Friday, 27 December 2013

52 Reasons to Write a New Year Resolution List

My diary says it, my weekly posts confirm it and my calendar clearly states that this is in fact week 52 - and what an incredible feeling it is to reach this landmark.

52 weeks ago I sat at my parent's house, toasting the end of one year and the start of another and wondering to myself how I had let another year roll by without accomplishing anything.

It was that feeling of disappointment that spurred me on to do something about it.  Don't get me wrong, I have overhauled my life several times over and could write a stack of books on each life changing event, however this time it was different.  I wasn't getting married or having children, I hadn't lost anyone close to me and I certainly wasn't rebuilding my life following a ten year stretch of abuse at the hands of a husband - nope, I'd done that and worn the t-shirt already.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Have a Spicy Christmas

Following on from last week's post I can now confirm that the peppermint creams were delicious (and gone in two minutes).  I took a box of them along to a friend's party and they were gratefully received - by the adults as well as the children.

So as I have one culinary success (!) under my belt I thought I would branch out this week and have a go at making...Chutney.

My Dad loves chutney and as I am hosting the big 'Turkey Dinner' this year I thought it would be a nice touch to make him a jar of spiced apple chutney. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Thrifty Gift Ideas for Christmas

Christmas is an expensive time of year, so this week's post should relieve some of the pressure on your purse strings.

My December challenge is all about making things for Christmas.  Last week I had a go at producing my own cards using Lavinia Stamps - messy but lots of fun!

This week I have been making sweet gifts for my friends, crystal packs for my clients and 'friendship bags' for my children.  Don't panic I have ventured out and purchased the latest PS3 games - heaven forbid I don't adhere to the 'lists' - but I also wanted to create something personal for them.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Have a Faerie Festive Christmas

My mum and I regularly attend the Hobbycraft show at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre in time for Christmas.  Mum stocks up on her crafty bits and bobs and I carry the bags!  It's become a mother-daughter tradition and regardless of the aching muscles and swollen feet, it's a tradition we both enjoy.

The demonstrators on the stands are quite amazing, many of them can be seen on the Create and Craft Show, they can whip up a stunning card in minutes using embellishments, glitter glue and a partridge in a pear tree.  They make it look so easy.

My mum is of the same breed.  I remember as a child watching her make amazing cakes for customers birthdays and weddings, homemade jams and marzipan fruits.  She then discovered crafting and never looked back, abandoning the oven for Gelli Plates and Distress Inks.

Friday, 29 November 2013

NaNoWriMo - Mission Completed.

What a month it's been.  When I started out on my Resolution Challenge journey, November was the month I was looking forward to the most but also secretly frightened of.  Why I hear you ask?  Four simple words - National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) - a competition to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days.

On the 1st November I sat at my laptop, opened up a fresh document and set about writing a young adult fantasy story.  Nine days later I hit 50,296 words and celebrated with a pepperoni pizza and a bottle of wine!  I threw myself at this challenge with everything I had in me, I blocked out chunks of time in my diary, freed up my weekends and showed the kids how to work the white blob (microwave) and the silver blob (dishwasher).

Friday, 22 November 2013

I'm a Writer...Get Me Out Of Here

The UK is currently gripped in the comedic clutches of 'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here' mania.  Launched in 2002, the reality show makes for cringe worthy yet compelling viewing.

For those of you who don't know (where have you been?) our national treasures, Ant and Dec, send twelve celebrities deep into the Australian jungle, set them a series of hideous challenges and allow us, the viewers, to vote on their fate - simples!

We can send supermodels over a hundred foot ravine on a tightrope or make a sports hero eat kangaroo testicles - who wouldn't want to watch that?!

As my November challenge is all about my participation in NaNoWriMo I began to look at the similarities between the popular reality show and NaNo.  You may be surprised...

Thursday, 14 November 2013

How to Silence Your Inner Critic - For NaNo and Beyond

As we approach week three of NaNoWriMo, thousands of people are frantically hammering out a novel at kitchen tables across the globe.

With my children watching over my shoulder and providing an audible countdown, I hit 50,296 on the Nano-a-thon on the 9th November.  It was the most incredible feeling and having my kids jumping around singing, 'mum did it' was, as MasterCard would say, Priceless!

My characters had become part of the family and although I was ecstatic to have accomplished the challenge, I was a little bit sad when I typed that last word.

Fortunately my NaNo draft is only book one of a trilogy so I shall be dusting them all off again for book number two.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

To NaNo or Not to NaNo - That is the Question

NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) is now in its 14th year.  I have dreamt of taking part for the past 4 years but as each November drew closer, I allowed that minx of an inner demon to tell me I couldn't possible do that - 'pah, who are you kidding, write 50,000 words, not a chance!'
Me at my NaNo Desk

So on the 1st November this year, I looked that evil minx straight in the eye and said...'back off sister, you can't achieve if you never take part.'

Once I had signed up and began writing, I very quickly came to the conclusion that I was either uber organised or had absolutely no life whatsoever - I am leaning toward the latter!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Be Afraid...Be VERY Afraid - It's NaNo Eve.

Happy Halloween everyone, I hope you are all getting in the spirit of All Hallows Eve.  My pumpkin is ready to scare any visitors, my broomstick has been polished and the black cat has been groomed.

After last week's post, I received some wonderful pumpkin carving photographs from my readers.  Here is one of my favourites made by Ann Sherlock, UK.

As well as the promise of copious amounts of candy, today is also the day you can get another treat - a copy of Forever Together for FREE.  This is the supernatural romance from Douglas McPherson and you can grab your free copy here.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

How to Embrace Your Inner Child

So far this month I have looked at how to be grateful, happy, confident and complimentary.  To finish off my October challenge; this week I decided to look at how to be silly!

Picture courtesy of  
Yes, you read it correctly, I said - silly.  Why should the kids have all the fun at this time of year?  Autumn has so many opportunities to be silly and my children have had years to get used to how daft I can be at times.

Let's take Halloween for example, for me this is a magical time and I thoroughly enjoy getting into the spirit (no pun intended) of it.  My house is decorated with cobwebs, giant spiders and skeletons and I am suitably dressed up as a witch to greet any little gremlins who call at my door.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Compliments and Confidence

Paying someone a compliment is such a natural thing to do, you have the ability to make somebody's day.  Why then do we squirm when we are on the receiving end of a compliment?

Image courtesy of
Picture the scene - you have just bumped into an old friend who you haven't seen for a few months and they've lost four stone in weight.  It is an automatic reaction to say...

'Oh Doris, you look amazing!'

Your initial reaction is to pay them a compliment because you are genuinely happy for them and they DO look amazing.

Now let's look at the flip side - you are wearing a new coat that took five months to save for and you bump into a friend, they say...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

10 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

Back in March my blog featured in our local paper.  The reporter asked me which challenge I thought would be the toughest - interesting question.  At the time I said October's challenge, to be grateful and happy.

In times of stress and worry, happiness can often be the first emotion we switch off and I see this all too often with my clients.  You may ask yourself, 'how can I be happy when I've got too many bills to pay?'  You may wonder how it's possible to smile when there isn't anything left to smile about.

Watching The Pride of Britain awards the other evening made me smile (and cry).  These amazing people are just the same as you or I and yet despite what 's going on in their own lives they still have a smile and a kind word for everyone.  Inspirational people indeed.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Being Grateful

Happy October! 

Another month has drawn to a close and we continue to inch ever nearer to snow covered roads and the jolly fat man in the red suit squeezing his way down the chimney stack.

So far I have completed nine month's worth of challenges with a different kind of 'baby' emerging at the end - a blog baby.  My blog has become like a fourth child for me, it needs nurturing , feeding, cleaning and encouraged to grow.  I am Grateful that this has been possible with the help of my readers.

My October challenge is to be 'Happy & Grateful'.  A seemingly easy challenge - or is it?  Can you be happy if you've just been made redundant or were involved in an accident.  Can you be grateful if your outgoings are more than your incomings and you struggle to pay bills?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

15 Top Tips for a Balanced Life

Working as a holistic health practitioner means I am privileged to be a part of someone's life journey - that could be a road to better health, much needed relaxation or an understanding ear and support.

I am very vocal about my own life and don't hide the highs and lows I have experienced, in fact I use these experiences to help me be a better practitioner.  I left a physically and emotionally abusive marriage with three children under the age of 5, to say I had hit rock bottom would be an understatement, but I did it, I dragged myself kicking and screaming back into reality.

As I recovered and tried to find myself I learnt how to laugh and smile again, I learnt from others how to interact, trust and love again.  It's quite incredible how much we do learn from those people that surround us on a daily basis.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

How Learning to Knit Reduces Stress

I have a long list of things I would like to learn, my very own bucket list if you like.  I would love to learn how to take wonderful photographs, to be able to speak Italian, to paint a picture...the list goes on.

Thanks to my resolution challenge I can now tick one thing off my list - knitting!  Yes, at the sprightly age of 41 I have finally picked up a pair of needles and clickety clacked away to my hearts content. 

Don't ask me why I wanted to learn to knit. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Learn from your Mistakes in Five Simple Steps

We all make mistakes during our lives, some are tiny and others monumental but the key to recovering is to learn from the lessons these mistakes provide.

Now we all know I have a flawless, sorry - I just couldn't finish that without laughing.  I've made plenty of mistakes over the years - disastrous marriage aside - but I never thought that one simple indiscretion could inspire a blog post - but here we are.

I hold my hands up...'it's a fair cop' as they say.  This week I attended a Speed Awareness Course.  Not because my jogging career is taking off in a big way but because

Saturday, 7 September 2013

New Beginnings - Learn a new skill from home with E-Learning

I love September.  Not only because the air is crisp and the leaves turn a beautiful colour, not because I can dig out my big jumpers and hide the excess flesh which has been on show all summer, but because the air is full of new beginnings.

Kid's return or start school, college or university and the shops are full of gorgeous stationery to accommodate their needs - my idea of heaven.

My challenge for this month is 'To Learn Something New' and there really is no better month to start this in.  I have a bucket list the length of my arm of what I would love to learn; photography, Italian, painting, knitting...the list if endless.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Holiday Blog Tour #5 - A Girl's Getaway

What a busy month August has been, I am never happy when my children go back to school as they are such wonderful company, but after our hectic month's challenge I think sitting with my feet up sounds fabulous!

For the final week of August and the last Blog Tour I was able to sneak away for a couple of nights with just my daughter.  I love all my kids and we have had an amazing summer but to have some mummy-daughter time is quite precious.  I left the destination up to her and thankfully she chose the walled city of York in North Yorkshire (and not Milan or Paris as my budget may not have stretched that far!)

A girlie trip is very different to a family holiday

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Holiday Blog Tour #4 - City Breaks

Who said a city break had to be for couples looking for a romantic getaway?

Don't get me wrong, as we sat on the train heading to London we were surrounded by doe eye'd lovers, but it certainly didn't deter this single mum and her band of teens.

There are plenty of cities here in the UK for us to choose from for an overnight stay, each one offering it's visitors a wealth of historical sights, attractions and hotels. 

If you are planning a trip around the UK or visiting us from afar, take a look on Wikipedia for an impressive list of cities; Bath, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield, York, Wells...these are just a few from an extensive list which also covers Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Holiday Blog Tour #3 - Staycation

Holiday's are a wonderful way to explore foreign lands or distant parts of your own country.  We love to venture far and wide in search of an escape, but in our quest for adventure we often overlook the simplest destination of all - our own back yard.

By this I don't mean open the patio doors and take in the view of your petunia's, what I do mean is take in the delights of your local area.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Holiday Blog Tour #2 - Day Tripper

The sun is still shining here in England and as I continue on my August challenge - to get out and about more with the kids - it has made our outings all the more enjoyable.

As our 'Blog Tour' continues we have moved North, leaving the wondrous Cornish coastline behind and have nestled in the green fields of Somerset.

A county rich in cider and cheese, caves and beaches and of course, world famous music festivals.

This week's post zones in on day trips and Somerset has more attractions than days in the year so you will be spoilt for choice.  In our mad dash up the country I have only managed to touch on two of the attractions available so please do visit for more wonderful trips to enhance your holiday or fill a day off.

I'm going to start with my own personal favourite - Glastonbury.  I'm not going to ask you to pull on your wellingtons and festival gear for this day trip, Glastonbury may be well known for Glastonbury Festival but for me this is a place of mysteries, myth and legend.  King Arthur is believed to have been active here, South Cadbury being a possible site for Camelot.

Glastonbury itself is a mecca for anyone interested in holistic living, crystals and new age.  Jeans, t-shirts and faery wings are the norm!

On a day trip to this magical place you can take in the range of quaint shops, visit the Abbey with its impressive grounds (perfect for picnic's so plan ahead and pack your chicken wraps and crudités) and finish with a walk up to Glastonbury Tor which has stunning three hundred and sixty degree views from the summit.

Entry to Glastonbury Abbey is:-
  • Adult £6
  • Children £4 (5 - 15 years)
  • Seniors £5
Luckily my children love Glastonbury as much as I do and have explored every inch of the Abbey and purchased many a crystal from the quaint high street shops, but what if you don't have a family of hippy's?  Where do you go on your day trip then?

I would suggest you head towards the River Axe and the nearby Wookey Hole Caves.  These are Britain's most spectacular caves which have existed for over a million years.  Earliest man, hunting with stone weapons lived in the caves as did the Celtic people of the Iron Age.  It was believed that an evil old woman resided in the caves in the 18th Century, she was turned to stone by a monk using holy water.  The legend of the Wookey Witch is still strong today and you can see her skull in the museum, found in 1912 by archaeologist Herbert Balch.

The caves are incredibly impressive and I marvelled at how anyone could live there as I descended Hell's Ladder to the Witch's Kitchen, surrounded by shining stalagmites as they erupt from the rock around me and dodge the dripping stalactites.

The legends are brought to life by the wonderful guides who, in my opinion, must be able to recite the history of the caves in their sleep!

Once you return to the surface the fun continues and there are plenty of attractions for kids of all ages.  Wookey Hole has a paper mill, pirate island adventure golf, cave museum and cave diving museum.  There is a circus show and circus museum (complete with petrified mermaids discovered on the coast of Bali in 1823), mirror maze and old penny arcade.  There is a dinosaur park and my own personal favourite - Fairy Land.  It's a fantastic day out for all the family and you just never know who you might bump into!

The restaurant does serve a fantastic homemade steak pie but there are plenty of picnic benches if you want to take your own lunch.

Wookey Hole Caves are open all year (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day), 7 days a week.
  • Adult - £18
  • Child - £12 (3 - 14 years)
  • Seniors - £12
You can save 20% if you book online.

I love Somerset and return as often as I can, there is so much to keep the kids entertained but if, like me, you're drawn to the legends and rugged landscapes then pack up the car and head off on your next day off.

Take in the traditional market towns, country houses and parks.  Visit the Georgian splendour of Bath or Wells, the smallest city in England, a medieval jewel at the foot of the Mendip Hills.

Of course for all the book lovers out there, no trip to Somerset is complete without exploring the open moorland of Exmoor National Park and breathing in the air of Lorna Doone's county.

Do you have a favourite place to visit?  A favourite escape for a day trip?  I'd love to hear about it so please share it with us here.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Holiday Blog Tour #1 - Destination Cornwall

Happy August!  Welcome to this month's challenge, 'Get out and about more with the kids'.

This week's post comes to you from sunny Cornwall.  We are staying in a beautiful village called Downderry near Looe on the South Coast of England.

I spent my childhood exploring the coves, crabbing and rock pooling along the Cornish coastline but for some reason I've never been back with my own children.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

What Would You Do for the Quiet Life?

The big news here in the UK this week was the birth of the #RoyalBaby, unfortunately I had to miss all the coverage as my next July challenge was to go one week without my television.

Thank goodness for the Radio, Heart FM kept me up to date with everything I needed to know re baby news and I was also lucky enough to share my challenge with Ed and Rachel's Breakfast Show live on air.

It's not very often I get such a flamboyant start to my challenges but this week's did get off to a pretty impressive start.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Facebook - Are you Addicted to Social Media?

When I added a week of 'no Facebook' to my challenge list I honestly didn't think it would be a tough one - it was only for 7 days, no problem.

How wrong could I have been?  I have really missed it, which confirms a niggling suspicion I had about myself - I am a Social Media Fanatic.

Cynics will tell us that all this mumbo jumbo social media has caused the fall of our society; my own Dad can't understand why I comment, like pages and post pictures for, and I quote 'the entire world to see'.  I have tried to explain the privacy settings to him but this is the man who couldn't find the 'B' on his keyboard and had to call me!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

How to Help the Environment with One Simple Switch

What a great week to do a challenge; I have been car free for seven days and this particular challenge happened to coincide with a UK heatwave, yay.

When I decided to include, 'appreciate what I have by giving something up' as one of my resolutions I knew each item would have to be important, otherwise where's the challenge?

So what could I give up for a week that I would miss?  No, it wasn't chocolate.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Boost your Inner Sunshine in One Easy Lesson

Happy July!

As I type this week's post the sun is streaming through the window and the weather man has promised a spell of sunshine, ice cream's, paddling pool's and a hose pipe ban - okay so I made up the last bit!

What a wonderful way to start my July challenge,  this month I have to 'be grateful for what I have by giving something up'.

Sounds simple enough doesn't it?  Over the next month I shall be giving up my car, Facebook and the television, this week I gave up the hardest thing of all - no, it wasn't chocolate.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

What Have You Achieved in the Last 6 Months?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary to 'achieve' means to succeed in doing something by effort, skill, or courage.

What a lovely mantra for our daily lives.

What have YOU achieved in the last 6 months?  The reason I ask this question is because it's exactly 6 months since I began My Resolution Challenge.  Yes, it's a frightening thought but we are half way through the year!

So when I began this challenge 6 months ago, my initial aim was to complete at least one or two of the items on my New Year resolution list.  I would be happy to lose 8lb, I would be over the moon to run without the aid of an oxygen tank and I would be ecstatic to have one of my stories published. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Can a Carnivore Survive a Meat Free Zone?

It's the final week of my 'Adopt Better Habits' challenge and I thought I would test myself to the limits - yet again - by going veggie for a week.

When I was in my thirties - many years ago - I appeared in the Spirit & Destiny magazine's Health MOT feature.  I was interviewed by a Naturopath, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist.  I discovered that as my blood type is A my body struggles to break down red meat and chicken, which can cause bowel toxicity.  I was advised to cut out all red meat and cut down on chicken as well as having fish at least three times a week and drink eight glasses of water daily.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

How to Juggle Your Spuds and other Home Grown Vegetables

Last week's 'How to De Clutter in 4 Easy Steps' certainly struck a chord with my readers judging by the emails I received.  A clutter free home makes for a clutter free mind and I'm glad I was able to motivate so many people to feel better about their environments and themselves - this is my day job after all!

Still concentrating on my 'Adopt Better Habits' challenge I decided to venture outdoors.  Not such a good choice with the torrential rain we've seen here in the Midlands, however it did help with the spade work for this week's resolution, to grow my own food.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Clear Your Clutter in 4 Easy Steps

June is here and the sun is shining which helps to make everything look and feel so much brighter.  As I am still slightly traumatised by my encounter with the zip wire last week I am very pleased to note that June's resolution is so much calmer.

Adopt Better Habits.

I came up with this challenge when I realised how I'd let my recycling slip, so this goal was a way to get back on track.  As I gave it some extra thought I came to the conclusion that recycling my rubbish was a pretty lame topic to cover and all my readers would be nodding off before I'd managed to soak the
label off an old baked bean tin.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

May Challenge ends on a Very High Note.

June has arrived and so has the sunshine, before I tackle June's goal on my Resolution Challenge I have to report on the Grand Finale for May's challenge, 'Do Something I've Never Done Before'.

When I decided to do this year's challenge on New Year's Eve, I had the basic idea in place.  It has evolved over the months but I knew there were certain goals I had put off over the years and this challenge would be the motivation I needed to see them through.

Writing, creative pursuits, weight loss...all respectable goals, but I wanted to show my clients and my children that it doesn't hurt to think outside the box. 

Never at any point did it cross my mind that screaming my lungs out as I plummeted through the trees, lassoed to a strip of wire would appear on my To Do list!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

From Flat Pack Furniture to Luscious Lashes in Five Days

My 'Do Something I've Never Done Before' month is going very well, however, I seem to have the knack of fitting extra curricular activities in to the schedule. 

During the first week of May I pottered in the garden and created a gorgeous fairy garden (which is blooming nicely!)  Last week I tackled the sewing machine and embarked on a quilting 101 quest. 

This week I had decided to calm my antics slightly and enjoy a girlie pamper session  - definitely something I've never done before as I am such a tomboy - but prior to my lash-tastic hour of bliss I was faced with the daunting task of putting together a mountain of flat-pack furniture. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Beginners Quilt Making One Stitch at a Time

This week's post is a 'Cushion Cover 101'.  This is as simple and basic as it gets because I'm NOT a sewing guru, in fact I am most definitely a virgin when it comes to all things needle and thread, but sewing does come under my 'Do Something I've Never Done Before' banner, perfect for my resolution challenge.

First of all I must say a huge thank you to Nicki from Sunshine Reflections who was my 'Yoda' for this challenge.  She patiently talked me through the process, offering her expert advice and a calming word when the sewing machine freaked me out!  Take a look on Nicki's blog at some of the amazing projects she has done.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Four Simple Steps to create your Perfect Fairy Garden.

My resolution for May is to do something I've never done before.  Last week I had the privilege of teaching year 6 at my local junior school on how to survive anxiety caused by exams.  Could I top that?  Well, no probably not but then unique opportunities should never be overlooked. 

This got me thinking about my lovely clients who patiently pour over my blog posts and listen to me waffle on during their holistic sessions and so I thought that this week I'd have a go at something new that was accessible for my readers to try.

How to Make Your Own Fairy Garden...

We have always had fairies at the bottom of our garden so it was fairly apt that on a sunny bank holiday weekend, my daughter and I set about making a fairy garden.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Stress Busting Workshop - How One Hour Helped with Exam Stress in a Junior School

As tempted as I was to break open the bubbly and celebrate the end of my alcohol free month, I refrained so I had a clear head for the start of my May resolution challenge.

'Do Something I've Never Done Before.'

On paper this challenge was going to be fairly straight forward.  I have a VERY long bucket list and all I needed to do was to choose my favourite four, but the Universe had other ideas and suddenly my well laid plans were up in the air.

I can't complain though as the challenge which presented itself to me was:-
  1. Definitely something I've never done before
  2. An opportunity I couldn't pass up

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

No Alcohol fuels Chocolate Cravings - Am I alone in this?

I'm on the last leg of my April challenge - it's just a matter of days before I can taste the sweet nectar of a crisp Australian Chardonnay.  I may even break all the rules and have a glass on a school night to celebrate my month off the demon drink.

It's been a very busy couple of weeks at work and I've been asked by every one of my clients 'how are you coping without alcohol?'  I obviously have a reputation!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

World Circus Day - 3 ways to Celebrate including Book Giveaway

Clutching a bag of popcorn in her small hand she gazed up at the expanse of painted stars; vibrant shades of yellow, blue, green and pink covered the ceiling.
The sweet scent of toffee apples mingled with the woody aroma of the sawdust under her feet and as the lights dimmed her eyes grew wide with wonder...

Can you remember your first trip to the Circus?

On Saturday 20th April it's the 4th World Circus Day.  What are you doing to celebrate?

  • Join In or Hold Your Own Event
Log on to World Circus Day website to find out about Circus events in your part of the world, take the kids to a show or hold your own event at home with your pet as the star!  There are so many events planned across the globe so you are sure to find something. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Alcohol Free Holidays

Greetings from Somerset!  I have found a lovely cafe with Internet access and wanted to send a quick post from our wet and windy holidays. 

Heading down the M5 to spend our Easter break at the Haven Holiday Village, Burnham-on-Sea would normally be a cause for celebration.  On this occasion I had a sense of trepidation; could I enjoy my holiday without alcohol? 

Yet again I appear to be giving you all the impression that I am some half-soaked mother who is permanently attached to a bottle of gin.   I assure you this is not the case - I prefer vodka!

Holidays go hand in hand with relaxing by the pool (okay so maybe not the ‘outdoor’ pool in the UK), watching a good turn at the club house and enjoying a meal out at a local restaurant.  Staying on a site with everything you could possibly need on your doorstep means you can leave the car and let your hair down - or enjoy a latte in the coffee lounge if you are off the demon drink!

So my mission for week 15 - surrounded by clinking glasses and merry holidaymakers – was to work my way through the soft drink menu; lemonade, diet coke and a hideous slushy which left my tongue blue! 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Alcohol Free Zone Ahead

Most people enjoy a tipple or two, you may enjoy catching up with colleagues in the pub after work on Thursday; your Friday night curry just wouldn't be the same without a couple of beers.  The pub lunch with the girls on Saturday is crying out for a glass or two of Chardonnay and no Sunday roast would be complete without a nice Rioja!

It is far too easy to include alcohol into our lives and before we know it we are drinking above the Government recommendations.

I do enjoy a drink or three and not wanting to come across as a raving alcoholic I decided to do a spot of research for my Alcohol Free resolution.  The results were shocking......

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Art Attack - Resolutions Get Crafty with Zentangle

My resolution for March was to 'Do Something Creative'.  I have gone back to college and joined a Creative Writing Course; I've been writing short stories for competitions and had a couple of  letters published in Writers' Forum Magazine.  My blog was also featured in my local newspaper.  I have created vision boards to help with story ideas and last week we looked at creative ways to fund raise for your chosen charity.

To finish off my creative month I am going to have a 'doodle fest', using the American Zentangle method.  This is a creative art form where all you need is paper, pencil and a pen.

Don't panic if you can't draw or paint, if you've never used acrylics or pastels or if you think a canvas is something you sleep under - which of course it is but that's for another blog post!

A couple of years ago I discovered this creative art form which is not only simple to do, even for a

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Creative Fund Raising

If you're going to get creative then you've got to have some fun; as Actor, John Cleese, once said "If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play."
Stratford Half Marathon attire
Getting creative doesn't need to involve a pad and pen, artist's easel or a pair of knitting needles.  In fact you may only need a bath full of cold beans or running shoes and an Epilepsy Research t-shirt!

This week I'm taking my 'Do Something Creative' resolution in  a different direction.

Q.  If you were asked to raise money for your favourite charity, what creative ideas could you come up with?

Here are a few of my favourite ideas...

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Week 11 - A Creative Vision

Let me begin with a quick thank you for all the wonderful feedback I received this week.  It would seem that my 'creative beginnings' book tour brought up a host of childhood memories for a number of readers.  I shall have to start a petition for an adult only 'dress as your favourite book character' day; why should the kids have all the fun?  After eating all my Mother's Day chocolates I can definitely pass as Moonface from The Folk of the Faraway Tree!

One of the workshops I run at Body & Soul Holistics is a Vision Board course.  This two hour workshop helps my clients to create a vision of what they want in their lives from career, love, family or health matters.

When I was thinking about characters and scene setting for my creative writing class it dawned on me

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Week 10 - Creative Beginnings

March has arrived and so it's time for Resolution number 3 - Do Something Creative!

Creativity is different for everyone.  My talented friend Sarah, knits the most amazing cardigans and jumpers.  My son creates stunning pastel and oil paintings for his Art coursework.  My mum makes her own handmade cards and my good friend Nicki from can knock up a quilt in a weekend!

My Childhood Favourites
All of these crafts are wonderful ways to flex your creative muscles.  For me, it's writing that ignites my creative side.  Writing stories inevitably came from my passion for reading.  As soon as I learnt to read I was hooked, I was a walking sponge with pigtails!

My favourite book was

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Week 9 - What A 'Wheel' Fun Week

I'm no Tessie Reynolds and have absolutely no intention of recreating her Brighton-London-Brighton trip on a bicycle! 

I am however very grateful that, at the young age of 16, Tessie took on her momentous task, causing a national scandal in the process, 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Week 8 - A wii Journey to Fitness

For my 'Move More' resolution I decided to embark upon a treasure trove of exercises from my youth.  I've skipped (sort of!) I even tried a quick hula hooping session, but lacked the ability to keep the hula airborne for longer than five seconds.  I walked, ambled and sashayed to the park and back and even broke in to a gentle jog at times.  All very old school eh!

So what delights did week 8 hold for me?  Well, let's crank up the volume, get down with the kids and bang on the wii fit!  Oh yes, if it's good enough for the youngsters then its good enough for me.
  • Let me ask you a quick question first

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Week 7 - Wiggle those Walking hips!

After the adventure of 'skipping' on last week's challenge, I opted for a much calmer exercise regime this week and gave power walking a try!

We all learn to walk at a young age, so walking is as natural as breathing - or so I thought!  Apparently I don't do either right! 

Swinging my hips is a no no, panting and gasping for breath - another no no, embarrassment to my daughter - the biggest no no of them all.  So I stopped swinging my hips as I walked her up to school and tried to relax into a brisk pace.

It does help to have a lovely place to walk, a forest, the park or a canal path would be great.  The main road didn't have the same aura

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Week 6 - Skip It!


As I cast my mind back 30+ years, I have fond memories of me and my school pals skipping across the daisy filled playing fields, pigtails swaying in the balmy summer breeze, singing along to the jump rope song of the week "ally, ally, up-see-daisy..."

Let's forward wind to the present day, now a 40 year old, sedentary mother of three, and skipping just doesn't have the 'glow' I remembered. OMG it's really hard work!

Let me paint you the picture...

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Month One - Completed!

31 days ago I gave myself a mammoth challenge; 52 weeks, 365 days, dedicated to my New Year's Resolutions!

Not just 'doing' them and keeping up the motivation but actually blogging the entire event for the world to see!

So here I am on Thursday 31st January 2013, with month one now completed, yay!

The first challenge was to break bad eating habits and start a healthy eating regime. After joining weight watchers on 2nd January, and dealing with the shock of my current weight, I've spent January cooking up a storm, menu planning and making better choices, this has meant I enter month two 9 1/2 lb's lighter!

The initial brief I gave myself on New Year's Day was to concentrate on one resolution, one month at a time. This is still the case but

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Week Four

I love Rhonda Byrne's book 'The Secret' and have one of the inspirational quotes "Thought's become things, pick good ones" written on a chalkboard in my kitchen.   

When my children are having an off day and all I hear is 'I can't do this homework...' or 'I'll never remember my spellings...' I take great pride in tapping my chalkboard and showing them my 'mummy knows best' face.

I therefore had to giggle when, as I sat at my kitchen table, head in hands at the prospect of my imminent weigh in, moaning at myself for being a reckless snack eating freak, my fourteen year old son tapped on the board

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Challenge Update

This week is apparently the most notorious for abandoning our New Year's resolutions and I must say, I can absolutely relate!!

I received my regular email from Weight Watchers early on Sunday morning, this week's was entitled 'Snuggled up from the snow? TV snack tactics revealed.' All I could say to that was; "TOO LATE NOW!!!"

With my bleary eyes and inexplicable bed hair, I contemplated the bag of crisps, cheese and crackers and the Cadburys chocolate bar I had absentmindedly stuffed the previous evening - In my defence it is very hard work building snowmen!!!

I also cleared the drive of all snow which obviously deserved a treat - this then turned into two treats when it started snowing again

Week Three

Well, what a week it's been! There have been loads of high points but also the occasional low point - who knew that healthy eating, could be so exciting! Let's start with the great news - I hit my challenge target for the week and managed to shift another 2lb, that's 7lb in total, yay me!

My kids are always a huge support to me, whatever crazy thing I happen to be doing that week! They all realised early on that I was deadly serious about losing weight and keeping it off this time and so have been even more supportive (if that could be possible!)

My eldest son, Lee, happens to be an awesome chef and makes THE best pork lasagne in the world! Of course it does help that the recipe

Week Two

It's week 2 of my Resolution Challenge, month one is to eat a healthier diet and hopefully lose weight and have more get-up-and-go.

Well, what a week it's been! I joined weight watchers last Wednesday and after clearing out the fridge and cupboards of anything lovely, oops, I mean unhealthy, I was ready to start my new healthy eating plan.

I am over the moon to announce that I lost 5lb this week - that's 23 potatoes! I know because I weighed them out to see what 5lb felt like, the kids were amazed. 

It felt fantastic, a long way off the suicidal feeling I had last week when I found out I'd put 2 stone on in 7 months!

I wasn't the only one who had a good week, two of my friends lost 4lb each and one lady, who joined with me last week, lost 6 and a half!!!! So I left the meeting today even more