Happiness lately

Not only is this post late, but it was a little harder to write than normal.

Because this week has just felt tough.

I’ve felt tired, flat and just generally not myself. But forcing myself to write this all the same has been a great little exercise in focusing on the positive….

Blue skies and blossomSo, happiness lately has been:

  • A well done from four members of the management team at work for some coverage I managed to get for the organisation.
  • Hot buttered crumpets!
  • The sunshine – this has helped to lift the week’s rubbishy mood no end.
  • Buying a new blue and white striped top…love, love, love breton stripes!
  • Finally replacing the broken light bulbs in the kitchen. We were down to the last one of five…I love how much brighter it is in there now, and I’m feeling a teeny bit smug that it was me who fixed it…that’s sad, I know.
  • Counting down the months until Pete and I move out of a shared house into our own flat…more on this soon, but we’ve started looking at flats and it’s finally starting to seem like it’s not too much longer to go.
  • A massive sleep on Friday night. I went to sleep at 9.45pm and slept through til 8.30am, that’s a long sleep for me. Judging by the week’s low mood, I needed it!

On blogging

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time reading lifestyle blogs. I used to be all about food blogs. But now I’m starting to feel over saturated by the incredible number of recipes flooding my feed reader. The recipes just don’t really interest me anymore, it’s the little stories about life that I really want to read about now.

In my blog reading binges over the past few weeks, I stumbled across a couple of early posts on Rosie’s blog – A Rosie Outlook – about restarting blogging and trying to figure out what to write about. Do you need to pick a ‘common theme’ in order for your blog to be successful like every ‘how to blog’ guide suggests? Or can you focus on a mix of things that interest you? Clouds I found myself thinking this exact same thing when it came to starting this blog. It’s also the reason that made me put off starting for so long. I didn’t know what niche I ought to write about. I didn’t really think I wanted to tie myself to a niche either. I just wanted to write, to write about anything, to write about what I like to read about – life, and generally just trying to make sense of it all.

So that’s what I’m going to do here, in spite of the ‘essential rules of blogging’. I have no idea who’d find reading about my life interesting. But if I find other people’s thoughts and pictures and musings about life interesting, then maybe, just maybe – if I can make my writing good enough! – somebody out there might just be able to connect with and enjoy the things I’m saying here.

The week in pictures

Because some days you’ve just gotta give yourself a break

Don’t you just hate those days when you just feel downright blah for absolutely no reason? When you feel irritable and flat and drained of every ounce of motivation….

Last Sunday was one of those days.

I’d baked a reasonable enough loaf of bread, yet felt really bothered by the fact it wasn’t as good as the last time (the jar of peanut butter that fell on it when it was proving may not have helped much!)

I then made some muesli bars, wanting a healthyish snack to see me through the week (and use up some muesli that I wasn’t much enjoying ploughing through for breakfasts). But they disappointed me too.

I took myself out on a walk hoping that might sort me out.  But deciding to lap the graveyard (because it makes for a good 20 minute circuit) understandably didn’t work wonders on my mood. Nor did the poor cat I saw, run-over on the side of the road.

What I did decide on my walk though was that I really, really wanted a long, hot shower. So that’s exactly what I did the second I got home, in the middle of the afternoon…Turns out that shower was exactly what I needed.

Ginger Tea, Vanilla Candle

Next I lit a candle, made a mug of fresh ginger tea with a huge hunk of ginger root (because my stomach was still feeling bloated and grumpy from Friday night’s pizza blow out), filled up my hot water bottle (also to help soothe my grisly tummy), set a timer on my phone and gave myself permission to read blogs for an hour, after which I promised myself I would get on with my ‘to do’ list.

Normally, (with my frustrating tendency towards negative thinking and self criticism) I’d have called this kind of thing procrastinating or just plain laziness. But somehow, consciously deciding that I was going to dedicate one hour to just chilling out and doing whatever the hell I felt like doing made such a massive difference. I shook off the bad mood, got my motivation back and didn’t feel bad for being ‘lazy’.

I need to take these kinda breaks more often!

Happiness lately….

  • Lighter mornings for cycling to work (although this caught me out on Monday, it seemed so light I was convinced I was running late.)
  • A 21 year old at work thinking I was younger than him…it was sort of flattering…it’s been a pretty long time since I was 21! Maybe the forehead lines and under eye-creases aren’t quite as big a give away as I’d been fearing…
  • The busker on my way to work…he’s been playing some awesome tunes this week.
  • Peanut butter & raspberry jam
  • Chocolate orange digestives…they’ll never beat digestive caramels, no biscuit will, but they’re pretty good!
  • This video made by an ex-colleague for his wife (still a colleague) for their wedding…it’s silly impressive…It even made front page news!
  • Avocado & chilli sauce on toast .
  • My vanilla scented candle – I’ve felt a little frazzled and highly strung this week, burning a candle has helped me to chill out

The week in pictures

If you can’t decide choose both…and then regret it slightly!

Pete’s been working crazy-hard the last few weeks for an exam, so we haven’t had a chance to do a great deal together. The exam was on Tuesday and to celebrate it being over we booked a table at this teeny tiny Italian restaurant in town that’s been doing amazingly well on trip advisor.

We started off with king prawns in a tomato, chilli and garlic sauce for me and buffalo mozzarella and parma ham for Pete. Both starters got a big thumbs up.

Then, to solve my inability to choose between pasta or pizza, we decided to share a seafood pasta and a tuscan sausage and purple sprouting broccoli pizza.

The pizza was a big ‘un! I really enjoyed having broccoli on pizza and the sausage was pretty tasty (just a bit too greasy and sliced a bit too thick if I’m going to be really fussy over the little things).

The biggest let down though…too much cheese! I never thought I’d say that, but Pete thought the same, so it’s totally a real thing….a pizza with too much cheese on!

We split the pasta pretty evenly between us and managed to eat about a third of the pizza each. I was pretty tipsy on the wine by this point though, drowning out any ‘I’ve really eaten enough now’ signals. I casually bet Pete I could finish off the whole pizza. He bet I couldn’t and so of course I took on the challenge, polished off the lot and then followed things up with a scoop of gorgeous chocolate ice cream…

Ta da!

No one saw little me managing that one!

Unsurprisingly, sober and bloated the following morning, I was a little less proud of myself….

Happiness lately…

 

  • Porridge and raspberry jam
  • The one day it didn’t rain
  • Finishing work an hour early on Friday and going home to read a book with a big mug of tea and a chocolate bar
  • Left over dinner for lunch instead of a ham/cheese/peanut butter sandwich, because ham/cheese/peanut butter sandwiches don’t half get boring at times
  • Baking extra chocolately chocolate muffins
  • Getting out the tea pot and tea cosy for weekend breakfasting….we have the best tea cosy…

Tea cozy

  • Seeing some brilliant coverage come out of one of my press releases at work #chuffed
  • Going to my first Pilates class in about two years. I loved it; my abs, less so
  • Having a table booked at a little Italian in town for tonight and looking forward to it all week. It’s also meant I’ve spent the whole week trying to decide whether I want pizza or pasta…so hard to choose!

A poem I love

My interest in poetry really only took off in my final year at uni.

I’ve always struggled with – and still do – the more obscure, inaccessible stuff; the poems I can read ten times over and still feel completely puzzled by.

I like to be able to connect with a poem from the first read, to be instantly sucked in by the language and to find something in there that I can relate to.

So when I studied early 20th century poetry in third year, it’s no surprise I didn’t get on too well with Pound and Eliot. Instead I fell in love with Edward Thomas, who wrote a relatively small body of work between 1914 and 1917. He died fighting in the first world war.

I find there is a sort of pensiveness about his poems, a hint of melancholy and – at times – muted frustration that resonates with me.

A particular favourite, which I have read over and over again, is ‘Old Man’ – a poem about memory (a frequent theme in Thomas’ poems) and a desperation to remember something just outside of reach.

There’s something in the word order, repetition and rhythm that really draws you into the poem, and into Thomas’ frustration to remember…

…Where first I met the bitter scent is lost.
I, too, often shrivel the grey shreds,
Sniff them and think and sniff again and try
Once more to think what it is I am remembering,
Always in vain […]

I have mislaid the key. I sniff the spray
And think of nothing; I see and I hear nothing;
Yet seem, too, to be listening, lying in wait
For what I should, yet never can, remember:

Old Man (source – pinterest)

 

The full poem can be read here… Skip on over and see what you think