A Day in Brighton

Last month I went on a coach trip to Brighton – it was my summer holiday in a day! I’ve always wanted to visit it, ever since watching the series “Sugar Rush” which is based in the centre of Brighton. It was weird seeing the different landmarks I recognised from a TV screen!

The day couldn’t have had more perfect weather, it was gloriously hot and sunny. After spending nearly two hours on a coach it was heavenly stepping out into baking hot sunshine. We parked directly opposite the Pier, I got incredibly excited as soon as I saw the sea – it’s the best reminder of home.

Brighton Pier

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The beach

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Views from the Pier

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I could have spent all day on the beach but instead I went exploring. I found the town centre and was looking for the famous Lanes which I eventually stumbled across by accident! It was a series of tiny, narrow streets, filled with the most awesome, eclectic shops. I actually started my Christmas shopping then and there, I knew I wouldn’t find presents anywhere else like it!

The Lanes

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I then saw the Royal Pavilion, it was pretty hard to miss it! It had a really authentic oriental appearance, it was strange seeing it in a place like Brighton – it’s the sort of thing you expect to see in India! Nonetheless it was a magnificent building, a definite highlight.

Royal Pavilion

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I went round Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, seeing as it was practically next to the Royal Pavilion. I learnt a lot about the history of Brighton just by reading the snippets of information in the different sections.

Various things in the museum

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Loved this quirky library!

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I loved the Performance and Fashion areas the most, my favourites were the Punch and Judy puppets and a pair of pointe shoes worn by Galina Siderenko for Les Ballets in 1933. How cool is that!

Punch and Judy

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Ballet shoes

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I thought the old-fashioned bathing costumes were brilliant, I’d wear one of them nowadays!

Fashion items

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My favourite bathing costume!

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On the way back to the Pier I saw a park with a lovely water feature and a colourful bedding display. Cosmos with dahlias worked wonderfully!

Bedding display

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I saw the Brighton Dome too!

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I had fish and chips on the beach, how could I not?! It was heaving with people by lunch time, it’s clear why Brighton is such a holiday hot-spot.

Views of the beach

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I saw the wreck of the West Pier which was hauntingly beautiful, especially with seagulls circling overhead.

West Pier

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Grumpy seagull!

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I went on the Brighton Wheel and saw stunning views – I could see for miles! The sea stretched on forever, I suddenly realised how long the Pier went on for. I could have done all my sight-seeing from that one spot!

Views from Brighton Wheel

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I had an ice-cream on the promenade before the journey home, the best way to end my day in Brighton. I hope you enjoyed the photos. :)

Harry Potter World

When my parents came to visit me the other week I gave my dad his belated Father’s Day present – a tour of Harry Potter World! Aren’t I the best daughter ever?!

Me and dad outside the Warner Bros. Studios

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As I only live half an hour away from the Warner Bros. Studios it made perfect sense to go there. Me and my dad are big fans of Harry Potter, we didn’t go as far as dressing up in costume for the tour but it was tempting!

Harry’s bedroom

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The Yule Ball

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Corridor in the Leaky Cauldron

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Costumes

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When we were waiting for the tour to begin I could see faces from all over the world had come to see the studios where all the magic happened – literally. There were people from Japan, Australia, America. . . it suddenly hit me what a big global sensation Harry Potter is.

The Great Hall

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Snape’s Classroom

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We spent four hours looking round, it was great being able to look at everything in your own time, after the initial introduction from the very enthusiastic WB Studio staff of course. The first studio had all the different sets, like the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s Office, Snape’s classroom, Hagrid’s Hut, the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, as well as costumes, props and more.

Dumbledore’s Office

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The Burrow

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Hagrid’s Hut

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Various props

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Triwizard Tournament Trophy

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Horcruxes

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Chamber of Secrets door

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Mad Eye Moody’s Trunk

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Flying side-car

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Time for Quidditch!

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I loved reading about all the little details which made the films so authentic – for example the books on the shelves in Dumbledore’s Office are just British phonebooks covered in leather. How cool is that!

Gryffindor Boy’s Dormitory and Common Room

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Ministry of Magic Fireplace

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Dolores Umbridge’s costumes and office

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More props

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Newspaper snippets and Harry’s letters

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The Marauder’s Map

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There was also a green room where you could actually ride a broomstick as well as sit in the flying car from the second film – of course I had a go, dad restrained himself however! I wore a massive robe down to my ankles, when I picked up the photos afterwards I was pretty surprised at how good a witch I made!

The Knight Bus (and me!)

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Flying cars!

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We then stepped outside into brilliant sunshine, it was a gorgeous summer’s evening. I loved wandering round the Studio’s Backlot, it had all the exterior sets like the Knight Bus, chess pieces, the Hogwarts Bridge and the flying car and side-car.

The Hogwarts Bridge

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Chess Pieces

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My favourite was Privet Drive, I nearly squeaked when I saw it. It felt like I had been transported into a scene from a Harry Potter film! It was so strange seeing it for real after seeing it so many times on the TV.

Privet Drive

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We had to buy a Butterbeer, how could we refuse?! It was a very peculiar taste, the only way I can describe it is like cold fizzy hot chocolate. It was quite nice for the first few mouthfuls then it became a tad sickly!

Butterbeer!

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Goblins and Dobby

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Buckbeak

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Other familiar faces!

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We spent ages in the Creature Effects Studio, it was incredible seeing things like the goblin heads, Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Hagrid’s head, Dobby, Fawkes the Phoenix, etc, in front of my eyes. They were unbelievably lifelike, it was great learning about how they were made and which things were hand-controlled and which bits were actually worn by actors.

Dragons

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Fawkes

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Hedwig

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Voldemort’s Soul

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Hagrid, Hermione, Draco, Dumbledore, Harry

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I nearly gave myself a heart attack at one point, I looked up and saw the massive spider Aragog glaring down at me! I don’t mind spiders but seeing that above my head was something else!

Aragog

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Gringotts

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Diagon Alley

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It was so cool walking through Diagon Alley and seeing Gringotts, Ollivanders and the Weasley twins shop. I half-expected to see Harry, Ron and Hermione come strolling round the corner!

Art and Graphics

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Sketches and drawings

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The Art and Graphics department at the very end was the most surprising and amazing for sure. The walls were covered in drawings and sketches of props like broomsticks and the Durmstrang Ship. My brother is a fantasy illustrator and I kept thinking to myself how much he would have loved looking in detail at the hand-drawn pictures. Even though I’m no artist I could still appreciate the enormous amount of hard work it must have taken to achieve all of it.

Small scale models

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We were teased by being shown small scale models of things like the Womping Willow and the Prefect’s Bathroom, then we went through a set of doors and had our breath completely taken away. . . SPOILER ALERT!!

Hogwarts Castle – OMG!

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There was a 1:24 scale model of the Hogwarts castle in full view, it was phenomenal! It was used for exterior shots in the films, I couldn’t believe how realistic it was. You could see it from all angles, the detail was magnificent – that is what I call a work of art.

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To complete the tour we looked round the gift shop. It was very expensive, especially for my student budget, so I made do with a keyring and fridge magnet! It was an awesome, unforgettable experience, it is definitely worth going if you are even a little bit of a Harry Potter fan – you won’t regret it! :)

Dancing Together

Life has been pretty busy the past few weeks, it’s been non-stop going from one thing to another! My weekends have been taken up for the past month with extra dance classes. I found a local adult ballet class in January which I had been attending once a week and around Easter time my teacher asked if I’d like to be part of a show they put on each summer for charity. I said yes of course!

Red Kite Dance Company and Friends

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The performance was called “Dancing Together” by the Red Kite Dance Company and friends, in aid of Carers Bucks and the NSPCC. It was such a great night, I had a fantastic time! I was in two dances as well as a finale piece we learnt together as a group. The dances I was in were called “Rosehips” and “Greensleeves”.

Me with my dance teacher

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Some group shots

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“Rosehips” was a beautiful folk-style dance, which involved dancing with partners – lots of weaving and turning each other round! It was choreographed so anyone of any age and dance ability would be able to learn it. The age range for the performance went from me at twenty years old to an inspirational lady of eighty five years old!

Some of the “Rosehips” dancers

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“Greensleeves” was a classical ballet piece, based on some of the history from where I work at the moment, Ashridge. A very cool coincidence! I had a small section where I was dancing on my own, a short adage solo. It was choreographed to a beautiful piece of music, definitely my favourite dance out of the two.

Greensleeves dancers

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The finale was a contemporary piece, we danced with partners for half of it and as a group for the other half. It was a really carefree, fun dance, a very fitting tribute for the final performance of the night.

Action shot backstage of the Finale Dance

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The last dance class was a few days ago, it was sad saying goodbye to everyone! Even though the people in my class are a lot older than me we still got on really well – I had great friendships with two women in particular.

Selfie!

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My favourite dancers!

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I may find another dance class when I move to Wales but it won’t be the same as the one here in Hertfordshire. Who knows, we may end up dancing together again in the future. . . :)

The Moon Was Made For Loving

I haven’t posted any poetry for a while, bang goes my resolution of sharing a poem a week. . .!! This piece is called “The Moon Was Made For Loving” – hope you enjoy the read. :)

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Clouds drift across the slumping valley

they’re the sighs of contentment

which fall from your lips

I too can sleep easy tonight

with your breath a blanket

to soothe me into a lullaby,

my skin shivers

touched by your creamy light

immersed head to toe

whiter than white

on white.

You’re misting round the edges

hazy but still clear

strong,

the same effect when you

half-close your eyes

only mine are open

fully open

gazing adoringly at you

in all your splendour

what else would I want to do

on a night like this

except marvel at you

bathing, drinking

every drop of you

if you were a man

I imagine you as one of those suave

sophisticated types

with a smile that could make

every woman buckle at the knees

and eyes which could see straight through

into the innermost desires of the female soul. . .

I feel you know me

better than I know myself

you draw me in

ushering, beckoning

until I need no coaxing

until all I want

is you

until my insides are a raging inferno

an endless fire

you’re the passion for my mind

the fuel for my heart

you’re what inspires me, every time

I’d surrender from this life

and bare myself for you

you were made for loving

how could I not love you?

How I Write – A Writing Process Blog Tour

I’d like to thank Loss for Words for asking me to be part of this writing process blog tour – thank you for the invite! Do check out her post on this, it’s a great read: http://lossforwords360.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/how-this-girl-writes-a-writing-process-blog-tour/
It’s always interesting to hear what other writers are up to, and to get to know other bloggers too. Without further ado here is my writing process blog tour!

Writing

What am I working on at the moment?
Nothing in particular! I write poetry every day, so I guess that counts. . . I’m also busy writing up the events I’ve been involved with at work recently, such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tough one! To be honest I have no idea. I think writing is a very personal matter which means everyone can interpret the same piece of writing in a different way – we never look at the world through identical pairs of eyes. It’s a bit like art, I’m not saying Picasso wasn’t talented, just that his style wasn’t for me!
The main aim I hope to achieve with my writing is to inspire people. I hope my passion for what I do and what I write about can translate to others – my positive and passionate writing style is what differs me from the rest! ;)

Why do I write what I do?
Because I have to! I couldn’t not write, it would be like not breathing. Poetry is the way I express myself most freely, I’ve been doing that since I was old enough to pick up a pen. I share my love of plants because, again, I just have to. When I’m as passionate about my life as I am it’s impossible to keep that enthusiasm to myself. Writing is a part of me, it’s not a chore – it’s a joy.

How does my writing process work?
I have to be honest here – it is pretty random! I think the best way to sum it up would be “organised chaos”. I never have a certain time in the day I set aside for writing, although I’d keep my blogs up to date a hell of a lot more if there was!
My poetry is ongoing, I have a little notebook I take with me everywhere – even at work. My job as a horticulturist involves me spending all my time outside, so nature is my main inspiration for my poetry. I have lots of scribblings in my notebook at the moment, watch this space for the finished drafts to appear as posts!
I write about my plant life as and when things happen. I’m always visiting gardens, getting involved with horticultural events, and working in a beautiful garden of course. I probably share as many photos of plants as I do words in a post but hey – a picture is worth a thousand words! In short I write whenever I’m inspired.

I hope you enjoyed learning something from this post that you didn’t know about my writing process before. I’m hoping to share some poetry at the weekend, and more Chelsea highlights on my other blog Life of a Plant Lover. Until then have a fabulous Bank Holiday weekend! :)

The Butterfly Light (Disco Flutterby!) Award

Guess what. . . I have another blog award yay! Many thanks to Don Charisma for nominating me for the Butterfly Light, (or Disco Flutterby!) Award, as well as another blogger Belinda who released this award into general circulation. The name alone makes it my favourite blog award to date!

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Don’s blog is a definite favourite I follow, there’s something for everyone on there. I look forward to his beautiful photography the most – check it out http://doncharisma.org/ if you haven’t already done so.

The conditions for accepting this award are as follows:

1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them.

2. You must individually name and re-award to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9999999 bloggers. You must let them know either personally with a comment on their blog or a pingback.

3. You must link back to Belinda’s blog either to http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/i-love-charismatic-geeks or http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/about/

4. You must write a short paragraph (yes only one paragraph!) entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” or “How I’m A Positive Influence”

5. Display Belinda’s lovely “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog.

How I’m A Positive Influence
Those of you who have known me for a while will know I am a generally happy person – it takes too much effort to be miserable! I have a natural, sometimes to the point of being annoying, positive approach to any situation, no matter how bleak it is.
I believe in the corny sayings such as “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “everything happens for a reason”. If I see someone without a smile I give them mine, which is ultimately what I hope I achieve in life. I will continue sharing light, love and positivity for as long as I can. . . :)

Nominees
Here are (in no particular order) seven bloggers I would like to award the Butterfly Light Award to. I always feel positive and/or inspired after visiting these blogs, if you aren’t familiar with them then what are you waiting for?!

The Adventures of Char Barhttp://theadventuresofcharbar.wordpress.com/about-charlene/
Girl and Her Pink Backpackhttp://thepinkexpat.com/about/
Here’sNewshttp://heresnews.wordpress.com/about/
Loss For Wordshttp://lossforwords360.wordpress.com/about/
Randomly Abstracthttp://randomlyabstract.wordpress.com/me/
The Happsters – http://happsters.com/about/
Let it come from your hearthttp://letitcomefromyourheart.wordpress.com/about/

I’ll leave you with an apt saying :)

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Last Day of NaPoWriMo – That Feeling

It’s the last day of NaPoWriMo, yay!! In all seriousness I have enjoyed the challenge of writing a poem a day immensely, even on one occasion when I nearly forgot to share a poem completely. . . oops! I have realised that finding the time to allow myself to write is sometimes all I need to get inspiration flowing.
Thank you to all my fellow bloggers and readers for liking and commenting on my NaPoWriMo posts. I appreciate your support and feedback greatly, you’ve made this challenge even more enjoyable and worthwhile to have participated in! This is the final poem for NaPoWriMo 2014, it’s called “That Feeling.” Until next year! ;)

That tingling sensation
an uncontrollable shiver
beating through every vein
you taste it on your tongue
and across your mouth,
that sweet, slick feeling
like when you have steaming hot treacle tart
and freezing cold ice cream
you put them in your mouth at the same time
and you get that contrast
of hot and cold
two flavours going together, WHAM BAM!
Oozing and delighting your taste buds
you savour each morsel so slowly
then you swallow
and do it all over again….
Like when you wake up in the morning
bright and early, no need for the alarm clock
to come stamping through your dreams,
you see the sun peeking at you
between the slight crack in the curtains
you open your eyes fully
and see the day before you
it feels so magic
no other sounds
just you
and the sun
playing hide-and-seek,
so you smile and stretch
enjoying the moment
squeezing and curling your toes.
Like when you feel all giggly
going all twinkly like a teenager
you feel so naughty
naughty but nice,
because only you know you’re wearing your best
lacy embroidered underwear
underneath your ordinary jeans and top
or maybe even
no pants or “things” on at all,
which is why you’re amusing yourself
winking at any suave passer by
which is why you have the confidence
to do exactly that
why you feel all saucy
all saucy and slinky….
Like when you remember being five years old
at your first birthday party
where everything was bright colours and sparkly hats
pass-the-parcel
musical chairs
and for the really clever ones among us
charades,
and made-up games between yourselves
without the grown-ups knowing,
who could balance the most chocolate rolls on their ears
or who could put ten Pringle’s in their mouth at once,
we’d snort lemonade up our noses
thinking we were so smart
tricking all those mums and dads,
yet really they were smiling to themselves
they knew our little game
and would let us carry on for a while longer,
until out came the traffic light jelly
we’d be hypnotised by its fascinating wobble
and those colours,
stark lime green
raw ruby red
deep spicy orange
we’d be transfixed
our games forgotten
we’d sit down as good as gold
waiting for our plateful
of jumbled up jelly,
then we’d watch it slide
and glide all over the place
our heads tilting each way it went
until our stomachs would get the better of us
and we’d devour it in one sitting.
Like when you’re feeling low
low and flat
as if the sparkle has gone out
of a bottle of champagne,
then a friend comes along
and lifts you up
by saying something so ridiculous
you can’t help but laugh
laugh out loud and laugh away
those dull, faded feelings
they laugh too
and give you a hug,
a really warm, tight hug
like a bear
you nuzzle close into them
close your eyes
breathe in their smell
and let them hold you.
Like when you’re in bed
tossing and turning restlessly
you want to sleep but you’re buzzing too much
thoughts whizzing round your brain like busy bees,
you sit up and see the moon shining down
pouring light through your window
and into your mind,
you get up
softly open the glass so the cool air is on your face
until the moon is shining
full on your features
the stars are smiling at you too,
you feel calm
calm and tranquil
you get back into bed
snuggle back under the duvet
then in a few seconds time
you’re fast away zzzzzing.
Like when you feel all wow!
wickedly fantastic yet you’ve not a clue why
even you can’t explain to yourself
why you feel on top of the world
that bubbly, cosy feeling
stretched across your lips,
but you feel you need to keep it to yourself
like you being happy is too much to ask
so you smile
a warm, secret smile,
making you feel great inside
great as in GREAT!
great as in BIG!
You could shout
you could jump
you could twirl high
you could spin around
you could dance crazily
you could laugh til you cry
and watch your energy unfold
like a blue light twizzling brighter and brighter
but you don’t,
because you’re quite content
with smiling
smiling and letting your happiness slowly
rub off onto someone else.

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Ducks!

I saw this pair of ducks when I was at college yesterday. I was having lunch so it was rather apt to watch them hunting for theirs too! :)

First there’s one. . .

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. . . then two!

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Dinner Date!

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NaPoWriMo Day 29 – Mooney-Eyed

It’s the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo! I had to share another moon poem, this one is called “Mooney-Eyed”. Hope you enjoy! :)

At a glance
you look flat
there’s no curves to you
whatsoever

but on closer inspection
I see shape, body
one shimmering orb
the silver apple
of my eyes,

so bright
blindingly bright
even the stars admit defeat
and take cover
beneath your dazzling glow.

I love how you rise
starting off burnt amber
and ending up this
forbidden white. . .

for nothing and no one
should ever try and be the same as you
should ever take your light and copy you

there’s only enough room in the sky
for one of you.

Tonight proves that
there’s no distractions
no clouds, no wind,
no stars, nothing

it’s just you
white versus the black
the inky blackness of night,

illuminating the skies
my whole attention
is focused on you
and you alone

you have the spotlight,
the audience

and I have the time
all the time I need
to stay here and go
mooney-eyed over you.

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NaPoWriMo Day 28 – Natural Beauty

I wrote this on my lunch break, it’s impossible not to be inspired by nature when I am surrounded by it every day. Enjoy! :)

It’s like an impressionist painting
so many colours, hues
merging into one

if I half-close my eyes
they blur together even more
softly contorting until
it’s as if a work of art
has truly come to life.

Nature is the greatest artist
of them all

with the world her canvas
to experiment, explore,

who are we to taper
or change it

why on earth would we want to alter
this incredible
natural beauty.

We’re merely passing through
the most wonderful gallery imaginable

enjoying, admiring
marvelling, loving
living

taking only memories
and leaving nothing
but footprints. . .

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