Sleep Well

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OOOhh, light my sparklers – it’s bonfire night in the UK. Of course firework displays seemed to have dwindled over the past few years; environment considered more now than ever before, but there are bound to be a few bright fireworks in the night sky tonight.

Usual stuff – keep your pets safe and of course, if you’re having a bonfire, make sure no creatures have been making it their home in recent days. Having said that, have a great evening!

After all the excitement of halloween, firework night and Christmas countdowns about to start, if they haven’t already, it’s not always easy to calm the children at night. Have you noticed they can get super active around bedtime? – or maybe that’s just my lot πŸ™‚

But if you are having trouble getting the little darlings to sleep, here are a few tips I’ve used over the years to keep me sane (-ish) ….

* Keep an eye on the time. If you suddenly realize it’s five minutes before bedtime and go into ‘omg it’s bedtime’ mode then start rushing around getting pj’s ready and toothbrushes toothpasted, you won’t be able to create a sense of calm.

Start thinking about bedtime half hour before the allotted time. Then slowly but surely encourage the pjs, the teeth cleaning and the choice of bedtime story. By the time they get into bed, children are calmer and ready to sleep.

*Avoid anything with sugar in: Don’t be tempted to give in to the cookie jar for a bit of peace. It will backfire! Sugar – as we know – is not a calming agent and you can suddenly find yourself with hyperactive kids and a headache. Avoid sugar at least an hour, preferably longer, before bedtime. Toast and honey can create calm while satisfying the sweet tooth cravings, but always consider what works best for your child.

*Warm drinks – no caffeine or sugar of course, but otherwise a warm drink can really calm the body and mind ready for sleep. Even a spoonful of honey in hot water can work wonders.

*Temperature: These days, many of us live in centrally heated homes and, although we don’t want to be cold at bedtime, too much heat can interfere with settling into a relaxing state. Turn down the thermostat a little if it’s too warm in the bedrooms.

*Bedtime Stories: Children tend to want the same stories read to them every night for weeks or even months, which doesn’t make it easy to put your whole attention into reading. Kids are savvy – they know when you’re just going through the motions. Treat each reading as if it’s a first and you’ll have happy kids all ready to sleep the night away!

Most of these quick tips work well for grown-ups too πŸ™‚ If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s often because your mind is not behaving itself. Too many thoughts, worries and replays going on in that remarkable brain of yours.

Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep by adopting some or all of the tips above and one extra note I feel should be added here…

Don’t watch the news before bed!

Normally, the national or international news is peppered with bad news and concerns about humanity, environment and natural disasters. They will still be there for you to deal with in the morning, so avoid cluttering up your mind with these stories in the evening.

Enjoy your evenings, watch something funny, indulge in your latest hobby or spend a wonderful time with friends and family – you could even consider getting out a board game and turning off the TV – how radical is that?!!!

Sweet Dreams!
Linda x

P.S. My most relaxing thing to do – apart from sleeping and meditating of course, is knitting. This pattern from The Ekokids collection is simple to make and will encourage bedtime as a natural and calming experience rather than the battleground it could be!

Bedtime!

Download from your favourite bookstore:

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Dreaming Big!

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… or away with the fairies?

Over many centuries – well decades, I’ve been accused at various times in my life of being away with the fairies. I was punished for daydreaming at school which set a pattern or paradigm in my own mind that dreaming big wasn’t the way to success.

But now that I’ve discovered the wonderful teachings available to us in the 21st century I refuse to let my dreams be shattered by naysayers.

Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer and the teachings of Abraham Hicks have all helped me to understand that we are entitled to our dreams and that without them, we would all be living in the dark ages. I mean, someone had to discover electricity, invent the mobile phone and even believe people could travel in a flying machine!

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But, although I’ve kind of sorted out the paradigm and am sticking to my dreams like glue, there are conflicting opinions about sharing dreams.

On the one hand, when you share dreams and ideas the naysayers can move in quickly and plant a seed of doubt. But on the other hand, sharing ideas can produce feedback, more good ideas and possibly even partnerships.

The answer, I believe, is to be really solid in your idea; make the business plan, write the outline of a book you want to write or an idea you want to implement BEFORE you share with anyone!

Write it down on paper or your laptop. Get into the details. Look for the bits that don’t work and delete, search for the parts that need adjusting or updating and edit like crazy. Then put it aside, if you can πŸ™‚ for a couple of days then go back to it and fine tune again.

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There will be a moment when you just know you’ve covered all the angles you are aware of – then it’s time to share, to talk about it, to accept feedback – however critical it may seem at first. Go over the feedback and eliminate anything that’s obviously not relevant or just too picky to be important.

Then go for it. Dreaming big and setting up strategies for achieving goals and dreams is a fun thing to do if you don’t let the seeds of doubt creep in.

One caveat I’d add here is that we do have many ideas and dreams and some of them are temporary, some of them are rubbish and some of them are just gems waiting to be polished. Go for the gems and don’t worry about the other stuff.

And one final point is that life is about the journey, not the destination. Be flexible, enjoy the journey and those dreams could very well become your reality.

Keep dreaming big!

Linda x

P.S. The teachings I’ve mentioned above can all be found on youtube and their own websites of course!

Healthy Weight Loss

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If you’ve ever strolled round a lovingly kept garden, whether it’s full of fruit, vegetables, herbs or flowers, you may have experienced a sense of wonder, a sense of being at one with nature and an incredible feeling of being in touch with reality.

Rushing round a supermarket grabbing packaged fruits and vegetables and all manner of processed ‘foods’ just doesn’t create that warm fuzzy feeling!

A high percentage of medical conditions are a direct result of our diet; we are what we eat, as the saying goes. Personally I’d rather be seen as an exotic fruit than a burger but hey, each to their own πŸ™‚

But it’s really important to acknowledge that what we eat has an effect on our bodies. Every action causes a reaction after all. The problem is, although we know all this stuff about diet and healthy eating, we don’t always put what we learn into practice for all sorts of reasons.

So I became my own guinea pig and experimented on myself with a healthy weight loss plan.

I have a sweet tooth and could possibly be classified as a chocoholic so I decided to give myself 30 days to re-tune my body and perhaps lose those extra pounds and it worked! I watched everything I consumed over a month and only ate fresh foods – nothing processed. I limited my carbs after breakfast and lost 14lbs. I have to admit to being a bit irritable for the first couple of days but after that I was fine and felt better with each passing day.

I’m not promoting unhealthy or fast weight loss here. I needed to lose those pounds and although I’ve slipped a bit recently, I know that a quick month – and they do go by quickly after all – of being nice to me will sort it all out again.

One tip that I find works well is refusing to go down the unhealthy aisles in the supermarkets. Try that if you can. It makes you feel so good. I tell everyone who will listen that I avoid the ‘bad-for-you-stuff’ (Smug face)

Also, with the state of the planet and our need to cut out plastic packaging, you can kill two birds with one stone – so to speak. Hm not a very nice expression but you get the gist.

Look after your body – it’s the only one you have after all!

Linda x

fbk-regular-bonus2P.S. I just found a fabulous package of great information for healthy weight loss – check it out.

Over $70 worth of healthy eating tips, great information and solid ideas for only $10. Not sure how long the offer is on for so it’s probably worth grabbing it now so you don’t miss out.

Rain or Shine

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Yesterday, it rained. After a few glorious weeks – or was it days πŸ™‚ – of sunshine, the heavens opened, the universe threw some wind into the mix and suddenly it felt like Autumn.

The perfect moment to get on our whinge-mobiles and moan about the weather. But yesterday I had a moment in the rain and enjoyed the smell of the grass and the washing of the path and literally blissed out in the whole nature experience.

Sure there is much concern about climate change, and of course it needs our attention, but I’m not convinced we should spend too much time and energy arguing and fighting about it. What is, is, after all.

And I do hold a belief that the law of attraction will respond to the energy we put out there. I’ve no idea how the climate change will all pan out in the future. I don’t have the scientific background and understanding. But I do know I can do my bit for the environment wherever possible, and I believe that the more often we can enjoy the moment, the more refined and positive our thoughts and feelings are, the more chance we have of securing the planet for ourselves and future generations.

And then I had a sign!

Nick Polizzi of the Sacred Science shared a Sanskrit poem by Kalidasa (4th-5th century AD) that just goes to show this ‘being in the moment’ stuff isn’t a new idea, although maybe we haven’t been listening very carefully for the last few centuries?! Anyway, here it is:

Look to this day,
for it is life, the very breath of life.
In its brief course lie
all the realities of your existence;
the bliss of growth,
the glory of action,
the splendor of beauty.
For yesterday is only a dream,
and tomorrow is but a vision.
But today, well lived,
makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
and every tomorrow
a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

Enjoy the moment πŸ™‚

Linda x

Ditch the Brave Face

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Do you show your brave face to the outside world but are brutally honest with yourself?

I’m voting to flip that on its head – we don’t have to moan and whinge to all and sundry on social media but a little honesty can be truly liberating and will undoubtedly create a feeling of community, and help others realize they are not alone.

When you scroll through your timeline, whichever social media platform you are on, often it’s all about how wonderful things are going for everyone, or conversely about how awful everything is in the world.

But most of this is illusion.

Yes, the world needs our care and many adjustments to help support our children and their children, but really, nature is pure in it’s beauty and has been around a lot longer than we have!

And, all the smiles and success stories can often be a result of vanity or business promotions.

I sound slightly cynical here, but I don’t mean to be. There are tons of amazing things going on and some truly inspiring folk out there who share ideas and thoughts to help us all live happier healthier lifestyles.

My take on all this is that we can discern the wheat from the chaff if we first get in touch with our own inner being, our own dreams and our own integrity. Then somehow it all becomes a lot easier to deal with.

When you’re really feeling great, the message comes through clearly, because you tapped into the energy of the Universe. We all have those moments, they may be just a second or two in an otherwise stressful day, but sometimes they last longer and the gratitude and joy shines through.

So, ultimately, we want to extend and expand on those few seconds so that we can share our wisdom and joy with the world, whether on or offline. Those positive feelings allow us to share practical help that will protect ourselves, our loved ones and our world.

No more fake brave faces and no more whinging.

So how do we do this? When you’re stressed, worried, anxious or depressed, it feels impossible to climb out of the dark shadows but honestly, anything is possible.

Slightly glib statement there. I know that it would not be possible for me to be a brain surgeon for example, but actually I don’t want to be a brain surgeon. So maybe anything is possible if you truly desire it from the bottom of your heart.

And it’s not about material gains. A few hundred/thousand pounds could change your life right now perhaps, but when we want something it’s always because we know in the having of it, we will feel better. So it’s the feeling you’re aiming for at the end of the day.

Who doesn’t want to go to sleep without worry or stress?
Who doesn’t want to wake in the morning feeling gratitude and joy for a brand new day?

The answer I believe lies in meditation. And yes, I have a monkey mind that has regular parties at my expense, but having given it my best shot and thought it would never work for me unless I lock myself away in an ashram for years (something I don’t want to do!) – I have finally come to understand that meditation is NOT about becoming mind-free but is about becoming mindful of the present moment.

Enjoy the moment, be present. While washing your hands, feel the water and soap on your skin. Take a moment or two to be aware of your breath – the air that keeps you alive. Meditation takes many forms and those few seconds of presence will boost your inner peace and encourage feelings of gratitude that will be impossible not to share with your world.

Don’t put on a brave face if you feel like crap, just allow yourself to remember you are worthy, you are loved and have so much to offer this world, just simply by being yourself.

Have a wonderful day,

Linda x

 

Take a Break

takeabreak-pinIf you’re working from home, there can be days when pjs are the only option. It’s not always easy to motivate yourself especially if you’re self-employed and can’t guarantee that what you’re doing will produce any feedback, financial or otherwise.

So, I say embrace those days. Relax. Don’t beat yourself up and remember you are worthy of a break, at least.

My recent spell of working like an idiot from dawn until midnight caught me out and I had to spend a day in hospital – I felt incredibly stupid and embarrassed when I could see that our wonderful NHS doctors and nurses had patients to attend to that hadn’t necessarily been ignoring their own well-being.

So I think I’ve learned my lesson and wanted to share because I’ve finally realized – in my seventh decade on earth – that I’m not Superwoman and if I have any super powers, I haven’t actually learned to tap into them yet.

Take a break – you are worthy and you deserve to feel good!

Have a great day.

Linda x

P.S. Meditation moments are a good idea. Finish a task then allow yourself five or ten minutes enjoying the peace or watching the sky, or youtube a quick guided meditation that suits you. (There are loads of them)

Armchair Days

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…. and don’t buy the books yet!

Okay, so I’ve abandoned my office space for a few days – mostly because there’s a pile of bills in there that I’m avoiding – and decamped to an armchair.

This image isn’t real but sitting comfortably with part of my mind in the clouds is.

So, updating books at the moment. I started the growing guides, thinking they may be easier and quicker to sort out. Not so!

I’ve added so many extras and I upload to lots of online platforms that it’s a lot trickier than I thought it would be…. there’s a surprise πŸ™‚

Anyway, this is really just a heads up that the guides will be updated in the next couple of weeks, so don’t buy them yet.

Because I refer to Amazon Garden centre in most of them, Apple won’t publish. I debated whether to change the text, then decided against it so Apple will miss out on the fabulous updated versions!

Right, better plump up those cushions and get back to it.

Have a wonderful day, relax when you can and find time for your own well-being – taking my own advice today, now there’s a first. πŸ™‚

Linda x

 

I am not a Noun, I am a Free Verb

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A few days ago -or it could have been weeks or even months – time flies ay? – anyway, I digress as usual. A while ago, I saw a short video clip of Stephen Fry (one of my absolute favourite people) talking about being verbs and not nouns…

For example I am not just a ‘writer’ but I do write, I am not just a mother, but I do a lot of mothering stuff, same as grandmother, knitter, designer, cleaner, cook, armchair therapist … and the list goes on.

So every person who asks me what I do, tends to get a different answer depending on the conversation, the questioner and sometimes my own mood. Honestly, if you’ve done half a dozen wash-loads today, do you not feel like a laundry woman?!

Maybe the answer to the dreaded ‘what do you do?’ question should be “shall I make a list?” or “where do I start?” and see where we go from there. πŸ™‚

Busy folk everywhere take heart, you are so much more than you think or say you are!

Have a Great Day!
Linda x

P.S. Just realized this is my hundredth blogpost!

Stix & Yarn

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Top models are doing it, kids are doing it and the wrinklies have been at it for years!Β  Don’t miss out on adding a new skill to your life CV.

Get a domestic survival craft under your belt that will:

-save you tons of money
-provide you and yours with a totally unique wardrobe
-save you from munchie attacks and keep the waistline in order
-resolve all gift giving problems
-give your creative energy an outlet when you’re on overload
-help you relax while creating something practical and fun

And you’ll get oodles of brownie points and plenty of oohs and aaahs without even trying. And the name of this wonderful craft? – Knitting, of course!

Before you rush away fearing the worst scenario of being a wrinkly old grey haired witch who clacks her needles at everyone all day long – stop! The vision is scary enough.

As I said before, top models knit between performances. It’s a calming exercise and practical. (Did you know knitting can burn 100 calories an hour?)

Children in the Shetland islands learned to knit as part of their school curriculum. Survival skills for youngsters will stay with them all their lives. I learned to knit when I was four years old and the skill has got me out of trouble a few times in my life – but that’s another story!

And the wrinklies are at it. Well many of them. During the war years and the years following when rations were tight, survival skills were needed. The choice of tools and materials they had were limited and many knitters were obliged to knit for long hours to produce a simple pair of socks. These socks, made from 100% wool would no doubt need darning within a few weeks.

But now, with technology at our fingertips and no rationing going on, except in my house where there is a serious de-caff regime happening, we can explore textures and styles beyond the wildest dreams of our predecessors.

Knitting is in fact simply a series of slip knots made with a couple of pointy sticks and a length of yarn.

Yes, that’s all there is to it! Fishermen of old could teach you how to knit a fishing net and probably a cosy jumper as well. Tradition has it that men dominated the craft of knitting for many centuries. Information is a bit sketchy as to when women took over – but they sure did.

During the 17th century, a clergyman invented the knitting machine out of sheer frustration at being made to wait for his beloved for hours because she was knitting.

Whether his motives were valiant or lustful, the male of the species seems to have lost touch with hand knitting around that time and domestic crafts started taking second place to industrial based products.

This is a shame because every man, woman and child can knit almost anything with a couple of sticks and a length of yarn.

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So let’s recap the benefits in more detail:

1. Save a ton of cash

Once you establish you have a new hobby, the materials you need will start appearing from nowhere. I have pounds of yarn and hundreds of needles and I’ve no idea where most of it came from. I like to believe the law of attraction was at work for me. πŸ™‚

Put the word out you’re looking for spare balls of yarn, look in charity shops and end of sale clearances. You could even unpick hand knitted garments – as long as they haven’t been washed too often as the fibres lock together too tightly to unpick. Then when you knit your own garments and gifts, you’ll save tons of cash.

** If you have a little cash spare to start you off, it may be worth grabbing a pack of multi coloured yarns from Amazon or Ebay, or if your budget will stretch, support a local knitting shop and get to know them. They are often very helpful and friendly!

 
2. Provide you and yours with a totally unique wardrobe

How could it be otherwise? Every hand knitted product has it’s own mark of personality in it. Just as writing a story or an article will have your style injected into it or a certain chocolate cake you make will be better than any other cake on the planet.

You can choose colours, styles, change patterns to suit you. It takes a little practice – and a knowledge of multiplication tables helps when you start designing your own patterns, but before you start your own designing, simply creating an unusual colour scheme will make your item unique to you.

“You could start with simple accessories – experiment or practice following simple patterns – Fun Knits over on the knitsulove page is proving to be a popular starting block”

 
3. Saves you from munchie attacks

What more can I say? Knitting is totally incompatible with eating chocolate or salty snacks. You need both hand free from stickiness to knit, so you won’t even be able to get that late night bowl of cornflakes eaten before they go soggy! And an added bonus is that knitting can burn 100 calories an hour – win-win-win!

 
4. Resolve gift giving problems

You could knit toys, clothes, accessories and even Christmas decorations. The patterns available are awesome and often very easy to follow. Have a look in knitting supply shops, online stores such as Etsy or Amazon and browse the amazing designs available. You could also find knitting patterns often published in women’s weekly magazines. Check out your local newsagents for these type of publications. They may even have monthly knitting magazines which often have free gifts with them.

“I don’t mean to harp on about the knitting page we have here, but definitely check it out for gift giving ideas!”

 
5. Give your creative energy an outlet when you’re on overload.

If you need a break from your desk, kitchen or anywhere else, sit in your favourite chair and get out your knitting. If you only knit for ten minutes, while searching in your mind for that elusive word or brainstorming some ideas that are still at the thinking stage, or simply finding a solution to a problem, you will not only have added to the item you’re making, you will have removed yourself physically from the problem or issue you were facing. You don’t always need a five mile hike to get to grips with the world again.

 
6. Helps you relax

There have been scientific studies showing a significant reduction of stress in the physical body while knitting. You get relaxed before you start – although I have been known to have my knitting in a large pocket and whip it out every now and then if I’m watching a pot come to the boil in the kitchen – but really, best to relax.

The simple act of moving the needles in the right way, even if you are following a complicated pattern, will create a an amazing sense of achievement which equals a feeling of worthiness and joy.

 
7. Improves your literacy and numeracy skills

Yep, there have been scientific studies apparently that show an increase in literacy and numeracy skills after knitting. Now, I’m not a scientist and couldn’t tell you how this can possibly make sense, but I do have a theory or two:

1. You can often find yourself counting or calculating how many stitches or rows you need to knit – and this gets way more complicated when you start designing your own patterns.

2. When you read a knitting pattern, however simple, you do have to focus and read every word or abbreviation, which can help with reading skills.

They are just my interpretations of the science. Google if you need to know more but for now, these seven extraordinary reasons are all you need to grab those ‘stix and yarn’ and award yourself a new life skill…

Give yourself a gift. Learn to knit today.

Happy Knitting!
Linda x

Vampires Begone!

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Garlic has so many myths and legends attached to it they would probably fill a whole book, although we do know for sure that it keeps vampires away, so for that reason alone we should definitely grow some!

Garlic is part of the onion family although it is considered to be a herb. It has been cultivated for over 5000 years and wild garlic has been around even longer.

In Roman times it was believed to bestow strength and was given to soldiers. It’s also been used as an effective hangover cure, apparently.

Garlic is an excellent herb to have available in your garden. The bulbs store well if kept in the right conditions and can be used through the winter months. Garlic tends to grow easily and needs little looking after.

It has medicinal qualities and is said to cleanse and purify the blood. Garlic is believed to protect against colds and flu and is used to treat infections. It has anti-fungal qualities and is also known to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

*Extract from ‘Growing Herbs at Home’ on our Herbs and Healing page

Embracing nature,
Linda x