Timeless

3 months… 12 weeks… 84 days… 288 hours… 17280 minutes… 1036800 seconds… However this precious time spent with you is to be counted, I choose to see it as eternal and forever imprinted in our hearts… 👣❤️

Here’s to sleepless nights and poonami explosions, milky voms and ‘stinky ear’ cuddles, cherished memories and forgotten dishes, endless rocking and dribbly kisses, tantrums, tears and toothless grins and a whole bunch of love, weirdness and belly laughter in between 💝

I’d do it all again for you in a heartbeat baby Kole 💙

Love always xx

The Folds And Creases

I am slowly beginning to accept the folds and creases as a normal part of motherhood; whoever says parenting is easy is bullshitting you. Motherhood is magical, but it’s also DEMANDING.

There are days I’m lucky to take a shower before midday, brush my hair or take a pee. Eating is limited to fruit and toast, and I’m often seen sporting two round wet patches where my milk has leaked through my nipple pads. Leaving the house looking like a scarecrow no longer bothers me – I couldn’t give two shits because I’m just grateful I left the house!

I’m in awe of mums who manage to look presentable and hold their shit together, I’m wondering when that day will arrive for me? But I’m also secretly wondering what’s really beneath the Mummy mask… because surely I’m not alone in this?

Today, let us acknowledge our deep, unwavering, profoundly passionate love for our children, but let us also acknowledge the grit it takes to live with the folds and the creases.

This squishy face makes all the sleepless nights worthwhile…

Love always,

Hayley xx

Tag Team

Raising children isn’t easy – it brings a whole new dynamic to your relationship. As much as we love our little ones, there’s no doubt that when a baby arrives there are parts of your old self and your old relationship you will grieve; the freedom, the spontaneity, the flexibility, the long lazy lay ins together, uninterrupted dinners…

Despite the changes children inevitably bring, the success of your relationship will come down to how committed you are at ‘working together.’

Last night, after a four hour tag team struggle to wind our little one down for his bed time routine, I sobbed into my cold dinner.

Thankfully, my man was there for me reminding me that I’m doing a great job and the best I can.

Who do you have working together with you? Raising little ones requires us to work as a team. If you don’t have your partner around, assemble your team of friends, family, neighbors.

You needn’t do this alone.

But for those of you who ARE working together as a couple, remember that it is precisely this ‘working together’ that will lead to the ongoing success of your relationship and your growing family.

What are your top tips for ‘working together’ for a successful parenting relationship?

Love always,

Hayley xx

Work Is Love

I am lucky enough to have experienced work that I love. Teaching mindfulness and yoga to children encourages them to build better relationships with themselves, their friends and family, and the world around them. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that.

But it wasn’t always that way. I’ve worked many a long hour in jobs I disliked just to earn some money and because it’s what ‘everyone else did.’

Maybe you love cooking, music or design? Maybe you’re passionate about the environment or making a difference in the lives of others, but feel you can’t make money following your passions?

We are so conditioned to work ‘for the other man’ in order to get ahead, often working long hours for very little in return. Worse still, we dislike the work we do.

Today, I encourage you to consider a different paradigm.

What would your life look like if you were getting paid to do what you love? What steps can you take to make your vision a reality?

Is it going to take grit, determination and perseverance? Yes. Do you have what it takes? Yes!!! Believe you can.

Work is love made visible.

– Kahlil Gibran

This photos was snapped spontaneously by one of the students from school as the kids played with my hair and goofed around 🤪

I think she’s captured perfectly the joy I receive from working with children and being in their company…

🌼 They remind me not to take life too seriously

🌼 I love the way they are in complete awe and wonder of the magic of life

🌼 Children are full of enthusiasm, even about the smallest of things

🌼 They say what’s on their mind! Zero filter 🙈 ..this can be scary, but it can also be so beautiful and pure that my heart melts every time 😌

And that folks, are just a few of the reasons I friggen love my work ❤️🌈

Do you love what you do? If yes, or if no, why? I’d love to know if your work aligns with your heart’s values…

Love always,

Hayley xx

Magic

Copy of Those who don't believe in magic will never find it
For some, the magic of Christmas is still very much alive, and for others, Christmas can be a tough time of the year.

At times, I struggle living on the other side of the world away from family and friends. I also reminisce of loved ones lost, memories of times when our family was complete… Maybe you feel the same?

In the absence of those we hold dear, we must work a little harder to embrace the joys of Christmas. Over the years, there are a few things that have helped me to remain open to the magic of Christmas, and I’d like to share them with you:

  1. Take the focus off yourself. The act of giving naturally places you into a position of receiving. When you give your time, love, patience and gifts to others, this simple act of service ignites a sense of peace and fulfilment within. Make somebody smile this Christmas with your words or actions and feel the warmth it brings to your heart.
  2. Spend time with children. If you wish to feel more of the magic of Christmas, be in the company of children. Whether they are your nieces, nephews, or your own offspring, spending time with children at Christmas is the surest way to connect with your own inner child. If you don’t have young ones in your family, consider taking gifts to a children’s hospital. Share the joy of Christmas with those who need it most.
  3. Slow Down. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mayhem of Christmas that it’s no wonder the magic can often feel lost. We over spend, over eat and over ‘do’ to the point we become stressed, burnt out and blue. This Christmas, slow down. Take your time and be present. Simplify simplify simplify. Remember what the true magic of Christmas is about – connection. Take time to connect with strangers and loved ones, but most important, take time to connect with yourself. Take a stroll, a warm bubble bath or play your favourite Christmas jingles as you prepare a meal. Give yourself the gift of self-love.

I hope you received some little gems of magic in these simple, yet powerful tips. Embracing you all in a warm, loving hug. May your time be filled with magical, loving connections this Christmas and beyond.

In love & light,

Hayley xx

 

Breathe.

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Today, I noticed a six year old boy distressed and crying. He’d gotten into a fight with his friend and was quite shaken by the event. I sat beside him and reminded him to breathe. I’d taught him yoga and mindfulness last year and together, we pretended we had balloons in our tummies. We filled them with air as we breathed in, and then let go a little more each time we breathed out. As we sat breathing together, I felt my own worries subside a little. Within seconds, he’d stopped crying. We smiled at each other. Little did he know, that I needed to breathe just as much as he did…

Later, I noticed he was alone. He was making something using card and sticky tape. I asked what it was. ‘It has special powers,’ he replied. ‘This button, when pressed, creates a protective shield around you.’ He pointed out a little scribble he’d marked on the card. ‘But this button here is the most powerful…’
‘What does it do?’ I asked.
‘It helps you to stay calm,’ he said.

Even at the age of six, this young wee soul understood the power of remaining calm.

We are each faced with adversities. There are things that happen to us in life that are beyond our control – events that we can’t stop or change. This can be difficult to accept. At times, we’re not even aware of why we feel sad or anxious. We just do. But it’s ok to not feel ok all of the time, so long as we don’t get stuck there for too long.

Today, be gentle on yourself. Sometimes it’s ok if the only thing you did today was breathe. Take it day by day, and trust that everything will be ok.

In love & light,
Hayley xx

Little People

courage of little people
Today I watched as the students at school played table tennis against the reining champion, or ‘the King’ as they call him – a cheeky sort of chappy, and popular with his friends. In line with the children stood a bashful girl with Down Syndrome. As she stepped up to the table to take on the champ, I witnessed a beautiful moment of courage and connection. The ‘King’, usually witty and teasing in nature, switched his demeanor to one of pure warmth and compassion. As the girl struggled to aim and hit the ball, he encouraged, complimented and nurtured her. I was humbled by this display of empathy rarely seen among peer groups of today.

‘Courage doesn’t always roar.’

– Mary Radmatcher

Courage can be found in these simple acts of kindness that are often overlooked. Courage is witnessed in those whose endurance is often silent in strength. It is the father who is also ‘mother’ to his two children because ‘Mummy is with the angels now…’ It is the toilet attendant who escaped the bombs, and smiles though her eyes tell of heartache and loss… It is the paramedic who holds a strangers hands and comforts him during his final breaths…It is elderly gentleman working long into his retirement to ensure there is enough food to eat…It is the young girl that wakes before sunrise to care for her sick grandmother before school…

Today, let us not forget the courage and strength found in ordinary people. May we ease the suffering of others wherever possible and acknowledge that we are all in this together. Above all else, let us be kind. Because ‘the world may not acknowledge the courage of little people, but it would fall apart without their courage and endurance.’

In love & light,

Hayley xx

Love What You Do

love-what-you-do

As I sit here with gratitude overflowing, I couldn’t agree more with Katharine Graham’s statement. Today, I taught eighty-one kindergartens how to meditate and do yoga. Their smiling, peaceful faces were a picture of innocence and love. Afterwards, we silly danced to the Beach Boys Surfin USA as we played and laughed and giggled. As the children left, I was gifted with spontaneous hugs and ‘thank you’s’ for teaching them mindfulness. But the truth is, each day they are the ones teaching me. When in the company of children, how can we be anything but in the moment? And this is my daily work. I am so blessed and thankful to love what I do. How can anything else be more fun?

It wasn’t always this way. For a long time I was unfulfilled with my work. I felt it lacked purpose and meaning. But there is a quote by Kahlil Gibran which reminds us that it’s not necessarily what we do, but how we do it.

Work is love made visible.

– Kahlil Gibran

Although it certainly helps, we needn’t love what we do. But we do need to do it with love. When we work from a place of love, whatever our work may be, we breathe life into our work. Which in turn breathes life and meaning into what we do. When we operate from a place of grace and gratitude, we attract more abundance into our lives. Doors begin to open where before, there appeared to be none.

So today, have fun. Whether you are cooking, eating, gardening, cleaning, working, living, loving, laughing! – make each moment matter, and do it with love. Because ‘to love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything else be more fun?’

In love and light,

Hayley xx

10 Things Every Teaching Assistant Can Relate To

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Since today was national Teaching Assistant day in the UK – I thought I’d share some experiences that most fellow TA’s can probably relate to! And most parents and teachers alike come to think of it!

  1. Children love to hug spontaneously. This is beautiful (apart from when they are covered in paint/glue/snot!)
  2. Children can consume an alarming amount of bogies. It amazes me how they manage to conserve any room in their teeny weeny tummies for actual meals.
  3. Most TA’s will have experienced the painful moment when a child suddenly, and unsuspectingly, vacates their seat at the precise moment you walk passed their chair. Cue rigid, midget furniture plunging deep into soft fatty thigh tissue. Ouch.
  4. Which leads me nicely onto UCIB’s (Unidentified Child Inflicted Bruises). These are usually caused by children bashing you with their chair/ruler/shoe/cricket bat. It isn’t intentional…at least…I don’t think it is?! Children are also in the habit of standing on your foot/leg/chest/head if you happen to be in their way. To put it simply, children will try to walk through you instead of around you if you come between them and their toys.
  5. If you thought you were good at Maths, you haven’t worked in a 21st century Primary School. Children aged six and seven these days are not adding single digits and reciting their three times tables – no!!! They are performing long division, fractions, algebra, adding and subtracting with decimal places – they even know every single times table including their twelve’s!!! And they know them without the need for funny rhymes or mad methods of remembering!!!! They just know (Don’t ask me how – but they do.) That’s why during Maths, it pays to use the phrase ‘Why don’t you share how you arrived at that answer with the rest of the class? Y’know, so that we can celebrate that strangely advanced ninja robot brain of yours (and so that I can quickly grab a calculator to check the answer, of course?!)’
  6. Children are mini mistake correctors. If you say something wrong/spell something incorrect on the board/call somebody by the wrong name – they will immediately and simultaneously proceed to point out your error in a very loud and intimidating way. (Think thirty laughing pointing spell checkers yelling at you from your computer screen – minus the annoying red squiggle.)
  7. You often hear yourself saying the words ‘you should try to go to the toilet during break times and not during lesson times!’ Despite saying this – you let the child go pee. Partly because you don’t want to clean up the mess afterwards, but also because you yourself have ducked out of the classroom at least twice in the last hour to empty your over-caffeinated bladder; and you now feel like a bit of a hypocrite.
  8. People often comment on how wonderful it must be to have all those holidays and to get paid for colouring in and cutting out. Although it’s hard to resist, I would advise strongly against committing any acts of crime against these people (it will show up on your police check and you’re likely to be out of a job as a result.) Besides, it’s not their fault. They either don’t have children; hire a nanny; or are just of the view that all Teaching Assistants do is make paper dolls and sing nursery rhymes. Believe me – there is a reason why we have all those holidays!!!
  9. Which leads me onto my next point. If you didn’t drink alcohol before you became employed in a school – there is aee1a573aee30f88846f8d1a04080079b
    90% chance that you do now. If drinking at 3:30pm on a Friday was once unheard of – it has now become the norm for you and most of your friends (who by the way, also happen to be Teaching Assistants and Teachers.)
  10. Despite working shorter hours then most – you fall out of the doors feeling like you have been inside a washing machine on full spin. Yet with the random madness and unpredictability of the life of a TA; the pulls and the demands of the national curriculum; and the amount of clothes that you have had to throw out due to ‘spillages’ – there comes a responsibility and an emotional reward that far exceeds most other jobs you have experienced – and it is that which makes it all totally worthwhile 🙂

Happy national TA Day!

What would you add to this list?

“Not even a little kick?”

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Writing 101, Day Six: A Character-Building Experience
Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

Whilst twenty-nine sets of eyes face the front, attentive; one set of almond-green eyes sparkle and dance, fixated on an illusory picture show of magic and wonder. As the group engages in the classroom discussion; she occupies herself with unicorns and ponies, Powerpuff girls and Pokémon. As the children raise their hands in response to a question; she raises her brow in an astonished response to her heroin’s fanciful defeat.

I don’t know to where her vivid imagination transports her – only that her sweet, animated face radiates with contentment every time. It seems a shame to interrupt her reverie, to bring her back to the mundane.

Humour helps. Anything remotely comical will capture her attention and have her utterly gripped until it’s over. She loves all things yucky, and sticky and downright absurd. If you’d like her to count – count with pretend bogies made of play dough; if you want her to subtract – pretend to eat those bogies!!! If you need her to write a story – let her choose her own heroes and villains, and if she asks if it’s ok to kill off her arch enemy using ‘an epic fart blast!’ – say: “Yes! A trump gun is a fantastic idea! Now can you describe to me how horrific the stench was?!”

Her classic one liners often have the classroom doubled up with laughter. It’s her way of injecting fun into an otherwise boring topic. During a persuasive language lesson, when asked:
“How can we persuade Stoic not to kill the dragons?” Her response was:
“Beat him up!”
“Well, I’m not too sure we should be condoning violent behaviour…” And to that, her eyes twinkled as she replied sweetly;
“Not even a little kick?”

She loves all things magical and all things funny. There is often an empty seat where she should be sat. She can usually be found hidden in the book corner, immersed in a book, or skipping around the room, her eyes bright, her smile ignited with the joy that her private adventures bring.

It isn’t easy for her to express how she feels, this makes it hard for her to connect with her classmates on that deeper, personal level. Despite finding it hard to engage in social interactions, it is a task she is faced with daily, especially since the other children are so fascinated by her quick wit and humour, they want nothing more than to be her best friend. She finds this overwhelming. She becomes frustrated and loses her temper, often doing or saying the wrong thing. Afterwards, she becomes caught in a landslide of worry and regret; “What if they never forgive me?” “What if they hate me?” “But what if?” At times, there is just no consoling her. Of course, they always forgive, unlike adults, children rarely hold grudges for long.

One day, I asked: “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” Her reply?
“The power to make friends.”

She says I am her best friend. I am, in fact, her teacher. But in truth, she is the one teaching me – teaching me to see the world through the eyes of a child who lives with autism.

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