It's back to school time...

...and time for your little wonders to be off on their own, finding their independence and navigating the universe that is school.

Learning to read and write and how many lolly pops Stevie has if Poppy takes away 5 of them is one thing, but learning how to stay true to being you amid a whirlwind of peer pressures is the real lesson in school.

How we fit in, or how we stay comfortable with maybe not quite fitting in is a battle we all go through, and I often wish I knew then what I know now. That those that matter don't mind, and those that mind don't matter. That happiness is just being content and grateful. That less is more. Or more or less.

In 1999 I was 18 years old, about to head off to University, and Baz Lurhmann's "Everybody's free to wear sunscreen" was funnelling out of every radio as I waltzed around in my cargo pants and blue John Lennon shades (so cool). I remember thinking it was a good song, but it's only as I've got older and had a child of my own that I realise just how sage the advice in the song really is. I wish I had properly, intently, listened to it as a kid, and that's why I thought I'd put together this little blog as the kids head back to school.

As young people we all have a tendency to be the centre of our own universes, we believe our problems are unique to us, that we are alone in our troubles and no one can truly understand how we feel. The truth is we're just growing in to ourselves, finding ourselves and our people.

This collection of songs really capture that feeling of reassurance, that everything is going to be ok, and if every secondary school played these to their pupils and drip fed these messages in to their beautiful little minds I'd be very very happy, and hopefully all our children and young adults would be too.

Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)- Baz Luhrmann

With lyrics covering body image, friendship, the importance of family, avoiding jealousy and fostering an appreciation for the world and the people in it, and of course, sunscreen, this song has it all.

My only bug bare with this song is that the lyrics are actually taken from a hypothetical commencement speech by America columnist Mary Schmich, but Baz gets the glory for this, plus to rub salt in the wounds uses a male voice to deliver this piece of genius. But I'm not bitter about it ;) #Downwiththepatriarchy



Everybody's Free by Baz Luhrmann

A Letter To Myself- Lottery Winners

Another spoken word style track, A Letter To Myself just screams of a desire to be able to jump in a time machine and reassure your 12 year old self that maybe your don't fit in right now, but school is just a blip you have to get through and it will be ok.

Bundled in with peers who just happen to live close to you, not people you would choose to be around, no wonder you have nothing in common with most of them or maybe see the world very differently or feel passionate about things deemed "uncool". You've not even met all the people who are going to love you, never forget that.

The Lottery Winners entire album Anxiety Replacement Therapy is well worth a listen and if you ever get the chance to see these guys live take it because I guarantee you'll leave feeling uplifted and full of hope that even though many of us struggle mentally, you're never alone.



Letter To Myself Song by The Lottery Winners

Unconditional (Lookout Kid)- Arcade Fire

I don't think there is any song that sums up more how I feel as a parent. The messages of resilience, accepting and sharing our emotions and unconditional acceptance are values that I, beyond measure, hope I have I've instilled in my child. There will be mistakes, there will be pain, you can't control the hand you are dealt but you can control how you react to it.

Also, the video is really beautiful, capturing the freedom of being a child before you learn to be sensible (or not). But if you have a fear of inflatables or wind, maybe give it a miss!



Unconditional I (Lookout Kid) Song by Arcade Fire

A Little Bit Of Lover- Weezer

If you've even felt that dark cloud of negativity above you, like the world is just too much, it can feel so so heavy that you almost forget that there's even a sun still up there, just dying to burst through.

Rather than dwelling on all that's wrong with the world, rather than worrying about things that haven't even happened or things out of our control, Weezer remind us to practice gratitude for who we are and how far we've come and the things around us that you normally wouldn't even give a second thought.

I'm grateful for my fingers right now, that they allow me to type these hopefully useful words to you. If this way of thinking sounds appealing check out the documentary Stutz which introduces "the tools" you can use to make a little bit of love go a pretty long way. #notasponsoredpost



A Little Bit of Love Song by Weezer

Time To Be Awesome- My Little Pony

Ok, this one might seem a bit left field, but as the mother of a then 6 year old MLP mega fan, this track spoke to me deeply on the release of The My Little Pony Movie, and still does today. Friendship IS magic.

Rainbow dashes sage advice, that sometimes the world throws a curve ball and you can either choose to roll over in the hay and give up, or brush you mane, polish your cutie mark, gather your herd and just be awesome!

"Don't let them rob you of who you are. Be awesome, it's all up to you" is basically an up to date version of of Albert Finney's "Don't let the b•stards grind you down" in kitchen sink masterpiece Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, showing that as much we feel life has gone from black and white to full on Technicolor, out inner turmoils remain the same.

So don't let others dim your light, make you lose hope, or settle for a life that doesn't fit you.

Or as Orinthian Parot Captain Celaeno tells us, "Hey scallywags, it's time to be awesome".



Time To Be Awesome Song by My Little Pony