I was born…

I joined in a twitter jape a few weeks ago. The idea was to type ‘I was born’ and then allow predictive text to finish the sentence.

I don’t normally get caught up in such things but the ensuing comments from twittersphere were funny, somber, cheeky, nonsensical and at times downright scary! It was a fascinating insight and I was hooked! From JK Rowling to little ol’ me, everyone was having a go…

This was my sentence:

I was born in the middle of the night with the army of the sunshine and the lollipops officer in the garden.

I wonder what is your sentence?

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Never underestimate the power of a haircut…

coco

I’ve always been one to mess about with my hair. I’ve had tragic 80s perms (not just in the 80s either, much to my eternal shame), I’ve chopped it short, highlighted it with reds and golds, had fringes of all sorts – long, on the side, short and wispy. My friend’s dad was training as a hairdresser when I was around 14-16yrs old and essentially I was his live mannequin for all practising and testing of skills…to be fair I loved it. Nothing like leaving home with shoulder length straight brown hair only to return with it shaved up the back and streaked purple! My mother became quite used to not recognising me!

Coco Chanel reportedly once said “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”…I don’t think I ever made the changes in a conscious desire to change my life although my mum once said to me she knows when I’m worried, restless or upset as I get my hair cut…hmmmm?? The jury’s still out on this but I have learnt not to question a mother’s intuition – especially since I became one – and of course Coco knew her stuff so I reckon she and my mum might be onto something…

What I do know for sure is that my decisions haven’t always been for the best… I’ve had many occasions when I’ve left the hairdressers wishing I had a paper bag to put over my head, rushed home to wash my hair in the hopes that might resolve the horrendous mess on my head (in the history of bad haircuts this has never worked) and feeling like I want to hibernate for a year. However, other times I’ve left the hairdressers thrilled, walking on air and feeling like a whole new and better person. It’s during these times that I’ve felt I could take on the world and that I might even succeed!

These past three years I have been going through a blonde period. I started with highlights and then gradually got blonder and blonder…this year I went full on peroxide blonde AND short! It was a bit of a shock for everyone – including me! I spent the first few weeks forgetting and freaking out when I walked past a mirror!! All joking aside though, it’s been a great experience. I’ve always wanted to be full on white blonde and never had the courage despite all the other crazy things I’ve put my hair through (I still blush at the memory of those perms). Then one day I booked in with my fabulous hairdresser April and said “please do it now before I change my mind”…and she did!

I have experienced a kind of freedom in being, on the surface, so very different to the usual me and it’s been great to show another side, the more quirky side some might say, of my personality… I’ve loved being blond for sure and I admit that I’ve also been able to use that as a bit of a shield to the world in what has been at times a difficult year. ‘Blonde Carrie’ has had a great deal of fun this year, stepping out of comfort zones and taking leaps of faith into the unknown…it’s been an adventure!

Now it is Autumn, nearly Winter and the time has come for a change again. April has worked her magic again and I have gone mahogany. I watched as the transformation took place…from blond – to red – to mahogany…and found myself looking altogether different once more.

hair

I don’t have a desire to change my life but I know that I feel different again already and that’s always fun!

So then, okay…new hair colour, new haircut…let’s do this!

When I’m tired it’s the little things that get me through…

I woke up a little tired

a little weepy and confused

It’s been a long ol’ week and

sleep is rare and fleeting

I sat and pondered how to lift

my spirits a little higher

To shine a light through the day

and keep my heart happy

Pink socks…

Pink socks beneath my boots

Where only I know that they be

Pink socks to keep my toes

warm and snuggly as they can be

Pink socks…

Pink socks beneath my boots

Where only I know that they be

Pink socks so I may smile

and chuckle through the day

I love it when a plan comes together…

I bet you knew that quote…

I bet you know who says it and can even picture the scene…

Yep! It’s good ol’ Hannibal Smith of The A Team, smoking his cigar and smiling after another victory against the ‘bad guys’!

This weekend I found a re-run of this TV series and thought to myself ‘ah I’ve a few minutes go while away I’ll watch an episode’…yep, you guessed it…I’m totally hooked again!

I love it! Lots of “crash, bang, wallops”, car chases, shoot outs and explosions but there’s no gore, no one gets killed and the good guys always win!

Yes it’s cheesy, yes it’s simplistic, yes it’s not always the best acted and oh boy it’s dated! BUT I love it’s innocence, it’s glee at poking fun at itself and most of all I love it’s pure joy at celebrating the love that we call friendship.

The basis of The A-Team is the absolute rock solid friendship formed between four very different characters but for whom honour, loyalty and trust are fundamental truths at their core. A most simple and obvious example is the way Howling Mad Murdock (I mean come on…who isn’t gonna like a show with a main character called that??!!) drives B.A. Baracus crazy – irritates the pants off him most of the time, they’re always at loggerheads; but their friendship is akin to that of a sibling relationship where actually when push comes to shove they’d lay down themselves for each other without hesitation.

The heroes have their flaws as all people do: Smith is all too often smug, Face can be a bit smarmy, B.A. is cantankerous and Murdock…ahh Murdock is looney tunes! But it’s these imperfections which make us identify with and warm to the A Team all just that little bit more, it makes them more real.

There’s no attempt to place hidden meanings in their interactions, the only misdirection is sometimes to keep us guessing about what action will come next, it’s never to make us worry about their friendship; there’s no hidden agenda in the writing, at least not one that I can see (although I’ve been known to be a bit naively oblivious to undertones in movies and shows in the past according to others, so forgive me if I missed something!) To me, its all about the underdogs winning with the help of wronged heroes who fight for the good whilst cracking jokes, having fun and in spite of everything remaining positive – in other words it’s fun!

The ultimate reason for loving this show though has got to be that opening monologue and the theme tune…genius!!

This takes me back to my childhood and the days of innocent fun…I hope maybe it will bring you small cheer too – enjoy xx

https://youtu.be/_MVonyVSQoM

When Daddy Fell Into The Pond…

Undoubtedly one of my favourite books as a child was the Ladybird book of Bedtime Rhymes…full of fun little dittys which made me chuckle, wonder and above all else happy.

My favourite was ‘When Daddy Fell Into The Pond” by Alfred Noyes

I defy anyone to read this or have it read to them and not break out into at least a small smile…

For me it gives delight in several ways. Firstly, it depicts so accurately those wintry weekend days when as a child I would be all like ‘there’s NOTHING to do…I’m BORED!!’ (Despite having a mountain of toys and a zillion books which of course at that particular time were just not enough for a 7yr old!) It brings a certain nostalgia as I remember that feeling of ‘oh would something exciting please happen’ and then my parents doing something to break the monotony – never quite as dramatic as falling in a pond but usually more along the lines of saying let’s play a board game, let’s go for a walk & hunt for conkers, or my mum saying let’s bake a cake – yes she did let me lick the bowl out! Happy days…

This brings me to the second reason why I like this poem – It doesn’t say that ‘Daddy’ fell in the pond deliberately and as a child this thought would never have occurred to me but reading it now as an adult I do think it’s certainly something which could be inferred…as parents we do all do daft stuff to keep our children happy…slapstick humour works wonders with kids, I’ve lost count of the number of times I pretended to befall some crazy harmless misfortune for my boys entertainment… so as a child I loved it coz of that childish delight in seeing a parent fall for something silly and as an adult it brings a new twist of knowing that perhaps the joy was deliberately engineered and what a great Daddy this daddy is!

Finally this poem shows the genuine infectiousness of laughter – of how having a giggle, being a good sport (coz let’s face it the Daddy could’ve gone bananas and had a total sense of humour failure but he didn’t) and seeing the brighter side of all things can make the world around us, even just for that moment, a better place.

It brings me to another favourite poem – I’m not quite sure who wrote it as there have been multiple authors attributed in the past, but I first heard of it when I was reading up on Spike Milligan. Whoever did write it they were insightfully spot on about the power of a smile 😁

I leave you with these words and my smile…

Bonkers about Conkers…

I remember when I was very young an Autumn craze was to ‘play conkers’ – we’d string them up and use whatever tricks we could to harden them and then we’d swing our conkers at each other’s to crack and break them apart. On and on it would go until only one remained – oh how the winner would swagger and swank about!!

Now I collect them but, instead of battles, they face a gentler life in a bowl! It’s possibly not as exciting for them but they remind me of a time of innocence and give me pleasure.

What simple things give you happy memories?

What a difference a year makes…

This past year has been (wait for it many cliches ahead) a real rollercoaster -emotionally and physically. It’s been a journey (yep I went there!) that at times I’ve wanted to get off, to take a break and just watch others ride by whilst I focus on remembering to breathe. Other times it’s been joyful, uplifting and full of such love that I could have burst if that were possible.

Mostly this has been related to my personal life (other blogs to follow if I can find the words) but there has also been one hugely significant change for me – my job.

A year ago last week I started a new job and so this week has been a period of reflection for me. I’ve thought about all those decisions I’ve made throughout my adult life that’s led me to be where I am and to be the person I feel I am today. Sometimes I didn’t know that these decisions would be momentous but I have to admit I knew this one would be – I just didn’t know if it would be good or bad – I just hoped like hell it would be good!!

…Well, it has been! I have gone from working in a place where I spent the first six months sobbing in the toilet every day and towards the end if I got through a week without tears falling it was a miracle, to working somewhere I feel at peace.

At my last two jobs, providing pastoral support in state secondary education, I knew I was doing good, making a positive difference and I’m glad I did what I could; but along with the fabulous highs of seeing my students succeed and achieve, both academically and personally, more than they would ever have thought possible, it was emotionally draining, lonely and absolutely heartbreaking at times; I was taking that home with me and eventually I realised I needed to move on before I lost who I was and before it affected my family more than it already had.

So I took a chance, a leap of faith into the unknown – instead of looking for another similar role that I was certain I could do standing on my head but which would come with significant angst, I found a role at a specialist university that I thought looked interesting, exciting and that I thought I could do well but which would be a challenge.

And oh it has been a challenge! But it has also been liberating, stimulating and working in such a creative, adult environment has been so calming – I’m on a voyage of self-discovery (sorry I’m not done with the cliches just yet!). I’m not saying every day is amazing or that I haven’t had bad days and I know I’ve much more to learn; but I’m loving what I do and I am finally part of a team. I haven’t experienced that utter dread, on a Sunday night, of knowing work is due…I certainly haven’t cried those tears of sheer frustration and solitude.

Life isn’t all about work but most of us spend so much of our days doing work that surely we have to be happy and fulfilled in it if our lives are to have balance and feel good?

So what have I learnt?

Be honest with yourself

Value yourself

Dare to dream – that you CAN do something different if you want, you CAN break free from what you feel confines or brings you down

Believe in yourself

Be brave

Take that step outside your comfort zone

Embrace the unknown

Set sail on your own adventure and see where you end up – whilst it might not be where you’d thought you’d be, you might just find it’s where you want to be after all xx