taking stock

Taking Stock: Cullen Bay Beach Walk by daintydora

It's always good to 'Take Stock' of where you are (in life; with yourself), and the start of a new year feels particularly apt. This is the first year I haven't written lengthy lists of plans, ideas, dare I say it - resolutions. I'm OK with that. Instead I've spent the first days of 2017 just thinking, being, breathing.

Taking Stock: Cullen Bay Beach, Scotland

Turning things over in my mind and taking my time before rushing into anything too deep and meaningful; catching up on reading and creative work with minimal digital distraction. It felt good. Hibernation could be my 'thing'.

A walk along the beach at Cullen Bay in the North of Scotland was a beautiful, wild way to welcome in the year, the sea restless with energy and alive with mystery.

Taking Stock: Cullen Bay Beach, ScotlandTaking Stock: Cullen Bay Beach, Scotland

For this 'Taking Stock' I've picked 12 verbs from the usual list (one for each month), to reflect on. This is me, right now:

Making: Cullen Skink. I had to really, having so recently visited Cullen and tasting the award-winning version, circa 2015. Drinking: Red Berry Suki Tea. It's a deep rich red jewel in a cup. Reading: The Outrun, by Amy Liptrot. It's wild and beautiful and it makes me want to visit Orkney (again), and some of the tiny islands off it, especially Papay. Looking: forward to our family holiday in Florida, starting next week. The Everglades. The Keys. Hemingway's house. Watching: The OA - highly unusual and gripping. GIRLS, Nashville... Smelling: peppermint and eucalyptus oils in my bath. The perfect (indulgent) winter-morning ritual.

Loving: that people are loving THE WORD, my fledgling fortnightly newsletter. Thank you to everyone who's contacted me to let me know how much they're enjoying it, and who've shared, tweeted and encouraged me - your support means everything.

Noticing: sunsets like never before. They creep up early in winter and feel like the most beautiful of the year. Listening: to Angel Olsen. Over and over. Especially this and this and this and this. (Which brings me to my new favourite thing to say when I forget what I'm trying to say: "the thing with the thing with the thing. You know the thing?" No, no-one else does either... Thinking: about rainbows and phrases and new words and word associations. Rainbow-physics. Never-night. Svengali. Leitmotif. Gesamtkunstwerk. Opening: new books and journals that I received over Christmas. Italian leather with lush, cream pages from my husband; a coveted Mucha scrapbook from my Mum. Feeling: optimistic and curious about 2017 and all it promises.

Taking Stock: Cullen Bay Beach, Scotland

I asked friends and family about their 'resolutions', and was surprised when mostly they told me of things they're not going to do, something they 'need' to stop or cut out of their life.

I know that's often the way, but instead I'd like to focus on the all the amazing things I am going to do, plan to do, will do, and perhaps some happy surprises that 2017 will have in store. It just feels better to think like that, doesn't it?

Taking Stock: Cullen Bay Beach, Scotland

Taking Stock: August 2016 by daintydora

It's a new month and lots is happening and it feels like a good time to 'Take Stock' in my very un-styled, rather floury kitchen. Weighing, measuring, pouring, peeling, counting. Taking Stock, August 2016Here goes:

Making: loads of things lately: Icelandic Kimchi, Carrot & Apple Breakfast muffins from Deliciously Ella and two batches of Brydie's Lemon & Olive Oil cake, as per the recipe posted on her amazing blog City Hippy Farm Girl. I keep burning it though because a) the difference in altitude (is that a thing?), b) my oven is a unpredictable and keeps switching off half-way through. (Yes I know it's a poor work(wo)man who blames her tools.)

Carrot & Apple Breakfast Muffins in the makingDrinking: Matcha or good old Yorkshire tea with almond milk. Reading: Ruby Wax's 'Sane New World: Taming the Mind'. Lots of insight; some things I already knew, technical facts about the brain that I didn't, and a few strong opinions I don't agree with. She's full-on and honest though which I admire.

Looking: back over all the words I celebrated in my version of this year's 100-day project #100daysofmyfavouritewords

Deciding: to start a newsletter linked to this blog (panic). I'm calling it 'THE WORD'. (Sign-up here or in the side-bar.) Wishing: I was closer to family faraway. It's a matter of geography. Waiting: for nothing and no-one. Just doing it. (I should get me some Nike.) Coveting: a Pashley bike, despite 'forgetting' how to ride. I think it's a confidence thing. Playing: with pattern design. Is it Christmas already?! Wondering: where the year has gone #timepanic

Loving: the sunshine right now, and the clouds. So many beautiful cloud formations. Do you know how the clouds got their names?

Pondering: the edits I need to make to my novel. Considering: the art of procrastination:

Buying: Julie Hewitt lipstick online. How frivolous! I've never bought lipstick online before, 'sight unseen'. It seems like a lot to spend, with postage and all. But then it feels like the slow creep of (ssshhh) autumn ushering in with the onset of August. And it's the kind of thing 'Christine' might do if only she had enough time...(see below). And she'd qualify for free shipping.

Watching: The Girlfriend Experience on Netflix. Chilling, raunchy, psychological, dark and compelling. Take that as a recommendation if you will. Hoping: the lipstick suits me. Marvelling: at our 24/7, ever-connected, soon to be drone-infested world. I don't think it's all so good for us but I can't help but interact with it. Needing: to make a fabulous fancy fascinator/hairband ensemble for a family wedding. I haven't started yet but I've got all the materials I need.

Smelling: the last few spritzes of 'The One' by Dolce & Gabbana. I've loved that perfume and the sturdy, rectangular bottle it comes in. Solid and sophisticated. A proper grown-up affair. It was time for it to be finished though; time to switch up my scents.

Questioning: my decision to start a newsletter. Will I have time? Is it too much work? What if no-one subscribes? Wearing: spots and stripes and lots of coral and what might be considered 'sport-core' or just 'norm-core' but what I consider to be 'comfy-core' for homeworking. Following: Gretchen Rubin's quest for happiness through her podcast 'Happier'. Noticing: a host of tips about creativity and productivity in my digital feeds. I like it. It's helping.

Enjoying: my little garden and all that grows there; the flowers, the herbs, the strawberries (saved from the slugs!), lavender, verbena, the Asiatic lilies my Mum got me, the heather, the Japanese Acer, the holly and of course the weeds. You've got to admire them though, the weeds - they just keep on doing their thing.

Home-grown StrawberriesKnowing: a lot more since I started listening to the TED radio hour podcast. Thinking: about all the things I don't know about, and all the things I do. This quote sums it up best:

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.” Einstein

Admiring: the creative adventurers who know so much more about things than me. I bow to knowledge! Sorting: out (attempting to sort out) notes on the backs of envelopes, multiple notepads, digital bookmarks etc, as my ideas, inspirations and to-dos conspire to scatter like wildflowers around my person, landing in abstract, semi-sorted piles that may or may not be properly sifted and mined in the foreseeable future. Bookmarking: technical help videos as I attempt to learn the basics of Adobe InDesign. Baby steps.

Disliking: how soap goes all gooey in the dish, ruining what starts off as beautifully formed 'scented art'. I love soap but this can't go on #firstworldissues

Opening: newsletters and literally absorbing information through my eyeballs. It's actually a process involving many different parts of the brain, creating a 'reality' that is unique to me... (see 'Reading' and you'll understand my thoughts on this.) Giggling: over Celia Walden's column in The Telegraph Magazine. Feeling: excited about the future and the plans I'm putting in place. Watch this space! Snacking: surreptitiously on squares of Divine's 70% Dark Chocolate - with Raspberries. Wishing: sugar wasn't quite such an enemy, but it is.

Listening: to Father John Misty (aka John Tillman). I'm loving his sound right now, especially this song. And this one. I loved the Fleet Foxes too. This was my absolute favourite. 'White Winter Hymnal'. So haunting, so sad. Just gorgeous.

How about you? Is it time to 'Take Stock' in your life?

Find out who started this trend. (Thanks Pip!)

End-note: isn't it interesting how all my images this time have turned out to be food-related?

A festive stock-take: December 2015 by daintydora

With Christmas around the corner and a festive mood in the air, it feels like a great time to 'take stock' of what I'm doing, seeing, thinking and feeling right now. Christmas Robin

Here goes:

Making: a mess with magazine cuttings and to-do lists and wrapping paper. Cooking: Broccoli risotto (is that even a thing? It is now!) Drinking: a warming bottle of Sake. Yum! Reading: Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky. Wanting: Peace, love and happiness for all. I wonder if that will ever be possible? Looking: forward to my trip to Krakow in the morning. Playing: a game of catch up with myself, trying to get everything done, sorted, ticked off my list... Deciding: what to take and what to leave out of my suitcase - 10 kilos does not go far. Wishing: there was more time - for everything. Is it just a matter of priorities? Enjoying: a weekend spent at home. Waiting: for no man, ever. Liking: the sense of achievement at the end of a productive week. Wondering: what the robin I saw this afternoon was thinking as it plucked a worm from the ground? Loving: the idea of a cashmere dressing gown...but Pondering: how I would cope if I was homeless? All that wind and rain. Considering: where to hang the pictures I've finally managed to frame. Buying: festive knits. Watching: Elf - for the first time - I can't believe it's taken me so long! Hoping: the windy weather we've been experiencing stays away. Marvelling: at the strength of the human spirit. Cringing: as the wind batters our little slate roof - we've already had a leak this winter :( Needing: a massage. And a new memory card for my camera. Questioning: the premise of love. Smelling: the warming, festive scents of spicy orange and amber. Wearing: layers. Noticing: the bare branches outside. The seasons change so quickly. Knowing: I need to do a big declutter in the New Year. Thinking: about my plans for 2016. Admiring: the organised people who have Christmas all wrapped up. Sorting: socks. Getting: hungry. Coveting: a minimalist house/existence. Disliking: the carpet in the spare room - it has to go. Opening: my first Christmas card. Giggling: mmm, not really because I'm Feeling: a bit emotional...and Snacking: on ready salted crisps and brazil nuts...while Hearing: Elvis and Bing Crosby crooning out the Christmas tunes - they're all you need to feel that cosy, Christmas nostalgia!

Next stop: Krakow.

What are you doing right now? Do you like to 'Take Stock' to remember a point in time, or take each day as it comes?

I'm feeling a bit guilty that I haven't written in my Shining Year Goddess Journal as often as I should have. 'Taking Stock' will need to do!


Friday Diary: Taking Stock for the May-Day Bank Holiday by daintydora

This week has passed quickly and I feel a bit...fretful? Mmm, not really. But not quite my optimal self. So it feels like a good time for reflection, planning, Taking Stock (the last time was just before my birthday in February). Vintage Typewriter

Here goes:

Making: rocky road. Yum! Drinking: Vanilla & Chamomile Tea. Reading: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki - it was a birthday present and I am sinking into it deliciously. Wanting: to sit in the sun reading all day... Looking: forward to an hour-long meditation class this weekend. Deciding: to be more decisive. Wishing: I'd booked a holiday. Enjoying: watching little seedlings grow in my garden. Waiting: for the weekend to begin. Coveting: Craft for the Soul by Pip Lincolne. Playing: with watercolours - so relaxing/inspiring. Wondering: where I'll be in 5 years? Loving: that I finished my knitted 'emotional' blanket, finally. Pondering: my next creative project. Considering: the meaning of life. Buying: compost. Not that exciting, but the thought of growing my own veggies really is. Watching: A new-to-me series called Once Upon a Time. Fairy tales for grown-ups. Hoping: for a sign. An auspicious sign. Serendipity. Synchronicity. Any/all of that. Marvelling: at my amazing vintage typewriter that is just so much fun to use! Needing: a new adventure. Questioning: the urge to blog. Maybe this should just be a personal diary? Smelling: my favourite 'power' scent: Clarins Eau Dynamisante. Wearing: summer dresses one day, winter jumpers the next (Spring in the UK) Following: lots of exciting arty and poetic peeps on Twitter. Noticing: the weather getting warmer, hotter, better (apart from surprise snow on Monday) Knowing: I don't need to buy any summer clothes. But I might. Thinking: up today's poem for #100daysofhaiku. Admiring: so many creative people in my life. Sorting: through the clutter. Still. Bookmarking: 'How to grow a lemon tree from seed in a pot indoors'. Disliking: the power that smartphones seem to wield. On me. On my husband. On everyone. Is it a cult?? Opening: my eyes to all the good and beauty in the world. Giggling: not as often as I'm used to. Feeling: a bit meh for a Friday. Snacking: see above re the rocky road. Wishing: sugar wasn't so bad for me/people/everyone. Hearing: lots of election chat. It's all starting to blend into one voice.

How about you? Is it time to 'Take Stock' in your life?

I learnt from the best - the lovely Pip Lincolne.

Have a cuppa. Write some stuff down. It's a great way to decompress in time for the (holiday) weekend.


Midweek Peak: Taking Stock by daintydora

What have you been up to lately? Sometimes it's good to get it all down and out there. Written. Typed. A snapshot with some accountability.

That's what's so great about Taking Stock; first introduced to me by the delightful Pip Lincolne of Meet Me At Mikes.

Taking Stock: A view of the clouds

Here's a look at my now:

Making: waves (everywhere, always!) Cooking: chorizo, butterbean & kale stew. Was a lovely winter warmer. Drinking: apple & cinnamon tea. I'm trying new teas. The Sweet Rhubarb I bought a few weeks ago was even better. Reading: magazines that I've had in my stash for a loooong time. Rediscovering some great articles, images and inspiration. Wanting: to live a more minimalist life. Looking: forward to my BIRTHDAY next week :) Playing: along with the daily Tinkersketch challenge. Deciding: I can't do every single craft or creative thing. Must. Practice. Single. Focus. Wishing: time wouldn't slip away so fast... Enjoying: the bright, crisp days of February and the nights getting a smidge lighter. Wondering: what I'll be able to grow this year in the garden? Loving: my morning swimming routine. Pondering: if I should get my hair cut soon. It's been a while. Considering: giving up alcohol (again) because it's such an evil toxin and I can't handle hangovers anymore. Watching: inspirational TED talks from amazing peeps. Hoping: I'm on the right path. Creatively and in life. *Big profound hope*. Marvelling: at the power of the mind. Needing: a massage. Back, neck and shoulders please! Smelling: not so much. I've had a cold. Wearing: as many layers as possible at all times. That includes scarves indoors because I get cold. Did I mention that I feel the cold? Following: lots of new-to-me creatives on Instagram. Noticing: new growth in the garden. Already! Plus next door's washing still on the line. In the rain. Knowing: and connecting with so many lovely, creative people through groups like The Collage Club and Blog with Pip. Thinking: about family far away. Feeling: ready for Spring. Thoughts, sights, fashions, longer days, more inspirations. Admiring: people who reach for their dreams. Sorting: out clutter while *thinking* about this book (if I bought it, I'd only need to get rid of it again...) Buying: a vintage dress in a fabulous geometric print - Magpie FIND! Getting: lost in thought. Bookmarking: poetry competitions. I've been writing a lot of poetry recently and loving the composition of words and sounds and rhythms. Disliking: grumpy & reactive people. There seem to be a lot of them around just now. Opening: up my mind to the process of art journaling. I'm learning lots about myself as well as enjoying the creative expression. Giggling: at captions on cards in Paperchase - "I come, I fox shit up, then I leave" with a smug image of a fox. Maybe you had to be there. Feeling: ambitious and a little ambiguous. Snacking: on the last chilli & chocolate cookies I baked on Valentine's day. Coveting: a large West End bay-windowed abode with a white-wash, minimalist interior. Only sometimes. Helping: women in need through a regular donation to Glasgow Women's Aid.

What about you? Give it a try. See what you come up with.

I love a midweek PEAK!


Taking Stock: December 2014 by daintydora

'Taking Stock' is such a lovely thing to do to get things straight in your head, mark a point in time and reflect on things past, present and future. It was started by the wonderful Pip Lincolne of Meet Me At Mikes, and as we approach the end of 2014, it feels like a great time to 'take stock'.

Sunday is the perfect day too!

Festive Flowers


Making: Irish Soda Bread. Yum. I love that it's so quick, easy, and best of all - yeast and sugar free Cooking: up Christmas plans Drinking: Japanese matcha tea (antioxidants abound) Reading: 'The Mammoth book of Shark Attacks'. I'll never swim in the sea again! Wanting: peace & love on earth for all Looking: forward to relaxing over Christmas Listening: to Christmas choir music. 'Gaudete' has me enthralled although I have no idea what the words mean Deciding: that I'd like to meditate everyday Wishing: on a star Enjoying: the wonders of winter Waiting: for my Collage Scrap Exchange 'scraps' to arrive Liking: the Christmas wreath I made from birch wood yesterday (not the best photo, and I need trim those ends, but you get the idea)

Birch Wood WreathWondering: if it will be a 'white Christmas' this year? Loving: cosy nights in Pondering: big nights out Considering: my plans and focus for 2015 Watching: Game of Thrones Hoping: for days that are merry and bright Marvelling: at this amazing Christmas tree, carved from a tiny piece of wood Needing: a big hug Smelling: uplifting scents of Rosemary and Cypress essential oils Wearing: big, cosy Lowie socks Following: loads of poetry and literary journals on Twitter Noticing: how fast time is passing these days... Knowing: I've done my best Thinking: about a huge declutter in January Admiring:  the achievements and *fabulousness* of my fellow Blog with Pip 'Pipsters' Sorting: through papers and magazines and photographs Buying: Christmas presents, but not too many Getting: excited about the holidays Bookmarking: projects and writing competitions for 2015 Disliking: the commercialisation of Christmas Opening: my mind to new things Giggling: over this video for Grantown 250 (the town where I went to school and a celebration of its 250 year anniversary in 2015)

Feeling: a little bit melancholy. Maybe it's that Sunday night feeling? (or maybe I should watch that video again?!) Snacking: on M&S Florentines. Thanks Mum! Coveting: a cashmere dressing gown Helping: the birds to survive this winter with tasty snacks of nuts, seeds, fat balls and cheese (I realised only recently that you're not supposed to feed them bread) Hearing: next door's music - at least it's cheery and festive!

So many good things here and so much to look forward to and be grateful for as Christmas and New Year approach.

Copy this list to 'Take Stock' too.