On mediocrity

“Is there such a thing as a successful comedian who isn’t also a tortured soul?”

I am reminded of Robin Williams and Spike Milligan but…well it’s not just comedians is it? Anyone with any kind of creative drive is probably in the same boat – the life experiences which mould us, which input directly into our mental health – these affect us as creative, motivated, driven individuals, don’t they?

I remember a time when I was 16 and first got a glimpse of this phenomenon. I was attending a residential holiday camp in Cheltenham run by the British Theatre Association along with my friend Ali who was keen on a career on the stage at that time. To be honest, I wasn’t bothered but I did enjoy stagecraft, theatre, the drama of it all (literally) and if I had understood that nugget of truth about myself in the moment, I probably wouldn’t have been so affected by what I witnessed.

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What I got from Blogfest 2016

scummy-mummies

When I booked my ticket for this year’s Blog Fest I felt like it was a total whim. I didn’t know who else was going and I certainly didn’t have a burning desire to gather tips on photography, vlogging or monetising or any need to feign interest in starting up a relationship with the likes of Unilever, Barclays or Coca Cola. What did intrigue me was the guest list, the entertainment value and the panel discussions.

I went to Blog Fest back in 2014 and I really enjoyed the day – meeting up with people I’d only ever seen in 2D and soaking up the atmosphere, being in a huge space filled with like-minded women (for the most part – once again the attendance of the dad bloggers was entirely minimal – I briefly chatted to Tim (Slouching Towards Thatcham) and another dad blogger called James and I think they said they were two of five dads attending!).

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Blog fraud (the posts that passed me by…)

blog-missing-in-action

Call out the blog police – I’m still calling myself a blogger even though I haven’t posted a thing for weeks – and not only that but I’m off to Mumsnet Blogfest at the weekend which seems doubly fraudulent!

I guess the main reasons for my lack of input are these: life lately has been both mundane and complicated; full disclosure is not an option; it feels like things have changed so much since I began this blog back in July 2013 and despite the fact that I’ve never really stuck to a niche or a formula with regards subject matter, I am still struggling to decide what I want to write about and share.

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Repetition and variation: Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Can you believe that the movie Groundhog Day is now 23 years old? I remember going to see it at the cinema in 1993 with my friend Karen – it was the end of my first year at University and Karen’s year abroad in the UK (from the US). It took a while to get one’s head around the story – I remember my initial reaction being “what was that all about?” – I was hooked on the desire for things to always be properly explained – abstraction, for a while, seemed unacceptable.

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What’s in an age?

Helen mirren - age just a number

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they are constantly reading things written by people ten or fifteen years younger than themselves bemoaning how middle age is upon them and after that everything must wither and die? Unless there are a lot of people out there who truly believe that they are destined to kick the bucket the day they turn 60 then a lot of people are obsessed with “youth”.

OK, understandable, fair enough, but for me, the benchmark of ‘youth’ is not looking back ten or fifteen years into the past from where I’m at right now, but looking ten, fifteen years into the future.

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Letting go of stress and anxiety

balance in life

I may not be the best person to be making bold statements about such things, a lot of stressful things have happened recently and I haven’t exactly taken everything in my stride, but, as I get older and I spend time reflecting on my own way of reacting to certain things, I realise that I’m actually quite good at keeping the yin and yang in balance and not allowing myself to be swept up in an emotionally charged response to potentially negative news.

I’ve read other people recently talking about certain things – the end of a breastfeeding journey for example – and really agonising over it. I look back at my own experience and I realise that (certainly second time round) when I made a decision to stop breastfeeding that was it. What good is the agonising? The same goes for parent guilt – something most of us feel at some point.

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On grief, and longing and no sleep and irrational tears

I’ll admit, I’m not a particularly great read as a blogger right now. I don’t have any advice to offer, or witty lists to share or amazingly insightful ponderings on the nature of life, the universe and everything. Neither have I got anything to flog 🙂

As I write this I am in a bit of a sleep-deprived daze so forgive me if it makes no sense.

I like to think of myself as a generally rational human being – someone who can (at least at this point in my life) make good decisions, receive all the necessary information in any given situation and do the ‘right’ thing.

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Nothing ever happens…

plate spinning

Isn’t it funny how you can feel like you are on a treadmill week in week out and at the very same time be experiencing a whirlwind of macrocosmic transition? Over the last few days so many things have happened and occurred to me and yet here I am, Sunday evening, getting ready for tomorrow’s school run – tomorrow’s commute, another Monday morning in the office…

Friday morning we found out Britain is no longer a member of the European Union (or are we? All a bit confusing right now). Many of you out there have written reams on the subject, Facebook was awash with doom and disappointment and putting a brave face on for at least 24 hours. The petition for a second referendum is currently standing at about 3 and a half million (be interesting to know what the record is for most signed petition to parliament – this is surely up there?). So much speculation, I’m just trying not to think too hard about it because I don’t want to spend another sleepless night worrying over projected futures that may never happen.

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Positivity: to share or not to share?

different reactions

Up to now I’ve had no problem writing and sharing both my positive achievements and my thoughts on positive thinking and how it can help, not just me but, in theory, anyone, to achieve a range of things from a greater sense of well-being to reduced stress, better focus on your goals, acceptance of who you are and what your limitations are, working to your strengths rather than fretting over your weaknesses, etc. etc.

However, two things have made me stop in my tracks and re-consider the wisdom, not of thinking and believing these thoughts, but of sharing them with the world – particularly posts or status updates like memes or inspirational quotes which, rather than being personal reflection, could be taken as some kind of self-help guidance to others.

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Finding time to get some perspective

positivityMy aim in life is always to be as zen as I possibly can, take things calmly in my stride and be the voice of reason. Just lately, however, I have had a really hard time maintaining that feeling of inner peace and reason. Certain parts of my life have been really hard to handle, hard to get my head around, but in the back of my mind, like the buzzing of a dying wasp, is this really strong sense that I need to count my blessings.

The trouble with counting blessings is that you kind of need to have the headspace to step back from the damaging central core of what’s going on right now in order to be able to make that list. I feel like I’ve been getting into a negative downwards spiral which is exacerbated by feeling over-whelmed by the exhausting nature of full on parental responsibility.

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