Perfect Strangers and Perfect Friends

The fragility of life is hurting a lot at the moment.

It has been a long time coming, with twists and turns in the road, but it has happened. One of my closest friends has lost her oldest brother. That hurts to even type. Because truly? He will always be here. Forever.

I honestly don’t think it makes much of a difference, whether you know it is coming or not. When it does happen, it is still painful, still crippling.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been pulled to posts I have written over the last few years, and some of it is comforting.

This stood out to me, from 2012 (Snapshots of a Tuesday):

“You know that thing, when you look into the eyes of someone close to you, whom you love; and all that is rushing through your mind, seems to be as clear to the other person, just as if you had said it all? I had a moment like that today. I went to see my mum at her office, and I simply said a few words to her about something, and the rest was pretty much unspoken, because she knew. For a few moments, we were just lost in the mutual understanding that life is so, utterly cruel sometimes. It has a habit of taking people from the world, leaving behind a trail of sorrow. But, of course, there is so much beauty still; but beauty that you knew existed before, now hurts.”

Beauty that you knew existed before, now hurts. Sometimes the things I have written in the past can stop me in my tracks. That gets me; how can life be so cruel, yet so beautiful at the same time?

On Saturday the boy and I were travelling by train to Hastings, to meet my family. We had a chance encounter that touched both of our hearts so deeply. It was brief, perhaps only half an hour, but I will never forget it. I wrote this about 5 minutes afterwards, after a good cry:

“Just sat with a beautiful man, a perfect stranger, on the train. He connected, briefly, with Matt and I; turned out that he had to switch off his 18-year-old son’s life support this morning. My heart hurts so much right now. I gave him my Agate gemstone, he needs it more than me; and we will never forget him. I hope, with all my heart, that someone in his life will be there for him.”


The raw brutality of life is really affecting me. However, I am also feeling hypersensitive to the fact that this is it…this, right now, is all we have. Life is special, death is a part of life, and we should try to appreciate it as much as we can. It will hurt. It is not always fair. It is not fair right now. But it is what it is. It cannot be changed. Nic would not want us to stop living; he did not stop living, even until earlier this year – he was still travelling, still exploring, still squeezing every bit of goodness out of life that he could.

It is painful though, and I know that it will not stop hurting for his beloved family for a long time. It will get easier, over time, but the pain and the gaping hole will always be there. They are such a beautiful family, and the love I have for them will never fade. The love I have for my friend runs deep. Nell – “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” ~ Rumi.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you know that you are loved. I hope you know that you are not alone. Reach out. Perfect strangers are beautiful. Perfect friends are beautiful. No human is perfect, but our connections are beautiful.

Oh I am what I am
I’ll do what I want
But I can’t hide

~ Dido, Here With Me

Words are hard at the moment. They help, a little, but they are hard. Instead, love will do. Hugs will do. Kindness will do. Thoughts will do. Actions will do. Love, with all your heart.


“Borrow my heart while yours is breaking.”

Rest in peace, Nic. We love you.

Life, lately…and the MBTI.

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Where do I start? At various points of my life, I’ve had what I have come to think of as periods of clarity. Lengths of time where I go through a phase of learning so much about myself, and I emerge from it with a deeper understand of not just myself, but of those around me too. That’s happening at the moment. In September, the big sis introduced me to the Myers Briggs Personality Test. For those who don’t know, it’s a test you can take to determine which type of personality you fit, and it can help you to find an appropriate job and so on…but it also helps you to learn about yourself. Interestingly enough, with my type, I am doing a lot of the work that it says is suitable for my type. Huh, go figure.

What it has really helped me with, though, is learning about myself; feeling that it’s okay to be myself, my whole self. I have often felt as if I’m not all that great (hey, us British folks are self-depreciating sometimes!), and at times I can be incredibly critical of myself. I beat myself up. Luckily this is not so bad anymore – although I do have my moments – and the test helped me to realise that it is actually an innate way that I am, but if you recognise your bad traits, then you can always be more aware of them and try to be alert for them. So, Sarah, you stop being a bully to yourself! Nah, not really, just incredibly critical – I am my own worst critic.

This makes it hard sometimes to accept criticism from others, especially if criticism was not really needed in the situation, as more often than not I will already be criticising myself in my head! Other traits, good and bad, that I have also showed up in my personality type, and I’ve had many “ah ha!” moments over the last few weeks. All of this made me want to dig a little deeper in other areas as well: astrology, star signs, numerology… To me, it is all extremely interesting. Astrology and star signs are things I have always had a slight interest in, even when others in my life rubbish the idea from time to time. In my eyes, though, it has been fairly accurate (not talking about horoscopes, but actual star signs and astrology – which covers a wide area!), and I believe that a lot of things combine to make you who you are, and if you believe (or want to believe) in this sort of thing, then it can only ever increase your knowledge about yourself.

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I am a Gemini, and I can relate myself to being a Gemini…a lot. My moods switch, quite often, throughout the day. Heck, even in one conversation, I will often go through many emotions in a short space of time. Some can be more on the surface, others are a deeper mood, and the switch can baffle those I’m with; I will go from being happy, to extremely sad. Sometimes the switch can be predictable, other times it’s not; the poor boy has to put up with this, and I know it confuses him sometimes – oops. Researching personality types has also helped me to build an even deeper understanding of the boy, too.

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My personality type? INFP. No idea what that means? In short: Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Perceiving. A more precise definition is this: Fi-Ne-Si-Te
(Introverted Feeling-Extroverted intuition-Introverted Sensing-Extroverted Thinking). It fascinates me. Here is a good representation of the INFP type:

My Birth Path is 19/1:

My star sign, as I said above, is Gemini:

Of course, I don’t take everything literally – I will take a step back and look at it subjectively – but I can just see many similarities within it all. It is actually a little bit scary.

What is your personality type? Do share, I love learning more about personality types, so it would give me an excuse to research further!

Love and hugs ♥

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Last September, I started to put together a blog post with links to other blog posts. Other blog posts that touched on the subject of depression, or feeling inadequate, or just generally about having a bad day… I never posted it. I was starting on that slippery slope again, and these posts, for a little while, helped. I hope they help you. I hope you know that you’re not alone, you’re never alone, even if you feel like the loneliest person in the world. So, here it is, for you, for me, for everyone.

(As time goes by, I will add to this list; it is by no means comprehensive, and I haven’t changed it or added to it since last September. Perhaps I will make it a page, eventually, rather than a post.)

Posts I love, that talk about depression (etc):

Feeling inadequate (and making changes):

How to pull yourself out of a slump:

Films to watch:

Life, and figuring it all out:

On growing up:

On feeling okay about your choices:

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Up in the Trees

A little over a week ago, I did something that was incredibly hard. I participated in Go Ape for the boy’s birthday. Had been looking forward to it but also knew it was going to be hard for me. (Discovered when I went off to uni that I had/have a fear of heights, as I couldn’t climb up the ladders to adjust the stage lights, my hands would get clammy and I broke out in sweat and got light headed etc). Anyway, I was still up for Go Ape!

It was terrifying. It’s split into 5 sites, generally getting harder as you go along. I managed the first one, as Dan (brother-in-law, Liz‘s husband) realised just how nervous I was when we were up in the trees, and encouraged me, and the Go Ape staff on the ground were encouraging me too (as well as my mum, who was down there watching as well).

On the second site, the boy and I bumped into each other up in the trees and when he realised how nervous/anxious I was, he stayed with me and encouraged me – made me go on the zip wire first and met me back on the ground.

However…it then started to get higher up, and I don’t think it was intentional, but I got left behind on every site after that. This is due to a number of things, and partly because when you’re up in the trees, it splits into 2, one side being harder than the other; so most chose the harder side; easy guess of which side I took!

It was my mum and the Go Ape lady (wish I knew her name, sure my mum will know as they walked through the site together) on the ground who got me through most of it.

Then came site 5. Everyone was together at that point, all nervously waiting to go up into the trees. I was feeling okay at the beginning of the wait, as I think I was feeding off a few of the others who were buzzing for it (perhaps it was just a coping mechanism for them too). But they rushed up to the trees when no one else was taking the initiative…leaving me and a few other nervous ones to go up last. And I waited, getting more nervous, because I could feel how nervous the others were too.

I was the last up, in the end. I spoke to one of the Go Ape staff, asking how long this site would take – 15/20mins he said – and a few other questions. I think he knew I was nervous (the staff keep in contact with one another through walkie talkies). Then…up I went. F*ck, it was high. As I was the last up, there was no one to encourage me, and I daren’t look down to my mum, it was far too high up for me to feel comfortable doing that.

So…I tried to persevere. Did some breathing techniques, deep breathes, in through my nose, out through my mouth. I tried talking to myself as if I was talking to a friend. You can do this. Go on Sarah. You’ve got this. I went over two walkways.

Then I was alone, truly. My brain gave up. My body gave up. I looked ahead, and to get to the next platform, you had to walk across a plank of wood. No. Not happening. I began hyperventilating. Tried to calm myself. Looked across to some of the others who were on the harder trail, they looked incredibly worried and unsure of what to do.

In the end, I braved it and looked down to see my mum and the Go Ape lady, and I broke. I burst into tears and hugged the tree even tighter. The Go Ape lady literally ran and rushed up to meet me. I am so incredibly grateful towards her (going to write a letter).

She said there were two options. I could either come back down with her, or carry on and she’ll do it with me. I managed to calm myself down and said that I’ll carry on, with her. It was not easy. I’d even go as far as to say it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. I literally could not have done it without her.

For the wood plank bit, we did it together, and she hooked herself onto me too. She made me look in her eyes and kept talking to me as we went over. That helped me a huge amount. Then, for the rest of it, I would ask her questions (such as “how wobbly is this bit” etc, so I was mentally prepared), and she was right behind me every step of the way.

Two more crossings to go, and I was finally feeling a bit better, although every time the trees shook (only gently), and every time I could hear someone going down the zip wire, I froze, had to look away from the sight/sound in order to maintain myself…and then carry on.

The zip wires were actually fun, once I got over jumping off the platforms! So that last zip wire was amazing. (It was 120 metres long). I gave the lady a huge, tight hug…then took the leap of faith, waving at my mum as I went down (of course, there was no way that I was letting go of the rope, so I kicked jubilantly with my legs instead).

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it again, but I will definitely help to plan it for next year (a potential Tree House event). I learnt a lot about myself, and felt a little worse for wear in the days after, mentally. Felt fragile. But as with all things, it has made me stronger.

It was the first time I have had a panic attack of that scale, and of course, it was amplified by the fact that I was so high up off the ground, on my own. I’m so proud of myself for completing the whole thing. I honestly was not sure if I could.

In my state of nervousness, I completely forgot my manners, and didn’t ask for any names of the Go Ape staff, but I am forever grateful to them. I’m grateful towards the man at the beginning, who showed us the ropes, and who, when he realised I was deaf, made a conscientious effort to speak clearly and check that I understood everything. Then there were the other staff, on the ground, throughout, who spurred me on. The man at the very last site, who I spoke to just before I went up the ladder, and who even held the ladder as I went up, to stop it wobbling/swaying so much (all the ladders are rope ladders, and although they are attached firmly to the trees, they still sway slightly as you climb up). Lastly, but not least, a huge, huge thank you to the lady who encouraged me throughout, on the ground, and who then came up to meet me when I panicked. From the bottom of my heart – thank you.

Honestly, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. In the last week, I was talking to a friend, and we were talking about extreme sports, and the way it makes you pull from your inner strength. When I said I was in disbelief that I had managed to carry on, despite panicking, and feeling as if I couldn’t do it, she said that I have a strength that some people might not ever find…and it’s because of all the times I have gotten through darkness, inside. She is the same, we have both had to fight internal battles, and it makes you stronger, each time. My battle scars help me. Depression is not something I would wish upon anyone, but if there’s one thing I know I take away from it, each time, it’s a deeper sense of strength.

Life is for the living.

Sarah and Becky

The Team


Thoughts are a little all over the place right now, so I will attempt to sort through them and put them into order…but knowing me, that’ll take ages. Instead, I’ll just go with the flow. I need to write.

It’s been a bit of a whirl-land lately, a lot has happened, to the point where I can’t even really pinpoint when each thing happened anymore…it all just fell into place. It has been one thing after another, bam bam bam; mostly all good, but because it’s happened all at once, I’m feeling the need to step back and pause. Pause and reflect.

With that said, I don’t want to reveal it all just yet. I need to tell a few people in person, and then text/email a few friends who aren’t “down the road” anymore – one is up in the North of England!! It’s all good though. (And no, no babies on the scene yet!)

Just…yeah, I need to press the pause button, at least for the weekend. It’s been a crazy week; started off fairly quietly, and then as the week’s gone on, it’s gotten more and more busy and hectic. Culminating in something new tonight, that I’ll need to give a lot of thought to. After this, I was waiting around for the boy for well over an hour in Central London; it was full of people coming and going, and heading home, heading on to the next bar/pub…but I wasn’t really in the mood for it. Just wanted quiet, and calm – Central, after 10pm, doesn’t really offer that. I was kicked out of Starbucks when the clock struck 10, and so I wandered for a little, but just wanted…to be alone, on my own. There’s a difference, because you can be alone in London…yet never really feel like you’re alone. There are people all around. And yet…you can be surrounded by people…and feel a loneliness that is all-consuming.

I have come to care about many people, suddenly, in such a short space of time. We’re connected, in some way or another, through a common experience. This week was meant to be a “break”…but we can’t really stay away from one another, it’s like a magnetic force pulling us together. They’re beautiful souls though, and they all have huge hearts. We might not be perfect, and we may rub one another the wrong way from time to time, but at the end of the day they have taken a piece of my heart and I don’t want it back. They can keep it, because I know they will nurture it. Over the last few years I have come to realise just how important it is that I surround myself with people who bring light to my life; when I am around these people, I feel so inspired that it is unbelievable. And these people, these new friends that have touched my heart in such a deep way…? They’re special. (Thank you.)

Slowly, the sadness is dispelling.

Life…is happening.

And I will be back soon.

100 Things I Love about London

It has been a long time, again… The last post I did was in February last year (I know!), so kickstarting this again, as I’m determined to get to 100… Here goes.

100 Things I Love about London Part 6.

71 ♥ El Paso

72 ♥ The Museum of Childhood

73 ♥ Golden Square

74 ♥ Westfield Stratford

75 ♥ The open air theatre (Regent’s Park)

76 ♥ Honest Burgers

77 ♥ Record shops

78 ♥ The book market on Southbank

79 ♥ Liberty Festival

80 ♥ The Olympic Park

81 ♥ Abbey Road

82 ♥ Peter Jones (John Lewis) at Sloane Square

83 ♥ The LUSH Spa

84 ♥ The Spice of Life

85 ♥ Covent Garden


Getting closer to the elusive 100…keep your eyes peeled! Here are the previous posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Happy Monday, here’s to a good week ahead.

Summer has come and passed…

…the innocent can never last. (Kudos to you if you know the song, it’s a favourite).

Its been a good summer. Lots of soul searching. Lots of connecting. Lots of thinking. Lots of emotion. Its been a summer of change and transformation. I will always remember this summer.

WordPress informed me that it’s my 6 year anniversary; 6 years since I did my first post. I was 19, moving to uni, and a little bit scared. Suffice to say, a lot has changed since then. But a lot has stayed the same. The boy and I are still together, for a start. When I did that first post, we had been together for nearly a year and a half; now, it’s almost 7 and a half years. We still live at home, but after unofficially “living” at his for so long, I have now “officially” moved in…tonight, in fact. It doesn’t mean much difference, except that we’ll be buying and cooking for ourselves, I have a set of keys…eek. It’ll be good. We’re moving forward. Hopefully by the Spring, we’ll be in a position to move into our own place. Anyway, 6 years; wow.

This weekend has been a little emotionally challenging, on the inside. I’ve been feeling…sad. Just…sad. It passes, it always does, but it keeps coming back. Now, I’m not too worried; I need to feel it, I think. After numbing myself for so many months, it’s good to feel again…but some emotions are hard to navigate. The good thing? I have so many precious people in my life, and I am thankful for each and every one of them. Friday, after talking to a friend about feeling sad, we met for a quick cup of tea and lots of hugs, and it helped. We talked. We laughed. Connected. Yesterday, I went along to watch two friends climb at a bouldering place in London; that was incredible. It was the first time I had seen one friend *do* rock climbing, and she has her own business to help deaf and disabled people climb and try almost every extreme sport you can think of (she’s truly incredible), so it was really inspiring to watch. She helped another friend to climb for the first time…and, oh boy, did he climb?! He was practically bouncing off the walls! So that was a Saturday afternoon well spent. Today has been slow, perhaps why I feel a bit sad, maybe.

There’s been a lot on my mind lately, which doesn’t really help. I’ve been thinking a lot about people; learning a lot about people. After getting through this year’s Winter and Spring, I feel more worldly; I’m seeing things in a different light. All I can say right now, is that I am extremely grateful to have the Tree House, my wonderful friends, my lovely family (even if we do rub one another the wrong way sometimes!) and, of course, the boy. I am in a very good place, a very strong place. I am a lioness, hear me roar.

Positivity from a hard place is an amazing thing; from being honest about depression, I have connected to so many beautiful souls. Beautiful souls who also suffer (or have suffered) from depression, and they are truly inspirational. To go through the depths of blackness, and come through it…I still marvel at it. These people touch my soul, my heart, and I am so incredibly grateful that they had the courage to reveal their struggles, because it helps. We are stronger together. Stronger united. Stronger when we empathise. You are beautiful.

I thought writing would help, but it doesn’t quite want to come tonight. I still feel sad. But it’s okay, it really is. I have coffee, a candle burning on the desk, and I can hear Pinterest calling me.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends, wonderful summers; and I will be back.