An April visit to Fountains Abbey, Chirk Castle, and Lyme Park

Mr. Darcy was here! #pemberley #prideandprejudice

This is, hand’s down, my favourite photograph. I took it last week at Lyme Park, AKA Pemberley. The pond should look familiar to any of you who have swooned when Mr. Darcy emerged from it in the BBC mini series version of Pride and Prejudice.

We spent the last couple of days travelling to The Wirral (or, Liverpool if it’s easier although the Picks aren’t from Liverpool, proper). On our way, we had to leave Daisy at the kennels, which I hated to do because she didn’t know the place or the other dogs. However, it was a chance to have some together time that didn’t include avoiding cafes, museums, or other such establishments because of a giant dog in tow.

On our way from Newcastle, we stopped in Ripon because A. I believe I live at Downtown Abbey and B. There was a cool place to visit through our National Trust membership.

Fountains Abbey was the biggest abbey we had seen that was still intact. As an American, I just cannot get over how old things are and are still sitting about for people to see, touch, experience, etc. There were Water Gardens on the property too, but we only had time for a walk, a quick look at the abbey, lunch, then back on the road. However, this just means that I plan on us going back sometime soon because there was plenty to see there, especially if you have a dog to walk.

We caught up with the Picks later that day, and spent our second day down there travelling to Wales — a place I had never been and a place where Mister Pick went to school and worked for a collective of about 8 years. (Before I graced him with my presence, obviously.) Wales is beautiful and the only equivalent I can give it would be a kind of wandering Virginia countryside drive. It’s very green, the air is fresh, and it was suitably rainy that day. We took our time exploring Chirk Castle which is really impressive. The place has a dungeon, so now I know what that feels like. (Hint: it’s dark and they don’t even have proper windows, so it’s as dyer as you’d imagine.) The other parts of the castle were renovated into a proper estate house, so the rooms were lush and impressive — some of the ceilings had Greek gods and goddesses depicted in the plasterwork. There were portraits of royals and noblemen and women. There was huge fireplaces, and even big, comfy couches that, looked modern in a 1940s, post-war way. I loved the gardens though because you could walk through there and not even realize there was a giant castle behind the trees. It was so relaxing and nice to wander around there, listening to the birds, and looking at all of the flowers and trees that were planted there.

I absolutely loved it.

After our visit with The Picks, we took a little detour to Lyme Park as posted above. Unfortunately, the house was closed the day that we got there and instead of going to the less cool tea rooms. (The brochure showed women in Austen-esque dresses with bonnets, sipping tea. Of course, if that wasn’t an option, I wasn’t as interested.) I did also look through the house’s book sale books, and chose a 1933 edition of Dicken’s Our Mutual Friend.

Upon our return, in order to avoid traffic, we took a long drive through the countryside, which Mister Pick did because I detest driving in unknown places that include roundabouts, mountains, empty fields, steep declines, and anything remotely tricky. However, it was worth it, because we rescued poor Daisy Doodle from her confinement before 6PM. The lad who worked at the kennels was very nice, but he said Daisy was timid with him because she didn’t know any of the staff. Daisy is not timid, so I don’t know if she’ll settle in better on a longer stay. The place is highly recommended and people reuse them often, so it’s not like it’s a bad place to take her — I just hated her being in a cage.

But everyone is back home now and although I worked yesterday, I’m still enjoying the last bits of my holiday today with Mister Pick, Daisy, and the cats who keep staring at me as I type this.

Also, it’s Sunday, which means I’m keeping off social media as best I can. Old habits die hard and I have to stop myself from just picking up my phone and checking Twitter throughout the day. It’s just one of the little things I’m making a habit of just to clear my head, give my eyes a rest, and focus a little more about being at home.

And with that said, I hope everyone has had a nice Easter and a great April, so let’s get on to May 2019.

Advertisements
Posted in #Year42, All About Me, family, goals, home, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Easter bank holiday wind down and catch up

Good afternoon and Happy Easter Sunday!

It’s been a nice break from the daily grind these past few days and we’ve actually taken next week off as well to enjoy some traveling to go along with our rest and relaxation.

On Friday we were going to go to Sunderland Museum and Gardens (and library!) for the da Vinci drawings exhibit. However, once we got onto the highway, we realized that everyone and their mother was out cruising, so we headed to IKEA (why not) and bought patio furniture instead.

Sorted. ☀️ #ikea

Afterwards, we hung out on the back patio and enjoyed the warm weather. It was in the 70s this weekend, and was actually very warm for people like us who are used to wearing quilted coats and woolly hats every day.

On Saturday, we headed to our favorite place – Beamish (as seen in the main photo above). Now, I was all gung-ho about the fish and chips and the walking and the sunshine … until I got overheated and sick. Being overheated is just weird. You’re not physically too hot. I wasn’t sweating to death or feeling hot, I just realized how dizzy and nauseous as we trekked around, so I had to cut the exploration short. I mean, we enjoyed the time we spent out, but I was really happy to be back in the car with the air conditioning.

Today is Easter Sunday! We started off with pancakes and a cuppa at our new patio set. Daisy has a pool that she’s still not completely sure about, but it feels nice to paddle around in when you’re wanting to cool down. Right now, Mister Pick is working on mounting our old TV up in the bedroom (we’re still technically moving in). We have the windows open and the cats are hanging out upstairs in the windowsills. All and all, it’s a perfect day.

I’ve been making my list of goals because I’m still working on the question of what I want to do with myself and where I see myself in ten years. (Anyone else who has the Rachel Hollis Start Today Journal knows what I’m talking about.) So, I’m looking up authors I admire and writing down places I’d like to go and really trying to wind down and focus on how I want to propel myself forward into the rest of the year.

Tomorrow is still up in the air, but we’ll make the most of it. After that, it’ll be traveling time and we’ll head to see The Pick family down in The Wirral for a bit.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a fantastic Easter break!    

Posted in #Year42, All About Me, blogging, goals, home, planner, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bullet journals, Wallington, and not being discouraged

Photo

Well, this blog certainly isn’t getting updated very often, even if I really want to post something, I never get around to it.

Since last time, I’ve started an apprenticeship for Team Leading and Management at work. That means I have a manager who mentors me and whom I shadow at one of the libraries along with my coursework that I need to do. I really like it so far and I’m happy that I decided to apply for it because I feel mentally challenged and satisfied doing this kind of work. Not that I’m not pleased at how much I help people with my regular IT teaching job in the libraries, I’m just happy that I have something else to add to my list of things I can do.

There were Team Leader jobs as secondments available this year but I do like where I am and I wanted to spend my extra energy in focusing on my apprenticeship. I’m sure the job would have helped me gather evidence for my course, but, again, I’d rather stay doing what I do because I think I help people.

Helping myself is another story. I’ve been trying to do the diet and exercise thing but, man, am I so tired these days. I was okay for a bit when I got my bicycle because I was ready for sun and summertime, but now I’m not doing as well as I hoped.

I’ve been writing a book, I guess, about how these things have caught up with me. I’ve never been so stinking frustrated with trying to write, blog, work, exercise, lose weight, spend time with Mister Pick, enjoy my time at home, and do things outside of the house so I don’t end up being a hermit. (Although, being a hermit isn’t looking so bad these days.) I listened to a podcast yesterday that said if we keep stepping over the crap that’s flung onto us, we’ll eventually get out of the pit. Good advice and I have to take that all to heart when I’m feeling like the me I’m trying to build just isn’t showing up.

I mean, surely everyone feels like there’s just too much we should be doing, don’t they? I had to make Sundays be my non-social media days because I was getting overwhelmed with the comparisons. I should be writing my book. I should be traveling. I should be making a business. I should be starting a podcast. I should be engaging on social media.

The funny thing is, once I stopped using social media as much, I realized how much I don’t need it. It’s a useful tool, don’t get me wrong, but because I’m kind of a special creature – American, in England, still don’t know what I’m doing, the usual stuff – I get really down when I see people appearing to know what they want and doing it.

But, alas, that’s still one to work on this year. 42 is definitely an interesting one, I tell you.

Also, I’m still watching videos about bullet journaling and although I have my Passion Planner (one for daily agendas and one more for academic tasks), I was curious about all the binder planners that people were posting on Instagram. I was going to get one online but I happened to see an A5 agenda binder at Wilko’s after work this week, so I’m going to print some free planner sheets to add to it. I even bought a small 6 ring hole punch to get working on these. I’m wanting habit trackers and while it takes all the artistic design out of making my own for my bullet journal, having ready-made pages may really help me in the long run.

The photo above was from our recent trip to Wallington. We’d been before, years ago, before we had Daisy, so we took her to explore the vast farmland. Of course the sheep weren’t interested in a giant barking goldendoodle but, hey, who can blame them?

I have another week of work before Easter and our break to Liverpool and Hoylake so I’ll be sure to update on that trip to see the Pick family. Until then, grab your eggs and your bunnies and enjoy the upcoming holiday.

Posted in #Year42, All About Me, blogging, bullet journal, Employment, home, Library, planner, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Visiting a lighthouse, using planners, and staying motivated

Photo

Well, it’s the middle of February so that means I’m still plugging away at my goal-oriented planning.

From the photo above you can see that I have been outside and getting fresh air. Last weekend Mister Pick and I took Daisy to Souter Lighthouse which was interesting even though Daisy acted up and tried to jump on every dog and human that came close to her. (Goldendoodles are insane, I tell you.)

I went in the lighthouse on my own while Steve took her for a walk and the gal at reception told me that it was 75 or so stairs and the last bit was very steep. Now, me being me, I heard that and thought immediately, “Well, I won’t be climbing that then, will I?”

But I did.

It was freaky though because on the way back down you have to go backward like on a ladder and my life flashed before my eyes a bit because I could see myself falling straight back and them having to find Steve on the beach to tell him that his wife had broken both of her legs in a freak lighthouse incident.

But I didn’t, and I was proud of myself.

I’m such a wuss, I swear.

Anyway, so I was pleased with myself after that and looked at the little lighthouse cottage before going outside and hanging out with Daisy while Steve took a look inside.

Having a National Trust membership is nice when the weather permits you to explore things nearby.

We also took a walk down the coast, hence where this photo was taken, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

I was off on Wednesday and that was the first time that Daisy went to doggy daycare when I was home so I felt like a free woman who didn’t have to check on the baby every five minutes. I went to the dentist, the gym (hooray!), Weight Watchers (lost 3 pounds — more hooray), and bought myself a bike because I want one. (I totally need a wicker basket for the front of it!)

Valentine’s Day was good. We had M&S Dine in for Two (tradition) and I got my super cool Cath Kidston Bambi bag!

Today we took a walk along the river and I found lots of nice paths where I can ride my new bike, so I’m super excited. This bike is by no means the fancy cool Trek that I have left in Florida, but it’s cute and comfortable from what I could tell from the showroom, so I’m ready to take up casual cycling again.

We also had a chance to look around our new neighborhood and was pleasantly surprised at all that was going on. We even had a couple of people stop to chat with us and we get the idea that we’re notorious (in a good way) because the couple who owned our house before us were well-liked around here, and I’m sure they let everyone know that we’d be turning up with this mad dog.

Now, I’ve focused on my good things because all of this is part of my planning for achievement and working on spending family time as well as my fitness which really, really needs for me to keep myself accountable for each week.

Again, I’m really stoked about my Passion Planner, and my This is My Era planner. I still find it so easy to be lazy and procrastinate but this has helped me put things in perspective, even if it’s small personal objectives. Not that health and creativity are small topics.

Like, one of my objectives is to amp up bookblogarama.com but it’s going to be so much work and it’s so much easier to just not start getting involved. However, I really want to have more book reviews and interact with more book bloggers so I’m going to have to just dig in and get that started.

I’m also listening to podcasts which I never did before but it seems to put me in a better frame of mind for the rest of the day, as opposed to music where my mind can wander.

The writing is okay too. I at least work on something most days, so that’s a huge accomplishment considering how little writing I was doing for the last few years, honestly.

And with that said, here’s hoping everyone had a fab Valentine’s Day and enjoys the rest of their February!

Posted in #Year42, All About Me, blogging, Books, bullet journal, Exercise, home, planner, Travel, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dreams on your heart and plain old goals

Photo

Last post I touched on the idea of writing goals and keeping track of my book projects, word count, and so on.

I also mentioned that I’ve been listening and reading more about productivity and goals. One of the books I’m currently in the middle of is Eat that Frog which is about not procrastinating and getting the most difficult task of the day done and over with first. Makes sense. I’ve also jumped on the bandwagon and started reading and listening to Rachel Hollis. I have a Getting Stuff Done planner and a This Is My Era planner (which I still need to set up), as I wait for my Passion Planner that’s coming by next month (or so the tracking information tells me).

So if you know what tasks you need to do in daily life, you sort of do them in order. At least that’s how I do them. I get up, I feed the cats or take the dog out, I make coffee, I eat breakfast, and if I have to go to work, I get ready to do just that before leaving the house at whatever required time. Those are my priorities from 6AM-8:30AM at least.

The rest of the day is doing work-type library and IT requirements and each day is different and those, again, go in order of operations. If it’s Monday, I run and send out financial reports. If it’s Tuesday, I do my stock inventory. If it’s Wednesday I’m teaching a class in the morning. If it’s Thursday or Friday, I’m teaching all day. Each sessions has it’s own agenda depending on who attends, so those couple of hours may or may not entail something I have already planned out.

Now, I know those are the shallow, or the dry jobs that are required of me. The routine that I have delegates my tasks.

However, most of my podcasts, blogs, books, whatever talk about your goals. What is your big dream?

Easy: to write. Or, more specifically, to be an author. Name on scads of books that sits on virtual and tangible shelves that lots of people read and enjoy. That’s the dream.

But apparently that has to be more specific because I need steps to achieving that main, attainable in the future goal.

Most of us have been around the block enough time to know that our number one aim each day is being chained to our desk for an amount of time that allows us to produce content in literary form. That is self explanatory. We also know that once the writing is done and we’ve gone through National Writing Month or whatever and gotten your 50,0000 or more words down for a rough draft, we need to edit. Then we need critique partners, beta readers, proof-readers, and anyone else who can give us some nice, solid opinions before we edit again.

Then we can think about submitting to agents, or start working on self-publishing. We needs to market and promote. We need to sing our own praises the best we can.

And once we run that through for a good while, it’s time to start again. Heck, we’re all probably writing the next book, or books, already.

Eventually we’ll get to where we want to be. Sure, most of us want to be on the NY Times Best Sellers list, so we can just write that down on our dreams list. But what will get us to get to the dream – good old fashioned hard work. That’s going to be true for anything, so yeah, planning out each step of the way is great but what I have to remember, plan on, meditate on, and aim for is to write. every. single. day.

Posted in #Year42, bullet journal, planner, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment