Category Archives: Life Issues/ Motivational Posts

White Sorrow

This week’s guest has an amazing tale to tell – of one woman’s mistake, downfall, abuse and subsequent strength.  My guest is the lovely Andrea Aviet, author of the book “White Sorrow”  … her story about domestic violence, emotional and mental abuse, starvation and what amounts to modern day slavery …  Andrea has published her book and spoken out  in an effort to motivate women stuck in similar positions to get out and to get their lives back on track. I caught up with this brave lady recently to talk about her book and her life now…. Hi Andrea….

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Hi! I am Andrea Aviet, I am 34, a mum to two girls and have written a book called White Sorrow.

“White Sorrow” is a true story of 5 years abuse you endured at the hands of your 20 stone husband & his family. What inspired you to open up and write about your experience?

I felt I must have endured the nightmare for a reason and wanted to make something positive out of it – I thought if I could inspire others to understand that domestic abuse of any form is not right, and should not be endured, then I would have put my nightmare to good use.

It must have been quite an emotional rollercoaster to write about your experiences – from being estranged from your own kin, forced into sexual encounters, suffering from emotional & physical abuse. What was the hardest part, you feel, about recalling/writing your experiences?

Writing the bits about my children. When recalling those parts of the books, even from being pregnant the first time, it often reduced me to tears. Even now I can’t read out the parts about my children without cracking a little. I recently did a reading that was being recorded for a video, and I had to stop, regroup and start again  – I was so overtaken by emotion.

Your subsequent strength shown after managing to leave your abusive relationship behind is commendable – managing to take control of your own life and making sure your two daughters are having a life filled with hobbies, laughter & love. What advice would you be giving to your own daughters when they grow up and have relationships of their own?

Have your eyes open. Don’t get swept along by romantic notion. Always have some financial independence. And if at any point you aren’t being treated right, get out.

You travelled the world a lot as a child – including time spent in India. What country impressed you most? What place is number one on your travel bucket list?

I absolutely love Australia – it was where I wanted to go when I met Mark and married him instead of going. That is still on my bucket list. I also recently visited the North East of England on business. I am determined to take my children there for a family holiday now as the coast is so beautiful.

As a child what books did you enjoy reading? What genre of books do you enjoy reading now?

I loved reading as a child and still do. I would read anything. I then studied political science at university so my reading was around my studies. Now I read good books, with strong stories. And novels, but only when I get chance around working, promoting my book and being a single mum.

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Hypothethically speaking, if “White Sorrow” was made into a film, which actress would portray you?

I would love to play myself to be honest – not because I aspire to be an actress but because it is about me. I think a young, dark haired actress would be good….someone like Selena Gomez. She would be good because she would act well but she would also appeal to younger generations and they would heed the warnings the book talks about.

The charity Refuge is close to your heart and you have spent a lot of time fund raising. There are many ways to fund raise -what is the wackiest fundraiser idea you’ve come across? Have you any favourite fundraising ideas?

To be honest my fundraising will all be done through book sales. I read about people doing crazy things all the time, and whilst I admire them, that is just not me! I wouldn’t want to ski down a mountain in a bikini or jump out of a plane. I have survived my own challenge already and am happy just donating proceeds.

Is your book, “White Sorrow”, available to purchase worldwide?

Yes, online. It is available on Amazon and other platforms.

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

I usually wear smart casual. Maybe jeans or leggings but with nice tops and jackets. Things that go from day into night, but that I am comfortable in for travelling or playing with my children. I usually wear boots but sandals come out in the summer. I am only small so heels are good, but I can’t walk far in them!!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Not really. For so long I didn’t have a disposable income or even money for food, so fashion took a backseat. I wore hand me downs that didn’t fit. Previous to my marriage I wore a lot of designer clothing and good makes of shoes. I don’t think I have quite got the bug back yet, and am too busy promoting the book and looking after my kids to do much personal shopping!

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

I want to take my children on holiday, and the summer seems to be coming, so I will be investing in a sun wardrobe!

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots – I don’t drive so I walk a lot. Boots just protect your feet more, are more comfortable and practical yet can look stylish and trendy.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about “White Sorrow”

My website is www.whitesorrow.com and you can find me on facebook.com/whitesorrow1

Thank you so much for coming on the blog and telling us about your book and life.  Your book has a powerful message – whether male or female – domestic abuse of this nature is just unacceptable.  I wish you every success with your book, and all the best in life from now on.  

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Andrea Aviet.

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An Interview With Life Purpose Tutor Sue Fletcher

Experiencing a midlife crisis? Feeling that life is passing you by? Want to find out what your purpose in life is?  My guest this week, Sue Fletcher, has a passion for life direction  and has been a life purpose tutor for over 23 years.  Combining traditional life coaching with the art of astrology, Sue’s programmes aim to help get life back on track.  Being fellow Geminis (Sue has a moon in Gemini) , we both share a common curiosity about everything and both enjoy talking… so let the interview commence …. Hi Sue…

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Hello, my name is Sue Fletcher and I have been married to John for almost fourteen years. It is a second marriage for us both and the week I met him back in 1997 I had two dreams on the Tuesday and the Wednesday of that week telling me I was going to meet someone special. I did my astrology chart and sure enough it indicated a major new love affair and one that would last! That was 19 years ago when I was 51. I will leave you to work out how old I am! I have two amazing children who live in Thailand and six grandchildren and another due this August. John has five children two live abroad one in France and one in Iceland. We get to travel to these countries and with my work I can now work online.

You are a professional life coach and astrologer. What was the inspiration behind your Life Purpose programmes, which combines traditional life coaching with the art of astrology?

There are quite a few coaches offering life purpose coaching as I researched it before I started putting the programme together. However there doesn’t seem to be an astrological life purpose coach. As an astrologer I can see what talents, gifts, skills and passion the client has and also what is at the heart and soul of the person. The client’s birth chart gives me a lot of information that other coaches cannot see. This is powerful and once the client has this revealed to them it gives them the confidence to go ahead and make changes in their life.

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How old were you when you started to get interested in astrology? Did you guess people’s star signs correctly just by observing their traits? (I’m Taurus/Gemini cusp, Aquarius moon, Libra rising, if you haven’t guessed already!) What’s your sign?

I can see from your photo the Libra rising as you have the look of Libra. I think you can tell that you have a certain amount of air in your birth chart too. Aquarius, Gemini and Libra are all air signs.I was in my early forties when I started learning astrology, although I had always had an interest in alternative ways of living and thinking and even in my twenties I was surrounded by healers and spiritual mediums. I was a bit scared of this kind of thing and now understanding my own astrology chart I realise it was part of my life path to be involved in alternative ways of helping and healing others. With regard to guessing what signs people are by observing their traits. Sometimes I am right and other times I pick up on their rising sign or a strongly placed planet they have in their birth chart. For instance your rising sign which is to do with your time of birth is all about how you project your personality & what you outwardly show to the world. Sometimes this is easy to pick up on; other times I pick up on another part of the chart like the Moon sign or a strong planet. My Sun sign is Taurus, Moon is in Gemini and I have Virgo as my rising sign. Both the Moon and rising sign are connected to Mercury the “Messenger of the Gods” so I love to communicate with everyone I meet. I am told I am a great networker! This is very Gemini so we both have the ability for communicating!!

Words Design your life written in the notepad.

You run the Life Purpose Revealed Programmes about four times a year – next one starts 6 September 2016 – what are the aims of the programme?

This programme is for anyone who is at a crossroads in their life and is not sure what direction to take  – someone who wants to make a difference and experience a more meaningful life. During the programme they will have the opportunity to find out about themselves on a deeper level and learn what needs to be in place to make them happy and fulfilled. As part of the programme they will receive a one to one astrology birth chart consultation which will highlight their strengths and talents and what makes them who they are. They will be coached to access and activate this part of them. The aim of the programme  is for them to understand themselves from their own perspective, which they learn throughout the program along with the understanding of their astrology birth chart which together becomes very powerful knowledge that is ongoing and that they can use for ever.

Have you got a target audience that you feel would benefit from life purpose coaching? 

Yes, my target audience are women who are experiencing their “Uranius opposition” which can be between the ages of 40 to 45 depending on the year and month of birth. Put in simplistic terms it is the time of the mid life crisis. It could be that they are not happy in their career, relationship or the children have just started school or gone to university. We experience astrological challenges throughout our lives and it maybe that someone aged about 58 who will be going through their “Saturn Return” may need to change their life too. Everyone experiences these changes throughout their life. We are given the opportunity at these times in our life to make any changes that are necessary. I am there to guide them through the process.

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The Life Purpose Revealed Programmes are run online – do you run other workshops or consultations, either life purpose or astrology based? How would somebody go about booking a coaching consultation with yourself?

I teach astrology classes from time to time and I have clients who come regularly for an astrological consultation. I also coach clients too. I will always look at their birth chart as it gives me so much information about the client. It is just how I work. Anyone can send me a message by email or on my contact page and my contact numbers are also available on both my websites.

Life Direction & astrology are your passions – but who has been an inspiration to you in your life? Have you got a favourite inspirational quote?

Oprah Winfrey, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay & Marianne Williamson have all inspired me although Oprah has inspired me the most, mainly because she had such a rough start in life and has won through against all odds. I love what she stands for and identify with some of her life struggles. I loved her TV programme. I think if I met her we would never stop talking. Oprah has many quotes but I particularly love this one mainly due to the fact that it aligns with what my programme is all about:

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be”.

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When you are not coaching, what do you do to relax? Any hobbies?

I love to sing and I am a huge fan of the “Great American Song Book” big band and all those old songs from “Fly me to the Moon” to “Girl from Ipanema”.  I sang at both my children’s weddings and I belong to two choirs. I love musicals & theatre and go whenever I have the opportunity. I love interior design and renovating old bits of furniture. It’s the Taurus in me as Venus my ruler is connected to anything artistic.

Hypothetically speaking, if you were given the chance to visit/work in any location in the world, what destination would be number one on your list and why?

I love to travel and as I mentioned earlier I have travelled a lot and have been lucky to be able to work in Thailand, France & Spain. One place I haven’t been is Hawaii and I would love to visit and work there. I feel that Hawaii is a mystical place and apparently the call to visit there is stronger than any other single place in the world. It has a long indigenous spiritual history which offers lots of ancient wisdom. My astro cartography map for Hawaii suggests it would be a great place for meeting people who would have a positive influence on my life. So who knows I may even get the opportunity to travel there. I must put it on my wish list!

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

I love anything that is unusual & usually brightly coloured. I prefer trousers and tops to dresses as I think they suit me better. I’ve always loved shoes and boots that again, are different. I love animal prints too. I wear funky & unusual jewellery. I do like to match my shoes/boots to my clothes. I recently bought a knee length faux fur coat which is black and white like a snow leopard. I always like to be presentable and ready for any occasion. I always have my make up on.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

The on-line shop I like is Joe Browns and I like TK Max as they do have individual designer labels.

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

I am looking for a top to go with some black & cream silk trousers that I have just bought. I do want some new summer clothes and maybe a maxi dress.

Boots or Shoes? 

I have been trying to find a stockist in the UK that sells “Alegra” shoes. It is an American brand and you can buy them on-line but mainly from Ebay or America. I would like to be able to try them on first as they cost around £100.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/face book/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can follow you and your words of wisdom.

My websites are:

www.lifepurposetutor.com

www.astrologysue.com

Blog: http://www.lifepurposetutor.com/blog/

On Facebook too – Life purpose tutor and
Astrologer Sue Fletcher

Thank you Sue for delightful presence on the blog this week and I love your fashion taste  – Joe Browns is one of my favourite online sites too 🙂  Astrology fascinates me as a topic (not a surprise really !) so dear readers, do let me know what star sign you are and what is your favourite personality trait connected with that sign? Are you a chatty Gemini, a neat & tidy Virgo, a majestic Leo, homebody Cancer? Do you think your fashion/footwear tastes are influenced in any way by your star sign? 

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Sue Fletcher.

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Just Say It

“Communication always leaves me incomplete,
The grass is greener, but it’s grown beneath my feet…
Love inspiration is a message on a wing,
But I have left it in the words you’ll never sing…

Communication let me down,
And I’m left here
Communication let me down,
And I’m left here, I’m left here again!……”

As Spandau Ballet’s song “Communication” plays in my mind, it seems a great intro to my guest this week,  Dr Cheryl Bauman, whose book “Just Say It” explores the power of the spoken word. Inspired by the change in her own relationships, Cheryl encourages people to use face-to-face communication whenever possible and to  wean off of relying on social media to develop and maintain connections with others.  I caught up with Cheryl to discover more as well as to indulge in a bit of fashion passion too….

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Thank you so much Linda for inviting me as a guest on your blog site and for interviewing me in this capacity. I truly appreciate it. I am very excited to discuss my new book called, “Just Say It! 4 Phrases That Will Change Your Life FOREVER! “My name is Dr. Cheryl Bauman. I am very grateful for the ways that God has faithfully blessed my life. I have been married to my husband Pino for 18 years and we have a beautiful 12 year old daughter named Sara. We reside in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I have worked in the education field for over 25 years. I have been very blessed to have had a number of roles within the educational system including university professor, principal, learning support consultant, special education teacher and guidance counsellor. I received my Doctor of Education from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia and I was awarded the ACEL Queensland Research in Educational Leadership and Management Award. Currently, I am teaching for the Faculty of Education Departments at several Canadian universities and I work on research projects for an International university. I also own a consulting firm where I provide workshops, seminars and consulting services to large and small private and public corporations. God has provided me with the gifting of communication and I gladly share this gifting with others through speaking, researching and writing.
As I was writing this book, I drew upon many life experiences that included those as a wife, mother, educator and consultant.

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Congratulations on publishing your book, “Just Say It! 4 Phrases That will Change Your Life FOREVER” – a book that explores the power of the spoken word and focuses on the importance of self-worth, positivity, forgiveness, spirituality and purpose. What inspired you to put pen to paper?

As I mentioned above, I have been working in the education field for over 25 years. As a result of this experience, I have had the privilege of being in contact with many people of all ages and walks of life. Presently,as well through the writing and publicizing of my book, this privilege continues to grow and my passion regarding the essential message that there is power in the spoken word is forever increasing. This book was birthed out of many life lessons and I acknowledge that I have been both the sender and receiver of unkind words. In my book,  I confess that I am not perfect, however, by understanding the power that is in the spoken word, by speaking words of encouragement out loud, I found that it confirmed to others what I thought about them. I also noted that our relationships changed for the better. As I watched my relationships flourish due to being purposeful with the words that I spoke I decided to become increasingly more purposeful with my speech and to form a habit to speak genuine, positive messages to the people in my life every single day. I decided to make this a priority in my life, to be grateful for the many blessings that I have and to let people know what a blessing they are to my life and to those around them. I believe that we all hold within us the power to choose whether we will speak positive messages to others filled with hope and truth or speak negative discouraging messages. I also believe that at some level everyone has the desire to fit in, to be cared for, and to belong. I value that our attitude is a mindset, and what we believe we will achieve. If you believe and want to form a habit of speaking positive words of truth to others, then I encourage you to begin today! We all have a responsibility as parents, spouses, co-workers, supervisors, grandparents, aunts and uncles to speak words of life and encouragement into the people in both our inner and outer circles so that they can grow to the potential they were created for on this earth. Through many life lessons I know that the good news that I am writing about in this book works! I have chosen to be a person who builds others up by giving them the gift of encouragement. I believe that you can also discover firsthand that there is power in speaking positive truths aloud to people in conversations. Through the power of the spoken word you can encourage the people around you to fulfill their purpose here on earth! I encourage people not to wait until someone retires from work, or until you say the eulogy at a loved one’s funeral to let others know what you think about them. In my book I challenge readers to begin a worldwide phenomenon and Just Say It! every single day to someone in your life. Choose to be the difference! “I believe in you”. I know you can do it!

You believe that effective communication is personal, positive and purposeful; also you feel that we are relying heavily on social media to develop and maintain connections with each other. How important is face to face communication?

Unfortunately, I have been noticing a real steady decline in the way that some people are interacting with others. As a society some of us are becoming less social. As well some of us are not nurturing our usage of face-to-face communication to build and maintain our relationships in a personal way. Instead, some of us are relying solely on social media to connect with each other and to continue relationships that also require face-to-face communication and verbal connection in order to maintain a healthy balance. There is definitely an increase in the use of social media, and for some time now, I have been contemplating the question, “is social media making us less social?” I have also been noting that some people are becoming more isolated and disconnected. People are created to be connected with each other. We are designed to be in right relationship with others. We all have a need to belong and to find our purpose in life. We are not designed to be alone. As some people become more and more isolated, I have recognized that some people are more sad, and less kind towards each other, and also most notably less encouraging and kind to themselves. Statistics support an increase in depression and mental illness. People who live under a cloud of negativity do not believe that they belong and are cared for; they lose their direction in life, their sense of purpose, and their willingness to seek resolution. I believe face-to-face communication is essential to maintaining healthy and happy relationships. Most of us have the unique opportunity of communicating with many people throughout the course of our day. The people in our lives may include people who are both in our inner circle, such as our family members, and people in our outer circle such as our neighbours and co-workers. I believe that these opportunities are a gift that we can positively pass along to others. I believe face-to-face communication is essential, however, I will qualify that by stating that geographical constraints often play a role in not permitting people to have these very vital face-to-face communication opportunities. If you live far away from the important people in your life, then Skype and/or the telephone is a great way to connect and still be able to at least hear the tone of a their voice. If you work in one city and need to communicate with companies in another city, of course modern technology is the most effective and efficient form of communication. I believe that social media is definitely here to stay and I also believe that it is a very effective tool in communication, but we must not neglect the importance of face-to-face communication. We must continue to nurture relationships based on our human need to belong and to care for each other. Body language and tone of voice are essential components of verbal communication that we are missing out on if we completely rely on texts or e-mails to communicate. In my book, I talk about the fact that many misinterpretations are happening because people are relying solely on technology to communicate. I address the fact that many problems could be avoided if we had face-to-face conversations where we could look people in the eye, they could view our body language and we could view theirs as well as hear their tone of voice. I also discuss how we must be personal, positive and purposeful with our verbal communication. It is essential to our well-being and the well-being of others around us.

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Your book contains many valuable lessons that others can learn from. What, in your own mind, was the most valuable lesson you have learned from your life experiences so far?

Linda, you ask some great questions!

I think the most valuable lesson I have learned is that I always make a purposeful effort to be genuine, honest and positive with people. Due to some extremely priceless lessons in life, I believe that we all have a choice to decide as to how we are going to interact with others. Are we going to view others in terms of their strengths and encourage them with their strengths? Or are we going to focus on their weaknesses and discourage them by always pointing out their mistakes? My perception is that it is very easy for people to find fault with others and to continually be critical of them. Finding fault with others does not take a lot of talent or skill. In many facets of the current world we live in, it is being emphasized and modelled that it is OK to be critical, to say cruel and mean things to each other. Saying and doing cruel things seems to be the norm. We don’t have to look very far for this unfortunate truth, we just need to turn on the TV and listen to some of the reality TV shows that are being hailed as “reality”. What I believe to be more challenging in this day and age that we live in is to focus on the strengths and talents of people, to uplift and admonish them. In my book I am encouraging people to make saying kind, genuine, truthful words to be the new norm. I am encouraging people to begin a worldwide Just Say It! phenomenon and to use the spoken word as a powerful and positive encouragement tool.

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

Information as to how to purchase my book, “Just Say It! 4 Phrases That Will Change Your Life FOREVER” is available on my website as well as on-line through amazon.com and throughout the world as numerous on-line book distributing companies carry my book. If readers have a favourite on-line book distributing company that they normally buy from they can enter the name of my book and my name and there is a high possibility that their distributing company does carry my book.  I encourage you to start the worldwide phenomenon to Just Say It! Post your success stories on my website! Also on my website you will find a free downloadable study guide, bookmarks and postcards.

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

I am currently working on a Just Say It! book series. I have completed the second book in the series and I am now writing the third. I have already outlined the fourth!

I am also writing chapters in two educational books. One of the books should be released in December, 2016. It is entitled ” Cultures of Leadership: Exploring educational leadership across cultures”. The second educational book will be out in late 2016 or early 2017. It will be called, “Leading, Learning and Aligning: Keys to sustaining school improvement”. So, watch for these books as well, especially if you are in the educational field.

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

I enjoy reading various genres. I love books and I love reading. Our house is filled with books, and I always have two or three on the go at one time. Some of my favourite types of books are autobiographies and biographies. I love learning about people’s lives. I also enjoy reading suspense novels with an action/adventure plot; mystery books; self-help, motivational and books about business; and educational literature. Due to the fact that I am a university professor, my work involves a great deal of purposeful reading to both enhance my professional growth as well as the knowledge and skills of the students that I teach.

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You earned your doctorate from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia; although you currently reside in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. What do you love about being in Canada? What place is at the top of your “Must See” Travel bucket list?

I really love living in Canada. Canada has so much to offer in terms of varied geography and the four seasons. We are able to experience spring, summer, fall and winter. Although, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in my opinion, our winters are just a bit too long…. Canada has the rocky mountains, the flat plains of the prairie provinces and the red sand in Prince Edward Island. Where we live in Ottawa, we have beautiful beaches, bike paths, hiking/jogging trails and ski hills. I enjoy the freedom that Canada provides for both me and my family. Our daughter is provided with an excellent education through our public school system and she also has the opportunity to play sports both at school and after school. Our immediate extended families live near us. Although, some of our relatives live further away in other countries. We are fortunate and feel blessed that we can visit them from time to time. The United Kingdom is on my “Must See” Travel bucket list. I have never been there before. Ever since I was a young girl I have wanted to travel and visit the UK. I believe one day this dream will come true!

Confession time! Do you have a favourite social media platform that you enjoy using on a personal basis? Does it differ from your favourite business medium?

I enjoy using both facebook and twitter. Due to the fact that my life is extremely busy, as I am sure most of the readers’ lives are as well, I do not spend a lot of time on social media. However, my business and book series are promoted on Facebook and Twitter.

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

I really enjoy sports and staying active. I have tons of energy and I believe it is important to stay fit and to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle! I run three to four times a week, often with my husband and sometimes with our daughter, Sara. Although Sara is now much faster than I am, so she will speed ahead of me! When the weather becomes colder and there is snow on the ground, we have a treadmill in the basement, so we all take turns to run on it. That is one of the downfalls of our Canadian winter weather. The up-side to having snow and ice is that I enjoy participating in winter sports such as downhill skiing and skating.  In Ottawa, where I live,there is an outdoor skating rink that runs along the Rideau Canal. The cleared length of the canal is 7.8 kilometers or 4.8 miles. This is the equivalent surface area of 90 Olympic hockey rinks. As a family, we enjoy skating on the Rideau Canal. I  also enjoy cooking. I like creating main dishes and experimenting with ingredients and recipes. I have a lot of fun doing this and my family and friends enjoy eating my food, so I take it that my experimentation with ingredients is working! Our daughter Sara plays competitive soccer in a provincial development league. Pino and I are busy running her to practices or watching her play games. This is her passion and it has become ours! As a family we are active in our local church. We also love spending time up at the lake. It is a generational family residence. As a family we like to travel and explore new places. I believe these times that we set aside to connect with each other as a family are foundational to our growth and communication. The memories that we create through these quality life experiences continue to strengthen our bonds and love for each other.

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

So excited to answer fashion and shoe questions. Linda, you have really provided me with an opportunity to talk about my favourite loves which are writing, reading, fashion and footwear. This site is truly the BEST! To answer this question about what type of outfits and shoes I would normally be found wearing, it depends on the context. I play sports and I run about 3-4 times per week, so I can be found in jogging shorts and track pants to a business suit to a very formal evening gown.

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This red leather jacket is one of my favourites. I like to buy jackets that serve a dual purpose. A jacket makes a statement about a person’s fashion. I believe a jacket is a stand-a-lone outfit. I always want to ensure that when I “step out” that my clothes define who I am. Living in Canada I have many jackets to keep me warm, as that is a requirement for the cold climate. So, I am very purposeful in the jackets that I buy.

Do you have any favourite shops?

I often shop at a store called Winners. Winners stores are found throughout Canada and they are also connected to the TJ MAXX stores in the United States. Winners’ stores offer a great selection of designer clothing, shoes and boots at discount pricing. I really enjoy getting a deal on my purchases. I also believe in buying quality clothing and footwear, as I like my clothing and footwear to fit well, to last a long time and to look good. In Ottawa we also have stores called “Jones New York”. These stores are throughout Canada and the United States, as well as online. I really like to buy a lot of my work clothing at the Jones New York stores, as the style suits me and the cut of the clothing fits me well. I buy a lot of Anne Klein clothing as well. For my sports clothing and equipment I often shop at Sport Chek which is another store found throughout Canada and online.

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

I believe it is “better to give then to receive”. I enjoy buying presents for others, especially clothing and footwear. My mother’s birthday is coming up shortly and she has told my daughter that she wants a pair of Nike shoes exactly the same as Sara’s. I think this is great, as my mom is going to be 75 years young! She is still very active and in great shape. The Nike shoes for my mom will be the next piece of footwear on my list of purchases! I have my eye on a navy sweater dress. Any shade of blue is my favourite colour. I also love wearing dresses, especially with a great pair of leggings or tights and a pair of boots. I can often be found wearing a dress at any time and for any occasion – even when I am watching Sara play soccer. I find dresses just so comfortable!

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An Interview With Lifestyle Entrepreneur Cato Hoeben

The term “Lifestyle Entrepreneur” was first coined in 2013 by ex American footballer, Lewis Howes, to describe an individual that creates a business with the purpose of altering their personal lifestyle and not for the sole purpose of making profits – focusing more on the rewards that enhance enjoyment and passion. To find out more, I caught up with the talented composer and lifestyle entrepreneur, Cato Hoeben, who has recently co written with his mother a book entitled The Lifestyle Entrepreneur… Hi Cato!

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Hi! My name is Cato Hoeben and I am a composer who writes music for film, adverts, games and documentaries and I have also released a number albums that you can find on my website.  In addition to composing, I also do voice over work and have a varied history of working in science journalism-related work as well as working as a web developer. I live in London, but spend a number of months in Seville where my wife is from. Over the last 4-5 years, I’ve become what’s known as a ‘lifestyle entrepreneur’ which, in a nutshell, is an approach to making a living that allows you to shape a lifestyle the way you want by earning through multiple revenue streams.

Apart from being a lifestyle entrepreneur, you are co-author of the book “The Lifestyle Entrepreneur” – a step by step guide for people of all ages looking in depth at what is actually entailed in becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur. Having worked in London at a media production company where you created online GCSE science modules, what made you give up your belief that the key to financial security & future happiness was stable employment?

When you look at the ‘single job’ approach objectively, it’s pretty illogical. While it’s true that there is a hierarchy in place in many organisations that you can wrestle your way through, today’s work environment is much more hostile and less stable than it was a few decades ago. Once you lose that line of income, you’re back in line to find a replacement, and usually you’ll need to do it fast if you have a mortgage, family and bills. So, in my opinion, there is no ‘job for life’. You can easily be dropped by your boss, replaced by someone (locally or even remotely now) or the company just goes bust and in fact I have seen this happen a couple of times in previous jobs. When that happens, you suddenly have no income which blows the ‘financial security’ argument out of the water. Obviously, if you’re happy in your job and have the free time to do all the things you want to do, then that’s fantastic. But I’ve come across many instances with friends, colleagues and other contacts saying they are tired of the often tense employer-employee relationship in their jobs, the lack of time for family, friends and the limited salaries they receive to believe that the antiquated work model we’re told we have to follow is the path to happiness. Being more entrepreneurial seems to me a much more exciting, empowering (although I hate that word) and potential lucrative way of bringing in an income and shaping how you live your life.

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What are the differences between being a lifestyle entrepreneur and being a freelancer?

Good question and one I’m asked a lot. One of the principle aims of being a lifestyle entrepreneur is that you build a ‘buffer’ for your earnings so that you don’t fall into the typical employer-employee model. As a freelancer, you work to commission i.e. you are employed to do a specific job for a client and then it’s usually over. I call that type of income ‘active earning’ as you dedicate time to actively doing the work on a contractual basis. In contrast, ‘passive earning’ would be the equivalent of setting up an investment of some kind and is often much slower to build up but can turn into a regular income stream. In my case, my albums and the royalties I get from licensing my music for film, adverts and other productions are ‘passive’ income streams. I put the work into creating the product and then it continues to earn me an income stream in the future. Freelance work is almost always purely an ‘active’ income stream as you will usually earn no more in the future from that work. It’s essential to have both of these types of income when becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur as it will allow you some important benefits like having income streams you can fall back and shape the day as you want. I discuss both of these approaches to earning in The Lifestyle Entrepreneur and how you can approach a healthy balance between the two.

What do you love most about being a lifestyle entrepreneur? Is there a downside?

It has to be the flexibility of how, when and where I work. Those three things hold so much value when I realise the extent to which I can move work around to fit my needs or simply free time up to work on the things that require intense periods of attention (like a feature film…or my wife!). Even though it’s totally possible to earn a lot of money working this way, for me, it’s much more important to build a lifestyle that makes you happy. Once you realise you’re covering your basic costs like a mortgage, bills and supporting your family, there’s not much more that I find I want in life. In terms of the downsides, getting going as a lifestyle entrepreneur can be difficult and frustrating like in any entrepreneurial endeavour. There are ups and downs based on how your income streams / businesses fare, but a lot of the downsides can be flipped on their head by looking at the negatives or lack of interest in what you’re offering as something you can improve upon. The Americans are great at this and use something like a drop in sales as an opportunity to analyse what is ‘going wrong’ with their business. It can lead to all sorts of things to try out like advertising to a different demographic, modifying your product or service or even realising you’re offering something that has no demand so you either need to create that demand or try something different. Do I get tired sometimes with the workload? Yes, absolutely. But the energy I get from doing things I’m passionate about helps enormously as the division between work and play is thoroughly blurred for me.

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Your book goes into depth about lifestyle entrepreneurism – but what is your main piece of advice to anybody who may be unhappy with their work/life balance at the moment? What should their first steps be?

As I’ve been in the same place, I know very well what it is like to feel trapped in a job you’re unhappy in and all the doubts that go through your mind as to whether you’ll be able to make ends meet if you give that job up. And it’s unrealistic to expect someone to drop everything at once if you’re dependant on that income. So, my approach to making the transition was a gradual one and is primarily what I recommend to those who are more risk-averse. I began experimenting with things I wanted to sell online and built up some income streams related to music (my passion) all while I worked as a web editor at a mental health charity. As these passive income streams grew, I started taking on the occasional freelance commission outside of my primary job to help bolster my income. Time is always an issue when you’re in a full-time job, but these mini ‘businesses’ can take as little as a few hours a week to maintain depending on what you choose to do. Once I knew I could pay my basic living costs, I decided to take the plunge on a more permanent basis which freed up my time to find new clients and develop my income streams further. And don’t be misled by the fact some income streams bring in small amounts, $80 a month from various streams can build up fast.

Is your book available to purchase outside the UK?

Absolutely. It’s available as a physical book in stores like Waterstones and online via Amazon as a physical book and an ebook. There’s a link on our website too.

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

Yes, although I’m still exploring those ideas. Something I think would be useful would be looking in depth at how the Lifestyle Entrepreneur approach can be employed in specific industries as it can be daunting trying to figure out how to make money from multiple strands in certain sectors. Some initial topics I’m considering are science journalism and music as I have experience in those areas. But any area that is that competitive and difficult to work in would make good topics to investigate as if you can make a living in a tough niche, you should be able to do it in any industry.

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

As the son of a journalist, I’m a poor example of a bookworm! As dry as it sounds, I tend to read more for ‘function’ than ‘fun’ as it feels like wasted time otherwise, so you’ll find lots of self-development and practical books on my shelf rather than Nietzsche and Goethe. Feel free to label me a philistine. That said, I am a fan of great stories and my childhood was full of Greek Legends, books like Moby Dick and Robin Hood. I particularly enjoyed A Portrait of Dorian Gray and science-fiction books like Brave New World. In all honesty though, I get much more out of film than I do books because of the interplay between music and picture.

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Apart from being a lifestyle entrepreneur and author, you are also a talented composer, composing music for films etc. Growing up, did you aspire to have a musical career or were your aspirations quite different?

Since the age of seven I’ve been playing piano, so I’ve always had an interest in music. But I was firmly en route to becoming a science journalist having studied chemistry and biology at A-level, biology at Sussex University and then doing a Masters in Science Communication at Imperial. However, as any composer will tell you, there are a lot of parallels between maths and music so in a funny way I guess all those years molecular biology calculations and breaking my brain over molar masses was actually feeding my inner musician!

When you’re not writing, web designing or composing what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I love travelling abroad, exploring new places to eat in and play basketball regularly. Both Seville and London are fantastic places for food, the former being considerably cheaper of course, but some of the most amazing places I’ve eaten in have been in Japan. I’m also interested in sampling unusual sounds that I can transform into virtual instruments for use in my music, so you’ll often find me recording things like pots and pans, bowing strange objects with a violin bow, etc.

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

I’m a fan of Aldo shoes which is a chain that can be found throughout London, but also Grenson’s do some great shoes that I’m always drooling over when I pass by their shop. In terms of fashion, if you ask my brother, I’m the anthesis of stylish and he accuses me of wearing Cornish pasty-style shoes, but I like to think that hidden underneath my inner science geek there is someone incredibly stylish who is ahead of his time. My outfits are usually smart casual.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I spend quite a lot of time on the sites where I offer my services and products to gauge how I’m doing and seeing what other opportunities are out there, but in terms of keeping up with news, I tend to follow the BBC website, Guardian, Lifehacker and TechCrunch. I’m not much of a shopper, but I do have an unhealthy tendency to spend lots on virtual instruments to use in my music that often needs taming.

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

I want to replace my pseudo-leather jacket that is starting to peel and show me up in public. But that could take some time as I need to find something that has a cut I like and long enough arms (the bane of my life).

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes as I find them more comfortable and less cowboy-ish. That said, I’m starting to try the boot look since a friend of mine convinced me to get some leather boots from Valverde de Camino – a small village in the province of Huelva, Spain that is renowned for having some of the best leather products in Europe. Since I bought them, I’ve worn them twice, so the adjustment is taking its time.

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.

The site for The Lifestyle Entrepreneur is http://bit.ly/lifestyle-entrepreneur you can also buy the book and read more about it at http://www.lifestyle-entrepreneur.net. We also have a FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/lifestyleentrepreneurnet/ and our Twitter page to follow is https://twitter.com/TheLifestyleEnt. For music-related stuff and info about my composing work, visit http://www.catohoeben.com.

Music from my album Vulnerable Beauty, here’s a soundcloud link:
https://soundcloud.com/catohoeben/vulnerable-beauty-montage

Or there’s my new album Flaming Flamenco:
https://soundcloud.com/catohoeben/flaming-flamenco

Thank you Cato for enlightening me, and hopefully my readers too, as to what being a lifestyle entrepreneur is all about.  I also loved knowing about your music too – the idea of recording virtual instruments sounds fun to me!  Pots & pans make great drums, and I made a virtual guitar once using a shoebox and elastic bands…. Dear readers, have you any virtual musical instrument stories to tell? Does being a lifestyle entrepreneur appeal to you?  Like always, I love to know so don’t be shy, drop me a line….

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Cato Hoeben.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meetings In Moccasins

Do you feel that you are on the hamster wheel of work, spinning round and round, day in day out?  Do you get so work focused that you forego those breaks/holidays? Yes?  My guest this week is Barbara Wittmann – business owner, leadership coach, IT consultant and a passionate entrepreneur – whose latest new book “Meetings In Moccasins”, shares the positive implications of slowing down, taking a leaf out of nature’s book and  from the ancient wisdom of North American cultures.  I caught up with Barbara recently to find out more….

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Hi! I’m Barbara Wittmann, 40 years old and live in Munich, Germany. I’m an IT Consultant, leadership coach and passionate entrepreneur. My quest for healthy concepts of leadership and growth brought me into the wilderness, where I explored the ancient wisdom of Native American cultures. I integrate their values and rituals into my daily business life with great success. I frequently travel to wild places to get away from my hectic business life, recharge and feed my soul. I’m a world traveller and love to connect opposites, as I believe that is the place where true innovation really happens.

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Congratulations on publishing your book, “Meetings In Moccasins” – a book that advises how to avoid the hamster wheel of work and shares the positive implications of slowing down and getting back to the basics of nature. What inspired you to put pen to paper?

I started my own business 10 years ago. The first years were rough in getting a foot on the ground, hiring my first employees and building a client base. Being an entrepreneur is quite the journey. It involves facing fears and frequently go beyond your personal comfort zone. I wanted to do it right and was hiring a business coach to speed up growth. I soon doubled and tripled my revenue and even founded two other companies. Here I wanted to escape the hamster wheel when I started my own business just to find out that I was in it again. I knew that I had to change things to stay healthy. I was at a point of questioning many things in my life and decided I needed to do some intense self reflection. I signed up for a Visionquest, which is based in the Native American tradition. I went out into nature to quiet my mind and see what is next. After sitting in solitude for three days and three nights I came back with the realization that nature is our biggest teacher when it comes to growth. I started applying the basic principles to my own organization to find out that by slowing down and getting back to basics I was happiest, had happier employees and clients. I felt my experience and journey was worth sharing, as our world needs to get back to a healthier pace.

Taking a leaf out of nature’s book, and adding elements of ancient wisdom from Native American cultures, readers will learn what it takes to achieve sustainable personal and professional fulfilment. Who is your target audience for this book?

The target audience for my book are business owners, entrepreneurs and team leaders. This book is written for all those who are curious on how to apply healthier concepts to their personal and professional lives.

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You have explored the ancient wisdom of Native American cultures. What, in your own mind, was the most valuable lesson you learnt from them? What attracts you to the Native American cultures?

What attracts me to the Native American Culture is the wealth of wisdom and the closeness to nature. It is a very distinct way of viewing the world and understanding the natural laws. Something that modern society has completely lost. We have all become so materialistic, that we are neglecting the wealth of knowledge of those who have come before us. For me the most profound teaching in the ancient ways is about how to see beauty in our broken world. The Navajo call the core of their teachings Beauty Way. I love that concept, because if we don’t see beauty in ourself, our action and the world anymore we have lost all connection to healthy relationships, gratitude and humility.

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

Yes, my book is available for purchase through my US publisher Balboa Press or simply through Amazon.

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

This is definitely not the last book with my name on it. There are so many topics that I would be curious to explore deeper. I’m working with a lot of individuals and businesses. I’m always really touched by their stories. The next book might be one of stories on how implementing some of the practices in my book changed their way of doing things. This is just an example. Many more ideas cooking.

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

My all time favorite author is Terry Tempest Williams. When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice is one of the most powerful books I have read. I love poetry. When I go backpacking I always bring my personal collection of poems with me. That includes a broad variety from Rainer Maria Rilke to Mary Oliver.

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You frequently travel to the wild and untouched places of North America – Where is your favourite location?

I have a little vacation home in the Four Corners Region. From my doorstep I can literally hike into the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Other favorite playgrounds in that area include Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Verde & the Manti La Sal National Forest. Other places I really enjoy are Death Valley & the Sierras. And there is so much more to see. I just need more time to explore 😉

What place is at the top of your “Must See” Travel bucket list?

Hike the John Muir Trail
Travel to Iceland to see the Northern Lights
See wildlife in Africa
Travel the Australian Outback

When you’re not busy with your work commitments, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy to relax?

I love riding my road bike. I usually go out at the crack of dawn when I have the roads to myself. To me this is almost meditative. I love to cook and having friends over for dinner. This includes going to the local farmers market. Simply dedicating a complete day to relationships & good conversations. I go on walks or hikes whenever I can. This is my way of digesting my busy days and slowing down.

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

When I started my corporate carrer as a consultant the right outfit was really important. Basically it underlined your competency level. In those days I really needed professional clothing as my level of experience was still low 😉 Today I can get away with business casual, as I know my stuff. You would find me showing up for a consulting gig in jeans, leather boots & a blouse. Depending on the topic and situation I sometimes show up at clients wearing a happy face T-Shirt. A good way to break the ice. For outdoor clothing I prefer modern and colorful functional clothing. Hard to find, as most outdoor outfitters choose earth colours. My all time favorite is a german brand called Maloja. They add colour and fun to outdoor clothing.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Even though there are many great online sites out there I’m still old fashioned and I love shopping in smaller stores in Munich or when I’m in the U.S. my favorite shopping spot is downtown Boulder. A must see is “Show Fly” and  “Goorin Bros Hat Shop.”

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

As I’m heading to Colorado in December on the top of my list are warm SOREL winter boots.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots are my favorite. I feel they are more functional and pretty much go with anything. My favorite are boots from BED STU.

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.

www.barbarawittmann.de
https://www.facebook.com/ba.wittmann/?fref=ts

I love your travel bucket lists ideas, Barbara.  I have seen the Northern Lights not in Iceland but in the mountains of Northern Finland and I have been on safari in Kenya.  I share your dream to visit the Australian Outback (I’d love to see Uluru Rock) and Iceland.  I would love to photograph polar bears in Churchill, Canada, visit your wilderness area (Four Corners Region)  and do a exploration cruise to the Antarctic! So, dear readers, what’s on your travel bucket list? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Barbara  Wittmann.

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She’s A Boy

Imagine being designated at birth as being a boy but raised as a girl on the advice of doctors… And discovering at the age of 25, after the results of a chromosome test, to discover that you are in fact genetically male.  My guest this week on the blog is Louise Chapman, ghostwriter of the book “She’s A Boy” – the autobiography of Joe Holliday – Joe suffered from cloacal extrophy, a severe and rare birth defect which meant that his abdominal region was catastrophically malformed and he had no penis.  I caught up with Louise recently to find out more…. Hi Louise!

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Hi, I’m Louise Chapman. I was a reporter on newspapers in Lincolnshire and Norfolk for more than a decade until 2015 when I switched to part time communications work, freelancing and my first book “She’s A Boy” was published. I’m married with a young son and teenage stepdaughter and, like so many others, constantly feel there aren’t enough hours in the day!

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“She’s A Boy” is your first ghostwriting project and it has already been named in Amazon’s top ten non fiction bestseller list. What inspired you to become a ghostwriter?

The thing I loved most about being a local news reporter was the
people I met and the stories they had to tell. It’s a massive privilege to be able to talk to and write about inspiring and amazing people, what they have achieved, what motivates them – and to be paid to do it! The problem with news is it moves so fast. You scratch the surface of a story and you’re on to the next one. I wanted the chance to dig deep into a story and find out everything about what took someone from one point in their life to another, how they had reacted along the way and the feelings they’d had. When I first thought about being a ghostwriter I don’t think I’d heard the term. I just thought there must be people out there with fantastic stories to tell who might allow me to write them.

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“She’s A Boy” is the autobiography of Joe Holliday – a lad who was born male but because he was suffering from cloacal extrophy, a severe and rare birth defect which meant that his abdominal region was catastrophically malformed – including the absence of a penis – doctors advised his mother to bring him up as a girl.  Thus Joel became Joella. When he was 8, he attracted media attention as his family fought the right to change his birth certificate from male to female. It was only after a chromosome test at 25 that Joella finally discovered the truth  that she was genetically male.  I found the book very moving, sad in places, shocking and yet hope also radiated too.  It must have been quite an emotional rollercoaster to write. What were the highlights and lowlights whilst working on the book alongside Joe and his family?

I think you just summarised Joe’s story perfectly! He lives locally to me and I had always been aware of him and his story even though I had never written about him myself. I looked him up in the phone book and asked if I could write his life story for him. At that stage he was still living as Joella and believed himself to be female. Joe had suffered with depression for years and although he had come through the worst of it he still felt little hope for the future. I found that heartbreaking and was also unconvinced having his life story thrown back into the public arena at that stage was going to be right for him. When he discovered he had male genetics and decided to live as a man it was the best moment because suddenly he seemed like a different person – hopeful and finally happy. The reaction to an extract of the book printed in the Daily Mail on the day of publication was also pretty amazing – there were more than 350 comments on the story and every one I read was so supportive of Joe.

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For decades, doctors believed that baby boys born without a penis be classified as girls; and vice versa with girls.  Did Joe at any point convince himself he was a girl or did he always have the underlying feeling he was a boy? Does Joe feel that all babies should be given the chromosome test if they are born of indiscriminate sex or at least have the “sex” part of the birth certificate postponed until a final diagnosis can be given?

I think to understand how Joe felt about himself you have to try to
imagine what it was like to be in his shoes. He had only ever known himself to be Joella – a girl. For him to think he was anything other than a girl was to him as complicated and difficult to comprehend as it would be for anyone else. He wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else, he completely convinced himself he was female but he was deeply unhappy and it is only on reflection that he can see much of that unhappiness was related to trying to be something he wasn’t. Joe is now building his own knowledge about intersex variations and working with organisations such as Intersex UK. Up to one in 1,000 babies and children do not have standard sexual characteristics. Sometimes a person can have typically male chromosomes but external sexual organs of female appearance and they may feel female. Chromosomes aren’t the only defining factor. I think most intersex campaigners want governments and doctors to recognise that sex isn’t as simple as people think. There may be male one end and female the other but there’s a lot in between and certainly babies and children should not be pushed into uninformed, non consensual surgery to ‘fix’ their bodies and make them conform to a male or female genital norm.

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Joe has had to overcome unthinkable physical and emotional challenges. How have these challenges affected his relationships and friendships?

Joe had a rough time at school and after years of being left out and bullied he was home schooled from the age of 11. Then he struggled to be able to work due, in large part, to his ongoing health struggles. As most of us make our friendships through work and school it definitely limited his social circle. However, regardless of all he has faced, he is jaw-droppingly level headed, sensible and intelligent and now he is in a much better emotional place I think the world is opening up for him.

As a child what books did you enjoy reading? What genre of books do you enjoy reading now?

I wasn’t actually a huge reader as a child but George’s Marvellous Medicine was the first book I remember reading and I went on to love all of Roald Dahl’s books.  Now, I don’t like to read or watch anything too dark. I can’t bear thrillers or anything that involves abuse or bullying of any kind. As a result for a long time I read lots of what was essentially chick lit – Louise Bagshawe was a favourite. I still admire Louise Bagshawe’s writing but I’ve tired of that genre now and am flailing to find the non-fiction genre/authors that really work for me. In recent years I have read a lot of autobiographies with a both personal and professional interest. My son is also now of an age where I am getting to read him things like Harry Potter which is great fun.

Hypothetically speaking, if you could pick to ghostwrite the life story of any historical figure, who would you pick and why?

There really isn’t one person I would desperately have wanted to write about. I really love the stories of ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. All tales of triumph over adversity appeal to me. It would be fascinating to get under the skin of any extreme or controversial character. Writing the book of someone like Margaret Thatcher would, no doubt, be totally absorbing, however can you imagine what it would be like trying to produce a manuscript that pleases them? I think ghostwriting could easily be a big nightmare working with the wrong person.

What, in your opinion, are the best bits of being a ghostwriter? And, dare I say it, the downside?

Being able to discover every aspect of someone’s story, their thoughts and reactions and have the opportunity to put that into print is amazing. The challenges surround trying to capture their voice – telling the story in their words as they would and in ensuring you are aware of everything. A little detail that didn’t seem important enough to mention may later prove crucial.

When you are not writing, what hobbies do you partake in?

I have a young son, a teenage stepdaughter and a husband and the
absolute best thing in the world is being with them, preferably somewhere hot and when none of us has anything else we have to be doing. I love to read in the sun – a pile of unread books and magazines is very exciting! Having days out with my little boy where we can run around, climb trees and explore somewhere new, going to the beach and roaming new cities preferably with my husband. There’s a whole list of hobbies I would love to take up but spare time seems the most elusive of things.

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

I’m afraid practicality comes first for me. I wear trousers and jeans, flat shoes except on special nights out and am rubbish at accessorising by day. I’m always looking at other people and thinking how put together they look and promising myself I will make more effort. I’ve always been fortunate in being slim and tend to wear nicely fitting clothes which hopefully makes up for some of my fashion failings!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I’m always amazed at people who can shop for clothes online. I try
everything on and discard 80 per cent of what I thought I was going to
like, often because it doesn’t fit even if I try two different sizes. Surely that’s the same for everyone?! I used to buy a lot of things from Jane Norman because their sizing did seem spot on for me.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

I’ve never been a follower of fashion and am more drawn to simple classic styles that last but I seem to always be replacing the basics and never get around to adding in the one or two seasonal items that would no doubt lift my wardrobe. I would love to get to a point where I had the ultimate capsule wardrobe – black, white and brown summer sandals for summer; black and brown boots and beautifully cut coats in a couple of colours for winter etc.

Boots or Shoes?

Both! How can you pick? I adore a towering, slim line heeled sandal despite wearing them very, very rarely and only on a night out. They give you instant elegance and confidence. In winter I never tire of my black, flat, lace up calf length bikerish boots. Boots with a heel can make you feel great but again, I have a couple of pairs at the back of the wardrobe but just can’t be bothered with daytime heels any more.

Links you would like to share so that readers of the blog can learn more about “She’s A Boy”, Joe Holliday and yourself.

You can buy She’s A Boy on Amazon in all territories including Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
You can find out more about me, my writing, She’s A Boy and Joe
at: www.bylouisechapman.com I’m also on Twitter (@bylouisechapman) and Facebook : ByLouiseChapman.com

Thank you for chatting to us today. Joe is one amazing person and I hope that his story helps others to understand the physical and emotional rollercoaster of being one of those 1000 babies whose gender isn’t completely clear cut.   Any thoughts, dear readers? Do share!

Linda x

Photography by Tony Jones.  All photos published with kind permission of Louise Chapman.

 

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An Interview With Shaman John Norseman

According to the Washington Post, in a recent survey, more than 60% of people in over 40 countries are unhappy and unengaged with their current occupations.  The start of a New Year is a good time to reevaluate your life, learning valuable lessons such as walking away from all negativity.  So it is with great pleasure that I welcome onto the blog today my guest, John Norseman, who after 20 years in the business world, including being CEO of 4 major companies, decided in 2009 to leave the corporate high rises for the spiritual life of a shaman. Hi John, and welcome….

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Hi! ​My name is John Norseman, author of “Journey of a Shaman.” I was CEO of four major companies and lived in many countries. During that time I developed strong leadership and communication skills among people of many different cultures including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, France, Italy, the Azores, as well, of course, my native UK.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Journey of a Shaman” – a motivational autobiography detailing your life journey as a former businessman to becoming spiritually attuned to the Earth and life as a Shaman. What was the turning point or inspiration that made you put pen to paper and write your biographical journey?

I was guided by Spirit five years ago to write the book, which is the totally true story of my journey through life with all its ups and downs as a practical, inspirational, motivational and self-help guide to help people change their lives to be what they want them to be. During the extended writing period Spirit put in my path various people of all ages and backgrounds who convinced me that this book should be written as the content I shared with them immediately helped them in a practical way. It inspired me to finish the book knowing that it would help a very large number of people.

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Your book shares life experiences with civil rights, friendship, love, death and finding your place within the world. Having been CEO in 4 major companies, what made you decide to leave the corporate world for the spiritual life of a Shaman?

The process of making a life changing decision generally occurs over a period of time and my decision was no exception. A key driving force in my corporate career had been to re-establish my self-confidence by earning the esteem of others. Throughout my career I had been aware that I was a practical intuitive but had never acknowledged those abilities. It coincided with two things which were achieving professionally and financially all I had wanted to achieve in my corporate life and deciding to find fulfilment in my personal life by ending an unhappy marriage and starting a new happy marriage. We started a small business and it was from that point at the age of 51 in 1992 that I started to expand my spiritual awareness that eventually led to my becoming a full time practicing Shaman in 2007 when we retired after selling our business. After that I was free to operate as a full-time Shaman providing Spiritual Healing, Spiritual Guidance and Spiritual Teaching.

Your book contains many valuable lessons that others can learn from, for example, “walk away from all negativity” and that “dreams and determination can help you achieve the impossible”. What in your own mind, was the most valuable lesson you learnt from your life experiences so far?

Unconditional true love at all levels is the most powerful force for good in the Universe. Few would dispute that it would indeed be a happier, more content, better world if people put more love into the world than exists today.

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

Yes, it has been available to purchase in the USA, Canada and the UK since July 1, 2015. It is available from Amazon, Google, Balboa Press, and other suppliers. In due course it will be available in all English speaking countries. Since June 18, I have been in the USA and Canada on a 6-month book tour and returned to the UK in December.

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

Spirit guided me to write “Journey of a Shaman” in order to inspire, motivate and offer self-help to as many people as possible to help them find themselves, achieve fulfilment and peace of mind. I am now guided to focus upon spreading the messages contained in that book while still being a practicing Shaman. Therefore, at the present time I have no plans to write another book. It may well be that at some point in the future Spirit will guide me to write other books and if so, the topics would be revealed to me at that time.

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

I enjoy reading books that expand my spiritual awareness. One of my favourite books is “Power vs Force” by Dr Hawkins and is a book I refer to continuously in my work as a Shaman. I also read a book by Shakuntala Modi called “Remarkable Healings” which greatly impressed me with its content.

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During your lifetime you have lived and travelled throughout the world. Where in the world have you visited that most surpassed your expectations? Where have you visited that left you feeling slightly disappointed or not up to what you imagined?

New Zealand most surpassed my expectations, partly because of the stunning scenery and partly because meeting Maoris whom expanded my spiritual awareness. The place that left me feeling slightly disappointed were the Cape Verde Islands which I visited as a refuelling stopover while crossing the Atlantic in my own boat. In the past the Cape Verde Islands were owned by Portugal but are now fending for themselves. There is great poverty and the Islands show adverse effects of climate change. Verde means green and the islands are now brown and very dusty.

If you could visit any place in the world to give you some book or spiritual inspiration, which place would you love to venture to and why?

I do not have any preconception. One of the important lessons I had to learn on my journey through life, was to follow my heart instead of my head. I learned to hear the guidance of Spirit, to go with the flow and to recognise that if a door was closed I was not meant to go through it. Therefore I know that when it is perfect time to visit a place in the world that will give me inspiration that I need, my heart will tell me. Because I have travelled the world on business, I am most content at home in Cornwall, England.

When you are not writing, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

Boating has always been my favourite hobby, particularly on the open sea. I also enjoy walking on long sandy beaches and cliff tops overlooking the ocean. I find tranquillity and beauty in untamed environments and a real need to be close to water.

Personal Now – What outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Having experienced a long and active life, I need to begin by describing what I wore during my teenage and early twenties years. The “swinging sixties,” rock-and-roll and fun clothing. I was very much a “dedicated follower of fashion” and my favourite pastime was rock and roll dancing. My favourite shoes were silver crocodile skin winkle-pickers with Cuban heels. The latter being somewhat unnecessary as I stand 6’ 2” tall in my bare feet! However the shoes went well with my flared trousers, wide belt with large buckle, ruffled shirt and stylish jacket with high collar, square shoulders and wide lapels. In those days I weighed only 133 lbs and so carried off my peacock attire quite well! In my business years I wore Saville Row suits, a Burberry raincoat and Church’s shoes which were all exceptional quality and in keeping with being a CEO! In my leisure time in those years, I wore chinos and casual shirts. Once retired from 2007, I generally wear Lacoste polo shirts in a wide range of colours, Paul & Shark shirts and sweaters with German cotton trousers and deck shoes. I also now have long hair which I wear in a plait. It was a great relief at retiring at age 66 to declare that I would not have my hair cut again especially when crossing the Atlantic Ocean in my own boat!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

No but my wife does! I am very driven by the products I like and buy them from retail shops where I can try them on. The shop I like best in Cornwall is Trevails in Truro, the capital of Cornwall. Trevails has a men’s department which has good clothing.

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

My love of walking in rugged conditions means that I need sturdy shoes that fit my wide feet and last more than a couple of months! I have found that Hotter shoes, which are handmade, serve that purpose and I shall soon stock up for the winter!

Boots or shoes?

When I was younger I enjoyed wearing ankle boots and Chelsea boots. My current lifestyle has led me towards sturdy shoes for comfort, walking and several smart pairs of shoes for formal occasions.

For more information and to purchase a copy of “Journey of a Shaman,” please visit www.JohnNorseman.com. 

The other website/social media sites are:
http://www.johnnorseman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Journey-of-a-Shaman-459677624224944/timeline/
https://twitter.com/JohnNorseman

Thank you John for a fascinating interview – a brilliant start to kick off the New Year.  I never tire of hearing travel stories – it’s sad what is happening on Cape Verde Islands but hopefully tourism would help to ease the poverty and bring awareness of climatic change in real terms.  A friend of mine who visited the islands was similarly disappointed.  Dear readers, tell me your travel stories – what places pleasantly surprised you and what places didn’t quite meet up to what you had expected/anticipated! Do share!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of John Norseman.

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An Interview With Author Suresh Purushothaman

I’m brimming over with positivity this week – I’ve come across a lovely motivational book that contains short yet uplifting phrases that the author hopes would inspire readers to live a happier and more meaningful life.  I caught up with the author, Suresh Purushothaman, recently to discover what motivates and inspires him….

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Hello everyone, my name is Suresh Purushothaman, author of the new book, “Being In Oneness”. I live in London with my wife and son. I was born in Pondicherry, which was previously a French colony in South India.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Being In Oneness” – a motivational book containing uplifting short phrases to inspire readers to live a happier and more meaningful life. Where did you get inspiration from to write this little book of positive affirmations &
quotes?

I always venture deep into the consciousness to get my inspiration. I can also say why I wrote this book. I wrote to share my deep thoughts on life and happiness with everyone. I want to keep it short and simple, so people can read quickly and ponder over the thoughts to find their own meaning of life and true happiness. I decided to write and finish my little book when I was facing a possible medical scare. I know that things like that can happen to anyone anytime, so I can also say my medical scare pushed me to complete this book.

Your book focuses on themes such as success, achievement, life, happiness, fear, etc. The book, however, has no chapters – so you can just dip in; and is not meant to be a formula for life; simply signposts you can use in your journey of life. Being born and brought up in
Pondicherry, India and having lived the last 16 years in London; which short phrases or inspirational thoughts helped you when you relocated to London, which must have been daunting for you?

London is a great place to live, but I have had to start from scratch. I lost financially before I started a new life in London. So I can say this thought is my famous one: “ Never wish to have anything in your past back, even if you lost a fortune. The beautiful connections of life will reveal numerous opportunities as you step into the future: Be guided by your oneness, your soul. And help it to open up new beginnings”.

“Love and life are so interlinked that one cannot live without the other. Start loving yourself and others; and life will start loving you” – that is just one of my favourite phrases that I read from your book. Have you got a favourite saying/phrase?

I also like the phrase you chose because it sums up everything for you about life and love. If you are asking my favourite phrase, it’s
“Live a life of happiness within you first; it will then radiate to cover the universe.”

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Your powerful words are enhanced on Kindle versions by beautiful photography which helps to assist the reader to reflect on their thoughts – which is a glorious bonus. The pocket sized book can be carried easily & provide an opportunity to dip into it on a regular basis.
Although you are based in London, is your book available to purchase overseas?

Yes, I decided to have pictures in the Kindle version, so readers can take time out to think on the thoughts and see how they can apply in their everyday life. You can buy my book on Amazon – it should cover the world.

If you had to write a book in a different genre from “Being In Oneness”, what genre would you pick?

I would have picked  “Leadership skills through the application of oneness”.

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

The next book I am planning is the application of oneness in leadership, which can create great leaders who can inspire and motivate others for a bigger and better cause naturally as opposed to the coercive nature of modern management skills.

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

I like books on happiness, life and leadership. My favourite authors are Dale Carnegie and Dalai Lama.

If you could visit any place in the world to give you some book inspiration, which place would you love to venture to & why?

I would like to visit places where people are happy in the midst of poverty and war and want to see what makes them happy and content.

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

I love watching news and debates. I love going with my wife for weekly shopping and doing a little house work for my wife.

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

Normally you can find me in tee shirts, cotton trousers and sneakers.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I normally shop on Amazon. I like their price, delivery and customer service.
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What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I am planning to buy a pair of shoes.

Boots or Shoes?

I always prefer shoes; they are more fitting to my style.

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.

www.beinginoneness.com
https://www.facebook.com/beinginoneness
https://twitter.com/beinginoneness

http://www.amazon.com/BeingInOneness/dp/0993313701

Thank you so much for speaking to us Suresh and sharing with us your positive and inspiring thoughts.   So, dear readers, what makes you happy? Have you any tips or phrases to share? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Suresh Purushothaman.

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An Interview With Yasmin Boland – Cosmic Person

I’m heading Down Under this week for a truly cosmic interview with the lovely Oz cosmic person Yasmin Boland. Her website, www.moonology.com ,is one of the most popular astrology sites in Australia. She has astrology and New Age columns in publications such as the Sunday Telegraph; as well as being an author of several books about astrology plus she has written a couple of novels too.  Astrology fascinates alot of people and being a nosy Gemini myself (actually I’m on the cusp of Taurus/Gemini) I couldn’t wait to find out about Yasmin’s passion that has turned into her profession…and her ballet flats passion too… Hi Yasmin ….image

Hi! I’m Yasmin Boland, cosmic person!

You are an author, journalist and astrologer. When did you realise that your passion for astrology could be turned into your profession?

It happened very slowly. In my role as a journalist, I interviewed Jonathan Cainer who – after learning of my love of astrology – let me to do some writing for him on his site. After a few years of that, it so happened Jonathan was offered a contract with then-new Closer magazine in the UK. He couldn’t do it because of contracts elsewhere so – fatefully – he handed it over to me… That was in 2002, and it was the first professional column I wrote. Back then it paid something that’s now unthinkable-a-week (I won’t go into details but it was a LOT – it was before the recession bit!) It was actually enough for me to live on, especially as back then, I was single and living off the smell of an oily rag! So I let other work straight journalism commitments slip away to focus on that first astro column, and then another followed, and another and another… Then my site www.moonology.com and books and …

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How old were you when you started to get interested in astrology? Did you guess people’s star signs correctly just by observing their traits? (I’m Gemini, Aquarius moon & Libra rising – if you haven’t already guessed!)

I was interested when I was at school and in fact, some of my friends mentioned at my wedding about how I used to go around with an astrology book someone had given me and tell them all about their star signs. At Uni I met an astrologer who became a friend and at one point, gave me all her old astrology books after doing a feng shui clear-out – after that I became obsessed! As for guessing peoples’ sign, I do often guess them when I meet them, but I think that when it happens, it’s more clairvoyance than astrology. The thing is, you have to know someone quite well to see their Star sign – when you first meet someone, what you usually encounter is their Rising Sign. The Rising Sign is the ‘mask’ that people wear, so you see that before you see their Star sign, which is the real them!

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Your website is one of the most popular astrology sites in Australia. I like the idea of the daily horoscopes adjusted to take in account the different time zones around the world, so that if you are in the USA , for example, you can actually read Monday’s stars on a Monday. What is the most popular feature or service on your website?

It’s between the Daily and Weekly Stars, the daily Moon Meditations and a little thing called the Nirvana Cards – here

Apart from having astrology columns in publications such as the Sunday Telegraph, Cleo and New Idea, Spirit and Destiny and Chat It’s Fate; plus writing the daily Stars for Yahoo! Australia and New Zealand; you have also appeared commenting on astrology on Australian TV and radio. What are the most popular/most requested astrology topics you’ve spoken about?

I give talks about The New Moon and the Law of Attraction – always fun – and one about Medusa and the Fixed Star Algol… Also end of year wrap ups and New Year ones too.

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You are an author too (such a busy bee!) of several books – two novels, a non fiction and a series of astrology based books published in UK, Australia and India and distributed internationally. Do you find writing therapeutic? What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I live to write, basically. I am one of those people who, if I had to choose what to take with my on a desert island, would take a pen and paper (though I might choose my iPhone these days – can still write on it and I have a little Blackberry-like add-on keyboard for it, so I could go even faster!) My favourite genre to read is spiritual or autobiographical – Deepak Chopra’s Unconditional Life and Doreen Virtue’s The Lightworker’s Way really moved me. Right now I am reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive and the Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler, and really enjoying both. I also love reading easy business books like The Curve by Nicholas Lovell, which is about working on the internet, which I do a lot of. Would love any more recommendations. Basically I am into non-fiction so it’s amazing I wrote two novels!

You were born in Germany of Maltese/English heritage and grew up in Tasmania before living and working in Sydney, London and Paris. How did you cope moving from a relatively quiet, rural place as Tasmania to 3 of the world’s most bustling cities? What were the main differences for you?

When I lived in Tassie, I would sit at the port and watch the big ships leaving for the “mainland” and plot and scheme and dream about how to make my own exit! I love Tassie – it’s a really beautiful and amazing place, but I always wanted to live in a big city. Always. My parents are from Europe so we travelled the world every year, to see their families, so I grew up with a world view, even living in Tassie.

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Hypothetically speaking, if you were given the chance to visit/work in any location in the world, what destination would be number one on your list and why?

Anywhere very hot and sunny with a iPhone connection, a swimming pool, fresh food and comfy place for my family and I to sleep! I’m thinking either a tropical island or maybe LA? 🙂 But I also truly love working in London. I find it so inspiring as a city, both in terms of the media there and also just talking to people and see the shows, exhibitions etc. And I love working in Bondi in Sydney as well, going to cafes with my netbook and writing away with a cafe latte. Right now I am in Paris and it’s also lovely! Have done a lot of work today and am about to go out for a walk to enjoy the place.

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

Sorry but mainly black… I know it’s not meant to be a good thing – spiritual people seem to frown on it – but I feel most comfy in it…

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Probably ASOS – I love their filters and they always have something new. I also love to flick through Net-a-Porter. I’m very mainstream, I guess! I like really work-a-day clothes and often buy two or three of something at a time, if I like it. Right now I am going through a black dress with leggings and boots phase. Though I have a friend who sells jewellery so I do jazz things up with earrings or a necklace!

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

Well right now in Paris I have only got two pairs of boots with me – ankle boots and some Chelsea boots – but it’s quite warm and am wishing I had some flats I could wear without socks. So am thinking they are next on my list. I actually want to buy a pair of black Chanel ballet flats – I can’t help it, I just want a pair. Actually two pairs. One in black and one is some kind of very pale brown trans-seasonal fabric (have seen a pair like this but not as yet ‘invested’, much to hubby’s relief I am sure!)

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots every day in winter and ballet flats in summer… I wore thongs (flip flops) every single day while pregnant and for about five years after my son was born. He is now 8. It horrified my French husband’s family, I am sure, but I just couldn’t shake the habit. I had them in all kids of colours. Finally, at some point, I started to realise it was outrageous to wear thongs non-stop and got some proper shoes. I started with some flat espadrilles from France in various colours, and slowly progressed to more and more civilised shoes, and as I say, the dream is some Chanel flats!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can follow you and your words of wisdom.

www.moonology.com
twitter.com/yasminboland
facebook.com/yasminboland
facebook.com/yasminbolandsmoonology

Thanks for sharing your cosmic world with us Yasmin and those Chanel flats sound a real good investment – I hope you manage to get a pair soon.  I wonder if fashion choices are governed by horoscopes too – being a Gemini, the ying & yang of the zodiac my fashion choices are either jeans, tee & leather jacket OR dressy dress, stockings etc – one extreme to the other!  Do you think your fashion/wardrobe choices reflect your sun sign in a fun way? Do let me know what you think!!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Yasmin Boland. 

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An Interview With Sally Morgan

Embarking on her Autumn UK tour,  I managed to catch up with Sally Morgan, better known as TV’s Psychic Sally… you may have seen the lovely, bubbly Sally  in her TV series “Star Psychic, in Psychic Sally Big Fat Operation, in Sky Living’s Psychic Sally On The Road, as well as appearances on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Halloween Special and Big Brother’s Bit On the Side with Rylan Clark.  Sally has a big passion for fa shion too, so a big warm welcome to the blog….image

Hi, I am Sally Morgan aka Psychic Sally. I am often referred to as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift…I believe that I can connect with people on the other side. I am currently touring theatres in the UK with my interactive show Psychic Sally On The Road, I am also the star of several TV shows and an author. When I am not working my most favourite hobby is shopping! Shoes and bags are my biggest obsession!

Congratulations on being recognised as one of the top 5 psychics in the world after being tested by Professor Gary Schwartz, a Harvard University Ph D graduate. What sort of tests did you go through as part of his experiment?

There were lots of different tests often referred to as ‘blind on blind’ wheimagere I give information about a person that I have not met. It was a fascinating project to be involved in and I think I left a lot of people speechless with the information I gave. The validation given would have been difficult for even the biggest skeptic to pull apart.

You had your first psychic experience with an appearance of a ghost at around the age of 4. Were you not frightened at such a tender age? When did you first realise you had this psychic ability?

My ability has always been something that is just within me, I have never known any different. When I was 4 I had no idea what it was. I just remember one day being told off at nursery when I asked if my grandad could stay. The teachers said no and I pointed at another older gentleman in the room and shouted that it wasn’t fair that another little girl could have her Grandad there. What I didn’t realise is that this man did not exist in real life. Only I could see him!

In your 20s you used your psychic abilities as a sort of party piece but soon your excellent reputation attracted an extensive client list including celebrities and royalty – reading for Princess Diana for 4 years. Did you realise that your psychic abilities would shape your career or as a child did you yearn to follow a different career path?

imageIf I am honest I had no idea that I would end up working as a medium full time. (I use the word medium as someone who is in touch with spirit but a more generic term is psychic.) When I was about 15 my mother took me to a spiritualist church where a very famous psychic of that time told me that I would go on to do great things with my ability. I honestly had no idea at that time that I would use it as any more then a party piece. I got a job as a dental nurse in my 20’s which I loved but outside of work I was starting to build up a client base. I had people from all different walks of life wanting to see me, and soon people started coming to my house for readings. It grew very organically, at one point I was known as ‘London’s best-kept secret’. In my early 30’s I realised that I had enough demand to work as a medium full time and so that is what I did. I set up my own practice at my home and took bookings all day long. I haven’t looked back since! If I hadn’t of developed naturally into working as a full time medium my dream job would have been to be a fashion or interior designer. I have a real eye and passion for fabrics, textures and colours.

imageLaunching in the TV spotlight in 2007 with your TV series Star Psychic, you went on to star in other TV programmes & documentaries such as Psychic Sally Big Fat Operation, a fly on the wall documentary showing your life changing weight loss operation. What were the main differences you noticed, other than weight loss obviously, after the operation compared to Sally before the op? Did people’s attitudes change or have you more stamina to get through your gruelling tour schedule?

The biggest change for me was that at the end of a 2-hour show I could still stand! Seriously, before the operation my feet and ankles use to swell and I would be in agony at the end of an evening. This may sound silly but it was something really simple that really made me stop and recognise the change. I was walking down my stairs at home and when I got to the bottom step I sprung off it, like I was as light as a feather. I hadn’t done that for years! I know wear clothes that I never thought I would, jeans, dresses etc. People are often staggered at my weight loss, when you compare pictures of my before and after, it is like looking at someone different. Like anything in life you have to take the bad with the good. Most people are very supportive but there are always those they feel you have changed as a person because you are thinner and perhaps put more value on how you look. But the truth is I am still the same old Sally. Even when I was bigger I still loved fashion – I always dressed in bright colours and wanted the latest trends. It really was a health decisions. After suffering a mild heart attack I was told by the doctors that I had to lose weight – it was literally a life or death decision.

imageYour successful Sky Living series Psychic Sally on the Road provided an unique insight on your hectic tour schedule and home life. You have toured the UK for over 7 years performing over 120 shows a year – and are just about to tour the UK again ( I will be putting your tour dates in the article) You have also taken your interactive show to Australia, with a hope to tour there again in 2015. What do you most enjoy about touring? Any secrets on how you keep your stamina going that you can share?

There are two main things I love about touring 1. Is meeting so many amazing people all with an interest in the afterlife and 2. Learning more about spirit and how they interact. Since being on tour I have taken my understanding of  the spirit world to the next level, really developing my knowledge of what happens when we pass, the signs spirit give us and how they interact with one another. You will often hear me say that ‘spirit orchestrates the evening’, this is completely true. I never know what is going to happen on any night, I put all my trust in spirit and that the messages will get to the right people. I have always been a bubbly and energetic person and I am lucky to have a great support network around me, which makes life on the road much easier. I always stock up on bananas for energy and make sure I drink plenty of fluids…and of course the odd cup of tea!

You are an author too of 4 books – My Psychic Life, Healing Spirits, Life After Death, My Heavenly Truth, and you are currently writing your 5th book, Call Me Psychic, due out early 2015. Do you find writing therapeutic? What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I love reading  motivational books and one of my favourite authors has to be Deepak Chopra. I have always enjoyed writing and it was always a dream of mine to write a book. I can’t believe I am now writing my 5th! It is very therapeutic and for me, taking the time to reflect on my life and work is very rewarding to me.

imageYou won Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me Halloween Special, beating various celebs including Robert Englund (aka Freddie Kreuger). Did you enjoy the experience?

We had so much fun making the show. I am a bit of an entertainer so I put a lot of effort into the evening – hiring a local dance school to perform their version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I also had a couple of friends dressed as Zombies, which certainly gave the neighbours a fright! I really tried to push the boundaries and created completely new recipes for the night…this could have been a disaster but luckily the food turned out brilliantly. I was gobsmacked when they announced me as the winner but it was great being able to give the winnings to my chose charity.

You also appeared on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side With Rylan Clark, sharing your views on the Big Brother 2014 housemates. Did you enjoy that experience? Did you get any psychic experiences relating to the housemates?

I love Rylan, he is such a down-to-earth person with lots of endearing qualities. We have become quite good friends since, as he has always been a big fan of mine. The 2014 Big Brother housemates were certainly unique…I picked up on their true characteristics straight away…I think I will leave that there!! Ha ha

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

On stage I always wear heels, normally from Russell & Bromley as they are so comfy! I wear black trousers and then either a bright or sparkly jacket, which I get specially made. I love a bit of glitz and glamour!  In the day I will often be seen in M&S jeans, flats and a t-shirt or jumper…very casual.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I love high street brands Zara, Whistles and Weekend Max Mara.
I also love asos.com for online shopping. So much selection and quick delivery – very convenient!

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

I have my eye on a pair of brogues from Russell and Bromley. I would also really love a Burberry Mac!! Ha ha

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes – I find it hard to get boots that fit me as I have big calves so I definitely have more shoes then boots.

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

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sallymorgantv
Twitter: @SallyMorganTV
Website: www.sallymorgan.tv

Thank you very much Sally for taking time out of your busy schedule for a chat – I hope your tour continues to be a success.  So, dear readers, for the list of tour dates for the rest of October and November, press HERE. So if Sally’s in your town , why not pop along and say hello… she may have a message for you! How fab would that be?

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with kind permission from Sally Morgan

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