Have you seen Popchips yet? They’re the potato crisp that has been popped rather than fried, so you’re getting all the taste, but only the half the fat content of a regular fried crisp. Last week Popchips were celebrating the launch of two flavours (Sea Salt and BBQ) in multi-packs of six, and as they believe that everyday should be filled with fun and uplifting moments I was challenged to take some time to enjoy a series of ‘uplifting moments’ with my own Popchips.
This seemed like a great idea in theory, and I gladly took on the challenge – who doesn’t need a little more happy in their week?
We started well, with a gorgeous family walk in one of our favourite spots. Perching up on the trig point, gazing around at the 360º view of Dorset with my girl snugged against me, my soul couldn’t have been much more content. It doesn’t matter how many times we visit this hill top, it’s always the perfect head-clearer. Just feeling the wind, smelling that special herby grass scent, watching the red kites dance… what better way to start a week?
Monday was a tough day. Busy, stressy, and constant. Not a ‘moment’ to be found. So in the end I *made* one – I forced myself out into the summerhouse with a mug of soup and a bag of Popchips. I sat still, and finally breathed. No phone, no email, no noise. Just the birds, the chickens, the breeze swooshing the leaves around the garden. And ten minutes later I felt so very much better, and ready to face what was left of the afternoon with a might brighter, calmer head on.
Tuesday followed Monday in its business; but it was a productive happy-busy rather than a day of fruitless anxiety and stress. It’s funny how actually accomplishing things, rather than chasing your tail and going in circles, always makes a busy day feel better. I felt like I’d earned a little space, and as it had not only finally stoppped raining but the sun had made a watery showing too, I took my opportunity mid-afternoon for a little space. I grabbed my book, a mug of tea, a rug in case the wind got chilly and headed out to my favourote bench. The stormy weather had brought down most of the leaves overnight, but they soon shooshed out of the way, and I gave myself a marvellous ten minutes (*cough* half an hour…) to drink my tea and enjoy a rare uninterrupted read.
Wednesday the only space I found was walking the dog. Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t a good one. It’s the biggest benefit of having a dog, I think – the fact that it forces you outside no matter what your day is like, or what the weather is doing. And even if it’s just a perfunctory tramp around a couple of fields, you never fail to feel better afterwards, the fresh air and exercise always get the heart pumping and the head singing.
I headed out in a different direction though – a change is as good as a rest and all that. I admit that snoozing under the duvet for a rest sounded more appealing, but instead I headed out along a different path – and was thrilled tom come across a herd of English Longhorn with their calves. Too wonderful – we stood and watched them and their mad horns for ages.
Thursday I was up at stupid o’clock to get to London for WTM – the World Travel Market is the leading global event for the travel industry. The early morning train meant that I left home with no coffee – and then didn’t risk one on the train so that I could avoid a loo stop in the middle of the stupidly-tight train connections as I dashed across London to the other side. I finally arrived in time for an utterly frantic whirlwind of meeting and greeting and chatting in an increasingly hysterical manner. Finally breaking out just before lunch, it was definitely time to stop and catch my breath and take five minutes to compose before heading into the ridiculously large exhibition halls filled with yet more people to speak to.
Never has a cardboard cup of coffee tasted so good, and that particular bag of popchips might be the most fondly remembered of the week.
Friday I spent a busy morning catching up from the day before, and then determinedly headed out for some family time. It had been a mad week, and I was missing spending time with my favourite people. So we went for some fresh air and exploring, to blow away the cobwebs of a stuffy week inside and enjoy some fun together. By this time the word was out on the PopChips though – they were pinched from my backpack, and 8yr old Bear proceeded to eat them 20′ above my head. I wasn’t about to climb up and retrieve them… (besides, I had a few more packs tucked away…)
Sunday we found ourselves back where we started. A quiet and lazy start still allowed us a lovely short walk on the Ox Drove before we took Jolly for his Remembrance Day Parade. It was a pretty grey day, but when you’ve wellies on and it’s been raining for three days there’s never a shortage of what to do, is there?
We were all pretty soggy from the puddle jumping by the time we stopped to catch our breath – but as I laid back on the grassy bank the sun magically peeked through a tiny hole in the clouds and dazzled us for a few minutes with a burst of warmth and colour.
I laid back with my eyes shut, listening to the children chasing through the copse behind me, Mr LittleStuff throwing sticks far and wide for Blue, and I had one of those tiny moments of bliss that pop up once in a while.
It had been a desperately mad and busy week, as usual. but actually – everything was pretty alright in my world.
The challenge ended up being a bit of an eye-opener, and made me realise how little time I take in a busy day to just stop and refresh. I work from home full time, I have four children three of whom we home educate, I have a house to run and a family to look after…. my weeks are perpetually ridiculously busy – not so different form most families. Just stopping during a busy week happens rarely – tea and coffee are made in a hurry more for fuel and often simply to quickly take stock of a to do list. By the time I’m drinking them, I’m doing so while back at the computer, it’s not really a ‘break’. Food is driven by hunger, obviously, but lunch is often late and eaten on the go as I try and cram a few more minutes into the day.
Forcing myself through this challenge to find some moments with the popchips was a revelation.
Just taking 15 minutes away didn’t destroy any deadlines, nor did the world fall apart in my absence. But I did find space to just breathe, to calm my frazzled stress-head, and think clearly about what else could be accomplished that day.
Even whilst walking the dog I found I didn’t tramp onwards, meditating on a gazillion problems. Forcing myself to stop and take a break meant I became more aware of my surroundings – watching the Autumn develop each day, seeing the wildlife, hearing the sounds that were usually muffled by my stamping wellies.
Also – having a ‘good’ snack for the time outs really did help – it’s amazing how a shot of sustenance can recharge you so fast, and get you firing on all cylinders again. Knowing that I had a bag of PopChips with me (and at less than 70 calories for a bag they’re pretty guilt-free) genuinely made me stop and take a break. And doing so made me realise what I’ve been missing.
So thanks PopChips – you’ve started something I intend to continue.