Thursday, 28 June 2012

Another day, another Malden

I've written another Philofaxy post about my downgrade in size back down to my personal size purple Malden filofax. And yes, it involves another purchase! Oh dear, but it's 'the one', I promise this time...
I did get a full refund for my A5 which helps :)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Filofax holiday essentials challenge

I'm delighted to say that I am taking part in the filofax holiday essentials challenge, as mentioned here on Philofaxy. These beautiful filofaxes arrived in the post today - a kingfisher blue Metropol, a violet Domino and a sage Swift. The challenge is to create a mood board for each filofax, showing the holiday essentials I'd take along to each location; a countryside jaunt, beach paradise or city break. 

The first thing I needed to do was read up about mood boards, as I'd heard of the term before but didn't know much about them. The next question was how do I actually go about creating one on my PC? I don't own Photoshop, and Paint seemed much too basic for manipulating multiple images in one document. After a bit of a search, I downloaded GIMP (the GNU image manipulation program) and found it quite easy after reading this very helpful post here

Once the mood boards have been uploaded onto the filofax Facebook page, I will be sharing mine here. 
And now for the exciting bit... I will be running a little competition during week commencing 16th July to give away one of these lovely brand new filofaxes!   

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My latest Philofaxy post

Happy Wednesday!
You can read my most recent post here about finding the perfect filofax size.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Zen and the art of putting in earrings

I recently bought myself these little CBR (captive bead ring) earrings. I'd hoped they would be a bit more turquoise, but I love them as they're very light to wear, comfy and small enough to sleep in. I often used to wear them when I owned a motorbike as they wouldn't get snagged in the lining of my bike helmet.  

One thing I'd forgotten is that sometimes putting them in can be a bit tricky, as you need to match the indentations on the ball to the open ends of the hoop. At first, I found this very easy, but strangely I've been finding it harder now to put them in and sometimes I only manage to get one done before I lose patience. I'm not sure this makes sense as the earrings are the same and I doubt I've bent them as they're made of coloured titanium.

And then I realised the other day that it's all about higher expectations and trying too hard. I wasn't really expecting a life lesson from jewellery, but the harder I try to fit the ball in, the less likely I am to be able to do it! It seems that when I let my mind wander (rather than focusing on finding the other end of the ring) and relax, it means that I can put them in very quickly. It's made me realise that there are other areas of my life where I can often try too hard and set myself unrealistic standards. I'm so much better than I used to be, but this just seemed to be a gentle and timely reminder to prepare for success and let go of the outcome. I've decided that's my little mantra for the time being :)  

I'm glad to say I'm over my little bout of SAD after doing lots of aikido, using our light lamp, being kind to myself, snoozing in the bath and the recent sunshine between the showers has helped enormously too.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Philofaxy posts

I've got a bit behind with stuff here, and realised that I haven't mentioned my first two posts over at Philofaxy! I've lurked on the site for quite a few years now and I feel really lucky to be able to contribute to one of my favourite blogs.

My first one can be found here about using plastic wallets purchased from the supermarket in my filofax.
And my second one is here about making some dividers from a calendar.

I have another one to finish too, so promise to crack on with it this week!

Friday, 8 June 2012

A bit of SAD

I was fortunate with the extended Jubilee bank holiday to have five days off work. So, what did I do with this time? Write posts for this blog or Philofaxy, get stuff done, work on my filofax or go for a run? Nope. Apart from one day on an aikido course, I pretty much didn't do anything! I did enjoy reading, watching TV and being lazy, but I've been mulling it over and have realised the great British weather has been getting to me.

Last winter I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I think I've struggled in the winter for many years on and off, but for some reason the one just gone was especially bad, despite it being quite mild.
My symptoms seem fairly typical:
  • Extended periods of a fairly low mood and self-esteem (I'm normally a pretty happy bunny), which I worked on through the day. By bedtime I felt a bit more like my normal self, but it started all over again the next morning
  • Wanting to eat junk food and comfort eat
  • Feeling very lethargic and wanting to sleep all the time
  • Feeling very unsociable and only wanting to be around my husband
  • Not wanting to go outside if it was cold or raining
  • Feeling irritable and slow to follow conversations
  • Not wanting to do things I normally enjoy - this is what finally led me to make a doctor's appointment.
By the time I went to see my doctor, I'd already started working on improving things by: 
  • Using a light lamp we already owned - I'd eat my breakfast in front of it and then have another session after work
  • Getting outside
  • Exercising - aikido seemed to be the best way to get back to being 'me'
  • Being more aware of my diet
  • Having regular shiatsu sessions and meditating
  • Writing things down and then looking at them a bit more objectively
  • Visualising how I'd talk, act and move when I was more my normal self and then emulate that behaviour.
I discussed all this with my doctor and she agreed that I was already helping myself with the above, but I found it useful to be actually diagnosed with it. Rather than thinking of it in a negative way, it helped spurred me on to get back to normal. We went through a questionnaire very similar to this and agreed I scored higher than we'd both like. I then used the light lamp for a month, and went back for a follow-up appointment where I scored much less on the questionnaire and felt much better overall. We did discuss the use of a low-level antidepressant as an option, but I felt my improvement was such that I didn't need it.   

If you feel you might be suffering from SAD, I'd highly recommend you go and have a chat with your GP. Mine was very helpful and it was confirmation that I was on the right track to feeling better. Unfortunately, light boxes and lamps aren't available on the NHS. The one I use is made by Lumie and is an older version of this one. It's definitely helped me, and I feel a sense of relief when I sit in front of it on a gloomy and wet day.

Well, our long-range weather forecast isn't very good at all, so I'll be back to using our light lamp twice daily for the time being!