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. 

Summer holidays, messy houses and history repeating itself……

Hello to you all, the summer holidays are finally here which means only one thing, childcare organised and planned to precision!

We don’t have loads of time off with the boys over the summer but we do have a week and a bit coming up and I absolutely can’t wait. We have lots of lovely things planned and I’ve no doubt I will be sharing lots of it with you here. We are off to the Elmley Nature Reserve for an overnight stay, Dreamland, we have Leo’s birthday, the boys have various sports camps and a big BBQ for family and friends. 

I can’t believe that Nate has now finished at Infant school. A couple of the Whitstable schools are Infant and Junior only so Nate will embark on a new adventure at a new school come September. He has grown into a kind, gentle and full of energy little boy and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I cried like a small child at his leavers service and apparently according to Karl I am the ultimate embarrassing parent but do you know what, at least he knows I am his number one fan and I will always be there to give a little woop woop from the audience! 

The more this year goes on the more I realise what is important. I spend so much of my time trying to have the perfect home and I have decided that I am just fighting a losing battle. I love my home, I love that the boys love playing here and that it’s totally unique. It won’t ever be a show home with no dust or the odd bit of Lego on the floor but it’s a home full of love and I couldn’t ask for more.

I am coming to the last week of my CBT, this is a huge thing. I’ve made huge progress and feel the most positive about moving forward with my mental health issues than I have in years however I am also a bit of a bag of nerves. I’ve been here before, I’ve had therapy and felt strong and then ultimately ended up back where I started only a little bit worse each time. 

So what’s different this time? Have I got the skills I need to move forward and not end up back on self destruct and feeling like I’m not worthy of walking this earth? Well I can never take my mental health for granted but I do feel this time like something has shifted from where I’ve been before. I’m quieter, more thoughtful and I think through each and every move in a totally different way than I did before.

Self love is something I’ve told you before that I’ve been distinctly lacking and while I still can’t say I’m crazy about myself I certainly have a new respect for who I am, what I’ve been through and what I’ve put others through. My journey is mine I am the only one with the ultimate power over how I deal with it and all the things life throws at me.

That’s quite a powerful position to be in and one which I hope I have finally got straight in my head. Life is so very tough and we as humans have habits of making it worse for ourselves. I hope that this time I have the strength to go forward and not need to in a couple of years time to have more intervention for another mental health crisis.

Being aware is taking a healthy approach to your mindfulness and wellbeing and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

If any of you are struggling or not sure where to turn you have options, people care and they can help you. Please don’t suffer in silence, don’t let yourself get so low that you don’t know where to turn.

Must dash, Nate and Leo are arguing over who gets the last fruit roll. Much love my friends xxx

Wisdom and whether it makes any sense……

Hey all, how are we? 

I’ve been thinking a lot about wisdom which is defined as the quality of having, experience, knowledge and good judgement; the quality of being wise. This will have prompted you to think about all the people you deem as wise whether they be friends, family, loved ones or like me iconic heroes who have pioneered new things (my key example would be Ben and Jerry for their work towards ice cream flavours!)

I imagine you will also be asking yourself, am I wise? Do I have wisdom and will people deem me to have these characteristics. The answer for many of us would be no. We are so quick to judge ourselves and not look to the positives. We would also run our minds back over decisions we have made in the past that at the time were made with the best knowledge you had at but that today you would look back on and question. 

I can think of a great number of people I believe have wisdom, from the philosophers of old, playwrights, authors, those who have pioneered technology that makes our world what it is today, leaders, peacekeepers, teachers, colleagues, my mum and of course Albus Dumbledore. But my question is this, I wonder how many times all the people I consider as wise questioned their decisions. Realised they had made a bad one and that they had been  at that time lacking in wisdom. I would guess each and every one of them. 

We are all totally capable of being wise, each and every one of us has wisdom and we do what we do trying to use it in the best way we can. Whether that be moving on from something that is hurting us, choosing to embark on a new adventure, learning something new or making decisions about our day to day life that will better it for those around us. 

That doesn’t mean though that the people around us will necessarily understand our decisions or why we made them, our chosen paths or the ones we choose to stop walking down. Sometimes it will of course be obvious that our wisdom was somewhat lacking (the time I decided to pierce my own ears for a second time aged 12) but at other times people may just have a different opinion than we do. 

Wisdom is not the same for every person, what one considers wise another may consider foolish and vice versa but like each and every living thing on this whole planet we are individuals and our thoughts, decisions and lives are based around our own minds. We care for others, we love and we do all we can for those we love but ultimately what we do is down to us. 

So many are quick to jump to judge, criticise or comment on the acts of others. This is of course human nature however imagine if you had all the information in your possession that made that person make that decision, maybe, just maybe you would decide the same thing they did. Even if you wouldn’t, does that really matter? 

In conclusion I believe we need to own our wisdom and our decisions. Whether they be the right or wrong decision. If it’s a wrong one you live, learn and move on but if it’s a right one you remember all that wisdom you used to make that right decision and do you know what it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or feels on the matter. If some of our worlds greatest minds had let others dull their wisdom we wouldn’t have technology, music, languages, science or mindfulness. Now that is a scary thought. 

In a nod to the wisdom of others here are some of the wisest quotes I love…..

‘Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree it will live it’s whole life believing that it is stupid’ Albert Einstein 

‘Just do what works for you because there will always be somebody who thinks differently’ Michelle Obama 

‘Just because you are right, doesn’t mean I am wrong, you just haven’t seen life from my side’ unknown 

‘Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t’ Bill Nye.

Thankfulness…… 

Do you ever get to that point when you get a bit sick of yourself? When for whatever reason you know you can’t keep thinking the way you do and actually it’s all getting a bit tiresome.

In life we would walk away from something draining us but what happens when that something is you? 

I’m getting to the point where I feel a bit like that about myself, being depressed is all getting a bit boring now! I’m sure this is a recognised phase in most people who are ready for the next step but not quite there yet (still no start date for cbt) but I’m seeing it as a good thing for me. 

This last week I’ve tried to focus so much more on the little things, the things I always try to get others to notice but so rarely pay any attention to myself, the things we see but overlook each and everyday and the small moments that we will never get back and should savour.

I’ve not gone as far as writing these down mostly because when I’ve been seeing and feeling them there hasn’t been the opportunity but I feel like I’ve made progress in acknowledging these small moments of gratitude and thankfulness. 

At the end of this post I will ask you what little things you are thankful for over the last week, I wonder how many you can think of? 

So in no particular order here goes……

Little thing number one: my awfully behaved children, now I know these aren’t little things, in fact they are two of the few most important things in my whole life however they behave appallingly most of the time. They don’t listen to a word I say, they wreck the house on an hourly basis, they go in the sea knowing full well I have no way of changing their clothes afterwards, they help themselves to all manner of food which was not bought for them, they climb into our neighbours gardens to retrieve their balls even though they know they aren’t meant to and they always say exactly what they are thinking even if they come across as rude or offensive. But….. they are two very unique, high spirited individual boys who know their own minds and feel so massively comfortable in our love that they will do all these things knowing full well that they will always be looked after and loved unconditionally. Even if their parents look like they have aged twenty years in the last twenty minutes. This brings me on to…….

Little thing number two: friendship. Those people who are committed to being there for you and will stand with you through thick or thin, awful decisions, sadness, happiness and when you genuinely are the hardest to love or even like much because that is when you need them the most. 

Little thing number three: nature, the thing that just gets on with it no matter what else is going on, the sun sets and rises again, the seasons change, the weather does its thing and we just Potter along around it. But when you stop to really appreciate it you see that it’s the most amazing thing in the world. Nature and all it creates is absolutely breathtaking and a few minutes spent just looking at the nature around you is extremely good for the soul.

Little thing number four: my husband, this week we have been married for twelve years. This isn’t an event which will go with much fanfare this year due to work and other bits and pieces but it’s been such a tough year for so many reasons and lots of those are due to my issues and yet Karl still stands with me, sees me at my very worst and still believes in me and the amount of love and respect I have for him and all he does for me and the boys is immeasurable. Marriage is never easy and I thank him for sticking with us.

Little thing number five: my mum, there is so much I could say here and it would take me hours to write it all down so I will simply say this, ‘you are my sunshine’. 

Little thing number six: Nutella and crumpets, I couldn’t have got through the last week without you! 

Little thing number seven: Instagram, the amazing community where I have made many friends and can lose myself in a world of beauty and flowers.

Little thing number eight: my Dad, often grumpy yet has the biggest heart I know. This man doesn’t understand a lot of the issues I have been going through and yet is there no matter what with a joke that isn’t really funny and amazing dinners. He knows how much of a pain in the arse I am and yet invests so much in my little family. I love you so very much Dad.

So…… how about you? If you fancy let me know what little things you are thankful for this week, you can email, catch me on IG, Facebook or Twitter. Or just write a couple down to look back on next week, I promise you it will be worth it.

Please remember, it’s okay to be a glow stick, sometimes we have to break before we can shine.