30 Days of Gratitude..8..To Read or Not to Read..

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Today it’s books….the books to be grateful for…the writers who bring us those books, the sweat and tears to write them, the criticism to endure when the book is out…but I am ever thankful for authors and books….

Until quite recently I had forgotten how much I used to love to read fiction…it was a forgotten pastime for me….

Then along came The Torn Up Marriage
by Caroline Roberts.  Now, Caroline and I were school friends…we sat together in English…on the most part I probably copied her…(not really Caroline, I think that’s evident in our final results, and I had really bad eyesight and wouldn’t wear my glasses!) So, I thought, I must read this book, Caroline has been writing for many years, I must read it and do my loyal friend thing…It took me about three evenings to finish it….it was really, really good and more than anything reminded me how much I love to read, to lose myself in a story, to immerse myself in the feelings and the characters and to think….to find messages to make decisions about the world and about life….

I prefer to read proper paper books, the Kindle is not for me…it’s too much like staring at an ipad and a book smells better and the page turning…it’s too much of an experience to miss…so no Kindles, just books….

Since this book there are two more from Caroline… The Cosy Teashop in the Castle which I loved, even more for me than the first book…and to follow on The Cosy Christmas Teashop  this one is out on Kindle…I have my paperback pre-ordered to come out to me at the beginning of November….

Thank you Caroline for bringing books back into my “forever scrolling Facebook” life…

Since this I have moved on…having an insatiable desire to read a chapter or two before sleep each night and discovered other favourites…

I love Sheryl Browne…..

I love everything from Lisa Jewell…

I adore Jane Green….especially Mr Maybe and Jemima J…

Go to My Favourite Books! to find some more….

Two all time favourites in the self help field… Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life…hugely recommended if you haven’t already tried them…they are oldies…but goodies…

So, am I grateful for books?  I think you already worked that one out for yourself…if you have stopped reading lately….give it a go….swap books with a friend…go and borrow them from the library….find the genre which appeals to you most…put down the phone and pick up the story…escape for a little while…it really does do you some good…

Pick up a book, tell me what you read and tell me how you enjoyed it….or didn’t…

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Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..7..Collect Moments Not Things..

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Today is about memories to be grateful for….and when I think about my most poignant memories…they are all about moments…not one of them about things…

To a certain extent this includes photos….there are very few photos of these moments, so, do they stay forever in my mind because I know there are no photos to remind me…or do they stay in my mind because I had no distraction at the time, trying to get the perfect picture of the moment….

Of course, photos are important…most especially to remember our loved ones….but it should be a combination, a healthy balance between living it and keeping it alive in our minds and on paper, or digitally.

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Just try attending something….go for a whole day without taking one picture….see how it feels…it might be for you….it might not…but it’s worth a try…

I, like everyone, have good memories and bad memories, that’s what makes a life….the good ones keep us warm inside and the bad ones, they teach us lessons….

The biggest thing ever to happen to me?  Becoming a parent….after 10 years of trying and nothing happening we decided we were going to be childless, we bought a bigger house and got a bigger mortgage, decided we would have lots of holidays….then…I got pregnant…Yep, she was picking her moments even back then…

At around 34 weeks, just happily lying on the sofa like a whale, watching some Olympic gymnastics….trying to remember what it felt like to be able to jump around like that….Olympic Georgia gave another of her almighty kicks and ruptured my placenta…bless her….

What followed was a blur of being carted off in an ambulance…blue lights…end of July, start of the school summer holidays…lots of traffic….Brilliant NHS staff…two surgeons, probably both under 18…my mother turning up in blue scrubs…hubbie not so good with operations and blood stuff…being given a very numb and not so tidy Brazilian….shaking like I was freezing…a baby being thrust under my nose and then taken off to the special unit….and then finding myself alone in a ward surrounded by a curtain wondering just what the hell had just happened….

Then a fortnight in hospital…a surreal blood transfusion where I dreamt all night that I was reliving the lives of anyone whose blood was dripping into me…breast pumping milk out like it was a competition to see if I could get the fullest jar in the fridge…I could have fed the ward at the end of that fortnight…I was the breast milk champion…it was then fed into Georgia through a tube going up her nose…she pulled it out constantly…she went yellow, she went back to pink again, I was close to nervous breakdown, covered in crispy breast milk and wondering how everyone else managed to look as glamorous as they did…

I found myself just wanting to go home…then when the great day arrives…you take little one home in the car seat, place it in the middle of the lounge and think…what do I do with it now??  So, you see, I am not a natural mother….probably because I never thought I would be…but it is a most magnificent journey…a never ending learning curve…and you do constantly (with a few minor exceptions I shall ignore at this point) find yourself staring at your offspring, pretty proud, thinking “I made that happen, I got something right”.

This will always be a massive memory for me….I only did it once…how would I have coped doing it again?  I will never know…and we don’t need to ponder on the things that will never happen, we need to concentrate on the things we do have…

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There she is, fourteen years old and full of attitude….but she does complete me…and constantly film me doing ridiculous stuff and shares it on her Snapchat story…and ask me to plait her hair half an hour after I have gone to bed…and hates my cooking…and watches the bloody Kardashians (sorry Kardashian family)..and appears to have a phone surgically implanted to her hand…but for all that indeed, love is unconditional and will always be there….

Savour your memories folks, they make your life what it is….

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Happy Wednesday…..half way guys, half way….unless you work weekends, then it’s just…not halfway…

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..6..The Best Box of Crayons..

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Today is all about nature.  I live in Cornwall, one of the best places to observe nature in all its glory…from the North Coast (where we live)..

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To the South Coast, quite different but equally as beautiful…

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I don’t live in the city and don’t want to live in the city…we have tiny roads littered with slow dirty tractors, sometimes you have to stop to let the cows cross the road, sometimes there are sheep running along side your car, sometimes grass grows in the middle of the road…but I love it…

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The majority of the time my car Ethel is dragging her way down a hedge to let others through…Ethel is not so hot on reversing though…bit of a zig zag procedure…but hey ho, we can’t all be good at everything…Ethel is still practising…

Is there anyone not able to find something in nature to be grateful for?  Birdsong, gentle rain…oh, especially rain on a really hot day…we only get rain on cold days here…but when watching the Disney fireworks..

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..we got the biggest downpour, it was hot and sticky and the raindrops were huge, I mean massive…we had no coats and were soaked to the skin, it was glorious, so much fun!! Everyone else had shuffled off through the puddles….what was the matter with them??

If you are feeling rubbish today, find somewhere to walk, somewhere green, somewhere with no houses in sight, somewhere to breathe…strangely a little robin just hopped in to visit me in my metal container office…he comes to say hello quite often…well, he comes to eat my crumbs….

If you can, get out on the water, dolphins, there’s another of mother natures beauties…

If it rains, look for the rainbow! If you grow just one sunflower it’s better than none…

So, go outside, breathe the fresh air….switch off the TV…enjoy yourself, see how much better you will feel…

Have an open air Tuesday!!

Geri xxx

30 days of Gratitude..5..The Perfect Lullaby..

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Today is about the sounds I am grateful for….I love the sound of rain…when I am indoors…especially just before I go to sleep…I am pretty grateful to live in a beautiful place where, even though we complain about the weather and the rain and the wind at times, we don’t get the extreme weathers of other places in the world…

It’s raining out there right now…I am in my little container office and it’s tickling the tin roof and pretty comforting…I might think differently when I sprint across the muddy yard with my paperwork in a few minutes time…

Sounds are interesting for me at the moment as I appear to have tinnitus…thankfully not too annoying and my brain is getting used to it…yes, interesting more than annoying…the vertigo in the middle of the night is strange…but bearable…

I’m not one for loud noises…however, we did go to Robot Wars in Gloucester yesterday and that was pretty entertaining….loud noises and all…a couple of photos to share tomorrow…but we decided to watch with our eyes and not with our phones….so no robot overkill for you… Lots of driving as it is 3 hours away…but worth it for a day out….

More of my happy noises and sounds….the crackle of an open fire, birds singing, I actually like the sound of seagulls…it always means the beach is nearby….the sound of the sea….I like that music with whale and dolphin noises….I DON’T like church bells…I lived next to the church for a short time, this might be why….Sunday mornings were interesting….

My favourite music….and it’s amazingly varied….Jason Mraz (yep,still the same CD in my car in the mornings, it’s been over a year now), any Yoga Chill music, I like the music you get in Indian restaurants, I love big band music, Buble…voice like melting chocolate…oh yes please….I love some Bob Marley, a bit of Jools Holland, some Bruno Mars, a little bit of Imagine Dragons, a pinch of BB King, a dollop of Pink and ever now and then some Cage the Elephant….so you see, no particular genre there….I use Spotify so no massive CD collection and no need to buy anything online, my tastes change day by day….

Just take today to listen…..we take it all so much for granted….listen to people laughing, listen to the wind (no Christopher, not yours!)….sometimes just listen to the silence…(I am missing that one at the moment)….don’t always have the TV or the radio on as background noise…

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Slow yourself down today….you deserve it…

Happy Monday…

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..4..My Friendship’s Free..

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Day four is actually about food….so here I choose to share a pot of tea and a piece of cake with you…

If I have to pick between an expensive restaurant and just being at home with a cup of tea…some cake…and an open fire, whilst reading a book….there is absolutely no competition…

In December I will be 50….Do I expect a surprise party…I do not….If anybody wants to pop around and see me, I will put the kettle on, light the fire, sling some cushions on the old sofas and expect an hour or two of pure gossip.  I will be wearing yoga trousers and an oversized sweatshirt with thick socks and probably won’t have brushed my hair that day….You won’t have to bring a present because I don’t need anything and I will feed you cake…lots of it….We will put the world to rights….

So, I am grateful for food….I know there are those that go without…..I don’t buy food I won’t use and very rarely throw much of it away….I am the master of leftover creations…

Expensive restaurants are there for those of you who enjoy them….please, go enjoy them…they are making a living like everyone else….

Me, I prefer to be at home with a book or two….I have done enough partying for a lifetime, half of them I don’t remember…what wasted fun times they were…

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Today it’s Saturday….and my decluttering mission continues….

Cooking to do, cake to be made and fires to be lit…

Happy Weekend!!

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..3..Find Happiness in Rainbows..

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You know what? Sometimes when I feel a little down, all I need to do is surround myself with some colour….I guess we all have our own happy colours…for me it’s all the bright ones…I like the thought of a minimal house and am working on it…but there will be bright colour splashes, I don’t think I could really exist without them….

A mention here for my favourite internet colourful people…I always, always smile when I see them popping up on my timeline…

There’s Katwise and her beautiful colourful house and knitwear creations…

Could I live in that house?? I absolutely could! Do I have it on my bucket list to learn to sew, purchase one of her tutorials and make something like that…I absolutely do!! After my minimalising is done I am making me one of these, I shall feel pretty accomplished!

If you have the time to do it now…here is a link for  you…

The Katwise Etsy Shop – lots of tutorials here for you to try!

The other is Saramai from Saramai Jewells…

Proving to us here that bright colour is timeless…ageless…don’t get older and more invisible…be as bright as you like forever!  If I could get my hands on either of these dresses I would break my “no purchasing” rule for just a moment or two…

You can see more of Sara Mai at her Instagram Page.

So, having a rubbish day?? Just hop on that unicorn and go find that rainbow…it’s just as simple as that!

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Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..2.Talk to your Family..

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Today is supposed to be about the technology for which I am grateful….I don’t know though, I am indeed torn…

The technology these days is amazing, medically amazing, educationally amazing…but socially amazing…maybe not all of  the time…

For example….I am off to work in my car….my phone battery dies…what will I do?? I remind myself that my parents never had mobile phones and they are not traumatised in any way….my Dad had the oldest cars you can imagine and believe me they broke down all of the time….he always managed…might have had to walk a bit to find a phone, but maybe that’s why he is nearly 80 and still hugely active….

It totally bugs me when I see a family of people on holiday, every single one of them looking at their phones…(not being overly judgemental here as we have done this too…then have to remind ourselves constantly to chat to each other).  Where did the days go when we used to actually “be” on holiday and not have half our brains still chatting to people at home and sharing our every move with them….then, we came home and waited two weeks to receive our photos, half of them with heads cut off and half of them useless, just to put them in a box never to be seen again….

I have one….I am grateful for the camera facility on my phone!! You can capture great moments, just be rid of it if it’s not a good picture, or Georgia’s non existent double chin apparently will ruin her life from the publishing of it….I guess it’s all about balance, get that great shot and then put the phone away and actually look at that great view….or your loved ones….

Educationally Google search….the best… You need to know something, you can find it…you want to learn how to do something….you can learn it…the possibilities are endless..

Joshua Fields Millburn of The Minimalists has removed the internet from his home….whilst I love the idea of this…we live in a small Cornish village and have no Internet cafe to be able to visit for our Internet usage…in fact we apparently yesterday only just got 4G so our circumstances are a little different…For us it will all be about willpower…some days I am great at it…other days I struggle…

Facebook, great to keep in touch with family and friends I most likely wouldn’t be in touch with…I like that….and meeting like minded people all around the world, I love that….

I come from a childhood with no microwave, a Betamax video player, at one time no TV remote control…yes we had to get out of our chairs to change channels…and of channels we only had 3….I don’t recall ever being bored so we always had something to do…or we found something to do….

But do I love being able to do my shopping from home….as the anti social creature I have become, of course I do….I order it…someone bring it to me…I never have to push through to the checkout ever again….I am talking food here because as you know I am minimalising my belongings…not too much shopping to be done now…

Sat Nav….I love that…most of the time…sometimes it can be interesting….we don’t see as many farmyards now as we used to with my Dad at the helm as kids….

There you go…technology…there’s good and there’s not so good…but really it’s all just down to our own choices….put the phones away at the meal table….if that’s all you do then there is a start….find out what sort of day everyone had…you might be surprised….and someone is sitting next to you…talk to them…don’t ask them stuff in a Facebook status….don’t tell them you love them in a Facebook status….tell them to their faces…..don’t Facebook poke them….visit them and give them a hug….a massive hug….and chat…let’s do some more of that….

Let’s be grateful that we have each other…

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I once did tree planting for the National Trust with my sister, we had no phones so there are no pictures….but it was a great day and a memory that stays with me…and those trees are huge now!

Have a lovely Thursday!!

Geri xxx