Wednesday 28 December 2016

goodbye 2016 and goodbye Limbo

We're getting close to 2016 being over and I think we can all say - thank God fuck. 

2016 was the year we lost a tremendous amount of talent in the music and acting world. 2016 was the year of Brexit. 2016 was the year Trump got voted to be president. It was the year we all got a little more afraid of what the future will bring. It was the year all (OK, most) of us felt like we'd taken a huge step back as a society. 

But that wasn't all 2016 was. For all of us I'm sure, 2016 had some dazzling highlights.

For me, it was the year myself and my friends turned 30. It was the year I spent more quality time with them celebrating this fact then ever before, involving weekends away, fancy meals and a frankly unbelievable amount of prosecco. 

It was the year I got to stand next to one of my best friends and watch her marry the love of her life. It was the year I abseiled down the Spinnaker tower for charity. It was the year I felt more connected to my feminist side. It was the year I got promoted. It was the year I fell deeper in love than I thought was humanly possible.  

So yeah, the year's ending feels a little bittersweet. 

2017 right now looks bright, but a little hard to make out. Like I've looked at a bright light for too long and am trying to walk straight. I'm not sure what it'll bring, but I have things I want to accomplish (as ever). What's important I think is seeing, or feeling, what you want and keeping that picture in mind with every action. With every breath. 

Everything we do, every choice we make is a chance to get closer to that. It's also about accepting what is, and enjoying the journey. If we can enjoy the every day moments that make life a little brighter, look after ourselves as well as our loved ones and keep that picture in mind with every breath... I think 2017 will be OK.

With this being said, I've made a choice to say goodbye to my Limbo blog and start afresh with a new, more focused blog. I've been blogging here on and off for 8 years, but I've come to the point where I need to move away from ramblings about myself and try to do something... a little more constructive.

So, I've created 'Blue Jay of Happiness', a new blog where I'll focus on three things: health, happiness and hope. I'm sure I'll still end up rambling about myself (write what you know, right?) but I'll also attempt to end each post with something helpful. Something actionable. Something people reading can actually feel inspired by after.

That's my hope anyway. I'm aiming to write twice a week and already have my first three months of content scheduled, because I am a maniac. But also because I am inspired and invigorated to have a cleaner, more streamlined space to type into.

I would love you to join me there, my first post will go live New Year's day. If you don't fancy making the trip, that's fine too. Thank you for taking the time to read this hench post, and for sticking with Limbo this long - I'm giving you all medals in my head.

Celebrate the end of 2016 with joy, gratefulness and a lot of alcohol (it has been a bit of a doozy) and welcome 2017 with determination, excitement and awareness.

See you on the other side x

Sunday 16 October 2016


Oneirology - the study of dreams

I have a tattoo on my ankle of the word 'somnio'. It means 'to dream' in Latin. I got it because I've always thought of myself as a dreamer, in every sense of the word. I almost always remember my night dreams, I can get lost in a sea of daydreams and I can while away hours dreaming of the future, what it'll look like and who'll be there at my side.

I've been thinking about dreams lately, and how our subconscious often does a much better job of telling you how you're feeling than your conscious. Here are some dreams I've been having a lot lately.

Teeth falling out

I had this one last night. I was losing my voice, unable to speak more than a whisper and then my tongue gently prodded at my bottom tooth. It easily flipped up out of my gum and I spat it onto my hand. Terrified, I felt the rest of my teeth with my tongue to check they were intact, and of course the gentlest of nudges simply pushed them free from my mouth.

Previous dreams of this nature involve my teeth crumbling, making me retch on the fragments, choking on myself.

What it means: According to Google this common dream can mean any of the following: 

Transition (something in your life changing)
Insecurity (feeling like you aren't being treated right, doubting yourself)
Anxiety (scared of losing control/something important to you)
Sexual repression (Oh Freud, it's all about sex with you isn't it?)

Needing a toilet, but they are all too disgusting to use or don't have locks

Urgh, this is horrible. I find myself wandering labrynth-type buildings on the hunt to find a toilet, only to be met with ones that are so incredibly disgusting I can't use them. Or they'll have no lock, or no door. Or there'll be hoards of people watching. Not pleasant.

What it means: Apparently the bathroom is where one deals with their own 'crap' (ahem). 

'When a dream states that the bathroom is dirty, full or back-flooded, then it means that process of addressing one’s own crap is amiss. It can also symbolise a lack of privacy in one’s life, but more often is a result of neglect on the part of the dreamer.'

Lucid dreams

When I know that I'm dreaming and can take control. If I'm in a scary dream, I can change the outcome or wake myself up. Sometimes, I'll have a little fly - just because I can.

What it means: According to Wikipedia - 'In Eastern thought, cultivating the dreamer's ability to be aware that he or she is dreaming is central to both the Tibetan Buddhist practice of dream Yoga, and the ancient Indian Hindu practice of Yoga nidra. The cultivation of such awareness was common practice among early Buddhists.'

I do have nice dream sometimes, but lately they seemed to be full of shadows and doubt. I've dreamt of past relationships, me driving cars I've never driven before to get away from them, failing to carry out simple tasks at work...

Ironically though, my daydreams are full of sunshine. I'm fabricating scenes from a desired future, willing them to manifest. I'm picturing the way my life will look and feeling an incredible sense of serenity and calm. It's like I'm in a storm, but I can see clear skies on the horizon.

There are people in my life right now going through their own personal storms and today I felt the weight of their clouds. For some, the storms are hurricanes... obliterating life as they knew it, making mine seem truly like a storm in teacup. 

Regardless of the size or nature of these storms though, I think what I'm trying to say is that we all go through them. And that's the key bit - we go through them. We reach the other side, where the clear skies and sunshine are hanging out, blissfully unaware you were anywhere else. 

My storm is my own creation, allowing stress to build and fuelling it with inactivity and wine. Next week I've got a break in Cornwall to look forward to. I will breathe the sea air, look to the clouds above and take in my surroundings, whatever the weather.  

Tuesday 4 October 2016

the best and worst 30-year-old purchases

In September I got my deposit back from the flat I was living in and a bonus from work. I was also living back at my parents so had less outgoings than normal, this made the following statement pop into my head:

"I'm going to start saving for a house!"

Haha - nah, not really. It was this:

"I'm going shopping!"

And thus, over the following weeks I made (and planned) some purchases. Some of which were fun, some of which were downright depressing. Here they are:

The fun things

A 'proper' handbag 

I've never been a huge 'bag person'. I buy them very rarely and usually out of necessity rather than longing, but recently I began hating my existing work bag with a passion I didn't know I had. The lining was coming away, it felt clumpy, there were too many compartments - every time I threw it over my shoulder I did so with a disgruntled sigh. So I decided now was the time to invest in something a bit longer-lasting and 'grown up'.

I wanted black. I wanted leather. And I wanted simple (chic, non?). I found this from Whistles and fell in love. The price tag however, I didn't love so much. But I was feeling flush so said 'fuck it' and made the purchase. It arrived yesterday and I love it. 

Yes, it is smaller than my old bag with less compartments and yes I have had to streamline my bag contents (my old oyster card, random red lipstick and Rennies didn't make the cut), but I still love it. It will last me longer than my usual bag purchases and makes me happy as I stroll into work feeling like a Vogue editor.

A million jumpers from Zara

OK, I may be exaggerating a tad there. But seriously, have you been into Zara recently? Their knitwear section is what us constantly cold folk call 'nirvana'. I got the same jumper in two colours, a cardigan and a green top which I'm still not sure I'm cool enough to pull off, but hey. 

This influx of clothing prompted a wardrobe clear out this week, summer stuff has gone into storage, winter stuff has returned and a bin-bag full of old/stretched/under-worn pieces is on its way to a better place (The British Heart Foundation). My wardrobe is still pretty full, but I can now see every item and have shiny new things to wear. I know things shouldn't make you happy, but sometimes they bloody well do. 

Fancy perfume

Oh Jo Malone. Why did I have to fall for you so hard? You are so lovely but so damn pricey. When I was sniffing testers in Jo Malone trying to justify the expense I just told myself, "You're in your 30s now, just bite the bullet and hand over your card. One day you'll (probably) have things like a house and children to pay for - now is the time to enjoy the finer things in life." 

So yes, I now flounce around smelling like jasmine and mint. And that's just fine. 

New shiny, pretty car

I haven't bought it yet, but I'm going test driving this weekend and have my deposit burning a hole in my pocket. This is an exciting car purchase for me, my current car is my first car, and as lovely as it is, it's old, the heating doesn't work and it's stuck on Radio One. It's getting chillier now and I've always been more of a Radio 6 gal anyway, so the time has come to make an upgrade.

I think I'll end up with a mint green Fiat 500 - which is just the right mix of pretty and reliable (keeping both myself and my dad happy). 

The less fun things

Dental floss

I don't know why, but I find buying dental floss the most depressing thing ever. It's probably because my dentist never believes me when I tell him I floss, so part of me thinks 'what's the point?'... but equally, it's a habit now and I feel gross if I don't floss - so I have to buy it. See? Depressing.

Skinny jeans

After having my back to a camera and being filmed at a recent work event (I was talking to someone at an expo), I noticed my grey skinny jeans are no longer skinny. They are baggy and unflattering. I therefore need to replace them - yay I thought! More clothes shopping! After finding out that my trusty Gap jeans don't come in grey (WTF?) I ventured online and found a pair at HnM.

I ordered the size I would normally get at Gap and got excited for another cheeky wardrobe addition. They arrived today and after battling with them for 20 minutes, I came to the conclusion that they might be just a little too small. And too long. Which obviously means I have gotten both shorter and fatter since I last went jeans shopping. Brilliant. 

Instead of sucking it in, I've decided to suck it up (heh) and order the bigger/shorter size. I will also be living in the gym from now on and wandering the streets trying to locate those missing 2 inches in height.


The most boring of all purchases, right? Every time I use my TV remote I moan as I have to pummel the battery pack into submission to get the damn thing to work, making a mental note as I do so to buy batteries. 

This has been going on for like, 2 months, until today when someone at work picked up batteries at lunch and reminded me to get some too. Feeling slightly lifted, I congratulated myself at 'adulting' and buying batteries. I then came home to discover my dad had some in the house all along. All those remote slaps for nothing. 

So yeah, these are a few fun and less fun purchases of a 30 year old. 

Not entirely sure what the point of this blog is except to say, it's nice having a little more money than I used to, to spend on such purchases. I'm going to start saving for things like flat deposits next month (after the car purchase!), but it's been fun being a little frivolous in the meantime. 

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Our place

A couple of months ago I entered a short story competition held by Dragonfly Tea, and didn't win. I wasn't expecting to win, or even be shortlisted, I just wanted an excuse to stretch my fiction writing muscles. And it was fun! I haven't written anything longer than 500 words (fiction-wise) for a long time. Was nice to put a little more thought into the story than my usual flash-fiction bits. 

Anyway, seeing as I didn't win, I thought I'd put it here for anyone interested. The theme was "discovery" and it has dialogue and everything (like a real story!).

Our place

The one thing Anna kept of her mothers was her diary. On those particularly sad days, when the weather seemed to reflect her mood, she would make herself a cup of tea and shut herself away to read her mum’s words.

Today was one of those days. She had argued with her husband and needed advice. It was always these moments when the absence of her mother hit her hardest. And so she boiled the kettle and pulled out the diary.

Instantly she felt that strange mix of comfort and regret. Reading her mum’s musings about daily life made Anna feel close to her again, but at the same time a sense of ‘what if’ stung her sharply. What if she had never gotten sick? What if she was here today? What if she had lived and got to witness her daughter get married and meet her first grandson?

Breathing deeply Anna tried to put those questions aside. As she wiped away the hot tears from her cheek, she noticed a slip of white poking out from the lining of the diary. Intrigued, Anna began to pull at it, careful not to rip the fragile paper. It slowly revealed itself to be some pencil drawings, arrows and a few scrawled directions. It was a map.

With a furrowed brow, Anna rifled through her memory to place the descriptions. The map was titled ‘Our place’.

“Rich, look at this, where do you think this is?”

As quickly as it had enveloped them, the tension from their previous row dissipated.

“Looks like Hope Cove, near your parents old place. Where did this come from?”

“Mum’s old diary, it was in the lining.”

Anna paused. She remembered the house in Hope Cove, but she still couldn’t picture where this map was trying to describe.

“Do you think we could go there?” She asked her husband; suddenly it seemed imperative that she see this place.

“I mean, yeah, we could. We would have to plan it though, it’s quite a drive and we’ve got Jacob to think about too.”

“Well, he could come – we could make a little holiday of it.” She countered.

“OK, sure, let me look into it. A bit of a break might be good for us anyway.”

She looked at him, suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude and gave him a long hug. Holding in every emotion that was trying to spill out from her she said, “Thank you.”

After a couple of evenings on the Internet and on the phone to her dad, the trip was planned.

“Dad doesn’t know what ‘our place’ means.” Anna commented while buckling her seatbelt.

“That’s odd.” Replied Rich.

“He said they had plenty of special places, but none of them were near Hope Cove.”

Rich offered a non-committal ‘hmm’ whilst worrying that it may be an ‘our place’ from a previous relationship.

Anna had always been especially close to her mother and idolised her. He worried that this trip could lead them somewhere unwanted. He turned to her and asked one last time, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Yes. I’m sure.”

And with that, they started their drive, with folk music on the radio and Jacob babbling in his car seat.

After a few hours and two toddler tantrums, they arrived at their B&B. It was cosy, child friendly and smelled like the seaside. Anna hadn’t been back to Devon since her mother passed away. She always thought it would be too painful, but the nostalgia that came with the sound of seagulls and scent of fish and chips in the breeze eased her fears.

Settling in for the night, Anna was both excited and nervous about the trip to ‘our place’ tomorrow. She poured over the map one last time before bed, noting the tiny hearts dotting a path to what appeared to be a beach. ‘Where do you want me to go mum?’ She questioned silently, before falling into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Loading the car the next morning, Anna had given up trying to understand the significance of ‘our place’.

“Let’s just go, see what it is and then we can get ice creams and just enjoy the seaside.” She rationalised aloud.

Rich nodded and began to follow the Satnav to Hope Cove while Anna entertained Jacob in the back. He then switched to the directions from the map, asking Anna to navigate. They parked up on some grass to follow the rest of the map on foot.

The directions were vividly written, it wasn’t “Right at the big rock”, it was “Right at the rock that looks like a giant bear.” Her mum did always have a way with words.

Soon they found themselves on a tiny spit of sand, completely separate from the rest of Hope Cove. There were small rock pools lining the edges and a couple of bushes dotted around. It was like a private piece of serenity amongst a busy seaside town.

Looking at the patterns of the rocks, Anna’s memory jolted.

“I’ve been here before.” She murmured, taking in every sight and sound meticulously.

Like an old stop-motion animation, her memories came trickling back.

Her mum brought her here when she was a toddler. Just the two of them. They would explore the rock pools and paddle in the sea. Her mum would have a flask of tea and would talk to Anna about her day, even though she was too young to comprehend. ‘Maybe that’s why I always make tea when I read her diary’, Anna thought.

Her eyes welled up, “This is our place. Mine and my mum’s.”

Rich took her in his arms, feeling his own tears falling to join Anna’s. He sat her down on a mound of sand and picked up Jacob, placing him happily on his knee.

“Well, why don’t we make it our place now too.”

She looked up at her husband’s kind eyes and her son’s smiling face.

“I like that idea.” She said, with happy tears replacing her sad ones.

“It will be our place.” She said with a sigh, “Thanks mum.” 

Thursday 11 August 2016

focus and keep aiming

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming."

I came across this quote recently and it felt incredibly timely. Yesterday I moved out of my lovely rented flat and back to my parents. Anyone who knows me well will know how long I spent trying to get the necessary money and circumstances together to move out... so to be moving back again has hit me hard. This is no reflection on my parents - they are always incredibly supportive of me and wonderful to live with. What bothered me more was feeling like I was taking a step back, while everyone around me was moving forward. 

The original plan was for me to go with my flatmate to live by the sea. I chose not to. Finding both a job and a person you love is very rare, and I am not ready to leave either. My situation in my childhood home is a temporary one though; I am hoping to move in with another friend soon to spend just a little longer in this area. And then there will be change. 

I will follow the people and passions that light up my life, wherever that may be. I can see my future and it is full of happiness and love... and I'm feeling impatient, like I did in the backseat of the car on family holidays to Cornwall, whining "are we nearly there yet?".

I've done my best to make my room a sanctuary for the time-being though, surrounding myself with positivity and prettiness in the hope of settling my restless thoughts. And now, as I write this, I feel sufficiently settled. Like the arrow, I merely need to focus, and keep aiming. 

Saturday 9 July 2016


I'm sure I've mentioned it before on this blog, but my friends are pretty damn talented. So talented in fact that I can't help but shout about it here. The latest creation to come from one of my good friends is BOB.

BOB is a glasses case that doubles up as a device holder and office tidy. As a specs wearer and tech lover myself, I got particularly excited about this! First off, can we take a second to talk about the design of BOB?? From the logo to the case itself, it is smart, chic and minimalist. The fact that is has so many different uses makes it feel incredibly 'now' if that makes sense. As well as being a home for your glasses, it can be used as a device stand and to organise your bits and bobs (whoa, is that where the name BOB came from? If so - genius).

Effectively it is something that can slip into your everyday routine and make it better, without you putting in any extra effort. And isn't that the ultimate aim of products these days?

Anyway, I want one, so have ordered one! The product is on Kickstarter and has already hit it's goal, which means it will be made - yay! But pledges are STILL needed to get more funds so they can make lots of BOBs! If you want one, or want to find out more about the project, take a peek at their Kickstarter page.

For pretty pictures and other fun things, follow BOB on Facebook and Instagram.

The future's bright - the future's BOB.

Monday 4 April 2016

Story for a song - drive

Today at work I was looking at spreadsheets and stats, so a lot of numbers. As interesting as this is in relation to my job, it makes my brain hurt. When I got home I decided I needed a creative release. I haven't written creatively for a long time, and really want to flex my fiction muscles again. So I searched for creative writing exercises and found a great one - story for a song.

The idea is to take a song and its lyrics, and use this as a starting point for a story. As I found this exercise, I was listening to 'Drive' by Incubus. This is one of my favourite songs anyway, but it has taken on even more meaning after it played at my friend's wedding last weekend. We were all dancing in a circle when the song came on and we were singing the lyrics, which couldn't have been more apt, to each other the whole time.

I took this as a sign that I should write a story based on this song. I noted a few other writing prompts from other sites ('morning' and 'a beautiful place you've visited') so my story takes place on a sunny Costa Rican morning. I wanted to sneak at least one line from the song in there, and I managed it at the end. It's only a mini story, but I like micro-fiction (less is more sometimes). 

The sun was creeping up from the horizon, lightly touching the alloys as it went. Taking a sharp breath in, the morning air was cool and refreshing, - like a drink I hadn’t realised I needed. That’s how I knew today was the day.

I sat in the drivers seat and took a moment to soak in the sunlight and my surroundings. The breaking light was waking up the rainforest, coaxing its usual beautiful song. Setting off on the dirt track I knew exactly where I was headed. The future.

The fear that used to drive me was replaced with a sense of ease, a sense of knowing. I was driving now, and what a drive it was turning into.

I reached a corner overlooking the beach and decided to pull over. The red macaws flew overhead towards the sea, drawing my line of vision along with them. The sea was calm yet determined, crashing over the rocks with careless abandon. At that moment I felt like I was the only person on earth.

Cruising along the coastline I thought about my destination. I didn’t know what it looked like, but I knew that whatever it held for me, I would be there with open arms and open eyes.


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