Gonna go lay under the tree and remind my family I’m a gift

Quote Anon

It’s the first of December and my tree isn’t up yet – as soon as it is I’ll have a little lay under there. This quote made me laugh and seemed December appropriate, I adore Christmas but can’t get behind it in November, so now the advent calendars doors have begun to open I can fully embrace the spirit of the season.

Truth be told, I didn’t pick this quote for it’s Christmas vibes, but because it said self care to me. I think the Christmas season is an extremely challenging time of year for many people. Anxiety over what to buy people, financial worries for some, others will over indulge in late nights and clinking glasses, immune systems dip and sickness is high, some may even find socialising and busy shops overwhelming, for others it’s the pressure of family gatherings or in complex families it might be making sure everyone gets to spend time with the children.

This is a reminder that you are enough. Whilst the seasonal spirit is about giving, you can’t do that if you haven’t looked after yourself. You are the gift for your loved ones; keep yourself safe, look after your mental health and just like the advent calendar, take the season a step at a time. If you don’t want to be merry – don’t force it, it doesn’t make you bar humbug. If the ‘works Christmas party’ makes you feel anxious, go on your terms – perhaps that just for a while, not drinking or not going.

Take a step back, breath and reflect on what matters to you. If it’s an over extravagant roast dinner and giving gifts that you can’t afford you may have missed the magic of Christmas altogether.

If I reflect on my favourite Christmas moments growing up it wasn’t about the toys or the meal, it was about the people I got to make memories with that are no longer with us, it was midnight mass with my Mum, fairy lights when we drove home from somewhere… okay, I loved the twiglet crisps that came in tubs, the festive films, the paper hats, the cracker jokes and playing board games but none of those things are worth the cost of my wellbeing or my families health, so enjoy the season and all the cheer in a way that lifts your spirit and doesn’t overload them.

When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day

Quote by Ella Woodward

Recently I wrote about a Plot twist that life provided, however new roads are often unpredictable and direction can change in a heart beat, in our case is was due to a lack of a heart beat. * Trigger warning: this post contains my experience of a silent miscarriage.

Several weeks a go myself and the Mr went for our thirteen week scan. As I looked at the screen to our perfectly formed little foetus the Sonographer explained that a lack of growth (baby was only measuring ten weeks) and without a heart beat meant I was experiencing a silent miscarriage. Within seconds my world as I knew it, my hopes for our future family and my past experiences came to haunt me. It was like a unexpected tsunami consumed us. We didn’t have time to grab loved ones, reach for safety or batten down the hatches, we were exposed and out at sea with no warning.

Unlike a conventional miscarriage (if such a thing exists) a silent miscarriage meant I didn’t have any signs or symptoms. My bump was growing, my body thought I was pregnant, but our little munchkin was still.

The Mr carried me home in fragmented pieces, I was broken.

Days became weeks and nothing physically changed. Life felt like somebody else had set it on pause. I’m a tiny package so there was no way I could of hide my bump from people around us, the nurse gave us three horrendous options and while I waited for my surgery date I had another scan to double check for any changes.

This scan gave me so much serenity and peace. The first scan felt like a tsunami; it was fast, destructive and unpredictable…the second scan erased any future fears of being scanned. It was the calm after the storm. Sadly, nothing had changed, baby was still measuring ten weeks and was snug in my first class accommodation but I had time to ask the millions of questions my brain had created in the previous weeks, erase any worries and come to terms with my bodies situation.

Then, Mother Nature woke up (perhaps she takes a break over the Halloween period?) and one night I began to feel cramps, these became painful contractions and a tornado whirled inside me. I was mentally exhausted and it’s hard to let go of your baby when you know the ending isn’t happy ever after. But I did it. We did it. We had prepared for a holistic/natural approach should it occur and we battled the storm.

So what did I learn? That my body is smart and powerful. That it’s a place where miracles are born and that I underestimated its talents. Modern medicine has its place, but during my two previous pregnancies I was told by doctors my baby was a healthy seven and a half pounds…both babies arrived at five pounds nine ounces. However, at ten weeks my body knew that there was a chromosomal issue with this baby. So it stopped it. It turned out the light for us. For it…I realise that the process of a miscarriage is different for everyone but I felt empowered that my body took control, that it slowed everything down and gave me time to let go naturally. That I got to keep that bump for a little bit longer, that I once again was supported by my awesome loved ones…that I am loved.

I learnt that this was only part of our journey, that we will grow from it, reflect on the experience and that it doesn’t have to consume or destroy us.

When you look in the mirror and criticise your size, your shape or the spot that temporarily sits on your face, take a second to look again. You may just see a glimpse of an amazing human who is full of life, who is imperfectly perfect, who is stronger than she/he thinks, who can battle storms and who’s body is full of unappreciative talents. We are all blessed much more than we realise.

*if you’ve been through / are going through a similar issue and need support please see your GP, or contact a charity such as Sands UK (0808 164 3332).

Worry is a misuse of Imagination

 Quote by Dan Zandra.

I’m not very good at worrying? I get distracted, like a fly or a toddler…it’s not necessarily a bad thing, worry can cause a variety of medical conditions; heart complications, anxiety issues that can lead to depression, even a shorter life expectancy. I also never really understood what people got out of it? For example if you have a telephone bill that you can’t pay…worrying won’t pay the bill? I do have moments where I may worry, particularly when loved ones are ill but I never understood ‘worrying’ until last year when a yr 11 girl in my school asked me to help her with anxiety over her exams.

A little bit of digging made me realise that she used ‘worry’ as her form of fuel, she worried about everything in life and her neurotransmitters responded; it was even how she showed she cared. More importantly it’s how she released the power to push through life and achieve daily tasks. I thought that was pretty cool, so I made her embrace her worry and not become debilitated by it. It worked too, she aced her exams with the right mindset.

This links directly to the second part of this quote – imagination. Rather than worry think about doing something creative. Imagination is the gift we all have that sadly so many adults loose or forget. Mine is sometimes a little too extreme and if I were a balloon i’d float off into the sky. Luckily, I have Mr F to keep me grounded (he is the string in our relationship) for example when we were planning to upgrade our kitchen he suggests a practical solution that is cost effective and I suggest a kitchen made of Lego. (Seriously, next time you’re on Pinterest take a look at the Lego kitchens, you won’t be disappointed), we then compromise with a practical kitchen that has Lego for cupboard handles (please), okay well negotiations are on going…

I really do believe that imagination is the key to the soul, to success and to life. You have to believe it to receive it.  If you can’t imagine yourself doing something or think you aren’t worthy then you’re likely to miss opportunities and live with regrets.

If you are a natural worrier – harness that energy and use it to fuel your imagination, rather than the ‘what ifs’ life may or may not bring, enjoy the tomorrows and embraces the dreams of now, they can be your reality for tomorrow. You may be surprised at how much you can achieve.

Life is a series of a thousand little miracles, notice them

Quote Anon

I’m writing this pool side as little dude attempts his 100 metre badge, will today be the victorious occasion?

Who knows what today will bring.

This morning I woke to the sun shining through the curtains, a cup of tea and then a walk around the countryside. The stunning spectacle that Mother Nature delivered was my motivation, with Alicia Keys blaring in my ears as a soundtrack for determination. Just within the first hour of my morning, so many miracle were had.

Once again, I’m going to share with you the biggest secret in life, if you choose to see the small moments of joy in life, you magnetise even more moments of joy to your life.

Before you throw a thousand reasons as to why you can’t be joyful today, check out Claire Wineland on YouTube – she lived her entire life knowing each day was a gift due to being born with cystic fibrosis, she was also the most positive human I’ve ever witnessed and she also attracted opportunities and love towards her like bumble bee’s to nectar,

‘Each day is a gift, which is why we call it the present’ but perhaps by thinking this way you are missing the one hundred tiny moments and gifts within each day, unwrap today and make it count. Stay present in the now and make a gratitude list before you go to sleep – you’ll realise two things. Firstly, you’re blessed more than you realise and secondly it’s the little moments that matter the most. We can’t always prevent the darkness from knocking at our door but we can shine a torch in its face and make the world a little lighter.

Have a blessed day… just count the blessings as you see them.

Stay close to people that feel like sunshine

Quote Anon

Autumn days often bring rain to the UK. The darkness closes in and the excuse to light another candle is one I never shy away from.

Over the last few weeks our lives have been hit with an unexpected storm. It came from nowhere and left behind our weary souls, it’s still passing through at present but in time I’ll write more eloquently and with precision about our experience. It takes time to get over an event and learn from it, I’ve never been that good at analysing things when I’m in them, it always needs space and a little time.

However, one lesson has become enlarged in my vision. The bill board of all lessons: I am loved, supported and nurtured.

My tribe is kick ass! When I need to go to war my girl friends are right behind me. In fact, pushing me to the side and offering to fight on my behalf. My work colleagues are supportive and have given me space and sent compassionate loving messages of support.

My boys are my rocks. The Mr is exceptional in chaos, he destroys tornados with Marvel like precision and my little dude makes me laugh, distracts me from the realities of the world and seeps in warmth through cuddles and humour.

My family are loyal, kind and patient and my Mum has a way of always saying what I need I to hear…note not always what I want to hear. As a child she use to sing to me ‘ you are my sunshine’ and in these darker days this song keeps finding me – I even purchased this little trinket in NEXT at home.

So what’s my lesson? By counting my blessings and surrounding myself with a network of sunbeams it’s hard to sit in the dark. Look after your tribe and enjoy the sun and warmth they bring, walk away from chaotic individuals who darken your days. When your storm hits you’ll be grateful for the support of an well placed light house to guide you to shore.

Focus on the step in front of you and not the whole staircase

Quote Anon

After our daughter passed away we called the hours and days that passed Gracie steps (seriously those feet were tiny) and it worked really well.

So well that ten years later I still apply the philosophy. In the last week as a family we have been bombarded with truth bombs and reminders that as humans we aren’t always in control. I don’t think it matters what the bombs were but that we reacted in truth to each blast.

As a child I thought adults had it worked out, they knew what they were doing. Now, I know that the role models in my life reacted, adjusted and realigned when necessary.

Life is made of decades broken down in to days, hours, minutes and seconds. I don’t think you can plan for each of these but I do think you can pop on your Gracie shoes and dance.

The stairs to achieving a goal are usual a uncertain spiral (I survived the ones above in thin stilettos) and so at times we need to listen to our inner voices and sit down and rest, at others we shuffle cautiously clinging to the rail and if I’m honest I’ve been known to take a big breath and jump from the top hoping to be caught at the bottom…this leap is not recommended for stiletto wearers.

However, I think as individuals we spend too much time at the bottom of the stairs listing reasons why we can’t climb them, perhaps you create a goal and loiter on the bottom two steps hoping momentum will elevate you to the top? Or maybe you hide from the stairs and take the lift.

In this post I’m asking you to set a goal and pop your Gracie shoes on. One step at a time, because moving forward no matter how slow is just that, progress.

Remember growing might feel like breaking at first.

Quote Anon but super wise

I love to light a candle, snuggle with fluffy socks and pinch the Mr’s hoodie but comfort only brings contentment for a short period of time, stay too long and the candle goes out. Nothing changes, the years pass and life stagnates.

I’m a huge advocate for self development and self care, as a full time teacher and Mummy, daughter, friend and partner – I can’t be at my best unless I first address my own health, wellbeing and happiness. My family are seriously awesome people, the children in my classes have the potential to make our world a better place, my son has only got one Mummy…to do this I need time out and I need time for me. I take note of when I’m tired and I go to bed early, I rise early and make time to exercise. Self care is the key to being the best I can be. It’s my vision that all humans embrace self love, to embrace busy days and balance them with bubble baths…so I’m being brave and currently am developing a self care YouTube channel. There I’ve typed it – I’ve told the universe.

It scares the shizzle out of me. Currently the Mr and I are learning to edit, focus, upload and do a thousand things that are beyond our comfort zones, there are no candles and hoodies to hide behind. If I want to push the vision of self care then I need to abandon my comfort zone. I know the first few episodes are likely to make me cringe, that our skill set is only just in its infancy but for me to grow I need to make this jump from words on a page to movement on a screen. At the moment I feel like I’m broken.

Broken is temporary. I’m a seed. A tiny seed with a huge vision of an oak tree. It’s my vision and the support of my partner that I know I won’t stay a seed, moments are temporary. At the moment I’m submerged in doubt and soil, getting ready to grow I know one thing to be true. I would rather of tried and failed than stayed a seed in a closed packet of potential.

Are you sitting in your comfortable packet? Perhaps it’s time to break the seal on your next goal?

*feel free to message me any tips or advice on our new adventure, your support would mean the world.

It’s all lies darling

Quote Anon

I often write about perspective and how vital it is for a contented life. So often we fall in to a trap of false accusations and the main stream media twisting lies and pushing dramatic headlines that are often false, fake or unfair on the person who’s life is under the spot light.

For many of these reasons and also the negativity of it all, as a household we don’t use our TV, avoid the radio and decided what we consume via streaming. However, often in school I deal with incidents and listen to each side, sometimes with lies woven through to protect things they have done, usually with glimmers of truth and a dash of artistic licence.

This morning in bed I was rolled away from my partner and facing our wardrobe doors, he turned his side lamp on and cast a huge shadow across the ceiling. The shadow looked haunting and dangerous, it had sharp edges and two sides were coming together much like teeth. I turned back to see he was writing and the shadow was he’s fingers and pencil on the pad.

Perspective is essential, don’t believe everything you see, hear and even think at times. Don’t hold your perspective as the only one, there are often victims on each side and every now and then an innocent pad of paper and pencil.

It’s important to be cautious of what we tell ourselves, so often we feed ourselves lies. We aren’t good enough, intelligent enough, healthy enough. I always think if we spoke to our friends how our inner voice talks to us we’d be a very lonely planet. When I look back at photographs of my younger self I’m not always as horrified as I thought at the time. *Although the teen fringe phase and sun-in over use was a mistake.

If what we see around us is often lies and how we speak to ourselves is often overly negative…I choose denial. Talk to yourself like you do your best friend, paint your own truth and see the world through sparkly lenses. Socialise with people that make you feel good, work on goals that make you happy and celebrate the journey along the way.

More does not mean better

Quote Anon

This week I didn’t feel well. I didn’t have a cold, headache or anything I could name. At times I felt a little like I might be sick but knew I wouldn’t. I just felt tired and off balance. Nothing was wrong and everything somehow felt too much.

I didn’t feel that how I felt was enough to have some time off work and so I needed to be more creative with my energy. I took a few small actions; left work a little early, laid down on my bed when I got home, early nights and little housework, asked others to cook, generally I slowed down.

It wasn’t the most exciting week and I don’t think it’s one for the memoirs but I didn’t push on and in turn become ill, in fact by Friday I felt much better and was able to celebrate my birthday with my family. The sun shone and I felt loved and was able to create memorable worthy moments.

What’s the point of this post? More doesn’t mean better, knowing ourselves and listening to what we need can be just as fulfilling. When we eat we often find the first few bites joyful and after that the sparkle goes, for this reason more is not usually better…trying a range of smaller dishes can be more fulfilling.

A small vacation of a few nights can be as rewarding as a mammoth expedition, life is often best served slow and simply.

I recently culled my wardrobe and plan to not return to a wardrobe heaving with clothes. In this consumer driven culture we don’t need masses. My wardrobe is slowly evolving to a world of less, higher quality and where the wooden hangings have space to jangle. This in turn means I have less choices to make and leaves my mind free to think about other things.

This week press the pause button on life and take time to notice what makes you smile. Don’t be surprised if less wins and more overwhelms.

Shoshin

Not a quote, just a magical word.

Welcome to another fix of inspiration from the fridge. It will be no surprises that I really like words. A cluster of letters squished together can produce the most emotive sentiment or allow others to empathise with how you may be feeling.

Today, if you haven’t come across the word previously I’m sharing a new favourite with you. ‘Shoshin’ (firstly how lovely is it to say) means…

The practise of seeing life in wonder

One of the greatest things about being a parent is seeing the world through little eyes. I remember walking with my son when he was about two years old to our local park. He picked up the every stone, touched every leaf and the two minute walk became an exploration of discovery and wonder. I followed behind and observed the wonder, whilst reminding myself that time was our friend and I didn’t need to hurry him on. Sadly as we grow older our priorities change and we forgot the joy that surrounds us. Often happiness is found in the most basic of flavours (for me boiled egg and soldiers), smells (the roses in my garden) and experiences (an empty beach in winter with my boys watching the sunset on a clear day).

This post doesn’t come with a long lecture but instead a reminder to pause and live a life full of Shoshin. One of the ways I do this is my keeping a gratitude journal, another is myself and a friend are currently using WhatsApp to send each other a daily gratitude and photo. Today’s was having breakfast outside in the sun

The messages will last for 100 days and it’s really nice to look back over when life seems a little less bleak and Shoshin has been hidden behind a load of washing and an endless to do list.

However, like I stated previously this post isn’t a deep metaphorical ramble, it’s just a reminder to leave a Shoshin awesome life and appreciate each moment of wonder as it passes.