Valentine’s Day

I’m not a great fan of these commercialised-driven days where we’re influenced to partake in thinking about our ‘significant other’ or thereof lack of one. I do support retailers and understand that their life is not always easy, especially the small business but I didn’t much like this concept taken on from the USA.


I’ve had a change of mind.

Last night I was teasing my husband and joked about hoping he’d bought me something for Valentine’s day. Turned out the joke was on me.

This morning when I came into my office sitting on my desk was a lovely card and a gift.

I was taken aback by the effort, the words and the gift. My day was decidedly better for this experience. I was reminded of the love, the joy and the happiness that I had in my life.

I took a minute to reflect and thought that I’d been a bit of a Scrooge in my thinking.

Here’s why…

There should be no ordinary days. There should always be days of joy and surprise and specialness. There should be those moments of feeling appreciated and appreciating ourselves.

If there is no ‘significant other’ through whatever reason that is no excuse not to take the time to ‘love yourself’. Buy a rose, a nice meal, that damn dress, whatever you feel like.

The important ‘thing’ is to take the time to show love and caring for yourself and everyone special in your life…

St Valentine is a saint of love. The stories about him are varied and not necessarily validated. A miracle was supposedly involved, he married people so that the male didn’t have to go to war…whatever it was these stories all have one thing in common, that miracle of love.

So take the time to reflect on that love of self and others, whether they are here or not, whether it was lasting or not, whether you are yet to meet them.

Take today as the opportunity to put and extra dose of special into your day then do it again tomorrow and so on.

Happy Valentine’s Day.   Happy Every day!




It’s a funny word, resilience. All those i’s and e’s.

Building resilience is a very important part of our personal development.

Successful happy people, more often than not,  do not have it any easier than those who are not so successful or happy. What they do have is resilience.

It’s not great coming home from a fantastic holiday or saying goodbye to a loved one or having a fabulous time and then realising that you’ve got to get back to work or school.

Most of us however suck it up and get on with it. That’s resilience.

It’s not great when you get an unexpected bill or rejected from that dream job, or we don’t like our job but we need the money. We get on with it. That’s resilience.

To be able to cope with the challenges that life throws at us we need to build resilience and we need to teach it to our future generations.

When there is change, whether good or bad it requires a different or new routine and we need to be able to adapt. That’s resilience.

If I ruled the world resilience would be taught in schools as a topic and developed over the years. To achieve to our full potential and to be more happy than sad and to feel good about life we need resilience. Simple.

It is something that we build over the years and essential to personal strength and happiness.

Food for thought.

Time for the ‘fit gig’

Dear Christmas and New Year

Thanks for all the fun, it was a blast. Special family memories and great times with friends were created once again and this year it was extra special.

The true loves of my life. Note torturous ‘moon-boot’ protecting toe.


What wasn’t so great, however, was the gorgeous food and beverages that came with the socialising decided to take up residence on my hips, tummy and, well most of ME.

As a bonus I had broken my toe so the regular exercise was impossible. I tried really hard to do some ‘no big toe required’ exercises but as I do not love any exercise that does not involve outside and covering distance, I failed miserably. To compensate for my failure I just helped myself to one of the many treats that ‘Santa’ had left in the kitchen. It was momentary madness that satisfied a for a few seconds but turned into a more lengthy regret.

Favourite dresses have had to stay closeted in the closet, elastic has once again been my friend and thank God I didn’t throw out all my baggy tops and loose t-shirts from previous bulgy experiences of my past.

Add to this the curse of menopause which appears at erratic intervals and decides to bring my day down with a dose of the blues, heat me up with power surges or for extra torture reverses any chance of calorie burning so on goes the weight faster than ever before.

As a result of the above this weekend bought a dose of the woes in waves of self-dislike and then plummeting into the abyss of how awful the world is in general.

Time for action! I KNOW that moving always makes me feel better so I did it. 6.2km this morning in just under 50mins. The toe is a little throbby but the rest of me feels GREAT.

The blues are gone and I am happy and content in my world once again. Husband will be thrilled and kids can come out from hiding.

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and New Year and if there’s any collateral damage get those trainers out girlfriend and get your sweat on!




Presence not Presents

A few years ago we stopped buying Christmas presents.

Our family of 7 at the time were going on a very big ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ family trip around the world ending with a family wedding in San Diego. We were all saving like crazy so we decided no presents would make it easier on the budget of the younger adults who were still at university.

I was worried about how this would ‘feel’ on Christmas Day. It was fabulous!

We learned a very valuable lesson. The one we all know but sometimes take for granted.

It’s never about the gifts; it’s about each other.

What a great day we had!

Less is more. The less we fussed over what to buy the more we focussed on the ‘togetherness’. I couldn’t tell you what my kids bought me for Christmas in 2011 or 2007 for that matter but I can tell you how much it means to be with them on that day, watching them happy and healthy and having that special day to be grateful and to be part of ‘family’. There’s usually one or two extras at our table sharing in the joy and that in itself is far more precious than a new blender, socks or even favourite perfume.

I do support the local retailers throughout the year and I know that it’s important but at Christmas the ‘present fund’ now goes to those less fortunate.

This year it’s Aleppo. It’s also heartening to see on my local community face book page that the neighbours are donating Christmas gifts and food hampers to families who may be struggling. Wonderful!

My best presents ever are people and in particular my kids and husband. Can’t think of anything more precious.

Merry Christmas



Introducing Uniquely Inspiring Caroline

A freak accident 12 years ago, followed by surgery resulting in medical misadventure, leaving Caroline Dore in a wheelchair has not stopped this inspiring woman from having a life of love, laughter and dedicated generosity.

Caroline has lost time. Her pain relief medication resulted in her life being a hazy blur at times and she remembers very little in the years immediately after she broke her pelvis, had surgery and was left with damage to her sciatic nerve leaving her initially in a wheelchair.

What she does know is that her husband Gary gave up his much loved day job to take care of her and their two daughters. He managed their rental properties and took a job as a night cleaner to supplement their income.  He sold their home and bought another one that enabled their daughters to walk to school.

Caroline remembers one afternoon of lucidity and asked Gary who they were visiting. ‘We live here,” was his reply. “We moved here six months ago”.

Caroline’s sheer determination has resulted in her being able to walk again. While she has a modified car, a full time job is not possible but this has not stopped Caroline from having a full and rewarding life.

A move back to the small town that the family had lived in years before has made life easier. She has become a celebrity as the “Nattering Knitter” and has a world-wide following as she crusades to produce hand knitted hug rugs for those in need.

Caroline updates her followers via You Tube and a Facebook page and encourages more and more people to get on board to contribute to her cause.

Her great sense of humor has been an absolute asset to her and one that her family shares.  “If you laugh, everything is easier.”

No stranger to the stage, Caroline takes advantage of her theatrical side to promote her cause. She uploads regular You Tube clips in her role as the Nattering Knitter. Take a look:

623 hug rugs made so far…..Caroline is giving and loving it.
The secret to happiness and success is not what happens to you but how you deal with what happens.  Caroline is testament to this in all that she does; a truly unique and inspiring woman!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Making Difficult decisions


Recently we had to make a difficult decision, to return to the small town that I came from or to stay in the city. This decision consumed us.

The more we talked about it, the less clear the decision became.

The problem with the problem was we thought that one of our choices was going to be better than the other. There were pros and cons for both. No lists were longer or better than the other and no one idea struck us as being ‘the’ solution.

Then I read the attached article and watched a TED talk by Dr Ruth Chang and things changed. We made the decision and moved on quickly. Everything seemed to fall into place and life was good again.

So what was the change?

We learned that difficult decisions do not have a better choice at all. If something was going to be glaringly better it would not be difficult. We also learned that difficult decisions are not necessarily the big decisions. The key is to back yourself by giving agency to what you choose. This is the key that influences the happiness of our moments, in our day, in our attitude and approach to life in general rather than the actual choice itself.

The secret to making difficult decisions is to decide which decision we will give agency to. Once we decided which decision we would go with, all problems were solved.

So much time and energy can go into the decision making process and this is where conflict, unnecessary angst and stress can occur.

Whether it be business, personal or pleasure, make the difficult decision and give agency to it.

Do not look back, move forward and put your energy into supporting your decision rather than questioning it.

Problem solved, decision made, move on and give agency and positive energy to your decision.

It’s empowering, it’s liberating and the more you do it, the happier you will become.

In the words of the song ‘I did it my way’ ; the more practiced you become in the concept of free will and giving agency to your decisions, the happier your days will be.


I’m more than a piece of meat you know…and so are you!

C’mon!!  It’s time to have a major sort out here!

We are so much more than a bag of body parts but the world seems to have gotten more than a little crazy about the physical stuff. The obsession of how flat, how round, how long our ‘parts’ should be is borderline on insanity!

Isn’t it fascinating how the media  ensnare, label and contain the concept of ‘attractiveness’ to the specifications of our body parts?

Isn’t it crazy that some people are seriously influenced and believe this stuff ??!

Are we that vulnerable that we can be sucked into believing that there is a definite one-concept-fits-all ideal of attractiveness and ‘sexy’?

Our physicality is influenced so much more than by our ‘actual physical bits.’

Bodies  are miraculous!  Revere them for what they do for us and look after them accordingly. Feed them well, exercise them and take measures to be healthy. If you’re not doing that then figure out what’s going on with your self-esteem.

There is not enough focus on caring, embracing and respecting our bodies and definitely not enough on how our bodies are only part of who we are. No wonder there are so many broken hearts and unhappy relationships.

There seems to be a ridiculous misconception that ‘sexy’ is all about the body. Pffft!!!

I researched some definitions ‘sexy’ and came up with exciting, stimulating, interesting, appealing, intriguing to name but a few.  I like all those words although I couldn’t connect them to  Kim Kardashian’s brand of ‘sexy’ which includes showing her plastic infused bottom whilst standing in a rubbish bag. The rubbish bit was the only part that I could connect with. Here was a woman with big squishy plastic things inserted under her skin and then sewed in. She was inside a bag that represents where we put our stinky rubbish. Maybe she was having a laugh at all those who would ‘buy in’ to such an image.

Real attraction is a unique to ourselves.  Sexy is less about the physical and more about the brain. Just like intimacy, attractiveness develops as a relationship develops, or not.

It’s personal, it’s connected to our sexuality and it’s ours. It should not be judged, rated or berated.

The key to authentic, genuine attractiveness is most definitely a healthy self-esteem and confidence.

It has nothing to do with cup size, plastic enhancements injected or surgically placed under the skin, our age, the length of our legs. NOTHING.

Like the rest of the ‘happy-with-myself’  people on the planet I’m doing pretty well with my physical imperfections. I try to eat healthily and so far my body has managed to keep breathing for which I’m incredibly grateful for.

I try to look as best as I can when I feel like it, other times I couldn’t care a hoot. I’m keen to have fun and stay as healthy as I can.

Watch the Embrace trailer and support it!

Introducing Uniquely Inspirational Rosina

Tiny in stature, Rosina’s story is one of great strength in the face of adversity. She is not only a survivor but an example of how a love of life can conquer anything.

This is her story.

At 8pm on the 31st May 1971 there was a big car accident. Four kids were killed. Three survived. It was a defining moment that changed the lives of so many forever.

We were in the 5th form and a young lad had just got his license.  He was excited and he and six other teenagers went for a drive. Off they went into the dark wet night.  We had badminton at the YMCA. They left me behind and I was so mad.

I was 15 years old. My identical twin sister Christina was killed in that accident.

There was no counseling or help of any sort back then. It was straight back to school. The accident site was only blessed five years ago.

I didn’t fully understand what had happened and the impact that it had on me. None of us did.

I went nursing, hit the booze and got pregnant at 18. I stopped my sport which I was very good at. I met my husband in my mid 20’s and life improved. I learned to play squash at 25 at a high level and ran marathons. We moved around the country and then we went farming.

It wasn’t until I had a car accident myself that I finally dealt with the trauma of Christina’s death. A young kid hit me at high speed. He was traveling at 150kms. My car was written off and physically I healed quickly but mentally as the weeks went by I became a shell of myself. I couldn’t do anything. I was scared, anxious and had panic attacks. I couldn’t eat. Fortunately I had the best psychiatrist and was put on bed rest and strong medication. I was in a special hospital unit.  When I stabilized, every morning I would lift a weight. I started with one rep and slowly like a snail, worked at getting my life back.

I was suffering from what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Looking back I can see how the farm has aided me in becoming independent. I work very hard on it with my husband who is a rock. It is fantastic therapy. At the moment I’m rearing 120 calves so it’s busy but awesome!

I am so proud that I am not on any medication and I am determined to focus on the euphoria of life.

I am in my 60’s and I keep a youthful attitude by trying new things. I learned to swim when I was 57 and was able to swim 50 lengths. I did paddle boarding for the first time this year and I was asked to model. I was apprehensive and nervous to the point of shaking but I did it! Overcoming fears is important to me.

It’s onwards and upwards for me. I firmly believe ‘we so have to look at the sunshine!’

Rosina certainly sees the bright side of life. Her sheer determination to focus on the positive illuminates from her. She is truly inspirational!

Rosina with her twin sister Christina and their Mother
Modeling for the first time earlier this year
A lady of style
Having fun in the office
She’s just as comfortable on the farm
Rosina loves the bright side of life!
A bit of class with the cows wearing her Karen Walker sunglasses
We so have to look at the sunshine! Winning best dressed award.

Physical Attractiveness Part 2

For many years I had the assumption that physically attractive women had it a lot easier. However I learned a very valuable lesson in my 30’s.

One afternoon as I lay sleeping on the couch there was a knock at the door. Our living room had a wall of floor to ceiling windows and french doors. I opened one eye at the sound of the knock and made  contact with two women standing outside.

I recognised one woman but I focussed on the unfamiliar visitor. I cautiously opened my other eye to check that I was awake and not dreaming. There she was in a short white chiffon dress, tanned and lean with long blonde flowing locks, immaculately made up in that ‘perfectly thrown together’ look. She was gorgeous.

Here was I looking the exact opposite, for I represented the epitome of a Mother who had abandoned all thoughts of self care, other than eating and sleeping when I could.  I was raising three small children, two of whom  did not like to sleep and seemed to catch any illness, even if they saw it on television. Getting the picture?  I’d been up most of the night dealing with endless vomit and showering small unwell little people.

I had pulled on an old sweat top and some shorts that revealed that I had not attended to the ‘winter legs’ that were rather cellulite covered, very pale and in need of a wax. I was lucky to have washed my face let alone found any make up.

Once the women left I was on the phone to my sister discussing a new tactic to the approaching  function where this stunning woman was going to be in attendance.
We needed make-overs, new outfits and I was thinking body wrap, liposuction and at the very least the most unattractive suck-me-in under garment possible. Comfort was not going to be an issue in these dire circumstances.

After I had been to the function and was talking to the woman’s mutual friend, she asked me the strangest thing. She asked me if I’d talked to ‘stunning woman’ at all. I said I had exchanged pleasantries but that was it.

Mutual friend went on to say that ‘stunning woman’ had been treated like that all her life. She was actually 3 years older than me, wanted to get married and have children but it hadn’t happened as her physical beauty had literally gotten in the way.

I was now the ‘stunned woman’.  I had to give this some thought. ‘Stunning woman’ had some difficulties? People judged her solely on her looks which was exactly what I’d done.
It had been difficult for her to form real relationships because she was treated differently due to her being  blessed with all the things that I’d spent my life wishing I’d had.

My well trained Catholic-guilt kicked in as I heard how this lovely woman was a designer and she’d done some very interesting things. I felt so bad.

The old ‘book by it’s cover’  adage is so true. We should not be judging the beautiful people and categorising them solely as long-legged, beautiful-teethed, physically well designed specimens but as human beings who have their own ‘stuff’.

By the way I as I write this I am sitting here with a fake tan that happens to be the fakest of all tans. The golden glow natural look has not happened. When will I learn?

I’m leaving for San Francisco in 3 hours so I’m thinking I might have to bleach myself or my husband may not want to stand near me at the wedding we’re attending.

Next week I’ll be telling you about why all my friends are absolutely beautiful…..

Happy days