Finding Me

I have wondered, perhaps too much, if I am a good person. If I’m a good daughter. A good sister, a good girlfriend, and friend.

Many have told me that I am, but I myself have never felt sure. In the past, I have made decisions that were good for me but were bad for others. But then, I have heeded to other peoples opinions and advice too, which has led me down paths only of anguish, loss, and heartbreak.

So which is true? Which is right?

There comes a point in every child’s life when they find their voice, their true voice that will see them through every trial, every success, every argument, every kind exchange. They find a self that will forever define them. I don’t think I ever experienced that. I have never found my voice, the self that I can portray to everyone.

I have played so many people in my short life. I was the humble and sensible friend everyone went to for advice and a hug. I was the good daughter who did as she told, who looked after her little sister, who did everything I was supposed to. I was the student, who followed the rules and did the work I was set and to the best of my ability. I was the worker, who again followed rules and regulations and who was often talked down to because of my lowly status in the business. So how, despite all this, have I managed to lose friends, and lose family?

I don’t know if it’s right to say, but I honestly feel I have done nothing wrong. I have lived, trying every day to make it better. I earn my own money, I live comfortably, I eat well, I love unconditionally, and I forgive even when I shouldn’t. I went to university and worked hard to graduate with an incredible 2:1. I moved into a wonderful little flat by the sea with my boyfriend. I couldn’t be happier with what I have achieved.

So, why doesn’t this make others happy? Is it the fact that I did this on my own terms? That I did it by my own means? I have never been the sort of person to go running and asking for help, more when I know I can sort it out myself. I have never been that person, but somehow people in my life seem to want me to be – just so they can feel needed. I’m sorry, but I thought the idea of growing up was to be able to stand on your own two feet and to be independent. Am I wrong? I don’t know, but that is not me. And never will be.

I have always longed for change. And no greater change came then when I left home and moved to Canterbury to study. It didn’t take me very long to realise that this is the place where I will live and make it my own. It didn’t take long at all and I was determined to reach that goal no matter what it took. Even if it took working long shifts in retail to do it. I was fully prepared and committed to it. I was ready for it because it was something I desperately wanted. And I did it. Three years, living and working and studying side by side and I did it.

Of course, meeting my boyfriend was a big help as he helped that dream become reality. We moved in together and have started building a good life for ourselves. We both work so, unfortunately, we don’t see each other as much as we want to, but when we are together, there is nothing but love and laughter and childish games. I have never felt so cared for, so wanted and so appreciated in my life. And while it’s not really your business, I feel the need to state, once and for all, that there is no malice, no manipulation, no abuse going on in our relationship, as people in my life believe. The only manipulation and stress in my life has come from you. And you probably didn’t realise you were doing it.

Since being with him, I have finally found a self that I can nourish. A self that reflects who I truly am inside. Someone who is strong, but needs looking after. Someone who is mature enough to handle life’s problems, but is a big kid at heart who knows and loves to laugh. I am someone who loves the little things. A drive with the windows down. The sound of the sea. A clear night sky with millions of stars. A clear mind and a clear conscience telling me I am on the right path. It’s these things that make me, me. No material goods will replace the sense of wonder within. No amount of money will replace the love I have in my heart for those who deserve it.

This self, this girl has laid hidden for so many years but now it’s her time to shine. Regardless of what people think. Regardless of what people expect. And I think it’s only right to cherish and nourish her, as I have done with everything and everyone who has come into my life.

So if you think you know me, the real me, then you are mistaken. I haven’t known me for a long time, but I think it is time to find out what I can do and what I can be.

I hope you’ll join me on this ride.

Hannah
Xx

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If the walls could talk….

(I wrote this on July 1st 2017)

Today’s the day. I’m moving out and officially leaving student life behind. I’m sitting on the stairs at the moment, admiring the place I have just cleaned, hoovered and dusted and perfected, and I find myself quite taken back by it all. Surprisingly.

A lot has happened within these four walls. Much of it was good, very good. Other times, not so but it was more to do with crappy people than the place itself. I mean, you live on the road full of students, of course you’re gonna have noise and the stench of weed every other day. No. This house, my last student house, in a strange way, changed my life. 

It changed the way I saw people, people who I saw as friends especially. There’s been laughter and tears and shouting and stressing and arguments. Love had been found. My boyfriend and I spent so much time here, talking and laughing and frankly, falling in love here. Hell, we even said I Love You here, and on the old, granny settee. 

But much to my regret, the house saw the end of many things, a lot of friendships and truces I thought would stand for years. But everything happens for a reason, I guess. 

As I handed over the keys, a weight was lifted. The house wasn’t mine anymore. I didn’t have to worry about it being clean all the time. It wasn’t mine to cook in and sleep in. It wasn’t mine. And that’s okay. My time at Pretoria Road was good, better than I could have hoped for really. It was in a prime location, good rent, good size, and the landlord was awesome! I hope the next tenants have a great life there as I did.

But onwards and upwards. Hopefully in the next few days, I will have another place to call my own, to make my own. And I can’t wait for the day. More so, because I’ll be making that place my own, with my very own boyfriend. Talk about big steps! 

There’s to exciting times.

Hannah x

Amazing. Closure.

It’s nearly that time of year again where I have to sort through my old books, papers and belongings, and make ready to live elsewhere.

Since coming to Canterbury to study, I have moved three times! The first, from Ipswich to my student accommodation  (which was lush). Then, from my student accommodation to my first house with three friends (which was nice, but had more problems than I could handle for a second year). And finally, from the first house to another house, which has been amazing. (Finally!)

My landlord is awesome! When something in the house malfunctioned, he was quick to sort it. He’d be round as soon as he was able and he had a great knowledge of the house, which meant things were fixed just like that. And he is definitely more understanding of the student life than my previous landlady, that’s for sure.

Anyhow, three times now and you would think I’d be good at it. You know, pick up the item, put it in the box and forget about it until I have to open it again.

But as I learned this afternoon, I’m not. Definitely not.

Everything we own holds a memory. Everything, from the smallest thing like a lighter to something far more precious like a piece of jewellery, holds a version of yourself, whether you like it or not.

For example, I found one of my old diaries from when I lived in Ipswich. It was dated from 2011, and as I read the entries within, I felt my heart start to weigh with the same anxiety and anguish I felt back then. Eighteen year old me struggled. Constantly. Not just emotionally but mentally. She was in a bad place, especially in the ways of where her education was going, what her friends were doing, how she was treated – or believed she was being treated.

Reading this and remembering where I was and how I was feeling when I wrote it, placed a dark spot in my mind.

Even when I moved on to the little things in my boxes and drawers, I was still struck down by bad, and at times hurtful, memories.

Something as silly as a blue lighter brought me to tears. And the memory there was only from a year ago! Again, that Hannah was in a bad place. She was stronger, but rather foolishly, she let certain people into her life who did nothing but cause her unnecessary trouble and heartache. So she started to smoke as a way to relax and clear her mind.

Thankfully, those people left and I stopped smoking. Not that I enjoyed it at the time but it was the only way to cope. Pitiful really but if you were in my shoes, you’d do the same.

I found a beautiful charm bracelet I was given some years ago for my birthday. It was from my then-best-friend who I will just call E. It is absolutely beautiful and it reminded me of how close we were, what fun we had, the secrets and laughter we shared. And I was overcome by how much I missed it. How much I miss her. Then, I remembered why we weren’t friends anymore. We changed. We become different people. We went our own ways. It was also due to an argument with another friend that she stopped talking to me, but that’s another story.

Now, I could go on about other objects I found and the memories they possess and completely depress you, but I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I’m going to tell you what my wonderful boyfriend did, after he saw me struggles and succumb to my tears. Instead of leaving me in my misery, he took me by the hand, led me to his car and drove us into the land beyond Canterbury. To the land where green fields roll and reign and trees grow tall and strong. And in the gorgeous afternoon sun, it was a wonderful sight to behold.

Now, being a country girl, I have always had a love for wide, open spaces and forests and just green… things! Even when I was a little girl, walking around in a still, silent forest brought me a peace I couldn’t find anywhere else.

Lucky for me, my boyfriend knew this about me and made it his mission to bring me out of my thoughts and cheer me up. He made a spontaneous decision to go to the White Cliffs of Dover where we nearly ruined his car (Poor Sydney – he endured like the badass machine he is) and we walked hand in hand, laughing and talking as if on a date.

And when we returned to the car, he reminded me in a soft and loving voice that the past is the past, and that we had a brilliant future to look forward together.

The combination of the gorgeous outdoors and my caring, gorgeous boyfriend, all the memories and feelings I had conjured an hour ago faded and my mind settled back into its excited and childish ways.

So, I guess the reason I am writing this post, is to tell you: Don’t let your past define you. Whatever heartbreaks or pain you felt, you felt it for a reason. Whatever/ whoever you lost, you lost them for a reason. Without these trials, you wouldn’t be the person you are today. Your life wouldn’t be as it is now, if you hadn’t had those experiences. Embrace them, but don’t hold on to them so much that your past becomes your present.

That is no way to live.

You are better than that.

We all are.
Lots of love,

Hannah x

I’m Alive! Expect more postings soon.

Hey guys! I’m back. Woo hoo! It’s been a long time since I last blogged and boy, have things changed and some for the better.

The first thing I should update you on is that I have finished university. Yeah. I know right? Feels like only yesterday that I left my cozy home in Ipswich to embark on this incredible adventure to reinvent and find myself in the wonderful, home-from-home city of Canterbury.

And I won’t lie, it’s been one hell of a ride. It’s been a journey of great highs and terrible lows, but I have come out alive and with a stronger sense of self. I have discovered what I’m truly capable of. I have discovered I can endure every problem and ache in front of me, and still be better for it.

For the first time in my life, I know where I want to go and where I want to be and I’m determined to get there.

The second thing is, that I’m in a loving relationship! I know right? I still can’t believe it myself, nearly six months on. We started chatting in October of last year. Went on our first date in November. We made it Facebook official in December. We spent New Years and Valentine’s Day together. Went on our first holiday in April. And we’re now planning to move in together! It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least, but this is a ride I’m happy to stay on for the rest of my life.

In the short time we’ve been together, we have had tense and challenging moments but we have overcome every single one and have come out stronger and more in love than before. Luke is such an amazing man, who has been nothing but good to me. Sometimes more than I deserve, but I bet every girl says that.

We’ve had an amazing journey so far and i can’t wait to see what else the future has in store for us. God knows we’ve planned far enough ahead 😉

Hm what else? Oh, those toxic people I used to blog about? Gone. Forever out of the picture and out of my life. Am I sad about it? Sometimes, but I feel lighter and happier without them. And in the words of Forrest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.” They aren’t worth the words or the time.

That’s all the updates for now.

Will blog more when it happens. The next couple of weeks are going to be interesting.

Lots of love

Hannah x

The PokeDiaries

Day One,

As a lifelong fan of Pokemon, you couldn’t imagine my sheer excitement when Niantic announced they were releasing the real-time and interactive game, Pokemon Go.

For those who don’t know, Pokemon Go allows players to go out in to the world and actually catch Pokemon! As you explore your home, local gardens, back roads and alleyways, your phone will vibrate whenever a Pokemon crosses your path. Then, using the touchscreen on your phone, you aim your Pokeball and throw! But you have to be quick. It might run away! Sounds like a dream come true.

Well, almost. Niantic  failed to highlight that the game needs a a constant and sufficient internet connection and GPS signal. Without one or both, you get nothing. No information. No goodies. NO Pokemon!

Now, I’d caught my cutie Torch the Charmander (yes, I nicknamed him! You can do that) when I first set up the game last night, so going by that capture, I thought it would easy.

But I walked around Canterbury for hours, following the map, going to the Pokestops (where you can collect Pokeballs and other valuable objects) and following the signs for nearby Pokemon, and in all that time, I didn’t see a single Pokemon! And all because I didn’t have a good connection. I tried everything. Turned off my Wifi and let my data roam, which is dangerous to the pursue. Tried connecting to nearby networks, and still nothing loaded. It was very frustrating and disappointing, considering the hype and my own excitement and expectation.

However.. as soon as I came up by Marlowe Theatre, my phone connected and a Rattata crossed my path! My patience had finally paid off. Of course, like a giddy child, I tossed a Pokeball – or two because you have to throw it at the right angle and at the right speed – and I caught it! Just like Ash, I waited anxiously as the ball jittered and jerked as the Pokemon fought its containment. Then, dong! He settled and I had my first Pokemon.

And it didn’t stop there. I walked a few more steps, closer to the River Stour, and what should appear but a gasping, flapping Magikarp. Another Pokemon in my pocket. After that, it was easy and so thrilling. I got a couple of Spearows, another Rattata, a few Pidgey and a Pidgeotto. Nothing special yet, but the fact that I got a few Pokemon on my first day as a Pokemon Trainer was an achievement and thrilling.

I’m looking forward to going out again and finding more. So long as there is WiFi and my phone battery holds out.
Note: Be sure to to take your charger out with you. Boy, does it eat it like a monster!

On the whole, an interesting idea so far!

Alice Through the Looking Glass – Film Review

Starring: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall.
Director: James Bobin
Producer: Tim Burton, Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd
Screenwriter: Linda Woolverton
Run Time: 113 minutes

Following the call from an old friend, alice-through-the-looking-glass-0Alice (Mia Wasikowska) steps through a mirror and finds herself back in Underland with the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Her friends soon inform her that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is depressed over the death of his family. Hoping to save his family and restore his sanity, Alice steals from Time (Cohen) and travels back into the past. While there, she witnesses a manner of secrets and events that could change everything.

What I enjoyed most about this film is Alice’s consistent and unwavering independence. From the very beginning, she stands her ground against those who doubt her, belittle her and believe her incapable of doing more with her life. In my book, her acts of defiance and bravery earn her place among the likes of Elsa, Anna, Merida, Mulan, Rapunzel and Tiana, all Disney Princesses who have proven themselves strong and capable without the aid of men, and who are defining and inspiring the next generation of women. She is surely a character young girls nowadays need to look up to.

 

Her acts of defiance also offer comic relief. One scene that sticks in my mind is when Alice and her mother arrive at the Ascot mansion. Alice is wearing a rather outrageous, rainbow-coloured dress; made for the likes of China, and not for the uptight English society. Her mother is clearly embarrassed by her choice and asks despairingly, “Must you always been so headstrong?”
Alice is unfazed by this and simply replies: “No. It’s just more fun that way.”

Well, you have to applaud the girl for her wit and honesty. Well said.

Another aspect of this film I enjoyed was the idea and wisdom of Time, who was portrayed by the somewhat charismatic, but awkward Sacha Baron Cohen. Mia Wasikowska is Alice in Alice Through the Looking Glass.His wisdom about time is both insightful and thought-provoking. Cohan provides wit and comic relief, however I fail to see his importance to the film. All he was doing was chasing after Alice and making matters worse for himself! The same goes for the Red and White Queen. Granted, it was interesting to see their origins, to see how the Red Queen’s head doubled in size, but again I failed to see their importance.

Alice through the Looking Glass clearly follows Alice’s attempt to restore Hatter’s sanity and reunite him with his family. If that’s the case, why did we need background to the Queens’ feud? Was it really needed, or was it just a storyline to fill the time?

I regret to say Johnny Depp’s reprisal of the Mad Hatter was weak and somewhat devastating. His voice was impossible high and for much of the film, he acted like a lost, moody, moany puppy. He played the Hatter so well in the first film. He was funny, impressable, and he had a dark side to him that only a Tim Burton film could get away with. I am honestly disappointed by his portrayal.

As always, the set design and CGI of the film was impeccable. I can’t fault the careful art and design of our favourite Underlanders – the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the White Rabbit and even Time’s minions – as well as the villages, Time’s epic castle and the Red Queen’s heart-shaped castle made of roots and bugs. One scene I found truly astonishing was the deterioration of time throughout Wonderland. As Alice, Hatter and the White Queen race to restore the Chronosphere, they are chased by, what can only be described as a living, breathing entity made of rust. It is Time itself, collapsing around them. The way it was animated and created was so well done and realistic. The finale definitely redeemed the film.

I was delighted to see Disney’s dedication to the late Alan Rickman. He reprised his role as Absolem, the erudite blue caterpillar-turned-butterfly who brings Alice back to Wonderland. His time in the film was brief, but it will forever immortalise him. He was a great and irreplaceable talent. He deserves it.

alice-through-looking-glass-theatrical-trailer

 

 

 

 

 

Is Disney Taking Live Action Too Far?

Disney has defined and influenced young minds for decades. Tales of brave heroes, aspiring princesses, cunning villains and charming companions have captured the hearts and imaginations of children (and adults) all across the world. But is Disney’s run of timeless classics coming to an end?

Every other year it seems, another animated classic is being snatched up by an overly ambitious director and made into a live action film. The intense development of CGI has meant directors and producers have more space to play with the worlds and characters they possess. And while this adds to a stunning and realistic show, live action does not allow the subtle ambiance and timeless innocent of the beautiful animation of previous films.

In the recent years, well-loved animations like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland have been twisted and transformed; bearing new perspectives, characters and relationships.

In 2010, Disney and Tim Burton took on Lewis Carroll’s tale Alice in Wonderland; alice_in_wonderland_2010_5starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska. Based more on the novel than the 1951 animation, the tone of this live action was dark and mature. It was adventurous in its creation of Wonderland and its residences, the fearsome Jabberwocky (voiced by the late Christopher Lee) especially. In many ways, this live action succeeded its predecessor because of its talented cast, impeccable visual effects and costume design.

Even Cinderella was not spared a live-action makeover. However, under the watchful eye of director Kenneth Branagh, the film surpassed both expectations and the original. The films set design and overall visual direction allowed new life to be brought into what was beginning to become rather dated. The chemistry between members of the cast was positively palpable, allowing the actors to come across as natural and believable. Despite being live action all of the normal Disney characteristics shone through, the film providing am exciting mix of humour, peril and love. As far as love action remakes go, Cinderella is exemplary.

Whilst still masquerading under the banner of Disney, the-jungle-book-2016-31909_25889not all live action adaptations are born equal. Brannagh’s Cinderella shone primarily due to its fantastic calibre of cast. The Jungle Book by contrast was a travesty. The much loved affable bear Baloo and charismatic King Louie were very poorly acted, so much so that it detracted from the film as a whole. Their attempts at upbeat music numbers Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You were horrifying and laughable. I left the cinema disappointed.

More live action adaptations are on the horizon. Should we Disney fans be afraid?