So every other week T has a riding lesson for an hour on a Sunday. She’s been riding for a year and a half now and loves it. We have good weeks and bad weeks, some days the ponies just listen more than others. Some days she has better technique, others she’s jumpy and so is the pony.
Not long after we started she was out on a hack while we waited at the yard and when she came back she looked sad, the instructor said she had fallen off when the pony got spooked by a bird but they were only walking along and she got straight back on. She was ok once we got home, a couple of bruises but it didn’t affect her coming back.
A few months later and they had learnt to do a ’round the world’ on the back of the pony. While the pony was standing still and she was turning round she slid off and fell onto her bum with a bump! We had a few tears but she got back on and carried on.
Since then we have had a few tears in a few lessons when her pony is being naughty or she can’t remember where she is meant to be going but she carries on and all is forgotten by the time the next lesson comes around.
Today she had a great little hack outside in the sunshine at the start of the lesson then they came back and went into the school. T had the biggest grin on her face as she went in, she really was enjoying herself today. There was a group of 5 of them and so they took it in turns to canter round the school, past the rest of the ride and round to the back. T was going so well and until just before the last corner she lost her stirrup and started to slide to the left. Her teacher saw it happen and shouted to her to hold on but gravity took hold and she slid right off the side onto the ground with a thump. That noise went right through me, my heart skipped a beat and I got a lump in my throat. I immediately got a step closer to the school but then stopped. The teacher had picked her up and was making her bend her leg in small movements. She had stopped crying and had started to take small steps towards her pony that was standing there waiting for her. Then before I knew it she was back on and walking round the school again.
It was so hard in that moment not to open the gate and not run in but I know if I had she would never have got back on. I had a pang of guilt, my little girl just fell off her horse at speed and I didn’t even go and pick her up.
She’s now home and fine. We had some cuddles and and told her how proud of her we were for getting back on. I guess this is just the hobby we are into, I will see falls and she will get back on. I’m sure it will never get any easier to watch though.
Some background info – The creator of Headspace is Andy Puddicombe, a mindfulness and meditation expert who after abandoning his degree in sports science midway through ended up travelling to the Himalayas to study meditation and was then ordained as a Buddhist monk in Northern India.
I started the Headspace App after hearing about how a friend had practised mindfulness on the lead up to his wedding day and how he hoped the techniques would help him to stay calm at the altar! Months later it popped up on a feed and I remembered him saying this and thought I would give it a go. The app offers 10 free 10 minute sessions along with animations and videos on an introduction to mindfulness and how it can help you in various areas of your life from sleeping better to less stress and just feeling more in control. The idea is to do one a day for 10 days, at the start I dipped in and out so this first section took me over 2 weeks. I think this was a combination of it being something new, a bit of a novelty that I could use as and when I felt I needed to and just not making time to fit it around plans.
Once I really got going with it I started to really look forward to just sitting down for 10 minutes and taking some time for me! I know most of us sit down every evening but there really is a difference to sitting scrolling through your phone for hours and sitting, just sitting and concentrating on yourself and how you are feeling for just 10 minutes. I would sit with my headphones in or if Scott was out I would play it out loud and listen to the guided session. It really is amazing how different you can feel before and after something like this. I’ve never done anything like this before and the feeling I mostly felt after the sessions had finished was just calm. I felt so relaxed at times I could almost fall asleep but others I just felt good about myself.
So once you finish the 10 free sessions you have to subscribe. I chose to pay monthly and can cancel this anytime by emailing the Headspace team. I don’t know how long I will carry this on for but for now I’m really enjoying it so I decided it was worth it for the small amount you pay every month.
The next step is to find your way around the app, there are sections on relationships, change, stress, anxiety and sleep along with SOS buttons if you have a complete meltdown and need help with how to deal with it.
The recommended path is to continue with Take 10 – level 2 which I did. During this section Andy uses several videos to try and explain the mind. One being that to be mindful you just have to sit on the side of the road and watch the traffic- the traffic being your thoughts. You aren’t running around trying to stop the traffic, because there is a lot of it and you can’t stop it all, you just have to sit there and watch it. The cars in the animation have things like, bills, money, relationships and work written on them. I found this pretty helpful as at first to sit there and try and block everything out was not an easy task, but that isn’t the idea. The idea is to let these things come and go in your mind, ie remember what you need to pick up while shopping tomorrow and then get back to relaxing and thinking about how you are feeling.
So the app is quite good at inspiring you to come back each day with a tracker to tell you how many days you have done in a row and how many hours in total you have completed. It also tells you how many other people are using the app at this time, which if you believe it is a lot of people!!
I’ve now moved on to my next section which is on Change. This is probably the main reason I started doing this in the first place. I’m not very good at dealing with sudden change of plans, change in routine, circumstances, at work, anything like that really and unfortunately Scott usually gets the brunt of it. So I started this to try and learn to deal with sudden changes better, to try and not let things bother me as much as they usually would do and not still be talking about them 4 hours later. Since really getting into this I feel like I am much calmer, a couple of things have happened where I would usually have a mini meltdown- nothing major I just get stressed about the smallest of things sometimes and it can ruin an entire evening or a good couple of hours at least- and I’ve managed to deal with them much better with a lot less effort and no meltdown!
Today on my first session about change I heard something which made me think ‘yes, this is what I came here for, this is what I need help with’
“The more we can remind ourselves that change is happening all the time in ourselves, other people and the world the more we can let go of that grip of life and our sense of control.”
This is a pretty big thing for me to write this all down because it’s not public knowledge that I occasionally lose it over the tiniest of things and only a couple of people know I’ve been using Headspace but I decided I wanted to write it to try and help anyone else who is struggling to find time for themselves, to deal with change, having trouble sleeping or just wants to try something different to try and relax. I hope anyone reading has found this helpful and ill do another update once I get further along in the app.
6 years ago today I crashed my car, well I say crashed more attempted to squeeze it into a gap that wasn’t big enough. It was a road that I drove down regularly, only about a minute from home and I knew it was tight but kept going. With the parked van to my left and traffic on the other side of the road facing the opposite direction I tried to squeeze my little car through the gap and then bang. My passenger side wing mirror hit the parked van, folded in and smashed the window. I stopped, my heart was in my mouth and I was in shock. I pulled past the van and over to the side of the road. The van driver ran over to see if I was ok. I was immediately apologetic saying I would pay for any damage. He said there was none and just wanted to check we were alright. Yes, T was in my car, sitting in the back on the passenger side. I looked back at her and I remember her looking scared. There was glass all over the seat in the front and on the floor and on the floor at her feet. The van driver asked if we had far to go, I told him no I only lived at the bottom of the next road. He told me to take a minute before driving home and not to worry about it because we were ok.
I took a deep breath and limped us home.
I remember getting out of the car when we got home and surveying the damage. There were scrapes all down the side, the wing mirror was smashed and my passenger side window was in bits. I took T in and fell to pieces. I remember ringing my Mum, she told me it was only metal and could be fixed, we couldn’t. The window was repaired that evening by a really nice repairman who had to work in the dark and pouring rain but got it replaced. The car went in the next day and I got a shiny new courtesy car for a week.
Everything was fixed and paid for but I remember finding pieces of glass for months after every time I moved the seat forward one would fall out.
It was a horrendous experience and I remember feeling such a failure having to give T crisps and a yoghurt for her dinner that night because I had caused this big mess I had to spend ages on the phone sorting out.
I’m still nervous of that road in rush hour and as we have moved now I haven’t had to drive down it in a while, if I did though I know I would be holding my breath.
These days I’m much more careful with my driving, it only takes just one time to make you realise what precious cargo you are carrying and how lucky we were to both be ok.
So its been nearly 2 months since I has my braces fitted and the little strips of wax have been my lifesaver. At first I had to use it during the day as my mouth was so sore all the time but gradually I moved to just after work and now it’s only overnight. So there are two types of wax I’ve found, this first type which is what I was given from the orthodontist.
So this ‘wax’, I use the term loosely because it looks nothing like any wax I’ve ever seen, is basically useless. It comes in a cute little glittery pink case and that’s about the best thing about it! It either comes in a long strip or little cubes, neither of these roll into a ball or mould to your teeth like the YouTube videos show you! All this does is stick, lightly to your tooth in a square shape and when you open your mouth to speak the possibility of it falling out is a big one! Also because this wax doesn’t mould it makes your mouth stick out in the area you’ve applied it so you look like you’ve had a tooth out all the time it’s in!
The other type of wax is this;
This wax comes in little strips and you can actually pull off a section, roll it into a little ball and press it down onto the bracket that rubs your cheeks. It stays in the same place until you pick it off, doesn’t make your lips stick out and if you apply it thinly, ie a small ball rolled flat, you can hardly notice it when you talk. I now apply this wax every night in the same two places because otherwise I end up with deep lines in my mouth where the wires rub.
The thing with braces though is your teeth are always moving so you get in a little routine which works and then bam your teeth move and you start to get pain somewhere else. Now my teeth along the sides seem to be getting attached to my braces in the night and I’m waking up with big sore lumps on the inside of my cheeks. Also I think the wax contributes to the nasty taste I have every morning I wake up but that may just come with having braces.Next step the first tightening!
Well this weekend has been filled with fun times, friends and play dates for T, it has simply been great! I’m so used to sharing T for either part of or all of the weekend but this weekend I was lucky to have her right through until Sunday lunchtime. Anyone who is separated from their children’s father will know this is a luxury which needs to be made the most of and we did!
Friday night we went to a friends and T had a great time catching up with a friend she used to go to school with. It’s so nice that they haven’t seen each other for a while and immediately ran upstairs to play without question or shyness. T then had a sleepover in my bed Friday night due to Scott being at work most of this weekend. Apart from her stealing the covers I love being in a bed with her and getting cuddles when she wakes up in the morning. Little people are so beautiful when they sleep.
Saturday we went to a friends for coffee then she tried ice skating for the first time in the afternoon, after some encouragement and a few tears she eventually enjoyed it and wants to go again, success. Later on we had a friend bring his children round for tea and another play. The kids loved making their own pizzas and dressing up was the favourite activity as usual!
Yesterday we had another friend round and T spent 2 hours with her making a castle complete with draw bridge to take to school today and show their teacher!
It really was such a great weekend that after Scott and I finally got to spend some time together last night I had a pang of wow I miss her. Every time she goes after we have had so much fun I get this, and I know she will be the same because she didn’t want to go yesterday. Just a day at work to go and then I get to kiss those little cheeks again.
Today is 21 days until we get to go back to Devon. This will be the third time we have stayed in this perfect little lodge in the cute little town of Cullompton. This is our time to just be together, there is no signal in the lodge so no social media for me, or random YouTube videos for Scott. No stats updates or updates on group messages from his work or my school mum’s chat. No this time is just purely for us to relax in the hot tub and enjoy each others company and it is bliss. I’ve spoken about Devon before and what happy memories it holds for me and I have a feeling this time will be even more special as we haven’t been for 2 years we are just so excited to get back to the long walks in the day and drinking bubbles in the tub at night while looking at the stars. There really is nothing better and today the countdown begins.
Today I feel completely drained. I think it’s a combination of a difficult couple of days at work, the wet and dreary weather zapping my energy levels and just generally feeling exhausted for no good reason. And it’s only Tuesday!
I knew this week would throw up some challenges at work and overall I think I’ve coped well with them but it’s only set to continue and today by the end of the day I felt like I had been taken for and ride by someone I was trying to help so left work feeling angry and frustrated. I’m slightly out of my comfort zone at work this week and it seems this being the way forward I will just have to get used to it and deal with any teething problems as they come up, not my style at all so taking some getting used to this.
The last few nights I’ve been left feeling completely exhausted by the time T goes to bed about 7pm, leaving my evenings good for nothing much apart from 10 minutes on Head space, really helping when I have so much in my head from the day, then nothing else but to light a candle, eat some chocolate and curl up on the sofa with my eyes stinging from the concentration all day.
I know progression and change at work are only a good thing but I hope my mind soon becomes used to it because I would quite like to feel like I have actually enjoyed my evening again at some point in the future!
So today I walked Poppy for over an hour round where we live. I walked a route round a beautiful area with pretty thatched cottages and huge set back homes with long driveways and expensive cars. It’s a beautiful area to walk round and in the sunshine especially. The way home I took a route I haven’t walked in 16 years, my old walk home from the school bus! It was so nice to walk round it again and have the chance to be a bit nostalgic about it all. Many memories were made walking this route from sharing a walkman earphone with friends as we walked along to laughing and joking about what had just happened on the school bus. I think about my school friends often and am always sad I am no longer in touch with any of them. (I moved away with my family at 16 and then moved back again later on.) This is why my best friend means so much to me I think. We have been friends since I was 20, wow I feel so old, and like any friends we have had our ups and downs but we always come out stronger. This weekend I’m looking forward to having her and her partner round for Sunday dinner so have been busy cleaning out the fire so we can make the most of our new fire place while the evenings are cold.
I hope you are all enjoying your Saturday in the sunshine too!
We are so often encouraged to be clean these days, clean living, clean eating, having a clean and clear mind and body. Sometimes there is so much focus on this it can just take over! When was the last time you saw someone’s Facebook status talking and about their new diet/ healthy eating plan? I’ve even been guilty of it myself in the past, but recently it seems to be on overload! Maybe it’s the time of year, with everyone and their Aunt trying to detox after Christmas but can’t we all just treat everything in moderation and relax a little? This January I ditched the detox, and left things more to chance! Our meals are healthy but we don’t disallow ourselves treats or snacks and we don’t make ourselves feel guilty if we want a spontaneous Sunday night family trip to buy an ice cream! I’m sure I will get tough on myself for my treats again at some stage but for now life is for living and to be enjoyed! Clean living isn’t all about your diet 😉