You were my cup of tea, but I drink champagne now

Quote Anon

Within this quote lies two of my favourite liquids, tea and champagne (not in the same vessel obviously). We are jumping through January with people taking on new challenges from eating vegan to folding things in a Kondo fashion.

When I turned thirty my friend told me something very wise. She said “when you’re thirty life is too short for buying tomatoes not on the vine” and although this might sound peculiar, as always it was good advice. In my house I like crystal glasses, as a result we drink out of them as our ‘everyday’ glasses, in my opinion everyday is our best day, why wait for an occasion? My tea is served in china cups, I dislike the thickness of a mug and of course my tomatoes are bought on the vine.

However, often people don’t upgrade the people they surround them self by. I’m not saying you need to cull the friends of years gone by, sometimes there are wonderful reasons why they are still in your world. Sometimes though, your neighbour is abrupt, a friend says cruel things, they don’t support you with goals and perhaps you stopped sharing visions and plans with them long a go. In this case, seize this quote with both hands and pour the tea down the drain, reaching instead for a tall and sleek (crystal) glass of fizzy delight. Make sure the people you surround yourself by have common goals, that they too are climbing to the top of the glass one bubble at a time, that they refresh you, quench your thirsty and leave you feeling a million dollars

*warning: even champagne friends will leave you with a headache if you spend too much time with them. Balance is the key.

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You and I are more than friends, we’re like a really small gang

Quote Anon

This quote warms my heart and reminds me of my soul mate. No not him indoors, he’s my equal. My soul mate and I met at university during auditions. Then the stars aligned and we ended up with rooms close together, then a house share and now despite living miles away, we speak daily. My soul mate is my shadow and I am hers. If you are blessed to have a friend that makes you a better person, tell them. This post is all about our small gang.

We complete each other’s sentences, understand each others work issues (she’s also a teacher), we sound the same on the phone and have on many occasions tricked all the Mr’s over the years by pretending to be each other. We are very alike and completely different. She has a huge friendship circle that goes back to her first breath, I hate humans. She loves to upcycle furniture and I like to drink champagne whilst she paints furniture for me. She is kind and thoughtful, she can’t say no. (Yes, I know you’re getting better) I am blunt, she is polite. I’m number one and she’s number a zillion and will put all other beings (even Doug the fat pigeon) before her. We speak daily on the phone and if we don’t I feel like I’ve lost a limb.

Our taste in fashion is different, but I’d know her taste in seconds. We can both cook, clean and love Gavin and Stacey, TV sitcoms like friends, laughing and my son…we love him equally. She always puts him first, sends him parcels; I can’t stand onesies…he rang her and asked her for one (he never asks for anything) as he admires her collection, she sent him a parcel that made him beam. In 2019 she is getting married to her equal. I’m a bridesmaid (along with 80 others, I told you she knows a lot of people), I’ve been a bridesmaid twice in my life, she is annually a bridesmaid for someone and has a closet like Katherine Heigl in 27 dresses. So her moment to shine is a big deal. That said, she’s allowing my son to walk down the aisle carrying the rings in an outfit of his choice. Currently the design involves 8 legs and it has to light up. I don’t need to apologies to her, she knows him and loves him for his wonderful imagination, I know she would be upset if I made him wear a suit that made him align with the colour scheme.

When we are together I feel complete. I wouldn’t be me without her. She is my Clare bear. She’s my better half. Together we are the coolest little gang ever. It helps that somehow we’ve ended up with men folk that are also very different and yet the parallels of similarity are odd.

Being cool, we often sing aloud together in our cars and create new lyrics to songs or poems that make little to no sense but make us laugh.

Thank you for being my bestie, my light in the dark times and my shadow enjoying the lighter aspects of life with me. May 2019 bring you all you desire and more…if like me you have a really small gang, tell them. To show others you appreciate them is the highest gift you can give, unless they like gin, then share your gin with them.

Words are free, it’s how you use them that costs you.

Quote by Anon

I may have spoken about this before but Pen from The Single Swan mentioned in a comment the other day that she picks a word for the year ahead, bizarrely that day the bestie and I were on the phone and mentioned that our common word for 2018 was ‘accomplished ‘ (sounds so joyful on the tongue). As a woman who loves to set intentions I thought I’d select a word for 2019. As I began to think about what I wanted from the year and searched through my bag of goals, ideas and plans I very quickly decided on a word and it scared me to my core.

Achieve.

As I type the word I feel a sense of burden, fear and that perhaps I’m taking on a word that’s out of my reach. However, through this blog I have learnt that nothing changes unless you are willing to step out of your comfort zone. I also don’t need every moment of every day to be an achievement and with small adjustments as the months roll I can take steps that suit my pace. That said, some of the goals I will achieve will need me to step way beyond my area of comfort. Upon reflection it’s a word suitable for success and the challenge that comes with achieving. Take for example my first challenge…the puppy I rescued. She is a ball of chew and needles from her teeth to her sharp claws. She has no boundaries (we are trying to teach her them day by day, she is teaching us that rules are made to be chewed) and although she’s also a bundle of cuteness, I know training her will be a challenge but also an achievement.

Next, I will be moving this blog away from WordPress and to my own site…any tips totally welcome as http and widgets brings me out in a cold sweat of confusion and doubt. However, by taking the leap will mean I can add a new aspect to the site which I really want to do…details to follow once I’ve worked out the ifs, but’s and all the words that come with achieving this mission.

Other things I’d like to achieve will help me to love my home a little more. It’s a nice house but as I’m not a fan of the word ‘nice’ this speaks volumes about my feelings to the building we call home.

2019 will also be my daughters 10th anniversary. It blows my brain to think of all the things she could of liked and become. We don’t celebrate her birthday or death but I’d like to mark her decade with a gathering or event…again, any ideas welcome as this will be another emotional challenge to our journey to achieving a positive life without her on earth.

Join me through my challenges and achievements via this corner of the internet and why not pick your own word…if like the quote suggests we pay a price, let it be life changing for the better.

Happy New Year.

When trials come your way, look for the pearls.

Quote confused: could be the bible or song lyrics…or both?

Sometimes things are just meant to be. Currently curled up on my lap is a tiny puppy. We took her to the vets and she is around 6-7weeks old. We aren’t sure of her breed, guesses are mainly around a combination of a Labrador and a springer.

We did want another puppy and was waiting until the new year when the weather was a little warmer. After all who wants to stand in the dark and rain with a puppy…apparently we do now. Even better she’s black so you can’t see her a night without a torch which she likes to dart away from and it’s rained constantly in the UK since she came home.

How this bundle came to be is a little different from the average ‘buy a dog’ story, so I’m sharing it on here. On Friday I went to buy some cider vinegar from a store after work (snobby I know). Outside was an absolutely useless security guard shouting at a man and inflaming the situation, the man was clearly on illegal substances. Shoppers walked past and avoided the area. I asked the man if he was okay (to the dismay of the security guard) I calmed him down and noticed a puppy peeping out of his coat. It was a cold night and I asked him if I could hold her. He had taken them from his girlfriend, the black ones hadn’t sold and he wanted his next hit.

The store has a huge car park in the front of it and you can see cars approaching. He was worried because (rightly so) the guard had called the Police. I explained that I would talk to the police for him and that shouting and fighting wasn’t going to help. He then confessed he had some ‘taken’ jewellery in his coat. He showed me a string of pearls. He wanted help and I said the police would be able to offer that.

The security guard left.

Police arrived and I as promised explained that this man had taken some things he wished he didn’t need to take. That he had some ‘borrowed items’ on him and that he had promised me he would go nicely with them. (All those years of calming down year eleven pupils had come in handy).

He was calmly arrested on several charges and also because he had killed one of the puppies in his coat (I was still holding the other one) it was either too cold or his erratic behaviour had harmed it. I knew I wasn’t going to hand over the ball of fluff in my hands. I followed the Police to the station and the man signed her over to me because “I like her, she’s alright” (nothing like a compliment from a puppy killing drug dealer to set your Friday evening up for success). I didn’t want her to go in to cells while they tried to get her to a rescue home and both the officers and myself were worried she might need be in need of her mum and therefore need a little more care.

I phoned the Mr and said ‘Hi I’m on my way home and I have a puppy on my lap’ he then organised the necessary bits we would need for that night and ‘as long as it isn’t a Dachshund’ we could keep her (one day I’ll get that sausage dog).

Until then we own a bitsa dog (breed: bit of this, bit of that), we stand in the rain outside only for her to wee inside and we all adore her.

After the stolen pearls in the mans pocket and my sons love of Pirates of the Caribbean her official name is #TheBlackPearl (the goodie ship) and we lovingly call her Pearl…or rather ‘No pearl don’t eat that’. To stare at cute puppy pictures check her out on instagram @fridgesays

You are not weak for needing time to sort through this

Quote from MHN

Currently I’m in a whirlwind of festive get togethers, chores and life’s demands. December brings joy but also preparation. As regular readers will know I also go HUGE on intentions and goals, as we step into 2019 my bucket list flows with plans, ideas and steps towards making my dreams come true.

The carousel of life, even in the most joyful times can sometimes need a pause. As a park ride, the carousel has always been a favourite of mine. Usually in the centre of the action, the glistening fairy lights and twinkling music draws my inner child in like a warm hug. However, I wouldn’t want to stay on a carousel for a long period of time. Life’s issue – even joyful moments are often served quick and unexpected. The joy is in a moment and a moment should never last a life time.

You are not weak or selfish for needing time to sort through an issue that’s present in your life. Often as humans, much like a carousel we are presented with an issue, or view of the world, think we’ve dealt with it, only to see the pattern emerge in another aspect of our life.

I urge you to create time to reassess your journey. To jump off of the carousel and spend time sorting through the issue. Life is best with variation and the carousel isn’t going anywhere, so take a ride on the Big Dipper, you never know what you’re missing.

It doesn’t matter how slow you grow as long as you don’t stop

Quote by Confucius

This quote is in my favour as it offers hope. At four foot eleven with size two feet, growing isn’t my specialty. I often think I was sneezing or distracted when they were handing out the growing genes.

However, I also know my journey through life is about to sprout new stems. Each year I need to prune the dead wood back and watch new buds form.

This year I’ll be irrigating a few new cuttings. I plan to create new plants of opportunity for this blog, my passions and family life. We will see new places, taste new food and grow mighty and tall (metaphorically speaking).

Upon reflection I guess new year is also a time to look back at things you can improve on, things that didn’t go to plan and learn from the errors of the previous year. Don’t drag dead wood into new seasons with you.

Mostly, when I garden (much like life) I make it up. Sometimes I cut back a little too hard, things die, things emerge and grow in places I didn’t plan them to. Mother Nature has a way of guiding everything to perfection…just keep growing, however small those buds may be, you never know how amazing the flowers will be when they flourish.

No.

To quote Hamlet, act 3, scene 3, line 87

We are on the cusp of a consumer crazy season. Of crackers with plastic and wrappings that nobody wants, that are often abandoned on the table long after the plates have been clearer away. Perhaps of saying thank you for gifts that lack thoughts, need or joy.

I know this post isn’t my usual sparkly positive self. Don’t despair, I’m about to flip it around but before I do I want to empower you with the word No. (As a Teacher and a Mum I feel Hamlet needs to add the words ‘thank you’ after his quote). Balance in life is crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve written many posts about ‘yes’ – to opportunities, change and adventure that so many of us hide from in daily life. I’m a fan honestly.

However, December seems to bring excess and anxiety for things we don’t want to do.

If you feel at all doubtful, listen to your instinct and say No.

  • Say No to buying gifts for that awkward Aunt or Uncle that you feel obliged to because they buy for you. It only takes a quick awkward phone call to release everyone of this burden for many Christmas’s to come
  • You don’t need to eat everything you’re offered
  • you can say no to sprouts.
  • You don’t need to attend that party that makes you feel anxious.
  • You don’t have to wear anything you don’t want to. I am the proud owner of zero Christmas jumpers.
  • Christmas doesn’t mean ‘spend money you don’t have’ say No.

Make sure the traditions you and your family participate in bring joy, love and a sense of fun…not awkward social events. Don’t become one of the three kings that bought guilt, anxiety and fear. Many of the innkeepers said No and it led to a way cooler version of Christmas. Baby Jesus born in a stable gathered by animals is all the better for its simplicity.

Saying No doesn’t need to be negative, it’s in fact a tool that can bring a huge amount of joy and relief. Balance is where joy and happiness can be fully embraced. This holiday season say yes to things that make you warm and smile, politely decline things your instinct tells you will add stress, keep the holiday season simple and stay present in all you do. It’s a recipe for the perfect Christmas.

Wake. Pray. Slay

Quote by awesome Anon

I find that if I can wake on my terms (without a little ninja creeping in and tackling me) I can literally take on the world.

Seriously it’s like a revolutionary universal explosion, when the ninja does creep in my day is more like the Jurassic age…mummy dinosaur is ferocious. I’ve wrote a post before about my morning routine but thought I’d write about how I turn my Mummy-Rex in to a mummy dream when things don’t go as planned.

I lock myself in the toilet. We are blessed with both an upstairs and downstairs bathroom, so if one is out of action nobody has the excuse to break down the door. I basically sit and reawaken. It’s not as snug as my bed, but it’s ninja attack free. I then do some simple breathing techniques that I find work for me. I’ve also been known to do these in public bathrooms when my stress levels are going crazy. It’s called the OM breath and just two minutes is enough to reduce your heart rate by two thirds. I also like it because as you breath in and out you make a rasping sound that reminds me of waves. Google it, it works and the tutorials are hilarious.

I write a list. Seriously, I’m a spiritual being but have never found joy in prayer, but a list is like fuel in my engine. It gives me direction in an otherwise chaotic day, I feel a huge sense of achievement as I tick off each item. I’ve even been known to add things I’ve done previously to writing the list, on the list, just so I can tick them off. I even have a notebook dedicated to lists.

Self care indulgence. Everyday I squeeze in a little self care, it might be painting my nails, lighting candles, clearing out a draw, ringing a friend…but on days when I’ve turned it around I reward myself with bonus time. Today was indeed a slay day. There was so much to do and I was a single parent with the Mr away, so once the ninja was asleep I had a bubble bath, hair treatment, painted my nails, lit candles, listened to a podcast, had some posh tea and even made time (thanks to the tribe of support) to squeeze in a yoga class.

…why? Because when you’ve slayed you need to do two things.

  • Celebrate: because whatever you were slaying was exhausting.
  • Top up your cup: there’s that wise old saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup and frankly my cup was cracking today, nobody wants me to leak over them so best I fill in the chip and recharge.

I hope you wake to slay tomorrow. How do you turn things around when your day isn’t going as planned? Please share any tips in the comment section 🙂

Worry means you suffer twice

Quote by Newt Scamander.

  • Warning, I’m doing that thing again where the need to write pulls me out of my bed (even with freshly laundered sheets) and on to the floor in the office at the back of the house with the glow of my Macbook for company and a beauty salt lamp by my side. (desks have always felt a little too formal for me and I’m grounded on the floor; even if its a little draughty), so please forgive me if what I write is waffle.

I often write on the topic of happiness, perspective or self care. There is usually a silver lining or positive perspective to sparkle up this corner of the internet and worry isn’t my friend. I don’t invite him/her to my celebrations, neither does she/he make my Christmas card list (frankly, since having a child and working full time anyone who receives a card from me is truly blessed). I avoid negative people, conversations and situations. We don’t watch TV in our home, the news (web or paper version) are non existent. Yet still I am totally aware that the world we are part of is out of control. That plastic consumption is ridiculous and that banning plastic straws has probably come a little late in the day. That power, money and fear are still the driving forces. That scare mongering, praying on the vulnerable, greed and selfishness are growing much like plastic straws on our oceans seabeds, that stress is increasing, that happiness is often ‘sold’ in a misguided manner… I know this. It shakes my bubble that I work hard to create hard every now and then, its sucks the sparkle and actually at times has taken my breath with it.

Worry is the new fear (I’m not sure how new is new). We worry about worrying in between moments of ‘what if’s’ and ‘could’ ‘should’s’… the list is long. In education bullying is old hat, self diagnosis of anxiety and depression are on the increase amongst our children, as a species we are lost and drown our sorrows with drugs and alcohol (usually through those blooming plastic straws) and what I guess woke me from my comfy bed is a request, to ask you too to build a bubble, a cocoon of kindness and self care, to not engage with the negativity described above. Contrast is necessary for us to thrive, I can’t promise you can fully cut it out. Think of my request as a new detox regime – no fancy products needed, no 90 day money back guarantee required, in fact it won’t cost a penny. I’m asking because worry can be such a positive tool – it lets you know when you’ve lost balance, it reminds you that you care…but never give it the power to allow you to suffer twice.

If you can’t do this, then please at least stop using plastic straws.

Everything is figureoutable

Quote Anon.

I know these aren’t real words, but so much of my vocabulary that I use is created in my head, this spoke to me.

When I was younger I really felt that once you became an adult you had the world worked out, the pathways would open like some sort of ‘open sesame’ then on you plodded. Well either I wasn’t listening when they were handing out maps (highly likely) or the routes of life are more unknown than I had thought.

Problems, often cascade from no where. They arrive on my doorstep in envelopes of large bills that I wasn’t expecting, a car can collide into my rear and phone calls and more letters are required. The health of loved ones can be shared in a text or conversation and then hospital visits and worry ensues… or you can breath.

I know, breathing doesn’t actually pay the bill or fix a car, but it does allow your brain to process the issue from a grounded place rather than in a state of emotional turmoil.

Often when I’m faced with an issue that I can’t figure out how to solve, changing the activity I’m doing or distracting my brain with something I enjoy often means I come to a conclusion far quicker.

It sounds crazy, I realise to say ‘don’t think about the problem you can’t stop thinking about’ but honesty it works. My dear friend couldn’t conceive, her partner and her stopped trying whilst they saved for IVF…with the pressure removed she conceived and gave birth to a health bundle of new born.

When you ‘let go’ of tension magic happens; money flows from places you didn’t know existed, friends help out in ways you didn’t know they could…issues that you just couldn’t work out become figureoutable.

It’s not exactly a map to adulthood, but it is a magical step on a smoother pathway. Enjoy the journey and remember all problems are generally solved eventually, if you lack confidence then give this a read because You can, end of story