Tag Archives: work

There’s no average day in the life of….

18 Oct

Do you have an average day? I don’t. They’re all a bit different. Often evolving as they progress, rarely planned anything more than by a vague outline, and quite often a little ‘out of the norm’ . Saying I’m not a nine to fiver is a bit of an understatement.

Want to know what my day is doing? Well it’s now 11am and I’m here..

Yep. I’m working whilst in the bath!

So today is like this. I woke up at 8:30 and though ‘i fancy a bath’ so I popped off to the bathroom but there was a spider in the bath and I didn’t want to disturb him so I hopped back into bed. Hubby, as is his wonderful habit, appeared with a cup of tea and we sat in bed catching up on FB and Twitter and discussed our separate ‘plans’ for the day.

We have b&b guests this coming weekend so for me it was ironing bedding. I see ironing as a bit of a waste of time so whilst steaming away I practiced a belly dance routine (and I haven’t even told you before that I go to dance classes.. another day another blog); and did some toe exercises as prescribed by Katie Holland as ‘guaranteed to improve your dancing’… Katie, I’m doubtful that anything will help but I’ll let you know.

Having built up a steam iron sweat I’m now in the bath (fortunately Bernard the Bath  Spider had buggered off) but to make better use of the time I’m both writing this for you lot and sorting out my art catalogue, making sure all my work to date is listed and titled. I have an exhibition pending and I need to make sure I know what’s  where and ensure I have enough pieces in the collection. Plus I’m having half a dozen or so images printed up as cards and my photographer friend and technical whizz needs to have the wording for the backs covers.

Alongside getting this done….

and I’ve added a face pack…may as well spruce up properly.

It’s now noon. Too late for breakfast, so a quick brunch and then off to get some groceries.

Marmite and mushrooms on toast yumyum

May as well pack up my old bras and take them to the bra bank at Tescos whilst I’m at it.

Donating my old bras

It’s a gorgeous day so hoping to get back in time to garden at home. Still have several plants that need to go in the ground before winter sets in.

….it’s now evening. Needless to say the gardening didn’t happen. I had about £60 in my hand from a swishing event I organised at the last-minute to clear out my wardrobe. A swish, for those who don’t know (I didn’t when invited to one last year), is a clothes swap. I’d cleared out my cupboards and had a car boot full of clothes and shoes to get rid of , friends could have them for a donation to a local charity. It raised £58 and I still managed to drop 2 large sacks of goodies at the local community charity shop.

So having done my shopping I went back into Aldi and spent the £58 with a view to dropping it at the local food bank. Sadly the charity was closed so that will involve another trip but look how much I got for my money!!!! Six full bags of none perishables! Aldi really is better value

Just about to head into the garden when I remember we have a fridge freezer to pick up from a friend (I need extra storage for the catering for my 50th).

And then the doorbell rings. The landlords of the flats I manage are here from Spain and I forgot they were popping in. Still they came armed with plenty of wine so I’m not complaining.

By which time it’s supper time. I cook a meal for me and Hubby. Bulk cook a bolognaise to add to the new freezer. Watch a movie. Then suddenly it’s midnight so off to bed.

Guess who’s back?

Bernard the Bath Spider

I wonder how he filled his day?

Lucy At Home

My Random Musings

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Life: Mine: It’s full: Very full

9 Apr

15016351_1247664865307784_3338542209251484497_oI’m a woman.  I’m self-employed.  I’m fairly ‘alternative’ and, am told, slightly ‘eccentric’.  I wear many hats.  Not all suit me…

Life gets confusing and chaotic……

Here’s perhaps why….

13912605_1298769933474183_1529318925936773135_n???????????????????????????????I’m an artist, I occasionally do pet portraits, I often do stained glass commissions. I do have an Etsy shop, which I manage in a very ad hoc way.  I promise to keep a stock of my designs but the artistic bit of me is really only interested in the bespoke commissions and one-off designs , so I struggle to find time to hold stock.  So I make my designs to order.

20170322_123236I teach stained glass.  It’s a new string to my bow.  I love it.  I find it immensely satisfying and it brings me huge amount of joy.

I run a B&B.  This involves being really nice to (mostly) lovely people, talking (a lot), keeping the place clean, ironing sheets (even though I’d never iron my own) and cooking really gorgeous breakfasts.  I do this with my hubby.  We love working together.  It works.  Coming to stay at Cerdyn Villa is like staying with friends (so we’re told) and that, my lovelies was the plan so things her are going well

breakfast

I manage our business website and various tourism pages on social media.  Some of these pages… “www.cerdynvilla.wales” is our lifestyle hub (ooo fancy!), it leads you off to “Pink Butterfly Art and Glass” – my Etsy shop; “Pink Butterfly at Cerdyn Villa” -our FB page combining our B&B and my art; http://www.cerdynvilla.co.uk – our B&B website; “rose-tinted Ramblings” – my blog; “Home of Bog Snorkelling” – the tourism FB page for our town; “@Berni_Benton” – my twitter account

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m a gardener – I look after six people’s gardens.  Mostly elderly ladies, some of whom like to garden with me and its as much about the company as the weeding and pruning.  I LOVE weeding (does that make me odd?  I don’t care, I LOVE IT!)

peanut butter cheesecakeI work shifts in the local cafe and cover for the owners if they go away.  Sometimes I even bake some cakes!

I blog.  For fun, but mainly to keep me sane and promote my work(s) (not necessarily at the same time). Its called Rose Tinted Rambling, but you know that because you are here now.  It’s mainly a brain dumping ground.  Most thoughts evolve whilst I’m either ironing or weeding and I can’t rest until they’re typed.  So there! I try to categorise to avoid you haven’t to read the ‘boring shit’  but I’d say there’s pretty much something for everyone here.

I  advocate for a local elderly lady and manage her finances. It’s my ‘pay-it-forward” – we should all have one.  It’s great to give back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I volunteer, Working to help run the weird and wacky events in Llanwrtyd – I am the commentator at the World Bog Snorkelling and Man v Horse.  They gave me the job because, and I quote “if the PA system breaks I’d still be loud enough for everyone to hear”.  Hubby said he could hear me from the house last year and I was three-quarters  of a mile away….

… I hasten to add the mic was working that day.

I am responsible for keeping our household accounts.  Although hubby takes my figures and does the scary bit of filling in the returns and sending them off

I do all the food shopping, planning and feeding. Sometimes I do this well.  Other times we eat out!

I ‘manage’ a tenanted house with 5 flats.  Not for fun, at all, but because the landlords were neighbours but now live in Spain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We keep hens, that means they have a house that needs cleaning

11182523_1594413547510404_4888338233642762611_oI’m a mum………

………………………………………….

……..in my spare time (!!)

I do a bit of yoga and belly dancing

a vision in red

I look after my own garden (sometimes I get dressed before I start)

11168862_1046829525379356_5330321855820313332_oI’m a member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (say hello to Lady Lily the Pink).  I even stood for the Welsh Assembly

I soak in a bubble bath

I enjoy a good live band

I read the occasional book.  mostly I read blogs  and watch TED talks

I snuggle on the sofa with my Hubby and watch Netflix

I play board games with my boy(s) – son and hubby

I eat out with friends

I eat in with friends

I drink out with friends

I drink in with friends

Sometimes I just drink…….

I love my life, but planning is difficult.  Impossible actually.  So it appears chaotic.  and sometimes it really is.  It also appears disorganised.  But actually it rarely is.  ….

….it just feels it

Logistically its a massive challenge.  It’s so far removed from the 9-5 life I used to lead.  I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

diaryofanimperfectmum

Smoke and mirrors… life in the ‘Real World’

19 Mar

I recently dipped my toes back into what has become to be known as the ‘real world’.  You know, that place of business and commerce , success measured by title, possessions, wealth and hierarchy.  It was a short lived, interesting and welcome experience.  It reminded me of my own success and wealth in my ‘Alternative World’.

I’ve never been driven by money or title, had my eyes blinkered on climbing the ‘career ladder’ striving for recognition, advancement, ‘power’.  My motivators have been ‘simpler ‘ things.  and as I’ve aged and gained in self worth my achievements and goals have been easier to identify and recognise.

We grow up going through an education system that trains us to obtain the best academic results in order to earn the most money in the highest position within our chosen mainstream profession that we can.  That our success in life is based on our future job title and wealth.  We are offered ‘careers advice’ helping us choose between accountant, lawyer, builder, plumber, funeral director, engineer.

Many people spend there entire life aspiring to reach the ‘next level’ step up the job title list, the recognition of higher salary bracket.  They spend their life working towards future success.

I believe I have managed to recognise and enjoy my current, present and real successes that exist in MY real world in the here and now.

When I worked in society’s structured and measured world I was driven, not by money or title but by the people I worked with and who I did that work for.  I have never (except in my first 3 months between education and work), been in a role that has made me unhappy.  I have taken jobs based on the personality and ethos of the ‘people in power’, that is to say I have worked for people I admire and respect.  I have worked hard for them because I wanted to ‘help’ their business, my motivator being ‘not wanting to let them down’ and ‘desire to deliver on my promise’.  I’ve worked in roles where I at least have been motivated by the end result that matters.

I’ll explain that more clearly.  The business world is a bit like magic – its all smoke and mirrors.  The reality is largely irrelevant, its all about the PERCEPTION.  Take, for example the recruitment industry.  To me success was getting a job seeker into a job they really wanted, finding a business the employer they really needed.  To my employer the success was the commission rate and the income outcome of that transaction.

I was, by default ‘successful’ in a real world sense.  I was top earner, consultant of the year, I got promoted, I got promoted again.
However, as much as the money was handy  what motivated me was the new skills I learned, the confidence I gained, the customers I helped, and the thank you letters I received.

I left the ‘real world’ when I could no longer balance the smoke and mirrors game and the time that took to uphold with MY need to feel good.  It took a really long time to tire of it completely.  My frustrations with the game often out-weighed by my desire to  ‘achieve’ for the CEOs and MDs I admired and still admire (as individuals for the way they run their businesses and treat their staff).  I guess I liked the pats on the back and the adulation.  However, in the end the pointlessness of it all drove me forward.

This ‘real world’ success came at a price I wasn’t prepared to pay.  Too many compromises in the time I had with my son, my husband, my friends, my hobbies.  So whilst I was a success in a business sense I felt I was failing and compromisng in other areas.

Whilst working and affording new things and driving nice cars and gaining kudos  I was tormented by not having time to do homework with my son, being too tired to have a romantic dinner with my partner.  Whilst working in this real world  several things happened.  A friend died of inoperable cancer at the age of 34, very successful sales and marketing manager , working all the hours .  A colleague two years off retirement with plans to travel and climb mountains when he hit 65, dropped dead without warning.  A friend split from her husband.

John, my partner was very stressed with his job and the commuting.  He also hated it.  The office politics, the ladder climbing.  It was taking its toll on our life.  We were’ successful’ in this ‘real world’ – company cars, large house, the word ‘manager’ in our job titles.  But it had no bearing on our real lives.  We were tired of the pointlessness of it all. The smoke and mirrors bullshit.

My recent ‘toe dipping’ came as a result of wanting to support a person I respect and like.  Who is achieving at a faster pace than the infrastructure around her is evolving to facilitate it.  I wanted to offer her a little relief from the stress and I fancied learning a little more about whats going on in the big wide world.

The experience made me remember how much I hate the bullshit.  People ‘liking’ you for what you can bring to THEIR success and wealth, a constant need to watch your back, keep an eye on the competition and remind people of your status.  Suspicion, back stabbing, false praise.  Your eye constantly on the prize.  The prize; more financial wealth , higher social standing, bigger contacts, larger contracts.  It might be for some.  And that’s fine.  But its not for me.

Success for me is in the here and now.  I have no savings, no spare cash, I drive an old car, my mortgage debt is through the roof,  I wear clothes from charity shops and Primark, I think twice about everything I buy.  I have, however achieved  riches and success beyond my wildest dreams.

In my ‘alternative world’  I am as rich as I could hope to be.  I have a partner of 20 years who loves me unconditionally , and I love him the same.  I have a son who loves me; who is happy,well balanced and enjoying life.  My house (my bank’s house!) looks out across mountains and fields with prancing lambs and budding trees.  I live in a community filled with people who love me and  of places where I can be me.  I meet people every day who are here to have a good time and want to share a glimpse into their world.  I paint and cut glass and share in  a community of sole traders who revel in each others skills and strengths.  I spend my days at home with my partner, and I’m here every day when my son comes home.  My success is now.  My happiness is in the present.

Sometimes I forget how successful I am, and  I have a blip or downward spiral but real life, no matter how ‘perfect’ comes with its trials and challenges .  The outside world gets in and you have to deal with it.  However, on the whole I can truly say I have found my utopia.

There is no greater achievement in life than finding love, recognising its worth, enjoying the here and now, and being happy in your own skin.  Measure your wealth by the people you love and who love you.  Not by your bank balance and job title.

feeling a tad anxious?….

7 Dec

It’s funny how anxiety creeps up on me. I never, ever notice it coming and never ever recognise the pattern and when it arrives I feel stupid.  The stupidity comes from not seeing the obvious, of confidently denying and misinterpreting the early signs.

I’ve been ‘off sorts’ for some months.  I put it down initially to being overweight and, as such, breathless.  Then I became plagued with an over itchy scalp, and increased wheeziness.  Alongside this I did actually discover I had an ear infection and needed something to cure some cold-like symptoms .  I think I was coughing for about 6 weeks before I went to the doctors – remember the ‘Is it Urgent’ blog?

When I finally went to see the doc I had gathered a fair portfolio of minor ailments and symptoms  and felt like a bit of a hypochondriac. John went with me  and I came away with the bumper party pack of drugs/creams/lotions/sprays etc.

It was John who made me aware of how heavily I breathe and since, I have become completely obsessed and self-conscious about it.  IT IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT – I’ve had all the blood tests, oxygen tests and chest x-rays.  It seems that over time – probably since a couple of years ago when I had that bout of panic attacks, I’ve forgotten how to breathe properly.  You’d think breathing would be more straightforward than riding the proverbial bike.  Apparently not. Anyway I am off to see a respiratory specialist very soon.

Alongside this set of minor ailments, I (thought) on the whole I was happy (which I am) and stress free (which I am).  However having no stress does not mean that one does not necessarily cease to be anxious. And because its crept up on me I hadn’t picked up on the signs.  Hence the feeling stupid.  I’ve been through this cycle before, many times.  I can only liken it to  like having a slow puncture, I’ve gradually deflated and didn’t notice the soft sponginess until I skidded off the path on a slight bendas I could no longer grip the track.

I can’t quite identify the bend that caused me to waiver off the road.  I think its been coming ever since last Christmas when I closed In the Pink.  The lack of self discipline to create a routine of home working.   The sense of loss, that I was barely aware of.  I can react just fine to the demands of B&B and thrive on the busy periods.  Given any task by anyone else I can meet or exceed the expectations.  My work ethic is not marred.  Getting into an ‘office mode’ regarding glass work, painting and the marketing thereof, however, has left me flailing and a pathetic and positively lazy, lack lustre and possibly (without even noticing), ever so slightly depressed, ever so slightly panicky and ever so slightly lost.

Also somewhat isolated although I was under the impression (genuinely) that I was enjoying being out of the loop, away from the thick of it and the local politics.  Hiding away out of the fray here at C.V.  I wonder now if I have also become a little agoraphobic?  Certainly there are days when nothing will persuade me to leave the house  and sometimes I just feel SO TIRED.

Anyway, until about three days ago I was oblivious to all of these signs.  Then on Tuesday whilst out merrily doing the weekly shop, my heart started palpitating, my breath became more sharp and urgent, my chest tightened.  I sat in the car for a while concentrating on relaxing and breathing wondering if I was having a heart problem or a panic attack, wondering if I was being a hypochondriac.  When it subsided I did the shopping and came home.  Wednesday I was fine again.  Thursday I slept most of the day.  Friday, I spent the day convinced it was Thursday!!! Self employment – all the days are the same.

Despite thinking it was Thursday I had a lovely, productive day, painting a commission promised as a Christmas gift, and its going well.   John reminds me we were out for the evening.  It would be a great evening,  no pretenses, great friends, easy conversation, good food, free flowing home brew.  I’d been looking forward to it for weeks.  The first party of the holiday season with all my favourite people.

But then it hit, I could not possibly leave the house, I needed an excuse so I wouldn’t appear pathetic.   I was feeling very anxious.   I should go, it would be great if I could just get there.  I couldn’t get there.  I sent an email telling the truth, too embarrassed to phone. My lovely friend sent a lovely persuasive reply.”We should go” I said to john , “look how lovely and sympathetic and understanding our friends are”.  But I could not go.  Palpitations, anxiety, guilt, embarrassment.

Funny thing is life is pretty good.  I’m not particularly , or excessively, worried about anything.  Our son is coping despite school!  He is excelling in his exams, enjoying his music, has a great group of friends.  There have been a few moments of teenage angst moments but not many. The B&B has been healthy, all guests happy, regular business,repeat and new customers,excellent reviews.  I so enjoy having B&B guests in the house..

I’ve also been enjoying exhibiting and selling at a few Christmas Craft Fairs.  I should have made more and done more, I’ve had loads of time but much less energy and drive.  The few commission pieces I’ve done have been really successful.

I think I feel like this every December,  like time is racing ahead of me, that I am spinning a little out of control and Christmas Day will arrive and I won’t have remembered to shop for it or wrap things.  I would have run out of days to get a tree up.  Or not yet have decided whether to buy turkey, lamb or ham for Christmas lunch.  Or run out of postal days to send mum and dad their gifts, or John’s Aunties their cards.  Or that Dad’s birthday is on Christmas Eve.   Its madness, because I love choosing gifts, being amongst friends, decorating the tree, preparing a special meal.  So the annual anxiety about it creeping up on me makes no sense at all.

So what is it?  Is it a mild case of Anxiety Disorder? I think so.  And here is my action plan:-

1.Get a job to give my days purpose and structure

2 Make sure that job is local, interesting and not in middle management

3.learn to breathe from my diaphragm

4. get out in the fresh air

5.go to yoga or tai chi

6.practice regular mindfulness exercises

7.try not to feel a fool for missing the signs (again!)

I’ve written this for several reasons but definitely not to illicit sympathy (because that will be really embarrassing).  I also don’t want any of my family or friends to be concerned.  Its who I am and generally I manage it well these days.

I’ve written it firstly to try and clarify in my own head the journey of my slow puncture. Secondly, I’ve written it because I suspect a lot of people have moments like mine to lesser and greater extents and that I’m not totally weird and alone in feeling this way!   Thirdly, in the hope that those who do feel this way  on occasion to those lesser or greater degrees will find comfort in the knowledge that they too are not weird (or alone)!

I hope this helps someone feel a little more normal on an occasion where they might be slipping out of control.

I also hope that my wonderful and gorgeous friends whose company I missed out on the pleasure of this evening will not feel either affronted, nor concerned.  Its one of those things, part of who I am, and sometimes I just need to accept “me” and stop over analysing myself.

Love, peace, inner happiness and joy to you all from your ever-so- slightly-unique; ever-so-slightly-out-of-control; pink haired; chaotic; hippy-chick friend x

Too many hats?………..

4 Sep

There have been (too many) times in my life when I have taken to wearing too many different hats at any one time.  The results have not been pretty.

Of course I refer to more than bad fashion sense – although there have been many such episodes in that category too.  I refer to those times where I’ve forgotten to respect my own body and mind, demanded too much from myself and been ungrateful at the reality of what my mind and body could realistically deliver.  During those times I have perceived myself as weak or failing but in my more lucid (!) moments, like now, I can clearly see that the demands I put on myself far out way those I would expect from anyone else.

Who made me Wonder Woman?  I have neither the figure nor costume to pull it off!

When I look back though I also realise that those periods where I have overstretched myself haven’t always or consciously been for fear of appearing weak or of letting people down.  They have often been because all the opportunities presented to me have simply been just too damned interesting to say ‘no’ to.

Take for example organising and running the annual Real Ale Wobble here in Llanwrtyd when it takes place over our busiest weekend of the year. Or giving up paid employment to set up constituted group to run a TIC and starting my own shop so I could be there to man the TIC.  Or agreeing to work part time for my old employer in Pontypridd whilst running the TIC, and the B&B.  Or standing for County Councillor; or campaigning for fair representation.  I could go on – there are so many opportunities, activities, initiatives and adventures to be had.

I’m sure the last time won’t end up being THE LAST TIME i overstretch myself and have my finger in too many tasty pies at the same time.  I’m greedy , what can i say!

I do however hope and believe that each time I put myself in that position I have become more adept at recognising my predicament and managing it – not by myself but as part of a team with my wonderful partner, John, my son Jason and a deliciously tasty selection bucket full of great friends

9th nov 1997 shortly after 5:13am!!!

9th Nov 1997 shortly after 5:13am!!!

When I had Jason I wanted to be a great mum and a great employee/career woman.  I feel sure now that I managed  a pretty reasonable job of both.  However there were many times where I felt I was failing at both – leaving and missing moments with my son so I could work, missing work cos my son was sick or i couldn’t get childcare. Part time work is a real misnomer – basically you get paid for less hours and do more work.  I had a 3 day a week contract but because my clients, colleagues and customers worked full time or different shift i would find myself working from home whilst on my off days – all the time.  Its a juggling exercise I’m sure many women and those single dads out there are very familiar with.  There is nowhere in any of the child raising manuals or in the preparation by midwives, antenatal specialists etc that warns you that born of childbirth is also a lifetime of guilt:  am I doing too much/not enough; being to relaxed/too strict,; will my own personality weaknesses and hangups negatively effect my child; if I work will he/she realise the value of self reliance or hate me for not being there?  Its a no win.

Until that is, assuming you are very lucky , you can come to the realisation that as long as you can say honestly ‘what I did I did with the best intention’.  You have to really believe it AND you have to be gracious enough to yourself to realise that that is the only and best expectation and result you can expect from yourself, or, for that matter, from anyone else.

Be good to yourself, be real, be free.

…and here’s some photos of me in hats (tenuous link I know!)

Black & White party - as Cruella De Ville - jhat made from a bamboo steamer, cereal packet and faux fur

Black & White party – as Cruella De Ville – jhat made from a bamboo steamer, cereal packet and faux fur

Julie and Neils Wedding -Rayleigh Methodist Church

Julie and Neils Wedding -Rayleigh Methodist Church

I must be 15 or 16 here - in my Boy george phase - luckily it was short lived

I must be 15 or 16 here – in my Boy George phase – luckily it was short lived

1995 At john's flat in St Vincent Road 60's - 80's party - note the Lichenstein on the wall

1995 At john’s flat in St Vincent Road 60’s – 80’s party – note the Lichenstein on the wall – all clothes were in the wardrobe – wig not real hair!

Sam's hen party - hippy chicks

Sam’s hen party – hippy chicks – outfit hired

me as Lady Lily Pink -Loony Party Music Fest Llanwrtyd Wells

me as Lady Lily Pink -Loony Party Music Fest Llanwrtyd Wells. Hat bought on line, dreadlocks from a vintage clothes shop in Southend

Steam punk - homemade hat from corrugated card and some odds and sods

Steam punk – homemade hat from corrugated card and some odds and sods