Taking a Break and Breathing in a New Year

Taking a Break and Breathing in a New Year

Yesterday, when I returned from a blissful Sunset Spa at Whittlebury Hall, my dad said that he didn’t think I realised how stressed I was. To begin with I said I did know; after all, that was why I booked the spa retreat in the first place. However, when I woke up this morning with no aches, no pains, and having slept straight through the night, I realised that maybe he was right.

Continue reading “Taking a Break and Breathing in a New Year”

Achieving Dreams

Today, with a little help from a friend and the local zoo, I was able to achieve one of my life dreams. Today I met an elephant.

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I can’t remember a time when elephants weren’t my favourite animal. When I was 12 years old we had to draw the first letter of our first and last name and then draw on to those letters everything that we loved at the time. On mine, among other things, was a very badly drawn elephant, so I know that they have been one of my favourite things since then at least. I wish I could pinpoint the exact time I decided that elephants are my favourite animal because it would be interesting to know if my reasoning then stands the same as it does now.

I’m not going to reel off everything I love about elephants because it would take too long. Maybe that’s a list for another post… For now I will simply give you the answer that I give most people when they ask ‘Why elephants?’. The most simple reason that I can give for why I love elephants is that they are just so… human. I know this sounds weird. I know that they are animals but think about it: Elephants have been known to cry after losing a loved one. Elephants know when they are going to die, so they return to the graveyard of their ancestors. Elephants never forget. This last one was proved on a programme I recently watched where an elephant was introduced to several people and was then given a hat and told a name. The elephant gave the hat to the right person every single time (I really wish I could remember what the programme was). Their emotions to me just seem human. I don’t know how better to describe it. I’m sorry that my simple reason has such a complicated explanation!!

It was my birthday recently and I woke up to an email congratulating me on becoming a foster parent to Shukuru, an orphaned elephant rescued by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This is one of the best presents I could ever have received. I get regular updates on the lives of Shukuru and all the other orphans protected by the trust in Kenya. On the same day my friend and I went to a local zoo to Go Ape and afterwards sat and watched the elephants playing for almost an hour, I was in heaven.

Despite how much I love elephants, and how often I have seen them I have never had the fortune to come close to one, until today. A couple of weeks ago my friend forwarded me an email telling me about Elephant Appreciation Weekend at Whipsnade Zoo, the minute I read it I knew I had to be there. It said that if you donated on the day you could meet an elephant, this was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. Image

We got into the queue early so that we wouldn’t be turned away because of how busy it was, by the time it got to our turn I was ready to burst with excitement. This excitement heightened, and nearly turned to tears of joy, when I discovered that the elephant we would be meeting was 4 year old Donna; tiny in comparison to the elephants on either side of her. I walked up to Donna banana in hand and posed for a photo as she swiftly swiped the banana away from me without a second thought. I smiled for a couple more photos, stroked her head and said hello before letting my friend say hi. My time with this beautiful elephant was fleeting and it didn’t really sink in until I got home. I met an elephant.

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At the moment I feel as if I will never come down from the high I am on after achieving one of my dreams. It may seem small and maybe even silly but to me it was a big deal and a fantastic experience. Making this step has made me even more determined to achieve my next dream of going out and helping at an elephant sanctuary in Africa.

I don’t want to sound too cliché but after a post like this there had to be some kind of moral… No matter how big or small they may be, set yourself goals and always follow your dreams. You may find that to achieve your dream will take years of hard work and saving money but it may be that one day a new way of reaching your goal will present itself to you. It may take you by surprise and might be achievable in a way you had never considered. In my opinion if you always have a dream and you always have a goal you always have something to reach towards and you always have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

I’ve had a hell of a 21st birthday, it has extended over the last 3 weeks and I still have a Despicable Me themed party to organise. Nothing compares to doing things you love with people you love.

Have an elephantastic week 😉

‘Better to get a normal fella who can act crippled’

And boy did he do it well. There was only a fraction of a moment in the whole play that ‘Cripple Billy’ came close to being ‘Wizard Harry’ and that was only due to mannerisms any Potter nerd like myself would notice.

Daniel Radcliffe pulled off an outstanding performance in The Cripple of Inishmaan at Noël Coward Theatre tonight, but without the rest of the company the play couldn’t have been half as brilliant as it was.

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From beginning to end the audience was captivated by what was happening on stage – of course this is what you would expect at the theatre but it isn’t  always what you get. There were tears of laughter, joy and sadness rolling down my face throughout.

The play tells the story of Billy, the cripple of Inishmaan who discovers that a film crew from Hollywood are travelling to the next island over to make a film about life on the islands. Billy gets to the island and is whisked off to the USA for a screen test. He later returns to Inishmaan with the news that he did not get the party because ‘the Yank said “better to get a normal fella who can act crippled, than a crippled fella who can’t fecking act at all.”‘ A line which Radcliffe delivered so perfectly that the audience were left roaring with laughter and Radcliffe was forced to wait for it to ripple away before he could continue. It’s worth adding that, whilst I can’t say it was perfect as I’m not Irish so can’t be a true judge, Radcliffe pulled off his Irish accent well enough to make me forget his days as Harry Potter (for the most part).

Ingrid Craigie and Gillian Hanna as  Billy’s aunts Kate and Eileen were comically wonderful and their jokes bounced off each other with flawless precision. Much of their comedy was created by their looks at one another and at the audience. We were lucky that we were close enough to be able to see their facial expressions but I imagine that even from further away without a clear view of their faces the two women’s comedy would not have been missed.

The final character that really stood out for me – honestly they all shone but I don’t want to drag this post out too far – was Helen McCormick, played by Sarah Greene. Her sometimes gentle and sometimes outright violent teasing of her brother was both hilarious and sweet. Her treatment of Billy towards the end of the play tugged at my heartstrings and her blatant distaste for most men in the play showed her attempts to stand out as an independent woman.

Overall the play was astounding and a really wonderful way to spend an evening. I’m glad I was able to catch it on its final night.

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I would have loved to go to the stage door afterwards but this was the huddle that had already formed.