Friday, 20 October 2017

Change is in the Air

The Linden tree outside my house is beginning to lose its leaves.  With the prediction of a storm forecast for tomorrow afternoon I doubt there will be many leaves left on the branches by Sunday.  I was glad to get the chance to view the tree again before it is laid bare for winter.

My last post here was about the steps I took in order to get myself back on track with relation to how I viewed myself and my well-being.  To know that I am doing all I can do to take care of my mind and my body with nurturing and good nutrition has been a catalyst for improving other areas of my life.

Once I had 'cracked' where I wanted my life to go with emphasis on self improvement and self love, I was able to take charge of other things such as my home environment and make changes there that would have a positive impact on my (and others) life.  I had a big clear out in the summer and decluttered quite a few rooms.  Things then came to a standstill for a while (but that is OK) and I started to make small changes starting with the kitchen.  I had a sort out of the kitchen food drawers getting rid of out of date herbs and spices that I had been hanging onto for years!  Now I am much more discerning about my choice of flavourings and can gradually build up my new stock.  I bought a couple of large white rectangular plastic 'baskets 'and now my condiments, 'super-foods', and store cupboard packets are all within easy reach inside them.  Before making this change I had a chaotic 'system' of having everything loose inside the drawer.

Another change I have made has been meal prep for the week.  So, on a Sunday I decide what things I want to eat for the next few days and I do some preparation in advance.  During the week, when I cook the evening meals I always keep some aside for my lunch box.  Having systems in place is helping my life flow much more easily.

I think the key to organisation is keeping on top of things.  During my 'inertia' phase I was unable to make headway in sorting out my life.  Now I make a point of seeing what needs to be sorted and I sort it!

Once I got started with organising my life the momentum just kept things rolling!  At last after many years of a life on hold, I am making progress towards an environment that matches the life I want to lead.

The Linden tree above is a metaphor for my life right now.  The leaves that are spent fall off and new leaf buds emerge the following spring.  Life is all about change, renewal and rebirth.  The changing seasons is natures's way of showing us that nothing is static.  Everything needs to change and grow.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Finding a Pathway

Nineteen years ago I became a Mum.  I was reluctant with this new found status but decided there and then that I would be the best Mum I could be.  My son was breech so I was forced to have a planned caesarean section.  I even got to choose if I wanted my son born on a Wednesday or the Thursday!  I have always felt like a 'plastic' Mum as I never got to experience childbirth.  After my operation, and being wired up to various drips I remember my helplessness at not being able to reach the crying baby in the cot next to me.  After 6 days in the hospital I was 'let' home.  There was no welcome home party or instruction book.  I suppose at 35 you're expected to know what to do.

The first couple of years were hard.  I tried to keep my post natal depression under wraps.  I did some research and found out the name of an anti depressant I could take that wouldn't be addictive. In the mean time I took various Bach Flower Remedies to alleviate my mood.  To say I lost myself for a couple of years is an understatement.

As my son grew older I gradually had more time for myself.  I began to take up various creative pursuits and in 2008 started this blog.  Writing the blog was my saviour.  In order to have something to write about I had to 'do' something worth writing about.  The fun part was then taking photos and putting a blog post together.

Last year I knew that my life was going to go through a big change again with my son leaving home to go to University.  I wondered what would become of me now I no longer had to be the stay at home Mum.  I had saved up some money and went in secret to see a life coach in the hope that she could put me on a new pathway.  It turned out to be more of a counselling session as I wept at no longer knowing who I was anymore.  She gave me some constructive advice but really it was just affirmations to me of what I already knew.  She said to create a mood board of anything I liked the look of and just keep adding to it, taking images from magazine or words of inspiration etc.  I think she believed in the power of attraction and that by putting up images of what you liked those things would come to you.  In speaking to her I realised that I wanted to have a 'good enough' job so that I could bring in an income.  I left her house feeling that I had a plan to move forward and that I would focus on getting a job.  Without money life pretty much comes to a standstill.

Within 6 months I had a job.  Six months on - I have a new streamlined physique and a positive frame of mind.  I can understand why there are so many books, magazines, blogs and websites about mindfulness now.  The mind is SO powerful.

To return to the beginning of this post - for nineteen years I feel like I was lost in a forest.  I was being Mum (not so much of a wife, if I am honest) but I had lost all sense of who I was at the core.  Each day I would start out in the forest, going around and around in circles or going over places I had already been desperately searching for me.  Once I stopped and stood still and let go trying to find myself anymore, things started to reveal themselves to me.

My pathway has been as follows:

  • Get into the correct mindset (without this I wouldn't have had the confidence to apply for a job)
  • Get a job (a 'good enough' one)
  • Start to eat a healthier diet (for me, 3 meals a day, plant based diet, no snacking) 
  • Self care and nurturing (Epsom salt baths and body pampering)
  • Exercise (daily walking to work and VIPR fitness lesson once a week) 

I still need to make time for my hobbies and crafts but at the moment my 'hobby' is very much about personal development.

I hope that my story will give hope to anyone stuck in a rut.  Decide what you want from your life and then make small steps towards achieving it and above all be your own best friend.

*picture above from issue 8 of Breathe magazine

Saturday, 7 October 2017


I'm re-calibrating.  I am slowly changing.  It won't be overnight.  It will probably take a couple of years.  I have changed my eating habits and daily routines.  I attended my first VIPR (Vitality Performance Reconditioning) class a few days ago.  It involves high energy movement with weights.  I could hardly walk for two days!  I came out of the class exhausted but energised and looking forward to the next session.

I am eating in a way that suits me and my body and gain inspiration for recipes from watching YouTube videos from sites such as Dani Spies' Clean and Delicious, Deliciously Ella, High Carb Hannah, Plant the Seed and Dr. Eric Berg.  I eat three nutritious meals a day, following mainly a plant based diet but don't rule out any food groups.  I don't eat between meals.  I wouldn't recommend my way of eating to everyone.  You need to find out what works for you.  Since changing my diet I have a new lease of life!  I feel refreshed and almost reborn! 

As I make changes to what I am putting inside of me, I have noticed physical changes on the outside such as more muscle definition, less flabbiness and a clearer complexion.  Next thing on the agenda is to change my hair and revamp my wardrobe of clothes.  I hope to look better by Christmas!

* Today's lunch: two free range organic eggs, plantain chips, avocado with freshly milled black pepper and Kerrygold butter.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Autumn Berries

The pyracantha berries are looking so vivid right now with their orange glow.  They look like baby tomatoes in the photo above!  I love the change to autumn from summer. 

The mornings are misty and the evenings are cooler now but it has still remained warm in the day here in the South East of England.  I was on a food safety course yesterday and we had to have fans on in the building as we were almost melting with the extreme heat!  I had to throw away my packed lunch as there wasn't a fridge to store it in and I wasn't going to risk eating it after the talk about how food poisoning is contracted!  Luckily my colleague gave me her banana to sustain me until home time.

For the past 6 weeks I have drastically changed my eating habits and incidentally lost quite a lot of weight.  I am eating good, nutritious food and eating 3 times a day with no snacking.  As part of my on-going healthier me journey, I am going to attend a fitness class next week for the first time in years!  I will let you know how I progress!

Thank you for the well wishes about my son going to University.  He seems to have settled in well and met lots of people.  As long as he is happy then I am content too! 

Well, October is almost peeking over my shoulder now.  There is much to be done in the garden before the onset on winter - planting bulbs, tidying up, mowing the lawn........then I should be able to settle down to some hobbies inside and experimenting with new recipes, hand sewing, painting, drawing and plenty of reading too!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Lone Swan

I feel a little like the lone swan in the photo today.  Yesterday my son went off to University.  He will be home for Christmas.  I wasn't there when he left.  I said a brief goodbye and went into town to spare my emotions.  He made contact when he was safely on the train and then again when he reached his accommodation.  He'll be fine.  I'll be fine.  We just need to make adjustments to our new routines.

Today is the third day of autumn.  It is so hot and I can't wait for the daily temperature to drop!  I had a long walk up to the farm shop to buy some organic vegetables and was sweltering by the time I reached there.  Armed with two bags of veggies I stopped for a moment under the willow tree to cool off and gaze out into the lake.  That is when I saw the swan.  A moment of serenity on a hot September day.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

A New Chapter

Not sure which chapter I am on; probably Chapter 5.

Chapter 1 - Early childhood
Chapter 2 - The teenage years
Chapter 3 - Work and married life
Chapter 4 - Bringing up baby
Chapter 5 - Return to work and empty nest

Next weekend my only child leaves home to go to University in the West Midlands.  I have started to prepare for this by getting back to employment in April this year and am now changing my eating habits and surroundings to reflect this change.  I will miss him - there is no doubt about it.

Part of me doesn't want him to go but I know that he must.  I want him to venture out into the world and take advantage of any exciting opportunities that may arise.  His return home at Christmas will be all the sweeter for his prolonged absence.

As I have said, I have been preparing for this change in circumstance for a few months now.  More recently I have been taking more interest in self care which has long been neglected.  Weight has dropped significantly since I decided to eat only three meals a day and cut out the snacks.  I walk at least an hour every day, have increased my leafy greens consumption and have Epsom salts baths to relax.  I feel lighter in the body and sharper in the brain. 

I don't want this chapter of my life to just be about work and am looking for ways to fill my leisure time.  I haven't done anything 'crafty' for a while or been out to a see a play for years!  Maybe my son's independent life will see me embracing a new found independence too!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

September Sunday

For those of you that still read the blog - hello!  I went for a long walk today stopping off at a farm shop to buy some organic vegetables and then had a walk around a walled garden.  I took a photo of these flowers that look like they are just going over.  I think they are verbena bonariensis and I keep meaning to grow them in my garden.  Maybe next year?

Today I am pottering about the house, cooking dinner, doing some reading.  All ordinary stuff.  Thank goodness for the ordinary.