The simple life…….

Hey all, how are we? 

I’ve been thinking today about happiness, gratitude and how I use them in my life. I was thinking this while out on a ‘power walk’ on the Crab and Winkle Way which as most of you know is one of my favourite spots in Whitstable.

Thinking about the little things that keep you happy and grateful is an essential in life and it occurred to me just how much I long for the simple life. I keep seeing and reading things about living a simpler life, the best life you can and getting ‘off grid’ for a while.

My husband wouldn’t be able to be ‘off grid’ for long, he is a gadget man who loves technology but then it occurred to me that he is also at his happiest outside in the garden, doing jobs, enjoying the peace and making things. All of these things are relatively simple and usually involve minimal gadgets (other than his drone!) 

The boys too are usually happy when they are playing outside. I actually find that the more time they spend on tablets (we limit this as much as we can) the more grumpy and irritable they become. They get lots of built up aggression and you can tell that they have been having screen time. 

Earlier this week we visited the Elmley Nature Reserve and had a night of no television or tablets. Karl and I had our phones but mostly for pictures but neither of us used them that much. We walked, talked, played cards and the boys got lost in nature. There was a huge hill at the back of our fishermans hut and they were up and down it constantly, looking out over the fields and playing little games they had made up. 

Of course they did some arguing and some wrestling but they are my children and wouldn’t be if they didn’t! 

I loved the peace, the views and the feeling of being at one with nature. There were pretty butterflies, all manner of birds and rabbits running around which made it all seem quite magical.

So as I was power walking in my maroon shorts and running top which is way too tight because of all the chocolate I was thinking about how much I just want to spend my time simply being. Taking in beautiful views, walking and conversing with the people I love and enjoying where we live. 

In our home we seem to be embracing simpler things, not focussing so much on smart storage solutions from modern shops but loving things with a history and that were made by hand. Things that will still be around and usable when we are old and the boys are able to appreciate them like the table Karl made using the base from my Grandads old Singer sewing machine table. 

Gone are the days where if we had a free weekend I would feel like we needed to fill it with all and sundry, we now take life at a much slower pace and I actually try to plan in time where we can choose what we do whether that be a walk in the woods, on the beach or some time with Nana chatting and drinking tea. I love seeing friends and family but they too have similar feelings to us so it’s nice that we can all enjoy our times together. 

I am so very happy when I am out walking, it opens my mind and allows me that space to think and be me. To go over what’s been going on and to plan for what’s coming up. To think about all the things I am grateful for and to process things that I’ve not been so good at in recent times and how I can improve next time.

This is a key element of moving forward for me after my CBT has come to an end. Originally I was massively scared and felt like I needed that session each week to be okay but the more I have thought about it the more I realise that I have the tools I need and I need to keep using them, building on the foundation the therapist and I built and making them habit. Walking in the fresh air is a huge part of this for me.

This morning I walked for half an hour, no time at all really when you weigh up what is important or not but the feeling afterwards was immense and is carrying on throughout the day. Of course not all days will life be so simple and some days or even weeks there won’t be time for a long walk but life is after all about balance. We make time for the doctor or dentist when we need to and being mindful is just as key to our health as these visits are.

How do you keep your life simple? What things would you like to improve on or to change? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. If you can take half an hour for yourself this week and do something you love, something that is good for your soul. Walk, run, sing to loud music, catch up with a friend, draw, knit, have a chocolate bar, bake a cake, build Lego with your children, buy some flowers, take some photos, cook a meal from scratch, light a scented candle, have a bath (you get my drift?!) I bet you will feel much better for it. 

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Illness, bike riding and lost crocs…….

You know how sometimes you get to the end of a long day and just need a really good giggle? Read on lovely people……..

Today is one of those where I work the day and Karl works the afternoon and night so my parents pick the boys up from school. I go straight to their house and they usually feed both me and the boys before we go home about seven pm for bedtime.

Tonight I got back to find the boys doing clay modelling with Nana, she loves any kind of messy, knife wielding and potentially get paint everywhere crafts so I let her get on with it and watched with a nervousness that I can’t describe while Leo flung around the small knife chopping clay into various shapes. 

The boys ate tea and Nate not even half way through eating declared he felt terribly poorly and took himself off into the living room. Now my Nate is a big boy who loves all the boy things there are in this world. He is also one of the biggest drama queens I know and often goes to extremes when he feels poorly asking questions such as, ‘is it my heart?’, ‘do I need a blood transfusion?’ and ‘is it a deadly disease?’ 

Tonight was no different and within what seemed like minutes he had worked himself up into a huge tizzy and was very concerned he would be sick. He reminded me a bit of a woman in heavy labour, all heavy breathing and uncomfortable movements. It got to the point where not only did he feel sick but his neck was hurting, he couldn’t swallow properly and he was almost delirious. I then went into typical mum mode and thought just incase he had indeed developed some kind of tropical disease that I should get him checked out.

We drove to our Doctors which also has a minor injuries walk in centre attached. Usually they have nurses who can prescribe and often the doctors work late. We went to the lady at reception with Nate leaning on the desk with his heavy breathing and humpback whale type moans. She gave me a perplexed look when I answered the question of whether it was an injury or an illness with ‘I’m not really sure’ and ushered us through to the waiting area where Nate continued to whale loudly.

The kind lady doctor called us in and Nate who had tears steaming down his cheeks went into full flow about how his breathing was strange, he felt sick, his neck and throat hurt and that he blamed the ham from school. She also looked at me perplexed and asked if Nate often got this anxious. I explained that he hates being ill and even the thought of it makes him get into a real tizzy so she was extra patient with him. Turns out his glands were up in his neck so we were prescribed antibiotics and he was told to rest up.

My plan next was to drive to our local Tesco to get his medicine which would take around ten minutes. Nate was having none of this so I delivered him back to Nana’s (by this point it was pouring with rain) and shot to Tesco on my own. The lady at the chemist said I had a few minutes to wait so I found myself by the flowers and picked out some peonies for me and pink roses for my mum. 

I collected the medicine and left the store with handfuls of flowers and the little white bag the medicine comes in, my hair was everywhere and I was soaked. I must have looked very strange. By the time I got back to Nana’s and gave Nate his first dose of medicine I felt exhausted and that we should all be getting home. Nate happily came but Leo refused to put his shoes on and ran off out of the back door into the pouring rain.

I loaded the car with all the things that needed to go home, school bags, shoes, clay models, hats and Nate loaded himself in. Leo then appeared on his bike which he has only just learned to ride without stabilisers cycling round and round the house in the pouring rain. On his second trip round I realised he was wearing a giant pair of adult crocs, Grandads crocs. 

The next thing I knew Grandad himself was running after Leo shouting, ‘he’s got my crocs!’ While I sat in the car windscreen wipers on full pelt wondering if this kind of thing ever happens to anyone else. It took a reasonable amount of time for them both to return for a third loop this time Leo wearing nothing on his feet and Dad telling me as he went past that Leo had thrown the crocs on the lawn. 

On the next rotation Grandad appeared with Leo over his shoulder in a fireman style lift. Leo was placed into the car and as we drove off I looked in my mirror and saw him smiling to himself. He had been having a wonderful time.

We got home and I had to unload the car, I had flowers, two school bags, one handbag, one pair of shoes, half a shepherds pie (leftovers) clay models of Saturn and Neptune, my work bag, two drink bottles and two hats. Nate held his prescription and Leo unlocked the front door. We walked in and everything in my arms dropped to the floor, I managed to catch the Shepherds pie and promptly got the boys into bed. 

They are still awake and I’m eating the rest of the shepherds pie which I planned on having for lunch at work tomorrow. 

Oh well it’s not like it’s only Monday and we still have the rest of the week to go……. oh wait!