Gonna go lay under the tree and remind my family I’m a gift

Quote Anon

It’s the first of December and my tree isn’t up yet – as soon as it is I’ll have a little lay under there. This quote made me laugh and seemed December appropriate, I adore Christmas but can’t get behind it in November, so now the advent calendars doors have begun to open I can fully embrace the spirit of the season.

Truth be told, I didn’t pick this quote for it’s Christmas vibes, but because it said self care to me. I think the Christmas season is an extremely challenging time of year for many people. Anxiety over what to buy people, financial worries for some, others will over indulge in late nights and clinking glasses, immune systems dip and sickness is high, some may even find socialising and busy shops overwhelming, for others it’s the pressure of family gatherings or in complex families it might be making sure everyone gets to spend time with the children.

This is a reminder that you are enough. Whilst the seasonal spirit is about giving, you can’t do that if you haven’t looked after yourself. You are the gift for your loved ones; keep yourself safe, look after your mental health and just like the advent calendar, take the season a step at a time. If you don’t want to be merry – don’t force it, it doesn’t make you bar humbug. If the ‘works Christmas party’ makes you feel anxious, go on your terms – perhaps that just for a while, not drinking or not going.

Take a step back, breath and reflect on what matters to you. If it’s an over extravagant roast dinner and giving gifts that you can’t afford you may have missed the magic of Christmas altogether.

If I reflect on my favourite Christmas moments growing up it wasn’t about the toys or the meal, it was about the people I got to make memories with that are no longer with us, it was midnight mass with my Mum, fairy lights when we drove home from somewhere… okay, I loved the twiglet crisps that came in tubs, the festive films, the paper hats, the cracker jokes and playing board games but none of those things are worth the cost of my wellbeing or my families health, so enjoy the season and all the cheer in a way that lifts your spirit and doesn’t overload them.

When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day

Quote by Ella Woodward

Recently I wrote about a Plot twist that life provided, however new roads are often unpredictable and direction can change in a heart beat, in our case is was due to a lack of a heart beat. * Trigger warning: this post contains my experience of a silent miscarriage.

Several weeks a go myself and the Mr went for our thirteen week scan. As I looked at the screen to our perfectly formed little foetus the Sonographer explained that a lack of growth (baby was only measuring ten weeks) and without a heart beat meant I was experiencing a silent miscarriage. Within seconds my world as I knew it, my hopes for our future family and my past experiences came to haunt me. It was like a unexpected tsunami consumed us. We didn’t have time to grab loved ones, reach for safety or batten down the hatches, we were exposed and out at sea with no warning.

Unlike a conventional miscarriage (if such a thing exists) a silent miscarriage meant I didn’t have any signs or symptoms. My bump was growing, my body thought I was pregnant, but our little munchkin was still.

The Mr carried me home in fragmented pieces, I was broken.

Days became weeks and nothing physically changed. Life felt like somebody else had set it on pause. I’m a tiny package so there was no way I could of hide my bump from people around us, the nurse gave us three horrendous options and while I waited for my surgery date I had another scan to double check for any changes.

This scan gave me so much serenity and peace. The first scan felt like a tsunami; it was fast, destructive and unpredictable…the second scan erased any future fears of being scanned. It was the calm after the storm. Sadly, nothing had changed, baby was still measuring ten weeks and was snug in my first class accommodation but I had time to ask the millions of questions my brain had created in the previous weeks, erase any worries and come to terms with my bodies situation.

Then, Mother Nature woke up (perhaps she takes a break over the Halloween period?) and one night I began to feel cramps, these became painful contractions and a tornado whirled inside me. I was mentally exhausted and it’s hard to let go of your baby when you know the ending isn’t happy ever after. But I did it. We did it. We had prepared for a holistic/natural approach should it occur and we battled the storm.

So what did I learn? That my body is smart and powerful. That it’s a place where miracles are born and that I underestimated its talents. Modern medicine has its place, but during my two previous pregnancies I was told by doctors my baby was a healthy seven and a half pounds…both babies arrived at five pounds nine ounces. However, at ten weeks my body knew that there was a chromosomal issue with this baby. So it stopped it. It turned out the light for us. For it…I realise that the process of a miscarriage is different for everyone but I felt empowered that my body took control, that it slowed everything down and gave me time to let go naturally. That I got to keep that bump for a little bit longer, that I once again was supported by my awesome loved ones…that I am loved.

I learnt that this was only part of our journey, that we will grow from it, reflect on the experience and that it doesn’t have to consume or destroy us.

When you look in the mirror and criticise your size, your shape or the spot that temporarily sits on your face, take a second to look again. You may just see a glimpse of an amazing human who is full of life, who is imperfectly perfect, who is stronger than she/he thinks, who can battle storms and who’s body is full of unappreciative talents. We are all blessed much more than we realise.

*if you’ve been through / are going through a similar issue and need support please see your GP, or contact a charity such as Sands UK (0808 164 3332).

You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were yesterday

Quote Anon

This week was national kindness week. My social media feed filled with acts of love, reminders to be kind and the feel good factor were clear to see.

I don’t think you need to be a genius to know that the world would be better if everyone was kinder BUT perhaps the first person you need to be kind to is yourself.

Everyday won’t always be a good day but there is good to find in everyday. Sometimes it’s a little harder to see but I promise it’s always there. Also, if you wasn’t at your best today – there is always hope for a better tomorrow. We can all alter, change and improve.

What we do find easy to do is dwell on all the things we didn’t do, the list of items I forgot when I went to the supermarket or the things I didn’t do at the end of a long day… but if it was a long day, surely that means I achieved many other things? Or it was complex and emotional and so perhaps I needed to go a little slower. Life is complex and as I’ve written many times, a real rollercoaster of unpredictable events; highs, lows and if you’re living big there is usually a loop the loop in there somewhere.

As the quote says, there is no need to be the person you was yesterday. Events may of changed you or you just might of woken up on the wrong side of the bed…sometimes I rather enjoy a good moan, or a duvet day, a gossip or a sulk. As long as it’s temporary a good wallow can be cathartic.

So in the week ahead, allow ‘you’ to be in the moment, speak kindly to yourself and know that in each moment, each high or low…it’s temporary and you’re human. Sometimes the best moments of a ride are the scary parts that you courageously stepped towards.

You’re doing the best that you can and nobody can ask for more than that, not even you.

Worry is a misuse of Imagination

 Quote by Dan Zandra.

I’m not very good at worrying? I get distracted, like a fly or a toddler…it’s not necessarily a bad thing, worry can cause a variety of medical conditions; heart complications, anxiety issues that can lead to depression, even a shorter life expectancy. I also never really understood what people got out of it? For example if you have a telephone bill that you can’t pay…worrying won’t pay the bill? I do have moments where I may worry, particularly when loved ones are ill but I never understood ‘worrying’ until last year when a yr 11 girl in my school asked me to help her with anxiety over her exams.

A little bit of digging made me realise that she used ‘worry’ as her form of fuel, she worried about everything in life and her neurotransmitters responded; it was even how she showed she cared. More importantly it’s how she released the power to push through life and achieve daily tasks. I thought that was pretty cool, so I made her embrace her worry and not become debilitated by it. It worked too, she aced her exams with the right mindset.

This links directly to the second part of this quote – imagination. Rather than worry think about doing something creative. Imagination is the gift we all have that sadly so many adults loose or forget. Mine is sometimes a little too extreme and if I were a balloon i’d float off into the sky. Luckily, I have Mr F to keep me grounded (he is the string in our relationship) for example when we were planning to upgrade our kitchen he suggests a practical solution that is cost effective and I suggest a kitchen made of Lego. (Seriously, next time you’re on Pinterest take a look at the Lego kitchens, you won’t be disappointed), we then compromise with a practical kitchen that has Lego for cupboard handles (please), okay well negotiations are on going…

I really do believe that imagination is the key to the soul, to success and to life. You have to believe it to receive it.  If you can’t imagine yourself doing something or think you aren’t worthy then you’re likely to miss opportunities and live with regrets.

If you are a natural worrier – harness that energy and use it to fuel your imagination, rather than the ‘what ifs’ life may or may not bring, enjoy the tomorrows and embraces the dreams of now, they can be your reality for tomorrow. You may be surprised at how much you can achieve.

Life is a series of a thousand little miracles, notice them

Quote Anon

I’m writing this pool side as little dude attempts his 100 metre badge, will today be the victorious occasion?

Who knows what today will bring.

This morning I woke to the sun shining through the curtains, a cup of tea and then a walk around the countryside. The stunning spectacle that Mother Nature delivered was my motivation, with Alicia Keys blaring in my ears as a soundtrack for determination. Just within the first hour of my morning, so many miracle were had.

Once again, I’m going to share with you the biggest secret in life, if you choose to see the small moments of joy in life, you magnetise even more moments of joy to your life.

Before you throw a thousand reasons as to why you can’t be joyful today, check out Claire Wineland on YouTube – she lived her entire life knowing each day was a gift due to being born with cystic fibrosis, she was also the most positive human I’ve ever witnessed and she also attracted opportunities and love towards her like bumble bee’s to nectar,

‘Each day is a gift, which is why we call it the present’ but perhaps by thinking this way you are missing the one hundred tiny moments and gifts within each day, unwrap today and make it count. Stay present in the now and make a gratitude list before you go to sleep – you’ll realise two things. Firstly, you’re blessed more than you realise and secondly it’s the little moments that matter the most. We can’t always prevent the darkness from knocking at our door but we can shine a torch in its face and make the world a little lighter.

Have a blessed day… just count the blessings as you see them.

You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep others warm

Quote unknown

When I saw this quote my heart sung a little with laughter.

From work to play I see humans setting themselves on fire on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking of course. So often we put others ahead of ourselves and at the end of a busy week when we have little for ourselves we still continue to serve others from empty cups.

On Friday evening I had nothing to give. Trimester one is exhausting and as I walked in the door I knew an early night was essential and that dinner would have to sort itself out. A laptop and a scroll meant that pizza would be delivered. Not my personal choice but I was past caring. We selected a film from Netflix and the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’ had never been more correct. Next stop bed…

The house looks like a bombs gone off and the my laundry basket might erupt at anytime. In the light of a new day these things can be challenged but last night sleep was my only need and my only

As a parent of the messy kind that leave trails of crumbs wherever they go, are allergic to picking up toys and make unreasonable demands at unreasonable hours…we feel the need to set ourselves on fire to keep them warm, or to lie there with them until they fall asleep, to provide all they desire and make every moment count. In my experience as a teacher of teens this isn’t the solution. Giving them clear boundaries on what you can and can’t do allows them to mimic this into their relationships. Perhaps instead of going to the extreme of setting ourselves on fire we could suggest they put on a jumper?

Many parents often feel that they ‘let the kids down’ because they shouted, lost their sh*t or wasn’t there for the event they were performing in. I think if you take the time to explain why you can’t be there, they learn life skills about resilience and boundaries. I think you can unburden the chains of parental guilt by talking to your child about the reasons why and also by taking time out for you, perhaps the emotional outpours would be less frequent. We need to be brave enough to say no, listen enough to when we need to say yes and put the box of matches back in a secure cupboard on a high shelf. You are enough, you always have been and you always will be.

The words you speak become the house you live in

Quote by Hafiz.

It’s natural to furnish your home with delightful trinkets and buy a bed to sleep in. You then purchase bedding, cushions…the list is endless. As the years go by loved ones treat you to gifts and the house you bought in a state of empty becomes full, it becomes a home….a cluttered home but I’m working on it. We stamped our identity on each wall with the paint colours of our choosing, as expected quotes frequent the walls, photos of memories gather across the shelves and in time the space around you reflects who you are as a group. In our bedroom my clothes hang in there given spaces, each item has a home and all looks tranquil, it reflects my mood and attitude towards sleep, life and….hang on?…if you gaze to the left, clothes are thrown on the floor, dirty and clean collide in a mountain of mens fashion and ‘our’ bedroom reflects us. Two people who see the world through their perspective, the Mr’s perspective is chaotic and I’ve learnt to not look left when walking in the room.

When I get home from work I can tell how my other half’s day has gone by the state of our living room – if the cushions are puffed and the floor clear it was a busy, productive day. If my sons toys cover every inch of the carpet, the Mr’s day has been one of chaos, the toys my son played with before school have merged with the after school activities. Bowls, cups and plates collect in clutter free corners and I will find Daddy upstairs, clinging to a cup of tea, hidden behind a computer screen with the door ajar, on the edge and ready to hand the baton of childcare and adult responsibility to me for five minutes of peace.

Just like our homes, our brains are places full of ideas, whizzing and connecting – pulsating neurones connecting pathways we didn’t know we had. When we are calm, breathing deeply and taking care of ourselves – thoughts are linear, often clear and we speak with clarity and act with intention, we often think before we react and our brain is a state of serentity. If like my living room – toys erupt, the television blares and chaos can be seen, it’s all the likely result that our brains are overloaded. If our brain was a computer we have thousands of tabs open, all needing our attention. The volume is loud, turned on full. There is noise, interference and for our brains (and our living spaces) chaos…unfinished jobs, quick tempers and hot mouths.

Todays quote is simple. Create a space inside you that you would like to live in, because frankly that’s exactly where you do live. Your first address is under your skull. It’s natural that sometimes in moments of tragedy or stress your brain becomes cluttered but don’t let it become your default setting. No matter what the day has been like, we always clear the living room. The toys go away, candles are lit and the space resets itself (usually for another day of play), make sure your brain has this option too, for me a ten minute morning meditation means I unwind from sleep and step into my day with the brakes fully applied. I am in control rather than the whizzing motions of task and lists that need completing. I’m a self care guru and will either make time to do yoga each day or if the day is busy I will pop the kettle on and sit down with a cup of tea. Whether you have an hour to exercise or five minutes to sit down, or two minutes to breath deeply make the time and create the space your head needs. The bonus is you might also end up with tidier home too.

Try to be like the turtle, at ease in it’s own shell

Abandoned the quotes this week and gone into the depths of an old proverb.

If you’ve dropped into this little corner of the internet previously you’ll know that ‘The Fridge’ is all about self love. How could we not discuss how awesome these wise words are.

The gorgeous Alicia Keys has been the Spotify choice of go-to music lately; her vibe is cool, calm and many of her tracks are already iconic. Before this becomes the unofficial AK fan page, I need to let you know one more awesome fact about her. She wears very little makeup and chooses to wear her hair in a natural state…did I mention she’s absolutely stunning and a successful singer songwriter? Inspired by her empowerment for everything human and real, I gave up makeup cold turkey about a month ago.

I didn’t tell anyone, I just didn’t slap it on. Nobody asked or questioned my decision, in fact at school a lovely work colleague gave me a thoughtful compliment about how beautiful my skin is (even more grateful to hear that because I also was a paranoid about a spot that appeared over night and looks like it’s squatting and here to stay for sometime) I do plan to wear make up again but not daily and certainly only when I feel like it. I save around twenty minutes in the morning and I use that to get chores done or sometimes I just sit down and day dream with a cup of tea. Bliss.

In a world that is becoming increasingly complex, filtered, altered and at times overly negative about people’s physical appearances i’d like to stay as authentically me as possible.

My shell is not perfect and neither is yours, I don’t always get things right and I often feel anxious about what people might think of me…then I remember this is my shell, my blessed shell – many would give anything to have a sparkly shell of joy like mine. Its fully functioning and any dents remind me of the previous battles I’ve survived or thrived from. My shell is me, it’s where I’m truly at home, it travels with me wherever I go. Just as you can’t criticise a Dolphin for its lack of shell, you are wasting your time analysing your own body with lacks and let down thoughts. You’ve grown in to your shell and at times altered it or made minor improvements *note to self: do yoga this evening

…but ultimately you will always have you. So shine that shell with a few positive comments a day, or at-least stop yourself from vomiting negative thoughts all over it. Allow your body to rest, work and play and provide it with the best care you can give it. Today that might be a small step in just realising that you need to be kinder to yourself.

Happy shell shining.

Never forget who you are

Quote from The Lion King

I felt like I hadn’t popped a Disney quote/ post together for a while so went with a Lion King pinch of wisdom, although it’s one I’ve contradicted many times.

At university I lost who I was. Several dodgy boyfriends meant I forgot who I was but the worst by far was motherhood. It took MY body away from me and left me with something that didn’t fit. It took me a while to pick up the broken pieces and to discover a dash of self love, to stop numbing negative thoughts with junk food, and wine. Lack of sleep in the early days also meant that exercise wasn’t a priority. I was in a war zone and I was surviving.

I escaped and did find me. I found an older version of my body that I’m ok with, I made time to exercise and I stopped filling my head with negative thoughts. It’s a process I think we are all in and one I need to continually reaffirm and rebalance daily.

Once I hit my thirties I cared less what others thought and knew who my tribe were, this support unit enables me to evolve but without loosing ‘me’

I don’t usually pop in suggestions but if you need a Netflix recommendation for finding yourself then ‘Unicorn Store’ is a must. A bonus if you like glitter and swag suits.

As a teacher holidays mean I actually transfer into my other full time job – Mum. It’s a job I adore but this Easter I’ve also made time to step away from my boys and have some me time. I’ve been for afternoon tea with a lovely friend and a hen do proved the ultimate overnight escape, the Mr and I even squeezed in a date afternoon to the cinema. You see to be you, you need time to do what you enjoy, as well as support those around you.

Over the next week as I grab my teacher cape out of the launderette I’ll enjoy being in my classroom – it’s part of who I am. It isnt the whole me, so I will also plan time with family, loved ones and me time because forgetting who I am is now and forever more a nonnegotiable.

The body achieves what the mind believes

Quote by Napoleon Hill

*Honesty giggle: writing this snuggled in bed

For the last eight weeks myself and my dear friend have taken on the challenge of ‘couch to 5k’…we’ve got one more week to go until the journey is done and we have mild plans to continue (mainly as we are rather slow at present and don’t think we’ve actually run 5k) . I’m looking forward to not running in the week and leaving runs to Sunday’s

Things I’ve learnt:

  • Everyone can run (some better, slower or faster than others)
  • I still don’t like running. BUT I do like the feeling that comes after finishing a run.
  • I can make time for anything I decide is a priority – couch time included
  • When I tell myself I can’t, I fail
  • Running with a friend is better than alone
  • When I shut my brain down I’m invincible
  • I’m better if I run first thing in the morning and the sunrise is a bonus

I’ve run more in the last weeks than my entire life, I set the challenge to improve my yoga (so my cardio is better and I can hold poses for longer) and yoga will always be my movement love. When running and wondering whether I was possibly in cardiac arrest, I wasn’t and so far I’ve always made it home. I can run further when I let me brain tell me otherwise. My brain likes to think of reasons not to run, it likes to place alternative options and excuses in my way. When I tell my brain to shut the f*ck up – I’m unstoppable.

Apply this to other aspects of life and I’ve decided to spend the rest of 2019 seeing what I can do. I have challenges for whatmyfridgesays and areas of my personal life that need a sparkle, the couch to 5K experience has taught me I can do more, my body is stronger than I believe and with the right mindset my destination is anywhere I dare to dream, you know me dreaming is always going to be big. So here’s to a thirty something mummy learning to cartwheel.

What are you mind blocks, dare you to try them?