2018 goals – the halfway point

Oh wow. This year is getting away from me! I can’t believe I’m here at the halfway point already. So what have I been up to? I’m going to look at how I am getting on with the goals I sent myself back in January.

I’ve been playing around with some new crafts over the last few months – embroidery, shuttle tatting and zentangle. I went to an embroidery workshop at the Herbert Art Gallery so I’m checking that one off of my list.

  

I’m still having drum lessons and I’m really enjoying that. I’m working on learning to play Chekkov’s Hangnail by Martha. I also got my very own snare drum for my birthday so I’m one part closer to getting a kit to practice on!

So far I’ve read 67 books and watched 8 films. I was going to recap what my favorites are but I think I’ll leave that till the end of the year. Reading wise, I’ve already hit my goal of reading at least 10 books from the library so my next focus is on reading some of the books I’ve had unread on my physical or virtual bookshelves before this year started.

In all honesty, not much decluttering has happened over the last 3 months and we’ve brought some things for the new place but I’m ok with that. I think once it gets less hot, I’ll be ready to dig back into the decluttering again. My Mum visited at the end of May and planted some flowers and herbs for us and also gave us 3 tomato plants

We still need to buy garden furniture and some astroturf for the bare patch where the previous owner had putting practice putting hole but it’s looking pretty nice out there. I’ve been really enjoying having people to visit and being able to cook and entertain without feeling stressed out like I did in the old place.

Work-wise I haven’t yet signed up for the mentoring scheme but I have been reaching out to a lot of different people on a more casual basis to ask for their advice on different aspects of my career and progression. It’s out of my comfort zone in a lot of way but I’ve also been really touched by how willing people seem to be to help. I am aiming to finish my Microsoft certification by the end of the month so I can then decide what to focus on next.

I’m being fairly social over the next few weeks – off to London to see Fun Home at the Young Vic which I am very much looking forward to. It was over a year ago I booked the tickets so it feels like it has been a long time coming. I’m off on holiday to Copenhagen in September but I’ve also booked some other time off of work and can hopefully fit some UK adventures in too.

As for my word of the year – Resilience – that’s a work in progress. I just went through a fairly hard few months emotionally and I felt like my moods were all over the place. I don’t think I always managed to be the most resilient person in facing some of those issues either which is frustrating. That said, I’m starting to realise that I always need to start from the ground up and make sure my very basics are being met such as getting enough sleep, taking my meds and drinking water. Since moving house, I feel like I am in much better routines with all of these type of things so hopefully I’m building myself a stronger foundation and now I just need to look at what needs work next.

and on that note…

be strong, be resilient, be young, be fucking brilliant
– Grace Petrie

2018 goals – 3 months in

I can’t believe March is over – which means it’s time for me to reflect on how my goals for 2018 are going.

The big news is – WE BROUGHT A HOUSE! It finally happened. We moved at the end of February (yes, in that week with all of the snow) I love our new place – it has a few teething issues but overall I couldn’t be happier. It’s a little closer to town than where we lived before and in a much quieter area. We’ve been living here for just over a month now and it just feels right.

I did a lot of de-cluttering both in the run up to the move and while packing but I still have a lot more to go. In total, I’ve got rid of over 1,500 things since the start of this year which is a huge improvement on last year. The more I get rid of, the easier I find it to let go and the easier it is to see what I actually want to keep and why.

My Mum came to visit last weekend and we did a workshop on embroidery at the Herbert Art Gallery. You can see a little glimpse of what I did in my March 1 second everyday video. I’ve been working on setting out my new office and it’s really helping me to feel more inclined to create.

I’ve watched 4 films so far and read 32 books. I haven’t been so good at not buying more books tbh but that’s something for me to work on.

I’ve signed up for a new Microsoft course at work so that will be my focus over the next few months as it’s mainly self study (and we are about to enter another busy exam season)

I want to try and add more pictures to my blog posts so future ones wont just be big walls of text like this. Sorry!

1 second everyday – February & March

February was a VERY busy month for me in the end and although I did keep on recording my 1 seconds, I didn’t get around to posting them till now

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February turned out to be a really great month as we finally got the keys to the house we brought and moved in. There was snow, hail, some good sunsets, pancakes and re-watching Friends while I was packing (or procrastinating)

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March was about properly settling in to the new place, setting up new shelves and finding homes for all my stuff. My Mum came to visit for a few days, where I got to show her some places I like in the city and also did a feminist embroidery workshop at the Herbert. I started playing with zentangles as a form of relaxation and creativity. The Easter bunny visited me at work and left a bag of goodies plus I saw Martha in Birmingham which was amazing.

2018 Goals

Hello 2018. It’s a few weeks in and I’ve been taking my time getting comfortable in this new year and trying to work out what my goals should be for it.

Creative
Make at least 1 zine
Complete my sashiko placemats (2)
Record 1 second everyday video – everyday! It will be fun to look back at 365 seconds of video at the end of the year
Carry on with my drum lessons and organised at least 1 jam session with friends
Do at least 1 workshop where I learn a new skill (creative or practical or both)

Home
Move house to our own place
Create my ideal study with space for all my things as well as to work and create in
Host some gatherings with friends

Travel
Go abroad somewhere (Copenhagen or Japan?)
Alpaca walking trip with my Mum
Make plans to visit friends in the UK at least 3 times

Work
Sign up for the mentoring scheme at work
Keep a record of small and large achievements I have had so I can record these on my annual review when it is time to do so

Miscellaneous
Read 100 books (including at least 10 from the library and 10 I owned prior to 2018)
Watch 12 (new to me) films

I’ve also thought of a word that I want to try and embody in 2018 and that word is Resilience. I mean this in the sense of feeling more able to find what I need by looking into myself and by trusting in my own skills, knowledge and abilities.

2017 goals – the end of the year

My yearly goals can be found here and I reflected on them after 3 months here, at the half way point here and three quarters of the way through here.

I would say that my goals were on average half successful this year. I read a lot more books than I planned and did some creative stuff like my embroidery but it wasn’t necessarily the creative stuff that I planned to do. I enjoyed doing the lino printing 1 day workshop and hope I can do more in 2018 at home.

I didn’t travel as much as I had hoped but I did enjoy my trip to Bristol and my Indietracks mini break.

My favourite thing that I did for myself this year was starting drum lessons. I’ve gone from not being able to play at all, to being able to read basic drum tab and play along with some songs which is a pretty big achievement for someone who has struggled to stick to anything musical.

Some things I would like to carry forward with me to 2018;

1 second everyday videos were a lot of fun to watch back at the end of each month where I did them so I would like to carry on with those
Less social media – especially FB. I deleted the app off of my phone around June and it has remained deleted. I don’t really miss it.
More decluttering especially as it looks like we may be moving in the early part of next year.

A holiday in Bristol

In September, I spent a few days staying in Bristol with my partner on the Kyle Blue

The boat is permanently moored in the Bristol Harbor quayside and is really well situated from exploring the city. The top desk of the boat has a really large lounge area with lots of sofas and a couple of dining tables as well as a kitchen area which is pretty small but well equipped enough for self catering. On the lower deck there are a number of private cabins as well as some dormitories. We had a private room which could have actually slept 5 people as there was 2 bunkbeds and 1 single bed.

We arrived on Sunday mid afternoon and wandered from the coach station to the harbour where we were staying. After checking in to our floating home for the next few days and lazing around for a bit, we went out for pizza and gelato at Pepenero (the branch inside the Beer Emporium). I had a tofu sausage and mushroom pizza which was tasty although it was a bit on the floppy side due to the generous toppings. We also had some garlic bread between us and I followed it with 1 scoop of coconut gelato and 1 scoop of tiramisu gelato. It was far too much food to be honest but it was all very good and we couldn’t resist trying lots of things (plus we hadn’t had lunch because we’d been on a coach for hours)

On Monday we caught the ferry just outsides our hostel to the Bristol Temple Mead train station and from there we took the train to Bath. My Mum had kindly brought us a voucher for a spa session at the Thermae Spa. We had visited before but not for a few years and in that time, they had refitted the relaxation suite so instead of just having some steam rooms and a waterfall shower, there was more variety including an infrared sauna, relaxation cosmos room with twinkly lights, 2 steam rooms and an ice chamber which was filled with menthol vapour and had a trough where you could grab a handful of ice chips and run them on your face and body post sauna or steam.

After the spa, we went to Chapel Arts Cafe for lunch as it happened to just be around the corner from where we were. I didn’t really think too much about where to go but this turned out to be one of the most delicious meals I had on the break. I had a marinated mushroom burger with seasoned potatoes. It was the perfect combination of filling food that I needed combined with something that was so delicious but also felt really healthy.

After lunch we had a wander around Bath mainly looking in secondhand book shops and taking the time to visit two of the wonderful independent bookshops that Bath has – Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights and Toppping & Company. The sliding ladders in Toppings are like something out on my wildest home-library based fantasies.

In the evening, we went for some thai food at Koh Thai Tapas. The food was good and vegan options were marked on the menu – however there wasn’t that much choice. What I did have was good though.

After this, we went for a drink at the Bag of Nails – which is a pub that happens to be home to a lot of cats (some websites say 16, some say 15) – either way, we had to have a look. I only spotted 5 cats when I was in the pub – they were happy to lounge on the windowsill, curl up on bar stools and sleep in cardboard boxes on the bar. There were also lots of board games to play, a really good selection of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks and a chilled atmosphere with records being played.

Tuesday morning saw us heading up to the Clifton suspension bridge for a wander across the bridge, taking in the views and going into the museum. The museum wasn’t large but was one of the more fun ones of this type I had seen because there were a lot of interactive elements to it and it also highlighted some of the personality quirks of the bridge’s designer – Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

For lunch we ended up going to Vx. I’d visited the branch in London a few times but the Bristol branch had a larger space which lent itself better to eating in. We both had amazing vego chocolate milkshakes and I had some mac and cheese (which was the best vegan mac and cheese I have ever had) and some fries. I also grabbed a few bits to eat later.

We had a quick wander around the M-Shed in the afternoon which seemed like a pretty good museum but I was honestly pretty exhausted by this point and the weather was getting windy and rainy so we opted to make some food on the boat and have an evening resting.

On our final day, it was still pretty rainy so after loitering in Weatherspoons for a while over breakfast, we collected our bags and slowly wandered up to Stokes Croft to check out the street art, look round Hamilton House and get some lunch at Cafe Kino before it was time for us to get our coach home. I left Bristol feeling like I had only got to see a tiny bit of what it has to offer and I look forward to going back again.

2017 goals – at the 3 quarters of the year point

My yearly goals can be found here and I reflected on them after 3 months here and then again at the half way point here.

Studying and Learning

After all my wittering last time about catching up with Wanikani, I once again didn’t keep up with it so I started again from level 1. I’m almost done with level 3 and it feels like it is sticking a bit better on the second time through. I’m not always managing to get through my revisions every day but I’m enjoying it.

Travel

Since I last updated I’ve visited Bristol as well as a very flying visit to Leicester for Glitterfest. I still hope to have a few days away with my Mum somewhere although realistically I’m not sure if money and time will get in the way now this year. I’ve also started saving for my next trip to Japan – no plans yet, but starting to put some money aside for it has helped me feel a bit more positive that it can and will happen.

Creating

I’ve started a new hobby – sashiko embroidery. So far I’ve almost completed the stitching on my first project and have another 2 lined up to do. I plan of sewing the finished pieces into quilted table mats.

I’ve also resumed joining together the squares for my crochet blanket now that its starting to get less warm. I’m also still carrying on with my drumming lessons (although life conspired to get in the way of these over the last month or so) I’m pretty happy with my progress though and hoping to get a kit once we (finally) move.

Other

I hit my Goodreads goal for 2017 at the end of July so I was pretty ahead of the curve on that one. I’ve carried on reading a lot specially since I discovered that my local library allows me to borrow e-books and had quite a few that were on my to read list. By the end of September I’d read a total of 101 books.

Here are the books I have enjoyed the most in the last 3 months;

Eleanor Oliphant is totally fine – Gail Honeyman
Fetch – Nicole Georges
Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
The No Spend Year – Michelle Mcgagh
Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu

I’ve finally made some progress of the de-cluttering front. I’ve got rid of a lot of books, DVDs and clothes – either through donating to my local PDSA shop or selling via ziffit. Over the year, I’ve also found that I’ve been using social media much less especially in the evenings and I think it’s helped me a bit with not feeling like I compare myself and my life to others.

1 second everyday – September

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My September started with a sunset from a train window and finished reading in bed. In between there were squirrels, cats, reading, re-sit exams at work, swimming under the moon, Glitter fest, a short holiday to Bath/Bristol (proper post to follow about this), burning candles, getting ready for autumn, eating tasty food, finally watched the Office (UK version), a party to celebrate a wedding anniversary and another to say farewell to a friend who is moving north.

Indietracks 2017

Our decision to go to Indietracks this year was a fairly last minute one. Joe was offered a ticket to the festival in order to review it for Birthday Cake for Breakfast (his review can be found here) and I got attend as his…emotional support? I don’t know exactly what my role was but I was happy to get to tag along.

   

We got set up our tent on Friday afternoon but then ended up waiting out the rain for a few hours in our tent before venturing to the site to see Chorusgirl, Kid Canaveral and Martha play. It was my second time seeing Martha that month and I found myself welling up during their set because of how very important and vital their music feels to me. I was feel grateful that even though it had been a really rubbish few months, I was glad I was there. I particular enjoyed the 90’s rave lights that accompanied their set too.

   

Saturday was thankfully dry (as our slightly crappy Argos tent was already leaking at this point) so we got to dry off, hang out with our camp mates and laze around for a while before going to see Crywank who were AMAZING. I think seeing that they were going to be playing was what convinced me to go to Indietracks this year. I was very happy to hear them play Forelorn Leghorn as I’d been listening to it a lot over the last few weeks. Dan is one of my new drumming inspirations.

   

Sunday I was excited to see Grace Petrie play (and I’m pretty sure she was excited that a sudden downpour sent a load more people dashing in to where she was playing) Lilith Ai blew away everyone who managed to get into the Church stage to see them. When the sun came out, I finally got to ride the singe gauge train.

   

I completely failed to make it to any workshops this year and once again didn’t make it to the campsite disco due to a combination of feeling achy, going back early to check our tent wasn’t under water and then feeling too lazy to move.

Highlights

Can crush! Martha covering Semisonic’s Closing Time, whoever made the Indietracks Ultras stickers, hearing 2 new ONSIND tracks being debuted in the merch tent, the great burgers, chips, nachos and ice cream from the Teatime Collective, seeing some cute owls, walking up the lane from the campsite to the festival and it feeling so familiar and comfortable, getting excited at how many excellent drummers I saw play and the fact that everyone I spoke to over the weekend was so friendly and just there to have a good time whether it rained or not.