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!

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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!

February reflections / March hopes

collage< Reflections >

Continue with January successes – remarkably, rolling laundry has actually continued and my Saturdays have been spared multiple laundry loads, I have continued to read my Bible every day, we’ve had a day trip to the coast and this little blog has been updated more than once. Tick!
Finish No Name and start reading German Sherlock – done! No name was great, completely the right ending, loved it. German Sherlock is underway although progress is quite slow…
Take at least one photo a week – I have definitely taken more photographs this month but I hope as spring really sets in, there will be even more scope to capture my life on camera. One photo a week hasn’t really felt enough to bring back photography joy.
Bake something red around Valentine’s DayRed velvet cheesecake pancakes. ‘Nuff said.

< Hopes >

March 3rd will bring a whole new routine to my life as I start a new job. It’s exciting and challenging and refreshing and it has the potential to overshadow the whole of the month so I want to make sure I have just a few little goals to keep me moving forward.

Start a new job – as mentioned, this one is going to happen no matter what I do
Plan a few surprises for our weekend away – my Christmas present to my sister was to take her away for a girly weekend with her best friends and I’d love to add in some extra little surprises. No clue what they might be as yet!
Get halfway through German Sherlock – reading in German takes more time as I have to switch my mind into another language but I think I can get halfway through the book by the end of March
Go for at least one walk a week – the weather is hopefully going to pick up a little so I’d love to get out a bit more and get some fresh air; this winter has been particularly ‘indoor’ focused!
Wear perfume more – it’s such a small thing but smells are powerful mind triggers and I’ve had the same perfume for about a decade so it’s quite comforting. It’s very ‘me’ and it helps me feel more put together when I probably won’t have the time to make much more effort than that!

Calm in chaos

IMGP4105aThe storms in Britain have been pretty fierce this Winter. The cold has stayed away but the wind and the rain have battered our little island with some force. We visited friends on the coast at the weekend and fought against the gusts for a few moments to watch the waves pound the shore. It was a beautiful and powerful sight.

We spent many hours hiding from the weather in an adorable little tea shop. We watched the clouds roll by and the rain pour down before venturing out at the first promise of blue in the grey sky.

It’s so sad to read the stories of those people whose lives have been so affected by the flooding. Our own walk into town is currently completely submerged under water, as is the hotel where I got ready for my wedding almost three years ago situated on the banks of the Thames.

The elements have a life of their own and have the potential to cause so much damage. Amid the chaos that these storms are creating, I’m trying to find an element of beauty in their unstoppable strength. These waves were rolling in fast, as far as the eye could see and there was so much life in their nature that just a few minutes watching them crashing into the pebbles left my husband and me invigorated and refreshed. Somehow, even in the chaos, there was calm.

IMGP4106a

I want to be who they are

Looking around the internet – particularly the blogosphere – there are countless women who exude traits that I want people to associate with me: simple living, creativity, family values, wisdom and so much more. I’m pretty content with who I am; I know what I like, what I dislike, what I’m great at and what I’m fairly dismal at – yet there often seems to be something missing.

There are so many women I can relate to in terms of goals, values and lifestyle that I begin to wonder, how am I unique and what can I offer in amongst this shoal of successful, intelligent and warm-hearted women?

Today I had someone a few years younger than me tell me “you’re living my dream!” My job is the pinnacle of the career that she is hoping for and the goal that she is working hard to make progress towards. It struck me that what I admire in other people, others may covet in me. Who I am and the life that I have, is not to be taken for granted, it is one that others might be dreaming of.

So perhaps I’m not quite as contented as I had thought. I may know myself well but do I see myself as others do, or do I take for granted what I have, leaving me unsatisfied with my place in a vast world?

I love a challenge, I love to learn about myself and the world around me and I don’t think there is anything wrong with goals, ambition and wanting to fulfil your potential. What I think I’m missing along the way is learning how to embrace who I already am, so that I can recognise and appreciate the amazing traits in others without becoming disheartened that they devalue or supersede my own qualities. Instead, I want to be able to absorb those characteristics that I most respect to help me become who I want to be.

I don’t want to be who they are. I want to be my own unique blend of me.

January reflections / February hopes

Jan reflection - Feb hope

< Reflections >

Keep laundry going during the weekrolling laundry has been pretty successful and the weekends haven’t felt so packed full of chores
Play flute twice – played three times and thoroughly enjoyed it
Read my Bible every day – done! It’s amazing how easy this can be when it becomes part of your routine. It’s refreshing and encouraging – long may it continue!
Apply to 20 jobs – I’m not sure I applied for 20, but I have a new job so I think I can consider this well and truly completed!
Ponder website/blog/photojournal – you’re looking right at it
Go on a day trip somewhere pretty – not quite, but we have one planned in for two weeks time
Start reading German Sherlock – also a big fail, I’m reading Wilkie Collins’ No Name and it’s pretty intense reading. Also, it’s Long!

January has turned out to be quite the month. I have a new job, I’ve started physio on my shoulder, we’ve booked our main summer holiday and two mini-breaks and my hubby has managed to find a decent amount of time to push forward with his goals too. It’s been a rainy month and that looks set to continue, but I hope that this next month will be bright in its own way.

< Hopes >

Continue with January successes – if I can keep these going longer than a month I’ll be impressed
Finish No Name and start reading German Sherlock – I’m 57% through No Name (thank you, Kindle) but like I said, it’s Long!
Take at least one photo a week – I miss having photographs as a record of what we do so I hope February will see a return to photography joy
Bake something red around Valentine’s Day – we’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day but I’ll take any excuse for a baking challenge!

It’s not a long list, but then it’s not a long month!