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?

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.