The healing power of scones

photo-3I am typing this from a guesthouse in Dublin. Next to me is a silver pot of coffee and a scone with jam that Sara, the lovely Spanish girl behind reception, has just brought up – I didn’t even ask for it, she just said that she thought I might like something to help me get on with my work.

Last night her colleague, Rhona, caught me coming up the stairs and asked me if I’d like a snack. ‘What kind of snack?’ I asked. ‘Well, I just made French toast for a fella and he’s still standing,’ she said.

I asked for a cheese toastie and it was delivered to my room, with a pot of tea and a plate of custard creams. I ate this feast on my bouncy bed while watching a Sandra Bullock movie. I fell asleep just after 10pm and didn’t wake till gone 9am this morning.

If there is a heaven I think this might be it.

Anyway upshot is, I’m taking a break. A break from work, from life, from the blog.

The truth is the wheels have been coming off over the last few weeks and it’s time to stop before I spin out of control.

Shock horror, it turns out that examining every element of your life and doing that in public is a weirdly intense thing to do and it has taken its toll.

The tipping point came last week when I was writing a magazine article about always being single. I was in a cafe getting queries from the lovely editor: Have you ever been in love? Do you want children? What do you see in your future? All massive, personal questions to be answered on deadline for the whole world to read about. Again.

I wouldn’t mind but I was in the middle of trying to write my eulogy/80th birthday plan at the time. On that Tuesday afternoon in Starbucks it felt like I had to decide on every element of my life, while a crappy version of ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ was playing on the speakers.

It should have been funny but I was too strung out to see the humour. I felt exposed, exhausted and embarrassed – the culmination of a crazy introspective, soul-bearing, fear-facing year.

I don’t know how I’ve become someone who exposes every bit of her head and heart to the world, it certainly wasn’t what I set out to do, it’s kind of crept up on me. I have no regrets about any of it – I’m so proud of this blog – but I think it’s time to step back for a moment and take stock. It’s time to press pause.

For months I’ve been preoccupied by the fact that this project is so behind schedule. I’ve been trying desperately to plough on because look, it’s December and I’m only on book eight! – but I think I have to let that go. This blog no longer fits into my original plan but so be it. Real life doesn’t always go to plan and, for all its ups and downs, this blog has been real.

For now I’m going to give myself an early Christmas present – the gift of time. Time to reflect on everything I’ve done this year, time to sleep, time to put funeral plans on hold and think of nothing more deep than what I’m going to have for dinner.

With all the best will in the world my head cannot take any more self-help this month.

So I’m officially calling time on the 30 Day November challenge (I was pretty crap at that anyway) and announcing the launch of Ditch Self-Help December which will lead us nicely into the Chill Out Christmas.

I’ll pick up the 7 Habits again in January (oh how telling! I’ve fallen at Habit Two of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People!) and I’ll get through the rest of the 12 books at my own pace.

I’m determined to get through them all – we still have dating and mindfulness to do, two of the biggies – but there’s no point in me doing them with my brain half dead. Sometimes taking time off is just as important as doing the work.

After the twelve books are done, my award-winning bestselling book will somehow get written. Or not. Whatever happens, I need to slow down in order to speed up, retreat to advance.

Maybe it’s a sign that self-help is working – the fact that I no longer want self-help to tell me what to do. I know best what I need right now – and that’s a lot of rest. And scones. And possibly more Sandra Bullock. Oh, and Guinness. Of course.

I’ll be in touch soon but until then Happy Ditch Self-Help December. Love to you all. xx

PS: I overheard a funny thing on the street today. A Dublin guy was on the phone to a friend delivering this bit of news: ‘My family’s mental. My Granda’s only gone and run off with a Brazilian!’

HA HA HA HA. Who needs self-help when you’ve got that?! xx

PPS – If you’re ever in Dublin I recommend Butlers Townhouse in Ballsbridge – www.butlershotel.com. Honestly, they’ve been beyond lovely – and they’re not paying me to say that. Although, you never know, I might get a couple more scones out of them.

 

43 thoughts on “The healing power of scones

  1. Anne

    Fabulous, have a wonderful break, I feel we have become friends through reading your blog and wish you peace and happiness for Christmas and the New Year x

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Thanks Anne, I feel the same way. You’ve been here since the very beginning. I wish you nothing but peace and happiness too. I hope the studies continue to be rewarding. x

      Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      ha ha, Lotte… I think I might have done the impossible… I have overdosed on scones. I’m now craving salad… I hope you’re well. Mx

      Reply
  2. CB

    I think what you have done this year is amazing and unique but I’m not surprised you need a break! Have a lovely Chillout Christmas and thank you for a wonderful and witty blog. I’m in Ireland on a trip too. I’ll wave if I see you! x

    Reply
  3. Mary

    You deserve a break – go and have a fantastic time!! I’ll be right here waiting for you early next year. Hey, maybe I’ll have actually read my 10-year-old copy of 7 Habits by then #fingerscrossed
    Mx

    Reply
  4. Emma

    Have afternoon tea or Irish coffee at tea The Gresham
    Say you are a friend ( of a friend ) of Tommy the ex doorman who now lives in Spain
    Sometimes the best plan in life is to have no plan and live in the moment because then you can more readily accept the wonder of the infinite possibilities life offers as they unfold around you.
    I had a plan at 8 am but already by 9:33 it has totally changed! Such is life, embrace it…

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Emma, I haven’t made it to The Gresham but have not been short of lovely teas and cakes and scones.. thank you very much. I might have Irish parents but I’m too English to wing a connection to the ex-doorman who now lives in Spain! Ha! I hope you’re well and thank you so much for all your support during the year. xx

      Reply
  5. Sarah

    Lovely Marianne,
    Good for you! I read this & felt all warm inside. Am so pleased you are doing something lovely & looking after yourself. You have become somewhat of a friend through your wonderful blog, with a dash of synchronicity, and a spoonful of f**k it thrown in. Can’t remember the exact phrase, but there’s something about people not remembering you for what you said, but for how you made them ‘feel’. Oh how very true. Your blog & words made me feel like I wasn’t the only person who was going through certain things. Comments from other readers also made me realise that actually underneath our fronts, we have a lot of similarity.
    You enjoy the freedom a break will give you, I think it’s very well earned. Have an absolutely wonderful Christmas, & a merry New Year.
    If, during your break, you fancy a bit of company, some grub, or a glass or two, you know how to reach me. I may live a bit in the sticks but I can be in West London, in no time thanks to the wonders of modern travel. Big hugs and love…
    Me! xxx

    Reply
  6. Sarah Brazil

    Hi Marianne,
    I’ve recently had to hit the pause button too, and it might just have saved me and my work though it’s important not to overstate the importance of work, as I’m slowly trying to learn and put into practice! I’m on a little trip to Ireland too – I think it’s good for the soul! Hope you have a wonderful time!!
    xxxx

    Reply
  7. Linda

    Hi Marianne, I’m glad to hear you are taking a break. Dublin is a special place . I fled there for a week when my marriage broke up and came back totally refreshed and ready to take on the world again . I’m sure it will work its magic on you.
    Thanks for everything you shared with us on your blog. It’s made me look at my life in a totally different way and stop putting up with things I should have sorted out a long time ago and would have if I had realised there were there.
    I made it through November without chocolate. After a week I didn’t miss it – when I tried it at the start of December I didn’t like it.
    Best wishes and enjoy your break
    Linda

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Linda – you don’t like chocolate?! This is a minor Christmas miracle! Thanks so much for saying such kind things. Am amazed and chuffed that this blog has helped you, thank you. xx

      Reply
  8. Bruce

    Have a great break and lovely Christmas, Marianne. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts and life with us through the blog. Much appreciated. B

    Reply
  9. Elaine

    First just wanted to say that I thought your mission statement was brilliant.
    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time, just what you needed. I was wondering what on earth I was going to look forward to reading once your 12 months were up… so the fact that it will continue further into the New Year am over the moon about!!!!

    Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a brill New Year.
    Will be here for any new instalments as and when you feel like it 🙂 🙂 Hugs and Big smiley faces from me xoxo Elaine

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Elaine, I’m not going anywhere just yet! Thanks so much for being a GREAT CHEERLEADER all year. It makes all the difference. Big hugs and smiles back at you! x

      Reply
  10. bob whittle

    I have read and enjoyed all your blogs ( with some amusement ) and will continue to do so. The reason I use the word amusement is because I have also read all these books you are reading plus many more and have found them very helpful in my 68 years of life. I know I keep harping on about this but I would suggest to you and all your many fans/readers that you google ‘ PSALM 23 ‘ then go to ‘ The Meaning of ‘ ( Dr Wilson ) this passage from the Bible. I found that I will never need to read another Self Help book again. If ever there was a SECRET to it all this is it and to think it never was a secret. It’s been there all a long………..This will be my last response to your blogs as I feel there is nothing further to say , so I will take this opportunity to wish you and ALL your readers , A Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and all the best for the future. GOODBYE.

    Reply
  11. Caroline

    Marianne
    All the best, I will miss the blogs so much. You helped me many times if only to confirm I’m not going crazy. Take care, I hope you will be back again.
    Caroline
    PS: come visit us in Belfast sometime!!

    Reply
  12. Arthur

    Marianne, your writing is as delightfully refreshing as ever. May I also say that I am deeply envious that you have those delicious scones? I haven’t had good scones in like… 20 odd years? I really must rustle up a good recipe. Anyway, totally get where you are coming from. I don’t feel the desire anymore to look outward for answers – don’t feel a need for gurus so much as for science, and otherwise answers from myself and to find my own way to live. Those blustery beach walks you have planned sound fantastic. God, I miss Autumn in the British Isles.

    I’m looking forward to your chill out Chistmas, but in case you decide to give the blog a rest for this year, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 😀

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Thanks Arthur for all the support this year – your comments always make me think. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year To you too!

      Reply
  13. lonestarsky

    Sounds like you’re having an awesome (and well deserved!) break 🙂

    Make the most of it and don’t be hard on yourself. You’d be surprised at how much your blog is helping people (and its helping them more than any self help book could!!). Enjoy yourself x

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      I have copied and pasted that second to last sentence and am going to keep it on my desktop. Thank you so much for reading all year and always leaving such cool messages. You’re fantastic! Enjoy your Christmas break too. Mx

      Reply
  14. Louize

    Enjoy your break, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog – and if you ever make it to the near north of Scotland give me a shout and we can go for scones somewhere. All the best, Happy Christmas and hopefully read your blog in the New Year (“,)

    Reply
  15. Theresa

    Dear Marianne,

    I came to your blog after reading your article in Grazia this week. Enjoy your rest, but I would really recommend the Mindfulness book (hopefully, ‘Finding peace in a Frantic World’?) As a life-long self-help junkie, I can say that this book had offered me the first potential real long term ‘solution’ to the problems I’ve faced over my life. Enjoy your rest but do try the mindful approach – I’m sure you will find what you learn about how you approach life will be invaluable.

    Good luck! Theresa

    Reply
  16. Leticia

    Marianne, I have loved reading your blog and am delighted to hear that despite taking a break you will be back in the new year.

    I have been an avid reader I think because your honesty has been such a comfort – you are a talented writer and come across as a sweet and a loving person who not only faced their fears but undertook things that would put the fear of god in anyone – appearing on tv, standup comedy and nude yoga! Your honesty shows that despite that inner voice which tells you your not good enough, if you just take action, that works! I wish you much peace and contentment in the month ahead and please, please come back in January xx

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Leticia, thank you so much for these lovely works. I’ll be back in January, I promise. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to write. It means a lot. x

      Reply
  17. Suzanne

    Hi Marianne,

    I hope you have a great break over Christmas and enjoy your well-earned time off from the blog! I just wanted to join the many people on this blog to add a giant thank you for the profound affect your blog has had on me this year.

    I’m not sure it’s a coincidence or not, but I’ve been on a real journey since I started reading your blog earlier in the year. Your fearlessness earlier in the year showed me that so much of the rut that I felt I was in was just due to attitude.

    Last year after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, I’d used my hobby of picture book writing to write a picture book story. Immediately, I had the vision of making an e-picture book out of it in order fundraise for the typhoon’s victims. But I’m not an illustrator and I didn’t know how to make an e-book, so the process quickly stalled. But your blog inspired me to keep on working on the idea. Also, from your Secret period, I realised that although I’d been trying to find an agent for my writing, I realised that getting published wasn’t that important to me, but fundraising through a book was.

    Six months later I received an invitation to a Plan UK event on their work after the typhoon, and your blog inspired me to approach them about fundraising for them through the story and possibly using their photos to illustrate it. It then took a very long time, but in October they sent me some photos and in the meantime, I’d learned about some tools I could use to the make the e-book, so I spent the next few weeks using every spare second to put it together. What a great experience! It was the opposite of a rut – interacting with the lovely people at the charity, making illustrations, using new technologies, making my first blog – it was all really interesting.

    And your blog really helped me near the end of the process when the real vulnerability hit. Pretty much the hardest part of the process was to actually send it to my friends and colleagues. I was really sorry to see you feeling so vulnerable, but I just want to say it was so amazingly helpful to me to realise that these feelings were normal and just part of the process, especially when I sent out into the world something that I’d created, something that felt like real part of me.

    I’ve also gone a little bit crazy since it went out, especially forcing myself to focus on the positives of the project (at any cost!), so your recent post on knowing when it’s okay to get a bit annoyed and vent, has also been perfect timing.

    Has it been hard work? Yes! Am I glad I did it? Yes! Will I do it again? Maybe. So maybe not this project again, but I’m definitely out of my rut and I know I can and will do other new things when the time is right.

    Happy happy December and thanks so much for the inspiration!
    Suzanne

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Suzanne, I’m sorry for such a slow response to such a lovely message. I hope that this year is full of as much adventure and challenge and life as last year – stay out of the rut! Happy New Year!

      Reply
  18. Crystal

    Hi All!
    Just coming to this point in your journey by way of a weekend’s read-a-thon trying to” catch up”
    Ha! Ain’t that about right eh?
    Anyway as a late bloomer here and after having read your year in under a week, would like to point out that where you began having the anger/rage related posts is around the point (in previous mos) when you would’ve been coming down ill as we tend to do@ overwhelm.
    I am in crazy person heaven having found your blog and friends and can’t wait to join in with You when you return.
    Thank All of You!
    C

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Welcome, Crystal! Beyond flattered that you did a weekend’s read-a-thon to catch up. Thank you so much and Keep in touch. Happy New Year.

      Reply

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