I turned out liking you a lot more than I originally planned

Quote Anon

I was looking at the Mr today and thought ‘he’s a keeper’ and realised that this quote truly summed up how I felt. So this post is all about gratitude for the relationships I already have. I often think about what I want for the future and always slide into the trap of reflecting on what I lack, but Js Daddy and my Mr F is a non negotiable.

My son is equally amazing but also (only I and the Mr can say this – anyone else who dared would feel my wrath) and absolute w*nk*r. Seriously, he is five years old and can go from a cute an angelic over achiever to a whinging douche bag faster than the speed of light. I really love him though, less so at dinner when he takes 5 hours to eat his meal due to procrastinating and sharing every fact he has ever learnt to anyone that will listen. I did worry when I was pregnant with him that I might not like him. Luckily Mother Nature throws more than enough love between a mother and child moments after birth that lasts you a life time.

Both my boys have helped me to flourish, dared me to dream and supported me when I’ve taken on new adventures. The Mr is a great sounding board and is one of those really annoying humans that is always right, which in the moment is infuriating but with age I’ve learnt to listen to him more and he is a wonderful team member, he also has other skills like taking the bins out and fixing stuff that is beyond my realms of interest.

I remember the early days of dating Mr F and from day one I have never thought I would have a tomorrow without him, he is a constant – how did that happen? The children, the house, the pets and the adult discussions about which wallpaper to pick and the exciting text’s we send each other, the last three from him read…

“We’ve gone to Judo”

“buy bread”

“and milk”

I mean, if thats not romance what is? The other night we were in bed and I said something about how we had basically had a ten year sleepover, whilst reading his book he muttered “the snacks are naff” and we both burst out laughing. We laugh a lot, usually at my expense, or at dogs on YouTube, or at our little dude making sense of the world around him. I never take it for granted though.

Anyway, rather than read my rambling thoughts on the boys in my life, perhaps take some time this week to think about who you are blessed to have in your universe. Not in a Hallmark cards way (those quotes never inspire me), or in a list of what they do for you way, instead I urge you to think about how they make you feel because stirring those emotions is the essence of tomorrows relationships and having a tribe that works for you, that completes your puzzle or that helps you to come construct a better puzzle for the future is worth its weight in Halloumi (I prefer Halloumi to Gold).

Love hard and stay true to yourself.

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Good shoes take you to good places.

Quote by Seo Min Hyun

When my son started school I took a photo of his new shoes, not him by the front door like every other home, but of his new shoes. I then realised something about myself, I mark chapters of my life with my passion for footwear, mainly heels.

Shoes speak to my soul. I have fond memories of going to Russell and Bromley as a child to be fitted for my ‘Start Rite Mary Jane’s’ in the latest colour. The child section was up a winding staircase (totally impractical for parents and little ones), it had a light fluffy carpet and around the edge of the room was a huge, long tropical fish tank. The shoes were expensive, lasted and made me feel like a princess. The new shoe box was often held by me on the journey home (except for, on the winding staircase previously mentioned) with pride and my collection over the years has grown and only increased in quality.

I have high heels that make me smile; some symbolise the break up of previous relationships, I always buy new school shoes for the new term and have shoes purchased following births, deaths and marriages.

I’m not that fond of bags….an impractical sparkly clutch bag and I’m happy. Life is too short for practical black/neutral bags and frankly I take my hat off to those that change their bag daily…hmmm hats I don’t do those either?

I don’t have shoes for every occasion, just shoes that make me smile, feel happy or in some way complete. I only own two black pairs of shoes, may be three (?) and I don’t tend to buy shoes that are cheap and as a result have never suffered with rubbing or blisters. I don’t wear shoes for comfort because how they make me feel is more important.

I asked my son about this quote and in he’s five year old wisdom he said “What’s a good place?” he raises a good point. A good place to me will be different to your perception of a ‘good place’ perhaps thats why there are so many places and so many types of shoes? In my life I plan to go onwards and upwards, it makes sense that a pair of eight or ten inch heel’s are my best companion.

Perhaps, living life in comfort is a priority for you, may be you are simple in expectations and live life exposed – the flip flop may be your choice of footwear?

My son, predictably likes wellies, adventurous and practical in the UK. Quick to put on and in some jarring design.

I make judgements about people on their shoes, do they care about themselves, do they look after themselves / are we compatible? What would your shoes tell me about you and where is it taking you?

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.

Happiness is a state of mind.

Quote by Walt Disney.

I was in work and one of my friends told me an awesome story that involved positive thinking and Disney. Before she could pause for breath, I asked her to write it down. Enjoy…

I recently returned from a magical trip to Disneyland Paris. The trip was fantastic, we saw the parades, fireworks and never had to wait too long in lines for rides. The food was delicious and the weather was (aside from one thunderstorm the first night) gloriously sunny and spring-like.

This was all right up until we went to return home to England. We had booked the Eurostar to take us directly to London, non-stop and then we had another train booked to take us from London back home to the Sussex coast. When we arrived at the train station in Disneyland and were told that due to French rail strike action, that would not be happening. We would instead have to take a train from Disneyland to another station just outside central Paris, then change to a train to Paris central. There we would be told if we had seats on a train 3 hours later than our original planned departure, sitting together with my husband wasn’t guaranteed either. The late departure time would also mean we might not make our train in London.

It was at this moment I took a ‘pause’. This is something I have learnt from both the goddess and spiritual leader Oprah Winfrey and from doing Mindfulness training with school.

The ‘pause’ allowed me to find calm and consider what my reaction would be. So I took a quick inventory of my thoughts and feelings. What was I feeling? Frustration, anger, anxiety?

For example: I might have said to the man (who was actually just a volunteer) something confrontational like “This isn’t good enough”. I could have turned to my husband and taken it out on him “I knew we should have checked this before we came. It’s your fault- you should have checked”. Or, I could have beaten myself up with negative thoughts ‘Why does this always happen to me?’ or ‘You don’t deserve happiness, something always goes wrong’.

Pause and breathe.

Instead my response was this:

To the volunteer at the station: “Thank you so much, I am sure we will work it all out, hope you get home okay too”.

To my husband “It’s a bit annoying but, it will give us a chance to have a couple of drinks at the station as the last send-off of a great trip”

To myself ‘You are calm and can cope with this change of plan. You are grateful you have had a lovely trip with a husband who you have lots of fun with. You will look back on this as an adventure when you are back at work on a dull boring day’ and ‘You do deserve good things and this is a small setback, which you will handle as you do everything that comes your way’.

This is how I handled the situation. With a pause of calm, I was able to engage in positive thought, gratitude, and kindness. Not only to others but to myself.

At Paris central station, as we sat and drank our pints of ice-cold French beer, I heard other people around me complain at officials and volunteers in raised voices and aggression in their faces. Their body language towards family members was tense and dis-engaged. Grumpy children still wearing their Mickey Mouse ears wailed and parents scolded their behaviour briefly, before returning to their negativity towards the officials or each other. (Disclaimer: I fully appreciate I do not have children and I can imagine how stressful travel is at the best of times let alone in these circumstances)

As we finally left the waiting area to board the train, we walked right down the platform to the front of the train. As we boarded, we turned right into a First-class carriage. My husband double checked our tickets. Yes, we had the right seats- we had been upgraded! Not only bigger comfier seats, but this included a lovely meal, with wine and French patisseries.

I don’t know about you but that surely proof that positive thinking works.

Thanks to the lovely Martine for typing this up for me, now I can read this back and remember to pause, breath and go to Disney more often.

Happy is the new rich

Great work from Anon.

Every now and then society enjoys a fad; minimalist living, various diets, exercise comes in an out of fashion – Zumba, HIIT workouts, hula hooping, unicorns and Pom-Pom’s, the list is endless. I’ve noticed that happiness is currently on the pedestal.

This is a fad that regular readers will know I completely adore. Every morning, whether I wake by the sunlight flowing through the window or my son pounces on my head like a meteorite – I choose happiness. It’s a decision that I continue to make throughout the day, most days. Sometimes I forget but then I look at my happiness bank account, I’m wealthy. A quick gratitude list of my assets helps to keep me flowing; abundant in good health for myself and family, a job that I adore (except on Monday mornings when I’m snuggled in bed and the alarm goes off) I am surrounded by a tribe of awesome people…and my dog, candles, books…

Being a millionaire of happiness is pretty awesome. My actual bank manager can’t touch it, I can spend it like confetti and the more I give out, the more I get back…win.

It takes effort and mindfulness, it takes self discipline to redirect my attention when the darkness creeps in – but I will always consciously decide to be happy.

If you live under darkness, then you too can be rich. It starts by doing one thing you enjoy for a few moments and allowing the light in. You’ll quickly find that a few pounds of happiness have been credited to your bank account. However, I fully appreciate that at times professional help is required and self care is needed. The great news is recognising your own needs also credits your happiness account.

I asked my five year old son why happiness was important?

“because it means you can do things that make you smile”

If I feel sad what should I do?

“Lots of things – get a drink, drinking water makes me and my tongue happy”

*warning being happy is highly addictive and is super annoying for anyone who isn’t happy.

** Five year olds are the epicentre of happiness and the true experts. However, ten seconds later they can explode in a ‘Hulk smash’ mentality and truly depict the fragility of being happy.

Be a good person but don’t waste time proving it.

Quote Anon.

The word that sprung to mind was ‘integrity’ when I saw this quote. It’s so important when you have an audience to still do the same things when your audience has gone home.

Being ‘good’ is obviously a word thats open to interpretation, but proving it is something I find people who are often insecure in their self do. Lets face it many people suffer from ‘lack of self love love’ and we certainly all have days where the self love monster eats our souls and spits us out in a top thats too tight, eyeliner thats clearly thicker on one side than the other – and thats only if we can be bothered to open our make up boxes.

Self love aside, there is nothing worse than meeting a person, thinking they are ‘good’ (feel free to enter any other adjective of your choice in here – I’m partial to ‘kind’ and also ‘stupendous’, although I just looked up good in the thesaurus and ‘ship shape’ made me laugh), only to find a few meet ups down the line that they are more plastic than Tiny Tears.

However, don’t despair below I plan to outline my own survival guide of 2018 for surviving and even thriving around these people. Its a comprehensive guide and I hope will be of value to you and others, in true fridgesays manner I have created it in magnets.

In essence, if someone is good to you or others to impress you or so you think they are good, suck up their good vibes like a baby and their milk bottle and don’t worry about their motivations. If they are doing it to impress you, firstly be honoured they give a shizzle and then know that in time people always show their true colours. I believe Phil Collins (legend of the 90’s) created a song around this theme, aptly named ‘True colours” although I can’t recommend the song to you, the video is hilarious with more fist pumps than the average 90s classic.

If you are an ‘impress’ kind of person, take a moment to sit down. Think about your motivations – if you want to bake a cake for people or show kindness and compassion, do it…if you feel socially bound, don’t. I live in a village and my son attends the local school, some of the parents are lets say a little keen to get involved. I am not. If its in my sons interest, I’m there. If its not or of no interest to me, I’ll avoid it like I do day time TV. I couldn’t give a scooby doo what any of the other parents thinks of me…why? because I don’t have the luxury of time to think about them and when I do have time, I’d rather show kindness to those in my tribe. I don’t aspire to be the class ‘rep’ Mum and I don’t wish to meet up with them in the holidays, unless my sons wants to see his friends.

I do think good role modelling is essential to our little peoples lives, and so try to be the best me. This summer I am planning a series of ‘acts of kindness’ to others beyond and within our tribe to educate my son on being grateful for what we have, sharing and giving to those that don’t.

So please, if you are anxious about what others think of you, spend the energy of loving you a little more and I promise what others think will become irrelevant.

You’ll turn out ordinary if you’re not careful

Quote by Ann Brashares.

This quote made me smile. So many people of all ages lack a love for themselves. Why? Most of us are trying to be someone we aren’t. Perhaps not all of the time, but as we juggle all of the various hats on that we wear throughout the day we prefer the fit of some and hide behind others.

During my early teaching years I tried to emulate colleagues who I thought did the job well, or teachers who taught me. It didn’t work. It wasn’t me.

As a mother that was an entirely new hat (complete with ruined core muscles) that took a while to fit. I needed my hat adjusted as I took on the new role. To work out who my mum tribe was, to raise my little dude in our own way and to adjust the hat to fit me. I can’t mum like my mother did, I’m not her, although she is an amazing example, I’m raising my child in a different era with a new journey ahead of us. It took a while and needs constant adjusting but my mum hat is bespoke. It’s me and it fits like a dream.

I’m not sure anyone is happy to live an ordinary life, I think we would all opt for sparkle and quirk. However, there are a few things you need to do to live this life.

  • You need to be brave, to step away from the crowds when it doesn’t suit you.
  • You need a tribe around you that accepts you, cracks an’ all.
  • You need time to yourself, balanced with time with loved ones. There is a lot of research to suggest we ‘are’ the five people we spend the most time with. If these people are ordinary so are you.

I can’t juggle my ever growing hat stand without time for myself; to be creative, to be healthy and to be quiet. The world is a whirl of distractions and so I need to breath and pause, to check I’m on the pathway that best fits me.

This week perhaps you need to check your own hat stand out. The hats that are last season, the hats you hate, the hats you wear because everybody else does. Perhaps it’s even time to buy a new hat. Just make sure the hats are your own design and not made for somebody else.

Happy hat shopping.

Little by little…

A Tanzanian proverb that filled by cup.

Today I want to talk about celebrating. I learnt this from a online entrepreneur who I follow on social media called Lana; she does youtube clips, blogs, master classes and all sorts of delightful enriching and motivating things. I may even be like her when I grow up (although I think she might be the same age as me, plus I do have plans to be a Mermaid). She celebrates anything and everything and lately I have discovered the joy of  celebrating in other people accomplishments. As a British citizen it is by nature that I am meant to be ‘pleased’ for others but not really show it, kick others down where possible and as a women there is also this catty nature of not raise each other up.

Not on my watch.

This week my heart broke for the talented blogger Wendy who is responsible for the fabulous site Naptime natter, as her son was rushed into hospital extremely ill and with doctors not really able to tell her what it was (although thank heavens it wasn’t Meningitis). Through Instagram she shared her worries, thoughts and it gave me and others an opportunity to send her some much needed love. (The blogging community rocks at times), however today (22.02.18) the photograph we had all been waiting for was released – they are home safely. Hurray for medical expertise, the power of positive thinking and her child being a little warrior.  I do not know her, but I felt relieved. I commented that I’d be celebrating this weekend and I blooming well will did. I opted for a cocktail and toasted her families triumph. I then toasted and was/am grateful for my own families health. Celebrating makes you feel good. Celebrating for others is also super fun. My last Champagne toast was for a friends birthday (even though she wasn’t really celebrating herself or with me), in the week little dude bought a beautiful piece of work home – we celebrated, this time with a more appropriate child friendly hot chocolate (with whipped cream), later that week we celebrated again with a pizza party thanks to a sticker regarding his improvements in reading. *note to self: not all my celebrations are food motivated.

Life is too short and like the quote states – too little, to wait for my next birthday, invite to a party or even Christmas. The journey is more joyful with little moments of celebration and recognition as you go…a little celebration makes for a life of parties. That’s the kind of life I’m interesting in living.

Interested in the party lifestyle? Time for some homework: this week I urge you to celebrate as many times as possible. When your child read’s well, blow up some balloons that you’ve got stashed in the draw. When a friend tells you they have a promotion – toast that! When you get some social media comments that make you smile, dance. Seriously, spontaneous dance parties in my kitchen are very common and a bonus is you can burn calories that you can then use later in celebration of something else. (Oops the good things back again)

Its often the little moments, the little wins and the little memories that stay with you. Create some fun this week and comment below with your antics (I can then use these as an excuse to further rejoice in).

I like my music so loud I can’t hear my thoughts

Quote Anon.

We are a musical family. My record player is blasting from the kitchen, in the car the base is always turned up and even in bed I often hit Spotify for some relaxing melodies to drift me off to the land of nod, bath music is often classical and did I mention music in the garden too. However, one thing is true – I adore my music turned up loud.

My personal music collection is eclectic and I tend to pick a different genre depending on the time of day, mood I’m in or mood I wish to create.

There is also a power in the silent moment of life which id like to acknowledge and have previously written about. However, when my mind is overloaded with lists of things to do, or if I’m building myself up for the day ahead – I often quieten my brain with my music turned up LOUD. I am totally a karaoke car Queen. I also thankful to Bluetooth, which means people now think I’m on the phone rather than giving myself a pep talk, raving, jiving or am a pop princess. Sometimes I make up lyrics to classical pieces (warning this is a simple way to destroy the power of Mozart in seconds), however if you often get anxious, are an over thinker or generally find your brain a hard place to be then music can be a pleasant vacation; you also don’t need to prebook via a travel agent, it’s often free and jet lag never occurs. In my opinion the louder the better helps to push away the outside distractions and internal frustrations.

How do you use music to control your emotions?

Remind yourself that you cannot fail at being you.

Quote by Wayne Dyer.

As we approach the end of the first month of 2018, I felt this quote resonated with every human on the planet who had set a new goal, challenge or New Years resolution. Particularly those who have already hung up their gym pass, quit the diet or has found their soul drowned in another bowl of soup… it happens.

For goal setting targets I’ve written several posts Click here to read why it pays to be stubborn but at perhaps a time that you have ‘failed’ ‘given up’ or realised that dry January isn’t an excuse to drink gin for a month (*I was sad when I heard this too) I want to remind you that you are awesome just the way you are. Sounds sickly I know, but it’s true. You are good at being you. I promise that if you have kids they love our imperfections and all; although I wouldn’t directly ask them. This week I curled my hair and my son (four years old) told me I looked like Rapunzel. As a Disney fan I was blown away – until he corrected me that it was the witch he was thinking of.

I don’t want to bring my children up in a world where perfection is ‘plastic fantastic’ where desirable looks can only be accomplished by a thousand filters and the social media acceptance of an abundance of hearts, likes and comments. I don’t want humans to become robotic and only come in ‘one size fits all’, our imperfections create our beauty.

We all have talents that vary from scientist geniuses, medicinal wizards and international superstars… I make a fantastic roast, can occupy a toddler in a car for multiple hours and give good hugs (not all at the same time), I make a good friend, kind teacher and feel accomplished most days.

As we jump into February I urge you to take five minutes, pour a coffee and write a list of everything you like about yourself. I advise you to be kind to yourself; treat yourself to those new jeans, the shoes or that ‘thing’ that floats your boat. If I was a doctor I would prescribe you with a luxury treatment, a trip to the cinema, or a date night that’s overdue… if you have a new born then I’m adding a hot drink to that prescription. Allow February to be the month you made time for self love, for gratitude for all you do have. I promise it’s more than most.

You’re the best and being you. You’re already winning in 2018, you don’t need to change a thing.