I can smell Autumn dancing in the breeze

Quote Anon

This week I’ve been teaching my year seven pupils (aged 11) about developing and sustaining a positive mindset. It was also national mental health awareness day (10th October) and so I thought I’d bring the two together and create a gratitude list for Autumn.

I keep a daily journal in which I write down three things I’m grateful for and three intentions for the day. Personally, I find it helps focus my day and it starts my day in a good vibration.

My favourite season is spring, but that shouldn’t stop an Autumn list from occurring, in fact it’s often more beneficial to dig a little deeper when it comes to gratitude, that said I’m often surprised at how simple pleasures usually are? *Sorry if most of my list is food based.

Autumn gratitude

  • The crunch of the leaves as they fall under my feet
  • Cosy evenings in with pyjamas and hot chocolate
  • The colours of the trees that seem to change daily through Autumn
  • Searching for conkers (seriously it’s like discovering buried treasure)
  • An excuse to wear a cardigan
  • Smell of Crock pot dinners – it’s like coming home to my Mums cooking at the end of a working day, except I did it whilst I was at work!
  • Wearing wellies on walks
  • Homemade soup and fresh bread
  • Cups of tea on the sofa whilst it rains outside
  • Autumn seems slower and so I find more time to read
  • Bonfires (marshmallows on bonfires)
  • Fireworks in our village
  • Watching the stars
  • Empty beach walks wrapped up warm

…your turn, what are you grateful for as we step into Autumn? Comment below.

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You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep others warm

Quote unknown

When I saw this quote my heart sung a little with laughter.

From work to play I see humans setting themselves on fire on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking of course. So often we put others ahead of ourselves and at the end of a busy week when we have little for ourselves we still continue to serve others from empty cups.

On Friday evening I had nothing to give. Trimester one is exhausting and as I walked in the door I knew an early night was essential and that dinner would have to sort itself out. A laptop and a scroll meant that pizza would be delivered. Not my personal choice but I was past caring. We selected a film from Netflix and the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’ had never been more correct. Next stop bed…

The house looks like a bombs gone off and the my laundry basket might erupt at anytime. In the light of a new day these things can be challenged but last night sleep was my only need and my only

As a parent of the messy kind that leave trails of crumbs wherever they go, are allergic to picking up toys and make unreasonable demands at unreasonable hours…we feel the need to set ourselves on fire to keep them warm, or to lie there with them until they fall asleep, to provide all they desire and make every moment count. In my experience as a teacher of teens this isn’t the solution. Giving them clear boundaries on what you can and can’t do allows them to mimic this into their relationships. Perhaps instead of going to the extreme of setting ourselves on fire we could suggest they put on a jumper?

Many parents often feel that they ‘let the kids down’ because they shouted, lost their sh*t or wasn’t there for the event they were performing in. I think if you take the time to explain why you can’t be there, they learn life skills about resilience and boundaries. I think you can unburden the chains of parental guilt by talking to your child about the reasons why and also by taking time out for you, perhaps the emotional outpours would be less frequent. We need to be brave enough to say no, listen enough to when we need to say yes and put the box of matches back in a secure cupboard on a high shelf. You are enough, you always have been and you always will be.

Plot twist

I often find in life people drive down certain pathways, certain they know where they are heading, perhaps they found a soul mate, took an exit at marriage or diverted to having children. They tick off the various landmarks along the way, content in a bubble of control in a journey called ‘Life’

Then there are people like me…naive enough to think they are in control until one day life gives them lemons, truck loads of the yellow fruit. As the quote goes and being a positive princess, I know you need to make lemonade out of them. Since 2009 exactly ten years today we’ve been doing just that. At 16:47 I gave birth to our daughter Gracie, the plan was to take our healthy bundle home, raise her to be a queen and use motherhood as an excuse to visit farms, play in parks and enjoy the ride of motherhood. Except, we had lemons…and a rollercoaster that I wouldn’t want the worst of humans to have to go through. Regular readers will know, we didn’t bring her home and I felt at the time when our daughters death came to an abrupt end, so to had our pathway of happy ever after.

Except, life sometimes gives you a service station and an alternative route and a mountain…a huge mountain to navigate around. The route doesn’t look as appealing and it’s not so picturesque…but some how the mountain makes you a better human, you learn, you help others and there are even a few unexpected moments of joy along the way; like the view if you make it to the top.

After a decade of our diverted path, plus a little dude that jumped in the passenger seat in 2013 I foolishly sat back in the driving seat. Ticking off landmarks and planning our future. How smug was I.

Then came the plot twist…baby three due April 2020.

Mike drop.

Not planned.

What next? I’m giving up metaphorical driving. I’m making little to no plans, I’m seeing where this huge new tunnel takes us. It looks dark and to be honest is a little scary. This time life gave us a pomegranate. We can’t squeeze it – because there are too many pips but it is so vibrant when you take time to cut it open and I’m excited for the potential of where this tunnel will take us. It’s early days but on the anniversary of Gracies birth I’m grateful for this unexpected gift.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel if you keep going, there is always contrast along the way. This is life and I’m now driving full throttle and with no road map open to where it might take us. Just like a candle on a cake, there is always light if you choose to see it.

Happy returns little angel

Purpose fuels passion

Quote Anon

Here at fridge HQ we are getting ready to launch our new YouTube channel. We are trying to learn the skills needed and know in time we will improve and succeed, as our passion to spread the message on how important self care is out ways the endless list of things we need to overcome. When you find a purpose all the negatives seem to fade, the challenge is driven and the passion fuels the journey.

However, today I’d like to share a bearded man on his own passion fuelled mission.

James lost his Mum to cancer at 17 years old and in the years that followed some more of his family members lost their battle with cancer. Jame’s story is a little different than most as he replaced his anger and grief with running shoes. He has found a purpose – to raising funds and awareness. He is doing all he can to make sure others don’t suffer (what a legend)

Don’t take my word for it, have a look below at a recent article he has written.

*I’ve deliberately not hidden the link so you can share it with others on your social media platforms.

https://www.wcrf-uk.org/uk/blog/articles/2019/09/c-bomb

At the end of the article is an awesome video that tells you even more about his unique story and how passion fuels his purpose.

James is a genuinely lovely guy, unique in his vision and he literally pours out kindness as you hug him. In the article he shares some tips to how you can successfully raises money for charity. Perhaps you also have an unfulfilled purpose or passion to share? I hope reading the article encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, or perhaps support James on his mission to cure the big C so others don’t have to suffer.

You can follow the Inspirational beard on Instagram @vincent1981 any comments on the post he has written would be greatly received. After all is take a community to step up and make a difference.

Focus on the step in front of you and not the whole staircase

Quote Anon

After our daughter passed away we called the hours and days that passed Gracie steps (seriously those feet were tiny) and it worked really well.

So well that ten years later I still apply the philosophy. In the last week as a family we have been bombarded with truth bombs and reminders that as humans we aren’t always in control. I don’t think it matters what the bombs were but that we reacted in truth to each blast.

As a child I thought adults had it worked out, they knew what they were doing. Now, I know that the role models in my life reacted, adjusted and realigned when necessary.

Life is made of decades broken down in to days, hours, minutes and seconds. I don’t think you can plan for each of these but I do think you can pop on your Gracie shoes and dance.

The stairs to achieving a goal are usual a uncertain spiral (I survived the ones above in thin stilettos) and so at times we need to listen to our inner voices and sit down and rest, at others we shuffle cautiously clinging to the rail and if I’m honest I’ve been known to take a big breath and jump from the top hoping to be caught at the bottom…this leap is not recommended for stiletto wearers.

However, I think as individuals we spend too much time at the bottom of the stairs listing reasons why we can’t climb them, perhaps you create a goal and loiter on the bottom two steps hoping momentum will elevate you to the top? Or maybe you hide from the stairs and take the lift.

In this post I’m asking you to set a goal and pop your Gracie shoes on. One step at a time, because moving forward no matter how slow is just that, progress.

Remember growing might feel like breaking at first.

Quote Anon but super wise

I love to light a candle, snuggle with fluffy socks and pinch the Mr’s hoodie but comfort only brings contentment for a short period of time, stay too long and the candle goes out. Nothing changes, the years pass and life stagnates.

I’m a huge advocate for self development and self care, as a full time teacher and Mummy, daughter, friend and partner – I can’t be at my best unless I first address my own health, wellbeing and happiness. My family are seriously awesome people, the children in my classes have the potential to make our world a better place, my son has only got one Mummy…to do this I need time out and I need time for me. I take note of when I’m tired and I go to bed early, I rise early and make time to exercise. Self care is the key to being the best I can be. It’s my vision that all humans embrace self love, to embrace busy days and balance them with bubble baths…so I’m being brave and currently am developing a self care YouTube channel. There I’ve typed it – I’ve told the universe.

It scares the shizzle out of me. Currently the Mr and I are learning to edit, focus, upload and do a thousand things that are beyond our comfort zones, there are no candles and hoodies to hide behind. If I want to push the vision of self care then I need to abandon my comfort zone. I know the first few episodes are likely to make me cringe, that our skill set is only just in its infancy but for me to grow I need to make this jump from words on a page to movement on a screen. At the moment I feel like I’m broken.

Broken is temporary. I’m a seed. A tiny seed with a huge vision of an oak tree. It’s my vision and the support of my partner that I know I won’t stay a seed, moments are temporary. At the moment I’m submerged in doubt and soil, getting ready to grow I know one thing to be true. I would rather of tried and failed than stayed a seed in a closed packet of potential.

Are you sitting in your comfortable packet? Perhaps it’s time to break the seal on your next goal?

*feel free to message me any tips or advice on our new adventure, your support would mean the world.

The words you speak become the house you live in

Quote by Hafiz.

It’s natural to furnish your home with delightful trinkets and buy a bed to sleep in. You then purchase bedding, cushions…the list is endless. As the years go by loved ones treat you to gifts and the house you bought in a state of empty becomes full, it becomes a home….a cluttered home but I’m working on it. We stamped our identity on each wall with the paint colours of our choosing, as expected quotes frequent the walls, photos of memories gather across the shelves and in time the space around you reflects who you are as a group. In our bedroom my clothes hang in there given spaces, each item has a home and all looks tranquil, it reflects my mood and attitude towards sleep, life and….hang on?…if you gaze to the left, clothes are thrown on the floor, dirty and clean collide in a mountain of mens fashion and ‘our’ bedroom reflects us. Two people who see the world through their perspective, the Mr’s perspective is chaotic and I’ve learnt to not look left when walking in the room.

When I get home from work I can tell how my other half’s day has gone by the state of our living room – if the cushions are puffed and the floor clear it was a busy, productive day. If my sons toys cover every inch of the carpet, the Mr’s day has been one of chaos, the toys my son played with before school have merged with the after school activities. Bowls, cups and plates collect in clutter free corners and I will find Daddy upstairs, clinging to a cup of tea, hidden behind a computer screen with the door ajar, on the edge and ready to hand the baton of childcare and adult responsibility to me for five minutes of peace.

Just like our homes, our brains are places full of ideas, whizzing and connecting – pulsating neurones connecting pathways we didn’t know we had. When we are calm, breathing deeply and taking care of ourselves – thoughts are linear, often clear and we speak with clarity and act with intention, we often think before we react and our brain is a state of serentity. If like my living room – toys erupt, the television blares and chaos can be seen, it’s all the likely result that our brains are overloaded. If our brain was a computer we have thousands of tabs open, all needing our attention. The volume is loud, turned on full. There is noise, interference and for our brains (and our living spaces) chaos…unfinished jobs, quick tempers and hot mouths.

Todays quote is simple. Create a space inside you that you would like to live in, because frankly that’s exactly where you do live. Your first address is under your skull. It’s natural that sometimes in moments of tragedy or stress your brain becomes cluttered but don’t let it become your default setting. No matter what the day has been like, we always clear the living room. The toys go away, candles are lit and the space resets itself (usually for another day of play), make sure your brain has this option too, for me a ten minute morning meditation means I unwind from sleep and step into my day with the brakes fully applied. I am in control rather than the whizzing motions of task and lists that need completing. I’m a self care guru and will either make time to do yoga each day or if the day is busy I will pop the kettle on and sit down with a cup of tea. Whether you have an hour to exercise or five minutes to sit down, or two minutes to breath deeply make the time and create the space your head needs. The bonus is you might also end up with tidier home too.

Sometimes happy memories hurt the most

Very soon we will of breathed for 3650 days without our first born, our daughter Gracie Alice Rose.

As I’ve written previously she was too precious for this earth and so was given her wings early. We were blessed with several days with her and in that small amount of time created enough memories to get us through a life time without her…just. I remember every moment and each stage before we left the hospital with her car seat empty and our hearts in pieces.

At the time we were cocooned by the love of our family and friends, but also the ripples of love that travelled into our communities, work places and beyond. This experience has given me a masters in grief. It wasn’t a qualification that I was planning on taking, but I hope that my knowledge might make things a little easier when you find yourself in the shadows of grief.

People lie

Much like a pregnancy, in death people like to give advice. “It’ll be ok” “when my mum died..” it goes on. However, one wise Nanny told me “people will tell you it gets easier with time – they’re liars”. At the time it felt like Nanny had bluntly slapped me across the face, a different tone shall we say from the sympathy cards we’d received in their dozens. Alas, she was right and with this blunt truth and sudden adjustment to my thoughts, it somehow made it easier? I wasn’t waiting for the day I’d feel ‘me’ again, because ‘I’ was changed forever. With this comes several added delights, people are lying to you because they love you enough to want to make it better. to ease the brutal process. You are loved. Also, I don’t want to forget anything about that 5lb9 bundle of joy, so why would losing her get easier? Another truth is you do smile again, breathing gets a little easier and appreciation for what you had, even if like in our case it was only for days…becomes a blessing.

Break all the rules

If grief was a fairy, she would be naughty, mischievous and unpredictable – she would turn up when she liked, how she liked and make you feel how you didn’t expect to feel. Some people believe that there are steps to grief (google tells me there are seven), in reality there are actually as many as your grief fairy decides. You may think you’re through guilt and in to anger and then fairy grief side sweeps you back to stage one ‘shock’. It’s your journey and just because I’ve got my masters in grief doesn’t mean I know how you feel, what you need or how best to support you. My best advice would be to reach out to someone you trust and tell them. If they are a good friend, they’ll already know you’re crazy and love you for it, so to hear that one day your fine, the next your on top of the world and the third you’ve been wearing the same Pyjamas for a month and don’t remember where the shower is will come as no surprise. Talk to your tribe, be as honest as you can about your feelings and if you can’t put it into words, silence is best served with a friend by your side.

If none of the above resonates with you, remember ‘what do I know?’ and people are liars. However, if it made things a little easier then in our family we call that a ‘Gracie steps’, tiny steps to progress.

If you’ve been affected by any of the content in this post, please speak to a loved one, your GP or perhaps speak to the wonderful people at The Samaritans (UK) 116123.

It’s all lies darling

Quote Anon

I often write about perspective and how vital it is for a contented life. So often we fall in to a trap of false accusations and the main stream media twisting lies and pushing dramatic headlines that are often false, fake or unfair on the person who’s life is under the spot light.

For many of these reasons and also the negativity of it all, as a household we don’t use our TV, avoid the radio and decided what we consume via streaming. However, often in school I deal with incidents and listen to each side, sometimes with lies woven through to protect things they have done, usually with glimmers of truth and a dash of artistic licence.

This morning in bed I was rolled away from my partner and facing our wardrobe doors, he turned his side lamp on and cast a huge shadow across the ceiling. The shadow looked haunting and dangerous, it had sharp edges and two sides were coming together much like teeth. I turned back to see he was writing and the shadow was he’s fingers and pencil on the pad.

Perspective is essential, don’t believe everything you see, hear and even think at times. Don’t hold your perspective as the only one, there are often victims on each side and every now and then an innocent pad of paper and pencil.

It’s important to be cautious of what we tell ourselves, so often we feed ourselves lies. We aren’t good enough, intelligent enough, healthy enough. I always think if we spoke to our friends how our inner voice talks to us we’d be a very lonely planet. When I look back at photographs of my younger self I’m not always as horrified as I thought at the time. *Although the teen fringe phase and sun-in over use was a mistake.

If what we see around us is often lies and how we speak to ourselves is often overly negative…I choose denial. Talk to yourself like you do your best friend, paint your own truth and see the world through sparkly lenses. Socialise with people that make you feel good, work on goals that make you happy and celebrate the journey along the way.

Don’t count the days, make the days count

Quote from Muhammad Ali

My son has completed his school year and has jumped into summer, sadly I have two more days of standing on the precipice before we can both wallow in the delights of the summer holidays.

We have completed our clouds (See our previous post for more details) as I think it’s important to take in to consideration what he would like to do and yet again I was blown away with how simple his requests are.

During the summer I like to have a balance of planned events and lazy days, prioritising experience over objects. Our holidays have been planned to take our sons interests into account but also I’ve booked an adult only escape in order to keep everyone balanced.

Making the days count is important to me and so I’ve set myself a ‘me goal’ and a ‘Mum goal’. I’m sharing these to make myself accountable and to hopefully inspire you to also set yourself small challenges. I’ve also thought of a word to sum up my intentions for summer – flow.

Me goal:

  • Yoga everyday or a run.

I have been doing mini sessions of yoga when I wake but know that with a little more time I can increase my flow and practise.

Mum goals:

  • Teach little dude to tell the time

This unexpected target is nearly reached by the end of day two. He has really taken to the new watch his Nanny and Grandad bought him and is keen to tell everyone we meet what the time is. Having him with me means the learning can be quick, frequent and once again success can flow

  • Write every day

At the grand age of six, writing is not a joy for my little man, so again I’ve cunningly hidden daily tasks in and around the adventures we’ll be having to help the pen to flow. Last night we sent Daddy messages on post-it’s whilst he was upstairs and I’ve asked a friend of mine who doesn’t live locally if her son would like to be my sons pen pal, an old school idea but he really enjoyed the idea of his friend receiving it. He is also writing a book which was his idea and enjoyed reading the first instalment to his godmother over FaceTime yesterday.

I realise a lot of parents might read this and think that the summer is a time to escape the pen and pencil of the classroom but I personally know my little dude and know that little steps will help him to thrive in the new academic year…as long as he doesn’t realise we’re doing ‘writing’.

Being accountable for each day can feel empowering, I know that we will all enjoy camping under the stars, making memories and visiting some wonderful places. I know that my camera will overflow and my instagram squares will increase with unexpected moments of joy too. However, like Muhammad suggested, time is limited and summers with my boys by my side won’t be forever, so I plan to enjoy each and every day…two more days to go.