Its another year! A brand spanking new year. No matter if its your 5th or 50th there is very little chance it will be like your last year, even if you want it to be. So, what do you want it to be? What's in 2018 for you?
A chance to settle? Take time out, fit in more gardening, reading, birdwatching?
Or do you want to ramp it up, have an adventure, travel, simply be more daring?
How do you do that?
How do you make that happen with full time employment, kids and all the other commitments that come with life. All too often we get stuck and the only variations in our life are ones dictated by necessity or life. This can create an interesting life rollercoaster but you can fit that in with your 2018 vision?
To start you need to be kind and patient with yourself.
This is the first step to anything and everything in life. Nothing happens overnight especially a change in lifestyle.
Write a list of what you want to change as a bucket list.
Its important to have a visual reminder, the more you dream of something the more real it becomes, so stick your list somewhere obvious.
The biggest changes happen in the in-between moments.
For example if you want to read more, leave the books you want to read in obvious places eg beside the kettle so you can grab a couple of pages while waiting.
You want to achieve more in the garden, do a few weeds or plant some seeds while putting out the bins or hanging up washing. This odd minute here or there will build up.
Its the same for if you want to make life more exciting.
Want to travel the world? Enjoy the empty moments to put up that world map, read the travel magazines or browse flights.
Start your own business? In-between moments of notes, ideas and plans, journaling and research all while the pasta cooks for tea..
Its these seconds of time in the day that build up and make our dreams reality.
Do you think its ok to say Happy New Year on the 11th of January? After the last 3 weeks of craziness most of us are only just getting back to some reality of school runs, work and proper planning for the year ahead now.
Personally Christmas and Hogmanay are exhausting, at a time of year when we should be winding down, we are winding up. We push ourselves to extremes, parties, drinking, feasting, staying up late, shopping for presents pre-Christmas, shopping for bargains post- Christmas. Not that its all bad, most is served with love, happiness and good will but what does it do to us as humans?
The whole point of winter is to slow down with nature, longer nights to rest. Shorter colder days allowing us to gather food stores and return to den. Nurture ourselves through the darkness. Is all of this a matter of history?
Now our lives barely change season to season. we work, eat, sleep to the same schedule all year round. Except at Christmas and New Year when we all go crazy! So by January 3rd we may all be back doing normal things but by no means are we ready. We still need time to rest and time to nurture. When do you do this?
For me it was last week although back to normality, its a go slow format of late rise (as late as you can be with a school run) and early to bed. Taking time to enjoy gifts received by reading books and listening to music. Slow catch up with friends and family sharing the highs and lows of our festive experiences.
However today was the day, my official back to normality so this is when my New Year is beginning and I wish to share it with you.
Happy New Year wishing you all the very best for 2018, the beginning of a brand new adventure.
Sad news. My old smelly Holly dog has gone of to the great big field in the sky to chase rabbits.
Its a surreal feeling loosing something so precious as a pet. Maybe some people think 'its only a dog' and that is ok. But if you feel how I feel and know that your pet loved you unconditionally for all of its days, always happy to see you, didn't disagree, didn't answer back, didn't make you feel bad, although Holly dog was very good at a Harrumph sort of noise when it suited her, it is a real bereavement.
So in honour of the old girl and all other pets out there, thank you for making our lives better, for loving us unconditionally and for putting up with us, if only we could be so sincere.
Thank You, Love You, Miss You
Do you ever have one of those days? Where you have every intention of being focused, planning ahead, getting on with things etc. etc....and it for whatever reason it doesn't happen? Today is turning out like that for me. Usually it would upset me but recently through mindfulness and meditation there has been a realisation that we need days like this. Sometimes you need the dust to settle before you can dust?
There is a massive prep list for everybody at this time of year, getting ready for winter, or summer (Hello southern hemisphere), the change in Seasons has a big impact on the human body and its not always kind. Winter Solstice/Christmas can be hugely stressful especially if you are alone, on a tight budget or simply overwhelmed!.
Today has become about lists, 'Things to be done', it may not be happening today but planning can make a difference. if you include things you already do everyday like 'walk the dog' 'cook tea' or 'school run' then you know you have achieved something. Life can become easier if you can check off even the little things when your not expecting it.
So happy list making and do the dusting tomorrow!
Yesterday we made soap! Why I hear you all ask? Little Green wanted to make something for Christmas presents this year. Little Green really likes to make things.
Don't get too excited we did not make it from scratch. After reading up on it a bit I felt nervous of the chemicals involved, so we bought large blocks of soap base to add our own lovely things to.
As a starter point this was great and luckily we have lots of lavender, mint, sage, geranium, roses (petals) etc. in our garden. We picked some last week and dried them out in bunches or in kitchen paper over heaters. We use aromatherapy oils quite a lot in the house medicinally, for cleaning and for relaxation so they were very handy too.
The blocks of soap that we used were Stephenson Personal Care Crystal Argan Oil, SLES SLS & Paraben Free with no scent. This was important for me as recently it has been difficult to find any soap, shower gel or shampoo that does not set off some kind of allergic reaction.
It melted very easily and all the ingredients we added mixed in evenly. The best thing was that everything we added was natural including some lovely organic herbal teas. It made some very nice soap that did not cause any allergic reaction for me.
We used silicon moulds for our soap but you could use silicon cupcake cases or a even a loaf tin and cut soap slices.
It is a very simple process.
Cut off the amount of soap you want to make from the block.
Weigh or Guess-timate your choice!
Pop it in a pan.
Keep it on a very low heat.
Add your ingredients. (For this batch we used Chamomile Tea & Lavender)
Once it is completely melted and your ingredients are stirred through,
Pour into your moulds a little at a time,
Layering up and trying to split soap evenly between moulds.
It sets really quickly.
More specific instruction should be enclosed with your soap or they are available online at Stephenson Personal Care. You cannot buy direct from the supplier (unless bulk) but a selection of their products are available on Amazon and HobbyCraft.
What do you on your day off? Thankfully today was beautiful, always helps. sun shining, leaves turning golden and being blown off the trees in the breeze. The only place I wanted to be was outside. But how do you balance that with family life, three loads of washing to catch up on, dishwasher, bills to pay and only school hours to fit it all into. You don't!
Sometimes you have to make a choice. There is never a day where you don't have to do family things if you have a family. Always a chore, always an errand.
Up until recently it felt that being tidy, organised and exhausted was the most important thing, to prove that I was a good mum and wife.
It is false ideology, how can a stressed exhausted parent with no time for themselves be a good parent.
'Me time' is what gives us the strength to keep going, to love more, care more and give our very best to our families. So next time you have a day off or have a child free moment do something nice for yourself. Whether its a coffee with a friend, a catch up with your favourite soap, a yoga practice or like me a walk in the sunshine, do it! Do it, do it, do it, you deserve it.
Looking for inspiration
Can't believe its the 5th of November already! Guy Fawkes Night, do you celebrate? The near miss of the murder of King James I and the destruction of the House of Lords in 1605 by the Gunpowder Plot seems a funny thing to honour.
Do you think we would celebrate if they had succeeded?
Why is it then so many still participate?
Tonight will see the country light up with bonfires, fireworks, sparklers, torches, as communities come together to revel in warmth and glow. Bonfire Night is not about Guy Fawkes anymore, its more about coming together with neighbours, friends and family to celebrate outdoors at a time when the dark nights are getting longer and more often we spend them inside, shut away behind doors and curtains. It is a beautiful thing to see the sky lit up with explosions of light and colour, hearing the boom, then the gasp of the crowd, the smell of burnt sulphur in the air, the bonfire crackling, And when you stop to look at the faces and not the fireworks you see a contentment and awe and a unity. It is one of my favourite times of year.
It is important to mention that supporting your local community event is the best way to celebrate as they should have made all the correct safety checks with regard to humans and nature, so those in the neighbourhood with pets can make them safe and secure knowing times and dates. If you do choose to have your own bonfire please check it for wildlife on the run up to and on the day, let your neighbours know even if you are not inviting them, they may have pets or they may not share your love of adventure.
A beautiful walk today, am feeling slightly under the weather so it was nice to catch some sunshine, top up the vitamin D and be breathless at the beauty of the world around me.
The more mindful I become the more I lose myself in the beauty of nature. Stopping to look at a butterfly basking in the sun...not the only one taking a moment. Don't get me wrong I have an endless list of thing to do, always. But it will always be there...the butterfly will not.
Recently I have been trying to cut back on shopping, all aspects. The amount I shop for, the amount I spend, the amount of packaging there is.
Its difficult especially when everything tells you should be spend, spend, spending! Not just on food or clothes or beauty products but every second advert is for a new sofa, a new car. So where do we stop? when do we say 'I don't need that'?
So my weekly shop ...how can I spend less but guarantee a heathy nutritious meal for all my family. Thankfully I love to cook, NOT Nigella style or even Jamie Oliver style, although both are amazing and have some great cook books out there if you are looking for inspiration.
So with just my own style, cooking from scratch seems to be the best way.
I LOVE fresh ingredients.
Fresh ingredients are cheaper and healthier than prepared foods.
Fresh ingredients have less packaging, and lets be honest some packaging is so ridiculous 3 layers of plastic with an outer package of compostable card doesn't make it environmentally sound especially when most food worthy plastics are still not able to be recycled.
Fresh Ingredients are easier to use up in soups, stews at end of week instead of ending up in the bin.
Fresh ingredients are easier to compost.
Any supermarket can now provide you with local produce and there are some great farmers markets going on.
You don't need to cook anything fancy, try starting a '3 ingredient' recipe?
For my family its usually something like Potato Broccoli Cheese Bake or Creamy Mushroom Pasta adding sides of chicken or bacon for the meat eaters when they are around.
Don't get me wrong we still have the odd pizza but usually add our own toppings and we definitely love a takeaway and supporting our small local eateries but since we started we are all feeling a lot healthier with our change to fresh foods and at the same time we are dong our bit for the environment.
Have you changed how you shop? Where you shop?
Do you cook fresh? Or are you ready meal mad?
Who do you think should be responsible for the excessive packaging on food?
Its been a few days, hope everything is well.
Yesterday I went to the beach, the beach is where I go to feel up, good, fresh, alive.
This time of year can be hard for me, whether its the change in seasons, longer darker nights or just life, I struggle with day to day everything. In fact because of this low three years ago in October is when this journey began for me.
One of the most important things for me now is not to fight it, we are meant to slow down on the run up to winter, take stock of our lives, breathe deep and let go of what does not serve us.
Sorry I make this sound easy but initially it was hard. We all put pressure on ourselves, our homes, our appearance, our families, our achievements' etc. etc. letting go can be difficult. So where can you let go? where is your happy place?
My friends call me Love and this is a personal journey