Do you need Confidence?

The business of confidence

Setting up a business helping people with confidence and I’m overwhelmed. Right now there are so many things I could do, areas I could focus on and groups of people I could help it’s difficult to know where to begin.

I needed a way to find out where I can best direct my energies so that I can help as many people as possible.


Well I’ve written a very short (8 question) survey and I need as many people as possible to complete it.    The more people who complete the survey the faster I can get to the business of helping you – so please pass on to anyone who might need a bit of guidance on confidence.

Here’s the link

Thank you


I’m Genetically Modified

bear asleep on a rock


I wonder about my genes – not the denim ones the life ones.

My dad’s side of the family come from the North of England known for it’s cold wet weather

my mum’s side of the family come from Ireland – known for it’s cold wet weather

If I remember my biology classes cold+cold should equal that I’m OK with cold wet weather shouldn’t it?


It should mean I love cold weather,

I thrive in cold weather –

and rain, it should mean I love the rain shouldn’t it?

It should mean I love being cold and wet –

but I DON’Tbear asleep on a rock

There must have been a genetic switch along the way I swear my genes are brown bear –

Sure enough each year, as winter
approaches, I want to move less, and go out even less than that. I want to stay indoors wrapped up sleeping.


If I’m invited anywhere in winter – even if I accept during the day and love the idea, come evening when it’s dark and cold something happens and I just find it soooo hard to get myself up and out…. it’s worse if I need to change clothes, get dressed up to go anywhere.

So apologies in advance, to anyone who invites me anywhere, if I lose the battle and don’t actually make it out the door.

See you in the summer – or maybe, if it’s not too cold, the spring xxx

Did I miss something?

Jubilee_Maze,_Symonds_YatDay 30 and, with this post, the challenge is done…noone is more surprised that I made it !

I’m not writing for my business so I haven’t strictly speaking done every challenge but I have completed mine.   I took on the challenge to blog every day. For someone who was struggling to get ideas down on paper it was a huge ask, but that’s exactly what I did! – Am I proud? you betcha!

Thanks to you

Thank you to all who have dropped by, have read, liked and commented.  Without you I would have given up long ago.


Final post

OK for my final challenge post I have two things I want to do, first – in the best traditions of reality TV – I decided to share my ‘best bits….’ and second review what I’ve learnt. Here goes.


Popularity Poll

A roundup of the top 5 posts – in reverse order – these are the top 5 most viewed posts for the last 29 days.

Number 5 I’m addicted to my phone, are you  all about how my mobile is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at at night – and deciding to break free. – obviously there are a few addicts out there.

Numbers 4 How to Belly Breathe – the key to releasing stress and anxiety  – a helpful (I hope) guide to this most relaxing technique.  I use it more and more and am constantly surprised at what it can help with.   

Number 3 Telling myself I’m going to fail how I showed my failure demon the door and gave it a kick in the teeth too

Number 2 How to stop thinking about chocolate – I explain why when you’re trying not to do something that’s all you can think of – and suggest a different technique to break a habit.

And drumroll…… the most viewed post in the last 30 days is…….

Number 1 4 techniques to beat procrastination – exactly what the title says.  I set out 4 techniques I’ve successfully used to beat my own procrastinating.


From this it seems my audience are stressed out chocolate eating procrastinators who have a hard time with their failure demon… maybe that’s my niche 😀

Personal favourites

I can’t leave this ‘best bits’ section without a special mention to 3 of my own personal favourite posts – all on my pet topic of language……

Can changing your language help you lose weight – don’t lose it give it away…

Why trying is hard – I suggest an easier alternative to trying

Vulnerable doesn’t mean weak – I find the strength that lies in vulnerable


OK onto the second purpose of this final post,  the Zenith of my challenge (hey Sarah I worked it in)

Things I learnt

I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learnt through the challenge so here are my top 5:

Number 1 I’ve found I really enjoy writing – who knew!  (But only when I can write what’s on my mind not trying to come up with stuff for a specific topic…. )

Number 2 There are some amazing blogs and bloggers out there – it’s been a pleasure to read and……. remember me when you’re rich and famous 🙂

Number 3 Focusing on the small steps really is the only way.  Focusing on the end point, where I want to be it’s no wonder I get frozen…

At the beginning of the 30 days I was CONVINCED 100% that I wouldn’t be able to come up with ideas for 30 posts let alone write them – and if I’d had to do it all in one then no I wouldn’t have.

BUT, by cutting it down and just focusing on one post a day, focusing only on the next step (next heading, next paragraph, next blog post… I’ve made it to the end without a miss.

Number 4 Schedule posts – working smarter….. This is something I recently learnt and it was invaluable in making sure I kept up with my personal challenge.  It’s a brilliant technique that works well for me – for blogs, facebook and email 🙂

Number 5 allowing myself not to be perfect – this was a huge one.

I have hangups leftover from school days about my writing and of course I have my failure demon hanging around waiting to be let in – so just writing and putting a post out without keeping it in a draw for 2 weeks and endless rounds of proofreading was stressful at first.  Later it became liberating – after all posts can be edited even once they’ve been published (and yes I did – several posts, several times)


I can definitely recommend this challenge

It seems I’ve achieved so much more than I set out to do. I’ve managed to get people thinking talking sharing and even laughing. For me that’s what blogging’s about….. so again thank you all for reading and commenting and…..

in my best Arnie voice:…… ‘I’ll be back!’

How to stop thinking about chocolate

or cigarettes, or the ex, or pizza……

Can’t stop

Why is it that when we want to stop doing something, that’s all we can think about?

When you’re on a diet all you can think about is crisps or chocolate or cake.  When you’re trying to stop smoking all you can think about is a cigarette – even at times it never used to bother you…

A little experiment:Tomascastelazo

  • Don’t think about chocolate
  • Don’t think about cigarettes
  • Don’t think about pizza
  • Don’t think about a pink elephant, in a blue tree, playing a saxophone

What happened?

I’m guessing some would have an image of a chocolate eating pink elephant sitting in a blue tree

Others would at least have had the brief though of chocolate, cigarette, pizza and maybe even the pink elephant in a blue tree with a sax

And some will have got stuck at chocolate

This illustrates another fascinating fact (my opinion) about the way the mind works.


You may have heard that ‘the mind can’t process negatives’ (it doesn’t register the NOT in don’t, shouldn’t, can’t etc) we’ll that’s not strictly true…. what happens is that in order to work out what it’s not to think about the mind needs to …..well,…. think about it….

It processes negatives but in a positive way….

OK let me explain in a different way….

What happens if someone says to you ‘don’t touch!’ – what do you say or think?

‘What, what am I not to touch?’

You’re alerted that there’s some sort of danger – your senses are awakened but you’re confused you haven’t got a clue where the danger is coming from.

When they answer – for example

‘The button’

One of two things happens – either you think ‘Which button – there are 10 here?’ or you think ‘why not?’

A little side-step into character

If you’re one of the ‘which button’ people… you do well with authority and would probably be fantastic in a crisis and working in a team.

If you’re, like me, one of the ‘why nots’ it’s possible you don’t respond well to authority – you need to understand, to have a reason and, possibly also need that reason to make sense to you.  You’d probably be great at being self-employed and maybe as a team leader but not too good at taking orders that don’t make sense…

Maybe you’re a combination of both a ‘which button, why’ type person….needing specifics and needing to make sense of the instruction first.

Whichever way you respond, you need to get specifics to understand what you are not to touch and to do that you need to think about what you’re not to do.

Back to the chocolate….

Filing cabinets

If I say don’t think about…. your mind is alert, already thinking… what, what am I not to think about…..


your mind now needs to ‘understand’ chocolate  – it goes to it’s ‘filing cabinets’, searches through until it finds a representation of chocolate.  It all happens in a split second.

But what’s happened is that it has had to think about chocolate.  And then you get frustrated…

‘I told you NOT to think about chocolate….’ and your mind needs to run to the filing cabinet again to check it’s got the right instructions.

So the more you tell yourself don’t think about chocolate, the more the mind has to run to the filing cabinet get the picture out and say ‘oh yes that’s what I’m not to think about’.

That’s why all you can think about is the thing you’re trying not to think about.

What does it mean for us?

Changing a habit

Well when we’re working on breaking a habit often we say ‘don’t do…….’ I’m not going to xxx

Don’t think about xxxx

And then get frustrated because all we can think of is that thing. It can feel like we’ve failed and so we give up.

But if instead we get rid of the negative and say for example

Before eating chocolate I’m going to……xxxx

Demoting chocolate

The mind processes the ‘before’ and thinks OK chocolate is less important than xxxxx

So if for example you say before I eat chocolate I’m going to belly breath for 1 minute….

your mind sees that chocolate is demoted, less important than the breathing and you’ve given yourself the space to make a different choice.

If you do that every time you think of chocolate the mind keeps getting distracted and you think of chocolate less and less.

You’re not telling yourself you can’t have something – which might then fire up the ‘control’ or ‘danger seeker’ in you (see the post on not laughing) – you are just putting something in before… you’re delaying/distracting, and it works.

Oh and you can stop thinking about chocolate now 😀

Money spiders, white rabbits, magpies and blue roses

Money spiders

I was reading a great story by Wendy Tomlinson about her son and a money spider yesterday morning and it brought back memories.  As a child I also used to call tiny spiders money spiders.

I was told to I keep it on my right hand and circle my hand around my head clockwise 3 times – If the spider was still there afterwards, providing I let it go, alive, money was coming.

I used to circle my hand very slowly – not because I was scared of spiders dropping in my hair, nor because I didn’t want to make the spider dizzy, no – it was pure avarice – I didn’t want to risk losing the money!

White rabbits

This morning I was presented with another superstition reminder.  The first of any month is white rabbit day.

Now I don’t have a clue when I first started this one or who told me about it but, if the first thing you say on the first of the month is ‘White Rabbits’ three times then it’s going to be a good month.

Yes I did remember so July is going to be amazing 😀


And another as I sit and type this, I hear another reminder – I hear a magpie,

Pica pica sericea
Pica pica sericea

one of my favourite birds, I just love the sound they make ….

There was a nursery rhyme I was taught as a kid

  • One for sorrow
  • Two for joy
  • Three for a girl
  • Four for a boy
  • Five for silver
  • Six for gold
  • Seven for a secret never to be told
  • Eight’s a wish
  • Nine’s a kiss
  • Ten is a bird you must not miss

I don’t know what happens if you see more than 10 – and I’m also a bit free with whether you see them all together or separately.  If I’m driving down the road and see one and then see another a bit further on that counts as two right, not one again… so it’s joy not two lots of sorrow.

Oh and if you see one magpie on it’s own to ward off the sorrow you say ‘Good morning’ to it.

What!!! don’t look at me like that, I’m not crazy, I just don’t need any bad luck!!!

Blue Roses

So what about blue roses…. well that’s my own personally invented sign.

I used to have real trouble making decisions, especially huge potentially life-changing ones.  It wasn’t that it was tough to decide – I was just so frozen with fear of making the wrong choice.

At that time I had the habit of going for a long walk if I had a decision to make.  I believed that if I didn’t think about what I needed to decide about by the end of the walk I’d have a decision.  Why did I believe that, well it’d worked in the past, but this time it wasn’t working.

I’d been for walks for days and couldn’t make up my mind – so for some reason I told myself the next walk I go on if I see a blue rose I’ll do it, if I don’t I won’t.  I had to be really sure I was ‘meant’ to do it.

Why a blue rose? I haven’t got a clue, I can’t remember why I chose that as a symbol all I can think is that blue roses were really hard to find anywhere at that time.

Anyway off I went – I ended up in the market. It’s a market I’d been to many times before, but that day there were some new stalls.  One of the new stalls was selling crystals and one of the crystals was a blue rose.   What can I say.  Why did that stall-holder decide to set up a stall at that market? don’t know but I saw it as a ‘sign’ and followed through.  It didn’t turn out the way I expected but looking back, I have no regrets.

For a while blue roses became a decision maker for me….in fact I gave them fortune telling properties – I got to the stage that I’d be scouring shops, magazines, TV programs for anything that could possibly be a blue rose because I wanted something to be a certain way or something to happen soooooo bad.   Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t – obviously.

They are still a sign for me that things are going to be OK even if they’re not the way I’d planned but they don’t have the ‘power’ over my world that I used to give them.


Could blue roses have been my legacy could they have become a future superstition?- could I have been responsible for generations to come scouring markets, shops and magazines for a blue rose…. if I’d kept at it and told others about it?

Why not, I’m sure that’s what happened with money spiders, white rabbits and magpies.

So what about you.  What superstitions did you learn as a child, do you still follow them?  Have you invented any of your own?

Why is it funnier when you’re not allowed to laugh?

Stop laughing!!

Why is something so much funnier when you’re not allowed to laugh? – when you’re trying to make yourself stop it’s impossible …. your jaw aches from holding on tight…. and maybe if it gets so bad you can’t breathe maybe you get a fit of the giggles,  maybe a snort…..

but it’s not only laughing is it?

Have you ever suddenly wanted to talk when you’re told to stay quiet? You have something life-changingly urgent to say – you think maybe noone will notice if you just whisper…


Why do we suddenly crave chocolate, crisps  etc, even if we didn’t really like them before, when we’re told we’re not ‘allowed’ to have them for example when we are on a diet?

Why do smokers crave a cigarette more in a non-smoking area like going into an airport – the number of smokers outside having one last one just in case they need one when they’re on the plane….even though they just finished one 2 minutes ago.

And it doesn’t matter whether it’s us telling ourselves or someone else telling us.

Why is that, why do we want to do anything more when we’re told we can’t/shouldn’t/mustn’t?

Control or danger

Maybe it’s control.  Perhaps we are exerting our own control over a situation, confirming our independence… maybe being a little subversive –  a bit of “you can’t tell me what to do”!

Or is it danger – needing a rush of adrenaline….

Have you ever watched a small kid who’s been told not to touch something or not to do something -you can see the change in them as the urge to do it gets stronger.

Unless they can be distracted the urge just keeps getting stronger… you can see it tearing them apart inside…     and you know when they’re doing what they’ve been told not to do, don’t you – it goes very VERY quiet.

So is it the little thrill we get from ‘living dangerously’?  We don’t get chased by animals any more, well most of us don’t, so do we need to find adrenalin boosts elsewhere – is that it?


What do you think, why do you do it – is it the thrill or is it your need to feel in control of some element of an everyday situation?

Looking and jiggling fixes anything

Sometimes you jiggle it

C’mon admit it, you’ve done this….unless you know about cars.

When there’s something wrong with your car engine you lift the bonnet (hood) and look at the engine…. thinking I haven’t got a clue what anything is or what I’m supposed to do…. talking to it, begging or sometimes pleading….

Maybe you touch a few bits, maybe even jiggle something – then you close the bonnet again and try the engine just in case it’s decided to work.

Well today my car was working fine but…..

I was setting up a shiny new tablet -a fab gift –

Now, I know my eyes have become really bad… and yes it’s an age thing, but even with my glasses the font size is so small that most of the words looked like ants legs… I can guess what some are but others are a complete mystery.  This needs to change!

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

I can work out enough to find my way to the settings page, but I can’t find font size anywhere. Being a practical sort of person I enter a search for ‘change font size’ – and find it.

Still unable to read completely I can see that on the page there’s a slidey thing that says smaller larger – but the slidey thing won’t slide…

Then there’s a drop down thingy that says choose font size – but it won’t drop down….

Going for the jiggle method I press lots of bits and go back and forward between screens until suddenly the drop down thingy is working and I choose first 200% then, because nothing happened, I go for 400% – what harm can it do?

I click apply and have to restart. A couple of seconds later and my throat sinks to the pit of my stomach. There on the screen I can see a total of 5 words – that’s it – nothing else – OMG what have I done!


I can’t scroll left right up or down –  I can find new pages and programs but each one I open all I can see is a few words…. panic rising  I’m never going to be able to change it, I’ll never be able to use this shiny new tablet – what a complete waste….

I send a text to my friend asking for help…..

Then do the equivalent of opening the bonnet again: I minimise and it just shrinks the whole thing, I maximise again – tap tap tap on the screen trying to get something to work…searching for change font size again – I can see the screen I need to change the font size but can’t get to the font size change thingy…
tap tap tap new screen close them all control panel again – maximise minimise tap tap tap and then

A miracle

I get to a bit when I can read, in tiny font, reset. Not a clue how I got there but right now I don’t care – whoop whoop, trying not to get too excited just in case…. I click reset and… and ….. it starts resetting!!!

Oh the gratitude… the joy, it feels like it does when the engine turns over – I could have kissed the thing….

I still have no idea what I did, nor how to do it again, but it clearly proves that the looking under the bonnet and jiggling a couple of bits is the way to fix ANYTHING.

Fancy sharing your ‘under the bonnet/hood’ stories? share them here.