Where did all the time go?

After spending another day off my day job, yep you guessed it, working at my day job – I sat wondering where all my time went so far this year. I mean heck! It’s almost the end of March already and I’m no-where near completing the things I wanted to. Now some of this is due to my awesome skills of procrastination, then there’s my day job/all the time of managing a very busy retail customer service team and wanting to make the most of what very little social time I have to spend with family and friends. But still, it’s almost April, which means its almost my birthday, which means its only 2 months from mid year. Argh!

I have at least managed to complete 7, yes you heard right, 7 of my goals I set out for this year. But now I’m beginning to wonder how many more I’m actually going to hit in whats left of this year. I can hear you all shouting at me that there’s still 9 months left of the year, but you know, that whole procrastination thing…

So I think I need a new plan. One that involved spending less time at ‘work’ (I often hit over 60 hours a week just there), and one that gives me more time to do the things I want to do. Days out with family, hours to craft and make things from fabric and wood, time to write what I want to write (something that’s got to be done if I ever want to finish that darn book), time to see things and visit places I’ve always wanted to. And time to love. So here’s to new plans and having someone very special behind me, supporting and encouraging in everything  do.

A glorious day in the park

A glorious day in the park

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2013 Goals update – 1

So at the beginning of the New Year, I set myself quite a large number of goals to try to achieve, rather than some silly resolution that I’d fail before the end of January was up. My list contains 100 different goals, a complete mix of things for work, personal achievements, hopes and dreams.

Sounds like I’m asking a lot from me right?

Wrong.

The idea of the goals was to look back over the year and say “Hey, look at you and the things you can do if you would only stop telling yourself you can’t”.

Now I know that there are a couple on my list that are just not going to be achievable this year, (like live in another country for 6 months), but that doesn’t mean that I won’t attempt them.

So this is me, checking in and sharing with you the ones I can tick off as done.

  • Post a blog for January
  • Post a blog for March

(So I managed to skip the Feb post – totally by accident of course, and not procrastination)

  • Catch a snowflake on my tongue

(Who knew it would STILL be snowing in March!?)

  • Visit the zoo – yay! I love things like this
  • Paint my nails a different colour and leave them for a week
  • Meet an online friend in person
  • Use the stairs where possible – No more lifts for me!
  • Have a memory jar

(I really need to start using this more often though)

  • Post a blog for April – ticked as soon as I hit the post button for this one!

So, that actually doesn’t seem like very many, when my list is 100 goals long.

But!

I have a number of goals that are almost complete as we speak. I am half way through completing a colouring book (kinda silly, but there’s got to be some of those in a list 100 long!). I’m attempting to knit not one, but two tiny blankets as my brother and sister-in-law are expecting twin boys!

I’m halfway through my watch a movie I’ve never seen with each letter of the alphabet goal, and I’m at book 18 of a 100 – and those are just a few I’m in the middle of.

So yes, my goals are progressing nicely, four months into 2013. Now to conquer the world!

world-love

25 things you probably don’t know about me

1 – I won a newspaper baby competition and still have the picture

2 – I own far too many perfume, then re-buy the same two when they run out

3 – I’m a terrible swimmer

4 – I can’t whistle

5 – I sometimes get car sick

6 – I can’t go to sleep until all of the drawers and wardrobe in my room are closed.

7 – I love colouring books and can spend hours doing this

8 – I own over 200 books, and have only read about 50 of them

9 – I read the books posted to Wattpad a lot, hence my very large to be read pile

10 – I love to play tabletop games

11 – I’m awful at poker – I cannot keep the emotions from my face and make a terrible bluffer

12 – I have four tattoos

13 – My first ever concert was Take That – when they were still a 5’some

14 – The only bones I’ve broken are toe bones

15 – I always set my alarm to an odd number, and usually a minimum of 30 minutes before I need to

16 – I am definitely not a morning person

17 – It takes about 2 days after tidying my study for it to be a total mess again

18 – I worked at a petrol station and am trained to oversee the tanker deliveries

19 – I got a D at GSCE Maths, re-took it the following year at college and yep, you guessed it – got another D

20 – I worked in Accounts Payable for 5 years (Quite surprising with my Maths grade huh)

21 – I’ve watched the Top Gun movie more than I can count

22 – My biggest fear is ending up a lonely old spinster (though I don’t like spiders and creepy crawlies much either)

23 – My friends are scattered all over the world, including a childhood penpal from Jamaica who now teaches in Japan

24 – I’ve bitten my nails for almost 18 years and am pleased to say I finally stopped two years ago

25 – I can still play ‘London’s Burning’ on the recorder – just!

 

My baby competition winning photo

My baby competition winning photo

 

Goals and Resolutions

So it’s that time of year again when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions about all the things they want to change within their lives.

Last year, rather than a resolution or two – which, let’s be honest, none of us ever stick to for longer than the month of January – I made a list of 10 goals. Now I thought these were pretty achievable, even for me. They were things like ‘lose weight’ and ‘submit a blog post each month’ and ‘start finishing stories that I start but then leave to start something new’.

Turns out that once I’d written my goals into a new notebook I bought for them, I never looked at the again. Sound familiar? We all do it.

So this year, I’ve set myself a bigger challenge. I have a list of 100 goals. 100 sounds like an awful lot right? Especially when I couldn’t manage the 10 I had last year. But you see; this year is different. This year I have a new outlook on things, thanks to events of the last 6 months, both personal and day job related. I have a support network to help me when I’m feeling low or find myself struggling. I have new friends and colleagues that want me to succeed. And I’m determined to show them that I can.

 

My goal list is printed and pinned to my notice board at my work area/study at home. It’s stored on my PC, laptop and a memory stick. And I’ve kept it fun. No one wants 100 goals that are all work related, so mine is a good mixture this year. And do you want to know the best part? I’ve got a whole year to complete them. Some are monthly goals, others are as and when I do something. Below are just a couple of examples.

* Read the books in my to be read pile – anyone else have this problem, where books seem to accumulate 10 times quicker than you can actually ready them?

* Complete my current WIP (work in progress) – basically this means stop procrastinating.

*Submit to 5 different writing competitions.

* Visit the zoo (secretly can’t wait for this one!)

* Have a memory jar – by writing each good memory down and keeping it in a jar, I’ll be able to re-read them when I need to most, and remind myself that I’ve had fun this year. Not everything is all doom and gloom even though it feels like it.

* Tie a secret to a balloon, and let it go.

*Finish a colouring book – because I’m a big kid at heart.

So you see, not everything has to be work related. I’ve learnt that in order to live a balanced life I need some downtime where I can relax and have fun. My life gets stressful enough as it is without me adding more to it.

What about you? What are your goals and ambitions for 2013?

 

My 2013 list of goals

My 2013 list of goals

 

A Witches Tale

A Witches Tale – a short piece of flash fiction. Hope you enjoy!

Everyone knows where there is death a witch is sure to be nearby. For everyone knows witches are the root of all things evil. They were so bad in Flowergate that the king decreed them as outlaws.

A long time ago, there lived a witch called Molly with bright orange hair and purple eyes. She lived hidden away in the forest, for she’d seen how the king treated witches. Molly longed to show him witches could be kind.

One day, she brewed a love potion in her cauldron. Bubbles popped and sparkled with a kaleidoscope of colours. Molly poured the potion into a bottle, pleased with her idea. She would give the potion to the handsome prince, who would fall in love with her and change the king’s mind about witches forever.

But on her way, Molly tripped over a stone. The potion flew out of her hand and landed in the mouth of a large toad that promptly drank it, finishing every drop. Molly cried, the potion gone and her plans ruined. The moon replaced the sun and the sky grew dark as Molly went home, the toad croaking loudly from the pocket on her cloak. She couldn’t leave behind after it looked at her with its big round eyes.

Molly kissed the toad goodnight and tucked herself into bed. A bright light flashed in the dark beside her. The toad had gone and in its place sat the king’s son. She’d gotten her prince after all.

Remembering The Past

I was in France recently, for a week-long camping trip with my parents. We had planned most of the week with activities and sight-seeing trips; except for the first day. We’d planned some trips into Paris, a day at Euro Disney and all the regular touristy things. So on that first day, we decided to explore the local village we were in, find the shops and markets and maybe spend the day sitting in the sunshine back at the caravan.

We ended up spending the day driving all over the vast farmland and countryside. You see, you cannot go very far in France, without coming across a war memorial. Both my dad and his dad fought in the military, so it’s always been an interest of mine. We spent the day driving and stopping at all the different memorials we saw.

A number of them line the roadsides, like the French Military site, Ambleny, which is one of the largest French Military Cemeteries of the Aisne region. Amongst the 10, 266 graves, 8157 have individual names, and a further 76 are civilian casualties.

 

 

 

It was stopping and visiting here that sent us on a quest to see what others we could find. We were staying in the surrounds of the Valley of Aisne, between Soissons and Reims, which was the main assault of the French Military’s offensive in 1917 during World War 1, and a number of further battles during World War 2.

 

 

 

The Battle of La Malmaison lies on the road Chemin des Dames and had already been a focal point of extremely heavy fighting during WWI, and so the German war graves commissioned the cemetery in 1941. It’s located near the old ruins of Fort-de-Malmaison and was used as a collection point for individual graves, combining them in a central location. During 1960 and 1961, 6,800 German war casualties were laid to rest here.

 

 

 

Vailly-Sur-Aisne lies on the North bank of the Aisne River, and here we found a British cemetery. Vailly-Sur-Aisne village was the point at which the 3rd Division crossed the river on the 12th September 1914, in the advance from the Marne. It fell to the Germans in 1915. It was retaken by the French on the 18th April 1917, lost again in June 1918, and finally captured by the French on the 15th September 1918. Vailly British Cemetery was made after the Armistice, by concentration from other burial grounds and from the battlefields.

The majority of those buried here died in September 1914. There are now over 650, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly half are unidentified. It was while here, that we found a number of graves of people from my home county of Berkshire. We also found graves with the emblem of my dad’s army regiment, making it even more poignant.

My dad's regimental crest

 

 

 

 

One of our last stops of the day, was the Guards Grave MCMXIV, in ‘La Forêt de Retz’. The Forêt de Retz was the scene of a rearguard action fought by the 4th (Guards) Brigade on 1 September 1914. In the aftermath of the fighting, many of the dead Guardsmen were buried by the people of Villers-Cotterêts. The cemetery was formed by the Irish Guards when the British forces regained this territory two months later and contains 98 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 20 of which are unidentified. Just north of the cemetery on the road to  stands a memorial to the Coldstream, Grenadier and Irish Guardsmen who were killed or mortally wounded during the rearguard action.

A later memorial was placed there by Lady Edward Cecil, the mother of Captain George Edward Cecil of the Coldstream Guards who fell during the fighting on 1 September and is buried in the cemetery.

 

 

 

 

The only thing I regret about our visit to all these sights was not having a pen. Each site had a visitor book, left in a secure weather-proof box, and I would have liked to have left a note with my thanks, to all those brave men and women who fought for what we have today.

 

 

 

 

 

Six Sentence Sunday #4

Welcome to this weeks SSS! So I’ve been really awful with procrastination ever since my Christmas vacation, and haven’t posted on my blog at all! Bad me. So here is a new SixSunday for your perusal. This is taken from a peice of flash fiction I wrote titled ‘A witches Tale’.
Everyone knows where there is death a witch is sure to be nearby. For everyone knows witches are the root of all things evil. They were so bad in Flowergate that the king decreed them as outlaws. A long time ago, there lived a witch called Molly with bright orange hair and purple eyes. She lived hidden away in the forest, for she’d seen how the king treated witches. Molly longed to show him witches could be kind.

And there you have it! Comments and feedback welcomed. I hope you enjoyed them and come visit next week for another six. For more great windows into people’s work, please visit Six sentence Sunday here.