A new sofa

I am an advertiser’s dream. I’m sure if I was to turn up at ‘Derren Brown does Hypnosis’ at Sheffield City Hall, I’d be an easy target. But I do have some kind of self restraint. This much I know. I have wanted a little two-seater sofa for a few months to go in the gaping space in front of my radiator, but instead of ordering a £1000 made to measure sofa from Habitat, I have been making a daily trek down to the Next Outlet near my house to see if there has been an appropriate return. Ooh – will the brown two-seater do? It’s 60% off… NO. IT WILL NOT DO. So every day I go back, looking for all the world like a weird shop lifter walking straight to the discount sofas, and walking straight back out again.

But…

Today, oh my, today was different. Today I walked in and found my perfect sofa. It was small, perfectly formed, and purple. PURPLE! Oh my days. I thought I was looking for a grey sofa, but it turned out I was actually looking for a purple one! And there it was! And so I bought it. And Paul – the man with a van – is going to deliver it for me tomorrow. So hang fire, folks, and hopefully this time tomorrow I will be able to give you picture of my new purple sofa in situ! Now the question is, will I cover it in fairy lights…Purple fairy lights

Waiting, waiting…

I WANT TO PUT MY TREE UP. I am the opposite of bah humbug. I would have the Christmas spirit all year round if I could get away with it. One thing I’ve started doing recently is leaving one extra set of fairy lights up all year – in a bowl, in the window, in the garden, in the fire place. Where ever I can get away with it, to be fair. I’ve even got my youngest hooked – he was thrilled to come home from school last week to find I’d draped his banister rails in bright white fairy lights as a treat. Boy after my own heart!

Well, at the moment it’s still November. So I can’t go for it just yet. Convention dictates WE DON’T DO CHRISTMAS TILL DECEMBER. Three days to wait. Get me to Dec 1st and my house will be lit up like Blackpool, and I will be beside myself with joy! So for now, I wait. Patience is everything at Christmas…

Christmas tree

 

A room with a view

Tonight I am in a different city, in a different bed, with a different view. I’m listening to the hustle down below and wondering where all these strangers are heading, and what lives they are leading.

I remember the first time I became aware of my sense of self within my own head. I was about 11 and on my own on a bus heading into town to meet my friend at Top Shop. I noticed someone walking along the pavement next to the bus and was struck by the fact that I would never know what they were thinking and would probably never ever get to meet them to even ask them their name.

Sometimes it takes a change of view to remind us of ourselves. To remind us what it is that makes us unique and special. To remind us to consider our outlook, and be thankful for what we see.

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What does Work Life Balance look like?

We’re all so busy… Our days are full and our weekends are fuller.  As we get stretched more and more by our families and our managers, by our responsibilities at work and at home, we start to think that we are failing if we can’t keep up. Something’s got to give…

We’ve all heard about ‘Work Life Balance’, but what is this elusive thing that other people seem to have that we don’t? What does it actually look like? I’ve gathered together a few ideas that are accessible to all of us, no matter how busy we are, that might bring back some measure of joy into our days and weeks.

Essentially, work life balance (WLB) is about allowing ourselves the time to choose an activity, or experience, or task (or absence of these things completely) without guilt, instead of continuing ever onwards with work-based jobs. It’s a well-planned diary where there are pockets of ‘me time’ that remind you what it is that you enjoy about being in the world. A regular exercise class, a gig at a local venue, a meal out with old friend or new friend. A book to pick up and read, just for pleasure, just for you. When was the last time you were able to properly do it for yourself? We know all these things are good for our soul, but we get swept away with the pace of work and the panic of our never-ending to-do list. So we need to plan it, and stick to it.

Once a week, make sure you take an evening off. Handbag Wednesday.  This is a real thing. Managers up and down the country are enforcing Handbag Wednesday as we speak, and if yours isn’t, maybe you could suggest it? On this day, you don’t take anything home except your handbag – and gentlemen, we know you have handbags too… So now you’ve found yourself with an evening off! You could go swimming after school with your children, or for a run. Pop into town and buy a new top. Plan a book club night or join WI. Learn a new craft by checking out some local classes. There is a whole world outside that is there to be experienced. But you have to plan it and plan it well otherwise you’ll ‘just leave it for this week’, then a fortnight has passed, and then you might not pick it up again. Get a calendar and write the dates on the calendar in PEN. Book the babysitter and pay the course costs up front.  Organise the book club AT YOUR HOUSE so you can’t cancel at the last minute with ‘I’m working tonight. Can we make it next week?’

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All of these things are important. Work out what is important to you and your family and begin to bring that balance back into your life. Sometimes, the smallest things can make a massive difference.

Getting up in the morning

This much I know: I am not a morning person. I am (as my Nanna used to call me) a Night Owl. During the evening and early hours I am at my most productive/energetic/entertaining. This means alarm clocks and dawn starts are very difficult for me. Very difficult indeed. A 9am meeting takes days of planning and at least 3 alarms amidst fears that I will oversleep and miss the whole shebang (to this day I never have, but I’ve had a few near misses). I used to be terrified of a power cut in the night which would turn off my alarm clock. My mobile phone multi alarm system has been my morning lifeline for years now (though now I worry that the battery will go flat so my back up alarm is now my old electric one!).

So here are a few hints and tips that help me get out of bed in the morning.

  1. Get a cat. A cat will come and stand on your head at 7:30am everyday and paw at your eyes until you get out of bed to feed it. They do it in such a cute way that you can’t possibly resist them.
  2. Get a kid. Slightly longer term option, agreed, but helps you wake up REALLY early. Especially when the clocks go back AND THEY DON’T NOTICE.
  3. Get into morning tele. If you’ve already gone for point 2. above, then you are likely to be versed in the wonder of insomniac children’s television. If not, there are plenty of news channels to choose from to brighten your morning!
  4. Get a teasmaid. Wake up to a cup of tea already made for you! What’s not to love? If you, like me, can’t function without a cuppa, this might be a great halfway house to enable you to have your cuppa and drink it. Before having to actually get out of bed. These things should be compulsory, in my humble opinion.

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WAGOLL

So, in our daily life, what DOES a good one look like? What does it look like when things are going well? What does our life look like when things are on track? Actually, it might not look so different on a good day or on a bad day, it’s just a question of focus.

When you’re in a rut, think of 5 things that are good and constant and definitely true.

  1. I am worthy because my children are nice, and good people, and they (sometimes) make their beds without me reminding them to.
  2. I am decent because I am also nice, and good, and I hold down a job as well as managing to keep a roof over my head.
  3. I am respected and respectful because I remember my manners and treat others how I like to be treated.
  4. I am intelligent in my own way because I work hard at what I’m good at in order to excel at that task.
  5. I can make sweet peas come alive.

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New day today

Today is the best day to make a new start. Yesterday, I ate a little bit too much cheese and drank a little bit too much prosecco, but today I can make good choices about food, drink, work, exercise, words and thoughts.

The thoughts that I choose to acknowledge and the thoughts that I choose to dismiss are entirely up to me.

Today I am choosing good food and good thoughts. Today I am going to look in the mirror and tell myself that I’m the youngest I will ever be and today I am amazing!

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The perfect cup of tea

Here at dizzie.net we’re all about the tea. I’ve never been a big coffee drinker. Don’t get me wrong – I love the smell. But for me, it’s got to be a big mug of tea. (Usually two, to be fair).

So what’s the recipe for the perfect cup of tea? Simple. Time. Cup of tea = ‘me time’. So whether you take it with 2 sugars, black, extra milky or ‘as it comes’, the most important ingredient in the perfect cup of tea is a little bit of time to sit down and enjoy it. Oh, and your favourite mug.

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Breathing into nowness

Today is all there is. Tomorrow doesn’t exist and yesterday is gone. All we have is now.

Nowness, or mindfulness, is the art of being in the moment, immersed completely in now. But before we can be present, we have to notice that we’re not, and this takes some practice.

What can I wear tomorrow?

What am I going to do about my broken hub-cap?

How am I going to make them like me more?

We drive ourselves mad. So stop. Notice the thoughts. And breathe. Long deep breaths. Count 3 in. Count 3 out. Repeat 5 times and concentrate only on your breathing. This is a calming technique which comes from yoga practice. When you have finished the cycle, notice your surroundings and move on. If the thought returns, notice it and let it go. It’s just a thought – it doesn’t exist.

  1. Stop
  2. Notice the thought
  3. Breathe 3 and 3 for 5
  4. Let it go

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