#7yo Collect things

Quote Anon

Since the little dude was four years old, I’ve created this post to track his answers to the 20 questions listed below. Its joyful for me to see the small changes in his answers and how his vision of the world around him alters. Perhaps not as interesting for those reader who don’t know him, but a timely reminder to do it for the little people in your world. Objects can be exchanged, broken or lose value but memories and creating traditions live on and are priceless.

1. What’s your favourite colour? Green

2. What’s your favourite toy?   Ray, (giant hippo cuddly toy) hulk buster and my mosasaurus

3. What’s your favourite fruit? Banana

4. What do you like to watch on TV? Trap door, Disney +

5. What do you like to eat at lunch? Cheese wrap

6. Who’s in your family? Pearl (our dog), Burple (gecko), the stick insects and our fish, me, Mummy, Daddy. *animals come first it would seem

7. What item of clothing do you most like to wear? Jogging bottoms, like I tried to put on earlier (I made him take them off, its 25C in the UK)

8. What game do you like to play? Dizzy dizzy dinosaur and Chess

9. What’s your favourite animal? Hippopotamus and crocodiles.

10.  What song do you most like? The Mandalorian song (theme tune, he hums it all of the time)

11. What’s your favourite snack? Anything with cheese in it.

12. Favourite book? Worst in Show, David Walliams books, Tom Gates…so many Mummy.

13. Who’s your best friend? Luke, Eddie and Henry

14. What’s your favourite sport?  Judo, I like swimming but it wastes my breath a lot.

15. Which holiday do you like the best? who knows (why?) because we might have even better holidays

16. What do you sleep with? Ray, (cuddly hippo) Croccie (cuddly crocodile) and Ivan (huge cuddly snake)

17. What do you like best for breakfast? whatever’s going.

18. What do you like to do outside? Chill on my slide

19. What’s your favourite drink? water

20. What’s your favourite dinner? Macaroni

You must be shapeless, formless, like water.

Quote / poem / thoughts by Bruce Lee.

Todays post is inspired by Bruce Lee, before I ramble – id like to share the piece in its entirety.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

Simply beautiful.

I became aware of these words as I listen to the GABA podcast (and urge you to do the same), during a live on instagram Adam the creative and talented creator of GABA usally shares a reading, poem, lyric or thought before a meditation sound bath…one of them was the Bruce Lee reading above. It taught me two valuable things.

The first was to let go…truly let go. Today I had no idea what I would achieve, I let go of constructs such as time – we ate when we were hungry (so much simpler), at the back of my mind I repeated to myself a new mini mantra ‘be like water’….the time we have now, albeit unknown and at times concerning, is also a blessing for me personally. Grounded to home, time with my boys – a blessing that I’m also aware could be snatch back to school runs, work schedules, traffic jams and to do lists at any moment. However, through my days water experiment I found far more joy in the now, zero stress and bizarrely I was more productive. Perhaps opening ‘to do’ tabs of the mind, answering emails in under six minutes (the average response time to an email in 2020) and being productive, is ironically time consuming and unproductive?

We took ourselves off for walks amongst the bluebells (thank you Mother nature), connected with loved ones through various technologies and my sons home schooling happened much more like a running river than a mother (me) juggling and trying to overachieve whilst walking on hot coals and simultaneously smiling. It gave me a deeper sense of connection and gratitude for the simple delights of life and I’m addicted.

The second thing Bruce’s words taught me were about collaboration. Adam obviously had scribbled them down because they resonated with his creative flare, in turn he shared them with his audience and gave me inspiration for a blessed day and as many more ‘be like water’ moments and days as I can flow into my life, this is turn inspired me to write this piece….and once again, creativity seems to bring a sense of calm, restorative joy and flow to life.

I should probably wrap this writing up with a bow, a witty line or perhaps a single sentence… or you could just listen to Bruce, be like water and perhaps you will leave the confinements of being squeezed into a plastic bottle and will indeed find your own flow.

Accountability breeds response-ability.

Quote by Stephen Covey.

Earlier in the week I listened to a podcast called Happy Place; it’s host is the dazzling Ferne Cotton and she was speaking to Russell Brand. They were discussing the current pandemic and how they as individuals are dealing with it (well worth a listen and available on all joyful podcast platforms from Spotify to Apple)…I enjoyed listening to what they had learnt through the process of having less routine, lockdown moments of joy as well as feelings of anxiety and the unknown. Ferne in particular made a point that resonated with me, she was talking about how her husband Jessie had been asking their elderly neighbour if they needed anything from the supermarket and had spoken together about why they had never done this previously. On my Instagram page I have been running a hashtag over the last few weeks called #kindnessiscontagious and I thought it was a lovely lesson to have learnt, that probably had a huge impact on their neighbour.

However half way through I felt myself become overwhelmed and frustrated, both of them were saying things like ‘I hope society doesn’t forget the things we have learnt during this time’ ‘we will probably return back to how things were’ and I found myself shouting at my iPhone. Two hugely influential celebrities weren’t committing themselves to making a change. Imagine the impact they could have made it rather than hoping they stated what they intending to continue to do.

Everyday we learn lessons (and often I relearn lessons I should of learnt the day before) its part of the human condition and I like to think we are all trying to be better people, living better lives. However, improvement whether it be spiritual, physical or action based can’t occur unless we take responsibility.

I have a very dear friend and we often make each other accountable with what we plan to achieve in the coming weeks, we then check in on how those projects are going. By sharing my ideas it makes me more likely to achieve them – its one of the reasons weigh-ins in corporate companies like Weight watchers have huge success.

I know that if I want to accomplish something, I need to take action (however small) to move forward, it’s the recipe for perpetual motional success and more importantly, making a change.

Therefore, in the coming weeks I’m going to start a new hashtag (because hashtags solve all issues) #lockdownlesson where I will share, and I warmly invite you to play along, what you plan to continue to do once the lockdown is over.

All you need to do, is use the hashtag above, note down (and therefore take responsibility) for what you plan to continue to do and add my instagram handle @fridgesays so that I can share your lesson on my stories to inspire others.

It doesn’t matter if your lesson is profound (meditating daily – this is the something that I hope to achieve and am committed to), simple (walking more), sparks joy (wearing pyjamas during the day – something my son has become accustom to), increasing your physical strength, keeping a stock pile of toilet rolls in, washing your hands more or like Ferne suggested – reaching out to neighbours and building a stronger sense of community. Each lesson is worthy and will become a drop in the ocean to a more awesome planet.

Thank you in advance for playing along, if each of us take and action just one small lesson – imagine how awesome our planet would becomes and how this pandemic can be a positive experience.

Write until you surprise yourself

Quote Anon

I do this all of the time, sometimes when I read back over all blog posts, I can’t remember thinking the paragraphs I’ve typed, let alone the structure, point or pressing publish…in fact, often I don’t even remember writing the content.

This is why today’s quote will hopefully encourage you to write a little more. Perhaps you have your own blog, a note book, a secret diary or a shopping list. From published authors to list gurus there is always a little more time to write in my opinion.

In school when my pupils are overwhelmed with emotion and they don’t even know why they are feeling the way they are, I usually present them with a pencil and some paper – sprinkle with half an hour of uninterrupted time and the answer is usually somewhere between the doodles and waffle. Letting your mind go free with the written word is one of the best gifts we can give to each other. As the pencil flows across the page somewhere between “I don’t know why I’m writing this” to the ‘love from xxx’ magic happens.

I feel like writing allows me to ‘speak’ from my inner core, a place that’s always in harmony. Over the last few weeks I’ve increased my writing, due in part to having more time but mainly because the need has increased. With more uncertainty comes the need to further anchor the soul, the body tends to follow. If you ‘can’t write’ or if you have previous described yourself as someone who ‘doesn’t do writing’ (like my son – he has an extreme allergy to holding a pencil and sitting still) or perhaps you are looking for a sign…here it is! Pick up a pencil, create the writing area you are most comfortable in (mine includes a cup of Green Jasmin tea), find a platform you are most comfortable in…paper, typing / online or in private and see where the nib of the pen takes you, or the journey of the mouse on your device.

Most of all, don’t overthink it, enjoy the process and thank me later.

You approached it like it was heavy, so it was

Have you ever worked your socks off on a project and it’s gone nowhere, done something by accident and it’s been a huge success?

Perhaps you’ve put huge effort into a meal for your family and nobody said a thing, threw some random things in a pan (that not even you know what’s in there) and the family couldn’t compliment it enough.

Or the worst of all…you saw a challenge, thought it looked too big and walked away without even trying, as a result you’ll never know if it would of worked out or not?

Yesterday morning my son called me downstairs to ‘see his new trick’ I put my best ‘Mummy cares’ face on and humoured him. He then blew my mind and lifted the sofa. Apparently he has been secretly practising for sometime and yesterday was the day of success. I called his Daddy down (who adores lifting anything of any weight) and once again my son lifted the sofa… I then tried, knowing it was blooming heavy as I usually ask the Mr to lift it for me when I’m hoovering. I failed. My son beamed and my mind was blown that my seven year old is now stronger than me…I mean it’s not a huge surprise but still it took a moment to adjust. Later that day when sat snug on the sofa I asked him how long he had been practising ‘just a few days really, I’d seen Daddy do it and thought I’d give it a go’….then I realised that he’d approached it with a can do attitude. I had not. I realise for the benefit of this story I should now write that I then adjusted my attitude and voila we are like Disney’s incredible, but seriously how many people need to lift a sofa in one house (plus I’m aware of the dust that this new craze is creating)

However, I learnt a new phrase this week that is ‘reframe’ and it’s an alternative to perspective. My son reframed his view of the sofa and what I do think is valuable is reframing goals that are important to you. When you are feeling low, gradually reframe your view with drops of joy. When a task seems to large like lifting an elephant (or in our house a sofa) perhaps break down the task to bite size actions.

Give it a go this week, when you feel a negative itch or feel a sense of being overwhelmed… reframe and perhaps those giant goals will seem as light as a feather.

You must find happiness right where you are.

Quote from Disneys Moana.

We’ve begun the Easter holidays in the UK. For the last few days I’ve grown in happiness because that is what I’m choosing to see, feel and look for. Let me tell you more.

The sun is shining and this is both rare and delightful. I usually always post on Sundays, I know that consistent content is key to the growth of my blog, but my blog won’t grow without me writing it…yesterday was the hottest day in England so far this year, so I grabbed my share of vitamin D and headed into the garden for the day. Pottering, sipping drinks in the garden and soaking up rays of joy were on my agenda. As a result, I feel better for it, so much better that I have more energy to give, more time to share and my blog didn’t suffer from a 24hr lack of content and doesn’t feel like a chore to write.

This morning my son and I walked down to our local cafe (they are doing take away / deliveries) we grabbed a piece of cake each and to increase the happiness for others, grabbed two extra slices for my sons grandparents. We left the box of delight on the doorstep, waved through the windows and saw them smile. Happiness isn’t always in the receiving.

Happiness is many small particles, much like dust that if you blink you miss BUT if you choose to see, multiply and can be seen even in the darkest of moments. Sometimes its not about what you desire in the future but what you have now that counts. We all have different blessings if we choose to see them. For example, my sons knee has a scab on it from where he fell over a few days a go. He asked what a scab was and I explained it was a sign the body was healing, a protective barrier so that underneath the body could knit itself back together whilst keeping out the germs from the outside and the good stuff inside…he renamed it his armour and now wears it with pride. In every moment in every day we have millions of moments to see joy or to see a scab.

Don’t worry about what ‘they’ have or where ‘they’ are going. Look around you and at this very moment, no matter how bleak life can seem there is always something to be thankful, kind, grateful or happy about. Moana is one of my favourite Disney characters and this uplifting quote serves as a reminder that if you want to live a positive life, you simply MUST make happiness a priority.

The time goes by faster than you can imagine.

Quote from John Cooper

Ive just been pondering the concept of time. I thought you couldn’t grab it, smell it or taste it but I think perhaps you can…when I see sepia photographs of the past or historical books – I can see time has unfolded (not to mention facebook photos of myself from a decade or two ago), when I smell fresh cut cucumber I’m taken on a journey back to my childhood on my Grandads allotment. He always use to grow me a ‘L’ for Lucy and I always left feeling super important, never fully appreciating that the straight cucumbers with little fragrance in the supermarket weren’t really the real deal.

Mainly, I think we all ‘feel’ time…the pressure or perhaps the weight of it. Routines seem to consume time, turning days into brief moments and daunting minutes still to come are granted a loss of several nights sleep. Its often something we never have enough of, a little like its sister Money. We desire it and then often, when we have it in abundance we aren’t sure what to do with it? Wasteful sunday afternoons spent in and out of sleep on the sofa watching films we’ve seen before, or long walks that have no particular start, end or anything in between.

We remember the good times and of course the bad, we celebrate specific times – birthdays, holidays and traditional moments throughout the year. We bank some memories for rainy days and look back with fondness or regret. But mainly, the times keeps ticking and we take it for granted. Never fully grasping its precious gift of now.

Perhaps you’re like me and try and live in the now, but that in itself seems to create a bigger void between you and it? I’m afraid I don’t have any wisdom for this…i’m still working it out, I do know a few things; meditation is more powerful than we’d like to think and easier than everyone else makes out, but ultimately the best way to make the most of the fragile time we do have is grasp it with both hands, travel, listen to music, cook, practise yoga, run…do whatever it is that makes you smile. Seek the sun, drink the tea, surround yourself with wonderful people that make you happy and go to bed each night knowing you lived the best day you could with everything you had available to you. After all, that’s all any of us have – right now.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf

Quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Our front door was always a rotating flow of coming and goings; deliveries coming in, errands flowing out, school routines backwards and forwards, family and friends… it currently stands still, a barrier that keeps us safe as we cocoon inside.

Many (understandable) are fearful of the future and even of the now. However, when I saw this quote it summed up how I felt in this moment. We can’t stop the waves and perhaps we shouldn’t even try – perhaps everything is as its meant to be, however chaotic and alien it may feel. Perhaps this is the break that not only our planet needs, but our minds, bodies and souls need. I read an article that fish have returned to the canals of Italy, that air quality is improving and the ozone layer is fixing itself at a rapid pace.

The word ‘routine’ seems alien, that up until a few weeks a go was essential to our productivity…we pause…we adjust and perhaps if we learn or attempt to surf, to enjoy the tides, to ride high and fall with the flow of the waves…perhaps rather than feel anxious, we can instead feel blessed.

We can’t deny the waves that wash over our planet, we can’t control them and so it makes sense to allow them to wash over us. For me that means enjoying every moment with my family, using technology to face time loved ones further away, living in the now and making do with what we have got, rather than worrying about what we don’t have. I’ve only ever body surfed, but it was a lot of fun and perhaps in the future I’ll take some lessons and learn how to surf for real, until then I’ll watch Moana and take inspiration from lyrics such as…

We read the wind and the sky when the sun is high
We sail the length of the seas on the ocean breeze

At night, we name every star
We know where we are
We know who we are, who we are

Perhaps in this uncertain time, as we take time to pause we will also learn a little more about who we are and develop a deeper sense of purpose, that to me seems like a wave worth riding.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough

Quote by Melody Beattie

As a child I was brought up by two exceptional parents, I’m blessed. I was taught and given a range of experiences and along the way reminded to say thank you for them. At Christmas, after birthdays and sometimes randomly in the year my Mum would help me to create thank you cards for gifts i’d received or teachers who had guided me, perhaps even for a person who has shown me a new skill or given up their time for me. As a result I appreciate all I have as an adult, has good manners and passes these skills down to my son. I begin each day by writing down what I am grateful for and before my son goes to sleep we exchange three grateful moments from the day. Appreciation helps both centre you, tell those around you that you are thankful for them but also, is a foundation for more gratitude.

It’s often in the darker times that we truly appreciate those around us, those who go above and beyond or those who simply give what they can when they can – they are enough. When our daughter passed away I learnt who my tribe was, mainly just by how those who loved me knew how to dance around me. voicemails left saying ‘call me when you’re ready to talk, we can talk about shoes if you’d prefer’ or my best friend who wanted to be physically by my side and I told her it was okay, she didn’t need to come…moments later I picked the phone back up and she made what must of been a lonely car journey to hold me, I needed her.

In August I was also reminded that gratitude is also abundant in the joyful times in our lives – the same dear friend got married. Love for the couple flowed and it was a privilege to be part of a piece of their history. She is still on cloud nine and rightly so, I couldn’t be happier for her. We had many deep chats though watery eyes and glances across the room that day and I realised that a best friend really is someone you can sit in silence with and know that you’ve both had the most wonderful conversation with.

For the last few weeks she and her husband have been in isolation, both of them ill and I have been worried about them. Some how from beneath the cough and chest congestion, from the depths of her sofa…and probably her onesie, she made the time to send my son, her godson a birthday card. She organised presents to be delivered and when he wanted to FaceTime she did the best fake ‘I’m healthy, nothing to worry about voice’ I’ve ever heard.

If you catch yourself feeling sad in moments of uncertainty, if perhaps you have distance between you and you’re loved ones. Reflect on how good it will be when you next see them, how amazing that hug will feel and how blessed you are to have ever had them in your universe. Sometimes its the little things in life that enrich our world and my best friend is under five foot small…. look at what you do have, have had and will have, suddenly with a pinch of gratitude the world can feel like it’s scooped you up and wrapped a big red bow around it. Enjoy the journey and smother yourself in gratitude.

Be the reason someone believes in good people.

Quote Unknown

Today is Sunday 22nd March 2020 and this post is dedicated to my son who turned seven today.

A drawing of me – obviously
Mummy 2020

A bizarre birthday today, I have enough cake to feed at least thirty people…we are down to three. *An amazing problem to have. Social distancing means his party was cancelled and I’m left with empty party bags, then make up play dates made earlier last week have also now been cancelled. The post being slower than it usually is means only a couple of cards have made it through…he doesn’t care. He doesn’t know too much about the worlds issues as we shield him as much as possible but he is happy that school is closed, knows it’s to keep everyone safe, knows he is loved and then broke me with a thoughtful act of selflessness.

Today is also Mother’s Day in the UK. We as a family don’t really celebrate, acknowledge with perhaps a card and some flowers and then it becomes a normal day. Since the death of my daughter in 2009 I’ve never been a fan.

This morning little dude ran into our room for hugs and then quickly made his way down to the living room to see 4 presents. Social distancing again means family gifts have not arrived. We made a big deal and encouraged him to dive in an open the gifts he did have. He ran off.

Moments later he reappeared from his bedroom with a homemade card for me for Mother’s Day. Nobody asked him to make it

*spelling wise you can see it was his own work

…and it made me think. If my seven year old can think of me before opening presents on his special day, if he can accept many disappointments over the last few weeks…can we not as adults share the food supplies in the shops? Can we not be kind? Can we not stop going out unnecessarily, the longer we do the longer this isolation will continue and the death toll will rise. Perhaps we all need to think like the mini man I’m ever so proud to call my son.

The world needs more kindness. As a result on Instagram I’m running a series on my stories called #kindnessiscontagious if you see anything you’d like to add please message me. Sharing of kindness is worth spreading – Unlike snot and germs. Rather than reflect on what you don’t have at this moment in time, enjoy what you do have. Enjoy family time, the gift of pausing if you aren’t still at work, make memories together and perhaps even step away from the media and enjoy your bubble of solitude. No matter how dim the dark is you can always find a glimmer of hope, perhaps like the quote suggests, be that kindness reminder for others.