Life and Loves Lately – October 2017

I haven’t published a blog post since 25th July! (Insert face-palm emoji here!) Life has certainly been crazy and wonderful and challenging and hectic and sometimes pretty rubbish since then! It’s been a time of ups and downs but I’m hoping we are heading for a more settled period (please let it be so!) I’m almost hesitant to say those words as I know too well that life has a habit of throwing things at you when you least expect (or need) it!

Anyway, believe it or not, I actually have several blog posts all typed and (pretty much) ready to roll but I thought I would pop in first to bridge the gap a bit and fill in some of what’s been going on in our world for anyone who cares to hear.

Before I start, I read something earlier that made me think a bit about what I post on here and I just want to say that…showing the good stuff on this blog is easy – I want to share our happy times and our successes with you. Showing the bad stuff is more difficult – primarily because it’s often personal (and not just to me but to my family, my kids, my friends etc.) and I would never share anyone’s rough times, even in real life, let alone on here with the world. It’s private and not anyone’s business.

I always want to try to keep the tone of my blog light and happy. I don’t want it to be a place that drags anyone down. However, that said, trying to find a balance between showing the good stuff and portraying the idea that everything is ‘perfect, happy and wonderful’ all the time is tricky. So, I will say here and now, our lives are not perfect, just like everyone else. We have good times and bad times. Mess (real, embarrassing chaos, a lot of the time!) and clutter. Days when I feel I could tackle anything and days when all I want to do is crawl back in my bed – but I’m pretty sure no-one wants to hear about those. So, bear this in mind. No comparisons, no judgements, no perfection. I’m just sharing little snippets of things I find interesting, hoping someone else out there might too.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, you’d best get yourself a cuppa because this post is going to get long…..

So, I have mentioned a few times on social media that this summer was set to be a big one with our youngest finishing primary school, my sister getting married and our blow-out 3 week holiday to the U.S planned. The summer definitely didn’t disappoint but it did throw us a few curve balls along the way!

Our son went out on a high at primary school making us so proud playing a teacher in his end of school production, being in the winning team of the school football tournament and bringing home a school report that made his over-tired and over-emotional Mama cry with pride. He was exhausted by the end of term and very much in need of a break.

Our daughter also had her share of highlights – a part in her school production which this year, was ‘Matilda,’ and a trip to Germany for a week of fun and adventure. We celebrate her birthday at the end of the school year and it’s always a time of lots of fun events, family gatherings and trips here and there.

In the build up to my sister’s wedding, things came off the rails a bit! It was an extremely challenging and stressful time which I would rather not re-live! Suffice to say, we all made it to the big day exhausted but happy to have arrived and the day itself went off better than we ever could have hoped (against all the odds!) My sister looked stunning and once again, I was blown away by her strength and courage which she has had to call upon far too many times in her life. So happy to know that she now has a husband who will support her and be there for her when she needs him.

Two days after the wedding, we were heading off for our own adventure. We flew out to Orlando, Florida for two weeks of theme-park fun followed by a week on the gulf coast to rest and recover. I will post separately about our holiday but it was everything we hoped it would be.

We loved every single minute of it and would do it all again tomorrow in a heartbeat. Never have I ever found it so difficult to return to the normalities of life than I did after this holiday! Memories were made that we will keep forever but man, it was tough to come down from!

We had a fairly quick turn-around after our return back into the new school year and it hit us all quite hard. We (the children and I especially,) struggled to get our body-clocks back on track and by the time we did, we were well into the swing of a new term, one in which our son was starting secondary school and our daughter was thrown straight into the full force of G.C.S.E beginnings. It was a bit of a slap in the face and we were all feeling the pressure. Then, in that moment, a change in circumstances brought life crashing in a little bit. Without wanting to share my woes and depress everyone, I will say that once again, life was not running smoothly and a huge portion of my time and energy were required elsewhere at one of the busiest points in my professional year as well as a time of transition for my children. In short, I was ‘splitting myself 10 ways’ as a friend put it the other day! However, with lots of team work, some seriously late nights catching up on the work I was missing during the day and a huge organisational effort to stay on top of all the day-to-day things, we seem to have ended this half term feeling a little less harassed and a little more ‘together’ if, very tired!!

I’m hoping for a reasonably quiet break (which I seem to say at the start of every school holiday!) so that we can start the Christmas term on the right foot.

So, that’s life. What have I been loving lately?

Well, first of all, I could not have got through the last couple of months without an opportunity here and there to escape! (Even if it was only a mental escape while I was busy cleaning the house!) I think I may have mentioned before that I love an audio-book? I belong to two book clubs and my plan is always to read one book and listen to the other every month. I find this to be such a wonderful way to get jobs around the house done in a way that I look forward to rather than resent. I never allow myself to sit down while I listen – that’s my rule. If I’m listening, I’m do-ing and my house is cleaner, more organised and ‘together’ than ever before as a result!! I find myself actually looking forward to housework!!

On a similar note, does anyone listen to pod-casts? I had never really found any I liked but in the last year or so, ‘Young House Love,’ which is one of my favourite ever blogs, released their own pod-cast and I LOVE it! They release a new episode every Monday and I always save it and listen to it while I’m walking the dog on a Tuesday morning. It is one of my very favourite ways to spend 45 minutes!! If you like their blog, you will love it! And if you don’t, but you’re reading this blog, they are probably worth checking out. Here is a link.

And on a similar note again, I am finding SO much inspiration on youtube lately to keep me motivated and organised as well as picking up some great hacks which have really helped make life just a little bit easier. Again, I never allow myself to watch unless I’m up, working hard or doing something useful (like ironing, folding washing, cleaning the kitchen or even squeezing in a spot of exercise). It makes all the dreary tasks so much more enjoyable and I feel like I’m always achieving something. These ladies are my current favourites but if you have any you love, please, please share them with me in the comments as I am always looking for fresh inspiration!!

Happily a Housewife

Clutterbug

Fun, cheap or free

Emily Norris

Vasseur Beauty

Do it on a Dime

Just a few to get you started 😉

Finally, I have recently been using a new ‘to-do’ list system to keep track of everything I need to achieve whether it be small or large and it’s working so well for me, I thought it was worth sharing here as some of you may like to give it a try. I’ve probably been using this system for the best part of a year now and while I was in the states, I found the most gorgeous notebook which fit my system so perfectly, I had to have one and I feel even more inspired to check things off my list.

The idea is very simple….instead of keeping lists in a million different places and for a variety of different reasons, I just keep one list, in one place and everything goes on it. Whether it be unloading the dishwasher or a larger project like saving and organising my photos onto an external hard drive, everything goes on there and I just keep flipping through when I have a spare minute or two to see if there is anything ‘un-checked’ that I can tackle or spend a few moments working towards. I am currently using this Blue Sky for Day Designer note book but in the past, I just used any old note book and used a ruler to draw in a column on every page where I could add a tick when a task was complete.

Each day, I add to my list and I use a highlighter to pick out two or three things that absolutely have to be done each day. (Sorry for the poor quality image, I had to ‘blur’ a fair bit to remove the many names on there and it looks all mucky as a result – very upsetting!!) It’s so simple, like I said, but working like a charm. Let me know in the comments if you have a system that works for you, I would love to hear about it.

I will say goodbye here but look out for upcoming posts about our holiday and ways I’ve been keeping organised through the chaos of our lives lately!

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