Saturday, 7 December 2019


The biggie for today is that the band will be collecting the tubas and trombones I have been storing in my garage for them. Another thing to tick off the 'leaving the band' list!

That will happen some time this morning and is the only thing on the to-do list for today. The rest of my time will be put to good use doing whatever I fancy and then this evening I am going to see a repeat showing of the screening of the Les Miserables all star staged concert. Knowing what to expect, I'm even more excited about seeing it again.

Friday, 6 December 2019


It's going to be a bits and bobs day today ... no time consuming chores to do, just lots of little tasks which will take less than 20 minutes each to do. I'll spend the morning sorting all of that out and then the weekend can start this afternoon!

I've been giving some thought to my 'one little word' for 2020. For the last two years my word has been 'fulfil', which in a way still applies as my goal is to live a fulfilled life but it doesn't quite sit as well with where I want to focus my energies next year. I'm aiming to turn things around so that I make the most of every day and learn to find pleasure in my everyday life as well as in the trips and treats I plan for myself. It's about living in the present and being in the moment, not dwelling in the past or wishing time away, but to get the most out of every day no matter what I am doing. It's also about being fully involved/engaged/absorbed in whatever I'm doing, and to stop trying to do two or three things at once and then not particularly enjoying any of them ... for example, reading a book, following a TV show at the same time, and then scrolling through emails on my phone. I find that I'm constantly distracting myself from fully concentrating on whatever I am supposed to be doing unless it's to do with photography or playing an instrument.  I can't decided whether the correct word is 'present', 'focus', or something else so if you have any better suggestions I'd appreciate your help please. 

My Advent calendar to-do for today is to play some Christmas carols so I'm going to find out the clarinet carol book and have some fun!

Thursday, 5 December 2019


I'm pleased to report that everything on yesterday's list can be ticked off. Meeting up with S was, as usual, good fun with conversation ranging from Les Miserables and Hamilton, via band, politics, coffee production, and ending up with Herge's Adventures of Tintin and Asterix the Gaul. 

I'm feeling tired so will be having a fairly quiet day today. There's nothing urgent on the list but I doubt much else will get done either. I'm half hoping to get out and take my first photos for the scavenger hunt but it is very cold so .... we'll see! I will be going round to J's home later this afternoon for coffee and a chat and, as I have to drive past a cake shop to get there, there is a distinct possibility that I will arrive on her doorstep bearing some delicious treats.

Today's Christmas to-do from my Advent calendar is to drive round and see the houses that look like Christmas has exploded over them. There are several well known ones locally so I will drive round on my way back from J's. 

Tonight? Well I fancy an early night so, after I've eaten, it's a soak in the bath and then tuck myself in bed to read until I feel sleepy. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2019


There were no unexpected visitors yesterday so everything went smoothly and I finished most of what I'd planned. I forgot to buy a birthday card for C and somehow didn't have enough Christmas cards so will pop into WH Smiths on my way to meet S for coffee and buy what I need. 

That's this afternoon sorted. This morning I want to do an inventory of the freezer, fridge and cupboards to see where the gaps are, and then make a shopping list for later in the month. I'm still eating meals from the freezer to use up the ones that have been hanging about for ages so I won't do any more bulk cooking this side of Christmas but will shop to refill the non-perishable items for the store cupboard this month.

It's quite an easy day really. There will be time for reading and playing an instrument (I'm thinking maybe the flute today), and this evening I will choose a Christmas film to watch - that's my Advent calendar to-do for day 4! There's a good choice on Netflix so I am sure to find one I haven't seen before, although if 'It's A Wonderful Life' is there it won't matter that I've lost count of how many times I've seen it already, that's what I'll be watching!

Tuesday, 3 December 2019


Yesterday morning was on target to get everything done until my time was highjacked by an unexpected visitor who outstayed her welcome. She stayed for five hours and only left when she did because I had to start teaching and I almost had to force her out of the door then! I sound ungrateful and I shouldn't be but it meant that I didn't have time to start on photographing any of the items I want to sell or to relax before the lessons started. I will have to switch a few things round for the rest of the week to get it done this week. 

Okay, moaning over and on to today ... there are three must do tasks on the list. I completed December's meal plan at the weekend so I need to shop for a couple of things for breakfast and lunches. While I'm in town I will buy the rest of the Christmas presents and also a birthday card for Little Miss C who will be 12 years old on Christmas Day. She has her birthday present  from me in June on her half year celebration. I also need to book my car in for its first ever MOT (due on 3rd January), and most importantly, move some funds between bank accounts.

I've started on my homemade Advent calendar. Each box contains a sweet or chocolate and a Christmassy to-do. So far on  day 1 I unpacked the Christmas mugs, throws, books, and tea towels, and on day 2 I made some mince pies. Today's to-do is to write the Christmas cards so that's what I will be doing this afternoon ... Christmas music playing in the background, a mug of coffee and a mince pie (or two) to keep me going, and a pile of cards to write for family and friends.

I have one lesson to do later on this afternoon but that is my only commitment for the day. I'm staying in this evening and will watch something on Netflix. Whatever I choose will struggle to match up to the Les Miserables concert last night. It was absolutely brilliant. This was a live screening of the last night of the all star staged concert and, once the show was finished, Michael Ball announced that it was most likely the last time he would sing the role of Javert in the West End and he then formally handed the role over to the man who takes the role on when the theatre reopens in two weeks time. They sang a song together and it was spine tingling to listen to. Alfie Boe was then joined for an encore with four men who had previously sang the role of Jean Valjean and that too was amazing. Matt Lucas was brilliant in the role of Thenardier, the first time I've seen him do anything like this. I could go on ... but I won't, except to say go and see it if you have the chance. I've bought a ticket to see it again on the 7th 😊

Monday, 2 December 2019


I have a good balance of chores, commitments, and fun things planned to keep me out of mischief today. I'll be busy enough to make the time pass quickly without overtaxing myself.

This morning I'll do a bit of housework (toilets, dusting, hoover the stairs and upstairs), and then photograph some of the bigger items I want to list for sale on eBay and/or Gumtree. I doubt I'll get round to actually placing the adverts today but I'll be pleased to get the photos ready 

Later this afternoon I have three lessons to do so after lunch I'll get the music room ready and then relax with a book until the first child arrives.

It should be choir practice but I won't be going this week. Instead I have a ticket to see a screening of the Les Miserables all star staged concert starring Alfie Boe, Matt Lucas, Michael Ball and Kate Secombe. It goes without saying that I am overexcited about this! 

I hope you all have a good day x

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Reasons To Be Cheerful in November 2019

November has been such a good month with plenty of reasons to be cheerful and I am continuing to find joy in chosen activities every day.

My joyful activities for November were:
  1. Watching 'Would I Lie To You'
  2. I received the members only password for the singing group site so have enjoyed a couple of sessions practicing some of the songs.
  3. Some more singing practice and watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  4. Resuming the music lessons and spending time with the children, then choir practice in the evening
  5. Another music lesson, enjoying the child's pleasure in her improving playing
  6. Coffee with C
  7. Joining a 'Walking for Health' group followed by lunch with L
  8. Coffee with J
  9. Watching Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr
  10. Celebrating Loi Krathong in Bradford on Avon
  11. Learning four new songs at choir practice
  12. Celebrating that the child I was teaching finally, after a huge struggle, managed to play the high (for her) note that has eluded all of her effort so far. She'll be able to play her favourite tune now!
  13. Coffee with S
  14. Realising at the end of a day in bed that the lurgy had disappeared and I was feeling better
  15. Watching Jumanji on Netflix
  16. A trip to London to see the Tutankhamen Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery
  17. Booking some tickets for next year
  18. Choir practice
  19. Listening to Beethoven
  20. Coffee with S
  21. Coffee with J
  22. Listening to Beethoven (again)
  23. Booking some more tickets for next year
  24. A practically perfect jimjam day!
  25. Treated myself to a new painting
  26. My birthday!
  27. Coffee with S
  28. Cinema with Julie, Beth and Lauren to see Last Christmas
  29. Staying indoors on a cold day and listening to favourite CDs
  30. Receiving a snail mail letter from a friend

Resuming the seemingly never-ending decluttering project. I can feel my mood lightening as unwanted items leave the house.


Feeling the benefits of regular exercise. I'm not doing much each day but the cumulative effects can be felt and I am starting to feel better, physically and mentally ... although I admit that the painful knees are a major problem. Still, the seated exercises are doing me some good!


Re-establishing some structure to my days has made me feel good in myself and about myself. 


Enjoying films on Netflix ... much more fun that watching repeats on TV


Plenty of interaction with friends. I'm gradually changing how I meet with some of my friends and it's working better for me.


Meeting new people at the fortnightly quiz. I doubt that any real friendships will evolve from this but I feel welcomed and part of the team on the night, and it's something I can look forward to.


A month of birthday celebrations: B (7th), LT (9th), D (15th), F (17th), LL (25th), myself and my sister (26th), CB (28th), and L (29th). 


A trip to London to see the Tutankhamen exhibition. Absolutely brilliant!


Realising that by the end of the month I genuinely felt happier than I did at the start. 


Being invited to participate in the Loi Krathong festival by some very friendly Thai women. Also enjoyed an interesting chat with them about aspects of Buddhism.


Reading 7 books this month. Giving up book group was the right decision for me and I'm enjoying losing myself in my chosen stories.

2019 Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt

It's December 1st so it must be time for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt.  It starts today and you have until March 31st 2020 to complete the list. The usual rules apply so all photos must be your own work and must be taken between December 1st 2019 and March 31st 2020.

I'd love you to join in, the more the merrier so feel free to invite your friends as well. Please add a comment to this post if you plan to take part. I will be hosting a link up at the end of each month so you can share your finds with everyone.

Here's the list:
  1. in the bag
  2. contrast
  3. the way to go
  4. colours
  5. a garden gate
  6. vintage 
  7. I stood here
  8. 11 o'clock
  9. solitary
  10. the little things
  11. industrial
  12. time for tea
  13. a keyhole
  14. flavour of the month
  15. letters
  16. a barrier
  17. a line
  18. a chain
  19. an alley
  20. monochrome, i.e. varying shades of the same colour

If you find any of the above hard to get you may substitute one or both of the subjects below.

Alt A. chequers or chess

Alt B. a community market

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing all your photos.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Lifestyle Goals: Monthly Review for November 2019

In May 2019 I changed the way I was monitoring my short and medium term goals, adopting Bless' approach in my search for a balanced life. This month I am changing things round again. I didn't feel that my own interpretation of this approach in terms of the actual goals I'd set and how I was rating them was correct (for me), and I have spent a good deal of November thinking about what it was I actually wanted to achieve.

The initial trigger was asking myself the question based on one of my goals - did I want to 'live life to the full' or did I want to 'live a fulfilled life', and after a lot of thinking I have answered that question. I want to 'live a fulfilled life', something which will have a different meaning for everyone but I am clear in my own mind what I am aiming for. This has prompted me to review my goals and rating, and to change the way I choose to record them.

The biggest change, and actually the most obvious now I've bothered to think it through, is that one of the previous goals I had set was actually my main goal and that the other goals were a means to achieve this main goal. So with that in mind, this is how I see things at the moment. The ratings shown are based on this different approach and aren't really comparable to previous ratings (where the goal has remained the same.

My goal is to achieve a lifestyle where I can honestly say that I LIVE A FULFILLED LIFE [7]To achieve this I want to focus on these sub-goals:
  • I am financially secure and remain completely debt free [10]
  • I take an active role in my local community, and have strong bonds with family and friends [10]
  • My home is always clean and tidy [10]
  • My garden is always tidy and presentable [8]
With the exception of the garden, I am pleased with these goals and the positive affect that achieving them has on my life. I have previously focused on the tasks needed to achieve this and feel that the correct habits are now embedded in my everyday life so I won't list the ongoing tasks which achieve this unless I feel that the rating is slipping.

I am finding it hard to maintain the garden so I am in the process of looking for a gardener to help out. The knock-on effect is that, for now, I can only afford to pay for a gardener OR a cleaner so I'm back to doing my own housework!

  • I have a positive outlook on life and am benefiting by avoiding bouts of depression and keeping my emotional well being at a healthy level [8]
  • I lead an active life, benefiting from increased fitness and improvements in my general health [6]
  • I eat sensibly and healthily and am benefiting by losing weight and experiencing increased energy levels [9.5]
  • I make best use of my time to lead a full and productive life [7]
  • I live life now, in the moment [6]
  • I strive to remove my attachment to material things [6]
These goals need more effort! I don't plan to list all the tasks for each category, partly because it tends to be repetitive every month but mostly because I am listing my monthly targets in my personal diary and some of those tasks are for things which don't belong on this blog. I've decided to just have a short list of SMART goals to hopefully improve the ratings in one or more of these categories. I feel I have been trying to do too much at once so am opting for a more relaxed approach, focusing on fewer things but doing them well. The SMART goals approach was used when I worked in an office and I know from personal experience that it works, SMART goals being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. So with that in mind, my tasks for December are:
  1. Declutter a minimum of 5 items, concentrating on the ones which are taking up a lot of space - by December 31st 2019.
  2. Complete the meal plan for December - by December 4th 2019.
  3. Focus on establishing a weekday schedule to complete all routine chores in the mornings - ongoing but review on December 31st 2019.
  4. Unsubscribe from all unwanted emails and social media - by December 31st 2019.
  5. Complete the remainder of band admin ready to hand over when band resumes in January - by December 13th 2019.
I have deliberately opted for a short list because I will be busy with Christmas music/activities but I'm confidant that I can achieve the tasks I've set and that I will benefit by completing them.

Friday, 29 November 2019


We all enjoyed our trip to the cinema to see Last Christmas. The film was good with plenty of laughs and a couple of weepy moments - I'd recommend it if you haven't already seen it. 

The only 'must do' today is an appointment at midday to have my blood pressure checked. I'll return the library books while I'm out but there's nothing urgent on the to-do list for today, so will have an easy day just pottering about and finishing off a couple of small jobs.

I'd like to finalise the list for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt, but it's not too late to make some changes if anyone has any suggestions. If not, I will publish the list on Sunday.

I'd also like to finish labelling the tubas and trombones so they are ready for collection next Saturday. Once they're gone it will free up plenty of space in the garage so, when the warmer weather is back next summer, I will be able to finish clearing out all the unwanted stuff in there.

It's L's birthday today but we won't be celebrating until next week. In previous years we've had a joint birthday meal with mutual friends but that hasn't worked out this year so we'll be doing something together once we can decide what that something is to be. All I know for sure is that it will involve food!!

Thursday, 28 November 2019


Yesterday proved to be good fun with late birthday wishes, a couple of unexpected gifts, lots of texting and skyping, and meeting up with S.

Tonight I have another birthday celebration to look forward to as Julie and Lauren are taking me to see Last Christmas at the cinema. Treating me to see a film has evolved into a birthday tradition over the last few years and I am looking forward to it. 

Apart from that, I don't have much on for the rest of the day. It should be the walking group this morning but I am waiting until I have seen the doctor before joining them again so it's unlikely to happen before they break for Christmas. Never mind, it'll be something to look forward to in January.

So plans for today, such as they are, include hanging my new picture, hoovering the downstairs rooms, washing the bed linen (to leave tomorrow free), and printing out the remainder of the new music ready to take it to the printers. Nothing too demanding either in time or energy, so I should be able to cuddle up with a book this afternoon and just relax.