Amuse-Bouche #3: Autumn Gratitude Edit

I’m feeling grateful. We do a harvest festival in the UK (ours was Sunday), and it’s a sort of a precursor to all the North American Thanksgivings. All the singing and food always puts me in a good frame of mind to be grateful. To count my blessings. To give thanks.

Sarah’s blog post about Envy & Honesty really struck a chord with me today. How quick we are to accept a facade and assume all is well underneath. Her post reminded me to ignore the glowing updates on social media and actually ask my friends how they’re doing. Any excuse to send a postcard, really!

I’m thankful that E from I’m Strong Enough to Break has started a #ThingsKidsSayThursdays: read about the perception of hot girls from the mind of a second grade boy (hilarious!) or what my tween daughter thinks about the three wise men. Please join in and add your crazy tales tomorrow.

According to the weathermen, I can look forward to the coldest winter to hit the UK in 120 years. So lots of pretty white stuff which grinds London to a halt. Well, most weather does that, so nothing new really. I’m all for pretty white stuff and twinkly lights. Do you live somewhere that gets cold and snowy soon? Want to share your city with the world? Click here for more information.

All this promise of cold and snow inevitably means colds and man flu. So I’ve dug out a buttered bourbon cider recipe from the magazine archives (drool over the gorgeous image on the cover of Gathering below) – for medicinal purposes, honest! I’ve got other (non-alcoholic) ways of easing in to autumn, too, as does Jay from Running in My Head.

#bourbon #autumn

What are you grateful for this year? Your blogging community? Your health? A long-cherished dream come to fruition? If you’re comfortable to share in the comments, please do!

Facebook, Facebook, on my wall…

I finally have a Facebook page for Petal & Mortar! It’s just nicer to be able to post to a space that won’t bombard my unsuspecting friends (though you think they’d know me by now!). And everyone knows it’s not official till it’s Facebook official. Totes.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT PETAL & MORTAR ON FACEBOOK

If you follow me on Twitter, you’re going to see my handle mentioned in some tweets by Belle Brita, Jessica Lynn & Casey Cote – I won an amazing giveaway and the prize was sponsorship!

I’m excited to interact with some new readers. I treasure the friends I’ve made already, but I’m definitely in my comfort zone and need to stretch a little more. (What I really mean is, I’m too lazy to search out new blogs on my own and I just find it easier to check out who has checked me out)

So come say Hello, and leave me your Page link if you’ve got one. 

Happy Friday! ❤

Amuse-Bouche #2

Where would I be without the wonders of #ArchiveDay, #WeekendBlogShare and #SundayBlogShare? I have truly enjoyed catching up with all the posts I didn’t get to read on my holidays (what is up with the WP reader on smartphones?!)…if you enjoyed my round-up in Amuse-Bouche #1, check out my recommendations for #2.

Baby Girl…you look fine – I do love Karen’s writing style. She tells it like it is.

Feeling like you’ve lost your inner child? Check out Amy’s post, Release the Child within. Or just imitate my daughter in Happy Holidays.

Suzie has some wise words about analysing and managing blog envy.

If summer has been a season of indulgence – try out Vicky’s Sugar-Free September group.

And if you’ve never used Craigslist, you might NEVER after reading Hollie’s epic posts.

PS If you’re on bloglovin, come say hello!

Flashbacks & clarity

#morale #quoteI’ve been feeling really blocked lately. Stuck in molasses. Lost for words. Tired and grumpy. Missing gluten. Craving coffee. I felt completely out of the loop. Thank heavens for Twitter: I discovered this post about ‘getting my write back‘. And then I read Suzie’s post and realised that maybe I do have something to say, after all.

So here are some discoveries I’ve tripped over in my recent self-involved phase…

  1. I am fallible. Cue shocked sounds. I am not Superwoman. I am ageing gently and I need rest, a good diet, supplements (preferably prescription strength) and help with chores. I try to hold everything together and all I manage to do is slide into panic, with a tinge of chaos and a side of exhaustion. Charming company, I’m not. Ignoring my body is just detrimental to my sanity. I am far less emotionally resilient when I’m physically exhausted, and feeling like I want to curl in a ball and sleep for another six months just sucks. I want to be excited about my holiday so here’s hoping the new Vit D supplements kick in by next week!
  2. Doing everything right doesn’t mean everything is going to turn out right. I had a lightbulb moment talking to a friend last weekend. My refrain when talking about my traumatic childbirth experience has always been, “But I did everything right during my pregnancy!” As though all the healthy eating, yoga, Pilates and hypnobirthing exercises somehow insulated me, protected me & my baby. Yes, we are miles away from the births our grandmothers and great-grandmothers experienced, but it doesn’t mean that sh*t can’t happen. I don’t know why this was such a seismic shift, but it was. I think I have finally accepted that I didn’t ‘break’ my baby. Perhaps I can start applying this to other situations in my life, too.
  3. All these realisations and epiphanies don’t immunise me from the bad flashbacks. I watched Madam Secretary the other night. We’re a little behind in the UK, so we’re up to the episode where she gets attacked in Iran (S1 E16), and then suffers the flashbacks and trauma when she gets home. I cried, folks, I cried like a baby. Just watching her lose it, go through the panic attack, thinking it was a heart attack, reminded me how much I NEVER want to feel like that again. Remember this post? Yep, took me right back. What a wringer! But what a blessing to realise how long I’ve been panic-attack free. Weeks instead of days. I’m aiming for months instead of weeks now.

And now I kinda feel all written out in a good way.

How are you feeling? What do you do to get your writing groove back? Where do you find inspiration?

Amuse-Bouche #1

finger-food-144543_1280The week in which Husband told me: “One of the reasons I married you was that I found that special woman who was willing to carry my stuff in her purse.”

Other titbits from this week…

Discover the genius of Duane Bryers via gorgeous Hilda, the pin-up girl. Clueless? Click here. (She’s my kind of beach body!)

Look no further than Cake & Whisky for a gooey blondie recipe with a dash of matcha. Matcha makes it healthy, I promise.

Read Heather Jackson’s Key to Writing 3-Dimensional Characters. I found it eye-opening.

Enjoy how Joel Golby takes apart the Ridiculous ‘Glamour’ Article Everyone’s Getting Angry About. I’m still laughing.

Fall into happy with Hollie’s list, even if she left coffee off it!

And if you’re on Bloglovin’, could you please let me know in the comments, so I can follow you? I am trying to build my feed with minimal effort 😀

It’s My Blogging Six-month-versary!

And I’m finally on Bloglovin’, so if you’re on there: Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Six months. Six MONTHS. Where on earth has the time gone? I have just over 200 amazing followers on WordPress, almost 300 on Twitter, which I started at the same time as the blog. I’m really excited EVERY time I get a follow notification, and reassure myself that its just a bot unfollowing me when I lose a follower.

According to WordPress statistics, my top 5 posts by comments are: Caffeine-Free Coffee Share (I talk about Jon Snow therapy!), Motherhood with PTSD, Do I Need Some Bloglovin’?, Shy or Socially Phobic and Follow Friday.

My own personal (happy) favourites are The Dancer, Precious Mornings, It’s a Girl, On Purpose and My Daughter’s Father. My slightly grittier posts were also well-received, much to my surprise. Try Breathe Deep & Act Normal, Grief or Rage is My Superpower if you’re all sugared out!

There’s only one thing left to say, really…

#bloglovin #twitter

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Interviewing Him…about Me!

The greatest joy I got from this exercise was the fact that it slightly panicked the Man, as he was expecting me to hiss, “Wrong answer!” to everything. Bless him. He knows me so well. He should, after 11 years of co-habitation…you should also know he gives as good as he gets, which is probably why we’ve lasted.

We are, first & foremost, a team, with all the good & bad that entails. There’s always a lot of laughter; he has a very obscure sense of humour, as do I. We don’t see things the same way; he’s a big picture person, I’m all about the nitty-gritty. It works for us, when we’re not hollering that the other person “just DOESN’T understand!”

Read on to see how well he really DOES know me … ❤

1. What is something your wife always says to you?
“Okay, love you, bye” in an Edna Mode voice

2. What makes your wife happy?
Books

3. What makes your wife sad?
The library being closed, stress

4. How does your wife make you laugh?
With smart jokes and her funny laugh

5. What was your wife like as a child?
Small

6. How old is your wife?
One year older than me

7. How tall is your wife?
5’2″, one inch shorter than my mum, which makes my mum very happy!

8. What is her favourite thing to do?
Read or blog

9. What does your wife do when you’re not around?
Brings our baby to sleep with her (she misses me)

10. If your wife becomes famous, what will it be for?
Writing

11. What is your wife really good at?
Detail, analysis

12. What is your wife not very good at?
Calming down, she’s a slow listener

13. What does your wife do for a job?
It changes

14. What is your wife’s favourite food?
Comfort food

15. What makes you proud of your wife?
Everything!

16. If your wife were a character, who would she be?
A cross between a chipmunk and Betty Boop

17. What do you and your wife do together?
Talk a lot, drink coffee, watch Madam Secretary and judge other people

18. How are you and your wife the same?
We have the same value system

19. How are you and your wife different?
I’m all about the big picture and she is all about the detail

20. How do you know your wife loves you?
She does little things for me, like packing toiletries for when I go away, and getting stuff I need before I know I need it

21. What does your wife like most about you?
She’s shallow, so she likes that I’m pretty, and she likes my sense of humour

22. Where is your wife’s favourite place to go?
She likes nice coffee shops and libraries. Anywhere quiet, really.

Teaser Tuesday: Ruby Red

So many books, so little time! 

Jay from Running In My Head is a regular teaser! Now before y’all go getting hot under the collar, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and open to all. Open a random page of a book you are currently reading, and share a few sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!

I am deeply riveted by the writing, and the history, behind Ruby Red:

‘Instead, they stab the hand that shows the truth. No, sir. Until we can unite brother to brother, until we can snuff out the burning jealousy that destroys when one of us rises from the filthy ashes -‘ Julian ran his hand slowly along the jagged scar that ran the length of his forearm – ‘then, sir, we will be ready for change.’

Counterbalances

I love my new job! I am working with some talented, funny, interesting people! I am surrounded by beautiful images and boxes of books and magazines. The office is tiny and can barely contain 8 of us, but it’s a calm creative space. I cannot believe how lucky I am!

Conversely, I took a panicked call from Husband today. He has been overseas for over a week, he’s stressed, tired and a little frustrated. I know this is normally how he gets at the end of a project, but this is his first without someone backing him up. He’s on his own. All I can do is offer moral support via Skype. And feel terribly guilty that he’s working this hard to give me a chance to see if I can change careers.

He says that I run the family and it’s probably true, but he’s the Rock my Church is built upon. He is my touchstone and my keystone. So today, dear reader, this post is for my husband. You got this, handsome. Your girls love you. You’re my people no matter what happens next. We can’t wait for you to come home so we can shower you in hugs and kisses. And sometimes, good enough IS enough.

On Purpose

The end of Joey’s post stated: Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to share the purpose of your own life and what you’ll take home with you when you leave. ALL OF YOU ARE NOMINATED.

I accept the mission.

I’m starting a job tomorrow which everyone seems to think is ‘made for me’, but which is a total tectonic shift from my very corporate life of the last, well, for ever. Sure, I’ve worked in a few industries, most consistently finance, but this role feels like a step off a cliff. And there may or may not be a safety harness tethered to my ankle. That’s not strictly true, of course. I’m married to my bestie, and as much as he drives me crazy, he’s got my back. My daughter, my beautiful daughter, she’s got my back.

We’ve had a girly week together, because the husband is away on work. My entire universe has been brought down to her level. My life took on a new rhythm. Sleeping earlier, waking rested, giggling, laughing, going tech-free, talking about books, taking mad selfies, making root beer floats, dancing out to Stromae… and it made me wonder why we don’t do this more? I’ve been relaxed, and happy, and my husband has noticed this growing trend over the last few weeks. I’m coming to terms with the restrictions coeliac disease imposes on me, and trying to have some fun with it. So maybe I’m excavating my mission slowly. My aim for the next six months is to contribute and support this family without sacrificing my sanity (or morals).

No one in the world was ever you before, with your particular gifts and abilities and possibilities.

Long term, I’d like to be whole. Being healthy, or having some hold on it, makes me happy. Living a smaller life in terms of my footprint. Living a larger life in terms of moments and memories. Being able to help people when I can.

If you’re reading this, what’s your purpose, your mission? Will you share it?