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This drawer now functions as it should. And days are much calmer. At home, I’m not known for my exemplary tidying skills.  I’ve read that creative people have a tendency towards clutter, which as excuses go is OK but my whole life has been spent searching for that THING I need. I was yearning for a solution to get tidy.

Enter Marie Kondo. She didn’t literally come to my home (although I’d love her to), no, it was enough to read an article all about ‘The Goddess of Folded Things’ in Red Magazine. The article shared Marie’s desire to calm the world starting with folded jumpers. An award winning author, Marie has just published Spark Joy, An Illustrated Master Class On The Art Of Organizing And Tidying Up.

Really? Marie is flying around the world demonstrating how to fold clothes and tidy up! And she is loved!

With my usual lack of patience, I set about watching one of Marie’s YouTube videos, wondered if this was another ridiculous way of wasting time and then stared at my underwear in dismay. A dark, winter morning never starts well when rifling through an underwear drawer only to keep finding ‘summer size’ pants. I needed a system where I could easily find what I was looking for and not be reminded that I needed to lose a pound or twelve.

Determined, I tipped everything out onto the bed, and sorted everything into sizes and colours. Sitting on the bed, it took about 30 minutes to fold everything out of the three drawers and replace them in an orderly style.

Here’s the thing; repetitively folding pants, is just so calming, your mind just switches off! And the difference was incredible – I fitted the contents of three drawers into one!

Because I created so much space, everything that had been piling up under the bed, now fit into the drawers. A small tidy realisation went off in my head and I spent the next two hours on a mission. The wardrobe was cleared out and returned all colour blocked, belts and bags are in my Grandad’s old suitcase, scarves have their own basket, towels are stored, the drawers in the office are sorted and I even folded all my tights! My tights!

I started the Tidy-Up-Myself project on 13 January and amazingly, two weeks later, the drawers are still as neat as in the photos above. Every morning starts with a sense of peace because my things are easily accessible. Today, I stood ironing pillow cases and sheets for the bed. This has never happened in all my life. Something has changed. The fold-and-stay-calm revolution is quietly seeping into my brain. And it is very welcome.

Nic x

 

 

 

Sunset over the River Tyne Sept 2015The most often repeated phrase in my family this month has been “the nights are starting to get lighter”. Which of course they are by about 15 minutes a week depending on where you live.

This one fact cheers everyone in my family up. The chatter is focussed on getting back to our caravan when the site opens again. Walking up hills. Springtime. Things to look forward to.

But surely there has to be something good about January ?!

To try and stop living waiting for it to be April, I’ve been writing down everything that gives me pleasure right now.

  • Positive resolutions
  • Flowers in the kitchen
  • Doing crosswords each night
  • Fresh sheets on the bed
  • Making time to eat tea together
  • A really nice coffee on a morning
  • The view of the river Tyne at work
  • A tidy office
  • Getting excited about going to London to see family

And of course, the days getting longer!

Nic x

 

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I had scheduled 2015 to be the year of me, the year I turned forty, which when I actually see this in black and white seems rather selfish. 

My dream was to get a little sports car, get married and have a honeymoon in New York or in fact team the wedding and honeymoon together in NYC. This is all before I knew baby two, Luke, was making an appearance.

For nearly four years, I had put off having baby number two, making every excuse under the sun not to. The reason I did this was simple.

I was scared, no petrified that I would loose myself again. Here’s my frank tale of my own personal experience. 

Following the birth of my gorgeous little girl Emily, I felt bereft. Actually thinking back, it started to happen during my pregnancy.  I didn’t know who I was and how to be.

I mean, who in their right mind launches a new business just four weeks before the birth of their first child? Who works at their own event just six days before the birth humping boxes and putting up rails? Me, that’s who. I wasn’t in my right mind and I should have listened to the alarm bells already sounding.

I was used to being a fabulous partner, daughter, granddaughter, niece, friend and health & safety manager but then a new title of mummy was bestowed on me. It’s the one I’d always dreamed of having (although I felt I didn’t deserve it) but in reality as I looked in the mirror I ONLY saw mummy, I no longer saw ‘Suzanne’ a person whom I actually quite liked.Suzanne at 36 weeks pregnant (1)

Physically, my pregnancy was near on perfect, yes I got a bit tired and needed to take a week off work, but that’s by-the-by. But emotionally, it was a different story. My constant love/hate relationship with my body reared it’s ugly head when I didn’t get the ‘perfect bump’ – the one that is portrayed in all of the pregnancy magazines. Mine was a ‘B’ shaped bump so immediately I thought I’d done something wrong. What the heck could I have done?

I vomited at the ward visit to the RVI when they did a show and tell of all of the instruments that ‘may’ be used in birth. Who in their right mind wants to see them?

I stuck my head in the sand when it came to possible complications that could arise and read nothing. I liked the bubble I was in and I wasn’t going to do anything to burst it.

Then there was the the labour. I sounded (apparently) like a screaming banshee and 39 hours and a hideous forceps delivery later, little Emily Elizabeth was born. Nicola was with me from the start of contractions. I insisted on going for a cuppa in the tea room on Belle Vue bank, Low Fell; when I literally stood up at the start of each contraction, she insisted on me going to get a tens machine. Richard took over and had to watch his usually very composed financee, change into a gibbering wreck.

I won’t go into the whole saga of the birth but here are a couple of snippets…

I was so drugged up (something I didn’t expect to happen) that I didn’t realise I had a team of people behind me when the epidural had not been administered correctly. I was then prepped for theatre as I got so tired that I was no use to anyone, and as my waters had been broken for me, I really didn’t have any other option.

At this point I hit an all time low. I did not want to go to theatre.

After the birth of Emily, our daughter was passed to Richard and a lovely photo was taken, but there wasn’t one taken of Emily and I, or the three of us. I can’t remember if this was because I requested it or ‘just because,’ but instead of having a beautiful picture of the three of us on that day, I have memories of being scared and alone.

I sustained a double prolapse from over exuberant pushing and I went through two years of physio to help.  To this day I’m still not right, Pilates is finally helping but I still may decide on reconstruction.

But the pain of the day. Beautiful Emily was born with Erbs Palsy and was my little tea pot. I felt guilty, viewing it as my fault being so stubborn and not accepting a C-section, I put my baby through this and how dare I do that?

And breathe. I’ll take a break and get part two finished very soon.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Masters Shampoo, Detangler and travel setThis is not a blog about hair products but I’ve just spent £60 on the John Masters range, without so much as the flicker of an eye. I love them, so I bought them. My ever-so-calm purchasing power, got me thinking about how things (me) change. 10 years ago spending a small fortune on hair products just wouldn’t have happened. Request them for birthdays, yes, but me spend that much on a ‘treat’ for myself; absolutely not.

Throughout my 20’s I was a cheap-shop shopper. Addicted. In my 30’s, I realised the amount of money I was wasting on £5 tops and just how awful “fast fashion” really can be. So I launched a business, Daisy Green (with Suzanne), and over-compensated for my “throw-away” lifestyle buying nothing new for 12 months. Instead, I became the queen of the charity shops and clothes swaps. It was fun. I still love a good rummage in a nice charity shop; people throw away the most amazing stuff.

Recently, I was chatting with the very lovely Sharon McArthur, The Leadership Confidence Coach, who is in the business of making us more confident (check out Red Handbag). Our conversations are lively, but we always come back to the same conclusion; know yourself, love yourself, and everything else follows.

Through my bad years (about 12 of them), I didn’t like myself let alone love myself. But that time is long gone. So even though I know that happiness does not come from buying stuff, happiness does come from treating myself. I am worth it.

At the top of my “things I love to treat myself with” list are:

  1. Taking friends out. When I have money, I’d spend every penny I have on them. And what a nice feeling that is.
  2. Holidays. Weekends away. Every 6 weeks if we can. It has to be done!
  3. Looking after myself:
    1. Make up. I have nearly given up cheap brands. And swapped to more quality brands. (Still feels weird.)
    2. Hair products. Let’s face it, if your hair isn’t right, you just don’t feel good.
    3. My first great quality white shirt. A bargain in the sales from Fenwick. I’ve never paid £60 for a shirt. But it started life at £160. So, it’s a bargain. Especially when I absolutely love it.
    4. Clothes in general. I am sick of buying clothes that last 2 minutes. I always recycle the items I no longer love, but I’d much rather buy things that will last.
    5. Shoes. Shoes. And more shoes.
    6. Magazines.

Melissa Jelly ShoesAnd those feelings of guilt about spending on myself? Or taking breaks? Or enjoying my friends’ company? I used to carry enough guilt to lifetime. I’m off to the shops.

Nicola x

 

I have embraced turning 40. It’s been a cracking year. Highlights include: me faux pants

1. I’m happiest than I’ve ever been. The rest of this list exists because of this one, undisputable fact. Sharing life with so many wonderful people in it, makes me a very lucky lady.
2. I work harder than I ever had. And am more focused than I have ever been.
3. I will always, if possible, work for myself.
4. I am acutely aware of time passing. And making sure moments count.
5. I’m passionate about helping other women in business to feel confident in their own abilities and embrace all that digital technology can offer.
6. At some point in the day I always acknowledge how lucky I am.
7. I like speaking to big groups of people.
8. I stick up for what I think is right.
9. I acknowledge what I am good at and am happy to say it out loud.
10. I know what I am rubbish at and am happy to ask for help.
11. I care far less about what people think of me. I happily acknowledge I am not everyone’s cup of tea.
12. I spend my hard-earned on things made to last rather than loads of cheap stuff. I value quality.
13. I own two white pairs of jeans. For 2 decades I wouldn’t put my backside in them.
14. I own faux leather trousers. They were my best buy in 2015.
15. I freely indulge my shoe obsession.
16. Travel has become a really important part of my life.
17. I love digital technology and want to be part of it rather than left behind.
18. I’m not fit enough.
19. I own a bona fide pair of Ray Bans.
20. I often work from the bath.

If you’re reading this and you’re approaching 40, don’t worry about it in the slightest. And if you’re already there, what would you add to this list?

Nicola x