Monday, 29 December 2014

Sink or Swim? How to Handle the New Year.

At this time of year I feel like Kate Winslet's character from the movie, Titanic.  It's that moment when Rose and Jack are clinging to the railing of the doomed ship, with seconds to reflect, before being sucked into the icy depths.

The New Year feels similar.  I'm clinging on to the old year, full of its adventures, loves and losses and wondering if I'll survive what's to come.

Just like Rose, I hold my breath and kick like crazy for the surface.  What I find each year never fails to amaze me.  I learn new lessons, meet new mentors and discover a little bit more about myself with each passing moment.

To be able to cling on so hard to the back of my ship I need to add a little structure into my life.  Writing my book, How I Changed My Life in a Year taught me the importance of planning.  Nothing changes unless you make it happen, and to do this you need to sort through your thoughts and catalogue them in the best way for you.

Every new year I ask myself two questions:

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Finding Your Feet in the Blogging World

Friends come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Some are small and perfectly formed; some are tall and can help you pop the star on top of your Christmas tree.  Other friends are a collage of pixels crammed into a postage stamp sized photograph – yes, I’m talking about our online friends.  Tweeters, bloggers and our Facebook friends are just as important as our face to face contacts.

This blog will celebrate its second birthday on the 1st January 2015, and its success is thanks to a mixture of people.  My holistic health spa clients who enjoy my ramblings, my family who gets to find out what I’ve been up to and my friends who support me in everything I do.  Then there are my fellow bloggers; the army of online buddies I have made along my journey.  A ‘like’ here, a ‘comment’ there, a re-blog, a Facebook share and a tweet.  The blogging community is one of the most supportive groups I have ever had the privilege to be a part of.  If you were contemplating starting a blog as a New Year Resolution – don’t think, just do!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Smile With The Stars

On the 12th December 2010 my cousin, Lee Johnson, went to sleep and never woke up.

Lee died from SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy) at the age of 24.  He was an incredible person who lived his short life to the full.  As a child, he played for Leeds United youth team alongside James Milner, a position he had to give up because of his condition.  He continued to play for his local team and was also an outstanding cricketer. 

His passion for sports was well known.  Lee had successfully undergone a soccer training assessment course which was to be the start of the next stage of his life - as a soccer coach on the West coast of America.

His death touched so many people.  Neither Lee, his parents Simon and Vicky or his sister Becky knew that Epilepsy could take a life.  Following Lee's premature passing, a campaign to raise awareness of Epilepsy and reduce the stigma surrounding the condition was launched.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

List Writing For Pleasure - It Is Possible!

December is upon us, and the frenzy of festivities has begun.  My children have told me what they would like this year via lists that I found stuck on the fridge!  It appears my obsessive list writing disorder has rubbed off!

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without an array of lists.  There's one for the food shopping and one for the gift buying.  Then we have a name and address list for sending Christmas cards and even a packing list if you are lucky enough to be jetting off to sunnier climes this winter.

A list is a helpful tool to keep you on track with jobs, tasks and anything else that fills your brain on a day to day basis.

As a single mum who runs her own business and writes in her spare time (whatever that may be) list writing is what keeps me organised and calm.  If it's not on the list, then it doesn't get done!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

How to be Thankful Every Day of the Year

Being thankful is a full time challenge.  When I was building my life back up following my divorce I spent a lot of time thinking about all the things I was thankful for.  It was tough.  Those days were very dark and finding a sliver of hope needed work. 

Photo courtesy of Nurture Store

Ten years later I find it easy to be thankful every day.  Each evening my children and I sit down to dinner and we go around the table asking what our best and worst things are of that day.  This is also a wonderful way to find out what's going with your family.  I've discovered test results and arguments with friends this way (teens can be so guarded!)  They feel safe to voice their concerns as part of their 'worst' bit and we can discuss it as a family.  We then turn this into a positive by saying what our 'best' thing was.  This could be a simple as a sunny day or as monumental as an A* exam result.

Journaling is one of my favourite self-help tools, and jotting down three things you are thankful for can do so much for your well-being.  I write my list just before bed. Last night I wrote:

Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Great Great Grandad Was Who? Genealogy for Beginners.

Genealogy is a fascinating subject and as a beginner I can lose hours, if not days surfing the net for long lost relatives.  I’m sure there are quicker ways to get results, but I’m having so much fun on my detective mission nonetheless.

As it happens, I discovered this week that my Great-Great-Grandfather on my mother’s side was in the Royal Engineers 223rd Field Company in WW1.  Having visited the incredible memorial at Tower Bridge in London, I found the realisation that one of my ancestors was in the thick of it quite overwhelming.  Tears were shed.  God help me if I watch the Sainsbury’s advert again!

During the same session, I found out that my other set of Great-Great-Grandparents were born in Dublin and Mayo and travelled over to the UK in the 1800’s.  That must have been quite a trip.

The storyteller in me was buzzing with the; who, what, where, when and how’s of it all.  To work in this field and be able to piece together the puzzle of someone’s life must be so rewarding. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Taking a Step from Motivational Non-Fiction to Magical Fantasy

This week I watched my non-fiction book How I Changed My Life in a Year reach the number four spot on Amazon's Best Seller list for self-help. 

I hit the 'screenshot' button so fast I nearly dislocated my finger.  Within thirty seconds I had uploaded the photo to my Facebook page to share my news with the incredible people who have supported me throughout my writing journey.

The experience of self-publishing this book has been so rewarding.  I continue to receive emails, tweets and messages from people telling me how much they enjoyed reading it and how it has helped them in their life.  Priceless.

On Thursday I hit my 50,000 word target for NaNoWriMo and I had to switch my writing brain from motivational non-fiction to young adult fantasy. 

I have always had a passion for fantasy books, films and TV shows.  During the lowest point of my life there was one young adult in particular who taught me I could survive to live another day - Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer.  She certainly knew where to shove the pointy end of a stake!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Guest Author Interview - Douglas McPherson

Today I am joined by journalist and author, Douglas McPherson.  Douglas was the man I turned to for advice on turning my Resolution Challenge blog into a book.  His response and subsequent support were a huge factor in building my confidence.  I am thrilled that he was able to join me for a chat.  Over to Douglas.
The Fun Five:
1.  What part of the world do you come from?
I grew up in South London, not far from Wimbledon Common.  I currently live out in the countryside beneath the big Norfolk skies.
2.  What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to do something creative and actually began my working life as a graphic designer.
3.  List three words to describe yourself.
Nearly always writing.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Do Something That Scares You

No matter how old I get Halloween still holds that special magic for me.  I loved bobbing for apples when I was a child and carving the pumpkins.  My children still enjoy getting dressed up (although it's more teenage zombie than fairy or cute ghost nowadays).  Going out trick-or-treating with friends and dressing the house up with giant spiders and plastic bats holds a giddy fascination.  I have been known to wear purple velour and a pointed hat on occasion!

With Halloween fresh in our minds, I thought it was the perfect time to think about the scary stuff - not headless horsemen or flesh eating gremlins - the day-to-day stuff that stops us from achieving our goals.

Many years ago I set myself a challenge to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  A writing competition to pen 50,000 words in 30 days.  I didn't do it.  Why?  Because I was scared.  Scared of failing, scared of taking part, scared of writing drivel, scared of what people may think. 

How many times have you allowed your fears to stop you from doing something?

Last year I finally took part in NaNoWriMo, of course this was part of my Resolution Challenge, a year full of resolutions that I had to achieve whilst blogging my progress.  It was a fantastic experience and not only did I thoroughly enjoy the event, but I finished with time to spare and the first draft of my debut young adult fantasy novel, Guardians of the Dead.

What had I been so scared of?  After the event I understood how valuable the experience was and realised what I had been missing out on because of my fears.  Before we can achieve we must first face our demons.  My demon looked like me; brown hair, brown eyes, five foot ten with a slight muffin top and laughter lines (I refuse to acknowledge them as wrinkles!)

So how can we do it?  How can we do something that scares us?  During my year of challenges, I faced several demons, all of them were self-made.  Knowing that I was writing my progress here on my blog gave me the strength to get on and do it.  I found the confidence to just write and over time I stopped over-analysing myself and my work and began to enjoy it.  Once this happened I started to receive feedback from people all over the globe.  I'd faced a fear - failure - and came out on the other side unscathed. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Guest Author Interview - Stephan Myers

Today I am pleased to introduce children's author and illustrator, Stephan Myers. 

The Fun Five:
1.  What part of the world do you come from?
I was actually born in Hull.  A Yorkshire man born, but not bred.  I come from a service family and we moved on a regular basis both in the UK and Europe.
2.  What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wish I could say I had a particular ambition.  I was very much into athletics and it wasn't until later years that I chose a corporate career.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Time Management in 4 Easy Steps

Last week I delivered a course about time management to my Motivate Me workshop ladies.  The response was wonderful, and the evening was a huge success.  As I chatted to the group it became evident that we are prone to reject or forget many self-help tools.   We may see them as yet another chore rather than a way to help ourselves.  Our lives are far too busy to remember all that self-help mojo!

With the festive season screaming towards us it's the perfect time to claim some 'me time' before we all lose ourselves in mince pies and tinsel.  Managing the time we do have means we are more productive.

The term 'time management' is more often associated with the corporate world.  The business masses who fill their day and diary with copious emails, meetings, phone calls and networking events.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  Of course, seven years ago I was one of them.  My diary was full; my social calendar was a jumble of events and the children's sports days, parents evenings and school plays filled in any blank space.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Happy Business Birthday To Me!

This week I celebrated one of my greatest achievements.  The sixth birthday of my holistic health business, Body & Soul Holistics.

So much has changed in six years.  My business has made many twists and turns along the way.  As a newbie entrepreneur, I assumed that I needed to offer as many treatments as I could.  I spent huge sums of money and precious time training in everything from the metamorphic technique to waxing.

I hated waxing!  I have a huge amount of respect for all the therapists out there who rip hairs off people's body parts day and night, but it wasn't for me!  Of course, to drop a treatment after you had paid for the course and dedicated hours to training and case studies was a sin, or so I thought.

The further along my spiritual/business journey I travelled, I began to realise that it was okay to walk away from the parts of my job that weren't working for me.  If they weren't adding benefit to my personal journey then why did I keep them in my life?  I took waxing off my treatment list, along with spray tans and facials.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Better Parenting, Better Kids Blog Tour, Day 7.

I'm incredibly excited to introduce a passionate author to my blog today.  I am honoured to host Nonnie on the final day of her blog tour and so without any further delay, over to Nonnie...
Hello, and welcome to the final day of my BETTER PARENTING, BETTER KIDS Blog Tour!  I'm so happy to be here today with my dear friend, Shelley and all her wonderful guests!  I so appreciate you allowing me to share a bit of me with you!
If you've been following my tour, I have been sharing tidbits of advice to help parents, do this job a little better, if they feel they might be failing.  If this is your first day joining us on the tour, then I'd like to invite you back to visit the other stops.  Here is the line-up.  It is my sincerest goal and mission to ensure that my kids and all kids are brought up in a safer world.  With the behavior of some of the kids we see today, if parenting skills don't change and improve, that may not be soon my reality. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Guest Author Interview - Peter Jones

Today I am joined by Peter Jones author of The Good Guy's Guide To Getting The Girl.

The Fun Five:

1. What part of the world do you come from?

I'm an Essex boy!  Was born and raised in Chelmsford, moved to Southend as soon as I was able (Mum used to take us there on the last day of the summer holidays).  I do have a fondness for London though, living so close.

2.  What did you want to be when you grew up?

One of my earliest memories is kneeling on my grandmother's living room carpet 'making books'.  I'd fold as many sheets of A4 paper in half as I could, and then use her stapler to create a spine.  Then I'd start writing a story and drawing the pictures to go along with it.  Other ambitions came and went, but for the longest time this is what I wanted to do with my life.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

15 Ways to Boost Your Well-Being

Writers' block is something I have never had to worry about.  I suffer from the opposite problem of having too much to write and no structure in place to streamline those thoughts.

However, as I was sitting at my laptop ready to type this week's post, I stopped.  I experienced that moment of emptiness with my fingertips hovering over the keys.  Not because I didn't know what to say, but for once in my life, I didn't know quite how to say it.

Allow me to explain.  This week has been a blessing for me, I love my holistic job and facilitated a successful workshop on creating vision boards.  I started my meditation classes up again for the new term and I completed the first edit on my debut fiction novel.  Just this morning I received a beautiful email telling me I had been nominated for another Blogger award (that's two in as many weeks) and a second email asking if I would like to be interviewed for a very prominent blog.  Fantastic!  Last week I checked the sales of my non-fiction book (How I Changed My Life in a Year - and found that I was still in the top 50 of Amazon best sellers for self-help and memoir.  Feedback continues to be positive and reviews have been incredible.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

One Lovely Blog Award

Collecting 'things' is a favourite hobby of mine.  It's an odd phrase but I feel it bunches all the 'nic nacs', 'bric-a-brac' and 'random stuff' I have in my house under the one umbrella.  'Things', it rolls off the tongue nicely doesn't it.  Maybe I was a magpie in a former life, attracted to lustrous objects and glittering paraphernalia.

When I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Julia, I believed I had peaked in the collector status.  A shiny blog award is, in my humble opinion, as huge as an Oscar!  Okay, I may have a slight flair for the dramatics, but knowing that someone other than my mum is reading my blog is a big deal.

So Julia, I thank you for taking the time to nominate me, please do take a look at Julia's blog and at her other blogger recommendations -

Sunday, 24 August 2014

What Would You Tell Your 16 Year Old Self?

It's been a while since I blogged, and as I type this post I feel like a new student returning to school after the summer break.

I was in a fortunate position to take four weeks off work to enjoy the summer holiday with my kids.  My time off also included a step away from blogging.  This meant I developed a nervous twitch on what would have been blog post day, but on the whole I was able to take my own advice, and switch off, unwind and have an incredible summer.

As with any family holiday we document every tourist hotspot, sunset and sunrise, and every international #selfie on our phone, tablet or with a camera - or is this just me?

16 Year Old Shelley
It was as I uploaded the numerous photographs from my iPhone to my laptop that I spotted an old picture in a frame on my wall.

This was taken on my 16th birthday.  The same day I sat my GCSE maths exam - the same day I failed my GCSE maths exam!

My eldest son collected his own GCSE exam results last week, along with many other 16 year olds across the UK.  He did incredibly well - much better than his mother!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Who Said That?

From the old wives tales that our grandparents taught us, to a business mantra that is tossed around the boardroom, we all know one or two quotes that have inspired us.

For me, a motivational quote can be used to boost my own self esteem, or passed on to one of my holistic clients.  Enhancing well-being and inspiring someone to succeed can be as simple as passing on a brief sentence.

We all know that words can harm or heal, I choose to live my life on the healing path and as such I pass on the inspirational quotes and mantras that I've collected over the years.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

How To Live a Life Full of Motivation

Life can swerve in a different direction at any point, sometimes you are ready for it but more often than not it flings you unceremoniously from a moving vehicle.

This is what happened to me, but as I look back I see that it wasn't a sudden swerve, more of a winding road that I didn't realise I could get off.

Getting back on track took a huge amount of patience and dedication but with the support of my family I did it. 
For seven years I was trapped in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage.  I was overweight, exhausted and miserable.  In 2004 I found the courage to leave, packing my two, three and five year old children in the car and driving away.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Could You Do The Water Challenge?

During a normal working day I say 'drink more water' a hundred times over.  As a reflexologist it is plainly evident when a client is suffering from dehydration, however, many people are still unaware of just how beneficial drinking water can be.

I remember reading an article in the Daily Mail back in 2013.  Sarah Smith, a 42 year old mother, had taken on a challenge to increase her water intake for four weeks and written up her findings.  The article was eye-opening - you can read it here.

The before and after photographs were what initially attracted me to the article, I had to check she hadn't been photo shopped! I was intrigued to discover how she had succeeded. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

5 Days of Mayhem

Have you ever had one of those weeks where all your best laid plans get thrown out of the window due to something out of your control?  Welcome to my week!

I am an uber organised individual, I live by the mantra 'if it isn't in the diary, it doesn't happen'.  Then one week comes along that throws life into a spin that would put any tornado to shame, however, if I've learnt anything from this week, it's to go with the flow!

Day 1

Great start to the week as I took part in twitter's #indiebooksbeseen promotion.  All indie authors were given the opportunity to post a photograph of themselves holding a poster of their book/s (or a copy of their book). 

The promotion was very well attended and retweets were phenomenal.  It was so lovely to see such a great variety of indie authors taking part and it was a perfect opportunity to connect with such a supportive community.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

What's Your Glastonbury Song?

We all have a favourite band, and more importantly we all have that one song that resonates with whatever is going on in our life.  For me it's 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet (1983).  The words always fill me with a sense of pride at what I've overcome and give me the strength to carry on and be 'indestructible'.

This weekend the UK celebrates the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, with acts including the sensational Dolly Parton, The Black Keys, Lily Allen, Metallica, Blondie, Sam Smith and many, many more. 

Tickets to the Glastonbury Festival have a tendency to sell out within hours of being released so I thought I'd use this post to celebrate the history of Glastonbury Festival and point you in the direction of finding your own unique song or recognising a favourite band.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Read it? Loved it? Then Review It!

The support and feedback I've received this week for the release of my new book How I Changed My Life in a Year has been sensational.  My twitter feed, Facebook page and email account have been inundated with positive comments.

As I basked in my five minutes of fame, I thanked everyone for taking the time to get in touch and let me know how much they enjoyed it, I then asked if they had posted their comments on Amazon.

I was met with a host of glazed expressions, 'what do you mean by post a comment on Amazon?'

Reviews are an authors life line.  We crave the golden stars and words of encouragement as much as a child craves ice-cream.  I was surprised at how many of the people I spoke to didn't know about the importance of reviews.

If you buy a new camera or other expensive piece of equipment, invariably you will log on to 'Which' to find out what other purchasers thought of the product and then you can make your informed choice - books are just the same.

Monday, 16 June 2014

From Tiny Acorns...

It's been an exciting time for me recently as my new book, 'How I Changed My Life in a Year' is now out as an e-book and paperback.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Trek to the Top Challenge

All my friends appear to be taking part in a fitness regime these days.  The hugely popular Facebook craze '30 Day Abs Challenge', created by mum of eight, Robyn Mendenhall Gardner, has changed my sedentary pals into crunchers, plankers and leg lifters.  If I knew how to crunch I may have joined them!

Not to be outdone by my toned up, trimmed down friends, I decided that action needed to be taken if I wanted to get the beach fit body I craved.

I may have hung up my running shoes after completing my half marathon back in 2012, but there is nothing stopping me from dusting them off and putting them to good use once more.  Running is out of the question as my knees creak louder than my floorboards these days, so I wanted to keep it simple-ish!

Walking up stairs/steps is a wonderful way to tone your bum and legs but instead of looking at my flight of stairs as just a means to get to the first floor, I'm going to turn it into a challenge of lofty proportions!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

7 Year Life Cycles And Where You Fit In

Celebrating a birthday is supposed to be a joyous affair, but as I hit forty-two a couple of weeks ago, all I could think about was how dry my hair was lately and why it was getting so damn hard to shift the pesky pounds around my stomach.

Then I realised I had just entered my seventh life cycle.  Confused?  Stay with me...

Many of us have heard the old saying that all the cells in our body change over a period of seven years, this is in fact tosh as our cells are dying and being replaced all the time.  For example; our red blood cells replace after four months, white blood cells after a year.  Sperm cells last just three days and our brain cells die off but are never replaced. 

So my urgent need to purchase uber-moisturising shampoo and a pair of spanx had nothing to do with my body chemistry.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

How To Stay Motivated

With the recent launch of my latest book and the success of my Motivate Me Workshops for Women, I have been asked the same question over the past couple of weeks, 'How do you fit it all it?'

The honest answer is, 'It just happens!'

I have always been able to multi-task, I think this is the Gemini side of my personality, and having multiple projects on the go keeps my mind active and (hopefully) keeps me young!  This question did make me think hard about how I manage to motivate myself, and I wanted to share my findings in the hope it may help you to stay motivated.

First of all I revisited my story on the Female Entrepreneur Association website.  This was an interview about how I motivated myself to start my own business, 'Body & Soul Holistics'.  I was so proud of this feature and received some amazing feedback.  You can read that interview here.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

What a Difference a Year Can Make

When I started this blog I had a clear objective, to record the highs and lows of the fifty-two challenges I set myself on New Year's Eve in 2012.

Lose weight, get fit, be happy, do something new...the list was as varied as it was long.

It was a personal journey of self discovery but I felt it important enough to share with anyone who may be interested.  365 days later and the blog had received over 15,000 visits, two blogger award nominations and was attracting followers from across the globe.

The year came to an end but my journey continued, in fact it picked up speed!

Seventeen months later I am now able to take the next big step towards achieving my goals and ticking off another very big item on my to-do list. 

From 'blog' to 'book', the story of how my year of challenges changed my life is out now as e-book and paperback.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Everyone is Raving About Rave Reviews Book Club

Gimme an 'R'
Gimme an 'A'
Gimme a 'V'
Gimme an 'E'
I am a member of quite a few clubs, but none shake their pom poms quite like Rave Review Book Club!
It was through the power of twitter that I first connected with Nonnie, author of Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend.  She mentioned her aim to start a review club and I was happy to add my name, and debut book, to the list.
That member list is now 400+ strong, with new recruits joining daily - that's a lot of pom poms!
The RRBC is not a place to park your latest novel, sit back and wait for reviews and sales to roll in.  It's a proactive club, members retweet members, they buy and review each others books on Amazon, Goodreads and other platforms.  They support each other like no other club does via twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

A Change of Pace - Flash Fiction by Shelley Wilson

With the launch of my latest non-fiction book on the horizon, together with my recent debut as a motivational speaker, I realised my fiction writing had ground to a halt as I concentrated on my non-fiction projects.

To add balance to my writing life I thought I would share one of my flash fiction stories with you.  I do hope you like the change of pace...although it may be a bit gruesome!

Broken by Shelley Wilson

People don’t mean to pass me by, they all lead such busy lives and just don’t notice what’s right under their noses.  I don’t mind, not anymore.  It did bother me at first, I had been brought up to care, be polite and keep smiling, ‘a smile costs nothing’ my mum would say, so I’d smile, care and watch my p’s and q’s.  Dad had other ideas and would often stagger home from the ‘Dog and Duck’ and happily wipe the smile from my face.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Organise Your Space and Free Your Mind

Clearing clutter is one of my favourite topics, and I have blogged about it several times here on Resolution Challenge.  I have experienced first hand, how clearing my work or home space can affect my mood, my finances and my wellbeing. 

Being clutter free however, isn't always so easy.  My parents are currently in the process of moving house and 'downsizing' is a perfect excuse to throw out anything that is no longer of value.  It is also the perfect way to offload a tonne of Tupperware on your unsuspecting daughter! (Thanks Mum x)

When faced with an overflowing pile of god-knows-what, it helps to work out a strategy.  You need to be organised.  Several boxes can be filled with unloved items and taken to charity shops or car boots.  Old clothes, that haven't been worn in a while, can be swapped between girl friends - hold a girl's night in with a bottle of wine and a few nibbles and pretend you're at London Fashion Week.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

A Parents Survival Guide to Exams and Revision

At this time of year it's hard to escape exam fever.  Even if you're not actually sitting the summer exams, you probably know someone who is.  My son is primed and ready for his GCSEs to start on May 12th, and as a dutiful mother, I am here to offer my support, words of wisdom and my extensive knowledge of surviving the same experience.

I sat my Maths GCSE on my sixteenth birthday, not my most favourite teen memory! 

However, it would appear that today's teens have their own process for revision and exam preparation and my knowledge is obsolete...allow me to share my recent findings!

A Parents Survival Guide to Exams and Revision:

Thursday, 1 May 2014

May Day Mischief

I have vivid memories of living in Leeds, as a young child, and playing tricks on my dad for 'Mischievous Night'.  When I was about nine, this past time disappeared from our calendar and I only thought about it again last week as we celebrated my dad's birthday.

My brother had no recollection, so this started me off on an Internet search to find out if I had made it up!  I was pleased to discover that 'Mischief Night' was indeed celebrated Up North on the 1st of May, as a late April fooling pastime.  My memories included covering our front doorknob in treacle so my dad got a sticky surprise upon his return from work.  I don't remember if he found it as amusing as we did! 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

How To Give Yourself a Spring Clean

The last of the chocolate Easter eggs have been devoured, the lazy bank holiday is behind us, and now it's time to crack on (no pun intended) with life, until the Summer arrives.

The sun is trying to break through the grey wash of clouds, the flowers are beginning to bloom and the trees are sprouting new leaves, and yet we still find ourselves nodding off at 2pm - oh, is that just me?

I'm waiting for results of a recent blood test and of course the waiting is always the worst bit.  What could be wrong?  Is it serious?

Every lump, bump and creak of the joints has me thinking the worst.  I am an incredibly upbeat person and I don't normally worry about such things so I began to tick off a health checklist in my head.  I realised there was nothing wrong with me (other than a possible lack of iron) and I needed a few early nights and more fruit and vegetables in my diet.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Top 5 Tips to a More Confident You

Have you ever been on a diet?  You feel determined and inspired for that first week or two, and maybe even a little motivated by the initial 3lb weight loss, but just one small thing can undo all that hard work and you end up heavier than you were before you started.

Confidence is a lot like dieting.  It is a delicate balance to maintain that confident persona and one small thing can tip the scales.

I was an incredibly confident young girl, always eager to volunteer, loudest in my class and life and soul of the party.  I seemed to have an endless supply of confidence and energy.

This was stripped away from me over time by a very clever individual.  My ex-husband didn't go all Rambo on me and break my spirit in one go, he took his time and gradually chipped away at my confidence and self-esteem until there was nothing left of the old me.

Friday, 11 April 2014

A Picture of Happiness

The school holidays have started for us, and we were greeted this morning with blue skies and sunshine.

Unfortunately I am fighting a viral infection which means I am not at my best and able to enjoy this spring sunshine.  It's on days like this I'm so glad I don't run a YouTube Channel, at least when I write my blog posts I can type in my pyjama's!

So with a week of doctor visits, blood tests, skin rashes and an overflowing pile of tissues, I thought I would share a few pictures with you instead of trying to engage my brain and connect words or sentences.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Importance of Human Contact

Growing up in a tactile family meant I was a compulsive hugger and my three children can testify to that.  I need sufficient hugs on a daily basis to survive! 

As a holistic health practitioner I understand the importance and power of a simple touch.  This kind of healing touch is non-sexual and supportive and is vital for wellbeing.  Think back to when you were a child, you may have fallen and cut your knee, your instinct is to press your hand to the wound and then find your mum who would do the same, with the added benefit of a cuddle.

A simple touch can affect your mood, your wellbeing, your emotions and your confidence.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

How to get Crafty with your Mandalas

As Spring arrived I was feeling very creative and decided to spend an afternoon absorbed in the wonderfully creative art of Zentangle

I did have an ulterior motive and this involved my meditation classes.  I love using a variety of tools to show my class how easy it is to fit meditation in every day life, and mandalas are one of my favourite tools.  Creating my own mandalas using Zentangle designs is a perfect way to meditate.

I wrote an entire blog post about Zentangle during my year of challenges, you can take a look at the post here.  It shows you how to go about creating your own tangles and introduces you to my lovely friend and Zentangle tutor, Alison from Old Hall Crafts.

First of all let's take a quick look at what a Mandala is:-

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

It's a Matter of Perspective

When people ask me what I do for a living I tell them I run my own business, 'oh how lovely,' they say, 'what type of business?'  When I tell them it's a holistic health spa for women, I see a faraway look appear and their eyes glaze over.

I'm sure they don't mean to tune out, but when I mention 'holistic' or 'alternative' people seem to automatically jump to the same conclusion.  They believe I spend my weekends running bare foot through a meadow of grass with a crown of wildflowers and a dress made of wheat.

Even my dad thinks I dance naked in my back garden when it's a full moon - I assure you, I don't and I'm more than sure my neighbours are relieved at that.

I recently launched a range of Workshops 4 Women, to be held at a local venue.  This is a huge step forward for my business and one I am very proud of.  Getting bums in seats is the next hurdle I face, but I will take this challenge on with determination. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Why You Should Love Your To-Do List

Ticking off the goals on your resolution list can leave you feeling elated, but what happens when you have that one goal that gets left behind, forgotten or constantly added to the 'do it next year' list.

'Do my ironing' has made every one of my resolution lists since 1998 and guess what?  I never did get it all done!  This year however, I decided enough was enough and that particular goal was going to be scratched from the list.  I then wrote a blog post about Thinking Outside The Box and suddenly I had my answer - I handed over responsibility to an ironing service.  I cannot begin to tell you how good it felt to relinquish that goal.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour
Last week I received an invitation from the very talented Jane Wilby-Palmer, to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour.  You can check out Jane's blog post here.
After Jane's glowing introduction at the end of her post I have to say, I was feeling the pressure!  Looking back along the tour route I found an army of multi-talented authors and I was about to add myself to this very exclusive list *gulp*. 

So I decided to pull up my big girl pants and get stuck in...enjoy!

Q.  What am I working on?

Blimey, where do I begin?  I have multiple projects on the go and in true Gemini style, I flit between them depending on my mood and the moon cycle (!!)  I can jump between a non-fiction book about meditation to a YA fantasy, this can cause all kinds of problems when I end up with a demon or two in my meditation books.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

How to Identify Your Life Lessons
At my creative writing class this week we worked on character development.  The exercise our tutor set for us challenged us as writers' but as I sat staring at my notes, I couldn't help but apply the writing exercise to my own life.

The exercise went as follows:-
  1. Think of a person you know and make them your main character, they can be family, a friend or neighbour, work colleague or a fellow club/church/slimming group member and they can be dead or alive.
  2. Write a single sentence, including physical descriptions, of how this person looks.
  3. Write a second sentence and describe how they show emotions.
  4. Write a third sentence using key words to describe gestures they use.
We then had to interview each other and took on the role of our characters.  We asked basic questions about age and name (most of us used fictional names) and interests we had.  The most interesting part for me was when we asked about family - it really stirred up an emotion in all of us.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

How To Think Outside The Box

Our brain is very complex and a single thought is enough to re-wire it.  Thinking outside the box can help us be more creative and improve our well-being.  'Thoughts become things - pick the good ones' is a favourite quote of mine and an affirmation I try to use daily.

Taken from Pinterest
It really is as simple as thinking happy thoughts to be able to shift a bad mood or change a situation to your advantage and yet millions of people get stuck feeding negative thoughts and attracting more negativity in to their lives.  I saw this in action earlier this week.

Standing in a shop queue on Monday I listened to a conversation between the cashier and a woman with her young son.  'Can't wait for him to go back to school,' she said as her son nibbled on his fingernails, 'school holidays are a nightmare, they get bored and under my feet and I count the days before I can send them back again.'  She packed her bags and departed with her young, thoroughly depressed son shuffling along behind her.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Feel That Fear - Then Step Forward

How many opportunities have you passed up because you were too fearful to try?  I've done this more times than I care to remember and in a way, writing my blog became my unique way of feeling that fear and then taking the next step.

I committed to journaling my story as I took on fifty-two challenges last year and knowing I had an audience who would laugh and cry along with me, made facing those fears less overwhelming.

One of my favourite self-help authors, Peter Jones, put fear in to perspective for me very neatly in his book 'How to do Everything and Be Happy.'  He said that if we have those funny, tummy turning feelings then it means something in our life is about to change - it's your choice if you want to step forward and accept that change.  This was all I needed to hear to understand that I was reasonably normal and it was okay to 'feel the fear.'  After reading his book, I began to take more of those forward steps.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

How To Have 100 Happy Days

My regular readers know how much I enjoy a good challenge.  After successfully completing my fifty-two challenges last year I was excited about the prospect of finding a few new and unusual 'projects' for this year.

In January I took part in Cancer Research's Dryathlete challenge.  I am looking at a number of personal challenges over the coming months which will help me to evolve at home and work.  All very worthwhile but where is the fun? 

I then stumbled across a Twitter revolution - the #100HappyDays challenge, now THIS was more like it. 

The concept is to take one photograph every day for a hundred days, of something that makes you happy.  You add the hashtag #100HappyDays and post your photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (or on all three if you are that talented with social media!)

Thursday, 30 January 2014

How to be Mindful at Home and Work

As a holistic health practitioner, being mindful is a huge part of my day to day role.  The relationship between me, the therapist, and my client can only work if I am grounded in the present.  Then and only then can I help them, as my focus is entirely on their needs.

Living a mindful life doesn't have to be a challenge, I practise what I preach by using mindfulness techniques at home as well as at work.  Choosing to include mindfulness in your life is one resolution you will want to keep.

If you are just dipping your own toe in the whole mindful pool of knowledge, you may be wondering how you can implement the techniques in your own home life or work environment.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Confessions of a Dryathlete

As I write this post I am nine days away from completing my first challenge of 2014.  On January 1st I began my alcohol free month as part of Cancer Research UK's Dryathalon.

In April last year I successfully completed another alcohol free month, however I found that particular month to be one of my toughest challenges.  I realised then that I was in a bad 'wine o'clock' habit, opening a bottle of Chardonnay at 6pm on a Friday without a passing thought.  It took all my strength to commit to that challenge and last the month - so how would I cope this time as a Dryathlete?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

To Catch a Dream...The Crafty Way

Doing something crafty shouldn't really be called a 'challenge'.  It is in fact a past time I thoroughly enjoy and isn't that half the battle when it comes to setting yourself a goal - that it's something you ultimately want to achieve?

Ever since I was a small child I have been fascinated by the Native American Culture, reading everything I can on the history and legends of the different tribes and surrounding myself with emblems and tokens to represent my findings.  When I was ten and still at junior school I wrote my first 'proper' report for my English class on the Native Americans but my friends and classmates wrote about football, horse riding and the like.

One particular tradition I love is the Dream Catcher and so I chose this spiritual tool as one of my crafty resolutions.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Four Zone Approach to Resolutions

When I started my Resolution Challenge blog, it was a way to keep focused on my goals for the year ahead.  I succeeded in completing every challenge I set myself and finished the year with a sense of fascination mixed with a touch of excitement.

If I could change my life in 365 days, just imagine what I could do if I kept going...oh, the possibilities.

I then had to decide what I could do in the new year to keep the momentum going and give my readers something worthwhile to read.

This was when I decided to mix it up and break my resolutions in to zones (that's the reflexologist in me talking).

Zone One - Well-Being Resolutions.

This section includes all the resolutions/goals that can help make life a little easier and less stressful, take my Vision Board post for example -

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A New Vision for a New Year

New starts, new beginnings, new year's - they offer each of us some exciting opportunities.  But what if you're still unsure what direction you would like your new year or new start to take?

Panic not!  There is a simple way to discover what lies hidden in your subconscious and that's vision boarding.

I touched on vision boards many months ago, as a way to help a writer find inspiration for their short stories or characters.  The post was well received and even featured in The Writers' Idea Store, written by Paula Williams for the Writers' Forum Magazine.

For our New Year vision however, we can develop a board to help us set and achieve our personal goals.

So what do you need to get started?