A Weekend in Manchester and Some Personal Time

It’s been a while since I blogged without purpose. I’ve missed it – the act of writing has always been therapeutic. On a personal level I’ve been busier than ever – I’ve met a whole bunch of brilliant people and my workload has reached capacity, which is amazing, but the downside of this is there’s little time for doing nothing.

I received a message from my friends from 6th form to meet up for a meal in Manchester – we have known each other for over twenty years and have stayed in contact, meeting up every so often to catch up. They’re a great group of women – all are doing well for themselves with families and jobs, and I love the fact that even though I don’t see or speak to them for months at a time, we slip back into conversation as though I had seen them yesterday.

I decided to make an extended trip out of it and booked myself into a hotel room for the night. To my recollection there has only been a single time I’ve done that during the time The Bloke and I have been together (which was when he had a minor heart operation) so the concept was somewhat of a novelty, despite the fact that The Bloke is more than supportive of any time I want to myself. Continue reading

2019: A Year in Review

As I was creating my Bullet Journal spreads at the beginning of the year I decided to incorporate a Memories and Highlights page, not only to keep track of all the positive things that I experienced, but also to serve as a gratitude list. I have diligently filled it in all year.

It turned out to be invaluable. I haven’t particularly felt like I have enjoyed this year very much and my mental health has been low at times, but being able to look at an entire page of experiences, events and things that have brought joy to my daily life has successfully served as a reminder of how much fun I’ve had and how lucky I am. Granted, there have been a few things personally and professionally that haven’t been pleasant, but these have been far outweighed by the positive.

Here are just some of the fantastic things that have happened in 2019… Continue reading

Old Posts and Lots of Waffle

For those of you who suddenly get the urge to try and tidy up your blog I would quickly advise you to put down the laptop and place it as far away from yourself as you possibly can, especially if you haven’t got very much time.

This week I have been adopting a slightly different strategy in my working methods. After a long period of time of doing the bare minimum of anything connected with my blog, I have finally kicked myself into gear in preparation for exciting things in the New Year than I have been planning for what seems like forever. Consequently, I have been on it – making sure that I start as early as I can first thing in a morning and pushing myself to keep going until I have done above and beyond what was on the basic list and tracker for the day. Continue reading

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Live Happy

I always love it when I see my blog friends doing fantastic things.

Cher – creator of The Chicago Files (and an all-round decent human being) has fulfilled a dream this year to publish some of her work, and I was delighted to see that she has been included in the latest release of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Live Happy.

With 101 stories that inspire positive thinking, there’s something for everyone who are looking to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Her story, which can be found on Page 191, is titled ‘When the Blind Taught Me to See’ was inspired by her volunteering time at Blind Service Association where she lives in Chicago. Continue reading

A Few Days in Bolton

Bolton Albert Halls

I’ve been up north over the last few days with the family as mum had an operation – nothing major thank goodness, but she needed someone to stay post-recovery in case of an emergency and to walk the dog. Thankfully, everything has gone well and while she is going to have to take it easy and be monitored over the next few weeks, her immediate post-op results were good and she didn’t experience the problems that we expected as she has a history of bad reactions to anaesthetic.

While I was there I had the opportunity to see my niece – who I labelled The Squidge when she was born due to her immense squidginess. The Squidge is no longer a squidge – at almost three years old she has turned into a beautiful little girl with bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes who already knows her own mind, loves Pepper Pig and was happily showing us her dance steps that she has learned at the class that she goes to and the sign language that she has been taught at nursery. I remember being amazed when The Squidge could sit upright and feed herself, and now that she is a walking, talking little human who can count and who says please and thank you and puts her hand over her mouth when she coughs it was all I could do not to proclaim her a genius and suggest a membership to Mensa. Continue reading

Hello, November!

Autumn and November I started October feeling particularly fired up and excited for the month ahead. I was on it – there were post ideas, graphics to create, social media posts to put up… I was going to work hard and was determined that I would finish the month better than I had started.

It turns out, October clearly had other plans… Continue reading

How to Live a More Simple Life

I’ve had a busy week / few weeks / month seems to be a staple sentence within a number of my blog posts. It’s isn’t an exaggeration as it’s rare that I get a long period of uninterrupted time to myself, and when I have logged off on a Friday night my brain has often felt more than a little fuzzy. However, being busy doesn’t equate to stress in the way it did when I was teaching – I’m lucky in that a lot of the things that I do and experience during each week vary widely and are usually lots of fun – but over recent months I have been trying to consciously trying to take steps to make life more simple. I have created lots of habits individually which I have blogged about over a period of time, but even just focusing on one of these could make a large amount of difference to your stress levels.
Continue reading

Theatre, Abstract Art and a Hidden Gem

I often equate a lot of the experiences and opportunities that The Bloke and I have to  being at a bus stop… you wait for ages and then three buses all turn up at the same time.

The latter half of last week was exactly that.

On Wednesday we went to see the fabulous 9 to 5 musical at the Alexandra Theatre. What I didn’t include in my review was that we also went to the after party, during which we had the opportunity to meet the cast. I managed to have a little chat with Louise Redknapp, who was lovely and utterly stunning in person (and she hasn’t aged since the 90’s), and get a quick pic with Amber Davis. It was a weird experience – I knew that the show was coming up so I made The Bloke watch the season of Love Island that she was on so he knew who she was, but she looked completely different in person. I’m awkward at the best of times, but when you’re surrounded by incredibly talented individuals that you’ve just seen perform on stage is a little intimidating!  Continue reading

Step By Step

On the 1st January I decided to work on Step One of the next part of my blogging journey, which would eventually lead to Step Two much later on. Neither Step One nor Step Two are actually needed if I’m honest, but I have seen how much more successful Step Two is once Step One has been established for a while. I was quite excited about it – I created a whole bunch of ideas of how I could build on it to make it beneficial…

…and then proceeded to ignore it.

It has been weighing on me for a while, getting heavier each day, so this morning I woke up to the dark and rain outside, had a little tantrum to myself and decided that if I achieved nothing else today, I would do this ONE THING. Just one. Continue reading

How to Create a Gratitude Journal That Actually Works

How to Create a Gratitude Journal that Actually Works

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough – Oprah Winfrey

It’s easy to become bogged down in minutiae, particularly during days when even the smallest of things doesn’t go as planned. As someone who naturally adopts a ‘glass-half-empty’ perspective on life when things don’t go my way, I find it difficult not to get pulled into a wave of negative energy that affects my mindset and how I function.

In an effort to try and gain a more positive perspective in my day-to-day life, I started to fill out a gratitude journal of all the beautiful things that I have to be grateful for, and I discovered that it was an incredible helpful tool to boost my mindset on even the most difficult of days. Actively forcing myself to focus on the positive has indeed had a positive impact on my perception of how I live and work. Continue reading