Read the signs, take a break & you’ll be back on it in no time

Read the signs, take a break & you’ll be back on it in no time


I did something at the end of last week with ease and no guilt and it made me realise just how much I love getting older, how far I have come and how much I have learnt about myself.

The signs were there, a situation had arisen and I acted fast.

Sometimes we doubt ourselves, feel we’re not worthy enough for bigger things in life and sometimes we feel we can climb mountains and conquer anything. The low feelings and negative talk we give ourselves usually appear when our energy levels are low or we just don’t have real clarity over what we are supposed to be doing at that time. We get lost, feel overwhelmed and well, stuck. The good stuff by contrast, the feeling amazing, radiating positivity and being inspirational comes when we feel good, when we’ve slept well, have energy due to light exercise and yes, have eaten well…when we’re in good condition!

So, there I was having a morning where I was feeling ‘meh’,  I just couldn’t get my mojo going, nothing seemed to go to plan and I just wanted to be quite…hormones? Maybe. Lack of desire? Not really. Just one of those days. The frequency I was operating on was not doing me any good.

So I stopped, I did just that. I had no meetings, no skype calls to make and there was no need to speak with anyone, so I grabbed the dog lead…put it on Bella (my dog!) got my hiking boots on and got out into the woods and fresh air. I walked and threw the ball for Bella. The air cleared my head and I realised I was just tired, I’d been reaching for the biscuits and had been muching crisps at my desk while I had been working, I felt sluggish (certain foods really seem to have a bad effect on me these days) and uninspired and it had all contributed to my feeling ‘meh!’

WOW what a difference, within an hour and a half I was buzzing again, feeling refreshed, my heart had been exercised, fresh tree producing oxygen (just a theory of mine I must research!)  was back in the lungs and that burning white heat of desire to produce amazing things was back.  Didn’t take long did it? In days gone by I could have wadded through a whole day feeling like that and ended up just plodding on through and probably getting myself in a right old mood. Not any more. When the vibes go down there is ALWAYS a reason..we just need to stop and read the signs,

We all need to take a break from time to time, I know I really do need to get out daily, but sometimes we need a little more.

When you need to stop and take a break, do, don’t feel guilty, be kind to yourself, think about why this has happened, do something about it and you’ll be back on it so much faster than if you plough on through.

Don’t forget it’s one thing to know this stuff, it’s another to actually take the right action at the right time…that is where the successes show.


11 awesome reasons why I love having a dog

11 awesome reasons why I love having a dog

We got a puppy!

Back in May, we got a puppy, Bella. Neither my husband or I had ever had a dog before but after a good couple of years considering it we finally decided we were ready and took the plunge.

Before I get into this post I want to say that getting a dog is a MASSIVE commitment and one that needs really thinking about before you go ahead. We played a game with the children for ages when we were considering it called ‘where would the dog be now’. Every time we were doing something as a family we imagined if we had a dog – where would it be. With us? At home?. It helped us realise how much our family life would have to change and adapt to accommodate a four legged family member!

We decided to go for a puppy from a breeder, so we selected one that had been recommended several times and started the process. Having a puppy shouldn’t be under estimated. Yes, they are so cute and you instantly fall in love with them, but they also need to be trained and take up a great deal of time. They need constant supervision and demand your attention. The reality of that can be a bit of a shock if you are not prepared.


OMG I love having a dog!

Why I love having a dog…

    1. They are always incredibly happy to see you.

I’m not lacking in love in my life at all. I’m blessed with my family and friends. However, no one, NO-ONE greets you like your dog does. Bella gets beside herself with excitement and you cannot be anything other than happy in return. This is wonderful, lifts whatever mood you are in and I cannot ever see me getting bored with that one.

2. You have to exercise them every day

Now I love to walk and as Bella gets bigger she needs more exercise, by the time she reaches a year we will be ready for some serious walking and adventures. But you cannot have a day where you don’t. So you do…even when you don’t want to really. But I find that no matter what i always come back feeling good after some fresh air and a walk.


3. They have mastered mindfulness and enjoy the ‘now’.

You kind of study your dog’s behaviour as you get to know them and they grown up. Bella is a cracking example of being happy in whatever she is doing, when she is doing it! When out walking she is sniffing and exploring and immerses herself in the fun to be found in where she is at that moment. Not a bad trait to have huh!

4. They love a good cuddle.

Who doesn’t love a good cuddle?

5. You meet sooooo many new people…

We have two children at school. Over the last 10 years as a portrait photographer I have photographed many local families and business people, I network in my local community, run a boys football team and we’re part of a local swimming club. We know a great deal of people in the area. But you get a dog and suddenly you meet all sorts of new people… and dogs. It’s Bella’s world really as we all know each other by the name of their dog! People strike up instant conversations based around Bella and it’s so very friendly.

6. They make great company

For all the family. I work from home now and she is a wonderful companion during the day. She’ll be with the children when they are at home and she has been known to watch and be with Craig when he is thumping about in the garage. They just want to be with their pack.

7. They make you laugh

Dogs do funny things. Fact.

8. They flag up when your emotions are down

Oh yes, dogs are very in tune with your feelings and moods. If you are sad, they want to comfort you. If you are angry they want to back you up. If you are down, they want to be near you, if you are happy they want to play.

9. They make you feel secure.

Dogs have great hearing and always seem to be ready to discover the source of something that doesn’t feel right. This is very reassuring when you are out and about on your own or indeed asleep in bed at night. They are very protective.

10. They make good listeners

Now before you think I am insane – bare with me. Sometimes, we have things we want to say out loud, you know, express a fear, concern or irritation because you need to get it off your chest, right? But sometimes, you don’t necessarily want to say it to anyone who may repeat it! So tell your dog! Bella always listens to me attentively, how fabulous! I love that the children talk to her too and tell her things about their day. It’s sweet.

11. You tidy up more as you go.

It’s amazing how quickly we’ve all learn not to leave ANYTHING lying around. Remote controls, shoes, xbox controllers…they all get put in a safe place…or they will be chewed up! So I guess having Bella as a puppy has made us tidy up as we go more!

“Dust if you must” – a wonderful poem by Rose Milligan

“Dust if you must” – a wonderful poem by Rose Milligan

I see this poem, “Dust if you must” pop up on Facebook from time to time and it always does two things for me.  Firstly, it gives me the perfect excuse to find something better to do with my time than dust my home (always welcome!) And secondly, it always make me smile broadly.

A quick search on google doesn’t bring up much about the poet, Rose Milligan, other than the poem’s first publication date and that she lived in Lancashire. But I’m pretty sure she and I would have gotten along very well! She has a zest for some of the little things we all take for granted and a consciousness of the value of being in the moment.

So grab a cup of coffee and take 5 minutes out to read a little poetry! Fabulous


Dust if you must

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better

To paint a picture, or write a letter,

Bake a cake, or plant a seed;

Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,

With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;

Music to hear, and books to read;

Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there

With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;

A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,

This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,

Old age will come and it’s not kind.

And when you go (and go you must)

You, yourself, will make more dust.

By Rose Milligan


Feeling invisible? 5 things to do to help feel visible again

Feeling invisible? 5 things to do to help feel visible again

Feeling invisible

Feeling invisible can be a very lonely and isolating experience. Most women at some point talk of feeling this way. It is usually coupled with a loss of identity and it’s easily fallen into. Sometimes it’s hard to feel ourselves.  We are too busy being someone’s mum, someone’s wife, someone’s …well you can fill in the rest, it can go on a bit, right?

So do you ever feel invisible?

It’s a good idea to ask yourself what has triggered this feeling. Are you being ignored? Excluded? Perhaps your opinions are being dismissed or you are simply not being heard in the first place.

Time to take action

The worst thing about feeling invisible is that it feels out of your control. A sense of doom, that there is nothing that you can do about it. But as always we have choices and here are 5 actions you can take to help you on your way to becoming visible again

1. Take responsibility

Like all your feelings, YOU can take full control of them and with a change in mind-set you can change their perspective on them. So take responsibility and don’t blame anyone else for how you are feeling. Being back in control can boost you immediately.

2. Question any other feelings you may be having

If you are feeling angry, resentful, anxious or unhappy with a situation, person or set of circumstances you can be more vulnerable to this feeling of being invisible. You may be screaming inside about something that needs to come out. Perhaps that is why you are figuratively not being heard or seen?

3. Look at your own behaviour

Have a think about how you may have been behaving lately. Once you’ve taken responsibility for your feelings this will become easier. Has your general behaviour changed? Are you coming across to those nearest and dearest to you in a more challenging way? What I mean here is, people often retreat from you if they feel threatened or disrupted in some way or simply don’t know how to approach you about something. If, for example, people aren’t your usual approachable self, they may choose to leave you alone, give you some space…your interpretation in turn is that they are not interested in you.

4. What kind of ‘chat’ have you been participating in recently

I’m afraid, sometimes, we are all guilty of having a bit of a moan, complaining, blaming, whining or feeling victimised. It’s not unusual for us not to be realising that this is what we are actually doing until we pick ourselves up on it. Just check in with yourself and some of the conversations you’ve been having lately. These types of conversations can be very negative and draining for others around you and can make people retreat, especially if this is ‘not like you’.

5. Tell people how you feel

First up, need to say here that I am NOT suggesting that you fly into a rage or burst into tears here and release how you are feeling like a massive waterfall of emotion on those you feel invisible with. This will not be a good thing to do! Pick the right moment, in a calm and considered way, just say how you feel and ask them if everything is OK. You may uncover some negative feeling towards you. Boom, this is actually great as at least you will know about it and can get into a discussion, find a solution and move on. Or it may be that they hadn’t realised you felt that way and can reassure you and change their behaviour too. You don’t know unless you ask.

Feeling invisible is not nice. You don’t deserve it. You deserve to be visible.

I see you, Gorgeous!




Being present in the now

Being present in the now


Remember to be present in the now

Now, today I did something I haven’t done in years. I certainly didn’t expect to end up blogging about it in this way. But life is full of surprises and you never know when a little life-lesson is going to be conducted. Today’s life-lesson was remembering to be present in the now.

My son, Jack, is almost 10 and he loves to play football. I have been a Southampton fan since I was 5 (I grew up there, so not completely random!) but I haven’t been to a match in decades! So I asked him if he would like to go to a premiership match game with me and his Auntie to see our team play. I am delighted to say “Yeaaahhh!” was the answer.

So, we got tickets to see Leicester City vs Southampton at The King Power Stadium in Leicester and today arrived soon enough.

You cannot help but be 100% in the moment

After we got there and sat in our seats, I realised I’d forgotten so much about what goes on during a match. Yes, there are 22 men on the pitch running around playing football, but there is so much more too. The best thing about it is that you cannot help but be 100% present in the now.

Jack, had so many questions and made observations about what was happening on the pitch. He observed with excitement, how high the player could jump, how far they could throw, how fast they could run and how well they could control the ball. There were the pre-match activities, things happening during the warm up training to watch and of course the match. All we talked about for hours was about what was going on in front and around us.


We were completely engrossed in the game

It was incredibly exciting to be a part of a crowd all cheering and singing. Jack soon picked up the words to the songs and joined in. Lots of fun and the atmosphere was so uplifting. Bring in the now and enjoying the moment was very easy.

It was exhausting and relaxing all at the same time.

BUT not once did I think about everything that I had to do. At no point did I worry about being behind with the washing (does anyone ever actually get ahead of the washing?!) or the blogging I had to do, or the…you get the idea.

I loved:

  • the escapism.
  • that we lost ourselves in it all
  • we could do this together
  • that we laughed, cheered and shouted together

I loved that we shared a passion for football.

We will be ‘marching on’ with Southampton again together!

Life gets busy and sometimes it takes an awful lot of effort to do something new, to make arrangements to go to new places and have new experiences. Our lives are busy enough already. But sometimes it takes a new experience to jolt us back into loving the here and now and forgetting about everything else.

If you like football, go to a match. If you love to watch a play, go to the theatre. Love to sing? Join a choir! Get involved in something you like to do or watch. What ever it is, make time to do it. It’s good for your soul to lose yourself in something you love to do.

Be with other people who share a passion for the same thing as you.

Make the effort, put down your phone and plug into what is happening around you.

20 things learnt in 20 months of not drinking alcohol

20 things learnt in 20 months of not drinking alcohol

Giving up drinking alcohol for blocks of time

It can be done and I love to do it. No one to be shy at the bar, I have always enjoyed a drink or 3, however I noticed that since I turned 40 how I react to alcohol and the effects it has on me have changed. So I started giving up alcohol for periods of time. One month, five months, seven months, a year and then…

Between October 7th 2014 and June 6th 2016 I didn’t drink a single drop of alcohol. It was a wonderful experience. 20 months of living a life without alcohol was a real eye opener and it has revolutionised my relationship with booze.

Why 20 months? Well, my goal was to achieve a year without drinking and after a year had passed, I genuinely could see no reason to start drinking again. So I didn’t. But when I got to 20 months,  I got curious. Did I need to stay off it completely? Would my bad drinking habit immediately come back if I did drink again? Would my body react to alcohol in the same way after such a long break? So I had a drink.

Hmmm a little disappointing!

If I am honest, it was all a bit of a disappointment. I had got to the stage where I could dance all night, have lots of laughs with friends and I even got over the whole ‘having sober sex thing’ so alcohol didn’t really add anything in. I didn’t need it in the same way anymore.

So, here are my top 20 things I learnt in 20 months of no alcohol…all you too could experience if you give it a go and give your body a break for a while.

1. You can live a life alcohol free!

Most obvious really, but just a couple of years ago I would not have believed that I could have lived a life without booze for more than a few days, let alone almost 2 years! It’s amazing how a change in mind-set can be so powerful and result in such a surprising turn of events. I saw going without alcohol as a really positive thing and that made it easier to get started and stick with it for so long.

2. You get great sleep

It doesn’t happen straight away but within the first 10 days I was experiencing for the first time, in many years, maybe even decades, great quality sleep. The type of sleep that you wake up from feeling refreshed and re-charged…no really it can be achieved! Let me tell you, great sleep is the most fabulous luxury you can give yourself!

3. You gain a new kind of energy

When you’re not drip feeding your body with a poison on a regular basis, your body has stacks more energy. You’re getting lots of sleep as well, so energy levels rise. You will find yourself looking for ways to burn the extra energy in just over a week of cutting it out. 3 months and you’ll be bouncing around feeling like a child who’s had too much sugar!

4. You become a real morning person

Maybe it’s better quality sleep? Perhaps it’s not feeling groggy every morning? I don’t know, but I know for sure that a life without booze certainly means I get more out of my mornings than ever before. Regularly naturally waking about 5.30-6.00 am in the morning, most days I get up and do some work at my desk in my PJs before the children awake. My mind is most active then So I can get stuff done. If you are productive at the start of the day, you generally have a great day!.

5. You have the ability to be fit


Stop the clocks! Yup, you heard me. I am a fit person. A few times a week I swim train with my local swim club. Walking for 3 miles in the forest twice a week is not unusual and generally am pretty active. Before I gave up drinking  ANY kind of exercise was a chore. Now I feel weird and actually MISS exercise if I don’t do something at least every couple of days. THAT was a massive change! No alcohol in your system really boosts your body’s ability to exercise properly and you’ll enjoy it more too.

6. You get properly tired


“What?” I hear you cry “I thought you had loads of energy?” Yes I do and that’s all part of it. I get a great start on my day and fit in so much more. I exercise far more frequently, in fact I am the fittest I have been certainly since having my children. So at the end of the day I do actually feel physically tired. Your body is operating as it should do and so I you hear it when it tells you that you need to sleep and re-charge. You fall asleep because you are actually tired and not just drunk!

7. Your life will have less drama

Got to tell you, this is such a relief! Alcohol breeds anxiety and stress, even if only on a small level at first but if you drink heavily regularly you can find that things ‘get to you’. So what do we do? We find when we get wound up about something we say stuff like…”urgh I am so having a drink when I get home”. So here’s the thing. Isn’t that just the most perfect excuse to have a drink? It’s a bad self-perpetuating cycle.  The alcohol makes you more anxious, so you have a drink to feel calmer, which is actually adding to the anxiety.

8. If you are a parent, you’ll become a better one.

OK, for the record, I was never a bad mum. My children have always come first, were never in any danger and I have always loved being a mum. However, I have got to be honest here, I am a better mum now. I have more energy, am more tolerant, have more patience and can be more attentive. Anyone who has ever had a hangover and had to be in charge of children would have to say the same. A hungover parent, is just not cutting it in the ‘parent of the year’ nominations.

9. You’ll be able to drive more!

I have always loved my cars, really must have a go at rally driving sometime! When you drink regularly you are having to constantly think about not being able to drive. So it was never as much fun. Take the booze out of the question and my petrol head is back. Sober, you can drive, anywhere, anytime and never have to worry about being over the limit in the morning when you’re on your way to work. You can go out in the evening and never have to wait for a taxi again.  Wonderful, really!

10. You get more ‘arsed’ about doing the little things.

Ha! This is a great one and it kind of sneaks up on you.  There is a huge difference between jumping out of bed in the morning and opening your eyes and just letting out a sigh over the thought of the start of the day. It used to take me a good hour to wake up properly and start to feel ‘in the game’. So there was so much I couldn’t be ‘arsed’ to do in the mornings.  Things like making the bed, folding up clothes, picking up the shoes, putting on make-up before I shot out of the door. You’ll find you are far more able to be ‘arsed’ about the little things now and they make your world a better place.

11. You make decisions faster and with more confidence.

Having a clear head and no excuses to hide behind a good drink makes you a brilliant decision maker. So many times in the past I have procrastinated for too long over something…or not enough and made bad decisions. Let’s face it, pretty much everyone you meet can tell at least one story about a time they made a bad decision after they’d had a few drinks! It’s more than that, it’s easy to decide to have a drink and forget about something rather than face a situation and make a decision. A clear head, a ‘sleep on it’ sober decision is a far better one in the long run. You can be confident that you are doing the right thing. Even better, if it does go wrong, you are better equipped to make the next decision.

12. You are actually good company when sober.

Hey, we all have those little insecurities right? Once you get comfortable with not drinking you get more confident with who you are as well. No masks to hide behind and you know what, I like who I found. You’ll like yourself more too. I thought I was only fun after a few drinks, but it turns out, I’m good company! I’m a better listener too and I like that very much.

13.You can dance when sober.

Yup, I may not be scoring a ‘10 from Len’ every time I hit a dance floor, but who cares, I am able to have fun and enjoy jiggling about to music at a party. Here’s the thing, it is something I really like to do. It happens far more often now as I seem to like to crank up the music when in the kitchen making tea and have a little boogie as I cook, hey why not! For so many years I found myself saying “Oh I will in a minute, just one more drink.” I actually believed it was because I needed a little dutch courage, now I know, it was nothing more than just an excuse to have one more drink…that was clearly my priority!

14. You’re not an alcoholic.

I realised that I had developed some bad drinking habits, but wondered if I was actually an alcoholic at one point. Maybe this is you right now? But I am categorically able to say that I am not an alcoholic. After all, I decided to stop, really just decided to stop. Seeing alcohol for what it was and how it just did not serve me well made it easier for me to just stop. “Oh you stupid woman, it’s not that easy” I hear some of you cry. Well I’m afraid, my lovely, it is. Like any goal really, if you want it enough and make the decision to stop, you can. Don’t forget, you have a choice.

If you have become fully dependent on alcohol then there is a physical situation that has to be resolved either with the help of a rehab centre or your doctor, so if you think this is you then do seek medical help…now.

15. Being sober is the new black.

Hmmm, in reality we are not quite there yet. However, my new lifestyle choice certianly attracted more people into my life that don’t drink alcohol. It’s not a big deal to most of them, their love of a sport or drive to achieve a business or lifestyle goal is bigger than their desire to drink alcohol. Simple. I was not alone, there are loads of people out there who regularly take long breaks from alcohol or just don’t drink at all. How fabulous, I just didn’t see it before.

16. You will take action on your dreams and goals more.

I’ve always been goal driven (I can feel my husband and mum sighing in agreement here lol) and I have achieved some wonderful things I am very proud of. But now I tend to be less afraid of taking action. I have goals and dreams that scare the wotsits out of me. Goodness, imagine if I actually achieved some of them! It’s one thing to dream, but unless you take inspired action, those dreams cannot come true. So I can and I will, watch me 😉 You are better equipped to do this without alcohol or a hangover!

17. Wonderful sober sex is a real thing!

If you’ve been a regular drinker for a long time you may have be in for a bit of a surprise! Be honest, when was the last time you had fully sober sex. (hang-over sex doesn’t count). Seriously,  I bet it’s been a while. You will notice the difference.  All I will say is it is great. Try it.

18. You’ll find out who your real friends are

When you stop drinking you may find a little resistance from those around you. My advice is to just get on with what you want to be doing. If they have a problem with your lifestyle choices then they will do one of two things…they will support you and not make a big deal of it OR they will drop you off their social scene. It’s an interesting scenario, but it does make you think a little about who you are choosing to spend your time with and why.

19. You save a ton of money!

Seriously drinking alcohol regularly gets expensive, especially if you have a taste for fine wines, premium ciders or malt whiskeys. Work it out for yourself, how much would just one month off the sauce save you…don’t forget to add in the cost of those taxis you are booking as well

20. You have more time

My favourite. It’s just a fact that with a clearer head,  oooodles more energy and no longer needing to write of a half or even a full day due to having a hangover, you are going to have more time; especially, at the weekends. You will find yourself doing so much more with your time too. It’s one of the best bi-products of not drinking alcohol.

So, over to you. Have you ever made a lifestyle choice to drop the booze for a bit and give yourself a break. Even 30 days can make all the difference to your health.


Take the 30 day challenge?

Aren’t you just a little curious about what you might feel like if you didn’t drink just a month? If you fancy taking up the challenge I am launching a free 30 challenge to help you stop drinking alcohol for a month.

If you are interested in joining in, then please sign up below and I will email you with the details. I will be running one from January 1st for the whole of January.