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

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?

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.

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?

We are our choices

Quote from J P Sartre

So we’ve arrived in 2022, most of us a little worst for wear, but we are here. Looking around you have arrived in the lifestyle choices you made last year. Our current body is made from the food and lifestyle choices we make…I am currently a very content ‘cheese and beans jacket potato’ – it was made even more delicious as I really fancied it, it meant stopping off on the way home for large potatoes and then waiting over an hour for it to cook but good decisions aren’t always instant.

Sometimes we can feel we don’t have choices (like we don’t have any potatoes), stepping back from the situation and reassessing what we can do (buy potatoes) often provides a solution or a pathway around the issue, leading us to our desired choice. The universe often has a way of providing either what we desire or something even better. Very few situations as adults lack choice, they’re either a manifestation of the choices we made to get there or the result of choices that we rushed into and didn’t think about the consequences of.

When children show antisocial behaviour (hitting, kicking or biting) its often because they lack the ability to communicate how they feel, instead they demonstrate it in actions. All of humanities behaviours are simple communications…basic maths will tell you that making choices that are positive, caring and thoughtful, often result in positive outcomes for yourself and those around you. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and it can feel like we don’t have choices, below is a list of ways you can make better choices moving forward:

* listen to your own instinct, it’s got your back and often will steer you in the right direction (unless you over think it)

*don’t overthink it, instead remember knowledge is power and always check your sources are valid and reliable

* balance is the key, so with a healthy dinner and plenty of exercise I can afford to indulge in a less nutritious dessert should I wish.

* make sure the people you surround yourself with are aspiring in the same direction as you, seek advice when needed from trusted souls

* good sleep often helps you to think with clarity

Have a wonderful 2022 and feel your world with choices that make you and those around you smile.

Don’t watch the clock, do what it does…keep going

Quote by Sam Levenson

We are fast approaching the time of year where New Years resolutions will be made, we reflect on what we have achieved, look down at our ever growing ‘to do’ list and if you’re like me, feel so overwhelmed you’ll need to sit down and indulge in Christmas movies, snacks and hot chocolate. If however, you are Sam Levenson then you’ll probably keep going.

The world is full of distractions, some important and some…like defluffing my hoover, less so. Personally, a little distraction can be a wonderful break from reality but we all know that to reach our goals we will need to commit and like a clock…keep going.

How you keep going is up to you. Personally I’ve never been a sprinter…so when January calls and I make a resolution if I go ‘hardcore’ to complete my goal for several weeks, I’m likely to burn out, fail and make myself ill in the process.

You can still use the clock and succeed without burn out. It’s called ‘intermittent training’ and it doesn’t just need to apply to training. In training it may mean to walk/run for several minutes at a time in order that you can run further, you then build up the time between running and walking as you progress …perhaps your goal is to declutter your home. To apply this theory rather than say you’ll do a draw or cupboard every day, instead over a 7 day week you commit to 4 draws or cupboards over the week. This gives room for life’s distractions, it also doesn’t matter how you complete the task…you may wish to do a ‘every other day’ approach or you may have a super busy week at work and you may dedicate an afternoon to doing all four in one go…this flexibility I find makes you ‘keep going’ far longer and ultimately you can achieve your goals with a higher success rate.

Time ticking is inevitable and whilst I agree we should all ‘keep going’ being more strategic about how we use our time will be more beneficial than burning out and doing nothing. Whilst the world keeps spinning and time keeps ticking, its what you do with it that really counts.

Do your thing

Quote Anon

As I wrote that quote I could hear my Year 9 English teacher Mrs H saying ‘Don’t use words like ‘stuff or thing’ it’s not specific’…well Mrs H, everyone’s ‘thing’ is different and this covers all bases.

Sometimes in life we forget who we are or what we enjoy simply because we get caught in the flow of life. We crawl through Monday morning as we reluctantly get out of bed, blink and often it’s Saturday afternoon…time flies not just when you’re having fun but when you are caught in the momentum of hum drum life…shower, work, drive, prepare meals, sleep and of course repeat.

Or events throw us off course and sometimes we forget who we were before the event, that can sometimes be a blessing as we are here to grow and thrive, but sometimes we can lose the magical moments of joy that we use to have. I remember about four months into having my son and contemplating returning to work I had to write a list of the things I enjoyed – not us as a family or me as a mother, but Lucy…what did I do before parenting knocked on my door and caught me in a baby led tsunami of nappy changes and baby snuggles?

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you to reflect on what you enjoy, the ‘things’ that make you happy – not other people, but hobbies, past times and ‘things’. Make time in the next few days to do some of these; stay true to your morals, values and political beliefs, faith and attitudes and just do you. Don’t also be surprised if you also can’t think of any, adulting has a habit of snatching these from us. You may need to take a few minutes alone, grab a pen and paper and jot them down. All of the ‘things’ may not be available to you in this moment due to finance or your current situation but staying true to your sense of self can mean these can be achieved down the line.

Doing ‘you’ is your superpower and the world needs more of your unique vibe. Stepping into your sense of self, your happy place also makes you a better person when you return to your loved ones. Happiness leads to more moments of joy and don’t we all need a little more of that as we step in to 2022. Well, I’d love to write some more (because writing is another joy of mine) but I’m off to walk in forests, sip tea, light candles and eat cake.

The unfed mind devours itself

Quote by Gore Vidal

A new week and time to remind ourselves that our brains need stimulation.

Feed your brain the nutrition of a Watsit, stay in your comfort zone and stop learning new things = brain mush.

Our brain is not only crucial for daily functioning but it’s what we use to make decisions and steer the course of our lives with, with each new turn of the steering wheel we create new neurone pathways and that gives us more options and allows us to flourish. When it comes to the brain, variety is not only the spice of life but the whole plate.

It’s very easy to sit in our comfort zones and as we get older, I suggest much like an old and loved couch, it’s becomes harder to get out of. This post is a moment to reflect on whether you need to do something new, go somewhere different, to take up that course you’ve always wanted to do. Perhaps you are well read and enjoy regular trips to the library, you may have not realised that you always read the same genre, or same couple of authors. This means you are likely to stay roughly in the same word count and in turn you haven’t learnt any new words or expressions for a while. Much like a child learning to speak, the more eloquent we are the further we can use language to express our emotions and to an extent, feel deeper. The same can be said if you tend to watch the same TV programmes, genre of films or visit the same websites regularly.

Part of my job as a behaviour adviser, is going into schools and observing children in classrooms. Boredom isn’t as rare as parents may hope. Whilst the bored mind can also stimulate imagination and innovation – in the majority of classrooms I’ve observed in, this isn’t always the case, it’s more likely that biros will be tapped, twirled, dropped and span. After a while, the bored mind becomes frustrated and antisocial behaviour kicks in, the mind devours itself in chaos.

The other thing a bored mind does is it has too much time, when this happens it fills itself up with fear and ‘what ifs’ – again, great for the imagination but not so much for in being / becoming a mentally well balanced individual.

A diet of fear, leads to a vulnerable existence and anxiety, so every now and then we need to take stock and reassess what our brains are digesting, food wise there are many awesome ‘brain foods’ from blueberries to nuts they can help increase performance. Exercise wise, the brain craves new environments, challenges and goals. However, one element that often gets forgotten is sleep. A good nights sleep allows the brain to process, reassess and much like a computer it turns on more effectively after it’s been reset. We may not grizzle like toddlers when we are tired (I think I do actually?) but it lowers our mood and our performance, which can effect how enjoyable we are finding the task at hand. Don’t devour your own brain, use it and manifest the life you always dreams of.