Don’t underestimate the power of small things

This photo is of two postcard-sized paintings I painted and framed recently. They now live over the bookshelf right next to my favourite armchair.

In the past week, I have also completely overhauled my website (with professional-quality photos, which my talented husband shot for me as I had no photos of myself without the kids). I did some research around my coaching business, wrote some content for this blog, mowed the back garden, gathered another bag of stuff to take to the charity shop and a bag of clothing scraps to recycle, and sorted some clothes to/from the loft as my boys change their clothing size. Alongside all of these tasks, I also managed to have time to read for pleasure (George Eliot’s Middlemarch) and for learning (Paul Gilbert’s The Compassionate Mind), go for coffee with my husband, take my son to a park for a playdate after school, and go for a run.

This isn’t a list designed to brag (though reading it back I’m afraid that’s how it comes across…sorry about that). It is to demonstrate the amazing power of small things.

I have learned this simple truth time and time again before forgetting and then rediscovering it. But there’s a reason “Little and often” is one of the mantras I repeat to myself: little things, done every day, make a huge difference. Continue reading “Don’t underestimate the power of small things”

Recipe: Healthy couscous two-ways

This couscous recipe isn’t the greatest for kids (at least, based on my five-year-old…the baby likes it so maybe less picky eaters will go for it) BUT it’s a great lunchtime option for working parents or a good quick cheap-and-cheerful meal.

One of the best parts is it can totally be customised for your own tastes. Here’s couscous two ways. Continue reading “Recipe: Healthy couscous two-ways”

Simplify and getting rid of the junk

This morning I watched The Labyrinth with my five-year-old. (Aside: I am so happy he’s really old enough to appreciate and watch it with me!)

And one of the scenes that has always stuck with me, and which struck me even as I watched it today for the thousandth time, is when Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) finds herself in the junkyard.

A hunched woman with piles of junk on her back tries to convince Sarah that her material possessions is what she was looking for. But as Sarah handles her various possessions – a teddy bear, a wind up dancer, a lipstick – Sarah remembers she is looking for her baby brother, who she needs to save from the Goblin King (David Bowie).

I am deeply repulsed by this image, of the darkening sky over a land of junk as far as the eye can see, as solitary figures dig to add more junk to their hunched and overloaded backs.

And whilst the metaphor is heavy handed and made for all ages to get, it remains powerfully apt for me.

We are drowning in junk

From the plastic piling up in our landfills and oceans to the rise in self storage because we have more stuff than we can fit in our homes, there is too much stuff.

And our homes have also become bigger than they once were. The 1905 workers cottage where I live was originally even smaller than it is now, having been extended during its lifetime to build a third room upstairs and a tiny kitchen and bathroom downstairs. I can’t imagine how a family of four might have lived here when it was just two rooms downstairs and two upstairs.

And the junk isn’t what we’re looking for. Continue reading “Simplify and getting rid of the junk”