Have you caught up with life over on the podcast yet?

Already half way through this series of my new podcast, Sunday Night Motivation!

Thank you so much for the positive feedback and comments and I’m glad that some of the hints and tips I’ve been sharing over the past few weeks have been helpful.  They are some things that I have tried out myself, especially the getting into a healthy routine one, hence I wanted to share on the pod.

Just in case you haven’t caught it, I’ve also shared some tips and ideas for goal setting and this week’s episode started looking at some of the roadblocks that can stand in the way of us achieving success.  

You can catch the podcast on all good host sites now, including Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts!

Photo credit:  CD-X via Unsplash.com

I’ve launched a podcast!

Exciting news friends!!  So, seeing as we’re going back into lockdown here in England and I’m going to have a bit more time on my hands, I’ve decided to bring my podcast launch forward and it’s is going live this weekend!!!

It’s called Sunday Night Motivation (as you can see!) and is going to be a series of short episodes with some little hints and tips that will help you to get set up for the coming week.

I started writing blog posts called Sunday Night Motivation during the last lockdown as a way of getting my own weekly planning in order.  Sunday nights have always been a downer for me, ever since I was at school, so the first episode will be looking at the old Sunday night dread….it is indeed a thing, and I’ll be looking into why it happens and what we can do about it.

You will be able to catch the show wherever you listen to your podcasts.  If you like it, please do leave a review on Apple podcasts, and subscribe to catch the latest episodes.


What is in your joy bucket?


What do you have in your bucket of joy resources?  Things that you enjoy, that make you smile or laugh, or that get you fired up.  It might look like a complete mish-mash of things to an outsider or seem like a bit of a weird collection, but to you, these things mean everything.

The things that I love and that make me happy are indeed a strange mix of quiet, thoughtful pursuits (like baking, cross-stitch and doodling), right through to the loud and exhilarating (like loud grunge music and motorsport).   People who know me because of one thing, might be surprised or confused at the other activities I enjoy – to them it might seem like polar opposites with no clear link.  But they don’t necessarily need to be linked.

And it is these things which make us unique.  All the things we love, all the things that bring us joy, and things that make complete sense to us.  Often we have attachments to things because they remind us of happy times when we were doing that activity with people that are important to us.  Baking reminds me of spending time in the kitchen with my mum when I was little.  Loud music reminds me of going to gigs with friends.  I became a huge fan of motorbike racing because my first love used to do it.

In difficult or unsettling times, it is even more important to remember all of these things that make us happy.  So, when we do feel stressed or lonely, we have something familiar that we can go to, and that we know will make us feel a bit better.

In some of my most difficult times, I often lost interest in doing a lot of these ‘unimportant’ things, or put them aside because they weren’t of interest to people I was with at the time.  But our identity is built around these things – they are the resources which become even more important when we are losing our way, or losing our sense of self.

Whatever these things are for you, try and find some time in your week to invest in making yourself happy.  It doesn’t need to be done for anyone else, or to serve any particular purpose or outcome.  Just do it to bring a little bit of light into your days – this in itself can help to lift your mood and improve your outlook.   Try planning something that you would enjoy doing after life returns to a little bit of ‘normality’ – maybe there is something that you have always wanted to learn, or a long-forgotten hobby or interest that you put aside to focus on other things.

And please don’t think this will make you look selfish to the people around you – in fact, if you usually put off doing fun or frivolous things out of concern of what other people will think, or if you feel as though you should be doing something more important, then it is probably even more important to make time for it!!


Photo credit:  @timmossholder via Unsplash.com

Is fear holding you back?

It’s coming up to the anniversary of one of my most proudest achievements…when I swam a length!!!

Learning to swim was one of the challenges I set myself before I turned 40 a few years back.
  It represented the thing that I was most afraid of, fearful of,  and had no interest in ever facing.  So of course it had to go on the list!

should probably go back in time a bit and explain how this came about.  Like most children, I was taught to swim by my parents at the local pool, and used to do swimming classes at school.  I wasn’t a particularly strong swimmer, but I wasn’t bad either.  I certainly wasn’t scared of water at the time.  And then one year, we went to Blackpool and my Dad, my cousin and me visited the Sandcastle.  It was great, a huge bright swim park with loads of slides and pools…and a wave machine.  We were in one of the bigger pools which I remember was pretty crammed, and we had no idea there even was a wave machine..until it started.  We all got separated in the crowd, and I remember struggling to call out for my Dad and started to panic as I was being pulled under the water.  My cousin thought I was mucking about and didn’t realise what was happening. Eventually Dad managed to get to me and everything was fine.  But needless to say, it wasn’t a great experience, and I didn’t want to get into a pool again after that.


Fast forward to many later years when I started to go on holiday with friends, and I would sit on a sun lounger watching everyone else having a great time.  They couldn’t even coax me into a jacuzzi at a spa weekend.  Then I met someone and we would take his daughter swimming most weekends, and again I would go along and watch from the cafe, reluctant to join in.


For people who can swim, it’s difficult for them to understand the sheer panic that you feel when you even think about getting in a pool.  But it also made me realise how much I was missing out on, by choosing to sit on the sidelines and not join in.  Not only that, but I wasn’t even making an effort to do something about it. I had given in to the fear.


When I literally “took the plunge” (sorry!) and started lessons a few years ago, it was really hard.  I felt sick before each lesson and was convinced I was going to drown, but thanks to an amazingly patient teacher, I got there.  It wasn’t pretty or graceful, but I swam my length and got my badge and certificate.  And receiving it was probably the most proud I’ve been.


If there is something that is holding you back, or something you are fearful of, try and think about how your life could be improved by facing it head on.  What could you gain?  What are you missing out on at the moment because of it?   I hope that this might inspire you to take the plunge too!

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

They say that messages will come to you when you are ready to receive them, either in the form of quotes, something someone tells you, or through reading something which resonates.  Here are some of my favourite books, which have appeared to me over the years, and which I still refer back to now (along with countless others!)

The self-help genre can be a mixed bag – from the lightening bolt flashes of “Yes, I get it”, to the downright hard going, which can make you feel like even more of a hopeless case than when you started!

I like a book to have a clear, no nonsense but entertaining approach, with practical tips that I can actually follow and get on board with.   And all of these books are just that.  So if you’re looking for some inspirational reads as the nights start to draw in, these are a great place to start! 

  • Life is a Verb – 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally by Patti Digh.
  • The Happiness Project – Or Why I Spent A Year Trying To Sing In The Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, And Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin.
  • Fast Track to Happiness – From Fed Up to Fabulous in 10 Days by Lynda Field.
  • The Flourish Handbook – How To Achieve Happiness With Staying Power, Boost Your Well-being, Enjoy Your Life More and Reach Your Potential by Cheryl Rickman. 

Top 5 tips for some last quarter goal setting

So, we are approaching the last quarter of 2020…and I’m sure there will be a lot of people looking forward to turning the page into a new year.  But even if you haven’t achieved all that you had planned this year, it doesn’t mean 2020 has to be a complete write off.

Every step counts, and even if you can’t get all the way there…there’s still time to take back some control of the reigns.  

Here are my top 5 tips for some last quarter goal setting.

  1. What goals did you set for this year?  Did you write your goals down and have a clear vision in mind? If not, this could be a good time to start getting clarity on what you want to achieve, and investigating some ideas of how you might get there.
  1. What do you still want to achieve by the end of this year?  If you didn’t set goals at all, or abandoned them earlier on in the year, perhaps there is still time to pull back your arrow and aim for something doable, that will take you that little bit closer.  And remember to celebrate the small wins – it can help with keeping you motivated.
  1. What is achievable – Be realistic about what you can give time and energy to in the next couple of months.  Don’t try and overwhelm yourself by expecting to do all the things.  Could you reach a mid point goal if you need longer to work on the ultimate goal?
  1. How do you know if you are on the right track?  If you are not already keeping an eye on your progress or don’t regularly check in with yourself, setting up some accountability reminders in your diary/phone calendar can help to keep you focussed.
  1. Is there anything you need to revise or let go of? It’s ok to reframe your aim or scrap some goals completely,  especially if the goalposts have moved this year.  Or perhaps it’s given you the momentum to go after something bigger?  Either way, set something that you will feel comfortable with, whilst still feeling some achievement.

Photo:  Alexa Williams via Unsplash 

Celebrating Roald Dahl and the writer’s life

Today is the birthday of Roald Dahl, one of my favourite writers. In fact, I believe that the whole of September is now dedicated as Roald Dahl month, so there have been lots of his lovely quotes fluttering around.
Like a lot of people,  I fell in love with his books, stories and characters, when I was growing up.  Especially Charlie Bucket (and his dad who worked in a toothpaste factory, screwing the tops on). From reading his books, or having them read to me. Or the theatre group who came to perform James and the Giant Peach when I was in infant school. I can still remember being agog at the giant papier-mâché peach and seeing the story coming to life before my wide eyes.
I also love the style of his dark, macabre adult writing and of course, Tales of the Unexpected. I think my favourite one of those was ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’.   I won’t give the game away in case you haven’t seen it, but it has a fantastic twist at the end. Wickedly genius!
But I was even more enamoured by the way in which he worked and wrote.  I think it was a feature on Blue Peter that followed him at his home, and introduced the world to the writing shed at the bottom of the garden.  He would get up and have breakfast and then head off to ‘work’, returning home at lunchtime.  I loved the idea of having this space of isolation to write, but within a comfortable distance from home.  And I admired his discipline of having that routine every day.  I think Mr Dahl would have fared well in these lockdown times…and I wonder what stories it would have inspired in him?
Photo:  The inside of the writing hut has been recreated at the Roald Dahl museum, so that you can be inspired too.  It’s on my (Charlie) bucket list to visit!!

What (or who) is holding you back?


After my last post on getting out of your own way, and recognising where you might be self-sabotaging your own goals, I thought it would be only right to follow up with looking at what other things could be blocking your route to success.

Reaching a goal is hard work. And that’s kind of the point – that it stretches and challenges you, and pushes you outside of your comfort zone. But to get there, you might not be able to do it alone. It’s great to have a supportive circle around you, your own little bunch of cheerleaders that have your back and keep you going when you feel like giving up. But what happens when those closest to you aren’t exactly waving the pom-poms…

Sometimes the people who are the most unhelpful are the very people that you would think should be there for you. Whether this is your partner, friends or family, it can really hurt when you feel like you’re having to deal with unsupportive, or even sabotaging, loved ones. Sometimes people don’t share your enthusiasm or vision, or for whatever reason they may feel threatened or worried that what you are gaining from achieving your goals, might take you away from them. Or maybe it highlights an area in their own life where they feel inadequate or insecure, and they could be jealous that you are doing something about it.

I love to see Instagram stories where people are sharing their big and little wins, and seeing the support that people (often random strangers) give each other. And it’s sad when you read that people are talking about it on their page because they don’t feel they are getting that support from their loved ones, or they’ve lost friends who are jealous of their achievements or new found confidence.

Realising that not everyone has your best interests at heart is a tough lesson to learn, but you have to keep going to reach your own achievements.  Even if it means doing it alone, or finding support in another form – go find your cheerleaders!


Photo by Rojan Maharjan on Unsplash

Get Out Of Your Own Damn Way!!

I was speaking to a colleague the other day who has been given a redundancy notice, and after getting over the initial shock and anger, he’s now starting to make plans and is thinking of his options for the future.  Part of his own reflections were that despite this being a really rubbish time, it’s given him the chance to revisit some goals and ambitions that had been put on the back-burner for too long.

When you are in the thick of building a career, or even just getting the bills paid each month, it is easy to just keep your head down and get on with it. And all those goals that you had in the first days and weeks of your job start to fizzle out. Either you lose your focus or you realise that there are just too many roadblocks getting in the way, and it’s easy to get disheartened.

Sometimes it’s not until we have a big moment that shakes us up, like redundancy, or a situation that someone else is in control of, that you realise how much time has drifted, and the things you wanted to achieve and were passionate about, aren’t on the agenda any more. It is very easy to put goals on hold when there is so much other stuff going on – other things which are important, but they could also be the very things that are keeping you stuck.

And this all got me thinking about where I’ve been putting blocks up to my own goals. The thought of putting time and energy into activities at the weekend after a really long, stressy week is a killer for me – of course I’d much rather chill on the sofa, but would that get me to where I want to be?  Or drifting off course with a healthy eating or exercise plan, because I haven’t got the energy to get up a bit earlier in the mornings, or I get so busy rushing around that I forget to write a meal plan for the week and end up eating (unhealthy options!) on the go.

I’ve decided it’s time to hold myself accountable for making sure that I don’t let life, or more to the point, myself, get in the way of achieving the really important stuff. I don’t want to turn around in a years’ time and think, I wish I’d put more energy into that goal instead of wasting my weekends ‘chilling’. It’s time to stop getting in my own damn way!!

(Photo: Tim Collins @timcollinsphoto via Unsplash)

Worried about exam success or failure? Remember you’re in it for the long haul


In this year more than ever, there will be students who have not got the grades they were hoping for, or deserved, and it will be a hugely disappointing and difficult time for them right now.

I know how that feels, as I’ve been there.  And if I could go back and speak to my 18 year old self,  I would tell her this – your worth is not based on one exam or piece of paper.

I have also worked with young adults and employers via employability training and apprenticeship recruitment for a number of years, and am all too familiar with the worries and perceived doubts that young people can have in their abilities, based on their exam grades.

But please remember that an employer will see value in the skills, attributes and achievements that you make throughout your career, not just from one summer.

How you deal with this situation gives a potential employer a pretty good indication of your aptitude to build resilience, handle disappointment and frustration and shows you are able to adapt plans and ideas to get a job done.  Even when, especially when, the original plan goes awry.  Isn’t this what we are required to do all the time at work anyway? These are vital skills in any workplace.

Building this attitude is a far greater lesson than seeking blame or woe.  And will get you to where you ultimately want to be a lot quicker too.

Of course the economic climate will also be a potential hurdle for those entering the job market in the coming months (possibly years?), but remember, there will be numerous setbacks and hurdles to overcome throughout your career.  There will be those who are not so fortunate and businesses that will struggle, but there will also be those which thrive.  It’s been suggested that businesses which start during a recession are far more likely to still be in business after their first 12 months because they have already had to anticipate problems and operate in difficult times.  Did you know that a number of global corporations such as IBM and Microsoft were started during financial downturns?  Success is still possible, if you are prepared to meet the challenges.

Yes, the situation sucks and it might not be what you had planned. But this could be the start of living through one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn.  This is where you build those strengths. And it will give you a perfect scenario to discuss in your next competency based interview.

So go boldly. You are just getting started.

(Photo credit:  @pickaasbyilse via Unsplash)