Five Minutes in the Morning

A few months ago I was in Sainsbury’s and picked up a book. It’s called “Five Minutes in the Morning – A Focus Journal”.

It’s usually priced at £10 but I was chuffed that it was only £4 (oh the joy of the January sale!)

The idea is, you take five minutes in the morning (duh!) to take stock of the day. Check in with yourself and how you’re feeling. Set some intentions for the day.

I’ve not used it really – it’s such a beautiful book, that I didn’t really want to write in it. I do like “workbook” style things though. I like having something to do.

Now even though this is designed for in the morning, I think I can get so much from this at any time of day.

So this evening I completed the first activity.

An exercise to start writing.

I was tasked with spending five minutes just writing about how I would introduce myself to somebody, and here’s what I wrote:

Hi, I’m Joanna, but most people call me Jo. Except Dave. He calls me Joey. Dave is my other half and he very much completes me. We’ve been together for five years and have a little boxer doggy called Poppy who’s three.

In my spare time I enjoy reading and writing (I have a blog), and going to the gym. I’m a bit of a fadder, but that just means that I never get too bored!

In my spare time, I work for a big energy company in learning and development. I’ve done it for 13 years and genuinely love it!

I’m originally from Essex, but moved to Wigan 8 years ago, which is the best thing I’ve ever done.

I love letters and I currently have six pen pals, and the list is growing.”

I reflected on what I’d written. I feel it’s a fair insight into me but I’m also shocked by what I’d missed out. My love for gin, herbal tea and coffee is missing. Happily, I don’t let my recent diagnosis define me; I felt no need to mention that in my introduction.

After my first experience with this book, I’m definitely going to start using it more. If you’re interested, I managed to get another couple of them on Amazon for £4 – they’re easy to get your hands on. I gifted one to Kate as she shares a love for writing and I got the feeling she’d enjoy using a similar kind of book.

I think it’ll be really nice to dip in and out of occasionally, and give me a little pre-blog warm up or inspiration!

Have a go at this activity yourself – I’d love to read your five minute introductions.

Note to Self.

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On Saturday, I chose to tell everyone I know that I have MS via the medium of Facebook.

Some of you might find this odd, but I had my reasons for doing this.

I’d spoken to a lot of people about my freaky blindness (at this point not thinking it would result in the diagnosis that I have subsequently got).

A lot of those people had asked questions about whether I got my sight back. I’d told them yes I had it back but no, I’d had no answers and been honest about the tests I was going through and what I was going through them for.

Now I have a diagnosis, whilst I want to continue to be open about my condition, I CANNOT FACE TALKING ABOUT IT ANYMORE!!!! Easier to just get everyone told in one fell swoop.

Additionally, I honestly believe that by keeping it quiet I’m not really facing up to it myself. I’m an open book. I’m a sharer (and historically very much an over sharer although less so as I’ve grown older!)

What I never counted on was such an overwhelming showing of support from people. I was called inspiring. Me?! Inspiring?

I wasn’t open for the sake of sympathy or compliments about my ability to handle my situation. I didn’t do it for attention. I purely did it for me, to get it off my chest and to face reality. That doesn’t stop me feeling so humbled by the amazing support from friends and family, and those people that used to be called friends but I’ve completely lost contact with.

I’m not being strong for to be inspiring. I just don’t see how being any other way will help. I explained to someone the other day,

“It’s not as likely as you might assume that I’ll end up in a wheelchair. But if I spend the next ten years, miserable and worrying about being in a wheelchair, and then actually end up in a wheelchair in ten years time, that’s so perverse. What a waste of my good years.”

Knowing I’ve got such a huge network of support around me is so comforting at a time like this and it really really does help me keep a smile on my face, instead of wallowing and worrying about what the future might hold.

It has made me stop and think though, and there’s some things I need to promise to myself. I felt a little note to myself here would just do the trick. And you, Dear Reader, can hold me to account if you catch me not doing these things…

  • Just because everyone thinks I’m being dead strong, doesn’t mean that I can’t have days where I don’t appear so strong. I’m allowed to feel every emotion under the sun at the moment, and the only person not allowing me to do that is me.

 

  • I will stop planning so far ahead and running through life at 100 miles an hour.

 

  • I will start to live each day and really be present (as much as my brain fog allows me that is!), and just take each day as it comes. There is no point in worrying about yesterday, or tomorrow.

 

  • Stop worrying about the things that I can’t control.

 

  • Stop being so bloody hard on myself and beating myself up. No more feeling guilty for not getting things done that can wait until tomorrow. Or the day after. Or the day after that.

 

  • Know that my best is enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

 

 

Hands. (Pt 4)

Week 4 of this fabulous challenge is to sum up everything over this last month, and I’m going to make some commitments to myself to help me continue with my new love for my hands.

So what have I learned?

My hands make my life. I take them waaay too much for granted and I wouldn’t be able to live the life I do without them.

I love holding hands. I love talking with my hands and I love using my hands to lift up heavy stuff in the gym!

I LOVE getting my nails done, and for the first time in ages, I’ve successfully got through a month without pinging a false nail off deliberately so I can have a good old chew (maybe a coincidence but maybe not).

I’ve found a love for making my own natural home made remedies too (yes with my bare hands) so they’ll be more of that too!

Oh – and I love rings 🙂 YAY!

So how do I keep this up?

  • Complete a weekly deep scrub and conditioning of my hands
  • Keep up the monthly manicures (I enjoy them and they relax me)
  • Make more homemade beauty products
  • At least once a week, get something hand related into my Daily Gratitude tweets
  • Buy more rings!

And I think that’s it!

I’ve really enjoyed the focus on my hands this month! I’m really looking forward to focussing on the next body part in February!

Peppermint Hand Lotion

As well as rustling up a lime and coconut salt scrub today, I’ve also made a peppermint hand lotion.

You can swap the peppermint essential oil out for a different scent if you wish. Unlike with the salt scrub, the coconut oil scent doesn’t come through because the Shea butter puts a stop to that!

Peppermint Hand Lotion

You will need:

  • 1 x kilner jar
  • 1 x large bowl
  • 1 x spatula
  • Stand mixer or electric hand whisk
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of shea butter
  • Essential oil

Step 1: Warm the shea butter in for 30 seconds in the microwave

Step 2: Add the shea butter and room temperature coconut oil to a large bowl

Step 3: Whisk the two together for about 10 minutes. Every minute or so you’ll need to use a spatula to get the mix off the walls of the bowl

Step 4: Stir in some essential oil. Add as much as desired. You might find you need quite a bit to get the scent as strong as you want it

Step 5: Transfer the cream to the Kilner jar

Enjoy, and let me know if you try it out!

xx

Hands. (Pt 2)

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I’m a little late with this week’s blog post for the awesome 2018 Self Love Challenge, set over on Kate’s Love Yourself to Love Yourself blog.

This week her email dropped into my inbox in the early hours of Tuesday morning, setting me the challenge to think about the ways I could love my hands more.

Since doing weight lifting, and discovering just how much the bar makes my hands rough and full of calluses, I am rarely without a tube of hand cream. (The girl with the Body Shop stand in our canteen must see me coming from miles off, ready to arm myself with every new scent available!)

Since wearing my Nan’s rings, as I said in my last blog, I get my nails done every 3 weeks, to stop me chewing my nails. That makes me like them quite a bit more – I went for a matte grey this month which I’m totally obsessed with!

So what extra can I do to love my hands more?

Well actually the last challenge did make me really appreciate them and maybe that’s all I needed to do. It made me see them differently and realise that they’re not to be taken for granted. If I dig really deep, and think of something, I guess it would be that I’d love to wear more rings. A couple of my friends wear quite a few rings and I really like how it makes their hands look.

So maybe that could be a new look for me to try out!

On a side note, Kate did an online palm reading, which I’ve also done and decided it is the biggest pile of bollocks ever 😂

But then what did I expect from an online test?

 

Me, Myself and I

This evening I have a rare Saturday night on my own. It’s funny how this feels like a real treat. Rewind 10 years and I’d be off out to get “on it”. Rewind 7 years and I would be crying into my ice cream in the style of Bridget Jones. Go back 5 years, in the very early days of my current relationship I would be feeling as though I had lost a right arm. Ghosts of boyfriends past haunting me, wondering what the hell is he going to be doing, or more accurately WHO the hell is he going to be doing?

Now, in a completely settled and trusting place with my partner, Dave, whilst I love him very very much, the prospect of a night in alone is “The Dream”.

I have friends that find my excitement at him going out strange. If we go back to me from 7 years ago, if asked, I’d agree. However as I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to value, and I mean REALLY value, that time where I hang out with no-one else, just me.

To be able to spend some time on my own is an absolute luxury for me; I work away a lot, and invariably I’m with colleagues. If I’m not with colleagues, sure I’m alone, but I’m not in “my space”. I’m stuck in a hotel room. Don’t get me wrong, they’re more often than not, very comfortable rooms, but it sure ain’t home! The rest of the time, Dave and I are pretty inseparable. Which is lovely, but there comes a point where I just need to be alone!

I can’t say I’ll be doing anything ground breaking. Probably just catching up on some washing, lighting a couple of candles and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. There may be Yoga and there will definitely be meditation. Not rock ‘n’ roll, but it feels like some quality “Goddess Time” to me!

Hope you have a Saturday night which will be as fulfilling for you, as mine will be for me, whatever you do 🙂

Jxx

Hands.

Through the joy that is social media, I feel like I’m forming a friendship. Kate, like me signed up to Mel Wells’ Academy in October. But Kate, unlike me, finished all the modules!

She’s totally awesome. So awesome in fact that she’s started a 2018 challenge to teach you to love yourself that little bit more each day in 2018. And I’m all in!

The idea is that you focus on a different part of your body each month throughout 2018 with different challenges each week. You can follow the order that Kate is going through, or you pick your own. (Please, PLEASE go and subscribe to her blog and find out more about this great challenge!)

This month, the focus is hands (yep, we’re starting easy!) and the Week 1 challenge is to tell the story of your hands, and here’s mine!

My Hands

When my Nan passed away in 2015, I was given her engagement ring, and her Nans’ wedding ring. All I wanted to do was put them both straight on my finger. Not unusual you might say, but for me it was. I’d never worn a ring in my 29 years before that day, not even just a “junk jewellery” one.

Why?

I hated my hands. I hate them a little less these days but historically I’ve never exactly liked them. The last thing I’d ever wanted to do was fill them with jewellery and draw attention to them. I was a nail biter. Like, as far down as you can go, and the skin around them. The lot! In fact I still am a nail biter but I get my nails done every three weeks now and have done for the last 2.5 years, but that doesn’t stop me. I relish the opportunity for a good old chew if one of my nails ping off!

Reflecting on my childhood, I was always busy with my hands! I’d always turn my hand (‘scuse the pun), to something crafty and hands on (bloody terrible at drawing though!) I loved to experiment with origami, I enjoyed making dolls out of wooden pegs and the aforementioned Nan taught me to knit and French knit. I learned to cross stitch too. I also loved to write, and before the digital age, of course that was all done with a pen in hand.

I remember my excitement when I finally received the much sought after calligraphy pen at primary school at the ripe old age of roughly 7. What I didn’t tell Mum and Dad at the time was that I was the last in the class to get it. My handwriting was terrible, and I couldn’t hold a pen correctly, which I still can’t do to this day!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been quite a “touchy-feely” individual. Probably less so now than when I was younger, but I love holding hands with people or having a good cuddle!

As I’ve grown into adulthood, I’ve continued that “busy-ness” with my hands. I work in Learning and Development so I’m often stood at the front of a group of people, chatting away. And you’ve guessed it, I’m one of those people that likes to talk with their hands gesticulating all over the place!

A few years back I got real pleasure from baking, and more recently found a love for power lifiting – in particular deadlifting. This really took it’s toll on my hands for a while – that is until I discovered The Body Shop hand cream, and now I usually have at least two tubes residing in my handbag!

In 2017, I took up my old hobby of knitting again. Throughout the course of the year I knit patches, picking the colour to reflect my mood. These are yet to be knit together as I’m a couple of weeks behind on the patches still (I’ll blog more about this in another post!)

Finally, there’s my beautiful fur-baby Poppy. Without hands I wouldn’t be able to stroke her, hug her or throw a ball for her.

As I write this blog, I realise that so many of the things that I love to do are possible because of my fully functioning hands! Sure I think the freckles all over them make them look older, and sure they’re slightly battered from years of nail biting and weight lifting. But right now, they also bear a reminder of my nan. One day, I hope they will carry a symbol of mine and Dave’s love for one another.

My hands aren’t to be taken for granted, and neither are yours. We should love them. Because hands make so much possible.