Life Changing Moments

Three weeks ago an event took place that transformed my life, I suspect forever. What’s really strange is that I wasn’t really even involved in it. 

In my last blog I talked about how important it can be to make the most of opportunities when they come your way. At that point I was marvelling at the transformations I had seen in the cast and crew of The Real Full Monty. I had watched these amazing people transform from shy and insecure to radiant, confident, inspirational beings. 

Little did I realise when I wrote last about this project how much our lives would change as a result of this one event.

So what has happened that is so dramatic?

Well, it has been profound, for me at least. I will attempt to explain.

 

This is Ian. If you have been reading my blog or following me on social media for a while you will know that he is my husband and my world.

Over the years he has grown and transformed so much. This photo captures perfectly the latest stage in this transformation, thank you Sam Carpenter Photography. One of the cast hit the nail on the head when she said he was the “proud father of the show” his face here radiates pride and joy at what the cast are achieving. It is one of my favourite photos, ever. 

But what has this got to do with life changing moments?

 

Well, this show started a ripple.

These photos were taken last Saturday, they were taken by our friend Evie, while we were out celebrating Sam (the amazing photographer)’s birthday.  

What has THIS got to do with life changing moments? 

Well, a lot actually. You see we were discussing while we were getting ready to go out when the last time was that we had asked someone to have the children over night so we could go out as a couple and meet up with friends.  

We can’t remember. We have both gone out with friends while the other has stayed at home. We have very occasionally asked someone to come sit with the children so we could go out, but it has always been so last minute that we have gone for a meal just the two of us, not with anyone else. We had a weekend in Paris as a birthday gift for my 40th from my in laws, which was lovely, but it is almost 3 years ago now and we have had very few nights out together since.

In the last three weeks we have been out together, as a couple, without children, on an evening, three times. We have had countless daytime dates and we are enjoying spending time together so much. We are still enjoying quality time with the children, but we have made ourselves a promise that we are going to make the effort to go out together as a couple, in the evening more.

 

This transformation is about so much more than going out though.

Look at our faces in the photos above. Now look at this photo from our holiday a couple of years ago. 

I loved this photo, I thought it was a really happy photo of the two of us. But look how much happier we look in the recent photos

It feels as though a light has been switched back on inside us and we are filled with a new found appreciation of life and our relationship.

We have been together for 18 years this year, and I feel like I did when we first got together. 

Life as a couple is never linear. It is not a simple path. It is a rollercoaster. It has twists, turns, challenges and triumphs. During our time together we have overcome serious physical health challenges, parenting challenges, financial worries, grief… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

We have also been blessed to have three beautiful children, amazing parents, incredible friends, fabulous days out, heart warming parents evenings, holidays with loved ones and pure pride and joy watching our children grow and achieve their own successes. 

 

When I was younger I remember my lovely Dad talking to me about  a family friend who was going through a divorce at the time. I was asking what had gone wrong. Dad, in his wisdom, said that nothing  had gone wrong. They had just stopped loving each other. He was really candid and said that he and Mum had just been really lucky because they had always managed to grow together as they had changed as they had got older, “not everyone is so lucky”, he said.  

These words have come to me many times over the years, and he probably doesn’t even remember the conversation. It’s so true though. Over the years our marriage has had some rocky times. Times I wasn’t sure we could get through. Times I considered walking away. Fortunately, just as we were getting to that point, we always managed to pull back together. Life would get really difficult and something would happen to make us remember how fortunate we are to have each other and give us a new found appreciation of our marriage.  

I believe you can have several marriages to the same person without ever getting divorced. I know that we are on maybe marriage number three or four now. Every time we have had something dramatic to cope with, we reinvent ourselves, and our relationship deepens, and grows more beautiful than ever. 

It is easy when life is busy and you have; children, family, work, a home to look after, to lose track of the important things. We get busy doing and forget to be. 

I have always loved my husband but it is often easy when you are busy and tired to scale back the little actions that can make your relationship really special. Whether it is remembering to give each other a kiss before you leave, making a cuppa in bed, paying them a complement or just generally supporting each other.  Taking time to really invest some time and energy into your relationship is never wasted, it will, in most cases, reap rewards and you will get back all that you put in and more. 

Sometimes, life can give you a little nudge to make these changes – like giving you a reason to go out as a couple and reminding you how much you need that – but sometimes you have to make a decision yourself. 

Yes we had the initial nudge and we went out to the after show party together, but we then made the decision to extend that impact and make sure that we were able to also go to the birthday party. We have committed to going out together much more often. We will make this happen.

Life has changed and it is happier and healthier because of one event, one decision. You just never know when life might give you that nudge in the right direction. Keep looking out for the signs. 

 

ADVANCE – a review

It finally arrived! We finally “ADVANCE”-d in Telford last Monday. After almost two years of planning and dreaming how this event would happen; where, when, what we would cover, it all came together beautifully.

If you have ever organised an event of this scale you will completely understand the amount of work involved in getting something like this from conception to birth but we are all on such a high because it was AMAZING!

Our incredible attendees travelled for hours, stayed over in hotels and had very long days in order to be able to join us but I know from their feedback that they are so glad they did. I think everyone is still buzzing a week on from the incredible energy in the room. We laughed, cried and shifted some big issues together… oh and also ate the best chocolate tart I think I have ever eaten (yes I know I’m not supposed to eat chocolate tart but it was my reward!).

 

We always knew that the day would be powerful (that’s power full – thank you Taz for reminding me of the difference), but I think because we each use our techniques and strategies every day and have done for years we forget the impact that they have when you first discover them.

It’s an interesting thing isn’t it knowledge?

We somehow assume that everyone has the same understanding, the same interpretation, the same talents we do. The more naturally we do something, the more it is part of our life, the more we take it for granted that “everyone does/knows that”.

So often it isn’t true.

There were some really significant light bulb moments for many of the attendees, including us! Yes, we were as excited about the event as anyone. We have known each other for years, we have attended each other’s talks and events, but we know from experience that even when we plan what we are each going to cover that there are always little alleyways from the main path, and without exception there is always a take away from these little meanderings.

Thank you!

We had so much fun and despite the stress of organising such a big event everything went pretty much without issue. This was in part due to my amazing husband, Ian, who stepped in and saved the day several times by correcting issues we were left with my the PA provider (thank goodness he had brought his sound engineer head as well as his videographer head!). Ian you are a star, thank you for all your help with the promotional videos and for coming along and filming the day for us.

An extra special “thank you” also needs to go to Asha Thornton-Clearwater, Taz’s wife, who was incredible introducing the day with style and grace, and she helped us so much with publicising the event. Thanks Asha, I don’t know where we’d be without you on Team ADVANCE.

We would also like to thank Telford Couriers who stepped in and saved the day but delivering the additional food we bought to a local homeless shelter Maninplace. When we originally planned the day we booked it for October but for personal reasons we had to move it later in the year and we knew that that would have an impact on attendance because we were getting so close to Christmas. Because we had booked for larger numbers we still had to pay for the food for the additional number, so we asked the hotel to make that food into packed lunches and Martin from Telford Couriers very kindly offered to collect the food and deliver it for us. Thank you Martin, you are a star.

The biggest thank you of the day has to go to the attendees though. Thank you for coming along, for believing in the power of three and for trusting us enough to be open and vulnerable. You are amazing and I can’t wait to watch your journey now.

It was a truly incredible day, Jo talked about how to stay calm and make sure you clean your wellies. Then I talked about staying calm like a Jedi, Taz showed us how to Unleash our Awesome and then we ended the day with one of my favourite extreme empowerment exercises… a glass walk!

All in all it was a powerful and life changing day.

Do you want to know more and make sure that you are first to find out about the three events we are already planning for 2019? Check out my ADVANCE page or sign up for my newsletter these are going to be such popular events and we’ve learned even more about how we want to make the day MORE powerful and MORE impactful. We are always striving for better and this is going to grow and grow.

Thanksgiving – a celebration for the World

Depending upon where you are when you are reading this the word “Thanksgiving” will have very different associations. 

If you are in the US you are no doubt in full flow with your preparations for Thursday; the pumpkin pies will be baking and the turkey defrosting as I type.

If though, you are elsewhere in the world, you probably see Thanksgiving as a purely American celebration, after all, what relevance does it have to you in your house in the south of France?

Well, perhaps more than you might think. Let me give you my take on this day and see if I can convince you of its relevance for everyone. 

 

What is the history of Thanksgiving?

 Well, it is fundamentally a Harvest festival. A celebration of all the food nature has provided to help us get through the cold winter months. Most cultures and religions have a variation on this festival. It is a very primitive need to be appreciative of the food we have to nourish us and of course that is much more scarce or non-existent during the winter months. So we say thank you to whatever higher power we believe in for providing for our family through those dark and cold days.

The festival celebrated in the US takes its origins from the pilgrims who landed in Plymouth in the early 17th Century and the first meal they had with the Native Americans. Families decorate the home, cook a wonderful meal and bake seasonal goodies such as pumpkin pie and minced pies.

More importantly though, families take time to think about what they are grateful for. School children do lots of work in the lead up to Thanksgiving about gratitude and often perform random acts of kindness. Families often sit round the table and each share what they are thankful for before tucking into a feast of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce… yum!

 

Sounds like a Christmas dinner to me, as a Brit, I would definitely be feeling grateful for such a delicious meal with all my family around me!

The meal may be very similar to a traditional Christmas meal but the rest of the day is very different. In many families now Christmas has become all about indulgence and presents. We often forget to be grateful for all the wonderful things we have, that we are with our loved ones, that we have food during the coldest, bleakest time of year. 

“Thanksgiving day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude”

E P Powell

In a world where consumerism and waste seems to dominate, let’s appreciate this celebration of gratitude and family. Let’s all take time to eat together, to feel truly thankful that we have food to eat, a warm home and people who love us. Take the time to think of those who do not have all the amazing things we have. Perhaps consider doing a reverse advent calendar for a local food bank or taking a donation to a homeless shelter. Just check on an elderly relative. Think of others and help someone else feel really cared for.

That is what Thanksgiving is all about, for me anyway. What does it mean to you?

 

Under Pressure – a life with Queen

I was 5 years old when I first remember being aware of Queen. Sitting on my bunk bed with the window open with my sister and my Dad listening to the playing Elland Road in Leeds. I grew up in a village just outside Leeds and we could not only hear them playing from our bedroom we could see the lights shining at Elland Road.

It really was a Kind of Magic (did you see what I did there?).

It was a real treat because we should definitely have been asleep but it was so exciting listening to this amazing music flying through the air from this mythical place just two and a half miles away. Of course I had no idea what Elland Road was, I wasn’t 100% sure who Queen were if I’m honest, but that moment started a life long love of this amazing band.

Fast forward a few years and I was hooked.

When Freddie Mercury died in November 1991. I was 15 years old. Just starting my GCSEs. I had been listening to Queen for a few years by this time. Of course buying records was expensive (I was just transitioning to CDs!) but I was lucky because my friends Dan and Simon were fans too so we used to record each others onto a tape so we had pretty much all their back catalogue between us.

I bought every newspaper, all the tribute magazines, had the posters on my wall and grieved as though he was a family member.

I loved everything about Queen. I’ve always loved rock music, but I loved the theatre that Freddie Mercury added. I loved that they laughed at themselves.

I’m sure you must be wondering why on earth I am going on about my favourite band by now. Well, there are a few reasons.

Not least the fact that the new film “Bohemian Rhapsody” is released this week.

It’s more than that though.

This film got me thinking. I can remember listening to Queen when I was a little girl. Listening to their music was a huge influence on my teenage years. Years later they were one of the first things I bonded with my father in law over. I can’t remember a time without Queen in my life.

Of course I never saw the original line up live. Their last tour with Freddie Mercury was in 1986, I was 10 years old. In those days concerts weren’t family environments.

A few years ago though I watched the film Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It got me thinking about what things I would put on my bucket list.  

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, a bucket list is basically a list of all the things you want to achieve in your life. I realised that there were very few things I felt passionately about achieving, very few places I felt I had to visit.

But I attempted to write a list with a few things I wanted to achieve, places to go, things to do, before I die. 

  1. Write a book.
  2. Go to Italy.
  3. See Queen in concert.

I suddenly realised that not having seen Queen live was a big deal for me. I really regretted that I hadn’t had that chance.

Then they announced that they were touring with Paul Rodgers.

It wasn’t perfect but it was better than nothing. Unfortunately the timing was all wrong. They toured from 2004-09. My daughter was born in 2004, I was diagnosed with acromegaly in 2007 and my son was born in 2009. They were busy and exhausting years.

Going to concerts was not high on my list of things to do.

Then a miracle happened in the form of Adam Lambert.

 

Adam Lambert is the son Freddie never had, in my opinion. My amazing hubby got me tickets to go see them live for my Christmas present and we went to Birmingham on 23rd January 2015.

It was a dream come true. I have had a wonderful life. I have been fortunate enough to meet and even work with many famous people along the way. Never have I been star struck (well maybe a little with Alan Rickman but mostly I’m pretty cool!) they are just people like us.

Queen was a very different matter. When Brian May walked out onto the stage I cried. I don’t mean I had a tear in my eye, I mean properly cried. 

It was one of the most amazing nights of my life.

Why am I telling you this though?

Well, obviously I think you should all go out and watch the new film, if you are interested, but that’s not the reason.

What I really want you to do is to stop and think about all the things that you really want to do with your life.

There is definitely something significant about the music you connect to in your teenage years. I don’t think we ever connect with music in quite the same way at any other time in our lives.

What music has really impacted on your life? 

Have you been fortunate enough to see your favourite band playing live?

I just want you to think about what makes you happy.

Write your Bucket List.

Don’t overthink it.

If it pops into your head, write it down.

You might be surprised at some of the things that come up.

You might not appreciate how much those things mean to you until you actually get to tick it off either. I certainly didn’t.

Live your very best life, whether it is using your best perfume, going to the theatre more, travelling the globe, eating in fancy restaurants.

Whatever makes you happy, if you possibly can do it, then do it!

 

**UPDATE 24th October 2017**

I had to hop back on to give you an little update. This morning my husband and I bunked off and went to see “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I had a meeting cancel at last minute so I suddenly had a timely free day. I knew I would love it. I knew it would be an education. I have always loved the music and performance Queen created but I have never really looked into much of their private lives or behind the scenes elements. I was not expecting to laugh and cry. If you are a fan of the band, if you like music, if you are a human, you must see this film.

Every so often I go to the cinema or the theatre and completely lose where I am. It doesn’t happen often. If happens when I see Les Miserables at the theatre, it happens when I see War of the Worlds tours and it happened today in the cinema.

I didn’t want the film to end and I cried as it did. Now I know I have something of a history of crying at Queen but I really wasn’t expecting to cry at this film. It really is exceptional. I feel I have to give a special mention to Gwilym Lee who plays Brian May too. His performance was breathtaking. I have always been a big fan of Brian May and thought he would be hard to replace but it’s so evident that they worked incredibly closely together to ensure the portrayal was spookily accurate.

Huge congratulations to everyone involved in the film though, it was a triumph!

ADVANCE: It’s time to make a change

We hear a lot these days about people going on retreats to find themselves, for personal development or to learn a new skill. It seems a strange word to choose, surely none of us want to “retreat” we want to ADVANCE. Whether it is in our personal life, our business, our relationships, academically… whatever you are learning, developing you want to advance and make a move forwards not backwards.

Months ago I was asked by two of my favourite inspirational women if I would be interested in running an event with them to empower people and help them to move forward feeling happy, calm and empowered.

 

How could I say no?

So we have organised an amazing day of Happiness, Calm and Empowerment which will open your eyes, your mind and leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle everything that 2019 has to offer.

ADVANCE; Because who wants to retreat is taking place on Monday 26th November in Telford, UK and it will be a powerful and life changing day. 

 Taz Thornton, the Empress of Empowerment and Jo Howarth, Happiness Hero are two of the most inspirational women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and to be working with them is truly awesome.

Taz is an award winning coach

 She is an empowerment specialist and the UK’s number one inspirational breakthrough speaker. She is a TEDx speaker and best selling author.

Taz will be empowering you with her own unique blend of motivation and inspiration. Her speciality is helping people to reboot their lives and move from breakdown to break through. I have known Taz for many years now and I can’t tell you how many times she has helped me out when I have been feeling stuck. 

She isn’t you average coach and speaker. Taz walks the talk. Having spent her twenties and thirties living a very corporate life in London she made a life changing decision when she had her “break through” and realised that something had to give. That something was her. Taz transformed her life. She learned new skills including NLP (neurolinguistic programming), shamanic teachings, Reiki, extreme empowerment and much more. She will be leading an amazing session at ADVANCE, you really don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn from her. Just one hour working with Taz would cost you more than the cost of your ticket for a whole day at ADVANCE.

Jo runs The Happiness Club.

She is a Mum, wife and is also a best selling author, hypnotherapist and inspirational speaker.

Jo always suffered with anxiety and stress both at work and in her personal life. She lacked self confidence, self belief and felt like a fraud. Her life changed when she too went through a difficult time in her personal life and she made the decision to change her mindset. Through a combination of coaching and hypnotherapy she changed her life and she has since changed many lives with her magical Happiness Club.

 

Then there’s me, Kate, Queen of Calm.

You know who I am, if you don’t you can read more on my About page. I will be sharing lots of tips to help you stay calm and feel in control right through 2019. I will be looking at routines and simple strategies to help you change your mindset and change your life.

This day will change your life, we guarantee it. BUT, you have to be prepared to follow through. You can’t just turn up, listen and leave. You have to commit to making real, every day changes. If you do that, you life will never be the same again!

We’ve had a few enquiries asking whether this event is just for women. Absolutely not. Just because it is three women speakers does not mean that it is exclusively for women. We have all been to countless large events with all male speakers and there are always lots of women attending, this is no different.

We have also been asked whether you need to have a business to get the most out of the day. Again, no. We will all be giving tips which will help you if you do have a business, but these are transferable skills which may help you with your life whether you are a carer or stay at home parent, employed, self employed or retired. These are life long skills that apply to everyone. We all work with everyone from schools through to the older generation and our techniques work for everyone.

 

Whoever you are, whatever you do, you are going to love ADVANCE.

If you are ready to ADVANCE with and enjoy a day of fun and transformation get yourself along to Telford on 26th November. It really will be a day you won’t forget.

So come along, bring a friend and begin changing your life today!

Book your tickets today. 

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