This week I …

I’m still not sure how to structure or name this post but unless I write some content soon, it will be hopelessly out of date. This post is simply a round up of things I’ve been doing recently. I would like it to be weekly but there are times when life will get in the way! This happened for the first fortnight of January when I spent all my time finishing off my uni assignments and finalising all the evidence for mediation with the local authority over our son’s SEN placement. I’m now anxiously waiting for results for both.

However here’s what I have been doing in my free time so far this January.

I read …

One of my #20for2020 is to read 15 minutes a day for pleasure. I am reading so many academic journals and books that I need light relief! So far I’ve read two books Fat Girl Slim by Marina Johnson and How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. Fat Girl Slim was a real guilty pleasure, definitely not what I expected and it does have a wicked twist. I really wanted to rave about How to be a Woman as I love Caitlin Moran’s columns in the Times. However I found it too similar to her last book I read How to be Famous.

I listened …

I’m not a tv girl but have always loved the radio. I find myself listening to podcasts rather than music now on walks and runs or pottering around the house alone. These four are my current favourites, covering parkrun (With me Now) and lifestyle. My #20for2020 is based on an idea from Happier.

I watched …

Despite saying I don’t watch much television, probably only a few programmes a week, two of my favourites have returned this week, Call the Midwife and Cold Feet. I love the social history of Call the Midwife and now it’s set in the 60s the interior decor and fashion are just fabulous. Cold Feet has been a favourite since if began in the 90s and it still makes me laugh and cry.

I wore …

My work wear is practical and my free time clothes casual and comfy so I don’t often get the opportunity to dress up. However when I do my uni course it’s set in such an stunning location I feel the desire to look good and studious! Today I wore my new starry dress from the Fat Face sale with my boots, thick tights and chunky necklace. It’s been such a dreary month that when there was a break in the rain at lunchtime I walked around some of the grounds, beautiful walled gardens to the lake.

I made …

And finally this fortnight has all been about making plans for the year. Whilst January is not my favourite month I like to use it as a month to plan and prepare. I’ve lots of plans in draft and a few definite dates in my diary. Roll on 2020, it’s going to be a fantastic year.

#20for2020 :The Final List

One of my favourite things to start the year is to write my #20for20 inspired by the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Ruben.

I’ve done this over the past two years too and it’s added sparkle to my life. Some projects are long term, others one off activities but all are designed to bring fulfilment and inspiration. This is not a list of 20 resolutions but things I would like to achieve this year.

  1. Read for pleasure, 15 minutes a day. With my studies, I read a huge amount but am no longer using reading for distraction and relaxation.  I want to devote 15 minutes a day to lose myself in a story. 
  2. Resize my wedding and engagement rings.  A few years ago I had a hand injury and my rings no longer fit as they should.  This is the year I resize them and enjoy wearing them again. 
  3. Complete my University course.  Yesterday, January 14th was the midpoint of my course and my assignments were submitted, fingers crossed for the marks.  My course is intense, demanding and one of the most professionally inspiring and interesting things I’ve done in my teaching career. By the end of 2020, I hope to have a few more initials after my name.  
  4.  Run a 10k raceLast year was about 5k running but I managed a few 10k training runs.  In 2020 I would like to do a 10k race just because I can run the distance, with no pressure on time or performance.  
  5. Run a parkrun PB. I would like to do this at my home parkrun as its a challenging course. I feel a PB on a flat, fast course would be a bit of a cheat.  A PB is pretty difficult given the mud we’re running through at present but come better weather, I’m hopeful I’ll smash it.  
  6. Have a no spend month. I have started January as my no spend month.  I thought this would be quite easy as I tend to buy my clothes on the occasional trip to ‘big’ town, so clothes shopping isn’t always a monthly occurrence.  However I’m realising how many incidentals I buy and its more of a challenge than expected.
  7. Enjoy live music. Last year Little Miss and I went to our first music festival and loved it.  I feel its an experience which needs to be repeated this year. 
  8.  Plan a special 10 year famiversary.  Later this year we will celebrate our 10 year famiversary, the day we became a family when the children came to live with us.  I want to do something really special and celebratory.  I have a few ideas so its time for research and planning. 
  9. Have a rainbow of nail colours. In 2019 I discovered the joy of monthly gel nails.  This year I want to have a rainbow of different colours. 
  10. Visit the fashion museum. This was on my list last year, on my first planned visit I was bed ridden with a migraine and then when I planned to go again it was closed for refurbishment.  As soon as it reopens I will be there! 
  11. Wear colourful running kit and smile. My parkrun tends to have a photographer and publishes the photos online. Each week, I’m there dressed in a combination of dark grey, black or navy and desperately trying not to look at the camera.  This year I need to wear a bright colour and actually smile at the camera, looking like I feel inside, happy and strong. 
  12. Special bakes for Valentines, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. I’ve called this bakes as I want to try new ideas for these celebrations, it may be biscuits, cakes or pies but a seasonal delight.  
  13. Review every film watched. I review all the books I read on Good Reads, so will try to do the same with all the films I watch.  
  14. Get the correct school place for Little Man. Whilst this is slightly out of control as we are dependent on the local authority to make the decision, we are doing all we can to get the correct place in a special school.  This has been so tough so far, formal complaints, mediation and tribunal, but we will do everything we can to support our son.  
  15. Complete a photo a week challenge.  I’m always taking photos on my phone so I decided to make it a little project for 2020. 
  16. Finish the 50 parkruns milestone.  I don’t want to get too obsessive about parkrun as there will be some weekends when its simply not possible to do a run, but I would like to achieve the 50 milestone this year.  I think that’s roughly 30 more parkruns to do this year, which I’m hoping is realistic.  
  17. Take Little Man to London. Last year, I took Little Miss to the music festival so I want to do a similar special trip for Little Man.  He loves London from his books and films so I think this would be a great trip to do together. 
  18. Plan each season’s style. I’m trying to be more mindful on clothes shopping, so my aim is to browse my favourite shops and to decide a look I wish to capture and shop around this look.  I’m hoping this will mean I buy what I need and like rather than random purchases. 
  19. Take a flower arranging class. This leads on from last year’s #19for19 where I tried to have lots of fresh flowers in the house. I want to learn how to do simple arrangements now. 
  20. No sweets or chocolate. I love chocolate and sweets but am mindlessly eating them.  I aim to stop eating both for a year (I’ve done it before about 20 years ago!) 

I am looking forward to my project again.  In previous years its brought unexpected delight and pleasure and made me tick off things I’ve always wanted to do.  Roll on #20for 2020.

52 weeks #2 Reflection

This is a local beauty spot I like to visit. It is a lake in a clay bowl which leads to the water being a blue green colour. It’s a different colour each time you visit. The reflection of the surrounding woodland adds to the colour of the pool and it is quite mesmerising as you walk around.

Welcome January

I always try to see the simple pleasures in life and despite the grim weather and dark days, January is a month of fresh starts and new opportunities.

I’m a little late in writing this post as I knew January was going to have a demanding start. In the first ten days we had a number of important family appointments and the deadline for the Module 1 assignments of my uni course. I got through it as best as I can, by compartmentalising my life and focusing on the now. Whilst it was challenging, I feel relieved that I met my coursework deadline and that we presented the best case in the mediation process with our local education authority for a special school placement.

After a tough start, I can now focus on the coming year which I hope will be full of contentment. There are plans to make, for example to finalise my #20for2020. I’m looking forward to starting module 2 of my Uni course, which focuses on my real areas of interest and then most importantly to enjoy time with my family and friends. I’m not expecting a year full of big events but one of simple pleasures.

52 weeks #1 A Happy Place

When we redesigned our kitchen the most important feature was a space for a large kitchen table. Of all the space in our house this corner of the kitchen is my happy place.

We sit around this table everyday as a family and we talk, laugh and listen to each other over dinner. It’s the area we decorate for special occasions, where I work and blog, sew on my machine, do art and crafts with the children, chat with friends over a cup of tea, it’s the heart of our home.

New Year 2020

Okay confession time, I really don’t like New Year’s Eve. I have celebrated NYE in the most amazing places but I just don’t get it, it feels a little superficial and fake. I now enjoy JOMO on NYE, the joy of missing out.

This year, I really enjoyed New Year by creating a special day of things we like to do. On NYE afternoon, Little Miss and I went to the cinema to see Little Women. The 1949 film version of the book is one of my favourite ever films so I was a little apprehensive about the new version. However it was amazing, I was a sobbing mess and felt it was really true to the book. The nice thing about going to the county town to the cinema was the buzz and busyness of the town centre, there was a pleasant vibe as we walked around before the film.

In the evening we enjoyed a family meal and relaxed before an early night and a good book.

I was up early on New Year’s day as it was parkrun day! Whilst I had contemplated the double, it was tight timing between the two venues so I decided to do my own double, volunteer and run. I’ve been wanting to volunteer for a while but other commitments have made it difficult. However as Little Miss didn’t want to run because it was earlier than normal, I was able to do the pre event set up and found myself out of the house by 6.50am to be on time. It was a great feeling to be able to volunteer and help my home parkrun. I was helping to put out the markers and walked the course as dawn was breaking, the quiet and stillness of the morning was a perfect opportunity to welcome the new year. The parkrun was wonderfully busy, a new attendance record was set and there was a life affirming atmosphere, everyone was happy to start the new year with a run (or two)

When I got home Mr S has taken the children to the skate park so I was able to have a leisurely shower and to use all my fancy lotions. We then took the Christmas decorations down and spent the day pottering around. Sometimes it is the simple things which bring the most contentment.

#19for19 – Walk an average of 12k steps a day

When I created my 19for19, there were some items which would take an hour or two to complete some medium term plans and this task a whole year, to walk on average 12k steps a day in 2019.

I love my Fitbit and it certainly has encouraged me to be more active so I decided to up my fitness levels further and set a target of 12k steps a day, when previously the 10k figure had been my target. I chose an average because there are some days when you are sick, or travelling or at an all day conference for work and 10k just isn’t attainable. I worked hard on this target and there were many days when I did an evening walk in all kinds of weather to boost the steps. My highest daily steps was 26k my lowest 250 (bed ridden with a bug) The 13k steps means on average I have walked (or run) around 5.5 miles a day. I am proud that I stuck to this challenge and achieved it, the screenshot was taken at 11pm on 31.12.19 to give an accurate picture.

I am not going to up my steps again this year, i have different fitness targets I would like to work towards. However, It’s good to know that I achieved my target this year and developed some healthy habits too.