1. Being behind the curve – podcasts

    Being behind the curve – podcasts

    I’ve tended to stay a bit behind the curve when it comes to technology.  I don’t know if this is due to price (I do like a bargain!) or waiting for things to bed in and show they are going to work.  Perhaps it’s a bit of both.  I’m definitely behind the curve when it comes to podcasts.  Did you know there’s even an international podcast day?  Who decides these things?

    When I started my new role in January, I had lots of thoughts about how I’d make use of the time commuting to work.  I wanted to use the time productively and one idea was that I’d listen to podcasts because my brother had mentioned that they were good.  I had no real idea what a podcast was to be honest…

    So why are podcasts so popular? Forbes cites that although podcasts have been around for over a decade, they’ve only recently become more popular because of a few factors including exhaustion with screens.  Even Apple itself created a Screen Time app in a recent iOS update.  Audio is a different medium, though facilitated by the mobile phone technology.  Audio books have been around for years, but I’ve never used them.  This is also on my list to look into Audible as a way to ‘read’ more books.

    Gretchen Rubin – Early Adopter

    I have however been an early adopter of Gretchen Rubin and The Happiness Project is now ten years old! I’ve been lucky enough to see her talk at one of her book signings, and really enjoy reading her books.  In the ten years, I’ve been through a range of ‘reading mediums’, I started with a physical book, then moved to Kindle, but have reverted back to physical books again.  This is a trend that’s been seen where again people want to limit their screen time.

    Gretchen’s next instalment will be Outer Order, Inner Calm which sounds right up my street.  I do like to tidy things! I will probably spend a bit of time over Christmas clearing some clutter.

    Gretchen’s Four Tendencies show me to be an Obliger.  Obligers are the biggest group of the four, and I really identify with this as my tendency.  It explains a lot about me and also my parents.  My father is also an Obliger and my mother is a Rebel.  You can take the quiz yourself to find out what you are here.

    Obviously, Gretchen’s Happier podcast is the podcast that I’ve started with, albeit only in the last couple of months.  She has pointed me to others which I’ve added to my list.  I’m enjoying the content but also the length of the episodes mean that I can get through quite a few in the working week.  I’ve managed to catch up on a lot of Happier and have also started to listen to Happier in Hollywood and also Binge Mode on Harry Potter (which I’m still re-reading).

    If you are also late to the podcast party, here’s a list of the 50 best podcasts of 2018 according to The Radio Times.

    With the objective of reducing my own screen time and get organised for Christmas I’m signing off now.

    Enjoy today.

  2. I’m not a kook just like Monica

    I’m not a kook just like Monica

    I’m a keen Friends fan and if I identify with any one character it’s got to be Monica.

    In one episode the others are teasing her about her lack of ‘kookiness’ as she likes to do things just so.  Monica ends up laying awake in the night having left something in the lounge area to prove she is a kook.  She just can’t do it.  Nor can I.  I think I worry that I will forget to do something – but what’s the worst that would happen in reality? No one is going to die because a bill isn’t paid (at least I hope not!).

    As much as I’d like to be laidback and relaxed, it’s just not the way I’ve ever been.  My brain seems to be constantly alert and I can easily overthink things.  This article on the Headspace website sounds very like me.

    Default Worrier

    My default setting is to have something to worry about.  If it’s not a work task, then I can easily fill that space in my mind with another concern.  Just this week I lay awake having been to a show that evening, unable to sleep and mind whirring with thoughts.

    To try to improve myself, I’ve started to write down what I am worrying about.  I will then revisit the list to see how many things were worth the time and energy.  I imagine very few will be.

    I like to feel efficient and can easily get overwhelmed if I feel I’ve got too much on my plate, often coupled with perceived lack of time to achieve it.  I could see myself behaving like Monica in this episode where she is busy cleaning because she knows her mum will pick on her.

    Christmas Present list

    Being a keen Friends fan I got excited yesterday when I saw a whole range of new Friends games out for Christmas and promptly added them to my Wish List.  Primark recently had a whole Central Perk range including a photo frame of the famous frame on Monica’s door.  I was also very happy to discover the Central Perk cafe in Singapore at the end of my trip last year.  There is something magical about Friends.

    With efficiency in mind, I’ve started to think about what to buy people for Christmas, even undertaking an ‘audit’ last weekend of what I’d bought so far as I like to pick things up throughout the year.  This sounds very Monica-esque to me.

    Subscription Services

    This led me to thinking about the current trends for subscribing to things like Spotify and Netflix, vs owning physical things.  There was a recent BBC article about this.  I still like to own things, but it’s also very efficient and ‘tidy’ not to have lots of things cluttering up your home.  I recently purchased the Magic of Tidying book though it’s sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read.  I’m currently re-reading my physical copies of Harry Potter (which I also own on Kindle).  There’s something to be said about holding a proper book, but there are also merits to the ebook.

    I think my cupboards will always be a bit messy and at least I can be happy in the knowledge that even Monica succumbed to this problem too.  Or you know, I could worry about it.

    Enjoy today.

  3. 40th birthday … it wasn’t so bad…

    40th birthday … it wasn’t so bad …

    As Audrey Hepburn once said (see my Twitter page): “Success is like reaching an important birthday and finding you’re exactly the same”.

    That pretty much sums up turning 40.  I went through a period of angst about it leading up to the event.  Part of that was to do with having lots of people coming to my house for a party and hoping I’d got it all sorted and it would go off well etc.  My friend was also stressing as I’d asked her to make a cake, though as you’ll see below what she did was absolutely superb.  However, she thinks she needs to stress else it won’t be.

    Of course some of my angst was to do with getting older as it felt like a big milestone birthday and I wasn’t sure I could cope with it.  Sitting here today at the end of September, I actually feel quite content albeit a little rundown.  But here’s why…

    September started in a whir and continued throughout the month


    1st September was the day of the party, so things were pretty mad leading up to that day.  On the day itself, I spent a lot of time showing people into the house and acting as hostess.  I didn’t really get much time to speak to people, but it was nice to see them all.  After a while I went onto dancing and had fun.  Everyone had a lovely time though, so that’s the main thing.

    This is the cake that my friend made which is absolutely beautiful!



    We had put a marquee up in the garden and my Mum had injured herself on the Thursday doing that, so she’s still got a mark on her arm to prove it.  I felt guilty about that and my friend stressing over the cake.


    The Wednesday was my actual 40th birthday and I went on a shopping trip to Marks and Spencer with some people.  I thought this was bit odd, but went along with it since my parents had helped me so much with the party.  On the way back we pulled into a restaurant that I’d always wanted to go to and I noticed my friend’s car.  My parents had arranged for my two best friends to meet us all for lunch.  I felt the tears welling up in my throat.  I truly felt loved and grateful for my life that day.  I realised I had lots of people around me who loved me.

    On 7th September it was a friend’s birthday.  She had come to the party and we grew up together.  I sent her a birthday text before I went to work and then at lunchtime I realised that Facebook hadn’t triggered with her birthday.  I then looked for her name and realised she’d ‘defriended’ me.  This actually made me quite upset.  She’d defriended myself and another friend, so clearly we’d done something to upset her.  I don’t see her much these days, but her parents live around the corner and the family came to my party, so it’s a little odd.  It actually bothered me much of that afternoon, overnight and into the Saturday, though then other events occurred that put it into perspective.

    Iron Man, Tenby



    On 8th September we travelled to Tenby to watch two friends compete in Iron Man.  This was a last-minute decision because there was room in the house that the family had rented.   We’d been a few years before and knew it was a heavy day for the supporters let alone for competitors.  We didn’t know what we were going to have to deal with though.  In Saundersfoot, the mother of the two competitors got knocked down by a van (she’s pretty much okay aside from bad bruising and infected scabs, but it could have been a whole different conclusion, so on reflection she’s lucky).  That was a pretty harrowing experience.


    Things were pretty busy at work in parallel to this time, I had to do a big task ahead of a meeting which occurred last Thursday.  I was off that afternoon and the Friday because I went to see Kylie at the O2.  I luckily went on both Thursday and Friday, and then struggled through Saturday and today feel pretty rundown.  But what a birthday month!



    Worrying ahead of time

    Worry is something I do naturally.  I can spend time dreading things especially when I feel overwhelmed and that there is too much going on.  I am then expending energy and making myself more tired, but probably not sleeping as well so it becomes a vicious circle.

    I wonder how other people cope or if they just get on with it and don’t fret.

    I’ve recently started having a camomile tea because I had one in a cafe whilst in Tenby and it definitely had calming effects.  So definitely recommend this.

    Meanwhile it’s definitely time for a restful afternoon… I could be warding off a cold at the moment so fingers crossed.

    You’re never too old to be young – Snow White.



    Enjoy today.

  4. Big 40 hits soon


    Big 40 hits soon

    Turning 40 is starting to get to me.  In my last post, my perspective was very positive and I was getting on fine, but as the day gets closer, I’ve started to unravel.

    At work there are a few ‘events’ to celebrate my birthday, and I have a party as I mentioned so I guess it just becomes a bit more real.

    A trigger may also have been my parent’s 45th wedding anniversary as I thought “hmm… I’m unlikely to get that”.  We went on holiday and time to think which is usually welcomed became a bit of a crazy time for me.

    I wasn’t sleeping that well.  We were keeping busy going out and about doing things to maximise our time there.  I then saw an article in the Daily Mail which said that “lack of sleep turns us into ‘social lepers'” and that made me feel slightly better.  My Dad reminded me that I’m not unique, but it’s quite easy to get lost in thoughts in your own head.  A good night’s sleep can right many wrongs.

    It’s funny how what is essentially a number can play so much on your mind.  I think it’s natural though to take time to reflect on where you are in life.  A milestone like 40 is bound to do that.

    Grease recently turned 40 so there are lots of good things the same age as me (including Garfield – see previous post).  Kylie turned 50 this year and Madonna turned 60, so there’s a lot of milestones around.

    Life Stage

    Jennifer Aniston recently did an interview with InStyle magazine where she talked about her life stage and about society’s view on women without children.  This again made me feel better.  There are lots of people in the same position and life isn’t always a fairytale, or probably never is really (though I’m still a big Disney fan).

    I can get into a panic about things and worry ahead of time, but actually if you just take each day as it comes then you can actually achieve a lot.  Yesterday I spent much of the day on party organisation which made things feel a bit more in control.

    Fearne Cotton writes in her Happy journal about how the summer holidays always felt like forever when you were a kid.  This rang true with me.  She said it’s because you are enjoying the moment rather than worrying about the future.  It comes back to the whole mindfulness thing and to enjoy today.  It is all that we have.

    Beautiful Lake District



    I recently spent two (separate) weeks in the Lake District.  What a beautiful part of the country.

    We visited lots of National Trust places especially those related to Beatrix Potter such as Hill Top.  We also re-watched Miss Potter – it had to be done.  Film and music definitely help to get you into the spirit of things.

    We visited Allan Bank which is where one of the co-founders of the National Trust lived for a time, along with William Wordsworth.



    The Fairy Steps in Beetham were tricky to find, but I pushed myself to climb them as I started over-thinking it and nearly bottled out.  Next we went to Arnside on someone’s recommendations for fish and chips.  The shop was closed and as we arrived rain was thudding down.  We noticed people were sheltering themselves by the shops but assumed this was because of the rain, not knowing that there is a tidal bore so going into a pub for a meal (which was lovely – The Albion) we went from seeing loads of sand, to the water covering it.  I imagine it would have been amazing to see.  Apparently Helen Skelton sat in a canoe for CountryFile and travelled on the water coming in.

    In Grasmere, which is a lovely village, I visited a local bookshop as my Mum was after a book in their window.  This reminded me actually of Notting Hill (the film).  Around the same time, JK Rowling put out a tweet about a second-hand bookshop she had visited on holiday.  They hadn’t recognised her… I’m currently really enjoying re-reading Harry Potter.  There are lots of good quotes in there that will appear in my Twitter in due course.

    Next door was a little takeaway food vendor (Lucia’s) which we went to twice as we enjoyed it so much.

    Returning to work

    I went back to work and felt really welcomed by the team, so that made me feel good.

    You can always draw positives and write gratitude lists if you do have a wobble in life. Of course there will be times that was going to be very sad, but for now enjoy today.

  5. 40 is the new 30


    40 is the new 30 (or is it 20?)

    So it’s coming.  40 is about to hit me in a few months.  How did it happen? Where has the time gone? It’s hit Garfield already.

    Growing up I loved Garfield and now my niece does.  I think that’s funny.  I’ve just bought both of us the new 40th anniversary book.  When I ordered mine, I also purchased another book, Tribe of Mentors, which had been recommended in a CIMA magazine I had read.

    As I post daily inspirational quotes on Twitter, I thought that this book might give me some useful insight (not that Garfield won’t).  I’m currently re-reading the Harry Potter books, but I had a quick skim of the first few pages and noticed that Timothy Ferriss mentioned turning 40 three times in as many paragraphs.  He said that he “had no plan for after 40”.  So it struck me how 40 was everywhere.  It’s a bit like when you are looking to buy a car, you suddenly notice all the cars around you.  You are meant to become more contemplative in your forties and that’s certainly happening within my friendship group.  I look forward to seeing what I learn from the book.  I will share any useful insights.

    To mark the occasion, I’m having a party with people able to drop in for as long as they wish.  I’m seeing it as an opportunity to catch up with people that I’ve not seen for a while, and spend more time with those that I do.  And enjoy some dancing hopefully.

    Party organisation

    I do love to organise.  It’s a key Virgo trait.  I’ve been pulling together a playlist for the party.  I also love music, so it’s nice to be able to find a reason to do something like that.

    I hope that the weather will be good since I’ve invited a lot of people.  This led me to thinking about the impact of weather on our happiness.  In the UK at the moment we are having a heatwave, or numerous heatwaves.  Am I happier? I think so yes.  I mean, sometimes it’s too hot, but I can work with it.

    Summer holidays

    I can’t believe the school summer holidays are rolling around already.  This year has flown by.  Though of course starting the new job had a definite impact on my concept of time.

    Hopefully you have some vacation plans ahead over the next few weeks.

    My company had a summer party yesterday, on another glorious day.  I took along some family and friends and we all had a fantastic day out.  The weather being good had a definite impact.  But the whole organisation and thought behind the party was second to none.



    Live life and don’t grow up

    In my mind, I want to enjoy life as much as I can.  ‘Enjoy today’ being the mantra.  I also think it’s important to stay ‘child-like’.  I don’t want to be old and boring that’s for sure, though at the same time I am definitely sometimes too serious and worry too much (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned).

    In the spirit of ‘play’, here’s a picture of some ‘art’ that we had done at the party yesterday.

    Face paint

    Face paint

    Here are some further thoughts on age.

    Like Garfield (and lots of other people), I hate Mondays, but mainly because there are lots of fun things that you could be doing rather than working.  The continuing good weather is definitely improving my mood, along with having things to look forward to (which of course are funded by monies earned through work).

    Today is a good day for sports fans, with the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final along with the World Cup Final.  Neither have a British contingent, despite my belief that England would make it to the Final.  It feels an optimistic time for me anyway.

    Enjoy today whatever you are doing.

  6. Nature or Nurture?

    Nature or Nurture?

    The Nature vs Nurture debate is something that has been discussed a lot over the years.  In my last post, I noticed myself returning to old ways.  Do you think you are a product of your genes or your environment?

    Perfectionism – learned or earned?

    I definitely identify myself as a Perfectionist and scrolling through the headings in the article I’m like ‘yep, yep, yep’.  That’s me, you’ve totally nailed it.

    I am a Virgo star sign, so a natural born worrier.  However, I notice that I am harder on myself that I think I should be at times (this article says that perfectionists use the word ‘should‘ which I know from some coaching I’ve had that this is a trigger word for me to notice and to stop and think as ‘should‘ often means you don’t want to.  It’s probably linked to an outer expectation, or you are comparing yourself to another).

    I also notice that my parents, especially my Mum (also a Virgo), get stressed and worry and don’t sleep – so basically the same as me.  Probably everyone is the same, but others are better at masking it.  But is that the right thing, or should (sorry!) we be talking about our thoughts and feelings more?

    Take today

    Even today, a beautiful sunny Saturday, I have felt myself rushing to get things done.  Where’s my deadline? Oh it’s me.  I think that I try to get things done so that I can rest.  However, I’m not then enjoying the moment.

    I enjoy writing, but I could find myself rushing to try to get a post done rather than actually taking the time to enjoy that I can touch-type (and I do love typing, the noise, the feel of the keys – there’s just something about it that is soothing for me)… the birds are twittering outside.  There are always plenty of things to take in and be grateful for.

    I also think the ‘always on’ culture in life means that everyone is striving to achieve and accomplish something all the time, but we need to take time to stop and relax as well.

    An email from CGMA gave a link to another article from Psychology today which said that perfectionists can overcome their tendencies – so that’s good news! Basically we need to stop comparing ourselves to others.  I also think there’s something in mindfulness and just ‘being’ rather than always doing.

    Nature around us

    The other day a butterfly was fluttering around outside my front door.  I’d just arrived home from work and got out of my car and the butterfly continued to flutter around a flower near the door.  So I feel very fortunate to have got some photos of it.


    Of course ButterfliesFlutter is my Twitter handle, but the butterfly even seemed to flutter around me the next day too.  So go out for a walk, respond to the nature around you and enjoy today.

  7. Returning to old ways?

    Returning to old ways

    This month I have felt myself returning to old ways at work.  For me, this is worrying about things when I probably don’t need to.

    Of course, sometimes worry is a good thing as it makes you consider things in advance and plan so that things go smoothly.  However, I used to think this would stop bad things happening and that’s certainly not the case.  But, generally (read ‘probably always’ or ‘always’!)  it really, really isn’t.  It actually hampers you because you end up wasting energy, losing sleep etc which isn’t healthy.

    It’s hard to change the way that you are, but equally a learned behaviour can be unlearned.  Below I highlight some reading I’ve been doing to improve myself.

    I’m now into my sixth month in the new job.  I am definitely settling in, but there’s still a lot that feels new.  I actually have my probation review tomorrow so fingers crossed!

    Training Bubble

    This week I’ve been on a training course in London every day.  Being in a ‘bubble’ of learning and a new routine for the week meant that I had ample time to read on the commute.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve read two books that a friend bought me a while ago for birthdays/Christmas.  One was Calm which I’m sure is well-known.  The other was Lifestyle Essentials by Lisa B.  This is a fairly old book (2008).

    I found both really good.  There were recurring themes in both and also lots of themes that I’d found were ‘calming‘ myself such as: walking in nature, sleep (!) and being creative.  Lisa B’s book was a straightforward roadmap to getting on with things in life and I found it really useful and plan to keep both books on my bookshelf for future reference! I took note of Lisa’s advice to clean to Kylie.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned I’m a big fan once or twice.

    The training itself was for a product I will use in my job, however being in a different environment makes you think differently.  There was a lot of content to take on board and I found it very tiring.


    Further to a previous post which cited Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City, the programme recently turned 20 years old.  There were various articles published which ‘wondered’ why the show still had appeal.  For me, it’s a comfort blanket and I guess a source of hope.

    I am a perfectionist and can also be resistant to change, so things like a solid routine and trying to be organised really help me out.  Knowing there are shows like Sex and the City to fall back on and sometimes to fall asleep to is good to know!

    I don’t know about you, but I go through cycles with reading.  I do really enjoy it, but sometimes I  get into a routine of watching TV in bed instead (and often falling asleep as above).  My Dad literally said the same thing himself just the other day.

    Another book that I read recently was about the economy.  Sometimes I don’t feel as knowledgeable about the world as I should do.  However, I actually made my Dad buy this book (he’d been reading others by the same author) because of the title ‘Talking to my Daughter about the Economy’.

    In the book, Yanis Varoufakis references a quote by Henry David Thoreau which feels apt for this website:

    “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

    And on that note I will sign-off.  Enjoy today.

  8. Who was the first blogger?

    First blogger?

    I read recently that Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and The City) could have been the first blogger.  She essentially diarised the comings and goings in her life and those of her close friends.  However, this was issued firstly in print format and then published books.  She may be to blame (via product placement) for my writing this blog, but also writing it on my second MacBook.  In Bridget Jones’s Baby, Bridget had moved on from a physical diary to journalling on her iPad.  She also clearly found it therapeutic to write down her thoughts.  She didn’t choose to publish them as a blogger.  It wasn’t her ‘meal ticket’ as it was for Carrie (though like Friends with their ‘rent controlled apartment‘ she also lived a gilded life).

    Anne Frank’s Diary

    After my trip to Amsterdam, I bought (another) copy of Anne Frank’s diary.  I’m currently re-reading that.  Sometimes I feel sad and don’t want to read it, as you know the ending, but it’s also fascinating to read all the thoughts going on in her head.  They were confined in a small place, but a whole microcosm was going on within that environment.  She also (so far) has always had hope.  We all have things that we don’t want the rest of the world to know about, but writing it down can help.

    Month 5 of the new role

    I’m now into my fifth month at my new role and things are making more sense.  I can now complete tasks (still with a  bit of help) and there is a lot going on.  I know now if the motorway is bad I will get home eventually and the world isn’t going to implode if I don’t leave the house by 7am.

    I will continue to blog about my journey (though I’m still learning this and am a novice blogger), and also work on developing myself using the Headspace App.  Lately I’ve been listening to ‘Managing Anxiety’ again and things are resonating more.  You hear different things by repeating things.  I often feel that way about favourite TV and films.  You can pick up different bits at different times.  Some things are comfort blankets as well, for me that’s both Friends and Sex and the City.

    As far as diaries go, I also have been filling out a Lett’s Five Year Diary and am now into my fifth year of it.  What I notice from this is the cycle of events which seem to recur year-on-year.  My emotions may follow a cycle, but people might drop round at similar times, or I might go to the same place and then a few days later realise I did that a few years ago too.

    At work, I am starting to understand more about the everyday tasks, though my role will always have questions to deal with that I might not have done before.  It’s a challenge, but it’s also good to solve the problem.  I just prefer to feel in control and efficient.  I’m also starting to understand the personalities of people in my wider team and also the relationships between them.  Who are friends, who potentially aren’t.  It’s quite interesting to be a bit of an outsider in that respect.  I’m also starting to form friendships, but it seems to be a slow burn.  This may have been the case at previous places, but I was at the last company for a long time so I guess my network was quite wide there.  You forget these things quite easily.

    Documenting life

    The whole world of social media and bloggers does mean that we are documenting more and more about our lives.  In the past, relatives might have been lucky to have a few photos at the end of their lives, now we have a digital footprint (some of which we might prefer to forget).  The Queen is known to write a diary every night.  Her musings would be quite fascinating I’m sure.  The monarchy are also active on Twitter.  See the photos of Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte released by Kensington Palace recently.   Meghan Markle is also rumoured to have been an anonymous blogger before she became famous, and then launched another blog.  The recent controversy about Cambridge Analytica and the introduction of GDPR (are you getting as many emails as me asking for you to opt-in again?) shows how much data people are giving away and the value of Facebook and the like show what it’s worth.

    There are definite pros and cons to documenting life and ultimately it’s a personal choice.  I recently gave my friend my old Fitbit and she likes it but is worried about the data she is sharing.  With my job I am used to using lots of data and am ‘happy’ about the ‘value exchange’, but maybe I haven’t thought about the consequences enough.

    It’s a lovely sunny day here.  So enjoy today.

  9. Mind over matter

    Mind over matter

    Having mind over matter is important in life.  I’ve been on my own a bit this Easter weekend, and at times my mind has been working overtime.

    I’m having to do things outside of my comfort zone.  When my mind is occupied and I’m doing things I can relax and feel normal, but then I start to over-think.  I have an overactive imagination at the best of times.  I then don’t sleep as well, as suddenly you hear different noises that don’t normally bother you, that kind of thing.

    Lack of sleep then leads to forgetfulness and making odd decisions sometimes.  The world seems so much better with a good night’s rest.

    Things on the mind

    I have a rental property that I’ve had for many years, and when things crop up with this I do rely on my father to fix it for me.  I think that’s an issue for me generally.  I’ve always had people to rely on, or who take over things, and therefore I’ve not had to learn certain things.

    I definitely feel part of Generation Hopeless in this regard, but it’s getting your mind over the matter and not waking up in the middle of the night fretting about things that I need to stop.  Not that I’m ‘hopeless’ at everything.  It’s just I’ve not had to build experience in certain things.

    Do you remember in Home Alone where Kevin was told his Mum would pack his suitcase, this came to mind as I was typing this post.  To be clear, I can pack my own suitcase, and often take charge of the holiday bookings etc.

    It’s important to take a step back and clear the mind.  There are practical steps that can be taken to fix problems.  And generally, things always work out.

    ‘Les Incompetent’

    Using Kevin McCallister as an example again.  He started to build up confidence after a while saying that he’s “not afraid anymore” and put up an excellent fight against the ‘would-be’ burglars, though he did enjoy hiding under the covers to forget his problems.  He learnt how to deal with things and his siblings and parents were impressed in the end.

    I remember when I was studying for my CIMA (accountancy) exams, I would sometimes stay at my flat for odd nights as I had to go to courses.  I wouldn’t sleep well and would invariably be hanging by the end of the course.  Luckily you then had time to study the content before attending a revision course, and then time to revise before the actual exam.  However, I made things harder for myself because I didn’t relax.

    I went on a school skiing trip and again didn’t sleep very well, so got worse and worse as I went along.  So anxiety levels definitely impact my sleep.  This is something that I constantly need to work on.  Though Declan Donnelly said he’d hardly had a wink of sleep having to present Saturday Night Takeaway alone last night, so I’m certainly not alone.

    Easter Celebrations

    It’s the long weekend, so things feel a little out of routine.  I’m now more used to the working 9-5 fives days a week routine, so having four days off is quite strange.  Coupled with lack of sleep, makes for an interesting time.

    Tomorrow I will be able to move a step closer to fixing the problem in my flat, but I will still rely on my Dad to oversee things, which I am sure he will do.  I will then wonder why I worried.  However, if I hadn’t had this on my mind then I would easily replace it with something else.  So that’s something for me to work on – learning to focus on the now rather than pondering on the ‘what-if’.  Especially in the middle of the night when things seem totally irrational.

    Hope you have a great Easter and enjoy some Egg Hunts.

    Enjoy today.

  10. Music soothes as things start to make sense

    Month 3: Things start to make sense.  Listening to music helps.

    Month 3 and I feel like I am starting to settle in and that things are slowly starting to make sense.  I still have moments of panic here and there, or feel a bit overwhelmed.  But I am making progress.  I know people better now, I know my commute, I know more about the tasks at work etc etc.  Everything just takes time and I can be impatient.  As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been listening to more music lately as I drive longer to work and back.  This led me to thinking…

    What’s your favourite song?

    I bet you have one.  Or maybe you have many.  I’ve just started writing a list of my favourite songs.  Music is a powerful thing.  Just look at how much money and influence pop stars or musicians have generally.  Music has a big impact on us and touches many points in our lives.  People win Oscars for movie scores.  What an amazing job! Shonda Rhimes uses music to great effect in her TV shows.  The latest episode of Scandal (potential spoiler alert so don’t click if you haven’t seen it!) had two characters singing Britney Spears’ ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ and it was probably my favourite Scandal moment.  I’m going to be very sad once Scandal finishes because it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

    Musicals and Concerts

    Andrew Lloyd Webber is celebrating his 70th birthday this year and I found an article on the BBC website about his career in seven songs.  I love to see shows at the theatre and attend concerts because it makes me feel alive.  Being in either venue makes you forget any cares and worries you might have to instead get lost in the moment.  It’s the same with TV and film for me.  Escapism really, but I suppose that is what entertainment is all about.


    I recently watched Sing and loved the quote: “Don’t let fear stop you from doing the thing you love”.  It resonated with me.  I found another blog by Amy Rees Anderson which explains how it impacted her too.


    If I go to a party I enjoy getting up on the dance floor and having a dance (although I’m not that good!).

    Music - Kylie Christmas

    Music – Kylie Christmas

    Being a Kylie fan (see below) … ‘when I go out, I wanna go out dancing‘.

    My Favourite Songs

    I also like to sing in the car or shower.  It’s therapeutic and definitely lifts my spirits.  There are plenty of TED Talks about the impact of music too.

    I was looking for inspirational quotes as I post a daily quote via Twitter and found this article on LifeHack about Music about thirty inspirational songs to keep you motivated.

    Following on from the BBC article, if I had to pick seven songs about my life so far they would be:

    1. Kylie Minogue – I Should Be So Lucky.  I am an ardent Kylie fan and have been all my life.  It’s been a constant (along with a love of the Royal Family).
    2. Snow White – Some Day My Prince Will Come.  I’m also a massive Disney fan, and love Snow White.
    3. Frozen – Let It Go.  Continuing the Disney theme, this song meant a lot to me last year especially.  The Royal/Princess theme continues!
    4. Kelly Clarkson – Because of You.  The fact that Kelly wrote this when she was 16, and has such a powerful voice (I’ve seen her live – amazing).  I find it so moving.  Just love it.
    5. Cindi Lauper – Time After Time.  Again this song just moves me.  It’s quiet and poignant.
    6. Bon Jovi – Always.  A romantic at heart, again just love this song.  I have been lucky and see Bon Jovi live as well.
    7. Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats.  Not exactly a topic that you’d want to happen to you, but love Carrie’s voice (again seen her live) and like the revenge side of this song, so that probably says a bit about me.

    There are so many songs that I love, but these are my list.  It’s great to be able to see artists that I like live, sometimes travelling to different countries.  I like to get good seats and sometimes a little mini-break is fun too.

    I asked my Mum to write out the songs she’d want at her funeral because music is so powerful and I thought I’d be in a bit of a state when that actually happened.  There are lists for the top songs at funerals.

    You might pick the song from the first dance at your wedding, there are plenty of lists for popular wedding songs too.

    What songs have had an impact on you and why?

    Enjoy today and maybe blast out some of your favourite tunes.


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