Monday, 29 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 4

Well we are now into Week 4 of the Kindness Challenge and the focus is off self and onto others!
Now I've got to think of those role models ... - who to choose?

If you would like to find out more then either click on the button in the right hand side bar or for more in depth on the tasks for this week then click on the badge above.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Celebrate #13

Hosted by Lexa Cain and her co-hosts Tonja Drecker and L.G. Keltner
Click on the button above to join in.

Events of this week, here in the UK, make us all reflect on why we should pause to give thanks for the small things in life we can celebrate in times of sadness.

This week I am celebrating that there is a coming Bank Holiday which will give an extra day for Hubby and I to get some things done around the house and garden!  I'm not sure he'd be celebrating if he knew that's what I have planned!!

I'm also celebrating learning a new knitting technique which is allowing me to use up odd balls of wool I've had for ages and hopefully make an item I can wear and enjoy wearing.

Finally, and most importantly, I am celebrating that my family members (although scattered across the UK) are safe and well.

Looking forward to reading everyone else's reasons to be cheerful this week :)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 3

Well here we are at Week 3 in the Kindness Challenge.  If you'd like to have a go yourself please click on the link in the side bar and if you want to find out more about the tasks etc involved n this week's challenge from the original article by Nikki (Richness of a Simple Life) - then press on the badge above.

I think (looking at the tasks ahead for this week) I will have quite a busy time reflecting on who I try to be for others and who I actually am.  I'm sure I'll learn a lot as I have in the past two weeks and I'm sure it will be useful so here goes and who knows where it might lead!!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 2 Reflection

This week was all about self-compassion.

Before I begin, I want to say I am on the whole a happy person. I see the glass half full. I love life. So I wasn't too sure what I would learn this week on the subject of self-compassion.  But I read the task and started to listen to my internal voice and how it spoke to me - weird right?  

I tried to think back to when I first heard that voice and I reckon it was there before I went to school so maybe 4 years old or thereabouts.  My inner voice helped me when I was unsure of things and trying to figure them out or a little bit worried about new things - it gave me confidence when I was young.

Somehow that had changed over time and listening to my inner voice during last week made me realise that often it was a rather harsh voice that often criticised me and my actions at times.

So this week, I tried to make my inner voice more like that of a parent to a child - giving encouragement, not dwelling on what had gone wrong but how to make things right in the future, trying to figure out why I might be behaving in certain ways and rather than barking orders or be disappointed cajole and encourage.

In a nutshell, I tired to get my inner voice to be kinder towards me. 
Eureka moment - this is why this task is in the Kindness Challenge!!

I cannot lie - t's been quite strange hearing this new voice inside me! I have felt more like a child at times but I have liked not having angry or disappointed thoughts roll around in my head!  Another big thing I have realised is that my inner voice does NOT give myself a pat on the back - it does not say well done and I think that's rather strange when I say so many things to others to congratulate them on a job well done or good trying!!

It's certainly not easy changing my normal inner voice but I am glad I've had chance to think about the way I behave towards myself and I hope I can continue to not beat myself up as much as I sometimes do.

Please feel free to join in this Challenge yourself - it's never too late to start - just press on the badge in the side bar to go to Niki's site.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Celebrate #12

Welcome along to another Celebrate post where the name of the game is to reflect on the small things in life that have given us pleasure in our busy lives.  Led by Lexa Cain and her co-hosts - Tonja Drecker and LG Keltner - everyone is encouraged to take a minute and give thanks :)

This week, I am celebrating doing something I've never done before!  My Wordless Wednesday post this week gave a glimpse of what I saw and so to reveal I was at the very top of -
an 18th century windmill!
Right in the cap of it where the windmill sails would have been attached.

This windmill is only open to the public twice a year and so Hubby and I took advantage and had an amazing tour and talk led by a guy who actually used to work in a windmill!  There are not many like him left I'd imagine - and he was such a super tour guide being able to answer all our questions. We really hadn't expected to be so blown away by our visit but it really was very interesting and being allowed so high climbing up rickety ladders and under enormous wooden machinery felt very exciting.  Only three of us plus tour guide made it to the very top!  It's truly lovely when something turns out much better than you'd hoped :)

More things to celebrate this week were some good charity shop purchases - things to add to my wardrobe, my vintage sewing collection and gifts for others (it always amazes me the things that still have their tags on that people have never used and are kind enough to donate).

Lastly I want to celebrate passing an Open University course on Understanding Parkinson's for Health and Social Care Staff.  This all came about from meeting another person with this disease last Friday on one of my Nordic walking taster sessions.  After the session, I was invited to come to the next meeting of the local Parkinson's club so that more people with the disease could have a go. Although I knew about different research projects that showed Nordic walking could be beneficial for Parkinson's patients I did not feel I really knew much about the disease itself.  I came across this FREE course on line and worked through the four modules plus the final test to receive my digital badge and found it to be such a worthwhile course and think the more people that know about the progression of Parkinson's and what useful things they can do to help those with it the better.
If you click on the badge above it should take you to the course and you can sign up if you'd like to do it too.

Now I'm looking forward to hearing all about new places you been, new things you've bought or even new things you've learnt so leave a comment below and have a very happy weekend :)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Where in the World?

Can you guess where I ended up last weekend?
Answer will be coming in my Celebration post later this week :)

Monday, 15 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 2

Last week on the Kindness Challenge (devised and led by Niki) I had a very interesting time discovering much more about myself than I ever thought I would!  So I'm keen to see what this week brings and if you'd like to come on board please feel free to find out more by pressing the button above.

This week we will be looking at Self-Compassion and thinking about the way we are often our most harshest critic.  Once more I'm keen to see what I will learn and maybe how this will make me change certain behaviours I didn't even really notice I had!

Have you found out anything new either about yourself or others this week?  Are you setting out on a journey you're not quite sure where it will lead you?  Leave a comment below because you know I'd love to know!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Week 1 Self-Love Reflection

Click on picture above to go to website of Doe Zantamata

I am going to be very honest in this post. When I first thought about self-love I did indeed equate it with ego. As a mum and a teacher, I'm used to putting my needs behind others and I have no problem with this. So when I came across this quote, I was thankful that it gave me the inner peace to work on this week's in the Kindness Challenge (hosted by Niki - The Richness of a Simple Life - click on the button in the sidebar to be taken there).

So I took a good, long look at myself.  Now, I have always struggled with my appearance.  As someone not very tall, I think I look dumpy. I have a bust, I have hips and I have always wanted instead to have a sylph-like figure. 

So for this week's Challenge I decided that I would stop comparing my body shape unfavourably to others and be kind to myself in this way.  I would focus on how my cats "see" me - as in, they couldn't care less about my body shape - it is immaterial to them - they have no understanding of whether a person is fat or thin.  My self-love was therefore to think "my body shape does not define the person I am".  

This week's Challenge prompt was to realise "there's nothing you need to do to earn or deserve love from yourself or others" so I chose to think abut this every time I went in the kitchen and saw myself in our reflective kettle.  The kitchen is where I have most of my "battles" - "food = fat"  "this food is bad for me but I want it" etc etc so I tried to stop beating myself up over it and be kind to myself in this way.

I also came across this quote half way through the week and it made me think about how I treat myself compared to how I treat others and of course I would NEVER say anything unkind or mean to a friend.  I would support them, I would care about them and I would be there for them.  So why couldn't I do this for the person looking back in the mirror?
This definitely spoke to me - I've always a bit of a rebel!

So what did I learn this week?

Well I think I learnt to accept myself physically a little more and be kinder towards my self-image. I'm supporting myself more rather than giving myself a good talking to! And actually this week it's been a whole heap easier to stay away from temptation.  I've bought the more expensive fruit and veg that I'd buy for others but wouldn't normally buy for myself.  I've left food on my plate if I didn't want it. I also said No a few times this week which is never easy for me but also gave me a little more space in my life so I didn't feel so exhausted running about everywhere and then grabbing something quick to eat which often isn't the best thing for me.

I'm not saying it's been easy this week but then it never is when you're learning new things but I'm definitely going to keep continuing in this vein.

My final quote comes from Dr. Wayne Dyer who said:

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else has viewed their week and the shape self-love has taken for them.  Please feel free to join in the Challenge yourself - you never know what you might learn?

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Celebrate #11

It's another chance to
with your host Lexa Cain and her co-hosts - Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner

I was wanting to share some photographs but unfortunately technology is being frustrating this week and I can't seem to download form my phone or even send them via an email!  You'll just have to use your imaginations!!

First off I am celebrating having been a useful assistant on the cake stall last weekend - ALL cakes were sold in record time. All profits going to our local church so all for a good cause :)  There was NO photo of all the cakes and NONE of me eating them!!

Secondly, I am celebrating having got a chance to see the amazing Roman dig going on in the centre of my city.  Hubby and I tried to go at the weekend (which was the ONLY time they were going to allow visitors onto the site) but the queues were enormous so didn't spend time waiting in line. Luckily due to the amount of people who wanted to see it but couldn't get in they decided they would do lunch time openings too (12 - 2 pm) so I tried on Tuesday (but still huge queue) and then on Wednesday got there early and after one and a half hours in the queue got in.  Obviously, Hubby couldn't accompany me but a friend from Craft Group had also tried with her husband to go at the weekend so jumped at the chance to see them with me.  It was a lovely sunny day and I did take lots of photos.  Really worthwhile going as a once in a lifetime chance to see something that soon will be underneath a new shopping and hotel complex!  (There should have been two photos of the site and the mosaic they have uncovered here).

Thirdly, celebrating a new local walk that a lady on my Monday "normal" walk told me about and we decided as a group to try it out.  It was lovely walking through the arboretum and then a short way down one of the country roads on a pavement and into the gardens of an old estate where the grand house was knocked down about 80 years ago because they couldn't pay death duties!  It was a beautiful walk on a beautiful day around an old lake and passing horses in the shade of a huge tree looking up to the church on the hill (this is where a photo should have been!) and the weather couldn't have been better.  We all thoroughly enjoyed it and then on Wednesday I had the pleasure of taking my Nordic walking group around there as well and they were thoroughly impressed too :)  That's what I really like about walking - it gives people the chance to talk and pass on information or none of us would ever have known about it being accessible to the public.

Hoping everyone else has had a lovely week with those new things to celebrate that really don't cost the earth :)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Journey is Beginning

On Sunday, I posted about taking on another Challenge now that the A-Z is over.  This week is all about being Kind to Myself and at the end of the week to reflect and post.  I must admit this is a bit of a new concept to me and I wasn't really sure how I was going to accomplish it. Yesterday, the blogosphere led me to this:
Sanctuary5014's Thought for the Day

So I have a starting point.
(Please press on the picture above to go to the original site)

If you would like to join in the Kindness Challenge as well then press

Monday, 8 May 2017

A-Z Reflections

So it was all a little bit different this year: 
  • No linky list therefore no need for letters to show the content (except AC), 
  • No minions therefore not as many visits from those connected to the A-Z
  • Having to post a link everyday to the main blog (how would I have done this if I wasn't at my computer?)

I won't lie - I was worried!

First off I was rather late to the party this year so I hadn't prepared anything - didn't even know what I was going to post about but luckily inspiration hit less than 24 hours before 1st April and I was up and running.  First snag hit - I couldn't seem to post a link for the first three days because I was using a time zone that was almost a day behind Australia and New Zealand and I hadn't worked out how to use the site properly - it was my fault but when you are panicking everything takes more getting used to!!

I visited sites at the top of the posting list and those just above me on most days.  That's what the Challenge is mainly about finding NEW bloggers out there and communicating with them and I thought this went well although I did use to love going down the Linky List and finding those with a craft or education connection that I could then ensure I got a chance to visit.  I think I missed quite a few this year.

Because there was no list - there was no wasted time visiting blogs that weren't actually taking part so that WAS beneficial.

I left comments and I think that helped get those bloggers over to my site to take a look and leave a comment with me too.  I don't think I had as many views but once again I think that was because I either didn't post a link (sometimes I just forgot to) or because I was posting my link late.

I found my Blogger handle (name) didn't work anymore if I wanted to follow someone and I didn't want my Google name with attached details out there (I'm a private person!!) so I didn't "follow" anyone during this year's challenge.  Although I did put them into my sidebar Blog List which is even more important and allows me to see their posts and have engagement long after the Challenge ends. I also didn't get too many people "following" me so maybe they felt the same if their Blogger handle wasn't working either?

I didn't get any comments from the A-Z crew either for the first time and I think this left me a little deflated and I wondered how anyone else who had joined this year for the first time would feel?  In previous years, I did think the minions did a good job flagging back to the main hosts/organisers blogs that needed a little support/ those that had really good content, any newcomers to the A-Z as well as leaving their own supportive messages :)

I did read some great blog posts and once again the quality of some just astounded me as it does each year.  There were lots of new tales to be told, new sights to see and some wonderful tunes to listen to :)  A special mention to Katie the CyborgMom who made me smile every time I visited her Hot Men tribute theme - there really is no one quite like her!!  Nilijana, Hilary and Sharon for their wonderful writing about such interesting topics.  Click for her open, honest letters, Courtney, Cheryl, Eva and Linda for their art inspiring photographs and Cynthia and Ellen for their slightly bizarre takes on the world :)  Finally to Yvonne, who not only gave me plenty of songs to sing to but was a wonderful cheerer on with lovely messages of support throughout the Challenge not only to me but to MANY others!! There were many more who made me really stop and think and see the world in a different way so thank you to all those I stopped by :)

I actually think I enjoyed this Challenge the most - mainly because there was no list to "work" through and all those taking part were on the whole doing that and popping over to visit and leave comments on others' blogs - not just write a post and try to "sell" something and never bother with anyone else.  I also felt I found some great new bloggers out there that I truly want to keep in touch with over the coming year. This to me is the best thing about the A-Z as over the past three years I have made some very good blogging buddies due to taking part.

All that is left is to say a BIG thank you to the organisers and hope to see you all here again in 2018!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

KINDred Spirit?

Fil from  Fil Place 
 is a blogger I met many moons ago, during my first A-Z Challenge, so I was interested to learn about another challenge she was participating in called the Kindness Challenge.
Having read Fil's post I hopped over to Niki's blog to read more about the challenge (you can too by clicking on the button above) and decided that it was something I should at least have a go at and maybe learn a little more about myself in the process.

My first task is to set myself an intention to work towards over the next seven weeks.  This has really got me thinking because I'm not sure how kind a person I am?  I try to be helpful. I like to be friendly. I like making those around me happy but none of this is really about being kind.  

When I was a teacher in primary school I felt there were many ways in which to be kind and to teach children to be kind to each other but now I'm not so sure of how I behave when I'm NOT with young children. So maybe my intention should be to find out more about what kindness really is and by following the weekly prompts find out if I am a kind person or whether things about me really need to change so that I can be a kinder person in my everyday life.  I think it's going to be an interesting time for me with a few home truths!  But one thing I am sure of is, if we all were a little kinder then this world would be a better place so there is no better intention than that :)

Each week there will be a theme prompt and exercise and then we can review things after a week to see how it all went for us although as Niki says we can all take things at our own pace so it doesn't necessarily have to be posted weekly.

Looking at the linky list I noticed a number of bloggers I feel I have a connection with already so it's nice to know I'll be among friends :)

If you haven't signed up but would like to you join in and maybe discover some new things about yourself as well as make the world a better place then please join the linky list over at:

Hope to see some of you there and looking forward to our weekly reviews :)

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Celebrate #10

Joining in with the Celebrate Crew, led by Lexa Cain with her co-hosts Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner , where we pause to think of those little things in life that gave us pleasure this week. Press the button below to join in too :)

The big thing for me this week was to complete the A-Z Challenge and get my survivor badge (see below). I'll be posting my review of it all on Monday but I would like to say here I had a good time and felt it worked out well for me despite my initial reservations!

More reasons to "Celebrate" this week came from a thought posted by Paula of Smidgens, Snippets and Bits in response to this week's Hodge Podge -
which inspired me to go and create this for my hall lighting which I've been meaning to get round to for a couple of months now!
It really was just finding a few long suitable branches from the garden and twisting round some tiny Christmas lights I'd bought in the January sales so cost = £2.50.  The long tall woven vase with the rushes in has stood in the hallway for ages and I've never really liked it but it does hide a hole in the skirting board!  This way it can provide some lighting for the upper part of the hallway when crossing between sitting room and kitchen or going to the loo and I don't have to have the three hallway lights on wasting so much energy!!

Once again the weather this week has brought some wonderful sunshine and I am truly grateful for the ability to get out and about in it either mowing the grass and gardening or Nordic walking with others.  When I look back, just over two years ago, to when I was "working" I'd spend most of my life indoors!

I hope everyone else has had those little reasons to celebrate and am looking forward to visiting many of you who, during April, I did not have chance to :)  Please let me know what has brought a happy smile to your face this week?

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

I have a Theam (Theme) !!!

During the A-Z Challenge this year, probably about Day 2, I actually realised there was a really good theme I could do.  Obviously, far too late for me to change with my seat of the pants direction the 2017 Challenge had ordained for me but a possible one for 2018!  For me this is all a bit weird because my mantra is "go with the flow" so to be one step ahead is a bit of a novel experience.  Now of course comes the rather harder part because I will need to do research and work on these 2018 posts and I certainly haven't had to do much of that before because all my Challenges have been based on personal experience and knowledge.  So my question this morning is ... Have you ever done a researched A-Z and what was it like to do?  Just how long do those amazing researched posts take to do and are there any tips/hacks out there for me?

Cheers to everyone who became a survivor on this year's Challenge or at least had a go at it in it's new format :)

Monday, 1 May 2017

May Musings

I feel slightly bereft without a letter picture to put at the beginning of my post - now the A-Z Challenge is over.  However, the challenge has kick started me back to wanting to post more regularly which this year I just hadn't got back to.  I will be doing a reflections post but not today.

Today is a day for musings!  A look back at what got done through April and a look to the future and what must be done during May!

So besides the A-Z Challenge, I was busy getting on with more Nordic walking, loads of committee meetings and working in the garden.  Watching shows such as "Car Share with Peter Kay" and "Line of Duty" on BBC 1 and "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix.
(Car Share with Peter Kay)

So far this month, the big news is I've booked my ticket to the USA - this has been a long time coming and I am so looking forward to getting together with my university room-mate who I have not seen in a very, VERY long time.  

I also spent May Day removing the remains of a pigeon and a mouse from the cellar and fixing the window which the cats had come through dragging said carcasses.  The joy of having a cluster of cats!!

So now it's your turn - what did you do to celebrate this new month?  Where are you off to during 2017?  What did you watch on the TV during April?

Leave a comment below because you know I'd love to know :)