Happy finger art family group of loving mother and father with son while smiley face at blurred outdoor park background. Retro filter effect. copy space.

I had a lovely deep and meaninful conversation with a friend last Sunday over a few glasses of Prosecco (but of course), about friendships.  I was feeling rather Eeyore that I don’t have one big group of friends who I can hang out with and sometimes I get a pang of jealously when I see on Facebook (darn Facebook) that a gaggle of local mums have gone out and I’m NFI.  But the more we chatted I realised how lucky I am.  I have  a wide network of friends scattered home and abroad who I have accumulated (and lost too) over the years. I may not see them every week, let alone year to year, but we’re always there for each other.  And what’s more, like Miranda Hart’s article in The Telegraph – and yup we were at the the same school so I totally get how she feels – you have different friends for different things  – I have my foodie friends, fashionistas, exercise bunnies, bookclub buddies, arty farty types, drinking pals, school gate chums, working women and then of course those who have known me through all the good and difficult times in my life.  I’m not sure how they would get on if I threw them altogether in a room but each and every one of them is priceless to me.

So I suppose what I’m getting at is whatever type of friendships you have, whether a bit of a loner like me or part of a large gang; embrace and cherish them and also see what other friendships you can pick up along the way too.

So thank you Izzy for making me realise how lucky I am.


Keeping fit, healthy & strong

This week I have asked my personal trainer James Chandler from Eat Well and Work Out to contribute to my blog.  Working full time my question to him is always how do I prioritise my fitness and health whilst being glued to my office chair during the week and spending time with family and friends at the weekend? I’m lucky that even if I haven’t done anything all week, a heavy weights session with James makes me mentally and physically stronger even if it does go pear-shaped on a Saturday night! I hope you find his tips helpful….

“Life has a certain amount of bandwidth. Our physical and mental energy levels dictate how much ‘space’ or effort we can put into all the things we have to do and we really can’t do it all.

Almost daily I have a discussion with one of my clients about how to prioritise health despite having responsibilities pulling us off in many different directions:

  • Work
  • Kids
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Emergencies

There is no one easy answer on how to deal with it all, however, do we actually need an answer? Could worrying or stressing about the things that we REALLY can’t influence be actually taking bandwidth away from fitting in a bit more. Feeling guilty, disappointed or regretful is a waste of mental energy…could we simply channel this back into taking ACTION?

This is where you have to get smart with the priorities:

  • What can you sacrifice in return for good health habits?
  • When could you do A instead of B? E.g. walk in the woods instead of another episode of [insert box set]. (Pettit Post comment – Or do some exercise whilst watching Grey’s Anatomy in my case!)

Can you try and incorporate any of these habits into your daily life?

  1. Move well, and move often
  2. Lift heavy things
  3. Drink only water
  4. Eat real food (nothing that is more than two steps from its natural form, ensuring every calorie you consume is the most nutritionally beneficial you can find)
  5. Sleep well
  6. Reduce stress

The pyramid image you can see is one I created for my clients to illustrate the excellent hierarchy model created by Alwyn Cosgrove. This one is specifically for fat loss, however you can tweak it for any goal you may have. What is really important to remember is that you can only do what you have time and energy to do.

Hierarchy Of Fat Loss.

What I find really impactful is the use of the time available arrow down the side. If that new job, baby or relationship puts you in that 1 hour a week slot and you can only do 1 thing, then it is nutrition you need to focus on. Moving up the pyramid as we get a tad more time shows us exactly what we should apply focus too.

It is simple…fill the space where guilt, regret for yesterday’s ‘not so’ healthy choices or disappointment with acceptance that you are doing the BEST you can at this moment. Simple, yes. Easy, no. However, with practice and putting a bit of time into learning what works best for you can smooth out the journey considerably. Remember, view the long game and enjoy each twist and turn.”



If you don’t ask….you’ll never know

illustration of questions flat design icon isolated

I’ve had a couple of instances this week that people have brazenly asked me for something which I wasn’t expecting.

The 1st ….I’ve had a wonderful girl helping out with the odd day here and there with childcare over the summer holidays. A bright, intelligent girl heading off to uni this September.  I had to cancel one of her days working for me.  At first she said fine and then a few hours later she asked for more money for the other day.  Needless to say at 1st I was abit miffed but in the end we agreed a higher rate.  After all she’d done a great job;  looked after 2 6 year olds running havoc on a previous occasion and had excelled in her A levels. But the interesting thing was when we were chatting she mentioned that she hoped that I wasn’t upset she’d asked for more money but she’d just read an article about women less likely to ask for more money at work than men. So she thought she’d give it a whirl.  Well you can’t argue with that and I was impressed by her honesty.  If you don’t ask…

Secondly – the doorbell rang yesterday with 2 strangers standing outside.  It turns out that they spent a very happy 5 years living in our house over 20 years ago and haven’t been back to the area since.  The husband didn’t want to impose but his wife persuaded him to ring the bell.  And I’m so happy that they did.  It was so lovely to hear more about the house – how it was when they lived here, the history of it and how our local area has changed since. We welcomed them in and they reminisced as they went from room to room.  A short but sweet experience which of course ended up with us all having a photo outside the front day. For me it’s these little things that make me and made them happy.

I think we should all take heart in the above 2 examples.  Sometimes it may seem like a daunting task to ask for more money, flexible working hours or be open that you don’t understand how a process or product at work.  But if you don’t ask you don’t get and there’s nothing worse than rueing day you never did.

So what have I asked for this week?…An extension to my contract and if I can leave work slightly earlier on a Friday and that’s alongside my daily questioning of “How do I do that”?  Not sure if either will happen but at least I’ve asked!



A charity which inspires and fills you with laughter


What???? you may be thinking is the title of this week’s post all about. Well I’m going off piste this week on a short and snappy piece about a fabulous charity I discovered this weekend – The Flying Seagull Project.

I’ve just had the most amazing time with family and friends at The Wilderness Festival which was full of entertainment for kids, teenagers, adults, the sane and the downright out-there people. It was a wonderful eclectic mix. And as my daughter called it – mufti day for adults – as we wondered round admiring all the outfits and impromptu performances going on around us. The one thing she adored apart from all the spangles and glitter were the acts put on by this charity – comedy, magic, circus tricks and making up kids games. They were humble, inspiring, uplifting, amazing and thought provoking.

Their mission at the festival was to highlight what they do – visiting war torn and conflict countries to bring some laughter and humour to children. Their current project is to visit the refugee camps in Greece in October. I’m sure like me, you take for granted the laughter and happiness you share with friends and family and how fantastic that this troupe (if I’m allowed to call them that) of professional entertainers volunteer their time to put a smile back on a child’s face.

& what’s more every penny of every donation goes straight to the projects they are working on.  Admin costs are covered by the children’s parties you can book with them  in and around London.

I feel as if I’m doing a sales pitch and I don’t mean to but I was so bowled over by these people and what they are doing for children around the world. Please do take a look at the work they are doing and if you’ve got a kids party coming up; book them.  Guaranteed it will be amazing plus you will be supporting a much needed and worthwhile mission.

Preaching over; I’m stepping down from my soap box.

Feeling overwhelmed

OMG the woman in shock pop art retro style. Emotions feelings of psychological stress. Beautiful girl upset that she had done. News and gossip

Well I’ve completed week 2 of my new contract and I’m delighted to say I’m working with a lovely bunch of people….although I do feel very old.  I can’t help feeling maternal towards my team; the majority are young enough to be my children or should I rephrase that and say their parents are the same age as me.  Not that it bothers me as I love earwigging on their conversations and keeps me in touch with what makes the yoof of today tick.

I do admit that I have been feeling overwhelmed at times since I started.  It’s not the role per se but the volume of work and the processes which I’m trying to get my head round.  After consulting from home for the past 6 months; it’s a shock to the system. Luckily I know my trigger points and can confront them face on to put me mentally in a better place.  I thought I would share these with you.  You may have some others which would be great to hear about..

  1. I listen to a podcasts during my commute.  This distracts me from the crowds on the train and stops me thinking too much about the day ahead.  For those of you who have seen me with tears rolling down my cheeks on the Surbiton route, aplogies,  I’ve been listening to  Radio 4s The Listening Project.  I download a variety so I can pick and choose according to my mood
  2. If I feel anxiety welling up in me, I take a moment to breathe deeply through my whole body and focus on feeling rooted to the ground. You’ll notice the difference and realise how shallow your breathing is normally
  3. Face up to the issue if there is one.  Sometimes it can be easy to put it to the bottom of the to-do list but then it festers, you stew and it seems worse than it actually is.  Its’s never as bad as you think it is
  4. Share the problem.  There’s always someone in the office who can help you with the issue or even just to talk through can ease the stress
  5. Always take a break at lunch.  Even if you can only take a 10 min stroll round the block; it will help you clear your mind. Also, if one of my colleagues has an issue I find it really helps to walk and talk and be one step removed from the office. Fresh air and exercise can do wonders
  6. Have healthy food to hand.  If you’re anything like me as soon as the stress levels go up, I tend to grab any food I can lay my hands on.  And like most offices there’s always some goodies to be had.  Keep fruit, nuts or other healthy snacks to hand so even if you decide to stress eat at least you don’t have to feel guilty about what you’re eating. If you try and embrace pt 3 then hopefully pt 6 shouldn’t be quite so frequent (in my dreams!).