Christmas is a time for nostalgia and tradition. Traditions are an opportunity for us to create long lasting memories, and the smells that surround us at Christmas time plays a part in creating these memories. The link between our sense of smell and our memory is the reason why the many different aromas that waft through our homes around Christmas time, has the power to evoke memories of Christmas past.
Because we all have different experiences and memories, we all have different preferences when it comes to smells. Therefore, it is important that we surround ourselves with scents that make us feel good and remind us of happy times.
Aromatherapy with the use of essential oils, is one of the easiest and most natural ways of evoking happy memories. They also have the added benefit of relaxing, uplifting or energizing you at the same time. Mix and dabble with these wonderful oils to create your ideal Christmas fragrance.
Owning a puppy is quite like having a child. They need feeding and watering and lots of love and affection. I’m not an animal expert at all, but common sense—and my puppy—tells me she needs playtime and exercise too.
Cotton is only six months old and already she knows by routine when it’s meal times, back garden time, playtime and her favourite time of the day, walkies! Whether I’m in the mood or not she won’t leave me alone until she gets her harness and coat on, so it’s good for me too. Little Miss Nine also likes it; she brings her basketball so she can practice bouncing along the way.
So, you know when your baby poos in her nappy…and you change that nappy…and put on a nice clean fresh one! Thankfully that’s one thing we don’t need to put on our puppies. But what we do need to do is scoop up their poop. Not just when they’re babies, but forever! A puppy is for life and so is scooping up their poo peeps, whether you like it or not. I never leave for our walk now without my little black poop bags.
So you can imagine my disgust when my child’s basketball bounced into somebody else’s dog’s poo. It ended up on her hands and her jacket. Revolting! I was so angry at the owner of that dog. It’s irresponsible and it’s disrespectable for other walkers. Years ago I got some on my pram wheels. I know a man who pulled his cabin bag through dog poo on his way to the train station.
How hard is it? Why can’t dog owners just do it? Is it laziness, fear, or ignorance? It’s actually not that difficult. Watch this short tutorial on how to cleanly pick up your dog poo.
We judge people all the time. We decide who we want in our lives and who we want as our friends. Of course we do! The people in our lives are important to us. They help us along. They have be compatible with us. It’s not always easy to find these special people.
We meet people in so many different ways. Through those we already know, our friends and family, through work or just by chance. We silently check them out. We look them up and down, listen to their views, work out whether we like them or not. Did we click? Will we be friends? Rivals maybe?
Do you rush into relationships with people or do you sit back and let the universe decide?
I have always given people the benefit of the doubt down through the years. It hasn’t always worked in my favour though. But I do believe that the unfavourable souls I’ve encountered have helped me to appreciate the more harmonious people in my life. These days I’m more inclined to let the universe decide for me. It’s easier!
However, I still can’t stop talking to strangers, but I do keep my distance—physically and mentally.
For Charli’s 99 word flash fiction challenge this week, she prompts us with Avocado Toast. (I almost did a bold thing and feigned a sickie) But I slapped my own butt and got out my favourite fat pen and picked my own brains.
George is my Friend
I often passed him by; the man sitting at the lake in a black shabby coat, and tattered old cap. Today I stopped.
‘I’m George. I’m 79 today,’ he smiled. He told me about himself. He offered to share his special birthday picnic with me. I declined, as I watched his dirty hands lifting the lid of his lunchbox.
‘Actually…yes please,’ I blurted.
He cut his avocado in half. He handed me my share, and a tiny wooden spoon.
‘A birthday toast to you George.’
When we bumped our avocado halves together, I knew I’d made a new friend.
Time is precious. I think we value it more as we get older. When I was young I lived for the present and could only see what was happening in the ‘here and now’. I wanted to stay in bed late at the weekends, especially if I’d been out the night before. I can’t do that now. Those early morning hours are my favourite time of the day.
Some might say it’s a good thing; live in the present, be mindful, don’t worry about the past and let the future take care of itself. But like everything, it’s getting the balance right.
Time is so easily lost. We don’t always realise until later that we wasted our time on things that were of no benefit to us or those around us. Sometimes we waste time on people who don’t appreciate us. We often let people steal our time too. Sometimes we regret not having spent enough time with those we love, especially those who love and respect us back. It’s with experience and wisdom that we learn to recognise the difference.
Rose opened the shabby old shoebox. ‘All my favourite things,’ she said softly with her hand on her heart. ‘You kept them.’ She rummaged through the box and lifted out a brown rubber watch. Laughing she said, ‘Matt gave me this when we were eight.’ Nancy dabbed her eyes with her hanky. ‘I’m so sorry Rose…and ashamed. I’ve missed so much.’ ‘We all have Mam. I’m sorry too, for staying away.’ The doorbell rang. ‘Are you ready?’ Rose asked. Nancy nodded. Yes, she was at last ready to welcome her son-in-law Matt, and to finally meet her twenty-eight-year-old grandson.
If you you like creative writing but don’t have much spare time, these flash fiction challenges are fun to do. They exercise your mind – and your writing muscles. It’s quite therapeutic too. Check it out over onCarrot Ranch.Thank you for reading!
It’s all about the Covid-19 these days, isn’t it? Oh…and the US elections, but I’m saying nothing about that.
I decided at the beginning of the pandemic that I didn’t want to blog about it, because it was everywhere. All over social media, on television, newspapers, so there was no point in me adding to the assemblage.
I contracted the virus in April, and I didn’t write about that either. I hadn’t the energy or the motivation to write very much at all. It took me months to get back into a proper writing routine. My summer was quiet, like everyone else’s. My mood was low and my energy levels were up and down like a yoyo.
However, I wasn’t the worst off, thank God. It’s been very difficult for a lot of people everywhere. People’s mental health is suffering now more than ever, for so many reasons. Financial worry and uncertainty for the future is a huge factor. Domestic abuse is another. And loneliness. It really is a terrible time for so many. How long will it take to fix the carnage? All we can do for now is our best. Make the best of what we have.
Lessons are being learned too. People have become more appreciative of their time and their families. During the first lockdown I realised the true value of school. My child missed the social aspect of the school environment, and I missed the routine and the discipline that school teaches them when it comes to doing their work. Home schooling began as a novelty, but I got frustrated with the maths. Was never my strong point! And I have to admit, I missed not having those few hours all to myself because it’s the best part of the day for me when it comes to writing. I need quiet and zero distractions.
I was glad when the schools re-opened in September. Although Little Miss Nine didn’t settle back in as easily as I expected her to, she’s okay now. My novel is once again the prime focus of my day. That’s my joy you see. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and often the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. It gives me meaning and pleasure. I’m hopelessly in love with the art of creative writing.
What do you do every day that brings you joy? Even amidst all the upset and stress, you need to find something that will bring you joy. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be walking, cycling, painting, reading, listening and dancing to music…the list is endless!
Someone once said to me. ‘Find your joy and joy will find you.’ I had a good week with my joy. Last week was a frustrating one because I spent all of it on research – just for one scene. It was worth it though. I’m satisfied that I got this one scene finished and the plot is where I need it to be. I’m satisfied that I gave enough of my time to my family – face to face or by phone – who are of course all a joy to me too. And I’m sure you’ll say the same thing. But don’t be afraid to find a different kind of joy. That one thing that’s for you and no one else. Something that your mental health and well-being will benefit from at all times. And even if your joy might bring you frustration now and then, that’s okay. Your joy may be some sort of a challenge, and we know how challenges can frustrate us sometimes. And look at how good you feel when you complete a challenge.
Part of my writing routine involves a simple challenge that Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Blog sets every Thursday. She gives a prompt that we have to use it in a 99 word story. You can find out more about that HERE.
I usually post my flash fiction over on my other blog. Tasheenga Writes Here (Yes, she’s Indian and she’s my alter ego)