My final soapbox rant of 2017


I get a little bit funny round New year (always have), it's a strange old time where I feel very very thankful for what I have but also sad and reflective and a little ranty... 

I am not perfect, far from it. So if you think I am...sorry. I am far more proud of the fact that I am completely flawed, imperfect and a little bit nutty. All the paths I have traveled I learned from and grew as a woman, faced my demons, got stronger in some ways that were needed and softer, mellow in others. 

I try to be a happy hippy zen chick and I try so hard to keep this calm balance in my life, but I am a passionate ranter and a Scouse (Person from Liverpool, England) comprehensive school bird, this surfaces often, not as much as it once did. I can still go from Zen to Scouse in seconds if you upset my kids. 

What I am though is straight and honest, always have been. I can't do bullshit fakery. If I like you then you are loved but if I don't like you then I can't act like I do purely to spy and bitch about your life. I really do not care. 

However, certain people over the years I have tried to be grown up and tolerate, I have tried so hard at that but all it does is plaster over the cracks of an unsteady foundation. 


You can not grow or build on a mutual dissatisfaction with another human. Best to just burn the bride and be happy either side of the bridge. Throw a match, walk away, they are then dead to me. Good or bad quality, I am unsure really, I admit I am that way, I am a Virgo and we are very black or white.

There are many people who love me genuinely for who I am, but also many hate my guts, good for them, it means I stood up for my true self, became angry, did not conform and if they are offended by that then so be it. We can not all be liked by everyone but so long as we wish them no harm then we are still good humans. 

We all need a little bit of anger in our life. No true changes ever happened for improvement of human rights without anger. So that quality I hold on to, I am argumentative and I care about many things that stir an anger within me.

Two things that we do not need as humans are hate and bitterness. Both very destructive qualities that eat away at your soul like a vile incurable disease.

I am holding on to my good tribe and taking them into 2018 with me. The haters and the bitter people stay over there on the other side of the bridge, wish you well and all that but no place in my world for these folk. 

No year goes off without a hitch, for me, 2017 was filled with happiness and sadness. 

I tried to focus on the happy simple moments and hold on to the belief that darkness always passes as does sadness. 

The good experiences of a year always come with contrast so if you take anything from this waffle then.. give up hate and bitterness, detach from negativity and bad juju leave it in 2017 and skip into 2018 holding hands with your happy tribe 



(Steps down from soapbox)


Throws some glitter in the air, crystals in situ to attract positivity, sage smoke wafted, Nag fumes fill the air. 

Tonight is a great time to write down intentions, release and burn them. 
Only take into the new year good vibes.

Write on the piece of paper what you wish to release from your life, what limiting beliefs you want to be free from, what no longer serves you or what you want to let go of. When you have finished your list, sign and date the page


Breathe deep into your heart and declare
 “I now let this go. And it is so.” 


I then take a few deep breaths and rub my hands together: effectively washing myself of attachment to anything I just released, both desired and undesired.

Have a go, what have you got to lose?


Thank you for being part of 2017. 

I
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7 hobby inspirations for the house bound and chronically ill.


"You need to get out more and get yourself a hobby"


Really Sandra? What part of this balancing act of illness are you not grasping?

Some people really do need to turn over the record on advice for the chronic illness community.

When you have an illness that requires you to balance every ounce of energy you have, juggling your spoons daily (Read- What is a Spoonie? )  it is hard to get out there into the big wide world.

Yes, we need a boredom breaker, and maybe a hobby would help to stoke the flames of creativity.....
Put down the surfboard, hiking boots, tap shoes and fishing rod Sandra we need one we can do from our bed, the couch that is aimed at our level of energy.

Hobbies for the housebound is a simple list of the things I enjoy doing and may be inspirational to someone else. 

Crochet

Oh, how did I live so many years without this wonderful pastime? It was always something I longed to learn but over the years my attempts left me so frustrated. Knitting hurt my hands and my arm so it became a very slow process. A small square would take me forever and my attention span diminished as a result.



Back in 2016 on my birthday, it became a gift to myself that I would use that day to teach myself to crochet once and for all. 





You will need a 4mm crochet needle. I recommend one with a thick rubber handle for minimal pain dexterity. A ball of double knit yarn in your favourite colour as it makes it more enjoyable. 

This is the actual youtube that I watched over and over until I mastered it. 



Good Luck, but be warned it is very addictive (but very calming!)

Keeping houseplants alive


This may seem a strange hobby but it really is therapeutic to care for plants. I love my greenery, it really does make me smile daily. My favourite plant is Groot- a skip salvaged Yucca plant that I rescued. He is yarn bombed and has lots of pretty decorations hanging from him.






Spider plants are also super easy and fun. They sprout little babies for you to then re-pot and care for.






If you are stuck for what houseplants are easy to care for then here is a great link from Good House Keeping- The 25 indoor plants you can't kill

Instagram


Some may not see this as a hobby but to me it is. When I am having a bad day and I want to take my mind for a stroll within the confines of my bed or couch it is my version of exploring. Unlike Facebook you don't really need to talk much, a simple heart shape appreciation is all it takes.

I love to follow other peoples lives there, not through envy or unhappiness with my own, it is simply like reading a pictorial magazine but richer in content.

Instagram to me has many facets as a hobby. 

It enriches my love for crochet as there are some unbelievably talented people there. Just have a look at #crochet or #instacrochet or #crochetgirlgang

There are so many lovely creative people there that inspire me.

Lots of creative making pages on there like this one. 

Blueberry Button Creations


It makes me smile following likeminded women.

It keeps the Earth Hippy Mama side of me recharged following the whimsical little lives of other likeminded Mummies. They totally inspire me so here are some of my favourite Instagram accounts for whimsical parenting. 


Underwing and feather

Nurturing Soul

Lemonade and Magnolia
Hannah and the minibeasts

Quotes and words of wisdom keep me moving forward spiritually. All things #loveandlight 


Blogging, keeping a diary or journaling


These are all very cathartic methods to gain mental clarity and be a hobby. Keeping a diary and writing thoughts on paper gives me clarity. Once written I can see the reality, what I am truly thinking and then adjust my thoughts and even correct them. During some of the most challenging times of my life writing helped, now at possibly the happiest time it is still helping. 



Also being a stationary obsessed lady, it is also a great excuse to have lots of little books close by. 
  • A diary
  • An appreciation book
  • A journal
  • A memory book
  • A scrapbook

Being Snow White

Not sure if this is a hobby, role play or just feeding my childhood obsession but one of my past times is feeding the small wild animals. I always loved the kitchen scene with Snow White when the small forest creatures help her. Sadly I do not own a small wooden house in the forest but I do have a garden and it is filled with wildlife that needs my care. 



Yes, I turned into my parents that are obsessed with feeding the birds. My Mum also has a small squirrel that comes to the kitchen door each morning for food- I am so jealous!

I had a family of finches in my old house that would feed daily. I could watch them from my window each day and it was so lovely. My new house has so much potential as the area is more rural and my garden now has trees. Slowly I am gaining the trust of some small birds so I am hopeful for growth in this dept. 


The hobby element is seeing what small creature you can attract within your area and use google, books, and blogs to research more. It really is interesting and a great way to help the wildlife conservation. I would love to be out there helping Sea Shepard save the oceans but realistically my illness would throw a hissy fit so for me, saving small birds and moving baby snails from peoples paths is just as valuable.



Start a collection


Yes, I hold my hands up I was once THAT kid that collected stamps. This love for collecting extends to my adult life but I no longer collect stamps. Over the years I have collected various things from vintage china cups to crystals. 

My current obsession is Murano Glass clowns. I bought one in the summer and it started my love.  

Murano Glass Clowns from Italy are all hand-blown unique works of art. No two are exactly the same! The clowns come with the authentic Made In Murano, Italy sticker, and a certificate of authenticity. 



One of my stranger collections is lost objects for the happy shelf. 

Whenever I do manage to get out even just to the shop with my Mum or to the Doctors if we see a small lost item we keep it and give it love. 



Photography


I absolutely love taking photographs and it drives the boys insane so how shocked was I when this year one of the gifts they got me was a new camera. 

Just because you are confined to your house unwell it really should not stop you. I find colour and everyday life within my four walls amazing. 







Make an Instagram account and focus on a theme, use the same filter, frame, format for each image. Be creative the list of possibilities is endless!

Have nothing to photograph? Really?

I could happily make a wonderful Instagram feed using my bookshelf. Words are wonderful. Take an image of a paragraph and make that an image. Add a filter and kapow a wonderful themed hobby.




Or if you are good on the computer then sit in bed snug as a bug and make pretty images. 
Here is one I made earlier I am not a trained graphic designer or even computer literate, I am just a woman like you that has a laptop and time due to illness. 

See the same image in situ on my page. I combine photography and creativity to make my Instagram feed, it really is a great hobby even if it is linked to my blog. All my images are from living in my house, captured on a rare good day or even going to the Doctors. Your home, garden, and hometown really are magical and have photographic opportunities everywhere. 



I have really enjoyed writing this blog. Now I am bursting with new ideas to share but I best stop at seven or it will become way too long. 

What hobbies do you enjoy whilst you are home due to illness? 

If you fancy doing a guest blog on this subject then please get in touch ness@thegirlwiththefivelads.co.uk. 

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Love and gentle hugs





The changes I made to make my Christmas with Fibromyalgia not end in a flare.




"Mum, Christmas is not over now is it?" my youngest son asked. I tried to reply in the best way possible making him believe we should ideally celebrate life every day. The words flowed as I utilise the fact that there was only him and I there (the elder sons say I talk hippy Zen nonsense). 

His little face lit up, "cool we will make everyday Christmas then all next year until the next Christmas day!"

Okay, in theory, we can not do this as it would neutralise the magic of 25th December. But we can make small changes to make life more special. 


I made some changes to my life last year and I really feel they have worked wonderfully as I don't feel battered with the Fibromyalgia baseball bat and then run over by the Fibromyalgia Bus.  This year, I am still in perfect management and balance. 

Last year I was shattered, "I staggered into Christmas day feeling like the death of Sgt. Elias in the film Platoon. Like a wounded soldier shot battered and broken staggering to his helicopter of safety, yet our pain is not as visible." (Read: Why does Fibromyalgia not unchain me for Christmas?")

Christmas was totally beautiful, our first together in our new house. But what is just as beautiful is that I am not paying now for that beautiful day. 

Our Christmas day table. 
Now please do not view this as a bragging blog as you are there suffering in a flare. It is not that at all, (huge love and gentle understanding hug if you are in a painful flare) I simply want to share with you the changes I made as each year I lost December/January to Fibromyalgia pain and suffering so this year once recovered I decided enough was enough! I had to change to make it more magical:  
  • I started to buy gifts very early on and stored them away. I am always an early shopper for Christmas but this year I was ridiculously early. I was buying gifts in February! 
  • I made each of my sons a special crochet blanket gift. It was a way for me to use crochet to stay relaxed but also make something with love for the five most precious people in my life. 
  • I learned to not just write about saying No, but to actually do it myself. Bloggers are super at giving brilliant advice but forget to practice the advice, this year I said "No" to so many things that no longer made me happy. 
  • I avoided the drama and the agro people. Do we really need to spend time with these soul-sapping people that you really don't get on with? Be ruthless in the pursuit of happiness. Utilise the delete and ban options on social media. Keep your circle positive. With age, I understand more and more the value of privacy. Some people will never be your tribe. Happiness is found by cultivating your tribe. You can be civil, honest and open while accepting that some people will never deserve a seat at the table of your life.
  • I didn't spread myself thin trying to be supermum. Previous years gone by I tried to max up on painkillers and overcompensate for the year of being ill. I would step out of my comfort zone way too much during December and it hurt a lot!
  • I didn't overdo it. In the forefront of my mind was always a schedule of rest and Fibromyalgia management.  
  • I planned and made lists all year. This is a Virgo trait, I am a list maker.  
  • Gave up emotional reactions to other peoples drama. Not my Monkey, Not my circus. If words control you then you never truly find peace. 
  • I ordered all my shopping online. (food and gifts) Literally EVERYTHING!
  • I prioritised what was more special to the boys Panto or Wrestling and made that my focus. Rather than a half present and in total pain, Mum doing four activities we had one special Saturday with their Wrestling family and it was beautiful. 
  • We had Christmas in our own house so never had to dress up, stress at the dogs being alone, worrying that when you sit down and rest you will be called lazy. 
  • I didn't completely overindulge with food. I enjoyed it and never became a greedy piggy consuming way beyond my elastic pyjama pants comfort. First-year ever in my life I didn't feel "that Christmas day feeling" of being sick and stuffed. 
  • I stayed hydrated. I often forget this and stick to tea but every time I went to the kitchen I drank a glass of water, it all adds up. 
  • I ate loads of nutrient-rich food, watched the IBS triggers, kept a good management on constipation. Christmas time often makes me lose my logic and abuse my digestive system. 
  • I bought thermals and kept my body warm. Areas like my legs and back that usually suffer were cocooned in thermal fluff. 
Can't say it has been easy but I kept on keeping on and hoping I would not have a Christmas flare like every year previous. Slow and steady has won the race this time and I bought myself some festive flare-free peace. (Fingers crossed it continues to the new year)



Last year I made a Christmas memory blanket (Read the blog here)  This year I made my five sons all a memory blanket, made with love all through the year. They are huge 6ft blankets each made unique for each son. 




Christmas day was chilled and beautifully mellow. Lots of nice food, Christmas television, and playing games. I even discovered Bailey's Irish Cream.  How have I livedforty-sixx years without tasting this?








Being a Mum is my greatest achievement but I accepted this year that I am not superwoman and they do not need me to be in order to have a great time. It is fine to be a little bit selfish and invest in your own happiness and self-care.


My beautiful card from my sons.

My five sons and I, Christmas evening. 
Stress pokes the belly of fibromyalgia and wakes every symptom. This is why I try to live my life within a bubble of unicorns and magic rainbows.



Have a little think of all the things that stressed you this Christmas. Write them down and think of ways to make changes to your life for better management.

Be selfish, be ruthless in the pursuit of happiness. 
Don't give up on your little girl dreams. 



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Love and gentle hugs





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