Coffee Shop Confessions

It seems ironic really that I frequent coffee shops when I don’t drink coffee…

But with alternative music, coffee and expensive food; there is no better way to read a book than the corner booth of a coffee shop. Drinking a coffee, or in my case alternating between tea and hot chocolate, can often be more productive than your are at home.

Maybe it’s because there are people around you, or maybe because your wifi history can be seen by others. Either way the atmosphere always helps me be productive.

I am desperately requiring productivity right now, with my literature review due in less than a month and my brain struggling to keep up with the workload; the change in scenery has done wonders for my word count.

I do confess a favouritism for specific coffee shops depending on location. The Costa near work is a good one for hiding upstairs all day writing papers before work. I love the independent homely coffee shops with the personal touch; they always say hello, know what your order is and sneak you a sneaky top up when the boss isn’t looking!

The warmth also allows you to pretend it’s not so cold outside and shelter from the fog, frost and frozen fingers as you wait for the country buses to come take you home…

A Late New Year’s Motivation

The world is changing, moving so fast that it’s hard to take a moment and wonder where life is taking you. This year for me will be the most adventurous and productive I have decided. I want to listen, learn and develop my life skills so I can be the person I want to be.

So far I have gone out of my comfort zone, travelling to more new places and planned new adventures than I ever did last year, and we are not even a month in to 2017. That’s an extraordinary thing for me as I try to avoid new experiences. Doing something new has always frightened me and so doing this shows I am growing up and leaving that childish nature behind

Even just going out and reading in a cafe whilst having a cup of tea, instead of sitting at home on the computer is a great way of growing both my knowledge and my confidence. I am determined that this year will be the best for me after all I am not going to be a teenager for much longer… only a month to go.

This year is going to be the best ever, because i am determined it will be and i will make it happen.

Midnight Musings

I am writing this whilst i take a break from the late-night university work that is consuming me. I made the unfortunate mistake of prioritising going to work over completing coursework and revising;  and now last minute deadlines have lead me to alter my sleep schedule to match.

I get little to no work done during the day, especially when my sisters are off school as the noise around the house is just plain distracting. There is something about the darkness that i love when i comes to revising and so staying up late to get things done now its quiet at work is what it takes to get the job done.

This year is a new start, and after the fairly clumsy end to 2016 ending up in the Minor Injuries and Illnesses Unit, (fortunately nothing serious);  I can’t help but ponder upon the year thats coming; what will it hold? should i embrace it?

The answer is of course! But I’m sure it scares even the most hardened adventurers, especially one who is determined not to get so easily hurt both physically and emotionally. I want to achieve my goals (not resolutions because they are so easily broken) however, to achieve this i need to get back to work even when my body clock screams its time for bed. So i will end this post here; theres nothing better than a self spoken (typed) pep talk to keep you motivated as a new day dawns, and hopefully get to sleep before the sun comes up…

Short: Christmas Tidings and Tales

Christmas for most people is a happy affair, with multiple members of family and laughter around the christmas table. My christmas is short and sweet; an early wake up call to see if Santa’s been, followed by a short and sweet christmas lunch with just my parents and sisters. The rest of the day is relatively quiet, everyone enjoying the calm and entertaining ourselves with our gifts. Having a small family christmas is nice for a family like ours; we don’t really talk to any of our extended family and we work so hard every other day of the week that it is nice to have a day of pure relaxation.

Now, as I am older, and more space out from the siblings, christmas becomes a little painful and kind of depressing; Its the early wake up calls that are the worst, followed by an extreme desire to go back to bed when the time comes to cleaning up the wrapping paper. You do however miss having people around you, when you see the neighbours families turn up and the happiness and hugs, you know that no one is coming to see you; its a sad notion.

I suppose what I am trying to convey is that you need to appreciate family and friends, even your crazy uncle or annoying grandparents. Because there a moments where you can feel so alone in the world, where you look to the future and realise that is small and bleak. That you could get married next week and you would have no one on your side of the church benches.

Christmas is a time for coming together as a family and giving gifts to show your appreciation of them. Show your love, how much you care and never regret them for a second. Now, my family is in entirely different rooms of the house doing separate things; I am writing this blog post in between doing my genetics revision, its a different christmas to the ones I’ve spent in my childhood but one I wouldn’t give up for anything, because family is family; and no matter how much they drive me up the wall I wouldn’t really give them up for anything.

Tales from Hospitality

The hospitality industry is one I have truly grown up in; my parents both trained as chefs, its how they met, so it has been a part of my life since I was a child.

Growing up with parents in this industry meant I spent a lot of time in the arms of people other than my parents, mainly child minders. After all, restaurant and hotels are not a nine to five industry, they run morning and night, every day of the year. So it became normal for me to be the kid whose parents never turned up to her assemblies, plays or parents evenings. I told a lot of people it didn’t bother me, but I did, and its had a lasting effect on my relationships with my parents.

You also become used to not seeing your dad on christmas day because he leaves for work. Families always make it work, waking up extra early so you can open presents from santa with him before he heads off to work to make other peoples christmas day special. As I got older it became the whole family who was effected by christmas, when my mother brought a restaurant christmas day became a hassle of opening presents before cleaning up as quickly as possible before serving a whole load of other people their christmas dinner first before collapsing into sofas and beds at the end of the night to enjoy yours, the day almost over. My sisters sat at a table playing with some of their toys, their christmas tree being in the restaurant we lived in.

I really started to experience the grime of the hospitality industry when my parents opened their first restaurant. I was fourteen at the time, we sold everything and moved from our four bedroom house to a two bedroom flat attached to the restaurant my parents had just sold their soul too. We’re a family of five, me at 14, my sisters at 4 and 2 and my parents. The living room/ kitchenette became a bedroom for my parents and my sisters shared a room. I was very grateful for my own space, especially with the age gap, but we also lost that shared space you have in a family home and our bond suffered further for it.

There are many stories I could tell you from my teenage years, the two am bedtimes because the music was so loud you could feel the walls vibrate, falling asleep only to be woken up at two to help clean and rearrange the room for the morning events. Our family bathroom wall to wall with the bathrooms of the restaurant and theres nothing worse than brushing your teeth to the soundtrack of people having sex in the toilet next door, or having to empty their condoms out of the bin the next day. There’s been drug residue on the changing table, drunk people steal light shades for headgear (to be fair it looked like a hat), Teenagers smuggle in alcohol and weed, or get so drunk at their school prom they have to be taken home thirty minutes into the party. You clean up peoples vomit, blood and urine; all with a smile on your face.

I’ve dealt with con men, bailiffs and police. Witnessed weddings, breakups and brawls. Seen the cycle of life at christenings, retirements and wakes. Its hard work carrying fully beer kegs up stairs and hand washing hundreds of plates by hand. Working shifts at my job, then helping my parents and going to university. Being so thankful when you get enough tips so you can get the bus home, and doing all of this with a smile.

But I have also given up a lot; i’ve watched my friends at parties, while I serve them or clean up their glasses. I have had birthdays where my parents have had to cancel plans for dinner to work other peoples birthdays. Times where money was so hard we struggled to eat, when my mum would cry at night over the way customers spoke to her. Its a harsh industry and it can break people; you cry, go home with cuts, bruises and a loss of confidence, but you always give service with a smile.

I have an enormous amount of respect my parents for the hard work they have put into their jobs, they have worked 100 hour weeks and I have wondered so many times when my father is going to have a heart attack from working so hard. They have done that for me, and for my family, so that we can have everything we need; but it comes at a price, the loss of bonds with family and friends, missing events and sleepless nights. But you also come away with a great deal of patience, resilience and a great amount of respect for the people you order from in bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

Showing Fragility

There is a type of Japanese pottery known as Kintsugi, it involves painting the cracks caused by firing with gold or silver. I think its a beautiful art that is representative of real life heartbreak and recovery. Its about displaying individuality and celebrating healing he scars of heart break.

My heart has quite a few of those, from broken friendships, family bonds and love. For along time i tried to cover the scars up, pretend they weren’t there and in the end it ruined my self-esteem.

I gave up on many of my dreams and life goals; mainly on the suggestions of other people that i was never good enough. Its only recently that i learnt the true value of my flaws and broken dreams; how they interlink together to form these cracks. I am going to paint my cracks with gold, for the world to see. Show everyone that getting up and continuing on with life with the aim to fulfil every dream and ambition.

Scars heel, you can build yourself back into one whole piece but you will never be your unblemished self. That doesn’t matter, celebrate getting back up. I have; i am no longer the crumbled shell i was after heartbreak. I no longer let the cruel words spoken to me cause more cracks. My heart shines, with the veins of gold painted on it, yours should too.

 

Short: Cold Commute

Its so cold in the mornings, it makes getting up and standing at a train platform so painful, everymoring my fingers go so number its practically impossible to more them. You can tell that this year is going to be a cold christmas.

The worst part for me is the rush of the fast trains going past my stop; the wind is so bracing; the sheer force of it knocks you backwords and with the added chill it gives, the entire experiance becomes uncomfortable. The heating on the trains are good thank goodness so once you are on them you can warm your fingers up to prevent frost bite.

The bakerloo line is also pretty chilly this time of year. The heating is often turned off, despite being on full blast all summer and boiling us all. I walked down onto the northbound platform and thought i as walking into a winter storm. The force of the wind from the tube departing was so strong and you really had ot force yourself through it; to a freezing platform to await the second wind of the arriving tube carriage.

Need to dig out my winter gear, the cold weather swooped in so quickly; i wonder if we will have a white christmas? Its only 46 days away after all…