Live, love and take pictures

   Quote by Anon (again)
Okay, so I have an obsession for photography (admittedly with all the shadows and poor lighting in my blog posts you may not always realise this) and I also think it’s important to print and share your photos where possible – who wants them ‘saved’ in a computer? So when J turned up on the scene I documented his first year using fridge magnets for titles (saying week one etc) and turned it into a lovely little book celebrating his first year. I also turned our downstairs toilet into a heart shrine of ‘moments’ (see below)

 The app I use is Lalalab and I’ve been a fan for years. Mainly because I can download the photos straight from my phone to the app and with a little magic Lalalab post them through my door. They are retro and have a Polaroid inspiration but you can add words or pearls of wisdom for a modern twist (which I adore).

So when I had the opportunity to work with them on a fab photo book, I was in and the photo below sums up my reaction!

Note this is also me without makeup, Eek! Anyway, I decided to pay it forward and make the book for my lovely Mummy who I adore and always deserves a treat.

Below are the results…on a staircase with a fairy door / that’s how we roll in our house.

  The images were super glossy, clear and each page was a whole picture. Whilst the front cover (above ) was 9 pictures from the book that the app allowed me to assign. I opted for 26 photos in my book but you can add more and they do bigger bundles too, they really do make lovely gifts.
 I think the photos speak for themselves, how green does my grass look (below)  and she may kill me but (also below) on the left hand side is my amazing mummy or as J calls her ‘just Nanny’ 

The book was a lovely gift, that I passed on in the spirit it was given, but I use Lalalab all the time. Whether I’m updating the toilet or sending postcard photos to friends (my bestie melted when a picture postcard of J and her popped through the door unexpected – just because) with prices starting from 29p for photos there really isn’t much to complain about and you can do all the editing from the comfort of your armchair or wherever you and your mobile device happen to be!

The companies ethos is also pretty positive and every package I’ve ever received came with a little note of love (it’s the little things) , so maybe it’s time to stop reading blogs and get those wonderful memories off of your phone and up for all to see. Obviously come back to my blog once you’ve uploaded your images. 😜

*The photo book was PR but the awesome prints and my opinions were all my own.

I’m not weird…

 Anon strikes again.

This is a classic quote, you’ve probably seen it on tshirts or pencils, perhaps even a mug?

It does however make me chuckle and then make me realise how crazy  this little planet of ours is.

For example furniture at the dump is ‘junk’…in an antique shop it’s a desirable, and even more on trend if we call it ‘vintage’…

With a pinch of perspective we can create negatives or positives. When I was at school and still today the majority of teenagers want to fit in, unique is horrendous and desirable is ‘the same’. We have a really strict uniform policy at the school that I teach at, except for coats…if you look at kids coming in literally 8/10 girls are wearing a khaki  green coat with a fluffy hood trim – teenagers in an attempt to be excepted increase their uniform just by fitting in. Anyone who steps outside of the box, by just a fraction is called weird…

As adults weird becomes unique and although we may still try at times to fit in, most of us and definetly me included aren’t bothered about being slightly off the page. By ‘limited edition’ we transform into desirable individuals and in this day and age technology clones us enough, so this post is a general reminder to love your inner quirks and embrace your individuality – it may be the limited edition quality  that gives you a promotion or new pathway you desire.

If that isn’t enough then another quote by Michael Jackson also resonates with me ‘no one normal ever made history’, perhaps history changing isn’t your thing but how wonderful would it be to impact this world in some small positive way…you have the power to do so. Use it wisely.

Sensory #11 Pom Pom

Sometimes you wanna shake your Pom poms and at other times (like this) you want to pop them through cardboard tubes. 

In essence you will need: 

  • A bag of Pom poms
  • A variety of toilet and kitchen cardboard tubes 
  • A container (for the Pom poms to drop into)
  • Blue tac 

So basically, when I see something sensory or crafty that id like to do with J I turn into Cat woman and it becomes my mission! As a result, this mission was completed thanks to ‘just Nanny’ who helped collect cardboard tubes. 

I set it up (okay, I played with it too) while J was having a nap. Simply by blue-tac’ing the tubes to the window and allowing them to drop into the basket below.   
 Like all my posts / it’s a classic. ‘What my fridge says’ is not a place where we reinvent the wheel and this sensory activity was cheap as Pom poms (under £2). J played with it as a simple drop n run for about 10minutes then bossy /teacher mum waded in and asked for a turn demanding to be passed a certain colour Pom Pom or even a certain number of them (3 blue Pom poms) which for a 2yr old was perfect. 

We then took it to another level but I’ll save that for another day. The benefits of this activity were the sensory feel and sparkle of the pom-poms, the Colour recognition and counting from bossy mum, the motor skills of posting the balls through the tubes and the delight on his face when it reappeared in the basket.

For mummy it was also cheap, easy to assemble and clear away – we love a ‘no mess’ indoor activity and approximately 15 minutes of occupied toddler time – it’s a winner!

Some things are not important

 Quote by Anon.
I’m not sure when I first saw this quote but it blew me away, I believe it may be one of those messages that we need to be remind of.

This week I haven’t been feeling too well, not exactly ill but defiantly not firing on all cylinders . My sparkle count tells me that I’m lacking in the glitter department and as a result housework has taken a back seat and arrangements with friends have had to be cancelled. I’ve become rather dormant like a hedgehog snuggling down for Autumn.

I’m not sure the dark mornings are helping, in fact they make getting out of bed a huge effort…

But all of the above is ok. (Note to self: keep reading this line until you believe it)

It’s ok because I need to take care of the important things, to prioritise my health above the dusting. It’s ok because in slowing life’s pace down I’ve prevented static days of illness. Health and emotional wellbeing are probably all that do truly matter, the rest of life (that I probably spend too much time dedicating my life to) is irrelevant… My grave stone won’t refer to the year I completed my Christmas shopping 2 months before the event, it won’t refer to my job and the late nights, I doubt my son will remember me as a mother who ironed (well he can’t in this case because I don’t haha)

As you snuggle down this Autumn take a look at the quote above and question what’s important to you and what percentage of time you are giving it, it made be time to alter your current perspective.

If nothing ever changed…

Quote by Anon.

Change is something that humans very often don’t thrive from or at the very least hide from.

Adults usually deal with change better due to the level of control they have in decision making processes, children and change aren’t always great, and toddlers can be horrendous.

Our issues with change is ironic as it’s change that usually brings out the best in us…just like butterflies.

Change means we move forward, experience new things, progress and sample the ‘new’ but from the safety of our cocoon we allow negative thoughts to paralyse us…what if we don’t fly? What if our wings don’t work and more essentially what if we arent the beautiful butterfly we hoped we would be?

After some thought – I’d rather be an ugly butterfly or even sample life in flight for a few moments than spend my life in a dark and constant cocoon.

Is it time you spread your wings, conquered new challenges…or just leave the cocoon? Who knows you may end up with more than you ever dreamt of, you may just soar.

You can make everybody happy…

Quote by Bill Murray.

When I’m looking out for quotes for this little corner of the Internet they are usually motivating, inspiring or thought provoking…then there are quotes from comedians that make me chuckle and literally give me direct advice, no metaphors or analytic skills needed. This is clearly the latter.

I whole heartedly agree – you can’t make everyone happy, and why should you? Nutella would lose its purpose, although I do feel with several friends that have nut allergies in my clique – even Nutella can let the side down at times, I mean anophylactic shock is not my idea of a good time.

So why as humans (and especially as mother) do we feel the need to ‘people please’? I gave this some thought and below are my finding.

1.its easier to people please than listen to them moan.

In essence I agree, but how much worse is it when you’ve put all your fairy dust, love and heart into something and still the miserable individual finds fault. I say let them wallow in self pity and negativity, let them swim in the pool of ‘too much chlorine’ – I’m heading in the opposite direction to a tranquil natural spa of ‘I did my best’.

2. People pleasing makes me feel good when I see them happy

hmm…I suppose it does, but we should do things for loved ones because we want to, not because we want them to love us in return (unless it’s David Beckham – we do whatever it takes to please him in hope he will stay more than 30 seconds)

3. people pleasing is kind and helpful

Let’s not confuse being a nice person and helping others to doing things with the soul purpose of making them feel good, I’m down with the positive karma, good vibes and doing things for others but how they feel about me in return isn’t worth my time, energy or thought. I love to do things for others  with good intentions, but that’s where it ends.

I could go on, but I think I’m bordering on ranting. Plus, Bill did most of the work in his quote. So open that jar of whatever it is that makes you happy, offer it to those around you and hopefully they will also find enjoyment.

She’s still a Princess

My own quote, although I’m sure Disney have probably said something similar?

Today I am writing from the heart and as part of a series with a group of bloggers to hopefully highlight some key issues surrounding mental health awareness, if you’d like to follow the series then the chick who came up with this wonderful idea was Admissions of a working mother, hitting this link will allow you see the entire collaboration. I personally jumped at the chance and am proud to be collaborating on such a ‘fog’ aspect of society. I do not claim to be an expert – I am merely sharing my experiences of the girls that I have had the delight to work with (I’m a Nurture Teacher in an all girls secondary school) on their journey through the ‘fog’ of mental health and in particular self harm.

I used the term ‘fog’ as there are no rights or wrongs, no person self harms for the same reason another might nor do they harm in the same manner, some make cuts that vary in size and depth, usually in hidden locations, hence that the statistics that surround self harm are just as vague – it’s thought that 13% of 11-16 year old’s will self harm at some point, more worryingly is how many teenagers never tell a soul, seek help or confide, they are the missing statistics. Self harm can also be an eating disorder, self bruising, cutting / marking, abuse of alcohol / drugs.

When girls at school disclose information and I call home parents frequently asked questions surrounding ‘why?’ Again the fog does not lift, some are due to recent tragedies – as a form of coping, of releasing, others due to past traumas in the child’s early life…and some just because. At the point of harming most girls that I have spoken to don’t even know the reasons themselves. Teenage boys statistics are also increasing , I don’t personally feel that this is a bad thing. The figures come from teenagers seeking help, the girls and guys who are able to walk into their GP surgery or the doors of A and E, this means society is listening and let me tell you – listening is good.

I always feel privileged when a girl confides in me, and one thing that we often discuss is the dark room. For many (not all) suffering from anxiety or depression, the world sometimes feels like a dark enclosed  room and it’s safe but also scary in the dark, but mostly it’s lonely. However, to reach for the light switch feels like a million miles away and utterly unachieveable. To switch the light on is a loss of the known (the dark) and a loss of control (seeking help may lead to others making decisions for you), for those in a state of self loathing the thought of disappointing loved ones is heart breaking and so they stay in the safety of the dark. It is this reason that teenagers often disclose in schools – pupils know that we have to tell their parents / carers due to child protection guidelines, this takes some of the initial weight off of themselves.

So, what can little old me and wise old you do?

Listen. Once you’ve finished listening, listen some more. I don’t mean the nod and sad face kind, I mean the active listening, taking it in and showing the person that the light switch can be reached with time, at their pace and with your support. Ironically, it has always been my experience that the ‘harming’ is irrelevant compared to the emotion behind it, opening the door to discussion allows for emotions to be re-balanced and at the point of turning on the light switch, the dark (self harming) stops.

Todays quote -‘you’re still a princess’comes from my love of Disney (regular readers of my blog will know that I’m slightly pumped by the positivity, magical nature and frankly the sparkle that Disney can give). So the other thing apart from listening is to remind them that you still care, they are still loved…if the Little Mermaid self harmed – she would still be a princess, if Arna from Frozen let it go’… She would still be a princess.

My advice and experience (for whats its worth) is simple…Listen and love.

If you would like more information, fact, figures and advice I have 2 ‘go to’ amazing websites, these are Self harm a UK project dedicated to supporting young people impacted by self harm and Mind which is the UKs leading charity for mental health.

An aprons is…

  I always adore to give credit where it is due and let you know who wrote the quotes I use. However, this little cooking delight seems to have broken me, lots of people are claiming it as their very own. As a result of upsetting someone, Im going to avoid the issue and hope you understand.

Okay, so I’m not called Delia, I recognise Mary B as the English Queen of baked goods and I know my Nigella’s from my Nigel Slaters but that is where it ends. Despite the kitchen link in my blogs title – I’m really not a guru in the kitchen. This may explain why we chose to buy a gigantic American Fridge freezer (the background and inspirational beginning for all my titles) and never gave a thought to its measurement, oh well it looks lush in the dinning room and you can grab the ketchup from the fridge whilst seated – winning.

However, I can cook and in general I do it well. I studied it at school; B grade food tech GCSE (not too shabby) and over the years I’ve blossomed, my ‘from scratch’ yorkshires are epic and my chilli is Autumnally wonderful…but I know my limits, or do I?

This really is what I wanted to write about –  I don’t plan photos and blogs in advanced, in fact I don’t plan much in life.

But in the kitchen I adore to cook with Mr Fridge, together we have completed most of Levi Roots recipes and we both love the Carribean flavour and attitude to food. I also love the team aspect of a recipe, we both have areas of expertise – he marinates and chops, I know what we have in the larder and check all meat is cooked, other than that we work it out and a little like super heroes we see our mission to the end.

Our recent ‘mission’ was beer can chicken, we knew it could be done on a BBQ – but it shot to the top of our ‘to do’ list when we found out you can also use the oven.

See below our precooked efforts.

  I wasn’t planning (because I don’t) on blogging about it, so this is just a photo I took because it made me chuckle. When I saw Mr B Chicken (yes I always name the Sunday meat) standing there, I shot upstairs for some specs to complete his look. I know my brain is a scary place where sparkles and rainbows meet inappropriate chuckles.

While Mr F cooked the chick I was in charge of the rice and peas and below is a picture I took to send to our friend who inspired the meal. It was so Nom Nom 🙂

Okay, away from the grub and back to the point of this quote. I basically think whatever your level of expertise, cooking is a great place to explore cultures, try new flavours, develop techniques and if like me you have a partner in crime, join together and complete the challenge.

Is it time you dusted your cape off and got out of a food rut? Let the mission begin!

Things I’m loving #2

Home is the UK for me and above all I am loving the sun! It came out to play this weekend and the vitamin D3 was a great emotional pick me up and above all made me get out there and love life (whilst also doing some gardening!)

Friday night after work was well, more work – our new year intake was having a party / disco and if you’ve ever had the joy of watching a bunch of 12 year old girls and boys ‘party’ together you will know for a fact that men and women are separate species (possibly from separate planets) the girls went straight out on to the dance floor in small friendship clusters and jumped in the air (especially to 1D) the boys stayed in the corners of the room – as the night went on they pushed, pulled and generally acted like mini walruses getting sweaty and then finally congo’d around the hall like a fearless ride at Alton Towers…further increasing the sweat ratio.

However, one delight came in the form of 2 besties wearing the current ‘trend’ of skinny jeans and converse, from behind it looked pretty standard until they turned around…my heart felt complete as I witnessed the MOST awesome t-shirts in best friend history (see below)

 *disclaimer: picture taken from google images.

I may not be 12 years old, but I grabbed my phone and in an instant  despite the terrible music (you know you’re an ‘Adult’ when all music sounds the same) and horrendous heat…I purchased my very own set.

That’s right. I may be 33 years old (as is my bestie) and we may never wear them out in public, who am I kidding – they’re fricking awesome, of course we will wear them out! It was the best instant purchase ever and once I receive these goods a follow up post of photos of us in them will follow!

Which reminds me of a previous post of mine… Live life and forget your age and as the last time my bestie and me got together we were both wearing Disney inspired T-shirts (hers was Frozen and mine was Arial) I think we are both firmly grounded in the ‘hell yeah I can pull this off camp’ and the ‘I’m too old to care camp’.

This people is what I am loving and they haven’t even arrived yet 😊