Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ten things....

"I used to be self conscious about my height, but then I thought, fuck that, I'm Harry Potter." Daniel Radcliffe

This quote made me laugh so I thought it needed sharing.

I can't really comfort myself with the fact that my flaws are OK because I am a film star, solving world peace or even changing the world but I can see that what I see is not what others see.
I am pretty sure that if I asked my friends or family what they liked about me, it wouldn't involve my dress size, the state of my skin, the photos I put on instagram or even the clothes that I am wearing.
And I don't judge them that way.
I value compassion, passion, brains, humour, creativity and empathy in my friends.
However, trying to value myself is a minefield. It probably won't come as a surprise that I paint my nails, use body lotion, run, try to eat healthily... but I don't value my time at all. I am pinging from one thing to another constantly - and whilst this means I am the ultimate Jack of all Trades who can turn her hand to pretty much anything and appears as one of life's high achievers, there is a cost and that cost is tiredness which can manifest itself as over-thinking and worry.

I was asked today to write down ten things I want to do for me tomorrow and ten things I want to do for me in 2014. The aim was for me to be able to see what I wanted to do so that I could understand how to say no to things that perhaps I don't really want to do (but as my diary had a slot, I did them).
I managed three for tomorrow and two for 2014.

It's not that I don't have a zest for life - quite the opposite - it's just that all the things I can think of are either task-orientated or would make other people happy.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

De-cluttering month

"Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow" H.G. Chissell

Over the last 9 days I have been working through my list of 30 things that need de-cluttering during February. Last week I was only doing this for 10 minutes a day. It's amazing what you can achieve (and what you are holding onto). I have cleaned out a drawer that was bulging so much that it took a bit of effort to close, my bunch of keys have halved, my make up bag only contains things I use (and suit me) and Scarlett now has one pencil case full of pens that work rather than three containing - amongst other things - blunt crayons and topless felt tips.

Now is the time to raise my game and work on the areas that need a little bit more investment.

So today, I set my phone timer for 30 minutes and focused on the spare room. We rarely have people to stay so the bed has slowly been covered up with Christmas decorations, Scarlett's art, old photos, DVDs, wrapping paper........

Every time I get to the top of the stairs, my eyes go right and I get that sense of doom. I achieved so much in half an hour that I reset my phone and Ta-Dah....... A bed.

Friday, 3 January 2014

To resolve, or not to resolve.....

That has been my big question.
I like resolutions. I like trying to do better. But, let's be honest, the big strict regulations we inflict at this miserable time of year are likely to fail. I'm also no longer keen on adding any more pressure by suggesting I will be happier if I eat less / drink less / run more blah blah.
Last year I tried picking a phrase, writing it on a card and keeping it in my diary.
I think I am going to do the same thing this year.
So, in 2014 I will mostly be remembering to "keep my own counsel".
Reading this on a public blog is slightly ironic, and then there's my use of social media to consider.......

Maybe I should just eat less.

Friday, 29 November 2013

No time for such excitements

There was a time, not so long ago when I was watching five TV series, knitting and crocheting consecutive projects, reading three magazines a month and feeling, well perhaps a little bored.
Studying for a Pschology degree, alongside working, being a mother and running our home has left me with just one television evening a week, I haven't picked up a hook or needle in weeks and my magazines are piling up like the dust on the shelves....
Working four to five days a week took a little bit of getting used to, but after six weeks I reached a level of match fitness which enables me to read late into the evening one night a week. Nine weeks on, I am now finding my feet and have realised that I have to approach University as another job, so that I can keep on top of my work and produce assignments at the level my tutors are looking for.
Of course it's not all rose-tinted textbooks; there are times when I feel like my head is going to spin off my neck and many nights when I can't switch off and sleep feels miles away.
But am I happy. Much happier than I have been in ages.
I am finally learning the truths of the subject I have been second-guessing for years.

Friday, 13 September 2013

It's all about to get a little crazy.....

On 1 October, I return to university for the first time in 20 years.
I will be studying for a Psychology degree, part-time. I am super excited about learning and cannot wait to start. On the other hand, I am nervous of being old enough to be the mother of your average student, doing well and fitting it into our life.
For the first time in over five years I will be busy five days of the week. I am essentially hoping to fit six days into five.....
But I am only happy when I my brain is stretched and my time squeezed. 
Anyone that knows me will tell you that.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My summer so far.....

Just for once, the weather has been kind. Everything I have done that would have been enhanced by the sun, has been.
First was the annual Street Party on 2 June (an auspicious date as that was the last time I drank way too much wine) and we raised £200 for St Elizabeth Hospice and the British Heart Foundation. I love where we live. 
The following week, my friend organised a Teddy Bear's Picnic in Christchurch Park. More and more families arrived, my donations bucket got heavier and heavier and £2000 was raised for UNICEF.

Then I pushed myself into a sponsored 13.5 mile walk from Jimmy's Farm, around Alton Water, and back. I was way too relaxed about the training, and even bought new boots just two weeks before, but I finished, wasn't last and raised £410 for Suffolk Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Then it all becomes a bit more selfish.....

Over the course of two weeks, we have been to no less than three key sporting events. 
First the Grand Prix:

So much better than I had anticipated. We had a weekend ticket so managed to make qualifying (by the skin of our teeth) and returned for the main event after a lovely night out in Oxford. £165 seems a lot for a two hour race but the reality is that you are entertained all weekend (who knew the Red Arrows are so jaw-dropping incredible). 

Next came Wimbledon:

A spur of the moment ticket purchase but sadly everything over-priced once we were within the walls. However all I wanted was to see Lisciki play, and she won her game just as the drizzle started.

And then the first day of The Ashes:

As good as I imagined, despite the clouds - but rain did not stop play. 14 wickets in one day after a lovely evening in Nottingham with good friends.

So what next?

Friday, 31 May 2013

Thora Alice Cole - 8 September 1912 – 2 May 2013

Seven months ago, I stood in front of most of you – with Nanny to my left – and told you all about her 100 years.
The trouble with living for 100 years is that people start to think that you will go on forever.
On Sunday April 21, Nanny had a severe stroke following a fall that left her totally debilitated. For eleven days we watched her hold onto life – she held our hands, she smiled and she tried to speak. She knew we were all there and we were grateful to have the chance.
But 100 years of life leaves you with few resources to draw on at such times, and Nanny passed away in the early hours of Thursday 2 May with Mum at her side.
She was small and she asked very little of us but there is a very big Nanny-shaped hole in our lives.
She always smiled, she was so happy to see family and friends, she hardly moaned – despite her recent ailments – and she didn’t judge. Her three great grandchildren were a source of much happiness to her but she loved all her family and was proud of everyone’s achievements.
She used to say that if we were OK, then she was OK.
She left Mum an envelope with a few instructions for today – most of which we have got right.
She left the story of her life in that envelope and I would like to read her words today.

“I was born on a farm. I was brought up with a Nanny who taught me to love all the animals and wild flowers. I had two older sisters. I always felt the odd one out so I learned to enjoy my own company. I loved to roam the fields and talk to the animals.
"I went to a village school, but left at fourteen to rear chicken, ducks and turkeys.
At the age of sixteen I took over the dairy. I made the butter that was sold at the door and shops, attended to milk and eggs.

"At the age of eighteen I was tired of working at home so enrolled as a student nurse. I specialised in Tuberculosis and psychiatric care. At the age of twenty two I had passed my exams. I became state enrolled and registered RMPA (the Royal Medical Physiology Association). I became a Charge Nurse.
"I married in 1939 just before the war. My husband was an engineer, building large excavators and drag lines for iron ore in Northampton and Lincolnshire. I looked after two evacuee girls for nine months during the war. After that I travelled with my husband, and registered to do voluntary work. After the war I received a letter from the Queen, and later the Queen Mother, thanking me for my work.
"After the war we settled back in our own home in Ipswich, we were blessed with a beautiful daughter and she produced two lovely grandchildren.
I was borne in Wetheringsett, lived in Ipswich and Felixstowe, later near Hadleigh, Suffolk, on a smallholding with animals – horses, sheep, goats and chickens. I have travelled in many countries including Australia and Africa.
"My hobbies were riding mopeds and gardening. We moved to Frinton to retire in 1989”.