Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My Best Project Yet...

I started the year with such good intentions, lots of ideas for projects, so many goals and a brimming to do list but one 'project' has really knocked all others out of the water...  the tiny person growing inside my belly :)

We are at 24 weeks now, just over half way through and god willing everything is going well so far.  It's been tough though, tougher than I imagined, I've been soooo tired and had so little motivation for anything creative, which coupled with the move across the country in January and a new job in a new city, means I really feel like my life has been turned upside down...

I did pretty well with the morning sickness - I just had all day nausea instead!  The ever changing emotions have been hard to deal with, I feel like tears are my default reaction these days, frustration, joy sadness, humour... all the emotions come with tears now.  I've felt vulnerable and helpless at times, it was a shock to realise there are things out there that can hurt me now that never could before. My ankles and feet are puffy and huge, and I've had terrible back pain that resulted in me waddling around and earning the nick name Mrs Waddleduck!  

Not the idyllic picture of pregnancy I previously had, but, you know what? As hard as it is... I am loving every minute! I just feel so blessed that I'm finally able to experience this utter miracle, because, although our journey hasn't been as hard as that of others, it's not been easy for us getting here either, so right now i am just so over the moon, feeling sooo grateful and enjoying every single minute... every weird new experience... The emergency shoe shopping trips to house my new fat feet; My growing belly and the tiny little flutters that have happily been increasing in intensity and frequency lately; The cravings for pickles, pineapples, ice cream, and bacon (sometimes together!); The new liking I've taken to, for afternoon naps; Yes, even the constant tears, and exhaustion and so many other things too unmentionable... because it's all just evidence of that little life inside me :)

Sunday, 1 February 2015

February... To Do

February... To Do
No Reason, Just Because

This month I'm focusing on doing the things I need to do and on being more creative... so here we go with my February list of goals...

► Continue to try to read every day, especially on the weekends.

► Send post to my far away friends.

► Be unrestrainedly creative every week.

► Apply for my passport before it's too late!

► Carry on organising our paperwork.

► Complete my About Me page and work on the categories.

► Get those photos printed out and start that project life spread.

► Make it down to the Albert Docks one day.

Here's to a delightful February for us all,

Saturday, 31 January 2015

January... Done

January has been a crazy month, we said goodbye to our home for the last 13 years, moved across the country and started new jobs in two new and different cities.

I've fallen asleep on the sofa right after tea most nights, and between that, settling in to new daily routines and trying to fit in time to see family and friends I haven't been able to DO a whole lot.

I'd like to say thank you for the kind comments that have been left on my posts this month, for the most part they were already written up which is lucky since I've been so tired.  I've not had the time to visit everyone I usually would, or comment on all the posts I've read, but i'm hoping to remedy that situation next month.

What I have done that I'm so pleased about is doing not thinking... I've gone out and explored the city where I work and I've not been shy at poking my nose in to places, asking questions, eating food, taking photos.  I've also said yes to invitations that I otherwise wouldn't have and made things happen that I might have hoped and waited for other people to do in the past.

I need to work on doing not ignoring and doing not fearing next month, although I did mess around with some new art supplies the other day.  Right in my journal without testing them out first... I went a little too far in the end but it was so much fun!

So how did I do with my goals?

► Read every day - I'm totally going to count this as done, 24 out of 31 days!

► Explore Liverpool one lunch time a week - Yes!  I've loved wandering around and getting lost, look out for pictures coming soon.

► Make and Take my lunch - Achieved!

► Apply for my passport - Nope!

► Finally start to tackle our paperwork - Only just!  Ongoing project.

► Work on my blog design and features - I'm happy with what I've done so far, I have a new design and lots of ideas, I added some new pages and updated the What Will Catey Make Next page, but the About Me page defeated me for now.

► Knit! - I did knit... but I didn't finish dream stripes, no where near!

► Print out some photos and start a project life spread - I ordered ink for my printer and pinned layouts like crazy, but no, I didn't quite make it happen this month.

Look out for my February To Do List of Goals tomorrow.

Happy Last Day of the Month,

Thursday, 22 January 2015

My 2015 Reading Plans...

My 2015 Reading Plans

My 2015 Reading Plans

I love books.

The feel, the smell, the cover art and of course the stories they tell.  Both between the pages and those of the memories they hold… of who or where they are from, or where or when they were read.  Our house is chock full of books... overfilled shelves and teetering piles are in every room.  For most of my life I've had my nose stuck in a book, I read everywhere I go, in bed, on the train, at lunch, in a queue, even while I'm walking around (and no I've never tripped or walked in to anything!).  The chance to be taken to a different reality, place, or time, if only for 300 or so pages, has always seemed like some kind of magic to me.

Last year really threw a spanner in the works for me reading wise though.  At the beginning of January, half way through a book, I put it down… I just couldn't go on.  I was going through a rough time and it just seemed as though everything I was reading at that time was taunting me.  I couldn’t find comfort in the story, my thoughts bounced around clashing with the words on the pages and I was left feeling overwhelmingly annoyed with the book.  I didn't pick up another one again for months.

Life inevitably carried on and I busied myself with other things, and while there's no denying that the way I was feeling in January was the reason I wasn't reading back then, as time passed and I started to feel better, I began to realise that maybe I had become stuck in a rut with the kind of books I was reading, I had gone from couldn't read to didn't want to read.

I knew something had to change and so I tried… I read the January selection of the ABM book club, my intention was to work my way through the months, but I never made it past The Interestings…  I took part in the AOW book swap, in which I received the first book of the of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which I read so so quickly and absolutely loved, then went ahead and bought the second and third books… I read recommendations from friends, including The Night Circus which was pretty flipping magical…  I treated myself to new books from a bookshop, chosen for familiarity, popularity and frankly just because a title delighted me (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves).

But despite all the ways I tried to stimulate my interest in picking up a book again, my little bursts of reading energy usually fizzled out sooner or later and I barely read at all during 2014, and oh boy did I miss it.

The one thing I did take from last year, is that I need to expand my reading repertoire and try new things.  The books that I read and loved  in 2014 the most, were those that I never would have chosen for myself, the ones that took me outside my comfort zone.

So this year I have a two part plan… One.  Read everyday.  I’m using Elsie Joy’s Daily Goal Tracker, because although I know I won’t manage it everyday just like Elsie said I want to see the big picture and focus on how I do overall, aim for progress not perfection.  Two. Try New Things.  I've joined Good Reads, taken recommendations from family and friends, and gone through our bookshelves at home and picked out books I wouldn't normally choose (so that means they are probably Tim’s) and I've put together a small reading list for this year.

So if it goes on the list, it get’s a good chance at being read, and I will try my best to read every day, even if it’s only a page or two.  'Read every day' will also be on my To Do list of Goals every month until I feel that it’s become part of my life again.

I've popped a link showing my reading list up in the page bar at the top of my blog if you want to see what I’m going to be reading this year, and in the continuing spirit of trying new things, if anyone has recommendations, I love to hear about them...

Happy reading

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A Farewell to the Toon and a North East Top Thirteen

A Farewell to the Toon and a North East Top 13

I've lived in and around Newcastle-upon-Tyne for over 13 years now, so many things have happened here... I really really grew up, I took responsibility for myself, got a job.  Made friends, lost friends, found some of the best friends a girl could have (and drank countless cocktails with them).  Indulged my lifelong love of the seaside, spending hours and hours, days and nights even, at the various beautiful beaches that the north east is blessed with.  Worked my way through 3 cars and 9 different rented houses.  Fell in love with, and married Tim, planned a wedding, eventually bought a house and turned that house in to a home.  Started a blog, began a love affair with crafts, made 5 scarves, 2 blankets, 3 baby quilts, over 25 birthday cakes and thousands of brownies (probably quite an accurate statement).  Been happier than I've ever been, been sadder than I've ever been, learned a lot about myself, and made a life for myself.

I will always love this city and oh gosh, how I will always love the coast, but it's time for us to move on and start our new life... today we are packing up and driving down to Cheshire, but before I leave I wanted to share my North East top 13, one for every year I've lived here (a lot of them involve food and drink)...

The Biscuit Factory - The place where I married my best friend and one of my most favourite places in the whole city, an art gallery housed in beautiful light flooded building which combines all of the best things in life... art, shopping food and music.

Pani's - On my first day at work my then new workmate, now super awesome friend, took me to Pani's for the first time, I had black linguine with crab, it was delicious and I was hooked.  Pani's is a traditional Sardinian family run restaurant doing an excellent job of delivering good food at reasonable prices.  I have spent some major time there over the years, Tim and I had one of our first dates there, I celebrated both my 30th birthday and hen night there, and not to mention the night before our wedding when we had a booking for 50 people!

Knit studio - The best yarn store in the north east, specialising in locally produced artisan yarns as well as a wide variety of some of the larger suppliers.  If you pop along on a Thursday night you can expect a friendly welcome from the owner Anne and the latest gossip from the other talented members of the knitting group, while you enjoy a cuppa glass of wine and work on your latest project.

Northumberland Coast Line - It's beyond beautiful, clean, pretty and excellent for beach combing. From my very first weeks living up here the beach provided a place for me to think, to be calm and to find my place.

Tynemouth Market - The place to find anything from broken biscuits to vintage china, books and vinyl to artisan coffee, plants to second hand tools, sausages to an old church pew.

Al Vinos - The best cocktails in the city (but try to avoid the esspresso martinis after 12, especially if you have a 6am start the next day...  believe me it'll end in tears and or lost birthday presents!)  Plenty of nooks to hide away in, a canny cocktail and beer list, an awesome pin ball machine, and a cozy terrace with comfy sofas make this my favorite bar in the city.

Dil and the Bear - A relatively new addition to my list of favourites, but the food is so good that it made it to the top 13.  A cafe in Tynemouth (go after the market!) with a window full of cake and one of the best ploughman's I've ever had, order it if you ever venture in, even if it's just for the Lavosh crispbreads... insanely good!

Jesmond Dene House - The first time we tried JDH was when we viewed it as a wedding venue, it didn't win on that front, but the food kept us coming back.  Eating there makes me feel like a grown up, even when me and Tim are giggling about something silly, it's definitely our treat place!  The tasting menu is highly recommended (the vegetarian one being surprisingly inventive) as are the nibbles they bring when you order drinks, anywhere that brings me pickles is a winner!

The Cluny - Oh wow, the amount of time I've spent here... gigs, burlesque nights, craft markets, drunken summer evenings, lazy sunday lunches...  Good beer, tasty honest food and my husbands favourite music venue, it's one of my favourite places to while away time with friends.

Whitley Bay Beach - I love the whole coast, but since moving out here, the little stretch from Spanish City up to the light house has become my favourite part, no real reason, nothing special going on here, (although the bonfire night fireworks are pretty awesome) but yep, my favourite, especially in winter when there are less people and the sea gets it's all wild and magnificent.

The Rockliffe Arms - An awesome pub tucked away down a side street in Whitley Bay, it reminds me of pubs in Yorkshire and it's ideal for a quiet Saturday afternoon drinking session, good beer, decent selection of crisps, friendly locals, oddest beer garden I've ever been in, (but it gets the sun all day in the summer) and you can sometimes walk in to find a meat raffle/leek show/darts match going on.

Cafe Royal - This is my number one place for cake in the city, the range is incredible, there is always something new to try and the portions are super generous.  It has been the scene of many a gossipy catch up for me and my friends, Oh and I just love the Artwork in here, especially the big spoon and forks!

The People - What can I say, some of the funniest, friendliest, kindest people I have ever known live in this crazy, beautiful place, whether born and raised, or those that chose to be here, they are what I will miss the most.

Goodbye Newcastle, I miss you already!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

12 Months of the Rainbow

I read this post on wonderment (excellent word right?!) on This Too back in November at around the same time I realised that I had hardly taken any photos since I had finished #100happydays.

I  had my very own wonderment moment right then... I needed to make time to actually wonder, to be curious, to explore, and to capture what I find! And I needed a theme, this idea was born right then...

12 Months of the Rainbow

During 2015 I'm going to assign each month a colour and try to capture that colour in photos throughout the month.  I'm going to build myself a rainbow!  

January - Purple
February - Indigo
March - Royal blue
April - Sky blue
May - Teal
June - Jade
July - Bright Green
August - Yellow
September - Orange
October - Coral
November - Pink
December - Red

I haven't given myself too many rules, the colour is open to some interpretation and i don't have to do this every day, this photo challenge is about fun!  Simple but hopefully effective!

I would love it if any one wanted to join in and build their own rainbow, please let me know if you do!

Happy colour catching,

Saturday, 3 January 2015


Happy New Year!  Let's do this 2015!

I am so excited for the year ahead, so much is changing and I'm giddy with anticipation!  I've been feeling like I spend a lot of time letting life pass me by, so I want to make 2015 the year that that changes, I want to be more intentional with my time and my actions.  I mentioned in previous posts how I had been thinking about goals and motivation and had been coming up with challenges for myself.  I have lots of ideas, some of them are already in play and I'll be writing about them soon, some probably won't happen this year and some are still brewing.  There are some things that I haven't quite worked out yet, what I would like to achieve, or why, or how I'm going to do it... but then not everything has to start on January the first!  So today I'm going to share some goals for January, and a little motivation...

One Little Word is a concept invented by Ali Edwards where you focus on one word throughout the year as a guide and motivator to enrich your life.  This will be my first time participating and I'm quite pleased with my word... now that I have finally accepted it!  It was the first word I thought of and I really should have known then and trusted my instincts, but it felt a little short and blunt, so I spent a few weeks trying to run away from it, make it bigger, longer, change it, but for such a small word, it pack a bit of a punch and nothing else has quite the same meaning, so in the end nothing else would do, but the word DO.

I've broken down my hopes for my OLW in to three areas...

Doing not thinking.  By which I don't mean acting before I think, nothing reckless here, but instead, I hope to stop over analysing, shying away from and talking myself out of things.  I want to go out and experience, explore, interact, and just do.  Join in with life and stop letting it pass me by.  This whole year is one huge opportunity for me to do, just one week into this year we are moving across the country where we will be so much closer to our family and some of our best friends and I'll be starting a new job in a whole new city, with so much around me just begging to be done!

Doing not ignoring.  Doing the things that I should have been doing all along but have been putting to one side.  I want to get on top of my life, get some organisation going on, add some routine, and start to do the things I need to, take responsibility for myself, my family my home and my happiness.  The sooner I get things done, the sooner I can stop wasting time thinking and worrying about them, and have some fun!

Doing not fearing.  I want to be more fearless when it comes to my creativity.  I often put things off until I've thoroughly thought it through as I'm worried about wasting time and resources on something that isn't perfect.  But we only learn by making mistakes, so again, less time wasting and more doing!  Have fun, experiment, get messy, create just for the sake of it, and see what happens.

So with my OLW in mind I'm going to set some goals for January things that I'd like to get done, a to do list if you will...

January's To Do List

► Read every day (I'm using ElsieJoy's goal tracker for this)

► Explore Liverpool.  My office is really near the train station so I could be in danger of missing out, so I want to take a least one lunch time per week to get out there and explore.

► Make and Take my lunch to work at least 4 times  a week (the other day is for exploring!)

► Apply for my passport, you know just in case someone wants to take me on a fabulous holiday!

► Finally start to tackle the paper mountain that is our paperwork and sort out a filing system for it.

► Work on my blog design and features, specifically update the What Will Catey Make Next list and create an about me page on my blog.

► Knit!  I'm currently working on Dream Stripes and I'd like to get it finished this month so that I can wear the hell out of that crazy purple and mustard colour combo while it's still cold.

► Print out some photos and start something I've been wanting to for a long time...a project life spread!  This is a big one for me, so much time has gone in to thinking about this that I really need to start doing... I'm going to aim for memories, not perfection and just DO!


I'll post again at the end of the month and share what I did do, I how I feel about the goal setting one month in, and my thoughts on my One Little Word, DO.

Have you set any goals/aims/resolutions for this year or for the month ahead?  Do you do OLW?  Do you have any tips for keeping motivated?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these topics!