Trust the timings of your life

Quote Anon

It’s September and part of me still believes its March? Many children have or will return to school this week. As parents and as a teacher I’m not sure what that looks like but I know it looks different, perhaps you find yourself anxious, worried or concerned. Thats understandable, after the year this world has thrown at us, the unknown doesn’t feel any easier. This post is to remind you that you’ve got this.

September in the UK isn’t just a new academic year it also welcomes Autumn, leaves falling, evenings draw in and change afoot. The seasons remind us that contrast is good – the leaves need to fall, in winter they need to pause so that come Spring they are ready to burst and thrive. Whether you’re a summer girl like me or a winter warmer like my son – change will happen anyway, whether we are ready or not. The good news is that the seasons don’t happen over night and neither will any changes we see in our lives. Slowly the green trees of summer will become burnt ambers, crimsons and siennas…allowing us to adjust.

As parents I know we are all blagging each day as it comes, personally I am perplexed at what school in 2020 -21 will look like for my son…how will socialising happen? will he come home worried or scared?…the list of concerns is endless BUT I have one super power. Just like I trust the seasons will change, I trust myself. I am the only person who has been with me 24/7 since birth and whilst I’ve let others down and learnt lessons along the way, I rarely let myself down and when it comes to my child’s welfare I’m nonnegotiable.

If I’m not happy – I will speak out, if I need to make educational adjustments for my son to be able to thrive as we as a family see fit – I will. The lioness inside of me can be fierce (and frankly I can scare myself) and the love to protect my baby…who is nearly taller than me, is mighty. Whilst I can’t trust the media, can feel let down my governmental policies I know I can trust me. As I hand my little dude over, I also know as a fellow teacher that this profession isnt for the financial reward – his teacher will greet him and guide him with her moral judgement….I trust in the knowing that she has his best interests.

Like the trust I have in the leaves falling and alter slowly and with artistic flare I too will take the return to school in my stride…day by day, make amendments when necessary, trusting where I can until proved otherwise.

I don’t doubt you either, anxiety is a behavioural reaction that shows you care, you’ve got this. Its human nature to question change – its instinct, yours is well placed and comes from love.

Whether the change you face is ‘back to school’ or a new job, a different place to call home…small steps, big breaths and talk from a place of love – you can’t go wrong. I’m rooting for you.

It’s not your job to like me, its mine

Quote Anon

Early this week I saw a quote from Mike Tyson (actually the Mr sent it to me – the old romantic) it said “Social media made you all way to comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face”

Mike made a good point, there is a freedom when you hide behind the screen, people say things they never would utter face to face, within school I’ve seen hundred of arguments, torments and cruel words typed amongst friendship groups, usually from children that in person would never say boo to a goose, least of all a friend that last week slept over their house

However, there is a new disrespect online that I think its even worse…when people apologise for being themselves…

“Sorry about the mess in the background of this photo but”

“Mum of three and I’m exhausted, sorry for the lack of filter”

“its late at night and I can’t be bothered to do my hair”

“even a filter can’t save the bags under my eyes”

“I know I need to lose some weight, but I wanted to show you my dress”

To be being authentic is the most sexy, empowering and wonderful thing anyone can do. I am tired of seeing immaculate images of the ‘perfect’ home on instagram, the manicured look, the woman holding a vintage bike (that we all know she is never going to ride) and holding a bouquet of flowers over her face, I’m tired on the pastel brick walls and the quirky corner of the home….Give me the messy buns, the chaotic livingrooms full of too many plastic toys and a coffee cup that was abandoned circa 2017… its life, its real and it comes with its own beauty. Sure its lovely to see pretty homes and I’m certainly going to share with you when I’m off out somewhere fancy (well pre 2020), I’m also partial to a pretty front door (it comes with being in your thirties) but please love yourselves.

If you can give yourself one gift in this chaotic world…love yourself more. Love your crooked nose, the belly that housed your children, the dress with the pockets…its not always easy to love what you see in the mirror but a drip feed of daily kind words is a good start. Talk to yourself how you would do a friend, or at least stop internally talking to yourself when you think mean things.

We are all something pretty special, we are all unique. Make sure you leave an authentic virtual footprint of awesomeness behind you and never apologise for being yourself

Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness

Quote by Desmond Tutu

We all have our moments of darkness, some come and go much like the sun and moon, others seem much heavier and forever shape us.

I have had my share of darkness and have also had the honour of supporting teenagers as they face trauma and often actions out of their power. I’m no expert but I have learnt a few things that’s I’d like to share – the first is simple. No two dark nights are the same. Just because you are grieving or have experienced death doesn’t mean you know how someone else feels, sure you can empathise and much like this blog tries to do, you can share your ideas and positive sparkles but ultimately everybody feels and reactions are individual.

That’s the good bit, that’s what makes us unique. If you are currently facing a dark time, I urge you to reach for the light switch. It’s often just out of grasp but you can ask for support, loved ones or perhaps your GP this link is full of amazing experts and advice, it’s literally and A-Z of services.

I’d also urge you to see the light in the darkness, much like one of my favourite children’s books ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ there is always a positive to see from a negative experience – in the children’s books the owl learns that fireworks truly shine at night, that the stars can’t be seen by day…often our own joys or darkness are us becoming more empathetic to others, better listeners or perhaps have experience in a specific type of darkness.

However, I have seen and felt myself how impossible the long nights can be an I urge you all to create a tool box of light. *no batteries needed – these are a few of the things that I’ve felt have helped me and others around me. You can create your box to suit you. Loved ones to talk to

  • Talking to loved ones
  • Drinking more water – it sounds simple, but us humans are just complicated plants
  • Go for a walk
  • Make your bed when you wake
  • Help others or volunteer your time
  • Make plans, these can be small to begin with and within your comfort zone
  • Self care: this doesn’t need to be candle lit meals but can again start with brushing your teeth and having a shower.
  • Look at positive content online
  • Clean and declutter: my favourite is the cutlery draw as it only takes a minute to wipe it over but every-time you open it you feel a sense of achievement
  • Take it slow – life isn’t a race

I hope as you read this you can’t feel any shadows, I hope your life is lit up like a Christmas tree… but I promise that finding light in the darkest of time’s can be rewarding, just nobody said it would be easy.

Much love x

Nothing can hold you back without your permission.

Quote by Trent Shelton

Permission to treat ourselves is often absent. We think of reasons why we can’t, get home and wish we had…also, if you’re like me then when you go back to the shop it’s always been sold. It’s like the universe is rubbing salt into the wound.

Whilst we are on shopping dilemmas and as it’s back to school shopping season, I’ll share a lesson I learnt when I was a child…always buy the first pair of shoes. Despite my love for those clicking, prancing, stepping creations of joy now, as a child shoe shopping could be hard…for my Mum. Ultimately, after trawling the high street and trying on every patent princess cut, cute but edgy pair of shoes, we’d always return to the first shoe shop and the first pair of shoes I tried on.

The reason for this quote today was I wanted to share a story I overheard on a recent shopping experience. A little old lady was in my favourite crystal shop, currently it’s appointment only and so I was waiting outside. She was purchasing her items and ecstatic at what she was taking home, she explained that she had won £50 on the premium bonds and wanted to treat herself to something special. At this point I told her how beautiful her stones were, basking in the joy whilst waiting outside, as she passed me outside of the door she winked and whispered “of course I’ve spent the £50 several times already”. I smiled back and she shouted “you can’t take it with you”.

She’s right, of course you’ve got to have the funds available to keep spending. However, this blog has never been about financial advice instead I’m interested in her attitude and as I spoke to the shop owner as she walked away we discussed how the £50 win had allowed her the permission to enjoy spending, treating and indulging herself.

Over the years I’ve often spoken about self love, care and worth. I truly believe that just as we invest in things we care and love; our children’s well-being, health and happiness, presents for loved ones, our home…we often forget to invest in ourselves.

Of course, I reiterate that if you haven’t got it then you can’t spend it. If you can and it will bring you joy, happiness, a growth in wellbeing or improve your health – do it. Material goods often don’t bring us as much happiness as we think they will, many of my friends have wardrobes full of clothes and many still have the labels on…

However, buying with a sense of joy and a conscious intention for the item can often increase our level of wellbeing. So if you have the money and need a sign to buy that item – here it is. Enjoy

She remembered who she was and the game changed

Quote by Lalah Deliah

Pause. Take a moment – in fact take two. Today’s inspiration is taken from every child I’ve ever met.

A child knows what they like, knows what they don’t like and there isn’t much in between. Somewhere between childhood innocence and becoming and adult we get caught up in what society might think of us, we buy into lies that more money, the next promotion, if we had those shoes, bought that phone, had those items that we’d be happier. Often (except for the shoes) we are wrong and the promotion brings more exhaustion and takes us further from who we are. The noise of the world, the routine of life can often take us so far away from our original truth that we can wake up one day in our twenties, thirties and beyond and not know who is reflecting back from at us in the mirror.

One of the great things I found about lockdown life was it stopped so much of the outside noise. It forced time at home, it gave many people time to reflect, to appreciate the smaller things in life – perhaps what they already have, what was right on their doorstep?

But now what? As lockdown eases (or doesn’t – I’m never sure where we are with it?) we need to take action, perhaps step out of our comfort zones, re-examine ourselves, look at the path we are on and if necessary be brave enough to alter it.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about redecorating a room, taking up a hobby, altering a relationship or perhaps moving house, emigrating, or having a baby…it all requires the same thing. Action and a sprinkle of truth…one small action will move the domino of life and you will quickly see the joy as the dominos fall and the satisfaction in each tumble, if you ignore your truth the dominos can still tumble but this time it’ll feel out of control. Stressful. Overwhelming or perhaps even worse – the dominos will always stay standing. To play a successful game of Dominoes you need to think, perhaps do the unexpected but ultimately the pieces need to move. Much like the game of life, perhaps the pandemic gave you time to reflect and today I’m posing the question, have you acted upon your intentions? Are you being truthful to yourself?

I have begun skipping and I’m enjoying it more than I thought, I needed to add some cardio to my world and although yoga will always be my go to, I’ve committed myself to 30 days of 500 skips. Whilst its not a full blown exercise regime I’m enjoying seeing my progress and feel its a step (or skip) in the right direction. I had the same revelation when I did the couch to 10K – I’m always surprised at what I can achieve when I actually action something, rather than procrastinate. What’s your next move to a better you?

Escaping is not changing

Quote from Ross Welfords book ‘Time travelling with a hamster’

You may of noticed I didn’t publish anything on Sunday, I just couldn’t find my writing flow (which is very unusual for me), so instead I have 4a handful of half written posts that I’ll deal with another day. This afternoon I saw a quote in the teen fiction book listed below and my inner blog danced like the world was watching. I’m also a huge fan of Ross’s work.

2020 the year pretty much nobody is going on holiday, no escaping and yet so many changes. I think travel offers both a quick escape get away or a profound change. I remember my friends brother returning from Australia and as he walked in the door he didn’t look like the boy that left?

Escapism has its place, I personally find mine in books and creative outlets that allow my imagination to explore momentarily.

However, when things go wrong in life we often as adults find quick fixes to dull the sense, from drugs to alcohol or we pack and leave certain that the grass is greener. Of course lawns are complex organisms and need the right level of sun / water ratio…very quickly we learn that all grass has the ability to die and look dishevelled (ours is green thanks to the high ratio of moss) and our old patterns we attempted to escape from reincarnate with new relationships or jobs.

Change is usually beneficial but comes with sacrifice and hard work. Change requires bravery and a trust of instinct which can be hard to summon. So often we go for the easy option; in lawn maintenance this would be the artificial option.

However, the ebb and flow of life requires change. Nature changes seasons and it’s sometimes brutal, things die back and then grow again with a new depth. Natural disasters have a way of destroying but also rebuilding.

I think a combination of both is always is useful, sometimes we just need a brief chapter of escapism but sometimes we need to put the work in, be brave and make huge changes so that our lawns of life can thrive. There is often more reward in change than the temporary delay that escapism brings. How do you escape and what would you like to change?

Find your flow or drown.

Quote by Whatmyfridgesays.com

An original quote that came out of a chat with a dear friend. Some people plan every inch of their lives, others float through life like a piece of drift wood…I believe that the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle.

As always, balance is the key to surfing the waves of life. I personally find that when I make plans God likes to turn up with a tsunami and my life becomes a wipe out. However, its good to have some idea of where you are going, what you would like to achieve and perhaps watch the waves as they come in and select which you’d like to ride.

Another friend of mine recently spoke to me about how’s she is making a conscious effort to listen to her intuition, that inner voice that the world often tries to drown out. It doesn’t always lead you to the best wave, but often I’ve found it takes you to much smaller rewarding moments that build up for a more meaningful existence. I found this when job hunting, whilst I thought i’d found the ideal job and completed the application, that led me to an advert for a dream job that I wouldn’t have found where I was previously looking, its a little like a coast line – sometimes you walk a little further than you thought, find a cave, its leads to another opening and bam! Life gives you a private lagoon that wasn’t on the map and you couldn’t of planned to have seen.

The sadder side of the quote is drowning. In this instance I’m not talking about death, that’s at least has a conclusion. It’s seeing people walk around drowning it bad decisions, scared to move so the waves keep rolling in. Perhaps they ‘make do’ with a relationship they are in, stay in the same job because ‘its easy’ …. easy is arm bands.

Arm bands are cool, in the 80’s I had the standard luminous orange duo with a slight pink tinge due to the sun. They kept me afloat and were a lot of fun for splashing. My Dad even taught me to swim down to the deep end with them. I attempted a few dives but the arm bands got in the way, the edges scratched me and when I jumped in they did a fine job of repelling me across the swimming pool above the water, which isn’t the desired affect of a dive.

Dad made the bold decision to remove the arm bands…I was ever sceptical and had a logical fear of drowning. He then taught me to swim under the water. I loved it.

Don’t drown in life. I also highly recommend arm bands, but at some point you also need to move beyond them. If my Dad hadn’t of made that decision I would never have swam with Turtles in the Caribbean Ocean. I’d never of snorkelled in the Maldives or body surfed, Id never of felt the thrill of a jet ski and perhaps never tried parasailing. In the future I’d like to try paddle boarding, beyond my arm bands is a ‘sea’ of opportunity.

Where am I going with all these aqua metaphors? Well, to sum up we all need to take life or in this case the sea seriously. Its hazardous and the phrase ‘worse things happen at sea’ is true. BUT to thrive we need need to take risks, try new things and find our flow. Sure, every now and then we will need someone to throw us an inflatable ring, a life jacket or even alert the coast guard, but if we find our flow and take things as they come…we may just find joy in seeing how beautiful the ocean really is. If you are drowning, ask a friend or loved one to help you. Fish swim in shoals for a reason.

It’s the little memories that will last a life time.

Quote Anon

Today is the last day before the summer vacation, but also I’m hanging my hat up in my current school. A classroom that I’ve called home for over eleven years. How do you sum up all of those memories in a small speech to a crowd of people that you hold dear?
If you’re me, you open your Mac book and use your blog. So this is my farewell and my thank you speech, it also means that using this platform allows those still shielding to be part of our end of term celebrations.

At the start of this week a yr 7 saw me in the corridor and said how sad she was that I was leaving, she winked and then said “Miss are you leaving to fulfill your dreams of being a full time mermaid?” I can now confirm that at least one child has listened to me in the last eleven years.

When I got the position as Nurture teacher *such an awesome title, back at the end of 2008 I went home and celebrated with perhaps a little too much zest. Several weeks later I had to make a call to explain to my new headteacher that I was pregnant. She took the news better than expected and simply said ‘you’ll fit right in’ this turned out to be a literal interpretation as I was the 8th member of staff to be pregnant at that point in time. So walking into the staff room on my first day was like a scene from a David Attenborough Sea Lion breading documentary.


At 38 weeks pregnant I was ordered to leave site (one of the other Mums to be had previously come close to giving birth in the school car park) as regular readers will know the birthing plan didn’t go to plan at all and three days after giving birth Gracie passed away in my arms, too precious for this earth.
However in my darkest hour the school shone a light of love, a cocoon of comfort around me, for that I’ll always be hugely grateful. While the Mr received an obligatory card and bouquet of flowers, I was treated as a member of the family having only been there for a few months.

I was treated to the same love in 2019 after our silent miscarriage. I’d discussed with my manager that I’d like staff to know but that I was in a good headspace and just needed to be treated the same, no need for contact. Two minutes after she made the announcement in briefing my phone rang like it was caught in the Matrix, personal messages of love and support were just a text away. Thank you. 

In our darkest moments we often learn to appreciate what truly matters. I’m not sure I’ve ever fully recovered from summer camp 2012? The year it rained every day and we lived in a muddy puddle of coldness and excessive amounts of sugar. Needless to say that was my last camping experience. Ever. One joy was that I didn’t bring any muddy clothing home, at under 5ft most of the eleven years old wore my clothes and for the next few weeks in school they approached me in corridors with Mum washed carriers bags of thanks. Another school value I hold dear. 

Having a specialism in behaviour means I’ve come across my fair share of naughty monkeys and sometimes that means calling parents and explaining why they’ve been excluded…again. My top exclusions phone calls have involved sentences such as “ yes that’s right, she filled her lunch box up with Daddy-long leg spiders and tormented the new year sevens”
“No you heard right, she purchased some jelly and ketchup from the school diner applied it to sanitary towels and stuck it to the girls backs” and the classic line “ yes she really did tell the headmasters to go do that”

Laughter is key when dealing with child protection and also handy when teaching politics in the last few years, my biggest thanks goes to the staff I’ve worked with. When the world seems so dark and our case loads are over flowing, when our battle with external agencies seems like a blood bath…sometime you need to laugh.
Sometimes you need to climb into a cupboard because you think you can fit just to make the people around you chuckle.
Sometimes you come in to work and a member of staff stayed late to turn the desk upside down but arrange the items on the desk as if it were untouched.
Sometimes despite the ICT teams frustrations moving the keys on a keyboard to spell rude words is the chuckle you need and sometimes only hiding peoples shoes in the ceiling tiles and watching them look for them is your fix of Monday motivation

Saying goodbye is often difficult but laughing at the ridiculous, feeling proud of the achievement and having awesome people around you is a gift I’m proud to have been given. 

It’s true that in the classroom is where the real magic happens, however if you are thinking about teaching as a profession I would strongly recommend disregarding the adverts of TV. Whilst it’s true sometimes kids ask inspirational questions, you will mainly listen to inspirational lies of why they haven’t produced their homework. Be aware that just when your internal light of ‘yes they’ve got this’ is turned on and you’re rewarding yourself with the Nobel peace prize for teaching – a little hand at the back will say sometime like “Miss is the word Monarchy a pasta dish?” and suddenly your ego is in check for another day. 

To the parents who have trusted their most precious gift to us – thank you.
To the team of staff (both current and in previous years) who have stood together – thank you.
For the tears of joy and seeing children thrive – thank you.
For the tears of frustration – we learnt from you. 
For the summer holidays – we need you.

When you focus on the good, the good gets better

Anon

This quote makes me smile and then makes in practise is frustrating, like all things – it’s much harder to apply.

To master this it’s best to break it down into two parts, let’s begin with focusing on the good.

Focusing on the good: as mentioned previously I keep a gratitude diary and begin my day by scribbling down three things that I’m grateful for, for me personally it’s an instant energy boost to what I have, before I roll out of bed and any potential dread from the day ahead can creep in.

There are other ways you can focus on the good, during early lockdown I sent many handwritten letters to friends thanking them for the part they play in my life. Saying thank you is underrated energy booster for everyone (you and the recipient) but again instantly makes you feel a sense of positive connection.

Meditation can also help to refocus on the good when you feel imbalanced, or simply planning an indulgent meal to look forward to can help you to focus on the good and raise your vibration.

The good gets better: now we have established some appreciation with a dash of gratitude and a dollop of good will, you’ll notice that the next bits effortless. Much like riding a bike or any new skill the learning bit at the start is hard work, often feels like hard work and takes hard work BUT once you’ve acquired the skill, you’re off! The enjoyment increases and you can sit back and feel fabulous.

Forgive me for sounding like Pollyanna (the Disney film is in my top 5 Disney films of joy and my favourite childhood film) but once you give out good will, good vibes and general positive energy – you attract even more with little effort. Just keep noticing it and you’ll see even more to be grateful for.

A warning: before you send me a list of reasons why your life is horrendous and you’ve nothing to be grateful for. You found this post, which means you have internet access and you can read. Many don’t have these * I did warn you the Pollyanna affect can be irritating.

Extra warning: just because you chose to see good, focus on good and in doing so align with seeing more good, DOESN’T mean life won’t be bad. Sadly, good things happen to bad people and vice versa. However as good and bad events are going to enter our life anyway, I’d rather see them with my Pollyanna spectacles than sink in doom and gloom.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Whatever makes you find the sun from the inside out chase that

Quote from Gemma Troy

Multitasking Mummy is currently in my sons piano lesson. Whilst I wait for him to find the middle C and test the patience of his teacher I had a thought. As someone with no musical talent – I feel super inspired to see a teacher pour out passion. He is a classical pianist and as a teacher I’m enjoying watching the sun in him shine.

When my son was first born, we as parents were his entire sun, moon and everything in between. As he learnt to talk, walk and move away he looked for his own light. As parents I see one of my priorities (beyond keeping him healthy and safe) to give him as many opportunities as possible. What he decides to do with these is entirely up to him.

I think allowing him to be himself and not projecting my sun light on him is hard. Motherhood gave me permission to be his spokes person, to voice what was best when he couldn’t speak. As he grows I need to learn when to speak and when to step back, allowing him to grow in his own truth.

However, despite its difficulties seeing him light up and finding his own sunlight is the largest reward. For myself I know where my inner light shines; good food, cuddles, yoga, beach walks and house plants are just a few. Writing also activates my internal light.

Make some time this week to shut out the world – the bright lights from everybody else’s joys and the chaos of sirens can often lead us down false pathways, to step inside yourself (although not literally as that would be really messy) and ponder the sunbeams that you hold inside, sometimes they are long forgotten activities – like sitting on a swing or colouring, you may be surprised in what you relearn about yourself, but I promise if you make time to chase the sun inside yourself, the outside world will glow with joy.