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Honeymoon

14 Jun

We got married back in August last year, but with the impending Viva, house buying and relocation, plus the fact we had just paid for a wedding we didn’t really have the time, nor the means to go away.

We played with the idea of winter sun, expensive Caribbean destinations and exotic, cultured tours.

But actually, what we really wanted was to lay on a beach drinking cocktails, and doing naf all.  We didn’t want the pressure of being somewhere where we would have to go and see buildings, art galleries or wonders of the ancient world.  No, sod that, we didn’t want to be entertained or cultured.

Neither of us are particularly adventurous so we have come to love the greek islands,  the greek people are friendly, engaging and don’t seem to mind if you can’t speak greek.  Most of all we feel safe there.  We also realised that there was little point traveling half way around the world to just lay on a beach drinking all-inclusive cocktails!

So we waited until the start of the Greek holiday season and went to Kos, an island we have visited previously with limited cultural interest (all of which we saw on our last trip) and where we managed to get a fairly bargainous all-inclusive-10-day-deal.  It was still significantly more expensive than our usual 3-star-self-catering job.  But we figured we should make it a bit more special than our usual holiday.

We stayed at the Hotel Oceanis Beach and Spa Resort which is a 4-star-couples-only-mega-all-inclusive-hotel on the beach.  We were expecting it to be a bit posher that our previous holidays, with no food shopping to do and 10 days instead of 7, we also expected it to be a bit more relaxing and luxurious.

The hotel surpassed all our expectations…
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The room staff folded our towels into animal shapes:

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And when we mentioned we were on Honeymoon:

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The food was awesome, the drink all inclusive:

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And we actually managed to do nothing for a whole 10 days:

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Aside from, of course, some experimental paddle-boarding:

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And, posing in the sea:

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We also learned a little bit of Greek and made friends with the Beach Bar Staff:

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With nothing to do for 10 days, we felt as if we had a decent break. I was sad to leave, so sad I cried on the crappy flight back home.

However,  Life goes on, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the puppies had survived our trip away.  They had been well looked after by Dan’s parents and were pleased to see us but also quite happy with life as it was:

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Also, the Apple tree had blossomed:

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And the flowers had begun to flower:

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Going ‘Off Plan’

20 Apr

It’s been a stressy week. I have not managed to take time back.

I have worked overtime, over time that I won’t be paid for and probably won’t manage to claim back.

I figure that I need to start giving clients a set number of hours per week and sticking to it! I have been pulled into various meetings about clients and have still felt it was important to go and see them, write their notes and analyse data about them. This just isn’t feasible! (unless I can get my caseload down to two!).

Anyway, yesterday (Friday) I was driving around Thanet between a session with a client and a case conference about a different client. I realised I had a hour to spare; not enough time to get back to the office; too much time to go straight there.

I realised I was driving through broadstairs and it occured to me that I could take a lunch-break yes a friging lunch break. I had heard that Broadstairs is nice, and I suddenly felt like I might have the opportunity to do something totally unpredictable to even myself.

I felt as I were being somewhat reckless as I parked my car on the high street and walked down the hill towards where I imagined the sea might be. To think that no one in the world knew where I was or what I was doing, nor could they guess felt alien and exciting to me.

I felt as if I might have managed to go off plan; to have demonstrated my own free will and independence of thought.

I walked down the road and identified that Broadstairs was indeed, middle class, with an old-fashioned bakery, haberdashery and butcher on the high street. A funeral parlour with the tag line “today is a good day to plan your funeral” gave me an idea of the demographics of the town, yet strangely, the only young people I could see were teenagers. Not British teenagers, but French, in fact, the only language I could hear being spoken was French. I wondered if I might have accidentally entered into a rift in the space-time continuum, or maybe just, absent mindedly driven through the eurotunnel into France.

As it began to rain I realised I was indeed in Britain, and like a true Brit, carried in regardless down to the beach.

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I walked along the pavement by the beach huts and identified a picnic bench to venture across the sand for. Wearing a full length woollen coat and my red-leather work shoes I suspected that should anyone have noticed me they might have thought me rather odd. Indeed, in my psychologist outfit, I felt more removed that usual from nature and less able to be connected with the outdoors. I fantasised about taking my shoes off and running across the beach to paddle in the icy sea. I noticed this urge and reflected that, had I have not been in psychologist mode I probably would have gone with it. I comforted my self with my flask of coffee and a cigarette.

I was aware of this chap sitting in the bench next to mine:

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I’m not a fan of seagulls but he stayed put, looking at me and talking to the other seagulls. He reminded me of a dog, or rather dogs when they whine at each other. On making this association, I paid him some more attention. He seemed wise and grounded. I wondered if he had an understanding of the universe and realised that, on a level, he did. Not a cognitive level, but on a practical, behavioural level, and perhaps, an emotional level. Looking at him made me feel as if he had a sense of mastery over his world, a complete understanding of all he perceives, or at least the feeling of understanding of all he perceives.

I reasoned that I had a fairly good, practical understanding of the universe and my place in it, but there is no way I will ever have an understanding of it all on a cognitive level. Even if i had infinite mental capacity to understand all the knowledge in the world, the facts are still unknown. I wondered if I could ever understand it all on an emotional level and fairly quickly dismissed that as too time and energy consuming.

I wondered, however, whether I am missing a level or two?

I started to get cold and wet and retreated to my car, dissatisfied with my attempt to be reckless but satisfied that I had achieved some thinking space of my own.

I felt a sense of achievement as I arrived at my next meeting with wet hair and sand in my shoes.

Also, at the meeting I apologetically informed my colleagues that I would not be present the week after next for two consecutive weeks. They surprised me by seeming genuinely pleased for
me to be getting a holiday. I walked away realising that I had fallen into a trap of thinking my presence is more important than it actually is.

I drove home after the meeting feeling a little bit free…

Good Habits

10 Feb

I recently read that Good Habits are as easy to pick up as Bad Habits.  Also, you can get addicted to positive behaviours.

As you have probably guessed; I have a few Bad Habits! And, a few addictions.

Rather than address my psychological issues around habits and addiction  I thought I would try using these powers for good purposes.

As any regular reader (hi mum!) will know,  I have been aiming to go to Karate class once a week.  I was quite strict about setting my initial target quite low so that I could realistically meet it.  Failing to meet my targets often results in me giving up entirely due to a somewhat all or nothing attitude towards achievement.  So while I set the bar low,  I was happy to go to Karate more than once a week if I could.  Initially, once a week was plenty, with it taking me 5 days to recover from the first class.  Then I thought I would try (just for one week) to go to a second class.  The sensei was pretty tough and caused me a whole new world of pain (and shaky limbs). However,  I’ve started to get a bit of a buzz out of this.  I came home from my first Thursday night class proud of my pain.  This probably makes me a bit of a nutter but I was inspired by the class and the sensei who is quite different to the other sensei.  I figured that the two classes compliment each other quite nicely, therefore if I can to two a week,  my Karate and fitness in general will improve. 

This week was my second week of two classes and I was somewhat disappointed when neither class caused me much pain.  I have had the urge to make myself do press-ups and practice my Karate outside of class.  I am away on training this week, so won’t be able to make the second class but have already formulated a plan for attending a different ‘second’ class that week. 

My Karate is already a little bit like smoking.  I spend time worrying about not being able to do it,  look forward to the next one, feel cranky when I can’t go and relieved/sated when I’ve been. 

I’m going to be sensible about it, and not set myself unrealistic targets that land me in a bit pit of failure at the first sniff of a missed class.  However,  I will take advantage of this opportunity to capitalise on my (slightly maladaptive) personality style!  I feel a three-class week coming on!

Crotchet Inspiration

10 Feb

I have been teaching my friend to Crotchet. We started in December with some snowflakes and have been contemplating our next project. I think a beginner/improver project needs to be inspiring, modular and pretty. Being ‘easy’ is probably less important.  This post is for Amalia and anyone else looking for some hooky-inspiration.

I have been inspired by this beautiful window dressing by Sandra who blogs at Cherry Heart
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She calls it ‘falling rain’ but they are actually pretty little hearts.  This got me thinking; hearts are not really my style, but I love the teeny-ness of them and all the colours; they would be easy to make up and there is no reason you couldn’t replace the hearts with anything teeny-tiny and colourful!

Like these Stars, Flowers or these Flowers all from Lucy at Attic 24

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Once I had started trawling pinterest and the rest of the web for ideas I got quite excited!  There are SO many pretty, colourful things you can crotchet out there,  the pinterest boards are Positively Pornographic.

Butterflies, Birdies and Bumblebees

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Not to mention Strawberries, Suns and Shamrocks:

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I had also thought of bunting, a bit like this:

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Then I realised the Horizontal Plane opened up the Project Idea for all sorts of Chained, fabulous things:

Again with the Flowers, Flowers, Flowers:

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Stars and of course… Sheep!

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All (except, perhaps, Sheep) could be joined to each other or a chain in a bunting-type, decorative affair.  The possibilities are endless! For more inspiration please see my Pinterest board.

For now, I’m off to make This

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Into This:

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Hmmmm…

(P.S. I have tried to link the source of all images to the sites they came from; clicking the word describing each photo should take you through to the source-site.  If there are any problems please let me know!)

Happy Hooking!

 

Resolution Review 1

12 Jan

As promised, this post is an update on the goals I set myself for the past week.

1. Attend 1 Karate Lesson

Achieved!

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After a little venue confusion I arrived late but was still welcomed by the class and Sensei. I was pleased to see there were other adults in the class and the Sensei was friendly. I realised that I have not attended a class for over a year and am somewhat out of shape! The lesson was 1.5 hours long and we were expected to hold the ‘long forward stance’ for most of it, not moving until told to and sometimes waiting while the sensei adjusted someone’s positioning. As a result of staying in this slightly squat-like position my legs started shaking. For the last half hour of the session I couldn’t stop them going, the sensei was concerned but also found it entertaining! My muscles were so fatigued I could barely stand by the end of the session!

Despite the pain I really enjoyed the session. I have realised how much I need to exercise and will make it my goal to keep going to the same class each week.

2. Stop Moaning

I didn’t feel the urge to moan until Wednesday when I really did!  I quickly realised that ‘not moaning’ only really works if you can manage to not feel like moaning.  I didn’t moan, but I was in a foul mood and I don’t really think this was much better for me or anyone else than actually verbalising.  I was quite angry.  It wasn’t until Thursday when I spoke to a friend and said I had been angry that I felt better.  She asked what had made me feel angry and I said I couldn’t say because that would be moaning.  She said that it only counted as moaning if it was unsolicited and that if I were to tell her after she had asked it would just be ‘providing information’.  Needless to say, I felt a lot better after I had ‘provided information’.  So, while I would like to be less negative, and maybe not just moan for the sake of it, I don’t think a total ban on moaning is the way forwards!  I will ditch that resolution here and now!

3. Be Early for Work

While I didn’t document this as a goal for the week I was cross that I had not managed to make my first few days back at work (the previous week) on time.  I resolved to be early this week.  This means I need to be in bed by 10pm and get up at 5:45am.  I totally managed it!

The week in review..

Going to Karate on monday night really gave me an energy boost for the whole week.  Although my body only really recovered on friday it made me feel much more energised and positive about my ability to be the person I want to be.  I felt much more in control of myself and was able to be more productive at work.  I had been feeling a little like I hadn’t really put my full effort into my new job so far but was able to be enthusiastic and take on additional responsibilities this week.  This made me feel like I might be able to push forward and make a positive difference to my team and our clients.

Also, I finally sent that blanket to its rightful owner!  That’s a project, finished and in its place:

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I was lucky enough to receive this photo of its beautiful recipient making good use of it!  This really made my week!

Things that Made Me Smile this Weekend

6 Jan

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Amalia, who couldn’t help but do a spot of gardening, in the middle of winter, in her pyjamas.

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Taking the lady-dog for a walk without the boys (on account of her poorly leg) and finding a new park!

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Odin sleeping with his racoon!

I hope something made you smile this weekend 🙂

Resoloutions: Week 1

6 Jan

As I mentioned in my New Year’s post, I have set myself the task of setting a goal at the beginning of each week to be reviewed at the next weekend.

This week’s goals are:

Attend One Karate Class

I have already put in the preparation for this goal: I have contacted the instructor; I have pulled my Gi out of the attic; I have identified the class I will go to.

So there you go, all I need to do is get myself there, tomorrow at 6pm.

Moan Less

Just as an experiment, Just for one week. I will try to reflect on whether this makes me feel better or worse next weekend!

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