Kindness is my go to but fuck off is my wingman

Quote Anon

In all honesty, gratitude is my go to and kindness is second in line. The wonderful thing about kindness is it often doesn’t financially cost anything, it usually requires a pinch of thought and a dusting of time…but the results often stay with the person you’re kind to forever.

People remember the kind things you did for them, how you made them feel, long after you did them, they often pay them back ten fold and your karma points to joy increase! So why aren’t more humans kind? As I’m not generally a fan of humanity, I think we need to look to dogs to solve this answer. Our dog will snuggle, guard you and clean up your crumbs whenever you’re in need however she is also easily distracted and I think this is the same as humans. We often don’t think to open doors, make gestures of kindness, or even take time to make magical moments happen because we are caught up with our own struggles, time limitations and world.

The quote also refers to boundaries, to saying no and stepping back – for me this is the best side to serve with a heap of kindness. Clear boundaries will allow you to walk away, to not be walked over and to sustain your kindness for another day. People that are kind but lack the words ‘no’ in their vocabulary often feel the burdens of others and an empathetic overload that makes them ill.

January weather in the UK is bleak, grey and often wet…SO I’m launching #kindnessmatters as a hashtag on my instagram stories through the month of January. You can follow along @fridgesays or if you aren’t a social media dweller you can create your own ‘kindness matters’ without…who cares how we show up as long as we do. What do you need to do? BE KIND

Yup that’s is, nothing more and nothing less. Take time each day to do something kind and remember it doesn’t have to cost the earth or be time consuming. This morning as we went out to the car we all ran to one of our neighbours bins that had blown over after collections and wheeled them back to their owners back gates. kindness matters. They don’t necessarily know that we did it but that’s not the essence of kindness, the centre for kindness is in the doing, so let’s make January a little less bleak by showing compassion to others…also don’t forget you can’t pour kindness from an empty cup, so being kind to yourself totally counts.

HABITS become TRADITIONS become LEGACY

Quote Anon

December is certainly a time where traditions are falling out of Santa’s sleigh in abundance. Stepping into the New Year we often analyse our habits and try to improve them for the year to come, whether that be by exercising more, eating healthier or taking on a new challenge.

This all makes sense in a world where I often reflect on what I’ll leave behind. What will our legacy’s be? A positive mark on the world or consumed so much plastic it’s a long discarded tooth brush with DNA on it that will last the longest?

This December I learnt that traditions are only positive if they serve you and those around you. My family ditched the Christmas crackers many moons ago – we just don’t need the naff novelty toys, plastic and excessive paper across and already cramped table. I didn’t replace them with anything and rarely anyone comments.

With the controversial lockdown Christmas’s of 2020 we learnt that it was the people around the table that mattered. The food an added bonus. This was a lesson I hope remains long after the pandemic.

Last year our Turkey wasn’t fit for human consumption and the Boxing Day beef was brought in a day early…it was just as delicious and it caused my rebellious streak to build momentum. The result was that this year I really mixed up the menu – the result was meals from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day where everybody enjoyed what they consumed. Many favourites from the Mr’s love of Yorkshire puddings, to my sons delight of macaroni cheese played a part (not in the same meal I should add) and although we all had full plates and content bellies, little was left over and nothing was wasted, to the extent that my Mum took home the small Turkey carcass to make soup with. It also meant that I didn’t spend half of Christmas chained to the kitchen side board and had more quality time with those dearest to me. What did I learn? That traditions become shackles if they don’t serve you in this moment. If you don’t like Turkey, stop consuming it every Christmas and Thanksgiving.

I remember growing up and walking to school with a friend and our Mums closely nattering behind. In the run up to Christmas we would share the traditions of our homes; it always throws me that the same celebration has so many variations in each home. She would discuss how her and her brother would open their stocking and then wait until their Grandparents arrived to open presents in the afternoon, that boxing day food was a buffet of curry’s. I would share how Father Christmas went nowhere near our house and would deliver to the Garage at the end of our back garden, my Dad would bring down what he had left (even at a young age I was hyper-vigilant to child protection when it came to strangers) I would then blitz the unwrapping in seconds leaving a floor of discarded wrapping paper behind me like the Tasmanian Devil had popped around for a cuppa. Our Boxing Day was a buffet of ‘picky bits’ and when we shared these stories warmth from both our interpretations of Christmas were at the heart of each tradition.

What doesn’t serve is when everyone in the room dislikes the tradition but does it anyway…the wonderful thing about nurturing a family is building habits that become traditions, but that also have enough flexibility to alter before becoming legacies. As we step into 2023 you’re pretty darn perfect just as you are, you don’t need to do more or less of anything. However, the best habit, tradition and legacy you can leave with the world and into 2023 is to love those you surround yourself with. Remember, those that are hard to love, usually need love the most. Have a wonderful 2023

Comin’ with the bad bitch magic

Full quote from Queen Herby lyrics are “Comin’ with the bad bitch magic, and they can’t stand it, when I put these hoes in a panic.”

December can often feel suffocating, the final weeks of school term devoured me with all its tinsel and emotional demands. However I have made it and can now see two weeks of work free life upon me, except adult life never stops – the Christmas prep has barely begun and the recent full moon has resulted in a broken kitchen tap, dead car battery and narrowly escaping a stag charging in my direction (a little closer than I’d of liked, side note; it was seriously awesome once I’d survived, placed my heart back inside my chest cavity and processed the event)…that said, our Christmas tree is looking extra glorious this year with a new fairy and seven hundred extra lights, despite our dogs hypocritical and despairing looks of judgement as we bought in a seven foot tree and don’t allow her to bring her sticks in the house…yes tiny phone people: December is a lot!

Therefore and because I refuse to be overwhelmed, I go to my tool kit of magic and joy to help me raise my vibration…I refuse to be taken down by my ever growing to do lists and cold winter evenings that seem to consume time and spit me out into my pjs earlier and earlier. So what’s a ‘bad bitch to do’ …below are some of my sparkliest ideas from my magical toolkit.

Self care matters: Obviously it always matters but if you are missing the warmer days of life then put the Christmas chocolate box down for a minute and listen up! *you can totally return to the chocolate box once you’ve finished reading

Up your vitamins…some of my favs include vitamin D (sun in a bottle), lions mane, echinacea and vitamin C

Listen and move to feel good music, podcasts, movies and pivot when things feel negative…we’ve got no time for a documentary on wars and tragedies right now…this diet of high energy creative vibes will feed your soul

Soup – honestly, it’s the best winter warmer and I think it makes my soul happier, I can’t stop making it?

Pinterest – I know what you’re thinking, this social app from 2009 is vintage BUT collating (for free!) beautiful pin boards of imagery that lights your fire is far more beneficial than watching thirty second clips of adults dancing and cats falling off high cupboards. I’m using the app to set intentions for 2023, to gather recipes (okay, mainly soup), to discover ideas of things I might make and to collate a wardrobe that sparks joy…oh, that reminds me

Wear all the colours of the rainbow – I used my clothes rail like a dressing up box. The lower I feel, the more I need a sparkly tiara, sparkly boots, sparkly cardigans – ALL the SPARKLES! However, you may be less glitter and more practical, whatever your vibe make sure you walk out of the front door feeling fabulous. You will likely inspire others, pick up compliments like acorns on an oak tree and feel beautiful.

Journal – grab a note book and write as if you’re Dickens, don’t worry if what you’re writing down is gibberish, negative or the same day after day, the main thing is you are allowing those thoughts to have there moment of glory, then you’re turning the page and moving on

Gratitude lists – I adore a list full of moments of joy, dig deep and you’ll be surprised at what you have to be grateful for even in the darkest corners of life

What’s in your sparkly tool box of joy, that raises your vibration and helps you through the tougher moments of life? Let me know in the comments below

It goes on

Quote by Robert Frost

The entire quote is…”In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learnt about life, it goes on”

This week my view of the world has been sprinkled with death. I spoke to a friend who was preparing for her Dads funeral and after a lengthy conversation with many ups and downs we came to the conclusion that you can’t prepare for such an event. It’s one of those inevitable occasions you have to ‘get through’, balancing your needs and others from moment to moment.

I remember the periods in my life when death destroyed me and I felt like my heart had been pulled through my body, my stomach was too high, lungs collapsed and it took all my energy to grasp at the next breath. When I’d glimpse out of the window and wonder how the world was still ‘getting on with it’, people still laughing, going about their daily business when in that very moment my world had been turned upside down, obliterated, never to be the same…whilst I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel the despair I was in at that very moment it didn’t seem right that others continued? Perhaps that makes me selfish but it’s certainly how I felt.

In my darkest times, be that the loss of someone dear or illness / trauma, tea has honestly been my light. I realise that’s a cliche for British people but it’s true. When everything around me feels heavy, dark and too much, a warm cup to grasp, a sweet contradiction in taste to how I feel seems to give me a sparkle of happiness. It’s a minuscule moment but if you grab it with both hands (obviously putting your tea cup down somewhere safe first) it can open a crack to hope…

This glimmer of hope can lead to a small event, such as a shower and some clean clothes, in turn this can make you feel ‘better’ even if for a passing moment…collect these moments of hope, sparkles of happiness and pull them together and just as the quote suggests life goes on.

Life goes on, never the same, better for having known them, loved them and shared moments with them but it does go on. In fact when you once again find yourself in the light you realise that you are a more empathetic, connected and articulated person for having felt the weigh of their lose and also the blessings of ever having had them to love.

It goes on. Thank heavens

Keep some room in your head for the unimaginable

Quote from Mary Oliver

It’s Sunday evening and my brain is full…make the packed lunches for tomorrow, pay the council tax, feed the dog, text that friend about that meal, try to relax…oh no, wait…put the washing away so tomorrow everyone can find the items they need to leave the house clothed, pop the dishwasher on. The more I collate a list in my head, the more I could add, that seems to be home family life goes? I’m not sure I would alter it, although I would add a few more pauses, deep breaths and if someone would like to volunteer to make the packed lunches I wouldn’t fight them.

In the mundane cycle of life, the daily chores need keeping in check, the to do list can at times be overwhelming and every now and then I try and make room for some magic.

This weekend after the routine sports activities, my son and I jumped in the car and headed to a local independent book store, as an author was appearing to read a couple of chapters of her latest book. I’d seen the event of Facebook earlier in the week and hadn’t really planned to attend. After perusing the shelves and adding to the Christmas list, my son found a cushion and for half an hour was entertained by (in his words) ‘a real life author’ in this case, someone who writes about monsters for a living…pretty cool. After the book event we wandered down the high street, browsed some stores, grabbed a snack and headed home. As I drove home, I realised thanks to the autumn breeze and the sun shining, it had been the kind of Saturday I thought Motherhood would be…except mostly it’s not.

Sometimes the best moments in life are the unexpected and the spontaneous . Every Saturday morning watching my son in his martial arts class is predictable, live Author readings are not. Perhaps we need to plan for a little of the unimaginable? Now, whilst the word ‘unimaginable’ might have you thinking about flying to space or deep sea diving…on Friday evening I hadn’t imagined the day ahead would go the way it had, so perhaps leaving a little space for potential joy is a positive step forward.

Being open to saying ‘yes’ helps the unimaginable to happen. You also need to step out of your routine and do something different, this I have to be honest isn’t my strong point. Years of teaching and working in a time tabled environment have meant I like a certain level of control and predictability…but the unimaginable can’t happen if you do what you always do, by definition of always doing it makes it imaginable.

In my mind I’m certainly making space for unimaginable events to happen, in the privacy of my brain I’m constantly twirling and travelling to new places, thinking what the foods would smell like and recognising the glitter behind the unknown…stretching my thoughts to the unimaginable is the only way I can get through the mundane moments in life. So this week make sometime to think big, to dare to dream and to wonder how…who knows where it might take you by next weekend?

Privacy is power

Quote adapted.

The full quote is ‘privacy is power. People can’t ruin what they don’t know about’ however, sometimes people can ruin things because you haven’t told them, perhaps there is a fine line between confidentiality and telling all?

Recently, the media reported moment by moment as the Queen lay in state. At times members of the royal family have been filmed during vigils and if I’m honest I’ve found it unappealing and tradition that perhaps has run its course. Celebrities have been spotted in the queue (to see the Queens coffin and to send their condolences) and have had cameras pushed in their faces, again a little distasteful in my opinion.

Living in the UK it’s a British quality and expectation to reply to questions around your wellbeing with ‘I’m fine thanks’ – clearly we aren’t all fine all of the time, but again I think the level of knowledge you share with others should be based on the relationship you have with them, whilst my partner and close family will tell you I over share, I’d like to think Ricky in my local newsagents only knows I’m fine and have a taste for Madagascan dark chocolate.

I believe that privacy is powerful in age where oversharing on a global scale (social media) has become the norm. It’s a precious gift and it often transpires that those who do over share are doing it for tangible gains; attention, sympathy or intrigue. I’m so very grateful that I grew up in an age before uploads, screen shots and even mobile phones were a thing. As I grow more and more comfortable in who I am, my purpose and the people I care for, privacy is worth it’s wait in gold. It gave me security, freedom and peace of mind…priceless.

That said, often people can keep emotional turmoil deep inside them and this can result in mental illness that can also manifest in physical debilitation.

So what can we do? To share or not to share seems to be more complex than it appears? The answer in my opinion is balance. Keep your biggest dreams and desires to yourself – work on you for you. Allow a handful of close and trusted loved ones in, share the deeper and more complex moments with them; these people (I refer to them as my tribe) can be friends or family – you get to pick, often they span various moments in your life and are clear ‘keepers’ – laugh hard with them, cry when necessary and be there for each other, check in and also share gratitude in all you have. As for the rest of the world, tell them you are fine. Walk away from people who are asking how you are for their own gain, did I mention how I’m doing?

Im fine, thanks for asking.

Waves are the ripples of the hard work that came before

This quote came from a thought in my head, an original fridgesays quote!

It may be because my horoscope is a water sign, that I’m a summer baby or that I live not to far from the sea but I am at home in water. I like to drink it, have bubble baths, swim, scuba dive, paddle, play, or just watch the tide…for authenticity, I don’t enjoy washing up.

Tidal waves are magnificent; the push and pull from the moon, the swish and swirls of the lapping sea as it consumes the beach in one big mouthful and then spits it’s out in a repellent manner, white foam bubbles around my toes as I timidly paddle (I’m based in the UK so even in summer the sea is like an ice box). I remember the first time I body boarded in Barbados (much warmer) and got to grips with the rhythm of the sea and where I needed to place and angle the board…hard work but so thrilling as the sea lifted me and catapulted my body to the shore effortlessly. I was addicted.

When you are working hard with a positive intention, when you know the purpose of the task at hand and aren’t doing for how it makes you look. When working hard helps others, then much like the ripple of a stone landing in a pond of still water – you can quickly see the ripple effect around the centre of where you put the action in.

I believe that when you apply hard work for the correct reasons, the ripple goes well beyond your knowing. Perhaps in time the ripples get larger or even less defined – they are still present and working for the greater good.

I once taught a sixteen year old girl in school who decided to increase her grade. She threw herself into the process fully even though her predicted grade was far lower, she wanted to take law at ‘A’ level, later through her career she wanted to help women like her mother who had struggled following domestic violence. She had a clear goal and so she threw herself into her studies and we revised daily – she would come to me for practise questions, take them home, bring them back and I’d mark them. She wasn’t happy until each question was better than the last. When it came to sitting the exam she was as calm as a tranquil lake, she knew what she had to do and I knew she could do it, how could she not?

This isn’t a suspense novel, so much like you thought – she smashed it. Her ripples went on to move her closer to her goal and now she has just completed her first year with a firm that advocates for the very cause she first threw her rock into the pond for. No doubt the action and clear vision she had at sixteen is still having a ripple effect today and everyday she helps victims of domestic violence be heard and seek justice.

The ripples don’t end in that pond, she inspired me beyond belief, her peers had nothing but praise for her and of course her mother wept on results day when she moved her grade up by four and got full marks. I retold her story and other pupils became intoxicated by the ripple effect. You see we don’t always see the full effects of our actions – she may not appreciate the gratitude of families surrounding the women she will continue to help, the pupils in younger classes who I shared her story with – perhaps even you will somehow be caught in the motion of her action. For you, this post won’t feel like hard work but flow – it may inspire you to take on a similar goal or to apply it to something aligned with your purpose, you may share this post with others and the ripples will continue.

Remember, hard work is just the first step but the legacy lives on beyond the furthest ripple.

It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger

Anon

Happy April all. When I saw this quote I thought it was applicable for so many aspects of life, if not every angle.

From my own experiences of loss and grief, time doesn’t heal, in fact I usually find it bites me hard on the arse every time I drop my guard. Grief opens a void of possibilities within the mind; what would the loved one be doing now? thinking about how they would love or hate experiences you’re having…the list is never ending, anniversaries swing around and you feel a combination of confusion and sadness. Much like this quote, it doesn’t get easier but you do get stronger. You have to.

My son has just finished his first season of Rugby festivals, he has been thrown into a new set of rules around contact and him and his team mates have had to learn so many skills beyond the rugby ball…resilience, how to fall, how to get back up when you fall, gratitude, being humble (we’re working on this), techniques, finding your place to shine in a team…on the way home from his last game of the season he remarked how much easier it was becoming. I gently reminded him that if anything the matches he played today were harder as all the teams are improving but that he was stronger. Strength isn’t always physical (although it helps in a contact game of Rugby), but that his team had also become stronger in mind and emotional resilience. Experience helps to soothe the strain of making things feel ‘easy’ and I’ll never forget the children’s petrified faces as opponents tackled, pursued, blocked and dropped them on their first contact game.

When I’m facing something new, scary or preparing to take a next detour on the road of life, I often remind myself of other things I’ve done that felt similar and that I over came; new jobs, moving home, body changes or committing to a goal. Even with age, change doesn’t get easier but I do believe we get stronger.

This week as new challenges arise, new days dawn and opportunities knock on your door or you run down the street after them, remember that very little, that’s easy in life is worth doing, but effort, repetition and commitment can make it feel easier, why? Because we are always stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

You can never be overdressed or over educated

Quote Anon

This quote made me giggle and then it echoed deeply within me, therefore I’m going to deconstruct this quote into two sections

You can never be overdressed

As someone who has substantial experience in this area, I’d say it isn’t about the clothes but how we feel. Within my job I go into schools and complete observations of children aged 4-16 years. It’s essential they don’t know I’m there for them, as this would alter their behaviour, for this reason I often use my wardrobe as a dressing up box…observing a four year old in a sandbox is very different to a sixteen year old in a formal learning setting. A couple of weeks a go I was suppose to see a fourteen year old boy in an English lesson, he didn’t turn up and so I was about to abort the observation when his Head of Year said that he’d turned up to his next lesson…I grabbed the chance and made my way to PE. I introduced myself to the class teacher, explaining he should completely ignore me and not draw attention. He remarked ‘I think you’ll do that yourself, we’re doing Boxercise on the field”…whilst it was true my formal fuchsia dress with black 6 inch stiletto heels could be considered a give away on a large expansive field…heels and twirly dresses are my comfort zone. Grass and heels are irrelevant. I smiled at the teacher and said ‘this isn’t my first rodeo’ and strutted to the field. I found a bench and sat making notes. Did the child notice me? No.

There are so many components within life that make things challenging, why do we let our clothes restrict us? Four year old go to the supermarket contently dressed as superhero’s with wellington boots, why don’t adults? Right now are you wearing a wardrobe that you feel good in? Whilst I wouldn’t recommend heels for running marathons, like most quotes there is a context to be taken into consideration. For the majority of the time, wear what makes you feel fabulous!

You can never be over educated

I don’t think this requires formal training, exams and certification, nor does being educated require institutions and walls. People who seek knowledge, who’s intelligence shines like a soldiers boots, have a thirst for knowledge. They seek sources of information from various places, compare and reach their own conclusions. To be over educated is impossible – whilst the world spins and new theories are born, there is always something different to learn. Humans who have been recognised as leaders in their field, such as Einstein often dedicated their lives to destroying old theories, asking bigger questions and not settling for mainstream concepts. My hope for everyone is that you never stop learning.

…and where possibly wear whatever you feel sensational in.

A beautiful day starts with a beautiful mindset

Quote Anon

Well-being websites have made ‘morning routines’ cliche and thinking about them can be another ‘to do’ on the list of ever growing ‘what we should do’ tasks. Do you have one? If you don’t have a conscious morning plan you probably have one through habit, as humans we tend to find patterns and stay in them.

Over the years I’ve had 5am starts with exercise, self care and nourishing food and much later wake ups with barely a comb through my hair before I’m out of the door.

If I’m honest I’ve only found a few things have stuck and enriched my life. I also think your morning rituals are only as beneficial as the quality of your sleep. Below are some things I found useful for an improved mindset

Gratitude journal: I’ve kept a gratitude journal since 2017 and have written 3 things I’m grateful for each day. I also write down 3 intentions for my day; sometimes they are practical objectives like completing tasks and sometimes they are more creative or magical. There are two big lessons to take away from my journal, firstly it instantly makes me feel good, the second is that after about six months of this daily habit it became second nature and gratitude has become a super power. Having control of my mindset from the moment I wake doesn’t mean my days are hassle free, but I certainly have a positive disposition and I believe my journal helps support and nurture this habit. So even if things do become negative, my growth mindset means I can alter my own perspective easier.

Change it up: This goes for everything you may do in the morning, if you’re short of time then having your clothes out ready is one less dilemma for the morning, but sometimes (when time allows) it can be hugely joyful to try on different things and restyle old looks. When it comes to food I’ve always been a fad eater – one minute a certain food is my favourite and I don’t want anything else, the next I’m over it and it’s the last thing I want to eat. Whilst this was annoying for my Mum when I was growing up (particularly when she’s bought 20 boxes of my favourite snack, only for me to abandon the idea and move on) it means my body is getting a larger variety of nutrients. Currently I try to never have the same breakfast twice in a row and have found the variety also makes eating less predictable and more enjoyable.

Take time to adjust: most recently I’ve taken deliberate time to wake slowly. Again, growing up I was a pocket rocket and would instantly wake, jump out of bed and get on with my day. I know many of you may not relate and may find waking hard, this could include several snooze alarms and an eternal battle to motivate yourself whilst counter arguing about all the reasons you should stay put wrapped up like a burrito in your bed…somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. Now I tend to wake earlier than needed but not move. I give my body and my mindset time to process the day, I drink tea or hot lemon water in bed and write in my journal. Since doing this I’ve found the flow of my day is more consistent and I don’t resemble an octopus trying to accomplish eight things at once, my mind is focused and I often flow with easy into my day

What are your top tips for an effective morning routine? Have you recently altered things? Would you agree that much like the changing seasons, different times of year call for different routines?