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.

Jingle all the way

Lyrics from Jingle bells

I went with this quote for selfish reasons…it looks festive on my fridge, but it also has a seasonal message that you can apply all year long.

The vibration that we put out in to the world is often what we attract back. Karma, derived from India is now accepted in many cultures as ‘that which you put out in the world, you receive back’. Hinduism and Buddhism sometimes connect this with reincarnation but often it’s spoken in the moment.

Today I watched 20 children play Rugby in the rain, my son came home looking like he had had a mud wrap in a spa. A bubble bath and a couple of loads of washing later meant order was restored but upon reflection nobody moaned about being cold on the pitch, parents didn’t grumble on the sidelines and even when my son went for a tackle and face planted to the ground,he got up and smiled. For me, this is a classic ‘jingle all the way’ moment. The children haven’t been able to play Rugby for a while, despite mother nature’s down pour they were thrilled to be back, parents were wrapped for the elements and the perspective was on learning, improving and having fun…

In hindsight, the Rugby game could of been a miserable morning, I could of grumbled about the extra washing…instead we had a giggle and it was a positive experience for all…except the dog, she got cold and was shivering.

I’m not sure that 2021 is going to be significantly better than this year, in honesty I have so much to be thankful for this year and many cherished moments at home with my family BUT I am going to watch my ‘jingle all the way’ and add a little more sparkle to 2021 created simply by giving out positive energy. I may well receive even more joy back and if not, it’ll make for a more pleasant experience.

Dust off your bells and enjoy the lighter moments life has to offer, celebrate the small successes and know that time with loved ones is precious.

Merry Christmas

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.

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

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle

Quote from James Keller

Another week whisks past and many are still finding their feet, understandably.

This quote from James Keller reminded me to pause and reflect on how I can serve others. Sometimes it might be just a smile or making someone a cup of tea, a hug or perhaps picking up the phone and checking on a loved one.

If your cup isn’t full then I suggest you top your own cup up (and add sugar) first. However, if you have some to spare I often find the smallest gestures can enhance others and like the quote suggests it won’t dim your light.

In fact often, spreading the light can raise happiness levels in teams, families or tribes. Perhaps making some cakes and taking them into the office might bring some joy to others, maybe leaving a post-it on someone’s desk to show you appreciate them is all they need, the small flickers of light, like the night sky make for a beautiful night sky over all. Today I sold some houseplants on Facebook and a lady was delayed as she has locked her keys in her car, the RAC were out but she was clearly distressed. I told her there was no rush and I’d hold the plant for her, but when she arrived I gave her a bonus mini plant as well, her smile was enough to make it worth while. When we feel like the world is against us, it often only take a small connection to relight our energy again so that we can shine. Constellations create wonderful images when we join together, in this crazy universe beauty can be found when we do just that.

This week make time to give a little, love a lot and sleep with gratitude as your base – it’s the recipe for success for you and the universe.

Don’t be eye candy, be soul food

Quote by…

This quote makes me overflow, it makes me excited and I feel the need to put this in neon lights (* adds that to my to do list).

Physical appearances are subjective, they change with and like the seasons. Also, different people are attractive to different people. Now, before you stop reading this because you feel I’m stating the obvious, Im writing this because there are multi billion pound corporations preaching to us what is assethitically pleasing? That I find odd. 

I don’t need a chef to tell me if I like the food I’m eating, but it would seem humanity likes to be told what’s fashionable, what’s acceptable – the eyebrows are in and they are huge. Working in an all girl school for over a decade I can tell you that they can look gorgeous or absolutely terrifying. 

I once had to collect a girl from a lesson as she took the ‘natural’ make up policy to a new level. She began to cry, her reaction to me offering wipes and the time to ‘tone it down’ devastated her. So we spoke it through and she explained that she’d woke up early to apply the ‘many’ layers as she was meeting a boy after school and clearly she really liked him. As I helped her wipe away the ‘concealer’ we spoke about what she liked about him. I asked her what his eyebrows were like, she wasn’t sure. I altered the conversation and highlighted why I thought she was soul food, her assets. On the Monday morning she came to tell me something I already knew – he prefered her without the make up. For a 14 yr old girl this was a revelation, for anyone that’s actually spoken to member of the male population its common news that they aren’t a fan of excessive make up. Whilst they lived happily ever after for a handful of weeks until she moved on to someone ‘even fitter’ it made me reflect on what she had learnt about herself, that said full on make up can be fun to in the right setting and I think its essential that we try to keep judgements on peoples appearances to ourselves, comments that are often meant with love can shatter hearts and leave our confidence in a puddle at our feet. 

Perhaps your soul food is wearing bright colours or expressing yourself through tattoo’s or maybe you feel your best in comfy pjs and rocking a messy bun….the look is irrelevant, its how you use that look to fuel your soul that matters. When we know we look good, a giddy smile beams out of us like a search light and it highlights other peoples joy too. When we receive a compliment we are much more likely to see that energy reflected back to us.

Honesty is a very expensive gift, don’t expect it from cheap people

Quote by Warren Buffet

This quote made me smile. Then I realised it’s truth, after all if someone is dishonest to you, it’s probably for their own gain and that’s cheap.

I’ve met many people from many walks of life and the wealthiest people aren’t always the richest. There is often richness in freedom and nature, simplicity and joy. Usually, financially wealthy people are found in office blocks or networking gatherings, tied to a computer or phone. The poorest people lack integrity and friendship, love and gratitude and sometimes money lines their pockets.

I’ve deliberately blurred the words we associate with our economy because although it makes the world go round, we all know there are other qualities that are valuable.

Honesty and trust are crucial in creating bonds in relationships. Playing games can be fun, until you get burnt but usually there is more to gain in a relationship where you can be you, where you can laugh together, be serious together and navigate each other’s pathways together. In a honest relationship you don’t need to be on the same pathways either, as long as you both set out your intentions.

I once dated a cheap man. I was lucky and escaped the lies and lack of integrity. He was transparent and nobody wants to date cellophane. Our friendship circles overlap and over the years he has continued to treat people poorly, using them or manipulating them for his own gain. I’ve actually learnt a lot from him about how not to be a friend or partner, but more importantly about creating boundaries.

This quote inspires me to know my worth, to look for richness, to create relationships that are held together with love, integrity and sparkle. To walk with my head held high (to keep my tiara in place) and to never settle for less than I’m willing to give.

If you have some cheap people around you, perhaps leave them at the goodwill shop the next time you’re passing. You’re worth much more.