April · Grief · Gun Crime · London · Loss · philosophy · reflection · thoughtful · Uncategorized

Comtemplating

I feel like I have been thinking about a lot of things this week, there have been days where my mind is so busy I forget to eat much and my brain is so full I can’t sleep properly.

There is nothing in particular wrong I just seem to take on the troubles of the world and everyone in it. The recent murders in London have been playing on my mind a lot this week.

The poor families of the 16 and 17 year old boy and girl that died of gunshot wounds after being shot within hours of each other. You just can’t even begin to comprehend their feelings but I have been thinking about them a lot.

How do people manage to drive past young adults walking along the street and gun them down and seemingly get away with it? The police have still arrested no one in connection with these deaths but have of course stepped up their stopping and searching powers because of the media attention. Weapons have been taken off the streets and people have been searched under an Act the police have put in force for several days where they don’t have to have any suspicion, the people just need to be in an area where violence has taken place.

Yes this is all great but the fact remains London has had more gun related murders every month of the year than New York this year.

Surely something can be done to stop this horrendous trend and prevent more families from losing their babies in nothing more than a postcode war.

These latest victims were not involved in gang violence and were both suspected of just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. How will their families ever get over this? How will they live in the same place knowing the same thing could happen again to another member of their family for absolutely no reason?

Where is the justice in this? When does it end?

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challenge · Children · feeling proud · fun activities · goals · Kindness · Lent · Liebster Award · March · Random Acts of Kindness · thoughtful · Uncategorized

40 Random Acts of Kindness almost over!

Wow I’m so amazed we are nearly at the end of 40 acts of kindness! I’m so proud of everything we have achieved so far, something I heard this week “we can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.” I think this is a great reason for everyone to try and and do something kind for others if they can.

Here is our updated list!

29. Leave positive notes for people to find. So I found this passage online and just loved it from the start. I wrote it out three times and got T to decorate the paper then we folded them and left two on cars on the way to school and T left one in her school library which a teacher found and told me she nearly cried when she read it and thought it was so lovely!

30. This was a tricky day because I spent all day cleaning, walking Poppy then bathing Poppy after said walk! We decided to spend time this evening writing a card to a friend to let them know we are thinking about them. T enjoyed doing it and we posted it the very next day! Sadly we forgot to take a picture but I hope the pretty pink envelope has found it’s owner by now!

31. Take the time to listen to someone. My friend invited me over for brunch and I really had a lovely time chatting and catching up with her, We both had a good moan about various things and it was just a great morning.


32. Let someone go ahead of you in the supermarket. Scott kept things going with this one because I wasn’t there but he let a woman with a baby and only two items pass him at the checkout. I’m sure she appreciated it.

33. Think of our four legged friends. I left this little goodie bag at a popular spot for dog walks and when I checked on it the next day some treats had been taken and the following day it was gone. 😊


34. Offer to do a favour for someone without asking for anything in return- T gave up her swing in the playpark for someone that had no one to play with and looked sad. Then she let someone go infront of her in the lunch queue at school.

35. Promote good blogs so others can enjoy them too! So this week I took time writing nominations for the Liebster Award. I was so happy to be nominated so I could cross this one off my list and show others what great blogs are out there! I really enjoyed this one almost as much as I enjoy following these blogs 😁

36. Be kind to yourself. Today has been an up and down day. It started off well but I’ve been missing my mini me this afternoon and have been tough to be around so tonight I’m going to be kind to myself- no one is perfect all the time, sometimes being kind to yourself is the hardest thing to do and how can you carry on helping others if you don’t help yourself first.

Thanks so much for reading, the last few should be good ones and I will update you next week with our final post of 40 acts!

Lou x

February · lucky · positive thinking · thoughtful · Uncategorized

Lucky

I am lucky to have time to myself.

I will appreciate this time in the summer.

I am privileged to not work at weekends.

I am lucky to have time to be able to look for more interests.

I am the only one who can change my mindset.

I am thankful for the good friends and family I have.

I am lucky to have had some wonderful holidays and trips and I know the time will come where I will be able to plan more.

I am lucky to be healthy, I am lucky to be alive.

Fears · February · Friendship · lonely · mood · philosophy · reflection · thoughtful · Uncategorized

How would they feel

How would people feel if they knew how I felt inside?

Would they jump right on that phone, get in their car and drive?

If they knew my mind was whirling and at times I just felt lost, would they be the one to help me, no matter what the cost.

If they knew how being lonely had just become the norm, Maybe they would try to get me back on form.

There are people you are close to,people you hardly see, people who make effort with you and people you wish you could see.

But my brain stops me from texting, my fingers they just won’t move, just hoping and waiting maybe they will text me soon.

Then time creeps in and it becomes harder, wondering why no one calls, weekends and days off are spent lonely in these four walls.

And this is how I carry on until some days I break, and send that text I’ve been waiting to send no matter what the fate.

Some days I just wish I was higher, further up the list, then maybe they would call me, before it got to this.

Children · February · hobbies · horse riding · Husband · Hygge · kids activities · Lykke · making memories · Marriage · Parenting · positive thinking · reflection · thoughtful · Uncategorized

7 things – Week 3

Wow where did this week go! I feel like it’s passed in a week of work and workouts with some quality time squeezed in too. I hope you have all had a great week, now I have time for my blog here are my 7 happiest moments from the last 7 days. I would love to hear what has made you happy this week!

1. Meik Wiking the author of The Little Book of Lykke liked my tweet sharing my favourite parts of the book! I was thrilled to bits that he even noticed my little review let alone liked it 😁

2. Cooking healthy meals. Saturday I was on my own for dinner but made it a healthy one of grilled chicken, Jacket potato and salad.

3. Watching the six nations 2018. Ok so I’m not the most committed rugby fan in the world, I don’t keep up with the team changes, or watch local teams but I do love a good Six Nations! I support Ireland as my Grandfather was Irish and I picked up an Ireland rugby shirt about 10 years ago when I visited Dublin for the weekend. Scott jokes I’m only Irish when the rugby is on but T has now started following Ireland too which makes me happy 😊

4. Spending the morning with a friend talking about her wedding plans and making rocky road ready for T’s school bake sale. We had such a lovely morning eating crossaints, waffles and strawberries then catching up on her wedding prep, It was so nice to just hang out and chat about the weeks worries! The kids all had great fun mixing up the rocky road and squishing into dishes ready for the fridge too!

5. When the snow came down and T looked at it falling out of the window and said “wow it looks so beautiful like it’s just falling and making the world a better place!”

6. Date night. Wednesday I came home from work to candles, a fire, prosecco in the fridge and dinner cooked for me. It’s amazing what taking time to really appreciate each other even just for a few minutes every day can really do for a relationship. Once you take that leap to make the other person happy it’s like a domino effect, it just keeps happening back again and again and all of a sudden you are reminded of why you married each other.

7. A teacher training day for T. This meant a day off work, school and a day at home 😊 T had a friend round to play for a couple of hours in the morning then we popped to some shops for a little browse before I painted her nails for half term week and she had a riding lesson. It was a happy day, until she fell off her pony! Luckily she was fine and got right back on but we did have lots of lovely cuddles when we got home.

Depression · February · fun activities · goals · happy · Hygge · Lykke · making memories · Mental Health · mood · philosophy · positive thinking · thoughtful · Uncategorized

The Little Book of Lykke

I got this book and the first book of Meik Wiking’s “The Little book of Hygge” for Christmas and this week have finished the second book. This really is such a lovely little book which reminds us what is important to be happy and gives us an insight into how happiness is shown all around the world.

During the book he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to the good life. From how we spend our precious time, to how we relate to our neighbours and cook dinner, he gathers evidence, stories and tips from the very happiest corners of the planet”

I’m going to share with you some of favourite parts of the book and what I’ve learnt from it.20180126_145933978707812.jpg

This is one of my favourite pages, I am a lover of social media to connect with family, with a sister in New York and a brother in Hong Kong not to mention family in 3 different counties in the UK it is simply the easiest way to share with them what we have been doing. Where my love ends is the endless stream of time wasting videos, the nonsense posts that friends of friends like that somehow end up clogging up your time line. Everyone has an opinion on social media, for some its about the amount of likes, shares, comments, others think its better not to post pictures of your children. Then there is the matter of how much we post, is twice a week too often? Which platform do we use? Is Instagram safer than Facebook because its private unless you accept the followers? Do people care how many years it was ago since they went for that picnic in the park? The amount of time spent on digital devices scrolling mindlessly through unimportant information really has risen to a crazy amount. But as you can see about its proven that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook!

I have now set myself a mental limit when on social media, if I don’t see something I want to connect with within about 10 seconds I close the app. I know scrolling mindlessly for half an hour won’t make me happy, it usually just makes me frustrated that I’ve just wasted all that time doing nothing when I could have been doing something.

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Another way to prevent yourself from being sucked in to the “time stealers” are to use apps like the “Freedom” app which prevent you from using the internet for a period of time. Next time you find yourself well and truly stuck to that screen just think what else you could be doing, do you have long enough to read a chapter of that book you have been meaning to read? Or even just a few pages? Could you fit in a few burpees, for those fitness lovers out there! Write a meal plan for the week? Or if you must scroll, let it be through something productive. Can you say after 2 hours of looking at your phone you have planned Valentines day or researched cheap home make over ideas rather than simply gone up 52 levels on your latest game.

In this book Meik Wiking goes on to say that the richest countries are not necessarily the happiest and that we often look for happiness in all the wrong places. He says “I have yet to discover a more powerful force to explain human happiness than the fulfilment of our longing for love, friendship and community. So, people want to belong but they are not exactly sure how to make it happen.”

Five ways to plant a community Meik gives are;

1. Create a directory for your street or stairway. Knock on your neighbours doors or post a sign up sheet in their letter box saying you are creating a directory for those little emergencies. Do people know a good plumber, electrician, handyman? Add some questions like would they like their dog walking once in a while or are you prepared to look after their garden while they are away for two weeks in the summer. Who knows how to change a tyre or who owns a sewing machine?

2. Establish a book lending cupboard. A simple way to start conversation in your community is to create a mini library built on the take one leave one book principle. The library doesn’t have to be anything fancy just a few shelves with a few different books available for those who fancy trying them. I have a shed next to my house which isn’t locked so this could be somewhere I could leave books for my street, I just need to clear it of all the junk first! This is definitely on my list of things to try though.

3. Use the soft edges. Front gardens and porches are called the soft edges. Few people would dare come into your kitchen but if you are in your front garden you are more likely to start a conversation with your neighbours. The more your get to know your neighbours names and their stories the more noise from them ceases to be annoying.

4. Build a community garden. Your home may not offer any soft edges but there may be a strip of land in your neighbourhood that could be used to create a small community garden, a time tested way for you to not only grow a bunch of veggies but also for you to bring a sense of community.

5. Start a tool sharing programme. The average power drill is used for only a few minutes per year so there is no need for us all to have one, the same with hammers, screwdrivers not to mention leaf blowers and ladders. This is another good excuse to get to know your neighbours.

Another great idea is volunteering, you may be passionate about politics or love the outdoors in the UK the website do-it.org lists more than a million options and enables more than 200,000 people to donate their time every month.

If that isn’t your thing what about random acts of kindness? Here are 5 ideas of things you could do that are guaranteed to lift your mood and that of the person on the receiving end;

1. Leave a gift on someones doorstep.

2. Learn the name of the person on the front desk or someone else you see every day and greet them by name.

3. Make two lunches and give one away.

4. Talk to the shy person who is by themselves at a party or at the office.

5. Give someone a genuine compliment. Right now.

These are all so easy to implement and i’m planning on trying as many as I can in the next week, I will let you know how they go.

Now for something that has been brought to our attention by the media throughout the last year and continues to be a much talked about subject as it should be. When is the last time you asked someone how they were and actually listened and cared about the answer? I’m not just talking about 20180126_2143122142971200.jpg

family but friends, colleagues, parents at the school gates. We are all in so much of a rush all of the time do we really even listen to each other much anymore? How many people do you know that you see on a daily basis and can say you know if they are ok or not? Mental health is still so often overlooked as a taboo subject and having worked with young people that had been through some extremely traumatic times I know that these experiences leave their mark and sometimes rear their head again later in life. The next time you hear someone is off work with depression instead of judging them think what circumstances could have brought this about. Is there anything you could do to help the next time you see them? Not everyone will want to talk about their problems openly but there is nothing wrong with them knowing that someone is there should they need it.

This book has really opened my eyes as to what can make you truly happy and how happiness can be found with what is around us and without many of the things people often associate with happiness in this modern world. Its a great read and has its place in my reading nook where my husband has actually started reading it and he is not a reader!

I’d love to hear what you think of it if you do decide to read it. 

Thanks for reading

Lou x

 

 

Family · Parenting · reflection · Sisters · thoughtful · Uncategorized

Family relationships over 2017

As we approach December I find myself starting look back on my family relationships during the year. Let’s face it families aren’t perfect wherever you are in the world and I’m sure mine have less problems than most but that doesn’t stop me trying. Trying to create the ‘perfect family relationships’. If there even is such a thing. All I know is another year has passed and I find myself no closer to that family bond I feel like I’ve been searching for forever. 
Ok with my sister in New York and my brother in Japan I don’t expect to be going round for tea every week, I would just like to be in touch more. As it is at the moment the only contact we have now is through Instagram, which I only installed so I could keep up with their lives as they are both too busy to message occasionally to see how we are. I understand everyone is busy and I have to admit I’ve even given up slightly this year on my sister’s side because it’s always so hard to get a response or a conversation going when I do message, it’s easier to just not message and then I won’t be disappointed when I don’t get the response I was after. My brother I made a big effort with before he went off to Japan and was in contact regularly, went to visit him and contacted him regularly through his first few days and weeks just to check in but still he was a day late saying Happy birthday to me.
I feel like he will go the same way, I will end up not messaging so I don’t get disappointed.

Closer to home my extended family is still something I’m struggling to feel like I belong in. I think at the start of Scott and my relationship I made a massive effort and had playdates, coffee catch ups etc. As time has gone on it has felt like no one else really wanted to make this effort so I stepped back slightly. I feel like they have a lot in common with each other that I’m not a part of, they have been family for a lot longer than I have been we are talking over 10 years here compared to my 4, but I feel like this year I’ve felt more on the outside than ever.

I guess this is a continual process that will hopefully grow as my years in the family grow, for now I’m left feeling almost nervous when we do meet up because I just dont have the closeness they have.

When it comes to my immediate family my relationship with my mother continues to be up and down as it always has been. The fact is we are different people and have completely different ways of thinking, she would never think to make herself available for my daughter’s birthday party wheras when I am a lucky enough to have a grandchild I will be the first one in line at their party, and any single time grandparents are invited into school you just think about stopping me! Once again I never give up trying, asking for these things but always end up disappointed when they don’t happen.

My Nan is my rock,my closest family member. We talk all the time and she knows everything about me, she knows when T has a parents evening or I have the orthodontist, she knows how hard Scott and I work and how we always put everyone else before ourselves hence why money is often tight. She doesn’t use this against us and sees us for who we are, always being there, without judgement,  with unconditional love for all of us.

I don’t know how many more years I will go on wishing my family bonds were closer but I know it’s been years so far and still the relationships remain the same. All I can do is show T myself how close a family unit should be and hopefully when she grows up we I will finally have my close family unit I’ve always wanted.
Thanks for reading 

Lou x

Chester Bennington · Depression · Grief · Linkin Park · Loss · thoughtful · Uncategorized

Linkin Park remember Chester.

So I’ve spent today catching up on the Linkin Park tribute to Chester Bennington and I have to say it was amazing. 

At first I had mixed feelings about hearing other people sing his songs as Chester’s voice was so distinctive there is simply no replacing him. I felt other voices didn’t do the songs justice and like they were taking something away from him by giving the songs their own twist and style. It was like I was forgetting how Chester sounded because all I could hear were the guest artists. 

But the more I watched the more I realised that Mike and the rest of the band were just simply trying to remember their friend by playing the songs he loved to perform. Mike did a lot of the vocals and some songs he just let the crowd sing completely which as soon as I heard these songs start I actually said out loud ‘how are you going to sing this one?’ Turns out he knew he couldn’t and it had to be up to the fans which was the perfect thing to do.

The moments inbetween songs where they shared funny clips of Chester, My daughter and I will always love ‘Lollipops and Unicorns’ simply because it makes us smile and sing along, were all so personal and is something I’m sure the fans appreciated massively. To stand there and read from a script and pretend like it was any other show would have been wrong and that’s not what they did. They stood up there and celebrated a great artist, they had fun remembering their friend, the moments they shared and the great music they created and they shared that with the world, Not for profit, Not for a new DVD but for free online because they wanted it to be available to everyone!

They highlighted the charities they supported as a band and the One More Light foundation which has been set up in Chester’s name and his wife Talinda stood very bravely infront of the crowd for several minutes thanking the world for their support. This part was probably the most emotional for me hearing her voice break was tough but I willed her to carry on and she did finishing with a very poignant “fuck depression!” 

The artists and talent that came together to make this concert really did showcase Chester’s talent along with the rest of the band and did one hell of a job performing tracks that at times must have been very emotional for them. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions from happy to sad, from rocking out to rapping and feeling great about the legacy that has been left from the years this band were together. 

Another tagline from the show was ‘Make Chester Proud’ well guys I think he would have been damn proud of what you all achieved there. It was something that will be remembered by fans across the world for years to come and thanks to you and your incredible music Chester Bennington will not be forgotten. 

I only hope his music continues to reach out to those in need and people who need it the most. Depression and mental health is real, it is happening, You never know the battle that is being fought in someone’s head even when there is a smile on their face a silent war could be raging so be kind, be interested, show compassion and be genuine, you never know when it might just make someone’s day.

RIP Chester, you will not be forgotten.

Adult braces · Anniversary · Blogger · career · Children · Cockapoo · dogs · eat the rainbow · family time · fitness · food diary · Friendship · Halloween · Healthy eating · healthy parenting · hobbies · homemade · horse riding · Husband · Long distance families · making memories · Marriage · motherhood · Mum winning · Orthodontist · Parenting · Puppy · thoughtful · Uncategorized · walking · walking for fitness · walking for fun · walking holidays · Writing

The New Mrs M makes a year! 

Wow I can’t believe I made a year! When I started this blog it was as an outlet to share my experiences with braces as an adult and to hopefully learn from other people’s journey also. The thing is it’s turned into much more than that! I’ve learned I love to document my life! Sharing experiences, hobbies, days out, trips away, special moments gives me real enjoyment and it’s the lovely comments and likes I get from readers around the world that keeps me writing. I have written about so many things in the last year from my experiences as a step parent to buying our puppy last year. I’ve talked about my love of being married and the happiness it brings to my struggles of trying to progress a career while still being a present parent. I’ve continued to document my experiences with braces and will keep on doing so in the hope that they help others deliberating whether or not to take the plunge or are already on their journey. My new found love of walking/hiking has been a hot topic over the summer months this year culminating in a walking challenge which saw me walk over 80 miles in a month!

This blog has been like a journal at times being the first thing I want to do when I’m going through a tough time and a way to vent my frustration while also sometimes allowing me to see my opinions in a different light.

Reviews of places I’ve been have almost become a part of the experience now and it’s a given to my husband that some of the many photos I take will be specifically for my blog. If I can show someone how great a place was or how dog friendly somewhere can be and they can enjoy it as much as I did then my writing is all worthwhile.

There are plenty of mum blogs out there and I don’t just write about my experiences as a Mum but this has also been a huge part of my blog. Again if I can show someone else what we get up to and they enjoy doing it then why not!

Whatever my chosen topic is I would just like to say thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read my posts, like them and leave a comment. Without your interest I wouldn’t have continued to write and had 2 pieces published, something I would never even have attempted to do before this!

My plan for the future is to keep blogging, sharing my happy times and my sad times too, hopefully helping others with my braces experiences and reviewing everywhere I go!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey so far and here’s to the next year!

Lou x

Anniversary · happy · Husband · Looking back · Love · thoughtful · Uncategorized

Reasons I love being married- 1 year today.

Exactly 1 year ago today I became a wife. I remember the day like it was yesterday, the nerves, the excitement, the pride at walking down the aisle with my Dad by my side then into the hands of my future husband and then elation at walking down the aisle knowing we had done it, we were husband and wife! 
So over the last year I have come to realise some of the reasons I love being married. I know I’m still a newbie to this but this is just  how I feel about it all;

1. I love my new name. My old name meant very little to me, infact it was a constant reminder of my birth father who I have no contact with and haven’t seen since I was 16. I thought it was me, it was who I was but since changing my name I’ve realised it was just a name, it wasn’t me, I’m still the same me just without the tie of a name I never liked. I feel more confident and sure announcing my name now than I have done in my whole life.

2. I love how it started off feeling alien,  to say I had a husband made me feel old, different and I wasn’t immediately comfortable saying it, over the phone, in conversation or to someone new. Now I love being able to say I have a husband. The security and pride I feel every time I can say the words “my husband” is something I hope never goes away.

3. I feel like I’m providing a secure, stable and happy home for T showing her how you can be happy before marriage, (we were together 3 years before our wedding day) and after being married. Our family has just got closer and closer since our wedding day and we talk about it all the time along with making references to being married, how Scott is my husband and I’m his wife and T is learning how being married means you are in a happy relationship full of love, fun and teamwork.

4. I feel like marriage brings us closer as a team. We look out for each other, the house is ran together, parenting is a joint responsibility, looking after our puppy is a team effort and any problems or issues that come up are faced together as a team. There is no longer a separation or independence but a togetherness that means we can face any challenges that come our way.

5. I married my soul mate. I’ve had ups and downs with friendships and even friendships end since I’ve been married but I know I will always have my husband by my side. Whether it’s to cuddle under a blanket and listen to my worries or  take me and the dog on a long walk round the lake one evening holding hands and watching the sunset I know he will always be there for me.

6. I love that we have so much more to come!  We are just at the beginning and even though we want to do it all now we have the rest of our lives to build more amazing memories and keep making each other happy.

Happy Anniversary darling, thank you for a wonderful first year xxx