I find myself seeking out space.

Winter makes way for Spring.

The sun rises earlier and sets later, a spectacle of light.

The sky is blue and clear, it captures my attention and catches my breath. I turn my gaze upwards and sense a world opening up.

The light is changing in the house and charges the air with hope, possibility and freshness. I clear out drawers and piles of papers, sweep away cobwebs and open up windows. Physical space appearing in my wake.

On my mat I open my chest, lift my heart and lengthen my spine. I create the space I crave within my body.

I focus my attention and feel the opposite effect on my awareness. An opportunity to reflect and gain perspective.

The children are changing, growing and becoming more independent. There is space for me in longer periods. Space for us.

The garden calls me to make space, cut back, clear away. Spaces open and soon shoots will appear.

Space is rarely empty for long.

Soon the space will begin to be filled. Light will shine there and growth will occur.

New habits will form or old habits will resume and where there once was space will soon be overgrown and tangled. Tangled responsibilities, worries, distractions and clutter.

So I savour this space while I have it and all that it brings along with it.

Space. Clarity. Stillness. Wisdom. Choice. Power. Peace.


Meeting Your Own Needs.

The ‘Self Care’ movement seems to be gathering pace and I’m all for this, but it does bother me that when something becomes a trend or a hashtag it can turn into a bit of a cliche that we all start eye rolling about – think mindfulness and veganism. Will #selfcare go the same way?

It got me thinking … what IS self care? What does it really mean? Is it just an excuse for a bubble bath or a manicure or does it run deeper? The answer is I suspect different for each of us, what is self care to me might not be to you and vice versa.

But what is underneath all of it, is meeting our own needs. Meeting our needs as well as other peoples, meeting our needs before we meet other peoples, meeting our needs as often as we meet other peoples and the biggest one of all meeting our needs ourselves without waiting for someone else to rescue us or give us permission.

I remember being blown away in my twenties when I read that the only person who can make me truly happy was me, that I had to stop waiting for other people to make me happy and get on with the job myself.

Mind. Blown.

I expect it was a result of being drawn in to all of the schmaltzy rom coms and women’s magazines as a young woman that had programmed me to expect a man to give me the life of my dreams and make my every whim a reality without the need to be told. He should just know right?


And the same goes for self care. Other people are not going to notice when you need a break, unless you are on your knees begging. They are too busy with their own lives to notice or be able to take care of any more people. Especially a grown adult. It is up to US to meet our own needs – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

The really interesting thing though is how can we meet our needs and do this for ourselves and by ourselves, without needing anything external.

The evidence is there to show us that all of the things we most often reach for – alchohol, drugs (prescription and non), nicotine, shopping, eating, phones, sex, tv – none of these things are doing us much good at all. At least not in the quantities or frequencies some of us use them. All of these things are external (except arguably sex) all of them are things we have to pay for and consume in some way (including arguably sex!) and all are things that alter our chemical make up in some way shape or form. Some of them cause horrendous diseases in the long term if abused and many of them are impacting our mental health and relationships but still we continue – why?

Because we are using them to fill an emotional hole. We might have used them once and they made us feel good. Amazing. On top of the world. And we want to recreate that feeling. We want a quick fix so we reach for our dependence of choice. (Mine is chocolate btw.) Or we want to escape our current situation and distract ourselves into a different reality – think phones / tv / shopping.

We also use them because they work. They fill up that emotional hole instantly and they are a quick fix. But longer term they start undoing us, we need more and more to get that instant fix and they start doing damage to our systems. Their impact becomes more negative than positive but by that stage the habit has formed and we don’t know another option.

So how do we meet our own needs?

Well firstly, we would have to be able to identify what our need was –

Physical – am I actually hungry / thirsty / in need of energy / have too much energy?

Mental – Am I overwhelmed/ disorganised/ scattered/ mentally restless/ can’t switch off?

Emotional – Am I lonely / sad/ happy/ ecstatic / envious / disappointed?

Then we would need to find a way of meeting that need, have a bank of ideas and strategies that we know and that work for us and that we could go to at any time. So many of us rely on the external, socially acceptable ways to unwind (glass of wine / netflix and chill) or energise (food, caffiene, shopping) that we have no idea how to manage our emotional states without these things.

You can alter your energy in an instant by simply moving your body, the more upright your spine, the more energised you will feel. If you want to feel empowered stand like Wonder Woman if you want to feel energised dance and jump up and down for 2 minutes. That’s all it takes to begin to change your body’s bio-chemistry and you can do that by simply moving your body. But unless someone tells you that then we will keep reaching for the caffeine / refined sugar / energy drink that some company is making money from in order to feel the same internal change.

Our consumer society means we no longer know how to meet our own needs without all too often dashing to the shops or making a Dr’s appointment. There is so much we can do to help ourselves and to care for ourselves on a daily basis so that we can choose when we rush to the shops or make that Drs appointment becuase we know we’ve done all we can to help ourselves.

Here are a list of ways to meet your own needs yourself. They are not necessarily things you need to stick to all day everyday, I believe in balance in all things, but the next time you find yourself reaching for something external to meet an internal need ask yourself if you could try something new.


Eat nourishing foods – greens, fresh fruit veggies, something un-tampered with and wholesome.

Drink water or a herbal tea.

Move your body – run / walk/ yoga/ swim whatever is your thing.

Get some fresh air and be in nature.

Change your state (mood / energy) by jumping up and down or dancing to an upbeat song.

Give yourself a massage – massage your temples / feet / hands / shoulders.


Change your state – as above

Journal or write down how you’re feeling. Is there one feeling that is dominant and how could you release that?

Cry / laugh / scream – express the emotion, call a friend.

Find something to be grateful for – especially good when you’re feeling envious/ lacking or not enough.

Get creative – write about or draw / paint about how you’re feeling

If crystals are your thing, find one that resonates with your mood or need that day.


Meditate – even 5 minutes of meditation can alter the way your brain focuses.

Breathe – breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe in how you do want to feel and breath away any negative feelings. Try alternate nostril breaths to re-balance both sides of your brain.

Write a list

Repeat a mantra – find a positive mantra that says how you want to feel that day and keep repeating that.

Read or look at something beautiful

Spend a few minutes looking at the sky / landscape where you are

Get present in your body, feel your feet on the floor and ground yourself in this moment.

We all need down time and chance to indulge ourselves and relax in whatever makes us feel good – I love to chill in front of the tv as much as the next person, pass the wine please, but I try to make sure that when I do it is because I want to, that I am driving the habit and not the other way around.

Ultimately no one else can tell you how your self care should look because it’s all about how it feels. It should meet whatever need has arisen or go some way to meeting it and it doesn’t have to look like any one else’s self care. So if some tells you should ‘go for a run’ when you’re feeling low but all you want is a bath then go for the bath. Only you know.

A Post It with the following question hangs in the pantry of the brilliant social researcher Brene Brown – maybe meeting our own needs begins with asking ourselves this question…

“What are you hungry for?”



For 2018 I chose the word ‘Alignment’ as a guidepost. I wanted to align my actions with my thoughts, my choices with my values, my body through a physical yoga practice but most of all -my days with the life that I so often dream about.

One of the things I wanted to try was a Moon Group. Not just attend one, I wanted to run one. A Moon group meets on the New or Full Moon to meditate and journal together. Everyone on Insta’s at it.

Blogging and writing in general was also on the list and in the early months of the year I did well at getting my writing on different platforms.

Then somewhere in the heat of the Summer it all went to pot. I fell apart a little bit, went under with all of the pressure I was putting on myself and also from the strain of keeping all the balls in the air. Felt like I couldn’t keep up the momentum in any area of  my life let alone these ‘added extras’ so they fell by the wayside.

But before I went off the boil I put in an application form to a Yoga Teacher Training Course…

I began the course, at a pretty low ebb of self confidence and self esteem. Being absolutely cock-sure that everyone else would be ‘better’ than me, fitter than me, stronger than me and more able than I was. There was no way I was going to commit myself by saying I was going to actually teach after I did this thing, just that I was doing it for my own self enjoyment.

But HOLD THE PHONE. The most powerful transformation has happened in that little studio over the last four weeks. Slowly something has shifted out all of that negative rubbish that has been circling me for months on end and replaced it with positive, encouraging and exciting self talk. The support of the group, the self enquiry and the teaching has been impeccable and I have learned more than I ever though possible so far.

But the biggest breakthrough? A headstand. A wobby, wonky old headstand.

Before we got started I made it clear that I couldn’t do these things, I never had, not even as a kid. I was gently made aware that when we tell ourselves this and we let fear run the show  then we will never let go enough to try. So with a slightly more open mind I listened as the physics of the pose were explained and demonstrated (and made to look SO easy).

Then it was our turn to pair up and have a go … I volunteered to  go first and POP there  I went! UP! Feet in the air, head on the floor, my world literally turned upside down. I felt ecstatic! Light as air, powerful and brave. So chuffed with myself that I had broken down such a huge fear that I couldn’t wait to have another go.

The volume of the negative chatter is literally turning down in my head and I although I am vaguely aware it it is no longer the dominant voice.

Sitting here I see how far I’ve come in aligning myself and my life this year, as I am planning the next Moon group, setting up my new Yoga business and look – writing a blog post!

I realise that changes do not happen over night, they are so long in the preparation but when they come it is like the universe is stitching together all of those disparate parts with golden thread and urging you along the way. We can all feel stuck and frustrated and in turn out of control in our own lives,  but often the way out of this is by taking the tiniest baby step. Some action, any action that takes you in any direction because action is energy and energy is momentum. Inspired by one small change you begin to wonder “what else is possible?”.

Who would have thought a headstand could be the action I needed to take towards my own business? But in a round about way it was. Today I’m tackling the ‘crap -drawer’ at home – I wonder where that will lead me?!


The Raft Race.

A river raft adventure - you tube

When I decided to walk away from my career 5 years ago I thought it was going to be a temporary move. Five years on and I honestly have no idea if I will ever go back to it.

I look around at the other mothers I know who have returned to their former roles at work after maternity leave and now as their children are at school and older their careers begin taking off again. But what about those wilderness years, when the children are small and the family is growing what happens to us then?

Your job is a life raft on the sea of life. It keeps you afloat financially most obviously, supporting your needs for food and shelter within this material world. But its much more than that. It is a large part of our identity. A breath after you meet someone and you have introduced yourself they ask you what you ‘do’. What you do and who you are are inextricably linked in our society. We value the contribution that people make in the world and the sort of contribution they make is a shortcut to the idea we hold about who they are.

So you paddle like mad in your early twenties to get a head-start on the other ‘rafters’ around you, rowing with anything you can get your hands on to get qualified to just get your space on that raft. You continue this thrashing, splashing shark fight until you are established in your chosen field.

At which point you might then coast for a bit, your stripes now earned, you give yourself just a small bit of space to look to the horizon. You begin thinking about giving the raft an gentle nudge in another direction. If you’re lucky, the waters are calm, money is coming in, you can spend it on just yourself and do what ever you like when ever you like. The horizon is interesting, exotic and tempting, the world is there for the adventure and you are most definitely the captain of this now pretty luxurious raft.

During this time you might have been lucky enough to meet someone, to start a life with them and then to consider starting a family. You have naive rose tinted ideas of how this new person will just slot into your already pretty cool life. You will still do all the things you want to do, but now you;ll have a really cute little mate to do it with. You will rock the workplace and the homestead. You will be the one who juggles it all and still looks good doing it. You definitely won’t be one of those zombie moms, or co-sleep, definitely no co-sleeping.

Fast forward to six months into maternity leave. You are still in pajamas at lunch time, covered in mushed banana and you haven’t washed your hair for a week. You can’t remember what day of the week it is let alone any of your passwords to access your work laptop, even if you could contemplate ‘Keeping in Touch’… But soon you have to think about going back to work. Your life as you knew it has been completely obliterated by this small, adorable but screaming presence in your home. Day rolls into night and weeks roll into months.

The ‘Work You’ seems like a hazy memory, a stranger almost compared with the you that confronts you now. And the panic of how you will ever be that  person again sets in. You never wanted to be one of those people that parenthood changed but here you are…changed beyond all recognition, both inside and out. Your work life raft is floating alongside you just waiting for you to haul yourself back aboard. Waiting to take you back to yourself. The problem is, you just can’t find the strength. Now you have a half stone baby clutched to your hip and you haven’t slept in months, the effort to heave your combined body weights to the safety of the raft feels impossible.

This is where you make your decision. Whatever gives you that push to haul your ass up aboard the raft, be it financial, personal, or professional you manage it and pull yourself back aboard the raft-race. Things move more quickly, priorities have shifted and times swallows you up in a constant whirlwind of responsibilities – home, work, home, work, home, work. The waters are rougher some days than others when teething or noro-virus strike and you still have to carry on regardless desperate for a break in the weather and some blue skies.

You look around and expecting to see other similarly sea sick exhausted faces all you see is everyone else looking fine. Managing it well, keeping all the balls in the air and paddling their raft at a steady pace every day. You examine your oars – is there something wrong with them? With your arms? With the raft itself? Am I on the wrong raft? The waters begin to seep up through the floor of your raft and you find that you are bailing out the water as well as rowing. Working twice as hard just to stay still. Bailing out the financial burden of childcare and a mortgage, spinning the plates of your old life, old friends and commitments and still being there for your family and home. But where did you go? Where did the time for YOU go? It’s gone in to all that bailing out and rowing there seems no time for floating now. When you float, you sink and you have to work harder to get back to where you left off. It hardly seems worth it.

So you keep going and going and going and day by day you make small progress and day by day you become more and more exhausted. The raft race is far ahead of you now. At this point you either make the decision to fish or cut bait. To stay in the race or to slip over the side of your raft and surrender your position.

I slipped over the side of my raft in 2013. I watched as my career of 12 years floated away from me taking my financial independence and part of my identity with it. The water was soothing and cool though and I had plenty more energy for treading water and even the odd backstroke. I enjoyed the sunsets on a lilo with a mocktail (as I was pregnant again) and having the sea all to myself everyday. Now I have three children and the waters are a bit muddier and a bit choppier and some days they totally come up over my head as the responsibility of three small people leaves me sorely outnumbered. On those days I search for that life raft, desperate for a break in the monotony of being a stay at home mum. But I can’t even catch a glimpse of it, my life now so different to way it used to be.

And then I remember myself and catch a glimpse of the other parents on rafts all around me, desperate for a day to sneak in to the water and catch their breath. The energy is different down here, people up there on the rafts move faster, more loudly and make bigger waves. Their impact and contribution clear for the world to see. They are validated and recognised, seen and heard. There are days when nobody sees you when you are in the water or hears you. Rarely does somebody recognise your efforts at home or in parenting and more often than not you feel like you’re muddling through only to make no-one very happy.  But the energy is slower, more predictable and more under your own volition. It is more joyful and more uplifting on the days that go well than any good day in the office. But the rewards will not be reaped by payday at the end of the month or even by bonus time at the end of the year there is no magical finishing line and no one will get a medal of participation.

But we each of us know deep down that THIS is the most important job we will do. Even if society (that’s us) doesn’t always value it as much as we’d like. As parents we are making the biggest contribution to society in shaping how the next generation think, feel and behave. So give yourself time for floating and cocktails and lilos and sunsets along the way. Take a breather, recharge. Don’t expect to ‘find’ the time to do this, you have to ‘make’ the time and you do this by not doing other things. I don’t mean by leaving your job and giving up on everything but by leaving somethings undone, by letting some things go, by lowering your expectations. By leaving space and choosing to float every now and again. Give yourself that permission.

I write this to recognise us all whether we’re still in the raft race working, not working, surviving or thriving in the deep oceans of parenting. Keep paddling, swimming, bailing it will get easier as each storm passes. Wherever you can throw out a rubber ring to those around you – even if they don’t look like they’re struggling. Especially if they don’t look like they’re struggling – making it look easy comes at a cost too. You can forget how to float.

Photo Credit – Alistair Humphries – You Tube.


The Longest of Days…

It’s 7 am on Thursday 21st June 2018 – the longest day of the year : Summer Solstice. The sun is streaming through the tiny window in the bathroom while I take a shower and I notice how it hits just one thing in the room. It is shining solely on my yesmum affirmation cards and bouncing off the rose quartz crystal that’s sitting pretty with them. Talk about shining a light!

I grab my phone and take this pic, carefully angled so as not to catch the cobweb just to the left of the card box – the joys of living in an old house. This house and garden seem intent on letting us know that we are just visitors here and that the harvest spiders, the bees, the bats, the birds and the weeds have been here for many a hundred year before us and will no doubt be here for many hundreds of years to come. They are making space for us it would seem. Living here is a delicate balance of wild and ordered, a line that we are still learning to tread.

‘Today is a new day’ says the card, so simple and yet so huge. Today is a chance to start again, try again, see again, hear again, really listen again. To drop things that are not serving us, to try things that are new to us, to become aware of our surroundings our bodies our feelings in new ways. A day to release beliefs and judgement that bind us like the weeds to those situations that hold us us back the most, a day to see one more thing that we resist and decide to push through that resistance to the brilliance on the other side.

What we did yesterday, how we thought, what we said is just a memory now. It is gone. If we let it though it can still consume us, hold us hostage to it’s ransom on today. Let today be the day you really get going on that project, when you release your grudge on that person just a little, when you change your world view slightly, see the world through new eyes or from someone else’s perspective.

The Summer Solstice marks the half way point in the year and unofficial start to summer time. Through the ages farmers chose this day to mark the point between planting and harvesting crops. A day that marks the tip towards results rather than preparation, a day to begin to see the fruits of our labour, to ease off on the pushing and striving and sit back a little bask in the long day of sunshine and reflect on where we have come from. Plant your toes on the earth soak up that sunshiny sparkly energy and celebrate yourself and your journey today. Think back to all that has happened this year and all of the seeds you have already sewn that you can expect to harvest the results of in the coming months.

Ask yourself some honest questions. Are you where you thought you would be? Could be? Should be? But drop the judgement. Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re doing your best. If you have got lost somewhere along the way and become distracted with the clamour of your life and the noise in the world then use today to stop and realign yourself. Make a pledge to step up to the next level of yourself and get specific on how that will work. What do you need to stop doing so that you can make time for the thing you are putting off.

So often the thing that we put off or resist is the thing that nags away at us, vying for our attention like a young child. Listen to that whining and make a change to give it a small amount of attention. It doesn’t need to be much, just 10-15 minutes will quiet that voice and put you in a new space of possibility and power.

I’m off now to take my own advice and get my bum on a yoga mat! Happy international yoga day too everyone – Namaste.

life · Uncategorized

Shedding skins.

The other day I posted on Instagram about how my middle daughter really lives life to all its corners, how she is such fun, so crazy and hilarious. She feels so deeply and widely and she inspires me to do the same. That is, when I’m not tearing my hair out from her outbursts. But it got me thinking, how do I live life right to the edges to feel into all its corners, try out things at all it’s angles and precipices? This is not to say I want to live any kind of hedonistic, massive adventurous life – hell no, at theme parks I’m the one holding the coats- no, for me it’s more how can I live the best life? Be the best self I can be? Feel all the feels and live out all the goodness? I’d say this is easier to do when you’re 4 years old than when you’re almost ten times that age. But maybe that’s where I’m getting stuck? Maybe it is easy, maybe I should just try. Drop all the baggage and ‘shoulds’ and the ‘this is how I’ve always done it’s’ and ‘this is just me’ and experiment a little?

We seem to spend so much time defining ourselves in our early adult life, making a statement about who we are to the world and then we hit the classic mid life territory and all we want to do is escape the box we’ve built for ourselves. Break out of our own self imposed rules and structures, be that a mis judged relationship, a sensible car or responsible job. We were in such a hurry to grow up and appear grown up to the world that we accumulated all the trappings of grown up life – spouse, mortgage, kids and all of sudden we crave that freedom we had before we had committed ourselves so fully. Hello mid life crisis, nice to meet you.

I like to think of it not as a crisis, that sounds a bit like breakdown, but i think it is instead something to welcome and to celebrate.Want to swap thrash metal for country music- do it, want to swap a career in accounts for brewing craft beer- do it. Want to just break out of your own daily habits and routines- bloody do it!

I am beginning to realise what a contradiction i am the more I get to know myself and until lately have seen these contradictions as negative, almost as if my personality is indecisive and can’t make up it’s mind. You see some days I’m a leather jacket, red lipstick, Radio One listening kind of girl who feels young and optimistic and gets a shit load done and other days i listen to Radio Four, wear no make up and my comfiest clothes, long socks and am racked with self doubt. It’s hard not to judge yourself on those days. But really, is one kind of way better than another? Or are they just different? They give me different experiences, different kind of days and different kind of outcomes. The quiet, radio four kind of days give me insight and rest, reclaiming energy for the radio one, red lipstick sort of days. So now I am trying to accept them as part of me, and trying to accept what they are teaching me. The way that they help me to lean in to the edges and corners of my life the way I am shedding skins and stepping into another me. A  shimmer self if you will. The person I hope to be, the one I aspire to be, the one I can actually be on some moments of some days. And when I don’t make it there on other days, just knowing she might be just around the corner is something to reach for.

If you liked this article…Here are some questions to consider / journal/ meditate / ponder on …

Who is your shimmer self?

What would the best version of you be doing?

Are you embodying your best self in all the ways that you hope and that you can?

Is there anything small that you can do today to step into yourself more fully?