section of the website this month as I had a total crisis of confidence. I spent the first few days of August on a 600 mile round trip to Scotland and had tried in vain to curate a playlist for the journey.

Didn’t want to come home

I threw together a whole load of hip hop, RnB, classic soul and Motown – my go-to mash up of easy listening. And it kinda worked, although it felt old and over played.

To make matters worse, my boyfriend put together a kick-ass playlist which charted his musical tastes through the decades – including influences from his parents, school mates, college, jobs and pre, during and post uni.

I’m not going to lie. I learned so much about him from that playlist. Stuff I definitely never knew before and while busting some serious car seat moves up the M6, I also felt massively inadequate.

What even is that picture?

So, dear readers. I want you to know I’ve put more effort into the August playlist. While you don’t know the story behind each and every track – just know that they’ve all made me abundantly happy at one point or another. I hope one or two tracks make you smile too. Happy listening.

You can check out the August 2020 mixtape, here.

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