Monday, 23 May 2016

The Diary Of A Hounslow Girl Review

Recently I was invited to the Lighthouse, Poole to watch The Diary Of A Hounslow Girl. I don't normally get the chance to see something that isn't family friendly or kid's based so I couldn't wait to take my mum to see a show that was pretty close to our hearts. My mum lived right next to Hounslow and I knew that there would definitely be aspects I could relate to.

The Diary Of A Hounslow Girl is a one woman show written and performed by Ambreen Razia. It tells the story of a 16 year old Muslim girl growing up in west London and trying to balance her families traditions with growing up in a non traditional city. It covers everything from fights to weddings to love and dreams.

I honestly didn't know what to expect from the play, but in the space of the show I was laughing until my sides hurt and crying with such emotion because I knew exactly how the character was feeling. I've never seen such a whirlwind of a play, a play that just made me sit back and think "oh my god, that was amazing".

It's hard to explain just how powerful this play is without spoiling the plot. But it covers so many coming of age issues, that it reminds you behind every hardened teenage front is a human filled with way more emotions than you can comprehend. I left feeling as though I understood exactly how she felt, that all my teenage emotions were played out on stage.

The Diary Of A Hounslow Girl is a play that I've been talking about since I left the theatre. It's one that shook me and hit me hard in all the right ways. It's one that will stay with me for a long time. If you're going to see any play this year, make it this one.

A room update with Lakeland Furniture

 As Max is getting older we are looking for more and more ways to update his room. Because we rent we are unable to paint the walls or put up too many fixtures and fittings so I love to focus on things such as artwork and soft furnishings to really bring his personality into the room. Max absolutely loves to read so I have spent months trying to find the perfect reading chair for him. That's where Lakeland Furniture came to our rescue!

We tend to read with Max in his bedroom and until recently had been sitting on a giant bean bag, unfortunately it had given up the ghost and left his bedroom looking more like a scene from Frozen. We were keen to steer clear away from another bean bag and didn't want an armchair as it would have felt bulky in his room. I've always loved the idea of a rocking chair so when I spotted the RAR replica rocking chair I literally jumped with joy. 

I was really impressed when the product arrived. It was packaged in a large box, securely padded with instructions and even the tools needed to put it altogether. It couldn't have been simpler, I did however manage to put the wooden gliders on the wrong way to begin with but that was my own fault for being too impatient and excited to put it together!

Max is a complete bookworm, not helped by the fact that I enable this. We've started to collect these giant coffee table books that not only look gorgeous but are helping to teach Max about everything from different adventures in the world to how the seasons affect nature. We try and mix his books around but ones like these are far too beautiful to hide away, so we have a display shelf on the wall near his chair. 

Once it was set up we popped it in his bedroom. Max has a massive floor to ceiling window on one side of his room with a display unit that is crammed full of his favourite books and toys. It's the perfect spot as we can sit, read a book and look at the park outside our window. It's great as Max can tuck up in his chair with a blanket and read to himself, us and his teddies. It's become his favourite spot in his bedroom quickly and those quiet moments we catch with him are ones we won't be forgetting anytime soon. 

We absolutely love our new chair. It not only gives us those little moments to treasure but also is such a brilliant statement piece in his room that it's definitely here to stay. Thank you Lakeland Furniture for such a fantastic piece of furniture.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The (un)ordinary moments.

Sometimes you get those weeks where things are a bit of a free fall and it flies by without even taking a breath. This was one of those weeks.

I knew it was going to be a special one from the offset. I had been working for months with EHRC on an employment maternity rights project, one that I had put my literal heart and soul into by writing and sharing my own story. What I didn't realise was that I would end up on live TV discussing my experience and how important the campaign was. Being on TV is a terrifying thing, I always beat myself up that my public speaking is awful (a public speaking trainer told me otherwise, but I'm not convinced). I was a complete ball of nerves knowing that thousands of people would be seeing and hearing me, it didn't help that I was doing the interview via Skype and I couldn't see anyone!

But I did it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something that this time last year I would have screamed no at until I was blue in the face. In the past year my confidence has skyrocketted. I can't pinpoint why, but knowing that I have my amazing friends, family and the Young Women's Trust ladies behind me helps immensely.

Since my 15 minutes of fame I've been tirelessly studying, working, blogging, cleaning and trying to find a routine that truly works. I'm coming up to the most intense part of my course and the pressure is piling on. I feel those little things around me slip as I'm putting more and more into a course that whilst I'm loving, is definitely not suited to someone with so many plates spinning.

I've had flashes of guilt where I know I should be spending more time with Max and Scott, but I know that it won't last forever and soon enough we can find a better balance when I start picking up clients. With Max seeming to grow overnight I'm growing more and more aware that I'm missing some precious moments. No-one can ever find an ideal work/life balance but hopefully we can start soon enough.

I took a few evenings off and unplugged. I turned off my phone and curled up in bed and read a book. I can't remember the last time I really sat in bed reading something that wasn't for work. It's not a bad thing but it's good to read something that I've chosen. Whilst I was reading I could hear Max quietly sat in his new rocking chair reading the Wizard Of Oz to his teddies and I couldn't help but smile!

This week was about growth and stepping out of the comfort zones that we build ourselves to protect us from harm. It's about learning and building a bigger picture. It's about finding that damn frog and eating it before it jumps up on you. It's about discovery and realising you can do anything if you put your mind to it.