#ProjectSeptemberUpgrade – Taking steps towards your dream life

So September is nearly upon us – this is a wonderful time for new year resolutions, as we have started school in September for so many years, that it is almost written in our DNA that it’s time to ‘move up’.

Here is my facebook live giving you tips on how to upgrade your life, and there is a quick summary below for you as well.

One of the important parts of the Law of Attraction that people often forget whilst visualising ferrari’s is to ACT.  What’s often just as important is to start ‘acting as if’.  So in your new dream life with the amazing relationship or better financial set up or wonderful health, how would you be acting?  I’m not saying to start spending money now that you don’t have.  But rich people tend to manage and budget their money well (those that keep it anyway).  People in happy relationships tend to have a good relationship with themselves.  And so on …

Now I often talk about ‘upgrading’ your life for example your knicker drawer.  But recently I had a revelation when someone asked me to look at what I was ‘tolerating’ in my life and ‘what was not ok’!  Why was this so different?  Because I have a tendency to avoid conflict and ignore what I’m scared of.

When I bravely started to make my list (50-200 is recommended) – which is very long having juggled a business, young kids and an illness for so long – I started to feel a big shift.

There are 3 types of things:
1) The simple ones you can start to get going on quickly.
2) The ones that cost time and money that need to be planned and budgeted for.
3) The ones that involve other people – that can feel heavy to organise and sort out.

Once I started looking at (1); which involved an adaptor plug, new dish brush etc, I suddenly found that a huge (3) happened effortlessly and didn’t cost anywhere near as much of (2) as I expected.  There is LOADs of positive change happening.

Now originally I stared on this route because I am up for an award (subtle plug!) and realised that I needed to get all my ducks in a row – hence photos, new website, clarity on my strategy & plans etc.  It’s been a big journey for me and an even bigger one now that I’m looking more deeply at what I was ignoring.

So please do come and join in!
Like my facebook page and join my free facebook group ‘Create your dream life with the mummywhisperer‘ for tips, photos and ideas all the away through September.  There will be a free ‘Upgrade your money story’ course as well.

Oooh and I’d love a vote, pretty please!  Just pop ‘MummyWhisperer’ in the box here and I’ll love you forever <3

Readers Votes

New Life Resolutions

By now most of you guys will have started and stopped your New Year Resolutions.  Never fear; that’s perfectly normal!

January is a time for reflection.  March and September are the time for new resolutions.

But I was thinking after seeing a funny YouTube video, getting a bit down about the state of the world, and after a team meeting at Espiritu, what 3 resolutions would make the biggest difference to this world of ours or more importantly mine 😉

So I thought I’d chat about it with the ‘Gorgeous Danny Smith’ on his Drivetime show on Radio Verulam this month.  (You can listen again for a week here – monday 5.30-6pm)

 

Step 1: If you can’t say something kind, useful or positive, then don’t bother

This is my new mantra at home with the kids.  What’s the point in wasting energy saying something something mean or teasing or sarcastic?  It’s not funny.  It’s pointed and if I’m going to get all ‘tree huggy’ about it, you can literally feel the energetic stabs at people.

I’m busy.  I’m tired.  I have not got the energy to purposely irritate someone – whereas Curly Headed Boy when in ‘stinky boy’ mode, loves to wind up his sister – WHY for the love of God?

I know that I’m a soft Bristolian, but seriously if what you are going to say picks on people’s insecurities, then it’s really not necessary.  And you might not be meaning to be mean, but are you really sure that the person you are talking to is as secure as you think?

I LOVE Michael Mcyntyre because he manages to be funny without being horrible about people.  Check out this hysterical video about leaving the house as a parent ….

 

Why on Facebook do people comment on something, expressing their opinions when they weren’t asked for?  Go and become more busy!  Even if they asked your opinion, is it really worth arguing about?

Work has been tough for me recently, rebuilding a business.  I need facts yes, and they aren’t always happy facts.  But what I need is people who are focussing on the facts and being positive and helpful.  But some people love a drama and being negative about stuff.  I get that this is the natural balance of life – in fact people who are very obtuse can be helpful.  But most of the time it’s just draining and ugh!

 

Step 2: Treat each other with respect, as you would wish to be treated, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

KArma

It’s pretty easy really – but actually in our busy modern lives we often don’t do this.  We jump to conclusions, and tend to think the worst of people.  We seem to have lost some of the traditional ‘British’ politeness, and whilst we probably needed to loosen up, I rather like the old kinds of values.

So …

If you don’t want your sister to snatch a toy from you, then don’t do it to them!

If you want the kids to talk politely to you, then be respectful towards them.

If you don’t want someone to judge you, then don’t be a cow to them.

If you don’t want your other half jumping down your throat, then don’t jump to conclusions with them.

If you’d like someone to be nice to you when you are old, grey and lonely, then maybe be thoughtful of that old neighbour or relative now.

This obviously goes wrong if one person likes being kicked and the other person doesn’t.  Sometimes the other people don’t change their behaviour.  But generally speaking it works well.

There’s a woman called Byron Katie who has written an interesting book called ‘Loving What Is’ which suggests that due to the ‘Law of reflection’ (i.e. we just see ourselves in other people constantly), if you are upset with someone for doing or not doing something, it’s because it’s reminding you of you.

Other people think of it as the ‘Law of Karma’ i.e. what comes around goes around.  Curly Headed Boy has a tendency to wind up Little Dimples into doing things that he knows will be annoying for me.  The other day it backfired when it became annoying for him, so he pleaded with me to stop her.  At which point I was REALLY mean and suggested that I would step in when he mended his ways in teaching her more annoying stuff.  This has proved more difficult for him than you would think; so she is still annoying him mwahahah!

(p.s. I don’t believe that Karma is a judgemental thing as some do – more that it’s an ‘experience both sides of the story’ thing – plus it’s really complicated, so I only use it for more light hearted issues, not ‘why am I disabled’ etc).

Plus, there’s the whole ‘she/he did it first’.  To which my answer is ‘I can’t remember which one of you first wound up the other after Little Dimples was born, so who has done it today really doesn’t matter, as we don’t know who actually did it first’!

Imagine if countries thought this way, instead of Tit for Tat or Eye for an eye?  Imagine if they said ‘enoughs enough, lets call it a day’.

At least if we are kind to each other we won’t be exasperating an already horrid situation.  There are so many cases that we are dealing with now, where the people involved had something horrible happen to them not so long ago.  It could have a real impact if we all decided to treat each other with respect and compassion.

 

Step 3: Speak Your Truth

Rant with Megaphone

However, I’m not saying that you should become a mouse who lets everyone walk over you!

Or that you aren’t allowed to be angry.

Or that you aren’t allowed to expect fair justice.

Or that you aren’t allowed to stand up for yourself or protect yourself.

 

It’s really important to always say how you feel.  Saying how you feel means you aren’t attacking the person with insults e.g. instead of saying ‘You are always horrible to me and so stuck up’ you could say ‘I feel that you don’t listen to me or treat my ideas with respect, and it makes me feel unappreciated and angry’.

Saying how you feel stops resentment from taking over and you from then acting out that resentment.

I’ve written a whole blog post on ‘Teaching people how to treat you‘ – it’s definitely worth having a read if you want to know more about this.

It’s also really bad for your health to let that stuff fester inside of you.  If you find it’s just not practical to say how you feel (i.e. you might get hit or lose your job), then you can write it all down and burn the letter or imagine telling the person what you think in a meditation.  It can be amazingly cathartic and nearly as good as the real thing.

 

OK, so I know I’m being a bit fluffy and naive.  However, the fact is, if I smile at someone, a huge percentage will smile back at me.  If I scowl back at them, pretty much all of the people will glare back at me.  I can’t change the world, but I can insist that my kids learn some rules, that my workplace is a lovely place to work for my team, and that I follow these rules as much as is humanely possible.  At least I might make my little corner of the world a nicer place to be.

 

 

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!

Comparison – helpful motivation or the source of pain?

I was chatting to the lovely Danny Smith from West Herts Drivetime on Radio Verulam today about New years and comparisons ….. (If you fancy listening to us, you can do so here, but only for the next week).

Life Check

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

This is the time of year when people are looking at their lives and thinking of what they want for the new year.

Personally I hate new years resolutions – they don’t work.  It’s too cold and people are too tired to maintain them.  Spring and September is the time for ‘New Year Resolutions’.

But it’s a grew time for a bit of introspection over a cuppa or a glass of wine – how was last year?  how would you like this year to go?

How have you changed?

What did you do or buy that didn’t work for you?  Why?

What were the best things that you did?  Why did you like them the best?

What could you have done better?  Where would you like to improve your life this year?  What needs a bit of attention or work?

Comparisons

What makes a man sexyHowever, be careful of comparisons and wether they are helpful or hurtful.

It can be great to see someone turn their life around and inspire you into action.

What is less helpful is comparing yourself unreasonably with someone and not taking into account who you are and why you are already special.

The point to life is not to be like someone else.  The point to life is to be about YOU!

Mothers are terrible at this – ‘Why is my son not speaking as well as his friend’ I would hear someone say about their toddler?  Because his friend is a girl and they naturally speak earlier!

Because of my new Spa I’ve come to understand that hairdressers are also very tormented by comparisons.  Understandably I suppose, as their job is all about what something looks like and they know full well that their customers will be checking out how they look every time they come in.  There is a certain degree of expectation of them to be creative and look good.  Plus it is a very competitive industry.

This is great if it pushes them to be the top of their game, always on Youtube checking out the newest trends and keeping their area of the salon perfect and sparkly.

But it’s a shame when they are tormented by comparing themselves to other hairdressers.  We have several different characters of hairdresser.  We need them to be different.  We don’t want them to be the same.

This way I have the perfect hairdresser for the clients who need different approaches – older, younger, trendier, more nervous, more demanding etc.  It’s great to look at the other hairdressers and think ‘I can learn from them’, but not if they think ‘I wish I was like them’.

So don’t compare yourself to someone else and want to be them.  Just get ideas that suit you as a person and look to improve yourself (bearing in mind that we all have to do things that we are not naturally good at sometimes as well).

Everything has a Downside

Also think about why you think that person is so great when you are comparing yourself to them and have a look at the downsides.  You can’t pick one part of their character, skills or life and not have the rest.  So make sure that you appreciate that there is a downside to everything and that no one is perfect.

David Beckham had to worry about his wife and kids being kidnapped.  Katie Price has terrible insecurities and has had too much plastic surgery.  Some people have been motivated by massive traumas in their past.

See things clearly

When comparing yourself to what people have – houses, cars, clothes etc.  Think about why you like those things?  Maybe you can get them, but differently.

Do you really want a big house?  Or is it purely because you want access to somewhere for the kids to play?  Maybe if you look elsewhere you can get a big garden and afford it, or live somewhere with a great park?

Is it because you think that the area will be posher?  Maybe those people won’t be as nice to live next to?  I understand why you would want to avoid an area with a lot of drugs or crime, but don’t discount the areas considered less attractive – properly investigate them.

Often great success has come at a price of a lot of hard work or a great sacrifice – are you really willing to pay it?  If you are; great!  Put the work in and make a plan!  If not – stop wanting to be like them!

Don’t be fooled by a brand. What’s especially painful is seeing young kids spending money on a brand that is aimed at millionaires.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim high.  But by buying those things you will not be able to afford the other things in your life e.g. holidays, social life, exercise, good food etc.

 

What’s your worst habit when it comes to comparing yourself?

Or are you really good at understanding and appreciating that you are fabulous in your own right?

 

 

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

My Top 10 Tips for Making Sure You Are Safe And Sound In 2014

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
A hug

So for this months chat with Danny Smith at Radio Verulam on his Drivetime show, I thought we’d talk about ways to help you feel more secure in 2014.

(If you fancy listening to us, you can for ONE week only here, I’m at 5.30-6pm).

Christmas is a very stressful time that can make us feel insecure.  Plus, although it seems as though the recession is turning around, I think it might take a bit longer to kick in for some parts of the country than others.

Lots of things make us feel secure: friendships, relationships, health, jobs, money and family.  It’s about finding a balance that counts.

So for those worried about 2014, I thought that I’d give some tips on how to make sure that you are safe and sound:

1) Be nice.

I have a friend who is a ‘Nomad’ – i.e. technically someone who has nowhere to live.  She’s been a nomad for nearly a year, and has always had somewhere to stay.  The main reason being she is genuinely lovely.  People love having her around (check out her blog, it’s fascinating reading).  Being a nice person, must therefore be one of the the best insurances that there is.  Never ignore your friends; you may need them one day!

Always be gracious and think the best of people; it’s amazing what can happen when you are like that as opportunities can come from everywhere (and if you are ungracious you will lose out).

2) Ask for help

But of course, she wouldn’t have got any help if she didn’t ask!  If you let people know that there is a problem, then they will help out, and EVERYONE deserves help in a time of need.

There are also some great charities out there providing support like Homestart or food banks; there should be no shame in asking.  When I spoke to someone from Homestart last week, she said that this year there are families struggling terribly, much more than in recent years.  You are not the only ones.  (A HUGE thank you to all our customers, friends and neighbours btw – we managed to collect a staggering 85 presents for Homestart Watford this Christmas!)

3) Give back in return

In return my friend helps people out – she’s been a godsend for us for the past few months.  It’s quite true that people will get sick of a taker, but if you always make sure that you give in return (but don’t over give), then they will feel fulfilled by helping you.  It might be that you can’t do anything in return for a while, but that’s OK.  Also, it might be that you are limited in what you can do; don’t worry about that, and don’t under-estimate the value of what you CAN do.

4) Listen to your intuition

In a busy world, your intuition can save you time, and warn you of things that you are ignoring that could cause a problem.  Taking time to chill every day for a few minutes, try a simple meditation, go for a walk, or have a bath, can really help you to hear your intuition more.

5) Don’t ignore your debts

They just get worse when ignored.  You need to face them, be clear on your in and out goings and if there is a problem, get some advice and make a plan; check out the money advice service for free help.  Don’t ever think that you ‘have to spend money’ – don’t get into debt because you feel you should keep up with presents or socialising.

6) As soon as possible save

Try putting a little away each week, even if it is just £1.  Even if you are in debt.  Aim to build up to 10% of your income.  This sounds crazy, but it has a magical effect and it’s never too late to start.

7) Have a to do list

That way, things can’t creep up on you that might cause you trouble.  But if you are very overwhelmed, put them on a ‘long term’ list and stick to 3 top priorities.

8) Take responsibility for your life

I don’t mean ‘take the blame’, but I do mean looking at what you’ve been feeling powerless about and taking responsibility for your part in it.  Your attitude will affect your job and your relationships.  Ironically it is very unattractive to be around someone who is full of excuses, always blaming everyone else and feeling victimised by situations that others see differently.  Whereas someone who is strong enough to see their mistakes and their part in a situation is much more attractive in a relationship or workplace.

9) Take care of your health

Don’t ignore those niggles.  Stop putting it all off.  One of my best friends died 2 weeks ago – sometimes the body gets irritated with waiting for us and there are no more last chances.  It doesn’t have to be momentous, just take little steps.  A little more exercise, drinking enough water, improving your posture and breathing, and eating healthier will make a big difference.

10) Make contingency plans, then put them away

I don’t believe in worrying.  But I do believe that insurance and planning ‘just incase’ is worth it.  But once you’ve done it, put it away until you need it.  Face your fears, don’t let them run you.

 

I wish you all a wonderful 2014, because we ALL deserve it this year!

 

 

 

 

Our Norwegian forest kittens

It’s not Spring, it’s Winter – Why ‘New Years Resolutions’ are doomed

dark days

Happy New Year 2013 Everyone!

It’s January and the crazy dieting and resolution thing is going on everywhere.  I don’t want to be the voice of doom, but your New Years Resolutions are pretty much doomed …. ooh that should be said with an echo doooooomed, doomed!

A few of you lucky people will have hit upon exactly the right goal and objective for you, and you’ll do great (just focus on being one of the few if you have a resolution you want to keep!).  But the rest of you will undoubtedly fail.

 

exhausted dad with toddlerThis is because it’s WINTER.  Not SPRING.  We are essentially evolved, but we evolved so quickly there is still a lot of our animal nature in us.  So the cycles of nature do affect us.  It’s not just because the shops change the colour of their clothes in spring and summer that makes us suddenly pop on the cheerful shades; it’s because it’s a different time of year.  Every year I decide to save money and just keep wearing cheerful summer stuff with vests/tights, but I still end up in the dark colours within a month because it feels ‘wrong’ somehow.

 

So when it comes to what to be doing right now, it’s a time for cosying up with the family, sorting out the big box/folder of photos and hibernating under blankets with cups of hot chocolate.

This is the time for wondering about who you are and who you would love to be.  It’s for ruminating with a glass of wine or cup of tea and philosophical chats.

The earth is doing the same thing; resting up, preparing for the busy period of spring/summer/autumn.

Last year I talked about thinking about your Life Priorities instead of making goals or resolutions, and that’s what I’d really recommend you do.  Take your time, this isn’t a rush, it’s about getting to know you after all the changes of last year or maybe even the bigger changes of becoming a Mum.

Think about what you would like to create/change in your life for you health, friendships, family, relationships, work, finances, creativity/hobbies or what you’d love to learn?

 

My mums china tea cupsCollection of water bottlesThat’s what I’ve been doing over the past couple of months.  I’ve been going through all my cupboards thinking ‘is this stuff really me?’.

I found 5 boxes of stuff in the loft some of which I felt a big greeting from my heart.  So the crockery from my mum is now in the kitchen, some stuff has gone to charity and a bit has gone back up.

 

To make space for the crockery I’ve been through all the cupboards in the kitchen; did we really need all those water bottles?  (If you fancy a declutter check out my top tips here, and post about decluttering play rooms here).

 

 

 

Our Norwegian forest kittensI’ve really missed having cats over the past few years, and luckily for me a trip to a crazy friend of mine with a camel sanctuary in the October half term convinced hubby of the same.

So last week we also became the owner of 2 gorgeous 17 week old Norwegian Forest Kittens.  Suddenly, the house feels a lot more ‘right’ to me and surprisingly the dog is really chuffed about his new mates.

Obviously, I will have to tackle my nutrition and exercise because of my recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.  But even that has aspects of ‘who I decide to be’, rather than a New Years Resolution.

I’m also reading lots recently.  I pretty much winged it with Curly Headed Boy, being able to rely on a Mums natural intuition.  But this 7yo malarkey is a lot more tricky.  So I’ve reading a pile of books to try and give me some hints; I’m going to review them here just incase any of them are useful to you too.

 

So good luck to you guys to have started New Years Resolutions.  But if you fail, then don’t panic.  Just sit down and think about your life and come back to the resolutions in a couple of months time.

Oh and by the way, just incase you didn’t know it already; DIETS ARE CRAP FOR YOU!

 

 

 

#BlogItForBabies and Predictions for Mummy Blogging in the UK for 2012

I’m sorry, I haven’t been here for a few days.

‘Where’ve you been?’ you might ask?

Well I was over at Nickie’s place on the fabulous IAmTypecast blog discussing my predictions for the UK Mummy Blogging Community for 2012.  I didn’t post it here as I know many of my lovely readers are not bloggers.  But you might want to take a look, as some of the lessons to be learnt by bloggers in this coming year also work for other groups of people.

I love the Mummy Blogging community, and I think it has great potential.  But what I pointed out is that in order to grow and survive it will need to mature and change.  I feel these changes coming on now, and hope that the bloggers embrace them with open arms.  If they don’t then it could mean the stifling of a great movement, as I have seen in other communities before.  Change always creates a bit of chaos, so there is bound to be upheaval, but it’ll settle down.

I described 5 potential directions for the current bloggers and there are some great comments from people discussing them.

Now obviously, some will move around from one to another, and there will be new bloggers coming along in future years.  However, I do think that there are going to be distinct ‘attitudes’ that bloggers will adopt.  Lets see, we’ll know in the next 6-12 months if I’m right!

I do actually have loads of tips for blogging or running your own small business.  Do you guys want me to pop them on this blog?  Let me know if you’re interested; otherwise I’ll just do more guest posts instead.

 

For the rest of the week I was supporting a blogging campaign which shows all the best of the innovative, far thinking and growth potential that I talked about in my guest post.

The mighty Mammasaurus who runs the blogging site ‘Love All Blogs’ is travelling around the UK this week for the #BlogItForBabies campaign to raise awareness of Save The Children Fund’s ‘Build It For Babies’ campaign.

Here is the official blurb:  Blog it for Babies hope to raise money for selected equipment for a delivery room in a healthcare clinic in Bangladesh. We would love for a  campaign started by parents who are lucky enough to be able to take their babies and children to their GP’s when they are ill to be able to save the lives of little ones in Bangladesh who sadly do not have the same chance.

 

If you would like to donate a pound, all you have to do is text XVRL71 £1 to 70070

 

On Mammasaurus’s arrival in St Albans the whirlwind that is Actually Mummy had arranged a tent, with stalls from fab companies (apart from the 2 companies who refused to pay up at the end of the day despite the price being agreed, getting free links from great websites and blogs, and all the free tips available, let alone the chance to get involved in the activities – sorry had to be said!).

There was an hours lesson with ‘The Rock Choir‘, free blogging/SEO/Social Media tips from top UK mummy bloggers, and we finished with my son Curly Headed Boy teaching how to dance to Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby, Baby’, check out our moves here (the little one is Little Dimples):

 

Those crazy bloggers finished the day with naked ironing; they’ll do anything to raise money for charity!

 

 

Now you know why I love the Mummy Blogging Community!  There are some amazing women in there and I’m proud to know them.

 

An Alternative to New Years Resolutions: Your Top 3 Life Priorities


I’m not a fan of New Years Resolutions, I think it’s a time for a detox, clear out and rest.

Goals can just add to the weight of things we don’t achieve as Mums.

What I use are ‘Life Priorities’

 

Life Priorities help you to organise your time, energy and money spends for the year ahead and only focus on what is important to you.

 

Imagine a year where you can finish it feeling satisfied that you covered all the most important bases (not everything, just the important stuff); it’s a good feeling!


To do it ..

  1. Get an hour to yourself (if possible, otherwise do it on the fly)
  2. Get a piece of paper and put on some music that relaxes or inspires you
  3. Think about everything that happened recently or in the last year that you can feel really grateful for  (this means the ideas come from the heart, not the logic of the mind or emotion of the gut).
  4. Now think about looking back at the end of your life
  5. What do you most want to be sure you have achieved?  What would you be gutted not to have?
  6. Pick 3.

I know three isn’t many, and that you will actually have lots of other priorities, and you are welcome to write down the others as well.  But what I do want you to just pick 3.  You’ll want to refine and polish them as time goes by, so don’t worry about making them perfect.

YOU CAN”T GET THIS WRONG!

Just Change It Later On If You Realise that other things are more important.

Mine are:

  1. That my kids feel loved from top to bottom by me and love me in return
  2. My books become ‘THE pick me up books for all Mums’
  3. That I stay strong in myself physically and emotionally

There are reasons behind all of these, and reasons why they take the top rankings, and they are in no way a judgement on the fact that I know already that yours will be different.

For example, for some parents the top priority is to provide every academic opportunity towards a secure future career for their children, or to ensure they make a great marriage, or to make sure they have amazing experiences, or to nurture them.  Some Mums might not have a potential career option, or not at the moment, or not feel it’s in the top 3.  Some might not have their health anywhere near the top 3 (I would really recommend that you consider how much it will help your kids if it is at least in your top 5 though).  Others might have providing financially, or spiritually as the top priority.  Maybe yours is maintaining your relationship (note to the hairy one: the reason our relationship is No4 is because me being strong has always been an important aspect to the success of our relationship).

Why bother?  Because we all get tired, overwhelmed, stressed, overloaded, exhausted, knackered, unfocussed and end up fire fighting and headless chicken running around at some point.

If every morning you remind yourself what your top 3 priorities are, you will be able to make sure that AT LEAST those are done, and then the rest.  Plus loads of things you’ll just not bother to do, saving you time, energy and money.

Plus you can manage your weekly To Do’s and make sure that you at least make time for these three.

What it means is that:

  • I make time to hug my kids, because otherwise I get unhappy.
  • I exercise 3 times a week, and eat pretty healthily.
  • When work opportunities come up and I’m busy, I pick the ones that help me to spread my books

In my book, I talk more about how to pick your top priorities and find out more about you as a person and what you love to do, or have or who you love to spend time with, so if you’d like to find out more, remember you can read a kindle book without a kindle.

Fancy finding your Top 3 Life Priorities?  Pop your top 3 priorities below when you’ve done it or come over to my Pinterest board and add them there..  If you blog about it you are very welcome to add a link in a comment to any blog posts you write about it, so that other Mums can get ideas for how it helps or what affect it has on you.

Here’s a summary for you as a picture, I can’t wait to hear what you pick!

Missed Your New Years Resolution? Go for the Chinese one like me!

I’m not a fan of New Year Resolutions.  On Jan 1st we tend to be knackered, broke, and there’s a hell of a lot of pressure associated to them.  Plus, most people fall off the bandwagon within a few days/weeks.  At the end of last year I panicked because I was meant to be launching a whole new exiting project in the New Year of 2011, but with the kids falling ill at the end of the school term, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it.  So after a short panic, I decided to sit with it for a bit and see where it went.

I’m ever so glad that I did, because I made some big changes to my programs, and realised that I’m a much bigger fan of the chinese new year timescale.  Plus I’ve had some time to mull over what my resolutions for this year are going to be.  But first I had a look back at 2010.  It might have been a tough year, but it is often considered wise to balance your view of a year as having both ups and downs, before planning the next one and it helped me to look back.

Looking at Wikipedia it says that the Chinese New Year is ‘is a great way to reconcile; forgetting all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone’.  The year of the rabbit starts on Wednesday and from the forecasts I’ve read online it sounds like a much more gentle year than the ones we’ve had; good thing too!  One forecast said ‘Calm and gentle, but persistent’, which sounds like a good plan for my year.

So if you’ve had some problems with your New Year Resolutions this year, have another go on Wed.  Oooooh and keep your eye on my blog for my BIG announcement of something FREE that I’m sure you will love.  I wrote a little free ebook ages ago about setting NYR’s, you are welcome to check it out and see if it helps.  The key is to remember that they are YOUR resolutions, so try not to set them for everyone else or what they think you should do.  Oh and my big bug bear is people doing the weight loss thing.  So if that is what you have picked, bear in mind that you  will be way more successful if your goal matches your actions.  For that you need to be clear on whether you are aiming to be slim, fit, or healthy; they are in fact often very different things!

My resolutions for 2011 are:

  1. Help Curly Headed Boy with settling in at school more (you’ll have seen my previous blogs about this)
  2. Spend more time with Little Dimples (I have a month of major workload, and then I plan on cutting back big time)
  3. Be more me (I’m blogging more because I love it, and rediscovering the me that now has 2 children, and looking at how to make sure that I don’t hide ‘me’ sometimes at home)
  4. It’s make or break time for my work (I totally get that in the last few years I’ve had 2 kids, so it’s understandable to have not made a profit in 11 years, but that time is over and it’s got to be more than just a hobby that pays for itself practically speaking.  I want to pay tax, how daft is that!).
  5. Become more healthy (I don’t have a big weight loss aim, but I am focussing a lot more on the 5 a day, more variety in my diet, light exercise, and to get to a healthier weight within a couple of months).

That’s it; my resolutions for 2011.  What are yours?  Did you stick to the Jan 1st option, or do you fancy the Feb 3rd option instead?

2010 what a year! Gifts and Challenges all round.

I normally write a letter about my year and send it out with Christmas cards, but this year I’m too late, so instead I thought I’d write a blog post.  Hopefully some of my friends will get to see it.  I like writing this sort of thing, its probably very selfish, but it gives me a great perspective on the year past, before I look to the year ahead.

I was thinking about gifts, as it’s that time of year.  This christmas the focus of the gifts has obviously been on the kiddies.  Curly Headed Boy is 5yrs old and his excitement knew no bounds!  Little Dimples (10 months), got the idea, but tended to cry each time a present was opened, as though each one was almost too good.  The big hits of the year were Kinectimals on the xbox kinect which Santa gave to the family (we’ve been a very good family this year), and the Little Mover pram for Little Dimples, which has had her up and walking instantaneously.  Whilst I was worrying whether Curly Headed Boy would understand that there was more to Christmas than just getting gifts, I decided to think about what I have been given this year instead.

This year has been a big gift and a big challenge, as all years are.  I know that for many it will appear to have been more of a challenge than a gift, but I encourage you to look for as many gifts as possible, as it will start your 2011 better than being desperately glad that 2010 is over (that might sound easy, but I promise it is possible, although tricky on your own sometimes).

The best gift of all was the arrival of Little Dimples to complete our family.  She had a very relaxed arrival in a pool in our lounge, while Big Hairy Northern Hubby and Curly Haired Boy played computer games downstairs.  She lights up the life of everyone who comes into contact with her, and has a bad habit of making people terribly broody.  She is almost irresistable because she is so cute.  I’m amazed that I can definitely love another baby AS MUCH as my first, but how different it is.  With her, she is my ‘sweetheart’, to cuddle close, and enjoy; it’s a very light hearted feeling.  Whereas with Curly Headed Boy he feels like a ‘soul mate’, sometimes so beautiful that he is erie; a bit ‘fey’ my irish friends would say.  How I and Big Hairy Northern Hubby could create such beautiful kids is beyond me.  I am truly lucky, and truly lucky that it happened after such a long wait at 36 and 40.  They are definitely a package, and it wouldn’t be complete without both of them.

Following soon after her birth was the obligatory blip in Big Hairy Northern Hubby’s job.  After Curly Headed Boy was born, hubby was made redundant and was off work for a year.  We almost thought it was going to happen again, but instead his paternity leave was cancelled, and he has been through 3 jobs (same company) and a change of several bosses.  At the moment they want him in the states every other week.  I won’t say what I think of them and their bright idea here, incase I ever have to meet the boss and be polite ;o)

To balance that out, Curly Headed Boy was very settled into his nursery (I moved him for the last year, which was risky), and got an acceptance into a school for reception just before Little Dimples was born (it’s very competitive around here, and a stressful experience choosing schools).  The Mums at his nursery there were amazing in the run up to and after the birth of Little Dimples, and I was inundated by offers of help, so although it’s tricky without any family of my own, I was lucky to have such support.

The next major challenge was me falling big time ill, having to ask for help LOTs, and worrying as they checked me for cancer over several months.  Thankfully it all worked out, which left me realising how lucky I was in comparison to many other Mums.  It’s probably because Little Dimple’s birth was so easy, and with the cancellation of Hairy Hubby’s paternity, I was up and running on school runs within 5 days.  No relaxed bubble with Little Dimples, like I had when Curly Headed Boy arrived.  Definitely a case of ‘don’t do as I did, be a lot more sensible’!

I realised that if I was going to continue to work (it’s tricky when your business is up and running, to take a long time out), then I would need some help with childcare.  After a few false starts and finding someone who turned out to be incredibly unreliable, I really hit the jackpot.  I’ve always said there should be a ‘rent a granny’ site; well that’s what I found, the most amazing irish 73yr old.  She’s be wonderful for Little Dimples, Curly Headed Boy and myself.  She must be the second best gift I got this year, after getting Little Dimples.

I also had help from someone taking care of my other business, as with Little Dimples there hasn’t been space to work that as well as my Mummy Coaching.  I always expected one child to change my priorities and values, but it’s amazing how much a second has done so as well.  I have been pruning, decluttering, and prioritising all year.  With work I have cut back and back, to just focus on what is most important to me, which has been difficult as I was the first person in the UK trained in the Demartini Method many years ago, and I have always felt a sense of responsibility for it.  You are never in-dispensible though, and there are plenty of people to step into the breach now a days.  At home I’ve been ebaying and freecycling like mad.  I’m very lucky to have had someone to help take some of the responsibility, and clients who’ve been patient with us as we tried to improve the communication and my role over-seeing/mentoring her.

All this decluttering, gave me the space to find an online coaching system, which has completely reshaped the way I’m working, and I’ve got a shiny new blog as well.

September was the time for a big change, my hair got a massive make-over, Curly Headed Boy started school, and Little Dimples turned 6 months, which makes things much easier.  Starting reception is such a major thing, maybe for Mums more than the kids; with parties every weekend, letters and words to learn, and new friends to meet.  It’s been more difficult to do play dates as the local soft play shut down, but my new years resolution is to try and fit in at least one per week from now on, as he is still not as settled as he was at his previous nursery.  It is really cute though when they go on their first school trip and do their christmas play, which does help to assuage the sense of loss as they go through this rite of passage to growing up.

I’m going to write a whole other blog about how David Tennant made my day; just to give you something to look forward to!

I have a feeling that 2011 is going to be very different, which we probably all need.  Maybe less intense?  It’s started with me having another declutter, I reckon it might be time for a light detox as well.