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Showing posts from May, 2018

Reasons to be cheerful - 31st May 2018

Okay, where did May go? Seriously how did that happen? These last 31 days seem to have flown by.

Anyway, another Thursday another "reasons to be cheerful", no linky this week as both Becky and Mich are taking well-earned breaks with their families, but here goes from me...

I've got so much writing done this week, both stuff that has up-coming deadlines and stuff that I've just been writing for fun. Anyway, it's been a very happy time of scribbling away.

De-cluttering has been happening as both J and I get rid of clothes we no longer wear (in J's case getting rid of (finally) of an age 13 t-shirt and some age 14 trousers! He's 19 soon!!).

The weather hasn't been great, but dad and I have managed to get out into the garden and plant a few more flowers and some dwarf beans.

And finally, I'm getting ready today to go on a little break over the weekend, which is why I'm busy busy today.

What are your reasons to be cheerful this week?

When it's not all wine and roses

I don't know what it is about the last couple of weeks, but a few people -me included - have jumped on to social media to confess that life isn't always wine and roses and that maybe we shouldn't be afraid to step up and say that.

Think about old photograph albums, if you looked at those the weather is always sunny, it hardly ever rains and there are always smiles.

I posted a video about feeling crappy, my hormones were raging and I felt rubbish, but I was lucky enough to be able to take some downtime and recover (I was fine by the next day), and a couple of other people I know posted similar stuff.

And it made me think that there's huge pressure to always present this picture of everything being fine and dandy, of never crying, and never saying "today was just 'meh'", and then people think that it must be them and they must be doing something wrong or not getting it. But honestly, we all get like that sometimes, we're just not very good at tellin…

Planning my weeks and my days (including why you need to change how you view yourself)

In yesterday's post, I gave you a brief flavour of how I plan and I promised you that I'd give a more detailed explanation of how I plan my weeks and my days, so here goes...

Weekly planning

This happens on a Sunday, usually in the evening. I sit down with the family calendar and my bullet journal and Google Calendar (where I keep a record of work I need to chase). And I transfer everything onto a weekly spread in my bullet journal. This includes the things that happen every week:

House chores (always first thing Monday morning)My weekly yoga class (Monday evening)Meal planning and shopping list writing (Tuesday afternoon/evening)Food shopping (Wednesday morning)Church, including if I'm reading (Sunday morning) And then any other appointments or events for me, my son, the cats. 
And finally, anything that has to happen on specific days of the upcoming week.
All that gives me a good 'big picture' view of my week, so that I can see exactly what's happening and exac…

Monthly, weekly and daily planning: how I do it

It's almost the end of May, we're nearly at the halfway point of the year! How did that happen?

Anyway, having shared my meal planning routine with you last week, I thought I share my life/work planning to. So here goes.

Above is our family calendar. It lives on the wall in the kitchen and it has all our appointments on it. There are only two of us (and two cats), so having FINALLY trained the teen to actually write his appointments on the calendar we don't get any more complicated than that, but at least we know what's going on.

I've tried a few different planners this year and none of them has been quite right, so I went back to bullet journalling in this gorgeous emerald Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid book and I'm loving it.

My future months look like this

My current month like this

My weekly spread (which I like just so that I can get a 'big picture' view of how busy I am) looks like this

And finally, my daily plans look like this

You can see that it'…

From the archives...

I wanted to have a look back at some of my most popular old posts and give you an opportunity of seeing them again, so here goes.

This post about "Investing in yourself" is from back in February and it got loads of hits. It's all about not being afraid to give yourself the permission and time to explore the things that you're interested in and TAKE ACTION to make positive stuff happen for you (even if it seems that 'everybody' else is doing something else completely).

I've taken some time this week to re-focus on my on wellbeing because the menopause 'stupid hormones all over the place' party has really hit me just recently, so I've invested some time to think more seriously about what I'm eating and how I'm spending my work and play time.

One thing I will be doing is blogging more, which will be really fun, so watch this space!

Reasons to be cheerful - 24th May 2018

It's been a funny old week this week. Yesterday I felt absolutely awful - thank you menopausal hormones - but the rest of the week has been pretty good. I've been doing a lot of writing, some of it about bubbles and I was extremely pleased with the picture above, it just makes me smile almost as much as actually blowing bubbles. The garden is coming on apace, with all the seeds I planted starting to sprout and the addition of a table to the patio. I was also ridiculously excited to see that I'm going to have a bumper crop of blackcurrants this year as well as the blackberries and plenty of strawberries. I've been making a conscious effort to eat more stuff that will hopefully help with the hormones. This was breakfast this morning, lemon water followed by a shake made with blackberries, avocado, chia seeds, apple juice and a splash of milk and actually rather yummy.  I've got a busy couple of days ahead with lots of work to finish and I'm hoping to be able to …

Meal planning is not rocket science (here's how I do it)

There are two basic essential bits to meal planning, they are:

1) Making the plan
2)Following the plan

That's it, it's that simple. Here's how I do it.

First, you'll need a calendar/diary/planner, wherever it is that you keep your family's schedule, a notebook and a pen.

DON'T get distracted by thinking that you need anything fancy, you don't.

I plan my meals and shopping on a Tuesday because I go shopping on a Wednesday morning, I shop weekly.

First I check my diary to make sure I know what's going on in the upcoming week. I only plan lunches and dinners, not that we don't eat breakfast, but we usually have the same things and I just have those in the house anyway.

Once I know what's going on in the week I plan meals based on the time I have available and what food is already in the freezer, fridge or pantry.
I write in on a piece of paper and note down whether I have the stuff already.

If I need to buy particular things from somewhere other th…

View of the day Sunday 20th May 2018

Reasons to be cheerful - 17th May 2018

Well, what a busy week this is has turned out to be. On Saturday I had my writing group where I shared this piece The idea was to write a piece of fiction in a non-fiction style, so I chose the sort of notice you'd see in a hotel or bar. I also thought it would be a good idea to do a Facebook Live and read some of my poems and flash fiction, you can view it on my Facebook Page. I discovered that I much prefer reading to a live audience (weird I know). The sun is shining here, so I've spent lots of time outside working in the gardening (doing gardening and taking lots of photos.  And I caught up with one friend for coffee and lunch yesterday and I'm catching up with another friend tomorrow. I've also been upping my walking and cutting down on my eating, as I need to lose some weight and also re-adopt some healthier lifestyle habits. And finally... I went to the cinema with my son to see Avengers: Infinity War. If you haven't been yet, I can highly recommend it. Wha…

Wordless Wednesday

Goodbye Sunday goal setting post

I've been writing 'This week I will mostly be...' posts on a Sunday for a while now, they've been both fun and useful for me and they have been popular with readers, but now I want to try something different. So from now on on Sundays, I'm going to post 'The view from my window'. So wherever I am I'm going to take a picture and post it.
It'll be an interesting photo project and I'm excited to see where it takes me.
In other news...
I'm planning to explore some more multi-media approaches to some of my writing too, so watch out for short films and audio, live readings on my Facebook Page, photography and artwork. I have no idea where any of this will take me, I'm just keen to have a play.

Reasons to be cheerful - 10th May 2018

Last week I told you that I was going to a Spoken Word event where I was going to showcase not just my writing, but also some music. 

I'm pleased to say that it went really well, and my friend and I went to the opening of an art exhibition and ate out to make a real night of it.
I made a conscious decision to not work over the bank holiday weekend and spent the whole time out in my garden, you can read about it here. I'm particularly pleased with the new herb garden I planted.

If all the vegetables come to fruition I'm going to be able to save a shed load of money on my shopping and also create some wonderful food. I'll also be having a go at preserving some stuff (thank goodness for a HUGE, old-fashioned pantry.

I've also managed to finally get my head down and work out how I work best to make the most productive use of my time, which has been great.
What are your reasons to be cheerful this week?

A sunny bank holiday weekend meant...

I could spend a whole chunk of time in the garden (with help from my mum and dad).

I chose not to do any work over the long weekend and I largely stayed off social media and just enjoyed being with my family.

Anyway, as a result of the beautiful weather, we did all of the following...

Planted carrots, parsnips, onion, spring onions, radish, beetroot, spinach, leeks and courgettes in the new raised bed.

Planted beans.

Got the tomatoes into their grow bags and transplanted the peppers to grow on and then be planted in a grow bag too.

Planted my herb garden with mint, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, coriander, oregano, tarragon, rocket and salad leaves.

We also bought some more flowers and dad brought me some additional strawberry plants and we did some more landscaping.

I'm so looking forward to being able to go out and pick/dig up stuff to use in the kitchen as I want it, it's going to be great.

This week I will mostly be... 6th May 2018

Taking a break to celebrate the long weekend. I'm actually writing this post on Friday night and I won't share it widely on social media until Tuesday morning, because I've decided to take a break over the long weekend. That doesn't mean I won't be working, but it does mean that I'll be keeping off social media and spending some quality time with my family.

There's plenty of work to be done in the garden, so I'll be spending a good bit of time outside.

And - once Tuesday comes - I'll be back to my regular work schedule with a vengeance, writing and chasing pitches, writing fictions and reading lots.

What are your plans for the week?

Reasons to be cheerful - 3rd May 2018

It seems to have been a super-busy time since I wrote my last reasons, so here goes for this week...People seem to like my fiction...
I posted a page on this blog featuring one of my latest fiction stories and it went a bit bonkers! Anyway, do pop over if you have a spare 10 minutes and feel free to let me know what you think. I won't put any spoilers out there, but it's not full of sex, violence or swearing.The garden is coming on apace...
I wrote here about how the garden is coming on. As it's National Gardening Week this week it seemed a fair time to focus on my adventures with green fingers.Tonight Matthew I'm going to be...
Performing at an arts event where I'll be showcasing some of my music as well as reading one of my stories. I can't remember the last time I performed in front of an audience that I didn't know, but A LONG time. You'll have to wait until next week to find out if it made me cheerful.The cats...

Rainy days are not for gardening...

Wet ground and a grey sky, the kind of day that makes a gardener's heart sink, or does it? Just because it's too wet to go outside doesn't mean there's nothing to do...

First, there's

the seedlings that need watering and tending and talking to to encourage them to grow that little bit more.


there are the houseplants. These are hyacinths that I've had for a couple of years. They sit on my kitchen windowsill and doing nothing for ages, then have a glorious few weeks of growing and flowering and then they disappear again.

And once all that's been done, there's

books and magazines to flick through looking for inspiration and instruction. And there's

 Pinterest to look and lust over.

And after all that, if you're really lucky

the sun comes out, and you can get back into the garden after all.

With silver bells and cockle shells...

... And things growing EVERYWHERE!

This week (30th April - 6th May) is National Gardening Week, so I'm jumping in with a series of posts about gardening... My garden, why gardening is good for you, what gardening is going to mean for me over the coming months, why gardening is cool, why it doesn't have to be expensive, or difficult and why you don't need a huge space to do it in... All stuff gardening basically.

So today I'm sharing some pictures and updates about my garden. Up top of this post is the camellia that's currently growing in a hidden place in the back garden. I don't know where it came from, I didn't plant it, but once it's finished flowering, it's going to move to take centre stage in the new front garden.

It'll be going there, in that central square. I can't take credit for this re-working, my dad did it all (including building the stone planting bed under the window.

Dad was also responsible for building this raised vegetabl…