My Moo Cards

Yesterday, the pack of 10 Moo cards that I had ordered arrived in the mail. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I’m really pleased with the result. I’m thinking of ordering some more…

What do you think?

My Moo Cards

They also do books of 90 stickers, which I’m really tempted to get as stocking fillers for my kids this Christmas.

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September 30, 2007. Creativity. Leave a comment.

Royal College of Physicians

I went to the open doors day at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh’s Queen’s Street today. What a beautiful building. I was speaking to one of the ladies there, and she was telling me about some of the weddings they have there. What a wonderful venue for a Scottish wedding with a lively evening ceildh! I could almost hear the fiddle music as I moved around the room. The college also has a little garden with medicinal plants, which is just lovely. I would love to go back sometime when it wasn’t so busy. Anyway, here are a few of my photos from the day. If you do get a chance, you should pay it a visit, as my photos really don’t do it justice.

Library in the Mirror

The Library

Medical Library

Medical Texts

Secret Window, Secret Garden

Medicinal Garden Through Window

Lamplight

Wedgewood Blue Ceiling

Table Set

The Davidson Suite

Glass Ceiling 2

Autumn Crocus 1

Autumn Crocus 2

Autumn Crocus in Medicinal Garden

September 29, 2007. Environment, Photography. 2 comments.

Ross Fountain

It’s not often that the Ross Fountain is in full flow, but it was today. Isn’t it lovely!

Fountain 3

Fountain Framed

Fountain and Castle

September 29, 2007. Environment, Photography. 3 comments.

My Campus

From My Campus

I feel so blessed to have spent my higher education in such a beautiful setting! Today, a couple of folk from my department were submitting their phd theses, and, as you might imagine, it was fairly hectic inside the building. Outside though, it was its usual calming, relaxing self. This is a photo I took standing on the steps to my building. How lucky am I!

September 28, 2007. Environment. 2 comments.

Thursday Thirteen – New Habits

I’ve decided that for this week’s edition of Thursday Thirteen, I’ll fill you in on 13 new practices that I have taken up recently. I have called the post New Habits, which is, perhaps, a bit of a cheat, as they are not fully formed habits yet. I hope that if I keep at them though, that this is precisely what they will become. I feel quite positive that I will keep them up as they are already making such a positive difference in my life. I hope that by sharing them with you, that you may decide to take up a few of them yourself.

So, without further ado, here’s my Thursday Thirteen:

  1. Regularly reading inspiring blogs – I love reading blogs! There are so many that I read on a regular basis that continually inspire me. Here are a few that keep on delivering inspirational posts: Heroes Not Zombies, Zen Habits, Icing, Steve Pavlina, Original Impulse, and Litemind. Go on and check them out!
  2. Stopped watching the news – I used to watch a lot of news; I watched the breakfast news, the lunchtime news, and the evening news. On top of that my homepage used to be BBC News, so I used to browse news stories whilst the news was on the television! I have now made the conscious decision not to devote so much of my attention to news, as it really places me in a negative frame of mind. I do still watch one news programme a day, as I don’t tolerate ignorance well, but it’s certainly not what I wake up to, and I don’t watch it before going to bed. This small change has made such a difference as I’m feeling significantly more positive about life in general.
  3. Writing out affirmations- I won a book recently which is called Write it Down, Make it Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. In it one of the chapters was about writing down affirmations in a journal. Now, I’ve tried affirmations before and I’ve not had much success with them. I struggled to shake that self conscious feeling which would creep over me whenever I started talking to myself in the mirror. The kids giggling behind the door didn’t help! So, when I read this chapter about writing down the affirmations instead of reciting them, I thought I would give them another go. I’ve only done this for a very short time, but I already know some of them by heart.
  4. Carrying my camera everywhere – My dad recommended this one, and I absolutely love it! I now carry my camera everywhere with me, and I find that it has had the result that I am constantly looking for things to take photographs of. This has upped my awareness of the world around me tenfold, some of the results of which you can see here and here.
  5. Writing down compliments- Now if you are anything like me, this habit may make you squirm. Self-effacement seems to come naturally to me, and so adopting the habit of writing down compliments runs completely contrary to my nature. This is another suggestion from the book Write in Down, Make it Happen which I have decided to adopt as it aims to reprogram our perceptions of ourselves, which are often a lot more negative than the way others perceive us. Now, whenever I feel a bit down, I can turn to my compliments book and it’s a wonderful lift!
  6. Thinking positively – I am completely sold on the power of positive thinking. By consciously making the effort to think positively I truly believe that I not only alter my own experience of life, but also that of those around me. One of my most concerted efforts to think positively is my participation in the Only The Good project, which invites bloggers to post a photograph which others can comment on, with the condition being that those leaving comments need to focus only on the good. Negativity is not allowed! You can see my Only The Good posts here, here, here, here and here. Also, I’d like to encourage you to visit the other participants who are Tumbled Words, Soliloquy, Inside Mo’s Mind, This Eclectic Life, Miscellaneous Matters, Life in Westcliffe, and of course, Only The Good.
  7. Actively creating opportunities- It is so much easier to sit and wait for opportunity to come to you, whilst complaining that everyone else is offered better opportunities than you, isn’t it? Well, no more! I have decided to take matters into my own hands, and I’m going to be proactive about creating opportunity in all areas of my life. One of the affirmations that I am now writing is “I am now living a life of design rather than a life of reaction” which I found on this website. This affirmation really resonates with me, as I feel it is very closely related to my determination to be the force of change in my own life.
  8. Exploring off the beaten track – For so long now I have kept to the same pathways and to the same ways of doing things. I have suppressed my curiosity to the point where I no longer recognised alternative ways of doing things. I think that this habit may be related to number 4, as it is partly my desire to take new photographs that has instigated my deviance from the regular path. Regular readers of this blog may remember my recent exploration off the beaten path, when I went into a cemetery which I walk passed every week. I found some of the most wonderful narratives, one of which was the Amiable American Stranger. See what wonderful things we can find, if we wander off the path!
  9. Playing more music- I love playing my music loudly in my house, in the car and on my ipod (and, yes I know it’s bad for my hearing!), but for a long time I seemed to stop listening to music. I am now making sure that I listen to some music every day as it just makes me so happy. I always have a very emotional response to music, and I think sometimes when I’m feeling a bit fragile, that it seems almost easier not to listen. By listening to music I can make sure that I don’t give in to this “shutting down” reaction. Life should be embraced, as should our emotions, and that’s what listening to music reminds me.
  10. Listening to audio books – As a member of Audible, I can download an audiobook once a month, and I have discovered that by far and away my favourite type of audiobook is the self-development book. I have now built up quite a collection. Some I have had a chance to listen to all of, whilst others I’m still working up to. Here are a few that are on my list: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, The Art of War for Women, Pitch Like a Girl and The Secret. Tomorrow is the day that my book credit is renewed so I’ll be downloading a new one. Any suggestions?
  11. Saying thank you – I imagine that all too many of us take those around us, and perhaps life in general, for granted. I am making a conscious effort to say thank you, and to recognise everything in my life for which I am grateful for. I actually spent some time this morning writing down in my journal all the things which I am grateful for, because not only did I read about it in Write it Down Make it Happen, but it was also one of the exercises that forms a part of the Butterfly Experiment (see below). Once I had started it was difficult to stop; I have so many things to be grateful for!
  12. Taking part in the Butterfly Experiment– I just came across this a couple of days ago, and as it is a 30 day experiment it may not technically fall into the category of a new habit. However, I am thinking that it may spark off a number of new habits. For example, I meditated for the very first time this morning. I think I need to work on it though, as I found it very difficult to keep my mind free of thoughts such as what I was going to do for dinner, and what phone calls I had to make. Definitely a work in progress! What is interesting is that the experiment is about the law of attraction and is designed to see if you can attract butterflies into your life, and I did see several butterflies today. Now, anyone who knows my garden, knows that I have 2 large Buddleia bushes, otherwise known as the “Butterfly bush”, planted at my front and back doors. I see a lot of butterflies every day! But I saw even more today, in books, on clothing and at university. Not sure what this means yet, but it’s fun!
  13. Blogging at Lives Less Ordinary- I started this blog as I felt stifled over at my other blog, Textual Tangents. My solution was that I would make Textual Tangents my professional blog, and this blog, Lives Less Ordinary, would be my personal blog. This blog gives me so much pleasure, especially when folk take the time to comment; it makes it seem like I’m not just blogging into the dark! In the last couple of weeks I have taken part in Thursday Thirteen and I find that this has taken my blogging pleasure to a new level. By the look of the list of TT posts over at the Thursday Thirteen blog, I’m not the only one!

Are these habits familiar to you? Have you recently taken up some new practices with the hope that they’ll become habits? There’s actually a great post about habit building over at Zen Habits called Engineer Life: Set Up Habit Changes So It’s Hard To Fail which may help all of us to maintain our good habits.

You can find my other TT posts here and here.

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

September 26, 2007. Inspiration. 33 comments.

Only The Good – Seed Head

Seed Head

I took this photo of a passion flower seed head in my grandparents’ garden.  I love how it looks so fragile, and yet this belies its hardiness.  I’ve posted this photo as part of the Only The Good project, so tell me, what good can you see in this photo?

The Only The Good project is to get people to look at the world in a different way, to acknowledge–if only for the brief time they do this exercise–that there is good in everything and everyone…to briefly change shadow to light.”

If you would like to take part, you can either leave a comment on this post which focuses on ‘only the good’ that you can see in the photo. If you have a blog and would like to participate you can

“Post an original photograph that may at first seem rather ordinary–a photo in which the good isn’t immediately obvious–and invite people to comment. A brief explanation of the photo’s subject, where it was taken, etc. may be provided. I urge you to use only original photographs so that copyright infringement is not an issue.”

Please visit the other participants! Tumbled Words, Soliloquy, Inside Mo’s Mind, This Eclectic Life, Life in Westcliffe, Miscellaneous Matters.

September 26, 2007. Environment. 3 comments.

Looking on the Bright Side

Here Comes the Rain!

I was just looking out of one of our upstairs windows thinking that it looked like the rain was on its way. It frequently comes sweeping over the Ochil hills, obliterating the view, before drenching our small town. Sighing, I was about to turn away, when I caught sight of this in the opposite direction.

Rainbow

Now, if that isn’t a good reminder to look on the bright side, I don’t know what is!

September 24, 2007. Environment. 2 comments.

Coming Up Roses

Well, my rose water was finally finished today. Actually, it was finished on Friday, but as the new semester at Uni started this week, I didn’t get round to straining it till today. I am really impressed with the result though. It smells just lovely and the colour is amazing. Have a look!

Rose Water 1

Rose Water 2

Rose Water 3

The light shining through the jar of rose water reflected the deep pink onto the window sill.  Isn’t it just beautiful?

However, I am now left with what to do with it all.  I tried using it earlier today as a facial toner, which was lovely, but I don’t think it is strong scented enough to use by itself as a perfume.  I think you would need to add some rose absolute aromatherapy oil, and I’m afraid my budget won’t stretch to that!

So any ideas for other uses, please leave a comment!

September 23, 2007. Creativity. Leave a comment.

Souvenir

Windmills in Action

“Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten”
John Lennon

Here are two of the windmills I brought back from Brighton beach for my kids.  They were certainly getting a good work out in our garden!

September 21, 2007. Environment. Leave a comment.

Thursday Thirteen – My Family

I am a very family orientated person. I live within an hour of all the people I’m about to tell you about, and I see most of them at least once a week. What I wanted to do for my second Thursday Thirteen post, was to describe traits that each of my family members possess, and why I admire them for it. This is not to say that they are without flaws, but I think that we should always be looking for the best in people. It is also not to say that they don’t possess other admirable traits, just that I have chosen one to focus on!

So, without further ado, here’s my Thursday Thirteen:

  1. Youngest Son – Imaginative – YS is one of these children who has a vivid imagination, meaning that hours can be spent with the most rudimentary of playthings. He will create worlds, stories and eras up in his bedroom or out in the garden. Blankets become dragon wings. Brooms become valiant steeds. Brightly coloured scarves become panoramic landscapes. His mind knows no bounds and he is content to follow where his imagination carries him.
  2. Eldest Son – Generous – I don’t know whether it’s because he’s the middle child, but ES is quite possibly one of the most generous kids I have ever come across. He would gladly give you anything he had, even if it meant that he would have to go without. Small children instantly realise this, and they flock to him, wanting to hold his hand or have him tie their shoe laces. His generosity comes from a place of abundance; it is as if it is easy for him to be generous as he know there will always be more.
  3. Daughter – Thoughtfulness – Often I will go to bed and I will find a small note from D and a small gift, like a strawberry from the garden or a friendship bracelet, waiting for me on my pillow. She recognises that the small things matter. She picks up on other’s unhappiness/ illness/ tiredness and she looks to make things better. By leaving these small surprises for her parents and siblings, she tells us that she loves us and cares about our well-being. She makes others feel looked after.
  4. Husband – Supportiveness – I am currently engaged in completing the third of my university degrees, and throughout the inevitable trials and tribulations that have accompanied my journey through higher education, he has always been there giving whatever kind of support I needed. He gives me the time and space I need to study, the money I needed to pay my fees, and he gave me pep talks when I felt I couldn’t go on any more. And it’s not just me he supports; he supports our children, as well as his numerous students both at college and through his tutoring. Our successes are his successes, as they could not have been accomplished without him.
  5. Brother – Risk Taking – Ever since we were little, B was always so much braver than I was, and this has continued to be the case as we’ve grown up. He is not afraid to take a risk as he is sure that he will land on his feet. His optimism coupled with his bravery have led him to take many calculated risks over the years, which have resulted in success at a young age. I look at what he has made, and what he is making, of his life so far with pride and awe.
  6. Sister-in-Law – Assertiveness – I think S-in-L is one of the strongest women I have ever come across, and yet this strength, this assertiveness, certainly doesn’t come off as abrasiveness! She won’t allow anyone to take advantage of her and her own, and she won’t stand for inferior service. She has a very strong sense of right and wrong, and will always fight for a fair deal. She is just beginning her studies to become a social worker, and I can’t think of a better person to champion the rights of others!
  7. Niece – Willingness to Laugh – I have already posted about some of the traits that babies have that I believe we can all learn from, but I would like to attribute this one specifically to N, as she seems to possess it in abundance. She laughs a lot! Even in between mouthfuls of her dinner, she is giving great, big, gummy grins. She has such a capacity for joy that she can’t help but inspire joy in all around her. Such fun to be around!
  8. Mum – Creativity – My mum makes the most wonderful artist’s books. You can see some of them at her flickr page. Her experimentations with different media, her willingness to learn technique from others, and her seemingly innate understanding of aesthetics are truly impressive. However, despite her obvious talent, she is also modest and accepting of praise with both grace and humility. Her creativity not only inspires her to create, but through her, it rouses the desire in others to create also.
  9. Dad – Curiousity – I don’t think I know anyone more curious about life, the universe and everything, than my dad. He has a blog called Heroes Not Zombies in which he posts about his latest discoveries, and any new developments in his understanding of the world he lives in. Whenever I speak to him, he has found out something new, or he has developed a new interest. Being around him, I am constantly enthused about learning, and inspired to look at the world afresh.
  10. Grandma – Values Friendship – Very few people have managed to retain friends for the length of time that my grandmother has, and if they have, they probably don’t see them as regularly as she does. Four times a week, she meets up with the same group of women, and has done for the last 40 years. They share laughs, tears, knitting errors and countless cups of coffee, and I so admire her investment in these friendships.
  11. Grandad – Nurturing – I have posted many photographs from my grandfather’s garden, which you can see here and here. All my life, I have associated my grandad with his garden; whenever we came around to visit, Grandad would be out in the garden, planting seeds, threading seedlings, weeding the flower beds and caring for the tomatoes in his green house. His dedication to his ‘bit of earth’ is absolute, and his determination to nurture the growth of his plants is extremely inspiring.
  12. Gran – Affection – Gran always shows her family a huge amount of affection. She worries for us as we explore all life has to offer us, but when we come home again, we are always greeted with a lovely big hug. She is always thinking of us: phoning us when there’s a TV programme that would interest us, clipping articles out of newspapers, making contacts. Her home is always welcoming.
  13. Grandpa – Dedication – About nine years ago, my gran had a major heart-attack, from which she has never fully recovered. I so admire the way my grandpa looks after her. Even though they’ve been married for over fifty years, there is still so much love there. His tireless dedication to Gran has been unwavering. He once described Gran to me as being like a hothouse orchid, and I just thought that, despite all my literary research, that was the most beautiful, poignant simile I had ever come across.

So, there we are – that’s my family. As I said at the start, it is certainly not the case that we are a family of superior, perfect beings, but I have focussed on, what I see as, some of their best traits. In all areas of my life, I make it a point to appreciate the best in people, as I hope others do the same for me.

OK, over to you – what are the traits in your nearest and dearest that you admire most?

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

September 20, 2007. Inspiration. 37 comments.

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