Posts tagged ‘birthday’

November 7, 2013

10 Things: BEDN #7

Today, on BEDN, the blog post prompt was ‘Ten Things’. I’m pretty sure that I’m supposed to write a list. I’m a great list writer. At the start of every year, I write a list of plans and goals for the year, and then I review them each month to see if I’m on track to complete them or not. It usually works really well and there’s nothing I like better than being able to cross something off my list with a sense of achievement. On the year I turned 35, I planned to try 35 new things before I reached 36. It nearly worked too!

For various reasons, my list of goals for 2013 went somewhat awry. But, I’m not one to be defeated and  in the coming month I shall be spending a considerable amount of thought on what I’d like 2014 to look like. I’ll probably share those plans on here, because there’s nothing quite like telling the world your plans to make you want to stick to them!

But today, I’m turning this list making on its head a bit, because I want your help. On Sunday, my beloved girl turns seven and she’s getting her first iPod for her birthday. It might seem a bit extravagant but she loves music and dancing, and I know she’ll adore it and get lots of use out of it. Every time I buy her toys they only seem to be played with for a few days before they find themselves languishing, unused, with all the other stuff, so I decided that it was worth the expense to buy something I’m sure she’ll use for ages. I’m going through the settings making sure that I set the volume control so she can’t deafen herself, and most importantly, adding songs to it.

This is where you come in. What I’d really like to know is this: what ten songs should definitely be added to the playlist?

I’m looking for great, great music. The songs that you think everyone should hear. Nothing over sexualised or with swearing, obviously. But tell me what you’d add; classics, fun stuff, your favourite song in the whole world, whatever you think should be on there. I’ve already added some songs she’s asked for, and believe me when I tell you, we need a bit more quality music – especially because she’s getting a little speaker too, so we’ll all get to enjoy what she plays and I can only take so much Gangnam Style!

So, help me out? Add your song suggestions in the comments and lets see if we can make a ‘Top Ten Songs’ playlist for my birthday girl…

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June 27, 2013

Converse All Stars

I love my Converse. Apart from the occasional foray into my ‘grown-up’ shoes and summer sandals, I’m generally to be found in a pair of worn out All Stars. So, my birthday gift this year – a pair of bright red high tops – was perfect. I love them. And so does my daughter. She’s already decided that she needs a pair too, in pink and that my son needs a pair too, in blue. Though if he gets his own way, he’ll be in pink too, which is fair enough.

But her love for them has made me worry a little. Am I too old for Converse? I’m thirty seven now. Will I still be wearing them when I’m forty? Fifty, even? Longer? And is that a problem? Perhaps the day I become too old for Converse is the day my kids go from wanting to emulate my footwear to being embarrassed by it. I know that every parent reaches the day when they stop being Practically Perfect in Every Way (thanks Ms Poppins) to being Embarrassing Parent. I’m ready for that day. In fact, I’m going to embrace all aspects of being Embarrassing Mum when that day arrives. Might dye my hair blue. Or take up the robot dance.

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I know that the physiotherapist chap I went to see about my poor knackered old feet wasn’t too thrilled when I told him that I mainly wear Converse, though he did say  ‘at least they’re not ballet flats’ which apparently, along with the dreaded Ugg boots, are worse in terms of support. So maybe the day I hang up my Converse is the day my feet are well and truly too rubbish to cope with the lack of support and I’ll move straight from my high-tops into the velcro-fastening things my beloved Grandma wears. But then she’s 90, so I reckon if I can still bend over to tie my laces by then, I’ll be happy enough.

After a long and hard (or, truthfully, short and flippant) think about it, I’ve decided to keep my Converse on for as long as I choose. To decide for myself whether I’m too old for them or not and not be bullied by anyone into changing into grown up shoes. Unless, I want grown up shoes, of course. But that’s another blog post entirely…

What do you think? Is there an age limit for wearing sneakers? Let me know in the comments!

June 6, 2013

It’s my birthday!

It’s my birthday today! By the time you read this, I shall hopefully be on my way for a day of glorious sunshine at one of my favourite places, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Usually, my birthday is a time of reflection for me, and this year proves no different. June feels like a good time to take stock of year so far, and to make plans for the rest of it. Having made a few resolutions in January, it’s now time to see how I’m getting on with them.

1 – Run as often and as far as possible

Hmm. Not a good resolution to start off with, this one. I’ve not been running at all in the past few months. On the upside, I’ve been cycling a lot more, which I’ve decided that I prefer at the moment. In fact, I have no plans to run at all in the near future, but lots of cycling plans. So, perhaps I shall change this to ‘cycle as often and as far as possible’ and see how I get on with that.

2 – Blog as I choose – in terms of subject and frequency

It’s not long since I wrote a post about my blogging frequency, and since I wrote it, I’ve felt a continued sense of relief and of being in a lot more control over my blog. I’m going to carry on with the Slow Blogging for the foreseeable future.

3 – Do my Walk Leader training.

This is something that I’d still like to do, but my priorities have changes a bit since I wrote this list of resolutions, so it might go by the wayside without regret.

4 – Say ‘yes’ to opportunities to learn

Learning is still my absolute favourite thing to do. Recently I’ve been enjoying listening to lots of podcasts and watching TED talks on loads of different, but always interesting, subjects. I’ve just taken up analogue photography again with a Canon EOS 30, and I’m learning so much already. What I’ve realised is that I’m getting better at learning through practice,  as opposed to my usual style of learning through reading theory. Photography seems to be a particularly good example of this, alongside the many craft, cookery and gardening activities that I have planned for the rest of the year. Very soon, I’m also going to put an Impossible Project film through my vintage Polaroid SX-70 and see what happens! I bought a book called ‘Instant Love’ the other day, and it’s inspired me to get playing with it and see what images I might end up with.

5 – Cook 52 new vegetarian dishes – one for every week of the year

I’m currently at 11 recipes. So, I’ve got a long way to go with this one, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t get there. This resolution was partly about learning to be more creative and confident with cooking vegetarian food, and making the most of locally grown vegetables, including those I’m growing myself, rather than any hard-and-fast ‘goal’. One of the things I’m learning is how to adapt and create new recipes too, rather than following every rule, which is a pleasant feeling and something that I shall be trying to do more of and share through Sage and Thrift too.

I’m recording my recipes on Springpad, which has been a great visual tool in  aiding my resolutions this year. I absolutely love using this App, both on my Macbook and on my iPhone; it’s an invaluable way of keeping track, using lists, photos and uploads from websites.

6 – Go on mini-adventures

My first mini-adventure this year was a few days in Paris in the Spring, which was wonderful. I’ve got a short visit to Edinburgh (all food recommendations welcome!) soon, followed by a week in Bivouac, which I’m very giddy about and a few days in Oxford planned for the summer. Oh, and I’m possibly going to swim outdoors on the dawn of Summer Solstice too … good grief.

Further adventures will arise later in the year, no doubt. I’m not going to plan everything, but just say yes to things as the opportunity arises. I love the idea of packing a bag and setting off to destinations unknown, so hopefully that might happen too.

7 – Record all my spending

I’ve created a spreadsheet to track my budget every month and, rather than feeling restricted by it, I feel so much more in control, which is rather lovely. Overall, it seems that the amount I spend on frivolous fripperies and fancy stuff – trying saying that after a pint – is very little. Possibly something to rectify? We’ll see …

8 – Host one Sage & Thrift event every month

This project is something that I’m really proud of starting. We’re growing, generating plenty of interest and have lots of wonderful plans. Our next event is a cookbook swap on 23rd June in Leeds, so if you’re around, do come and say hello!

9 – Reduce my possessions

This resolution has definitely happened, for a variety of reasons, to the extent that I could now fit all my possessions –  with the exception of my bike –  into my small car.  I’m still working on my wardrobe and book collections. Although minimalism and I are slightly uncomfortable with each other (due to my messy nature!) I’m aiming to simplify my belongings, to make any new purchases really thoughtfully and to choose the best available options for me each time.

10 – Read one decent book a month

I’ve read eight novels this year so far,  as well as a number of non-fiction titles so it really does feel as though I’ve read very little this year. I love to lose myself in a good book, and have a reading list as long as my arm. The longer days of summer might be just the time to spend more time reading – the ultimate Slow activity. Again, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t meet this goal. If there’s one thing I learned from my enormous GoodReads Challenge of 2012 it’s that quality definitely beats quantity when it comes to fiction. I’ve been recording my books on Springpad too – and creating a reading wish-list, so I remember all the great books that are recommended to me!

11 – Attend one cultural event each month

I’ve included everything from cinema to art gallery exhibitions for this goal, and I’ve actually surprised myself with what I’ve managed to do in the first half of the year. I’ve seen live music from David Ford, visited the National Gallery in London and the Musee du Luxumbourg in Paris, seen a stunning production of The Great Gatsby from Northern Ballet, attended Bettakulture, watched a wonderful new Sherlock Holmes play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and visited several art exhibitions around the country. Recording this (again, on Springpad) has been a great eye-opener, and is a good reminder to myself that actually, I do lots of things and am really very lucky.

12 – Be kind to myself. 

This one rather underpins everything else. So often, I’m so keen to improve myself and to meet goals, that I get cross if things don’t go as planned, or if I don’t manage to be quite as brilliant as I think I should be. My beloved friend and Sage & Thrift partner, Jo, always says that we must ensure that we don’t use our plans as  ‘a stick to beat ourselves with’, which I love. It’s something that I’ve been trying to keep at the forefront of my mind this year. Life is challenging, and often doesn’t quite go as you thought it might. Plans don’t always work out, and it’s important to be adaptable, shrug your shoulders once in a while, and not get so caught up in the desire to achieve that you forget to have fun along the way.

With that in mind, I’m spending today having fun and with no aims other than to eat cake, sit in the sunshine and enjoy turning 37. Wishing you all a lovely day today. Even if it’s not your birthday …