#9yo collect moments

An annual blog post that is selfish in nature but I hope that I inspires you to also capture moments of growth and joy within your world. I now have a mighty nine year old and by capturing these yearly questions I’ve realised he came into the world knowing who he was and what he liked. In essence the answers he has given have been the same answers since he could speak…green has always been his favourite colour and despite eating a wealth of flavours from across the world…pizza is his go to. As a result this year I’ve altered some of the questions for a little more information.

1. What’s something I might not know about you? You don’t know what I do at school because you aren’t there

2. If you was a teacher and you had to teach your students something, what would it be? Probably mythology and drama – not together.

3. What’s your favourite fruit? Avocado

4. What do you like to watch on TV? Star Wars

5. What do you like to eat at lunch? Bagel with avocado and Turkey

6. Who’s in your family? My Mum, Dad, Pearl (our dog) Burple (leopard Ghecko) and Nathaniel (tortoise)

7. What item of clothing do you most like to wear? My coat with the fur collar (recorded in summer whilst temperatures are in the high twenties)

8. What game do you like to play? Rugby and football

9. What’s your favourite animal? Crocodile

10. What song do you most like? The theme song from Moon Knight (Marvel film)

11. What makes you feel thankful? I have things other people don’t

12. Favourite book? All of them, I could never pick? (The boy adores reading)

13. What makes a good friend? Someone that can help you, listen to you and is loyal. Kindness is essential but not just how they treat you but how they treat those around you…

14. What’s your favourite sport? Rugby

15. If you had a pet dragon what would you name it? Well what kind of dragon is it? (I let him pick as I’m not down with the dragon selection?) …moonblade

16. What do you sleep with? Teddies and pillows – so many pillows

17. What do you like best for breakfast? The triple carb that I invented at Laurens wedding (my cousin)… *bread, Nutella, a croissant, Nutella and bread. He named it, built it and devoured it.

18. What qualities are important in a person? Helpful, kind and someone polite and generous, that likes to stand up for people in need, some adults don’t even say thank you!

19. What do you think the world needs more of? More pets, love and choices

20. What’s your favourite dinner? Pizza and macaroni cheese. (Yup, he puts the macaroni on top of the pizza)

Follow the calling not the crowd

Quote Anon

I remember when I was in year 9 parents evening and a PE teacher gave me some sage advice that I’ve passed on as a teacher many times. Her name was Ms Deacon and she said ‘pick the options (GCSE) that you like and think about enjoyment, don’t worry about the future – enjoy the moment’ and it was great advice because we all do better in areas that interest us. Unsurprisingly to any of you that know me it meant my timetable for year 10 was heavy on the arts and ultimately I left proud of the grades I achieved. She also warned me against following my friends choices and I’ve seen many year 9s fall into the trap of ‘following the crowd’ or choosing options or even school, college or university choices based on where there friends are going.

In a world where we are all trying to leave our mark, where diversity is beginning to be valued…we often just want to fit in and camouflage with our fellow humans around us for comfort. To leave the crowd can be daunting and particularly when making education choices at a younger and vulnerable age we can forget our calling…the bespoke path that leads us to our purpose, or sometimes we struggle at the end of our life to know whether we found our purpose, our fulfilment our sense of contentment.

Lately two of my friends have taken a detour on life. One has sold the house, dumped the boyfriend and despite a world pandemic has bought a motor home and is fulfilling her solo travel dreams albeit a little slower than she would have liked. Another has given up her well paid PR career in London to start a family. This is in my opinion braver than it may seem as she currently has a husband but no baby on board…her plan is to detox from work life and focus on her health with the goal of them conceiving in the next eighteen months… I admire both of these people because they have abandoned the norm, thrown wind to what others think and followed their own calling. Materialism and finance have fallen lower in there priorities and a sense of both stepping out of there comfort zones for a potentially more fulfilling tomorrow are prioritised.

That to me is brave, however for them once they made the decision it all flowed effortlessly because it aligned with their pathway. The other great bonus of following your own desires is you meet more people that see the world the way you do. This week take a moment to think about what you’d like to achieve; this week, a year from now or five years from now….are you taking action for a life you want to live, or have you been trapped by the crowd? Shine in your uniqueness and thrive.

Waves are the ripples of the hard work that came before

This quote came from a thought in my head, an original fridgesays quote!

It may be because my horoscope is a water sign, that I’m a summer baby or that I live not to far from the sea but I am at home in water. I like to drink it, have bubble baths, swim, scuba dive, paddle, play, or just watch the tide…for authenticity, I don’t enjoy washing up.

Tidal waves are magnificent; the push and pull from the moon, the swish and swirls of the lapping sea as it consumes the beach in one big mouthful and then spits it’s out in a repellent manner, white foam bubbles around my toes as I timidly paddle (I’m based in the UK so even in summer the sea is like an ice box). I remember the first time I body boarded in Barbados (much warmer) and got to grips with the rhythm of the sea and where I needed to place and angle the board…hard work but so thrilling as the sea lifted me and catapulted my body to the shore effortlessly. I was addicted.

When you are working hard with a positive intention, when you know the purpose of the task at hand and aren’t doing for how it makes you look. When working hard helps others, then much like the ripple of a stone landing in a pond of still water – you can quickly see the ripple effect around the centre of where you put the action in.

I believe that when you apply hard work for the correct reasons, the ripple goes well beyond your knowing. Perhaps in time the ripples get larger or even less defined – they are still present and working for the greater good.

I once taught a sixteen year old girl in school who decided to increase her grade. She threw herself into the process fully even though her predicted grade was far lower, she wanted to take law at ‘A’ level, later through her career she wanted to help women like her mother who had struggled following domestic violence. She had a clear goal and so she threw herself into her studies and we revised daily – she would come to me for practise questions, take them home, bring them back and I’d mark them. She wasn’t happy until each question was better than the last. When it came to sitting the exam she was as calm as a tranquil lake, she knew what she had to do and I knew she could do it, how could she not?

This isn’t a suspense novel, so much like you thought – she smashed it. Her ripples went on to move her closer to her goal and now she has just completed her first year with a firm that advocates for the very cause she first threw her rock into the pond for. No doubt the action and clear vision she had at sixteen is still having a ripple effect today and everyday she helps victims of domestic violence be heard and seek justice.

The ripples don’t end in that pond, she inspired me beyond belief, her peers had nothing but praise for her and of course her mother wept on results day when she moved her grade up by four and got full marks. I retold her story and other pupils became intoxicated by the ripple effect. You see we don’t always see the full effects of our actions – she may not appreciate the gratitude of families surrounding the women she will continue to help, the pupils in younger classes who I shared her story with – perhaps even you will somehow be caught in the motion of her action. For you, this post won’t feel like hard work but flow – it may inspire you to take on a similar goal or to apply it to something aligned with your purpose, you may share this post with others and the ripples will continue.

Remember, hard work is just the first step but the legacy lives on beyond the furthest ripple.

You inspire me to be nothing like you

Quote Anon

A sassy quote to start things off but perhaps a blog post that’s a little calmer…like, horizontal in contrast.

Lately I haven’t been writing as much, Sunday uploads have been inconsistent and I’m absolutely fine with that. I guess that’s the ‘to be nothing like you’ aspect of this post. Sometimes we keep going because we think we should, we feel obliged to join in with social gatherings even though we are shattered and about to burn out…and somewhere in between is the pure joy spot of balance. That’s the place I’ve been exploring lately, many are too busy being busy to see and feel it.

I need to be clear, I love consistency and think it has its place in reaching our goals but I also believe that if you keep going just so you can tell others you’re consistent then the goal probably isn’t worth the effort.

Work has been manic, my family’s social calendar also picked up a gear and I found myself unable to plan the next days meals as my brain drowned in admin and to do lists, I inhaled other peoples problems and exhaled more things to add to the to do list.

Lately, things have calmed down – mainly as I’ve scheduled time to do nothing. Life is too precious to burn out, part of that included not writing and uploading my blogs. Writing at times on a public forum such as this, could be perceived as draining, it certainly has its vulnerable moments. Like most writers, it often fills my cup up – I write messages I need to be reminded of, topics that interest me and events that penetrate my world, but like most things in the adult world it comes with responsibility and accountability and those aspects can be draining. I needed a break.

I’ve been writing in this corner of the internet since 2014. I wrote when blogging was a cool thing to do and I write now when perhaps social media reels and TikToks have taken its space. Again, I’m ok with that.

In the coming weeks I invite you to live in the sweet spot of joy. What do you do because you think you should and where can you create some space for what you need? Can you say no to drinks with friends because you’re exhausted? Or do you need to gather some friends around for such an event because you’ve become a hermit, which in itself can be draining.

Somewhere in the middle of the fast lane and the slow lane you’ll find the cruise lane. Cruising allows you to witness and experience life, without the burn out…what’s not to love? See ya next week…maybe

The beginning is always today

Quote by Mary Shelley

Whatever we do, where ever we go the clock ticks and time moves forward. Often we seek out new beginnings and fresh starts. The western calendar is designed to seek out ‘new’ opportunities…New Years Eve, birthdays, baby showers, you can purchase cards for new jobs, say congratulations on learning to drive, or a new home.

Often as dates loom we can become anxious about the change, only to step into the adventure and realise ‘it wasn’t so bad’ – things often aren’t. The human mind, our own mind can often be our worst enemy – reality is often a cuddly kitten compared to the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘I hopes’ , that said kitten scratches can hurt.

Being present is hard in a world that whirls and never stops. But WHAT IF today is your new beginning. For every new day you have until your last breath you have a new chance. You don’t need to celebrate it (although a dance party a day is never something I regret) you just need to seize it…to not waste it, to make the most of it and to cherish it. If you think action is needed, some of the most nourishing days I’ve been blessed to experience have been snuggled, static and calm.

Perhaps you have a new job that starts in a few weeks, the new beginning began the day you applied for the job, the adrenaline of the interview, the wait to hear how it went.

You may be going on holiday over the summer vacation – the day you researched where you were going, looked at reviews on line or flicked through brochures – the holiday began. Instead of saying your holiday is in three weeks time, enjoy the journey – treat yourself to a new outfit to wear, in the supermarket add in some suntan lotion…the holiday process is so much more than two weeks abroad.

Squeeze the newness out of each day, the beginning is there for you to hold and for you to enjoy. Whilst I can’t say each day will be joyful, I can say that when you wake the next day you are given an opportunity to do things differently, to be a better version of yourself and to start again. This is the gift of life.

It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger

Anon

Happy April all. When I saw this quote I thought it was applicable for so many aspects of life, if not every angle.

From my own experiences of loss and grief, time doesn’t heal, in fact I usually find it bites me hard on the arse every time I drop my guard. Grief opens a void of possibilities within the mind; what would the loved one be doing now? thinking about how they would love or hate experiences you’re having…the list is never ending, anniversaries swing around and you feel a combination of confusion and sadness. Much like this quote, it doesn’t get easier but you do get stronger. You have to.

My son has just finished his first season of Rugby festivals, he has been thrown into a new set of rules around contact and him and his team mates have had to learn so many skills beyond the rugby ball…resilience, how to fall, how to get back up when you fall, gratitude, being humble (we’re working on this), techniques, finding your place to shine in a team…on the way home from his last game of the season he remarked how much easier it was becoming. I gently reminded him that if anything the matches he played today were harder as all the teams are improving but that he was stronger. Strength isn’t always physical (although it helps in a contact game of Rugby), but that his team had also become stronger in mind and emotional resilience. Experience helps to soothe the strain of making things feel ‘easy’ and I’ll never forget the children’s petrified faces as opponents tackled, pursued, blocked and dropped them on their first contact game.

When I’m facing something new, scary or preparing to take a next detour on the road of life, I often remind myself of other things I’ve done that felt similar and that I over came; new jobs, moving home, body changes or committing to a goal. Even with age, change doesn’t get easier but I do believe we get stronger.

This week as new challenges arise, new days dawn and opportunities knock on your door or you run down the street after them, remember that very little, that’s easy in life is worth doing, but effort, repetition and commitment can make it feel easier, why? Because we are always stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

You can never be overdressed or over educated

Quote Anon

This quote made me giggle and then it echoed deeply within me, therefore I’m going to deconstruct this quote into two sections

You can never be overdressed

As someone who has substantial experience in this area, I’d say it isn’t about the clothes but how we feel. Within my job I go into schools and complete observations of children aged 4-16 years. It’s essential they don’t know I’m there for them, as this would alter their behaviour, for this reason I often use my wardrobe as a dressing up box…observing a four year old in a sandbox is very different to a sixteen year old in a formal learning setting. A couple of weeks a go I was suppose to see a fourteen year old boy in an English lesson, he didn’t turn up and so I was about to abort the observation when his Head of Year said that he’d turned up to his next lesson…I grabbed the chance and made my way to PE. I introduced myself to the class teacher, explaining he should completely ignore me and not draw attention. He remarked ‘I think you’ll do that yourself, we’re doing Boxercise on the field”…whilst it was true my formal fuchsia dress with black 6 inch stiletto heels could be considered a give away on a large expansive field…heels and twirly dresses are my comfort zone. Grass and heels are irrelevant. I smiled at the teacher and said ‘this isn’t my first rodeo’ and strutted to the field. I found a bench and sat making notes. Did the child notice me? No.

There are so many components within life that make things challenging, why do we let our clothes restrict us? Four year old go to the supermarket contently dressed as superhero’s with wellington boots, why don’t adults? Right now are you wearing a wardrobe that you feel good in? Whilst I wouldn’t recommend heels for running marathons, like most quotes there is a context to be taken into consideration. For the majority of the time, wear what makes you feel fabulous!

You can never be over educated

I don’t think this requires formal training, exams and certification, nor does being educated require institutions and walls. People who seek knowledge, who’s intelligence shines like a soldiers boots, have a thirst for knowledge. They seek sources of information from various places, compare and reach their own conclusions. To be over educated is impossible – whilst the world spins and new theories are born, there is always something different to learn. Humans who have been recognised as leaders in their field, such as Einstein often dedicated their lives to destroying old theories, asking bigger questions and not settling for mainstream concepts. My hope for everyone is that you never stop learning.

…and where possibly wear whatever you feel sensational in.

A beautiful day starts with a beautiful mindset

Quote Anon

Well-being websites have made ‘morning routines’ cliche and thinking about them can be another ‘to do’ on the list of ever growing ‘what we should do’ tasks. Do you have one? If you don’t have a conscious morning plan you probably have one through habit, as humans we tend to find patterns and stay in them.

Over the years I’ve had 5am starts with exercise, self care and nourishing food and much later wake ups with barely a comb through my hair before I’m out of the door.

If I’m honest I’ve only found a few things have stuck and enriched my life. I also think your morning rituals are only as beneficial as the quality of your sleep. Below are some things I found useful for an improved mindset

Gratitude journal: I’ve kept a gratitude journal since 2017 and have written 3 things I’m grateful for each day. I also write down 3 intentions for my day; sometimes they are practical objectives like completing tasks and sometimes they are more creative or magical. There are two big lessons to take away from my journal, firstly it instantly makes me feel good, the second is that after about six months of this daily habit it became second nature and gratitude has become a super power. Having control of my mindset from the moment I wake doesn’t mean my days are hassle free, but I certainly have a positive disposition and I believe my journal helps support and nurture this habit. So even if things do become negative, my growth mindset means I can alter my own perspective easier.

Change it up: This goes for everything you may do in the morning, if you’re short of time then having your clothes out ready is one less dilemma for the morning, but sometimes (when time allows) it can be hugely joyful to try on different things and restyle old looks. When it comes to food I’ve always been a fad eater – one minute a certain food is my favourite and I don’t want anything else, the next I’m over it and it’s the last thing I want to eat. Whilst this was annoying for my Mum when I was growing up (particularly when she’s bought 20 boxes of my favourite snack, only for me to abandon the idea and move on) it means my body is getting a larger variety of nutrients. Currently I try to never have the same breakfast twice in a row and have found the variety also makes eating less predictable and more enjoyable.

Take time to adjust: most recently I’ve taken deliberate time to wake slowly. Again, growing up I was a pocket rocket and would instantly wake, jump out of bed and get on with my day. I know many of you may not relate and may find waking hard, this could include several snooze alarms and an eternal battle to motivate yourself whilst counter arguing about all the reasons you should stay put wrapped up like a burrito in your bed…somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. Now I tend to wake earlier than needed but not move. I give my body and my mindset time to process the day, I drink tea or hot lemon water in bed and write in my journal. Since doing this I’ve found the flow of my day is more consistent and I don’t resemble an octopus trying to accomplish eight things at once, my mind is focused and I often flow with easy into my day

What are your top tips for an effective morning routine? Have you recently altered things? Would you agree that much like the changing seasons, different times of year call for different routines?

Shake ya tail feather

Lyrics by Nelly

In the wild birds shake their tale feathers for all sorts of reasons, perhaps they feel threatened / under attack or at times they are looking for attention from the opposite sex…I like to think a Peacock struts sometimes just because they can, because its Tuesday and they are feeling divine.

Nelly the RnB artist who unleashed these lyrics on the world in the year 2000 makes many mistakes in my opinion, firstly he believes there is a particular way you should shake your tail feathers – he is very specific on technique. Mr Nelly, you are so very wrong. As an independent woman, I can shake how and when I like, for any particular reason – because I’m the goddess of kitchen dancing, or a karaoke Queen of my car…whilst the seat belt does restrict my movements, I believe that shaking my tail feathers isn’t always a physically action but sometimes it can be a mental act, as I dance through my brain – letting go of tension, the crippling effects of the reality we all living in or just escaping for a couple of minutes of RnB joy.

Next, Nelly seems to think ‘she’ is shaking her tail feathers for him? Now the songs seems to be set in a strip club, so we’d assume it’s her place of work. Whilst I love my job, I don’t go for fun, I go because they pay me, he even states that ‘My pocket’s full of dough, shake your feathers ’til the morning’ …whilst it’s nice that he’s offering her overtime, it’s rather arrogant that he thinks she’s doing it for him…she’s at work Nelly!

It’s obvious Nelly doesn’t know about how chickens regulate their body temperature, his research on poultry is minimal. Let me educate you; chickens fluffy up their feathers to trap warm air when they get cold. Think of it like hot water bottles floating around…I’m also guessing strippers don’t wear appropriate layers, so again perhaps she’s keeping warm?

Where am I going with this ridiculous blog post? Well, firstly it’s a bit of fun, this blog isn’t the foundation of discussion for the UN, much like the up tempo rhythm of the song, it’s just a light hearted feel good post. However, I would encourage you to relook at the lyrics of many songs you sing along too and maybe like Nelly you’ve interpreted it from a bias perspective. Whilst I’m sure there are many pole dancers that do the job with little to no other options for financial reasons, some do it for fitness and skill. In recent times the pole has become a place for physical strength, flexibility and can be interpreted as an art form. This post is about perspective, from Nellys point of view he’s a wealthy celebrity who has money to throw and should be admired. From another he is doubting her education based on how she shakes her tail feathers, even though he’s the one sad enough to pay for it? ‘Your body is banging mamma, but where your brains at?’

As we step into a new week, remember everything has more than one perspective and interpretation, see the world how you wish to and shake your feather if and when you’d like; for fun, warmth, money or because you like to dance. The choice is yours (not Nelly’s)

Sometimes it ends differently and it’s better that way

Quote Anon

Unless you all know something I don’t, I don’t have a map for life…I don’t even have a guideline and sometimes the rules can blur and you can feel like you’re internal sat nav could do with an MOT.

I also find that if I do make a plan it very often doesn’t work out how I’d imagined? I’m not referring to popping to the local shops, although that often also goes drastically different and my 3 item shop for basic essentials quickly can become ‘please can I have several more bags’ at the checkout. What I’m really referring to are life paths and dreams of the future.

In my big plans for the future my family agree with my vision, wealth is abundant and everything clicks into place. If I reflect on when the pandemic first hit in 2020 I didn’t expect it to allow me relook at my careers, I didn’t think that within several months I’d be walking away from a school building as my job (a career I’d been in for over 16yrs) and working from home. I didn’t think someone would pay my fuel bill for my car (thanks Mrs Employer), I hadn’t considered in my dreams and vision of the small details; time to catch a cuppa with friends, or to hoover at speed between teams calls – leaving me house work free at weekends.

I thought I’d always work from a school building, now I get to visit many but never stay more than a few hours.

Last week I met a friend for dinner and she asked me what my next life goals were. I didn’t know, in fact I don’t think about it? Don’t panic I haven’t stopped dreaming (still currently stalking dream home on rightmove for example) but I’ve let go of the details. I don’t know what my next move will be, I’m not sure how I’ll get there and most importantly I’m ok with that.

Why? Because things often work out better than you’d expected and if they haven’t worked out then they’re still changing and altering as you read this. I believe the universe has my back, that it will all work out in the long run. It always does…not always better than I’ve dreamt, not always as I’d imagined it but often better.

Don’t think this post is about not dreaming and setting goals, I journal daily around my hopes for the future…but by letting go of the hows and when’s I get to enjoy the now a little more. I’ve realign in January 2022 and know there is more work to be done, my intentions are clear but the details of the journey I won’t sweat on, I’ll show up every day, I’ll dare to dream big and that house on rightmove might just become a click away from us moving in from circumstances I hadn’t even thought of. Enjoy the journey and give attention to things that are worthy of your time, energy and love.