Shedding skins.

The other day I posted on Instagram about how my middle daughter really lives life to all its corners, how she is such fun, so crazy and hilarious. She feels so deeply and widely and she inspires me to do the same. That is, when I’m not tearing my hair out from her outbursts. But it got me thinking, how do I live life right to the edges to feel into all its corners, try out things at all it’s angles and precipices? This is not to say I want to live any kind of hedonistic, massive adventurous life – hell no, at theme parks I’m the one holding the coats- no, for me it’s more how can I live the best life? Be the best self I can be? Feel all the feels and live out all the goodness? I’d say this is easier to do when you’re 4 years old than when you’re almost ten times that age. But maybe that’s where I’m getting stuck? Maybe it is easy, maybe I should just try. Drop all the baggage and ‘shoulds’ and the ‘this is how I’ve always done it’s’ and ‘this is just me’ and experiment a little?

We seem to spend so much time defining ourselves in our early adult life, making a statement about who we are to the world and then we hit the classic mid life territory and all we want to do is escape the box we’ve built for ourselves. Break out of our own self imposed rules and structures, be that a mis judged relationship, a sensible car or responsible job. We were in such a hurry to grow up and appear grown up to the world that we accumulated all the trappings of grown up life – spouse, mortgage, kids and all of sudden we crave that freedom we had before we had committed ourselves so fully. Hello mid life crisis, nice to meet you.

I like to think of it not as a crisis, that sounds a bit like breakdown, but i think it is instead something to welcome and to celebrate.Want to swap thrash metal for country music- do it, want to swap a career in accounts for brewing craft beer- do it. Want to just break out of your own daily habits and routines- bloody do it!

I am beginning to realise what a contradiction i am the more I get to know myself and until lately have seen these contradictions as negative, almost as if my personality is indecisive and can’t make up it’s mind. You see some days I’m a leather jacket, red lipstick, Radio One listening kind of girl who feels young and optimistic and gets a shit load done and other days i listen to Radio Four, wear no make up and my comfiest clothes, long socks and am racked with self doubt. It’s hard not to judge yourself on those days. But really, is one kind of way better than another? Or are they just different? They give me different experiences, different kind of days and different kind of outcomes. The quiet, radio four kind of days give me insight and rest, reclaiming energy for the radio one, red lipstick sort of days. So now I am trying to accept them as part of me, and trying to accept what they are teaching me. The way that they help me to lean in to the edges and corners of my life the way I am shedding skins and stepping into another me. A  shimmer self if you will. The person I hope to be, the one I aspire to be, the one I can actually be on some moments of some days. And when I don’t make it there on other days, just knowing she might be just around the corner is something to reach for.

If you liked this article…Here are some questions to consider / journal/ meditate / ponder on …

Who is your shimmer self?

What would the best version of you be doing?

Are you embodying your best self in all the ways that you hope and that you can?

Is there anything small that you can do today to step into yourself more fully?


“It is not the critic…”

Last month, the female contingent of our house had a pretty vulnerable month.

I posted my first public blog post and our eldest daughter underwent some pretty intense blood tests. Both things saw me with a racing heart, sweaty palms and THE FEAR. The blood tests were fine by the way and she was a total hero.

My writing went down well too and some people said really lovely things. But the thing that surprised me the most was a word that popped up in almost all of the comments. That word that kept popping up was ‘brave’. How ‘brave’ I was to share my feelings so honestly, how ‘brave’ to put myself out there like that. After the 30th comment like that I began to question myself – something that comes pretty naturally to me… had I over- shared? Was it too much? Had I overstepped the mark? Was this stuff I should be keeping under wraps? Cue, fear, shame and more vulnerability.

You see to me, this is just who I am and blogging about it feels like a natural extension and a good use of my skills and experience. It didn’t really feel brave. I just figured, that if someone else could gain even the smallest reassurance or insight by reading something I have written then to me it’s worth it. It doesn’t feel brave to write about my feelings or experiences. It just feels real. And to some extent a relief. A relief to not have to keep up the facade of social acceptability that keeps conversations only skin deep most of the time. BORING.

But maybe it is brave given the insensitive backlash Simon Thomas, (the BBC Sports Presenter who lost his wife) received this week on social media. Simon has blogged (bravely and beautifully) about his grief, and appeared on t.v. stoically letting himself be interviewed. But for one individual they had to point out how this happens all the time to people and that basically he was nothing ‘special’. Simon’s response to the individual who trolled him?

I don’t think you’ll find anywhere that I have made out my grief is unique or more than anyone else’s.”

And that’s the whole point isn’t it? The very fact that it isn’t unique, that there are other people out there going through just the same experience and feeling totally alone in it, because nobody talks about it. The hope is surely that by sharing his experience they might also feel less alone. It is not to raise yourself above anyone else but to open yourself out to others. It put me in mind of this quote from Light is the New Black, by Rebecca Campbell:

“I don’t share to teach or convince others, I share to make those who feel the same as me feel less alone”.

Here here. Keep being brave Simon, we all have something to share and something that someone else will need to hear. I will keep putting myself out there too, in spite of my fears and vulnerabilities and I will keep this quote close at hand as I do so..

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 

The credit goes to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood: who strives valiantly…”

Theodore Roosevelt 1910


The Yes Mum

Last week I took me and my Inner Goddess on an adventure. I’d booked us a ticket to see the brilliant Hollie De Cruz, of the ‘yesmum’ cards, at the twinkly, shimmery Family Store in Bruton, Somerset. A thing of myths and legends and wonderful, amazing people.

Escaping the children, school run, lunch boxes and daggers being sent my way by a number of friends in my circle (all dead jealous and at work) I set off in the dark, the gorgeous stars and half moon my only companions as I dallied my way down to Somerset. So out of the ordinary was this that I actually enjoyed navigating the centre of Bristol in rush hour, listening to the radio rather than Little Mix or Mr Tumble, and generally had a lovely time before I’d even got there. I was able to admire the sun rising over the hills, the dusting of snow as I approached the West Country, eat when I was hungry and drink copious amounts of coffee without fear of my exaggerated adrenaline misfiring at any small child nearby.

In my usual style I arrive +.0010 GMT (perpetually ten minutes late) a little bit nervous and needing a wee. I was greeted like an old friend, given a sticker and pointed in the direction of yet more coffee. The room was filled with women all chatting, some with their little ones and some without but the over all tone of the room was friendly and welcoming.

Hollie was talking about her YesMum cards – these are cards with little positive affirmations on them. The idea that they are like a little fist bump for those times when you need a little pick me up. She talked about where the idea came from, how the concept started (from her hypnobirthing business clients) and then talked us through creating our own. I had been given a pack of her cards during my third pregancy by another bestie, this one rescues me in moments of inner turmoil rather than fashion disasters, and they were a real turning point.

As a bit of a worrier (erm understatement alert) and a tendency to pessimism I used these cards each morning to quiet my inner demons. You know, those thoughts and that voice in your head that tells you how crap you are and how terrible everything is going to be. ‘The Shitty Committee’ they call in in LoveProjectLove. I would pick a card and repeat the affirmation either out loud or in my head over and over while I had my morning shower. They say things like – “I do not need to compare myself to anyone else”, “I am a great mother” and my favourite “I have enough, I do enough and I am enough”. The power of these little cards and repeating these positive statements is astounding.  . Hollie described how we all have conscious and sub-conscious minds so even if we consciously think this is a ludicrous idea and you can’t let yourself believe what you are saying, your subconscious mind gets re-wired anyway. Whether your believe it or not. It is powerful stuff and really really simple.

Hollie helped us to come up with our own bespoke, personalised cards to take away, ones that fitted into certain areas of our lives. All the time being so supportive, sweet and positive. She even wrote a little message on the back of one for me… I think I have a new girl crush. Several in actual fact. This room was filled with incredibly successful women, and they exuded a sense of calm, happiness and acceptance. There was not a single defensive, competitive or judgmental moment. No narky comments or passive aggressive put downs. It felt like a breath of fresh air.

Our world is changing thick and fast and it made me think about the kind of women I want our girls to be and the kind of man I want our son to be. These women are shining examples of the raise them up not tear them down school of thought. We are all doing our best, we are all battling with our own demons, lets realise that and offer each other a little compassion and kindness and a virtual fist bump when we need it most.

You can check out The Family Store here and the yes mum cards here



In these arms.

In these arms, I have fallen asleep more times than I can count

I have swooned and fallen in love,

I have nestled, snuggled, sighed;

In these arms I have brought life into the world,

I have writhed with the pain and despaired in the agony,

While you fanned me and offered me egg sandwiches;

I have celebrated the joy, and danced to the songs, swayed to the beat of our hearts;

In these arms I have watched the TV and shouted answers at university challenge,

I have made small talk with people I neither knew nor liked,

but in these arms was given the confidence to try;

In these arms, I have made my best decisions, and some of my worst,

I have said ‘yes’ and held out my hand,

I have said ‘no’ and you held back my hair.

In these arms I have marveled at our children,

watched the sun-set and stars come out,

Envied, wondered and doubted;

In these arms I have said ‘goodbye’, ‘I do’, and ‘hello’

to the greatest people in my life.

In these arms I have watched countless rugby games, football matches and bike races,

Music concerts, comedians and plays;

Tried a golf swing and tried again at tennis,

Played a thousand board games and read a million books;

We have laughed and whispered our secrets in the dark.

In these arms is safety,

In these arms is refuge,

In these arms is a Super Power.

In these arms is my best friend, my companion, my lover,

In these arms is my best self, the one who could take on the world.

In these arms is where the magic happens,

Sometimes long after the arms have gone.



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