30 for 30

Waaaaaay back in October, I turned 30 and two of my best friends organised the MOST AMAZING birthday surprise – 30 gifts for my 30th birthday. Every single gift was utterly gorgeous and so completely perfect for me. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of them all together because I put them all to use so quickly, but I have photographed a few highlights:

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The Spice Girls Greatest Hits CD – ahhhhh they are literally the soundtrack to my childhood. I remember being at a disco when I was 10 and hearing ‘Wannabe’ for the first time – I LOVED IT and so began my relentless collecting of anything Spice Girls related (I’m talking right down to sweet wrappers, crisp packets and drinks cans….).

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New stationery makes me so happy – even more so when it’s a bit wacky. The cork notebook is so squishy – we all had to give it a good squish when it came out of the bag!!

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This is a little book full of memories the three of us have shared – it reminded me of all the fun adventures we’ve had together and I will absolutely treasure it.

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Everyone already knows how much I love a good mug – and this one really tops the list! This is my new favourite because 1) it’s happy, bright and cheerful and 2) It doesn’t feel weird to drink either tea or coffee out of it – it is the perfect hybrid! This herbal tea is absolutely delicious and obviously the posh Waitrose bags make me feel very executive.

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A vanilla candle with the first letter of my name on – what could be more perfect??!! and so my love of candles continues…

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This wall hanging is so true – and boy do we have a lot of stories!!

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This copy of ‘Crochet’ magazine has A LOT to answer for…more on that later. Sufficed to say this has started a whole new hobby.

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This is my very first piece of artwork made by Rosie herself – I absolutely adore it and it is currently hanging in my kitchen right where I make my coffee every morning.

It warmed my heart to feel so loved and to realise how well my friends know me, I feel so lucky and so grateful to have both of them!

 

I just called to say I love you…

Happy Humpday! Yesterday morning, as I was bleary eyed and bedraggled and trying to get dressed in the dark, my husband phoned from work just to tell me he loves me. Simple, but effective, it not only earned him major husband points, it also put a big smile on my face and set me up for a super happy day 🙂

Being organised

The more posts I write for this blog, the more aware I am becoming of how happy I feel when I am organised. All aspects of organisation make me feel better, whether I have cleaned and tidied the flat, made a list, sorted through the post or made a phone-call, it all brings me a feeling of happiness. Thinking about it more carefully, I think the happiness comes from a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment that I have achieved something positive and a sense of relief that I don’t need to worry about it anymore. I also get to enjoy the results of being organised, whether that’s living in a tidy space or knowing that I have made the necessary arrangements for something good to happen.

The reduction in mental stress is huge – I think everyone knows the feeling of brain-ache, when you are using so much energy to simultaneously remember, organise and arrange 101 things and you are worried that you might forget something. I often describe this as having 72 tabs open on Google and trying to work on them all at the same time. I’m sure you can relate to that!

To help me be more organised I have many resources and routines in place:

  • Every morning I check all of the places that I receive messages – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, texts and WhatsApp and make sure that I have replied to anything I have received (and even then I miss some – as Karen will be able to tell you!).
  • I have a calendar on my phone that is automatically set to give me reminders of events. I am also able to use it to set myself reminders for jobs that need doing on specific days.
  • I have a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge to write down my shopping list – I can add items as I go so that I don’t have to remember them and I can wipe items off as I buy them.
  • I have a calendar on the wall so that my husband and I can write down any major events we’re attending so that we don’t double book ourselves (it has happened many, many times in the past…).
  • I keep pens and post-its near the calendar so that I can write myself any reminders and stick them in an appropriate place.
  • I keep a toast rack in the kitchen to store any unopened post from the letter box – this stops any post being missed and reminds me to open it!
  • I have pretty bulldog clips hanging on the wall in my office to hold any paperwork I am currently using – this stops it getting lost and stops my desk getting cluttered (they also look very cute!).
  • I have a book (yes, a book) of to-do lists. I have different lists for different areas of my life (such as home, work, Guides, Zumba) and when I have time, I work through the lists as much as I can. This helps me to allocate my time more effectively so that jobs don’t get forgotten or left languishing too long. It also stops my lists getting lost!
  • Everything has a home – nothing is allowed to live in the flat without having a place to belong. This stops the place being constantly untidy because of random items that have nowhere to go.

I could probably think of more things that I do, but we’ll leave it there for now! What do you do to help yourself be organised? How does it make you feel?

Helpful washing

Following on from my cringe-worthy admission in my last post, I have another housework related source of happiness…I know, I need to get a life. But seriously, being the resident washing fairy is made so much easier when washing is already turned the correct way round. It makes me so happy when I’m pairing up socks and I find one that is already turned the right way round – I can’t tell you how many hours of my life have been wasted turning socks! And when I’m doing the ironing and a t-shirt hops out of the basket already turned inside out, it practically flies off the ironing board with the time I’ve saved having to wrestle with it to get it in a fit state to be ironed. Now, although you might think this is weird, I bet there are lots of you out there who have just read this and smiled because you know exactly what I’m talking about…

Housework

I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this….but I love housework! Making things neat and tidy makes me so happy – tidy house, tidy mind! I feel so much better when everything is clean and tidy and I like feeling like I have been productive and accomplished something. I also find it quite therapeutic doing my cleaning while I’m watching something on the telly, just having time to myself and pottering around. I like being busy and I’m not very good at sitting still for too long so I have no problem wandering around the flat having a little tidy up while I watch my programmes! Also, from a very stereotypical and sexist point of view (now I really can’t believe I’m admitting this!), doing the housework makes me feel like I’m being a good wife. My husband does an equal share of everything at home and would never suggest that doing the housework is my responsibility, but it makes me happy to feel like I’m looking after our little home and keeping it looking nice for us (I know, send me back to the 1950’s with my pinny and my vacuum and just tell me to stop talking….). There you have it, a genuine source of happiness found in an unlikely place!

Sundays

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I love Sundays.

Well that was a short post! 🙂 I really do love Sundays and I think I love them so much now because in the past they have been a day of the week that filled me with dread. In my previous jobs I always worked weekends so it didn’t really register as anything special, and as a teacher they were a day that put a knot in my stomach and made me want to hide under the covers in denial. You see, I always chose to leave my ‘home’ work (see what I did there? :D) for Sundays which I know is a terrible habit, but by Friday evening I was so exhausted that I couldn’t wait to have a break. By Sunday, the work couldn’t wait any longer so my day was always filled with planning, marking, making resources, writing emails and an endless list of other jobs that I had neglected to do. I always missed out on anything fun that happened on a Sunday and by the evening I was usually tired, grumpy and not ready for Monday. Now not all teachers live like that I am pleased to say, but that was my experience and I hated it. Since I have changed my job, Sundays have become a day that I adore, and it’s not because I’m having the time of my life on endless adventures…nope, instead I love Sundays because I have time to cook a nice breakfast, take the dog for a lovely walk, go to my mum and dad’s for Sunday lunch and stay an extra hour to play board games. I love having time to sort out the washing and do the ironing because these are all the seemingly normal activities I never had time to do before. Today is the 40th Sunday that I have been able to enjoy and the novelty has still not worn off.

Gardening

Now I will be the first to say that gardening does not come naturally to me. My dad will be the second. My father-in-law will be the third. However, in Rural Care we have an allotment and a lot of people who know what they are doing! So I have been loving learning how to plant, care for and harvest different flowers and vegetables. The other day I even learned that a strimmer doesn’t have a blade underneath it, just a piece of plastic wire (honestly I was fascinated!). I have also learned that just watering plants helps to keep them alive – it’s amazing the difference that has made to my balcony plants! The allotment has a sensory garden at the end of it full of herbs and textured plants and I love sitting in there listening to the breeze through the leaves and the wind chimes. It is doing it’s job well because it is super relaxing!! I feel very proud that I know what a nasturtium is AND I know what a sweet pea flower looks like! I have also successfully planted and grown chard and radishes and I have successfully planted hundreds of strawberry runners to sell in the shop (it’s hilarious that I am so proud of this because strawberries are a really difficult plant to kill!). It makes me so happy that my gardening confidence is growing, I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to work on the allotment every day and to learn from some very clever people!

All creatures great and small!

One thing I love about the farm is learning about the different animals we have – how to look after them, what their job is on the farm and their different personalities! I really enjoy visiting the different animals, feeding them and looking after them – I don’t even mind mucking them out! I’ve found that one of my favourite animals to work with is our chickens – I could watch them for hours just wandering around the field pecking things and ruffling their feathers. I found it fascinating to watch them digging pits in the soil in the summer and then I learned that they do it to have a dust bath which helps prevent mites and helps them to preen their feathers. I love the way they rush over to you when you enter the field and peck food out of your hands – they will even let you give them a little stroke which I would never have thought!! The ducks are a great little bunch – digging through the wet mud with their beaks and waddling around the field. I have learned how to herd ducks which is just hilarious and very rarely necessary to do, but it’s fun all the same! The rabbits and guinea pigs are great escape artists and it has been a real challenge to keep on top of the digging and chewing but they are still super cute. The turkeys are like two old ladies that wander around at a glacial pace keeping an eye on the rest of the farm (they always remind me of Fowler from ‘Chicken Run’!). Sheep are MASSIVE when you get up close to them – especially when they are running towards you for their food! They are gentle creatures though and I’m only a little bit scared of herding them now 🙂 The goats on the other hand have horns. Horns are scary. Goats with horns are scary. Grumpy goats with horns are terrifying. And dangerous. Goats with horns and food however, are fine. The goats are my final hurdle at the farm – I will feed them and muck them out but I do feel nervous the whole time I’m in there and I am always armed with water to protect me (goats don’t like water, especially the grumpy ones). Fred is the grumpiest of the lot and I have many a bruise where he has bashed in to my legs but I am determined to befriend him! However, I think most of that will be happening with a fence between us!

 

Blast from the past!

Happy Humpday everyone! This week I have been made super happy by a discovery I made in the loft at my parent’s house. Many moons ago I went to lace making classes and I loved it but after they ended I just put my kit in the loft and forgot all about it. I have recently been enjoying watching Katie’s podcast Inside number 23 and it has done nothing but fuel my love of craft making and remind me of the lace making that I enjoyed so long ago! So on Sunday I ventured in to the spider-filled loft and found my lace kit tucked away. I couldn’t believe it when I got the pillow out and found an unfinished pattern still on the pins – I hadn’t even bothered to finish it or unpin it! After 15 years on the pins I decided it was probably ready to come off, so I have removed it ready to start a new project. So far I have given the bag and my bobbin roll a good wash, redone all of the spangles on my bobbins so that they look shiny and new and I have ordered myself some new yarns and a book of bobbin lace for beginners. My plan is to back to the beginning and re-teach myself the stitches so that I can build up my knowledge again. I am really excited to find some Christmas patterns and some sparkly yarns so that I can make some Christmas decorations. I used to really enjoy making stars and snowflakes and I thought that they would be a lovely item to donate to the craft shop in Rural Care – thank goodness I have such a good excuse for crafting!!

Crafty goodness

There is so much joy to be found in creating things from scratch and making things look beautiful but with it comes the danger of living under a pile of hand sewn lavender pouches, with rag wreaths on every door and a decoupaged dog.

Luckily, in Rural Care we have a craft studio where we can make an abundance of beautiful things to sell in our shop. I absolutely love being able to make and decorate things and I have learned lots of new skills too!