Half a Year Gone Already

Can you believe it’s July 2016 already?

No 71

I’ve been living in my little house for over six months now! Simultaneously it feels like time has flown by yet like I’ve lived here for a long time. I’ve had quite a few big changes, including starting a new job, and moving into my little house. Both of those things were arranged last year, and they ticked off the two main things on my list of aspirations for the year. Coming out of a time when the media (here’s looking at you, Mailonline) and the general voice of the public seemed to have a downer on young people in general, with a difficult job market and a nigh-unscaleable property ladder, I very quietly set my mind to those two things, and I’m so pleased that I achieved both.

My favourite flowers
My favourite flowers

For 2016 I have the one main goal: to get writing, properly. It’s been easy to get distracted with new house, new job, new kittens, and the new Game of Thrones, but I set my mind to finishing off “My First Book”, shall we vaguely call it. This is a book I’ve had in mind since I was in first year of university, and have dibbed in and out of over the past few years. From about September time last year, I embarked on the not-inconsequential task of pulling together all the random vague chapters and drafting in the remainder, pulling together a sketchy first draft. That came to a close in February of this year, at which point I began the great editing process. As it stands, I’m about halfway through, having cut down on about ten chapters so far, and rejigging a lot of the pacing, action and some of the relationships. So far I am still really enjoying it.

It’s been quite an intense half a year so far, from a horrible start into a gloomy, dark sort of non-summer.

Bursts of colour
Bursts of colour

Things I’ve enjoyed so far

  • Wheel of Time – I finally finished this mega series! I actually cried at the end, and was pleased with its final execution, especially when you consider its original author and instigator, Robert Jordan, died before the last few volumes were to see the light of day. I’ve got the prequel to read yet, so it’s not quite over for me.
  • Game of Thrones – obviously! I got Sky TV just in time for series 6, which has gone beyond the books now. The past couple of years have seen me get back into a fantasy zone, which is great, considering MFB is definitely in the fantasy genre, though quite a different take to WoT, which is straight-up epic fantasy on a far-reaching, dazzling magical scale, and GoT, which is a much more human, visceral approach on it, with a smattering of zombies and soaring dragons flitting here and there.
  • Living in Casa Katy! While paying for everything is a bit annoying, I really like my little house. I have a lovely little corner set up for writing, and my front room is coming together nicely, as is my little garden, which I’m looking forward to working on a bit more once this summer *hopefully* gets underway… will it… ever? Who knows!

Things I’m looking forward to

  • Finishing MFB’s second draft. It’s picking up a bit of momentum in the middle section now, and I’m excited to charge on through, and see how things go. I’m adding structural pieces and frames to tighten things up, and I’m getting a definite buzz.
  • Winds of Winter – who isn’t? And is it ever coming? 2016 might be over and we might not be anywhere. One can dream.
  • My birthday! The mid-point of the year of course brings my little birthday, and without the summer school to distract me, I can look forward to it, though July as a whole is a busy little month anyway. I haven’t any special plans for my birthday as such, though I’m going to the Great Yorkshire Show so that will be exciting.
  • Summer in Casa Katy – I’ve bought some nice cushions for my patio furniture and it’s done nothing but rain since I got them. I would like to get them out of the plastic wrapping sometime, please.
Come back, Mr Sunshine!
Come back, Mr Sunshine!

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Single Belle on the Farm – WordPress Anniversary!

Single Belle on the Farm

Hello all, it’s my WordPress anniversary today!

One whole year of Windy Farm and A little blue Subaru called Dickie!

I can’t quite believe I’ve been blogging for a whole year now. I’m only just getting the hang of it.

It amazes me how many blogs there are out there, all about relationships and life in relationships. I’m keen on budgeting and saving money, but every blog I look at tends to be one (or more often both) of two things: American, and about a couple saving on two incomes.

What about us singletons?! Who aren’t American, have one wee salary coming in, and run two cars, and have an issue with expensive taste, and living beyond our means?!

What about us that aren’t saving for holidays with partners and aren’t saving up for big swish weddings?

Sure, it’s maybe sad when you’ve had a rough day, or you’re poorly, or you’ve been back and forth between doctors’ (doctor’s? Aaargh!) surgeries and chemists looking for sympathy about your earache, and you get home and there isn’t someone waiting for you. But then again, I have this face to come home to, so that’s not too bad:

Bilbo with hearts

I had to have a bit of a social media purge at the weekend. I deleted Facebook off my phone (for about the fourth time). Why? While in essence it’s a great little thing, the book of face, for sharing pictures and keeping up to date with people you went to school with who you probably never even spoke to at school let alone now, but it’s also a nasty little device of oneupmanship and (inadvertent I’m sure) Rubbing Everyone’s Faces In Your Own Glory. Genuine thing, that.

I read a post on Pinterest the other day about a lady who was 26, without a husband, without children, and without a career. While it did have a definite Christian swing, the premise was something I can definitely relate to! I will be 25 this year – a quarter century. I don’t have a husband and certainly no children, thank you very much; not even a date on the horizon! However I do have a career, which I’ve spent a long time struggling to cultivate. I am proud of the job I do at the moment: I love the company I work for, love the people I work with, and even though it is an office job, it’s still an office job that serves a definitive purpose. I just wish it wasn’t a two hour round trip away!

So in honour, I now launch Single Belle on the Farm!

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Katy x

How to Energise Yourself Pt 1

Here’s something I’ve noticed of late, guys… We seem to be a culture of walking zombies! I’m twenty four years old and I should have buckets of energy: I should be able to work all day Friday, drive home, leap in the shower, get my glad rags on, and go out on the town. Yet I get home from work and if I allow myself to sit on the recliner settee after tea I will fall asleep. I am not a good napper. Everybody seems to be in an eternal cycle of tiredness and exhaustion. But is it true exhaustion? I think genuine tiredness is when you feel it in your bones, when your leg muscles cramp up and try as you might, you just can’t life those arms above your head. On Saturday I was in my garden in the afternoon; I was sowing lots of seeds and then I was digging up some muck and running around with the wheelbarrow, and then I was pulling up a load of leeks for our tea. We then took Bilbo out for his walk, and we were accompanied by Daisy, the little Shar Pei puppy who isn’t so little any more.

Bilbo is 3 years old – that’s so scary, that he’s three! We got him on my 22nd birthday; I’ll be 25 this year. That’s scary. Daisy the Shar Pei is only a puppy and she has so much energy; she was chasing Bilbo around and hanging off his ruff and in the end, I think she absolutely floored him. He was pooped – and then we took him for a walk! But just gulf between the levels of energy of the two was huge. Bilbo is lazy; he’s meant to be an endurance dog, able to drag a sled across a craggy snowy landscape for hours on end, and when I tell him that he just looks at me as if to say, Really? I don’t think so.

It got me thinking though – I wish I had boundless energy like Daisy.  This morning I woke up and I had such a job to get out of bed. It just wasn’t happening! I staggered downstairs and made a coffee and just sat on the settee in a daze. Then I roused myself, fed the cats, make my lunch and breakfast, and read a whole bunch of Pinterest boards about how to get out of bed on a morning. But I mean all day, every day – maybe it should be how to get out of your chair at any given moment.

So here are my thoughts on how to energise yourself!

How to energise yourself!

1. Eat properly. This is a major one. Every magazine or Buzzfeed article will probably tell you this. It sounds very preachy but it’s so important. When I was making my kale-spinach-apple-pear-banana-mega-Victoria’s-Secret smoothies, I felt a lot better and like I had a good bit more energy. I have tried to cut out a fair bit of junk food, and increase how much fruit and vegetables I eat. Especially now that I’ve got my weekly budget in place, I’m really trying to get the most of my ingredients. The smoothie maker might have to make a reappearance! Though it’s messy and people made fun of me at work, which gets me in a rage. Next post – how to quell one’s undeniable anger at everything. 

2. Don’t get too comfy. I make this mistake every single night. I get home, cook my tea, wash up, half a bath, and then when I sit down on the recliner I fall asleep, all by half nine. But if I get sat on a dining room chair, or on my swivel chair upstairs, where I can’t lie prone, I start to feel more alive. The same goes for having a bath: I could probably fall asleep in a bath if I wasn’t terrified of drowning. But I have definitely fallen asleep on my bed after my bath, when I just wanted “a nice sit down”. A nice invigorating shower, on the other hand… though I’d draw the line at whacking it onto freezing cold for the last twenty seconds. That’s a bit much like water torture if you ask me.

3. Go outside. When I was at school and poorly, the receptionists always used to try and convince me that ‘getting some fresh air’ would miraculously heal me. While I all I ever wanted at that time was to go home and curl up in bed, I can’t deny that the days I’m outside a lot at the moment definitely make me feel a lot better about myself.  I do think being in a warm enclosed space is something akin to a bed; it definitely evokes that cocoon element. Whereas charging around outside – chasing Bilbo around the garden for a bit, or even just patrolling my vegetables – might make you feel physically tired, but I think it gets your brain cells moving. I certainly know I have some of my best ideas while I’m walking Bilbo – I just need to remember them!

Bilbo with hearts
This is my baby doggy Bilbo – and he always makes me happy and energized – though sometimes he tires me out too! Picture edited with picmonkey


4. Do something. I don’t mean for the sake of it. I mean use your time productively. If you approach life with a sense of purpose you might find that you are more energised and more inclined to finish those tasks. I’m trying to think of things I want to do at home – and I stress want – on my drive home: so when I get home I can have my tea, wash up, and then get on with the few things I want to do.

5. Be positive! This is the most important! If you think you’ll be tired, then of course you’ll be tired – you’ve convinced yourself of it. I am a big believer in self-duping. I am very good at convincing myself of one thing, almost without much effort at all. But if we turn that on the flipside – you can convince yourself of good things, and then those good things will happen! OK, OK, so there are people who will whinge and whine on Facebook (I hate those posts, you know the ones I mean – Bonnie Boris is having the worst day ever. Nosy Parker comments what’s up hun? Bonnie says I’ll PM you. Why tell half a story you crazy people?!), and out of that they seem to magically get all they ever wanted. But I guarantee you, deep down, that what they end up with is not what they wanted. Didn’t your mothers ever tell you that whining gets you nothing?! I am inclined to be a bit of a pessimist – not a vocal one, but one all the same. But if I take a step back from whatever bums me out – usually comparing myself to others, or something like – I realise I have an awful lot to be very, very thankful for – and a whole lot to be very happy about! And when I am happy and cheerful and sunny, I find that I do have that bit extra get up and go!

So these are the first five! I’ve thought of a few more, but that’s enough for today’s post.

What about you? What do you do to energize yourself?!

I’d love to hear your ideas! Please share in the comments.

Much love – I’m off to bed!



Our Guy in India

This weekend and last weekend, my current crush, Guy Martin, has been on C4 touring around India. Sunday nights are the best nights on telly at the moment – Top Gear, Our Guy in India, Mr Selfridge; and next week, we have The Casual Vacancy (which I’ve not managed to read yet) and Indian Summers. There seems to be a bit of an Indian theme at the moment going on.

I’ve really enjoyed Our Guy in India. He was on Radio 2 the other morning, and he was just brilliant: he’s just such a normal guy; he loves his work, and he loves working, and being busy; and he can talk the back legs off a donkey.

This evening, he went into the slums of Mumbai. When I did geography at school, it always struck me that in the slums, and not just of Mumbai but of anywhere, there was such an imbalance of priorities: they didn’t have running water or sanitation, but they sure as hell had their massive tellies, satellite dishes and Xboxes. And Guy walked through this huge slum and he too pointed out the biggest TV ever – what did he say? “It’s like Currys in there, innit?”

Yet he went to the house of a family, three generations who lived in what looked like a cube, though the neatest and most orderly cube in the world, and the grandaddy was a Hindu priest. Yet speaking to him, Guy found out that this man was so happy with what he had in his life: he didn’t need to fill his house with things, because he didn’t need those things: he liked eating, so he had all he needed to prepare his meals. It really makes you feel humble. I wrote on my other blog, notmuchofayoungfarmer.wordpress.com, about how we are a culture of rushing and hurrying everywhere: the same seems to be of having things. When I left uni, there seemed to be this enormous pressure on graduates to get jobs with huge salaries: it was as if we had do something with our degrees to make it worthwhile. As if they could only be measured in monetary gain: it cost this much to go to uni, so we have to justify that decision in making a salary which for me, someone who has a relatively professional job in the north of England, is just out of this world. I was reading in a copy of Glamour magazine about disparities in salaries within individual couples: such and such is a made-up professional and earns £70,000 a year; so and so is a bunch of random words strewn together, and earns £55,000 a year. Why must our decisions be measured by a salary? What even would you do with £70,000 a year? I’ve never shied away from spending; I like my luxury; I like my Mulberry handbags and my Dubarry boots; but I spend more of my money on books and CDs and – to be honest – diesel. Guy pointed out a huge skyscraper that was the home of the richest man in India: he had 200 servants for four people: himself, his wife and his two children; his empires in whatever, real estate or building or what have you, had made him £15 billion. £15 billion! That’s a scale of money I can’t even comprehend. What would you do with that? I think I’d buy myself a Porsche, and then be like, right, OK, I don’t rightly know what to do now. I’ll stick it in the bank. No, I’d just give it away. £15 billion! I can’t deal with that.

At the very end, Guy said, “be happy with what you’ve got.” Around me, people – people my age, people I went to school with, people younger than me – are obsessed with getting this, owning this, having this, and then making it bigger, getting it bigger, upgrading, upsizing. I was once one of them, and probably in a few months, I will slip back, and become one of them again. But at the end of the day, if you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and people around you that you love and care for, you should be happy with what you’ve got.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to look at dresses on the internet.