Why do I blog?

Ever since I started blogging, people have been asking me why do I blog. Even I ask myself the same questions, “Why do I blog?”, “Should I continue to blog?” day in and day out. I find myself constantly questioning myself, my worth and the point of it all……in thoughts such as these and many more!

I am not a good writer, why should I write?
There are so many great articles out there, why bother trying to reach that level?
There are so many people that are more knowledgeable than me, why try?
No one will read my blog, why should even write one – I talk to myself a lot anyway, why would anyone else want to read it?
I have never been a good writer, why should I try and inevitably fail …?
My content quality is shoddy…

This is a going to be written a fair while before I share it, the current 30 day subjects is scary – I’m stressing about writing every day. This isn’t easy and am tempted to go back to less blogs simply to give my brain a break haha!

But yes, why do I blog?

There are many things that I use this blog for, I wanted it to be about my crafting, my journey and the like but as time has gone by and i’ve done less of the actual work my cottage industry needs this blog has become more of a balance space for me. I do enjoy writing – fear about the daily challenges aside – and am genuinely baffled that some people actually seem to enjoy what I write, and am enjoying using this as more of a therapy tool for myself.

Sadness can be a drive:

I do have a very up/down mentality and I know that sometimes a tiny thing can have me feeling really down. I am trying to improve and be a better version of myself but know that it can be useful to vent on somewhere technically anonymous and then I don’t have to worry about the fallout when loved ones see that I am down. Does that make sense? I can vent, get all my feelings out and by the time I hit that publish button – often WEEKS after having the rant in the first place – I am totally done, whereas if I was to share on Facebook or Twitter my instant feelings I’d have people on me all the time checking on me and more to the point, stressing about me and I never want that.

To help me work through:

I write to keep me sane, to keep me calm and to keep me balanced. I am enjoying writing the day challenges as they often give me new things to think and talk about, it’s also a great way to ensure that I stand by my views, they make me think about things and I use the blog as a way for me to answer some of my own questions too. I know that there can be a fair few which duplicate but I am hoping to be more organised next year and maybe split the blog into different moods for different jobs…..cooking, books, craft work and general life. I’m not sure. I need to get more organised in so many ways!!

Why else would I blog?

To share my views:

I suppose in an ideal world, I’d like to write a blog which people enjoy spending time with. I’m never going to be able to do this full time – and to be fair, who would want me to be wittering away like that? – but I just enjoy when people comment or share and give me their thoughts. I love hearing what people think, or starting new conversations and I’m loving that on here, it is always a good way to help express myself and to aid me in finding my tribe.

Blogging has helped me (i’d like to think) that I do have an opinion, if I want to talk about something I should just throw myself into it and use this for me, for my platform, for my views.

I am genuinely really enjoying writing at the moment, I know I say that I stress – especially with a daily challenge when I don’t actually have much spare time and I would like to do it more and am hopeful that 2019 will be the year or crafting my work, however that decides to show itself – but I do really love writing, getting my thoughts on paper (or the computer) and being able to get them out!

What about yourselves? I’m assuming you are here for a purpose and if so, what is that? Have you changed the way you write in your time here or am I totally out of the loop?

Have a wonderful day, I love reading all the blogs I follow (and those I find randomly) and if anyone wants to suggest new things for me to read, please feel free!

Day 26: What holds you back?

01. You keep waiting and waiting and waiting for the right time.

02. Your planning and focus are in disarray.

03. You change nothing and expect different results.

04. You close your mind to new ideas and perspectives.

05. You refuse to accept necessary risks.

06. You let a few negative people fill your mind with garbage.

07. You avoid the truth.

08. You make the rejections of yesterday the focal point of today.

09. You aren’t taking small steps every day.

14. You want things to be perfect.

To be honest, I KNOW what holds me back but wanted to see what the world of the internet said. I think some of the above ring very true and others not so much, I get that these are considered the “main” reasons someone would be holding themselves back but I think that these may differ from person to person.

I know that the main thing which holds me back is me, my mind, my perceptions and my views. I am quite self conscious and doubtful of my own talents. I have a huge fear or failure – which is weird because i’ve succeeded in every challenge i’ve had so far but despite that, every challenge I face I face with fear and wanting to not let people down. I have low self esteem (which is getting better slowly but is still quite prevalent) and I know that this can stop me making plans and sticking to them. I find that it is easier to hide and give in often before something serious could happen. There are few exceptions to this but most often in my life, I need someone else pushing me to do things. I’d love to be strong and independent, and dont get me wrong. I can be. Just not that often.

I spent a long time when I was younger waiting for the right time, I genuinely thought life went 1 -2 -3 4 etc. and needed to learn that there never really is a right moment, so waiting around for one is pretty much a waste of my time. I’ve written before about my ability to procrastinate and waste my time and it is something I’d like to turn away from. There’s so many crafty/arty things i’d like to do and I’m hoping some of my 2019 resolutions will help there.

Some of the articles I’ve been reading recently have offered ways to help yourself be more forward, less likely to hold back and to aid you in moving forward to the place you want to be, I’ve written some of these down and am going to implement them more next year. Keep checking up to see how it’s going!!

  • Learn to let go – I’ll be honest, I try and practise this already as I used to hold on to stuff for YEARS and the problem with me stressing/thinking about/worrying over something is that it’s my life and time that it’s taking. If I have an argument with someone and spend the next week worrying, that’s just wasted my week, the other person probably doesn’t even care.
  • Start Small – there’s no point in setting yourself major goals (see the world from space – handily forgetting to become an astronaut first: extra cool points for whoever reads and know who said that!) and failing at the first step, take little steps and each one will help you along the road you’re travelling.
  • Keep your happy thoughts at the forefront of your mind – I do this by using my Happy Jar, happy thoughts are kept in there to remind me and this helps me keep positivity at the forefront and try to ignore more of the negativity. Or at least, to try and focus more on the good as opposed to just getting bogged down with the bad.
  • Try and schedule more – I am definitely going to do this next year, even if it’s just Saturday mornings before I meet up with my mum that I get up earlier, sling some music on and make some things, be it sewing, writing, jewellery making or cooking, it’ll hopefully help me actually do more and feel more positive.
  • Take responsibility – this tends to be easier said than done, I’m often stuck between wanting to be me, but also taking responsibility to try and be better. I know it winds up some of my friends when I say  “I am who I am, take it or leave it” but that is how I feel, I don’t want to change myself for other people, I like me and the person I am but can see why some people feel that that statement is a really negative thing. I suppose I mean it one way, but it can be interpreted as many others. I am trying to spend less time being horrible for no reason, I used to spend a fair amount of time on Twitter watching and getting involved in arguments and often would just say things I knew would be hurtful and now I look back, I realise I probably shouldn’t have acted like that so in a way, I suppose I am now taking some responsibility, which I’m hoping shows growth and an improvement of the person I am.
  • Think more about others – I’m happy to say that I generally do think of others as opposed to myself. I’ve really channeled that this year with #PratchettPostal and am thrilled it got such a positive response. I’ve been making payments every month to a food back locally – sadly I know this doesn’t help everyone so am hoping to change next year to a homeless charity and am trying to be as kind to people as I can, be that giving more compliments, sending random little gifts and cards to friends or even just smiling and spending time with people, every little helps I feel.

This actually turned out longer than I expected – which is nice! I’d love to hear other people’s suggestions as to their own self care/forward planning and I will keep updating you as to my progress towards being an overall more positive person.

 

 

 

Day 23: What are your worst habits

I drink, I smoke, I dont eat healthy enough, I dont take enough exercise, I doubt myself, I have been known to just veg and procrastinate when actual useful things could have been done. I doubt everything. I feel self conscious talking and expecting people to listen. I try to do things well but often fail miserably.

So, as above, a fair few bad habits there really. Nothing like, gross but I know that things like when my mum says she’s doing nothing, what she actually means is she’ll be doing laundry, cleaning, gardening bits, cooking, making things, knitting and watching or listening to stuff whereas when I say i’m doing nothing, I am mostly wrapped up on the sofa, cuppa tea waiting and trash tv on the box. I genuinely can do nothing, which shows how lazy I am!

I know that the fact that I smoke and drink is a bad thing but I genuinely think that my smoking helps keep me calm and less likely to commit murder. Drinking is the same really, I know that diet wise it is not good – empty calories and all that – but I do very much enjoy the odd jack or two. It’s been a while since I went out for cocktails, simply because they tend to be really bad for me but they do help me have fun when out and about hehehehe.

I am really bad at procrastination, I would love to do so much in my life but I spend so long thinking about what to do that I run out of time to do at least 50% of the things i’d like to do. I was saying to the man yesterday that I need to have a jewellery making time, just to try and cut down on the amount of beads etc I have around the flat. I know we don’t have a huge amount of room so tend to stack things on top of others ad infinitum but I am looking forward to when we move to be able to have more of a crafty/art room where these things can be stored and there is space and light to use and appreciate them completely.

People keep telling me that I need to sort my sleep patterns as they are really not healthy, I go through periods that are sleeping heavily and others where for days I will have the bare minimum. I don’t have much of a problem with this as it’s been like this for years but it is always the first thing my doctor told me when I went to ask for help – years ago – was that a better sleep pattern would help. As it was, I was working 5am – 2pm more or less so going to bed early wasn’t an issue, it was that I was still trying to have a full day and then sleeping from say 9pm, apparently I should have been aiming to go to bed about 7pm, which to me was mind boggling! Anyway, I digress, now I am working mocu more normal 9 – 5 but my partner works very early so we tend to have a couple of late nights and then a few ridiculously early ones……when that happens I tend to listen to an audiobook or two until I pass out. I genuinely do not know how to amend my sleep pattern, I think it’s too ground in! If anyone has tips, feel free to pass them on 🙂

I think the above shows a good variety of my bad habits, there are soooooo many more I’m sure (cue my friends dropping in to let me know all those things i’ve missed) but I’d like to think that although I do have bad habits, I am not a bad person. I suppose only time will tell.

Day 21: What makes you happy?

Happiness is without definition because it means something different to everybody. You will take the actions to be the best you that you can be simply because you are happy and exhume positive energy which will attract the same energy to you! You doing what makes you happy is a great example to set!

Honestly, in life, so many things make me happy. I have spent a long time being sad and a few years ago made a conscious decision to try and see the positives, the good things, the little things that often I would not appreciate because they were wiped away too quickly by a negative.

Some of the things that make me happy are standard, like the relationship I have with my man. He makes me so happy, we’re not what I would call “Big Gesture” people but when he cuddles me when I come home from work, or makes me laugh when I’m stressed or even when we have a lay in on a Sunday and he gets up to make me a cup of tea, he’s just amazing. I really hope I make him as happy as he makes me and will happily do everything I can to make sure he knows how special he is to me.

My family are amazing, and have always tried to make me happy. My parents both worked so hard to make sure my brother and I had holidays, and treats and great Christmas time, and they have been amazing in my times of need. When I am down, I hate hurting my family with that but I appreciate how strong, especially my mum was during my worst times. I’m sure I hurt her and I do regret that, no one likes to hurt people they love but I really am lucky that mum really tried to understand how I was feeling and supported me despite not really knowing what the best thing to do was.

Letters and random gifts – to and from me are more things that make me smile, I got a great present from a friend in Greece the other day and look at the amazing little bits and bobs she sent me! I am so lucky that I have friends who do such things, we all try to make each other happy and to make other people smile.

bethy gift.JPG

I’m also a fan of silly things to make me smile, like cake. Cake is ALWAYS a good way to make me smile – well, ok, food in general does that job haha!

I love where I live at the moment, I’m very calmed by the sea and by watching waves so being so close to beaches and water in general really pleases me. I spend a lot of time looking at waves, watching the world go by and am hoping that next year my photography will improve and I can start sharing the local beauty with everyone out there in the ether!

Travel and seeing new things makes me happy, I like exploring and finding new treasures. Whilst we were in Prague we went to a museum with not much planned and saw some really wonderful art and some unexpected things – like a room where you could try and make your own art – including things the man had done as part of his art education so it was nice to be taught something new.

In fact thinking about it, learning is something else I enjoy doing. I try to do many things, I tend to not do them well but I feel that’s a lack of talent as opposed to a lack of practise. I enjoy doing these things as they bring me joy, to be fair, I tend to avoid the end results as they can be truly awful – seriously, I suggested going to a paint clay cafe last year, seriously regretted that as my artist skills are dire!! It was a good day with some friends though so all in all, worth it – even worth the abuse over the shoddy things I produced at the end of it 😀

I think people who know me would understand that books are really important to me and vital to my happiness. I’d hate to be without books and sometimes I just pick up a book i’ve read a million times just to sort my thoughts out. I can be reading and another part of my brain can be settling down, sorting arguments, decided what to do etc. It’s the ultimate chill for me.

I know i’ve banged on about my Happy Jar a fair bit but it certainly is something which for me has helped me be more positive, to focus on the good and try to rebalance my brain. I’d heartily recommend it and would love to see other people’s lists at the end of the year. I didn’t actually do a jar this year, I’m keeping the list of things at work in an A3 envelope so that as soon as something occurs to me, I can scribble it down and then at the end of the year – or probably first couple of weeks of 2019, I will read them all, write them down and share the list, then you’ll see everything from 2018 which has made me happy.

 

 

Day 17 – Thoughts on Education

To be honest, i’m not sure how someone can be negative about education……I mean, who actually doesn’t want to be educated and aware of how the world works and why?

I had interesting times at school. I would say overall I enjoyed it, the places, the learning – not necessarily the people and the lack of confidence in myself or the stress I put myself under at the time for something which really, isn’t that big of a deal.

I’d like to share some fun stories from my school times throughout my life, about teachers who have inspired me and things which have shaped my views and behaviours! I have already spoken about let’s say, less than positive points in my learning, not being very confident, being bullied and the like but for this, I’d like to share snippets of stories which have had a positive influence on my life and the person I am. I hope that this shows my thoughts on Education and that also not all education is book learning based.

England – Tower Rd Primary School – Mr Pike – such a great teacher, who I don’t actually think was MY teacher at any point but he was definitely a massive influence and someone who made me question the world, and have a thirst for knowledge of how things worked and their places in the world overall. I’m lucky enough to have now found Mr Pike on social media and despite the fact he and I differ on a lot of views and opinions, I cannot thank him enough for being that first teacher who made me feel open to the world.

There are other great teachers that I had at Tower Rd but I cannot remember them all, there was the teacher who put up with myself a best friend acting out scenes from Monty Python, the art teacher who tried again and again to make me an artist, the piano teacher who couldn’t actually play piano, the teacher who let me take the school rabbit home for the holidays and even the English teacher who helped me with my squint and the stupid glasses/patches I had to wear. These people have all made me the person I began my life as (well, the first 11 years lets say) and that gave me a good base to work from.

I passed my 11+ (for younger readers, ask your parents) and went to the local girls grammar school, this was a strange few years for me as it was stressful at home, a bit disjointed with family life and a very sad time in our home and family. I found myself being bullied by some really awful human beings and thankfully the school librarian Miss Gallagher seemed to understand so she encouraged me, let me go in during the holidays to help out, made me feel comfortable and always willing to give new ideas/suggestions for someone who wanted to read everything. She genuinely got me interested in so many random things, plus was one of the first people I knew who was veggie/vegan leaning and I got a lot of info about things which interested her. I liked that she always treated me like an equal, as opposed to a student.

Mr and Mrs Ross were an epic teaching couple, he taught English and she taught Science (I cannot for the life of me remember which specific one) and in the years I was back in the High school after Spain were year heads. I was certain that they hated me – ok this is a bit dramatic, i’m pretty sure they didn’t hate me but I felt like they tolerated me, the fact I had come back off my own back and not gone through the standard system made me feel very out there and an oddity – but in the end of my time back in the sixth form I found them both to be really lovely supportive and made me Miss smiles in the U6 – how the heck that happened i have no idea!! Even she said when giving me the award that other people had brought up how positive as a person I was……I still to this day think they might have confused me with someone else!!

Moving to Spain when I was 14 was stressful and to begin with, I genuinely cannot remember anything about my teachers that I liked, there were ones who most definitely treated me differently due to the fact I was English. My language was not good enough in that first year and some issues did happen but as i’m trying to be positive I’m just going to focus on the fun teachers.

My favourite teacher, and actually someone who even then I considered more of a friend than a teacher was Vicente, my art teacher for the last year or so of Spanish school. He made us watch films and do creative projects and was always open to just learn about people. He and I shared a very similar music taste which as I was very singular whilst there, really helped me feel less weird. I can remember when a favourite band of both of ours brought out a new album, we knew there would be 1 copy in the music store in Malaga and both had plans to get it before the other. Running through a mall to beat a middle aged man to a quality album is a memory that will stay with me forever.

I’m actually really happy as Vicente and I are still friends, he keeps popping up in my life and I love seeing his gallery shows and the way his life has taken him. Am pleased he still accepts me for me though, he’s still incredibly encouraging – despite my general inability to do anything arty!!

The last teacher I will talk about is one who was a good teacher to me but a great show of how people power can have an effect, probably the first time I’ve ever seen that work in person.

The spanish teaching system is generally based on 1 year contracts, every new teaching student will be sent from school to school to hone their skills and our Music and religion teacher was actually brilliant and when we heard that he had been moved onto his next school we all felt like we would be detrimentally affected by this so the decision was made to have a student strike. We superglued all the doors and main school gates for a few days to no avail so then decided to actually have a sit out, we would refuse to go to classes until he was brought back.

To be honest, this was (and still sort of is) totally odd to me, I fully expected to be out there for say 20 mins before the teachers would just barrel out and order us inside with our tails between our legs……so 4 hours later I was getting cold and more importantly bored. I went home, deciding it would be better to at least do some homework or the like. Cue walking into the house to tell mum why I was home earlier……she totally didn’t believe me so (with my dad – for extra punishment if I was trying it on) frogmarched me down to my school gates to find out what I was on about…….EVERYONE was gone. I’ve never been so nervous in my life, bloody typical, I decided i’d had enough and went home, then the teachers had finally snapped and got everyone inside. I was cacking myself!!

Thankfully upon going inside the school I saw the school secretary who seemed surprised I was there, I explained why I was and her response to my parents at least made them see I was telling the truth. Scary but fun nonetheless.

We never did get that teacher back I don’t think but it certainly made me more likely to revolt in future about things I saw an issue with. Sometimes, lessons like that are invaluable.

I hope over the course of these little stories have given my opinion clearly, I loved learning – I still do – and I honestly feel it’s people like this who gave me this feeling and inspired me to always try more and learn more and see more.

I should also point out that there were a multitude of teachers I haven’t talked about, all good in their own way and therefore should not be ignored. I am immensely proud of my schooling and the person I have turned out to be, and I can only hope they feel the same way!

 

 

 

Day 16 – What’s your favourite movie?

I’m not much of a film person anymore, I’m not sure I’ve got the patience for this right now as my attention span is a lot shorter than it used to be.

There are however, some films I will happily watch and re watch time and time again, like Some Like It Hot, Young Frankenstein, Finding Nemo, Tank Girl and i’m also a pretty big fan of shockingly awful films – generally with massive sharks/crocs or the inevitable end of the world happening so our new introduction to the Sharknado set of films has been a) eventful and b) bloody brilliant!!

I used to really love films but after a couple of operations and being pretty much housebound for a few months I found that I would be able to handle 30m or so but then i’d be way to bored. Or i’d lose my thread and couldn’t pick it up again. I do still try to do watch films but find that unless it’s one i’ve seen before, or REALLY absorbing, I cannot handle or even remember it the next day (true – last time the man and I watched a film we were talking about it the next day and I could remember about half of the plot and even the “twist” were a bit dimmed to me. One day, hopefully that may change but as it stands, I need to find new films which I can actually get into. If anyone has any suggestions, please, contact me and give me your thoughts, am always willing to try something new.

I’ve written about movies I enjoy previously (read it here) so I need to make sure that the film(s) I write about today are not on the same list. This doesn’t mean that these films mean any less to me but that I know they are different to the previous article.

The first film I have chosen is Jaws.

jaws

“When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.”

Whilst I do genuinely love this film, the book and all it’s options, I’ve watched it so often that it’s become a classic as opposed to a great film! I very much enjoy the over acting, the dodgy effects and was really lucky a few years ago to be able to see it out in the open air cinema next to Bournemouth beach.

I went with a couple of friends, took many snack and really relished listening to the real life sea lapping and seagulls crying as we watched the gore and overall superbness of the film.

I think it’s difficult to discuss a film which is one of my faves without giving away too much detail or for that matter story. I know that most people would have seen this but I would definitely recommend the book too, well worth a read over a couple of days 🙂

Another good film which I do re-watch and then promptly forget about is Miss Congeniality.

congeniality

“When a terrorist threatens to bomb the Miss United States pageant, the FBI rushes to find a female agent to go undercover as a contestant. Unfortunately, Gracie is the only female FBI agent who can “look the part” despite her complete lack of refinement and femininity. She prides herself in being “just one of the boys” and is horrified at the idea of becoming a girly girl.”

I know, I know, from one extreme to the other so far on this list but bear with me.

I first saw this film years ago when I was going through a bubblegum phase, not looking for deep and meaningful but more, fun and a bit of cheese and this has this in spades. I’ve always been a sucker for Sandra Bullock films too so that most definitely helped this become a fave of mine!

I’ve always been very tomboy ish and although this takes that to the extreme, there is a huge part of me that would love a glam team, to make me lady – like, beautiful and more comfortable as myself – a lottery win is probably needed for this but still, it’s a 90 minute, glittery fun romp through beauty pageants and a film I can watch again and again and will happily recommend this to anyone wanting a girly film which isn’t just the average sugary sweet romantic offering!

Lastly today I think i’ll write about one of my favourite Disney films – I haven’t seen many of them to be honest and I know that appalls one of my friends as she is a Disney Princess but in real life (honestly, if she doesn’t have livestock coming and doing her chores; then there is something really unfair about the world!

Anyway, the Disney film I do tend to go back to every so often to reattach to my more childish side is Aladdin.

aladin

“When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that the evil has other plans for the lamp — and for Princess Jasmine. But can Aladdin save Princess Jasmine and his love for her after she sees that he isn’t quite what he appears to be?”

I can remember watching this at my aunt’s one night we were there when I was a kid, I’d always been a huge fan of Robin Williams and this made this film perfect for me. Ok, so it has a lot of romance, which I don’t care about in any film but the humour and songs are actually brilliant. I hadn’t seen the film for well over 10 years and a friend of mine stuck it on in the background and I was astounded at the amount of songs I could still remember!

It’s corny, it’s funny, it’s colourful – weirdly useful for when you’re in a real funk i’ve found, colourful films are just amazing for that!

Ok, that’s enough for now I think. I’m running out of other things to say so will no doubt expand more, or talk about more at some point in the future of my writing!!

 

Day 15 – Write about your favourite childhood books.

I was obsessed with reading as a kid, I mean, pretty much all of my life as a younger person I was safe when I was surrounded by books. My brother and I were really lucky as kids but once he left home, I felt a lot lonelier and retreated more into the safety of books, this was only compounded by being the weirdo, the loner, the one who just generally was not liked by kids – that’s not 100% true, my friends were always and always have been amazing – but there were a lot of bullies who found me an ideal target to harass.

My mum says that even as a kid, she knew reading was a big thing for me because i’d read the back of packets, the papers, even when we went shopping, she knew I would take myself off to the paper/books area and just perch myself down and read. I got through countless books in this style which i’m sure the supermarket was thrilled about!

I had an excellent little book set as a child of the entirety of Beatrix Potter’s tales, all mini hardback with gorgeous artwork and they were kept in a special box, this was something that until very recently I have always had with me. I’ve never even dreamed of having kids so i’ve never really known what to do with them but you know when you have something childish yet wonderful that you can’t imagine being without? I think I gave them back to my mum and asked her to sell it, or at least find a home for them where hopefully they will bring as much joy to someone else as they did to me.

I was obsessed with Enid Blyton as a child, The Tales of the Faraway Tree made me wish for excitement, and new friends, and talking trees – ok, the last of those may have been less possible that the first two – and made me see magic in the oddest of places. She made me look at things differently and I’m sure that seeing creatures, clouds and trees and beginning to apply anthropomorphic characteristics to them comes from her.  Plus another joy of a group of friends who stuck together through everything, through thick and thin was appealing to me, I know I had a small group of friends at that point of my life and we used to do similar escapades when we could – going on bike rides, building forts, just playing and imagining what our lives were going to be.

I included Jennings and Derbyshire in this list as although they were not specifically favourites of mine, they have a very special place in my heart as mum used to read them to me when I was in the bath as a kid. I used to love them and for a long time kind wanted to live in that jolly hockey sticks, ginger beer kind of world. I think maybe my obsession with Mallory Towers and the Twins at St Clair’s also started around this time and made me consider that that kind of life was an option – which at no point was it but I always remained hopeful!!

jennings

Reading back the previous list this is all sounding a bit 50s housewife dream kind of style of reading, I swear I read other things too! Like Point Horror – which I’ve no idea are still in existence or if you are younger than me and now asking yourself “what the fudge is a point horror?” but before I started reading lets say, more adult horror stories like Stephen King and Shaun Hutson (if you’ve not read his stuff and like some gore and mental horror then he’s a good person to investigate); I was a bit obsessed with a sort of horror light. It was a series of books which tended to be passed around my group of friends and mostly they were mild frights but for some reason I can remember one book (weirdly my brain has scrubbed over most of the details – including the name) which really terrified me! Well worth it to be scared in the middle of the day with all the lights on….I’m too much of a coward nowadays to read books like that anymore!

We moved to Spain when I was 14 and thankfully I got a lot of books as leaving gifts from people, these became my closest friends when I arrived as I spent so long stressing about not being able to hold even the most basic of conversations without massive pauses and a dictionary so the joy of just being able to open a book and not have to worry was a joy. This is where my love of Pratchett came from. I’d read some beforehand but they really took hold of my imagination at that point. As I said, I really relished having books I could read without having to worry about not being clever enough – which is how I always felt when speaking to people.

I know I’ve banged on about Pratchett in many of my blogs and #PratchettPostal is actually going really well (i’m buying up second hand copies or cheapish bundles from fleabay, advertising them on twitter and then sending them out to fellow fans/new readers. He was such an influence and support to me that I would love to pass that on. If you’ve never read Pratchett you’re missing out but if you are on twitter, come find me at @polmoose83 and maybe come get yourselves a new book – or just come and say hey anyway, I love to have many people around to talk to!

So there we have it, once again, no real specifics but many different options. I would love to be more of a book reviewer in specifics and have read a few good book blogs which have inspired me but currently I’m not sure i’m good enough at specifics and writing my views. We shall see what 2019 has to offer in the way of challenges.

Day 13 – 3 healthy habits

Erm, this is not really me as I’m not what you’d call a gym type of person.

I mean, I’d like to be but every time I have done healthy stuff, there has been a specific reason, be it a diet or prep for a race, there’s never been a life long shift that I have made (I still smoke, I still drink, I eat bad foods sometimes, I do not get enough exercise or sleep for that matter but I think overall i’m ok) and although I’ve seen friends manage this (and i’m very proud of their commitment) as of yet, nothing like that has hit me. I don’t expect to wake up one morning and just decided to be a gym bunny or whatnot but maybe one day? Who knows!

1) I started following the Slimming world diet earlier this year, it did help me and those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I am now thinner than I was. I’ll be honest though, for me, this wasn’t perfect. There’s a lot of things that I was unsure about and unfortunately my consultant was not the most helpful – I asked her something at the beginning of my second week there…..I was there for 16 weeks and have been off since August but at no point have I had an answer.

Anyway, I agree, that by monitoring and being strict on my diet and avoiding lots of            bad fatty foods, yes it is possible to lose weight. I’ll be honest though, as soon as I was            at my target, I stopped and had a really fun couple of weeks where I ate whatever the          hell I wanted! It was DIVINE!!

I get that a good diet is considered a good and healthy thing, but for me, personally, I want to be more balanced, not completely strict. I’m not sure as a person I could handle it if I had to be strict forever – plus, I’m the main cook in our home and if I left it up to the man, although I love him like no-one else, I’d probably starve or simply survive on toasties!

2) As a non driver, I do walk a lot, but I know that everyone can improve themselves so one of my challenges for this year has been to up my steps. I’m aiming next year to (as one of my challenges) be walking 10,000 per day. We shall see anyway.

I can’t wait to start my challenge. I don’t have a fitbit or something which will nag me to walk more but i’m hoping that i’ll be able to overall get healthier. I was hoping to complete a marathon before I hit 40 but due to my knee issues, I worry that i’m pushing it so maybe the walking will have to do for now. If anyone reading this has become a longer distance runner, please feel free to pass on any hints and tips, I mean, help a girl out over here!

3) Lastly the most important and for me, the easiest one. I wanted to drink more water and made the point especially when I started at slimming world. I’ve never been a real fan of water, I always preferred squash or fizzy drinks (or tea, I’m obsessed with all teas!!) but I can remember being force fed water when I was younger –  I never really drank anything – and was promptly sick, which just shows, when I don’t want something, my body will do everything it can to avoid it!

But deciding that SW was the way forward, I started to challenge myself to a pint of very weak squash and then a pint of water, alternating throughout the day. This was going ok but thankfully by the time the heatwave happened here, I was drinking between 10 and 12 pints of water a day. I think if nothing else I’ve grown up, I use water as a first resort – if i’m hungry/tired etc, it tends to actually be that i’m dehydrated so that has certainly helped me.

Well there you go. 3 healthy habits that I will use and improve upon over my lifetime. I didn’t think that would be possible but I am now tempted to do a blog on my unhealthy habits…..that list would be ridiculous!!

Day 9 – 5 Current Goals

I have a lot of targets that I set myself – see my 40 for 40 list as a good example but I try to also do littler things throughout the years, like this years Pratchett Postal.

These are some challenges I have been trying to do this year so thought i’d share some of those and then we can have a re-cap as to how things are progressing and if there are still things happening throughout the rest of the year.

1: Pratchett Postal – Objective: To buy up duplicate Pratchett books (Neil Gaiman too apparently this has now been extended to) and then send them out to complete strangers online.

I decided to do this on Twitter as i’m so used to Twitter being the place where people are horrible to each other but I was desperate to prove that nice people inhabit that place too. I think that this has gone fairly well, I mean, thus far I have sent 80 books out this year, made a whole heap of new friends, learned some really interesting stuff about both myself and the world of Discworld and more than anything, am really pleased that the love I have for this series, is now being passed around the planet to others.                       pratchett 12

 

2:  Improve my writing – Objective: To become more comfortable with writing and expressing myself.

I love blogging but have always found that I do not have the impetus to keep writing and publishing every day so have set myself more manageable goals of writing twice a week (until this current challenge which is a daily thing, wish me luck because i’m scared!! I’m hoping that if nothing else, I find people who I like to read and to find people who like what I say. I don’t ever think i’d be writing novels or the like but I started this as a way to vent, deal with things and get my thoughts out and I genuinely hope that by the end of this year, I will be able to continue this and continue improving.

3:  Take part in more racing/running events – Objective: To become healthier and fitter, I have set myself a challenge of a Marathon before I turn 40 so thought I’d start small.

I signed myself up for a challenge in January to start small and cover 50 miles throughout the month then after that, a couple of 5ks, a colour run and a local 10k. I achieved the January target with no issues and the colour run and 5k, though I was incredibly slow and unfit, both were finished and both went well. Unfortunately due to health issues – relating to my knee – I had to drop out of the 10K, I did think maybe I could walk it but was worried I’d be too slow and therefore not actually finish…..am hoping that next year will be better, I’ve booked to do a couple more 5ks via Virtual Racing so if nothing else, I will be doing the work, it may not be fast, but am proud i’m getting better. This is my before (from 2015 on the Left) and the now, 2018 on the right.

colour run 2015 & 2018.JPG

4: Attend a convention – Objective: To attend a convention into something I enjoy. 

Actually this year, I’ve actually attended 2. Both superb fun and definitely a good introduction for hopefully bigger and better ones next year, or at least, in our future.

Firstly in August I went to Dragworld Uk – a festival of glitter and fabulousness all to do with the world of Drag. I loved it (and wrote a blog about it which you can read here https://wordpress.com/post/halfbakedproductions.blog/1618)   I loved it, cannot wait to go back (the pre release sale happened yesterday) and this time the man in my life is coming with me. He has some social issues (he has a lot of anxiety) so I’m hoping that to be surrounded by so many lovely and accepting people will help him. I’m already so excited!!

The second con in October was more for my other half than for me, he is very into board games (ok, we both are but he spends more time watching vids/listening to podcasts about them) but we knew there was a large expo up in Birmingham which sadly we could not attend – money for public transport in this country is insane) so when we found out there was a smaller convention in Southampton, it seemed like a no brainer, I booked us a cheapish hotel nearby and we decided to take my copy of Ankh Morpork in case there wasn’t much we wanted to play. We also found a local board games cafe, with a superb collection of games and also really lovely friendly staff and have definitely decided that we will go back, maybe even just specifically for this place!

The con itself was good, we met a couple of new people, played some new games – and some games that we probably wouldn’t own but that it’s fun to experience. It was a good introduction to a little convention and I’m hoping that next year we can do something biggr and better.

5: Get my 10% body award with Slimming World. Objective: To lose 10% of my starting body weight (at the time I was basically 13 stone and a fat size 18). I spent a long time as a younger person trying to diet and adhere to beauty standards but as I’ve got older, I’d got bigger and eating became a really important thing to me. I’d met up with some wonderful old friends and they (as usual) took photos to memorialise the day but when I saw them, they were horrible. I looked awful. I’m really used to being the fat one out of my friends but I felt gross.

Luckily my work were doing a special promotion with Slimming World where when you lost 10% of your weight, my work would pay back a max of 12 weeks subs, this seemed like an ideal way of doing it and threw myself into it. It took 14 weeks in total but I lost just under 2 stone. I am now a much healthier size 12 and feel amazing! it’s mad really as i’ve never been this size before and I love it.

I should be clear, at no point did my other half say I had to lose weight or anything like that, I did this for me and thankfully he still finds me attractive and I know he sees that I’m so much more confident, which for me is the best thing.

So there you have it, 5 challenges or goals I am currently working on. I have really enjoyed these so far so am looking forward to more next year – or maybe not more, maybe just improving my current ones and continuing to work towards my 40 for 40 list. What about you? Do you have any challenges that you are setting yourself or working towards?