This quote is sound advice and for that very reason this post is going to be small, as what I want to say is ‘get outside’. In the UK we have home schooling going for one more week and that means juggling screens and it also feels a little like we’ve been stuck inside for years.
However, on Thursday the sun came out to play and my entire soul lifted. The bulbs in the garden are coming out to dance and buds are popping like popcorn in a hot pan. Spring has given the UK and huge reason to smile.
Netflix is also awesome and we are a house that also spends time hugging our Disney plus access with gratitude daily BUT Mother Nature will always do it better. Lately, she’s been throwing out sunrises and sunsets that make Disney firework displays look like a £20 box from your local garden centre. She’s obviously extended her palette lately. She’s thrown some crimson, orange and hot pink swirls of delight in the mixture and my photographic friends are clicking both their fingers and their heels with joy.
My advice, for what it’s worth are to make time to rise and open the curtains or take a little stroll as the sun comes out to play, or if you’re more of a night owl then walks later in the day can feed the sunset hit. I love sitting with a cup of tea and the chiminea going for a double joy hit (and gets rid of a little garden waste along the way).
Today we discovered a new walk on our doorstep and as my son entered the start of the forest and looked up in awe, he questioned whether we’d found big foots home.
I knew what he meant, with that his imagination exploded and we were listening out for bears, fighting soldiers and walking an invisible Hippo called Sonar. I couldn’t help but think how stimulating our mini adventure was.
Don’t get me wrong ‘Netflix and chill’ will always have a place in my heart, but never at the expense of an awesome sunset.
I often write about perspective and it would seem this post is going to be no different, I just couldn’t resist this quote.
Frequently things or issues that we see as a problem are somebody else’s joy. Take a humble weed that we dig out from our boarders and see as unnecessary, an issue and not welcome. In somebody else’s garden, or in the wild that same plant can bring joy or even nutrition or a home to a bug or creature.
Sometimes problems can’t be fixed. That’s okay though as they aren’t all meant to be. Within nature when a tree dies it rots back down and fertilises the soil, the seeds/nuts that it’s dropped in the previous season are nurtured and nature begins a new cycle. As humans we often see death as final, when perhaps it’s just another step in evolution. The teaser is that none of us will know for sure until it’s too late.
Meanwhile hours turn to day’s, days to weeks, months and years and perhaps we spend too much time worrying about problems that don’t need resolving or resolve themselves…instead I’m offering you a new option.
It involves not worrying (easier said than done). Taking a step back and reassessing the situation. It involves not feeding your mind negative limitations and trusting that things always work out. This theory isn’t my making, it’s from my biggest idol…Mother Nature.
She never gives up, she’s huge in the reuse and recycle generation and she doesn’t panic in the eye of a storm. She knows that sometimes you need to clear away the past to create the future. Mother Nature hides medical healing powers in plants and never needs technology to fix something, she doesn’t even have home insurance or a debit card.
I believe that we could all improve our lives and our stress levels, simply by thinking about what Mother Nature would do. It’s often purer and easier than man would have us think and the she usually has the answer to most of our biggest problems. Also, Mother N never does things in a hurry, her cycles often take years, seasons and time to put into action.
Step back, assess and think about your options before you allow your internal panic button to be pressed, it’s sometimes good to share problems with friends for alternative solutions and a good nights sleep is wonderful for putting some distance between the issue you are trying to resolve and yourself.
Regularly readers may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while…the juggle of life got too much and so a few things had to go, publishing a post was one of them. That said I also use writing as time out and a dose of therapy so here I am again.
The shuffle and balance of homeschooling, working full time from home, running a household and our families personalities all blending in a bowl of chaos meant I broke. Last Friday I got to the end of my working day, I felt I couldn’t breath…I knew I had to start dinner. As I clutched a yellow pepper from the fridge, the Mr heard me whisper ‘ I can’t do this’…my eyes began to fill with tears and he said the magic words ‘Shall I get take out’ however his next question nearly made the tears fall ‘what would you like?’ I held my head down and gently shook it, “you can’t make any more decisions can you” …he was right, my head was pounding from looking at the screen all day, I felt like I was going to be sick, homeschooling that day wasn’t plain sailing and my body said enough. By 6:50pm I was in bed, I closed the world off and when I woke I realised a few things, the main one being, apart from the take away I hadn’t eaten that day. There simply wasn’t time.
With a wonderful nights sleep and my batteries renewed I made a few decisions and they’ve totally changed the week I’ve just had. I’m sharing them as hopefully they may help or inspire someone else.
Small win one: The weekend after the mini breakdown I prep’d like a fitness freak. I made homemade soup – so the decision of lunch was already made and as a bonus it was healthy. I also made a batch of smoothies so that I had a morning snack and if I didn’t have time I could drink it during my meetings.
Small win two: I got out my clothes in the evening the night before. Not a huge time saver but meant it was one less decision to procrastinate over
Small win three: at the end of each day I made myself (rain or shine) go for a walk. Sometimes I’d call family or a friend BUT I left the boys at home. A quick walk around the block and some fresh air has been fabulous for my soul after a day of meetings via a laptop.
Small win four: I realise we can’t make any actual plans at the moment, in the UK Boris letting us know when children can return to school has been as clear as mud, but I can dream. I’ve been keeping a little note pad of all the things I’d like to do when we can, travel is a huge one but once I started the list I realised some could begin even in a pandemic. So, this weekend I did some decluttering and I alway find this is good for my soul.
Small win five: Flowers. On Friday a friend left me a small bouquet on my doorstep. I can’t tell you how grateful I was. I divided the flowers into two and have one on the dinning room table where I work and one upstairs. It’s a wonderful reminder of kindness and beauty. Gratitude always wins in my book. I plan to buy some daffodils in the coming week and pass the love on! We may not be able to meet for tea and a chat like we once did but every time I look at my flowers I feel truly blessed.
Whether you’re winning at life or drowning please know that a few little steps can make a huge change to your wellbeing. Don’t stop dreaming, being kind to others and make time for self care, in my opinion these things are crucial to our current generation thriving.
I am privileged. This morning is Sunday and it’s nearly 10am…I’m still in bed. Tea was bought to me and the Mr opened the curtains so the sun shone through. Delicious
I looked out at the bright blue clouds, a rare sight in January. The plants in my room are currently doing a little hip hop dance as the sun kisses them each…it’s been a long pandemic winter so far. This moment to breath is an absolute blessing. I know it won’t stay and I know it has to leave, we have to leave…there are children to be fed, house work to be done… but in this moment I know i’m the luckiest girl in the world and I know another moment as precious as this will come my way.
Whilst waking slowly like a hedgehog coming out of hibernation and twitching it’s nose, I felt hungry… I snuck downstairs and grabbed a bowl of cereal for ease, tossed in some frozen berries and drizzled over some coconut milk. I then diverted back to bed, the satisfaction of the crunch whilst the sun continued to dazzle on my face made me smile.
Grab the small moments of life that bring you joy and don’t be scared to bathe in them. I often find it’s the moments of simplicity that unlock the most magic. The world won’t stop if I finish my tea here, but I will have much more energy to meet the day with and I’ll be a better me for everyone I communicate with.
Small moments of simplicity bring less clutter (something I still need to work on), they are often more cost efficient and I find involve mother nature’s hand; a walk, the call of the tide, a passing cloud or the smell of a rose…
As I was writing this post my Mum called, thrilled. My Great Aunt turned 90 today and was a florist by trade, she’s been in lockdown since March 2020. My Mum sent her some flowers and a card, they were delivered this morning at 9am. My Aunt called to say how happy they had made her, the smell literally leaping out of the box as she opened them, each flower well packed and ready to sing from her dinning-room table. Whilst sending flowers is perhaps a little more expensive, I can’t help but feel for the impact they had they were mere pennies. Passing on joy, gratitude and simplify is also the gift that keeps on giving – plus my Aunt has pleasure for them, my Mum as the giver and I get a bonus burst of gratitude hearing how happy they both are.
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, take a moment to look around and find something that makes you smile. You’ll probably find it’s small and simple, yet lights your world like a huge firework display. You deserve that.
If I’m honest I’m not really feeling like 2021 is delivering the joy I hoped for. Then I was reminded that mindset is everything and so I’ve decided it’s going to be the best year ever, whether it wants to be or not.
I’ve wrote many blogs on perspective and this post is no different, when you choose to sit in the good, the bad often dissipates, it never leaves as the negative moments make the positive all that bit more joyful thanks to a little thing called contrast.
This weekend I knew how good and thankful I was to lie in and the Mr even bought me tea in bed, I knew it was lovely because the first week in January was made up of brutal gets up where above the duvet it was cold and the world was full of demands.
The Mr then opened the curtains to show me the roofs that Jack Frost had created in the night, he suggested a walk and snug in bed at first I wasn’t keen…then I altered my mindset and reminded myself how Mother Nature always makes me feel better. A frosty walk half an hour later and she didn’t let me down.
Life is made of decisions, we don’t always get to decide the outcomes but we can decide how we feel about them. This year I’m choosing 2021 to be the year that my dreams come true. My other resolution is to never buy another item of clothing that doesn’t have pockets – life is too short and precious not to have a tissue and a lip balm at hand.
What are you going to do this year? Allow the pandemic to nibble at your soul or count your blessings, stop making excuses and do it anyway, I’m picking the second option but adding pockets.
Happy new year and I promise whatever is around the corner will be as good as you decide to see it.
Four days in to January 2021 in the UK, any hope was slashed by the Prime Minister’s announcement to return to life in March 2020, you have every right to feel the emotions you do; whether you are fearful, angry, bored, or nonplus *or perhaps like me fly between them all like a Meerkat on look out. It’s perfectly normal to not feel normal, that’s the new normal.
However, hope is on the horizon and that’s why I have popped this midweek post together. This time we have several super powers within us and we should unleash them…well it could make all the difference to us and our families thriving in 2021. Although I write as both a parent and teacher, I would also like to highlight that everyone is in their own personal battle at present and hopefully non parents can take some joy from this post too.
Super power one: knowledge: Volume two means there was a volume one. I know you know that, I know things aren’t exactly the same BUT we lived through volume one! Knowledge is power, something I never had last time. This time I can see an end, volume 1 was six months of ‘maybe next week’ a blur, a really long Sunday…this time I know it will end because it did before. Maybe we didn’t all thrive, but it’s well worth taking time to reflect on the things that did work, adapting them where necessary and making them work for the winter edition, hindsight is a beautiful thing – use it. For example, a paddling pool in January probably isn’t going to go down well, but we as a family in vol.1 took the time each day to come together and watch a film, it was a calming time (it was always Disney) and it added a drop of structure to an otherwise chaotic day.
I took the time to ask my son what he wanted to do, sure home schooling was usually part of the day but actually with no commutes we did have time to bake or build some Lego. We went for walks, okay if I’m honest I’m a little walked out but I also know that nature always makes me feel better…do the things that served you last time.
Superpower two: Know your child isn’t behind: You are giving them an experience. Like most adventures in life it comes with highs (we uploaded work to the school site) and lows (no work was achieved and my son claimed corona stole all of the pencils in the house) but it’s how we look at them that counts. My child is where he is academically; I can’t rewind 2020, I can’t push knowledge into his brain, but I can make sure that no matter what he is safe and healthy. Today the juggle was real. My full time job, our home, my sons education, our families sanity, our mental health all rolled into one and it was messy…but it was also good too….
Super power three: Hold on to the gratitude: Being thankful, for whatever small glimmer of hope, joy, love, appreciation you see or feel…it matters. I’m eternally indebted to frontline workers, I’m pleased my family is healthy, that today we are ok, that the internet connection works, that I have the skill set to break down tasks set for my child and can make them applicable to him, that the dog didn’t bark when the postman came and I was on a Teams call for work, that we did our best.
Super power four: Small steps are mighty: This may be part of your existing super power one, but I know that small steps, low expectations and being kind to myself is the only way I can manage at present. I didn’t do all the work tasks I had the intention of completing, by 10am I prioritised them and spread them out over the next few days. I can only do what I can. I did take a few minutes to do a facial this evening so that tomorrow I wake feeling topped up with self love, I also treated myself to a hot chocolate because this life is precious. Small steps with treats along the way make unstructured time’s a little easier. Also, a technique that works well for most children and age groups is Now, Next and then. It works like this: Now we are doing maths, next we will read and then you can play. Forget the rest of the day for a few small steps, when they are heading off to play, remind them that now they are having play time, next they can read and then we will have lunch. Those three small words can give enough knowledge to make your child feel safer. If you have multiple children it might be that time is divided and your ‘Now i’m helping Bethan, next we will go and play and then we will revisit your history work together’ feeling heard is so important and often grounds us far more than Mummy spending 5 hours the night before creating a complex rota that due to a tantrum and a high temp from the baby has all gone out of the window before 7:30am
I hope by reading this you maybe remembered how awesome you already are, that you’ve got this and that with a few super powers under your belt you can achieve anything.
Firstly, congratulations you’ve made it to 2021! Let’s be honest, it was touch and go…
Now we’ve hit 2021 and the world is crying out for a kinder year and I’m hoping that travel will resume. However, I can’t help but see the usual spiral of diet plans, fitness regimes, goals, coaches, juices, subscriptions being pushed down our throat’s….and that’s great, if that works for you.
However, I just wanted to tap you on the shoulder and remind you that you’re enough just the way you are. Perfectly imperfect.
I personally like to analyse the year and set a few goals, perhaps try something new BUT not by January first. After the year we’ve all expected and the uncertain future that may be ahead, it’s time to slow things down. Take time to reflect, enjoy the process. You may wish to create a mind map or journal on the topic, so unpick the pieces of life’s puzzle that no longer serve you.
In the UK January is cold, grey and not the best time to be motivated. That doesn’t need to be an excuse, so be kind to yourself and make any goals small and achievable based on your circumstances.
New habits take time and so introducing small manageable changes is the best way to optimum success.
Action is needed; so if you aren’t ready to end old patterns that don’t serve you…don’t. Also don’t expect change. I’ve always found best results when I take my time to let go over things that don’t serve me any longer. If you rush the process, you often sabotage the results. An example of this was when I was pregnant and ‘nothing in my wardrobe fitted me’ so I took irrational action and threw away over half of my perfectly good not-pregnant wardrobe. I spent the next three years looking for tops or ‘ that belt’ constantly reminding myself that I’d given it away and it seem cases (basic tops) having to replace them. The same goes for taking on drastic diet plans that leave you malnourished or excessive exercise programmes that give you injuries. Small steps, one at a time…letting go as the quote suggests is a daily practice of moments and blessings, these often lead to more productive changes and take you a little nearer to your happy ever after.
I went with this quote for selfish reasons…it looks festive on my fridge, but it also has a seasonal message that you can apply all year long.
The vibration that we put out in to the world is often what we attract back. Karma, derived from India is now accepted in many cultures as ‘that which you put out in the world, you receive back’. Hinduism and Buddhism sometimes connect this with reincarnation but often it’s spoken in the moment.
Today I watched 20 children play Rugby in the rain, my son came home looking like he had had a mud wrap in a spa. A bubble bath and a couple of loads of washing later meant order was restored but upon reflection nobody moaned about being cold on the pitch, parents didn’t grumble on the sidelines and even when my son went for a tackle and face planted to the ground,he got up and smiled. For me, this is a classic ‘jingle all the way’ moment. The children haven’t been able to play Rugby for a while, despite mother nature’s down pour they were thrilled to be back, parents were wrapped for the elements and the perspective was on learning, improving and having fun…
In hindsight, the Rugby game could of been a miserable morning, I could of grumbled about the extra washing…instead we had a giggle and it was a positive experience for all…except the dog, she got cold and was shivering.
I’m not sure that 2021 is going to be significantly better than this year, in honesty I have so much to be thankful for this year and many cherished moments at home with my family BUT I am going to watch my ‘jingle all the way’ and add a little more sparkle to 2021 created simply by giving out positive energy. I may well receive even more joy back and if not, it’ll make for a more pleasant experience.
Dust off your bells and enjoy the lighter moments life has to offer, celebrate the small successes and know that time with loved ones is precious.
Today’s post isn’t long and its message is simple. We all have battles that we face, both internal personal battles and external battles that we may find ourselves in through no fault of our own…so do other people.
It’s easy to be consumed by the now and even the toxicity of the past, it’s much harder to smile on days when you don’t feel like smiling and even harder to push that smile into the world towards strangers.
However, in my experience it’s the light in the darkest of moments, the kindness that comes from people that don’t need to care that is truly special.
As the Christmas season approaches and we all become consumed by…well, consumerism, perhaps in this crazy world of 2020 that we all find ourselves in, the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us is a little extra kindness. It often doesn’t cost a lot and it doesn’t always get noticed but I truly believe the future of the world depends on it (that totally sounded like a marvel film intro)
As the last few weeks of 2020 past and we step into 2021 with a little more hope and a dollop of joy, please add a gallon of kindness to those who need it. You can never be sure who needs it, so aim for everyone. Let the car out of the side road if it’s safe to do so, let the man in a rush pass you by and don’t judge him – you don’t know why he is rushing. Kindness is checking on friends with a quick phone call and knocking on vulnerable neighbours doors to check if they need anything. Open doors and smile.
Smile when people give you eye contact, increase your manners (it’s something adults generally suck at), tell people you love them and give compliments like you’re PollyAnna. Over the years I’ve written a lot about this topic, gratitude and kindness truly matter and usually I write to remind myself.
So if nobody has told you today, your hair looks fab, I love that jumper and I’d like to thank you for dropping by, it’s means the world.
This is a personal letter to a dear friend but I’d like to think on some level it speaks to us all.
Dear lovely one,
Wow, whilst this year has been like the 90s TV show The Gladiators and we all just want to get to the final to prove we can complete the The Eliminator (read last two words with a game show voice over) in the quickest time, your show has been a little more challenging. Let down by your team mates and told false promises I can understand you’re hurt. That right is yours.
However, you are no rookie and this life has taken you on many challenging adventures all of which you have completed with love, perseverance and a dash of insanity. I wanted to remind you that you are the Ulrika Johnson / John Fashanu of your life, we all are. You introduce and close each chapter, you tell the tale how you want to. You are the presenter and director and nobody can alter that.
I was reflecting this morning on our friendship and realised that you are magical at manifesting. The woman who’s womb was like a crumbling cave made an awesome baby that nobody thought possible. The woman who in the face of some toxic relationships left with her heart full and kind words spoken.
When we lead with love we often attract more into our lives and this is my wish for you. I realise you are only moments into this new chapter and there are many hurdles ahead but I wanted to remind you that nobody, no law and no restrictions can interrupt a woman on a mission. Surround yourself with people who support you and quieten the ones who doubt. I personally will be chanting from the side lines (probably with one of those pointed over sized foam hands) for your success. I’ll continue chanting until you reach your destination. You see you get to pick your audience too and your ‘G-force’ (the cheerleaders name from the game show), remember we are far more resilient when needed, I surprise myself most days.
Whilst there are steps to your next haven, hurdles to overcome ‘The wall’ will be high and ‘Hang tough’ might even try to break you, but I know that you are stronger than a game show challenge.
Much like the quote I began with, I set intentions for you far higher than a location. Beyond ‘The Travalator’ (this was the final challenge in the Gladiators final) I know there will be peace. I hope you find what your heart really needs. To be surrounded by family and love, handled with care and allowed to flourish. I hope the future is kind and that we all have hair like Lightning (serious google that woman’s mane and physique, what an idol). At the moment it’s okay to not know what you need, you have a little one to put first, but in the rare moments of night, or the early hours of the morning silence dare to dream and then watch it unfold.