Moonlight Phoenix has risen

music, feminism, spirituality, words and more

30 Days Wild Week 3

Day 17

On day 17, I tried to identify bird song. I could hear plenty of it but couldn’t see what birds were making it! The only ones I did identify were the easy ones that I could see which were crows and ducks! I put a video on Instagram and a friend managed to identify a blue tit, black bird, collared dove and sparrows.

Day 18

For day 18, I went to the Southend Animal Aid meeting for the first time in years so it was a day of ‘wild’ planning. I’m going to help at an animal sanctuary this weekend and next week going to a vigil for slaughterhouse pigs.

Day 19


On day 19, I watched a bumblebee. I watched as it flew flower to flower pollinating. I found interesting that it was ignoring all the daisies, but going to all the white clover instead. (another flower I now know the name of- yay)!

Day 20


Day 20 was a special day as it was the Summer Solstice AND the full moon! So I did some moon watching. Too difficult to get a good photo of though.

Day 21

DSC_0002Yesterday I re-did my altar as I always do for the seasons but this time I turned into a full ‘nature table’ with lots of treasures I have found in the wild- feathers, shells, conkers etc. And one of my nan’s paintings as the backdrop.

Day 22


Today I was given some seed bombs, so I’ve put one on our balcony so we can see it grow, and I will plant the other along the brook.

Leave a comment »

30 Days Wild Week 2 (and a bit)

Week two of 30 days wild is over, here’s the ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ I’ve been up to since my last post. In case you missed it, you can find it here

Day 10

On Day 10, I took a slightly different route to work, by going through my favourite park Churchill gardens on the way 🙂

Day 11


On day 11, I spent time sitting outside on my balcony reading with the cats for company 🙂

Day 12


tried to identify a wild flower. I discovered these pretty white flowers are called Cow Parsley. We have lots of it along the brook.

Day 13


I thought I had gone a day without doing anything ‘wild’! Then I realised I signed this petition to help get the Peacocks at Chalkwell park freed. Please sign it too by going here

Day 14


On Day 14 I attempted to watch the sunset from the balcony. Couldn’t quite see it in full as the houses were in the way, but look at the pretty clouds!

Day 15

Day off yesterday so another walk in Churchill Gardens. This time for my ‘random act of wildness’ I lifted up a fallen tree trunk to see the life underneath and there was a lot! Didn’t manage to get a decent photo of the insects but the pictures in the middle are what it looked like underneath, look how amazing the patterns are, isn’t nature wonderful??

We also had a moth come visit us. She was on our compost bin. We moved her to the plants on our balcony and she stayed all day. She was only gone this morning. A visit from the ancestors…?

Day 16

and that brings us up to date to today…

Today I downloaded the Wildlife Trust’s ‘Nature Finder’ App and I love it already. I managed to identify two of these wild flowers using it. The first one is ‘Mallow’ and the second one is ‘ragwort’

Leave a comment »

30 Days Wild- Week 1 (and a bit)

Many of my regular readers will know, I am a bit of a project/challenge addict! I nearly always have something on the go, this year it has been all about Instagram photo challenges. I kept thinking “I won’t do one this month” and I’d keep finding one that sounded fun or interesting! Then for this month June, I found something which could still involve taking photos every day (and I have), but also had a bit more behind it. A friend of mine posted on Twitter about a project started by The Wildlife Trusts called “30 Days Wild”

The idea behind it is simple, to help us form a stronger connection to nature. Every day in June you do something ‘wild’, something that involves nature or wildlife in some way, and it can be big or small, and take 5 minutes or a whole day. When you signed up they sent you a kit with ideas of things you could do each day, that range from ‘research facts about your favourite animal’ to ‘see how many species you can spot in an hour’ and more. As a nature lover, this project sounded awesome and fun. I don’t really need more connection to nature, but one of my goals this year was to learn more about nature, as I don’t know many names of trees, flowers, animals etc that I’m always admiring and this seemed like a perfect way of incorporating that! So I’ve been posting a photo about the project every day on Instagram and I thought it would be nice to do a weekly blog on what I’ve been doing, so here’s the first one!

Day One


On Day One, I was working for most of the day so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I looked at my email with the 30 days wild ‘wild cards’ but none of them really inspired me. I then saw this also had an app, with at least 100 ideas on there, so I downloaded that to my phone and had a look for something that could fit in with my day. I picked ‘Watch an insect, see how they move’, thinking on my walk to work I was likely to see something. It was dry when I left so I though I’d be alright, but after walking for 5 minutes, it started to rain, just lightly at first and then full on chucking it down! I had already got my momentum so I thought I might as well just carry on, what a way to start my 30 days wild! I don’t often walk in the rain. I still looked for insects but I didn’t see any. However I did see many, many snails! Later on I decided to look up about snails and learnt that they are not insects but are molluscs, so more closely related to shellfish. I found various reasons cited for why they always come out after rain so I’m not sure which is true, things like to escape from drowning or that they can breathe easier…answers on a postcard please!

Day Two

Day two was a bit of a strange one. I had a day off, and the weather was dryer. So I decided to ‘explore a local park’. I thought I would go to a different one than my usual spots, so I went to Chalkwell park, which although is okay, I don’t enjoy it as much as Priory park or Churchill gardens. On this day I didn’t really enjoy it. Sadly, there are four peacocks in an enclosure in the park, which straight away made me feel sad. They have hardly any space in there and aren’t released into the open at all, never mind the fact they are wild animals not destined to live in a space like this. I could feel the depression from them.

I then walked around the park a bit and there are some beautiful old trees there. Sadly every one I saw had been graffitied on and there was an awful amount of litter around the park, even in the more ‘wild’ spots of the park. I left feeling sad but feeling determined to do something more to make this park a nicer place to visit and see what I could do to help those peacocks.

Day Three

Day three I went for ‘find mini wildness’ so while out and about to look for plants coming through on pavements and such like. I found lots!  It’s nice to see nature really is everywhere 🙂

Day Four

On day four I went to the Southend Vegans meet up in Chalkwell park for a picnic! It had been a bit touch and go whether it would go ahead as it had been predicted to rain all the week and still looked dodgy in the morning but it turned out to be perfect in the end. I had some lovely vegan food including Rocky Road! and as well as seeing some of my lovely friends I also met some cool new people. I only took a silly selfie and it was so silly I didn’t keep it on my phone so no photo for Day 4 on here!  I was too preoccupied to take photos!

Day Five


This photo wasn’t taken on this day but about a week before. On this day I was working all day so I researched facts about one of my favourite animals- the Squirrel! I learnt a few new things- 1. there are over 265 species of squirrel 2. they sometimes put on bogus food burying displays to fool potential thieves 3. They can smell food under a foot of snow 4. their front teeth never stop growing.

Day Six

Oops another one where I didn’t keep the photo. For day 6, I watched the Springwatch live wildlife cameras for a little while. At first there were lots of sleeping birds but with a little patience there was cute activity. My favourites were the bluetits. Every time the mum would come to feed them they would chirp away in this cute little chorus. A few days later I saw on the program that they were actually Great Tit chicks that a Bluetit was taking caring of! (I didn’t quite catch how that happened)

Day Seven


For day seven I did a little bit of bird watching on my way to work. I saw blackbirds, seagulls, pigeons, sparrows, wood pigeons and crows including this one seen above. I really enjoying watching the birds as anyone that knows me will attest to! 🙂

It’s taken me a while to write this blog so it’s now a little longer than a week !

Day Eight

A day off and a really lovely sunny day, a perfect day to go to Priory park and see how many animals I could spot! Just some of the things I saw (there were some I don’t know names of): Blackbirds, squirrel, wood pigeons, brown and blue butterflies, crows, mallard ducks, blackhead seagulls, coot, flies, midges, small black fish, magpie, bumblebee, other bees, blue dragonflies, ladybird, big fish (it was underwater so couldn’t make it out) and a rat. It was so nice to see a lot of people enjoying the outdoors! There were lots of people with their young children and people taking photos etc. I took some lettuce to feed the ducks but they weren’t at all interested! Too used to being fed bread which is bad for them I guess 😦 Really lovely hour of magical nature! (also forgot to mention on my way to the park I saw a goldfinch! I had never seen one before, shame I didn’t manage to get a photo, it was so pretty)

Day Nine (today)


Another visit to Priory Park, but a shorter one. Took the remaining lettuce and managed to get a few of the ducks and a coot to eat some at last!! My activity for the day was to take a blue photo, so I took the above of some flowers I saw.

Looking forward to what other adventures this will lead to!

1 Comment »

tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies- January 2016

Can you believe it’s already time for the first monthly round up of 2016? As always time has passed in a blur. For me it’s been about work more than anything else. Apart from last week I’ve been mostly doing six days a week, as I’ve also been helping out in the Rayleigh store as the manager is off sick, so I’m running the store on a Thursday and there all day, and being responsible for closing on a Friday. So really there’s not been much time for much else, although there have been a few things which I’ll get to later.

First how I’ve done with Focus and Intentions for 2016 so far..

KNOWLEDGE- this was mostly about gaining knowledge re: nature, plants an so forth. I haven’t done much of this yet. However I did pass my Advanced Product Advisor test at work 89% so I’m now fully qualified!

HEALTH- I’ve been good with this as you will read. I had one day off sick though 😦

MAGIC- not a big focus this month really

SELF CARE- starting with small things at the moment like putting some nice olive oil cream on my face in the morning, and I took a day off when I felt really ill.


To learn more about nature- not yet

To heighten my spiritual work- haven’t had much time for promoting my healing etc at the moment

To get to Peru- at the moment it doesn’t look like we will be going in March but we can still work on going later in the year.

To honour the seasons and moon fully- there hasn’t been any wheel of the year events yet (the first is next week). I didn’t do much on the full moon although I did put my crystals out. this was the day I was ill I think.

to cook more- not yet I’m so tired most of the time at the moment I haven’t thought about it as much as I would like to yet

go to Yoga classes- I’ve been going every week on a Monday morning. I’ve got a lovely teacher, it’s a small class, it’s gentle and held in a Buddhist temple close to home so it’s perfect. I’m determined to keep this up.

walk more often- not really last week but I have walked much more this month, I walked quite a lot of times to work.

Take better self care- see earlier in the post!

not be affected by other’s stories- still being most affected by this when I shouldn’t be

have no expectations- getting better at this one, but still work to do

manifestation skills- kind of mixed, some days I’ve been doing quite well but other days not.

Finally, what things have I been up to this month other than working hard???

I met up with my friends Lauren and Lorna for a hot chocolate early in the month and a catch up which was nice.

I went to the Inspiring Women meeting and we made our vision boards which is always fun 🙂


Had my first women’s circle meet up of the year which was our planning meeting where we discussed what we did last year, what we liked and didn’t like, heard feedback on what people would like to do. It was a lovely meeting and I was touched by some of the feedback I received about how good people feel after sessions. It was also at the railway, so we enjoyed a tasty lunch too 🙂

I went to the Southend feminist collective meeting, they had a talk from Southend Vineyard, who do lots of worthy things in the community but they were specifically talking about the work they do with sex workers in Southend.

I went to Miguel’s Munay Ki workshop as part of it was learning how to give the rites, so I felt it was time for me to learn. I need a bit more practice first, but soon I’ll start offering to those I feel need it.

I surprised Miguel for his birthday a few days early by getting us tickets to see the musical Vampires Rock: Ghost Train. Which is a light hearted musical with lots of classic rock songs. It was lots of fun and they included both a Joan Jett and a Patti Smith song in the soundtrack so I was happy 🙂 Then on his actual birthday we went to the Railway for lunch.

There was a meeting for the EDEN conference I’m doing a workshop for in March.

Then yesterday was Sherry’s Southend Soup

which you can read about on her blog. The swishing was great, I got lots of pretty new clothes, I can’t wait to wear!

I also did a photo project on Instagram called January Mindfulness. I’m not impressed with the photos I took though so I’m not really bothered to post them.

Now onto February, so there will be Imbolc, Valentines, Associate of the year competition and whatever else comes up. I’ll be doing the self love tarot photo challenge on Instagram set by ethony.



Leave a comment »

The Inevitable End of the Year Post 2015!

I’m a bit early posting this blog this year, but lately my brain cogs have already been turning about my plans for 2016! So it seems like a good a time as any really.

So what was great about 2015! Quite a lot as it turns out, but let’s start with the more ‘outer’ things such as..


Music still wasn’t a big thing for me this year, but it had a bigger place than it had last year. I went to a few gigs this year, both ones of people I never thought I’d get to see- Kathleen Hanna, as part of Julie Ruin. My review of that is here

I also went to see L7, but I didn’t write a review of that. I couldn’t really see much but it was amazing anyway!

I did go to a few local gigs again as well. I went to Village Green this year and we saw The Selector who were lots of fun! I didn’t buy much music, I did get Paolo Nutini’s album ‘Caustic Love’. I got so used to hearing some of his songs at work that I ended up quite liking it!

I did listen to the radio much more, but found I still kept coming back to music I know and love, and listened to rather a lot of Absolute 90’s. I then discovered Spotify, and listened to even more 90’s music…but I also listened to some new music that way, and one newer album I found by accident there that I really like was the debut from Sexwitch, which features Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes. Here’s one of the songs from it..


I set myself a challenge on Goodreads this year to read 50 books…so far I have read 47….it could still happen!

Having a look through here are a few of my favourites (not neccessarily released this year as most of my reading material comes from the library)

The Circle

Who is Tom Ditto?


Films and TV

The only film I saw at the cinema was ‘Suffragette’ which I saw with a few of the members of my women’s circle. I did really like it, although I did feel the ending was rather abrupt.

T.V wise, I can’t think of much that has stood out this year. The latest series of Doctor Who was a big disappointment I thought. The last ever series of Peep Show is on at the moment and that has been hilarious. Other than that, Russell Howard’s Good News is always great. The only new series I can think of which was quite good was ‘Humans’.

On Netflix I have mostly been enjoying ‘Orange is the New Black’.

Photos/Moments/Things I did in 2015

Did more poetry readings, I think I did 3 events this year- one at a tiny art gallery, one at my friend’s ‘ Soup’ event and at a Sundown Open Mic.

My Circle really picked up this year, our meet ups got much deeper, but the group also expanded from a regular maybe 4 people, to October’s meet up being the largest ever with about 10 people! And there is 40 people on the Facebook page, so every month there seems to be at least one new face 🙂

Had rather a lot of adventures this year which included: seeing Simon Amstell’s Stand Up show live, going to several protest marches- Million Women Rise, and 2 anti cuts protests (one in Manchester) and a very small one in Southend that was anti war. Going to Brighton for the vegan fair, going to Clacton, went to an animal sanctuary in Kent, went on a Tribal Goddess weekend

Received the Munay Ki rites

Completed my Supervisor training and managed a store for a day

Ran my first workshop which was about connecting with your inner child

had a chapter published in a book!

year 3 of attending Witchfest

did a creative writing workshop

and finally the most popular blogs I wrote this year…

  1. I’ll Think of You…a poem for my nan who sadly passed this year
  2. The Great Soup Unconference
  3. Witchfest 2015
  4. E.D.E.N 2015- Transformation
  5. Spring Equinox Freshness






November 2015

I quietened things down a little in November…but that didn’t stop me still having adventures!

I did another photo project on Instagram called ‘Crystal Allies November’ which was a really lovely one. If you’re on Instagram, you can find me there as moonlight.phoenix I haven’t found any for December so it probably won’t be quite so active, but I do taking photos so I’m sure there will still be fairly regular updates!

here’s how November went in term of my goals for the year…

FRIENDSHIP- didn’t see people quite as often this month, but the times I did were lovely.

FUN- I had fun at Witchfest, doing laughter yoga!

CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION- more photography BUT I did also take part in a creative writing workshop, and I’ve got a few other pieces to work on, and I did create this poem

and this is how the first month of my new intentions from Samhain 2015- to Samhain 2016 has went-

To Learn more about nature- I’ve been for a few lovely walks, and have got people to help me learn the names of some of the birds I’ve taken photos of

To heighten my spiritual ‘work’- no work sadly, but did promote a few times via Facebook, and did a swap with my friend who said she will tell others

To get to Peru- well I got the time off okayed from work, so that’s a start!

To honour the full moon and seasons more fully- I did a full ritual for the first time in a while for the full moon and have started doing readings for myself on the new moon.

and finally what I actually got up to!

I went to the Inspiring Women meeting as always, and it was our 2nd birthday so it was a fun one (well not that isn’t usually!) this time we played a game where we had to go round each person and first introduce ourselves as if we had never met as we are now, then we had to do it again but this time us in five years time. I wasn’t sure what to say different the second time apart from a few things, but by the time I had completed the circle, I had somehow earnt myself a healing retreat!

I did my first stint as a trained supervisor! I had to run the Rayleigh store for a day and despite my nerves it went really well. I also had to close there on another day that week but that time the whole system went down so not one of our stores could ‘officially’ close the store! Funny enough, that was Friday 13th.

I went to the second of the new Southend Essex Feminist Collective meetings, and it was really good. There were speakers from a few of the local domestic abuse services and a local Rape Crisis. It was pretty grim in terms of the severe lack of funding they get, and also the very real lack of convictions also.

I went to Witchfest, which was worthy of a blog of it’s own, which you can find here

I did a healing for my friend who did me reiki last month, and it went very well.

I met up with my friend Lauren for lunch, where we despaired the lack of quick and easy vegan lunch options in town. We ended up getting the last 2 vegan items in Boots, and mine although nice was very minimal and left me feeling still hungry. (it was a salad)

I did the creative writing workshop which was really good, we did different types of writing, and weren’t made to feel under pressure and we didn’t have to read them all out. There was only one exercise I didn’t write anything worthwhile, but the rest will be good I think. There was then an open mic night in the evening by the same people, so I read a few poems there. If you don’t already know of Sundown Arts, then you really should check them out

Then finally, yesterday was my circle, which this time was on the theme of career/jobs and was lovely as always.


Leave a comment »

October 2015

Quite a lot happened in October, I had a few interesting things happen that meant extra blogs as some activities just were worthy of a whole blog!

I only did 1 ‘project’ this time and that was the Inner Witch Photo Challenge on Instagram. Here are a few of my favourite photos that I included in my challenge.

crystals orange sacredjewellry

I do love a good photo challenge so this month I’m joining in with another one on Instagram called ‘Crystal Allies November’ and I’m also doing a project on the Munay Ki to try and learn and understand it better.

Here’s how October went in terms of my aims for the year..

FRIENDSHIP- saw friends a lot and had a lot of adventures!

FUN- did a lot not much I would class as ‘fun’ although at the Soup Unconference, I let my Inner Child out in the music room! 🙂

CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION- not much in the way of writing, although did read a book on poetry that STILL didn’t inspire me to write, and I’ve signed up for a writing workshop this month. I loved doing the photo challenge though.

To have regular healing clients- none

To finish my book- did do some editing

to be better at birthdays- no

Still no Glastonbury…

spend less time on Facebook- mostly yes

reconnect with my pagan/witchy side- did the photo project and did a lot of spiritual work for Samhain

go into nature more- most weeks I got my walks in, I also went to an ancient orchard for an apple day event

watch less T.V- I think so

get into music again- not really

What I got up to..

Inspiring Women Meet up- looking back at our vision boards and what has happened this year

Soup Unconference

Anti Tory March

Book Launch

Had a lovely afternoon with Migs, Roberta and Gareth. Gareth took us to Two Tree Island where we went and planted trees, then we went to Roberta’s for lunch and a mini fire ceremony.

Went to an Apple Day at a local ancient orchard, and picked apples, they were the best apples I ever tasted!

Went to the first meeting of Southend Feminist Collective- lots of people turned up, so very pleased that even though I didn’t manage to set up a feminist group a few years ago, glad that there is one now, with so many wonderful women 🙂

I went to my first Red Tent meeting in Rayleigh. It was a lovely session of sharing and meditation.

I had to go to London for my work training for my Advanced Product Advisor training

My friend Lola came round and did some beautiful reiki healing for me

I went to see Suffragette with a few friends which was soo good, and filled me with feminist rage!

Finally yesterday was Samhain, so did my personal rituals, had some friends over in the day for a social, then went to a local pub in the evening to watch a psychedelic band called The Lysergics

Leave a comment »

Witches New Year/Samhain 2015

Regular readers will know this is a very special time of year for me. For those who don’t know, I am a Pagan, and I honour the seasons of the Wheel of the Year. Today represents the ‘Witches new Year’ so it’s a day for me to look back on what I’ve achieved over the past year, set my intentions for next year but also a time to honour my ancestors and lost loved ones, as the veil is at it’s thinner, meaning communication to the spirit world is much more open. Today I have already changed my altar for the season, done my personal ritual, lit candles for lost loved ones and done my yearly oracle reading for myself.


The past year has been excellent! I finally had a job I like, and have had lots of adventures! This is what my goals were and how I did with them:

  1. To have regular healing clients- not yet achieved, I did have a few clients dotted through the year but not even one a month at the moment.
  2. To get to Supervisor level in my job- ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED! I recently passed my test (the 2nd time), I’m not officially a supervisor, but I could take keyholder responsibility if I was needed to.
  3. To finish my book- not yet, but almost!
  4. To visit Glastonbury, Gaunts House and the Three Wishes Faery festival- didn’t go to any of these but I did go quite a lot of other places.
  5. To be better at buying birthday presents, not leaving them to the last minute etc- not really improved on this one yet but I’m getting better!
  6. To have more fun- ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!! Definitely managed this one, had so many adventures. Weekends away, and spontaneous visits.

I set more goals etc in January, but will look at them in January, I didn’t manage everything on this list, but I’m pleased with what I did and there was a lot of other things I did achieve that aren’t on the list!

So far what my intentions are for next year are:

  1. To learn more about nature- I love nature so much but I can’t name most of the trees, plants etc. I want to be able to walk in a park and know what the types of trees and plants are. I also want to learn about their uses, herbs and flowers. I learn some things at work but I want to go deeper, things like the Bach Flower remedies intrigue me.
  2. To heighten my Spiritual-related ‘work’- I don’t mean my meditations, rituals etc. My circle has gone amazingly well this year and got a lot bigger. I now really want to have healing work to do, and also run workshops, I ran an Inner Child workshop this year that I’m hoping to do again, and I’m also planning a Goddess workshop. I work part time and do overtime when I can, but I’d love to do part time at my ‘normal’ job and part time doing my spiritual related work.
  3. To get to Peru- planning to go to Peru next year for a retreat. It’s a big ask but I’m trusting the uinverse will provide us the means to go in some way!
  4. To honour the seasons and Full Moons more fully- use them as celebrations and time to enjoy. If I can’t have the full ‘holiday’ on the day itself due to work then I will celebrate it on the closest day off I have.
Leave a comment »

The People’s Assembly Manchester Protest


A few weeks ago I took part in a protest march organised by The People’s Assembly

The protest was in Manchester, while the Conservatives/Tories conference was on, and the protest was all about the cuts and austerity that the party have been bringing as well as other problematic issues. There has been marches here before, but only this time did I find out that Southend Against the Cuts

had organised a coach that would be picking people up from Southend and nearby areas, and would be very inexpensive especially when compared to train prices, and I felt strongly that I needed to be there, so I made sure I booked my place, despite the very long journey, I knew it would be worth it.

Why I felt I had to be there

A lot of reasons really. Firstly the cuts have affected me personally. The benefits my husband was claiming got severely cut, as the rules changed, and all of a sudden I was working too many hours to be claiming benefits, then when I worked the hours I was “allowed”, they gave the benefit back but at much more than half the rate it was. We are in a privileged position though, as my husband no longer has the same severity of health problems, he decided to use the situation to take the steps to go self employed, which has turned out really well for us. HOWEVER, this is not the case for many people who this or similar has happened to. The cuts have been affecting the most vulnerable of society- the disabled, abused women (with cuts to domestic abuse services), and other important services like the NHS, young people, students and so much more.

Other reasons- the Tories are pro fox hunting,pro badger cull, pro fracking and pro Trident, to name a few. I would say I am the opposite of all that they represent. I’ve seen friends and others affected by the cuts. I believe there is strength in numbers, and the more of us that speak out, the better. Maybe we won’t get listened to at first, but sooner or later, if we keep shouting, keep making ourselves visible, we WILL get heard. I really believe this. For those who believe things will never change, well isn’t it better to say you have tried..?


On the day itself I had to get up at an ungodly hour as my coach pick up was at 7.10am! Luckily the stop was a short walk from my home. My friend Helene got on at the next stop, and somehow with the anticipation and chatted, I managed to stay awake for the 5 hour journey! I was pleased when we made a stop at a service station though and there was a Costa, so I could get myself a soya latte! The protest sort of begun while we were there, while we were queuing for coffee, there was some shouting. Assuming it was just other people on the way to Manchester getting a bit excited, I didn’t think that much of it when we heard shouting about the bedroom tax and ‘f**king scum’. Then we heard from another person on the coach that Ian Duncan Smith had been there and that was what the shouting was about! What are the chances that we would all be in exactly the same service station he decided to go…?? here is an article that mentions the incident here


It was around 12 when we got to Manchester and all ready thousands of people were gathering. Like the London anti austerity march, it was filled with ordinary people- parents, children, doctors, disabled people, elderly people, and much more. The march itself didn’t set of until 1.30pm, so we took the chance to take some photos, and listen to some of the talks at the start, as well as listening to Billy Bragg sing. At some point we managed to lose the rest of our crowd, as it was just too easy to get separated.


The march itself took around an hour and felt good spirited. There were drummers, people dressed up and chants like “If you hate the Tories, Clap your hands!” We even spotted a Veggies stall that had vegan cake and other goods you could get for a donation, so I couldn’t resist! We also signed a petition for a Green Power house in Manchester.

DSC_0652 DSC_0636 DSC_0639

When the march ended, we decided to have a quick stop to have something to eat and get some photos of us with our banners


Then we made our way in the direction of where the rally was taking place, but there was a line of police blocking us from entering! We started hearing from some other protesters that the police were claiming the space was full when in fact it wasn’t. A few people that were part of the organisation advised to be patient as they would try to sort it out. Lucky for Helene and myself it got resolved quite quick so we were only held for a few minutes before we could go through. However, when we went to the rally it still wasn’t full and we later found out that we seemed to be the only ones from our coach that had actually made it into the rally as the police had started stopping people once again.

Luckily we got to see a fair few speeches before we had to make our way back to the coach. We saw Natalie Bennett, Charlotte Church, the CND, and a few others. I really enjoyed Natalie Bennett and Charlotte Church’s speeches especially.

DSC_0659 DSC_0662

We got a little lost on our way back to the coach but eventually we found it, and we relieved to find out we weren’t the last ones back! By the time we left it was 5.30pm, and with another stop it was around 11.30pm by the time we got back.

A worthwhile day.

1 Comment »

The Great Southend Soup Unconference

My amazing friend Sherry runs ‘Southend Soup’

If you don’t know about the Soup movement, take a look at her blog that I’ve linked to above, but in a nutshell it’s a community project that brings people together to share their ideas, people pay a donation, vote for their favourite idea, and then whoever wins the vote wins the money that has been donated. You also get to eat tasty soup! Sherry always makes sure the soup is vegan so more people can eat it, and she often has a theme for each meeting. I went to a book theme one and few people including myself had a chance to share their work as well as get free books.

Anyway, she’s been doing this for sometime. Then she decided she wanted to take it a little further, a “soup plus” and she decided to hold “The Great Soup Unconference”. An all dayer version if you will, but with very little organising, trusting that the day would come together by itself, thanks to the people that attend.

I can’t often get to the regular Soup meet ups, as I am normally working when they are on. (it’s often on a Sunday, which I work)! So when I saw the Unconference was on a Saturday, I made sure I booked my free ticket.

The event took place at a local alternative school ‘Epicquest’ which lucky enough I live really close to, so Miguel and I wandered down and got there right on time.

As people were arriving, we had a little look around at the stalls, and around the centre, which has a lovely unique vibe. I knew lots of other people there, so there was lots of hugs and hellos, which is always nice 🙂 There were stalls from Essex Feminist Collective, a local Portuguese woman who makes jewellery (no website I’m afraid) and my friend Sara was selling her raw chocolate. She doesn’t have a website for the chocolate (which is amazing- we made sure we got a few bags of her ‘caramac flavour- but they were gone by the end of the day)! but she does a lot of therapies and you can find her here

DSC_0516 DSC_0517 DSC_0518

After a little while, everyone got called into the hall for things to kick off. Sherry talked about what she envisioned for the day, and then she got some of the people from Epicquest to talk a little about the work they do. They provide a space for people who home educate, who may want to take a break now and again, as they have drop in classes, or for people disillusioned with the traditional education system. The provide traditional lessons like Maths and English, alongside things like meditation and yoga. They also have a recording studio local musicians can use, provide vegetarian meals for students, have a permaculture garden, and host lots of local community events.


Then it was time for what Sherry had called ‘Lightening Talks’- the premise being anyone could get up and talk for five minutes about a project or something they were doing. The first was from a woman who ran a local choir (apologies for the lack of names- I’ve been meaning to blog this sooner, but haven’t been well recently and I didn’t take notes)! and she did her talk in an unique way, instead of just telling us about the group, she got us to sing! We sang a folk song, then she got us to do “rounds” separating us into two groups then into four. It definitely put some of us out of our comfort zone (including me a little)! but it was great, fun way to introduce the group.


Next up was another amazing friend of mine, Adri Ana, talking about her group Inspiring Women Southend so she talked about the group who meet up once a month to share, inspire and create, as well as run the annual EDEN conference. (if you read my blog regularly you will know I attend this group regularly). She then got 10 people from the audience to get up and say what inspires them, and what they want to achieve. At the end she offered all of them a free ticket to next year’s EDEN. Because of all this, this talk was half hour not five minutes! But it was a good talk.


After the talks, it was time for ‘Open Space Conversations’ where people were encouraged to think of something they wanted to discuss with others, write it down on a post it note, that then went on a white board. Those of us that weren’t ‘hosting’ a discussion, could wander to whatever one that took our interest and float to other ones if we weren’t learning or participating. I went to the discussion about aiding literacy, I was the only one who turned up to that talk but we actually spoke more about books and writing in general!


Then there was the break so we could eat delicious soup!


While we were on the break, we had a look at the music room, and I couldn’t resist having a go on the electronic drum kit 🙂 (and the ukulele which I have completely forgotten everything I learnt while I had one- doh!)

When we came back before the presentations, Helen from Essex Feminist Collective mentioned about ‘Supporting Sisters’, a group that help women with no or limited access to sanitary projects in the UK and also in Calais. The EFA are kindly collecting from the Southend/surrounding areas. I’ve offered to take on a bucket for collections at my women’s circle.


Then it was time for the presentations for funding. It was a very difficult choice this time, as all the projects were very worthwhile. First there were Epicquest themselves, who wanted funding to help them set up a kitchen which would help young unemployed or out of education adults. Then was my friend Bernie, who wanted funding for her mental health charity Just Listening to You, a lady that wanted funding to help her set up a breast feeding support group, and a lady who wanted funding to help her with her business creating stars.

DSC_0538 DSC_0540 DSC_0547 DSC_0550

There was a chance for another short tea break afterwards, but sadly as we still had other things to do before I had to have a very early night as I was going to Manchester really early the following day (which is another blog I’ve been waiting to write…) we had to leave soon afterwards but luckily we got to hear who the winner was first, which was the breastfeeding group!


A really lovely day with great community spirit, a chance to connect with new friends and old friends. If you’ve never been to a ‘Soup’, I really recommend you take part! If there isn’t one in your area, why not start one?



if you bury your head in the sand to avoid the rain youll never see the rainbow when the sun shines again


May we Thrive True, Open, & Free in Harmony

Wandering Wives

A Comedy Lesbian Travel Blog

The Vegan Lily

Because My Body Will Not Be A Tomb For Animals

artemis muses

It's all about the hunt

The journey of eclectic pagan teen

my experience exploring my path of an eclectic pagan and spirtuality

Pagan Approach

Discussing spirituality and the secrets of the Universe

Hike Our Planet - @HikeOurPlanet

Lee Hiller Photography - Exploring Nature One Step At A Time


Welcome to the world of cats!

The Next Chapter

Life is just a story. And I've got a pen.


poetry, prose and occasional thoughts.

Southend Soup

Chat. Connect. Create.

Catherine Elms

Dark cabaret singer-songwriter and pianist from Swansea, UK

Maral Cavner's Blog

Law Student in Portland, OR

Born to be Jetthead

It's not an obsession, it's a calling. :)

Spirituality Exploration Today

Delving into the cross roads of rationality and intuition

Eric Carlson (awolsurfer)

Building a Business While Still Having a Life...

My Long Dalliance

A writers journey