Alone we can do so little, together we can achieve so much

Quote from Helen Keller

Perhaps it best to begin where I am now. Sat on the side at the swimming pool whilst the Mr guides the little dude to improve his swimming technique. This allows me to type away and have some therapy time. Where we are now, getting more done.

Last week was a catastrophe of disasters; from work, complexities in childcare, getting back to a routine, the Mr having to be away for longer than I’d like – thanks Pakistan air space, little dude having a school trip…put it this way as a tribe we dropped plates this week and the juggle reached a climax and strain that was unrelenting. However, now out of the dark and into the light, we made it. We achieved so much thanks to the support of our extended tribe. A combination of friends reaching out, wise words, a Tunnocks tea cake left on my desk, the Mr’s Mum extending childcare beyond anyone’s expectations…that’s a wealth you can’t put a price on.

The flowers are for her. I can’t work full time without support. The kids at school can’t thrive without my support…we as a family need our extended tribe, we need to raise others up and in turn are held up by others.

If you too have had a year, month, week or day of darkness and you can see a glimmer of light then however small the light is bask in it. Thank those around you, appreciation is lost if we don’t seize it in the moment. We achieve very little alone and isolated, life is fuller with others by your side.

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The grass is greener when you water it.

Quote by Neil Barringham

At the end of February we often get a few warm days, enough to shed a layer or two when you go out, enough so you need to find your sunglasses that you abandoned in September in a draw somewhere between the front door and the backdoor (or they could be in the car?) and enough for the Mr to say to me yesterday “I’m going to need to cut the grass again soon”

Grass doesn’t need much to thrive. However in the cold, dark and wet winters of the UK it barely grows at all, we rarely go out there and the grass is stagnant.

In life we often need to make choices every now and then, where do we put our time, love and sunlight? We look at other peoples lawns and often admire them not fully understanding the complexities of what they might be ‘growing’ through, we don’t see the moss patches, or the bald patches covered up by plant pots. A quick glimpse and it’s easy to wrongly see a lawn or someone else’s life in the wrong light.

Sometimes we can love our own lawn but feel the need to buy a new one just because… much like lawn maintenance, humans aren’t as simple as we believe.

Instead we need to mow our own lawns, perhaps put some extra attention of the bits that have been scorched by the sun, add new seeds, water and tend. We have a 160ft garden and it would take an awful lot of time to edge it. However, what we give our time and love to is what will thrive. Our health, relationships and careers all need time, love and attention too. The grass may be greener elsewhere but that’s not your concern. Water your own grass and watch it grow, add sunlight and see it thrive. Most importantly ignore the lawn and spend time with people you love. Mother Nature will sort it out, it’s a lawn – get a life and make that thrive.

Good shoes take you to good places.

Quote by Seo Min Hyun

When my son started school I took a photo of his new shoes, not him by the front door like every other home, but of his new shoes. I then realised something about myself, I mark chapters of my life with my passion for footwear, mainly heels.

Shoes speak to my soul. I have fond memories of going to Russell and Bromley as a child to be fitted for my ‘Start Rite Mary Jane’s’ in the latest colour. The child section was up a winding staircase (totally impractical for parents and little ones), it had a light fluffy carpet and around the edge of the room was a huge, long tropical fish tank. The shoes were expensive, lasted and made me feel like a princess. The new shoe box was often held by me on the journey home (except for, on the winding staircase previously mentioned) with pride and my collection over the years has grown and only increased in quality.

I have high heels that make me smile; some symbolise the break up of previous relationships, I always buy new school shoes for the new term and have shoes purchased following births, deaths and marriages.

I’m not that fond of bags….an impractical sparkly clutch bag and I’m happy. Life is too short for practical black/neutral bags and frankly I take my hat off to those that change their bag daily…hmmm hats I don’t do those either?

I don’t have shoes for every occasion, just shoes that make me smile, feel happy or in some way complete. I only own two black pairs of shoes, may be three (?) and I don’t tend to buy shoes that are cheap and as a result have never suffered with rubbing or blisters. I don’t wear shoes for comfort because how they make me feel is more important.

I asked my son about this quote and in he’s five year old wisdom he said “What’s a good place?” he raises a good point. A good place to me will be different to your perception of a ‘good place’ perhaps thats why there are so many places and so many types of shoes? In my life I plan to go onwards and upwards, it makes sense that a pair of eight or ten inch heel’s are my best companion.

Perhaps, living life in comfort is a priority for you, may be you are simple in expectations and live life exposed – the flip flop may be your choice of footwear?

My son, predictably likes wellies, adventurous and practical in the UK. Quick to put on and in some jarring design.

I make judgements about people on their shoes, do they care about themselves, do they look after themselves / are we compatible? What would your shoes tell me about you and where is it taking you?

Perspective

This just made me chuckle.

If you had been watching me this morning and was wearing your judgement pants you may have concluded a different perspective to my current reality. You may of said this Mum wasn’t engaged in her son and consumed by her mobile device.

Little dude had Judo, Mr F and I sat on the sidelines and whilst Daddy looked on I marked thirty GCSE papers…well half marked (seriously marking takes FOREVER), then it was swimming time with Daddy. Little dude is now 75% fish and Daddy has been a pro at teaching him. They are currently working on a new stroke and having a blast…I’m typing this from the gallery. On my mobile phone. I glance up every now and then, but I am writing. For me. This is my time. Swimming is their time.

Judgement pants may conclude I’m disengaged and not interest. I’m one of ‘those’ Mums. It’s true and I’m going to tell you why.

This Mumma doesn’t care what anyone other than her tribe thinks of her. This parent works full time, blogs for her own sanity, lives life to the full…manages her time to the minute. This time isn’t mine to watch my son swim…it’s my writing time. It’s Daddy and little dudes time. It means that with my marking done (well more done) and my post is written, in twenty minutes I will help little dude to dress. My cup will be full and I’ll be able to give him my attention, full attention – not planning in my head, stressy Mum writing a mental list kind of attention. My phone will barely be seen and we will fill our day with cooking, visiting loved ones and a dog walk. We will create memories and giggle.

It’s clear to me that perspective is needed. On lookers don’t know me, don’t need to judge me and I don’t need to judge them. We all do, obviously – it’s human nature. Sometimes, like my image above, we need a new perspective to read it. We need to step back, to not attack, judge or be quick in response.

In friendships, with work colleague and with your tribe add a filter before you make a remark. Breath. Step back. You’ll be wiser for it. Much like the swimming pool my boys are currently in, a filter is essential to prevent them from swallowing pure wee. Don’t let your life be poisoned by other people misunderstood perceptions.

Bread and water can easily be toast and tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fight for the fairy tale, it does exist

Quote by Joy.F

When I was a little princess I lived high up on a hill, I had a pink room papered with tiny rose buds and was surrounded by dolls and love.  I was a lucky little lady, and as I grew (perhaps its the only child in me) I expected the best and knew that my knight in shining Dad armour would protect me from the horrors of the world.

My childhood was padded, corners were eradicated with strategically placed cushions. My garden toys, slide and swing both had protective rubber at the bottom – heaven forbid I hit the rough edges of the grass.

Due to health issues Gluten was my nemesis, so I battled hard with the force that is ‘My Mummy’, she checked labels, made from scratch and in an era without gluten free foods abundant on supermarket shelves and with no access to the internet she became the lighthouse of knowledge on all things GF. At birthday parties I had a packed lunch, at play dates she baked biscuits…she was my Delia delight because I was never once aware of being any different from anyone else.

I was allowed the freedom to be what ever I wanted to be. This was one of the greatest gifts that my family gave me. The gift to dream.

I kissed many frogs – some more ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ than had any handsome prince potential, but a young girl has to find these things out for herself. Its part of the adventure and makes for a fabulous cliff hanger.

I became an amalgamation of most of the Disney Princess’s, my imagination is at times so far fetched I have trouble working out how to get back to reality. I can be as feisty and independent as Elsa (although I could never live on a snow capped mountain, I’m pathetic in the cold weather), as vulnerable as Cinderella; sometimes we need to be whisked away and cared for, although I would never be so careless as to mislay a shoe, plus I’m not a night owl so I worry about turning into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight if I’m not tucked up in bed with a camomile tea by my side (so ghetto).

I can be as care free as Lilo, my labrador is more practical than stitch – she can fetch. Ive had my wild Merinda hair moments and had to overcome situations beyond my comfort zone.

I am a princess. I live the fairy tale.

I also have a career, my own family, responsibilities and Ive become a woman that carries tissues and light snacks in her handbag amongst the Dior lipgloss and DKNY sunglasses.

If you think I have it all, you are wrong – there would never be a sequel if happily ever after was so simple. I battle my own demons and struggle with my own issues daily, have things I want to improve, goals I want to reach BUT I choose to look through fairy tale glasses.

It’s a choice like what I’ll eat at Breakfast. Fairy tale eyes let’s me escape the dull and mundane and with the average Disney film lasting approximately 90minutes I still have time to fantasise and do the dishes…I’m just waiting for seven dwarfs to arrive and half a dozen bluebirds to dust my living room. You can get these on Amazon right?

Perspective is something I often end up writing about, I’m sure its because as I grow mine alters and experiences cause me to change my opinions. This quote is shouting out that you can already have the fairy tale – that you’ve been living it since the day you was born…if thats how you decide to see each day.

Perhaps you aren’t a natural glass half full person, or may be you’ve been the ugly sister, Genie in the lamp for others for a little too long. For what its worth I believe you can still go to the ball, live happily ever after and slay any dragons along the way. To do this will take courage to change and small steps to a better tomorrow, but if we’re honest we have all wondered what happened to the ugly sisters anyway….perhaps they won the lottery, found some spiritual alignment, loved themselves and ran away in the night with a hansom man from another kingdom. Or may be they learnt to knit, sorted that cupboard out and got dinner ready on time to watch Eastenders.

Enjoy the journey of your own happy ever after. what Disney character resonates with you?