Finding the light…..

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It has been a challenging week I must confess, Hospital visits, a funeral of a much loved Aunt. Another one next week, At times like these it can be difficult to see the light.

And yet I can and I do.

I am grateful beyond measure, that My Mums hospital appointment went well, infact we spent a wonderful day together and went home Thanking God for the amazing Doctors and Nurses who are repairing her vision. My Aunts funeral, was of course sad, but Beautiful, as funerals do, they remind us that life is short and should be lived to our full potential.

I have however felt as though, at the moment there is a fragility around me, I have had a few ‘what’s next?’ moments, as though I am almost waiting for’the other shoe to drop’ I am busy, very busy, my head is like an attic full of Starlings, thoughts are flitting back and forth.Time out is needed, I am aware of this.

And then, this morning we awoke to a blanket of the whitest sparkling snow! a huge blank canvas,The analogy was not lost on me, a clean page can always be found,whilst I am not a fan of the white stuff, it has ensured that I spend the day at home. Home made soup is simmering away, Bench tops wiped down with lavender, and Rosemary is in the oil diffuser , candles are dotted around the kitchen and I am listening to Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald singing ‘On the Sunny side of the street’ My Dads favourite song. I have made a pot of tea for Lucy and I, we will drink from china cups and snuggle with the puppies. I will read my beloved Simple Abundance and drink in the magical words of Sarah Ban Breathnach. This is my bliss.

Sometimes, the best thing to do in life, is to quieten your soul by living slowly, be gentle with ourselves and let matters evolve, as they always do, This too shall pass.

‘No Winter ever lasts forever….No Spring ever skips its turn’ ~ Hal Borland.

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Sharing and caring….

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I love an inspirational quote or two and fortunately we can find them in abundance on social networking platforms now, as well as a few not so inspirational thoughts! The above meme appeared on my Facebook timeline this morning and really resonated with me, for I have noticed lately, the trend to make fun of people who share various things, for whatever reason, on their timeline, I feel a wee bit sad about that, you can after all just choose to scroll on if you aren’t interested!

So for the record here is my own personal take on the whole debacle.

To the Grandparents, sharing pictures of your beautiful little ones, I love that you are sharing your precious moments with me! Your love and pride shine out like a beacon, more please!

To the young people starting out in life who are embracing a healthy lifestyle, I applaud you! I scroll through Instagram daily looking at pics of your delicious food and am often inspired to make some.

To the young girls posting ‘selfies’ I think its great that you are embracing your beauty and are confident in showing it, I was forty before I was able to half like what I saw in the mirror!

To the pet lovers who post pictures of your fur babies, I love that you care for your pet so much, and to those who hate the term ‘fur babies’ lighten up, its not a crime surely.

To the folk posting pics of their Christmas decorations from November onward, its great that you feel so festive! I mean it takes so long to get the Bugger up I feel the finished effort deserves to be photographed!

So lets all be a bit more tolerant, social networking can be a lifeline to some people, you may be the only people someone can share snippets of their day with.

As my Dear Dad used to say ‘Its nice to be nice’

 

 

 

 

A very Vintage Christmas.

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It is my friends…. almost that time of year. Admittedly it seems to get thrust upon us even earlier each year, I hardly got my sparkly flip flops packed away this year, before the supermarkets were setting up their Christmas aisles! Fortunately for me, I am untouched by the abject overload of consumerism, I can sail past row upon row of color coordinated decorations, the endless barrage of festive chocolate greeting me wherever I look, I am totally unimpressed by the weirdness of such things as ‘Brussels sprout’ flavoured crisps. Its all a little bit mad…dont you think?

Being a ‘Vintage girl’ I have always favoured a traditional Christmas, I dont really see the need to spend a small fortune, or work yourself into a frenzy to make the day ‘perfect’ it will be perfect, if everyone relaxes, and just enjoys the day.

When my Girls were small, I can remember having sofas full of gifts… and a near empty bank account! But Oh for the look on their little faces when they came downstairs and saw that ‘HE’S BEEN!!!!!!’ Priceless. However, ask them six months later what they got and all you would get was a blank stare,They would remember, Grandad wearing a paper crown that was too small for his head, the silly jokes in the crackers, the delicious Christmas Dinner and the never ending game of Monopoly in the Evening. Lesson learned!(eventually)

My Girls are all grown up now, Christmas Eve cocoa and Biscuits are likely to be replaced by a glass of bubbly and nibbles, we will congregate in the kitchen, accompanied by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald belting out festive tunes, Vintage pinnies on and happily prepping the food for our special day,before settling down to watch a Christmas movie, fairy lights twinkling on a Tree that smells rather deliciously like a pine forest, no colour coordination here, but vintage baubles and toys, collected over the years, the gifts under the tree are fewer, but more meaningful.

Christmas day is quite a lazy affair, Only one Grandparent left now, My Mum is spoiled rotten for the day, as she should be. Christmas Dinner, as usual will be too much, we will retire groaning to the sitting room, paper crowns in place, Grandma may have a little nap and miss The Queens speech.

Later, we will sit in our PJs drinking wine and snuggling the dogs, I will as usual notice that the tinsel is hanging off one side of the tree, the ancient fairy on the top looks decidedly tipsy, infact….are the branches starting to droop? how soon can you take your tree down? The family will laugh at me and say ‘NOOOOOOO!!! leave it up a bit longer!’

This then, is Christmas……

That Fairy needs to get her act together!

 

The gentle rattle of tea cups….

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Often I awake at silly O clock, for no reason really, I’ve given this annoying habit a varying degree of thought, I am not stressed/anxious/hormonally challenged, whatever, yet every now and then, my internal alarm clock wakes me up, rather abruptly at around three AM.

I have indeed employed various tactics to get back to slumber-land, I have listened to numerous ‘relaxing downloads’ read, surely a hundred books,until finally I realized,that every download or guided meditation, no matter how perfectly assembled,could never provide the soundtrack that my own subconscious library already had on file.

The mind is such an incredible piece of equipment, almost like a computer, we have many files, some open, some sleeping, others closed and deleted, but with the touch of a button each file is accessible. For me, in those early hours, my mind sleepy and comfortably numb, it is the perfect time to open and revisit those files, this then includes revisiting the memories, the moments when life was, well simply perfect,although we may not have known this at the time I am not talking about major events here, no weddings, births or major love affairs, but moments, tiny little shards of magic, that no matter how seemingly small, trigger a feeling, a recognition, a familiarity, which when tapped into many years later, flood our very being with such nostalgia, thus becoming a healing balm and an almost unbearable lust to revisit.

I close my eyes and I hear the sound of the gentle rattle of tea cups, Sunday best china, cups and saucers, tinned salmon sandwiches, coconut cake,peaches,The Beatles singing ‘A hard days night’my Mother dancing , the sun bleaching through the Apple trees in the back garden, sewing machine humming on the dining table, home made dresses, spinning around on the perfectly manicured lawn and feeling dizzy, crimson coloured peonies , swinging on the gate looking for Grandma, Grandma! Love weeping from every pore in her body! learning to knit, her soothing patience second to none,her special Lavender oil on my ‘heat spots’ (what were they really?) laughter! arms wrapped around me, stories about Nuns,feeling safe, cocooned …….sleep.

Morning arrives, softly, gently,peacefully I awake, starting my day with gratitude, my own little family still sleeping, I tiptoe downstairs, Puppies to feed,Blinds are opened, Almost on autopilot I turn the Kettle on and reach for the Tea pot cheerily adorned with an abundance of roses, not for me the fashionable slogan adorned mugs, I start my day as always……..

with the gentle rattle of Tea cups.

 

Hibernation…..

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As October approaches, I find myself on familiar turf, wanting to do everything and nothing all at once, A hundred plans dance in my dizzy head, yet a certain lethargy envelopes me daily. I make lists of epic proportions and methodically tick off completed tasks, the days are going by quickly, Evenings are relentless, I long for bedtime, I sleep like a dead person.

I need to hibernate.

In Simple Abundance  My beloved Sarah Ban Breathnach, as usual is uncanny in her accuracy of this time of year, She starts the chapter with a quote from Edna St Vincent Millay.

My Candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night…..

She goes on to address the subject at hand, namely; Burnout.

Its burnout when you go to bed exhausted every night and wake up tired every Morning….when no amount of sleep refreshes you, month after weary month’

Oh Sarah, how right you are! ( For those of you who dont know, this Book is my Bible!)

As a Therapist I am all to familiar with the theme of burnout, amongst Women and Men! we just keep on pushing and pushing ourselves, I give great advice on self care, indeed I have wrote quite passionately about the subject, have dished out many handouts and tips on looking after number one. However, do any of us actually do it and maintain it?

The bottom line is this; only we can do it, by saying No sometimes, by catching up on sleep, not missing meals, it is really the basics we need to attend to first, ditch the guilt, you do not have to attend the office night out if it feels like a chore, you do not have to watch the X Factor with the family on a Saturday night if you would rather be in bed with a good book.Leave the dishes for tomorrow, Is it really that imperative that every area of our lives is fit for Instagram?

No of course not.

The last paragraph in the October first Chapter of Simple Abundance says it all

When you are suffering from burnout, you are the only person on earth who can help, because you are the only one who can make the lifestyle changes that need to be made; to call a halt, to take a slower path, to make a detour. When you have no strength left, you have no choice left but to rely on the strength of a saner power to restore you to wholeness. In the pursuit of our Souls, Spirit takes no prisoners.’

Fat bottomed girls…….

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It is fair to comment that I have spent much of my life endeavoring to have a smaller bottom, Many, many years spent in ghastly aerobic classes with Women of a similar mindset, all of us lamenting the unfortunate size of our posterior. An absolute lifetime of eating lettuce in order to avoid any weight gain at all in the aforementioned area, not too mention slathering all kinds of bum firming lotions on my (if I say so myself) pert little cheeks. And here I am, at the age I am, with an OK bottom, it is average, provides sufficient padding to sit on and all is right in my world.

Or is it?

It appears that these days (God how old do I sound?) not only is big better, but the height of fashion, I am absolutely fascinated/horrified by this latest trend! we are not merely celebrating the curvy female, but young women are actually undergoing surgery to have BUTT IMPLANTS!!!!

WHAT!!!!! Are you mad!!! Women are paying vast amounts of money to look like a cartoon character! It looks ridiculous! what with the humongous Boobies, trout pout and gigantic bottoms, nobody looks real! Yep! I am old fashioned, but I look at these young women and they all look the same! whatever happened to originality? what happens when you want the implants out? you are going to have to carry your Arse around in a shopping trolley!

On a serious note, it concerns me that we have a generation of young people who think that happiness can be found via the surgeons knife, that in order to be acceptable in society, they have to have an instagram ready body, I am all for self improvement, I have always been a tad vain, but yes, healthy eating, buying the next magical anti ageing product and doing a little exercise is fairly acceptable in my book, but lets all celebrate our different bodies, we are all unique, real beauty is not silicone based, it is a blinding smile, the glint in the eyes, the whisper of kindness and a hint of the light within.

Embrace your loveliness girls, whatever the size of your Bottom!

I’m just a girl who can’t say no.

worth a re-read methinks!

Heart & Soul

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Oh Lordy, we are a funny breed at times!

Lately I have found a common theme amongst clients is the almost feverish need to push ourselves to the point of burnout,and why? because of a very outdated way of behaviour, for some reason many of us at times almost revert to 1950s housewife mode in an endeavour to keep everybody happy. Everybody but ourselves. It has took me almost a lifetime to get a grip and start saying no. I am by nature a people pleaser, anything for an easy life, but at what cost? The cost dear reader , can be a whole myriad of health issues, from complete exhaustion , migraines and general malaise to more serious issues such as fibromyalgia and ME.

I no longer agree to anything that I don’t want to do, whether it is attending a function that doesn’t really interest me, or joining…

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Blackbird.

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Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly, All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise……..

Some years ago whilst recovering from a rather nasty period of ill health (nothing madly serious but enough to send me a wee bit bonkers) I suffered from the kind of malaise that almost sucked the life out of me, every morning I would do my usual routine of going into my beloved garden and wandering, round and around, back and forward, not finding joy in the pert buds of my English roses, nor basking in the scent of Summer flowering Geraniums, not even feeling my usual bliss as the swaying purple Lavender tickled my legs. I was lost.

Summertime has always been my very favourite Season, the garden comes alive, I love the chaos of everything fighting for sunlight in order to bloom to their full potential, yet I remained untouched.

At the bottom of our garden stands a beautiful Magnolia tree. That Morning standing before the almost luminous pink petals, soft and still, my thoughts were interrupted by a sound. Movement. My Heart began to quicken, the garden was silent and still, but suddenly I was aware of being watched, in the center of the Magnolia tree, sat a small fluffy bird, eyes like saucers, his chest rising and falling with each nervous breath. A fledgling, a baby Blackbird.

I fell instantly in Love, this little Bird seemingly couldn’t fly,( you and me both Birdy) what should I do?, I retreated back to the house softly and watched from a distance, very soon Mama and Papa Blackbird appeared bringing food, I watched, almost afraid to move as they fussed over Birdy, watching him eat before leaving.

Over the following days, I visited him often, aware always of the watchful eye of his parents, slowly he appeared to be making his way out of the Magnolia Tree into various other shrubs, he was just so beautiful. I looked forward eagerly every Morning to see my little guest, tiptoeing out to leave tidbits in order for his parents to find food easily. As the days went on, Birdy became stronger,as did I, though often panic set in when I couldn’t see him because he had ventured farther afield!

Then one sunny Vanilla coloured Summer Morning as I stepped barefoot into my garden, I knew, I just Knew, Birdy was nowhere to be seen, he had found his wings and flew off into the big wide world. I at once felt sad that he had gone, yet happy for his flight to freedom.

Nature is the greatest Teacher I find, it reminds us that life goes on and at times when we feel stuck, with a little gentle encouragement from our loved ones and the helping hand of a stranger, we can all learn to grow and fly.

Some weeks later, I was looking out of the window, sitting on the fence very close to the house, was a rather handsome young Blackbird, head tilted and looking in! could it be? I chose to think so.


	

Overwhelmed or Underwhelmed?

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A Woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, will often ache with the sadness of an Underwhelmed soul’~ Lysa TerKeurst.

I am tired. I tell everyone, I am tired.

I am feeling overwhelmed, I have been here before, the people pleaser in me is trying to keep all the plates spinning, The clutter in my house is due to me offering to help a friend, I feel stifled by it. I am going to a Wedding at the Weekend which I am not even a teeny bit prepared for, what the Hell am I going to wear? I am already stressed out at the thought of leaving the puppies overnight. The car is misbehaving, I need to book it into the garage, Life is super busy but I am getting nowhere fast, like a hamster on a wheel. I appreciate in the grand scale of things, life aint that bad! I get the whole gratitude thing believe me, I do count my blessings every day, and yet I am fraying at the edges.

I watched the very Beautiful Royal Wedding on Saturday, who could not be touched by this wonderful union between our very own Prince Harry and the beautiful Doe eyed Meghan? I felt very emotional, yet a part of me (the bitchy part clearly) thought ‘ That lucky Bitch will never ever have to do laundry again.’ Oh Dear. Laundry and I have a very tense relationship, The ironing basket is teetering almost at falling point, I totally resonate with Erma Bombeck and her  famous quote .

My second favorite household chore is ironing, The first being, hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint’

When will it get done? do I even care?

So…..Rant over, what should I do? I am not alone, I know this, we live in a society whereby we expect too much of ourselves and allow others to expect too much from us. As a Therapist I am constantly preaching about self care, Time to look a bit closer to home and take some of my own advice.

The answer is really very simple.Firstly, Say No. Learn how to say No and mean it, Say No to feeling guilty about the damn housework, going to bed early with a book, cancelling a night out to stay home and watch netflix! drop the guilt!

Secondly, make a list, prioritize your week, what is absolutely essential and what can you totally ditch? (Ironing obviously)

Lastly, maybe, just maybe we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed because we are rather underwhelmed with life ( See the opening quote above!) What do you love to do, but don’t actually have the time for these days? yesterday I baked, in my silly little kitchen with only Nina Simone for company, I baked a coconut cake and scones, made tiny little sandwiches on vintage plates, and we all had a rather lovely afternoon Tea! I haven’t done that for so long and it was perfect. I love to write, yet I am not finding the time, Make the time Woman!

There are Twenty four hours in a day, according to my ‘fitbit’ I spend on average seven hours sleeping ( Another thing I have become a slave to! it reminds you when you need to get up and walk, no wonder I am shattered!) that leaves me approximately seventeen hours a day. Surely I can organise them wisely?

Or I could tackle the ironing.