USA

Farewell 30s

Posted on Updated on

This week I passed my Masters Degree in Television and Radio Scriptwriting.

It has taken two years and eight months of hard work, tight deadlines but to be totally honest I enjoyed every minute of it so much that it never felt like I was studying at that level.

Having a passion for storytelling and writing, it meant that I had a reason to sit at my laptop for hours on end, buy different coloured writing books to make notes on and spend a ridiculous amount of money on text books.

It is also a good excuse to binge watch fabulous television shows where I’m merely analysing how the storyline runs, how characters conflict etc.

The MA is also a fitting way to say farewell to what has been the best decade of my life so far.

I turn the big 4-0 in September and I’m already trying to think of things I need to plan on completing in my forties. How on earth can I match the past decade in terms of developing as a person?

I don’t recognise me as a thirty year old. Back then my life was all about getting through every day and not suffering with another panic attack, or a bout of depression. Anxiety and low self-esteem were part of my character back in 2004.

I was in an unfulfilling job and seemed to be afraid a lot of the time. Don’t ask me what I was afraid of – perhaps just living? One things for sure I felt stuck in a rut and the only focus in my life were my young children and husband.

Family is of course important but I also felt like I needed more in my life.

Then I had one of those life changing conversations with a work colleague.

I’d always wanted to study for a degree. My colleague had studied for her degree with the Open University when she was a single mother. She was then an Early Years Advisory Teacher, who ended up getting a job in the Grand Cayman islands training their teachers. She encouraged me to study with the Open University too.

“I’ll be 35 by the time I get a degree” I’d wailed to her, to which her response was just the response I needed. “You’ll be 35 anyway – you can either be 35 and with a degree or 35 and without one”.

That moment right there changed my life forever. The person I am sitting on my sofa typing this blog post is not the same person contemplating her future on her 30th birthday.

I graduated as an undergraduate in BA (Hons) Humanities with Media Studies in July 2009, age 34 (combining credits).

I will graduate in July 2014, age 39 with a Masters in Television and Radio Scriptwriting.

I learnt to swim age 33 years old. I can still remember my boys faces when I dived in the swimming pool in Spain and swam under the water with them (instead of my usual clinging to the side).20130821_140843

I went on a Fear of Flying course age 34, my first flight as an adult and since then have travelled to USA, Canada, Spain, Portugal, France, Menorca, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Amsterdam and Ireland.

From being paralysed in fear at talking to groups of people, I now present a weekly entertainment show on my local community radio station.

I have a fulfilling job working for a university in Media City where I get to help students on a daily basis. A complete career change for me leaving local government finance to move into Higher Education (wouldn’t have been possible without the degree).

It really has been a metamorphosis of character for me in the past decade and it both worries and excites me at the prospect of the next decade.

Will it be as exciting? Is there anything else I should do to improve my life? Or is this the decade where I should just chill out and appreciate life in general, enjoy the extra time now the children are getting bigger and swim in as many oceans as I can?

One thing is for sure. I’m a firm believer that there are key moments in your life and you can either choose to ignore them, or embrace them and make those changes.

Reflections from the April A-Z Challenge

Posted on Updated on

I’d like to thank the team that put together this challenge. There were a heck of a lot of people signed up to this and I’d spend several hours each day just reading different blogs which interested me, all through the @AprilA-Z

The reason I decided to take on this blogging challenge in April was mainly to keep me focused and writing each day throughout  the month. I had surgery at the beginning of April so knew that I would be off work for a number of weeks. Having the challenge to focus on each day really did keep me from feeling too sorry for myself whilst I was recovering from surgery.

I decided to have one theme throughout the challenge which was New York City. I visited New York City for the first time last summer. Talk about a dream come true for me, the city lived up to everything I imagined it would be and much more. Since returning home I couldn’t quite bring myself to blog about it as I didn’t think I could do it justice in one blog post.

After all visiting such a city rich in culture and attractions could never be fully written about in one blog post, so doing it in 26 blog posts was even better.

The challenge and the theme also gave me the excuse to go through all of my 1,500 photographs and select my favourites to display with my post for the day..

Thinking about what to blog about each day was something I really enjoyed too. I’d kept a notebook of each day while I was in NYC so I kept referring to that and reliving my wonderful five days.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to recover from surgery, and as I’m an active person I knew I had to do something to keep my spirits up. This blog challenge certainly did that, as it made sure I did the thing I enjoy doing each day which is writing. Even bed-bound I still managed to get on the laptop and post every day.

My blog traffic increased throughout the month and I picked up about thirty new followers which was a welcome surprise.

I do enjoy blog challenges, now the difficult part is trying to keep up with interesting blog entries throughout the year.

20130805_103743

Zoo as in Central Park Zoo

Posted on Updated on

Z is for Zoo

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

Only in America would you find a zoo in a park. Okay, I admit I haven’t actually checked if that is correct or if there are more zoos in parks.

What I do know is in the North West of England we have Chester Zoo (not in a park) and Blackpool Zoo (not in a park).

In New York, they have a children’s zoo in a park. That park being Central Park. Admittedly they can afford the space for a park given how vast Central Park is.

I was very grateful for this distraction so my son could visit the zoo with his dad, while I went off on a Mad Men tour.

That’s it folks. Z is the final day in this April A-Z Challenge.

It’s been a hoot.

Thanks for reading.

The photograph below is me by the fountain in the opening credits of Friends, I think I was trying to be Jennifer Aniston plus 30 pounds!!!

IMG_5216

Yellow Cabs

Posted on Updated on

Y is for Yellow

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

For every outdoor scene featured in a movie or a television show there will always be a yellow cab in sight.IMG_5064

I always thought that the amount of yellow cabs was an exaggeration, given how infrequent British black cabs are in our cities.

It’s true though, there are cabs a plenty from the moment you step outside of the airport.

Walk down any of the streets or the avenues in New York City, whatever time of day and there will be a cab or two in sight.

They are not only visual, but the constant beeping of them is something that I found very amusing too.

There is beeping, and there is New York City beeping. An endless string of beeps for no other reason than to let other cabbies know they are on the road too.

Gotta love New York!

IMG_4656

Underground

Posted on Updated on

U is for Underground

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

I hold my hands up, this is a bit of a cheat for todays letter U. Of course New York City doesn’t have an underground, they have a Subway.IMG_4783

But, I’m British and we call it underground so I will stick to my Britishness.

Most big cities now have undergrounds. Think London, Paris and lots of other European cities. It’s the best way to get around quickly in my opinion.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t like the underground in London for two reasons.

1)    Rush hour should be named sardine hour, as the crowds on the underground is just ridiculous. You can’t be a prude about personal space when encountering that.

2)    Nobody looks at each other.

The underground in New York City seemed perfectly fine to me. We didn’t venture into it in rush hour, apart from being transported to Flushing Meadows.

It was a really cheap way to travel around the city so we stuck to the underground mostly, apart from a cab ride in a yellow taxi which we took for two reasons.

1)    I would have been late for my Mad Men tour as we were travelling from Greenwich village.

2)    The cab drivers really do just beep every few seconds.

NYC2

Times Square

Posted on Updated on

T is for Times Square

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

A blog challenge about New York City would not be complete without an entry about Times Square.IMG_4675

We ventured into Times Square several times whilst in New York as our hotel was just two minutes away from the famous landmark.

It’s certainly the place to be in the evening, once the sun has retired for the evening and the bright lights come out in all of their glory. Times Square comes along at night and it really can be an extremely place to visit.

There are dozens of famous cartoon characters dotted all around the place, superheroes, Sesame Street and also a naked guitar playing cowboy. A word of warning though, if you want your photograph taken with any of them you have to tip them afterwards.

We fell foul of this, just not thinking that this was what you were supposed to do. So after inviting the Cookie Monster and Minnie Mouse into our photograph, thanking them we were then chased down the road by a very angry Cookie Monster and Minnie Mouse who demanded a tip. Whoops! We totally messed that one up.IMG_4860

Although hilariously, when I was on the Mad Men tour I was telling my guide about this experience and he told me that the previous year that Big Bird and Elmo got into a scrape over tips resulting in arrests. Hilarious!

There was also a really freaky thing occurred as dozens of girls started screaming and taking photographs. Being the nosey git that I am I was dying to see who they were screaming at, so made my way up some seats to have a nosey and asked someone who it was. It was a young, good looking lad surrounded by big, burly security staff. I overheard someone who said it was just a publicity stunt to see if girls would scream over anyone who they think is famous.

I don’t need to say anymore about Times Square, I will let my youtube video do the rest of the talking, and be warned, there is some dodgy singing 53 or so seconds in.

Times Square singalong

 

Skyline

Posted on Updated on

S is for Skyline

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

These photographs say it all.

IMG_5038 IMG_5039 IMG_5102 IMG_5103 IMG_5106 IMG_5114 IMG_5118 IMG_5122