The pointless happy post

Let’s keep this a positive post and not mention other things that have been on my mind in recent days… I’ll get back to that another time.

I’m on my way home. For possibly the first time since the beginning of the year, I can feel the air-con behind me and for once we’re not all roasting. The tube is full but for some reason there’s enough space for us all to be able to not breathe on somebody else’s neck. There’s also a group of 3 young ladies happily chatting amongst themselves – great way to break the rush-hour silence! My brain is not confined to images of all of us like sardines in a tin so I can actually notice tiny things like the fact that I just felt all my teeth with my tongue after seeing an ad about a toothbrush that reads “the squeaky clean test” – on that note, if you haven’t watched “Focus” with Margot Robbie and Will Smith, please do… it’s great to show a lot of the tricks of the mind! And, despite the fact I didn’t really see it, not while I was at work, the sun is out – quite an achievement, dear UK!

I must have sent a few dozen emails at work and I’m on my way to see my husband and son so, overall, a good day – and I suspect my mindset has something to do with it – I decided this was going to be a good day!

 

 

 

The time is now!

Plans change every day… Sometimes you end up in a job that you wouldn’t normally, only to find you love it; or you accidentally meet someone that will change your outlook in life. You might do something outside your comfort zone that you suddenly can’t imagine not doing anymore or you might simply add something new to your life. For me, finding out what I wanted as a career took a bit of time and once it happened, it all became clear – I belong in the charity sector.

When my husband and I made plans for a family, I immediately expected to not be able to focus on my career until my son was off to school but he’s 1 and I landed my dream job when I came back from maternity leave! I’m tremendously lucky to have a great support network that keeps me going in all aspects but enough faffing about. The point of this post is IT’S POSSIBLE!

To win the game just remain in the game.

Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.

Stay positive. Work hard. Make it happen.

There is no lift to success. You have to take the stairs.

A lot of the reasoning around it is so cliché that I almost feel that it shouldn’t be mentioned here. Oh, but it should! Just because it’s cliché, it doesn’t mean it’s not true!

“Be happy with what you have” sounds great when you feel that fulfils you but if there is something else in your wish list, I say go for it! Here’s a thought… balance reality and dreams. You should go after that ambitious career. You should be surrounded by positive people. You should do that thing you’ve always wanted to do but never really had the guts for it. You might not have experience yet or perhaps you can’t really fit it in… but trust me, it’s worth blocking out some time and doing some research when the kids are asleep, during that lunch break from work or even in the endless hours in our dear TfL (for those that travel in London)!

If you are struggling for time, I feel you brother/sister! I’m the person that takes a million years to plan and then, when it’s all lovely, organised and colour-coded, I’m happy… until I miss the first task and everything comes crashing down! Same kind of thing for motivation, it’s all great until things don’t go according to plan (either that or I start procrastinating just because I can!).

So, I use lists. My recommendation is to make a list of priorities, things you want from life (with the things you want to achieve first at the top). It may sound a bit daunting and overwhelming but you don’t need to achieve everything right now – and you can certainly change course anytime! Then take one a time and break it down, find manageable tasks you can complete and the time to do it without interruptions. Once I started doing this, my productivity shot up! When I’m at work, I’m focused on work only and I use lunch breaks and commuting time to get other bits done. I do the same at home, using my son’s nap time or the time he’s with my husband (so I can give all my attention to the task at hand). That also means that I can be completely in the zone during my 1-to-1 time with the little one – and all this means exactly what I want it to mean: less stress!

My other suggestion (more like a gentle demand) is: push yourself but also allow yourself the chance to not always get it right! “I have items to photograph today but it’s raining cats and dogs so no natural light then!” or “I was meant to go through 30 things after work but I’m so tired!”… Perfect examples of things that happen to me on a regular basis. I’m learning to tell myself “it’s ok”, because I don’t want to waste time – or headspace – stressing. That time could be put to better use by planning for an alternative – of course, after I have that evening off because I’m so tired from work 🙂 I had a very interesting conversation with my sister yesterday on something that ties up with this quite nicely, I think. It’s essential to take the time to get to know yourself. You will slowly start to identify triggers for specific moods, for example, which will in turn give you a bit more control of your feelings. At the same time, you will be learning to have more realistic expectations of yourself… you are, after all, human!

So you hang in there, keep fighting and forgive yourself. And if this fails… go back to basics (some more wise words I heard yesterday) and when you feel ready, re-start.

See you next time!

Commitment to change contract

Hi!

Completely irrelevant introduction: I’m typing from Nero, using my beloved new companion Sophie Click, The Tablet (thank you husband for bringing her into my life, Charlotte and Flavia for your assistance in naming her and cheers, Sophie – may we share lots of adventures together!). Oh, how I missed this ❤

It’s been a while…

… we’ve been to Portugal for holidays (well, time off work, as I prefer to call it), had my son’s first birthday, his Christening and family over so I can say that it’s been busy. While we’ve had a lovely time, you do all this with a 1-year-old and you can be certain the word “routine” won’t be a part of his dictionary for a while – so we had a number of restless nights as a result.

But now that everything is going back to normal (i.e., Peanut is sleeping through the night and therefore husband and I are not in constant zombie mode), we’re turning to our daily lives again.

Remember I mentioned focusing on myself, having more time to exercise, blog and jewellery making? 😊 Yeah… all out the window! I had a few great chats with my brother-friend, as I like to call him, when he came over for Peanut’s Christening and these made me realise that, as much as I talk about having more time, focusing on myself and being positive and all that, there needs to be a major shift in my attitude as well!

So here I am, for the umptieth time, making a promise that I apply positive change in my family, work, and personal choices… and hoping this time I stick to it.
COMMITMENT TO CHANGE CONTRACT

I, Briana JF, hereby commit to:

  • Not neglecting my family due to over-tiredness or excessive chores, which is directly linked to:
  • Having enough hours of sleep at night, i.e.: not going to bed at stupid-o’clock;
  • Having some time to myself on a regular basis – whether it is for jewellery making, to read a book, watch crappy TV or spend some time with friends;
  • Getting out of my comfort zone – a colleague from work spoke to his students about the importance of them getting out of their comfort zone, into their stretch zone but not as far as their panic zone… yes please!
  • Using less emojis – I know this is a silly one but every time I type a sentence, I feel very tempted to use one Capture I. NEED. TO. STOP!
  • Using my phone more effectively – I spend way too much time playing Cooking Craze (you don’t have to say it… I know!); I need to spend more time talking to friends and family!

Life priorities

Stop. Rewind. Reassess. Filter.

First things first:

I.

WORK.

IN.

THE.

THIRD.

SECTOR.   (booyah!)

It’s been a long time coming but I finally feel I’m in the professional path I chose! My career has always been really important to me and I feel at the top of the world knowing my persistence paid off. Not only that, but Peanut is now 10 months old and yes, I’m always running around, but I’m managing both just fine (well, to be fair I’m working part-time and I wouldn’t be able to do it all if it wasn’t for hubby’s support).

Now I feel I have the whole job/baby thing kind of handled, I can work harder at separating the “must-dos” from the “I-could-use-my-time-better” choices. I had a few extras that I made the effort to remove from my life because I’m not really enjoying the constant feeling of having something to do. I think it’s time I consistently focus on my family and on my jewellery shop (whenever I have some time) and, as much as possible, on myself by going back to exercising, for example, or taking a step forward in socialising again. I also love writing so why not really revive my blogs?

On this topic, I was reading some old posts in my Jewellery Making blog earlier and I stumbled across a collab I made with my lovely friend and fellow blogger Charlotte, author of The House of Lotz, about this exact same topic – relaxing, rewarding one self and focusing on what’s important. It’s a bit scary to realise that, a few years later, I’m having to do the same thinking exercise; I guess it goes to show how easy it is to fall back into a vicious cycle of surviving rather than living (ok, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic!).

My point is, you might find yourself having to take a step back as new habits form and new challenges arise but persist, things really do have a way of falling into place, but I think a bit of self-analysis helps the process 🙂

So here we go, time to focus on my career, my family and my outside-work-passions… and time to, well, take the time to enjoy it all!

Briana xxx

The Graduate!

Almost 3 months have gone by, and boy, is time flying?!

Who’d say that being on maternity leave could be such a constant running around, hey?

Peanut is now 8 months old and getting a pro at crawling, standing up and making my heart skip a beat. I feel that I can’t focus on any task at hand unless he’s in his activity centre (from where he can’t get out), sleeping or with his daddy. Lucky for him (and me), his cuteness really does make up for all of this 😉

But onto Charity Apprentice… I finished! I officially finished!!! Against all odds, I completed the course, after doing a lot of work and raising £903 with my events. I cannot begin to describe how capable of taking on the world I feel as a result!

And once again, I can only say thanks a hundred times over to Child.org for the support they gave me… And the best of luck to the 2018 Apprentices, you’ll have an absolute blast!

What happens to my blog now? So I’m not a Charity Apprentice anymore… also, my biggest New Year resolution was to not bite more than I can chew, which goes against my instincts! But I really enjoy writing and I would love to keep sharing my stories, with no deadlines pressure. So, here I am, reintroducing my blog, which is about my journey at, well, life!

Let’s see what’s in store for me next, I look forward to it, whatever it is!

Love,

Briana, the no-longer-Charity-Apprentice.

xx

Last effort…

Mixed feelings! Not that I feel much yet… I just haven’t had the time for it, now that I’m on it full steam!

The course ends this week and I have my event on Saturday! With a consistently full schedule (between taking care of Peanut, getting ready for Christmas and catching up on the coursework), I didn’t notice time flying by.

I’m glad to be reaching the end as this was hard work but at the same time, I wish there was more Charity Apprentice past December.

A final post is coming after the craziness of my last-minute-everything. As for now… I’ll keep up the hard work just for a little longer, after which Peanut and hubby will probably spend a “boys-day” together while I sleep it all off 🙂

Thank you, little one… Now let’s keep on working!

Wow, not even I know where all this is coming from!! I think I might have to thank the little one… Is it weird that I really want to set a good example now, when he’s too young to have a clue and he’s too busy trying to sit up? 🙂

The fact is, I’ve been working non-stop – I suspect to prove it to myself that yes, I can do it all!

I’ve been breezing through the Charity Apprentice tasks and had my event almost organised… Almost! Until all the venues I contacted confirmed they have a set list of charities they work with and they have to stick to that. I’m getting a bit worried because of deadlines, but I’ll get there (hopefully!). I’ve contacted a few more venues and here’s to hoping (can’t stop now!). In the meantime I will keep on going until the course ends on the 15th December. With all this constant rush while I also take care of Peanut, I’ve wondered… what am I supposed to do between then and the end of my Maternity leave? 🙂

Let’s do it (again)!

I was this close (my thumb and index are squashed together to illustrate this!) to quit! It eventually got too much and I ended up emailing Child.org to let them know I was about to give up. What did they do? They offered me support with my time management (for which I’m forever grateful). They also did it in a way that highlighted the positive things I’ve done for the course so far which was a HUGE boost to my completely shattered confidence… exactly what I needed!

So now I’m giving back to them by giving it my all for the last stretch of the course. After a couple of feeds and nappy changes overnight, I managed to get myself to the library for a few hours on Saturday while hubby had father-and-son time with the little one. Noah has been contributing in his own little cute way as well by being a really good boy 🙂 And remembering to focus on me also helped so I’m writing this blog post from the hairdresser while I’m waiting for the hair colour to kick-in (good old multi-tasking :p). Even my sleep deprivation’s effects seem to be easing (not that I’m sleeping more)!

Things are looking up and it pumps me to keep going. Hopefully my next post will be to say I’m close to the finish line!

 

*Applications are open for Charity Apprentice 2018. Please check it out here, I thoroughly recommend it!

Panic time vs. Baby steps

Wow, back after months (it feels like it’s been a lot longer sometimes, other times it feels like it was yesterday!).

My little one is out and already 3 months old (my pride and joy!). So I’ve been in a cycle of learning how to balance being his mum and still myself – Not easy but definitely a learning curve. And since we’re at it, huge shout out to all the moms out there, now I’m starting to understand how hard and simultaneously gratifying motherhood is!

Now, if we talk business, I’m soooooooooooo behind with my Charity Apprentice coursework that there are (many) times that make me think: “let’s take the easy way out, I’m giving up”. But at the same time I think about how I had so much fun and learned so much in the first few months of the course.

I’ve been trying desperately to not give up, or at least not until I know I tried everything in my power to succeed. At the same time, I really don’t want to let people down at Child.org, knowing they gave me the opportunity to do this course and they could have chosen someone else for my place.

So yes, a delay of 7 months is no joke and it’s next to impossible to catch-up on time but I have to try… let’s see how that goes…

Late!

I’ve been not only gone from WordPress and blogging but also from Charity Apprentice. Between the pregnancy, a challenging house move and work demands, time has flown by! We are heading to the end of May and, boy, am I late – still have a couple of Charity Apprentice March tasks to do, April’s and May’s! I have temporarily stepped away from the course and plan to come back rested and stronger (hopefully!).

So what’s happening right now? I just went off on my Maternity leave, I’m getting into my last month of pregnancy and almost there with my house move!

Where does this leave me with Charity Apprentice? Not quite where I want to be yet, but able to plan… positive news! You may remember that I mentioned my fundraising challenge, which I decided to cut short a little earlier than initially planned as part of plan B. Thankfully, I still had a good result, mainly thanks to my main fundraiser, the hubby, who delivered an amazing event with me being a part of it! (More to come in a post coming soon 😉 ).

For now, I will start the slow catch-up and will hopefully pick things up as I go along, as I intend to do as much as possible before the little one arrives (who knows when I will have the chance to go back to it once Peanut is around!).

You’ll hear from me soon! 🙂