Welcome to another week of food for thought and acting positively with Best Boot Forward. As ever, you are really welcome to link up any blog post which is about your life and how you endeavour to live well and proactively even on the trickier days.

Food For Thought

This week I was lacking in inspiration so grabbed a pain au chocolat which got me thinking about food generally.

Here are some questions to reflect on but don’t feel tied down by them. They are only ever there to help. Tackle one, all or none of them as you see fit. You do not have to answer them to join in with the Best Boot Forward linky.

  1. What has given you food for thought this week about your life or the position of women in society?
  2. Who would you say is “food for the soul” in your life?
  3. What is your relationship with food and is it a healthy one?
  4. If you could have 5 people alive or dead around your dinner table tonight, who would you choose?

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Well, that’s it from me for this week and I hope these questions are useful to you in some way.

As always you can answer one or all of them in a blog post, on our Facebook group or just in your own heart and head.

If you are moving forward positively in your life, please blog about it and link up.

BESTBOOTFORWARD LINKY RULES:

1. Add a backlink to this post using #bestbootforward and fear not, our badge is coming soon!

2. Please comment on this post and the one from Chloe at Indigo Wilderness and at least one other. Obviously the more you comment, the better and it is a super way to get to know other people and to interest them in your blog.

3. Link as many posts as you like so long as they are about you moving your life forward positively in some way.

4. The linky is open for a week so there is plenty of time to link up.

5. Tag myself @kateonthinice and Chloe at @IndigoChlo on Twitter for a Retweet with #Bestbootforward

Link up below and we would LOVE to have you!

”My

I am reviewing my 2018 goals this week as the first quarter of the year is well and truly over and Spring has sprung and all that. I am counting myself lucky that I have made progress and that I have the backing of the wonderful Best Boot Forward community.

Boundaries

Physical and mental wellbeing in 2018

I wanted to lose weight and am so pleased to say I have succeeded on this front largely by cutting down on red meat I think and only drinking alcohol very rarely at home. I eat when I am hungry and that seems to work well.

I have experimented with some veggie cooking but want to do more of that. I have a recipe book and can highly recommend celeriac chips!

My mental health is good on the whole except when I take on too much and get over-tired. I have done nothing about yoga and mindfulness but I can remind myself of that now and make positive progress.

Time out/Respite in 2018

I am still juggling a lot. I am still not good at asking for help rather than ranting that the bulk of housework falls on me. My husband tends to pick the jobs he likes doing like washing and cooking. I think I should write down what I do and then share out the tasks a bit. All tips welcome on this score because the truth is I should have started this whole process decades ago and didn’t.

I enjoy walking the dogs but do tend to go with other people and perhaps need more solitude from time to time. Having said that I have recently put a bed in a spare room downstairs so that I can see me time and uninterrupted sleep when the mood takes me.

Work and money in 2018

Work is going well.

I am ensuring I treat myself regularly. I am enjoying this immensely after years of putting everyone else first.

Image and style in 2018

I am experimenting with fashion and a lot of my treats now are clothing for my new suddenly busy social life. Recently I have invested in a lovely blue and striped dressing gown, a khaki embellished jacket and several fun T-shirts. My daughter has suddenly re-awakened her love for all things fashion so we have decided to have regular girly shopping weekends.

Relationships in 2018

My marriage is happier than it was a the start of the year. Perhaps more importantly, I feel less dependent and more capable. I guess this is a work in progress one so I will leave it at that for now.

I have a great social life now with new friends and much laughter. I do want to expand on the things I do to build in some more arty days out.

That’s not a bad life report really so yes I feel lucky as the new season brings sunshine and flowers.

Check out Chloe’s Lucky Challenge this week as we celebrate the 13th week of Best Boot Forward.

What does being a woman mean to me?

Woman

My first instinctive answer is that it means I am different. I guess this is because I was the only daughter in my family with two much older brothers. My mum had always wanted a girl, was unable to have one so adopted me.

As a young girl, I probably played more with boys than girls interestingly always creating myself a role so I could be part of their games.  I remember my Mum turning away the boys as I got older when they came to ask me to play out. I could not understand why but when I get my first period she announced to all the family that I had become a woman. I was upset that it was no longer deemed acceptable to play with the boys but it did mean that my Dad was dispatched to buy cake to mark this momentous womanhood. I have always loved the fact that my period was seen as a milestone to be celebrated.

I did not really think deeply about my place in the world until I became a teenager. My Dad said I just came downstairs one morning ranting and raving about various injustices in the world with the position of women in society being right at the top of the list.

I continued ranting when I went to Cambridge University where women were very much in the minority. Whilst other girls were seeking boyfriends, I was joining and then running women’s groups. I even invited some hapless blokes to come along to be educated! Back then I was so sure of myself in terms of opinions even if not so brave socially or boyfriend seeking wise. I used my womanhood as a reason to join a group where I knew they could not kick me out. Of course I learned a lot about women and the world through women’s group and those harsh facts just made me rant all the more infamously getting the porn removed from WHSmith for a whole day and  arguing we should not have the Sun in the common room.

In the advice world, I saw so many women in a state through mistreatment by men. Wives left with debts where men had signed their signatures. One woman in  particular is on my mind today from my early days as an advice worker. She was a victim of domestic violence and I could not work out why her hands were black and purple with bruises. I went home and Dad explained why. Police officers know these things that people who have not seen domestic violence don’t have to think about most of the time. I hope this woman is alive and living a positive life today. So many are not.

As a woman, I do not think I should have to conform to some media expectation of how I should look, how many hairs I should have on my bits, my underarms or my legs. I don’t actually trip over any of them you know!

As a woman, I wish some women would not reject the term feminism whilst we still have women killed every weeks in their own homes never mind on our streets. We have bigger battles to fight and we should join together until people of every gender and sexuality are treated with respect.

My mum’s hope for me was that she would have instilled backbone into me. That in itself says she knew I would have my own challenges as a woman and indeed we both suffered assault by men on the streets in our time.

My hope for my daughter is that she will respect herself mind, body and soul.

I am a mum. I am not always sure I should have become one as I struggle with many aspects of it. Having said that, I have released two boys and one little woman who have values that will ensure they do not abuse others moving forwards in life. And just possibly, that makes me woman enough.

 

 

Boundaries

Boundaries were crossed in my life at the weekend. I will post about this in greater detail at some point but for now, I am using that experience as inspiration for my Best Boot Forward post.

Boundaries

The boundary of an area of land is an imaginary line that separates it from other places. It can be easy to forget that boundaries change over time perhaps through a change of Government or a war.

The boundaries of something can also mean the limits that we think that it has.

We also refer to personal boundaries and particularly at this time in history more than ever.

So this week’s questions to reflect on are …

  1. Have you ever crossed a geographical boundary whether a country, county or even an area of your town? What led to you doing that? How did that feel? What challenges did it present? What did you learn from crossing that boundary?
  2. As Best Boot Forward is all about improving our lives on baby step at a time, it is important to ask about the limits you place on your life? Perhaps you should jump across a self-imposed boundary or limit?
  3. Where do your personal boundaries come from? Where did you learn them? Perhaps they come from childhood or other powerful relationships in your life? Perhaps faith groups have had a part to play? Do your personal boundaries serve you well?
  4. Has someone crossed a personal boundary to your detriment? How did that feel? Did you find yourself blaming yourself instead of the other person involved? How do you communicate your personal boundaries and how confident do you feel in doing so?
  5. Do you have any tips or words of wisdom for other people struggling to set boundaries with people they find difficult whether friends, family, colleagues, neighbours or someone else?

Well, that’s it from me for this week and I hope these questions are useful to you in some way.

As always you can answer one or all of them in a blog post, on our Facebook group or just in your own heart and head.

If you are moving forward positively in your life, please blog about it and link up.

BESTBOOTFORWARD LINKY RULES:

1. Add a backlink to this post using #bestbootforward and fear not, our badge is coming soon!

2. Please comment on this post and the one from Chloe at Indigo Wilderness and at least one other. Obviously the more you comment, the better and it is a super way to get to know other people and to interest them in your blog.

3. Link as many posts as you like so long as they are about you moving your life forward positively in some way.

4. The linky is open for a week so there is plenty of time to link up.

5. Tag myself @kateonthinice and Chloe at @IndigoChlo on Twitter for a Retweet with #Bestbootforward

Link up below and we would LOVE to have you!

Taking things for granted is one of the themes set for us by the lovely Chloe this week as we celebrate Best Boot Forward week 8.

Love Letter

One thing I and other women can take for granted is that the Best Boot Forward network will always have your back in challenging times and be there as virtual cheerleaders as you make positive changes to your life and world.

Back to my personal take on Chloe’s questions this week.

What do you take for granted? Do you take something or someone for granted and how does that effect your outlook on life? Could appreciating something or someone a little more help improve things for yourself or those around you? Is being able to take something for granted a total positive in your life too?

I think it is all too easy to take the people around you for granted. I think it happens a lot in family life and that it is a shame. It is only recently that I have started to realise that whilst feeling unappreciated myself, I was guilty of taking my husband for granted. I appreciate him more these days as we pursue a new adventure together. He is funny, he is caring if a little clumsy in how he expresses that sometimes and he gets me where I need to be and nearly always son time both literally and metaphorically.

I also think I have taken for granted that my children will always be around and that sometimes that can lead to a little neglect in putting other things above spending quality time with them. As they get older and will soon be making their own moves into the world, I need to cherish the now that I have with them. Work and other stuff should sometimes take a back seat.

Finally, I think I have taken relative good health for granted. That led to me not looking at my needs enough in a quest to be a perfect partner, parent and worker. As I hit middle-age, I need to realise the body is more vulnerable and to treat is at the shrine that it should be.

Could you change a habit to improve your life? Giving something up can be extremely difficult, particularly when we think about habits such as smoking, negative thought patterns or cake eating. Could you shake up your routine a tiny bit to change your habits or perhaps you could look at cutting down? What rituals allow you to partake in a “vice” and how could you avoid that?

I have changed my habits a lot recently and live a far more balanced and happy life. I am cutting down my alcohol limit aware that our new social life could take its toll on my liver. I am strong-minded enough to not be bothered when friends criticise me for sticking to soft drinks.

Negative thought patterns are all but gone although weirdly in very recent weeks, I have really hated my body. I can of course change how it looks but I am not quite sure where the self-denigration on my levels of attractiveness has come from in the last month or so.

I am looking forward to warmer weather so I can incorporate far more time outdoors in a comfortable way – it is freezing at the moment!

What good habits do you have or could you get into? Do you have a great morning routine which sets you up for the day or would you like to pick up a better work ethos? What practical steps can you take to get into these good habits. What advice would you offer to others on making good practices?

I think I have answered some of this above, another bad habit of mine! I don’t think I have ever had a morning routine really always counting it as a victory to get out of bed to be honest. I work hard but learn to do this at a more relaxed pace these days knowing the world really will not end if I take a break. I would like to look at my daily schedule to ensure there is more input with the children both on the fun and learning fronts. I also want to make a list to ensure the housework gets done to some sort of timetable rather than in a haphazard manner.

My advice to others on making good practices is to ensure your mental and physical health is at its best first and foremost. Then celebrate yourself as an individual and tell yourself you deserve the best quality of life as defined by you and then take baby steps to create it. Of course if you tap into a strong peer support network like Best Boot Forward, you are a huge step ahead of the life game already.