Ice Cream for Breakfast is the wonderfully life-affirming self-help book you didn’t know you needed.
Is this what you thought adulthood was meant to be like? Plodding along, wake, work, sleep, repeat? This sort of miserableness following you around like a dark cloud, with a bit of utter boredom thrown in for good measure…
You can change that you know? By invoking your inner child.
In doing so is not to become childish, but child-like. A mature adult with responsibilities and appearances to keep – but my life live a little, crack a smile and heaven forbid have fun.
Ice Cream for Breakfast was written by Laura Jane Williams, the author of the book of my summer – Our Stop, which I reviewed here.
Laura tells of how she reached a point in her life where she was so deeply unhappy, but thought that’s just how it – and life – was as an adult. Wrong.
After seeking help, she became a nanny to three young children, and the book depicts all of the things those kids taught her – inadvertently.
Now, I’m not much for kids myself – my five-year-old niece is about all I can handle for a few hours at a time… until Scooby Doo reruns have ended and she tips the contents of the doll house on the floor. That’s what’s great about this book. You don’t have to go and nanny pre-teens to discover your inner child! Laura’s done the hard part for us.
I took several tips and epiphany moments away from this book, and I want to share them with you.
So here are 9 things I learned from Ice Cream for Breakfast:
Take care of your basic needs
You wouldn’t send a kid to school without a good night’s sleep and some breakfast – so why are you sending yourself to work that way? Sleep is something I value now more than ever. When I was at university, I wouldn’t sleep until my essay was finished, or until I’d revised the whole book – like it was going to vanish overnight. I would need to do it to feel fulfilled – like I’d earned the right to sleep. Sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, right?
My dad has always nagged me to eat breakfast in the morning. Truth is, I physically can’t stomach it in the 15 minutes it takes me to leave my bed and be through the door. Instead, I’ve started to keep cereal, milk and honey at the office, and start my day fuelling my body and brain with none other than Kellogg’s cornflakes. I’ve genuinely seen a difference, and it means I eat my lunch at a reasonable hour, too.
Do the things that make you feel good
It’s okay to admit to the things that make you feel good – and the ones that don’t. Make decisions based on your gut feeling of whether the proposal ahead makes you want to crawl up your own backside and die, or you do a little punch to the sky and a happy dance. Know what you want and don’t accept less.
Let me tell you a story about a takeaway delivery guy. Jake and I had ordered pizza and a large bottle of Coca Cola – full fat, as the sweeteners in diet give me a headache. The driver forgot our drink altogether, so went to the Co-Op and bought us a bottle to save going back to the takeaway.
He bought us diet Coke. I disappointedly accepted, appreciating he’d paid for it… but in reality, this two litre drink was zero use to me. What I should have done was politely declined and asked for a refund, or a bottle of regular coke. But now I know that it would have been totally okay to do so.
Once you’ve decided what you do and don’t like, and what invokes a positive feeling in your life – do more of what makes you feel good. For me, that’s having banging brows, my nails done, and fresh flowers in my bedroom. Don’t settle for less than what makes you happy.
Set clear boundaries
I don’t like to be hugged – hugs are reserved for boyfriends and best friends – so when someone looks as if they’re going in for one, just politely say ‘I’m not much of a hugger’, and offer a handshake or that weird half shoulder pat thing. If you don’t like something, let it be known. Set the boundary, and don’t let people break it.
In the words of Ru Paul: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
The Queen’s right. You have to accept and love yourself before you can truly radiate it. One way to do that is to be your own cheerleader, because no-one’s going to shout louder for you than you.
Got a pay rise? Yes babe, well done! Aced an exam? Nice one, you deserve it! Take care of yourself and essentially treat your inner self as a kid… ask yourself if you’ve eaten, or got enough sleep, or if you had a blooming good day.
Your vibe attracts your tribe
No truer word spoken. My girl gang is my tribe, but it took me a good while to find them. I spent years trying to nurture an unhappy, toxic friendship group. I don’t think any of us really liked each other by the end of it. If you gotta bend over backwards hun, it ain’t working – and being around the wrong people can be lonelier than ever. It’s okay to ditch toxic relationships with people who don’t make you feel your best self. You are who you surround yourself with – so make that the best baddest boss bitches you can find.
Put in the effort to enjoy the harvest
I loved this phrase. You gotta grind to get the things you want. I come from a working class family, where I’ve always been taught that you work for the things you want. If you dream it, you can do it, but you’ve got to put the work in.
There are so many people out there making a living, without having much of a life to live. The way Laura puts it: “You can make a living, or design a life” – and I think that’s always something I’ve wanted for myself.
This is one thing I’ve always been good at – working towards *the dream*. I’m good at putting money away and I’m getting there with balancing work, home, blog, gym, reading and everything else I love. It almost feels like school ‘extra curricular’ activities… you don’t need o be doing things in your home life if you don’t want to… but it’s probs better and beneficial if you do. Design the life you want – and if like me, it’s to be the jack of all trades… then take up that new hobby today.
Love happens when you least expect it – so does adventure
There are two types of adventure: the ones you plan… the road trips, the hikes… you know the ones. But there is also a slightly more mundane kind of adventure, which can actually be more exciting than the former, on occasion.
You’ve just got to turn your negatives into a positive, and think of a way you can make the best out of a bad situation. You phone’s died in the middle of the day, but you need to get in touch with your pal about where you’re supposed to meet in town? Use it as an opportunity to scout out a new, cool coffee shop you’ve never been to and charge your phone there – hey presto, new meeting place.
A bump in the road isn’t the end of the world. Missed the bus? Find where sells the best ice cream sundae and sit by the window to people watch.
Some people want to give feedback as an excuse to be an arsehole
We all know one, we’ve all given one the time of day – but doesn’t mean what they’re saying is true or that you have to listen to it. Asking for feedback is a good thing, and something you should seek to do. But when doing so, bear in mind four simple questions:
-do you trust their judgement?
-do they understand you?
-do they want you to succeed?
-are they compassionate or sensitive?
Make others feel good and you will feel good in return
Ever been in the toilets and someone’s told you they like your outfit? Tell me it doesn’t make you stand a little taller. But here’s the secret, the compliment giver also feels pretty blooming good about themselves.
I use this tactic at work too – so many people are nervous to be interviews, but a quick ‘Hey, I’m the reporter I’ll be doing your interview! Oh wow, I love your blouse!’ settles their nerves and they’ll shine through the whole interview.
To buy Ice Cream for Breakfast, click here!