Be kind. Even on your bad days

Quote Anon

Today’s post isn’t long and its message is simple. We all have battles that we face, both internal personal battles and external battles that we may find ourselves in through no fault of our own…so do other people.

It’s easy to be consumed by the now and even the toxicity of the past, it’s much harder to smile on days when you don’t feel like smiling and even harder to push that smile into the world towards strangers.

However, in my experience it’s the light in the darkest of moments, the kindness that comes from people that don’t need to care that is truly special.

As the Christmas season approaches and we all become consumed by…well, consumerism, perhaps in this crazy world of 2020 that we all find ourselves in, the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us is a little extra kindness. It often doesn’t cost a lot and it doesn’t always get noticed but I truly believe the future of the world depends on it (that totally sounded like a marvel film intro)

As the last few weeks of 2020 past and we step into 2021 with a little more hope and a dollop of joy, please add a gallon of kindness to those who need it. You can never be sure who needs it, so aim for everyone. Let the car out of the side road if it’s safe to do so, let the man in a rush pass you by and don’t judge him – you don’t know why he is rushing. Kindness is checking on friends with a quick phone call and knocking on vulnerable neighbours doors to check if they need anything. Open doors and smile.

Smile when people give you eye contact, increase your manners (it’s something adults generally suck at), tell people you love them and give compliments like you’re PollyAnna. Over the years I’ve written a lot about this topic, gratitude and kindness truly matter and usually I write to remind myself.

So if nobody has told you today, your hair looks fab, I love that jumper and I’d like to thank you for dropping by, it’s means the world.

I hope you find what your heart really needs

This is a personal letter to a dear friend but I’d like to think on some level it speaks to us all.

Stock image, rights aren’t mine.

Dear lovely one,

Wow, whilst this year has been like the 90s TV show The Gladiators and we all just want to get to the final to prove we can complete the The Eliminator (read last two words with a game show voice over) in the quickest time, your show has been a little more challenging. Let down by your team mates and told false promises I can understand you’re hurt. That right is yours.

However, you are no rookie and this life has taken you on many challenging adventures all of which you have completed with love, perseverance and a dash of insanity. I wanted to remind you that you are the Ulrika Johnson / John Fashanu of your life, we all are. You introduce and close each chapter, you tell the tale how you want to. You are the presenter and director and nobody can alter that.

I was reflecting this morning on our friendship and realised that you are magical at manifesting. The woman who’s womb was like a crumbling cave made an awesome baby that nobody thought possible. The woman who in the face of some toxic relationships left with her heart full and kind words spoken.

When we lead with love we often attract more into our lives and this is my wish for you. I realise you are only moments into this new chapter and there are many hurdles ahead but I wanted to remind you that nobody, no law and no restrictions can interrupt a woman on a mission. Surround yourself with people who support you and quieten the ones who doubt. I personally will be chanting from the side lines (probably with one of those pointed over sized foam hands) for your success. I’ll continue chanting until you reach your destination. You see you get to pick your audience too and your ‘G-force’ (the cheerleaders name from the game show), remember we are far more resilient when needed, I surprise myself most days.

Whilst there are steps to your next haven, hurdles to overcome ‘The wall’ will be high and ‘Hang tough’ might even try to break you, but I know that you are stronger than a game show challenge.

Much like the quote I began with, I set intentions for you far higher than a location. Beyond ‘The Travalator’ (this was the final challenge in the Gladiators final) I know there will be peace. I hope you find what your heart really needs. To be surrounded by family and love, handled with care and allowed to flourish. I hope the future is kind and that we all have hair like Lightning (serious google that woman’s mane and physique, what an idol). At the moment it’s okay to not know what you need, you have a little one to put first, but in the rare moments of night, or the early hours of the morning silence dare to dream and then watch it unfold.

Much love beautiful x

Humble with a hint of Kanye

Quote Anon

This week we said hello (and then goodbye) to Friday 13th in 2020. The meme game was high and it made reflect on the year a little, was 2020 really that horrendous? For me personally we have said goodbye to loved ones (not pandemic related), we’ve been affected by the lockdown restrictions and I updated my passport unnecessarily but we’ve also had so many awesome moments. The UK had a summer that seemed to last forever and it was joyful sunny! We used our garden and lockdown gave us family time that I couldn’t have imagined possible. I stepped over fear and went for an interview on zoom (so 2020) got the job, that led to a huge lifestyle change and well…there were a lot of good moments weaved in between.

In the last few weeks of 2020 make sure you’re your own hype man, don’t get caught in only reflecting on this year in a negative manner. All years, months and days have contrast of both good and bad moments, in fact I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes laughter in the darker moments is all the more precious. Some years are a little sweeter and now as it turns out, some have memories of banging on pans with wooden spoons and not seeing extended family as much as we would have liked.

But we’re still here, unless you’re reading this from beyond the grave, which would be pretty cool. We are still here and we still have time to create more awesome memories and remember this year with some Kanye flair – he ran for president, which lets me honest is both bold and so Kanye. Imagine if the world had as much self esteem as Mr West, although as the quote suggests a little humbleness often goes a long way too and it’s a delicate balance. Here are a few quotes from the man himself.

“For me to say I wasn’t a genius would just be me lying to myself and you”

“Everything I am made me everything i am” nope I don’t understand this either?

“I feel I’m too busy writing history to read it”

Then every now and then he says something that makes me cherish 2020 a little more…

“The only luxury we have is time. The time you get to spend with your family” count your blessings as much as you count your hardships and when the New Year’s Eve bells ring you can step into 2021 with gratitude (and a dash of relief)

Beauty is in the mind and not in the mirror

Quote from me! @fridgesays

I feel like every bathroom facility across the globe that has basins with mirrors above should have this around it. As I typed the quote out I internally thought, I know that but I’m not sure I always implement it.

For this reason, today’s post is a reminder that you are unique. You are beautiful. You have features that are superior to others and flaws that make you an individual. When we look at images from silicone valley or we forget that people in the media’s eye often use more filters that Lego have made plastic blocks, be kind to yourself and how you talk to yourself.

Sometimes I feel good in certain outfits at other times they feel like they don’t reflect how I feel and can have the opposite effect.

I can purchase beauty products, buy new clothes, exercise, sleep, eat well and at the end of the day look in the mirror and feel mortified by what I see reflected back. When you catch yourself giving yourself a hard time, you need to become your own fairy god mother – we all should go to the ball. If a girl with pumpkins and rats can do it, I’m sure we all can. I’m a woman with a goldfish, a gecko, a dog, two African snails and a tank of stick insects.

Here’s my godmother recipe:

First, stare in the mirror and laugh at how privileged you are to have a mirror.

Next, step back slightly and decide whether the lighting is doing you any favours or is it more like a light box game from the 1980’s, remember not all light is flattering.

Step three: Like a good friend, reason with yourself. How’s the day gone? Does the frizzy hair represent the rainy school run, are the bags under your eyes due to night feeds and are the spots hormonal? if so..remind yourself that you succeeded to collect your child from school, feed your child and that hormones are a sign of health.

Challenge time, rather than focus on the spots, frizzy hair and bags under the eyes. Look in the mirror and pick THREE features you love. Perhaps it’s your laughter lines that remind you of good times, or your lips, maybe you like your hair up, down or are just glad you found time to wash it.

Lastly, look at your features and think about your loved ones. Do you have the same eyes as your Dad, the curve of your nose is the same as your daughters, how blessed we are to have reminders so near to us…unless your family are douche bags in which case casually miss this step.

Lastly and totally nonnegotiable…create time for some self care. A hot bath child free, a hair wrap or time to do your nails…because like this post stated at the beginning, your beautifully perfect just the way you are and deserve to be treated so.

Do something your future self will thank you for

Quote Anon

Hey lovelies.

Last night we had an amazing full blue moon, which means we were blessed with two full moons in October. Plus Halloween showed up lockdown style and in the UK Boris killed the party with news lockdown the sequel will be released later this week. *nobody likes sequels

Emotions are high, energy patterns seem confused and I’m sat here on a Sunday morning snuggled in a warm towel. This may not seem something necessary for me to share but for those that know me – things have changed.

You see I believe in creating pockets of joy in everyday. Self care is my shadow and I often make negotiable (dependant on the days demands) moments of self love everyday. With my cup full I’m in a great position to serve those I love. Sunday evenings however are non negotiable – a luxurious, child free pampered bath is my ritual. It helps me prepare for the week ahead and involves exfoliating, hair masks, nails, candles, fancy drinks in fancy glasses – the full spa package. Except it’s 10am and I’ve just got out of the bath….

I never understood day bath people. Draped in my fluffy white towel I’ve now become one. I told you things had changed.

I woke up and went downstairs and somehow between my cosy duvet and the reality of another rainy day in the UK I got cold. When I get cold, unlike Elsa everybody hears about it but not in an empowering Disney song kind of way but in a possessed protagonist demon way. It ruins my day and everyone I come into contact with. I sat back on the bed and decided to do something that would make me happy…I’d just had breakfast so didn’t have space for another cup of tea…then the answer came. Why wait until evening for my bath, why delay the delight? Having a bath is something my future self would thank me for, I’d be warm, happy and then align with more joy throughout the day. I turned the taps on to the bath and began an internal argument with myself…‘I never had a bath in the morning unless I’m ill. Who am I? Is this a lazy / waste of day thing to do? The negative doubt continued but the aroma of the bath oils and bubbles (yes I mix both together) called me in.

In the tub with no rubber ducky in sight (rule one of Mum bath club – no kids, no toys, no plastic) I realigned with the joy that the bath gave me and knew instantly I’d made the right choice.

Now as my future self sat on the edge of my bed, fully moisturised and waiting for the my skin to turn back to a normal shade (I love my baths ridiculously hot) I knew I’d made a positive difference and I’d turned a dreary Sunday into a blissful day of hope. I’d also reminded myself that I’m in charge of my own happiness and that sometimes we don’t do things just because we ‘don’t do things’ like morning baths and that’s stupid. Sure, next Sunday normality will be resumed with my evening ritual but for now my happiness is topped up and that’s good enough for me.

My bathing example may seem ridiculous and it probably is, but however small or large the changes in our life need to be to make our future self happy – do them without hesitation. Lose the weight, buy the car, save the money, eat the cake, marry him/her, go on the journey, take a pay drop to do the career you always dreamed about, prioritise you’re happiness in the future. ‘You’ may just thank you in the future, also don’t be surprised at how small somethings that make us happy are.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice

Quote Anon

Before I’m certified crazy and confess all my sins, this quote inspired two thoughts that I’d like to share.

Be cautious of how you talk to yourself: That could be out loud or could be your internal voice. The universe, God, Allah – whatever you refer to it as, doesn’t know the difference between you setting intentions and meaning it, putting yourself down or being sarcastic. It often means we align with negative emotions that we don’t want to keep repeating. I’ve often said in posts that the best advice is to talk to yourself like you wouldn’t your best friend. You wouldn’t watch her/him in the mirror and call out all of their flaws, if you did you could at the very least expect the friendship to end. Instead highlight the good, thank people when they give you compliments rather than feel the need to justify how much you paid for the outfit, look in the mirror and although instinct may lead you to a negative – take a breath and then name two things you like about yourself. The great think about our brain is it’s constantly regenerating new neurone pathways, so make sure those pathways are positive and lead you towards a life you love.

Don’t doubt your own expertise: Again, I often feel this comes down to confidence but so often we don’t own the room. We don’t say ‘we’ve got this’ or we hesitate and minimalise our contribution. We all have unique skills and some we are insanely awesome at – own it. The truth is you’ve probably worked extremely hard to develop that skill set over a number of years, it’s usually a passion that brings us joy. As a teacher I know the best thing I can do with my knowledge is to share it. There are also things we are ‘okay’ at, however often you may be the expert in the room with your ‘okay’ level hat on. Own it. The world would be a much more joyful place if we were keen to shine our love, share our passion and enjoy watching other people’s shadows light up under our light.

Before you head in to the world write down three things you are an expert in. It might be be geology, quantum physics or coding…it might also be cooking eggs (this is one of mine), peeling a satsuma in one go or brick laying – the skills are all neutrally awesome. If you need a wall built, someone who’s skill is ballet isn’t going to cut it. Armed with your own expertise, go out of your way to share it this week and if your skill is making the perfect cup of tea, swing by my house at some point because sharing is caring

Every storm runs out of rain eventually

Quote from Alex Banayan

Being from the UK I’m an expert in all things weather related, you see in England we don’t have a climate, we have weather. Sometimes (and often in the last few weeks) we can have torrential rain and seconds later clear sky’s and something in the sky that resembles the sun beaming down like ‘what rain?’ The key in terms of fashion if you’re ever visiting is layers. Be prepared for cold Mornings, rain, an unpredictable grey sky and if you’re lucky that orange mystical beast of a sun may come out to play…although unlikely.

Alex’s quote above related to storms, they blow over and the clouds run out of rain…a comparison to a metaphorical storm you may be in in a physical sense. Emotions are often temporary and with support, ease and flow you’ll find that emotions too run out of cloud.

However, the true surprise from me is that people strive for the sun. Looking for pure happiness and expecting to stay in it. Think tropical island for a second – too much of anything has its downsides. We think we want the sun until we get burnt, we think we want the snow until we slip on the ice or get lost in a blizzard. We are often surprised when we try new things and like them…actually the real sweet spot in the weather system is a rainbow, the prism of joy that leaps from sun and rain combined.

Don’t spend your days chasing the storm or under grey clouds of doom…it’s temporary, everything is – even you. Instead I double dare you infinity to look for the joy in all weathers, in all emotions and remember it’s only for a short moment, tomorrow may be different and different can be better or worse and if you’re truly blessed you may get a tomorrow after that and that too will be different. Enjoy the contrast in the journey and don’t spend your time looking for an end result.

See rejection as redirection

Quote Anon

This post may be triggering for some as it includes references to silent miscarriage and neonatal death. * I do however use the word sparkle.

A year a go I went to my first scan, my only concerns that the photo taken may be too alien and freak me out (am I the only one who thinks they aren’t cute?) moments later the sonographs voice echoed words that meant my unborn babies journey was over. My heart shattered into pieces and I left the hospital held up by the Mr as the world felt like it might be ending. You can read more here.

However, time flies when you’re in a pandemic and I learnt a lot about how awesome my body was, I left the experience with a new high five for my physical attributes, that like most women I’ve been slating since the dawn of crop tops.

I truly believe that reframing can increase our well being, this doesn’t involve painting the world like it’s perfect (remember lockdown?) but acknowledging our thoughts and choosing to see the sparkle. It broke my heart to see that my unborn babies heart has stopped, it was painful to heal from physically and it felt like the natural process took forever and I felt at times Mother Nature was mocking me.

I was reflecting with a friend on how I was feeling a year on from my miscarriage and I can confidently say I’m at peace with it, do I understand it ,no. But for me, I don’t think I need to.

I do know, due to my daughters complex birth and subsequent death in 2009 that for me to have had to go to scans alone, to potentially give birth without my partner due to COVID restrictions would of broken me. I know my limits, I know I would of got through it, but I also feel blessed that I didn’t have those extra worries during 2020. To those parents who did, I salute you.

Reframing my silent miscarriage and being grateful for avoiding pregnancy during the most bizarre year of every bodies lives gives me comfort. Knowing that my body healed, that I’m back to full strength and that I’m a better, more empathetic individual for the experience gives me hope.

In case you have a very different experience, please know that this is just how I feel.

Lockdown also gave me time to reflect on my career, it enabled me to step up and go for new opportunities and I’m loving it. Had the pregnancy of continued I wouldn’t have found this pathway due to having maternity leave.

I truly feel like 2020 has been a year of redirection for me, nothing like what I planned and certainly contains elements of rejection. Perhaps my grass isn’t greener for our pregnancy loss – I’ll never know, but I do know that I’m happy in my now, I’m watering this new direction and if I’ve got anything to do with it, the grass will grow taller, thicker and wider than I could imagine.

Be kind. It’s gangsta

Quote Anon

#kindness matters is my favourite hashtag. Simply because it does matter, many people think it’s overlooked and unappreciated but in my experience often people have remembered the smallest of actions years later.

I asked my seven year old son what stories he knew that were about kindness, he told me one about a prince and a goose and then about a king and a mango…well actually a lot of mangoes, the more he retold the story the more mangoes seemed to appear. To the point where he wasn’t sure why the story was about kindness? He walked away and I thought the conversation had ended, he then sat back down on the sofa next to me and said that kindness in real life was like whispers. ‘You can’t always see them, sometimes you can feel them – they feel like a tickle, but mostly they’re invisible’

He of course is right. True kindness that makes an impact isn’t about large gesture (or using his metaphor tsunami winds) but usually unthought moments of love. Holding a door; staying to help pack the chairs away, making a cup of tea, buying a gift because you’re reminded of that person rather than for an occasion, taking time to say hello, sharing crisps (something I’m not great at), the list is endless.

Who’s the kindest person you know? My advice, be more like them.

It’s often free and makes a huge impact on one individual, if the world was kinder we wouldn’t have so many people who are lonely, mental health figures would reduce and there would be less judgement…sign me up for that kind of world, it’ll take a few small actions from everybody…are you in?

Did you finish the game? I finished the season.

This quote comes from an interview between Pat McAfee and AJ Hawk (American football) that the Mr shared with me earlier in the week. This quote incorporates endurance, determination and resilience.

The conversation was around an injury that AJ had sustained…well multiple injuries. Whilst this blog isn’t about ignoring pain or medical advice it is about having to push ourselves and overcome barriers in order to succeed. It’s important to remember that we can often give more than our negative mindset would let us believe, particularly when like AJ we are keen to see the ‘season’ through.

Are there any goals or accomplishments that you’ve fallen short of completing? If so, was it really important to you? Perhaps the timing was wrong, or maybe stepping back and analysing what you didn’t do might help you succeed in the future. We often miss our target due to missing one or two small steps.

Sometimes we aim too small. As an adult life can unfold on you, pushing your dreams to the back of the airing cupboard where you swear to totally look at them another day, week, year…after the kids go to school, leave school, move out…too late? I should say I also believe our dreams can shift and alter, what was once important is often laughable as we age, but for dreams that make you still feel sparkle in your toes it is never to late.

Take some time this week to jot down your dreams, goals and things you’ve generally never completed. Laugh at the ones that make you cringe, work out where you’ve gone wrong if you’ve tried before and finish the season.