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Experiencing life in any way you can.

Blessing 98 – Hunger Games – waste of good mascara. April 7, 2012

I got my Easter wish and Mum and I went to see the Hunger Games at the cinema today. I saw the trailer when I went to see The Help a couple of months ago and it prompted me to read the books. I thought they were amazing, I loved the first one, the second was clever; but I wasn’t as keen on the third. As with all book adaptations I’m always a bit concerned when I go to see them; but I think they did a really good job.

I cried at points in the book – yes I’m a total girl!- but for some reason had not expected to cry at the film. I knew things didn’t bode well when I was in tears within ten minutes of the beginning. I don’t want to put anyone off, I think it was because I’d read the books and had such strong connections to the characters that it made such an impact. Mum wasn’t upset like I was and she always cries at things. It made me wonder if you actually miss out on things if you haven’t read the book first. I used to think it was a blessing, so that you wouldn’t have preconceived notions about the characters and story; but today I really felt that I could enjoy the film more because I understood the subtlety and the nuances which you just wouldn’t appreciate if you hadn’t read the books. There were so many layers that they didn’t cover, that at times had me muttering inside my head that they were wrong; but I also think you couldn’t appreciate the character’s relationships as well.

I’d be interested to know what someone who hadn’t read the book thought – I can’t ask Mum, she doesn’t like those kinds of films generally, she only came with me because no one else I knew wanted to go! Mum’s are great like that!


Blessing 97 – Calendar Girls, nude not naked.

Filed under: Blessing Blog 2012 — Claire @ 12:01 am
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Tonight was our third trip to the theatre in as many weeks – we didn’t plan it that way, new shows just keep coming on! We went to see Calendar Girls and it was fantastic. It had some really big names in it, including Linda Bellingham, Ruth Madoc and Lisa Riley. We’d seen the film and enjoyed it; but I hadn’t made the connection that because they strip off in the films, that they would do the same in the theatre production!

I cannot believe the bravery of the ladies in the cast, who all recreated the photographs in the film. It was really tastefully done, which sounds like a cliché; but you never saw anything more than they wanted to reveal, with the use of carefully placed props. It was so funny, the audience were in hysterics; but then could be moved to tears in a second. It was uplifting and heartbreaking in equal measures; but it was a fantastic performance and a great night out.


Blessing 96 – The Support of Others – Ventures into video. April 5, 2012

This week I started my video rockstar university course and I was really nervous when I signed up. Sitting in front of a camera sounded horrifying and completely terrifying. Turns out it’s not as bad as I imagined. In fact I kind of enjoy it! I’d never have guessed it.

It’s much easier sitting with just you and a camera than having to ring someone up out of the blue. When you realise that you have all the power, you can edit, delete, do whatever you want with the footage, the fear factor just disappears. I still get a few butterflies and worry I’ll go blank; but then I just go for it.

The great part of the group is being able to share the experience and the journey with others who are going through exactly the same thing. Everyone is so lovely and supportive, they boost your confidence no end. It also helps seeing other people’s videos because you can be more objective and use that knowledge to apply to your own. I realised that it’s fine to stumble on words, to pause to think what to say, not to stare the camera down the whole time and that relaxed and normal is so much more engaging than word-perfect and polished, in fact those people feel more real and approachable than any professional video I’ve ever seen.

This week we had to make a 1 – 2 minute video a day, which was hard going at first and then got easier, especially as I didn’t always use a script. I played around with lighting, being inside, outside, even doing one with no makeup on which was the scariest one of all, I felt so vulnerable; but it came out okay and everybody was really lovely about the results.

I can’t believe I’m only one week in and I already feel so much more confident about the whole process, I can’t wait to see what else I learn during the rest of the six weeks! It started as a tool to help make videos for Holidays From Home; but it’s really helping my confidence as a whole.


Blessing 95 – Emeli Sande, an amazing talent

Filed under: Blessing Blog 2012 — Claire @ 1:00 am
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Tonight I went to see Emeli Sande at the UEA. It was the first night of her tour and she was incredible. I’ve seen some amazing people live, including Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds, Ben Howard and Ed Sheran; but without a doubt, Emeli had the best voice. It was strong and powerful, soft and beautiful. She held your attention and lit up the stage.

I really liked the fact that you could hear every word she sang and for the first time I really heard the lyrics to the songs. It was amazing how many of them seemed to resonate with me. We heard the first ever play of her new single Wonder which was beautiful as well as her version of the Professor Green song Read All About It. I had to share it is gorgeous and I love the lyrics.



Blessing 94 – Getting to be a kid again. April 3, 2012

Filed under: Blessing Blog 2012 — Claire @ 11:04 pm
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Grr WordPress is driving m crazy with its sudden postings. Anyway, where was I? Oh right, today my friend Louise and her little boy Casper came round. I’ve known Louise for about 12 years as we both have ME and I’ve watched Casper grow up, from the cutest baby to a gorgeous little boy. We don’t get to see each other much because of being ill; but we always pick up from where we left off.

I had so much fun with Casper today, it was like being a child again. We played with a box of Playmobile figures that my Mum has hung on to. Every time Casper found something he didn’t recognise, he asked what it was, he was so inquisitive it was lovely and he kept up a running commentary the whole time. We had a picnic lunch where we discussed the merits of the different colour Smarties, Casper’s favourite are red, mine are orange because of the flavoured chocolate and I think I might have converted him too!

We then played with the rubber ducks in the bathroom, making them swim in the sink. My colour changing ducks were a particular favourite!

Later he showed me the toys he brought in his Ben 10 backpack and I even got to try on his army hat. Casper told me very seriously that I looked like a Lady Soldier, I was very honoured.

He’s full of energy and it was quite tiring; but the most fun I’ve had in ages!


Blessing 93 – Meditation magic, listening to your intuition. April 2, 2012

I love meditating,  it’s something I first started when I was fifteen during my GCSEs. My whole family learnt Transcendental Meditation; but I really began to enjoy and appreciate it once I started having reiki. My reiki healer used to do guided meditations with me. She would get me to relax with my eyes closed and then describe me going somewhere. My very first meditation was swimming with dolphins, because I had dolphins on my duvet cover. I still remember how incredibly freeing it was. I wasn’t actually going anywhere; but I felt like I could do anything I wanted: swim, walk, run. My body had no limits and I loved that feeling. It was very different from how I felt the rest of the time, barely able to move, unable to walk and in a lot of pain.

Meditation, like anything, is a skill you have to practise. You have to keep doing it; but  with guided meditation it can be a lot of fun. I’ve done all sorts of things during my meditations: climbed mountains, soared through the sky, sat in temples, strolled through forests, even flown through space, among the stars.

I know there is debate about where you “go” during meditation, if you’re connecting with some higher power, meeting guides or if it’s just your ‘imagination. I don’t claim to be an expert, the scientist in me says that it’s just my imagination; but all I do know is that I have had some major emotional break throughs while I’ve been meditating. Realisations about situations and people, that I can’t imagine having during my normal daily life. I think the benefit of meditation is that it strips away the clutter of thoughts and stimulation that we receive every second of the day. It makes space to allow your intuition to speak to you and if you’re open and willing to listen, it can be the greatest guide and teacher you have.

I like using audio CD meditations because they provide a focus, a voice to keep me on track and it stops my mind from wandering, which it has a tendency to do. I love the sense of calm that descends when you really relax and you lose track of time and place.  I think it takes a certain willingness to go with the flow and let things happen; but it’s also a bit like watching a movie, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you just enjoy the show. The best part of a meditation is that you are the star!

If you’ve never meditated before I’d really recommend giving it a go. There are sites where you can get free downloads as well as some on iTunes. Or check out your local library for some great CDs. I’m not saying it will change your life; but you might be surprised just how much you get out of sitting still with your eyes shut!


Blessing 92 – Good family, good food, good times. April 1, 2012

Filed under: Blessing Blog 2012,Food — Claire @ 11:29 pm
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Today I had a birthday meal at a local Chinese buffet – my favourite food ever! It’s a really great restaurant with a good atmosphere and even better food, although why is it you can have a Chinese meal and be hungry by the time you get home?

The meal was meant to be with family and friends; but unfortunately all my friends cancelled because of illness, so it was just me, Mum, my brother Simon and his girlfriend Fee. We had a really lovely time. I don’t get to see them very much, so it was great to be able to relax, chat and eat!

I even got a present! They got me a fab Yankee candle and holder, it’s really me and I totally love it. It was the perfect end to my birthday weekend and I know it must have been a good one because I’m sad it’s over and not looking forward to the week starting. I feel hugely blessed and just want this weekend to last forever!