The little things 

I don’t often write about my little man, I guess I selfishly don’t really want to share him with the world.

I use my Facebook page to write down the funny things he has said. The time line means I know his exact age and time when he said it and at only three years old he has filled Facebook with a lot of love.

However, today this post is dedicated to the last 36hrs of our lives, as I never want to forget them. It began with a wonderful Brighton shopping trip with my amazing friend Lauren and my little man. We were being our usual silly selves when I saw my little man fall in love and knew (despite it not making any logical sense financially or practically) that we would have to buy the item. 

It was a large (adult size) fish hat. 

He wore it with pride and throughout the day many people from shop assistants to people in the street commented how amazing it was, how it glistened in the light with one lady in Topshop saying in brought out his eyes. On the drive home from Brighton he chatted happily to his hat and plastic crocodile (J never goes very far without a plastic croc) and he told me that he was thirsty. From the driving seat I quickly multitasked and handed him a  bottle of water and then got told off. It turned out that he wasn’t thirsty but that his fish hat was called Kirsty (you can see how my error was made). 

I welcomed Kirsty into our home and began a discussion with a giant fish hat about all the lovely things we’d have for dinner, questioning in my adult mind where the hell he had got the name from?It transpires that Kirsty doesn’t eat mash potato or chicken goujons – nor baked beans or yoghurt…Kirsty only eats little fishes and polo’s (where the hell he has come across polos I also haven’t a clue – I’m a soft mint chick) anyway we took Kirsty home to Daddy’s dismay.

Since then Kirsty has slept with J, been by his side as a constant companion and even compromised her desire for polos and ate some of Js Cheerios at breakfast. 

It turns out that Kirsty also (due to her hat hole) makes a very good hand bag. Whilst out for breakfast yesterday J noted that I have a very sparkly Clutch bag (life’s too short for practical black bags) and he has sparkly Kirsty. I showed him the content of my bag; lip gloss, purse, keys, phone and chewing gum and he showed me his contents; grubby muslin, plastic crocodile and a cuddly mouse. He then threw his ‘Kirsty’ under his arm pit and we strutted out of the restaurant, the way he mimicked how I hold my bag forever embedded in my memory.

Since the purchase of Kirsty (nobody dare call her a hat, the look you receive is deadly) she has bought much joy to all who meet her, I dare say she will be packed in his suitcase soon. I’m not sure how she will be received abroad? However, until she is cast aside Id like to thank her for reminding me that you can wear whatever you like if it makes you happy. For now though she sleeps closely by his side. 

Squeeze the day 


Quote Unknown 

It’s the summer holidays and I’m pumped and feeling my motivation return. This quote makes me want to seize the day and love life…and I’m guilty of being a little lazy around the edges.I’m enjoying not having a routine, the alarm is turned off and that is good for me and my soul BUT I can’t help thinking I’m not maximising my time…I’m writing this with a cup of tea and my child is plugged into CBeebies *sigh

I know that this won’t be all day and actually I’ve done some chores and dinner is sorted, no one is dead – but surely life is for squeezing? If life is an orange, you want to taste every drop that orange can offer. You want it to be tasty, full of zest and a delightful experience…well today I’m going to go against the quote as sometimes it’s okay to leave the orange in the bowl (it’s just as pretty to look at) while you curl up with a book, lay in or have a duvet day. 

I’ve read a lot of posts from other bloggers about what to do with summer holidays – including my post Happiness is homemade, and that’s joyful and of course holiday time should be for creating memories; we’ve already achieved so many lovely days from zoo trips to swimming but don’t forget to stop, parents who feel ‘summer stress’ because they feel their children should be engaged in activities and exciting opportunities (which can come with the pressure of a hefty financial hole in the pocket) I’m here today to say slow down, even for a lazy morning or early night – holidays / weekends are also for reenergising. J does full days at Nursery three days a week, by the end of term he is run down. Squeezing each drop of juice is also about pausing, enjoying the flavour and relaxing – the juice will last longer.

The more I reflect on this quote the more I can see that to maximise our squeeze and potential we shouldn’t squeeze so hard.

So when planning the next weeks activities, juggling child care whilst working or organising weekends with packed opportunities to stimulate the mind and body…think of how pretty that bowl of fruit looks and take a slow pace. That has to be the secret to an enjoyable life? 

walking alone

Quote by Suzanne Collins 

*warning: I have chosen to use way too many analogies in this post (but they are fun)

As with most of what life throws at us, simplicity is usually the key to a content and happy existence. The journey can at times be tough and even when you expect your ticket to take you somewhere pleasant and glorious, a ticket inspector can force you off course and leave you stranded at the station of life that you hadn’t expected or would never chose to visit.

Now in my thirties there is still so much to learn about life, Im far from working it all out but like most of you in my age bracket you too may have been abandoned at a station you didn’t want to be at; sudden death in the family, platform 4 – long term illness, perhaps even a dark tunnel like mental health or experienced an interruption on the line from a miscarriage or conception issue. Lets be honest, the various stations of life can at times be crap.

However, something mystical happens and you find that from almost an invisible source, people find you in your darkest moments, for bloggers we can find it online from a member of the community we hadn’t before interacted with, family and friends can at times be like a first class carriage providing a nutritious meal when you need it most, or of course the escapism of a crisp glass of Sauvignon blanc. We all at times need first class service, camaraderie from our fellow passengers and wherever you are on your journey of life you’ll also need at times to get off at the next stop.

I’m a very lucky lady who appreciates her loved ones, has a good friendship circle and its riding the train in a lovely carriage with basic facilities on board – please note that you can’t journey well alone all of the time. You see despite all of the interactions that we have, however many siblings or children you have at home – at times you are alone. Every time you close your eyes, in your head its just you and whatever you chose to imagine. Make sure that its a place you are comfortable in, that self love means there is always warmth, that your interests have time to blossom.

It is only you that has walked in your shoes. It is only you that feels how you feel and sees the world as picturesque or bleak as your eyes allow. It is only you that can alter the carriage quality that you wish to travel in – if you are travelling with a companion and they are pulling you down to a place you are not happy in…it is you that has to let go of their hand.  If you were to tell the driver it’s time to alter the direction he was traveling in, he would laugh at you – to change your direction you may need to get off at the next station, check a map and reroute.

Wherever you are in your journey, I hope that it is a happy one and that if not you know that it is temporary and that the next station will offer what you require from discount tickets and financial abundance to better health or a child that sleeps. The different stops along our journey can also be fruitful and our journey is most productive when we don’t get swallowed by the dark tunnel – all tunnels come to an end at some point.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need

Quote by Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Firstly, Marcus (who wrote this quote) clearly had straight hair or he would have included GHDs.

I do have a large garden (it’s 160ft) and my book shelf is bursting rather nicely. I’m not sure I have everything but I know I’m up there with the blessed.

The garden is my workout, my canvas and my saviour at times, it can also be the biggest chore and hugely time consuming plus a money chopping machine.. At the moment the grass is freshly cut and the pots are looking charming so all is well in my garden. Its even a glorious sunny day, so Im under the gazebo writing – sounds idyllic and I guess it is.

The bookshelf is abundant with a cross over of novels and literature that spans the centuries, genres and tastes. Since taking on the challenge to read the top one hundred novels of all time it’s really expanding my reading range and opened my mind. Unlike a library I have this ridiculous need to own the books I’ve read – even crazier I like to purchase second hand books that have been preloved, so why I can’t share them after Ive owned them is completely ludicrous.

As child I loved to be read to, during my teens I appropriately hated to read and followed the rebellious crowd to hate the books we studied like Of Mice and Men and Over the Bridge in school, now working with teens on these books I can see the depth and enjoyment that earlier in my life had escaped me. That is something that my garden and a good book can do, the varied meaning they have can alter depending on what point in life you are at. My garden is place I invest time in and attempt to ‘keep on top of the weeds’ whilst to my three year old son its a giant playground of mud hills and places to find bugs.

Opening and closing the mind is the essence of what I’ve taken from this quote. Whilst books open my imagination and possibilities become endless they also allow me time away to escape and even allow my mind moments of still. Our garden allows peace, nature and solitude, whilst at other times is hosting friends and loved ones in vibrant gatherings of laughter and BBQ food. These two aspects of my life bring great joy and keep me grounded whether through simple beauty or escapism from what is often a demanding and frightening world.

To the British garden I raise my glass, lay back on the sun lounger and turn the pages of a new book but seriously straighteners are third on the list of having everything, right?

Don’t just be good to others

Another epic quote from the dazzling and dynamic ‘Anon’

Firstly, lets break this quote down in to two segments and then devour it like its ice cream from a parlour with a cherry on the top…

Be good to others

It sounds so obvious and I can’t remember a time in my life where teachers at school weren’t ramming this concept down my throat? More annoyingly it feels sooo good to be good to others, it reminds me of the episode of Friends (1998) ‘The one where Phoebe hates PBS’ and tries to find a lack of joy in helping people.

Being good to others has to be good for those Karma points; hard core readers of my blog will know this is a game I play with myself where I do good for others – for example letting other drivers pull out before me, simply so I can collect the Karma points that I secretly believe (Yes i’m aware I’m in my thirties) will one day be traded in for greatness and to live the dream, or that I can cash in a few on rainy day when lady luck forgets to shine.

Most religions mention helping others, or more importantly the less fortunate. I recently attended a Gurdwara/ Sikh temple in Southhampton on a school trip and was blown away  with their generosity to feed others – the ‘Langar’ means that Sikhs across the globe are passionate about feeding those in need and not just a few but thousands every day. Luckily for us, their generosity extends to school trips and the opulence shown to us encourages a wonderful infusion of community cohesion and my love for Asian food🙂

 

Being good to you 

My Dad is an old school fussy eater and I remember every Sunday my Mum would tie herself to the cooker and hours later produce a Sunday roast to die for…my Dad would push his around his plate and never seemed that grateful but every week Mum would give my Dad the best bits of meat and I never understood why? It seems to be a very British / Parent thing to put yourself at the back of the ‘be good to yourself’ line.

Reflecting further more I can’t help but feel to be the best I can for my son, at times I may need to go to the top of the hierarchy – after all what use is an exhausted mother to anyone? And besides the the first rule of life saving is your health first. Balance is prevalent on this blog and I think at times in friendship and family life we need to learn to put ourselves first, to be the best we can for ourselves and those we love…not all the time but on occasion.

As a result this weeks challenge is to put yourself first. Make time to go to the gym, to have a relaxing bath without a rubber duck or toddler for company, to walk the dog in solace or to pick up a book and that well deserved glass of wine, whatever your putting off because you are ‘so busy’ whatever floats your boat of desire…do it. You will feel lifted and I promise you as a result you will be a better human to be around for those you love.

I recently ‘treated’ myself to a bunch of sunflowers and got extremely guilty – I questioned why and then after a mental breakdown in the flower isle I realised I was worried about spending money on me, on a whim and something I didn’t ‘need’. You’ll be pleased to know I quickly defeated the demons and popped the bouquet in my trolley – because being good to me made me smile, feel good about myself and thats worth a million bouquets.

In balance of the week challenge I set above in bold, paying it forward is another ‘feel good’ thing to do. So why not also complete a random act of kindness it could be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you at the supermarket checkout or making cards of thanks for people around you for no particular reason. There is a legend of a (very cute) man called Joshua Coombes who I follow on instagram – he is a hairdresser and cuts the homeless people of Londons hair, the photographs speaks for itself as you see the transformation in his clients eyes. I believe its these sorts of people we should be giving ‘celebrity’ status to.

So this week give the challenges a go and remember that ‘only goodness can come out of good intentions’ its a double positive after all.


 

 

 

Happiness is homemade #1

Quote by the cracker of quotes – Anon.

Last summer I ran a series on sensory play with my little man which included all the awesome crafty things I was desperate to do, but being a full time working Mumma means I struggled to fit in. However, Mother nature is cruel and I have a three year old who is allergic to colouring, glueing or anything vaguely creative – he is currently more of a Dinosaur roaring fellow than a sit down and create guy. So for now my crayon desires are on hold…

This series is called Happiness is homemade because I truly believe it, what is summer for if not creating memories? It was influenced by a colleague of mine called Ruth. She does a similar thing with her tribe every year and when I first saw it, I knew it was something we would enjoy.

On the first Monday of the summer hols me and my little dude sat down and filled in our dream clouds. I simply asked him what he would like to do. I love to say they were all his ideas, but that would be a huge fib. They include pre planned things we will be doing from going on his first Aeroplane trip to play dates with friends, but I underestimated how opinionated he was on what he would like to do.

We stuck them up with good old blue-tac in our porch, you could place them on a larger piece of paper or I even thought about sticking them on Js bedroom window. Once we have completed each of our clouds we put a sticker on it, I was attempting to stay on theme with sun  / weather themed stickers alas J had the final say and we are now the proud owner of 700 Star Wars stickers.

(see above image) I underestimated how enjoyable J finds the simple things in life – riding his bike and picnics are realitvely low cost but mean the world to him. If your rascal is older they could obviously fill the bubbles in themselves. However, I also forgot that his imagination is huge and so you can see below I’ve now got to rustle up a crocodile? Thanks to a google from Daddy it would seem there is a crocodile zoo in Oxfordshire? Phew.

So whilst we create memories and fill our days with adventures from our clouds – why don’t you give it a go and create your own activity board. You don’t need a little monster to do it with, they could be aspirational goals for the year ahead, the summer vacation or perhaps larger life goals. Another friend who recently retired did a similar thing with what she wanted to do in retirement.

How will you be fulfilling your summer days?

 

You are suppose to make mistakes 

img_4081Quote by Anon.

Today I’m going to let you in to a secret, don’t tell anyone okay…

Mistakes are magic. There I said it (well wrote it?) and its true. When my son doesn’t understand something, or is watching Disney and asks a question I can’t answer, I tell him its magic. How the tooth fairy operates – magic, how Father Christmas travels the world in one night visiting every child..you guessed it ‘Magic’ , how the dishwasher makes our plates sparkle, once again ‘Magic’. No three year old needs to be aware of kitchen appliances unless it associates with some kind of abracadabra factor. Any kind of unknown that falls in to the magic category is usually positive and far more exciting than reality.

the definition of ‘magic’ is;

noun

 1.
  1. the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
    “suddenly, as if by magic, the doors start to open”

On the other hand mistakes are often negative, regretful and ugly. The events trickle into various pools of life that you often want to protect and so over time the human brain builds thick walls to seal them in and protect them from the light of day…sadly the equally powerful ‘time’ creates cracks in the walls and mistakes flow from directions we didn’t even know existed.

Where is my brain going with this? Well, if mistakes are negative and allow us to draw conclusions that we usually later learn from then the opposite is positive and full of wonder and possibility – magic.

Im not sure I’ve got all of this ‘life’ business down to a tee, but I do know that I want a life full of magic and excitement, it is no coincidence that the Paul Daniels Magic trick set was popular in the 1980’s and in fact on every child’s Christmas list in 1987 ( I didn’t get it but my cousin Laura did and it was epic, if by epic you like a lump of rope and several coloured squidgy balls), he was and still is a national treasure, his saturday night entertainment was family orientated and spectacular, plus Debbie was gorgeous and when you found out they were married in ‘real life’ every thing on screen became a little more amazing.

Whilst we aspire to a life full of dazzle and wonder perhaps there may be tricks a long the way to distract us…this is just a mistake that once learnt from allows us to improve, succeed and create ‘magic’. Mistakes really aren’t negatives unless we give them the power and control. Mistakes are life’s dead ends, sometimes they are minor and you hit a curb at other times they leave you with a dent and a large bill from your insurance company…but who wants to exit this world without and a bump and graze to show for your hard effort, more importantly some times getting lost leads to a new road of opportunity, that were better than the way you thought you wanted to go. So give the power in your life to finding magic and if a crocodile pops out of your hat instead of a rabbit…well, think of the money you’ll save on hay.

img_4151

 

 

It’s all messy #life

Quote by William Leal

When I set out to write a motivational blog I knew I’d capture a little of me a long the way. I think it’s important to remind you that my life isn’t perfect, but I have/will always choose to look at my glass of life half full.

However, sometimes things get messy and the roller coaster of life takes a bigger dip than anticipated or stops all together. It’s these days more than most that looking at life with a positive viewpoint is harder but beneficial in the short and long term. These words are as much for me as they are for you – during the messy times in life, its hard to smile and to see a glimmer of light, but I promise you its a choice we all have the power to make.

Sometimes being a parent means I lose a sense of me; I serve my career, I serve my family and then I crawl into bed and when I wake my hair is messy and this is how my day begins. Sometimes I’m trying to create the ultimate Elsa French plait and it ends up looking like Ursula from The Little Mermaid, at that moment in the mirror my world crumbles but in the grand scheme of things…life goes on.

As I get the household ready and scoop them out of the door little jobs get lost a long the way, the dishwasher isn’t turned on or the bed hasn’t been made and usually I forget a coat or cardigan for myself but you’d be surprised at how many lovely people will lend you shelter in a storm.

When people talk, often what they want to say doesn’t flow or they can’t find the right words to express how they feel. Words are complex and without intention we can make hurtful comments, or perhaps just misjudge a situation and although words can be painful…in time the words can be found and relationships can be rebuilt.

The metaphorical heart feels amazing when its found a new love, it expands and flows with ease and life can feel effortless until it suffers rejection, insults and for some deception and heart break. But it can rebuild, given time it can find new things to enjoy and although it may put up some walls of protection it can flourish and see brighter days.

Our actual hearts are complex organs that works to keep our blood flowing and in turn every other organ that we need to live in full operation, it can’t make a fault, take a break or have a bad hair day. We need it. Its superior to modern machinery and it helps us create our life’s cycle, and according to something called ‘Heart Math’ a whole lot more besides.

Perhaps this week ‘life’ will get a little messy, behind the next corner you may find bad hair days and hurtful words or even be let down in ways that you never thought possible by someone you held dear. At the time it may not be OK (and thats OK too) but remind yourself that life is precious and whilst your heart keeps ticking there is always time to repair.

You may need some tools to guide you, Heart Math is taking the world by storm, I googled ‘what is Heart Math’ and got this:

Answer: HeartMath is a unique system of rigorous scientific research, validated techniques, leading-edge products and programs and advanced technologies for people interested in personal development and improved emotional, mental and physical health.

In essence its six long breaths to ‘reset’ your heart thus reducing stress and increasing resilience. Research shows it increases life expectancy and also the positive emotional wellbeing experienced. Its worth a little internet research and passing the technique on to those you love, after all life will always be a little messy.

* written on a Sunday evening with messy, greasy locks that have overdue roots and probably too many split ends…and thats OK too. No PR collaboration – written from the heart.

My goal is to design a life I don’t need a vacation from.

Quote by Rob Hill (sorry for the reflection of my PJ top in the photo)

Our last holiday was in 2011, it was pre little people and had the added sparkle of an engagement ring.

Since then life has taken over and although we have had breaks and fun a long the way, my case has been discarded in the loft whilst grown up priorities have kidnapped my bank account. This year will be different and I can’t wait.

However, my life aside – imagine a life where you don’t need a vacation because frankly life is already so diverse, incorporates travel and new cultures, where you enjoy your job and don’t feel the need to stop because maybe you already have the balance of calm and relaxation and new and exciting experiences.

This is living.

I feel so very sorry for anyone who hates every working day and lives for that one day off or a week away at some point, that is exhausting. That is surviving and the world is full of so many opportunities, choices and options that to be in a world as I’ve just described surely leads to ill health a life that is unfulfilled and even an early death.

I’d love to say when I’m doing house work Disney bluebirds sit on my shoulder, that I’ve never spent hours in AnE with a sickly child or that dark times haven’t knocked on my door (damn me for being polite, popping the kettle on and inviting the dark times inside my home) of course life isn’t always joyful, if it was we’d take it for granted and wouldn’t appreciate the wonderful moments however small and precious. Many highly successful individuals only reached their dreams due to lack and the desire to improve their current situation rather than wallowing in it – not to mention huge amounts of work and dedication plus working beyond other peoples expectations and perhaps further than they felt they could at the time…but there is a crucial word in this quote.

‘Goal’ something to aim for, something to aspire towards and perhaps never fully achieved BUT a focus for attention and a direction that I am striving for. Sometimes the journey is the joy, the excitement and the thrill to get to a life where a vacation isn’t necessary may seem far fetch, not currently there yet, I can’t tell you the answer but think I’m a step closer by balancing life’s darker days and opening the curtains; shining the light on the things that I do have, showing gratitude for the experiences, tastes and sights my world has experienced

Perhaps it’s time to review your goals in life, what you’d like or where you want to go…or may be like me you’ve found it in this quote.

Lovely things #11

In essence I use lovely things to note down what I enjoyed the previous month. Reading back over the previous ten I’m always surprised at how simple the things I’ve enjoyed are juxtaposed with how blooming hard life feels all to frequently. 

June was kind to the soul and tough on the wellies. But before I discuss the weather, true gratitude was the essence of the month.

1. Puppy love

My ‘in laws’ got a new Labrador puppy and we were blessed to have her for an afternoon / early evening as they were out. The family are using the crate method and so she is usually at home in her crate…not at our house. She cried and wailed like we were putting pins into her, as I went to pick her up (I’m weak when it comes to fur balls), there was my son as close to the cage as possible ‘reading’ to her . My mummy heart wept. Perhaps we aren’t flying through potty training, swimming like a dolphin in our local pool every weekend and just may be getting him to peddle a bike is pushing my patience to the extreme; but that little lad is kind and you can teach ‘soul’

2. Gratitude:

As a teacher months can go by without a thank you or a whisper of gratitude. However, despite the teenager shyness when it comes to showing appreciation, June provided me with several bouquets , cards and even a box of choccies. It was a huge learning curve for me to except them humbly rather than awkward or like a compliment I didn’t deserve. A huge thank you to June for reminding me to accept, smile  and enjoy a compliment rather than push it to the side with a “oh this old dress”

3. Rain

I told you I’d have to make some kind of remark. The rain flowed, thundered and at times felt it might drown my soul, so why mention it on lovely things? Because after so much of the wet stuff I embraced it, I shopped online for a rain coat, walked the dog in it laughing, I jumped in a puddle and sure I moaned from time to time, but if anything British summer time and any square inch of blue sky is richer for    the abundance of water we have experienced in the last four weeks.

Splashing and splodging through June has made me realise it was a little bleak but also held so much love and even fun. We even took my son to the cinema for the first time and he loved ‘the big tele’, my Dad had an operation on his eye and things are ‘looking’ positive. So what if it rained a little, it did the grass good🙂