Basingstoke Live 2016

Well I’m writing this almost falling asleep after all the excitement of this weekend. I did it, after going to Basingstoke live since it started 9 years ago, No People Club took to the main stage of the festival at 7pm and ABSOLUTELY ROCKED IT. We played a new song and I honestly think it’s the best we’ve ever played and the best we’ve ever sounded.

I went straight from work on Friday to pick Rhys and Dan up to the rehearsal space, practiced for 4 hours, came back and finally slept before getting up and doing the festival. It felt incredible we were playing to so many people, people were dancing, singing along, it couldn’t have been any better. Singing the lyrics and basically singing a map of my life for the past few years just stirred these feelings deep in me and I realised I can’t stop doing this. I LOVE performing, I love the guys and we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we can carry on with this. I have the memories from the day and night (including going out to the pub with my Mum, Ali’s Dad, the boys and Abbie) and I think it was something I needed. This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.

 

Strike a Match.

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The past three years haven’t just been filled with study, they’ve lead other parts of my life to change too. I wrote yesterday about taking chances  and way back in first year the boys and I took a chance at putting a band together and playing a load of shows. I’ve done more with this band than I have before, we’ve played great venues, recorded then scrapped it then recorded again. I’ve been waiting so long to be able to tell you all that our new singles are out. The process was slowed down a few times for various reasons, the main pushback for this not being out a year ago was because of my broken back, you can’t record if you can’t stand and are half asleep on painkillers. Fact. For a long time I blamed myself that we didn’t have this finished, that we weren’t touring the country but then I stopped and worked with that we had. What we had was some great show experience, a friendship and memories that would last. So at times it may have felt like this would never come out and now it’s finally here and being listened too! You have no idea how weird it is to be able to type the band name into iTunes and then have my voice come through the speakers. There has been blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the writing, the planning the recording, the shows we played, the hours of practice.

So, finally, I present to you all Strike a Match, click here to head to iTunes and have a listen!

My Year – 2015

It’s been a funny old year for me. I sit down to write this post and I don’t know what to think. My overwhelming feeling is at one end I’ve learnt a lot but at the other I’ve also had to deal with things I wouldn’t have imagined. I feel like next year is going to be a mixed year too, but hopefully not as painful. 2016 has a lot of new challenges lined up and if I’m honest I am scared but I’m also excited. For now, here’s a roundup of 2015!

January

I played my first show in central London

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Back in January the boys and I played our first show just around the corner of Leicester Square! We got a great number of people down and had a great time!

I fell in love with a horse

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At the stables I fell in love with Ruby. In January I started going to the stable at the weekends, grooming and spending hours just playing and stroking her.

I had a tough time, then treated myself

I struggled in January for a few different reasons and so I went and treated myself to some new bits and a hair cut. I started to listen to how I felt and what I needed to stay well.

I got to share horse riding with my sister

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I got to take my little sister horse riding! She loved it and it was great for my Mum and Summer to see me ride.

February 

I celebrated Harry Potter Book Night

Joe and I trekked into London for Harry Potter Book Night. It was so much fun to dress up, hand out with one of my best mates, meet the new illustrator and win a signed copy of Philosopher’s Stone.

I struggled and I swam.

While trying to look after myself I started trying to swim whenever I felt down, a big step for me.

I got told I was a ‘game changer’

I got filmed for a documentary that a third year student was making. I was called a ‘game changer’ which I didn’t believe but was really pleased with all the same 🙂

March

I couldn’t say goodbye…and broke my heart

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The beautiful Ruby was sold and I never got a chance to say goodbye and it broke my heart. She was such an incredible horse and I had an amazing connection with her.

I won a KU Talent award!

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I was up for two awards this year ‘Second Year of the Year’ and ‘Overcoming Adversity to Achieve’, which I won. I was so shocked because the category was so strong, I had an amazing night with my Mum and it was definitely one of the highlights of my year!

I became a President 

I became President of the Kingston University Horse Riding Society and won most improved rider for the year! It was a true honor and another great part to the month.

I fell in love with Sign Language again

Working with young people who were hearing impaired was a great experience and made me even more determined to work with disabled students at the university.

…I dropped my phone down the toilet.

Oh yeah, that.

April 

I had the best Easter

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I had such a fun family easter! We really had fun all together, my sister doesn’t look happy because for the first time in years I beat her at the egg hunt!

I went back to Durham!

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I was lucky enough to take a trip back up to Durham to see Ali’s grandparents for their anniversary. I absolutely love going up to Durham it’s beautiful and always relaxing.

I got my two babies

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I bought Hamski and Noodle home ❤ My two little fur babies came home together and although they were eventually separated they originally loved cuddling together! They also proved to be a much needed distraction in the coming months.

I fell off a horse…

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Yep, a simple fall meant my first ride in an ambulance. I was taken in, left in a hospital in the middle of nowhere and luckily had Laura with me. At first I was told I was fine and got back on a horse 3 days later…

May 

I found out that I had broken my spine

After 2 weeks of feeling really sore and then an MRI scan I found out that I’d broken my spine with further damage to other vertebrate, muscle, soft tissue and nerve damage. The 7 hours wait to find out what had gone wrong was just the start of a very long journey ahead.

I used a wheelchair for the first time

I cried a lot when I had to use the chair because I couldn’t walk. Luckily Amy came to get me so I didn’t miss out on our girls dinner before Alissa went back to the US. I ended up having fun and forgetting about the chair for a little bit.

I was part of a winning society!!

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I wasn’t in any fit state to travel so I had to cancel Prague with Dani and Eleanor. To keep my spirits up Amy and Laura took me to the society awards where our society won 2 awards!!

I got my first Spinal Brace

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My physiotherapist is an angel and made sure I had my brace before I flew to Athens. It was hot, sweaty and uncomfortable but it done the job, I was honestly just relieved to have some support for my spine!

June 

I went on my first international creative trip & my first holiday with just Ali (by accident)

What was supposed to be a solo trip to write became a couples trip when I still couldn’t walk! Ali and I ended up having a great time and I finally felt like a writer!

I got a dream job

I got my job as a Social Media Coordinator, one I applied for but never thought I would get. It’s honestly been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had and it was great having the responsibility!

I got a new tattoo!

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I couldn’t go to Foo Fighters in my wheelchair (it was cancelled in the end anyway) so I used the money to get a tattoo that was particularly meaningful then and still is now.

I bought a lot of books…a lot.

What else is a girl to do when she’s mostly stuck in the house?

July 

I said goodbye to friends again

I said goodbye to Eleanor and Maisha as they jetted off for a year of study in New Zealand! Proud friend moment!

I played Basingstoke Live!

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This was my first show post diagnoses. I had my own box, my brace had been taken off and there was a ramp for me. I don’t know how but I got through and it was a great show!

I got frustrated.

I quickly realised I had put on a fair bit of weight and couldn’t really leave the house, sad times.

I had my sister come to stay 🙂

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One of the highlights of my summer was having this munchkin stay with me and going to see Paper Towns early!

August 

I met Don Broco

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Acoustically beautiful and some really lovely lads,

I celebrated living with Ali for a year!

We didn’t kill each other even when I couldn’t move without him! He’s been amazing this year!

I went to my first book club

I got out of my comfort zone, met a friend and bought a lot of books!

I went to the Zoo with some little monkeys

Even though I had to use a wheelchair for our family day out and got rained on I had a great day spending time with family 🙂

I got addicted to comic books

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Damn you Joe, Damn you!

I survived second year!

Despite everything I got through second year with a 2:1 overall…5 marks off of a 1st!

September

I became a third year

Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun

I got told I was medically shorter than last year!

If I wasn’t short enough, I was told after my CT scans that I have officially lost height and may never get full feeling back in my left leg. That said I also got told that I was healing nicely!

I went to Amsterdam

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A great 21st birthday trip with Dani and Amy! Amsterdam was so much fun and my back behaved itself which is a first.

I turned 21!

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I had an incredible 21st I was spoilt and just felt so loved. This was the handmade cake that my sister made me, I don’t think I’ve ever been given so much cake in my life!

I had a stall at Fresher’s Fair

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Rounding up new recruits for the society!

I watched Star Wars…finally 

Now I’m completely obsessed! This started the countdown to see the new film.

I got recording! 

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We got serious about the EP and I was able to record without a panic attack or doubting myself. A big win for me!

October 

I was mentioned in the New York Times

Just for mentioning the 5p plastic bag charge!

I met Katie Piper

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I met one of my idols, Katie Piper. We had a great chat, photos and talked about Hampshire where we’re both from. It was also amazing to get a message from KAtie written in my book, she really is a lovely woman.

I went to my first Comic-con

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I fell in love with Comic-con and bought a stupid amount of pops, spending the last of my birthday money. It really encouraged me to get creative for the next one in May.

November 

I tried to be classy with Joe

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McDonalds and Galleries…what more could you want.

I was allowed to go to the gym class!

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A big step in my recovery! 6 weeks of gym sessions proved my spine was healing the right way and I loved them.

I left the society

Unfortunately I couldn’t cope running the society. I had to step down immediately and spent a lot of the month after pretty poorly both mentally and physically.

December 

I got to meet Ed!

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I got to meet this adorable little man that now takes over my bed!

I saw Star Wars!

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I fell in love with the new cast and am now even more obsessed. Star Wars is the best.

I went to Olympia!

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Laura finally got to use her 21st birthday present and we went to Olympia Horse Show! Such an amazing day out and we’ll definitely be going again next year.

I had an incredible Christmas 

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No lows, family time, amazing gifts. A great Christmas ❤

I decided I wasn’t giving up…

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This year has had some huge challenges and I’ve gotten through them. There’s no doubt I’ve struggled this year a lot and there will be times next year where I’m ready to give up but I won’t.

Happy New Year to all of my lovely readers and thank you so, so much for all your support this year ❤

Fresher’s week 2015

After last weeks celebrations for birthday week, I am surprised I’m still awake after my second week of activities and shenanigans. This week was Fresher week and although I haven’t been out pounding the dance floor I have been pretty busy and, well, I definitely feel like a first year. I spent my first Freshers week being incredibly awkward and nervous and I spent a lot of time in my room, my second Freshers week I went out with my friends, signed up for societies and partied…for my third, I was actually having to be a responsible person.

I spent Monday in physio and working, Tuesday practicing with the boys and taking the Amp for emergency repair (not an ideal situation), Wednesday working with the newbies and taking them to enrollment, Thursday at Freshers fair and then straight to a show at the Fighting Cocks (quite possibly the best crowd I’ve ever played to, shouting, dancing, clapping and an encore!) and back to the fair again on Friday where we got over 100 sign ups for the Horse Riding Society! Get in!

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I’d be lying if I said that everything was completely easy this week. I’ve struggled a lot with both my spine and my anxiety. I’ve got a love hate relationship with Freshers, I love that it’s the beginning of the year and I’m excited to get stuck in, but at the same time I get so anxious with so many people around and everything going on all at once. I’ve met other people like that too, which makes me feel a little better. I’m also freaking out a little out third year, all the work I have to do, the thought of applying for my MA and funding and not knowing what’s going to happen once I graduate. It was also more than a little bittersweet not having Eleanor, Maisha and Alissa around this year to hang out with too.

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Overall, it’s been a good week, definitely challenging but I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved. Am I ready to go back? Yes. I can’t wait to get back into lectures and have something to get stuck into again. I know this years going to be a bit hard because of my spine and I’ll have to miss out on some things that I wanted to do, but maybe I’ll get to do something I hadn’t planned on. I have some great things this year, I love my job, I love my friends, my bands FINALLY getting somewhere, I have two lovely little hammies and the best guy around at my side. I think this year’s going to be a pretty good one.

Hello September! Welcome to third year!

I’ve made it! I’m slightly slower than I was last year but I can’t believe that this month I will be starting the third and final year of my undergraduate degree! It’s absolutely crazy that I’m at the last chapter already, people used to tell me it would fly by and I rarely believed them, but I should have. I’m excited and terrified to be getting back to uni at the end of the month, but that’s not the only reason I should be excited that it’s finally September, oh no! This month is going to be incredible and I’m almost climbing the walls that so many positive things are starting this month such as –

  • I’m going to Amsterdam in 5 days! Yes I’m finally getting to do my little bit of travelling with Amy and Dani as my birthday treat to myself. I’m going to be a dork and go to a load of museums and galleries as well as the Anne Frank House, which is what I wanted to visit since I was a little girl!
  • I’m running my own Freshers Fair stall. This year I won’t be aimlessly walking around finding something to sign up to, I’ll be trying to make sure people join the horse riding society! Although I probably won’t be able to ride for the whole of the academic year it’ll be great to help others enjoy the sport.
  • Not as exciting but I’ll get to see a Neurosurgeon this month to have a spine check up and hopefully some good news
  • It’s soon going to be my FAVOURITE season, Autumn, bring on the hats, scarves and Hot Chocolate!
  • I’m playing Freshers! Yes! This week we were asked to play a show at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston during freshers week, hopefully it’ll be super busy and a great night to play!
  • I finally get some kind of routine back! It’s been quite difficult this summer without a routine, so I’m hoping that my mood will go back up again once I’m around people and have a schedule.
  • Oh and just to mention IT’S MY 21ST BIRTHDAY THIS MONTH!!!! I’m so excited to finally be hitting 21 and have some great things planned as well as a night out with some of my best friends 🙂
  • I finally get to go back to uni. After having 6 months off of lectures I am 100% ready to get back to studying, I’ve actually kind of missed it over the summer and I’ll be applying for my masters soon, Eek!
  • It’s the Rugby World Cup ❤

As you can all see September is going to be an absolute blast! I’m so excited that it’s finally here and I’m going to be enjoying every minute of it! I want to take the chance to say thank you to you all for reading alongside my time at uni and assure you that just because I’m in my last year of undergrad does not mean the blog will be finishing!! I have a lot of great ideas ahead!

I survived second year! – 10 best bits

I did it! I’ve reached the end of the second year of my blog and second year of university. As of tomorrow it will be September again and I’ll be heading back to uni at the end of the month to take on my third year!

This year has been pretty special I’ve learnt a lot and changed a lot. I’ve lived with Ali for over a year now, I was finally allowed to join full field English Literature, made more friends than I thought I possibly would, made a good dent in my mental health recovery, been generally happier, played a load of shows with the boys, took up a sport for the first time since I was 9, won a KU Talent Award, got another job that I love, travelled for uni and broken a part of my back. If that isn’t a crazy year I don’t know what is. I’ve absolutely loved second year. I’m not going to say there weren’t point when I really struggled, because I did but the difference is that I had more people to support me through this year than I have in a long time.

I could write so much about every aspect of second year because it’s been one of the greatest, no matter how it ended. I’ve made new friends and stayed in touch with some others and the thought that I’m going into my last year of undergrad is scary! So for you all tonight I’ve put 10 of my best bits of second year and I’ll remember it with warm memories for the rest of my life.

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  1. I finally got my two little adorables this year, Noodle and Hamski. Even if they have had to be separated now I’m so in love with both of them ❤

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2. No People Club played a lot this year. We spent a lot of our weekends loading up my little car and driving to shows in London, Kingston, Basingstoke and Portsmouth. I’m gutted we had to take a break while my spine healed but we’ve got more stuff planned for the next year and it’s going to be awesome. We also have our awesome fan and sticker guy, one of my best friends Joe, who’s stuck around too.

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3. My second tattoo finally happened! When I found out I wouldn’t be going to Foo Fighters because they’d sold out of disabled tickets I was heartbroken so I got this tattoo instead. I’ve been very up and down this year and not as stable as I’d like but I’m assured that most people would have lows after a big break and spinal brace let alone someone with depression.

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4. I got to go to Athens. I was so, so thankful to be given the opportunity to go to Athens and not have to pay the Creative Writing course fee. Although I was supposed to be going on my own initially, Ali got to come with me because I was still using my wheelchair and not able to move as much. A fab first holiday and it got my creative brain going!

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5. I got my KU Talent award for Overcoming Adversity to Achieve, awarded to be by Sir Trevor McDonald who I actually had a great conversation with while we were sitting at the same table. I’m still gobsmacked I won as there were so many amazing people. I’m so proud that I now work for KU Talent and will get to attend this years awards too!

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6. I started Horse Riding! In October I had my first ride and I was hooked. I had a great 6 months before my fall, including meeting this cutie who really stole my heart. Even though I still have a long way to go in terms of recovery and I don’t know if I’ll go back to riding, but I’ve been voted to run the society this year so I’ll be around the horses anyway. I also made an amazing friend in Laura, who’s been with me every step of the way.

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7. I gave a speech about living with mental health for the university’s diversity conference. It was a great way to connect with people and share my experience and if you want to watch you can click here to watch.

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8. I finished second year with a 66% average, a 2:1. I’m slightly bummed out that I dropped a few percent from last year but I surprised myself with some assignments. It’s made me even more determined to get what I need to get a first this year.

girls!

9. I had some absolutely amazing friends by my side through everything. Here’s a picture of me and the girls as Alissa’s birthday meal, my first outing in my wheelchair which they managed to make fun!

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10. I got to live with a boy, and I still kind of like him.

Oh and a sneaky 11, I’m still working and awesome job and I’ve got another one, always fun!

What have I done this summer?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the expectations of summer today and for the past few weeks. As we creep closer to September and the evenings start getting darker that little bit earlier summer is scampering away before our very eyes. While I was lying on the bed at my appointment yesterday, as my physio was telling me to slow down and not push the muscles too hard something in me snapped. NO! I wanted to scream in my head, No I’m done, I want a summer do over, I want to go and explore the world and write books and go all over London. Just give me a do over. But I was sat slowly trying to pull my knees towards my chest and having my reflexes checked every week to make sure that I wasn’t getting worse. I was waiting on doctors appointments and adjusting medication levels every few weeks. What the hell was I going to say once I got back to uni?

Almost on queue my anxiety  kicked in today, with a days of depressive thoughts too. What if everyone just ignored me when I couldn’t keep up or go on nights out properly? What if I just sat in the corner while everyone talked about how awesome their summer plans were and how they were glad they spent their last summer before graduating having fun and being young? All I could say was that I fractured my spine, got to go in an ambulance and slept a lot.

So I got sad, got angry, and tried to convince myself getting out of bed and getting dressed was going to be a good move. I threw on some clothes after a while and scraped back my hair, intending to take some pictures of Kingston in the sun. The short story is that it didn’t happen, the long version includes a lot of muscle spasms and swearing. So I moped even more and did housework. Now I bet you’re thinking why do I want to read her moaning about life being sucky, WAIT, this bits almost over, I promise.

I thought the words, what have I done this summer? After waves of negativity I had a lightbulb moment, I managed to get my spine to heal back together. I realised how awesome and amazing my body had been this summer. I might not have done anything that other people I know will have done like a trip to Australia or going to Reading Fest, but my body has managed to piece itself back together and escape never being able to use my legs again.

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I realised that it was pretty awesome that I’ve gone from needing help to get out of bed, to walk even the tiniest bit and helped out of the bath every time (now it’s not as often) to having the independence to go to work and my physio appointments without everyone being anxious about it. I’ve learnt to deal with doctors and have a love for nurses. I’ve learnt that I can handle levels of pain I wouldn’t imagine and that if my determination ever needed testing this would do it. I didn’t back down on going to Athens or performing at Basingstoke Live, as people keep telling me I’ve been pretty bad ass.

I still have a long way to go, more appointments, more physio and having to adjust my plans but your body healing itself is a pretty awesome thing and it even makes me forgive the stretch marks that have caused me so much upset lately. Even with all that and the chance I’ll never be able to ride again/ it will be too much of a risk, the experience has made me grow, as cheesy as it sounds. I’ve picked myself up from lows I never thought I’d have and I’ve seen the beauty in the people around me.

So that’s what I’ve done this summer, how about you?