Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice

Quote Anon

Before I’m certified crazy and confess all my sins, this quote inspired two thoughts that I’d like to share.

Be cautious of how you talk to yourself: That could be out loud or could be your internal voice. The universe, God, Allah – whatever you refer to it as, doesn’t know the difference between you setting intentions and meaning it, putting yourself down or being sarcastic. It often means we align with negative emotions that we don’t want to keep repeating. I’ve often said in posts that the best advice is to talk to yourself like you wouldn’t your best friend. You wouldn’t watch her/him in the mirror and call out all of their flaws, if you did you could at the very least expect the friendship to end. Instead highlight the good, thank people when they give you compliments rather than feel the need to justify how much you paid for the outfit, look in the mirror and although instinct may lead you to a negative – take a breath and then name two things you like about yourself. The great think about our brain is it’s constantly regenerating new neurone pathways, so make sure those pathways are positive and lead you towards a life you love.

Don’t doubt your own expertise: Again, I often feel this comes down to confidence but so often we don’t own the room. We don’t say ‘we’ve got this’ or we hesitate and minimalise our contribution. We all have unique skills and some we are insanely awesome at – own it. The truth is you’ve probably worked extremely hard to develop that skill set over a number of years, it’s usually a passion that brings us joy. As a teacher I know the best thing I can do with my knowledge is to share it. There are also things we are ‘okay’ at, however often you may be the expert in the room with your ‘okay’ level hat on. Own it. The world would be a much more joyful place if we were keen to shine our love, share our passion and enjoy watching other people’s shadows light up under our light.

Before you head in to the world write down three things you are an expert in. It might be be geology, quantum physics or coding…it might also be cooking eggs (this is one of mine), peeling a satsuma in one go or brick laying – the skills are all neutrally awesome. If you need a wall built, someone who’s skill is ballet isn’t going to cut it. Armed with your own expertise, go out of your way to share it this week and if your skill is making the perfect cup of tea, swing by my house at some point because sharing is caring

Be kind. It’s gangsta

Quote Anon

#kindness matters is my favourite hashtag. Simply because it does matter, many people think it’s overlooked and unappreciated but in my experience often people have remembered the smallest of actions years later.

I asked my seven year old son what stories he knew that were about kindness, he told me one about a prince and a goose and then about a king and a mango…well actually a lot of mangoes, the more he retold the story the more mangoes seemed to appear. To the point where he wasn’t sure why the story was about kindness? He walked away and I thought the conversation had ended, he then sat back down on the sofa next to me and said that kindness in real life was like whispers. ‘You can’t always see them, sometimes you can feel them – they feel like a tickle, but mostly they’re invisible’

He of course is right. True kindness that makes an impact isn’t about large gesture (or using his metaphor tsunami winds) but usually unthought moments of love. Holding a door; staying to help pack the chairs away, making a cup of tea, buying a gift because you’re reminded of that person rather than for an occasion, taking time to say hello, sharing crisps (something I’m not great at), the list is endless.

Who’s the kindest person you know? My advice, be more like them.

It’s often free and makes a huge impact on one individual, if the world was kinder we wouldn’t have so many people who are lonely, mental health figures would reduce and there would be less judgement…sign me up for that kind of world, it’ll take a few small actions from everybody…are you in?

Don’t be eye candy, be soul food

Quote by…

This quote makes me overflow, it makes me excited and I feel the need to put this in neon lights (* adds that to my to do list).

Physical appearances are subjective, they change with and like the seasons. Also, different people are attractive to different people. Now, before you stop reading this because you feel I’m stating the obvious, Im writing this because there are multi billion pound corporations preaching to us what is assethitically pleasing? That I find odd. 

I don’t need a chef to tell me if I like the food I’m eating, but it would seem humanity likes to be told what’s fashionable, what’s acceptable – the eyebrows are in and they are huge. Working in an all girl school for over a decade I can tell you that they can look gorgeous or absolutely terrifying. 

I once had to collect a girl from a lesson as she took the ‘natural’ make up policy to a new level. She began to cry, her reaction to me offering wipes and the time to ‘tone it down’ devastated her. So we spoke it through and she explained that she’d woke up early to apply the ‘many’ layers as she was meeting a boy after school and clearly she really liked him. As I helped her wipe away the ‘concealer’ we spoke about what she liked about him. I asked her what his eyebrows were like, she wasn’t sure. I altered the conversation and highlighted why I thought she was soul food, her assets. On the Monday morning she came to tell me something I already knew – he prefered her without the make up. For a 14 yr old girl this was a revelation, for anyone that’s actually spoken to member of the male population its common news that they aren’t a fan of excessive make up. Whilst they lived happily ever after for a handful of weeks until she moved on to someone ‘even fitter’ it made me reflect on what she had learnt about herself, that said full on make up can be fun to in the right setting and I think its essential that we try to keep judgements on peoples appearances to ourselves, comments that are often meant with love can shatter hearts and leave our confidence in a puddle at our feet. 

Perhaps your soul food is wearing bright colours or expressing yourself through tattoo’s or maybe you feel your best in comfy pjs and rocking a messy bun….the look is irrelevant, its how you use that look to fuel your soul that matters. When we know we look good, a giddy smile beams out of us like a search light and it highlights other peoples joy too. When we receive a compliment we are much more likely to see that energy reflected back to us.

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?

Don’t make change too complex, just begin.

Quote Anon

When I was a child and had to revise for exams or complete homework of little interest, I would procrastinate like my life depended on it. I’d sit down, stand up, get a drink, go back for a snack, doodle…anything to delay the revision, until I was so tired or it was too late to bother.

Luckily along the way I grew a little more patience, a cup full of endurance and a scattering or resilience to help me power up as an adult me…but I still have my moments.

Currently across the nation / world the majority of children are still home schooling, well meant to be. In the last few weeks I’ve met with children and their parents and similar messages were echoed out “She started off well but…” or “Unfortunately we never found a routine” others have thrived, particularly without social pressures lifted from them or the demand of being up early and ready to learn in the classroom before 9am.

The great news, I promise from a teacher to you, is nobody is behind. We’re all in this together and come a time when our classes are back to bursting the magical skills of a teacher will prevail. Every child is unique, learns in different ways about a range of different things to a future carved out specifically for them.

However, as the quote above suggests some momentum is needed. For pupils that have lost their way and are overwhelmed with deadlines – I’ve emailed support by asking them to complete one piece of work and then to show me…a sense of completing something, recognition in making progress and a step (no matter how small) towards the never ending mountain is sometimes enough to take another step…a few more and change occurs. It’s a magical moment between and idea and a result. It can’t be pinpointed but it’s a sweet spot of success that occurs before the challenge or change is complete.

Better still, it can be applied to anything at any age; learning a new skill, stopping a bad habit, altering your life to align with your dreams, it all begins with a tiny thought and a small gesture – the rest is called living.

*Best of luck if you are a home schooler or are the adult with no idea what you should, shouldn’t be doing and perhaps even google can’t tell you how to do it…you care enough to worry and that’s all you need to do. Keep them safe, loved and healthy. Nothing else matters.

I’m not ageing, I just need repotting.

Quote Anon.

Many of us over the last few months have spent more time at home than ever before. Its given me more time to reflect, be present and show my house plants more love.

Each plant has its own needs, much like humans. Some explode in colour, take up all the room and fight for the light. Others, slowly grow, creep and stay snug in their pots. To nourish the plants I often give them a little feed, again some prefer regular watering, but most like their roots to dry out. I’ve also now got a window sill full of babies ready to be rehomed, as I pot each offspring in their own pot, much like my son I do love watching them flourish.

It made me think about my own ‘pot’ and I’ve taken to a daily yoga practise to make room. Ive also meditated more (something I find hard to make part of my daily practise, even though I know its super good for me on many levels). On reassessment of my pot, I guess I am ready to move pots – I need new challenges and the view has become a little stale.

Bravely, I’ve taken action and am planning new pot adventures, giving nourishment to my roots, making space and prioritising what its important to my core, it’s time to top up the soil and move on to bigger things.

Today I was blessed to receive an email from an ex-pupil who updated me on her adventures, at eighteen she’s realised that adult life isn’t mapped out (no shizzle) and that a sense of purpose isn’t as accessible as an amazon prime delivery. I was extremely proud that she has been using this time to reflect, to make plans to leave her ‘pot’ in hope for more enriched and a deeper sense of joy. We don’t have to all live BIG. We don’t all need to be loud. In fact, as I age – I realise that my house plants who are brave enough to grow a new leaf, to reach out into the light…they are some of my favourites.

Make time to restore your pot, nourish the soil, eat well, stay hydrated – we are all just plants with complex emotions.

Do whatever you need to do to flourish – but don’t allow yourself to become pot bound, to wonder the ‘what ifs’ and rot over watered and stagnant just because your pot is comfortable.

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.

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.

And like the moon, we must go through phases of emptiness to be full again.

Anon

Ive always like the solar system, science never really appealed to me at school but how can you ignore the beauty of the nights sky? The constellations, the history of how various stages of humanity used the stars and planets as guides, the heat of the sun, the planets lined up like Russian dolls hanging off of my sons ceiling…and the moon. By far my personal favourite, that smiling face of glow and delight that’s force pulls and pushes of tides and if i’m honest my heart strings.

Over the last few months I’ve been tracking the moons phases and can see patterns in my life where the moon is waxing and waning. Whilst I refuse to discuss the chaotic and perpetual negative cycle of fear we are currently being fed by mainstream media, social media and the miserable lady at the bus stop, this quote fed my soul in a way that those outlets haven’t and so I had to use it.

Amongst the depths of the dark we can appreciate the light of day. If we chose to discard the negative surface of fear, underneath we can see glimmers of hope, love and happiness. Stories of human compassion, pure kindness and this is what I’ve decided to put into my bubble. Where people see confinement and lack, I can decide to see the opportunity to be at home, surrounded by my loved ones. I can be thankful for the health of my loved ones and can offer help to those who I’m able to. Like the lady who had a four month old baby screaming and couldn’t find Calpol in any of our local stores…I offered ours, we don’t need it. She does.

Perspective is a difficult thing to see in the dark, but look to the moon for guidance. It allows us to appreciate what we do have, what experiences we have had rather than what we are yet to do. Contrast is a bitter sweet gift, but perhaps we are more like the moon that we realise? The darker times often inform the lighter moments of life and much like the cycle of the moon, it will pass and we will be grateful and full again.

Look after loved ones and do all you can for those at risk, above all be kind even in the loo roll aisle.