Archive | January, 2013

The secret to calm (and hilarious) mornings

9 Jan


I discovered the secret of the universe this morning.  Well actually I discovered something pretty bloody obvious this morning, but it felt like a huge revelation to me.   I discovered that it is possible, with everything that has to happen in the morning just to get everyone to work / childcare, for it to be a chilled and even pretty wonderful time of the day.  To the point where I was able to do the above on the way to work.  I spotted a nice looking bench on Clapham Common and got off my bike and sat on it.  I then opened my current book (Caitlin Moran’s ‘How To Be A Woman’), laughed a lot (I actually laughed on my morning commute – unheard of) before getting back on my bike to cycle to the station.  I was so early for my train that it was sat there waiting for me and offering me a seat.  An actual seat!

How did I manage this?  It was very simple, I got up 30 minutes earlier than usual.  Correction: Nancy woke me up 30 minutes earlier than usual.  I think that due to the sleep deprivation I suffered for most of last year, I’d never considered sacrificing 30 minutes of my now full nights sleep to ease the hecticness of the morning.  ‘Sleep when she sleeps’ is advice I’ve continued to take, even now when I’m actually getting plenty.  Crazy really because what I hate more than anything is being in a rush.  Normally I’d do anything to avoid it.  I’d rather be late than run for a train and get hot, angry and caught between two closing doors.  If I’m rushed I clam up and freak out and am pretty much in a bad mood and good for nothing for the rest of the day.  I’m much calmer, happier and better at things when given sufficient time to do them.

This ‘revelation’ of getting up earlier to take the morning slowly has inspired my ‘word of the year’ – an idea put forward by the always-inspirational Anna at Skin & Blister to give you focus for the year ahead.  I like to think of it as a more focused and sustainable version of a list of resolutions, that can be built upon year after year.  But more on this later…

How to hug

7 Jan


Yes that’s right, I’ve been practising my hugs!  I hug Nancy all the time, but one night as I hugged and sang to her at bedtime we had this absolutely magical hug.  It felt incredible – all warm and perfect and full of love.  I’ve just wanted to re-create that amazing hug ever since.

The other thing of course, is that now that I’m a Mum, I have to perfect the ‘Mum hug’.  Everyone knows that Mums can hug better than anyone else in the world!  I’m sure that this is a natural thing that happens between two people that care very deeply for each other, but I also like to think that there are things you can do to maximise the chances of a great hug.  Here are my findings having practised my hugs on Nancy and other family members over the Christmas period (!!)

1. Focus on the hug:  Banish all thoughts of anything other than your feelings for that person from your mind.  This hug is gonna show them just how much you care for them – oh yeh, it’s gonna be gooood, and it deserves your full attention.

2. Find the optimum arm position:  Position your arms around your huggee how ever feels natural – this (pretty hilarious) post has some tips on where to position your arms based on if you’re a man or a woman.  Personally I think you should just go for what ever feels right – based on size and comfortability.  Chances are you’ve hugged them before, so you’ll know what to do.

3. Apply a little pressure, but not too much:  This is a big one.  I have a huge issue with hugs that are too strong.  I think the best hugs are ones where both parties are relaxed.  It’s all about tenderness, so relax into the hug and pull them close to you lightly to show how important they are to you.

4. Enjoy that hug: A hug is a very special thing.  For a truly magical hug, it shouldn’t be rushed.  Close your eyes, relax into the hug and hold it for a few seconds.  The length of the hug kinda depends on your environment, the occasion and other external factors.  It that person is having a particularly tough time, you might want to consider giving them a long and tender hug.  Maybe add in a little back rub.  Ooh yeh, that’s good.  But if you’re meeting at a busy bar surrounded by rowdy football fans trying to get a pint, you might want to consider keeping it to a couple of seconds.

This might all sound very obvious, and silly. And it is. But you know what, just giving a little thought to your hugs can mean much better hugs for all involved, which can only be a good thing, right?

Want to try something? Just do it.

3 Jan

I’ve spoken a lot (mainly over here) about how these days it feels as if it’s more possible than ever to learn new things, meet interesting people, explore your passions, set up a business, juggle a number of different projects and roles – that kind of thing.  And that more and more people are taking control of their lives and their careers and just going for it and trying out things they’ve always wanted to.  I think that it is all so wonderfully liberating and inspiring, and I love it.

As we enter 2013 it is of course the perfect time to be thinking about what you might change, learn, try, do in this shiny new, fresh year.  So I’m sharing the blog of a friend-of-a-friend of mine who last year went on a bit of a journey to identify what she’d like to learn, then went off and learnt it and has subsequently set up a business doing that thing part-time.  So head over to the post below for some lovely New Year inspiration.