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

Adventures in Norwich

A weekend away. A weekend of friends and love and glorious sunshine in Norfolk.

And it only took 3hrs to get there. 3 fantastic hours with my boy, listening to his favourite punk pop CDs all the way down the A17. And as usual, as soon as we get there, it was like we’d never been away. I love the precious time I get to spend not only with my boy, but sharing him with my amazing friend and her daughter.  We have made plans – plans for next year, plans to get together again soon and now my boy is old enough to babysit, plans to actually go out!

Good times. Good times.

Swings

Good food

Good food is essential to keeping a calm head and a strong body. It is so easy to get food these days. It’s packaged in handy plastic containers, and sold in portions, just for you! I am not the best cook. I struggle making food that isn’t yellow. But over the past few months I have tried really hard to  learn how to cook food from scratch – with a little help from my friends.

One of the beautiful things about social media, is our friends are always next door. And that means ‘pass it forward’ becomes easier than ever. I have a few recipes that I inherited from from friends over the years, but these days, help is just a click away. I recently made a pasta/quiche/vegetable concoction that I would never have risked without message support from an experienced pasta quicher. Good things come to those who have access to social media stalkers to help you measure your pasta/eggs ratios.

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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.