Archive for Little Book of Calm

Pottering in the garden

Posted in Food, Homemade, Journal, Nurturing Nature with tags , , on 30/03/2017 by Jen Healey

What follows is an unfinished post from 4 years ago, when I had a garden to potter about in.  Sure I could delete it, but I think I’ll post it instead… I just did.  For myself more than anything. Shows just how different my life is now.

4 years ago…

“Over the last couple of months I have discovered enjoyment in gardening, I know, how old am I?!  Previously I would not describe myself as having ‘green fingers’, in fact I would’ve gone so far as to say that I had ‘black fingers’, being the kiss of death for anything green.  Although, I have managed to not kill a cactus for over nine years, his name is Sweaty Bill and has survived my neglect.

I started with buying some vegetable propagator kits from a couple of 99p shops, some were even 3 kits for 99p, which I figured was a low risk investment.  If I got a couple of cucumbers I would have made my money back.  I also gratefully received some free plants from a couple of friends of mine and picked up the odd cheap plants that had been marked down for clearance.

Within a couple of days I had some cucumber seedlings popping up – I was genuinely amazed.  Not long after this they were potted up and flourishing, some ended up being donated as I had loads.  Likewise with the courgettes.  At that point my porch (substitute greenhouse) looked like this –


There is Sweaty in the corner with his new little friend.  Donated tomato and pepper plants down the right hand side, cucumbers on the left.  The lupin has been potted outside the front door and seems to be surviving, so far.





Below are donated plants, coriander and French beans.




Little, young plants which needed somewhere to spread out, so I had to start work on the garden.

These are the before pictures –




As you can see, lots to do!

Here are some donated mint plants, these are also ‘before’ pictures.


This is a 99p Chocolate Mint plant below, next to the lamp, which smells AMAZING!



I am very proud to say that my Beth and I enjoyed our first harvest on Tuesday, fresh French beans, they were delicious (for beans) and it was a strangely magic and satisfying experience.  I guess it is the little things that matter –


Admittedly, Beth only ate two, but that’s better than none.  I used the rest to top my ‘packet pasta’, which looks as ‘meh’ as it tasted, improved immeasurably by the addition of my beans – not that I’m bragging…”



…and there we have it.  So strange to look back, it feels like another life now.


Bowie and Reznor!

Posted in Journal, Mental Morsels, Music, Musings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on 27/04/2013 by Jen Healey

I may just faint from the ridiculous excitement I experienced when I found this video this morning –

Be still my beating heart!

I accept that I am probably a long way behind those ‘with it’ cool cats who have their fingers on the proverbial pulse, who have been aware of this collaboration for an age now.  I’m comfortable with that.  In fact, it underlines the opinion I have about music, art and literature in general.  It may be ephemeral, but that just means that it is there to discover at any time, you just have to look behind you once in a while.

That is the beauty of music etc. you can find something that speaks to (or for) you and is in line with where you are in that snapshot of the moment.  You get it.  You feel it gets you.  It resonates somewhere in your soul.  I don’t think it is an obscure, complex or unattainable thing, in fact, it is the exact opposite.

I may be getting a little off-track, but I enjoy ‘just going with it’, from obsession to obsession – or as I like to think of it – being interested and excited about something.  Is that so wrong?  Or weird?  Again, I don’t think so.  Nor do I want to get bogged down in defining either of those W words, today.  I’d take either over feeling world-weary or apathetic any day of the week.

Back to the star of the post, the vid, the lyrics of this are incredibly apt with my most recent perspective (realised whilst having a cup of tea in the park with a good friend of mine), which is that ‘normal people’ scare me.  They are so hostile, stressed and afraid of being human.  Scared that they won’t be able to maintain their apparent conformity with prescribed norms.  I’d like to examine the doctor.

I’ll stop before I get carried away, as is easy to do when you can’t hear the other person.

If I have introduced you to a tune/vid/artist that you enjoy – aces!  They are both seriously yummy too.

Pick your level for today…

…and enjoy it.


Absolutely Amazing!

Posted in Books, Journal, Mental Morsels, Music, Musings, Reviews, Wonderful Words with tags , , , , , on 15/03/2013 by Jen Healey

An exciting sounding title, I know, but I’m so filled with surprising good feeling at the moment.  (Let’s hope that me posting this doesn’t jinx that!)  But, I have recently been finding that despite dire finances and a lack of career focus, there really is more to life than these material matters.  Those of you who have spoken to me of late will be well aware of my latest fascination with Philosophy.  Please don’t run, I’m not going to start getting all pretentious and lofty, that’s just not me.  However, when I find something that is both helpful and interesting I like to share it with anyone that is willing to listen.

So, with this in mind, I’m going to sing the praises of both a book that I have recently read and the library services which made it possible for me to do so.  The book is ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’ – by Alain de Botton.  Which I will own for myself one day soon, as it has become a very important book to me, marking the beginning of a love affair with this subject.  Here is an open invitation to join up on goodreads and share a world of books and opinions – click here, if you like.

The other link that I’m going to pop on this quick little post is one to my local library service, which enables me to search, reserve and collect books without leaving the village (courtesy of the Mobile Library service).  Yes I know this may sound a little old-fashioned what with E-Readers and the like, but I don’t think that anything compares to the feel and smell of a real book, that has been held and read by other people before me.  Okay, enough sentimentality from me.  I would urge you to support the work of your local library though, it is free after all and is a precious thing that would be terrible to lose, in my humble opinion.

I hope to see you on goodreads soon.

Enjoy something simple and cheap/free where you can.

N.B.  The Rush obsession continues also – The Trees – please skip the stupid feckin advert and give this song a listen.  I love it.


Posted in Mental Morsels, Wonderful Words with tags on 02/10/2012 by Jen Healey

I had to share this lovely post with you, my amazing readers…

Emotional Wellness

What a wonderful message to wake up to on Facebook this morning- thought I would share. Remember everyone, we’re all amazing! But of course if we’re hypomanic we already know that ;).


Affirmations are a starting place for turning around negative thoughts about ourselves. Negative thinking can range from telling ourselves we’re not very good at something to completely believing we’re utter failures in life, completely unlovable and worthless.

Affirmations are positive statements we say to ourselves, for example- I love and take care of myself. 

Once we tell ourselves something over and over again, we start to believe it. Once we believe it, we look for proof in our lives to support that belief. Therefore if we believe we are inherently bad inside and unlovable- we look for everyday proof that this is so: such as somebody putting us down or a disappointing result in a task.


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Ways to Celebrate Life #1

Posted in Journal, Mental Morsels with tags , on 06/09/2012 by Jen Healey

On Tuesday, after I dropped Beth at school, for her first day as a Year Three pupil, I met a good friend of mine in Leamington.  She kindly returned to me some books that I had left on my desk, before I left the world of Mental Health Nursing for good.  Amongst these books there was a pack of cards, that I had taken into work as a little prompt to use whilst on the phone with people who could use a little pick-me-up in the motivation department.

52 Ways to Celebrate Life (52 Decks)

So I thought I’d share some of the ideas in this little deck with my lovely readers.

This one is called ‘Big Time’

“Most of us are so afraid of wasting time that we don’t take the time to relish it.  Sometimes it helps to look at the big picture. The really big picture.  The universe is 15 billion years old. It took at least 5 billion years before galaxies formed.  What’s your hurry?  One hundred thousand years ago your ancestors were roaming across the savannah.  One hundred thousand years from now humans may not even be here.  Is that unfinished report really that important?

Remembering the really big picture can help us take our lives a little more lightly and feel the preciousness of our fleeting moment of existence.  Life is short, but you’re part of the wondrous unfolding history of the universe.”

As with all self-help, mental health-type stuff the rule, I find, is to take on what is useful and ditch the rest.  However, if you have not tried something, how do you truly know that it is not for you?

I intend to plagiarise a fair few of these cards, whilst respecting copyright laws, I hope.  I think when you are in possession of something that is (practically) free and possibly of use to someone else, it is a rotter who does not share it with others.

So I hope that over the next few weeks, or so, you find a little something to your liking that you might just try in order to celebrate the gift of life that is yours.

Okay, psycho-babble over.

I plan to finish the post I have in draft tomorrow evening, so that I may introduce you to my/Bethany’s new quails – they are seriously sweet!


How to Reduce Stress & Take Care of Yourself

Posted in Journal, Mental Morsels with tags , , on 21/07/2012 by Jen Healey

Hi there,

I’ve had this bit of paper (with the above title) stashed in various drawers and folders for what must be years now.  I encounter it occasionally, think to myself ‘I really must share this on my blog’, then file it carefully away.  Eventually I’ll get sick of seeing it, so I thought I’d finally pull my finger out and copy it out here, now.

  2. Work no more than ten hours a day.
  3. Have at least one and half days a week free from normal work routine.
  4. Plan one ‘away from it all’ holiday each year.
  5. Allow at least 30 minutes for each meal.
  6. Eat slowly and chew well.
  7. Examine your eating habits and balance your diet.
  8. Cultivate the habit of listening to relaxing music.
  9. Practise relaxation or meditation twice a day (or better still three times) for at least 15 minutes at a time.
  10. Find a ‘hermit’ spot.  Use it daily and do not allow interruptions.
  11. Take at least TEN minutes daily for physical exercise, preferably in the open air.
  12. Have a regular massage or join a yoga class.
  13. Cultivate a creative, non-competitive hobby, and spend time on it – e.g. gardening, painting, making music, etc.
  14. Actively cultivate the habit of walking, talking and moving at a slower pace.
  15. Smile and respond cheerfully whenever meeting anyone.
  16. Remind yourself that you are an ENABLER, not a magician.  You can only change how you relate to people; you cannot change THEM.
  17. Caring and being there is sometimes more important than doing.  Admit you feel helpless when you do.
  18. Give support to others and learn to accept it in return.
  19. If emotional and/or sexual relationships are upsetting, seek advice.
  20. If you are unhappy at work, take stock and look at choices – i.e. retraining, new areas of work, job agencies etc.
  21. Avoid the tendency to dwell on the past.  Concentrate on the present.
  22. Express your feelings openly, without antagonism or hostility.
  23. Finish one task before moving onto another.
  24. Do not accept, or give yourself, unrealistic deadlines.  Do what is most urgent today, and leave the rest until tomorrow.
  25. Vary your routine as often as practicable.
  26. Say “thank you” to yourself whenever you have finished something that you feel satisfied with.
  27. Before you go to sleep, remember THREE good things that have happened during the day.
  28. Use supervision or the ‘buddy system’ regularly as a source of support, assurance and re-direction.
  29. Avoid ‘shop’ talk during breaks and when socialising with colleagues.
  30. Say “I choose…” rather than “I should, ought or have to…” Say “I won’t…” rather than “I can’t…
  31. Accept responsibility for your life.
  32. If you never say “No”, what is “Yes” worth?

Okay, some of these are pretty unrealistic, ‘have a regular massage’ etc.  Who has time or money for that?!  If you do, don’t rub it in!!

But on taking the time to really read through it, I may actually pop it on the side of my fridge, as it makes some rather useful (if challenging) points.

Quickly, before I forget, as I have the brain of a cheese sandwich at the moment.  Check this link (Nic) for some awesome film merch (better late than never) –


I love the horror T-Shirts, hubby got this Zombieland one for Father’s Day, along with a gift adoption of this wolf.  Spoilt boy!  He’s a great Dad though, so he deserves a present from each of our babies.

Have a good weekend y’all x




Posted in Journal, Mental Morsels with tags , on 02/07/2012 by Jen Healey

After taking the test from Rachel‘s blog on left-right brain balance, I am happy to find that I am slightly more right brain dominant.  The results from this test are in the sidebar, just to the right -> along with the link for you to take the test too if you like?  It’s a bit of fun.

Have a good day y’all x

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