Conversations over craft

I wrote in January about the need to add some creativity into my week. Scheduling a fortnightly craft evening with friends has been one way to make that happen. We don’t meet as regularly as we would all like – some weeks it just cannot happen.

Last night it did, on a perfect day. The day had involved a lot of travel, not enough sleep, a long meeting sitting down, a lot of brain work and a fair amount of walking.

Sitting, sewing, enjoying a cup of tea and chatting to friends was just what the day needed to balance it out. I was intrigued by how the conversation flows when we are focussing on a physical activity as well. It was very comforting, flowing gently from one subject to the next, interspersed by examining and praising each others’ attempts. At times we sat in gentle silence, when concentration was needed.

A companionable, creative and non-tech based gathering of good friends. Perfect.

Birthday joy

Yesterday was my birthday.  I love my birthday.  It is a day to relish and do the out of the ordinary.  It’s  day to take stock of life and enjoy what is good. 

I always take a day off work on my birthday (a hangover from when I worked somewhere that offered that as a benefit), yesterday was no different.  

My day was filled with a birthday plethora of family and friends, some in person, most via brilliant cards (very funny ones this year!) and kind texts and Facebook messages.  It always fills me with amazement and a lot of thankfulness at the huge group of friends I have built over my nearly five decades of life and the steady growth in the family.

It’s been a busy few months and planning the day was a casualty of having too much on my plate over the past few weeks.  So friends and family stepped in and planned for me.  My birthday involved breakfast out with my husband, a run, some downtime, outdoor swimming and jacuzzi and a relaxed lunch, dinner with family.  I ate my favourite foods and drank excellent wine.  

None of yesterday would have felt special without the people involved.  I felt loved and cherished and that feels good.  Thank you everyone.

Not saving it for best

Yesterday evening I was given a most lovely gift by a friend.   It is a homemade body scrub, made with care and affection and packaged beautifully and smelling deliciously of lime, lemongrass and tangerine.

Last night I carefully put it next to my case ready to pack when I leave the friend’s house.  This morning I had what feels like a brainwave.  It doesn’t take much to make it feel like a brainwave on a cold dark November morning.  What am I saving the body scrub for exactly?

It is a huge jar full of great smelling loveliness and will likely last me for ages, but it will go off eventually as it is made from natural ingredients with a limited shelf life.

I grabbed the jar and headed for the guest bathroom with its amazing power shower and made it into a full on spa experience, albeit for just a few minutes, on a random Tuesday morning.  The smells were, as planned by my friend, uplifting and energising.  And even more than that, the day started with treats and makes me feel like it can only get better.  

A very good lesson in not saving things for best.  I have no clue, today may be the best, it has certainly started very well indeed.

Social media positivity

You may have gathered that I am in a slump at the moment.  I know it is the transition of the seasons from that gorgeous hot summer to the dark of the winter.  I know it is the incredible busyness of September and October.  I know it is the change in our family circumstance as one of the offspring leaves home.  I know all of that.  Knowing it makes it much easier and I had a sense of acceptance that this was just the mood of September and October.

I do feel I am coming through it.  I have had to rest for medical reasons, so having to focus on sleeping has probably helped a lot.  I have tried to spend a bit of time reflecting on what has gone well and a lot has gone very well and I have done a lot despite the energy slump.

One of the things that has helped a lot is social media.  I know it is not trendy to see social media as a force for good, but I do. I am vigilant about what I follow and what I click on, generally I avoid news consumption on social media and I make sure I interact with people, so it becomes an important part of my social activity.   It’s not my whole social activity, believe me, but it is a good part of it.

Yesterday it came up trumps in many ways.  I directly declared I needed motivation to get to a yoga class and it came in spades, delivered with gusto and humour and of course everyone was right, I felt better for going, I also felt better for having some interaction with people and knowing that they were sympathetic of my sofa versus yoga battle.  I could have asked some friends via text to nudge me, but that felt intrusive in their days.  The friends on Facebook were obviously having some downtime too and were happy to reach out to me in that downtime.  That is a lovely feeling.

Thank you to everyone who helped me out the door, I had a great evening and have had the best night’s sleep this week.  And, hugely importantly I had to walk home from the class. Walking in the dark for the first time is always a psychological hurdle in the autumn I find.  I leapt that hurdle and had a great evening, much of it down to social media.  Thank you!

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Here’s to a weekend of success

In any context where you are trying to change something – losing weight and getting fit are the ones that spring to mind – you are generally encouraged to make your intentions known, to be as public as possible, so that you have an accountability measure in place.

I am not sure that works.  I mean, we are all generally very polite.  I know to my health cost that no one I know would ever say “ummm Abigail, that is your third chocolate biscuit in ten minutes you may have now exceeded recommend calorie intake for today”.  I thank you for not saying it, my waistline is mine, keeping judgements to yourself is highly appreciated.

But I can totally see why people reach out for that support, knowing that you are not in a solo battle with your own willpower is helpful indeed.

I know there is some cynicism about folk having a social media presence which makes them out to be eating only green foods and running a marathon every weekend, but I, for one think it’s great.

Keep posting your weight losses, your miles run this year, your pbs over 5k, the hours you have spent meditating, the number of books you have read, the distance you have covered with an injured knee, the artwork you have created, the allotment produce you have grown, and most of all your beautiful dogs, cats and children.  I love it.  I love your success and I love celebrating it with you virtually.

Creating good habits in what is an unhealthy world is hard.  The negative judgement is within us and around us.  We are all being the best we can be and let’s keep celebrating that.

Here’s to a weekend of sharing the successes. Just so you know, my aim is to sleep 26 hours between Friday evening and Monday morning.  I’ll keep you posted on progress: 7/26 done so far.

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not my cat, not my photo

 

 

Why write a blog at all?

This blog is a totally self-indulgent attempt at creating a good habit.  A habit of writing.  I spend a lot of my day writing.  A huge amount of my work is spent writing emails.  Huge amount, I would guess at about 80% of my time is email writing and reading.  I ned to actually measure that I think.

A lot of my social life is spent writing.  Texts, WhatsApp, Facebook all feature very heavily in the organisation of my social life and the times in between meeting friends are happily spent writing to them instead.

And leisure time is often spent reading blogs, possibly not as many as I should, there are a lot of them out there.   But I really enjoy the ones I do read.  I enjoy the personal format, and the length of them. In just a few minutes there’s some food for thought without the reactions that news articles sometimes (often) arouse in me.  I struggle to read a news article without internally issuing a diatribe for or against that position.  I don’t watch soap operas and I think I crave that continuity of narrative about a person that soap operas give you.  You feel like you know the characters.  I feel I know the couple of bloggers I follow.  Obviously, I do not know them at all, I know their writing, but I enjoy dipping in and out of their blogging.

And I am trying to develop something – writing.  In a very boring reason for doing this – I enjoy writing, I love it actually, but I don’t actually do any just for fun.  This is my way of doing something I enjoy that is not an email nor a text nor minutes.  It’s just writing.  For the joy of it.  No one need read it, no one need react to it.  I am just writing for me.pexels-photo-257897.jpeg