Monday, 25 March 2013

Firsts and Lasts

I haven't posted in ages! (Well, just over 2 weeks.) So here's an update on things.

I realised that there are a lot of lasts for me this week: my last day of teaching (singing) on Mondays; my last ballet lesson before I move back home to Scotland again, where there aren't adult classes for 50 miles(!); the last performance of the opera tour I'm in; and my last day living with my Aunty Anne and Uncle Steve in Yorkshire. I suppose I could get quite down at the prospect of all these, but I've had such a great few weeks and feel really content, so I'm focussing on the positives!! (I'm pleasantly surprised at how long my positivity has lasted to be honest!)

So I do have a couple of firsts this week too:
Me and Vicky

First Uni Reunion
This past weekend, I travelled down to Markfield, near Leicester, to meet up with friends that I made at uni and lived with for the 3 years whilst there. We made it Friday to Sunday to make it a proper get-together. Now, I have to be honest, although I was pretty sure that it was going to be good to see everyone, I did have some reservations, as our living together was a bit of a rollercoaster: I had some of my best times with these guys, but also some of my worst, so I wasn't completely sure as to what to expect, as things were left on good terms, but not on no-doubt-about-it great terms.

Nigel and Mark

Buuut… I had such a great time. I'm so, so pleased that it was as good as we'd hoped it would be, and I think we were all relieved that things just went right back to how they were at the best times we'd had at uni. Although I literally hardly ever speak to them, and we all have pretty different lives, we're going to try and keep a reunion quite regular (a suggestion was every 3 - 4 months, but I think that won't really be possible because of our different schedules - it took us long enough to organise this one! - so I'm estimating maybe once or twice a year), so I really hope that we stick to it and keep it up.

First Day of my 6th Season at Glenfiddich
Zocia, me, Still House, 2011
Every summer I go home to work as a tour guide at Glenfiddich (Single Malt Whisky) Distillery. I started the summer before I went to uni and have gone back every year as, quite frankly, it is one of the BEST jobs EVER. Now, a couple of years ago (after graduating uni) I had hoped I wouldn't have to return to the 'Fiddich as I hoped that I would be working too much as a performer for it to be feasible. However, last year at the last minute I got in touch with my GF boss and pretty much begged for a job (with lots of strings attached in terms of my working hours to accommodate commitments I had already made), and he sympathetically took me on again even with all my requests, and I worked my 5th consecutive season. It was during this time I realised that I actually didn't want the time to come that I wouldn't be able to work at Glenfiddich, as I have made some amazing friends there (including one of my best, Zocia >>), I have such a wonderful time in the job, I get to be at home with my family for longer than 2 weeks, I learn so much and I generally have a great time in every aspect. So I can't wait to start back at the end of the week for my 6th season! I may write a whole post about it later on in the year.

In general, I'm in a pretty good place right now. Even when I do get stressed over something, I'm literally fine again within minutes. I can only put this down to the positive outlook on life I have tried to maintain recently, my wonderful friends and amazing family.

I'll try to post sooner next time!


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Inspirational Women

As it was International Women’s Day yesterday and tomorrow is Mother’s Day, I thought I would write about some females that I find inspiring. This includes people I know personally and people I only know about (I have divided these into 'Personal Inspiration' and 'Professional Inspiration'). This will be a long post, so if you wanted something snappy – apologies!

Personal Inspiration:

My Mum
Anyone who is close to their mum will understand why she is number 1. My mum is an inspiration and role-model in so many ways. (I introduced her in My Family post, but she deserves more than just an introduction I think!)

I’m not sure if I can say exactly what her job is, but she’s a manager who works very long hours and whose job can be very stressful. It’s funny to think what she must be like at work, as I can’t imagine her in any kind of high-flying role (which she also says herself, even though she is already in one!). Despite the stress of her job and having to live away from home through the week (because of her job), she still puts her family first.

I will never be able to thank her for all the support (mental and financial) she has given me over the years. And she still keeps giving. Even though I am trying to be as independent as possible as I get older, in times that I need a helping hand (and occasionally an arm and a leg!) she doesn’t think twice before offering support. I appreciate all of this so much and in no way take it for granted, and have promised myself that – when I am in a position to – I will pay her back and show my gratitude in every way I can.

That aside, she is also an inspiration for how she has brought me and Weez (my sis) up, as well as playing more than her part as grandmother (or “Babby”) to Aria (my niece). I have many morals which I can only put down to how I was brought up (good work ethic, thriftiness, sensibility, politeness, etc).

My mum is very compassionate and is very much a ‘people-person’ (which is what makes her so good at her job, I think!), so is a fantastic support in times of emotional distress for me and my sister (as well as her friends). She is so welcoming and opens the house to any extended family and friends over the festive season (and probably would at other times of the year if needed) and never views it as a hassle even though it can be a lot of work and quite stressful: she would prefer people were not alone at that time of year, even if it means extra work for her!

As well as this, she can be quite ditsy and completely nuts (which provides an explanation for how I turned out), but I think this is quite necessary sometimes! To mention a couple of her legendary quotes: “When’s Christmas again?” and “Is Caulipepper on the shipping list?” She’s cuddly, dependable and wonderful. Plus, she looks great for her age, so I hope I take after her!!

When I think of home, I think of fun and laughter and happiness and love. And mum is a big, big part of that.

Weez (Louise, my older sister)
Again, I have already introduced Weez in My Family post, but she is not only my sister; she is my bestest friend in the world and looks after me like a mother would.

I’m not going to go into any details, but Weez has had a fair few struggles in her life. But she has come out the other side and is doing so well now (in the least condescending way!); she inspires me no end. She has done such a fantastic job bringing up my wonderful niece Aria, and who is the apple of my eye (until I have my own kids I suppose). She is kind and caring and has listened to me rant on about the ‘problems’ in my life as if they’re the most important thing in the world! I know I can turn to her and talk to her about literally anything (which I do), and just wish I could be there for her as much as she is for me. I feel very inferior as a sister, which I will try and make up for as much as I can over the next part of our lives.

Weez is also very creative and it’s wonderful for me to see her work and everything she’s doing now with her natural talent. She has helped me in my work by taking the time and making the effort to take and edit photos for me to use professionally, as well as helping me a lot with essays during school and uni, which is probably my biggest weakness! She is so giving and happy to help, and I occasionally feel almost diva-ish compared to her, the realisation of which I hope will help me to be a better person!

We are very different, yet complement each other well: very yin and yang! She is another reason for feeling so content and happy when I go home.

Professional Inspiration:

I go through phases of people who inspire me professionally, and very few make the cut for long-standing ‘members of the club’, but here are the main ones.

Jennifer Lawrence
(Taken from Google Images)
I have been focussing a lot on acting recently (even though I am a trained singer and that has been my focus over the last few years), and have therefore been doing lots of research on various actors etc. There are many amazing theatre, film and television actors from all over the world who inspire me, but at the moment (and since last year), the biggest by far is Jennifer Lawrence.

I am a big Hunger Games fan, which is first what got me interested in her, but since then I have read a lot about her and researched other work she has done. She is 2 years younger than me, yet acts with such a maturity which (I think) is unique for her age. I see her as almost the Meryl Streep of our generation, as she seems to be a chameleon: she takes a role and becomes it; you don’t see Jennifer Lawrence anymore, but the part she plays, which I think is very hard to do.

Even though she is still so young, she has already proven herself to be one of the biggest talents that the acting world has seen in a long time, with demanding roles like Ree (Winter’s Bone) and Agnes (The Poker House) under her belt, as well as massive studio films like the Hunger Games and X Men. She is still so grounded and down-to-earth, which I think gets ‘media-ed’ out of a lot of actors the more success they have and the more they are in the public eye. This in itself is very inspirational to someone wanting a successful career in the performing arts.

I hope to one day be as versatile an actress as she is, whilst keeping my head screwed on as much as she has.

Anyone who knows me knows how much of a Beyoncé fan I am! I’ll keep this one short, as I’m not going to be a ‘Beyoncé-type’ any day soon! She is so talented – an amazing performer and singer; she co-writes her songs; she maintains creative control over everything she does; she is a role-model as an independent woman… There’s a reason why she is Queen Bey!

Kristin Chenoweth
In terms of everything I want to achieve in my career, I think Kristin Chenoweth is the closest to someone who encompasses it all (pretty much). I am one of these annoying people who want to do everything: I want to act in theatre, TV and film, experiencing every kind of role possible; and I want to sing in theatre, TV and film and many genres including musical theatre, opera, jazz and pop. Kristin Chenoweth has worked in MT, opera, TV and film and there are not many people who have done/can do that. I think she is very talented, a brilliant actress with fantastic comedic timing, and wonderful singer (if a little nasal at times haha!). I have to include in this a video of her rendition of Glitter and be Gay from Candide (Bernstein) as I think this best shows what I mean in one clip.

I’d love to hear who others find inspirational too, so feel free to comment about who inspires you, and I even TAG fellow bloggers to do the same as me and write about them!