Hayley Matthews: My happy return is a cause for celebration

A day at Restoration Yard made for a birthday to remember. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
A day at Restoration Yard made for a birthday to remember. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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I celebrated 37 years on planet Earth during the week. I’m not big on birthdays. On my fifth birthday I cut my ear open running for the cake at Portobello trampoline centre (my fault), on my 11th I broke my ankle falling off a fireman’s pole at Dalkeith Country Park (again my fault), so I like low-key birthdays.

This year was very different. I was invited to the Restoration Yard in Dalkeith to experience all the relaxing activities on offer.

The tug-of-war over Jack Sock's prized Wimbledon towel

The tug-of-war over Jack Sock's prized Wimbledon towel

This consisted of plush leafy green areas, drinking coffee, eating cake, shopping and yoga! Bingo I’ve found heaven! This year, I’m pleased to say, was the happiest and least traumatic birthday that I’ve experienced.

I started my day at the Restoration Yard with a Kundilini yoga class. Karen, the teacher, is incredible. Happy, relaxed and a beautiful soul to help you unwind. I’ve been scared to do yoga for the fear I need to turn up at a class and stand on my head. I can hardly touch my toes and I managed the class just fine, so it’s the perfect place to start for the “worried well” who need to calm the mind.

Psychotherapist Jen joined in the class and explained the purpose of the wellbeing lab, having people on hand to help heal the mind, body and soul of the community. There’s a focus on mindfulness, massage and CBT therapy too.

My friend Kate noticed that immediately, even just by leaving the city, we were lifted away from the stress of the hustle and bustle and into a plush green resort without realising it.

After being treated to a lunch of beef udon noodles (the food is amazing) and sitting watching all the kids have fun in the tree house, it was time for a look around the shop. Assistant manager Louise showed us all the original stable areas. They have been converted into shops and changing rooms and there are little nods to the Duke and Buccleuch estate all around. William Adam, the leading Scottish architect of the era, designed the original stables in 1740 for the 2nd Duke of Buccleuch and there are still tiles, prints and colours taken from the original stables and estate sprinkled all about. You really feel like you are in somewhere very special.

There is a very special bird sitting on a high beam in the café looking down on everyone. He used to work on the estate and after passing away from natural causes, was ‘restored’ and now takes up residence in the building keeping a watchful eye on visitors.

I also loved seeing George the toy horse, who actually belonged to the Duke back in the day.

If you visit, ask about George’s story and why he’s there. What an incredible place to spend an afternoon if you’re looking to get away from the city.

My associations with Dalkeith are now well and truly positively restored. I was tempted to go down the slide and climb up into the treehouse – but I decided against any physical strain and had a coffee and cookie instead.

Late again – but I’ve been a busy bee with my bottle of sugar water

The weather has been hot, humid, windy, wet – all seasons in one day – and yet, come rain or shine, the busy wee workers that keep us in food and honey are out.

I’ve always been fascinated with bees and even more so now I know their importance. I recently read that bees help pollinate a third of the world’s crops and if they didn’t do that, then quite simply, we’d starve. They are so important, yet so small and fragile.

So when a friend told me to help out a bee when you see one lying on the ground, I now know why. All they need is a little sugar and water solution. Many a day over the past few weeks, we have been late for school because I’m lifting a bee off the ground and giving it some water from my son’s juice bottle. I think they prefer water mixed with sugar as they live on sugar. Or you can be a total hippie like me and carry sugar sachets in your wallet with a bottle of water ready to save the day.

I swear, saving bees becomes addictive. When those little tongues come out and have a wee sook of the sugar water off your hand, to then fly away a few minutes later is one of the best feelings in the world. You might think I’m daft but if you Google the importance of bees, then I’m sure I’ll see you carrying your sugar water solution and saving bees over the next few months.

When the towel hits the fan, it’s a (double) fault

I’ve been watching Wimbledon and not sure if it’s the heat or the testosterone overload but tensions are running high.

First we have an umpire/player disagreement (I prefer spat) that got a bit out of hand, and then we saw Towelgate. There was outrage on social media as a grown man snatched a towel from a young boy’s hands after US star Jack Sock threw the souvenir into the crowd.

Even Andy Murray’s mum got involved Twitter, saying: “If you’re the bloke in the blue polo shirt and hat, you should be ashamed.” Not all is lost though – the young lad was given another towel after video footage went viral, and now it looks like he will be receiving towels from the other tennis Grand Slam tournaments in Australia, France and the United States.

If you’re a victim of pathetic bullies, they have the problem, not you

I’ve been watching the anti-bullying campaign that This Morning has been discussing recently and it saddens me to hear that there are bullies ruining peoples lives. Not just kids at school, but grown women and men bullying each other at work.

I was bullied at school, I’ve been bullied in the workplace, twice, and I have come to the conclusion that it’s the bully who has the problem.

When someone sees that you are willing to absorb all their negative energy, often they will put that on you. If that person has a huge ego and needs to feel in power (lack of confidence) then this is where the bullying can start. As my nana used to say, if you’ve not got anything nice to say, then don’t bother saying anything at all. If I want your opinion, then I’ll ask for it.

So to the bullies out there – you know who you are. Before you write, comment, say something harmful or hurtful to someone, stop and think. What is the reason that you feel you need to vent your unhappiness? Is it really you who has the issue?

If you know someone who is being bullied, then you can call the national helpline on 0845 22 55 787.