Category Archives: Tina’s resolution

Dear Diary

Dear 2018

I am writing to you inspired by my Daughter Kathryn in two ways: her letters to December made me appreciate my downfalls of the month and made me want to explore the months more, and, one of the lovely gifts she gave me for Christmas; Dawn French’s Me You diary.

Dawn French Me You Diary

For Christmas 2016, I was given a diary from one of my friends; One Line a Day. Whilst January is the beginning of a new year, I actually started writing in it on the 25 December; something I thought I would regret after hearing the sad news (still very sad news in my opinion) that George Michael had died. This diary is a a five year diary so each page has room for 5 years of the same day. I would love to tell you that I wrote in it every day but September I wasn’t so good. I think life seemed a bit daunting. I have recovered now and am trying to make amends to my diary!

I promise to write in this every day!

I needed to make a few changes in my working life so the months between September and November involved that. That led me into December, without a “proper” job due to a gamble which I do believe might have paid off. More  on that later. I had decided that I wouldn’t start my “gambling” life gradually, I took a holiday; a very enjoyable one too! A bit riskier because I did have Christmas to prepare too. I left for my holiday with a few presents bought, no cards written but plenty ideas of what I needed to get once I got back.

Happy Holidays

On holiday, I was able to keep up with Kathryn’s blog and her letters to December. I felt quite tearful reading some of the traditions we had created and how she had enjoyed them. Our Christmas day is always a quiet relaxed affair (even that has pressure put on it) and Kathryn did seem to appreciate them. It did come as a bit of a shock because Kathryn is far from a boring girl and our Christmas day isn’t one of these great big family days. It is always tradition for mum and dad to fall asleep.

I did learn a lot about myself in December by reading the December letters and watching Kathryn achieving the many things she set to do each day. In the past, I have put pressure on myself by thinking everything should be perfect. This year, perfection went out of the window (I never achieve it anyway) and I enjoyed the month so much more. These are some of the things that made it easier:

  • Supermarket food deliveries – this has been a big plus all year. I have a shop on the same day, same time every week and it has made my life so much easier
  • Online shopping – normally we have a Christmas shopping day which can involve going into a lot of cafes for lattes, writing out lists of what we want to buy, buying six things and then coming home to buy the rest online. One week before Christmas, the laptop was brought into action and all presents were purchased. Who needs to start shopping in September!
  • A “does it matter” approach – do I need to worry if I haven’t got swede for roast veg on the day? Is it necessary for the Christmas cake to be perfectly decorated? So what if we haven’t got shortbread (hold on I should care about that one!). What if I only decided 5 minutes before the dinner was being served I want the table to look? In the big scheme of things, these things should not put a cloud over the day. All resolvable – just have to remember to buy Marks and Spencer’s shortbread in September next year!
  • Lists – Kathryn loves lists; they often scare me. December this year, I discovered how to use them in the best way with my phone and a program called Keep. I do love gadgets and this one certainly made me happy this December. I plan to start enjoying lists.

So 2018, December will not frighten me this year. In fact, I’m not going to get frighted by any of the months. Each month, with help from Dawn, is going to be a blank page: a new month to get things right and forget about what happened the month before (I will have it all written down of course but there will be no dwelling over it). So today, 1 January 2018, I plan to eat the lovely cake I made yesterday (plan on getting back into my clothes can wait until tomorrow), hopefully achieve 10,000 steps on my fitbit, if it stops raining and make a plan for January but not the whole of you, 2018.

Yummy food that make my clothes shrink – to be enjoyed today!

Love from a glass half full me x

Ain’t Giving Up, I’m Going to Tell the World, Got to Make it Show!

Reaching my 50th birthday and having my 50 challenges was a brilliant goal to have. I have to say that since completing, I feel I have lost my way a bit. As I said in my last post of the challenge, I thought it would be a great to set myself a challenge for each year. I am still very keen with my cooking and am enjoying finding new recipes. Haven’t quite managed to do one a week but hopefully will catch up.

I did finish the year with a foot injury which set me back in my exercising. I first had a pain in my foot after a run on 29th April. It was a day when I was doing one of my challenges; bake a cake you haven’t baked before. This meant I was standing on my feet a lot so I didn’t rest it. The next couple of days I did and thought I did enough but unfortunately it wasn’t. I carried on walking and did take part on my 10k run. I finally gave in after my holiday, started driving to work, didn’t got to Zumba and my Fitbit challenges suffered. I did find that the more I rested, the tougher it was to get going. After three weeks the foot did start feeling better so I slowly started building up and managed a Zumba class. Surprisingly, I did find the more I exercised, the foot did feel better.

There were, or should have been some advantages. I had more time as I was driving to work so I was getting home earlier giving me time to do more work. Didn’t always happen! I did start doing Aquafit as it wasn’t so tough on my foot. I am now looking at a swimming membership at my local pool. Amazing as I am not keen on swimming at all. Probably a lot more disadvantages though. My fitness levels dropped; my appetite didn’t. Jeans do not fit. Motivation is at an all time low. Time to change all this NOW.

One area I have started on, and am planning to continue with is making 30 day goals using the ideas set out by Stuart Ralph in A Better You In 30 Days. I read this in April and started getting up early which helped me complete my challenges. I actually carried this on further than the 30 days and even though I haven’t necessarily been consistent since coming back off holiday, the days I do get up early, I find I am more productive. I am definitely going to try to get back into this one. My goal now is to set a different challenge each month and I am pleased to report that I started in July and have (in a slightly odd way) managed to keep to it. Here are my challenges to get me through to the end of the year:

July – To not buy chocolate or crisps

This was set to spur me on with helping me eating healthy. We have a local shop which is too close. It means we can just nip over and buy naughty food. Unfortunately have replaced chocolate with chocolate biscuits which defeats the object and they do have very nice Belgian buns. I am hoping that I will continue with this challenge though, ditch the chocolate biscuits as tea really does taste better without them and perhaps learn to have crisps as a once a week treat. I have not missed them but I do love crisps.

August – Choose an exercise DVD

I am slowly getting back into regular exercise so I need to start my morning routine. Jeans must fit me by September. I’m not quite ready to run again; this is a September goal but not a challenge. On my 50th birthday, I was very proud of having a flat stomach. Age is blamed on a lot of elements and I will not succumb to the fact that my stomach is not flat due to my age. The simple fact is I have eaten far too much. A lady that would certainly tell me this is the American personal trainer, Jillian Michaels so I am planning on doing her 30 day shred. She will be telling me if I want a stomach like her girls, I will have to work for it and to imagine going jean shopping. I AM going to look good in my bikini again! I am planning on getting up early again, starting this on the 31 July and having a rest day on Sundays. I will do a very long walk as an alternative.


50 and trim
Getting ready to be shredded!

September – Dry September

Although I don’t drink a lot, I am going to not drink at all in September. I will hopefully find a non alcoholic drink that I can enjoy all the time. If I manage to get Chris to join me on this one, I will donate £5 each week to my cash for kids page.

Nil in September

October – Clean and organise house

On holiday last year (on my 50th birthday holiday), I purchased a book called 30 days to have a clean and organised house. I think October will be the best time to read this and put it into action. I have neglected my resolution to declutter every Saturday but am planning to start this again. I so love decluttering!

November – Write a short story

This might be a tough one. I wrote my short story for my challenges and loved it. I got my motivation for writing a story by reading A Better You in 30 Days. The author made me believe I could do anything I wanted. As someone who reads a lot and dreams a lot, I had many ideas for writing a story. On a walk or a run, my mind is constantly buzzing. I like surprises in the books I read but still having the clues there. There are a few books I would love to read again so I can pick up the clues with me knowing the ending. Hopefully I will be able to succeed in writing something along those lines.

December – Make time for family and friends

I hate it when people say they haven’t seen me because they haven’t had the time. To me that is absolutely rubbish. What they really mean is they didn’t want to see me. I really try my best to avoid saying those words although I don’t actually tell people that I don’t won’t to see them. Give me a few years and I won’t care; I will tell them! My plan for December is to make sure I find that extra time to phone a friend, visit a relative or invite someone round for coffee. Hopefully it will carry on throughout the next year. After all, family and friends aren’t just for Christmas.


Making these plans will hopefully get my mojo back, get me back into the jeans and make me a better person.

Got To Be Starting Something

It is seven weeks until D-Day and I have got:

25 completed
11 ongoing/planned
4 changes 
10 still to do 

I can say half of my challenges are done. 49 days are left to complete the other challenges; it is possible.

Two of my ongoing challenges are reading books, and one of them will be easy to complete. Not sure about reading Kathryn’s books but I will keep on and who knows.

I did actually turn to a book to help me with my challenges on Friday. I had originally visited Amazon’s website to look for a book to help me with my write a story challenge. Reluctant to part with any money, and also to keep with my “let’s try and read the books I have already purchased challenge set by myself!”, I decided to check out my kindle library. I will explain that at a later date, I promise. I came across a book I purchased in September 2014 (actually it was a freebie) called Challenge Yourself, I Dare You: A Better You In 30 Days! by Stuart Ralph. I thought it would be a good and quick read; good reviews and only 43 pages.

I read it and it did inspire me.  On Friday, I did a 30 minute run, unloaded the shopping, walked to the bottle bank, did the ironing, had a 30 minute visit from my sister, walked to shops to buy some forgotten items for the cake, made a lovely dinner, emailed the author of the book, baked attempt one of the showstopper challenge, walked 22,211 steps and made a very good start on my story. Most of those things would have been done on Friday. Starting my story was due to reading the book.

The actual message is simple; take 30 days to give up or start something. I wish that I had read it before I started the challenge but better late than never. I felt the author was my friend and that he believed in my challenge. He encouraged me to believe I could do whatever I wanted. I am actually lucky as I am surrounded by people who do believe in what I am doing; my family. However, I don’t think they appreciated the fact that I now believe I can sing. Whilst making my three course meal challenge on Sunday, I did a brilliant duet with George Michael singing Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

This morning I started on my 30 day challenge – I decided to get up earlier every morning to get myself organised so I could leave the house for a leisurely walk and not the run I normally do! Well first day and I started this blog post, did an exercise DVD, tidied the kitchen and arrived at work two minutes early. Good start but feeling very tired now. Hopefully I will adjust and get those challenges completed!


A new Saturday routine for me has emerged and one that I am hoping I can keep up with. I spend two hours clearing an area in the house.

As previously mentioned in my lessons in life post, I read 50 New Year Resolutions book for my January read and decided to clear the clutter.

Cleaning is not a favourite job of mine and also I am very much a hoarder. I find throwing away things very painful but I am determined to keep to the plan. Six weeks on and I have made good progress.

Week 1

This was the best achieved decluttering I have done to date and the one that has helped my daily routines so much – my dressing table and drawers. My table holds my skincare, make up, jewellery, savings jar, make up mirror etc. It was a complete mess. I had a beautiful tray for my birthday which I had wanted to put my skincare in but I had so much. I managed to sort out everything essential and items I did not use daily were stored in another place. My drawers were sorted and underwear and old t-shirts were thrown out. I now have three drawers which make finding things easier. My morning and evening routines are now a pleasure; if I am late for work, it is due to me dithering rather than I can’t find my socks!

Skincare tray with framed photo of my dad now being displayed

Week 2

The bathroom cupboard. Not so easy because it didn’t just involve my stuff. There was lots of bags of rubbish from this job. Why do they make expiry dates on medical products so hard to read. Chris did help with this particular task by laying some vinyl on the floor of the cupboard. Whilst I would say the cupboard is still work in progress, I have managed to make it a lot more efficient and it is a cupboard that I am quite happy to open now. Again it makes life a lot easier.

Week 3

Two bottom cupboards in kitchen. First under attack was the cupboard that everything fell out of. I think the majority of us have these. I keep the plastic containers in here plus my food processor bits; it was a bit of a nightmare when trying to find things. Before completing I sorted the one we use for cereals. It was dreadful the amount of stale cereal we had. Clearing that cupboard gave me space for excess items from the first cupboard. These cupboards are still very much work in progress but again so much easier. Storing things are easier now I can actually find things.

Week 4

Decided that the last week of month would be dedicated to clearing the many bags of paperwork out. This is a job that needs doing but one I avoid. I have to confess I didn’t do very well with this job. I didn’t have any enthusiasm at all and it was all a bit of paper shuffling. I did end up with three bags of shredding so it was a start. I am going to continue making this my final Saturday of the month job and hopefully will make more progress.

Week 5

My wardrobe. I was dreading this and having failed with the the paperwork, I didn’t hold much hope for this. After delaying the start, I did achieve a lot. I found clothes I thought I had lost, discovered shoes I could actually wear and threw some things away. Lovely wardrobe now which had a bit of space for me to put new clothing in (honestly I needed them to go with the clothes I found!).

Week 6

Hall/meter cupboard – the one you have to apologise to the people reading your meters for. This was more a tidy and reorganise than a major task as Chris had done a good job of decluttering. It was still a very satisfying job.

I don’t think I will ever enjoy cleaning but I do think that the decluttering has been very good for me. I am slowly learning to throw things away and it certainly made my life easier. Here are some tips to keep up with resolutions:

  1. Set aside a time to do the task and have a plan if you need to reschedule.
  2.  Set a realistic amount of time to do it. For me, two hours a week is perfect. It is enough to do a job and short enough for me to feel it is not a chore.
  3. Be firm about what you want to achieve. On week 3, Chris suggested some other cupboards that needed a sort out. I very politely explained that this week was for two cupboards only.
  4. Remember that everything is work in progress. I plan to go back to all the areas to decluttering again and possible improve. My hope that it will be an easier job.
  5. Don’t be put off if you don’t achieve something one week. It can be hard to accept but you certainly haven’t failed by not achieving one week.
  6. Make sure you resolution is achievable and one that you will benefit from yourself. Don’t make the resolution to please others.

I would recommend the 50 New Year Resolution book. It isn’t just about the boring resolutions; there are so many different ideas including reading books of a different genre. Hopefully share more progress later.

Lessons in Life – Could be Better

One of my favourite things to do is read. The challenge to read something of a different genre each month has certainly been difficult. I did think that I might find it hard to find something different to read but I do still have lots of ideas.

I have to admit that I did choose a very easy read for December. I did get Kathryn’s approval though. I read David Walliams’ Mr Stink.

It is a children’s book so it is different for me. I used to be able to indulge with them when bedtime came around for my children. I had watched Mr Stink on the T.V. 4 years ago and I fell in love with the story. I had planned to read it on Boxing Day but other events took over and I hadn’t finished a book I was reading. In the end I started it on the 28th and finished it in a day.

The description of the book begins with:

“Mr Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it was correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well…”

The book is about when Chloe makes friends with Mr Stink, the local tramp. As well as being a funny read with the most wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake, it does have lots of valuable lessons; the main one being that you can’t always judge the book by the cover or, in this case, just because Mr Stink is a tramp, he is also a real person with a background too.

Reading this book, I couldn’t help but read it with David Walliams’ voice. If I was still reading bedtime stories to my children, as well as the favourites from Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis, I would have to include David’s books too.

On my kindle, I have lots of “self help” books. I download them, read them and always intend to use the plans. I decided that due to the fact that January is the month that we make resolutions, only to break them in February, I would download a new book as part of my challenge and actually try to put a plan in action. I downloaded a book called 50 New Year’s Resolutions – How to Make Them, How do Keep Them.

One of the things I believe in is that you don’t need to start a resolution at the beginning of the year and I have certainly never believed you need to start a “diet” on a Monday.  This author does say this in her introduction and she also makes a point to say that the book doesn’t guarantee success but will show you how to increase your chances of keeping your resolutions. There are three main steps to take and this is how the book is broken down:

* The Five Rules of resolve – these should be followed to be able to keep the resolutions
* Ten Wishes waiting to be Resolutions – these are wishes we want to make resolutions. The author then suggests resolutions from these wishes
* The 50 resolutions – suggested resolutions to fulfil your wishes

At the end of the book, the author gives you a checklist of 6 questions which you should answer yes to:
  1. Have you chosen just one resolution?
  2. Do you know when you will do it?
  3. Are you feeling enthusiastic?
  4. Does it fit in with your lifestyle?
  5. Have you told others about it?
  6. Have you allowed for off days?
I couldn’t answer question 1 straight away so I had to ask myself what I wanted to achieve.  One of my objectives this year is to complete my challenges (by June 6th!!).  A lot of my challenges actually fit into the resolutions but one of the reasons I don’t allow myself to get on with the challenges is because of housework – something I don’t find exciting but it will hold me back from doing something I want to do.  During the Christmas period, I finally tidied my larder.  I have a lovely larder and it was so messy.  I so love the finished result and it makes my life so easy.  I have a lot of places like that so decided I would do resolution 48 – clear clutter so I can now answer yes to all of the above.  So here is the plan:


1. Resolution 48 – clear the clutter
2. Saturday mornings – two hours
3. Feeling very enthusiastic
4. It will; and it will make it better
5. I have written it in a blog post so yes
6. If it can’t be done on a Saturday due to other plans, I will do it on a Friday

So now I have made this, I will begin as soon as possible and share my progress. I will also be referring to this book a lot so hopefully a very successful read.