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Celebrations and Traditions

Celebrations_1I’m in a reflective mood today as we prepare for the upcoming celebrations of the festive season.

In the UK, as in many other parts of the world, preparations are well underway to celebrate Christmas. Gifts have been bought and wrapped…and maybe there are still a few more to do, cards have been written and sent, trees have been decorated and children are wound up to the point where they are ready to burst with excitement!Celebrations_2

Apart from the excited children, ours are excited young adults…we are very much in this preparation zone too. Much has already been achieved, particularly around sorting and wrapping gifts and preparing our home for The Big Day and now our plans are beginning to shape up around our celebration meal.

Cooking, as some of you will know, is definitely not one of my talents, but I am very fortunate in having a husband who enjoys cooking. This year he will be joined by my eldest daughter and they will prepare our Christmas meal “together”. I’m planning on keeping out of the kitchen while things cook up!

That being said, I have absolutely no doubt that we will all sit down to a delicious meal and I am especially looking forward to having some family time around the table, something, that with busy and differing schedules, has become less often than when the children were younger.

I was pondering this year’s meal and especially the idea of us sitting around the table together. This may be our last Christmas day where we are all together as a family. My children are growing up and may soon fly the nest and a year from now they may be celebrating a first Christmas in their own home.

So who knows what next Christmas may look like? Time and change keeps moving us along, with or without our consent.

Celebrations_3As much as this particular change may be a little sensitive, I am choosing to see it as a gift to my children. As they make their way in the world, they will hold on to the family traditions which have brought them to this place in their lives. Their first Christmas in their own home, with traditions fashioned from previous Christmases will remind them of past happy times and happy times yet to come in the same way that my parents infused traditions into mine and my siblings’ lives. Our traditions serve as foundations on which to build our future lives, whether by adding in a modern twist or absorbing and blending traditions from another family.

So as we prepare to enjoy the festive season, remain mindful of the importance of the now, the family and friends who share our celebrations and are touched by our traditions as much as we are touched by theirs as the circle of our lives continues to ripple outwards.

May I wish all of my readers a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas! Thank you all for sharing my journey this last year and let’s jump into 2015 together!

Photos:  Joe Buckingham , Michael Hicks , Jeremy Tarling

Believe In Yourself

believe_1You may often have seen me put up a quote or a picture quote on my Facebook page imploring you to Believe. To believe in yourself means having confidence in your abilities and your resourcefulness to find the answers that will aid your progress, to know that things will fall into place, and that you are capable of making the effort.

But why do so many of us still fail to start? Maybe it’s a lack of motivation, a sense of fear, a need for support or guidance, not knowing where to start, a need for it to be the ‘right time’, being too worried what others will think of our plans…and so on. The list of why we don’t get started is endless, but for all those reasons, there will be others who have faced the same dilemma, but have made a start anyway.

So what makes them so different?

There’s a whole ‘other’ level that we must step up to in order to achieve our dreams and goals. It’s a level that requires that we call upon reserves of belief in ourselves that we will overcome all the difficulties, negativities, overwhelm and depravation that we will feel as we progress. This is not easy and may go some way to explaining why some of us just don’t feel that we can even make a start.Continue Reading

Gloucester: Bucket List Challenge City 2

Gloucester_1After a little research, Gloucester has been selected as the second of our Bucket List: Visit 12 UK Cities in 12 Months Challenge. Last month we spent a couple of days in Bristol as we are currently facing the challenge of shorter days and cold weather.  The cities we’re choosing are therefore closer to home than those we will visit during the Spring and Summer months.

Gloucester is a city of approximately 122,000 inhabitants, originally founded by the Romans. Its main attraction is the Cathedral which is a beautiful, grand building dating from 681. Gloucester also has an inland dock and numerous historical landmarks.

This trip was a ‘one-dayer’, and so we picked out a few things to do and see to get a feel for the city. We also wanted to build in a little fun. Here’s our itinerary for the day:

  • Leave at around 8am
  • Taster skiing lesson
  • Into Gloucester for lunch
  • A wander around the Docks
  • Visit to Gloucester Cathedral

A cold but sunny Saturday morning was a great start to our trip. The journey was clear and easy and we made good time. Once you cross the Severn and head into England, the landscape in the area is fairly flat with the Malvern hills framing the distance. Given the time of year, there were lots of trees with pretty displays of mistletoe, which seems to be quite prevalent in the area.Continue Reading

Planning 2015 – are you ready?

Planning 2015It’s time to start planning 2015!  The old adage that if you fail to plan you plan to fail starts to gather momentum at this time of year. As we advance towards the festive season, the busyness leading up to the big day takes over our lives and we often start to lose our way with our good intentions and plans. Couple with this, the increase in entertainment, food and general good cheer and it’s no wonder that things get a little out of control!

But as we all know, come January the 1st, we will all be feeling the effects of a tighter than usual waistband, our fitness levels will have succumbed to the allure of too many late nights and our good intentions to keep up with our homework, keep the clutter at bay or just be more mindful have drifted into no-mans-land!

We may also feel that we have run into an impasse and be questioning our life direction. We may want to make changes, but as yet we have not surfaced those changes into concrete plans and a list of actions.

Whether we like it or not, January is the time for planning 2015! Not just any old plan, but a life plan that specifies the things we want to have, see and do. We need a list of actions that will bring us to that place and we need to be ready to take action. But first and foremost, we must get planning!Continue Reading