Being Buoyant – Enrich Your Life – Love Your Body

If there is one simple step that you can take to enrich your life, it is to love your body. Before you say that you have wobbly buttocks or a rotund tum, hear me out. It may change the way you view your darling bod and once that happens other changes will also take place.

Well those cheeks aren't bad, it's the others that I'm worried about.

Well those cheeks aren’t bad, it’s the others that I’m worried about.

Over my years of people watching and listening, I have noticed folks’ weight going up and down like an elevator sniffing substances. I have seen people suffering from depression because of their bodies and then adding more weight because of the depression. You get the picture; basically, bodies can cause more misery than looking at David Cameron’s face when he is trying to look sincere. Yet other folks love keeping fit and healthy – how does this come to be?

Baby, you have buttocks to die for

It is all to do with loving your body. I don’t mean stripping off to your knickers and saying “baby, you have buttocks to die.” I mean taking a moment and thinking about what your body does for you. It works 24/7 without a rest. All right, you may sleep but your body is still keeping you alive and digesting all that fat, sugar, protein, alcohol or whatever it was that you stuffed into it. It puts up with being stuffed in a car for hours on end when it needs to be exercising and it gets sunburned too. The list is endless – think of some of your own.

Must say, I am really impressed by how much exercise my index finger is getting.

Must say, I am really impressed by how much exercise my index finger is getting.

Okay, we’ve agreed that your bod is a good friend and worker and that it’s amazing that it didn’t quit years ago. However, you may still scowl at the thought of your stomach, thighs or big toes. You have to get over this by working on your relationship with your body. This is going to sound really whacky but tell your body ‘thank you’ for everything that it does for you. You can go further and massage yourself with lotion or perfumed cream too – your body will love that.

Hey! You! Stop peeking.

Hey! You! Stop peeking.

In essence, what I’m really getting at is that until you love and respect your body, you will continue to abuse it. If you love your body, you will think before you stuff it full of junk, alcohol or drugs. You will give it the exercise that it needs and you will feel happier too. The reason for this is that when you love your body, it responds tenfold. You will feel better and you will look better too. That’s the deal – love your body and it will love you back.

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Scrooge or Sensible? True Thrifty Happenings

Illustrated by John Leech in 1843.

Illustrated by John Leech in 1843.

How do you view the thrifty? Sensible or like one of Dickens’ most famous characters, Scrooge. Perhaps this will help you to make up your mind.


Thrift For Thought

I first became interested in thrift when my late uncle sagely announced that he never let a grocer weigh the tomatoes until he insisted that the stalks be removed.  If that seems extreme, it soon becomes obvious that it is nothing to what has gone on in the past.

Thrift in the nineteenth century was a well-rehearsed skill from the highest seat of society down to the lowest.  One of the perks of being a ladies’ maid was getting the mistresses’ gowns whilst other unused pieces of cloth would be collected together in a ‘rag-bag’ and household servants would often be allowed to keep these.  They would be passed on to a street buyer, rag and bone man or rag and bottle shop.  Linen would be separated to be sold to a paper manufacturer as paper was made from linen and rag well into the nineteenth century.

Bring out your rags.

Bring out your rags.

Used tea leaves would be utilised to clean carpets and then passed onto cleaning ladies who sold them to dealers.  With a bit of artificial colour thrown in, the dealer would then put the tea leaves (which had been on the carpet) on sale as fresh tea.

Who claims the fat

Each servant appeared to have their own expectations of the booty they could claim and the fat from the roasted animals was earmarked by the cook.  The dripping, as the fat was called, would be used like butter by the poor.

Even bones were sold onto the rag and bone man for fertilizer and household ashes and dust were marketed to help make bricks.  It seems that nothing was thrown away, as soot from chimneys was vended for manure and insect killer.

As people were not aware of how germs were transmitted, it was a regular practise for the very poor to collect dog manure or ‘pure’ as it was politely called.  This was sold to tan yards for the processing of leather for the soft kid gloves so beloved by the rich.

Where there is muck there is brass.

Where there is muck there is brass.

Mrs Child, an American housewife, advised in 1828 that after old coats and pantaloons for boys had been cut up and were no longer capable of being converted into other garments, the housewife should slice them into strips and use the leisure moments of children or domestics in sewing and braiding them into door mats.

Waste is an act of treason

By 1915, thrift in the home was the order of the day.  “Waste is an act of treason when every penny saved helps to save your country.”  This reminder was on the bill announcing the opening of the Patriotic Thrift Exhibition at Hamilton Rooms, Park Street, Bristol 25 – 30th November 1915.  The exhibition was organised by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies who offered a range of lectures on domestic subjects which represent war service in the home.

A familiar theme concerning thrift is that of the wealthy preaching to those less well off.  At the Exeter Society in 1923, the president, Lady Rosalind spoke on women’s extravagance.  She warned of the ‘melancholy spectacle’ of cheap pianos, cheap jewellery and cheap furs bought by women who could not afford them.

During World War II, women found it difficult to get hold of stockings.  Stockings were made of silk as nylon wasn’t invented until 1938 and initially only on sale in America from 1940.  As silk was used to make parachutes for the wartime effort, silk stockings became a rare commodity as both manufacturers and retailers charged high prices and asked for too many clothing coupons for them.

What you have to do.

What you have to do.

Snatched the stockings

In 1944, a bus conductress from Truro found herself in court after being thrifty over silk stockings.  On June 28th, she acquired two pairs from a bus driver without surrendering coupons.  Captain Craze for The Board of Trade snatched the stockings for disposal but they were later seized by the Customs and Excise Department.  Craze opposed this measure saying that he would have to take further instructions from The Board of Trade.  The case was adjourned for a fortnight; thrift can end up causing a lot of expense.

It seems that thrift is here to stay.

 

 

 

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Being Buoyant – Enrich Your Life – Don’t Forget Yourself

Don't give yourself a dog's life.

Don’t give yourself a dog’s life. Enrich your life.

If you’re feeling fed up or that life isn’t great, has it occurred to you that you might be neglecting yourself? You may praise your cat, your children or your partner and go that extra mile to provide all sorts of little treats for them but when it comes to you – zilch. Now be honest about this and I don’t mean that you have just bought yourself a lovely bottle of bubble bath – I’m not talking about shopping. We need to go much deeper.

Think back to being a child – what did you love doing? Really try hard to remember. Perhaps it was being in the woods or drawing. It could be anything but dig deep into those memories. Do you still do it? I can see you shaking your head. Next, you will start explaining that you don’t have time to do that anymore; it’s just for kids; you’re not fit enough or any number of other reasons. Lots of people say they don’t know why they don’t do the things that they enjoy anymore too. Yes, I do go about asking lots of questions.

Whoopee! We're having a great time.

Whoopee! We’re having a great time.

I could list more excuses because I’ve heard more of them than there are signatures on a popular petition both from other folks and from myself also. I won’t list them because I don’t want to fuel your reasons not to do the things you love.

The point is that doing the things that you enjoy will enrich your life. There is nothing like stating the obvious but it’s amazing how when we are battling through the jungle of life, we can’t see anything for all the trees and bushes that get in our way. For trees and bushes think bills to pay and time commitments to the day job, picking up kids from school and the dreaded dusting. It’s enough to make us all collapse in a heap.

if I could just get this washing done, I could go on Facebook for half an hour.

If I could just get this washing done, I could go on Facebook for half an hour.

This is not about collapsing in a heap though; this about you questioning why you don’t do the things that you love anymore. Let me give you an example. I love walking in the countryside. I am not talking 10 mile hikes; I am talking about a reasonably paced stroll that might take in between 30 minutes to an hour. When I home educated my son, I fitted these walks in between doing my  job and educating him because I wanted him to get fresh air and exercise.

When I finished home educating him and he was no longer at home all day, I stopped doing what I love because I felt guilty about taking the time from my desk. In essence, I made myself a self-imposed prison because it did nothing whatsoever for my physical or mental state of health. Since I have given myself the gift of going for a walk every day, I feel like a different person both physically and mentally.

A muddy but glorious walk.

A muddy but glorious walk.

Basically, what I am saying to you is to give yourself a daily gift doing something that you love. If other folks like family and friends start demanding your time while you are doing it, you simply have to tell them this is your gift to yourself – enjoy.

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BEING BUOYANT – BEGIN TO BEAT THE BULGE

Being Buoyant is my stab at helping you to keep your spirits up by taking control of your life.

One of the easiest ways to begin to take control of your life is to do it with your body. Okay if you feel bloated or flabby, you may not agree with me. However, let me tell you – the cost of living may go up and you can do nothing to stop it; politicians may do things that make you want to pull your hair out or maybe theirs; your boss might make you redundant and your partner may have mood swings quicker than politicians back paddle and there is not a lot you can do to stop it. HOWEVER –

Feeling like this is no good.

Feeling like this is no good.

YOUR BODY WILL ALWAYS RESPOND TO YOU.

Your body wants to work better – that is a rule of nature. This means that if you take little steps to help it, you will feel better and look good too. The secret here is not to make grandiose threats to your personage – you are willing yourself to fail. Take tiny steps that are manageable or else you will give up.

This seems somewhat complicated.

This seems somewhat complicated.

GIVE YOURSELF THE DESIRE

Okay, first of all you have to push yourself into action. The first step is get naked in front of a full length mirror and bounce. By that I mean jump up and down. Have a good look at the result and keep that picture in your mind’s eye. This is what is going to keep you going. You should do this at least once a week so that you don’t conveniently lose what is at stake here.

If this seems like a harsh step to follow, particularly if you look more cherubic than you would wish to, you must tell yourself that this is the worst that it will get. From now on you are taking of control of your body.

And Tigger said "Bounce!"

And Tigger said “Bounce!”

TINY STEPS

The areas that folks tend to be most concerned about are their buttocks, their stomach and their chin so this is where you should start.

Buttocks

Remember, we are doing this so that it will not impinge on your life so that you can keep it up. All you have to do is clench your buttocks ten times, three times a day. So you need to work it into your daily routine. For instance, when your clean your teeth, you could be a buttock clencher then. This means that if you clean your teeth twice a day, you only have to find one other time to clench. Perhaps if you write a daily list organising your day, you could incorporate clenching and listing together.

A Victorian buttock clencher.

A Victorian buttock clencher.

If you hold your tummy muscles in for the count of ten, three times a day then you will also start to see an improvement without having to go mad. This will also help you to relax as we tend to do deep breaths when doing the grand tummy drag.

Your chin line can be improved enormously by simply lifting your chin up to the sky and feeling the pull around your neck. Do this ten times, three times a day and it will take years off your appearance.

Taking these simple steps all add up and when you keep doing them you will start to see a difference. This difference will not just be about the physical you but it will also be about the you that feels better about yourself. The reason for this is that you are doing something that puts you in control.

REMEMBER YOUR BODY WILL RESPOND

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Being Buoyant – How to keep taking daily exercise

If you start an exercise regime, whether it is simply a 15 minute walk a day or a yoga session, and find that after a short while, you give it up, you need to change the way you think about your exercise time.

Looking good.

Looking good.

Most people start exercising because:

  • It will help them to lose weight
  • It will lower their blood pressure and cholesterol
  • It will give them a sexier shape
  • Other people do it
  • It will make them fit.
  • You too can look as sexy as me.

    You too can look as sexy as me.

I think that most of us have been there and, after a while, the regular exercise has fallen by the wayside because:

  • We are too busy
  • We are exhausted
  • The weather is awful
  • We hate it and it stinks

I know about these excuses because I have used them trillions of times. However, when I changed my thoughts about my daily power walk across muddy fields in all weather, my attitude to it changed too.

Instead of doing the walk to help lift my depression and get rid of my back pain, I did it for another reason. I do it because sometimes I feel as if I have no control over my life. I may get rejections for my writing, contracts may end prematurely, editors may ask for changes, the cost of living frightens me to death as my bills go up again and I worry about all the dreadful things that go on in the world but there is not really a lot that I can do about most of it.

When all of these things snowball me, I have to make myself feel that I have some control in my life and that is where the daily power walk comes in. It is up to me whether I do it or not. It’s a simple as that. It’s all about me feeling in control of something.

When you actually tell your subconscious this, it suddenly looks different. It is not about something that you feel that you have to do because it is entirely up to you. So go for it.

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Help your child to be a success

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Being is with little kids is a pure blast! I really mean that. I also love watching other folks have experiences with these little folks too. It is soooooooooooo entertaining because I can smell ‘little kid fear’ at a hundred yards. Like a starving wolf getting a sniff of congealed pizza, I sniff it out everywhere. It’s always the eyes of the adult that gives ‘little kid fear’ away.

Let me explain, ‘little kid fear’ is when you take a child somewhere maybe on a train or in a restaurant and you are slightly worried how your little angel is going to act. I use trains and restaurants because they are my favourite place for watching people with little kids.

This is what I see a lot of on trains. People get on with a little kid and I can tell by the things that they say to the child that they think that just being on the train is going to fascinate the said child for the whole journey. After about one minute, the child is no longer excited by this as basically it is just sitting in a chair looking out at fields. We have to see things as they see them.

It’s the same with restaurants, sitting at a chair eating is no different to a little kid from eating at home, it doesn’t matter how tasty the food is, the child doesn’t really care that much when they are waiting for it arrive or they have finished.

I know that to many people this is all common sense but I also understand that to many puzzled folks it is not and that is why I am writing about it. However, there is a simple trick that helps on trains and in restaurants and that is to be armed with some stories.

You may snort and shake your head but most kids love stories. When my son was little I never went anywhere without a book of stories and a pile of cds in the car. It may be a faff to have to sit reading a story while you are waiting for your meal to arrive but at least your child will most likely sit like a model citizen if you have got them hanging on every word.

While you are eating, you can talk about the story. Ask your child if they liked the main character and if not, why not. Ask them if they would like to do what the character did. You get the idea, have a good yak about what happened in the tale. Basically, if little kids are part of a conversation they will respond and enjoy it. This usually means good behaviour.

Meanwhile, if you are short of a place to get some great stories from, you should go to Alfie Dog Fiction where I’m the featured writer at the moment.

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6 Great Ways To Cheer Yourself Up This Hallowe’en.

On October 19th, my lovely friend Ross Mountney wrote a post about keeping ourselves cheery during the darker months.  She then asked if anyone had any other ideas for keeping the dark weather grumps at bay. Of course we do. However, they are our own special brand. We hope they raise a smile, if not, please complain to the government, not us, as they are to blame for a lot.

Beauty treatments are a must

It's imperative that you keep your hands looking good during the colder months.

It’s imperative that you keep your hands looking good during the colder months.

Always dress your best

People visit more during the dark nights so make sure that you are always ready to receive visitors and make an impression.

People visit more during the dark nights so make sure that you are always ready to receive visitors and make an impression.

Keep your home looking cheery and welcoming

A well thought out display can transform a room.

A well thought out display can transform a room.

Read some uplifting literature

A light read will help you to sleep.

A light read will help you to sleep.

Get out to new and interesting places

 

Graveyards offer stimulating finds like this tree stump bursting with toadstools.

Graveyards offer stimulating finds like this tree stump bursting with toadstools.

Have a hound of a time

Find a suitable friend to keep you happy.

Find a suitable friend to keep you happy.

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Why we need to develop creative intelligence in education

Ross Mountney's Notebook

I had a surprise visit from friend and artist Bob and Roberta Smith the other day.

The artwork of Bob and Roberta Smith

We were connected in our childhoods but rarely get to meet these days living in different places.

It’s a shame because we have a common quest; our desire to get people to understand the importance of creativity in education.

People often respond to that idea with the question ‘What use is painting pictures in the world of employment?’ as if that were the only interpretation of creativity. It also misses the point; creativity isn’t restricted to painting and drawing, for goodness sake!

Creativity is primarily about thinkingcreative thinking. Intelligent creative thinking.

Intelligent creative thinking is what enables us to lead our lives on a day to day basis.

Intelligent creative thinking enables us to find solutions, solve problems, rise to challenges and develop as people.

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Creative Child Poverty

I read about child poverty every time I see a headline and it never fails to worry me. However, there is a different type of poverty that is rife and I feel that it is going to get worse as it seems that if something does not make a profit, it is worthless these days. I am, off course, referring to creativity.

I will be honest; if it was not for creative activities a huge part of my life would be colourless. Creativity keeps me going; it gives me hope and satisfaction and it keeps me company when I feel lonely or even isolated. It wakes me up at 5.30 a.m. every morning and makes me get out of bed whatever the weather. I honestly do not know what I would do without it.

This is not about me though; it is about our children – the children of our country – the children of our world. In other words, it is about tomorrow’s scientists, entrepreneurs, captains of industry, actors and writers. All of these professions need creativity and yet it seems to be so lowly valued.

cartoon children

I’m not an expert, and this is just my opinion, but as I read about hundreds of thousands of teenagers having to resit their English GCSE, sometimes more than once, I have to wonder what is going wrong. When I read a school librarian’s blog and she states that primary school timetables are often so tight that certain classes do not have 20 minutes to spare to visit the school library, I realise what it is. Many of these children are victims of creative poverty.

It may be that their parents before them have suffered the same and so they grow up in homes that are starved of creative thinking. When the children get to school the teachers are as heavily corseted as a Victorian lady with prescribed aims and objectives that they don’t have the freedom to promote creative thinking.

If only primary schools could be allowed to nurture a passion in children for reading and writing by encouraging creativity all the way through the timetable, instead of worrying about constantly ticking boxes.

If only teachers could be allowed to be truly creative and be permitted to engage this passion, I feel it would pay off at a later date with the children.

If only…

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Why we need to get kids into Shakespeare in Primary School

We at Loony Literature headed up to Hull Truck Theatre last week to see the RSC perform The Famous Victories of Henry V – this is a play, for kids, that brings together all the exciting moments of three plays – Henry IV parts I and II and Henry V.

We need more of this

Basically, we need more of this – it is that simple. We have mentioned before that some teenagers can spend more than three years getting a GSCE grade C in English Language which includes a Shakespeare play. This is because they study it for two years at school but if do not get a C or above, they have to do it again.

We have also said to anyone who will listen that kids need to be introduced in a fun manner to Shakespeare in primary school not in secondary school. By the time they study a play at secondary school they need to be relaxed about The Bard. The Famous Victories of Henry V by the RSC was everything and more than we could have wished for.

Simon Yadoo as Sir John Falstaff in The Famous Victories of Henry V. Photo by Richard Lakos.

Simon Yadoo as Sir John Falstaff in The Famous Victories of Henry V. Photo by Richard Lakos.

The cast was made up of young actors apart from the extra talented  Simon Yadoo who played Falstaff/Henry V. The energy of the players was electric as the young actors went among the audience before the play started making sure that they knew what the plot was.

The name of the game at this event was audience participation – those actors worked that audience as if they were back in Elizabethan England. There were props handed out to some of the children and they had to give them to certain characters during the play.

The audience were taught a song about Falstaff’s wine which everyone sang with vigour while waving their arms about. This was obviously a winner as a group of girls sang it loudly in the lavatory after the performance.

A young boy of about eight sat behind us and he had to stand up and shout. He was truly earnest and we were certain that that little boy would never forget that moment all his life. His eyes showed that.

We want them to laugh until their sides ache

The RSC have also taken this production into some schools and we need more of this for our country’s children. Shakespeare is meant to be performed; this is the second item that we need for kids. We need them to experience crafted actors, like Martin Bassindale who played Henry V, bringing the characters to life. We want them to laugh until their sides ache like they did at this production when Mistress Quickly, played by Daniel Abbott, shook his bosom at them.

Dale Mathurin as John, Martin Bassindale as Prince Hall, Daniel Abbott as Mistress Quickly and Nicholas Gerard-Martin as Dericke in The Famous Victories of Henry V. Photo by Richard Lakos.

Dale Mathurin as John, Martin Bassindale as Prince Hall, Daniel Abbott as Mistress Quickly and Nicholas Gerard-Martin as Dericke in The Famous Victories of Henry V. Photo by Richard Lakos.

When kids have experienced this they will begin to understand what the Bard is all about. One teacher said that before the RSC visited their school, they used to have the ‘collective groan’ when Shakespeare was mentioned but now there was excitement in the air.

Schools need to go to more theatre trips and more theatre companies need to be working with them, hand in hand. We don’t only want the kids of our country being introduced to Shakespeare in this manner, we want them to see Frankenstein making his monster and Dr Jekyll transforming into Mr Hyde.

We have a world famous literary heritage

As with everything, a major problem is budget. We are not experts on these matters but surely putting money into the problem when kids are in primary school would balance out all those English GSCEs that teenagers are resitting around the country. We are talking hundreds of thousands of resits here, not a mere few.

We have a world famous literary heritage and it is only when we make our kids proud of it will the level of GCSE resits drop.

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Filed under Education, Exciting Excursions, Help Your Child To Be Sucessful, Inspiration and Us, Shakespeare Diary, theatre in education