Responsibility……..we are teaching them young!

We have two girls, we also have two boys. But they are big enough and (as they say) stupid enough to take care of themselves. But, our two girls……..dear oh dear oh dear!

Both my partner and I are avid believers that you create your own life, your own circumstances. We teach our girls that things have a place, and then you will find them every time you want what you have put down. We tell them to put money away, homework away, and now ITS MAKE UP!!! But shoes, shoes are my biggest bug bear. I wear glasses so my vision isn’t always the best. So tripping over shoes and sending myself flying across the living room or hallway, well let’s just say it isn’t on the list of the things I want to happen during the day.

I either tell our girls to put their shoes away or I do it! And when I do it, they get placed but maybe not in a delicate way. I put them in the porch out of the way. My daughter said to me last night ” dad can you bring my trainers round and my prom shoes please” she lives with her mum as we are not together. “Yes of course I will chick”. I looked for them last night IN THE PORCH and they weren’t there, I looked elsewhere and…….couldn’t find them! By this time she is in bed, so I called her the next morning.

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Now, another bug bear of mine ( I have a few) is mobile phones. Why is it when you call someone on a mobile phone they don’t answer? Granted they may be busy, but when you know where the person is and what they are doing aaarrrggghhhh!!!! I called my daughter on her new phone to find out what she did with her trainers 3 times and no answer! I had to leave for work at this point. I then sent a message to her with an explanation of why I won’t be dropping them off…..this is her reply…….

 

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my replies are in blue

 

Two words that are to a parent like having your heart ripped out and eyes poked at the same time……right whatever! Them two words put together can feel like having a smack in the mouth to a parent, Disney channel has a lot to answer for. Children seem to always say “well I put them [insert place of hiding here] and they are not there so someone must have moved them” it isn’t until either me or my Mrs. Go looking that we find it, albeit slightly and I mean slightly moved from where it was.

So the missing trainers to me are a mystery, if you put something down, unless someone has moved it, it should be there. With regards to shoes, rather than seeing a 13 stone 44 year old guy go flying across the room, the porch is where our shoes should be. But why do parents always get the blame? It a viscous circle, I have no doubt i did it to my mum and dad when I was younger. Out two girls though can be little divas, and something as simple as running out of juice can seem like a world wide drought!

So that’s what we are trying to teach our girls from early on, take responsibility for your actions. You create your own life from the decisions and the actions that you practice. Thankfully our girls are already thinking for themselves, and asking questions about the whys and wherefores of the world.

But as for lost trainers……..there is still work to be done!

Tony Martin brainfood

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My birthday…..you got to love vinyl!

Every birthday as you get older become more subtle. It’s not about the presents anymore, but more about family and having them around you. I have actually thought like that for quite a while now.  The weekend before my birthday I was surrounded by family. It was my nieces birthday, her 25th and her house was packed. Way back when, I was out of touch with my family for a while  this will explain why It was really good to see people that I hadn’t seen in ages, and seeing how people had changed so much.

I’m now 44 but do I feel it? Do you know what I don’t. I am still very young at heart, and silly with it sometimes as well. There is the odd occasion where you’d think to yourself, can I get away with that at my age? Can I actually say that and post that on social Media at my age? And yes you can, and why not. I took a couple of days off work and went to stay at the in-laws, and I love that. It is very rare for me to take an unscheduled day off, eyes off the prize time. But every now and again you have to do it.

 

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Pale pastel blue, retro look and feel

That was the perfect chance too, to enjoy the prezzie  that my Mrs got for me. A Crosley  cruiser…..no not some big American land automobile…..a record player. My other half always buys the best presents. More often than not she hangs on every word I say when it comes to prezzies. There is a record shop near us that I have been meaning to go in for a while. This was my chance, they have 1000s in there. It was like going back to my teenage years. You name it they probably had it.

Two albums and a single and £10 later I was a happy boy. The sound you get from vinyl is like no other. I bought and was playing……

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I could actually feel the joy rising up, it made me happy. And that is what it is all about, spending time with family on a special day. The raspiness of the needle hitting the record, the lack of bass and tin like sound coming from the speakers. I have actually missed that, that sound of just what it was like in the studio. No gimmicks placed in the tune, no second hand natural disturbance taken out. It’s got character, and that feeds through to your whole body making it vibrate and twist whilst laughing at the same time.

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I shall be buying more and rebuilding my collection that was damaged. Now to buy a cabinet that I will restore to a retro feel. Look out for that post soon 😊


Sounds good doesn’t it! It was probebrly the best birthday day for a while. I have my family to thank for that.

It would be really interesting to find out what vinyl you have. And what was your best day for a birthday? Let me in on your moment by commenting below.

Luv ya xxxx

Tony Martin brainfood

MOTHERS DAY GIFTS YOU HAVE TO GET MUM (budget list included)

Mothers day is another one of them days that just leaves your head spinning. How often do we stand in the card shop just staring into space, trying to choose from thousands of cards. We then admit that we read the verse and we really are that thoughtful. Buying a gift can be the same, repeating over and over to other members of the family “but what do i get i just don’t know”. Well below is a compilation of gifts from various places, and if you manage to get to the bottom there will also be a link if you are working to a budget. So sit till, brace yourself and get prepared to make your mum the happiest lady in march.

 

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Bubble bath machine £14.95 i have no doubt your mum would love this, click on the link and this will take you straight to the store on http://www.prezzybox.com

 

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Dear Mum – From You to Me Book £11.95.  The book is made up of questions for your mum to answer. The questions are intended for your mum to reflect on her life so far, her memories, feelings, likes and dislikes. When she has completed the book she can then give it back to you! Each turn of the page will reveal a new question with space on the facing page for your mum to put photographs if she wants to. What a great way to sit down in years to come and look back at thoughts and memories. Again click on the link http://www.prezzybox.com

 

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Health Club Day Pass for Two £13.00. Treat your mum to a FULL day spa experience, this lasts all year and over a multitude of spas over the country. This is a voucher for two, so even the wife could get a look in, two for the price of one guys. For the ladies buying for mum, you get to treat yourself as well.  www.findmeagift.co.uk
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Sanctuary With Love Gift from boots £22.00 or 2,200 points A box of White Lilly and Damask lotions and various other fragrances. Mum can spoil her herself in home made spa in the comfort of home. www.boots.com
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Madame Romantica weekend bag £35.00
Made from Faux leather this is a weekend bag, this a great design and a big bag for all mummy stuff. www.paperchase.co.uk

These are (in my opinion) great gifts from great stores, that any mum would be pleased with. Mum’s should be spoilt on mothers day, you only get one mum. Unfortunately my mum is no longer with us, but i know she would have loved these and i hope you do too. Click the link below for gifts if you are on a tight budget, trust me they are just as good.

MOTHERS DAY ON A BUDGET

 

Wishing all the mums a happy mothers day to come. We love you all, to the ones that are not with us, you are gone but never forgotten.

Are you a mum? Comment on what you get and if you got anything of these lists. Even better were you happy with what you got?

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MY WINTER WARMERS 4 items of clothing for keeping warm this winter

Guys we all need to keep warm, and for me I will do anything to do that. Damn when I was a builder I even wore women’s tights, really thick ones and I worked with a bunch of guys that did the same. There is no shame in it you got to do what you can, two guys walking down the road one is wearing a woman’s scarf the other is freezing his KAJOOLIES off. Which one is the stupid one? I know which one I would opt for.

SO….this is what I use to keep warm when I’m out and about either walking the dog or walking to shops. I was in the building trade for 24 years so I have had some practice in trying to keep warm and, I have built up a massive wardrobe of warm clothing. This is what I use most of the time.

 

 

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my treasure trove of warmth
  1. Now this is warm, really warm and I bought this the other day from CLAIRE’S ACCESSORIES. Yes it is a shop that is aimed at women and young girls BUT WHO CARES! It’s a snood thingy I guess you can call it, it is a fur-lined tube and it cost me £5. £5 for keeping me warm when I walk the dog and walk to the shop, in my view who cares if its sky blue pink. This one happens to be ‘male’ colours,  guys don’t be silly GET IT ON AND GET WARM.
  2. Hats I love hats and I love warm ones specifically bobble hats, this is just a small selection and yes they all get worn. I am even wearing one now, I do tend to wear them around the house ( I know crazy)  its like a cuddle for the head. And believe it or not it does actually help me relax.
  3. These are a must guys go and invest and spend you HAVE TO have these. They are WATERPROOF gloves and they are the warmest ones I have ever had. I bought these quite a few years ago from decathlon I can’t actually find this design, maybe because they were bought some years ago but they still have a great selection. Waterproof gear can not be recommended enough.
  4. And then we come to my most treasured possessions my WATERPROOF SOCKS, yes waterproof socks. These are a must and they DO work I have had my feet dipped in water and my feet were bone dry. Coupled with a pair of waterproof shoes and there is nothing that will get through. But, they are warm I have had the heatkeepers brand before but these are warmer. There is a company called SEALSKINZ that do these (mine are not these ones) which I had a pair from them some years ago and I lost them. I was gutted! The ones I have now are from Aldi and they are still bang on. Every now and again Aldi will do outdoor gear from time to time but you keep your eyes open.
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Application of the fur lined tube scarf

I hate being cold really hate it, so how do you keep warm? Guys what do you use to keep warm? ideas that are shared are good ideas. Share your ideas here and comment below, Let me know.

 

Tony Martin brainfood

 

 

 

 

Previous Blog post:    Which coffee chain is your favourite?

 

 

 

 

STARBUCKS Vs COSTA: Who wins you decide.

What is there to say about STARBUCKS? What is there to say about Costa? Well, quite a lot I reckon and I like one of them SO much. Think now and decide which one YOU think I like, don’t cheat don’t scroll to the bottom. Read this post decide which one you like and see if we match. So…….here we go:
STARBUCKS (for me) is the pink little bunny sitting in the corner, doe eyed waiting for you to notice him. His holding a bouncy ball waiting for you to come and play. This is the coffee shop that is fun, it knows about adult stuff but it still likes sucking on chuppa chups. The coffee is good (really good) but again it is fun they are fun flavours, my favourite being the White chocolate mocha. This takes me back to when I was a kid, not that I touched coffee when I was a kid I would have been bouncing off the walls at that age. It reminds me of the cowboy with the glasses, the pure white innocence of THE MILKY BAR. Not so innocent if you look at the CALORIE COUNT, (just a little tip, ask it to be skinny and add sugar free syrup for a healthier option)  but all coffees from these kind of places are like that, it IS an indulgence it is a treat. Almost every STARBUCKS I have been in it’s hustle and bustle, and sometimes that isn’t a bad thing it wakes you up its vibrant, energetic and welcoming. Started in 1971 they have far exceeded themselves…. TAX, TAX, TAX, I can almost hear people shouting. MP’s expense scandal I shout back holding my placard with obscenities on it. Starbucks as I said is a fun place a place to take gran, you even have a lady grinning excitedly at you from every cup you look at.

And then you have COSTA! Costa is the big boy, wearing a pair of DM’s but with a suit to match. Costa wants to wake you up but he wants to wake you up with a shake, a shout in the ear and a word of motivation to get your ass out of bed. Costa wants to get things done he is the business man in a field full of clowns. The cups are almost regal in presentation no cheeky gimmicks……’your in Costa ya having a coffee and ere is one of our cups to prove it’. Their brand is what it says on the tin or in this case……what it says on the cup. The Costa joints that I have been in are reserved in comparison, no one talks loud it’s peaceful and you can get work done. I actually have a thermal cup from Costa and it goes everywhere with me. My favourite drink? Caramel latte and as the Barista told me the other day the milk has to be bang on 140 degrees, no more no less. My 2nd choice (as with Starbucks) is the CAFE MOCHA a slightly serious coffee, that stares across the table from under its brow mocking you with the sweetness of chocolate ‘ go on, go on I dare you to sprinkle!’
Say what you like about both these place….over priced, over rated just for a coffee. I don’t think so because you see, you’re not just paying for the coffee. Your paying for the ambience your paying for the welcome, the training that the person has put in to making you a ‘damn fine coffee’ (a scene reminiscent of ‘ Twin Peaks). In both places your paying for lounging about (if you can get one) on a big soft sofa whilst you take a break from the rushing around. Go ahead you deserve it and why not, afterwards you feel spoilt and don’t tell me you don’t.
Let’s not get into the whole tax evasion thing we could go on for days but, according to THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER :

Starbucks has made a small profit for the first time in the UK in 17 years with 791 outlets including franchised owned, the pre-tax profit was £1.05m.  Not a figure to be sniffed at and then we come to COSTA once again: Sales at Costa owned by Whitbread rose 17.2% in the first quarter of 2015 with profits estimated as early as April at £1.4bn.
These figures indicate who is the major player in the annihilation of a coffee bean placed in a grinder. Whichever way you look at it and despite the figures personally and almost privately we all have our favourite escape.
Yep you guessed it I FRICKING LOVE COSTA! Give me a Costa now…..give me a Costa at night, morning, now, now and then some more now………I could go on but you get the general idea.
Comment below with what is your favourite chain, and the 1st choice of drink. Give me some ideas and tastes to try. Happy caffine-ating people.

 

Tony Martin

Healthy lunch with SWEET POTATOES

We have been going slimming world now for about 31 weeks and what started out as a way to lose weight changed into a complete life change and brain reprogram. So far to date I and my partner have lost bang on the nose 3 stone in weight each. When i became a taxi driver I ballooned from 12 stone right up to 16 stone 10 (do the math). My partner is an education as she comes up with a lot of meal ideas, and because of the plan we never go hungry. And that’s exactly what slimming world is, it is not a diet but a healthy eating plan a re-education of how you view food, so here we go with the latest invention.

 

sweet pots

 

SWEET POTATOES WITH BACON, ONION AND PEPPERS.

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes in a fan oven  mark 200 until they are soft inside (make sure to prick with a fork first)
  2. Cook lean or medallions of bacon in a non stick pan with a few sprays of fry light cooking oil
  3. Chop one onion and 2 peppers (any colour) and toss into the bacon and cook together
  4. Once the potatoes are soft half and scoop out the inside and place into a separate bowl
  5. Once the bacon mix is cooked to taste, chop and place in the bowl with the mush from the potatoes.
  6. Mix well and combine together and place back into the skins of the sweet potatoes
  7. Add a sprinkling of grated cheese on top ( if you are on the slimming world plan either syn the cheese (weighed) or count it as your HEA
  8. Serve with a massive side salad
Sweet potatoes with bacon, peppers and onion
Sweet potatoes with bacon, peppers and onion

 

Those of you on the Slimming world plan will know all about the syns that you could add to this recipe, having said that we had the cheese as our HEA, so it is completely syn free. Those of you not on this plan SYN FREE and FREE FOODS basically means (believe it or not) you can eat as much of this as you want.

Enjoy  xxx

 

Tony Martin

12 Months To Christmas!

I have not posted for a while it has been Christmas after all! It’s the new year and I plan to take blogging and my new YOUTUBE CHANNEL a little bit more serious. With all the chocolates I have eaten I could have opened a sweet shop. We have been on a eating plan for the last 6-7 months and have lost about 3st 4lb, so I’m not too worried if I put a couple back on. Christmas is always good in our house and always exciting as we have two girls in our house and they are at an age when they can express the appreciation for what they get. This year, gone was the slaving away in the kitchen for hours on end we decided very early on this year that we were going to eat out.

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We had to book early, just a short walk from our house

It was ok but as I said we were not really paying for the meal, look at it from a different angle and we were paying for QT with the kids. We were not stuck in the kitchen for god knows how long, arguing about how thick the gravy is. I always say jokingly after the girls have opened their present’s “That’s it got to wait another twelve months to open some more”. And whilst that is true it is always good to look forward to a new year. With a new year comes new goals and new ambitions, and the ones we have in store are plenty including a secret holiday for our girls. At the moment our house looks like a war-torn street in Beirut, I like a tidy stress free house. I like a house to look like it is lived in not quite clinical so for me the quicker the decorations now go away the better, but that involves doing some gymnastics against the hallway wall as some one else has our ladders.

 

not our house but very close!
not our house but very close!

It is amazing to me how many people spend a fortune on wrapping paper for it only to be ripped, torn and thrown away. “Well it makes the present look better”. Really! I mean really! We are always told to never judge a book by its cover so, behold the looks when the wrapping is sometimes worth more than the present inside. This exact thing happened to me the present was celebrated, held aloft in all its glory for months but the details of its contents were never divulged. Then it was given to me! I am a very lucky guy in my life and I am grateful everyday, my gratitude journal will tell you so. But I think you can kind of tell the rest for yourself, I once got a musical tie from someone I bought perfume for every year £60+ then one year they returned the gesture. Where is the tie now? I have not a clue. Today is a day off to try to treat our house to some TLC, we have a new vacuum which today will get a good battering. I have one question, why when you take your decorations down the room always instantly looks bare? No doubt for years you have always admired the look of the living room, even more so if you have just decorated. But once the tree is down it doesn’t look the same, and it takes some getting used to.

We have other things to do!

  1. Our patio doors are broke
  2. Our toilet does not flush properly
  3. And we need to remove a sofa from the living room

These have happened in a very short space of time, very short so we have our hands full with all the other goals we have put in place. Am I looking forward to it? Yeah why not, why wouldn’t I there is much to do. Am I watching the Christmas clock in anticipation for the next one? ERM….. no is the answer we have much to do first!

 

Is there anything you have set down in the new year? Are there any jobs around the house that need doing? Have you bought presents already in the any sales? Let me know, you may even have tips on how to fix patio doors!

Tony (1)

CHRISTMAS ON A BUDGET

Now……we always buy Christmas decorations every year, the collection is always building. In my view you can never have too many fairy lights, imagine if you will the house from NATIONAL LAMPOONS CHRISTMAS VACATION. Yep…..that’s me but am I allowed, no! I am never by confirmation of my partner allowed to be left alone to put the Christmas decorations up. I went into our loft last year and found some that someone had left behind. A GREEK TAVERNER the MRS said, too many lights the MRS said, for me I was in my element. For our two young daughters to say the same, I have to admit the point was taken digested and a new approach administered this year.

This year we have opted for gold and purple, purple being her favourite colour of course. There are many shops on the high street that do a great selection, some expensive and good quality if your budget can accommodate this. The ones we have are from a chain of stores that some may never have heard of B & M.

Baubles at £8.00 good quality if you are watching the pennies at Christmas
Baubles at £8.00 good quality if you are watching the pennies at Christmas

They have a wide range of shapes and colours and if you are watching the pennies at Christmas this is a great way to budget.

Smal baubles at £3 for two
Small baubles at £3 for two

At Christmas many of us whip out the plastic and end up still paying for Christmas into the new year. With the added worry and stress of anticipation of the forthcoming bills.  With prices like this you could go as far as changing your colour scheme every year. Adding a bit of variety into the mix.

Combine colours at £3 for two
Combine colours at £3 for two

I for one was obsessed about Christmas trees, we don’t tend to have a real one in our house but it has taken a few years to find one that has a fuller spread like ours. We are yet to find a new garland for our fire surround and no doubt we will find one soon. I highly recommend the cheaper stores for decorations if they have what you want. Money saved on decorating can of course be spent on presents for the kids and family that come round. It was reminded to me this morning that THE RANGE also do a good selection of decorations if you are on a budget. We tend to stick to a budget on decorations and go crazy with everything else. Money spent on all the nibbles and treats that we get. Creating memories that last the entirety of next year whilst the decorations are placed away to gather dust until the next celebration.

It would be interesting to find out what colour scheme you guys are choosing this year.  LET ME KNOW AND COMMENT BELOW.

You never know I may well get some ideas so I don’t get into trouble anymore 😉.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

XxX

My favourite Christmas song.

We all know about Christmas songs and the impact they have on family gatherings at this time of year. We walk through shopping malls, hear the slight ringing of bells in a song cascading the space that surrounds us. Rolling our eyes back and declaring to the person we are with ” what! They are playing Christmas songs already”. Every now and again though one comes along that gets to us, stirs up memories of days gone by when the house was filled with family. All sat round a dinner table laughing and feeling the emotion of complete love and happiness that we are all together.

I was listening to a song last night and yes once again it got to me, now this song always does and to this day I don’t know why. Maybe I heard it as a child when mum used to put Christmas songs on in the background. Subconsciously it takes me back to that time, that time when I felt safe and loved by the person who brought me into this world. The person that taught me to be who I am, to be honest I don’t really know why it gets to me but it does. There are other songs that I like……………..

 

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
The smooth voice of the good old Nat is a symbol of Christmas almost, it conjures up the picture of nan speaking to the kids sat on the floor. Telling them stories of embarrassing moments that adults went through when they were young. Alcohol flowing food being devoured, emotional spirits running high sooner or later an adult will embark on putting the traditional Noddy holder.

Merry Christmas everyone
Merry Christmas everyone
Granddad’s, dads and uncles jumping, knees in the air in a alcohol infused Christmas chant with a scream at the end “ITS CHRISTMAS”. For me as good as this particular song is, it doesn’t stir up the sentimental thoughts of Christmas. One song and one song only takes me back to days gone by. It takes me back to a time when we all used to be sat round a table, the whole family together laughing and joking you could feel the love in the air. It always wells me up and I don’t know why even to this day. Nan sitting on her sofa telling us things about the adults when they were young, things I don’t think we should have known about but funny all the same. There is a speech at the start of the song and that IS Christmas at least for me. My partner said last night ” should be like that all the time” and she is right. But it’s not and in truth, I don’t think it ever will be. But on Christmas Day, the only time when peace is the true ruler.

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG……….I’ll leave you in the capable hands of JOHNNY MATHIS……..when a child is born.

Comment and let me know what YOUR favourite Christmas song is.

Merry Christmas everyone……love to you all XxX

 

MANAGEMENT MONDAY

So…..it is upon us again! Don’t you just love it? Well not everyone, I did something this morning that was completely out of character and I slept in slightly. WHAT! Is the word I hear being thrown at my face like a brick being hurled from protesters outside westminister. My other half has returned from a rather bleak and congested M1, “oh right, had a cheeky lay in did we”. You bet ya bottom dollar I did.

That said shouldn’t we love Mondays? Shouldn’t we welcome it with open arms? It is a day we can plan, ponder and take action for the week ahead. Take shopping for example and a shopping list, that’s what we do. Every Monday we take pen to paper and write out the groceries that we need but not before we plan our meals for the entire week. It has been said to me before ” but there is no supprise then, you know what you are having”. But that’s the great thing it’s something to look forward to, you know it’s coming and trust me when it’s your favourite meal (bangers and mash just like mum used to make) you still get an element of hungry excitement. Plan the chores which we did yesterday, both my self and my very own effigy of superwoman did this yesterday. We both work full time so sometimes it can be hard to fit in the chores. Our house does not in any way resemble a house set from some over priced over indulgent house set from a home show. Our living room currently looks like a film setting of a shack in FULL METAL JACKET but we made the plans to get it sorted. I always make the joke ” it looks like someone has thrown in a greanade and shut the door”.

Plans and the management of them are in my expireience the best way to get things done. You work your way through the list, same as you would through life I guess. You plan a holiday, you plan your work schedule and most of us plan meetings which my other half has done for later today. That’s exactly what a goal is it’s a plan, a plan to obtain what you want to achieve. We all plan blog posts, and video uploads don’t we? There are many out there that call today MOTIVATION MONDAY but I think you need a plan to motivate “right I’m going to do this today, I’m going to put on some music watch a motivational video (I do this) and get going”. That’s a plan isn’t it? And a series of plans (a to do list) is managing your tasks isn’t it? Notice there I didn’t say time, this can’t be managed plan, plan, and plan some more. I too fall prey to procrastination sometimes it can be hard to stay focused 100% of the time. But you pick yourself up dust yourself down, give a two fingered salute to the world list in hand and declare ” I got my list I got my life and I’m off, off to set out what I want to do”. And at the end of the day declare to yourself, pat yourself on the back ” yeah I did it I managed Monday well I did what I set out to do, now for the rest of the week I got you by the throat”.

MANAGEMENT MONDAY is something I might just make a thing of, I will plan today and the week then next week on Monday I’ll show you what I mean (if your interested 😉) I may well even stretch that to a video. Peace and quiet permitting, dog barking, daughters arguing or some realty show blasting from the boom box sound bar we have just invested in. A day off on a Monday for me isn’t always that, my Monday quite often isn’t the day of its namesake. So I’ll this post here………broom in hand, polish in back pocket and marigolds stretched and slapped to my hands I’m on a mission. Not to the moon, but that’s where I’m sending the untidiness of our domain……yes to the moon lets just hope it doesn’t come back.

MANAGEMENT MONDAY…………LETS MAKE IT OUR THING Just you and me.

Be Amazing

XxX