When will I learn…

Today I looked like a pillock…I am aware, btw, that noone uses this word any more. Why not? Is it really offensive, or has it just been phased out like ‘knobhead’? If it is offensive, I am sorry, I have no idea of its meaning, other than looking like an idiot, and now I am too scared to google, even on ‘Private’ settings.

Anyway, I looked stupid, for one moment I thought I was winning at life, it turns out I wasn’t.

To set the scene, I fell under the illusion I was winning at life on good grounds. There were clear indications earlier on in the day.  They are as follows;

1.I had made it to an 8.40am appointment-sure by the skin of my teeth, and clutching, in a slightly frightening way, coffee and with no under-eye concealer on (my partner in crime everyday now). But I made it. Not sure why, because it was a bit rubbish. Dr’s appointment where ‘said GP’ forgot all about my previous 6 visits, even though they are on the screen in front of her. (Please note: I am well aware that GP’s see a lot of people, I don’t expect her to just remember everything-HOWEVER she had asked me to return for this appointment, 2 weeks after my last. And yet, every time I see looks at me like we have never met and we have the same dialogue…look at the screen lady. Right I divulge…

2. I was walking around town confidently with baby in the sling and backpack of ESSENTIALS on my back. Looking not that dissimilar to an obese beetle, one who happens to be wearing a bobble hat because she actually thinks the character Ashley, from Recess the cartoon, rocked that hat…so why can’t a mum in her 30s??

3. I went into wilkos and I found the correct lightbulb for my lamp, despite forgetting to write down the details before I left…MINOR MIRACLE

4. Despite gazing longingly, I DID NOT PURCHASE PIC’N’MIX at said Wilkos-because we are broke.

5. But I did allow myself to purchase a pizza sweet, because I had them at a party when I was 13 and think they are very cool…and it was 30p. Mike said “those sweets are always disappointing, they look so much better than they taste”

Ummmm I beg to differ…it was delish, and I don’t think the appearance is that good

pizza sweet.jpg

So, those were the strong grounds I was winning at life (Plus I had done a few bits of life admin)

So understandably, I thought ‘Go and get you and your baby a little drink, go on treat yourself, she’s at a sweet stage (of laughing and crawling) and that there cafe they have toys and free babycino’ (‘that there cafe’ is the wonderful ‘The Kitchen’ on Silver street, ground floor of the Station-do highly recommend despite what happened next)

So we go in, see friends, say hi and have a nice chat, even place our order. Things seemed to have moved around, can’t see the toys and some people seem to be on the sofas in the corner that is perfect for penning in small children (Yes Penning in-like cattle-I am that mum, or more appropriately that is my daughter).

‘It’s ok I thought, we will just sit at a normal table, and play with my purse (endless fun can be had with a purse).

So for 2 blissful minutes my daughter happily removed all the vouchers, stamps and loyalty cards and handed them to me and I placed them on the table. Drinks then came, all good, couldn’t see teaspoons…they were there, I just was temporarily blind.

So I went for a dessert spoon to spoon warm milk into my daughters mouth. Alas, the spoon was too big and she mainly wanted to flail with it (I think she is seeing it as dancing). So then I tried helping her drink from the little cup, ohhhh boy she loved it…so much so she threw her hands up with delight and said cup and contents went everywhere.

‘No worries’ I thought/Actually I thought and mumbled different sentiments-but outwardly I remained calmish and went to mop it up. But my daughter wanted to try and  drink it from the table, which she also found hilarious …she hates waste. In my attempt to get her to refrain from that I knocked over more milk…the table is now swimming in milk, it is dripping off onto my coat and bag…and vouchers/loyalty cards and stamps are now a milky mess. And baby, is trying to crawl over everything licking milk from her hands and floor as she goes.

It’s at this point I think ‘WHAT THE FLIP was I thinking….she is at that crazy stage of laughing and crawling/trying to walk! I am not winning at life, I am barely surviving! Why did I get above my ranks? I am not demure, she is wild, if the toy/sofa pen is not free…then this all too much’

So I left in a hurry, after soaking through 20 (million) napkins and all vouchers/cards! Sorry Earth and Sorry Wallet!! I scrambled to load baby and backpack on, so much so I got my jacket tucked up in the sling, in a way that can only be described as ‘painful’ looking.

As I left I walked past M&S and briefly thought about getting a bra fitted and then I remembered that I was a giant beetle with catastrophic capabilities when I started to unload, and no-one in M&S needs that s#*t, especially no-one visiting the lingerie dept…So I went home.

So I am not the cool collected mum I thought I was, and despite my bobble hat I think it’ll take a while before I get there…but maybe my best mum years are ahead of me? Maybe I will absolutely win at being a mum in the teenage years?

Mmmmm Maybe not….

 

***On a plus, I did eat the pizza sweet on the way home and it was wonderful!

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For Fika’s sake…

Fika (Swedish pronunciation: [²fiːka]) is a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning “to have coffee”, often accompanied with pastries, cookies or pie

One of my favourite things about staying at my aunt and uncles was that at 11am for coffee and cake. What a wonderful way to live. Their home was always the height of sophistication, I felt like the conversation was so cultured and the coffee and cake…well my aunt’s ability to cook up swedish delights in next to no time was amazing.

But mostly I loved it because everyone stopped and talked, about the news, about what we were thinking about or experiencing. I felt like my contribution was not only welcomed but expected and valued, as teenager and young adult it was so helpful.

In the last few weeks I have been thinking about applying for a few jobs within the development sector (FYI I am going to apply) and I would really value some Fika time to process thoughts. Fika that didn’t include my incredibly wonderful, but equally active 11 month old.

So without the cake or coffee, or my wonderful aunt and uncle by my side, but instead Faith asleep on the bed next to me (a ticking time bomb…) and Adam Buxton podcast playing in the background (its bloomin brilliant btw) I will try and chat about my current situation.

I have realised that I, and actually ‘we’ because I think part of the problem is shared with my husband, have grown apathetic and distant from caring about others. Well that is not exactly true, we care about those in our immediate vicinity-those we see in front of us, or are in constant contact. But when Mike and I first met, we both were very involved with international charities/social justice issues-probably annoyingly so. In fact definitely annoyingly so on my part, I lectured my family on FairTrade and spent a lot of time judging other people’s choices to buy cheap clothes, Coca Cola and Nestle.

But also there were some aspects of less annoying care…like we thought really hard about how we could still source ethical food and be hospitable on a budget. We wanted to be generous and lavish with things we thought helped others too.

But after a while standards slipped, during work my addiction to Diet Coke crept back in, and my desire to just have a new outfit meant that I started purchasing at shops I knew were not very ethical, and rather than try and find balance…I just avoided any social justice issues.

I avoided TV shows that made me feel guilty, and stopped going to events that would prick at my conscience. And then I had Faith, and still I avoided things…sometimes for the good of others…there was only so much wailing Mike could cope with whilst I watched Comic Relief 2 weeks after having her. So I stuck with shows that made me laugh and smile and not cry, and that was how I came to be watching and loving Love Island.

As I tried to process a bit those scary early moments she was born, there was one thing that really helped me. I had twinned my pregnancy with a girl in Malawi, I saw it online when I was 10 days overdue and thought why not. When the dust started to settle after our slightly overwhelming start, I received an email saying that the teenage girl I supported had just had a little girl too, and a healthcare nurse had gone to visit her, and was regularly checking in and both were doing fine.

I was so reassured by the simple fact, that this girl had not been left on her own. Just hearing that she was doing ok, reminded me of how supported I felt and that I was not on my own.

I have come to realise that for me, and maybe all of us, that facing injustice and standing with those who struggle doesn’t have to overwhelm you, it can affirm you, bring you life.

I think in my mind, I had stayed away from it all thinking I can’t cope with anyone else’s pain or grief, not thinking that maybe in joining together we could all be helped.

I am aware this sounds a bit selfish, that I am only willing to help others because it helps me..and maybe that is my starting point at times, but it isn’t my whole journey.

And actually maybe it addresses the power imbalance a bit…maybe for too often we think of any social justice about ‘us’ helping ‘them’…maybe it is more about everyone helping everyone??

 

So this is my Fika thoughts today…also I love Adam Buxton, he is a very funny man.

 

 

my body, my mess

I am currently finding myself in a lot of chats about the joy of the human body (there was a hint of sarcasm in that last part) and well sex. This may be a good point where if you are related to me, or just uncomfortable around the topic of sex and me, you might wanna stop reading and watch some very mundane TV to help you think about something else (I recommend ‘Tipping Point’).

Having a baby changes your body, a lot. In many ways, both positive and negative as I am sure you know or can imagine. But what I didn’t realise is how much the physical changes have affected the mental changes. I have gone from being ok with being a pear/apple shape to now not sure if I more closely resemble a wonky pineapple or a bruised and half bitten avocado? How do you dress those fruits? No one is ready for this jelly!

And that’s just the top half!

But bodies’ are forever changing not just through having a baby but through life, whether we are slimming down, toning up or just trying to feel ‘ok’ whilst dealing with illness. And these changes are not always in the realm of our control. And that is tough and it feels unfair.

At the beginning of this month I was so frustrated with my diagnosis of endometriosis, I felt like it wasn’t fair that I had it and it seemed particularly unjust that things seemed to be getting worse not better no matter what I tried.

I just wanted to have autonomy over my own body again.

I realise I am not alone in this, for those that are struggling against chronic conditions and find their lives drastically changed and their energy sapped, to the athlete/sportsperson who is sidelined due to injury or for those who long to get pregnant but are left wondering why it won’t happen for them. Our bodies can let us down and it’s painful, and not just physically.

In many many ways I am so fortunate. I do not want to seem ungrateful, but I do want to be honest about the challenge.

How I mentally perceive my body has been affected as much as my physical body. I am a lot stronger than I realised, I can function on very little sleep and when needed run up and down the stairs with laundry/bottles/towels/baby pretty speedily. But I am also more fragile, more vulnerable and more aware of the dangers ahead-and that scares me.

Similarly sex has changed in ways I didn’t foresee (don’t worry I am not going to go into details… that’s another blog post, probably one to write after a glass of wine or two) and in ways I have struggled to communicate. I don’t really have any issue about talking about sex, which I am sure many of you are all too aware …I think communication makes for healthier people and that does not stop around the topic of sex.  But what happens when the issue is that your body and your mind don’t seem to be working together in the same way and you really don’t know why? How do you find yourself back to the ‘you’ you always knew?

I don’t know if this is making sense? The point I am trying to make seems like the golden snitch in Harry Potter just slightly out of my reach.

But I am trying to start the dialogue, open the complex box that is when your body feels like its not your own, when it acts against you…where do you go from here?

Is it a case of acceptance? Or acknowledging that things have just eternally shifted?

Or do you just try every option there is…even at the cost of exhausting your emotions further?

One thing I know is that embarrassment and fear of what others think doesn’t aid any process, and actually telling people can be helpful. Obviously having some boundaries is good, (for example, Norma, on her way to get her hair done, and the rest if the bus do not need to hear you exclaim about your ‘broken’ pelvic floor!)*

 

*-Clearly I am demonstrating my good boundaries by writing a public blog post on it…

 

Be the change…not the same

So firstly I was inspired by a food waste collection truck called ‘bio bee’ (it is decorated like a bee) and is run on food waste! I thought they had missed a trick when they had the hashtag ‘bethechange’ and not ‘beethechange’, but alas I googled it there’s a protect the bee campaign that has got there first, and I guess rightly so. We need to protect those girls (most bees are female…the bee movie lies)

Right, anyhow this post is about belonging. Which I am pretty sure I have blogged about before, man this is like my journal the same stuff year in-year out. Except I am no longer trying to work out the probability of me marrying Leo or whether I ever had a chance with some of my older brothers friends, I didn’t.

So lately I have had a lot of conversations with people who are worrying that they don’t belong anywhere. I get that and struggle with it A LOT.

But I have also had a small revelation, and here it is; ‘you do not need to be the same to belong’ (I know its kinda strongly hinted at in the title so it probably wasn’t a shocker)

We are just in the process of moving church, and we are moving from a very large congregation where we got away with swanning in pretty late or being away for a few weeks and its no biggie because well its huge, and its difficult to notice people when there are so many of us. It has been a great church, but now we live in a different area and we have our local (and also great)church, where I go to playgroup (yes often for the last 20 mins) and I see local families there, and once ate a lot of takeout there (a good sign of good people)! So it makes sense to be part of that community. But being a small congregation you notice stuff a lot quicker, like people believing a few different things to us. Which of course, existed in the bigger church, you just didn’t notice so often.

And then little insecurities start speaking to you ‘these are not your people, you do not believe that…’ sounding familiar to the voices you heard as a teenager ‘you cannot go on that trip you do not own a kappa jumper or the popper tracksuit bottoms what will you wear? (looking back I thank the Lord that I didn’t have them)’ or at Uni ‘do not say anything Jen, you have only been to a few countries and you have never fully read and understood any political/economics book…these are not your people…and you are wearing New Look and not People Tree…they will know you are a fake’.

But somewhere in our minds we have made the assumptions that only the same have a real bond-like a surreal magical twin thing. And that is the true sign of a deep connection. Not true-I’m calling BS on it!

(Though ‘Sister Sister’ TV show was different…they were just class and PTL that its coming back!)

We are not the same as lots of people in that church, and I bet they are glad of that, but it is equally stupid of me to assume that they are all the same, and just I am different. They are a family of people, and belonging isn’t restricted to whether or not you support the womens march, or buy Fairtrade or watch Stranger Things or not. (Btw those are random examples…I have never seen ST)

It is surely more, its about accepting people as they are, and loving them even when its hard. My biological family are pretty loud and opinionated, and we disagree A LOT, as anyone who has visited us will know all too well, but we belong to each other.

So be the change, be you, and accept others for being them and then slowly but surely we can start to belong.

small beginnings…

‘Do not despise these small beginnings, because the LORD rejoices to see the work begin’ (Zachariah 4.10)

This verse, these small beginnings…oh how I feel like my life is full of small beginnings. Of just managing to unload and then reload the dishwasher or the washing machine, of making bottles and brushing hair and changing nappies.

It is easy to be frustrated by them, of wanting to achieve more, to be more.

I know these days matter, I know that these times with Faith are precious and to be treasured and yet I crave a sense of productivity that can be quantified and services that are paid for. I struggle to live out my belief that worth is not shown in a monetary figure, and success is not always a public achievement.

Today I spent hours swaying…thats right…in an attempt to get or keep Faith asleep.

Today I had about 5 conversations with adults, nearly all of them punctuated by children crying, feeding, getting stuck in small spaces.

Today I spent too much time picking up baked beans and putting them back on my daughters plate for her to eat one or 2 and then throw the rest again.

But I also smiled at a few strangers,

danced to the theme tune of various kids programmes,

listened to the birds singing whilst the sun was on my face and the cold wind blew my hair,

had a mentee (and friend) around and chatted about all that life holds for her,

laughed and played and waved furiously with Faith at our neighbours cat (who wants to live with us…but Mike won’t allow it),

watched my daughter try and walk between her Dad and I and then her squeal with delight and want to do it again and again,

facetimed one of my oldest friends and her beautiful family,

plan a ‘dream bathroom’,

and started to organise some meals for friends about to have a baby.

Then I realised there is joy in these small beginnings, they are sacred because they are living and breathing moments where love is.

Letters for Faith

Here are a few: fklklcmxigsxalcderfni

Haha!

Yes I am that tired that I find myself funny. It is a sad state of affairs that today on my walk, I thought I miss laughing until I cry, until my stomach hurts and I fear I might pee myself…despite all of these consequences being much MORE likely its a rare occurrence-so much so that I considered fake laughing on a golf course, so as to induce real laughter…yes thats how desperate I became. It didn’t work-I guess you need other people to help out with that one?

Right I have seriously digressed-Anyway I write letters to Faith, I actually starting writing them pre her existence, when we had decided to try for a baby (what a GAWD AWFUL expression-I am sickened by myself for using it, and the images it brings with it).

But yes I wrote letters to her before I knew who she was, or even if she would definitely ever come to be. They are mainly prayers…prayers that she will be fearless in life, and not scared to take risks, that she is loved even though I make mistakes, I love her fiercely. They are encouragements to be kind and compassionate even when it is not easy and to be honest even when it seems terrifying to show people who you are. They are letters written furiously in the middle of the night when I struggled to sleep, or in the early hours before the day had begun. They are sometimes apologetic, wishing I had done things better…I still have yet to reread the one I wrote after her birth. In part because its still a bit raw, however I have strong feeling it will be illegible and written in the haze of morphine and other such friendly drugs.

The letters are the explanation space, the extra info we often wish we could give to others when we spend time with them. To let them know that despite our short tempers, or becoming so easily distracted (this is ALWAYS me-I am so sorry) that we do care, and we are interested.

And finally they are a bit of a guide to being a woman, not that I am the most clued up on this shit but because well its tough. And its always changing…in lots of ways for the better, well done Oprah on the most kick ass speech, well done Caitlin Moran on your bloomin brilliant writing…but it is still difficult for all of us really.

But Faith my biggest hope is that you will find these letters free-ing, that they will wrap you in love and you will be so secure that you will find strength to be yourself, shedding all the anxieties, fears, stresses that we find piled upon us.

Also I hope you can read my handwriting, otherwise it really was a waste of time!

 

The magic of the January adventure (the magic is that it ain’t all that)

It’s January…I am a cliche, like nearly everyone else in Europe I struggggle with this month. I feel deflated and bleurgh, I want to clear my head and my body-but I seem to be already playing catch up and drawn to TV (which as I have mentioned before is a love of mine, but alas I find myself watching shit TV -and not the ‘so cheesy its brilliant’ just the rubbish). Like half episodes of Lewis, where I never really understand who anyone is but I am just wasting away time, time that I don’t really have,

I want to buy stationary and work out clothes that fit-but we are broke, and Mike winces every time I open my wallet which makes me slightly tense, because my wallet likes to be opened-its just that kind of character. It’s like me, its an extrovert-and struggles when it has to stay at the bottom of my bag.

And my body, well on a positive my stretch marks are fading because my stomach is growing again, and the happy gurgling it makes is not from a baby but because its being fed on copious amounts of chocolate, cake and sweets. Initially we were using up treats that were left over from Christmas, but then we bought ‘extras’ because we were bargains. We vowed we would share them-but alas we didn’t-I ate them! And then I would go for a walk-enjoy the fresh air-and then order a hot chocolate with syrup, marshmallows and cream and yeah put a cake with it-why not?

So here I am…typing whilst I eat pudding (yup that hasn’t stopped yet) and wondering how to snap out of this food coma/mood sucking funk…

And my temptation is plan something, book something…go on an adventure!

Because that is what I do in January, I jump on the adventure bandwagon with such force that the bandwagon breaks free and I find myself derailed and hurtling at great speed. Which is thrilling and wonderful for a while and then the realisation that I am committing money, time, energy that I don’t have to something I haven’t really thought through hits me and then I feel sick and PANIC.

A brilliant example of this is that I often would develop massive crushes on often quite inappropriate guys at Uni because it was January. Some of my friends noticed and would often warn me not to do anything reckless like text them when I have drunk too much (good advice regardless of the month) or kiss them on a night out…but instead wait a few weeks, until February because it was likely that I didn’t really fancy them at all.

This is how I knew it was real with Mike, it was October when we met. By ‘real’ I mean I actually liked him-I still made a stupid error the following January by telling him I loved him when I wasn’t sure I actually did, just because I longed for something to be happening in my life and relationship. FYI he responded with silence (his usual reply) and then ‘thank you’ (said in a slightly sceptical way) to which I burst into tears and anger and then declared I wanted to take it back because I wasn’t sure I actually did love him anyway.

Oh the fun he has with me!!!

So back to the present day, I will try and eat better and spend less but I will also try not to make any life altering plans/book any epic holidays on a credit card or anything on that ilk…well at least until February.

I am all for an adventure, but maybe not one that is being sold to you through the internet because companies know you are sitting in your pjs eating your third pudding looking longingly at sale outfits you can’t afford and are therefore easy prey to the enticing ‘change your life’ sales pitch.

Adventure right now looks more like; going somewhere new on a walk, setting aside time to pray and think, creating your own bullet journal, listening to a podcast or reading a book you got given for Christmas, taking that stuff to the charity shop.

Less crazy but still a sense of achievement.

Save the wildness for February and Galentines Day!!!

RED WED January

So you may, or may not, have heard of RED (Run Every Day) January its to encourage people to get active, get some headspace and also, in this years case, raise funds and awareness for MIND-the incredible Mental health charity. For more info, follow the address below…

https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary

Anyway, I am up for this…but realistically its more of a WED with some occasional RED month for me. I think this is best for all…today when I ran I realised 1)my running leggings were on back to front 2)my laces were nearly constantly in a state of undone 3)I breathe so heavily after about 30 seconds 4)my pelvic floor is wrecked (Sorry TMI) and 5) thank the Lord it was dark because a nursing bra…well it doesn’t do much in terms of support.

What’s actually pretty free-ing, is the motivation behind it all.

I am not doing it to lose weight or get fit (though thats not necessarily unwanted) but just to give me some space…and getting it, it is addictive. It makes me a better wife and mother, a better friend and generally just a nicer person. And I can definitely do with anything that helps me there.

One of the things I have been thinking about is what I say when I speak to myself…cue many a joke. I often find I exclaim things to myself, but I have recently realised that I only speak out when I am frustrated, angry, disappointed at myself. It is only ever negative. I do this subconciously, it isn’t intentional…but it get me thinking what if I choose to speak positives to myself.

I feel like a wally doing it. But part of this walking/running month I am going to use to affirm some positives in me.

So if you see some slightly red faced, trundling women speaking to herself around North West Bristol-well fear not, its just a mum trying to get her shit together!

TV

There was this guy I fancied a while ago (like a long time ago noone needs to worry about my marriage). Anyway my housemate and I had just found ’24’ and binge watched seasons 1 and 2, in a slightly obsessive-being rubbish youth workers because need to get back and watch more-way. I then text him to tell him how amazing it was (I like to share good news) anyway he responded with ‘that’s days of your life you will never get back’.

I think that was, one of many clues, he wasn’t the guy for me!!

I realise I have spent far too long trying to be cool and interesting for other people. I do like to learn new things and am keen to embrace new experience…but I am who I am and parts of me, large parts (not literal large parts although that may be true as well) are just not cool.

For example I love TV, at times I have tried to explain this because for lots of my childhood we didn’t have a TV, and when we did it was limited screen time. My parents wanted to encourage outdoor playing and imaginative games, although I am grateful for that, it has along with limiting sweets and chocolate in my childhood led to me being a sucker for TV and the girl that stands obsessively by the snack table at parties!

But whatever the reason, I just can’t help it…I love TV. Obviously I have limits Jeremy Kyle makes me want to claw my eyes out, and I have no attachment to antique hunting or even the home improvement/selling programmes, or most reality programmes-bar the awful but addictive MIC and Love Island this year.

But I am not cool-I still tie my jumper around my waist when I get to hot-not in a cool Tai way from Clueless, in a ‘I am too hot and I don’t want to carry my jumper’ way.

I still can’t properly put on eye makeup and I don’t understand a phone diary and so insist on buying a paper one each year. I have been known to keep a pen/pencil in my hair (no I am not an artist) and frankly if I have straightened my hair its obviously a national holiday or a wedding. I don’t know the cool musicians, I haven’t read the right books and I have never seen a animal documentary series through, even though I do enjoy them. I take my coffee any which way it comes-except obvs caffeinated!

But who the feck cares…who wants to be cool anyway. It takes time away from watching TV and eating tortellini from a mug of boiling water (another treat I indulge in, its a cross between fishing and eating).

simples

So Christmas has come and gone and I meant to blog, but I didn’t have any time (now thinking I should have made time…). Anyhow it was good, and tiring, and funny and frustrating and awkward and filled with beautiful moments and lots of food and drink and so nice to be with family and friends!

And technically the holiday season is not over…so roll on (I am literally rolling because of my chocolate and alcohol consumption).

A while ago, when I was surrounded by wrapping and to-do lists and crap Christmas films and eating chocolates I had bought for others, I craved a more simple time.

I remembered back to a few years ago, when I started crying in Superdrug in the the town I grew up in. What a sophisticated moment of my life, a late 20 something standing there in the entrance by the ‘collection 2000′ makeup, wiping tears from my eyes. I would have left but I needed to buy a few things. So the reason for my tears, well it wasn’t too many amaretto and cokes the night before, because Christmas eve was yet to arrive.

No alas, the reason I was crying because I witnessed two eleven year old girls debating which ’99p’ fruit showergel to buy their friends, and I cried with nostalgia.

You see I grew up in a town that boasted amongst its high street stores 4 that an 11 year old could buy a gift for a friend in. They were Woolworths, Superdrug, New look and Boots. Obviously the treasures one could afford at 11 years old were limited. But I remember carefully choosing chocolates, showergels and hairbands for my friends and wrapping them up. I was crying because I missed those days…weren’t they simpler?

In reality probably not, with a background theme tune of early All Saints and Boyzone…it was pre my slightly cooler indie days (lets be honest I was never that cool)…anyway they were filled with the drama and the hormones that teenagers bring with them. But in my mind it was so easy and light.

In the days between Christmas and New Year I feel like a splodge, not just because of all I have eaten but the lethargy after all the hype-the stopping and waiting that I crave in advent, is suddenly here. And often I get into this obsessive ‘how can we make our lives so much better’ but I am trying not to do that this year.

The stuff that makes life complicated; the doubts around faith and beliefs, the struggle to be healthier in both mind and body, the never ending challenge to be more present and the awkward navigation of deep relationships with family and friends-that is life. It is not easy, but should it be?

So this Christmas has been complicated at times, but that is actually ok, more than ok in fact. And I may not be debating who to buy a fruit showergel for but the joy that I got from that I get elsewhere. (Also disclaimer my skin could never handle those showergels so I always ended up with mine collecting dust in our bathroom-I hate to think how much needless plastic and chemicals have been wasted on me over the years-sorry Earth).

 

Here are a few things that have brought me simple joy this past week:

-Finding the playlist Mike made for our wedding and playing it in the car

-my daughter showing off a satsuma at the front of church on Christmas day

-seeing Faith play with her cousins

-watching ‘Little women’ on BBC

-loving life with a peanut butter hot chocolate and cream…it was decadent but wonderful

-My brother reading my niece and Faith ‘the jolly Christmas postman’

-finishing 2 books!!! Finally!

-watching my dad and mum play the After 8 game

-walks around the parks of Gloucester and Roundhay in Leeds

-our coffee advent calendar

-watching Christmas movies

-catching up with young people that have gone off to Uni and now come back