Books 2016 Part 1

When I wasn’t outside playing as a kid, my nose buried in a book. Which my Mum loved and was puzzled by. I read so much my spelling should have been amazing. It’s not and it wasn’t until my mid teens my parents realised I’m mildly dyslexic. No one ever told me and it was until P said something I thought maybe. Recently I mentioned it to my Mum and she said when they realised, it was too late. That’s why I hardly use ‘big’ words and my Spanish pronunciation isn’t what it should. I joke and it’s true I can’t pronounce words in my own language which usually lets me off a little. It doesn’t affect my day to day life much, I’ve learnt to work around it and play I’m learning Spanish. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the past few years I confess I haven’t read many books since Apple released the iPhone. Internet at my Continue reading “Books 2016 Part 1”

Parc de la Ciutadella, Moonrise and Cat Nip Dealing

Oh Monday’s.

I’m gradually beginning to run rings around you. Not you running rings around me!

I hope you had a great weekend! No snow blizzard here, or rain the UK keeps getting. Just another groundhog weekend. More KonMari Method decluttering, home workouts curtesy of Tone It Up, long run Sunday and the zoo. No idea how I made the zoo in time. I got back from my run at 15.47, showered, made a smoothie, threw my face on and got there at 16.59. 1 minute before the gates closed. The wind wasn’t even in my favour as I sprint cycled there! Legs of steel baby, legs of steel!

I did do something a little different Friday. I had an item to return and choose La Maquinista centre commercial (shopping centre/mall) instead of heading into the centre. Like in the centre on Wednesdays when it’s football season and Barça’s playing it’s relativity quiet on Fridays. Less queues at both the tills and changing rooms! Next season items are starting to appear and it was fun for a little while trying them on. Plus finding my size! Has anyone else noticed that shops now hardly restock clothes or popular lines? It’s like clothes are fast food, fast fashion. I remember if a shop didn’t have your size, there’d be another delivery within a week. Now, it’s snap it up or miss out (or if it’s a Zara or H&M item you can’t live without, troll the other 5 Zara’s and H&M’s all in the centre, within 10 minutes walking distance of each other.). I’m not sure if this is just in Europe but I’ve noticed that in both France and Spain especially dry goods, if they’ve sold out, try next week. In the UK it’s try tomorrow! I get told try online, but if I wanted it that badly and checked, it’s sold out!

Shopping and trying on clothes isn’t the different thing, the different thing is I ate out. What?! I don’t eat out often as it’s tricky being a vegan. It’s either vegan restaurants who try to be different with the concept not always hitting it, veggie burgers or Asian restaurants. I opted for a wok, but it wasn’t the same as previous times I’ve eaten there. It was like they put no care in it and my favourite, spring rolls dry. I don’t write about food much as I leave it to those in the know, but I think next time I’ll go for MacDonalds fries, peppermint tea and pineapple chunks as a get me home snack! They’ll probably sit better too.

I’ll leave you with photos from the weekend! Have a great week!


Bike ride, Parc Ciutadella Sunset Parc Ciutadella

Sunset over the boating lake Sunset Parc Ciutadella PARAKEETS! I love their cheeky personalities! Whenever I hear them chatter away it always brings a smile. Parakeets, Parc Ciutadella Parakeets, Parc Ciutadella Parakeets, Parc Ciutadella Peeking through the gates of Parliament of Catalunya’s LibraryBiblioteca, Parliament de Catalunya Last light Sunset, Barcelona Sunset Barcelona 1 day until full moon moon rise 1 day until full moon moon rise. Waxing moonLast light reflected on wavesCat snugglesCat snuggles Working out under Mr Aj’s watchful eyeMr AJ, PTSorting out the cats cupboard and feeling like a cat nip dealer Diesel and catnip


14km run up the coast and the only time the sun shone. Rest of the day grey skiesSunday 14k runPatas monkey, Barcelona ZooPatas Monkey, Barcelona ZooShifty looking seagullShifty seagullThose eyelashes!Gazelle, eyelashes and then some, Barcelona ZooI have a thing for tropical leaves. There’s something about them. I’ve no idea the name this plant and it’s pink flowers, which have sprung up recently brightened up an otherwise grey day.Springs coming!No idea the name of these either, but they added colour cycling Friday!Purple winter flowers


Things I’m Discovering Decluttering

Decluttering again. Yep! I’m about 1/2 way decluttering my belongings via the KonMari method (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, Marie Kondo). In a nutshell you go through your belongings seeing if they spark joy in a certain order.

I first read about the KonMari Method from Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers. The title jumped out at me, I was intrigued enough to buy the book and I’m glad I did. Many of Marie Kondo’s clients after putting their belongings and house clutter free discover their calling so to speak. Clients have switched careers, found happiness, gained confidence in themselves, experienced increased fortune.

You start with a vision of how you’d like you home, lifestyle etc to be. One thing in my vision was to feel free. So many times I feel the apartment and previous apartments have dragged me down with constant cleaning and a feeling of crowded thoughts. I don’t want to spend my life cleaning! So I’d though it’ll be fun to share what I’ve ‘discovered’ far:

My handwriting’s messy. I’m making a conscious effort to tidy it up or at least make it more readable.

My signature, WTF. I’m embarrassed now every time I sign it. I did some Goggling on what your signature says about you. Maybe that was how I was, not who I am now. I’ve been playing with changing it. I even signed a receipt with a new style (few shops check now thanks to chip and pin). I felt a slight flutter of rebellion as I wrote not scribbled away like usual. I read up on changing your signature and it’s fine to. Just have to inform banks, etc.

I can see at a glance everything in my wardrobe. This hasn’t happened since I don’t know when.KonMari Method Wardrobe

Pockets of space are opening up. I can feel energy air flow changing. My mind’s beginning to feel calmer. Still crazy thoughts running around, it’s not as chaotic or claustrophobic up in there.

When she says you have all the storage you need, you do. I got a few larger cardboard storage boxes for my clothes and a couple of smaller boxes for my cosmetics, but I’m finding the more I tidy the more storage boxes I have free.

I found the correct lead for the external hard drive after using a substitute for 3 years.

Anything can become anything. Old bags you can’t throw away as they bring too much joy, they can be used as a dust cover for electric fans in the summer (idea taken from her 2nd book Spark Joy) Jewellery boxes become storage boxes. Shoe boxes rule.Cosmetic drawer

Vertical always stores better than horizontal.

Marie Kondo speak’s my language. I was 2 chapters in her 1st book and couldn’t wait to starting tidying. I like her no nonsense take on dealing with tidying as dealing with life.

It’s contagious and it’s addictive. P when he was here over Christmas and New Year, sorted out all his belongings. Once an area or category’s been sorted out, the only way to describe the feeling is an organisers high. A buzz of excitement.

The amount of stuff I’ve accumulated and actually need. I’m throwing out as nearly as much items as moving. I’ve moved 4 times in the past 5 years (I’m not counting 2016 it’s just begun and it as it makes me feel old realising that 2011 while it feels like yesterday, it was 5 years ago. Free wifi was in it’s infancy). Each time throwing out more and more. I’m recycling, donating just as much yet unlike previous times I don’t feel I’m keeping things because that’s what you do. One thing I love about travelling is how few items I take *cough* with me. I’ve always wanted to have a huge guilt free clear out, I just didn’t know how. The KonMari Method’s is my opportunity to.

Embarrassed by how much I have. How can 1 person have so many things!

I’m putting things away and dealing nagging to do list items, phone calls, emails etc sooner. I’m not leaving them laying around for later which only sparks feeling claustrophobic, crawling in head feeling to put them away/do. It’s easier to deal with my gym bag and bags straight away after getting in (or after feeding the cats to avoid protests). Most nights. There are still the occasional nights, bags wait until later.

From this: Stationery items and last electrical items. Stationary and electrical sort out

To this: Pens awaiting allocated storage space. I’m finding that as I go along and especially after reading Spark Joy, I’m reediting categories done. As for the marbles. They make a great DIY foot spa. Place them in a bucket, large plastic bowl with shower or bath gel, warm water and wiggle your feet over them! They should go in the bathroom, but they’ve always seemed to live in ‘stationery’ for some reason. Stationery sorted

Stationery after

I’m beginning to treat the vacuum cleaner with more respect. It’s not an item or chore that brings joy. Vacuuming I only like when it’s done but we get along better now I appreciate the vacuum cleaner more. It doesn’t bump wall corners or the lead getting caught under doors as much.

I don’t feel silly saying thank you to items I’m throwing out. Knowing that gifts, items I purchased but not used, yet feel guilty for not using I’m not just carelessly discarding. I get it’s a physiological thing (maybe not as everything’s made of stardust and it’s all connected), but saying thank you, go make someone else happy, reinvent yourself makes it easier.

People who know me will laugh at this. That it some way I’ve always been drawn to tidy, the Japanese way of orderly lines. I’m not sure if this is you do what your parents do. My Mum’s hoarder. She’ll never admit it, but she keeps everything and yet she’ll make comments. You kinda follow your parents. When I’ve done clear outs with her growing up, it was always, you might need this, keep that, but you it suits you so well, things I wanted to keep went out, you get the picture. I am noticing the more I tidy up, I’m looking like my mum or beginning to come out with her expressions. My Mum’s a great lady, but let’s just say there’s only 1 of my mother and that’s how I’d like to leave it. I’m not sure I’m thinking this way, because I’m tidying up, throwing out items I hear her saying, keep it and it’s my counselling. Maybe it’s me unconsciously consciously not being like her. We all have odd families. Going back to the Japanese orderly lines, I guess I’m drawn to it as it feels minimum, less crowded. Complete opposite of what I’m used to. Like being outdoors with a vast open sky.

Does anyone still use paperclips?Spark Joy, Marie KondoHave you sorted out your home KonMari Method style? What did you discover at the end? Did you feel silly saying thank you to items no longer sparking joy or saying hi to your house?



Fitness, Cats and Everything Inbetween

Apologies if you read the Weekend Friday Favourites that wasn’t this past weekend. I spend the whole weekend continuing the KonMari Method decluttering tidying marathon that by the time I went to write it, it was the wee hours of Monday morning. I ain’t clever enough to come up with a Monday title. Neither am I to shorten sentences. Spark Joy, Marie Kondo

I haven’t been able to continue with the tidying marathon as much as I’d like to have the past few weeks so I took advantage of an errand less weekend. I sorted out the last of electrical items minus those in the kitchen (at a glance most of them are used. I know this is a deviation from the ‘rules’. The kitchen I’ll work in sub categories), all the stationery items, the linen, towels, blankets and going over previous categories that didn’t seem to click. Friday, Marie Kondo’s 2nd book, Spark Joy arrived (Amazon) and oh my. The cover’s beautiful, with an old fashioned elastic bookmark that has me smiling and answers questions raised from the 1st book, such as grey zone items, it might come in handy items, feeling like quitting. It’s filled with quirky how store illustrations that serves as a tidying encyclopaedia. While I had been folding my clothes correctly, I hadn’t stored them correctly. As soon as I’d finished sorting and storing the blankets I swear the apartment suddenly felt bigger and airy. It’s easy to see why she describes it as a once in a lifetime tidying marathon. A few corners are filled with storage boxes, a box of unsure items (which answers the joy question), items in temporary storage places. It can take all day, but it’s like Pringles, once you start you can’t stop. When it feels right, it clicks. Spark Joy, Marie Kondo

Anyways I hope you had a great weekend. In-between tidying, I did a couple of Tone It Up workouts, picking up a few new exercises, sandwiched with 30 Spartan Race burpees, a night bike ride as I realised it was 9pm and I hadn’t been out all day and a run Sunday. My hamstring’s feeling better for easing into longer runs. I stopped for monkey bars and muscles ups, progressing to the bar that’s about nose height! I’m still jump starting muscles ups, but they’re becoming smoother. Or at for me at least. Stupidity before leaving I didn’t listen to the voice that said wear gloves. I’ve been saying it’s cold for a while, but it’s really for here set in and it’s non stop windy. I wore a long sleeved running top with thumb holes (no thumbs holes, no good) but they weren’t enough to stop the wind, cold and sweat from chapping my hands. Result cracked sandpaper hands.

Hadn’t ran the pier in a while thanks to foot traffic. Cold weather = less foot traffic!Sunday Run view

Windy winter skies
Turbulent cloudsTurbulent clouds

I saw this fishing wire coming back. Thinking it’ll just be a small amount, 20 meters later I was still running and gathering wire. I think it was dropped accidentally, but it makes mad, that if I hadn’t have picked it up, what it could have done the the local environment. sunday run

I’m putting improved muscles ups down to improved pull ups. I surprised myself Thursday with 3 x 3, 4, 4! That might have had something to do with the physio putting everything back as it should earlier in the week. Never again do I intend to land on my bum/tail bone again. You have to swallow some pride if you see a physio about it. And laugh.

Like in the pet taxi coming back from the vets Thursday. A side effect of AJ’s chemo capsules’s diarrhoea. The 1st capsule, I had came back to sofa accidents. It’s getting better and he was in for a blood test to check his white blood cell level, which he aced! Back in 3 months unless he’s not doing well in a month. The vet when I took Diesel in a few weeks ago for his blood test, said that some cats are cool with the blood taking, others like Diesel need gas. Aj’s a cool cat, so doesn’t need an all day stay which I suspected but wasn’t sure. The vet asked if I wanted to see how the procedures done as Aj’s fine with it. I wanted to, but unfortunetly I couldn’t as I couldn’t take him back straight away afterwards. When booking I asked the receptionist if Aj need to stay all day but she didn’t know. The pet taxi had other trips, plus I’d already paid for the return trip in the afternoon and I wasn’t taking him on the metro, so he had a day at the vets. I warned them he’d had a capsule the day before and might have diarrhoea.

He did. In the pet taxi coming back. It stunk worse than cow’s poo. The poor boy was meowing at me to sort it out and there was nothing I could do until we got back. Well, there were 2 things I could do. Apologise, apologise and laugh. The pet taxi driver had me in stitches with all the windows rolled down, spritzing air freshener at the lights, chasing amber lights, saying for such a small animal he produces that much stink! Thankfully the driver had a great sense of humour. He joked after dropping us off, he’ll drive away spritzing air freshener! It was straight in the shower as he was a stinky mess. Water everywhere, dignity left somewhere in a pet taxi. Being the greatest cat mama that I am, I took photos. He looked so cute!

AJ bath time AJ Bath time AJ bath time

Come Saturday I’d been forgiven with cat snuggles. Only 1 bad scratch. If it had been Diesel, multiple scratches. He was a good little bruv not kicking him off sleeping spots too much. Honestly I think he was jealous. He has a fascination with water. After bathing AJ, he thoroughly checked out the bathroom. Actually giving him a shower I think he’d freak out. I swear the other day he dared me to turn the shower on. Some days he likes to sit in there bitting his nails. Other days he jumps in and out during his crazy 5 minutes running around and around. This particular day was one of his crazy 5 minutes. I swear he dared me with excited eyes to switch the shower on. His eyes widened, ears flattened, he kept looking at me, looking at the shower. He dared me, I took him up on it! He scampered with his tail high. I swear we were both laughing as I towelled him off. Who ever said cats are boring never lived with a cat. Their cupboard’s on the tidying, decluttering list this week. They’ll help me, but all they’ll be interested in is getting their paws on the cat nip.

Forgiven with cat winks, aka kisses AJDiesel bird watching and dreaming of mischiefDiesel bird watching Most memorable funny vet visit? Have a great week!