Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Go On – Treat Yourself

October 10, 2013

Restraint is a wonderful thing, as is Delayed Gratification – I’m exceptionally good at that – and Control. You need these qualities to get on in life, to succeed, to cope, to make changes to your life, to get the things you want. Think about your job, studying for (further) qualifications, saving for a deposit on a house, dieting, giving up all sorts of things. It’s all about the bigger picture isn’t it – today’s sacrifice for tomorrow’s reward.

Sadly so much of life seems to be about restraint and denying yourself the good things. Or if you do indulge then you feel so guilty (oh, what a Tim Tam can do to you) the pleasure was utterly lost. Even that uncontrolled rant about the latest nonsense at work didn’t make you feel any better because you unloaded at the wrong time to the wrong person and instead of feeling better you feel worse.

tim tams

But today I am talking about giving yourself permission to let go of the Good You, the Hard Working You, the Saving Up You, the Dieting You, the I-Am-No-Longer-Swearing You, or which ever You has been in control lately. We all need a treat, we all need something to look forward to, something little or something big. But something that keeps us going and gets us through the hard times, the times that make us want to scream and throw that towel down a deep dark pit from whence it cannot be retrieved.

What do you deserve? What will make you feel good? Have a think about this because what you’re going to do is give yourself permission to treat yourself, to stop the denial-restraint-control-suffering even if only for a little while. As a perennial dieter I know the only way I cope (when I am successful and that has happened once or twice in my life!) is by allowing myself treats from time to time. Not everyday, I hasten to say – otherwise you get nowhere. Saving money for a deposit means every day for a long time. Losing weight means self control and exercise every day for a long time.


So, step away from the denial, the hard work, the control – allow yourself time off.

me yesterday



Giving yourself permission is most important as it means you remain in control of your indulgence and can easily and happily step back into that zone – you want to be thin, you want to own your own house, you want to complete your study – don’t you?? Giving yourself permission also means you don’t get bogged down in guilt or give up on your grand plan.

A little of what you fancy doesn’t hurt – but a truck load does!




Diet Treats – chocolate – of course!! A day of eating what you want – just toast and tomatoes can be it! A meal out – have something you’ve denied yourself that you really love, even if it’s as simple and as naughty as Maccas or Hungry Jacks (Burger King, the rest of the world)

hungry jacks

Savings Treats – as simple as a bunch of flowers, or £100 to spend on anything or nothing. Perhaps a weekend away – one of those deals from Groupon, where everything is as cheap as chips, or a massage, or a theatre trip… the choices for something cheap and cheerful are endless

flowers & sun

Working Hard Treats – this is where you can let yourself go. Something as simple as a day in bed, a weekend in front of the telly; your favourite boxset, but you could be more imaginative. Back to Groupon or all those travel deals that trip into your in-box. A week in Egypt sounds good to me, not to mention hopping onto the Eurostar and a weekend in Paris or, better still Brussels with one of your best mates. Go to the theatre, spend a day doing the things you love that make you feel good, with the people that make you feel good. Hard work is good and necessary but you must take time out to re-charge your batteries.



Take time out from the grind of your life, from the extra bits of control you’re exerting. Choose carefully, making sure that your treat is worthwhile, that you do enjoy it, so that you won’t be beset with guilt or regret. Instead you’ll enjoy the buzz of indulgence during and the memory of it afterwards. Then return to what has to be done for your own greater good. Always knowing you can do it again in a while!! (Images courtesy Google Images and Private Collection)

Blog-free Zones – A month without blogging and (almost) no Internet

September 3, 2012

It’s back to life, back to reality, as the Soul 11 Soul song from 1989 went and I have returned to the land of Blog, from whence I have been missing – a self imposed ban, tis true, but worth it, methinks.

Let me recount the wonders of an (almost) internet free 40 days.

1 No time wasted pootling around all sorts of distracting rubbish on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter; or my wondrous in-box (which I normally love)

2 Lots of time to read – 4 academic texts with extensive notes + the wonderful Night Circus – more of that to come

3 Even more time to write – to not write blogs means you can write other stuff and so 50 000 words of first draft of new novel completed + 2 draft chapters for PhD exegesis

4 A lovely feeling of freedom, of being disconnected from the world, so no Olympics, no naked Prince Harry, no R-Patz – Kristen Stewart shenanigans, no GCSE melt-down, etc, etc. The world does keep turning without knowing all these things as they happen!!

5 No obligation to respond to FB, or email


So, it’s been like a return to another time, another galaxy where none of the electronic wonders of our modern world existed. Instead I read and studied and wrote all day long. Beloved plastered, painted, ripped out walls and re-made the house, girl-child helped too.


The Young Pad Wan played her saxophone every day, exercised and entertained herself with lots of self improvement stuff important to mid-teen girls. We played scrabble, trinominos and had fires outside and drank wine, talked under the stars and had picnics at the lake.

It’s nice to be away, it’s nice to live life differently for a while, to shut off the real world. You can live without all sorts of things. God knows I love my iMac and I love my blog – do I devour my stats and agonise over pix for my posts? Indeed I do, dear reader. Am I keen on growing my following? Absolutely. I love the magic of blogging, of having real readers. We all do.

But it’s nice to know that we can live without it – even if, really, ultimately we don’t want to. And still the spam and readers came while I hibernated. Spam count: 66. Visits: 783 – not too shabby for nothing new for Jactherat for all of August.

But it’s nice to be back, so, onward and upward: new recipes to come, some new pondering about life, love and relationships, a book review or two and some more wonderful general wisdomosity, dear and faithful readers. (Pictures courtesy Google Images and Private Collection)

The ideal holiday – 40 Days and 40 Nights

July 22, 2012

I will be away from the world of work and electronica for 40 days and 40 nights. Indeed I am hopeful that the link to Noah is not portentous, as I’ve really had enough of the rain this English ‘summer’.

Yes, dear reader, it’s time for the long summer holiday, the time of the year when everyone wishes they were still as school, or uni, or a teacher!

40 days is a goodly amount of time. It was the time of flood in the bible that wiped out sin and unicorns, not to mention dragons, and other evil stuff.

40 days is the time of Lent, when Moses went up Mount Sinai and hung out with God without eating or drinking any food. And most people think they suffer by giving up chocolate.

40 Days and 40 Nights is also a 2002 movie about Josh Hartnett giving up sex after a nasty break up with his girlfriend – apparently he fails dismally and has loads of sex, but fails to get over the aforementioned g-friend. Don’t worry about this.

My 40 days will be a mix of abstinence and indulgence, as really, the ideal holiday should be.


I shall abstain from

Anything to do with work – no emails, no reading, no preparation, no evil thoughts sneaking in to waylay me

Public Transport  (once I get to France) – not one bus, or train or tube, just my own Jag and lots of walking

Anything to do with the Olympics – being not there will be a huge relief, especially as my world of public transport, ie London Bridge, will be severely disrupted

Electronic communications – we are without internet and the wonderful web of world-widedness so I will not be emailing, surfing, tweeting or blogging. So dear, reader you will have to make the most of this last post until September. Re-read some of my older stuff, it’s pretty enjoyable too.


I shall indulge in

Sleeping – especially sleeping in and afternoon naps and other assorted bed-time activities having been apart from beloved for 33 days

Wine and cheese – well I am in France and the cheese is wonderfully runny, pungent and economical. The wine is abundant, cheap and as I’m in Champagne how can I not support the local endeavours?

Walks in the gorgeous countryside and trips to the local lake for picnics and a spot of fishing

Reading – loads of study stuff plus the odd recreational read

Writing – of course, it’s me isn’t it – what else would I really indulge in? I shall write 2 chapters for my exegesis and play a bit with my crime story

Playing games with beloved and baby girl – lots of Scrabble and Trinomimos, a bit of Articulate, but no Monopoly whatsoever, ever-ever!

Trips into the town nearest our village – little shopping sorties, bread from the boulangerie, coffee at the café, dinner at our favourite restaurant.

Doing nothing – in the sun, in the countryside, sitting, just being – chatting aimlessly for hours, feeling no need to do a thing!

Have a lovely break if you are off and away. Being away from your normal life is a wondrous way to recharge and revive your life. Don’t feel compelled to do anything other than what you (and your family and friends – no need to be completely selfish) want to do.

So, tis to the Eurostar, bright and early and away. Travel well, my friends, I’ll be in touch in a while. (Images courtesy Google Images & Private Collection)

Ditch the guilt – why a holiday is good for you!

April 2, 2012

It’s Monday morning, the sun is shining and I’ve just got up, no nasty alarm, no crowded train. Yes indeed it is holidays and I feel good, as I knew I would. I’m not off anywhere exotic this Easter break but I will enjoy my free time as much as my travelling friends.

Let us consider the joys of holidays, why we need and deserve them (before the government whips them off us as well, or taxes us for them!!)

Sunday nights become blissful times of relaxation, devoid of that hunted feeling about Monday morning and what horrors may await you in the working week. Holidays give you back Sunday, so you enjoy the full benefit of the weekend.

The healing powers of the lie-in. Getting up in the dark doesn’t really have a lot going for it and even when the sun shines, Monday-Friday mornings are a blur of alarms, ablutions, abuse, angst as we race to work on crowded conveyers all hurtling towards our 8hour plus days. But the holidays releases us from that – we can choose to be up with the birds, or we can waste all day in bed, snoozing, reading, eating, watching telly. The lie-in gives you a smug sense of the world being balanced again.

You can travel to exciting places – anywhere on the Continent is convenient, even travail further, Egypt, the Caribbean, New York. You can stay closer to home, weeks in the country, by the sea, or a series of day-trips. It doesn’t matter how well lined your pockets you can get away. Getting away is good for your mind, it clears it out, lets you see the world anew, re-aligns the important bits.

The joy of travel is three fold – you look forward to the going, doing all the planning and arranging; you love being there and take lots of pix and buy your souvenirs; then when you’re home again you can indulge in happy chats about your holiday, pouring over your snaps, sharing your gifts.

You get away from your colleagues and the grind of work. Even though you may work in a wonderful place (lucky you, where is this place?) time away from office politics and intrigue is good for you. A break from business refreshes you, renews your energy and focus. You should return from your holiday a better employee, at least for a while!

Students – kids need their holidays. Amidst the renewed cries for less holidays, more term time, especially for those poor students who forget everything over the summer and aren’t fed properly (that does bear further examination, not just a passive acceptance of the truth of that assertion) and wouldn’t riot if in school, students need their holidays too. I have written before about education occurring outside of school, and the holidays are the classic case in point. India Knight (Sunday Times, April 1 2012) made mention of the joy of boredom, of kids finding their own things to do. I would add that kids need to be left alone to just be, to chill and not be told what they need to be doing all the time. The truth is many GCSE students aren’t just hanging about waiting for the next riots, they are at school doing intervention, or studying at home, or trying to rest up enough for the on-coming term of relentless exams. My particular GCSE student has 17 exams – she needs a break from school and from the circle of nagging and pressure she currently lives in. She needs to sleep more, got out with her mates, clean her room.

Teachers deserve their holidays. It is not an easy profession. Spending so much time in the company of children and teenagers and dealing with their plethora of needs is exhausting, emotionally as well as physically draining. Not to mention preparing, planning and the mountain of paper-work the English system thinks is essential to teaching – never mind the trees. If teaching was a simple 9-5 job then no, they can do without the ‘endless’ holidays. But it’s not, it’s challenging, exhausting and like no other job out there. The next time you have a rant about all those holidays, the lazy bastards, go and spend a week in your average classroom, see what happens in a school, realise that many teachers don’t get a break in their day, barely manage lunch and then do after-school clubs or meetings. Don’t you want your child taught by someone rested, revived and ready for the challenges of the term?

Holidays give you time to breathe again, to smell the roses, to do, to be, just as you choose. It’s time to catch up with chores around the house, to have lunch with friends, to be with your family, to spend a day reading.

Enjoy your holiday, you have deserved it. Rest, revive, re-create, do as much or as little as you want. But make sure you make the most of it. We’re at work a long time! (Images courtesy Private Collection)