Weekly Roundup 19/05/19 – 25/05/19

Weekly Roundup 12_05_19 - 18_05_19

  • Sunday 19/05/19

This morning when I woke up the sun was shining and it was the perfect light to take some photos for upcoming blog posts.  I decided to do this as soon as I got up as I want sure if the light would change, right before I had my first coffee of the day!  I got dressed and had my breakfast but by that time the rain clouds had gathered and it rained, heavy showers from mid-morning through to the night which scuppered my plans of doing some more to the garden.  Instead, I had a few ideas for graphics so spent some time playing around with Canva.  I had a shower and managed to get 2 loads of washing done and dry.  In the evening I was shutting my downstairs curtains and noticed that my tyre was flat.

  • Monday 20/05/19

I had been worried about how I was going to get to work when my tyre was flat and I have no pump for it, but my friend called in before work and blew it up for me with his tyre pump.  Work was a bit stressful, I felt like I had loads to do and not enough time to get things done in, along with that my computer, or the system, was running slow which didn’t really help my stress levels.  I stayed a bit late in work so I could get a few more things done and out of the way.  I quite like staying late, even if it is just for an extra hour, it is so much quieter and I feel like I get more done then.  I came home after work and didn’t really do much, just had some food, watched an episode of Gossip Girl and headed to bed as I felt really drained.

  • Tuesday 21/05/19

I woke up with a trapped nerve in my neck this morning.  It didn’t seem to bad when I woke and I thought it was just a bit stiff but when I tried to sit up it was really painful.  Turning my neck to look to the right was really uncomfortable and it took me ages to get ready as everything I did seemed to make it hurt.  I did some neck stretching moves in work which seemed to help relieve it a bit and by the afternoon it was only twinging when I moved too much.  Work was better today and I was glad I stayed and got some other bits done last night as it made my day a lot easier.  After work I went to my local town and bought some new summer tops, the ones that I have are at least 3 years old and the material has gone really see-through, not ideal for wearing to work!  My friend came over in the evening and we decided to have a take away from the local Indian.  We ordered a Vegetable Thali, chips, popadoms and mango chutney, it was lovely!  After tea we started watching The Society on Netflix, I had seen a few trailers for it and it looked interesting and I wasn’t disappointed!

  • Wednesday 22/05/19

Woke up to my neck still giving me grief.  I had planned on going and doing some gardening this evening but I’ve given it a miss as I don’t want to make it any worse than it already is.  Work went without any problems and I am off tomorrow and Friday which I’m really looking forward to!  I bought travel tickets to go to London next month!  I am planning on staying with my brother for a few nights and really looking forward to that!  I treated myself to a bottle of wine after work and had a nice, chilled glass of it while chilling on the sofa with Roxy reading blogs and watching Gossip Girl.

  • Thursday 23/05/19

Annual Leave Day!!!!  I had a lovely lie in with Roxy before getting up.  I spent the morning pottering around in my pyjamas before having a shower and going to town.  A friend wanted me to pop to Currys and get him a pair of Bluetooth in-ear headphones, while I was there I popped to TKMax which is not far away and picked up a new food bowl for Roxy, a lovely silk maxi skirt for myself and a lovely new notebook (which I didn’t need really, but I fell in love with it and have a use for it next year!).  I came home and got changed then my neighbour and I went to the cinema to watch Avengers Endgame!  I won’t say anything about the film aside from Wow!!!  When we came back we had a drink at mine and my neighbour looked at what I had been doing with the garden and chatted about the plans I had for it then we went to hers and spent some time looking at all the plants that she had in her garden!  I have so many ideas now!  In the evening I went to visit my friend and took Roxy with me, it was nice to have a catch up.

  • Friday 24/05/19

Annual Leave.  Woke early to bright sun streaming through the bedroom window, I really must remember to shut my curtains in the night!  I cleaned the house, dusted, hoovered, mopped, moved some things around and put some other things away!  I nipped down to B&M and bought some pots for my plants to sit in so they don’t widdle water everywhere when I water them.  I then moved my plants from the kitchen draining board into the dining area and put them on the window sill.  My friend and I had planted some strawberry and chilli seeds in pots and they are already growing really well so hoping that by putting them in more sunlight they will soon flourish!  I’ve been wanting to put some pictures up on my wall for ages now, on my trip to B&M I picked up some Command Picture Strips, a bit like velcro, to hang my pictures up!  I managed to get all the pictures up that I wanted, both in my bedroom and downstairs!  I also managed to finish reading my book – Mandasue Heller Two-Faced, I decided to treat myself to a little rest between everything at lunch and spent a lovely hour curled up reading and enjoying a coffee!

  • Saturday 25/05/19

This morning I felt like I was on a go slow.  I didn’t wake particularly early and when I did it seemed to take me forever to get anything done.  I had a late breakfast/early lunch at 11:45 then got dressed and decided that my neck was much better.  I went out in the garden and removed some big rocks from under my lawn that I am going to use as border edging for the wildflower bed that I’m going to create at the bottom of the garden.  It was a lot warmer outside than I had anticipated given that it was so overcast and stormy looking.  I was covered in dirt dust and a bit sweaty once I came in so I had a shower and a midday nanna nap with Roxy.  When I woke I walked up to the local shop and got some bits and pieces that I needed food wise.  I came home and cooked some food, it is amazing how being outside in the fresh air can give you such an appetite!  I’m now sat down and finishing this entry before watching some more Gossip Girl and reading some blogs before I head to bed!

What have you been up to this week?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!!!

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Saturday Shout Out -The Confusing Middle

Shout Out to The Confusing Middle!!!

Today’s shout out goes to The Confusing Middle!!!  Not long after I started blogging I found The Confusing Middle’s blog and started following, I can’t remember how I found Aaron’s blog but I do know that I enjoy reading his posts.

The Confusing Middle has been running since January 2015 and Aaron says that his blog is about

All the things… It’s evolved a little and may evolve back. I like to share stories and observations from my everyday life. But I’m also a big geek who loves to watch movies and TV, so I have a tendency to share my thoughts about some of the things I’ve seen.

I really like how Aaron blogs about lots of different things, and I especially like the Rewatching series!  Some of the shows that Arron has re-watched and blogged about I had totally forgotten about!

Some of Aaron’s favourite posts are

Life Story: Chapter Forty-Eight – This chapter was about three special people who reached out to me in a time when I needed a friend… or three.

The Reunion Questionnaire – As I was getting ready for my high school reunion last year, I participated in this little “get reacquainted” thing.

The Prince – The story of how I first got interested in writing when I was a kid.

About Me – Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.  (This is one of my favourites too…100 random facts about Aaron!  Such a brilliant idea to get to know someone!)

A fun fact about The Confusing Middle blog is that “This is actually the second blog I’ve kept. The first one was called Carp Dime and I wrote over there for 10 years. But I moved over here to WordPress because the community of bloggers is so much better than it was over there.”

You can find The Confusing Middle over on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Things I Am Looking Forward To – Summer

Things I Am Looking Forward To

I can’t quite believe that we are nearly halfway through the year and with that, we are all set to welcome Summer into our lives.  I can’t wait for the arrival of Summer and this post is just a little list of all the things I am looking forward to!

  • Warmer days.
  • Lighter clothes.
  • Dresses and bare legs.
  • Sandals.
  • The scent of sunscreen.
  • Barbeques.
  • Time in the garden in the evenings.
  • Butterflies.
  • Bright flowers.
  • Blue skies.
  • Better weather.
  • Beach walks.
  • Warm nights.
  • Stargazing.
  • Ice lollies.
  • Fruit and salads.
  • Cool, refreshing drinks.
  • Fun.
  • Being outdoors.

There is so much more Summer has to offer us, what are you most looking forward to?  Let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Habits to Make Life Easier

Top 10 Habbits To Make Life Easier

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for any tip, trick or help that can make my day to day life much easier and today, I have compiled a Top 10 list of Habits that I have learned which really do help me to have an easier life!

  • Always carry a pen and notebook.  You never know when you may have an idea or thought that could be useful.  It could be an idea for a meal to cook, a present to buy, an item to add to a shopping list, something you need to do, whenever you think of something, it is always a good idea to write it down.
  • Always go shopping with a list.  Shopping with a list is a definite for me, I can focus on what I need, only buying the essentials which in turn leads to saving money by not buying anything unnecessary and saves me time and energy!  My brain does not need to do all the thinking and remembering and decision making and my shopping experiences are a lot less stressful.
  • Always prepare your lunch the evening before, especially when you are working or have daytime commitments.  This simple act can free up some of your precious morning time and is one less thing to have to think about when getting ready.
  • Always plan your outfit the night before.  This is another simple habit to get into, you can assess your outfit and make sure it is clean and tidy, you have time to iron it if needed or make a repair.  There is nothing worse than putting on an outfit to find that the hem has come down or a button is missing and then having to rush around to fix it or find something else suitable to wear in the morning.
  • Always have a plan and know what your agenda for the day is.  This tip has probably been the most useful and life-changing for me.  Even on my days off, I like to have a plan of what I am going to do with my time and helps me to remain productive and tick things off my list.  I like to plan my day the night before so I am prepared and know what I will have to do the following day.
  • Always prioritise.  It doesn’t matter if you have few tasks or many, prioritising can help you to get the important or hardest, or most time-consuming things done and out of the way first.  Prioritising and working your way down the list can help to free up headspace that would otherwise be consumed with worry and thinking about other tasks rather than the task in front of you.  However you prioritise is up to you, there is no right or wrong way but it does help!
  • Practice Mindfulness.  I have been practising mindfulness for a few years now, and while I may not sit for an hour, clear my head and meditate, I find that smaller bursts of around 5 minutes, in a hectic day can really help to sharpen my mind and help me to concentrate.  If you have never tried mindfulness before there are lots of apps that can help you, Calm is one of my favourites!
  • Always aim to be 5 minutes early.  I received this little tip from my Careers  Advisor in school and it has really stuck with me.  I hate to be late, there is so much stress and worry created by being late, worry about letting people down, that people are waiting for you, the rushing to get there, all sorts of negative things.  Being early means that you have time to sit and breathe, practice some mindfulness and arrive in a calm manner.  It also means that if there are hold-ups along your journey then you have time to make adjustments to your plans and still be punctual.
  • Know when you are most productive and utilise it in your day to day life.  I am most productive from mid-morning to the mid-afternoon so I try to plan the bulk of my work at that time.  I prioritise the biggest chunk of my to-do list for that time, concentrating on the smaller tasks in the morning and the ones that take up the most of my time for between 11am and 2pm.  Knowing when you are most productive means you can schedule and prioritise better, you are less likely to procrastinate and knowing and utilising your productivity to its best gives you a sense of positivity.
  • Always schedule breaks.  It doesn’t matter how busy you are, breaks are essential as they can help us to decompress after one activity and clear out head before making a start on the next.  A break can be as simple as making a coffee or going for a short walk.  This break makes it easier to transition from one thing to another and is essential in my life.

What little habits do you have that make your life easier?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments!

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

 

  • Award Guidelines

If you are gifted, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.

Thank the person who gave you this award.

Include a link to their blog.

Gift and notify 3 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.

Finally, tell the person who gifted you 5 things about yourself.

  • Thank You

A Big THANK YOU to Rory who blogs over at A Guy Called Bloke for gifting me this award.  I am always really touched and honoured to receive blog awards, and this one is no different!

If you have not been to Rory’s blog then please do check it out!  Rory is a brilliant writer and covers a whole host of different topics, from stories to gardening tips, blog interviews and other fun things!  Rory is always kind and welcoming and I really enjoy all that he posts about!

  • My Notes

I will be gifting 3 other bloggers this award at the end of this post.

I really like Rory’s take on this Award, he says that…

l have opted to handle these awards differently – this is not meant to be seen, read or interpreted as derogative towards the creators of these awards themselves as that is not my intention.

I no longer use the term nomination, l only use the term ‘gifting’, this is because these awards are not nominations, but stand-alone awards.

You are under no obligation to respond, there is no need to further gift the VBA out to others should you not wish to. Please simply accept my gift to you as the compliment it is.

  • What is the Versatile Blogger Award?

The VBA principally is about supporting other bloggers, it’s about community and if nothing else – we can all agree that WordPress is about community, about the freedom to express ourselves through our craft, our skill and our talent.

When you consider gifting a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them.

Honour those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then.

  • 5 Things About Me

I’m not a fan of spiders, so much so that I will even ring my Mum to come and remove them for me (and I’m in my 30’s).

When I was a kid I always dreamed I would be a wallpaper designer or create greeting cards…

I like to have a plan for everything!  I have blog plans and plans for each day, what I am going to wear, what I am going to eat and what I am going to do.  It helps with my anxiety.

Learning to drive is one of my biggest and proudest achievements.  I never really wanted to learn to drive and didn’t really see any need to drive when the bus service was sufficient for me, but it has been one of my biggest life changers and has enabled me to do so much more in my life!

I like to set myself daily goals, whether it is to write 3 blog posts, take 10,000 steps or to drink more water.  Goals help my day to go quicker and if I meet the targets I have set then I feel like I have been productive!

  • I am gifting the VBA to the following bloggers….

Ami of Undercover Superhero

Giggling Fattie of No Luv For Fatties

Candace of Revenge Of Eve

Blog Maintenance – Routine Checks

Blog Maintenance. Routine Checks.

You may have read a few of my blog posts where I say I have been or am working on my blog but not all of that time is dedicated to writing blog posts or anything to do with the posts themselves.  A chunk of my time is dedicated to running routine checks on my blog and making sure everything works as it should.  Today I am sharing with you some routine checks that are worth carrying out in order to maintain your blog so it can continue running as it should.

Firstly, I tend to view my blog from the “other side”.   Much of blogging means that you don’t really ever see the entrance way that visitors to your site get to see.  We tend to only see the service entrance so to speak and lurk around in the back corridors doing our thing.

Once on the main page that your visitors land on, I check that the font for all of the text is readable and of the right size and colour.  I then check that the pictures I have uploaded to my blog are clear and are relevant to that post’s topic.  I check that the background and look of the blog are in keeping with my general theme.  I also make sure that posts load in a timely fashion, there is nothing worse than slow loading pages.  I note down any problems that there might be or things that I am not happy with that may need tweaking or changing.

Next, while I am on the landing page I check the sidebar, I always ask myself if the things displayed on the side are relevant, interesting, necessary and useful.  If I answer no to any of these questions I will remove the item.  I then check that the items function as they should, whether it is links to articles or other sites or that the information contained is correct.  I tend to amend these things as I work my way down the sidebar.

My next task is to check that all posts are categorised correctly and tagged with relevant words.  I read somewhere that posts should have up to 10 tags in order for them to appear in searches, any more and your post will be flagged as being spam.  I am not sure how true that is but I like to stick to between 5 and 10 as it makes things easier for me to tag and categorise and run checks further down the line.  Any posts that have been categorised incorrectly or have not been tagged I amend as I work my way through the posts.

I also check any links I have added.  There are several ways to do this (have a look on Google for link checkers).  I have used link checkers and have found them to be pretty handy if you have a load of posts to check, but now, personally, I prefer to check the links as I work my way through the posts manually.  I had a problem with my Instagram link recently, I changed my username on Instagram and didn’t realise that it would affect the links on my blog, so it is worth checking these things out!

One of the other things I do is to check the formatting of my posts.  I skim through my posts from the readers landing page and check that my posts all have similar formatting and that I am happy with the placement of images and how text appears.  Again, if I am not happy with anything I will change it as I go.

Blog maintenance should be done at least once a month if you blog regularly (around 3 or more times a week) and for less frequent bloggers once a quarter should be sufficient.  If it is done regularly then it will become a quicker process as some of the posts will only need to be checked for certain things (like broken links) after a while.

Do you run any sort of blog maintenance?  What things do you check on your blog?  Do you have any blog maintenance tips?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday Shout Out

SATURDAY

Saturday Shout Out gives you all a chance to meet some new bloggers, find new blogs to read or get your blog noticed a bit more.  It is my way of thanking the blogging community for being so supportive of me and my little blog and introducing new blogs that you may not have seen or read before.

What this means…

Every saturday I will choose one blog, share a bit about it along with your blog link.  I will also share your blog to my Instagram account and my Twitter account.

If you are interested in taking part then drop me an email to my.colourful.life@outlook.com  with Saturday Shout Out as the subject line and I will send you a form to fill out!

 

Mental Health and Me – An Update

img_4183I’ve been thinking about writing this post since my last mental health update which was back in February.  In that post, I had been to see the Occupational Therapist and was returning to work.  I had been advised to do a phased return into work, starting with shorter hours and increasing them over a period of weeks until I was back working full time.  It was also agreed that I would have regular meetings with my line manager just to make sure everything was ok.

I’m now back in work full time and have been working 37.5 hours a week since 8th April.  My phased return went well and it was surprising how quickly I adapted to being back in work which had been one of my main worries.  My work colleagues have been ok, though I am finding that some of them seem to be acting a bit differently to me.  Whether this is just how I am perceiving things or not, I’m not sure.  I also have not had any meetings with my line manager about how I am getting on which is a bit disappointing.  I know that I could always approach my manager but in all honesty, it makes me feel a bit awkward.  Not only am I doing ok but I also feel like, as it was something that was suggested by my manager then really they should be checking up with me.

I’m still on my medication, it was agreed with the Dr to increase my Sertraline from 100mg to 150mg and that dosage seems to be the one that is working best for me.  I am sleeping a lot better in the night’s now, though I am still not getting a proper full night of rest.  I am still feeling anxiety and stress but it is a lot easier to cope with now.  I have been making sure to utilise some of the things I have learned in mindfulness courses on a day to day basis.

I am also eating a lot better and generally taking better care of myself.  I have times when I need to be alone just to recharge my energy but those times seem to be moments when I take time out to do things I love to do, blogging, reading, thinking…

I have started to expand my hobbies and have started to work in my garden.  I have ideas to turn it into a really lovely space over the next few months.  I don’t really know where this love of gardening has come from but I do know that it is never something I even imagined that I would like let alone enjoy.

I have learned to listen to my body more, and have realised that it is ok to have off days where plans remain unchecked, that it is ok to take a nap in the afternoon and that it is ok to say no when I need to.  I know that these are small steps but they are all helping me on my journey to wellness.

Whether I will be able to reduce my medication or to ever not have anxiety, stress or depression is something that only time will be able to reveal, but for the moment I feel like I am doing ok, and doing ok is fine by me.