Inspiration, mental health, Motivation, real life, social media, Uncategorized, women, Writing

And….she’s back in the room.

I was signed off sick for a few weeks at the end of last year. Work related stress. The NHS Trust I work for is a Mental Health Trust, and they run courses and classes through their Recovery College. I took advantage of signing up to a Mindfulness course of 6 weeks. We meet in a beautiful building opposite a park – that’s sets the scene for the 2 ½ hours, calm and serenity.

I have to say that on my first session, I felt a little bit of a fraud. The rest of the group had their own story to tell, but I knew they had been on medication, had troubled histories and issues that were still current and plaguing them. I had had a crisis which had taken me away from work for a short period of time – I didn’t feel my problems warranted such support. How wrong could I have been?

Each week we were given the opportunity to try different mindfulness techniques. From simple 3 minute breathing exercises to more intense 30 minute full body scans. Each time for me it became easier to appreciate the opportunity to relax and go to a different place in my head!

And just because I’ve done this 6 weeks of Mindfulness I’m not professing to be an expert. But this is what I’ve taken away from this very useful course.

Be kind to yourself

It is ok not to be ok, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not.  You wouldn’t be mean to a friend who needed help – why be mean to yourself! We put so much energy into helping others – often we forget that we need to invest time in ourselves in the first place to be able to offer that help to others.

Habits can be quickly formed, but with training can be un-learned. We were told that the technical term is ‘Neural pathways’. Something goes wrong, you get into the spiral of self-doubt and anxiety and ruminating over it. By using this knowledge and skills – we could lean to accept this may happen again and avoid this spiralling pathway by taking back control. For me I think this is task I need to get better at. It should probably start by not saying ‘sorry’ each time something isn’t quite right!

We all have an ‘inner critic’.

It’s how we respond to it that sets the scene going forward. We don’t have to listen to them, you wouldn’t listen to a bad TV programme would you? You would use your skills to turn it off and watch something else. Perhaps over time, you realise this inner critical voice may in fact be someone who has criticises you in the past. Allow yourself the knowledge that everyone makes mistakes and can be wrong. But give yourself the opportunity to accept this and learn from it. I know who my inner critic is – someone in my past – who made me afraid and criticised me for lots of little things. He is still there, and is probably the one who I’m always saying sorry to.


Be in the moment – it’s not a bad place to be.

They said children are great at this, they don’t think of yesterday or last week or last year, or tomorrow or next week. They don’t worry over what’s gone before and if they could have done things differently. We are never going to change what happened in our past, but we all have the opportunity to learn from those events, and either do them differently next time, or try and avoid them. The meditation techniques they teach you give you the skills to bring yourself back to the present time. They encourage you to think about your breathing, your body, different sounds and sensation. It’s difficult to think of too many other things while you’re doing this – but my mind has a tendency to wander – and believe me it did – but I brought it back and tried again. My mind is normally all over the place, I’m thinking of lots of things – and you are given the permission to do this – but these are the skills and techniques to stop you from engaging in those thoughts and taking you off down that spiralling path.

Image result for free picture of breathing

Breathing is really important!

Deep regular breathing from your belly allows you to get into a natural rhythm. It helps you to concentrate and centre yourself. If you’re concentrating on this way of breathing it is calming and fills you with oxygen. Combine this with the rhythmic voice of the tutor, or a mindfulness CD it gives you the opportunity to relax, and find some peace from the constant chatter going on!

We have all forgotten how to live in the moment. Well – we like to think we do. We engage with people over social media, on the phone, in the shops and in the work place. But do we ever give ourselves the opportunity to look at our surroundings, the beautiful scenery and nature? Not often, we are too busy rushing from one place to another. We buy ourselves sweet smelling shower gels and toiletries, but are often too busy with our own thoughts to appreciate them. We were encouraged to take some time to carry out daily tasks mindfully. Showering, cleaning out teeth, cleaning, cooking and baking. Concentrating on the task, using all our senses. Every little helps, doesn’t it?

I need to change those bad habits I have and using this process it will be so much easier and 2nd nature.

At the end of the course, I mentioned to one of the others on the group that I had felt a little bit out of place at the start. She said something that I will take with me, that everyone’s problems are their own, and should be equally valued as such. Everyone deserves to be offered as much help and support as anyone else.

I learned something equally as important over these 6 weeks too. Things I do, jumping from one thing to another, following those thoughts in my head can be so annoying to others! I often have 3 conversations going around and need to say them all. But for those who are not party to my minds way of working- it can be pretty confusing! So now I park the two seemingly lest important things, and just concentrate on the most important. And I have to say it helps.


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Families, Family, Inspiration, real life, social media, Uncategorized, Whatever, women, Writing

Exile from social media….what have I missed?

Its been 11 days since I decided that I would take myself away from social media. I’d read this blog and it has inspired me.

Unplugging and Reinventing

So I signed off from Facebook, my Instagram and Twitter account went cold.  I realised that these things were taking over my life. As soon as I woke up, before I had even put my feet out of bed, I was on my phone scrolling through ‘social media life’ and what had happened while I had been asleep. Every spare minute I was catching up with the life of others, where they had been, what they had eaten, what they were wearing, and who was celebrating a birthday or a friendship!  All the time neglecting my own life. Neglecting my blog and the other more important things – like talking to my long suffering husband. Cuddling my grand children.

At first it felt weird. I kept thinking ‘what is so and so doing?’ and then gradually as the time has gone on that feeling of missing out has diminished. Of course I still get the notifications when I log onto my computer, but I don’t follow the link back into the twisted world of Facebook. It was todays notification that prompted me to write this blog.  Apparently I have 90 notification and I had been tagged in 5 pictures. I know it doesn’t sound very much to some people, who get hundreds and hundreds a day, but its quite a lot for me.

Do you know what I miss the most? Seeing the pictures of my grandchildren that are posted by my daughter in law! I also missed two events that friends had arranged I had forgotten to put on my calendar. There is an awful lot I don’t miss. The sometimes boring lives of others who endlessly post about their pets, the weather, who has parked over their drive, cakes, and what their favourite celebrity is doing. And I’m sure there is a lot that others miss about me…or not!

I have about 4 weeks left of my exile. I know it will teach me something. Remove things that don’t enrich my life. Don’t bother to follow pages that are a fad, or if I do as soon as I fall out of love with those pages – un-follow them. Simple.

Social media in one form or another has a place in anyone’s life, but not as a replacement for real life and communication.

See you on the other side.





A lucky London dog, sleeping and living on a balcony. She looks well looked after, of sorts.


If she were mine, I’d want her to be with me in case someone decided she would much rather live with them and not with me. And her lovely home gets a regular update. Blanket. Water bowls. Updated home. So lucky!

Thank you Andrew Gadd for the regular doggy updated pictures.




Laughter, Motivation, social media, Uncategorized, Whatever

A lucky pooch


How do you measure success?

I’ve had a blog now for about 2 years. I write about family, life and all sorts of things. You probably know that success on social media is measured by how many people follow you, or like your video’s, or download your songs. I think I’ve written some very nice pieces – even though I say so myself. But the oddest thing is – my best piece that more people look at more than all the rest of my work together is this piece.

500 words

A swiftly written piece about nothing really. Is it because its light hearted, and not too in-depth. Contains no politics, religion, sexual references, or anything else very much either!

Can anyone give me some feedback and tell me why please?

Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Uncategorized, Whatever

Long live the Dinosaurs.

This is the story of the class of 69, an amazing bunch of young people, who made it through the times of change and came out the other side, mostly unharmed!

Before TV sets were the focal point of the living room, and double glazing was a commodity only the rich could afford. When modern technology meant you had a teas made by the side of the bed, and flannelette sheets were all the rage. Once upon a time – dinosaurs roamed the world, even before calculators were common place in schools or at work.

Each day they practiced the old fashioned skill of ‘writing’, they used the ancient implements of pens with ink, or lead pencils with rubbers on the tips. Each day they were encouraged to practice this old form of communication, because that was what was expected of them. They knew that as they grew up – this skill would be invaluable, as no one else had invented anything like it for decades. Although a small group of women had been trained to sit in rows, and use a noisy clunky machine that squashed ink into paper in the form of letters, but everyone said this would never catch on. This machine was called a typewriter, and you needed to go to college to learn the amazing skill!

Life was quite simple then, simple choice of foods and simple entertainment. Regimented learning, times tables, copying letters from a book, little distraction.

Then time moved on, and so did those children. They went to a bigger school, some together, some meeting up a little later on, all learning new skills that would see them through into adult life. Some of them moving away to find a different life, and some moving to learn even more skills. Many staying put, marrying, bringing up families, looking after elderly relatives. Lots of them never forgetting the others they had spent their early informative years with.

Then time moved on yet again, and along came lots of new inventions. Not only could you go out with that calculator in your pocket, but you could take your box brownie, and your two tins cans held together with some string and finally that gramophone and your library of books, and encyclopedia – all in a different format of course!

Once upon a time social media meant gossiping while playing in the park. But if it wasn’t for that relatively new invention the Internet, Face book and Friends Reunited – that group of school children would never have know what became of lots of their long lost friends.

And so it was that a meet was arranged, in a local watering hole. How life had moved on, not a school uniform in sight, not a spotty face among them. And as each new person joined the group, the air was filled with cheer and laughter, and shouts of ‘Oh you haven’t changed a bit!’ and hugs and kisses were free for anyone who wanted them. Each one telling their story of the great adventures they had been on. A resounding success. So much so that plans were drawn up for the next big meet up. And each one hoping more friends will join from far flung places this time, to join in the merriment and the memories.

Long live the Dinosaurs.

Family, Laughter, real life, Whatever

Poor me, I’m feeling old.

I’m the wrong side of 50, in fact I’m nearly the wrong side of 54!

It’s not just the joints that are aching, the fact I no longer run up the stairs to get to the top reminds me that I am getting older by the day. I have coloured my hair for at least 15 years to mask the gray. When I look at past photographs at first it was the same colour, then as the time went on it changed to blond highlights – and now its blond grey highlights! I’ve been in discussion with my stylist about the optimum time I should be thinking about silver gray all over..not long now I’m sure.

Its the skin on your hands that give the game away the most. You can colour your hair, wear makeup or have botox to enhance your looks, but there isnt much you can do about your hands. If your eyes are windows to your soul – your hands must be the sat-nav to your next birthday!

And don’t think that what you wear will make you look younger either. A short skirt and high heels will make you look like mutton dressed as lamb! Especially if you top it off with lashings of bright make up, its just a no-no, for us middle aged ladies.

But the thing that hurts me the most is it doesn’t matter what you do to your appearance, if you cant keep up with the new technology and the social media – you just cant cut it. You need to be able to walk the walk – even if its in the flatties you keep in your bag in case your feet hurt – and #talkthetalk. You need to keep up with Twitter,Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Tumblr, Snapchat and that’s to name just a few. There are more out there, and each week there is a new one. You need to have a young brain to keep up with them, to know the best ones, or the ones your mates are on – you wouldn’t want to miss out, or be seen to not know what your doing.

So unless you have insider information on this new world we live in, and a ready supply of tutorials for all this communication – you will soon be left behind.

Perhaps I should invent a new method of communication, paper is useful for writing on, you need a pen to do that! That’s its I’ll call it a LETTER. It will take off in no time!

real life, Whatever

Work Etiquette or ‘how not to annoy your customers’

Customer service training is great, don’t you think? It reminds you of the things you should be doing on days when you are thoroughly fed up with just that….customers. Come on, seriously – how often would you like to start your conversation off with the word ‘LOOK’ or  ‘do you realise how annoying you are’. But we simply can’t can we? Remember – however fed up you are – these poor customers on the end of the phone, or sitting in front of you – their day may have been even worse than yours. They can hear what kind of day you are having by the tone of your voice and how fed up you are. Have you ever answered a phone call with a smile? Sounds corny doesn’t it but try it tomorrow. It seriously works and has a knock on effect,  they feel happier that you haven’t sounded grumpy on the phone. You in turn are dealing with someone who’s back isn’t up immediately.

A few years ago, the organisation I work for decided that to become more efficient and business like we should all answer the phone the same way. Company name, salutation, your name, how can I help you. Bit of a mouth full. But it has been proven that callers don’t listen to the first part of the phone call. They know who they are calling, they know if its afternoon or morning – they hear your name, and the offer of help. It always amazes me that at the end of a conversation with someone they often say, ‘thank you Pat’ – it takes me aback – they did hear my name when I answered the phone! It does work. And if you are all answering the phone in the same way – none of you will sound stupid – I know that’s what you were thinking!

This sounds like I am so righteous doesn’t it, never on my phone in work, never texting my mates, never fooling and laughing around, and having a joke. Well let me put this another way.

Its a busy Thursday lunchtime. You have 30 min to go and pick a present up for a friends birthday, and get back to the office again.  The shop assistant is busy chatting when you get into the shop and doesn’t see you or acknowledge you. You can’t find what you are looking for, you know that little specific item that will make your friend smile when they see it. After 5 min you still cant see what you want, and when you try and catch the attention of the sales assistant – they huff and puff, and don’t make much of an effort to help you find the elusive gift. Walk out of the shop- just do it! Go into the shop where you know the sales assistants appear happy, they greet you with a smile, and offer to help you with your search. You leave happy and content, they know they have helped you, and your friend is so pleased with their gift!  I hate shops where they chat to one another at the expense of customers. I’m the one walking out the door into your competitor shop down the road!

Don’t get me started on Social Media – it does what it says on the tin- SOCIAL MEDIA – not work media. Do it in your own time – not mine!  I work for an organisation that is funded by the tax payer – so I pay my own wages in effect. I will not allow myself to spend time on my phone during the time I’m paying me to work!

All life is a fish bowl. And work is no exception. In fact work is more of a fish tank than a fish bowl, everyone sees what you do, and how you do or don’t do it! So if you follow some simple rules, your customers will hopefully remain your customers, and not go somewhere else, and fill one of those ‘how did we do today’ forms in with some positive comments for you.

Inspiration, Writing

Why I do what I do

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to those of you who have followed me, to those of you who have read my last few blogs. To my family members, friends and colleague I have circulated my link to, and to those seasoned writers who have taken the time to find me and read my outpourings.   When you produce something, the greatest thing that can happen is that someone takes notice. When I cook for my family and they say ‘thank you that was really nice, we will have that again’ it makes me feel good. Or if I help a colleague or friend  to achieve something, or to improve their daily life – and it works for them, I feel great.

That’s what happens  when you write something, and send it into the wide world for others to read.  Only the descriptive words for how you feel as more elaborate. When I see that someone has read one of my blogs, and bear in mind I am so very new to this, I feel elated, proud, satisfied, honored and fulfilled. The greatest achievement for anyone who has that burning passion to write something meaningful – is for others to read it. You could be the best author in the world, but without your audience, you are a writer without a purpose!

I started writing without a purpose about 15 years ago. My writing was long and laborious, hand written on scraps of paper, to test  if I could form the words together. It wasn’t too  bad, if I say so myself. I got better, I bought myself a book to write in, then a better book, more elaborate, bigger with pictures on the corners to make my work seen more valued by me. Then I started  to type up some of the work I had written, and after a few disasters – my work was sitting on the ‘c’ drive in the folder ‘Pats writing’ and that is where it has stayed.

Then I started to write short plays, the theater group I volunteered for had an opportunity for writers, actors and producers to show case their talent. So I wrote a play, and submitted it. I cannot tell you the feeling I had in my heart when I pressed the send button. This was the very first time that I had shared a piece of writing with anyone. I mean anyone. I enjoyed it so much I send another one off, my head was bursting with ideas. Finally I was acknowledging I could do this!  The next year, I sent my work off to a friends daughter who was a fledgling comedy writer for her to read it through before I submitted it. Now that was a very odd feeling. Someone who had got the format right and knew what they were doing was reading MY WORK! She has her own show now on TV, I make sure I follow her on Twitter and watch the show, as a thank you for that little bit of hope she gave me.

What I’m trying to say after 598 words is when someone writes something, the greatest thing anyone else can do is read it. And acknowledge that piece. We are all prolific writers, I spend hours on social media commenting on my friends funny videos, and posting kind words. But when you put your heart and soul into something like a blog, because to be honest not everyone does, you want it to be acknowledged. From your first piece, to your 1,000 piece.  So thank you again, and your feedback is very much appreciated.