Are you a freelancer or small business owner who is looking for ways to strengthen your business behind the scenes, while your resources (time, energy and money) are being temporarily diverted into other areas during Coronavirus?
Fact: Your audience are sat at home right now looking at their phones! Not only are they spending more time online, but they’re also connecting more with other people via video call and messenger and local communities are joining together.
Which means that people are potentially talking about you and your business services (or products).
And we all know the power of word of mouth recommendations!
90% of people trust suggestions from family and friends.
74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.
91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision.
But given the current Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown situation, you may well be feeling scared, anxious and stressed about life, business, money and health.
There are bills to pay and mouths to feed, and your savings won’t last for long.
Juggling homeschooling, childcare, cooking, cleaning and working from home is overwhelming.
Your emotional well-being is being pushed to the limit as you and your family are confined to your home almost 24/7.
However, if you’re anything like me, you may have already started seeing some positives to this enforced ‘stay-at-home’ period.
More time with your children. Sure, they drive you crazy at times. And yes, they eat snacks every 45 minutes. But despite all the financial worries bubbling beneath the surface, your kids will look back and remember the board games and the picnics in the lounge; the summer mummy was home every day to play with them and help them with school projects and art work.
More leisure time. That’s more time to read, learn a new skill, join an online community, finish that course you started, get outside for daily walks…
Less time stuck in traffic or commuting (and less money spent on petrol and train/bus/taxi fares).
Less money spent on ‘habit buys’ – like coffee on the way to work, sweet treats after school, that pretty dress you couldn’t resist….
Plus, no alarm clock needed, no ironing school or work clothes and no forgotten PE kits!
As business owners, creatives, entrepreneurs and freelancers, we understand the importance of staying mentally and physically healthy.
We know that when we feel our best, we bring more energy and vitality to our business. (And how that magnetism and energy attracts the right clients – our dream clients!)
Right now, the best three things we can do for ourselves and our businesses are:
Look after your body, mind and soul. Get fresh air, exercise and eat well. Meditate, read and learn new skills.
Support your online and local community by investing in other small businesses. Even if you can’t afford to pay anyone right now, share their social media posts, add uplifting comments or send a personal message telling someone how their words brightened or inspired your day.
Build connections by taking conversations to the next level; meeting for Zoom coffee dates and group ‘business parties’.
How can I help you?
Throughout April (and probably for May too!), I’m switching my services away from large projects and offering smaller, low cost pieces of copywriting and editing, so that I can help more people to stay in business and come out the other side of Coronavirus relatively unscathed.
My services will enable you to:
Strengthen the back end of your business – ensuring the emails, paperwork, funnels and freebies you send to your clients are typo-free, engaging and achieve the desired result.
Create a reservoir of new content to build an engaged audience over the coming months.
Spend your limited ‘work’ time with your 1-1 clients and be free to enjoy quality time with your children, partner or online friends.
Just some of the ways I can create engaging new content for you without you having to do anything…
Take your old blogs and refresh them into new ones.
Take your old blogs and repurpose them into social media posts, PDF cheat sheets or email/newsletter content.
Take a short (under 10 minute) video from your website/YouTube/Facebook and repurpose into a blog, social media post, PDF cheat sheet or email/newsletter content.
I will proof read new web copy, email funnels, freebies, launch posts or other content and make minor edits to ensure it’s free from typos and can be read easily online and appeals to your audience.
£60 for small pieces of work (up to an hour).
£100 for pieces of work up to 2 hours.
If you’d like some behind-the-scenes help to ensure your business rides the Coronavirus wave and that nobody gets lost at sea when things become choppy, then get in touch today via Facebook or Instagram DM or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In these difficult and uncertain times of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is only one thing we can do to feel less anxious and stressed: Stay Present.
Easier said than done though, right?
I’ll admit, things got to me over the weekend.
And I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one feeling this way…
A dark cloud of overwhelm and fear appeared out of nowhere.
Just a day or two before, I was looking forward to my daughter’s birthday, excited about a blossoming relationship and the signs of spring were everywhere, bringing nature to life with vibrant splashes of pink, purple and yellow.
Then up popped an insatiable combination of anxiety, fear and stress for the coming weeks that started to eat away at me until I barely recognised the words jumping around in my mind and spilling out of my mouth.
Will I have enough money to be able to feed my family and pay basic bills? Will there be food and supplies in the shops? Will I have the energy to take on this additional stress? Will I be able to cope? What if….? How…?
Suddenly it all became too much and I needed to retreat.
In those quiet moments of reflection last night I realised I’d slipped back into a destructive habit; one where I single-handedly decide to take everything onto my shoulders.
As a single parent, I’ve done this for years – feeling like I have to do everything and be everything to everyone. It’s damaged my physical health and well-being and led to irritability, fatigue, mental exhaustion and an overriding sense of wanting to run away to a cottage in the middle of nowhere (or at times a galaxy far far away).
Thankfully, after years of inner work, it doesn’t take long for me to get that lightbulb moment and realise where I’m going wrong. (If you’re not at that point yet I highly recommend starting with The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan.)
As I shared my feelings with someone close, I was reminded that the best thing (the only thing) we can do in any situation is to stay present.
When this quote landed in my Facebook Messenger inbox, I smiled.
I felt a sense of relief.
I let something go.
And I felt a warming sense of gratitude wash over me.
The practice of staying present will heal you.
Obsessing about how the future will turn out creates anxiety.
Replaying broken scenarios from the past causes anger or sadness.
Stay here, in the moment. – S. McNutt
This quote, together with my friend’s wise words, helped pull me back from slipping into old habits and behaviours and into a more positive energy from where I can sparkle and shine again.
I realised that I don’t have to do everything alone and there is always something or someone available to lighten the load. But you do have to show up and embrace your vulnerability as you ask for help.
Before going to sleep I set the intention to start my working day today with a meditation by my amazing self-love coach, Katie Phillips. Her ‘I am present’ meditation was the perfect antidote to my temporary blip of darkness.
Katie’s beautiful meditation reminded me:
Sounds simple but it’s amazing how many of us breathe slowly and shallow when we’re going through a period or moment of stress and anxiety. Breathe deeply, hold and release. Allow yourself to let go of tensions and relax.
The past is not who I am.
In every moment we have the opportunity to leave the past behind and start afresh. Nothing that’s happened before really matters now, only how you choose to be in this present moment.
To ask myself which thoughts are of service to me.
When we worry about the future and feel like we’re losing control, that can be scary. But it’s useful to tune in to those worries and notice how our bodies feel. Our thoughts create our reality so if we’re worrying unnecessarily, we create physical change in our bodies. At this point in time we all want to be as healthy as possible, so worrying and staying fearful will not help on any level.
To remember that I AM ENOUGH.
This moment right now is really all we have. So embrace being here and knowing that you are absolutely enough.
‘I am here. This is it. And it is enough.’ – Katie Phillips
Katie Phillips has generously offered to share her I Am Present meditation for you to try. Click here to listen.
If you enjoy the meditation, please do pop back and leave your comments below. Thank you. <3
Find out more about Katie Phillips and the School of Self Love HERE.
The Storyteller card reminds us to be the hero of our own story; to show up as our true selves in all our wild, messy beauty.
In every oracle card, number pattern or synchronicity you see, the Universe is giving you a gentle nudge to reassure you that you’re on the right path, or to trigger a transformation that will allow you to seek out a better situation.
As I pulled this card earlier today, I felt a deep wave of appreciation for the journey I’ve been on over the past few years.
Time often doesn’t feel linear and there are occasions where we want to show up vibrantly in the world, and others where we crave quietness, solitude and gentle inner work.
Perhaps you’ll resonate with my story…
Back in 2016 and 2017 I was drawn to a deeper exploration of the spiritual realms and spent many a warm summer’s night sat under the stars and full moon contemplating my connection to other galaxies and pondering my place here on earth.
At times I felt somewhat disconnected from this human life, and yet this spiritual journey brought me some incredible connections with women around the world who were also on a personal journey of awakening.
All the inner work I did around this time enabled me to channel love, energy and light into the social media space and allow others to feel like they fitted in too; that their thoughts and fears were valid and real.
This spiritual work gave me the confidence and inner knowing that it was the perfect time to follow my heart and start copywriting for other like-minded business owners. Within a very short space of time I realised that my natural intuitive gift was a big part of my work and how I made others feel.
And then, in a heartbeat, my life changed.
A combination of events including losing my beautiful, lunar-loving, feline soulmate Bumble and having to move house and work through some stressful financial issues led me to a new perspective.
I felt a deep desire to create a more grounded and solid base in my life; to build a better foundation from which I could truly thrive.
By focusing on financial stability and security, I naturally called in a more earthy energy.
After a while, I finally felt like I belonged on Earth again, and not on some faraway planet where beings communicated with love and light language.
In tuning into this energy I began to notice the dark cloud of financial anxiety and stress slowly lift and move away. At the start of 2019, I made the decision to create new, long term money habits and over the year these habits snowballed into something beyond my wildest dreams.
What started out as a subtle shift in mindset became a quantum leap in terms of personal growth.
With these new, strong foundations in place, I knew at the end of 2019 that it was time to start working on a different part of my life; a part that would drive me to share my vulnerability, accept help and, ultimately, to call more love into my world.
I believe that everything happens in cycles.
As women we’re cyclical beings, our bodies dancing in tune with the moon’s powerful energy and our emotions waxing and waning with our own female cycles.
In order to get the best out of ourselves, we all need the support, guidance and love of people who’ve walked the path before us.
Over the past few months I’m so grateful to have found some wonderful women who are helping me to step up as the best version of myself; to truly stand in my wild feminine energy.
Firstly, a shoutout to Katie Phillips, whose love and magical energy are allowing me to believe that my wildest dreams really can come true and creating space for my inner wild child to feel safe enough to come out to play.
Secondly, to Emma Gaywood for keeping me connected to my inner wisdom and spiritual energy and supporting my personal growth through beautiful meditations and crystal energy.
Thirdly, to Cora Darlington for helping me to see that anything is possible and that huge shifts can happen virtually overnight when you relax and truly believe…
And finally, love and gratitude for an amazing soul, Helen Packham, whose recent confession about ‘highlighting’ which, in her own words is ‘when your business necessitates that you show up, but your content isn’t reflecting what’s actually going on right now’, was the trigger for my writing today.
Just as Helen shares in her article (which you can read here) it’s important for us all to be honest about what’s really going on in our lives so that we can get the support we need or help others along the way.
Sometimes, in sharing our struggles we help other people to join the dots and feel like they’re just a little bit less alone.
My message for you in today’s story for you is this…
It’s ok to show up as the real you in all your messy beauty and wild, crazy thoughts.
It’s also ok to keep things private, as long as you ask for help and connect to those who can offer support, love and connection.
Remember that you are the hero of your own story.
So practice self-love first, be honest about what you need, show up as the real you and let your vulnerability out – because asking for help when you don’t need it is even more powerful.
Ps. If you enjoyed this blog you might also like this one…
It may not be easy, but I believe we must all join together and step out of our plastic comfort zone. It’s time to reduce our consumption of plastic in all its forms, today!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll be well aware of planet Earth’s plastic crisis.
David Attenborough’s beautiful documentary series ‘Blue Planet II’ highlighted the damage we humans have created in the oceans today.
If we don’t start taking more responsibility for our plastic trash, soon our seas will contain more plastic than fish. A pretty scary thought.
We managed to reduce cigarette consumption, advertising and promotion…
When I was a little girl, I remember seeing cigarette adverts on television and in magazines, and on posters at bus stops.
Characters smoking in movies and TV shows was commonplace – as was smoking in offices, restaurants and aeroplanes.
And then throughout the 1980s, prompted by medical and scientific research, ‘we’ (the public consumer) began to realise that smoking was bad for human health.
Slowly, images of blackened lungs and long lists of health complications filtered into our lives on a daily basis.
At school we learned the negative impact of smoking cigarettes and consequently made different choices to our parents’ generation.
The same thing has happened with sugar, alcohol and stress related illness.
We’re more aware of the risks and actively take steps to protect our physical and mental health.
So, if we can make such substantial shifts with cigarettes, sugar and stress, why is it taking us so long to change our plastic habits?
Is it because the results aren’t seen and felt within our own bodies?
We’re bombarded with photographic images of floating plastic islands and third world populations living in squalid conditions surrounded by dead lakes and rivers; water suffocated through plastic pollution.
And yet we still don’t make a change.
We were horrified by video footage of a turtle with a plastic straw stuck inside its nostril, and yet, beyond cutting out plastic straws and plastic shopping bags, still we continue along the same path that will result in irreversible environmental damage.
A grim future for humans and many species of animal life.
It’s as if we don’t really care enough.
We know you can’t quit smoking by having ‘a couple’ a day, nor reverse diabetes by indulging in sugary processed snacks every evening.
Equally, we cannot solve the plastic pollution epidemic by just dipping our toes in and out when it’s convenient for us.
It’s time we pulled on our big girl pants (or superhero cape) and stepped waaaaaaaay out of our comfort zones to really make a difference.
We have to stop and consider our choices every time we make a purchase.
Even if that means missing out on our favourite snack or spending more money on a more durable (or recyclable) option.
Or learning to be more patient while we source a better, non-plastic choice.
We’ve reached new levels of destruction…
On a short trip to mainland England last year, I witnessed the level of destruction we’re causing to our beautiful planet through our bad habits and incessant use of plastic.
On various train journeys across the country, I saw large sections of railway line littered with old plastic items. These weren’t simply bags and bottles that blew here on ‘dustbin day’ a week or two ago, these were items that have been laying there for years.
Their colours faded but their shape still very much intact.
As I watched plastic bags caught in trees, forlornly blowing in the wind, I felt a sense of sadness, as if they were waving for help that would never come.
This has to stop!
I’m calling time on plastic.
Now, it’s fair to say that the majority of people who read this article will already be somewhat aware of the plastic issues and will be actively making a difference.
I know I maybe preaching to the converted: you carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go, take food to work in your stainless steel lunchbox and you do your grocery shopping with cotton bags.
But, even as an advocate for intentional living, I realise that I’m not perfect and it’s time for ME to step up MY game.
I feel like you and I are missing many parts of this complex equation because we …
Focus on just a tiny part of the plastic problem (i.e. straws, bags, coffee cups).
Do too much of it alone instead of collaborating and connecting with others.
Don’t commit 100%.
So, what can we do TODAY, this week, this month and this year to truly step up our game and be part of the change?
Learn more. A lot more. While there are statistics available, it’s up to us to dig deeper, do the research and contact manufacturers. We must write to politicians, make connections and share knowledge. A world with less plastic and less plastic pollution is theonly way forward.
Stop and think before you buy. Do I really need this item? Is there a non-plastic alternative? Will this item be delivered wrapped in plastic? How will I dispose of this item when I no longer need it? Can it be repaired?
Commit to a life with as little plastic as possible – particularly single use plastic but also larger items such as garden pots and storage containers. (Use swap groups and second hand sites to ensure we use the existing items in circulation rather than creating demand for new ones.)
I believe that life is a beautiful journey; that we receive the information and opportunities when we need them in order to progress to the next stage.
BUT…. at some point you have to stop playing small and step up your game.
That’s the point I’m at now.
I’ve had enough of sitting quietly and doing my thing. It’s time to make the ripples in the world that I’ve been talking about for so long.
You see, I’ve been here before.
I was an early advocate of plant-based eating but I played small through my own fears of being judged and lack of action taking. I only managed to engage a relatively small audience of around five thousand people and sold a few hundred copies of my plant-based e-books.
(They’re on sale HERE if you’d like to support me on my mission to make the world a better place for all of us and future generations.)
It wasn’t enough.
And my plastic action-taking isn’t enough either.
Are you truly doing enough? Could you do more?
Don’t leave it any longer. Today is the day we must all embrace the challenge and step out of our plastic comfort zone.
If you’re a small business owner, creative or personal brand who’s struggling with visibility and would love to learn how to write better blogs to improve your reach and attract more of the right clients, then read on!
Let’s start at the beginning…
Having a catchy title that conveys power, emotion, action or success is a great place to start. Although, it’s often best to write your article first and then find a title that best fits your content.
(Just like your English teacher may have suggested you write your essay conclusion before the main body of the essay. It’s a great tip as it keeps you focused on what you’re really trying to say and not going off on a tangent… like I am right now!)
How to choose a great title…
In the past I’ve relied on my word whispering wit to choose blog titles, but while they may be quirky, funny or unique, they don’t really get me the high viewing stats I could be getting.
And when you write for a living, that’s kind of disappointing… and really stupid!
So I began researching ways to up my game and came across the Headline Analyzer tool by coschedule.com. It’s a free tool that gives you a score out of 100 for your headlines and allows you to easily make tweaks to your words to create the best, most attention-grabbing headlines to attract those dream clients or a bigger audience.
In the picture below, you can see I started with the title: ’10 ways to boost your blog’s performance’. It scored 71, which is within the ‘green’ band of potential success.
As a general rule, if it’s in green it’s good to go, but amber needs work and red is a no-go zone! However, being the eternal perfectionist I’m never happy with just being in the green so always play around as much as possible to get a score of 75+.
Swapping ’10 Ways’ for ‘How to’ instantly upped the score to 78, while ‘How to make your blog attract more clients’ pipped it at the post with a fantastic 79.
Being specific with the type of clients I want to attract helped me get this title up to a whopping 83/100. (And yes, I’m actually listening to Jessie J right now!)
Note how switching from simple language to something a bit more ‘fancy’ actually reduces the score. KISS!
Subheadings are the shizzle!
Ever heard of title tags and H1, H2 headings? No, neither had I…
But once I started doing a little bit of research I found out that search engines (like Google) have specially trained bots that scan your blogs for information to check that you’re human, not spam and delivering what you say you’re delivering.
Based on their clever technology, you get ranked higher (or lower) depending on your content, which is what helps you become more visible when people search for the service, product or solution they need.
(Ok, that’s in really basic terms! Feel free to geek out on the technical wizardry in your spare time…)
In a nutshell, placing subheadings throughout your blogs not only makes it easier for your consumer to read (’cause everyone scan reads these days), it also makes your blog more likely to rank higher in Google SEO terms.
When you use WordPress (with the new block editor), it’s easy to tweak your text to use the H1 and H2 tags throughout your writing. Here’s a screen grab from WordPress that shows the heading above as an H2 …
While we’re talking tech, keywords are pretty important too…
It’s probably the reason someone named them ‘key’ words…
But we get so used to hearing these digital terms that we never stop to analyse what they really mean or how learning more about them might be useful to our online businesses and blogs.
Keywords act as a bridge between your client or audience and your blog or online business.
There are short tail keywords like: blogger, writer, copywriter.
And long tail keywords like: how to write better, how to make money as a writer or what is a copywriter?
Think about all the things you’ve ever searched for in Google….
That time you wanted to know how tall Aquaman is in real life, whether chocolate cake can be made calorie-free or how to get red wine stains out of carpet.
Your potential clients and customers are searching for information and solutions right now. The chance of them finding you and your business ranges from pretty small to ‘OMG I’m ranking on page 1 of Google!’.
Whether you decide to spend hours researching your company’s keywords or not is up to you, but when you’re writing blogs and articles for the internet do include words, phrases and sentences that you know people will be searching for. (Try it in your next blog and watch your stats increase!)
Let’s leave tech for a bit and look at …
How to write in a voice that aligns to your brand
This is where things get exciting for me!
I’m all about alignment, messaging and storytelling.
How to write in a way that captures your reader’s thoughts, worries and dreams and ensures that your words resonate deep in their heart.
Because when you make your reader feel stuff, that’s when the magic happens!
They want to know more about you, your brand, how you solved your problems (which means you can solve theirs too) and how they can work with you, buy your products or subscribe to your services.
Have you ever come across someone online for the very first time and just thought ‘YES!’, this person gets me!
He/she/they understand exactly why I’m struggling and what I need to make life better.
So, while this isn’t one of my usual ‘woo-woo’, earth-friendly, animal-loving, entrepreneurial blogs, it is shooting the arrow right into the heart of ‘Help! Why isn’t my blog performing well and what can I do to make it better?’
I understand where you’re struggling because I’ve struggled there too. I’ve found solutions that I’m sharing with you today so you too can up your blogging game and get noticed! (And more sales, obvs.)
Ok, I’ll admit, this is where I’m a bit ‘poop emoji’.
I get bursts of imagination and creativity and churn out blog after blog followed by weeks of client-focused work and a need to relax on the sofa with my fluffy bunnies hopping round, or a cat asleep on my lap, watching YouTube videos about tiny homes… (and probably best I don’t admit my latest time-drain – TikTok!)
Last November (2018), I decided to blog every day for a month and my website stats increased dramatically. Creating more content = more shares, a higher ranking on search engines and a greater possibility of ‘going viral’.
Weekly blogs are ideal but monthly blogs aren’t really enough.
My top tips?
Create a library of content.
Commit to posting new blogs on a set day each week.
Use a scheduling tool to upload your blogs to save time.
Batch create content to maintain focus and maximise your time.
Give old blogs a makeover with updated content and a new title and repost them.
Use photos in your blog
Depending on your theme and content, adding one or two photos related to your blog (in addition to the cover photo) can greatly improve your reader’s enjoyment and how much time they spend on your site.
However, overdoing the photos (especially large file sizes) will lead to an infuriatingly slow loading blog and your reader will simply get bored and click on to something else.
(Let’s be honest, we’re all a little too impatient online these days!)
Add ALT tags to images
Ok, back to the technical stuff!
An ALT tag should describe your image and helps ‘screen readers’ create a better experience for the visually impaired.
It’s also used in SEO to check that the image relates to the text around it. Your ALT text is a great place for your keywords and phrases, but don’t over do it (keyword stuffing) or you’ll be seen as spammy.
In the wise words of Yoast.com, ‘When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in context of the content of the page.’
Using Yoast for WordPress
Yoast is a clever little plugin that I should have added to my website wayyyy sooner! If you haven’t added it yet, I suggest you hop over to your WordPress site pretty quickly and install it. (It’s free!)
Yoast helps you to improve the readability and SEO ranking of your blog and is incredibly user friendly with a traffic light system to help you see instantly where you can improve your writing.
It also guides you to add snippets of text (a meta description) that your potential readers will see when they find you from an internet search. This catchy little pocket of 50-160 characters has the potential to make you seem more attractive and click-able. Just like the perfect online dating profile!
Backlinks, Internal links and CTAs
When someone stays to read your whole blog, that’s great.
But ideally you’d like them to hang around and read a second blog, or a third…
… or check out your ‘work with me’ page or view your retails products.
You might even want them to sign up to your email newsletter or join a waiting list for your sparkly new launch that’s ‘coming soon!’.
It’s important to make it CLEAR to your reader what they should do next before clicking off your page and onto another site.
In the online business world this is known as a call-to-action and can come at the end of a page – although it’s great to add a sprinkling of internal links or backlinks throughout.
(Promoting other people’s work is not only a lovely thing to do for them, it also helps you in the long run as others will notice your generosity and share your awesomeness too!)
Find out more about X here.
Sign up to my monthly newsletter or grab this freebie. (Sometimes on a pop-up)
You may have noticed how I snuck in a couple of internal links to the list above. These are simple hyperlinks to other pages on your website. For example, to other blogs, to an About Page or even to your social media platforms if you’re aiming to get more people following you there.
Backlinks are very similar. These are used when your blog link is shared from outside of your website (i.e. from your social media channels), or from a third party – one of your raving fans perhaps! Collaborating with other online businesses and brands is a great way to have your work featured on other sites with backlinks directing people to your content.
Phew! We’re done!
How was it for you?
Did you learn something new? If so, I’d love to read your comments…
I’m most definitely not an expert in SEO, unlike the amazing SEO Sleuth Natalie Alleblas , and my blog has not yet reached the dizzy heights created by the incredible lifestyle and parenting blogger Vicki Psarias, founder of Honest Mum (and author, vlogger, film director and all round lovely person).
I write from the heart, with love, compassion, empathy and a fundamental urge to teach and share all the information I’ve accrued over the past forty-something years.
My blog may not be reaching millions of people every month (yet!) but I’m going to put it out there and say that this blog will be my new highest performing blog on my website! (For now, anyway.)
The best way to write better blogs that attract more of the right clients is to write consistently, sharing value in a way that resonates with your audience and using a few technical tips, tricks and tools to make your blog work harder for you.
A bit like investing money – once you know what to do with it, you can build wealth with less effort and spend more time with the people you love and doing the things that light you up – and less time at a J.O.B.
And if you’d like ME to write YOUR blogs…
All you need to do is hop over to my Work With Me page and find out about my ghost-blogging, article-writing services that enable you to outsource the very thing that may be stressing you out and bringing on grey hairs!
With regular, well-written blogs on your website you can supercharge your viewing stats and build a bigger audience of ideal clients who love what you do and are excited to be your cheerleaders.
We’ve all been there: standing in the kitchen with a split bin bag dripping smelly liquid and dropping rubbish and food waste all over the floor…
It’s not pretty.
And it costs us precious time in clearing up the mess.
It’s no different with cheap toilet paper, socks and sticky tape; invariably we use twice as much or need to replace the item twice as fast.
Today’s society has become wasteful. We buy endless amounts of cheap ‘stuff’ with no regard to how we’ll dispose of it when we’re done.
Frugality is different.
It’s not about being cheap or mean. It’s about buying the things you need but with the conscious decision to buy items that will last or that bring true value to our lives.
It’s not about cost, but about value for money.
If you’ve got a favourite item of clothing that you wear hundreds of times a year – maybe a pair of jeans, a jacket or a trusty pair of boots – you can work out your average cost per wear.
If one of those items cost £100 and you wear it a hundred times, thats £1 per wear.
Compare that to the cheap Christmas novelty jumper that was a bargain at £9.99 but you only wore it once – that’s almost £10 for that one wear. The cheap jumper is ten times more expensive per wear than the designer jeans or cashmere jumper.
Plus, the novelty jumper will inevitably get passed on to charity in January while the high quality clothes can be resold, giving you money back on what were already great value items.
If you’re looking to do something to help climate change and the environment, changing how you buy your clothes is a great place to start. Buy less, buy better quality, buy pre-loved items and look after the items you own.
Now let’s look at this from the perspective of the food we eat…
Cheap food is big business. For many supermarkets, frozen food stores and fast food chains this is their main selling point. Not good nutrition or delicious tasting meals, just cheap food.
And we bought into it.
We got lazy and started buying ready meals, packets of pre-chopped vegetables and somewhere along the way we decided we needed to eat on the run in our cars, on the way to work or at our desks. Hey, there was even a time we apparently needed a coffee to get round the supermarket!
We forgot how to cook, budget and run a home in the way our parents, grandparents and great grandparents did.
Home cooking in 2020 needs a makeover!
And that starts with us switching our mindset from cost to value.
And in order to get better value from the food you eat you need to start looking at the payback on your health and well-being.
This is about both the short term and long term benefits for you and your family.
If you’re struggling with low energy, poor sleep, bad skin, excess weight (or severely underweight), mood swings and irritability, constant headaches or migraines, joint pain, auto immune disease, heart disease, high cholesterol or many other common 21st century conditions, then switching your diet to one rich in whole foods, with more vegetables and fruit, more essential fats, more beans and lentils, less meat and dairy, less sugar, salt, saturated fat and alcohol, will improve your symptoms, improve your quality of life, potentially extend your lifespan and reduce the money you’ll inevitably need to spend on health care costs down the line.
What if I could show you how to save money on your food costs AND eat more healthily?
(Scroll straight to the bottom if you want to skip the money part and jump straight to plant-based cooking ideas.)
I promise you it isn’t difficult, but it may take time to adapt depending on how much time and effort you’re willing to commit and how quickly you embrace new ways of living.
(Oh, and you’ll also produce less waste, use less resources from fossil fuels and plastic and help the environment too! Sounds good, right?)
Note: You don’t need to make all the changes in one go. See what feels best to you and your family. Remember, you can try new habits for 30, 60 or 90 days to see if they feel good. You always have a choice and are free to re-introduce old habits and luxuries any time you wish.
Here are my household financial top tips to get you started:
Start by assessing where you are now in terms of weekly / monthly spend. Check your receipts, bank or credit card statements or track your cash spend over the month. If you don’t know where you are today, then you won’t appreciate quite how much you could save. And if, like many people, you have credit card debts, a mortgage, children approaching university age or have dreams of a round the world trip or retiring early, then every penny you save today can help you save or the future you want.
Look at how much food waste and packaging you create each week. Unless you’ve been living off grid in the rainforest for the last three years you’ll be aware that the oceans are choking on our plastic waste and planet Earth is heating up from a rise in CO2 emissions caused by many aspects of human life including transport, power, agriculture and deforestation. Making a decision to produce less waste starts with your personal mindset and being aware of the consequences of your decisions.
Look at your overall monthly and annual income and expenditure. Whether you’re a single parent family on a low income or a wealthy family with two professional, full time working parents, three children, two dogs and a nanny – or anywhere in between – there are always ways you can make savings and leave more cash for the things that are really important to you. Your mindset around money and the things you value in life is more important than your actual income. This blog isn’t the place for a complete financial makeover, but the things I’ve found most important are (a) Tracking your money – both money IN and money OUT. (b) Creating a budget. Start with all your essential expenses (your home and utilities) and then look at what you currently spend on food, leisure, entertainment, clothes, subscriptions, gym memberships etc. Use a notebook or a spreadsheet, whichever you prefer. Where can you make savings? Remember that every penny saved now counts towards freedom and security in the future. What are you willing to sacrifice? Again, this isn’t about depriving yourself of any luxuries, but about deciding which habits are unnecessary and not bringing you joy or value. Write down all the ways you can cut down your expenses.
From these exercises, create a budget. How much are you willing (or able) to spend on food each week? Trimming £50 a week off the average UK family’s food shop is so easy you’d hardly notice any difference on your plate. And that £50 a week is a whopping £2600 a year! That money could be used to pay extra off your mortgage so you can retire years earlier than planned. Or it could be saved for your child’s future to enable them to get through university debt free. Or maybe you would love to have a cleaner, a weekend trip away for your birthday and a massage every month? The choice is yours. And those big dreams can happen easily with a little short term planning.
Now you know where you stand financially, and are committed to making a difference to your health and lifestyle, let’s look at the shopping, food prep and cooking:
Weekly Meal Planning. If you’re a brilliant home cook who can always whizz meals together in minutes from seemingly random ingredients, then you can skip this step. If you’re not, then taking some time to plan family meals for the week will save you time, energy and money, not to mention less food waste. Remember to plan all your meals and snacks, not just dinners. Use a spread sheet, a notebook or an app then create a shopping list. (Just remember to take the list to the supermarket with you!)
Food preparation. When we bring food home from the supermarket, most of us simply pop it all in the cupboards and fridge as quickly as possible (before proceeding to eat all the treats within 24 hours!) But a little preparation here can again save you time and give you the best possible chance of eating the healthy snacks rather than the crisps or biscuits. For example, fruit and veg that needs to go into morning smoothies can be chopped up and stored in the fridge or freezer in portion sized containers or reusable bags. Slice carrots, cucumber and pepper into snack sized strips for the next day. If you’re using the oven to cook dinner, add in a tray of chopped vegetables to roast for tomorrow’s lunch. Think about all the ways a little effort today can help you tomorrow.
Batch cooking. We used to think that multitasking was a badge of honour but now we know that batching our time and activities actually brings us increased productivity and a calmer mind. Laundry day wasn’t quite such a silly idea for our grandmothers after all! When it comes to batch cooking, this is a great way to keep your health and weight loss goals on track as well as saving energy in the home. Think about the meals you eat frequently and those which can be easily frozen in portion sizes (or family sized containers if you know you’ll be reheating it all in one go). Curry, chilli, bolognese, pasta sauces, lasagne, shepherd’s pie and casseroles all lend themselves well to being frozen and reheated. *Interesting fact – freezers are more efficient when they’re filled up. (I only learnt this recently!)*
There’s one HUGE area we haven’t covered yet when it comes to saving money and increasing the amount of nutrients in your diet: Plant-based food.
With so much in the press every day about climate change, animal agriculture and vegan diets, you’d be forgiven for being utterly confused about what to eat and why.
FACT: Animal agriculture does play a part in global warming due to methane emissions of the animals (i.e. cow burps), deforestation (Cutting down trees to make land for grazing or for growing crops such as soy to feed the animals. Less trees = more CO2 in the atmosphere.), transport emissions (export of meat to other countries and in different stages of its processing) and, as a side note, animal agriculture uses a lot more water than growing plants for human consumption. Water shortage will be a massive problem across the whole world in the future so its well worth changing our habits today for a better world tomorrow.
FACT: There is more than adequate protein available in a plant-based (vegan) diet so long as you eat a variety of whole foods (i.e. not toast and pasta every day) and eat adequate calories. The protein argument simply isn’t viable for the vast majority of the population.
FACT: A plant-based diet will save you money. Comparing a home cooked diet containing meat versus a home cooked diet without meat. We’re not including takeaway treats and packaged ready meals in this statement because the same can be true for both vegan and omnivorous diets.
FACT: Switching to a plant-based diet means you’ll naturally eat more vegetables, more fruit, more whole grains and more beans and lentils than on a standard western diet. Therefore your daily intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will increase and your body will become healthier at cellular level.
So, where do we start with a plant-based diet if we want to save money and improve our health? The two main factors are:
Education. Use all the resources available to you to find recipes, and learn how to cook and prepare simple plant-based dishes. Pinterest and Instagram are great visual sources for recipes and food presentation. YouTube is brilliant if you’re a beginner level home cook. TEDx talks are great for learning about climate change and diet choices. Cookery books are widely (and cheaply) available at libraries, 2nd hand stores and charity book events. Plus you can download many direct to your iPad or Kindle.
Practice. Whatever we want to achieve in life, we all start out at that beginner level. Olympic sprinters started out as babies learning to walk. Billionaires started out as school children eager to learn. Mountain climbers started with hill hikes. So stop worrying about how little you can do and start learning, practicing and, most importantly, failing! I’ve cooked from scratch almost every day of my life since I was a teenager and yet I still occasionally burn food, make bean burgers that fall apart and forget to put baking powder in cakes. We’re all human but what sets the winners apart from the losers is that resilience and determination to keep trying after failure. Anyone can cook, I promise you. And anyone can successfully switch to a plant-based diet and make it work for them.
What are the cheapest food sources that deliver the most nutritional value?
(Hint: These are the ones you need to eat most of the time, even if you still eat meat, dairy and sweet treats a few times a week. Remember, it’s what you do 80% of the time that is the most important.)
Beans and lentils
Leafy green vegetables
Brightly coloured vegetables
Nuts and seeds
Water (filtered tap water)
Fruit and vegetables are cheapest (and most tasty) when they’re grown locally and are in season.
Of course, it’s not always possible in some areas and climates to have an abundant supply of fresh produce all year round, which is where preserving, freezing and food prep comes into play. For example:
Grow lots of tomatoes every summer that you turn into tomato sauce to use on pasta dishes or in curries, stews and bolognese.
Pick lots of local apples at the end of summer and turn them into apple chutney or apple compote for use over the winter.
Pick lots of local berries in the summer and freeze for smoothies and breakfast dishes or turn into jam.
Buy lots of brown speckled ripe bananas, peel, chop and freeze in containers or reusable bags to use in smoothies. Overripe bananas are also great in banana bread or cake that can also be frozen in slices.
If I haven’t yet managed to persuade you to give a plant-based diet a try (for at least 30 days) then maybe these meal planning ideas will get your taste buds tingling!
Porridge with chopped banana, crushed toasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate chips.
Overnight oats with blueberries, chia seeds and coconut yogurt.
Banana pancakes with maple syrup and raspberries
Scrambled tofu with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms
Avocado on toast with sea salt and chilli flakes
Power smoothie with pineapple, spinach, avocado, banana, dates and almonds.
Fruit salad and carrot cake energy balls (yes, really!)
Lunch and dinner ideas:
Black bean chilli with brown rice and guacamole.
Chick pea, spinach and potato korma with basmati rice.
Vegetable and cashew nut stir fry with noodles.
Lentil shepherd’s pie with sweet potato topping.
Mediterranean butter bean and tomato stew with quinoa.
Moroccan couscous with almonds, apricots and spiced tofu.
Tagliatelle with a creamy coconut, squash and rosemary sauce.
Homemade hummus and carrot sticks.
Homemade avocado dip and toasted pitta bread.
Homemade sea salt kale chips.
Rice cakes with peanut butter and banana.
Fresh fruit and/or nuts and seeds
Homemade trail mix
Chocolate smoothie with banana, cinnamon, cacao, dates and almond milk.
For over 50 pages of plant-based recipes, store cupboard basics, nutrition information and more, grab yourself a copy of my Eat More Plants e-book for just £15, available as an instant download.
Click here to buy your copy of EAT MORE PLANTS today.
Yet each time there’s a protest by Extinction Rebellion, thousands of people take to social media to leave negative comments, criticise each protestor’s lifestyle and, in many cases, deliberately write nasty, abusive words that make the rest of us scream on the inside with utter despair.
If you’re one of those commenters, you’re missing the point.
The whole idea of any protest is to raise awareness and create change.
And in order to do that, protests must disrupt either governments, businesses or the public.
David Attenborough wouldn’t have created mass awareness about global warming and environmental issues without the help of the BBC and a huge team of scientists and digital crew.
Greenpeace wouldn’t have created mass awareness of the atrocities of whaling without their demonstrations back in the 1980s.
Animal rights groups wouldn’t have created mass awareness of testing on animals and barbaric fur farms without breaking in and releasing thousands of beagles, mink and rabbits.
While not every one of us desires to be (or even needs to be) a front line activist, these protests, events and online campaigns do motivate us – as both individuals and large corporations – to make changes.
As a vegetarian teenager back in the 80s, I was deeply saddened to find out about animal testing and instantly made the switch to The Body Shop’s products – a company at the forefront of the cruelty-free movement thirty years ago.
Extinction Rebellion are no different. They’re simply trying to make us aware of a global issue that will, in a very short period of time, affect every single one of us alive.
Of course, being stuck in traffic or late for work is an inconvenience, but it’s a tiny drop in the ocean to how life might be if we run out of food and water.
Fancy living in a war zone or an overpopulated town with mass looting?
Or how about a country with mass inflation where a loaf of bread costs £100?
Or losing your home to rising sea levels and having to flee inland as a refugee?
No. Me neither.
And remember… if you’re able to read this on a smartphone from the luxury of your own home on a comfy sofa with a glass of wine, you’re one of the privileged few.
For now anyway.
Each person who takes part in a protest has their own reasons for doing so. We can’t all take part, just as we aren’t all willing to give up our cars or stop eating meat.
So herein lies the issue.
We’ve become an incredibly intolerant society jumping on the bandwagon and leaving vitriolic comments on social media posts that are simply highlighting events designed to help humanity as a whole.
I’ve read so many comments today where people feel they have the right to suggest that each protestor probably still uses a gas-guzzling 4×4 vehicle or takes a plane on holiday each year.
This kind of attitude implies that only the ‘purest’ of citizens have a right to protest for change.
How ridiculously twisted is that?
None of us are perfect.
And that’s ok.
Because in terms of climate change, that would mean we’d all have to live off grid, grow our own food, walk everywhere and eschew computers and wifi.
Hey, we’d even have to all live off lentil soup (because yes, someone did actually throw that one into a Facebook comments thread today!).
Assuming we could even harvest that many lentils from our small piece of land that is.
The point is, the bullying and trolling on social media is disgusting and disgraceful.
And it has to stop.
If you have time to make negative comments about climate change issues when other people are actually trying to help you to live a better life in the future, then you really need to find a new hobby to keep you busy.
Devil, idle hands. Just sayin’.
Currently, we all have a choice.
We can choose to eat less meat, take part in beach cleans, use a bike instead of a car or refuse to buy items in plastic.
We can choose to write blogs, make videos, start eco-friendly companies or speak in schools about the issues currently facing planet Earth.
Many choose to actively take part in protests, even if it means risking arrest or the abuse of those who disagree.
In the western world we’re lucky to live in a democracy where free speech is allowed. Not everyone has that choice to speak up for what they believe in.
So before you leave another ill-informed, abusive or even sarcastic comment, ask yourself this:
Am I contributing to this discussion in a way that is positive, polite and constructive?
Remember that it’s easy to pick on minority groups and those whose beliefs differ from ours.
It’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and fire off loaded words.
But that doesn’t make it right.
Will you do the right thing today?
Fancy reading more about environmental issues? You might like this blog ‘The True Cost of Fast Fashion’.
As an entrepreneur, having your life change in one small slip on a wet pavement could be enough to send you swimming head first into a deep sea of stress and anxiety.
I remember sitting in a hotel room the day after I broke my ankle worrying about how I’d get home; how I’d navigate the hotel reception area, the airport, the plane, the taxi ride home. Worrying about how I wouldn’t be able to drive to visit clients nor earn enough money to pay my bills.
But once I was home (airport special assistance are amazing – highly recommended!), those big fears vanished beneath a wave of logistical planning and hours of rest and relaxation.
There simply wasn’t space in my head to accommodate stress and healing at the same time.
I instinctively knew that getting better was my priority.
Yet, how many times in running a small business do we forget to prioritise our physical and mental health?
Being given the opportunity to step back and see things from a new perspective was an unexpected gift.
One for which I’ll be forever grateful.
Of course, it’s easy to say that it would be great if I hadn’t broken my ankle, but then I would still have been procrastinating about various projects and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience so much kindness and love.
And I definitely wouldn’t have got round to researching charity walking challenges for 2020 – which I’m even more driven to take part in now! #bringontherehab
So, if you’re reading this as a fit and healthy but overwhelmed entrepreneur, my advice is simple:
Take time out away from the noise.
Meditate. Breathe. Spend time in nature.
Ask for help.
Take on a cleaner, a VA, an accountant, a web designer, a copywriter, or someone to cook healthy food. Wherever you need help in your life or business, don’t be afraid to reach out and pay for expert help and support.
I put off getting a cleaner for the last 15 years.
I kept thinking that I couldn’t afford it, or that I wouldn’t like having someone in my house.
But then my ankle injury forced me to think differently. And once my friend’s cleaner came to join me, I realised how much pressure it took off of me and how much it reduced the stress and arguments I would have had with my teenage daughter.
I’m free to rest and recuperate and my daughter only has to do the day to day cleaning up after meals which frees her up to spend more time on college work.
Win-win-win I think!
Lorraine Pannetier | Intuitive Copywriter | The Soulful Word
If you’re currently injured, or have a friend or relative with a broken bone, here are ten things I’ve learned in the last four weeks that might make you smile or prompt you to help a friend in need (especially if they’re not fond of asking for help):
Healing bones is tiring. You’ll sleep and rest far more than you thought possible. If you try to do too much your body will soon tell you to slow down! (In fact, it was probably giving you signs before you broke your ankle that you ignored…)
Asking for help is fundamental to recovery. When you’ve broken your ankle and are hobbling around on crutches there are so many things you can’t do. You basically become a flamingo – and I’ve never seen a flamingo make a cup of tea or pick up their child’s shoes from the floor. For a few weeks you’ll need someone to cook, clean and bring you drinks. Plus, you’ll need lifts to hospital appointments and someone willing to push you around in a wheelchair.
You’ll become very good at single-legged squats. When you’re not allowed to put any weight on the injured leg for 6 weeks, sitting down on the toilet or pushing up from a low step involves using every ounce of strength and balance from the good leg.
Shimmying up and down the stairs becomes a new game – one that thankfully strengthens your upper arms (bye bye batwings) and allows you to dust the skirting board or between the bannisters. (Trust me, when you’re down at that level you notice everything!)
Old backpacks and aprons that were sitting in that ‘declutter’ box in the hallway suddenly have a new lease of life. After all, how else are you going to get from the kitchen to the lounge with your sandwiches and water bottle? And that backpack will be your saving grace when it comes to taking your phone, charger, medication and other personal items up the stairs to bed each night.
You’ll soon become a pro at injecting your tummy with blood thinning medication (vital to stop blood clots in your immobile leg). Honestly, it’s scary when the nurse first tells you what you have to do, but like any challenge, once you’re over that first hurdle it becomes easier than you ever imagined and you wonder why you were so worried in the first place!
You’ll become truly grateful for Amazon grocery shopping and local food delivery services. If you live alone, or with children who are too young to go shopping by themselves, having food delivered to your door is a life saver (although you’ll need help unpacking too!). If you don’t have anyone to cook for you then definitely take advantage of cooked meal-prep services that cater for all diets and tastes.
Patience is a virtue – and one you’ll develop pretty quickly. The art of only doing what’s important will become a new skill to add to your ever growing list of talents. With all your body’s energy being channelled into healing that broken bone, there will be very little left for physical or creative pursuits. So pop those book-writing, course-creating, decluttering goals to one side and focus on your healing.
There are a whole host of health and medical services in place to help you through this period. From shower chairs to hospital transport to airport special assistance, the infrastructure and services are there specifically for these moments when you simply can’t do it alone. If you’re a single parent, on a low income or live alone, make sure you ask for help. Don’t let pride get the better of you!
You’ll receive kindness, compassion and help in unexpected places, from family, friends and strangers. Accept those hands that keep you steady, the food that keeps you nourished and the flowers that brighten your day.
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s played a part in this broken bone journey so far…
The staff at Thai Edge restaurant, Leeds, who gave me water and a chair after I slipped over and helped me (and paid for) a taxi to hospital.
The taxi driver who held my hand as I struggled to hop into the car.
All the medical staff at Leeds General Infirmary A&E.
The amazing team at Premier Inn, Leeds Whitehall – especially Ryan for going out of his way to help us.
The staff at Jet2 customer services online and at the airport.
The friendly and compassionate Special Assistance Team at Leeds Bradford (Yorkshire) airport and Jersey airport.
All the medical staff, nurses and operating teams at Jersey hospital.
Anne from Jersey Occupational Therapy services.
Marta for keeping my house clean and tidy (and Joanna for sharing her with me!).
My mum for sending me a beautiful hand made card.
Plus, my amazing friends who’ve taken me to hospital appointments, pushed me round in a wheelchair, done my food shopping, collected my daughter, bought pet supplies, brought me flowers and made me cups of tea. Annette, Emily, Tracey, Jayne, Fiona, Polly, Chantelle. I’m so grateful for all your help, love and kindness.
A huuuuuuge shout out to my 16 year old daughter who has had to completely change her lifestyle to cook and clean for me every day and is getting a crash course in how to run a house… Thank you 💗
And a massive thank you to my wonderful 18 year old daughter who was with me when it happened… thank you for looking after me at hospital, taking photos of my deformed, swollen ankle and pushing me around in a very awkward wheelchair. Thank you for going to buy me cheap black leggings that I could cut to fit over my plaster cast! 💗
And finally, to all my Facebook friends who’ve sent me lovely messages (and Tina for the special gift) – you’re all amazing and I’m so grateful we’ve connected over the magic that is the internet.
Just as it’s important to build strong foundations to create a healthy business, so we need to build strong foundations, or pillars, for our personal health.
These health pillars relate to our physical health in both mind and body, and can also relate to spiritual and financial health.
Eating a diet rich in organic fruit and vegetables is great, but if at the same time you’re living unhealthy practices in mental health, spiralling into debt or stuck in a toxic relationship, then you aren’t going to achieve the vibrant health and vitality you dream of.
Food is not the enemy, but equally it isn’t the saviour. Clean food won’t instantly transform your life nor make the fat, inflammation or disease formed from years of destructive self talk disappear over night.
It’s time to think about food as just one part of a happy, energetic, harmonious life.
I’ve long held the mantra (and the hashtag) ‘Eat More Plants’, in fact, it was even the title of my very first recipe e-book back in 2015 as well as the name of the cooking class I taught at a local college.
To me, the essence of eating more plant-based foods revolves around nourishing your body at a cellular level, being more connected to nature and the seasons and filling your plate with a rainbow of foods created the way nature intended.
A whole food, plant based lifestyle means that we naturally consume far less processed and man-made foods (including junk food and snacks) as well as less sugar, less salt and less saturated fat than the standard British or American diet.
Eating this way means that you have to get back in the kitchen to wash, prepare and cook ingredients – which for many people is the one thing that sends them running straight back to the supermarket for ready meals or sauces in jars.
But one of the most important things I’ve realised over the years is that once you slow down and make time for home cooking, the more connected you feel to the food you eat and the greater the satisfaction in eating. This connection is heightened by more family meals around the table, children helping you cook and prepare food or even going foraging together or creating your own veggie patch in the garden.
It’s like a positive version of a catch 22. The more you slow down, the more relaxed and happy you feel and the lower the chance of stress eating, bingeing or grabbing that chocolate bar or bag of crisps from the petrol station or corner shop.
You’ve switched from running around at warp speed, unsuccessfully multi-tasking in every aspect of your life (we all know that when you try to spin too many plates they invariably fall and smash spectacularly at your feet), to slowing down to a pace where you have time to breathe.
To stop and smell the metaphorical roses.
To just be in the present moment.
To take that evening walk. To visit the friend. To take grandma out for Sunday tea.
After a few months, your body catches up with your mind. You realise your sleep is better; no more staring at the ceiling at 3am or waking up with a feeling of dread hanging over you. Your body moves more freely; you sign up to the gym or a local exercise class or dip your toes in the sea. Your skin is brighter with less need for a mask of heavy make up – freeing up more time in the morning for reading, writing or creative passions. Your clothes fit better and you feel a sense of confidence return; perhaps you will join the dance class or dating site after all….
Eating (and enjoying) a plant-based lifestyle isn’t just about you though. It evokes a wider sense of community: a desire to meet other people following the same path, to share information and recipes or to swap home grown produce.
Helping the planet reverse the impact of catastrophic climate change is another crucial benefit of eating more plant based food and less meat, fish and dairy. If you’re interested in the statistics, just ask Google (or Ecosia – the eco-friendly search engine which plants trees as you search).
While switching your diet overnight is generally pretty difficult (particularly if you have a partner and children eating in the same house), there are many simple ways you can tip the balance in favour of plants.
Here are some of my favourite top tips to help you to Eat More Plants:
Switch the balance of your current family favourites in favour of plants. Take out half the mince and add a can of brown lentils to a lasagne, shepherd’s pie or bolognese. Take out half the chicken or fish from a curry or stir fry and add more vegetables. Try courgette noodles instead of pasta with a home made tomato sauce blended with roasted vegetables (try carrots, onion, garlic, red pepper and tomatoes with fresh basil). Swap cheese sprinkled on hot dishes for toasted pine nuts or broken pieces of cashew nuts.
Try eating meat free one day a week. Or one meal a day every day. There are probably lots of meals you already enjoy that are either vegetarian or could be easily switched to plant based. Easy choices are pasta with tomato sauce, lentil or chick pea curry, mushroom risotto and bean chilli with potato wedges. There’s a global movement based around meat-free or meatless Monday – simply search for the hashtag across social media.
Learn something new. Learning is a huge part of human life. We’re constantly learning, growing and evolving in relationships, work, sport and creative pursuits. Learning how to cook, trying new recipes, joining an evening cooking class, watching a documentary, listening to podcasts, buying a book…. there are billions of bite sized pieces of information out there created by passionate, knowledgeable and artistic people.
Share information and resources. Once you’ve learnt something new, share it. Lend a book, write a blog, share a meal, comment on a social media post. If you have friends already embracing a plant-based (or vegan) lifestyle, ask them a few questions, invite them to eat with you, share their information with others if they’re running a plant-based food business or website.
As Brené Brown would probably say, ‘dare greatly’. Be confident and courageous and try something new in the kitchen. What’s the worst that could happen? If the food tastes really bad or you burn it it’ll end up in the bin and you’ll eat something else. But chances are, it’ll be edible – and better than that, it could be totally delicious! Explore, experiment and enjoy your new food adventures.
Unless you’ve unplugged from social media this week, or are enjoying a relaxing internet-free break on a tropical island (lucky you), chances are you’ve noticed that today (Friday 8 March) is International Women’s Day.
This year’s theme focuses on Balance – with the sentiment being that ‘a balanced world is a better world’.
Balance is something we’re all trying to achieve but somehow often falling short.
Today, I want to let you know that even if you haven’t reached a particular goal or dream in your life or business, it’s ok!
You’re not a failure for having failed, you’re amazing for having even tried.
In honour of International Women’s Day, I want to support and promote some of the amazing women who’ve crossed my path in the last twelve months.
All of these women inspire me to be a better version of myself than I was yesterday.
So, a huge thank you to each and every one of you. You’re making more of a difference in the world than you could ever have dreamed of.
(As they say on reality TV: ‘In no particular order…’)
Maeve is a real-life guardian angel; an effervescent Soul Coach who radiates love and warmth. While we’ve yet to meet in person, our video calls feel like we’ve known each other for lifetimes (and perhaps we have!). Maeve has had such an incredible journey to arrive at this point today where she uses her decades of professional and personal experience to guide clients and retreat guests to a place of personal stillness and joy. Maeve is hosting a beautiful retreat in the rolling countryside of Northern Ireland this summer and for a few lucky people it will be exactly what they’ve dreamed of for so long.
Jules is one of the kindest souls on the planet. Her sales coaching work evolves from her deeply held belief that selling is really based on Human Conversation. Jules believes that many of the life skills we possess are sales skills in disguise and that we shouldn’t be afraid to promote our skills, talents, experience and natural gifts with the world. When it comes to action-taking, Jules definitely wins the top award! In the past year she’s spoken at a TEDx event, started a podcast, launched a course, written an Amazon best selling book and been invited to teach and speak all around the UK and in the USA – making her a truly international sales coach. I’m so proud of her unrelenting determination to succeed and to make a difference to small businesses and personal lives.
TINA LEIGH MCDONALD
Tina is one of those unassuming, humble people who really has NO idea how incredible she is and how much of a difference she’s making to young adults in the UK. Tina’s work in schools and the private sector help young people to gain vital skills needed to progress into the workplace. But, more importantly than that, she helps young people to believe in themselves – something that’s absolutely vital for long term emotional and physical health. Tina, I’ve said it before but you truly are amazing. Keep up the great work! xx
When I heard Katie speak at an event last summer, her words touched my heart. To go on a personal journey is one thing, but to be able to share that journey with others in a way that encourages transformation and spreads love is truly beautiful. I’m hoping to work with Katie over the next few months so that I can bloom and grow beyond my wildest dreams – and I know in my heart that Katie’s love and support will be the perfect catalyst for change.
You may not have heard of Shelley yet, but I guarantee that this little ray of sunshine will be bursting into your world very soon! I first met Shelley a couple of years ago and have watched her evolve into the confident Relationship Coach that she is now. If you’ve been struggling with finding your true, authentic self or are stuck in relationship hell, then her coaching will enable you to find your way and transform into the person you were meant to be. Go follow her now before she’s famous!
Helen runs a highly successful and engaging Facebook group called The Courageous Leaders Club – which beautifully sums up everything Helen is about: courage, leadership and collaboration. Helen sets a great example every day in how to successfully run a business from a place of authenticity and vulnerability. Her ability to openly share the messy challenges that affect most of us on a weekly basis means that she builds a safe, supportive place where everyone feels comfortable in being real. The online space definitely needs more people like Helen!
I listened to Nicola speak at Helen Packham’s Entrepreneurial Leaders Live event last summer and was blown away by her energy, love and passion for making a difference in people’s lives. Nicola helps people to build their self-worth and resilience so that they can see, attract and take advantage of all the possibilities that come their way. Nicola’s mantra – ‘This is me’ – and her work as a Life Coach enable people to feel happy in their skin and enjoy the journey through behaviour and mindset change.
Sandy is a gifted, talented artist and interior designer who is quite simply one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. She supported me endlessly in my previous work in nutrition and food coaching and now it’s my turn to share her skills and talents with the world. If I had the money and the dream house with blank, white walls, I would have no hesitation in flying Sandy over from Australia to give my home a splash of her beautiful artwork and her laid back beach-vibe style. Sandy has created a dream art and design studio where she welcomes people for special events and workshops. If you live on the Gold Coast (lucky you!), do try to attend her events. For everyone else, take a look at Sandy’s relaxing website and online shop.
Kay is a beautiful soul, inside and out and chatting to her is guaranteed to brighten your day! Kay is a talented storyteller with a gift for helping brands to find the message that forms the essence of the services they provide and to share that message with the world. I relate so much to Kay as a like-minded, curious, language lover with a passion for helping other women leverage their authenticity and shine brightly.
Emma is a Spiritual Guide who channels messages and energy from divine sources and is guaranteed to always hit the proverbial nail on the head! I couldn’t believe quite how accurate her reading was for me back in December when I asked a question about writing my book. Emma and I have bonded over a love of cats and spirituality and I’m so grateful to have Emma in my life. I’m excited for her next online gathering later in March.
Feeling stuck in your business and Need to create more content than you have the time, patience or creativity for?
Then read on to find out how a ghost blogger (or ghost writer) can help you take your business to the next level…
You will no doubt be familiar with a well known type of ghostwriting – the wordy talent behind many a famous celebrity’s autobiography.
But you may not realise that many business owners and brands outsource their blog creation to talented copywriters, or ‘ghost-bloggers’ in order to be consistent and visible in the online space.
Of course, it’s easy to think that this is cheating; that the company you love to follow is in some way being inauthentic by not physically writing the words you enjoy reading.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Experienced copywriters, ghostwriters and ghost-bloggers work closely with businesses, brands or individuals in order to help them achieve their goals. They get inside the mind and heart of the business owner and their audience so that every word (or blank space) is there for a reason.
The ghostwriter has no agenda of his own; he simply uses his intuitive and learned skills to create content that attracts ideal clients, nurtures relationships, drives sales and helps to boost a company’s bottom line.
If you’re a small business owner, emerging brand or charity project founder, there’s a high chance that you’ve spent a long time doing everything yourself – from website set up to social media promotion to meeting with clients, plus all the behind the scenes work involved in admin, accounts, PR and business strategy.
And that can get exhausting!
(Especially if you’re running a home, looking after kids and working a paid job at the same time.)
At some point you’ve probably considered outsourcing one aspect of your business to a third party – or at least looked into hiring a cleaner, child care or meal delivery – so that you have more free time to dedicate to the parts of your business that light you up most.
So, what’s the difference between paying a professional to create your website, design a logo, run your accounts or set up complicated tech stuff and paying a ghostwriter to create your blogs?
Answer: No difference at all!
It all comes down to your personal areas of expertise, your business strategy, the time you have available and the money you’re willing to invest.
If hiring a copywriter or ghost-blogger sounds like an appealing prospect right now then ask around for recommendations and don’t be afraid to ask to see examples of their work or written testimonials. Remember, of course, that many people who hire a ghostwriter may not be willing to admit to it, which means the writer won’t be able to share examples created for those clients who prefer to remain anonymous.
Try to schedule in an informal chat with the potential ghostwriter/copywriter of your choice so that you (and they) can instantly get a feel for whether the relationship feels uplifting, positive and filled with magical potential.
To help you get inside the mind of a copywriter and ghost-blogger (aka me!), I’ve created a short behind the scenes sneak peek into my life. I hope you enjoy reading and if you have any questions, please do pop me an email.
A behind the scenes sneak peek into the life of a copywriter and ghost-blogger…
Jane* and I finally meet on a video call after many months of building a relationship across social media (we originally met in a private Facebook group run by a spiritual coach we both admire and respect). On the call, it feels as if we’ve known each other for ever; we chat like old friends and realise there are so many similarities in our core values (such as integrity, honesty and compassion) and in our desire to create a bigger impact in the world. We’ve shared many of the same life and business struggles and know that this is our time to shine even brighter than before; to be light workers and advocates of change.
It’s during conversations like this that we both know we’ve found ‘the one’; the person that enables us to co-create magic.
After all, a writer needs a subject with a story just as the client needs help to get their message into the world.
It’s a beautiful union of talent, passion and a deep desire to make a difference.
After an initial get-to-know-each-other chat, I ask Jane my favourite question…
‘What lights you up?’
As she shares her dreams, I do more than simply watch and listen. I begin to feel things. I intuitively sense which parts of her story and which words she uses are the ones that are the most important to her and her audience. I get butterflies in my tummy – a sign that I know we’re on the cusp of co-creating something unique, beautiful and special.
Using this incredible energy, we go on to discuss her business goals, her aims for this project, her ideal clients and all the specific details that help me build a bigger picture of Brand Jane and her audience.
Rather than being a typical ‘sales call’, Jane already knows in her heart that she wants to work together and collaborate on her juicy new project. There is no awkward ‘well it’ll cost this much’ and ‘I can’t afford that right now’; instead we both instinctively know that by harnessing our combined energy we end up with something far greater than 1+1=2.
The call is followed up with a confirmation email and a ‘contract’ that clearly explains my services, boundaries and pricing as well as the information Jane needs to provide before I can begin writing.
The writing and editing process itself is a magical journey that I’ll save for another blog. But for now, I hope that this little insight into ghost-blogging and copywriting has triggered a little thought process in your mind…
*Name changed to protect the innocent!
Lorraine Pannetier is an Intuitive Copywriter, Content Creator and Ghost-Blogger based on the sunny island of Jersey – a tiny piece of paradise surrounded by sandy beaches, rocky coastline, palm trees and castles.
Lorraine uses her intuitive gifts and word-whispering talents to help soul-led small businesses, heart-centred entrepreneurs, project leaders and individuals to project their passion into the world and achieve the impact they desire.
Healing the heart space is one of the scariest things we can do.
Because right now I’m scared.
Scared to open up and be vulnerable in a way I’ve never been before. I know my coach is going to ask me questions that will be uncomfortable – painful even. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
But if I don’t do it I will stay here.
Forever in a place of ‘not quite enough’; a silent haunting that weaves its way through all aspects of life.
When I think about how I’ll feel once we start our coaching journey together I breathe a huge sign of relief. A full, long breath that forces my shoulders to relax and allows my heart to open a little wider.
My eyes begin to well up with tears.
I know that my coach will trigger emotions from deep within me that I have to deal with in order to move forward, rise to the next level and achieve all of my life’s goals and desires.
You see, having an open heart isn’t just about being an animal lover, a kind, compassionate human being or a loving, tactile parent. Having an open heart is about being able to dig really deep into the darkest parts of your soul and to allow those fears to surface; to shine such a bright light on them that they no longer haunt your every thought.
I’m ready to do the inner work and feel the love of the Universe radiate from deep within me. I’m ready to be courageous even through times of fear and uncertainty. I’m ready to choose vulnerable and feminine each time my masculine ego kicks in to take me back to where I’ve always been.
After all, as Albert Einstein said: ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’
However cliché it may sound, it’s time for me to step outside of my comfort zone.
I cannot evolve if I stay where it’s comfortable and safe.
It’s time to take a risk and know that the Universe is always there to support me.
If I’m feeling this way, chances are that you might feel this way too.
You KNOW you’re ready to step up your game in life, love or business but there are always excuses…
And when a coach (or friend, lover, parent or child) calls you out on your excuses, it’s as if you have an out of body experience where you can hear the words spewing from your mouth but in your heart you know they’re not true.
That’s why people trigger us when they call us out on our bullsh*t! We sometimes take it to heart as a negative judgement or harsh criticism because, ultimately, the truth hurts.
Now is the time to take that hurt and turn it into something that can bloom and grow into the life and love you’ve always dreamed of.
I have faith that the Universe will support me every step of the way.
All it takes is that first step.
To set the intention.
To say ‘YES, I’m ready!’
(At this point the Universe will probably throw its head back, laugh out loud and say ‘about time too!’)
At the end of 2018 I decided that 2019 would be my ‘no buy year’ – in terms of shop-bought clothes. I’d become disillusioned with the fast fashion industry, sickened by the greed of consumerism and watched one too many documentaries to be able to un-see the pain and suffering that goes on in countries on the other side of the world.
We’re all human beings and no-one should have to endure that kind of lifestyle and insane poverty and hardship just for a cheap $5 t-shirt.
Over recent years I’ve bought less and less items of clothing and tried to emphasise quality over quantity. Add to that a penchant for decluttering on a frequent basis and by December 2018 I was pretty much down to a minimal wardrobe, with only a handful of items I wore on a daily basis. It became a bit of an ongoing joke that I only had one ‘going out’ jumper and one pair of jeans – and when they finally wore thin and split around the inner thighs, it was time to invest.
I made a list of my ideal capsule wardrobe and decided that during my ‘no buy year’ I’d acquire clothes only through swapping with friends, buying locally at thrift stores (charity shops) or buying second-hand from online apps like Depop, except for a small list of items such as bras, pants and a specific brand of jeans that fit perfectly. (Second hand jeans might work well on a 21 year old Instagram model, but finding the right slim fitting, flattering pair on a curvy, 45 year-old body with a little too much muffin top, was never going to be easy!)
Other than those few items, everything else needed to be sourced away from all the usual high street stores – which made our first few visits to town rather interesting … I ended up in the library and vegan cafe instead.
After effortlessly getting through January without buying anything except a pair of well made, Italian brown leather gloves from a ‘designer’ second hand store I found near my mum’s house,it was time to step away from the fears and judgements I was holding on to and approach thrift shopping with a fresh new perspective.
At the start of February my teenage daughter and I headed to a large, local charity shop with a budget of £50. Having watched many YouTube videos beforehand, I was armed with top tips like checking labels for materials, looking at seams and carefully inspecting for any damage. Plus, my Pinterest boards were bulging with variations of all my favourite clothing styles, colours and materials. It was time to shop…
Here are a few things that have made me feel good about ‘pre-loved’ clothes shopping and why I’m already hooked:
Most charity shops are run by volunteers and they’re really friendly. When your shopping trip begins with smiles and hellos, it brightens the whole experience (fashion stores take note!).
When surrounded by an eclectic selection of clothes, you find yourself tuning into the fabrics and textures that most appeal to you, rather than being lured into buying this season’s latest trend. Shopping soon becomes about aligning to your core desires rather than being persuaded into buying an outfit you’d never previously imagined wearing (and we’ve all had plenty of those in our wardrobes, right?).
Second hand clothes in charity shops cost a fraction of their original RRP and when you take your time looking carefully, you’ll uncover some absolute bargains. Only today I found a Guess designer denim jacket for just £12 – original price would have been around £125! I’ve seen plenty of cashmere jumpers too and bought one gorgeous indigo blue linen shirt, again for about a tenth of its shop-bought price.
Brand new items with labels attached are also frequently found – which give you a real buzz when they’re exactly what you were looking for.
While it’s amazing to find new clothes that you can love for many years to come, ultimately the biggest high of pre-loved clothes shopping comes from knowing that the action you’re taking is helping to reduce the environmental impact of fast-fashion manufacturing methods all around the world.
We may not have to wash in polluted water or inhale toxic fumes from factories, but other people -human souls just like you and me – are living in inhumane, unsanitary conditions and I don’t want to contribute to that any more.
Will you join me in reducing your consumption of fast fashion?
If you’d like to learn more about the impact of the fashion industry on the environment, watch these online documentaries: The True Cost and River Blue.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, part of our daily work includes raising our visibility, building relationships with potential clients and collaborators and increasing our credibility amongst our audience.
In the online space there are four main ways in which we can do this:
Written content: blogs, articles, social media posts and engaging with online conversations.
Video content: Facebook live videos, Instagram video, video stories, YouTube, LinkedIn …
Audio content: podcasts, radio interviews, online interviews.
Visual content: Instagram, Pinterest, other social media channels
When it comes to creating content for your business, you probably naturally favour one of those over the other three; it’s the one that comes the most easily to you and the one you enjoy the most. Equally, you’ll also have a preferred type of content that you use for education and personal growth or entertainment.
Personally, I love consuming written content. I love to read well written articles, books and inspiring blogs, but statistics show us that video content is being consumed at a record level (thanks mainly to smartphones). According to HubSpot, 78% of people watch online videos every day and by 2020, online videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic (Source: Cisco).
When it comes to podcasts, listeners are apparently loyal, affluent and educated, with 45% of monthly podcast listeners having a household income over $75k. Almost half of podcast listeners tune in at home, with 22% listening while driving. Smartphones have overtaken computers and tablets as the preferred device for listening to podcasts. (Source: podcastinsights.com)
So what do these statistics mean for your business and the type of content you produce?
There are two ways to look at this…
Firstly, you could stick with your main style of content creation and do it REALLY well so that you become known as the expert in your industry and naturally attract ideal clients who really love what you do and how you do it. (And engaged, ideal clients buy…simples!)
Secondly, you could diversify your content creation so that you cover at least two of the four main types of content: video, aural, photographic or written. So if you currently stick to writing, perhaps it’s time to add in some video; or if you’re all over photographic content then perhaps it’s time to add more written content in the form of guest blogging. Of course, there are numerous combinations possible and each has to not only appeal to your audience, but also be exciting and energising for you to produce (because as a business owner you’ll be producing a lot of content and it’s very time consuming!).
Which leads us on to Content Strategy…
A content strategy is, in essence, a plan of the type of content you’re going to produce alongside a schedule or calendar. For example, you might decide to create one blog or video a week, one social media post every day and send an email to your list once a month. Within that schedule you can then define certain topics or themes for specific dates that coincide with the types of content your audience will be searching for: e.g. January is often about weight loss, while the school summer holidays might lead to a spike in searches for how to entertain bored children!
But before you create a content strategy you must be clear on your audience, your message, your services and your brand’s vision and goals for the year ahead as well as having clarity on everything your brand stands for so that all content remains in alignment. If you’re still in the early stages of your business and haven’t got all this sorted yet, then make that your priority. Once everything is clear you’ll find that creativity flows more easily and attracting the right audience will happen organically.
The benefits of creating (and sticking to) a content strategy are:
The content is more likely to stay true to your brand image, values and goals.
Regular content will create more engagement from your audience (and higher engagement = higher sales).
As your visibility and credibility increase, you’ll become known as an expert in your field which may open up new and exciting opportunities.
Regular content can be tracked and statistics analysed in order to create an even more focused strategy for business growth and increased sales.
Focusing on one platform for a sustained period can help you to understand whether it’s bringing you the engagement and customers you desire, or whether it’s better to switch platform (or content type).
What are your plans for 2019? Have you got a strategy and content calendar all planned out? Or do you prefer to ebb and flow with your feminine energy? Or perhaps it all feels too overwhelming and you’d rather stay snuggled underneath your duvet with warm, homemade banana loaf and a cup of tea?!
As for me… I’m putting together my vision and goals for 2019 and breaking that down into smaller chunks for content planning. I’ve been back in my happy place for the last three months creating lots of blogs and I really love writing pieces that inspire others to make changes in their life or business. However, after researching stats on video and audio consumption, I know that in order to keep up with the fast-growing world of online content, I have to diversify.
Whether that will be behind a camera or a microphone, you’ll just have to wait and see!
NEW! Listen to the audio version of this blog here.
Having been a business owner since the late 1990s I can now look back and see the strategies and mindset shifts I had to put in place, and the action I had to take consistently, in order to feel like everything was aligned to my core values.
✨ And of course, it had to light me up every single day! ✨
There’s so much I will share about how I’ve ended up where I am today, but for now, I’m keeping it to some simple action steps and tips YOU can take over January to make sure you have your most successful, productive, abundant and happy year yet!
❤️ Listen to your gut. Sometimes in life, love and business, we make decisions that we feel aren’t quite right, but we can’t see another way so we take them anyway. If you get that feeling that something is a little ‘off’ or gives you a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach, hold off for a few days (or at least a few hours) before you take action. Always listen to your intuition – it’s usually right!
❤️ Don’t sell out to companies and products you don’t believe in. If you’re offered the chance to represent a brand or product but it really doesn’t sit well with you, then feel confident in saying ‘no’ and walking away – however much money it may be worth! Ditto goes for working with clients who really don’t fit your niche or those who will end up costing you lots of time, stress and grey hairs. It’s your company, you are free to choose who you work with and who you don’t.
❤️ Create a secure financial situation for yourself. Easier said than done for many of us, I know! If you’ve come out of a well paid job and have savings worth six to twelve months of your previous salary, then that’s a great place to start. However, if, like me, you started out as a small business charging clients on an hourly basis, then you may simply not have had the ability to save any decent amount, nor have high limits on credit cards. My top tip is to start saving at least 10% of your gross income (if your living costs enable you to save 20% to 30% that’s even better!) and put it into an account where you can’t access it easily. Once you feel financially secure and stable, you’re MORE LIKELY to take action that is aligned to your heart, soul and core values.
❤️ Take some time out to plan ahead with YOUR DREAMS and goals in mind. It’s easy to get swept up in financial planning or social media marketing strategies (both of which are needed too), but it’s also important to take time on a regular basis to look at whether your business is still headed in the way you wish, or whether changes need to be made. I made the biggest strides ahead in my business after I took two months off to tune back in to my feminine energy, spend time in nature and read, write and create things with no pressure to sell or promote my business.
I’d love to hear how you’re taking time this week to focus on what’s really important to you and your business throughout 2019 and on into 2020.
As one calendar year ends and another starts, it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of setting new goals and intentions and celebrating our successes and achievements.
But what about the stuff that we drag along into the new year without realising?
The languages we say we’re going to learn but then don’t. The new career we say we’re going to move into but then don’t. The sports we say we want to try but then don’t. There’s all this silent negativity sitting on our shoulders, draining our energy and stopping us from creating the impact or lifestyle we truly dream of.
Every year, I say I will learn to play tennis and learn Italian. I’ve been saying this for at least four years now, possibly more. And how many words of Italian have I learnt? Zero. (Pizza Express menus don’t count!) How many times have I played tennis in the last four years? Once.
I hadn’t ever stopped to consider how carrying this baggage around with me was actually preventing me from living my best life. That was until I happened to watch this video by Chelsea Fagan of The Financial Diet, aptly titled: ‘15 Things to Cleanse Your Life of Now So They Don’t Follow You Into 2019’.
Chelsea suggests that we give ourselves permission to accept that those projects we keep putting off year after year simply aren’t going to happen. Instead, it’s time to let that energy go in order to create space to allow in more of the things that really light us up.
What will you give yourself permission to release before the end of 2018?
One other point that really stood out for me in Chelsea’s video was the things that fall to the bottom of your to-do list. These are the things that you keep putting off. It might be simple things like sending thank you notes, getting a dress altered or having shoes repaired. Or it could be something bigger like organising your accounting paperwork or booking the car in for an overdue service.
As you read this, you’ll know straight away which things always get pushed off your to-do list from one month to the next; seemingly unimportant yet sapping away quietly at your energy.
Chelsea suggests taking ONE of those things and getting it sorted before the end of the year. That way you get to waltz into 2019 with one less worry and stress on your shoulders. Sounds good right?
So, what is one thing you will commit to taking action on before the end of 2018?
Me? I’m booking a car valet because getting round to vacuuming my car just never happens! Starting the new year with a sparkly clean car and free from the assumptions that I’ll be a star tennis player and fluent Italian speaker in a few months is already allowing me to breathe a big sigh of relief.
What would allow you to start 2019 with a big weight off your shoulders?
NEW! Listen to the audio version of this blog here.
How can I be the best version of myself?
Is that a question you’ve asked yourself lately?
We spend far too much of our time worrying about living up to other people’s expectations without pausing for a while to consider our own.
What values do you hold in high regard?
What traits do you most admire in others?
How can you spend more time living and breathing as the best version of yourself?
As a small-business owner (or heart-centred entrepreneur, as I like to say) I used to spend far too much time trying to create services and packages that would appeal to all different kinds of potential customers. If someone suggested a different angle I hadn’t thought of, I’d add that too. And I got tired. Exhausted. Burnt out.
As the old saying goes, I was trying to please all of the people, all of the time and winding up not pleasing anyone! Least of all myself.
Something had to change.
Through various twists and turns, challenges and plot twists, meetings with inspiring thought leaders and taking the time to tune into what was really important to me (aka core values), my life slowly began to sparkle.
It felt feel really good. Great, in fact.
It was as if all the magic I’d believed in as a child had landed in my lap.
It wasn’t luck though, or even hard work.
The magic appeared because I’d become aligned to my inner voice and started to truly understand that it wasn’t what I did in my work (and personal life) that was important, but how and why I did it.
Asking myself the question: ‘How can I be the best version of myself today?’ soon became a daily habit.
For many months, I wrote down my thoughts, used oracle cards and my favourite rose quartz crystals, and allowed my inner voice to guide me.
You see, it wasn’t about creating a new e-book about a certain topic, or putting out a special priced offer on a new course, what really mattered was the passion at the core of everything I touched with my love and energy.
I realised that helping other people to shine brilliantly – to be the best version of themselves – was the really important thing to me.
This was (and still is) my why.
It didn’t matter whether I helped people gain business clarity during a quick 20 minute video call or supported them by writing their website copy, sent a quick ‘how are you feeling today?’ message or offered a short training session in their Facebook group.
How I delivered each of those things – from a place of love, compassion, kindness, empathy, experience and integrity – was integral to my personal fulfilment and, ultimately, more business success.
When you begin each day by thinking about how you can be the best version of yourself, you remove the need for expectation. You’re not expecting other people to act or talk in a certain way, you’re focused on how you can be better.
Once expectation is out of the way, it’s far easier to live from a place of love.
There’s no longer any need to act from fear, sadness or anger.
Whether you’re a business owner or not, we all make thousands of choices every single day. Choose the things that are in alignment to your core values, your inner voice, your ‘why’, and together we can create a ripple effect that makes every home, every school, every workplace and every community a more nourishing place to be.
How can you be the best version of yourself today?
Are you a passionate heart-centred entrepreneur interested in finding out how I can help you to shine brilliantly? Then hop on over to my Work with Me page to find out more.
If you look up into the sky tonight you’ll see the full moon illuminating the world around you.
You may have noticed your energy has been supercharged over the last few days – physically or emotionally – and tonight is the perfect time to tune into your spiritual energy and put the lunar magic to good use.
Each full moon is the right moment to deal with difficult emotions, and you’ll soon find that working on forgiveness will help to bring you inner peace.
Forgive others, but don’t forget to forgive yourself too.
Human beings aren’t perfect and we all make mistakes and bad choices.
But we must remember that even those bad choices can be the right ones at that particular moment and to look back, not with regret but with forgiveness and love.
Today’s full moon is in the air sign Gemini: a sign of communication, writing, speaking, connections and friendships. The Gemini twins bring double the energy so there’s twice as much to be grateful for tonight.
While the Gemini full moon brings about busyness and chattiness, it’s important to remind ourselves to become good listeners and aim to be the best version of ourselves that we can be when it comes to communication.
Take the time to consider how you’re listening to others.
Could you be a better listener?
The full moon is also the perfect moment to put down our smart phones and laptops and explore what’s happening around us. Spend more time talking to people, visiting local events, spending time outdoors, socialising, asking questions….
The dual aspect of Gemini energy means this full moon is a great time to connect, make new friendships or collaborate with like-minded business people who share your positive attitude, integrity and compassion.
With every full moon, it’s a good idea to write a gratitude list. This helps us to tune into what’s really important to us and keeps us on our path to achieving our goals and dreams. If you wish you can burn your gratitude list (safely) afterwards, or keep it in a moon journal to refer back to in the future.
What (or who) are you grateful for today?
My Full Moon ritual is a simple one. I light a candle and work through forgiveness and gratitude in a special journal. I love writing down my thoughts as I find this is the best way for me to access my inner voice. I usually pull three oracle cards and write down my interpretation of these in relation to where I’m at and where I want to be. I’ve always got my rose quartz crystal with me throughout and I hold it while I’m working through my forgiveness and gratitude journalling.
I refer to my favourite lunar book, Moonology, which goes into more depth about moon rituals for specific star signs and ascendants.
NEW! Listen to the audio version of this blog HERE.
Over the last three years my life (and business) has changed dramatically because of one thing:
I’m not really sure if I’m an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert (and I hate labels anyway) but to be able to spend a high percentage of my time safely tucked away in my own home, free from the draining energy of crowds, toxic office culture and negative energy vampires means that I’m a happier, calmer and more creative person than ever before.
But, of course, it’s not particularly helpful to be at home alone when running your own small business, so I’ve found a way to form genuine connections and true friendships with incredible women across the globe.
Setting up one or two video calls each week with women who inspire and motivate me (and vice versa) is the perfect way to boost social connection and engage in powerful human conversations.
And human conversation is the key to successful sales according to my good friend Jules White, a British sales coach, motivational TEDx speaker, author of Live It, Love It, Sell It andpodcast host of The Human Conversation. (She’s a busy girl!)
In her book, Jules talks about the role of empathy in sales conversations and how to create strong relationships built on integrity:
‘The beauty of relationships is they last longer than a single transaction, so by conducting yourself with integrity and empathy rather than focusing on ‘winning’ you’re likely to generate future business. Your client will come back to you when they need you, and they’ll recommend you to others. That’s the real win. This is human selling and human connection.’
I love Jules’ approach but I’m also acutely aware that many women will shy away from creating these deep connections because they feel threatened by other women.
Why is that?
Some might say it’s a link back to ancestral times such as the Salem witch trials when women were forced to expose other women as witches in order to protect themselves and their families. Others might say it’s just in our biological nature or that it’s simply learned habits from the culture we live in today.
Every week I hear stories in the online space of women copying other women’s work, branding, images or words, women tearing others down or using people to get to the top. Not only is it stressful for those incredible, hard-working women who’ve worked so hard to elevate their small business into the online space to help others, but it’s very sad for those women who believe that using and abusing really is the only way to get what they want. (Hint: It’s not!)
When women support each other, incredible things happen.
Yesterday, I had a deep conversation with Georgia Varjas, a motivational speaker, writer and mentor living in Spain, about why women feel threatened by other women. We covered all sorts of angles from confidence and insecurities to labelling and judgment. Georgia reminded me of a quote she used during her amazing talk at Helen Packham’s Entrepreneurial Leaders Live event in Brighton in June:
‘The tongue has no bones, yet it is strong enough to break a heart.’(Anon)
Georgia very generously invited me into her creative process and book writing journey and shared her ideas for the theme, chapters and messages within and from our conversation we both went away feeling inspired, motivated and filled with creativity.
When you open up and allow other women into your life and feel confident and secure in who you are, then amazing things really do happen.
In addition to these social connections and genuine friendships being so powerful when it comes to raising your profile and supporting your business passions in the online space, it’s important to remember that relationships are a form of self-love and nourishment and have a profound impact on our health.
Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, says, ‘The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health … Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.’
The message I’m sharing with you today is that building relationships on a solid foundation of integrity, kindness and love is vitally important for our health and our businesses.
I know that I couldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of so many incredible women. And I’m so grateful to each and every one of them.
Are you taking the time to build relationships?
I’d love to know…
If you’re interested in anything or anyone I’ve mentioned above, here are the links:
Instead of always trying to fix things, realise you deserve better.
Stop waiting for change. Make the change. Be the change.
You don’t need to FIX yourself. You are beautiful, loved and special just the way you are.
But you know something doesn’t feel right. Something is missing.
You blame your body.
You blame the food you eat.
You blame someone else for making you feel this way.
You blame the weather.
You blame a friend.
You blame the money.
You blame anyone or anything else for your feelings.
I used to do this. It was always someone else’s fault.
And then one day I woke up.
Well, it was more of a gradual awakening really.
I realised that I have complete and total responsibility for my own well-being. If I feel frustrated, sad, lonely, irritated, self-conscious, un-loved and un-special, then only I have the power to change that.
Every moment of every day, we have a choice.
And sometimes we’ll make the wrong choices – we are human after all.
I believe that even the wrong choices are the right ones because they give us a greater learning curve or send us on a journey to help us learn a specific lesson.
After all, we’ve all dated that guy we really shouldn’t have dated. We knew it wouldn’t work. We knew we’d get hurt. But we did it anyway.
And in dating the wrong guy it helped us reinforce exactly who the RIGHT guy is.
We’ve all done this with food too. Spent a whole holiday eating and drinking all the things we know our bodies can’t handle. But we’re ‘on holiday’, ‘life’s too short’, ‘everyone else does it so why shouldn’t I?’… Falling off the wagon can be a useful path too in learning exactly what does make our bodies feel really GOOD.
Remember that time you did that clean eating plan for a month? Remember how good you felt? Remember that time you had a personal trainer for six months and got the toned, fit body you dreamed of?
Take all those experiences and think about the times you felt REALLY GOOD in your life.
(And guess what? Some of those times when you were loving life may not have been your skinniest or when you were eating the ‘right’ food. It might have been when you just let go, embraced who you were and allowed experiences and love to take over!)
Grab some paper and a pen (or use your phone if you prefer) and write down:
1. The times in your life when you felt happiest. Include as much detail as possible. Where were you living, how old were you, what made you feel so happy/loved/special? What was your daily routine like? What kind of food did you eat? Did you do daily exercise? Were you learning a new skill? Who were you with? Try to bring the images to life with smells, colours, songs and words.
2. Now write down all the things that are good in your life NOW. Like a gratitude list if you like. All the things that make you happy and feel great.
3. What does your daily routine look like at the moment? Is that something that’s making you happy? Or is it causing you stress and fatigue? Write down all the good points of your daily routine; all the stuff you want to keep.
4. Now think about how you want to FEEL every day. Loved, nourished, special? Write a list of at least 10 words that describe how you wish to feel.
5. Next to each of those words, write down ways in which you can ensure that feeling happens every, single day. (Write in the present tense as if you’re already doing it)
E.g. I want to feel loved: I treat myself lovingly. I buy myself flowers. I wear my favourite colours. I wrap myself up in a warm blanket on the sofa. I spend time with my pets.
The final step is, of course, to take some action!
Ensure you treat yourself well every day so that you always feel loved/ special/ happy/ nourished/ appreciated …
Making a simple switch from a slice of toast and an instant coffee to making a fresh fruit smoothie or preparing a pretty oat bowl the night before will make so much difference to the start of your day.
Find the things that work for you, that fit in to your lifestyle/budget/family/values and that make you feel AMAZING!
Living, writing and creating in Jersey is a breath of fresh air.
From the rugged north coast to the palm trees of the south, the waves of the wild west to the glowing eastern sunrise, there’s something unique and special about every angle of our tiny island.
Our landscape is an endless source of inspiration for local creative artists, many of whom have successfully created products that are sought after worldwide for customers wanting to take a little of Jersey’s essence into their homes. Even if you’ve never heard of the island of Jersey, chances are you’ve tasted a Jersey Royal or can spot a Jersey cow!
When I first came to Jersey twenty years ago as a young personal trainer, nutrition consultant and massage therapist, I soon discovered a whole circle of incredible healers and practitioners whose magic hands were capable of transforming energy levels, health and well-being.
I intuitively felt safe, supported and inspired by their wealth of knowledge and experience and immersed myself in many kinds of treatments such as reflexology, chiropractic, cranio-sacral therapy and crystal healing.
Investing in our body’s health should really be a no-brainer.
Except we live in a world where obesity and chronic illness are prevalent in developed countries while malnutrition and preventable disease run rife in the third world. So, looking beyond diet, exercise and disease control, what else can we do to make our human bodies run more efficiently and enjoy happier lives?
Well, I believe that part of the secret lies here in Jersey.
Spending time being active outdoors in nature and breathing in our fresh, unpolluted air is one way to boost our health and spirit. However, there is one important thing that needs to be added here…
Too many of us simply take our island and our beautiful surroundings (and many other amazing things in our lives) for granted.
When was the last time you found yourself stuck in traffic along The Avenue? Probably fairly frequently if you’re a rush-hour commuter. But did you take the time to notice the millpond-like sea in St Aubin’s bay, to watch the palm trees fluttering gently in the breeze or to look up and see a flock of birds or a ‘kiss’ of aeroplane trails in the sky?
Simple pleasures – Noirmont point, overlooking Portelet Bay, Jersey
Being thankful for our island’s natural beauty is a prerequisite for a more joy-filled existence.
We will all experience problems, challenges and pain in our lives, but how we choose to react to those situations will be far more positive when we begin to live every day from a place of love, kindness and gratitude.
As a writer and creative entrepreneur based in Jersey, I’m grateful every day for the inspiration I find in our island and how that translates into beautiful words for my clients.
Whenever my creativity gets stuck or my energy feels stagnant, a short walk in nature, a trip to the sea or some time in the company of animals reawakens my passions and stimulates my creative juices.
Here are my top tips to living life from a place of gratitude:
Keep a gratitude diary. Write down at least three things you’re grateful for every day and how they make you feel. Need some inspiration? Read on…
Take a few moments every morning to look out of your bedroom window. Notice the trees and flowers, the clouds, the sky, the sunrise and the birds. Watch how the seasons change the colours and textures.
Close your eyes in the shower and feel the warmth of the water trickling over your body. Whilst appreciating the availability of running water, heating, fluffy towels and clean clothes, think about your big dreams or life goals. What would you like to achieve? Where would you love to travel to? What legacy would you like to leave behind? Thinking about these things daily and taking small action steps towards achieving them is far easier when the rest of your day is rooted in gratitude.
Do kind things for others. It doesn’t have to be a grand or expensive gesture, but perhaps something as simple as cooking a meal for an elderly neighbour, bringing fresh fruit into work to support your colleague’s health goals, passing on a good book or donating unwanted clothes or household items to charity.
Spend more quality time with your children, family or friends without the distraction of smart phones. Listen to elderly relatives’ stories and pass on their wisdom and history to the younger generation.
Our island’s natural beauty and heritage is not a separate entity. It’s interwoven into every piece of creative artwork and lives on forever through each one of us.
A Love Note to Jersey – First published in The Jersey Life Magazine May 2018
I am soooo happy to see that yesterday’s blog about meal prepping without plastic packaging was such a big hit with my audience! It hit the same level as The True Cost of Fast Fashion and Busyness v. Stillness which tells me one AMAZING thing about you….
That you’re looking for ways to help the environment, you’re compassionate and you’re craving ways to find inner peace in a crazy, messed-up world.
And if you’re taking the time to read blogs like this (thank you so much from the bottom of my heart) then chances are, you’re looking for ways to take action!
This makes me feel an incredible wave of excitement and a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.
The more of us who are making small, daily changes really are the ones who will change the world; reversing climate change and environmental damage and balancing wealth between nations so no-one dies of starvation while others are throwing billions of tonnes of food away each year. (Because that’s the naked truth right now.)
I’ve been lucky enough to make changes slowly and gradually, which as we all know is generally the way to make new lifestyle habits stick.
But right now we don’t have that luxury.
Recent reports state we may have as little as twelve years to reverse some of the damage to our planet to allow nature to replenish and repopulate itself.
So, what can you do to be part of the change?
Read, listen, watch, learn. Research the facts, follow people across social media who are taking action, making a difference and sharing their knowledge and love with the world.
Learnt something new? Found a great article? Watched a good documentary? SHARE IT! It only takes a click or two on social media and instantly it falls into the laps of hundreds of people. Creating a ripple effect is easy.
Stop buying food produce wrapped in plastic. Sure, the avocados may not be as ripe, but once you get into the habit of doing it every few days, soon you’ll find a routine where you always have ripe avocados at home!
Ditto for pre-chopped vegetables and fruit in plastic. Yes, it’s a time saver but making time to prepare and cook your own meals from scratch will help you find that inner peace you’ve been craving. It teaches patience and allows us quiet time in the kitchen to reconnect to our food.
Think before you buy, anything! Clothes, shoes, technology, take-out food, toys, make-up and toiletries…. Stop and consider (a) if you really need this item, (b) if this item brings you joy and makes you feel really, truly happy on the inside (rather than simply keeping up with the Jones’s or following a trend), (c) how you might dispose of it (or its packaging) when you no longer have a use for it, and (d) by buying this item, are you taking away from another dream? I.e. by spending money here and now on this item, will it stop you achieving another goal (like buying a house, travelling, saving for retirement, fixing the house, seeing the dentist etc.).
Following on from the above point, is there a way you can buy or acquire a pre-loved version of this item? Clothes and household items are easily available second-hand and often will be more unique and save you money. (Win-win for achieving those financial dreams!)
Join in with a community project. We’re all passionate about different things and some will tug at your heart more than others. Follow your heart and make a difference in your community. Beach clean ups, cooking for a homeless charity, supporting a screening of a documentary about refugees, giving your time as a volunteer…. or even starting up your own local project or awareness campaign. The choices are endless. But stop sitting around talking about it and just do it!
When you take consistent action on these seven steps, then not only will you feel more contentment and peace in your life, but you’ll have helped others and you’ll know that, even when the results are not yet visible, you’ll have made more than a dent in planet Earth’s recovery.
If we all come together to make a difference, collectively we can make our grandchildren’s future a far more exciting prospect.
Today, I thought I’d share something a little different; an insight into my meal prep Sunday and food shopping over the past few days.
Now, I don’t meal prep EVERY Sunday,in fact, I’ve been pretty rubbish about planning in general lately which has led to rather too many simple meals of pasta in tomato sauce, or noodles with vegetables or yet another lentil curry. (Nothing wrong with lentil curry but it can get a bit monotonous!)
Now Jersey has not one but TWO package free / zero waste shops to enhance our sustainable lifestyle goals, I decided now was the time to put my money where my mouth is and buy ONLY package free (or recyclable/compostable materials) ingredients and cook or prepare meals and snacks in advance.
On Friday, I went out armed with my mesh food bags and canvas shoppers to our great new cooperative initiative – SCOOP – based at Vermont Farm in St Peter. They stock a selection of seasonal, organic vegetables plus a whole host of dried ingredients to scoop straight out into your own jars or containers. We came away with some beautiful cooking apples, a giant bag of dark green kale, cashew nuts, almonds, broccoli, toasted coconut and dried mango (which won’t last long in our house!). I also treated myself to a new bamboo toothbrush (ahem – I may have had my last one for over a year) and some Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. All excellent value for money and you can walk away with that sweet smile of smugness plastered across your face!
My daughter and I then headed off to one of our friendliest farm shops on the island, Lucas Bros on La Haule hill, St Aubin. Here you can get the most delicious fresh flat leafed parsley (I literally eat it by the handful) as well as beautiful locally grown lettuce, fresh tomatoes of all varieties, giant mushrooms and so much more. We stocked up on lots of our favourite ingredients -like avocados, cucumber and ripe bananas – and my daughter is always astonished by how cheap it is compared to buying the same items in packaging in the supermarket.
First stop on Saturday afternoon – a local health food store (Barannes) for raw, organic apple cider vinegar and almond butter. Both in glass jars – check!
Then I headed off to Mini Mall, a fantastic new shop in the centre of St Helier, Jersey, where you can take your own jars and stock up on all your dried goods, plus olive oil, teas, spices and more. Oh, and they stock the most delicious raw vegan and gluten free treats from Wild Health. I couldn’t make up my mind so came away with a mint-matcha-chocolate slice and a chocolate-raspberry torte. I’ve sliced each one into three pieces and frozen the leftovers to share with my teenage daughters. (But only if I don’t eat it all before they find out!) *cue evil laugh*
In Mini Mall I bought chia seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs, hazelnuts and organic ground cinnamon – yummy! It works out so much cheaper buying everything this way, plus, you’re helping to save the planet from unnecessary single use plastic and packaging. Win-win. They also have strong paper bags should you ever be passing by without your own jars.
Today (Sunday) I’ve been to Rondels’ farm shop in Trinity for more ripe bananas (did I mention they’re my favourite food?), frozen fruit, some other veggies – including a giant 2.5lb sweet potato – and more avocados. The only items that had to be in a plastic bag (because I’ve run out of containers – they seem to enter the void known as ‘school’ and never return…) were the frozen berries, but I reuse the bags as many times as possible for covering food in the fridge. (Note to self, buy more large Kilner jars.)
With all the shopping out of the way, I started my Sunday morning with 500ml water, a small glass of water with apple cider vinegar, then a freshly made apple and ginger shot which boosts immunity and warms you up on a cold day. This was followed by a giant blood-boosting juice of the organic kale and carrots from Scoop, fresh parsley, a little apple, fresh lemon juice and a giant raw beetroot. Dee-lish-uss!
Our main breakfast was a chocolate-oat smoothie bowl topped with toasted coconut, almond butterand cacao nibs – a nutrient rich start to the day.
Smoothie recipe: almonds, chia seeds, water, vanilla powder, ripe bananas, maca powder, ground flaxseed, cacao powder and medjool dates. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and whizz until smooth and creamy. I made a thick smoothie with less water than I would if I was going to drink it. Pour the smoothie over the oats (gluten free) and top with fruit and toppings of your choice.
Lunch: A fresh bowl of raw salad ingredients with stuffed vine leaves (bought from Waitrose in a tin = recyclable) and a home made tahini dip.
ThenI started with all the food prep for the week ahead.
I haven’t made a specific meal plan, but I have made a selection of individual ingredients that my daughter can use for school lunches and I can eat at home for lunch to save precious writing time.
(Note: While I’m completely plant-based, my daughters do eat some meat, fish and eggs, though primarily it’s when they’re out with friends or with their dad. However, on this occasion I bought some skinless chicken breasts – straight into my own glass container – from the friendly couple who run The Country Butcher at Rondel’s Farm Shop so that my eldest daughter has a little more protein in her school lunches. I rarely cook meat for my kids at all so this is a rare occurrence!)
Here’s what I’ve been busy making, chopping and cooking all afternoon (is it bedtime yet?!):
Apple compote (stewed apple) – a great addition to breakfast dishes, as an ingredient in healthy muffins or to use as apple crumble… yum! Peel and chop cooking apples straight into a saucepan. Add a little water (about half a cup for 3-4 small cooking apples), and your choice of spices. I added cloves, star anise, ground mixed spice and cardamon seeds. However, a dash of cinnamon works perfectly well if that’s all you have. I don’t tend to sweeten my cooking apples but feel free to add a little maple syrup or agave if desired.
Cacao energy balls – a perfect mid morning snack for busy teenagers or an after dinner treat if you have a sweet tooth. They’re also great as a post-workout snack alongside a ripe banana. In a food processor add gluten free oats, chia seeds, cashew nuts (or any nut of your choice), cacao nibs, ground flaxseed and cacao powder. Blitz until it’s a coarse consistency but not a powder. Add soaked medjool dates and coconut oil and blitz until it starts coming away from the sides and can be easily rolled into balls. Roll the mixture into balls and store in the fridge or freezer in a container. I made about 15 balls which should keep us going for a few days!
Brown rice and bulgur wheat – staples for a plant-based diet, I made these in bulk and separated into portion sizes so that my 17 year old can easily put together her own lunches (dream on, mummy!). Cook until al dente, then rinse in cold water, drain and store in the fridge immediately. *Note, bulgur wheat is not gluten free.
Sweet ’n’ spicy roasted sweet potato cubes – another family favourite, I roasted peeled, cubed sweet potato in a little olive oil, sea salt, smoked paprika, turmeric, chilli flakes and cinnamon. Once cooked, allow to cool and store in the fridge in a sealed container.
Roasted pumpkin and courgette – the last of the Halloween pumpkin has now been cooked!! I peeled and cubed the pumpkin and chopped the courgette into chunks and popped them in a roasting dish together with sea salt, black pepper and a tiny bit of olive oil. Again, once cooked, allow to cool and store in the fridge in a sealed container.
Dehydrated pineapple slices – Am I the only one who buys pineapples with good intentions and then watches them slowly become overripe…?!! This one needed eating asap so I peeled, sliced finely and dehydrated in the oven on about 50 degrees celsius for a few hours. (While I was cooking the roasted vegetables I sat these in the top oven which gets slightly warm from the main oven anyway. Then I returned them to the lower heat once the oven had cooled down.) I never manage to make these as dry as the ones in the shops but they’re so yummy (and so small) that they generally last all of about 4 minutes anyway….
Chopped red bell peppers and organic carrots – washed, sliced and ready to use in salads or as a snack.
Soaked almonds – soaking in water ready for tomorrow morning’s almond milk (because I’m trying not to buy cartons of milk anymore as they’re not recyclable …)
Plus, for those of you not yet on a plant-based or vegan diet, you probably need time to transition. So here’s what I did with the chicken and eggs… (and I’m not even going to crack a joke… *groan*)
I roasted the chicken breasts in turmeric, sea salt and black pepper, then sliced into lunchbox chunks and popped half in the freezer and half in the fridge in a large Kilner jar. I hard-boiled two of the eggs and saved the others for omelette or cakes. (Just for the kids…) If you want more meal-prep inspiration for meat and fish based dishes, just search on YouTube as there are soooo many vloggers and fitness experts who share their tasty, healthy recipes.
Hopefully you’re exhausted (but inspired) just by reading this… and I’m now off for a long soak in the bath with candles!
I’ll leave you with a couple of questions to get you on track with meal prep and planning.
How could you be more organised this week and plan ahead to give yourself more time?
What meals or snacks could you prepare in advance? Even making a slow cooker casserole is a great way to free up the early evening when everyone is tired and hungry after a busy day.
Have you got any local sustainable shops near you? If you’re not sure, your challenge this week is to do some research.
If you live in Jersey, do pop in to the shops I’ve named above and tell them they were featured in a local blog. They’ll be really happy! Or share your photos on Instagram and tag me @lorrainepannetiercreative or @bowlsofsoul. I’d love to see your take on meal prep.
Have a wonderful, slow, relaxing Sunday evening,
Cacao energy balls sprinkled with toasted coconut… just because 😉
I know you had dreams, desires, goals. Maybe even just a knowing feeling that somewhere in life there would be more than this. But, at some point you gave up. You settled for less than you deserved. Less than you were meant to be. Less than you dreamed of.
Why did you do that?
Because the fight got too hard. It was easier to live a quiet, simple life. It was easier to stay in the job you hated. It was easier to let the kids eat oven-ready dinners. It was easier to just throw on the same jumper and jeans. It was easier to go for the natural look. It was easier to live with someone who made you feel rubbish than to put yourself back in the dating pool. It was easier to keep driving the old car that kept breaking down. It was easier to rely on your husband for money. It was easier to book the family holiday to the same place every year where the kids would be safe and entertained.
But what happened when you stopped fighting and just lived the easy life?
You resented the job you were in. Your kids didn’t thrive as much as they might have on home cooked, real food. You felt frumpy and plain and maybe invisible too. Your self-esteem took a nose dive. You didn’t trade in the car for a more reliable one. You didn’t have any need to take a risk. You didn’t travel to places that really lit up your heart.
Did that feel good?
I’m guessing not. While you were in that phase (or maybe still are) you switched off your dreams and goals buttons and forgot all about them. At least, you thought you had. But deep inside there was always this gnawing feeling that you weren’t quite in the right place or living the life that was right for you. Sometimes these feelings disappeared for months at a time. Maybe you embraced a new partner, a new baby, a new house, a new job, wonderful friends, dieting breakthroughs and fabulous new clothes. It wasn’t all bad. Hey, from the outside your life even looked great.
But then, out of the blue came one of those lightbulb moments. A realisation. A feeling. A sensation.
You began to feel fired up; that warmth in your belly and tingly pins and needles down your limbs. Your mind raced as you pieced together a few more parts of the puzzle. Yes! I can do this! This is for me! Why didn’t I see it before? And then, like a shooting star that fizzles before your eyes, the fears are back and your dreams are lost.
You pick yourself up and fall back again.
And again. And again. But just like a baby learning to walk, you have to keep trying. You really do. If you don’t try to live the life of your dreams someone else will. Someone else will be there, shining bright, on your podium. It’s your step. It may be a big one, but you have to climb it and stand on top and take your rightful place in the world.
Because, as a wise person once said, you were born for greatness. You were born to shine brightly. You were born to be you.
Don’t ever let anyone else tell you you can’t do something.
You can achieve anything you put your mind to. What would really make you happy? What makes your light shine brightly inside? What lights your soul and brings about that sparkle that others notice in you?
We make the mistake of believing dreams and goals have to be BIG with expensive material items; flashy cars, big houses, jewellery, clothes, a jet set lifestyle. But really, what lights you up might be something relatively small: spending your evenings knitting and creating gorgeous baby shawls, looking after your animals at home or spending an hour interruption-free with your children every evening working on their homework and inspiring them to take up extra learning in non-academic areas, in things that light up their little souls.
If this is you, somewhere between rock bottom and totally motivated but not sure where to start, then take a tip from all the amazing entrepreneurs out there who are making it big, succeeding in their personal and business goals and living their dream life – and not being ashamed to hide how fabulous that looks.
Prioritise self-care – Whether it’s regular beauty appointments or simply exercising, taking a shower and popping on some make up, just do the stuff that makes you feel good. The things that make you feel feminine and ready to kick some ass.
Start every morning with journaling and gratitude. Write down the things you are grateful for. The things that light up your life. The things you love about yourself. The things (or people) you’re proud of. (Note: include yourself in the ‘proud of’ category!)
Create a vision and set goals. Make a vision board, use Pinterest, change your laptop screen saver, stick a picture to the fridge door…. Keep your goal visual and in your space every single day.
Don’t be afraid to go left when others go right; to NOT be a sheep. Follow yourdreams, your goals, your beliefs and your values. If you want to set up your own business, homeschool or your kids, stop drinking alcohol or travel the world for a year, find a way to make it happen regardless of what everyone around you might say or how society makes you feel.
Take action. While the Law of Attraction is a powerful force, you still have to take consistent action to achieve your goals and your dream life. After all, if you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket! Make the time to do your research, learning, networking, saving money or whatever it is that you need to do to get that little bit closer every single day.
If you could go to bed every night knowing you were closer than you were yesterday, wouldn’t that feel amazing?
If you enjoyed reading this blog you might like this one….
It’s a true fact that we’ve all got too much stuff!
We have too much stuff in our homes that we’re constantly moving around from room to room, from small box to big box, from one pile to another.
We have too much stuff in our minds that leaves us feeling overwhelmed, drained and unable to think clearly or truly relax.
We have too many tabs open on our laptops, too many unopened emails and constant digital overload.
It’s time we stopped collecting, consuming and drowning in possessions.
It’s time to make our lives more simple, more rewarding and more healthy – for our own well-being and for the health of our planet.
Here are 5 easy steps to bringing more ease and flow to your life …
Step 1 – Decide how you want your life to look.
I realised many years ago that I didn’t want to spend every evening sat watching television. I needed to find activities that stimulated my mind and my creativity. I slowly replaced my previous TV favourites with a combination of learning new skills (tech stuff, graphic design, an Open University degree, courses in sales, money mindset and more…) and eventually sold the television set! (You don’t have to be that extreme, but it worked for me!) Looking back, all I did was to swap the things I didn’t want in my life for the things that made me happy. Now I get to spend all my time doing the things I love and in turn, I’ve been able to create a business that helps other people and together, we’re part of a ripple effect that’s slowly changing the world. What could your life look like if you made simple changes every day?
Step 2 – Declutter your home
Whenever we think of decluttering, we tend to visualise a garage or wardrobe filled with junk and objects we’d long forgotten about and we feel a sudden sense of dread about the enormity of the job. Which is probably why we put it off for so many months (or even years) and why DIY shops sell so many storage boxes! But there’s so much more to the decluttering process than simply reorganising possessions into neatly labelled boxes. There’s a lovely little book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo which shows us how to sort our belongings by type instead of by area. (E.g. clothes, books, stationery and paper items). Kondo believes we should hold each item and ask ourselves whether it brings us joy. Of course, there are some essential exceptions to this, but on the whole, we should be surrounded by possessions that we love or that make us happy or our lives easier in some way. When we reduce the amount of clutter around us we feel a sense of lightness and renewed energy. This is particularly true of the things we notice every day, like the clothes piled up on the exercise bike in the spare room, the kitchen cupboard that is so fill something falls out and smashes or makes a mess every time we open it, the boxes in the corner of the bedroom that were meant to be sorted when you moved in … a year ago.
Step 3 – Digital declutter and detox
If you run your own business you’ll know what I mean about having multiple tabs and documents open all the time, endless pings of notifications and an inbox with unread emails in their thousands. Even if you’re not a business owner, chances are a lot of your world now revolves around technology – everything from controlling your heating to planning your holiday, reading a book or keeping in touch with friends. It’s healthy to schedule plenty of time away from your devices as it will bring you better sleep, a calmer mind and better posture. Check your emails just once or twice a day instead of responding to every notification; ditto for Facebook and other social media. Have a strict no-phones rule at the dinner table and try to charge your devices away from the bedroom. Once you remove the temptation you’ll soon realise how much you don’t need to grab your phone the minute you wake up!
Step 4 – Think about food waste
So while we’re busy over-consuming on a daily basis, we often fail to consider the amount of food that gets wasted every year in our homes. From food scraps leftover when we’re full up (because we cooked too much) to bendy carrots and mouldy lemons or packets of unused dried food or spices that’s sat at the back of the cupboard for years! There’s a healthy balance somewhere in between being overstocked and understocked. No-one wants bare cupboards, but equally, having a fridge and freezer so overstuffed is often a recipe for stress and the quickest way to get a family ordering a take-away because the cooking choices are overwhelming. Plan your meals ahead of time and take a shopping list to the supermarket to ensure you’re not buying stuff you don’t need. Also, run a quick audit of your fridge before you go out so you don’t double up on items that perish quickly. Use up slightly-past-their-best produce in dishes such as curry, casserole or pasta sauces.
Step 5 – Gratitude
In fact, this really should be step one because we’re all guilty of forgetting how much we value the simple things in life. Starting now, write a short gratitude note every day to allow yourself time to reflect on what’s really important in your life and the things that light you up. You may choose to start a gratitude journal, write little notes and fold them in a jar or perhaps you want to share them with the world on an Instagram page. It doesn’t matter how or where you write them, what matters is the intention behind every word. The more you approach life from a place of gratitude, the more you’ll realise that you don’t need things to make you happy.
It’s taken me a really long time to realise that the answers were inside of me all along.
But I played small.
I didn’t shout about all the gifts I could offer the world.
I wrapped up my self-worth in qualifications, relationships and (if I’m honest) my kids.
I always knew that I had knowledge that would benefit others but it would frustrate me when they wouldn’t buy my stuff.
Of course, many people did work with me, how else would I have remained in business for so many years….
But they didn’t flock to me in their hundreds.
They didn’t throw their credit cards at me.
They didn’t flow to me with ease.
Because I made it easy for them not to!
I discounted my offers before they’d even asked the price.
I posted adverts in FB just once or twice, not consistently.
I threw money at FB post boosting without any clue what I was doing (actually FB ads is still on my to-do list to learn properly!)
And….I was living a life of struggle.
Not enough money to pay bills in full and on time.
Not enough money for holidays, meals out, new clothes and shoes.
Not enough money to eat an abundance of healthy food, nor supplements to help my health issues.
In fact, my nutrition business became about helping people to eat on a very small budget.
I was doing the very opposite of EXPANDING.
I was shrinking.
And it had to stop.
Ironically, I’d been doing all the ‘right’ things for years.
Positive mindset, learning about money blocks, staying away from energy vampires…
But it wasn’t enough.
I had to look INSIDE ME.
Angel cards and moon rituals helped me to RECONNECT to me. To the spirit deep inside me that had been crying to get out for so long.
I talked to her. I cried. I journalled. I had lightbulb moments.
And then I had a dream…
A dream that confirmed what the angel cards had been telling me repeatedly:
‘Your life purpose involves reading, editing, writing or selling spiritual books.’
There it was.
I’d spent 21 years writing all my own content for my nutrition and fitness business. 21 years of being published in magazines, speaking on the radio, running a local magazine, writing nutrition programmes, creating recipe e-books and, of course, typing thousands of words every week across social media platforms.
I knew how to write! I even had qualifications in English language, literature and creative writing.
I loved to write…. even engaging with other people’s posts I’d always write the longest responses (sometimes more is more, honest!).
So why was I holding back? Why wasn’t I using these skills to help others? What could I offer the world? How could I best serve my purpose?
Suddenly everything became clear. The kind of clarity that makes you wonder how you could ever have NOT seen this before!
And of course, once you SEE, you cannot un-see.
The Soulful Word was born.
No more procrastinating and playing small.
No more keeping my talents hidden from the world.
No more struggle and scarcity.
It was time to help other women shine brilliantly by helping them get their passion, mission and dreams into words so they could share their gifts with the world and create the impact they longed for.
In helping others, I shine brighter myself.
So, if you’re struggling, ask yourself ‘how can I best serve?’
Then listen carefully to what your inner feminine wisdom tells you.
Don’t shut her out.
Don’t block her voice any longer.
She wants to be heard.
Then take those words, combine them with your natural, intuitive gifts (and all those qualifications and courses you’ve taken over the years) and share your amazing energy with the world.
Stand up proud.
Look everyone in the eye.
And shout from the rooftops with love and integrity.
Every day we see images of war torn countries, extreme weather conditions and the visible impact of human destruction: oceans filled with plastic, rainforests stripped bare and animals hunted to the point of extinction.
Just as the damage to our planet runs deep, so do the wounds that break our hearts.
If you’re a compassionate human being or an empath with heightened sensitivities, you’ve probably reached the point where you know that you have to do something to make a change; that you can no longer simply sit back and let someone else sort everything out.
It’s these small changes that help us to move forward and, collectively, will really make a difference.
So, at a time when you may well be choosing to buy less plastic packaging, opt for secondhand clothes and furniture or switch to natural toiletries and cleaning products, I want to ask you to stop for a moment and take a breath.
A deep, slow breath in…. and out.
Then ask yourself this question…
What makes me feel really good inside?
The things that make us feel good stem from the choices we make that are aligned to, or in tune with, our core values. The things that make us feel bad, icky or angry are usually the things that are the polar opposites to our values (or trigger a reaction to make us take a moment of self-reflection).
In the same way as our planet has come so far from the natural, unspoilt world it was just a few hundred years ago, we too veer off course and find ourselves living a life that sometimes feels a bit wrong.
It may look like a perfectly happy, normal life to others, but on the inside we aren’t feeling fulfilled.
And frequently we feel guilty for not feeling fulfilled when clearly we have so much more than others – like a roof over our heads, a healthy bank balance, happy children and a regular, well paid job.
The same can be true in business. We may have left the security of a corporate role to set up our own small business from home and yet it isn’t paying off with the freedom and joy we expected.
Or perhaps our business is thriving but we feel like it isn’t making us truly happy; like it’s gone off track and become something we had never expected.
In both life and business, we can easily end up living a life that pleases other people (or our customers) and forget about what really lights us up. What makes us feel good inside?
The secret to living your truth in both life and business, is to always come back to your inner truth and core values.
Think about what really lights you up – the things that give you a giant warm, fuzzy heart or butterflies in your stomach – and then do more of that!
Every time things start to feel difficult, perhaps with money problems, arguments with loved ones or frequent illness, take an honest look at what’s been going on in your life and how you may have strayed from your true path and values.
It’s not a bad thing to veer off course, if anything it can actually be helpful in giving us clarity around the things that really matter. It’s the same with following a healthy eating plan – you don’t realise how much your previous unhealthy diet was making you sick until you slip off track and resume your old habits. Each time you revert to the fresh, whole food, healthy diet you feel great again.
Time and time again we repeat this pattern and each time our commitment grows stronger.
If you feel like your business, personal life, relationships or health have gone off track, take some time today to consider what really matters to you and how you will take action to get back on course to living a life aligned to your inner truth.
The theme of FREEDOM has come up so many times for me recently that I’m taking it as a nudge from the Universe to write about it today!
In the online business space we hear (or read) the word freedom a lot…
Freedom from financial stress.
Freedom from insecurities and fears.
Freedom from feeling stuck with no clients.
Freedom from tech gremlins.
Freedom from the corporate lifestyle.
And, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling a desire to break free from the consumerism culture that dominates our modern world.
Perhaps you’re thinking about how you can celebrate Christmas without the endless amounts of plastic packaging and buying presents just because you feel you should.
Or maybe you’re trying to step away from negativity and toxicity to give you the space and freedom needed to connect with more people who hold the same values as you in terms of authenticity, integrity, honesty, love and compassion.
So what does freedom mean to you in your life?
On Instagram, the hashtag #freedomlifestyle has over 145,000 posts but is dwarfed by #laptoplifestyle with 1.2 million posts! A sure sign that more and more people are looking for an existence with meaning; a lifestyle that allows them more time to do the things they are passionate about and less time simply working to pay the bills.
Do you feel you have enough freedom in your life?
Time to grab a notepad and allow your thoughts to spill out onto paper…
Do you have time freedom to do all the activities, sports, hobbies and courses you’d love to do?
Do you have financial freedom to live the lifestyle you desire, or to travel on wild adventures?
Do you have health freedom to live every day to the full, free from pain or illness?
Do you have voice freedom to speak up and share your truth or stand up for what you believe in?
Do you have spiritual freedom to just be yourself; to be comfortable in your own skin and shine brilliantly as who you really are?
Are there any areas where you feel you don’t have the freedom you desire?
If so, what could you change?
How could you make today different?
Remember, you are the only one with the power to change your life. External events may test us or take us to deep, dark places, but ultimately, you are the only one who can shift your mindset and live the life that makes you truly contented and filled with joy.
I’d love to hear what freedom means to you.
Do hit reply and share your thoughts, I personally respond to every email I receive.
‘It is worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty.’
How resilient are you?
Do you crumble at the first sign of difficulty, or do you dig deep, stand strong and tap into every ounce of wisdom, strength and courage?
The art of resilience grows from looking at situations from a different perspective. Resilient people will reflect on the problem and what it’s trying to teach them.
Instead of simply wishing to get through the tough times, they actively find ways to thrive.
Today, I have a question for you…
Rather than wait for the next challenge to appear in your life, why not work on building resilience now?
Just as you wouldn’t start a 500 mile car journey without checking your car was working properly, filling up with fuel and ensuring you had all the supplies you needed en route, why would you go through life, relationships or running your own business without gaining all the essential tools required to enhance your inner strength and capabilities?
5 Top Tips for Building Resilience
Live each day with gratitude. It’s a well known fact that happy people are healthier. But what makes people happy in the first place? Rather than being ‘made’ happy by external events, happy people start with a positive mindset; they understand that happiness truly does come from within. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, start by writing a short gratitude list every day. Every morning when you wake, or every evening before bed, write down three things you feel grateful for. Start small with obvious things if you struggle: children, pets, a secure home, and build up to including small things that happened in your life, or opportunities that arose that gave you a warm, fuzzy heart. When you recognise that you’re noticing (and feeling thankful for) the small things every day, that’s when you’re truly living with an attitude of gratitude.
Extend your learning. Education and learning should not be confined to our school and college years. The most resilient people understand that learning is for life – whether that’s in the form of qualifications and training or simply the personal growth that comes from falling down and getting back up again; for feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Learning new skills that develop emotional intelligence enhance our sense of empowerment, inner strength and courage.
Play and have fun! Playing just for the fun of it isn’t limited to childhood. Breaking out of our daily routine to play simple games or have a little creative fun boosts our physical health and mental wellbeing. Add in some regular laughter and joy with friends, family or community and you have a recipe for resilience success.
Build relationships through kindness. Acting from a place of compassion, thoughtfulness and warmth is the best way to build strong, nourishing relationships. Step away from expecting anything in return and instead give your time, love and energy to others selflessly. It’s not about being a martyr or a doormat, it’s about being the best version of you. Be kind, come from a place of love and integrity and build your own web of supportive relationships and connections.
Boost your physical health. In addition to building emotional health as mentioned above, it’s important we keep our physical health in good condition. Having a strong body boosts our physical recovery through times of illness and stress. When we fail to look after our physical body, we may find that we keep getting knocked down again and again after every setback. Start by getting regular physical exercise – including cardiovascular activity and strength training – as well as plenty of time in fresh air and nature to boost overall wellbeing. Relaxation and sleep are essential too, so do schedule plenty of time for self-care. Adding meditation and yoga to your life will also enhance your physical and emotional health.
Are you building resilience on a daily basis?
If not, what can you do today to boost your inner strength?
The best thing I ever did to tune into my inner voice and align to my core values happened purely by chance.
I hadn’t planned on taking time out to reflect or listen to my inner voice. I hadn’t considered completely switching business direction and I definitely hadn’t figured I’d take two months off ‘work’.
Sometimes a problem, illness or challenge shows up and we’re forced to retreat or back away from real life. Initially we might feel resistance and resent our problems. We blame the problem for stopping us working, earning money or living our normal life.
But then, something strange happens.
As we retreat, or take time out, we rediscover the things we’d forgotten make us happy or we find new things that light us up in ways we’d never expected.
Being sick or recovering from injury may bring the opportunity to read books, watch inspirational TED talks or take an online course. It could be the turning point in finding your true happiness.
Having difficult financial problems may bring the opportunity to figure out what really makes you happy and what ‘stuff’ you really need to bring joy into your life. It might be the perfect moment to let go of possessions, buying habits or fears that were holding you back and making your money situation worse.
Feeling burnt out or exhausted may bring the opportunity to slow down, tune into your body, improve your health and build a strong support system through healthy diet, exercise, meditation or yoga.
When I took a couple of months away from work and the online space back in the summer of 2016, I hadn’t planned to take that time off.
I simply took one day to sit in the shade of my big palm tree in the garden and read a book, with my cat purring contentedly by my side.
Then I took another day, and another.
At first I felt really guilty that I wasn’t posting content in Facebook groups or writing to my email list or actively working to make money. But I could feel that the reading (and writing) I was doing were deeply nourishing my soul.
I remember reading The Celestine Prophecy again that summer, a book I’d first read almost twenty years ago. (Highly recommended if you’re feeling a bit stuck with life!) There were so many parts of that book that helped me to see where I was feeling stuck, stagnant, heavy and uninspired. The words helped me to reflect on my own life and work and illuminate the areas that needed change.
But like I said at the beginning, I’d never planned for all this to happen and I believe that’s the best way. It shows us how much capacity we have for personal growth and discovery and how important it is to just take that first step.
And most of the time, that first step involvess l o w i n gd o w n.
Too many of us are guilty of buying more, doing more or consuming more when what we really need is to stop and listen to the voice INSIDE, rather than the constant excess of external noise.
The important lesson to learn is that we should all take regular time out before we get to the point of burn out, exhaustion, physical illness or total apathy for life and work.
Where can you schedule some time to do something just for you?
How can you slow down and begin to listen to your inner voice?
Because, I promise you, that once you begin to slow down and create space, the answers will appear. Every single time.
For more guidance and inspiration about aligning to your inner truth and listening to your inner voice, you might like this short Alignment video I made in Corfu last year.
When you were a child, did you used to enjoy making things just for the fun of it?
Did you find yourself lost in time building Lego houses, drawing pictures or creating collages with random scraps of material, buttons and ribbon? Perhaps you used to knit, crochet or sew, collect flowers for your flower press or make geometric patterns with a Spirograph?
Wasn’t it relaxing to just sit and make stuff?
And then…. we grew up. Our studies got serious, our jobs and social lives took hold and then we settled down with a mortgage, a puppy and a couple of children. Or at least some variation of that!
Suddenly we had no time or inclination to sit and create. The only time we read a whole book from front to back was on holiday by the pool. And then technology came along and swiped even more of our time away with videos and games we never even knew we needed.
Our whole lives became about consuming rather than creating.
We found ourselves on a treadmill of constant consumption. And it drained our energy, our life force, our innovation and our creativity.
In some strange way it’s as if we needed to get to this point today; a world in which Black Friday shopping madness, ocean plastic garbage patches and the highest rates of obesity and depression ever recorded are the norm.
It’s time for us to wake up and realise that we all carry the light within; the light that will save us and our planet from darkness.
“It’s only one straw. Said 8 billion people.”
Together, we are the catalyst for change.
United, we are the ripple effect.
Change begins inside you. It starts small. One less cheap t-shirt, one less plastic bottle, one less car on the road.
But just as most people fail in food diets because they focus on what’s being removed from their lives – the things they’re no longer ‘allowed’ – it’s important that we switch our mindsets away from scarcity and lack. Instead, we must focus on abundance, ease and flow.
And the easiest way to switch your mindset is by starting with gratitude.
Feeling grateful for all the small things naturally steers you away from over-consuming – in any form.
And once you stop consuming so much, you re-awaken your creativity.
You’re drawn to pottering in the garden, buying a set of paints or dusting off the old camera.
You feel an urge to declutter your wardrobe, take up hiking or start a vegan diet.
You’re inclined to spend time outdoors with your children or joining them in art and craft fun.
What have you felt drawn to?
I’ve noticed a big shift in our consciousness since 2012 – although I wasn’t aware of what was happening at the time. So many people I meet in person and through the online space have been on a journey of awakening. We’ve quit corporate jobs, taken our children out of mainstream schools, started our own businesses and begun a path of creativity and innovation. We’ve not been afraid to step out and show our unique gifts, talents and lifestyles to the world.
Perhaps you feel like you’ve been riding the same wave too?
It’s a wave of love, honesty, integrity and authenticity.
It’s a wave of connection, community, collaboration and compassion.
It’s a wave of self-awareness, reflection, personal growth and alignment.
I may not be a surfer chick, or even a water baby, but I’m riding this wave all the way!
I’m actively swapping my consumption for creation. I’ve got out the sewing machine, I’m digging out the knitting needles and I’m keen to try making a macrame wall hanging. (My godmother once taught me macrame knotting with the cords attached to her spiral staircase back in the late 1970s – how hard could it be now?!)
I feel a deep desire to create, from a place of love and meaning, every single day and I’d love to know if you feel the same?
When the new moon comes round every month, it’s the perfect time to tune into your wishes and desires, set goals and intentions and then sit back and watch the Universe use its magic.
You might think that manifesting on a moon phase is a load of spiritual woo-woo, but if you’ve never tried, you might just be surprised to see what happens when you align your actions with the cyclic power of nature.
I always knew that I had more late night energy and a bigger appetite around the full moon, but I’d never even contemplated why that might be. Until a few years ago when I started following people online who used oracle (or tarot) cards and talked about the influence of the moon. I was hooked!
I started reading more spiritual books and began to use the oracle cards myself. Before long I was writing new moon wish lists and burning them in the fireplace with my cat always by my side, curiously watching the flames.
It wasn’t long before I realised the dreams and intentions I was setting were coming true. Of course, you can’t simply wish to win the lottery or have a brand new Mercedes, and you can’t make wishes to change other people or attract them to you if the universe has other ideas. But you can (and should) wish for a feeling…
Your wishes must always start with you. Ask yourself: How do I want to feel?
If you’re craving a new lover, then think about how you want to feel in a new relationship. What qualities and values will you bring to the relationship and how will your new partner’s traits work in synergy with yours? What do you want this relationship to look like and how will that make you feel? So, for example, instead of wishing for that hot guy in the coffee shop, wish for a man with whom you feel safe, loved, special and sensual. See the difference?
Before you make your wishes spend some time relaxing, listen to an online guided meditation and light a candle. (There are more advanced New Moon manifestation rituals available online should you want to take it to the next level. Links at the bottom of the blog.)
When you’re ready to start writing, start with a gratitude list. Tuning into gratitude was a complete life changer for me. I was able to shift my mindset away from scarcity and lack and into abundance and flow. It’s a proven fact that people who think more positively generally tend to be happier and more content with life. If you find it hard to think of anything you’re grateful for, start with the obvious things: a roof over your head, heating, hot water, electricity, wifi, food in the cupboards, money in your purse, family, friends, a job… Then each time you write a gratitude list (which you can do every day if you wish, not just on a new moon) get a little more specific. Think about why you’re grateful for those things. Add in little things that happened that day or the previous day: ‘I’m so grateful for the daisies my daughter picked from the garden yesterday. As she handed them to me my heart filled with love and fuzziness.’
After you’ve written all your wishes and a gratitude list, you can either burn the list (to send the wishes up to the universe and release attachment to them), or simply keep them in a journal to refer back to months later. The most important part is to release any expectations and not constantly ask the Universe ‘where’s my wish?’!
Wish, then let it go. Just like you might on your birthday candles or a dandelion clock in summer.
Living with the rhythms of nature and the moon phases will allow you to feel more in tune with your own body; more aligned to your inner voice and true desires.
It’s time to stop living the life that society thinks you should live, and start living for you.
New Moon blessings,
My favourite New Moon resources:
Yasmin Boland’s Moonology – I refer to sections of her beautiful book every two weeks, but you can find daily updates here at moonology.com.
Brittney Carmichael – Brittney was one of my first online spiritual go-to gurus and I love her attitude to life and manifestation and all things woo-woo! Read her New Moon in Scorpio blog here.
Leah Cherry Kent – Leah is a beautiful, soft, kind, spiritual soul who is the perfect fit for women wanting more sacred femininity and reflection in their lives. Leah and I met through the online space and I love her Intuitive Moon Rituals Guidebook, it’s simply stunning!
If constantly consuming social media reduces our creativity, then does constantly consuming food reduce our ability to tune into our own bodies and understand what we really need?
Marketing and advertising have incredible power in our modern world. The images we see every day on advertisements seep into our minds so that when we’re ready to buy, certain brands or products are our first choice. Advertising (and culture) drives our purchasing habits. When you throw in a little perceived obsolescence, suddenly we’re buying, consuming and eating 24/7. For the younger generation, that’s all they’ve ever known.
We’re so used to having the ability to eat at any time of day or night – thanks mainly to fridges and freezers – that the idea of not eating for a few hours draws many people into stockpiling food ‘just in case’.
But do we really need to consume as much food as we’re led to believe?
You and I both know the answer to that one, yet we continue consuming.
While I was writing some notes for this blog, the word GREED kept popping into my head and spilling out onto paper.
Greed can be defined as an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food; a desire to possess more than one needs.
What images does greed bring up for you?
I think back to the times I’ve watched people in buffet restaurants pile up their plates with mountains of food and stuff their faces. It made me feel sick so many times but it’s only now I realise that it wasn’t actually about the food or some strange phobia of watching people eat.
The nausea I felt was a nudge from the universe to keep me heading in this direction; a sign that I was following the right path.
It’s a journey that has brought me to this place, today, in an era of consumerism and massive environmental issues, so that I can share my knowledge and experiences with others and play a small part in creating change.
In hindsight, it’s no surprise that I was drawn to vegetarianism in my early teens and that I’ve since stopped eating meat, dairy, processed foods, gluten, refined sugar and alcohol. It’s a lifestyle of physical, emotional and spiritual health that awakens my soul with every breath.
If you feel you’re ready to jump off the consumerism train and live a lifestyle that will benefit your personal health and the future of our planet, here are some simple steps to begin incorporating into your life:
Practice moderation and self-restraint. Before you buy (or eat) anything, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this? Will this benefit my life in some way? How will I dispose of the packaging or the product after use?’
Reduce your consumption of meat. There is plenty of scientific research that can show you how processed meats play a part in cancer. Plus, in terms of environmental effects, every kilo of beef produced requires over 15,000 litres of water compared to 1600 litres for 1kg of cereals and just over 300 litres for 1kg vegetables. We could eradicate mass starvation and water shortage simply by producing less meat and growing more plant-based produce (and sharing it more equally).
Reduce your consumption of dairy produce. Casein, the main protein in milk, has been linked to cancer. The China Studyby Dr T. Colin Campbell is a great book to read to educate yourself about meat, dairy and plant-based diets. In addition to the worrying aspect of disease, there’s a compassionate element to reducing your dairy intake. Millions of male baby calves are taken from their mothers at just a few hours old and slaughtered. The reason? To keep the cow producing milk. These calves are born and bred with the sole purpose of keeping mum constantly lactating to fuel the modern world’s desire for milk, cheese and cheap chocolate. I wish I’d had access to this knowledge thirty years ago as I know I would have bypassed the whole vegetarian part of my life and switched straight to a vegan diet. Plus, there are so many dairy-free alternatives now. I remember a time when soy milk tasted pretty bad and soy yogurts were packed with sugar and had a strange consistency. Now you can even get vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – what’s not to love?!
Learn to cook. Seriously. Stop using the ‘I can’t cook’ or ‘I don’t have time’ excuses! Get in the kitchen and learn how to peel and chop vegetables. Learn how to soak and cook beans and lentils. Learn how to create incredible salad dressings and vibrant pasta sauces. Learn how to make sweet treats with oats, dates and cacao powder to reduce your need for processed cookies and cakes. Get a recipe book, sign up for a course, join an online group – just do something every day to boost your skills. Plus, being able to put a meal together with basic plant-based ingredients will boost your health and your bank balance!
Eat mindfully and share food with others. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, eat dinner with family or friends and share stories over dinner. Have a glass of water with your meals instead of fizzy drinks or alcohol. (Pure, fresh pressed fruit or vegetable juice is great too, especially if you have low iron levels or are under eighteen.) Chew your food well and put down your cutlery between every few mouthfuls. Who else remembers their grandma saying you should ‘chew your food twenty times’? She was probably right….
I’d love to know where are you on your food journey right now…
Does greed make your stomach flip?
Does consumerism make you want to put your credit card away and go for a walk in nature instead?
Are you ready to step sideways and forge your own path ahead?
Ever since I wrote yesterday’s blog about the True Cost of Fast Fashion, my mind has been darting back and forth to all the occasions throughout my life when I’ve felt a gut-wrenching desire to do something to help; to make a difference to the suffering of others.
I vividly remember the plight of the Vietnamese refugee children in the early 1980s and wondering what it would be like to adopt a baby sister. I remember feeling so touched by the stories post-Chernobyl and cried so many tears over the starving children in Ethiopia. I remember watching GreenPeace demonstrations on television that protested against whaling and secretly wished I could be brave enough to stand up for what I believed in.
But I was a good girl. I obeyed the rules and kept my thoughts and feelings inside. I was too afraid to upset or offend anyone. To this day I’ve never stood on a picket line or protested with placards but I have found my voice.
I now realise that you don’t have to make the loudest noise to make the most difference.
My natural word whispering gift is the one that I can best use to inspire, inform, educate and motivate others. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to share my thoughts with the world and am always humbled by your touching comments.
All across the globe, inspirational people are quietly standing up for the things that mean the most to them. These people have a passion and commit every day to making a difference.
Some do it just for themselves, while others do it for their family, their community, their country, their planet. Some do it for humans, others do it for animals.
But the thing they all have in common is a fire in their belly that keeps burning throughout every challenge, every setback, every fear.
If you want to make a difference in the world, or to somebody’s life, (or even to your own) it all starts with you turning your thoughts into action.
Take that first step, and the next, and the next.
Never give up.
The consistency of taking heart-led, soul-driven daily action will bring about the change you desire.
So whether you’re considering switching to a plant-based lifestyle, reducing the amount of plastic you use, homeschooling your children, decluttering your home, saving animals, refugees or the environment, writing a book or setting up your own small business, climbing a mountain or taking on a new challenge – just take that ONE first step today.
I’d love to know, what lights the fire burning in your belly?
Last night, armed with a bowl of homemade pumpkin and sweet potato curry, a warm blanket and my fluffy house bunny hopping around, I sat down to watch The True Costdocumentary by Andrew Morgan about fast fashion and its effects on the environment and human suffering.
Having seen the trailer beforehand, I knew it was going to be difficult viewing in places, but I hadn’t anticipated being so touched by one particular story: the life of a young woman named Shima and her daughter Nadia.
If our world has got to the point where a 23 year old woman in Bangladesh has to give up her daughter just so we can have cheap clothing, then something has gone seriously wrong.
And I, for one, don’t want to be part of the problem.
In the west, we have choices and a voice. Not everyone is so lucky.
Have you ever been to your boss to ask for a pay rise? If so, you were probably asked a few questions about why you thought you should be paid more and then went on to negotiate the exact sum. Worse case scenario, your boss would have said ‘no’ and that would have been the end of it.
In Bangladesh, by contrast, when Shima and her fellow union workers asked for a pay increase they were locked inside the garment factory and physically beaten. All for asking for just a few dollars more a month to be able to live with dignity.
Many of these workers (85% female) are working long shifts, day after day, in poor, crowded conditions for less than US$150 a month. Of course, you can argue that living costs are lower in other parts of the world, and that’s true, but when other human lives are paying such an enormous cost and living in suffering for our short-term pleasure (how much joy does that £5.99 t-shirt bring you anyway?), then the system is seriously broken.
While we as individuals may not be able to change the world, together we can make a difference.
The first step is education and awareness. Watch documentaries like The True Cost (and other environmental movies such as Cowspiracy, A Plastic Ocean and Before The Flood) to learn more about the bigger picture. It’s so easy to think that this one plastic bottle or this one cheap t-shirt won’t have a negative effect, or to believe that your positive contribution won’t make a difference because millions of others are still trashing the planet, but it’s not true. Every little step we can take makes us part of the bigger picture and part of the change.
Every time you learn something new, share it! Talk to your family, friends and colleagues. Share a photo on social media, write a blog, post a video or organise an event to bring your community together. Spreading awareness is vital and will make you part of the catalyst for change.
Vote with your money. The plastic problem has now been headline news for some time and we’re all becoming more aware and (slowly) changing our daily habits. However, the true cost of fast fashion isn’t such a widely acknowledged problem. In the western world we simply want more and more stuff at a cheaper cost. And somewhere in the supply chain, something has to give. For fast fashion, it’s the lives and suffering of garment factory workers. In order to drive down costs factory bosses have to skip vital health and safety precautions, putting lives in danger every single day. (The Rana Plaza building collapse in Dhaka in April 2013 killed 1,134 workers.)
Change your mindset. We’ve become a throwaway culture due to the marketing practices of the last fifty or so years that brought us both planned and perceived obsolescence. For the younger generations, that’s all we’ve ever known. Things break, we replace them. In the past we used to repair goods and clothing and pass furniture down through generations – now it’s a quick trip to the shops and we have something brand new. But what do we do with all our old stuff? The vast majority simply gets thrown into landfill and as it takes hundreds or even thousands of years to break down, it’s still sitting somewhere on the planet, even if you can’t see it. Perceived obsolescence makes consumers believe that they need an updated version of a product, even though theirs works perfectly well – e.g. cars, smartphones, computers and fast fashion. Before you buy anything new, consider how you may dispose of it after use and whether there’s an alternative that’s better for the planet (even if that means spending a little more money).
Support people and organisations who are striving to make a difference. Seek out local environmentalists and activists who are organising events and either share the details with others to reach a bigger audience, or go along in person and meet like-minded people. Buy from organisations who share the same ethics and values as you: companies that are reducing packaging, supporting fair trade and workers’ rights and lowering their carbon footprint.
Before you buy any more clothes or shoes, empty everything from your wardrobe (including coats, accessories and bags) and take an honest look at everything you have. Donate things you no longer wear, repair anything you love that needs fixing, and cut up old, stained shirts into squares to use as cleaning cloths. Reduce the amount of clothes you have and then only buy specific items chosen on purpose to be part of your new capsule wardrobe. Don’t forget to look in charity shops or buy second hand or organise swap parties with friends.
In the last twenty years our lifestyle habits have changed beyond recognition. Gone are the days of large bulky television sets with metal aerials and manual buttons or chatting to your friends after school in a cold hallway with a bulky telephone and stretchy, coiled cable twirled around your fingers!
Instead, we stream music and movies via cloud services and communicate via video and photo messaging apps on tiny devices more powerful than we ever imagined possible.
While the enormous benefits of technology continue to enhance our modern lives and make communication instant and effortless, there is a darker side that can swallow our souls and drain our creativity, leaving us feeling empty and more alone than ever.
While I was in England recently, I did a little bit of research into people’s social media habits on public transport. (Ok, yes, I was a little bit nosey!) It happened purely by chance as I was sat behind a young girl on a bus. I noticed in just a few seconds that every picture that came up on her Instagram feed was of young, glamorous women, many in semi-naked, sexual poses and all wearing a lot of make up and sporting the essential pout. As the mother of teenage daughters, I instantly felt a sense of sadness that so many young women need to feel validated by portraying themselves in this way. Their self-esteem is boosted with Likes and Followers – but, just like an Instagram post, this feeling of elation is short lived.
It was this experience that led me to ask the question:
How do you consume social media?
If I’m totally honest, I think that if I was a young woman today, I’d probably consume social media in exactly the same way. In my late teens I was confident yet insecure, dressed for sex appeal but hated parts of my body. With the benefit of hindsight I can see how my behaviour, lifestyle, actions and beliefs all stemmed from that insecurity.
If you’re a woman over about 35, you’ll probably feel lucky that you grew up in an era pre-social media, where you weren’t bombarded with unrealistic images every few seconds; an era where you just simply hung out in pubs and clubs with your friends and chatted to people face to face.
But back to the question… how do you consume social media?
For many millions of people, their smartphone is the first thing they look at in the morning and the last thing they look at before bed. Couples and families are messaging each other from different parts of the house (or even next to each other in bed!) and commuters are plugged into their devices while shoppers walk down the high street sending text messages. Even drivers risk their lives using mobile phones while they’re on the road (if that’s you, please stop!).
I think it’s the word CONSUME that’s important here. We live in a consumer-led world where almost everything is available 24/7. We’ve become impatient, greedy, needy and always searching for the next fix.
When we consume constantly, we aren’t giving ourselves the chance to think and form our own opinions; we simply regurgitate what we’ve heard, read or seen.
If you stop consuming, you give yourself the opportunity to create; to be innovative, adventurous and excited.
When I made the decision to stop watching the news, reading newspapers and mindlessly consuming junk TV, something amazing happened…
My creativity skyrocketed!
Suddenly I could hear my inner voice and felt more aligned to my core truth and values.
I rediscovered all the things that fuelled my creativity as a child. I realised I had a whole unique set of gifts and talents that I’d never used before or had kept locked away for years.
I actively sought out the things, places and people that made me happy and in doing so, I became happier and happier. The need for instant gratification on social media waned as did the desire to watch mainstream television.
As a teenager, if I’d missed out on watching the programme that everyone was talking about I’d have felt left out and different. But now, I revel in the fact that I create the life that I want to live. I don’t mind being different because what I’m doing lights me up.
If you dream of living a different life, start by looking at how you consume social media and mainstream television, radio and press.
Do you use social media for more than 2-3 hours a day?
If you use social media for business, do you have a specific boundary between creating content and consuming? (FYI: Action taking helps you grow your business, not simply consuming more and more content.)
Do you watch television simply because it’s there and because you always have done?
How do you feel about switching your phone apps and notifications off for a day?
Do you charge your phone or other devices in the bedroom and use them when you wake up and before you sleep?
Switching your lifestyle is not something most people can do overnight, however, it is possible to make one switch at a time until you get to a point where you feel that your creative mojo is back in the building!
If you’re a sensitive empath, cutting out news bulletins and papers with horrific headlines from your life will make a massive difference to your energy levels. (I never realised how much I was affected my whole life until I stopped for 6 weeks. Even now I can still remember major news events of the 1980s that have stuck with me for life.)
Cutting down on blue screen usage before bed improves your sleep pattern and relaxation – so stop using your laptop or phone an hour before bed (at least) and charge it outside the bedroom if possible.
Switch an hour of evening television for an hour of your favourite creative or sporty activity. Or go for a walk, meet friends, do some gardening or declutter a cupboard in the house.
Set yourself time limits for scrolling social media or answering emails. As soon as you realise that you’re deep inside a video loop of cute kittens, kitchen gadgets or random people doing silly pranks, it’s time to step away from the phone!
Call friends and family instead of using messaging apps. It gives you time to focus your love and energy on that one person instead of multi tasking between tabs. Wouldn’t you rather feel special too?
Have a ban on smart phones at the dinner table – kids AND parents! Talk to each other….
If you’ve been feeling like you need to boost your creativity, energy and happiness, then maybe today is the day to ask yourself the question:
Once upon a time I was a mother of two little children, rushing around from one activity to the next, surrounded by a sea of plastic toys and answering hundreds of random questions every day.
I was always busy, always thinking, always moving. I never stopped. A ‘mummy drink’ of Bacardi and coke and a generous portion of reality TV simply numbed the senses but didn’t really allow me to switch off.
I got irritated really easily, kicked toys, drove too fast and ate a lot of chocolate.
My body, mind and soul were constantly swept up in a tornado of ‘doing’ and ‘stuff’.
Fast forward a few years and in contrast to busyness, I now enjoy stillness.
The change did not happen overnight. It’s been a long process of aligning to my inner truths and core values; a journey of learning to understand and love the real me on the inside.
Because, the truth is this…
Sometimes we just get swept up with life. The boyfriend, the house, the wedding, the baby, the nursery, the toys, the school, the activities, the jobs, the money, the food, the shopping, the socialising. The endless accumulation of stuff to do and stuff to own. We find ourselves constantly irritated by minor things and filling the void with food, alcohol, caffeine, sugar or substances. (Because stuff does not equal contentment.)
I realised I had enough stuff in my life. In fact, I had too much. All this stuff was drowning my spirit and making me stressed and overwhelmed.
There wasn’t one point at which I suddenly said ‘that’s enough!’, it was a gradual process; a mirror of the process it took to get there. The layers piled on and now they needed peeling off again.
When I moved from a bungalow in 2013 I had ten years of stuff in the loft to clear out. Every painting and drawing the girls had ever made, every pair of shoes they’d ever worn, every outfit, every toy, every blanket, every photo … plus there were boxes of mine and my ex-husband’s that we’d not looked at since the late 90s! Emptying the loft took longer than emptying the actual main living space. (Although, carrying boxes down a ladder every day for three weeks is great for your legs and bum! #silverlinings)
In the last five years what’s changed the most is the realisation that I need stillness, calm, peace and time to reflect every day. Not just once a week for an hour between other activities, I need it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
When I’m out with friends, networking or at an event, I love being with people. I love listening to their stories and finding out what lights them up and fuels their creative passion. When I’m with my children I love to listen to their stories of school, work, social media and friendships and understand what makes them tick as they grow into amazing young adults. And when I’m by myself I love to just BE. To look up at the clouds and watch the trees swaying in the wind, to spend quiet time with a purring cat on my lap or watching my bunnies wash their faces or eat daisies – stem first (it’s the cutest thing!).
As a small business owner I’ve tried making schedules and timetables and plans but I’ve realised that they don’t work for me because they don’t allow for time to just be. This precious time (and precious moments with children, partners and pets or in nature) can’t be allocated within a spreadsheet. Sometimes you have to seize the moment or the opportunity when it presents itself. If you’re trying to stick to a schedule then you’ll always feel like you failed, even if you actually took time off to do something that made you feel great.
So, what really changed over the last five to ten years? How did I get from overwhelmed, rushing, stressed out mummy to calm, serene business owner?
I switched my mindset. I read The Gratitude Diaries, Eat Pray Love, Big Magic and countless other books that helped me to live life from a place of gratitude, not scarcity. I wrote daily gratitude lists and made more time to enjoy the simple things in life.
I cut drama and negativity out of my life. I stopped watching the news, daytime TV, reading newspapers and reading the negative comments across social media. I actually sold my TV too! Now I watch just the documentaries, movies or programmes that I choose, online, at my preferred time.
I began decluttering. I realised that simply tidying the stuff from one room to another or rearranging it into yet more plastic storage boxes simply wasn’t working! The stagnant energy was still sitting there. Slowly, I’ve reduced our possessions to perhaps a tenth of what we had back in 2013. I’m working on creating a capsule wardrobe where I love everything in it and every item fits me well and makes me feel great. This stops that ‘I have nothing to wear’ scenario and reduces the stress of washing mountains or packing for holidays.
I stopped trying to make everything fit and just tuned in to ME. I realised that I was happiest when I wasn’t constantly trying to be something that I wasn’t. I shared more of the real me online which attracted more of my ‘tribe’. Now with an amazing, extended group of like-minded people all around me, I feel supported, respected and loved. And the best part is that I get to make others feel good too! #connectionsandcommunity
I switched back to a mainly vegetarian diet somewhere around 2012 … and then tried four months as a raw vegan before ending up at a 95% plant-based diet that suited me and my family really well. In the last year I’ve committed to a completely plant-based lifestyle and the last pieces all fell into place. Love, compassion, peace, kindness, stillness, nature, lunar cycles and Mother Earth – it all fits together like a beautiful hand made wooden puzzle.
Plus (and you may not like these!), I stopped drinking diet coke, rarely drink alcohol and never drink black tea or coffee. Before switching to a plant-based diet I’d also stopped eating over-processed milk chocolate bars (like the ones in purple wrappers) and switched to dairy-free dark chocolate instead. So, basically, cut the caffeine, sugar and alcohol and you’ll feel much less stressed! Eating a healthy, vegetable and fruit rich diet with primarily home cooked foods will support and nourish your body.
So that’s me, now it’s over to you…
What can you do today to bring more stillness, calm and joy into your life?
What can you do today to reduce the amount of stress and overwhelm you feel? Where do you need to be honest with yourself? What difficult conversations do you need to have? Where do you need support?
What can you do today to connect with people that will lift you up, support your goals and make you feel great? How can you make other people feel loved, respected and heard?
For thousands of years, cultures from all around the world with nature at their core have celebrated the seasons and the cyclic pattern of the year.
In the Northern hemisphere at this time (from sunset on 31 October to 1 November) we celebrate Halloween, or Samhain, (pronounced ‘sow-en’), an ancient Celtic fire festival to honour and remember our ancestors.
Today, you may well feel triggered by the consumerism of 21st century Halloween, or irritated by the endless stream of plastic ‘stuff’ on display in every shop in every town, while at the same time feeling drawn more and more to Mother Earth, with a desire to retreat inwards, physically and emotionally.
If so, you’re not alone.
Samhain is a firm nod from Mother Nature that winter is on its way; a time for all beings, plants and animals, to draw their energy inwards to prepare for winter. As night-time frosts start to kill off vegetation, the leaves fall from the trees and the days get shorter, Samhain represents the end of a season.
Endings are the perfect moment to pause and reflect.
Spending time to reflect on the past year helps us to move forward with love and gratitude and to let go of the fears and blocks that may still be holding us back from shining our brightest light.
What have you achieved this year and how did each milestone make you feel?
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
What adventures have you had and how did they inspire you?
What connections or friendships have you made (or lost) and how has your ‘crowd’ made you stronger?
As you spend some time today thinking about the past year, allow your thoughts to tumble out into personal writing, artwork or a mood board. Paint, draw, sculpt, sing, write, create…whatever feels best to you.
If you’re a small business owner, this is a great time to focus on what you’ve achieved in your business this year and the problems you’ve encountered and overcome.
What are you most proud of in your business and why?
How have you helped others – either through your services or through networking and support?
What has your business allowed you to do for you, your family or your community?
What strengths have appeared this year that perhaps you didn’t realise you had?
Where have you struggled and where might you ask for support in the coming year?
What have you let go of that no longer serves you? And how good does it feel?
Could you turn these thoughts, wins, struggles and losses into a Manifesto for the year ahead?
Never stop going to the gym and lifting those heavy weights you love. In the future there may be health challenges you never expected and your dedication will be tested. It may feel hopeless. You may be in pain, tired or sick. But even if you lose your way you will always be able to get back on track, however difficult it may seem. Never stop being strong, fit and confident.
Never stop looking after yourself. All those little things you do now – the baths, the body scrubs, the pretty nail polish, the eyelash tints – never stop doing them. There will be times when money and time have an impact on what you can do, but there are always ways to take care of your body so you feel pretty, attractive and sexy. Never stop rubbing body butter into your womanly curves and curling your long blonde hair.
Never stop eating fruit and vegetables every day. You love how they make you feel and how your skin glows and your eyes sparkle. You love feeling energetic, vibrant and calm. In the future, health and financial issues could change everything in a heartbeat. You might be forced to make choices you never imagined. Keep eating your leafy greens and lots of fruit so you stay mentally and physically strong to face these challenges. Never stop making healthy food a priority.
Never stop wearing clothes, underwear and jewellery that make you feel sensual, feminine and happy. You’ve loved fashion your whole life and it doesn’t have to stop. Declutter regularly and keep only the things you truly love. Be wise and ethical with fashion purchases. Remember – less is more. If you feel like life has wrapped you up in a dark grey blanket, stay strong. You will unwrap yourself, like a butterfly from a chrysalis, and grow more beautiful, more wise and more sensual. Never stop being the best version of you.
Never stop wearing heels. Right now you walk tall and elegantly in those heels and you love how they make you feel. You’re a goddess in your heels, sparkling bright and leaving a trail of glitter wherever you go. There’s a time and a place for ballet pumps, sandals and trainers, of course, but do keep wearing heels at least once a week. If your feet or back muscles start getting sore, don’t throw out the shoes, just do more specific exercises and stretches and get lots of massage or chiropractic care. Never stop walking tall with a smile on your face.
Never stop visiting your chiropractor! Throughout your twenties and early thirties you’ve put your physical health and body first and this will pay off. But as your children demand more time from you, and a rising cost of living squeezes every penny out of your purse, don’t ever stop scheduling those appointments at least every 6 months. Focus on the benefits and the pain free living, not the cost of the session. Never stop caring for your body.
Never stop playing. Silly games with your kids, messing around with pets, laughing outrageously with friends and honing your wit in the online space – it’s all play and it’s all great for your health and well-being. Life will get tough. You will face challenges. But through it all you must retain a sense of humour and a strong faith that everything will work out in the way the Universe intended. Every struggle teaches a lesson – however hard or unfair it may seem at the time – and through that learning you’ll come out the other side stronger and wiser. Never lose your childlike wonder, sense of play and curiosity.
Never stop meeting new people and creating new connections and friendships – especially with people who make you a better person. Always surround yourself with high-vibe, creative, energetic people and those who make you feel good. When things get difficult you might feel like you’d rather stay indoors and cancel engagements, but this is the worst thing you can do. Sure, you’ll enjoy a sense of peace and calm far more as you get older but you must never stop meeting new people and stepping into situations where you might feel a little out of your depth. If you don’t step out of your comfort zone you’ll never find the magic.
Never stop dreaming. You know you’ve always been destined to do things a little differently and as you get older and wiser your dreams will be even more important to your well-being and personal growth. Without dreams you can’t set goals. Without goals you can’t set a plan. And without a plan you can’t move forward or measure success. Dream big, Lorraine, the Universe has you held tightly in its warm embrace and will never let you fall (although it sometimes giggles by dangling you by a thread over a precipice in the darkness!). Never stop imagining all the incredible possibilities and never stop trusting your ability to make those dreams come true.
Never stop Lorraine.
However difficult life can feel at times, you have all the answers inside you. All it takes is the patience to look inwards and figure things out. And I promise, that in between all the challenges there will be an endless stream of happiness, success, abundance, laughter and love that will replenish your soul and fill every cell in your being with brilliant white light.
Never stop being you. And one day, you might look back and realise I was right.
Every time I commit 100% to something, energy shifts, changes happen, transformation begins and life changes …
There’s a massive difference in energy when we decide to jump in completely, versus dipping our toes in here and there.
If you really want to declutter your home but keep putting it off until tomorrow (and we all know tomorrow never comes), then you’ll forever be feeling that constant energy drain that comes when you feel you should be sorting your wardrobe, deep cleaning the kitchen or moving that pile of paperwork off the dinner table.
If you really want to get fitter, stronger and leaner but after an initial 3 week burst of three-times-a-week gym sessions or early morning runs you slowly run out of physical and mental energy, then you’re always left feeling not-quite-good-enough and revert back to your comfort zone.
Some people believe that others who can achieve consistent success have some kind of genetic super-power that makes them never lose focus and stay on track through all kinds of challenges. Others might say those high achievers have an inbuilt stubbornness and extra helping of willpower.
But I don’t believe that’s true.
When I reflect back on my own experiences I find it easy to pull out all the failures.All the diets that lasted just a few days, all the fitness plans written and never accomplished, all the beauty routines that disappeared long before the tubs of creams and lotions…
It’s really easy to remember our failures. It’s even easier to tell ourselves that we’re simply not someone who achieves their goals or that we don’t have enough willpower.
For just a few moments, I’d love you to think about all the things you’ve planned, started and never finished. They may not be health and fitness orientated but perhaps projects around the home, learning a language or keeping your car filled up with petrol all the time (I still can’t manage this one!!).
(If you have some paper or a notebook nearby, do feel free to write this down as it’s a really useful and motivating exercise.)
Now, switch it around and look at all the things you have achieved, stuck to or completed.
I’ll share some of mine…
Back in 2013 I decided to stop drinking diet coke (other brands are available!). I’d gradually realised it made my skin itch and as someone who is very intuitive with her body, I knew it wasn’t doing my health any favours. So after a night out with a friend I decided that was it. My last diet coke. Ever. Admittedly there were moments later that summer where I could easily have given in and tasted that first, ice cold, fizzy sip… but I stuck to my gut instinct. A few weeks became months and suddenly I found myself able to say ‘I haven’t had a diet coke for a year’. That was almost 5 years ago and I can honestly say that not only do I not miss it (sparkling water with ice, fresh lime and mint is far more refreshing), but I also feel better for not drinking it.
When my children were little I spent a lot of time with other mums who complained about how much time home cooking took or how they resorted to oven-ready meals like fish fingers, beans and chips. Somehow, I knew that it felt different to me. Sure, there were plenty of busy days, fish finger days and let’s-go-out-for-dinner days, but in my heart I knew that cooking fresh meals with real ingredients gave me far more than good nutrition. It gave me peace of mind that I was nourishing my children in the best way I could, with love and care. The more I realised the importance of home-cooking to me, slowly my life evolved in ways I’d never imagined. I began to run cooking sessions in people’s homes, got a ‘healthy family food’ recipe column in our local newspaper, ran a cooking project for young mums with a local charity and became an adult education tutor for healthy cooking at college. I remember calculating one day that I must have prepped and cooked more than 25,000 family meals in my lifetime!
In more recent years as my spiritual awakening seemed to speed up, I realised that watching television news reports was a massive drain on my energy. Since childhood I’d seen more than my fair share of plane crash or car accident images and these haunted me frequently. I think, like many of us, that 9/11 was a turning point. I know something shifted in my mind that day, sitting breastfeeding my newborn baby wondering what kind of world I’d brought her into. It took a few more years before that final lightbulb moment. It happened slowly though…. Our television broke and as it was almost the school summer holidays I just didn’t replace it. We played more outside and I enjoyed the time to read or do things around the home rather than mindlessly flick through the channels. When I finally bought a new TV some weeks later and reverted to old habits, I felt a massive, instant, crushing negativity, sadness and drain wash through every cell in my body. I knew at that point I had to protect my energy (and my sanity!). From that day forward I haven’t watched any more daytime TV or a complete news report. In fact, I sold our TV over 2 years ago and it’s the best thing I ever did! If something important is happening then I choose when and where I want to watch it on some form of social media or online news channel. As a positive side effect, I’ve used that time to watch motivating TED talks, read, study and take my business to a whole new level.
The point I want to make here is that the things we reallywant to commit to are the same things that resonate with us deep inside our hearts.
The things we just know we want to change.
It’s not about starting a new diet or exercise plan because we feel we should be slimmer or achieve some kind of stereotypical ideal body shape, it’s about changing an aspect of our health and lifestyle because the consequences of not doing it far outweigh our desire to live in the comfort zone.
Starting a 30 day challenge can be a great way to kick start you into action.
An opportunity to open your mind and body to new possibilities. Along the way you’ll get those lightbulb moments that tug deep at your heart strings.
For me, switching to a plant-based diet opened up a whole new world about the plastic problems in the environment and the effects of the meat and dairy industry on global warming, together with a desire to learn more about zero waste and minimalism. What started out as a love of animals and a health boost to help my auto-immune condition slowly became a way of life that introduced me to new people, places, experiences and tastes I’d never otherwise have experienced.
The most exciting part of a challenge is not getting to the end and reaching an arbitrary goal, but the journey you undertake and all the discoveries and awakenings you have along the way.
You’ll notice new opportunities, connections and friendships that fill your life with a richness and joy you’dnever previously imagined.
Ready to commit to a daily practice now?
Join my 30 Day Plant-Based Challenge and see where the adventure takes you…
It’s less about the destination and more about the journey.
It’s not the fact that after 30 days you will have read 10 books, quit your social media habit or given up alcohol, it’s the PROCESS of changing your habits and committing to a new daily habit that’s the REAL GOLD in these types of challenges.
As Rebecca Campbell (author and speaker) says in her new online course Work Your Light, it’s all about a ‘daily devotional practice’.
When I heard Rebecca say those three words I had one of those lightbulb moments; a glimpse of realisation and a reflection onto my own behaviour.
In that instant I realised that many of the challenges I’d started and never finished were because I’d begun them in the wrong state of mind. I’d been focusing on an outcome instead of the process. My emotions were tied into achieving the goal rather than how that daily devotional practice would give me so much more.
For an easy illustration we can look at a weight loss example. Let’s say our goal is to lose 4 kg in a month. We attach everything to that outcome and think about how we’ll feel when we’re 4kg lighter. Suddenly every minute of our day seems to pivot on that number and we often leave ourselves feeling deprived, guilty or a failure.
The important part of an optimum health programme is not about achieving an arbitrary numerical goal, but in the daily process of eating healthier food, exercising, moving more around our desks, focusing on loving ourselves more and nourishing our bodies. When we take a few small components of that and make them new everyday habits, then it all starts to fall into place.
With that in mind, I’m committing to a daily process that will help me achieve my goals AND share my passion and wisdom with others.
I’ve begun to create a series of 30 day challenges where you can choose the specific things you change, add or subtract, but the common thread that connects every person and every challenge is that daily commitment and devotional practice.
And once you (and I) have successfully changed our behaviour and habits for 30 days, then we’ll be inspired to take things to the next level or try something new.
For me, life is about curiosity and learning, expansion and growth.
And 30 day challenges fit that philosophy beautifully.
The first 30 day challenge is around plant-based eating and begins 1 July 2018.
An animal lover. A good listener. A supportive friend. A coach who wants everyone to live their best life. A healthy eating ambassador. A plastic-avoider.
Are you being kind to yourself?
You think you’ve got your self-care regime sorted. You exercise regularly. You get your nails done every month. You’ve set up a weekly home delivery for food shopping. You’ve outsourced admin jobs or cleaning.
In the grand scheme of things, you feel like you’re being kind to yourself, so…
Why do you feel tired, anxious and lonely?
Why do you pick at food all day long or reach for sugary snacks, chocolate or coffee?
Why are you snapping at your kids, partner or feeling irritable for no real reason?
From the outside, other people would say that you have your sh*t together. Hey, they might even say you have a ‘perfect’ life or ask ‘how do you do it all?’
But the reality is, you feel overwhelmed and are definitely NOT being kind to yourself.
You see, things like:
Dieting, eating zero carbs, avoiding sugar or juice detoxes
High intensity exercise classes, heavy weights workouts or long runs
Watching box sets on Netflix for hours
Studying for another qualification
Getting up at 4am to journal, meditate, do yoga and walk for 2 miles
…might FEEL like self-care, but when you’re doing them because you feel you should, or because someone else told you to, or because you never think you’re doing enough, or …. well, you get the idea, then they simply ADD to your STRESS.
All of the above list absolutely CAN be great self care activities. But they must come from a positive, happy heart-space. Daily activities that come from love, not from fear.
Here are my top lifestyle swaps to go from stressed to blessed:
Instead of dieting, deprivation, guilt, shame and ‘never being quite enough’, switch to nourishment for body mind and soul. Ask yourself, ‘how do I want to feel today?’ If it’s healthy, vibrant, alert, agile and bouncy – then feed yourself natural, whole foods, home cooked meals and perhaps a fresh vegetable juice. If you want to feel loved, nurtured and like you’re being wrapped in a big blanket, then perhaps it’s time to eat the bowl of pasta, the slice of cake or the piece of chocolate – whatever makes you feel special and content.
Instead of extreme exercise after a day of work or parenting (or both), perhaps your body is crying out for a hot bath with candles, or date night and sex with your partner.
Instead of watching TV endlessly to numb the pain or silence the noise in your head, or studying for yet another certification because you never believe you’re good enough, simply take your body out into nature. Stand with your feet on the ground and ask yourself, ‘what do I really need?’ You are absolutely enough already AND you have all the answers inside. You just need to tune in to listen.
Instead of getting up super early or staying up really late just to get things done, take a step back and think about your true priorities and your natural cycle. If you’re not a morning person then however much you force yourself to wake before 6am, chances are you’ll resent it and the positive energy won’t flow effortlessly. What is really important to you? Do that first. Then take plenty of me-time in between all the non-negotiable stuff. The rest of it? Let it go…. (Trust me, Elsa was right!)
Your challenge for today is to do at least ONE thing that is kind for yourself; kind to your body, mind and soul.
A love letter to my dream client (read on, it might be you!)…
Hey beautiful, I have to take a moment to tell you how much I admire you.
I love your passion for your work, your heart-centred approach and the way you do everything with complete integrity and grace.
I love your curiosity and dedication to learning and personal growth. Watching you step out of your comfort zone to follow your soul’s desire is one of life’s most beautiful things. It’s up there with mountain peaks at sunrise, rosy-cheeked babies dressed in fleece bodysuits and ducklings in a line trying to keep up with mum.
It gives me goosebumps when I hear you tell your story; the journey of highs and lows, spiritual awakening and massive transformation that has brought you to where you are today.
It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to listen to you and watch you grow, but being able to play a small part in your life is truly amazing.
I believe in you and all your unique gifts and talents you have to offer. You’re such an inspiration to so many people and I’m blown away by the work you’ve already achieved and the incredible words of praise and transformation your clients write about you.
I’m so excited to get started on writing your website copy, e-book and social media and look forward to watching you shine even more brilliantly.
As an online small business owner with a wonderfully visible woo-woo side and a heavy dose of introverted characteristics, I’m frequently asked how I balance the overwhelm of social media and the energy of ‘putting myself out there’ on a daily basis with the delicate aspect of self-care, family boundaries and energy levels.
Firstly, I will say that it hasn’t been easy!
As someone who comes from a face to face business background, the initial lure of social media, websites and the internet was incredibly enticing, fun and a gave me a massive learning curve.
But that came at a cost: addiction!
It’s so easy to get hooked on to online coaches and Facebook groups and feel like the people you meet are your new best friend and saviour and that their magic, golden ticket will solve all your problems.Before you know it you’re sucked deeper and deeper into a tangled web of poorly qualified ‘experts’ and ‘coaches’, handing over hundreds of dollars for services you never knew existed just six months earlier and falling prey to narcissistic sales strategies.
Rather than becoming the next ‘six figure leader’ you’re left with crumbling self-esteem, a clunky website that doesn’t really reflect who you are and a bad taste in your mouth from being the victim of trolls, money-grabbers and an unregulated, and sometimes downright nasty, online industry.
Except it doesn’t have to be that way.
Every week I hear these kind of horror stories from women who have an incredible gift to share with the world but have been burned by their experiences. They’re wondering whether they even want to continue.
Should I go back to the safety of a regular job?
What if I show who I really am? Will anyone like me?
Do I even want to be online 24/7?
And it makes me really sad to think that women (and some enlightened men) are pushing their dreams, talents and special unique qualities aside because they just can’t figure out how they fit in to the online space.
As I recalled my journey to one of these beautiful women today, I realised how my online lifestyle has changed in recent months and how grateful I am for the truly life-changingexperiences I’ve had and the amazing women with whom I’ve formed incredible connections.
If you’re currently feeling stuck, unsure of which direction to take or feel like you’re drowning under the pressure of balancing your personal life with small business financial pressures and raising your visibility online, then my top tips might just offer you the lifebelt you need to pull yourself out of the water and see the horizon again.
If you feel like you need time out, then take time out. Turn off the screen, go for a walk, take a long weekend off, even take a holiday. Just step away from what you feel you should be doing and tune in to what you really want to do. What lights you up? What makes you feel creative and inspired?
When it all gets too much, ask yourself this: ‘If I could completely re-start my business again, what would I do differently? How would I do it differently? Why?’ Spending some time thinking about (and journalling) around this will often give rise to a whole cacophony of new ideas and inspiration.
Remove yourself from most of the Facebook groups you hang out in and remain only in the ones where you feel a genuine connection to the leader and the people in it. Some groups have an amazing vibe and others are a breeding ground for negativity and constant in-your-face selling and promotion.
Have a healthy balance of Facebook groups in terms of those that you’re in for personal development and meeting like-minded souls and those who teach you the skills you need to achieve your business goals and to network with other small-business professionals.
Join a paid membership group (or two). Joining a membership group instantly raises the energy within the group because everyone wants to be there and is making an investment in their business or self-development. Depending on your personal goals, I would suggest one paid membership for business goals, strategy or support and one for personal development, soul journey and sisterhood.
Take the time (online) to form genuine connections and relationships. I can honestly say that some of the women I’ve met online have become some of my closet confidantes and give the best hugs in real life! I know I would never meet this many vibrant, passionate, spiritual, like-minded women locally who just ‘get’ me. When we meet in person all around the world it’s such a different relationship to having a social group of girlfriends (often from school, college or work) with whom you have next to nothing in common. There’s none of the jealousy, insecurity or worrying about what to wear, how to split the bill or whether anyone will tease you for not drinking alcohol. Meeting like-minded souls just feels ‘right’; there’s no other way to describe it. And it’s a beautiful experience.
In your personal, family and home life, set some really firm boundaries. Create opportunities to give those you love 100% of your attention. No one wants to be pushed aside for a mobile phone, and no-one’s business is more important than life, love and laughter. Ditto for the teenagers and partners in your life. Ensure everyone takes time to put their devices down, step away from the computer and create real life experiences together.
And finally, the biggest and most exciting, life-changing switch for me came about by sharing more of my unique essence; more of the things that really light me up and make me feel connected, grounded and complete. I realised that the kind of people I wanted in my life were like-minded souls who were passionate, curious, interested in exploring their spiritual side, compassionate animal lovers and people who were always ready to learn and grow.
In order to attract those people, I had to step outside my comfort zone, knowing that my message was bigger than my fears. I had to show up as who I really was deep inside and have trust and faith that the right people would appear and those who weren’t would walk on by.
It was about releasing the expectation of who I thought I should be and just being me.
If I can inspire one woman every day to share more of her brilliant inner light, then that makes me one very happy, very lucky and very content girl.
Photo credit: Nathan Boadle @ Unsplash
Lorraine is a magical blend of intuitive feminine energy and creative, word-whispering talent. Her skills for writing go far beyond the basics of grammar and professional copywriting and enable her to deeply understand her clients’ unique essence and special talents so that she can help them to shine more brilliantly across their website and social media. In uncovering their hidden truths and sparkly gems, Lorraine not only creates beautiful content but also boosts her clients’ confidence, enabling them to step up, become more visible and attract their tribe in a way that creates a greater impact and a lasting legacy.
Are you ready for your readers to start crushing on you? ❤︎
You know that feeling when you click on an About Page and instantly you’re drawn in.
You’re excited, enthusiastic, inspired, motivated and feel like this person could be your new BFF, mentor or a super-cool collaborator. The design, the photos, the colours, the words and, most importantly, how the website makes you FEEL.
You lovingly begin to stalk this person across social media, liking their posts, signing up to their email list, joining their group and maybe even reaching out with a personal message.
Just like with love at first sight, you knew within a few seconds of connecting that you needed the energy of this person in your life; that they made you feel like a better version of yourself.
What if your About Page made others feel this way?
What if there was a way to tell your story in an innovative way that beautifully weaved your talents, services, personality, core values and unique brand essence with your reader’s world?
Well there is!
It’s time to stop playing safe. Time to let go of stiff, boring, ‘professional’ copy and industry jargon.
It’s time for you to take this love affair beyond first base. Time to strip off, reveal your truest self and create a deep relationship that shines, sparkles and changes you both. Forever.
If you and your reader were a couple, you’d be the ones lighting up the room as soon as you walked in.
Let me write your About Page to speak to your audience in a way that’s more relevant, engaging and helps you to create the impact you desire.
60 minute Zoom call to to learn more about your business, ideal client, goals for the year ahead, your personality and unique essence that makes you, you.
Copywriting for your About Page + two rounds of editing.
Suggestions for layout, design and images to enhance the storytelling power of the copy.
If you’re ready to rock your online business, create genuine relationships and build a new love affair with your audience, then now is the time to give themost important, and magical, part of your website a well-deserved makeover.
As the end of another year approaches, you’re filled with ideas for an online course, a new group programme, an e-book or some other collection of your inspired energy, talents and experience.
You spend hours doodling, writing, drawing, thinking, planning.
In your heart, you know it’s exactly what people will love. Exactly what your kind of people will love.
But then your head jumps into the conversation uninvited:
But what about your website, that thing you keep trying to ignore?
Do you really want to send people there?
They’ll never work with you if they read your website first!
I used to be like that. I heard those words in my mind. I let them shout louder and louder.
I’ve lost count of the number of notebooks I’ve filled with genius plans and programmes. My hard drive filled with files of half-finished plans, projections and designs.
All that potential energy sitting stagnant. Sad. Waiting to be brought to life like an animated movie.
The only reason many of these ideas never came to fruition wasn’t because they weren’t good enough or right for my audience, but I was just too afraid to send people to my website.
It wasn’t always that way of course. When I first had it designed and set up by a professional, I loved it! I sent everyone there all the time and my stats were pretty good. Some blogs had thousands of views.
But like all of us (and especially those of us in the whole-hearted, feminine energy, entrepreneurial online space), I evolved.
I outgrew my website. And the anxiety, shame and fear crept in.
Making small changes, little tweaks or adding new style blogs just wasn’t enough. It was only sticking the proverbial plaster over the leaking pipe.
It was time for a new home.
An online space that held my dreams and made them sparkle.
From the minute I set foot inside that new space, everything changed.
It’s easy to look back and say, ‘I should have done it sooner’, but, you know, life isn’t really linear. There is a right moment for everything and it doesn’t necessarily sit neatly into a schedule or calendar.
We all need the time, space and energy to grow and evolve. To learn, to experiment, to succeed, to fail, to have fun and to be inspired.
What was right for you once may not be right for you now.
Let your old website go (with love and light) and set up a new home that embraces every part of your unique essence, your gifts, your passion, your love and your energy.
When you share that with the world you’ll attract your tribe effortlessly. Every new person you connect to will light you up in ways you’d never dreamed possible.
My passion is human connection. My art is weaving word whispering magic into your website.
If you’re a heart-centred entrepreneur, earth angel, spiritual goddess or woman on a divine feminine mission, I can help you to bring more of your unique essence into your copy so you shine brilliantly, attract the kind of people you adore spending time with and create the impact and legacy you desire.
Website copywriting and content creation packages available now from £1500.
Three young women in their early twenties with tiny sparkly black dresses, high heels and long lashes caked in mascara stand over the cloakroom sinks, reapplying their baby pink lip gloss in the mirror for at least the tenth time, scanning each other’s outward appearance for any sign of weakness to be exploited.
Her bum’s bigger than mine, I bet she doesn’t work out. My boobs look better than hers. Her hair is so long, she must have extensions. I’m gonna get that cute guy with the bright blue eyes before she does; he won’t fancy her anyway.
And so it continues, every Friday and Saturday night in bars and nightclubs around the country. Young women competing for men’s attention and tearing each other down in the process.
I remember those years. They were exhausting! No matter how much you noticed other women’s supposed flaws, you still never felt quite slim enough, pretty enough, sexy enough or on-trend-enough.
The whole thing was D R A I N I N G.
And we were totally missing the best part of our lives.
Youth. Natural beauty. Freedom.
Thankfully, there comes a time in most women’s lives when wisdom overtakes competition.
We begin to realise that lifting each other up is a far more pleasurable and peaceful way to live.
American actress Amy Adams once told Vanity Fair that she has no interest in competing with her female peers, and says: “I get excited for people when I know I should be competitive. I’d say in an audition, ‘I don’t think I’m right for this, but you know who you should get?’”
It’s this kind of support, trust and feminine energy that enables us all to feel more empowered and, ultimately, to achieve our individual goals.
Attending Rebecca Campbell’s Rise Sister Rise event in October 2016 changed the direction of my life and showed me the ONE thing I’d been searching for since my late teens…
That feeling of knowing other women have your back.
That other women can support you in your personal and business life.
That other women can pick up on subtle, intuitive signs and guide you on your journey of personal growth and development.
That other women will lift you up when you’re feeling down.
That other women have gifts similar to yours, yet we’re all unique. Embracing our differences and similarities is a beautiful thing.
And, of course, sisterhood is not a one way street. The more you support, uplift and empower other women, the better you feel.
Elevating other women benefits everyone.
If you’ve jumped from the real world into the online entrepreneurial space and suddenly feel like you’re back in your teens or twenties, competing to be the brightest star around, then I feel your pain. In a sea of digitally enhanced images and unfathomable job titles, it’s easy to feel lost, uneasy and not good enough.
But before you run off back to shore and wrap yourself in your favourite cosy towel, I invite you to take a deep breath, close your eyes and remember …
Remember why you’re here.
Remember what you want to do.
Remember who you want to serve.
You are a woman. Powerful and strong. Your innate feminine wisdom, gut instinct and intuition is the key to unlocking your present and your future. When you’re tuned in to who you really are at a deep level, that’s when life feels aligned and everything flows with ease. You don’t feel stuck any more. You can aim high because you know you have the power to achieve your greatest dreams.
And with the support of your sisters around the world, this will truly be a magical journey (unicorns optional!).
But, the reality is, as much as you LOVE what you do, you spend a lot of the time overwhelmed by all the ‘stuff’ you feel you need to do on social media to promote your business, build an engaged tribe and be seen as the expert in your field.
What if …
… there was someone on hand who completely understood your business, supported your mission, could talk your language AND thought you were completely AWESOME? (because you are!)
… if that same person was your content creation angel 👼; someone who would consistently create engaging, innovative and interesting blogs and articles for your business every month so you could sit back and do the REAL, deep, core work you do with your clients?
🔥🔥🔥 How much brighter, stronger and hotter would your fire burn in 6 months time if you had a bigger audience, an engaged tribe of people who ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ your energy, pay 💰💰💰 for your products or services and 😃😃😃 tell everyone how happy they are?
If you have a passionate, clear message, an existing biz and a soul-driven purpose but are lacking time, energy or skills to create consistent, high quality content, then working with me could take you to the next level – a place where you feel abundant, relaxed and filled with vitality and enthusiasm to continue to rise.
If I say the word Roots, what’s the first thing that springs to mind?
Trees and forests?
Buying a house?
Starting a family?
Or, perhaps, must book a hair colour appointment?!
In an era where millions of people are physically displaced from their homes through war or weather extremes and millions more feel a sense of drifting, loneliness or isolation, it’s time to talk about connection. In particular, our connection to nature, ourselves and the Universe.
You see, putting down roots is about more than buying a house or starting a family. Having roots is a connection to Mother Earth and to ourselves.
You can only start to truly connect when you realise that numbing the emptiness is futile.
A great new haircut or that first cocktail on a Friday night certainly makes you feel good, but it’s a temporary high. A series of picture perfect temporary highs might make your life seem pretty perfect to your Facebook followers. It may even make you think you’ve got this happy life thing sussed.
But when you’re brave enough to stop and look inwards, you realise there’s a gaping BIG h o l e.
A hole that will never be filled, until you stand on the edge and jump right in.
When I was 21 I thought I had my life figured out. I’d done well at school, been abroad for a year and got a good job with prospects. I was engaged to a lovely man who I lived with in a little three bedroom house with a garden, garage and two gorgeous cats. We had a great group of friends, an active social life and regular holidays to the beautiful Greek islands.
But there was something missing.
I was literally 99% on target to tick everything off that imaginary life wish list we all write when we’re teenagers (you know the one, married by 25, two children by 30…) but I carried a sense of longing and loneliness that I couldn’t describe, name or really feel into.
Until one day someone (far older, wiser and more in tune with her feminine nature) said to me: ‘If it doesn’t feel right, it’s ok. If it’s not what you want, you don’t have to do this.’
Her intuition was spot on. She felt something rising in me and put it into the words I was unable, or un-ready, to say.In essence, she guided me to tune in to my innate wisdom, my gut instinct, my divine feminine energy. Without her light around me I would never have had the strength to go through the inevitable heartbreak and change in situation that followed.
Looking back, this was one of the big turning points in my life.
Suddenly I wasn’t just following the ‘good girl’ path expected of me and started following my heart.
Opportunities opened up for me the more I tuned in to who I really was and what I really wanted. A redundancy payment led me to retrain in nutrition, fitness and health and within a few years I had moved country, met a new man and had two beautiful daughters. (So my wish list did come true anyway!)
Connecting to our inner selves is an ongoing adventure where sometimes we’ll sit on a mountain top together admiring a beautiful sunrise, and other times we’ll be crying ourselves to sleep, hitting the pillow and shouting ‘Why me, why now, why this?’.
Connecting is not something we just do once, like setting up a broadband service or booking our annual holiday.
Understanding who we really are on the inside doesn’t just take work, it takes a willingness to open up; to be vulnerable, raw, messy and ready to receive.
When there’s a lot going on in our lives and the world around us that makes us feel like the ground is being pulled from underneath us, and that life will never be the same again (that’s actually a good thing, trust me!), this is the perfect time to tune in, reconnect and grow our roots.
Before you can put down roots, you have to trust in yourself first. Trust that your intuitive guidance system will take you to the experiences, places and emotions that you most need to move forward.
Trust that whatever you’re faced with, you can, and will, get through it.
Trust that your emotions are leading you to uncover more of who you really are.
Trust that the solutions will always appear, as long as you keep believing in yourself.
To connect with nature is a great way to begin reconnecting with yourself and trusting your intuition.
Walk barefoot on the grass or along a sandy beach.
Lay under the stars on a clear night.
Walk in the forest and listen to the sounds of the leaves and branches dancing in the breeze.
Eat fresh, ripe fruit with your hands and allow yourself to get messy! (Mango is great for this.)
Swim in the ocean.
Spend time with your pets; feel the unconditional love vibrating back at you and filing your heart with warm fuzziness.
Watch a sunrise or sunset.
Grow flowers or vegetables.
Climb a mountain (or at least a big hill with a view at the top).
As I write this blog from an olive tree covered mountainside on the Greek island of Corfu, I notice the way the trees have grown and thrived over many decades and am reminded that the beauty and strength of nature is in each and every one of us.
Our Western culture has led us to believe that we and nature are separate.
But we’re not.
We and nature are all one and the same energy.
So why do we say trees, flowers and sunsets are beautiful, but women of a certain shape and size are not?
Why do we say that we need to protect our animals, our oceans and our rainforests but we don’t seem to be doing enough to protect our children against a future of online bullying, shaming, grooming and self-esteem destruction?
Why do we say we want to live in a happier world and then spend our time watching sensationalised news reports, reading magazines filled with body-shaming tips masquerading as beauty or fashion tips, or trolling social media to have arguments with people we’ve never even met?
If you do one thing today to reconnect to your inner self and grow more roots, make sure it begins with love and compassion.
Do small things with big love.
In a volatile, ever-changing world, where we’re powerless to control so many things, the ONE thing we all have to take responsibility for is to create our own roots through reconnecting to our inner selves and showing up from a place of truth and alignment to who we really are.
When did you decide to stop following your dreams?
I know you had dreams, desires, goals. Maybe even just a knowing feeling that somewhere in life there would be more than this. But, at some point you gave up. You settled for less than you deserved. Less than you were meant to be. Less than you dreamed of.
Why did you do that?
Because the fight got too hard. It was easier to live a quiet, simple life. It was easier to stay in the job you hated. It was easier to let the kids eat oven-ready dinners. It was easier to just throw on the same jumper and jeans. It was easier to go for the natural look. It was easier to live with someone who made you feel rubbish than to put yourself back in the dating pool. It was easier to keep driving the old car that kept breaking down. It was easier to rely on your husband for money. It was easier to book the family holiday to the same place every year where the kids would be safe and entertained.
But what happened when you stopped fighting and just lived the easy life?
You resented the job you were in. Your kids didn’t thrive as much as they might have on home cooked, real food. You felt frumpy and plain and maybe invisible too. Your self-esteem took a nose dive. You didn’t trade in the car for a more reliable one. You didn’t have any need to take a risk. You didn’t travel to places that really lit up your heart.
Did that feel good?
I’m guessing not. Although while you were in that phase (or maybe still are) you switched off your dreams and goals buttons and forgot about them. At least, you thought you had. But deep inside there was always this gnawing feeling that you weren’t quite in the right place or living the life that was right for you. Sometimes these feelings disappeared for months at a time. Maybe you embraced a new partner, a new baby, a new house, a new job, wonderful friends, dieting breakthroughs and fabulous new clothes. It wasn’t all bad. Hey, from the outside your life even looked great.
But then, out of the blue came one of those lightbulb moments. A realisation. A feeling. A sensation.
You began to feel fired up; that warmth in your belly and tingly pins and needles down your limbs. Your mind raced as you pieced together a few more parts of the puzzle. Yes! I can do this! This is for me! Why didn’t I see it before? And then, like a shooting star that fizzles before your eyes, the fears are back and your dreams are lost.
You pick yourself up and soon fall back again. And again. And again. But just like a baby learning to walk, you have to keep trying. You really do.
If you don’t try to live the life of your dreams someone else will.
Someone else will be there, shining bright, on your podium.
It’s your step.
It may be a big one, but you have to stretch up and stand on top and take your rightful place in the world.
Because honey, you were born for greatness.
You were born to shine brightly.
You were born to be you.
Don’t ever let anyone else tell you you can’t do something. You can achieve anything you put your mind to. What would really make you happy?
What makes your light shine brightly inside?
What lights your soul and brings about that sparkle that others notice in you?
Lorraine Pannetier is an intuitive copywriter and content creator who helps heart-centred entrepreneurs, Earth angels and goddess warriors to shine brilliantly through carefully crafted copy that embraces their unique essence so they attract their tribe, increase credibility and feel confident showing up as the amazing women they were born to be.
When creativity disappears and leaves you lost for ideas, it sucks!
Waves of frustration wash over you.
‘Why can everyone else put out loads of new content all the time and I’m stuck?’
Every day you try new tactics, but your mind just becomes overfilled and overwhelmed.
There’s that lingering sense of ‘I’m not good enough’.
‘Why can’t it just be easy?’
It’s in these moments you either give up or become fiercely determined to succeed.
Frustration is replaced with a new commitment.
Overwhelm is swapped for a shiny new schedule.
Deflation morphs into creation.
You leap into your new plan filled with all the energy of a space shuttle launch.
But just as rocket fuel quickly burns away, so does your dedication.
You’re back where you started.
So what’s going so wrong?
What needs to change?
Here are my top 3 tips to bring creativity back into your life:
Creativity flows when you’re in alignment to your inner values and desires. What does that mean in real life? Well, when you’re being true to who you really are, that’s when your authentic voice shines through. Your words are warmer, you attract your ideal clients with ease and you come across as honest and real. Humans are naturally wired to sniff out truth or deception and those who are more intuitive (i.e. regularly have that ‘gut feeling’ or instinct about people or situations) can pick up on this in seconds. So figure out what you really believe in and then stand up for that. Be bold. Be courageous. Be you.
Creativity is drowned by overwhelm. When you’re trying to do everything by yourself you simply have too many tabs open in your brain. What are the basic tasks needed to run your business successfully? What tasks could you delegate? What tasks can only you do? Do you have a schedule to stick to? How could your family help around the house? Could you get a cleaner? Do you waste time being reactive to social media? There are so many things that we all do every single day and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Start by scheduling 1 hour a day just for you. This can be in 2 x 30 minute blocks or 3 x 20 minutes if you prefer. This hour is for anything you desire that isn’t connected to your business or creativity. So, read a book, go for a walk, sort your wardrobe, meet a friend for coffee and cake (cake makes everything better), watch a TEDx talk or take a candlelit bath. Then for all the other ‘tasks’ in your life (business and personal), just write down the 3 most important things and get them done first.
Creativity is all about connection. In the online space it’s vitally important we connect with people every single day. Whether it’s through your own posts, engaging in groups or paid memberships, simply showing up, being visible, sharing your knowledge, being known as the expert in your field or offering support and inspiration, it’s all connection. It doesn’t matter whether your preferred medium is video, audio, photographic or written – use whichever one most lights you up and the one that is most applicable to the tribe you wish to attract. Then show up every single day.
If a relaxing writing retreat sounds like the perfect antidote to your creative struggles, check out my Corfu Writing Retreat (October 2017).
Did I ever think I’d one day be sitting in my garden writing an article about aligning with your inner truth and wishing on a new moon? Not for one second!
But life does that.
We evolve and we grow. We succeed and we fail. We make mistakes and have incredible triumphs. We learn, we connect and we find out who we really are.
You probably think you know who you are. But, do you really?
Have you delved deep inside your heart and mind and asked yourself what you really, truly want? What lights you up? What makes you happy? And what gives you that heady sense of love and passion?
If you haven’t, then the upcoming new moon is a great place to start. The new moon is the time to make wishes and set intentions for the month and year ahead. Write out your wishes on a piece of paper and then burn them (safely) so the tiny particles drift up to the Universe for your dreams to come true.
If that sounds too romantic or overly simplistic for you, hold on one second…
You see, as a human race and a planet, our moon is intricately attached to every part of our existence. But over generations we’ve pushed that lunar wisdom away and focused on things like science, technology, industry and pharmacy. While that’s all great for the progression of civilisation, it also means we’ve lost touch with our inner guidance system.
This inner wisdom, feminine energy or universal guidance (whatever you prefer to call it) lives with us all.
We just have to find it, then bring it out to play. Loving and nurturing it as you would a new kitten or puppy.
If you’re reading this from the perspective of a heart-centred entrepreneur, you might well be familiar with phrases like getting visible, speaking your truth or showing up as the real you.But if you’ve been struggling with building an engaged following and creating income, then the reason could be a lack of alignment and connection.
Let me explain.
The only surefire way to get an engaged audience, a steady and increasing stream of new clients and the life of freedom and wealth you dream of, is to align your lifestyle with your values, connect to who you really are and then share that in words written, or spoken, from the heart.
This gives you the ability to radiate your truth and to be seen as brilliant as you were born to be.
Aligning your lifestyle and values means you live, breathe, eat and sleep your truth, every single day. Connecting to who you really are means looking inwards, embracing with the light and the dark within you and learning to love yourself and find inner peace.
Once you feel that shift in alignment and connection, it’s far easier to find the right words.
Marry that with structure, systems and strategy and you’re on to a winning formula.