I want to break free

THE greatest showman, surely, was Freddie Mercury. Which reminds me, Bohemian Rhapsody the movie is currently free on Amazon Prime and I must take the opportunity to revisit it. 

I digress. 


We could have been anything

One of my favourite lockdown movies was Bugsy Malone. I hadn't watched it since childhood and one Friday evening it popped into my consciousness. Dinner and a glass of plonk later, we sank into the sofa to reconnect with it.


Welcome to The Studio....or How to Prioritise Oneself

I became self-employed in April 2012. Since that time I've worked sometimes at home, sometimes on client sites, and sometimes at office locations where I'm an Associate. And at home, I've never created a proper workspace for me....until now.

The Grace of Distraction

On 22nd January it was the third anniversary of my Mum's death. Both my parents died during the month of January, many years apart. And I had agreed this year on 22nd January to run an errand with another family member who needed a chauffeur. A good distraction....


As I did in January 2020, I want share with you something I've read which tells a great story and I hope resonates with you as much as it does with me. It is the story of Akiba, taken from The Talmud:


What I want or What I have?

Here is always beneath There. Mark Nepo.

Did you read the instructions first?

We come with all these parts and no instructions how they go together. Mark Nepo.


Why do I feel stressed?

I'm very late to the party on this one. During those very hot evenings in early August, I flopped in front of the telly and began watching Series 1 of Line of Duty. We'd had a conversation about it and my eldest brother had said he'd just watched it and was blown away by it. So trusting his recommendation, I got stuck in. I wasn't disappointed.


We set a date!

During lockdown we got engaged, and now we've set a date in September 2021. It's all very exciting. 

But setting the date has sent me into 'goal mode'. And the thing I've really been struggling with is what size I want to be and what I want to wear.


Strive for goals or let it all unfold??

My coaching training taught me that the only way to work with clients was to begin by helping them establish well-formed outcomes, or goals. I had a fairly rigid process to follow in order to achieve that, which sometimes meant questioning the client quite fiercely about whether they were signed up to their goal in the first place.


Uncertain times

We are living in uncertain times. At the beginning of lockdown, we understood what was expected of us. There was certainty. As we move further into easedown, it is uncertainty that is taking hold. And for many of us that represents a challenge. 


Destination is not a place

One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” Henry Miller.

Letting Go

I found this wonderful quote from Joseph Campbell, who worked in the field of myth and religion and gave us the The Hero with A Thousand Faces and the Hero's Journey. He said "We must be willing to let go of the life we've planned so that we can have the life that is waiting for us." This seems even more relevant than ever in our Covid-19 world. 


Bringing your all

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen.

Killing Time

I want to talk to you about killing time. Aimless. No motivation. Avoidance behaviours (in my case, they include comfort eating and shopping). Another way of describing this state is LIMBO.



The crocodiles on the bank

A client of mine has introduced me to a wonderful metaphor.....don't be distracted by the smaller crocodiles next to the canoe, focus on the great big ones which are basking on the bank. 

Take a different path

A dear friend introduced me to this little poem a couple of years ago. I was reminded of it recently and thought it would make a great New Year's share. 

Drawing to a close

I'm feeling reflective. It's the time of year with short days and long evenings. A sense of hibernation. And deepening thoughts. I came upon this lovely quote: "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." David Viscott.


I was planning to go on a retreat this autumn for the first time, and that didn't happen. It made space for something else important to happen in my life, so that was a gift in itself. 

I'm an Imposter!

I've decided to 'out' myself. I'm an Imposter. I suffer from one of the most common issues that my clients bring to me. So I want to let you all know that I'm one too :)


What will your epilogue say?

"If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realising that you are the author." Mark Houlahan.

Excellence is a habit

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." Will Durant.

The Long Way Home

Driving home on a sunny afternoon, sunroof open, and a Spotify playlist called "70's Roadtrip" blaring through my car speakers. Summer is here and it feels good.


Paralysis by Analysis

Sometimes it can take me ages to get started with a blog post. I distract myself with looking for nice images and relevant quotes. I over-think it.

Little by little

"Enlightenment must come little by little - otherwise it would overwhelm". Idries Shah

"The Man in the Mirror"

"If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change." Michael Jackson.

Changing Tack

You can't change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination.Jimmy Dean


Flatline or Sine Curve?

This quote popped up in my Five Minute Journal App a few days ago. It struck a chord with me: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin.


Choose to dream

"Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs." Farrah Gray.

OMG I bought a bike....

I was having a conversation with a dear friend about poor impulse control (in the context of food). She and I have often talked about the kind of exercise we enjoy, and the subject of cycling came up. Ironically, we immediately visited our local charity bike shop and purchased two very cheap second-hand bikes!


Take a deep breath

To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it. Confucius.

I can read your mind....

No, I'm not Paul McKenna! 

My Notes from the Universe have a habit of landing just when I need them most. Well, of course they do, that's The Universe in evidence. Today, my Note read: "Meriel, whatever you think someone else is thinking, they're probably not. But they are receiving signals about what you think they're thinking, Meriel... and these signals could change what they’re thinking. So connected, The Universe."


Your lens

Before I write a new blog, I always have a look back to see whether I've written something similar in the past. Sometimes I write about the same topic in many different ways as I think it's a message worth repeating. This is one of those times...

Stuck or frozen in place?

We all get stuck from time to time. But not all kinds of stuck are stuck. Some are frozen.

Core operating system

Metaphor is such a useful tool to help clients connect with something conceptual. 



The wisdom of Yoda

I can't believe in all these years that I've never blogged about Yoda. He's had some very insightful one-liners in the last 30 odd years!



All work and no play

Always see work as play and play as important, Meriel, and soon you won’t know the difference between them.  Let’s all take a work break! The Universe.


The funny thing about pedestals

The funny thing about pedestals..... if you put a person up on a pedestal they will have no choice but to look down upon you! John Precor.



Life goes on

"In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life - it goes on." Robert Frost.

Speaking your truth

"People do not seem to realise that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character." Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Do more of what's good for you in 2018

"It's a helluva start, being able to recognise what makes you happy." Lucille Ball.

Making time for change

I've received numerous emails or voicemail messages which say "sorry, too busy to come for my coaching session today..."

The wisdom of Dr Seuss

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." Dr Seuss.

Taking a moment

A short one today. I'm sitting with my inner hippy.

Resistance is futile

Human beings are becoming more anxious (perhaps all living things are). The media tells us so. And in the last year I've had an increasing number of requests for support with anxiety.


Strike a pose

Last week, I attended a Yoga class for the first time in my life. This is me doing the downward facing dog..... not.

Laughably awful

"To get good, it's helpful to be willing or even enthusiastic, about being bad." Daniel Coyle.

Defining success

Busy being successful? Or busy being happy?


A season of liberation

I love camping. Last weekend I was at a festival in Upton-on-Severn in Worcestershire. If you'd said to me ten years ago that I'd embrace camping, my response may have been peppered with Anglo-Saxon language!


Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination

I set myself a task to write blogs today. Housework is starting to look attractive, now that I've exhausted the internet...

Born free, yet in shackles

"Man was born free, and everywhere he is in shackles." Jean Jacques Rousseau.


Mortal or God?

A recent note I received from The Universe:

"When the external begins to define the internal, Meriel, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a god. Trust me, as a god is better. Boom.... The Universe."

Again and again and again

Again, again, again! The sound of a small child begging a parent to repeat the exercise. Probably something exciting like a swing, a slide, or the bumps.


Positive intentions

Don't judge me until you've walked in my shoes! Often said, often heard. 

Someday baby

"There are seven days in a week, and someday isn't one of them."

It'll be perfect!

They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you that practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds. Winston Churchill.

Wealth or Wellbeing?

Wealth. The OED says "an abundance of valuable possessions or money, a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing". 

Yeah but no but yeah but.....

Vicky Pollard. Hilarious and horrifying creation of Little Britain.

Bring me sunshine

The International Day of Happiness shone brightly on 22nd March. Just the day before a client of mine had said they simply wanted to be happy.

Love the unknown

I was recently introduced to Tony Robbins' work around the Six Human Needs. I thought it was worth sharing with you.

The secret of success??

A staircase takes you from point A to point B. Up or down? And the assumption is that Up is the direction for success.

My crystal ball

I'm a bit of a romantic, and often have all sorts of romantic fantasies (no, not in that way) about my life. It's not just a case of dreaming though, I manage to create and set expectations of how I want things to be. That's okay, isn't it?

Travel in style

If cycling was going to be my thing, this is the bike I'd like. Built for style and comfort rather than speed.

In or out? Big or Small?

Have you truly considered having the life you want? Or perhaps what I should ask is, have you considered being the real you?



I'm not immune to the irony of blogging about another song by Faithless during the festive season. But here goes anyway.


I've just been listening to the writer Tony Jordan being interviewed on Radio 2 this morning about The Nativity, and in particular, Joseph's story.


Until the really "great" stuff comes along, Meriel, do the not-so-great stuff. The not-so-great stuff always leads to the great stuff. Whereas doing nothing pretty much leads to nowhere. And do it with a passion. Tallyho,  The Universe

Raise the bar

No one ever regrets raising the bar, Meriel, ever, ever, ever. Scare yourself, The Universe

The Wisdom of Mark Twain

Ahhh, the wisdom of Mark Twain. I read Huckleberry Finn as a teenager and it was completely lost on me. Now that I've discovered Mark Twain's musings on life, I wonder whether I might give the book another go.


Yes, I can

Uh-oh, it's Halloween! Is your house full of bowls of sweeties to give to the Trick or Treaters? 

Decisions decisions

Some days, the fence looks so comfortable doesn't it?

Failure is not an option!

I work within the health and fitness industry, and with some sportspeople. When I tell them there's no such thing as failure, only feedback, they dismiss the statement as a platitude. In their world, failure is not an option!


You don't need eyes to see

'My name is Maxi Jazz and I ain't no joke'.... I'm nearly 52 and I've just discovered the band Faithless. Shame on me!

Cold Calling - what's the value?

Why oh why do I answer my mobile phone when I don't recognise the number??


You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. Mae West.

The wisdom of Dr Seuss

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. Dr Seuss.

Never too old to dream

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. C S Lewis.

Great Expectations

The only person who should ever have to live by your standards, Meriel, is you. Let everyone else off the hook.

Weekly Challenge

If this was the last week of your life, would you do what you are about to do? What would you change?

Seize the day

Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. Make your life extraordinary.

Money, money, money!

Money makes the world go round, doesn't it?

Getting lost

No, this isn’t a blog about dodgy SatNav directions or wandering into a room and forgetting what you went in there for. I’ve noticed how many of us lose ourselves, our own identities, when trying to please others or make relationships work.


The life in your years

“It’s not the years in your life which make a difference, it’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln.

The first few weeks of 2016 seemed to be filled with the untimely deaths of some of my heroes. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty and Glenn Frey. And then Terry Wogan. I’m 51 so I guess my teenage idols have got about 20 years on me in the main.

Forgive and forget or revenge and regret?

Have you noticed how often revenge is a theme in TV programmes or in books? In fact, there was a whole TV series about it recently, which I confess became one of my guilty pleasures.

It is what it is

It is what it is. Something of a conversation stopper.

A fresh perspective?

Seeing the world through someone else's eyes isn't always easy. It is always very revealing though.


Deep in the hole

Towards the end of last year, they began repeating The West Wing on Sky. It's my favourite TV show of all time. Nevermind that I have all the DVD's, I still found myself glued to it in the odd spare moment.


Dance of the hours

How is your smiling going? Are you 793.7% more attractive yet? On reflection, what have you noticed that's standing in your way from smiling?


Did you know, Meriel, the average person looks 793.7% more attractive when they smile?

Christmas Illumination

You were not given talents to impress people. You were given them to help people. The Great News?  You are a STAR and you are a celebrity in someone’s life!  You have the power to be the star of someone’s day and influence his or her path. 

The Greatest Gift

We are less than two weeks away from Christmas. Families and friends gather, gifts are exchanged, and we celebrate together. Oh, and we'll probably watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' on telly again.

The Greatest Reward

I love my notes from The Universe. They help me focus on positive things and also remind me of what's really important in life.


True Colours

Have you ever considered how much effort goes into hiding your true colours, your true self? Imagine if that effort could be redirected towards something more useful?

A Vast Similitude Interlocks All

In tech speak, that'd be 'connectivity' or more simply, what binds us together.

I began by thinking about 31 October and Halloween. Here's how I ended up with 'connectivity'.

Inside Out Chaper Two

Over the summer, how many of you made it to see the new Disney Pixar offering, Inside Out? I did, and can honestly say it's the most thought-provoking film I've seen in years.

I'll save it for a special occasion

I regularly stand in front of my wardrobe and tell myself that I've got absolutely nothing to wear. But my wardrobe is full. What's going on?

The Wolf Run

It’s done. Yatta! You don’t have to be a super hero to have super powers!



The summer holidays are drawing to a close. Hopefully most of us have spent some time during the last seven week break being able to relax, recharge, and recreate?

The cursED 'shoulds'

For every fork in the road, Meriel, there are often two paths from which to choose: the one you "should" take and the one you want to take. Take the second. Always take the second. I did, The Universe.

On a walk near Le Conquet

Missing out

I recently returned from a lovely week's holiday in Brittany, France. It was a family holiday, so had the usual competing needs and agendas. 

No more fears

There is no choice you've ever made, nor any you will ever make, that will limit you as much as you may fear. Nor even limit you at all. How cool is that? The Universe.

Scar tissue

Got any scars? Most people have a few, and each one tells an interesting story. Over time, our bodies become road maps, with lines joining up marks and blemishes, our various destinations.

The meaning of your communication

The meaning of your communication is the response that you get. One of the founding principles of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). Like a lot of principles, on first sight, it's something of an enigma.


In praise of lateral thinkers

We are taught to think logically, aren't we? How often is the phrase heard 'think it through, logically'. It's become so hard-wired as a behaviour for me that it's actually a constraint. And I don't like constraints, they are limiting. So in praise of lateral thinkers everywhere, here's a story from the Swain archive which demonstrates the power of lateral thinking. Oh, and it's also quite amusing.

If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you

Have you ever heard yourself say ‘I just want a quiet life’? I know I’ve said it, and there are definitely still days when I think it! 

I was reviewing my year recently, and my family trials and tribulations. Last year there were more trials than tribulations for the Swain family. There was certainly a point towards the end of the year when I wondered when things would improve and here we are in April 2015, back in the space of tribulations. 

Now HE's a man with a PLAN

Oh yes, you’ve got to have a plan, haven’t you? Is there a time in our life when we are encouraged not to have a plan? School plan, exam plan, study plan, savings plan, workload plan, wedding plan, project plan, business plan, financial plan, pension plan, funeral plan, plan, plan, plan, plan. At this point in my musings, Monty Python has popped into my head. For Plan get Spam. If you fancy a giggle, remind yourself about spam and how it was everywhere in the 1970s with this Monty Python sketch.


The Last Breath

What advice woud you give the 95 year old you today?

The Bad Apple

The saying goes ‘it only takes one bad apple to spoil the barrel’. Like many of us, I’ve come across my fair share of bad apples in my time. I’m speaking figuratively, of course, about the co-worker or team member whose mission in life is to infect those around them with their negativity.


Holding on to Hurt

As we head towards Easter, I notice that messages are all around about forgiveness. A while ago, a dear friend of mine gave me a fridge magnet which says ‘Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head’. She gave it to me as a prod because I’d been carping on about something that happened a number of years ago now, and that she felt it was time for me to forgive and move on. She was right.

Bloomin' Late

This week, some of my clients have been sharing their frustrations with me about not being quite where they imagined they'd be, whether it's in their plan, or more generally in their life.

Meta Blog

I hadn't been to my local Jelly (a co-working event) for some time. It was always something I attended without fail, every other Friday. A bunch of us who 'work from home' would meet in an empty office and work from it for a day, as a pseudo office environment. You can get a bit stir crazy when you work from home for several days on the trot, I can tell you!

Increase your return

I follow various blogs and tweeters, folk who inspire me. One of my favourites is Mike Dooley, who writes as The Universe. I receive regular insights from his posts, and here's one which landed in my inbox not long ago:

"A little known secret concerning life in the jungles of time and space, Meriel, is that however far you reach, you will go farther. However great your dreams, they will be grander. And however much you love, you will be loved much more. We call it the Law of Increasing Returns. Love you much more, The Universe." 

Performance anxiety

At last, my first ever video appearance is on YouTube. Shot in an 'edgy' fashion on a mobile phone, it feels a little arty to me. Wait, the phone's ringing, could that by the RSC calling already??  I jest.  

The Age of Aquarius

I was thinking about January, the first month of the year. Named after Janus, the Roman God of beginnings and transitions, of gates, doors, doorways, passages and endings. He is often depicted as having two faces, one for looking forward and one for looking back.


OMG, the January sales!  They start on Boxing Day and go on and on and on.  Everyone looking for the best bargain. I heard someone interviewed on Black Friday in December, when there was an absolute crush at the shops. He was asked what he'd come to shop for, and his response was that he had absolutey no idea. But he wasn't going to miss an opportunity for instant shopping gratification coupled with a potential bargain.

Ain't it grand?

Who has heard of Mike Dooley (aka Notes from the Universe)? In a nutshell, he heads up an Adventurers Club, Life being the adventure in question.

I find the Notes I receive on a regular basis really resonate with me and from time to time I share them with you.  I usually blog about resolutions, new habits, motivation etc at this time of year but this time I'm going to do something different. 

The Hero's Return

Recently I went along to a workshop about using Joseph Campbell's work - The Hero with a Thousand Faces - as a model for coaching. For those of you who don't know (and I was one of them), his book suggests that throughout mythology, the journey of the Hero is the same. Let me explain...... 

It's not who you ARE that holds you back, it's who you think you are NOT

My true friends, those with whom I enjoy an intimate friendship, I can count on the fingers of one hand. They are the people I know who will love me, come what may, and who want the best for me. And that is totally reciprocal.


Proud to belong

A few days ago it was Remembrance Sunday. There has been such a lot in the news, on the radio, and on the TV this year, the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. In particular, I remember 4 August, and lighting a candle at 10pm, and turning out the lights.

Forever young

"Each blossom still blooms in its field; each child still clutches your hand; each friend still lingers in your heart. And that is where time goes. Forever young, The Universe."  One of the regular messages I receive from The Universe (aka Mike Dooley). 

Turning fifty has been one of many reflective moments in my life. Where has it gone? How will I fit it all in? And so on. 

Don't worry, be happy

I changed my car recently, to a newer version of the same model. My expectation was that it would be like driving the same car. They told me the engine was a different build and that I should get more MPG on this one than the last model. But otherwise the driving experience would be pretty similar.

From here to eternity

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, fantastic movie :) What happens when a group of soldiers are stationed in Hawaii waiting for America to join WW2.

This be the verse: Philip Larkin

This is something of a personal blog for me. My Mum is 91 and has vascular dementia. She's also an alcoholic. We've had a bumpy year so far, with repeated stays in hospital and a temporary stay in care. As the year has progressed, she has become more and more prone to quoting Philip Larkin's famous polemic about parenting.

The Waiting Place

As I'm writing this, I am myself in a Waiting Place. I'm waiting in the customer area of my local Mini dealer while the service team correct a minor problem with my car. It's very comfy here, with wi-fi, fresh coffee, sofas and muzak. Thankfully I have my laptop with me and am able to progress a number of initiatives, and move forward with my day. So I'm not in THE Waiting Place.

How do you climb a mountain?

When I wrote the title of this blog, I was reminded of the joke: 'how do you eat an elephant?......... One bit at a time!' And really, climbing a mountain is all about taking one step at a time. Same metaphor, different players. This is a photo of me and my brother on the top of Caer Caradoc in Shropshire, taken in early July. 

What's in your attic?

Imagine your brain is like a house - upstairs, downstairs, living room, kitchen, bathroom etc etc. Choose your house design and furnish it. Now take it forward in time, you've been living there a while and you've accumulated a lot of stuff. So much in fact that you are finding it hard now to move around your house. Often you move stuff from the main house into the attic, and the attic becomes more and more full. One day you open the attic door to climb into it, and you can't. And that means you also can't get in to the attic to take stuff out of it. 

The Laws of Attraction Part Three

About three years ago, I thought I would have a go at a spot of internet dating. It was a disaster, but mainly because my profile didn't attract anyone, so I didn't actually go on a date. I decided to try it again, having spoken to some colleagues who were doing it, and got their tips on the best sites, how to compose your profile, and what to avoid. 

Be, Do, Get!

Last night I watched The Wolf of Wall Street. I had a smile on my face from beginning to end - and it's nearly three hours long! Apart from being the most hilarious, raunchy and hard-hitting tale of dodgy finance deals, it is an immensely powerful allegory about what you can achieve with self-belief.

Bish, bash, bosh. Loadsamoney!

Not long ago, part of my kitchen ceiling came down. Don't panic, nothing serious. I live in an old cottage, with beams, and the ceiling is papered rather than plastered, and a strip of paper gradually began to come loose and was just hanging precariously.

Will the real YOU please stand up

If you've been following my blogs (thank you :)) you will know that I am working with a personal trainer and nutritionist, and am lighter, leaner, fitter and happier than I have been for years. 

How you say, not what you say

I choose my words carefully, especially when speaking but also when writing. In fact, if I'm honest, I focus far too much on my choice of words rather than the way I deliver them. The consequence of this is that I am often interrupted as my listener becomes impatient with me whilst I choose the perfect word for that moment. The listener fills in the gap themselves, in anticipation of what they think I'm going to say. And hey presto, the communication is totally ineffective. The messsage is lost. 

More than your behaviour

In my last blog I talked about the laws of attraction, and I'd like to head off down that avenue again, although down a little offshoot branch.

The laws of Attraction

I always listen to the radio in the morning when I'm getting up. I'm a Radio 2 person, as I prefer to have music rather than chat. Sometimes, one of my favourite feelgood songs will be played, and I'll turn up the radio and dance round the room. I feel absolutely fantastic by the end of the song. And I've noticed that this has a dramatic impact on my mood, and on the rest of my day.

Learn, unlearn and relearn

I have been working with an adult literacy charity: it provides one2one tuition for adults through a network of volunteers. Have you ever considered what it would be like to be unable to read, the impact that would have? Take a minute. 

What can you see?

It's Easter week. I've been looking around me, inside and out, for meaning. It's something I do a lot, rather than to simply take it as it comes. You will have noticed by now if you are a regular reader of this blog, that I use quotes a fair bit. I look for them, and if I find them meaningful, I tend to write metaphorically about them. 

Up here for thinking

When was the last time you went to a Dance? I recently asked this question to some of my co-workers, and they all looked rather blank. The general consensus was 'not since school', or 'is that the same as a disco?' and in particular the men said they avoided dancing at all costs. 

The Road not taken

Does anyone else out there like poetry? I adore poetry and use of allegory and metaphor. This is probably the laziest blog post I shall write as I want to share Robert Frost's poem, The Road not Taken, with you. In my view, a fantastic allegory for doing something different, and not following the crowd. 

Take it easy

How are you doing? It's the end of February, which is often described as the most depressing month of the year. How is your state of mind right now? How did you get on with your New Year's resolutions? What lies in store for the rest of the year? What do you want to achieve? What do you think you ought to achieve? Are you motivated?

Will you by my Valentine?

I expect there are many people out there today blogging about the meaning of Valentine's Day. And I'm another one! Equally, many people bemoaning the fact that Valentine's Day is a modern festival started by some unscrupulous greeting card manufacturer somewhere. 

Try, try and try again

It's now a month since we all made our New Year Resolutions. How are you doing? Are you sticking with it? I know I wrote about something resolution-related this time last year - don't worry, I'm not going to do it again!

Define the moment

Walt Whitman wrote 'either define the moment, or the moment defines you'. I've thought about what this means to me, and I thought that before I blogged about it, I should check what others think.

A new start on old habits?

Or I suppose 'old habits die hard'. 

It's New Year, and we are sloughing off the old skin of 2013, and starting 2014 all shiny, new and buffed up (and possibly hungover, but that's just for today). 

'Tis the season

Like most people, I absolutely love December and the approach of Christmas. I don't get excited about it until December, but I do like to throw myself into the season when December arrives. I'm a sucker for an advent calendar with a bit of glitter on it, Christmas lights and interesting Christmas tree decorations. 

Lose yourself

I've noticed that when I am really focussed on something I enjoy doing, that time races by, and I appear to lose myself. It's a wonderful feeling, glancing at your watch, and realising that time has leapt forward without you noticing. Shortly followed by the 'gosh, where did that time go' feeling. It's a conundrum isn't it - personally I don't want life to rush by without my enjoying it, but the more I enjoy it, the faster it seems to go.

If you don't risk anything, you risk everything

It was Remembrance Sunday a few days ago. We gave thanks to those who risked their lives so we can live ours. In terms of risk, that's a big one isn't?

Trick or treat?

So, today it's Halloween, the day when the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead is at it's thinnest (so we are told) and the souls of the dead walk among us. In years gone by, people believed that if they put on different clothes, or fancy dress even, it would protect them from the soulds of the dead. And this is perhaps where the modern practice of dressing up and going Trick or Treating comes from. 

Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness

It's my birthday today, woohoo!

Ode to Autumn by John Keats is one of my favourite poems. For me, it is incredibly evocative of the time of year.


Today is a dear friend's birthday, and it started me thinking about friendship. I count myself amongst the very lucky, and have lots of friends. Each of those relationships is unique, and each has it's own level of emotional investment on either side.

Balancing Act

I was looking for pithy quotes and came across this one. I confess I had to read it a couple of times before it sank in. In my case, the experience was more like drilled in by a jack-hammer. 

Give yourself over to .....

absolute pleasure...." as the song goes. Rocky Horror fans among you will know which one I mean!

Am I allowed?

Thinking back to my own childhood, there were many occasions I used the phrase "Am I allowed..... to get down, to play at my friends' house, to have some sweets, to stay up late and watch telly.." and many more. My parents taught me to ask for permission first. And this permission was always activity-related.

The best things in life aren't THINGS

My mother recently had a very significant birthday. In the run up, I spent ages trawling the internet for gift ideas. As far as I can tell, she has everyTHING she needs. She may also have everyTHING she wants. So, what THING do I give her?

Comfortably Numb

Did you think this post would be about a most excellent song by Pink Floyd? Not quite. However, the song does describe a state of happiness, or numbness, which is comfortable for many. If I'm not feeling any pain, then surely I'm okay?

Confidence, confidence; who needs it?

While I was thinking of a title for this post, I recalled an advert from my youth for a certain brand of toothpaste, which had a strapline about 'a ring of confidence'. Actually, it's quite relevant to this post.

Five frogs sitting on a log

Five frogs are sitting on a log. 

Four decide to jump off.

How many are left?

The '10 second' rule

This morning, my mobile phone died. It's a Smart phone, I've had it for a couple of years now and I'm three months away from being able to upgrade it. Thankfully I had backed up the contents on an external source. But it does connect with my calendar on Google, meaning I can make appointments on the go, and always know where I'm supposed to be.

Fire Walk with Me

Oooh, any Twin Peaks fans out there? I found the first two series being aired recently on one of the more obscure Freeview channels and just couldn't resist watching again. 

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin..

I'm sure some of you are old enough to remember those immortal words, whether you were by the radio for Listen with Mother or in front of the TV for Watch with Mother. Those few softly spoken lines caused children across the UK to sit still, relax and listen. I remember them well, as a very small child, beginning the 15 minute interlude of calm in the day when I sat with Mum, and a nice lady told me a story. 

I won't be happy until..

This morning I was Googling for quotes about happiness. I publish a quote every day, and find that a daily reminder of one of life's little messages keeps me on track.

Nip Tuck?

Communal changing rooms, love them or hate them? On the plus side, there's lots of room to get (un)dressed rather than in tiny cubicles. On the minus side, other people might see you naked!

Inside out

When I was at school, one of my set works for French was 'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, an existentialist philosopher. Thirty years later, I'm not much wiser about existentialism, but The Little Prince remains one of my favourite books of all time.

Invest to save

When you are starting your own business, Invest to Save is a phrase which is often used to describe one's early activities. You put a lot of stuff 'out there', offer freebies, network like crazy, and eventually you will get something back in return.


I live in a lovely Cotswold village in an area immortalised by M C Beaton in the Agatha Raisin novels. If you've never read any of the novels, they do give a very tongue-in-cheek picture of Cotswold village life, which at times is frighteningly accurate. However, I digress.

Sibling rivalry?

I have three elder siblings, and last summer they all came to stay with me for a few days. We all get on really well, and appreciate many of the same things, despite the fact that I am the 'afterthought' and am nearly 10 years younger than the next one up.

If I could save time in a bottle

"..The first thing that I'd like to do 
Is to save every day
Till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you ..."

I must, I should, I ought to

Okay, so it's the New Year. We are two weeks in. How many of you are still on the diet, given up smoking, haven't touched a drop or are in the 'chocolate is soooo yesterday' zone? 

More importantly, how many of you aren't? 


I wrote an earlier blog about being rubbish. I'm not rubbish of course, but at times I have believed I'm rubbish at certain activities.

The voices in my head

I am sure there are many of you out there, like me, who are self-employed and working from home. Making the transition from employee to self-employed is quite a challenge, especially getting one's head around being able to work when and where you want, rather than the prescribed Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. It should be liberating, but it feels strangely weird.

Leadership vs Management

How many times have you been asked to explain the difference between Leadership and Management? My own view is probably best defined by the response of the people you are leading or managing.

Team Spirit

Did anyone else watching the Olympics and wonder why so much emotion was bubbling up? 
Team spirit is a truly wonderful thing.

Oh dear, I am rubbish..

At exams, at my job, at interviews, at line-dancing, at public speaking.......  No, I really am rubbish at line-dancing!

Anchors Aweigh!

As if looking for a new job isn’t stressful enough, when you are offered an interview, there’s an even bigger mountain to climb – the interview itself. Anyone out there like mountaineering? It’s like anything else, if you believe you can do it well, you will do it well. All we need to do is create a little confidence and self-belief, and Everest will reduce in size dramatically. 

What I really REALLY want

I’ve noticed how fantastic we can be at denying ourselves what we really want. A couple of my clients were telling me, consciously, how they really wanted to stay where they were, wait and see what would happen next, make it work etc etc etc.

The heat of the moment

We all say and do things we regret in the heat of the moment, which can have serious long-term consequences. In my last organisation, we went through a protracted period of change when a number of middle managers were facing redundancy, whilst working with new bosses and still managing teams of staff who also might not have a job at the end of the process.


No, this isn’t a Mercator thing! Welcome to my Blog – I wonder if it will get you thinking today, tomorrow or next week?