Bucket List

Two weeks ago I returned from my Route 66 adventure!

It was everything I expected and more.

It’s also opened up the conversation at Magenta about bucket lists and fulfilling your life. We are keen to advocate work life balance and living the life you love!

This trip was something I’ve always wanted to do. So, this year, without any study on the horizon and Magenta now set up and running well, it seemed like the right time!

Since I’ve been back everyone has asked me what was my favourite thing. It’s taken me a while to reflect on it all and I can’t possibly narrow this down to 1 thing, so here are my top 5!

  1. Chicago – the city is amazing and I only scratched the surface. I love all city trips… the art, culture, food and hustle and bustle and this was no exception!
  2. Springfield – Illinois. This is a lovely town with great character – the home place of Abraham Lincoln. We had a lovely boutique hotel, fabulous Italian food and a crazy taxi man.
  3. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wow! The old town is beautiful and such a different feel! New Mexico was ruled by the Spanish for a time, then Mexico & now falls under the USA. So it’s architecture and style is Spanish / Mexican and I loved all the little shops and it was so lovely and warm!
  4. Grand Canyon – as you imagine it will be, but vaster, quieter, calmer and more beautiful.
  5. Spending two weeks with my parents. Even though we fell out over directions, moody when we were tired and snappy when hungry. The laughs at taking selfies, picnics in the car, having our fortunes from the crazy machine, drinking cocktails in Vegas and talking about our memories and beloved family. How amazing to share this trip with them. Its cheesy – but true.

You can read more about Magenta’s bucket lists on our Blog at http://www.magentafp.com

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Get your kicks on Route 66!


Next week, I will be starting the trip of a lifetime. Travelling over 2000 miles on the historic Route 66, my parents and I will cover off 8 US states and go through 4 different times zones – eek!

We start in Chicago and end in Las Vegas, both cities I have wanted to visit for a long time. In between, we make overnight stops in the 8 states we travel through and have so many things to see I don’t know even where we will start.

The thing I am most looking forward to is being in Chicago and seeing ‘Cloud Gate’ the sculpture by Anish Kapoor, the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, driving our convertible on the second leg and, of course, the Grand Canyon and Arizona. There’s plenty more in-between!

The USA has seen some extreme weather this week, Tornados in Texas and severe flooding in Missouri, but I am hoping it will have all calmed down for our trip. The forecast looks good, so I’ve packed the shorts! But if anyone has any insider knowledge of issues on my route, do let me know!

At Magenta, we often talk about having a bucket list and looking to pursue those dreams in your lifetime, after all we only get one shot at it…… Well, this was one on my list, so I can’t wait to start.

I’ve brought a new camera and selfie stick to document our adventure and I hope to get some new cowboy boots along the way!

First up in Chicago…. some American pancakes for breakfast I think….

More soon…

I am sorry this is the first blog in over 4 months. Work and life is busy, but I will try and update my blog when I get back and share some of the experience.

 

Surround Yourself with Positive People

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This time of year is dreary …. Dark mornings, dark nights and a long time till the holiday season.  Life also throws us curveballs, maybe unforeseen illnesses, unexpected costs, hard decisions, tricky conversations…. life can be tough and there’s no manual!

It can be hard to stay positive, manage your emotions and find the energy to do everything you need to.  To manage the ups and downs, we need a support network of people to help us – the ones who remind us to be positive.

In my mind these people are those who can help you make sure the voice in your head is more Angel than Devil (more positive than negative).

It’s really important for your own sanity and personal growth that you choose positive company and get rid of those who drag you down each time you meet or talk.

I am really lucky to have some wonderful friends and family who help me see the light when it all feels gloomy.

So here are my thoughts about why surrounding yourself with bright, positive, happy, determined and genuine people is so important.

With positivity comes authenticity – Those with a positive outlook on life will look out for your wellbeing, instead of trying to destroy it. They genuinely want a friend, not an enemy.

A support system – Having a positive person in your life brings comfort. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on or guidance with problems, you know who to turn to. Instead of keeping you down in the dumps they will try to raise your spirits, even if it’s just listening, pouring the wine, helping you make a plan, or lightening up the mood a bit.

Drama free zone – No one likes drama and I can’t stand it. Those who practice being positive don’t have any time or energy for drama. If you want to avoid these negative incidents, then avoid the drama queens.

Motivation – Being around positive people will motivate you to stay clear of downward spirals and hopefully encourage you to make good and healthy decisions in life. Life is all about moving forward and it’s important to be around those who help us aim towards our success.

They have your best interests at heart – Positive people are genuine. Usually because they care about you, as well as themselves. It is important to them that you are feeling happy about yourself or that your goals are met.

 So, if you don’t have a resolution for 2017 yet, make it that you will spend time with the people who support you and help you stay positive and happy.

Get some Hygge in your life!

My latest read has been “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking. He is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. What a great job!

Anyway, I’ve always thought that Hygge or ‘Hooga’ was just about having less clutter and stuff – which any of you who know me and have been to my house will agree – is not really me!

Us Betts ladies love nic-nacs, books, ceramics, plants, Christmas decorations, art and photos. We can’t help ourselves! So, when I started the book I wanted this concept of Hygge, to be more than about that.

I’ve not been disappointed! The book has some great ideas about Hygge being about an atmosphere and experience, and just being with the people we love.

“A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”
(Page 6  – The Little book of Hygge)

I wanted to focus this blog on some chapters at the latter end of the book, that really got me thinking – about the dimensions of Hygge.

Whilst Hygge can be an intangible and abstract concept, this is the idea that we can also use all our senses to detect Hygge – our Happiness. Wiking introduces the idea that Hygge has a taste, a sound, a smell and a texture and that we should be able to see Hygge all around us and that this should make us happy.

So, I have thought about the things that give me a happy experience, feel at home, safe, loved ….. My Hyggelig things….

The taste of Hygge – “Is almost always familiar, sweet and comforting”

My Hygge food is a Croissant. They are warm, flakey, delicious. I like them with jam or lemoncurd. But also, my Granny used to love them and now I have them when I’m with family.

The sound of Hygge – “many sounds can be Hyggelige… Any sounds of a safe environment”

My Hygge sound in country music. I just love it. It calms me and I can’t help but sing along. Life seems better with a little Dolly.

The smell of Hygge – “something that provokes strong feelings of security and comfort”

My Hygge smell is incense. It reminds me of the German ‘smoking’ man mum and dad have, who comes out at Christmas and burns incense cones. It reminds me of family time at Christmas and lazy days together doing jigsaws and eating too much.

What does Hygge feel like? – “the rustic, organic surface of something imperfect or something that has or will be affected by age”

My ‘thing’ that I think feels Hygge is drinking from a hand made mug. Not mass produced, crafted by someone’s hands and fingers. Tea tastes better. I feel better. They make a living.

Seeing Hygge – “Hygge is very much about light. Too bright is not Hyggeligt. But Hygge is also very much about taking you time”

This one I think is the hardest. In my life everything happens quite fast and I’m usually multitasking. However, a few weeks ago I was at mum and dad’s and I woke up and looked out my old bedroom window. The sunrise was beautiful and then I saw a fox!…. Quietly running across the back field. I watched him until he disappeared into the undergrowth and watched the sun come up too. That was quite Hygge.

Finally, the sixth sense of Hygge:

Hygge is about feeling safe. Hence Hygge is an indicator that you trust the ones you are with and where you are. Hygge can be tasted, heard, smelled, touched and seen. But, most importantly, Hygge is felt.”

So, thankfully, to have some Hygge in my life I don’t have to throw out half my stuff!

I think Hygge is about being comfortable…with yourself, with your surroundings and with others.

Reminiscing, sharing, entertaining, having good relationships with family, friends, pets, spending time by yourself, lighting candles, dimming the lights, reading, laughing…. Eating croissants! They are all ways to increase your Hygge!

So let’s have more Hygge this Christmas everyone! Focus on the things that matter, make you happy and comfortable.

Xx

p.s. I won’t get to blog again until the New Year, so Merry Christmas one and all.

Act now – life can change in a second

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This week an awful road accident happened locally that has really distressed me – I can’t stop thinking about it. It was about 10 miles from my house, on a stretch on motorway that my friends and I drive daily. It happened as I drove in the other direction, to Bristol.

Rebecca Evans who was only 27, died instantly in the three-vehicle pile-up on the motorway just three weeks before she was due to give birth. Her husband Alex and son Cian, who is only 2, survived the accident. A man was arrested for dangerous driving. All of their families’ lives are irrevocably changed – just 4 weeks before Christmas. Just so sad.

I don’t know why this specific incident has affected me so much, maybe because this was out of Rebecca’s control and her fate was in the hands of this other man. However, it’s made me really focus this week on being thankful for every second of my life, because in a split second everything can change forever.

Tell your loved ones right now that you love them, miss them and value them. Pick up the phone, go and visit.

See you friends as much as you can. Enjoy the time together.

Don’t keep friends who are toxic and drag you down. Don’t stay in relationships you can’t be happy in. Busy people often just keep on doing things with people who are not very nice to them! These relationships make you feel deeply unhappy.

Eat the cake. Walk when you can. Take pictures. Print the pictures – don’t store them all on a camera or phone where no one else sees them.

Put your tree up – don’t worry about the rules about when is the ‘right time’ for your Christmas decorations!

Make sure you don’t leave a mess behind.

Write a will. Leave provision for your family, so you know they will be ok, no matter what.

Accept you can only do so much in life but try and make every day count.

 

Happy Vibes

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This weekend was meant to be a quiet one… but it didn’t turn out like that, although I did have a lie in on Saturday and Basil gave me lots of head butts and nose bops!

Even though it turned busy – it was full of lovely stuff.  I saw friends who I don’t see that often and tried to catch up on everything – but that’s near impossible! I saw my godchildren for giggles and Basil and I had visitors on Sunday, some who he was more comfortable with than others (children move a bit quick for his liking).

Jackson also turned one this weekend – where has that time gone? I didn’t see him, but Grandma and Grandad Betts visited him and I sent a video of me singing happy birthday. He had lots of gifts, visitors and fun.

So, I sat on the sofa last night, reflecting on my weekend and just how proud I am of all my friends and family.

Many of my friends are going through tough times. You don’t realise how hard it is until you see them for a short time and even then, only hear snippets of their concerns and the things they are dealing with.

Money problems, elderly family issues, disagreements with parents or partners, health problems, new jobs, courses and juggling the children. To be honest it all is pretty exhausting and any one of them I would have excused if they wanted to wear their pj’s all day and not bother to meet up. I think together we could probably write a soap opera!

Yet each one of them this weekend still made an effort to find the time to talk, visit, share, support and be positive and smile!

One of my friends text me after we met, saying she had meant to say how much she has enjoyed this blog and my positive outlook! That made me proud – so thank you for saying it!

But to be honest, its easy when you have lots of wonderful, inspiring, strong friends, colleagues and family around you. Each of you inspire me in different ways and I am super happy and proud to have you all in my life. I am so lucky!

Here’s a few special messages:

Happy birthday Jackson! And to mummy Geraldine, I am so so proud of everything you have done this year and you really have risen to the challenge.

Well done Becca for passing your driving test – love the new wheels! If I was a cat I would have *proud ears* right now!

Ruth – hearing you speak about the new job with excitement, despite the week you had and everything that was thrown at you, was wonderful and inspiring!

Cerian – juggling two young children, work, snails with 100’s of babies, money, and family stress – you are doing so so well!! Stay positive!

And everyone else – thank you for being happy, loving and supportive.

Magenta is a go-go

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Last week, Magenta Financial Planning launched and I moved from Broadway Financial Planning to Magenta. We received cakes, flowers and cards, from friends and clients which was lovely.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Keri Carter, Managing Director at Broadway, for employing me and giving me a great opportunity to work with her team and learn from her over the last year or so. We have exchanged many best practice ideas and plan to stay in close contact.

The new Magenta website is live and I am so excited to eventually have a corporate blog, to share technical guidance, case studies and team news. You can view this here: www.magentafp.com

We have had a great first week and the whole team are all very excited about the business going forward.

In the lead up to the launch we had new photos taken, some formal and corporate for press and others showing our fun side! This is my favourite of them.