Category Archives: Photography and Blogger Life

December 2018 SMART Goals – Focus, Reflect, Relax

I’ve written a few times on my blog about how I set goals in December, not in January so avoiding all those ‘New Year, New Me’, New Year resolutions. I think it’s easier to make changes in your life at another time of year.  I started making changes in December over 10 years ago – it seems to work for me, as the run-up to Christmas has always been a time of reflection and regrouping for me.  I’ve always had a diary, used reminders or to do lists either on paper or electronically. It really helps me to be accountable to myself. Last month, I started writing my SMART Goals on my blog, as it helps me to see what I’ve achieved over the month, the quarter and going into 2019. It also makes goals more real, realistic and accountable if they are public goals shared with your friends and family.  In December, I’m concentrating on my photography especially with my Lensbaby and my working life.  So I am focusing, reflecting and relaxing.

If you’ve ever been on any marketing, project management or planning courses they’ll have mentioned SMART objectives. SMART goals are:

  • Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound (i.e.What is the deadline or timeline for your goal?)

I wrote about how to set your SMART Goals last month:

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Let me know in the comments how you get on?

How I monitor and record my progress:

I have a diary/journal where I note daily activities. Also, I use alarms on my phone to schedule activities. I use the Pomodoro method – timed 25-minute work sessions and then a timed five-minute break – every four or five 25 minute sessions you have a longer break. This method really helps me focus. Continue reading

Using SMART Objectives for November Goals - consolidate, learn, balance

November 2018 SMART Goals – Consolidating, Learning and Balance

I’ve never written one of these posts before on my blog, even though I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a list of goals/plans written down – it is achieving your goals that’s the tricky thing.  But, I thought I’d start doing writing my SMART Goals every month on my blog, as it will help me to see what I’ve achieved over the month, the quarter and going into 2019.  It also makes goals more real, realistic and accountable if they are shared with colleagues, friends and family.  It also helps me to think of some words which sum up what I want to achieve – Learning, Consolidating and Balance. 

postcards a black wooden background, scattered around one says Dream Big, another 'Live Simply, Be Grateful, Give Love, Laugh Lots', another a 1-10 list on a grey background, A large letter B card, four orange/yellow roses and a pair black garden snipper sissors

Dream Big, Live Simply, Be Grateful, Give Love, Laugh Lots – and have a list 😉 – and flowers in your life

I’ve been thinking over the last year or so about what really matters to me.  The affirmations in the picture I took for the header sum this up too.

I took this photo at the BlogOn conference in Manchester in September.  It was part of a photography session with Lucy from ‘Captured by Lucy’ who as well as being a very talented writer and photographer sells her own very high-quality backdrops for photos – I didn’t take this photo on an old wooden painted floor – it’s vinyl. Continue reading

Review - Lyrical Blogging Bundle

Review – September Lyrical Limited Edition Blogging Bundle – why you need it NOW

It’s been a big month for me – I moved from WordPress dot com to self-hosted. Non-bloggers will wonder what this means, but among other things, now I own my own domain name (www.viewsfrommygardenbench.com), I have autonomy about what I can do with the blog and where it goes next – It’s a journey like life. I don’t write about the process of blogging very often, but there were many reasons behind this decision, which I’ll come back to another time.  I hope YOU, my readers, will follow this journey – and even if not every post is interesting to you. It’s guaranteed there will be photos of pretty flowers ;-). 

I chose Lyrical Host (www.lyricalhost.com) to host my blog – they do things differently, including providing:

  • free resources to help your business grow – monthly stock photos, advice booklets and checklists.
  • Pay as you feel (£5+) blogging bundles
  • Community matters – They really want to support the small businesses and bloggers they work with – they’re always on hand to offer advice and support.

It’s their 1st birthday in September 2018 so they’ve launched a special Blogging Bundle.

Note:  THIS POST IS NOT A SPONSORED POST.  I wanted to write about the Limited Edition Blogging Bundle – I paid a fair price for what I received.
This post contains AFFILIATE links and I receive a commission if you visit a 
link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own.  I shall always give an honest opinion. 

Limited Edition Blogging Bundle (until end of September)

One of the reasons, I chose Lyrical was because they were different – they give their clients blogging resources including stock photos, advice booklets and checklists. They’ve got a blog full of information too – www.lyricalhost.com/blog/  If you are bothered about Gutenberg have a look?

Continue reading

bec on a beach in australia

BlogOn Introduce Yourself – why I go to Blogging conferences

In a couple of weeks, I’m off to a blogging conference run by the team at BlogOn (BlogOnuk.com) – it’s only down the road at Hotel Football, in Old Trafford, in Manchester – about three miles from my house.

I’d heard about these conferences which have been held twice a year since 2013 – everyone said how great it was. I went to one of their Conferences in May; it was really well run and very useful. I learnt so much that day, especially about photography and editing It was lovely to meet people I’ve known on Twitter/ Instagram face to face too.

Continue reading

On an adventure to BlogOn X

I’m planning on writing more this year, getting a shorter URL and I’ve got plenty of ideas for blog topics. More photos of flowers too. This weekend I’m off to a blogging conference run by the team at BlogOn (www.BlogOnuk.com) – it’s only down the road at Hotel Football, in Old Trafford, in Manchester – about three miles from my house. I’d seen bloggers taking about how well run, and useful, the conferences are, so I signed up. I wanted to learn some new skills, update my knowledge, especially about Pinterest, and maybe talk about collaborations. I’m very much looking forward to meeting some other bloggers face to face, that I know via Twitter and other social media. It’s always good to spend time with people who do a similar role to you, and have some fun.

If you’re coming to the conference come and say hello 🙂 I’m hoping I’m not a fish out of the water.

We’ve been asked to write a bit about ourselves and link up… So here goes…

  • Share a recent photo of yourself

I’m Bec, I live in Monton in Eccles, which is in Salford in Lancashire. Monton is on the West of Greater Manchester, about six miles from the city centre; it’s leafy round here, with Worsley Woods, a couple of golf courses and the Bridgewater Canal is at the end of our street – we’ve got a good cafes, bars and restaurants around here and a growing number of street art bees.

I blog about flowers, gardening, wellbeing and our adventures out and about, usually in the Great Outdoors . I’m a Southerner originally, born in Berkshire. I’ve lived here for 20 years, visiting since 1989, so I’ve seen lots of changes around Manchester.

I’m definitely in my spiritual home among the friendly Northerners. Also, I know the correct words to use to order a bread role in any part of Greater Manchester. In Eccles its a barm 😉 I eat my chips with gravy, but never mushy peas (Devil’s work).

This is the first picture of me I’ve ever put on the blog. I feel like I should tell you I’m wearing a White Stuff dress, with Razzle Dazzle Irregular Choice shoes – Outfit of the Day and all that 😉 The photo was taken just before I headed out to my Hen Do afternoon tea last September.

  • What’s your favourite pizza topping?

Olives, anchovies, prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella on a super thin crust.

  • You can have dinner with any three guests dead or alive- who do you choose and why?

I could easily pick three gardeners, three historians, three chefs, three novelists, three adventures, three musicians, three scientists, the list could go on. But, I’ll confine myself to a group who’d have so much to discuss and share – Nigel Slater, Mary Beard and Charles Darwin.

  • Up to now what would you consider being your biggest life achievement?

I’ve raised alot of money for charities to research Motor Neurone Disease (because My Chap’s brother died aged 49 in 2017 from MND) and cancer (because lung cancer took my Dad 18 years ago when he was 70). In my day job, I’ve helped academics win millions in funding for research with patients in the NHS – just about any topic or disease you can think of. I’m proud I help people make a difference – and make the world a better place.

  • If you woke up tomorrow as a character from any Disney film or book who would you be and why?

I watched most of the classic Disney Films as a kid in the 1970s, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, etc. My favourite is Jungle Book – I love the songs. I’ve never seen Bambi though.

However, since Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, I’m taking Leia at any age, as my character…

I was 11 in 1977 when Star Wars came out and I’d never seen a woman as the lead, a hero, in charge – it affected me deeply. The film was massive in the playground; I think I saw it three or four times that year. I was, and still am, a massive Star Wars and sci-fi geek. Wish I’d kept the light sabre though. In the recent films Leia, as a General, is only a decade or so older than me, so I hope I have her compassion, determination and wit.

Yoda and Pansies in the Spring Sunshine

I have a special love for Yoda; he has appeared so many times in the blog he has his own Tag.

  • What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Stretch! Wiggle my toes and fingers. I have osteoarthritis in my fingers, toes and in my back, so I often wake up very stiff.

  • If you won the lottery what would be the very first thing you would buy and why?

A round the world airline ticket for My Chap and I, to visit friends and family, watch some tennis, go to some gigs and walk on beaches. Then we’d come back to Manchester, pay off and do up our house and garden. We’d stay here, as we love Manchester, but we’d also love a house by the sea.

  • What is your favourite quote from a movie?

‘Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future’. Yoda

  • If you were a superhero what would your super power be?

Time travel – not only because I love history – but it would mean I could visit people in a instant.

  • What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

When I was a teenager, My Dad used to talk about ‘Things a Girl Should Know’, most were practical like how to open the champagne, how to shake hands firmly, tie bow ties properly, change a tyre etc. He taught me to cook too, but that’s a whole other story.
He told me to be true to myself, be kind, help people, when you can and say No to things you really don’t want to do.

And to trust your gut.

  • Which emoji do you use the most?

I’m absolutely bobbins at doing emojis, so I can only use three (typing the characters too) – 🙂 😉 🙁

  • If you could go back in time and tell yourself anything what would it be?

My Granny Dolly who was a country woman, a working class suffragette, dog breader, judge at Cruft and a terrible cook, said to use moisturiser every day. Her skin was amazing, even in her 80s, and I’m afraid I didnt take this advice. I realised the error when I turned 40 and have mostly remembered the moisturiser since then.

  • What do you currently have set as the wallpaper on your phone?

This is the bay at Flinders, on the Mornington Peninsula, just south of Melbourne. My Australian family live here some of the time. Flinders is a village, with a General Store, one pub and a few coffee shops – it’s a peaceful, sleepy and relaxed place. I love it there.

  • If you could do anything in the world as a legitimate job what would you do?

Be a guide around one of the great gardens, photographing people, places and plants – sharing and tweeting too.

  • Where is your favourite place in the world?

I don’t have one favourite place – I guess mine is more about what places make me feel – a state of mind. Contentment, peace, relaxed but it would definitely have beautiful flowers.

And now to see if I can add the link button without a laptop. It broke on Monday so I’m using the tablet at the moment (TMI probably). Oops I chopped my head of on the link box.

Do have a look at the BlogOn X – linky for more blog and bloggers 🙂 I’ve found some new ones to follow.

Any thing I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

But, in the meantime, remember Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx