Category Archives: Life Issues/ Motivational Posts

Going Teal

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the USA with its trademark teal ribbon worn by supporters.  My guest today, nurse and blogger Mandi, has gone that step further by dyeing her hair teal. Mandi shares with me today her reasons for making her teal blue hair change and why she wholeheartedly supports Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Welcome to the blog Mandi….

My name is Mandi and I am a mother of three wonderful kids, a pediatric nurse, writer and professional hugger. I also happen to be a survivor of rape that happened when I was seventeen.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the USA and the colour teal is the colour of sexual violence prevention. What made you decide to go a step further with the teal and dye your hair? (It looks great, btw)

I started the tradition of dyeing my hair teal for Sexual Assault Awareness Month last year. It is symbolic to me of the fact that sexual assault survivors, like myself, carry the impact of the assault with them everywhere that they go, much like we carry our hair with us always. Many times those who are not survivors seem to have the idea that after the initial hard times immediately following the assault have passed, that a survivor’s life goes back to normal. The truth is that sexual assault changes a person in very profound and personal ways and we are never, ever the same after. We carry the impact of the assault with us twenty-four hours per day for the rest of our lives, it changes us right down to our DNA.

Mandi at 17

The theme of the month this year is that “Prevention is possible” – promoting safe behaviour, thoughtful policies, healthy relationships. What steps do you feel somebody can take to prevent a person from being a victim of sexual assault?

This is a sticky question for me in many ways. After my assault, the questions that were asked to me by both professionals (nurses, police officers, etc) and by laypeople were directed at what I, the survivor, had done. What had I been wearing? Had I been drinking? I want to be very clear in the fact that there is nothing that a victim could have done to have made the rape or assault their fault. We live in a culture that places the burden of sexual assault on the victim and that needs to change. I think that we must continue talking about consent and rape culture in hopes of someday not having a society that seems very accepting of sexual assault in many ways. It isn’t the actions of potential victims that needs to change, it is the actions of the perpetrators that must change. This is why I made the very hard decision of coming out publicly as a survivor of rape last year when I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post entitled ‘A Thank You Letter to My Rapist’. It was honestly one of the hardest and most vulnerable action that I’ve ever taken. After that piece went live, I was shocked by the deluge of messages and e-mails from fellow survivors who wanted to thank me for writing it and wanted to tell me their own stories(many of them telling someone about their rape for the first time). There are so very many survivors in the world, many more than people realize. If we can have public conversations about rape and about how profoundly it impacts those who survive it,I believe that it creates tiny ripples of change and possibly prevents future assaults.

Being a nurse as well as a blogger, what reaction has your hair received being dyed teal? Has it led to some meaningful discussions?

I was actually quite nervous about dying my hair teal because I was worried that it would look unprofessional. I do work in a non-traditional nursing environment as I am a public health nurse who goes into the homes of low-income families to provide support and education so the reaction may be different for me now than it would have been when I worked in a hospital. The population that I work with is very accepting of those who may not subscribe to societal norms, so they have been very accepting and, in fact, one client who was unsure of accepting my services said that she allowed me into her home because of the teal hair which signaled to her that I might be someone that wouldn’t judge her for the ways that she didn’t fit in to society. I have not talked to my clients about why I dyed my hair teal as that would take the focus off of them and onto me and that would be inappropriate. However, in my personal life I have had many conversations with complete strangers so far this month and that has made it very worth the trouble. I also had a co-worker share that she also is a sexual assault survivor and I don’t think that we would have been able to have such an intimate conversation had my hair not triggered the discussion.

Sexual Assault is a public health issue as it ultimately affects women, men children, families and communities. What short term or long term consequences do victims of sexual assault tend to experience and the knock on effect to the people around them?

Before I answer this question I want to take a moment to address that many survivors loathe the term victim and don’t like to use it. I honor that stance and most often use the term survivor. However, I also embrace the term victim for the very reasoning that it was a violent act that changed my life forever. Each survivor will have their own unique experience in the aftermath of their assault. I often think of rape as the a ripple in a pond. That ripple in the water will continue to spread outward farther then we will ever know and impact the survivor and those around them for many years to come. In the immediate aftermath of my own rape the week of my seventeenth birthday, I experienced deep depression, PTSD (I still have mild PTSD symptoms today, 21 years later) and suicidality. I attempted to take my own life multiple times and the last attempt was nearly successful. I was in so much pain that I truly wanted to die. There is no way to describe in words how dramatically the assault impacted my life. The girl that I was before the rape and the girl that I was after were two completely different people.

Donald Trump himself during his election campaign was alleged to have sexually assaulted over 15 women – although he has denied the allegations. Do you think his appointment to presidency and the allegations against him has helped or hindered the work of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaigners and supporters?

This is such a tough question. I think that it has both helped and hindered the work of changing rape culture. On one hand, I’ve seen public conversations about sexual assault on a level that I’ve never before seen in my life. On the other hand, I do think that there are some that will have heard the audio tapes of our now president bragging about sexually assaulting women and still being voted in as president and will believe that it must be okay if so many believe that a man, who in his own words bragged about grabbing women’s genitals without consent, can be our nation’s leader. It is a very confusing time to be a survivor. I had very close family members that defended Donald Trump’s words about sexual assault in social media posts that showed up in my feed. It was sickening to realize that they posted those knowing that survivors would see these posts and it would hurt them. Rape culture in many ways is so ingrained that I fear it will be hard to turn the tide and change the way that people think about sexual assault. This election and it’s aftermath has distanced me from family members and friends who I never before would have realized had such ugly beliefs about sexual assault and humanity in general. I have to believe that the ugliness that is being brought forward now is being brought to the surface so that it can be healed. We can not heal, as a nation and as a world, what we do not recognize exists. We are now seeing,in a very public way, just how deep sexual assault stigma and rape culture is. It is now our job to counter that darkness with light and awareness.

Although your hair has been dyed teal for this April campaign, will you keep the colour beyond April? Have you any other hair colour preferences?

The reason for placing the teal in my hair was not for beauty but I’ve found that I absolutely love it. It brings out the blue in my eyes! I am an introvert that doesn’t generally like to call attention to myself, so I doubt that I will keep it but haven’t yet decided. I’m the type of gal that trusts her stylist(Lisa Klein of Hair House in Pleasant Hill, Iowa) so much that I always just plop myself into her chair and tell her to do what she likes, so we shall see what the next color is!

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Do scrubs count? Ha! Sometimes on non-work days I think about wearing my nurse scrubs simply so that I don’t have to think about what to wear! I love shirts with inspirational messages and funky, retro headbands and sunglasses but otherwise don’t have too many fashion preferences. I’m an easygoing kind of girl!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love sites that give to charities when you buy from them. Some of my favorites include Headbands of Hope, Sevenly, Toms and Krochet Kids International.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A bathing suit for summer that I won’t be embarrassed to wear in public. I think buying a swimsuit each year is my most challenging fashion purchase each year!

Boots or Shoes?

I pretty much live in either my nursing clogs or flip-flops. This may be the worst answer to this question that you’ve ever had! I call shoes “foot prisons” and would actually live in my bare feet if it were socially acceptable.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about your blog & Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

I hope that anyone reading this who may be a survivor that is struggling will head over to RAINN to learn more and seek out help, if needed. I want to tell you that you may be suffering now, but there is hope on the other side of this pain. Never stop seeking out the help that you need. You are needed in the world. So much love to all of those in the world who are struggling through this right now.

Here is a link to the article in the Huffington Post that I referenced earlier. Don’t let the title scare you- it isn’t really a thank you letter to my rapist, it’s a thank you letter to myself for the finding the strength to survive. In the immediate days after assault it can feel as though the pain will never end. If you are in the midst of the excruciation aftermath of assault, please know that it does get so much better.

Here is my humble blog(http://thezenrn.blogspot.com/). I love to connect with others that may be survivors or are doing work for prevention and awareness of sexual assault. My readers remind me that the world can be a beautiful place, even though terrible things happen to many of us daily. I’m also very active on my facebook page and, as an introvert, love to connect with others while sitting on my own couch(https://www.facebook.com/thezenrnblog/)!

Thank you Mandi for giving us an account of your experiences and for showing how people can get behind the sexual assault awareness campaign to make a big difference.  Dear readers, have you ever done anything to highlight a campaign you believe in so deeply? Have you dyed your hair like Mandi or sky jumped for charity?  Do share your stories, I’ll love to know…..

Linda x

Photos of Mandi have been published with permission of Mandi Redhead.

The Pinterest photo was taken by Linda Hobden and is an exhibit from the Musee de l’insolite, in Sauliac-sur-Cele in France.

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An Interview With Living Streets

May is National Walking Month in the UK and there couldn’t be a better time to keep fit than to enjoy walking and doing those 10,000 steps in the Spring sunshine, with our fitbits synchronised.  In fact, the Fitbit has become so popular over the last year or so and closing those “circles” or getting the 10,000 steps fireworks  a day can become rather addictive.  And what a good addiction to have!  Living Streets is a UK charity championing everyday walking and I was lucky enough to interview Tanya Braun from the charity about walking …. welcome Tanya!

Hi! I’m Tanya Braun and I’m the media and communications manager at Living Streets which means I’m in charge of promoting walking, why it’s great and how we can help people do more of it!

Living Streets is a UK charity championing everyday walking. When was the charity founded? What are the aims of the charity?

We were first set up back in 1929 when we were known as the Pedestrians’ Association. In the early days our campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossing and the introduction of speed limits. Today we face new challenges, but our work is as important as ever.We want to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice. We believe that a walking nation means progress for everyone. Our ambition is to get people of all generations to enjoy the benefits that this simple act brings and to ensure all our streets are fit for walking.

May is National Walking Month and Living Streets are urging the public to “Try20” – encouraging people to walk 20 minutes every day throughout May & to observe the big differences small steps can make. What are the those differences?

Physical activity is important to stay healthy, and walking is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get active, it’s also really easy to fit into our everyday lives – walking to the shops, skipping a stop on public transport or taking a lunchtime walk. Walking helps to prevent weight gain; chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer; and has been shown to reduce depression. Plus with more people walking their short everyday journeys, there are fewer cars on our roads which reduces congestion and harmful levels of air pollution. We first ran Try20 for National Walking Month in 2016, over 7000 people pledged to take part and we had stories back of people feeling fitter, losing weight, saving money and seeing more people – lots of big differences from small steps!

There is walking and walking! Solid quick walking obviously would increase fitness but what benefits would walking on the school run reap?

The Chief Medical Officer recommends that adults are active for 150 minutes per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more, to stay healthy. Many people don’t realise that walking counts and so choosing to walk some – or all – of the way to school is an easy way to get these minutes adding up. It doesn’t have to be a race; to make the most of the health benefits of walking, we should be walking at a speed at which our breathing rate and heartbeat increases but we can still carry on a conversation – perfect walk to school pace.

For 2017 Living Streets have commissioned an extensive survey to find the best cities for walking judged on a range of criteria, including safety, air pollution and street clutter. Has a winner been announced yet? If not, who is in the running?

In the running are the top 10 largest UK cities by population: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, London, Liverpool and Sheffield. We’ll be announcing the winner in May so watch this space!

When I was in Rome I walked everywhere in the city centre – it is a compact city. For UK, I was quite impressed with Bath – I walked everywhere there too, mainly because the traffic jams were horrendous and it was quicker to walk to my destination than take the bus! Which cities inside & outside of the UK do you think are pretty walkable?

I always like an excuse to take a trip to our Edinburgh office because it’s so easy to get around there on foot and the views are amazing when you do. The public transport links are great and they’ve recently introduced 20mph limits in built up areas so it all feels a lot safer – hiring a car when I’m up there never has to cross my mind! Melbourne in Australia has been classed as one of the world’s most liveable cities. They’ve had a ‘Local Connectivity Plan’ since 2014 which aims to build a network of neighbourhoods with access to social, leisure and retail facilities within a 20 minute walk of people’s home. I’ve not been myself but my colleague has and she loved how easy it was to get around on foot and how accessible everything was. I was lucky enough to hear Janette Sadik-Khan speak recently, she was New York City’s transportation commissioner and oversaw some historic changes to the city’s streets to make them more people-friendly, including closing Broadway to cars in Times Square. There’s lots of great stuff going on around the world which we can learn from to help us put people before vehicles in our cities.

Although the whole of May is dedicated to walking, which key events will be held to help fundraise for future walking projects etc?

Tuesday 16th May is Happy Shoesday! On the Tuesday of Walk to School Week in May each year, primary school pupils, parents and teachers across the country raise money for our walking projects, by wearing their happy shoes and donating £1. Shiny, decorated, colourful, cartoon, gorilla feet – whatever brings that smile on their walk to school. We’re more than happy for anyone to take part and join in on social media #HappyShoesday – I’ll certainly be wearing my Happy Shoes to work! You can find out how to join the fun on our website: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/happyshoesday

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when off for your 20 minute walk?

Lots of people say they can be put off walking by the weather but I always say, it’s not about the weather; it’s about what you wear! So, if rain is forecast I make sure I’m prepared and it’ll usually be a pair of boots – a simple pair of black leather boots, normally.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

For the High Street, I love Zara – and I’m a bit of an asos-fiend. The great thing about being based in East London is that on my way to the station, I pass a range of independent shops where I can always pick up something a bit different.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Jimmy Choos – if/when I become a millionaire! Until then, the nicer weather is as much of an excuse as I need to pick up a few new bits when I get inspired. I’ve got a couple of friends’ weddings coming up so I’m on the look-out for some nice dresses.

Boots or Shoes?

I definitely own more boots so it’ll have to be boots.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Living Streets & National Walking Month.

www.livingstreets.org.uk/nationalwalkingmonth
Follow us on Twitter @livingstreets or join in the conversation with #Try20

Thanks Tanya for the great tips to get everybody motivated and walking, wherever you are in the world!  I do love walking around the seawall that surrounds my village although it is a walk I don’t really do often enough – my husband puts me to shame as he does the 5+ mile walk on a daily basis! Dear readers, do you love walking? Have you got any favourite walking spots? Do share your views, I’d love to know.

Linda x

All main photos are published with kind permission from Living Streets. The Fitbit pin picture was taken by myself.

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Talking About Regression Re-Birthing

This week I’m delving into the world of regression re-birthing, also known as the “recreation of the womb and birth experience”.  The object of regression re-birthing is to achieve a happy and healthy mind and body.  The subject sounded interesting to me and so I asked Nicolas Aujola, leading practioner and columnist for the Beverley Hill Times (yes, Hollywood!) what regression re-birthing entailed and its benefits…. as well as chatting about fashion, of course!  Welcome Nicolas….

Hi! I’m Nicolas Aujula – a London based Holistic Therapist, Life Coach, Intuitive and Designer with over 10 years of experience. I offer 1-2-1 sessions in person and via Skype, run workshops and have spoken in front of large audiences. My work has appeared internationally on ITV, Channel 4, Biography Channel, British newspapers and Hollywood magazines.

What inspired you to become a coach & therapist?

It all started when I was 17 years of age when I fell into a trance state that stimulated an out of body experience and flashbacks of my past-lives that literally changed my life. It was like an awakening where I instantly realised the power of the soul and the undying quality’s within us all that we carry forth beyond death. It helped me realised by own strengths and weaknesses, talents and personality traits, as well helping me resolve some of my teenage challenges of dealing with bullying, heartbreak and depression. I realised the power within me to change my past patterns to create the future I want. I left my A-level education to pursue my new found vocation and the rest is history. My main inspiration as a coach and therapist is to free clients from limitations, make them realise the power within and push them to be the best that they can. I love to see others blossom into their potential as there is so much each one us can do in our very unique ways. Empowerment is key that comes from making deep internal changes and developing personal tools for success that I’m proud to say my techniques ensure I share very short term yet intense relationship with clients that is focused on getting results. I’m privileged to have helped thousands of people from all walks of life from businessmen, politicians, celebrities to housewives learn to be more successful, self-confident, and happy, no matter what comes their way.

What attracted you to regression re-birthing? What are the main objectives of Regression Re-birthing?

Birth is a sacred and to be celebrated event. I believe happy births equal happy beings but actually how many of us have had happy births? I often found during my sessions that clients would regress back to their early womb experience where they spoke about absorbing beliefs, feelings and even traumas of their mothers and what was going on in the outside external world. I quickly understood that working through these imprints enabled great healing and freedom that re-birthing has become an important technique as part of our journey to self renewal. The ultimate goal of Regression Rebirthing is to regain true, high self-esteem in every area of your life. I feel Regression Rebirthing is an incredibly life changing process as clients relive their own births – discovering the tremendous impact being in the womb and birth had had on their own lives. Being a holistic process – it can also focus on our childhood and life experiences for healing and life change. It centres on breathing techniques and inner journeying that brings to your awareness unconscious thoughts, feelings and memories – some of which goes back to your birth – with the intention of accepting and integrating any ‘limiting emotions and thoughts’ in the cells of your body. This simple, yet powerful technique offers a natural way to manage stress and disengage behavioral patterns by putting trust in the healing power of our own breath. We can not have limitations and relaxation in the same space at the same time. Relaxation is the ultimate healer. Every breath induces relaxation. Therefore, breathing is the basic healer.

Could you describe a typical session?

Each session involves both inner journeying into the past and deep breathing process. The process rejuvenates the cells of your body and brings to awareness unconscious thoughts, memories and feelings. By accepting anything that occurs in a session and continuing with the breathing, you are able to dissolve the original ‘charge’ and integrate whatever is happening. This is what is called a deep release – a cellular cleansing of tension and stress in the body. You have the opportunity to clear limiting patterns that you’ve built up over years, for example the fear of not feeling good enough, low self-esteem, emotional pain, destructive patterns, the behaviours that you’ve built up over time. It’s like being a sponge and finally getting an opportunity to clear and release everything. You literally breathe underneath the pain, fear, trauma, and let it go. It allows you to make space for positive feelings of love, joy and happiness. Combining deep breathing with positive thoughts supports us and expands our joy and vitality to create lasting life change. Holding onto and suppressing negative, fearful thoughts creates tensions, unhappiness and disease. With the aid of visualisations and positive affirmations, given during the Regression Rebirthing, you will be able to create and attract exactly what you want in life. My philosophy stresses that “Thought is creative” that all our thoughts and beliefs create results in our life. If we change our thoughts, we change our lives because everything follows on from thought.

What are the benefits of Regression Re-birthing?

It enhaces our well-being by helping a variety of physical, emotional and psychological areas:
Traumatic Births;
Difficult Mother/Father Relationship
Asthma, IBS, Arthritis, Migraine, Insomnia, etc;
Low Confidence and Self-Esteem
Fears & Phobias
Body Image and Weight Problems
Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks etc;
Sexual Abuse and Related Patterns of Behaviour;
Psychosomatic Conditions;
Suppressed Emotions;
Limiting Relationship Patterns
Lack of Life Purpose;
Loneliness; Isolation, Social Anxiety
General Stuckness in Life

You also practice Street Regression – what does that entail?

Street Regression arose initially from the desire to challenge myself as a practitioner to see if it was possible to practise my craft on the streets amidst the noise and chaos of urban life. Despite a usual session being undertaken in a private, serene and peaceful environment, the streets of the city provided a particularly testing opportunity to prove the potential of regression therapy. Within 10-15 minutes, I have successfully been able to guide passers by through a unique insightful experience right in the middle of the street, many of whom were amazed and gob smacked by what they realised and experienced. We’ve all seen street hypnosis used for entertainment purposes but my aim is to provide a more insightful and therapeutic approach that can help people in their daily lives.
– VIDEO LINK – https://youtu.be/3Pc1EF8GBSw

You are a columnist for the Beverley Hill Times. What advice or articles were most popular?

My readers in Beverly Hills love my advice on dating, relationships and self-improvement, much of which is inspired by my knowledge of Astrology and how it can gives us perspective. It’s a real privilege to write for the Beverly Hills Times as it’s enabled me to meet many talented and inspirational people – the editor Suzanne Takowsky tells me the cast of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are the biggest fans of my column.

You are a coach & therapist. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the medical world or did you have other ambitions?

Growing up I had many ambitions from wanting to be a Writer, Psychologist, Historian, Astrologer, Fashion Designer and Film Director. In many way I’ve been able to incorporate many of those into my career. Whilst I’m not a conventional psychologist, I use alternative methods to empower people to deal with mind and emotion, overcome limitations and fulfil their potential. I’m written for numerous publications, practise Astrology, listen to historical accounts as people relay their past-lives, have designed dresses for clients and have created a short film exploring taboos. I firmly believe we should never limit ourselves to one chosen path in life but to be open to explore new avenues and develop personal talents as we are all multifaceted individuals.

Although you are based in the UK, are Regression Re-birthing sessions available overseas? How can a person register for sessions?

Yes,sessions are available to those abroad. Distance is not really a problem as I’m increasing using mobile technology like Skype which works just as well as face-to-face sessions. I have worked with international clients from USA, Canada, Australia, India, Spain, Brazil to UAE over the past few years. For sessions via Skype I can be emailed via my website.

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

– Travel and Adventure: I love travel, especially city breaks as they are full of history, culture and great night life. My favourite city’s are Istanbul, Rome, Madrid and Lisbon. Adrenaline pumping activities that get you all worked up and excited are always invited from jet skiing, hot air balloons to paragliding.
– Yoga and meditation: I’ve been practising daily for the past 16 years. It’s the secret to a healthy mind, body and soul. My favourite poses are triangle and cobra into downward facing dog
– Cooking: I love to get in the kitchen and cook. Great food is simple, healthy, fresh and flavoursome. I adore Mexican, Indian and Thai cuisines with a love for dark chocolate, oaty treats and anything with ginger.
– Sewing: my artistic side is expressed through taking some material, cutting out patterns and get cracking on a sewing machine. It’s thrilling yet creative. I have so much respect for those machinists who make our clothes because I understand what is involved. Over the years for friends and clients I’ve put together some great style creations. Inspired by helping clients go through breakups I created the Divorce Dress which has featured in Daily Mail, Glamour and Huffington Post.
– Books: I love to immerse in books. Only the hard stuff that I can hold as I can’t do kindle or digital. Anything from spirituality, self-improvement, biographys to esoteric subjects take my fancy.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

A pair of skinny jeans/trousers paired with a brightly coloured fitted top or shirt – I love vibrant colours such as orange, yellow, pinks and greens. I’m a firm believer in how colour can influence our mood and energy that we should pay more attention in how we use colour, it can only influence our daily lives. Am currently loving my one shouldered pair of dungarees. Shoes must be metallic – my current favourites are my Supra high tops which I have in gold, silver and rose gold. Finish the look complimented by a pair of Tom Ford aviators.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love high street staple Zara for their stylish interpretations of catwalk trends. For online shopping ASOS.com and Zalando.com are firm favourites that offer great choices. It has to be Supra for my high top shoes. For designer fashion, I adore Aspinal for bags, Tom Ford and Prada for sunglasses and Versace for their bold pieces.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I know when I’ll see it as long as it’s form fitting, bright, funky or metallic. Currently on the hunt for a great tote manbag – any suggestions anyone?

Boots or Shoes?

Pointed boots with metal caps are definitely a sexy style statement. Be sure to add a layer of gel sole cushions so you can strut and paint the town yellow at all hours.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Regression Re-birthing.

Website – www.inspired-artisan.comwww.knowyourpastlife.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/nicolasaujula
Twitter – www.twitter.com/nicolasaujula

Thanks Nicolas for the insight into a fascinating subject and I love your flair for fashion too!  I’m quite interested in your love for metallic shoes … I have some silver gladiator heeled sandals and I have seen some bronze/rose gold sandals recently that I quite fancy this summer.  So, dear readers, what do you think about wearing metallic coloured footwear? Do share your thoughts…

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Nicolas Aujula.

 

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An Interview With Rosemary Conley CBE

I’m really quite excited to welcome onto my blog tonight a lady who in the late 1980s made a big impression on me as a young twenty year old; in fact she still impresses me today.  I was then and still am attracted by her boundless energy, by her “can do” attitude, by her very smiley demeanour, by her lithe and petite figure.  Even today, at 8pm she tweets her daily challenge …sometimes easy, sometimes hard, always fun.  That lady is the gorgeous Rosemary Conley CBE…. who has had over 40 years experience of helping people lose weight and keep fit…. and I was so pleased that she agreed to chat with me about her online weight loss club, her life and  of course, we talked about fashion and shoes too…. hi Rosemary…..

Hi, I am Rosemary Conley CBE and I am a diet and fitness expert living in Leicestershire, England. I have been in the business of helping people to lose weight and become fitter for 45 years, and I have written 37 books and presented 30 fitness DVDs of which their combined sales total almost 10 million.

What inspired you to launch the Rosemary Conley online Weight-Loss Club?

Rosemary Conley Online is a digital weight-loss club which launched some 15 years ago. It has been an exciting enterprise as we have been part of the online revolution as it has grown and developed. We have a new and exciting website which enables our members to enjoy over 2000 videos of how-to-cook recipes, exercises, motivation, a food & fitness diary and advice from nationally recognised top experts as well as real-life coaches. We also offer a personal One-2-One coaching service.

Your weight-loss club offers, as well as real life coaching, a variety of eating plans. Why do you offer a range of 6 different plans? Which “plan” seems to be the most popular amongst your members?

Selecting the best eating plan to help you lose weight is very much down to the individual. We offer plans from my new 3-2-1 Diet which is based on ‘light’ and ‘normal’ days of eating along the lines of the 5:2 diet but more generous, or there are my ‘classic’ diets from which to choose which are calorie based for those who want more structure, and then we have our new Complete Lifestyle Change Plan which is a 12 week programme of information and inspiration to help member to make permanent changes to their lives. No one diet is more popular than another. It is all down to personal preference.

What diet plan do you personally stick to?

I stick to a low fat, low Gi, eating pattern without any calorie counting or dieting. I avoid high-fat treats such as crisps, chocolate, biscuits and cake because, whilst I love them, I know they will make me gain weight. It all comes down to the fact that I like being slim more than I want the treats! I spent too many years being overweight and hating myself for being so to run the risk of going back there. I used to weigh 2½st more than I do now. I like being a size 8 (UK) and I weigh 8 stone (112lb/51kg) which is ideal for my 5’2” height. I stay physically fit by still teaching a couple of aerobics classes each week, walking the dogs at weekends, going to a special gym with a physiotherapist for an hour a week and ice skating when I can – probably every two or three weeks.

I believe that keeping healthy not only relies on food intake, but also moving about/exercising. I try to do yoga and Pilates; and I do enjoy the odd aerobic session too. I monitor my steps on a Fitbit ….What forms of exercise do you personally enjoy? What forms of exercise seems to appeal to your weight loss club members?

I think it is important for us to find a form of exercise we enjoy so that we keep doing it. I hate swimming or running but I love exercising to music and walking in the countryside but I am limited by my arthritic feet which has come upon me in the last year. I am 70 now and it seems as though my body has suddenly realised my age! That’s why I go to the physio gym as my physiotherapist is aware of my limitations but still pushes me hard so I stay fit in the rest of my body. I want to live a long and healthy life – even if my feet hurt! Rosemary Conley Online members are offered all kinds of exercise on our site from Pilates to Salsa, chair workouts and aerobics or toning. There really is something for everyone, even new mums.

Although you live in the UK, is your online weight loss club available to access overseas?

Our online club is available to anyone across the world except for the USA or Canada. We have lots of overseas members and I love the fact that with an online weight-loss club you can access it anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

I think my 3-2-1 Diet is probably my last diet book but I am beginning to work on my autobiography. In 2018 my Hip & Thigh Diet will be 30 years old. I think it would be great to have my life-story published in that year.

The Rosemary Conley Online Weight Loss Club is one of the UK’s leading online weight loss clubs.How can people sign up to be a member? Are there any restrictions? What are the main benefits to joining your club?

Anyone can join Rosemary Conley Online providing they have weight to lose, are over 18 and are not pregnant. Everyone is asked to complete a health questionnaire which is personally checked. Once signed up, all a member needs is internet access. It really is very simple. With basic computer skills anyone can navigate our site. We have monthly, quarterly and annual memberships available as well as a premium One-2-One personal coaching service which members can opt-in and opt-out of. Our results are amazing and my favourite part of my job is meeting members who are invited to our photoshoots. To see these amazing successful slimmers looking toned and gorgeous is just heart-warming. It’s why I, and the rest of our Rosemary Conley team, love our job.

You have over 2500 healthy recipes online – have you got any particular favourites?

We continue to add to our online recipes and one of our team is a supreme cook who has a real talent for creating recipes so there’s always something new appearing on the site. I can’t say I have a particular favourite. I love them all.

There are general concerns about the growing global obesity epidemic. What do you feel are the reasons behind this epidemic?

I think the main reason for the obesity epidemic is lifestyle change. The advent of the internet, internet shopping and mobile phones all mean that we can run our lives without moving around as much as we used to. I really don’t know where it will end unless people take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. We have to eat less and move more!

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I have a lovely life because I enjoy my work and I enjoy writing. I love spending time with my family as well as ice skating and walking our dogs around our beautiful garden.

Personal now- what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love clothes – a lot! – and I have spent the last 50 years wearing stilettos and am now having to come to terms with the fact that I can only wear flat and kitten heel styles due to my arthritic feet! I am a pear shape which means I have a decent waist so I like to wear fitted styles and ice skating is fantastic for shaping up your butt so I am happy wearing jeans and trousers too.

Do you have any favourite shops/online sites?

I buy most of my clothes from the Madeleine catalogue, as they fit me so well and the quality of the fabrics and workmanship is second to none. They seem to be ahead of the game as far as fashion and style is concerned and I just love their clothes as well as their shoes which are fabulous and great quality. I enjoy having them delivered to home so that I can try the clothes at home in my own time and with my own accessories. If I don’t like something, I just send it back free of charge. It really works for me.

What’s next on your clothes/shoes wish list?

I love the Spring as my colouring is Spring/Summer so I will be ordering some lovely bright shades of dresses and tops for this year.

Boots or Shoes?

I wear boots more now than I ever used to and they are always flat. I started wearing flat ones five years ago when I was on ITV’s Dancing on Ice. As a high-heel devotee for so many decades I needed to train my heels to be happy nearer the ground as when you skate that’s essential! I have grown to really like wearing stylish military-looking knee-high boots which seem to work well with fitted leggings and a long jacket/coat.

Links you wish to share:

Go to www.rosemaryconley.com to find out more about Rosemary Conley Online. I am personally on Twitter at @rosemaryconley and I do a daily fitness challenge at 8pm (UK time) each evening. You can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RosemaryConleyOnline.

It has been a real honour to have you on the blog, Rosemary – thank you so much for taking part. I do love that you like bright shades for tops – for me, bright shades make me feel happy! Dear readers, do you have certain shades that you feel happy?  Do shades of yellow make you smile? Does red make you feel daring?  Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Rosemary Conley CBE

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Slim Mind

Keeping healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is not an easy feat, but it is not impossible to do  –  I believe you really just need to be in the right frame of mind, otherwise your attempts to exercise and/or eat the right foods will just fritter away.  I was really pleased to come across a book called “Slim Mind” which helped to reinforce my “mind over matter” belief as its aims are to develop the reader’s long term skills & motivation to think, act and stay slim; therefore liberating you from weighing scales, low fat foods and yo yo dieting.  The author, health psychologist Dr Catherine Sykes, has spent a long time researching health behaviour change and I was lucky enough to interview Catherine about her work and her book.  Hi Catherine…

Hi! I’m Dr Catherine Sykes, a psychologist who develops mindsets that promote life-long success, health and happiness. I do this through therapy, coaching and consultancy. I’m a working mother of 2 children.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Slim Mind”. What inspired you to put pen to paper?

I’ve worked with lots of people who want to lose weight and one thing that struck me was that people wanted quick and easy methods to lose weight and had tried so many methods in the process. These methods were always contrary to what the evidence in psychological research found was needed. Firstly, weight lost is not quick and easy and the overuse of willpower does not work, in fact it backfires, keeping people in a pattern of yo-yo dieting pattern and self blame. I wanted to bring the psychological evidence to a wider audience and to simplify the techniques as much as possible so that people could try them in a self-help format.

The book is a series of psychological techniques, including cognitive behaviour therapy, to help you understand your eating behaviours, helps you to develop long term skills and motivation to think, act and stay slim. Written from your own private practice experiences and scientific world discoveries – what is the main objectives of the book?

The main objective is to inform people that weight loss is not quick and easy. It takes a long-term sustained approach. This book aims to empower people to take control of their weight loss journey without self-blame and with realistic expectations of what is needed to lose weight.

One bit of advice I gained from the book is “Eat when you are hungry, not when you have a craving”. If you have to pass on one piece of wisdom or advice to a person, what would be that pearl of wisdom?

Restricting certain foods with willpower does not work. Evidence suggests that if we suppress thoughts about certain things then we are more likely to think about it. So if you tell yourself not to think about the chocolate cake in the fridge, you are actually increasing the likelihood that you will think about it and eventually reach for it.

Although you live in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

Yes, it can be purchased on Amazon.com

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

Slim Mind is the first book in the Zenitude Coaching series which aims to bring easy to follow solutions to promote life long success, happiness and health. Other books to come:
The Juggling Act. Returning to Work Following Maternity Leave.
Zestful Ageing.
Confidence at Work
Positive to Return to Work Following and Illness

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I love reading lots of genres including mystery and espionage, history and bibliography, suspense, travel. I can always read an Ian McEwan book.

You are a health psychologist. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the medical world or did you have other ambitions?

I had other ambitions. I’ve always been increased in jobs that relate to promoting a better society. When I was young, my mum’s friend was studying sociology. I picked up one of her books and could not put it down. Although, I did not know exactly what it was but back then, I wanted to be a sociologist.

You are particularly concerned about the global growing obesity epidemic. What do you feel are the reasons behind this epidemic?

Availability of unhealthy foods.
Sedentary lifestyles.
Emotional eating and inability to understand and name one’s emotions.

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

Cooking and eating with friends, reading, country walks.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

For work, I tend to go for comfortable elegant clothes. At the weekends, I can be found in Sweaty Betty gear.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I do love clothes from Joseph. I love the fabrics and style. I also like Reiss.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’m looking for an elegant winter dress.

Boots or Shoes?

Both – depends what I’m wearing. Currently I seem to be wearing my Russell and Bromley black suede ankle boots with everything.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.

twitter – drcsykes1
Facebook:
https://m.facebook.com/drslimmind (on mobile device)
https://facebook.com/drslimmind (on pc)

Lovely to talk to you Catherine and I personally found your book very inspirational.  Funnily enough, I studied sociology at school and at college – I loved the subject as well!  Well, dear readers, do you have a slim mind?  How do you get into a healthy mindset?  Do share your thoughts, I’d love to know,

Linda x

All photographs have been  published with kind permission of Dr Catherine Sykes.

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An Interview With Beat Theory Fitness

Welcome to the first post of 2017!  My first post of the year is usually inspiring and/or motivational in some way and this year is no exception.  When I stepped on the weighing scales yesterday morning to survey the damage that often happens over the Christmas and New Year period,  I was so glad that ex – professional footballer, Riccardo Scala, was being interviewed today.  He is the tonic I need to give me inspiration and motivation to lose those naughty pounds! Riccardo is the man responsible for launching Beat Theory Fitness in the UK – workouts based on the “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” theory – which basically means that you keep burning fat well after your workout has finished.  Sound good?  I thought so too. I caught up with Riccardo to find out more… Hi Riccardo…

Hi! My name is Riccardo Scala, and I am the Founder and CEO of Beat Theory Fitness®

Where did you get inspiration from to start Beat Theory Fitness? –

My inspiration has come from seeing the success of other Boutique Fitness companies in America do immensely well in this new market sector, and I wanted to create my version based on all the science and technology that is now available to assist fitness enthusiasts toward their individual goals.

The workouts are based on the “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” theory. Can you explain the theory and how it differs from other types of workouts? 

What happens to your car engine after you have completed a journey? Your car engine stays warm as it gradually cools to a resting temperature. The same happens with our bodies after we have exercised. EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function (called homeostasis). The more oxygen you require to do this, the more calories you will burn in the process. So if you increase the amount of oxygen consumed both during and after a workout, you can increase the amount of net calories burned. EPOC is influenced by the intensity of an exercise, not the duration of an exercise. Research has shown that training with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the best way to stimulate the EPOC effect, and that training in this manner is far more effective than training for longer durations at a steady pace. Here at Beat Theory, we have structured our whole training philosophy behind the EPOC effect. Shorter workouts, higher intensity, greater calorie burn, and of course, faster results for clients to see and feel. 

So what do enjoy most about being a personal trainer and fitness expert? Have you a favourite exercise?

Every day you get to wake up knowing that you are going to be responsible for helping someone different from hour to hour. Being able to give back and help others achieve the confidence and belief in themselves to not only make their health and lifestyle better, but in turn they will then allow this confidence to rub off on others. Being the guy that helps people and that people turn to for help…

What aspects of Beat Theory Fitness seem to be the most popular with your clients?

I am constantly being told by clients that just knowing that all they need to do is book their spot in a Beat Theory session via our Beat Theory mobile App, and turn up, makes their lives so much easier. Every Beat Theory session has been designed to get the most out of every fitness level in attendance. We do all the hard work and clients simply turn up and allow our coaches to train them. They don’t have to worry about what they are going to have to do that day, or how much time they are going to have to spend on an exercise. We do all the planning. With a combination of running, rowing, lifting, jumping and sweating, they get everything they need in our 40 minute sessions. Then it is back off into the real world to continue their day, satisfied.

What exercise(s) seem to yield most results? What seems to be the least popular – or gets the most groans when you suggest it?

When it comes to High Intensity Training, all exercises are extremely beneficial, you just have to know which ones to combine together and how hard to push yourself to achieve the desired effect. As soon as we announce that their will be a Burpee in the workout, that certainly gets a few groans. Although I wouldn’t say that this means that it is the least popular, they just know that the sessions are being delivered as hard as they want them to be. I think it is worth noting too that we can and do frequently have lots of variations to our daily workouts so as to accommodate clients that have long term injuries from previous exercise before Beat Theory.

Being an ex- professional footballer as well as having lived and worked in California as a personal trainer, you must have come across many famous names. Which famous lady or gent would you love to see doing a Beat Theory Fitness workout?

You mean in addition to Scarlett Johansson, who I have already worked with? Well I’m a huge comic book fan, so in line with staying current, I would love to put Gal Gadot [Batman vs Superman (2016) and Wonder Woman (2017)] through her Beat Theory workout.

How can clients book sessions?

We have our Beat Theory Fitness App on the Apple and Android stores. Clients have our full schedule at their fingertips so that they can plan their training ahead.

Beat Theory Fitness is seeking to be the first franchised chain of aggregated studio concepts in the UK. What would a franchise consist of?

Our franchise model consists of a franchisee owning their own Beat Theory facility, being given all the equipment that is part of our training concept, full ongoing support with setting up each facility and marketing the facility for opening and beyond, full training and templates for delivering our training model, and ongoing monthly support to make the franchisees Beat Theory facility the no.1 boutique training facility in their catchment area.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

As you would assume I am a big trainers fan, but I do like putting on a nice formal suit and shirt every now and then, especially for business meetings.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Being as busy as I am, I do all my shopping online. My favourite online store is Zalando.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Well I really need to increase the number of shirts that I wear. Most of the time I am in t-shirts and polos.

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely shoes. I love the sheer variety of different styles available to me.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Beat Theory Fitness.

beattheoryfitness.co.uk 

Facebook.com/beattheoryfitnessglasgow

Twitter: @BeatTheory_GLA

Thank you Riccardo for taking me through my paces and describing the Beat Theory Fitness process …. And I wish your business every success in for 2017.  So, dear readers, have you overindulged over the Christmas season?  What ways have you decided to keep fit and healthy?  I’ve got my Fitbit and I’m determined to up the steps! Do share your fitness goals…

Linda x

Photos:

Photo of Riccardo published with kind permission of Riccardo Scala;

Photo of Dumb Bells from Pixabay;

Photos of trainers and bike  by Linda Hobden

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The Mystery Of You

Revealing the mystery of you – my guest this week is engineer, entrepreneur, personal trainer and author, John Ferris, who has just written a potentially life-changing book “The Yo(u)niverse Paradox: Revealing The Mystery Of You”.  Written from John’s own life and discoveries, plus merging spirituality and science; John attempts to guide the reader to reveal their uniqueness and to start building the life of their dreams.   John also has a passion for personal training and sport, even using his engineering capabilities to design and manufacture his own home gym equipment.  I caught up with John recently to find out more …. Hi John …

Hi, my name is John and I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the beginning of the troubles. My initial experiences were groomed on a Belfast estate later moving to the suburbs. I left school with little qualifications, but under my mother’s influence I attended college and then university, graduating in mechanical engineering. I initially worked in the aerospace industry, but from the outset I knew for me, fulfilment would always be out of reach; being such a small cog in a big wheel. In conjunction with my full-time job, I set up a small part-time business manufacturing my own unique exercise equipment. Alas it transpired I was probably a decade too early, at least here in the U.K. Either that or my ideas were rubbish! In saying that it acted as a stepping stone, turning my hobby as a fitness enthusiast into my current profession as a Personal Trainer. I opened Northern Ireland’s first personal training studio and was very content with my life through my fortieth year.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “The Yo(u)niverse Paradox: Revealing The Mystery Of You”. What was the catalyst that in effect changed your life?

Thank you. Just prior to my forty-first birthday my mother passed away. Terrible times most of us have to endure, but inevitable in the general sequence of events. What happened next brought me face to face with my worst nightmare. Three weeks after my mother’s passing on my 41st birthday, my wife and I were informed our six-year-old daughter Robyn had an incurable brain tumour (from western medical point of view). That moment changed everything. It was the catalyst for my spiritual awakening. The beginning of seeing the world through new eyes. The gradual removing of the veils that hide the truth. Everything I thought I knew about the world was turned upside down, back to front and inside out.

The book promotes a model of reality using the fundamental principle of nature overlooked by the mainstream view which merges science and spirituality into an all-inclusive model -allowing for everything, omitting nothing. Written from your own life experiences and discoveries – What inspired you to put pen to paper?

A catalyst is easily definable. Inspiration on the other hand can quite often come from numerous experiences. I guess after seven years of reading, researching and most importantly meditating on the question of “when you die is that it or is there anything I can do to in my lifetime to change the past and experience my daughter growing up?” I amassed an incredible amount of information and felt the urge to put pen to paper to create some space in my mind. As I was writing I could see a repeatable pattern that combined the inner self with the outer experience of the world. I applied the latest scientific discoveries with the esoteric wisdom (spirituality) hidden within every religion to show a pattern that connects everything. This pattern is the key to reality. At times I was blown away by the clarity that was evolving. I was writing off the cuff and didn’t follow any writing protocols or techniques especially since I had never written a book before, but to my surprise it all seemed to fall into place. I realised so much throughout the process. It is a very liberating experience!

If you have to pass on one piece of wisdom or advice to a person, what would be that pearl of wisdom?

You are not an insignificant being living on an insignificant speck in an infinite universe. You are imbued with the most powerful gift of the universe – the power of choice! Use it wisely by letting go of being the victim and take full responsibility.

Although you live in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

Yes,  my book is published by Balboa press based in the States so can be purchased through their or my website (revealthemystery.com) and also around the world on Amazon.com.

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

Yes,  I would imagine myself writing some more. Probably similar in nature, but also might link into the health and fitness industry from a functional everyday perspective.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I don’t think it will come as any surprise that’s its books based on ‘What is reality?’  Conversations with God book 1 by Neale Donald Walsh was a mind blower. Various books by Deepak Chopra, Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton on the relationship of science and spirituality. Fred Alan Wolf’s Mind into Matter and The Yoga Of Time Travel are very good and of course The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. In the distant past I would have mainly read sporting autobiographies.

You are an engineer and entrepreneur by trade – you have designed and manufactured home gym equipment. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the engineering field or did you have other ambitions?

Not at all. I ended up in the engineering sector purely as a result of the U.K. educational system and like most teenagers feeling somewhat lost on where my future lay. I, like a lot of kids, liked the idea of being a fireman until I remembered I had a fear of heights. When I was 17 and learning to drive, on one of the few occasions my mother braved a lesson, I do remember she asked me what my ambitions were for making a living. I told her one day I’d like to own a gym. Months earlier I had purchased a home gym barbell set which initially ignited my passion. Ironically the advice I recently gave my son was to ‘find his passion and put it into action’ because you are a long time working.

You are currently involved in an unique global soccer initiative called Circular Soccer. Could you explain a bit about that project?

About 4 years ago a retired client (the father of Mr. Grey himself – Jamie Dornan) told me of the idea he first had 50 years previous, when he was a teenage boy, playing one versus one football around a central goal (hence circular) which removed the need for a goalkeeper. As young kids few want to play as the goalkeeper. He asked me to go away and develop it. I came back with the idea of a pop up three-sided triangular net which we named the tri-goal, a no play zone and cones for restarting game. Rules were drawn up and after years of prototypes and a number of FIFA trials conducted in Japan, Barbados and at the FIFA headquarters in Switzerland we finally got to market. There are five core members of the team who have worked extremely hard to get this far and time will tell how successful Circular Soccer will become. The game itself has expanded and can cater for up to 10 players and is being used at numerous football clubs to develop players skill set, but can also be purchased for kids to play in the street, back garden or park. Our website is circularsoccer.com.

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I still play football most Sundays and still get the same thrill scoring a goal as I did when I was a kid. We men never grow up! I love the Marvel movies which bring me back to my childhood reading the comics. I also enjoy eating out in nice restaurants and occasionally have been known to partake in the Belfast pub culture. My body is a temple, but only for part of the week and there are those who would say my body reflects that! I firmly believe life is about balance. Did I mention coffee shops?

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

My daywear reflects my job so no interest there. I love Ant and Dec bomber style jackets. I call them that as during each year watching the television programme – “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” – I drive my wife crazy pointing out all the bomber jackets that look cool. My “go to” look I guess would be a nice crisp white shirt with black or denim jeans transported on a Ted Baker brogue.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Not particularly, but thinking about it I do seem to have accumulated a fair amount of Ted Baker/Guess labels and the odd Primark.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A new white shirt……seriously!

Boots or Shoes?

Back in the day it was definitely boots. They ranged from Dr Martens to Chelsea boots with the Cowboy boots or ‘Cowbs’ as they affectionately became known somewhere in the mix. I still have them in the hope that one day they will come back into fashion. My wife has just informed me they never were in fashion!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.

My book webpage is revealthemystery.com
On Facebook my book page is also revealthemystery
Also check out circularsoccer.com

Great chatting to you John – it has been a pleasure to have you on the blog.  Your book is  certainly interesting and you’re truly an inspiration.  I love the advice you gave your son: find your passion, put it into action.  That’s the kind of advice I offer my children too. Dear readers, what was the best advice you’ve received?  What advice have you given to your offspring? As always, do share  – I’d love to know your thoughts…

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission of John Ferris.

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Revisiting Buckso Dhillon Woolley

Way back, almost exactly 2 years ago, on 7 November 2014, I interviewed actress/singer Buckso Dhillon Woolley (read original interview HERE) who had just starred in a UK countrywide advert for frozen food company, Iceland, alongside heart throb Peter Andre.  Buckso was looking forward to auditioning for a part in the West End stage show, Bend It Like Beckham.  So now, two years on, did Buckso  get a role in Bend It Like Beckham?  Is she still singing? I caught up with Buckso recently to find the answers to those questions and more…. Welcome back onto the blog Buckso!

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Hi there! I’m Buckso DHILLON-WOOLLEY and I’m an actor/speaker just finalising my 1st eBook on RESILIENCE as I make a segway into the speaking arena!

I was fortunate enough to interview you in November 2014 …. so, what made you want to become an actress in the first place?

Yes you did! And my what a journey these last few months have been! I’d say the very first time I knew the entertainment industry was the only way for me, was after I’d discovered I had a voice singing the theme tune to Why Don’t You back when I was a young teen. After that, I as bitten by the bug!

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Congratulations on your appearance in the West End production of “Bend It Like Beckham” as Auntiji ( Aunty G) for the 2015 run! Being picked for a West End show is such an achievement in itself… and a role you was hoping to get when I last interviewed you too! What was it like being in such a fabulous West End production? Any memorable moments that stand out?

Yes, it was something I finally nailed after auditioning for it 3yrs on the trot, and it was such a relief to get a yes! The thrill of a live audience was fantastic as I’d never experienced theatre before so wasn’t sure what to expect, which was good in some ways as I was going in with no expectations and I have to say it was phenomenal to be in such a well received show..with 5 star ratings and brilliant reviews I was a tad spoilt you might say! Most memorable moment would be the press night party..seeing something like that in such a scale was lovely and the fact my sister and husband had the chance to share it with me made it even more special considering I’d been mugged at gunpoint the night before. Maybe that’s the most memorable part actually!

As you revealed in 2014, you have a love for films … So I was dead chuffed to hear that you’ve been filming a new feature film written & directed by Andrew Hulme called “The Devil Outside”. Can you reveal what the film is about and the part that you play?

Oh yes I’m a big fan of films and SO pleased my first one was based and filmed in and around an area I live near. In short, I play the mum to the young lad and it’s a sort of coming of age film, set in Nottingham about religion, madness and repressed sexuality, and that’s all I can say! You have a lot to look forward to as Andrew Hulme has a great eye for shots and capturing a story with ability for fine detail.

In 2014, you met THE man himself, Peter Andre, whilst filming the Iceland advert. So as you’ve forayed since then into the world of theatre and movies, who have you encountered that have made a lasting impression on you?

You know I’ve yet to meet someone who has had a lasting impression on me as I’m really not that in awe of anyone as such. It’s more about how a person makes me feel by what they say after they’ve gone. If I’m still pondering what they’ve said more than 24hrs later then I know they’ve left their mark.

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In 2014, you hoped to release an album or set of songs based on the Bond films… depending on whether you got the “Bend It Like Beckham” role or not! As we all know, you did get the role – but did you manage to do a Bond set or is it still on the back burner? Do you still get to do any singing?

Ah I’m still waiting to do that! It’s on the back burner right now but most definitely something I want to do in my life. I’ve sang at a couple of charity dos this October but there was a point after the show finished where I thought I’d never sing again as my voice totally decided to leave me for a few months! At that point I realised just how important it is for me to sing, whether it’s paid or not, as it feeds my soul.

Looking ahead to 2017 – any plans in the pipeline that you can reveal to us?

Well one thing I can definitely say is happening will be the release of my new ebook which should be out at the end of November. I’m booking now for talks and speaking gigs for networking groups and schools so should be rolling that out next year alongside my acting etc. The book itself is called “The Resilience Queen: 7.5 Steps to finding your own”. It gives motivation and guidance to finding and maintaining your resilience in times of adversity and uncertainty. This is with a view to following it up with another book that talks more in depth about each chapter with examples of times in my life I’ve had to be resilient and continue to overcome any and all obstacles! Also recently started to work with a fantastic new skincare and cosmetics company, MAELLE, which launched in October and you can visit my website below for more info or email me direct.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Weellll,  I’m a die-hard Primark fan but even I’ve noticed lately I’m choosing more of the Marks and Spencer gear – it’s actually quite appealing to me and I’m shocked! I guess my taste is becoming more refined as I age but I’ve always maintained I’d never do designer stuff and I stand by that still. I’m not knocking those who do, I just choose to spend my dollar elsewhere. Shoes wise,  I’m again going for the comfy foot glove range from Marks & Spencer. More so because, since April this year, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis which thankfully is under control now, but if my feet are squished in a shoe, they ain’t happy!

Do you have any favourite designers?

Not as such but when I buy from QVC (yep still a big fan!) I do love Dennis Basso for coats and Nina Leonard, Attitudes by Renee, Anything Design, Chelsea Muse and BIBA for clothes, as they’re so unique!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’m now on a bit of a mission to get some gorge autumn/winter boots that are faux fur lined, like the EMU boots range that come in a host of fabulous colours.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots win hands down!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can learn more you & follow your career.

Instagram : @buckso_
Twitter : @bucksodw
Facebook : https://m.facebook.com/bucksodw
www.myelle.co.uk
www.resiliencequeen.com

It has been fantastic to catch up with you, Buckso, and am so glad you have so many things in the pipeline and plenty for us to look forward to! Glad your auditioning perseverance on stage with Bend It Like Beckham paid off, although being mugged at gunpoint is not an experience I would like to have! So, dear readers,  Buckso has admitted that her shopping preferences have changed as she’s got older – finding herself being attracted to M & S whereas previously Primark was her main go to shop –  have you found yourself drifting away from your favourite shop as you’ve got older? Drop me a comment… I’d love to know…

Linda x

All photographs published with kind permission from Buckso Dhillon-Woolley.

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A Hug In A Box

Every now and then we all appreciate a hug – a hug to lift our mood and alleviate stress.  Sometimes a person is around to give that said hug  but if nobody is around when life is stressing you out, occasionally a virtual hug will have to suffice.  That’s when a BuddyBox can step in – it’s a virtual hug in a box – created for ANYONE who could benefit from a boost.  Love to know more?  Well, I wanted to know more so I caught up with Jayne Hardy, founder of Blurt to discover all…. Hi Jayne…

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Hi, I’m Jayne Hardy, Blurt’s Founder. I lost most of my twenties to
depression. At the height of my illness I was unable to work, leave the house or even undertake the most basic acts of self-care. When I founded Blurt in 2011, my chief goal was to prevent others from feeling as isolated as I had done. Having experienced first-hand the powerful connections that could be fostered via social media, I deliberately focused Blurt’s activities online – providing interim support for those struggling with depression and challenging the stigma around mental health. I’m also a Mum to two-year-old Peggy and live in Cornwall.

What inspired you to launch the BuddyBox?

We applied for some grant funding from UnLtd to develop our online shop, as we’ve always wanted to be sustainable long-term. In the initial meeting, our grant manager, Julie, was speaking to us about her daughter’s struggle with mental ill health whilst at university and how Julie would love for there to be some sort of ‘wellbeing’ box that she could send. The idea struck a cord and BuddyBox was born.

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BuddyBox is run by your organisation, Blurt. Can you explain a bit about Blurt and the work that you do?

We’re dedicated to helping those affected by depression. We’ll help you understand depression and what it means for you. We’ll support you, listen to you and introduce you to people who’ve been where you are. We’ll help you break down barriers and broach the subject with those closest to you. We’ll help you help yourself, with a little knowing nod. We think people who’ve experienced it know best, so we’re passionate about peer support – connecting those who have been through depression with those who are currently struggling, to provide reassurance and comfort during a very scary time.

I love your idea of these boxes – packed full of thoughtful, mood lifting treats – “A hug in a box” indeed. I know that the range of products for filling the boxes are a closely guarded secret, but what sort of items do you include?

We aim to provide a ‘self-care’ experience for the recipient and so we include products to nourish, comfort and inspire.

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What subscriptions are available? Are you able to purchase a box as a “one off”?

We have several options available – a monthly subscription, quarterly subscription, 6-monthly subscription and an annual subscription. And of course, the one-off boxes.

Where do you get your ideas from when sourcing and looking for products to fill the boxes? Do you get customers suggesting particular products?

We come up with a box theme in the first instance and then we look for products which fit within that theme but also work together to provide an experience for someone. We’re still relatively new and so we’ve been trying new things and seeking feedback to help us grow and improve.

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Any plans to expand your range of boxes in the future?

We’ve got ideas aplenty but it’s knowing whether they’re good ideas and also whether there’s a need for them. We’re taking our time and working with focus groups before we commit to anything.

As you are based in the UK, are your boxes available to purchase overseas?

Yes, they are indeed! We’ve recently opening up international shipping which was an exciting change and so we now ship worldwide.

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Apart from receiving a BuddyBox, of course, what do you personally do or use that helps you to de-stress/ feel pampered?

I’m an introvert so I’m most recharged when I’ve spent some time on my own – reading a book, having a bath or watching a series of something on Netflix. I also enjoy running and spending time with my family, my daughter is 2 years old and I’m loving seeing the world through her eyes – finding the joy and excitement in simplicity.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I’m pretty much always in a pinafore dress, dungarees and jeans. And on my feet? Flip flops.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own)

I’m a bit of a lazy and unimaginative shopper when it comes to clothes and so I like ASOS because I can find everything all in one place. I also love Preta Portabello and LUSH.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I need some winter boots.

Boots or Shoes?

I don’t really like having anything on my feet which is why I love flip flops but during the winter, I can’t bear feeling cold so I love boots to keep my feet warm – with thick snuggly socks.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about BuddyBox and Blurt.

Website: https://www.blurtitout.org

BuddyBox: https://www.blurtitout.org/BuddyBox

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blurtitout

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/blurtalerts

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theblurtfoundation

A fantastic idea Jayne and thank you so much for introducing your boxes on the blog!  Opening a box of goodies would cheer me up no end … whatever it contained… Skincare, bubble bath, make up, hosiery, lingerie, chocolates, prosecco, books, perfume,  teabags … dear readers, would you appreciate a hug in a box? If you opened a surprise package, what would be inside to put a smile on your face?

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of The Blurt Foundation.

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Hidden Mind

I came across an interesting book recently talking about the connection between the sub conscious and the mind/body, known as “bio energy”. It was called Hidden Mind: A Journey of Reconnection by Tom Griffin and Dr Nuala Bent.  Bio-energy therapy treatment is used in the special needs area of health, such as dyslexia, ADHD, ADD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder; and in some cases, for depression and anxiety too.  Tom Griffin developed the Hidden Mind/Bio- Energy and Corrective Sound Programme  – which is included in its entirety in the book; and Dr Nuala Bent is a Senior Research Fellow (Rehab Medicine) at the University of Leeds, a Plexus Bio Energy Therapist, Registered Reflexologist & Reiki Master.  I was lucky enough to catch up with Dr Nuala Bent to find out more ….and we talked about clothes too…. Hi Nuala!

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Hello. My name is Nuala and my passion is to inform people about the body’s natural ability to heal itself given the right circumstances and environment. I am originally from Ireland but have lived in Lancashire, UK for the past thirty years. My background was in Academia where most of my work was research based.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Hidden Mind: A Journey of Reconnection” – a powerful collaboration between yourself and Tom Griffin – a book that invites readers to re-ignite their mind/body connection and thrive. What inspired you to put pen to paper?

I have always been a people person and realised a long time ago that we are not islands in our ability to communicate with one another. While maintaining our uniqueness we all have an integral part to play which impacts on the whole of humanity. Working on long term research projects gave me an insight into people’s lives which went way beyond the masks we all tend to wear in the public arena. I became aware of the possibility of a connection between health state, lifestyle and the outer and immediate personal environments. I also became aware of the importance of personal responsibility in a world which seemed to be dominated by pockets of control. This of course is down to conditioning and the set-up of the institutions which we encounter in our daily living. I realised that there was a need to remind people that they have an innate knowledge which needs to be accessed which is a powerhouse of information as to what the body needs to maintain optimal health. The meaning of the word ’education’ is ‘to lead out’. This implies that knowledge is already present to be accessed.

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The book includes the entire programme, as well as its foundation, of the Hidden Mind/Bio-Energy and Corrective Sound Programme as developed by Tom Griffin. As a qualified Bio-Energy therapist yourself, in what circumstances would you recommend bio-energy therapy?

Bio-energy is a rebalancing of the body’s own energy system by removing blockages which contribute to illness. It can be used in all circumstances, from the very young to the very old. It is about looking beyond the symptoms to try and establish the cause of the problems. Within our clinics, the primary aim of the therapist is to rebalance the energy system which in turn will unlock the natural healing process within the patient’s body. Only when the energy has been balanced can the body begin the process of returning to full health. Treatment is carried out over four consecutive days for approximately an hour a day. On the fourth day of treatment the therapist will go through an educational programme explaining any changes that need to be made regarding visualisation, diet, exercise, rest etc. This is an essential part of the programme and together with the balancing of the energy the correct environment is being created which will allow the body return to better health. The aim is to engage clients in a process that gives them an element of control over their own health. These treatments are the first steps on the journey to better health and patients must be willing to give the therapy time to work

What attracted you to start studying and practising complementary and natural healthcare?

A natural curiosity as to how I might help people to cope with life’s traumas and where possible to help people to look beyond life’s knocks and realise their own potential. I was also influenced by the many eminent people I met who had stood out against the established opinion and practically sacrificed career opportunities in order to tell the truth. I refer in particular to the late Professor Jan deVries whose commitment to the people in his care was awe inspiring. However, the final steps towards bio- energy training came as a result of ill health and surgery for a brain tumour after which I was much depleted of my usual zest for life and a friend suggested I go to Ireland for bio-energy treatment. I had not heard of it previously but after treatment over four consecutive days I was so impressed with how I felt that I began to enquire and read up more about all aspects of energy medicine. However, I did return on two other occasions for bio-energy over a period of several months after which I decided to train in the Plexus system. It was during this time that I met Tom Griffin, Co-founder of the Plexus system with Michael O’Doherty and current founder of the HiddenMind and Corrective sound and Bio-energy training Programme.Tom’s work inspired me towards the many discussions related to my passion to raise awareness for a new model of medicine which resulted in Tom giving me the opportunity to begin by writing our book so that the message would get out to the wider world.

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Although you live in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

The book is available in Ireland through Tom’s website and people in the UK can contact myself. It is available on Amazon (kindle edition only) and it has also been recently translated into German because of the interest from Tom’s clinics in Germany.It is currently being translated into Polish. Tom runs clinics in Ireland, Canada, Germany, Poland, and recently in South Africa.

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

I did a lot of research for our current book and therefore realised what a fount of knowledge I have gathered for this work. I have a big interest in the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity in the body which is an area of medicine which is virtually unknown and is seldom looked at as the possible basis of unexplained symptoms. There is also the complication that blood tests will only show toxicity if it is present and happening on the day of the test, but it remains in the tissues and takes a long time to remove. I also have a huge interest in ‘bodymind’ medicine and the new science of Epigenetics.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

In contrast to my work and my associated reading I like to have a novel on the go. I don’t like to travel without a book in my luggage. In particular authors who seem to have an insight into human relationships. I have a few favourites. Not surprisingly they include the late Maeve Binchy, Santa Montifiore, Kathy Kelly, Lesley Pearse, Barbara Kingsolver and others of a similar ilk.

You have worked many years as Panel Manager of a longitudinal study researching into cognitive ageing at the University of Manchester; and later as Senior Research Fellow (Rehab Medicine) at the University of Leeds. You are also a Plexus Bio Energy Therapist, Registered Reflexologist and Reiki Master. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the medical/research field or did you have other ambitions?

Growing up I had many ambitions all of which presented themselves in accordance with what was the dominant theme of the time. However I was very lucky to find myself in a small boarding school in Southern Ireland with the Killeshandra Sisters who were an order of nuns who worked abroad on many of the world’s mission fields. I got to know many of these amazing woman who worked in situations which demanded courage and commitment to help people less fortunate. The friendships built up over the years in ‘CastleShanahan’ as the school was called were very important to me and gave me a confidence which supported me throughout my life’s journey. I still have contact with some of them to this day. I realised early on in my academic learning that I was drawn to research which probably fitted in with my curiosity about people and the life situations which impinged on them.

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Your passion is to raise awareness of the need for an integrated model of healthcare. What specific areas of healthcare do you feel is most in need of this integrated model? What hurdles are you coming across to prevent that happening?

Mostly related to the status quo opinion that health is an area that needs to be managed by a body of Professionals and that the ‘ordinary’ person has no control over how health manifests for them. A person needs to be central to the working out of the best possible way to deal with illness/disease. People need to be reminded or informed that there is a capacity for healing within each of us that needs input from ourselves as well as from our Physicians. The body knows, and often tells us but is just as often ignored in favour of lifestyle choices. If we are present to the needs of our bodies, this remind the cells to switch on the mechanism of healing. Good health is not about alternative medicine, rather it is about complementary medicine which can work alongside the medical physicians to bring about the homeostasis required to maintain a state of wellness. The dominant model of medicine does not take into account social factors or individual differences and so also excludes prevention of disease as a role in healthcare. In fact it has been described in the literature as a relationship of compliance based on prescribing.

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I love to travel. I also enjoy sharing a meal with friends and eating out from time to time. I also have a large network of friends whom I keep in contact with. My friends are important to me and many of them live in Ireland. I have a friend Anne from my school days who also lives in Bolton with whom I meet up to discuss old and new interests. I enjoy being with like-minded people.I also travel to Ireland several times a year to catch up with my family. I have a son and daughter and three grandchildren who live in Southern Ireland. I did my Bio training in Ireland and I enjoy networking with my colleagues. I hope to help Tom with teaching ‘HiddenMind Bio’ in the UK later this year.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I have a love of clothes but they need to suit how I like to look. I like outfits to flow rather than the eye having to stop and start – I suppose I would describe it as all seen in one photo rather than needing to fit many photos together to get the picture, if you know what I mean. If I am wearing a skirt or trousers the top / tunic needs to be longer than waist level.I also am a jacket person but again, I don’t like short jackets on myself. And I like to include a gilet as part of an outfit (everyday wear).I like to have a mixture of shoes which include a basic flat pair for colder weather, casualtrainer type pairs, dressy heels and sandals to wear with more dressy outfits.My main problem is trying to make a decision not to bring more than two pairs with me when travelling.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I prefer to shop in person and I like to look around several shops until an item ‘speaks’ to me.

Boots or Shoes?

I am a shoe person. I only wear boots when the weather dictates as I feel confined in boots and I always tend to notice nice shoes on people.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.

I have a website ‘Nualatherapies.com’ and Tom’s website is ‘www.hiddenmind.ie’.
I am also listed on the Plexushealthcare.ie website (Bio-energy) as a Therapist.

Thanks so much for coming onto the blog today, Nuala.  It is such an interesting therapy and I hope my readers found it of interest too.  I must pick on your shoe thought though – it amused me to find that when travelling you find it hard to limit yourself to packing less than two pairs of shoes.  I have the same problem … BUT do you find after packing say 3 pairs of footwear, that you ended up just wearing only the one pair for the fortnight after all? Or is it just me?  Dear readers, what are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Dr Nuala Bent. 

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