Photos and Words: Achilles the Dancer

A light-hearted ditty for my mum who is in surgery today ❤

– With a gunshot pop, your Achilles snapped in two,
if it was going to be anyone, of course it’d be you.
A regular on the ward, your smile unbeaten by pain,
who knew you’d be a hospital visitor so quickly again?

But worry not, my dearest mum,
you went down dancing, jiving, having fun.
It’s how you live your life and if there’s one thing you’ve taught me,
pain is no obstacle, only a veiled gift fate has brought me.

So heal well and heal swiftly,
tell Dad to keep your Dr Martens waiting by the front door.
Because on August 1st you’ll be turning fifty,
and I expect to see you hobbling with a smile back to the dancefloor. –

via Instagram

Photos and Words: Pray for Orlando

– ‘How can someone hate that many people just because they love differently mama?’ The child said. The newsreader was speaking of the rising death toll as updates flashed across the screen interspersed with angry speeches from activists and stammering politicians.

His mother didn’t reply, she couldn’t. Her hand was grasped tightly over her mouth, shaking with the effort of stemming the flow of tears that threatenend to break through what little composure she had left.
Then another hand touched her own. It was soft, familiar and the love that coursed through her from that simple action gave her strength to face the TV screen once more.

And then hand’s owner spoke, at once putting the world back together into something recognisable and beautiful in an instant.

‘We’ve never understood it ourselves kid but we have love and this person doesn’t. They must not know that there is unity and power in love that hatred can never break through. Your mamas have fought for that our entire lives, some people just don’t know love when they see it because their hate clouds their lives.’ She took the frightened woman’s hand to her lips and kissed it tenderly.

The child looked away from the TV screen for long enough to catch the two women staring deep into each other’s eyes. In that instant they lost in the depths of the love they had fought for.

Meanwhile, lovers across the world wept for those that had fallen and held their partners close, united in grief but most importantly, united in love. –

via Instagram

Photos and Words: Crossing the Bridge

– ‘ ‘You must let go of my hand and run back to mummy,’ I said. My voice was intentionally light despite the heaviness setting in my heart as five little fingers began to uncurl from my own. Then they hesitated, ‘But what about you grandpa?’
My knees creaked as I bent low to face those inquisitive crystal blue eyes my own daughter had sported as a small girl. They scrutinised me in the same way hers had when I broke the news that our beloved Lab had ‘went to the farm’.
‘Grandma needs me, I’m going to be with her now. You look after mummy and be a good girl.’ With a tussle of her hair, she nodded and skipped off into awakeness.
Taking a deep, steadying breath, I savoured the scenery around myself one more time and felt the twinge of fear succumb to a seedling of excitement.The old man crossing the bridge was welcomed into the sunshine and in that moment, all those close to him knew a life well lived had passed.’ –

via Instagram

15 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Summer


Volunteering at Newcastle’s Unity Festival

Summer becomes a glorious beacon of free time where we students dream of reinventing ourselves, travelling the world, writing books and doing everything that we don’t have the time to do when we’re studying.  Within a few weeks of freedom however, we will most likely find ourselves binge-watching Netflix (need I mention how excited I am for season three of Orange Is the New Black?) while it rains outside and staying up until 4am taking Buzzfeed quizzes named ‘Can We Guess Your Favourite Colour?” to compare results with your equally disillusioned pal.
The four months leading up to September that once felt full of opportunity and freedom have suddenly turned into a frequent dilemma over whether it’s worth putting on makeup that day and a newly found passion for watching Eastenders rather than reading Weber.
So how do we get out of this comfortable yet miserable rut and motivate ourselves to make this summer recognisable to the one we spent long hours stuffed in the library daydreaming about?
Read on…

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan
    The more realistically you plan your summer out, the more likely you are to actually go through with it. Try doing a week by week set of objectives to keep yourself on track – just make sure you treat yourself kindly, it is summer after all!
  2. Volunteer
    We’ve heard this time and time again about the benefits of volunteering: helping out your community, meeting new people, looks awesome on your CV, allows you to brag about what a giving person you are etc. etc. but guys, it is worth doing whatever your reasons and though you get some volunteering duds, you get a lot more that will give you brilliant experiences. Try it out!
  3. Work
    Okay, this isn’t the most exciting prospect but it will lead you to better things and part-time or full-time work can be an eye-opening break from the world of study. Just be sure to keep in mind that you have your entire life to work after university and this time is probably your best shot to branch out and focus your energies elsewhere.
  4. That thing you’ve always said you were going to do? Do it!
    Come up with an action plan to keep you on track and focused. It might feel daunting at the beginning but there’s always a way to make something happen.
  5. Broaden Your Mind
    Get a good understanding of something different or deepen what you already know by reading books, watching documentaries, attending classes, talking to other people etc. Not being bound by academia means you have no framework so you’ll have to come up with your own but the flipside of that is that you can take your learning in whatever direction you fancy.
  6. Travel
    “It’s too expensive” is the reason a lot of people give for putting off travelling but that’s only a limitation as much as you let it be and by no means am I saying that’s easy but it is possible to overcome. Whether you’re backpacking around Europe with a tent on your back or staying with your Aunt in Dorset for a few days, getting out in a different environment has great benefits.
  7. Explore New Hobbies
    If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at pottery or judo, now is the perfect time when you can really focus on learning the basics, plus, it means it’ll be far easier to keep up with in September when you’re back in education.
  8. Detox
    Okay, so maybe summer isn’t the best time to ditch drinking if that’s your thing but it might be easier to do it in June than during Fresher’s week. It’ll give your body a health boost and it might just change your perspective on your usual habits (a 6 month break from drinking did this to me and I’ve never looked back!).
  9. Visit Friends and Family
    Uni life can disconnect you from your family and friends quite easily, especially if you don’t live at home. Though you can’t remedy this entirely, you can make the most of your summer days by making up for lost time and catching up on what you’ve missed out on.
  10. Go on a Health Kick
    Whether you’re a dedicated gym-goer or you’re looking to escape a student-esque diet of leftover takeaways and flat beer, boosting the attention you pay to your health up a notch will make you feel better and fitter.
  11. Downsize
    Chances are, being at uni has made you realise how little material possessions you actually need, or at least, it’s made you realise that the DVD collection you had when you were 13 no longer has a place in your life. Go through your old belongings and streamline what you own by handing them down to younger family members, selling them on or donating them to charity.
  12. Make a Five Year Plan
    Okay, these are normally reserved for ‘national economic programs’, remember Stalin’s? Didn’t go so well. Anyway, spend some time figuring out where you want to be and how you plan on getting there, have back-up options in case something goes askew. Have a bit of fun with it and don’t limit yourself. Keeping the bigger picture in perspective really helps for motivation!
  13. Blog
    You don’t have to be able to write or know some topic through and through in order to share your thoughts/opinions/daily lifestyle with the world. You can start your own podcast, video blog or a more traditional blog – whatever format you prefer. It’ll help you develop your own style and can be a great portfolio to have handy.
  14. Explore Your City

    Explore your city and go somewhere new

    Go on a wander, go on a few, take a friend, a book, bottles of wine or a picnic. Whatever you choose, exploring the city you’re in can give you a whole new appreciation for it plus it means when term-time comes back around, you’ll be in the know of the lesser-explored spots and can use them to your advantage!

  15. Relax
    Perhaps the most important thing you will do your entire summer is relax. This is your opportunity to take a break from the stresses of life, something you may not be able to do so easily in the future. Make the most of it and enjoy yourself!