#nourish and the summer solstice.

img_5747

I am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin and her podcast Happier and often have a go at some of her ideas as they are simple and practical strategies to facilitate life.  At the start of this year I chose my #19for2019, a list which is progressing nicely and chose a one word theme for my year, nourish.  In this week’s podcast, Gretchen suggested we revisited our one word theme of the year on the summer solstice.  Before listening to the podcast I had made plans for the solstice as I wanted to celebrate the longest day of the year and my plans fitted with my theme to nourish, a long run at dawn to appreciate the early start to the day and an evening on the beach to enjoy as much of the light as I could. It was a day to nourish body, mind and spirit.

As dawn was due just before 5, I knew I couldn’t get up at 4.30am, work and then still be on sparkling form for the evening so I got up just after dawn at 5.15 for my run.  Living in a seaside town the solstice is usually marked by dawn runs, walks or swims so it was a surprisingly social run with lots of friendly greetings.  I was inspired at a local beauty spot where people were enjoying an impressive picnic breakfast watching the sun come up over the bay, another activity to add to my bucket list!

I have always wanted to hire one of the new beach huts in town as they look so beautiful and are in an ideal spot on a pedestrianised walkway in front of the beach.  The huts are difficult to hire as they are normally hired by the week and are popular.  However with a little careful research and planning, I managed to book one for just the one day, the summer solstice.  I was so excited by my hut, I decorated it on the outside with bunting and had fairy lights inside! There was a family celebration this week so we used it as an ideal opportunity for both children to invite friends to join them for beach fun and food.  I kept everything simple, so I could enjoy the evening too.  We started with mocktails in a fancy jug and glasses with a few nibbles.  For food, I had a little barbecue for sausages, and we bought a big bag of chips to share as our main and then used the barbie to make S’Mores for pudding, simple and tasty beach food.  I had popped to the market earlier in the day and the bags of summer fruits went down so well with the children.  The weather was perfect, warm sunshine and the children played on the beach, swam in the sea and danced on the sand with a boom box playing from a playlist designed by my daughter.  I looked out to the children playing and felt so warm and happy, its these little moments which make you go all warm and fuzzy.  I also fell in love with the beach hut ….

I really enjoyed celebrating the solstice this summer and I have been inspired with a few ideas for the winter solstice too. The solstice is an ideal opportunity to embrace the changing seasons and the beauty of our natural world.

#Nourish, May 2019

 

img_4205

So my word of the year continues with a post on how I interpreted nourish in May 2019.  For the second month running, I didn’t manage my ‘nourish’ day of self care, work is crazy and I’ve worked every Thursday this month, whilst its good for the financial reward, its not worth the compromise on my work life balance, its just very difficult to say no …

However, I have had a real focus on my physical health this month.  In March, I decided that I needed to focus on my running.  I love running but over the past few years, its been without direction or purpose.  In March with the lighter mornings, I started a training programme and without fail, every week I have run at least three times as per the plan.  I’m getting up at 5.15am on some mornings to fit in a run and feeling great for it.  The purpose was to start being competitive (with myself ) again and this month, I signed up and ran my first (and second) Park Run, a 5k timed run.  I would love to do one every week but with our local Park Run 19 miles away (we live in a rural location), Mr S working on average two Saturdays a month and swimming lessons, its a logistical feat to attend.   However, I’ve definitely got the bug and I’m going to aim for one Park Run a month.

Also on the theme of physical health this month, I got a new Fitbit with a HR monitor and I love the stats.  One of my #19for2019 was to walk on average 12k steps a day and I’m quietly confident on my data so far this year that this will be achievable.  However, the upgrade has given me stats on more aspects of my health, notably heart rates.  I did a bit of research on what the rates meant and I am amazed at my results.  I like to think that I am on the healthy side of life, I walk lots, eat pretty well etc.. but it appears according to the charts, I am in great health on the cusp of excellent!  I am delighted that my heart is in such a good state.  I have been monitoring my heart rate on a daily basis, interestingly its raised at work and much lower on non work days, again I think I’m picking up a theme on how I need to focus on a better work life balance, perhaps a focus for a nourish post later this year.

img_5429

 

#nourish

img_4205

This is my monthly post on the little ways I have nourished my mind, body and soul over the past month.  My nourish day was a day of simple pleasures this month, just a hairdressers appointment and a visit to a new café with a friend, activities which made me content and relaxed.  This month Spring has been blossoming and many of my nourish moments embrace the new season.

  1.  Light mornings for early morning running. My running in the winter is limited and fairly relaxed but now with the lighter mornings, I’m back to three mornings a week and a training plan.
  2.  Lighter afternoons.  Tonight the children played in the garden until 6.30pm, I love a lazy after school spent in the garden and it keeps my house tidier too 🙂
  3. Lunch out with my parents.  My parents came down to visit on a school day, so I got to have lunch with them, its rare for only the three of us to go out together.  It was a delicious meal and lovely to have the opportunity to just spend time with my parents.
  4. Spring vegetables.  I like to eat seasonally and after the casseroles and soups of winter its been a time to start to enjoy lighter meals and salads, full of bright colours.
  5. Smoothies.  We have a new health café in town and I’m currently working my way through their smoothie menu, all freshly made to order and delicious.
  6. Health Niggles.  I finally went to the doctor about a little health niggle which was becoming more worrying.  I had a thorough check up and have some medication to help with a plan of action for the future too. I feel much more reassured.
  7. Books.  Until this month, my reading this year had been unusually slow and I hadn’t really found a great book.  However this month, the titles I’ve read have been brilliant and I’ve often been cuddled up with a book in the evenings.

#nourish

275c9abe-aa5e-47b9-9dc8-0d7e5f2677b7

As this week has seen the last Thursday in February, it was my ‘nourish’ day.  I decided at the start of the year, I would set aside one day a month, a day for me, to nourish my body, mind or spirit.  Of course, life happens and this Thursday, I really needed to go to the local market town for a recall on my car, not ideal for a nourish day.  However, I realised that Neal’s Yard Remedies, a shop I always pop into for a little browse, has therapy rooms so I booked a massage for the morning.  It was utter bliss and so what I needed, after every massage I have I think I should do this more often and I really must, I felt so good, relaxed and recharged.  I also popped into a couple of favourite shops whilst in the town and got a tunic in White Stuff I had on my wish list with a 20% discount.  I love the design and pattern and can’t wait to wear it.

Other nourishing moments this week were

  1. Being a blood donor.  It was my blood donation session this week, a little bit of discomfort is well worth the satisfaction of giving to our NHS in my little way.
  2. A new teapot.  I fell in love with the design and colour of this Stump teapot when I had tea in a small indie café a few months ago.  It was top of my Christmas list, but despite lots of searching by me and my parents who were buying it for me, it was out of stock.  It is now in stock again and I finally have my Christmas present, I’m so pleased I waited, it is perfect.  I also went to a loose tea emporium whilst in the market town so have a few varieties of tea to brew.
  3. Flowers.  My work partner and I returned to work on Monday to be given bouquets of beautiful flowers by our colleagues as a little thank you for all we do in the department.  Our priority is always the wellbeing of our staff and students so it was a delightful surprise to be treated ourselves.  Our office had a lovely smell this week and they’ve lasted so well that I’ve brought mine home for the weekend, I’m going to eek every last moment of joy from them.

I’ve been looking through my blog and I realise that the #nourish posts are keeping me from writing other posts on my list.  I’m still sticking with Nourish as my word of the year and theme, but going forward will only do a monthly round up.

#nourish

img_4205

One of the frustrations of writing an anonymous blog is the lack of opportunity to post photos of our family.  Its been a terrific half term week, I feel rested and relaxed and we have enjoyed lots of special moments.  My nourish list may be a little longer this week, but holidays give us the chance to get out and explore.

  1. Swimming at the Splash Centre. When I was growing up a trip to the Oasis swimming pool in Swindon was a big treat, the wave machines, slides etc..  We go to Butlins at least once a year so my children get to experience similar at their pool.  However we found a pool with slides, disco and rainbow, a water play pool and large pool near my parents and enjoyed a morning there.  My parents watched whilst the children and I had lots of fun in the water.  My two both love the water and it relaxes and calms them.
  2. A quiet read.  This week I devoured a book, Still Me by Jojo Moyes in a few days. For me there is nothing quite getting lost in a book and the joy of a great story. Following the book, I’ve been dreaming (and writing a bit of a plan ) of a visit to New York and vintage clothes.
  3. Grounded by Nature.  This week has been a fantastic week weather wise for half term, bright sunshine and a little warmth.  On Wednesday the four of us went to the local forestry commission and cycled for a few hours in the forest.  Yes the uphills are hard but the joy of cycling down a hill, wind in your face and legs out is one of the best feelings.
  4. A sleepover.  This week we held our first sleepover at our house, 2 girls stayed overnight whilst one just joined us for the daytime activities.  I was a bit worried but it turned out really well, we started at the park, home to ‘hang out’, made homemade pizzas and ice cream sundaes for tea and then chilled with music and films.  I was asleep at 12 to a quiet house.
  5. Old friends.  None of the friends I was closest to at school live in our home town and we are scattered across the continent.  I love my friends from school, they helped to define the person I became and whilst we stay in contact through email and cards and letters, its not quite the same as seeing them.  At Christmas I wrote to a friend and said that if she was ever in England to let me know and we would try to meet up.  She did respond to say she was visiting family this weekend, in a town 2 hours drive from me and by coincidence the same small town where one of my lovely aunts lives. As our boys are away at Grandads, Little Miss and I went on a little road trip.  We met up with my aunt first, she has lived in the same house for the past 35 years so it was full of memories of growing up with my cousins, its quite a feeling to be transported back to your childhood.  It was lovely to see my aunt and spend time with her, worth the trip in itself.  We then met up with my friend who was accompanied by her eldest daughter who is a similar age to Little Miss, they hit it off so well and we had a brilliant time together.  Whilst we might be older, greyer, we’re still those 14 year old girls.
  6. Time Out.  With the sleepover on Friday and a road trip on Saturday, I knew today needed to be quiet.  I planned our week so all my housework is done, the children’s homework, projects and all, were completed by Thursday, PE kits and school bags are packed and my Sunday ironing was done on Friday morning.  I even popped into a M and S food shop yesterday for our lunch today (this is a big treat)  Sometimes you need a day with nothing on the to do list.

 

#nourish

So 5 little morsels of nourishment from my week …

1. A day out at the animal sanctuary. A day full of winter sunshine and lots of small and farm animals. My personal favourite, definitely the goats.

2. Valentine’s Day Treat. To try and quell the slight hysteria from Year 6, I suggested to Little Miss rather than choose one person to send a Valentine why not her whole class and to focus on everyone’s qualities. I bought mini packets of Love Hearts 💕 and I typed a label as she chose a special quality for each person. The comments weren’t romantic just nice, you make me smile, I like your style, you’re a great gymnast etc..

3. A new hair colour. To hide the grey I regularly have my hair dyed and a new colour makes me feel happier and more youthful. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up on all the news with my hairdresser.

4. Friday 2.30pm. The start of half term and the anticipation of a more relaxed week for me.

5. Macarons. We’re at my mum and dads this weekend with lots of treats. For tea on Saturday we had these delicate macarons. One day I’ll pop into Ladurée in Paris for the real delicacy but for the time being they were a lovely alternative.

#Nourish

In choosing my theme for the year, nourish, I wanted something which would embrace mind, body and spirit.  Each week will have different elements, this week there is a social theme, which has nourished my spirit and heart.

  1.  Cocktails and a cosy pub ….

This week, I’ve enjoyed two nights out (and one on a school night too!). On Saturday I was at a cocktail party, I don’t drink but was so impressed by the mocktails put on for us, not only delicious but beautifully presented.  It was a lovely party, a great disco soundtrack, fantastic company and a wonderful excuse to dress up and sparkle.  Tuesday night was more intimate with just three of us out, but we got to sit in front of the fire in the pub on big leather sofas and catch up.  I really enjoy the company of these two women and feel inspired and relaxed with them.

2.  The little things ..

fd0326b1-4b50-4b75-b3b5-b3307b081223

On Friday we had Storm Eric and it really was wild.  By the school run time, the rain was of biblical proportions and even though it’s the one night of the week when Little Miss walks home alone, I couldn’t let her do that so drove to school to pick her up. I remember the feeling when I was little and would look out of the classroom window and see my mum’s or my friend’s dad’s car and the relief and excitement of getting home quickly.  Sometimes nourishing someone is about making people realise that they are the centre of our lives and we will show our love in whatever way we can.

3.  The calm after the storm

Apart from storm Eric it’s been a pretty yucky week weather wise.  However on Thursday (my day off) and today we’ve had some gorgeous blue sky winter days.  We had a family day out on the bikes today and the crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops were all in bloom. They’ve shown the glimmer of the spring to come and have raised spirits with the anticipation of the new season.

4.  A space (room) of one’s own

img_4392

My bureau is my place in the house, it contains my  diary, writing books, lots of stationery and everything that I might need.  I added a couple of cacti this week for decoration. and replaced my used winter candle with a new spring aroma,  lime, basil and mandarin.  It’s these little things that nourish my soul.

 

 

#nourish

For my theme of nourish, I decided that once a month I would have a ‘nourish’ day, set in my diary for my self care. Inspired by the book, Self Care Project by Jayne Hardy I realised that this didn’t need to be a day of massages and pampering but simple things to please me. I have some great ideas for the ‘nourish’ days in warmer weather but given the very hectic month, poor weather and the feeling of being overwhelmed, I designed a day I needed. I met a friend for coffee (and her gorgeous baby, what’s more nourishing than the wonder of a new life). I watched a film that’s been on my to watch list from the comfort of my cosy bed and completed the cub blanket I’ve been doing for my son, a little creativity in my day. It was just what I needed in January.

Other nourishing activities this week have been playing Lego with my son; our trip to a local attraction inspired some great builds. I also helped at cubs this week, I think volunteering is at the heart of a strong community.

We’ve also had a number of appointments this week. Whilst they’ll remain private, I felt comforted by attending them and addressing our worries.

Last night I read my new magazine and loved the quote below from the Simple Life magazine.

#nourish

a54cfdea-48ff-4ab4-9519-c1063dc07f21

My weekly nourishment continued this week with a focus on putting down my Smartphone in the evening and ‘doing’ rather than the mindless distraction of scrolling, tapping and ‘liking.’  I’ll write more about this in a different post but it’s something that I intend to continue.

My nourishing moments this week include

An early morning Sunday trail run in the light.  I run at 7am on a Sunday morning and for the past weeks it’s been dark and on the roads.  No running fills my soul like a trail run through the local country park.

Whilst this week has been about the red moon, I’ve been wowed by the morning skies, the colours have been spectacular, the pinks and greys beautiful.

We’ve had our 6 monthly check up with the dentist and all was fine.  I’ve switched recently to a bamboo brush and natural toothpaste with no noticeable difference.

Whilst I’m not watching Marie Kondo’s new tv programme, I have been revisiting her book which I read a few years ago.  I tend to pick what I think I can do and one of the best pieces of advice was to organise your wardrobe in colours.  I did it before and it worked well but of course without maintaining it weekly it all mixed together.  This week I have rearranged my clothes into colours and it does help with choosing outfits for the day.  I also donated some clothes to charity and threw away (recycled at the tip) a few loved but worn or damaged items.  I love Kondo’s motto of only keeping things which spark joy.

Given the clothes sorting, I did some work on choosing clothes for the spring and summer, courtesy of a few magazines, the Next catalogue and a White Stuff mailing shot.  I tried not to go online but to look for inspiration, jot down a few ideas, cut out a few pictures etc..

Finally, Mr S works some weekends so on those that he doesn’t we try and do something together as a family.  Today a local attraction was offering half price entry for locals so we took advantage and spent our day looking at the animals, learning about the conservation work and just walking around in the fresh winter air.  It did us all good and as we were well wrapped up, I love a hat, scarf and globves combo, it was a pleasant and enjoyable trip.

#nourish

This week has been full of nourishment and my list is impressive. However it has made me reflect that sometimes doing nothing may give me the greatest benefit. I did lots of my acts on Thursday, my day off and enjoyed doing them but was exhausted at fitting so much in. I think it’s important to balance and sometimes just take time to relax, the best nourishment for the body and soul.

My nourishing moments this week included

1. Tidying up my office at work!

We moved into our new office last week on the day we got the Ofsted call, our professional lives all boxed up. During the inspection our office was a mass of paperwork, drinks cans and even more folders, a chaotic mess. It felt so good on Monday to properly tidy up, file, shred and organise. I feel much more productive and in control now.

2. A long distance phone call.

I had a lovely unexpected call from a friend one evening, it was so good to catch up and plan a weekend.

3. A car valet.

Much like number 1 my clean car makes me happy, with its fresh smell, nice interior and sparkly exterior.

4. Neat eyebrows

If I don’t have my eye brows done, I would have a uni brow so I’m grateful when I have them done and they are all neat and tidy ( neat and tidy seems to be a theme this week )

5. A new jumper

I popped in to HM and found a lovely mint green jumper. I had vouchers so treated myself. I’ve worn the jumper today with a long star necklace and my jeans and felt confident and sparkly.

6. Fresh flowers

In big town there’s always a street stall selling flowers cheaply. I love a bit of colour in my kitchen and bought the roses to give me that colour pop. The best £1 I spent this week.

7. A thank you card

I had a lovely card this week with some very kind comments from a good friend. I appreciated the gesture and words.

8. Cricket practice in the garden

With Little Miss on a school sports fixture, it was just me and Little Man on Thursday. He was really keen to play cricket and on a sunny afternoon, we got the kit out and played together (in the cold with hats and gloves!). He was so happy that I agreed to play and it was a great half hour together, followed by a hot chocolate to warm ourselves up.

9. A Mexican Feast

Today has been a wet and miserable day and this afternoon Little Miss and I spent the time prepping a Mexican themed dinner. Home made salsa, guacamole, refried beans etc… I love cooking and it’s a genuine pleasure to be in the kitchen with fresh ingredients, prepping and cooking and listening to music. It’s fun having a sous chef although she’s not so good on the clearing up as you go along …