Never let your storm get your kids wet

Quote Anon

When I was little my Mum took me and my friend to school in snow on a sledge. She heaved us through the streets on a few inches of flakes. It was joyful (well for my friend and I), when I was older my Mum and I went to a huge market. I drove her in my brand new two seater convertible. Once we’d walked around the stalls we decided to head back towards the car park – the heavens opened and if I say it rained I would be underestimating your understanding of rain, it was more like walking through a giant wave. We laughed because it actually hurt as the rain fell from the sky, we couldn’t believe we’d got caught and giggled all of the way home, grateful for heated leather seats and every time we glimpsed each others sodden exterior we erupted in laughter again.

That by the way was a metaphor, one that unpicks this quote. It resonated with me because this week I have come across too many children exposed to adult topics of conversation and worry. No matter what your circumstances the storms of life that bring you down don’t need to be shared with little ears, processing these can often lead to trauma responses for them as they take on adult emotions. If you are carrying something heavy, you can either work towards putting it down or carry it away from your child.

Finance or lack of and rising living costs in my opinion aren’t concerns for children. Exposing children to adult addiction’s often mean the children grow up within the shadows of these circumstances. That said I’m not sure we should paint adult life as sunshine and lollipops, we can sometimes laugh in unfortunate times, we can take the positive from a negative situation and we can role model self respect, resilience and endurance when storms approach. This has to happen at an age appropriate time, exposing the child to witness elements of storms from a distance before the rain hammers down on your doorstep, or putting in place boundaries around relationships and potential hazards.

Varying weather conditions are expected in the UK. Temperatures can dip overnight and summertime can sometimes mean taking a coat when you leave the house. Wrap your children up close and don’t expose them to unnecessary burdens. If I had a coat and my son didn’t, I would instinctively give it to him. Do the same with your words.

Kindness is my go to but fuck off is my wingman

Quote Anon

In all honesty, gratitude is my go to and kindness is second in line. The wonderful thing about kindness is it often doesn’t financially cost anything, it usually requires a pinch of thought and a dusting of time…but the results often stay with the person you’re kind to forever.

People remember the kind things you did for them, how you made them feel, long after you did them, they often pay them back ten fold and your karma points to joy increase! So why aren’t more humans kind? As I’m not generally a fan of humanity, I think we need to look to dogs to solve this answer. Our dog will snuggle, guard you and clean up your crumbs whenever you’re in need however she is also easily distracted and I think this is the same as humans. We often don’t think to open doors, make gestures of kindness, or even take time to make magical moments happen because we are caught up with our own struggles, time limitations and world.

The quote also refers to boundaries, to saying no and stepping back – for me this is the best side to serve with a heap of kindness. Clear boundaries will allow you to walk away, to not be walked over and to sustain your kindness for another day. People that are kind but lack the words ‘no’ in their vocabulary often feel the burdens of others and an empathetic overload that makes them ill.

January weather in the UK is bleak, grey and often wet…SO I’m launching #kindnessmatters as a hashtag on my instagram stories through the month of January. You can follow along @fridgesays or if you aren’t a social media dweller you can create your own ‘kindness matters’ without…who cares how we show up as long as we do. What do you need to do? BE KIND

Yup that’s is, nothing more and nothing less. Take time each day to do something kind and remember it doesn’t have to cost the earth or be time consuming. This morning as we went out to the car we all ran to one of our neighbours bins that had blown over after collections and wheeled them back to their owners back gates. kindness matters. They don’t necessarily know that we did it but that’s not the essence of kindness, the centre for kindness is in the doing, so let’s make January a little less bleak by showing compassion to others…also don’t forget you can’t pour kindness from an empty cup, so being kind to yourself totally counts.

HABITS become TRADITIONS become LEGACY

Quote Anon

December is certainly a time where traditions are falling out of Santa’s sleigh in abundance. Stepping into the New Year we often analyse our habits and try to improve them for the year to come, whether that be by exercising more, eating healthier or taking on a new challenge.

This all makes sense in a world where I often reflect on what I’ll leave behind. What will our legacy’s be? A positive mark on the world or consumed so much plastic it’s a long discarded tooth brush with DNA on it that will last the longest?

This December I learnt that traditions are only positive if they serve you and those around you. My family ditched the Christmas crackers many moons ago – we just don’t need the naff novelty toys, plastic and excessive paper across and already cramped table. I didn’t replace them with anything and rarely anyone comments.

With the controversial lockdown Christmas’s of 2020 we learnt that it was the people around the table that mattered. The food an added bonus. This was a lesson I hope remains long after the pandemic.

Last year our Turkey wasn’t fit for human consumption and the Boxing Day beef was brought in a day early…it was just as delicious and it caused my rebellious streak to build momentum. The result was that this year I really mixed up the menu – the result was meals from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day where everybody enjoyed what they consumed. Many favourites from the Mr’s love of Yorkshire puddings, to my sons delight of macaroni cheese played a part (not in the same meal I should add) and although we all had full plates and content bellies, little was left over and nothing was wasted, to the extent that my Mum took home the small Turkey carcass to make soup with. It also meant that I didn’t spend half of Christmas chained to the kitchen side board and had more quality time with those dearest to me. What did I learn? That traditions become shackles if they don’t serve you in this moment. If you don’t like Turkey, stop consuming it every Christmas and Thanksgiving.

I remember growing up and walking to school with a friend and our Mums closely nattering behind. In the run up to Christmas we would share the traditions of our homes; it always throws me that the same celebration has so many variations in each home. She would discuss how her and her brother would open their stocking and then wait until their Grandparents arrived to open presents in the afternoon, that boxing day food was a buffet of curry’s. I would share how Father Christmas went nowhere near our house and would deliver to the Garage at the end of our back garden, my Dad would bring down what he had left (even at a young age I was hyper-vigilant to child protection when it came to strangers) I would then blitz the unwrapping in seconds leaving a floor of discarded wrapping paper behind me like the Tasmanian Devil had popped around for a cuppa. Our Boxing Day was a buffet of ‘picky bits’ and when we shared these stories warmth from both our interpretations of Christmas were at the heart of each tradition.

What doesn’t serve is when everyone in the room dislikes the tradition but does it anyway…the wonderful thing about nurturing a family is building habits that become traditions, but that also have enough flexibility to alter before becoming legacies. As we step into 2023 you’re pretty darn perfect just as you are, you don’t need to do more or less of anything. However, the best habit, tradition and legacy you can leave with the world and into 2023 is to love those you surround yourself with. Remember, those that are hard to love, usually need love the most. Have a wonderful 2023

Comin’ with the bad bitch magic

Full quote from Queen Herby lyrics are “Comin’ with the bad bitch magic, and they can’t stand it, when I put these hoes in a panic.”

December can often feel suffocating, the final weeks of school term devoured me with all its tinsel and emotional demands. However I have made it and can now see two weeks of work free life upon me, except adult life never stops – the Christmas prep has barely begun and the recent full moon has resulted in a broken kitchen tap, dead car battery and narrowly escaping a stag charging in my direction (a little closer than I’d of liked, side note; it was seriously awesome once I’d survived, placed my heart back inside my chest cavity and processed the event)…that said, our Christmas tree is looking extra glorious this year with a new fairy and seven hundred extra lights, despite our dogs hypocritical and despairing looks of judgement as we bought in a seven foot tree and don’t allow her to bring her sticks in the house…yes tiny phone people: December is a lot!

Therefore and because I refuse to be overwhelmed, I go to my tool kit of magic and joy to help me raise my vibration…I refuse to be taken down by my ever growing to do lists and cold winter evenings that seem to consume time and spit me out into my pjs earlier and earlier. So what’s a ‘bad bitch to do’ …below are some of my sparkliest ideas from my magical toolkit.

Self care matters: Obviously it always matters but if you are missing the warmer days of life then put the Christmas chocolate box down for a minute and listen up! *you can totally return to the chocolate box once you’ve finished reading

Up your vitamins…some of my favs include vitamin D (sun in a bottle), lions mane, echinacea and vitamin C

Listen and move to feel good music, podcasts, movies and pivot when things feel negative…we’ve got no time for a documentary on wars and tragedies right now…this diet of high energy creative vibes will feed your soul

Soup – honestly, it’s the best winter warmer and I think it makes my soul happier, I can’t stop making it?

Pinterest – I know what you’re thinking, this social app from 2009 is vintage BUT collating (for free!) beautiful pin boards of imagery that lights your fire is far more beneficial than watching thirty second clips of adults dancing and cats falling off high cupboards. I’m using the app to set intentions for 2023, to gather recipes (okay, mainly soup), to discover ideas of things I might make and to collate a wardrobe that sparks joy…oh, that reminds me

Wear all the colours of the rainbow – I used my clothes rail like a dressing up box. The lower I feel, the more I need a sparkly tiara, sparkly boots, sparkly cardigans – ALL the SPARKLES! However, you may be less glitter and more practical, whatever your vibe make sure you walk out of the front door feeling fabulous. You will likely inspire others, pick up compliments like acorns on an oak tree and feel beautiful.

Journal – grab a note book and write as if you’re Dickens, don’t worry if what you’re writing down is gibberish, negative or the same day after day, the main thing is you are allowing those thoughts to have there moment of glory, then you’re turning the page and moving on

Gratitude lists – I adore a list full of moments of joy, dig deep and you’ll be surprised at what you have to be grateful for even in the darkest corners of life

What’s in your sparkly tool box of joy, that raises your vibration and helps you through the tougher moments of life? Let me know in the comments below

It goes on

Quote by Robert Frost

The entire quote is…”In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learnt about life, it goes on”

This week my view of the world has been sprinkled with death. I spoke to a friend who was preparing for her Dads funeral and after a lengthy conversation with many ups and downs we came to the conclusion that you can’t prepare for such an event. It’s one of those inevitable occasions you have to ‘get through’, balancing your needs and others from moment to moment.

I remember the periods in my life when death destroyed me and I felt like my heart had been pulled through my body, my stomach was too high, lungs collapsed and it took all my energy to grasp at the next breath. When I’d glimpse out of the window and wonder how the world was still ‘getting on with it’, people still laughing, going about their daily business when in that very moment my world had been turned upside down, obliterated, never to be the same…whilst I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel the despair I was in at that very moment it didn’t seem right that others continued? Perhaps that makes me selfish but it’s certainly how I felt.

In my darkest times, be that the loss of someone dear or illness / trauma, tea has honestly been my light. I realise that’s a cliche for British people but it’s true. When everything around me feels heavy, dark and too much, a warm cup to grasp, a sweet contradiction in taste to how I feel seems to give me a sparkle of happiness. It’s a minuscule moment but if you grab it with both hands (obviously putting your tea cup down somewhere safe first) it can open a crack to hope…

This glimmer of hope can lead to a small event, such as a shower and some clean clothes, in turn this can make you feel ‘better’ even if for a passing moment…collect these moments of hope, sparkles of happiness and pull them together and just as the quote suggests life goes on.

Life goes on, never the same, better for having known them, loved them and shared moments with them but it does go on. In fact when you once again find yourself in the light you realise that you are a more empathetic, connected and articulated person for having felt the weigh of their lose and also the blessings of ever having had them to love.

It goes on. Thank heavens

A pocket full of happiness

This week I wanted to share a wonderful experience where one moment of joy led to a string of fairy light happiness. After all, the world needs more joy.

On Tuesday the weather in the UK was surprisingly sunny for an Autumnal day. I was at work, driving around the south coast from appointment to appointment and listening to my podcasts. I had a gap in between appointments of about half an hour and was thinking about pulling up by the beach for a quick walk – a moment of joy in a long day of back to back appointments. However, in all honesty I was also thinking that I’d park up at my next school and grab half an hour of email and admin time.

In the car I was listening to Richard E Grant discuss he’s new book ‘a pocket full of happiness’ on Fern Cottons ‘happy place’ podcast, the title he explained came from his late wife, who in her last days on earth had asked him and their daughter to find a pocket full of happiness in each day amongst the grief…my dilemma was over. I was heading to the beach.

I grabbed my coat and headed to the sea, the tide was out and it was such a beautiful day (see for yourself)

I made time to briefly call a mindful friend and shared my positive choice. Inspired, she was going to the beach for a swim later that day.

I know that being present is crucial to fully immersing yourself in the moment, so I placed my phone in my coat pocket and found a dry sandy spot to soak up the experience. Choosing self care, joy or time for yourself is often difficult but the process instantly rewards, what I hadn’t realised was how my choices effect others, that was until a lady called over.

The area of the beach I was on wasn’t busy so when I saw the lady walking towards me I smiled. She was clearly emotional and I thought perhaps she was going to ask if I had a tissue. As she approached she repeated the word ‘thank you’, perplexed I replied ‘sorry?’ in a polite haze that I’d clearly missed something. She then explained that her mother had recently passed away and that she wasn’t having a good day, she had attempted to go for a walk to find her endorphins from the tide but in fact the beautiful day had somehow made her feel sadder. She said that she was just about to go home when (in her head) she had asked her mother for a sign, a sign to let her know she would be ok…it was then that she looked to the edge of the beach and saw me standing there. The coat that I mentioned I had placed my phone in is a military cargo print, on the back are a huge set of angel wings. I smiled and simply replied “You’re most welcome, enjoy the rest of your day”…the lady continued walking, beaming from ear to ear and all I could imagine was how awful it would have been if I had chosen the email option over the beach.

I don’t think it matters what you personally take from this story, perhaps a smile or the impulse to find more joy in the day for yourself, a reflection of spiritual intervention or a serendipitous moment. I wanted to share the joy in hope that it might continue the string of fairy light happiness. Enjoy 🙂

Dream until it’s your reality

Quote Anon

When I was younger I thought dreams were made of candy floss clouds, I thought happily ever after was the name of the game…but I also thought roundabouts worked because people were kind and I knew nothing of the high way code. Perspectives change, knowledge alters and yet we still dream.

I’ve had many dreams that have become realities; I dreamt of owning a home, of creating a family, I dreamt of taking my child to certain places, experiences etc. I’m also aware that many people wish they had a blog, the difference I guess is often action, luck and a dash of staying power? Some of my dreams have occurred through my direct actions, others because I was in the right place at the right time, some because I simply gave something ago.

I just walked the dog and spoke to a lady who has just moved into a house across the road, they are currently ripping it apart and starting from scratch – DIY is my idea of hell. Yet she was in her element, her current joy I discovered, had led her to several houses over the years that had led to this current property – her soon to be dream home, in her dream location. Again, from this I took that dreams are personal to the individual, she was truly enjoying the process, where I prefer a more ‘bibidibobidi boo’ approach to house transformations, so if you see a DIY fairy godmother in the area, let me know.

The other issue with dreams are that adults don’t give them enough thought. Busy in the mundane, I find journaling my desires, thoughts and ideas can often help me step towards what I want my reality to look like, it’s also sometimes helpful to know what you don’t want. With this knowledge you can fine tune your dreams and within your imagination (mine is financially free and travel takes seconds) you can take your dreams wherever you like.

Looking back on the dreams you have made a reality can help motivate you towards future dreams in the making that seem to far away. I truly believe that you can accomplish anything you desire, give or take a candy cotton cloud…what’s stopping you making it a reality is so often yourself. Time to journal I think?

Keep some room in your head for the unimaginable

Quote from Mary Oliver

It’s Sunday evening and my brain is full…make the packed lunches for tomorrow, pay the council tax, feed the dog, text that friend about that meal, try to relax…oh no, wait…put the washing away so tomorrow everyone can find the items they need to leave the house clothed, pop the dishwasher on. The more I collate a list in my head, the more I could add, that seems to be home family life goes? I’m not sure I would alter it, although I would add a few more pauses, deep breaths and if someone would like to volunteer to make the packed lunches I wouldn’t fight them.

In the mundane cycle of life, the daily chores need keeping in check, the to do list can at times be overwhelming and every now and then I try and make room for some magic.

This weekend after the routine sports activities, my son and I jumped in the car and headed to a local independent book store, as an author was appearing to read a couple of chapters of her latest book. I’d seen the event of Facebook earlier in the week and hadn’t really planned to attend. After perusing the shelves and adding to the Christmas list, my son found a cushion and for half an hour was entertained by (in his words) ‘a real life author’ in this case, someone who writes about monsters for a living…pretty cool. After the book event we wandered down the high street, browsed some stores, grabbed a snack and headed home. As I drove home, I realised thanks to the autumn breeze and the sun shining, it had been the kind of Saturday I thought Motherhood would be…except mostly it’s not.

Sometimes the best moments in life are the unexpected and the spontaneous . Every Saturday morning watching my son in his martial arts class is predictable, live Author readings are not. Perhaps we need to plan for a little of the unimaginable? Now, whilst the word ‘unimaginable’ might have you thinking about flying to space or deep sea diving…on Friday evening I hadn’t imagined the day ahead would go the way it had, so perhaps leaving a little space for potential joy is a positive step forward.

Being open to saying ‘yes’ helps the unimaginable to happen. You also need to step out of your routine and do something different, this I have to be honest isn’t my strong point. Years of teaching and working in a time tabled environment have meant I like a certain level of control and predictability…but the unimaginable can’t happen if you do what you always do, by definition of always doing it makes it imaginable.

In my mind I’m certainly making space for unimaginable events to happen, in the privacy of my brain I’m constantly twirling and travelling to new places, thinking what the foods would smell like and recognising the glitter behind the unknown…stretching my thoughts to the unimaginable is the only way I can get through the mundane moments in life. So this week make sometime to think big, to dare to dream and to wonder how…who knows where it might take you by next weekend?

Privacy is power

Quote adapted.

The full quote is ‘privacy is power. People can’t ruin what they don’t know about’ however, sometimes people can ruin things because you haven’t told them, perhaps there is a fine line between confidentiality and telling all?

Recently, the media reported moment by moment as the Queen lay in state. At times members of the royal family have been filmed during vigils and if I’m honest I’ve found it unappealing and tradition that perhaps has run its course. Celebrities have been spotted in the queue (to see the Queens coffin and to send their condolences) and have had cameras pushed in their faces, again a little distasteful in my opinion.

Living in the UK it’s a British quality and expectation to reply to questions around your wellbeing with ‘I’m fine thanks’ – clearly we aren’t all fine all of the time, but again I think the level of knowledge you share with others should be based on the relationship you have with them, whilst my partner and close family will tell you I over share, I’d like to think Ricky in my local newsagents only knows I’m fine and have a taste for Madagascan dark chocolate.

I believe that privacy is powerful in age where oversharing on a global scale (social media) has become the norm. It’s a precious gift and it often transpires that those who do over share are doing it for tangible gains; attention, sympathy or intrigue. I’m so very grateful that I grew up in an age before uploads, screen shots and even mobile phones were a thing. As I grow more and more comfortable in who I am, my purpose and the people I care for, privacy is worth it’s wait in gold. It gave me security, freedom and peace of mind…priceless.

That said, often people can keep emotional turmoil deep inside them and this can result in mental illness that can also manifest in physical debilitation.

So what can we do? To share or not to share seems to be more complex than it appears? The answer in my opinion is balance. Keep your biggest dreams and desires to yourself – work on you for you. Allow a handful of close and trusted loved ones in, share the deeper and more complex moments with them; these people (I refer to them as my tribe) can be friends or family – you get to pick, often they span various moments in your life and are clear ‘keepers’ – laugh hard with them, cry when necessary and be there for each other, check in and also share gratitude in all you have. As for the rest of the world, tell them you are fine. Walk away from people who are asking how you are for their own gain, did I mention how I’m doing?

Im fine, thanks for asking.

#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)