8 Films That Have Inspired Me

8 Films That Have Inspired Me

Something a little different from me, however I was recently inspired by a podcast to write about some of the films that have inspired or influenced me in any way, some are just favourites of mine.

  1. The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap was easily one of my favourite childhood films, I remember just always wanting it on even if I was just playing. The story line revolves around to long-lost twins meeting at summer camp and deciding to trade places in order to get their parents back together. I have to admit I have only seen the later remake and not the original, but the fact they managed to create twins out of Lindsey Lohan blew my little child brain. It’s just such a feel good film, I love the soundtrack as well and the scenery throughout. 10 year old me wanted to grow up and live on a vineyard, even though I’d never drank wine, because of this film.

2. Moana

My next children’s film had to be Moana, now as a childhood my favourite Disney Princess film was always Pocahontas, that gal is a strong independent woman. However I had to give Moana the edge for this list as I truly did become obsessed with it at the start if uni, the animation and music are truly beautiful and it never fails to make me feel summery. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE a rom-com, but I think there’s something so valuable in showing children a female lead without a love interest, the friendship between Moana and Maui is captivating enough.

3. Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia Here We Go Again

These two films will hardly be a shock to anyone that knows me, I loved the first film and I didn’t think it was possible to like the second as much as I did! I remember going to see Mamma Mia at the cinema and loving it because I already loved ABBA and all the music, and throwing in the Greek setting was just spectacular. I am not oblivious to the cheese factor with Mamma Mia, and that’s where I think Here We Go Again is so cleverly written, it keeps an element of that cheese but there is so much more depth and emotion to the storyline. Lily James is literally stunning throughout, I want her wardrobe. They feel so special to me as I know how much my family love ABBA, I could write a whole blog post on my obsession with these films but I won’t, and Slipping Through My Fingers is such a powerful song (it’s actually mine and my mum’s song).

4. Rent

My other musical mention had to be Rent, I first watched it whilst in sixth form and I literally fell in love with it. I just had the soundtrack constantly on in my car. I’ll give a little background as I know it’s a less known than others in this post, it’s set in New York during the AIDS epidemic and follows 8 characters over a year as most live in near poverty. Also want to give a special mention to Jonathan Larson, he wrote the original stage musical and the morning of the first Off Broadway preview performance he passed away unexpectedly, so never got to see its reception. If that isn’t heartbreaking I don’t know what is. The musical, particularly the lyrics, is so powerful and celebrates life despite the sorrow. I could say a lot more about this musical but I shall refrain from ruining the story for anyone who wants to watch it.

5. My Sister’s Keeper

Admittedly, this is a bit of a random choice for me as I haven’t actually watched it in years. However, it is a film that I often reference and always remember, it focuses on a family with three children, one who has had cancer from a young age, the parents chose to have a third child to be a donor for the child with cancer. I think it’s such a clever concept that brings up a lot of moral and ethical questions. How far should parents be willing to go to save their child? Where do you draw the line? Obviously it is a very sad film, but I think it’s an important topic especially as cancer affects everyone. If you have watched the film I would highly recommend the book as it’s obviously in a lot more depth, but I’ll warn you the film is a nice version of the book!

6. The Last Song

As previously mentioned, I love a rom-com, I went to see The Last Song in Sydney with my sister and we expected to just to see a happy, easy-going rom-com but left in tears as it was so much more emotional than we expected. The film takes place in a small seaside town, with two children visiting their estranged father for the summer, it’s a Nicholas Sparks novel so obviously focuses on romance, however there is a lot more meat to the story, it shows the powerful relationship between father and children and it has a lovely message of forgiveness. Also think Miley and Liam have insane chemistry, obviously because they were actually falling in love but still worth a mention.

7. Notting Hill

Now this is a total (not) guilty pleasure, like I said I love a rom-com, and I love this late 90s era of Julia Roberts films. She is genuinely so stunning and graceful throughout the film, and I love seeing Hugh Grant be a bit more awkward than he usually is. The film as a whole, is just an easy watch, it’s feel good and set in such a cool part of London. I remember last year Elle and I were watching it in the lounge and slowly but surely nearly all the boys had come to join us and were loving it. I have to give a special shout out to My Best Friend’s Wedding as I was really torn between the two, in the end I asked Cal which I mention more and he said Notting Hill.

8. Random Film I used to watch on Sky Go

Technically, I shouldn’t count this as I can’t remember it’s name, however I used to be obsessed with this film that was on Sky Go. All I remember is that the main character was a guy who was having problems with his partner/wife as they couldn’t have children and I’m pretty sure they separate during the film, and then he finds out he actually has a son called Phoenix and keeps it hidden from his partner. Eventually the partner finds out, the mother of the son is diagnosed with a terminal illness and it ends with her reading a letter to Phoenix. It sounds cheery I know, but it was really good!! For the life of me I cannot remember it’s name and it has bothered me for years that I don’t know what it is, I have even tried googling ‘films with a character named phoenix’ and never had any luck, so if anyone knows what this film is, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!

See you next time pals x

Travelling with CFS/ME

Travelling with CFS/ME

I recently went on a (very fun) trip to Berlin with Callum and a couple of our closest friends, sadly at the moment I’m going through quite a dip in my health with CFS/ME, so going on this trip was quite nerve wracking as I had no idea how I would be whilst we were away. I’m so fortunate that our friends were so understanding but I also decided to use special assistance at the airports. This honestly made such a huge difference to the whole process of travelling, both our flights were early in the morning and the lack of sleep really takes a toll on my fatigue, so knowing I had help going through the airport.

Anyone who is perfectly healthy is aware of how much walking is involved with airports, but for someone suffering with a disability it’s a really overwhelming thought having to navigate through a busy place on a time constraint. It made my day so much easier having help getting to the gate and plane as I knew I would get there in time and I didn’t have to use all my energy getting there. Anyone with a disability and concerned about airports, I strongly advise you use special assistance even if there’s a chance you will be well on the day, there’s security knowing you can use it if you need it.

I think the biggest tip I have is planning your day out to what you can realistically handle (I know for a fact Cal, Izzy and Ali are laughing reading this), however I find it’s better to plan less for a day and feel you can handle doing more than planning lots and realising you won’t handle it all or making yourself ill. One of the biggest troubles I have with travel is feeling like I’m missing out or causing others to miss out, I looked back at our big family holiday to Cyprus and realised I’m only really in pictures from the evenings as I was merely too poorly to go out and do things. The only day out I had was a trip to a water park (also the trip out we did in Berlin was to a water park, everyone HAS to go to Tropical Islands if you go to Berlin), and it really upset me at the time that I missed out on so much. Now I look back on that holiday and think of all the things I managed to do rather than what I didn’t manage, I read 8 books in the two weeks we were away, I managed to swim everyday and play cards with the family. Just changing this mind set really makes a trip seem so much more positive and it’s what makes me still feel capable of travelling.

I’d be lying if I never felt like I was holding others back from a good time, but I just have to remind myself that if roles were reversed I would only want them to be happy and enjoying themselves. It has taken such a huge toll on my confidence having to constantly judge what I can and can’t manage, particularly when I go through a dip in health, however I know it won’t always be this bad and when it is I just have to be kind to myself.

It’s not always easy accepting you need the help, however as soon as you do, travelling becomes so much more achievable and enjoyable.

See you next time pals x

It’s okay to be overwhelmed

It’s okay to be overwhelmed

I think everybody looking for work or thinking of changing job feels anxiety around it, I think the current uncertainty around Brexit is definitely heightening that at the moment. I’m certainly feeling it as I come towards the end of my degree, everyday someone asks me what my plans are and honestly I’m no clearer than when I started university. I’ve been telling myself to keep open to do anything when I finish, to be honest most of the time I take a ‘what will be will be’ stance. However since falling ill with CFS/ME, it’s like I’ve watched each door open to me slam shut as I would struggle to do those jobs.

It’s been really strange going from being so career driven and spending my whole life working towards a career, and all of sudden the idea of a career feels so far fetched to me. Realistically I’ll be able to work part-time, or full-time but with a couple of days at home, it’s really dawning on me that I won’t have the career I’d always imagined myself in. It’s really difficult to not feel inferior to everyone, and in no horrid way, I see my friends with these great careers ahead of them and they have so many options open to them, and I am so envious of all the amazing things they’ll get to do.

It might not make sense to others, but i’m finding it really hard to understand why an employer would want to hire me when they could hire someone who was fully able, then I get this crippling sense of having to prove myself and guilt because I have no energy to do anything about it, and it’s simply a vicious circle I find myself caught up in. I’m sure that’s absolutely normal for anyone suffering with an illness, and in the rational side of my brain knows that I can’t be discriminated against, but still there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t worry about my job prospects.

All of this realistically feels very far away and I still have to finish university, but it’s coming round a lot quicker than I like and it’s the one thing everybody wants to know about. I’ve always planned to take a break after university, and I know I won’t be able to walk straight into a job as I’ll need some recovery time, but I still feel overwhelmed at what’s inevitably around the corner.

See you next time pals x

2018: The year that changed my life

2018: The year that changed my life

It seems strange to be posting about 2018 when we’re already mid-way through January, but I felt I couldn’t return to writing without wrapping up my year in some way. 2018 without a doubt has been the hardest year of my life, aside from battling CFS/ME, I lost three grandparents within 9 months. Don’t get me wrong the year was not only bad times, I made some incredible memories, however I know I won’t remember this year in a positive light. If you had told me this time last year the position I would be in now, I’d have struggled to believe you. As strong and positive as I’ve felt throughout the year, it’s impossible to ignore the impact losing my grandmas and granddad has had on me. I am extremely fortunate as I grew up with all four grandparents living only 15 minutes away from me, aside from when I am away at University, I saw them on atleast a weekly basis. I am so grateful for all the time I had with them, however it has made losing them such an adjustment to my life as I feel the gap they’ve left.

At the end of March I lost my Grandma Fox which completely turned my world upside down, we had always been so close as a family, but all of a sudden our daily life changed as we went from seeing her nearly every day to not at all. Although nothing can really prepare you for loss, we were somewhat prepared, we were aware Grandma had a terminal illness so really got to cherish our last months with her. I still find it hard walking into Lincoln Hospital knowing she has gone after going so much to visit her. The saving grace throughout this loss was my Grandpa Fox, we became so close to him over the summer, especially Cal and I, he was so strong and positive but also not afraid to express his sadness. I think his attitude really kept us all going as he led the way in carrying on.

Only 7 months later my Grandma Siva passed away, it felt like being thrown back to the start of the process as I’d barely begun to come to terms with losing Grandma Fox. The only comfort in losing Grandma Siva was knowing she was no longer in pain and suffering after months of battling cancer. Again, although we weren’t unaware of how ill Grandma was, I still felt as though I had been robbed of time. This made it quite hard to accept and I felt such a conflict of emotions from guilt to anger to just utter sadness, I know now this is allnormal but at the time it felt like I was losing control of my emotions. Going through grief is a really strange time as you wish the you could stop everything and just allow yourself some time to recover and be sad, but the world carries on around you and you just have to learn to adapt.

That feeling really came into play over Christmas as my Grandpa Fox passed away extremely suddenly a week before Christmas. I don’t think I will ever forget my phone call with my mum when she told me as I was just plunged into a state of disbelief, even though it’s been a month there’s still a part of me now that doesn’t want to believe he’s really gone. The last time I saw my Grandfather, my mother and I left his house saying how healthy he looked, he looked content despite everything that had happened over the past year, three days later he died instantly from a sudden heart attack. I’m still incredibly devastated at the loss of him, I still have moments of feeling angry that he’s been taken from us, however he didn’t suffer or even know what was happening which is what he’d said he wanted. The night before my father actually had an extremely vivid dream that there was a couple in our house and he watched them walking out the door, we know one of the last things my Grandpa did was buy and write a card for my parents thanking for them for all their support throughout losing my Grandma Fox. I can’t help but think my Grandma came for him, maybe that’s what my father saw, I don’t know what my beliefs around death are, but for now I’m finding comfort knowing they’re together.

I feel such a huge hole in my life at the minute without them all, however I know in time that will heal and it’s a credit to their characters. My Grandpa Fox used to say to us that everyone keeps telling him it’s going to get better but it isn’t, as heart-breaking as this was, my mum and I would say ‘It probably won’t get better, but it will get normal’. This feels realistic to me, at this point it’s hard to imagine feeling better about all this loss, but I know in time it will just become a part of life. It’s been so hard watching my family, especially my parents, keep going through this pain knowing there’s nothing I can do to take it away. You wish you could just wrap everybody in bubble wrap and protect them from anymore hurt. On the other hand, I got to enjoy 21 years of love and memories with my grandparents, which a lot of people don’t get to experience. So here’s to 2019 not necessarily getting better, but getting normal.

See you next time pals x

Let’s talk about being a student

Let’s talk about being a student

This topic sparked after a conversation I had with a friend earlier, being a student feels like a very weird in between stage. I am an adult, I moved out of my parents house, I manage my own finances and look after myself. Yet sometimes it is blatantly obvious I’m not taken as seriously as I should be because I am a student. This conversation was mainly focused around estate agents as we both felt they take complete advantage of students, obviously this is a completely biased opinion, however I know it isn’t only us that feel this way.

This is my fourth year of being a university student, I’ve lived independently for all of that time yet I can’t help but still feel like people treat me like a teenager sometimes. Why does it matter that I’m in full time education compared to a full time job? Majority of people I know at university also work part time, and although they have student finance, they support themselves financially as much as possible. I know this opinion doesn’t apply to everyone, and lots of people don’t view university students differently to adults but there is definitely a stigma around them. 

It also doesn’t just apply to what people think of us, I know other people have felt similarly to me, these past few years have been a continuous cycle of freaking out about my life plan and working out what job would be suited to me. It’s a time that people constantly tell you to enjoy, and I’m sure when I am older I will look back and miss this time, however it also feels like a very important, scary time where I have to make so many decisions when I barely know what I want for dinner. Maybe that’s why people hold a stigma around students, it really comes down to jealousy of missing that time of their life. 

This whole period has been a confusing time of working out what I’m doing with my life, and the more I muddle through it, I notice everyone feels the same and you just have to not think to much about it. 

See you next time pals x 

Managing a setback

Managing a setback

On my CFS/ME course they use the term setbacks to talk about anything that creates struggles for us when managing our illness. To a certain extent, the past month’s events have been a huge setback in my illness, I have become significantly more poorly, but it has been really hard judging when to let myself feel sad and grieve, or when it is impacting my illness and making me feel worse. 

In my previous post I spoke about positivity and how important it is to remain optimistic with this illness, it serves no value to feel sorry for myself. What I’m really struggling with at the moment is remembering that in the past year I’ve lost two people very close to me, anyone without an illness would be struggling to and I have to be kind to myself because I have to manage an illness and manage bereavement. 

My plan for the next few weeks is to put myself first as much as possible and put my illness back at the top of my priorities. It’s okay to be a bit selfish in these circumstances. If someone I knew was in my position, I’d be telling them to put themselves first, so I should take my own advice. 

See you next time pals x

A little positivity

A little positivity

It’s been a hot minute since I wrote a blog post as I sadly lost my Grandma at the end of October, so needed some time to process and recoup. I don’t want this to seem selfish but obviously this has taken a huge toll on my fatigue, it doesn’t take a medical professional to connect stress to illnesses, I have seen a huge decline in my health the past few weeks. On the other hand, I think it’s important to remember that there is a reason for that, I’d come so far with managing my fatigue and was actually going through a very healthy patch, there’s no reason I can’t go back to that.

One of the biggest things I’ve learnt with CFS/ME is how vital your mindset is, now I’m not saying I never have days where I don’t feel down about being ill, I just know how important it is to keep positive. I count myself lucky that I am able to keep motivated to get as well as I can, it would be so easy to just settle and believe that I’m always going to be this ill. It took me a long time to get to this place, a huge part of it was accepting that I am chronically ill.

I pride myself in being optimistic, particularly as someone who has suffered with depression for years, it’s never prevented me from being hopeful for better. I will put my hands up and say I am guilty of getting easily frustrated when people are pessimistic, I’ve just never seen a need for it. I understand being realistic however there’s a difference between the two, it must be so draining to constantly think negatively. Maybe it’s because I have spent years teaching myself to separate the negative thoughts that come with depression, so therefore don’t understand why someone would voluntarily always take the cynical side of things.

I hope this post will help some people that find themselves stuck in negative thoughts, even I find it draining when someone is constantly moaning so goodness knows how they feel. It’s okay to be sad and to moan but you have to be able to pick yourself up and focus on what is really going to help you. A little positivity can go a long way.

See you next time pals x