The mixed bag that is my week

Lots has happened this week – a real mixture. I’m left at the end exhausted and feeling like I’ve not moved forward.

The week started with another fellowship module. Monday morning Eloise had woken up with a very high temperature and couldn’t go to school. Again Steven had worked a night shift so then stayed up all day with her so I could go. He happily volunteered to do this but I still (as always) felt guilty about going and leaving him without any sleep.  She is still unwell and on Thursday couldn’t go to school so I had to work from home. I mentioned in conversation how busy I was at work and this was then interpreted into a snappy response telling me he felt he did far too much and that by asking him to take a day off work I was taking liberties. I hadn’t asked him to take the day off. It had not even entered my head but he made the assumption that I was. Cue an argument.

Eloise has chicken pox and an ear infection and is generally feeling sorry for herself.


Work wise things are busy, stressy and it feels like people are sniping at each other. Human dynamics are causing more problems than workload and the fact that I’ve not really been at work for 4 weeks hasn’t helped. Our office is also having major work done that will take four weeks creating more upheaval.  I’m feeling overhelmed and needing to split myself into several pieces to have any hope of achieving anything. A looming essay is also not helping.   My main feeling is that I am trying my absolute hardest and that isn’t good enough for many people. On the fellowship module we had a discussion around white water leadership. This felt a really good explanation for me and the way I feel about work. I plan to look and reflect on this a bit more over the weekend. I’m making sure my life jacket is securely fastened.

I had a letter to say my child tax credits are stopping. My main feeling about this is relief. The whole management of my tax credits has been bad for the last two years with a number of mistakes, lots of stress and letters demanding lots of money from me. Hopefully I will now have a summer without an HMRC appeal looming over me.

I’ve jumped back on the weight loss bandwagon. Will post more on Sunday after my first weigh in.

I’m throwing myself into my 40 bags challenge and my scary cupboards are looking a little less scary.

On a lighter note I’ve decided I hate my hair and I’m sick to death of it. We were watching ‘Tangled’ yesterday and again I admired Rapunzel’s hair when it was short (is it wrong to want the hair of a Disney character?)

How do I find a haircut like this so I don’t have to take a picture of Rapunzel to the hairdressers with me? Haircut will be booked!

Our holiday now feels a distant memory

40 bags in 40 days

At the end of last year I found a Lent related challenge to help with decluttering.

I’m not entirely sure where it originates from, there are many people blogging about it in one form or another. It involves listing and then clearing 40 bags of clutter from your home over the course of Lent.

I don’t usually officially do anything for Lent – just the pancakes at the start and the eggs at the end! So often I put things off thinking I will get round to it one day and then it never happens. I like the fact that this will make me focus on a quick intense challenge to feel like I’m making some headway in clearing the house.

I’ve decided to keep it simple – quick 10-15 minute attacks on each area. I’m just going to be ruthless with a bin bag rather than get involved in any major reorganisation or moving of furniture. Any other major work can be done at a later date once this is finished and I can review what needs to be done next. If I don’t have it completed by Easter then I will not be beating myself up about it. It will just be helpful to have a list printed off and stuck on the wall to be steadily worked through. I’m hoping to be half way through by Easter, or closer to three quarters of the way through.  I’ve got some very busy weeks coming up with work and essays so I’m being realistic and not setting myself a stupid goal that I know I will struggle to complete.


So this is the list….





Quick Reflections

I went to the library this week and got my favourite book out


I’ve taken it out so many times in the last year I keep debating if I should just buy it. The reason I like is it that it helps you to see that reflection can be a simple process. It gives quick helpful pointers and ideas for activities that all help with the reflective process. I spent 4 years at university feeling like I was being forced to sit and reflect to a set cycle that I didn’t find helpful. It just became a tedious chore that I didn’t actually understand the point of.

Anyway, it suggests quick lists that you can return to at a later date. I love my lists so this has probably swayed my opinion on this book. Here are a few quick positive things from the week so far –

My phone docking station arrived this morning.  We have gone from charger hell –


to charger heaven

My only gripe is that it doesn’t have an adaptor for my camera but that’s the only downside. I can live with that.

At work we had our first group clinical supervision. Initially we all felt the pressure of sitting there with expectation that we will all have something to discuss. Interestingly the conversation turned to a member of staff who felt she would have nothing to discuss as she feels she doesn’t contribute clinically. It was a good opportunity to try out some coaching skills and I’m pleased with the outcome (I hope the other person is as well!) Its left me with a positive feeling for our future sessions.

Things are still not good with Steven’s grandparents and the situation came to a head on Saturday. I had to ring his mum and have a really difficult conversation with her about my professional and personal concerns about her dad’s health and prognosis. In October and November we had really struggled as any attempt to discuss either of her parents was ignored as she was in denial. Surprisingly the conversation at the weekend went well. She is now fully aware of his health and accepting of the direction in which things are heading. I’ve had to gently tell her of the difficult but necessary things that need to be done as soon as possible regarding decisions around his care. The big positive in this situation is that as a family we are all of the same opinion, we’re all helping each other with the difficult things that are going on and my mother in law is taking control and being the grown up in the middle of it rather than leaving us to cope as she had tended to do in the past.

I got shouted at yesterday morning in a particularly horrible way. Most upsettingly it was by another healthcare professional (wonder if I should use inverted commas on the word professional in this context). I won’t go into detail but essentially she had created a bad situation and when it all went wrong it was my teams fault. It wasn’t, it was hers. She wasn’t happy when I attempted to explain my perspective and she resorted to just shouting at me that my service was unacceptable. It was upsetting but I put my point back where possible. I didn’t let it upset me for the rest of the day. I usually let things fester but I didn’t. When I put the phone down to her I decided to send an email to her to clarify my side of the conversation and explain the things that she wouldn’t give me the opportunity to do.  Perhaps this was the reason that it didn’t fester. I got my feelings and opinion out and  at the same time created a record of the event that can be used if the incident is raised again in the future.

I needed the strength of the Dalai Lama straight after that call!


Keeping the positive momentum going

Back to reality and back to work on Wednesday and so far so good.

I’ve tried really hard to keep positive and not get caught up and dragged down in others doom and gloom. I’m lucky that my secretary is on the same positivity drive and we have adopted the new office mantra of ‘What would the Dalai Lama do?’ to refocus ourselves on positive, calming thoughts (success of this varies!)


So the good things from the week –

Samuel is going to sleep much quicker. No protests or screaming tonight. He played in his room for a bit then put himself into bed after 20 minutes. He’s also sleeping until 7am most mornings. The sleep is making us both feel more human and better natured.

Today we received the clinic letter from Samuel’s last hospital appointment. We had been concerned about his breathing and he hasn’t been himself since October. His consultant feels that the breathing problems are not related to his heart and he probably is just suffering from repeated colds and chest infections. The letter explained that a chest xray shows resolving infection that doesn’t need further treatment. Cardiac wise he remains stable with no real change in his overall condition since his last review a year ago. He still has mild stenosis and regurgitation and some hypertrophy but this is as they had previously reported. He has another appointment in two months time but this is mainly to review his breathing and we were told that he would probably not have an echo then.

Had a really good day out of the office yesterday to concentrate on fellowship things. Have kept up with my journalling. I came to the conclusion that I have a real interest in coaching. I’d like coaching for myself to aid my development and to keep my motivation up. I also think it is a good way to help me deal with my team and help them to develop. I usually take on everyone else’s problems or queries at work and by adopting a coaching mentality I can reduce some of that workload for myself, delegate and aid staff development in the process – win win!

I spent yesterday searching for a coach and trying to find someone suitable. I have received money as part of the fellowship so had intended using this to pay for coaching. Today I had a conference call with the programme leader who has suggested she will contact our regional health authority as they will have coaches that they use and ask someone to contact me to arrange this. I will not have to pay for this meaning I can put more money into my service and team development.

Yesterday I also met with someone I had approached to be my mentor and clinical supervisor. I had sent a cheeky email asking for her to suggest potential mentors to me in the hope that she would offer to do it herself. The plan worked 🙂 The meeting went well and I have really good feelings about it. We discussed many things and our opinions are the same on a number of key issues. She has given me things to work on and suggested further sources of help. I also discussed with her about a proposed restructure of our trust and that I feel this is a threat to our service. She explained it in a different way to how I had viewed it initially. With a different perspective I am now confident that we can use this proposal to our advantage and strengthen our role.

Operation Declutter continues at home. My shredder is still keeping pace. I’ve ordered the phone docking station and I’m longingly looking at the Ikea website for storage for my kitchen command centre. Today I introduced the 15 minute rule on my work desk (yes, I am just as bad at work). One drawer cleared. My filing cabinet will take a long long time to organise.


So a good week. I’m concentrating on my little goals and using small steps to work towards the bigger objectives. I need to keep focus on this as its working well. Any other suggestions on keeping a positive momentum will be gratefully received!



I’ve reached the summit of paper mountain

One of my targets for the year is to sort out the corner of shame in my kitchen.  Its been bad for years and a collection of several problems.

This is my starting point

Its a dumping ground for everything. My recipe books are under there as well. I see shredding and paperwork as the main issue. I hate it. It gets dumped in a bag until I set aside time to blitz and clear it. I’m hoping my making it a long term project I can sort the ongoing issues. Its also not just a simple job of clearing it and all sorted. My box file is a state, so no room to file. Resolving this area means I have to move onto another. One relatively small job triggers of lots of others.

So, this is it. All of those jobs will be tackled as they come along. For the last few days I’ve set my timer and just done 15 minutes each day of sorting, shredding and putting away. This is the same space tonight –

Not bad! I’ve been good and done the other jobs as I’ve gone along. No carrier bags full of stuff to shred – I’ve done it as I’ve found it. There is still some filing hiding in there. Next task is to redo the box file. I keep too much in there and am debating starting a box of paperwork that we don’t need frequent access to like payslips. I’m also wondering about having a box dedicated to HMRC after 2 years of tax credit issues!

I’m also fed up of all the chargers –

We have bundles of chargers stashed here and also behind our tv. I also think we have 3 or 4 nokia phone chargers even though neither of us has a nokia phone anymore.  The ipod dock works well. If my ipod isn’t in my car or handbag then it always lives there. This has made me wonder if it is worth getting a charging station that would get rid of all the chargers hanging around the house.  I will open negotiations  with Steven tonight…..

So the worst of the shredding and paperwork is out of the way. Next step is to sort out the whole filing system. Ultimately it would help to change as many things to paper-free as possible.  Once its cleared and sorted I’d like the area to be something along these lines –

Overall, I’m happy. 15 minutes a day seems like nothing and already I’m making good progress. It’s motivating me to keep going with it and move onto the other scary areas that I have avoided for years.


2012 Resolutions

Time to jump on the resolutions band wagon again and have a go at sorting myself out. I was cheered up by looking at 2011’s goals.  I think I did alright!

So here we go…..

  • Keep a journal – write twice a week
  • Blog once a week
  • Learn to meditate
  • Complete 25 things on Day Zero list
  • Do the 40 bags in 40 days challenge
  • Cook one new recipe a month and blog it
  • Make the kitchen ‘corner of shame’ the years project

I’ve also decided to follow a few blog challenges. Each will help tackle the goals and keep up the blogging and reflection. I’ve chosen monthly proejcts hoping that I won’t become too overwhelmed. I signed up to Flylady again a few weeks ago and became disheartened and bored by day 9. I need something that is more flexible, relevant to me and something I want to do.

Decluttering and organisation features heavily. Steven is on at me to move house. I really don’t want to due to financial reasons. He is adamant our house is too small. I feel we just have too much rubbish. He is very cynical so I need to declutter and sort as much as possible to give us some breathing space in the house.

I’m also not putting any craft related goals in. They tend to be the ones that get forgotten or drop off the bottom and I end up disappointed. There are a couple of quilts that need to be made in 2012 so I will just focus on those. Anything extra I get in will be a bonus. Work is taking most of my attention at the moment (this is my choice) and rather than cram too much in, I’m putting sewing on the back burner and that can be given a higher priority in the future when I’ve less on my plate academically and professionally.

So I’m going to follow –


IHeart Organizing

Happy New Year x

Fire Up For Fall – week 2

Weight Wars

It feels like I’m writing this far too quickly but I was shamelessly late with last weeks post. So here we go (remember positive picture!!!)


1. What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

Lose 10lb –  nothing on this. Just had too much on, an empty freezer and the sort of tiredness that makes planning and cooking meals feel like a marathon. Day one starts tomorrow. Back on track with the food diary and doing the food shopping this week so will go with good saintly thoughts in my head.

Declutter the offending hotspots – babysteps all the way on this. We’ve just had our bedroom decorated so that helped a major declutter of our bedroom – 4 bin bags gone. My side of the bed is now clear and I am determined to keep it clear. Last night I started work on the next spot – our landing. I don’t iron so our ironing basket lives there (full of clothes) permanently – NO MORE! Was very disciplined last night and cleared it *warm fuzzy snug feeling that I am ashamed is related to ironing*

(This photo confirms my thoughts that we need to get the carpet cleaned!)

Use the car less, walk more – feeling happy with this one. I am determined to walk more to save money on diesel and to help lose weight. I will not drive to school – its a 10 minute walk. My neighbour thinks I am mad that  I chose to walk in the rain when my car is sitting on my driveway. I’ve started wearing my pedometer again and I find just wearing it makes me conscious enough to walk more. Yesterday I did 9,000 steps which is lots for me, a more realistic 3,000 today.

Make 3 Christmas presentswasting time on pinterest planning hard for this one. Several ideas which I will start on now rather than leaving it far too late as usual.

Cook 3 recipes from my Greek cookbook – only decided on this one tonight. I got this book for Christmas and have not used it as much as I wanted to. Will get it out after finishing this post and plan a meal for this week.

2. What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

The new curtains arrived for our bedroom. Simple but I’m happy. I’ve wanted to redecorate our room for a few years so now its done I am very pleased. Still lots to do but its coming together well

3. What is your talent? What are you good at? {Genuinely, EVERYONE has
something big or small}

Trying new things, multitasking, crafty things, wasting time online, worrying about things that really aren’t that bad, being a mum.

4. What’s been the highlight of your week, toot your horn, what are you
proud of !

Getting that oh so scary opportunity at work. All helps towards the long term goal of a dame hood 😉

5. Fun Question: What’s your guilty pleasure TV?

Casualty (although last night I got cross, again, at its total lack of realism), love Spooks and so sad its finishing. Also at the moment I love Great British Bake Off – have even got Steven hooked on it. I sit and watch, knitting, and planning lots of fabulous cooking that I never manage to do.

Wondering if this post is as long as it feels……

Positive picture