26 Ways To Please Your Lover

This isn’t a radical departure from Lemonaid’s usual themes, we’ve not gone all 50 shades on you (yet)! In the midst of our new year planning activities, I came upon the following tweet which I thought was a great idea and enthusiastically suggested to Becky that we try something similar…

Given that I struggle with consistency, Lea, this is not sounding like the ideal scenario for me! 52 weeks of starting new habits and hoping that the useful ones will stick?! I’m the girl that rebels against putting deodorant on two days on the trot in case I feel trapped by routine!

Seriously woman, you think I can undertake 26 different tasks this year and try and maintain them all? Do you actually know me?

No. And yes.

Blunt and direct as ever, my lovely!! Ok so assuming I can commit my ass to this foolish plan of yours, what habits do YOU want to form….delivering me a daily 4-course breakfast consisting of perfectly cooked sunny side ups WITH black pepper??

If it’s low carb, with 30g of protein within the first 30 minutes of waking AND followed by an ice cold shower, before 45 minutes in the gym, followed by 30 minutes of meditation to set the right intentions before a productive few hours of work…

Suddenly I’ve lost my appetite! So how am I going to have the best chance of maintaining my new carb detesting, protein rushed, frozen bodied, worked out, crossed legged Buddha self, oh habit forming one?? And – now there’s one for the list, no starting sentences with ‘and’ – I have other habits I (read: we) want to create…did I mention you telling me you love me daily?

Weeeeeelllll…according to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habits – habits are choices that we deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about but continue doing, often every day. Common examples of habits are brushing your teeth, driving your route to work/play, going to the gym etc.

To change a habit, you need to start making new choices again. In this way, you’ll replace the formula your brain currently automatically follows  – when I see/hear/do/feel TRIGGER, I do HABIT so that I get a REWARD – with new and once again more consciously-chosen actions. According to numerous studies, the easiest way to do this is with a plan which – within psychology – are known as “implementation intentions”. A year of 2-week experiments is our implementation intention!

Wow Lea, that tripped so effortlessly off your keyboard! Right, well if I agree to your crazy scheme we are going to need to agree 26 habits we want to form if we’re doing it in tandem…ready?

  1. Juicing
  2. Low carb
  3. Supplements
  4. 30 minutes of exercise daily
  5. Glass of water first thing in the morning (L) / before each meal (B)
  6. Daily natural vision correction exercises (L) / Returning to love (B)
  7. Daily gratitudes
  8. Better sleep routine (L) / In bed by 11pm (B)
  9. 30 minutes of work daily, even when we have the kids
  10. Saying I love you daily to Becky (L) / Speaking to myself in a positive, loving way (B)
  11. Meal planning & organisation for the week ahead
  12. No phone use while driving
  13. 5 minutes of kissing daily & always kissing on greeting/leaving
  14. Daily meditation
  15. Read for 30 minutes a day
  16. Partner’s choice #1 (we each get to choose an activity for the other to do)
  17. Daily cold showers (We’re going to need this after 5 minutes of snogging every day!!!)
  18. Daily manifesting practice
  19. Daily journaling
  20. Return to now/being in the present
  21. Daily act of service
  22. Partner’s choice #2
  23. Reconnecting with someone from our network every day
  24. Make more direct sexual requests
  25. Guitar for 30 minutes a day
  26. Creating for 30 minutes a day (writing, blogging, other creative endeavour)

We’ll be keeping you updated on our progress with each 2-week experiment (oh it’s going so well so far!!!)…

Being Seen

…by Becky

In the aftermath of a ‘rowette’ (smaller than a row, bigger than a tiff!) in a local coffee shop this week, we were enthusiastically greeted by another cafe regular, a quirky young gay woman who had clearly been trying to suss out for some time whether we were on planet lesbian!

On seeing us embrace, she tearfully told us how inspirational it was for a younger member of the LGBTQ community to see an older, same sex couple so happy together, and insisted on giving us her rainbow badge.

It took us aback somewhat. In the small town where we live, no-one has ever directly referred to our sexuality, although we’ve had many a double take, especially when out with all four children! While it was nice to be seen as inspirational, it got us thinking about being seen more generally…

I’ve always thought I’m a pretty open book, that people are invited in to ‘see’ the real me quite easily.

However, this delightful narrative has been sorely challenged lately. It’s become apparent in therapy and in my processing with Lea that I am deeply unaccepting of my own shadow side, that is, the bits of me I find embarrassing, shaming and unpleasant.

We all have a shadow side that we often try to reject. This rejection often leads us to identify and vilify traits in others that we find hard to accept in ourselves. Deep. Unadulterated. Joy.

So, I’m fine with people seeing the bits of me that I find acceptable but these shadow parts… not so much! Given that I spend much of my life seeking and demanding openness in others this was quite shocking!! As was the revelation of all the defences I use to keep people discovering them…shining the spotlight on their stuff to distract from my own, humour (ohhh yes siree!) and the ingenious device of giving people a tiny bit of my stuff to make them think I’m being open when really I have no intention of letting them past my barricades…of steel. Unless, like Lea, they come armed with a bloody tin opener!

And the reason for those barricades? Fear of course. Fear of not being good enough, something Louise Hay identified was the most common ailment shared by almost everyone on the planet. Same problem, different creative ways to keep people out.

Lea likes to think she’s Robinson Crusoe, deftly creating her own island, and ensuring a healthy supply of Piranha filled waters for those seeking to drag her off it (I have the bites to prove it).

And yet…what we all crave is connection, to be loved and accepted as our whole selves, shadow side and all. What Lea and I have learnt over the past year is that this is worth the risk. Worth the time, effort and tears involved in looking at those difficult parts of ourselves, worth sharing them and being truly seen by another human being.

Because therein lies the gold, in allowing others to really see us, that shadow part loses its potency, and it becomes easier for us to reclaim it as part of a whole us.

So if you happen to run into me in a coffee shop cuddling my girlfirend, rest assured ‘being seen’ to be in love with another woman is just a drop in the ‘being seen’ ocean, albeit with the perks of an ‘Inspirational’ mantle 😉

POST SCRIPT: Re-reading this several days later it is not lost on me how, even in a post about being seen I have protected myself from…being seen!!! Reliance on ‘theory’, quoting others, not many specific personal examples…ensure I am safely secreted behind steel once more. Clearly I need to take a leaf out of Sia’s book and risk stepping out from behind my metaphorical fringe…

…by Lea

Being seen, being more visible, letting people in. On the surface, I suspect it appears that Becky’s pretty good at being seen and being visible – she runs an entertainment/performance business in which she’s front, centre and on show. Me? Not so much, give me a screen to hide behind and I’m there!

And yet, in our own ways, we’re both hiding…

Becky uses humour – often toilet-related and almost always self deprecating – usually to show her flaws before anyone can see them first and to demonstrate that she’s not a threat, in any way.

On the other hand, I find it very easy to end up in the very masculine dynamic of sharing suggestions, giving advice, and solving problems and, alongside what I’m told is a quiet inner confidence that others (often women) find disconcerting, often results in me being seen as ‘together’ or ‘sorted’ and taps into others’ sense of “Oh she doesn’t need anything from me. What can I offer her?”.

Very different (unconscious) strategies. Same result. Neither of us are seen, fully.

So why do we hide? Why do any of us hide? Usually for fear of being seen and being found/judged to be not good enough…

If we show our dark, shadow sides, or we show our vulnerabilities, what will people think? If we show the real us – flaws and all – we risk being rejected. We risk not being liked. We risk not being loved.

So what does it mean to be seen?

Over the past year, I’ve seen and been seen. I’ve seen what’s behind the defence mechanisms and the constructs that Becky uses to keep herself seemingly safe and protected. I’ve seen the defence mechanisms and constructs I use to keep myself seemingly safe and protected, and I’m discovering what’s behind them too.

And what is behind them? A person. Whole. Real. Light. Shadow. Perfect. Flawed.

I’ve seen a Becky I didn’t yet know. She is insecure and yet arrogant. She is terrified of intimacy and yet craves it. She is essentially feminine and yet wants to be seen as ‘alpha’. She is exceptionally funny (without the toilet gags) and yet deadly serious. She is deeply emotional and yet sometimes can’t feel a thing.

I’ve seen a more authentic me I didn’t yet know. I’m strong and yet massively vulnerable and can (and do) burst into tears at the drop of a hat when my stuff is triggered which it frequently is as I explore it more deeply. I’m great at nurturing people but utterly shit at receiving nurturing, and yet it’s what I crave the most. I like to know and live with certainty and yet now live with huge amounts of uncertainty and not knowing in my life, which have become conscious over the past year.

We both have work to do to be seen…to stop hiding behind and relying on our defence mechanisms to keep us hidden. To let each other and others see the real, whole us – individually and yes, together too. Why?

Acceptance and love…of who we are and of how we are – as individuals and as a couple. It’s time to stop hiding. It’s time to come out…again!

The Road To Happiness Is Paved With (Painted) Stones and Taylor Swift…

Becky’s version…

More often than not people will say that winning the lottery is the thing that would most change their lives. But what if ‘life changing’ can tiptoe in rather than announce itself loudly with a fanfare and a big cheque?

I’m the poorest I’ve ever been financially and yet I’m doing more of the things that make me happy. With a person that I adore. 
Lea and I have been getting back to basics doing things that top our happiness Richter scale and this weekend has seen us revelling in many of those small scale but utterly joy-inducing moments that make me want to pee my pants, squeal in delight and touch the clouds all at once.

Stone painting. Who knew painting rocks could be so utterly enjoyable? (Once you have the right tools 🙄) None of these will be making it to the fantastic Newark Rocks – the hide and seek-a-rock Facebook group that are cropping up all over the place – we have a handmade Xmas to prepare for afterall 😉

Baking. Healthy banana and pecan bread and all-butter, all-chocolate, ten bags of sugar, gooey, melt-in-the-mouth cookies that I can’t bloody eat, made lovingly, without too much envy, for the glorious Mrs O.

Swift tunes. New song learning. Challenging times with young Taylor’s complex melodies and lyrics. We can’t do it without her holding our hand thus far…

The i crossword. A bloody jumbo one at that! Lazy days sans small people should always involve words of crossness, oh no, that’s days WITH small people 😮

So. No lottery win. Truth be told I don’t play. But won big on joy, making stuff, laughing, intimacy, fun, processing, munching, and of course, Strictly!

Lea’s version…

One of the upsides to rediscovering ourselves in our 40s is finding the things we really want to do to create the life we want. 

This doesn’t always  have to be the big bucket (lemon) list type items, instead it can be the small, innocuous-sounding activities.
This is a snapshot of the day we spent together yesterday – a rare 24-hours+ of child-free time to do just as we please. Things like…

Singing – if you’ve ever tried to play the guitar and sing a Taylor Swift song (without listening to her at the same time), you’ll discover a new-found appreciation for Ms Swift’s skills. We’re currently learning this song which is taking MUCH effort!

Stone painting – a slight detour for a hot stone massage after washing then drying the stones on the radiator, and £30 of pens later and we’re ready to go 😳

Cross-wording – our history knowledge leaves much to be desired!! Gratitude to Mr. Google.

Baking – dairy-free and gluten-free banana and pecan bread (baked by me for Becky) and the most gluttonous all-butter, Toblerone and Lindt chocolate cookies (baked by Becky for me).

All tiny steps on the road to happiness and the Lemonaid life we want ❤️

Folk Muse: Underneath The Stars

This sums up a flavour of our past year together…

Beautiful, tender, a journey of trust and intimacy and a chrysalis of the emotion yet to fly forth (we’re not just together for our mutual love of poo gags 😉 )

Did I ever imagine being brave enough to sing one of my beloved Kate Rusby’s songs to another human other than my kids?! Nope. Could I be embarrassed about it? Yep! But I’m jolly well choosing not to be, because turning Netflix off and playing and singing together has been utterly joy inducing.


  • Song: Underneath The Stars by Kate Rusby
  • Vocals: Becky Ford
  • Guitar: Lea Woodward

Handmade Hanky Panky

We’re both keen to bring more handmade gifting into our lives (and the lives of others – much to the chagrin of our kids…”HANDMADE? PRESENTS? WHAT?!?!”). We’re starting with this Christmas and learning how to needle felt.

Given the time it’s taking us, it’s a good job we started in October 😂