Coffee, Communication and Connections

It is my favourite time of the week! The house is quiet, all housework is up to date, which means I can finally relax, sit down and write.

Each week (or month) I cover a new topic. This week I am writing about communication and how it is fundamental to all aspects of life, whether at work or at home. 

During my last blog, I wrote about the enjoyment blogging brings and the conversation it sparks. I would like to continue on with this thought…

We were away last weekend with some life-long friends staying in Cleethorpes. One of my closest friends, Becky, asked me how the Life in Colour blog was going? It always amazes me how many people take time to read my blog and follow up with me afterwards. It facilitates valuable discussion and adds a sense of realism to life which can be portrayed  as otherwise on social media. Primarily, my blog was born to provide readers with unique thoughts and insights, but as I am becoming to learn, it is much more than this. 

Talking of valuable discussions, I met a very inspirational person earlier this year through an evening reception I attended for work. He is an International Director, non-executive director and strategist with over 25 years of experience in the business and management arena. He is also an influential blogger (on a completely different level to me) and has written several books. I am very lucky to have a signed copy of his book titled, Meaningful Conversations 🙂

One message which did come to light in this book was the importance of personal connections. My Life in Colour Blog has certainly brought this to the fore front of my mind and I truly believe that it has enabled rich communication and furthermore special connections. People in this category include friends, family, colleagues at work, business associates and strangers. The blog gives a starting point for a discussion. 

I guess my message here is to take time and physically connect with people, face-to-face if possible. I will always go out of my way to deliver flowers to a friend, have a meeting in a coffee shop with a colleague, catch up with family over Sunday lunch and personally respond to members of the public on my blog related topics. Communication can help improve happiness by providing a connection between 2 or more people. It helps build relationships, both in business and in personal life.

According to Geoff Hudson-Searle, research has proven that happy people usually:-

  • Are smarter and more creative
  • Are more likely to be in a stable and happy marriage
  • Make more money
  • Are healthier and live longer
  • Are more generous

Surely we all want these qualities in life?! Therefore my advice is to take time to see your friends for coffee, meet with colleagues (off-site where possible) and make connections. In my opinion, it promotes positivity and you will come away feeling happy. 

Furthermore, colour can often be used to communicate how we feel. This fits nicely with the branding of my blog and is probably a topic for discussion at another time. 

The chosen colour this week was the colour coffee! 

Have a good week,

Soph x

 

 

 

Colour Works

Hello to all my lovely readers,

It is the beginning of the Easter holidays and the children have just broken up for two weeks. Like most working mums, I am unable to take all the school holidays off work so I am compromising by working 2 days this week and 3 next week.

Work / life balance is a constant battle that I am faced with every single day. I know that I am not alone with this dilemma.

Listen to my Life in Colour podcast below, with friend Hollie, where we discuss the life of working mums.

It is really difficult to get the balance right. I have always worked and I love my job in publishing, which is why the boundaries have become blurred.

The other thing to consider is finding time for ME!  My life is mostly consumed by work and being a Mum and again I think many of you will be able to relate. I have written blogs in the past about what I do to break away from the stresses and strains of life. I definitely use running and Zumba as forms of escape.  I also get a lot of enjoyment out of blogging and the conversations it sparks.

In sum, I have no regrets about being a working mum. It is a hard balance, some weeks I get it right and some weeks I don’t. I feel it is important to work in order to pay the bills, but also to teach our children that if you work hard you can also play hard.

Enjoy the Easter Hols,

Soph x

 

Green – the official colour of Ireland

plane

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be flown to Dublin – as part of my Christmas present from Mark. This was something completely out of my comfort zone as I have never left the children for more than 1 night – let alone got on a plane and flown over 400 miles! 

I had very mixed feelings. I was excited to be going away and having fun but terrified about leaving my babies. I knew they were in safe hands and the ‘sitters’ were fully up to speed with the routine. As far as I was aware, I had done everything I could to reduce the separation anxiety. 

Once I had peeled my eldest off me, we made our way to the airport. It felt very strange. We could listen to normal stuff on the radio, no ‘baby shark’ renditions or ‘who let the dogs out!’ We even stopped and went through the McDonalds Drive Thru – just because we could! Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to accomplish something big that we fail to notice the little things that give life its magic!

The whole weekend went like clock work. We were in the Guinness Storehouse within a couple of hours of landing in Dublin Airport. Neither of us particularly like Guinness, but as its Irelands most popular tourist attraction, we needed to experience it. The highlight was the rooftop Gravity Bar, which gave the most stunning views over Dublin. 

guinness

We also spent some time shopping, enjoyed lots of coffee breaks, jumped on and off the sight seeing bus and had an amazing meal at the Hard Rock Café in Temple Bar. Furthermore, we managed a token 5k run along the river Liffey and had some relaxation time in the local spa. It was super busy but I believe that you must take every opportunity which comes your way and make your life a story worth telling! 

bus

Overall, we had a very action packed 48 hours away. The trip was tainted slightly by a long flight delay coming home, but I am determined not to let this by our last memory of Dublin! The biggest positives were a full (9 hours) uninterrupted sleep, eating a meal without getting up 100 times for various reasons, drinking a hot cup of coffee with nobody climbing all over me and being able to dry my hair and put my make up on without an audience! Like I said, its the small things in life which make the biggest difference! 

lift selfie

I am not usually one to display public signs of affection but a massive shout out to the special people who took amazing care of our children to enable this trip to go ahead. 

Love Soph x

 

 

Yellow Vibes

Hey you colourful lot,

I wrote a blog at the back-end of last year about running.  I think I called it crimson?! This was mainly due to the colour of my face at the end of a little 5k jog round the block! At that point in my life I recall writing about how I had no ambition to race or run any kind of distance. 

Since the start of 2019, I seem to have stepped up a gear. This wasn’t intentional, it was the natural need to increase time and speed.

I have been regularly doing the Eaton Park Run on a Saturday morning, mainly for fun, but it does get a bit competitive! Interestingly, my personal record was on a week when I had the hangover from hell! Upon discussing this with some of my running colt, they claim it’s because alcohol contains carbs! I am not sure Usain Bolt uses this approach but it works for me! 

One thing I have learnt in life is that you have to push yourself because nobody is going to do it for you! So, with this in mind, I have entered myself into the Norwich 10k race in July. I will be there, along with 7,500 others, racing past some of Norwich’s most iconic landmarks. 

Naturally, as a fairly new runner, I was feeling a little anxious about whether I could actually achieve this having never ran 10k in my life before. I like to push myself in the 5k park run so much that when I get to the finish line, the thought of doing double was giving me heart palpitations!

In order to address this,  I decided to take it slow and run as far as I could. The conditions were absolutely perfect one day last week. The sky was blue and I could feel the spring sunshine on my back as I did a loop around our local town. I did it! 10.5k in 1 hour 7 mins. I feel so much better after having done it because psychologically I know I can do it! The target I have set myself now is to complete the Norwich 10k in under 1 hour. 

There are soooo many benefits of running. One of the biggest for me is that it’s an accessible form of exercise. I am a busy working mum and time is precious. You also feel more in control of our life, a lot stronger and it can lift spirits. I chose the colour yellow for this week’s blog because it portrays brightness, light and optimism. These are all words I would associate with my spring running goals. 

My advice is to stay motivated and set yourself a target. It always seems impossible until its done! 

Enjoy the Half Term Hols.

Soph x

Green Business

Hey followers,

After a quick Google search on what the ‘colour’ for mental health is, the results came flooding in as green! The colour green promotes health and wellness, something which is vital to this weeks story.

I have something very special to share with you…

I met with a colleague from work over a lunchbreak last week. This incredibly strong woman is called Camden and has battled an eating disorder to the point where she is living proof that we can achieve anything life throws at us. 

Camden has shown me nothing but support since I launched Life in Colour back in September. I am honoured that she wanted to share her experience and open a dialogue with me and my followers.

Have a listen here:

The key message from this podcast are no emotions are wrong. It becomes difficult when we arrive at our workplace to switch off and pretend that we are OK. We discuss how it would be a good idea to have Mental Health First Aiders in all workplaces. The reason for this is that we feel it is important to address any issue as early as possible. There is lots of work to be done to break the stigma and we hope that this weeks blog will help to raise the profile.

Camden talks about her life long battle with anorexia and how, at certain times of the day, she can feel quite anxious. It would be great if we had people in business who we could all talk to when we feel low.

People are complex and are battling things you have no idea about. As a Manager myself, this is certainly a challenge I face. I conclude by saying I don’t have all the answers but equally I would like to think I am an approachable kinda person who will always listen and support any of my co-workers #itsoknotobeok

Mental Health is probably the topic which people contact me about the most on my blog. I didn’t intend for the subject to feature so highly but it always gets lots of traction. I love hearing from anyone who has any feedback and I know Camden would do too. Please send us your comments via the blog.

Soph x

 

 

 

Pretty Primrose

 

primrose

Welcome to this weeks Life in Colour blog, which happens to include another little gardening feature. This weekend I managed to bag myself a couple of hours of child-free time (thanks to Mark) and spend some time in the great outdoors.

I felt like I needed to inject some colour into the garden, in the hope that Spring will soon be here. There were certainly signs of evidence as I pottered around the garden, including green daffodil shoots in every boarder!

I purchased some yellow primroses and yellow pansies from the local garden centre. I am not sure why the colour yellow, but I guess its because I associate it with spring. It is also the colour of happiness, hope and sunshine – the perfect choice for this weeks life in colour blog!

primrose 5

A couple of hours in the garden can totally change the way you feel. I have written previously on the blog about the benefit of being out in the fresh air, both mentally and physically. It is very therapeutic and can lift any feeling of isolation. My new plants on the front doorstep also make me smile each time I walk past them and into the house. Do you think they look pretty?

primrose 2

One other thing I should mention on this weeks blog is my new herb garden! It is just about up and running ready for the ‘odd’ gin night with the girls. Gin and herbs work amazingly well together, possibly because plants and botanicals are at the centre of how gin derives its flavour? Mark made it for me from an un-used crate. I love a little upcycle project! I took inspiration from my best friend who also has something similar.

primrose 4

I will keep you all updated on anything which grows in this little gem. You will also be the first to know when I have enough greenery to host a gin cocktail evening!

Wishing you all a good week ahead. Make sure you keep warm in these freezing temperatures. I am recording a podcast this week with a friend from work on mental health so ensure you check back to listen to that as it goes live.

Soph x

Chalk Paint Pastels

Happy New Year to all of my lovely bloggers. I hope you enjoyed the festive period and had some much needed rest and recuperation?! 

As you have packed the Christmas decorations away, I am guessing some of you will be thinking about a spring clean or giving your home a lick of paint? I know I certainly do at this time of year because its nice to freshen the place up and look forward to the lighter days and warmer weather. 

For those of you who have been to my home, you will know about the slight addiction I have to chalk paint! In particular, the Annie Sloan collection 🙂

annie sloan

Annie Sloan chalk paint is revolutionary and well-recognised by experts in paint and colour. She is one of “Britain’s most influential female designers.” – The Telegraph (UK)

I never feel like I have much creative flare, but I do have a keen interest in home interiors and my style is 100% shabby chic. In the past, I have renovated dressers, tables, side-boards, mirrors, clocks and frames. For the purpose of this week’s blog, and with spring in mind, I have up cycled a set of old pine tables. 

I worked with colours including French Linen, Antoinette and Old White. Here are a few pictures of the process and the finished product. 

old pine

process

finshed

The biggest advantage, in my opinion, of working with this chalk paint is that there is no rubbing down involved! I literally renovated these tables in an hour – a nice therapeutic job for a dull January morning. I love the finish! I actually use a light sanding pad after the paint has dried to give the distressed look. 

I have decided to sell this little nest of tables (as we can’t fit anymore up cycled furniture in our house!) As I sit here writing this blog, my Gumtree selling page is flashing at me with enquiries to collect tomorrow! How exciting! . 

As always, if you have any questions on anything I have mentioned in this weeks blog then send me a message – I would love to hear from you. 

Soph x