Jauary Challenge Update: Meditation and Mindfulness

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Remember that thing I said I’d do where I’d try meditation for 30 days – still doing it! But I do confess, I missed a day! However, only the one which means I’m currently on Day 16 of the current pack I’m working through, thanks to the guided meditation app Headspace. What I’m actually doing is probably more likely described as Mindfulness, essentially quiet time focusing on the breath.

Most days I go for the minimum 10 minute sessions, occassionally 15 minutes. I tried 20 minutes but that was pushing it! But when I’m further towards the end I might give it another go. Meditation is definitely something that takes practice, and it takes a little while to stop feeling ‘silly’, but once you overcome that I can definitely see the benefits.

If you’re new to meditation and want to give it a go I can recommend the basics pack on Headspace, which you can access for free by downloading it. These are introductions to meditation/mindfulness and you can adjust the length of your session to as little as 3 minutes if sitting for long periods intimidates you. When you’ve completed the basics pack you can try out the first session of some of the paid for packs, which include focuses from all parts of life – from mental health to work life or relationships.

So, having completed 16 days what am I learning? Mainly that taking 10minutes in silence (with some guidance!) is really, really nice. Life moves really quickly for all of us, always onto the next thing before we’ve finished the thing before. Scheduling into your day time for yourself to just sit is really relaxing. And although the idea is to clear the mind and focus on breathing there’s a benefit also to seeing what’s on my mind. The pack I’m currently working through uses noting to try and recognise a thought or feeling and ‘note’ it before going back to focusing on the breath. You can see the video animation for noting by clicking here. It’s really clear when there’s something on my mind because it’ll keep coming back to me during the session, or thoughts around the same ‘topic’. When I finish the session I know that XYZ needs dealing with or thinking about and then I can continue with my day. It is the constant to-do list conversation with myself that is my biggest distraction in finidng quiet time. But, as I said, meditation is definitely a skill tha needs practicing , so there’s no use beating myself up over it.

I can’t say this experience is likely to make me meditate daily for life, but I will certainly see out the rest of the month and I can also see why so many people take up this, or similar, practices.

I’ll see you all at 30 days!

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Meditation and mindfulness

As mentioned in my previous blog post, one of the things I’d like to do this year is some more of the 30 day challenges that I’ve dabbled with in the past. In order to get the new year off to a calming and relaxing start I have subscribed, for one month, to Headspace a guided meditation and mindfulness app to see how much meditation or mindfulness could impact on my daily life.

I’m not sure about you, but when I hear ‘meditation’ the picture that springs in my mind is a buddhist monk sat cross-legged, possibly on top of a mountain for hours on end. And although meditation is an important part of the Buddhist religion, it really isn’t much more than allowing yourself time and space in quiet. And I’m good at being quiet!

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In fact, the Headspace app promises me a ‘happier and healthier life’ by using their guided meditations – so what is there to worry about? And although meditation isn’t a word that is often associated with Christianity, it’s not all that far off a quiet time of prayer, that Jesus encouraged us to do in quietness and solitude.

I am not unfamiliar with Headspace, I have worked my way through the free Basics pack on two occasions (a year or so apart) but not with much regularity – doing a bit and then leaving it a fews days (or weeks) and doing a bit more. I can tell you, if mediation is something you haven’t done before the initial reaction it is “I feel totally ridiculous”. I’d encourage you to stick with it because there is benefit in taking time away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, even for just 5 minutes to yourself.

Bye 2017!

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Where have I been? Where did I go? Blogging in 2017 was going so well…

Well friends – hi! First, sorry for the silence. If I was to stick to a hobby consistently for more than 6 months then that would be the true indication that something was wrong! But I did miss this little corner of the internet.

In truth, it’s simply been a busy few months – but with nothing exciting to share with you all. I have been getting stressed and worried about a few things and I didn’t want to bring that into this space, so the blog went off for a short while. And although not a great deal has changed I did want to make sure I saw out 2017 with a short post.

THANK YOU to everyone that has kept up with this blog over the year. I enjoy writing, but if someone reads it that’s just a bonus really – so thank you so much. This has been the most blogged year for me, with this being the 33rd blog in the bag, not including the opportunity I had to blog for Break A Leg earlier on in the year. Being given the opportunity to blog for someone elses website is a true honour that I am very grateful for.

Climbing Snowdon has definitely been one of the best but most exhausting things of the year and an experience I won’t forget (still getting over that beautiful view!). Hubby is already asking which mountain are we going up this year. I’ll be honest – I’m not sure if my knees will manage another one! Twinning this with the opportunity to be a bridesmaid for a friend made for an all-round excellent start to the summer.

Another highlight (also at the beginning of summer) was working towards improving my fitness and managing to complete a 5k run using the majority of the C25k training plan. My only regret is that I didn’t keep going, but perhaps that’s one for next year and you might see a 10k out of me. Nonetheless, running an organised race this year would be fantastic, and joining Park Run perhaps for those Saturday’s when I’m not at work.

The challenge I set myself earlier in the year was Going a Month Without Social Media . This was fantastic, and I’d recommend it to anyone who spends a prolonged amount of time scrolling. But did it dramatically alter my life? Well, no. But I don’t have those little annoying red bubbles anymore on any of my social media apps, and beyond Facebook Messenger and emails I have no notifications from my apps either so that I don’t find myself accidentally falling into Social Media. 30 day challenges are definitely something I want to do more of, and I’m hoping to do more of them in 2018 – both removing things and trying new things for a month. If you have any you think would do me good let me know, I’d love some ideas!

Anyway, as I said, thank you for reading along this year. I hope you all had a lovely Christmastime whatever you got upto and I wish all a very happy New Year 🙂

 

Blogger Recognition Award

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Evening all! I wanted to share with you all that my blog was nominated for a ‘Blogger Recognition Award’ – an award that is given by other bloggers to recognise the work that goes into writing and maintaining a blog. A huge thank you to Helen at Break A Leg for nominating me. It’s a great honour to receive a nomination from a ‘proper blog’. She also occassionally lets me write for her!

 

So without further ado…

 

Rules for accepting this Award:

Take the time to thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

  1. Write a post to show your award
  2. Give a brief story about how your blog started
  3. Give pieces of advice to new bloggers
  4. Select 10-15 new bloggers you want to nominate
  5. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them, provide the link to the post you created.

 

How IneptRamblings Started

IneptRamblings started in 2012, although my first post wasn’t actually until 2013. In all honesty I can’t remember precisely why it started, but I can say that I’ve always liked writing and I was no stranger to sites such as LiveJournal in my younger days where I kept a private blog. I find writing therapeutic and generally good fun. The blog got it’s name purely because I knew it would be ramblings that wouldn’t necessarily have a subject – just thoughts that popped into my head. Inept because I knew topic were likely to be clumsy and haphazard, and I have no specialist interest in anything or pretend to be an expert.

Since starting the blog I’ve taken it on a little journey of subjects ranging from personal challenges, Christianity and faith and generally opening myself up to discussing anything that pops into my head at any given time. I would like to thank EVERYONE that stops by and reads it and visits it – it’s really humbling that people take the opportunity to read my ramblings.

 

Advice to New Bloggers

  1. Find a platform you’re happy with, you might be spending a lot of time writing or editing so once you get going you want to know it can do everything you want it to do (I highly recommend WordPress obviously!)
  2. Write about what you want to write about – don’t write about something just because it seems like everyone else is doing it, and don’t be afraid to write about things that you care about but that others don’t seem to.
  3. Write for yourself because if you write to gain ‘followers’ then you’ll lose the real joy of it.

 

Nominations

*drumroll*

In the spirit of being honest I’m going to recommend 6 blogs that I actively seek out to read and not the full 10 as recommended:

  1. An Addicted Journey – Ros writes about situations in her life and offers insightful thoughts that won’t fail to inspire you and make you think.
  2. CaaryssBeth – A blog not dissimilar from my own, CaryssBeth takes her own thoughts on life and shares them with her audience on a range of different subjects. An enjoyable read.
  3. Elizabeth – Lizzi shares about experiences in her life and how she’s coped and dealt with them and passionately encourages her readers to stand up for themselves and others in difficult situations.
  4. The River Walk – A blog that gives you daily encouragement based on Biblical scripture.
  5. Catherine Press – A must-read blog for anyone that’s trying to take up running as it follows Catherine’s progress through her running training.
  6. TV and Movie Scene – Sister blog to Break A Leg, this blog contains TV and Movie reviews from comedy to series dramas.

 

You should absolutely check the blogs out above because they are all fantastic.

Trust Me, Series One, Episode Three ~ Review

Theatre & Music

Another episode of Trust Me has been and gone, so it’s over to resident Guest Blogger, Chloe Buckles to fill us in on the latest instalment!

The penultimate episode of this series didn’t disappoint! But if you’re of a nervous disposition you may want to look away now because this episode gave us emotional heartbreak, plenty of blood and yet more unanswered questions!

Having done his research now into ‘Dr Ally’/Cath Hardacre (Jodie Whittaker), Andy Brenner (Emun Elliot) is quick to realise that his new girlfriend is not all she seems to be. After a frosty shift together, which gets everyone suspicious given that Cath has just lost her father, Andy invites Cath to a secluded and somewhat bleak part of the Scottish countryside where he finally calls her out on her identity deception. The biggest surprise here was that although he is obviously angry at what Cath has been…

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The good, the bad and the plain rude of looking younger than you are

“So, now that you’ve finished school – what are your plans? What’s the next move? What are you studying or going to do in your future?”

“My future is now, lady. I’m in it. This is it.”

 

Age. It’s a funny thing. And whilst, for the majority of the time it’s not something we pay much attention to as adults, when you look younger than your age you’re probably forced to think about it more than the average person walking down the street. Here I thought I’d share with you some typical age-related stories for you to enjoy, because these are the sorts of things I come across daily.

 

Tickets please

Now, I’m an honest person. If the man on the bus asks me if I need a child’s or an adults ticket I will tell him I need an adults ticket, because I don’t want to lie about these things. But, if he’s going to assume I’m a child and charge me a child’s price – I’m totally fine with that too. It’d be too much hassle for him to process any other transaction, right?

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“NO WAY!”

I think my favourite thing comes down to good old British politeness. If I meet someone and they don’t know how old I am the conversation might progress enough that they start to wonder. I can see their minds whirring “I’m talking to this 14 year old, but she’s married, and has a proper job, and is talking like an adult – how old is she?” A number of times someone has stopped the conversation and gone “so, how old ARE you?” and this is a pro purely because I must at least sound and act like an adult on occasion. I really enjoy the response which is often “NO WAY!” Yes way. Why would I lie to you?

 

Do you have any ID on you?

And now we move onto the good old fashioned ID’ing saga. Now, I work in retail and ID people every day. I know how hard it is to judge someone’s age. I also know that if you look young it’s a really good idea to carry ID with you wherever you go because no-one’s going to sell you the alcohol without it. As a retail worker, if this is your job, I have total respect for you and this part of the job. It’s not nice, and it’s usually the start of a barage of abuse from angry customers who didn’t bring their ID. But, please, if you ID someone who looks younger than they are please refrain from looking up and down from the ID several times and going “Wow! You really do look very young.” I know you’re embarrassed you asked me because you feel like you should have known – but feel free to just give it back to me and smile. I don’t need you to mention it. Again. Because someone probably reminded me yesterday.

 

Are your parents home?

Possibly one of my favourite moments was when one of those really annoying door-to-door salesmen (hereby known as X) paid me a visit one day. I think he was hoping to sell me some double-glazing. I never found out because he realised he was losing from the very moment he first opened his mouth.

C: Hi

X: Hi. Are your parents in?

C: Err…no.

X: Is there an adult at home?

C: I’m an adult.

X: Oh right, sorry. Can I talk to the homeowner?

C: Yes… That’s me.

X: No, I mean the one who pays the bills.

C: Still me.

X: Really? But you don’t look old enough. Do you own this house?

C: Yes…

X: Oh. Wow! That’s amazing. Wow! You look very young…

C: …

X: I don’t think I’ve got off to a good start, have I? Should I go?

C: I think that would be best.

Having said that he’s possibly one of my favourite door-to-door salesmen for recognising he’d got it so wrong. Wherever you are X – thank you for leaving so promptly.

Similary I enjoy not being hassled in the street to change my mortgage, discuss my finances or give to charity. I can’t make these decisions without parental consent, so bonus for me! I’ll just wander along to the next sweet shop.

 

Work life

A lot of people say it can be difficult to gain respect in the workplace when you’re young (or look young), but I do think if you’re surrounded by decent people then beyond your first day that isn’t a majorly big deal – when they see you know what you’re doing they forget what you look like and treat you as one of the team. However, in a customer orientated job there are expectations from the customers. Like that the person that’s going to be dealing with their query isn’t going to be the kid on work experience. That’s fine, but let me see if I can solve your problem first before you start to judge me based on my baby face.

 

School student

Last year a lady started to talk to me whilst we were walking up the street (it was one of those awkward moments where we’d half got talking because someone had stopped us both at once for directions and we happened to be walking exactly the same way). She was chatty and I’m sure she meant well. A retired teacher, she was very interested with my education (which has long since been and gone) and my impending results. The assumption that I had just completed my GCSEs (she very specifically had assumed I was 16, but there we go). When I had explained and set her straight that I had finished school, and I was not currently at college as was her next assumption I was very clearly on a gap year. By the time we’d reached the end of the street she’d decided I was on said gap year (she was a talkative sort, not really leaving any room for correction) and heading off to university after the summer. Alas, it was not to be so and I had great joy telling her that I was heading in another direction to her and that I was, indeed, on some sort of ‘gap decade’ if that was the case.

 

Life choice judgement

Discussing with a friend of mine (who also looks young for her age) she mentioned that, as she has a child, that she finds looking young to bring out the most judgemental people. With a young son there is an assumption that she has had him very young as a teenager. Not only is she not a teenager, but if she had done – would that be their judgement to make on whether that was right or wrong in her life?

In a similar vein I might sometimes drop into a conversation that I am married, hoping that will age me without me writing “I’m 27” on my forehead. The common response tends to be “but you’re too young to be married”. I could have chosen to marry at 16 if I so wished – why is that something you need an opinion on?

Our lives, our choices.

 

“One day you’ll be very grateful that you look so young”

This may well be the case, and when I’m 90 and finally looking 30 I’ll be back here letting you know how that feels when no-ones giving up their bus seat for me and I can’t get into places and a concessionary OAP rate. See you then! Meanwhile, enjoy this photo of me in the future turning 50!

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Trust Me, Series One, Episode One ~ Review *** GUEST BLOG ***

Another BBC drama series…. and another TV review for Break A Leg.

Theatre & Music

Chloe Buckles, a member of Team Break A Leg has very kindly offered to review the new series on BBC One, ‘Trust Me’. We love a guest blog from Chloe, so here she is to tell you all about the show which stars the new Doctor-to-be.

Lovely Chloe, who is one of our treasured Guest Bloggers

With Tuesday nights rapidly becoming a prime time for the BBC to show it’s latest mini drama series, plus the added surge of interest in actress Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor Who, Trust Me is, in my opinion, a piece of ‘must-watch’ TV. And this first episode of the series didn’t disappoint…

So, Who is the Doctor here? Well, one thing’s for sure, Cath Hardacre (Jodie Whittaker) is not. When we first meet her she’s a capable and caring nurse, frustrated by how the system is letting not only her, but more importantly…

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