She believed she could so she did…

It’s that time of year that we reflect on the past 365days…

Well, 2018 has been a whirlwind for me – a year of feeling the fear and doing it anyway! And d’ya know what? It’s been GREAT!

Not everything has gone to plan, I’ve stumbled and fallen (literally sometimes!) and I’ve had the odd let down too – but I’ve got up, dusted myself off, learnt from the experience and moved on…

At the same time I’ve achieved many goals, surpassed my wildest expectations in some cases! I’ve met amazing people and visited some beautiful new places – all in all 2018 you’ve been fantastic – so thank you xx

What about 2019? Do I have resolutions? Not as such, I kinda think of resolutions as meaning wanting to change things and I really don’t…what I want is more of being afraid and doing it anyway! The only way to really understand ourselves, who we are and what we can achieve is to step out of our comfort zone and give it a go, however scary it may be…

So here’s to feeling nervous, to biting off more than we think we can chew, to taking a first step into the unknown and to keeping going even when the sea gets a bit choppy and adjusting our sails when the storm is whipping up around us…

Here’s to 2019

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Never argue with a Dame…

Hi Peeps!!

Gosh it’s been a while hasn’t it?!

You’ve not been far from my thoughts, sorry to be away so long…

So what’s been going on then? Have you been having fun and enjoying 2018? I hope so.

I’ve found this year to already be a remarkable improvement on the last !

Well, when you get told you’re brave by Dame Kelly Holmes – peer of the realm, Olympic Champion and all round awesome woman – it’s hard not to be just the tiniest bit jolly!

(Pics courtesy of streets-united.com, olympicpark10k.com & the sun.co.uk)

I remember watching Dame KH race at the Athens Olympics and being blown away by how amazing she was; she had an unabiding sense of purpose, was composed and strong as she ran and was filled with raw overwhelming happiness when she crossed the finish line…Dame KH was just SO inspiring. I’ll never be able to run like her but I try to push myself beyond what I think I can do, just as she does… who knew I’d be chatting (albeit via Twitter) with her years later…bizarre really!

Anyways, why am I brave? If I’m honest I’m not! Dame KH is doing REDJanuary and all us REDders were all sharing our daily stories on Twitter…I’d just walked to work and run home again (2miles each way) in the pouring freezing cold rain and wind…and that’s when I was complimented! I’d have said I was more daft coz it really was rather horrid out (and she was probably just being kind rather than accurate!) but hey, I’ll take ‘brave’ and say thank you 😊

Yep that’s made my January 2018 so far!!

Here’s wishing you a great rest of January 2018. See you again soon, I’ll try not to stay away so long next time xx

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?

Ahhh Autumn, how I love thee…

Bright colours of red, copper and gold glint off trees. The sky is a bright deep blue, the air is getting crisp and the sunlight is clear and somehow brighter, sharper than the glow that envelopes us in the summer (for UK dwellers read caveat: “if you’re lucky that is!”). The smells of Autumn: bonfires and apples, gentle spices like cinnamon and beeswax candles – reassuring aromas that soothe my soul.

It’s my favourite season, I think because it brings back such wonderful childhood memories:

…Walking to school with my sister, scuffling through the piles of leaves and searching for beech masts missed by the squirrels and mice in the fallen husks

…a cup of hot tomato soup steaming in the cold air as we watched the fireworks display on the school field

…harvest festival in the huge school hall and seeing the stage covered in veg, fruit, tins of goodness knows what and then singing favourite hymn ever ‘Autumn Days’.

This wonderful hymn was written by Estelle White, a former nun and music teacher. She believed that you could find beauty in the everyday world and so she penned a song giving thanks to some of the simplest things with the jolliest of tunes.

I sang it to my boys to help them sleep when they were very little and even now many (many) years later if I sing the words “Autumn Days…” one of them will respond back with “when the grass is jewelled” (possibly they’ll roll theirs eyes but hey the point is that they still say it!) and it always makes my heart smile.

So here is a little taste of this hymn for your delight (when listening it helps to try to hear a 200 children singing their hearts out along to this tune full of cheer and goodwill on a crisp golden autumn morning in the school hall… ahhh such very happy Autumn Days!)

https://youtu.be/w9mvrkQbzgc

Thank You Estelle White for showing the beauty in the humblest of things and for my happy memories…