#ThrowbackThursday: Flowers

** This is an item from my Bucket List that I completed before I started this blog **

One of the items on my list is to receive flowers from someone other than my mum or best friend.  One valentines day a few years ago, the subject of giving flowers came up and I said that no one had ever bought me flowers before (apart from my mum).  The next day I had these waiting for me on my desk from my friend Nicky!

flowers-from-nicky

Funnily enough, a couple of years later, my lovely team mates decided I deserved some flowers after doing some Valentines RAK’s of my own (I’ll post about that another time).  I actually burst out crying when I got them as they were so unexpected!

I love learning new things and often look into random things online; Do you know the history of flower giving?  This website says

Not surprisingly, the tradition dates back to prehistoric times when flowers often had medicinal and herbal attributes for our ancestors. Giving flowers was a charitable thing to do, something that persists to this day. There have been remnants of flower petals in several grave sites found by archeologists.

Moving forward several thousand years, there are records of flower giving dating back to Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese writings, as well as in Greek and Roman mythology.

In more recent times, the practice of giving a flower flourished in the Middle Ages. At that time the strict guidelines of the church prevented couples from showing open affection in public. Giving flowers allowed them to show their emotions without the worry that someone would see and report them. Couples could also encode messages with the flower arrangement and send each other messages that way.

In the 1700s, Charles II of Sweden brought the message of the flower tradition to a new height with the Language of Flowers, which was a Persian custom. The Language of Flowers was used extensively in Turkey for the sending of messages. The practice became so refined that military messages were sent as a bouquet of flowers, with the enemy believing the flowers to simply be flowers and not a message.

During the Victorian era, many books were written on what different flowers said, along with how to arrange them to form a message between you and the recipient.

In the theatre world, flowers became part of the tradition and superstition of the play in the Middle Ages. From those early years, the belief started that having flowers on stage was unlucky, unless they were handed to a leading lady at the end of the performance, at which point it is considered good luck.

Our current era of flowers has changed little from previous times. We may not send literal messages in flowers, but a rose on Valentines Day says more than words ever could.

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A Little Back Story

I thought I would fill you in on some of my history as far as my health goes.  It’s not something I necessarily talk about a lot, but it does make me who I am, and does affect the things I do (or don’t do) on a daily basis.

I have eye problems, a fair few of them at the moment, including Recurrent Anterior Uveitus, extremely dry eyes and a Corneal Ulcer .. to name a few.  My site is OK most of the time, but very blurry too.  When I was first diagnosed with sight problems I was 13; I went to bed one summer night and couldn’t see the poster i had taped the the wall above my bed.  I thought it had fallen down so switched on the light to find it, only to see it there on the ceiling as normal.

As luck would have it, we were going to the opticians the next day so thought I would mention it to her then.  I did .. and after a long look in my eyes, was sent straight to A&E to see an eye specialist as soon as possible. It was a scary day of (my first ever) blood tests, X-rays and scans of all sorts – the main reason behind this is that Uveitis (which is what they realised I had) is a symptom on juvenile arthritis.

Thankfully, all of the tests came back negative, so they decided to treat the problem and keep their eye on me (excuse the pun) to make sure things didn’t get any worse (I also had some knee issues which was the reason they were confused about what was wrong with me).  So I took the drops and creams and eye baths and all the other things they recommended and it went away – yay!

Six months later it was back .. and I had to go through all of the same tests again just to make sure things weren’t getting worse.  They weren’t so they game me some more drops and sen me on my way.  This pattern repeated itself throughout my adolescence and into my early 20’s, albeit they didn’t always run ALL of the tests every time .. thank goodness!!  I was lucky enough to make it through both my GCSE’s and A-Level’s without incident, but made sure I always had some Hypromellose (fake tears) and a Prescription for the steroid drops handy, just in case!

These days, I am lucky, I tend to only get one attack a year and am obviously much better at noticing when it comes.  I am quick to call the Ophthalmologist so that they can get me in, check me over and give me my drops – it takes less than 2hours these days!  Unfortunately, I have, in the meantime, been diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatism (PR) and Osteo-Arthritis and possibly something else (connective tissue oriented), although that is still being debated – I am an odd duck as my symptoms and test results don’t seem to match up with anything but at least they acknowledge that there is something there!  My Rheumatologist is lovely – any time I have an issue I just call and he books me in!

Obviously the clincher here is that if I could lose weight, it would help my joints immensely, but I am in a Catch-22 situation as I find it very hard to exercise ‘like a normal’ person DUE to the pain in my joints.  It takes me 5 mins just to get up after sitting for more than a minute or so – I have to steady myself, get my leg joints used to the idea of moving again and can then set off, and that is on a good, non-PR day.

I try to eat well (after all I don’t want or need to put on any MORE weight) and getting my 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is always a challenge I set myself (but unfortunately rarely reach at the moment). Drinking water is important too, not just because of the dry eye thing but I am also chronically dehydrated .. It’s one thing after another!

So there we are .. I think that’s it for now!  This year is about trying to lessen the work my poor body has to do simply to keep me alive and functioning, but losing some weight, getting more exercise and strengthening my muscles and tendons is going to help too.

Remembering 10 of the Best

This post may seem a little down beat bearing in mind the New Year is all about forgetting the past and moving on with the future, but with so many talented people leaving is last year, I wanted to take a moment to remember the ones that I will miss the most.

How did I pick them? Simply the ones that I had the biggest reaction to when I heard the sad news.  We all have our own tastes and this will show a little of mine – they may not be the ones you are expecting…

  • Victoria Wood – ‘Have ya seen ‘er? My friend Kimberley?’. Honestly, I was totally and utterly devastated when I heard the news.  Victoria has been a staple in my house growing up, we watched and listened to everything going and think we had all of the VHS cassettes and DVD’s going. I cant really do her justice so this will have to do.

  • Alan Rickman – One of the most wonderful actors of a generation but one that was almost forgotten about when discussing the ‘mainstream’, that was at least until he took on Severus Snape in Harry Potter.  But think about his over parts – Hans Gruber in Die Hard, The Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Harry in Love Actually and one of my all time favourite, Metatron in Dogma.. Amazing talent, wonderful voice and someone I will miss every time Snape dies in HP.

  • Terry Wogan – There’s not much that can be said about Terry that hasn’t already been said.  Such a warm and lovely man and someone I really enjoyed listening to on the radio.  My mum taught his grandson when he was in primary school and the whole family were lovely.  His is very much missed!
  • Doris Roberts – I used to love watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” in the morning whilst getting up and getting ready for work.  It never failed to make me smile and chuckle, especially Raymond’s mum, played by Doris.  Then of course, there are her Christmas films, which I watched this year; “Mrs Miracle” is a firm favourite in our house!
  • Gene Wilder – He will always be Willy Wonker to me and because of that I have always looked on his as a slightly weird person, which I am sure he wasn’t, but it totally didn’t put me off at all.  He was a great actor and I’ll definitely try to watch one or two of his other films this year that I haven’t seen already.
  • Jo Cox – I wasn’t a constituent of hers nor am I particularly aligned with most of the political stances that she had, but to be attacked in the way she was when we pride ourselves on freedom of speech and other things, is terrible and I am glad the culprit was caught and sentenced quickly.
  • Richard Adams – Watership Down is one of those stories that I have had a funny relationship with; I love the story but the film gave me nightmares for years.  I was even too scared to see it when I was older and more rational, and only re-watched it a couple of years ago. I must sit and read the book and watch the film for this years challenge!
  • George Michael – I was never a fangirl for George but I did like his songs and a couple of them hold memories for me in one way or another.  “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” in particular reminds me of a class play I was in when I was about 12 that was a giggle right from the start to the end and I can still remember what I had to do during that song with my class make Jon!  I think he made it onto this list purely for the wonderful stories coming out since his passing of his amazing generosity.  It seems that whenever he was touched by someone or something and felt he could help in any way, he did.  Such a shame that he felt he needed to hide away towards the end of his life.
  • René Angélil & Daniel Dion – Hearing of Rene’s death made me sad for Celine Dion (I was a fan when I was younger), but then just a few days later, her older brother suffered the same fate.  I don’t know how (or even if) I would cope if both my husband and brother passed away within days of each other – she is a strong lady.
  • Dr Donald Henderson – Dr Henderson was an epidemiologist who embarked on a 10-year voyage across the world, and managed to almost eradicate smallpox. Travelling around the globe – Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Somalia, to name but a few countries – his exhaustive efforts meant that by 1975, “almost all of Asia and Africa were free of smallpox”.

So there we go. I’m not naive enough to think that 2017 will be any kinder to us – the fact of the matter is that we have gotten to the point where the film and TV stars that we have grown up with and loved are getting older too and will, inevitably, die. yes it’s sad for those of us that never knew them but we move on and new stars are made every day and so the cycle begins again.

It’s really the family’s I feel for the most. They have to deal with their devastation whilst trying to deal with everything that comes with a loved ones death, as well as press releases, public announcements, media interest and probably lots of fans sending flowers and letters, which although I am sure are appreciated, are just something else they have to deal with at a difficult time.

To all those that passed away in 2016, whether well known or not, RIP.

Sunday Story: The Mail Coach Passengers

This week’s Sunday Story is brought to you by Hans Christian Andersen.  Enjoy.

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It was bitterly cold. The sky glittered with stars, and not a breeze stirred. “Bump,’ an old pot was thrown at a neighbour’s door – and, “Bang! Bang!” went the guns, for they were greeting the New Year.

It was New Year’s Eve, and the church clock was striking twelve. “Tan-ta-ra-ra, tan-ta-ra- ra!” sounded the horn, and the mail-coach came lumbering up. The clumsy vehicle stopped at the gate of the town – all the places had been taken, for there were twelve passengers in the coach.

“Hurrah! Hurrah!” cried the people in the town – for in every house the New Year was being welcomed – and, as the clock struck, they stood up, the full glasses in their hands, to drink success to the newcomer. “A happy New Year,” was the cry – “a pretty wife, plenty of money, and no sorrow or care!”

The wish passed round, and the glasses clashed together till they rang again – while before the town-gate the mail-coach stopped with the twelve strange passengers. And who were these strangers? Each of them had his passport and his luggage with him – they even brought presents for me, and for you, and for all the people in the town. Who were they? What did they want? And what did they bring with them?

“Good-morning!” they cried to the sentry at the town-gate.

“Good-morning,” replied the sentry, for the clock had struck twelve.

“Your name and profession?” asked the sentry of the one who alighted first from the carriage.

“See for yourself in the passport,” he replied.

“I am myself!’ and a famous fellow he looked, arrayed in bearskin and fur boots. “Come to me tomorrow, and I will give you a New Year present. I throw shillings and pence among the people. I give balls every night, no less than thirty-one. Indeed, that is the highest number I can spare for balls. My ships are often frozen in, but in my offices it is warm and comfortable. MY NAME IS JANUARY. I am a merchant, and I generally bring my accounts with me.”

Then the second alighted. He seemed a merry fellow. He was a director of a theater, a manager of masked balls, and a leader of all the amusements we can imagine. His luggage consisted of a great cask.

“We’ll dance the bung out of the cask at carnival-time,” said he. “I’ll prepare a merry tune for you and for myself, too. Unfortunately I have not long to live, the shortest time, in fact, of my whole family – only twenty-eight days. Sometimes they pop me in a day extra – but I trouble myself very little about that. Hurrah!”

“You must not shout so,” said the sentry.

“Certainly I may shout,” retorted the man.

“I’m Prince Carnival, traveling under THE NAME OF FEBRUARY.”

The third now got out. He looked the personification of fasting – but he carried his nose very high, for he was a weather prophet. In his buttonhole he wore a little bunch of violets, but they were very small.

“MARCH, MARCH!” the fourth passenger called after him, slapping him on the shoulder, “don’t you smell something good? Make haste into the guard-room, they are feasting in there. I can smell it already! FORWARD, MASTER MARCH!”

But it was not true. The speaker only wanted to make an APRIL FOOL of him, for with that fun the fourth stranger generally began his career. He looked very jovial, and did little work.

“If the world were only more settled!” said he – “but sometimes I’m obliged to be in a good humor, and sometimes a bad one. I can laugh or cry according to circumstances. I have my summer wardrobe in this box here, but it would be very foolish to put it on now!”

After him a lady stepped out of the coach. SHE CALLED HERSELF MISS MAY. She wore a summer dress and overshoes. Her dress was light green, and there were anemones in her hair. She was so scented with wild thyme that it made the sentry sneeze.

“Your health, and God bless you!” was her greeting.

How pretty she was! and such a singer! Not a theater singer nor a ballad-singer – no, but a singer of the woods. For she wandered through the gay, green forest, and had a concert there for her own amusement.

“Now comes the young lady,” said those in the coach – and out stepped a young dame, delicate, proud, and pretty. IT WAS MISTRESS JUNE. In her service people become lazy and fond of sleeping for hours. She gives a feast on the longest day of the year, that there may be time for her guests to partake of the numerous dishes at her table. Indeed, she keeps her own carriage, but still she travels by the mail – coach with the rest because she wishes to show that she is not proud.

But she was not without a protector – her younger brother, JULY, was with her. He was a plump, young fellow, clad in summer garments, and wearing a straw hat. He had very little luggage because it was so cumbersome in the great heat. He had, however, swimming-trousers with him, which are nothing to carry.

Then came the mother herself, MADAME AUGUST, a wholesale dealer in fruit, proprietress of a large number of fish-ponds, and a land-cultivator. She was fat and warm, yet she could use her hands well, and would herself carry out food to the laborers in the field. After work, came the recreations, dancing and playing in the greenwood, and the “harvest home.” She was a thorough housewife.

After her a man stepped out of the coach. He is a painter, a master of colors, and is NAMED SEPTEMBER. The forest on his arrival has to change its colors, and how beautiful are those he chooses! The woods glow with red, and gold, and brown. This great master painter can whistle like a blackbird. There he stood with his color-pot in his hand, and that was the whole of his luggage.

A landowner followed, who in the month for sowing seed attends to his ploughing and is fond of field sports. SQUIRE OCTOBER brought his dog and his gun with him, and had nuts in his game-bag.

“Crack! Crack!” He had a great deal of luggage, even a plough. He spoke of farming, but what he said could scarcely be heard for the coughing and sneezing of his neighbor.

It WAS NOVEMBER, who coughed violently as he got out. He had a cold, but he said he thought it would leave him when he went out woodcutting, for he had to supply wood to the whole parish. He spent his evenings making skates, for he knew, he said, that in a few weeks they would be needed.

At length the last passenger made her appearance – OLD MOTHER DECEMBER! The dame was very aged, but her eyes glistened like two stars. She carried on her arm a flower-pot, in which a little fir tree was growing. “This tree I shall guard and cherish,” she said, “that it may grow large by Christmas Eve, and reach from the floor to the ceiling, to be adorned with lighted candles, golden apples, and toys. I shall sit by the fireplace, and bring a story-book out of my pocket, and read aloud to all the little children. Then the toys on the tree will become alive, and the little waxen Angel at the top will spread out his wings of gold leaf, and fly down from his green perch. He will kiss every child in the room, yes, and all the little children who stand out in the street singing a carol about the `Star of Bethlehem.’ ”

“Well, now the coach may drive away,” said the sentry – “we will keep all the twelve months here with us.”

“First let the twelve come to me,” said the Captain on duty, “one after another. The passports I will keep here, each of them for one month. When that has passed, I shall write the behavior of each stranger on his passport. MR. JANUARY, have the goodness to come here.”

And MR. JANUARY stepped forward.

When a year has passed, I think I shall be able to tell you what the twelve passengers have brought to you, to me, and to all of us. Just now I do not know, and probably even they do not know themselves, for we live in strange times.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

HNY 2017.jpg

SO. It’s almost done with, this pesky 2016.  People all over the net are calling it a bad year or hoping for better in 2017, but I’m here to tell you that its unlikely to get worse on the ‘losing famous people that we grew up with, admire and will miss’ front.  After all, they age and get ill too; I realise that this is rubbish and that we kinda wish they were invincible, but … well, there it is.

I guess looking at my year you would be able to point at certain points and say that it hasn’t been great (being fired and then not earning much money from June to now) but generally, I am a happier and more content person than I was this time last year, and I think it is BECAUSE of these so-called, bad things!

What we can do, however, is make our 2017 even more amazingly awesome .. and this is what I plan to do!  To help me on my way, I have decided to create a “217 in 2017” list which will be the basis of  this awesome year and I will share this below in the hopes that it helps keep me accountable!  I should add here that this is mostly from a personal perspective as I have decided to do a separate one for my business (which I may well share later too ..!).

Many of these items are smaller versions of items contained on my Bucket List and are here to help me break those bigger goals down and get them done .. and I apologise for the totally random order too ..!!

  1. Register at the Dentists.
  2. Have a general checkup at the Dentists.
  3. Book (& attend!) a smear test.
  4. Close off my IVA.
  5. Complete my Basic Food Hygiene re-certification.
  6. Scan all of my family’s B&W photos to my laptop.
  7. Amalgamate my pensions into one.
  8. Finish loading my music into iTunes.
  9. Try to get all the album artwork sorted in iTunes.
  10. Renew my passport.
  11. Create a memory book about Junior School.
  12. Create a memory book about Senior School.
  13. Create a memory book about University.
  14. Create a memory book about Tanzania Trip.
  15. Create a memory book about Dublin Trip.
  16. Create a memory book about Norway.
  17. Create a memory book about China Trip.
  18. Create a memory book about PHC.
  19. Create a memory book about my time in Rotaract & Rotary.
  20. Create a memory book about general life.
  21. Scan and send the box of books to get some cash!
  22. Declutter and organise my clothes & shoes.
  23. Family History Interview: Grandma B.
  24. Family History Interview: Grandma D.
  25. Family History Interview: Uncle.
  26. Family History Interview: Dad.
  27. Family History Interview: Mum.
  28. Create and send Family History Interview questions to other family members.
  29. Scan all my Family History documentation onto my laptop.
  30. Delete all unused / old email accounts.
  31. Go on a first date!
  32. Make a new (local) friend.
  33. Volunteer regularly for a local charity.
  34. Raise £500 for a local charity.
  35. Attend 2 Unitarian Services.
  36. Take a course in Mediumship / Tarot.
  37. Attend 6 local events (ideas below).
    1. Sidmouth Buns Event, Easter Saturday.
    2. Sidmouth Sea Fest, May.
    3. Sidmouth Literary Festival, 23-24th June.
    4. Budleigh Salterton Music Festival, 7-15th July.
    5. Sidmouth Science Festival, 7-15th October.
    6. Ottery-St-Mary Tar Barrels, 5th November.
    7. Sidmouth Boxing Day Swim, 26th December
  38. Attend (or start?!) a local social group.
  39. Complete 24 Bucket List items (not covered on this list already).
  40. Read 6 Non-Fiction books.
  41. Compete 12 online courses.
  42. Contact 4 inspiring people and tell them how they inspire me.
  43. Get a part-time job.
  44. Setup DS.
  45. Setup MTB.
  46. Setup JE.
  47. Setup JG.
  48. Visit Midge, Wayne & the girls.
  49. Go on a ‘weekend away’, ALONE.
  50. Earn £12,000.
  51. Pay off Dad at least £500.
  52. Save at least £250.
  53. Walk / Swim / Cycle 365 miles.
  54. Lose 24 kilos.
  55. Have more days of 5 portions of Fruit & Vegetables, than not.
  56. Have more days of 2l of water days, than not.
  57. Floss my teeth at least 182 times.
  58. Attend a Sidmouth Rugby home game.
  59. Attend a Sidmouth Football home game.
  60. Attend a Sidmouth Cricket home match.
  61. Have 1 self care day a month.
  62. Add 24 entries to the family journal.
  63. Bake 6 cakes.
  64. Complete 50 transcriptions on Ancestry.co.uk.
  65. Complete 3 x 30 Day Challenges.
  66. Complete 3 Pinterest projects.
  67. Add 52 commonplace entries.
  68. Add 12 lists to my list journal.
  69. Complete 52hrs Micro-Volunteering.
  70. Complete 52hrs of Volunteering.
  71. Create 3 playlists that mean something to me.
  72. Walk 2km in 30 mins.
  73. Walk 2.5km in 30 mins.
  74. Walk 3km in 30 mins.
  75. Discover 4 new musical artists.
  76. Donate 250,000 grains of rice.
  77. Donate Blood.
  78. Donate 60 items to charity.
  79. Find 12 Cache’s.
  80. Research something that happened on my birthday and honour it somehow.
  81. Flip 4 things for profit.
  82. Get a manicure.
  83. Get a pedicure.
  84. Get a facial.
  85. Get my hair done twice.
  86. Organise a Camping Rally Reunion Event.
  87. Play my flute for 30mins, 10 times.
  88. Read 20 Fiction Books.
  89. Listen to 10 Audiobooks.
  90. Watch 200 Films.
  91. Send 24 handwritten letters to friends and pen pals.
  92. Spend 52hrs learning British Sign Language (BSL).
  93. Try 12 new exercise classes / sports etc.
  94. Watch 365 TV Episodes.
  95. Watch 26 Documentaries.
  96. Watch 10 Commencement Speeches.
  97. Watch 26 Short Films.
  98. Watch 12 TED Talks.
  99. Write 52 Short Stories.
  100. Create a ‘Where I have been’ Map.
  101. Add 52 entries to my ‘Time Capsule’ Journal.
  102. Do a ‘Sealed Pot’ Challenge each quarter.
  103. Go to 2 live music performances.
  104. Complete 2 exercise challenges.
  105. Get up at 5am (for no particular reason), 12 times.
  106. Give 4 ‘just because’ gifts to friends (not including Facebook #PayItForward).
  107. Go on 12 days out (not including the family outings indicated below).
  108. Go out to dinner with friends 12 times.
  109. Learn something new about 24 things.
  110. Learn about 6 Nobel Prize winners.
  111. Learn about 6 other Countries.
  112. Learn how to say ‘Hello, Thank You and Goodbye’ in 6 new languages.
  113. Listen to 52 of the “1,001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die”.
  114. Listen to 52 of the Best Songs Of All Time, according to “The Rolling Stone”.
  115. Listen to 52 Radio Dramas.
  116. Listen to 6 of the “100 Greatest Albums according to Channel 4″.
  117. Spend the day with Dad doing something he wants to do.
  118. Spend the day with Mum doing something she wants to do.
  119. Spend the day with my brother doing something he wants to do.
  120. Send 24 postcards on postcrossing.com.
  121. Spend 2 days totally tech-free.
  122. Write a letter to myself on NYD to be opened in a year.
  123. Write a letter to myself on my (38th) Birthday to be opened on my 40th Birthday.
  124. Get my hair braided at Sidmouth Folk Week.
  125. Attend at least one event during Sidmouth Folk Week.
  126. Listen to 2,000 tracks on iTunes.
  127. Perform 52 Acts of Kindness (not including any counted on here elsewhere!).
  128. Watch the sunrise on the beach.
  129. Watch the sunset on the beach.
  130. Send a postcard to postsecret.com.
  131. Give up / take up something for lent.
  132. Re-qualify in First Aid.
  133. Get a DBS Certificate.
  134. Register with HMRC.
  135. Sort out my Paypal account.
  136. Sort out my eBay account.
  137. Sort out my old charity bank account.
  138. Sign up with GLR.
  139. Send snail mail birthday cards to at least 12 friends.
  140. Add 52 entries to my 5yr diary.
  141. Upgrade to an iPhone 6/7.
  142. Host/attend a #tweetup in Sidmouth.
  143. Host/attend a blogger meet-up in Sidmouth.
  144. Build this blog to 365 posts.
  145. Ear £100 from this blog.
  146. Get a custom theme.
  147. Invest in blog business cards.
  148. Launch 3 series’ on the blog.
  149. Learn how to edit videos.
  150. Learn SEO and implement it.
  151. Make 2 blogger friends.
  152. Comment on ‘relevant’ blogs 365 times.
  153. Have someone guest post on my blog.
  154. Guest post on someone else’s blog.
  155. Achieve 5,000 page view in 1 month.
  156. Have a total of 1,000 visitors to the blog.
  157. Have a total of 50 comments on the blog.
  158. Design a logo (or get one designed!).
  159. Write about Sidmouth 20 times.
  160. Write about my Bucket List 40 times.
  161. Add this list to the blog.
  162. participate in 3 meme’s / Linky’s, 3 times each.
  163. Send out Xmas Cards!
  164. Take a self defence class.
  165. Try acupuncture.
  166. Try 4 new local restaurants.
  167. Hold a dinner party for friends.
  168. Publish an eBook.
  169. Go to the Theatre.
  170. Go sailing.
  171. Try 5 new (to me) foods.
  172. Try 5 new (to me) drinks.
  173. Go to the races at Exeter.
  174. Plan out my novel and sketch the first draft.
  175. Go on ‘holiday’  by myself (longer than a weekend).
  176. Attend my 20 year school reunion in July.
  177. Have a look for the Solar Eclipse on the 21st August.
  178. Have a look for the Lunar Eclipse on 7th August.
  179. Celebrate Chinese New Year.
  180. Attend a match of the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
  181. Attend a Pride event (Exeter – May 13th or London – 8th July).
  182. Attend the Devon County Show, 18-20th May.
  183. Attend the BCA Spring Spirit Cheerleading Competition, 25th February.
  184. Read an entire book in a  day.
  185. Go swimming 6 times.
  186. Say YES to 4 things I want to say NO to!
  187. Setup a savings account.
  188. Sell 10 things on eBay / Amazon.
  189. Cook Sunday lunch for the family.
  190. Have a picnic.
  191. Give a homemade gift to someone.
  192. Go on a Spa Day @ a local hotel.
  193. Read 33% of the Holy Bible.
  194. Read 33% of the Holy Quran.
  195. Go to an Exeter Chiefs home game.
  196. Go to an Exeter City home game.
  197. Wear Jewellery on at least 122 Days.
  198. Wear makeup on at least 6 occasions.
  199. Wear heels on at least 6 occasions.
  200. Wear a skirt or dress at least 12 times.
  201. Host / attend a NYE party / event.
  202. Setup Twitter for this blog.
  203. Setup a FB Page for this blog.
  204. Write thank you cards for my birthday.
  205. Write thank you for Christmas.
  206. Complete 5 ‘Pay It Forward’s from Facebook.
  207. Go on a weekend away with friends.
  208. Go on one of the Sidmouth Guided Strolls in the summer season.
  209. See the Red Arrows perform.
  210. Take part in the Sidmouth Pancake Race, 14th Feb.
  211. See 300 of my Facebook friends in person.
  212. Get my Charm Bracelet cleaned (and the new charms added).
  213. Work on ‘tidying up’ my Bucket List Spreadsheet!
  214. Add something on my Birthday (26th April).
  215. Add something on August BH Weekend (26th August).
  216. Take a suggestion from a friend / loved one or blog reader!
  217. Put £1 in the sealed pot every time an item is crossed off.

To keep up to date with my progress, visit THIS page which will be updated throughout the year; most of my posts are likely to centre around the completion of these tasks too!

So what are your new years resolutions / goals for 2017? Can you / do you want to help me cross any of these off?  Here’s to 2017!

Commonplacing

Wikipedia defines a Commonplace as:

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they have learned. Each commonplace book is unique to its creator’s particular interests. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.

I remember being introduced to the idea of this by my mum who told me about them when I told her one day that I liked ‘collecting’ quotes and would often write them in my diary each day.  She told me about the commonplace world and from then on I have been hooked… my only issue is that I don’t feel satisfied in how I keep my commonplace book.

Originally, of course, I had a notebook and added things to it; the main problem here was that I am quote an anal kind of a person and wanted to keep themed things together so had pages for quotes, poems and sayings about Love, Life, Friendship, Cooking etc.. but they soon got filed up and then that meant having to start a new page .. which wasn’t right after the other one of the same theme and this just didn’t sit well with me (Sooooo ridiculous I know!).

Then, the internet came along and I had the idea to use Tumblr, which worked well for sharing things and finding new things too, but you cant really separate things out and finding things is hard too.  Then Pinterest came along and I certainly love that for finding beautiful things as well as great quotes.

So anyway, I do have a ‘hard copy’ notebook that I keep things in but I’m still looking for that perfect way of keeping things .. if you have any suggestions, do let me know!

Me Monday: The Dreamy Idealist

I love taking those silly online quizzes that supposedly know all about you from a few answered questions .. I mean a lot of them are a bit silly, but some of them really do seem to hit the nail on the head!  I thought I would share some of the results that I get along the way occasionally..

Apparently this is the “Most Popular Career Test in the World” and has been recommended as a career advice tool by numerous organisations and institutes worldwide, such as the Bavarian State Ministry of Labour (Germany), the National Health Service (United Kingdom), Enactus (Canada) and the YMCA (USA).

The basis of the test is to choose a box out of two that contains the most relevant comments for you .. and this is what result I got (note: the website answer is in italics and my comments are in bold):

Dreamy Idealists are very cautious and therefore often appear shy and reserved to others (Yep). They share their rich emotional life and their passionate convictions with very few people (SO yep!). But one would be very much mistaken to judge them to be cool and reserved. They have a pronounced inner system of values and clear, honourable principles for which they are willing to sacrifice a great deal (very much so).

Joan of Arc or Sir Galahad would have been good examples of this personality type. Dreamy Idealists are always at great pains to improve the world. They can be very considerate towards others and do a lot to support them and stand up for them. They are interested in their fellow beings, attentive and generous towards them. Once their enthusiasm for an issue or person is aroused, they can become tireless fighters (I would really like to think this is true and am working towards it being more true in the future).

As a Dreamy Idealist you are one of the introverted personality types (DUH {as per THIS post}). Therefore you prefer a quiet work environment where you can intensively deal with your responsibilities and are not disturbed by too many people and repeated distractions. You need a lot of time to dwell on your thoughts, to put them into words, and let your ideas take shape (this is very true and something I am struggling with a little working from home – post on that to come!).

You are grateful for a certain measure of order and structure because they secure the time to achieve this so you can deal with one task after the other and not have to juggle a number of responsibilities at once – you don’t like that because it is important to you to deal with things thoroughly (Hmm.. I like structure and knowing where I will be and what I will be doing in advance, but I am not sure about the juggling thing – I do tend to take on more than one at a time .. not that that’s always a good thing!). Your capability to concentrate is unusually great and very often you become engrossed in something and forget everything around you – even to eat and drink (Haha yes – 3am Internet black hole anyone ..?).

Nevertheless, because you are very adaptable, congenial and interested in harmony (!!) and cooperation, you enjoy working together with others. A neighbourhood that requires the ability to assert yourself and where direct confrontations are the order of the day is not your optimal environment (I hate hate HATE confrontations, to the point I can’t even overhear them without feeling awkward!). In order to permit you to fully develop your ability you need an environment that is as stress free as possible. If you can’t get that you soon suffer, because you take critique and negative feedback very personally (Oh HELL yes!).

You enjoy the opportunity for exchanges with other people you value and whose capabilities you respect but in this case remember the motto: Better less than more; better a few “hand picked” colleagues who truly move on your wavelength (Nods). It is best when you share the same high ideals and important objectives and together can fight for the same good cause because then you are truly in your element. If that is not the case, you do better by largely working by yourself because you belong to the personality types who can do that very well and don’t necessarily have to depend on others in order to come up with good results.

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Take the test HERE .. and don’t forget to come back and comment what result you get!