Happy Birthday To me

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Green Girl Gardener is a whole one year old today! Where has that year gone? I knew it was coming up because about a month ago my iPhone calendar reminded me to ‘cancel WordPress if not using’. I just swiped it away, and that made me happy because it meant I’d been successful in my venture.

After I published my first post, hubby turned all Del Boy and declared that ‘this time next year we’ll be millionaires!’ Well I haven’t been successful in that way  (not that the intention was ever for that to happen), and I don’t even have that many followers/regular readers, but it still feels like an eminently successful year to me because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of blogging. I’ve always been a closet writer (I still think there’s a novel in me somewhere) and this is a fabulous way for me to express myself creatively. It makes me happy to play with words, find the most amusing way to express myself, to conjugate to my heart’s content.

I think the blog has had its main focus on my gardening adventure, but I’ve also managed to bring other passions into it – crochet, cats, holidays, teddy bears, tennis. Hopefully I’ve provided some light entertainment on otherwise dreary days, and maybe I’ve even provided a little bit of education along the way (although probably not in gardening because I’m still right down the bottom of that particular learning curve).

I’ve found lots of fellow bloggers who blog on all sorts of subjects from crochet to mental health to cooking to travel, but most of all I’ve found fellow gardeners. Luckily (for me) most of them are far more experienced than yours truly and they’ve helped me identify mystery plants, they’ve offered tips and tricks either directly or through their own writing and they’ve opened my eyes to different kinds of gardening. I can honestly say that starting my little bloggy venture was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve complemented by space here with a Green Girl Gardener account on Instagram (@greengirlgardener if anyone’s interested) which allows me, when I don’t have time to blog, to share those random photos that I take when I pop out to check the garden before work, or when I spot a beautiful plant while I’m out and about or when I’ve created something scrummy with my own homegrown goodness.

I’m going to celebrate my first birthday by sharing some of my favourite photos from the past year.

I’ve tried to pick one photo from each month, but I’ve got so many photos that I love that I think I’m going to have to do another montage!

Above we have for July my Eupatorium (that had to be in there, didn’t it), Olive and Tink, our furry girls for August and my birthday planter for September. Then there’s the fox cushion I made for my mother in law in October and hubby and I in a cenote in Mexico during our November holiday. Next row shows my Hellebore flowering in December and my Christmas present greenhouse housing a hubby (a husband hut as my friend on Facebook quipped) in early January. Penultimate row is us with a friendly falcon in Malta in February and the Palace of Holyroodhouse during my trip to Edinburgh (which was also in February but I must’ve written my post in early March) and finally one of my raised beds all planted and netted in April, the iconic Universal globe on our fantastic holiday to Orlando in May and last but not least, the Confetti Fields that I visited in June.

Here we go again. Top row shows a Gazania which was the first sale table find that I blogged about back in July 2018 and an Eeyore house at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens which we discovered in August. Jump down a row to a wild pony in Sutton Park which we came across in September, I still remember how happy I was to have seen one because I was starting to think they were a myth, and my set of Clover hooks which revolutionised my crocheting life in October. Next up is a white feather in November which I think is my gardening expert Grandad popping down from heaven to check I’m not messing up the garden, followed by our yummy Christmas dinner in December, our furry girls keeping warm in January and me meeting my new baby niece in February. Fourth row shows a mountain of bears in March (that’s been added to since then!) and an elephant that I crocheted as a leaving gift for my boss when he retired in April so he doesn’t forget me and lastly a Gringotts vault at the Harry Potter studios in May and the start of my love affair with overnight oats as I started Slimming World in June.

It’s so nice to look back at these photos – yet another benefit to my blog. I also take more random photos when I get an inkling of an idea for a blog post and I find that quite often they evoke the strongest memories.

I’ll finish with a thank you. To all you lovely readers – friends, family, colleagues and fellow bloggers – thank you so much for reading, liking, commenting, complimenting and educating me for the last year. I really do appreciate it every time someone takes time out of their busy day to read my musings and ramblings, and I hope I can continue to entertain and perhaps amuse for a long time to come.

A weekly round up

Goodness me, this week has flown by! I had a big work event which took up most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday so, again, I had no time for blogging. Be reassured though, my little forum here is never far from the forefront of my mind, so I try to document events big and small ready for when I have a few moments to write.

I am really going to try to keep it to a few moments tonight because I’m desperately trying to finish a crochet project that needs to be gifted on Tuesday at another work event, happily a more relaxed affair this time. I’m sure I’ll have lots to report on next time about that. Needless to say, I’m not going to show you what I’m working on in case the recipient should read this in advance!

The week started with a very special delivery.

 

Yep, it’s another Eeyore! This isn’t just any old Eeyore though. He’s a limited edition Steiff Eeyore. He’s number four hundred and thirty six of only two thousand made. He’s sitting on our bed at the moment, but he’s mainly going to live in his box to avoid damaging him.

So, on to Tuesday and my work event. We had an evening event and meal with an overnight stay before our conference the next day. As well as being an Account Manager, I’m also responsible for Communications which means that I organise our events. This event needed less organisation than some but I had recommended and booked the hotel we used and had booked our evening event so I was keen for it to be a success.

The hotel was the Macdonald Burlington in the centre of Birmingham and I would definitely recommend it.

I opened the door to my room and actually stopped dead in the doorway. The room was huge! Really huge! Almost intimidatingly so.

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See that coffee table at the foot of the bed? Hmmm …. I didn’t when I got up to go to the loo at 4am! Ouch!

It was a little distance to our evening event and there was some debate over whether we would walk or grab a cab, but I’m so glad we walked because I’d forgotten some of the hidden charms of Brum.

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Our event was crazy golf with a difference. It’s called Ghetto Golf and as well as the Birmingham course, there’s one in Liverpool. It’s indoor, eighteen holes with various themes such as a bus, a Blockbusters video store and a skittle alley. The tunes are playing loud and it’s a licensed premises.

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We ate at a restaurant called Buffalo and Rye, which was in keeping with the tone of Ghetto Golf. I had Buttermilk Chicken Tacos with Asian Street Fries and it was amazing! We didn’t sit down to eat until nine o’clock and I was so hungry by then I completely forgot to take a photo!

The main event on Wednesday was somewhat exhausting, but it was a success all round. I had to talk about my product and I was keen to make the best impression that I could, which I think I managed reasonably well. Lots of people, I know, find speaking in front of a group difficult, and you would think that I would be one of those people, being an introvert and not the best at self promotion, but I’m actually pretty comfortable with it. Admittedly I spend a long time making sure I’m well prepared, but as someone who is naturally quiet, and who finds it difficult to push herself to the forefront, I enjoy being in a position where people have to listen to what I’ve got to say without me having to assert myself to get to that position.

Thursday passed by in a pretty exhausted, uneventful blur until I was about to collapse into bed when an unfortunate accident resulted in this.

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Good job I instinctively closed my eye, isn’t it? It was a feline related accident involving Tinkerbell jumping off the wardrobe aiming for my shoulder as usual, but me not realising she was jumping and turning to walk away resulting in a crash! I’m not sure which part of her hit me, but it felt like I’d been punched in the face. That cut isn’t the result of a claw, my skin split with the impact! It’s on the mend though, it looks a lot better today, and it doesn’t hurt anymore.

In garden news, my Sunflower seedlings have now got big enough that I can see them from our back bedroom.

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Can you see them? In the green pots just to the left of the ladybird. The seedlings are all coming along well.

 

I need to read up on what to do next! This is the first time I’ve grown anything from seed so I need to find out when I need to pot them on, and how to go about hardening them off before they go outside and how big they need to be before I can plant them out. I wonder if we’ve had the last frost yet?

My Eupatorium shoots are starting to look decidedly leaf-like.

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I’m still nervous about something trampling them so I’m leaving the dead wood there until the new shoots are big enough to look after themselves.

My Geum has quite a few new leaves and a couple of buds which look like they’re not far off starting to bloom.

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Bizarrely, it looks like the flower is going to be yellow. Bizarre only because last year I’m sure the flowers were bright orange! Maybe I’m mistaken, or maybe the colour will change.

There’s lots of colour appearing. I’ll share more once we’re further into the season, but here are a couple of spoilers!

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The top picture is our Pieris which we inherited with the house. It’s pretty spectacular now, but give it a fortnight or so and it’ll take your breath away.

The second pic is my wild flower. I still don’t know what it is, but I’m very intrigued now it’s got two different colour flowers! I can’t wait till all those little buds have opened.

Right, must get back to crocheting, so all that is left for me to do is to wish my husband a very happy birthday …..

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….. and apologise for the Peppa Pig wrapping paper!

Decluttering for my sanity

I had a really uneasy feeling when we got home from our trip to Malta.

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(I mentioned it, so I’m showing it!)

Anyway, uneasy, as if I’d forgotten to pay a bill, or missed a really important meeting, but I hadn’t forgotten anything so I couldn’t work out why I felt that way, or more importantly, how to stop it.

I still don’t know for certain what the problem was, but I think it’s to do with work. I was in my previous role for sixteen years so to say I was in my comfort zone is somewhat of an understatement. I could pick it up after a holiday without skipping a beat, and I could let myself linger in the holiday blues without it affecting my performance, but things are different now. I now have a lot more autonomy and a lot more responsibility and I can’t rest on my laurels. I’m still somewhere near the bottom of a steep learning curve, and I guess, when I’m away from it, subconsciously my brain worries about my return in case I’m revealed as an imposter Account Manager!

I’m back in the game now and had a good week, but my head was feeling cluttered. My Dad’s good friend has a saying which perfectly illustrates this feeling. She says that her shelves are full. Well, my shelves were bowing under the weight this week so I took action! I decluttered!

Yesterday I worked from home and I spent some time organising my email. I had a couple of furry helpers.

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I created sub folders and filed loads of emails away, I read all the unread items in my inbox and took any action required, and I cleared my deleted mails down. I get lots of emails relevant to my old role that I no longer need and lots of mails that just say ‘thanks’ or ‘ok’ that I preview in the reading pane and then delete without opening. This had led to a big blue ‘643’ next to the deleted folder which was just adding to the weight on my shelves. It was like those little blue dots you get under apps that you’ve updated – I can’t leave those there either, they just bother me. I went through and deleted my unread deleted.

After work I continued the decluttering. I was on a roll, and with every item of clothing I added to the charity shop bag and every piece of rubbish I put in the bin I felt lighter. I now have a black bag of clothes, shoes and bags and two piles of books to go to the charity shop and we took an entire boot full of rubbish to the tip.

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I went through pretty much every cupboard and drawer in the house and cleaned out all of our belongings which were surplus to requirements. I was pretty ruthless – I felt the need to be.

I have an empty washing basket, a non existent ironing pile, a rearranged kitchen which looks much neater and I’ve finally hung up the quilt that my Mum made us for Christmas.

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Isn’t it amazing!

And I have space on my bookcase for my patiently waiting Little Boxes of Crochet.

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Speaking of crochet, I have finished the baby blanket that I’ve been working on for my new baby niece, Emmeline, and just in the nick of time because we’re meeting her for the first time tomorrow afternoon.

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I’m taking a chance that the recipient’s parents will be too busy taking care of their new bundle of joy to read this before tomorrow afternoon. This is one more thing ticked off my to do list.

As well as work, my head is full of half-evolved ideas of garden projects so I popped out there (after four thirty pm and it was still light – whoop) to try and evolve my plans so I can put them into action and cross them off my list – more on that later – and while I was out there I had to have a look at my wakening plants.

My daffs are yawning and stretching and are moments away from waking up and showing us their beautiful flowers, and, remember I couldn’t remember what I’d planted in front of the daffs? Well look! They’re crocuses! Isn’t nature clever?

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My rose ‘Hot Chocolate’ is happily growing some new leaves …

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… and the bluebells continue to push up round the edges of our gravelled bistro.

Spring is most definitely springing and it makes me happy. Can’t wait to get out there and continue with the grand master plan!