Be better not new: January 1st

I have to start by acknowledging the idea of ‘be better not new’ isn’t my idea I heard it on the radio, I think, whilst stuck in the car on the trip of never-ending traffic jams.

It’s such a simple yet obvious suggestion. Instead of writing a list of New Years Resolutions – that you will feel guilted into when the clock strikes midnight and cling to begrudgingly until around 5th January when, if like me, you inevitably forget or think sod it! You decide to just do the things you love and already enjoy, but better. So if you already do a tiny bit of yoga (once every 6 months for me) that’s fine, just aim to be better at remembering or finding time – twice every 6 months?

You can ‘be nicer’, ‘be calmer’, ‘be more considerate’, ‘be less busy’. None of these are definite and they are rather fluffy but they are doable, small steps in the right direction. I always have resolutions like learn how to skateboard. No it’s not impossible and yes we should all have dreams and goals that we aspire to, but after 15 year I still don’t skateboard, I really shouldn’t skate board for potential injury, and beyond the two days before the 31st December, I totally forget my desire to skateboard.

I also don’t believe that starting new things, setting life goals or making/breaking habits should be reserved for one day a year. It’s a lot of pressure! On the one day of the year you are most likely to have a hang over, surround by equally green friends and family, I don’t think you should be making such extravagant promises to yourself or others. Plus the emphasis it places on those tasks often outweighs the change required and becomes a sabotaging influence not an encouraging one.

So this year, instead of ‘reading a certain book’ – I had Sophie’s World on my list of must read books for about 8 years. Every year it was a resolution and every year I failed until last year when I only took that book on holiday to force myself to finish it, which I did….and didn’t enjoy. I am going to make a note of things I would like to do more or less of and track them. They won’t be new things, they certainly aren’t extravagant but I want to spend my time doing the things I love not the things I’ve guilted myself into. I got zero satisfaction from Sophie’s World in the end as for 8 years I felt like I’d failed, then after a torturous holiday I discovered I didn’t even like the book! So by tracking habits I want to do more or less of I hope to find patterns. And then I can work out, how do I really like to spend my time and what do I seem to avoid. Then I can decide if more radical change is needed.

I’ve actually tracked my habits since October, just to really rebel against the January 1st starting line. And it is amazing how little I know myself. I have clearly made assumptions and decisions based on what I think I should be doing not what I actually enjoy doing and actually do. For instance, I always thought I drank a little too often. Not loads, just a glass or two of wine here and there. However as it turns out, I drank ONCE in October, once. Not every weekend and evening like I’d assumed and not through intentionally avoiding it. I also discovered I spend money every day, even if its only a pound or two, I never have a zero spend day. So now, I have a couple goals to work with, I would like to spend less and you guessed it read a little more often (you thought drink more wine!) So I have added reading to my tracker every month to see how I get on, if in a couple of months it’s still going terribly maybe I need to reassess. Why don’t I read if I think it would be such a great use of time?


We bought a house!

OH MY! So I am aware after continually saying to myself and you guys that I would be better, make more, write more, share more, post more, update more…I stopped. 2016 ended with a bit of a bump and left me feeling less like myself and more like a retreating hermit crab. I could almost go as far as saying I hated my job, it had quite literally drained the last of my energy by the time December 20th rolled round. I was also now renting a flat from a friend after being saved from living under the landlady from, well, something like hell.

The decisions

Life wasn’t bad, good health (ish), friends that cared beyond belief (living cheap in Brighton was quite literally my bank accounts saviour!) I had a job, and I did have a roof over my head. But I certainly wasn’t happy with the status quo and over the two glorious weeks off from work, retreating at my parents house in Somerset with Ben we made two decisions:

  1. I would not end 2017 at my job
  2. We would not end 2017 renting two separate places

These were two decisions that had no plan behind them, in fact we had absolutely no idea as to how we were going to make these things happen, we just knew that they had to happen. Ben was living in a house that was to be sold and I couldn’t live off of my friends generosity forever. Having made these decisions we forgot the worries and enjoyed the festive period.

Time for a plan

Fast forward to day two back at work in January, the sky was grey, I was cold as I always am and the stomach churning feeling was back. The sleep that I had rediscovered over Christmas had gone and the pounding, face numbing, headaches were in full swing.

What were we going to do. I decided to take the plunge and call a lady recommended by a friend. At that point I had no idea how much she would change our lives over the next few months. L, a mortgage advisor, was someone I had dreaded contacting. She was the person that would either light the fuel on the next part of our lives or diminish the small flame of hope that we had found. Turns out she did the former. After many hours of figure checking, paperwork, emails and calls we discovered that decision 2 was not completely out of reach. This coupled with previously unknown support from family meant that buying our own place was actually possible. It might be tight and budgets would be stretched but we could do it!

We started hunting. We saw some interesting places, rechecked our figures and discovered we could buy the perfect house. Needed some work but it could be ours to turn into a home!

Whilst this plan was taking shape I continued to turn up for work and if I thought 2016 ended badly, I could not have comprehended the emotional onslaught of February 2017. But something happened, I received a message from a friend. Not wanting to push the point or debate, she highlighted a potential position that was available at the company she worked for. However, she knew I was already stressed with the house buying and work that, she wasn’t sure I would want to add any extra complications. She was wrong! This was the perfect day to make me brave. I’d been driving home feeling lost, seeing no way out of my situation. On any other day I might have left the message in my inbox thinking it would be “too much” to take on. Instead I replied with, “Yes! Who do I call?”

Fast forward to May

Ben and I got the keys to our new house on 2nd May. I handed in my notice on 4th May, I was put on garden leave on 8th May. For the five weeks following this I got up every day, drove to our new house and sanded, painted, laid floors, ripped up carpets and found a sense of achievement and calm that I hadn’t felt in a long time. On 5th June I started my new job and on 14th June we moved in!

The house is still very much a work in progress, although we have achieved a lot in a very short space of time. We sit every evening discussing the bits that we would like to change or paint or fix and the lists are many and endless. However it is ours and it is home. My next big project for me is to sort a room downstairs for all my craft and beauty things so that I can get back to making things I love. I have enjoyed attacking the house but I do miss my homemade creations. It also means I will have more to share and to talk about. I have been chronicling the house renovation however there are only so many white walls that you can share!

Salvage: A perfect brunch

I left the flat this weekend! Only briefly and under a certain amount of duress but I went, despite it being freezing and the flat being lovely and cosy and a place to hide until Monday. I went under one condition though, that we could go to my favourite place for a coffee, that also happens to be just round the corner!

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I love it! There are so many things to look at and to wonder at. I love the fact you can pick one of the jumbled table and chairs, place your order and then sit and admire the wonderfully  eclectic mix of new and old and bought and made items on display. Ladders adorn the walls creating storage for a selection of records, dried roses hang from branches suspended from the ceiling, stained glass pop art hangs in the window whilst spoons can be found in the ornate glass panel in the door. Trumpets are used like embellishments to cover the walls whilst the counter is covered in glass cloche’s revealing enough cakes and treats to meet almost anyones dietary requirements.   Continue reading

Finding balance: work & life &…

So I am finding this increasingly hard! I wake up with the best intentions to be productive and get things done with regards to the blog and my etsy shop. I drive to work thinking about all the amazing things that I could do and try and the bits and bobs that I would like to get done today. I then arrive at work and throw myself into being productive for other people.

diary

By the time lunchtime hits most of the ideas for the blog and my creations have disappeared from my head, although I make a note of each and everyone in my notebook that I keep to hand because my memory is not that great even at the best of times!

17:45 arrives and all enthusiasm for being productive and getting stuff done has gone. To be honest I don’t even think about the things I wanted to do, it’s not even really like I am procrastinating, it’s as if all my ideas have been wiped from my mind. By the time I arrive home all I want to do is eat dinner, shower and wait for sleep. Continue reading

Let’s go away: Winchester

Sod it, let’s go away!

Last minute trips are not usually something that I indulge in, as quite frankly I normally book around 12 weeks ahead for various trips, visits, activities, life chore weekends – which I often refer to as ‘time to potter about about’.

So out came the phone and before I could think my thumb was already hovering on the Airbnb app.

“Where shall we go?”…”Winchester!” I answered my own question. Continue reading

Reclaiming space

New fun activity, wait for it….de-cluttering! Not as glamorous or fun as you know, print making or gem hunting for jewellery, however surprisingly fun or cathartic or both. Less fun at the start – addictive by the end.

Lets set the scene, this time last year I found myself in the fortunate/unfortunate position of having to leave my flat/cave. The abode I had lived in for just over three years and the place/cave (I say cave as there were many times when I went into the darkness and disappeared for days on end. No signal pass the threshold and no heating for 9 months of the year it was my cave haven) I had begun to call home. Until this time last year that is, when a series of events set in motion the need to get out and get out now! I was then fortunate to discover, over a bottle of wine or three, sat on my living room floor that one of my amazing friends had a solution for me. Continue reading

I don’t do birthdays 

I like to celebrate.

That is a statement of fact and a personal mantra. Birthdays, Christmas, new jobs, babies, weddings, new friends, old friends, moving home, coming home, holidays you name it i’ll find a away to celebrate it. So as August approached I knew it was time to start planning. It wasn’t a milestone or an especially important one, but it was a birthday and it was our first together. On top of that, I am with the ultimate anti birthday individual on the planet. I have never met someone who takes such disinterest in the one day of the year you can be a tiny bit “me!” So I decided that he needed reeducating….with a week long birthday! Continue reading