One year on Little Legacy 28

Tomorrow is a year since my mum died. Days after she died, I asked one of the few close friends I know who had lost a parent, how she had coped.  She sent me this:

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”      Kahlil Gibran

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Blogger in residence

I’m pleased to announce three, yes three new residencies, yes Alexander Residence is on tour in 2012.

I can see it in your eyes...

Firstly housekeeping regarding Alexander residence, my blog has the same URL but a new wordpress host, so please take a sec to check you’re subscribing to the right feed. I won’t bore you with the technical stuff (Okay, I might post one day about how I managed to change hosts and still go UP the Tots 100, 12 places, to number 100, whoop.  But hey, they say pride goes before a fall so I’ll shut up now).

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Financial forecasting made simple

Free Stock Photography - UK currency

In a move to challenge my ‘left’ brain (I know, right and left brain theory is so overrated) I have challenged myself to do some things this year that are counter-intuitive.  I also like to take my blog out of my comfort zone from time to time.  You coming with me?

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To pastures new

I blogged last week about not making New Year resolutions, but about making time. So far the time management is going well. I’m still struggling to get everything done, but I’m prioritising better, for example creative writing and exercise now have slots in my week, I have some theatre tickets booked and there is no way I am giving up those slots, no matter how strong the urge to clean the skirting boards or reorganise my CD collection.

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Firestarter Little Legacy 27

Last week, as he was getting ready to go out to meet his accountant to file his tax return, my husband asked me where all the filing for the last year was.  It’s one of those jobs that I apparently unwittingly signed up to on having children.

‘I didn’t file anything last year’ I said, ‘it’s in a pile on the floor in my office’.

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Voice

Panic rippled across the playground, a sea of heads spinning round to locate the source of the scream. People were flattening themselves against the floor. I tried to hush my 3yo and catch sight of my 5yo, that sinking feeling when parental ESP hits in, ‘something has happened to my child’. But she came running and somehow we made it out of the space. Moments later we had found somewhere to hide, behind equipment in the school gym and my only thought was how to keep them quiet so the gunman wouldn’t find us. Continue reading

Yogi Bear Review

Following on from my post about our Warner Brothers Christmas stocking, here is our first film review of 2012, Yogi Bear on DVD, followed by a couple of ideas for creative fun to have before, during and after the film.

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Top 5 blogging (yourself out of a hole) tips – Listography

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I spent 2011 being a bit of a hermit when it came to linkys, partly because I had difficult stuff I needed to blog through, partly because I wanted to find myself a bit (yeah I know, it sounds like something kids on a gap year say).  But I feel more than ready to throw myself back into some linky fun in 2012, and where better to start than one of my oldest and dearest blogging friends Kate Takes 5, with her listography.

I need to take on Kate’s tip 3, on design, I have a love hate relationship with my header.  I made it myself right at the start, in picnik, using Violet Posy’s fab tutorial. I blooming love it, it’s hard to say goodbye, believe me I have tried, but I think perhaps the time is coming for something a little more professional.

Anyway, last week Netmums ran a New Year Revolutions series on their blog.  I wrote a post about blogging yourself out of a hole.  Neatly enough it involved a list of tips on blogging, five of which I reproduce here (thanks Kate, you gave me this one on a plate x).  If you want more, please check out the post, and comments, on Netmums.

1. A new year can feel a lot like an empty page in a new exercise book. So much pressure to start blogging how you mean to go on. How do you start? If a novelist waited for the perfect first line, they would never get past the first sentence. Give yourself permission to drive in the dark a little and just write, because that’s when your subconscious starts doing the creative work for you. You might be surprised where it takes you.

2. Make 2012 the year you plan ahead a little too. Make time to brainstorm some ideas for posts, line some posts up so you’ve something to fall back on when you not feeling so inspired.

3. Keep a notebook so you don’t lose great ideas and always have inspiration to hand. Contrary to popular belief, everyone is creative, but successful creative people record their ideas.

4. Blogging is both therapeutic and exposing. So surround yourself by likeminded people. Take some time to list the blogs you like to visit, people who uplift and inspire you, people who share your interests, people experiencing similar things. Nurture those connections. Make time to visit and comment, set aside a catch up time each week. A support network is invaluable when life, or blogging about it, feels tough.

5. Set your emotional boundaries. There are areas of my life that I keep completely sacred online. My gut instincts about how much to share have normally been a good guide, if I am ever unsure, I give myself time to reflect before sharing online.

I’m not allowed 6…but *ahem* linkys are of course also great ways to rekindle or ignite your blogging mojo. On Thursdays I host Little Legacy, it’s small but very supportive, it’s about recording those little bits of magic passed down by inspiring people.

Make my day Little Legacy 26

It’s a bit like wading through treacle, being stuck in mud, finding your way out of the fog. My head’s so full it can’t be bothered to get beyond cliche today. All right, so if I really push myself, my head says it’s like being Hanzel and Gretel at the point they discover the breadcrumbs have been eaten by the birds.

I’m talking about January. It’s hard work getting going again. My mum taught me, when times get tough, to ‘rate the day’. Over a week or a few days you give each day a mark out of 10. It’s just a little trick to train the mind to see the positives. Each time I have turned to it, I have seen an improvement. Here it is encapsulated on a post it note my mum sent me while I was away at University:

So here I am in my first full week of post festive normality, struggling with dark mornings,a long long to do list, kids who don’t want to get back into a routine. Time to rate those days…

Monday – climbed from 2, to reach the dizzy heights of 7, only to end the day at 0 after losing my temper and Miss L saying ‘I want my nice mummy back’.
Tuesday – a very ploddy 3, felt oh so tired.
Wednesday – reached 8 thanks to a run, a great meeting with Lakeside Arts Centre and a dual playdate that didn’t end in tears for once. Although my to do list feels HUGE and I have a small moral dilemma which is knocking me off 10.
Thursday – starting at 8 with the prospect of a whole day child free to get stuff done! 10 just might be in sight.  Thanks mum x

Come on make my day!

Hope January is treating you well? How would you rate your day?

@AResidence

Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by predecessors.  Feel free to link up a little legacy you’ve been thinking about this week, or to leave one in the comments.  Here’s the code and here’s more on Little Legacy

I’m a genie in a bottle

 Mummy look!

 Got genie in it.
 Genie gone!
 Mummy look!  Where genie gone?
 No genie
 Genie gone walk in woods!
 Maybe if I shut it again
 Kiss it and make a wish
Rub it.  
Maybe genie come out?
We just spent a magical weekend visiting my brother and his girlfriend, at her mum’s house in the middle of the woods.  Mr G fell in love with this ornament by the pond in the garden, he was convinced it had a genie in it.
It’s a truly amazing part of the world, a beautiful house and a lovely way of life.  The cottage was an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful objects, with a Rayburn, a wood burning stove, the comfiest sofa in the world and a wood for a back garden.  I will be mainly living on Rightmove this week.
Whilst reading The Guardian, in front of the wood burning stove, while the kids watched TV, I sympathised greatly with Tim Dowling, whose column was all about his family wreaking havoc as house guests.  My husband and I were frequently heard growling ‘Step away from the Rayburn, put that ornament down, don’t leap off the sofa’. 
So big thank you to my brother and his lovely girlfriend and family for having us, and *ahem*, you two have all this to come.
Oh and we saw the sea, a rare sight for Nottingham kids.
Mr G in role as King Canute shouting “How dare you!” Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!” ….Okay, so it was more like, ‘Go way!’

Back to normal now though, how was your weekend?

Action Aid Bloggers Tea Party

Have you heard about the Action Aid Bloggers Tea Party?  I’m going, so is helloitsgemma, hope to see you there! Here’s all the information you need from Action Aid:

We are having a special new year’s Bloggers Tea Party and you are invited!

Join us on the 19 January for a fun-filled afternoon of networking, storytelling, blogging tips and cake.

Hear about our work helping the poorest children around the world, stories from supporters and how bloggers can get involved in our mission to end poverty.

We’ll have some very special guests joining us including comedian and ActionAid ambassador Mark Watson.

This event is for bloggers of all levels and experience – so whether you’re just starting out in the blogging world or an expert blogger, it would be great to see you.

When: 19 January 2012

Where: ActionAid, 33-39 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R 0BJ

Time: Please arrive at 1-2pm for the guest speakers.

We will have a creche on site so please do bring your little ones!
To register click here 
Any questions about the event? Tweet us @ActionAidUK, write on ourFacebook wall or email us bloggers@actionaid.org

And don’t forget to check out the hashtag on twitter #actionaidteaparty