March reflections / April hopes

March reflections - April hopes

< Reflections >

Start a new job – this was a given, but I’ve started it, I’m exhausted and I’m loving it

Plan a few surprises for our weekend away the weekend away with my sister and her friends was so very lovely and we managed to give my sister a surprise gift at every mealtime, so I count this goal complete!

Get halfway through German Sherlock – yes! In fact… I finished it! Really pleased. Now that I’m more in the habit of reading, as well as reading in German, I think I’m done setting reading goals – they start to take the joy out of it (yes, that’s me very unusually saying that a goal can detract from something, but there’s a time and a place…)

Go for at least one walk a week – I didn’t really monitor this. I’ve definitely been on one or two walks with my hubby and a few walks just along the cobble streets in the town where I currently work. Whether I did it every week I’m not sure…

Wear perfume more – it was fun challenging myself to care more about my appearance. I did this almost every working day and it did make me feel like I’d actually made an effort. Hopefully now that I’m in the habit of it, I’ll continue to wear it more often, although this will have the adverse effect of my perfume running out for the first time, well, ever!

It almost looks like March was just running to catch up while my new job ran away with me, but I actually did loads of things this past month. We went to the Newton Faulkner concert and finally bought a dehumidifier for the flat, I went to a masquerade party and a railway exhibition and I booked flights and accommodation for holidays this year! It’s been a busy month and I don’t mind admitting that I’m hoping April will run at a slightly slower pace.

< Hopes >

April is definitely spring, without question. We will be celebrating our third anniversary in Paris over the Easter weekend and I cannot wait! This next month should calm down. Although the long commute with the new job will continue for a few more weeks, there is less to plan and book and sort this month, as well as freer weekends and evenings to finally rest and relax. So the things I’d like to do next month are ways to enjoy my leisure time in new (and sometimes productive) ways:

Do brunch – no need for the early start for breakfast but far more relaxed than a quick lunch, brunch is the perfect compromise to relax with friends

Clear my laptop and iPhone of photos – my iPhone is three and a half years old and my MacBook, inherited from my hubby, is seven years old so it’s hardly surprising they’re slowing down a little. My mission for April is to take all of the photos off them both and store them onto a hard drive, hopefully resulting in a new lease of life for these aging gadgets!

Make homemade GF granola – I accidentally stumbled on a recipe that I want to change slightly and make into homemade granola. It was originally a topping for a plum crumble, but very little actually made it to the crumble it was so good!

Make popcorn without a microwave – a fun activity for date night. We don’t have space for a microwave in our kitchen and usually we don’t notice at all as we either leave things to defrost in the fridge or we can heat things up on the stove, but popcorn? Popcorn is something I’ve missed making and friends who have just moved to Ethiopia mentioned they were making it on their stove! Plus, this gives me the opportunity to make some fun flavours!

Buy some sports clothes – for some reason I have managed to convince myself that doing exercise would be more fun if I had the correct clothing to wear. Joggers and tshirts certainly aren’t as easy to move in as proper sportswear would be, so once my new job calms down, I think it’s time to invest in proper clothing for some good and regular exercise to start up again!

April also brings a baby shower for one of my best friends, four days in Paris and our third wedding anniversary so it promises to be a very celebration-filled month!

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Work-related jetlag

Work-related jetlagWhen you’re someone who is usually so organised and who under ordinary circumstances has all tasks thoroughly in hand, it becomes very apparent when a new job is taking over your mind. Affectionately nicknamed (by me), the ‘three week brain fry’, this phenomenon usually kicks in around the third week of a new job. Simple tasks become impossibly difficult and a work-related jetlag overcomes your brain and body. The symptoms that a person may be suffering from this calamity are actions including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Working from home and discovering you left the power cord to your work laptop in the office, an hour and a half’s drive away
  • Driving past your junction on the motorway and only realising when you happen to notice the sign for the next exit
  • Leaving your card in the machine at Starbucks and returning to your seat, without having even entered your pin number to pay

Perhaps one of the most horrifying (for me) indications that I was suffering from this sad affliction, was in writing an email to a good friend, when I wrote ‘whether’ instead of ‘weather’ and it took me a whole minute after sending the email to notice. I am without excuse.

Thankfully, this sorry state usually sorts itself out within a week or so and the sufferer returns to their normal, organised, in control self. In the meantime, the casualty should make sure they don’t make any important decisions and ensure they get lots and lots of sleep…

Hastings weekend

Collage 3My Christmas present for my sister was a joint present with three of her closest friends. The aim was to whisk her away for a weekend to relax and, most importantly, stop working! We booked a cottage for the five of us and enjoyed an incredibly sunny couple of days along the coast in Hastings, Sussex. The cottage was just delightful, the location was amazing and the company was perfect for light-hearted laughter as well as deep and challenging late-night conversation.Collage 1We even managed to sneak in a few extra surprises at every mealtime just so that my sister knew we had thought of her!

Collage 2 - gifts

I love that I get on so well with my sister’s friends as well as my own. It makes weekends like this all the more sweet.

Masquerade

Mask

We seem to have passed the season of weddings and are slowly moving into a season where many of our friends are starting their own little families. With that era, a lot of our friends are now turning 30 and, after a long but great first week at my new job, I wound down with some of my favourite people, dancing the night away at a masquerade 30th birthday party.

Masks actually make pretty good disguises and it took a few seconds to figure out who was who, but it was a fantastic night and made me start to think about what I want to do for my 30th, albeit a few years away…!

Unique blend of me: ISTJ

You hear the phrases banded around often: “You are unique… everybody’s different… you’re your own person…”

But the way we interact with one another very often doesn’t really reflect this. We acknowledge and readily accept that people like different things, believe different things, look different and have different overt character traits. Yet when it comes to working with others, communicating with them and interacting with them effectively, we usually enforce our own preferred methods on them. It is amazing how this can cause tension, confusion and upset without ever intending to do so.

When you describe a friend you would describe their personality – if I were to describe my sister in five words for instance, I would say she is wise,  loyal, creative, introverted and generous. For me, the key word in those five – the one that I think we often gloss over too easily but is the crux of how we interact with one another – is introverted.

If we are genuinely to take our differences into account we would find out whether the other person prefers to be communicated with in person, on the phone or via email, whether they like surprises or whether they hide from them, whether they thrive on social interaction or whether it drains them and whether they make their decisions and actions dependent on a judgement of the situation or a gut instinct. I wouldn’t consider these attributes strengths or weaknesses, they are differences that are so important to understand in all of our relationships.

It amazes me that my sister hadn’t realised that she needed space to process life and have time for herself until I told her she was an introvert. All of a sudden, she began to understand herself more and realised that needing space and time wasn’t a negative part of her personality. People very often mistake confidence (which she has) for extrovert (which she isn’t). Like my sister, I class myself as a ‘confident introvert’ and I think my personality trait is very well summed up by my Myers Briggs personality type.

I know that some people don’t like the label that this places on you but I actually see the value over the label. I see a way of explaining my heart and the way my mind works in an accessible way and I see a method of understanding how others work and how to bring the best out of them.

My husband sent me a link he’d found that outlines the Myers Briggs personality types and their stressors. I am ISTJ, he is INFP, almost the exact opposite of me. Especially in a marriage, understanding these fundamental differences in how we work is vital in complimenting one another and bringing out the best in one another.

ISTJ head and stressINFP head and stressBeing aware of the deeper ways in which people work and changing the way we interact with them as a result, can make the biggest difference with colleagues, friends and spouses. Being ISTJ is just one of the many things that makes up the unique blend of me.

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

collage3We spent the last Saturday before my new job started, at Marwell Zoo. The day ended up being really blue and bright and we took our time strolling around – avoiding the enclosures where the animals just have no space. Even taking our time, we still made it all the way around long before the estimated four hours that had been suggested. Clearly with no children in tow, things go much faster!

I love being out and about as the weather starts to clear and it’s so fun to go on day trips together. I start to feel like I’m making the most of being in the moment and spending quality time with the people I love – it makes my heart happy.

Newton Faulkner

collage2For Christmas, my sister and parents gave my husband two tickets to see Newton Faulkner – an incredibly talented guitarist who manages to make 90 minutes disappear while you watch, spell-bound, as he manipulates every possible sound from a guitar. We went to the gig last week and I was blown away by what one man and a guitar could do. His hands fly around the fret from top to bottom, the rhythm is sourced by his hands drumming the guitar body without you noticing and you begin to wonder whether your eyes and ears are deceiving you and whether the sounds you are hearing are in fact being created by many musicians that are inexplicably out of sight.

If you have the opportunity to hear Newton play – take it. A unique and captivating talent.

Cherry blossoms in Spring

collage1Spring appears finally to have sprung in the UK this weekend and with it, the optimistic populous have donned summer clothes to embrace the fleeting sunshine in case it disappears as unexpectedly as it arrived.

Although our attire wasn’t quite as ambitious as some we saw, hubby and I did walk into town and bask in the unfamiliar warmth. A bit of shopping and a stroll by the river later, we came home for an afternoon that promised rugby, food and relaxation. Perfect.

Taking a photo of a cherry blossom is just one of the many things that makes me feel like a new season has arrived.

Hello Spring – you are so welcome!