Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wonderful Wednesday 31


It's been a busy start to the year! Between work and life and a professional qualification that I've decided to study for on top of everything else, last week's post didn't happen. But I managed to accomplish what I needed to do and felt better for it without feeling like I'd stretched myself too thinly - it's all about balance after all. (Shameless new year post plug).

But wasn't this weekend wonderful? The sun shone and it really felt like spring was on its way. Granted by the time the sun went in, I felt like I was going to lose my fingers to the cold but still, the glorious hope of spring remained fresh in my mind and it felt good!

Of course, the views over the last few mornings haven't been quite as glorious...but still beautiful in their own hauntingly eerie way.


So what else has been making me smile over the course of the last week?

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♥ Gilmore Girls... I've been marathoning all of the Gilmore Girls series over the last few months (can't actually remember exactly when I started!) and last night I bawled my way through the final episode of series 7, which now leaves only the recently-aired special to go. I've loved working my way through this - what on earth can I start when it's over?!

♥ Planning a university reunion weekend... After a flurry of weddings over the last few years, there has been a flurry of babies and general life shenanigans, which has got in the way of a proper catch up with my close group of university girls for a couple of years. With one of the girls having a second baby on the way this summer, we've decided to have a meet-up in advance of that and use the opportunity to meet one of our friend's little twins who arrived on the scene shortly before Christmas.

♥ Porridge... As the weather has got colder over the last few weeks (and the lovely Miss Sally continues to extol its delights on a regular basis with some awe-inspiring combinations of flavours), I've been craving porridge's comforting warmth and finally tracked down some gluten free oats this week. Despite the fact that my mornings tend to be a blurry haze with little more than 5 minutes to wolf down my breakfast, it's been so lovely to start the day with some porridge again - a little warm glow before I brave the morning chill. Apple and cinnamon is my current favourite :)

♥ Women's Marches... I couldn't join in the Women's March on London on Saturday because I had to work, which I was really sad about but just seeing all the photos/news stories/tweets roll in made me smile so hard. Seeing that amount of people come together so peacefully filled me with optimism and sheer joy, despite the knowledge that one of the major things being protested about is still very much an on-going issue.

Family lunchings... On Sunday, hubby and I joined my parents,and my brother and his girlfriend for a lunch to celebrate my brother's birthday. They may have been slightly hungover after celebrating the night before as well (I'm all for making the celebration last as long as possible!) but we enjoyed a lovely few hours catching up...particularly as we hadn't all been together since Christmas. More get-togethers please 2017, love them!

♥ Caitlin Moran on Desert Island Discs... Oh my goodness, this was absolutely wonderful - a feast for the ears, both musically and anecdotally. I adore Caitlin Moran any way, I think her 'How to be a Woman' should be read by everyone, but this made me love her even more. Apparently they recorded over over 2 and a half hours but it was whittled down to just over 30 minutes of pure joy as Caitlin whizzed through her life from a childhood of home schooling and living with her parents and 7 siblings in a council house, to writing her first novel at 13 and becoming a journalist. "Life isn't about surviving" she said at one point, "it's about cramming in as much joy as possible". Abso-bloody-lutely! Kirsty Young really had a fight on her hands trying to get Caitlin to pause on certain topics and dwell on things that she perhaps would have been tempted to gloss over and poke fun at. One particular moment had me in tears, it resonated with me so completely...not ideal in the middle of a bus on my commute home but still. Go and listen to it immediately and, if you haven't already, read 'How to be a Woman'. I'll leave you with another favourite quote:
"I believe in giddy, deluded, intoxicated optimism because that's the fuel that will keep you going long after anger, righteousness and fear have burned out. I look everywhere for things to make me optimistic."
And if that doesn't perfectly sum up what this Wonderful Wednesday experience is all about, I don't know what does!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamanthaKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraSarahMimmiJasminMartinaLynsey and Katie (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wonderful Wednesday 30

Found via Pinterest, which sent me here

Happy Wonderful Wednesday and an even happier New Year to you all! I didn't manage to get my act together at all last week, completely lost track of my days and left it a little too late to deliver any Wonderful on my Wednesday - apologies for that!

This time of year is hard. I love the pre-Christmas Winter build-up, when the nights draw in but everywhere else is so full of light. January and February...not so much. It's a struggle and therefore so so important to notice the good times. I missed this last week, even though I wasn't sure what day it was half the time! No chance of that this week, welcome back my old friend 5 day week.

So without further ado...

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♥ New wardrobe... It's only taken us 9 months or so since we moved to the new place but at last, I have my wardrobe o'dreams! I broke during the Christmas holiday, as the hanging rail we had bought as a temporary measure got ricketier and ricketier, and I couldn't see one item of clothing from another, and dragged the husband to Oak Furniture Land where I was adamant that we would be leaving with a wardrobe. And leave with one we did, although not physically, but with the promise that it would be delivered in the near future. It was delivered on Friday and I don't think I've ever been as excited about something in a long time (oh yes). I may have hugged it. And then proceeded to organise and unpack things that have been sitting in boxes for far too long.


♥ Proud wife moment... My husband was contacted by Open Doors Gallery just before Christmas about doing a takeover of their Instagram feed and some of his photographs made their way up on to their page around the beginning of the new year. The first image from his takeover can be found here and then just follow the arrows.

♥ Joining the library... As I said in my first post of the new year, I want to read more this year - fit it into a slightly more balanced life. I had been planning to join the local library for a while and this weekend, I finally crossed that off my to-do list. My first Saturday job, when I turned 16, was in my local library and you could only take out 6 books at a time. You can now take out 25! What the what?! I'll plough through my Goodreads book challenge for the year in no time with that allowance!


♥ Catch-up dinner... On Friday, I went for dinner with the lovely Laura (who also joined the Wonderful Wednesday brigade last year over on her blog) for the first time in far too long! Over pizza, extra mozzarella in the form of mini caprese salads and tea, we caught up on the last few months and our plans for the year ahead. You know what they say about not seeing a good friend for a while and picking up just where you left off? All of that. But that's not to say we're leaving it that long next time - last year was a blip!

♥ Taboo... It's been an absolute age since there's been something watchable (in my view!) on Saturday nights! I was quite intrigued when the trailers for Taboo popped up over the Christmas period, thinking it must have been based on a Victorian novel that I'd never heard of before. Turns out it was written by Tom Hardy and his Dad, and parts of it are a little dark in a hilarious "look at how dark this is" way but it's really enjoyable and we'll definitely be tuning in for the rest of the series. Tom Hardy's presence doesn't hurt too, even if the Guardian review described him as "a man who has rarely encountered a piece of scenery he didn't want to immediately chew". I may have lost a large amount of tea straight out of my nose reading that.

♥ Getting organised... Despite (or perhaps because) the weekend was damp, cold and grey, we achieved so much over the 2 day period - furniture building and moving, final unpacking and sorting, a big post-new year clean, joining the library and hanging a clock (never mind the fact that it fell down again a few hours later). It felt really excellent to get on top of things and continue planning the year ahead. Spring cleaning before spring, almost!

I hope you're having a wonderful week - what's been your highlight so far?

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamanthaKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraSarahMimmiJasminMartina and Lynsey - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Hello 2017.

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
 - Neil Gaiman
I've never been a great one with new year's resolutions. I would sit down, think hard and write a long list of things, which I would valiantly abide by for about a week, then spend the rest of the year feeling ever so slightly guilty that I just couldn't manage the life overhaul I'd imagined for myself at the beginning of the year.

A few years ago, I decided instead to give myself a word for the year, which I find a far less oppressive solution. You see, I like the idea of a new year being a fresh start and a chance to make some important changes or set out some goals, but without all the pressure that a list of resolutions imposes.

I've been thinking about what to choose for this year's word over the Christmas period and I've decided that my word for 2017 is 'balance'. The last few months of 2016 were exhausting and, until I had a little time off in December, I felt as if the weeks were racing by and I was struggling to focus on anything apart from work and a series of seemingly never-ending to-do lists. I love my job and I really feel like my career is going in a direction that I'm proud of but I want to make time for other things too, which I know will only help me to be more focused and balanced in all aspects of my life.

So how to bring more balance to my life? This year, I'm planning to really set aside some quality time with my husband and friends, exploring more of this amazing city/country of ours and putting my phone to one side as much as possible and really give all my attention to these moments, which can be so fleeting. At the same time, part of the balance I think I need will be learning to say no when necessary - that may take some work. I want to pay more attention to my health and focus on some me-time, by reading more, getting back into yoga and taking some time for crafts and baking (which I loved doing during my days off over the last few weeks!). I think it'll be an important lifestyle change for me but one I can implement gradually and which will make me happier, healthier and more productive in the long term. I'm excited!

Starting as I mean to go on...with tea and a good book.

What are your plans for the new year? Have you made any resolutions or chosen a word to live by over the coming months? Whatever you've decided to do, I hope you have wonderful, peaceful starts to 2017. Here's to the year ahead!