Two awesome friends’ perspective on ‘invisible illness’.

Gaaaah...invisible illness.
Gaaaah…invisible illness.

I was very moved by the blog posts of two dear friends recently. They both blogged on the subject of ‘invisible illnesses’.

The first comes from my friend Shoba Chacksfield, who I volunteer with at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow. She is amazing at opening up her walk (and battle) with Anorexia (her invisible illness) and bravely blogs extremely truthfully about her condition.

The lovely Shoba and me at the Mind Christmas Party. The lovely Shoba and me at the Mind Christmas Party.

In this post she writes about the constant inner-monologue of Anorexia. The voice in her head and her own voice – the positive and negative sides.

I found this so helpful in being a better friend to this brave young woman I admire when I so often forget she might be struggling as she seems to be so together and pro-active. But every time I might give her a harmless compliment or someone offers her food, she has the exhaustion of battling with the voices in her head.

Read her post here.

The second comes from my friend, Natalia Lester-Bush and she writes about the invisible illness of chronic pain. Natalia is very open about her daily walk with her excruciating back condition, but I so often forget, as she is so up-beat (and completely detests pity! 😉 )

The lovely Natalia. The lovely Natalia.

Here she writes about a day last week where she couldn’t complete her work study in Gender Studies because of an unpredictable day of such pain, just putting her socks on was too much. Yet she writes about how the reminder of pain on such days serves as a reminder of how much she has to be thankful for. I love the fact she gives witness of the Joy she has in Christ in spite of the pain she feels daily and she pokes fun at her illness in a way that frees you up to talk about it.

You can read about socks and chronic pain here.

As some readers of my blog will know, I have come out of three years of clinical depression and anxiety on and off (also invisible) caused by a hormone imbalance. If not, you can scroll back through my blog and read ‘The worst day of my life’ and others. I think I was pretty vocal about my struggles and difficulties, but this is quite possibly because naturally I am an extroavert. These two blogs remind me that friends may appear to be doing well on any given day, but like all of us, there is much going on below the surface. It serves me well to reflect on this before I see people and certainly within conversation (and silences).

Thank you Shoba and Natalia for being so honest and educating the networks in your lives of what it is like for you to live with an invisible illness.

Please do feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

 

 

Lovely ‘Paintings from my Suitcase’ write up from Harrow Times

Many thanks to Vickiie Oliphant and Pete Beal from Harrow Times who came round to the ‘Joy Factory’ (well, mine and Mike’s home and where I work) to see me at work and ask me about my show, ‘Paintings from my Suitcase’, next week on the 21st and 22nd November.

I don’t know what I can say about a story about me, but if you’re interested have a look (and the eagle-eyed will see some finished pieces!) and please do come and see my work next weekend, where you can buy originals, prints, calendars and cards.

Here’s the link:

http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/14027898._If_I_can_make_it_stick_to_the_art_I___ll_use_it____Artist_prepares_her_home_for_big_exhibition_on_her_travels/

And a lovely picture:

Katie preparing for 'Paintings from my Suitcase' Art Show. Credit: Peter Beal
Katie preparing for ‘Paintings from my Suitcase’ Art Show. Credit: Peter Beal

Watch the ‘Paintings from my Suitcase, Art by Katie Moritz’ Trailer

I’ve been working hard (and having fun!) on creating new artwork for my next exhibition, ‘Paintings from my Suitcase‘ later this month. My husband Mike, has made a little trailer of my preparations, inspiration for paintings and a few sneak peaks of finished works. Have a look:

Come and see the paintings yourself on the 21st and 22nd November, from 12 to 5pm, at 44a Dudley Court, Lower Road, Harrow, HA2 ODG. The warm holiday colours will remind you of summer and you can buy cards, calendars, limited prints as well as art work (could make a great Christmas gift for that special person)

I am wading through and creating with cardboard, paintbrushes, flotsam and jetsum and whatever I can stick on a flat surface to create some joyful artwork for you to see! If you’d like an invite to the private view, please leave me a comment.

Katie-Signature

Three different ways to be mindful

What does the National Gallery, Thorpe Park and the sea have in common? Answer? Ways I’ve found to manage my hormone imbalance by being mindful, and fully in the moment I’m in. Did you know that we only spend *six days!* of our life in the present…the rest are scarily spent in the past or in the future. But…it is possible to see your whole life in HD after having a crappy TV, so to speak. This has been my experience.

I’ve  been studying and practicing mindfulness for over a year now. To my amazement, I have found it to be a really effective method to ward off depression when my hormone condition makes days a bit ‘wobbly’.

My study began with reading Ruby Wax’s book, ‘Sane New World’, where she shows and explains how mindfulness works for her, in the brain and how to do it. From there, I had some sessions with mindfulness coach, Shaun Lambert. He showed me how to ‘notice’ thoughts and realise they are not events. To take a step back, to consider, before leaping in.

From there, I read his 40-day study book, ‘Book of Sparks’, which really cemented this new way of thinking. I then attended MCBT (Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) with a wonderful lady, Georgina, at my local hospital. This required an hour’s study every day.

If you’ve tried this stuff and it didn’t work, this is the key – the practice. I have found that this new way of being is so firmly rooted that I don’t have to think about it.

When wobbly days have come, instead of going, ‘Oh no, I’m going to be ill for three months…there goes the summer’, it’s more like, ‘Mm, that’s interesting. Ok. I’m feeling a little nervous but that’s ok. How about I take some breaths, go and see someone, do something I enjoy or do a mindfulness sitting?’

And to my amazement, over six seperate days in the last few months, the first whispers of ‘black dog’, had gone by the following morning.

So, back to my opener. Three things I have done recently where I have been fully present, all five senses taken up by the thing I was experiencing.

The first was Thorpe Park. I had a somewhat stressful day there recently for various reasons but I could forget all that the moment I strapped in to Stealth, took my hands off the restraints and spent thirteen seconds of bliss racing, my stomach lifting, wind in my hair, amazing view then jolting to a halt. I felt refreshed, and able to carry on with the day. Here’s some brave soul who filmed it (I wouldn’t do that!)

 

The second, was going to ‘Soundscapes’, the fantastic exhibition at the National Gallery. Six sound artists chose paintings in the collection, including Holbein and Cezanne, and through study and meditation, created sound art to accompany the piece. The poster read, ‘Hear the painting, see the sound’. The result was me seeing things in paintings and techniques I’d never noticed before.

'Coastal Scene' by Theo van Rysselberghe, soundscape, 'Ultramarine', by Jamie xx, at the National Gallery
‘Coastal Scene’ by Theo van Rysselberghe, soundscape, ‘Ultramarine’, by Jamie xx, at the National Gallery

My favourite piece by a mile was the painting, ‘Coastal Scene‘, by Theo van Rysselberghe and the soundscape, ‘Ultramarine’, by Jamie XX. The sound artist echoed the technique of pointilism by creating music that kind of turned to dots and marks, too, as you approached the painting. It was truely mesmorising and I could have been there all day. I wish I could have this piece in my house!

The third…was jumping in the sea with all my clothes on. Mindfulness means being fully present, not thinking about the future or the past. I went to visit my lovely friend Natalie in Brighton last Saturday, when it was so very hot. We finally reached the glimmering, sparkly sea and got that gust of salt air in our lungs. Neither of us had swimming costumes on, but we kind of looked at eachother and said, ‘Shall we?’ We egged each other on and waded into the water and finally made the leap, it was so refreshing and wonderful to just be floating, supported and looking up at the blue sky and listening to the sound of pebbles being washed up and down the slope by the waves. Here is a little video my hubby, Mike made of the moment.

 

I cannot recommend mindfulness highly enough. It has changed my life. I am calmer, more measured, more focused, assertive and more present. It has warded off the black dog! Here are some other activities I’ve found helpful to be mindful:

  • baking
  • volunteering
  • jigsaws
  • Heat Magazine and chocolate (insert your ‘guilty’ pleasure in here!’
  • doing my nails
  • talking to a dear friend
  • gardening
  • walking
  • flower arranging
  • being creative
  • eating
  • sorting
  • making mint tea from scratch
  • just. being. silent. (very hard for me, that one!)
  • writing this blog post (mmm, isn’t that inception, or something??)

So, there’s my two pence worth. I am most happy to talk to you more about mindfulness if this has piqued your interest. I hope I am a good advert, for those who have known me a while! Please do let me know your thoughts, tips and tricks in the comments.

Katie.

 

Nearly-new Wedding Dresses for sale at Harrow Mind Charity Shop (while stocks last)

24th August – Update

The dresses are now an amazing, bargain-ous £50 each. There aren’t many left now and will be taken off the shop floor soon so make sure you have a look before they’re gone.

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10th June – Update

An amazing lady has come in and bought ten, yes ten dresses! And the story is all over the Harrow Times…

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20th May – Update.

Two dresses have now been sold; so curious to who, and for what kind of wedding!

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Calling all bargain-hunting brides – how does a display model wedding dress worth £700 for £100 sound to you? Interesting? All you need to do is get to Mind Charity Shop in Harrow and your purchase will help a third of the female population, too.

A generous lady from the London Bridal Boutique, ‘Pearl Bridal’, has donated thirty wedding dresses to Mind Charity Shop in Harrow. They are from her display range and are just over a year old.

So…you can get a nearly-new wedding dress and give a substantial sum to Mind, who help people in the UK with mental health problems; one in three women you know will suffer. Why not give something back on your big day?

If you are interested in the dresses for yourself or someone else, here is some useful information:

  • The dresses have labels still attached.
  • Sizes range from 6 to 20
  • Prices start at £100 and maximum price is £200. The original dresses were sold for around £700 to £800.
  • There are also some brand-new dresses that are wrapped in plastic
  • The only thing is that they may need a dry-clean before use.

You can also find shoes, jewellery, outfits for the Mother-of-the-Bride and outfits for wedding guests.

Below are some basic pictures of some of the dresses on display, in size 10 and 12 (a bride to be asked for these!). If you are interested in a particular dress, then please contact the Mind Charity Shop in Harrow, on 020 3759 8303.

You are most welcome to come into the store and try them on. It’s easy to get to Harrow, just hop on the Metropolitan line, get out at Harrow on the Hill and the Mind Charity Shop is on College Road, just next to the Post Office.

For folk who follow my blog (and general movements!) you may or may not know that I am very proud to volunteer with Mind and hope to use my skills in any way to help them raise crucial funds for mental health work (which includes writing this post and hoping my lovely supporters will share it to help Mind – we could raise well over £3,000 if we sell all these dresses!)

Size 10 Wedding Dress in Dusky Pink at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow
Size 10 Wedding Dress in Dusky Pink at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow
Size 10 Halterneck Wedding Dress at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Halterneck Wedding Dress at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Wedding Dress with Embellishments from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Wedding Dress with Embellishments from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Dramatic Wedding Dress from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Dramatic Wedding Dress from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Lace Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Lace Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 vintage-esque Wedding Dress with Collar Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 vintage-esque Wedding Dress with Collar Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Layered Lace Detail, from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Layered Lace Detail, from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.

There are many other styles and sizes, in a range of styles. Please come and have a look and grab yourself a bargain.

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Lots of dresses with different styles and finishes are available

Reflections from Ffald y Brenin, 2015.

Something New
Something New

Much like a good wine or cheese I’ve been ‘letting my thoughts mature’ before posting about my wonderful retreat at Ffald y Brenin in Wales last week.

(N.B. Disclosure…there’s ‘God chat’ in this post as it’s kinda my diary/ milestone recording too, please feel free not to read if this would upset you 🙂 )

The main message I feel I received was about liberty and freedom. I expected the time away to be quite intense and tearful, but in fact it was anything but.

I found myself led by people I met (and was meant to meet), the landscape, passionate and inspiring chats with Mike over lamb shanks and picking up flotsam and jetsam on a sandy beach with whirls of changing, golden sand.

Footsteps in the Sand
Footsteps in the Sand

We’d spent a day at the prayer retreat in the chapel and heard a fantastic message on freedom and how some people can try to trap us with burdens but in fact we are not beholden to any human. I found myself studying Isaiah 43, which talks about leaving the past behind and looking towards the future. (Sounds rather a lot like mindfulness to me!)

Roy, the pastor, told a story of a gate at Ffald y Brenin, which was between the path from the house to the cross on the hill. It had fallen down and Roy felt that it meant the path is open. There’s no gate! No barrier.

The Gate is Open
The Gate is Open

So, after a great day, rather than staying, and feeling like I needed to pull a ‘holy face’ and stay there all day, I wanted to walk along the beach and talk to ‘him upstairs’ there. I really enjoyed padding over the sand and picking up rope and wood for some future art piece. I didn’t have to stay in the chapel and read fifty Psalms!

Here’s some pictures of the chapel at Ffald y Brenin and the beautiful countryside around it:

Snowy road to Ffald y Brenin
Snowy road to Ffald y Brenin
Ffald y Brenin Chapel
Ffald y Brenin Chapel
Stunning Newport Estuarty
Stunning Newport Estuary
Walking along Newport Beach
Walking along Newport Beach

The next day, I wasn’t sure what to expect, going to Ffald y Brenin with no agenda. I needn’t have worried. After starting the day with a delicious fry up in our B&B I settled down in the common room and started a jigsaw.

Breakfast
Breakfast
Jigsaw and a View
Jigsaw and a View

I met just the people I was meant to meet. A lady who was going through similar things to me around wanting kids (and she worked in media!) and a lovely, lovely lady called Rebecca, who we shared our lunch with and we chatted about mindfulness (after folk gave us their lunch yesterday.)

Mike met someone he was meant to meet, too.

After lunch, I wondered if I *should* go for a walk. I thought it through and decided I *did* want to go. As I wandered up to the fields I passed this pond, which I noticed was half-frozen.

Half Frozen Pond
Half Frozen Pond

I walked on past a wooden fort, that looked like a prison to me. (Sorry, no photo). Then up the hill, through the mud, into a stunning, open field, that looked out over the valley and to the cross on the hill. I felt like this was a metaphor: the half-thawed pond was like me, a work in progress, but having been freed from things here. The fort represented the things and people that had trapped me. The field represented a ‘huge, open space’, which I was now free to run around, explore and enjoy.

An Open Space
An Open Space

I left feeling, well, kind of like, ‘I’m not quite sure what’s happened, but *something* has!’, if that makes any sense? I feel empowered, free to keep on working with the causes I’m passionate about and fighting for justice, even if there’s a cost.

I brought home with me the daily prayer book, which has a morning, midday and evening prayer. I plan to carry this on, s-l-o-w-l-y, at home.

Ffald y Brenin Daily Prayer Book
Ffald y Brenin Daily Prayer Book

I want to come back here every year.

Time to Talk Coffee and Pamper morning: it’s time to end mental health discrimination.

Michelle ready to receive guests.
Michelle ready to receive guests.

On the 5th February, myself and my friend Michelle Kay (a stress management coach) hosted a ‘Coffee and Pamper’ morning, as part of the national ‘Time to Talk’ day. This is an initiative from Time to Change, whose aim is to end mental health discrimination, through giving people a chance to be educated about  mental health by learning from folk with ‘lived experience’.

I am extremely proud to be a Time to Change champion, which means I talk at events and stand at stalls to answer any question about mental health.

So, I hosted this event in my home to a) educate those who might not know about mental health illness and b) to pamper those who are having a tough time with it.

I was delighted to welcome folk to enjoy tea, cake, warmth (!) and some gentle prompts to talk about mental health illness. Time to Talk have fantastic resources, including this thingy we used to play with at school. Can’t remember the name!

Gill holds up her 'conversation starter'.
Gill holds up her ‘conversation starter’.

Michelle gave a fantastic talk about stress, it’s causes and how to reduce it. She led a relaxation time that was so relaxing, Barry and Marcia fell asleep!

We all had some good chats about different aspects of mental health, such as insomnia, being a carer, mindfulness, managing anxiety and relaxing.

I was really happy to do Gill and Marcia’s nails, to give them a taster of how it can be a relaxing experience.

Gill is pleased with her sparkly nails!
Gill is pleased with her sparkly nails!
Marcia is also pleased with her nails...and manicure.
Marcia is also pleased with her nails…and manicure.
John and Barry enjoy a Hot Cross Bun.
John and Barry enjoy a Hot Cross Bun.
Martin is the newest Time to Change advocate.
Martin is the newest Time to Change advocate.
Jason enjoys the cake.
Jason enjoys the cake.
Reece talks about his experiences.
Reece talks about his experiences.
David enjoys a sit down, cuppa and cake.
David enjoys a sit down, cuppa and cake.

Michelle was on hand next door to give folk relaxing chair massages. Reports were they were super relaxing. I can vouch for that!

Ahhh...Katie enjoys Michelle's relaxing chair massage.
Ahhh…Katie enjoys Michelle’s relaxing chair massage.

So in conclusion, a great day was had by all. People said they’d love events like this more often. If you’d like to find out more about Time to Talk and Time to Change, go to their website, here.

And…stop. Now what?

Welcoming Chapel Light
Welcoming Chapel Light

Today I write from snowy Wales. I’m on retreat, visiting a mysterious place called Ffald y Brenin, a Christian healing community, on the recommendation of my good friend, Rupal.

Me and my husband Mike drove down from Harrow yesterday and the peace and quiet still takes some getting used to. As we reached Dinas Cross, we drove down a road so narrow that there was about a centimetre of space on either side and we switched off the engine and listened to the bubbling brook. It’s snowed today and I enjoyed immensely the sound your boots make (kind of squeaky) when you tread in freshly fallen snow.

These observations…I might have missed them before my study of mindfulness. I used to come on retreat with an agenda, a plan, etc, but here…well, I’m just here. Don’t know what’s going to happen, but that’s okay. I can just be, one moment at a time.

I found myself drawn to this verse from Proverbs 31 again, this is the Message version:

A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

I’ve come to this place to just give up on *my* plans for my life, for a family etc and *gulp*…this feels a bit like ‘coming out’ ;),  give them to Jesus. On paper, our dream of having our own children, combined with my hormone problems, looks unlikely, but I know that with God, ‘All things are possible’. So, here I am, for three days, to wait. And see.

The above verse outlines a ‘Good wife’ and I can see some of myself in this verse (and Mike agrees 🙂 ), as well as some things to work towards.

Here’s some pictures of this beautiful place, covered in freshly fallen snow.

Snowy peaks in Wales
Snowy peaks in Wales
Welcoming Chapel Light at Ffald y Brenin
Welcoming Chapel Light at Ffald y Brenin
Ffald y Brenin Reception
Ffald y Brenin Reception
Arriving at Ffayl y Brenin
Arriving at Ffayl y Brenin

 

 

 

 

 

I like to code it, code it…

Joy Factory Button

 

 

Been having fun today learning how to make buttons. I must confess this post is part of my learning as I need it online at the right size so I can have an html. for a button on Paypal…let’s see if it works!

– Katie.

Update: 29th Jan…

Been playing around with vector as my hubby said it looked nothing like a hand, having problems getting button to upload to Paypal, going to call them…

 

Why a Merlin Annual Pass is a better buy than shoes…

My name is Katie Moritz….and I am a rollercoaster addict. I would far rather buy a Merlin Annual Pass (to get into Alton Towers, Blackpool Tower, Thorpe Park, Chessington, Sealife  Centres, Madame Tussauds, Legoland, Windsor Castle, the London Eye…and the dungeons but I’m too scared to go in there) than buy, say, two pairs of boots from Clarks (well, more like four when bought in sale, like I do!)

Why may you ask? Well.

For some people, a new pair of shoes or a dress will cheer them up on a bad day. I know I’ve been there. But, that’s not the most effective combatter of stress for me.

For me, it’s a drop from a height! As some readers know, I am on a journey (sorry to use an X-Factor cliché) with the hormone imbalance I’ve been dealing with, and part of this is doing all I can to ‘top myself up’ in the times when I’m not clinically depressed and anxious. I need as many doses of Endorphins and Serotonin (happy hormones) to help fight the hormones that create the low moods. So my thinking went thus.

What about when I have a stressful day, I can just take off and go on Stealth at Thorpe Park a few times? I used to do this in a previous job with toil time on the way home. So, now with my Merlin Pass, I can do just that.

I’ve learnt that stress physically seizes up our body thanks to adrenilin (ancient reflex of fight or flight when we feel in danger) and we need to do something relaxing to drain our muscles from the blood they receive to run away from that tiger (or that car that just cut you up, that email or that call from a family member)

So…going on roller coasters relaxes me. I’ve loved going fast as long as I can remember – running down hills, skiing (lucky me), go-carting down our drive, flumes and I remember the fateful day I went to Thorpe Park and went on ‘Loggers Leap’ that very first time.

The rest, as they say, was history. Ever since then, I’ve been to theme parks whenever I have the chance – at every birthday with Sall, Ellie, Sadie and Jane, Blackpool ‘The Big One’ on TV with Sall, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers with Jo and Rach and now…Alton Towers with Margaret and James.

I met Margaret, quite by chance, on the Chiltern Railway into London. Her husband, John, was sitting next to her, wearing a ‘Smiler’ hat (the new roller coaster at Alton Towers) and I asked if he’d been on the ride. Now, John and Margaret are, *mature*, shall we say.

I was surprised when Margaret chirped in, saying, ‘No, it’s me, I bought it for John!’ For the rest of the journey me and Margaret chatted about how much we loved roller coasters, and John and my husband Mike, how much they didn’t really love them!

Margaret and I exchanged numbers, a few months later we emailed to arrange a trip, and off we went to Alton Towers! I felt excited and slightly scared about going away with a lady I’d just met, but now I live one day at a time, or ‘Manna Living’ as I call it (it’s in the Bible, ask me if you want to know) I went with it.

We had the most amazing time together! I have never met a 60 year old like Margaret who is so full of life, willing to give anything a try and so doesn’t care what people think about her having fun! I can learn a lot from her.

We met up with Margaret’s friend, James (who she also met on a train) and we had *such fun* bombing around the park, being silly, sleeping on rides (see below) and raising our eyebrows at the unintentional (or was it?) double entendres in ‘Ceebeebies Land’.

And most of all, taking our hands off the restraints and going with the drops, bumps, whirls, shoots and turns of our favourite rides., right there and then (the ultimate mindfulness awareness exercise – you can’t think of anything, you just feel!)

We were really enjoying Thirteen.
We were really enjoying Thirteen.
Smiler
The reason why I made the trip…to ride the Smiler!
September 22, 2014 at 1024AM
Do you like the Post Modern portrait?
Alton Towers Selfie
The strangest group-selfie Alton Towers has ever seen?!

Before I came back to London, I spent an afternoon in the spa there, which I’ve never done on my own and I can say that was a really cathartic experience just to be still. When I got back the next day, all my friends said they’d not seen me so full of energy for quite a while.

So, my conclusions are…that it’s so wonderful to do something you really love with people who really love it, it’s fun to take a risk and get to know someone new, it really does relax and recharge me to do something new…And finally…I am going to join the European Coaster Club (yes, it exists)!