Why hygge doesn't work...


This Sunday was declared 'family day'. It was an attempt to put aside at least one day a week where none of us was distracted by other things: no kids' sport lessons/parties or homework were scheduled and no parent keep-fit/yoga/work or socialising was allowed.

That might sound a little draconian to you, easy-going folk. But unless we do that, I find that none of us actually connects properly.

When we were exploring as part of our year-long travel adventure, spending time together was natural. Every day was spent discovering the unknown, exploring new things - we shared each and every experience and had the time to discuss and savour them.

But now that we are back in the UK and firmly ensconced in the rat race, after-school activities, learning to read and write, homework, keeping fit through sport, remaining sane through yoga, working for a living, household chores, staying in touch with friends and family - suddenly there are a million and one demands on each of us. And only slithers of time to lever them all into.

And what suffers the most is what we took for granted when we were away: quality family time.

It either needs to be scheduled in, or it doesn't happen. Because in my case at least (Mama Truth Bomb on its way), I often find an excuse not to connect, because doing something away from the family and just for me, comes so much easier and feels so much more beneficial. At least in the short term.

Yup. I said it.

Pretending that the kids don’t exist and escaping to do something ‘more important' (aka 'more selfish') is a lot less difficult than being entertaining-kind-nurturing-fun mama to three kids under 8 at the same time.

(Particularly as the moment you do set aside the headspace to put on your supermama mask, they start fighting for your attention so that 'connection' time actually becomes angry mama time spent either reprimanding or mediating).

So what do you do with it once you have scheduled in family time? 

Well, the Danish concept of hygge hasn’t yet worked for us unless there is a movie or colouring in involved (too many bad losers to play a game and too many itchy feet to just sit and 'talk'), so we decided to go for walk.

I’m a bit of a wild nature fan myself (I find there is nothing better to remind me of the insignificance of my day-to-day anxieties than an untouched landscape), and so we headed for one of our local nature and birdspotting reserves.

Here, surrounded only by plants, trees and animals, suspending the reality of the many to-dos in my life seems relatively effortless and I instantly feel part of something bigger, better and more timeless than myself...

The ‘family connection’ plan went relatively well too: two out of three actually managed to walk the whole distance, no-one was bitten by a horse (unlike last time) and Bobomama didn't have to remove any dog poo from any wellies on our return. Bonus.

We even caught sight of this quaint, upturned boat: broken and derelict but etched with the message “Life is Beautiful”: a cliche of course but none the less poignant.

I did have to spend the rest of the afternoon laboriously checking for nits and Andrew did selfishly sneak off to play squash during the kids' supper/bath/bedtime routine but no-one said anything about life being perfect.

Beautiful - for at least just a couple of hours a week - will have to do; family day may well be here to stay...

How do you balance me-time and family time? Does hygge work for you?

Are you fulfilling your greatest potential, mama? Are you getting paid to do what you love whilst parenting in a calm and positive way? Are you feeling happy and fulfilled both at work and at home? Because you deserve to! Book a complimentary discovery session with me on skype and we can explore taking concrete steps towards creating a life in which you feel motivated and in control once more!  

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How to tame your 'should monster'...


Sometimes I like to pick a tarot card for myself. Even though, officially, I know that you are not supposed to. I shuffle the pack, ask the question "what do I need to know, right now?" and pick the one that is winking at me. And usually, I find it confirms or guides me towards an insight or message that I had already clocked - deep down - but perhaps hadn’t fully admitted to my conscious self yet. The card acts a bit like an intuition sign post. And let’s face it, in today’s era of the 'glorification of busy', we need all the sign posts we can get…

So, the other day I got this bad boy - the seven of swords - which came out upside down, which means it is "reversed".

And as always, it was spot on.

I really should know how to read the pack myself by now but instead I prefer to rely - lazily - on an expert whose area of genius this really is. And so, according to Biddy Tarot (whose interpretations really resonate with me), this is a card of "mental challenges and rites of passage”: I need to "break free from old habits and ways of thinking in order to overcome the blockages that currently stand in my way. I need to accept what is happening to me and act on it, rather than trying to escape. I need to do things differently, releasing myself from past behaviours or limiting beliefs so that I can move forwards in my life".

Ring a bell, anyone?

Given that autumn is a time of letting go, of releasing any habits or beliefs that no longer serve us, this card felt pretty apt. Because I am indeed trying to move forwards in a different direction. I have explored in depth over this past year who I am and what really turns me on, I have released whatever doesn’t, and I have made my passion – supporting others to regain the confidence and courage to be who they REALLY are rather than who they THINK they should be in order to be ‘accepted’ - into a new business: life coaching.

And that brings up stuff: having to own what you really stand for and publicise that (scary), as well as facing potential rejection for what you really believe in (double scary).

But these are all good fears to release right now, in the same way that the trees are releasing their leaves and Nature in general is starting to hunker down in preparation for winter.

Which is also what I’m trying to do: hunker down for winter. Which for me – Miss Duracell Bunny – is nigh on impossible. But just as I don’t let my life coaching clients off the hook (remember, NOTHING is impossible), I can’t let myself off the hook either.

So I am really, really trying NOT to 'make the most' out of my newfound, day-time freedom now that the three little muskateers are all at school. And if that sounds counter-intuitive, I’m not surprised. Because we are taught - all the time - to ‘make the most’ of everything.

But it dawned on me the other day just how crazy this is. That this whole concept not only instills a fear of deadlines and that time is running out, but it also implies that there is a wrong (= wasteful) and a right (= productive) way to fill it up. Hence the glorification of busy.

So having realised this, I’m trying instead to insert (teeny, tiny, manageable) spaces of not-doing, of non-achievement, of non-improvement and of non-learning into my day: such as meditation for at least 10 minutes; taking a mini time-out in order to take a really conscious, deep inhale and a really conscious, deep exhale or just by appreciating the beauty that surrounds me inside the house and outside in nature.

And it's WORKING.

Small pockets of pause dotted throughout the day = less overwhelm, more inner peace and a quieter 'should' monster.

And with the season of autumn well and truly upon us, my seven of swords reversed tarot card, tonight’s full moon, and my on-and-off-aching right shoulder (telling me that I have taken on or am 'shouldering' too much), I have all the reminders that I need to LET GO, to TRUST and to simply enjoy and take pleasure in being NATURALLY me.

What is the should monster whispering into your ear? Which unhelpful self-belief could you do with letting go of this autumn? Do you have a fear of deadlines or of getting things ‘wrong’? Do you find it hard to step off the achievement hamster wheel? Share with me in the comments below! And even better, book in for a complimentary 45 minute life coaching "discovery session" and we can work on it together! 

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What is keeping you stuck in your box?


Isn't it just SO damn easy to get caught up in the day to day routine of life: work, juggling chores and kids - and then use that as an excuse that you are too exhausted to do anything new?  At least, that's what I do...

For me, the thought of going out is usually never a good one - my inner protector tells me I should stick to the familiar go-tos: staying in to rest, catching up with my partner over a glass of wine or practising my yoga.

But when I allow my inner adventurer out - the one that couldn't care less about waking up tired, the one who is curious and excited to try out new things - I end up having a ball! And feeling tired, yes, but rejuvenated!

Which is what happened on Wednesday at The Honeysuckle Review, run by my beautiful and talented burlesque dancer cum mermaid cum priestess friend, Demi. (Yeah, she's pretty cool).

It made me realise that I had arrogantly forgotten that a world outside of my own even existed. Because that's what happens when you never challenge yourself to peek outside of the box you have constructed around yourself.

Boxes are good. They keep us safe and content. But sometimes we need to make the box a little bigger, to make room for something new. Because it is the new - something different, something scary, something adventurous - that brings freedom. A sense of being truly ALIVE! 

And we ALL deserve a bit of that...

  • Which excuses are keeping you in a comfortable (but narrow) box?

  • What could you say YES to that you would previously not have considered?

  • How can you include a bit of adventure into your weekend?

Share with me in the comments below! I'd love to hear!

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Is it time to reboot and recharge?


This week marks the rekindling of self-care. Which has lapsed considerably over the school holidays. Indeed pretty much since June. Which not only shows, I can feel it in my body. I feel tired, lacklustre, my skin is a bit rubbish and I'm once again resorting to wine a little too much in order to zone out. I feel like I've had adrenaline coursing through my body for weeks on end. And even though I've known that I need to take time out to stop and just BE rather than rushing on with my to-do list, I've found this nearly impossible to implement.

If I lived by the beach and had access to this glorious, Ikarian view, it might come easier. But I no longer do, so it's about putting an end to the excuses and making the effort to get out from behind my desk and scheduling in some non-negotiable, me-time down-time. 

Because if we don't, we end up running on empty. Which is what I discovered is happening to me, yesterday during my Chi Nei Tsang treatment (an incredible Chinese medicine abdominal massage that detoxifies the internal organs and removes energetic blocks). Not good.

So today, I set aside 10 minutes to meditate before getting down to work and I've reset my AIRIN app to 25 times a day (it sounds a gong to remind you to take a mindful breath). It bongs so often that even the kids are now trained in it : )

As autumn sets in and the wind and rain start to ramp up, the seasons are telling us to SLOW DOWN.

What would help YOU to reset your hard drive?

What do you need to give yourself PERMISSION to pause?

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A new chapter...


It's on days like this that I feel super grateful for the place I live in. A city that is architecturally beautiful in its own right but also dotted with meadows (containing actual, live cows) and crossed by a beautiful river (populated by houseboats, punts and rowers). This was our first ever family bike ride - 5 people, 5 bikes - and not a cargo bike or stabiliser in site.

It felt amazing!

I might be mourning the loss of my babies (all three of my muskateers are now at school), but little trips like this show me that there is a whole new world of adventure that is out there, just waiting for us now that they are older.

And that is exciting.

A new chapter is always a double-edged sword: loss of the old and apprehension for what lies ahead sit alongside excitement for the new and growth as we adjust to a different comfort zone.

I often forget to acknowledge transitions, allowing my focus to zoom immediately into the next stage. So I'm practising noticing this one and almost savouring it. Because when I do that, I become more present. Alive in the now rather than distracted by the past or daydreaming about the future.

And what does that bring? Freedom! And a release of energy (just think how much is wasted by dipping into stories about the past or future)...

Which is lucky, because I had to carry one of these bikes back perched ontop of my own. The new chapter has started. We're just not quite there yet 😁.

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