Grateful for every day #2

A sunny, busy Monday

Pros
-I had coffee with a newly found friend and her twins, giving one another ideas and support
-I had done all my weeks planning on Sunday giving me a head start to the week
– I cuddled twin 2 to sleep (indulgent!)
– I got lots of fiddly tasks completed

Cons
– I couldn’t avoid confrontation over a matter at a committee meeting
– I learnt a close friends father had passed away

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Grateful for every day #1

This is not my own idea but one I love; I’m going to try it (as I always do) for a week to begin with.
Reflect upon your day, briefly divide into pros and cons and surmise. You’d be surprised what you learn about yourself and your life….

Hubbie is working the weekend, which means grandparent cover for the little ones for the first time, and I’m on my own for the rest. Both girls are teething so I was expecting a tough one.

Pros:
The girls played happily long enough for me to get tidied after breakfast and showered in one go.
We trialled the new side by side stroller and successfully negotiated a short trip to the supermarket.
My twin girls are now moving so I have become a human climbing frame (definite pro, it’s great fun playing on the floor with them!).
Twin 2 surprised me with Eskimo kisses.
Hubbie managed to leave work on time which put him in a much better mood and he decided to go out to the pub quiz tonight.
We all had dinner together.
I’ve had a whole evening at home to myself! (& my writing).

Cons
Both girls still teething, woe betide if I forget the calpol!
I’m probably going to bed too late on a school night enjoying my ‘me time’.

Good Sleep Hygiene

With children in the house, a good night’s sleep can be a complete luxury. But why therefore, am I left unable to drop off to sleep whilst the children sleep soundly?

Several articles recently have piqued my interest about the effects of blue light on melatonin levels, integral to the body’s ability to sleep well.

Here is a link to a BBC article describing one of the latest published studiesHarvard Medical School e-book research.

So I began my own review of my ‘sleep hygiene’. I first reviewed a number of articles and recommendations. The most helpful I found was from the sleep council:

http://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Get-a-Good-Nights-Sleep.pdf

I find my body is tired but my mind too alert. A symptom possibly of my current situation of being on maternity leave. So I have resolved to write much more regularly, even if it is only briefly in the form of a personal journal. This will help to both use my mind and clear it of worries, doubts and niggles.

Secondly I am terrible for using the ipad or my iphone right up until crawling into bed. How can I ask my body and mind to settle, when it is still receiving such data? So these will be put away at least an hour before bed to remove any bluelight disruption to my body clock.

With any luck this will only leave the unpredictability of waking children!

Where does the time go?

So, my last post was October, it is now December. The difference for me is my girls dropped their morning sleep, so life is now even busier!

However I stumbled across a new leading light in the world of organisation, the Passion Planner. The brain child of the college graduate in the states Angelia Trinidad.

After a good few goes I now successfully manage my (and my families) diaries electronically, but have taken to scribbling lists and ‘to do’  on A4 sheets, often on a Monday morning to start my week. There is never any connection or path between these sheets and I can feel sometimes like I achieve very little.

Angelia has reintroduced me to the planner. It is not another diary but lists, goals, focuses and reflection. Even a little section ‘Good things that happened this week’.

I started by printing her free trial sheets and using an A4 presentation folder to hold them in. I prefer to work in A5 so I went ahead and treated myself ordering the compact version. It is pricey, but I know I’ll use it and because it forms a journal as well, I can record special moments, particularly from my girls (first tooth etc) and keep them through the years to look back on what we have achieved.

A colleague of mine always buys a good paper diary and sticks mementos in with her appointments, such as concert tickets or invitations enabling her to keep them for prosperity.

Take a look for yourself:

http://www.passionplanner.com/what/

Non-Fiction Writing

This week’s challenge is to finally draft an article for publication in a professional journal.

This is something which has been on my mind for sometime. It is also something I have been encouraged to do by my peers. Writing about what you do each day, you would think would be easy, but the prospect of scrutiny by your colleagues and peer group, potentially nationally, can make it very daunting indeed!

Preparation will be the key. Research on similar articles and constructive comment from trusted colleagues will be invaluable.  After which I shall tackle it the same way I do with all my writing; swiftly in my trusted notebook during the girls nap time!

Procrastination

   “The practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones.

Putting off impending tasks to a later time.”

Although I am sure I had heard of the word procrastination before, I only managed to put it into context in my life when I started writing more earnestly two years ago.

I realised, with some surprise, that I procrastinate all the time! Thankfully not to such an extent that it impedes me in my job, but enough, in particular at home. I put off tasks in favour of other, sometimes more pleasurable tasks, sometimes because I felt the task less important, or that it would wait. Yet in reality they were just as important.

Piano practice was the classic one. Homework was possibly easier to do, or I would have received a telling off for not doing it, so it was completed over and above practice. A rational excuse you may think. But ultimately I may have been more able to study music, had I practiced more!

Now I have realised a term for this behaviour, strangely I am far more aware of when it occurs and as such I am much better at task organisation and prioritisation.

We should all consider when we are procrastinating over a task. Just realising changes your organisation. I can now also identify tasks in advance that I know I will procrastinate over, and get straight on with them!

In addition, the word itself is so good!

So think, do you procrastinate? When do you procrastinate?

Success – To put pen to paper

So, my challenge a couple of weeks ago was to put pen to paper each day for 7 days. I succeeded!

I got off to a great start on Monday using an exercise entitled Zoom In. This involves placing yourself high above a location (in this case the final scene of my story) and working your way down noting points from all the senses. A little like a bird swooping in. It enabled me to get right into the scene.

Tuesday and Wednesday were a little more sporadic and all I managed to write on Wednesday was my journal, but as that falls by the wayside most days it was nice to curl up in bed and allow a flow of words about life to fall to the page.

For the remaining days I was able to build upon Mondays work, complete a further exercise from a writing magazine and write an entry for this blog. Opportunities included writing on a train journey, sat in the car in a quiet spot whilst the girls had their afternoon sleep and simply at the dining room table.

I discovered the trick was not to procrastinate (I love that word!) and always have a couple of notebooks with different ideas and projects to hand so you can get straight on with an idea. I do find the smaller the amount of time, the quicker I can assimilate my thoughts and really write something useful. I recently had a whole day to myself and only wrote the most meaningful prose in the last couple of hours!

I highly recommend this challenge!

To put pen to paper

This week’s challenge is to try and commit some words to paper every day. My writing recently has been sporadic to say the least and I always get bogged down in research, twitter, this blog etc.

So I have promised myself to sit with pen and paper each day to try and establish some routine.

The Daily Post has started it’s Writing 101 and Blogging 101 with challenges. These may form the basis for some exercises for me. I also have two short stories and one longer one ‘resting’ and a further recent one needing attention. Plenty to occupy myself.

I shall let you know how successful I am!

Holiday packing with young family

After a successful and surprisingly restful couple of holidays (with sunshine!), I feel confident enough to upload my packing lists!

General success all round from the lists. Bath toys were duly packed, but there was no bath in our Dorset cottage! (I never thought to check and the girls are too young really to shower).  After a day or so our intuition lead us to a hardware shop to purchase a large gardening trug.. it worked a treat!

The lists are on my page ‘organisation’. A couple of notes; On the children’s list I have left on brand names of items we use. I thought I may as well share items I have found useful. Cetraben is moisturiser. Nasosal are saline nose drops. I was very grateful we packed these as we all developed colds during the week!

On the general packing list second page, there is also my basics list for self catering. Sometimes I pack these to go with us, sometimes it simply reminds me what we should buy first at the supermarket.

Hope they help!

Who can we trust? The Honorable Woman

Gripping, intriguing, interesting, knowledge advancing, thought provoking. All adjectives which bounced around my mind when I settled into bed after the final episode of Hugo Blick’s enthralling series.

I do not know a lot about cinematography but the techniques used were captivating. Obviously artistic elements without being overly descriptive.

I adored the following of the characters thought processes, the twists and turn and unexpected corners.

It required a lot of concentration, and carried a lot of discussion in our house both during and afterwards. It encouraged me to learn more about the middle east, Gaza and the West Bank

Part way through I thought had lost the plot, truly! and I was left just enjoying watching Tobias Menzies as Nathaniel. Alison Grahams comment in the RT felt like it may ring true; Would the badgers have done it?!

However I joined in reading the guardian blog http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2014/jul/03/honourable-woman-recap-episode-one-maggie-gyllenhaal

And devoured the thoughts from the blog and comments alike.

Nessa was a most intriguing person. But it was Hugh that I liked most. He connected in my mind more with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in 2014 than Spooks and I liked that. He was very believable. That this is maybe how the service works. Old ways and new ways covered over with a dry sense of humour.

Gabriel Tate raised the question “should there be another series?” I think not. There were loose ends but to my mind it doesn’t matter. I have enjoyed it as it is.