A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle

Quote from James Keller

Another week whisks past and many are still finding their feet, understandably.

This quote from James Keller reminded me to pause and reflect on how I can serve others. Sometimes it might be just a smile or making someone a cup of tea, a hug or perhaps picking up the phone and checking on a loved one.

If your cup isn’t full then I suggest you top your own cup up (and add sugar) first. However, if you have some to spare I often find the smallest gestures can enhance others and like the quote suggests it won’t dim your light.

In fact often, spreading the light can raise happiness levels in teams, families or tribes. Perhaps making some cakes and taking them into the office might bring some joy to others, maybe leaving a post-it on someone’s desk to show you appreciate them is all they need, the small flickers of light, like the night sky make for a beautiful night sky over all. Today I sold some houseplants on Facebook and a lady was delayed as she has locked her keys in her car, the RAC were out but she was clearly distressed. I told her there was no rush and I’d hold the plant for her, but when she arrived I gave her a bonus mini plant as well, her smile was enough to make it worth while. When we feel like the world is against us, it often only take a small connection to relight our energy again so that we can shine. Constellations create wonderful images when we join together, in this crazy universe beauty can be found when we do just that.

This week make time to give a little, love a lot and sleep with gratitude as your base – it’s the recipe for success for you and the universe.

Don’t be eye candy, be soul food

Quote by…

This quote makes me overflow, it makes me excited and I feel the need to put this in neon lights (* adds that to my to do list).

Physical appearances are subjective, they change with and like the seasons. Also, different people are attractive to different people. Now, before you stop reading this because you feel I’m stating the obvious, Im writing this because there are multi billion pound corporations preaching to us what is assethitically pleasing? That I find odd. 

I don’t need a chef to tell me if I like the food I’m eating, but it would seem humanity likes to be told what’s fashionable, what’s acceptable – the eyebrows are in and they are huge. Working in an all girl school for over a decade I can tell you that they can look gorgeous or absolutely terrifying. 

I once had to collect a girl from a lesson as she took the ‘natural’ make up policy to a new level. She began to cry, her reaction to me offering wipes and the time to ‘tone it down’ devastated her. So we spoke it through and she explained that she’d woke up early to apply the ‘many’ layers as she was meeting a boy after school and clearly she really liked him. As I helped her wipe away the ‘concealer’ we spoke about what she liked about him. I asked her what his eyebrows were like, she wasn’t sure. I altered the conversation and highlighted why I thought she was soul food, her assets. On the Monday morning she came to tell me something I already knew – he prefered her without the make up. For a 14 yr old girl this was a revelation, for anyone that’s actually spoken to member of the male population its common news that they aren’t a fan of excessive make up. Whilst they lived happily ever after for a handful of weeks until she moved on to someone ‘even fitter’ it made me reflect on what she had learnt about herself, that said full on make up can be fun to in the right setting and I think its essential that we try to keep judgements on peoples appearances to ourselves, comments that are often meant with love can shatter hearts and leave our confidence in a puddle at our feet. 

Perhaps your soul food is wearing bright colours or expressing yourself through tattoo’s or maybe you feel your best in comfy pjs and rocking a messy bun….the look is irrelevant, its how you use that look to fuel your soul that matters. When we know we look good, a giddy smile beams out of us like a search light and it highlights other peoples joy too. When we receive a compliment we are much more likely to see that energy reflected back to us.

Honesty is a very expensive gift, don’t expect it from cheap people

Quote by Warren Buffet

This quote made me smile. Then I realised it’s truth, after all if someone is dishonest to you, it’s probably for their own gain and that’s cheap.

I’ve met many people from many walks of life and the wealthiest people aren’t always the richest. There is often richness in freedom and nature, simplicity and joy. Usually, financially wealthy people are found in office blocks or networking gatherings, tied to a computer or phone. The poorest people lack integrity and friendship, love and gratitude and sometimes money lines their pockets.

I’ve deliberately blurred the words we associate with our economy because although it makes the world go round, we all know there are other qualities that are valuable.

Honesty and trust are crucial in creating bonds in relationships. Playing games can be fun, until you get burnt but usually there is more to gain in a relationship where you can be you, where you can laugh together, be serious together and navigate each other’s pathways together. In a honest relationship you don’t need to be on the same pathways either, as long as you both set out your intentions.

I once dated a cheap man. I was lucky and escaped the lies and lack of integrity. He was transparent and nobody wants to date cellophane. Our friendship circles overlap and over the years he has continued to treat people poorly, using them or manipulating them for his own gain. I’ve actually learnt a lot from him about how not to be a friend or partner, but more importantly about creating boundaries.

This quote inspires me to know my worth, to look for richness, to create relationships that are held together with love, integrity and sparkle. To walk with my head held high (to keep my tiara in place) and to never settle for less than I’m willing to give.

If you have some cheap people around you, perhaps leave them at the goodwill shop the next time you’re passing. You’re worth much more.

Sometimes the tiniest things shine brightest in our lives.

Quote Anon.

I’m a fan of the small twinkles of joy that I find in my life. I’m hardwired to see them, breath them and appreciate them. It’s true I’m one of the happy, cheerful sorts that you don’t want to meet on a bad day, but you’d be wrong in thinking that this outward joy comes naturally to me. So what keeps me on the sunny side of life?

My thoughts:

I consciously make positive choices asking my internal self ‘Does this feel good?’ or ‘Do I need to let go of this?’

I also read positive literature and online only follow accounts that make me feel good as I scroll, the exception are topics I feel passionately about; like teen mental health, anxiety or sometimes adoption stories – however, again I select accounts that are giving solutions, tools or sharing positive intentions around those issues. We don’t have the TV on in our home, instead we sit down to stream specific films or series – the news is never on. If I need to know, social media has a way of letting me know the big stuff, without the TV on we also don’t have adverts blaring through our home or the constant chatter of day time TV and negative energy.

I do meditate but I admit this is something I’m currently struggling to keep in my routine. Mornings can be manic and evenings I just end up dozing off, however this week I’m going to trial lunch time meditations now the little dude has returned to school. There are many articles on why we should all meditate and so many different ways; guided or not, with or without music, with actions or still….it’s worth exploring what works for you.

Magnetised by positive people:

We can’t always avoid people that have low energy or perhaps drain us, in the work place you may not get to decide who you work with and its unlikely that you’re already thinking of a certain someone that drains you faster than the bathroom plug can be emptied. However, in your personal life you can, or you can minimise interactions with people who dont raise you up.

Another way around this, is balancing your time with personalities who both drain and radiate for you at the same time or near each other. I also sometimes will make sure I have time to myself to ‘fill up my cup’ before I enter a situation that I know may be highly stressful, although I realise that this isn’t always possible.

Actively search for the tiny moments of sparkle in your day:

Don’t just notice them, highlight them. Keep track of them in a gratitude diary, or a note in your phone, share them with others or just relish them a little longer than you might normally.

To get you started here are a few of mine from where I’m seated in this moment:

  • The sun is shining through the windows and its hitting my prisms that hang and casting rainbows everywhere.
  • My cup is over half full…no seriously, I just filled glass with water (hydrations lifts moods too)
  • My dog is laying across my feet – bonus that she’s keeping them warm
  • I hoovered this morning so my carpet looks clear (no toys in site!)

Once you begin this Polly-Anna approach to looking for the light in life, much like any habit you’ll magnetise to more of the joy life offers. Whilst its not always easy to see, I promise you there is always something good to appreciate. Basic maths tells us that we can’t get a negative number from two or more positive numbers. I suggest that you can lead a more hopeful, sparkly and joyful existence if you choose to focus on the tiny moments life offers us.

Trust the timings of your life

Quote Anon

It’s September and part of me still believes its March? Many children have or will return to school this week. As parents and as a teacher I’m not sure what that looks like but I know it looks different, perhaps you find yourself anxious, worried or concerned. Thats understandable, after the year this world has thrown at us, the unknown doesn’t feel any easier. This post is to remind you that you’ve got this.

September in the UK isn’t just a new academic year it also welcomes Autumn, leaves falling, evenings draw in and change afoot. The seasons remind us that contrast is good – the leaves need to fall, in winter they need to pause so that come Spring they are ready to burst and thrive. Whether you’re a summer girl like me or a winter warmer like my son – change will happen anyway, whether we are ready or not. The good news is that the seasons don’t happen over night and neither will any changes we see in our lives. Slowly the green trees of summer will become burnt ambers, crimsons and siennas…allowing us to adjust.

As parents I know we are all blagging each day as it comes, personally I am perplexed at what school in 2020 -21 will look like for my son…how will socialising happen? will he come home worried or scared?…the list of concerns is endless BUT I have one super power. Just like I trust the seasons will change, I trust myself. I am the only person who has been with me 24/7 since birth and whilst I’ve let others down and learnt lessons along the way, I rarely let myself down and when it comes to my child’s welfare I’m nonnegotiable.

If I’m not happy – I will speak out, if I need to make educational adjustments for my son to be able to thrive as we as a family see fit – I will. The lioness inside of me can be fierce (and frankly I can scare myself) and the love to protect my baby…who is nearly taller than me, is mighty. Whilst I can’t trust the media, can feel let down my governmental policies I know I can trust me. As I hand my little dude over, I also know as a fellow teacher that this profession isnt for the financial reward – his teacher will greet him and guide him with her moral judgement….I trust in the knowing that she has his best interests.

Like the trust I have in the leaves falling and alter slowly and with artistic flare I too will take the return to school in my stride…day by day, make amendments when necessary, trusting where I can until proved otherwise.

I don’t doubt you either, anxiety is a behavioural reaction that shows you care, you’ve got this. Its human nature to question change – its instinct, yours is well placed and comes from love.

Whether the change you face is ‘back to school’ or a new job, a different place to call home…small steps, big breaths and talk from a place of love – you can’t go wrong. I’m rooting for you.

It’s not your job to like me, its mine

Quote Anon

Early this week I saw a quote from Mike Tyson (actually the Mr sent it to me – the old romantic) it said “Social media made you all way to comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face”

Mike made a good point, there is a freedom when you hide behind the screen, people say things they never would utter face to face, within school I’ve seen hundred of arguments, torments and cruel words typed amongst friendship groups, usually from children that in person would never say boo to a goose, least of all a friend that last week slept over their house

However, there is a new disrespect online that I think its even worse…when people apologise for being themselves…

“Sorry about the mess in the background of this photo but”

“Mum of three and I’m exhausted, sorry for the lack of filter”

“its late at night and I can’t be bothered to do my hair”

“even a filter can’t save the bags under my eyes”

“I know I need to lose some weight, but I wanted to show you my dress”

To be being authentic is the most sexy, empowering and wonderful thing anyone can do. I am tired of seeing immaculate images of the ‘perfect’ home on instagram, the manicured look, the woman holding a vintage bike (that we all know she is never going to ride) and holding a bouquet of flowers over her face, I’m tired on the pastel brick walls and the quirky corner of the home….Give me the messy buns, the chaotic livingrooms full of too many plastic toys and a coffee cup that was abandoned circa 2017… its life, its real and it comes with its own beauty. Sure its lovely to see pretty homes and I’m certainly going to share with you when I’m off out somewhere fancy (well pre 2020), I’m also partial to a pretty front door (it comes with being in your thirties) but please love yourselves.

If you can give yourself one gift in this chaotic world…love yourself more. Love your crooked nose, the belly that housed your children, the dress with the pockets…its not always easy to love what you see in the mirror but a drip feed of daily kind words is a good start. Talk to yourself how you would do a friend, or at least stop internally talking to yourself when you think mean things.

We are all something pretty special, we are all unique. Make sure you leave an authentic virtual footprint of awesomeness behind you and never apologise for being yourself

Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness

Quote by Desmond Tutu

We all have our moments of darkness, some come and go much like the sun and moon, others seem much heavier and forever shape us.

I have had my share of darkness and have also had the honour of supporting teenagers as they face trauma and often actions out of their power. I’m no expert but I have learnt a few things that’s I’d like to share – the first is simple. No two dark nights are the same. Just because you are grieving or have experienced death doesn’t mean you know how someone else feels, sure you can empathise and much like this blog tries to do, you can share your ideas and positive sparkles but ultimately everybody feels and reactions are individual.

That’s the good bit, that’s what makes us unique. If you are currently facing a dark time, I urge you to reach for the light switch. It’s often just out of grasp but you can ask for support, loved ones or perhaps your GP this link is full of amazing experts and advice, it’s literally and A-Z of services.

I’d also urge you to see the light in the darkness, much like one of my favourite children’s books ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ there is always a positive to see from a negative experience – in the children’s books the owl learns that fireworks truly shine at night, that the stars can’t be seen by day…often our own joys or darkness are us becoming more empathetic to others, better listeners or perhaps have experience in a specific type of darkness.

However, I have seen and felt myself how impossible the long nights can be an I urge you all to create a tool box of light. *no batteries needed – these are a few of the things that I’ve felt have helped me and others around me. You can create your box to suit you. Loved ones to talk to

  • Talking to loved ones
  • Drinking more water – it sounds simple, but us humans are just complicated plants
  • Go for a walk
  • Make your bed when you wake
  • Help others or volunteer your time
  • Make plans, these can be small to begin with and within your comfort zone
  • Self care: this doesn’t need to be candle lit meals but can again start with brushing your teeth and having a shower.
  • Look at positive content online
  • Clean and declutter: my favourite is the cutlery draw as it only takes a minute to wipe it over but every-time you open it you feel a sense of achievement
  • Take it slow – life isn’t a race

I hope as you read this you can’t feel any shadows, I hope your life is lit up like a Christmas tree… but I promise that finding light in the darkest of time’s can be rewarding, just nobody said it would be easy.

Much love x

Nothing can hold you back without your permission.

Quote by Trent Shelton

Permission to treat ourselves is often absent. We think of reasons why we can’t, get home and wish we had…also, if you’re like me then when you go back to the shop it’s always been sold. It’s like the universe is rubbing salt into the wound.

Whilst we are on shopping dilemmas and as it’s back to school shopping season, I’ll share a lesson I learnt when I was a child…always buy the first pair of shoes. Despite my love for those clicking, prancing, stepping creations of joy now, as a child shoe shopping could be hard…for my Mum. Ultimately, after trawling the high street and trying on every patent princess cut, cute but edgy pair of shoes, we’d always return to the first shoe shop and the first pair of shoes I tried on.

The reason for this quote today was I wanted to share a story I overheard on a recent shopping experience. A little old lady was in my favourite crystal shop, currently it’s appointment only and so I was waiting outside. She was purchasing her items and ecstatic at what she was taking home, she explained that she had won £50 on the premium bonds and wanted to treat herself to something special. At this point I told her how beautiful her stones were, basking in the joy whilst waiting outside, as she passed me outside of the door she winked and whispered “of course I’ve spent the £50 several times already”. I smiled back and she shouted “you can’t take it with you”.

She’s right, of course you’ve got to have the funds available to keep spending. However, this blog has never been about financial advice instead I’m interested in her attitude and as I spoke to the shop owner as she walked away we discussed how the £50 win had allowed her the permission to enjoy spending, treating and indulging herself.

Over the years I’ve often spoken about self love, care and worth. I truly believe that just as we invest in things we care and love; our children’s well-being, health and happiness, presents for loved ones, our home…we often forget to invest in ourselves.

Of course, I reiterate that if you haven’t got it then you can’t spend it. If you can and it will bring you joy, happiness, a growth in wellbeing or improve your health – do it. Material goods often don’t bring us as much happiness as we think they will, many of my friends have wardrobes full of clothes and many still have the labels on…

However, buying with a sense of joy and a conscious intention for the item can often increase our level of wellbeing. So if you have the money and need a sign to buy that item – here it is. Enjoy

She remembered who she was and the game changed

Quote by Lalah Deliah

Pause. Take a moment – in fact take two. Today’s inspiration is taken from every child I’ve ever met.

A child knows what they like, knows what they don’t like and there isn’t much in between. Somewhere between childhood innocence and becoming and adult we get caught up in what society might think of us, we buy into lies that more money, the next promotion, if we had those shoes, bought that phone, had those items that we’d be happier. Often (except for the shoes) we are wrong and the promotion brings more exhaustion and takes us further from who we are. The noise of the world, the routine of life can often take us so far away from our original truth that we can wake up one day in our twenties, thirties and beyond and not know who is reflecting back from at us in the mirror.

One of the great things I found about lockdown life was it stopped so much of the outside noise. It forced time at home, it gave many people time to reflect, to appreciate the smaller things in life – perhaps what they already have, what was right on their doorstep?

But now what? As lockdown eases (or doesn’t – I’m never sure where we are with it?) we need to take action, perhaps step out of our comfort zones, re-examine ourselves, look at the path we are on and if necessary be brave enough to alter it.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about redecorating a room, taking up a hobby, altering a relationship or perhaps moving house, emigrating, or having a baby…it all requires the same thing. Action and a sprinkle of truth…one small action will move the domino of life and you will quickly see the joy as the dominos fall and the satisfaction in each tumble, if you ignore your truth the dominos can still tumble but this time it’ll feel out of control. Stressful. Overwhelming or perhaps even worse – the dominos will always stay standing. To play a successful game of Dominoes you need to think, perhaps do the unexpected but ultimately the pieces need to move. Much like the game of life, perhaps the pandemic gave you time to reflect and today I’m posing the question, have you acted upon your intentions? Are you being truthful to yourself?

I have begun skipping and I’m enjoying it more than I thought, I needed to add some cardio to my world and although yoga will always be my go to, I’ve committed myself to 30 days of 500 skips. Whilst its not a full blown exercise regime I’m enjoying seeing my progress and feel its a step (or skip) in the right direction. I had the same revelation when I did the couch to 10K – I’m always surprised at what I can achieve when I actually action something, rather than procrastinate. What’s your next move to a better you?

Escaping is not changing

Quote from Ross Welfords book ‘Time travelling with a hamster’

You may of noticed I didn’t publish anything on Sunday, I just couldn’t find my writing flow (which is very unusual for me), so instead I have 4a handful of half written posts that I’ll deal with another day. This afternoon I saw a quote in the teen fiction book listed below and my inner blog danced like the world was watching. I’m also a huge fan of Ross’s work.

2020 the year pretty much nobody is going on holiday, no escaping and yet so many changes. I think travel offers both a quick escape get away or a profound change. I remember my friends brother returning from Australia and as he walked in the door he didn’t look like the boy that left?

Escapism has its place, I personally find mine in books and creative outlets that allow my imagination to explore momentarily.

However, when things go wrong in life we often as adults find quick fixes to dull the sense, from drugs to alcohol or we pack and leave certain that the grass is greener. Of course lawns are complex organisms and need the right level of sun / water ratio…very quickly we learn that all grass has the ability to die and look dishevelled (ours is green thanks to the high ratio of moss) and our old patterns we attempted to escape from reincarnate with new relationships or jobs.

Change is usually beneficial but comes with sacrifice and hard work. Change requires bravery and a trust of instinct which can be hard to summon. So often we go for the easy option; in lawn maintenance this would be the artificial option.

However, the ebb and flow of life requires change. Nature changes seasons and it’s sometimes brutal, things die back and then grow again with a new depth. Natural disasters have a way of destroying but also rebuilding.

I think a combination of both is always is useful, sometimes we just need a brief chapter of escapism but sometimes we need to put the work in, be brave and make huge changes so that our lawns of life can thrive. There is often more reward in change than the temporary delay that escapism brings. How do you escape and what would you like to change?