I’ve got myself into a bit of a pickle …

…financially!!

I’ve buried my head in the sand just one day too many and I’ve recently come clean to my DH. I took charge of my credit card, paid it off and have devised a week-by-week financial management plan for 2016.

I wish I could say I’ve been ‘partying too hard’ with credit but this simply hasn’t been the case. If you look at my statement, sure, there are a number of xmas gifts as the most recent purchases, but there’s nothing significant on there. If I’d spent £500 on new furniture or a bag for example, I’d have something to show for the debt, but there’s nothing.

It’s just been a case of daily living exceeding what’s going into my bank account.

So, no more. I’ve been in denial about this for far too long. My husband knows and will now hold me accountable for my expenditure (even though, I’m sure this will drive me potty!) But it’s for the greater good.

Starting from now, there will be no more frivolous spending. I will learn to say ‘no’ to the kids when they want something unnecessary. I will be financially more in control.

It all feels slightly liberating ……

Rubbish, aren’t I?

MjAxMy04ZTQzMThkMjIwOTNjMjc2I have chastised myself over and over, for not keeping up with this blogging malarky. To me, it’s just another one of those projects that I set myself up to complete and do well, which ended up falling by the wayside. Sadly, something which is all too true in my life (great ideas, fabulous plans, implement …. stall).

A bit like my great plans to lose weight (” … this is going to be the year …” blah, blah, blah)

Well, guess what? I’ve not lost any weight and I’ve been flippin’ useless at writing a blog!

As a freelancer marketeer, the economic outlook has significantly improved, which means I actually have work to do! So, my energies have been directed here instead. And I still have a family, so managing their activities has also factored quite heavily in the schedule.

And then when I do have ‘down-time’, I actually don’t want to sit in front of a screen and start sharing my thoughts of the day. In any case, any insighfulness I do encounter usually occurs when I’m about to drift off to sleep … how useful is that?!

Well anyway, I’m back for now – and that’s the best I can do!

March 3rd: The day I’ll always remember as Nic’s birthday

Birthday Cake And Balloons For A One Year Old ChildNic was my best friend at senior school and it’s her birthday today. Happy Birthday Nicola! Anyway, today’s post has nothing to do with Nic or birthdays!

So let’s see – what’s going on in my head today? A whole load of insane and irrational activity, that’s what. I am a roller-coaster of emotions, presented in, what mostly appears to be a fake smiley (normal person) exterior. The conclusion I am drawn to, is that coming off the tablets hasn’t worked!

Whilst the original anxieties and (let’s call them) ‘issues’ are no longer the same, the feelings of helplessness, loneliness and sadness have all reared their ugly heads. And I don’t like it. Most of the time, I can keep these little uglies at bay – control them, not let them take over, but then I can snap, and they all reappear and turn me into a complete monster.

And it’s always those closest to me that bare the brunt of my short, but uncontrollable outbursts. And that makes me feel like a bad mother and wife. And that makes me feel even worse.

See what a vicious cycle this is turning into?sad-smiley_7Jp_-z

So, it’s back to the Dr.’s on Thursday and I am going to self-prescribe. A good friend today pointed out that it’s like an addiction. I have come off my ‘anxiety free’ high and I am now in the depths of despair with the only solution being pharmaceutical related (she’s also been down this road, so knows what she’s talking about).

The truly annoying thing about all this is that I have nothing to worry about. I have no anxiety. I am not depressed. I have no major concerns or troubles in life. The simple truth is that I am just not happy. And so, I have come to the conclusion that I would rather live my days with a medicinal-based cotton-wool fuzz protecting my insanities (which ultimately protects my family from raging outbursts), to the big black cloud that hangs over my head all day.

February 26th: in danger of turning into a ‘grumpy old woman’!

grumpyOK, so I don’t really look like this! But I do feel like this when people piss me off. And boy! At the moment, this happens a lot!!

Probably best if I list my general grumpy moments, rather than bore you with endless detail:

1. Parents who place their kids on the pedestal of life and exclaim their wonderfulness to all who’ll listen but especially those who DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!! Look, I totally get that we think our kids are brilliant and an ’emerging genius’ of the future. But maybe, they won’t be. And then you’ll look silly. And be forced to bore us with reasons why they haven’t quite made it in the sports/academic/creative/business world. Oh, and please also understand the difference between ‘listening’ and ‘hearing’ – I want to listen, but most of the time I’m forced to hear about it.

2. Same parents as above, who turn out to be completely delusional about said child and are lying through their teeth about how wonderful they are. How do we know this? Because we have many friends …. and we all know each other …. and someone, somewhere does actually know the truth …..! Bullshit about your kids at your own peril – you will get caught out.

3. Imbecilic shop staff and companies whose sales practices are completely immoral where children are concerned. Sports Direct – this is YOU I’m talking about (how could you sell one of your crappy recycled bags to a child for a £1, when they didn’t know they had a choice. That really is daylight robbery. (Oh, and I’m still waiting for your reply to the questions I posed to you about this practice ….)

4. People who think they can push their way into something after the legitimate opportunity took place, purely because they were “unable at the time”, to take part. TOUGH LUCK! You couldn’t take part at the beginning, get over it! Equal opportunity and all that ….

5. People who don’t have the courtesy to ‘thank you’ when you’ve gone out of your way for them. I don’t expect eternal gratitude but an acknowledgement would be nice. But hey, don’t worry – I won’t be going out of my way again!

I probably could go on, but I do sound quite angry don’t I?! Maybe I’m becoming a ‘woman of a certain age’ or something. Nothing that a good dose of starflower and agnus castus couldn’t cure, eh!

Roll on old age!

February 24th: Where have I been??

I was originally going to title this post “Giving up”. I typed it in but stopped. If I’d written yesterday, then it would be about giving up, but when I saw it in black and white on screen, it didn’t seem right.

When I say ‘giving up’, I don’t mean on life (before anyone starts trying to track me down and call the authorities!) It was really about having too much to do and giving up on some of the projects that don’t seem worthwhile or aren’t particularly going anywhere. And I guess, part of that thought process was this blog falls into that category.

It’s like exercise, the longer you leave it, the harder the enthusiasm is to start it back up again. And unfortunately, exercise and dieting have also fallen into the same category as blog writing! Oh dear!

BUT, here I am, writing again (so with the above logic, exercise and dieting should soon follow ….)

So to answer the initial question, I’ve actually been taking part in ‘life’ rather than being the observer or commentator. I’ve taken my children to the UK coast (Bournemouth and Cornwall), where we enjoyed the sunshine (yes, there was a glimpse), long walks, collecting shells (one of our favourite pastimes), watching the seals on the beach and rolling down hills getting muddy! It’s been manically busy, and I still feel a little out of control and off schedule, but at the same time, we’ve created lots of memories.

I read somewhere (probably Pinterest!), life happens when you don’t post on social media! I guess this is very true. However, I will also add that you can continue to be an observer to life and still take part.

February 5th: “When you smile – the whole world smiles with you”

smileI saw this image on good ole Pinterest (have I told you how much I lurve Pinterest?! – Probably!!)

Anyway, it was so timely, because I’d already planned my next post to focus on ‘smiling‘. I guess the point of this post is not directly about how a smile can improve your looks, although I do agree, that it can, but more about how a smile can improve either your day or someone elses day.

It’s a brave thing to smile at someone in person – particularly someone you don’t know. What if they just ignore you – think you’re some weird person? Worst still, what if they smile back?!! What do you do?!!

We’re very quick to add our ‘smiley faces’ in text messages and emails – it’s almost too easy. It doesn’t matter if the person on the other side can’t see that you’re completely pissed off – as long as you’ve included your ‘smiley’ icon – that’s fine. To call these ‘emoticons‘ seems a bit ludicrous – ‘emotionless‘ seems to be more precise!

Anyway, when it’s done for real, you’ll find there are whole load of songs written about this physical act of, let’s face it, flexing your muscles on each side of your mouth and maybe occasionally, moving the muscles around the eyes too (this is called “Duchenne Smile”)

Songs that include Smile–Josh Groban, Make Me Smile–Chicago, Smile Like You Mean It–The Killers, Smile Away–Paul McCartney , Smile Again–Usher, Smile –Lily Allen … there are actually a few more (but I recognised these artists!)

To be honest, none of these songs actually convey the point of just smiling at someone for no good reason. They all have a hidden reason for smiling (these are not the smiles I am referring to!) But it does demonstrate the importance and impact a smile can have on someone.

Never mind the people we know and see frequently (they get to see our smiles and frowns on a regular basis) but thinking about the person on the street, as you walk past them. Just offering them a smile is showing an act of kindness.  It’s a really pleasing acknowledgement of their existence.

We don’t really know what’s going on in other people’s lives, but if you offer a smile to someone, it might be the only one they see that day, week, month. It might be just enough to lift their spirits to keep on going. And the great thing is, the more you do it, the more naturally it happens as you’re walking along. And then one day, you’ll realise that you’ve become this really smiley-for-no-good-reason-person!

And I love it when I do get that smile in return! Because although I know what’s happening in my life (which is a good place at the moment), it still makes me feel special. And I also love it when I’m offered the smile in the first place .. wow! It’s quite uplifting sometimes.

Of course, when we’ve mastered the art of smiling at strangers without ulterior motives, the natural progression is saying the word ‘Hello’ <gulp>!

But, tomorrow, start with the basics and smile at people you don’t know. What a happier place this would be if we could.

Oh – and yes, smiles do make you pretty – they invite people into your lives.

February 2nd: “I ‘heart’ Taylor Swift!”

Well, not quite true. The 43-year old me doesn’t have a teen-girl crush on Taylor Swift – well, not exactly!! However, the 14-year old in me would definitely have a girl-crush on Taylor Swift (just like I did with Madonna, back in the day <sigh>)

There is a real infectious beat within “Shake it Off” that I really “can’t stop, won’t stop moving, It’s like I got this music In my mind. Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.

Yesterday, I was trying to get in my 10,000 steps and to get me in the ‘groove’ I was listening to this fab song. Fortunately my children weren’t with me as I would’ve embarrassed them highly, with my tuneful renditions as I “can’t stop, won’t stop grooving, It’s like I got this music in my mind, saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”!!!

Ahh – you got to have a bit of fun in life, don’t you? If you don’t, then can I recommend you just “shake, shake, shake, shake it off”?!

I’ll continue with my inner teen girl crush and I dare you to carry on your day without this song playing in your head …..!

January 31st: reflection

On Thursday, a tragic accident claimed the life of a beautiful 21 year old young lady. I didn’t know her but the messages of condolence flashed up on my Facebook news feed as there were ‘friend’ of mine who did.

Curiosity got the better of me and I visited the young girls own FB page and started to read the many, many posts of shared grief, sadness and shock from her friends.

Just recently I have been fortunate enough to spend time in the company of girls of a similar age, with my niece’s wedding bringing us together through lots of pre-nuptial celebrations. These girls are gorgeous both on the outside and inside. They are vibrant and full of life. They are positive about the future. They are kind and thoughtful. And they have their whole lives ahead of them.

And then I think of Georgia (for that’s the name of the young girl who lost her life). I’m guessing she was much like these other girls. She had a boyfriend. She would’ve had plans for her future. Shit, she would’ve had plans for this weekend! Just Thursday morning, she could’ve been sharing her outfit choices for going out on Saturday. Which friends she was going to meet up. Which bar, restaurant or club they were going to enjoy themselves at. And then it’s gone. In an instant. That’s the truth about the fragility of life.

I think of her family. Her poor parents who now face their lives grieving for the loss of their daughter and all that might’ve been. There’s no comfort to offer. No words of wisdom, just of kindness. I can hear sir hearts breaking and mine does too, for just trying to understand how they might be feeling.

These are just words. But there is nothing more true than the saying ‘You don’t know what you’ve got, until it’s gone’. Life really is this precious, immeasurable period of time.

Rest in peace Georgia Leigh Williams. I didn’t know you, but I am lucky enough to know girls like you. You will forever be in the hearts of many, and as the unexpected sun shone yesterday, it seemed clear that heaven has welcomed you as their newest Angels.