Plot twist

I often find in life people drive down certain pathways, certain they know where they are heading, perhaps they found a soul mate, took an exit at marriage or diverted to having children. They tick off the various landmarks along the way, content in a bubble of control in a journey called ‘Life’

Then there are people like me…naive enough to think they are in control until one day life gives them lemons, truck loads of the yellow fruit. As the quote goes and being a positive princess, I know you need to make lemonade out of them. Since 2009 exactly ten years today we’ve been doing just that. At 16:47 I gave birth to our daughter Gracie, the plan was to take our healthy bundle home, raise her to be a queen and use motherhood as an excuse to visit farms, play in parks and enjoy the ride of motherhood. Except, we had lemons…and a rollercoaster that I wouldn’t want the worst of humans to have to go through. Regular readers will know, we didn’t bring her home and I felt at the time when our daughters death came to an abrupt end, so to had our pathway of happy ever after.

Except, life sometimes gives you a service station and an alternative route and a mountain…a huge mountain to navigate around. The route doesn’t look as appealing and it’s not so picturesque…but some how the mountain makes you a better human, you learn, you help others and there are even a few unexpected moments of joy along the way; like the view if you make it to the top.

After a decade of our diverted path, plus a little dude that jumped in the passenger seat in 2013 I foolishly sat back in the driving seat. Ticking off landmarks and planning our future. How smug was I.

Then came the plot twist…baby three due April 2020.

Mike drop.

Not planned.

What next? I’m giving up metaphorical driving. I’m making little to no plans, I’m seeing where this huge new tunnel takes us. It looks dark and to be honest is a little scary. This time life gave us a pomegranate. We can’t squeeze it – because there are too many pips but it is so vibrant when you take time to cut it open and I’m excited for the potential of where this tunnel will take us. It’s early days but on the anniversary of Gracies birth I’m grateful for this unexpected gift.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel if you keep going, there is always contrast along the way. This is life and I’m now driving full throttle and with no road map open to where it might take us. Just like a candle on a cake, there is always light if you choose to see it.

Happy returns little angel

Cling to what is good

Quote Anon

According to the power of google an adult makes 35,000 decisions a day, a child around 3,000. That’s everything from what to have for dinner tonight to what to wear and where to go. Most choices fall in to three categories: positive, negative and those we feel obliged to do, feeling like we don’t really have a choice.

As an adult I do feel that at times I need to make negative decisions for overall good, an example being telling my son off and setting consequences – in hope that he learns and grows into an adult with clear morals and boundaries. At the time of sanctioning him he would tell you it was a negative decision I’d made.

Not all choices are transparent and many come with a wealth of other choices, at times resulting in others taking control or contributing to the end result.

Many of us suffer from decision fatigue and with the stats so high, I’m not surprised. If you find yourself overwhelmed then the experts encourage you to pull back; have a duvet day, a social media detox and even better a week away from WiFi. Don’t answer the phone, relax and live in the moment where possible.

Except that is a short term issue. At the moment my son who is six years old is sneaky when I ask him to make one of his 3,000 choices for the day. He will say things like “I don’t mind” or “‘ask Daddy what he wants” in order to avoid conflict or people disliking his ideas. As a result, as parents we are now throwing him even more options…and not letting him wiggle out of them. It’s a tough love choice in hope that it will help him grow in resilience and assertiveness. More importantly we are asking him to ‘feel’ the decision, to reflect on what feels good, to reconnect with his instincts and to not be put off by other people’s reactions. Making choices in the moment that feel good are meant to be the best way to promote positive wellbeing and overall happiness in the long term. Without guides, I wonder how many adults are out of sync with their own sense of good? Making time to rest and play has never been so crucial for a blossoming and positive planet.

It’s not necessary to react to everything you notice

Quote Anon

In 2019 and the world is full of morons. This is a fact that we can’t change.

None of us are perfect – perfection is an aspiration, not a destination. Thus we can all slide in to the moron mask momentarily. At any moment we can make poor decisions, act in a selfish manner or drive like we are Jenson Button. It happens, we make mistakes.

We also have choices, I like to think I try and take off my moron mask as soon as I notice the shadow cast over my face, I also know if I’m feeling hormonal I can glue it on for the week and anyone who dares to step in my way will feel the wrath of the masked menstruated moron.

(sometimes I just get the mask out for fun)

However, we all have choices. Just because I don’t say anything or react when a moron crosses my path doesn’t mean I don’t notice, nor have an opinion on the matter. It’s crucial to remember we are a reflection of the people that we surround ourselves by. Allowing a friend to gossip and vent can be therapeutic for both of us, but if that friend is in a continuous cloud of doom it may be best to leave and allow them to wallow.

Making continuous negative dialogue about how other people drive (who can’t hear you) only increases your heart rate. It doesn’t make them better drivers.

Learning to not react, to filter our thoughts can be challenging but there are two questions you can ask yourself before you speak (my friend shared these with me a few days ago from a podcast she listened to)

  • Am I growing?
  • Am I giving?

If not, the advice from fridge HQ would be to walk away and let those thoughts go. Sharing ideas, perspectives and support is crucial to evolving, pointing out that someone is inadequate if that haven’t asked for advice isn’t useful to you or them.

Next time you see a masked moron, cross the road and don’t react, the world will be a better place and if you let it go, so will your heart rate and overall well-being.

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.

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?