Wednesday, 6 February 2019

January Gratitude

In keeping with my aim for 2019 to remain on a positive note, as hard as that can be sometimes, I've decided to do a recap of each month and log the things I'm grateful for, no matter how small - one of mine for January is having all the washing washed dried and put away before I sat down one Sunday evening - I can't tell you how annoying I find it to have to deal with washing mid week and always hope to get it done over the weekends, some weeks I succeed others I don't. 
There's actually a section in my 2019 diary that has a monthly gratitude section so that prompted me to writing it over here on the blog too.

I need to make more of an effort this month to write things down so that I don't forget them for my recap but here goes for January:

January 2019:

January was actually very good to us, it's a usually a month of catch up and extreme budgeting after Christmas but we were a lot better off this year than we had been in previous years. I think we were conscious of the fact that we were going away 2 weeks after Christmas and kept a closer eye on the finances rather than the usual frivolous spending in the post Christmas sales.

  1. Disneyland, Paris - Obviously the highlight of our month! This was our first family holiday, Luke's first holiday, his first time on a place etc so it was special in so many ways. We weren't in a position before now to book this holiday and considering the cost of a holiday I wanted to wait until Luke was of an age where he wold remember it for years after. I'm going to do a post about it, eventually but we felt very grateful to be able to bring our little boy on such an exciting first trip away.
  2. Panto - Aladdin - We were no sooner back from Disneyland and we were off to the panto in Cork Opera House. This year's panto was Aladdin and it was brilliant, plenty of laughs for kids and adults. I'd intended on bringing Luke to the panto this year and hoping to make it an annual thing but with the holiday as well I just never got around to it so we delighted when a friend of mine had some spare tickets and offered them to us. I'd highly recommend going.
  3. Birthday Celebrations - January is the month of my birthday, wouldn't be the month I'd have picked for myself but sure what can you do?! I actually had a lovely birthday this year, it was nice and quiet and spent with family and friends. I got my hair done, nice gifts - a Pandora ring in particular that I had been admiring a couple of months ago and the OH took note and got it for me, went for afternoon tea in Vienna Woods, the night of my birthday I was actually at a party of a family friend in the local village pub. I went with my Dad and OH and we had such a good night, it was great to spend some quality time with my Dad too.
  4. Spa Day - My lovely friend Fiona of Dolly Dowsie treated me to fab spa day in January. we made appointments in Fota Island hotel for a full day spa package which included a full body massage, a facial, a bath treatment, time in the pool and thermal suite and lunch and it was just what we both needed. We'd been trying to organise this spa day for ages but it finally came to fruition and we've said we'll try to make a semi regular thing, or at least not leave it so long before we do it again. 
  5. Wedding Planning - For some reason we got the urge to start planning our wedding. Up until now it just never seemed like the right time to start planning it, honestly I was a bit overwhelmed by the whole planning process but we decided to get the ball rolling this month and went to one venue, we have another to check out as well but we had to cancel our viewing there last week as Luke was sick so we'll try and lock that down in February. We are grateful that now we are in a good place, head space and financially wise that we can start thinking about this. 
  6. New Job - Not for me unfortunately but for the OH. He finally got a job with a company that he had been applying to for the last 12 months, they get a lot of CV's but thankfully this time around he was successful and he got the news Christmas week that he would be starting mid January. This job gives us a bit more security with a couple of added perks and honestly it was just what we needed to hear and so far so good for him. He was working 3 jobs at one point and to be able to focus on the one now is so much better for him and us as we have him at home a bit more. We are truly grateful for this this month!
  7. Clear Out - We finally got around to getting a skip bag and doing a bit of a clear out, it's amazing how much stuff you accumulate over the years. The skip bag got collected the other now I just need to reorganise everything now I have a bit more space, storage space more than anything but clearing out the house helps to clear out my mind too so double the benefit!
  8. Family Time - I finally managed to get a couple of days to spend quality time with my godson. A she usually goes to his Dad's on the weekends when I'm off I rarely get to see him properly but we had a lovely day together this month and I love seeing him and Luke interact and strengthen their bond. I'm so grateful to have these 2 awesome little boys in my life. 

So yeah January has been pretty good to us, busy but good. There's some pretty big things in the list above and I am aware that not every month will be that exciting but it's all about finding the positive in everyday and being grateful for what we have - be it a family holiday or just being able to wake up in the morning and feel like you can face the day. 
I'm looking forward to a quieter February although the pace doesn't seem to be slowing down just yet!

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Hello 2019...Good Riddance 2018

Here we are - Day 1 of 2019. 

I rang in the new year quietly, at home with my sleeping boy and the dog on my lap because he was afraid of the fireworks going off in the estate, the OH unfortunately was stuck at work. We never do anything for New Years anyway, I always like to ring it in quietly with family around me. Earlier in the evening we had all (sister + partner, nieces, god son etc) gone to my parents house for a get together, it was lovely, noisy but lovely.

So like a lot of you I'm sure, I've been thinking about the year ahead while reflecting on the year that's gone by.
What did I learn in 2018 that can improve this new year?
What does 2019 mean for me?

Well, let's start with 2018 - it was a tough year on a different level than before. Nothing huge happened but it was a year where, we as our family of 3, felt everything get on top of us, like the last couple of years of stress and busyness all came to a head and when that happens something has got to give. 
Anxiety levels hit the roof, over thinking, constantly worrying - almost like being stuck in a pressure cooker.
And we did blow and for a while I genuinely couldn't see any way for things to get better. All the plans we'd made for 2018 didn't work out, work took even more precedence than usual but things did get better, it was hard but we stayed hopeful and eventually just towards the end of the year things were slowly beginning to fall into place. 

This year I felt I lost myself for a little while, I found myself questioning and doubting myself way more than I would have before, I found myself letting other people's opinions bother me which is not me, I've always gone against the grain a bit I suppose you could say, I'm usually that person in the room with the different opinion to other 5 people there. I allowed the negative energies of others to seep into my life and once you let that happen it can be hard to get rid of them again.

I was really looking forward to the Christmas break to regroup and work on that, work on protecting myself from others a bit more. I'm a bit of an open book you see, I'll talk to you about anything really but I've learned this year that some people don't deserve that openness, that rawness I guess, when they don't respect it, even worse when it's used against you at a later stage. 

So that brings me to some of my aims for 2019 - this year I need to protect myself a bit more, keep a bit back. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but their opinion should not negatively affect my life. I will sit and chat and debate with anyone on anything but it needs to be respectful at all times and if you can't be then I'm afraid we won't be doing any chatting!

I intend to bring my main focus back to my family unit, my own circle of the OH, boy child and I. We've neglected our family unit for a while now because there was always something else that needed to be done, family days are pretty rare. Work is important, don't get me wrong, it pays the bills but it can't take priority over family anymore.

This year I need to work on my health, both physical and mental, I need to gain strength in both. As I said above, we blew and while things are on the up it's still a work in progress and that includes rebuilding that inner strength and resilience. For me, my most testing environment here will be my work place, I can't change that at the moment and honestly it's no great task to go in there every week, the job is easy, pay is ok etc but I need to learn to separate my private life from my work life, a clear divide and keep it that way. 

My social conscience and awareness were at an all time high in 2018, my eyes were opened to so many issues and injustices and I felt that I couldn't just sit back and sympathise but do nothing. This was most evident during the Repeal The 8th campaign. That campaign nearly broke me as I'm sure it did with a lot of others and there were points throughout the lead up to the referendum that I just wanted to hibernate until it was over and hope the right result was achieved but I just couldn't. I was so passionate about that campaign, I just couldn't give up and stand back and watch others try and win the Yes vote. I had to do it too. As tired as I was, as much as I dreaded the door knocks because of the unpredictable reactions, as wearing as it to constantly have to fight the lies and misinformation from the No side, I still had to do it. I walked miles while canvassing but met some fantastic people along the way and we all kept each other going and we did it, we achieved that Yes vote and hard work really pays off.

2019 brings a lot of exciting opportunities for us and we already have a few things planned but most importantly for me will be the local elections for county council in May. I have been selected as a candidate, I'm truly honoured to have been but I am incredibly nervous. Theres a lot more hard work to do for that yet but I am ready for the challenge and I hope the people in my area get behind me and allow me the chance to be a new face on the scene and hopefully make some positive changes for our area. I am genuinely, really looking forward to it all. 


I hope 2019 brings you everything you've ever hoped for and more.
Happy New Year To You All
xxx

Monday, 17 December 2018

Top Gifts for Every Member of the Family


Time to Think About Christmas: Top Gifts for Every Member of the Family

With Christmas not far away I know that most of you will be busy frantically buying presents. To help you to get this task done I have come up with a few present ideas for the whole family.


Gifts for the men in your life
There are plenty of essential items for men available online, as you can see when you click the link. So, if you start your shopping fairly soon, you can buy everything you need for the men in your life without having to leave home.
Start by looking at clothing. Most men don’t go shopping for clothes enough. This could be because they are short on time or money or because they do not like shopping. Either way, you can usually find a gap in your man’s wardrobe that you can fill with a gift. It could be something small like underwear, or a bigger item like a new coat or pair of boots. Workwear or sports clothing are also good options for many men.
Hobby related gifts are always well-received. Anything to do with their favourite sport or team is also usually welcome.

Gifts for women
If you are wondering what to buy your mum or sister start by looking at personal care items. A pot of their favourite moisturiser or anti-wrinkle cream can make a good gift. Hair care products can work too. If you know that your sister, aunt or mum needs a new hair dryer or straighteners, you could buy those for them.
Vouchers for a day out can also make a very good gift. It is a present that requires a bit of thought and shows that you know them well. Try to buy the type of present that allows the person you are buying for to choose when they enjoy their day out. For example, for a theatre lover, a voucher they can use to see any show rather than tickets to a specific performance. This will help to ensure that they can actually take advantage of your present. It also means that they have a little treat to look forward to later and ensures that the joy of Christmas spills over into another part of the year.

Gifts for the kids
In some ways, kids are easy to buy for. They usually tell you exactly what they want. All you have to do is to censor their list a bit and share with friends and relatives the items they really want. If your budget permits, try to make your main present something from their wish list.
Little stocking fillers are always nice, because it gives them more than one thing to open. Some families buy a set of surprise gifts and wrap them in multiple layers of paper then play pass the parcel on Christmas morning. It is a fun way to give everyone an extra gift and prolong the present opening experience.

A few more Christmas gift ideas
Remember that you do not necessarily have to buy all of your gifts. Making some is always an option. It is a great way to really personalize some of your presents.
People love the fact that you have taken the time to make them something unique. There is still enough time to a few simple stocking fillers. Here are some that you can make in just 15 minutes. Most of them are not at all expensive to make. Great if you are on a budget.
If you would like even more gift ideas, you can find a few more by clicking here. I wrote that particular Christmas present article a couple of years ago, but a lot of the items I suggest adding to your shopping list are still readily available in the shops.