The value of friendships

We happened to bump into one of Ophelia’s nursery pals at soft play the other day.  Prior to seeing him, she was apprehensive of this new, loud place and we were close to leaving. Once she saw him though, she was immediately in literal ROFL hysterics for the following 30 minutes. Im not sure i’ve ever seen her laugh like that so much. This is a boy I didn’t recognise, nor have I previously heard her say his name, so clearly not a regular play mate. However his familiarity and nature was exactly enough in that moment, his presence simply telling her; it’s alright. That basic reassurance already evident at mere 3 years old, remains for the rest of our lives.

I think friendships, no matter your age, can really impact your life and wellbeing both positively and negatively.  Trying to navigate those playgroup cliques and find a “fit” whilst finding you self isn’t an easy balance.  It takes the right combination of self awareness and insight to be able to put yourself out there to make those connections, something that doesn’t get any easier as you get older.  

As a parent, I already see these connections and explorations happening; influences in behaviour, interests and language that you never thought possible at 3 years old.  The fickle nature of girls, where often “you’re not my best friend anymore” is muttered to me (by daughter, not a friend!)-which I incidentally don’t ever remember someone saying to me! 

But equally, the clearness of those friends that are like siblings to you, that no matter what, you just get and tolerate each other, and despite your differences you never say a bad word about, unless it’s to their face, because you just know each other like that. Those are my favourites, and I think those are Ophelia’s favourites too. 

Wedding planning plans

Seeing as it’s under 8 months til we get married, I thought I best start writing a list of stuff to do, seeing as we haven’t even sent save the dates or invites….oops!!  

Invites

Personally, I would be happy if we didn’t send invites, I could get all hippy an’ be like “think of all the trees wasted” “they cost a lot for something that ends up in the bin”, which are both true, although I also think it’s a lot of unnecessary faff.

With that bombshell opinion out of the way, what other stupid ideas have got Callum already wondering what he’s got himself in for?! Although lets be honest, we’ve been together 9 (yeesh) years so he already knows what he’s dealing with! 

No real flowers:

Again, THINK OF ALL THE FLOWERS being wasted!!! Bees, world dying ya da ya da. Callum is properly against this one, but seriously, who fucking notices the flowers anyway? Plus, I’d much rather have knitted ones that could be..reused?! 

Fiesta theme:

Sangria, paella, ragey bright colours with streamers …what’s not to love?! Callum’s exact words were “We don’t want it to look like a kids party”….Erm.. don’t we?!!

No transport between venues:

It can’t just be me that thinks it’s ridiculous to organise transport for guests between ceremony and reception?!I mean, am I their parent for Godsake?!! Also, I can count on one finger the amount of weddings ive been to that have done that….and that’s because I wad a friggin’ bridesmaid. 

Did you do any of the above or decide not to? Tell me so I can make my case!!


My reaction to The Minimalism Documentary

Is my relationship with ‘things’ healthy?

At a time with “New year new you” posts flying around the blogsphere, social media and the media, it appears that Minimalism paraphinalia is in abundence. Between books like that one by Marie Kondo, or documentaries like Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus it feels like the pressure is on for 2017’s word to be “minimalism”.

Ryan and Joshua are two 30 something men who had previously worked hard to reach their corporate career driven goals, but still felt a longing sense of disatisfaction.  This is when they decided to take back control of their lives and happiness by turning to minimalism.

The Documentary follows them as they complete a book tour, discussing their lifestyle journeys with audiences all over the country, and sharing their methods.

There are a lot of aspects of  the documentary that align with my own values with the main essence having meaning and purpose in your life.

The impact of advertising and social media are discussed in relation to conumerism and compulsory consumption that they encourage, this is something I have mentioned on this blog several times in the past, in relation to the monetising of Instagram, Twitter and Blogs; using people to sell things and create objects of fashion.  The increase of envy and comparison to lifestyle, and must have objects since the creation of these platforms must be through the roof.  You could argue that personality type means that some people will always be suseptable to feeling envy or desire to replicate life or outfits, however I’m not convinced this is justification.

The Documentary goes on to delve into the psychological reasoning behind this need for more; placing social value on items in order to fill a void, the hunger for fulfilment and need to feel whole.  I know for one that I used to get real enjoyment from buying clothes and things, and whilst this isn’t the case anymore, this documentary isn’t saying this.  It is about having less so that you can have more enjoyment- for example making room for more books if books are what make you happy- What things are bringing value to my life?

I found the segment showing tiny homes particularly interesting, especially as I watched the documentary on the same day that I discovered the Youtubers TheTinyMumma and NomadiDaddy, who have recently been living in a converted shed.  I found it truly enlightening to look around these homes and see how comfortable these peope were living (albeit apart from poor TheTinyMumma heavily pregnant trying to climb up a tiny ladder to bed…!).

The section on technology is one I think a lot of people could benefit from seeing, especially on the need for more up to date kit and the disposability of previously “must have” items.  I am as guilty as anyone, and am on my own journey to reduce my use, however I think it is a sad indictment on society that we feel the need to conseciously switch off from technology.   I have been trying to reduce my use of technology for many months, including going out without my phone, and only communicating with people to arrange to meet up.  By making communication less frequent, it allows the communication to be more meaningful , which has then allowed for me to be part of closer, more meaningful communities.

Overall I think this documentary is well worth watching if you are interested in enriching your life and evaluating your own values.  Whilst none of what they say is ground breaking, I do think it serves as an important reminder to look at ourselves and how we wish to live our lifes, and for how we wish the world around us to look like.

“Love people, and use things, because the opposite never works”.

2017 hopes

I don’t actually like to put too much pressure on the year ahead, but mentally I always make a bullet point list of things I’m hoping to do, and here it is “written down”. 
Travel to at least three places– I think this is pretty achievable, we’re already booked into Barcelona. We’re hoping to travel Bavaria for our honeymoon and Paris or Bologna is on the cards too, plus I’m sure we’ll be back up to Scotland again. 

Stop being non stop– Going to the Highlands always immediately demonstrates how non stop my life is. I’ve always been someone (pre child!!) who has quiet hobbies, embracing relaxation and unwinding. But since having Ophelia my free time has been radically compressed (hi 3 years of limited sleep) which then means I’m squeezing more into less time. We’d obviously found a rhythm because it didn’t feel ridiculously out of control, but I immediately noticed how odd it felt for me to sit still with no niggling feeling of things I should be doing.  That’s when I knew I needed to be careful. To be that tightly coiled non stop cannot be good for your body, health or lifestyle. So I need to work on this in 2017. Not yet sure how. Maybe I’ll employ a cleaner 😂. 

Don’t be a bridzilla– With just under 9 months until we get married, I’m maybe a bit too relaxed about the whole thing. We haven’t sent out save the dates or invites, I’m a bit worried I’ll get to June and suddenly realise how much I need to do. But realistically, I can’t see that happening.  At the end of the day, as long as people are fed and watered, not much else matters. 

Solve the house issues– We are lucky in that our house is relatively low maintenance and neutrally decorated so not much is needed. Unfortunately we do have out of use chimney stacks which have been a right ball ache; twice we’ve done different interventions but yesterday we discovered neither have solved it. So we start again!I’m determined to properly solve it, no matter the cost! 

Really that’s it, I expect nothing more or less from 2017 because who knows what curve balls it will throw. But as long as we’re surrounded by the right love and support, we can get through it. 

2016

Well weren’t you a bit fucked up 2016?! Too much talented, killed. A lot of hate around the world, manifested in wars and attacks. Fuelled by possibly the two worst political decisions in my history-😐Brexit and Trump. 

Despite this, personally I’ve mostly enjoyed 2016. I’ve worked bloody hard, but I’ve also celebrated life quite hard. It was the year of stability.  Not that I blogged most, if any of these things, but here are my highlights: 

Jan:

Haggis night with my favourites. 

Feb:

It was a quiet month as I started a new locum contract and we prepared for our holiday. 

Help setting up the garden.


March

Budapest. 

Deer Hunter gig.

April:

Wonder.land and London friend hang outs. 

May:

Last ever salute.  
June:

Hamburg and Scotland trips bit much in one month but both totally worth it. 

July:

Srawberry picking and pool parties. 
August:

We spent lots of time outside: Woods, Aldingbourne Country Centre, The beach.
September:

Celebrated friends’ weddings and booking ours. 

October:

Mitski gig

Finally decorated Ophelia’s room.
November:

Lone theatre trip. 
December:

London trip. 

Nephew arrived. 
A fond farewell 2016. 

Share your 2016 - Belle du Brighton

Why Moana is great

Last week Callum and I took Ophelia to see Moana, I really didn’t expect much from it, but here is why I loved it: 
It doesn’t have a romantic theme- It was so refreshing not to have a love interest, it would’ve completely ruined the flow for me, and because of this, it made the storyline somehow more three dimensional.  

It shows an already strong powerful young woman realising her potential-I’m so excited to see Disney having more of these leading ladies, I think it comes at a time when there are a lot of strong, gritty female leads in general films. 

Realistic family bonds- Not to say I think children should disobey their parents but I think the family bonds in this film were spot on. Demonstrating that sometimes people need to learn their own mistakes, take their own journey and as parents we have to accept that.  Alongside that, it showed that family is filled with people with different views, but love no matter what.  

Comedy- The comedy aspects in Moana appealed to all-Slapstick, situational, musical. I particularly liked the use of facial expressions, the environment and characters to bring comic moments when you least expected it. 

Once more with feeling. 

This last week has been an invigorating one for me, with a range of activities kick-starting my insides, like that pilot light that needs a bit of work, but eventually the blue returns. 

It began with Nocturnal animals at the cinema, seeing films filled with talent always gets my brain back into gear, this thriller drama was refreshing and engaging. 

The next thing was going alone to see my favourite theatre company perform Things I know to be true at Chichester Festival Theatre. I went alone, and this is not something I’ve done before. But I did it, with minimal discomfort, and a lot of thought provoking enjoyment because this is my passion.  Thought provoking theatre. With strong themes around family, ambition and values, it was an important reminder of how lucky I am to have a supportive network, despite different values.  

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them was my Friday night jaunt to the local 1920 cinema.  The film itself was perfect for losing yourself in a different world for an hour or so.  Because sometimes that’s just what your brain needs. 

Walking the dogs has provided me with an excuse to take a lunch break for a change.  The difference this makes to my head space, productivity and ability to get through the working week has been far greater than I thought. The wind in my face and the crisp air, blast my senses awake, dusting off the long term sleep deprived fatigue. 
Lastly, we went to see Arrival yesterday.   It was prolific in its storytelling, cinematic experience, demonstrating the importance of Communication in a world of fear.  I nearly cried within the first five minutes, but the film speaks on a far deeper level than that, leaving you deep in thought for quite some time.  

I want every week to feel like this, to feel rejuvenated and itching to have more exposure to those things that feed my soul. 

What has kick-started you this week? 

West Sussex with kids: Dinosaur park, Southwater

 I wanted to do something a bit different on our day off together this week, and I’d promised Ophelia we would go to the Dinosaur park. 

I love to theme things, so thought I’d try and do a few dinosaur activities alongside the park trip. 

It turns out Ophelia was excited and decided to start an activity of her own volition; dinosaur stamping. 

We packed up a dinosaur bag filled with plastic dinosaurs, and mine with a picnic, then we were on our way. 

Southwater is about 20 minutes from my house, and once there, the signposts for parking and walking are well timed and clear. 

It felt like such an adventure with a dinosaur on signs and footprints leading the way. 
Once inside there were so many different things to play on, a lot of which were different to things you would find at the park normally like dinosaur “bones” hidden in the sand, dinosaur Eggs and dinosaurs throughout. There were different things for each age group; baby swings, see saws, noise pipes, a giant slide, rope swings, hide house, spider ropes….the list goes on. 

Ophelia spent ages in the hide house with two other children the same age that she befriended, pretending it was their house and climbing up and down.

After a quick portaloo stop  (very conveniently at the right side entrance!) we walked to the lake for a picnic. It was so relaxing sitting with the gentle sounds of the ducks. 

We carried on walking a different route to the car, walking like dinosaurs for the remainder of the journey.  Ophelia loved the whole concept and whilst it is essentially just a park, it’s one that you can make into a more exciting experience. 
Here’s a snippet of our day, see the link below for a longer video. 

Our dinosaur themed day

I’m linking up with Polly’s favourite trip, because it was a particularly enjoyable one. 

Why didn’t you put it on Social media like most people do?!

This is what a friend said to me recently when I told him we’re getting married.  

He does have a point, I mean, there’s that saying that if it’s not on Social media it never happened. You may sense a repetition with this previous post, but why should that be the case? 

Why do we announce things via social media, to a combination of strangers and people we would avoid eye contact with if we saw them on the street?! 

I do think it’s a fundamental issue that is having a wider issue on the way we communicate. With people sharing their lives more on the internet, is there less need for them to catch up in real life? Well actually no, because as we all know, the Internet is quickly taken out of context and usually isn’t the whole picture. But when was the last time you called someone to catch up? Versus whatsapping them? 

I actually try to communicate less with friemds on the internet now, so that I can have a proper catch up when I see them  I find it far more satisfying, but also a sense of freedom, I’m fed up of my reliance on  phones. Remember the days pre mobiles? You’d make plans, decide a place and just hope they turn up. A few weeks ago I forgot my mobile and had to wait at a meeting place for Callum. It felt so wonderfully freeing;no urgency, no angst at wondering…just acceptance of the process of waiting, and actually enjoying the novelty of it. 

As a generation are we a “need it now, nor waiting” kinda bunch? I fear social media and the internet generally encourages this, as things are both instant and always moving, so we’re programmed to function in the same way.  But maybe I don’t want to function in that way? 

We’re all working hard, OK? 

You just need to look at the hashtag #Workhardanywhere to see 32,000 photos of people “working hard” I.e. posed laptop and hot drink set up. Why do we do it? Why do we feel the need to show ourselves working? 

I’ve done it myself!! 

Is it tied into the sense that to contribute to society we are told we must be hard working? 

Is it our need to document every second of our lives? 

Is it to show off? 

Whatever it is, it isn’t healthy. Why are we filling our time with meaningless photos like this, that we unlikely to ever look at again? 

Moreso, what impact is this having on wider political and social issues? The message to our children? Just today someone said to me that she felt she would be considered a ‘dosser’ if she never returns to work (she has been off work since having her daughter 18 months ago). 

I have a job that often leaves me thinking about work on my time away from it, even though that’s tied into the type of job I do.  But when I start thinking about work, i have to remind me what I’ve heard oh so many times: No one has regrets about not working hard enough, rather that they wish they had spent more time with those they love.

Live in the moment, enjoy that moment, capture it in your heart rather than your phone memory.