365 Day Blog challenge Day 97 – Spreading Joy #365daychallenge

I do love my self help books and in Be Happy by Rebecca Ray she mentions Joy; creating joy, spreading joy, sharing joy. So in honour of that today I am going to do a list of all the wonderful things that have happened this week:

  • It started off bad as I’m still going through that up and down mood swing from death anniversaries however it’s wonderful to know you have the support of your team leader when being a ‘mardy arse’
  • I’m still asking questions of strangers and it’s turning into some amazing conversations. I actually think having the intention to talk to people has possibly changed my body language because people I think are also approaching me more too
  • I practised ‘visibility’. I stood up in front of my full team meeting to offer feedback on a team building exercise. Normally I leave these things to others so I’m not noticed. AND I went and stood at the head of the table to do it rather than read off some notes. MY senior-est manager also singled me out for praise on handling a difficult piece of work and I was given a £25 voucher in reward of that.
  • I had good conversations with team mates; sharing stories and thoughts I normally keep to myself or my closest friends
  • I have really stepped up with my walking this week, beating my target every day
  • I had an impromptu trip to the park to enjoy some (cold but) wonderful sunshine.
  • I put out to the universe I’d like an abundance of money and have so far this week found 29p. I probably should be more specific next time….
  • My acts of kindness was to go with my friend to the hospital for an MRI scan and giving a small child my duck food at the local park to feed the birds with
  • Four of my too small work shirts now fit

I don’t think that’s bad for 6 days (I’m starting from Monday). The power of positive thinking brings wonderful results 🙂

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365 Day Blog challenge Day 93 – An Unexpected Mentor #365daychallenge

Today I went to say ‘hi’ to a colleague who I haven’t seen for a few weeks. Last month her mum died so I just wanted to see if she was ok. And we got talking, as you do. Funny how you can spend time with people and think you know them but then you reveal something of yourself and discover a whole new raft of personal information.

We started with what she was doing at the minute (EU regulations, very dull) moved onto historical dramas and then back to work where she mentioned thinking about trying for promotion. In the spirit of flirtology and having conversations with people I mentioned my development course. She gave me some interesting advice on my short term plans. As she is the grade above me it was good to get a different perspective.

But then I mentioned my degree. I kind of talk about this without talking about it much. By that I put a few bits on Facebook when it’s assignment time but otherwise don’t say too much. Apart from this blog and to maybe 2 people I’ve never mentioned the post graduation adult eduction plan. But she’s a nice woman to chat to and I found myself saying these things out loud.

Amazingly she has already followed this plan! We’re similar in age and while I started this journey at 39 she was probably about 30 however the principal was the same. An older adult looking at changing her career goals and then working towards the one I’ve chosen. For her, she did it part time alongside the civil service job and after a while she realised she couldn’t afford to leave the main job and after some curriculum changes she decided that was the one to let go.

But as we discussed, better to have the go, learn from it and decide if it is what you really want than get to retirement and have regrets. She had some good ideas for how to pursue my post-grad qualifications and the best routes for it. I even got some advice on the best uni’s to look at.

It’s funny how just a little question to pass the time can open up your whole world. I now have someone who understands my study woes as a working adult and the idea of having to work 2 part time jobs as study which is what I should expect in 2020.

So score another in the win box for flirtology and asking a question. Nope she wasn’t a stranger but engaging in a conversation rather than simply walking past has made all the difference to my day and left me feeling the motivation to keep going.

 

 

365 Day Blog challenge Day 91 – Positives #365daychallenge

I’ve mentioned what an up and down week it’s been but we end it with two positives that make me see the big picture and a reason for continuing my journey.

I was craving carbs and sugary treats so badly last week. I gave in and had a pizza on the Wednesday and has some biscuits on Thursday. Yesterday I got up off my but and got in around 11,000 steps. Standing on the scales this morning and I’ve actually lost 1lb taking my total to 1 stone 1lb (15lbs). This is significant as every time I’ve done an official diet I’ve lost between 10-12 lbs on average then given up and either put the weight on or gained it back plus more. The none diet has brought about better results!

So what to take away from this? I can have the occasional treat when I feel like I need it. I do’t have to beat myself up about it or feel guilty as it may actually be doing me some good. It’s all in the moderation. I’m back on the plan that is working and getting my sugars naturally from fruit.

The second positive outcome is my skin. Up until recently I had terrible panda eyes. The skin around my eyes is quite thin and dark. Looking online for explanations and solutions I was told it’s my age and the only way to combat this is with tubs of expensive creams. I can’t afford that.

However the 44 days without caffeine, carbonated drinks seems to have done the same job! My eyes still aren’t perfect and the fact that skin thins as we age is probably true but there’s a definite lightening and I no longer look like I’m surviving on 2 hours sleep per night. And not once did I need to buy an expensive jar of chemicals.

I do wonder now though how far down the google search the information on how diet can affect your skin has been pushed by big pharma companies that just want to make money? Maybe one day I’ll do a bit of research on that but for now I’m happy that I’m noticing more than baggy clothes 🙂

 

365 Day Blog challenge Day 90 – #Flirtology and Books #365daychallenge

In Day 87’s blog I talked about the book Flirtology by Jean Smith and my attempt at asking a question of a stranger. Yesterday I was feeling down when I wrote my blog as I still had low energy from being ill and from the end of January to the end of March I’ve a bunch of death anniversaries which always make me sad. Tuesday was the 3rd anniversary of a good friend who died at the age of 51 of breast cancer. I’m only 5 years off that age and I always find it affects me.

So today was all about me. I decided to go to the local museum to see the Chippendale furniture exhibition and get some footsteps in. I also decided to use the books challenges and see what happened. The one’s I’ve written down to work on are:

  • Ask a stranger a question (the other day I used the ask for directions example)
  • Give a stranger a compliment
  • Smile
  • Look at deal breakers for a relationship
  • Build rapport with a stranger

I reckoned at the very least I should be able to smile at people. In typical fashion though I forgot it was half term and so everywhere was full of school children. Guaranteed grimacing rather than smiling…

In the museum shop I saw a couple of books but as I’m trying not to overspend I decided to pop into the library to see if the books were there and this unexpectedly ended up giving me the smiles, the question and rapport building.

After reserving my books I was looking at the posters on the wall regarding book clubs. There was a librarian hovering nearby so I simply asked what the books were for the groups this month. Yay for asking a stranger a question. This resulted in 3 conversations with 3 people about books and lots of rapport building and smiling. Plus me borrowing 3 books!

In the book it says a lot about how people will say that they never meet anyone and when you dig deeper they aren’t actually going anywhere to meet people. I’m definitely guilty of this thinking so when moving forward and ending the invisibility I need to go places. I’m not a partier anymore and art of that is I hardly drink now. It makes you not want to be stuck in a room full of drunk people. So it’s now looking at places I can go that suit my interests so I can start these meaningful conversations. Might as well start by going back to a book club.

But I’m pleased with today. I went out of my comfort zone but because it’s a subject close to my heart it didn’t feel so bad and I didn’t feel so nervous. It’s about conversing as much as flirting and there’s no romance in any of today but it made me feel good to be chatting, it made them feel good to help and talk about books and everybody got to smile.

Result!

Review of Flirtology can be found here kirk72.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/flirtology-by-jean-smith/

365 Day Blog challenge Day 89 – Plastic Free #plasticfree #365daychallenge

I’m not particularly a Christian but I do like following some of the traditions and one of my favourite ones is to try and give something up for Lent. I admit it’s usually just an excuse to try and avoid chocolate but seeing as I am now 48 days chocolate free this year I’ve been looking about for something different.
Flicking through twitter I found a post about going plastic free. I’m interested in the environment but as a beginner to making the right changes this list I saw is an excellent way to kick start some positive changes. Reading through the list (that I’ll post at the end of this) I’m quite shocked by the amount of positive changes I can make. I found some of the information a bit shocking. I think sometimes I’m a bit naive. I didn’t know that toothbrushes are never destroyed.
Seeing as Lent has already started I’ll probably not follow the 40 days but just implement the changes where I can. These are the points I found on twitter and are aimed at UK citizens but I’m sure there are alternatives to plastics if you live in the USA or elsewhere and read this.
Today on Twitter Friends of the Earth are launching #plasticfreefriday today which aims to introduce us newbies to less plastic as well as give the more experienced people a few new ideas. The ones below are credited to a post by @Amelia_Womack
  1. Bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic
  2. Toothpaste (you can get solid tabs from LUSH)
  3. Detergent – soap nuts instead. I need to look at this one because I buy my washing powder in the card boxes still rather than plastic tabs and due to my sons allergies we never use conditioners or other bottle based added extras in the washing so I may already be doing it. I need to know what the difference is environmentally between powder and these nuts. I also need to make sure they don’t trigger my sons allergies.
  4. Milk – you can still buy delivered bottled milk. I like the idea of this one
  5. Food – not buying plastic containered food, take your own containers. Buying local and try to pay attention to the packaging. I saw a picture of a local supermarket yesterday where they had individually wrapped bananas in a tray with cling film (saran wrap?)
  6. Sanitary products (look at environmentally friendly products).
  7. Water, tea, coffee – using your reusable travel mugs or making sure you have a cup at work.
  8. Toilet roll – you can still buy paper wrapped loo roll
  9. Tissues – use hankies (unless you’re ill).
  10. Deodorant – again to look at – I use bottled roll-ons. Can buy solid deodorant in some health shops and again LUSH
  11. Unpackaged supermarkets – these sound great and I remember a long time ago in Leeds market a stall that had giant bins of rice, cereal and so on where you paid by the pound. I used it a lot and was sad when they closed. I like the idea of these supermarkets doing similar. Lets hope there’s one in my area.
  12. Washing up liquid and household cleaners – Refill sachets. Never heard of these so one to research
  13. Soap – buying solid soap instead of liquid and therefor not having plastic containers
  14. Refusing the plastic straws and cutlery when eating in fast food joints, coffee shops etc. There was mention of using a wooden spork. Our work restaurant offers both plastic and regular metal cutlery. I always use the metal ones (and have my own set in my locker) so at least I’m getting one thing right out of all this
Is there anything you do to use less plastic? Any tips you want to share? What have you given up for Lent?
I’m going to start looking at my changes over the weekend and follow through until the end of March and hopefully beyond. Not quite the lent days but still gives me around 40+ days. Hopefully I’ll then have formed the good habits to continue (it worked with the chocolate so there’s hope)

365 Day Blog challenge Day 86 – Valentine’s Day #365daychallenge

Today is Valentine’s Day so Following on from yesterday’s post I thought I’d tell you about a visualisation I found once in a self-help book. The visualisation is called Build a Boyfriend and I’ve had lots of fun playing with this.
There are lots of questions that it asks you – not just to picture the physical aspects of your imaginary man (or partner of choice) but what do you want from them in terms of personality, sexuality (no just straight/gay but experimental, traditional, 50 shades or no sex at all). It also asks for likes and dislikes so for example must love dogs and hate football.

It really gets into the nitty gritty of what you want in a partner. There’s no guarantee that you would actually find this amazing partner. The idea of it is that it opens you up to the idea of looking for one. You may get the tall, dark and handsome you wished for but rather than the all you can eat meat buffet lover you find a vegan. You should probably be specific if you want a fellow foodie. I tried it twice before. The first time the dates followed however I wasn’t specific enough in terms of personality and as with yesterday’s post had a few lousy dates.
The second time I tried it I’d been watching Thor and may have described Tom Hiddleston. Neither him nor anyone like him turned up. So that’s probably a word of warning – try not to picture your media crush.

It’s a fun game to do and you’re putting it out to the universe you are in the market for someone new to come along into your life. If I’m going to be more visible and dating would be part of that then I have to start somewhere. Dating sites and so on can follow on once I know what I want. But I’m curious. Hopefully this time will be 3rd time lucky. I’ll let you know

365 Day Blog challenge Day 81 – Nearly There #365daychallenge

I made the right decision to take today off work. After working 3 days with the cold bug from hell (I’m such a drama queen 🙂 ) I wanted an extra day to my weekend where I can sit in my PJs, watch the Biggest Loser and then take my time getting ready to go see Ruby Wax tonight.

I stood on the scales this morning and I’ve gained 2lbs. I’m both disappointed (because I don’t want to gain weight) but at the same time I’ll take it and work with it because even in the middle of my pity party I have still not had any chocolate/cake/biscuits since the 1st January (39 days) and no carbonated drinks since 4th Jan (35 days).

I have fallen back on bad habit number 3 which is is excess carbs. I had a pizza, pasta and too much bread. (Plus not as much walking) so now I can see where the dangers are and it’ll be a  weekend of protein to pull it back.

I’m not surprised really though. I’ve done the old Slimming World years ago with red (meat) and green (veggie) days where I usually had green days and lots of carbs. I could lose weight but at about half a pound a week. On the occasions I went with the meat/red diet I lost 2 or 3lbs a week. Only problem is I don’t really like meat. So time to go get me some meat substitute products and lots of veg.

I can see now what the next challenge needs to be. Get back on my feet and move about. And reduce the carbs so that pasta is a treat not a daily occurrence.  2018 is the year of kicking the habits and I’ve killed the biggest ones and not revived them at a low point (go me woo hoo!) so I can do this too 🙂