How to invest in yourself!

So back at Radio Verulam today with the Gorgeous Danny Smith and I was inspired to chat about ‘investments’ by Curly Headed Boy.

It’s spring time, maybe you need a fresh look at your life and a bit of an overhaul?

The question is how to invest in yourself?

Money Saving.

Money Saving Tips
Money

We are quite strict that even from pocket money, our kids have to put something aside.  It’s just so that it becomes second nature to them and eventually when they start to earn money, they naturally expect to be putting a minimum of 10% away.  Otherwise, his head will be automatically working out how he can spend every penny.  Instead, he will automatically assume that some money goes into savings.

It’s not about how much money you earn.

Its about the amount of value that you get from it.

And how much money is left at the end of your month!

As he looks like he would prefer a creative career, he is going to definitely have to manage his money really well to weather the highs and lows, as it’s unlikely to be consistent.

Yes, he might be really successful, but it might not be long term, or he might get one big windfall, that he could blow through really quickly.  In fact we had an award system, where he earn’t quite a lot of money, and what inspired this post was that he agreed to put 50% of it away into savings.

Imagine if you’d put aside all that money since you were a kid?  At 45, I’d have a lot more going on!  Women need to be especially aware of the fact that we have a tendency to not prioritise our pensions ahead of the needs of our relationships or families.

If you would like to start, but can’t afford 10%, just work towards it.  £5 is enough, as it’s a step in the right direction.

Try to create 2 different savings options:

1) Savings forever (not to be touched apart from investing in houses/education)

2) Savings for fun (don’t pay for Christmas and holidays afterwards when the fun is over)

Check out the rest of my money saving tips here.  I have no doubt that they’ll help you out of a financial hole, make sure that you have more value from the money that you spend, and help you to be financially healthier.

 

Your Health

green and red healthy food

This should actually come first in my opinion.  There’s no point in saving money if you don’t have a good quality or long enough life.

I know that things happen, and we can’t plan for everything.  But there is no doubt that your quality of life will be better if you drink water, eat healthily, and exercise.

I like to focus on being HEALTHY, then FIT (no point in being fit without health), and STRONG (which means toned and tends towards slimmer).  Check out all my tips on how to get healthy without dieting or killing yourself with exercise.  It’s so easy to try to go for a quick fix, but we all know THEY DON’T WORK!

Then you need to remember that everyone needs downtime, otherwise the levels of cortisol (stress) just get higher and higher and higher.  That affects your immune system and leaves you open to illnesses and diseases, like my Fibromyalgia.  I know you will get stressed again.  But there will have been a dip, and that is what is important.

Remember, that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself!

 

Your Mind

Great books for mums
Books, books, books …

Have you heard the theory that if you spend 15mins extra a day learning something, then you will overtake your 99% of your peers within a couple of years?

That’s how I did so well in IT.  I wasn’t a natural at it, but I studied every night, and within a few years they’d forgotten my initial struggles.  Eventually I became a global guru – crazy!

You see it at school every day with kids.  The teachers nag parents to read once a night with their children, just for 5-10 mins.  It sounds like so little, that it’s easy to drop.  However, 3-4 years down the line, it’s really obvious which children did or didn’t get that time.  (I know that parents are often busy and it’s not always easy to fit in time with the kids).

However, as old readers will know, I’m not sure about the idea of pushing yourself to pay for a private education, as I’m not convinced it always pays off.  Hence we moved Curly Headed Boy from private back into the state sector.  So don’t assume that education has to cost lots.  Mind you, him being so keen on dancing is a bit of an investment!

I see it as an employer all the time.  Those in my team with a passion for learning are on Youtube and keeping up to date and improving constantly.  The others are just fine, but they don’t do as well and naturally don’t attract as many customers.

It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time.  Just lots of little consistent bits, is what adds up eventually.

 

Your Community

Charity Shop Finds
Butterfly Sparkles!

I must admit that I believe that what you give out you get back.  If I smile at people, I tend to mainly get smiles back.  There are a few grumpy people, but the smiles I get back cheer me up.  It’s not any extra pressure on my day to make this little effort, and I get rewarded in bucket loads.

The same goes for ‘paying it forward’.  I don’t believe it’s right to be a martyr, or give so much of yourself that you damage your health and family.  But our community is important, and there are always things that you can do , however little.

Maybe it’s in helping to spread the word about a new small business on Facebook?  A simple share of one of my posts for Espiritu, is amazingly helpful.  I have lovely clients who regularly mention us whenever someone asks for a local hair/beauty salon or Spa.  I’m really lucky, so I like to help out other businesses where I can.

Perhaps you support the local charity shop where you can by buying from there and giving them things that you are finished with.  I’ve made amazing purchases in charity shops in the past, and my kids love them.  There was a really interesting post though over on a friend of mine’s blog, where she was feeling guilty about wanting to sell some more expensive items.  No you should never feel guilty – it’s not right to put yourself in trouble.

Or maybe it’s helping out at your kids school a couple of hours a week if you have the flexibility?

Remember, you don’t have to solve a WHOLE problem – that’s what often stops people from helping out, donating or volunteering.  Just help a little – and all the little bits add up.

 

What else?

What do you think that you should invest in?
What have I missed out?
Friendships? – I kind of fit that in with community, but many invest much more in their friendships.
Clothes? – I recently bought some clothes, as there is an expectation that I look a certain way for work, but I’ve never bought anything outrageously expensive, as I’m way too tight fisted.
Relationships? – So difficult to juggle with a family and kids, but they can last a lifetime, so worth investing in.
Houses? – With all the changes in our economy, maybe it isn’t a priority anymore to invest in bricks and mortar?
Watching TV – there is social side to this, where you can feel left out if you don’t know what’s going on!
Is it possible to have romance and kids?

How, why and what on earth is ‘Loving yourself’?

I was on the radio tonight with the ‘Gorgeous Danny Smith’ on his Drivetime show on Radio Verulam (you can listen again for a week here – monday 5.30-6pm), talking about ‘Self Love’.  It’s a bit cliched maybe, but also really important, and something I’ve been thinking about and wishing a few of my friends would practice more this month.

Why Bother?

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
A hug
First off, I need to explain to you why it is so important to you and to the ones you care for, and your success that you love yourself.
1) Healthy relationships – when you don’t love yourself, you will attract people looking for someone damaged.  Not being nasty, but they are either a hero type looking to rescue you (not always healthy, as it creates co-dependence) or take advantage of you (which can turn really abusive).
2) Your Vulnerability – This means that you will be much more vulnerable in your relationships, and often rather than considering your opinion of yourself to be really important, you can prioritise that of the person taking advantage of you, who is unlikely to give you a balanced view.  This could be someone tending towards the abusive side of the behaviour spectrum, or someone definitely that way, so the temptation to make you feel small and reduce your confidence will be too big for them to ignore.  I’m not suggesting that you become an arrogant person who only considers themselves – I’m just suggesting that ‘To thine own self be true’ is an old and wise adage (Danny being much younger than me, hadn’t heard this one!).
3) You Loved Ones – Meanwhile your ability to give the people you love what they deserve will be severely effected if you don’t rate yourself and take care or nurture yourself.  You won’t have enough energy to show them you love them or confidence to go out and achieve success and follow through of your purpose.

How To Do It?

Time for Change
So hopefully you have heard all this ‘put yourself first’ and ‘love yourself’ malarkey enough, for this post to be pointing you in the right direction.  The problem is, how to convince yourself you are worth it and keep at it.
1) Time: Honestly, this is something that takes a time.  For some it could be 6 months, but for many of us, it’s more of a ‘journey’.  The good news is, that once enroute, you will start to get immediate rewards; you don’t have to wait for the end when you totally love yourself unconditionally.
2) Compare like for like: You need to start comparing like for like.  That is, YOU ARE NOT LIKE ANYONE ELSE, so stop feeling guilty because you need more support than Mrs X or you aren’t as brilliant as Mr N!  No you are not as brilliant at that, but there will be SOMETHING ELSE that you are better at.  Yes, you might need more help or support than her, but you are in a DIFFERENT situation.  Plus you don’t know the whole situation they are in, as people always lie and keep stuff quiet!
3) Stop Aiming For Perfection: All this stuff you judge yourself for; what are your expectations, are they possible?  Maybe there is something that you could improve.  Great.  Go do it, and don’t worry about it anymore.  But I bet you a huge amount of stuff is things that aren’t that important, or aren’t you at all, or aren’t possible.  I have an issue where I don’t judge other people for their standard of living at all, but for some reason I have very high expectations on myself; ridiculous!  The true me is happy wherever she is, as long as she has access to fresh air, a few pretty things (gotta love some vintage pretties!) and happy kids.
4) Think about your loved ones: When you are struggling, think how will it help your loved ones for you to love yourself more.  You’ll be so much more able to be present with them, plus you’ll be mentoring a healthier way of living to your children.
5) Your Goals and dreams:  In order to achieve, we need to feel that we are worth it, and deserve the success and abundance.  So remember your biggest dream the next time you are mean to yourself!
6) Make mistakes:  Allow yourself the right to make mistakes, take responsibility for them and gain the confidence to accept them.  It is HUGE to be able to feel confident enough to accept when we didn’t get something perfect, or could improve something, or made a mistake.  It’s actually a lovely feeling to be able to put your hands up and accept responsibility for it.  Only then can you actually move forward and improve things as well.  This will ensure you are much better at your job as well; as an employer I can tell you it’s not the mistakes that bother me, but the backstabbing and trying to cover their butts that is the issue (don’t ever try that with me, I always know!).

What is it

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul
So you want to learn to love yourself?  How will you know you are doing it?  When you naturally act as though you have:
1) The right to the basics: Many mums refuse themselves tea, flossing and peeing, but we deserve those 2 minutes!
2) The right to health: We all deserve refresh air, exercise, fruit & veg, water, rest and sleep.  Yes, I know it may not be viable for you to get everything you would like (e.g. Mums), but we all deserve some time every week to nurture ourselves and look after our health.
3) Your thoughts:  Think kind thoughts about yourself and stop saying horrible things to yourself.
4) Friends: Busy lives are a given, but we all have the right to see/talk to  friends sometimes.  I’ve just seen a friend who I haven’t seen in 2yrs.  Yes, I would have loved to have seen her more, and no it wasn’t possible.  But I took the whole 2.5hrs available when I did get the chance, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  (Move soon please hun!).
5) Pamper: It might only be once a year, but we all deserve to have a haircut sometimes, or a treat.  I wrote lots of ideas in this previous post about pampering.
6) Hobbies:  Again I know that time is restricted, especially if you have a baby.  But life comes back to some form of normality (ish!) eventually, and everyone has some kind of creative urge or favourite hobby that is a break from every day life and expresses themselves.  I’m not good at it, but I love to draw, and have even made a few things with my sewing machine.
7) Good Boundaries: We all have the right to refuse to be treated badly.  I’m not suggesting you start an argument, or create conflict, or try to change your partner.  Just that it’s Ok to be clear on what behaviour you can and can’t accept.  How to explain to people and teach them how to treat you, is one of my most popular blog posts here

I hope that this blog post is the one that kicks you into action to show yourself more compassion, love, and appreciation!  If not, I hope that it’s not far off and the next time someone mentions it, you decide it is time.  Remember that everyone wants to be loved, but the most important person to love you is yourself.

Why Pampering Is The Best Present You Can Give

Pampering – it’s one of the best presents you can give YOURSELF or your loved ones!

It might sound a bit ridiculous for the owner of a Hair & Beauty Salon and Spa to say this: But I hadn’t understand HOW important it is until recently.

Now Danny Smith at Radio Verulam is a big fan of a pamper, so I thought I’d chat with him about it, about how under-estimated it is.  People think of it as a treat – whereas, I’m beginning to understand that it’s essential.

If you missed us, you can listen again for a week here.

 

What is a pamper?

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul
A Pamper is time.
Time for yourself.
Often considered a treat.
Normally associated with something relaxing or revitalising.
Misconstrued as expensive and something that only happens sometimes unless you are really rich.
Many people only think of a pamper as a beauty treatment or Spa service, however, I think of it as anything that makes you feel special and wonderful.  It’s something that brings joy to your life; but you need to be fully present with it and fully ‘in the moment’ if you are going to get all the benefits.
It’s more like a special moment, that can be anything from 5 mins to a whole day.

Why is it important?

Life Is Not Measured by the number of breaths we take ...
Life Is Not Measured by the number of breaths we take …

 

I know we have busy lives, so you might have a pamper one day, but still have to go back to reality and the stresses of every day.  I used to think that therefore it wasn’t that important.  Especially when I was focussed on the therapies I used that clear out old hurts and traumas; I often forgot about daily life.
But I’m convinced that if I’d spent more time thinking about myself on a daily basis I wouldn’t have got Fibromyalgia and now be faced with all the struggles physically, emotionally and mentally that limit me.  (I might have got my head around them, but still, I could have missed that whole learning and gone straight to the winning line!).
A pamper will reduce your stress and cortisol levels.
Why bother you might think?  Because stress increases your cortisol levels, which affects your sleep, your quality of living and attacks your immune system.
A strong healthy body means that you can make the most of the good days and sail through the bad days.
So to me, that is a great investment – we never know how long we have here on this earth, so every day is important.

How often?

6 Steps To A Sparkling You
6 Steps To A Sparkling You
So many people I know think that having a yearly pamper is enough.  Or maybe a quarterly one.  Some go as far as making it monthly.
Since writing my book ‘Six Steps To A Sparkling You and Enjoying Being a Mum’, I’d increased it to weekly.
But with some recent huge stresses in my life, I realised that I need it DAILY.
Do you think that is really greedy?
Maybe it is.
But being faced with panic attacks, heart palpitations and constant sugary feelings, I realised that I didn’t have much choice.
So over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been coming up with different options for pampering.

Self Pamper

Great books for mums
Books, books, books …
Remember that it’s about bringing a moment to your life, with some joy, and a feeling of happiness or calm.
Often it’s about adding something to make the moment more special.
What works for me is:
  • A 15 min walk in nature.
  • Popping to a coffee shop with Little Dimples.
  • A bath with a lovely bath oil, candles and calming music for 30mins.
  • Going to Pilates
  • A massage/manicure – I know it’s a bit obvious, but it can’t be beaten.
  • Watching a rubbish catchup TV program in bed (I don’t get to watch TV very often, so it’s a treat for me)
  • A catchup with a friend without kids 😉
  • Reading a book, snuggled up, with a smelly candle and lovely music
  • Doing a meditation

 

Pampers you give

I think that our houses are pretty full of STUFF!  So if you can give a ‘pamper’ or something that your loved one can use to self-pamper, then you are not just giving them a short moment of relaxation.  You are also giving them the opportunity to have a healthier, happier life for a period of time.
So they make a great Birthday or Christmas present.  Or maybe a spontaneous present to show how much your appreciate them!
Here are some ideas:
AromaWorks Candle
AromaWorks Candle
  • Candles: but be careful to get them ones that will keep them healthy – I prefer beeswax candles, because Paraffin wax candles are the ones that make all that black smoke.  Think about the black marks they leave on a wall, and then think about your lungs.  We sell Aroma-works candles at Espiritu, and because they are beeswax, they smell all the way to the bottom of the jar.

 

Spa Gift Voucher

  • Gift vouchers: most beauty salons or Spas will let you choose a gift voucher for something specific, but let the person in question swap them if needed.  I recommend that you choose a specific one; if you are unsure the girls at the salon will be able to guide you as to what is ideal.

Pamper Parcels

  • Pamper parcels: I was sent THE MOST AMAZING box a couple of months ago from this lovely new company.  It had every thing you need for a pamper: a bath oil, candle, body moisturiser and of course chocolate!  The great thing about a ready made box like this is that there is no way that you could put it together yourself for the price.  Plus, if you aren’t artistically skilled, they have put it together with such cute little touches, that it adds to the whole experience.  So I can really recommend them!
Make your own pamper box
Make your own pamper box
  • Make a gift box yourself: However if you are artistically skilled, then hows about putting together your own box?  Rachel’s Organics sent me a lovely treat about 2 months ago.  It had a pair of warm wooly socks, 3 of their gorgeous mousses,  tea lights to put in the glass jars when I’d eaten the yummy desserts, a lovely silver spoon engraved with my blog name, and the cutest little Prossecco bottle.

 

Maybe the biggest gift we can give or receive is time and a moment?

I’d love to know what your favourite pampers are?

Have I convinced you to pamper yourself some more?

 

Disclosure: Although I’m not doing any reviews this year, I couldn’t resist when Pamper Parcels offered me a lovely pamper box in September, as they’d seen from Twitter that I was a little stressed.  A huge thank you to them, along with Rachels Organics who sent me a lovely box full of gorgeous chocolate & vanilla desserts and some really cute goodies in October.  I think that a little part of me was beginning to understand the POWER OF A PAMPER, but their thoughtfulness was really kind and helped me REALLY understand how much I needed it.  Thank you guys – you were like a subtle message from the ether – way more subtle than the panic attacks I had, but I put your boxes to good use then!

Do you feel unappreciated?

I’ve come across a few people feeling unappreciated recently, so I thought I’d give some tips on how to deal with it.  As poor old Danny Smith on Radio Verulam is considered one of St Albans’ hidden treasures, I thought I’d go through them on his Drive time show.

Fancy listening to our dulcet tones?  You can listen again here.

Do you feel unappreciated?  Is it at work, at home with the kids or with your friends/partner?

The good news about feeling unappreciated is that it can be dealt with pretty easily ……

 

Tip 1: Have you told anyone?

To do list
To do list

When I worked in IT for 13 years, there was a well known phenomenon, which was that the men were much better at 1to1’s than the women.  Basically the men were much better at listing everything they had done, and blowing their own trumpets.  Whereas the women were more prone to being humble and discussing their development areas.  (Yes, I totally get that this is a generalisation!).

It happens at home too – many wives complain about their husband’s needing a medal for emptying the bin once a week ;o)

Meanwhile, women tend to leave the daily chores off their to do list, and not appreciate how much they are naturally getting done each day.  Hence their husband’s come home and ask ‘what did you do all day’ and it feels to them like they did nothing.

The key and easy way to turn this situation around is to tell people.

A good friend of mine makes a long list of everything that needs doing in the day and leaves it in a prominent position in the house.  By the end of the day, it has loads of ticks on it and her husband is awe inspired by how much she has achieved.  She makes sure that it includes things like ‘feeding the children’.

I’ve found that my children had NO IDEA how much I was trying to fit in to each day.  So rather than shout at them, when I was feeling really unappreciated, I waited until I had calmed down, and then I went through the list of things that I had to do.  I found them much more appreciative of what I did from then on.

Sometimes, people don’t appreciate what we do, because we’ve never explained what would happen if we didn’t.  I’ve heard of Mums who go on strike and stop clearing up or tidying up; that’s certainly one option.  I just explained to my kids that I know that they like to play and often we don’t have long, so I like to be able to find the toys quickly in order to make the most of our time together; hence everything needs to go back to where it came from.

I know lots of writers who feel gutted that their books don’t sell or their blog doesn’t get enough readers.  But often I find it’s because they aren’t willing to ‘pimp out’ their writing; i.e. no one knows about it!

 

Tip 2:  How do you know that you aren’t appreciated?

There is someone lovely that I know, who often feels unappreciated.  The thing is that despite being wonderful, she doesn’t have all the confidence and self-esteem that she deserves; so she needs quite a lot of head patting, and sometimes life gets in the way of telling her how great she is.

It’s quite possible that whilst the thoughts in your head are telling you that ‘No one appreciates me’, that they actually do appreciate you.

Maybe they just haven’t had a chance or the time to let you know or show you yet?

Maybe you haven’t noticed or heard them when they told you how great you were; sometimes we only focus on the criticism, not the appreciation.

Maybe they don’t show you the way that you like the best, so you need to tell them to do it a different way.

The other day I was feeling glum about my blog.  But then I got an email to say I’ve been selected as one of the top 15 Fibromyalgia advice blogs world wide for 2014 and found I was in the Top 100 blogs on Amazon (yep, people pay to read my blog, when it’s free on the internet – it’s weird, but I’m not complaining!).  I basically wasn’t looking in the right place to see where I was appreciated.

So remember to:

  1. Assume you are appreciated.
  2. Look around and see if you are and where you are appreciated.
  3. You could always ask them!

 

Tip 3: Did they want your help?

Everyone is fabIronically sometimes we are right; we are not appreciated.  But not because someone took us for granted, but because they didn’t ask or want us to do what we just did.

Sometimes, we just don’t listen to other people and jump to conclusions about what they would like.

It can happen so easily ..

– The kids don’t appreciate the amazing meal we cook them, because frankly they’d prefer baked beans on toast

– The friend who we spend ages sending advice to or chatting to about their problems doesn’t show any appreciation, because she was quite enjoying the drama and never helped for resolution, she just wanted to moan.

– The partner who didn’t appreciate the expensive present we bought them, because they actually prefer a simple bouquet

– The work mate who didn’t appreciate all your hard work tidying up their area, because what they actually wanted, was for you to tidy up your own.

 

Be really careful when you spend your energy helping people, and first check that you are about to do the right thing.

 

Tip 4: Did it make you feel martyred or grumpy?

Very sadly, you could do something really important and really helpful, but because of your demeanour afterwards you will get no brownie points whatsoever.

I encountered this when I was in IT at one point.  I had the best customer service results, the best budget and always achieved my targets.  But my boss found me a pain in the neck because I needed to be patted on the head; he was the kind of guy who didn’t need any external praise at all, so he thought me high maintenance.  It might have been unfair, but it was the way he was.

Do you know someone who is grumpy all the way through doing their job/chores?  I bet it totally stops you from feeling grateful to them?  Like that stroppy child who tidy’s their room, but kicks and throws things all the way through the whole process.

What about that elderly relative who helps loads of people, but then spends the rest of their time complaining about how much they helped everyone?  They are real energy suckers aren’t they?

We are basically really demanding; we want things done PLUS we want them done nicely!

Don’t do something if you are too tired, or you don’t want to!  Let someone else step in and help out instead; share around the giving!

 

So if you want to feel appreciated make sure that:

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
A hug
  1. Don’t waste time helping people who don’t want help.
  2. Do things that people definitely need.
  3. Assume that people are grateful for your help.
  4. Tell them what you did; but maybe wait a little while and give them the chance to appreciate it first.
  5. Don’t do it if you don’t want to.
  6. Be nice about it and don’t undo your good work by being ungracious.

 

I’d love to know if you try these tips and how they help you?

Or hear your stories of people who you find it really difficult to be grateful to?

 

 

 

 

 

Frustration and anger

Anger – what the hell is it all about?

Frustration and angerI was chatting with Curly headed boy the other day, as he’d been giving us some serious attitude for a few weeks.  He was clearly angry with me, but I couldn’t work out what on earth was the matter.

So I picked one of those evenings – you know the ones when they want to chat lots, and talked him through anger and explained what it is.

The problem with anger, is that most often it comes from us not actually knowing how we are feeling and what has triggered us.  So it often doesn’t achieve what we really need.  By understanding it a bit more, we can make sure that things change.

I thought, maybe the gorgeous Danny Smith would like to chat about it over on Radio Verulam – if you would like to hear us chat about it, then you can listen again for 1 week here (I’m at 5.30-6).

 

So why do we get angry? …

1) Righteous Anger

This is the good anger.  The one you don’t want to suppress.  The one that will protect you and make you stand up for yourself.

This is all about when you know something isn’t right, it’s not fair, or is unjust.

It’s not always the right answer to compromise and keep the peace.  Especially when we are people pleasers!

It’s also a protective anger – this is the one you would see in me if my ‘mother lion’ got triggered.  It’s the the full on, controlled, ‘don’t mess with me’ anger.

 

2) Anger with someone else

Ironically we can often be angry with someone else, but get triggered by someone who isn’t actually anything to do with it.  They do something minor and then get it in the neck because we are so angry with the other person.

Sadly the person that we are angry with are often less intimidating and easier to take our anger out on as well, so we find someone who is less threatening that the real person we are angry with.

This is one of the reasons why it is so important to know why we are angry, because it’s not fair to be angry with the kids just because our boss is causing us trouble.  Or even worse in the case of a divorce, it’s not right to be angry with the kids when it’s got nasty between the parents.

 

3) Overwhelmed anger

This is when there is something else that has stressed you so much, that suddenly you flip at the slightest thing.  Stuff that would normally not bother you, that you can deal with, suddenly is too much.  It’s often nothing to do with the person who we are actually with.

This is something us Mum’s are terribly prone to doing – we get tired, overwhelmed and stressed, and then at the end of a long day find ourselves shouting at the kids and threatening them with something really over the top.

Kids are good at this too – if mine get angry, I will first check to see if they are hungry, thirsty, tired or need fresh air.  Then I look to see if they are over stressed for some reason.  The thing is that they are kids – I can’t expect them to manage their emotions, so if they are in one of these states I am much more cautious with my punishments.

Did you know that teenagers literally have all the wires (technical term!) not work in their heads properly?  They can’t recognise expressions as well as a toddler.  Hence they jump to conclusions and get grumpy at the simplest of things.  I used to find Reiki really helps them – it’s amazing how they can express themselves afterwards.  Anything where they get some relaxing downtime will help them come back to themselves.  (Plus food, drink, sunshine and sleep of course!).

The ideal here is to put our hands up and say ‘sorry’ – after all we all make mistakes and everyone gets tired and grumpy.

 

4) Not saying what we think anger

How often have you been angry with someone because they’ve done or not done something?  But did you tell them?  Or did you let it boil inside?

This encourages us to think that other people are to blame for how we are feeling.  But the question is are they?  Or is it purely our inability to deal with them?  I’m not talking about serious and obviously wrong behaviour that would trigger No1 – I’m talking about us all seeing the world slightly differently.

 

The key to this is to say something in a gentle and factual way (check out my post on teaching people how to treat you) BEFORE it becomes a problem.

This is often really difficult, because we ignore the first signs of small irritation or discomfort, and only take notice when it’s bigger.  So if you’ve waited too long, try to step aside, write down the facts and then have a chat with the person on neutral ground.

 

5) Pretending we aren’t angry

This is technically ‘not angry’, but we are angry, we just pretend we aren’t.

This is when people do those passive aggressive posts on Facebook.  Or make sarcastic digs that are meant to be ‘funny’.

It can also make us into bully’s (check out my posts on bullying – I just got picked as one of the top websites worldwide by an Anti Bullying website).

 

6) Serious anger issues

Then there are times when it’s not that simple, when the anger is too frequent and starts to control us.  When it means that we are aggressive, scary, violent, and it starts to affect our relationships.

If you have this sort of anger, then first check with your Doctor, as you might have a physical problem, that is causing it.  If it’s not physical then they should be able to get you help from someone specialised in anger issues.

It can even have physical effects:

  • Nausea
  • Increased thirst
  • Changes in thought patterns
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Addiction

Depression or Post Traumatic Stress disorder can make us angry instead of seeming down (check out my top books for depression).

 

No emotion is ‘bad’.  The question is ‘Do you let it rule you, or do you use it where it will help you?

 

Ten Tips On How To Take Care Of Yourself!

I’ve been wondering what to talk about with the gorgeous Danny Smith on his drive time show to Radio Verulam for a couple of days.

Should it be my improvement with Fibromyalgia, should it be that the minute the sun comes out we panic about bikini’s or should it be more relationship stuff?

But then I realised it’s all about something simple.

Something so simple that we are rubbish at it.

TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES.

Having Fibromyalgia has been my teacher in how to take care of myself.  So I’m not that bright either – it took a chronic pain condition to sort me out – doh!

So if you were going to start now, what would you need to do to take care of yourself better?

All of these things are possible, whatever your situation, age, or how busy you are.

(Click here to listen again for ONE WEEK only – monday 5.30-6pm).

1) Go outside

Mumwithenergy

It makes everyone feel better.  Walk, power walk, or run.  Whatever it is.  Go.  Out.  Nature has a way of healing us and making us feel better.  Even when it’s cold and wet (it doesn’t bother children after all).

We have a rule in my house – if the sun is out go outside, everything else gets delayed just incase the sun doesn’t last.  So homework, computer games, everything waits.

And if the sun isn’t shining, still go out, but take Vitamin D3!

2) Get moving

Did you know that we are meant to do 10,000 steps per day?  If you are starting on a health kick, this is a great place to start.

From there get your core strong and  to protect your back and improve your flexibility, so do Pilates, Yoga or Tai chi.  Remember, when you are 90, it’s going to be about your ability to balance as you walk, not wether you can run 10km.

There’s no excuse to not do it – stop doing so much of something else instead.

3) Music is food for the soul

Dance, giggle, listen to music.  Let it carry you away for a moment.

Go to zumba or a dance class; it doesn’t matter if you are rubbish.

Music is the best thing for bringing body, mind and soul together.

4) 30 mins rest

I know we are all busy and running around.  But 30 minutes with your feet up, not moving, relaxing once a week or when you are exhausted makes a BIG difference.

I’m NOT talking about vegetating in front of a TV program you will have forgotten in an hour.  Instead listen to music or read a book.  You could even try meditation even if you haven’t before?  Just be quiet for a bit.  Let your senses rest.

I love having a bath once a week on a sunday.  I do it first thing, so it just means I’m down a bit later in the morning, so it’s not a massive imposition on the big hairy northern one.

5) Keep your energy reserves

Healthy Eating For Families

A car won’t work without water, neither will your body.

It needs petrol, so do you.    Eat breakfast, even if it is just a banana.  For lunch and dinner eat a balanced meal with protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates.

Sometimes the batteries need a boost.  If you have a problem, try going to your local health food shop and see what supplements they suggest.

6) Pamper

Everyone needs a little pamper, wether you do it yourself or at a beauty salon.

It’s the act of showing your body that you are willing to spend some time on it once a week that counts.

I’m not talking about being a slave to the mirror.  Just about remembering that we are all beautiful and deserve to be taken care of.

7) Sleep

Actually sleep probably should be first, as without it, everything is much more difficult.  I’m constantly surprised about the people I talk to who are knackered, but who go to bed at midnight every night.

Go to bed the same time each night.  Get up the same time.  If you are tired, go to bed earlier.

Don’t drink caffeine, coke or eat chocolate after 4pm if you find it difficult to sleep.  (click here for my top 15 tips for parents and the rest of my sleep tips)

8) Your time is valuable

Protect your time.  It is valuable.  Learn to say NO more often.

Doing a good days work is healthy, but it’s not about working ‘harder’, it’s about using your intuition and finding ways to work ‘smarter’.

Think about the top 3 most important goals for you personally and for your work.  Now strip out all the time wasted on the stuff that you don’t have to do and that don’t achieve those goals.

9) Laugh

The Dalai Lama says the purpose to life is to be happy.  Watch happy films, listen to happy music.

Surround yourself with loving people who will listen to your woes and then make you laugh.

It’s not about partying hard.  It’s about having fun.  It’s light hearted, and will make you feel better.

10) Eat cake

I have a room at my Spa where women can bring their friends, have a pamper and then eat cake on vintage plates.  I LOVE cake.

Cake is a treat.  It’s a little bit naughty.  But very nice!

I take my daughter out once a week for ‘Willow Wednesday’ and we get a magazine and eat cake in a coffee shop.  It brings us together, snuggled up, reading about ponies and princesses.

 

If you want people to take care of you, you need to show them that you are worth taking care of by taking care of yourself!

It helps your loved ones too, because when you are healthier and happier, so are they.  So do it for them too!

What do you think to my top 10 – what would you have added instead, or not included?

 

 

My house’s journey in 2013 – from salon to normality

Loads of people do reviews of their life for the previous year, I’m going to do a review of my house’s life last year.

For the first quarter of the year I saw lots of my house because I was still getting to grips with my Fibromyalgia – I basically needed a jolly good rest.  Gradually it brought me the healing I needed and I started to recover.

Then suddenly at the end of May we had a meeting with my friend and hair dresser Tony and a plan I’d had for over 10yrs suddenly burst into life.

Having never designed a thing in my life, I became an upcycling/eBay queen and went on a crash course on Salon and Spa equipment.  I wasn’t just designing a small hairdressers, Oh no!  I was going the full hog and designer a 1700sqft cow shed into a Spa.

The cows moved out and we started with this:

Spa Treatments

Then walls went in and it got a front and back!

Building a salon in radlett

But of course I was ordering stuff like crazy and although some stuff could wait until the Salon/Spa was secure, the majority had to come to our house.

There were extra chairs in the bedroom, and we had to religiously keep the cats out, because look how comfy they all were:

Haircuts for kids Radlett

Holistic Hairdresser Radlett

The landing was full, the kitchen had a LOT of extra stools ….

Hairdresser Radlett

Vintage Beauty Salon Radlett

There was no room for the kids to play in the lounge or playroom:

Mumpreneur hertfordshire

Upcycling projects bloggers

Upcycling hair salon

Plus for a couple of weeks the place was full of hairdressers or beauty therapists for the induction training – love them, but it was a bit cramped!

Literally overnight (we got 24hrs to do the final polish of the salon before our open day) this was created:

Espiritu Hair Beauty Salon

With crazy people like this in it …

Vintage hair and beauty salon Radlett

Check out this video of our opening day to have a look around:

One of the rooms wasn’t sure what it wanted to be, but in November the ‘Fabulous Room’ arrived – the perfect location to combine friends, family and CAKE!

Pamper Parties Hertfordshire

I went slightly stir crazy I must admit during those months!  It took 2 months to get the place back to normal and clean all the dust that was hiding under or behind everything, so I had only just got it sorted before Christmas.

I was working constantly in between nursery/school pickups, and then until midnight most nights.  My Fibromyalgia did get very grumpy with me, but I just about managed to hold it together with some pampering from our lovely team.  I’m beginning to see the woods for the trees now!

We’ve stopped using Cbeebies as a nanny and I’m starting to remember how to play with Barbie again (now that we can find her).  That’s probably what inspired my post last year about the ‘Three Best Gifts To Give Your Loved Ones’, as attention and rest have been limited.  Over the last 2 weeks I’ve done a massive declutter of the house and tackled the playroom and I’m much happier with how everything works – I LOVE space!

I’ve also had to clear out one of the bedrooms rooms for our new Spanish Au Pair who arrived this weekend – woohoo!  The reality of the demands of being a business owner and that I’ve had help from a friend staying on and off, and a husband available hit home at Christmas – there was no way I was going to be able to cope and juggle things.  So that’s going to be a big change for the house as well.

What an amazing year, and the journey has only just begun for Espiritu!

Kirstie Allsopp Britmumslive

Can you really upcycle if you aren’t Kirstie Allsopp?

Kirstie Allsopp Britmumslive
Kirstie Allsopp Britmumslive

Yay, the summer holidays are over, so I was back over with the gorgeous Danny Smith on Radio Verulam today.  Listen again here.

I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing all summer – embracing the Kirstie Allsopp revolution!

I love the whole crafting/upcycling revolution that has been birthed by the recession.  I believe that creativity is good for the soul, even if you aren’t a natural at it.  Plus it SAVES MONEY!  Money which can be spent on other stuff, or that can keep us out of debt.  So it’s a good plan!

The question is, how to go about it if you don’t have a natural eye or lots of experience?

Rather than start small, I decided to ‘go for it’ and see wether it is possible to create a vintage inspired Hairdressing salon/spa in Hertfordshire in 4 months, from as much upcycled stuff as possible.  I think seeing Kirstie at Britmumslive, may have meant I got a little carried away!

I can’t tell you wether I succeeded or not yet, as it’s 2 weeks to opening – OMG!  But I reckon we could have pulled it off, so here are my tips …

(I’ll add the audio in a couple of days)

 

Plan

Create a plan …

1) Pinterest

I started out on Pinterest and started pinning things that I liked the look of to do with vintage, hair and beauty.  This means that you don’t lose things and that you start to get a feel for what you are creating.

2) Mood board

I’m not sure if my ‘mood board’ could really be called one, because it doesn’t look cool like the professionals.  However, whenever I produced it at a meeting people seemed to make ‘impressed’ faces, so maybe it wasn’t so bad.  Basically it is a big piece of card with lots of pictures stuck on it in the different areas.

3) Theme

Eventually you will come up with a theme; mine was vintage glamour.  Yours might be ‘princess’ for a bedroom, you see what I mean?  Don’t worry about sticking to only one era – you can definitely mix and match.  It’s more to do with the feel of things (I asked professionals and they agreed with me about this).  I still love Ikea, especially the cupboards or shelving systems where they are all movable or modular.

 

Places to buy

There are lots of places to go and buy lovely second hand pieces now a days:
  • Freecycle
  • Facebook groups
  • Charity shops
  • Furniture charity shops
  • Antiques Fairs
  • Auctions
  • Vintage shops
  • Homesense!
Yes, Homesense isn’t old or second hand, but the cost of buying a chair and refurbishing it was beyond my budget.  This is where you will sometimes need to be practical!
Sometimes a vintage shop might help you out if you give them a buying list.  Or my local vintage shop Hertfordshire Collective, offered to take me to auctions and show me how they worked.
Remember to give back – don’t hold onto stuff you don’t need for the next 10yrs.  Hand it over to someone else on freecycle or in a charity shop and spread the love!
Paint can cover a thousand sins and make things match, so don’t worry about something looking a little rough.  We bought the roughest looking playhouse in the summer (I thought it was beyond saving) and with a bit of care and paint it looks amazing.
Plus new material or cushions can make pieces of furniture look extra special; check out my review of Homespun Living’s courses and my gorgeous cushion.

eBay Tips

  1. The buzz from winning is addictive, be warned!
  2. Check sellers for their listings to see if they have something else that works for you too.
  3. Check sellers for their reviews/ratings
  4. Don’t buy everything at once, it creates chaos when trying to manage collection – I had a week of chaos trying to work out the collection plan!
  5. Use the mobile app as it’s much better than the site (Little dimples still naps on my lap every other day, so that was my eBay time)
  6. Watch things you are interested in that might work, but don’t bid or panic straight away
  7. Check to see how many people have bid or are watching – that will decide how carefully you will need to play your strategy
  8. When you bid, put a bid in of an unusual amount e.g. £76.78
  9. Look for the location – expensive items can be sent by shipley, otherwise look for 25 miles for big stuff and 10 miles for small stuff
  10. If it’s a big item that needs shipping, look in a cheaper part of the country e.g. Scotland or devon
  11. Be warned there are professionals on there – that won’t save you any money, especially when it comes to furniture
  12. Second hand is where it is at!
  13. Paint can fix a thousand problems
  14. You can do a lot with a simple cushion design
  15. Ask about wood worm if you are buying something wooden, and spray anything if it looks suspect

Downsides

  1. Extra work of painting and fixing
  2. It takes longer to research
  3. It takes more imagination than going into a shop and buying their range
  4. No guarantees
  5. Hitting deadlines when things go wrong
I might be a bit quiet on social media for the next couple of weeks as we have our pre-launch at Folkstock Festival, then our Open Day on Sat 28th (come and have a look if you are local! and then we open on Mon 30th.  But as soon as I can I will share photos so that you can see for yourself wether we pulled it off.
Personally I’m inspired and rather addicted.  I will always check the second hand option now before jumping on the ‘new’ bandwagon.  It’s taken a lot of work, but it’s saved thousands and thousands of pounds and feels really satisfying.  I could have done more if I’d had more time, but there were some things that we just had to be practical with.
Right, off to do some more preparation work!
Time to stop for a while

Meditation for stressed out beginners with little time who can’t Ohm!

Time to stop for a while
Pause

 

All cudos to those who can ’empty their minds’ or sit in a corner and ‘ohm’ for 30 minutes a day, but I just can’t do it.

I’ve tried ‘guided meditations’ too, but all that jingly jangly music irritates me, and I tend to already be swimming in the sea by the time they have stepped their first step on the sand!

Hence I didn’t do it.

 

 

Mistake on several accounts:

You don’t have to empty your mind or spend hours doing it.

It’s more like pressing [PAUSE] for a moment before you reboot your system.

Meditation is not a ‘nice to do’ thing, but a ‘have to do’ in our busy stressful worlds.

It reduces stress and saves time on packed busy days because fire fighting invariably leads to more fires.

It reduces pressure on the body and thus helps protect you from illnesses like my  Fibromyalgia.

It’s important for weight loss!

 

I’m going to give you several ideas for quickly taking a pause in your day, and you can then proudly say that you ‘meditate’ every day!

 

3 Rules For All Options

1) Breathe in through your nose (it calms you) and out through your mouth

2) Breathe into your abdomen/tummy – you want it coming out as the air goes in, and then flattening as the air goes out.

3) If a thought pops into your head, don’t worry about it, just stop thinking about it and go back to the exercise

 

A Quick Reconnect Option

Can't sleep during full moon
Nature is a great grounder

This can be from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

Follow the rules while standing, sitting or lieing down, whatever works.

Imagine that there are roots coming out of your feet and going down into the ground.

Imagine that as you breathe in and out there is energy coming up to your from the ground and all your stress is going back down into the earth.

Imagine a string from the top of your head up into the sky.

Imagine that as you breathe in and out there is healing coming down from the ‘universe’ (or whatever you like to think as out there) and all your pains and worries are leaving as you breathe out.

Keep breathing a little longer now with energy coming into you from both the earth and the sky and your stresses and worries going out.

 

Making a Cuppa, Showering or Brushing Your Teeth Or Anything

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul

Make a habit of taking a pause and being really PRESENT (i.e. not worrying about what happened or what is to happen) during one of your normal daily routines.  You are going to focus on just that exercise for the next 1-3 minutes.

Follow the rules above.

Focus on the SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTE and TOUCH only.

Obviously this is tricky when the kids are in the room and it can be difficult in the early months to get any time without a child – do what you can and adapt the idea.  It can even be done with children e.g. while cuddling a child to sleep or feeding them.

For example:

Making tea – the sound of your feet moving across the kitchen, the sound of the water going in the kettle, the heaviness of the kettle as the water goes in it, the slight coldness of the water splashing, the click of the kettle going back on it’s stand, the boiling of the water, the smells wafting out of the fridge as you open it to get the milk etc etc

Showering – the feel of the water (this is great for imagining it washing away all your stress), the temperature in the room as it warms up and gets steamy, the smell of the soap, the look of the water dropping down, the shinyness of the taps, the sound of the water dropping etc etc

Brushing your teeth – the sensation of the toothpaste hitting your tongue, the sound of the brushing in your head,  the different areas of your teeth, the sound of the water, the taste of it when you swill your mouth out, the coldness of the tap etc etc.

Lieing next to a child as they fall asleep – this is a great exercise because calming yourself will calm them more quickly.  Focus on hearing their breathing, maybe the feel of their skin if they need you to stroke them, the temperature in the room and feel of the bed, then REALLY notice their hair, eyes, ears and hands.

 

During Walking Or Exercising

Running Tips
Running can be a great meditation

Anything from 5-30mins.

If you get a chance to go for a walk or a run, cycle or even a swim on your own, then you can extend the exercises above.

Start with a quick reconnect (you can do this on the move once you’ve practiced it a few times).

Use the 3 rules.

Plus be present by focussing on the SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTE and TOUCH.

If you can be out in nature that is ideal as it is grounding, but needs must and a treadmill or pool will also work.

You will find that as it is probably a longer period of time that thoughts will start to pop into your head more often.  I find it particularly difficult to do with without ideas for blog posts to pop in (I ask them to come back later!).  You have 2 options on how to deal with these thoughts:

1) Notice what the thought was about, don’t beat yourself up, and move on to focussing on being present again.

2) Notice the thought and rather than ‘thinking’ about it, keep noticing it.
This is more tricky, but what you are aiming to do is to be ‘present’ with the thought or worry or stress.  So don’t try to fix it, don’t think about it and don’t worry about it.  Just notice it.  How strong is it?  Where does it affect your body?  How strong is the effect?  You are basically saying ‘yes, hello worry, you don’t need to worry, I’ve seen you’.  Over time it should lessen it’s hold on you, a bit like an insistent toddler or dog that nags and nags until it knows you’ve seen it.

 

So there you have it, 3 different ways to add ‘meditation’ into your day as easy as pie.  They follow the concepts behind Zen or Mindfulness meditations, but from the perspective of a busy mum, who hasn’t got time to study anything really complicated!

If I get a chance I’ll do a blog post soon about Shamanic meditation and the ways that you can use meditation to actually ‘answer’ questions or help you make decisions.  It’s pretty cool!

Have a go and let me know how you do – if you have any questions, just pop them below in your comments.

 

 

I’m not talking about emptying your mind

6 Steps To A Sparkling You

My book is FREE for 5 days only – BUY or UPGRADE

6 Steps To A Sparkling You
6 Steps To A Sparkling You

It’s here, it’s here!!!

The 2nd edition of my book is now available and it will be FREE from
tomorrow Aug 1st to my birthday Aug 5th!

I can’t for the life of me persuade Amazon to let previous buyers download the new version.  So if you have bought it before, GO AND BUY IT AGAIN NOW while it is free!

Tell ALL YOUR FRIENDS as they only have 5 days to get it free.

 

Buy it here (UK – it is in all other countries too)).

Or get more information on it here (there is even a video!).

Or find out why I wrote a 2nd edition here.

Read how to read a kindle book without a kindle here.

(Sorry the paperback version won’t be out for a couple of months).

 

This book is for you if:

You are a little stressed.

Or a lot stressed.

It will keep helping you over and over – just as it did for me when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

 

It’s not another parenting technique book.  This is all about YOU, the mum.

When you feel great you will either know or find the way to deal with your family’s challenges much more easily.

YOU are the key, and YOU deserve to be happy and healthy.

 

UPDATE FOR PREVIOUS BUYERS

HUGE Apologies – Amazon are being complete *insert very rude word*. When I published the 2nd version, they said that I then had to wait 4 weeks for them to review the changes before they emailed everyone to say it had been updated.

Then I asked them to just allow it to be updated automatically and not send the email. No that takes 4 weeks too.  (It must be just a switch – argh!).

So I made the book free in the hope it could be repurchased because I found something on the internet that suggested it could be – but now that won’t work *very sad face*
It will be available in 4 weeks :o(

If you have an urgent requirement for it, then send me a picture of the book on your kindle and I will email you a copy.  mummywhisperer at me dot com.

UPDATE No 2 FOR PREVIOUS BUYERS!

YAY you can now update your old versions.  Go to your amazon account and ‘manage my kindle’ and you will be able to update to edition 2.

Phew!