Posted in Personal Development

36 Things I’ve Learned in 36 Years…

I’ve had a blogging break. Not intentionally but life has been so busy as usual! I’m feeling slightly inspired this morning so here I am. This Saturday just gone I turned 36 years old, happy birthday to meee! The past few years I use to dread being another year older. I’m so over that now… a quote I read had a really profound effect on me…

I am fortunate enough not to have lost anyone my age that I’m close to. But I know of people I went to school with, friends of friends my age who didn’t make it to the age I am now. Sure when I take a selfie I might try a million angels so the light hits right and round my eyes look better! But who doesn’t?! It is an absolute privilege to grow older and we should never forget that. Cliche it may sound but every day is a gift and you never know what tomorrow may bring. I am grateful for every one of my thirty six years. My life has been the winding road that it’s meant to be… lessons have been learned but memories have been made.

I feel like it’s only in the last two years I have really become comfortable with being me. I was far too worried about what others think and afraid of looking bad. Whilst this does still bother me occasionally I’m so glad most the time I’m confident enough stay true to myself. This is my life and I realise I must do what’s right for me… I value others opinion but I’m the one holding the pen to my story. You will never keep everyone happy. So here’s 36 things I’ve learned in my 36 years so far…

1. One of the best things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood

2. If you know what you want to do when you leave school then you are lucky, I’m still doing now what I did at seventeen and I love it just as much now as I did then

3. Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life… so true… when the thing that you do to get money doesn’t feel like work you are living your best life

4. Child birth was the most excruciating pain ever and maybe you will forget but I certainly haven’t

5. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever do. It’s basically giving up the life you know for a completely new one

6. There is no love quite like being somebody’s mummy

7. You will discover your parents were always right even though you probably still won’t admit it to them

8. Don’t strive for perfection in everything you do, it’s just an illusion. Striving for perfection will leave you in a constant state of frustration

9. Travel will make your soul soar, money spent on holidays is never money wasted

10. A few good genuine friends are better than many. As you grow older you will learn which ones are in it for the long haul with you. Cherish them

11. Not everyone has the same heart as you but don’t let that change yours

12. Know what you need and be unapologetic about caring for yourself. Self care is not selfish it’s necessary to your wellbeing

13. Gratitude is the way forward. Wake up every day thankful for all the amazing things in your life. Remember there’s always something to be thankful for

14. Forgiveness is a super power. Forgive others not because they deserve it but because you deserve peace. This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned

15. Learn the art of growing without loosing your inner child… some of my favourite days now are still spent colouring, going to the zoo, building sandcastles or playing on swings

16. Never ignore the feeling in your gut… trust your vibes… energy doesn’t lie. I have learnt to listen to my intuition more as I have got older

17. What you say about other people says more about you than it does about them. Be kind with your words, never gossip

18. Protect your energy… surround yourself with positive people who lift you higher

19. It’s never too late to start over in any area of life. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. Yes you can! You can do anything you put your mind to!

20. It’s free to dream but dreams only come into reality with hard work. When you look at people who seemingly have it all, respect the hustle they went through to get there

21. Your reality really is a projection of your thoughts. Keep them good, positive and inspiring.

22. Good manners will take you far in life

23. Always Smile… smile when you wake up, smile to yourself, smile at strangers – better to be the one who smiled than the one who didn’t smile back. Smiling makes your eyes sparkle…

24. Having love in your life is everything… family, friends, relationships. Without love… there is nothing

25. Look after your body… it’s the only place you have to live. Nourish it with good food but don’t deny yourself treats. Keep it moving… remember your only as young as your spine is flexible

26. Read… the more you read the more things you will know. A good book is a wonderful way of escapism

27. You can never take too many photos! Snapshots of moments gone by will make you smile in your future, even when you ‘weren’t looking your best that day’

28. Practice mindfulness, savour the moment you are in. We live in a fast paced world… remember to pause and smell the sea air, the cut grass, savour the taste of the food you eat, hug someone a little longer

29. You get what you pay for. Quality over quantity every time

30. You can’t change other people… you can only change your reactions to them. Walk away from people and situations that no longer serve you

31. Keep an open mind… it takes all kinds of people to make a world and what a wonderful thing that is

32. Never make a promise you can’t keep

33. Disappointments are part of life but never loose hope… keep pushing forward

34. Mistakes are our greatest teachers. Don’t linger in regret about them, acknowledge them and move on

35. Not everybody will like you or understand you and that’s okay… they are not your people

36. Happiness is an inside job. It’s letting go of what you think your life should look like and embracing every moment. Always strive to find joy in the day to day.

So that’s it! Cheers to me and my 36 years… let’s see what lessons my next 36 will bring me – I hope I’m blessed enough to see them.

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Winning at Parenting

The Guide to Not Having a Stressful Overwhelming Children’s Party!

Amongst my talents I site party host as one of them. Having a dance school, dance parties was another thing I could offer and make an additional wage from. But if was to think it would be an easy number I would sadly be wrong. Parties are HARD WORK. You have the birthday child plus usually around about 25 more friends. Plus parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents. Time and time again I turn up to parties and within the first 15 minutes the birthday child is overwhelmed. I see tears and tantrums galore. I thought I would put together a little guide to not having a stressful overwhelming party!

INVITES

Gone are the days of written invites… if they are given out they rarely make it home, left in the depths of the school bag or lost in the class room. These days save the stress and email or use Facebook or text to send invites. Another bonus to this is if you aren’t inviting the whole class children who aren’t invited will be left unaware. See below for more on this…

NUMBERS

You might not want to leave people out but such is life… this is a lesson you will learn away so why not start young? Inviting the whole class plus cousins and neighbors etc is going to make for a stressful party. Is your child really close to everyone of those children? The more children the more noise, the less 1:1 attention on your child and a million other kids all vying for the party hosts attention. I’ve done parties for 30+ and it’s wild! I try to encourage people to stop at 20 by charging per head over. Honestly when I do a party for around 18 children I feel like every one of those kids has had a lovely time. The birthday child has been spoiled with attention, isn’t that what you want?

NOISE

A party is noisey… like really noisey. Parents like to chat, it’s a social gathering for them too. They stand about filling each other in on what’s going on in their lives totally oblivious to the party. For the host the noise is sometimes unmanageable. Trying to keep 20+ kids attention over the nattering of all those parents and relatives can be exhausting. Tip: If your renting a room that allows it set chairs out at one end. You party host can work from the other. Do not let the parents stand and chat round the edges… or worse still in the middle of the room. This interferes with the party space and again keeping the kids focused.

CAKE

I see these elaborate cakes time and time again go to waste… it seems many kids don’t even like icing… picking it off! Cakes are for show, I get it. But if your moaning about the cost of your party get the cake from a local supermarket – kids don’t care as long as it has something on they like! Also I’ve seen parents have a birthday cake but not cut it up, this is because they already bought another cake and have it ready in the party bags – genius! No frantic cake cutting at the end and you get to keep the main cake for family and close friends.

FOOD

Platters of food are a waste! Sandwiches get left in favour of goodies. With platters you over cater. The best parties I’ve been to either have hot dogs, pizzas, chips or crisps – easy! If you want to add something healthier cucumber and carrot sticks all the way, these seem to go down well. Alternatively you can buy a cardboard lunch box (like a happy meal box) add a sandwich, maybe some mini sausages, bag of crisis, veg sticks, cake or biscuit. This way you don’t over cater as you have a box for each child.

ENTERTAINMENT

This is what will cost you the most so choose wisely. There are an array of options out there and a great party host that keeps the kids engaged will massively reduce your stress. That said just because your child loves to dance it won’t mean every other child wants to learn a dance. Some may sit out and that’s okay. Games will usually pull all children in so make sure you ask your party host for those to be included.

GAMES

If you are braving doing a party yourself my advice on games is KEEP IT SIMPLE. Traditional party games have died a bit of a death in recent years in favour of more elaborate party themes. But honestly if you child is up to 7 years old in my opinion they still go down a storm. Get the music right and musical bumps, statues, pass the parcel are still firm favourites. I often see piñatas at parties too now which are fun but again if your having a party with 25+ put older kids at the back so they leather the hell out of it last. I’ve seen many teary tantrums when not all party goers have had a go before the sweets have rained down. Also the Hokey Cokey is great to finish on with up to 7yrs. It still raises lots of smiles and laughs as they charge at each other but be sure to have a few adults help hold the circle together and keep them from getting too wild. Limbo always seems to be the highlight at parties I host, kids all ages absolutely love it!

PARTY BAGS

I still watch parents try to hide their reaction as they recoil in horror when their child is handed a party cone or bag FULL of sweets. We live in a world now where parents are seemingly more conscious of what there kids are consuming. Many kids have gluten and dairy allergies too. Check before hand if any of them do. Keep party bags simple – bouncy ball, bubbles, a few chocolate coins, mini bag of haribo and the birthday cake is plenty.

I would like to finish by saying I have made many birthday party mistakes with my 10 year old son. I have been the queen of stressful parties at times! Striving for perfection… we all know where kids are concerned there is no such thing. I hope my guide saves you from party stress, but if it doesn’t… there’s always wine! 😉

Rachael x