Saturday, 4 July 2015

Life Edit: June

And we did it! We have reached the half way point of 2015 and boy did it roll around fast. June has been nothing if not overwhelming, for me at least. Yes, that is the word I would use to describe this month that started off with okay weather and then ended with some of the hottest days we've had in a long time. I cannot even truly remember all that happened in this past few weeks but I will try my best to share with you what I do remember. Let's get to it shall we?

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Okay, in my last submission for this series I admitted that my workout routine was basically no more. June saw me breathe life back into it and this was done with the help of Kayla Itsines' well loved Bikini Body Guide. I have been following Kayla Itsines on IG for months now and was always blown away by the stories of hundreds of women across the globe who have managed to revamp their lives and successfully adopt a healthier and stronger way of living. My problem has always been my discipline especially when it comes to food. I really enjoy exercising but I know I do not see the results I want because of the poor choices I make with what I put into my body. I do believe that one day I will master the art of healthy eating consistently but until then I will continue to relish my new, intense, heart-stopping 12 week workout routine that makes me sweat like I'm in the desert all in 28 mins. And what is still baffling me is that Kayla herself is not the one encouraging me to try harder, its that blasted timer of mine and the fear I won't complete at least a full circuit in the allotted time. I am sure all those doing or have done the BBG workout know what I mean.

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This month my level of responsibility has been steadily climbing higher and higher. I am all for changing things up and swing from one one tree branch to another but, that butterfly feeling you get in your tummy sometimes when you are about to do something new and/or daring makes me feel so darn queasy I end up send guessing every single move I make. Very often I can't shake the butterflies - the knots and sensation that I am free-falling 1000s of feet in the air - even if I am the one who wanted to go on the roller coaster or asked to take on more responsibility in the first place. But I plough through it praying to God that I don't mess up... or throw up. I was recently given my first chance to manage a project at work and I was thoroughly excited. But then came 2 more projects and my ability to juggle things was really tested. I am still learning how to keep on top of all the work I am now doing but I can tell you that To Do lists are a life saver. As is taking mini breaks to breathe and calm down if things get a little...tense. Outside of work, I was recently made a Kids Group team leader at my church. Now, I love working and playing with kids. And I have been volunteering at my church's version of Sunday school for well over 3 years now so it made sense that I be given the opportunity to become a team leader. Heck, I even put myself forward or the position. But that did not make accepting the challenge any less scary. It was as if all the time I spent with young children went flying out of the window and I become an inexperienced impostor. My first go as a team leader was last week and I am proud to report that everything went smoothly and was as every other Sunday before that. The kids were are energetic as ever and I was just little ol' me - happy to witness the light, intelligence and wonder a bunch of 3 - 5 year olds possess. All that had changed was my title, nothing else. I need to learn to stop taking things so seriously and just relax enough to appreciate the moment. Sometimes, there really is nothing to worry about. 

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Things at home have not been the easiest but I believe things will get better and have decided to hold my head high, and just get on with life. What I am trying not to do though is adapt to the situation I am in and accept that it is the norm. Just like the next person I have dreams that I want to see come to life and hope to find things that I am good at and love to do. And just like some if not most people, I also do not have complete defined clues as to how to make my dreams come true and sometimes struggle to accept that our interests - and in essence our very being -  evolves over time. However, with all the hardship, confusion and change what we cannot afford to do is give up on ourselves finding happiness and states of contentment. That would be a grievous crime. So although June has been somewhat overwhelming and I am still attempting to find balance, I have decided to keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust in God that my sun filled days will be more and richer than those cloudy, stormy and outright depressing days.

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Whoop! I am so glad I found a way to get this post up on time despite Blogger messing about with my images - anyone else having this issue? One can only dream that we'll be this organised 90% of the time. With all what I've seen on the news this past month I really do pray that you are all okay and find a reason to smile everyday. I'll catch you in the next Life Edit post.

Mo x

                

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Life Edit: April + May

Almost at the halfway point of 2015 and I still cannot quite believe it. To say I dropped the ball these past few months writing wise is putting it mildly. I am sure I have said this before, maybe not in writing, but I am in awe of all those writers/bloggers/creatives out there who are holding down a 9 am - 5.30 pm job and have families to look after but still produce and publish good quality content whilst still having a life. My goodness you are all inspirational. I commend all your hard work and look forward to joining your crew soon. But for now, lets see what April and May brought my way...

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I hate to say it but not much happened in April bar attending a few amazing birthday dinners. For the past two months work has been quite overwhelming and I have been struggling to keep up with things. That is not to say that I have not had blissful days, I just had more thrown on my plate and I have been learning to readjust to the new weight. It is funny to think how panicked I was when I thought I could not meet all my deliverables by the specified deadline and was genuinely surprised when I did meet objectives. Yes, there was an ever so slight dip in the quality of my work but it did not cripple me like I envisaged it would. I underestimate my capabilities a lot and it is something I am currently working on. June has presented me with a similar workload to last month and I have noticed how more relaxed and efficient I am now having been through the hoops April and May made me jump through. It is a nice not feeling like I am constantly drowning.

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Balance is something I crave for daily but sometimes do not quite achieve. The time I spend working on creative projects is currently at an all time low and I am determined to change that. I cannot remember the last time I picked up my camera and went for a little photography session. I cannot remember when I last sat down and dabbled with creative writing and produced something that was worth sharing. And all that is going to change. If these past couple months have taught me anything is that I can accomplish things that I put my mind to when I bring order to the chaos. So, I am bringing back an exam revision time favourite - timetables with to-do lists for each category. Not promising that  I am going to stick to this but I am willing to try it out and see if it yields positive results.

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My exercising routine leaped outta my living room window and went on a sabbatical. Let's just say words were said and it is only now that the dust has settled and we've agreed to work on our relationship. And to do that we've employed the help of a counsellor called Kayla Itsines. She has assigned us some homework which we have agreed to complete and ace it. I will keep you updated on that. Food wise, my eating habits have not really changed all that much. I recognise the strong importance of having a balanced diet which includes the presence of custard cream biscuits and the occasional pizza/Chinese takeaway/ burger meal. And I think that is the most import thing...

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Faith is a magical thing. Belief that things will work out for the best when the situation is clearly out of your control is not easy but it is oh so powerful. My life is nowhere near as complicated and dire as sadly some people's are but I do have my own battles I am fighting. Some successfully and others not so much. However, with every difficulty and victory God has remained by my side; though there are days when it does not feel like it. And it is days like that where your faith needs to be at its peak. Faith in the fact that He is there for you to lean on whenever you need Him. It will not only give you a solid foundation to steady your feet on, it will also better your posture and make it easier to hold your head high above the problem you are facing and step one foot in front of the other. And it is easy to forget this and dwell in the cloud of negativity which is is why it is good to find someone you trust to talk about the things weighing on your heart be it your diary, family or friend - even if you are very vague about the actual problem - because they just might be the very thing to boost your faith supply and get you back in the game. Here is to reveling in the magic of faith *clinks glass of ice cold water with you because the weather is that warm now*.

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I am so glad I have finally been able to publish this post regardless of how late it is. I hope you are all having a great day and I'll catch you in the next Life Edit post.

Mo x

                

Monday, 15 June 2015

Movie Mondays: Far From the Madding Crowd

If I had managed to share the list of films released in May that I wanted to see like I was meant to then you would know that Far From the Madding Crowd was on it. This is not because I am a fan of the book by Thomas Hardy, as I have not actually read it, but rather because I have a bit of a girl crush on Carey Mulligan and will watch pretty much anything she's in - I am sure I'm not alone.

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Most of you will know by now that I do love a good period drama with a romantic flare and as Far From the Madding Crowd was set in the 1870's, it was bound to be added to my watch list sooner or later. We are invited to this beautifully sad story set against wildly enchanting landscapes that make you crave fresh air and the simple things in life. I am not saying I want to go back to the times where we had no electricity or internet but it is interesting to think about all the things you could to do to occupy your time back in those days. Although I would not want to walk outside on my own in that part of town at night during that era because to say the place is pitch black is an understatement. Far From the Madding Crowd is about a strong, smart and kind woman called Bathsheba Everdene and how she comes to learn about the power of self-reliance, love, heartache and faith surrounded by interesting people from various walks of life.
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Source: PA Photos // FOX Searchlight Pictures
Although I have not heard the best of reviews about Thomas Hardy's style of writing, this story is one I relished. The talented David Nicholls' (Great ExpectationsOne Day; Tess of the D'Ubervilles), whom I had the pleasure of "meeting" at his book signing in Manchester last year, wrote the script for this film adaptation of one of Thomas Hardy's famous novels. The language used was simple; not quite modern day but not at all a strain to understand the dialogue which made it all the more easy to sit back and watch the film. And it was Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt; Submarino; It's All About Love) who sat in the director's chair and brought this version of the drama laden tale to the big screen. One thing I will say though is I did feel the pace of the film to be slightly too fast. I know most people are not a fan of long films but I think, if you have seen this movie, you will agree that even an extra 30 mins or so would be sufficient to allow certain emotions in the characters as well as the viewers to develop. There were a couple characters that I knew I was meant to empathise with but I felt a weird and foreign disconnect between myself and them which peeved me a little. Opportunities to cry for/with characters and passionately defend them with all my heart is what I crave for but sadly found myself unable to find/take them when I watched this film.

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Source: PA Photos//FOX Searchlight Pictures
That is not to say you should not watch it if you haven't. Far From the Madding Crowd is a really good film and very visually stunning. The cinematography is undoubtedly amazing and that is thanks to Charlotte Bruus Christensen (The Hunt; Submarino; My Good Enemy) who it appears has worked with Thomas Vinterberg before. And the hard work and skill of the costume design and make up teams did not go amiss. The colours and overall looks of the characters had a sort of natural and minimalistic feel to it but stepped up its game when the occasion called for it. And I loved the music that accompanied the scenes strung together beautifully by editor Claire Simpson (A Most Wanted Man; The Reader; The Constant Gardener). What I would give to learn more about how film composers like Craig Armstrong (The Great Gatsby; The Incredible Hulk; Elizabeth: The Golden Age) do what they do....

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Source: PA Photos // FOX Searchlight Pictures
And of course the performance of the actors was a joy to see. It was such a pleasant surprise to see Juno Temple (Maleficent; The Dark Knight Rises; St. Trinian's) in this movie. She took on the role of Fanny Robbins, a passionate free-spirited girl who jumps into things feet first. Mr. Gabriel Oak, a strong, caring and noble man who is loyal to those he loves was brought to life by Matthais Schoenaerts (Suite Fran├žaise; Rust and Bone; A Little Chaos). The fun loving, loyal and caring assistant to Bathsheba, whom I'd like to have gotten to know more, goes by Liddy and she was played by Jessica Barden (LullabyHannaCoronation Street). Good ol' Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; Frost/Nixon) played Mr Boldwood, a polite, cautious and driven man who has a slightly unnerving approach to dealing with matters of the heart. And the captivating Bathsheba Everdene was played by an actor who can do no wrong in my eyes - Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn DavisShame; Never Let Me Go). There is not a lack of characters to root for in this story, some of whom I have not mentioned, as each had their own obstacles to conquer and make for a very entertaining watch.

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One day I will attempt to read the book to have a deeper appreciation for the film but until then I shall quickly summarise all I have waffled on about above. Far From the Madding Crowd is an film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's book of the same title that is filled with drama, beautiful scenery, loss, somewhat complicated love stories and a pinch of humour. If you do watch it I'd like to hear what your thoughts on it are.

Mo x

                
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