Focus – 28th April 2020 (daily prompt)

I have had limited focus of late.

Firstly, I am head-over-heels-can’t-think-of-anything-else-in-love. I’ve been in this state a little while, to be honest, with a good measure of new relationship anxiety on top. My method of coping? Writing it down, without a doubt. The majority I have written on WordPress although I haven’t always published the posts. Some are for my eyes only. Some I have written in a journal and some on any bit of paper I can find and then securely hide away.

Writing helps me to focus. It empties and sorts my mind which then leads to greater focus afterwards.

However, the Coronavirus has definitely affected my focus too. For weeks I couldn’t watch TV, other than the news, couldn’t get in to a book, couldn’t face doing much really.

Eventually, my reading focus returned when I went back to an old favourite from my youth. Young Adult fiction is easy to read but works hard to be engaging for a highly demanding audience. It was definitely the book rather than the reading itself though. Once I finished the series I attempted other books to no avail. It’s been very much trial and error.

What has been particularly interesting for me is that I have had a taste of what my 13 year old son goes through every single day. He was diagnosed with ADHD a few months ago after a long battle and wait for CAMHS appointments. He is also now waiting to be assessed for autism.

I didn’t know my child had ADHD for a long time and that is distressing considering I am a teacher.

My first child, my daughter, was angelic in every sense of the word. Quiet, rarely cried, met every milestone, sweet, gentle… Easy. My son was completely different. Energetic, lively, loud, confident, smashed every milestone, intelligent, passionate, never sat still. For a long time, I just thought it was because he was a boy and a different personality.

Looking back, issues started in Primary School early on. My polite, well mannered, affectionate but very energetic child was struggling in school. Despite clear intelligence he failed to make progress. He struggled to physically write. It was blamed on him being left handed. Then poor teaching. Then laziness. Then eventually that he had joint laxity and therefore physically cannot write well. Lack of progress was also attributed to a number of personal events in our lives too.

By Year 5 though, he had started showing other traits. As well as poor attention and focus, he’d started to be aggressive at home. He’d have meltdowns and couldn’t control his emotions. He was frustrated and unhappy. I blamed school. I blamed my failing marriage.

When ADHD was mentioned by his Year 5 teacher, I initially disagreed. But through his final diagnosis of joint laxity by occupational health and the assistance they suggested for him, I realised that he was showing signs of ADHD.

This last few weeks have been the closest I will probably ever get to understanding how he feels. Not being able to relax or sit still. Feeling on edge and anxious. Feeling frustrated when I can’t focus. My mind jumping uncontrollably. Not being able to do anything but not being able to sit still either. Feeling like a failure. Not understanding how to stop.

My child goes through this every day. No wonder he can’t control his emotions.

Team – 27th April 2020 (daily prompt)

My experience of a good team:

  • A clear, confident and approachable leader.
  • A shared and coherent vision
  • Mutual respect
  • Trust and honesty
  • Motivation
  • Diverse skill sets and experience – all on the team should be aware of each other’s stengths
  • Regular communication
  • Knowledge
  • CPD and an interest in each others careers and successes.
  • Commitment
  • Problem solving
  • Research and an open mind
  • Good planning
  • Shared responsibility
  • Quality assurance
  • Accountability
  • Evaluation
  • Celebration of success.

Magic – 25th April 2020 (daily prompt)

Magic exists.
Magic is love.
Love has the power
to transform,
to appear
And disappear.
Love has the power
to create life
and even
to take it
away.
Love can break and make
a heart.
Love has the power
to add sparkle
in the eyes of
those who are loved.
Love inspires
belief in the
possible.
It feeds hope
And cures
Sadness.
Love creates power
and energy,
stronger than
any other force.
Yes, love is magic,
And magic, is
Love.

Hidden – 26th April 2020 (daily prompt)

I always considered myself to be a very emotive person. I have strong emotions and I’m not afraid to show them. Or so I thought.

Years ago, when I was in my previous school, I took part in some leadership training. Part of the process was that I had to choose a number of colleagues to complete a detailed, anonymous, questionnaire about me. The results came back as a report.

The biggest surprise to me, without a shadow of a doubt, was that everyone had commented that I did not share my feelings. I was hard to read. I didn’t tell people what I was thinking on a personal level. I was astounded. I thought it was the opposite! I was too emotive, too open.

I considered this for some time and came to the conclusion that I had over-compensated for this belief I had in myself. My attempts at a poker face, hiding my emotions as a guise to look professional, had been all too successful. Later, when I moved schools, and ever conscious of this, my suspicions were confirmed when a new colleague commented upon how calm and effective I was – never showing any stress etc. At that time, I was as stressed as I had ever been, and so it confirmed my thinking.

Family, on being approached about the subject, said that I hid my emotions and feelings unless I wanted to. Then, and only then, would I openly share and discuss my thoughts and feelings openly. I was amazed at this view of me, so different from my own. Again, I could only conclude that this perception I had of myself – of being too open and emotive – had led to me hiding my feelings, more than I thought was possible.

And maybe, just maybe, I began to get better at hiding my own feelings from myself. When I had my burn out/break down three years ago, my counsellor and I discussed how I had repressed so many thoughts and feelings that eventually my pysche had fought back. Everything flooded my system to the point that I couldn’t function under the weight of it.

I don’t know how much I have changed, being honest. I know I am much more self aware now. More than I ever was. If anything, I now have to fight to control and manage my ever active thoughts and emotions.

There are some that are hidden though – I haven’t changed that much. Some I have under lock and key and don’t allow to surface often. But part of my recovery was to acknowledge that by hiding and repressing these thoughts and feelings I wasn’t dealing with them. And the more I didn’t deal with them the more power I gave them.

The difference now is, I choose when to deal with them. I monitor them and wait for the right time to think and deal. Sometimes I get it wrong – I’m human not a robot – and they overpower and overwhelm. Then, I have to deal with them with more urgency and learn from the process.

Ironically, the one person who seems to be able to read me easier than anyone else, my new boyfriend, is the source of many of my currently undealt-with-hidden thoughts and emotions. No one has ever been able to read me as accurately and as openly as he can. I swear that man can read my mind.

But with that comes fear. Fear that I may lose this man. Fear that I am reading him wrong. Fear that this is not what I feel it is. Those fears conjur all sorts of ideas and thoughts, many which unhappily become unhidden by their own volition or often by him seeing them before I do.

So, maybe that’s what true love is. Two lives where together, nothing can be hidden. I don’t know. But I really hope I’m proved right with him.

Elixir – 24th April, 2020 (daily prompt)

Elixir – a magical potion with life giving or renewing properties.

Cool green grass under bare feet on a summer’s day.

The first sip of ice cold water/good coffee/a full bodied red wine/freshly squeezed orange juice

A morning hug from your children

The rustle of autumn leaves.

The look in your lover’s eyes when you know they want you.

A snowflake drifting on to an outstretched hand.

That big, deep breath you take when you are surrounded by mountains, trees and lakes.

Warm sand underfoot and a cool salty breeze in your hair.

Kissing your lover.

Dark, rich chocolate melting on your tongue.

Clean sheets on your bed.

The anticipated ending in a wonderful book.

Laughter.

Simultaneous orgasms with your lover.

Acts of kindness.

Children giggling.

The scent of flowers on a summer’s eve.

The soft fur of a beloved pet.

Your child’s first words/steps/drawing

Note – 23rd April, 2020, (daily prompt)

I have written journals or diaries since my early teens. I have an obsession with notebooks.

Early on, I wrote in standard diaries but the lines were not big enough and the daily entry space not long enough. I have a few old exercise books which I turned into a diary, ripping out and destroying the few pages of school work before covering the book with a poster.

Later, in my early 20s, my notebook passion took full force. I can’t go into a stationers without buying one. TK Maxx is lethal.

The cover is important – of course. But so is the weight of the book in my hand, the feel and thickness of the pages and the size of the lines.

My journal writing is sporadic though. I don’t and never have written every day. I often write more in times of distress or when I am in love.

I write notes on my life.

I write diary style, poems, short stories. I write random thoughts, random words. I doodle, I draw. I plan, I reflect. I log, I consider. I work out my life. Work through my life.

Strangely, despite my love of physical journals, most of my writing now appears on here instead. I still have paper journals and write in them occasionally, but the majority of my writing is on here.

And so, dear reader, you are reading the notes of my life. 🤗

Three – 19th April, 2020

Three things I have learnt about life by the age of 40:

  1. It is never too late to start looking after yourself. And when you do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
  2. Learning to put myself first sometimes was one of the hardest but most rewarding lessons I’ve had to learn, particularly not feeling guilty when I do it.
  3. You have the life you have by choice. You choose who to love and how to live. You choose what to accept and what to change.

Three things that I have learnt about love by the age of 40:

  1. At 40, you can love as passionately as a teenager and behave the same way.
  2. There truly is someone out there who will light up your soul, challenge your thinking and make you grow, and know you better than you know yourself. Don’t settle.
  3. Loving yourself is the most important love you will ever give and receive. It makes you a better person.

Three things I have learnt about happiness by the age of 40:

  1. You are responsible for your own happiness, no one else. It is the choices you make, ever day.
  2. Being content is not the same as being happy.
  3. Do things that make you happy every day. Why not? The cleaning will be there again tomorrow.

A life lived without happiness is not a life lived.

Distance – 17th April, 2020 (daily prompt)

Oh WordPress! You couldn’t have chosen a more apt word for me today.

Today, my decree absolute – my divorce – came through. I am legally no longer married.

It is a very surreal feeling. I thought I would feel something but at the moment I feel very little. I don’t hate my ex, we actually get on well. I’m not sorry our marriage ended (I was about to write the opposite until I realised it wasn’t true). I am sorry that it failed and caused hurt. But I am glad that now, the distance between is is finalised. The end of a chapter.

What it has done, is added validity to my new relationship. In my culture, dating whilst separated means nothing. Not so in his. It’s another step towards being with him.

So, on that note, my post today will be about my experiences of a long distance relationship. (I met him online just under six months ago)

  • First of all, no matter what anyone else tells you, you can absolutely fall in love with someone over the Internet and without actually meeting them physically. I certainly did.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of videochat though. For me, this is how I truly got to/am getting to know him. I would be very wary of anyone who refuses to videochat with you. Videochat means that you get to know them – their facial expressions and gestures, their habits and homelives.
  • Regular communication and routine is vital and a sign that your relationship is progressing. My boyfriend messages me every morning and we always videochat in the evening. As time has moved on, this has evolved – school holidays and corona-quarantine has led to more videochats throughout the day.
  • If there is any reason that your regular routine is going to be interrupted it is essential to let your other half know, ideally beforehand but if not, as soon as you can. Abrupt changes to routine can cause anxiety, jealousy and unnecessary concern.
  • On that note, anxiety and jealousy are heightened in an LDR, particularly in the beginning. This is not just from my own angst ridden experiences but common knowledge. You can worry about the tone of a text, a missed call, a change in routine, an unexpected interruption, a mood change… And if you cannot get hold of your loved one, your mind will work overtime until they get in touch.
  • Without a doubt, trust and communication are the most important things in a relationship, even more so in an LDR. I also think they are initially harder to achieve in an LDR because all you have are words and frequent calls to base this on. But without trust and good communication, a LDR is not going to work. I’m working hard on this each and every day.
  • Part of the trust issue will undoubtedly come from the opinions of some friends and family. You will have to accept that some of the people you love and respect will not be able to accept your relationship. They will not like or understand it. They will be negative. You will also learn, very quickly, about the prejudices and bias of people you have trusted. This will be even more pertinent if, like me, your other half is from another country or culture. Whilst being cautious is important, and most of the people around you will just be looking out for you, you are the only one that truly knows him/her and your relationship.
  • That being said, exercise caution at first particularly if you meet online. There are enough fraudsters out there to break anyone’s heart and that’s the least they could do. Do your research, trust your instincts and keep an open mind. Having a trusted someone at home that you can talk things through is vital – they may see things that you may not and this could be a positive thing for your relationship too (my sisters have successfully pointed out my over worrying many times).
  • If they are from another culture, do your research. You need to understand it in order to understand them: their ideas, beliefs and therefore their reactions and expectations. Researching his culture was some of the best advice I ever received and it was right here from a fellow blogger. It gave me understanding and something to talk to him about.
  • Similarly, don’t underestimate the language barriers. My boyfriend has good and rapidly improving English but some – both hilarious and serious – situations have been caused by language misunderstandings.
  • Some people may disagree with me on this one, but I would suggest meeting up as soon as you are comfortable to and able. You are never really going to know if your relationship has a future until you’ve spent time together. For me, I knew within an hour – when my nerves and shyness allowed me to really see him. But over the course of the week, all the little things he did – things he wasn’t even aware of – are what I fell even deeper in love with.
  • Don’t underestimate the mundane and every day – little details about your day, photos of what you have done and where you have been make them feel a part of your life. My favourite time with my boyfriend is when he props me up on the dining table and I watch and listen as he and his family have tea and talk. I can’t understand and can’t join in but I am there and part of his everyday life.

Finally, you will have to accept that this relationship will be difficult at times. You have the challenges that every new relationship brings AND those that come from distance. You are going to miss them like crazy, each and every day. You are going to crave the physical contact – even just holding hands – more than you have for anyone else. But it’s when you realise that you’d rather have that feeling than holding hands with anyone else that you know that this relationship has a future.

There are lots of blogs, Web pages, YouTube videos and Facebook groups full of advice out there. Don’t be afraid to use them. You are not alone.

Scent – 15th April, 2020 (daily prompt)

I’m sure there is nothing quite as evocative as scent. Smells take us to far off places and times – instant time travel.


Take cinnamon and orange. For me, this is the smell of Christmas.

Lemon and olive oil, mint, cumin- my travels to Morocco.

Sweet peas, roses, jasmine and honeysuckle- warm summer evenings in the garden.

Chocolate – Easter morning or birthdays eating slabs of sticky chocolate cake.

And there are scents which remind you of people…


Golden Virginia tobacco and soap – my Dad.

Lavender – my nana.

Johnson and Johnson baby products – my children when they were babies.

Lynx Africa – my first kiss with my first childhood crush.

And then there are the smells which simply make a place….


The smell of the sea.

The freshness and earthiness of a forest.

Candyfloss and doughnuts – a fairground.

The smell of chlorine in a swimming pool.

And then there are smells which are just amazing in their own right….


A wood fire on a summer’s evening.

Freshly cut pine.

Bread, just out the oven.

Sweet hay as you feed your horse.

Garlic and onion frying.

The first hit of citrus when you break the skin of an orange.

Tomato plants in a greenhouse.

Herbs when you brush past them… Sage, rosemary, coriander.

Clean sheets on a newly made bed.

The pages of an old book.

Scent… The most evocative of the senses.