Valentine’s Day

I had every intention of making a Halloween post, but then I spent the night chasing loose cattle around the village, so that didn’t happen. It’s been a very busy, intense couple of days and we’re feeling it now, but I messed around on my iTunes yesterday and made an “alternative” playlist of romantic songs.

I made it into a Spotify playlist, and listened to it while I was cooking tea.

I got some very beautiful roses for Valentine’s Day. My first ever Valentine’s flowers! However in an uncharacteristic show of forward-planning (or unplanning), I had wrapped up all my vases, so at 5.30 this morning we were looking for alternatives. I think we did alright, don’t you?

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As much as Valentine’s Day is a day to spend with loved ones, I’m going to jump on the self-love craze as well. In our busy lives it’s very easy to forget ourselves. As someone who feels pressure and gets anxious very easily, I’m trying to take more time for me in the day. That’s not very easy in the lifestyle I now lead, and sometimes I have to force myself to put that laundry basket down and just take five minutes to do what I want: read a chapter of a book, have a nice drink, light a candle. Today I was feeling particularly glum so when I ran my bath I threw the last of my Joules fizzy bath bombs in. It made the bathwater go radioactive yellow but it was a nice relaxing time for me. It’s very easy to get caught up in everyone else’s lives. Things like Facebook and Instagram make it very easy to feel in competition with your peers, and sometimes we need to take a step back and rediscover what we enjoy in life. I took Bilbo for a walk this afternoon and even got Valentine’s Day kisses off my doggy.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, one and all!

 

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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Nurburgring Trip 2015

We went to the Nurburgring not so long ago… for friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you might have guessed! But I was bad with blogging in anticipation, and if I was bad prior the holiday, I’ve been even worse now that we’ve come back. I wish I could blame it on work or even doing some serious writing, but in all honesty, I’ve been a busy bee with a bustling social life! I’ve been to watch a football match, I went to a movie premiere (at Cineworld in Hull – not quite Leicester Square, but there was a red carpet!), I’ve been out a few times, and I’ve even been to the cinema. We took Bilbo to a Fun Dog Show, I went to see Katherine Ryan in Hull, and then Dad and I went down to London to get Dickie Mark II! So it’s been all go. My garden has been hugely abandoned and as such I’ve messed up a load of things (rocket, lettuces…), I have beastly other things (beans and cabbages), and haven’t prepared anything for the Horticultural Society market stall this weekend. Eep!

But that’s not why I’m here.

Here I’m going to tell you about Nurburgring Trip 2015.

One of two, I hope!

***I apologise in advance for my appalling Germany – I mean, I try! But I think  half of the time I am making the words up.***

I started writing this when I was sat in the hotel on the Sunday afternoon, still on our trip. I got halfway through and then stopped, and I’ve not managed to pick it up again. I wasn’t going to do a daily recap post for each day (and I think the momentum has sort of faded for that!), but I was writing a big mega post.

No such luck now!

I took my new camera with me and took loads of pictures. So I think what I’ll do here is a mashup of photo galleries – of our cars and other cars, and general Germany stuff – and a bit of holiday recap. It was an eventful holiday, even if it feels like a million years ago now; I’ll try to keep it brief. I know, I’ve written about two hundred words (can’t count) of nonsense thus far. Blame it on the wine!

Music: I will upload a separate post about the soundtrack to this year’s trip! Once I get round to making my playlist on Spotify.

Pictures & Recap: will be found below!

 

Thursday: I was at work during the day, and then I followed Lousie Brown to the rendezvous point; a pub near the docks that was apparently some sort of drug den. Scary face. It was 2 for 1 meals though!! Yorkshire through and through.

We had a friend in the car park! Obviously knew we were hot stuff!!!
We had a friend in the car park! Obviously knew we were hot stuff!!!

I parked up next to another fellow classic (I can’t remember if it was white or silver); but when we came out, I had this friend! A 350Z (we call it a “Tim car” after someone we knew who had one) with the most violent violet wheels: the photo doesn’t quite capture how far in the spokes bend. Dickie may not be as new or as fancy, but I think he looks pretty fine!

“The Gang”

What is it that Brian says to Mia in the first (and best) Fast & Furious movie? “How did the gang come together?” And she tells him off and says they’re a “team”.

Here is our gang!

"The Gang"
“The Gang”

So as you can see, we’re a Japanese team! With a heavy Subaru leaning – of course! These are taken from the prime “entry/exit” spot (zufahrt!), otherwise known as the most congested piece of German road: most congested, and most populated by fancy sports cars. I think Dickie looks pretty good!

But! I hear you ask – where is the black car?!

This time round, Dad didn’t go in “the car from the video”, and instead went in the “hot hatch”… so hot it was that it burst into flames!

Or not quite.

"That black car!"
“That black car!”

I told Dad it was bad luck sticking the “I’ve done it 2015” Ring sticker on the back of the hatch before it had actually done it. I did! And look what happened.

Friday: It was our second lap. We’d driven all the way there in a convoy of sorts: two trucks towing trailers, then Dickie and the Civic. We had braved the mad traffic in Venlo and caused so many problems doing a massive U-turn across a congested dual carriageway; we got lost when you weren’t allowed to come off the 1 to the Nurburgring and no alternative routes were in sight. We got to the track and I went out with Dad for his first lap. He said it was “orrible”! I was sat trying to pay attention to how he went into corners and what speed he could go at them, but in the end I just ended up being chucked around and having a right good time.

Dad was coming down from the roundabout when I leapt in for a second lap. We should have known something was up when the Go Pro wouldn’t work, but no! You’re in game mode – or should that be Ring mode?

For the first part we seemed to be flying; I was being flung around in the passenger seat, quite happy. Then things started to go wrong: Dad was easing off, things were passing us, and suddenly all this smoke came billowing out of the back; it lost power and went onto three cylinders (so Dad tells me anyway!). Dad pulled us over at Steinstrecke, which is at the bottom of the Carousel – a pretty fast corner where there isn’t much run off at all. Dad got out, bonnet up, and then the car filled up with thick stinking smoke and I thought he was trying to gas me! All the while we’re at the edge of the track with cars hurtling past us at ridiculous speeds. I scramble across to the other side to get out (I think a Porsche would have snatched the door out of my hands if I’d opened the passenger side!), while my phone had no signal and 8% battery. I rang and texted all I could, and then two of our friends came shooting past, Dad flagging them down. The opposite side of the track is a little lay-by for marshal cars to pull into: the two Subarus quickly reversed in there and Dad and I ran across the track (not recommended at all!) to beg for help.

What turned out to be an ‘undercover’ marshall car turned up: a lad and a lass got out and pulled a yellow flag out of the boot. We were told to stay where we were, and our friends told off for stopping, and told to leave. The undercover marshals, in a brilliant fluorescent green old-style Megane, rang for the proper marshals: they turned up, with news that the track was closed anyway.

I think in all my years as a passenger I’ve only ever genuinely stopped on the track itself once before, and that was on the first lap I went on when I started coming to the circuit again. Then a little MX5 I think it was slammed into the Armco in front of us: clearly it had been a little too occupied in looking in its mirrors at what we were doing behind it, rather than concentrating on where it was meant to be going and what it should have been doing. This time we were the last people on the track; it was eerily quiet. I went to stand out in the middle of the tarmac, looking at the writing on the road. If I’d had more battery on my phone I would have taken more photos! I think in all the racetracks in all the world (not that I have experienced many in my little life!) the Nurburgring has to be one of the nicest ones to end up stopped on: the corner we were on was in deep forest; at the right side, over the Armco (where we should have stood, and were later chastised for not doing so), there was about a foot or less of genuine ground, before a huge drop into a wooded chasm. The other side, the trees scaled the hills upwards: a track led down from the wood to the edge of the track, and it looked a serious steep climb.

The proper marshals rang for a recovery truck. Dad had asked our friends to get a tow-rope from out of the truck, but the track had shut before they had a chance. So Dad and I waited for the bright yellow recovery truck to come and collect us. We took a sad face selfie and then we were recovered! I’ve never gone for a ride round the second half of the Nurburgring in a truck before – the driver didn’t chuck it into the Carousel, though that would have been a right laugh.

The Eye Candy: 

Every year it’s the same. We go to the Nurburgring, get all excited about doing loads of laps and being awesome, and then you get there and remember it’s a lot of standing around, sitting around, waiting while the track is closed, or dithering about trying to decide whether or not to join the queue.

"Never before in all my years at the Nurburgring have I seen the queue so... oh wait, yes I have"
“Never before in all my years at the Nurburgring have I seen the queue so… oh wait, yes I have”

I swear on Friday the queue went all the way back up the last straight and snaked round the corner. Every year the Touristenfahrten days get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and yet the exit strategy is the same: everyone must queue either for another lap (stay on track) or else to leave the track: basically you siphon off into two lanes, one of which is basically to go out for another lap. The lane to get off the track then goes up a hill (past the Devil’s Diner) to a mini roundabout, where people seem to spend half their time in an eternal loop.

So while the Ring is shut or so busy that Katy and Dickie daren’t head out, I instead fired up my camera and went looking for totty. No not boys! We’re looking for cars.

Fancies Ferraris Other Japs Porsches Scoobapoos

Others

Saturday: My Laps

This year I wanted to work on my confidence. Yeah I was giving it all “I’ll be doing sub-10 minute laps” when chatting up boys but in all honesty, I just wanted to get through a lap without freaking out/nearly crashing/being eaten alive by Porsches/wanting to bail out of the car and run into the forest.

I only did 2 laps. I know, that doesn’t sound like much at all. But for me they were two pretty good laps. The first one was really good; the second one had a really annoying mysterious caution that messed it up, otherwise I think I would have been on it. Sunday morning I could have done a few more but I think I’d been hitting the wine in Pinocchio’s a bit much the night before so I was still abed.

My first lap was so good – OK so I messed up gear changes, and got passed by lots, but I still had me a Porsche and a Rent for Ring! So pretty chuffed with that. But I felt so much more confident: I felt a lot surer about what Dickie could do, and when stuff was passing me, I wasn’t freaking out and coming to a total standstill: I eased off and just let them pass, and then once they’d all gone, I got back on it. Dad wasn’t yelling at me hardly at all, so that’s a definite improvement. In fact, I think his biggest complaint was that I didn’t get close enough to the ticket barrier!

Last year when I got half way round I used to be thinking, “right, I’ve had enough now, I’m tired”. But this time round, when we got to the mini Carousel, I was thinking “this can’t be right, we can’t be nearly done now!” After we’d finished the lap, I actually felt like I could go out again! I loved it – it was absolutely brilliant. I can totally see why everybody loves this place so much. It’s absolutely terrifying, and I think you’re not right in the head if you’re not scared of it (I mean, sure you can be an OK driver, but what about the hundred other cars on track with you?), but the head rush and adrenaline is just incomparable. I love it and can’t wait till August now!!

Sunday: was a bit of a washout, unfortunately. I was rough as anything in the morning (Pinocchio wine!!!) and then it just rained all afternoon. We went to an ice cream parlour in the afternoon so that was fun! Then it was our last Steak Nurburg of the trip… except some of us (Grandad and me) had schnitzel instead.

Monday: we came home! Epic journey home. Though in the morning we went into Adenau for the obligatory Rewe Getrankmart trip. We got lots of nice German wine and Dad got his Bitburgers, then we spent ages in the Rewe itself looking for the amazing chip spice they put on their fries. Nom! Then it was home time, and I was at my desk by 8.30am Tuesday morning!

Sheesh.

Sorry it’s taken such a long time to post. I had such a brilliant time – I did some good laps in Dickie, got to have a ride in a breakdown truck, and also got to meet my idol, Dale Lomas of Bridge to Gantry!

Can’t wait for August now! Here are some non-car-themed pics!

Until next time

Katy x

L-R (clockwise): The German graveyard across from us; the stable that Jesus was born in; friends and family at Pinocchio's; even the black hatch's stereo knew we were Driving on Nurburgring; Dad in the tunnel under the track; Hokus Pokus? Jokus Pokus?; ice cream at the gelataria.
L-R (clockwise): The German graveyard across from us; the stable that Jesus was born in; friends and family at Pinocchio’s; even the black hatch’s stereo knew we were Driving on Nurburgring; Dad in the tunnel under the track; Hokus Pokus? Jokus Pokus?; ice cream at the gelataria.

 

Single Belle on the Farm – 10 Reasons Why Being Single is Good

Single Belle on the Farm

Why it's OK to be Single
Why it’s OK to be Single

I wouldn’t say I’m an “eternal” singleton, though I feel often pigeonholed as one, but I am certainly not against romance (do you know of anyone who is single and available, preferable with an interest in cars, gardening, prepared to only ever go on holiday to the Nurburgring, likes cats and big excitable fluffy white doggies, and prepared to deal with zombie me during the week/summer? Then please do get in touch!) However I am definitely not one of these people who view the “single status” (eurgh) as a cursed plague. The people who have never not been in a relationship since they were 15 (and I don’t just mean in the same relationship!) do bamboozle me.

So I thought a bit, and came up with a list of things that are amazing and only apply to you if you are single. celebration of the singleton, if you will!

I didn’t want this list to be like those you find in Cosmo, etc: you know the type! With a snappy title, “33 reasons why being single is amazing”, and then once you’re reading it, it’s a list written by someone in a couple who has gone through all the annoying things their partner does and condescendingly told we eternal spinsters “at least you don’t have to put up with someone stealing the duvet/shaving your legs everyday/pretending to like football/cars/gaming”. I also didn’t want this to fall into a Bridget Jones kind of territory.

I want this to be a bit more serious. Being single isn’t some frothy frivolous idea that we do for a laugh; nor is it some disease that is catching, akin to boyfriend-poaching or the desire to have lots of cats.

It is a conscious decision to never settle for less, and one I believe in very much!

A wordless wednesday motto

Now these are in no particular order! These are just as they occurred to me.

1. Not having to compromise. Everything is for you: not to be shared. Now I am an only child, so I’m not used to sharing anyway. But from my experience, in relationships it’s all about the consultation: can we do this, do you want to do this, we have to do this instead of this. But when you’re on your onesie, who do you have to compromise with? No one (except maybe the devil/angel on your shoulder!)

2. Not having to justify! When you spend your money – buying whatever you want or need, be it shoes, dresses, handbags; a new camera, tickets to the football, or a new car – it’s your money you’re spending; not somebody else’s! I couldn’t imagine having to hide purchases, or lie about them, because someone else would judge me – or worse still, attack me for them. This is my money which I’ve earned – to spend on me!

3. Feeling free. There is a sense of liberty in being single. You are free to do whatever you like: go travelling, go abroad, move abroad; you can move to a different place, be it in this country or another, as your flexibility depends on you rather than on two. It doesn’t have to be restrictive to that: I dallied with spending a little time abroad and ultimately didn’t like it; but I still had the opportunity.

4. Being wholly in control. This leads on from the one before. Naturally this maybe applies to where you are in your life: if you’re a wee bairn with your life ahead of you, control is maybe edged towards the people you still depend on; I myself am still a wee bairn at heart. But controlling what you do with time/money/life is a big deal.

5. Having no one to answer to. I don’t know about you, but I hate somebody wanting to know the reason why I did this or that. Is this one a little too much like 2? I suppose another way to look at it is to think that you don’t

6. Your time is your own. This is sooo important. As someone who has always been characteristically a bit of a loner and leaning towards introvert in her person, having to suddenly share my time – my most precious asset – with somebody else, whose ideas often run at a very different angle to my own, is something I don’t take to very well. I’ve been me and just me for so long I’ve gotten quite nicely used to it.

7. Appreciate the little things. Usually things like a peaceful night’s sleep and cooking what you want without having to cater for different tastes and allergies and whatnot. But also being able to get in from work, chuck on the appropriate slob clothes, and watch whatever rubbish there is on telly (usually Keeping up with the Kardashians or Say Yes to the Dress). These are important things!

8. Get out of ‘Keeping up with Mr & Mr Jones’. Some people in couples love this! I swear some couples are solely based on this. Such-and-such got together, so we have to get together; they went on holiday, so we now have to go on holiday; they bought a house; they got married; they’ve split up… wait?  I sound bitter, but please bear in mind I am observant, and especially observant of people, and some things are so obvious to the outsider it’s almost scripted.

9. Enjoy your quirks! So I like various things that aren’t going to be compatible with everyone: I like metal music, I like listening to German radio stations, I like researching healthy food ideas that most men would call ‘rabbit food’, I like writing about my life on my blog, I like watching The Big Bang Theory over and over again, and my favourite movies are Japanese anime (Studio Ghibli!), I like being on my own, and I like spending a whole day up to my elbows in soil and compost and a bit of manure. Hmmm, do you like the sound of that? Sign your name below!

10. Focus on today, and making today great – not next week, next month, next year. This is probably applicable to all of life, but I’m very good at obsessing over things I have little control over right now, or perhaps things that won’t yield results till much later. I think my inherent impatience is something contributes a lot to my sporadic blasts of creativity, imbued with an edge of desperation. Ooh, that was almost poetic! That must be the third glass of moscato talking.

So, it’s taken about ten revisions and a week of writing… but I think that’s your lot! Not bad for a Saturday night, eh?

I think we are very much pre-programmed, at least biologically to find a mate, but we’re also brainwashed by the media, and by films and television and books and everything, that finding a partner and being in a relationship is key to success. Being focused on ourselves is now considered selfish, which in itself is now decided to be a bad thing. Pah!!! Being single is good. Because I do firmly believe that we should never settle for anything less than the absolute best we can achieve.

Let me know. Do you agree? Or am I indeed an alien? Have I simply not found “the Right One” yet? Or might I be onto something? Give me your thoughts! Though please, no pity parties!

Till next time, from Single Belle on the Farm!
Till next time, from Single Belle on the Farm!

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!

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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!

Katy

x

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.

Katy
x

Happy Birthday: The Big 2-4

Everyone always says that the older you get, the less bothered you are about your birthday. It was my 24th on the 17th July and I completely disagree with that statement! This has been the most enjoyable birthday I’ve had for years, which I believe is down to a number of things… Firstly, last year I had a lesson observation on my birthday, which sort of ruined it for me! I was away from home, teaching in Liverpool, and while my lovely workmates at ATC Liverpool bought me a cake (I believe it was a Katy-pillar cake?) it still wasn’t quite the same. This year I stayed in Hull and even though I was at work I still had a lovely time!

The day before my birthday I went to Driffield Show with Mum and Nana, something I had never had the chance to do before, having worked in summer schools for the past five years. We took Bilbo and had a lovely day, even if it was hot and muggy and stuffy at the show. I took a few photos and if I remember I will make a blog post about them…

For my birthday itself, I got up usual time, and got Ma and Pa up as well (the usual rising time for the Loys is I believe some time after 8 o’clock – when I’m well on my way to Hull – and Father has been known to exclaim with disbelief, “there are two seven o’clocks in a day?!”) and opened a few presents before I had to go to work.

At work everyone came into mine and Louise’s office with a tray laden down with cakes and goodies, and sang ‘happy birthday’ to me, which was hugely embarrassing, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. And clearly the gods of summer schools must have been listening when I said I wanted no drama on my birthday… either that, or Louise was shielding me from it all!

For dinner I went out with my family and friends to Florios in Malton! I really enjoyed my meal, though I’ve since heard that a few people weren’t overly thrilled with theirs. I shared a garlic bread topped with tomato sauce, anchovies and black olives with Mum as a starter, and for my main I had grilled sea bass with tiger prawns, and they were beautifully cooked in a garlicky tomatoey sauce.

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I think what made my birthday so successful, to me anyway, was that I got to share it with my family and friends, all the people I love! I want to thank everyone for all their lovely gifts, but what was most important to me was that I got to see everyone on my birthday.

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This is one of my favourite presents! This lovely picture is by my friend’s mum, the very talented Moira de Lavenu, and I have been admiring it for a long time! Need to find somewhere to hang it!

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A selection of my other presents, including a brand new Filofax, which I am very excited about filling up!IMG_1712

And then my two apple trees! I have a Katy apple tree (obviously!) and a Bramley, so am very excited to get these planted.

And finally, my cats brought me a present, albeit a little late: I came downstairs on Friday morning to find this guy!

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And that’s it for a cheesy self-indulgent post-birthday post! A year to go now until the big 2-5!