This month I set myself a lockdown challenge. I wanted to do something different so that I could look back and say that I used the lockdown to do something meaningful and personal to me.
I was inspired by Alex at Living Pretty Happy who set herself a #BeBolderChallenge and has been posting daily Instagram stories. Watching Alex I thought that I should set my own challenge, and for a long time I’ve wanted to learn the capital cities of the world.
I’m in awe of people who know their geography – especially places most of us haven’t even heard of – Eswatini anyone?! So, I went and bought myself a set of cards (these if you're interested) and set out to learn 5 new capital cities every day from Monday-Thursday (20 a week), giving myself Friday and the weekend off.
So far, so good and I’m actually really enjoying the challenge – and I’m determined to complete it. Once I know them all, I’ll make a video of getting tested and then upload it to YouTube – just to prove that I could do it and it will be my very own party trick!
So here’s what else I’ve been up to in my monthly roundup for May…
At the time of typing this up, I’ve just got back from having my monthly jab (Zoladex) at the doctors. The nurse who jabs me every month is called Sarah and she’s lovely. She’s the sort of person you’d want administering a painful procedure (an implant with a spring loaded mechanism is inserted into my belly).
Yes, it’s painful but Sarah tries her best to distract me and perform the procedure as quickly as possible. She once told me that it was commonplace for people to have an anaesthetic to numb the area before having the implant inserted – that didn’t surprise me, but given the procedure is over in about 10-20 seconds, they decided that patients should just have to grimace and bear it.
I received a letter from the hospital last week to say that my next oncologist appointment will now be conducted over the phone. I have a few things I want to ask that would be better in person, but a phone call is better than nothing at all I suppose. My hair continues to grow back thick and fast – and VIP even cut it last week with the clippers – and surprisingly did a great job.
Blog life has been good. There have been some question marks over my full time job as a publisher. By question marks, I mean things that my business partner and I need to iron out one way or another – for the future of the business, but the slowing down of the ‘to-dos’ has actually meant that I’ve had time to be more focused on the blog.
So I decided to take a long hard look at it and see how it needed to change; my lifestyle has changed dramatically in the last 15 months and my blog doesn’t really reflect that. I wanted my logo, picture and brand colours to change – and I’ve already made headway on them. You might notice my photo on the homepage has been updated and I’ve also updated my ‘About & Work With Me’ page. Meanwhile, my ‘welcome’ widget disappeared (heaven knows what happened to it!), so I had to start over with that and thought I might as well update my photo too. I’m also in the process of having my logo updated which I’ll be revealing next month!
In terms of broken links – I had 156 of them sitting there to get through and fix. It took a whole day, but I did it. But get this – while I was sifting through them and updating them I couldn’t believe it – I came across ANOTHER example of where my site had been hacked!
I only noticed it because the sentence didn’t make sense – but the clever thing about this particular hack was that it was a hyperlink made not to look like a hyperlink (it wasn’t underlined or in bold), – I couldn’t believe it! Yet again it was another link to some sort of anxiety pills you can buy online.
And then I noticed a second link on another post – you can see from the picture what it looked like without me highlighting the link – and then when I click on it, you can see it’s highlighted. Again, I only found it because it was flagged up in my Broken Links plugin – so definitely worth having.
There’s not much to report on the business other than it looks like we’re going back into print for our July issue. For the last couple of months we’ve been producing a digital issue – I even wrote a 17-page corona virus survival guide in the April 50-page magazine, pouring my life and soul into the editorial.
It was perhaps a mistake and maybe I shouldn’t have been so enthused as I could have spent more time no other things, but anyone that knows me well knows that I don’t do anything by halves. Going forward though, I won’t be dedicating as much time to the editorial when we’re back in print, as every page has to be paid for. Plus there are sales calls to be made too. On the whole though, I love doing the magazine and celebrating that sense of community and local spirit – and to be at the helm of driving this forward is a wonderful feeling.
You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve kept up with the Joe Wicks morning workouts. It has been hard, but I’ve definitely noticed a HUGE improvement in my leg and core strength – and probably my arm strength too. I’ve still got a belly that I need to get rid of, so when all this is over I’m thinking of focusing more on my core and then perhaps go for little jogs again to get my overall fitness up. Either way, I realise that I’ve got to do something – doing nothing isn’t an option.
Something that has really put a smile on my face has been my regular chats with two friends who I’ve grown increasingly closer to during lockdown. We knew each other through business and it took just one Zoom chat for us all to agree to become accountability partners – and I can’t recommend it enough. It basically gives you the motivation to get stuff done.
So every two weeks myself, we all jump on Zoom for a chat. We throw ideas around and do a bit of brainstorming for each other’s businesses and personal goals (it’s ALWAYS good to get second opinions!) and then we talk about our goal setting and what we want to get achieved by the time we next speak.
To give you an example, my recent goals were: 1. Update the blog – fix broken links and decide what categories I want to keep/get rid of 2. Weed the front garden 3. Go through my CRM system and email all my outstanding contacts to tell them about the next magazine. And just having that written down (and then having to explain to Kate & Helen if I’ve completed my goals) is enough of a motivator to get it achieved. So if you’re prone to procrastination or just need a bit of a boost every now and then, I can’t recommend getting an accountability partner/s highly enough.
Last month I reported that I’d been decorating, decluttering, tiding and cleaning – and I haven’t stopped to be honest. My lounge is now pretty much finished (apart from some artwork that needs to go up) and I’m thrilled with the finished product. I’ve now got my sights on the kitchen – the paint has been bought (thanks to my friend Lynsey for the colour inspiration!) and I’m raring to go. But I might start in June or July and give myself a proper break first.
It’s funny how easily influenced we are isn’t it? I read a few blogs on a weekly basis and my friend Anna Nuttall wrote about what had been keeping her entertained during lockdown. She mentioned a few YouTube channels and I just so happened to click on one of the links (randomly) and it turned out to be a channel called Aquaholic.
Oh my goodness – I must have lost a good few hours of my life that I’ll never get back after going down the rabbit hole. The videos are tours of luxury yachts and whenever I go on holiday and I see the super yachts, I always wonder what they’re like on board – so this channel suddenly became my guilty pleasure! And now VIP and I watch a video a day – we’re both enjoying it! Be warned though – if you click the link you may lose a few hours.
My latest purchases
I’m thrilled to bits with my genius idea of creating some hallway artwork. So much so, that I can recommend it to anyone. Check out these gorgeous personalised photo tiles – yes, you can kinda see what VIP looks like! Anyway, here’s how I got them….
Step 1: I took photos of all of us on my phone.
Step 2: I downloaded an app called ToonMe that turns you into a cartoon character. I let VIP and the kids choose their favourite picture and background.
Step 3: I bought four personalised photo tiles (20cm X 20cm) from Groupon for £14.99 (they were originally £22 EACH – so £88 in total!) but I also went through Top Cashback to get 10% back.
I also went and bought Microsoft Office Home and Business For Mac 2019 from Groupon UK for £79. Considering it’s on sale online at John Lewis for £249.99, I made a cracking saving. What’s been frustrating me is that I can’t update my Mac operating system to Catalina (the latest one) because it automatically disables Word – and I use Word all the time. So this will now take care of that problem.
What I’m grateful for this month
- The glorious weather we’ve been having – we’ve been so lucky. If it stays like this I’m looking forward to getting the girls over for a bit of lounging in my Turkish area in the garden.
- The days seem like Groundhog Day, which might sound frustrating but it’s actually been quite relaxing!
- Having the time to work on and develop the blog to reflect the new me.
Goals for the next month
My goals from last month included….
- Have a BIG clear out of the utility room – YES! We did it and everything is in its place and so much more organised. If you ask me to fetch a ratchet set I could lay my hands on it. I couldn’t tell you what it’s for, but I could find it!
- Drink more water On the whole, I have. I take a glass of water up with me every night and by the morning it’s gone!
- Sell some things online – Yes – I put some items online to sell and so far two of them have got bids on.
- Update my blog – This is a work in progress, but it’s happening!
My new goals for June are….
- Continue updating the blog (I need to move some categories around and get the blog header redesigned)
- Continue selling items online (I’ve got a whole chest to get through!)
- Start work on decorating the kitchen? Well, the paint has been bought so there’s no excuse really. The only thing is that when I decorate a room I do it properly and leave no stone unturned so inevitably it takes me so much longer to update than just painting the walls.
- Continue learning my capital cities! By 31st July I want to be able to name every capital city in the world.
How’s your May gone and what are you looking forward to?
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