Purplegerberas's Blog

A rambling collection of my thoughts about life, my children and crafty things

Happiness Project: May

This months theme is ‘get serious about play.’ It is looking at everything that isn’t work – whether that is paid work or housework.

Its a tough one for me at the moment. I know that I have lots on my plate and I’d already decided to put my sewing on a back burner for the year. April was a difficult month and I’ve struggled with stress and managing a good home work balance. This weekend we had a sudden unexpected trip away as a family and it helped enormously to have a think and try and change the priorities.

So my plans for the month are….

Get out of the house

Too often at the weekend we stay at home and do very little. Money is an issue half of the time. I changed my car last week for something more economical. Diesel prices have been so bad recently that I’ve cut down on the amount that I use the car. I’m hoping the new car will help this. I also need to think a bit more locally. Today I discovered by chance that our local steam railway had a special offer with free admission for the children. Off we went. We had a great time despite the pouring rain. We need to have more simple days like this.

Work hard, relax hard

Linked to the above, I know I need to spend more time relaxing and catching up with myself. I realised that this week is going to be busy so I decided to go away to the caravan for the weekend. Its also my birthday so intend having a relaxing time and forgetting about work.  I also find it helpful that the caravan has no wireless and barely a decent phone signal. Sometimes cutting yourself off is a good thing.

Get the work/life right

I need to remember my priorities and get a good balance between everything. When I’m busy at work its difficult to leave things behind and fully concentrate on the things that need my attention at home.  Its a challenge for me as my home and work lives feel very different and I cannot physically separate the two. I’m also more comfortable as ‘Karen the nurse’. The playground is not a particularly comfortable place for me and I don’t really feel like I fit in there. I don’t own a pair of ugg boots for a start. I know that this requires effort on my part but this is where I struggle with the time factor. Eloise has a special jubilee day coming up at school and they’ve asked for volunteers. I’ve put my name down.

Come to terms with myself

This one is a steal from here. I often feel caught in the constant whirlwind that is my life and flitting between work and home.  I recently had to complete a questionnaire before starting coaching and the questions really challenged me as it involved me stopping and thinking about what I want and feel about things in my life. It was a real struggle as I rarely stop long enough to consider these properly.


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Happiness Online: April roundup

Shamefully late with my end of the month post :/ I’ve been battling with an essay and submitted it this afternoon so trying this evening to catch up with the rest of my life!

The theme for April was ‘lighten up’ and my resolutions were –

And being totally honest I failed quite miserably. April was not a good month and I felt far too busy to have a chance to stop and lighten up. Music is playing a bigger part. I try and remember to put music on when I’m in the kitchen and I’ve asked for itunes vouchers for my birthday so I can get some new albums on my ipod. I even put MTV classic on this afternoon whilst we were cleaning the house. I’m slightly disturbed that MTV classic is now my genre of music.

I went to Hobbycraft and got some yarn to start knitting. The first week of the month was met with keen knitting but as the essay deadline approached my evenings have been filled with work. I have a slight breather now so will get back to finishing off the jumper that I started.

I haven’t even looked at my Day Zero list!

So, the moral of next month is try harder or at least not to get so bogged down with work.

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Happiness Online – April

Another month and another set of resolutions. This months theme is ‘lighten up’. It aims to make you focus on the small pleasures that make life happier.

So my resolutions are –

Listen to music

I know that this features in the Happiness Project book but I’m not certain it was for this month. Anyway, I’m stealing it. It was pointed out that it is difficult to be in a bad mood when singing to the radio and its true. Mornings are busy and manic in our house and if I’m going to lose my temper its usually first thing (which then leaves the whole day on a bit of a downer). So music will be on and I will be singing.

Do More Knitting

At the start of the year I decided to put anything crafty/creative away and focus on work. I knew this was a short term thing whilst I was doing the fellowship and that I will get the chance to do some more projects another time. I just feel I can’t commit to anything and I get frustrated by the piles of unfinished projects stashed all over the house. I do get a huge amount of calm and relaxation from sewing and knitting and it is frustrating me. Knitting is easy enough to do in the evenings though and I have a long trip to the caravan planned for Easter so that is also prime knitting time. My plan is to waste less time on facebook games and spend more time knitting.

Complete 3 Things on my Day Zero Project list

Its a bit scary realising that I have less than a year left for my Day Zero Project. I still haven’t decided on everything to go on the list. In the past I’ve really enjoyed working through. Yes, I’m a sad list obsessive who gets immense satisfaction from ticking something off the list.  Its been a bit neglected over the last few months so I will get back onto that.

At the moment I’m struggling to think of two more. Perhaps a sign I need to have more fun. I will sleep on it and come back to this page later in the week.

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Happiness Online – March round up

Another month has gone and spring is definitely here (although sleet forecast for this week :/ ) – sunshine is very good for the soul.

The theme for March was work – an area of my life that feels like its dominating all my thoughts at the moment.

My resolutions were –

  • Focus on one thing
  • Remember that I am not an endless ‘resource’ for others, I must stock up on ‘reserves’ and not get too drained
  • I must be fair to myself and remember, at all times especially in the face of criticism, anxiety and difficulties, THAT I AM DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN!!
  • Delegate
  • Do a daily priority list


Its been a mixture of success and totally forgetting them. Focus on one thing is a miserable failure – I still have far too many tabs open at once and flit around trying to do three things at once. Half my issue is keeping my emails open all the time – I need to be brave and only check them a couple of times a day. The world will not end if I’m not on the internet.

I had a bad first half of the month work wise with a couple of difficult situations cropping up. I found it hard – especially as I felt unwell at the time and it involved conflict. I had a week of getting my head together and after revisiting the situation its better and I feel I’m dealing with it (and the rest of work) with more clarity. Essentially I remembered that I am doing the best I can.

In terms of putting myself first and stocking up on my reserves I’m pushing ahead with finding a coach. I had a really good meeting with one yesterday and I’m feeling excited about this opportunity.  I want to be pushed and stretched to get as much as I possibly can from it. Its not only to challenge me but also a way of building up my own resilience. I’ve now got 12 days off work and I’m looking forward to doing as little as possible.

Delegation is a fail – it was discussed a fair bit yesterday with the coach and will be an area for work in the future!

The daily priority list – in general this is working well. Its helping me sleep at night and is a one of my personal safety nets for feeling in control when life is hectic. Yesterday I was talking to someone about mind mapping. This looks like a useful way of taking the simple list one step further. Mind mapping is my homework for the weekend.

Overall I’m ending the month in a happier place so I’m taking that as an overall success. I’ve been in an interim post for over a year and this week found out that the person I am covering has left the trust. The job will now be advertised and I have to apply for my job. There was a time when this would have thrown me but I’m not feeling too bad about it. I know that I can argue and clearly demonstrate why I am the right person for the job. My only irritation is at having to fill out an application form and sort my portfolio out. I’m debating doing it now whilst I’m in a positive frame of mind and not feeling too busy or stressed.


Happiness Online: March


The theme for this months resolutions is work. I did laugh quite a bit when I found that out.

It also helped that someone sent me this link last week – The happy secret to better work

I really liked it as it was giving a simple message that happiness does make work more productive and essentially its not difficult to achieve.

Focus on one thing

The video talks about ‘cultural ADHD’ where people try to do too many things at once. I easily fall into this category. I struggle to focus on one thing – at the moment I have 8 tabs open on my browser and writing this post will probably take far longer than it should do as I will keep flicking over to facebook, twitter and a forum. I do the same at work and I know it is unproductive. I’ve also read that too many browser tabs increases stress. So, this resolution means I will focus on one thing – starting with my internet browser.

Remember that I am not an endless ‘resource’ for others, I must stock up on ‘reserves’ and not get too drained

I stole this from the 10 Golden Rules for Myself that my mum sent me last week. Very self-explanatory.


I must be fair to myself and remember, at all times especially in the face of criticism, anxiety and difficulties, THAT I AM DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN!!

Another steal from 10 Golden Rules. I need to remember that my best is good enough and nothing in life is perfect. I have a limited amount of time available to me and as long as the important things are sorted and I am doing my best, the rest will get sorted.


I’m useless at delegating, although better than I was. I find it frustrating at times but know why I need to do it – not just for myself but also to help develop others.

Do a daily priority list

I love lists. They calm me down and help me get things sorted out in my head. I often worry that I’ve forgotten something and having a list helps allay that fear. I’ve also found that writing one out in the evening helps me plan the next day and go to bed with a clear head. Simple but it works for me. I’ve been trying various apps and online list things but so far nothing has really clicked. Pen and paper seems to do the trick.


I’m debating doing more resolutions for this month – I could go on. Does that say a lot about my work?!

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Happiness Online: February Round up



I’d like to forget February really. It’s been far too busy and the happiness project has fallen down the priority list. I’m not even certain of what my plans were as I write this. I’ve been away from home far more than I’ve been here and it hasn’t really helped.

So, my resolutions were  –

  • Make the most of time together
  • Love myself a bit more
  • The little things matter
  • Do a random act of kindness once a week
  • Stop keeping a mental tally of everything

I feel I didn’t really do any of this. We had a family holiday in the middle of the month so that has got to help with the relationship!

In my defence I’ve found it easier to stick with January’s resolutions and have kept going with those. I’m not sure if this is chance, or they have actually become a habit. Maybe they were easier to fulfil in the first place. I’m not sure. I did write out the January ones and stick them on the cupbaord where the mugs are kept. This means I think about them first thing in the morning when I’m making a cup of coffee (a habit that is the very first thing done each morning without fail). Tonight I will write out February and March’s resolutions and stick them up as well. Hopefully that will bring them to mind more easily in the future.

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Happiness Online: February

A new month and a new set of resolutions. This month the focus is love. I don’t really do gushy love love so am tackling this in hopefully, a realistic way.

1. Make the most of time together

Steven and I work opposite shifts and days and often I feel we live quite separate lives. We rarely get any time together to just do nothing and be at home.  I really enjoyed this Christmas and I think it was because we just had a simple relaxed time at home together. Nothing fancy, just time in each others company without the pressure of daily life. An example of this would be spontaneously going to a pub one afternoon. It never happens! I also think I’m guilty of not making the most of the precious time we do have together. Too much time is wasted online. This needs to stop.

2. Love myself a bit more

This comes back to my recurring theme of looking after myself and putting my needs a little bit higher on the general list of priorities. My skin is awful at the moment and it is getting me down. Sorting out the little things like that (little but matter to me) fall into this category.

3. The little things matter

Steven and I struggle to get time together, or go out without the children due to work patterns and childcare issues. We try and plan weekends away and then give up because it all seems too difficult. This resolution means we stick to the little things. The simple things we can do to spend quality time together without the need of a Gantt chart

4. Do a random act of kindness once a week

I don’t feel this one needs an explanation. Lets spread some karma!

5. Stop keeping a mental tally of everything

I tend to mentally keep count of things to compare who puts in the most effort at home. I resent that Steven goes out more than me. I know that in reality we are probably equally split in what we do. We do generally help each other where possible but I still insist on mentally keeping tabs on things. I easily recall this information during an argument or use it as a weapon when I’m fed up.

We’re away on holiday this month which I think will help in all aspects of life. I’m looking forward to time away from work, being detached from the internet and spending time doing as little as possible with my family.

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Happiness online – January round up



So its the end of January and the end of the first month of the happiness project.

My resolutions were –

Take my supplements each day – I often take supplements but sporadically. I think I never really take them for long enough to appreciate if they are doing the trick. I also take supplements when I’m feeling run down as a desperate sort of ‘I’ll try anything’ approach to make myself feel better. My current batch is gingseng, coenzyme Q10 and evening primrose oil.

Journal twice a week – this has been identified as something I need to do as part of my fellowship. I know it helps but struggle to get into it or make the effort to sit down and do it. I hoped that this resolution would help create that habit.

Sort the paperwork/shredding mountain in the kitchen (15 mins a day in the Flylady style) – my kitchen (well, most of my house) is a clutter magnet that depresses the life out of me.

Eat more healthily – I’m overweight again. I’m doing nothing to sort it. I need to.

Go to bed early one night a week – December was a bad month for sleep as Samuel was up too often having tantrums in the early hours. Steven works nights so its usually me sorting it out on my own. I then work all day and I constantly feel exhausted. I know that this problem is not going to be sorted overnight so a short term help would be for me to have one early night a week to try and increase the amount of sleep that I get.

What has worked well? How has it made you feel? 

Overall, I’m feeling really positive and that I have achieved what I wanted.  This month has been busy and difficult at times for all sorts of reasons. Although I’ve felt tired I haven’t been at the end of my tether stressed. I feel like I am coping better. I’m viewing the whole month overall as a success.

My biggest source of happiness was the removal of shredding mountain –

It has improved further since the second photo (I do not have the energy to go and take another photo at this precise moment). I think it is a feng shui thought that clutter can zap energy. Just sorting this corner has helped hugely. It wasn’t that difficult to do tackling it bit by bit and it has inspired me to move onto other problem areas.

I’m journalling more as well. I find it easier to just randomly jot down things through the day rather than have a concentrated official ‘I am journalling’ time. I like lists so can easily write a list about a problem eg. ‘why is this upsetting me?’ or ‘what can I do now to improve this?’ I’m keeping it simple so its not big or scary or hard.

Is there anything you’ve learned or would do differently?

Going to bed early does help but it needs me to be more proactive about doing it. I easily waste too many hours in the evening sitting online. I need to stick with this far more and make more of an effort.

The general resolution of ‘eat more healthily’ really amounted to nothing. We’re going on holiday soon and neither of us could be bothered to make the effort knowing that any loss now will be piled on once we go away. I found a photo of me at work on my 30th birthday – I was probably at my lowest weight then. I found it inspiring and I know I need to get back on track with my weight. Steven and I have agreed that once we’re home we are back to weekly weigh ins and point counting. General statements are not that helpful – I need to make it measurable and be accountable to make it work.

How do you feel this month has gone generally? Highs and lows of January outside of Happiness Online. 

Its been quite stressful. Lots of things are happening at work – not good things. The number of demands on my time are going up and I feel I have to split myself between my team, my clinical workload and my academic work. Somewhere in all of this I have to do a service improvement project and four 4,000 word essays. The first essay is due in March. I have no days available at work to do this between now and the hand in date. I’m dreading the next few months and am at a point where I may have to put Samuel into nursery on my days off to try and get some work done. Not a happy decision but really can’t work this one out at the moment.



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January Happiness Project Update


I’m now halfway through the first month of the Happiness Project. Up until yesterday things had been going well. I’d had two really good weeks where I felt on top of things.  I’ve stuck to three of my resolutions really well but haven’t bothered with the healthy eating. I’ve eaten less rubbish but still not enough of the good stuff. I also haven’t gone to bed early.

Yesterday Steven came home from work early and at 6.30am announced that he hadn’t organised days off for my next fellowship module. When I knew I was going to be away I gave him all the dates I needed him to be off work and at home. This was in November. I’ve asked him more than once if it was all sorted and he told me yes. The next module is in 2 weeks and he hasn’t got any annual leave left. We’d talked about this possibility and we’d decided that Steven would work an extra night one week and take the extra day off another. He’d sorted this arrangement on Friday and told me that I need to take this Thursday off work. I can’t – I have an all day clinic that cannot be rearranged with 4 days notice. I was so angry.

My options were to cancel clinic (not an option) or put Samuel into nursery and Eloise into breakfast club (total cost = £61). When I was offered the fellowship place and saw the amount that I would have to be away from home I nearly turned it down. Steven told me I had to take the place and that we would sort out the childcare issues. Yesterday I felt that it was being left to me to sort out those issues.

Childcare is an issue that constantly rears its head and I get so frustrated that I cannot sort it easily. We do not have a vast amount of family support locally and with Steven working nights I feel I get little sleep.  I resent people who tell me how tough or tiring their lives are when they work far fewer hours than me, have a partner to share the nights with and have a grandparent on tap to take the children for a night just for the hell of it. For Steven and I to get a few hours one evening to just leave the house alone requires such planning or begging for babysitting we generally don’t bother. In the last year we probably went out 4 times alone. A night without the children forget it.

So yesterday I was very miserable and spent most of it shouting. This morning Samuel woke up at 4.30am as he fell out of bed. I spent an hour dealing with a tantrum then just as he had gone back to sleep Eloise and the cat woke up, started making a noise and woke him up again. I accepted defeat at 5.45am and we all came downstairs. I’m miserable, tired and thinking why do I bloody bother. I would just like a break. One night, no children and without the logistical nightmare of organising it or begging for favours here there and everywhere.

So I’m not happy but its only been a two day blip. I’m hoping I can improve things by this afternoon.

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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

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