Tuesday, 16 January 2018

This week is 'that' week

It's the middle of January (yes, really), and it's the week that holds 'blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year apparently.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), is 'Ditch New Years' Resolutions Day'. This is the day when people have tried out the resolutions they made in the warm fuzziness of the holidays in the cold light of January. Then, realising that the resolutions don't fit with real life, they dump them.

I purposely don't make resolutions because I know I won't keep them. I do choose a word for the year to focus my plans on. For 2018 my word is 'Growth', I want everything I do to move my life and business forward positively.

That means 'positively' for me, not pinned to the expectations of other people.

I am a glass half full person, I prefer focusing on the positives and I know an overarching word is far more helpful to me than pie in the sky resolutions that I'm not going to stick to.

Have you ditched your resolutions or did you make plans you knew you could stick to?

Sunday, 14 January 2018

This week I will mostly be... 14th - 20th January 2018

After a great start back at my desk last week I'm ready for another busy but productive one coming up.

So, this week I'll be pitching lots of ideas to editors, which they'll hopefully lap up.

I also have a fiction story to finish by Saturday ready for my writing group.

I have a theatre trip planned with my mum. We're planning to catch lots of shows this year, so watch out on my social media feeds to see what I'm watching.

What are your plans for the week ahead?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Filofox Clipbook flip through

Long-time readers will know that I'm a sucker for a nice bit of stationery, so I was very excited to find what I think might be my dream notebook.

I've known for ages that my ideal notebook size is A5, plenty of space to write, but also not too big to fit in a bag.

I've also known that being able to swap pages around is important, because I'm often working on a few things at once and never know how many pages to leave in between, so some kind of ring-bound book.

The book couldn't be too heavy, again because of carrying it around.

To be honest, I'd come to the conclusion that a Filofax would be a possible option, but I'd discounted it because of the weight issue... And then I discovered the Clipbook.


Soft plastic cover and not too thick, with plenty of lined, squared and plain paper. There's also an undated diary (year, monthly and weekly pages), that I've decided to use for my business appointments and planning.

The other thing that I love is that the rings don't get in the way in the Clipbook like they often do in classic Filofax.

I've used the Clipbook for a couple of weeks now, in lots of different environments and I'm loving it. I really do think I've finally found my dream notebook.

Disclaimer: I purchased the Filofax Clipbook and extra inserts using my own money and these are my unbiased thoughts on the product.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Reason to be cheerful - 11th January 2018

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart
1) Back to work

I returned to work as a freelancer this week and I've managed to complete all the tasks I set myself. These mostly revolved around getting things organised and set up ready to move forward next week. It would have been super-easy to take a relaxed approach but I didn't, I've hit all my targets, which has been great.

2) More time for the important things

Working for myself means more flexibility about when and where I work and the ability to be around for my family and friends. It also means I can cook more, go out for more walks and just be more in control of things.

3) Filed my tax return

Yay! 'Nuff said.

4) Happy cats

Now I'm around more the feline masters - Harry especially - are thrilled. They follow me around and sleep in my office. So sweet!

So, those are my reasons to be cheerful this week, what are yours?

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Thought for the day

When I started thinking about things I wanted to spend time doing in 2018 one of the ideas that popped up was re-reading The Bible. It's something I haven't done for a while. Anyway, I knew I didn't just want to start at Genesis and go straight through to Revelations, so I was planning to find a book or programme to follow.


Just as I was thinking about it, I saw a request on Twitter asking for bloggers to take part in IBRA's #FreshStart Challenge, to follow a week's worth of readings and reflections from their 2018 Bible reading book "Fresh From The Word".

So I signed up and started on January 1st.

I made a conscious decision to make this one of the first things I do in the morning, otherwise, I knew I wouldn't do it, so after I've fed the cats and had a coffee, I open my Bible to the passage for the day.

Each day there's a reading, a meditation on the passage, a prayer and a prompt for further thought

I've not given a set amount of time to this activity, sometimes the material speaks to me more deeply than on other days.

What I have found is that having the books by my bed, so that I just reach out and pick them up, is great - no effort and having decided on a time to start each morning has made it really easy to make this practice part of my routine really quickly.

The daily thoughts, written by a variety of different Christians, from different traditions and using a variety of versions of The Bible, aren't preachy or like Bible Study, they're simply short and thought-provoking.

I'm using The Bible I've had since university and I'm constantly finding bits highlighted, underlined or marked from lectures, essays and events I've done over the years, so as well as new thoughts Fresh From The Word evokes, I'm also being transported back to events from my past.

I'm planning to keep going with the readings for the whole of 2018 and will keep you updated now and again on my progress.

If you fancy joining me, "Fresh From The Word is available here.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of "Fresh From The Word", to enable me to take part in the #FreshStart campaign.

Monday, 8 January 2018

A little bit of what you love

Today (8th January), is Bubble Bath Day and Wednesday (10th January), is Houseplant Appreciation Day. Today is also the birthday of a good friend of mine and yesterday I gave her a tealight holder and some tealights. Anyway, this all made me think about pampering and making time for ourselves.

I'm a great lover of baths, I didn't used to be, I thought they were an extravagance and a waste of time. For some years I lived in a house that only had a shower.

Now I only have a bath and I love it. I don't often have a long, lazy bubble bath, but I do certainly take longer over my morning bath than I would if I was having a shower.

I think better in the bath, being immersed in the warm water seems to free my brain.

I have one of those trays across my bath where you put all your bottles and I love sitting there deciding which bubbles and potions to use.

I used to jump in the shower, quick wash and on to the next thing, a bath just seems to set me up for the day more quietly.

And as for houseplants, I have a pot of hyacinths on my kitchen windowsill. I thought they were dead and I hadn't got round to chucking them out and all of a sudden (thanks to a steamy kitchen, because I haven't watered them), ping, they've grown again.

They're poisonous to cats, but they're far enough away from Leo and Harry to not pose a threat, and I love their colour and smell, so they're staying where they are.

And candles? I love a candle. All of the candles in my house at the moment were gifts from friends, so when I burn them it's not just about the light, but also the significance of who gave it to me, when and why.

And all of these things, baths and plants and candles give me pause in my busy life and offer the opportunity to be thankful for threats and the time to enjoy them.

Give yourself permission to enjoy some pampering time in your life.

This week I will be mostly - 8th January 2018

Returning to work

I made the decision to take two weeks off over Christmas as what a brilliant plan that turned out to be.

I didn't not work, in fact, I did a fair bit of reading and writing and planning, but I dipped in and out when I fancied and didn't worry about not being on social media - I didn't even schedule anything apart from a couple of blog posts.

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon in the company of a great group of women as we had lunch and a museum trip to celebrate the birthday of one of our number.

And today, I woke up excited about getting back to my desk and writing.

And I am excited, I'm excited to be my own boss again, and to be doing what I really love and to have a clear plan of where I want to go this year.

I feel energised by the fact that I put work firmly on the back burner for a couple of weeks and spent time with my family.

This week is all about setting the work plans I've made in motion, so I'm going to be a busy little bee!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Reasons to be cheerful - 4th January 2018

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart
Technically I'm still on holiday, but here are my first r2bc for 2018...
1) It's STILL Christmas...
I leave my decorations up until 6th January (Epiphany, every year, so I'll be taking them down tomorrow.
Additionally, I decided to take until 8th January off, so I'm still on holiday.
2) Back to freelancing full time... I did my last shift in the shop just before Christmas. It was only a temporary job, with the chance that a longer contract might come out of it. Anyway, it didn't, but I'm excited about getting back to freelancing full time and working on some really exciting fiction and non-fiction projects.
3) Knitting...
I put my knitting down a month or so ago, but now I've picked it up again and I'm determined to finish this pair of socks this month.
4) Cooking from scratch...
Inspired by my friend Rin Hamburgh, and being home more, I've decided to try out one new recipe a week, as well as cooking more from scratch.
So, those are my reasons to be cheerful for this first week of 2018, what are yours?

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

"It's life Jim..."

Today - January 2nd - is Science Fiction Day. I love good sci fi; to be fair, I love bad sci fi too. I love that it's almost plausible and that it challenges me to think about things differently. I love that - particularly with bad sci fi - I have to suspend my belief to wipe zips and bubble wrap from my mind's eye so that I can see the scary monsters.

Tom Baker was my Dr Who when I was little, and I spent many happy Saturdays with my younger brother (who celebrates his birthday today as well), hiding behind the sofa or a cushion being frightened out of our wits by Daleks and Cybermen.

On the flip side, I was also a HUGE fan of Blake's 7 with the wobbly sets and Christmas light computer ORAC.

And - of course - I have avidly watched Star Trek for as long as I can remember. I'm even watching the reboot films and shouting as I remember the original movies and plots.

Sci fi in all its forms should challenge us to imagine how the world could be and how we could react to the whole different ball game that changing lives, technologies and possibilities throws at us. But it should also be fun. A chance to talk about things and share fantastic stories and possibilities.

A life without sci fi would be less rich and anyway, I'm still waiting for my hover board!

What's your favourite sci fi?

Sunday, 31 December 2017

This week I will mostly be - 31st December 2018

Celebrating New Year with my family.

Taking a well-earned break!

I'm planning to be back at my desk on 8th January when normal service will resume, until then you'll have to put up with posts written in advance. xx

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Reasons to be cheerful - 28th December 2017

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart
Family, food and fun!
Let's face it, I'm not really here, I scheduled this post last week, because I'm actually enjoying the holiday and time with my family. I hope you're enjoying some downtime as well x

This week is 'that' week

It's the middle of January (yes, really), and it's the week that holds 'blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year apparen...