Being Intentional: Shop Locally

When Gary and I went on holiday to Northern Ireland a few weeks ago, we had a chat about intentionality…

Y’know, being intentional with the things we do in our every day lives.

These aren’t big things but they do nevertheless make a difference to someone.

One such intention was shopping locally.

During Covid our local village shops were amazing and at the time I remember promising myself I would never go back to Tescos.

It was local all the way for me now!

But Life, Charlotte’s ill health and money soon saw me going right back to what was easy and convenient.

I got caught up in life.

Yes, I have no sticking power!

However, since being back from holiday, I have faithfully got cash our at the local post office (greengrocers only take cash) and then spent it locally, only going to Tesco’s once a month for a big shop of non-perishables.

There are so many benefits to shopping locally.

Apart from environmental, there is the obvious benefit to keeping our village busy and thriving, and having a small part to play in preventing shops closing down and the resulting ghost like appearance of a village in decline.

It also helps the individual who run the shops directly. Instead of pouring money into Mr. Faceless Corporation, I get to shop at Steve’s.

I also meet lots of people along the way. I get to joke and chat with, not just the shop keepers but also the other customers, often seeing friends as I queue.

And lastly there is the simple loveliness of dealing with a face instead of a corporation.

The bag of asparagus slipped on top of your groceries…just because.

Or the offer to pop to B and Q to buy you a mop because the shop in question didn’t stock mops.

Local isn’t just best for the environment, it’s best for everyone.

Wild Flowers

I love flowers. Any flowers, but particularly wild flowers. In fact, much to my mother’s dismay, I’ve also been known to love weed flowers.

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

As I pound the pavements each morning, I keep my eyes open for wild flowers which grow along the road or pavement.

Each day, I pick one or two wild flowers to add to a vase of flowers I keep in our dining room.

Once home, I go through the vase flowers, throwing any out which are dead or dying, changing the water and adding the newly-picked flowers.

This costs nothing, is an incredibly relaxing activity and, as it is a habit I have built into my day, is a small gift I I’ve myself each morning.

How do you treat yourself on a daily basis?


Today I weighed myself as normal. I was delighted to see the scales flick and then settle at the longed for number, seen once, two weeks ago.

Yes, it had taken me exactly two weeks to lose the seven pounds I put on during my holiday.

Of course, I was pleased and not just a little bit proud of having gone right back to healthy eating and exercising once home.

But, I have to be honest and say I definitely wondered ‘was it worth it?’

Was it worth eating rubbish for ten days to then have to spend 14 days losing the result of that unhealthy eating?

Was it worth not pushing myself physically for ten days, to then have to be mindful of stretching myself in the fourteen days which followed?

If I’d been sensible on holiday, I may have been heading towards the next stone barrier on the scales.

Was it worth it?

Well, it was nice not to have to think about calorie counting and calories in verses calories out, but seven pounds of weight is a lot of consequence for having lapsed in these areas.

And, the rubbishy food did absolutely nothing to make me feel good or healthy whilst I was on holiday.

So, was it worth it?

The answer of course is no. In fact, it’s a resounding no!

I honestly can’t think of one thing which made it even nearly worth putting on seven pounds that I’d worked so hard to lose and then had to work so hard to re-lose.

Noom has worked for me because it is all about moderation. Over the last two weeks, even though I have lost the weight I gained, I have also eaten chocolate and cake. I’ve just eaten them within my calorie count for each day.

I literally could have had my cake and eaten it on holiday…and I could have come back lighter instead of heavier,

Next time…holiday, celebration, festival…no matter what it is that might threaten my healthy living, I will think back to this holiday and the consequences of not being mindful of how I treated my body, and I will make better choices.

Losing any gain in health is so not worth it.

Goals for June

My Noom reading today was teaching about the importance of writing down goals and then telling someone about them. By writing these down, I will apparently have a 70% chance of reaching them compared to a 35% chance if I don’t write them down. Likewise, by telling someone my chance increases further.

So, I am writing my goals down here and telling you!

Weight Goals

I am five pounds off losing two stone, so my goal this month is to lose those five pounds.

Gym Goals

Last Month I increased my reps but decreased my weights. Yesterday, I worked with the same reps whilst increasing my weights to what they were in April and managed quite easily.

I don’t really want to change this at all this month. So, I’ll be continuing with three sets of twelve reps at the weights I was lifting in April .

My real goal here is to be able to do this without me feeling exhausted at the end of the month. At the end of April, I felt so tired I needed some time off. This time, I want to really listen to my body – for example, I know if I eat a bigger lunch on the days I go to the gym, I work out much more effectively.

Homemaking Goals

I want to finish going through the whole of Gary’s and my bedroom, washing all the walls and going through wardrobes and drawers.

Reading Goals

I seem to be reading books at about five books per month. I’d like to double this to ten by using my lunch break to sit and read rather than watching YouTube videos. I’d like the extra five books to be feeding me spiritually in some way, whether that be as a wife, a mother, a homemaker or a friend.

Writing Goals

I try to write for half an hour every day. I am currently writing a book to go along with the Unit Study I am curating on Mesopotamia. The book is designed to be read out each day over six weeks. I have completed almost four of the six weeks and am at around 40000 words.

My goal for June is to finish the four weeks and have a plan outlined for the fifth week.

I’d also like to continue journalling on this blog daily Monday to Friday and to try to write one post per week on my homeschool blog

And finally, I’d like to be writing in my common place book as and when I have something to write.

Activity Goals

Currently I go to the gym three times a week and this seems a sensible amount to me, so I won’t be changing this.

I also walk for 40 minutes each morning. I’d like to add to this walk by walking at night time for about thirty minutes before I have my bath. This will mean I will have slightly more than 60 minutes of weight bearing exercise per day, will have the opportunity for fresh air before bed and it will give me an extra thirty minutes of listening to a book, thereby helping me to increase my reading.

I’d love to add a goal of doing some yoga but am really demotivated to do this because I think my walking and gym going is making me much less flexible so yoga hurts!! Maybe I’ll keep this for next month…

Homeschool Goals

My main homeschool goal is to help Becca to finish her booklet six for textiles. This is her jellyfish dress which is taking more skill than we first thought and is proving to be HARD! I want to split it into workable small segments so she feels less overwhelmed by it.

Abs will be taking three GCSEs next year, and I want to create a revision pack for each subject. So my goal this month is to get into a routine each day of working towards this, even if it is only for half an hour.

What are your goals for this month?

General Progress in May

This will be a much quicker post than those I’ve done for previous months. I did pre-empt this last month because I knew what was coming.

This month I purposefully took two weeks off going to the gym and walking the dog because I had a shoulder injury that didn’t seem to be healing.

I coincided the break with our holiday in Northern Ireland.

The fact I came back from Northern Ireland seven pounds heavier was gutting but (to some extent) expected.

On the positive side, my shoulder injury is much better.

Once we returned to England, two weeks into May, we set about regaining some of the positive habits we had let slip whilst on holiday.

For the past two weeks, I have walked Harvey each day for about 40 minutes and have also been to the gym three times per week.

Knowing I wanted to build up reps rather than increase weights, I began doing three sets of twelve reps rather than my normal eight. I also decreased any weights where I was using my arm or shoulder to lift them. This was to protect my shoulder against further damage.

I have been pleased with the way the gym has gone, and whilst I have not made much progress to speak of, I have continued to go regularly and I have managed to increase my reps slightly (from eight to twelve).

I have also lost four of the seven pounds I put on during my holiday.

Foodwise, I am still logging everything I eat and in the main I do keep within my calorie count. The weight loss seems to have stagnated somewhat, but I have been here before and I know to just keep on doing what I am doing and it will gradually start to come off again.

We are on half term break this week and had a lovely relaxing day yesterday for bank holiday Monday. Have a relaxing week everyone!

Books read in May

To continue my list of books I’ve read this year:

Books so far (January to March) and in April then this month I have read:

20. Finished The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

21. Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth Von Arnim

22. Babel by R F Kuang

23. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

24. Thrush Green by Miss Read

25. The Poppy War by R F Kung

26. Love in Every Room by Karla Dornacher

I also regularly listen to the following podcasts:

  • The Smart Passive Income Online Business and Blogging Podcast by Pat Flynn
  • Work Less, Earn More by Gillian Perkins
  • The Dr. Livinggood Podcast – Make Health Simple
  • The Elizabeth Elliot Foundation (her lectures and teachings – highly recommend!)

Babel by R F Kuang

I just finished Babel a few days ago, and whilst this is not going to be a full review of the book, I did want to recommend it to you as a book well worth the read.

Let me preface this by saying that I do not, on the whole, enjoy fiction. I am a non-fiction girl all the way. However, occasionally I like to branch out, and travelling to and from Northern Ireland in a car for hours was the perfect time for a story.

Babel is a hefty 21 hours of listening time. Most books tend to be around the 12 hour mark, so this was almost double.

Kuang is a fabulous writer who makes 21 hours seem like much less and, in fact, left me wanting more.

Babel is based on an Oxford translation department, called Babel. The linguistic students are bred for their particular mother tongue to forward the colonisation of Great Britain throughout the world. I would say the author writes with an obvious bias against white British people, which could grate on you if you were that way inclined. I am not so I was unaffected by this.

The students basically revolt against this attack on their homeland and do all they can to prevent Britain, linguistically speaking, taking over the world.

I honestly can’t recommend this enough. It is full of intellectual writing, and in each session of listening I came away learning something new. Whether that learning was about the historical period in which it was set (1800s), the incredible language links between cultures and time, or just some observation of the world that the author makes.

I felt at times that I was learning more from this fiction book than I ever would have from a non-fiction book about the same topic.

When I finished Babel I felt a little bereft. I missed the characters because in some small way they had become my friends, and suddenly they were gone.

So yesterday, I bought myself The Poppy War by the same author, which I am enjoying just as much.

There were two things I wasn’t so keen on – as already mentioned, there was a fairly unbalanced view of all British white being inherently bad, and every foreign person being inherently good. However, this was perhaps necessary to the story line. The second thing was that the magical element seemed superfluous to the story, except perhaps at the very end. But that may be a personal thing because fantasy is definitely one of my least favourite genres.

These two things aside, I think this might be the best book I’ve read/listened to this year. I really do recommend it to anyone who likes a good book to sink their teeth into.

I Made Some Cards!

A few weeks ago, I began art journalling. Oh my goodness, there is so much to enjoy!! Anytime I have a spare five minutes, I sneak in a bit of watercolour painting. It is so relaxing, and I love watching a scene come together.

It can be a bit frustrating when it doesn’t all come together as you had hoped, but there is lots of learning in the process.

Anyway, a few people had suggested that I turn my pictures into greeting cards, so I paid Canva to do just that.

I only had ten printed out.

I just wanted to see what they looked like and whether or not it would be worth perhaps printing out a larger number in order to sell some.

They arrived at the end of last week! What do you think?

I only got one design printed, but I thought once I had four designs ready to go, I’d perhaps print them out and sell them as a pack of four.

I already have buyers, which is incredible to me!

All because I began art journalling – how amazing is that?!