May has been an absolute beauty of a month, spring has finally overcome and photos of tulips, peonies and sun flares are abounding! For me, May has been a packed month, and though I love being busy; I have not made enough time to nurture my physical and spiritual health. Often I have felt rushed; often I have not made time for what matters. I need to change my priorities and make some things immovable. I need to see them as just as important as the other areas of my week.
I have learnt a lot this month, and I have given out a lot too. I’ve had many experiences that built faith and hope in me. Ones I am sure which will make their way into future posts. I have been challenged and encouraged to be fearless and to live out my purpose inspired by my identity. In the midst of all this, I have found joy. One of the places where I found this was in Luton; and this becomes my centrepiece for my favourites this month.
Ever since I began my job working in schools, I have looked to (what was LCET) Youthscape for inspiration and guidance. They have encouraged confidence in me, developed great resources for any youth worker and have provided the opportunity for growth. Through them, I was able to gain accreditation in schools work.
This month we celebrated the 10th birthday of the schoolsworkUK project run by Youthscape and had a chance to meet with other Schools Work Leaders for an equipping day. All this meant staying overnight in Luton. Knowing it would be a busy month, I decided to treat myself to a little hotel stay!
THE LEASIDE HOTEL
I booked myself through booking.com into a lovely looking boutique hotel just outside the main centre of Luton. It was about a 5-minute walk from the station, close enough for me and my overnight bag to walk to it in the beautiful sunshine. I had wanted somewhere that I could work for a couple of hours before we met for the celebration meal and was hoping the hotel would provide some space. I wasn’t quite expecting what I found.
I sat in the sunshine with a bottle of water and of course a coffee(!) and set about writing a youth work training session I was due to run a week later. Too soon it was time to pack up and get changed for the evening’s celebration; which was a beautiful night of gratitude and laughter!
On returning, I popped into the bar, I had noticed the gin dispensary sign as I checked in and knew it certainly needed to be checked out!
This place loves its gin, but knows also how to celebrate it! For those not so into gin, there is also a craft beer section.
I settled on the gin of the month and it was incredible!
From Spain’s first urban distillery, the name means ‘obsessive’. Santamaria uses 14 botanicals: a grape base with ‘plump juicy’ juniper berries, coriander, liquoice root, Spanish lemon and lime a touch of angelica and orris root. Added to this are Spanish pistachio nuts and raspberries. Finally, there is a touch of cinnamon, white pepper, dry ginger and rosemary. The flavour is beautifully strong and the beverage was detailed with star anise, vanilla pod and fresh rasperberies. All this mixed with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic. All that for £6 and the chance to sit outside in what felt like Mediterranean heat, made for a very happy Lou
MORROCAN FULL ENGLISH
My brain was buzzing with thoughts and ideas and creativity, so although the bedroom was lovely – my brain would not let me completely rest! Finally sleep came and then so did the morning. What a joy to walk down to a full English breakfast and look up to see this wonderfully decorated ceiling.
The decor and the food motivated me for the new day and I wandered back into town to the YOUTHSCAPE building. As I left, I was encouraged to call the hotel next time I book. I am certain that I will make space for the next time!
As I sat on my return journey, watching Pitch Perfect 2 and reading through my notes, I realised how important it had been for me to take this trip, and to enjoy it! In the midst of business, I needed this time to refuel.
June is just, if not busier than May. To grow I must learn from this month and see to make a priority for refuelling.
See you next week -L
p.s if you haven’t yet read my guest post on The Rising Blog, then click here. From July I will be writing for them each month!