Weekly Gratitude

This week I’m grateful for baking. I started baking again this year after quite a long break and have really enjoyed playing around with old recipes. I have a book of my mums from the 80’s with lots of recipes in that I’ve been using. The classics really are the best.

But that’s not what brought me joy this week, rather it was teaching my son to bake. He’s 25, autistic and has had a bad time recently with his mental health can cook really well but I don’t think he’s done much baking since school (he says he stopped around 13 when he chose his subjects for GCSE). He decided he wanted to make one of the Cadbury’s chocolate cake tanks from an old recipe card we had. We worked it out that it was from around 1984 and my mum used it for my brothers birthday.

I’ve posted the pictures below. He went to the shop for the chocolate but couldn’t get the flakes needed so we ended up with Twirl tanks. I think for me the best thing was the fun he had making everything. He was happy and carefree and there was a lot of laughter. Sometimes that’s all we need to boost our mood, to switch off from the negative news stories on TV and Social Media and do something fun and we certainly did that.

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Weekly gratitude

Sometimes it’s very hard to write a weekly gratitude blog without repeating yourself or just saying daily that I love my house (and today I don’t because I was really cold last night no matter what I did). I often get to mid-week and think nothing different has happened so I have to start thinking outside the box. So this week I’m grateful for Twitter friends, books and synchronicity.

At the beginning of the week I read a post by another blogger about reading guilt and having too many books that need reading. I have been struggling with this most of the year. My work schedule has increased and my love for arts and crafts has too. Those two things plus finally having some energy to want to do more than burrow away escaping in a book. I’ve been guilty in the past of saying yes to too many blog tours and book reviews that there is no way on earth now I’ll be able to review in a timely manner which makes me both sad and a bit annoyed at myself for having poor impulse control.

Firstly then I’ve been scaling back the tours. I’m completing the ones I’ve agreed to then not taking on any more unless it looks like a book I absolutely must have/favourite author. Doing that means I am up to date with those and found myself in a weird position this week of having to choose a book to read with no time limits. My netgalley collection is at the point whereby most of the books have long past their release dates so they’re now just for fun and review until I get that pile down. I had a brief panic trying to pick something that didn’t require anything of me but to read it.

Going into my regular kindle list I randomly picked a book called Put Your Big Girl Panties On and Deal With It. According to my Goodreads account I read this a couple of years ago and seemed to have dismissed it a bit and have certainly forgotten it’s message which is a bit embarrassing. It’s quite possible though that I didn’t need it then. However re-reading it has far more resonance this time around.

The general premise is around the message of the title and getting those big pants on. It’s about being a Grown Up Woman and having a Little Girl at the same time (despite the female angle I think the message can be the same for any other gender). Sometimes we have to let our little gender of choice person out and have some fun but the fun stops when they take over and for whatever reason you end up scared, anxious, being childish etc. Sometimes they have trauma that has stopped them from doing something later in life (this is where relevance to me is coming in). The grown up has to learn to protect them and offer support but at the same time be a grown up and get things done. Not hide behind the inner voice of the child.

(There’s a similar theory in a book called the Chimp Paradox where the inner voice is a chimp. That book is far more scientific and for me, hard to read but if you want an in-depth study then a recommended book)

There are some things I’ve been thinking about and decisions where my inner little girl is taking over meaning things don’t get done. Then I just stagnate and life never changes and I stay in a negative position that I’ve been in for a long time. So I’ve been trying to talk to her, listen to my inner voice and feelings and look at where I can protect myself, have fun and well…just put my big girl pants on and make some changes.

Fire up the Quatro

I had a really good chat with my trainer at the gym this week about goal setting and how the last few months have affected me. Quite an eye opener to see how other people think of you.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I’d been suffering with a frozen shoulder/trapped nerve. Last time this happened it took 6 months to go back to normal. This time it’s taken about 10 weeks thanks to support from various people. But I don’t think I can blame the shoulder for everything that’s been going on.

I did so well last year being accountable for my health journey. I wore my smart watch and even if I didn’t manage 10,000 steps a day I made sure that every step was entered into a spreadsheet and I kept a record of my achievements. I also had a reduced sugar diet (not cut out completely but no chocolate and a reduction of stodgy foods).

For some reason in November I stopped doing this (I have a history of self sabotage and I think this plays a part in what happened) and kind of started Christmas very early. You know that excuse we all have for eating too much. Except I kept going and up until Friday was still doing it. I stopped wearing my watch with the idea  that I knew roughly how many steps I would do after diligently tracking all 2018 but I stopped the tracker too. On top of being ill I’ve let everything stop and got myself into a bad health place which I don’t enjoy.

The trainer mentioned how up to that November I was pushing myself and every session would try and do that little extra (maybe an extra sit up. At the end of the day I’m still an overweight wobbly girl but I was one that was trying to be less so) and that she noticed that my motivation has gone.

So we talked about accountability and we talked about goal setting and I left feeling really fired up. This is one of the things I love about my gym. It’s a women only one that works with half hourly sessions and the nature of it often means there is 1-2-1 support if you need it. They’re free to chat and support in whatever way is needed.

This afternoon after another good chat but with my friend I have put the smart watch back on charge ready for tomorrow and set up my spreadsheet tracker. I’m not going to be able to do the gym more than twice a week at the minute due to training and working away but I have the tools to do things at home and to walk. Walking played such a huge part of my journey last year so I need to get back into that good habit.

I’ve had a week off work, I feel the best I’ve been this year so far and my head is in a reasonably good place so this is a great time to harness that energy and move forward and start seeing those big goals I wanted way back in January 2018.

Weekly Gratitude – #Viking Edition #York #Jorvik

By Friday I was struggling to think what I could put in the blog for this week. I seemed to have had a week of terrible customer service, I’ve already thanked my bosses for being kind while I’m ill and my friends know I love them but then yesterday we had a day out in York.

My friend unfortunately is ill but part of being ill means she gets a disability bus pass and with that comes a free companion pass so the trip up to York was free so there’s my first bit of gratitude.

I’ve debated a few times about going up to the Viking festival run by the Jorvik centre mistakenly thinking it would cost me a fortune but doing some actual research this year year I could see that there were a lot of events taking place outside with no cost. It’s not that I wouldn’t pay good money to see things but if you’ve read enough of my posts you’ll know that there are still 11 months on my debt plan so I have to be sensible.

Anyway… the sun was shining all day, we had free transport and a list of events we wanted to see. In the end we missed the best beard competition but caught a battle re-enactment that wasn’t on the list.

The Strongest Viking competition was so much fun. Taking place outside the viking teams squared off in several competitions to find a winner. Much amusement, tests of strength and a fair bit of cheating took place before we had our winners. It was a packed out event and the kids in the front seemed to be having a great time heckling the cheaters. I love it when children can immerse themselves in a fun event that doesn’t revolve around mobile phones. On top of that we had a genuine strongman attempting to break his own personal bests in dead lifts and bench presses. Sadly he didn’t but seeing as he was trying to lift over 3 times the size of me (and I’m not small) I think he did pretty well considering. Again people’s children seemed to love it especially being able to cheer him on.

We stopped for some overpriced (but ok) sausage inna bun (for the Pratchett fans…) and and to watch a band play some period music. So much energy and with something that was apparent in everything we saw, so much enjoyment of what they did.

We then enjoyed the viking parade as they marched down to the big green outside the castle museum for the re-enactment. Again so many people, so much involvement from spectators. Possibly my favourite bit was the too cool for school couple who abandoned their posing and selfies to really get into what they were watching with the lad begging a wandering viking to let him know his favourite side would win.

By then we were tired out so back to Leeds, a stop off for food and putting the world to rights and finally home.

So my gratitude this week is for free bus passes, quality bus connections, the sunshine and the hundreds of people who volunteer their time doing something they love and sharing that with other people. They inspire me to want to do so much more. Life is about experiences and building memories and I definitely got to do that yesterday.

Weekly Gratitude: Reconnecting

This week among the usual shout out to family and friends I am grateful for 4 women I met 12 months ago on a development course. 2018 was a very chaotic bumpy year. The course was split over five 2 day modules with the first starting January 2018. We were put into peer groups of 6 to work together for various activities.

The year started great and we bonded really well, sharing stories and spent a lot of time together quite a bit to put on a workshop around better ways of working. Then I missed the 3rd module because of the health problems. This really knocked my confidence as it was just after the scare with the breast lump and subsequent panic attacks. Again they were there for me, as we are all spread around the north of England this was remotely and mostly by whatsapp but it was nice to get a few messages of support.

For module 4 I managed to get to the classroom for Day 1 but found it so stressful and hardgoing and so didn’t attend the second day where we would be just in the peer group. I wrote in an earlier blog about how my anxiety got so bad last year I lost contact with people and when I was with people struggled with the idea that they were on my side or was just weirdly angry at slights that just didn’t exist. Anxiety can be awful on friendships sometimes.

Even up until Tuesday I really didn’t want to attend the last sessions and would not be able to give the requested feedback. You know what though? It was absolute rubbish! I think this week was actually my favourite session of all. I got to really re-connect with the others and genuinely bond with them. Some of us have very similar work struggles and we had a good hour airing our grievances about jobs which was really cathartic but then after that we spent another hour trying to work out how each one of us could work around that or suggesting ideas for moving on. I came home today feeling really inspired and empowered. None of this would have happened if I’d given in to the anxiety at the beginning of the week and the chimp in my brain telling me it would be a waste of time (for chimps see The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters)

At the beginning I mentioned a group of 6 peers but a shout out to only 4 (with me making 5). Sadly one seems to have dropped out. She disappeared part way through the day I missed (I’ve been told why and it’s not relevant here) and never came back. She’s not shown much interest in staying in touch in between but that happens and on a course like this you won’t bond with everyone and you can’t please everyone.

Going forward the 5 of us are going to have monthly calls to chat about work and what our current steps are and will try and have 6 monthly meet ups somewhere. I’m so glad to have met them and grateful then when my life got chaotic they were there and supportive when I needed it most.

January Hustle review

I’ve ended my first month of side hustles and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the little bits and pieces I’ve dipped into which have earned me £135. Of that there are some sites where I still need to earn more to reach a download limit so I haven’t accessed all of it. Then being January and a long month I’ve had to dip into the rest to pay for the dentists and some other unexpected costs but in the end today I paid off £40 towards a high interest loan I have bringing me that little bit closer to clearing it. This is the priority in my debt clearance as everything else at least has a definite end date or a lower interest rate.

I’m really pleased with what I’ve managed to do. It’s been simple and for the most part hasn’t taken up much time. I’ve listed the websites below for anyone that wants to try some of these and also the 101 side hustles blog page that I found my inspiration.

https://www.receipthog.com/

https://www.shoppixapp.com/ (Referral code: BTVSEXDV)

https://www.huyuapp.co.uk/

https://www.onepoll.com/

https://www.swagbucks.com (Referral code: https://www.swagbucks.com/lp-savings-button?cmp=695&cxid=swagbuttonref&rb=49425651&extRefCmp=1&extRb=49425651)

https://www.shopmium.com/uk (Referral: d2x5r)

https://www.mobrog.com

 

 

Weekly Gratitude

This week I’ve struggled with my health with an old issue flaring up and had to deal with lots of travel disruptions so it would be easy to end the week feeling miserable however the biggest thing I’m grateful for this week are my friends. I have one on holiday in Plymouth texting me pictures of her new puppy and then tea and cake with my closest friend.

I’ve been reading a short book by author Jill Mansell that I found in my kindle where she lists an A-Z of things that make her happy. I decided to have a go. It’s very hard to think of some things for the more unusual letters but after my friend said to think outside the box I managed it. I was going to add explanation but in the end decided a simple list is enough. The review for the book can be found HERE

What would your A-Z look like?

A = Art (Galleries)

B –Bubble Baths

C – Crafting

D – (all things) Disney

E – Exercise (Gym)

F – Friends/Family

G – Genealogy

H – History

I – Ice Cream

J – Japanese Blossom Trees

K – Knitting

L – Laughing

M – Music

N – Novels

O – Ocean

P – Pizza/Pasta

Q – (Rose) Quartz crystal

R -Reading

S – Seaside

T – Travel

U – Underwear (can’t beat a beautiful set of matching undies!)

V – Vampire (stories)

W – Waves

X – X-Rated

Y – Yarn

Z – Zoos/Farms