May – Resurrecting Life’s Detail

DSCF2150aPosting just once or twice a month isn’t quite what I had intended for this blog but it will do for now.

As hoped for, May has been a month that has given me space to appreciate time a little more. Evenings and weekends have been less crammed and there have been fewer demands on my time than in recent months.

I find it slightly amusing that my instinct when presented with time is to fill it but I am learning how to fill it with things I enjoy and that have a result that continues past the hour that was filled. When I’ve spent the morning writing, reading, painting, baking or photographing, there is a lingering sense of product and productivity that is uniquely satisfying. Then I’m happy to spend a couple of hours watching a movie or taking a nap because the hours of the day haven’t all been ‘wasted’.

May has reminded me of how crucial the role of detail plays in my life. Without detail, time rushes on and I’m left feeling like I never quite made the most of it. Details that have been resurrected (or established for the first time) in May include:

Freezing limes and lemons ready for iced drinks (hello G&T). They look pretty, they give an added level of occasion and they keep the drink cold, without watering it down. A small extra detail makes it a whole new drink.

Having flowers in the bedrooms. Whenever I have flowers in the flat, they are usually on prominent display in the lounge where any visitor would notice them. Having flowers in other rooms, where only my husband and myself will appreciate them frequently, creates a level of detail that isn’t affirmed by other people. All of our lives are worth giving care and attention to, not just the areas that the outside world sees.

Moisturising and painting my nails. I’m not one for spending an excessive amount of time getting ready but I notice that when I take the time to introduce a more detailed routine, I feel (and look!) better as a result. Emphasise on I feel better. Spending time making sure all the clothes I wear fit me well, spending time moisturising and taking care of my skin rather than just jumping out of the shower, into a non-thought through outfit and ploughing straight onto what’s next, all contribute to a sense of wholeness and wellbeing.

Eating more healthily. In the days of yore, being overweight was a good thing. It testified to your wealth and ability to afford the choicest food… and lots of it! Nowadays, being overweight (and I acknowledge this is a huge generalisation) is often akin to having little money, not caring about what you’re putting into your body, or both. Cheap food is often fast food, filled with additives, fat and goodness knows what else. Taking time to cook a good meal and make sure I’m not overindulging in the chocolate I’m so drawn to, makes me feel better. Planning the details of a good meal (and even good treats) gives me energy that I don’t feel when I speed through life.

Social media fast: seeing the world’s natural detail. Isn’t it ironic that what some would consider cutting yourself off from the world and the influences, opinions and events that define it, often results in us connecting with the world on a much more satisfying and meaningful scale. The world is full of detail. Birds singing, dramatic clouds, sunshine, people, life. Switching off from electronic communication not only gives me some time back in and of itself, it also opens my eyes to appreciate the natural detail and beauty that already surrounds me.

Experimenting: a break from routine. Whether it’s going out for a late night walk, trying a new recipe, going to a new restaurant or meeting someone new for coffee, breaking from the norm gives life the opportunity to show me new colours, new details, new flavours and most importantly for me, new memories.

I’m sure there are many more ways in which May was all about resurrecting life’s detail for me but instead of trying to capture it all, I’ll wait until the words come unprompted. I spent this past weekend baking, reading, painting my nails and taking a long bath. I’m starting to feel refreshed, the details I’ve had time to pay attention to are bringing me joy so I’m going to take an afternoon away from online distraction and appreciate some quiet time.

May reflections / June hopes

May reflections - June hopesThis month has brought a welcome change in pace. We saw Pentatonix live, who were just amazing, had a photography day with friends, enjoyed a wonderful week away in Turkey and spent some quality time with some of our favourite people. The sunshine has tried to make an appearance among a host of heavy showers but the season is definitely drifting into summer. Sadly the job location move didn’t happen quite as planned but even with that, we’re certainly getting there.

I’ve done some thinking this month about why I’m setting monthly goals and what I hope to get out of them. I don’t want them to stop me from being spontaneous just because I want to make sure I achieve everything I set for myself. So for the summer months, while the days are longer, my goals are going to be a little more vague, hopefully allowing space to enjoy these days of sunshine, simplicity, warm breezes and lazy time lived with friends.

>Reflections<

Take a class at the leisure centre – I actually enjoyed it! Go figure. I went by myself just to try it out but I’m really glad I did. It was exactly the kind of class I was looking for and a great balance of cardio and weights. I only managed one class but I’ll definitely go back next month.

Don’t get sunburned in Turkey – hurrah! I’m not sunburned! I’m also not particularly tanned because I was wearing factor 50 sunscreen, but I’ve lost the blue-white glow that comes from living somewhere it rains a lot!

Pin down a date to make an item of clothing – Yes! June 14th is in the calendar. I even bought the fabric in Turkey so we’re all set to go.

Wash the car – May turned out to be more full of showers than sunshine but we still managed to wash the cars one evening. It’s less fun when you don’t have a hose but we did an ok job with a bucket, sponge and some car shampoo. Definitely one to do again when we have access to a hose!

Get some more dates in the diary for fun things – Less so than I had hoped but I have planned to go punting with a bunch of people next week so we’ll leave it at that for now. I’d still like to book in a cake decorating class…

>Hopes<

Have drinks outside with friends – I want to make the most of these long evenings in every way I can and being outside as dusk arrives is one of my favourite ways to enjoy this season.

Send some postcards – life is best when shared and I have some wonderful postcards with Puffin book covers from the last 100 years that are so fun to send. Snail mail is the best kind of mail.

Make smoothies – it’s summer, smoothies are definitely a requirement!

Make ice cream – same reason as above, it’s about time we got the ice cream maker out again!

April reflections / May hopes

April reflections - May hopesWhere are these months disappearing to? I can’t quite believe how quickly April flew by or how far through spring we now are. April has been a little calmer, although still pretty full. We’ve seen friends, enjoyed some sunshine, taken photographs and celebrated at a baby shower and our anniversary – the latter in the beautiful city of Paris. For once I’ve even managed to achieve all of my goals!

>Reflections<

Do brunch – more than once would you believe! With friends and with my hubby, brunch has been wonderful. We’ve also discovered that other friends love brunch as much as we do so long may this leisurely meal continue in our weekend priorities!

Clear my laptop and iPhone of photos – yes! My devices actually seem to have responded and are working a little quicker… my hubby also updated the firmware on my Pentax Q camera and it’s as though it is now a brand new phone. So exciting! Nice to have renewed technology around the place without spending any money at all.

Make homemade GF granoladone. So quick and easy to make and you can make so many varieties. I kept it pretty simple this time round, but next time I think I’ll add in some dried fruit, nuts and rice krispies so that all it needs is milk and it’s good to go!

Make popcorn without a microwavethis was really fun. I love hearing the kernels popping in the saucepan! We tried a few flavours but I haven’t settled on one I really like yet. We’ll keep trying I’m sure, it’s a great snack!

Buy some sports clothes – 3/4 length joggers and 2 sports tops bought! Comfy, cute and easy to move in – check!

>Hopes<

May brings an end to my long commute as the office for my new job finally moves close to me, so hopefully I’ll have some time to stop and look around me a little more.

Take a class at the leisure centre – I may need a friend to drag me to this, but in principle I really like the idea of having a set time to go, work out and come home. I like the flexibility (and the free-ness) of doing Tae Bo at home but I need a little sports inspiration. With my new sports gear, I think I’m ready to venture out…

Don’t get sunburned in Turkey – I cannot wait for the last two weeks of May as one of my best friends is flying over from LA. With my hubby and another friend we’re all visiting a mutual friend who is teaching out in Turkey. It should be a really great holiday as I’ll be with four of my favourite people! Although, as my sister put it, this is such a middle-class goal…

Pin down a date to make an item of clothing – it amuses me slightly that my goal is to get the date in, not actually make the skirt. However, the person who will be helping with it is hard to catch so it may take most of this month to find a date we can both commit to!

Wash the car – it’s May, that means it should be sunny right? Well then, hubby and I can make sure we find a couple of hours to hand wash our car in the sunshine! I noticed when we were with my grandparents in Germany last summer, how well people take care of their possessions and I think that’s a really good thing to abide by. Not to have pride in what we own, but to steward it well for as long as we have it. For me, washing the car comes under that category and if I get a little time in the sunshine with my husband, all the better!

Get some more dates in the diary for fun things – some kind of watercolour or baking course, dinner somewhere posh and maybe a mini-break. That’s not too much to take on, right?!

So by the looks of things, May will involve some preparation for future activities, some time in the sunshine, a holiday and getting back in shape. Here goes!