Best Bedside Books

I, personally, really like having a collection of books on my bedside table or my ‘night stand’. I think it’s a great tool for when you can’t sleep and let’s be honest, I think there’s quite a few of us that are struggling to sleep during this time. Instead of reaching for your phone, grab a book. The light from our phones can actually keep us more awake. It triggers the part of our brain that tells us when it is day or night and could potentially make it harder for you to drop off. So whether you can’t get to sleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t switch your brain off, these are some of my favourite books to relax my mind and ready my brain for slumber.

1. Notes on a Nervous Planet

I’ve mentioned this book before in a blog post (about how to survive January) but I have found that keeping this book next to my bed is the perfect solution for easing my anxious mind. Sometimes, I can have a great day, totally anxiety free (for the most part) but then, when my head hits my pillow -BAM! Oh there you are, anxiety. All of a sudden, I have irrational thoughts rattling around in my head. “What would I do if someone broke in right now?”, “Is Olivia still breathing? Maybe she choked on her bed sheet because I didn’t put it on right?”, “Does Steven get mad at me for not keeping the house tidy enough?”, “Should I have a full time career? Do people think I’m lazy?”, “Maybe I need liposuction”, “What if lock down never ends?”, “Am I doing enough? Am I good enough?”. It can get loud. Especially recently. But when I reach for this book, it’s a huge reminder that I am human. I am flawed but that’s okay because so is everyone else. And what about the bigger problems in the world? Well, we all worry about those too but at the end of the day. If it’s not in your control, there’s no point worrying about it. This book just helps me feel less alone when it comes to my irrational thoughts and brings some quietness to the noise.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

A classic! I keep this by my bed because sometimes you just want to escape, right? Sometimes you just want to live in a different world for a while. To help me wind down before bed, I like reading a chapter or two just to transport me to another world but also another time. A time where I am 8 or 9 years old reading this book for the first time and really believing in magic. I think we could all use a little belief in magic right now, don’t you?

3. Happy Mum Happy Baby

I love this book! I started reading this while I was pregnant with Olivia and I am so glad I did. I love Giovanna’s outlook on motherhood and I find it so helpful to have it by my bed so when I question my mothering and “Am I a good enough Mum?” or “Why am I so burnt out?” I can pick this up and remind myself. As a Mum, you need to take care of you before ANYTHING. Seriously. You cannot care for your children, your partner, your work or your house if you haven’t taken care of you first. You need to be happy and healthy on the inside in order to be happy and healthy on the outside. Your kids need a happy, well-looked-after Mum who will then be able to take care of them. Not a Mum who is stressed, tired and burnt out yelling at them because she’s at the end of her tether with everything! So this book really does preach what it says on the tin.

4. The Little Book of Hygge

Now, this one is a little different. This is one I like to read when my mind is in ‘to-do-list mode’. When I’m thinking of everything I have to do tomorrow in what order not forgetting this and that. This book is a gentle reminder that it doesn’t matter if I forget to dust the TV unit or don’t have dinner ready for when Steven comes through the door. It matters that we talk at the dinner table to each other about our day and be thankful for the food on the table. It matters that I soak up every cuddle before bedtime and take pleasure in the simple every day things.
This is also a great one to read first thing in the morning to start the day off in a good mindset.

5. A Dream Dictionary

There are hundreds of different dream dictionaries on the market but this one is one my Grandmother gave to me when I was about 12. I am a frequent dreamer. I mean, every night, I have at least 3 dreams and they’re always wacky, disturbing or very vivid. I love looking up things that appear in my dream in a dream dictionary. More often than not, I find my dreams are reflecting an aspect of my life or the mess that is my mind. It’s so helpful to observe these reflections so you can give them some proper attention and get to the root of what’s bothering you or be thankful for things that you may have taken for granted.

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Let me know what some of your books are that you like to keep by your bed! Just FYI and in case you’re wondering, I also keep: photo booth pictures from my best friend’s wedding (because they make me happy), Roary (my microwavable dinosaur), body moisturiser, hand cream, a tiny Buddha and tissues beside my bed. Also, how cute are these bed sheets? They’re my favourite!


 

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Movies Made For Comfort

During this time, I want to help keep people’s spirits up as much as possible. Since we’re all stuck inside with more time on our hands, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this COVID-19 chaos, doom and gloom. We could all use a little mental escape and what better way than curling up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie. The type of movie that doesn’t require thought. The type of movie that transports you to a simpler time. Something that makes you smile, laugh a little and brings a little bit of light in the darkness.

I was born in the late 90s so most films I find comforting are from the 00s. They just take me back to a simpler time of watching movies on the sofa during rainy days or cinema trips with my Mum. Back when my world was a little smaller. So here are my top 10 comforting films.

1. Legally Blonde

I know, I know, super girly but this film was a constant favourite of mine as a child. Not only is the soundtrack upbeat and fun but the message is empowering. You can do anything you work hard at, despite what people say or think about you. If you keep going through all the struggles and backlash of other people, it will pay off even if no one is on your side. It’s also a good reminder to help people along your way. Elle Woods has lapses in confidence and sense of direction in her life but ,throughout it all, she is kind. She is nice to people who are continually cruel and helps anyone. I think we could all use this reminder right now.

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2. Cheaper By The Dozen

This is another one of my ‘regularly viewed’ from my childhood. I know Steve Martin can be a crowd divider but I just can’t help but love this movie. This also has an awesome soundtrack (can you tell I’m a sucker for musical montages?) and is upbeat and easy to watch. A family of 12 kids and their parents go on holiday together. What could go wrong? It’s filled with typical PG physical comedy (and some adorable kids) it will definitely give your mind a break.

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3. Bridesmaids

A CLASSIC! This film holds so many memories for me. I remember watching it in the cinema with Mum for the first time. We shared many a cinema date just us two and they were so special to me. We’d go while other kids were at school so the cinema was practically empty. It was those times it felt like we were the only people in the whole world. On our drives home we would reminisce about our favourite moments and laugh together all over again. 
I also remember watching this film after my first (and last) night out clubbing. My friends and I collapsed on my sofa and put this movie on. We kicked off our heels, got under blankets and giggled together. I’d take that over clubbing any day!

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4. Practical Magic

Another one of mine and my Mum’s favourites. I can’t remember the first time I watched this but I remember being about 7 or 8 and trying to get my spoon to stir in my cup or trying to get flower petals to fly in the wind. Maybe it was this movie that made me so wary of men? It definitely made me suspicious of a beetle’s squeak. It has everything I love wrapped up in one movie: witches, love stories, revenge, sisterhood and family. This is not just a Halloween movie. 

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5. Hocus Pocus

Staying on the witch theme. This movie is one I normally save for Halloween season but desperate times call for desperate measures. It is an absolute classic and I think I know this movie word for word. It’s one for the whole family and really puts me in a cosy mood. And, yes you guessed it, it has a musical number that I recreated in my bedroom when I was 8. As a kid, I wanted to be Sarah. The funny one, the one who wore purple and the one who all the boys liked, lol! Not sure that happened for me. Sorry 8 year old me!

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6. Christmas With The Coopers

From one holiday to the next. Yes! A Christmas film. Even though it’s spring, I see no harm in recreating the ambience of Christmas. Christmas just seems to be a happier time for me, a cosy time and I can’t help but feel safe in a way. I know that’s not the case for some but it’s a time I really treasure. This film in particular is humbling and beautiful. Not to mention it has an incredibly cute dog. It’s just one happy reminder to love your family, even if they drive you mental or aren’t perfect themselves. So if you’re in quarantine with your family and need a little convincing to love them, this is the movie for you.
P.S in other countries this movie is called ‘Love the Coopers’

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7. The Mask

My friends and I used to watch this round my house all the time. Jim Carrey is a true talent. This was the first movie I saw that combined live filming with animation. I think  this was my first Jim Carrey movie too and it sparked my love for his work. Like all good movies, it has an excellent dog in it too! Oh, and a musical dance number or two!

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8. Bad Moms

This is a perfect time for every Mother in isolation with their kids to watch this. This movie always reminds me that it is okay to not be the perfect parent. The most important things you can give to your kids are love and happy memories. Spend time with them, listen to them, teach them things they will need in life like how to apologise or take care of their mental health. Show them how to unwind, be a good person and just be kids. This movie also highlights the different types of Mothers out there and that it’s okay if you don’t iron your kids underwear like Becky down the road or have 15 million colour coded worksheets. If you’re a good person, you’re a good Mum.

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9. Wine Country

This is more of a recent discovery of mine. It’s about a group of friends going on a weekend break together for one of them is turning 50. They go on a girls trip and tour vineyards but it gets a little messy. They show getting older as something to look forward to and true friendship as something to treasure. I can only hope that my life looks a little like this when I turn 50.

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So there we go, they are the top 9 films I find comforting. I hope they give you some comfort too. Now, please remember this is personal opinion. You may not agree but please feel free to share some of your favourite and comforting movies!

Stay safe. Be kind.

 

 

You Can’t Bubble Bath and Candle Your Way To Self Love

After the devistating news of Caroline Flack hit the media this week, my social media has been bombarded with #BeKind and Self love content. I would like to clarify I 100% support the #BeKind movement however a lot of content advising people about self love is unhelpful.
As I scroll through my feeds, I see beautifully illustrated posters informing people how to achieve self love like: have a bubble bath, light your favourite candle, make a cup of tea, meditate, drink water and get some sleep. While this is all very good advice for SELF CARE, this will not help you achieve SELF LOVE.

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Self love is accepting yourself for who you are. No exceptions. It’s the art of being kind to yourself. I say an art because it’s more of a skill than you think. Everyone has that voice in their head telling them “You’re not good enough” or “Why are you so pathetic?” or even “You don’t deserve to be happy” and some voices might be louder than others. Self love is recognising that voice and turning your thoughts around. It’s harder than you think because we have such a nasty habbit of being cruel to ourselves. We would never say these things to someone in real life (I hope) or if we heard someone saying this to somebody else we would think it was incredibly cruel, so why do we talk to ourselves in this way?

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As someone who struggles with these voices (some days are louder than others), I am trying my hardest to turn them around. I’ve noticed they come more frequently since becoming a mother. I think this is because being a good Mum is so incredibly important to me. I constantly think, as long as I’m a good Mum, nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if I’m struggling, it doesn’t matter if I haven’t had 10 seconds to myself and it doesn’t matter if people judge me for being a stay-at-home Mum (and boy do they!). This means, as soon as Olivia has an ‘off’ day or is grumpy, I instantly hear those voices. “You’re a rubbish Mum”, “You can’t do anything right”, “You’re her Mum and you can’t even make her happy”. This is when I have to stop my train of thought, notice I’m being harsh on myself and turn it around. “You’re not a rubbish Mum, she’s clean and healthy. You’re doing fine”, “There are kids much worse off than she is”, “She’s just having a grumpy moment, it’s nothing you’ve done”.

It’s hard to reverse bad habits as anyone who has tried to quit smoking, cut out sugar or stop biting your nails, knows. It’s even harder to reverse bad mental habits. Especially when you don’t even notice them happening.

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A lot of these voices can be prompted from Social Media. Seeing perfectly sculpted and airbrushed models and comparing your body or seeing that person’s ‘perfect’ life and comparing yours, can make you feel fat and ugly or like your life is a mess or not good enough. One woman you should follow to break up your ‘perfect’ feed and inject it with realness and self love is Chessie King! She promotes a lot of body confidence, healthy habbits, self love and anti-bullying. She is such an inspiration on how to keep smiling through this messy life and enjoy it! She is planning her wedding at the moment so I’m loving watching her process on how to enjoy wedding planning rather than getting stressed. Not to mention she recently became a Doula too. She’s just incredible.
So definitely follow @chessiekingg on Instagram!

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Chessie King @chessiekingg on Instagram

 

So please remember to #BeKind to others but also remember it’s equally important to #BeKind to yourself!

Images taken from Pinterest.

The Blue Month

First of all, Happy New Year! I can’t believe we’re in the year 2020 already. Unfortunately, with the new year comes the worst month. January, yuk.

January is just the longest month but also the most miserable. Not only do you have to suffer the financial backlash of Christmas and wait even longer until the next pay day but there is so much social pressure to better yourself, make big changes to your life and announce them to the world. Why? There’s a huge fad to start diets with the new year but I honestly think that this is the worst time of year to do it. It’s still winter! Biologically, our bodies are still craving comfort food and foods with higher calorific value. Only a few generations ago, we had to consume more food to survive the winter and since it was in short supply we had to find food with higher fat content.

Do you also find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the mornings? Its thought that our ancestors slept longer in the winter in order to burn less calories as food supply was low. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to work in the fields and burn more calories, they would sleep longer and conserve energy.

I, personally, feel the lowest in January (and usually February) mostly due to coming down from the hype of Christmas. Now, the days are still short, the home looks bare and no one is celebrating. People don’t go out together because they’re trying to make it through until payday, people aren’t drinking or eating ‘naughty’ foods and people bully themselves about what they need to ‘resolute’.

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Every year I find myself in a grey day slump for 2 months. Last year, I was too busy to notice with a new baby. This year, I prepared. For Christmas, I asked for lots and lots of books. I thought I would read my way through the slump and therefore my mind would be on vacation for the majority of it. I think I will do this every year. Not only did my mind have the opportunity to transport somewhere else, but even when I wasn’t reading, my mind thought of its vacation spot. While changing Olivia’s nappy, my mind wondered to ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies’ instead of how miserable the weather is. Before I fall asleep my head thought of ‘The Proposal’ rather than my never ending to do list.

It’s not just the reading. It’s transforming it into a form of self care. I light a candle, I cuddle up to Cody with a blanket, take a few deep breaths and immerse myself in the moment. It’s a great way to be present and switch off.

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I also started journaling. At first, I was using it as a way of dumping my thoughts, worries and hopes but after reading ‘The Witch’s Book of Self Care’ by , I tried other methods of journaling for self care. It took my mind off my worries and made me focus on the things I love and am grateful for.

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One of the books I started reading was ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haig. In this beautifully outlined book, Haig talks about his own personal struggles, the trial and errors he went through to solve them and why society may be feeling this way. Tucked between this are beautiful quotes and pieces of texts on the matter that I found very resonating. The chapters are short and for that reason I like this book as a bedtime read. You don’t have to force yourself to persevere 5 more pages until the end of the chapter as your eyes get heavier.

 

Mum-tivation

I think as parents we all have those days that are harder than others and sometimes those days can feel like weeks or turn into weeks and its hard to remember a time where things were good and sometimes it’s hard to have hope that they’ll be good again. You try to tell yourself that this storm will pass but when you’re stuck in the rain it’s hard to think of anything else. You think “I’m a mum (or dad) I should know what to do” or “I should be able to figure out how to calm my distressed child” or “why can’t I figure out what my child needs”. And I hate to use the F word but you feel like a failure. Right?
If this is you, take comfort in the fact every parent has been where you are right now. It’s okay to feel that way. You’re not doing anything wrong. If you have made sure your child is: safe, healthy, fed, dry, clean, warm, burped, cuddled, loved and comfortable then you have done your job to the max. Sometimes kids are demons (yes I am including newborns). Sometimes they’re going through development changes that we just don’t understand or are having a cranky day or are just being sh*ts. That doesn’t mean it’s your fault or you’re not doing enough. Being a Mum for me has been the most mentally challenging thing. One day you could be having the best day. Long naps, healthy meals, trips to the park, all the chores done and the next it could be no naps, refusing to eat, never leaving the house and living in a pig sty. But the bad times make you appreciate the good. So if you need to cry because your tiny human won’t stop crying, go ahead! If you need to put them to bed early so you can have a glass of wine and cry into that, do it! If you need to hide chocolates in the tampon box in the bathroom so you can secretly eat while your family think your pooping… is that one just me?
I thought I would share some ‘mum’ quotes that help me when I feel like this. Maybe they can help you too.

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Feel free to return to this page anytime you need that boost or send it to someone to remind them they’re doing a good job. I think mums need to help build each other up more and not mum shame one another. #mindyourownmotherhood
Go and tell that Mumma that she is doing an amazing job!

I found all these quotes on Pinterest.