Caffeine-free Coffeeshare #2

If we were having coffee, well, you’d be drinking coffee and I’d be drinking some delicious, fragrant Kusmi tea that the Breton Bestie brought me back from Paris. Two years in London and she still doesn’t trust the tea here. I’m delighted by her thoughtful gift, because as a newly-minted coeliac disease sufferer, I’m trying to be as kind as I can to my digestive self. Atoning for my previous gastronomic sins includes avoiding caffeinated drinks. It’s a small price to pay (or so I tell myself).

I’d tell you the other amusing conclusion from the labs done the other week is a shocking Vitamin D deficiency. As in, soft bones and teeth. Finally!! A sensible explanation for the creaking joints and cracked teeth (I’m sure grinding my teeth with stress didn’t help). So I am on mega-doses of Vitamin D to redress the imbalance. And I have to go sun myself for at least 10 minutes a day WITHOUT SUNSCREEN. Talk about living on the wild side! I intend to fully embrace this, once the English weather cooperates. Seriously though, when is this weather going to let up? Can we shunt some of this rain to California?

Speaking of California, David Anderson, a neurobiologist at CalTech, is attempting to create more specific treatments for psychiatric illnesses. How amazing would it be to walk through the rain with an umbrella, instead of feeling like you were stumbling through, slightly blind and bewildered, with a tarpaulin thrown over your head? Am I the only one who feels like this on meds? I can’t be! David’s research greatly excites me, for all the possibilities it opens up. Watch his TEDx talk here: 

I still have no clearer view on Bloglovin’ – check out all the comments on my last post and feel free to add your two cents/pence/pesos. I might just sign myself up and see if I can create a simple user guide, and work out the pros & cons. Anyone else want to join in?

What are your plans for the weekend? How are you feeling this week? Is it nearly summer or winter where you are?

TED talk: The Price of Shame

“Freedom of speech comes with responsibility of speech.”

I just watched Monica Lewinsky talk about the price of shame, and our burgeoning culture of online humiliation and apathy. I’m not ashamed to say I was crying halfway through it, empathising with her mother. Watch the whole talk here:

Architecture (A-Z challenge)

So we had a family trip to the Ideal Home Show this weekend, and my epic discovery was Robert Kahn of Pitch26, an architect who has turned his ink skills to incredible pieces of art. He does stunning black line drawings with coloured skies/backgrounds. I made the mistake of ummming and ahhhing and never decided on what I wanted, and now I can’t find the London drawings on his website. Vexations & conniptions!

The reason we went to the show was because for as long as we’ve been together, husband-person and I have talked about building our own home. I studied architecture on my first go-round at uni, and good design gets me excited. We are both very creative, despite our boring (paid) jobs. We lust over Pinterest offerings, moon over housebuilding magazines, have design apps on our computers, and have infected our child with the bug.

However, building our home is still 5-8 years away. If I had to buy a home in the interim, I would want it to look like this: Treehouse Apartments

Another new favourite is Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect, whose work is luxurious, sustainable and community-driven. Bjarke is my kind of architect. Watch him in action here. If you want to read more about his methods & ideas, here’s the TED blog: Q&A with Bjarke EngelsAnd if you’re wondering how to say his name, the J is a Y…so it sounds like Byar-Kay.

He’s also written a  book about his manifesto, in comic book format – as ThatAnxiousMom would say, +1000! 

Friday Inspiration

I ❤ TED talks, there’s always something I find to inspire me or make me think. I’m having an up-week (thanks for all the fantastic feedback & welcome to my new followers), so I’ve chosen to share game designer Jane McGonigal’s talk from 2012. Listen closely to what she says about regrets, and post-traumatic growth.

Reality is broken and we need to make it work more like a game. 

~Jane McGonigal

When she found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience — and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life. Happy Friday!

I blogged about another great TED talk earlier this month; watch it here (Wholehearted: The Power to be Imperfect)

Attitude of Gratitude

I watched this amazing TED talk the other day. (I’m grateful for the time I have these days to actually catch up and watch all the TED talks I save.)

I’m revelling in the time I have off this year. Last-Year-Me would have been panicking that I didn’t have the next contract lined up, didn’t have a plan, a timeline … you get the idea. I pride myself on being able to multi-task, functioning on 5 hours of sleep & coffee, being super-mum/wife/consultant. But I have no idea where this need comes from! Sometime over Christmas, little things my daughter said made me realise I had missed out on so much with her, with my friends, with life in general. It actually took my breath away. So it was a conscious choice to stop.

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I’ve started this year with a clean slate, an open mind and a Pinterest board full of ideas. I’m reading, and learning, and connecting with new people and more importantly, reconnecting with the people that have sustained me so far. I am grateful they didn’t give up on me!

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I choose happiness. Even when it’s hard. Even when I feel I don’t deserve it. Because I do.

I’m so grateful for my husband, who took on being super-dad for the latter half of last year, for not once judging my choices, but letting me work through them, and more importantly, for being willing to walk out in the pouring rain & cold, because I want a Snickers bar at 10pm (it’s got nuts, it’s healthy).

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For my amazing daughter, whose little kindnesses & words build me up every day, for thinking I am the best mother ever, because I am actively present in her life again

I am going to put all these thoughts into a gratitude jar (IKEA’s finest, re-purposed). I’m forward-thinking; I anticipate I will have enough to be grateful about this year to fill the jar.

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My gratitude jar, just waiting for my notes…

Wholehearted

The courage to be imperfect ❤

I just watched the most amazing TEDx talk by Brené Brown, and I HAD to share. She studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong & love. I dare you to watch and not laugh out loud and feel a fundamental shift.

Click to watch The power of vulnerability TALK

Her research work on vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame that has found that most people are their own greatest critics – as she has stated, “Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” Brown’s central assertion is that “Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

For an excellent book that further explores her work, look no further!