In different places

In different places

My husband is my proof reader. He checks for spelling mistakes, typos and errors. But more than that, he is my litmus test. How is the piece? Is it ok? Is it good enough? Will people like it?

There have been a couple of blogs that he didn’t want me to publish. But Friday night was new. Not only did he not like my blog ‘I Believe in Fairies’, he actually hated it. More than that, it made him roll his eyes, it made his skin crawl….It turned him off and he suggested that he was no longer the best person to check my blogs.

The wind was well and truly taken out of my sails.

My Dan is the most big-hearted, forgiving and loving person I have ever met. I celebrate it every day when I look at our daughter L, who is sensitive, old beyond her years, generous and kindness itself – I joke that she is all Dan; she could not possibly have come from me!

So our discussion on Friday evening was a first in our relationship.

The fact is, that currently Dan and I are in very different places.

The last month or so, I really feel like I have turned a corner. I know it sounds dramatic, but on the day I turned 40, I was literally beside myself. I approached that day with foreboding, knowing that it would proclaim a day of judgment which I could no longer avoid. I would have to accept that I was drifting and take some responsibility for a new direction. On that day, I felt a complete failure. I felt old and I felt the weight of wasted opportunities. I looked back harshly at forgotten dreams, abandoned aspirations, and could only see myself adrift with no real direction or drive. Blinded with self-pitying tears I declared my 40th birthday as the worst day of my life and in the face of my husband’s protests argued that “any f***er can knock out children” and that I had achieved nothing. I vowed that come my 41st birthday I would not feel that way.

This blog is part of that promise and the last month or so in particular, has marked a real change in the way I feel about the future. Right now, I am in a really, really good place and I feel full of hope and excitement.

By contrast, Dan is having a really tough time. Dan works in sales dealing with large retailers who even at the best of time are notorious task masters. With the falling pound and the uncertainty of Brexit, Dan’s job right now is particularly difficult. Combatting the large retailers takes a resilience few of us have and I have long admired how Dan and his colleagues soldier on but just lately, the battle scars are deep and un-healing and whilst Dan will always be my hero, right now, his shoulders are rounded and his chin dipped. Coupled with the fact that my earnings have dropped after I took a step back, well that’s a whole lot of pressure.

So Dan faces an emotion new to his big heart. He reads by blogs, which have lately declared myself as feeling empowered and joyful and he feels jealous. Jealous of the freedom which he pays for (in hours and in cash) and jealous of the choices I am able to make, because I have had the ability to step off the hamster wheel and to look around and find a new direction (again because of the work he does). To be honest, it’s testament to his beautiful soul that this has only just happened now. Were it the other way round, my resentment would have been loudly announced a long time ago.

Of course, Dan and I have been in different places before, but this time, I am writing about it. It is in black and white and as my editor in chief, he is confronted by it in harsh black and white.

Yet, even as Dan was telling me it was tough to take, I knew he was bleeding. My wonderful, wonderful husband would never for one minute want to hurt me or to bring me down. So I know that he is wounded deeply to even open that dialogue, but also that he would admonish himself thereafter for the look on my face as he spoke. I have never felt more loved, than I feel loved since meeting Dan.

So what next? Do I bring down the sails? Batten down the hatches? Stop writing about what is currently in my heart?

I know that’s not what Dan wants. I also know that if I am not writing about what I am feeling, then I am not being authentic. I am not being true to myself.

But it did make me wonder….Tragedy sells better doesn’t it? Some of the biggest responses I have had, have been in response to me feeling vulnerable and low.

It has also made me think about the direction I am going. Dan asked me, who is my audience? Who do I want it to be?

I confessed that I don’t know: I am writing really for me, because I just want to keep writing. But if I think about what I have found really rewarding, then perhaps I am writing for an audience. I am writing for someone who might feel like me. Someone I can give help to. To let them know what got me through, what gave me direction, what kept me going.

It also gave me a bit of a shake. Dan and I are a partnership. This is my reminder – I wrote the other day that I know I need to be a grown up and pay the bills, but that this was easier to bear if I was filling my creative need. This is my signal, my flag to be true to my word and I will.

So, my sails are still set, I just need to keep checking my compass more regularly.

Thank you Dan, you remain my North, my South, my East, my West. My everything.



ps. The blogs Dan didn’t want me to publish in particular,  were ‘True Colours’ ( where I talked about freedom to choose my politics without being branded a bad person (he thought it too evocative) and ‘For the Dads’ ( where I talked about how privileged I am to have time at home whilst my husband works (he thought it might not be appreciated by the many mum friends I have in the same position).

pps. Thanks to Pinterest for the image

I believe in fairies


Our girls have a thing for all things magical, including fairies. So, what is it about girls and fairies?

It’s nothing to do with pretty and pink; the stories that captivate them are embedded in nature and the universe. They are elemental and talk of ‘the source’ and using power to heal. They celebrate girl power and friendship.

A victory for the fairies is not about advancement above others or about having power greater than someone else. It is about striving to be the very best that they can be. About realising who they are and honouring their gifts. It is about finding courage to look into their souls, know themselves and learning to accept and use the powers bestowed on them for the greater good of their world. Which means protecting nature, teaching and spreading kindness, helping each other to grow, showing the way by example and through the bonds and spirit of community. When they are fighting darker forces, those forces are those using magic for their own purposes, for their own advancement to the detriment and harm of others. Those forces break nature and the elements and turn their back on the natural order. When good triumphs, it restores equilibrium but also lifts the dark fog from the eyes of its foe.

Which got me thinking….despite my cynicism and wilful reluctance, many of the books I have been reading recently are by writers who declare themselves to be spiritual and in some cases, “priestesses”. I am learning lots about the law of attraction, about the power of the universe and its limitless bounty. I am even trying light sourcing (a kind of meditation)!

I am attracted to reading (and still, I can barely bring myself to say it) about the power of women to heal the world, to bring a new dawn, to mark a change, to encourage people to live authentically, with success defined by passion and values and not by material gain. Trust me, I have put these books down many times before now and read them despite myself, fighting the impulse to roll my eyes. And yet, lately, I am inspired to read about women as a sisterhood, raising each other up and praising each other’s unique gifts. Urging us all up to be open, honest and brave.

I am not the only one….The next time you are on a train, on the beach, in a hotel or grabbing a coffee, look around you. Spot how many women are reading books by Gabrielle Bernstein, Rebecca Campbell, Abraham Hicks, Danielle LaPorte etc. There are a growing army of readers compelled by this spirituality, a growing following of these new spiritual healers, coaches, leaders, whatever you want to call them.

In the stories that the girls read or in the animations they watch, children are portrayed as having a bond to the fairies, since they still have the ability to believe in magic and are still close to nature. Whereas, grown-ups are seen as dangerous, as non-believers: we have strayed too far from the elements of the earth and no longer believe in magic or our ability to harness it.

Equally, the books I am currently reading separate the writers and their audience from the recent past: from incessant materialism and the pursuit of wealth and success at any cost. Citing the relentless cut and thrust of the last era as being largely responsible for the alarming growth in depression, mental health issues, obesity, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, suicide: in short, as a race, we have strayed too far from source, from the universe, from simplicity and our basic values and off this path we are either lost or (unsuccessfully) seeking solace elsewhere. These books want the world to wake up. They are not denying readers wealth, success or material comfort just asking them to breathe and re-align.

Essentially, they want us to live like fairies.

And yes, I am known to love Disney films, musicals and happy endings, but do you know what, I think they might have a point.

Plus, how often do we say that if we really want to learn something, we need only look to our children. So I am going to join my girls, captivated by the power of the universe and the triumph of friendship and sisterhood.

I believe in fairies (and today I wore a long floaty dress!!).



Ps thanks to Pinterest for the image.

School holidays: not long enough

School hols

The longer title of this blog is “Why you won’t catch me moaning about the school holidays” and I am going to buck the trend and tell you I love them!

If you have read my blog ‘Back to School’ (, you will have seen how I always feel sad at the end of the holidays since it means we have to step outside of our tight family unit, perfect and enough together. Jolted into reality and forced to look outwards, no longer so easily able to be completely ourselves.

But today I have been reflecting on another reason I love the holidays so much.

This last week has for me, been my idea of heaven and it isn’t down to glorious weather or amazing days out to the seaside or country houses (though we do love that): our days have been simple ones. Full of lazy mornings, dog walks, hula hoops, skipping ropes, bikes, craft, playmobil, the park, the garden, made up games. The basic pleasures of just being. Of being at home.

I don’t want to claim for one minute that we are the perfect family – these days have naturally been peppered with whinging, bickering, the odd push and shove, bangs to the head, mummy screeching….but it has been absolute bliss and I have no desire to wish the girls back at school (despite my butterflies about what this new chapter in September might look like).

These days are easy, without expectation, without deadlines and without pressure. They are essentially, just like the preschool days.

If I had to pick a favourite year, it would be the year all three girls were at home – H was 3 (then 4), L was 2 (then 3) and F was new-born (then 1). I loved it. The four of us girls rubbing along. Yes, it was hard work sometimes, but we were our little gang and life was without a serious care.

As soon as you have children people start telling you, “enjoy every moment” and “don’t blink” and when you are in the thrust of nappies, tantrums, weaning, breastfeeding, all that good stuff, it is so hard to really grasp that sentiment or to genuinely believe everything is a phase (and honestly, it really is!). But as soon as your eldest starts school, wham! Your life is measured in terms, everything speeds up, the demands on your time multiply aplenty and before long, like me, you are facing your first sense of empty nest!

So, I for one, will be forever grateful for school holidays. No matter the weather, no matter the sibling scrapping and no matter the monotony, since I intend to hang onto the simple times with my girls as fiercely and for as long as I can. And this week, has been throw-back Thursday every day. Long may it continue.



Other people’s children

other people's children

Over the last three weeks I have been thinking a lot about other people’s children.

Watching the Year 6 children in their leaving assembly, saying farewell to some pre-school buddies who won’t be joining F in her reception class, chaperoning at the girls’ ballet show, spending time with my nephews, meeting my close friend’s new-born son, having other children to play….Some of these children I know really well, others not very much at all and yet for all of them, I feel such genuine love.

That’s not something they tell you when you have children: just how much your heart can expand.

I know it’s the stuff of comedy everywhere that we only like our own children and cannot stand other people’s, but I just don’t find that to be true.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no saint and I will confess there are kids out there that I find it difficult to be with but when it comes to the children in the heart of my community, it’s different.

And for those children who belong to friends, well the bond is so, so deep.

Holding my friend’s new-born, there is nothing (and I mean nothing) I wouldn’t do. Those feelings deep inside my tummy, guttural, raw, instinctive: he is part of our pride and the love is very, very real.

I have written before about the strength of the friendships we have made at school – how our children will reach for a hand, not really worrying which mummy holds it back and how for our young, the tribe of school friends really is an extension of family.

But with emotions running high, with leavers and parents fruitlessly pushing away the tears, with gasping goodbyes to preschool years, with nervous energy shining in the spotlights of a dance show, with the arrival of a new addition, forever a breath-taking miracle; I have been thinking what this means as a mum, beyond the obvious friendships that we share.

I have always felt that the mutuality of our experiences means it is easy to make friends and easy for those friendships to be instantly intense; we are tethered together by a shared understanding of what we have all been through, are going through or will endure.

Yet I think too, that when you observe a good friend’s child brimming with joy, sadness, elation, fear, achievement, disappointment – whatever it may be; you know too exactly the beat of your friend’s heart, as a mum. The empathy is so strong, that it is not enough to stand and watch with a simple ‘oh dear’, your heart is pulled too.

When I cry too I have attributed it to a sense of understanding – thinking how I would feel, as a mum, if it were my child, but I don’t think that’s right anymore, I think the lines are too blurred and that sometimes, I am crying for that child as if their mum. That child who I cannot help but love, even if I have no right to, even if I have no claim to call them one of my own.

Before I met Dan, I didn’t consider myself particularly maternal; yes I knew I wanted a family, but as a girl it was always my sister who played with babies and toddlers. I always felt too awkward and had no connection. Yet today, having had my own children, I don’t think there is a child I would turn away. I don’t think there is a child I could not love.

I’m not sure that this blog makes very much sense….I guess what I am trying to say is how lucky I feel but also how much I love my friends’ kids and whilst I am not denying that they are wonderful, wonderful kids (and they are), I think some of this love is just unstoppable once you become a mum. In the words made famous by Celine Dion, as a mum, your heart really does go on and on. Sometimes that can feel pretty overwhelming but if you think about it, this capacity to go on giving love, is what makes humanity so very, very special.



Ps thanks to Pinterest for the image


For love

for love 3

Since I started this blog in March, so many people have said to me that they would love to do something similar or do something creative but that they just don’t have the guts or they worry that what they create would not be good enough.

I have these doubts all the time too and actually, they sometimes prevent me from showing up (in fact, I am terrified about publishing this very blog – it’s rather out there and perhaps a little bit smug), but here is what helps me get started:

I have always had a niggling feeling that I wanted to ‘do something’. I still have that sense and I am still not 100% sure of what that ‘something’ is. However, by surrendering to the urge to write, that goal is starting to form.

Spending time doing something which I really love is expanding my horizons and my dreams in a way I had not anticipated. But the biggest and the best change that I could not have predicted was just how much joy, spending time at my laptop, with words, has brought me. It is more than the hour or so spent….it is time spent before, stretching out my thoughts, exercising ideas, racing around my brain; it is time spent afterwards, the sense of achievement, the feeling that I have grown, that I have learnt something new. It is stimulating in a way I can barely explain. I feel grateful. I feel peaceful. I feel full.

It is freeing as I consider the future: yes I still need to be a grown up and there are bills to pay, but that somehow feels easier to bear, so long as I am filling my cup with words and creativity. I think too I am finding some release from the need for approval – I am writing for pleasure and not to please and in so doing am finding out new things about myself. I also feel liberated about what success looks like – I used to feel such guilt: I had a brain, qualifications etc that should be resulting in a certain status, a certain level of wealth, if only I applied myself. Now my notion of success feels different. It is measured by my response to what I feel called to do. When I write, I feel like I am living this life as I am meant to – full of excitement and breathless. I am living consciously and not just going through the motions. I have this growing sense of comfort that when my time is done here, I won’t feel I have wasted it, because I will have lived passionately, regardless of whether or not I run a successful business or have a large house in the country. Finally, I am growing into a good role model for the girls, beyond simply being mum.

And all of this, simply because I began. I showed up. I responded to my longing to be a writer. The thing I never started because I was afraid I would fail at and if I was terrible at the thing my heart most desired, what next?

See, there, I have said it. I am a writer. Not because I have published a book, not because I am read my millions (or even hundreds), but because it is what I feel compelled to do and it is because what fills me with light, love and joy.

So, if you want to write a blog, if you want to sing opera , if you want to teach, if you want to paint, if you want to write poetry, if you want to campaign – just begin. Just do a little bit of what you love and see what comes.

There need be no end game, no plan. Just do it ‘because’. Just do it for love. Baby steps. You won’t regret it and only good things can follow. Not because you are going to be an international megastar overnight, just because you will be helping your soul to sing.

I would also strongly urge you to read ‘The Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert and ‘Light is the New Black’ by Rebecca Campbell. Both books have felt like keys to unlocking my fear and letting it go.

Now my excitement is palpable and I feel like I have just begun. I’d love for you to feel the same way too.



Ps thanks to Pinterest for the image

Pps thanks to @Thebigmagic @Elizabeth Gilbert @Lightisthenewblack @rebeccacampbell

Push and pull

goldfish jumping out of the water

In my last blog I wrote, “Something’s coming, something good” – and guess what? It’s true!

I have to date been a bit hesitant in embracing the Law of Attraction, the basic premise of which is if you think positive thoughts, positive things will come to you and equally, if you think negative thoughts, negative things will come. But this week, having sent my positive missive out there, celebrating this period of my life as a fertile void (thanks @katenorthrup) and genuinely believing that my inspiration and period of creativity and industry will arrive when the time is right, several really exciting things have landed at my feet: the most amazing one of which is that I have got my first paid writing job! Not just that but it’s writing about issues faced by women of my age and which I find fascinating.

As you can imagine, I have been giddy with excitement, overjoyed to be given such an opportunity and encouraged by the validation: I can write well enough that someone with a strong brand and international success is willing to pay me to write for them. It very much feels like the Universe has sent me a sign of the positive things to come and that this has arrived because I relaxed into my here and now and because I believed.

The role is a small one but it feels like the start….Something is coming and it is something good. I feel alive with possibility.

But then those pesky doubts come creeping in, casting shadows on the light I have been feeling the last few days. Having received the brief for the first article I am to write, I start to question who am I to write about such issues, I feel like a fake. What if they don’t like what I write? What if it’s not good enough?

Then I start to make excuses. First, the timing is all wrong; it’s the school holidays – it’s going disrupt my focus on the girls over the summer and I promised that this school holidays would be dedicated completely to them. Then, it’s ghost writing and it’s my own voice I want out there. I want to grow my own brand not hide behind someone else’s.

I push back: it’s one article a month and you have a week to complete the first 1000 word article, easily done once the girls are in bed….Yes it’s ghost-writing but it’s still creating, still writing, crafting with words and that sets your soul on fire; plus it’s all experience, all practice, honing your skill and it might lead to other things.

But still I feel the pull of self-doubt: once those thoughts start to cloud your confidence they are hard to blow away.

I have hit my upper limit. I have had my first small writing success and the energy I have felt from that has been immense. But I find it hard to stay in this positivity for too long: I am leaving my comfort zone and so my negative responses kick-in, pulling me back to the place I am familiar with. Equally, I know that I am scared. Stepping forward, calling myself a writer, means I must own my successes and failures and so my ego (we all have one) seeks to hold me back. But not this time.

@Gay Hendricks in ‘The Big Leap’ writes in detail about this pattern of behaviour and has written a manual to help overcome our hidden fears and to take that jump into what he calls our Zone of Genius. I read this book some time ago on a trip back to Cambridge and I sobbed as I wandered through the colleges, tears shed as I identified a pattern of behaviour which has littered much of my professional life.

I drove home that day daring to hope the advice in ‘The Big Leap’ would propel me in my new business and yet a few months later I took several steps back from my new legal career. But timing is everything. Today at least I can identify my doubts and my excuses and I am going to push them aside. Writing is a dream come true and I feel called to live a more creative life. Even as my insides scream that I cannot possible do this well, I am going to fight back. I will write a great article, I will be confident in my voice: I am one of the successful women I am writing for: my here and now does not detract from my past achievements and it does not preclude future ones; I am entitled to have and share my opinions; I need not hide behind self-created and self-fulfilling gloom and doubt. I will enjoy the thrill of new experiences and trust that I deserve them and that I can and will have more. As I have quoted before, “Fear is excitement without the breath”.

So, here I am, taking a deep breath and grasping this opportunity. I can and I will do this. No more excuses.



Thank you to Pinterest for the image.

Something’s coming, something good


So having given myself a bit of a talking to last week, I’m feeling really excited…

If you have read this blog before you know that come September, my youngest of three daughters will start school, leaving me home alone. You will also know that I now work as a self-employed lawyer working on a consultancy basis but that for the last few months I have kept this to a minimum, feeling like my balance was out of line.

But just now, I feel almost giddy with excitement about what the next 12 months might bring.

Don’t get me wrong; if I could hang onto F for longer, I would and I will be bereft come that fateful day when I wave her into school for her first day; but in the words of Stephen Sondheim, “Something’s coming, something good”!

I am still not quite sure what and I still don’t have a fully imagined picture of how I want my days to look and feel. However, I read something recently which has allowed me to trust that my time will come. That I will figure my ‘thing’ out.

@katenorthrup recently published a post on her Facebook page which talks about the “Fertile Void”. Having published a highly successful book, Kate Northrup found herself adrift, with no desire to grow her business and no new big idea. This period lasted for three years. But then after the winter comes the spring. Kate found her new thing.

Kate writes that we are raised in a culture that celebrates productivity and so in the winter of her creativity, she felt deeply uncomfortable, like she was failing.

This resonates with me so deeply – Kate was planning a wedding and had her first baby, things which she desired, loved and wanted, yet she still felt that she was doing something wrong. Unable to just ‘be’ and rejoice because she felt like she ought to be ‘doing’.

However, her creative spark and her drive and inspiration has returned and she now celebrates her fallow time as a “Fertile Void”, a period in which she rested, was wild and during which time a new idea was forming, growing and taking form, even if she didn’t know it. Creativity, life, women, are all cyclical, all seasonal. This down time, this break where creativity and energy pause is essential and permits regrowth, permits an even more prosperous and beautiful spring. And spring will always come.

Now I typically shy away from what I will call female centric spiritual and priestess ideas, but goodness, when I read this a weight literally lifted from my shoulders and I breathed easy for the first time in a long time. Thank goodness.

And since that moment, I have felt more light hearted and have been able to live in the moment. I have felt a renewed and deeper gratitude for all that I have and have felt more able to enjoy the girls. I have relaxed, without guilt, without a worry that I ought to be doing something else. This time, this here and now, is my fertile void. My season at home, my season where my time and focus is predominantly mum but which I can enjoy knowing that my future ‘something’ will blossom.

This also releases me from any anxiety I might have about enjoying that buzz when I meet work colleagues or when I get a potential lead on a new opportunity. It doesn’t mean I am any less of a mum or that I am betraying the girls and the life I currently hold dear. It just means a new season is coming and that since I am inextricably bound to the natural order, I too will see a new dawn.

I feel a new confidence that I have something to contribute and that I will find my way, when my time is right.

I know lots of mums wonder where their ‘old’ self is and cannot imagine how they will find a way back. You don’t need to. Your new self will emerge. Different, more beautiful, more daring and with many new and wonderful things to share.

I will not wish away these last precious weeks with my little girl but I am now filled with hope as well as tears about the new phase our family will soon enter.



Ps thanks to Pinterest for the images and thanks too to @KateNorthrup for your inspirational words

Bye-bye bad habits

Start writing 2

I have been having a little chat with myself over the last few days. I have been talking to myself about the idea that our actions define us. How we act over a period of time, is what we become.

I read ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod over 18 months ago now, but there are many things in that book which have stuck with me. This is one of them:

“…we mistakenly assume that each choice we make, and each individual action we take, is only affecting that particular moment or circumstance. For example, you may think it’s no big deal to miss a workout, procrastinate on a project, or eat fast food because you’ll get a ‘do-over’ tomorrow. You make the mistake of thinking that skipping that workout only affects that incident, and you’ll make a better choice next time.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

We must realize that the real impact and consequence of each of our choices and actions – and even our thoughts – is monumental, because every single thought, choice and action is determining who we are becoming, which will ultimately determine the quality of our lives. As T Harv Eker said in his best-selling book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: ‘How you do anything is how you do everything’.

Every time you chose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, become the type of person who does what’s easy, rather than right.

On the other hand, when you chose to do the right thing and follow through with your commitments – especially when you don’t feel like it – you are developing the extraordinary discipline….necessary for creating extraordinary results…..

…….Always remember that who you’re becoming is far more important than what you’re doing, and yet it is what you are doing that is determining who you’re becoming”.

I have put off exploring this and my own choices on the basis that I am practising kindness to self, but sometimes we all need some tough love. I wrote in my last blog about honesty and it is time for me to be honest with myself about the quality of my own actions.

As I look about me I wonder how is it weeks since I cleaned the skirting boards, that I have been going to tidy the cupboard by the front door for over 6 months, that sometimes, we sit amongst the girls mess in the living room, watching TV rather than tidy it away? Why did I only cut the girls toenails yesterday for F’s party when they have needed doing for weeks? Why did I not apply for the chaperone licence I need for the girls’ dance show in a timely manner instead of imposing an additional burden on the lady at the council to rush it through last minute? Why have I allowed myself to put on so much weight when I worked so hard to get rid of it? Why haven’t I completed my VAT return on time? Why did I get the date and time of L’s friends party wrong for the 3rd time this year?

The list goes on and on…..And all of this is so unrecognisable from the girl I once was. It has quite literally been a slippery slope, but if all of this makes me feel miserable, how did I end up here?

Quite simply, I have become lazy. People laugh at me when I use this word – “but you are mum to 3 girls”, “but you just organised this or that”. True, but I used to be mum and still have a clean house. I used to be mum and still look good. I used to be mum and still managed to be a responsible grown up.

Plus, there are plenty of mums out there who do more than I do, but still have the discipline to eat well, exercise, run a clean house, remember appointments and admin etc. Two years ago, I was that mum.

So what has gone wrong? I made the mistake identified by Hal Elrod, believing that as I gave in from time to time and let things go, just for once, that it was just an isolated incident. But over time, our ‘one-offs’ have become the norm, our way of being. Meaning I have no discipline anymore. Things have started to slip and the wheels are coming off. We are chaotic, disorganised, slovenly and I hate it and I am tired of being annoyed with myself.

Then there is this blog. I have had so many ideas over the last couple of weeks, so many blogs in my head, but I haven’t put them to paper. Why? Because of this laziness which has snuck in, silently infecting our home and wellbeing? Maybe, or could it just be I am afraid of being held accountable? If I write about the power of self-belief, if I talk of maintenance, if I declare a blog the start of a new me…well then, I have to do something about it, I have to follow through. Am I so lazy I don’t want to do that? Or am I just scared of not measuring up to the standards I talk about?

I feel so far away from where and who I want to be sometimes that it feels overwhelming. I fear I cannot get the old Kerry back, house proud, presentable, determined, organised, in control, ambitious. It feels like she is a lifetime away. I’m not sure I want old Kerry, I want new Kerry.

But in a state of overwhelm I know it is important to keep moving. Baby steps. My first one was a power walk with friends this morning. My second a late no carb healthy breakfast. My third booking onto the One of Many ‘One Woman Conference’ in October. My fourth, writing this blog, releasing it as an acknowledgement of my imperfect self and my bad decisions, allowing myself to be held accountable and hoping that if I keep writing, I will keep improving myself. My fifth, I am about to sort out that bloody cupboard!! (I almost deleted the ‘fifth’, so I didn’t have to do the do…but I have left it there knowing I now must – the power of the pen!).



ps thanks to Pinterest for the images

pps thanks to @halelrod @themiraclemorning for keeping me on my toes. It might be taking me a while to get going, but the words stay with me.

start writing 1




honesty 3

Billy Joel’s lyrics really struck me yesterday and I literally cannot stop turning them over and over: “Honesty, is such a lonely word/Everyone is so untrue/Honesty is hardly ever heard”.

Initially, I considered the words as an acute observation – how many of us are truly honest? But since then I have been thinking a lot about ‘honesty’ and what it means to us all. The lack of honesty, the power of honesty, confusing celebrations of worth with dishonesty, the cumulative effect of half-truths and little white lies, hiding behind honesty…

Where to begin?!

Let’s first consider the dangers of ‘dishonesty’.

Much is written about the damaging effect of Facebook and Instagram, with the snapshots of perfect lives, filtering flaws and erasing the ugly and the humdrum. Given our inbuilt desire to strive, to be as good as or better than our neighbours, this can often leave us feeling lacking. As if we are nowhere near the unassailable bars set by these moments of perfection, shared so confidently and willingly. Yet how many of these images are true and honest?

And in real life? That unreadable colleague you ae competing with for the next promotion? Your icy boss who never falters? That glossy haired mum on the school run with her Colgate smile? The friend who never raises her voice?

It is so easy to be critical of ourselves and again to compare. But really, do you think that colleague hasn’t messed up? Isn’t as scared of failure as you? Your boss – could it be that he/she also goes home and cries? That he/she has a secret red wine habit too? That mum might have been on her knees only an hour ago and could be masking a whole boatload of heartache? Your friend – well she will let rip as soon as she closes the front door….

And how many people are completely honest with themselves? There are so many stories about people living lives as lawyers, doctors, merchant bankers, corporate hotshots who crash and burn because they were not living their own lives, but someone else’s, because somewhere along the line they were not completely honest with themselves and made choices not driven by their own desires but by a need to please, to comply, to do what they thought was expected of them.

I put myself in this category.

Even recently, in my struggles to find a role outside of mum, I was growing my own business, but my heart was not quite there. But it wasn’t just the clash between the role of mum and other Kerry: I was being encouraged to think like a business person, like a consultant and not like just Kerry, mum and friend. So I couldn’t say I was unable to make a meeting because I had to do the school run…I had to tell a white lie. I couldn’t say I was unable to do a call that day because it was a Mummy and daughter day – another white lie. I couldn’t ask a colleague to come back to me on their requirements such that I could set up appropriate childcare – yet another white lie.

Yes, I was working flexibly, but on the basis of not quite truths. I was a mum with so many options, but only if I didn’t tell the clients about it. But my word! Doesn’t that perpetuate the whole problem? How is that any different from when I worked for one of the best law firms, on the partnership track and was told to “reel myself in, not be so friendly with the juniors and the support staff…to start playing the game”. Does professional life, by definition mean we have to lie? When will we be able to say – client, you are important to me, I will do a good job, but if you like me and trust me, you also need to know, I pick my kids up after school and am with them for 5 hours. You also need to know that I am balancing your work with my other very important role of homemaker. I will only work Wednesdays if it is absolutely essential as this is my cleaning and jobs day!”.

I find it really difficult to be someone I am not. And the suggestion is, if I am completely myself and completely open and honest, then actually, I am not a business person, not a decent consultant and not a professional. But if we fill our days with little white lies or half-truths, well it’s not good for the soul – not only will your work life balance feel out of control, but you won’t feel good about yourself at the most basic level.

This really struck me today: my battle isn’t just about work/kids, it’s about something bigger. About my ability to be completely myself.

But then let’s consider if a lack of openness is really the crux of the problem and if honesty is all it is cracked up to be…

In terms of social media, a shared moment of joy is not a wilful form of deceit. Who are we to deny people the right to celebrate and share golden moments? To congratulate themselves on success? You don’t need to put a footnote on every treasured photo or success to say who cried that morning, that you swore in-front of the kids, that they are having chicken nuggets for tea, that you haven’t had sex for 6 weeks, that your husband had to recycle his boxer shorts that morning. Just go for it. Celebrate, rejoice, be grateful for your happy memories.

Isn’t a significant part of the issue too that we need to get better at being happy for others? Comfortable in our own skin such that we don’t use others achievements as another way to criticize ourselves, as another way to bemoan our own shortcomings. Don’t we need to love harder, more purely, so that our congratulations and well wishes are made unconditionally, without reservations and without resentment or jealousy?

And do we always need to know everyone’s inner torment? Isn’t it your right to only share your deepest fears and insecurities with those you trust? Don’t we all practise putting on a brave face? Imagine the world if we never did, imagine if we all wailed and moaned outside those classroom doors?! Isn’t one of the reasons offices can become toxic, that one too many colleagues sit there being negative, slating colleagues, standing in the way of new ideas, belittling deals done, wins scored. Every. Single. Day.

We all have that friend, who barely has a glad word to say, who constantly tells you how hard life is, about the bad hand dealt to them in our relatively plentiful and blessed world – and we all know that to protect our own wellbeing from the damage done by the constant stream of negativity, we need some distance, to limit our exposure to toxic thoughts. Even if you are not always full of joy, at the most basic level, you need not fill your thoughts with bleak darkness. It’s basic self-care. That’s why gratitude journals and the like are so often applauded.

And in my own battle between Kerry the mum and Kerry as something else? Well I sometimes wonder if I use honesty as an excuse.

I put the brakes on growing my own business for a while because the balance felt wrong and because I find it hard to be two different people. Because I felt the need to be home more.

It is true, that my strongest pull is towards home. My core desire, my true values, whatever you call them, revolve around being the best role model to the girls I can be. So I paused on my journey as an entrepreneur and call Kerry at home, the honest, most authentic version of me.

And yet….

Last week I had lunch with 3 amazing colleagues, and I felt excited, intrigued by the possibilities. A few weeks ago, I did a simple task of advising on personal guarantees in Manchester as part of a larger refinancing and loved putting on a work dress, whizzing off to another city. I miss spending time with one of my friends who I refer to in this blog as my mentor, I miss the way she challenges me. I love writing this blog and I do it at the expense of housework and often at the expense of bath and bedtime. I loved (and hated at the same time!) organising a circus for the school’s PTA. There are other things, that excite me.

So at the moment, as a mum predominantly not working, am I completely honest?

If I am not honest, then am I wilfully dishonest or just confused? Or am I simply hiding from questions too difficult to answer?

Is reverting to Kerry at home who I wholly, fully completely am or is it just the easy option?

Could it all be just timing? I am hanging on to the notion that September (when all three girls will be at school) will mark a whole new dawn, shedding light on what I often call my mini mid-life crisis. Sharpened pencils and sharpened dreams.

So many questions from a Billy Joel lyric –who knew?!



Ps – warning: I heard Billy Joel watching an episode of Glee dedicated to him; I fear we could have a Billy Joel themed blog week!!

Ps – thanks to Pinterest for the image.

Fledgling Mummy Blogger Hits the Wall


So it has happened. A mere two and a half months after launching my blog, I have hit the wall and since my last blog a week ago, have not felt the urge or the inspiration to write. Normally, on any given day, I am mulling over headings, growing ideas, structuring a piece, forming sentences. Last week, nothing. I just couldn’t be bothered and did not feel the pull to put pen to paper.

I have to say, it has come as a bit of a surprise. I have been loving it and also been feeling that I have found my ‘thing’. I have been genuinely lost in the moment as I have been writing, enjoying writing just for the sake of writing and feeling genuine wonder at the joy of being creative. Beyond this, it has also been really encouraging to get such lovely feedback and to be told that what I have written has had an impact on people. It hasn’t mattered to me that my readership is largely made up of friends and colleagues. To know that on any given day, my blog has made someone feel better, has given them hope, has triggered a spirited discussion, has made them cry, has made them laugh….well actually, that is more than enough.

So, what happened last week?! Why was it that every time, I started to form an idea, I felt fed up with myself? Irritated by my own introspection. I mean, let’s be honest – who cares? who am I?!

It’s true that I am still unwell – it’s more manageable than a few weeks ago, but it is still a drain. It is also true that I am a PTA mum with only a week to go before we host a circus, aiming to sell 600 tickets and it is like a full time job. However, both of these things, are part of our everyday chaos. There’s nothing new here.

Those of you who have read my blog before will also know that, whilst I am ashamed to say it, I am one of many for whom approval is important. Last week was a second week for me of heightened anxiety: worrying about what people thought about the blog, worrying that people don’t like me, worrying that people actively dislike me as I tried to rally volunteers for the bouncy castles and sell tickets for this bloody circus. This coincided with the first open criticism of the blog where I was teased for it being twee and predictable in its happy endings/rousing sentiments. Ooof. That was hard to take. It was meant in jest and good spirits but when you are putting yourself out there and when you know that the large majority of your readers are friends…well it makes you think that actually your own worries and insecurities are not without foundation, which of course, makes it all worse and self-perpetuating.

Then there is the larger picture. It’s not just my own blog that has annoyed me this week. All the self-development stuff which I have not been able to get enough of, has rankled. Instead of pausing to read the posts by my usual favourites, I have tutted, sighed and scrolled on. Spirit junkie – bah, white hot truth – blurgh, overwhelm – pass the bucket, money mindset – please….In weeks filled with political uncertainty amidst generation and identity changing decisions, in weeks filled with atrocious acts of terrorism and the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower, well it has all felt a little bit self-indulgent, irreverent and irrelevant.

Even as I write this now it almost feels disrespectful. I am sat in the garden of my worn but lovely home, with a glass of bubbles – because we had a BBQ and it’s sunny….My beautiful babies are in bed, safe and sound and my lovely husband is in the bath, soothing his aching muscles after a perfect boys weekend in Wales climbing mountains in summer splendour. What cares do we have the right to claim really?

So today, I am here because I said I would be. By launching a blog, I declared my commitment to write. And I do so very much want to write, even when it feels difficult. Consistency and practice is key. Yet for the first time, tonight feels like a chore.

So no twee ending today, just hope that there are happier, more peaceful days ahead.

With all my love and prayers for those who are suffering and in pain tonight.