Archive of ‘Ramblings’ category

Seizing the (Sunday) moment…

Unlike all the amazing women I follow on Instagram (because let’s face it, it’s mainly the women that us ladies like to check out), I have been over here 🙋🏻 failing miserably to get into that new year focus. Motivation – at an all time low ✔️, procrastination – at an all time high✔️, and a complete and utter lack of focus✔️, fully aware that I need to sort my shit out but just adding that to my never-ending list of ‘things to do tomorrow’. And not just on a work front, but where health and fitness is concerned, letting my health take a knock, my anxiety get a little out of control, and generally not committing to any of the good habits I’ve wanted to put into action this year.

So, after yet another weekend of being ill in bed I’ve decided That.Is.It. I’ve spent far too much time swooning over other people’s plans, admiring all they’re achieving in their business and finally, FINALLY some of it has magically filtered out of the wonderful world of Instagram and given me the kick up the butt I need.

I’m very lucky to have some truly wonderful mentors in my life, who are always at the end of the phone to advise me on what I could be doing next and to chat through all my business plans. When you work for yourself (and you spend a lot of time on your own) it’s so important to have people you can chat and share your ideas with (partly so you don’t end up going crazy from having no one to talk to). And they (along with my super supportive husband, who’s forever encouraging me to just ‘get on with it’) have taught me that putting your health first, doing more of what makes you happy, being honest to yourself about how you’re feeling, and prioritising all of the above ⬆️, is so important. Plagued with self-doubt and anxiety, one of my mentors (who owns an extremely successful coaching business) has told me today that the only cure is to take action!

So, it’s time to seize the moment (I know I’m usually chatting about savouring the moment but this laissez-faire attitude really is getting me nowhere fast ) and make 2017 a year that I’m can feel proud of. All that action starts today (well, this evening as I write this post) and no more putting off tomorrow what I really could should be doing today.

And, to ease into my weekly routine I’m going to start and end my day with my new Five-Minute Journal. I’m finding it’s a great way to focus on the areas you feel most grateful for, rather than the negatives, and stops you from grabbing your phone and reading your emails before you’ve even gotten out of bed *just one of the terrible habits I’m trying to break*. 

I hope the first month of the year has gotten off to a good start for you? I’d love to hear what your plans are! And, if you’re anything like the above, just know you’re not alone in how you’re feeling.

Why I always fall for autumn

It’s no secret, I’m a lover of autumn 🍂🍁.. And all things autumn at that. Maybe it’s because I’m a September baby and autumn was my very first ‘season’ or perhaps, much like my cats, I like the idea of hibernating in front of a fire. So, whilst many are mourning the loss of summer, pining for long sunny evenings and the prospect of just ‘another mini heatwave’, I’m pulling my boots, tights and chunky knits from the wardrobe, reaching for a blanket and upping my intake of tea.

Every year it’s the same, each time I feel like I’m experiencing it for the very first time – but this year has felt a little different. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or maybe it’s because this year we’ve been graced with a particularly stunning autumn, either way, it’s time to embrace the season and indulge in it.

Whether you’re an autumn-lover like me or someone that needs a little more convincing, here are just a few things to relish in this season.

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1. Cosy lighting 

I’m not a fan of ‘big lights’. I can often be heard at home asking the husband to ‘turn off the big light’. If I have a bath it’s with candles, if I read in bed it’s with a bedside lamp, I find bright lighting offensive. And, as the evenings draw in it’s even cosier at home when you can light candles, turn on the fire, and switch on those lamps. 

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2. Festive foliage

Even if you hate autumn with a passion *although I’m not sure we can be friends* I defy you not to love the way this season makes everything change colour. Living in Winchester means we are surrounded by THE most beautiful countryside and seeing the leaves change colour is pretty magical. And, once those leaves hit the ground leaf crunching is in full effect.

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3. The heat is on…

And not just at home with a cosy fire, but your drinks heat up too – cider becomes mulled, red wine becomes warm – and it’s acceptable to add a drop of whiskey or brandy to your coffee or hot chocolate, right? 

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4. Hearty eating

Soups, stews, pies, oh my… there are so many great seasonal veggies out there that it’s yet another reason why I love this time of year. And with a husband who’d eat stews and roasted veg till they were coming out of his ears, my kitchen has never been so busy. Apple crumble and chicken pie are regular requests at the moment. So it’s a great time to reach for the cookbook and try something new. And all this cold weather makes me feel pretty darn hungry – and you can’t beat the simplicity of a great loaf of bread. 

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5. AW16 

Summer requires you to wear too little for my liking. I’m not someone who likes overheating but I equally can’t stand much being ‘on show’. Enter autumn – the season that allows me to cover up, pull out the oversized cardigans, throw on a scarf and don a hat. And don’t get me started on the boots. And, because it’s practically dark by 5pm it’s even more acceptable to get home and get straight into your pyjamas – no questions asked.

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6. The countdown is on

With Halloween behind us and Bonfire Night looming it can only mean one thing – the countdown to Christmas has begun. If you’re frightened of the ‘C’ word then you might not want to check back here till Christmas is done. But for the rest of you, it’s officially time to start planning all things festive and really get into the spirit. 

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So, if you’re looking for me this season you’ll probably find me either hibernating at home with the cats or under a pile of leaves.

Happy autumn, guys!

Do you love autumn? What’s your favourite thing about this time of year?

Ciara sign off

New Year’s revelations

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with New Year. The whole ‘new year, new me’ often leaves me a bit cold, and the pressure it puts upon us only adds to the stress of trying to achieve the near-on impossible.

We’ve been living the past couple of weeks in a state of confusion – wondering what day it is, whether it’s OK to eat chocolate for breakfast (it its), whether alcohol at every main meal is socially acceptable (brunch is the perfect answer to this), and finding it harder to get up in the mornings and get motivated (alarm, what alarm?).

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When it all comes to a dramatic halt, it can be pretty tough to face routine, get back to work, and begin the whole ‘new year, new me’ thing. I don’t think resolutions serve much of a purpose – the gym is packed, there’s leftover yule log in the cake tin, and quite frankly, it’s all a bit too much to deal with. Which is why I prefer to kick-start my new year with a few revelations, taking stock of the old year and how I might do things a little different in the year ahead. January is a tough enough month as it is without setting yourself goals you’ll only break and feel that you’ve not achieved much.

Nope, instead I like to make New Year’s revelations, …  Here’s my four revelations for 2016, little things that I’m hoping will make this year more productive and content than the last:

A time to… challenge 

I can be terrible for living in my comfort zone so I’ve set myself a few challenges this year. Most of which I’d already planned before Christmas. From the Rough Mudder I’m booked in to do in April (don’t ask me why), to a few new creative skills I’m hoping to learn – this year I want to push myself a little in ways I’ve been scared to before.

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A time to… take more action 

I live my life through lists, I have lists for everything. But I’m far too good at procrastinating.  One of life’s all or nothing kind of people. One thing I’ve had on my ‘to-do’ list this year is to give myself a finance health check. So, this week I’ll be looking over my accounts, filing my tax return, getting my finances in order and taking more immediate action over those long to-do lists.

A time to… feed my mind as well as my body 

This one works in reverse order too. I often find I focus on keeping my body healthy and neglect my mind, or vice versus. But they’re pretty synched up. Which means, as I fail one the other fails too. Feeding my body doesn’t mean indulging in the leftover Christmas treats, it means keeping myself healthy by caring more about what I put into it, and enjoying a (one, singular) glass of wine and savouring the moment every now and then – rather than only feeling relaxed when it’s wine o’clock. The same for my mind. It can be easy to spend hours on social media or sat in front of Netflix, zoning out from the day-to-day. It’s time to put my energy into things that serve a lot more purpose!

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A time to… take more time for me 

Time goes by so quickly that it can seem a constant cycle of work, meetings, chores and appointments, squeezing in hurried catch up with friends and speed-dates with the husband. Last year, and I blame planning my wedding for that, I didn’t take much time to focus on the things that I really WANT to do. Time for my blog, time with my husband, savouring moments with friends, time to sit and read that big stack of magazines I eye up most evenings. I hope to take more time for the little things. To savour the moment and be just a tad more mindful that life is for living and not for checking off the things we’ve completed on our list.

Have you set yourself some challenges, new focuses or plans for the year ahead? I’d love to know!

Wishing you all a very happy New Year.

#savourthemoment

Love

Ciara sign off

And the countdown begins …

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Prior to being asked ‘The Question’ I’d never given a wedding day much thought. If truth be known I didn’t actually see myself doing the whole ‘white dress and walk down the aisle thing’.  And, as someone who has suffered from (sometimes crippling) anxiety for years, a day when all eyes are on me makes me feel more than a bit nervous.

Entering into marriage I feel somewhat prepared for, but a fancy wedding day, not so much. No tea towels on my head as a child pretending it was a veil, no scrap book of pretty dresses and ideas of my ‘dream’ wedding.  So, after saying a big fat ‘Yes’ back in early September of last year, to a guy with whom I went on a date eight years ago, knocked back, and then agreed to a second (first) date six years later, we have since found ourselves booking an actual date to get married and faced with more decisions to make regarding our wedding day than I ever thought possible.

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Fortunately for me, I’m one of the last of my friends to get married, which means that when I have questions they all have answers; and extremely practical and helpful answers at that. Lets put it this way, if it weren’t for a friend of mine I’d have had no idea that I had to order a wedding dress at least six months in advance (the look of horror on the wedding dress shop owner when I turned up thinking it was ‘that’ easy), or that I needed my actual wedding shoes prior to my dress fittings, or that wedding invites would have be a huge headache, and that once ‘said’ invites are delivered the endless upsets and disappointments it can cause would be an even bigger headache – I should add, that if you’re not yet married then please don’t let this put you off!

Needless to say, I’ve been pretty blasé and naive where this whole wedding day malarky is concerned. Probably made worse by the fact that I’m marrying THE most disorganised man on the planet – I defy anyone to show me someone who is more lacking in the organisation department. Which means I have to work twice as hard at making sure that things get done, that he turns up to the right church (although it’s rather fortunate that the church is quite literally in our front garden) and on the right day … tardiness is not something that sits well with me. So, with our nuptials only mere weeks away it’s safe to say that the countdown has well and truly begun and it’s time to get down to some much needed organisation.

Up until now if you’d asked me if I was stressed you’d have probably heard me say ‘Don’t be silly’. I was never planning on having a big wedding with lots of people and things to organise, and fuss … as most of my friends know, I was hoping (and tried) to elope. But it’s not just my day, it also belongs to my fiancé.  And now that the invites have gone out and we’ve had lots of lovely chats with our vicar,  it’s all starting to feel a little real (to say the least). I don’t think either of us can look at our guest list without opening the fridge to pour a glass of wine and difficult wedding decisions are often met with a glaring ‘I’m-not-in-the-mood-to-discuss-this-now’ glance.

As we’re both self-employed (Ross runs his own locally sourced fruit and veg business, and I spend my days writing) a lot of our spare time turns to work, so wedding chat is often at the bottom of our list. But with 10 weeks to go, it’s time to finalise those smaller details –  first dance (are we even having one, I don’t think we’ve even discussed that?), what wine we’ll be drinking (pretty important), and where we plan to head off to on our little honeymoon after the wedding before our bigger honeymoon next year.

But, despite all of the above we’re trying to make sure that we spend this time in the run up to our big day, remembering what exactly it is that we’re embarking on. It’s pretty easy to get lost in a haze of ‘wedding’ and forget the very important part about a marriage. Something I promised myself I would NEVER do. Our lovely vicar requested one thing from us in the week prior to our wedding day … ‘To book in at least two hours a few days before, where we spend time with just each other and do something that doesn’t involve ANYTHING wedding related’. I’d say that’s pretty sound advice if you ask me.

Although, before I become a wife there is the small matter of celebrating with all my favourite ladies.  And, I can’t wait to spend this Saturday evening with them. Hen Party fun, and frolics awaits …

Love

Ciara sign off