Sunday, 14 December 2008

Getting Out Of The Box

I came across this tiny mosaic whilst walking through London the other day. It was in Mayfair, the dark blue on the Monopoly board, a totally exclusive area, and there were no signs around as to who had made it or why. It wasn't connected to a groovy sci-fi shop or record store. It was just there.

There are signs of creativity everywhere, but we don't always see, feel, taste or hear them - we're sometimes so in our own world of insecurities and worries that we don't notice the things around us. And when we're in that cut-off zone, the last thing we feel is creative.

I have two remedies for those sorts of moods. One is to physically force myself to take in other people's creativity. To put on some wonderful music or to look at some art. I feel very quickly that there is beauty out there and it changes my mood. The other is to take my little phone camera out and just take photos. It doesn't matter if they're good or 'rubbish'. If I take enough, sooner or later there will be a 'good' one, or, at least, one that I'll keep and treasure.

We are all deeply creative, although sometimes we just don't realise it. But we definitely feel so much better when we do.

Here's to a wonderfully creative week.
Founder Life Clubs

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Cycle of Life

I know, it's not quite Elton John, but this week's Life Clubs workshop is all about change. Not just change in the jungle, but also change in the city.

In both, there is the expected and controlled change 'I'm going to the waterhole, rather than hanging out here' or 'I'm giving up smoking', and also the unexpected change 'I'm being chased by a wild buffalo' or 'I just lost my job'.

Change affects us. Like the bicycle wheel we keep going, but it's only if we're 'centered' enough to be in the middle of that wheel that the impact is minimalised.

This week at Life Clubs we're going to be thinking about how many different parts of our life are changing (either in our control or out of it) right now and how we could get to that centred place in order to be least affected.

See you there,
Founder Life Clubs

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Inside it all

Somehow the image of the Russian doll to me really seems to sum up what values are. On the outside we can sometimes feel we're anyone - maybe we even change depending on who we're talking to or what we're talking about - but strip those layers and underneath we're us with all the values we have around ourselves and our life.

One of my main values is freedom. I'd hate being that trapped doll in the middle of all the others - I'd like to be the one on the top, able to leave at any moment and run.

This value has made me fun, independent and outspoken. You know where you are with me. It's also got me into all sorts of problems. I'm hopeless at the thought of commitment - I was extremely nervous about getting married (and yet we've been happily married now for over 20 years), I've never been able to work for anyone else (imagine not being able to do what you wanted to when you wanted to) and I'm often far too outspoken (and that can ruffle others' values).

And yet when I do commit I'd say I'm more satisfied and fulfilled than when I'm free. Such is the paradox of values - you can be opposites at the same time.

This week, let's discover all your values - contradictory and harmonious. Why not start by working out which layer of doll you'd like to be.

See you at Life Clubs this week for our Being You workshop.
All best,

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Using your imagination

Although it's grey outside and pouring with rain, just looking at the photo of the dandelion takes me back to sunny meadows, puffing and puffing at a dandelion to see what time it is. There's something magical about the dandelion seeds floating away. I like imagining where they're going, where they'll be seeding themselves.

Do you ever feel like that about your life - wondering where you're going, where you'll be seeding yourself?

This week's workshop is all about using your imagination to clarify your thinking about your future.

How do you imagine? What sorts of things do you like imagining?

Come along and visualise your future with us. We know you'll feel more focused afterwards.

And maybe next time you blow those seeds away you'll think about yourself rather than the time.
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 14 November 2008

Throwing all your worries away

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just drop our problems in the bin?

Well we can. Not all of them, but most probably quite a few of them.

The problem I just dropped in the bin was worrying about the birthday party coming up for my son. I decided that I'd just think about it the day before and stop it worrying me all the time. In the end he was sick so it had to be cancelled anyway, but it was wonderful to put a deadline on my worrying and only allow it to start 24 hours before the actual event. The worry of it had been hanging over me for weeks and I didn't want it to.

I know, that was a frivolous example of worrying, when all around me people are losing jobs and money. But worrying is one of those activities that just makes you unfocused and panicked. It'll probably cause you to procrastinate and not do anything which might make the worrying - and the problem - even worse.

At Life Clubs we're going to see which of your worries can be held onto and solved and which dropped in the bin. And then we're going to see how to solve those we're still hanging onto. We're going to give you a clearer way of thinking.

See you there,
Founder Life Clubs

Monday, 10 November 2008

Keep moving

When you see a picture like this, don't you just want to get out there and explore - expand your horizons? This week's workshop is all about expanding your horizons, removing anything that's keeping you small and stuck and in your comfort zone.

Looking at that I want to get out there and explore what's holding me back and my next step is to get rid of my beliefs that I'll never enjoy getting fit. I want to be able to run, skip, roll and fly down that road. I want to feel my body supporting me, not holding me back.

This week's workshop made me feel so fluid that the feeling spread into all areas of my life. After doing it, I felt invincible.

Come along and feel like that too.
See you there,

Monday, 3 November 2008


Streamline is not just a 1960's kitchen, it's a bird flying, it's a champion swimmer, it's a paper dart, it's a sleek car, it's a glider, it's you when you're firing on all cylinders feeling in control and capable.

I streamlined my mind last weekend. I had a belief that I was never going to be able to tell as good stories as my mother and that made my mind feel awkward and clumsy and, of course, inadequate. I decided that story-telling would be something I'd love to be able to do and that a workshop would help me out.

All I can say is that I surprised myself. We were loosened up with some simple brain-storming and then plunged in to telling our own problems and solutions as stories. I amazed myself with the beauty of my imagery and the tenderness of my stories. Plus, by seeing my problems as beautiful stories, they faded into fairy tales and their solution was manageable.

My mind feels smooth and elegant now. It feels streamlined. A limiting belief has gone and been replaced by a flowing stream.

Come along this week and find out how to streamline your life.
See you,
Founder Life Clubs

Monday, 27 October 2008

Are you up against a brick wall?

As I was taking this photograph I started looking carefully at all the different types of brick wall that I could see.

The old brick walls, stuck in their groove and not wanting to listen to anything new, the new brick walls, arms crossed, determined to get on with their own thing and not be disturbed and the brick walls with their interesting patterns knowing how good they were and that nothing I ever said would be as fascinating as anything they had to say.

I sometimes feel I'm surrounded by brick walls and that I'm one too. It's wonderful when you have a relationship where you really care enough about each other to listen and not get distracted by the thoughts that are in your head - and it's so rare.

This week at Life Clubs we'll be listening out for what stops us listening and learning how to listen too.

Come along and find out how to dismantle that brick wall.
See you there,
Founder Life Clubs

Saturday, 11 October 2008

It's such fun drawing

Don't ask me why I forget how much I like drawing, but I do.

I found myself today in the Mall Galleries thinking I was going to look at a drawing exhibition, but instead having some pastels thrust into my hand and being told to draw a local view.

You know the feeling, I hadn't much time - was meant to be on a mission, sort of wanted to say 'No', but instead, out of my mouth came 'Yes. Why not, it's a Saturday.' and, instead of rushing off, I sat down with my pastels.

Within seconds I was transported into another zone. I was totally focused on the present moment and what I was creating. I was just a part of my picture and it was great.

In this week's Life Club you too are going to be drawing - and it's also going to be a picture of a view, but this time you'll be drawing with circles only and the view will be your future. Each circle represents an aspect of your life and you jiggle them around depending on what you want.

It's a wonderful workshop and totally appropriate for this very unsettling time. Or is that just one perspective? Maybe they're exciting times in which to shake up our lives and see what it is we really can create for ourselves.

So, come along and draw a few circles. You'll lose yourself in the act of drawing and find your future in the circles. And, if you happen not to like drawing, you can always find your future using stones - as they've done in the picture.

See you there,
Founder Life Clubs

Monday, 6 October 2008

Photography in the family

What do you love doing that a member of your family loves/loved doing and who is influenced by you? My mother was a photographer and taking photos (like these) is one of the things I love doing best -
This week's Life Club, Family Stories is all about family influences. I hope you're enjoying yours.
See you there,
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 26 September 2008

Happy Me Day at Base Camp

Hope you all enjoyed Me Day as much as we did. We ate delicious fairy cakes that Gen created and Smarties and Love Hearts. We also laughed doing the workshop and filling in the quiz. A good time was had by all - including two of my children who joined us. And the effects of the workshop made us all feel good.

Do let us know what you did to celebrate.

See you at Life Clubs this week. We're talking about money - very appropriate at this time of year.
All best,
Founder Life Clubs

Monday, 15 September 2008

Selling me

I've always been nervous about parties and whether someone will talk to me or not. Am I fun enough, am I relaxed enough and, yes, even, am I attractive enough? In jobs too, there's always been that feeling of whether I'm good enough or if I am going to be found out and seen as a fraud.

And I know I'm not the only one who feels like this.

This weekend was quite a trial for my teenage daughter as the two of us went shopping down the High Street and bumped into scores of her friends. I could see she desperately wanted to be with them but she was with me and how would she handle a situation like that. How to look cool with Mummy in tow.

One way or the other we're always selling ourselves. And it's best if we don't look like those 'For Sale' signs.

This week's Life Club will turn presenting yourself work-wise and socially into a fun game. You'll realise (without even trying), just how good you are at it.

And, a reminder of another potential party, Me Day - only this one's good because you're in charge. Me Day is next Sunday and there's a free workshop for you to print out and enjoy on the welcome page of our website plus a quiz you'll have fun filling in on your Me Day party invitation. Do remember to send in photos of you and your Me Day party or with your Happy Me Day card for our blog.
If you knew you were magnetically charismatic, how would you behave at parties and interviews?

At this week's Life Club you'll be selling yourself left, right and centre and enjoying it.

Life Clubs News:

The lovely Charlie Damonsing, who runs the Bury St Edmunds club is starting up in Ipswich today, so she'll be running two clubs. Do join her and tell anyone you know based near Ipswich. It's going to be fun.

The other two new clubs starting in September are Glasgow (30th September) and Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire (24th September). Make a date in your diary for those too and tell your friends.

Those three clubs are all offering free membership (worth £10) for their first month of opening.

Do pass us on to your friends, I'm sure they'll get a lot out of Life Clubs.

See you at Life Clubs,
Founder Life Clubs

Come to your nearest Life Club this week - and tell any friends you know who live near one of our clubs about us.

* Buckinghamshire, Great Missenden
* Dorset, Bournemouth
* Esssex, Loughton and Romford
* Hertfordshire,Watford
* London, Westminster, (Mondays) and (Wednesdays)
* Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow
* Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich
* Surrey, Camberley
* Warwickshire, Leamington Spa
* West Yorkshire, Ossett

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Life Balancing

I suppose I've been feeling really happy and balanced this past week because my two eldest children have been working with me and my husband has been at home all week.

In my ideal world I wouldn't have to worry about whether I'm staying at work too late and not seeing my family enough, because we'd all be working together creating something for the future. My work and home life would be intertwined - not because I'm such a great mum - far from it - but because we're working on the same thing together.

An eternal optimist, I haven't been put off by the feuding Jacob and Esau, fighting over their father's birthright, I've been more influenced by the Rupert Murdoch idea of putting my children in charge of various parts of the business. It seems a wonderful way of combining all the things you love best.

This week at Life Clubs we want to inspire you to think clearly about the balance you want in your life and how to achieve it. Once we've shown you how next week can be totally different, you'll want more.

See you at a Life Club,
Founder Life Clubs

Monday, 1 September 2008

I don't give a damn

I remember when I first thought about what perspective it would be good to see the world through.

I was going through one of my many under-confident phases and Scarlett O'Hara popped into my mind.

Yes, I know she's a bitch and selfish and greedy and manipulative (and I can relate to all those things too), but she's determined and strong and believes in something and I love all that about her and the fact that she doesn't care what others think - which is something I still struggle with.

I decided those many years ago that the 'I don't give a damn' perspective would be a good one for me to choose and that I'd remind myself of it by wearing something green (those curtains).

So, whenever you see me with my sparkly green ring on you'll know I may be needing a confidence boost and I've got Scarlett by my side helping me.

We're a pretty formidable combination.

See you at Life Clubs,
Founder Life Clubs
PS Yes, I know Rhett said 'I don't give a damn', but I don't give a damn - it might as well have been Scarlett.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Going down to the crossroads

So often our life feels like this... which way do we go? It doesn't even have to be a big decision, it can be quite a small one.

Being stuck at a crossroads can be a daily occurrence.

Often I just sit down and think about what the answer could be, but this week is metaphor week at Life Clubs and sometimes using an image really helps.

I'm having a bit of a crossroads moment right now thinking about what's important for me to be saying at a talk I'm giving to Sheffield Technology Park - do I go this way or the other? Which is going to be most relevant for my audience of entrepreneurs - this 'lightbulb moment' or another?

If I think about it in metaphor terms, it suddenly becomes clearer. I'd like my talk to look like a spiral. I'd like it to flow gracefully and lead them through to their own conclusion.

Thinking like that, I can probably put all my 'lightbulb moments' in and have them run from one seamlessly to the next. And, just as the crop circle, I can start small, use a large arc and end in a bit of a crescendo.

Why use words when a picture will do?

See you soon,
Founder Life Clubs

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Far from the madding crowd

Far from the madding crowd I can do what I like and in Dorset, with my daughter about to study this Hardy novel, I decided to go for my first Hardy.

I've always thought I'd hate Hardy. I've tried several times to get into one or other of his novels and have given up - his poetic style of writing frustrating me. But this time, with the thought of GCSEs hovering in the background I persisted and was it ever worthwhile? It was brilliant. A Greek tragedy in a Dorset village.

A few days of being totally immersed, with hazy memories of a very sexy Terence Stamp and Julie Christie in my mind, I realise again how my ideal life would allow me to read novel after novel.

In London I have time for three or four pages (maximum) a night before I drop off to sleep exhausted. I usually have a few personal improvement books I'm in the middle of, simply because a novel would have me too gripped to either go to sleep or function properly the next day.

But here, in Dorset, lying on the beach or in bed or on the sofa far from the madding crowd I am happy and living in the present. What's more, there's a whole host of other Hardy novels to explore so I can see hours of bliss stretching ahead of me.

Bring on the next Hardy!

See you at Life Clubs next week,
Founder Life Clubs

Saturday, 9 August 2008

It's never too late

Thankfully I grew up in a late starter family.

I was god knows how old when I learnt how to walk, called 'immature' at school until I left and had my last child at the age of 44. To make matters 'worse' I had just turned 50 when I had my 'lightbulb moment' about how I could bring together all the things that I enjoy doing and turn them into a business.

Luckily our family role model was Grandma Moses.

Grandma Moses was born in 1860 in New York and started painting her primitive art pictures when she was in her mid-seventies. She had her first art show in New York when she was 79 and at the age of 95 was seen regularly on TV painting the view from her house. She died age 101 having completed 25 paintings that year.

Now do you see why I'm not worried that it took me so long to discover my life's purpose. In Grandma Moses terms, I'm a baby.

This week discover your life's purpose at Life Clubs.


Monday, 4 August 2008

Is Homer the key?

So many people tell me they can’t relax. That they spend nights (and days) worrying about anything and everything – and I know that feeling too.

I sometimes wonder if we should all have Homer Simpson as our role model. Would life be blissful if we could be as much like Homer as possible, happy slobbing out, watching TV, eating and drinking our lives away?

And yet if we take each of Homer’s habits individually they certainly won’t bring us either relaxation or happiness. Slobbing out and watching TV has us berating ourselves for procrastinating and not getting on with our lives and feeling grumpy and unfulfilled.

Eating too much makes us hate ourselves too. The weight piles on and we slip into a habit of self-loathing and eating our sorrows away with yet more food. And then drink. I spoke to someone the other day who had spent hundreds of pounds on alcohol the other weekend and he didn’t feel good about himself either. What kind of relaxing is that when you have to become oblivious in order to feel alive?

Pure relaxing is when you don’t need to spend money or feel guilty. When you can unwind and de-stress doing things for pleasure that make you feel good afterwards and for a long time afterwards, rather than guilty and depressed.
I’ve spent a wonderfully relaxed weekend, swimming in the sea and reading art books. Both got me totally into the present and no longer worrying about past or future.

So, move over Homer, I want the sofa so I can lie down and read my book.

See you soon,
Founder Life Clubs

Sunday, 27 July 2008

It's going to go wrong

I always assume machines know nothing and people know everything

One of the assumptions I make is that my computer is going to go wrong and all my work is going to get lost.

I have lost things on occasion, but by and large I know this assumption isn't true. Firstly because I have one of those little MacBooks and I've been told they rarely break down. Secondly because (when I remember) I back everything up 'in space' so it can't get lost and, what I don't back up google, my e-mail account, does. And thirdly - I think I need a thirdly here - because it hasn't gone wrong since I had it - and those odd times when I thought it had - it was always me that had done something wrong.

So, logically I can reassure my assumption that all is well. The facts stack up nicely against it and so I have to stay calm and trust that everything is OK.

My other assumption - that people know everything - is equally difficult to feel comfortable with. It takes me a long time when I meet someone to realise that we have different pools of knowledge. I always assume they know everything I know - even if I know that I don't know everything they know.

The last five days I've spent training Life Clubs hosts and increasingly I find training others a little uncanny. I can't imagine that they don't know what I know, so I cut corners in what I tell them and skip over things that are probably quite important - anything rather than risk telling them something they already know. And yet if I thought about the facts, it would be apparent that they don't know anything I'm going to teach them or else why would they be there.

If only I could assume that people know nothing and machines know everything, I'd be all right.

See you soon,
Founder Life Clubs

Sunday, 20 July 2008

We're all cagey about something

I was accused this week of being cagey and yes, of course, we're probably all cagey up to a point (and, he was right, I was being cagier than usual). Most cagey are Heinz and Coca Cola and other large brands who wouldn't have their ketchup or fizzy drink exclusivity without being cagey about their recipes, but it's not particularly a word I would have chosen to describe myself.

But it told me an awful lot about the person who used that word of me. Because his behaviour had been feeling a little suspicious, as if he was wanting to hide something from me and his use of that word just confirmed it for me.

The words we use about others are the words that best describe ourselves and sometimes it feels hard to take that on board. Every time you're admiring someone's persistence or intelligence or charm, you're noticing attributes that you too possess and, similarly, if you notice their sarcasm or temper or jealousy it's because they are an inherent part of you too.

So just start observing what you're thinking about others and see if they're not words you could use to describe yourself. And, similarly, start observing the words others use to describe you and see if they don't describe themselves with those words too.

And, don't be too cagey about what you're thinking about this theory - just enjoy it.

I hope you have a wonderful week,
Founder Life Clubs

Sunday, 13 July 2008

I said 'No' to being a mum

Today I decided I had to get in practise for a Life Clubs 'Saying 'No'' week. I said 'No' to being a mum and 'Yes' to being a daughter, left our son to go rowing with his father, and did one of my favourite things which is to walk across five parks from my home to my mother's and spend some time with her.

The walk in itself was wonderful. A lovely sunny day, I said 'No' to listening to bird calls and 'Yes' to listening to my daughter's i-pod which made me walk faster and introduced me to lots of new songs. I then said 'No' to an ice cream and 'Yes' to a slice of delicious beef bought from a delicatessen I walked past and finally I said 'No' to rushing home and 'Yes' to staying a little longer with my 93 year-old mother.

I also practised saying 'No' to all those mischievous voices going round in my head telling me that I was a bad mum, a bad wife and a selfish human being in general. Just having had a day of doing what I wanted to, made me such a happy bunny I even said 'No' to being a nagging mum and 'Yes' to my daughter when she asked if she could stay with friends tonight. And you can ask her how often that happens.

See you at Life Clubs this week,
Founder Life Clubs

Monday, 7 July 2008

Sometimes you have to be brave

For years I walked around like Vicky Pollard without the attitude. Just had kids, potentially off to the gym at any moment, felt fitter looking as if I was just off to the gym and frankly, not really bothered about what I looked like. I suppose I was in natural mum mode and, let's be honest, not particularly happy with myself - and no time for myself either.

It was my dustman that first gave me the feedback I needed to kick me into gear. He took me aside one morning and told me I really couldn't go around looking like I did. I needed to smarten my act up - now.

This feedback from a (more or less) stranger was just what I needed. This guy believed that I could look great if I put a bit of effort into it and he moved me into the next stage of my life.

Just for the record I'm still not into Chanel suits, but these days I actually visit the occasional clothes shop.

Vicky wouldn't recognise me any more.

See you soon,
Founder Life Clubs

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Party, Party, Party

I haven't been to a party for ages and suddenly it's Summer and everyone is having them. And yet, when I think about it, my best evenings are at home watching Dr Who with my son.

I do, however, want to meet Donna Noble. Catherine Tate is a Dr Who woman - less of those pretty girls and at last someone weighty (not fat, but a real presence). I love Donna's humour, her sentimentality, her intelligence (though she claims none) and her pragmatism. If she was at a party I'd really enjoy it.

But how to go to a party as if I was Donna, rather than expecting to meet her. To walk in with that self-assurance and confidence? What could I do (short of taking the Doctor with me) to feel the same?

Because parties make me feel nervous. Or is it just the thought of the Daleks I might meet?

See you soon,
Founder Life Clubs

Sunday, 22 June 2008

I love Amy Winehouse

Yes, of course, she's dreadful. She's doing way too much of everything, but I love her music and I love the way she's so totally herself and just doesn't give a damn. A little like Scarlett O'Hara - another of my heroines.

Although Amy may not care if she's OD'ing, some of us have different standards. There's a bit of me that cares that I'm working so much. Another bit of me that cares that I eat so much. And yet another bit of me that cares that my head is constantly so busy.

Having just returned from Sex and the City (sorry, yes I loved it), I want to be like those girls - well, maybe Samantha in particular. I'd like to really enjoy my beautiful body, be there in the present at all times - enjoying life and just not worrying about anything.

That whole Cinderella film was perfect escapism. Everything I do too much of just wasn't their problem - apart from Miranda and I maybe share a few workaholic tendencies. The only thing they're definitely doing too much of is shopping. Maybe we could help them out there.

See you this week at Life Clubs... where normal people go for fun.
Looking forward,

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Pampering Myself

This week I put others first and today I decided was going to be my day - a day of doing just what I wanted and ending up a nicer, calmer human being at the end of it.

Well, it's about time for Doctor Who and I tell you, Ingres could have been painting me, I feel so relaxed.

The day started by waving at The Queen on her official birthday. It was followed by a swim, a wonderful deep-tissue massage, picnic lunch and a long siesta. Could a day be bettered?

Do let me know your ideal day? And do, if you can, experience it.

I'm mellow as could be.

See you this week,
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 30 May 2008

Out to pasture - Never

After a bit of a break......20 years, I returned this week to a sport I once took part in on a regular basis. I went horse riding!

My daughter started horse riding at christmas. She had often heard stories, usually from her Nan, of how I rode horses in my younger days. She had been badgering me for a while to join her but I had put her off with words like, 'Never again', 'too old', 'ask your dad' etc. Well this weekend my husband joined in too. And I have to say a little bit encouraged by this chance to show my husband of many years something he'd never seen me do before(!) and flash a little of my younger self, I went and bloomin booked it!!

The hour past in five minutes. It was wonderful, exhilarating and so much fun. I skipped away marvelling at my youthful athleticism, my natural poise, grace, agility and aptitude for anything sporty. I gazed in the mirror and yes, I definately looked more toned and flexy than Madonna. Pah! How could I have denied the equine world this talent for so long? I even contemplated buying Horse and Hound on the way home.

The next morning my husband was treated to another sight he'd never seen before, as I rolled out of bed onto the floor, crawled to run a very hot bath and then called for assistance to get into it. I kid you not, the act of swinging one leg out of the bed ahead of the other, was just too much.

And I have vowed 'NEVER AGAIN'..... will I leave it so long, to take part in something I have enjoyed so much. So look out equestrians, I'm coming to get you!

Leamington Lifeclub

Never again...

Not one, but both my daughters went to see 'chick' flick Sex In The City almost the second it came out.

'It's so cute...' said one of them. 'All about people in their forties, but they're all so cute'. I smiled and inwardly growled. I felt it was the film I should have gone to see first. After all, it's about people almost my age doing things that might happen to me. How come they got to see it first.

I vowed to change. Never again am I going to sit at home and peel potatoes. From now on, I'm going to go to first day showings too and shock them into seeing that 'older' people aren't just cute, but have lives too. Or not...

I mean, which is more worthwhile - seeing Sex In The City or living it?

See you soon,
Westminster Life Club

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Carry yourself with confidence

This weeks confidence workshop looks at some of the reasons why we might find it difficult to wave goodbye to our 'lack of confidence'. If we aren't confident enough to do something, then maybe someone else will step in and do it for us.

Strangely this week my confidence had the same effect.

Off I went to Halfords to pick up the Twins birthday bikes. I had it all covered. I had phoned ahead to reserve a bike carrier to get the bikes home, clocked off work an hour early, rang the boys to say I would be home soon and be ready to go out, I had cake in the car and directions to Draycote water - a reservoir which has a five mile cycle path around its circumference. The surprise was set - nothing could go wrong.

I was asked at the Halfords till if i would like one of their trained fitters to put the bike carrier together and attach it to the car. The cost for this service was £8.99. I figured this would be money well spent for safety and save a bit of time. Off I went to bring the car to the front of the store. On my return I was met by the store manager who said that they weren't able to 'book in' my request, (hello, didn't they ask me?), until the next day, as they had a shortage of trained fitters. Never mind I replied confidently, it can't be that hard, I'll do it myself, thanks.

Before I could say 'wheres the instruction manual?', I was surrounded by three lovely young men in blue boiler suits, bikes were brought out, carrier was assembled and all were placed securely on the car. And I wasn't charged a penny.

It seems my confidence had terrified them.

Does that make me a 'Confidence trickster?'

Leamington Lifeclub

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Procrastination - Its worse than you thought

Oh my goodness the merest mention of the 'P' word and I find myself at a complete loss; motivation, oomph, zing, mojo, get up and go, all got up and gone. What is it about Procrastination that, well, leaves you all procrastinating? How strange is that?

So at a loss for my own words I went in search of others. And a quick 'Google' turned up this:

"If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he next comes to drinking and sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination"

Now I knew Procrastination was never a good thing but I had no idea just how dreadful, until I read these lines from, Thomas DeQuincey,(August 15, 1785 – December 8, 1859). He was an English author and intellectual, best known for his book 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'.

And despite his Heroin addiction he went on to write over 200 articles following his success with 'Opium-Eater'. He certainly didn't let the grass grow under his feet. And neither should we...........who knows what might happen!

Get yourself to Lifeclubs this week, don't delay, tackle Procrastination now. You know it makes sense!

Leamington Lifeclub

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Not America's Next Top Model again

Just how many times have my daughters watched that programme in order not to have to get on with anything and how many times has my husband (sweetly) tidied up the kitchen rather than get on with his 'homework'. And, yes, I've been known to check my e-mails more times than necessary in order not to have to get on with the 'big stuff'. Hell, even writing this is putting off something else I've got to do.

So, yes, this week's workshop, is all about procrastination and yes, it's all about you too. Come along and learn what your procrastination is all about and how to knock it on the head and lead a go for it type of life.

See you there. If you dare to turn on the TV instead you'll have missed it.

Westminster Life Club

Sunday, 4 May 2008

And Be Merry

I have taken the key points from this weeks 'Energise your Body' workshop and I am giving them my best shot.

This week a friend of mine, just finishing her beautician course, asked me if I wouldn't mind coming into the college and having a few complimentary treatments to help her complete her case studies. Off I went anticipating a wonderful facial and looking forward to shaped brows, uplifted jaw line and a youthful glow.

But I hadn't listened!

'Just undress down to your underwear she says'. Holy Bridget Jones....didn't see that coming!

An hour later I glowed with the news that I probably wouldn't see much effect from the thigh treatment... I didn't have enough fat! Wow now I'm listening. And I will be booking a full back massage after hearing that the bone I thought she was mainpulating in my shoulder was in fact tense muscle.

Listen up! Colleges offer a huge array of treatments at much much reduced prices. All work is closely supervised. Treat yourself to a pamper day, hair, cut and colour, massage, nails, pedicure, non surgical facelift even. Now theres no excuse not to LOVE your bod.

I have downloaded a few (ok, yes you are correct, when I say I, I actually mean one of the're so picky)fast paced tracks to step out to. So everyday this week I have been setting off at a fast beat for half an hour. The Jack Russell is looking very trim.

NB Take it from me, middle aged woman screaching, 'I am a fire starter, twisted fire starter', as she beats it out past the neighbours house is not a good look. Mental note to self, only 'sing a long a open farm land'.

So far so good, my body has been a temple. However today It seems the fried breakfast gods have been conspiring against me. Wake up to find the 4-strong, teenage girly sleepover, have woken early and are starting an Egg and Bacon marathon in the kitchen. Distract self by walking dog along canal. Husband accompanies me and steers towards the 'Long Itchington diner' for a little sustenance; Sausage, Egg, Bacon, Black pudding, beans and a fried slice. I resist and have a cup of tea. Returned home to find phase two beginning in the kitchen............Brunch. Who knows if I will last the day without being assaulted by a bacon baguette or a cheese and onion toasty but I'm certainly trying and hiding from 'The brunch' has given me the opportunity to sit and write my blog. In fact if you take a real deep breath you'll probably catch a whiff of bangers and beans.

Ok all things in moderation, lets not create a miserable, calorie counting or treat depriving life. I may be resisting the delicious temptations of the 'Heart attack Menu' on offer, in Casa Kelly this weekend, but its not all that it might seem. I'm doing a bit of 'off setting'. I've looked after my body all week, to leave some guilt free space, for the 'Long Itchington Bank Holiday Beer Festival'. And you know; I think I'll sleep well tonight.


Leamington Lifeclub, fab New Venue

Monday, 28 April 2008

Are you doing your homework?

This weeks workshop, Rules of Happiness, is one of my favourite and in celebration I have spent the weekend practising. As I say to my daughter 'you'll never pass a driving test just reading the Highway code, you gotta put the work in too'. And as she says to me, 'you'll never lose weight reading slimmers world magazine mum, step away from the chocolate hob nobs'. But that is a whole other workshop!

Rule 1 - Good at relationships. Off I went to London with four of my neighbours, only one of which I really knew. So new relationships were made

Rule 5 - Be absorbed by what you are doing. I probably worked the hardest at this. I gave Oxford street my complete attention and was happily absorbed for most of the afternoon.

Rule 6 - Build laughter and fun into your life. Good company, lovely hotel, fabulous Billy Elliot and an entertaining walk from Leicester Square to Warren Street in the early hours, L&F was had by all.

Rule 10 - Not focused on being wealthy. Just as well, spent a happy fortune!

Oh yes and not forgetting Rule 8 - Happy people are wise. I wisely bought 14 year old a mini skirt in Top shop, Oxford street, 13 year old glittery eyeliner and sparkly tights and the twin year olds souvenir pencil cases. They're begging Daddy to send me away again!

Happy Days

Leamington Lifeclub

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

*pun alert* A Life Club Of Value *pun alert*

Value - what a great word to play with. Do you value that? What's the value of this? And "this" could be anything - property, a friendship, the dollar, watching a sunset, a certain food, a particular exercise, work, play, cycling, rugby, couch-potatoing, talking, silence. The idea of value is present in all areas of our life - it's how we think of things, our way of weighing one thing against another. So it was really interesting exploring how the idea of "value" shows up inside ourselves in this week's Life Club. And also, how useful it is to have a really clear idea of what makes life juicy for you.

Last weekend was a real peak experience for me - a surprise party for an aunt and uncle to celebrate their ruby wedding. 90 people converged on a village hall in Yorkshire for this. I saw lots of family members I hadn't seen for years, and a marvellous time was had by all. And why was I having such fun? All my values were being fully loved up. Simple as that. You can have a big party with great music, amazing food and everything, and still be miserable - and if that's the case, important stuff is missing for you. Your values are being neglected.

So there's a great tool for fulfillment and happiness - know your values, and make sure they get honoured.

Mark Lister
Edinburgh Life club

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Look at me!

An interesting workshop this week, which had me asking myself - just how DO I see myself? There are good bits, neutral bits, uncomfortable bits to that. Some are about my appearance, in terms of clothing and so on. Some are about how well (or not!) I look after my body.

And some, we noticed, are about what sort of person we see ourselves as. I'm a nice guy, encouraging, a bit of a bore about history at times, inclined to ramble when I feel insecure. These things too get projected outwards and picked up by our audience. A feedback loop gets started and the whole thing becomes a fixture.

What I realised was twofold: firstly, your image can seem very "struck in stone", but actually, it's surprisingly simple to change. You just need to choose to, and then you can take the practical steps - go to the gym, ride your bike, get new jeans, get up 20 minutes earlier so you can do a little yoga before breakfast.

And secondly, the same goes for the "what sort of person I am" stuff. For example, I recently realised I tend to tell stories instead of engaging in conversations on a personal level. Now, stories are fun and interesting, but not when you keep hearing the same ones over and over. Choosing to stop Being A Raconteur was a bit of a wrench at the time, but once I'd chosen, the practical steps were surprisingly easy. Like, er, listening to people, and thinking of something of myself to contribute to conversations. How cool is that!

Mark Lister

Edinburgh Life Club

Monday, 14 April 2008


I am a self confessed trash TV watcher. Well watcher is probably stretching the point, 'flitter' is a closer description. This weekend I tuned into the Eastenders omnibus. Not a show I've been following for a long time, but I was drawn by the promise of, once again, hearing Bianca scream Rickaaay across the square. My husband, neither watcher nor flitter, but reader, emerged from behind his book to exclaim, 'I really like her'. I dashed back into the lounge sure that I would find him oggling 'Roxy' or 'Ronnie' (no relation to Reggie!) behind the bar at the Queen Vic. I was ready to launch into a precis of this weeks workshop 'From the outside in', to find that he'd already understood the message. He was mesmerised by 'Heather'. She is a large lady (see Pic above) who for the purposes of Eastenders is not shown in the best of 'outside' lights. He said 'I like her for two reasons, I really like the character she plays, the way she loves life and has a real 'anythings possible' attitude and I really like the fact that shes a successful actress who hasn't been deterred or put off because she doesn't fit into the stereotype of a stick thin, blond, lovely.'

It really is whats on the inside that rings out, personality, attitude and the inner you will always shine through. I would have kissed him, but by this time he was already mumbling about 'lost my page, turn down the volume and one sugar in my tea'.

Don't start me on Romance!!

Leamington Lifeclub

Thursday, 10 April 2008

What a waste of energy!

I found this very thought-provoking! We discussed what clutter actually is, and we came up with:

Clutter is all the stuff that doesn't help you.

That really brought home to me how much energy I waste in hanging onto stuff. Going into a cluttered place really is tiring - you don't want to do any work there, you can't relax there either. This reminded me of something I really already knew - the hard work is not in doing the task, but in NOT doing the task. A lot of clutter is undone tasks.

Another thing that struck home was how clutter can be a very useful barrier against actually getting on with the life you really want. I wonder - if I emptied my inbox, cleared my to-do list and tidied my desk, what would be possible then?

For one thing, maybe I'd start posting on the Life Clubs blog again...

Mark Lister

Edinburgh Life Club

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Imagine Lily Savage discovers a buy one get one free offer on Blue Nun!

Thats just about how happy I am that summertime is here. As I wrote here in October 2007, I'm not known for my love of the winter months. So as hard as i've tried to appreciate the chillier times I'm thrilled to wave them goodbye and turn my clock forward.
I am celebrating the brighter side of life. I have emerged from under the duvet to give the house a good scouring, I'm being strangely drawn to salads and all those jobs on hold have bobbed to the surface and hit my top five. So this weeks topic of 'making space' comes just at the right time. I'm already feeling the natural benefits of brighter evenings and increased sunlight and I'm raring to go; to make space, declutter and welcome the summer in.
And despite the snow in Warwickshire its fast approaching umbrellas in drinks time, you know, its nearly 'Pimms O'clock'.

Leamington Lifeclub

Saturday, 29 March 2008


I had always thought that this weeks topic, 'Fright to Delight', would never relate to me. I had delighted in living a fearless life, or so I thought. I had parachuted, swam for miles (why?), climbed heights, abseiled canyons, ridden scary horses, paddled white water and never, never, never turned down a dare. Yer, then I grew up. (Really!)

What is it about age that robs us (me) of our fearlessness? What is it about age that sees many of my fears expressed through my hair!! Weird I know, but we can never really hide from our fears entirely, they will always find us out - and sometimes in the strangest of ways.

Well early on there were the 'Bad Hair days' - If my hair looked anything less than I was happy with, you would all see how inadequate, scared, useless and deeply unattractive I was. So I worked on my self confidence and cut my hair short. Wind, rain, humidity and bed head all played havoc with my confidence.

Then came 'Bald Hair days'. My fear of being less than perfect and having to ask for help saw me struggling with four young children and suffering from Alopecia. For me this was reasonably quickly resolved by my vanity. My fear of being bald overcame my other fears and I took all the help I could get, some really great acupuncture and a lesson in humility.

Which brings us to today, 'Grey Hair Days'. I have for the last 10 years spent a fortune hiding my rapidly greying hair. I have always said I don't mind getting older, I just don't want to look it! Whats that all about then? Hmm, fear! Well you know in the last few months I've decided to grow up - again. I have given up the dye and am learning to love my grey. I am overcoming my fear that my hair shows up my lack of youth and exuberance and letting it express, my experience, maturity, brimming life and steely determination.

So, in short, I'm thinking Helen Mirren rather than Mrs Merton.

Its strangely liberating tackling your fears and sometimes more exhilarating than abseiling a Canyon.

Leamington Lifeclub

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Stones, Pebbles and Advertising

One of the 10 year olds came home from school today, exclaiming that at lunch time, whilst licking the lid of life, he cut his tongue. Phew! "Finally someone who understands my world" was my first thought. This was quickly followed by my sympathetic Mother noises as I tended to my sons sore tongue (no you can't put a plaster on it!) whilst realising that he was talking actual and I was talking (actual) metaphor.

I usually find that when life feels a bit like this it means I've stopped paying attention to whats important to me. For this reason I will be paying special attention to this weeks Lifeclub topic. This topic illustrates how by imagining our goals, wishes, needs, wants, neccesities et al, as pebbles, grit, sand and water we can make sure the important things don't get overlooked by the necessary but hum drum. Its great, you should try it, come along.

I would also like to heartily recommend the Muller lite Toffee Yoghurt, although there are other brands and flavours available. Unlike Lifeclubs which is second to none!

Leamington Lifeclub

Monday, 17 March 2008

Mental Breakthrough

Well this really made me stop and think. Its shocking the amount of 'affirmations' I use and repeat everyday. And everyday I will give you all good reasons why my affirmations are true - I'm too tired, too rushed, too busy blah blah blah.

And yet when offered the chance of a few days in the adult disneyland and centre of the Elvis impersonator universe, that is LAS VEGAS , was I too tired, rushed or busy...........Hell no!! I drank, I danced, I shopped, I didn't sleep, I came home relaxed and invigorated (ok ok and a lot hungover)and ready to face the world a new.

So its about time I changed the record and gave myself some new positive affirmations and had more fun! - "I am relaxed, energised and I have all the time in the world" That feels better already.

Kim Kelly has left the building X

Leamington Life club

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Photos from One Life Exhibition