Holiday!

I’m actually having some time off. And this makes me smile, a lot.keep-calm-and-come-back-next-week-2

Next week, I’m not doing any work. Well, OK, I’m not doing anything except the one bit of work I couldn’t get finished before the deadline because I haven’t got all the information to finish it with. Then I’m done.

I’m planning to do loads of things I never get a chance to do. I’m going for a swim, and to the gym. I’m going to find a couple of good films to watch at the cinema and just lose myself for an afternoon. I’m going to sit in coffee shops and people watch, to come up with ideas for my fun novel project. I’m going to get round to watching all the films I still have from Love Film and haven’t managed to watch yet. I’m going to read loads of the books I have on my Kindle, listen to music, and write a bit of the novel for NaNoWriMo every day.

I can’t wait!

I love that feeling just before a week off, where I haven’t got anything to do. Even if I have plenty to do when I come back to work! I’m a bugger for not letting myself have any time just to ‘be’ and I’m really looking forward to waking up tomorrow and thinking “Nothing to do for over a week”

I’m going to keep on blogging about the things that make me happy though – I missed a couple of days because I was a bit poorly but I’m back on it now, feeling grateful and happy that I have the kind of job where I can just decide “Sod it – I’m taking time off and nobody’s gonna stop me.”

In an ideal world, I’d be going to Paris, Venice or Verona with the beloved. maybe next year. Until then, I’ll spend my time imagining travelling to all these places and then writing about it. Well, it’s a start…

Quiet

quietI love peace and quiet.

I love nothing more than to sit in solitude, reading a Kindle, a book or a magazine and just idling the hours away. I love to sit and think, in complete silence, and I like working in silence too, or with music on very quietly so that it doesn’t intrude on my thinking-space.

Am I weird?

My beloved likes noise. The first thing he does when he gets home is switch the telly on, and it will be on all night long after that. He’ll punctuate the noise with farts and loud sneezes which make me pull “Really?” faces.

He doesn’t get why I love quiet so much, and says he needs background noise. But have you ever been outside in a wood or park, when there’s hardly anyone about, and just listened? The trees rustle. You can hear birds singing, creatures snuffling about in the undergrowth and…that’s all. How can you not LOVE that?

Or when it’s snowed and the coating of snow has muted all the noise, the birds seem to be in shock at the deluge and it’s just so still.

It gives my brain time to rest. No noise means I can switch off. I love the sea too, because the relentless in and out of the tide is so calming and so predictable it just makes me feel relaxed and at home. But the sea? That’s another post.

Right now all I can hear is the hum of my laptop, my tapping on the keyboard and birds outside the front of the house. And that is EXACTLY how I like it….

Wild Weather

calm-before-storm-1

You know what made me happy today?

Sitting in my bed, listening to the wind whipping around the houses, and watching the rain lashing down against the window, and feeling all warm and snug while it went on around me. Of course it was easy for me to get all romantic about the storm, because I was sitting in bed with a freshly made cup of coffee and marveling at the power of Mother Nature, without having to go outside and experience her Monday morning tantrum for myself.

I think storms are fabulous.  My whole family are weather nerds. My mum has apps on her phone that track weather systems for weeks and she’s never happier than when she’s successfully predicted a snow storm in advance. My brother, who lives in Australia, misses PROPER weather, but does occasionally post updates on Facebook if it’s meltingly hot or there’s a tropical storm on the way.

I content myself with watching thunder storms. I’m never happier than when the skies darken and I can feel the pressure building up that means there’s a proper storm on the horizon. Dramatic weather makes me feel alive in a way that sitting indoors in a centrally heated box with the TV on never can. To have the telly on ruining a thunder storm is sacrilege.

Yes, I also love the snow too. I have to get out and stomp in it and I love a good blizzard.

I think all this must be the mark of  a woman who works from home and never drives anywhere.

 

Getting outside

Autumn_in_Dresden

 

 

There’s nothing quite like getting out in nature to lift your spirits. The Mole and I were both just sitting around the house, me attempting to do some e-mail preening and him snoozing and playing boy games on the computer. The sun was shining in the window at me and it reminded me that the weather forecast for the next few days was a bit Armageddon-ish, so this might be my last opportunity to get some fresh air in my lungs before the skies go dark…

I abandoned the email preening session, grabbed my coat and a willing Moley and we went over to the park. We have a gorgeous park less than ten minutes walk away from us. How often do you think I go there? Well, yes, you can imagine.

It was fab! Kicking leaves, almost falling over in squelchy mud, talking about all sorts of nonsense with my beloved, and laughing when we stopped for a coffee, because while I was chuntering on about wedding arrangements, he was diligently making a ‘Mole weight’ out of a coffee stirrer and two empty milk tubs, and completely ignoring me. Men love talking about weddings, don’t they?

But we had a good trudge around in the sunshine, got some fresh air, had a laugh and even stopped for a little kiss and a cuddle…bonus!

I’m totally grateful for having the park so close, so I can go squirrel watching and leaf-kicking whenever I feel like it. I even did a Liberte Fitness boot camp out there once and came home covered in mud, freezing cold and pouting like a toddler who’d been sent to bed early. I only did that once. My memories of getting stuck underneath my friend, and being completely unable to move because I was (a) stuck in mud and (b) laughing too much were enough to put me off again. I had to put my trainers in the washing machine!

I’m also glad I have the kind of job where I can down tools and go out to play.

There’s a lot to be said for getting out in the fresh air…

Ask and it is Given

Do you want more money?Venice

It’s OK, I’m not going to start trying to sell you a ‘Guaranteed Money Making System’ and asking for JUST $99.95.

I’m saving up for a wedding. And next year I want to save up for a house. Don’t want much, do I? Trouble is, right now I don’t even know how I’m going to be able to afford to pay my tax bill, although with a few irons in a few fires I’m determined to rectify this situation pretty damn soon.

People keep sending me lovely blogs with ideas in. A good friend of mine recommended ‘Ask and it is Given’ – the old classic Law of Attraction tome, and The Secret is also in my box of books somewhere. Although to be fair when I look at my bank account at the moment, the self-help book that springs immediately to mind is probably more likely to be ‘F*ck it!’

Anyway, every little helps and I started thinking positive last week. Telling people I WILL have a nice wedding AND a honeymoon. I will also have the house I want. I only want a Victorian terrace or cottage. I’m not after a freaking Bel Air mansion or something in Kensington. But I need to throw everything I can at this project, so I’m enlisting the help of Pinterest in helping me. Sounds odd? I know.

The idea is to get rid of all the mental blocks we have around spending money. You know how it is, you see that gorgeous coat in a shop window and instead of thinking “I want that” you immediately shut it down with “I can’t afford that”, or “You can’t have that, you’re saving money.”

It’s all true, of course, but if you read up on all this stuff, whether it’s down to positive and negg-o vibrations or just the way our brains accept what we tell them, if you shut down any thought of what you want, monetary or otherwise, with an “I can’t” then the chances are you probably won’t. Focusing on a lack of whatever it is that we want, whether it’s a Swarovski pendant, a house, a hot man or a baby only tends to get us what we focus on…a lack of that thing.

So, in order to trick my resistant mind into thinking I have loads of money and therefore can afford to spend a lot of it, I’m trying one of three tricks from the book. I’ve set up a Pinterest board (or will do a new one every day) and I’m going to find things I want and add them to the board. Today’s board was ‘£1000 to spend’. You’ll see I’ve decided I’m spending most of the money on travel, I’ve booked three nights in Venice for me and Moley, plus tickets for Muse in May. And a few other bits. But the idea is that you get to use your imagination, think of lovely things you want, places you want to go – and just play. I even found that if you type a price into the description when you Pin it, it comes out on the corner so you can keep tabs. I used an Excel sheet too but I might probably get bored of that. In fact I almost definitely will as it’s nothing like as fun as Pinterest.

In the book, they suggest that you write fake cheques out for your purchases and write them in a ledger book, but I’m guessing as the book was written back in 2004, before we did everything online, my way will be just as good. Did I mention that you add another £1000 to your budget every day? You can do this for as long as you like but I think I might get bored eventually. Maybe I’ll do it just long enough to buy myself a house….

My Pinterest board is £1000 to spend and if you fancy having a go, let me know your Pinterest name and I’ll follow you. Good luck!

What are you afraid of?

May-Cause-Miracles1OK, so here goes.

I found myself in Waterstones again today, with my nose in book after book in the self help, mind body and spirit sections. What does that tell me? Probably that I’m not entirely in love with my life right now and that I’m still under the impression that all I need to do is read the right book and I’ll have it all sorted.

So I happened upon ‘May Cause Miracles’ by Gabrielle Bernstein and I made a deal with myself. “If I treat myself to this book, I’ll make a real effort to do all the things it says I should do. Even if every bone in my body is coming up with excuses not to.” Like it does. Every time.

I bought the book. I sat with a coffee in Caffe Nero and I read the first chapter. “Witness Your Fear” Eek! I don’t know if I want to! I reckon Gabrielle knows what she’s talking about – she’s been a binge eater and a drug addict and she now has a charmed life which she attributed to the techniques she learned with the help of, “A Course in Miracles” and some hard work. Needless to say, given that it only cost me about £2, I also downloaded that 365 day to-do list. It’s all very spiritual apparently but it’s been name checked by Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer so I think I’ll be in good company!

So as from Monday, I’ll be working through the book, day by day, and using changes in my thinking and actions to kick myself up the backside, nicely of course.

I’m also making a deal with myself to document the journey here. So – are you coming along for the ride? I really hope so!

The first chapter really hit me where I know I need to do some work. What am I afraid of? Me!

When I started to think about blogging my progress, the #1 fear that came up was that I was scared of letting people know who I really am! I have a blog called Relentlessly Positive but I’ve just had a truly shitty week and it’s knocked me for six. I didn’t feel positive. I also have a blog called Gorgeously Full Fat where I talk the talk about being plus size. But I don’t want to be the size I am. Honestly – I don’t want to be skinny either. Just a bit less fat. There, I said it.

So I feel like a fraud and I don’t like to be TOO honest about myself in case I lose followers, lose respect, or even worse, lose the desire to BE relentlessly positive or body-positive. I’m always a little scared of giving in to who I really am. Like a lot of people I have a mask, and I wear it a LOT. When I was single I used it to tell myself and the world I was sassy and single…but inside I was lonely and sad some of the time. I pretend I’m on top of things so that people don’t realise I’m having problems coping. I pretend I’m fine when I’m not. Why do I do it? I don’t know, but all these fears seem to lead back to one thing…I’m scared of people seeing my vulnerability. I feel like I have to do things myself, get myself out of any pickles I’ve got myself into, sort my own crap out.

On the plus side, I do love to think positive, I believe we attract and make our own luck a lot of the time and that misery really does breed company. I don’t want to be negative. It annoys the crap out of me. but I’m human, and when shit happens, I react to it in a less than serene way. I cry, I beat myself up, I over eat. That’s me!

Monday’s mission is going to be identifying other things that scare me. What am I actually afraid of, and what’s getting in the way of me being and doing all the lovely things I want?

Want to join in?

Read an interview with Gabrielle Bernstein here… May Cause Miracles

Depressed? Read a book!

bookpileI’m a self confessed self-help book addict, so when I read this week that self help books have been proved to lift depression and prevent it from bothering you again, I felt justified for the amount of money I spend on them. You don’t need to tell me that books are great therapy…and for me they don’t even have to be self-help!

The University of Glasgow carried out a study of 200 people who’d been diagnosed with depression, and found that the people who were given Cognitive Behavioural Therapy type books to read reported “significantly lower” levels of depression after four months than people who were doled out antidepressants.

I used to think self help type books were for losers. I think the first one I ever bought was when I was in my mid-twenties and decided I needed to do some assertiveness training. I was working for a horrible old battleaxe and thought it might help me stand up to her. Politely and calmly of course. So I read up on how to be an assertive woman and – well – I think I might have got a bit more ballsy for a bit. But I could never quite get my head around affirmations. How could talking to myself in a mirror help me stand up to the Fire Breathing Dragon I had the misfortune to be working for? I did find some solace in the fact it wasn’t just me, she was an old bat to everyone, but she especially disliked me because I kept pointing out ways to improve the way the office ran and she didn’t like that at all. Note to self: learn when it’s best to put up and shut up…some things aren’t worth the fight.

The next book I read was the all-time classic “You can heal your life” by Louise Hay. Hands up if you’ve read that one?

Some of the book was complete woo-woo to me but I took the bits I needed and I really think it helped. I was in another job, working for a manager who actually bullied me. This time it was personal and I wasn’t doing too well. I can’t say that reading Louise’s wise words changed everything, but I did find it inspirational and it helped me a lot when I was looking for different ways to deal with what my work life was throwing at me. I don’t have much luck with bosses, do I? Probably just as well I’m self employed these days.

I still love a self-help book, especially when it’s free. Which is why I love being part of Leonie Dawson’s tribe of go-getting female entrepreneurs (OK, I’m working on the entrepreneur bit) because they all have a great back catalogue of freebie e-books that you get to download from their websites for nothing but an e-mail sign up. Leonie’s own free business guide is brilliant for starters, and it’s what got me into the Goddess Circle where I met women who know their shiz when it comes to everything from holistic health and nutrition to positive thinking, Reiki to business planning.

So, tell me, what’s your favourite self help book?

Read more about the study here: Self help books relieve depression

Croissants, snow and life planning

unicornThere really hasn’t been much else to do over the weekend other than daydream. At least that’s the excuse I’m giving for the fact that I couldn’t be bothered to do anything except a very convincing impression of a sloth. Hibernating. Looking at the snow falling outside and eating carbohydrates on the spurious excuse that it’s cold out and I need the fuel.

So I have been reading through my fabulous 2013 ‘Create your Incredible Year’ workbook, and I thought I’d share what I’d come up with so far. You can do this with me too, if you want to download the whole caboodle from the gorgeous Leonie’s website. I have definitely been procrastinating about doing the work, quite possibly because I know that if I set down goals and then don’t manage to achieve them, it’s my own fault. But does it really matter? Nah, not really. It’s a guide, an aide-memoire, not a set of rigid rules that I have to follow.

So, here’s to ‘Invoking 2013′. It’s going to be a fabulous year!

1. What do you most want to experience 2013 as?

I didn’t quite know how to answer that one. A Goddess? A unicorn? Or does she mean how do I want 2013 to be experienced? Maybe I’ll revisit that one once I’ve got to grips with the rest of the task. This will all make sense.

2. What do you want to FEEL in 2013?

Content. Secure. Excited. Energised. Happy. Vibrant. Relaxed.

2012 was a difficult year in some ways and great in others. I’d like a bit more calm in 2013 and a little less stress!

3. What do you want to give youself in 2013?

The first thing I thought of was “time”. I rarely make time just for me. I’m always working, or doing things for people, tidying, washing…I don’t often decide I’m going to have proper ‘me’ time. Over the spring and summer of 2012, the gym was my me-time, but since the weather’s been so pants I rarely go because I just don’t want to have to walk for 40 minutes on top of a workout. Especially when it’s cold and wet. It feels like a chore.

I made the effort to sit down and actually watch a DVD *I* wanted to watch the other day, and also last week I took time to give myself a 30 minute Reiki blast. I will be doing more of this!

4. This year I give myself permission to…

Chill out! Just be myself…Rest. Not fit in. Not do everything I think people want me to do. Say no. Stand up for myself.

5. This year, I promise to myself that I will…

Oh God, this one is a hard one. I think ‘take time out’ is a good one (are you sensing a theme?)

And…Be a little bit less hard on myself?

And…Trust that it’s all going to work out in the end?

And…look after myself. This body is over 40 years old, it needs some TLC. I’ve already banned chocolate, alcohol, biscuits and crisps from my diet. I’m still craving chocolate but I’m sure it will wear off…

Oh, and have more FUN!!!

 

 

 

 

Getting my snow freak on!

Snowed on SarahI love snow.

There, I said it. Im 41 and a bit (OK, quite a lot) and when I see snow I get an irresistible urge to go outside and play. Sensible Sarah thinks she should stay indoors, look out of the window and write disgruntled snow-related posts on Facebook. But that’s crap, because all I really want to do is  get outdoors and damn well kick snow around.

I even get a li’l bit excited when my phone wallpaper starts snowing. If you have a Samsung Galaxy, you’ll know what that means. It’s not always accurate but those snow flakes are so darn pretty…

So, I don’t care if that makes me sound like I’m about five. I love it. I love stomping through fresh snow, and leaving big old footprints. I love kicking piles of snow. I even like getting snowflakes on my nose. When I worked in an office, I loved snow because it meant I there was no freaking way I could get into work and I got a day off. Now I work from home, I still love it…when nobody else wants to go out in it and everyone’s at home posting snowed-in statuses on Facebook, I get all the new snow to play in. Result!

So I think we should all play a little bit more. Do pointless things like kicking piles of leaves around or throwing snowballs. Go out when everyone else thinks you’re nuts and enjoy all the funny looks you get. I spent far too long worrying about what people thought of me and trying to be sensible. Today I thought to myself as I walked down the road towards the park and it started throwing the snow down again, “People are going to think I’m mad.”

….and then I did it anyway.

 

Love Bombing the Daily Mail

sunshineIf you’ve been a reader of Relentlessly Positive a while, you’ll know my love/hate relationship with the Daily Mail website. I seem to be hopelessly addicted to reading it, mainly because of the sheer ridiculousness of the comments that people write underneath the news articles. They are unfailingly miserable and negative, and as a rule, anything positive gets ‘red arrowed’ by the rest of the cynical commentators. I usually like to say something nice, but half the time my positive comments don’t get printed or if they do, they get lots of red arrows.

I’d really love to organise a ‘love-bomb’ of their comments pages. I don’t know how it would work yet, whether it would be best done on one article or a whole list of them at once, but what I have in mind is a complete barrage of positivity that’s going to take the misery guts people who usually complain and bitch and judge everyone by surprise. It would be SO funny.

So if there’s a bitchy article about a celeb, we could all go on and comment about something nice about her. I would say’ him or her’, but 99 times out of 100 it’s a woman they are pulling to pieces. If they are complaining about something or reporting on a piece of negative research, we could all comment on the bright side of it. It’s just a daft idea but what do you think? Do you reckon we could be the flag bearers of a new ‘positive trolling’ trend?