Meditation to Cope with Stress

I have been practising meditation for over ten years now and have reached a point in my spiritual journey where I feel peaceful almost all the time. Yes, I do feel stress because that is what happens when you live in the modern world. My husband is facing redundancy and job insecurity, and because he is the main income provider in our family, that is cause for concern. My eye condition is ever present, and mostly painful, but I manage it. And then there is the challenge of raising children and keeping our home and garden in some semblance of order and tidiness.

Today I will visit my local reiki group for some healing and support. It is a safe, comfortable space where I can relax and forget about the daily worries, if only for a couple of hours. It restores my mind to calm if I succumb to the anxiety that my husband feels. It helps me to cope with his depression and to remain supportive for our family, to the best of my ability. I still get wound up and shout at the children sometimes, but I am only human. I apologise when I am in the wrong, and they always know that they are loved and safe at home. And always there is my reiki energy healing. I am surrounded by love and light, and I am love and light. And I share this with you today, if you need it. Blessed be.

Witchy Wednesday SpookyMrsGreen

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How I Manage my Rare Genetic Disorder

You might have seen my previous blog posts about the rare genetic eye disorder that I live with. Over the years I have called it an illness, a disease, a pain in the backside, and a few other choice words that I won’t repeat here. I finally settled on referring to it as a rare genetic eye disorder, because that is basically it. My husband simply calls it my “freaky eye thing.” He is very supportive, as you can tell!

Well, on New Year’s Eve I found myself back at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital for a check-up at the Dry Eye clinic. I am registered as a patient with two clinics at the same hospital, the other one being Plastic Surgery. Since there is no need for me to have surgery at present, they passed me back over to the Dry Eye clinic to be monitored. That is all they can do now. My eyelashes continue to grow back on the insides of my eyelids, and I pull them out with tweezers when I can. I don’t produce enough natural tears, so I ease the pain with three types of eyedrops, an overnight eye ointment, and an eyewash product that seems to help.

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I did ask the doctor if there was much point in me returning to the hospital in Manchester for a ten-minute consultation where not much changes. I mean, yes, I do need the eye hospital. When my eyes are bad, I can barely move, let alone think straight, but I still have to take myself up to the hospital, which involves driving approximately thirty miles from home. I also asked the doctor whether I am still fit to drive, since I feel that I have struggled a lot more during the past few months than I used to. She assured me that all the tests show no further deterioration, and that I am fine. I don’t always feel fine, but at least the doctors seem to think so, and they know best, don’t they? Anyway, I will now be retained for twelve monthly appointments, just so they can monitor my condition and remove any ingrowing eyelashes that I can’t pull out myself.

Officially I have two diagnoses: Congenital distichiasis, and Bilateral dry eye symptoms. I have not yet met anybody with the same or similar symptoms. Occasionally I find someone who has Dry Eye Syndrome, usually caused by wearing contact lenses, but theirs is mild compared to mine. I have tiny plugs in my tear ducts to try and retain some natural lubrication, I have scars on both eyes from all the surgeries I had as a child, and from the scratching caused by ingrowing eyelashes over the years. I have tiny scars from eyelid rotation surgery that I had approximately ten years ago. And now I carry on as normal. My eyes are always sore. In fact, it is a rare day when they don’t hurt. Life is always a little bit blurry, and lights are just slightly too bright, especially those new LED ones. I have learned to live with it and keep on going. But I would love to speak with somebody that has distichiasis (apart from my brother and dad). Surely I can’t be the only one?

SMG Happy New Year

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Books Won’t Die!

The publishing industry has undergone massive change during the past decade or so. It seems that nowadays almost everybody can self-publish a book, and most people have done (hello!). Ultimately, we still strive for that elusive contract with a big publisher and all the trimmings, even though the reality is often far from the dream. However you publish your books, one thing is certain: books are immortal. Readers will always crave something new and will devour series after series in the quest for adventure and knowledge.

#theredcliffenovels 2018 series

When the Kindle was launched, and a whole range of e-readers appeared on the market, industry experts claimed that the good old paperback was dead. How wrong they were! I heard on the radio earlier this week that independent booksellers reported a boom in book sales during the Christmas 2018 period, a surprise result considering that high street stores are failing to meet targets and are closing at a rapid rate. I wonder if readers still like the feel and smell of a book? I know I do. I mean, yes, I love my Kindle, but truthfully, I read more physical books than eBooks. My Kindle is a useful, portable device that can fit in my handbag, but nothing beats a book. And I still love hardback books. Indeed, I dream of having my own novels published in hardback one day, if only to fulfill a long-held desire.

uf contemporary english gothic novels 2018

Do you still read? What is your preferred medium for a book? I’m still seeking an audience for #TheRedcliffeNovels series, and I am working on my new vampire hunter series of standalone novels. You can find the first two already published: Vampire of Blackpool and Return of the Vampire Hunter. I also write and publish short stories and the occasional poem. But I love books. I always will.

SMG Happy New Year

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It is OK to take a Break

This is the time of year when the world tells us that we must detox our bodies, refresh our minds, and do a million and one activities to care for ourselves. You know what I’m talking about: Dry January (no alcohol consumption for the month), Veganuary (a vegan diet for the month), gym membership, weight loss programmes, yoga, Pilates, jogging, running, walking, the list is endless. By the time you have tried to organise your schedule to do even a couple of these activities, you are exhausted and depressed.

Look at everyone out there doing the fitness regime, landing a cool new job, booking a fancy holiday. Why can’t you do all of that? The truth is that we cannot do everything. We are human beings, and while we are an intelligent species, we often forget the basics. Everyone needs to rest. So many people struggle with sleep deprivation, insomnia, anxiety and OCD, and all they do is try more activity, more exercise, more diets and more of whatever society tells them to do.

Stop. Just stop. Take a deep breath. Roll your shoulders and force them to lower a little. Do you hear those creaks and cracks? That is how tense you are, and you don’t need to be. Put down the devices, switch off the TV, listen to some soothing music if you feel the need. Lie in a darkened room and clear your mind. None of that stuff is important at this exact moment in time. All that matters right now is your personal well-being. If you are tired, rest. If you are hungry, eat. Above all else, listen to your instinct. Your body and your mind know what is best for you. And you can take a break when the world coerces you to hurry. Relax!

SMG Happy New Year

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Back to School

Hello! Are you back to school and work today after a nice Christmas holiday? Perhaps you continued to work all through Christmas, so nothing is different. Perhaps you have an extra day off and don’t return to school until tomorrow. My daughters returned to school late last week, having finished earlier before Christmas. We had a lovely, relaxed break, and now we are ready to get back into routine and see what the new year brings.

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New Year’s Day on Talacre Beach, North Wales

I am incredibly thankful to be returning to school as normal, having enjoyed time as a family. It is almost a year since my elder daughter contracted an ear infection that proved almost deadly, and life could have turned out so differently. Fortunately, we acted fast, we had the right medical teams in the right places at the right time, and she is happy and healthy, apart from a few growing pains. This year I begin without any fixed resolutions. Last year I was obsessed with moving house. In previous years I have focused more on my writing, my blog growth, my career development. Now I don’t feel a desperate urge to make anything happen. It is all progressing as it should, and I will continue to do what I do, and not expect or intend for any miracle solutions. We are happy, healthy, and strong.

SMG Happy New Year

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Did you have a Lonely Christmas?

Happy New Year! I know you might by wondering why I ask such a strange question in the title, but I have a point, and here it is: are you still searching for The One? Or maybe just The One for Now? Many people will have spent the Christmas holiday with friends or family members, or perhaps both, and other people will have spent Christmas alone and lonely. Sometimes all you need is that one significant other, that person with whom you can be intimate and honest, and who can give you all the pleasure and love that you crave. Have you checked your online dating profiles recently?

If you have tried online dating, and you have profiles and accounts with different websites, then now would be a good time for some spring cleaning. Make it your New Year’s Resolution to clear out the rubbish, tidy up your profile descriptions, and add some fresh, new photos. Think about it. If your profile photo on the dating websites is a picture taken about five years ago, then it won’t be accurate. The quality will most likely be poor as well, especially if it was taken on a mobile phone. Why not search through your recent photos, perhaps from your Christmas parties in 2018, or your New Year’s Eve celebrations? Even just a simple selfie can make a whole lot of difference to someone seeking love. In fact, it might be the one thing that makes you stand out from all the others. It would be genuine, fresh, and interesting.

We all feel better when we have a good clear-out, whether that be physical junk from your home or office, or emotional baggage that weighs you down. The same can be said for your websites and blogs. I make a point to refresh and update my websites at least once a year, or even once every six months, because it makes me feel better personally. When you use dating sites UK you compete with thousands of hopeful single people, all with the same goal. You can stand out from them if you change your personal descriptions, your hobbies and experiences, even making sure that your location and job details are accurate. So, come on, what are you waiting for? Perhaps you have a few days of annual leave with some time to kill. Perhaps it is still quiet at work, that strange limbo where you have a skeleton staff to keep the place ticking over until normal service resumes. Use your time wisely. Update your dating profiles, take a risk and be more honest. Maybe you withheld some information previously for fear of data breach or personal insecurities. Now is the time to throw caution to the wind, be daring, and put yourself out there. You will not find love by sitting at home and twiddling your fingers. You must get out there, both online and in person. Be brave!

SMG Happy New Year

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Happy New Year from SpookyMrsGreen!

Happy New Year, my friends! I trust that you enjoyed a relaxing festive holiday, and that you are ready for the New Year. Usually I would use this time to plan all of my ambitions for the next twelve months, but I have decided not to do that this year. No New Year resolutions for this lady! Instead I will continue to do what makes me happy, support my family and friends as much as I can, and enjoy the experience of life. And lots of writing, of course. See you in 2019!

SMG Happy New Year

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We had a Colourful Christmas!

Hello there, how are your festivities going? We enjoyed a lovely, relaxed Christmas and Boxing Day at home, and this year it is all about the crafty gifts. I received a new mindfulness colouring book and a set of pencils, and my daughters have an array of craft kits, paper packs, pens, pencils, paints, knitting and all sorts of accessories. But I think they were most excited with the cardboard play houses that they received from grandparents. My eldest daughter has a fairy house, and my younger daughter has a fun play house, both of which will take a fair bit of colouring in. My husband was most amused when he came home from work and found me sitting on the floor colouring in a unicorn on the side of a house!

We Had a Colourful Christmas SpookyMrsGreen

 

We love crafts. We love creating something cute and colourful, we love giving hand crafted cards and gifts to people, and we love the freedom to play with stickers and glue, card shapes, sequins, sparkly toppers and patterned papers. I am already looking forward to the Hobbycraft show in Manchester next February, and in the meantime, I am on a mission to thin down my craft stash, so that I can go shopping for more. Today my daughters and I will continue to colour in their play houses, and I might dig out my scrapbooks and do some more work on them, now that I have finally organised my craft cupboards and can access everything more easily after moving house. Here’s to a colourful New Year!

dav

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Merry Spooky Christmas! #ChristmasMovies

Merry Christmas, my friends! I have spent the weekend with my family, and in true Hargreaves tradition (my maiden name), I sat up late and watched a scary ghost movie with my mum on Saturday night. It was Winchester, if you are interested, and we watched it on Netflix. I highly recommend it for those that are interested in social history and spiritualism. It had just the right amount of humour as well, conveying a deep message about the human soul, but still reminding us that it was entertainment.

 

Now we are back at home and preparing to spend the first Christmas in our new home. Today I will prepare my offering for Christmas dinner, which involves potatoes and a Quorn roast (I am vegetarian, my family are not), and I am trying to persuade the children that we should go for a walk while the sun is shining – they are not convinced! For now I may disappear from social media while I traverse the chaos of Christmas with a young family. Ho, ho, ho!

Merry Christmas! from SpookyMrsGreen

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12 Tips for A Merry Vegan Christmas At Gousto

There’s nothing better than sharing quality time and quality food with the ones you love at Christmas. But if you’re eating an all vegan diet this time of year can be tough to navigate. None of us likes to be a bother (especially on Christmas day) and it can be a bit of an emotional minefield declining to partake of your mother’s famous turkey dinner (“what do you mean you’re not having any? It’s Christmas!”) or your in-laws special trifle (“just have a little bowl”).

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Likewise, if you’re playing host to vegan friends and family for the first time, deciding what to serve can be a real challenge. Animal-derived ingredients are often present in foods where you really don’t expect to see them. Pesto (includes cheese) and Worcestershire sauce (made with anchovies) are prime examples of this, but there are even some brands of sugar and beer that include animal products.

With this in mind, we thought we’d share a few tips to make sure everyone sat around your Christmas table gets their fill of delicious festive flavours this year! Read all 12 tips here.

Free-for-All Friday SpookyMrsGreen

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