Little old lady days.

Little old lady days.

I will let you into a secret, many years ago I stumbled onto a wonderful remedy for self care.For those days when the world seems to behaving like a scary out of control fairground ride, or when my hormones have made me feel like chucking my ovaries under oncoming traffic, or perhaps when it is just one of those days.

The secret my friends is, regardless of age, to have a ‘ little old lady day’

A little old lady day for me, consists of doing very little, I must add at this point, my secret remedy does not have to last the whole day, an evening will suffice, not many of us have the luxury of doing nothing all day, but I digress. So let us assume you have followed my advice so far and done very little, another necessity is that you do not watch the news or participate in any social media,the family have had beans for tea and nobody died, now you need to run yourself a calming bath, add a cup of Epsom salts, 8 drops of lavender oil and 8 drops of mandarin oil, whilst the aforementioned bath is running, you will lay your clean nightie/pjs out and prepare your bed accordingly. You may read or watch tv if you have one in your bedroom( I have so shoot me) You will need to prepare a tea tray for after your bath.

However, the caveat is, and here come the little old ladies, you must only watch comforting nostalgic type of tv programmes, often but not always involving little old ladies, we are looking for escapism here, comfort, tea and cakes, a cosy murder mystery (cosy and murder in one sentence, is that even possible?) my recommendations are

Last Tango in Halifax ( my favourite, 5 seasons)

Midsummer murders

Ladies of letters( so funny, as was the original radio show)

Miss Marple ( classic)

If you prefer to read, then it is light fiction only, no non fiction allowed, we are not on a fact finding mission, escapism remember.

Some of my favourites are;

The Agatha Raisin mysteries by MC Beaton

84 Charing Cross road

The darling buds of May

Cold comfort farm

So go and make a steaming pot of tea, a teapot is essential as you are planning on not moving other than to pour yourself a couple of refills, add a little plate of biscuits to your tray , maybe some delicious shortbread fingers, sod the diet.

Take thee up to the boudoir, tea tray in hands, plump up your pillows and settle down to a few hours in the company of a familiar character, an environment so far removed from real life, that under normal circumstances we would be laughing at it.

I kid you not, little old ladies are the way forward.

20/20 vision

20/20 vision

As years go I think it is safe to say that 2020 has not been our best! we didn’t see that one coming did we? Whilst I would like to say I have sailed through it, reclining, book in hand, lounging on a hammock, of course I have not, it has been a worrying and anxious time for all of us, if you have been affected by Covid19, my heart goes out to you. However, as with most challenging times ( massive understatement I know) we somehow seem to dig really deep and not only learn some important lessons, but actually gain something in the process.

So what have I learned during ‘Lockdown’

It is perfectly normal to have the odd wobble, however it is neither healthy or helpful to stay there, distraction has been my saviour, I love to read, but I have also binge watched on Netflix, I have gone for the odd walk, but am not putting the pressure on myself to go out if I don’t feel like it, sometimes just going into my own back garden is enough. I have not started a new exercise regime or taken up a new hobby, but hey if you have that is brilliant! whatever works for you. ( horrendous back problem, just to add to the fun and games)

I endeavor to see as little news as possible, for the moment! initially I watched every update and it just terrified me! there are those who will of course say I am burying my head in the sand. Yes, I am, by limiting myself to this information, I am getting through the days with far less anxiety, same goes for all the conspiracy theories on social media, bloody terrifying stuff.

I really don’t need that much crap! seriously, why do I buy so much? who needs that many pairs of shoes? I have been decluttering my home and it feels so good!

I have devised a workable budget, I am truly shocked and disgraced at how much unnecessary spending I do, as a result we have ended up saving money, I have actually used this time at home to do the research and get the better deals out there for internet providers, insurance, energy suppliers. Do it! honestly it is so worth it.

I love cooking anyway, but more time has enabled me to try more delicious recipes, using fresh local produce wherever possible, spending time in the kitchen with my Daughter, cooking an amazing pasta dish is more than special.

I have been sleeping, Oh Lord does my mind and body need it! if I feel exhausted during the day, I take myself upstairs and lie down, as I mentioned before I am in pain with a back problem and sometimes I feel my body is screaming at me to drop the load and look after myself, it is the singular piece of advice that I try to impress on clients ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ I am finally taking my own advice.

I am making my living space as comfortable as possible, we are here almost 24/7, this is our haven, our ‘bubble’ it is not super stylish, but it is home, the cushions are plumped, there are throws in a basket for curling up on the sofa, Lavender and geranium oils diffused and flowers from the garden are crammed into redundant jam jars.

And finally, it sounds a bit of a cliche, but I have learned to be present in the moment, if 2020 has shown us anything, it is surely that we really do not know what is around the corner, tomorrow is not promised to any of us, make today count, be thankful for what we have and be kind, always. There is so much good out there, be happy, be well, be safe, this too shall pass.

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What Reiki is and what Reiki is not.

What Reiki is and what Reiki is not.

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Well Hello!

It has been a while, but here I am in these strangest of times, prompted by a whole load of mind boggling stuff on facebook to put a few facts out about my therapy work of choice. As many of you know, I teach and practice Reiki. What is Reiki? I am asked frequently, put broadly, it is a relaxing therapy which balances our energy fields and encourages our mind, body and spirit to work together for optimum health benefits.

Any one who knows me will tell you I am the least ‘new agey’ type of person, I am just a woman who heals, I am a vintage girl, you are just as likely to find me browsing a flea market, as buying crystals and incense( although I do love both) my point is, that we are often stereotyped, we are seen as somewhat ‘woo woo’ when infact, we just want our work to help people.I get really irritated by the absolute charlatans out there who claim all kinds of nonesense, With that in mind let me tell you whats what.

What Reiki is.

Reiki is a spiritual practice but not a religion, no belief system is necessary.

It was developed in Japan in the early 1900s by Mikao Usui.

Rei means spiritual wisdom ki means life force energy, so basically spiritual energy.

Reiki is carried out by a certified practitioner who has been attuned by a Reiki Master Teacher, as per the Reiki federation guidelines.

It is a hands on therapy, the recipient is fully clothed.

It is completely harmless.

It is relaxing and can alleviate many physical and emotional problems.

It can and does leave the recipient feeling energized and relaxed simultaneously.

What Reiki is not.

Reiki is not massage, the practitioner will place their hands on you gently. Anything resembling massage is a big no no.

It is not a form of mediumship, if you want a message off your dear departed, seek out a reputable medium, despite the trend to give clients messages during Reiki, its usually absolute bollocks and some concoction the practitioner has thought up to impress you.

It is not a replacement for medical care, we are not medically trained, Reiki should be used alongside,not instead of medical care.

It is not a miracle cure, it works with your own body to heal itself.

It does not require you to believe in anything other than having a nice relaxing time whilst on the practitioners bed.

You do not need to be a member of the ‘love and light’ brigade, sport a unicorn tattoo or participate in any of that other fairyland shit.

Got it? Good. Nothing woo woo about it at all is there?

 

Me,my Mammy and the corner shop

Me,my Mammy and the corner shop

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I may have mentioned this before, forgive me if I have, but when I was a child my Mother worked part time in the corner shop, it was owned by a lovely couple called Mr and Mrs Swan who lived in rather swanky living quarters above the shop. During School holidays I was allowed to go to work with my Mother, I would sit quietly on a stool behind the sweet counter (torture for a child if you ask me!) but Oh! it was a lovely shop, selling practically everything from fresh hams and cheeses, daily newspapers, and of course chocolate and sweets. Sometimes I was allowed to serve children who came in for a 10p mix up! this involved putting ten sweeties of the childs choice in a paper bag, chewing gum in the shape of a small golf ball, white chocolate mice, flying saucers, fruit salad chews, then there were the jars of sweets behind the counter filled with pear drops, floral gums, strawberry bon bons and chocolate eclairs and rosy apples.

At eleven o clock prompt we were summoned upstairs to the ‘lounge’ where Mrs Swan had left a tray with milky coffee and a plate of biscuits,(Orange Kiora for me)

The lounge. Oh my life where do I start, of course this was the 70s, so think along the lines of Abigail’s party.In the corner of the room was a padded bar with a Spanish dancer doll on top, brought back from one of their many jaunts to Majorca, all seeming very exotic to a child who had never travelled any farther than Berwick, we would sit tentatively on the leather sofa with a sheepskin rug draped over the back, my Mothers coffee would be served in a little glass pyrex cup in a plastic holder, bright orange as I recall, I was in total awe of this very stylish interior. I would always, without fail go to the toilet just to swoon over the bathroom. Matching pink double sinks with gold taps in the shape of fish. Oh my giddy Aunt!

The swans teenage Daughter Barbara, had wardrobes with Louvre doors and shag pile carpet. Unreal. I was so impressed. Eventually my parents relented and bought me a shag pile carpet for my bedroom, brown, happiest day of my life.

I have happy memories of the Swans, they were very kind and although they passed away some time ago, I do think of them often. The corner shop is now sadly a tattoo parlour, I dont know who lives above it, if anybody, the wonderful mad retro world of the Swans is just a happy memory for me now.

I would still kill for a padded bar.

 

Best butter and tinned salmon….

Best butter and tinned salmon….

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I must be getting old, not only because the mirror tells me so, but because I seem to spend more time wallowing in nostalgia, some days the world is a little bit ugly, the news seems to be all doom and gloom and I fear I may becoming that woman who starts a conversation with ‘when I was a girl…..’

I spend a lot of time with my Mum, who at ninety years young, loves to revisit the past, I love looking through old photographs and hearing the stories connected to them, we always end up having a bit of a laugh. Recently, we were chatting about ‘having friends over for tea’ so for your perusal and for my own personal pleasure, allow me to delve into my vast bank of nostalgia……

When I was a girl…. my parents had friends called Elsie and Albert, they had known each other forever and felt more like family, they lived in an area called Whickham, which is on the other side of the river Tyne, as neither my parents or their friends had cars, it would be two bus rides to visit. Sometimes they would visit us, other times we would visit them, I loved going to see Auntie Elsie and Uncle Albie, partly because she made the best coconut cake in the world and also because she let me play with her button box! So in both cases, whether we went to them or they came to us, afternoon tea was the big event, out came the china cups and saucers, My Mum would put a newly ironed tablecloth on the kitchen table, she would have baked the previous day, scones, apple pie, Victoria sandwich cake, or sometimes the chocolate cake made from the bero book,maids of honour, sandwiches and sausage rolls, the table would be groaning with food!

You would think after all that hard work in the kitchen, the piece de resistance may have been the wonderful cake towering over the table on a pressed glass cake stand, but no, it was the little sandwiches cut into triangles that she would proudly hand around, made with ‘best butter’ and filled with tinned red salmon mixed with vinegar.I kid you not. Awful. But to people who had experienced post war rationing, things like real butter and tinned salmon were a bit of a luxury, the conversation always went ‘lovely bit of salmon that’ despite it having been doused in vinegar and mashed within an inch of its life! I’m not a fish person mind you so I am clearly not selling it very well, that aside, these times were so special, we were always so happy to see Elsie and Albie, they were the funniest people ever and visits were always filled with laughter and so much love.

Elsie and Albie are no longer with us sadly, but I can still taste that amazing coconut cake and every Christmas I make up a little food hamper for my Mum, always ensuring I include a slab of best butter and of course some tinned salmon.

Nice bit of salmon that.