You must find happiness right where you are.

Quote from Disneys Moana.

We’ve begun the Easter holidays in the UK. For the last few days I’ve grown in happiness because that is what I’m choosing to see, feel and look for. Let me tell you more.

The sun is shining and this is both rare and delightful. I usually always post on Sundays, I know that consistent content is key to the growth of my blog, but my blog won’t grow without me writing it…yesterday was the hottest day in England so far this year, so I grabbed my share of vitamin D and headed into the garden for the day. Pottering, sipping drinks in the garden and soaking up rays of joy were on my agenda. As a result, I feel better for it, so much better that I have more energy to give, more time to share and my blog didn’t suffer from a 24hr lack of content and doesn’t feel like a chore to write.

This morning my son and I walked down to our local cafe (they are doing take away / deliveries) we grabbed a piece of cake each and to increase the happiness for others, grabbed two extra slices for my sons grandparents. We left the box of delight on the doorstep, waved through the windows and saw them smile. Happiness isn’t always in the receiving.

Happiness is many small particles, much like dust that if you blink you miss BUT if you choose to see, multiply and can be seen even in the darkest of moments. Sometimes its not about what you desire in the future but what you have now that counts. We all have different blessings if we choose to see them. For example, my sons knee has a scab on it from where he fell over a few days a go. He asked what a scab was and I explained it was a sign the body was healing, a protective barrier so that underneath the body could knit itself back together whilst keeping out the germs from the outside and the good stuff inside…he renamed it his armour and now wears it with pride. In every moment in every day we have millions of moments to see joy or to see a scab.

Don’t worry about what ‘they’ have or where ‘they’ are going. Look around you and at this very moment, no matter how bleak life can seem there is always something to be thankful, kind, grateful or happy about. Moana is one of my favourite Disney characters and this uplifting quote serves as a reminder that if you want to live a positive life, you simply MUST make happiness a priority.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf

Quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Our front door was always a rotating flow of coming and goings; deliveries coming in, errands flowing out, school routines backwards and forwards, family and friends… it currently stands still, a barrier that keeps us safe as we cocoon inside.

Many (understandable) are fearful of the future and even of the now. However, when I saw this quote it summed up how I felt in this moment. We can’t stop the waves and perhaps we shouldn’t even try – perhaps everything is as its meant to be, however chaotic and alien it may feel. Perhaps this is the break that not only our planet needs, but our minds, bodies and souls need. I read an article that fish have returned to the canals of Italy, that air quality is improving and the ozone layer is fixing itself at a rapid pace.

The word ‘routine’ seems alien, that up until a few weeks a go was essential to our productivity…we pause…we adjust and perhaps if we learn or attempt to surf, to enjoy the tides, to ride high and fall with the flow of the waves…perhaps rather than feel anxious, we can instead feel blessed.

We can’t deny the waves that wash over our planet, we can’t control them and so it makes sense to allow them to wash over us. For me that means enjoying every moment with my family, using technology to face time loved ones further away, living in the now and making do with what we have got, rather than worrying about what we don’t have. I’ve only ever body surfed, but it was a lot of fun and perhaps in the future I’ll take some lessons and learn how to surf for real, until then I’ll watch Moana and take inspiration from lyrics such as…

We read the wind and the sky when the sun is high
We sail the length of the seas on the ocean breeze

At night, we name every star
We know where we are
We know who we are, who we are

Perhaps in this uncertain time, as we take time to pause we will also learn a little more about who we are and develop a deeper sense of purpose, that to me seems like a wave worth riding.

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.

Roll with it

Quote from my Instagram page @fridgesays

It’s 1:20am and I can’t sleep, the unknown has taken over. I’m not panicked, I’m not particularly fearful but I’ve no idea what being a Teacher means. Just after 5pm today I like most of the nation expected Mr Johnson to shut the shop up on schools and was ready to bed down with my family and wait for the storm to pass, which if you read the headlines you may perceive as truth… to me he said much more.

He said “exams in May and June won’t be happening” that’s two years of mine and my students life that were made practically obsolete in seconds… of course they’ve learnt things that will stay with them, but I somehow feel robbed for them so close to the finish line. I truly adore my yr 11 classes and I’m not even sure if I’ll see them again? I doubt they will have a prom, perhaps in these times that seems superfluous but to those that have bought ‘the dress’ and dreamed of that evening they were robbed by a virus.

He said “schools will stay open for those that are vulnerable “ and my heart bled for every head teacher and headship team across the country…what does that even look like? How will that be staffed? What will we teach? How will we know who to prepare for…rolling with it seems vague and uneasy.

He said “we will baby sit the nations key workers children” and my profession and career goals became a blur. On one hand proud to serve my country in some kind of capacity (many thanks to the NHS and emergency services teams for all you do and will continue to do)… on the other hand that’s not why I teach secondary? Selfishly questioning why I should leave my child to help out another’s, worrying that by sending my son to school that I might expose him…where did the plan to wrap him up go?

I also know that this can alter again in the next few days, the dynamics of what was asked are so complex and a national lock down is coming our way but I wanted to write in this moment and capture these thoughts that have separated me from my pillow because I think it will be a huge shift in how we move forward, in my sense of purpose, in what Education is and looks like after this moment.

And then I laugh at the image that I honest created prior to the demand in toilet rolls and as I smile. I know it will all work out. It will be okay. I know it will be an honour to look after each and every child that comes through our school gates and I’m glad that the government is thinking about free school meals and the impacts on financially vulnerable families. I know that our priority across the world is our health. We will thrive and in my classroom we will learn what really matters and perhaps until now that was never on the curriculum.

#kindnessiscontagious

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.

Make magic happen

Anon

You’ll be pleased to know that this post isn’t about card tricks and there will be no rabbits in hats, instead I want to discuss the power within you.

Have you ever left the cinema from seeing a film about a super hero and felt like you could take over the world? (for me this also happens after most Disney films), as an adult have you ever swam in a pool and pretended to be a mermaid? (again, this can’t just be me!) , do you ever day dream or get lost in thoughts of how life could be better? Perhaps then you’ve already found the magic within. However we all need a top up and this most is a reminder about how I top up my vibrations even when the world is wet and cold.

Gratitude: you knew it was coming, the ultimate feel good magic booster – feeling low? List ten things you’re grateful for in this very moment, or keep a daily journal on the topic.

Meditate: a great way to connect with your high self and eliminates fears and worries. Also a great way to take a pause when the world becomes overwhelming.

Connect with nature: perhaps like me the place you live in is often wet and cold, it doesn’t matter – pop those wellies on and take a brisk walk in nature, it will lift your spirits and if you are able to locate the sun then you’ll get a bonus top up of vitamin D3

Drink water: wash away the toxins and impurities that might be weighing you down, flush them away and as a bonus you’ll also have healthy organs and clear skin.

Visualise: this is my favourite. Find a place to snuggle, or rest and close your eyes. Imagine how you want life to be, dream big and feel how this upgraded version of you feels…be warned manifesting is highly addictive and you’re likely to live a better life.

The magic is always within us and I’m sure everything I’ve listed above isn’t new to you, it’s just we all forget in the adult world of routines and responsibilities that we are creating our reality. We forget the magic that we have inside of us, we forget that we are allowed to feel good, we are suppose to feel good and that we are worthy of our dreams. In case anyone hasn’t told you today, you are enough and you deserve the best.

Let your dreams be your wings

Quote Anon

January, a new beginning and a chance to set new intentions, plans and goals – I’m in! I know most of the population are against new year resolutions, usually followed with an explanation of ‘what’s the point I’ll only fail’ or ‘ A new year is never any different’…not in this house! In this house we dare to dream, we set intentions and we strive to live our best life. That usually involves evaluating what we could do better and altering behaviour patterns. I was thrilled to hear that my bestie and her husband spent New Year’s Eve with a white board and divided their intentions in to personal and home goals, they also made themselves further accountable by putting the goals on to a time line of the year. *alas they didn’t colour coordinate.

Some people prefer to make goals public and share them on social media, others prefer a more personal approach and jot a few ideas in a planner never to see the light of day.

This year I’m trying something new.

A vision board: In essence you collate images from magazine, words or captions and create a collage of dreams you’d like to experience. Some people hang it up for the world to see, others abandon it in the loft, either way often people are successful in manifesting their desires, as a result I thought I’d give the process a go for 2020. As always, I did it my way and agree that if you’d like to try having a go then make it work for you. There are thousands of examples online to get your creative taste buds excited.

I didn’t like the idea of clutter and images overlapping in a frame. Instead I chose six visions for my board and created images represented in Polaroid photos. I don’t own a Polaroid so I uploaded the photos to an app called LALALAB. (This post isn’t affiliated but I have worked with the company in precious posts). I captioned each image and stuck them neatly near my mirror in my bedroom – a place where not everyone who comes to my home will see them, but that I look at daily.

Creating the images was the fun bit, thinking of how I would capture my vision. One of my goals is to increase our finances. For this I cut out paper butterflies, as they symbolise a sense of freedom and growth for me. I then arranged them coming out of a mason jar, escaping the rat race and soaring high.

For others I used images I had previously taken or asked friends to borrow them. After my miscarriage last year I couldn’t practise yoga for a while, this really set me back on my mat, I really want to extend my practise in 2020. Yoga is another source of freedom and flexibility for me. I’ve committed to a 30 day yoga challenge and so far (its day five) it’s going well.

At the end of the cutting, sticking, folding and creating (and of course I used fridge magnets for one of them) I’ve ended up with six images that make me smile. I’m not sure if I’ve been too vague, but I plan to return to this blog in December 2020 and review the process.

Meanwhile, I’d love to know if you’ve had any joy with you own vision board, how you created it and what worked? Please leave any comments below. And lastly, happy new year and may all your dreams come to fruition.

Bad vibes don’t go with my outfit

Quote Anon

This week in the UK we had a general election, the Tory’s won and like any politics the Country was divided on opinions and manifestos, the mood amongst my colleagues in education was low and so I wore leopard print.

It’s true my patterned cardigan couldn’t change the outcome but I always feel better when wearing 1) converse boots 2) leopard print anything 2) anything with sparkle on.

I voted in the election and much like when I call my child, my voice wasn’t heard this time BUT I used my democratic voice. I can’t change the outcome, I can’t change climate change for the world, I can’t stop homelessness, abuse or anything negative on a global scale… but I can make decisions that are positive in my tiny corner of the world, even if it’s as tiny as a sparkly necklace.

I can decide (in fact I have for a few years) not to have crackers on the table this Christmas as they are unappreciated and unnecessary plastic and packaging. I can buy from small businesses, I can recycle and I can choose amongst the negative vibes of the world to stay positive.

To a huge extent we all create our own realities and I will always choose to see the best in people. I will always find the silver lining and I will try to avoid the negative…I don’t wear crocs, I keep away from velvet (the texture makes my skin crawl), I only own sparkly unpractical clutch handbags – life is too short for practical black bags with sensible straps . Although my wardrobe won’t necessarily make the world a better place, it will enhance my wellbeing and that will shine out of my face and in a tiny way make the person looking at me smile back.

In a world full of so much destruction, do what you can to make it a kinder place and if that fails accessorise with leopard print.

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).