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.

 

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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.

My future is Magenta

Love your life

Some people say the situations life presents dictate what kind of life you will have. Others maintain it’s the way you react to life’s challenges and opportunities that determines your satisfaction in life. I certainly believe that the latter is true.

Next week, Magenta Financial Planning will start to trade. This is a big deal for me and very exciting!

It’s been a while in the making, a lot of hard work and a significant learning curve – but now it’s all becoming a reality and that really is very satisfying.

When Julie Lord (my business partner) approached me with this opportunity, I was nervous and wasn’t sure if I was ready for it. I have never had major aspirations to run my own business and was worried about taking on the responsibility and risk. But as I thought about it more, and discussed it with my friends and family, I knew that this was a challenge worth accepting – that this opportunity had the power to significantly change my life – making me happier, both in the short and long term.

I’ve worked closely with Julie for some years and we have our ups and downs, like you do in any relationship (friends / family / colleagues). However, as we have been discussing our plans for Magenta over the past few months – it’s been great to know we are both on the same page for our plans for the business and our futures.

The last year has taught me that it’s really important to be happy at work. This has an impact on all your life – your health, wellbeing and relationships. You have more energy for friends, family and yourself, if you are satisfied at work.

I’ve always given my all in every job I have had, both for my clients and for the team, but this has historically been associated with long hours, stress, regular tears and backstabbing from other colleagues.

I’m still tired at the end of the week, I’m still juggling lots of different roles and I still get frustrated by some things…. But generally I can say that I enjoy most of my days at work now. That’s pretty amazing.

I am determined our business will nurture a team that cares about our clients and their dreams, and how we can help them to achieve these.

I believe that our team can be truly successful and happy – if we try to consistently be positive about work, health and life in general and treat others how we would want to be treated.

Be in love with your life, every aspect, every minute of it!

More news next week and some pictures!

Being an adult – the truths

According to Wikipedia, being an adult is: “biologically: – a human being or other organism that has reached sexual maturity. In human context, the term adult additionally has meanings associated with social and legal concepts. In contrast to a “minor”, a legal adult is a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible.”

However, we all know that these three things – independence, self-sufficiency and responsibility – come at different ages and time in life for young people, often depending on the course in life they may choose, opportunities that present themselves, success, determination, ability, want or motivation.

I’m not sure when I ‘officially’ became adult, I certainly know it wasn’t just when I attained a legal age, moved away from home, got my first car or got my first job. In those years my parents continued to support me, emotionally and financially…. It took me quite a while.

But I think its time to admit now, that at 37, I am actually an adult, in all meanings of the word. I own a house and pay for my own bills and holidays, I am an Auntie and a Godmother multiple times.  I have a Will. I have my cat-child, Basil, and I am about to become a business owner.

I’ve spent some time thinking about what I’ve learnt, or accepted is the way things will be – because let’s face it, it’s not always easy. Here’s what I came up with:

1) You will lose touch with people. I thought that some of my university mates and first housemates were going to be my best friends forever, but relationships are hard to maintain. I have lost touch with at least a few of the people I expected to be around forever. Whilst it’s often been a conscious decision to let these people go, I do feel sad about this. But my real, best friends are still around.

2) You have to take responsibility for yourself. All the little things I took for granted as a child require quite a lot of effort. When I run out of shampoo, there isn’t magically be a new bottle waiting in the cabinet, until I buy it (unless my Mum has been to visit). My bills don’t get paid unless I do this and I won’t eat unless I work.

3) It takes longer to recover from a party / blow out. I still love to go out and have a drink and enjoy myself, but more often than not my friends and I will be home before midnight – and then the times that I’m not, it takes much longer to recover. A bottle of full-fat coke won’t fix the hangover anymore!

4) You will always have people in your life that you dislike. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, people you don’t like will find you. This could be at work, or that friend of a friend, or (god forbid) a friend’s husband, that you just can’t get on with. I’ve got them, everyone has. You just have to make sure they don’t spoil your day and ultimately, weigh up how important the job / other person is to you, and if it’s worth putting up with their bull****.

5) An emergency fund is vital. Whilst I haven’t been in the situation where this has been really desperate, even a change in job, or a house boiler breakdown, can mean you have a month with no income or a hefty expense to pay, it quickly shows how important this is.

6) You should understand your tax code. Sounds boring – but I’ve learnt the hard way that you should double and triple check them as they are almost always wrong (especially if you have benefits at work) and then your either owe, or are owed tax. It’s simpler to get it right at the start of the year.

7) You will have less free time. One of the great injustices is that as a teenager I had limitless amounts of time to fill with epic adventures, but no money to fund said adventures, and now, as an adult, I have the money to do what I want but no time with which to do it. Whilst working hard is important, we should also try to seize the day whenever we can and don’t be just all about the work. Life is about relationships and experiences and I want to do more of that.

8) Meditation can help ease the pressure of life’s busy-ness. I’m quite lucky because as a student I went to meditation classes run by a Buddhist Monk in Cardiff. He taught us how to meditate using the full body scan technique. The body scan as a way to get in touch with the body, let go of feelings of needing to get stuff done, and release pent-up emotions. I find that, when my brain is full, I’m juggling a lot and I can’t sleep or I am starting to panic, that undertaking this exercise can really help. This is a good example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsCVqFr6j1g

9) Wear what you want. I love clothes. I probably love patterns and pink a little too much. But I have learnt not to worry about what others think. Don’t try and squeeze yourself into the same jeans or look like everyone else. People don’t remember you if you blend into the crowd.

To prove this point – here are my cat shoes!

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