Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Adventures in Decorating

Me, last week

For the record, can I just say, I loathe DIY. I am not a Do It Yourself person. I am as practical as a chocolate tea pot. No, I don't like crafts either. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by crafty, practical, creative people. People who may decide to totally redecorate their bedroom at 3 am, and have it done ready for when they go to work at 9 am. People with a sense of style, colour and flair.

Had I won last Friday's Euromillions jackpot, a paltry £122 million, I'd have put my tools down and hired a painter and decorator so fast, they'd have thought the number was on speed dial.

As the flat was previously rented out and the colour throughout was the rent-standard Magnolia, and the purpose of this exercise was to not only make it inhabitable again, but also to make it MINE, leaving it bland was not an option. I've spent a lot of time on the Dulux website and even downloaded their app (yes, there's even an app for that).

So, I'm experimenting with colour.

For my bedroom

My bedroom is a bit of a dark hole, not helped by the previous dark green carpet, or the fact the curtains practically covered the window even when they were opened. I've got a new carpet in there, a patterned beige which made a huge difference to the feel of the room. I was going to have Spring Rose and had actually bought a tin of it. I went to the DIY shop and saw the Raspberry Diva, as a Once paint, on special offer. I had to have it. I didn't care that it would turn my room into a cave. I needed it. We'll see how that turns out.

Dulux are really good at making palette suggestions and I opted for warm neutrals for the long, front room. There's a wooden dado rail that splits the wall, at a height that drives Dave insane. It's perfect for doing it two-tone. For the top part of the room (NB. part, not half and it's not even the Golden Ratio. But as I'm not about to rip the rail off the wall and re-plaster the whole damned room, Dave will just have to suck it up), I've chosen Malt Chocolate...

For the bottom part

I've got colourful furnishings and rather than decorate with those colours in mind, I am trying to create as neutral a canvas as possible, but with some colour. Goodness knows how it's going to turn out. Dave hates it as a colour scheme. But then, he like Lime Green as a colour, which I loathe. As it's my space...he'll have to put up with it. I like it.

I'm currently putting the kitchen together. I have put a kitchen together before. The kitchen in my former marital home was from MFI. I could follow those instructions without any bother. This kitchen, from Wickes, is a bit of a challenge. I'm not good with following instructions at the best of times. If it needs an instruction manual, it's not worth my time. These are not intuitive. Needless to say, I'm finding this a bit of a challenge.

The kitchen, is going to be ultra-modern. The cabinets are a high-gloss, pale cream, with black worktops and the floor is dark and silver vinyl. It's going to be gorgeous. I'm going for a chalky purple colour for the walls. I think it's kind of this colour. Unfortunately, I'm having a senior moment, the colour will have to be mixed for me and I've had so many tester pots, I actually can't remember the name of the damned thing!

So, this is how I've been spending my weekends and most of my days. I've snatched the occasional bit of free time - by free I mean time not spent in the office or in the flat - so I could do my laundry and try to work out. I've also got the outlines of a couple of novellas and a couple of novels. 

The next 3 weeks are going to be Hell. I'm doing DIY which I loathe and then straight on to moving house, which I detest. I am going to be whinging a helluva lot. Please be patient. I can't wait for this to be over, so I will be embedded in the Flat and can get on with it.

Friday, June 07, 2013

On the New Healthy Living Regime

You may have gathered that in the midst of all the chaos of my Life presently, I am on a health kick. Actually, it's not so much a health kick as a total re-think of Health in general.

I had my last cigarette in December. Inn March I began to do my workout DVDs again, albeit very sporadically until May. This week, I managed 3 workouts, which I am very pleased about. My back is niggling, so I won't push it too much. 

Today, Amazon delivered Living the GI Diet by Rick Gallop. There's a guy at work who is a fitness nut to the nth degree and he said it's about changing the way you eat so you're eating better food and feeling satisfied once you've put down your knife and fork. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have 21lbs to get off my butt.

It's interesting because there have been some really good articles on body image circulating on Facebook recently. I am not overweight. I am still within the boundaries of healthy weight vs. height and body-type and BMI. I've just gone up a dress size. 

My friends aren't dropping hints and Lawrence hasn't started insisting we turn out the lights, so he doesn't have to look at the extra wobbly bits.

In fact, Lawrence and I have had words, because I blame him for my weight-gain. I'm happy with him and therefore have an appetite. If only he'd be a rubbish boyfriend, well, I'd be as skinny as a rake. The only successful dieting method I've ever know has been the Rubbish Relationship/Break-up diet. 

I'm really enjoying my body at the moment. I suppose I realise what a hard time I've given it: ridiculous stress levels, smoking, drinking and way too much fast food, all with no exercise. Despite the punishment, I have only niggling health issues: hayfever, a growing lactose intolerance, sinusitis etc. I feel really quite sexy and bouncy. So, I'm tempted to ignore the numbers on the scales.

But then, I've been thinking about what my body needs from me. I have a dodgy knee and an interesting lower back. Therefore, not carrying around the extra 21lbs will make a heck of a difference to my comfort. Obviously, if I'm stronger and fitter, it will contribute to my comfort levels.

The thing is, I like eating food that's high in fats. I love my carbs. Butter, double cream, olives, pizza, pasta...om nom nom. Those foods make me happy inside. Bring on the creamy, cheesey sauce and pour it all over. Oh yeah baby. Crisps? Why yes, I'd love some, thank you. There are some desserts where I'd walk out of the house naked for: creme brûlée, Eton Mess.... I like my food.

People in the wellness industry talk about having a healthy relationship with food and a healthy body image. The closest to sensible I've read has been Paul McKenna with I can Make you Thin. He says to eat when you're hungry and whatever you eat, really want to eat it and stop when you're full. To me that's sound advice for developing a better relationship with food. Especially if you comfort eat, or use food to try and deal with chaos and pain.

One thing I've learnt within the personal development world, is there isn't only one way. There are many. And people who tell you that only their way works are trying to sell you snake oil. I'm going to read up on the GI diet and see what feels right for me. Happily, Lawrence being a food scientist means I can sanity check things. I figure being aware of what I eat and balancing out the stuff I really want to eat with healthy foods and exercising regularly will help my body do the things I ask of it.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

To Do List for June 2013

My monthly To Do List for June 2013 only has 3 items on it:

1. Decorate Flat

2. Pack up and Move 

3. Write for a Living.

I will have to wade through 6 pages of tasks in order to complete these items. To say I'm a touch stressed by the whole thing, is like saying Elvis kind of liked fried food. Put it this way, I bypassed the Pink Fluffy Dressing Gown completely today. 

Normally it's not a good thing to make such a massive list of tasks, it's too easy to get discouraged by the enormity of it. However, I've got so much to do and the timing is quite crucial, I was worried I would forget something important. 

The good thing about breaking down all the tasks is I've been able to score some easy wins today. I am having a massive clear out. Today, I did books and CDs.

There's another shelf under this

And this is the other pile

Once all those were collected and piled up, I turned on my CD collection. I then went through  all the CDs, got rid of duplicates and the ones that were copied for my car several times. I've got two small boxes of music now looking for a new home.

One of the things that struck me as I was sorting through my books was how many of them I purchased because I thought I ought to read them. Books that would supposedly enlighten and expand my knowledge and experience. You know, literature books. I bought them and they've sat on my shelves taking up space since then. Looking through them I wondered who I was trying to impress by keeping them. Out of preference I read genre fiction, my life has had quite enough drama as it is, without including it in my entertainment. When I relax I want a good time with a happy ending. As I was sorting through it I became determined to only keep the books I wanted with me. The ones whose company I genuinely enjoyed, those I would read again. Hence, I probably got rid of about 2 bookshelf-worth. 

When it came to the CDs, same again. I sorted through the endless the compilations I'd bought because I was only after a couple of tracks. I'm now multitasking as I write this post. I've got a pile of CDs next to me and I'm systematically copying them on to my laptop. I know I will have to go through my digital library again. There are sure to be duplicates, but that's fine. I should have done this a long time ago.

I've also had a long think about many of my possessions: knick knacks, random stones, odds and ends and I've decided that if it's been in a box (i.e. in the loft) or I haven't interacted with it (i.e. looked at, picked it up or enjoyed it) it will be moving on. I'm not a sentimental person and frankly, dragging stuff around with me, on the off chance I might one day use it, when I haven't used it for years - it makes no sense.

I also dug out the kitchen, did a massive pile of dishes, cleaned up and did a couple of loads of laundry. So, all in all a very productive day. Tomorrow, I will do more work on the flat. I'm lucky in that my friend Juju has offered to help. She's good company and it'll be a good excuse to indulge in a cheeky cider afterwards.