6 Steps To A Sparkling You

More BIG News – The 2nd Edition Of My Book Will Be Available In A Week!

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

I’ve got some more great news!

The 2nd Edition of my book ‘6 Steps To A Sparkling You And Enjoying Being A Mum‘ is going to be available in a week!

Anyone who has already bought a copy will automatically get a chance to *upgrade (I love kindle!).

Remember you don’t need a kindle to read it.

It is still only 89p!!!

I AM going to put the price up though, so make the most of it.


Who is my book for?

Anything from when you are a mildly stressed mum, to the times when your life feels like it is falling apart.

It’s the kind of book that you can pick up over and over again.

(In fact that’s a hint to anyone who has bought it before – it’s probably time you read it again!).

I’m NO parenting guru.  I’m all about helping you to get stronger so that you can listen to yourself again.

You will get more:








It worked for me

The book was created after Little Dimples was born.  I went through a tough time, where all the complicated therapies I had learnt really let me down.  I needed something much more basic, that didn’t require analysing my life to pieces.

Instead I found these 6 simple areas where I had the ability to control or change it and reduce the stress load massively.  I was amazed by the difference it made.

Ironically when I fell ill with Fibromyalgia I got to REALLY test my book.  I went back to it and followed my own advice even more deeply.  I improved on everything – my mindset (took much more care of myself), my health (really fine tuned my nutrition), my time management (dumped a pile of stuff), the house (made it work, even without me), finances (the big hairy northern one was made redundant again) and sparkle (I started to take regular time twice a month for ME).

It’s not just me, check out these testimonials.


Why 2nd Edition

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and after all the first book was my first.  I felt it could flow better.  Plus I want it to work for ‘Every Mum’, so it needs to be exceptionally clear.  I didn’t get any complaints, but I wasn’t totally happy with it.

An Agent gave me a big telling off, because she said that she could tell I had stopped pimping my book.  I had totally stopped, as soon as I knew that there would be a 2nd edition, which was daft.  So rather than wait until Sept (the original plan), we are going for it now – and just watch me pimp it!


Your Help

Please let people know about my book.

Next time you are talking to a mum who is unhappy, tired, stressed, lethargic, frantic about the house, worried about money and not looking after herself, tell her to get my book.

That way you are helping her, and then helping all the mums that she tells.

I don’t want to slag off parenting techniques, as they have their place.  But let’s get more books out there that helps mums to get stronger on their own, rather than relying on a book!

And when you get a chance, EVERY review on Amazon makes a difference.

Thank you guys!








*If you are going to upgrade, please be aware that the free chapter on weight loss will be gone.  That’s because I’m writing it up as a book, which will be available in 6 months.  But in the meantime, do not despair!  There is a lot more information on my ‘No Diets Or Bootcamps‘ pages than in the book, so you don’t have to wait.

Exhaustion Tips: A Good Declutter is great for the soul!

Normally my little tips about general health are all that’s been needed to boost my energy levels, but there are times in my life when more is needed, and the last few weeks is one of them.  The great news for you is that as I resolve my own energy levels, I’ve been able to give you much more structured ideas for tackling yours!  So I’ve been talking about embracing the exhaustion to find the causes, making a plan and then four tips for planning ahead in my last few blog posts.

This week’s hint comes from the fact that I’ve been finding the general daily repetition that us Mums need to do driving me mad!  Plus I’m of the opinion that sometimes you need to behave in the ‘real world’ in a way that will get mirrored in the ’emotional world’; so if my brain is a bit noisy and over full, then my theory is that by decluttering my surroundings, I’ll start to get space in my head as well.  Plus, by rethinking the organisation or flow of the problem areas, I get to save myself energy in the future.

I can just about deal with the daily to do’s that repeat over and over and over and over again, like a hamster on a running wheel.  Plus one of the big reasons (apart from enjoying it!) I work is because I’m not very domesticated, so by working I can pay for a cleaner, and dog walker (2 children and 2 badly behaved dogs is not fun!).   The big hairy northern one is generally helpful with stuff, but also away a lot and then riddled with jetlag, but I do have a little irish granny that helps me with childcare, and while she plays with Little Dimples, she does pootle around tidying a bit as well.

However, what had pushed me over the edge was a 5yo, a toddler, a dog and a husband who ALL like to pick things up and then put them down somewhere else.  Often 3 floors up (we live in a town house).  WHY?  Why pick stuff up for the hell of it and then put it down somewhere else?  Then add the helpful people who do the same, like my little irish granny (I’ve just found 3 bags of mouldy lettuce, I wondered where they had gone!) and cleaners who think they know best about where stuff goes.  Clearly the world was planning on driving me totally crazy, because being a touch retentive I kept seeing things ‘in the wrong place’ and getting more and more stressed by it, but not having the energy to tidy/organise/move anything as well.

Plus, Little dimples has taken a real affection for the craft drawers, and despite the fact that I had tidied them so that they were organised, the coordinated efforts of Curly Headed Boy and the Irish granny meant that there were all sorts of things were no longer organised and hence available for her.  So every day the bloody lolly sticks would end up all over the floor, plus a pile of tissue paper.  Curly Headed boy would get out the pens, but because of the chaos not be able to put them back and there were pens, pensils, crayons, rubbers and goodness knows what else all over the place.  Little Dimples would then help out with generally distributing them around the house.  Oh and the dog always likes to help by picking stuff up when he is excited.

How can so many people walk over stuff on the floor I wondered and NOT pick it up?!

Then due to the general chaos of stuff being everywhere, but not where it was meant to be, nothing could be found.  So at times when there were jobs to do, or something important to be done, I would be constantly hounded by a 5yo or a baby girl who didn’t know what to do with themselves.  I remember a blog post during the last half-term that should have taken 15 minutes, taking 1.5 HOURS!!!

Eventually I thought to myself: despite my wish to lose a few more pounds in weight and the undoubted good exercise that picking things up is for me, enough is enough. It was time for a good declutter and detox of the downstairs (kitchen, utility and playroom), followed by a big reorganise.  So Sunday was PJ day, and the big hairy northern one was a brilliant child distractor.

I made space in the utility shelves, and the tissue paper and cardboard is now in a hessian bag.  I like Curly headed boy to have access to the craft stuff, but enough is enough!  All the pens/pencils/crayons/other things are in boxes or pencil cases; no longer do I have one of those draw tidy’s so that they are out on display.  Space has been made in the play room by removing baby toys, so it’s easier for Little Dimples to find her stuff, and by moving toys for her out of the kitchen, I’ve made a pile of shelves free specifically for the big hairy one and the kids so that it is easy to find interesting books, colouring books, sticker books, doing books, or basically ‘things to do with your own initiative when Mummy is busy stuff’.  We moved the furniture around as well so that these shelves are really easy to access, in an effort to make sure that there are as few blocks to people/kids finding things to do!

So if you are getting suffocated by all the stuff around you, and having to repeat endless tasks that could be gotten rid of, and are finding that your house isn’t organised in a way that works for the family, have a think about setting around a few hours for a rethink.  The problem with kids is that as they grow their needs change, so I can’t promise you that once it’s done, it’s done.  But I can promise that it will help to give you more energy, space to think, and waste less energy in the future.  I wrote a couple of blog posts in the past that will help you:

Did it work?  Yes, so far, so good.  I’ve had to put a couple of pencil cases away each day, but that’s easy.  Little Dimples has helped herself to books on the bookshelf, and Curly Headed Boy is really chuffed with the change.  Plus it did seem to give me the space to get a much quieter head, so I can definitely recommend it.  Have fun!

If you enjoyed this post let your friends know about it and sign up for the RSS feed so that you get reminded each time there is a post, or  join my facebook page.  Also, if you are lacking in energy, then signing up for my email newsletter will give you a free Life Health Questionnaire.

Seven top tips for how to get decluttering

I’m a mega declutterer, but I didn’t start out that way.

I started out life as a hoarder, copying my mum.  It meant keeping every letter, every card, and filling my room with little ornaments and bits and bobs.  There was a huge fear of loss, and having to keep EVERYTHING just in case.

Mum was that superstitious that the last two cigarettes in her packet where always lit together and had to go in the same ash tray.  But just after my Dad died (I was 20), Mum changed the locks, and I was left without my ‘stuff’ for 6yrs.  It’s a long story as to why she did it, but lets just say that death often brings the worst out in people, and since becoming a Mum myself, I kind of understand how being a Mum messed with an already messed up head.

So after 6yrs of going cold turkey, I started to break a habit of a life time, and now many years on, I’m incredibly grateful for the present she gave me, even if she didn’t know what she was doing.

But even though I’m pretty good at it, I did spend last year doing a really big time clear out ready for Little Dimples, and I suspect that 2011 will have even more.  2010 was about the ‘stuff’ we had collected as a couple over the past 21 years or that couldn’t be used by baby, and this year is breaking things down even more to the small nooks and crannies that still have bits to be sorted in them.

A lovely friend of mine wrote a blog the other day, which sounded like she was a bit overwhelmed with where to start, so I thought I would share some tips.  I might not be a professional declutterer, but I’m pretty darn good at it!


1) The 80/20 Rule

When I worked in technical support for a big database company we used the Pareto’s 80/20 rule to get through our list of calls.  It goes like this: 80% of the calls take about 20% of the time to fix.  The remaining 20% of the calls will take 80% of the time.

So when starting out and wanting to clear the decks, go for the 80% which can be done quickly and gives the quickest results in terms of reducing the load.  Pick 1 room.  Get it sorted.

It’s only when you have a bit of space that you can tackle the remaining 20%.


2) Go With the Flow

We are girls (oops, is that a bit obvious!), and hence subject to the cycles of hormones.  Use them!  Some times of the month you will have the energy and urge to have a mega clearout.  During those times, stop everything else and use the energy.

Don’t ever do it when it feels like a drudge to do it, that’s not the point.


3) Quick ways of Disposing of stuff

If you are doing your first major clear out, then someone who sells stuff for you on ebay would be a good place to start (I have someone if you are anywhere near St Albans).  So from an 80/20 perspective, the first task would be to go round your house and make a big collection of anything not needed that might have some value, or might have some value when packaged with other things.

Charity shops are of course also great, but I have found them to not always appreciate a big load of stuff.  There is one near me in Radlett which is always happy to take things, and they will take old clothes to go to recycling too, as they get money for them.

But Freecycle (mine is a yahoo group for st albans called freegle) is fantastic, as you can get rid of just about anything, including electricals and stuff that wont go to charity.  Don’t say ‘yes’ immediately.  Wait until a few people say they want the object and then ask for dates and times of collection.


4) Memory box and Memory Photo Album

Create a memory box for keeping trinkets in.  I had 2 huge IKEA boxes, and was branching into a 3rd, which I have decided is a little much for just 40yrs as I plan on another 60yrs.  So I’m just going through my two, to cut them into one, and then have another for the kiddies.

If it is too big, create a memory photo album.  This is especially good for children’s art stuff.  Yes you can keep it all.  But for goodness sake keep it digitally, and just keep the stuff with the best memories in the box!

Oooh, but keep a backup of your computer and photo’s and put them in a fire safe.


5) Lofts are For:

Christmas Decorations, holiday stuff like snowboards, and other things that you use once per year.

NOT for storing stuff ‘just in case’.

Imagine that loft is your head.  I’m not a big Feng shui person, but for the past few years I have been able to ‘feel’ that loft sitting above us with a pile of crap in it.  The worst thing is that if it is choccer to the top, then you’ll never find what you want when you are looking for it, or remember.


6) Just In Case

Of course there are a few things that are worth keeping just in case.  I do have an old wooden ark that my kids play with, plus a huge teddy that I have a photo of me with, and a couple of little toys.  So they are good memory things.  But the other things you will probably get back if you join a yahoo freegle/freecyle group if there is another instance where you will need it.

There is a little secret I have for you.  I can’t explain it all in a blog.  But it is ‘Nothing is Missing’.  Nothing ever disappears completely.  Look at water.  It can turn into ice or steam.  But it doesn’t go away.  With some help I could show you that as things or people left your life, one or many things appeared that together could do the same job.  If you ever get yourself into a big panic about losing something, I can definitely sort it out for you, so don’t worry.


7) It Doesn’t Matter How Long It Takes

You are probably tired, after all you are a Mum.  So don’t kill yourself doing this.  Make a list, which is really detailed so that you can tick lots of things for a little effort, and just start doing it bit by bit.  It doesn’t matter if it takes a year.  In fact, this is a constant job anyway, because if you end up loving it like me, you will be decluttering for the rest of your life.

Plus, the most important part of the decluttering is the emotional and mental effects.  So remember to leave some space for you to declutter your brain noise (fear, guilt and worry), your body (detox, exercise, and pamper) and your life (work/life balance and relationships).


Let me know how you do.  Now I’m off to finish those Ikea boxes of mine!

Oooh and a quick p.s. to another Mummy blogger friend of mine.  No it is not possible to have a totally tidy house (you are like me, so the kind of perfectly tidy), plus work half/full time, plus do everything else; so stop feeling guilty about those people having a go about you having toys everywhere.  If you ever come round and my house looks tidier, it’s just because I work less days, and have probably cut back on work a little for a week or so to get it back into order (like at the moment).  Or you happened to just turn up when I was at the right point in my cycle!