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.

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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.

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).

Bread and water can easily be toast and tea

Quote Anon, but I wouldn’t mind betting the writer was English.

A stereotype that I completely fall in to is my love for a cup of tea and I’m also partial to a slice of toast. Toppings vary but somehow melted organic butter (no manufactured margarine in this house) usually hits the spot. Women in UK hospitals are often given tea and toast after labour and so many of my friends mention it as one of the best meals of their lives.

However, like many of the quotes I resonate with, this is all about perspective. I was listening to the classic Christmas track ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ and couldn’t help thinking, do they care? It would seem to me and many of my friends who have travelled to parts of Africa that they are happier than us without snow and tinsel. Being a glitter fan, I think a row of sparkly lights would enhance Africa but ultimately they are content without much of the nonsense we in the consumerism world feel are necessities. This I feel is something we should all take note of.

Happiness is a choice. Perhaps water and bread is something many of us take for granted and may be even some of us forget the joy of a cuppa and a slice of toast. This winter, I shall be looking for the joy in the simple treasures, they’re always the best. I like a glass of water when it is cold out of the tap, we always have wholemeal bread – therefore a fresh white cottage loaf from our local bakers its heavenly, cut thick with butter (obvs). There can be joy in bread and water too, should you choose to notice.

I’m editing this post on Christmas Eve. Its my favourite day of the festive season. Its like standing on the cusp of excitement. The presents neatly stacked, awaiting Father Christmas’s arrival, friends for Breakfast (seriously how good are homemade Pancakes, crispy bacon and maple syrup), a bucks fizz with friends, a trip to the local with our neighbours…a slow walk home in the dark (our village doesn’t have street lights) and admiring the houses with their Christmas lights shining bright….then a family tradition of a large cheesy pizza and watching Home Alone. Nice.

Before you get caught in the whirl of Christmas, take a pause and absorb the joy. There is always a sparkle to be found, should you choose to see it.

Merry Christmas to all and to all, a Cheese pizza night.

If I ever let my head down, it will just be to admire my shoes

Quote by the sensational Marilyn Monroe.

Firstly, friends sometimes in conversations ask questions about who you’d invite to a meal of celebrities both alive and departed; Marilyn would defiantly be at my gathering. Despite her iconic following, we share a love for shoes and so this quote absorbed my soul. I think she would probably have some feisty opinions and yet to me she seems fragile and vulnerable all at the same time. Who would you invite?

This quote also helps me reflect on two completely opposite perspectives, the first is probably rather shallow. BUT OH MY, I LOVE SHOES. Never understood a handbag girl, never liked accessories, not too fussed about hats but give me a high heel and I can take on the world. Measuring in at 159cm’s (yup, I never left the kids department) and with size two pied’s my collection is extensive and sparkly and the higher the heel the happier I am. I’m not a great fan of flip flops, flats or anything remotely practical, with perhaps the exception of a trainer ( actually many of my trainers have heels?) or converse. Ive been totting in heels for more than two decades and I wear them most days – all day. My one rule when it comes to shoes is; you never take them off. Why? because you will never get them back on and over the years Ive probably become immune to the pain and they make me so happy, this leads to my second ultimate weapon. I look down at my shoes for courage, joy and happiness. If I have a horrendous meeting to attend, a super long day of back to back meetings – I reach for the shoe that excites me the most. During the dull day or perhaps if Im in a pressured situation I look down and smile. It instantly lifts my spirits and in turn the frequency I’m operating at. I will be over a hundred, draped over a sparkly pink zimmer frame and still be in a classic stiletto for this very reason. Heels are my equivalent to superman’s cape or Thor’s hammer. I also practice yoga weekly to prevent joint issues and counter balance the harm a heel does to posture.

On a deeper level, Marilyn was probably talking about being confident and holding her head high. Mannerisms play a key part in being successful. In moments of self doubt and when the darker days are dawning, letting your head fall can be the beginning of the end. I imagine Marilyn faced many people who tried and perhaps succeeded at attacking her soul. As a human grown in the soil of earth I have definitely had my share of people making me feel inferior, inadequate or taking chunks of my self doubt. Sadly, I probably have also done the same to others without even knowing it… but there is something I am teaching my son to prevent him from ever having to look down (plus Thors hammer is priced at £26 in the Disney store and its not practical for him to take to school, so we needed an alternative). Its simply the thought process that you allow other people to make you feel a certain way. If someone tells me a joke, I choose to laugh (or run), If someone says an unkind comment, I either allow it in or like a mirror reflect it back at them, not necessarily in retaliation but in the essence that the comment is a reflection of them, they said it. I don’t have to listen, feel or absorb it. Its me that looks down at the ground or chooses to look up to the heavens.

Sounds easy? Like a perfectly poached egg it requires the right conditions to thrive (water, heat, and time) and on rare occasions it can be useful to over cook a poached egg to know how you like it. Contrast is essential to happiness; you can’t know what you want, until you know what you don’t want. You can’t always be as strong as Thor’s hammer because for one, we don’t all have access to Uru – the Asgardian precious metal and secondly humans are designed to bleed. Sometimes people will hurt you, usually the closer they are to you the harder they hurt. In daily life I feel we can choose to look up a little more, deflect more frequently and only look down because frankly its a day where my shoes bring me happiness.

 

Embrace the glorious mess you are in.

Quote by Elizabeth Gilbert

I often write when the family has settled (AKA doing other things away from me) or I have some time to allow my thoughts to type themselves up – its true, I often haven’t a clue what I’m going to write about, I just have an urge to type or my head feels overwhelmed and there is an inbuilt need to ‘type it out’.

Today I feel overwhelmed to type and armed with a cup of green tea, my MacBook Air and a vase of pretty flowers my bestie bought me you’d think i’d be ready to write in solitude and Instagram greatness…look a few inches from my dining room table and my son has turned my living room into a scene from a horror film, Star Wars is blaring from our TV and chaos incapsulates my home as the kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it, Mr F is stomping around the home looking for something he has put down several days a go (I’ll give him a few more minutes of searching and then put him out of his misery, as I locate said item in thirty seconds with my inbuilt mother vision detective device; seriously I’ve got skills when it comes to finding lost socks, cufflinks or keys since giving birth).

My son has just interrupted me to ask me to read him a story. I stopped typing and read to him.

I read a lot about motivation, affirmations, letting go, manifestations and goal setting. Whilst I realise that to move on and up we need to visualise, make progress steps and surround ourselves with positive people, today Ive decided to embrace the chaos.

Letting go

Sure my entire home isn’t the way id like it, I hate my kitchen (new kitchen coming soon), there is often too much clutter and everything doesn’t have a place. Working full time means I don’t always have time to clean to the standard I would like and this can cause me to become anxious, although saying that I probably prioritise family over dusting if I did get a day for such things. Beyond the home, balancing work and play often gets befuddled and there are periods of time when the plates I’m spinning crash to the floor and slowly with the help of loved ones I brush myself off and pick up the pieces of plate scattered around me, often there is also a phase of life where there are sharp edges all over my life that I have to avoid stepping on – broken plates like life often throw a pointed edge into the mix. However, if I look at my living room and past the chaos, my son is happily playing in a giant box in the middle of his toys. The box is Gotham city and he is jabbering contently about Batman saving the city from ‘the clutches of the Joker’. I’m learning that if you let go over the negative, a positive scene is often playing out right before your eyes.

Im not adulting today

Growing up I thought that adults had it made, that they knew everything and had all the answers, its probably why we all step up the ‘growing up’ phase in the teenage years in hope to get to the good bit. Only to find its a trap.

Being an adult is a bit like a toddler in a pushchair; you spend your entire shopping trip trying to convince your parents to let you out of the chair and the rest of the trip trying to get someone to carry you or let you back in the chair for a comfy snooze. I am that adult trying to avoid making decisions, stepping away from responsibility and avoiding paying bills like the plague.

Every now and then I allow myself a day or a few hours from being an adult, today is that day. My son can eat chocolate for every meal if he wants and the house chores can wait until tomorrow. I may prioritise painting my nails and I will certainly be wearing stretchy clothes because I am bound to also eat far too much chocolate and the extra elastic will help. I will drink far too much tea and may play some of my vinyls too loud. I will play with my son the games he wants me to play, even though I haven’t a clue about ‘The force’ or the galaxies he finds delight in.

I will submerge into the now and let go of the routine… tomorrow I’ll adult and use ‘The Force’ that I’ll learn about later today to clean this place up to an adult standard, tomorrow I will discipline and create structure…but today I will let go and enjoy the glorious mess that life has given me, I’ll choose to see through the mess and enjoy the moments of sparkle.

Now lets put that kettle on…

Zoe’s Christmas wish 

I hope the festive season is all that you hoped for, that santa was kind and loved ones (where possible) were near. I have a story that I’d like to share, it’s my interpretation of what Christmas means and it doesn’t involve a Mary, or a donkey – it does however involve an awesome thirteen year old called Zoe and some light up Polar Bears. 

Let’s set the scene…it’s mid December and just before the real FC jumps in his sleigh and works some serious overtime the wonderful local Lions charity come around our village with a santa representative on a sleigh (back of a van) with loud music, lights and elves that collect change but also give the children gifts. Last year my little man adored it but sadly for all sorts of reasons the event wasn’t happening this year. 

Enter the heroine of this story, Zoe. I’ve never met Zoe but I have read Facebook messages from her mum on our village page. Zoe has the gift of Autism which means traditions are sacred to her daily structure and the Lions charity event formed part of her Christmas preparations. However it wasn’t the disruption to herself that was the cause of her angst, she was devastated that the children in our village would miss out…

In her words: ‘the children won’t get flutterbys (excited) if santa doesn’t come or give an early present. Mummy can we make a grotto in our garden? I will buy the presents myself with my pocket money and the children can come here to get flutterbys…I don’t want the children to be sad.’

Zoe took her own pocket money and bought lots of toys, she wrapped them and then a few days before Christmas, she (via her Mum on the Facebook page) invited the children of the village to her front garden, lights ( some seriously cute polar bears), sweets and a gifts were on offer and best of all (in my little mans eyes) a snow machine. 

Her Mum mean while was worried that nobody would attend. We did and so did many others. Unfortunately we arrived too early to meet Zoe as she was overwhelmed by the people and the noises and stayed in her room, popping in and out when she could. For Zoe the event that was a few hours in length caused sleepless nights and an abundance of anxiety. However, an update on the Facebook site later that evening thanking everyone for coming and mentioned that she did come down, stayed and even spoke to some people. That’s seriously courageous. 

I’m blessed to work with teenagers aged eleven to sixteen and they often have a bad reputation. I’ve also worked with Autistic children for most of my working life. The behaviour issues and negativity of the condition are well known rather than the potential they offer. At a time when people are consumed by wants and desires;  Zoe made the choice to give to complete strangers, she has taught my family about love, compassion and giving which is what the season is really about, isn’t it? 

The event also meant that Zoe had to defeat the constraints that Autism can have in order to be part of the event, she was resilient and in my  opinion brave. For one evening she over came the fear, the sensory overload and she won. She won my heart and she taught me and my son the true meaning of Christmas. 

*Thank you to Zoe and her Mum for letting me share this tale with you all.