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.

 

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.

The bridge of wellbeing

I touched on the concept of wellbeing and financial planning in a previous post in 2015 and this is a subject that really interests me.

The aim of Lifestyle Financial Planning is to help you enjoy a good life (whatever that means to you), knowing you have sufficient money to support you. The key point here being “enjoy a good life” –  it must also address your wellbeing – it’s not just about having more money and possessions than the next person.

Last October I talked about wellbeing being much more than just physical or financial wellbeing, including career wellbeing, social wellbeing and community wellbeing. Any financial plan you make should consider and include all these things.

For anyone, your plan should start by establishing your goals and values and making your choices in life consistent with these. It should be for yourself – not for your money. So how can you do this?

This is where I revert to the Bridge of Wellbeing and it’s 3 pillars:

  1. Define and understand your values and goals;
  2. Deploy financial strategies that use your resources in a way that is consistent with your values and achieves your goals;
  3. Develop your personal investment strategy.

pillars

A solid financial plan is important for everyone to enjoy the life you choose to live. It doesn’t have to be complex or lengthy. But it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.

Here are some questions that may help to explore your goals and start to build your first pillar in the Bridge of Wellbeing.

  • What is your biggest achievement, and why?
  • What is your greatest fear in relation to your future?
  • What would you say motivates you most?
  • Where do you want to be in 5-10 years time, professionally, personally and financially?
  • What is the one personal goal you would like to achieve within the next year? what about 3-5 years?
  • What causes you stress?
  • If you had unlimited means, what’s the one thing you would like to do with your time that you are not doing today?
  • What are your hobbies? or what do you like to buy with your spare money?
  • What are the most important things that you and your family want to achieve in the future? How would you feel if your couldn’t achieve them? what are you prepared to give up now to achieve them?

Wellbeing, Lists and Financial Planning

This week I had dinner with a good friend and we talked about our week, work, life etc. She told me that she was feeling very stressed and like everything was a little out of control.

She’s working 10 hour days, learning a language one night a week, has some family stuff going on, is trying to eat well and still trying to exercise 3 times a week. The peak came last week when she had a melt down over finding time to buy a friend’s birthday gift, a task which normally she would relish and enjoy, but that was just too much on top of everything else. Sounds daft, but the small things to do on top of the big worries just sometimes get too much. I think everyone feels like this sometimes and I know I’ve been at this stage at some points in the last 18 months. You eventually realise that something HAS to change.

What is the point of running yourself ragged to get to the gym 3 times a week, if everything else is spiralling out of control, so you still feel stressed and ill?

For some people, it might not mean giving up the gym, it might mean saying no to a night out, or a change of job, alteration to your family life. Either way, I believe you have to be open to not trying to do everything when it all gets too much. You need to make a list and make priorities. You can always go back and do that thing again when you feel better.

My point is, our ‘wellbeing’ is not just physical wellbeing and nutrition – it’s so much more.  Many things have to work together for us to feel content, well and happy:

Career Wellbeing:- How we occupy our time each day and trying to ensure that we like it.

Social Wellbeing:- Having strong relationships and love in your life.

Financial Wellbeing:- Effectively managing your finances to reduce stress and increase security.

Physical Wellbeing:- having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis.

Community Wellbeing: The sense of engagement and involvement you have with the area where you live and your ability to have a positive impact on the quality of your environment.

Of course, this leads nicely for me to the importance of having a Financial Planner to help with Financial Wellbeing!  But actually, all of these type of ‘wellbeing’ are linked.

If you can get your finances focused and organised and know what your strategy is for the future, then you can think about other elements much more clearly. Can you afford to change your job, reduce hours or work from home? Can you afford a gym closer to home or equipment at home? Can you take time off to ‘give back’ to a charity you want to help? Can you afford to take some time out with your family on holiday?

A personalised Financial Plan can help you get focused, organised and move on, knowing you have a sound plan in place so that you don’t need to worry about money, or at least know what you need to do to ensure you are on track for the future. That ticks one item off the list so you can move on to sorting the others.