Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Rocking January - and introducing my Year of Firsts.....

I pretty much failed last year at playing along with Virginia's awesome weekly gratitude party, Rocking Your World Friday - weekly just proved a bit much for me as I slipped first to fortnightly and then ended up settling with posting every three or four weeks.

So for 2013, I thought I'd take the pressure off myself and aim for monthly roundups instead.  And so here we go, kicking off with my rocking January.

It's been a fairly uneventful month, we haven't been out too much as the weather has been a bit pants, and we lost a couple of weeks to the lurgy, first Connor then me.

But it still had its moments :)

- it's been a great month for hockey, we haven't won every game we've played but they've been a lot of fun to watch

- we've won a ton of new business at work - which means we are crazy busy but it's all good on the job security front

- the January sales - I didn't go mad, but I did have fun buying up half of Paperchase's sticker department :)

- the snow - it arrived, looked pretty, and went away again without turning to dangerous ice or causing too much disruption.  Perfect.  The only pity was that it came while I was all flu'd up so I didn't get to play out in it, but I did enjoy watching Connor through the window making snow angels after school :)

- and on the subject of the weather, winter sunshine!  it's been a little few and far between but we have made the most of it when it has showed its face

- for example, we had a brilliant day out in Stratford upon Avon on the 6th - and the weather was very kind to us.

Shakespeare's birthplace
We had a good stroll around town and visited - and I quote Reece - the two best museums ever! First the creaky cauldron / magic alley / museum of witches and wizardry (it seems to have three names) where we delighted in the Harry Potterish surroundings, solved (with help!) the potion puzzle, found a polite TARDIS and sent ourselves some letters via owl post.

Then the MAD museum - Mechanical Art and Design - two floors of crazy kinetic and interactive sculptures and machinery - it was awesome!

And then we had a nice walk down by the canal and found an art gallery on a boat, a lovely day out all round

- Connor's new graffiti career :)  He had to make a piece of graffiti art for homework, and he made a canvas inspired by his favourite graffiti artist, El Pez from Spain.  He sent a photo to the artist himself and got a really nice email back, plus it's now on display in the school reception.  WTG Connor!

- Darcy's Artful Readers Club - I am so enjoying this new challenge, I had really slacked off on my reading last year, but this has reawakened the urge big time, I am fairly ploughing through my list of books - I'm reading March's book now having already finished February's - and I'm also listening to Game of Thrones on audiobook whenever I'm in the car.  I don't know why I've never tried audiobooks before, they are awesome, SO much better than listening to all the awful noise that passes as music these days on the radio (god, I'm so middle-aged!!)

- I finally finished my months long marathon viewing of Battlestar Galactica - I'd been terrified of the final episode because so many people had told me it was AWFUL and how they were still smarting from it years down the line - but you know what?  It wasn't that bad :) Sometimes it is good to have your expectations lowered so they can be exceeded :)

- and, more TV, I watched the first series of Danish/Swedish crime drama The Bridge while I was off work poorly.... it was amazing, highly recommended.   And I'm now hooked on the Channel 4 series Utopia- which is not for the faint hearted but, in my opinion, the best short drama series to hit British TV screens since The Fades

- playing with new toys - one of my christmas pressies from Jay was a set of pom pom makers, and I have gone a bit pom pom crazy this month :)  I am looking to make enough for a big garland to hang above the double doorway between my front room and kitchen/diner/craft room.  Here's one in progress <------

- another trip out on a sunny winter's day : we headed over to Bourton on the Water - the Venice of the Cotswolds, as they call it because of all the bridges.  Our first stop was the model village - in all the time I've lived in the area I've never been there, and we had great fun staging "giant" photos :)

Jay modelling his new beard :) I love the fact they even have little to-scale sized trees here

posting a postcard home :)
and admiring the model village within the model village - very fractal ;)

Afterwards we had a lovely lunch in a quaint little tea room, and then a walk around the village.  And we were going to do the motor museum too but it was closed for the winter, so we'll come back to that one another day.

- my eldest son finally adding me on Facebook - yay, I'm not shunned any more :D

- getting our accommodation booked for Barcelona ....exciting stuff!  can't wait!  we arrive really late on the first night so we have one night in an airport hotel and then 4 nights in a gorgeous 3 bedroomed apartment right next door to the Picasso museum!

all three bedrooms have a double bed and their own balcony :)  lush!

- back to telly again - my guiltiest watching pleasure is back! :)  Gentlemen, start your engines, because Ru Paul's Drag Race season 5 started this month (along with my favourite judge, Santino).  From the one episode I've seen so far I totally want Detox to win, girl is fierce!

And that's it for my rocking post ..... but, I also have something new (and to an extent, overlapping) that I want to share with you.

For a while in blogging circles it has been the done thing to choose a word in January that sums up what you are hoping to achieve that year.  After some humming and harring I settled for "brave" as my 2013 word.

I'm not talking "wrestle a lion" levels of courageousness, I just want to encourage myself out of my rut a little. Silly things like I always order EXACTLY the same meal when we eat out, because I know I like it, and I'm scared that if I order something else it might not be as nice.

Or, whenever I start a painting, I agonise about the initial stages of it for ages (days usually), whereas I wish I could just get on with it! :)

So, to support my efforts to be brave, I have challenged myself to do, eat, visit, experience 100 brand new things in 2013.  They can be big or little.  But they have to be things I've never done before.

And here is the opening chapter of my Year of Firsts:

1) first cooking of an actual chicken in the shape of a chicken  (I very rarely cook meat at all and whenever I have done a roast dinner before I've always cheated and bought one of those decidedly non chicken shaped joints in a tray).  Connor had to help me with the carving as I could barely get any meat off the thing, it's all hidden behind bones!   

2) first visit to Magic Alley and MAD Museum in Stratford upon Avon (see above)

(as an example of a classic missed opportunity to be brave in the first week, we went to a fudge shop while in Stratford upon Avon - I dithered for ages over lemon meringue flavour but chickened out in the end and bought safe old chocolate and vanilla because I already know I like them.  LM flavour might have been AMAZING!  but I'll never know....)

3) first time published in Featuring magazine

4) First visit to the model village at Bourton on the Water (see above)

5) First use of pom pom makers (ditto)

6) First visit to Leominster.  Not that I saw much of it as was just for a work meeting but it looked purty in the snow

7) First time taking part in the Artful Readers Club

8) Tried a fancy type of roll for lunch instead of the one I always get. It had sundried tomatoes and walnuts in. Didn't expect to like it.  In fact was grumpy about buying it.  But it was lovely :)

9) First time opening my car bonnet! I've had the car well over a year but Jay has always kindly done anything that needed doing. But I ran out of screenwash and in the spirit of the year of the brave, he encouraged me to pull up my big girl panties and do it myself :)

Not a desperately exciting list so far!  But let's hope that as the weather improves and we get out and about more, that I'll have more opportunity for interesting "firsts"

For those that managed it, thanks for reading to the bottom of this mammoth post :)


ForgedinPaper said...

You're doing well with the firsts. My word this year is Quirky. I loved seeing Broughton again we used to visit when we lived down at Lyneham.

Karen Isaacson said...

I love your "firsts" idea as your theme for the year. A few years ago I did a "30 new things" challenge (over the course of a summer) and then had to create a zine about the experience.

Virginia said...

Oh I'm so loving this round up - I did a double take on the button as I whizzed passed and realised that I'd missed lots and lots of blog postings, had to go back and look again - made me smile!

Loving the photos of what you've been up to - we had a holiday in Stratford a couple of years ago and didn't manage either of the things you mention - we are back there in October - you'll have to let me have the details so we can go and explore I love anything Harry Potter and the MAD museum looks fabulous!

Well done you for your brave moments, I've got two words, the first is spontaneous (because I have to preplan everything and I mean everything weighing up the pros and cons etc) and the second and main one is RECLAIM - this one makes so much sense for all the things I want to reclaim this year!

Hope you are having a fabulous week.


Carmen Wing said...

I'm still in a strop that they aren't commissioning a new series of The Fades. I totally loved that show. And I'm a bit stroppy that I've missed Utopia - it ws one of those shall I shan't I shows and now the adverts look amazing so I may try and catch up.

Loving your year of firsts!

Published? Why haven't I seen this yet? Is it in an issue gone or the one coming out?

My word is Dedicate/Dedication. I don't know why - it just popped in my head and so I went with it. I think it can cover all aspects - art/family life etc. Am doing well thus far in dedicating time to catching up on stuff promised :)

Luna Art said...

Sarah, what a fab post! Love all your trips and visits, especially the MAD museum. You kept very quiet about being published..well done you! Where can you get the magazine from, i tried to follow your link but it wouldn't work. I love your list of firsts, great idea and I can just see you grumbling over ordering a different roll...that made me laugh!
My word for the year would probably be TRY. I always make excuses not to do things when I should just give them a go!
Hope you have a great week x