Be stubborn about your goals…

Quote by William A Donohue

Today I wanted some time to write, I booked Daddy to step in for a cheeky hour so that I could edit and do all those ‘concentrating’ bits without J pulling for my attention. Time to write was my goal – the method however turned out very different. J doesn’t nap anymore (*biggest parent sigh ever) and this morning we hit the shops for some new shoes for his ever growing feet, on the journey home a miracle occurred – J fell to snoozy sleep in the car. After your first week of being a parent the phrase ‘never wake a sleeping baby’ is sacred and should be treated with extra tip toe care – this 100% extends to toddlers. So, with this is mind I’m now sitting on our drive way, tanning my legs out of the car door, achieving my goal of writing and in the back of the car is my snug content little dude. This example is exactly what I think this quote is about.

My bestie and her boyfriend set three mini goals a day. The method of how they achieve them is fluid. It’s a winning formula that so many of us miss because ‘that’s not how we saw it in our heads’…whilst hesitating your objective can be easily lost.

If like me you’re slightly obsessed with lists then you too will know that ticking them off is satisfactory but how you reach them is immaterial to the satisfaction of the flick of the tick.

That’s not to say you should ever sacrifice your goal or dreams, no matter how big they are.If you’re house hunting for a three bedroom house in a particular area with a specific price range – that’s what you want. Don’t shift – stay stubborn. It’s nearly always worth a drop of patience for the things you really want in life, but as the quote suggests flexibility in the method may mean you actually purchase a four bedroom house for the price and in the location of your previous goal…who doesn’t want a little more space?

This week take things as fluid as you can, set goals from emptying the laundry basket to world domination but don’t worry or get caught up with the minor details about how you arrive at your destination, sometimes things work out much better the way you never intended, for example I now have tanned legs and another post written. (tick)


Broken crayons still colour 

Quote from Trent Shelton, an American Football player and someone I’m a little envious of. Not for his skills on the field, God no; I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with those, it’s this quote.

Every now and then I read a quote and wish I’d thought of it. This is genius in simplicity and has a flawless execution.

In life we all have defining moments, experiences or levels of ability that can have a negative impact on us.

Or we can be a broken crayon; altered by the process but still a crayon of colour and delight. I guess how we handle the events or abilities is our decision and perhaps is more powerful than the event or ability itself.

When our little girl passed away just days after she was born, we became the new parents without the need to push a pram. We became people that had something horrendously negative happen to them that they could never have expected. The days following her death were hard to get through and seven years on I’m still envious of anyone who has a daughter by their side. Anniversaries are always uncomfortable and I’ve learnt that there will always be ‘firsts’ that we will all miss out on experiencing. But I am not the grieving parent you may think, I rarely write about her and am always positive about the experience. As my first born she made me a ‘Mummy’ if only for a short time. She taught me about compassion, the grieving process and what real friendship looked / felt like. The experience took my fuscia pink crayon and with my heart snapped it in two…but I still colour with it and I don’t feel the need to show everyone the contents of my pencil case. I refuse to be defined by one experience or labelled accordingly.

This September I gained a new pupil in school who is by societies need to categorise her ‘Autistic’, when talking to her Mum she spoke of *Daisys needs and *Daisys ways, like they were personality traits of hers rather than of Autism and it was in this moment that her crayon radiated from the box. Autism became irrelevant and just as it should *Daisy shone with her own likes/dislikes just like every other child in my classroom or crayon in the box. Call me sentimental but they just endeared me to her all the more.

The end of a relationship and the inevitable heart break that follows is another time in our lives where in that moment you feel distorted and even question the most basic of tasks. I remember finding it difficult to breath – which is crazy as looking back the best thing that ever happened to me was losing that brown pooh crayon of doom.

I guess we are all crayons, some with our labels peeled and others dented from the impact of life in the pencil case. At times we may get broken but remembering we all have the CHOICE to still colour the most vibrant of pictures is essential to our quality of life.

So to all my stubby ends, peeled peers and lost pooh brown crayons of doom – life beyond the brand new box goes on, make your picture extra radiant and fill the page each and everyday using both your positive and negative experiences for the better.

If you was a crayon what colour would you be? Id be a limited edition glitter pink creation called something wonderful like ‘Flamingo fever’
*Daisys name was altered to protect her identity. 

You are enough 

Quote Anon
Reading my posts you can probably tell I’m an upbeat woman who can solve most things with a pair of high heels (the higher the better) and a swipe from a lipgloss wand, incidentally I love the quiet popping noise when you pull the gloss wand from its container…I digress, however, you’ll also know I’m a natural motivator and am hugely competitive with myself. If I can better my health, wealth, relationships, career or purchase a product that can do the job more efficiently I’m first in line. I don’t really have dreams – I have goals. Driving those goals to the finish line requires daily hard work, dedication and surrounding myself with like minded people

And that’s where it gets hard. Society is sooo hard on itself. I am enough right now. That doesn’t mean I can’t improve, it just means I love myself enough to give myself a break. It means I aspire to be more but still love where I am – and I know I’m lucky to feel this way because interacting with work colleagues, friends and family it seems self hate has become the norm. Lunch in the staffroom always involves someone commenting on their own eating habits, weight or the current diet trend. It’s exhausting.

It’s a poison that is slowly contaminating our wonderful children, sadly they grow up and somewhere along the line they lose their inhibitions, judge themselves with dark lenses as the rose tinted, happy go lucky attitudes of early years fall to the floor. Cracked and fragmented, disjointed and doubtful if what they can achieve.

Its the daily doubt that so many people who I see positive qualities in don’t recognise within themselves.

I guess what I’d like to say is, if someone else can love you how you are right now – you can love yourself too. In this very moment. For some this is hard, others it seems impossible. So how can you alter your self love dial to full on?

 I’m a great advocate of Lousie Hayes ‘Mirror work’ a quick surf through the web will give you detailed instructions, but in essence you begin by looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you love you. 

At first I can guarantee it’s totally cringe worthy and at times you laugh or someone else in the house thinks you are taking to them (awkward) but after a while it feels empowering and is rather addictive. 

You can extend this by telling yourself what you love or are grateful for. You may hate your belly but do you love your boobs? If so, look in the mirror and let your chest know. It’s working practice but I promise it’s worth it.

If the mirror seems too much to begin with you can simplify it by playing a little game. 

Every time I say something negative (my thighs are too large) I then say in my head something that I like (my eyes are beautiful) and over time you’ll find you don’t need to verbalise the negatives and as a result they reduce and self appreciation can prosper

A variation of this is to list the things you like, are grateful for and enjoy. 

However you feel about you in the moment please know that you are enough. That someone loves you just how you are. That if you have young children -you are a superhero that can do no wrong, and that the belly you hate is what they love to hold most.

You are enough. 

If you only have one mantra this should be it. 

Let’s start by taking a nap or two

Quote from the classic bear that no babies nursery is complete without  – Winnie the Pooh 

Do you like to nap? Are you someone who likes to lay in at the weekend, go to bed early or just loves a snooze? 

Or are you the opposite? Someone who feels napping is lazy, sleep is for the weak and you could be doing something productive? I know many babies and young children that agree with the latter. The average parent loses 400 – 750 hours of sleep in the first year after having a baby. 

We know and certainly research suggests that napping is good for us. The optimum power nap for adults should be between 15-30 minutes.

Sleep or lack of, is a fascinating area of research that so many of us are too busy to read up on. Perhaps reading this you’re thinking ‘it would be lovely if I had the time’ and I hope reading those thoughts you can see the irony.

Sleep enhances our performance, our mental health and our overal wellbeing. 

I was a nightmare child who didn’t sleep through the night until I was seven (sorry Mum and Dad), I remember standing at the top of the staircase calling out and inventing excuses as to why I should come back downstairs (feeling thirsty and poorly tummy were my favourites) and as a result I don’t need much sleep as an adult. I am a morning person and not particularly a night time owl but around six hours is probably perfect for me. The average adult needs between 7.5 and 9 hours sleep per night, preferably uninterrupted. A lengthier night sleep can actually make you feel more tired and can result in a sleep hangover. No thanks, pass me the gin.

Humans are the only mammals that don’t take regular naps during the day. Thinking like that makes me think that Pooh had the right attitude. Most mammals take small 10-15minute naps throughout the day (my dog takes three to four 4hr naps throughout the day) although I’m not sure my classes would approve, it makes a huge amount of sense for productivity and quality of life.
Mattress quality is the next huge thing for sleep quality and back health. We are about to upgrade ours, with the average mattress lasting between 4 to 6 years and considering the amount of time you spend in it, it is worth investing in, we are a little overdue. The sleep council have more info on this should you require it. 

Taking some time out to think about your sleep routine and how you can enhance it is time well spent and may just make Monday mornings a little less stressful. Or instead you could use the time to nap. Either way you’ll be winning. 

What is your sleep pattern like?

Be a Mermaid and make waves 

As long term readers will know when I grow up I want to be a mermaid, anything vaguely mermaid related appeals to me and as I’ve grown older I’ve also realised that I want to live in tropical waters, I’ve watched enough episodes of ‘location location’ to know that ethos/environment matter; we’re talking clear water, tropical fish terrain not Brighton in the winter for I fear my shells would shrivel and if I’m honest my shell area is already on the petite size.

As a result this quote screamed out ‘oh use me – and why not write about the quote whilst you’re on holiday’ so here I am – writing. 

On the plane I’ve just watched a film called ‘The Boss’ with Melissa McCarthy and Kirsten Bell and it did make me giggle. The lead character is a feisty woman who see’s a vision (in this particular example by selling chocolate brownies) and goes for it. I thought of the quote instantly ‘make a splash’ – how many of us hold back, may be only slightly in case our splash is too large and it may make others wet or in the real world ‘piss people off’ or perhaps like me we hide behind excuses of being busy, a full time mum – you name it I’ve used it. Why? Because what if my splash doesn’t resemble Ariels in The Little Mermaid and is just a puddle… 

Fear however if far worse than any puddle…when you have a puddle at least you know a cloud did its job and rained, or more likely in my home – mummy broke the tap and flooded the joint. It doesn’t matter how the puddle arrived, someone somewhere helped it to happen, someone did something. Fear however can be paralysing, fear stops dreams in its tracks and turns a splash from a mermaid into…empty rocks.

So may be I’m not a Mermaid (yet) although beach permitting I’ll be giving it my best shot and may be I’ll never fulfil all my dreams but I’m going to give it a damn good go. 

One of my plans whilst I’m away is to write in my journal and I also want to blast through some new books that I’ve packed…

Like the start of a new year, a holiday is a great time to return refreshed and re-energised and ready to step it up and make some waves, and who knows I might even start to grow a fin or a glimmer of scales whilst I’m away?

What are your dreams and what are your ‘Wave’ blocks preventing you from fulfilling the ultimate big splash?


Lovely things #12

This lovely things should be #13 but July was a blast of Summer holiday delights and frankly I was too busy having fun with my little monster, this rolled into August and well I thought I should get back in to some routine…haha I’m kidding myself. We are still on holiday and having lovely family time, I plan to squeeze every second out of this vacation and as a result will mean I will return to work severely jet lagged, at this point it seems worth it, I’m not sure how I’ll feel on Monday morning? 

1. Beach days. 

Living on the south coast of the U.K. we have enjoyed more than our fair share of beach days. A boy with a bucket of pebbles and a Mummy looking for pretty shells is a winning combination (and usually costs very little). It made me appreciate the scenery that surrounds us and that in the working week I sometimes forget to look at. I’m thankful that the sun came out to play and that lazy afternoons climbing rocks and searching for crabs was possible.

2. Time with friends was joyful. Over the holidays I met with many close friends, some who don’t live on our doorstep and I realised that the depth of friendships in your thirties is richer than previous decade friendships. They bring out the best in me and it was glorious to catch up and just ‘be’ 

Working / Mummy head means I can get absorbed in the mundane and everyone of my dear friends helps me to aspire to reach my dreams or buy ‘that new bag’ I really don’t need.

3. Vacation

I’m writing this from our balcony in Barbados. I’ve been here many times and the view never gets old. The island has many personal links to family life which I may write about another time. This lovely things however is dedicated to family time and the opportunity to fly with my son for the first time. I was really anxious and had read all the posts on what to pack to keep your little one occupied on a plane to horrendous holiday horror stories…I need not have worried. The plane journey here was fabulous, J took to the sky like he belonged and even slept for three hours! Today we are off on a submarine tour of the ocean and watching him make friends and chase waves in the ocean has been a pleasure. (*fingers crossed for the journey home)

So I raise my cocktail glass to family, friends and making memories. I’m glad I’ve neglected my blog in exchange for sun, sea and sand that really does get into every little crevice. If you to are a blogger don’t ever feel guilty about  your blog taking a back seat for a week…or six, who wants to be a lifestyle blogger that was too busy writing to actually live. 

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 chomping 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?