I have neither the time not the crayons to explain this to you

Quote Anon and it doesn’t disappoint

Welcome to the home of positivity, this quote may seem negative but today I’m going to ask you to pour your crayons out in front of you and colour your life.

For those who have never had the pleasure of owning a box of new crayons they are joyful, pointed tips ready to create whatever your imagination can explore, the further you explore the need to peel the paper around the edge will be necessary. *almost as satisfying as peeling dry PVA glue

Sharing crayons can be fun, as long as those around you respect the rules of colour, mine go something like this; don’t hoard all the colours, no snapping, colouring over the lines isn’t the end of the world – this is fun, put them back in the box tips upwards after you’ve completed your masterpiece, don’t squish the box.

Where am I going with this? Diversity is amazing, but surround yourself with kindred spirits, people (or crayons) who help you to grow and complete your work of art, people who make you feel good and except your boundaries, who share their crayons too, or add new perspectives.

Jim Rohn postulated that ‘we are the 5 people we spend the most time with’, newer research suggests it’s far larger than that. We become what we are surrounded by, and can even be shaped by friends of friends. How do you get the best out of your crayon box of life? By reviewing your network regularly, from family to work colleagues – many of these we can’t change but we can often limit interactions, create space and be aware that we are eternally growing. Just as I wouldn’t expect my son to fit in the clothes he wore when he was a toddler, why would all of the people I worked with ten years ago still be as relevant in my life now? Every now and then life throws you a precious metallic crayon and I urge you to hold that crayon dearly, but often the crayon box of life is full of ‘raw sienna’ and that’s useful and pleasant for short periods of time (when drawing tree trunks) but unless like my son you enjoy drawing turds the crayon has its limits.

Crayons have a life expectancy too, much like us, don’t spend your time with people who snap your crayons and leave you with a bunch of stubby ends. Instead once the crayons of life have been used, be able to look up and admire your work of art in all its finery for many years to come.

Happy colouring all.

Advertisements

Never forget who you are

Quote from The Lion King

I felt like I hadn’t popped a Disney quote/ post together for a while so went with a Lion King pinch of wisdom, although it’s one I’ve contradicted many times.

At university I lost who I was. Several dodgy boyfriends meant I forgot who I was but the worst by far was motherhood. It took MY body away from me and left me with something that didn’t fit. It took me a while to pick up the broken pieces and to discover a dash of self love, to stop numbing negative thoughts with junk food, and wine. Lack of sleep in the early days also meant that exercise wasn’t a priority. I was in a war zone and I was surviving.

I escaped and did find me. I found an older version of my body that I’m ok with, I made time to exercise and I stopped filling my head with negative thoughts. It’s a process I think we are all in and one I need to continually reaffirm and rebalance daily.

Once I hit my thirties I cared less what others thought and knew who my tribe were, this support unit enables me to evolve but without loosing ‘me’

I don’t usually pop in suggestions but if you need a Netflix recommendation for finding yourself then ‘Unicorn Store’ is a must. A bonus if you like glitter and swag suits.

As a teacher holidays mean I actually transfer into my other full time job – Mum. It’s a job I adore but this Easter I’ve also made time to step away from my boys and have some me time. I’ve been for afternoon tea with a lovely friend and a hen do proved the ultimate overnight escape, the Mr and I even squeezed in a date afternoon to the cinema. You see to be you, you need time to do what you enjoy, as well as support those around you.

Over the next week as I grab my teacher cape out of the launderette I’ll enjoy being in my classroom – it’s part of who I am. It isnt the whole me, so I will also plan time with family, loved ones and me time because forgetting who I am is now and forever more a nonnegotiable.

Alone we can do so little, together we can achieve so much

Quote from Helen Keller

Perhaps it best to begin where I am now. Sat on the side at the swimming pool whilst the Mr guides the little dude to improve his swimming technique. This allows me to type away and have some therapy time. Where we are now, getting more done.

Last week was a catastrophe of disasters; from work, complexities in childcare, getting back to a routine, the Mr having to be away for longer than I’d like – thanks Pakistan air space, little dude having a school trip…put it this way as a tribe we dropped plates this week and the juggle reached a climax and strain that was unrelenting. However, now out of the dark and into the light, we made it. We achieved so much thanks to the support of our extended tribe. A combination of friends reaching out, wise words, a Tunnocks tea cake left on my desk, the Mr’s Mum extending childcare beyond anyone’s expectations…that’s a wealth you can’t put a price on.

The flowers are for her. I can’t work full time without support. The kids at school can’t thrive without my support…we as a family need our extended tribe, we need to raise others up and in turn are held up by others.

If you too have had a year, month, week or day of darkness and you can see a glimmer of light then however small the light is bask in it. Thank those around you, appreciation is lost if we don’t seize it in the moment. We achieve very little alone and isolated, life is fuller with others by your side.

No.

To quote Hamlet, act 3, scene 3, line 87

We are on the cusp of a consumer crazy season. Of crackers with plastic and wrappings that nobody wants, that are often abandoned on the table long after the plates have been clearer away. Perhaps of saying thank you for gifts that lack thoughts, need or joy.

I know this post isn’t my usual sparkly positive self. Don’t despair, I’m about to flip it around but before I do I want to empower you with the word No. (As a Teacher and a Mum I feel Hamlet needs to add the words ‘thank you’ after his quote). Balance in life is crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve written many posts about ‘yes’ – to opportunities, change and adventure that so many of us hide from in daily life. I’m a fan honestly.

However, December seems to bring excess and anxiety for things we don’t want to do.

If you feel at all doubtful, listen to your instinct and say No.

  • Say No to buying gifts for that awkward Aunt or Uncle that you feel obliged to because they buy for you. It only takes a quick awkward phone call to release everyone of this burden for many Christmas’s to come
  • You don’t need to eat everything you’re offered
  • you can say no to sprouts.
  • You don’t need to attend that party that makes you feel anxious.
  • You don’t have to wear anything you don’t want to. I am the proud owner of zero Christmas jumpers.
  • Christmas doesn’t mean ‘spend money you don’t have’ say No.

Make sure the traditions you and your family participate in bring joy, love and a sense of fun…not awkward social events. Don’t become one of the three kings that bought guilt, anxiety and fear. Many of the innkeepers said No and it led to a way cooler version of Christmas. Baby Jesus born in a stable gathered by animals is all the better for its simplicity.

Saying No doesn’t need to be negative, it’s in fact a tool that can bring a huge amount of joy and relief. Balance is where joy and happiness can be fully embraced. This holiday season say yes to things that make you warm and smile, politely decline things your instinct tells you will add stress, keep the holiday season simple and stay present in all you do. It’s a recipe for the perfect Christmas.

Perspective

This just made me chuckle.

If you had been watching me this morning and was wearing your judgement pants you may have concluded a different perspective to my current reality. You may of said this Mum wasn’t engaged in her son and consumed by her mobile device.

Little dude had Judo, Mr F and I sat on the sidelines and whilst Daddy looked on I marked thirty GCSE papers…well half marked (seriously marking takes FOREVER), then it was swimming time with Daddy. Little dude is now 75% fish and Daddy has been a pro at teaching him. They are currently working on a new stroke and having a blast…I’m typing this from the gallery. On my mobile phone. I glance up every now and then, but I am writing. For me. This is my time. Swimming is their time.

Judgement pants may conclude I’m disengaged and not interest. I’m one of ‘those’ Mums. It’s true and I’m going to tell you why.

This Mumma doesn’t care what anyone other than her tribe thinks of her. This parent works full time, blogs for her own sanity, lives life to the full…manages her time to the minute. This time isn’t mine to watch my son swim…it’s my writing time. It’s Daddy and little dudes time. It means that with my marking done (well more done) and my post is written, in twenty minutes I will help little dude to dress. My cup will be full and I’ll be able to give him my attention, full attention – not planning in my head, stressy Mum writing a mental list kind of attention. My phone will barely be seen and we will fill our day with cooking, visiting loved ones and a dog walk. We will create memories and giggle.

It’s clear to me that perspective is needed. On lookers don’t know me, don’t need to judge me and I don’t need to judge them. We all do, obviously – it’s human nature. Sometimes, like my image above, we need a new perspective to read it. We need to step back, to not attack, judge or be quick in response.

In friendships, with work colleague and with your tribe add a filter before you make a remark. Breath. Step back. You’ll be wiser for it. Much like the swimming pool my boys are currently in, a filter is essential to prevent them from swallowing pure wee. Don’t let your life be poisoned by other people misunderstood perceptions.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

Quote by Albert Einstein

Seriously, just as you think Albert can’t get any cooler, you find an awesome quote like this.

This seems super appropriate as I’m currently on a coach driving back with fifty year seven pupils (eleven years old) after a theatre trip on the last Friday before the end of term #exhausted #crazy

However, the show we went to see was spectacular and they loved it (I loved it). The theatre never seems to let me down. Plus much like being a Parent when you take children, you get to see the show through their eyes…only in a Teachers case we times it by fifty. It’s a huge honour and one hundred percent a bonus of my career choice.

Teaching Drama is also pretty special, sure there are some down sides – mainly when they try to attempt horrendous American accents that they’ve copied off of the latest box set they’ve seen and most days are full of ‘cringe’ moments, but there are also frequent rays of delight and I can always laugh at something one of my cheeky chicks say. Today on the coach on the way up one of them pointed out (with excitement in her voice) the place her cat was killed and another pair discussed the magic of Christmas…yup they still totally believe.

Watching the show tonight reminded me how lucky we are to have such talent. The actors were sensational and the production incorporated acrobatics. Creativity is incredibly fun but also essential to our mental wellbeing. Whether it’s getting lost in literature, settling into a theatre seat or perhaps drawing, painting or making, I believe our imagination is crucial to our health and perhaps more than five portions of fruit and veg a day.

However, there was a sad side to tonight… many seats in the auditorium were empty. So, this post is going to become a British broadcast, with no political views. *Please use our theatres to protect the arts for our children and future generations. Take your family to performance of dance or acting, music or comedy…give experiences this Christmas and for birthdays to come, rather than more clutter that nobody needs and ends up dusty on a shelf. The theatre makes me breath easier and according to Albert – more intelligent, double win.

Remember today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday

Quote by Dale Carnegie

As a teacher, at the beginning of new terms or even on a Sunday evenings getting the ‘fear’ is not uncommon. Something about standing on the edge of a new week can seem rather daunting. For some, it means another week of demands, overwhelming task and the race of life – chasing that never ending ‘to-do’ list. Of course the ‘fear’ isn’t just a teacher or student concept – the ‘fear’ is inclusive to the entire human race. Sadly.

During exam periods I always encourage my pupils to books several big events during the revision / exam period – it gives a positive focus to what can seem like a never ending carousel of post-its, essay practise, and highlighting sentences. This year one of my high anxiety pupils booked a concert, a meal with friends (no revision cards allowed) and her Mum booked her a ‘surprise weekend’ which turned out to be some well needed family time at Centre Parks.

When I first became a Mummy on maternity leave I realised that I would quickly need a similar recipe for success and sanity. Money was an issue, so instead I treated myself to smaller treats like ‘posh teas’ and made sure I had time to drink them hot (oh the luxury). I used cooing visitors or close family to have bubble baths and silly treats of time mainly to straighten my hair, paint my nails or frankly just sit alone with a book or just to daze out of the window. I guess in some respect this post is a similar message to my last post found here, which is about prioritising yourself.

However, this week I want to take that message one step further – to creating moments of joy in the humdrum of life. To planning family time that units all members and to crucially prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed.

If you look at many of the people winning at life, from Oprah to Louise Haye meditation is key to their mental well being and subsequent happiness and success. I recently embarked on an 8 week mindfulness course. Many of the aspects of the course I found unhelpful – either because I already do them or chewing a raisin for twenty minutes just doesn’t seem to resonate with me. I signed up for the course because I was keen to increase and perfect my meditation practise. My instructor gave us a CD full of mediations of different time spans and contents, but I have always found youtube to be an awesome source of led meditation (if thats your thing). I have a few favourites that motivate, chill or empty my mind. During the course I was foolishly waiting for the moment when I had perfected my meditation process and could leave proudly announcing to the world that ‘I can meditate’ and hold my certificate proudly…only to discover that its a daily working progress and you can’t actually meditate incorrectly. In essence for non-meditating readers; you focus on your breathe and try to stop your mind from wondering off…at the start its a little bit like supermarket shopping with a toddler, with practise you learn that online shopping is best for all and that popping in to Waitrose for some milk and bread is your maximum capacity. You become comfortable in your own skin, head and letting go seems to flow much easier. What they don’t warn you is that is highly addictive and the sense of well being that it can give you is exactly the same as when your child reaches the age where you can monthly shop with them and ACTUALLY enjoy their company.

If you have never tried it – you’re wrong. Ive never met anyone who hasn’t driven somewhere like on a daily commute to work and upon arrival can’t remember the journey. Or perhaps read a book and become so enthralled in the characters and plot that you’ve lost track of time, although not ‘strictly’ meditation these events are extremely similar. Escaping your current reality and the demands of the world and freeing your mind – even just for a few minutes.

The evidence for this practise is abundant and a quick google will put any logical mind at ease. However, if you are someone that resonates with the quote above about worry dominating your life, or perhaps every now and then anxiety pops around for an unexpected cuppa and stays way too long, or you just can’t remember when you last enjoyed the now, the today and the present and instead your mind is busy analysing the ‘what ifs’ of tomorrow, then I promise making a few minutes before you fall asleep and listening to a guided meditation will be the best gift you gave yourself.


 

Don’t just be good to others

Another epic quote from the dazzling and dynamic ‘Anon’

Firstly, lets break this quote down in to two segments and then devour it like its ice cream from a parlour with a cherry on the top…

Be good to others

It sounds so obvious and I can’t remember a time in my life where teachers at school weren’t ramming this concept down my throat? More annoyingly it feels sooo good to be good to others, it reminds me of the episode of Friends (1998) ‘The one where Phoebe hates PBS’ and tries to find a lack of joy in helping people.

Being good to others has to be good for those Karma points; hard core readers of my blog will know this is a game I play with myself where I do good for others – for example letting other drivers pull out before me, simply so I can collect the Karma points that I secretly believe (Yes i’m aware I’m in my thirties) will one day be traded in for greatness and to live the dream, or that I can cash in a few on rainy day when lady luck forgets to shine.

Most religions mention helping others, or more importantly the less fortunate. I recently attended a Gurdwara/ Sikh temple in Southhampton on a school trip and was blown away  with their generosity to feed others – the ‘Langar’ means that Sikhs across the globe are passionate about feeding those in need and not just a few but thousands every day. Luckily for us, their generosity extends to school trips and the opulence shown to us encourages a wonderful infusion of community cohesion and my love for Asian food 🙂

 

Being good to you 

My Dad is an old school fussy eater and I remember every Sunday my Mum would tie herself to the cooker and hours later produce a Sunday roast to die for…my Dad would push his around his plate and never seemed that grateful but every week Mum would give my Dad the best bits of meat and I never understood why? It seems to be a very British / Parent thing to put yourself at the back of the ‘be good to yourself’ line.

Reflecting further more I can’t help but feel to be the best I can for my son, at times I may need to go to the top of the hierarchy – after all what use is an exhausted mother to anyone? And besides the the first rule of life saving is your health first. Balance is prevalent on this blog and I think at times in friendship and family life we need to learn to put ourselves first, to be the best we can for ourselves and those we love…not all the time but on occasion.

As a result this weeks challenge is to put yourself first. Make time to go to the gym, to have a relaxing bath without a rubber duck or toddler for company, to walk the dog in solace or to pick up a book and that well deserved glass of wine, whatever your putting off because you are ‘so busy’ whatever floats your boat of desire…do it. You will feel lifted and I promise you as a result you will be a better human to be around for those you love.

I recently ‘treated’ myself to a bunch of sunflowers and got extremely guilty – I questioned why and then after a mental breakdown in the flower isle I realised I was worried about spending money on me, on a whim and something I didn’t ‘need’. You’ll be pleased to know I quickly defeated the demons and popped the bouquet in my trolley – because being good to me made me smile, feel good about myself and thats worth a million bouquets.

In balance of the week challenge I set above in bold, paying it forward is another ‘feel good’ thing to do. So why not also complete a random act of kindness it could be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you at the supermarket checkout or making cards of thanks for people around you for no particular reason. There is a legend of a (very cute) man called Joshua Coombes who I follow on instagram – he is a hairdresser and cuts the homeless people of Londons hair, the photographs speaks for itself as you see the transformation in his clients eyes. I believe its these sorts of people we should be giving ‘celebrity’ status to.

So this week give the challenges a go and remember that ‘only goodness can come out of good intentions’ its a double positive after all.


 

 

 

What’s coming will come and we will meet it when it does 


Quote from Hagrid If only it wasn’t raining today or if we had more time…if this hadn’t happened or what if they don’t like me or people think I’m fat… Are all responses that many of us unconsciously  allow to flow from our mouths and into our reality.

Note the words in bold above. Highlighted in seems obvious that these perceptions would hold us back and stop us from reaching out true capacity, the words in bold like translucent chains prevent us from pursuing actions and even within everyday tasks hold us back. Yet most of us use them everyday and don’t even notice the shackles we’ve place upon ourselves. 

So how do we release them? I don’t think we need to. Like following our instinct at times we all need to say no, not participate or perhaps it can be critical a analyse after an event that helps to evaluate and improve future events. 

What I do think is helpful is to be mindful with the words we use, why we chose them and how they make us feel. To be present in what we say and think in the ‘now’

There is much research into the art of gossiping that tells us: 

  •  it’s an awesome stress reliever 
  • it helps us to understand what is and isn’t except able in society
  • it allows us to form bonds with others and isn’t alway negative 

Like everything this universe provides and denies, balance is necessary…if all you do is gossip and every time you meet that person all he/she wants to do is gossip you may need to divert the conversation to a new level, or even remove them from your world all together.

Hagrid makes a hugely valid point that for all our worries before an event – when it comes, we will deal with it as best we can. We have support from loved ones and even in our loneliest of times humans in crisis show huge resilience and incredible levels of ‘coping’ when forced to.

So enjoy the now and when it comes we will adapt, do what’s necessary, be supported by loved one and you knew what? It may just work out better than we hoped for.

Need and want…

 This quote comes in many variations and has been used in a variety of contexts.

When this popped up on my fridge I found it ironic – seriously December is a month of indulging, luxury and pleasure for most. However, after some thought it made sense and I realised its timing was perfect.

A reflection on Christmas gone by reminds me of family traditions and memories made…I don’t remember many of  the gifts – just the thoughtful ones, and the board games and laughter…and I need them.

My son is bombarded with questions of what he ‘wants’ and at two and a half it changes daily and is often whimsical and without thought. He has all he ‘needs’ and although we will indulge and create memories as a family I know that this is what counts and what we will all remember.

Now before I re title this post ‘bah-humbug’ I should probably confess to over spending on loved ones, I’m definetly planning on over eating (ohhh I love a buffet) and trimmings will be purchased and admired – crackers, napkins, twinkly lights, the tinsel is up and the tree looks awesome, presents will be wrapped with precision and love…and glitter gel pens! 🙂

My fine line: I will remind myself that it is just one day, that I am blessed and that after the day I am still blessed. We will go for a walk on Christmas Eve and absorb the colourful lights and snuggle indoors to a cheeky drink of something that warms the soul (for once probably not tea) and watch the same film we watch every Christmas Eve…the indulgence of family and the luxury of time, balance is what makes my fine line.