My Thoughts on Recent Events

The 22nd May 2017 is a day Britain will never forget. I’m not eloquent enough to write the kind of blog post that would do justice to the memory of the victims, nor am I calm enough to write a post free of foul language if I were to share my thoughts on the scum who carried out the atrocious acts of violence against our children. However, I needed to post something. I couldn’t write in my journal that night because my hands were still shaking and the tears were free flowing so much I couldn’t see. I’m pretty sure every man, woman, and child was in the same state.

The images of missing teenagers flashed up on the television all day, and the radio reported up to the minute news as we discovered the death toll and the names of those beautiful souls murdered in this callous act. All I saw was a sea of faces all very similar to the friends on my fourteen year old daughter’s Instagram feed. Children. Family. Smiling, beautiful youngsters with their lives ahead of them. I didn’t want to let my three teenagers out of my sight the next day, and I hugged them just a little bit longer than is considered ‘cool,’ but I didn’t care.

If I even try to imagine what the parents of the murdered children must be going through my heart breaks a little bit more. Not just the children either; my heart breaks for the twelve year old daughter who was cared for by police after her mother was killed, the friends who were dancing with their BFFs one minute and cradling their dead bodies the next, and the hundreds still in intensive care, or critically ill in hospital. None of us will ever forget.

I love my country, and I’m so proud to be British. I adore the beautiful countryside and the vibrant cities. I cherish eating fish and chips by the seaside, and candy floss on the pier. There are more castles and historic buildings than we know what to do with, and a rich history that shaped our nation. We’ve produced artists, authors, poets, sportsmen and women, actors, and inspirational figures. King Henry VIII, Shakespeare, the Beatles!

What I love most about my country is the people. We are all pretty epic! I have friends from every culture and religion, and I love them all equally. We are all British and stand together to support our fellow countryman.

An author friend posted on her Facebook page yesterday asking for people to share the good deed stories that trickled out after the horrific acts of Monday night. It was a post full of passion for the good things people did. The taxi drivers giving free rides, the residents opening up their homes, restaurants donating food to the hospital to help feed the parents of children who were in intensive care or surgery. The rabbi delivering tea to the police force on duty, the hotel owner who rounded up children to keep them safe. Strangers keeping hold of lone children until they could be reunited with family. Ariana Grande’s mother pulling children backstage to keep them safe in the aftermath of the explosion.

As a country, we came together, we grieved together, and we will always stand together.

There’s no need to like, share, or comment on this post. I haven’t written it for any other purpose than a necessity to note down my thoughts. I would, however, like to direct you to the Manchester Evening News fundraising page where you can offer support if you wish.

#WordlessWednesday Stay Strong

MM50

 

Inspirational ABBA logoExciting news! I’ve been nominated for the Most Inspirational Blogger Award 2017 at the Bloggers Bash.

The criteria is: Who consistently inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought provoking and inquisitive? Or perhaps they have become a muse to you with constant provision of inspirational content or imagery? Who’s the one blogger that’s touched your heart? This is the nomination for them.

I would be eternally grateful if you could throw a vote my way – link HERE

How to Create a Visual Healthy Eating Plan

How to Create a Visual Healthy Eating PlanSummer is fast approaching, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be in a blind panic that the only summer clothing that still fits you is your flip flops!

I have taken part in every possible healthy eating regime known to man, purely for blogging purposes of course! So, what have I discovered? Ultimately, I’ve realised that I have absolutely no willpower whatsoever – zilch, nada, nowt! I begin full of enthusiasm and dedication to the cause, but it rarely lasts. The problem here is not the regime; I know so many people who are at their ideal weight and loving a new found confidence after following a specific routine. I understand that my problem is inside my head, and unless I can ditch the self-loathing, I will never crack this.

However, one of the personal development tools I’ve started to use that does help me to stay on track is taking photographs of my favourite healthy meals and designing a meal planner around the images. I’m a visual person and, therefore, I find it motivating to see results and imagine myself living this. When I wrote my first self-help book, I created the phrase Dream It, Live It, Become It, and I find this affirmation to be true in every aspect of my life.

I thought I’d show you what I meant about a visual meal planner by giving you an example below. I stick my planner on the fridge door which helps me to stay on plan as we creep ever closer to strappy tops and hot pant weather.

The first thing I do is find a photograph of myself that I love. One that shows me at what I perceive to be ‘my best.’ That could be an ideal weight, or a time when I was happy, confident, or just feeling balanced.

Then, I add photographs to my visual meal planner, leaving space for me to write notes, recipes, or ingredient lists. You could also add a target date if you’re working towards a specific event like a wedding or holiday.

One of my lovely blogger pals, Ritu, who writes the But I Smile Anyway blog has lost weight recently. She is the one who inspired me to photograph the meals I loved and create the visual healthy eating plan. You can read some of Ritu’s healthy eating posts HERE.

Keeping track of your food via a food diary/journal is an important step to staying in control. It’s far too easy to forget all about that deep fried Mars bar you had after lunch if you haven’t written it down. Planning my meals takes away the stress of ‘what’s for dinner?’ but writing down all the main meals, as well as the little bits that I munch on throughout the day helps me to understand my eating habits better and make necessary changes. I talk about meal planning more in my new book, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed which is due out later this year.

It’s not too late to lose a few pounds or organise your meals before the sun decides to show itself, and we embrace the summer months. Start today. Whip up a delicious curry, spaghetti Bolognese, or salmon and veg then take a picture of it on your phone. Collect them as you go and build up a visual healthy eating plan. You could go a step further and start an Instagram page or Pinterest board to collate your images.

I’d love to hear about your top tips for staying on track with healthy eating or weight loss. Feel free to share your stories in the comments.

Want to know about my meals?

From L – R and top – bottom:

Porridge Oats with milk and berries

Avocado and pepper crush with bacon on ryvita

Teriyaki salmon with wholemeal spaghetti and courgette

Wholemeal toast with natural yogurt, cinnamon and berries

Feta and spinach omelette

Chicken with spinach and tomatoes

Eggy Bread (fried without oil) bananas and blueberries

Chilli prawn linguini

Cajun chicken kebabs with homemade chips

Inspirational ABBA logo

Exciting news! I have been nominated for the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the 2017 Bloggers Bash!

The criteria is: Who consistently inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought provoking and inquisitive? Or perhaps they have become a muse to you with constant provision of inspirational content or imagery? Who’s the one blogger that’s touched your heart? This is the nomination for them.

I would love your vote so please feel free to follow the link and cast your vote. Thanks x

#WordlessWednesday Cadiz #Spain #Travel

It was my blogging pal Cathy, from Between The Lines who first introduced me to Wordless Wednesday. I enjoy seeing the selection of images on a variety of topics and was, therefore, tempted to join in.

Here is a selection of photographs from my trip to Cadiz in Seville last year. A beautiful place to visit.

 

Cádiz is an ancient port city in southwest Spain, built on a strip of land surrounded by the sea in the Andalusia region. The home of the Spanish Navy, the port boomed in the 16th-century as a base for exploration and trade. It has more than 100 watchtowers, including iconic Torre Tavira, traditionally used for spotting ships, and 18th-century Cádiz Cathedral, on the waterfront.

Prioritise Your Daily Tasks and Reduce Stress

Prioritise Your Daily TasksI have a confession. There are certain times when I am totally unorganised. I try to blame it on the moon cycle but to be honest, it’s all on me! At the moment, I’m trying to work on four projects at the same time, and instead of being productive, I’m procrastinating because I’m overwhelmed. Deep down I know that I’m creating a false stress because if I just got on with it, then I would be able to enjoy the creative rewards of achieving these tasks.

The ever increasing to-do list on my desk taunts me daily. I sit at my computer and work through it, but at the end of every day I still haven’t finished, and I end up adding to tomorrow’s list.

I’m stressing about it! It’s causing me to have sweaty palms and to dread opening my office door. I’m losing sleep over it, going off my food – oh, okay so I’m not that bad, but it is causing me unnecessary angst, and there is a very simple solution to reduce this stress.

I need to choose one project and make it a number one priority and then when it’s finished I can move onto the next one.

  • Over to you:

Do you push your most dreaded tasks to the bottom of your to-do list? Putting the gruesome jobs to the back of your mind (and must-do list) causes tension to rise, blood pressure to spike, and all the physical issues associated with stress to tumble forward. In the deep recesses of your mind, you know the tasks are still there, lurking like Gollum in a dark cave.

How do you think you’ll feel when it’s completed? When I’ve finished my work, I know I’ll feel elated, relaxed, and able to enjoy my creative time without the guilt of undone chores hanging over me.

So, today, I am challenging you to complete one task that you keep shoving to the bottom of your to-do list. Approach it with one hundred percent commitment, and if you manage to achieve it today, I want you to reward yourself.

The rest of your to-do list will still be there in the morning!

What can you prioritise to free yourself from stress? Is there something on your to-do list that once complete will make everything else easier? I’d love to hear from you so feel free to share your stories and tips in the comments.

Time Management Hack for the Savvy Single Mum

Time Management Hack for the Savvy Single MumBeing a single parent means you are often the only person left to manage the household chores, school run, parent-teacher meetings, cooking, cleaning, and finances as well as a million and one other things.

One of the most popular topics I covered on my personal development workshops a few years ago was time management. We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day, but it’s what we do with them that matters and most of us don’t have a clue on how to manage our time effectively.

I’ve read loads of books and articles on the subject with Stephen Covey’s approach, using the Time Matrix, being a preferred method amongst the business and coaching world. Covey’s matrix is the process of putting your tasks or to-do list into one of four boxes. Read more

Are You Holding Yourself Back? #SelfCare

Are you holding backWhen we’re in our tweens, we long to reach our teens. When we finally arrive at that sweet sixteen landmark, we long for adulthood.

As adults, many of us aren’t prepared for the mess of responsibilities, or indeed, the real-life influences that can suck out our creative soul. Time goes by, and our lives can feel a little bit out of control. That electricity bill needs to be paid, the sales meeting must be attended, and the car has to be insured, but when do we make time for the dreams and aspirations we had growing up?

As an eight-year-old, I had clear ideas of becoming an author, but it wasn’t until I reached the ripe old age of forty-two that I got around to doing something about it. For thirty-four years I’d held myself back in a variety of ways. Throughout my twenties, and thirties I often woke in the middle of the night dreaming about characters, and plot twists, but I used the excuse of an unhappy marriage, subsequent divorce, and being a single mum as a way of telling myself I didn’t have time to write.

I allowed my limiting beliefs to control my actions. ‘I’m not good enough,’ and ‘people will think I’m stupid,’ were constant thought patterns. I’d built these walls around myself, and it took many years before I realised they were preventing me from achieving my writing dreams. Read more