All posts by hello from me to you

About hello from me to you

I’m Helen, I live in Leeds. I grew up in County Durham and moved to Leeds to study and never left. I love photography, reading, drawing, being outside. I'm always looking for new adventures and projects. follow me on twitter @isfromupnorth

Gratitude and achievements of 2017

My good friend Kirsty has shown me some amazing ideas in recent years, one being decluttering, another a vision board – putting goals on a board and taking them off when achieved, to a gratitude jar of a similar nature. Yesterday she wrote a blog saying how the jar had changed to an achievement jar. Although I didn’t do this I thought I would look back over the year and see what was in my jar and sit and work out what I have achieved. I’m actually quite shocked at how much I’ve done whilst holding down a job doing shift work which sometimes left me with very little time to myself and making me exhausted for the majority of the time. Now all that has changed and it’s time for a new beginning a time to rest and reflect and what I’ve achieved and what I have.

  • Food: I tried changing my diet over the last few years and with working shift work and sometimes being out full days a common theme in the jar seems to be making sure the cupboards were full of food incase I didn’t have time or energy to go shopping. I’m very proud and lucky I’ve been able to do this.
  • In the house, the loft got insulated via a government scheme, although it was a bad job, it gave me a chance to declutter. Also bought new voiles for the bedroom and living room and they’re all pink and girly.
  • Tried to separate the kitchen from the living room with a curtain, figured out a shower curtain would fit and looked into getting hooks.
  • Learned that wires apparently go straight up through the wall, and just because there is a hole there, it’s not safe to screw things unless checking for wires as you could blow the elctrics 😀
  • Got new lights for the kitchen and it makes it look bigger.
  • The garden I dug the garden over, planted lawn seed. With help from a friend got some plants to ward off the neighbours cat from using it as a toilet. It’s come on really well
  • Also garden related, bought a trimmer and used it to keep the grass at a good length
  • Great North Run. Not only a massive achievement in my first half marathon but the fact it reconnected with long-lost family. I may not do it next year or ever again but I have some amazing memories and got an amazing time.
  • Park run in Leeds. volunteering and running both at Cross Flatts Park and Woodhouse Moor and getting a PB at both! check out if there is one near you and run or volunteer there here
  •  A roof over my head and a warm bed, when things haven’t always gone the way I thought.
  • Asking for help, one thing I’m not good at as I feel embarrassed, and that I’ve let everyone down, but this year I did and have some amazing friends and family.
  • Support. I’m very lucky for the people in my life.
  • My health, even though It’s had a knock I have always been in good health.
  • Diet: I aimed to lose a stone in weight. I didn’t like how the weight was around my stomach. I haven’t been completely successful as, that’s where I retain the weight the most and don’t think I did enough toning exercises but I made a start.
  • Me: put myself first, looked for a new job, tried to fix my diet, completed a half-marathon on little or no training due to work.
  • Rest days: Actually forcing myself to stay in my pjs and stay on the sofa ALL day.
  • Transport. I can’t afford a car but where I live I can get a bus in to town most days every 10 minutes and it’s not far to walk from my house. Leeds has some great links via train and bus/coach to some amazing places.
  • Baking/cooking. Again back to diet, I learned to make banana pancakes and omelettes. Strange as I’ve never really liked eggs but managed to make and love these. I don’t think I will ever try a boiled egg, the look of it just freaks me out.
  • Travel: visiting Edinburgh in June and visiting the birthplace of Harry Potter.
  • The Harry Potter exhibition in Leeds Central Library. Leeds has grown so much over the years with films, exhibitions etc, but to have this was just the icing on the cake, I mean a few years ago we had Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy costume *faints*.
  • Ability to read. Just chance to sit down and catch up on reading and fall into another world
  • Quotes. This year has been a year for quotes, one that I adopted myself is

‘it is what is’

…stop stressing and just get on with it. One from two years ago below…..

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”~ Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

So thank you 2017 for teaching me some valuable lessons. I hope I learn from them, I truly do.

Check out the inspiration from my friend Kirsty here

Thank you for reading



365 Day Blog challenge Day 21 – Gratitude #365daychallenge

I’ll be doing my version tomorrow. I have a gratitude jar but would love to do an achievement list as 2017 has been a tough year

It's all about the Yes

A few years ago I tried keeping a gratitude jar. This year I changed things up a little bit and decided to have an achievements jar instead. It’s been a funny year. I spent a lot of it stressed and struggling with one thing or another yet the jar when I opened it today was full. We d tend to remember the bad stuff over the good stuff. Or I do and that’s something to work on next year

Going through the jar I realised:

  • I’ve repainted all the rooms in my house
  • I’ve re-furnished some parts with new carpets, mattresses and smaller items like replacing bins and lampshades
  • I finished my holistic courses
  • I restarted my degree and submitted my first assignment in 3 years
  • I started a business. While I decided I don’t have the time and energy to commit to it at present I’ve laid a good…

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Book Review NetGalley: Life Should Be Simple and Easy: If You’re Doing It Hard, You’re Doing It Wrong Life Should Be Simple and Easy: If You’re Doing It Hard, You’re Doing It Wrong

Life Should Be Simple and Easy: If You’re Doing It Hard, You’re Doing It Wrong

by Conrad Aquino (Goodreads Author), Bryson Miller

About the Author:17046232


Conrad Aquino, MD sought a career in healthcare. He worked as a physician for several years. At the time of publication, he’s Assistant Director of Professional Services for one of the fastest growing healthcare companies in the Washington DC area. He faced many challenges growing up, which continued throughout medical school. At a young age, he experienced a stress-related heart attack, and later, shortly after marriage, chose to uproot himself from his hometown and family to pursue a better life. Unfortunately, life became even more stressful for this doctor, but several anxiety attacks later, Conrad experienced his De Novo event in March of 2008 and has been stress-free ever since.

About the book:

“…slim but powerful…one of those rare books to read, reread, and then pass on. It’s a gift that will surely change the lives of many.” ★★★★★ – Reader’s Favorite

The book, Life Should Be Simple and Easy: If You’re Doing It Hard, You’re Doing It Wrong , shows us the downright, honest truths about life. In doing so, this book gives us the tools to live life in the best possible way. It is a unique self-help book, in the sense that, it does not try to change you, motivate you, inspire you, or teach you coping skills. It drills down to the basics of how we become who we are, in turn, revealing the origin of stress.

The book was written in a manner that makes logical sense. It is divided into six sections meant to be read one week at a time. It provides the reader the opportunity to experience the concepts in each section, in order to fully grasp their meanings. When you truly understand the ideas in this book, it will give you a new awakening. You may find the happiness you are seeking and live a stress-free life. But it doesn’t end at the book.

The publisher also follows through with the readers by giving them access to the authors through hosting a website. This site provides exclusive content and a private online forum where people gather regardless of gender, race, religion, or political affiliation. It is a community of people helping people achieve the same goal – the simple and easy life.

My Review


I was recommended this book by a friend. We both joined NetGalley over a year ago and it’s a great way to get free books in return for a review. Kirsty and I met through a book club about 4 years ago and in the past year or so have both been reading a lot of self-help books. There’s absolutely loads out there, from decluttering, from changing routines, to different therapies. There’s absolutely loads. What I loved about this book is it’s broken down into parts. But for the review I read it straight through. The book is written to be read over several weeks as a guide to change you’re thinking and how you live your life. lots of helpful tips and quite some thought-provoking pieces. Some bits didn’t fit for me, and that’s ok. We take what we need from it and that’s the beauty of books. I’ll be re re-reading this again as it’s meant to be and let you know the results . I think it could be quite a useful tool.

Thank you for reading



I believe in magic

It’s 20 years since J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first cast its spell on readers across the globe, thanks to the charm, warmth and imagination of its wizarding world. But Rowling’s fantastical creation wasn’t entirely make-believe…

The BBC created a show looking at the history of magic as Harry Potter reaches 20 years old and the British Library is celebrating with an exhibtion of everything magic, including early pieces from J K Rowling’s work.

I believe it was in 2001 that I first read Harry Potter, I could be wrong but it was when I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle and two cousins over the summer before I came to Leeds. Every night my Uncle would sit between the two rooms of my cousins and read them a story until they fell asleep. My Mum used to do the same. One night my Uncle was making tea and I offered to go and rid a bit to the boys and I was hooked, I think they had fallen asleep long before I relaised because I fell in love with Harry Potter. That’s almost 16 years ago. I then went to move onto Leeds and managed to get myself a copy. I don’t think my first few books are first editions but the last few are. One I got from Morrisons petrol station in Bramley at 7am in the morning. An incredible feeling of grabbing the book and marching up the hill to home to read it.


My sister bought me the DVD’s and couldn’t understand my fasination with the book until a few years ago we found the first 5 books 3 or 4 books in a charity shop for a fiver and she was hooked.


As for me I have loved magic for as long as I can rememeber. As in the bbc programme J.K. Rowling’s love of magic included the book the Magician’s nephew

by C.S. Lewis. By far my favourite of the series. I read it as a child and it stuck. It was such a fasinating book and I’m surprised it never made it to TV or film. But that’s probably a good thing because it’s such an amazing story. Sometimes they just don’t transfer to screen well.


The Exhibition :

And below how witches have always been portrayed and what I grew up with:


And I hope I can visit the museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle one day it looks amazing…

Enter a caption

And the  programme itself –

And for one last bit of magic some illustrations frokm Harry Potter

Thank you for reading


“Don’t let the muggles get you down.” – book review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

(Harry Potter #3)

by J.K. Rowling see link here
Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…Goodreads
Harry is back at the Dursleys, where he sees on Muggle television that a prisoner named Sirius Black has escaped. Harry involuntarily inflates Aunt Marge when she comes to visit after she insults Harry and his parents. This leads to his running away and being picked up by the Knight Bus. He travels to the Leaky Cauldron where he meets Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, who asks Harry to stay in Diagon Alley for the remaining three weeks before the start of the school year at Hogwarts. wikipedia

My Review

*spoiler alert*
If you haven’t seen or read the book don’t go any further.
That suggests that what you fear most of all is — fear. Very wise, Harry.
—Remus Lupin regarding what Harry Potter fears
I think this might have been the first Harry Potter book I read. I could be wrong but around 2001 I was staying in Norwich with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins and one bedtime I read a chapter or two of Harry Potter whilst sat between the doorways of my cousins bedrooms. This memory has never left me. It was one of the best summers I had ever spent. I had just finished a HND and was about to move to Leeds and do a degree so over the summer I transferred to a corner shop down in Norwich and worked there for the entire summer. I met some amazing people there to. Sadly it was also the year my Grandma passed and I think this is why this and future Harry Potter books meant so much to me. Because of my family and I felt a part of something with work who looked after me in a way I could never have asked, and I found a love for reading again.
Back to the book. It’s almost 16 years since I first read this book and don’t think I’ve re-read it and I get it, books and films are completely different genres/objects and have different ways of portraying a story. One uses visual imagery one uses the spoken word on a page. But both are there to tell a story. So the film is based on the book, and I always believed this one out the whole lot matched its book the most. Well I feel a bit cheated now. So much back story seems to have been missed out. obviously you have a shorter time frame with a film to be able to tell the story but still. I realise now how much they have kept but changed the journey’s each character took.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
For example there’s Ron learning to use a non-magical instrument i.e. the phone and him shouting down it instead of talking normally. Still we do that these days when we have little or no signal or even the work he put in, to help Hagrid with Buckbeak is not mentioned in the film, or at least I don’t think it is. What I also noticed was the breakdown in friendship between the three, how big it was in the book and not mentioned in the film. One of the themes I picked up on was how important friendship is and perhaps in a small way communication. A small misunderstanding can make it impossible to communicate or make others believe what we’re trying to say and when Crookshanks kept trying to attack Scabbers that lead to Ron and Hermione’s relationship breaking down and them avoiding each other. What we need most in times of difficulties are our families and friends and as in Harry Potter as in real life sometimes our friends are our family and when we lose them it’s just as tough.
“Don’t let the muggles get you down.”
I loved re-reading this book and I didn’t realise how much the film had missed out. The fat lady disappearing and the knight replacing her and all the confusion that followed with him wanting to duel the students, the changing of the passwords. Then there’s the story of the Maurader’s map and how that came about and the discovery of Peter Pettigrew. Yet both the film and book tell it in such a good way.
“Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on.
That’s who we really are.”
The only problem with not reading the books in such a long time and watching the films constantly is the moments where you’re sat reading and think, hang on that’s not in the film, or I forgot about that. Like how the map came about, how Lupin became a werewolf, and how his friends came together to look after him. I think if anything we take from these books, is how important friendship is, how we all come together when times are tough. That after all we’re only human. Oh and even wizards struggle sometimes :D. We all have the power inside of us, we just sometimes forget how to use it.
I’m feeling like that now. Hence why I returned to these amazing stories.
I will leave you with my absolute favourite quote of the whole series and this book:
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times,
if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Thank you for reading

The Great North Run – A family affair!

it’s been two months!!!!

Hello from me to you

I did it! I completed the Great North Run! It is the best thing I have ever done. Even more so because I reconnected with family. It’s a strange thing is social media. But thanks to Facebook, over 17 years ago when I reconnected with one cousin via a friend and then more family connected over the years, I have finally been able to see family who we had lost contact with due to my Dad.

This weekend has been incredible. In fact the journey leading up to it. I was intending to run the Great North Run last year but due to becoming unemployed I just couldn’t afford to and I wasn’t in the right mindset. Saying that, this year I have a job, but have been doing evening work and long shifts, so motivation to get out to train has been very low. The one thing I have…

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