Wednesday 23 October 2019

Looking After Me! #R2BC

HAPPINESS IS... // A morning at the spa on your own, totally chilling. ✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️ . A week ago I cricked my neck and it's been so tight and painful. Then last night I was full of stress as I backed out of an unproductive situation. 🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️✨ . Today, I've had a fabulous massage, the most divine Elemis facial and now I'm chilling on the hot stone relaxation beds. ✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️ . Whenever I feel ready it will be a swim, steam and jacuzzi, followed by lunch. Then it's back to normality as I have work to do, ready to go to Spain at the weekend. 🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️✨ . I'm feeling quite anxious about our trip though, for many reasons. So I'm trying to replace negative and anxious thoughts with positive ones. ✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️✨🏵️ . Anyway I just thought I'd share this pic as I don't think this 46 year old looks too bad without any filters!
A post shared by Michelle Pannell (@michelletwinmum) on

I’ve been looking after myself recently and that why there’s not been many blog posts, or not ones that take emotional energy anyway. I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say and now the kids are 12, 12 and 16 it’s so hard to share my parenting tales, as they (quite rightly) don't want their lives broadcast for all to read. Peer pressure and casual bullying are too rife sadly!

I made a choice a long time ago that I’d share the good, bad and ugly of my life as a way of connecting, helping others and showing that Christians are regular, flawed people too. Even this, now, has become more difficult as so much of my life involves my husband and I’ve never shared on his behalf. He’s a very private man and wouldn’t want his life ‘out’ there.

So blogging really does seem to be changing for me, it’s becoming less personal and more a way I earn money. Now, I’m trying to decide if I’m OK with that. Of course the money in the bank is very helpful, and not too difficult to earn, but do I want Mummy from the Heart to be a commercial entity?

I think, to be honest, it is the reality of where I am right now. I’ll still do personal posts when the moment takes me and I have something to say but I’m not going to beat myself up for earning a living and being able to pay for a holiday for our family.

As I sat in the day spa yesterday I was feeling proud of myself. Proud that I seem to have found that elusive balance that everyone seeks - I’m employed, I’m self-employed, I’m mum, I’m wife and I’m Michelle too. I’m getting time for things I enjoy and I’m not feeling run ragged.

Some of it is down to the kids being older, but much of it is down to my head being in the right place and being able to accept who people are and what their limitations are. As well as being able to reconcile that I cannot do everything. I just have to choose what is most important and focus on those things.

This update post will serve as my regular reasons to be cheerful post, where I share what is making me feel happy and grateful right now.

·         Time at the spa alone, I had a massage, facial, time on the hot stone relaxation beds, swim, steam and Jacuzzi. Pure bliss!
·         I’m loving being part of the village panto. I have just volunteered for the chorus this year and I’ve even backed out of one dance as my hurting foot won’t tolerate the moves, but I am loving the singing.
·         I’ve been spending time in the prayer centre to just be and wait on God, which is never time wasted.
·         We’ve joined a new church and I wake up each Sunday wanting to go and I come away inspired and wanting to do better. I haven’t had that for a while now, so it is so welcome.
·         I made a choice this week to walk away from a work situation that was upsetting me and I have cut all ties with the source of anxiety.
·         I’m not entirely satisfied with the job I started back in June, but it was good last week to be really honest with my manager and to make her aware that I wasn’t sure if it was the right job for me.  We’re working together to see where it goes.
·         I’ve been doing some boring but necessary jobs, like sorting out the thousands of photos I take. Many are of Ashburnham Place where I live and I use them for their social and promotional work. They are now all sorted into files of image type.
·         This week has been busy, every moment has been planned for, but even in that I am managing to swim twice this week and I’m not beating myself up for lack of gym visits. They’ll get back on track once I return from holiday.
·         And there is the last reason, we go off on holiday Saturday for a few days to Spain. I’m hoping for lots of relaxation, walks, swims, good food and book reading. JJ isn’t coming with us, he has the grandparents coming to stay and is looking after the cat, but he’ll enjoy that just as much. It will be strange without my boy though.

Now, over to you. How are you doing? I’d love to know, Mich xx

Friday 18 October 2019

Choosing the Perfect Flowers for every Occasion

Photo by Leonardo Wong on Unsplash
{This is a collaborative post}

I think you're either a cut flower person or you're not. I'm not massively nowadays, I can totally appreciate their beauty and I love to take photographs of flowers growing, especially when visiting National Trust properties but it is rare for me to have cut flowers in the house.

If I do, it will normally mean spring has arrived and I picked up some cheerful daffs cheap at the supermarket, someone has sent me a thank you bouquet that I have spread between a few vases across the house, or that it is my anniversary and my hubby remembers how much I love our wedding flowers, stargazer lilies.

Choosing Flowers as a Gift
I do enjoy sending flowers though, as so many of my friends and family really appreciate flowers. I think as you get older and have everything you need, flowers can be a lovely decadent gift that you may not give yourself and are therefore appreciated at special times.

Some of the fun for me in sending flowers is trying to match up the perfect ones for the recipient, and not being too distracted by what I like or don't like. For example, my Nan loved big chrysanthemums as they are bold and bright and reminded her of my Grandad as he grew them, but I detest the smell. Even so, they would still always be my go-to flower for her as it is about making her happy.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Speaking the Language of Love

love heart drawn on steamy window
Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Is there such a thing as the language of love? I suspect many people would assume it is all about perfect chemistry and romance - roses, the colour red, candle-lit dinners and hot bubble baths run for you by your beloved, but I believe it is different for every person.

A few years back I read the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and in more recent years, I've read some of his spin-off books as well and they're excellent. I definitely buy into his thinking that there are five different ways of receiving and giving love. This applies to any kind of love too, romantic, friendly, parental, platonic.

Even the best of matchmakers probably couldn't tell at first glance if you're love language compatible with your partner, but dig a bit further and the good news is that we can all give and receive in all the love languages.

Chapman suggestions that the five love languages are -

  1. Physical Touch - this is probably the easiest to understand. It is about all expressions of physical touch, both sexual and non-sexual. So an encouraging shoulder squeeze could be enough to motivate a teenage lad who has this as his primary love language.
  2. Acts of service - this is my number one. I really feel loved when people do things for me, especially when it is unexpected and I haven't had to ask them. So my husband stacking and emptying the dishwasher so I come down to a tidy kitchen in the morning is a big turn-on for me.

Thursday 10 October 2019

But don't you get lonely Mum?

Woman with take away coffee, out walking
Heading out on my own for a walk and pray around the grounds of my home

Earlier this week I was booked in for a spa day at our local Bannatynes. You can get really good deals on Wowcher and I decided at the beginning of this year that at least a couple of times a year I would treat myself to a day spa. A few treatments, time in the gym, steam room, swim, massive jacuzzi and a nice lunch with a good book. Oh and not forgetting some downtime on the hot stone relaxation beds.

I'd been really looking forward to my day spa and I hadn't let any appointments or tasks get in the way. As I was getting ready in the morning Miss E asked me who I was going with. I told her I was going alone and she looked so concerned and said 'but won't you get lonely mum?' This got me pondering and thinking about my friendships and yes there are definitely times when I get lonely, but to be honest, at the day spa isn't one of them.

Call me selfish but I love to be able to suit myself. I did the activities in the order I wanted, I ate when I was hungry, if I was later than planned in the morning it didn't matter and when I had lunch I could absorb myself in my book. I had moments of longing as I saw so many friends and couples, there for the day together, looking comfortable in each others company and chatting away, but ultimately I decided I really was OK there on my own.

Since we moved to East Sussex over six years ago I haven't had the easiest time making friends. There are lots of people I know and would happily chat to, there are even a couple I've had really deep conversations with and enjoyed special times with but I haven't made that best friend. The one who knows me so well and we just hang out and do life together. I do get sad about that sometimes.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

How to Prepare Your Teenager for College/ University

Image Credit: Pixabay
 {This is a collaborative post}

We all know teenagers have their moments, they can be a delight one minute and difficult to talk to the next. Being aware of your own style of communication is key, if you’re too forceful then you may be ignored or pushed back, and if you are too soft then you might not give them the motivation they need.

When broaching the subject of college or university however, there are a few things that you can do to keep the lines of communication open, and the parental relationship on sound terrain!

1.      Start the Conversation Early
Of course you want to help your teen consider which college or university might be right for them, and it is best to start this conversation earlier than you might think. The sooner you start the conversation, the less time pressure there is and the easier it is for them to adjust to the idea of potentially leaving home and becoming more independent.

You can ask around your friends for good experiences their older children have had, and collect some prospectuses for them. if your child has one of those kind of email address then it is probably a good idea, to help them to set up a new more professional email address. Then encourage them to independently email colleges for the information they require.