I have neither the time not the crayons to explain this to you

Quote Anon and it doesn’t disappoint

Welcome to the home of positivity, this quote may seem negative but today I’m going to ask you to pour your crayons out in front of you and colour your life.

For those who have never had the pleasure of owning a box of new crayons they are joyful, pointed tips ready to create whatever your imagination can explore, the further you explore the need to peel the paper around the edge will be necessary. *almost as satisfying as peeling dry PVA glue

Sharing crayons can be fun, as long as those around you respect the rules of colour, mine go something like this; don’t hoard all the colours, no snapping, colouring over the lines isn’t the end of the world – this is fun, put them back in the box tips upwards after you’ve completed your masterpiece, don’t squish the box.

Where am I going with this? Diversity is amazing, but surround yourself with kindred spirits, people (or crayons) who help you to grow and complete your work of art, people who make you feel good and except your boundaries, who share their crayons too, or add new perspectives.

Jim Rohn postulated that ‘we are the 5 people we spend the most time with’, newer research suggests it’s far larger than that. We become what we are surrounded by, and can even be shaped by friends of friends. How do you get the best out of your crayon box of life? By reviewing your network regularly, from family to work colleagues – many of these we can’t change but we can often limit interactions, create space and be aware that we are eternally growing. Just as I wouldn’t expect my son to fit in the clothes he wore when he was a toddler, why would all of the people I worked with ten years ago still be as relevant in my life now? Every now and then life throws you a precious metallic crayon and I urge you to hold that crayon dearly, but often the crayon box of life is full of ‘raw sienna’ and that’s useful and pleasant for short periods of time (when drawing tree trunks) but unless like my son you enjoy drawing turds the crayon has its limits.

Crayons have a life expectancy too, much like us, don’t spend your time with people who snap your crayons and leave you with a bunch of stubby ends. Instead once the crayons of life have been used, be able to look up and admire your work of art in all its finery for many years to come.

Happy colouring all.

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A smile is a curve that sets everything straight

Quote by Phyllis Diller

It’s late at night and I’ve been exhausted all week, you think I’d be snuggled up in bed, but I feel the need to vomit words all over this screen – so here I am typing, no plan and no agenda, just a over tired woman and the need for some typing therapy. Ahhhh I’m already smiling.

Lets talk about the humble smile…a simple smile is the easiest and cheapest way to live longer, give your health an over all make over (it reducing your chance of heart disease, lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress). New research even suggests that it increases your chances of success and it makes you more attractive to a potential partner or new born baby; seriously babies love a cheesy grin.

So with these facts in mind why don’t we smile more, do smile-aerobics, smile indulge diets (like a diet but increasing not decreasing – yup I made the phrase up), why don’t we take time to laugh, like we make time to do chores or attend important meetings?(*any meeting that claims to be important are always extra dull and guarantee to be pointless). Honestly, I’m not really sure of the answer, but its something that I think adults should do more.

I’m lucky that I never lost the ability from my childhood to belly laugh – I’m talking full tears, can’t breath, abdominal workout, could possibly die, hard core LAUGH. I do this most weeks and several days of those weeks. Maybe whilst reading this you’re pondering on when you last ‘lost it’ in the giggle department? Mine was yesterday when one of my GCSE pupils used Hannah Montana as an answer in her MOCK exam, or two days before that when one of my yr 7 pupils was in a drama lesson being a shark (obviously) and her jaw ached so badly in rehearsals that when she drank from her water bottle her mouth muscles spasmed sending the water the wrong way and out popped the water via her nose…yup, kids are funny. My son comes out with killer phrases of both joy and oddness most days, his five years old, so humour and naivety are his friends.

I’m not sure I can teach you how to belly laugh? I think it comes from living in the moment and not being afraid to control situations. I think its helped by watching youtube clips of cats falling, babies giggling and humans failing. wikihow has a link to ’11 steps to laugh more’ (with pictures) which I haven’t linked because I think its rather sad. I think we all have belly laughs waiting to explode within us and would totally encourage you to release them.

Mr F, as regular readers will know is a grumpy human, his face falls in a nature frown and very few things make him chuckle or smile even slightly. He mainly smiles when I’m rolling on the floor laughing at something and I’m in pain from it. Seriously, pain makes him smile – mainly at my expense. That’s the absolute joy of smiles, they come in all shapes and sizes and what makes an individual smile is unique to them.

TASK:

Write down three things that make you laugh / smile. My ‘try not to think before you type’ ideas go something like this:

  1. watching stand up comedians
  2. people watching
  3. horrendous ‘Dad jokes’ (Need to build an ark – I Noah a guy)

Now you have your list make time to do these every week, then daily and I promise you’ll be healthier and see many advantages, then add to the list of things that make you smile, there will be so many more than just three. I’m also partial to an old school cartoon like Tom and Jerry or Henry’s Cat. Laughing is contagious, so if you smile it also boosts those around you.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve had a seriously heavy week of being an adult, stress levels were high, responsibility lists were long and juggling home, work and life was a challenge – time to pop of some cartoons on I think?

Please comment below with either the things that make you laugh or your favourite Dad joke (the lamer the better) and when I’m feeling overwhelmed i’ll pop back for a smile through the comment section 🙂

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.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

Quote by Albert Einstein

Seriously, just as you think Albert can’t get any cooler, you find an awesome quote like this.

This seems super appropriate as I’m currently on a coach driving back with fifty year seven pupils (eleven years old) after a theatre trip on the last Friday before the end of term #exhausted #crazy

However, the show we went to see was spectacular and they loved it (I loved it). The theatre never seems to let me down. Plus much like being a Parent when you take children, you get to see the show through their eyes…only in a Teachers case we times it by fifty. It’s a huge honour and one hundred percent a bonus of my career choice.

Teaching Drama is also pretty special, sure there are some down sides – mainly when they try to attempt horrendous American accents that they’ve copied off of the latest box set they’ve seen and most days are full of ‘cringe’ moments, but there are also frequent rays of delight and I can always laugh at something one of my cheeky chicks say. Today on the coach on the way up one of them pointed out (with excitement in her voice) the place her cat was killed and another pair discussed the magic of Christmas…yup they still totally believe.

Watching the show tonight reminded me how lucky we are to have such talent. The actors were sensational and the production incorporated acrobatics. Creativity is incredibly fun but also essential to our mental wellbeing. Whether it’s getting lost in literature, settling into a theatre seat or perhaps drawing, painting or making, I believe our imagination is crucial to our health and perhaps more than five portions of fruit and veg a day.

However, there was a sad side to tonight… many seats in the auditorium were empty. So, this post is going to become a British broadcast, with no political views. *Please use our theatres to protect the arts for our children and future generations. Take your family to performance of dance or acting, music or comedy…give experiences this Christmas and for birthdays to come, rather than more clutter that nobody needs and ends up dusty on a shelf. The theatre makes me breath easier and according to Albert – more intelligent, double win.

Owning less is better than organising more

Quote by Joshua Becker

This quote resonated with me as I have a dream. To live in a minamilist house with a few precious objects. White clean lines and quality rather than quantity…

The current reality is a three bedroom house full of plastic (seriously my child is a plastic magnet), dog hair and crap that I might need ‘one day’. I’m not a hoarder or collector and I’m not a fan of ornaments, I like objects to have purpose SO WHY DO I OWN SO MUCH STUFF? I don’t go shopping that often and over the last few years I have refused to shop in many high street shops swapping quantity for classic pieces that are better quality, I even have a charity bag on the go all the time….still we have stuff everywhere? 

My house is like some sort of Bermuda Triangle of stuff, it seeps in through the cracks and clutters the side boards and surfaces. I’m purposely using the word stuff as I’m not sure what we have… most of it is practical, used and loved and I’m even thinking of moving house as an excuse to chuck it all (the actual reality would be a million boxes I’d never get around to unpacking and probably the purchase of even more stuff)

So, for once I don’t have the answers, not even close. Instead I’m asking you for advice on how to minamilise before I suffocate in stuff and drown in a pile of a toys. My living room looks like Toys R Us and only the bathroom is clutter free; even then I have to keep an eye on the ratio of bath water to plastic toys in my sons baths. Work surfaces that I clean are filled in an instant, Paper flows through our letter box like the scene from Harry Potter – the irony is that only one local take away will actually deliver to our village, so why do I need 65 flyers of exotic food that I can’t order? Then, why do those flyers get stuck on sideboards around the home, poked in corners and laid on the bottom of our staircase for days, weeks and in some cases months. 

Sorry to rant, although I do feel better – they say writing is therapy after all? In this case any practical tips would be welcome in the comment section, because honestly owning less would be so much less organising… 

Love a Minimalist wannabe x 

Know your worth and then add tax 

Okay, so this quote from Anon is going straight into my top twenty of self love quotes! (Yes, that’s right people I used an exclaimation mark) 

I recently posted a YouTube post on my facebook wall from Kristina Kuzmic (link here because it’s well worth a look), I love her feisty vibe and so once you’ve taken a peep imagine I too am sitting in a bubble bath of joy with a glass in my hands as tall as the Eifle Tower. (* reality disclaimer: no drink, sat at the top of the stairs hiding from my family so I can write in peace) 

This YouTube clip combined with this quote makes me feel like Beyoncé on stage in her element. It’s absolutely crucial that as role models of the human race we all make ourselves number one. Why? Because this in turn allows us to serve others (loved ones and the odd  stranger who may need a helping hand) way better. When I’ve had some ‘me time’ I literally can take on the world. It allows me to gain a better perspective on the state of the universe and at the same time prevents me from starting arguments / world wars over how towels are folded, toilet seats left up and all those other household triggers. This in turn makes me easier and way more accommodating to live with. 

But there is a second bonus: my health is better as a result of indulging in myself. I’m emotionally stable (*kind of) and physically healthier. So how do I make time…I ask others to help me out. Whether that be an evenings child care / grandparent indulgence, or I ask Mr F to take over while I sit on the stairs and get this written. 

I also don’t priorities housework and chores over myself. I sometimes wake up earlier to do yoga, read or listen to a podcast when helping hands aren’t available, sometimes when I’m not too exhausted from work I stay up a little later. At other times I seize opportunities to walk the dog and leave the house… I promise whatever your situation if you prioritise you can always find five minutes, you could even start with three.

So, I have a few questions… 

  • Do you make time for yourself?
  • How do you make the time?
  • What do you do with the time?

I swear I’m 95 years old and I seem to choose a hot bubbly bath, time to read, time to write, to sit and drink a HOT cup of tea, some yoga or a sneaky GnT… so if my worth is time to write then surely the tax is a gin and tonic 🙂 stay happy and make yourself number one. 

Lovely things #12

This lovely things should be #13 but July was a blast of Summer holiday delights and frankly I was too busy having fun with my little monster, this rolled into August and well I thought I should get back in to some routine…haha I’m kidding myself. We are still on holiday and having lovely family time, I plan to squeeze every second out of this vacation and as a result will mean I will return to work severely jet lagged, at this point it seems worth it, I’m not sure how I’ll feel on Monday morning? 

1. Beach days. 

Living on the south coast of the U.K. we have enjoyed more than our fair share of beach days. A boy with a bucket of pebbles and a Mummy looking for pretty shells is a winning combination (and usually costs very little). It made me appreciate the scenery that surrounds us and that in the working week I sometimes forget to look at. I’m thankful that the sun came out to play and that lazy afternoons climbing rocks and searching for crabs was possible.

2. Time with friends was joyful. Over the holidays I met with many close friends, some who don’t live on our doorstep and I realised that the depth of friendships in your thirties is richer than previous decade friendships. They bring out the best in me and it was glorious to catch up and just ‘be’ 

Working / Mummy head means I can get absorbed in the mundane and everyone of my dear friends helps me to aspire to reach my dreams or buy ‘that new bag’ I really don’t need.

3. Vacation

I’m writing this from our balcony in Barbados. I’ve been here many times and the view never gets old. The island has many personal links to family life which I may write about another time. This lovely things however is dedicated to family time and the opportunity to fly with my son for the first time. I was really anxious and had read all the posts on what to pack to keep your little one occupied on a plane to horrendous holiday horror stories…I need not have worried. The plane journey here was fabulous, J took to the sky like he belonged and even slept for three hours! Today we are off on a submarine tour of the ocean and watching him make friends and chase waves in the ocean has been a pleasure. (*fingers crossed for the journey home)

So I raise my cocktail glass to family, friends and making memories. I’m glad I’ve neglected my blog in exchange for sun, sea and sand that really does get into every little crevice. If you to are a blogger don’t ever feel guilty about  your blog taking a back seat for a week…or six, who wants to be a lifestyle blogger that was too busy writing to actually live. 

Lovely things #11

In essence I use lovely things to note down what I enjoyed the previous month. Reading back over the previous ten I’m always surprised at how simple the things I’ve enjoyed are juxtaposed with how blooming hard life feels all to frequently. 

June was kind to the soul and tough on the wellies. But before I discuss the weather, true gratitude was the essence of the month.

1. Puppy love

My ‘in laws’ got a new Labrador puppy and we were blessed to have her for an afternoon / early evening as they were out. The family are using the crate method and so she is usually at home in her crate…not at our house. She cried and wailed like we were putting pins into her, as I went to pick her up (I’m weak when it comes to fur balls), there was my son as close to the cage as possible ‘reading’ to her . My mummy heart wept. Perhaps we aren’t flying through potty training, swimming like a dolphin in our local pool every weekend and just may be getting him to peddle a bike is pushing my patience to the extreme; but that little lad is kind and you can teach ‘soul’

2. Gratitude:

As a teacher months can go by without a thank you or a whisper of gratitude. However, despite the teenager shyness when it comes to showing appreciation, June provided me with several bouquets , cards and even a box of choccies. It was a huge learning curve for me to except them humbly rather than awkward or like a compliment I didn’t deserve. A huge thank you to June for reminding me to accept, smile  and enjoy a compliment rather than push it to the side with a “oh this old dress”

3. Rain

I told you I’d have to make some kind of remark. The rain flowed, thundered and at times felt it might drown my soul, so why mention it on lovely things? Because after so much of the wet stuff I embraced it, I shopped online for a rain coat, walked the dog in it laughing, I jumped in a puddle and sure I moaned from time to time, but if anything British summer time and any square inch of blue sky is richer for    the abundance of water we have experienced in the last four weeks.

Splashing and splodging through June has made me realise it was a little bleak but also held so much love and even fun. We even took my son to the cinema for the first time and he loved ‘the big tele’, my Dad had an operation on his eye and things are ‘looking’ positive. So what if it rained a little, it did the grass good 🙂

Lovely things #10

May days were quick and gone before I could really get a feel for them. The weather was glorious or horrendous (with nothing In between) and with half term waving May days behind us adventures and snoozy mornings in bed were plenty.

I have a new promise that I’m trying to keep – I can’t stop ‘instagraming’ food pictures, seriously check out @fridgesays and follow me. It’s like a midlife photo crisis and so lovely things this month will not include a single food photo.

1. Walks with my boys.

With a Labrador and a little man in tow, walks can be messy and usually have some sort of water fun / mud through the kitchen element. However, one dry morning early this week we enjoyed a walk through our local woods and beyond. Thanks to Daddy ‘Elephant rides’ (shoulders) we were able to ‘mooch’ about four or so miles and it was simple family time that I’d like to bottle. I was on ‘oh pretty flower’ task force and these little beauties seemed to have ended up on our mantel piece.

2. After having a baby (as in he is three and I still haven’t fully recovered) finding a sense of identity can be hard. One thing that has been neglected on my happiness radar is baking. As I promised no food pics you’ll have to make do with below; needless to say half term had been ‘back to baking for me’ and I’ve relished every moment. 

3. We don’t watch tv very often in our home, for the first few years together we didn’t even own one. Mr Fridges Nan thought that we were odd and kindly bought us one. I guess she was right to an extent, but we mainly use it for films…the image below however is out of the shed and in full use and it brings me so much joy. We usually sit outside with a bottle of wine, a Spotify playlist and just chat until the wine runs out. It’s fab to connect as a couple and secretly brings out the arsonist in me – who is usually told to step away from the flames.

So I guess as usual I’m enjoying the simple things in life, which is ironic as my head is usually full of complicated desires. Either way I’m loving being outside and enjoying any sunshine Mother Nature can provide.

Lovely things #9

Is it me or has someone put 2016 on fast forward? I feel like I only just started this year and it’s nearly May?

Being a UK blogger I have to comment on the weather, if you read this abroad then you have climate, Britain just has ‘weather’ and the last few days have seriously delivered, in five minute intervals we’ve had rain, sun, then the bonus of rainbows…oh and snow, hail and serious winds. If that’s not a sign that global warming is already taking effect I’m not sure what is?

So this picture captures my car roof on a sunny morning (covered in frost?)

I took the picture because the tiny pieces of frost seemed to be pointing upwards, plus the swirly patterns made me smile. Lovely things are so often the cause of Mother Nature.

2. My next lovely thing is gratitude. I’m currently working on being grateful for what I have (which is seriously so much more than most) without moaning about my materialist desires or discussing the things I lack. It’s hard because it’s habitual but I’m starting to see the positive aspects of life and not dwell in the drama and negativity.


If you too have lost focus on the happier aspects of life then try ’30 days of not moaning or making a negative comment’ it’s so hard at first, but I promise it soon becomes a new habit and your universe will be better for it. My top tip for this is do it with a friend, it helps you stay focused and you can even share your grateful moments with each other. You can text them to each other which makes a really cute ‘vertual keepsake’ to look back on. 

3. My little man loves books. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I will continue to remortgage so that we can bring home bookshops, hunt charity shops and stalls and generally develop his imagination in every direction. He loves to ‘read’ to me and at three I never seem to get over his sponge ability to absorb a story in seconds. This weekend we have ‘Harry Bear’ from nursery staying, so J was kind enough to ‘read’him Winnie the Pooh, so that he wasn’t scared. This picture melts my heart and completes my April lovely things.