Archive of ‘University of Life’ category

We Are Not The Same

I originally wrote this as a Facebook post, Friday May 26th. Several people contacted me after trying to share it only to find they could only share the video but not my words. So I’ve turned it into a blog post which can be shared, words, video and all. I do hope you will as it’s a message I feel strongly about, a message I believe needs to get out there. Despite the many likes and positive comments from those who got it, there was inevitably a troll who misunderstood me, viewing the post as a vehicle for self-pity, telling me to get my priorities straight and accusing me and the whole of social media for not letting families grieve by our apparent insistence on instantly diverting attention towards ‘the dark-skinned people making it all about us’. So for the record, that is not at all what this about. In fact, quite the opposite.  The post was written to open the eyes, ears and hearts of the very people like the keyboard warrior I mentioned. This is not a ‘my suffering is worse than your suffering’ competition. In any event, we all know that the people suffering the most in this senseless ‘war’ are the ones losing their lives, their health or their loved ones to the attacks. I’m a writer and if this post can educate one person who then educates another and so on, then that is one small but positive thing I can do in the midst of the madness we are engulfed in. #WeStandTogether

 


This was published before the shocking London Bridge/Borough Market Attacks. My sentiments are of course the same.

I generally keep it light-hearted on the blog and Facebook and frankly, finding myself fighting back tears isn’t how I like to start my Friday.
But it’s been a week for the tears hasn’t it? So I feel the need to share this.

As the child of first generation immigrants myself – like the man in the video below – I totally relate to what he is saying. After 9/11 happened, many of my Indian peers and Sikh relatives went through a very hard time. Attacks on Sikhs took place because they were mistaken for Muslims (by bigots unable to tell the difference between the turbans worn by Sikh and Muslim men, bigots who assumed every Muslim person was evil and that we are all the same’ which in itself is a flawed view) and close relatives of mine went through hell when travelling on public transport, trying to get served in a cafe. Nervous looks, racist sideswipes, uncomfortable shifting from others became an everyday norm.

I’ll never forget being out one night for a celebration in a lovely London hotel and one of my male relatives came back from the bathroom, his face fallen and his expression absolutely wounded. A guy next to him in the lavatory had made a derogatory comment about his turban and a reference to 9/11. One bigoted idiotic remark that took seconds to leave the guy’s mouth wrecked everyone’s night. We thought we’d left behind the mental and emotional injuries of having grown up in the 70’s and 80’s where ‘go back to where you came from’ was a standard phrase and violent attacks carried out on Asian-owned businesses were a common occurrence. Shall I emphasise how hard people worked to start and build those businesses? We didn’t lay about and rely on benefits. My father almost had a fit when I suggested signing on to get unemployment benefit when I initially couldn’t find a job after leaving university. He was adamant that nobody in our family would ‘shame themselves’ by relying on the state instead of just using gumption and grit to work.

9/11 and the many atrocities since then: London, Brussels, Paris, Manchester to name a few have taken us back to that mentality with an unwelcome heartbreaking suffocating crash.
This same relative from the hotel bathroom incident no longer knows what it’s like to travel to the USA without being stared at uncomfortably by other passengers or being pulled aside at immigration and I’m not even going to list what else he – or in fact my own husband who doesn’t wear a turban but is presumably ‘just too brown’ (?) – have endured since.

With every malevolant attack by these nutters, thousands of British-born Asians’ hearts sink. Why?

Because we know WE JUST KNOW that there will be many more people (already of a narrow-minded nature who are then further stirred up by certain tabloids whose agenda seems to be to incite hateful ignorance and fear knowing that their easily-led readership will lap up every word) who will be looking at us more nervously, making more sideswipes, shifting even more uncomfortably standing next to us in some shop, airport queue etc

.

Yet the overwhelming MAJORITY of British (indeed American born) Asians – be we Sikh, Hindu, Muslim – view these attacks with the same contempt, disbelief, despair and shock as everyone else does.

When Timothy McVeigh carried out the Oklahoma bombing, when various ‘white Western’ maniacs have carried out school/public building massacres etc have you noticed how their religion/ethnicity isn’t mentioned? Does everyone suddenly start mistrusting all white people? No they don’t. Do all white people feel they have to walk around hanging their heads in shame on behalf of ‘their people’? No they bloody well don’t.

It’s the most tragic double standard there ever was. This isn’t an exaggeration. This isn’t distortion of facts or seeing things that don’t exist. It’s the way it is. It’s the way it’s always been.

I can’t even begin to imagine what today, tomorrow, the day after that and so on  will be like for the families affected by the #Manchester tragedy. Entire lives, innocent lives shattered in a senseless war that has no end but just continues in one enormous vicious circle. I just cannot contemplate having one of my kids blown to bits like this. I don’t know what level of hate I might feel.  Emotions are running high, most of all for the families affected. What I do know though, hard as it is for some people to absorb, is that you can’t tar an entire race/religion because of the actions of the minority. Yes I know, with the frequency of attacks, it may not feel like the minority and admittedly we have no idea how many terror cells exist but they don’t act on behalf of all Muslims.

The man in this video is PROUD to be British. And at the same time PROUD of his religion. I may not be religious myself but I respect his right to be proud of his religion and not have to feel ashamed of it. And this man is aching right now for those families. He is bereft. The nutters don’t act on behalf of him or his people. He and his community want no part of it. And every time…EVERY time an atrocity takes place and is attributed to a Muslim, he and innumerable British Asians of all faiths and religions are ashamed. We shouldn’t feel this way but we do.

So I totally understand his words and his tears. And on this beautiful sunny Friday morning that I should have started ages ago with laundry and 20 other chores, I am sitting here crying with him.

We are not the same as the maniacs. #WeStandTogether
Much love.

 

 

I’M A FINALIST (EEK!) IN THE READER’S CHOICE CATEGORY OF THE BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING AWARDS.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOTE FOR ME TO WIN, I’D BE SO GRATEFUL AND HONOURED!

Just click on this THIS LINK and fill in boxes 1, 2 and 13. 
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(Voting closes July 2nd.)

 

The First Thing I Think When a Tragedy like #Manchester happens.

manchester ttagedy image of candles

I dropped everyone off safely at school and work this morning and quickly whizzed through my Facebook feed, as so many of us do, before getting on with my work.

I was meant to do laundry and wash the floors today.
I was meant to write an article for a brand and shoot a video for a product review.
I was meant to call the dentist and sort details for my eldest’s birthday party.

After momentary confusion at seeing several #Manchester statuses along with sad face and broken heart emojis, it didn’t take long to spot a BBC news link somebody had inevitably shared about the Manchester tragedy. My eyes… Yet another evil act of terror…this time at a pop concert of all places.

19 dead and 50 injured at the time of the article, figures that would rise to 22 and 59 respectively (at the time of writing). Parents who had taken their children, no doubt posting on social media about their excitement, employees of the arena where it happened, adolescents who’d rushed home from school to get ready presumably selfie-ing it up to their heart’s (and Instagram’s) content. All of them ultimately innocent people (despite what ‘mainstream’ terrorists believe about nobody being innocent) who simply thought they were going to have a night to remember.

What a night to remember.

I read the news. And I want to say the first thing I thought was what can I do to help?

I sit here in my Malta bubble feeling emotional but helpless at reports of the people who’ve come together in the most incredible spirit of solidarity to help. Taxi drivers, many of them of different Asian religions in fact, turning off their clocks to take those affected wherever they need to go. People making their homes available to those who were stranded. Sikh temples offering food and shelter to anyone who needed it. People queuing at the blood banks to give blood to help the hospitals treating the injured.

I read the news and I want to say the first thing I felt was shock…

…because that would mean this sort of thing does not happen very often. The rare nature of such an atrocity would make it totally unexpected and shocking.  But shock was not exactly the first thing I felt. Yes I felt the ‘oh God please no’ sadness. A ‘these sickos’ feeling of disgust yes. The ‘not again’ sense of horror, of course. The ‘where next?’ fear. The ‘this has to stop’ anger. Yes yes yes to all of them.

But shock was not the first thing I felt. These carefully planned acts of hate and violence in the name of what… vengeance…justice…religion??? no longer shock me..   That is a tragedy in itself: the fact that the tragedy lies not just in the number of families and lives that are destroyed…but in the fact that this evil has become so commonplace that the ‘shock value’ is shamefully diminishing.

No, I read the news and the first thing I thought was the same as what I always think when something like this happens:

‘Thank God it wasn’t my family, thank God it wasn’t one of my kids’.

Of course this is quickly followed by a feeling of guilt because there are entire families devastated after these events. I can’t imagine the utter grief and hopelessness they are suffering but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has such a reaction every time something like this happens.  

But it could be us next time couldn’t it? Yes I know about laws of attraction so I admit negative thinking like this does nobody any good; think the worst and it can happen. But the fact is it has all got too close to home. A friend of mine told me her two teenage daughters were due to go to that concert tomorrow. Another friend attended Ariana Grande’s Amsterdam leg of the tour. Yet another friend has just returned from a business trip to Manchester. I’ve met somebody who escaped with their life in the 2005 London attacks. My own mother missed an IRA bombing by 30 seconds because she walked back to her car away from where the bomb was about to go off, after realising she hadn’t put money in the parking meter.

Where will it be next time? Who will they get next time? Nobody is immune when they are even targeting the young. 

We all want our children to be healthy. We all want our children to be safe and none of us…NONE of us…wants to outlive our children. When something like the Manchester tragedy happens, it brings home in an instant that we’re all just lucky to be here.

Those parents sent their children to a concert expecting them to return home excitedly sharing news of their big night.

It was meant to be a night to remember. 

What a night to remember.

I was meant to do laundry and wash the floors today.
I was meant to write an article and shoot a YouTube video.
I was meant to call the dentist and sort details for my eldest’s birthday party.

22 people were meant to attend a concert and live to see another day.
59 people were supposed to go to a concert without getting injured.

#Manchester

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN PERSONALLY AFFECTED BY AN ACT OF TERROR?

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Word! You Don’t Reach the Summit Without…

Well I can honestly say I didn’t want to post my vlog for this week’s Words of Wisdom post that I usually link up to the #CandidCuddles linky.

Why? Oh let me see, less than ideal image quality, cars hooting, wind blowing but these are minor issues compared to how many TIMES I said the phrase ‘it takes time’. Jeez Louise. I do apologise. Even worse, I kind of feel I didn’t quite say what I wanted to say clearly. Grrr.

Anyway I’m about to break a record for the shortest post ever because I’m racing against the clock to get this post up on my site. Oh lucky you! A short post and a video that is a bit shorter than the last one!

 

 

10 Reasons Why I Need to Thank George Michael

quote for george michael post

So there it is. We end 2016 in the same shock and sadness we started it with. Another legend leaves. George Michael, an artist whose songs were like our friends, has gone.

Given that I wrote earlier this year about the icons I grew up witih, I guess the death of George Michael shouldn’t have come as such a shock. Frankly, it did. I am stunned and quite bereft, just as I was – just as we all were – over the death of David Bowie and Prince a few months later.  On the death of George Michael, Hubster said – and I kind of get where he is coming from – nothing surprises him anymore.  But as I type the words: ‘death’, ‘George Michael’ in the same sentence, I find myself struggling to process it.  He wasn’t much older than me.  53…it’s no age to go is it?  On Christmas Day of all days too.  What a way to end the day in fact…three happy kids fast asleep after the excitement of opening their gifts, a fine festive meal eaten and a couple of films watched…only to check my phone and see my friend Neil’s Facebook post sharing the sad news.  Boom.  Total astonishment.

The following morning, watching the news again and seeing the tweets of various celebrities, the shock gave way to utter sadness and tears. Hubster’s reaction was a thing of mystery (as ever); just as I will never understand the man’s response to…erm…most things, he can’t understand why somebody would react emotionally or shed tears “over somebody they didn’t know”.   But that’s just it isn’t it?

 

We kind of feel like we do did know these legends in a way, though.  Maybe not so much know them but we know the lyrics to their songs word for word.

We know that guitar riff, the break right there where that stonking chorus comes in, you know the one…the one where you have to make sure the car windows are up because you ARE going to belt out the chorus to that classic tune they created, the one you used to listen to during Sunday night’s Top 40 (yes I’m that old people). That anthem that used to fill dance floors is your familiar friend that still pulls you onto the living room floor. That ballad in which you indulged your broken heart (way more times than was actually healthy) still – all these years later – makes you pause in the middle of washing the dishes as heartbreaks of the past flash across the surface of your heart in fleeting melancholy, no matter if decades after you cried yourself stupid over that ballad, you’ve found happiness.

 

I can’t remember which entertainment legend had just died (the roll call of people who’ve left us this year is just astonishing) prompting my aforementioned friend to post on Facebook: “2016, you can stop now”.

That wasn’t even half way through the year and so many have gone since then.  If it wasn’t so sad, I’d have laughed at that post from my friend.  Which leads me on to the focus of this post… 2015 tried my patience in my personal life. 2016 has been trying in other ways; I honestly didn’t think we’d be saying goodbye to George Michael this year.  I don’t know about you but I’m thinking…if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry (again).

 

So shall we have a laugh instead? Not at the late great George Michael but an affectionate look at what the man and his music meant to me. 

..a slightly light-hearted but ultimately respectful tribute to him with a fond smile (even though my heart is weeping).

title image george michael on stage smiling

1) Thank you George for breaking my heart. Every December.  There will probably never be another festive heartbreaker that matches Last Christmas for me. Ever. 

Do you even KNOW how many of us have sung this song physically sick with heartache and reaching for the kleenex?! I was in my mid teens living an ultra sheltered Indian girl existence when this song was a hit. Translation: at that point in my life, the only heartbreak I’d suffered was the one over losing the rather detailed love letter I’d written to John Taylor of Duran Duran and not being able to tame that alarming forest that was forming on my upper lip (#BecauseAsian) Four years after you released it, however?  Different. Story.  I could relate to Last Christmas…e-v-e-r-y word of it…as I suffered the first instance of my heart being shattered into a trillion teeny tiny pieces.  At Christmas! Pfft.  I then spent about six Decembers barely able to listen to that song every time I heard it, finally got over it and lo and behold circa mid 90’s got my heart broken again. In December! AGAIN! It was a like sick joke.  All these years later, despite having one of those husband things and three of those kid things and being blessed blah blah, I still feel my tummy clench a bit when the familiar chords of Last Christmas kick in.  But I do thank you for it George. It’s a great tune and will probably still be playing after I celebrate my last Christmas (excuse the pun but like I said, if I don’t laugh, I’ll bawl).

 

2) Thank you for proving that just because you’re a man, you don’t have to have a man’s hairstyle.  No man will ever rock the Princess Diana haircut the way you did.  I honestly salute you.

Does it get any better than this? I actually remember when you first came out with that new do.  All that hair.  Goodness me George, you Greek Adonis you.  I swear at one point, I honestly thought you looked better than Diana did.  Now, that is some achievement.  Seriously, I hope you find each other in heaven, go to the best salon of them all and sit in adjacent chairs having a damned good giggle and a chat about all you’ve achieved in this life, one icon to another.

george michael pricess diana

 

3) Thank you for one of the best intros ever to a song.

Yep, the ridiculously catchy summer anthem that is Club Tropicana. I’d love to say I have memories of steamy Club 18-30 holidays with friends or first crush stories with this as the soundtrack. But see above (sheltered upbringing etcetera etcetera). I fantasised about holidays in the sun watching that video (although watching it just now just brings a lump to my throat over how young you were in it, now you’re gone). I don’t think I actually realised what an absolutely perfect piece of pop this song was til years later. I mean that intro! Genius.  Oh and guess what George?  I’m one lucky girl.  Now I don’t just have holidays in the sun; I actually live in the Med not far from where your family is originally from and the sound of the crickets in that intro…we hear that sound every summer. Funny how life works out huh my lovely?

 

4) Thank you for being one of the signature sounds of my carefree days in Hampstead, in a flatshare with friends, in a crummy job but in total music heaven. 

Where do I begin?  Well to be honest that whole album, Listen Without Prejudice, is one of the albums that saw me through my time working at Harrods after university.  Everyone needs that time in their life; living with a bunch of mates, not a care in the world, staying up far too late, crawling bleary-eyed into work the next day, enduring bad bosses and terrible pay and living through all of it with great music. I actually feel ashamed to say I’d forgotten Cowboys and Angels but playing your tunes as I write this, I’m reminded of how much I loved it and am amazed to see it never even made the Top 40.  Let’s talk about another tune that will forever be one of my absolute faves of yours: Freedom: oh ma Laaaaaad!  Musically, what a COLOSSUS of a song. Visually, tick tick tick, because of the video with all dem models innit?

 

 

5) Few artists incite that sense of anticipation in me when I know they’re about bring out a new tune as you used to.  Fast Love…epiphany of the mid 90’s!

Maybe it’s just tied up in a wistfulness over my younger days that are never to return.  Maybe it’s simply because it takes me back to my little apartment in Paris, with its view of Sacré Coeur, where this song kept me company on many a lonely night. Or maybe (and probably more accurately) it’s just because it’s was bloody ace.  Fast Love…I’m playing it right now George.  God it takes me back. So ahead of its time when it was released, you just BLEW my mind.  And that video…couldn’t get enough! Genius you were. (And I still want that chair in my house.)

 

 

6) Thank you for coming out in a very backwards coming forwards sort of way – self sabotage so to speak – but then somehow rising above the whole sorry mess to produce one of the bravest most tongue in cheek videos of the 90’s (something that wold have most of us).

7) Thank you for the tacky white 80’s tshirts with their huge black writing which I refused to buy because of my hard core Duran Duran loyalty.

8) Thank you for the slightly cheesy Village People-esque dance moves that you just managed to make look cool.

9) Thank you for providing my husband with some sweet anecdotes (of how he met you) to the delight of our kids.

10) Thank you for being the kind of musical icon I just don’t think we’re lucky enough to see these days.

Just like the legends who’ve gone before you George, you possessed a talent that was almost incomprehensible (no really, how on earth does someone craft such perfect songs from start to finish?) and it was a privilege watching you as you adapted your style to the times.  Thank you for writing – yes writing not just mouthing someone else’s words – some of the most famous songs ever; the soundtrack to the lives of so many of us.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Mr George Michael.

For all of it.

I loved you even more than I realised.

 

WERE YOU A GEORGE MICHAEL FAN? DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL MEMORIES OF HIS MUSIC?

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Thanks Muchly!

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Cuddle Fairy

Word! F.E.A.R. (What Does It Stand For?)

Fear…What Does it Stand For?

Another Monday, another collection of words that resonate with me…words that I hope speak to you too and another vlog telling you why I love them. And I have some great news people!  Drum roll please…are you sitting down?  I managed to get this one down in less than five minutes!

So don’t just take my word for it, go see for yourself!  By the way you can catch the rest of my vlogs here. And if you’re a blogger reading this between Monday to Wednesday, why not come link up your own words of wisdom to the Candid Cuddles linky that I run with Cuddle Fairy?

Word! Forgive Others Not Because They Deserve Forgiveness But Because…

Voila, my latest words of wisdom vlog!

Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace. BOOM! What I forgot to say in the vlog you’re (hopefully) about to watch is that I felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I saw that quote a few months ago.

I’m keeping this blog post short, sweet and to the point, like me ha ha.  Well I’m definitely short, no idea if I’m sweet and certainly not always to the point and have wondered if I’m just rambling on and ON in my first few vlogs, hence being a bit proud that I’ve managed to make this one even shorter.  Having said that, people have been telling me they do watch them from start to finish and don’t think I’m rambling, so this is good news indeed.

Do let me know if you’re enjoying these #candidcuddles vlogs I’m doing (and if you’re not, just let me down easy would you?).

 

 

You can catch my other vlogs for the #candidcuddles series as well as all my other vlogs right here.

Word! Be Careful How You Talk to Yourself…

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Be Careful How You Talk to Yourself…

So I’ve decided I’ll do most if not all of my #CandidCuddles quotes in video form.  Sometimes I can put across what I want to say better in vlog format, and sometimes in blog format.  Ooooh…keeps things interesting 🙂  I loved this line ‘Be careful how you talk to yourself’ when I first saw it a few weeks ago and it has really stuck with me. So watch my vlog to find out why.

This week, I’ll keep things short and sweet by just linking the vlog rather than writing a whole post before it (which was not my original intention last week anyway but ‘inspiration’ hit and I wrote an entire blogiversary post as a preamable to my vlog!).  So here you go, my little pearl of wisdom for this week and a little shout out for one of our regular Candid Cuddlers.

NB if you want to watch any of my other vlogs, just click here.

Enjoy!

 

 

Word! It’s Not What Happens to You but How You React to it That Matters

typewritten effect of Epictectus quote

So I’ve had a terribly frustrating few weeks where I’ve really had to admit that how you react to what’s going on is key.

No nobody suffered an awful tragedy, the house didn’t burn down etc.  In truth I feel a bit silly typing this because ‘all’ that happened technology problems with my blog leading to it being down for days.  Unimportant in the grand scheme of things right?  Far more important things to worry about and all that jazz but honestly, I have to admit that technology issues are THE thing guaranteed to get me down.  To be fair, there have been various problems that started a few months ago that I couldn’t manage to fix and just put up with which then ended up escalating; so my final absolute frustration could be compared to that irritating drip drip you hear thinking it’s just a tap washer needing replacing, which then turns out to be something far more sinister and a leak springs in your house! In blog terms, depending on the day, certain aspects of the site did or did not work. I sort of patched them up with temporary band aid so to speak.  And by temporary band aid, I mean ignoring the blog for the rest of the day, drinking a lot of gin coffee and trying to get back into the site later.

Further problems arose: plugins and bits of my theme literally disappearing, anomalies after updating wordpress and Jetpack just refusing to reconnect, etc etc.  I begged and pleaded on social media for assistance or contact details of IT wizards who could help me.  It was finally discovered that the reason for the problems was lack of space on the server my site was located on which I can’t even begin to explain in layman’s terms. The only thing I can explain is how cheesed off I was.  Then the problems got worse.  Oh joy.   Despite being self-hosted since the launch of my blog, I was on a shared server set up.  Unless I moved to a host of my own, as it were, the problems were just going to continue.  No brainer then: I made the decision to move to a different host and a single server setup.

Ha! That’s when the fun really started and the importance of how you react to a situation became apparent.

There was a brief period where I managed to get onto my site, write a post and promote it on social media only for the site to go down again and people to click on the link and see an error page instead of my post.  I won’t bore you with any more, there’s so much of it!  What I can say is that my fab Candid Cuddles partner Becky – or Cuddles as I call her – had to put up with me moaning like a 5 year-old about my tech frustrations.  Frankly, amongst the stress of missing blog deadlines, not being able to get promised reviews up and publishing a post that people couldn’t blooming read, I was very aware that I was meant to be writing content for Candid Cuddles and hosting the linky.

Cuddles was super lovely calming me down, telling me not to worry about the linky, as the IT people encountered problem after problem trying to migrate my site.

I can’t help laughing actually. There’s been a mantra I’ve been wanting to link up to our sweet little linky every single week.  However, every week, one thing or another happens which then leads to me write something else.  Voilà, as you can see it’s happened again! The tech nightmare resolved, (don’t jinx things Prabs) I got to thinking about my response to the whole saga.  It has led to my mantra of this week. (I guess we can safely say the famous philosophy that every cloud has a silver lining really can be applied here.)  And I thought of this:

how-you-react-to-a-situation

 

Honestly, it’s the truth! As Becky pointed out, things have a habit of working themselves out in the end.  

I spoke about mental habits, thought patterns and conditioning in a previous post I wrote for this linky.  I mentioned how my husband opened my eyes to something I’d never realised about outlook on life, self sabotage etc.  Another key thing I remember him saying all those years ago – and something he still lives his life by in fact – is that you when you’re in a situation that you can’t do anything to change, the only thing you can change is your attitude towards that situation. Sometimes, you can in fact change the outcome of the situation by your very handling of it.  If you can’t however, there is no point in wasting energy over it.

Now, I  won’t pretend that I had an epiphany and became totally zen-like in my attitude to the site migration.

BUT it was a much calmer Prabs who waited day after day for the problems to be fixed. It was a more accepting Prabs who just got on with whatever she could do in the meantime work-wise such as filming videos for her new vlog channel.  It was a more yielding Prabs who listened to the new hosting company (as well as the independent IT guys who worked on the site migration) say ‘your site is now fine, everything is working and it’s showing to users all over the globe’ whilst she knew that she herself still couldn’t access the site.

I’d like to believe that somewhere underneath the grumbling annoyed exterior

there was a Prabs who knew only too well that she really had no power over the outcome of the IT situation…only the power to control her reaction to the situation.  You know what? I think there was.


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The Life You Have is a Dream

the-life-you-live-is-a-dream-featured

I do apologise for the rather bleak picture and the solemn quote (don’t worry…I’ll lighten the mood next week!) but…the fact is this is reality for many people so I didn’t want to put up a ‘diluted’ picture.

When Do You Have Enough?

I’m bashing out this post after an eye-opening thought-provoking moment that has just occurred in my kitchen, on a Monday afternoon as my eldest does her homework, the other two play upstairs having finished theirs and the dinner is simmering away.  I was due to go to the supermarket after the school run to do the weekly grocery shop having not done it this morning, as I decided to blog, and we desperately need food as the cupboards are bare and there is hardly anything in the fridge or freezer.

Well I Thought We Didn’t Have Enough Food Or so I thought.  More on that in a sec.

I mean there is more empty shelving than actual food in the fridge, the ‘carbs cupboard’ only has half a loaf of bread, a Ryvita packet and some Maltese galetti (sort of like water biscuits), the storecupboard cabinet (canned food, pasta, grains, lentils, pulses) has visible spaces on the shelf and the snacks cupboard is definitely running low.  So basically we have hardly anything left.  (This always reminds me of a good friend during my London days; she used to describe the food situation in her house as rain or shine.)

Yet, despite the apparent tragic impoverished circumstances of my kitchen,

me being me (ie a legendary procastinator) I just could not summon up the energy and will to spend the required hour and a half driving to the shop, doing all the shopping, queuing up, paying, hauling it to the car, driving back and offloading it all.  Yep, housewife of the year.  Obviously I’ll have to buck up and do it tomorrow.  I was desperate not to go the supermarket which would mean leaving the kids alone and  delaying dinner (and a blog deadline) so I looked again at that sad-looking fridge and opened the forlorn cupboards again. I walked back over to the fridge and looked at it again, (maybe I thought if I stared hard enough, I’d realise my eyes had in fact been deceiving me and food had been there all along).

That’s When the Eye-Opener Happened

I wondered whether I did in fact have enough to get through this evening (thankfully dinner was already taken care of), the following morning’s breakfast, not to mention the kids packed lunches and my own lunch and possibly even dinner.  You KNOW what I’m going to say don’t you?  Yes I did.  In fact, I had enough to put together – wait for it – 9 meals.  Yes NINE!  I’d gone from famine to feast in just a few minutes without leaving my house!  And in that moment, as I reassessed my formerly ‘disastrously understocked’ fridge, I actually felt a bit ashamed and realised I really am a product of my generation, a generation that has – maybe unintentionally – developed a greedy mentality through having grown up in the comfort and affluence of the West. A generation often unable to recognise when we have enough…more than we need in fact.  Our vision has become so skewed.

Now, I don’t think I’m a ‘greedy person’ by any stretch of the imagination;

far from it actually.   I’m generally content with little…more of a ‘want what you have, not have what you want’ sort of person.   So I have to ask, if I’m such a glass half full rather than half empty type, (and yes I suppose I could have used that quote in this post!) then why on earth do I not see my kitchen as half full, not half empty?!  Why do we see problems when really there isn’t one?  Of course, I could extrapolate to so many other areas of life but I think you get me.

 

Now I know 100 people could read this post and each of those 100 people would have a different financial status; some perhaps very well off, some in the middle and others prone to struggling their whole life to make ends meet.  And yes, life really has become expensive.  But that’s just it.  Whilst property prices, the cost of a meal in that fancy restaurant and various forms of taxation have indeed risen since we were all children, the fact is we in this society are propagating this belief that life is expensive left, right and centre.  When actually, maybe just maybe (this is my theory) It’s really only as expensive as we want to make it?  If we think we need that shiny new car, summer holiday, dream house, weekend get away, buzzing social life, this season’s trendy clothing, the coolest gadgets etc in the belief that these are all ‘must-haves’ crucial to our happiness, then yes our life will probably be one destined for great expense.

the-life-you-live

This central message exists in many different forms.  

You’ll probably have seen memes about being richer than most people in the world if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your body and a roof over your head.  I honestly believe in this so much.  I’m sure I drive my kids mad with the whole ‘no you can’t have the blue plate because there’s nothing wrong with the red one you have because you’re just damned lucky to have food on any plate in the first place!’ sermon, delivered from time to time.

So, I have to say, harsh as the picture for this post is, the message is so very true and apt.

Now more than ever.


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Word! Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can’t, You’re Right

think you can ford

When I first came across this memorable line by the famously respected businessman and automotive genius (not to mention the controlling egocentric) Henry Ford, it was like an enormous megawatt light bulb had just been switched on in my brain.

I don’t remember where or when I first saw it although I don’t think it was that many years ago.  What I do know is that I was so blown away by this philosophy that I absolutely had to feature it in 40 Life Lessons for my Kids.  I would love to write something insightful and profound to explain how/why it was such a personal epiphany because I think it is an amazing quote that deserves at least that.  But I’m not sure I can actually do it justice…which I guess reflects what Ford said!  So I guess I’d best try.

There is a common question; nature or nurture regarding the personalities we all have.  I believe that we’re a combination of both.

I think we are a product of the circumstances of our upbringing but also have our own inherent character.  I honestly don’t think you can separate the two.  Why do I mention this?  I think the reason that this quote was almost like an arrow between my eyes was because I grew up with a tendency towards negative thought and very little self confidence, due my  environment, which doesn’t need elaborating on here as this is all about the positive.  Suffice to say, it genuinely hadn’t dawned on me most of my life that one’s ability to achieve or competence at anything or chance of success is largely down to one’s own thought patterns.  It’s not as simplistic as convincing oneself one could make themselves invisible or fly unaided to the moon… But really in many cases, if you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.   So if you really do think you can pass that exam, write that book, jump out of that plane, learn that language…then chances are you jolly well can.  And will.  Conversely if you think you can’t…well it probably won’t happen for you.  This actually makes me think of what Angela said in her post on last week’s Candid Cuddles last week.

I only became aware that I had a tendency to self sabotage (I say ‘had’ because I do think I’ve  improved a lot!) when my husband pointed it out to me not long after we met.  He realised much of my behaviour/way of thinking was down to my conditioning (we all have conditioning, it’s not unique to me) and I don’t know how many hours we spent chatting over this phenomena in the early days of getting to know one another.  So it’s not that surprising that one of Ford’s most known remarks struck me, in light of this ‘self realisation’.  It just explained so much and I could literally pinpoint specific areas of my life where I’d either talked myself out of or indeed succeeded at something.

Now that I am a parent, I honestly believe it is one of the most profound and important lessons we can pass on to our children.  

My two girls couldn’t be more different in their way of thinking.  The eldest will give up at the slightest hurdle and thinks everything is difficult and impossible from simply opening a packet of food to running a marathon and everything in between.  Bizarrely, this same child has total belief however in my abilities and wasn’t at all surprised when I won my BiBs award because she ‘knew’ I was going to (her words) and in fact was in shock when I didn’t win the MADs one (apparently when Hubster told her, she was floored and asked to see my whatsapp message herself, such was her belief in me!).  The younger one is fiercely independent and doesn’t like help unless she’s tried all avenues herself.  My son is somewhere in the middle I guess.  They’ve all grown up in the same household, same environment and in this case it’s their individual personalities that shapes their belief of whether they can or can’t do something.

Nature or nurture, it doesn’t matter, I just want them to apply themselves to whatever they do…

…be it a simple recreational drawing, a competitive sports activity or something extremely significant.  I do try to remind my eldest of this when she looks defeated by just looking at her maths homework   I need them to really truly understand:

that if they think they can or think they can’t, they’re right either way.

Then I’ll have partly done my job.

And Henry might look down and smile.

 

prabs-signature

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Word! There Is No Time Like the Present and No Present Like Time

no time like the present quote

This post was written for the #CandidCuddles linky which runs every Monday to Wednesday evening.  If you’re a blogger and you’d like to link up, please click here for Candid Cuddles edition 58..

So my very first post for the Candid Cuddles linky presented a bit of a challenge.

Not because I couldn’t think of any quotes/sayings but because loads came to mind and I didn’t know which one to choose for my first outing as co-host!  Then last night the Second Best Exotic Marigold Film came on TV.  Without giving too much away for those of you who’ve not seen it, Maggie Smith’s character says a line that for me was just breathtaking and moving: “There’s no present like time”.  I have to admit my brain was confused for a millisecond because the standard more commonly known saying is There is no time like the present. Then the penny dropped and I was delighted by the ingenuous reversal of the nouns and the totally different meaning this created.

I think we are mainly struck by a saying when it applies to us or makes us look inside ourselves or realise something we hadn’t thought of before.  

There are thousands of quotes and sayings floating around the internet and in books.  Depending on your character, your passions, where you are in your life etc, a particular quote can be thrilling, life-affirming, saddening, eye-opening…the list goes on.  I chose this particular line because it struck a chord with me instantly.  At first I was just impressed by the cleverness of it given that it made sense ‘back to front’.  Then the next day, the more I thought about it (while waiting for my site to be fixed after a malware attack hoping I could actually get my thoughts down in this post!), the more I was affected by the emotional aspect of these words.  And the more I realised one could interpret the phrase in several ways (incidentally I thought this article about this turn of phrase rather interesting).

A few weeks ago, we suffered the shock of a bereavement in our extended family.  

Whilst I hadn’t yet met the person who passed away, I was due to meet them very soon at an important family occasion.  Not only this, but the timing (not that there is ever a right time for someone to go especially when they were far too young) was dreadful and the knock-on effect heartbreaking.  It has had a deep impact on some of my close family members and the next few months will prove to be tough to get through.  For those who lost their loved one, the hurt will not simply last for months but possibly a life time.

Where am I going with this?  

Well, I know it’s clichéd but the undeniable truth is that life is short.  I spend far too much time sweating the small stuff, overthinking every unimportant thing, flying off the handle at my kids about normal kiddie stuff, wasting vital time and energy endlessly planning daily/weekly schedules none of which I stick to.   All this, instead of getting my priorities straight and investing my time and energy wisely where they are needed.  I have also become an ‘absent’ daughter, sister and friend if I’m brutally honest, not keeping in regular contact with dear ones and (partly due to low-level depression, partly due to protecting myself from toxic people and partly just due to selfishness!) closing myself off from people, forgetting birthdays, not offering my time to help out at school etc.  Well this post is for the Candid Cuddles linky so I’m being candid!!

What I’m trying to say, albeit clumsily, is that none of us know how long we’ve got.

When your number’s up, it’s up.  That’s the tragic truth.  The time we have here…my goodness it’s so precious!  I’ve wasted a lifetime, sleeping too much (yep I’m a mum of three who gets sleep!), having few passions if any, being ineffective and not being generous with my time.  The lack of generosity with my time most significantly affects my parenting and I only halfheartedly listen to my kids when they talk to me, my mind distracted by miscellany, and hurry them along or cut them off, which is frankly unforgiveable given that I absolutely loathe it when my husband does it to me (which I’ve also written about).

I’ve lost two friends to cancer way too young.  I know others battling it.  I read all sorts of blogs about the happy things in life and the sad things too.  The recent news I spoke of was a wake-up call. For the time we have on this earth is so limited and really is a precious gift.  So it’s desperately important to get busy with doing/achieving/experiencing/loving/giving because…

No time like the present meme

 

 

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They Are All Leaving and They’re Taking My Childhood With Them

I sat down to write something the day after beloved and respected British comedian Ronnie Corbett passed away.

I had been enjoying the Easter holidays with my kids, having one of those leisurely days where they played, listened to music and we made casual plans to do something in the gorgeous Maltese sunshine.  Then, 24/7 blogger and all that, I checked my social media and noticed a friend had shared an iconic TV sketch from my childhood: the Two Ronnies Fork Handles and a sad face. No words. Just that emoji.

And I knew.

They're-all-leaving

The wave of utter sadness that descended on me was not unlike the one I’d experienced when a close family friend passed away years ago.  I was bereft.  He was the kindest gentlest of men for whom I felt enormous respect.  I always felt Ronnie Corbett was like him.  It is difficult to explain to anyone who did not grow up watching him, what an absolute legend this entertainer was.  Physically on the short side he may have been.  A giant of comedy he most definitely was.

The Two Ronnies were, like Morecambe and Wise, a stable fixture of British comedy programming in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  They were part of the fabric of my family’s Saturday nights; my father would come home from the shop and The Two Ronnies would entertain us after our evening meal.  The Phantom Raspberry Blower, the spoof Mastermind sketches…good grief, the hernias I nearly had laughing!

I was reliving those memories when Musical M said ‘Mummy what’s wrong?’ upon hearing my pained ‘Oh No’.  

Mid flipping pancakes and getting arts and crafts supplies out, it had turned into the saddest of days.  Yes he had had a ‘good innings’ as they say.  But that never helps does it? As soon as pancakes were scoffed, before I even tackled the bombsite aka my kitchen, I sat down with the kids to show them that TV sketch that I had first watched when I was younger than two of my kids are now…  I can’t help hope that Mr C was somewhere above us watching my kids howl with laughter watching him and Mr B.  Just think, forty years after that sketch was filmed, a new generation is enjoying it.

I tried to write about it, I couldn’t find the words.  Other blog posts and projects then required my attention.  I put the post on hold promising myself I’d come back to it.  

A few days ago, after picking my babies up from school, I took them to our local beach cafe; we sipped drinks, played ball on the sand and enjoyed the sight and sound of the stupendous teal sea and white foamy waves crashing against the rocks after school.  We came home and I quickly checked my computer before making a start on dinner.  I stared in disbelief at the BBC ‘breaking news’ headline about the death of Victoria Wood, again an icon of British comedy.  Once again Musical M watched my face fall, my beach buzz replaced by shock and glassy eyes as I tried to explain the magnitude of this further loss.  Victoria Wood was the first stand up comedienne I was aware of.  I remember admiring this ridiculously funny intelligent woman hurling out jokes at a rate of 60mph in a heavily male-dominated profession.  She was a role model for so many women wanting to make their way in the entertainment industry and was quite simply larger than life.

The next day, I took the kids to the beach after school again.  

The intention was to play ball again but we found ourselves watching the crazy waves and the surfers instead, as the sea was covering half the beach making it impossible to play.  After another lovely afternoon, the same thing: we went home, I checked my social media and again BBC News greeted me…this time announcing the death of Prince.

It was like a sick joke.  Two days in a row, the exact same scenario.  I genuinely thought it was a hoax.

I resolved to dust off that blog post I’d attempted and write something after all.  I also resolved not to take the kids to the beach the next day.  (Sorry, writing this is making me said and I needed some light relief so please excuse the dark humour.)  So I sit writing it.

I have to confess, I considered calling the post “Just What the Actual Eff?!”  

The numerous deaths this year of so many greats….it’s too much.  David Bowie the impact of whose death I also wrote about, Terry Wogan (not an international megastar but a much loved highly respected icon of British broadcasting and entertainment), Alan Rickman, a humble non ‘celebrity-like’ theatre and film actor…the list goes on.

A friend of mine has a theory about why all these deaths have hit us so hard.  He compared it to the late 70’s when so many greats of TV and film died in the space of a few years: John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Richard Burton, Rock Hudson, Peter Sellers, Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper.  My friend realised that the deaths of those silver screen idols must have impacted our parents in the same way these recent deaths have affected my generation and that perhaps it is because our parents were in fact not far off the age that my is generation now.  These were the personnages from their childhood.  Just like Corbett, Wood, Prince etc are the people from my childhood/youth.   My generation is becoming so much more aware of its own mortality, just like my parents must have done then.

Each time another death is reported, it’s like a piece of my childhood goes with it.

The childhood where we welcomed these people into our homes via the small screen.  They were part of the backdrop to our lives: favourite films, famous TV sketches, cherished hit songs…these form part of our memory bank as we grow up.  In my case, the death of Wogan was most definitely linked to this.  I met Terry Wogan when I was seven years-old.  He was promoting a product at one of the Cash and Carry wholesalers where my parents used to buy the stock for their supermarket.  It seems strange now that he was there doing that actually.  Long story short, my parents and I excitedly spotted him, I posed for a photo with him and he asked me to do my best open smile at which point I promptly burst into tears because I had just recently lost a tooth and looked like Goofy.  No big harm done.  I watched him whenever he presented anything on TV and was a huge fan of his 1980’s talk show and of course Blankety Blank!

And then there is the man…Prince, the Artist Formerly Known As, the Tiny Yet Huge Rock Star, His Royal Purpleness etc etc.

What do I say? So much to say.  So very many memories of his songs, fabulous memories.  Being addicted to Take Me With You, dancing my bits off to Kiss in a French nightclub, hearing 1999 over and over midnight December 31st 1998, mesmerised by the unique sound of When Doves Cry, cracking up with laughter when a Radio 1 DJ did a series called Twisted Lyrics and hearing the hilarious version of Purple Rain’s lyrics, doing the walk of shame down Camden High Road with Lovesexy playing in my ears on my walkman and possibly best of all…strutting round my tiny Paris apartment with my sisters pouting and posing to the stonkingly sexy Cream.

Legend. Pure and simple.

Legends…all of them.  From Bowie to Rickman to Wogan to Corbett to Wood to Prince and all the ones I’ve not mentioned in between.

And if any of you legends are looking down, able to read this, may I just say I had not realised the extent to which you inspired me…until you were gone.  The films that have a place in my heart, the songs that are the soundtrack to my life, the TV shows that were like my best pals when my friends were all going out and I had to stay home with only you for company, the comedians that nearly gave me a broken rib from laughing,   Thank you so very much for all of it.

I just have one small request.

If I ever join you in Heaven or where ever you are, please could you arrange for a front row seat?  I intend to carry on watching and listening to you forever.

Thank You.

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13 Important Things You Should Know About Growing Old

This ageing gig.  Gosh, is there anyone in the history of humankind who has found growing old easy?  

Freddie Mercury once sang Who Wants to Live Forever?  I do Freddie, I want to live forever.  I write this days away from my XXth birthday.  That’s what I’m calling it from now on, XX. (Remember that.)  Yes, I’ve arrived at the point I never understood when I was young and said I’d never arrive at (surprise surprise): not wanting to disclose my age.  More on that shortly.  Let’s just say I’m old enough to have seen many a trend come into fashion, go out of fashion and come back in again at least twice.  

Now, we’re all different.  I’m sure there are those who aren’t bothered about growing old

(although Just Saying Mum sounds about as thrilled as me in her hilarious post).  In fact, some people are able to laugh about ageing like the lovely Laura of Five Litttle Doves (although if I was still only thirty-frickin-six, I’d be laughing too).  So maybe it’s misguided and presumptuous of me to describe the following list as things you should know about growing old because you may not agree.  I just thought I’d let you know what I’ve experienced as it may serve as a warning of what’s about to come (if you’re younger than me).  Equally, it might reassure you that you’re not alone (if you’re older than me)!  So, read it and weep.  No, learn.  I meant read it and learn

retro pic of Prabs of Absolutely Prabulous

 

1. THERE WILL COME A POINT WHERE YOUR HEART SINKS UPON RECEIVING A 40TH BIRTHDAY INVITE.
The last few years when I’ve been invited to a 40th bash, I’ve thought “bless…just a baby’. Now I just want to burn the damned invite and pour myself a double vodka.

2. ALL THE WORDS BECOME SMALL!
ALL of them.  I’m having to hold everything (shampoo bottles, appliance manuals, pasta packets, cinema tickets etc) at arm’s length, so the words aren’t blurred and that’s with my glasses on/lenses in.  And now poor Hubster’s sight is failing.  If someone were to watch us trying to read…well…pretty much anything, they’d die laughing.  Our kids get quite a comedy show as their parents pass games instructions etc between one another, in exasperated defeat.  The blind leading the blind, honestly.

3. YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD FOR COFFEE TEQUILA SHOTS
until you actually do coffee tequila shots.  My Saturday night girls are mainly way younger than me and are quite partial to them and I do love them so…when in Rome…)  Sadly coffee tequila shots don’t love me and have no qualms about reminding me the next day.  And the day after that…

4. YOU USED TO GET EXCITED ABOUT PURCHASES
(sorry male readers) such as these:

and you still are but you’re even happier when you find this:

flask

Don’t laugh!  This is the best flask I’ve found.  I’ve been hanging out at playgrounds and after-school activities for years with rubbish ones that have no handle/aren’t the right size.  Then as luck would have it, I found this the other week for barely half the cost of others.  Look…the best bit: it’s got two cups, TWO I tell you!  Do you understand how handy this is for weekend hikes?!

5. YOU’LL HAVE A ‘MOMENT OF REALISATION’ ABOUT PEOPLE KNOWING YOUR AGE
I’m usually the eldest amongst my friends.  As the years have gone by, I’ve started feeling like a museum exhibit that gets rolled out for people to admire.  Don’t get me wrong; I understand it’s flattering, to an extent.  But sometimes it’s uncomfortable, especially when a friend mentions I’m almost as old as their mum (and calls me granny).  I’m not sure exactly when I started thinking I’d rather people didn’t know my age but something happened recently that confirmed I really don’t!  I was dining with some relatives, one of whom likes telling people my age.  (I get it, she’s ‘proud’ I look younger than my age and the intention is sweet.)  A guy from the next table joined us and an interesting (if embarrassing) thing happened.  My relative asked him to guess our ages.  My heart sank: Here we go again.  He guessed theirs, looked at me and said “You’re 26”.  (Funny guy.)  I thanked him: “That’s lovely but we both know I’m not 26. Now, how old do you really think I am? I don’t mind”.  Well you have to be game, right?  I must admit I kind of felt sorry for him.  He must have thought I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t tell the truth here. I’ll offend her either way.   This is the interesting bit: after paying me a compliment, he said “Ok, I really think you’re 36”.  Here comes the embarrassing bit: my relative practically spat her prosecco out shrieking “She’s XX!!” 

6. YOU USED TO BE ALL ABOUT THE LATEST RESTAURANT OPENINGS AND COOLEST CLUBS.
Now your idea of a fun time is reorganising your household storage.

well alright, it's usually tidier than this...

well alright, it’s usually tidier than this…

 

7. YOU LEARN TO CONFRONT THE BODY IMAGE DEMONS.
Despite still being blessed with what’s ‘conventionally’ regarded as a slim figure, my natural shape tends towards pear-shaped and I’m now actually wider than I’ve been in over twenty years (pregnancies aside).  My friends literally scoff when I say this but there are genuinely items of clothing that don’t go on as easily as they used to; I can still get into them but the buttons and zips are none too happy about the extra work required to make this happen.  It doesn’t help that I seriously struggle fixing an exercise schedule that fits with the madness of kids/house/blog/life in general.  I know I’ll never return to my gym-sculpted younger self and actually I’m not heartbroken over it!  I’ve surprised myself with how fine I am with having a bit more ‘meat’ on me, maybe because I don’t feel the same pressure to be svelte that I felt in my twenties.  And I do think not having full length mirrors in our house helps…

8. YOU BECOME…ERM…VERY ‘PRACTICAL’ ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS.
Such as going for an eye test and taking your existing glasses with you because all you need are new lenses…there’s nothing wrong with the frames…they were great twelve years ago and they’ll do just fine now! OLD PERSON behaviour I tell you.  So is this:

getting-old


9. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW OLD YOU GET, SOME THINGS WILL NEVER CHANGE.
– I think I’ll always cringe at the sight of Mariah Carey spilling out of a boob tube whilst screaming singing.
– I’ll never be able to watch reruns of Glee because I have a similar reaction to Lea Michele doing anything.  Sorry but it’s impossible to like everyone.
– I can’t help laughing when someone falls over (unless it’s me, ahem) and yes I know it’s unkind and juvenile and I don’t do it in front of them.  Hey, I don’t do drugs or cheat on my husband so allow me this one vice.

10. THE ONLY WOLF WHISTLES YOU GET ARE FROM WORKERS WARNING YOU NOT TO WALK INTO THE SCAFFOLDING. (Female readers!)
[Deep breath]. I may incite uproar and judgement with this but I’ll never forget when I first realised that my age was making me invisible. I was 34 and visiting friends in Paris where I used to live.  As I stood on a pavement waiting to cross Rue de Rivoli, it struck me that something was different from my visit three years before.  It took me a minute and then it hit me: nobody was hooting anymore!  Men were no longer leaning out of their car windows  calling me or walking past me on the street saying a sleazy ‘bonjour’, daily behaviour (harrassment) I’d experienced when I used to live there.  Part of me was happy to say goodbye to that degrading nonsense that used to make me dread walking into a cafe on my own but part of me was (dare I set feminism back decades by saying it) erm…how do I put this…wistful.  Shut the front door!! Say what now? Yes I hated that chauvinist treatment when I lived in Paris in my twenties but standing on that street corner, as a visitor in my thirties, it hit me that the attention had ground to a halt because I no longer looked ‘young enough’ to attract it, translation: young enough to be harrassed.  [Mental note to self: write blog post on how ageing is a godsend.]

11. YOU EVENTUALLY HAVE TO SAY ‘SO LONG, FAREWELL’ TO COLLAGEN.
Yes folks, let’s observe a minute’s silence over the sad passing of that miracle ingredient that made me/you look youthful.  I no longer get mistaken for someone in their twenties (the story in point 5 doesn’t count) and on bad days not even someone in their thirties.  Makeup doesn’t work the magic it used to, there is no skincare on earth that can bring the plump firmness back (no matter what all those Loréal ads say) and a hollow slackness has appeared on that face in the mirror.  But worst of all, the eyelids drop!  The face sagging: I get that. The tummy wrecked to holy hell by three pregnancies and births: logical.  But my eyelids dropping? What kind of sick joke is that?  I look like I’m permanently asleep.  I have friends battling serious illness and problems of my own more serious than The Mystery of the Vanishing Collagen and Droopy Eyelids so I know this could seem insensitive and self-absorbed.  But our issues are our issues and frankly, it takes the wind out of my sails seeing myself age.  (I said I was trying to confront the body image demons; the face doesn’t count, ahem.)

12. LIFE’S ALL ABOUT STAGES AND I’VE REACHED THE NEXT ONE
As I sit here writing at my ‘cafe office’, there are two young mothers in that follow-the-toddler-around-before-they-run-out-to-the-road-or-destroy the place stage, unable to sit down and drink their coffee before it’s cold.  Each summer, I see mothers struggling onto the beach with a hundred bits of equipment, babe in arms.  I see women pushing buggies loaded with paraphernalia.  And I can’t help thinking ‘Gosh I’m so happy I’m way past that stage now’.  When I met my dolly of a niece, I found myself saying things like “Mine used to do that when they were little”.  I felt like a veteran mother (let me be a veteran at something okay?) yet friends with older kids say to me “I’m glad I’m out of your stage…your kids are still so young.”   At least I get to drink my coffee while it’s still hot, well, lukewarm.  See? All relative…

13. I’M PAINFULLY AWARE OF MY MORTALITY AND BY PAINFULLY AWARE I MEAN TERRIFIED OF DEATH’
So very much I could say…
Friends who shouldn’t have died so young.
People battling illness.
So many people who have lost their parents.
People who unexpectedly lost their partners.
The crap that’s in our food no matter how hard you try to eat healthily.
The cancer cells in our body that might be just waiting to gang up and leash their worst.
I’m aware of it every day.

But…

Prabs of Absolutely Prabulous and thoughts about ageing

 

 

Since publishing this post, it’s been brought to my attention that I didn’t mention memory loss as a major symptom of ageing. I would have included it but…I forgot!


WHAT HAS HIT YOU THE HARDEST ABOUT GROWING OLD(ER)?! 

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The Perfect Holiday…Is There Really Such a Thing? #MarkWarnerMum

This post was originally written as my entry for a competition February 2016. I didn’t win the competition but really enjoyed writing it!


Mark Warner Holidays are seeking six lucky bloggers to act as family brand ambassadors for 2016.  So I thought I’d give it a go.  When I thought of what I’d describe as my perfect holiday, it came to me as a conversation between myself and my children, although I admit I don’t usually talk to my kids in rhyming couplets but there’s a first time for everything right (well second)?!

So voilà my entry for consideration in the Creative Writing category.

 

mark-warner-kids-beach

Mummy why are you applying as family ambassador for Mark Warner?
Because kids, it’s not enough to linger in our Maltese corner.
But we already have sunshine, beautiful Valletta and Golden Bay;
They’re more than fine mum, what is better for a perfect holiday?!

I see your point but blessed as we have been to spend this time in Malta,
This is purely one island and it’s really time we oughta
Give you a proper holiday beyond taking you to the same pool.
There’s so much you’ve not yet done; there’s more to life than school.

There are cultures I want to you appreciate, new places I want you to go.
A canvas of memories for you to paint, a tapestry of experiences you should sew.
There are new languages for us to attempt and amazing sights to see,
The perfect holiday is not just this island, I hope you’ll soon agree.

There are delicacies to sample, customs and festivals to discover,
A great holiday provides the right toys, whether you’re a ski addict or beach lover.
From spa days full of relaxation to the adrenaline rush of sports and activities
The truly great vacation has everything (well it does in my fantasies).

From the bustling streets of New York to the vibrant souks of Cairo,
From breathtaking African Savannas to South America’s formidable volcanoes,
From refreshing Norwegian fjords to scorching desert safaris,
From Medieval European architecture to New Zealand’s stunning greenery.

Cocktails and sunsets, white water rafts and roller coaster rides,
Skyscrapers and pyramids; water parks with massive slides,
Camels, rickshaws and gondolas, the stuff of great travel stories,
Sea life and wild life, nature in its incredible glory.

The list is actually endless, so I guess what I’m trying to say
Is that there is no single recipe for the ideal holiday.
It can come in all forms, it exists in all shapes and sizes.
The perfect holiday presents itself in many different guises.

I backpacked, I summer-camped; I travelled lots before I was your mother.
Once I caught the travel bug, it was a feeling like no other.
Pulling out the passport, checking the tickets and packing those cases,
Smelling a country’s air with excitement as I stepped off the plane in new places.

So raising global citizens has long been a dream that is unsinkable.
Not showing you this amazing planet is quite frankly unthinkable.
The world awaits you my darlings and life is there to taste.
The perfect holiday is one that teaches you that a life without travel is truly a waste.

 

mark-warner-wish-us-luck

 

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11 Things That are Really Difficult to Give up For Lent

We do not bring our children up in the Sikh faith, Hubster’s Hindu faith or indeed any other, unless you class teaching them to respect others and not behave like mannerless twunts a faith (in which case I’m deeply religious).

I am Sikh (by cultural heritage) but am non practising and not religious.  However, a few days ago saw the start of Lent, the period during which certain denominations of Christianity observe a forty day period of abstinence.  So, I got to thinking about the concept of Lent, wondering what I would give up if it was part of my life.  Now, giving up chocolate or wine or any of the customary items is just not going to work with me.  Yes I appreciate the point is to choose something that you find hard to give up so that you are indeed carrying out a meaningful sacrifice.  But that ship has truly sailed…quite a few times to be frank.  In fact, I think that ship is permanently out to sea, never to redock again.  (Okay, I think that’s about as far as I can stretch that metaphor.)

So here instead is my list of what I genuinely would give up for Lent (if only I could):

11-things-that-are-difficult-for-lent

1. Yelling at my kids like a banshee, for the stupidest of reasons and waaaay past the point where I just need to stop (because even I no longer believe in what I’m yelling about)

2. Endlessly hoping I can get the whole house clean at the same time (instead of that piece-meal situation where I get part of it sparkly but by the time the other parts are clean, the first bit is ludicrously dirty again) and then actually enjoy it for a day – oh alright, a few hours.

3. Carbs. Well, not totally give them up as they are essential for the body of course but man alive, I wish I could successfully limit the amount of them in my daily diet. Sheesh.

4. Expecting Hubster to react more emotionally (or react at all) to certain things I say and especially towards the kids. Expecting Hubster to see things the way I do. In fact, all the expectations, the many unfulfilled wishes, the unsatisfied needs, the whole shabang…I just wish I could give it all up because when all is said and done…he is simply amazing.

5. Midnight munchies. I noticed a couple of months ago that I had finally, without any conscious effort, ended my lifelong habit of toast and marmalade with tea at stupid o’clock. Seriously, it never mattered how full this little piglet was from dinner…she’d still have her late evening toast snack attack. So why is this on my Lent list? Because no sooner had I realised I’d dropped it, than I went back to it, that’s why! Ugh.

6. My 100% confirmed totally undeniable never-ending inability to Go. The. Hell. To. Bed. before midnight. (No smartypant comments about how I should just go to bed before midnight and then I’ll stop doing the Paddington bear routine with the midnight marmalade, thanks.)

7. Night time blogging.  I don’t go out to work, yet I just can’t fit blog, housework, grocery shopping, meal preparation, exercise schedule, kids’ homework and bedtime etc, into the hours before 8pm.  I’m desperate to reclaim my evenings (and my face which is becoming haggard from the late nights).

8. My sweet tooth. Fair enough, I don’t eat cakes and sweets and drink fizzy drinks all day (or even once a week) but there is too much sugar in my diet and it is starting to worry me, now my twenties are a long way behind me. Besides, I’m sweet enough right?

9. My constant exasperation with the senseless, dangerous and incompetent driving on this island. Hubster says I get way too irate about it and that I just have to accept it’s how they drive (that’s if you call what they do behind the steering wheel driving). I could accept it if I didn’t have to go out on the road and endanger my kids’ and my own life.

10. Sarcasm. Basically.

11. My insane need for the nine hours of sleep I require (and have always required) to function. When I go to my maker (which is technically a phrase I’m not allowed to use considering I’m not religious but hey ho) and I’m asked about the one thing I wish I could have done differently, I think ‘not sleeping half my life away’ would be at the top of the list.

talent-sleeping

 

That’s it.

I lied about number 10 by the way.


HAVE YOU EVER GIVEN ANYTHING UP FOR A CUSTOM?

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2015: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times…20 Reasons Why

2015-retrospective


Another year rolls to a close and I’ve been wondering how on earth to write about it. As I said recently, I generally write humorous posts. But 2015 has been one hell of a year…literally the best of times, the worst of times. There have been periods where I have been unable to breathe properly and everything has felt like it’s crashing down on me and just as I pick myself up, another calamity hits…but there are always things to smile about too. So I’ll try to keep some humour in this!

It is easy to look back at an entire year and give it too much meaning or attribute a ‘personality’ to it and say “that was a rubbish year and I can’t wait to see the back of it” or “that was a great year”; when actually, a year is just a number of days that form weeks that form a number of months. So 2015 is just a sum of its daily, weekly and monthly parts really. I guess I shouldn’t tar the whole year with one label…some of those parts were good and some just weren’t. 

Looking back, 2015 was the year where:

I tried to make myself love Star Wars. But erm, I’m not sure the Force was quite with me. I tried to get into Game of Thrones and I enjoyed it but am not sure why the world has gone mad over it. Maybe it’s just all the sex. #Don’tHateMe

The biggest thing to happen in my life area was the opening of the brand new coast road that they’d been building for almost two years near our house. Seriously, it just wouldn’t be news anywhere but Malta…but I swear if you’d seen the old ‘road’ which was just one big accident hot spot, you’d understand my glee. #TooMuchExcitement

I realised that even though there is a lot of truth in the saying Friends are the family you choose for yourself, it is usually family that do amazing things like fly you out for a much needed weekend away and treat you while you’re there #IHeartMySisters

sisters

Having said that, I don’t know where I’d be without my honorary family of friends such as my dear friend Baker Lady, who swiftly came to Hubster’s rescue helping out with the girls when Dreamy D was hospitalised after an asthma attack while I was on that weekend away!

Dave Grohl broke his leg and in the process my heart, less than a week before I was due to see him in concert. #FookingTypical

After eight years presumed totally lost, Hubster’s wedding band showed up…at the bottom of a handbag chest which I’d already cleared out several times without ever spotting the shiny circle sitting at the bottom. I’ll never forget the smile on his face and the sigh of relief as we both declared it was a much needed sign. We never drink wine on a Monday but there was cause for celebration… #AndThenExactlyOneWeekLater…

My marriage suffered a big blow that I think I internalised too quickly (for the right reasons but with the wrong results)…you don’t really have time to dwell when you have kids to raise I guess. #Irony

This blog came into its own and the exposure and reaction it received just blew me away. Alright, I lied about the road. THIS was the biggest (and only real good) part of the year. Earning a reputation as a brave honest blogger, extraordinarily beautiful comments about my writing, people telling me their life had been touched by my posts, growing a loyal following, seeing myself featured in several top blog lists, getting onto the Huffington Post and going viral three times in six weeks..these were things I simply could not have dreamed of at the start of 2015. I also did not expect to cause a bit of a ****storm with one of my posts but hey ho. I said at the end of 21 Casual Promises I needed to bring it on the blog in 2015. There is a lot I still have to put in motion but #ImOnMyWay

The fab local beach restaurant that opened last year bringing much needed life to the area (it’s even in my 2014 lookback) changed management and went down the drain. The warm friendly family-run establishment where they knew your name, gave loyal customers a free sunbed and let them – er me – run up a monthly coffee tab has been replaced by a soulless shambles where you wait 45 minutes to order a coffee before finally giving up and leaving…oh yeah and as an extra ‘treat’, they argue with you about how long you waited instead of apologising and correcting their mistake. Las Palmas #GetYourActTogether

Musical M started middle (senior) school and I watched her struggle with her place amongst cliquey preteen girls and try to adjust to the step up in the academic programme. Dreamy D suffered yet more disappointment with friends at school and Cheeky K ended up having to repeat kindergarten. The first day of the new term simply broke their mummy’s heart and she sat in her car after drop off crying for 45 minutes (muppet). #SufferTheChildren

I finally (years after everyone got into it) fell in like with Prosecco in November…and straight back out of like in December #TooManyBubbles

I discovered my kids can barely walk 10 metres from the car to the house without complaining BUT they can happily scramble over rocks and walk through rough shrubbery for several kilometres. Don’t tell everyone but there’s a bit of countryside unspoiled by cranes and incessant construction. #WeAreHikers

DSCN1274

Flying to and from the UK with three kids was less daunting than rail travel with three kids once we got there.  Man, the Oyster card, the constant topping up, the frantic rushing for the right platform, trying to understand which bits were London underground and which were national rail…you’d never think I used to live there. Oh…and I lost Cheeky K at the British Museum. #WorstTwoMinutesEver

I had to finally accept I just can’t make someone care about me if they simply don’t and ultimately I just have to choose whether to stay in the friendship and tolerate the upsets or walk away altogether to avoid the pain. #CantForceIt

But other relationships I never expected were just waiting for me…thanks to the blog. I can’t name everyone on here because it would become the longest post ever. But I have to thank:
Laura of Life With Baby Kicks for becoming an instant blogging bestie, loving mojitos as much as me and being so good for my blog soul with her straight talking in our private chats. Beyond blogging, she’s in my life. Period. P.S. please come to BritMums 2016 so I can drink you under the table learn lots of useful blogging stuff with you.
Claire of Life Love and Dirty Dishes for making me fall in immediate blog love with her, she makes me snort, she is so damned hilarious. She is coming to BritMums Live and I’m a tad excited about meeting her.
Talya of Motherhood the Real Deal who is simply a tour de force, whom I just love for calling me her blog wife and who is also coming to that event to my utter delight.
All three are prolific bloggers who frequently have me scratching my head wondering how the hell they manage it.
I can’t forget my twitter posse Cuddle Fairy, Notting Hill Daddy and Domesticated Momster with whom I’ve had the best conversations and Mummy Tries and Mrs T Plus Three for being gems when I’ve needed blogging tips,
and of course, Rod of Modern Dad Pages who is a constant friend and Harps of Baby Brain Memoirs for making my week when I realised there was a fellow Punjabi chick in blog town. #BloggerLove

And a non blog-related friendship…my friend Nat who I really ‘met properly’ only in the last few months after bumping into her many times previously on the Malta ‘social scene’ (I say non blog-related but actually we got to know each other properly after she started reading the blog). She has turned out to be a pillar of strength #AlwaysThere

hard-to-find


Hubster lost a good friend and even though I’d never actually met her, I think of her almost every day and what a loss she is. #TheGoodOnesDieYoung

I actually took a picture of a roundabout (nope not sad enough to put it on here!). Look, it’s not any old roundabout. It’s the NEW roundabout near our house that replaces the death-trap-traffic-island and daft slip roads we had before. Yes last year it was the new beach restaurant. This year it’s a roundabout. What will it be next year? #ItsAllHappening

I finally. ten years after moving here, had a day on a boatFine company, fine food, fine Mediterranean waters…a lovely get away from life, if only for a day. #Blessed

Musical M put her ‘I’m too shy’ act to one side and sang her heart out to her own composition in front of an audience at the school Talent Show. Meanwhile, my brother, the artist Deewaan brought out a fab track Mahiya Ve which is available on iTunes  #ThisFamilysGotIt

 

I only (just) managed six out of the twenty one 2015 resolutions I’d set myself…well luckily they were just ‘casual promises’ ahem #CoveredMyself

One of the best nights (actually the best night) wasn’t some big blow out girls’ night here in Malta but a relaxed barbecue in the UK enjoying warm balmy weather, fab food (the memory of which I still salivate over) and the company of two gorgeous friends who are like family. And if they don’t know who they are, let the hashtag give it away  #FoosTShirt

A close relative was severely ill at the beginning of the year and we didn’t know if they would make it. The year is ending with further colossal stress on the personal front. What to do.  #WhatDoesntKillYouMakesYouStronger

I realised I’ve spent one too many christmases without my parents and siblings #LifeIsShort

So there you have it. Some great bits, some good bits, some okayish bits and some oh so shit bits . Literally, the best of times, the worst of times. Let’s see what the new year has in store for me and my family. Brave smiles on faces, best foot forward and all that.

And as a friend of mine said this evening, may the best of 2015 be the worst of 2016!

Happy New Year to my wonderful readers. I wish you all the best for the new year!


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And then the fun began...
A Bit Of Everything
Best of Worst
Let's Talk Mommy

40 Life Lessons For My Kids (I Wish I’d Known as a Kid)

Dear Musical M, Dreamy D and Cheeky K

I’ve wanted to write something like this for a while but I put it on the backburner. Let’s face it, I’m probably the least qualified person to teach you valuable life lessons apart from stuff like:

– don’t lick that
– If you think it’s the wrong hole, it probably is
– there are few problems in life that a massive chocolate sundae with marshmallows and extra chocolatey sauce and some of those multicoloured thingies can’t fix (mainly because you’d be so sick after one of those that you’d forget your problems for a bit).

Seriously though, goodness only knows, I’ve only managed to implement half of the following list in my own life, so I hope you have more success than me. I know I’m meant to lead by example (honestly I do actually try) but in this case:

It’s do as mummy says, not as mummy does!

Most of it is serious but you know my cheeky ways…some of it is not. I just hope I’m raising you well enough to tell the difference between the two.

40-life-lessons-for-my-kids
1)  I’m going to start with one of my mantras: Be happy with what you have. Don’t spend so much time chasing what you don’t have that you don’t appreciate what’s right in front of you. I want you to be comfortable (more than) and not struggle.  Just don’t rely on material wealth to make you happy because that’s just the path to misery, my loves! And even if we struggle, there is still someone far FAR worse off than us.

if-you-have-food-infographic-web-version

2) Remember the importance of healthy eating…but don’t forget that a life without cake is…well…pretty rubbish really!

3) It takes all sorts of people to make the world go round and I’m not going to tell you that we are all the same because that’s just Utopian nonsense.  But we ARE all originally made of the same stuff….even if we turn out very differently. So try to respect other people’s opinions no matter how hard you may find it. Obvious exceptions to the rule:
racist twunts, homophobes, anyone who doesn’t like U2 or Michael Jackson.

4) Find wonder in the small things. Cry, laugh, feel. It doesn’t make you an emotional sop, it makes you human. It makes you my child. If someone ridicules you for it, it’s alright…they’re just not ‘connected’ like you. Their loss.

5) Have fun. LOTS OF FUN. Because life is too damned short not to.

life-is-short

6) Stand up for yourself…but pick your battles wisely (and for heaven’s sake know when to just shut the hell up).

7) If any of you think/realise you’re gay, tell me and your father. We’ll never turn it into a problem or turn you away. Ever.

8) Travel as much as you can, try your best to stay safe, do some stupid shit too and purleese remember: spare me the details you can tell me anything.

Mark-Twain-Quotes-Twenty-Years-From-Now-9

9) If you find love, cherish it, never take your partner for granted and respect them. If it turns out your partner doesn’t deserve your respect…don’t be afraid to walk away no matter how awful that option may seem at the time.

10) It’s important to follow the rules…and know which ones to break…

break the rules
11) Never stop listening to music. Ever. You hear me?

12) When things go wrong, try not to search for a reason. I honestly believe things (well most things) during even the toughest of times happen for a reason.

Sometimes-when-things-are-falling-apart-they-may-actually-be-falling-into-place.

 

13) Find your passion and follow it. I’m not going to tell you that as long as you follow your passion, the money required to survive in life will automatically come, but at least find a passion!

14) Look people in the eye when you speak to them. Listen to them; I mean really listen to them. SMILE. Say ‘pardon’ or ‘excuse me, not ‘what’. I know you already say please and thank you and sorry. Don’t ever stop. Humility isn’t old fashioned. Manners matter.

treat-people-the-way-you-want-to-be-treated-talk-to-people-the-way-you-want-to-be-talked-to-respect-13896273454g8nk
15) Don’t be hard on yourself. I’ve spent years doing just that. It’s such a waste of energy and doesn’t get you anywhere except down. And comparing yourself to others is just as pointless. Just be the best version of you and that’s enough.

16) Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.

17) Try not to lash out; it’s so easy to do (guilty as charged) but does no good in the end:

how-you-made-someone-feel

(there again some people just need to be put in their place but you never heard that from me…)

18) Compete against yourself, not against others. This world of ours is becoming obsessed with winners and losers…don’t get caught up in that ugliness. Your only competition is the one looking back at you from the mirror.

be-better-than-yourself
19) Daughters, be tough, be brave, speak up, date whoever you want to date but always be classy. “Less is more” doesn’t mean the less you’re wearing, the more good you look. Know that understated elegance is absolute dynamite; never underestimate the impact of covering up the right bits. Don’t ever EVER let someone make you believe you can’t do something because you’re ‘just’ a girl. Do everything because you ARE a girl. Oh and did I mention, be classy?

20) Son, don’t be a tool: If you’re not going to call or text her, for Heaven’s sake, don’t take her number in the first place. Know that females are not inferior to you so be careful how you inwardly view them, outwardly treat them and talk about them to your friends. And let’s just clarify something here: not holding the door open for a woman doesn’t mean you’re respecting equality; it means you’re just rude (and I didn’t do my job right). Be a gentleman. Always. If I catch you mistreating a woman, so help me God…

21) “I can’t” is no way to speak or think. Be fluent in “I can”. Don’t just give up at the first hurdle in a situation.

think you can ford
22) Have at least two items of clothing that make you feel absolutely amazing as soon as you put them; but remember none of that’s important if you can’t remember to brush your hair or wash your face before you leave the house.

23) You will meet some nasty people throughout life who will talk behind your back or be downright rude to your face and you won’t understand why they are like that. You can’t do much about them but you can change the way you react. Above all, don’t let their behaviour dictate how you live your life and just remember: if they’re trying to bring you down, they’re already below you.

how-people-treat-you

 

24) It’s not always me, me, me. Why? Voilà:

if-you-live-your-life-as-if-everything-is-about-you

 

25) It needs to be us, us, us. You’re part of the world around you so don’t think that something isn’t your problem if you know you can help (from helping that old lady who’s just dropped her shopping bag to actual causes). Give back if you genuinely can, live responsibly…just be decent.

1308-Mahatma-Gandhi-Quote-Be-the-change-that-you-wish-to-see-in-the

26) Defend your family and friends. If someone talks ill of them or mistreats them, do something about it.

27) Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably definitely isn’t. If it feels right, go go GO with it

28) When you are suffering hardship or heartache, remember nothing lasts forever.

darkest day

29) This is the holy grail: Never judge someone til you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, as the saying goes. It’s really hard. But just don’t.

30) When you’re too old for me to tuck you in at night, or I’m no longer around to do “Favourite part of the day”, please still do it, even silently to yourself as you drift off to sleep. Even on the darkest of days, we can usually find something that was worth remembering. Deal?

31) Be kind even when the other person isn’t giving you much reason to be.

be-kind
32) Don’t spend so much time looking back with nostalgia/regret you don’t focus enough on looking forward (besides…I do that enough for all of us…).

33) THIS!

watch-your-words

34) Always read the instructions.

35) Be accountable for your mistakes. Don’t try to pass the blame on to someone else.

36) Put your best effort into everything you do. You just let yourself down when you don’t. But recognise that sometimes a half-baked plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow (a wise man told me that…your father).

37) Listen to your mother! (Except for when she’s talking crap.)

38) If you drop it, pick it up. If you switch it on, turn it off. You’re never too important to clear up after yourself.

39) Be happy for other peoples’ success. Genuinely. Jealousy is poisonous.

40) I guess when all is said and done, it comes down to this:

744-Mae-West-Quote-You-only-live-once-but-if-you-do-it-right-once-is
Oh and I almost forgot:

– don’t lick that
– If you think it’s the wrong hole, it probably is
– there are few problems in life that a massive chocolate sundae with marshmallows and extra chocolatey sauce and some of those multicoloured thingies can’t fix (mainly because you’d be so sick after one of those that you’d forget your problems for a bit).

(I lied about 40…)

C’est tout.

What life lessons would you pass on? I’d love to know in the comments box below.

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Absolutely Prabulous

Apparently This ONE Thing Tells You Hell of a Lot About a Woman…

I was at after school tennis the other day when someone asked me if I had a tissue or baby wipe on me. As I dutifully waded through my handbag (or purse for those of you Stateside) – and I really mean waded through – some underwear flew out of the bag. Yeah…joke all you want. Anyway, that evening I remembered how they say you can tell a lot about a woman’s mind by what’s in her handbag. Or is it what a woman’s house looks like from the state of her handbag? Either way, I’m so screwed. Now, I don’t hold a doctorate in Forensic Object Analysis (don’t scoff…that is a real qualification you can gain at the University of Prabulousness) but I reckon I can figure out what my handbag contents signify all by my clever little self:

One chocolate bun thingy: No idea why there’s just the one. I have three kids. It could well be a fight to the death between them, all over a chocolate bun thingy, I reckon.

Open bag of mini Dutch waffles: Not sure which day I put them in there. Not sure which week either to be honest. Not even sure that a load of syrupy glucose mess is the best form of nourishment before their after-school sports activity.

Sparkly pink princess fabric wallet: Coz…when you have two girls there is always something sparkly, pink and princessy in your handbag.

Four bananas: Because I felt guilty over the crappy waffles? No idea why there are four. I have three kids. Clearly I’m struggling with the ratio of food to child thing.

Aforementioned panties (yep they’re still in there): Cheeky K’s…not mine. Because when you have kids, someone’s underwear always seems to end up in your bag. You need to have kids to get this (although one of my friends who does have kids didn’t get it…mental note to self…unfriend her immediately).

Travel draughts/chess: Erm, I may suddenly get the urge to play a game while running my morning errands?

The belt to one of Cheeky K’s cardigans: Because apparently we don’t possess a wardrobe to keep her belts and knickers in judging by what’s turning up in this bag. (Don’t look at me. I told you this is what happens when you have kids. I swear, stuff just ends up in your bag and most of it isn’t even yours.)

Antibiotic ointment: Because Dreamy D had a wart removed from his finger a while ago, an ‘event’ that will remain etched in my memory and quite possibly the memory of everyone in the waiting room outside because the screaming was like nothing else on earth. And let’s face it, why would I put the ointment in the first aid box that has a dedicated storage place in our bathroom when I can carry it around with me. Huh? HUH?

Prescription for said ointment: Because it needs to stay in my bag another three months so that it finally so crumpled and illegible that there will be no point filing it away. At which point, I will then file it away.

Tampons: Oh Sweet Pea you’re shocked? You must be new here! I don’t exactly do muffin recipes on this blog. But hey, they’re in a chic pink and black tin so it’s not that bad. There are also several loose ones rolling around but don’t worry, they’re individually wrapped. I believe this more than adequately describes my feminine hygiene situation – and has more than adequately just lost me a few readers. Oops. To all you men who say my site gives you an insight into a woman’s mind, I’m SO sorry. (And yet glad to be of service.)

That concludes the toilet humour part of the programme, folks. Blush.

Bush Naturals Organic face cream: Because I take skincare seriously (translation, I’m too rushed to apply it before the leaving the house in the morning).

My Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle: I said goodbye to buying endless small plastic water bottles years ago, for environmental/health/cost reasons (yep…I can do serious too ya know) and this thing really is one of my most prized possessions. Go figure.

A grocery list from…last September? What is there to say? It’s just wrong.

Pure Republic Pukka Skincare brochure: Which I’ll eventually get round to reading once my skin is too aged to be rescued by any form of skincare or when the company that makes it has shut down.

Hello Kitty mini notepad: Coz…girls…again.

Cyclone hair wax: Kind of ironic considering I’m the woman who n-e-v-e-r uses hair products. But then, these days my hair looks like an actual cyclone hit it. In the bag it stays.

Neals Yard Hydrating Facial Mist: Who knew I had this many toiletries/cosmetics in my bag? Now all I need is shower gel and shampoo and I could actually get ready inside my bag (it’s big enough).

So many supermarket receipts that my wallet won’t shut: Well you never know when you’ll get the urge to check what you paid for 641 grammes of carrots back in April 2013, now do you?

Business card of the pest control man: In case I need him to come round and spray my kids. I mean bugs.

Cable for my Mac plus USB stick: No laptop…just the cable and the USB, you understand…

Socks: Mine… Why? Or more accurately WHY?

Tangle Teezer hair brush: logical enough, especially considering previous cyclone comment.

The label from a cereal bar – just the label: Obviously waste bins don’t exist.

Usual suspects of house keys, car key, phone, make up bag etc: Praise be! It’s a miracle I actually have these on my person…ask anyone who knows me.

Sunglasses: Because I may leave the house without my keys or wallet or brain on an alarmingly regular basis (read Ten Signs of the Scatty Mama or I Don’t Know How She Does It to see what I mean) but I will NEVER leave the house without my sunglasses, you hear me?

Remote control to Hubster’s office garage: Man I hope he doesn’t read this post…was meant to put the damned thing back in the car after a near disaster recently.

What does it all mean?

1 That if they do a remake of Mary Poppins, they should pay me for the use of my bag for that scene.

2 The only thing I have a doctorate in is how to fit the maximum amount of crap into it.

3 I’m apparently terrified of having messy hair, dry skin or someone going hungry.

4 When I’m suffering from writer’s block and need inspiration for a blog post, I can just look inside my bag.

5 If we ever run out of storage space at home between the laundry room, the closet, the storage room, the office and everyone’s wardrobes, there is nothing to worry about (see point 1).

Told you I was clever.

They Say You Can Tell A Lot About A Woman From What's In Her Handbag. Oh Boy...

 

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25 Things I’ve Learned Since My Last Birthday

Another birthday rolls around and I’m sitting here thinking “I’m another year older but am I another year wiser?” Really, what have I learned since my last birthday? (I mean apart from the fact that there’s a higher chance of it happening between me and Robert Downey Jr than there is of Victoria Beckham ever cracking a smile…ever.)

Seriously, I do hope I’ve learned something new. Dammit, I ought to have learned something new, right? I recently saw the motivational phrase “Make sure you learn something new every day”.  The thing is, if I wanted to learn something new every day, I’d have to enrol myself in an Open University course that never ended. So scrap that. Learning something new every day just isn’t going to work for me.

However, I’ve put my mind to it and realised that I have nevertheless learned/realised the following:

1) WHEN I RECEIVE A 40TH BIRTHDAY INVITE, I think “Bless, so young…”

2) I GASP AT CHER AND JOANNE RIVERS’ PLASTIC FACES. No I’m not thinking “But why?!”  I’m thinking “Wow what a great job”.

3) I PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE ANYMORE. I’ve had far too many locking myself out the house / getting stranded because I’ve run out of petrol  / sleeping off girls’ nights out at friends’ houses (or in my car before turning on the engine to go home and discovering the battery’s flat) incidents than are fitting for someone of my age.

4) I NEED TO FIND THE PERSON WHO FIRST SAID “Life begins at forty”. I just need a bit of clarification on a couple of things. The main thing I need to clarify is how hard I should punch them in the face. Mind you they’re probably dead.

5) BUT THEN I AGREE WITH THE PHRASE “You’ll never be as young as the age you are now so enjoy it”.

6) I’M STRUGGLING WITH FEELING OFFICIALLY OLD (after years of successfully convincing myself I’m not). Seriously, I watched the film Last Vegas and instead of identifying with the girls in the party scenes, I found myself relating to De Niro/Douglas/Freeman and Kline, wondering if I’ll be popping as many pills as their characters when I’m their age…which FYI doesn’t seem that far off. (By the way, if I totally believe what I just said in 4, 5 and 6, am I nuts or just a typical Pisces, unable to decide on anything?)

7) MY KIDS HAVE AN INFINITE CAPACITY FOR forgiveness. Just as well…because:

8) I’LL NEVER BE THE KIND OF MUM I’d love to be. I don’t mean that in a self-pitying way. It’s a just a simple acceptance of a truth. I’m not fishing. I don’t want sympathy or “don’t be silly, you’re doing a great job” comments. We’re all doing a great job in our own way. There are just aspects of motherhood I don’t do well AT ALL and others I wish I could embrace such as loving nothing more than to do arts and crafts with my kids or enjoying baking/cooking with them. But in truth, I’d rather tattoo an image of Miley onto my forehead than do arts and crafts with my kids. I just don’t know what it is that makes me break out in hives at the thought of working with card, glue, glitter, whatever and then having to find somewhere to put the damned stuff. And I don’t mind baking with them but frankly, I just like to get it done and get out the kitchen. See? I’m sure I have a basic maternal thingamabob-whatsit gene missing. I know. You’re disgusted now. A thousand apologies.

9) I’VE NEVER BEEN THE KIND OF DAUGHTER I should have been. And God knows, my mum deserves the very best. I could elaborate but it would take too long and it would probably involve tears and my laptop isn’t working so well so wetting it isn’t a good idea right now.

10) PEOPLE WHO INVITE YOU to ‘like’ and use a birthday app, on social media, probably shouldn’t be wishing you a Happy Birthday on the wrong day.

11) WATCHING A BRIT WIN WIMBLEDON IS FAB BUT…watching Bradley Cooper (before he went all orange after over-doing it with the fake tan) and Gerard Butler leap up from their Centre Court seats and hug each other laughing like crazy when that Brit wins Wimbledon is pure flipping magic (honestly I couldn’t make that up if I tried).

12) SOME OF MY FRIENDS THINK I’M SUPER ORGANISED (well…two friends counts as ‘some’ doesn’t it?), some think I’m not entirely vigilant (had to put that one in for a certain someone…she knows who she is…that one’s gonna run and run) and some think I’m a hot mess. This proves that my friends know me really well or not at all. I haven’t decided which (Pisces – See point 6).

13) ONCE A HOPELESS ROMANTIC, always a hopeless romantic. Mental note to self: never stop kissing.

14) HANNIBAL LECTER ALMOST WRECKED THINGS FOR ME on this front but after years of being a Bordeaux (and erm Amarone…and yes there are stories I could tell…well one in particular) kinda gal, I’m finally getting into Chianti. Take that, Hopkins.

15) LAUNCHING A BLOG – alright so I’m only three months in to it but I can still say this – has been gratifying, educating, revealing, liberating, heartwarming and so much more. So far so pain in the backside battling WordPress but so far, oh so fun too.

16) NEVER SAY NEVER. I know, it’s a well-known phrase, not a revolutionary discovery of my own making.  But when you have one of those moments (or if you’re lucky more than one moment) where you remember you said “I’ll never do that…it’s so not my thing” or “I’ll never be any good at that…I just can’t do it” only to realise that you are in fact now doing it, you don’t suck at it and you LOVE it, that my friend right there is ‘never say never’ gold.

17) I NEVER KNEW THAT a programme that critiques – well alright, downright rips the shit out of – the dress sense of celebrities and another programme that involves an intense competition to find America’s best cook, could be so good.

18) THERE ARE FEW PROBLEMS that staring at a picture of Idris Elba can’t fix. Haven’t tried it? Ooh but you should… (Men that includes you too.)

19) THAT REMINDS ME, it’s probably best not to look at pictures of myself in my twenties. No good will ever come of it. Sigh.

20) I LIKE TEQUILA AND TENNIS. (Don’t worry, I don’t do both at the same time.)

21) I’VE BEEN ABLE TO RE-PROGRAMME MY BRAIN and recondition my belief system to support me instead of sabotage me (those are hubster’s words and believe me, he should know, after observing in silent frustration all these years and to be honest, I couldn’t have put it better myself). Confused? Buy me a mojito some time and I’ll explain.

Finally, if you don’t like cheese, I suggest you skip straight to 25). The rest of you:

22) THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME INTO MY LIFE in the last 12 to 14 months without whom I honestly don’t know how I lived before. They make me happy and they are truly good for my soul. This girl don’t need no chicken soup.

23) MAKING MY HUSBAND PROUD OF ME: great feeling.

24) MAKING MY KIDS PROUD OF ME: borderline addictive.

25) MAKING ME PROUD OF ME: the best.

That’s it.

10 Lessons This Mama Has Learned

DSC07266So in a week where I managed to miss a girls’ night because I didn’t read the details on the invite properly and came seriously close to using a tube of ear drops to stick my son’s birthday cupcake decorations together, thinking it was a bottle of sugar glue, I thought it a good idea to see if I’d actually done or learned anything constructive this past week.  I think I have.

And being the kind gal that I am, I’m sharing these lessons with you.  For free. You can thank me later.

 

1) It is perfectly possible to go running at 9am and still not have showered by 3pm and yet not have a friggin’ clue what the hell you did between 9 and 3 to make this possible.

2) Animal print dresses never did anyone any good.  Nuff said.

3) Grasp the simple fact that your kid’s birthday is always on the same date every year.  Never changes. Don’t let it creep up on you and shout SURPRISE! in your brain three days before, sending you into a hot blind panic about how much there is to do with such ‘short notice’.

4) If you’re a stay-at-home mum and 3) sounds eerily familiar to you, do not admit it to your working mum friends. They’ll despise you.

5) Unless you plan to wear thongs well into old age, just accept that Visible Panty Line will become a natural part of your life at some stage.  Go with it.

6) Camel Toe.  It will eventually get you.  Sorry.

7) Try to make sure that 5) and 6) don’t happen to you on the same day.  It’s just not fair on those around you.

8) The phrase “my house looks like it’s been burgled” is not always entirely accurate when describing the mess. (Those of you with pristine homes, look away now.)  Take my house for example (please somebody take my house and clean it.)  If a burglar got in, they’d think “Nah. I can’t work in these conditions” and tidy up first.

9) Always read everything properly.  Do not buy your child a birthday card that says Happy Birthday Cousin.  Ditto invites to Ladies’ Poker Night etc.

10) If you play tennis on Monday, run on Tuesday, do pilates on Wednesday, have a tennis class on Thursday and do yoga on Friday, there is NOTHING wrong with sticking your face in the Nutella jar on Saturday.

That’s it. So what lessons have you learned  recently?