Wellbeing Wednesday – Red hot, and a cold

Wednesdays are my ‘Wellbeing’ days, so here is what I am up to on the Wellbeing front 🙂

maxresdefaultThe Minimalists 30 day challenge is going well. The first few days, even the first couple of weeks, were relatively easy as there were quite small piles of things to get rid of. Now that I am on Day 25 it is getting increasingly difficult, but at the end of the day it IS supposed to be a challenge. If it was easy what would be the point? I’ve been keeping a list of what I’ve got rid of, and been trying to post daily updates over on Instagram, although sometimes I’m a little late. But better late than never. And so far I’ve cleared out over 300 items!!!!!!! I wont bore you with photos here, so head on over to NewYearNewHappy on Instagram if you want to see how I’m doing.

This year I am also determined to start sorting out my health and fitness, although right now I have a streaming cold caught from my youngest :-/. When I first started setting my goals for this year, I broke down each goal into manageable chunks. Rather than just say “I want to get fit and healthy” I was more specific and set myself SMART targets.
*I want to lose 52lbs this year, so that is one pound per week over the space of a year.
*I also want to be fit enough to run the Rainbow Run in Exeter again this year on 10th June for Children’s Hospice Southwest as I was unable to do it last year as my damaged achilles tendon was too painful.
*I want to be able to hold a handstand pose in yoga by the end of the year.
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I’m not one for going all out on New Years day with a crash diet and multiple New Years Resolutions that I have failed by the middle of the month. Instead I plan to go slowly but surely, making steady progress that is sustainable. To achieve my goals I have broken them down into month-by-month targets, and then as I write out each month’s planner in my diary I can build tasks in each week. Easy bitesized chunks. Here is an exert for the first couple of months. I’ve already lost some weight by just logging what I am eating and making sure I keep moving, and anything that I do makes achieving my end goal that much easier.

And as for the cold, well that’s only slowing me down a little bit. And hey, at least it’s not man flu 😉

Allison x

My 50/50 Pot

Finances are a constant strain and worry for me at the moment. I will post a lot more in detail in future about how I do or don’t get everything to balance out but here is a quick summary. Basically my income is pretty static at just over £1100 a month. My expenditure is a bit more flexible, although it is already squeezed pretty tight, and is just a balancing figure by the time the mortgage etc is paid, and there is rarely any money left for luxuries.

However, just before Christmas a couple of things happened that made me realise that this constant teetering on the edge doesn’t work. First off my mortgage company decided to write a few days before Christmas to tell me that I was behind with my mortgage and that I needed to pay the shortfall by the end of the year. Timing was rubbish. And it was the first time that they had informed me that I was not paying the correct amount each month.
Then my boiler packed up. Yet again. Just a couple of days before Christmas and right in the middle of a particularly cold spell, with both boys home from school.
Both things combined sent me into a real spin. I wanted to just cancel Christmas, and hide under the duvet with a hot water bottle and sleep until it was all over with. But as a lone 2017-01-13-20-28-02parent that is just not an option. So I simply had to deal with it, although it was a hard lesson to learn. Thou shalt not get by by the seat of your pants………

So I am trying to build myself a bit of a buffer. I’ve come up with an idea, my “50/50 plan”. I am going to try to save £50 per month on my current expenses, but also try and make an extra £50 income per month. I am hoping that the income 2017-01-13-20-28-36will work alongside my 31 Day Minimalism Challenge, but tightening my already pretty squeezed expenditure by a further 50 pounds a month is going to be tricky
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I did start this in December, as there is no time like the present to start, but January will be my first month to see if I can actually do it. I’ve drawn up a page in this year’s planner, so that I can see it visually, and that will hopefully help me along with it when I need a push. Here is progress to date. I’m really chuffed with how well I’ve done on selling things I don’t need any more, reducing the bills is proving a little harder, so needs more thought. But 13 days in, and it looks positive.

Allison x

Monday Make – Something Pretty

Hello again! Two posts in two days, I’m spoiling myself!!!

As part of my new way of thinking this year I’ve decided that I am going to try to dedicate some time each week to making something. It may be something useful like some storage, something practical like a new meal, or something decorative for me or for the house. Whatever it may be, making things helps my happiness levels. A lot. I really enjoy being able to let my creative juices flow, things don’t always go according to plan, but on the whole even if the outcome is a flop I enjoy the process hugely.

And so, welcome to my first ‘Monday Make’!! Jewellery is something that I have never really bought a lot of in the past, as I seem on the most part unable to find something that I like in a style that I like, and in the colours that I want. So I figured that with all my crafty bits that I have scattered around the house there should be enough to put together something that I like. One of the things that I do have that I absolutely adore is a blue and green dress. I genuinely love it, and I hope that it does not fall to pieces from wearing and washing it so much as I will truly be gutted. So I set about making some bracelets to dress it up a little bit when I fancied, but also something that I could wear with jeans and a jumper. My go-to colour at the moment is a lovely jade green colour.2016-12-29-12-44-20

These are the beads that I started out with. They were old ones that had come off a bracelet ages ago, and had faded a lot as you can see on the left. I painted them all over with a couple of coats of my fave jade nail polish and they looked as good as new!

Once they were dry I threaded them and some other matching beads on some clear jewellery making elastic in the order that I wanted them. At this point I did play around with the order of them a bit until I was happy them.

Once I was happy I threaded the elastic through the spare loop from the beginning button so that it didn’t slip, and then started to thread back though in the opposite direction in which I had come. With the flat buttons I threaded up and under where previously I had threaded down and under, so that each button was secured on both sides if that makes sense. Once I got back to the beginning I secured it all with a couple of good knots, although I should perhaps have used some kind of glue?? and then kind of tucked the loose ends inside one of the beads so that it doesn’t show.

I was so pleased with it that I made another one straight away while I had all my beads and buttons out. They only took around 10 minutes each to do, but I can’t wait to get wearing them. They will bring a smile to my face and a glow to my heart for sure when I wear them

Allison x

New Year, New Goals

Many of us, myself most definitely included, are living in survival mode. I feel like all I do is barely keep afloat, with so much going on, and going wrong, that I often feel really overwhelmed! I have this underlying feeling that this is not what I really want to be doing with my life, but have not yet figured out what it is that I actually do want.

Over the last few weeks in the lead up to the new year I have put aside some time to figure 20161225_124600out exactly that. What am I doing? What do I want? I made a mind-map of big areas in my life that I wanted to work on. Actually when I sat down and properly really thought about it (and not allowed myself to drift off to thinking about what to cook for tea, or how I was going to manage this month’s mortgage payment, or get another cup of coffee) it actually didn’t take me very long at all. It all sort of flowed out, like it had always been there, just that I had hidden it all away somewhere.
Once I started I realised that there were some key areas, so I tried to make some specific goals for each one. My next step needs to be to make those goals as smart as possible – specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and timely. Then I can figure out the steps that I need to take in order to achieve those goals. Break it down, little-by-little. This is usually where I feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to tackle everything at once.  Instead, with the help of my trusty planner, I’m going to decide  which tasks to tackle in which month, and then try to spread them week-by-week, assigning small manageable tasks to days in my planner. Over the next few weeks, I can start making small changes, and gradually make the changes and do the work that I need to do.

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So, for example, with the house. I want to get the house sorted by the next long school holidays. So I have allocated two areas in my house to sort out each month.
Then for each month I have made a list of what needs to be tackled in each room, eg painting, sorting more storage space etc. Then as I come to write up that month’s planner, I can fit those tasks into specific days in the planner. Bite sized chunks.

Ready. Steady. Go.

So, where to start. I have been writing this blog for some time now, but for the last year or so I think I have become lost. I have lost my way in life, I have lost ‘me’, and I have definitely lost sight of what I wanted out of my blog.

A quick summary for those of you who have not followed me before or do not know me.

Hello **frantically waves and smile**. I’m Allison. I’m a lone parent (I hate the term single mum, but yes I’m one of those aswell). I have two boys who are now 11, and 4, a rescue collie who is 8ish, a beautiful black bunny who is 8 months old, and 4 fish, who are a few years old. I live in a relatively big house, which I have a pretty huge and unaffordable mortgage for. I’ve been divorced for almost 3 years now. I was married for decades before that, I kind of lost count of how many years.

I have a lot of things that I should be happy about. Yet I am not happy. In fact, I am decidedly unhappy. I dislike my life a lot of the time.header2

I hate my body, even though it has given me my amazing boys. It is blobby and gross, and there is too much of it. I used to love my hair, but it in an awful moment of upset a few years ago I hacked it off myself. Now I don’t even like my hair. I’m constantly tired, and I feel fat and frumpy and horrid.

I really hate my house with a passion, I always have done, and I never really wanted to buy it, I panicked and allowed myself to be talked into it. It had ‘a lot of potential’, said my ex. What he really meant was ‘it has a lot of potential to be a huge money pit that will never be worth what you pay to put it all right’. It has never felt like a home. I am messy and unorganised, and my house looks like a bomb has hit it, even though I blame the kids, it is really because I just don’t care about it to take care of it.

I hate that I am always broke, only just managing to keep my head above water most weeks. It wasn’t always like this, and this is a choice that I have made in order to spend time with the people who are most important in my life. My children.

I feel like a rubbish parent. I am always yelling at my children, I have smashed things in anger, I have sworn (about them and at them), I feel like I am not being a good example. I feel like I cannot provide them with all the latest gizmos that they want in this technology driven era, and am embarrassed at the way they look because we can’t afford for anybody other than me to cut their hair, or because they are in hand-me-downs that are 10 years out of fashion.On the really dark days, I will admit that I wish that I did not have them. Not that they were no longer here, oh my god no, just that they were somebody else’s responsibility and hassle. Life would be so much bloody easier if they weren’t my responsibility. But I also know that I couldn’t bare not being with them, feeling their little bodies creep into my bed in the darkness of the night sometimes because they have had a nightmare, or don’t feel very well. Or just because they want me.

Generally in life I am just not happy. I am unhappy. Really unhappy. And I don’t want to be. I want to be happy, and to lead a fulfilling life. I want to be a good mum, and bring my children up to be good young men. And that is where I started with this blog a few years ago. To help me on that search. For happiness. For ‘Me’.

To be continued…….