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.

The words you speak become the house you live in

Quote by Hafiz.

It’s natural to furnish your home with delightful trinkets and buy a bed to sleep in. You then purchase bedding, cushions…the list is endless. As the years go by loved ones treat you to gifts and the house you bought in a state of empty becomes full, it becomes a home….a cluttered home but I’m working on it. We stamped our identity on each wall with the paint colours of our choosing, as expected quotes frequent the walls, photos of memories gather across the shelves and in time the space around you reflects who you are as a group. In our bedroom my clothes hang in there given spaces, each item has a home and all looks tranquil, it reflects my mood and attitude towards sleep, life and….hang on?…if you gaze to the left, clothes are thrown on the floor, dirty and clean collide in a mountain of mens fashion and ‘our’ bedroom reflects us. Two people who see the world through their perspective, the Mr’s perspective is chaotic and I’ve learnt to not look left when walking in the room.

When I get home from work I can tell how my other half’s day has gone by the state of our living room – if the cushions are puffed and the floor clear it was a busy, productive day. If my sons toys cover every inch of the carpet, the Mr’s day has been one of chaos, the toys my son played with before school have merged with the after school activities. Bowls, cups and plates collect in clutter free corners and I will find Daddy upstairs, clinging to a cup of tea, hidden behind a computer screen with the door ajar, on the edge and ready to hand the baton of childcare and adult responsibility to me for five minutes of peace.

Just like our homes, our brains are places full of ideas, whizzing and connecting – pulsating neurones connecting pathways we didn’t know we had. When we are calm, breathing deeply and taking care of ourselves – thoughts are linear, often clear and we speak with clarity and act with intention, we often think before we react and our brain is a state of serentity. If like my living room – toys erupt, the television blares and chaos can be seen, it’s all the likely result that our brains are overloaded. If our brain was a computer we have thousands of tabs open, all needing our attention. The volume is loud, turned on full. There is noise, interference and for our brains (and our living spaces) chaos…unfinished jobs, quick tempers and hot mouths.

Todays quote is simple. Create a space inside you that you would like to live in, because frankly that’s exactly where you do live. Your first address is under your skull. It’s natural that sometimes in moments of tragedy or stress your brain becomes cluttered but don’t let it become your default setting. No matter what the day has been like, we always clear the living room. The toys go away, candles are lit and the space resets itself (usually for another day of play), make sure your brain has this option too, for me a ten minute morning meditation means I unwind from sleep and step into my day with the brakes fully applied. I am in control rather than the whizzing motions of task and lists that need completing. I’m a self care guru and will either make time to do yoga each day or if the day is busy I will pop the kettle on and sit down with a cup of tea. Whether you have an hour to exercise or five minutes to sit down, or two minutes to breath deeply make the time and create the space your head needs. The bonus is you might also end up with tidier home too.

Be proud of how hard you are trying

Quote Anon

Whether you set a New Years resolution, you’re generally stepping up the pace in life, or you have a secret mission to achieve a dream then take a moment to be kind to the effort you are putting in.

When my son tries he’s best that’s good enough for me. However, I’ve notice that adults often aren’t so kind to themselves.

Let’s take vegan January or veganuary?? I saw one of my followers on Instagram post a yummy photo of a meal she’d made. In the background was some coleslaw. I went to type ‘that’s not vegan’ when I thought ‘shut up, she’s trying’…instead I wrote how yummy it all looked and that I hope she enjoyed it.

I remember my Mum dieting when I was younger and a couple of days in she would cheat and tell her friends the diet had failed.

Stop

She failed one day, that doesn’t mean the next day couldn’t of been better. I believe that the pure intention of wanting to take action is more than most people achieve, she tried.

Last week I was run down and my cup was empty, as a result the chores in our home have stacked up and my laundry basket resembles Mount Etna. Rather than looking at the mountain of stains with sadness, I took my attention to the things I did achieve; the vacuuming was done, meals were created and we survived, I tried my best. Now back on track, I’ll throw a few more washes on this week and soon the basket will be empty (well, as empty as a family laundry basket can ever be)

If you are trying, give yourself a break. If friends and loved ones around you are trying around you please spread the message that you are proud of them for trying. It’s better than doing nothing and even if they do have a wobble, with your support and encouragement they are more likely to succeed the next time they try.

Effort deserves respect in a five year old world, let’s spread the love a little further and make effort an ageless celebration.

You were my cup of tea, but I drink champagne now

Quote Anon

Within this quote lies two of my favourite liquids, tea and champagne (not in the same vessel obviously). We are jumping through January with people taking on new challenges from eating vegan to folding things in a Kondo fashion.

When I turned thirty my friend told me something very wise. She said “when you’re thirty life is too short for buying tomatoes not on the vine” and although this might sound peculiar, as always it was good advice. In my house I like crystal glasses, as a result we drink out of them as our ‘everyday’ glasses, in my opinion everyday is our best day, why wait for an occasion? My tea is served in china cups, I dislike the thickness of a mug and of course my tomatoes are bought on the vine.

However, often people don’t upgrade the people they surround them self by. I’m not saying you need to cull the friends of years gone by, sometimes there are wonderful reasons why they are still in your world. Sometimes though, your neighbour is abrupt, a friend says cruel things, they don’t support you with goals and perhaps you stopped sharing visions and plans with them long a go. In this case, seize this quote with both hands and pour the tea down the drain, reaching instead for a tall and sleek (crystal) glass of fizzy delight. Make sure the people you surround yourself by have common goals, that they too are climbing to the top of the glass one bubble at a time, that they refresh you, quench your thirsty and leave you feeling a million dollars

*warning: even champagne friends will leave you with a headache if you spend too much time with them. Balance is the key.

Words are free, it’s how you use them that costs you.

Quote by Anon

I may have spoken about this before but Pen from The Single Swan mentioned in a comment the other day that she picks a word for the year ahead, bizarrely that day the bestie and I were on the phone and mentioned that our common word for 2018 was ‘accomplished ‘ (sounds so joyful on the tongue). As a woman who loves to set intentions I thought I’d select a word for 2019. As I began to think about what I wanted from the year and searched through my bag of goals, ideas and plans I very quickly decided on a word and it scared me to my core.

Achieve.

As I type the word I feel a sense of burden, fear and that perhaps I’m taking on a word that’s out of my reach. However, through this blog I have learnt that nothing changes unless you are willing to step out of your comfort zone. I also don’t need every moment of every day to be an achievement and with small adjustments as the months roll I can take steps that suit my pace. That said, some of the goals I will achieve will need me to step way beyond my area of comfort. Upon reflection it’s a word suitable for success and the challenge that comes with achieving. Take for example my first challenge…the puppy I rescued. She is a ball of chew and needles from her teeth to her sharp claws. She has no boundaries (we are trying to teach her them day by day, she is teaching us that rules are made to be chewed) and although she’s also a bundle of cuteness, I know training her will be a challenge but also an achievement.

Next, I will be moving this blog away from WordPress and to my own site…any tips totally welcome as http and widgets brings me out in a cold sweat of confusion and doubt. However, by taking the leap will mean I can add a new aspect to the site which I really want to do…details to follow once I’ve worked out the ifs, but’s and all the words that come with achieving this mission.

Other things I’d like to achieve will help me to love my home a little more. It’s a nice house but as I’m not a fan of the word ‘nice’ this speaks volumes about my feelings to the building we call home.

2019 will also be my daughters 10th anniversary. It blows my brain to think of all the things she could of liked and become. We don’t celebrate her birthday or death but I’d like to mark her decade with a gathering or event…again, any ideas welcome as this will be another emotional challenge to our journey to achieving a positive life without her on earth.

Join me through my challenges and achievements via this corner of the internet and why not pick your own word…if like the quote suggests we pay a price, let it be life changing for the better.

Happy New Year.

You are not weak for needing time to sort through this

Quote from MHN

Currently I’m in a whirlwind of festive get togethers, chores and life’s demands. December brings joy but also preparation. As regular readers will know I also go HUGE on intentions and goals, as we step into 2019 my bucket list flows with plans, ideas and steps towards making my dreams come true.

The carousel of life, even in the most joyful times can sometimes need a pause. As a park ride, the carousel has always been a favourite of mine. Usually in the centre of the action, the glistening fairy lights and twinkling music draws my inner child in like a warm hug. However, I wouldn’t want to stay on a carousel for a long period of time. Life’s issue – even joyful moments are often served quick and unexpected. The joy is in a moment and a moment should never last a life time.

You are not weak or selfish for needing time to sort through an issue that’s present in your life. Often as humans, much like a carousel we are presented with an issue, or view of the world, think we’ve dealt with it, only to see the pattern emerge in another aspect of our life.

I urge you to create time to reassess your journey. To jump off of the carousel and spend time sorting through the issue. Life is best with variation and the carousel isn’t going anywhere, so take a ride on the Big Dipper, you never know what you’re missing.

What you allow is what will continue

Quote from the wise but absent named ‘Anon’

This quote is accountable.

This quote reminds me that I am responsible for my own life, decisions, health and overall well being. For this reason, this quote gets stuck in my throat slightly. I honestly believed growing up that adults knew everything, had all the answers and had their lives all mapped out. Ummm… how wrong was I? Every day I am winging it, some days more than others, there are goals but how we arrive at our destination alters weekly, I lose track of intentions, frankly I often forget what I’m saying half way through a conversation. The adult world is tough and if I’m honest I feel like Barbie made it look so easy. Her and Ken used to get married weekly in my bedroom, often went on holidays, she wore big dresses to big parties, drove a sports car…Barbie never worried about the washing basket over flowing, never argued with Ken about council tax payments, she never doubted an outfit change, or worried how she would fit the school run in between her career as a ski instructor.

Perhaps we should be more Barbie. Enjoy the moment, live for the now. I think if Barbie could see this quote she would fully embrace it.

This weekend we watched Deadpool 2, in it are various super hero’s with crazy mutant powers and my favourite is Domino. Not just because her name reminds me of a popular pizza chain, but because her super power is luck. She has more self belief than a religious denomination, she is seriously cool. As I was watching her fly through the air and land on a giant inflatable panda…yup thats a real scene from the film, I was captured by her vocabulary. She was so kick ass confident and assertive I couldn’t help but notice that she had high standards and didn’t falter.

Aspects of our lives are often out of our control, but there are elements that we can do something about. Setting standards for how we will be treated and how we will let others treat us is a huge issue for many. Its probably worth grabbing a pen and paper at this point and writing down things you’re not happy with. Do you need to book something fabulous to do with a friend or partner because you never get to see them, do you need to set an hour aside with a giant box and clear that cluttered cupboard that frustrates you every time you attempt to open the draw and the contents cascade out. Do you need to speak to a work colleague or perhaps you need to reprioritise yourself on your ever growing ‘to do’ list.

Often in films the main characters are faced with huge challenges (with Marvel its always saving the world with some kind of time issue) but perhaps what we might miss is that they also take on those challenges and make sacrifices or changes to live happy ever after. Just because you allowed it last week, doesn’t mean you have to this week, just because its always been that way, doesn’t mean that has to continue. Life is often short, precious and wasted, seize this quote and make your life accountable you may just end up with a better quality of life, or at worst finally get that cupboard organised.

A key to success is to start before you’re ready

Quote by Marie Forleo

I’m not sure I really need to write any more than the quote already states, but then what would be the point in owning this domain?

For several years I ran a project for GCSE pupils at my school, they were at risk of not getting the grades the government desires. It was based on the seven principles of success, each fortnight I’d do a mini assembly based on one of the principles for them, set them a task and they would collect signatures in their booklets for completing the task – extra certificates etc along the way.

Guess what. It worked. Guess why? They didn’t over think the mountain in front of them…in small challenges, in small achievable time frames, they blossomed. I took the project over from one of my managers who left during the projects first year. Each pupil also had a mentor to cheer them on, plus me as head cheerleader.

I think if you look at a mountain it seems unachievable, I’m thinking of the mountain of washing permanently in my home but load by load, sock by sock it gets done.

However, this post isn’t about taking small steps – it about not thinking and taking ONE step. Anxiety is prevalent in our society, we are creating children that are even more anxious, lack resilience and have spent most of their life, if not all of it bubble wrapped – I totally get why but to succeed there has to be some action, motion and movement towards the end goal.

When I look back on the years gone by, I don’t want to not have tried to achieve my dreams. However, dreams (well mine anyway) are often huge task, big lifestyle changes and they feel so distant I often don’t know where to start, if I’m honest I’ll never be ready to take huge leaps but I can do something.

I probably keep my own motion going by breaking down larger goal into smaller tasks, so below I’ve listed a few small things that have worked for me.

  • Eat healthier – swap white to brown rice
  • Exercise more – find a five minute YouTube exercise class and just do it
  • Read more – swap the apps on my phone for a 15minute reading session
  • Bake more – add the ingredients to my next shop

What actions have you found have helped you climb your mountain?

Fight for the fairy tale, it does exist.

Quote by joy.F

I truly believe that we are all writing our own stories, chapter by chapter life is a series of new beginnings, challenges and climaxes…and of course the odd dark spell and baddy comes along and tries to jeopardise the heroine/ hero from achieving their purpose. I have chosen to live a life of happy ever after, but even with my most positive intentions, I often get thrown off course and have to realign myself.

Many people don’t come close to their purpose, to living aligned or anywhere near the fairy tale they desire. I think I know why, as yesterday I had an epiphany in the supermarket.

I was helping out with our school production and there was a large gap of time between the end of my working day and the show starting, so I decided to take myself to a local supermarket and purchase something for my dinner. It was a sunny and rare hot day in the UK and I really wanted a salad but also to indulge myself. Leaves don’t really cut it?

Solace in a supermarket can actually be rather therapeutic. So I wondered around the isles and placed a few of my favourite things in my basket. I looked down and found that my basket was unreservedly a middle class snobby delight. Who had I become? The content included:

  • Tyrell’s sea salt and black pepper crisps
  • a rainbow themed salad bowl (it was so pretty)
  • Sushi
  • Equinox Kombucha (some sort of fermented goodness in a glass bottle)

I giggled with shame…I went back to my office and enjoyed every bite. I felt good, knew what i’d chosen was the best – felt indulged and also rather healthy (if we excuse the crisps) but still I felt embarrassed. Until I saw this quote this morning. It was then that I realised that in that moment I had eaten and drunk exactly what I desired. As far as I’m aware Cinderella didn’t run off with the sleazy bloke at the bar (although we never really learn much about the prince in that particular story?), Snow white doesn’t marry the first forrest animal to come along and Pocahontas doesn’t hook up with the village idiot. So why shouldn’t my basket be full of what I want? Just like my life.

I’m buying it, I’m writing my own fairy tale… more importantly why am I judging my own basket? Forget social pressure and media corruption – perhaps (yup this is my epiphany) we don’t feel we are worth the fairy tale. Our own judgements block us from how we want to look, feel and in my case – the basket of food I purchase.

So listen up fellow fairy tale lovers, you ARE creating your own story. Sure, it’s likely to never have a Disney logo but just like my shopping basket it can be the best or at least what you want it to be. Don’t judge yourself – you’re totally worth it. Have your own back. If Mr Right hasn’t shown up, if Mrs Right now is lacking in basket delights…shop around. That’s why we have so many shops!

Be the fairy tale, but not Cinderella’s – be your own damsel and rescue yourself. Oh and never settle – fight for your happily ever after and never worry if anyone else agrees with it, they’re busy writing their own fairy tale…or haven’t had the wisdom to read this blog and have sad judgmental baskets of shopping.

She acts like summer and walks like rain

Lyrics by Train.

Sometimes a quote speaks to my soul. This is me at my very best.

My happy place. Light on my feet, smelling like sunshine (citrus and sun tan lotion spring to mind). Summer is carefree, adventurous and for me a vacation from the dark winter nights and long working days.

Sometimes summer can be ‘too’ hot and you can feel frazzled, sore and sweaty – rain can be torrential, devastating to flood plains and has horrendous qualities in abundance and drought. When I lose my sense of centre and get ‘scorched from the sun’ or when my work load is drowning me…. I go to this quote. It instantly makes me feel happy. It lifts my soul and this is why I find the power of reading and writing to be therapeutic. It can realign and invigorate me. So in case you thought this blog had all the answers, it’s simply a place where I remind myself of my inner summer. Keep shining, dance in the rain and find your centre spot because that’s winning and everything else is just a distraction.