This is me! – Out of my comfort zone

If you have been reading my blog the last few months you will have heard all about my husband’s fabulous experiences working with The Real Full Monty team. This incredible group of people came together and have raised well over £30k for KMAC (a cancer charity). 

If you have missed my previous posts about this life changing show you can read them here:

What could you achieve?

Life Changing Moments

Well, the show was so successful that the theatre have asked them to recreate it next year and have given them the theatre for three nights this time. Amazing!

I know what you’re thinking, “surely she isn’t going to write a blog just to tell us that they are doing a show that’s miles from where I live again next year?”. 

No, no I’m not. There is much more to this post.

When I was younger I did a lot of performing; school productions, local amateur dramatic and youth theatre groups, choirs etc. I loved it. 

I even sang at The Palladium when I was in my twenties (it was one night but definitely the pinnacle of my performing career!). Since I had my children, and my illness though I haven’t done any theatre work and have only sung at a couple of family events

 

Honestly, I’m scared to. I have wanted to look into joining an amateur dramatic group locally for years now. My daughter is doing Performing Arts GCSE and loves it too and I would love to do a show with her. Unfortunately one of the many side effects of my acromegaly is chronic fatigue and I am scared to commit to months of rehearsals and let everyone down because my body doesn’t let me do it.

She’s still waffling on, does she have a point?  

Well, yes I do. You see I have agreed to be part of The Real Full Monty 2020. I will be dancing with the girls and overcoming so many fears I have lost count.  

Will my body cope with rehearsals and dancing?

Can I overcome some lingering body confidence issues?

Can I stay sane while rehearsing and performing whilst supporting my children through Y6 SATs and GCSEs?

I know I need to do this, but it is going to push me so far out of my comfort zone I won’t even be able to see my little zone of happy anymore!

I feel very fortunate to be able to take part in something so inspirational. I will hopefully have the opportunity to share a little about my acromegaly journey and the lasting effects that that has had on my body confidence and my emotional wellbeing. I will be spending lots of lovely time with my gorgeous hubby, Ian, because he is going to be documenting it all again. This of course means that not only do I get to spend time with him, I have the security of knowing that he will be there if I have a wibble. 

We are raising money for three incredible local charities, all of which are very close to my heart and some of my favourite people in the world are going to be dancing along side me. If ever the stars could align to tell me that this is something I need to do!    

There will undoubtedly be times when I need to reach into my relaxation toolbox to calm my nerves. I will no doubt spend many hours talking to my loved ones about the process and the issues it is raising for me. I have also bought a journal to start documenting all my thoughts and feelings to help me process everything, and remember the journey. 

I’m sure I will be giving you lots of updates as I take my tentative steps along this path, but I wanted to share how excited I am to be joining such an incredible team. 

There is another reason that I am writing on this subject this week. The dance will more than likely be to the amazing song from The Greatest Showman, This is me. This song is so significant to me. I wrote quite extensively about it when I saw the film (read my article), it feels like my anthem now.   

My sister and I are going to see the gorgeous Hugh Jackman (or Huge as he is known affectionately in our house!) on Monday. Imagine my excitement when it was announced last week that Keala Settle, the incredible lady who performed “This is me” in the film, is going to be joining him for his UK tour! I might actually get to see this life changing song performed live!  Follow me on social media for pictures from the concert and lots of pictures of my sister and I looking over excited!  

 

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. 

 

Deep Beauty

Across All Ages

DEEP BEAUTY International Blog Tour 2019

Today I have the great pleasure of being the host here in Stafford, England, United Kingdom on Day 9 of the Virtual Blog Tour of author Carolyn A. Brent, whose book, “Transforming Your Life through Self-Care: A Guide to Tapping into Your Deep Beauty and Inner Worth” is celebrating its big Worldwide book launch on May 8, 2019.

CAROLYN A. BRENT is an award-winning bestselling author and a National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Women’s Figure Champion at age 60. She is an expert on both self-care and caregiving; she is the founder of Across All Ages and two nonprofit organizations, CareGiverStory Inc. and Grandpa’s Dream.  Carolyn’s written works is in the Library of Congress the libraries of Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and numerous other medical centers and universities.

Yesterday, Carolyn visited Kathy Palokoff in Rochester, New York, USA where she interviewed Carolyn on the subject of Sabotaging discipline, Skill & Mindset and Long-term discipline.    http://bit.ly/2II0toz    

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Carolyn when I got to ask her on the subject of Getting through challenging times, Link between health & wealth  and Adapt our self-care. I hope you enjoy it.

Across All Ages

DEEP BEAUTY International Blog Tour 2019

Today I have the great pleasure of being the host here in Stafford, England, United Kingdom on Day 9 of the Virtual Blog Tour of author Carolyn A. Brent, whose book, “Transforming Your Life through Self-Care: A Guide to Tapping into Your Deep Beauty and Inner Worth” is celebrating its big Worldwide book launch on May 8, 2019.

CAROLYN A. BRENT is an award-winning bestselling author and a National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Women’s Figure Champion at age 60. She is an expert on both self-care and caregiving; she is the founder of Across All Ages and two nonprofit organizations, CareGiverStory Inc. and Grandpa’s Dream.  Carolyn’s written works is in the Library of Congress the libraries of Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and numerous other medical centers and universities.

Yesterday, Carolyn visited Kathy Palokoff in Rochester, New York, USA where she interviewed Carolyn on the subject of Sabotaging discipline, Skill & Mindset and Long-term discipline.    http://bit.ly/2II0toz    

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Carolyn when I got to ask her on the subject of Getting through challenging times, Link between health & wealth  and Adapt our self-care. I hope you enjoy it.

Kate Beddow: When our loved ones are going through really challenging times how can we care for ourselves while still supporting them?

Carolyn A. Brent: First, I would like to say, THANK YOU to the caregivers, our unsung heroes. Because of you, our world is a better place.

It’s known that caregivers are quite organized in planning for caring for loved ones– but, it’s essential for you to schedule “me” time too. To get your “me” time, you’ve got to reach out and “ask” for help. This is where you start: ask your family members, friends, local church groups, and caregiving organizations.

Also, contact Medicare, State, and Federal agencies that have the knowledge, and the resources to help you with respite, financial, and other caregiving programs designed to help you. 

Keep in mind; every state is different, so be proactive and contact the Department of Aging in your state. Remember, when you ask for help—it’s a self-care action, which will help you while you are caring for your loved one.  Also, visit: CareGiverStory.com Learn more about the resources you may not know you have.

 

Kate Beddow: Do you believe that there is a direct link between health and wealth?

Carolyn A. Brent: Without a doubt! There is no replacement for having good health. Health is your wealth, without being in good health, how can one possibly enjoy their wealth?  

Early in my pharmaceutical career at a conference, I met a young, beautiful and vivacious physician; she was a thought-leader amongst her peers in the medical industry. She was married, a mother of three young kids, and she was a caregiver to her aging parent.  After the conference, I had the opportunity to ask her, “How do you manage to keep balance in your life when you have so many responsibilities?   

Her answer was quite simple; this is what she told me. “I give myself one hour every day to just take care of “me.”  I do not share my “me “time with anyone. That’s my time to exercise, meditate, relax, sleep, and do whatever I need to do for me. That’s how I refuel my self-care engine.”  She emphasized, “When I take care of me—that is when I can take care of my family, patients, and do what I love for my community.” 

She then said, “Always remember; take care of yourself first.” Boy, to this day, I have never forgotten her powerful words of wisdom.  Learn more: Chapter 13 The Real Connection between Health and Money.

Kate Beddow: How do we need to adapt our self-care as we go through our lives?

Carolyn A. Brent: We should all start looking at self-care as our only option. We must be our “own” self-care advocates for our emotional, financial, and spiritual well-being. While on my self-care journey, I discovered an important formula that I would like to share with you: Fierce Determination + Laser-Focused Actions + Bottomless Discipline = Deep Beauty + Inner Worth.©  When practicing self-care, remember self-care does not have an end date. Learn more: Chapter 16 What to Do When Your Self-Care Engine Runs Dry. 

———-

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Carolyn A. Brent and that you’ll check out her book on May 8, 2019:

Join us on the 2019 International DEEP BEAUTY Telesummit: May 6th, 7th & 8th 

Details here: http://bit.ly/2W3K69a

Transforming Your Life through Self-Care: 

A Guide to Tapping into Your Deep Beauty and Inner Worth”

 SPECIAL OFFER direct from Roman & Littlefield

30% DISCOUNT OFFER OFF LIST PRICE PLEASE ORDER USING THIS CODE: RLFANDF30 978-1-5381-2084-2 • Hardback $28.00 list price (discount price $19.60) 978-1-5381-2085-9 • eBook $26.50 list price (discount price $18.55) For more information, please contact our Customer Service Dept. at special.sales@rowman.com or by phone at 800-462-6420 ext. 3023. 

Buy Direct from Publisher  at their discount special.  

Option 2

Amazon Regular Price: https://amzn.to/2YqFQTj

Catch Carolyn’s Book Trailer… click here!

Thanks for reading! Please share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

AND… be sure to join Carolyn A. Brent tomorrow in Delray Beach, Florida, USA with a special message of REJOICING & Celebrating DEEP BEAUTY on the day of her official book launch.  http://bit.ly/2GvJep5 

DEEP BEAUTY Wellness Retreat Summer 2019

What could you achieve…?

Do you take opportunities when they are presented to you?

Nine months ago an amazing project began. It has changed lives in immeasurable ways and no-one involved could have ever imagined the impact it has had. 

My husband, Ian, was chatting to his friend Rich last summer and Rich mentioned that he had had this idea to raise money for a local cancer charity, KMAC. He was going to get a group of local people together and put on a show at the local theatre. More than that, inspired by the ITV Full Monty show that had recently been on with various celebrities, it was going to be a full monty show.  Ian is very supportive, and will do anything for his friends but his reaction was “I’ll help you, but I’m not doing it!”. 
Now Ian is not just a great friend, he’s also a considerable asset on a project like this, he has so many complementary strings to his bow; videographer, graphic design, sound technician, musician and composer, journalist… He’s a very talented man. However, you could know Ian for a long time and not know any of that because he is also painfully modest and has struggled with anxiety most of his life. (I can share this because he has been very honest about it publicly recently). He is my hero and I love him very much.

Back to the story…

Over the coming months Rich managed to get a core group of people together; 9 local men and 9 local women, all of whom had been affected by cancer in some way and were prepared to perform on stage at The Gatehouse, Stafford to raise money for KMAC.  It is important to mention that although they had agreed to it, they all had very personal reasons for doing the show. Many had undergone cancer treatment, others had lost loved ones to cancer. Some were doing it to overcome body confidence issues, some to prove to themselves that they could. Ian agreed to video all the rehearsals, meetings etc as well as the final shows to create a documentary. They booked two nights at the Gatehouse and rehearsals began.  Every Sunday these amazing people gathered to learn their dance moves with local choreographer, Lucie Talbott, photographer Sam Carpenter, Alan Gee who was in charge of promotion, social media and everything no one else wanted to do, and of course Ian with his video camera. They were shy, scared and most had no dance experience at all, let alone any experience of taking their clothes off on stage!
Along the way their confidence grew. They formed friendships and became a family. Unfortunately during the six months they rehearsed several people involved had loved ones pass due to cancer, this just made them more determined to make it a success though. Their dedication to the project was inspiring and the results they each experienced could never have been predicted. By the time the big night came round they had a full night of variety planned with local singers, dancers, local bands and a comedy magician and both nights were a sell out. They had laughed, cried, confided and resigned themselves to putting on the best show they could.

But what did they achieve?

Well, before I forget the purpose of the show, they have to date raised well over £30k for KMAC which is over three times the amount they first hoped to raise. It might sound strange to say it but this was almost the least important thing they achieved looking back. More significantly confidence was restored, body image improved (not just for the performers, they have had messages from people in the audience who have been helped), marriages have been saved, fears overcome, friendships formed… and these are just the things that are coming to mind now, there has been so much to this project my head is full of stories and my heart is full of love and pride. If you want to find out more about this amazing project and follow their journey as it continues why not like their Facebook page or check out Ian’s Youtube channel to watch some of the videos he made for them.  

How does this help you?

Well, we are all presented with opportunities every day. Some big some small. How often to we grab them with both hands and throw ourselves wholeheartedly into something that scares us? If these amazing people hadn’t made the decision to overcome their fears and step out of their comfort zones they may have lived the rest of their lives feeling scared, insecure, unable to change in communal dressing rooms or talk openly to people about their feelings. They decided to get out of their own way and do something truly terrifying but the pay off has been immeasurable. There isn’t one person who has been involved in this project who wishes they hadn’t wasted their time. They have all learned and all grown and not always in the ways they might have expected.   

Next time an opportunity comes your way what choice will you make?

Is your body controlling your mood?

February has been tough.

I don’t very often moan and I want to assure you that that isn’t what I’m doing now. What I want to do is to help you see that we all struggle sometimes. 

We do, it’s inevitable. 

No-one is happy and energised all the time. 

I spend a lot of time talking about helping to improve your mood and how easy it can be to change your mindset but sometimes it feels like too many factors are conspiring against you doesn’t it? It is all just too much.

Just before Christmas I went to see the nurse about my asthma. She was lovely and a little concerned about my breathing. It had been getting more difficult, despite being really strict about my diet and she prescribed a brown inhaler to be taken morning and night.

Now, as you may know if you have read some of my other blogs, my body does not react the same way as the average body. My acromegaly means that I deal with steroids differently to most people.

I had been feeling really tired since the start of the year. I convinced myself it was because my diet had been far from perfect and I had had an incredibly busy Autumn term. It wasn’t until I went to see my consultant that I realised that there was a reason I had been feeling so incredibly tired. 

While I had been gentle with myself, allowed myself more time that usual to rest and tried to get back to healthier eating habits, unbeknown to me my body had been sabotaging my efforts. 

I have carried a steroid card since I had my pituitary surgery but with so much information to take in at the time I couldn’t remember why. When I mentioned to the consultant that I was now using a brown inhaler (which incidentally has transformed my breathing) he asked how I had been feeling. I said I was fine, still not connecting the total exhaustion with anything external. He then went on to tell me that I could experience tiredness if I use a steroid based inhaler… oh, well, that joins a few dots! So now I need to go see the nurse and see if there is an alternative.

It got me thinking though, so many of us think that our mood is something purely cerebral but the reality is that our temperament is controlled by so many things, and our body and general health is a huge factor. 

For centuries we have understood that the stomach contributes to our mental health. Ancient Greeks believed that all thinking occurred in the stomach and that the head was just for cooling the blood.

We certainly experience emotions in the stomach. When we feel anxious the first reaction we notice is in the upper stomach not in the head usually.

That sick feeling or butterflies it’s all in the stomach. Scientists now refer to the gut as the second brain. This is a great article if you would like to read more on this subject.

The world is so much bigger and more interesting than we can see with our naked eyes. If we could, we could watch cells grow, morph, and split again over and over again on the backs of our own wrists—or the billions of foreign cells living in and among our own, forming what scientists are beginning to call our “second brain.

Richard E. Cytowic

Contributor Neurologist & Author, The Huffington Post

So next time you notice your mood slipping don’t assume that the world is getting on top of you think about this little checklist:

  • Have you been eating properly?
  • Have you been getting enough sleep?
  • Have there been any changes to your medication?
  • Are you getting enough exercise?
  • Have there been any other changes to your routine which could have affected your mood?
  • Are you getting Not all changes in temperament are caused by circumstances, sometimes it is our body giving us a warning sign.

Blue Monday

Blue Monday… today is apparently “Blue Monday”. Not a day to celebrate my favourite colour but a day when statistically more people feel depressed than any other day of the year.

The sparkles and decorations have been put away, the yummy Christmas food is finished and the resolutions are in full flow. More significantly though the credit card bills are arriving, it is cold, the next pay day is still a week away and most people are skint and regretting the extravagance of the festive period.

Hmmm, when you put it like that it does sound pretty depressing doesn’t it? 

Does it have to be this way though? Do we have to be feeling fed upend full of buyers remorse?

Well, the short answer is no. 

We have the quadruple financial threat of father in law’s birthday 3 days before Christmas, Christmas then my son and my husband’s birthdays at the start of January but I’m still smiling. Am I rolling in money, no but we have budgeted and we’re feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.

Have we eaten too much over Christmas?

Yes, definitely.

Are we all starting a sensible eating regime this week now that all the treats are finished from the birthday boys? Yes, we are.

Do I regret any decisions I have made? Nope!

 Have we eaten too much over Christmas?

Yes, definitely.

Are we all starting a sensible eating regime this week now that all the treats are finished from the birthday boys? Yes, we are.

Do I regret any decisions I have made? Nope!

Times are hard

Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate how difficult life is for many people at the moment. Some of the stories I heard over Christmas about how some families were having to spend this “magical” time of year broke my heart. So many people are feeling the pinch. Families are spending money they don’t have to buy presents for their children that they don’t need, but everyone else has got one and they don’t want to be the only ones without the latest gadget. We see it all the time don’t we?

For many families the pressure to keep up appearances has been huge over the last few years and that is a very difficult position to be in. 

There has always been a strong correlation between financial security and stress levels but we have definitely seen this trend on a global scale over recent years. As life becomes less predictable and busier stress levels have gone through the roof. Children as young as 5 and 6 are now being diagnosed with stress and anxiety disorders.

Recent research suggests that the biggest factor in childhood stress is whether the child’s parents do a job they enjoy.

You might question the logic of this statement but if you think about it, if you don’t enjoy your job you come home tired, stressed and agitated. Who do you take it out on? Your loved ones of course. Children are amazing bundles of joy but if you are tired and stressed they can be a walking talking trigger.

Why am I talking about this? 

Well, because I truly believe that a huge factor in my January happiness is the fact that I love my job. I don’t dread going back to work after the holidays because I am fired up and ready to implement all the ideas I have had while my brain has been resting. We live a modest life compared to many families, but we are surrounded by love and happiness and that is all we need.

Is life perfect?

No of course it isn’t? It would be pretty boring if it was. But we look for the positives in everything. Every night I write down ten things I am grateful for in my Gratitude Journal and as challenging as that can feel some days I always manage at least ten.

We spend our time doing things that make us happy; going for a walk, watching a film together, eating a nice meal. None of which have to cost any money if you don’t want them to. 

Sometimes we get sucked into seeing what someone else is doing or seeing something they have and feeling envious. We’re human. But we know deep down that we are very lucky to have the life we do. We have a warm, dry home, filled with people who love us, we have food on the table (well we do now I’ve been shopping!), we have clean running water that we can drink and wash in without worrying about disease, we have clothes to keep us warm in these freezing temperatures. If that was all we had that would be more than 35% of the world’s population.

We have all that and more though! We have a car to drive to go and. buy food from the shops and money to buy it, we have schools and hospitals and friends and a job and a tv to entertain us. We have mobile phones and laptops to help us keep in touch with our loved ones and the rest of the world. 

We really are fortunate.

 

I can’t help feeling a little cynical about the labelling of this day too. My inbox today has been full of “cheer yourself up on Blue Monday” offers! In a world where consumerism is rampant, we are constantly told that we need more, that we deserve to have these luxuries and we should expect to have them. The cynic in me wonders whether the fact that spending of course drops in January as people try to recoup a little of the excess that they spent in December whether we are being manipulated again.

Could it be that making a fuss about how depressed everyone is feeling on a particular day is even designed to make us spend money? It isn’t impossible. Retailers manipulate us all the time into believing that we need more stuff. Maybe that is why they have jumped on this bandwagon?

Interestingly the doctor who first coined the phrase “Blue Monday” has since said that he “didn’t mean it to be a sad day”. 

So, instead of sitting and feeling blue this “Blue Monday” why not sit and feel blessed. Maybe we could rename it “Blessed Monday”?

What do you think? 

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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