How to appreciate the present moment

She finds hearts where ever she goes

My six year old daughter has a habit of discovering heart shapes wherever she goes: A stone picked up from the ground, a label on a supermarket shelf, or a heart shape found in the shape of a tree stump.

“Quick Mummy – take a picture!” she says. She’s been saying it since last summer. I saved all of the pictures and made them into a collage for her for Christmas. Children always have time to see beauty in the little things.

Try this:

Snap photos of the beautiful little things that you notice today. You can quickly and easily make a digital collage using Picasa.


The easiest way to forgive yourself

This month I’ve been practicing ‘letting go’ and one of those most important things I’ve noticed was that I need to let go of the idea of being my ‘best self’ all of the time. Holding on to that idea doesn’t allow me to make mistakes, or to learn from my mistakes.

I drew a cartoon to visualise this idea for myself and then ironically I wanted to re-draw it and improve it before publishing it on this blog. I thought that the cartoon wasn’t good enough. I could see that I’d made some mistakes! I’ve written outside of the lines and drawn the body the wrong shape. But if I wait for the time to make my pictures perfect there may never be any pictures on this blog. (I learned this from Leonie Dawson’s Wild Donkey Secret to Getting Stuff Done.)

So today I am letting go of the idea that I’m going to be my ‘Best Self’ all of the time.  Can you accept that you’re a person who makes mistakes? What idea could you let go of, just for today?

Letting go of my Best Self

Accepting that I am a person who makes mistakes.

Top 5 personal achievements of 2013

Take time to dreamTowards the end of last year I allowed myself some time to reflect upon the year that had passed and plan for the year ahead with this free workbook created by Susannah Conway: Unravelling the Year Ahead.  My top three goals were to pass my driving test, publish my book and to create and sell an e-course. It’s tempting to feel disheartened that I’ve not completed any of these but it’s more life affirming to celebrate that I did do my best!

So this year….

1. I didn’t give up on driving!

I learned, I practiced, I took some tests and then I gave it a rest for a while because there was a lot going on in my life. But I didn’t give up! After we moved I found a new instructor and I’m now learning again, gaining in confidence and in 2014 I will get my driving licence.

2. Publishing professionals like my book!

I’ve not given up on writing my memoir either. This year I spoke to agents, publishers and authors about the book I am writing: The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife. I was told the idea is good, the writing is good, it just needs more time dedicated to it.

3. I launched a free e-course

I’ve written two e-courses, started this new blog, made my first vlog and launched a free e-course. I’m well on my way to building the new business that I dreamed of.

4. Taking care of myself

This was last on my list for too many years. This year I’ve started meditation classes and yoga. I also drink far far less wine than I did this time last year.

5. Moved house

This one was huge. I left behind 13 years of narrowboat life and the identity that it gave me being part of that community. I’ve embraced running water, central heating and all mod-cons in a Devonshire cottage closer to my family. Making a big change is scary but sometimes you’ve just got to feel the fear and do it anyway.

What were your personal achievements this year? It’s healthy to congratulate yourself.

Join in with Kate Takes 5 Listography this week.

What does your bookshelf say about you?

BookshelfYou are the sum of the 5 books you think you are reading.

OK, I’m paraphrasing the statement ‘You are the sum of the 5 people you spend your time with’ but recently my friend donated her old bookshelf to me, and as I happily filled it with my own books I noticed what topics I love, the subjects I like to learn about and the stories I like to immerse myself in. Then I noticed the things that I ‘should’ read and haven’t.

Try this.

I thought it would be fun to make one of those ‘What I Think I Do’ memes. This series of internet memes compares the various ways others may see you with your own self-image and the ordinary everyday reality of the job. I first saw the one about being a mother; but they’ve been created for every role and career imaginable.
1) Take pictures of your books. I laid mine on a white piece of paper and snapped them with my phone.

2) Load them up to your computer.

3) Visit or grab the template image from

4) Create your meme and share it on social media. Post on to my page if you like.  Once I had the photos on my computer it took about 20 minutes to create the meme image. But then the ‘generate image’ button wouldn’t work for me so I pressed ‘shift’ and ‘print screen’ and then pasted the image to Paint to create a JPeg.

Looking at my bookshelf you might think that I am a social media magpie, feisty feminist and wine-lover that dreams of being an online entrepreneur; but I actually read romantic vampire novels from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga!

What do you actually read?!

U think i do meme

Reinvent yourself with books

If you want to reinvent yourself as a feminist wine-buff, without being a social media magpie, whilst also reading to your kids, becoming an entrepreneur and falling in love with a fictional vampire then here are the Amazon links for your Christmas list.

How To Be a Woman
The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club: Everything you need to know about wine – and much, much more by McGinn, Helen on 14/02/2013 unknown edition
Shiny Shiny: How to Stop Being a Social Media Magpie

I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola)

Making Money Online
Twilight (Twilight Saga)

Wish them happiness

So, I went to another Buddhist meditation class; this is now the second time I’ve been. This time there were a lot less people, which was interesting because we got to ask questions of the Buddhist monk, during his talk. This week’s theme was ‘Wish them happiness.’

What is deep happiness?

He explained that much of the happiness we experience on a day to day basis is a temporary happiness: like what you might gain from eating a slice of cake. This kind of happiness comes from external sources; food, addictions, relationships et cetera. As I understood it, deep happiness then is something that cannot be affected by external sources. It doesn’t fade when the last bite of cake is eaten!

How do you get it?

Of course that was our next question. You will be pleased to know that the Buddhist monk did reveal to us how to attain deep happiness: Wish deep happiness on others. Wish them happiness. The more you wish others happiness the happier you will be.


He said that when we are seeking these external sources of happiness it is like we are trying to cover the ground with leather: Instead of wearing shoes. This reminded me of an episode of Fingerbobs: A beautiful and mellow children’s program from the 1970’s. “Yoffy” would tell a story using a selection of paper finger puppet animals, such as Finger Mouse.

I remember one episode where he told the story of the town where people loved to dance, but they had no shoes. Shoes hadn’t been invented yet. The land was very stony and hard. Whenever the people wanted to dance they had to lay down a carpet of feathers to dance upon. Eventually somebody came up with the idea of tying feathers to their feet, and then the people could dance wherever they liked!

Was Yoffy a Buddhist?

Yoffy was played by a Canadian actor called Rick Jones. Was this bearded and bald-headed children’s presenter a gentle and wise Buddhist, sharing his wisdom with the children of the 1970’s? Apparently not. According to Wikipedia:

“At the end of the series Jones was so sick of making the show that he destroyed the finger puppets while the camera was still rolling.”

The one business start-up mistake you didn’t know you were making

That’s the kind of headline that draws me in with an urgency. I must stop whatever work I am doing and immediately absorb this one essential piece of information that is going to make such a huge difference to my online business success.

Not today though.

This week I am focussing on letting go of distractions, with Leo Babauta’s Sea Change Program.

But before I began work this morning I instead became distracted and drew two cartoons.

Greed for online info

Greed for online info


Internet distractions

Internet distractions cannot attract me!

I made a video!

So, I challenged myself to create my first ever video tutorial and this is the result. I must say I had no idea that my squint was so bad! Is this what it’s like for people talking to me?

My theory was not to wait until I feel brave enough or confident enough to make a video: But to feel the fear and do it anyway. So here it is. How to Vlog: The 3 minute movie.

What do you think? Should this be a one-off, or should I make more videos?