Archive | Blog RSS feed for this section

Brain Detox: The Reckoning

Autumn Brain Detox | Betty HerbertWell, Brain Detox is officially over.

Do I now have a clean, sparkly, creative brain?

Well, kind of. When I suggested that we all do ‘one crazy, spontaneous thing,’ I must admit that I didn’t expect that to be ‘start a business and gain a substantial client list before you even launch.’

Life moves fast sometimes, doesn’t it? Brain Detox has made me slow down a little in what’s been a very fast month. I’ve been good at meditating every day (as you might expect) and looking at the sky; less good at getting any exercise. Although that’s been a benefit too: I’ve noticed how sedentary I’ve become, and how much I hate it.

The revelation for me has been reading again. It’s a habit I’ve fallen out of since Bert was born, and I’ve loved spending an hour with a book instead of flicking grouchily through the channels, wondering why there’s nothing interesting on.

But overall, I think the main impact of Brain Detox – for me – has been the realisation that I need to keep on fitting moments of mental repose into my days. I hated ‘The Artist’s Way‘ when I read it (if felt over-prescriptive to me, as if creativity were one, specific thing), but I’m going to use one of its phrases anyway: I need to keep on ‘filling the well.’ I used to do it a lot, and lately I’ve told myself that I don’t have the time. But, actually, it’s crucial to me.

What did you learn – good and bad – from Brain Detox?


Read full story · Comments { 0 } · Comments Policy

Post-baby lurve

Relationship remedies for parents | Betty HerbertHere I am on Parentdish, sharing some ideas for keeping up the romance after a baby. Do take a look.

Relationship remedies for parents

Thanks to @elletucker for interviewing me.

Read full story · Comments { 0 } · Comments Policy

Guest post: Hello Sailor

chris-isaak-wicked-game-1989By Sarah Tregear

A tweet by @samaryd last week inspired a discussion on songs which reminded you of sex or as Sam calls it, ‘Songs that wake your inner..Hello Sailor.’ These songs may not remind you of a person or a specific time that you had but just make you think of sex.

Sam’s suggestion for her all time Hello Sailor track was Need You Tonight by INXS. Most females or indeed anyone with a pulse can agree that this is song that oozes with sex. It isn’t just the words, which say exactly what what he wants from you; there is also Michael Hutchence. There was something very sexual about him, in fact there was so much sex in Michael that he even died through having sexy time with himself.

My own personal song is Wicked Game by Chris Isaak. The words are about falling in love with someone who is playing a game so the attraction of this song for me is his voice, which in this song goes straight to my girl bits. Literally.

Wicked Game doesn’t remind me of anyone in particular but someone I like and in a particularly flirty period once text me to say he was in a coffee shop and Wicked Game was playing and it made him think of me…. Now that will get him the good stuff.

Sam has created an Hello Sailor Spotify playlist and we asked other people to contribute. This caused some debate as everyone’s taste is different. For example Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye was suggested but many other people said no it was cringey, or too full on.

Other suggestions have included:

A song for Lovers – Richard Ashcroft

You are the One (that I have been waiting for) – Nick Cave

Kashmir – Led Zepplin

Smooth – Santana

Let’s Do it – Ella Fitzgerald

And oddly I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany……

 You can find the Spotify playlist here; feel free to add your songs. We can’t work out how to do it on Spotify, but maybe you can. Failing that, add your suggestion to the comments below, or tweet us.

Read full story · Comments { 4 } · Comments Policy

The Comb

The Comb | Betty HerbertThere is a comb on the floor by the kitchen, and we’re all just pretending it isn’t there.

This is a long-standing habit in our household, partly because we own a large number of items that have nowhere to live. Rather than finding a place – which would involve a group meeting of some kind, or, worse, one of us acting unilaterally so that the other person would never find it again – we just conspire not to see it.

Every now and then, Bert will notice the comb, pick it up, and pretend to use  it, which means I spend the next five minutes picking fluff out of his hair. This inevitably leads to me getting my hair combed*, too.

After that, he’ll drop it somewhere else, so we can start ignoring it again. Maybe it’s a good way of reminding us that we ought to brush his hair every now and then. It’s growing now, but he started off so bald that we never really adapted. By the time he’s fifteen he’ll have some sort of wild thatch, and we’ll end up blinking at it, thinking, damn we really should have started brushing that at some point. And then we’ll have to shave his head. And then he’ll hate us forever.

Perhaps the comb is in the right place after all. Maybe I should start leaving his toothbrush there, too.

*banged repeatedly with a comb

Read full story · Comments { 0 } · Comments Policy

My guest post for Dattch – The Female of the Species

Betty Herbert | Dattch

I just wrote a guest post for Dattch, about how women have much dirtier minds than they like to admit. It’s inspired by a new book by Daniel Bergner, called What Do Women Want?.

Do head over there and take a look: The Female of the Species.


Read full story · Comments { 0 } · Comments Policy

Brain Detox – Some uncollected thoughts after week 1

Autumn Brain Detox | Betty Herbert

On one hand, I’m feeling a slight sense of failure. After a week of Brain Detox, I haven’t done any of the big things on my list yet – no wild, spontaneous gestures or trips to an exhibition. I was going to cook H a Black Forest Gateau for his birthday, but then I realised I had no time and that I’d end up creating this enormous cake with only two of us able to eat it, and either the sense of waste or the sense of calorie-guilt would get me.

I tried to take a long walk on Sunday, but Bert fell asleep at the wrong time, and H spotted a boot fair on the way, and so I ended up heading home with an armful of bargain toys, and then having to clear out all the old toys to make room.

That actually felt good though. I’ve been feeling a lot like things are stagnant in my life this year, and while I was thrusting plastic teethers into a dustbin bag I realised it was because I keep telling myself I’m just too busy to do the simple things that I used to quite enjoy, like clearing out cupboards and painting old furniture. I have been deliberately letting go of control over certain areas of my life, and I’m not sure if I like it. Entropy has set into our house, and I’ve been telling myself I can’t do anything about it.

And then there’s been the reading. I have read, without fail, every day. Most days, it’s been a novel (I have devoured Where’d You Go Bernadette?, and am quite convinced it’s a work of genius, although that may be my reading drought speaking). A couple of times, I have bought up all the weekend papers and buried myself among them, like the good old days.

I have written, too: morning pages every morning, and lots of fresh thoughts on how to whip my new book into shape. The reading and writing are intertwined: I always knew that, but this week I remembered it. That’s another false economy of my life recently: I haven’t got time to read. And yet, without the fresh flow of ideas that come from reading, my head has gone stagnant. It’s been no hardship to make time to read instead of turning on the telly. It’s just habit .

I meditate every day anyway, but this week I looked at the sky and took exercise some days too. I’m not sure I got out of breath much, but it’s a start.

Overall, after my first week, I’m feeling the beginnings of a sense of movement, like the dammed-up bits of me are starting to break loose. And, oddly, it’s meant that other things have started to move, too. I have finally done all my filing, which has been cascading over my desk for months, and I’ve bought a better box to fit it all into, too. I went and spoke to a new accountant, and I think I might possibly be in love with her (which is a bit like falling in love with your therapist). I made damson vodka, and the lovely beef Rendang curry I used to make years ago. I have driven a friend to college instead of pretending I haven’t noticed she needs a bit of help.

I feel like I’m coming unstuck, in a good way. I’ve spent this year trying to get back on my feet through force of will alone. I’m exhausted. This has let me be gentle to myself again.

I’d love to hear how your Brain Detoxes are going – email me some words & I’ll get it up online with this post (include any links to your blogs/twitter feeds in your email!) – helloatbettyherbertdotcom. 

Read full story · Comments { 0 } · Comments Policy

Autumn Brain Detox

Autumn Brain Detox | Betty Herbert

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling decidedly deflated. This is usually my favourite time of year, but right now a feel like a flat lilo.

So, I’ve hatched a scheme. In my other life, as The Minder, I talk to people all the time about how to get their sparkle back. It occurs to me that we could do that on a mass scale, all together, online.

This is what it involves:

1. Autumn officially starts on Sunday 22nd September. From that day, we’ll spend a month doing lovely things that leave us feel refreshed, inspired and re-energised.

2. This is what we’ll do:

Every day:

  • Read something
  • Meditate, write morning pages or make time for a good think
  • Look at the sky
  • Get out of breath

Once during the month:

  • Watch a film you’ve always wanted to see
  • Visit an exhibition or a historical site
  • Cook something wonderful from scratch
  • Spend a whole evening listening to music that you love
  • Take a long walk
  • Do one crazy, spontaneous thing.

3. Of course, not all of this will be perfect for everybody. That’s fine. Do it your way. The aim is to shake off the fug and to get your mojo back a bit.

4. Blog about it, or don’t. But if you do, pop a link in the comments below and I’ll do my best to compile everything. There’s some code at the bottom of the page so that you can put a Brain Detox badge on your blog.

5. Talk about it online with #braindetox. I’ll try to compile that too.

6. Tell your friends! The more the merrier.

7. On Sunday 20th October, we’ll all decide whether or not we feel a bit better about the world.

What do you think? Are you in?

Autumn Brain Detox |

Cut and paste this code into a text widget or post  to add it to your blog:

<center><a href=””><img src=”” width=”206″ height=”174″ alt=”mumsnet” /></a></center>


Read full story · Comments { 22 } · Comments Policy