No Toys Challenge

My kids are always bored with the toys they have, they play with it for a day and then thats it, they forget about it. Instead they opt to laze around, watch the telly, draw or play on the phone. Nonetheless, their eyes light up whenever we pass toy stores, and their wish lists for their birthday, becomes never-ending.

I have found that the more they have, the less imaginative they are, when they have no toys. They keep complaining they have nothing to do, or don’t know how to have fun unless directed by me.

If I tell them go to your room and have free play they ask ‘and do what?’. I’m stunned, they have a zillion more toys than I ever had. I remember having one toy or maybe two in the history of my childhood. But I never once went complaining to my mom that I was bored! If I had gone to my mom, she would’ve laughed in my face. Boredom was not a thing growing up, it was a none issue. You just deal.

I tell my kids how we used to play teachers, banks, post office, cooking up mud Mississippi pies, tea parties, with absolutely no commercial toys. We just had our imagination scraps of paper, unwanted kitchen junk, water, rock, grass and the world was our oyster.

So I’m on this quest, to inspire my kids into believing, that you don’t need things to have fun if you’ve got imagination nothing can limit you.

Here is a list of games I came up with my kids

  1. Memory game
  2. Musical statues
  3. Musical chairs
  4. Duck Duck Goose
  5. Having a grass/leaf/snow fight
  6. Making daisy chains
  7. Going on a bug hunt
  8. Building Sandcastles
  9. Writing words in the sand
  10. Making designs in rice tray
  11. Get creative recycle junk to make something else
  12. Pairing socks game using stop watch (inspired by sorting out laundry)
  13. Pairing shoes (inspired by the pile of shoes I have to clear up everyday)
  14. Picking straws – pile them up and remove one at a time without disturbing the others
  15. Making bubbles with milk shake
  16. Throwing socks in a laundry basket
  17. Noughts n crosses
  18. Hop scotch 
  19. Tag
  20. Stuck in the mud
  21. Bull dog – run from one side of the garden to the other without getting caught. Once caught you join the catchers till all runners are caught out.
  22. What’s the time Mr Fox
  23. Making bubbles with washing up liquid and a straw
  24. Water fight with plastic bottles cups plates tubs and whatever else you can find.
  25. Making a fort with pillows blankets sheets
  26. Pretend to camp outside,inside
  27. Going on a treasure hunt making a map with clues
  28. Blind fold game directing player by giving instructions
  29. Hot and cold game (hide something only giving clues if they are hot or cold)
  30. Charades
  31. Name that tune game
  32. Eye spy
  33. Guess who – act out someone from the family or friends
  34. 20 questions
  35. Hide and seek
  36. Obstacle course
  37. Make a collage with things from outside72okqsu7ggm-annie-spratt
  38. Step on shadow chase
  39. Walking on lines game
  40. Talent show
  41. Fashion show
  42. Chinese whispers
  43. ‘Home alone’ inspired operation get the burglar plan making booby traps
  44. Make your own board game
  45. Make your own magazine/ book
  46. Rock Paper Scissors
  47. Clapping games a sailor went to sea sea sea
  48. Make up songs
  49. Pretend to be a spy/ detective / pirate

What games did you play as a child that didn’t require any materials except what you had lying around and your imagination? I would love to know the fun games you used to play!

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Girl Power Book Wish List

Now that I’ve gotten the reading bug, after a decade of exile from Bookdom, I have been creeping on a few books, that I can’t wait to get my hands on. It’s no coincidence that my reading list is dominated by books written by strong badass women. I tend to be drawn to non-fiction, this is partly because I want to be in the company of these fierce women, as explained in my previous post Books: People I Want to Hang Out With. Although I don’t completely shy away from fiction, I only choose books that I know have a underlying message, that I can take away from the book. I love productive books, that have a self help element to it and a life lesson attached, so these are the kind of books you will see feature heavily in my list.

So, here are my Girl Power books wish list for 2017. I hope to write up follow up posts as and when I read them, so watch out for them.

 

The Gutsy Girls by Caroline Paul

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I first heard about Caroline Paul on the Tim Ferris show where she was being interviewed, she was so inspiring in her adventurous and somewhat fearless life, that I just had to get my hands on this book. I have two girls who of no fault of their own, are very cautious, maybe because both my husband and I are very hesitant in letting our kids venture off on their own without shouting ‘careful!’ behind them. They are very timid at taking risks because we don’t allow them to. We live in very different times where gadgets are the corner stone to boredom breakers in a kids eyes. Hopefully this book will give me a few pointers on how to loosen up and remember how being a kid was, as its a necessary step. How to judge on your own, the risks, assessing and exploring without always being ‘careful’.

 

We Should All Be Feminists

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Why I want this book, is pretty self explanatory. We should all be feminist, I already believe this. I am not a man hater far from it, but I am a human lover. For centuries women have been short changed. Its a question of, are we not the same? If it were not for women we wouldn’t be here, and vice versa we can not function without the other. Both sexes are reliant of the other for the survival of our species yet only one is given the upper hand. I was initially recommended the Ted Talks by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche were she delivers a powerful speech that has been viewed over 3 million times.  I can’t wait to have this in my collection and hand it down to my young girls.

 

Lean in By Sheryl Sandberg

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I am an aspiring entrepreneur, so naturally I gravitated towards this book. Written by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, she is an inspiration to women, who want that work and life balance. Working moms who juggle both realms  are superhuman. Can it really be possible, to have it all, without having one side slip up?

Quiet by Susan Cain

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As a person who is naturally introverted, preferring quiet to noise, I’m interested at what this book has to say. I believe we all have each our own qualities, as extroverts and introverts alike. Its refreshing to finally see a book that puts the spotlight on introverts, when extroverts have managed to blow the self promoting trumpet for so long.

 

Have you read any of these books on my wish list? Let me know in the comments below which you recommend and any other girl power or self help books you think are worth a read.

 

 

30 Ways to Self Love

There’s always time for self love no matter how insignificant it might seem, it is so necessary. Taking time out to take care of yourself daily is crucial to your well being both mentally and physically. You and I have lots of responsibilities and duties to be fulfilled, but if mama ain’t happy then the kids are not happy. You are of no use to anyone, if you grudgingly get through your day, so don’t think of it as being selfish, you are doing a favour on the world!

Here are some quick simple pick me ups to keep you bouncing everyday.

  1. Drink water blah blah blah I know everyone says it but we STILL forget, so just do it. Keep a litre bottle of water filled everyday and see how much you have been sipping on. Keep it visible so you are reminded all day.
  2. Go to the toilet when you need it, don’t put it off, seriously it’s the little things and yes the world can wait!
  3. Dress up, get out of your pyjamas, even if you are not planning on going out. So often I lounge all day in my sleepwear, that neither do I want to go out nor do I want people coming to my house. Get out of the funk, change your clothes first thing and be ready for the day.
  4. Wear makeup, not because you intend to go out or to impress someone or because your face is hideous, but the extra effort you make on your appearance, you feel good inside that you made your self ready to seize the day. It doesn’t need to be layers of war paint, it can just be that you put on a moisturiser and lip balm if thats what makes you feel put together. Don’t be a zombie with drool on your face all day, that is all.
  5. Have a coffee/tea drink whatever floats your boat in a special ‘go to’ nook. It makes all the difference, trust me, that 2 minutes of absolute bliss is like a head massage without hands.
  6. Get a massage, Oh my God just do it! Head, neck, foot, full body or whatever you can, your body will be singing after.
  7. Accept compliments that come your way, don’t back hand them, but don’t fill up with pride either. Just acknowledge the exchange of good towards good, simple.
  8. Smile and don’t tell me you have nothing to smile about, make yourself smile, you maniac!
  9. Read books… Think… Expand… Grow.
  10. Paint your nails not because you are girly or because you aren’t, but again the time you spent in just applying polish, being mindful, of not getting it all over the place and waiting impatiently or patiently, is a little more time spent on yourself and thats a good thing so do it and feel all sparkly and shit.
  11. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, it will do wonders for you and it’s free.
  12. Eat your food outside, be it on a balcony, or in the garden and if its too cold for that, at least crack open a window.
  13. Kick some leaves about, find your inner child and let your hair down. Don’t always be so uptight, remember how rolling on grass felt? Splashing in puddles? If you can’t, it’s time you did. Refresh that memory of when life was simple and you just wanted a to have fun.
  14. Slap some face mask on, let it soak in, get all glowy.
  15. Eat the last piece of cake.
  16. Eat the first piece of cake.
  17. Drink slowly.
  18. Eat slowly, mothers must be laughing right now, but yeh its a thing.
  19. Wear clothes that make you feel confident, not sexy they are not necessarily the same thing.
  20. Plan your clothes the night before, lay them out, come on girl you got this
  21. Moisturise like crazy and feel like a million bucks. You may want to do this last thing at night, as you don’t wanna look like a shiny lightbulb.
  22. Exfoliate polish let that inner glow shine.
  23. Comb your hair! Twenty something year olds most be grossing out right now, but mama aint got time and so mama needs reminding.
  24. Try out a new hairstyle, go on live on the edge.
  25. Breathe inhale (through your nose)…1…2…3…4…5…6…7 exhale…1…2…3…4…5…6…7 (through your mouth) repeat till you get bored.
  26. Read a book I know I said that already but I’m serious.
  27. Clean up and declutter, a clean and clutter free house is a clean and clutter free mind. You want to have clear thoughts, new ideas, get out the funk get your environment in order. If this mean simply doing your bed in the morning, loading the dishwasher, keeping the sink free of dishes just do that. It’s these little habits that only take a minute to do but can burden us if we let it accumulate if we start to slack.
  28. Say hello or smile at random non creepy people in a non creepy way.
  29. Keep a journal, be your own cheerleader, write down what you are grateful for as reminders to how awesome life is. Write down your goals, be grateful that you have goals, something to live for, something strive to for.
  30. Learn a new skill. When was the last time you learnt something? May be you have a talent that has gone unnoticed, explore new things and reach goals you’ve been putting off, one little step each day and you’ll be happier for it.

What ways do you give more time to yourself? I would love to know in the comments below.

Books: People I Want to Hang Out With

I’ve recently realised how much I have missed reading books. This is mainly because, I don’t get the luxury of sitting in a place more than 5 minutes, without being summoned or tugged at by my three delightful kids. I let my book reading obsession dwindle for a decade and only recently I thought you know what? I will be wild, and I will buy a book and see if I can manage to read it! I know, crazy mom living on the edge, right? I had deprived myself of books for so long that when I went in a bookstore I spent hours musing over shelves and shelves of books I want to read, I realised how much I missed it. It felt so satisfying to own a book after so long, with no added feeling of guilt that it won’t be used because I just couldn’t wait to sit and read and read and read. I romanticised in my head how I will read to the wee hours till I finish one in one sitting, like I did as a teenager. I would read one book after another like a monkey clasping at branches swinging through a jungle. Oh but wait, those days are gone! I barely read a sentence before getting interrupted. At night when I have less disturbances, all I can manage is a couple of pages before conking out, from sheer exhaustion of the long day.

I have been hunting out more bookstores and creeping on books that I want to read and absorb in an instant. Actually scrap that, I don’t want to absorb the words in an instant, I want to brew in the pages. I love the journey of growth and the change of mindset where you get the ‘ah ha’ moment. However, my list of things I want read is taking over my notes, I really need to increase my reading speed somewhere in between an instant and a page a day. So I have promised myself more reading, less Netflix and mindless social media trawling and instead, I will try to substitute it with clasping at my books.

Reading a book, an actual book with pages, no kindle nonsense, has such a calming effect on me. It might be because we are surrounded by touch screens and bright lights and gadgets and gizmos all the time, that a simple book gives a breathe of life to such tech concentrated lives. It maybe that its nostalgic and reminds me of my childhood. Or it could just be that I like the idea of being bookish and geeky.  Whatever the reason it feels great to read. It feels like I’m actively participating in conjuring up images in my head. In grasping the ideas. There is no dumbing down of ideas to manipulate the masses, like news and social media. It doesn’t feel like I am cramming my brain with mindless junk.

So anyway the point to this isn’t that I love reading, of course l love it! It goes hand in hand with my coffee, like a perfect friendship. Not marriage, because I am married to coffee, no one and nothing can take that place. No, the reason why I write this is because books have filled that gapping hole in my life where I meet people that I actually want to be around. The like minded warrior women that I wish I was friends with. The women that inspire me to be better, to raise my standard, to aim higher, to not accept mediocre, to not sabotage myself and those women empower me, those women are my tribe. The books that I choose are full of information that I want to indulge in. I am learning, I’m surrounding myself with great thinkers, I’m being exposed by their life wisdom. When I pick up a book I hear the authors’ voice as they cram their lives into the little pages. I feel their presence, the books ARE the authors’, they ARE the people I want to hang out with.

So here’s my list of books/ people I’d most like to hang out with. No surprise then, my list comprises of non fiction books written by fierce influential women.

1. ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai.

Wow this is such a powerful book. As a woman and a mother of two daughters I am drawn to Malala’s gutsy story naturally. At such a young age she is such a strong and bold thinker. I was curious to know how she was shaped into being so brave and outspoken. I wanted to know how she was different to any of the thousand of girls who were in her shoes. Out of so many pakistanis who duck their heads daily from menacing threats that hang over them for basic rights such as  education how did she became so fearless? In the western world so many people live in a situation that they hate and it might not be life threatening but they just put up with it. Malala doesn’t. Even when it means risking her own life. She is a stark reminder to all of us that we do not have to go with the mainstream. We can fight against it, even if we are one voice. As long as we have free will we have choice and it might feel like a mammoth task but we should never forget that we have a voice and we should never fail to us it. The people of power threaten to silence one voice because they know it will lead to people raising their own voice. They go to so much trouble in weeding out people because they know the power of a single voice and what it inspires. So next time when you think that you are not enough to change your situation remind yourself that you are. One person can change your world don’t wait for a hero, be your own hero.

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I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World

2. ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Ms Gilbert captivates the masses with her style of writing. I was hooked by ‘Eat Pray Love’ which I haven’t seen the movie or read the book but listened to the audio book, which I am not ashamed to admit. Im a obsessive book lover as you may have noticed and so didn’t think I would like audiobooks. So when I experienced my first audiobook with ‘Eat Pray Love’ I was like oh yes! Maybe because I had no time to read and thought this is a great way into listening to so many books in so little time. Or maybe because Lizzie is a badass story teller that she made the experience so much more enjoyable. So anyway I digress the fact is I became a fangirl of Liz and her great charismatic charm that I had to just know what she wants to say in Big Magic. This book may feel like that its just for creatives but its not. Its for everyone. Everyone, that is who wants to bring a dose of magic into their lives. She talks about creativeness as being spiritually guided and I can see how it is good for the soul. Her tone is conversational throughout and she gives a straight talk with no BS of how you shouldn’t fear living a creative life. We self sabotage ourselves into a negative spiral of how we cannot possibly do something before the idea even takes of the ground. We are our own worst enemy and we should silence that demon inside our head and do whatever we feel like doing that makes us feel alive. Run with an idea and see wear it leads you, take the leap you never know where you will end up without trying. Pick up passions that you left dormant its never to late. What is life if not a series of moments where we took chances than 70 years of doing the same thing over and over.

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Being creative means letting go of your own fears of failing.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

3. ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown.

I first stumbled across Brene on Ted Talks where she was total badass researcher. She’s a funny witty and strong woman, I was sold. I want her in my gang. So I picked up Rising Strong expecting it to be about how to raise my girls in a bold way. This book isn’t about how not to be vulnerable but by facing up to our vulnerability we conquer it and rise above it so that it doesn’t paralyse us. By showing our vulnerability we are being more open and genuine not just to other people but to ourselves. we are living a real life and not a charade of who we should be with an armour that shrouds us everyday that we are scared to be ourselves. i grew up in a home where we hardly talked about our feelings our emotions till it came catastrophically crashing down. We never gave out hugs to each other growing up or said I love you. If we had a problem we would bury it inside and deal with it ourselves thus never exposing our vulnerability. By doing this we isolated ourselves from the people that actually love us. This book brings back so many emotions for me of how vulnerability is not a bad thing and it can actually make you a better person.

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No fear of being vulnerable, you are now unstoppable.

Rising Strong

Those are my companions for now who hang with me in my down time. My tribe will grow and I will write about them if and when I meet them. Till then let me know in the comments who is in your gang? Who do you hang with and can I borrow them?