Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Goals check back - How did I do?

I've loved having goals to work towards this month. I've been able to muse over them and having a physical list has helped to pin down certain goals to achieve this past month out of many swimming around my mind. So how did I do? 

Finish the She Reads Truth Hosea study
Check! See my thoughts on the study here. This was such an inspiring yet challenging study and I'd encourage you to read through the Hosea with a study guide if you haven't already. The She Reads Truth website still has their study guide here.

Run at least twice a week
I started this with the best of intentions and did get a few runs in during the beginning and middle of the month. Then I had dental work, which resulted in a mouth and tongue infection. Then I caught a cold...so this goal is going to carry over.

Try new recipes from my cookbooks
I tried one. ONE! What is wrong with me? I had a whole 30 days and a shelf full of books. What's wrong with me? However, the recipe I did try was from the Hairy Bikers Asian Adventure book and it was amazing. Matt agreed so that's not even a biased opinion...

Have my first dinner party with friends

FAILED! Much to the sadness of some (who will remain nameless but you know who you are...you...the people who have asked me on a weekly basis) this hasn't happened. I have no excuses. A carry over for sure.

Print holiday snaps and use them in decor
Half-way there! I found a Snapfish coupon on Wowcher to print 100 photos for a pound so I've had them printed. I stil have one evening left to fulfill the decorating part of this and I will persevere! Also, why hadn't I got them printed before, I've absolutely loved looking back at old memories. 

I didn't have a photo for this post and blogging "rules" dictate I need one. So here's a photo of some horses in the New Forest National Park who were chilling out by my car. These weren't the horses who tried to eat my picnic, though the one on the left has some attitude to show me his butt.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thankful Thursday

It's the first week of Autumn and there's so much to be thankful for I'm a little giddy from it all so here goes:

1. I found a room mate! Literally months of praying and my friend I lived with in Georgia is moving from France to live with me. Now that's worth waiting for. I can't wait for her to move in and we're already planning the next few months of fun. 

2. The Autumn weather has been beautiful. The mornings have been crisp and fresh with the bright sunshine shining all day and warming up my office. I've loved walking in my lunch break with the sun warming my face. 

3. I booked my summer holiday. Finally. So, I guess going on holiday in October doesn't really count as summer, but as we're off to the Algarve in Portugal I'm hoping it'll still be warm and sunny. The hotel is 4* and the deal was an absolute bargain. Can't wait to have time with my boyfriend without work/life distracting us from each other. 

4.  Sailing. Lots. I know my post the other day made it sound like I didn't like sailing with my boyfriend but I really do...even though we always disagree we have a great time still. The weather has been great for sailing lately and we're getting out on the water a lot. 

5. Where I am. This time last year I was in a job I despised and was ill through stress, anxiety and tiredness. This year I'm in a job which I feel good in, work 9-5.30 and have my evenings free. This makes me more available for other areas and people outside of my day job. Very thankful for where I am 12 months on. 

What are you thankful for? 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Is it good enough to try?

Lately I've been into telling people that "I tried my best", even if I have failed at something or not quite done as well as expected. Somebody called me out on it the other day and asked if I thought that was good enough. I did a double-take. Of course trying your best is good enough I exclaimed with a mixture of indignant reproach and bemusement. Then I thought long and hard about it and started to wonder if it really is good enough to try your best at something when you know you might not fufill someone's expectations.

The biggest one right now in my life is sailing. My boyfriend is an avid and very talented helmsman (and crew for that matter) and he loves to be sailing at any given opportunity. In fact, before we started dating I invited him on a family sailing trip at the request of my sister-in-law who thought it would get us talking again after our fall-out weeks before. I didn't think he would actually take a day off work to sail with us all - he did. I would love to believe this is because he wanted to spend time with me, though I'm not totally convinced it wasn't the sailing which swayed him into saying yes more than my presence. So you get the picture, the man loves his sailing.

I've been sailing solo since the age of seven though not competitively and not with much gusto. Prior to that I was always thrown in a boat and everybody else did the work because, well I was so little. In Greece I taught sailing each day but under the supervision of a head instructor and made sure the teaching was up-to-scratch. I suppose I was in the boat for moral support and helpful hints more than anything else. I also got a great tan from working on the beach so there was that. So you see, sailing wasn't new to me when I started crewing for my boyfriend.

I don't make the cut though. Everytime we sail together we go through the same pattern which is roughly this: smiles, his erratic steering, my frustration, smiles because it's enjoyable for a moment, me feeling like he's patronising me with his comments, him thinking I'm not trying. 

Sometimes I think it's better to try than not. Sometimes it's right to persevere. Just as long as we have realistic expectations of ourselves and our talents and don't falsely lead others into thinking we're brilliant at something we're not. I'm not great at sailing, no matter how hard I try, but he knows that now. We can only improve, we can only try our best. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Anything is possible in an Audi

Just a short post about this amazing little Audi which was spotted and snapped at a new hair salon in town. Now, I don't know about you but I wouldn't say no to somebody gifting me an Audi for a week. I wouldn't like to own one, I'd just like to whizz around. Maybe I'd drive to the Lakes and have unbridled comfort on the 10 hour drive. Or I could go shopping in France, have lunch in Belgium, maybe trip to Switzerland for some hot chocolate. I get the feeling anything would be possible in an Audi. 

That's why if I were a 3 year old again this little car would've changed my low opinion of getting my hair cut. 

You see that fringe? That's because I wouldn't sit still in the chair when I had to have my hair cut. Thankfully the film Tangled wasn't released either or I definately wouldn't have let anybody near me with scissors. 

So well done hair salon with the mini Audi chair. You're setting yourself up for some easy wins there. Soon there might be no little terrors at the salon anymore...until my children are born of course.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


I know I'm late with this Hosea thoughts post for She Reads Truth but it really took me a while to gather and decipher my own feelings about this book.

It's a story of unthinkable grace, love which abounds and mercy which only Christ can show to us. For a man to be told to marry the outcast; an unclean woman who cheats on him many a time, only for him to keep loving, keep forgiving.

God's love story for Israel and Judah are written out in this book and to be honest that was the hardest part to read. This isn't a book for the faint hearted that's for sure! His wrath is plain and it's almost scary to read, hard to swallow. Because the truth is, alike Israel and Judah, and alike  Gomer, I too prove faithless and flippant about God's love at times. The people is Israel had been rescued from slavery, brought out into a promised land, provided for by God in every respect yet they still complained bitterly. Hands up, I complain a lot of the time about many different (very unimportant) things. God provides for me and yet I throw my little worldly tantrums and console myself in people and Netflix more than I seek Him.

The book of Hosea speaks of God binding himself to us and I imagine he's not talking about bonds which can be broken. The theme of marriage is also prevalent: that when we marry this is a worldly picture of God's relationship with His Church; His people. When we stand at the altar and promise to love our spouse for the rest of our lives this is a picture of how God entered into relationship with us when he came into our lives. A relationship which perseveres, loves through all things and places God above all else.

Most powerfully to me though is the image of God waiting for my return, with love and no anger:

11 v.9: "I will not execute my burning anger...for I am God and not a man,
for the Holy One is in your midst, and I will not come in wrath"

Thursday, 4 September 2014

September Goals

4 days into the new month and here are my new goals. I could tell you that I've been pondering everything I seek to achieve but that'd be a little fib, truthfully I've decided to set goals to push myself this month to be the best I can be.

Finish the She Reads Truth Hosea study

When this community of women started their web-based bible study two years ago I was struggling to find devotionals that I could relate to. I was living in Korea at the time and discovered She Reads Truth through Instagram. I was hooked. The women who wrote the devotionals were so real, so truthful and not prejudiced. They've released an app on both Apple and Android or can be found at www.shereadstruth.com. I've not been brilliant at keeping up with the studies in recent months and I really want to improve discipline in this area.

Run at least twice a week

I went running the other day for the first time in a couple of months and as usual, it almost killed me. It's tough, it's gruelling, it can be embarrassing, but it feels so good to push myself in this way both physically and emotionally.

Try new recipes from my cookbooks

Fuelled by my last post, I'm determined to get those pretty cookbooks off my bookshelf and see what delicious meals I can create. The trickiest will be Korean food as I don't believe I can do it justice but it's worth a try!

Have my first dinner party with friends

Those meals I've cooked are going to have to be tried by many mouths to get a true judgement on my efforts. I've also not had a dinner party in my new place yet so this needs to be done!

Print holiday snaps and use them in decor

Pinterest is to blame for this goal. Pretty frames, pegs and string, scrapbook collages, they all need to be made. Hopefully they'll all look great, fingers crossed!

Check back in October to see how I've done on these goals. I've kept the list short; no need to be too enthusiastic, I've already lost 4 days!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Guilty secrets

This post  by Beka over at The Castilles inspired me to get my embarrassing, weird and somewhat guilty secrets about myself on my blog. To shed some light on the stranger side of who I am and what makes my friends and family tease me.

1.       I still listen to all of my favourite songs from the 2000's and             can remember most of the dances to go with them.

Favourite bands include Backstreet Boys, B*Witched, Maroon 5, Eminem, Linkin Park and Aqua.

2.       When i'm out and see a cat i'll stop walking/running/cycling             and revert to being a 5-year old, chasing the cat to try and pet           it.

I just love stroking random cats. They make my heart smile and stresses go away. I also love their flippant attitude.

3.      I have about 20 cookbooks and have never cooked a single              meal from any of them. I just like the look of them on my                shelf.

I would love to be able to throw a meal together like Jamie Oliver and have it taste amazing. Instead I go with recipes my mum taught me and ideas I've seen others try. American cookbooks use cups and i'm not even sure what size cup to use?! There are so many cups to choose from surely. 

4.      The majority of friends i've fallen out with or people I plain              just don't like are Christians. Christian girls can be the worst.

This is a major sore point for me. I wish I could say I was somebody who was loved by everybody and who got invited to everything. Well, maybe not everything. Truth is there are plenty of people who are unforgiving or judgemental and the worst of them tend to be in Churches. I've learnt a lot from those girls/women about how to treat others in a loving way, simply by acting in the opposite way they do. 

5.      When I was younger my dream was to be a backing dancer.              Then, when i was a teenager, I wanted to be a Dentist. Neither          dreams were achievable, neither have been achieved and i'm            thankful my parents never told me I could do whatever job I            desired to. I'm thankful to have been brought up in reality and          not a dream world. 

No really. This sounds negative but I truly don't believe you can be anything you put your mind to. All jobs require God given talents and skills. I didn't have the body to progress in dancing (hips and curves, hips and curves), and I didn't have the maths and chemistry grades to be a Dentist. Nobody in my family is talented at sciences. I studied my butt off and still came out with mixed A's and B's. 

6.      I hate snow. I was a chalet girl for a season and shovelled so            much of it I want to cry when I see it fall.

It was like living in a sea of white powder for 6 months straight. Go outside and you'll fall down. Try to drive and you'll skid. Clear the deck and what's that? It's snowed again? Yup, start again. 

7.      My nickname is mouse. I'm a 5'10 girl who speaks her mind. I          have no idea why people think i'm a mouse. But it makes a              change to be referred to as small and not as a giant so I go                with it.

Maybe my voice changes when I speak softly? Maybe it was because my brother was always Bodger the Badger and I had to be Mousie when we played (see here). 

8.      I was a teacher for 2 years and hated it. Like, anxiety                        inducing, crying on a Sunday, no passion hated it.

Teaching in Korea was a means to an end. To be fair it was bearable. Teaching in England put me on medication and into therapy. Enough said. 

9.      I love the look on people's faces when I tell them I don't want          children until i'm in my 30s...then I'll be a working mum. I                don't actually hold true to this thought, I just love that people            try to argue it.

I sometimes stir it up a little if people are bothering me with their opinions they just have to share to everybody. I don't do it often and i'm not proud of myself.

10.    I'm a sailor and get terribly seasick. 

I've suffered from motion sickness all of my life. When I was little and had to sit in the middle of the back seat in the car my brothers wouldn't know which one of them was about to get covered. Gross. It dominates my decisions on what to do, where to go, who's driving, what car is it, can I sit in the front, is there a rest stop etc. Dramamine isn't sold in the UK but is the best drug in the world for motion sickness. 

Some of these were joky, some serious!