Recently I have spent a number of hours each week working at my local hospital. It’s certainly been eye-opening and I have so much respect for my colleagues who have worked at the front line for the entirety of this pandemic thus far.
But what has struck me most, and something I’m privileged to witness, is the diversity of relationships that I’m party to during my time there.
There is the obvious patient/clinician relationship, and all staff are trained to help patients who are anxious and worried at this time, to ensure their visit to the hospital, however long, is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Something that requires a lot of resilience in these testing times as procedures seem to change with each new news report.
Then you see the parent/child relationship. Where I’m working it’s often mid-life children accompanying their elderly parents. A generation who as war babies were the most vulnerable at the time of their birth and now once again, find themselves among the most vulnerable in our society.
Then there’s the couples; young and old, long and short term. The young couples barely seem to talk to each other, heads down glued to their mobile phones giving silent moral support in their joint isolation. And the elderly couples, worried about what news may be imparted to their loved one, looking after each other with an enduring love that so many of my clients seek for themselves. They will often have spent the entire day at the hospital for one short appointment with a clinician who could potentially change the course of their life.
And I see the couples where there is obviously conflict or abuse, often the individual won’t even recognise that the conflict is there but for someone finely tuned to detect it, it’s obvious. I see myself in the women or men who present scared of their own shadow, their partner doing all of the talking for them and complaining if their appointment is more than just a few minutes late because they, not the patient, are being inconvenienced.
I relish talking to the patients, giving a smile, behind my mask, ensuring it reaches my eyes. Making what I hope is a reassuring gesture to those who arrive worried and anxious. And doing all I can to make their brief interaction with me as pleasurable as possible. For those who can’t walk without assistance and have a long wait, I fetch water from the water cooler, and I’ve assisted those who can’t read or write to complete forms that are confusing enough for the most literate of us.
You see all of life in a hospital, the good, the bad and the ugly; but for me, the best parts of wearing PPE and having the constant sting and smell of hand sanitiser as company, is giving random acts of kindness to worried strangers, and observing the myriad of relationships that play out day by day in the midst of a pandemic serving as solid reminders that life really does carry on amidst the ebb and flow of whatever nature throws at us, and that strong, healthy and robust relationships can endure whatever adversity is pushed across their path.
How often do you and your partner cuddle? Or, if like me, and you’re Welsh, how often do you and your partner cwtch?
There’s nothing quite like a good cwtch or cuddle. It releases the feel-good hormones, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, and instantly makes you feel better.
How often, after having a bad day, do you say to your partner ‘just put your arms around me’?
I recall on one of the worst days of my life, New Year’s Eve 2008, when I discovered my business was insolvent and I was about to call my team to make them redundant with immediate effect and no pay; I asked my then husband to “just put your arms around me and tell me everything’s going to be OK”. His response was “I can’t, because I don’t know that it will.” In that moment my day got worse, as I realised my second marriage was over and I was well and truly on my own. All I wanted was to feel a little better before facing the enormity of what was before me.
Thankfully, I’ve moved on significantly since then and I have a partner who understands that sometimes all you want is a huge hug to make things better.
We even set our alarm 10 minutes earlier every morning so we can just cuddle, snuggle up, cwtch, before starting our day. And we fall asleep cuddling – until the moment that almost every couple experiences; when one pulls away from the other, kicks their leg out of the bed and almost gasps for cool air because the heat generated by two bodies cuddling under a duvet is just too much!
Sometimes, we’ll have an impromptu cwtch in the kitchen when recounting something that’s happened during our day that may have caused us to feel a bit down, sad or upset, we’ll just stand and cuddle.
I can always tell when my son needs a cuddle – although at 15, it’s not cool to admit to wanting one so we have to refer to it as a hug. He’s 6’ tall and towers over me but there are days when all he needs is a cuddle from his mum. As I like to remind him, ‘you’re never too old, and you’re never too big for a healing cuddle’.
As human beings we crave physical touch, we need that dose from the feel-good triumvirate and research has shown that we only need to cuddle up for 6 seconds to reap the benefits.
So what are you waiting for, grab your partner, children or friends and cuddle up to instantly improve your mood and reduce sadness, anxiety and stress. It’s good for your health.
And don’t just reserve your hugs, cuddles or cwtches for National Cuddle-up Day (6th January) or National Hug Day (21st January). Make every day a Hug, Cuddle or Cwtch Day. Your relationship will benefit from it too.
Who are you going to cuddle up with today?
For those of us old enough to remember the furore surrounding the release of the film, and that iconic scene when Mickey Rourke fed Kim Basinger food from the fridge in a manner that sated sexual hunger more than physical hunger, it will have created a desire for adult relationships that are far from the reality of the lived experience of many of us.
Raised on a diet of Disney princesses, fairy tales and happy ever afters and growing up as Thatcher’s children when we were told we could have it all, we left home bright-eyed and bushy-tailed expecting to be the CEO by the time we were 25, have a man as both our equal and our provider and look fabulously fit and perfectly groomed all at the same time.
We also expected our sex lives to be sizzling hot. Our parents had after all lived through the swinging 60’s and the 70’s years of free love. In the 80’s and 90’s we were going to be performing sexual acrobatics, experimenting with all sorts of toys, bondage and aphrodisiacs whilst wearing lingerie that only has one purpose (to be removed) and now, thanks to 9½ weeks we were going to be getting really down and dirty with food too.
How many of us have had one or more foods consumed from our bodies? How many of us have experienced the thrill of an ice cube being traced over our nipples and between our breasts? How many of us have been seductively fed food from the fridge without worrying about the mess it was making on our clothes or the floor? After that, how many of us have had searingly hot sex that left us breathless, sweaty and aching just a little bit in all the right places?
Then our 40’s and 50’s hit us with the speed of an Intercity 125, and a couple of children later, we’ve climbed that corporate ladder, we’re financially secure, we’ve got the house and the car and the only thrill of excitement remotely near what 9½ weeks promised us comes after a period of teasing anticipation when we finally seal the deal, get the client and sign the contract.
We return home, hoping to prolong the excitement, high on the endorphins coursing through our veins and knowing that RIGHT NOW we could be having the most incredible mind-blowing sex, a la Basinger and Rourke only to find our partner slumped in front of the TV in a scene akin to The Simpsons, mug of tea or a beer or wine close at hand, wondering ‘what’s for dinner?’ and ‘where are the kids?’
We roll our eyes, take a sharp intake of breath and burst the bubble, filing away our fantasies and desires for another day wishing they would understand. The harsh truth is, they do and they’re feeling the same about you!
Then we make dinner, load the dishwasher properly, sort out the tangled mess of clothes and dirty underwear in the laundry basket, pour a glass of wine, and before we know it the bottle is empty, the TV is mindlessly churning out the latest detective series and you and your partner have barely spoken all evening. The kids have finished their homework and put themselves to bed and now it’s midnight.
The opportunity for lust-fuelled sex with the one we promised to love and honour, ‘til death do us part’ has passed and we fall into bed, ready to repeat it all again the next day, and the next and the next, like some sort of Groundhog day, a film not known for fuelling wild sexual fantasies.
But it doesn’t have to be like this, it is possible to have a seriously sensual, loving and orgasmic relationship with your partner, regardless how long it’s been since those days were the norm and it’s possible to get that back, in as little as 9½ weeks.
So, what have you done in the past 9½ weeks? What are the next 9½ weeks going to look like, feel like, sound like or taste like?
If you’d like to get your best relationship ever in the next 9½ weeks book a call with me here and let’s find your sexy.
Many of us are often told we look like or resemble famous people. Over the years I’ve been told I look like Sigourney Weaver, a young Helen Mirren and Tori Amos (that’s definitely the hair colour!) at the time I recall feeling embarrassed by the likenesses. Who was I to be likened to such amazing glamorous and talented women?
It took a very long time for me to accept compliments without telling the compliment-giver that they were mad, wrong or blind!
As I’ve got older I’ve learned that my difficulty in accepting compliments stemmed from the poor relationship I had with myself.
How many of us treat ourselves in ways we would never treat friends, family or loved ones? The negative self-talk; “you’re so stupid” “you’re so ugly, no-one will ever want you” “you’re so fat” “no-one’s going to want to listen to what you have to say” and so it goes on.
And as we get older that negative self-talk batters our confidence and self-esteem and we end up in relationships that just reinforce our messaging.
A healthy and robust relationship starts with the relationship with have with ourselves. Only when we recognise our own self-worth can we let others know what is and isn’t acceptable to us in intimate relationships.
More often than not, relationship problems start long before there’s a problem in the actual relationship and I work with many clients to help them create a strong, healthy and robust relationship with themselves so they can create strong, healthy and robust relationships with others. Learning to take a compliment is often one of the things we cover.
How do you handle compliments? How do you feel when someone tells you that you remind them of someone famous?
Nowadays I love the fact that I remind people of Sigourney, Tori or Helen. Strong, successful, talented women who look gorgeous too. Thank you, I’ll take that!
Don’t you just love books? Try as I might I can’t quite get as attached to my kindle as I do to books. I love the convenience of my Kindle for travelling but nothing beats the smell and feel of books, old or new.
World Book Day always excites me. It evokes memories of books long since destined to the great library in the sky, books that sit on my bookshelf unread since the first time but too valuable to pass on, books that have helped me through some tough times, books that have educated me about subjects I’m passionate in, books that create wanderlust, that make my mouth water, that help me escape.
I’ve often said that I can live very easily without a TV but I can’t live without books and that’s true. In fact, I remember moving to London to take a job 20+ years ago and my parents buying me a small portable TV. I knew no-one and they were worried that I’d feel lonely so bought me the TV to keep me company. I switched it on once a week to watch BBC Question Time in bed! These days, I watch so little that I don’t have a subscription service to any of the satellite channels or Netflix and yet again, it gets switched on only a couple of times a week, usually to find a family film to watch sometime over the weekend.
But I can’t live without books. It was heart-breaking when I downsized a number of years ago and had no choice but to reduce the number of boxes of books I was taking with me. The decision over which books should stay and which should be donated to charity took much longer than packing down the entire house!!
We now have two full book-cases in the house but that’s nowhere near enough for me. My dream is to have a house large enough that I can have a study where one wall is completely full of books. A girlfriend of mine has an entire reading room of which I’m inordinately envious but I know that if that was my room no-one would ever see me in any other part of the house and I’d never get any work done.
I get completely immersed in books and it’s the only time I’m totally able to block out everything else around me. I can remember as a teenager being told off by my father on numerous occasions because I hadn’t heard the call in to tea or to get ready to go out because I was curled up somewhere with my nose in a book, in my head I was a million miles away from the sofa or the garden or wherever it was I was reading. I even used to sit and read in a tree outside our house, two of the branches were very old and thick and the exact size for the 13/14 year old me to lay back in and read for hours on end. Nowadays, the fact that those branches were directly over a very busy main road would undoubtedly mean children would be banned from enjoying them! Yes, I had to climb about 15ft up the tree with a book tucked under my arm, held between my teeth or shoved into the back pocket of my jeans in order to sit on the branches.
But I digress, are you a bookworm or do you prefer TV?
I also have a confession to make; if I walk into a house where there’s no bookcase, I get ever so slightly disappointed and sad. I worry about how the occupants have coped without having books as a focal point of their lives. To me a house with books is a home, a house without books is just a cold empty shell.
And now, even my own published books adorn our bookcase. I don’t think I ever expected that to happen.
Do you have a bookcase or do you prefer to keep everything electronic?
It’s National Strawberry Day in the US and as I was looking for numerous images to create a happy little meme I couldn’t help but notice the number of pictures that showed a woman seductively popping a very ripe strawberry into her perfectly painted mouth.
You don’t need me to tell you that everywhere you look are images of women oozing sex. Boobs and bums are flashed at us at every opportunity, in the traditional media, on social media, in advertising. Let’s face it, Sex Sells.
It’s always been a fascination to me that men who exude sexual energy are lauded for their masculinity whilst women exuding the same energy are belittled and objectified. I’m not about to rehash the age-old debate about us being in a patriarchal society and ‘nice’ women don’t do things like that.
Quite frankly, I’m sick of it.
But why is it that women are so scared of sexual energy? What do we think it’s going to do to us? Suddenly turn us into raging nymphomaniacs overnight so we become someone you wouldn’t want to have a long-term relationship with but happy to have as a ‘booty call’?
I personally feel it’s time to rewrite that debate and harness the feminine power within us all when we embrace our sexual energy and engage it to improve our lives, our wellbeing and society at large.
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Sex (or reproduction) is one of the absolute basic physiological needs of humans.
Why, therefore, do we spend so much time as a society encouraging sexualisation on a wider scale but refuse to talk about it in ‘polite society’?
It’s about time we accepted that ALL human beings, regardless of gender, have sexual needs, desires and energy, and embracing and engaging this in a positive manner across society can only result in positive outcomes.
As long as we keep it hidden, taboo and something sleazy then it will continue to effect society in a harmful, dark and dangerous manner.
Sex is good, sexual energy is powerful. Power, used in positive ways, is something that can do as much good to society as a bowl of perfectly ripe and juicy strawberries can do to the mind and body of the individual savouring them.
Today is one of those days. I hadn’t realised that today is Winne the Pooh day until I was scrolling through social media whilst enjoying a cup of coffee this morning.
I love Winne the Pooh. When my son was new-born (he’s almost 15 now) his nursery was decorated with Winnie the Pooh and he had big 3ft plush toys of Winne, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore to welcome him home from the hospital. They became well loved ‘playmates’ until his dad decided they were dirty and too young for him and needed to be thrown out.
But that’s not the part that saddens me. You see, I didn’t choose Winne the Pooh to be my son’s theme. In fact, I wasn’t involved in choosing any of the accessories or décor for my son or his new nursery. It was all presented to me as a fait accompli and I had to accept it or be told I was ungrateful and mean.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist (and I hate to use that word as it’s so over-used these days) you will recognise what I’m talking about.
In the weeks leading up to my son’s birth I would regularly be presented with ‘gifts’ – a new pushchair and changing bag that I had no involvement in selecting or even having any input into.
And when I returned home from the hospital with my new-born son after a particularly traumatic birth, I was presented with a fully accessorised nursery adorned with Winne the Pooh decals, lampshades, curtains, mobiles to join plush toys taking up all of the room in the cot. You name it, Winne the Pooh and his friends looked down from in it or on it!
As I’ve said, I have nothing against Winne the Pooh but to have had him foisted upon me, with absolutely no input, at such a significant stage of my transition into motherhood turned me off him for a long time.
If I commented that I would have liked to have had some input into the décor for our son’s nursery I was told I was ungrateful and I hadn’t been involved because it would take the pressure off me. Excuse me? How many mums do you know who don’t want to be involved in the décor of their child’s nursery?
When I mentioned that I was planning on a different style of pushchair than the one I was presented I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about and I should be grateful that he had made the decision for me, particularly as my pregnancy brain was confusing me about what I did and didn’t want!
Winnie the Pooh – such a lovable, effable character but to someone who has been through psychological abuse such an inanimate object can take them straight back to a time of fear and darkness.
Thankfully, I have since had years of counselling, coaching and therapy and can once again enjoy Winnie the Pooh and friends for who and what he is.
Happy Winnie the Pooh Day.
Today it’s National Pharmacists Day and I’d like to say thank you to all of the Pharmacists out there who help us with minor ailments and provide their expertise to everyone who ventures into their local pharmacy, chemist or supermarket with a cough, cold, sniffle, sore throat or worse, to avoid waiting at and clogging up the GP surgery.
Sometimes we all need some help from experts to get better. If you spent the last two weeks making plans of what you’re going to do but have woken up today still wondering how on earth you’re going to execute those plans, you’re not alone.
To change my diet I enrolled in Slimming World, to increase my fitness I joined a running club. Both were full of experts who helped me to make tiny tweaks to what I was already doing to enable me to optimise my success.
In business, I work with mentors who can guide me. When my car needs fixing I take it to the mechanic. I go to the hairdresser to get my hair done and I see a therapist to keep my mental health on track. I have a life coach. And if I’ve got a cough, cold or sore throat my first port of call is my local Pharmacist.
In turn, I help lots of people to deal with things I’ve had experience in. I work with survivors of domestic abuse who want to turn their lives around and create their own Blockbuster Life. But in the main, I work with women over 40 who are reclaiming their life.
There is no shame in asking for help from anyone. To acknowledge you’re not the expert in everything is a strength, as is asking for help and support.
Who can you ask TODAY to help you to execute your plans? If you do nothing else, just identify who they are.
In the early hours of this morning (GMT) the Golden Globes were awarded in the USA.
The Golden Globes recognises excellence in film and television. It’s just one of a number of awards ceremonies throughout the year which recognises the stars from the world of Creative Arts.
It’s easy to look at the nominees and winners and think that they’ve had it easy and everything just falls into their laps. What we often fail to consider is the years of hard work and struggle they’ve gone through before landing their breakthrough role. Most of them will have trained in their craft and will have spent years honing the craft.
Reclaiming YOUR Life, Creating YOUR Blockbuster or Golden Globe Life is exactly the same. First of all we need to decide to change, from there we need to work out what to do and then work at it, every single day.
How often have you heard an ‘overnight success’ saying that it’s taken them 10 years to become an ‘overnight success’?
Whomever the award winners are tonight, they’re all winners in my view. At some stage they all decided to be the star of their own show and create their own Blockbuster Life. It’s possible for you to do the same too. You just need to decide that NOW is the time to reclaim your life and create YOUR Blockbuster life.
We’re all different and whatever YOUR Blockbuster Life looks like is absolutely perfect for you. Now you just need to take action to make it YOUR reality so that one day, you too can be your own Golden Globes winner.
If you think that NOW might be the time to Reclaim YOUR life and start rewriting your script so that you become the Golden Globe winner of your own life, take a look at this webinar.
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