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

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.

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.

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.

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.