The Prompt: Spring is the time of plans and projects

Spring daffodils at WisleyI have a little personal guide to the seasons which allocates three months to each season (although winter sometimes seems more like 6). For this reason Spring theoretically starts in March (see: blossom, daffodils and a bit more daylight) but actually, for me April is the month that epitomises the season of renewal. April is the start of both my Leave and Financial years at work, I began my current job at the beginning of April 2007 and returned from maternity last year at the same time of year.

I always look forward to April and I feel that this is the time of year when you see the most change for the better in the outdoor environment.

This year my world is changing a little bit again come April as I’m dropping a day of work from my week and am really looking forward to having a bit of time to myself. I have so many plans and projects – everything from bike rides to crochet to organising and de-cluttering the house. I have baking projects (I’ve always wanted to try baking some different breads) as well as wanting to figure out what to do with my blog to make it prettier, better organised, more personalised and better connected.

I’d like to try my hand at some crafts – I’ve got a thing about buttons and after many hours surfing the Pinterest boards I am very motivated to come up with some button-inspired art.

We also have an April date in the diary for our long awaited bathroom makeover! I’m really excited about this because there are so many things wrong with this room currently – everything from a horribly lime-scaled up toilet to a rubbish old wall cabinet which the doors have fallen off, to a completely unused stand-alone shower (it can’t be used as it leaks damp into the room below). I currently have to wash my hair in the bath using a plastic jug to rinse. Watch this space for the bathroom makeover before and after post, come early May!

This is definitely a time of year for holiday plans too although we haven’t quite got that far yet and I made a promise to myself that I would arrange birthday parties for the children (July and September) well in advance this year so that’s another job on the to do list for April. I’ve also been inspired by other bloggers and friends to consider taking out memberships in various attractions be it the Royal Horticultural Society, National Trust or various standalone attractions. Its been hard to reconcile the cost of this kind of thing against the fact that a baby or toddler under the age of two is not going to appreciate much of what, for example, a stately home can offer.

Some plans and projects have been on the back burner for a long time. I think that’s what happens when you have a baby. However this year EJ turns two in July and I believe that this will make a difference – at least I hope it will because there is ever such a lot on my Spring agenda!!

This post is linking to The Prompt from Sara at Mum turned Mom who’s prompt this week was: Spring is the time of plans and projects. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.



Never accept a negative label…

plodding donkey

OK so I recently read this post by Mummy Tries and I wanted to comment but, you know, do you ever read a blog post and feel that your comment would be inappropriate without a prolonged explanation? Well that’s how I felt. So instead I thought I’d just mention it here.

(Just as a precursor to these thoughts I should mention the fact that I come at this perspective from the point of view of a deep thinker who loves words and language and loves to analyze and deconstruct meaning. I studied literature at degree level and that included literary theory which encompasses the writer perspective and the reader perspective for pinpointing meaning so I am well aware that this is only my take on what was written).

The post argues that most people fall into one of two categories which are called ‘doers’ or ‘plodders’. There is a very balanced argument which says positive things about both categories (and, in fact, this is primarily a post about being inspired by others), but I can’t help but be a bit dismayed by the terminology. ‘Doer’ to me, has very positive connotations, yet ‘Plodder’ has quite negative ones. ‘Doer’ says: ‘get up and go; ‘energy’; ‘creativity’; ‘can do attitude’. ‘Plodder’ says: ‘drab’; ‘lumbering’; ‘uninspired’. Even Wikipedia points out that “Plod or P.C.Plod is a British slang term used to refer to a police officer, particularly one slow-witted or dull”.

I think the heart of my dismay lies in the feeling that, certainly lately, I would probably fall into the ‘Plodder’ category as I feel that I am generally reading or observing the creative and inspired projects of others yet not finding the time or energy to jump into the fray and come alive with projects of my own. At the same time I feel it’s a bit unfair that someone may now label me a ‘plodder’. I was trained in journalism (a long time ago!) so I know how useful labels can be in rounding out a written article and summarising contained ideas (and I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say I never do it myself). Look at parenting – nowadays we have ‘Helicopter Parents’, ‘Snowplough Parents’, ‘Attachment Parenting’, etc, etc. But really, as a human being it would be nigh on impossible to fall within such a rigid and defined category on an ongoing basis without ever doing something completely contrary (even to a deeply felt and consciously crafted way of life).

I was out Christmas shopping today (which I loved!) and a quick glance around Lakeland got me quite excited about what I could be doing for Christmas next year. Home-crafted gifts are a fab idea and definitely include a big dollop of love which bought presents don’t have. I love the idea of pressies in jars (and have a good friend who sells Christmas cookie mix in a jar and mulling syrup in a lovely glass bottle – both of which I will be sampling!). Its also a great way to keep it natural and (maybe even slightly) reduce your carbon footprint… I just discovered this page which shows some absolutely adorable ways to use Kilner jars. (I’m particularly loving the idea of brandied cherries or cocktail syrup which can be used as the base to create Mojitos, Margaritas and Mint Juleps as well as home-made sweeties, snow globes and pot pourri).

I’ll also be Elf on the Shelfing next year (EJ will be going on 2 and a half), and it is my intention to learn how to create some home-made bunting and cushion covers as well as some little crochet projects like flowers, handbag charms or something like this adorable fox stash basket:

crochet fox

I have no idea whether I’ll be any good at any of these things but I think I would enjoy doing them.

I may feel like I have very little energy or time right now, but I know that organisation and planning ahead are key to being productive and timely (especially with regards gifts) and that is my goal for 2014.

Sometimes you can be a dreamer and a planner and a thinker and even a writer, but anyone who is content to be classified as a plodder must be someone with very limited horizons (in my honest and humble opinion!).