The Worst Thing about Periods

Being a woman is never easy. It doesn’t get any easier no matter how old I get. One of the crappiest things is getting my period.

Unable to control it, we are slaves to our bodies. I will forever be in awe of women that know the exact date their period is due, who still manage to function and look amazing, even whilst their uterus punishes them for not having a baby.

 

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Juan Barquero’s Nudes 07

 

There are lots of things I dislike about my period. Because of my Endometriosis, my periods mean horrendous cramps and a heavy flow.

At 16, tired of the ick factor surrounding the sanitary towel (I don’t know why they call it that!) and fed up of running to the toilet every 10 minutes during lessons, I swapped to Tampax, ignoring the TSS scare from my mum.

Using tampons immediately eased some of my period anxiety. I felt cleaner, there is nothing worse than physically feeling that ‘bleugh’. I even got the Compact ones which avoided any embarrassment when I, winner of the Clumsy Queen award 2007, dropped my bag, emptying its contents on the classroom floor. Aimee 1, Period 0.

 

I hate the False Stop. It has happened to me a lot recently. It makes me groan outwardly every single time it happens and I hate it. The False Stop is when you’ve had 12-24 hours of clean pad or dry tampon and not a speck of blood, so you think my period must’ve stopped. You grab your sexy lacy knickers out of your drawer, hiding your white cotton M&S specials until next month. You’ll go out, make plans, maybe even have sex. But, your uterus is just luring you into a false sense of security, setting you up for a cruel joke, that you’ll never find funny. Five minutes in your new knickers, one cocktail down, or mid-sexytime, you’ll get a suspicious something ain’t right feeling.

BAM! Mr Red is back. And his timing is shitty.

My eyes hit heaven and I facepalm… FML. Aimee 1, Mr Red 1.

 

I hate that I’m forced to carry around essentials and my bag has to be big enough to find my top drawer in it. I look like a Nomad. It’s a nightmare because you can guarantee that the one time I don’t take all this stuff (just in case!) I’ll need it. Although, I do get to buy some pretty beautiful bags. Aimee 2, Mr Red 1.

 

I never get to buy the sheets I want. I see these awesome Pinterest Homeware pins and sigh in wanting. I have come to understand that I will never own white bed sheets, white towels, white jeans. I only just waver this rule for white cotton pants! And even then, I have tie-dyed a handful of them. It’s just not worth the risk. I’m an accident-waiting-to-happen when it comes to spill-able liquids or foods that stain, and I’m cursed with crappy hormones and periods. Both would ruin white 500-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Aimee 2, Mr Red 2.

 

As I’ve always tried to be more a ‘the glass is 1/2 full’ type of lass- 50.9% of the UK population are female. And this means that there are approximately 32,555,572 girls and women in the UK right now. And all of them will know the unpleasantness that is menstruation. We’re not alone. Women everywhere & Aimee 3, Mr Red 2.

So far, it looks like I’m winning and I need a win so I think we’ll leave it here for the time being- whilst the odds are ever so slightly in our favour.

Ladies,  what do you think is the worst thing about periods?

 

NOTE:

The art I have used in this post is by French artist Juan Barquero. Please go look at his creations. He is a master artist, his work shows such poetic sensibility. I’m yet to find a painting that describes the way I feel about the weaknesses of my female form with as much clarity. Image result for twitter logo png transparent backgroundImage result for instagram logo

 

 

 

 

beautiful

(byoo-tuh-fuh-l)

adjective:

1.having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind:

a beautiful dress; a beautiful speech.

2.excellent of its kind:

a beautiful putt on the seventh hole or the chef served us a beautiful roast of beef.

3. wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying.

 

The word beautiful has been used throughout time to identify someone or something of excellence. In this world, beautiful has defined celebrities, fashion models, even cars.

In a simpler time, I could call a sunset “beautiful”, or describe a kind-hearted person: “he has a beautiful soul.”

In the past, I myself have attributed beauty to a woman with curves, with a clear complexion and a dazzling smile, to a woman who can walk in high heels with sophistication, who is able to have a perfect set of nails and her hair just right.

It has taken a trauma for me to realise how shallow my own point of view actually was. I apologise to women everywhere. I feel like I have been brainwashed by social media and magazines and society’s “perfect woman”. I foolishly reached for this unrealistic, ridiculous beauty. And now my eyes are open.

Over the past month or so, I have witnessed someone close to me go through such a tragic time in her life. So distressing was her pain, I struggled to know exactly what to say or what to do to help. It has been hard for me to see her struggling; growing up- we never thought we’d have to face something so difficult.

And yet, she has dealt with her pain with such grace, I am astounded at her strength. This is my close friend- my best friend- I thought I knew her completely but she has floored me. I am inspired and awed at how she has been able to manage this sad time with so much dignity. She has reached out to me, even in her time of grief and been so supportive of me. Her pain has not changed who she is. This lady is a truly beautiful person, inside and out.

What makes a woman beautiful is the way she picks herself up after falling, the way she dries her eyes and puts her make-up on. A beautiful woman is confident and loving and does not apologise for her weaknesses. She is grateful for the small things in life, and is able to smile in the rain.

Vanity and beauty do not walk hand-in-hand as I had thought. Ladies, you will never be as you are now ever again, savour this moment.  See how beautiful you are, through the eyes of someone who loves you. Love is beautiful.

I am overwhelmed with how much love I have for my husband, my partner in life. He has the power to make me feel incredibly beautiful with just a look. After surgery, I now have 8 scars on my body. These are my battle scars, proof of my pain & my own rough times. As I pulled away my dressings, seeing my wounds for the first time, I was upset at how they would look. Would my husband still want me? Will I be able to love myself?

My husband has never caused me to doubt his affection or wanting of me. He calls me beautiful. He knows that beauty is not only on the outside, it is in the kindness in her soul, what she is willing to do for her family and in the way she cares for the people around her. I dare say, we’re as in love as ever.

When you struggle in life, it forces you to count your blessings and be thankful for the people in your life. That is beautiful. Having someone that knows you inside and out, is beautiful. My scars, evidence of the war inside my body, the proof of my strength and that I was able to come out of the other side; are beautiful.

Beauty is everywhere. Do not limit it to vanity or superficial ideas. See the beauty in your life, in the people who have always been there for you. See the beauty inside yourself.

A letter to my younger Self

 

Dear 13 year old me,

You’re one of the quiet ones, you prefer books to real life people. You spend a lot of time in your room. This isn’t a bad thing. You still have the friends you grew up with, to them you’re Nerdy Spice. They all shave their legs, have done for a while. They all have boyfriends and stay up till after midnight. Mum won’t even let you near the tweezers and you have an 8 o’clock bedtime.

You’re embarrassed that you have a bed time. When your friends call and Dad tells them you’re in bed, you have to explain it away with a stomach bug the next morning, on the walk to school. But those 8 hours of sleep are a god-send. It gives your body the time to re-boot, time for your hormones to untangle.

Although, now at 25 years old, I crave early nights and those blessed 8 hours are essential. Without them I’m a cranky pants.

Remember when you used to call your friends during that 13th summer, let’s go swimming! No. Why? Because all of your friends had ‘that time of the month’. You were so upset because you didn’t have boobs, or hairy armpits, or a period.

In desperation, you cried to mum, “I’m never going to get my period, I’m going to be the last girl ever to get them!” You felt so left out and mum calmed you down, and said in a quiet voice, “When your periods start, you’ll wish you never got them.”

Listen to mum. She’s like Gandhi. Do not scoff at her rules, jokes, or words of wisdom. Mum knows what she’s talking about & she’s right.

You will hate your periods, boobs get in the way and shaving becomes a full time job but without a pay day.

You will put a lot of pressure on yourself on your journey through secondary school. You will never meet your expectations, but you have to realise that you have already made Mum and Dad so proud. They are proud that your Parents’ Evenings go well, your grades are good and they are grateful they don’t have to worry about you causing trouble on the streets at night. They can trust you to make good choices and to do your best in everything.

Be thankful that Mum and Dad are strict parents and that they love you enough to use rules to mould you into a better person. In another 10 years when you’re living on your own in Northampton, you’ll be glad that Dad taught you about Online Banking and made sure you are street-wise. You’ll be grateful that you spent time babysitting your little brother and sister because it taught you responsibility. Be grateful that Dad taught you about money and that you have to work hard and save for things that you want. Thank Mum for teaching you compassion, for being a shining example of a good-heart.

Over the next few years, you will meet amazing people. Some you will keep with you forever and some you will lose as they go their own way. Life takes everyone in different directions. Learn everything you can from these people, how they influence you and the impact they have on your life. You can learn so much from people.

You will push yourself and set expectation that you are never able to achieve. Learn to love who you are. There are some tough times coming up and you need to be strong.

You will meet bullies, exams, heartbreak, fall-outs with friends and fall-outs with parents. You will move 90miles away from everything you know & everyone you love. Be outgoing, meet people, try new things.

Don’t try to micro-manage everything. It’s OK not to have a plan. Don’t rush into adulthood and force yourself into a life you’re not ready for. Everything doesn’t have to happen right now. Be patient

(No, I haven’t cracked Patience yet, but I’m trying)

Alas, you will have to kiss a few toads before you marry your prince. Open your heart to love. When you find it, it’ll take your breath away. This love will not be an easy one, and you will face some tough situations, but he’s so worth it. He’s exactly right for you, the man you pictured when you read all mum’s Danielle Steel novels. You have found your best friend. He is the other half of your soul and he loves you irrevocably and completely.

When you take a tumble, be it due to illness or lack of judgement, remember that anything worth having is never easy. Have the conviction to stand back up.

You will experience hurt and pain and defeat and there is no avoiding this, but know that you are a strong. No matter how alone you may feel in those dark days, know that people love you. They will shoulder this hurt with you and it is OK to let them for it is too heavy for you to carry alone. Acknowledge this early, before it breaks you.

Do not let sadness bind your personality and drain you but hold fast to who you are. Do not let pain change you, try and stay soft. Stand strong against the regret and bitterness that will taint your caring nature. Keep striving to be a good person.

Your sensitivity is a gift and it allows you to connect with people on an emotional level. You have empathy and understanding, which people will lean on. Do not be afraid to cry, crying is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you care enough about something and you’re willing to break trying to get it.

Be confident enough to laugh at yourself. It’s OK to be weird.

Never apologise for being who you are. Stay cool.

From your 25 year old Self   xo

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How was your first day at school kids?

As I stand in a queue waiting to hand my prescription in at the chemist, I can’t help but notice the adults have got an aura of calm around them that they didn’t have last week. The reason for their good mood? No, it’s not a sale on at Next, or a bank holiday weekend. It’s quite obvious that the light in these women’s eyes is simply bewilderment and panic as they are able to hold a 3 minute conversation with a fellow parent without hearing the “Mum! Mum!” chorus and being pulled in the direction of the toy aisle. No they haven’t left their children at home or in the car, the kids have gone back to school. The nation all took a big sigh of relief as we waved the kids off on the bus and put the kettle back on for a much-needed brew after running around crazy, trying to find the last few bits before school starts. Wave, sigh, tea, relax.

But for some parents, the relaxation and free time wasn’t to last. Little did they know that their children were being ridiculed and their appearance criticised severely as they passed through the school gates on their 1st day of school.

It has been all over the news and on social media about a Headmaster sending children home because their attire didn’t conform to school uniform policy. Some of the pupils from Hatsdown Academy in Kent who had the wrong shoes on or skirts which were too short were refused entry to the school and told to go home to return later in the proper attire. I thought it was just this school, but soon I was reading about similar experiences in other high schools, including an academy in my town.

After seeing some of the pictures relating to these news pieces, I can understand why the parents belonging to these children were unhappy. Why they were confused and demanding answers from the Headmaster. These children all looked very smart, presentable and seemed to represent the Academy very well.

In my secondary school, we didn’t have blazers (it was before all the Academies started popping up everywhere!) but we did have a tie and not a clip-on one. So that tie had to be tied to perfection and shirts were tucked in, top buttons fastened. I’m pro-uniform and would’ve loved a blazer (just for the inside pocket which I would rename as my ‘snack pocket’). With that in mind it’s safe to say I’m an advocate for children learning discipline and respect. I love a good uniform for either work or school; I’d hate to have to get up each morning and pick out an outfit, something fashionable and appropriate. In both situations, uniforms are great for uniting the pupils and creating a level playing field for the children, theoretically reducing bullying behaviour.

However, what I don’t agree with, is the manner in which this Headmaster criticised his pupils. The children, especially the new Year 7s, would have been nervous, anxious about attending a new school, meeting new teachers, dealing with a lot of new information. During what is surely a stressful time, the teachers are there for guidance and support, being someone the children can go to for help with their problems.

This move by the Headmaster has just cancelled all of that out. Looking the children up and down, criticising their appearance. Telling them they can’t come in because there is a gold buckle on their shoe, I can’t imagine what these pupils were thinking. I’ve never heard anything like it. Is that gold buckle or that hair cut going to make much of a difference? Are these trivial things really going to damage a child’s concentration? Probably not. However picking faults and highlighting their flaws publicly, could have serious repercussions. Children struggle with bullying when it’s a fellow-student, how do they feel when it’s a teacher pointing his finger?

And what is the outcome of this little spat over uniform? The Headmaster has flexed his muscles and shown his staff, the pupils and their parents that you mean business. Great. The parents all hate you as you’ve humiliated their children and they are a further £20 out of pocket as they’ve had to buy another pair of shoes. The pupils are scared of you, and probably won’t approach you with a future problem, which could have serious consequences. And the other teachers all agree it was blown out of proportion and feel sorry for the pupils, but smile and nod when you ask for their opinion. All in all, not a bad start to the new term.

You could have achieved the same result with better side effects had the Headmaster dealt with this on a smaller scale. Teachers could have checked pupils’ uniforms whilst they are in the classroom, in form time, popped a note in their planner, sent a letter home. Any of these would have been a preferable alternative to being rejected at the school gates.

I think the children will have plenty of time to learn about rejection and conformity, about criticism and responsibility. But not when they’re feeling so vulnerable on their first day in a new environment, surrounded by new people.

People have been very vocal of their opinions on this situation. You will either agree with the headmaster and applaud his stand against wishy-washy uniforms or you will side with the pupils and parents: Surely, if the pupil has on black trousers, shirt, tie, blazer and black shoes, he/she is in uniform. End of.

But hey, what do I know? I don’t even have children. But I have graduated with a degree in psychology and my dissertation was focussed on anxiety within adolescents.

What do you think?

A xo

Psst! Using the links below, you’ll be able to read the articles relating to this post.

Daily Mail

The Independent

The Retford Times

 

Summarise your Dog’s life in fewer than four Paragraphs (as if 4 is enough?!)

Noise? What noise? Oh right, there’s a noise. BARK! Head up. My work here is done, time for a nap! 

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It is no shock to anyone that knows me that I own a dog.  He is an American Bulldog and he sheds. A lot. His fur is short and white with a smattering of dark brindle spots covering his entire body, he also has a spot on his tongue. He’s very big and got a lot of meat, mainly in his head. His name is Harley. He also answers to Harley-Quinn when he’s being a) incredibly cute or b) incredibly naughty. He is very affectionate and will sometimes just plonk! himself down on me.

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He has three (yes, three!) beds in our house, all in different rooms. But he likes ours the best. Imagine a custard slice, pastry on either side and a huge sliver of calorific custard in the middle. Well, me and my husband are the pasty and Harley is the custard, taking up all the room! (huh, I’ve never made a connection between bed and cake before but I like it!) My husband is the cook in our house, and where there’s a cook, there’s food and where there’s food you’re sure to find a drooling bulldog. And this isn’t contained in the kitchen! He follows and sits looking all starved and sad whilst we’re eating. It’s emotional blackmail!

American Bulldogs have a bad reputation which is mostly undeserved. I stand firmly by the “blame the owner, not the breed” notion- it is how a dog is raised which determines his character and behaviour.  Harley is the gentlest dog, his face has been within an inch of a budgie, a baby and a sausage dog and I have no worries. When we’ve been out on walks, I’ve had mixed reactions from people. Most of them are looks of horror as they grab their child/chihuahua and run past us, hoping he doesn’t eat them. When off the lead, he’ll try and play, bounding (like a lamb, he wasn’t built for grace or speed!) over to say hello and they scream and demand to know why this vicious beast isn’t muzzled and on a lead. This upsets me when this happens, he’s completely prejudged and misunderstood. Yes, he’s big and his face is going to cause some questions- so ask them! I’m more than happy for him to sit so you can meet him. Yes, he can be stubborn and greedy, but he’s so soft. And doesn’t deserve the negative reaction he so often receives.
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I have babied my dog, it’s no secret. But with no children and my acute broodiness and with him being raised from a puppy it was inevitable. He is a huge part of my life, and I’m not just talking about his size! Harley has only been with us for a little over 2 years, but I can’t imagine life without him. He offers unconditional love and endless sloppy cuddles and he always knows when I’m not feeling well.
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I don’t know what I’d do without him!

A xo

Describe a person you see everyday

On my way to work in the early morning, before all the shops open and there are only the bus riders and tired looking people; clutching their coffee cups with intense enthusiasm. I see a man, everyday, in a hurry.
I know what you’re thinking; ‘he’s probably on his way to work or hurrying for the bus’. Which is clearly a likely possibility. Like a little busy turtle, he carries a stuffed-to-bursting backpack, all his treasures inside. What’s he got in there? Being a little odd and on autopilot my imagination runs wild. He’s a spy, he has all his gadgets and “lasers” in the backpack. He’s homeless and that’s where his sleeping bag is- wait… he looks too tidy. It’s full of stationary, he works an office job. Maybe he’s still in school? And on and on…
This man is smartly dressed, middle-aged and always looks cheerful. There’s sort of a skip in his step, like he’s excited for the day ahead.
I tried to be like that, Monday morning, 7.30am and failed.
Maybe he’s not going to work?

Remember when we were little, our mums would pack us up with lunch and a rain coat and extra drinks, snacks for the bus? We’d skip on our way in the morning, faces full of smiles. Where were we going? SCHOOL TRIP. Maybe this happy fellow is off on a trip? I mean, someone’s got to write reviews. He’s got the best job ever! He visits all these exciting places so he can write a review. This guy works for Trip Advisor!

I know what I want to be when I grow up…

 

A xo

Am I a grown up?

I’m 24 years old. I’ll be 25 in January. And yet, it doesn’t quite feel like I’m grown up enough to be 30 in 5 years.

I look at my friends, my colleagues, my ‘Facebook friends’ and they all seem to be a bit more ‘put together’ than I am.

It takes me forever to know what to wear, I never wear make-up; preferring to have an extra half hour in bed that to drag my ass to the mirror. I get my eyebrows waxed every couple of months when the regrowth looks like a caterpillar has crawled onto my face.
I don’t wear matching underwear sets. I prefer my husband’s t-shirts as PJ’s and there’s no way I’d cope in high heels. My jeans always have rips in the knees- I buy them that way! And instead of blouses I buy band or slogan tees – usually 2 sizes too big.

I was never a girly-girl growing up and I’m certainly not a girly-woman now but is that a bad thing? Just because I’m no longer at uni and I’m married and work for a living, I should drop all my principles and comforts and adopt new, more boring ones? Definitely not. Maybe they just need to be updated. My style should reflect my age and my tastes in a manner that expresses who I am.

I can still wear my band tees, still wear my ripped jeans, but in a way that will still be taken seriously in the adult world. Even though my maturity might be a little stunted, my values and prospects are very much adult. It goes back to that old saying: “Never judge a book by its cover”.

On first impression, I may look like a school drop out or a student that’s had too many all-nighters and not enough of her 5 a day. But I hope that once you speak to me and learn a smidge about who I am, it will become clear that I am a reasonable force, someone to be taken seriously, and someone who knows her own mind.

 

A xo

 

 

Career over babies? Not in politics!

For years, women have been pressured by this ideation of what a normal family should be. Husband goes to work as the breadwinner, wife stays at home to cook, clean and to fill her days with ‘nesting’. The 2.5 children go to school, perform above average and return to a harmonious home life.

I don’t know a single family in my area that conforms to this ‘normality’. Most have step-parents, adopted siblings, 2 Dads, an absent parent and so on. Some of the girls I went to school with are doting mothers, some are ambitious career women; the difference doesn’t make either any less of a woman.

Following Helen Goodman’s support of Yvette Cooper- “as a working mum, she understands the pressures on modern family life.”

Implying that women in politics aren’t as likely to succeed if they don’t have children or even a boyfriend. What?  Does she mean that a woman who doesn’t choose to have children (or who can’t) are less likely to understand the public’s hectic family lives, demanding schedules and so how can they decide what is best for the majority? If they can’t manage a relationship how can they manage a country? What?

As if finding someone to share your life with is that easy? Psst! It might be easier to run the country!

If a man chose to go into politics and chose his career over starting a family, no one would bat an eye. But because it is the woman’s ‘job’ to procreate and she neglects or is unable to fulfill this role, she should be overlooked for a job she does well? No.

As if we care that the future Miss Prime Minister doesn’t have a boyfriend? As long as she runs the country with passion, honesty and fairness, I couldn’t give a hoot if she shags half of Parliament and Pippa Middleton! Who cares? David Cameron has a wife and 3 kids and look at the state we’re in. Having the support of loved ones at home doesn’t seem to improve his politics!

A xo

A Tale of Two Cities. Part 1: Cambridge

When you hear the words road trip, you automatically think route 66, exciting places, camper van, awesome people.

When you hear the words bus tour, you automatically think old people, England, drizzly weather, service stops, boring get-away.

NOT TRUE.

I have just returned home from a fab weekend away on a bus tour. I went with my cousin who is the same age as me and my grandparents who are over 70. It was great value for money and we all had a great time. Plus! because it was a bus trip, meaning we had a chauffeur the entire weekend, that meant we could nurse a hangover Sunday morning whilst still managing to see all the sights!

Saturday, we stopped off at Cambridge for a few hours; city number one. As we arrived at the outskirts of Cambridge on the coach, the houses were awesome, great mansions. The kind only rockstars can afford! There wasn’t that much traffic, i think when you start to go down south, your initial thought is it’s going to be manic. It wasn’t. But there were lots of bicycles. Lots. Whizzing through the streets like Harry Potter on his broomstick!

I have never been to Cambridge and expected a bunch of snotty nose snobby students, looking down their noses at our slightly northern accents and common tongue. It was lovely. King’s college looked amazing in the sunshine as we got off the bus and set off on our first adventure. The architecture, distinctly Gothic and I had no trouble romanticizing it at all!

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King’s College

The streets were crawling with tourists and there were people busking and selling punting excursions. It was great to get away from the hum-drum of everyday familiarity and meet the bustling streets with eyes wide open. Exciting! There was a great market on, offering fresh foot and vegetables, pashminas, scarves, handbags, antiques, and butchered meats! Making my way through the crowds it was obvious that the weather was only going to get warmer too!

We had a lovely afternoon tea in Marks & Spencers (my nan’s favourite) we had chocolate fudge cake and lattes, giving us just enough energy to continue our expedition. We decided to pay the extra cost to go on a punting tour; the young lad who was selling the tickets was clearly unprepared for my nan’s brazen ways. We all laughed as she made him write ‘Paid in full’ on the receipt. He shrewd perception and wit making it impossible for her to take this fellow on face value. The very popular punting tour would give us an opportunity to see all the colleges in their splendor without having to walk there! My feet were starting to hurt! Our punter guide was extremely knowledgeable and made the tour fun by adding in his little jokes about the feud between Cambridge and Oxford and how the architects were mostly drunk when designing the buildings years ago. My nan only made the journey more humorous by answering every question our guide asked, directly. Ha! The lovely young couple seated next to us taken aback by our northern charm! The sun was shining and the heat was amazing, it was like being on an excursion abroad! It was lovely and well worth booking!

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King’s Chapel

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Punting outside the College dorms

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St John’s College

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Mathematical bridge, Queen’s college – built 1902. Students have dismantled this bridge a number of times in a prank!

St John’s College was supposed to have a clock on the tower so that the students would always be on time for lectures, however the architect didn’t want to interrupt the symmetry of the building- it is also believed that he ran out of money! Whether that is a joke, I don’t know! However, when trinity college started doing very well, the architect decided he wouldn’t have the eagle facing the rival college and he turned its head left – breaking the symmetry!

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St John’s

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The Bridge of Sigh

The Bridge of Sigh

After the punt jaunt we had another walk around the city, stopped to get our bearing just outside a lovely Arts and Crafts market. Whilst i was wandering aimlessly, I started to hear drums and chanting. Confused I made my way back to where my little group were perched. I then witnessed a perfectly amicable protest, people chanting about getting the ‘tories out and ‘get rid of the scum!’ waving banners and flags. It was great to see that people are able to express their opinions and fight for what they believe in -without violence.

By this time, our feet were hurting but the sun was shining. The only thing that was difficult about Cambridge, was finding the high street shops. Everything was spread out. But we found a great shopping center with a massive New Look with lots of sales- so I can’t complain too much! I managed to get some lovely cut-out sandals for, black leather ones for £10! Anyway, I’m digressing…

We then fought through a sea of tourists, large groups of ethnic varieties; all angling their cameras at the Gothic splendor, and made our way back to the coach. As we began our short journey to our lodgings for the night; The Hilton Hotel at Milton Keynes, there were a few things that stuck in my mind about Cambridge. I could see why directors wanted to film Harry Potter there, I was never posh (or clever) enough to go to Cambridge university and I have never seen so many bicycles!

Please keep your eyes open for A Tale of Two Cities. Part 2: Oxford – where I’ll be telling you all about our night at the Hilton and our adventure in Oxford!

TTFN.

A xo

Small taster…

The road was quiet. It was the quietest she’d ever known it. As the clouds rolled in casting a dark shadow across the asphalt surface, the wind began to pick up. Fall leaves whirled in the wind, her hair wild around her face and in her eyes. She stood alone at the end of the street, waiting. But she knew not what for.

Carla was alone. She was always alone now. Carla’s family had moved on without her, she only being a far off thought in their busy lives. She stood gazing up at the darkened sky. She hadn’t felt this way in a long time. Dread, the feeling beating at her like the waves crashing on the rocks, wearing away the stone bit by bit. Carla hadn’t felt dread since that night in the dark, that night after the arguments with her parents. She’d walked out of their lives, forever.

Carla was a normal teenage girl. She was clever, popular in school, the apple of her parents’ eye, the oldest sibling. She had a plan for her life and her parents made sure she stuck to it. That Monday morning she dressed for school as usual. Her uniform laid out on her bed by her mother, pressed and ready. Carla showered thinking of the mundane drivel which would be the highlight of her friends’ day; who’s dating who? Who was seen with whom at the cinema? Who was in detention for smoking behind the bicycle shed? She knew she would have to listen to all of this and pretend to care, all day long, passing comments and faking a smile. She lathered her thick brunette mane and rinsed as she considered her essays due in that day. Carla knew absolutely that they were all perfect. She’d spent weeks on them, re-reading them over and over, spell-checking and editing every day. Her school work was her prize. All her friends didn’t believe that she did it alone, without help; she was destined for greatness her teachers said. Carla knew she was. It was all in the plan.

Carla dressed making sure her striped tie was knotted exactly right and her blazer had all her favourite pens in the inside pocket, ready for when she needs them. She buckled her shoes and straightened her socks, heading for the stairs. She met her mum, dad and young sister eating breakfast in the kitchen, her dad was hidden behind a large newspaper, her mum bustling around the coffee machine and her sister doodling in her school book. None of them much noticed that Carla had entered the room. She sat at the breakfast bar and studied them inquisitively over her mug of steaming black coffee, savouring its addictive aroma, she laughed inwardly.

Susan and her husband, David, were the typical husband and wife. He went out to work whilst the housewife stayed home ensuring all was ready for the breadwinner’s return. Susan was a member of the PTA and women’s church group and always wore pearls. David was quiet and liked to play golf on the weekends with his corporate team; he was a banker, or an investor, or something; Carla wasn’t really sure, only it was to do with money, lots of money. They didn’t really talk about his work. At the dining table her mum would tell them about her day, grocery shopping, the ladies’ lunch and all that, they would ask Carla about school and her classes, they would chat with her little sister about her music lessons and how she liked school; things of no consequence, nothing intimate. Susan and David had no idea what was happening in Carla’s life and Carla liked it that way. After all, she was 16, she was allowed to have some secrets.