Don’t count the days, make the days count

Quote from Muhammad Ali

My son has completed his school year and has jumped into summer, sadly I have two more days of standing on the precipice before we can both wallow in the delights of the summer holidays.

We have completed our clouds (See our previous post for more details) as I think it’s important to take in to consideration what he would like to do and yet again I was blown away with how simple his requests are.

During the summer I like to have a balance of planned events and lazy days, prioritising experience over objects. Our holidays have been planned to take our sons interests into account but also I’ve booked an adult only escape in order to keep everyone balanced.

Making the days count is important to me and so I’ve set myself a ‘me goal’ and a ‘Mum goal’. I’m sharing these to make myself accountable and to hopefully inspire you to also set yourself small challenges. I’ve also thought of a word to sum up my intentions for summer – flow.

Me goal:

  • Yoga everyday or a run.

I have been doing mini sessions of yoga when I wake but know that with a little more time I can increase my flow and practise.

Mum goals:

  • Teach little dude to tell the time

This unexpected target is nearly reached by the end of day two. He has really taken to the new watch his Nanny and Grandad bought him and is keen to tell everyone we meet what the time is. Having him with me means the learning can be quick, frequent and once again success can flow

  • Write every day

At the grand age of six, writing is not a joy for my little man, so again I’ve cunningly hidden daily tasks in and around the adventures we’ll be having to help the pen to flow. Last night we sent Daddy messages on post-it’s whilst he was upstairs and I’ve asked a friend of mine who doesn’t live locally if her son would like to be my sons pen pal, an old school idea but he really enjoyed the idea of his friend receiving it. He is also writing a book which was his idea and enjoyed reading the first instalment to his godmother over FaceTime yesterday.

I realise a lot of parents might read this and think that the summer is a time to escape the pen and pencil of the classroom but I personally know my little dude and know that little steps will help him to thrive in the new academic year…as long as he doesn’t realise we’re doing ‘writing’.

Being accountable for each day can feel empowering, I know that we will all enjoy camping under the stars, making memories and visiting some wonderful places. I know that my camera will overflow and my instagram squares will increase with unexpected moments of joy too. However, like Muhammad suggested, time is limited and summers with my boys by my side won’t be forever, so I plan to enjoy each and every day…two more days to go.

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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.

Cling to what is good

Quote Anon

According to the power of google an adult makes 35,000 decisions a day, a child around 3,000. That’s everything from what to have for dinner tonight to what to wear and where to go. Most choices fall in to three categories: positive, negative and those we feel obliged to do, feeling like we don’t really have a choice.

As an adult I do feel that at times I need to make negative decisions for overall good, an example being telling my son off and setting consequences – in hope that he learns and grows into an adult with clear morals and boundaries. At the time of sanctioning him he would tell you it was a negative decision I’d made.

Not all choices are transparent and many come with a wealth of other choices, at times resulting in others taking control or contributing to the end result.

Many of us suffer from decision fatigue and with the stats so high, I’m not surprised. If you find yourself overwhelmed then the experts encourage you to pull back; have a duvet day, a social media detox and even better a week away from WiFi. Don’t answer the phone, relax and live in the moment where possible.

Except that is a short term issue. At the moment my son who is six years old is sneaky when I ask him to make one of his 3,000 choices for the day. He will say things like “I don’t mind” or “‘ask Daddy what he wants” in order to avoid conflict or people disliking his ideas. As a result, as parents we are now throwing him even more options…and not letting him wiggle out of them. It’s a tough love choice in hope that it will help him grow in resilience and assertiveness. More importantly we are asking him to ‘feel’ the decision, to reflect on what feels good, to reconnect with his instincts and to not be put off by other people’s reactions. Making choices in the moment that feel good are meant to be the best way to promote positive wellbeing and overall happiness in the long term. Without guides, I wonder how many adults are out of sync with their own sense of good? Making time to rest and play has never been so crucial for a blossoming and positive planet.

Try to be like the turtle, at ease in it’s own shell

Abandoned the quotes this week and gone into the depths of an old proverb.

If you’ve dropped into this little corner of the internet previously you’ll know that ‘The Fridge’ is all about self love. How could we not discuss how awesome these wise words are.

The gorgeous Alicia Keys has been the Spotify choice of go-to music lately; her vibe is cool, calm and many of her tracks are already iconic. Before this becomes the unofficial AK fan page, I need to let you know one more awesome fact about her. She wears very little makeup and chooses to wear her hair in a natural state…did I mention she’s absolutely stunning and a successful singer songwriter? Inspired by her empowerment for everything human and real, I gave up makeup cold turkey about a month ago.

I didn’t tell anyone, I just didn’t slap it on. Nobody asked or questioned my decision, in fact at school a lovely work colleague gave me a thoughtful compliment about how beautiful my skin is (even more grateful to hear that because I also was a paranoid about a spot that appeared over night and looks like it’s squatting and here to stay for sometime) I do plan to wear make up again but not daily and certainly only when I feel like it. I save around twenty minutes in the morning and I use that to get chores done or sometimes I just sit down and day dream with a cup of tea. Bliss.

In a world that is becoming increasingly complex, filtered, altered and at times overly negative about people’s physical appearances i’d like to stay as authentically me as possible.

My shell is not perfect and neither is yours, I don’t always get things right and I often feel anxious about what people might think of me…then I remember this is my shell, my blessed shell – many would give anything to have a sparkly shell of joy like mine. Its fully functioning and any dents remind me of the previous battles I’ve survived or thrived from. My shell is me, it’s where I’m truly at home, it travels with me wherever I go. Just as you can’t criticise a Dolphin for its lack of shell, you are wasting your time analysing your own body with lacks and let down thoughts. You’ve grown in to your shell and at times altered it or made minor improvements *note to self: do yoga this evening

…but ultimately you will always have you. So shine that shell with a few positive comments a day, or at-least stop yourself from vomiting negative thoughts all over it. Allow your body to rest, work and play and provide it with the best care you can give it. Today that might be a small step in just realising that you need to be kinder to yourself.

Happy shell shining.

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.

The grass is greener when you water it.

Quote by Neil Barringham

At the end of February we often get a few warm days, enough to shed a layer or two when you go out, enough so you need to find your sunglasses that you abandoned in September in a draw somewhere between the front door and the backdoor (or they could be in the car?) and enough for the Mr to say to me yesterday “I’m going to need to cut the grass again soon”

Grass doesn’t need much to thrive. However in the cold, dark and wet winters of the UK it barely grows at all, we rarely go out there and the grass is stagnant.

In life we often need to make choices every now and then, where do we put our time, love and sunlight? We look at other peoples lawns and often admire them not fully understanding the complexities of what they might be ‘growing’ through, we don’t see the moss patches, or the bald patches covered up by plant pots. A quick glimpse and it’s easy to wrongly see a lawn or someone else’s life in the wrong light.

Sometimes we can love our own lawn but feel the need to buy a new one just because… much like lawn maintenance, humans aren’t as simple as we believe.

Instead we need to mow our own lawns, perhaps put some extra attention of the bits that have been scorched by the sun, add new seeds, water and tend. We have a 160ft garden and it would take an awful lot of time to edge it. However, what we give our time and love to is what will thrive. Our health, relationships and careers all need time, love and attention too. The grass may be greener elsewhere but that’s not your concern. Water your own grass and watch it grow, add sunlight and see it thrive. Most importantly ignore the lawn and spend time with people you love. Mother Nature will sort it out, it’s a lawn – get a life and make that thrive.

Morals are a luxury. Stand by them

Quote by me.

This Valentine’s Day I asked the Mr to book it off (sometime around Christmas) so that I could book tickets to see Stacey Dooley at the Brighton dome, my friend from work and I went and frankly I needed child care, who said romance was dead.

We had a wonderful evening and Stacey shared clips from her ten year career and some of the horrific people she had met, wild places around the globe she had explored amongst a gentle sprinkle of hope and inspiration.

As we walked back to the car I thought about what I had taken from the experience, once again I was reminded how vile humans can be.

However, what I took from the show was a single comment Stacey had made.

She referred to how living in a western society we live in a place where we can have morals. What a luxury, that I’d never considered? We do have freedom and we can share our opinions. That’s serious privilege that I had taken for granted. It made me realise that in my fortunate position I need to love even harder, that my dreams are achievable and that with compassion there is hope.

I’m not saying life is perfect but I don’t have the worries that come with raising my child in a war zone, equality is achievable and I really do believe tomorrow will be better. If you too have morals, stand by them and wear them like gold cloaks of love. Share those morals on social media, it’s a platform that can be used to uplift and inspire.

Most importantly live each day as a role model of those morals, show them off like a fun, humoured and uplifting t-shirt. Tonight I will go to bed, a little more humble, appreciative of all I have and tomorrow I will wake ready to pursue another step in the direction of my dreams.

You and I are more than friends, we’re like a really small gang

Quote Anon

This quote warms my heart and reminds me of my soul mate. No not him indoors, he’s my equal. My soul mate and I met at university during auditions. Then the stars aligned and we ended up with rooms close together, then a house share and now despite living miles away, we speak daily. My soul mate is my shadow and I am hers. If you are blessed to have a friend that makes you a better person, tell them. This post is all about our small gang.

We complete each other’s sentences, understand each others work issues (she’s also a teacher), we sound the same on the phone and have on many occasions tricked all the Mr’s over the years by pretending to be each other. We are very alike and completely different. She has a huge friendship circle that goes back to her first breath, I hate humans. She loves to upcycle furniture and I like to drink champagne whilst she paints furniture for me. She is kind and thoughtful, she can’t say no. (Yes, I know you’re getting better) I am blunt, she is polite. I’m number one and she’s number a zillion and will put all other beings (even Doug the fat pigeon) before her. We speak daily on the phone and if we don’t I feel like I’ve lost a limb.

Our taste in fashion is different, but I’d know her taste in seconds. We can both cook, clean and love Gavin and Stacey, TV sitcoms like friends, laughing and my son…we love him equally. She always puts him first, sends him parcels; I can’t stand onesies…he rang her and asked her for one (he never asks for anything) as he admires her collection, she sent him a parcel that made him beam. In 2019 she is getting married to her equal. I’m a bridesmaid (along with 80 others, I told you she knows a lot of people), I’ve been a bridesmaid twice in my life, she is annually a bridesmaid for someone and has a closet like Katherine Heigl in 27 dresses. So her moment to shine is a big deal. That said, she’s allowing my son to walk down the aisle carrying the rings in an outfit of his choice. Currently the design involves 8 legs and it has to light up. I don’t need to apologies to her, she knows him and loves him for his wonderful imagination, I know she would be upset if I made him wear a suit that made him align with the colour scheme.

When we are together I feel complete. I wouldn’t be me without her. She is my Clare bear. She’s my better half. Together we are the coolest little gang ever. It helps that somehow we’ve ended up with men folk that are also very different and yet the parallels of similarity are odd.

Being cool, we often sing aloud together in our cars and create new lyrics to songs or poems that make little to no sense but make us laugh.

Thank you for being my bestie, my light in the dark times and my shadow enjoying the lighter aspects of life with me. May 2019 bring you all you desire and more…if like me you have a really small gang, tell them. To show others you appreciate them is the highest gift you can give, unless they like gin, then share your gin with them.

When trials come your way, look for the pearls.

Quote confused: could be the bible or song lyrics…or both?

Sometimes things are just meant to be. Currently curled up on my lap is a tiny puppy. We took her to the vets and she is around 6-7weeks old. We aren’t sure of her breed, guesses are mainly around a combination of a Labrador and a springer.

We did want another puppy and was waiting until the new year when the weather was a little warmer. After all who wants to stand in the dark and rain with a puppy…apparently we do now. Even better she’s black so you can’t see her a night without a torch which she likes to dart away from and it’s rained constantly in the UK since she came home.

How this bundle came to be is a little different from the average ‘buy a dog’ story, so I’m sharing it on here. On Friday I went to buy some cider vinegar from a store after work (snobby I know). Outside was an absolutely useless security guard shouting at a man and inflaming the situation, the man was clearly on illegal substances. Shoppers walked past and avoided the area. I asked the man if he was okay (to the dismay of the security guard) I calmed him down and noticed a puppy peeping out of his coat. It was a cold night and I asked him if I could hold her. He had taken them from his girlfriend, the black ones hadn’t sold and he wanted his next hit.

The store has a huge car park in the front of it and you can see cars approaching. He was worried because (rightly so) the guard had called the Police. I explained that I would talk to the police for him and that shouting and fighting wasn’t going to help. He then confessed he had some ‘taken’ jewellery in his coat. He showed me a string of pearls. He wanted help and I said the police would be able to offer that.

The security guard left.

Police arrived and I as promised explained that this man had taken some things he wished he didn’t need to take. That he had some ‘borrowed items’ on him and that he had promised me he would go nicely with them. (All those years of calming down year eleven pupils had come in handy).

He was calmly arrested on several charges and also because he had killed one of the puppies in his coat (I was still holding the other one) it was either too cold or his erratic behaviour had harmed it. I knew I wasn’t going to hand over the ball of fluff in my hands. I followed the Police to the station and the man signed her over to me because “I like her, she’s alright” (nothing like a compliment from a puppy killing drug dealer to set your Friday evening up for success). I didn’t want her to go in to cells while they tried to get her to a rescue home and both the officers and myself were worried she might need be in need of her mum and therefore need a little more care.

I phoned the Mr and said ‘Hi I’m on my way home and I have a puppy on my lap’ he then organised the necessary bits we would need for that night and ‘as long as it isn’t a Dachshund’ we could keep her (one day I’ll get that sausage dog).

Until then we own a bitsa dog (breed: bit of this, bit of that), we stand in the rain outside only for her to wee inside and we all adore her.

After the stolen pearls in the mans pocket and my sons love of Pirates of the Caribbean her official name is #TheBlackPearl (the goodie ship) and we lovingly call her Pearl…or rather ‘No pearl don’t eat that’. To stare at cute puppy pictures check her out on instagram @fridgesays

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.