Blog

Uncategorized

A little about me and mine

My name is Julie and I am currently starting out as a writer. You are joining me at the very beginning of my journey. The screen featured in the image above is the start of my writing journey. My greatest need was a pleasant and undisturbed place in which I could work. Our home is modest in size, with two bedrooms. As is often the case, the second bedroom has become the storage room. ‘Storage’ would be using the term loosely. Cornflakes on offer in Tesco? Buy a couple of boxes and ‘shove them in the spare room’. Nowhere to store all those dance shoes (more about that later) – guess where they are stored? Need I go on?

What I needed most was to hide the junk. So I bought myself this beautiful screen. Some may think it tacky but I call it my ‘Tree of Life’. The start of my life as a writer. Hidden from view, on the other side of this small room is a corner desk, tucked under a set of 1970’s over-bed fitted wardrobes. Instead of a bed, sits my desk and my ergonomically comfortable chair. Also residing there is my laptop, my coursework folder (more to follow) and a selection of stationery.

Time to mention the ‘we’ which is not the royal ‘we’ but me and my fabulous husband of ten years. We met in later life after both having failed relationships (oh yes, I am sure that will come in later posts). His name is Clive and between us, but not together, we have five great children. Grown up ‘children’ comprising four sons and a daughter. My twin sons and Clive’s eldest son went to school together while my daughter was in the year above and his youngest son was a couple of years below.

Clive and I love to dance. Dancing is our greatest pleasure. We started learning not long after we moved in together (after seeing each other for two months – more later!) and have never looked back. Clive also loves to fly kites and, while I am happy to watch and occasionally fetch and carry the kites that don’t launch, I like to spend my time writing or reading.

Thank you for visiting and I look forward to hearing from you.

Julie

((x)) (Yes, I know we don’t know each other but doesn’t everyone deserve a kiss and a hug?)

Writer's Blog

Poem for World Mental Health Awareness Week

My life has been short, only nine years and forty

I guess I had fun, but often was naughty

It might all come down to the way I was bred

Nurtured, protected, so easily led

***

Never took chances to go it alone

Walked out on my parents to run my own home

Missed out on college, pursued my career

Had children and married, at which some will sneer

***

Oft I have wished that some things I could change

Could have met others, my life rearranged

Things could have been different if only I had tried

Not to rush into things, listened to all sides

***

Only now I am bearing the many regrets

Shouldering my worries, hanging onto regrets

But he wont reassure me, of the future so fearful

If I knew he was gone, I would no longer be tearful

***

But now, as I see it, my life is so grim

Depression and sadness, so quickly creep in

I feel, now, that life is not worth waiting for

I cant bear the thought that he’ll return to my door

***

This worry is tearing its way through my heart

I sit here right now, and I wish to depart

This world and the sadness I long for a cure

But to meet with my maker holds such an allure

***

But how do I do this, to bear me no shame

Its not so courageous, may darken my name

My children will miss me, perhaps a few more

But one day they will know of the pain my heart bore

***

I cannot go on, darkened nights, sullen days

Pretend to be happy when I am just in a daze

I bid you goodbye now, I must say adieu

But remember, those near me, I will always love you.

Ceroc, Dancing, Writer's Blog

Dance shoes – comfort is a must!

“You have so many pairs of dance shoes!”

I hear the above exclamation often but in reality, while I do own lots of dance shoes, I make them count and I make them stand out and be noticed.

I have not counted lately, I have thrown away a few pairs which were so well-worn even replacing the suede bottoms wasn’t going to cover up the threatening hole or the weakened heel. Nobody wants a weakened heel, especially not me. While it might bring about a ripple of laughter if I tripped and fell off the stage while demoing, or fell flat on my derriere on the dance floor, I don’t relish the possibility of an injury, thank you very much.

Specialist shoes for dancing can be expensive but I prefer quantity and most often it doesn’t result in lack of quality. Yes, there are local shops which offer standard, less than glitzy in my eyes, dance shoes but they can cost upwards of eighty pounds a pair. If I spent that on every new pair I would need to apply for a new credit card!

I choose to by cheaper dance shoes online, always ensuring there is an easy-to-follow process for returning should they not fit. Some of my purchases require a patient wait for a delivery from China but there are equally reasonable shops online which ship from the UK.

My first port of call is always Amazon. My favourite shoes at the moment are a bright yellow pair which are sparkly with diamante studs and an important glove-like fit. They are flexible and snug but look amazing. While I am not a fan of yellow, it has never suited my pasty complexion or blonde hair shoes sit, obviously, far enough away for that not to matter. Those yellow shoes (I have linked to them below as I have had so many questions about them) have an elasticated side band, snugly fitting side panels and, importantly, they zip up at the back unlike so many other dance shoes which have the alleged quick-fastening slide buckles.

I have three pairs of black shoes (one pair the same style as the gorgeous yellow pair mentioned above – link below), a pair each of silver, white, blue, pink, red and two pairs of multi-coloured shoes. I save the black for my more difficult to match outfits but I do try to coordinate. They are, after all, a part of the overall look.

It is always useful to have at least one neutral-coloured pair on hand and I also have a couple of lower heeled pairs of which I keep one in the bottom of my dance bag for those nights when aching feet take over, although my preference is to dance in at least a small heel, so my shoes usually have at least a 2.5 inch heel.

All of the above is down to personal preference and I realise some dancers have to buy wider fitting shoes and are reluctant to buy online. Some are simply reluctant to buy online anyway and I completely understand that. Everybody has a choice.

The other shoe subject is, of course, the flamboyant dance shoes worn by my husband and dance partner. He loves to be the centre of attention (he really does!) on the dance floor, it’s no secret, and he adores colourful shiny shoes which often outshine my own.

Again, we source many of his via Amazon, although some of his are simply stunning shoes which he has purchased suede bottoms for. He is the shoe bottom suede-sticker in our house. I simply have no patience for such tasks but he does a good job. We buy the suede bottoms (around a fiver per pair) and a pair of reasonably priced everyday shoes are instantly transformed. I have added a link to the bottoms sold on Amazon, below.

Unless the weather is dry, its best not to chance wearing suede bottomed shoes outside, especially if you are heading for a dance night. You might as well have not bothered, as your feet will stick to the dance floor, increasing the possibility of injury due to impaired movement.

Beginners, take heart, you do not have to buy dance shoes when you first start lessons, but please be warned that trainers tend to have too much of a grip on the floor to allow you spin and move freely. If trainers are your thing, there are specially designed ‘dance sneakers’ (see link below) with suede bottoms which are both comfortable and stylish. Flip flops are not advisable, but as long as you wear comfortable shoes, your dancing will be more enjoyable.

Dance shoes can be sourced online from Amazon and eBay or specialist dance wear websites. It might take an order or two to gauge the best size, heel height or style for you but it is worth the effort to find an online source which you can return to again and again (and again, if you are anything like me!) If you are lucky, you might find friends who will allow you to try on their dance shoes for size. You have all the time in the world because, once you start dancing, it is likely you will be dancing for years to come.

When you start to go to some of the bigger freestyles, you will be pleased to find they often have dance shoe companies who bring along their wares for you to try and, indeed, buy.

Please message me in the comments section if you have any questions and all that remains for me to do is to wish you ‘happy dancing, on comfortable feet’.

Daily Life, Work, Writer's Blog

The pain that is a migraine

For anyone who has ever been asked, “but isn’t a migraine just a bad headache?” while questioning you clutching your head in agony, you have my every sympathy. For anybody who has never suffered with a migraine I am here to tell you it is so much more than a bad headache.

Up to a third of sufferers are able to predict the onset of a migraine, during a stage called the prodrome stage. The symptoms can begin with muscle weakness, irrational irritability, food cravings, depression and even an aura which can cause flashing lights and temporary blind spots in one or both eyes. At this stage, some medications can help  in the prevention of the onset or, at the least, reduce the pain of the migraine when it arrives.

While I am not denying that headaches can be debilitating, painful and disruptive, a migraine is a different pain altogether. The migraine attack brings a virtually indescribable, severe pain, on one or both sides of the head, accompanied by other symptoms which can include, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light , sound and smell as well as disturbances in vision.  The disabling pain can last for hours or, in the worst cases, up to four or five days, and I can personally only liken it to giving birth through the side of the head. I doubt that non-sufferers would understand but I would rather give birth to my twins again before suffering another migraine.

Often, along with medication, the only way to relieve a migraine is to rest, most sufferers reporting the need for a darkened room, and sleep. Sleep, however, can be difficult to achieve due to the extreme pain, but some medications bring welcome relief with the side effect of drowsiness.

When a migraine begins to subside, the sufferer can feel listless, moody, dizzy and weak and a state of confusion reigns, along with a bruised feeling on the side of the head which has experienced the worst of the pain. This is partly due to the swelling of the blood vessels during a migraine and their subsequent subsidence.

There are a number of factors which are triggers for migraine sufferers but the most commonly reported culprits are certain foods (including, but not exclusive to, processed foods and aged cheeses), food additives (including sweeteners such as aspartame), stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, sensory changes to light, noise and smell, and hormonal changes.

My own experience of migraine is a weekly, or sometimes more frequent , attack and I am working through possible triggers and sensitivities, although two highly likely factors at are stress at work and lack of sleep with my usual sleep routine being two hours asleep and one hour awake during the night of late. Not only do I wake up thinking about work and trying to formulate solutions to ongoing issues, but I also suffer from age-related hot flushes which leave me burning up inside and using a fan in an attempt to lower the temperature, while trying not to cool my husband. I am lucky if I am asleep more than four hours a night which means, as well as being cranky during the day, the lack of sleep is high on the list of possible triggers for my migraines.

I find that Tiger Balm helps during the early and later stages but, unfortunately, has no effect during a full blown attack. Rest in a darkened room is the top tip and medication which combines pain relief with nausea-busting relief is a must. Sometimes a cold compress helps, I often use Kool ‘n’ Soothe patches but there are times when the affected side of my head is so much cooler than the rest of me, and then a comforting hot water bottle helps a little.

Although it is often suggested, I am not keen on HRT, having been highly sensitive to Estrogen in my younger years, so I have headed for A. Vogel’s Menoforce Sage tablets for the self-heating warmer nights, and A. Vogel’s Stress Relief Daytime Valerian-Hops oral drops. Hopefully, managing these difficult triggers will result in fewer migraines, fewer headaches and normal service will resume. I might even get back to regular dancing soon, and for those who know me well, you know how much I miss that!

Places to write, Poem, Writer's Blog

Weekends and Fresh Air

Morning breaks, crisp and quite chilly
But not yet a crunch underfoot
Gloves and warm layers, much needed
Into long sleeves, our arms we have put.

Surprise, we’re not lone early risers
A day with no rain, we’ll embrace,
Families and friends meet and gather
Heading for trails, cold air quickens their pace.

Walking and cycling, p’raps running
Energies rising with speed
Treading the paths which have oft led the way
Such beauty we devour with such greed.

Suns rays creep between entwined branches
Gathered, a canopy above
Glistening, bright in the shadows below
Beautiful colours of Autumn, we love.

Chances are few that we’ll wander
Stray from the path where we’re head
Signposts adorn every corner and turn
On well-trodden pathways, we’re easily led.

Breath comes in gasps as we chatter
The world put to rights as we strut
Fitness improving with swiftness of step
Crunching beneath us the humble chestnut.

Kilometres later, our men we do meet
Beaming with glee as they pedal to pass
Head for a bench, enjoy coffees and sweets
Watching as children have fun on the grass.

Never a break in the chatter with friends
Such are the subjects we speak
Fun way back to fitness, on that we depend
We’ll return for the same in just a few weeks.

Poem, Work, Writer's Blog

When work takes over.

I wonder why I bother
I wonder why so hard I try
I wonder would they miss me
Would many a day go by?

Before they came to find me
When jobs weren’t being done
If tasks were often much ignored
Would they realise the missing one?

Would they know the tasks they’ve given
Might be too much, if just for me
And do they know how hard they’ve driven
My last, the upbeat part of me?

Most days when work is over
My energies are all but gone
My head, a migraine, yes another!
With the stress I can be put upon.

Not often I’m complaining
My job’s my pride, you see
But expectation’s vastly rising
There can be only one of me.

I fail to sleep the nighttime hours
Needed to make me whole
My mind a turmoil, in the smallest hours
I can’t switch off, my leading role.