M.I.A.

Hello stranger!… No, sorry that would be me!

I actually didn’t realise how long it’s been since I last posted to my blog. I knew it had been quite a while but I genuinely hadn’t realised it’d been three and a half months. Some of my “cyber friends” were starting to worry about me going M.I.A. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? Or indeed when your life is being turned upside down?!

So, what news? Me? well little Strawbug is getting big now, and I appear to be growing at twice the rate that he/she is, my little furball is riding the emotional swing with me (one minute he loves us to bits and the next he looks at us like we’re the proverbial on his paw – I think he senses/smells/whatever cats do, the baby in my tummy and knows that something big is about to happen). The house isn’t ready (in fact it’s even more unready than the the last time I posted), we don’t have everything we need, we had planned a natural water birth at home and now I’ll be going to the birth centre at the hospital (and probably be taking huge amounts of narcotics given that I have not practised my deep relaxation techniques one bit!)

In general, I’m feeling massively underprepared and totally not ready for this.

But then I am 35 weeks pregnant and so, I’m hoping that this feeling is completely natural and every pregnant lady goes through this phase.

For the most part, I’ve had a pretty easy time of it (compared to many women) so I shouldn’t really complain (two ticks, need a quick swig of Gaviscon…) ah, that’s better. Though I have been growing increasingly scatty and in the last 2 weeks have returned to the depths of lethargy I experienced in the second half of my first trimester. Serves me right, I suppose, for boasting about how easy it’s been 🙂

Still, only 5, 6 or 7 weeks to go. And there’s the most amazing gift at the end of it all… given how quickly the last 3 months have passed, Strawbug will be here in no time!

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Easy like Sunday morning

This weekend in the UK is a 3 day weekend as we have the May Day Bank Holiday on Monday. Extra weekend days are such a treat! It’s like having 2 Sundays! You get a real shot at winding down and enjoying life.

I recently asked on my Facebook page; “What would be your perfect Sunday?”. I admit the response wasn’t overwhelming! (There were 0 comments, but its early days for the page and only 5 fans so far, so I remain positive for the future). But I have been thinking about how I would spend my perfect Sunday… and indeed whether I will be able to make the time to have a perfect Sunday this weekend.

To me though, the perfect Sunday would be like a perfect any other day of the week. And it would start with having had a really sound sleep the night before…

I’d wake at a reasonable time; not too early, but early enough to enjoy the quiet of the morning, say about 8am? The sun would be shining, the birds would be tweeting and  there would be a lovely fresh summer breeze rippling through the curtains. I can almost smell the freshly cut grass just by picturing the scene.

My Beloved and I would make our way to the garden for breakfast. And somehow, magically, with no-one else in the house, there it would be sitting ready for us. Fresh hot croissants, fresh fruit salad and a pot of really nice coffee. We would read the newspapers, browse the magazines and generally relax. Now, I’d be happy to settle for breakfast in my own garden, but if we were in our garden in our little French property by the sea (a dream of mine… check out My Bucket List) then that really would be the perfect start to the perfect day!

After breakfast, we’d wander around a local farmer’s market and then take a stroll along the beach. Again, most happy for  that to be our own beach here (with internationally renowned art installation, but a little cold and no crashing or bubbling wave sound effects) but if it could be the south of France, Malibu or St.Barts that would be preferable!

Lunch would be light and al fresco. Then I’d get together with all my friends and family for a good old fashioned party. I’m thinking BBQ, a band and one of those raised, square wooden  dance floors they have at southern fairs in the movies.. with lights all around. Of course it would need to be catered, so that everyone could relax and just enjoy… and this would definitely need to be held at our French residence as there’s not enough room in our back yard for all of my family, let alone a dance floor and a hog roast!

The day would end around 11pm (hey, that’s a late night for me), with myself, my Beloved and our little furball all cuddled up in bed with warm milk and a feel good movie… and we wouldn’t have to worry about hangovers or work the next day because in the world of Perfect Days those don’t exist.

Oh and at some point in my perfect day, I’d receive a call from an Internet Mogul offering me mega-sponsorship so that I could give up my job and blog for a living!

Blog #2

I haven’t written a blog for a short while and this is my 2nd attempt at this one. The first one was all about how I was doing with my positivity and enthusiasm this month. But, I was struggling to think what to say. Well, without repeating from previous posts, anyway. And I suddenly thought, yikes! Have I run out of things to talk about already? After 2 months and only 20 posts am I done?

Now, I’m not known for being short of words (normally at the worst possible times to the exasperation of my friends and family). So, as you can imagine, this has come as quite a shock!

I’m looking back through my notebook. I carry my notebook everywhere and write down little things that I see or hear. Things that just pop into my head. Things I want to know more about and things I want to share. Here’s a few examples;

1. Religion/Spiritualism (both subjects to generally avoid discussing with everyone but those whom you know very, very well!)

2. Nature Vs Nurture

3. Art Deco

4. Queueing

5. What is Success?

6. Airports

Some of these are very big subjects. Some just a little obscure (airports? what on earth could I write about airports?). All quite varied you’ll agree? Come to think of it, I haven’t noted anything down in a while either.

You’ll remember, if you read my posts regularly, that I’m a bit motivationally challenged. Over the years I have collected a fleet of projects and initiatives that I have successfully started but have failed to complete… could blogging be the next shipwreck?

Like most people I’ve been focusing a lot these past couple of weeks on Christmas. And I think it’s clouding my creative mind. Maybe I just have writer’s mist , instead of a full on block. I hope so. I talk to myself all the time (in my head that is – I’m not THAT weird!). And it’s kinda nice to think that there might be a handful of people out there who are actually listening…

All work and no play…

We’ve touched on the elusive work/life balance before… And I can tell you now that it’s unlikely that I’ll be making any glorious revelations in this post (so if you’re searching for answers, you can pretty much stop reading now – actually that’s not entirely true. There’s a wee surprise in there somewhere).

It strikes me though, that just about everyone I know, has trouble living the life they really want. Not, that everyone I know is grossly unhappy, don’t get me wrong. But it does seem like we’re all over-worked.

Whether we work for large multi-nationals, or small family run businesses, part time or full time, big boss man or shop floor; the recurring theme seems to be that our employers want so much from us… Too much.

My beloved, normally a night owl who comes to life around the witching hour, took to his bed at 7:30 this evening complaining of feeling cold and tired ( you should know that our house is like Miami 24/7/365 because I don’t believe in putting a jumper on). I myself had a cold recently for a full 2 weeks followed by laryngitis! And we’re not the only ones! It could just be that the autumn is turning to winter and there’s a lot of little bugs going around. But, you have to trust your Mum and mine would say “you’re run down”. Yeah, run down because we work so hard.

I just did a reccie on t’internet to find some evidence to support my overworked theory. Expecting to come up trumps, I came across an article in the Guardian newspaper from March of this year which, shock horror!, completely disproves it.

The Fourth European Working Conditions Survey, 2007 (approximately 30,000 people questioned in 31 countries) tells us that Turkey has the
longest hours worked in Europe (54 hours per week). The UK comes in at number 29 working on average 35 hours per week. The EU average is 39 hours per week. We do apparently, come in at number 1 for most hours worked during weekends and evenings, though, due to the fact that most of us work in Service industries now, as opposed to manufacturing.

I personally work hours closer to the EU average than the UK average and most of my girlfriends who work 4 days per week to spend more time with their kids still end up working the “average” 35 hours in a shorter period of time.

But, am I alone in thinking that 39 hours is too much? And in reality it’s more than that, when you’re only break is to walk to the coffee machine and you eat lunch at your desk every day ( even if you are spending that time updating your facebook status and doing some Christmas shopping online). Then you have to load in the commute and suddenly you find that you have about 3 hours at home in the evenings before you go to bed and then get up and do it all again.

So, am I just lazy? Or are we indeed working too hard? Maybe it’s what we do or don’t do with our non-working time that makes us feel that we never get a break… Or maybe life has always been hard and we just need to pull our socks up and get on with it!

Still, I can’t help thinking… Sitting in my (not too) small Gite in the South of France, writing my blog for a living in between pottery making and yoga and still having time to bake fresh bread and cakes every day would be much nicer than dragging myself in and out of the office every day for the next 30 years… Too much to ask? Or too high expectations? Maybe that’s the problem.

Someone once said “find a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I’m not sure that my Bank Manager would agree!

I’m going to start blogging…

Well, it’s been nearly 2 weeks since my last blog. Wow! Isn’t it a pain in the ass when life gets in the way?!

I’d like to be able to say that something major had happened – like, I’d been kidnapped by aliens and only just got back from Mars – but I can’t. Truth is work got really busy and I let it take over my life. I’m sure I’m not alone – how many times a year do women’s lifestyle magazines run an article on the elusive work/life balance? And to be fair, I’m sure a lot of men out there feel the same way. Though, I don’t read men’s lifestyle magazines, so I’m not sure whether it’s a hot topic in those publications.

You know, I was really enjoying blogging and for the first week of my “absence”, I really thought This blogging lark is hard! You have to keep on top of it all the time! For the second week, I didn’t even think about blogging. Until yesterday…

We had a very lazy morning yesterday (French coffee and croissants in bed) and then spent the afternoon with friends drinking tea and eating cake. I was lucky enough to have dinner cooked for me and then I spent the evening watching my favourite TV show of all time, whilst drinking a really nice glass of red wine.

And I realised, it wasn’t the blogging that was difficult. It was making “me time” that was hard. I love blogging! And during my first week in blog-land, none of it was a chore, every second was exciting. I couldn’t wait to get home and write something down, share my thoughts with the world wide web. I was always thinking about it and constantly scribbling down ideas when they came into my head. I was consciously making “me time” and it was easy. So, what was different about the 2nd and 3rd week? In all honesty? I’m not sure.

I admit I’ve not always been the most motivated person on the planet. Always well intentioned but not always a “completer-finisher”. You’d need both hands and a foot to count the number of times my good friend and I have “started” Yoga classes (and subsequently given up about 2 or 3 weeks later) yet I love Yoga too!

Maybe it’s priorities, maybe it’s society, maybe it’s just me… but, (and this probably won’t be the only time I say this) I’m going to start blogging again! Wish me luck… 🙂

Theme Shmeem!

Theme Shmeem!
So, I’ve been thinking about a theme for my blog. I won’t pretend that I’ve just started thinking about it today… I’ve been thinking about it for a while.
I’ve looked at lots of other blogs to see what people blog about. I looked at “mommy blogs” but I’m not a mommy (unless you count my cat, who I talk about like he is my child when conversing with my mommy friends – and, come to think of it, everyone else I converse with, in all honesty). I thought about writing a blog about sex and relationships, but I’m no expert in that either. I could write an experiential blog, but my teens seem so far away now and I’m not sure I’m brave enough, yet, to re-visit my twenties online (or indeed that I could revisit them even if I wanted to, due to a few – not entirely unsurprising – memory black spots! Come on, admit it – we all have them!).
I checked out problogger.net and read “How to Choose a Niche Topic for your Blog” (very helpful series, by the way). It mentioned a guy who, having had little success in blogging about gadgets, turned his attention to lawnmowers and now has a massive following. (The lawnmower guy wasn’t the focus of the article.) But I’m not very green fingered nor have I any clue when it comes to power tools!
And then I had an odd thought… do I want a gazillion readers? do I need a theme? My life hasn’t really had a theme. I suppose unless you always wanted to be a surgeon or an air force pilot or a movie star and you became one, most other people’s lives haven’t really followed a particular theme either. So, should I throw out the advice to find a niche subject, the “next big thing”? Maybe not, but then again, maybe I shouldn’t put too much pressure on myself and allow this blog thing to grow organically. I spend my whole day planning… and the one thing I do want to achieve with my blog is some creativity (if I have any?!). So, I say Theme… Shmeem! Let’s play it by ear (or keypad…) for a while.

So, I’ve been thinking about a theme for my blog. I won’t pretend that I’ve just started thinking about it today… I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

I’ve looked at lots of other blogs to see what people blog about. I looked at “mommy blogs” but I’m not a mommy (unless you count my cat, who I talk about like he is my child when conversing with my mommy friends – and, come to think of it, everyone else I converse with, in all honesty). I thought about writing a blog about sex and relationships, but I’m no expert in that either. I could write an experiential blog, but my teens seem so far away now and I’m not sure I’m brave enough, yet, to re-visit my twenties online (or indeed that I could revisit them even if I wanted to, due to a few – not entirely unsurprising – memory black spots! Come on, admit it – we all have them!).

I checked out problogger.net and read “How to Choose a Niche Topic for your Blog” (very helpful series, by the way). It mentioned a guy who, having had little success in blogging about gadgets, turned his attention to lawnmowers and now has a massive following. (The lawnmower guy wasn’t the focus of the article.) But I’m not very green fingered nor have I any clue when it comes to power tools!

And then I had an odd thought… do I want a gazillion readers? do I need a theme? My life hasn’t really had a theme. I suppose unless you always wanted to be a surgeon or an air force pilot or a movie star and you became one, most other people’s lives haven’t really followed a particular theme either. So, should I throw out the advice to find a niche subject, the “next big thing”? Maybe not, but then again, maybe I shouldn’t put too much pressure on myself and allow this blog thing to grow organically. I spend my whole day planning… and the one thing I do want to achieve with my blog is some creativity (if I have any?!). So, I say Theme… Shmeem! Let’s play it by ear (or keypad…) for a while.

Learner blogger

So, this is my first post on my first blog. My learner blog.

Not a massively interesting opening statement, but then this is all new. To me anyway.

My first goal, is to work out how to use the technology! So, don’t be surprised to see a couple of weird things happening on screen for a while till I get used to it.

Goal 1A (alternative first goal)  but of clear equal importance (if not more importance)  is to work out what on earth I’m going to blog about. Can’t promise anything earth shattering – but as a learner, am very open to the teachings of my more experienced peers…

In the meantime… how do I make this thing look nice?