Friday, January 23, 2015

Summer Holiday

Hydrangeas in our garden - I grew them from cuttings - so proud!

Even though I have been back at work for three weeks now, my mind is still on holiday.  I’ve not been able to string three words together to form a post!  Instead I’ve just been enjoying… being.  Our weather is stunningly beautiful – one blue-skied warm-breeze day after another.  I’m sorry if I’m showing off if you are in the depths of winter where you are – you can pay me back in July.

It’s nice to feel like we are still on holiday whilst still going to work.  And one thing I forget about January is that it’s our business’s second busiest month of the year after December.  For some reason I think that after we’ve gotten December sorted I can relax.  And I can, but not until February.

So January is one long stretch of work and relaxation with the backdrop of a sub-tropical paradise.  I’ve been reading all my glorious library books which I have overstocked myself with.  There is one whole bookshelf at home filled with them and I’m loving working my way through the queue.

Plus I’ve started a knitting project and that’s fun, even though it’s slightly out-of-season.  It will be in-season when it is completed.

Something I have re-remembered lately has been thrilling me too – it’s the transformative quality of finishing little tasks.  All those half-done things that get you down, and sometimes they don’t even take that long to do.  But when it’s busy it is all too easy to notice them (yet again) and pass them on by.

One big thing that has been on my back for several months is getting together all our tax stuff.  Because it’s big and once a year it’s hard to get started.  I know I’m not alone here.  And even though I am relatively organised it is still an ordeal.  And now that I’ve completed it and handed it in to our accountant, I wonder what I was putting it off for since it doesn’t seem that bad.  But I do the same year after year.  I will have to remember the empowering feeling of accomplishment and freedom when it’s done so I don’t let the torture of it hanging over me go on for too long next time.

And simple tidying of cluttery piles makes you feel amazing too.  Since we came back from holiday and launched ourselves into January at work, home has been a little neglected (on the inside anyway, outside is going good, with lovely watered and happy growing things).  Yesterday I came home early from work and tidied and vacuumed and I feel like a new person.  I slept so well last night!

And that leads me onto another thing.  I’ve been having late (for me) nights lately and I’m craving early nights.  I heard today that ‘sleep makes you skinny’ and that it makes you crave sugar less and therefore you lose weight when you get 7-8 hours’ sleep minimum.  And if it’s one thing I could do with, it’s craving sugar less.  So I’m off to wash my face and potter ideally at 9pm, definitely no later than 9.30pm so I have time to read before lights out at 10pm.

So I really just wanted to call in and say hi, in this Seinfeld-esque post about nothing.  And for the season I’m in, that’s probably exactly what I need - nothing, to ‘just be’ (when at home anyway).

Before I go, if you haven’t already heard about TonyaLeigh’s French Kiss Life Club, I’d definitely recommend you to sign up (it’s free to join).  Since being introduced to Tonya’s website several months ago by two of my very dear international blog friends, I’ve been entranced by her rose-tinted view on the world. 

I even joined Tonya for her ‘Slim, Chic and Savvy’ programme late last year and it was truly fabulous, well worth the money spent.  I’ve already joined the FKL Club and the first newsletter had so many good ideas in it.  #frenchkisslife

See you next week!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dreaming up the ideal life

At Crossroads Winery in Hawke's Bay.  I was driver and expert wine sniffer.

Bonjour and happy new year to you!  I am back at work now after a petite Christmas holiday.  It’s lovely and warm here in New Zealand and summer is definitely showing her sun-kissed face.

Since we went all out for our Hawaii trip last Christmas, we kept it a bit more budget-friendly and close to home this year.  My darling and I embarked on a road trip that took us to Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay where I grew up, then down to the city of Wellington for a few nights and finally we stopped in Martinborough, a bijou wine-growing district.  Our entire trip was around 2,000km/1,250 miles and our final day we did almost 700km/435 miles!  I haven’t driven that far in a long time (well, been a passenger that far in a long time).

Going out for dinner in Wellington, wearing my Banana Republic coat-dress.

Despite the travel, our holiday was extremely relaxing and I read a few good books (including A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable, which I did not want to end).  Following on from my last post on the importance of a good routine, well, I did get out of routine a little.  How can you not when you are away from home and doing different things and staying in different towns.

I enjoyed the walks I took but admit I did rather over-indulge in treat foods.  Oh well, you have to do it every now and again to re-remember that yes, it might seem fun at the time but no, you still feel as unwell afterwards as you did the other times you did it…

Whilst I was out on one of my walks I got to thinking about life.  What I thought about is that we spend most of our time working in a job, saving up money and paying off a house (if we’re lucky), so we can sit back in retirement and enjoy our hard work.  That’s if we are still alive or in good enough physical shape to take advantage of our free time.

Before I got myself too depressed, I got onto a different track.  Yes, we all work hard (whether it’s paid employment or not) and hope there is a payoff at the end of all that work, but that creates all the more reason to enjoy ourselves during our working life and not save up all the fun for ‘one day’.

We stayed at the Intercontinental in Wellington and it was very modern and luxe.

So I began to think of all the things I dream of doing one day when I’m retired and have all the time and money in the world (wouldn’t that be nice).

The retirement me will be fit, slim and healthy because I have been committed to a lifestyle of nutritious food and regular exercise for a long time.

I might even have a light tan from daily potterings in the garden.  Because the retirement me will be doing things such as weeding small areas at a time and tidying plants as I see them, we can enjoy park-like surrounds (that might be stretching it but it’s nice to have a goal) on a daily basis.  When I’m out walking it is so obvious the cared-for homes and gardens.  It’s not necessarily lots of money, but 'little and often' time spent on maintenance.

I also imagine our home being clean, tidy and organised.  We will live in a place that is just the right size for us, and, I hope it is rural.  In Martinborough we stayed in a tiny one-room cottage and it was so peaceful with no neighbours nearby, and a big open sky.

This very cute little fox terrier came over to greet us (from the main house on the property) on our first night in Martinborough.  She didn't make a peep and was such a honey.  I love terriers.

Naturally my retirement wardrobe will be a user-friendly and stylish collection of clothing in colours and shapes that flatter me, as I will have honed my style over the years.  I think I am closing in on that style now actually, although I did the amateur’s mistake of taking way too much with me on our trip.  I did the same in Hawaii.  That really is a skill I have to learn, but I go away so infrequently so can I use that as an excuse?

The ideal/dream/retirement me is a writer.  How can I make that a reality?  By writing daily and seeing how I can progress that.

Our cute cottage in Martinborough.  It's called Puha Palace, such a great name.

So that’s my vision of retirement, but really, what is stopping me from having and doing all these things right now?  Of course I have the small thing called ‘working in a shop five days a week’ but surely I can work around this and make, as Tonya Leigh says ‘the journey to the dream as beautiful as the dream itself’.

It just takes a little dreaming and planning.  

How do you picture yourself spending your golden years?  And if you are already retired, does the reality match up to how you imagined it would be?  I would be interested to hear.
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