Writing Challenge Theme: Reflection

Writing Challenge Theme: Reflection

I recently wrote that I am taking part in the March 30 day writing challenge. 22 days in and I have completed *cough* one task, by writing a long list of reasons why I am supposedly amazeballs. Unsurprisingly, sticking to a deadline wasn’t on there.
While reading through the list of themes I have yet to complete, reflection really stuck out for me; mainly because it’s something I both love and hate to do.
I truly believe it is important to reflect on how far we’ve come in whatever journey we are on. Reflection helps us to keep focus and continue knowing we are so far from where we started. However, as someone who has suffered/suffers from anxiety at varying levels, reflecting back can often trigger feelings of worry and guilt about what I could have done better or differently in the past.


A wise man (my dad) once told me that we should only ever glance at the past, never stare.
These words blew my mind, and they are now words I live by.
In the spirit of reflection and avoiding hurling myself into a spiral of self-doubt, I have decided to use this post and theme to reflect on three things that have brought me happiness over the years.

First and foremost, having kids is top of the list. Is it corny? Yes. Do I care? No. While they have caused me great anxiety, guilt, and pain over the years (labour, in particular, stung like a bitch) they are without a doubt, my greatest joys. Not only do I burst with jubilation at their confidence and individuality (something that I never had at their age) I cherish the fact that they make me a better person. Giving birth to my first child a few months after my 20th birthday was possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I was just a kid myself. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Over the years though, my children have shaped my personality into the loving, caring, slightly bonkers woman sat writing this blog post. When I look at the married mother of 3 I am now, compared with the petrified 20-year-old single mum I started out as it is a journey I’m proud of.


Next up on my reflective list of joys through the years has to be music. There isn’t a single scenario or feeling that can’t be relived through music. Births, deaths, and everything in between. For me, memories are anchored to music. When my son was born, the theatre staff had the radio on, and Madonna’s ‘Holiday’ was blasting out. I remember the upbeat rhythm of the song calmed me. When we attended my auntie’s funeral last year, we exited the crematorium to Take That’s ‘Rule The World’ and I took comfort in knowing it was a song she loved. ‘Times Like These’ by the Foo Fighters takes me back to Leeds Fest which I attended for the day with my dad (the coolest dad in the world) just to see Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins playing live. It was magical, and something i’ll never forget.


Finally, a source of great joy and comfort to me has been my husband. I kissed a lot of frogs before I found a prince and I consider myself extremely lucky to have found a kind-hearted, fun and caring gentleman. He walked into my life when I was at a low point and has spent years building me back up with love, support, positivity, and encouragement. Make no mistake, he’s not perfect, nobody is. However, he deserves a huge shout out for everything he is and does, as a dad and a husband. I credit him for giving me the confidence to take the huge step towards my own dreams. With his support and encouragement, I returned to education and I’m now one year off getting my BA. The world is scary, life is tough but there is nobody I’d rather weather the storm with than him.

So, there we have it. A reflective look at the people and things that have brought me joy over the years. Do you have anything different? What brings you joy? How do you feel about reflecting on moments and parts of your life?
Let me know in the comments.

The theme of this post was set by the fabulous MyTalesFromTheCrib who you can find on Instagram. She has some amazing writing theme ideas. Check her out!

Life in our house is about to get less hectic as we move into the Half Term/Easter break. With no lessons or assignments due I am hoping to be able to work my way through more writing challenges and post more family and budget-friendly recipe ideas.
Keep checking back and stay safe wherever you are.

Until next time…
Hannah XO

Five Pieces of Advice I Would Give My Younger Self

Five Pieces of Advice I Would Give My Younger Self

Having just turned thirty, I have found that I have spent a lot of time recently reflecting on my twenties. There has been an abundance of highs and lows. Although they got off to a rocky start, my twenties have given me so much that I am grateful for. The decade of my twenties has gifted me three wonderful and spirited children, a loving husband, a settled home and has set me on a journey to gaining a degree in young children’s learning and development. The degree in particular was something I thought was well beyond my reach.

I started my twenties as a single pregnant girl, still living at home with her parents. I say girl because I was so young and clueless. I’d had so many plans, a job lined up in London, I was going to travel and see the world. I planned to live my life like they do in all of the movies where the young and naïve girl leaves her small town, struggles for a short while, then finds her flow, then finds love, then stands in the ocean, maybe has a trip to a vineyard and then gets a happily ever after with a tall and brooding fella with dark hair and a penthouse. It was going to be amazing. I was an absolute idiot because for a split second at the age of 19, I actually thought that it could happen! Fool!

When I found out I was pregnant my entire path changed. Everything that I thought I would do changed and in the space where the dream had been, was a tiny human who needed all of my time and attention. As I progressed through my early twenties, life threw me some serious curveballs. My self-esteem and confidence plummeted. All of my self-worth and self-belief was stripped from me through a long run of difficult times.

It wasn’t until I met my husband that things started to change for the better. I didn’t need to believe in myself because he believed in me. Over time and as our relationship blossomed, I regained so much of my old self and life changed again for the better. I have entered my thirties, happy & healthy with three beautiful children, a lovely home and a future that I thought was long gone.

Here are five bits of advice I would love to give my younger self.

Accept Your Body (it is amazing – even the chunky bits!)

So much of my twenties was spent dieting. Oh. My. Days. I tried every fad diet going, and for what!? To deny myself and be miserable. I would love to be able to tell my younger self that as long as you’re healthy it doesn’t matter what shape you are. My second and third pregnancies both resulted in C-Sections, so I have the infamous ‘tummy pouch’. I shed so many tears over my ‘disgusting belly’ when what I should have been focusing on was that my body had done what it was designed for. I have grown not one, not even two, but three humans! A younger me should have appreciated the magic of that a lot more. It is particularly important to teach our children that our worth is not tied to our weight.

Budget Better!

So many of my problems when I was younger came from poor financial decisions. I was young when I left home with my daughter. I hadn’t a clue about family budgets, how to organise my money and what I should be saving or where I should be buying things from. I suppose for most, this comes from experience. Sometimes we have to fail a few times to learn. I am by no means financially secure (even at 30) however, I have learnt so much about budgets. Every penny that comes into my bank is accounted for. I know what, when and exactly (to the penny) how much is going in and out of my account. I am a seriously savvy shopper and I make sure that any treats (big or small) are factored into our budget. For anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation or financial difficulty, seek help immediately. There are so many companies, apps and charities that can help with financial struggles and budgeting. The biggest thing that I learnt when I did finally reach out for help with my finances was that I wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last to be in that situation. Remember that help is always available.

Enjoy Your Own Company

This is a big thing I wish I would have appreciated more while I was young. Before I met my husband, I lived for a long time as a single mum. I hated it. Once my children were in bed, I felt lost. My entire world revolved around them. I didn’t know how to be alone. If I could go back, I would tell myself that it is important to be able to be in your own company. I would have done some online courses, taken up a hobby, or just enjoyed the peace. After my husband and I began living together and then welcomed our son to the mix, all chances of alone time disappeared. I miss it. It’s true that you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone. I would kill to get back all those nights I spent not knowing what to do with myself. I can’t even go to the toilet now without a small person tracking me down.

Aim Higher

At the age of 28 I took a huge leap and returned to education. I achieved a variety of things within the jobs that I’d had, however, every job I ever had was just that. A job. There was never any thrill or spark for what I was doing. After returning to education I had so much regret that I hadn’t done it sooner. My lack of confidence in my early twenties really held me back. For anyone feeling like they can’t do something, just do it! Aim high and if you miss, jump up and try again. If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to follow passion. I’m late to the game for this, it’s better late than never I suppose. They say that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. I could not agree more. I cannot wait to qualify and start my career as a teacher, I just wish I would have taken the leap sooner. It sounds corny to say that if I can do it anyone can. I will say it though, if I can do this (return to education and balance a five person household) ANYONE can do it! So aim high and don’t let anything or anyone hold you back.


Don’t Be Worried to Say No to People (be a bit selfish)

Does anyone else live with an incessant need to people please? All through my twenties, and I’m ashamed to say, ever so slightly now in my thirties, I have a really hard time saying no to people. So many times, I have found myself in situations, in places or doing things that I just don’t want to do. I always thought that saying no to somebody meant I was being selfish. It does not mean that at all! I cannot stress this enough. Over the years I have got better at indulging selfishness. When I say selfish, I don’t mean that I stomp around like a self-entitled, egocentric nitwit, who only does what she wants to do. No. What I mean is I don’t do things just to keep other people happy. An example is that in my people pleasing days, if I got invited out with friends, I would go out. Regardless of whether I wanted to, or could afford to, I went, because I didn’t want to let my friends down. Now, if I get invited out, I will ask myself whether I want to go and if I don’t or can’t I simply say, ‘no thanks, not this time’. It sounds like such a small factor, but it has made such a massive difference to me. My life is so much easier now I have stopped ‘people pleasing’. Honestly, it is not your job to keep the world happy. Focus on yourself and your own tribe and you will not go far wrong.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that my time machine is on the blink, I can’t go back and give myself all of this amazing advice. However, I can share it with all of you. Even if one person takes something away from my wistful musings, the past ten years and all the mistakes I made will stand for something. Although I didn’t get the world travels, feet in the ocean, vineyard finish to my story. I am ever so grateful for the struggles I have been dealt, because without them, I wouldn’t be where I am or as happy as I am now.  Life is a funny old thing.

Until next time….

Hannah XO