Keep it simple

Quote by me.

I am privileged. This morning is Sunday and it’s nearly 10am…I’m still in bed. Tea was bought to me and the Mr opened the curtains so the sun shone through. Delicious

I looked out at the bright blue clouds, a rare sight in January. The plants in my room are currently doing a little hip hop dance as the sun kisses them each…it’s been a long pandemic winter so far. This moment to breath is an absolute blessing. I know it won’t stay and I know it has to leave, we have to leave…there are children to be fed, house work to be done… but in this moment I know i’m the luckiest girl in the world and I know another moment as precious as this will come my way.

Whilst waking slowly like a hedgehog coming out of hibernation and twitching it’s nose, I felt hungry… I snuck downstairs and grabbed a bowl of cereal for ease, tossed in some frozen berries and drizzled over some coconut milk. I then diverted back to bed, the satisfaction of the crunch whilst the sun continued to dazzle on my face made me smile.

Grab the small moments of life that bring you joy and don’t be scared to bathe in them. I often find it’s the moments of simplicity that unlock the most magic. The world won’t stop if I finish my tea here, but I will have much more energy to meet the day with and I’ll be a better me for everyone I communicate with.

Small moments of simplicity bring less clutter (something I still need to work on), they are often more cost efficient and I find involve mother nature’s hand; a walk, the call of the tide, a passing cloud or the smell of a rose…

As I was writing this post my Mum called, thrilled. My Great Aunt turned 90 today and was a florist by trade, she’s been in lockdown since March 2020. My Mum sent her some flowers and a card, they were delivered this morning at 9am. My Aunt called to say how happy they had made her, the smell literally leaping out of the box as she opened them, each flower well packed and ready to sing from her dinning-room table. Whilst sending flowers is perhaps a little more expensive, I can’t help but feel for the impact they had they were mere pennies. Passing on joy, gratitude and simplify is also the gift that keeps on giving – plus my Aunt has pleasure for them, my Mum as the giver and I get a bonus burst of gratitude hearing how happy they both are.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, take a moment to look around and find something that makes you smile. You’ll probably find it’s small and simple, yet lights your world like a huge firework display. You deserve that.

Mindset is everything

Quote Anon

If I’m honest I’m not really feeling like 2021 is delivering the joy I hoped for. Then I was reminded that mindset is everything and so I’ve decided it’s going to be the best year ever, whether it wants to be or not.

I’ve wrote many blogs on perspective and this post is no different, when you choose to sit in the good, the bad often dissipates, it never leaves as the negative moments make the positive all that bit more joyful thanks to a little thing called contrast.

This weekend I knew how good and thankful I was to lie in and the Mr even bought me tea in bed, I knew it was lovely because the first week in January was made up of brutal gets up where above the duvet it was cold and the world was full of demands.

The Mr then opened the curtains to show me the roofs that Jack Frost had created in the night, he suggested a walk and snug in bed at first I wasn’t keen…then I altered my mindset and reminded myself how Mother Nature always makes me feel better. A frosty walk half an hour later and she didn’t let me down.

Life is made of decisions, we don’t always get to decide the outcomes but we can decide how we feel about them. This year I’m choosing 2021 to be the year that my dreams come true. My other resolution is to never buy another item of clothing that doesn’t have pockets – life is too short and precious not to have a tissue and a lip balm at hand.

What are you going to do this year? Allow the pandemic to nibble at your soul or count your blessings, stop making excuses and do it anyway, I’m picking the second option but adding pockets.

Happy new year and I promise whatever is around the corner will be as good as you decide to see it.

Home schooling, lockdown vol.2 – the winter edition

Four days in to January 2021 in the UK, any hope was slashed by the Prime Minister’s announcement to return to life in March 2020, you have every right to feel the emotions you do; whether you are fearful, angry, bored, or nonplus *or perhaps like me fly between them all like a Meerkat on look out. It’s perfectly normal to not feel normal, that’s the new normal.

However, hope is on the horizon and that’s why I have popped this midweek post together. This time we have several super powers within us and we should unleash them…well it could make all the difference to us and our families thriving in 2021. Although I write as both a parent and teacher, I would also like to highlight that everyone is in their own personal battle at present and hopefully non parents can take some joy from this post too.

Super power one: knowledge: Volume two means there was a volume one. I know you know that, I know things aren’t exactly the same BUT we lived through volume one! Knowledge is power, something I never had last time. This time I can see an end, volume 1 was six months of ‘maybe next week’ a blur, a really long Sunday…this time I know it will end because it did before. Maybe we didn’t all thrive, but it’s well worth taking time to reflect on the things that did work, adapting them where necessary and making them work for the winter edition, hindsight is a beautiful thing – use it. For example, a paddling pool in January probably isn’t going to go down well, but we as a family in vol.1 took the time each day to come together and watch a film, it was a calming time (it was always Disney) and it added a drop of structure to an otherwise chaotic day.

I took the time to ask my son what he wanted to do, sure home schooling was usually part of the day but actually with no commutes we did have time to bake or build some Lego. We went for walks, okay if I’m honest I’m a little walked out but I also know that nature always makes me feel better…do the things that served you last time.

Superpower two: Know your child isn’t behind: You are giving them an experience. Like most adventures in life it comes with highs (we uploaded work to the school site) and lows (no work was achieved and my son claimed corona stole all of the pencils in the house) but it’s how we look at them that counts. My child is where he is academically; I can’t rewind 2020, I can’t push knowledge into his brain, but I can make sure that no matter what he is safe and healthy. Today the juggle was real. My full time job, our home, my sons education, our families sanity, our mental health all rolled into one and it was messy…but it was also good too….

Super power three: Hold on to the gratitude: Being thankful, for whatever small glimmer of hope, joy, love, appreciation you see or feel…it matters. I’m eternally indebted to frontline workers, I’m pleased my family is healthy, that today we are ok, that the internet connection works, that I have the skill set to break down tasks set for my child and can make them applicable to him, that the dog didn’t bark when the postman came and I was on a Teams call for work, that we did our best.

Super power four: Small steps are mighty: This may be part of your existing super power one, but I know that small steps, low expectations and being kind to myself is the only way I can manage at present. I didn’t do all the work tasks I had the intention of completing, by 10am I prioritised them and spread them out over the next few days. I can only do what I can. I did take a few minutes to do a facial this evening so that tomorrow I wake feeling topped up with self love, I also treated myself to a hot chocolate because this life is precious. Small steps with treats along the way make unstructured time’s a little easier. Also, a technique that works well for most children and age groups is Now, Next and then. It works like this: Now we are doing maths, next we will read and then you can play. Forget the rest of the day for a few small steps, when they are heading off to play, remind them that now they are having play time, next they can read and then we will have lunch. Those three small words can give enough knowledge to make your child feel safer. If you have multiple children it might be that time is divided and your ‘Now i’m helping Bethan, next we will go and play and then we will revisit your history work together’ feeling heard is so important and often grounds us far more than Mummy spending 5 hours the night before creating a complex rota that due to a tantrum and a high temp from the baby has all gone out of the window before 7:30am

I hope by reading this you maybe remembered how awesome you already are, that you’ve got this and that with a few super powers under your belt you can achieve anything.

Letting go is an active process

Quote from Alicia Menendez

Firstly, congratulations you’ve made it to 2021! Let’s be honest, it was touch and go…

Now we’ve hit 2021 and the world is crying out for a kinder year and I’m hoping that travel will resume. However, I can’t help but see the usual spiral of diet plans, fitness regimes, goals, coaches, juices, subscriptions being pushed down our throat’s….and that’s great, if that works for you.

However, I just wanted to tap you on the shoulder and remind you that you’re enough just the way you are. Perfectly imperfect.

I personally like to analyse the year and set a few goals, perhaps try something new BUT not by January first. After the year we’ve all expected and the uncertain future that may be ahead, it’s time to slow things down. Take time to reflect, enjoy the process. You may wish to create a mind map or journal on the topic, so unpick the pieces of life’s puzzle that no longer serve you.

In the UK January is cold, grey and not the best time to be motivated. That doesn’t need to be an excuse, so be kind to yourself and make any goals small and achievable based on your circumstances.

New habits take time and so introducing small manageable changes is the best way to optimum success.

Action is needed; so if you aren’t ready to end old patterns that don’t serve you…don’t. Also don’t expect change. I’ve always found best results when I take my time to let go over things that don’t serve me any longer. If you rush the process, you often sabotage the results. An example of this was when I was pregnant and ‘nothing in my wardrobe fitted me’ so I took irrational action and threw away over half of my perfectly good not-pregnant wardrobe. I spent the next three years looking for tops or ‘ that belt’ constantly reminding myself that I’d given it away and it seem cases (basic tops) having to replace them. The same goes for taking on drastic diet plans that leave you malnourished or excessive exercise programmes that give you injuries. Small steps, one at a time…letting go as the quote suggests is a daily practice of moments and blessings, these often lead to more productive changes and take you a little nearer to your happy ever after.

Be kind. Even on your bad days

Quote Anon

Today’s post isn’t long and its message is simple. We all have battles that we face, both internal personal battles and external battles that we may find ourselves in through no fault of our own…so do other people.

It’s easy to be consumed by the now and even the toxicity of the past, it’s much harder to smile on days when you don’t feel like smiling and even harder to push that smile into the world towards strangers.

However, in my experience it’s the light in the darkest of moments, the kindness that comes from people that don’t need to care that is truly special.

As the Christmas season approaches and we all become consumed by…well, consumerism, perhaps in this crazy world of 2020 that we all find ourselves in, the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us is a little extra kindness. It often doesn’t cost a lot and it doesn’t always get noticed but I truly believe the future of the world depends on it (that totally sounded like a marvel film intro)

As the last few weeks of 2020 past and we step into 2021 with a little more hope and a dollop of joy, please add a gallon of kindness to those who need it. You can never be sure who needs it, so aim for everyone. Let the car out of the side road if it’s safe to do so, let the man in a rush pass you by and don’t judge him – you don’t know why he is rushing. Kindness is checking on friends with a quick phone call and knocking on vulnerable neighbours doors to check if they need anything. Open doors and smile.

Smile when people give you eye contact, increase your manners (it’s something adults generally suck at), tell people you love them and give compliments like you’re PollyAnna. Over the years I’ve written a lot about this topic, gratitude and kindness truly matter and usually I write to remind myself.

So if nobody has told you today, your hair looks fab, I love that jumper and I’d like to thank you for dropping by, it’s means the world.

I hope you find what your heart really needs

This is a personal letter to a dear friend but I’d like to think on some level it speaks to us all.

Stock image, rights aren’t mine.

Dear lovely one,

Wow, whilst this year has been like the 90s TV show The Gladiators and we all just want to get to the final to prove we can complete the The Eliminator (read last two words with a game show voice over) in the quickest time, your show has been a little more challenging. Let down by your team mates and told false promises I can understand you’re hurt. That right is yours.

However, you are no rookie and this life has taken you on many challenging adventures all of which you have completed with love, perseverance and a dash of insanity. I wanted to remind you that you are the Ulrika Johnson / John Fashanu of your life, we all are. You introduce and close each chapter, you tell the tale how you want to. You are the presenter and director and nobody can alter that.

I was reflecting this morning on our friendship and realised that you are magical at manifesting. The woman who’s womb was like a crumbling cave made an awesome baby that nobody thought possible. The woman who in the face of some toxic relationships left with her heart full and kind words spoken.

When we lead with love we often attract more into our lives and this is my wish for you. I realise you are only moments into this new chapter and there are many hurdles ahead but I wanted to remind you that nobody, no law and no restrictions can interrupt a woman on a mission. Surround yourself with people who support you and quieten the ones who doubt. I personally will be chanting from the side lines (probably with one of those pointed over sized foam hands) for your success. I’ll continue chanting until you reach your destination. You see you get to pick your audience too and your ‘G-force’ (the cheerleaders name from the game show), remember we are far more resilient when needed, I surprise myself most days.

Whilst there are steps to your next haven, hurdles to overcome ‘The wall’ will be high and ‘Hang tough’ might even try to break you, but I know that you are stronger than a game show challenge.

Much like the quote I began with, I set intentions for you far higher than a location. Beyond ‘The Travalator’ (this was the final challenge in the Gladiators final) I know there will be peace. I hope you find what your heart really needs. To be surrounded by family and love, handled with care and allowed to flourish. I hope the future is kind and that we all have hair like Lightning (serious google that woman’s mane and physique, what an idol). At the moment it’s okay to not know what you need, you have a little one to put first, but in the rare moments of night, or the early hours of the morning silence dare to dream and then watch it unfold.

Much love beautiful x

Beauty is in the mind and not in the mirror

Quote from me! @fridgesays

I feel like every bathroom facility across the globe that has basins with mirrors above should have this around it. As I typed the quote out I internally thought, I know that but I’m not sure I always implement it.

For this reason, today’s post is a reminder that you are unique. You are beautiful. You have features that are superior to others and flaws that make you an individual. When we look at images from silicone valley or we forget that people in the media’s eye often use more filters that Lego have made plastic blocks, be kind to yourself and how you talk to yourself.

Sometimes I feel good in certain outfits at other times they feel like they don’t reflect how I feel and can have the opposite effect.

I can purchase beauty products, buy new clothes, exercise, sleep, eat well and at the end of the day look in the mirror and feel mortified by what I see reflected back. When you catch yourself giving yourself a hard time, you need to become your own fairy god mother – we all should go to the ball. If a girl with pumpkins and rats can do it, I’m sure we all can. I’m a woman with a goldfish, a gecko, a dog, two African snails and a tank of stick insects.

Here’s my godmother recipe:

First, stare in the mirror and laugh at how privileged you are to have a mirror.

Next, step back slightly and decide whether the lighting is doing you any favours or is it more like a light box game from the 1980’s, remember not all light is flattering.

Step three: Like a good friend, reason with yourself. How’s the day gone? Does the frizzy hair represent the rainy school run, are the bags under your eyes due to night feeds and are the spots hormonal? if so..remind yourself that you succeeded to collect your child from school, feed your child and that hormones are a sign of health.

Challenge time, rather than focus on the spots, frizzy hair and bags under the eyes. Look in the mirror and pick THREE features you love. Perhaps it’s your laughter lines that remind you of good times, or your lips, maybe you like your hair up, down or are just glad you found time to wash it.

Lastly, look at your features and think about your loved ones. Do you have the same eyes as your Dad, the curve of your nose is the same as your daughters, how blessed we are to have reminders so near to us…unless your family are douche bags in which case casually miss this step.

Lastly and totally nonnegotiable…create time for some self care. A hot bath child free, a hair wrap or time to do your nails…because like this post stated at the beginning, your beautifully perfect just the way you are and deserve to be treated so.

Do something your future self will thank you for

Quote Anon

Hey lovelies.

Last night we had an amazing full blue moon, which means we were blessed with two full moons in October. Plus Halloween showed up lockdown style and in the UK Boris killed the party with news lockdown the sequel will be released later this week. *nobody likes sequels

Emotions are high, energy patterns seem confused and I’m sat here on a Sunday morning snuggled in a warm towel. This may not seem something necessary for me to share but for those that know me – things have changed.

You see I believe in creating pockets of joy in everyday. Self care is my shadow and I often make negotiable (dependant on the days demands) moments of self love everyday. With my cup full I’m in a great position to serve those I love. Sunday evenings however are non negotiable – a luxurious, child free pampered bath is my ritual. It helps me prepare for the week ahead and involves exfoliating, hair masks, nails, candles, fancy drinks in fancy glasses – the full spa package. Except it’s 10am and I’ve just got out of the bath….

I never understood day bath people. Draped in my fluffy white towel I’ve now become one. I told you things had changed.

I woke up and went downstairs and somehow between my cosy duvet and the reality of another rainy day in the UK I got cold. When I get cold, unlike Elsa everybody hears about it but not in an empowering Disney song kind of way but in a possessed protagonist demon way. It ruins my day and everyone I come into contact with. I sat back on the bed and decided to do something that would make me happy…I’d just had breakfast so didn’t have space for another cup of tea…then the answer came. Why wait until evening for my bath, why delay the delight? Having a bath is something my future self would thank me for, I’d be warm, happy and then align with more joy throughout the day. I turned the taps on to the bath and began an internal argument with myself…‘I never had a bath in the morning unless I’m ill. Who am I? Is this a lazy / waste of day thing to do? The negative doubt continued but the aroma of the bath oils and bubbles (yes I mix both together) called me in.

In the tub with no rubber ducky in sight (rule one of Mum bath club – no kids, no toys, no plastic) I realigned with the joy that the bath gave me and knew instantly I’d made the right choice.

Now as my future self sat on the edge of my bed, fully moisturised and waiting for the my skin to turn back to a normal shade (I love my baths ridiculously hot) I knew I’d made a positive difference and I’d turned a dreary Sunday into a blissful day of hope. I’d also reminded myself that I’m in charge of my own happiness and that sometimes we don’t do things just because we ‘don’t do things’ like morning baths and that’s stupid. Sure, next Sunday normality will be resumed with my evening ritual but for now my happiness is topped up and that’s good enough for me.

My bathing example may seem ridiculous and it probably is, but however small or large the changes in our life need to be to make our future self happy – do them without hesitation. Lose the weight, buy the car, save the money, eat the cake, marry him/her, go on the journey, take a pay drop to do the career you always dreamed about, prioritise you’re happiness in the future. ‘You’ may just thank you in the future, also don’t be surprised at how small somethings that make us happy are.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice

Quote Anon

Before I’m certified crazy and confess all my sins, this quote inspired two thoughts that I’d like to share.

Be cautious of how you talk to yourself: That could be out loud or could be your internal voice. The universe, God, Allah – whatever you refer to it as, doesn’t know the difference between you setting intentions and meaning it, putting yourself down or being sarcastic. It often means we align with negative emotions that we don’t want to keep repeating. I’ve often said in posts that the best advice is to talk to yourself like you wouldn’t your best friend. You wouldn’t watch her/him in the mirror and call out all of their flaws, if you did you could at the very least expect the friendship to end. Instead highlight the good, thank people when they give you compliments rather than feel the need to justify how much you paid for the outfit, look in the mirror and although instinct may lead you to a negative – take a breath and then name two things you like about yourself. The great think about our brain is it’s constantly regenerating new neurone pathways, so make sure those pathways are positive and lead you towards a life you love.

Don’t doubt your own expertise: Again, I often feel this comes down to confidence but so often we don’t own the room. We don’t say ‘we’ve got this’ or we hesitate and minimalise our contribution. We all have unique skills and some we are insanely awesome at – own it. The truth is you’ve probably worked extremely hard to develop that skill set over a number of years, it’s usually a passion that brings us joy. As a teacher I know the best thing I can do with my knowledge is to share it. There are also things we are ‘okay’ at, however often you may be the expert in the room with your ‘okay’ level hat on. Own it. The world would be a much more joyful place if we were keen to shine our love, share our passion and enjoy watching other people’s shadows light up under our light.

Before you head in to the world write down three things you are an expert in. It might be be geology, quantum physics or coding…it might also be cooking eggs (this is one of mine), peeling a satsuma in one go or brick laying – the skills are all neutrally awesome. If you need a wall built, someone who’s skill is ballet isn’t going to cut it. Armed with your own expertise, go out of your way to share it this week and if your skill is making the perfect cup of tea, swing by my house at some point because sharing is caring

Every storm runs out of rain eventually

Quote from Alex Banayan

Being from the UK I’m an expert in all things weather related, you see in England we don’t have a climate, we have weather. Sometimes (and often in the last few weeks) we can have torrential rain and seconds later clear sky’s and something in the sky that resembles the sun beaming down like ‘what rain?’ The key in terms of fashion if you’re ever visiting is layers. Be prepared for cold Mornings, rain, an unpredictable grey sky and if you’re lucky that orange mystical beast of a sun may come out to play…although unlikely.

Alex’s quote above related to storms, they blow over and the clouds run out of rain…a comparison to a metaphorical storm you may be in in a physical sense. Emotions are often temporary and with support, ease and flow you’ll find that emotions too run out of cloud.

However, the true surprise from me is that people strive for the sun. Looking for pure happiness and expecting to stay in it. Think tropical island for a second – too much of anything has its downsides. We think we want the sun until we get burnt, we think we want the snow until we slip on the ice or get lost in a blizzard. We are often surprised when we try new things and like them…actually the real sweet spot in the weather system is a rainbow, the prism of joy that leaps from sun and rain combined.

Don’t spend your days chasing the storm or under grey clouds of doom…it’s temporary, everything is – even you. Instead I double dare you infinity to look for the joy in all weathers, in all emotions and remember it’s only for a short moment, tomorrow may be different and different can be better or worse and if you’re truly blessed you may get a tomorrow after that and that too will be different. Enjoy the contrast in the journey and don’t spend your time looking for an end result.