Saturday, 31 August 2019

Lifestyle Goals: Monthly Review for August 2019

At the start of May I decided to change the way I want to monitor my short and medium term goals, choosing to adopt Bless' approach in my search for a balanced life; this is Bless' explanation:

 .... my monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing my satisfaction in that area of my life, from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My current ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses.  

Here is my update for August, stating my goals and the bullet-pointed task list that I'll tackle in August to help achieve the goal. Last month's ratings and tasks are shown in black and the start of the current month is shown in yellow.

HOME (8.5)(9.5)

Goal: The home is always clean and tidy.

It's just the remainder of the decluttering to remove from the dining room and then category should be marked at '10'. 

Tasks for August:
  • hang pictures in upstairs rooms - IN PROGRESS
  • buy large throws for living room - UNSUCCESSFUL, couldn't find any I liked
  • daily tasks = washing up and tidying living room before going up to bed - ACHIEVED
Tasks for September:
  • finish hanging the pictures upstairs
  • measure up for a wardrobe in the small bedroom
  • measure up for the picture frames in hall and living room

GARDEN (9.5)(9.5)

Goal: The garden is always tidy and presentable

The back garden could be marked as a '10' but the front garden needs some more work to keep it looking tidy and presentable. 

Tasks for August:
  • stay on top of weeding/dead heading as necessary - ACHIEVED
  • water garden regularly during sunny spells - ACHIEVED
  • finish clearing the centre bed - ACHIEVED
Tasks for September:
  •  stay on top of weeding/dead heading as necessary 
  • water garden regularly during sunny spells
today's photo ... I thought it had finished flowering for the year but obviously not!

FINANCE (10)(10)

Goal: I am financially secure and remain completely debt free

Tasks for August:
  • continue to monitor spending and reduce expenditure where possible - ACHIEVED
  • set up a regular saving account for holiday and travel - ACHIEVED
Tasks for September:
  • continue to monitor spending and reduce expenditure where possible


Goal: I take an active role in my local community, and have strong bonds with family and friends

As I live alone, it is very important to maintain social 'out of the house' interaction with others and I'm constantly looking for new ways to achieve this, particularly for day time activities.

Tasks for August:
  • continue voluntary work with the youth band - ACHIEVED, ongoing
  • try to meet at least one adult band member socially - ACHIEVED, met S for coffee each week
    Tasks for September:
    • continue voluntary work with the youth band
    • try to meet at least one adult band member socially 
    • investigate the local free lunchtime/Sunday concerts 


    Goal: 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

    It's been more of a struggle this month but I have reached the end of the month feeling positive with how things are going.

    Tasks for August:
    • write a Reasons to be Cheerful post for my blog - ACHIEVED 
    • actively correct any negative thoughts - 85% SUCCESSFUL
    • complete a daily joyful activity - ACHIEVED
    Tasks for September:
    • write a Reasons to be Cheerful post for my blog
    • actively start the day intending to be happy and enjoy life
    • complete a daily joyful activity, with the focus on the 'little things' rather than bigger activities

    HEALTH & FITNESS (7)(7)

    Goal: I lead an active life, benefiting from increased fitness and improvements in my general health

    This is the one area of my life currently giving me cause for concern and I'm in a sort of holding pattern until I see the heart specialist in September. I've started having more frequent migraines again so I need to work out what is causing that and turn it around.

    Tasks for August:
    • keep all medical appointments in August - ACHIEVED
    • go for a short walk at least three times a week - 60% SUCCESSFUL
    Tasks for September:
    • keep all medical appointments in September
    • go for a short walk at least three times a week

    HEALTHY EATING (8)(8.5)

    Goal: I eat sensibly and healthily and am benefiting by losing weight and experiencing increased energy levels

    I'm currently following the Slimming World eating plan but the introduction of a new medication means that my weight loss has, for the time being, plateaued so I will also doing a bit of calorie counting as well.

    Tasks for August:
    • meal prep - trying a new to me way of planning and preparing for meals - ACHIEVED but I'm not sure that it's something I'd want to do all the time.
    • drinking 4 glasses of water a day - ACHIEVED
    • restrict the number of takeaways and meals out - ACHIEVED ... I only had one planned takeaway with friends and then one unplanned one on the Bank Holiday!!!! 
    Tasks for September:
    • use the Myfitnesspal app to monitor food
    • drinking 4 glasses of water a day
    • restrict the number of takeaways and meals out


    Goal: I live life now, in the moment, and avoid putting things off. I decide what I want to achieve and I do it!

    I need to focus more on this goal. I have lists and lists of ideas but actually follow through and do a very small percentage of things I know I'd enjoy.

    Tasks for August:
    • 3 day trips during the month - FAILED! partly due to weather, mostly due to feeling unwell
    • daily music practice - 75% SUCCESSFUL
    • arrange two diary dates for every week in July to meet with friends -ACHIEVED
    Tasks for September:
      • regular music practice
      • arrange two diary dates for every week in September to meet with friends

      TIME MANAGEMENT (7)(8)

      Goal: I make best use of my time to lead a full and productive life

      I am the world's best procrastinator and life will be so much less stressful when I can turn this around. I have a daily routine of sorts but it needs tweaking!

      Tasks for August:
      • establish a week day routine, getting chores done in the morning to leave the rest of the day free - IN PROGRESS, it's too soon to say that a week day routine has been established but I have been aiming to get the chores completed before lunch
      • keep all admin up to date - ACHIEVED
      Tasks for September:
      • continue to establish a week day routine, getting chores done in the morning to leave the rest of the day free
      • keep all admin up to date


      Goal: I educate myself about the environmental crisis and make changes to my lifestyle to reduce my own carbon footprint.

      I am on top of recycling but there is a lot more I can do to improve my own use of products and packaging.

      Tasks for August:
      • check every room in the house for packaged products - ACHIEVED
      • identify options for buying alternative environmental friendly products - IN PROGRESS
      • reduce the amount of meat in my diet and opt for three meat free days a week - IN PROGRESS
      Tasks for September:
      • focus on food items, aiming to buy all fruit and veg from greengrocers, farm shops, and/or farmers market to completely eliminate the use of any plastic packaging. Also purchase all grains and pulses from the refill shop.
      • bulk cook and freeze a selection of vegetarian meals so that I can have three meat free days a week

      AUGUST 2019
      JULY 2019

      Friday, 30 August 2019


      The most exciting thing to happen to me today is updating this blog! It's becoming clear that I need to focus on finding everyday life activities that encourage me to be more active, sociable and involved in my community.
      apologies for the boring photo - this is my view as I sit here typing away 
      I've been tied up all morning with admin, personal and band, and although I've been busy I don't seem to be making any noticeable dents in the to-do pile. The two urgent things have been dealt with though, so I can stop worrying about them now.

      I've also realised that I've lost a week somewhere and need to finish reading the book group choice by this Monday not next as I thought. It's 'Foundation' by Isaac Asimov, which I started a few days ago but am still only three or four chapters into the book. It's slow going and, while I think it's a good book, I'm not really in the mood for this type of novel. Luckily it's not too long so if I make the effort tonight and tomorrow night, I should finish in time. We're forecast to have rain over the weekend so I doubt I'll want to go out anyway.

      A (my cleaner) is here working her magic and as soon as she's finished I will take a break and get myself some lunch. It'll be something with mushrooms as I need to use them up today so maybe a risotto. 

      This afternoon I'm hoping to get out for a walk. The short walks, together with sensible eating, are making a difference so for the time being I will keep going as I am. I know my starting weight and measurements but I'm not weighing myself at the moment, opting to go by how my clothes fit and how I feel in general. However, I did measure myself earlier in the week and have lost about 3cms off of each measurement, so I'm pleased with that and it has encouraged me to keep going. I'm pretty sure that most of it was down to fluid retention rather than any serious weight loss though!!

      Right, I have to stop because A wants to hoover this room. Back tomorrow in a better mood and hopefully with something more interesting to write about!

      Thursday, 29 August 2019


      I'll be tied up with band things today, starting with a trip to the printer to finish the Christmas music, then to handle the follow on meeting to resolve (hopefully) the as yet unresolved issue, and then back home to prepare the packs for any new starters following the school workshops in September, and to order new folders for all the players. I'm hoping to be finished by lunchtime.

      This afternoon is all about the garden ... but ...  it rained again last night so it depends on how wet everything is. I keep changing my mind but I think I finally have the pots where I want them so I'd like to get them part filled with compost ready for the winter bedding plants I ordered when my resistance was low! Most of the bulbs are in with just a few more to find places for. Then, apart from bits of weeding and watering, I can sit back and wait for the results.

      This evening ... I don't know. If there's anything decent on TV I'll settle down for an evening's viewing but if not I'll phone around to see if anyone wants to go out for an hour or two.

      Something different for breakfast - fresh fruit with yoghurt, following Joy's example.

      Wednesday, 28 August 2019

      Wednesday & 73 things about me

      flowers and a box of liquorice allsorts (not pictured) from C & H
      to thank me for sewing the name tags on their new uniforms
      I was at a bit of a loss to know what to write about today but Joy has come to the rescue with this meme:

      1. What is your usual Starbuck’s order?
      I've only recently start going into those sort of coffee places to meet with S, who is a coffee nut. We don't bother with Starbucks, although there is one in town, as S doesn't rate them! I can't have any dairy so my only choice wherever we go is a black coffee.

      2. What does your workstation look like right now?
      It's neat and tidy. I can't work if it is too messy so I tidy up as I go along. There is currently one pile of 'to do' tasks, a pile of stuff to be shredded, and a bit of filing to put away, all of which will be cleared from the table before I turn off the laptop and move onto other activities.

      3. All-time favourite food?
      Definitely curry, Indian not Chinese. 

      4. Favourite author?
      That's a tricky one ... no one author springs to mind. 

      5. What do you think of open relationships?
      I don't like the idea of them. 

      6. Favourite video game?
      I don't play video games now although years ago I played Myst and Riven, both of which I really enjoyed. Nowadays I play some online games - Rummikubs, Spider Solitaire and Sudoku, but nothing too challenging.

      7. Guilty pleasure treat?
      Having breakfast/brunch in a cafe. I don't do it very often but it feels like a really guilty treat when I do!

      8. Favourite film?
      The original Railway Children film where Jenny Agutter played Roberta. The scene at the end where her father returns and she cries out "Daddy, my Daddy" always get me!

      9. Favourite book?
      That's impossible to answer. I like the Harry Potter series but also liked the Millenium trilogy just as much. I just like reading!

      10. Twitter or Instagram?
      I have an Instagram account but haven't posted any photos yet. I don't use Twitter at all. Facebook is my social media platform of choice.

      11. Desktop or laptop?

      12. Best advice you’ve ever received?
      Be kind

      13. What project are you working on right now?
      Making a mini photo book for a friend

      14. Favourite colour?

      15. Did you get good grades at school?
      I was okay in most subject except the sciences, which I now realise was due to fear of the teacher rather than lack of ability in the subjects. My claim to fame is that, in secondary school, I achieve 100% in every French test and exam for the five years I attended that school ... yet I can hardly remember any of it now!

      16. Dream job?

      17. Played any sports?
      I was good enough at sport to be selected for the school teams but I'm not competitive enough to be a good team member. I enjoyed the game but wasn't that interested in winning.

      18. Do you have a degree?

      19. Nationality?

      20. What is your favourite kind of blog post to do?
      I just like writing about my day, posting photos, doing these sort of memes ... anything really.

      21. What do you like to collect?
      After so much effort decluttering the house I am trying to avoid collecting anything. Sheet music is my weakness though!

      22. Describe yourself in 3 words?
      Loyal, kind, shy

      23. If you were a rapper what would your rapper name be?
      No idea. I don't like rap, don't understand it at all.

      24. Who was the last person you dmed?
      If dm means 'direct message' the last person I texted was S about meeting later today.

      25. What’s on the top of your wishlist right now?
      I don't have a wishlist of things I want to acquire but do have a list of sorts about things I want to do/achieve. Top of that list at the moment is to be walking regularly with the aim of eventually joining a walking group.

      26. Hogwarts House?
      Gryffindor. Of course!

      27. How many tattoos do you have?

      28. What are you most grateful for this year?
      The support of friends and family

      29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
      Playing with friends to provide background music at a wedding reception.

      30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
      Nothing yet, I haven't been up for long enough for anything to have happened!

      31. What’s the best thing ever?

      32. Favourite season?
      I like the fact that I live in a country that experiences the different seasons. If I had to choose one, then probably spring but autumn would be a close second.

      33. Favourite holiday?
      The summer break from school. I think you'd have to be a teacher to experience the excitement of knowing you have six weeks of freedom ahead of you!

      34. Which fictional character do you relate to most?
      I don't relate to any of the characters so can't really answer this question

      35. Do you like surprises?
      Not really.

      36. What’s the biggest surprise you ever got?
      Being award the trophy for supporting the youth band ... completely unexpected at the time.

      37. What’s a surprise that’s made you cry?
      A letter sent by the sister in charge of the ward where my late partner spent his last few months of life. After he died she wrote to me to tell me how he'd talked about me during those months and some of the things  that he'd said.

      38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given anyone?
      Taking our friends and their four daughters to Legoland for the day. 

      39. Do you like muffins?
      Not really

      40. Do you cook often?
      Yes, I like cooking.

      41. What’s your favourite dessert?
      Lemon meringue pie. Or fresh fruit salad, Or bread and butter pudding. Or ... I just like most desserts.

      42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?
      I don't really like chocolate ones

      43. Cake or pie?


      44. What’s your least favourite food?
      Avocado and aubergines

      45. What’s your favourite condiment?
      Black pepper

      46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?
      Probably toast with either peanut butter or marmite

      47. If you could teach a college class what would it be called?
      Probably something to do with local history or maybe an aspect of tracing your family tree.

      48. Best animated film?
      Jungle Book or Beauty and the Beast - the original animated versions, not the latest ones.

      49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?
      My late partner and how he approached the last years of his life knowing his condition was terminal

      50. The best thing to do on a first date?
      Meet in a public place for a meal and to talk. Go home alone!

      51. The worst thing to do on a first date?
      Anything you'd regret in the cold light of day

      52. What’s the funniest pickup line a guy can use on a girl?
      Pickup lines are never that funny.

      53. Best comic book character?
      I can remember going through a stage of loving The Four Marys in the Bunty comic.

      54. What are the three things that are always in your bag?
      My purse, medication, and keys. I regularly find spare mouthpieces as well!

      55. Favourite drink?
      I don't drink any alcohol. Water is my preferred choice, maybe flavoured with some cordial. 

      56. If you could play a historical character who would it be?
      Bess of Hardwick

      57. Kittens or puppies?
      I'm not a pet person, so neither.

      58. Favourite sushi roll?
      I've eaten sushi but don't actually know what any of it was!

      59. What kind of lipstick do you use?
      I don't wear makeup

      60. What kind of foundation do you use?
      See previous answer

      61. Blow-dry or air dry?
      Definitely air dry. I have naturally curly hair which has a tendency to be frizzy anyway so I wouldn't add to the problem by blow-drying ... I'd end up looking like I'd chosen to wear an enormous brillo pad on my head! 

      62. Who is your fashion icon?
      I don't really follow fashion.

      63. Favourite Disney character?
      Anna from Frozen of the more recent films, or Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

      64. What are you doing tomorrow?
      Gardening if it isn't too hot, or family tree research if I need to stay indoors.

      65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?
      'Yesterday' was the most recent film with lots of laughs but I can't say I laughed the hardest through it.

      66. Movie that made you cry?
      A Wonderful Life

      67. If you could sing a duet with someone who would it be?
      My mum. A part of my childhood which would be lovely, but impossible, to do it again.

      68. If your life was a song what would the title be?
      What a wonderful world 

      69. What’s your favourite animal?

      70. Favourite illustrator?
      There's too many to choose from. 

      71. The person you want to have coffee with?
      Queen Elizabeth II. Stephen Fry. Sandi Toksvig. Alan Davies. 

      72. What’s the country you wish to visit?
      China. USA. Italy. Iceland.

      73. Best way to decompress?
      Reading. Playing an instrument. Listening to music. Walking.

      I haven't tagged anyone but please feel to join in if you wish.