23/04/2014

a very serious post


I was in the middle of writing a very serious post, full of insight, wisdom and clarity of thought and then this happened and major cuteness overload filled my head and I could no longer think of anything other than how squishy these little feet look and how many times I could look at them without scaring the girl with my slightly manic look of adoration and spontaneous squealing!

14/04/2014

pink moon gone wild


Tonight's full moon is known as the pink moon.  How about that then? The first full moon of spring is pink and lovely, quite right too, we love pink in this house.

This pink moon is properly special though because tonight it goes wild with a full lunar eclipse which will turn the pink moon into the red moon and can you imagine the crazy that is going to manifest with that kind of phenomenon going on right above our heads?

Unfortunately we won't be able to see the lunar eclipse in the UK as it will be daylight here by the time it happens but you can watch it live here or on NASA's website. Meanwhile everyone in North and South America will get to see it for real in all its beautiful red glory.

There are those that say that the lunar eclipse is a harbinger of doom, especially because it is the first in a series of four, which is quite unusual and happens rarely. I reckon that some people just love the doom talk though and I won't have any of it, I think all this magical stuff is just our universe being awesome.

I try to be calm and happy on full moon day because it has a tendency to exaggerate any emotions I'm feeling and if I'm in a temper then I know for certain that I'll be huffing and spluttering and regretting saying something stupid by the morning. The full moon is for feeling balanced, abundant and peaceful.  It's also for reaping the rewards of your new moon intentions so sit back, relax and smile whilst watching your wonderful world unfold. Either that or go all out bat-shit crazy and finish your day off with all the other moon-crazies in A&E or, even better, a police cell.

Enjoy.

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10/04/2014

love as many things as possible



I am a perpetual lover of things.  I love so many things that sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed and unsure about what lovely thing to do next.

Pretty much all of my blog posts start with the words 'I love it' and I have on occasion considered myself to be somewhat fickle in my affections.  Fickle being a rather delicate word to describe a potential shallowness of character; flitting from one shiny thing to the next like a happy magpie is just my thing though and I'm quite pleased about that really.

I don't see loving as many things as possible as a bad thing, in fact I think it's rather good. Having a wide range of things you find lovely gives you a greater appreciation of the world around you and appreciation of anything is a sure-fire route to happiness.  Lena Dunham said in a recent interview that her parents "both have really healthy attitudes about their own bodies but also about the range of things that can be beautiful" and consequently the incredible Dunham feels able to do anything and feel wonderful because she knows that loveliness isn't constrained by narrow definitions especially not the Hollywood kind. I love that her parents did that for her.

Don't get me wrong, I look on with admiration at people who specialise in a particular 'thing', people who have a passion for a style, era, colour or trend. People whose houses, blogs, wardrobes and instagram are colour coordinated in perfect shades of white, cream and grey.  So classy, so serene, so perfect, so freaking unattainable for the scatterbrained likes of me.  I have to be surrounded by colour and life, all sorts of colour, all sorts of life but mainly a grubby toddler, a massive hairy dog and a little bit of mess. Yes, you see I have to feel like I'm living in a living space, not a shop window display, I have to be surrounded by lovely things to see and do.

Loving as many things as possible also means you can be easily charmed, easily uplifted and most definitely easily pleased.  This is a bonus when you have said grubby toddler to entertain on a daily basis because you find that she (and me) can be captivated by a plastic container full of pasta shells, of a jar of pretty pebbles.  Yep, no expensive jingly jangly toys in our house just dried pasta and pebbles from the beach. Rock on.

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31/03/2014

national stationery week




This week is National Stationery Week. Yahoo!!!

Of course I need no excuse to surround myself with pretty stationery but just in case you do then this week is the week to jump on board, get your pencil cases out and get writing.

My top tips for cultivating a healthy relationship with your stationery cupboards drawer.

1. Find your favourite kind of pen and buy lots. My favourite pens are always fine point black ballpoints, I think they make my handwriting look neat.  I'm partial to the paperchase ones and even more partial to the good old orange bic biros!

2. Have lots of notebooks and journals.  Keep stuff in them or just stash them in a box under the bed for easy access to pretty notebook joy.  Note to would-be journal hoarders, do NOT let your husband look in the box. Ever!



3. Send letters and postcards to your friends.  Decorate your envelopes, use stickers, make people smile, especially the postman.

4. Keep a journal, write stuff down, draw something, have a doodle, make a list and watch your dreams come true.

5. Do not be afraid of using every colour in the book to make your point, just buy one of these pen sets and have some fun.

6. Never underestimate the power of the post-it note!




7. Find brands you love and enjoy them.  I'm a bit partial to Korean and Japanese stationery, you can get some lovely bits and bobs from here and here.

8. Do not be dissing the filofax.  Still fabulous, still relevant and with hoards of fans worldwide this is one brand that is not going out of fashion.  I love my filofax.

9. Love your stationery, get it out and flaunt it at every opportunity. Be a stationery snob and refuse to use tatty old notebooks or anything boring, bland and functional.  Say no to functionality.

10. Visit the National Stationery Week website and get inspired and do learn how to spell the damn word, my pet hate is people who love stationary!

In homage to my own stationery addiction I will be posting a suitably delicious stationery photo on instagram every day this week, you can follow all the action here and please note that this is not a sponsored post, although in the name of research I did feel it necessary to visit a number of well known stationery outlets and lust over their items of papery, pencily loveliness.

26/03/2014

the incredible woman


I am vexed.

Vexed because yesterday I was looking at glossy women's magazines in a waiting room and I realised, not for the first time, that they all pretty much have the same effect of making you feel miserable about yourself. Insidious little words and phrases put together like perfect weapons of mass esteem destruction.  Yesterday I felt miserable, not because I felt insecure but because I saw this one cover and my immediate thought was that it must have been written by an actual stupid person and if that actual stupid person was a woman (I did not check but I presume it was), then she should be ashamed of herself.

It's headline was 'Incredible Women' followed by a list entirely made up of beautiful, thin, models, actresses and fashion designers, all of whom seemed to be incredible through the seemingly effortless task of being beautiful and/or thin. I don't know about you but I don't think that there is anything incredible about a woman who looks pretty. Incredible to me is someone who has achieved something against the odds, cared for someone, fought a something bigger than themselves, figured something difficult out, taught important lessons, lost someone and carried on. Incredible is a big word to be bandied about in the name of looking pretty.

I do not find this kind of shit acceptable.  I have a daughter. I want her to think an incredible woman is one who gets up every day and loves her life, does her best, works hard to learn about the world, is interested in others, want to achieve her dreams even if it means fitting them in around a full-time job and/or motherhood.  I want her to think that all women are beautiful not just those who fit the warped industry-defined norm of beauty, I want her to look deeper than a person's skin to know the nature of their soul. I want her to laugh in the face of photo-shopped images, botoxed skin, bouffant hair and fake boobs.  I want her to feel like all she needs to do to have a beach body is have a body and go to the beach.

I have thus decided in the face of this media buffoonery that I am going to tell Elizabeth from an early age that magazines aimed at women are designed to make you hate yourself enough to buy all the crap they flog.  I'm going to tell her not to believe a word she reads until she finds out who wrote those words and who paid them to do it.  I'm going to start a list of my own.  A list of incredible and inspirational women for her to read about, learn about and love.  Yeah, some of them might be thin and all of them will be beautiful but these women will be inspirational for reasons other than how they look and that is the story I want to tell.

source

19/03/2014

a good way to discover what your values are

I'm working on a project which requires me to know what my values are.

My values? Blimey. When prompted out of the blue to write down what they might be I froze.  I know I believe in honesty, integrity, hard work and happiness but they seemed rather flimsy building blocks for a long term project.  So I looked for tips and found this book which has an exercise to help determine what your values might be. And easy too, just list the twenty people you most admire (real or fictional) and why.

It might seem a bit abstract as a way to find out what your values are, in fact I skipped over the section at first but I revisited it and did the exercise last night with some surprising results. I'm going to share my list with you, they're not in any particular order, just as I thought of them.

1. My husband - for (nearly) always being calm and happy.
2. My Elizabeth - for overcoming a very difficult start in life to become a bright and lively chicken.
3. Whoopi Goldberg - for overcoming adversity and believing in herself and her dreams of stardom.
4. Rebecca Adlington - for all those hours training in a pool in order to fulfil her gold medal dreams.
5. Gill Edwards - for writing excellent books about magical living and loving life.
6. My cousin Katrina - for working so hard, achieving so much and remaining unruffled.
7. Oprah Winfrey - for bringing books to a wider audience and promoting self-improvement and self-love.
8. Queen Elizabeth I - for kicking ass in a male dominated world and not doing what men told her to do.
9. Lionel Shriver - for writing excellent books on controversial subjects.
10. Daphne du Maurier - for writing and living the life she wanted to live, for not conforming.
11. Oscar Wilde - for writing and living the life he wanted to live, for not conforming.
12. Lena Dunham - for being fearless and original.
13. Susannah Conway - for creating a successful business helping people in an authentic way.
14. Joan Rivers - for cracking the rudest jokes about the world's fattest egos and getting away with it.
15. Gandhi - for promoting civil rights and non-violent action.
16. Kathryn Bigelow - for kicking ass in the male dominated world of Hollywood.
17. Mary Beard - for loving history, being hugely intelligent and good role model for our daughters.
18. Saga Noren (character from The Bridge) - for not conforming to social niceties and for saying what she thinks.
19. Jesus - for teaching love and trying to help mankind.
20. Cleopatra - for kicking ass in a male dominated world.

Firstly I didn't realise that I was such a raging feminist! Secondly, hardly any men! My husband is in good company with Oscar, Gandhi and Jesus isn't he? And yes I did wiki Jesus, it was the least religiously affiliated information on him I could find, I'm not religious but the man was a dude!

Regardless of my feminist, man-hating tendencies - ahem - I'm so happy with the results, seeing all the themes leap out of the page, literally leap out, nothing subtle about me, gives me a deeper understanding of what my values really are.

My values

We can all overcome adversity of any sort to succeed in the pursuit of our dreams.
As women we should fight against culturally established standards of 'womanly' behaviour.
Be your authentic self, no pretending or trying to fit it.
Teach yourself and others, in whatever way feels right to you, about living well, being happy and connecting with your soul.
Work hard, be fearless, be original and stay calm.

I love them, I own them, they are mine, uniquely mine plus they are now going to come in incredibly handy for planning, prepping and getting excited about the future.