Detoxing Social-media

The day after I deleted my Facebook account, I felt such a relief and found a new sense of freedom. I had already been off Instagram for months when I deleted Facebook, but Facebook was my main platform I was mostly involved with. All of a sudden this tethering from my hand to my phone, and more importantly my attention to my phone, was severed. FREEDOM!!!! Suddenly there was no interest into the digital world I don’t feel the need to keep checking my phone every 5 minutes with the mindless processing of scrolling, liking and commenting.

When I realised I was spending nearly 14 hours a week on social media, WOW! I had to take action. I was literally wasting time. Time these days time is so precious and I want to enjoy quality time with my family. So by throwing out social media it was beneficial for my time, productivity and wellbeing and mostly my family.

Given the obvious extreme popularity of social media, I’m not going to convince you to delete your social accounts because that’s an individual choice. I know people talk about using social media in small controlled amounts, but the thing is social media is very addictive. In fact they are designed to be more addictive, the more you engage the more hooked you become. Just to reassure you that I’m just sharing my own perspective and in no way advocating for anyone to quite their digital worlds because there are some benefits to social media like LinkedIn as a professional platform. But there is also benefits to detoxing and taking a break for a balanced lifestyle. For me going complete cold turkey and quitting social media is my choice.

THE BENEFITS OF DETOXING

Don’t Miss:

1) The advertisements

2) The feeling of having to post photos or video just to keep up appearances for family and friends.

3) FOMO (Feeling of missing out) which brings about those anxious unsettling feelings which is an addiction, wondering what’s going on.

4) The annoying notifications that go off for any reason. Especially when your trying to sleep and the night owls are posting or messaging you.

Gained:

1) A clutter- free mind.

2) Connecting with the real world again. Spending quality time with those most important in your life. FAMILY & close friends.

3) Knowing that your being more productive in your life getting things done, brings about relief, happiness, enjoyment, contentment and satisfaction.

4) Regain and maintain your privacy. And to “make it your aim to live quietly and mind your own business”- 1 Thessalonians 4:11

WHAT NOW?

The reclaiming of my time I noticed from the day after detoxing from social media has been a relief and pure satisfaction, but the biggest change I’ve noticed is that I got my brain back. What I mean by this is my attention span, ability to concentrate on something productive such as my work, writing, reading, cooking, relaxing is well worth the sacrifice. However the greatest thing for me is reconnecting with myself. My self-worth is just that ——SELF worth.

How about you? Have you ever tried taking a break from social media? How did it feel?😊

Why cant I let go??

I received a personal message in response to my previous article “Just let go”. In conversation the person expressed how they was feeling and said “Why? Why cant I let go, Just why cant I let go?” Now I am no marriage counsellor or love guru, my simple advice was that that was an answer only they can answer for themselves.

They got me thinking though about their question “why can’t I let go?” Simply put Love. Sometimes in relationships when things are going too well at some point self-doubt kicks in, we begin to think about our previous relationships and our partners how the relationships broke-down and ended and question the “what if’s”. Hello self-sabotage. Our stress and anxiety levels then begin to rise, as I mentioned in my last article we begin ‘preempting every thought and action of feeling like I am a burden, I am not good enough, I am unworthy of love because my life is so messed up full of past baggage, hurts, mistakes and some regrets.

Have you ever been in love? I’ve been close a few times but it just had not been right with those people. Its hard to explain because it’s just something you need to feel with a special person. And there’s only one special person who I’ve had that zing with on all levels that I never once saw his life as being messed up or they’ve got baggage and ex’s because I also come with a past and baggage. Regrettably I have tried to self-sabotage because I felt he deserves better than me. But if I was to dwell on negative traits all the time I would’ve succeeded in breaking down the best part of me. LOVE. However I found my person I want to grow old with, when I think of my love towards them, it’s like doing absolutely nothing with them and realising I’m having the most amazing time knowing that I am willing to support our relationship with my whole heart knowing we will go through many storms together and that our relationship will suffer but both together will endure through these storms and come out stronger. Life is perfect when you are rooting for the other to succeed when they are going through their personal issues, two are better than one and when one stumbles the other is there to help them up. That’s how I knew I found something real.

The reason I mention all this is when your relationship does break-down due to the other going through so many personal issues that appear storm like they begin self-sabotaging and pushing you away you feel completely helpless. Suddenly a wave of emotions from both parties turns into a tsunami that leaves a great emotional mess all round. So when I was asked “Why cant I let go?” The real reason why that person cant let go is because they are so much in love with the person they hurt that they felt the sacrifice was necessary at the time but turns out they was wrong because they suddenly realise that you as the hurt party had found parts of them they didn’t even know existed and in you they found a genuine love they’ve never felt before in themselves.

Love is the purest thing there is. It cant be bargained with and it cant be fooled. Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you and misses you. Because one day you might wake up from your sleep and realise that you lost the moon while counting the stars. In this case it’s not too late. My only advice is to accept your past with no regrets. Handle your present with confidence and face your future with no fear. “Do not let go of the one you love.”

Secrets to a successful relationship

  1. Commitment- Is based on mutual love and respect, be ready and committed to go through the many storms together.
  2. Teamwork – Working together is the essence to making your relationship successful.
  3. Respect – Shows that you care about each others needs. Listen respectfully to your partners perspectives and come to a compromise.
  4. Forgiveness – When you love someone, you look past that persons imperfections and instead see the person that he or she is trying to become.
  5. Communication- Is essential to any successful relationship which is the bridge that keeps you connected with each other.

For me loving someone is the easiest thing to do even when I’ve tried so hard not to and to just let go, but I couldn’t help but to love. Also for me Love can overcome everything only if your both willing to work together.

Just let go……

He walked into my heart like he always belonged there, took down my walls and lit my soul on fire. Then all of a sudden the long silence. I’ve been what they call ‘Ghosted’. For those of you who are not aware, ghosting is when someone you believe strongly likes, loves you or cares about you, stops all contact without any warning or explanation. They simply disappear for sometime. Then may later return.

When it happens, it can cause intense feelings of missing them, loneliness, confusion, and angst wondering where we went wrong, sending your anxiety levels through the roof. After investing a lengthy amount of time with someone I loved, I genuinely thought we were meant to be. But now I know differently.

We often hear friends, family members, acquaintances say something along these lines that they had “a feeling something was wrong”, but yet it is a sad reality. Your first instinct is always right that something you felt deep within was wrong. I’ve felt this way before and very recently and it hurts like a bandage being pulled off a fresh cut. Expectations make it difficult to figure out what you want to be or who you want to be with, because whether it’s something you thought you would be doing or someone you thought you knew and would be with, it’s like your trying so hard to hold on to this thing or feeling whatever it is because they are giving you clear signals that all is good between you, and yet it just feels like it’s slipping away. “Then just let go!”

Easier said than done. If you found someone who you loved, that was smart and funny and liked the same stuff you liked, you would never make them feel like they are not deserving of your love, by pushing them away, ignoring them, purposely not talking to them to the point of them walking away and letting go of the very thing they thought they had with you. And that’s love. The difference from what you expected to what actually happens can make you look at the future in a very different way. Once you start it’s really hard to STOP those strong feelings. That moment when your heart sinks, is sickening.


Anyone trying to figure out where they will be or who they will be with in five years times confronts one undeniable fact, you simply don’t know what is going to happen. A great writer once said “perhaps the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road”. There’s obviously logic to this because we set out on journeys full of hopes and expectations, but when we arrive, the destination never ends up looking exactly the way we had hoped it would be. And all those anxieties that being ghosted brings up the “what if’s” and preempting every thought and action of feeling like I am a burden, I am not good enough, I am unworthy of love, and that I will never be better than their ex’s that overtime, simply was for nothing. But in this case shit did happen.

Yes! I agree that at times there may be postponed expectations, many disappointments from someone we know or love, but true love, doesn’t behave in such a disgusting manner to someone who has done them no wrong by ‘ghosting them’. I dont condone this behaviour but fair enough if a person was horrible, then yes do a disappearing act on them. Still however there is no other way to say it except, you hurt me. You lied, when you promised you wouldn’t. You treated me like I wasn’t going to care about it. Why? What did I do for you to think that I deserved to be hurt in such a way?

If you love someone, then just tell them you do because by not telling them and not acting upon it is just stupid. Never be afraid to express how you feel by open communication its essential in any relationship. By not doing so brings on far damaging effects on an individuals mental health and well-being. Is it worth it? No.

I’m far from perfect and a long way from knowing everything, Heck! Non of us are. But I do know enough to want to be the very best parts of the people I love best. I only hope that someday I will be and in return I hope that person treats me in the same manner as I do them. So how do I recover and get back to the real me?

Boost confidence and restore calmness

1) Do not take it personally. (Easy said than done when you have a tornado of emotions doing it’s circuits through your head.) Remember you have good traits and write them down and record all the reasons why you are worthy of love and regardless of anyone else’s opinion, you love yourself. Time to self-love.

2) Get Busy immediately. Allow yourself time to grieve, heal and to go through all the emotions in a timely fashion but get busy immediately because wasting brain space will only zap you of your energy and send you into a deep depression full of anxieties that’s difficult to get out from. Yes! Ghosting is a form of psychological and emotional abuse from an individual, that’s how serious it is. So get mingling with friends and family, get reading, writing, yoga, exercise, dancing, retail therapy, holiday or whatever floats your boat, you owe it to yourself to start loving yourself and for self-maintenance. Do whatever it takes to distract yourself for your own mental health break-down.

3) You are Better Off. Again easy said than done. It doesn’t matter who you are or how tough you may act, we all have that need to feel and to be loved. Sadly we live in a society where there is good and questionable partners and searching for the good is like searching for a needle in a hay stack. It’s the truth! But when we do find those special people these are the ones who know how to have a calm and adult conversation, they wont do a disappearing act on you.

If they do disappear by ghosting then they are not long term potential partners. Could you imagine being bound by marriage by such a person? Exactly! It’s a no brainer and no goer. You’re better than that.

But don’t be discouraged there is someone decent out there. It’s a matter of time and patience. I’ve had my heart shattered for no good reason. But knowing when to walk away is wisdom. Being able is courage. Walking away with your head held high is dignity. In life, you will fall out with people that you never thought you would. Get betrayed by people you trusted with all of your heart. And get used by people you would do anything for. But life also has a beautiful side to it. You will get loved by someone you never thought you would have. Form new friendships with people that will establish more meaningful and stronger relationships. And overcome things you never thought you would get over. We all have chapters that end with people at some point in life. But take pride like I am in knowing that the very best part of your book is still being written.

A Kabbalistic thread posted on Facebook by David Talfryn- Griffiths mentions “Meditate today on cleansing the past.” This is Ideal for those wishing to move forward with life. Remember that it is not your job to rebuild a bond you didn’t break. It’s time for self-love, so just let go. You will rise again.

To the Ghoster’s “Don’t just disappear on people and mess with their feelings just because your unsure of your own. Have the decency to tell them what’s going on.”

By Kareen Bennett

‘Create Captivating Corners’

Cozy & Snug

“What a good eye you have if this is your own ensemble of ‘simple things in a room’…there’s nothing PARTICULARLY interesting there, yet I really like looking at it and don’t want to look away.”

A Physiotherapist from Gambia mentioned the above about my home as she read one of my blogs and I found what she said inspiring. How did it make me feel? Well I was certainly thankful for the compliment because after having writer’s block I now had this wonderful idea about writing about stress free homes. I believe your home should feel like your personal sanctuary where you can relax and unwind and a place where you can entertain guests and they feel at home themselves. 2020 has been a year where the whole world has seen so much chaos and felt too many stresses altogether. A January 2020 report from the WHO mentions that “Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression.” Wow! That’s a significant increase from the previous years.

And as for many of us returning to our pre-lock down lives it’s now more than important to create an environment at home which is peaceful, calm and pleasing to the senses, of sight, sound, and texture. Read on to learn how to make all angles of a room be aesthetically and vibrationally pleasing.

Here are several simple ideas to creating a relaxing home environment.

  1. Keep a clutter free home

We can become distracted and disorientated by all the nic nacs and unworn clothes in our home. My advice is if you haven’t worn it for over a year or it’s too small and your still waiting to get into those small jeans that just wont do up by the zip! Then it’s got to go, remove it from your closet along with anything else too small and replace with something more comfortable.

The advice: Grab three bin bags one for charity, selling and the other for the tip.

2. Meal preparation.

Making your meals ahead of time will save you time, energy and money especially when you have everything else going on in your life. It’s impossible to cook everyday in a millennial world.

The advice: Make a meal plan, shop online, multi-task cooking multiple things at once bag and freeze and use when needed, invest in a electric pressure/slow cooker for multiple use. One pot cooking is my families favourite.

3. Keep on top of the house work

There’s nothing worse than feeling too tired because of the never ending house work and the hurricane mess the children leave in their wake after you’ve just cleaned a room.

The advice: Plan like a pro by reading ‘The Organised Mum Method’- by Gemma Bray. By paying attention to detail in each room for 30 mins a day we can transform our homes and be on top of everything stress free. I’ve tried it, tested it and love it.

4. Rearrange your furniture

Use natural lighting with some artificial lighting such as dimmers, this creates the perfect mood. Soft tone colours along with a mixture of big fluffy cushions and throws with different textures simply screams out cozy…come to me. Have some low maintenance plants such as cactus, terrariums even artificial ones which instantly boost your mood and reduces stress and looks beautiful. Have a focal wall with different pictures which you can loose yourself into.

The advice: Keep it all simple

5. The bedroom

This is the most important room where we all start and end our day which plays an important role in our health and well-being on a daily basis.

The advice: Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, having a comfortable bed and bedding helps you snuggle up next to your beloved and helps you sleep. Keep technology out, our phones and laptops are glued to our hands most of the day, it doesn’t need to cuddle up to us when were trying to sleep. Blackout curtains gives you that ultra night-time feel and locks in the warmth. Introduce aromatherapy oils, pillow mist spray and candles before you go to bed this helps to unwind you. Go to sleep at a reasonable time and wake up at the same time the next day and stick to your routine.

Our homes affect us more than we know so to make a house a home it is important to bring in your personality and things that inspire you to live the life you want for your family to enjoy and relax in. Whether you are an Accountant, Physiotherapist, Teacher, Doctor or Nurse and even more so an Out-Patient returning home from hospital, the environment we are surrounded by brings us more stresses when we arrive home. So STOP! Now take Deep breaths for 10 seconds….. Leave everything at the door before you enter into your inner sanctuary.

Now you may enter.

by -Kareen Bennett

” Why don’t they leave?” by Edith Mecha & Kareen Bennett

Why is it difficult to leave an abusive relationship?

“Why don’t they leave?” is often the first response posed to survivors, implying that they are to blame for the abuse.

Firstly, domestic abuse covers an array of abuses such as Physical, Psychological, Mental, Financial, Sexual, which is emotionally and physically scarring for anyone involved. When one has no knowledge or has never experienced abuse, it can be difficult to understand the deep emotional grip abusers have on their victims. That is why to simply leave is not as easy as going to the shops. A lot of safety planning, talking to trusted friends and being ready for a healthy life has to go in to creating an escape route.

Often courage is associated with doing something so bold like ‘base jumping, parachuting’ and anything else where people get their thrills from’. I often mention that “courage is the resistance to fear”. Anyone in abusive relationships will attempt to break up with their partner several times before they eventually have the courage to leave the fears behind and that could take months or even years.

Studies show that it takes many survivors approximately 7 attempts before they actually leave their abusive partner permanently.

You see often when an abusive situation happens, it is followed by the abuser becoming remorseful, doing something nice and promising that they will never do it again and turn on the waterworks. This sets the relationship back to the honeymoon phase again. It makes the victim minimise the original abusive behaviour and the cycle continues making it difficult to break free from an abusive partner.

Leaving is often a complex process with other factors that concern an individual such as:

  1. There may be children involved
  2. A lack of outside support and so no one to turn to,
  3. Blame from family and friends
  4. Abuse destroys self-confidence making it impossible to start afresh
  5. Limited resources – survivor may not have a source of income
  6. Hope for change
  7. Fears of being stalked and being in greater harm
  8. Institutional responses from clergy and police treating it as a domestic issue that can be resolved
  9. Social barriers including a culture that normalise abuse and views that one is a failure if they leave an abusive marriage.

However, the main culprit is Love for the abusive partner. You stay because you love them, remember the good times before the abuse and feel that things will change so you decide to forgive and forget. This is where you’re emotionally scarred because you’ve been conditioned to feel worthless and dependent on the abuser.

To all reading this, please know: domestic violence is real. To the abused; You are not crazy. You are not alone. We believe you. And here’s why.

Angela shared with us about her abusive relationship and how she was finally able to leave. We decided to write her a letter in response.

“Dear Angela

We want to say thank you for sharing your story with us because it brought tears to our eyes that you went through so much at a young age. We are very proud of you for all that you have done and accomplished since you left your abusive relationship. Because hearing your experiences of control, emotional and physical abuse from an early start of your relationship tells us that abuse can start from any point of a relationship and it doesn’t matter how old or young a person is to be subjected to abuse, abuse affects anyone. And with that you endured for 3 years. We know you loved him and you gave your all to support and be loyal to him, but we also appreciate how difficult it was for you to leave and walk away from him. The mere fact that you attempted to leave many times shows us how you were already strong and building up your courage to be able to finally leave. We are glad that you had a supportive family who you were able to turn to for help because not many people had that supportive network. They say time is a great healer and you have certainly come a long way to rebuild your life and rebuild the confidence you now have. You have become a strong young woman with the motivation and determination to advocate and show your support for other victims. You are certainly a sign of Hope for others.

And we are honoured that you shared your story with us.

Kareen and Edith

While collaborating in this article, we realise and appreciate that even if you have never experienced or know of someone who has had to endure such domestics, this is not an easy subject to talk about.

So, we wish to thank you for your courage to hear our voices. For us, writing and sharing information about abuse, is important to empower society and give survivors power to heal and gain confidence.

If you are in an abusive relationship you may be wondering whether you will ever get the courage to leave. Please know it is possible to leave like Angela. You may have doubts or fears or just feel overwhelmed at the thought of leaving. That’s normal. You are not alone. You do not have to leave today or do it all at once. But start by making a safety plan. This will guide you on what to do once you are physically and emotionally ready to leave. There is help out there. Check out resources here.

If you want to share your story on abuse send us an email at safespeaks@gmail.com. You are not alone.**If you are in an abusive relationship or someone you know is, call the following hotlines: Kenya -1195, UK – 999, 0808 2000 247, South Africa – 0800 428-428 and call-back service by dialling *120*7867#, Germany – 0800 22 55 530 / 0800 011 6016, and USA – 1−800−799−7233.

Overcoming writer’s block

“What idiot wrote this? Oh….I did. (chuckles to self) Babe! this is complete rubbish what do I write about?”

“And a beautiful idiot you are. Why don’t you read to me what you’ve written so far.”

“Hhhm!! So far all I’ve got is “Once upon a time!……..what a cliche. “Oh!! I don’t know. Arrghh!! this is so frustrating. Why wont my brain work today?” The inside of my mind is a terrible place with unformulated words floating around in brain space with nothing making any sense.

Jimmy then starts singing the tune to “Copacabana” “Her name was Kareen, she was a showgirl…” Kareen interrupts “Hey! Barry Manilow would feel disappointed with your version of his song. Babe you really do sing like a bird, if that bird was a crow. I love your singing but it is really not helping me right now.”

“Lol I’m a nightingale compared to others. OK, Jokes aside I’m just trying to help you be a little more relaxed and free your mind. Have you outlined your work? you usually have something outlined before you start writing.”

“No. For once I haven’t.”

“No problem. How about we stop for a pub lunch and brainstorm over something to eat and Peroni? and we can get back on track?. Don’t forget to bring your pen & notepad.” 

“Oh! Kareen, just a thought! How about we write about the conversation we’re having about writer’s block?”

“You know what. That’s not a bad idea, let’s do it.”

GOOD WRITING IS HARD WORK:

It’s OK to start writing EVEN IF you don’t have a clear vision of what you are going to write.

When you really stop and think about it everyone get writer’s block, whether your a writer, musician, or in your everyday work. Administrators have to write up the minutes and often are like, where do I start? and your like “Doh!!” (Homer Simpson moment). Or your manager may ask you to type up a letter they’ve dictated to you and your having to decipher your mind map that you quickly doodled onto your notepad.

When your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you it’s only natural to feel uninspired and unmotivated when writing, because you must learn to be three people at once: writer, character, and reader which at times can become overwhelming that you get sucked into this unproductive black hole you can literally feel like there’s nowhere for all this self doubt and the mindless thoughts to go to.

So whilst brainstorming over our pub lunch Jimmy and I came up with some ideas to overcoming writer’s block.

Some reasons for the lack of motivation to write:

1. You’re tired.

The FIX: Check in with yourself. Rest & Refill (Stretch, go for a walk, yoga, listen to your breathing.)

2. Unrealistic goal settings can make you feel discouraged when your not making progress.

The FIX: Set achievable goals. Jot down your thoughts. Outline your work first. Write for 10 mins.

3. You don’t feel like writing.

The FIX: Step away, take a break. Take a couple of intentional days off until you feel like writing again.

4. Feeling your work is crap. Chances are it’s not crap it’s all in your head.

The FIX: Reset your mindset. Remind yourself that writing is your passion and get excited, because your freaking awesome at this.

5. Paralysed by self doubt. It’s scary to start something from nothing.

The FIX: Listen to a favourite upbeat song which makes you believe in yourself. Mine is “I believe”- by Yolanda Adams. I will listen to this over and over again dancing until the self doubt goes away.

Whatever mantra works for you, listening to podcast’s, reading your favourite authors, Yoga, talk to someone (I did and it helped). I encourage you all to never give up.

What about you? What’s your secrets to overcoming writer’s block?

– by Kareen Bennett

Real homeschooling

“Childhood is just as important a part of life as adulthood. It’s not a waiting room to someday start life from. It is life. It may even be the best part of life. Let’s not stifle it, dismiss it, or undermine it. Let children live to the fullest their childhood days; they can never get them back.” – L.E.Mastilock

I have now been homeschooling my daughter over a year and yes I am her teacher. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. (Oh! boy!! what did I get myself into?) You may call me “Mum and not Miss” Miss reminds me of my old Headmistress when I was once upon a time young she shared the same surname as me and had a wort on her face and I used to be teased that she was my grandmother, I did of course use it to my advantage, who wouldn’t?. Am I crazy, “Si, mucho loco”. What made me do this? I sometimes ask that same question to myself. Your probably thinking that I should already know the answer, which is a valid point. The question is a nice reminder to me and her father of the events which led up to making that final decision to homeschooling.

You see my daughter who is now 7 years old was constantly bullied from reception year in primary school (age 4-5) and again all throughout year 1 (age 5-6). Despite my many complaints to the school and their disappointing promises and to see your child go through all that and her confidence in learning diminishing and coming home everyday from school crying was so hard. And harder knowing you have to leave her at school whilst you go to work and try and focus on spreadsheets. It broke my heart. Sorry for the rant, I had to get that off my chest.

So De-registration from school began and Bye! Bye school. I was relieved, It was like a massive weight was lifted. I had some parents try and discourage me, often it was “who will she play with?, are you qualified?” “how will you juggle work and schooling?  some said it was illegal and that we would be fined?. All reasonable questions and concerns, and that’s why it’s important to do your research first before homeschooling. My answer was always the same. “she has many homeschooled friends who she associate and educates with already”, ” as her mother I am more than qualified to teach my own child, parents have been doing it for centuries”, “I can work from home” plus:

{In the UK, it is entirely legal to educate your child at home, and it can be done either full or part-time. … You must give your child a full-time education, but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum and taking exams and qualifications are not compulsory either.}

There you have it. So when you imagine a homeschooler, what do you think of? You probably thought at one point before lockdown that homeschoolers are socially inept, have no future plans to speak of and they are kids who are more than a little sheltered and dress like their parents, well I look pretty cool and can rock-out my pj’s in style. 

So what is it like? well at first your like, what do I do? where do I start? It feels weird and you suddenly feel like “What have I done?” and that’s you being organised. Overtime you get into a routine that benefits you and your children, every child has different needs. Being that  I only have the one child and my daughter is still very young I tailor her schooling according to her natural abilities and concentration. I like to start first thing as she gets up and makes her breakfast then begins her English handwriting/ phonics and Maths and whilst she does her work I am also doing my work alongside her and support her as she goes along. We then finish school at lunch time, which gives us time to do fun activities in the afternoon. 

 We also have access to a much wider range of activities such as piano, pottery, swimming lessons regular outings with other homeschooling children and their parents, and have many more adventures and we make every experience educational. Even cooking, baking, sewing, shopping, pocket money and savings, household chores, making the bed all educational and important practical life skills the children are being taught. And the best part of homeschooling is that we don’t need permission to go on holiday during term time’s, we go when were ready and it’s much cheaper. As parents we are all learning with our children which makes the parent child bond fun and stronger. And as for me seeing my daughters confidence in learning grow again in the things she enjoys and loves is well worth the sacrifice. 

I’ll be honest, sometimes homeschooling is zero fun, things change constantly from wobble days, lazy days, energised days, parent to child mood swings, arguments, and I’ll be honest, you feel “Am I doing enough for my child?” However this is where being flexible is essential to your routine and even if you haven’t accomplished much on those days, don’t worry relax to a glass of wine there’s always tomorrow. “Relax,Reload, Restart”. Plus having a great network of homeschool families becomes your go to place they understand what your going through and are such a great support and encouragement, the group is full of inspiration, advice, and always looking out for fantastic offers (school resources, tutors, activities) for the group. I’m privileged to have many such wonderful homeschool friends, they are the best.

To all parents who are new to homeschooling because of lockdown and had to re-juggle your lives, yes it’s initially scary but I commend you because your doing awesomely well despite the circumstances we all find ourselves in. Give yourselves a huge pat on the back or better still get the kid’s to it for you (or perhaps not, just in case one or two of the little darlings are heavy handed). So whatever has been working well for you during this time keep it up and enjoy what little precious time you have left with your children before they go back to the school environment full-time next month in the UK. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

So you’ve had a little taster of homeschooling. Is it for you? Can you see yourself doing this in the future? Well you’ve proven to yourselves you can do it and you should be proud of yourselves. Your more than welcome to get in touch with me should you wish for some comfort and support. Our school standards as homeschoolers are the same as everyone else’s, but once we’re done, we’re done. We don’t have to sit and wait for a bell to ring doing the school run. Is my daughter missing out? Not at all. Homeschooling is a personal choice, and for me, it works well.

So Am I doing enough for my child? A mother’s life is naturally educational.

by Kareen Bennett

“Kareen B, talk to ME!!”

“Kareen B, talk to ME!”, Brandon said.

Gosh! Where do I start? There’s so much to say. I suppose I can talk about what’s currently on my mind.

You see I feel I’ve come to another crossroad in my life. I’ve accomplished so much in my life. I’ve travelled the world, lived and worked in other countries, visited the Sahara desert, climbed mount Sinai, and other mountains. Met some incredible and beautiful people and many are my friends and I’m proud of my achievements. 

But now I feel I’ve come to a huge FULL STOP.

Could it be because the whole world is currently in lock-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic? Maybe. I know lock-down has reset my mindset because I feel more appreciative about life and people in general. 

You see, since the world went into lock-down like a post apocalyptic sci-fi movie, we’ve all seen on a global scale the effects this deadly virus has had on millions and the death toll increasing at a fast rate. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve also lost 5 members of my family since March 2020 and a best friend and others I personally know of. I can’t express the numbness I feel.

To start off I went into a complete meltdown and didn’t want to talk to or see anyone. I went completely into myself and still had to manage a small family. I don’t know how I continued with my daily routine, but I did. And because of my robotic routine I’ve been slowly crawling back out of my deep abyss.

Depression

You might look at me and think “you don’t look like you suffer from depression, you’re always happy and smiling.” “You’re successful and have a good life”.

Well that maybe so, but looks can be deceiving.

Anyone who suffers with depression will tell you that it’s not easy living with this unseen illness. You can function like anyone else, go to work, drop the kids off at school and continue with your daily life and sometimes you simply can’t do anything. Sufferers suffer differently but all understand the tidal wave of emotions.

Behind the smile is often a great sadness and unlike any physical injury you don’t always know or understand where the pain is coming from and to try and explain that to someone else is a great challenge. It’s not like you don’t want to talk or you’re being rude or ignorant when someone asks “how you’re doing”, you simply can’t speak. Many will genuinely be concerned for your wellbeing and a few will be genuinely nosey and not really be that interested. Just ignore the nosey ones. But then you can become so overwhelmed by the personal attention that you just want to scream and shout “SHUT UP”, “GO AWAY” and “Leave me alone” despite them meaning well.

And you know what? there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling like that. Sometimes you just need that space to self-manage before you can accept any help. 

How did I get out of my abyss?

If anything whilst i was going through all those emotions i was actively listening. I found encouraging thoughts, quotes, loving and kind text messages and some funny voice notes, even a card posted, all from my acquaintances (yes people do still post handwritten cards, which I appreciate greatly because I keep them) all of which was helpful to finding my way out of my abyss.

I’ve always enjoyed running. So one early morning I got up and ran like ‘Forrest Gump’ lol. Yes I love Forrest Gump. I can just hear Jenny shouting “run Forrest run!” That was me lol, just running. Every step I took was like everything coming out of my system and my heart began to beat again. By the time I got home I had completed 5 miles. I remember posting it on my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts because this was my victory. I felt like me again. The smile came back.

Besides running, writing has always been a passion of mine. Writing down my thoughts has always been another way of releasing my feelings. I enjoy the freedom writing brings. 

In a recent message from my friend Brandon.M.Gidicsin we were talking about our passion of writing, he is a talented writer who mentions in one of his articles – 1 step forward 2 steps back  and quotes -“don’t let something anchor you down and keep you from what you want to do”. Brandon said to me in the message “Your first article can be called” “Kareen B, talk to ME!”. My response was “I love the title, it’s twofold.”

And here i am talking…LOL!

Re-start

2020 has been a year in our lifetime where the world literally stood still. And amongst the chaos, suffering, pain we’ve all felt in whatever capacity, it has been overwhelming for all of us. Yet there is Hope. Vincent Van Gogh said “ What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” I often say that ‘courage is the resistance to fear’. And it takes great courage to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to others. We all cope and deal with our mental health differently. However I encourage all to find that courage and speak a kind word, post an encouraging thought which can make all the difference to anyone who doesn’t feel themselves, especially the children as they too are finding things tough. In my opinion they deserve the biggest applause. The greatest gift we can show to a child is LOVE and our full attention.

I consider myself to be very fortunate to have some amazing and talented friends from all around the world from different backgrounds, professions, who have all supported and encouraged me in some way, they are truly inspirational that they motivate me to reach out to others, because there are so many people who may not have this kind of support that I have. 

So although I’ve felt at a crossroad, stranded, lost, empty, scared, not knowing where to go. I’ve used this opportunity in lock-down to rest, refuel, reset my mindset and I’m grateful for the support and encouragement from friends and family. Don’t think of me as being selfish because they’ve all had their fair share of challenges and trials, yet somehow they’ve likewise found me encouraging and comforting simply by seeing my endurance and that’s where things become twofold. It’s a give and take relationship. “There’s more happiness in giving than receiving”- Acts 20:35

Despite my fight with depression I won’t allow anything to “anchor me down and keep me from doing what I want to do”. 

My journey restarts from here. And ‘your story’s far from over”-Danny Gorkey song “Tell your heart to beat again.”

By Kareen Bennett

Becoming 40

It’s crazy to think that this year I’ll be 40. 

“WHAT YOUR GONNA BE 40? Stop it.” I chuckle every time I hear these words. Yet It’s nice to know I look younger than I actually feel.

Here is a picture of me when I was 16 years old, this was my last day at Notley High School. I look pretty normal and sensible and not bad looking with my “All Saints” girl group look in this, don’t I? But a close up will tell a different story. 

Now your probably thinking what happened that day? All I will say is that it involved us in an art lesson making wigs, dresses, milk bottle glasses, + English lesson with Mrs Bland = my whole year group nearly banned from graduating and escorted of the premises😏 Oh and a whole lot of “Teen spirit”- by Nirvana!!

Those in my year group reading this will now be laughing hard and chanting “Adam is King” haha reflecting on this day saying “I remember that” “Oh yea and the teachers having a break down.” Doh!🙈 I’ve said too much lol. I can actually hear them all laughing now😂😂. Now your probably wondering what kind of school did she go to.

Well it wasn’t St Trinians that’s for sure (Popular British TV programme).

But my year group will testify that this was the best and craziest day of our life’s….from what we can remember of it LOL. We turned from Notley to Motley crew that day. Truly unforgettable.

What was your last day at school like?

But exactly when was we informed that our childhood had EXPIRED??

In our 20’s we didn’t care what the world thought of us, we was young bold and beautiful and demanded attention, making new friends and accumulating mega debt, because banks thought it was funny giving young and inexperienced people credit cards to max out

Then in our 30’s we started to worry more about what the world might think of us. Working full-time, starting families, running your own household and worrying about paying bills whilst “keeping up with the Jones’s” accumulating more debt whilst still paying off the debt from your 20’s. That don’t make any sense to me.

Bye! bye! 30’s.

And now becoming  40 we realise that the world doesn’t think of us at all😞. I used to walk into a place with such confidence with my friends to the beat of ‘Right Said Fred song in my head “I’m too sexy” and get unwanted attention, maybe a whistle. And now I’d be fortunate if someone in a supermarket asked me for I.D.

Since 1997 the years has gone by so quickly that some of the years feel like a big blur or was that early stages of Memory loss kicking in?? And don’t get me started on aches and pains. It’s like you go to do something and suddenly realise “OUCH!” “that’s new, where and when did this happen?” I used to work out for an hour to Jane Fonda in my teens but can I do those high kicks now? “Oh…. NO” just bending down to put my socks on these days is too much effort.

I used to be extremely sporty in my teens playing volleyball and doing athletics. I simply loved sports. I was proper fit in those days. For you millennial’s reading this “Fit” back then referred to someone who is into health and fitness and not a way of saying that a person is attractive, or sexy. Our slang word was “Buff” 😅 don’t ask me why, I agree it sounds wrong on so many levels but that was our word used for someone who was attractive or well-toned we liked. Eg. “He or she is proper buff😍”

Me and my year group have now entered the  next stage of our life where we feel we don’t need to draw unwanted attention to ourselves ,because now we are older and wiser (to a certain degree) and much more HOTTER simply by being content with who we are now as well preserved and refined adults. I suppose we would now pass for pretty Amazing people instead of misfits. Oh! and don’t forget and debt free lol. “Yea Baby!”

Mark Twain said that “Age is an issue of the mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” So wouldn’t you agree then that age regardless of your generation group is simply the number of years that the world has been enjoying us.

The best part of becoming 40 is that my generation and previous generations did our stupid stuff before the Internet, smart phones, Facebook, Instagram. We climbed trees, had dens, played Tetris and Mario Bros, played knock down ginger, swam in rivers. And now we go to bed early before the street lights turn on😅. Millennial’s ask your parents what i mean by that.

“They say that life begins at forty, up until then, you are just doing research.” Enjoy your youth and being you.


This is me now,

“I’m not forty, I’m 18 with 22 years of experience and I’m twice as sexy as 2 20 year old’s.”❤

by Kareen Bennett