Monopoly Wars

Each holiday we try to get our children unglued from the T.V, Wii, iPad or Nintendo DS. Gosh! So much competition vying for their time.

This time we’ve got them hooked on Monopoly. We’ve had the game for a long time and they’ve played it to varying degrees of enjoyment. However, I guess they are older now and they are gaining an understanding of the value of money.

I observed one of their games and it was a revelation. I saw aspects of their personalities that I was not aware of.

My son, the ever competitive soul who doesn’t put his soul into anything not worth winning, is a ruthless business man. He will get all the title deeds on one or more sides of the board and proceed to deck them out with homes and hotels such that once you pass Go you are filled with dread. Even when you are down and can’t pay income tax, he’ll come knocking on your door for his rent.

My daughter on the other hand, is the trusting individual who spends without thinking and hopes it all works out. She starts the game spending and buying land until she has no more money. She hasn’t quite learnt how to save a little bit for accidentals. She just keeps spending because for her, she wants to acquire those homes and is on a fast track to do so . However, she has progressed a long way from when she refused to spend and wanted to see money pile up and not invest.  Having been on the brink of bankruptcy three times and sent to jail eight times, I tried to get her to quit but daughter refused to be beaten. She remortgaged a couple of her title deeds and miraculously bounces back, repays her debt and ends up owning homes.

There were some very tense moments as both scrambled for success. With each throw of the dice, their decisions become more strategic and focused. It would appear that I don’t have to much more to teach them. Thank God for Monopoly. They have learnt to save, pay off debt, invest and grow their money.

Bloom Where You Are

For some reason, I only have one or two roses that bloom every year at the same spot but I don’t know why. Happy to hear ideas from avid gardeners out there. My post however is thankfully not about my abysmal gardening skills. 

It took about four to five days after the bud of the rose above appeared for it to be in full bloom.

Really beautiful 😍😍😍😍 but it got me thinking about success. .

It only took a maximum of five days for this gorgeous rose to be in full bloom but how long has it been taking root? How long has the work that goes on beneath the surface been going on?

We all know there is no such thing as an overnight success but we sure wish in our case we would be the exception qualified for meteoric progression. Well I don’t know about you but I often find myself thinking where is the shortcut to the finish line.

Meteoric successes are an anomaly. Right now I can’t even think of one person who was an overnight success for often what we perceive to be sudden has been years in the making.

True success that lasts, whether it’s relationships, business, career, whatever – true success that lasts is line upon line, brick upon brick. It’s in the daily activities we do that further our goals.

You may feel like you are working very hard and you can’t see the blooming rose ( pun intended 😂😂).

Don’t give up. You are just taking root. As long as you have a clear vision, a plan to get you there and you are taking action consistently; you will bloom.

The truth is that the rose is the most beautiful part, the glory of the story. However, if it didn’t have a root, it would never appear. 

So here’s to taking root.

Goodbye Mary Berry: 5 Life Lessons

It was announced today that Mary Berry will not be a judge on The Great British Bake Off when it moves to Channel 4, whilst Paul Hollywood remains.

I got all sorts of lessons from her actions.

  1. Loyalty. Don’t forget the people who opened doors for you.
  2. Confidence. Don’t be afraid to stand out on your own. You don’t need to follow the herd. Make choices that are right for you.
  3. Courage. This might come with age but to be willing to make a sound decision in the face of pressure from viewers & all takes guts.
  4. Change. When one door closes, another door opens. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  5. Focus. Stay in your lane. Whilst you may travel on this road called life with others sometimes you might part ways with them to create a new path for yourself.

We will miss you Mary. 😣😣😣😣😢😢😢😢😢

The Big Girl Pants Guide to Life!

You know, I’m all for motivational quotes. In fact I love them and I have created a few myself.

However, the thing is when you are down and out and so low, I’m not sure what good they do. I’m not really sure if they bolster you in any way. The last thing you want to see when you are flat on your back, as in I-can’t-get-up-you-need-to-use-a-crane-to-lift-me-up-down, is to see , “mistakes are the proof that you are trying“. I mean what good does that do???? They are just a bunch of words to the one that is down. You might as well say blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and oh yeah, BLAH!

You can overcome. You can be a winner. If you believe it, you can make it. But no one answers the question – how do I keep going when there is a huge gulf between where I am and where I want to be. No one wants to address that gulf. It’s almost like mad men taking over totally disregarding the reality of what they see and constantly placing airy fairy liturgy before you. But we are left with the gulf and and unless your words become a ladder, a bridge or helicopter (depending on how big the gulf is) move on. I mean seriously, move on.

So I’ve created the Big Girl Pants Guide (in honour of Bridget Jones)

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  • It’s not you, it’s them. Life sucks sometimes. It isn’t necessarily a reflection of who you are. As in you don’t suck. Life does. We’ve just got to ride it out.
  • Don’t just sit there, do something. Anything is better than standing still because guess what? Standing still sure ain’t going to get you anywhere.
  • Be you. Is that one of those motivational quotes we don’t want to hear now? What I mean by that is keep playing to your strengths. Now is not the time to pretend to be someone else. Keep doing what makes you unique. Opportunity is attracted to authenticity.
  • Stop Moaning. Really, just stop. It doesn’t change anything.
  • Avoid talking to negative people. We may definitely not want to see another quotation, but you DEFINITELY don’t want to be talking to someone who sees everything as a doomsday advertorial.
  • Avoid talking to positive people too. You will only want to throw a book at them or punch them in the face. You are best talking to yourself.
  • Wait. You have no choice but to wait for something to change. In the meantime, keep doing the above.

Remember, this too shall pass (I’m ducking)

Life is in Seasons

A few months ago, my older sister and I spent a weekend together and we got talking about how life is in seasons.

We concluded that you can have all the hopes and aspirations you want; you can believe for great things; you can hope for a wonderful life but one thing that is constant to all people is that life will always certainly have highs and low. It’s the basic tenet of existence.

It’s a fallacy to believe that life will be a constant high. And a lot of us struggle with this because whether we say it or not, we have a sense of entitlement to a ‘good life’.

And don’t get me wrong, we do deserve a ‘good life’, whatever that is for you but it’s not an entitlement – it happens by grace.

The older I get, the more I am able to master the changing seasons. When I was younger, I viewed them as a sentence being meted out to me. I would often ask why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this? Why does it always happen to me? When is it going to be my turn? Why, why, why, why, why, why,  why? However, after going through a fair number of seasons you learn to ride the waves – maybe even control their impact on you or your reaction to them.

I hope to God I do not become an expert on changing seasons LOL but I have come to understand that if you can be still in the storm, it will pass. If you can stop yourself from making decisions when you are desperate or scared, you’ll make better choices for yourself. If you can look at the season not as something being done to you but a process of refinement, then you might just learn something through the process. If you can try your darnedest not to see the season as a reflection of your esteem but see it for what it is – a bad time. And if you can yes, hold on for that ‘good life’ it will come – even if it does tarry (oh I sound ancient now).

The opening line of one of favourite songs by Maxwell is, “I was reborn when I was broken“. Only seven words, not a very long sentence, but they speak volumes to me. A different perspective perhaps to pain and disappointment. Lots of people talk about how they go through a tough season and come out of the other side a different person. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a home, redundancy, divorce, a betrayal, an unexpected diagnoses; so many different seasons we find ourselves in; often without warning. Can we be reborn as we pass through them? Perhaps the season may take a part of you and enable a different you to surface. I was reborn when I was broken.

Maxwell’s response is to “take it one day at a time”. Those sound like wise words to me. Maybe he’s walked through a few seasons too. The season always has a byline. It has a knack of revealing it usually at the end though. If maybe at the turn of a new season, we could learn to turn the volume down a bit, we may hear the whispers of the byline; the story it seeks to share. Then perhaps we too can we say, “we were reborn when we were broken”.

 

I am really determined to learn something new in every season. Almost like a do your worst, I’m-going-to-grow-through-this-sort-of-growl. As long as there is life, I can be stronger and say I was reborn when I was broken. I may cry a little but I will be reborn.

School Run Positivity

Has anyone ever tried positive thinking in coping with the school run? I’m giving it a go today and the rest of the week as it’s the first week back at school.

I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run.

Let’s see if it works or if I return to my soliloquy in B flat on my hatred of the school run.

*breathe in sharply* I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Baking Has Taught Me To Never Say Never

The first celebration cake I baked was for my daughter’s fourth birthday. It was a disaster. Bless her heart, she thought it was the best cake ever and still does. I look at that and think what the heck is that????? If I showed you that cake and said I wanted to start a cake business, chances are that you would laugh me out of your presence. Never mind any dreams of having a café, I just didn’t have the talent.

I baked this cake in September 2012

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Six months later
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A year later

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And this one in December 2013
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In 15 months of practice (not even regularly) and no formal training, I have begun to turn out better looking cakes. There have been days when I’ve been so down on myself and thought there is no chance on earth or in heaven that I could ever ever do this. Who would want a cake that looked like a mudslide? However, A little over a year, I am really proud of what I’ve done. Not because they are the best but simply because I have improved and some people actually want to pay for my cakes.

So I’ve developed some ‘never rules’ to always remember when I’m embarking on a new journey:

      Never judge a book by it’s cover, including yourself

 

      Never be afraid to learn something new

 

      Never stop learning

 

      Never say you can’t until you’ve tried

 

      Never give up because something is too hard for you

 

      Nerve judge your future by a moment of hardship

 

      Never compare yourself to someone else and decide you’ll never be good enough

 

      Never let tears (or disappointment) stop you from getting up the next day and trying again

 

      Never stop trying whilst you still have breath in you

 

      Never lose patience with yourself

 

      Never let imperfection stop you from presenting your work

 

      Never be in a hurry to be a master at what you do

 

    Never fail to assess where you are and determine a course of action to get you to where you want to be.

All this from baking you ask. What can I say? The kitchen is a jungle. 🙂

5 Reasons to Forgive Yourself

​I’ve come across a lot of people who dwell on the past not necessarily due to a specific experience but because they can’t forgive themselves for actions they took.

They can’t forgive themselves for making bad choices or letting themselves get into the situation, or trusting that person or letting go of that relationship or hurting those people or letting those people get away with hurting them. 

They relive those moments again and again and again, giving the past more power than it actually has. It’s a really unhealthy place to be.

You probably started reading this post about a minute ago. That is now in the past. Of course you can go back and read the opening paragraph over and over in a bid to gain some undestanding of what I meant but you’ll never get to the end of my story.

This is what living in the past does. It traps a person in a moment in time that is exalted far above the hope of a better tomorrow – moreso a better now.

There are probably more than five reasons in support of forgiving ourselves but here are five I came up with.

  1. To Move on: There are certain laws that are proven. The Law of Gravity, Relativity, Diminishing Returns and, even, Attraction have all been tried and tested over time. Sadly Time Travel into the past is not one of them. We can’t fix the past but we certainly can determine our reactions today and tomorrow. It might take a while but we must be determined to move one. This is the paramount reason for me as I never want to feel stuck, like I have no choice.
  2. To be Honest: It’s important to acknowledge what you did or what happened to you. Sometimes we hold on to something without sorting out what really happened. Were you deceived, robbed, exploited, hurt, etc. Or maybe you hurt someone. Pause for a moment to articulate what happened. It really helps to write it down. There may be tears or anger but honesty is paramount. Part of that honest assessment might be to acknowledge you can’t do this on your own and seek the support of a professional who can help you come to terms with the past. There is never any shame in getting help. It’s a sign of strength and a willingness to change.
  3. To Take Action: The only way to move from where you are is to take positive steps forward. Sometimes a little change is all you need to move on. What little steps can you take to help you move on? Read a book on the subject? Pick up the phone and call someone? Make amends? Doing something good for yourself instead of beating yourself up? However little it may be, just doing something different is good enough. A starting point is to have an uplifting thought or text to visualise or recite whenever you find yourself thinking the same old way. If you do this often enough and consistently, you’ll retrain your brain.
  4. To Release Toxic Feelings: This is simply self-care. To keep going over a matter over and over again in your mind is not good for your mental health. It induces worry, anxiety, perpetual regret, self-loathing – which aren’t great recipes for a peaceful mind. Truth be told, there are enough toxic issues going on in our world so we don’t really need them inhabiting our minds as well. It’s just common sense.
  5. To Hope Again: Hope is an essential ingredient for survival. Without hope we give up. Living in the past robs us of our future and makes us feel helpless. To let joy into our hearts, we need to stop letting the past drag us back into the abyss of despair.

It is a frightful thought to know that life moves on with or without our consent or engagement. It is a shame that we sometimes sleepwalk through life rather than being fully awake to it. We are humans and we all make mistakes. That is just life. We can hold ourselves to ransom over it or live. There are only two choices.

This Girl Can 

This is my daughter. She is seven years old and in five weeks, she will be eight.

I have always joked that she came to earth with a princess syndrome but part of that is knowing what she wants and not stopping till she gets it.

She is confident and, above all else, brave. She keeps stretching herself to do everything her older brother can. There are no barriers for her. Her only competition is her nine year old brother. I have tried and failed miserably at explaining that at this age, there will always be things he can do better than her. This means absolutely nothing to her. She keeps pushing and pushing herself.

My constant struggle, particularly as she is my last born, is to keep her safe and curb her risk taking. I am trying with all my might not to let my protectiveness restrict her or inadvertently send the message that girls shouldn’t be doing this or that. It’s a daily struggle to allow her to be herself.

Today, she wants to be an astronaut, fashion designer, scientist, prime minister, doctor and athlete. All are within her grasp so watch out world!

Lessons from Kendra Harrison’s ‘Failure’

Life is my greatest teacher and I love to observe and learn from the lives of others.  Whilst watching the Olympic Anniversary Games last weekend, I attended life school when Kendra Harrison broke a 28-year-old world record 100m hurdles. More interesting to me was discovering that she did not qualify for the Olympics even though she was the fastest woman in the world.

This spoke volumes to me on so many levels that I’m not sure where to start. I guess the initial encouragement is that the ‘race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong……… but time and chance happens to them all’. If the world’s fastest woman could not make the Olympics, then I think we all need to take is easy on ourselves sometimes. Even with the best intentions, will, preparation and knowledge we may not get it right when we want. We may not nail that job interview or win that business or pass that exam or make that relationship work – even with the best intentions. It’s a sobering thought but also an encouragement to simply go ahead and do our best and that should always be enough.

I also love the fighting spirit in her – the epitome of the comeback kid.  What an amazing way to stick it to the world after fate conspired to cheat her out of her Olympic dream. To bounce back from that and come to the Games and smash a world record is phenomenal. No one can dispute that she is a champion which just goes to show you that the world doesn’t always measure true success accurately. We can’t really call her a failure can we?

And lastly, this is also an encouragement for the rest of us who don’t always measure up or feel good enough. If we are prepared and diligent, our Olympic moment will come because the race isn’t always to the swift. However, the reality is that Kendra was the one to beat; the one that would have had others feeling threatened during the trials. Whilst no one might have predicted she wouldn’t make it through, only the ones who were prepared were able to take advantage of that oppotunity.

Have a great week everyone.