5 lessons from a Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast

On Sunday my wonderful husband cycled 131.8 miles, including 6,200 feet of climbing, from Whitehaven to Sunderland. He was part of a dads coast to coast cycling challenge raising funds for our primary school. He was one of a team of 7 cyclists and 2 support drivers. These are the lessons I learnt.

  1. Mindset is king

You may have already read that Dan had not really been on a bike until March and with a knee injury and weighing in at almost 20 stone, he had not really exercised regularly either. The challenge ahead and to be ready in time was immense. There were those who doubted he would make it. That was never my worry; come hell or high water Dan would have got himself there. I knew that.

What we both found really interesting, is that prior to Sunday, the longest training ride that Dan had done was 63 miles, after which he was completely spent and it took him 2 days to recover. Yet on the day, 68 miles in, with another 63.5 miles to go, Dan felt fresh as a daisy….that first stage had been a breeze and he had plenty left in the tank. Onwards and upwards. So fascinating: the same distance which had previously stretched him to his limits had been easy, simply because he knew how much further he had to go. That 68 miles, was just the start: His mind knew and so his body knew what he had to do, and adjusted his strength and energy in line with the challenge.

Contrast this to the end of the ride. In Dan’s mind, once he hit Newcastle, he was only a few miles from the finish. Not so – there were still 15 miles to go. Having flown, been faster and stronger than he dared to believe, Dan hit a wall. His body had been lied to – it was ready for the end and so it started to shut it down. Every turn of the wheel, more and more painful, Dan’s motivation slumped.

Of course, the ride was going to get tough at some point, but it was literally like a switch. His mind and his body had been prepared to get 10 minutes beyond Newcastle and that was all it was prepared to do!

It just goes to show that what you think and believe really can manifest results and of course, the reverse. The power of belief; the law of attraction, whatever you want to call it; your mind is the most incredible tool.

2. You can be more than one version of yourself


The Dan who completed the coast to coast on Sunday was elite athlete Dan and a hero of success manuals everywhere. He was confident, focussed, determined, motivated, competitive, powerful, disciplined. Not because he completed it, but in the tone of his voice, the things he said, the things we discussed and because of the way he did it. Knowing Dan, he wasn’t a little bit determined, a little bit confident: he was 100% committed and was all of the above in all their glory.

He can be such a conundrum. A tale of two Dans. Everyday Dan is not these things; not often. He is many, many wonderful things but not these. Extreme Dan makes an appearance every now and then and I know he is in there, hidden away.

We have talked about it since. Imagine, if Dan took the same approach to health generally, to work generally, to his aspirations generally.

What is the powerful force that keeps Extreme Dan hidden, such that he only breaks out from time to time? I know Dan would like him to make more of an appearance and one of his aims after Sunday is to do just that.

Some might call reverting to Everyday Dan, comfortable Dan, as hitting Dan’s upper limit. Adopting self-limiting behaviour. We are going to work on that.

3. Team work really does make the dream work


Our boys on Sunday and in the months before hand were an incredible team. The 7 cyclists ranged from my Dan, just beginning right up to our semi-professional cyclist, who competes regularly, has a coach and last year completed an Everest Challenge – look it up, it’s breath-taking. But those boys crossed the finish together on Sunday.

They have trained together, mapped a route together, created tactics together and they stuck together. Learning how to get each other through the challenge.

Dan and his particular team buddy were incredible. The boys have joked that from behind it looked like Dan was taking his son for a ride such is the difference in their physiques. Little and large! And yet, they were perfect together. Dan stronger on the flat pushing his buddy further between stops, his buddy, hanging back to stay close literally talking Dan up the hills.

Their support driver for the ride itself, on his own, shuttling between the three groups (they did a staggered start to reflect abilities and so they could finish together), taking care of all of them, making sure they were sustained, motivating and encouraging them.

To witness such a collaborative spirit, to see the genuine concern for all team mates and to know that it was all of them or none of them…well, it was humbling. 

4. The power of brotherhood


Any of the dads reading this are probably already cringing, but I am going to say it anyway. The teamwork yesterday went beyond participating in a cycling challenge.

These boys actually have a real affection for one another. I’ll admit, they are not going to openly declare their love for each other the way mums might but they are really connected. Yes, they regress to teenage discourse and are merciless in their jokes and sarcasm, but when it comes down to it, they genuinely care. These dads lift each other and support one another. They praise and applaud each other’s achievements and if it came to it, their shoulders are there to be leant on. The bonds of their friendship are true and strong. Which brings me onto….

5. There is a time and place


So as the mums left at home tracked our husbands progress, some of us anxious, I began to feel dreadful that we were not there to cheer them on and that I was not being the supportive wife I like to be. Encouraged by my friends, with only the last stint to go, I threw the girls in the car and sped up to Sunderland, determined to make it to the finish line and greet my amazing husband as he finished his mammoth challenge. It was the stuff of all good Hollywood romantic comedies. He would be tearful, he would sweep me into his arms, I would stroke his hair, then we would embrace as a family; he would be so glad we were there. Dan and I are the couple who together, pre-kids, watched on repeat the High School Musical films and sang the duets in the car – it was the stuff our perfect endings are made of.

Only it wasn’t. No hugs, no tears, no laughing pats on the head for the children. Instead, barely a word, clear irritation with the kids, tangible awkwardness and only a half-hearted wave goodbye as heads down, the girls and I headed back to the car for home, alone.

I wasn’t angry. It was clear to me, why we were not wanted. Yes, I felt hurt and also a bit humiliated (I was right – I know now that the other dads felt pity for Dan and also relief that it was just me)….but I did get it. We were like cuckoos in the nest.

I completely misjudged the moment and after my initial wave of disappointment, a lesson that sometimes the loving thing is to let someone go, to give them their own moment, their own time. It’s not the ending I would choose but we are all different and perhaps I could have anticipated it better.

So next time, when the boys are thinking about cycling from London to Paris, maybe the other mums and I will take a mini break to Mallorca or Ibiza. Far away from the boys and their bonding. After 131 miles in one day, they all stank anyway!



Enough is not enough

Enough 1

For over a year, one of the words which daily fills my consciousness is ‘mediocrity’ and even long before I started this blog, it has been something I felt pulled to write about.

My thoughts go something like this: I don’t want to be mediocre….what if it is ok to be mediocre….Who gets to decide what mediocre is anyway…..I want to be a full time homemaker, a stay at home mum….but I’m wasting my talents and my education….I need to be an all singing all dancing example of what you can achieve if you believe….I don’t want to meet my maker and feel regret I didn’t really live….

And then I see articles cropping up on my FB feed saying “You are enough”; being quiet and introverted or living a ‘small’ life, is “enough”.

But I find little comfort from these words, offered up like some kind of consolation prize – don’t worry dear, its ok, not everyone can live in a blaze of glory, it’s ok to come in second, third, fourth – it’s the taking part that counts.

I know I am not alone. Just yesterday, I spoke with one of my dearest friends about how, as mums, we struggle with guilt or a nagging sense that we should be doing more. A nagging need to justify our decision not to be at work or our decision to be at work part-time. An uncomfortable sense that we need to explain our decisions away. A worry we are not setting the right example of female empowerment or that we are letting ourselves down: surely we have greater gifts and we need to be bestowing them on the world?

One of the first ever self-development books I read, urged me page after page after page to rise up and be in the top 5% of the population…don’t spend your life floundering in the bottom 95% and I highlighted the words: “Being average means to settle for less than you truly want and are capable of, and to struggle for your entire life”. Ouch. If you are what you read it’s no wonder I wandered into my 41st year feeling uncomfortable.

But it’s not all Hal Elrod’s fault. There are books and books filled with this kind of ‘motivational’ goal driven hyperbole, urging you on to greater success. It’s how we operate: it’s inherent to our make-up and society – achieve, achieve, achieve; strive, strive, strive; get the bigger house, get the faster car, stop shopping at Next and start shopping at Whistles, Jigsaw….and so on.

And if we choose not to? There is an undeniable judgment made by others and by ourselves that we are not fulfilling our true potential. A sense of waste.

But I for one, am fed up of feeling like I am in second place. So I am working on how to feel better about the life we are creating. Silencing my inner critic who whispers, ‘but Kerry you went to Cambridge…but Kerry you were going to do amazing things.”

I have written before about “Unleashing My Inner Wild Woman” and I often think of her: instinctive, maternal, creative. That helps and I celebrate the decisions she makes.

But as I move forward?

Two things: first, I am trying to remind myself that I live this life intentionally. It is not an accident; it wasn’t forced on me. I CHOOSE this life. Equally, I need to remind myself every day to live with INTENTION. So if I am at home with the children, if I am at home making my home, then do it with meaning. Don’t drift the day away, stop checking Facebook – it hasn’t changed since you refreshed it 60 seconds ago…live the life you are choosing, do it properly, do it passionately, do it gladly and don’t feel ashamed that you enjoy it.

Secondly, I have been thinking a lot about redefining our goals.

If, to feel successful, we need always to move forwards, then I want to be moving towards something which makes me feel good. So, I have been thinking a lot about my own values and aligning my decisions to those values, making sure that my daily actions and my big decisions, reflect the values and things I cherish most (thank you Rachel Flower).

Additionally, a few months ago I watched an interview with Danielle LaPorte and I have now also started reading her book, ‘The Desire Map’. It’s about “creating goals with soul”, so instead of focusing on tangible, material items and targets, you first think about your “core desired feelings”: How do you want to feel? In your life and lifestyle? In your relationships? In your health? In your education? And so on. You then determine your goals and intentions with these feelings in mind. If you accept that consultancy contract will that help you feel x? If the answer is no, turn it down, even if you lose money, even if you think people will speak badly about you.

If you are not motivated by rising through the ranks, by earning £x a year, if you don’t want to be a ball-breaking career girl, it makes sense that judging your development and progress by traditional tangible goals will make you feel miserable, as though you are failing.

If, however, you move your life forward towards the things that really make your heart sing, then you will feel like an Olympic athlete who has won gold. You will be taking part but you will be taking part with your whole heart, your soul on fire.

You won’t feel apologetic, and you won’t need to congratulate yourself on feeling that you are “enough”. You will be MORE than enough – you will be living the life you choose to with desire and will be celebrating your many, many achievements. Achievements which you set by reference to how you feel most alive.

As ‘The Desire Map’ says – less striving, more living.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t earn £X a year, but it might mean that you are happier doing it. That you will do so without a sense of battle, burn-out and fatigue.

And for me, it means because I am no longer assessing my own achievements and own decisions in the traditional way, I can stop trying to accept my own mediocrity. I am not mediocre and I am not standing still. I am still using my many gifts and talents; I am living the life I am meant to live.

I have so much more I want to say on this…Cannot wait to explore it more.



ps thanks to Pinterest for the images

Enough 2

True colours

True colours

My parents will not tell me who they vote for and they never have. Until recently, I have always been suspicious of this. Why not? Are they ashamed? Are they being lazy, refusing to enter into a dialogue about fundamental issues? But today, I get it.

For three reasons: first I dare not invite the level of criticism and judgment I have seen made of others via social media. Second, I do find it a struggle and sometimes feel ashamed of my own decision. Third, I was alarmed at the way a discussion with the girls on the school run went this morning…..

Let’s take each of these in turn.

Firstly, I will start by saying that I have always been in awe of people who feel so passionately about policy issues, campaigns, issues. I have always admired their eloquence, force of feeling and commitment, in declaring their position and promoting their opinions. I have envied the strength of emotion and the depth of their expression and often wished that I felt as inspired by something. However, as with the referendum, I have found that the way in which so many people feel that this election has entitled them to make judgments about those who have the temerity to disagree with their personal political opinions, alarming.

I have seen people who have declared their vote as blue, belittled as gullible, taken in by the press or worse, as selfish – motivated only by their personal advancement. I have seen people who have declared their vote as red, ridiculed for a lack of understanding about how economics work, caricatured as Guardian reading, vegetarians. I have seen people who have declared their vote as purple, as uneducated, racist, lower class. Why does it have to be so personal? Isn’t it possible that someone voting blue, is not just considering their own financial position but might be considering the economics of the country as a whole? Or might just not trust another leader? Isn’t it possible that someone voting red, is not a communist, but might just believe in a different way? Isn’t it possible that someone voting purple, might feel very strongly about the greater constitutional issues in discussion? Or isn’t it possible, that in casting a vote one way or another, a person is not a representation of the complete set of principles outlined by that party? Even if they are, does that give someone else the right to judge them? To declare that they are being irresponsible, selfish, careless, foolish? Isn’t it a wonderful part of democracy that we are entitled to different opinions and that we are entitled to make a choice?

Yes politics by its nature invites debate and yes emotions are high, but who declared that an opinion or a strongly held political view, entitles someone to belittle another, to bemoan as uneducated, foolish masses those who disagree with you? Surely strength of feeling and passion need not exclude respect, empathy and open mindedness?

In relation to my second reason for not wanting to declare my own vote: I no longer have a concrete affinity to one party or another. I once voted X but recently have voted Y. However, I would not consider myself to have an ongoing dedication to Y and it would not surprise me if I voted X again or indeed Z. Does this inconsistency, make me fickle? Are you allowed to be fickle when it comes to politics? Am I just lazy? I often feel ashamed of my ambivalence and lack of interest. In particular, since the children arrived, I have just not had the energy or the time to dedicate to the news and in particular, the finance pages. Blimey, it’s the best I can do to make sure I read anything and am damned if that’s going to be anything that doesn’t have a bit of romance, or more lately, tells me to journal, be grateful, find my truth, reveal my light! So as someone who used to confidently argue into the early hours, revelling in my ability to change opinion or have my sparring partner concede, I now shy away from declaring an opinion: feeling that unless I ‘really’ know about something, I ought not really express a view…..But the shame is greater than that: by abandoning X and voting Y, I do sometimes feel as though I have ‘opted out’, ‘given in’…..done exactly as my Dad predicted. The truth is, our own circumstances do influence my decision; I am no longer purely motivated by ideals and that truth is a canker, a shameful infection I don’t want to reveal. Though in writing that, I wonder is it really so shameful to have a change of opinion from that held in my youth? Of course, I think about the impact of policies on our household, I cannot help that. But life experience and my own reading has also changed my understanding of economics and the world stage as a whole. Is that so shameful? Perhaps only because I compare myself to those who remain so committed to the politics I have always known them to hold?

As for my third reason? As a woman, I do feel quite strongly, the responsibility of exercising my vote. I also want the girls to understand that and I want them to be fierce, to express their own opinions, to never be afraid, to make a difference. So, in the car on the way to school, I reminded them that today was polling day and that today Mummy and Daddy would be voting and explained why we were voting. The girls asked me who I was voting for and I told them and they wanted to know why. What followed, really bothered me and I am now backpedalling, trying to undo what is done…. I tried to explain it to Dan as follows: Who are the girls biggest influencers? Who do they trust most? Why it’s Mummy and Daddy of course! So instantly, my vote, is their vote. My reasons, are completely the right reasons and held by them too. It was instant indoctrination. Wow!

So, if from the ages of 3, 5 and 7, I pass on to the girls my own political opinions and persuasions, what will they grow up believing? How does this enable them to hold their own independent views? I felt so very uncomfortable hearing the girls parroting back to me my own justifications for voting, as absolute truths.

It also felt odd, hearing the girls discussing such grown up issues. Can we not teach them financial sense and social awareness in a more age appropriate, general sense? Yes there will come a time when it is appropriate to talk to them specifically about the NHS, about tax etc. But will I do a better job, if when that time arrives, they have learnt about the importance of kindness, caring for others, not discriminating for any reason and have learnt how to save, how to invest, so that they can take their own informed decisions and follow their own leanings?

I have thought it marvellous to see young children on protests, marches etc. I thought it was amazing and admired the parenting – ‘just think those kids are going to grow up to be the ones I was in awe of at Cambridge. Intelligent, educated, political, worldly’…but what if those kids were just imitations of their parents? Maybe Mum and Dad were not shying away, maybe they were giving me the freedom to find my own way?

Who knows, there are no rights and wrongs, but it has certainly got me thinking and for now, I am reluctant to reveal specifically my true colour.

But as I come to the end of this blog, I do have to celebrate, the power of the discourse around electoral day. My head has been buzzing with thoughts all day, about the policies themselves, but also around the issues I have written about. I have felt stimulated, interested, alive. It is genuinely exciting. And whilst I have struggled with the tone of some of the debate, I remain, impressed and inspired by those who feel so deeply and passionately.



Ps thanks to Pinterest for the image


Dark clouds

storm 1

I have written about some personal things in my blog but today is a hard one to share because for some reason this feels actually quite private and also I don’t want to invite pity – what I am about to talk about is not life threatening and please know, I do count my blessings. However, I am writing about it because, right now I am finding it hard to think about anything else.

I suffer from palindromic rheumatism. It started around 12 years ago after a really bad dose of tonsillitis, when the doctors called it viral arthritis. Essentially, any time I get a virus or infection, I also suffer joint pain. Over the years, it has got worse, and whilst it still hits with things like colds, I also suffer episodic rheumatism by itself. Sometimes it lasts for a few days, sometimes several weeks. It affects all my joints, I have muscle pain across the top of my back and I feel absolutely exhausted and sometimes like I have a low level temperature. The longer it goes on, the more tired I feel – I don’t sleep well and also I think I feel shattered by fighting the pain. It started to affect our lifestyle quite significantly in 2014/15 but actually since then, I have had a really good spell of about two years. Unfortunately, over the last 6 months or so, I have felt it creeping back into my bones and I am currently in the midst of an extended episode – 3 weeks in. I am uncomfortable, getting through the days on painkillers, cross with the children when I don’t want to be, shattered and tearful.

The Friday before half term was for many of us a school training day. The sun was blazing and my friends and their children were at the beach, visiting abbeys, splashing in rivers, celebrating friendships and creating wonderful memories. The girls and I were at home and I was a deep, dark blot on what should have been a bright and happy day. I was unreasonable, I was angry, I was tired and I yelled at the girls for no reason and I didn’t just snap – I spoke to them in a way which was too grown up and in a way which was about me unburdening myself and not remotely justified. I was foul and I knew it. Eventually, I gave in and succumbed to the sofa….drifting off and losing time, waking fitfully, to see the girls, unsupervised, playing on in the garden….At one point, I woke to see H undressing F, and ensuring they all had sun-suits on as they pulled the hosepipe out for some water fun in the garden. My 7 year old, taking care of the family. I went back to sleep, hating myself and wondering if this is what it was like for children of addicts, who are lost in a different kind of blackness. I was the worst version of myself and since then I have replayed that day over and over, revisiting everyone’s pictures of their glorious days on Instagram and Facebook, poisoning my mind with self-loathing and guilt about what an awful example I was to the girls that day. Always aware that H, in particular, is now at an age, when this could be a memory which stays with her forever.

We are just returned from a week in Normandy, where Dan and the kids had an amazing time. We all did – if you have read my blogs before, you will know that our family alone time is my most prized and precious thing. We are a complete and amazing unit. But after last week I am struggling to shrug off the nagging thought that the girls might have had a better time, were it not for me, the short tempered Mummy mood hoover munching on her ibuprofen. After one glass of red wine too many, I sobbed and thumped my chest in the dark, crying to Dan and wondering why I felt so joyless…..Did I mention, I can be a bit dramatic?!

Both of these days have been my worst in the last 3 weeks. Generally, I am fine. Yes, I am in pain and discomfort and yes I am tired. But like I say, it’s not life threatening and I wouldn’t call it a disability. It is manageable, I ignore it as best I can and I also know it will pass.

On one of our nights in France, we sat out on the covered terrace to our little caravan, looking across the Normandy hills, watching the most incredible storm roll in. Slowly at first, masking the ferocity of the elemental attack to come. The dark foreboding clouds, gathering, pregnant and purple with the torrents of rain soon to be unleashed. The thunder rumbling, soon an unrelenting Blitzkrieg, with barley a pause in between. Lightening illuminating the surrounding trees like a succession of gunfire. Then came wind, blasting the rain into our little shelter, whipping up the garden furniture, forcing a very hasty retreat to watch behind glass doors! It was absolutely explosive and one of the most hypnotic storms I have seen.

It also made me think about the phrase “weathering the storm” – it’s a phrase we use almost glibly. But how many of us actually do “weather a storm”? When I am in the middle of one of my little ‘episodes’, I can be prone to a bit of self-pity (I blame the lack of sleep). So at first when I was thinking about the phrase, “weathering the storm”, I was thinking about me, a dark cloud on that sunny Friday, who just needs to get through this….But actually, I am not really weathering a storm – I am not being punished by lashings and lashings of unforgiving weather, I am not drenched to my very being. I am not being tossed around on high seas, lost to the depths. My walls are not caving in, my roof is not being blown off. I am not flooded or scorched. After a few dark days, I had some perspective.

Which made me realise I also have some control.

I mentioned that in 2014/2015, the rheumatism was having a significant impact on our quality of life. Desperate, I visited a homeopath and inspired by Ella Woodward, made a decision to eat my way into better health. I am no expert and of course, it could have been co-incidental but cutting gluten and refined sugar, filling myself with greens and a rainbow of vegetables, seemed to work. But what if there was something in it? After my return to work, I slowly but surely let my healthy diet go and once again, put self-care at the bottom of my list. Should it come as a surprise that my body feels toxic and the rheumatism has crept back?

It is frustrating that this prolonged three weeks has occurred after I had already declared a renewed commitment to health and exercise….This time motivated by a desire to be strong and fit, to ensure my longevity for the family but also to be an example to the girls. But perhaps this episode of rheumatism is just a blaring siren to make sure I know how important self-care and healthy habits are. Clearly, I don’t want another family holiday to be marred by this condition and I don’t want to miss out on opportunities to build happy memories, filling the girls with love. So, I will see this blip as a lesson in taking responsibility, not just for the well-being of the girls, but for my own too. It’s time to treat myself and my body with respect. I want to dance in the rain.



Ps thank you to Pinterest for the images

Storm 2

Failing faith


Before we had the girls, Dan and I were long agreed that our children would be brought up in faith, with God and ideally attending a faith school. Neither of us had been brought up as church goers and both of our mothers are unsure about whether or not they believe, but this is something we feel quite strongly about. Both of us expressing the view that being brought up with God gives you greater freedom to make a choice about your beliefs when you are older: if you are brought up without God, it is harder to find a place for Him and to put your belief in something unseen. It is a bigger leap to allow Him into your life and to make your decisions on His teachings if you have not always done so. Whereas, having God in your life as a child does not make it harder to make an informed choice to turn away. We also feel strongly that in a changing world, that extra place to turn to and that extra set of guidance and values, is almost essential for a teenager or young adult faced with new and unknown pressures and significant decisions to make.

And so, some years ago, we set out to discover a church which would suit us all. Up until this point, both Dan and I had always been curious about God and had found solace in church buildings but had not attended church other than for weddings, christenings and funerals. The idea was that I would visit all of our local churches to find out which one was our spiritual home, but actually I never left the first church I attended, finding in that place such an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance, that I didn’t need to look anywhere else.

The decision about attending church was always motivated by the girls, but after almost a year, it was clear it was about more than that. I too was finding my faith. I found mass cathartic, therapeutic and emotional, ending most services in tears, without ever really knowing why. I found comfort in learning to accept and appreciate my blessings and the many gifts bestowed on me and no longer felt consumed by material gains – my sense of failure at not keeping up with the Jones’ fast disappeared and that remains today. My weekly attendance really was food for my soul and I felt starved if I missed, satiated when I attended.

I had already attended church run playgroups and a course on family life run by another local church and then I found myself signing up for faith classes with a view to being received and confirmed. Sessions again, that I sobbed through and at the same time felt uplifted by. That Easter was one of the most profound and moving experiences of my life, I genuinely felt like I had come home. Two years later, Dan also undertook the faith classes and was baptised and confirmed. The girls now attend our local Catholic primary school, which we adore and we remain so very pleased that we made the decision for them to have God as such a fundamental and intrinsic part of their lives.

So why is it, that another Sunday has come and gone and we have not attended mass? For the first time, in I think 5-6 years, we have only been to church, I think once in 3-4 months.

When I first started attending church, my family was sceptical, suggesting that it was all about getting the girls into the best primary school and not about God or Christian values. And this niggles at the back of my mind, in our current absenteeism from mass. I am sure my parents were not the only ones to wonder….I do know, however, in my heart, that we were not motivated by school choice – yes we wanted the girls to be in a faith school so that the values could be embedded and part of their everyday, but it has always been about the bigger picture and not about Ofsted reports.

I have blamed our recent lack of attendance on our busy lives. We get the girls out of the house by 8.30am Monday- Friday and they are busy during the week with gymnastics, piano and swimming and then on a Saturday we are at the dance school 8.45-3.45. It sometimes feels grossly unfair to march them out of the door on another day when all they want more than anything is to just ‘be’, to spend time at home, with their things and each other and sometimes, not to get changed. I sometimes just don’t have the heart to deny them this.

And if I listen to my heart, I am not sure it is fair to label this as an excuse. I feel that it is an instinctive maternal decision: love and connections thrive when we slow down. When we are always rushing and always busy, you can guarantee that frictions will arises – with your partner, with your friends, with your children. Particularly with your children – they will scream, fight and contradict you not because they are naughty, but because they want you to hear them. To really listen. To really pay attention. To be with them – really be with them. So if we are guarding our one day to slow down, a day we reconnect with home and each other, is that a decision worth making to the detriment of our church life, if only for the time being?

On the other hand, we know every other family has the same busy life and yet our friends still chose church. The difference mainly being that they themselves were brought up with God and with always attending mass. It is part of their fabric, interwoven into their expectations of family life and integral to their faith.

Isn’t this the very thing we aspire to for the girls? That God and church are indivisible from themselves, part of their own make-up, an essential element of their wellbeing? Without this, will they really ever be able to turn to God in times of uncertainty, distress or pain?

Is it enough to attend a church school? As with everything else, don’t we need to lead by example? If we don’t, are we denying the girls a full and real faith?

Dan and I don’t have the same exposure to God and his teachings in our everyday lives as the girls, but we do know that we feel the absence of God having not been attending church the last few months. The difficulty is deciding whether or not he has been missed…..True, we always feel better after church but there is no gaping hole….But is that just reverting to the life we led before we started attending church? Have we just fallen out of practice and would feel better and more enriched once back in the habit?

When devastating events occur like they have in Manchester this week, it is always easy to wonder if there is a God or what kind of God would allow such pain and suffering…this is certainly a question in my mind this week. In my weakest moments I wonder, if we have faith instead in humanity’s ability to choose love over hate and joy over suffering, do we need God? I read this week about making a decision each day to be a “representative of love”. If I make this my daily personal mission, is that good enough? I will still be following Christian examples….

That might be enough in my ordinary life but if I am completely honest, I have not faced real adversity in my life. Yes I have had my own heartache but I have not yet been laid completely bereft, naked with the need to anchor myself to a deeper faith and belief that there is someone to watch over and to guide me. Someone to answer my prayers.

And it’s this element of faith, we want to deliver to the girls. One day we won’t be there and we need to know that they will have another rock to lean on. Another certainty. Another given. An unquestionable belief that they are loved and will be cared for and an unquenchable hope for the future.

Will it matter if we take the girls to church, our own faith wobbling? Do we need to sacrifice our slow time, our own sacred family time? Is it enough now for God, that we want so desperately to embrace Him but cannot always….right now, we feel our immediate need is to have time together but we are also aware that if we want the girls to have the faith our friends have, then we cannot do this always?

Right now, I feel we are failing in our Christianity – our own faith is failing, but we are also failing faith by not leading by example…

Yet even as I acknowledge this, I feel the tug of those lazy, relaxed, family times at home. Wanting to be just our little gang, at home, away from everything else…

I am lost.

But my priest and my faith classes have taught me that faith is a journey and I am not at the end of the road.



Ps thank you to Pinterest for the image




Big boys do cry

Big boys cry 2

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog called “For the Dads” which touched on men suffering from depression. Inspired by an article in The Times Magazine on Saturday, I want to say a bit more.

Around 12 men take their own lives every day in the UK. This is devastating in itself, but if 12 a day take action imagine, “the number of men who inwardly wrestle with the instinct [which] can only be exponentially greater”.

We have a good friend who 5 years ago, suffered a dark time and pulled through and then 2 years ago, even darker times arrived. This time, he felt like his family would be better off without him.

Thankfully, our friend was eventually able to open up and once his internal wrestlings were known to his family, was able to find help.

However, as was explained by Tim Grayburn interviewed in The Times Magazine on Saturday, once that thought has been had, it is there and cannot be taken back. It remains in all its bleakness, sending silent shockwaves to undermine our foundations of inbuilt certainty, that life goes on.

It is a thought which can never be erased from the memory and heart of our friend’s wife. Her heart races and races if her husband is home later than expected and doesn’t answer his phone and for her, a stressful time at her husband’s business has a secret, additional weight.

But a thought like that, inside a man already struggling, grows ripe and pregnant with misplaced relief.

In Tim Grayburn’s interview he reveals that initially, as a young man, he just did not identify his feelings of despair and helplessness as depression, rather he “just thought [he] wasn’t very good at life”. This is not uncommon.

I wonder if friends and family too, might not as readily name a male friend’s emotional turmoil as depression, as they would a female friend’s. This must perpetuate the issue and in itself is a barrier to assistance.

75% of suicides in the UK are committed by men yet men are no more likely to suffer from depression than women.

The issue is the stigma perceived to be attached to men’s mental health problems and the fact that men are less likely and less able to seek help. Often hiding and masking their troubles either until it is too late or until they are completely disabled by their helplessness such that their silent cries for help are at last heard.

Equally, although much is currently being done to promote these issues, certainly, Dan feels that the health system is skewed heavily in favour of women and so, in circumstances where you might look to a professional and not your family, even booking an appointment is no mean feat (whereas I can get same day appointments, Dan always has weeks to wait; whereas I receive requests for my 40 years health check, Dan receives none). This perhaps does not invite openness nor does it set the right tone for deeply personal and weighty revelations. Tim Grayburn was prescribed medication, “given a leaflet and sent on his way” and found the whole process “impersonal and vague”.

I am no expert and I don’t have the answers, I am writing this because I feel acutely aware of all the wonderful men and husbands I know and all that they give. I know I live a blessed life and that we are privileged, but much of that is down to the amazing men who give us opportunities to spend time at home and grant us many indulgences. I also feel we don’t give them enough credit and perhaps dismiss their own concerns, if we ever give them more attention than a dismissive, “don’t worry”.

So tonight, my goodnight kiss to Dan will be a little bit longer. This week my “how was your day” will be said as I sit down to look at his face and listen, and not whilst I unload the dishwasher. And on the school run this week, when I see the other dads helping, I will look at them and hope they are all ok and if they are not, I hope they can find the courage to stand up and say, I am struggling. Because, that is ok. It’s ok not to be joyful, assured, confident and hopeful all of the time. You are enough and you are loved, more than you can ever know.



Tim Grayburn is author of “Boys Don’t Cry” and was interviewed by Ben Machell for The Times Magazine, published 20 May 2017.

This blog was written in consultation with our friend.

Thank you to Pinterest for the image.


Take That and Party

Take That

So last night one of my oldest and dearest friends and my 17 year old self went to see Take That in Manchester.

I am often the first to find an excuse to stay at home because I feel I haven’t seen Dan enough or because I don’t want another babysitter and sometimes I cancel, simply because I want to be at home. Last night was a real test of my resolve to do something for Mummy – it meant I couldn’t take the girls swimming and they we due to be assessed, it meant I missed an appointment as joint chair of the PTA and I missed an information evening at school ahead of F starting in September. Queue lots of guilt. However, friends stepped in, I have been at the school for 3 years and know the lie of the land, it was a longstanding arrangement and my friend needs me right now…plus it was Take That. I went and I am so glad I did….

So if you are feeling flaky about your night out this weekend or any other, read on. This is a shameful, skin crawling, cringeworthy read, and I am so close to not pressing ‘publish’ but it’s Friday night, it has been an emotional week and it’s a bit of fun!

In the rise of the auditorium, humming with the buzz of 20,000 expectant fans, I felt the genuine excitement of a young girl waiting for the boys to appear and found myself screaming when they did (40 – moi?!). Now, it being a Take That concert, it was expertly staged, wonderfully theatrical and the songs were all crowd pleasers. But what was a real treat, was the ability to leave middle aged Mummy behind and in the protection of the dark and my anonymity in the crowd, to let go. I wouldn’t exactly call it finding my inner wild woman, more like finding my irresponsible, hormonal teenager!

I cannot tell you how delighted I was to see that Gary had peroxide hair in a tall quiff reminiscent of their early days – though of course now, he has grown into himself and he looked amazing. I was literally clapping like a silly seal. And as I watched Howard strut around the stage, I will confess to tinglings that as a devoted wife and mother I would not normally feel looking at another man! Ridiculous, embarrassing but hey – completely harmless, so I gawped a bit more! I was on fire!

Fuelled by teenage hormones, I spent much of the next hour and a half, completely going for it – dancing and singing with what might have looked like gleeful abandon to the people behind us….What they didn’t realise, was that I was, of course, going to be focused in on by the makers of the DVD of the live concert and that they would keep coming back to me….I was about to be discovered. I was literally putting the dancers on the stage to shame and was bound to be spotted and asked to join the tour….And even though they couldn’t hear me in the roar of the auditorium, they could just tell by the formation of my mouth and the sway of my hips, that I had ‘it’. I was about to be revealed as the next big thing. In fact, they would be so excited, they would seek me out amongst the crowd and take me to be introduced to the boys at the end of the show…we would go for drinks and…..

I genuinely meant it when I told my friend that Gary was waving at me. It was a real connection (did I mention we were watching from the gods?!?!)….

And so I willingly and wilfully suspended my disbelief for the duration of the show….Moving with the confidence and freedom that only a young girl can…Yes I have been known to fill a dance floor with my fellow school mums – but not like I did last night. I was Beyonce. Yes I may from time to time sing in my local mums’ choir – but not like I did last night. I was Jessie J. And I genuinely let my teenage imagination take over picturing my future as the new ingénue. All night!

Of course, real me kept trying to bring me back to reality, reminding me how ridiculously I was behaving, but for the main part it was an hour and half of blissful escapism.

Then I got to thinking, that apart from being the antics of a laughable, crazy, overweight middle aged woman no longer able to charm her way past a security guard, who made us go the long way round, it was a useful reminder, to “never forget where you’re coming from”!

We should all unleash the shameless confidence we had as teenagers from time to time. We should make time to allow ourselves to dream, no matter how improbable – it’s fun! And if we keep dreaming and allowing ourselves to wander far from our humdrum reality, who knows what we might discover and which paths might actually lead us to roads we are meant to travel.

I know that last night I allowed myself to go bonkers and silly (and I was sober) but it was great and I felt really alive.

So, when you feel reluctant to go out, it is important to sometimes power through. You might have the time of your life. It might also remind you of a long neglected part of you, which from time to time, you would do well to harness.



Ps thank you to Pinterest for the image

A school community: my modern family


The fabulous #peterandjane wrote a blog in March which was shared far and wide and which began “shall we talk about the dreaded ‘PTA Mummies’?” but which actually applauded the work of those mums. I am one such mum but last week, and for the first time in the three years since we joined the school, we had to cancel an event due to lack of interest. It broke my heart.

I have seen people avoid my gaze, seen friends stop short of standing with me, seen people roll their eyes as another request for help has been passed around assembly….But what might school look like without us? Without the events that we hold, which bring both the children and the parents together beyond school hours?

I know it’s a pain when it is another bottle of wine for another raffle – it’s one more thing you don’t need to remember, it’s one more thing you don’t need to pay for, which blooming event is this one for anyway and you never win the sodding thing either….

I know you are busy and most of the time you would rather be at home looking after your own life than standing for an hour on a tea stall which only raises a few hundred pounds and we never see it spent….But we are all busy – I for one, am the mother to 3 children, a dog, working part time, without a cleaner or an ironer, desperately trying to squeeze in a bit of time for my own enjoyment, supporting Dan who is training for a coast to coast, without family to help out round the corner. I get it. I don’t want to do it either. Sometimes I want to cancel it all and leave it to someone else. At times, it feels like it’s leading me on the path to divorce!! But despite this, I persist.

The thing is, we have chosen to live where we live because of its amazing community.

Also, to me and many of my friends, school is family. It took us all by surprise when at the end of H’s reception year, some of our best friends were those we had known for 9 months. Almost another 2 years down the line and we are more like family. Linked by our children and the same time experiences, which by nature of being a parent are guttural, raw, emotive and explosive and mean that we are almost forcibly joined, in a way you never are with a work colleague. In each other’s eyes we see reflected our own challenges and our own burning love and aspirations for those children who are together their own clan, their own unit, in their class of 24.

For those of us particularly close, it is noticeable that many of us do not have family close by. So we live in each other’s pockets more than we ever thought we would and we lean on each other. That in itself is not perhaps remarkable, but the speed with which we knitted together is. I think it is also fair to say too, that lots of us no longer invest the same amount of time in our older friends, who are not part of our everyday village life.

I would also add that even if you don’t feel that close to some of the other mums or dads, you still feel connected and still know that you could call on them if you needed to and you see in their smiles, the feeling is mutual. Like a cousin you only see every now and again perhaps.

One of the reasons being, that our children will raise a hand to hold and not necessarily check it’s their own mummy’s or daddy’s, and if they realise it is actually somebody else’s, then they simply smile and skip on, holding on. Our children, will run into the arms of any friend sent to collect them and will happily play in a home that is not their own. Our friends represent our children’s larger and extended family. Our children are as at home in our friends’ homes as if it was grandma around the corner. For this, I will always be eternally grateful.

I know crucial to this is our village school. I wonder if it would be the same, had we all not been there repeatedly boiling 300 horrible hot dogs at a time, losing the kids across the playing field whilst organising another gala, stumbling home drunk together from the just for grown ups disco….and emptying our spirits cupboard without any mixers….

Dan and I watched Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby on iPlayer recently and one of the episodes visited an incredible hotel on the island of Fogo off Canada, remote and unyielding. The youngsters on this island are leaving: it’s not for them – lured by the brighter lights of the mainland and turning their backs on the long standing traditions and island industries. The population of Fogo is now in serious decline and its future uncertain. Many of its homes empty and the hope of the remaining inhabitants is as battered as its rocky outcrops.

If we all give up on our PTA, which is old fashioned in its events and is often unprofessional in its efforts, just because we are all short on time and not because we don’t want to do better, is that how our school would feel?

Would there be tumble weed across the playground? Would we nod and smile courteously, but not know what you did drunk last Friday, what you are in pain about, what you are excited about? Would we no longer love each other’s children so intently? Would we know their names? Would we know that they only like sausages without their skin on or will only have sandwiches without butter? Would our children feel the same sense of security and assuredness which they have now amongst our adult friends? Just at school full stop? Or would it be more like an office, 8.45-3.30, in and out.

Would we still have our modern family? Our school friends, the foundations of our blessed life… The people I sometimes want to hide from, feeling the intensity of living in a little bubble, but who I know are part of us and without whom I would be lost.

I don’t know, but this, for me is why I slog on, another irritating PTA mum.



ps thank you to Pinterest for the images




Mummy blogger: missing in action!


I have two alternative titles for this blog, ‘Working Mum: Reality Bites!’ and ‘Fifty fifty parenting: Fat chance!’

This time last week, I agreed to undertake a piece of work, which I knew meant working full time this week and working long hours. I did so on the basis that it is the middle of May, still freezing and I want to upgrade our tent to a caravan for the half term holidays.

Now, I have a friend who is a mum and works full time, passionately in love with her career and highly motivated to strive for the next promotion. Their family is set up for both her and her husband working full time. They both willing embrace what they call fifty fifty parenting – each accepting their share of daily parenting tasks and household responsibilities. They have a whole wall in their kitchen dedicated to detailing their and their children’s timetable for each day: detailing drop off time, pick up times, out of school activities, uniform and kit requirements, snacks required and everyone’s meals for the day. It also allocates to my friend and her husband their chores for the day. Their freezer is pre-stocked with batch cooked meals, all labelled and ordered. Theirs is a well-oiled machine.

This is what my working week looks like in comparison:

Two of the girls meals this week have been hastily bought pizza and chicken nuggets and chips, there is a load in the washing machine that has been there since Monday, similarly one in the drier and the three piles of laundry that I sorted on the landing on Sunday night are still there, growing…No-one’s bedding has been changed, all the bins are over-flowing, I have ironed uniform at 6am every day, the fridge is stacked with mouldy berries, the bathrooms need cleaning, I have only exercised once and I have done the school run twice this week in my scruffs, without showering and without make up (yikes!).

On Tuesday, I went into Leeds to work, leaving before the girls woke up and returning home at 8.30pm. This is what happened:

Dan allowed H, just turned 7, to do her own hair and her sisters’, despite me having lined up another mum – scruffy girls at school. I wonder if he remembered for once to clean their teeth. Mid-afternoon I receive annoyed texts from my lovely husband, who had agreed to help, complaining about the inconvenient time of H’s gymnastics drop off. A little later, more angry texts about a miscommunication with the gymnastics instructor who had given lovely husband a dressing down about arriving at the wrong time and H arriving in her leotard only and no tracksuit. Forward to 6.30pm, a phone call with lovely husband shouting at me, and I can hear wailing daughters in the background: the dog has killed the hamster. Darling, why are you shouting at me, instead of consoling the kids?

I arrive home at 8.30pm – all three children are still in their uniform in front of the TV, not bathed and not having a bed time story and certainly not close to being in bed on a school night. There are shoes, cardigans, coats and bags trailed all around downstairs and the remains of pasta and sauce spread across the kitchen table and the work tops. The contents of the hamster cage are still spewed over the floor of the playroom upstairs and L brings me the dead hamster in an empty Lurpack tub. Lovely husband complains bitterly about his awful day and is short tempered with the girls and me.

Yesterday, sweating as I batted back the hundreds of emails filling my inbox, frantically trying to turn documents for a 3.30pm deadline, I managed to squeeze in a shower at 3pm and at 5pm, I did the most unprofessional all parties conference call of my career: Dan’s embarrassing clock chiming loudly in the background, the dog barking, the Worst Witch blaring from the TV and the children intermittently, asking “Mummy”…not to mention me packing them in the car mid call to get them to swimming class on time.

Today, I am sat in the office, waiting for completion monies to transfer so we can convene a call to complete the share acquisition we have worked on, wondering when the money will land and if I will get home for pick up, having accidentally double booked a play date, let down a friend and missed Friday’s celebration assembly when, of course, H was awarded the Head Teachers award.

How do I feel?

I feel glad that the deal will be achieved within the week – yes it’s been a tough week but it has just been a week and we’ve booked that caravan! I certainly don’t want to do this week in, week out. I am grateful I don’t have to – the joy of working as a self-employed consultant. Good decision.

I am also buzzing slightly – I have genuinely enjoyed the work and I know that I have had a large part to play in driving the deal to complete within a very tight timeframe. I feel confident in my abilities (though it’s hard for me to tell you that). It’s been hard going and having been out of this world for so long, there are things I cannot remember, but after 18 months of dipping back in and out, I have learnt to trust my instincts. Equally, whilst I have had the adrenalin of a looming deadline and felt driven by client expectations, I feel really aware that as a mum, I really don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I have been able to laugh freely when obstacles have appeared and have felt calm and assured. And I feel lucky – I sense that I have been alone in that, hearing the worry and caution in the tones of others on the many calls, that inability to step back and realise it’s not the end of the world. I want to tell them about the dead hamster and not to worry about missing semi-colons.

Equally, whilst I know Mummy working like this is not something I want the girls to see all the time, I don’t mind them seeing a bit of it. It opens their minds about what women can achieve.

What they haven’t seen is that whilst for 3 out of 5 days I have done drop off and pick up, I have been working for two hours before they get up and for 4 hours after they are in bed. But that is the decision I have made and I make those sacrifices willingly, still seeing them more than I otherwise would in a typical office.

The questions that are puzzling me are not about me though. They are about this notion of fifty fifty parenting. I will go home tonight, shattered having worked 50 plus hours in 5 days as well as being mum. The house is a pig-sty, there is over a week’s worth of laundry to do. Dan is training for a coast to coast bike ride and so will be out on his bike for 6 hours tomorrow (did I mention he still managed to go for 2 rides after work this week?), meaning tomorrow I am on the ballet run and so the house will remain a mess until Sunday.

Our everyday lives are not geared towards fifty fifty parenting and nor do we want them to be. I am happy and long to be in the home and I am better at it. But if we have decided that I am doing some work, then do we need to make more of a switch?

Dan will acknowledge that since I have gone back to work, I still do everything I did before when I was at home full time. But this week has magnified the imbalance and has caused me to question whether my decision in April to step back from growing my own business because the balance was wrong, was just about me. Was it all really down to my desire to be at home more? Would I have felt the same, if we had shared out our responsibilities to reflect a different partnership, respecting that I was now doing two jobs?

Neither Dan or I would want it to be fifty fifty, but how about eighty twenty (isn’t that the golden number for everything?!)? Do we need to be more like my friend, formalising and timetabling our roles? We couldn’t go that far, we are woolly edged, impulsive and we like it (I often think our home is like the Weasley’s in Harry Potter), but I have to confess, a touch of that order and discipline might be called for. I wonder….

In the meantime, kerrytalks is back. I have missed it and I have lots to say – watch this space!



Ps. Before I go, in case you get the wrong idea, I just want to acknowledge all the wonderful things Dan does for us. This blog shines a spotlight on a perfect storm of the pressures of being busy working parents to three young girls and a murderous dog and is not meant to be an expose of Dan’s shortcomings! I love and adore him and wouldn’t swap him for the world (Ryan Gosling in La La Land maybe!).

Pps. Please note that the piece of work referred to above was undertaken for a law firm on a consultancy basis and not for Serenwood, a business consultancy with which I am also associated and which highly values work life balance.





Leaning back in the outdoor hot-tub at Seaham Hall Serenity Spa and looking at the building, a crisp bright white, towering into the pale blue sky above me, I could not quite believe how new it looked.

The last time I was here was over 10 years ago and it still looked brand new. Inside was just the same….When Dan announced this was where we would go for my 40th birthday, I had of course been thrilled (2 nights somewhere lovely, just the two of us), but I have to confess that secretly I was a little worried. I had visited the Spa before and loved it: indulgent luxury and pampering at its best. But it was a long time ago….surely it would be really tired now, a bit frayed around the edges, the mosaic tiles full of black mildew, the woodwork chipped and the soft furnishings worn. I was even more worried when I visited the website and it looked just as I remembered it.

Luckily for us, my fears were completely misplaced. The Spa was spotless inside and out, it seemed like something recently opened.

So, as I lay amongst the bubbles, I couldn’t help but wonder about the value of maintenance and the power of that investment.

And then I thought of me. Forty but not feeling so fabulous. A woman with aching joints, prone to days of anxiety, piling on the weight in fits of self-pity, always finding an excuse to open a bottle of red wine, waking up tired, never making the time to exercise….

It is very clear, that if I carry on like this, without taking care of my own body and mind, that in another 10 years, I will feel and look every one of my 50 years. Is that what I really want?

Of course not! So when will the excuses stop?!

In my blog The Power of Play, I wondered whether or not exercise doesn’t feature high on my agenda because it was never on my parents and questioned if I really wanted to pass this legacy onto my own daughters.

I have also been thinking a lot lately about ensuring that our girls stay true to their natural selves. Just as they are now, slightly wild, running until they are breathless, scaling anything their arms allow them to climb, always having a go and persisting until they can.

Equally, I want them to remain entirely confident and comfortable in their own skin. And whether we like it or not, body image plays a significant part in how we feel about ourselves. I want the girls to remain in love with their own bodies and what they allow them to do. In awe of the amazing capabilities and resilience of their very beings. I want them to always be happy and relaxed when naked. I want them to walk down school corridors heads held high with a certain amount of swagger and an ability to bat away any criticisms that come their way from girlfriends, frenemies and (breathe!) boys.

How will they do this when they don’t see me celebrating myself and the achievements of my own body? I have always been careful never to mention diets, losing weight and I certainly don’t call myself fat in front of them. But I am beginning to suspect that is not enough. I need to go further. I need them to know I love my body, squidgy bits and all, after all it did a pretty incredible job in growing our three beautiful girls. I need to celebrate my form, glorious in its imperfections, beautiful because of who it holds.

The problem is, I don’t love my body. I just don’t. I don’t hate it, but it’s hard to love something you are struggling to fit into most of your wardrobe. It’s hard to love a body whose calves ache at the top of a sprint up the stairs or whose chest heaves trying to keep up with the girls on their scooters. It’s hard to love a body you have spent 40 years measuring against celebrity ideals. And yet I must. I need to lead by example.

I know I always feel better about myself when I do exercise.

It has been almost 18 months, pretty much since I went back to work, but I do remember the glow it gives you. Plus, I might do one run and I instantly feel 4lbs lighter (I’m not I know, but in my mind, I have done something and so must automatically look so much better!).

Equally, 18 months ago I completed a 5k Major Series, having trained for only 3 weeks and I can honestly say I have rarely felt so alive, so empowered. I ran the whole way, stayed with my team, climbed steep banks, cargo nets and crawled through feet of mud and icy cold waters. It was incredible. I felt invincible. In the aftermath I felt like wonder-woman, I wanted to sign up for a triathlon, a marathon, a sky dive! Why oh why did I let that go?!

I want to feel like that more often! Strong, in control and in tune with my natural wild woman, who can flee, can attack, can hunt, can survive.

Equally, I want longevity! I know we are all exposed to the vagaries of cancer, ill-fated accidents and so on, but I want to give myself the best fighting chance. Pre children, I wasn’t afraid of death, but now, it terrifies me. As does the ageing process….who wants to grow old, to feel the ebb of your mental agility and the sapping of your limbs?

So all in all, it’s time to stop making excuses. So, this week I have been for an early morning run and today had an empowering one on one session with #workoutlikeamum, a fellow mum blogger studying to be a personal trainer and inspiring us all daily. In declaring my baby steps here, I am hoping to hold myself accountable, to keep going.

A little bit of maintenance and investment in myself which goes beyond the odd manicure and so hopefully sometime soon, the girls will sit on my bed, watching me get ready, soaking up Mummy’s admiring gazes at herself (not because I am thin, but because I am strong and because I am invested in all that I am). And whilst they watch I hope that sight will be embedded deep inside their self-conscious, images of positive self-love and self-care to protect and strengthen them as they grow.



Ps thanks to Pinterest for the images

Pps we stayed at Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa in February 2017.