2013 March

Re-discovering my inner sparkle: part two

03 26 2013

The bank holiday weekend is almost upon us…  What are your plans over the long Easter weekend?  Will you be enjoying the great outdoors?  Spending time with family and friends?  Relaxing with a good book?  Curling up with someone to watch a movie?

If I was to get a little Nancy Drew on you, it might just be that your weekend plans hold a little clue to your inner sparkle.  Or, like any good mystery, a trail to a clue at least.

This week I’ve been continuing to reflect on my passions and interests and, specifically, my heroes, heroines and role models as I take a fresh look at the things that make me light up.

Who is it that you admire?  

It might be a famous person or loved ones closer to home, but these people hold big clues for you.  What is it that you admire most about them?  What qualities do they have that you look up to?  Usually, the things we admire most about others are the values that are dearest to us – the ones that drive us whether we’re aware of them or not!

For me the list is long!  I count among them family members who are gutsy, determined and led by their heart, my compassionate and laugh-a-minute friends, and a parade of famous people I’ve never met whose ways of being have inspired….  I’ve hand-picked a few examples:

Audrey Hepburn: Iconic for her grace and beauty, it is that coupled with her view of the world and “her enormous need for affection, and terrible need to give it” that is her appeal for me.  I love that she enjoyed huge success on the silver screen but her fulfilment came from her role as devoted mum to her sons, and her humanitarian work with UNICEF that she dedicated her later years to.  She was a nurturer.

tumblr_m4fvgzC4Sb1qe72vvo1_400I couldn’t list all the women who are out there making their mark in the world that inspire me.  It would be long! Instead, I’ve picked an example of someone who represents what it is about creative, entrepreneurial women that I admire, big time!  Grace Bonney (who featured in the Secrets of my Success interview here), is the founder of Design*Sponge which is described as a blog but is now a bit of an empire… Grace started blogging at Design*Sponge in 2004 to combine her two passions in life: design and writing.  Not content to settle for a job that didn’t fulfil her, Grace’s vision has seen her brand extend into a lifestyle book, scholarships and national meet ups to help budding design enthusiasts to get started.  As well as admiring her creativity, I’m most inspired by her work ethic (“the rewards feel better because you really have to earn them”) and the humble way in which she’s keen to share the platform with other women.  Asked about her biggest achievement, it’s not the answer you’d expect – Grace is most proud of “building a platform that’s helped women and small businesses live their dreams”. 

When it comes to admiration of sheer talent, Megan Gonzalez is up there for me.  As a self-confessed stationery lover, her MaeMae Paperie designs make me swoon!  Another lady who followed her heart, her passions of storytelling and design to be precise, led to the creation of her internationally recognised paper goods company.  Not bad for your first job out of college!

I’d love to hear about your role models in the Comments below.  

Who is it that you admire?

What qualities do they have that most inspire you?

How can you incorporate these qualities into your day-to-day life?

Image: One

read more

Re-discovering my inner sparkle: part one

03 19 2013

What is the thing that makes you light up? Feel alive? What is it at your core that is uniquely you – your ‘inner sparkle’ as I call it?

It took a fair bit of soul-searching and course correction over my working life, but I got clear on what makes me feel alight: nurturing people to awaken to their unique potential. Of that I have no question, but as I mentioned last week, I’m being ‘nudged’ into taking a new direction for this.  And I promised to listen to the nudges.

I’ve been giving myself the time and space to re-connect to my inner sparkle.  This week I’m refreshing an exercise I’ve done before by taking a trip down memory lane… And exposing my inner geek!

If you need to remember what it’s like to live your inner sparkle, spend some time with a child.  One minute it’s pure joy, the next temper tantrums.  I adore the pure self-expression!  If you can reconnect with that childlike part of yourself, can you remember the things that brought you joy? What did you love to do? What were you good at? What are you doing in your happiest memories?

I’ve been reflecting a little on these questions myself and memories started flowing of my childlike self:

  • The typical girl, I loved my dolls! One Christmas I became the proud “mummy” to twins and spent my play-time proudly wheeling the twins around in my green Silver Cross double pram.  I moved onwards and upwards to become ‘mummy’ to a baby boy (a Tiny Tears doll named Stefan). I remember being at school and counting down the hours until I could get home to care of baby Stefan.  I’d change him, give him bottles of water (testing the temperature on my wrist, of course!), and feed him baby food (aka: crushed digestive biscuits with water). I was devoted.
  • Not quite so typical was my love of playing businesses with my sister and my friend, Sally. We raided the local agent’s summer sun brochures when we set up our own Travel Agency, we ran an Estate Agency and, my favourite, we managed a hotel.  Santa brought us all a briefcase one year and we’d proudly walk to each others house to play at our latest enterprise carrying our briefcases – empty apart for a pencil and jotter.  
  • I remember staying at my friend Joanna’s house regularly on Friday evenings after our swimming lesson and her parents allowed us to watch Dynasty.  I was mesmerised by the glamour of it all – the clothes, the offices, the power.  It was my first insight into strong, power-dressing business women and I was smitten.  
  • My love of words started early.  I can still feel the pride when my teacher Mrs Edgington praised my spelling and reading ability.  I remember a supply teacher reading fiction to us and being so caught up in the imaginary world of Mrs Frisby & The Rats of NIMH. I must have idled away hours with my head in books.  And then my love turned to playing with words, expressing them in my own way through the joy of writing.
  • The new school year was magical to me because it marked the time for new stationery.  Oh, how I loved starting a new notebook, using my new pen and my ‘best handwriting’ to begin.  I was a perfectionist at backing my school books, ironing out the bubbles with my new, shatterproof ruler.  And don’t get me started on the fun of picking files, dividers and plastic wallets. I loved the freshness, the neatness, how organised everything looked.


I took some time to reflect on these memories and started to look for the threads that run through to my adulthood.  What is it about these times that brought me joy or when I felt at such ease that reflect the authentic me, my inner sparkle?  

The twins and Stefan: Front and centre for me is being a nurturer.  I love to look after people and this shows up in so many ways – from the biggies such as trying to be a good mummy, wife, daughter, sister and friend, to the simple pleasures of enjoying being the hostess.  It’s also true of the work that I’m most passionate about – nurturing people to awaken to, and live, their potential.

Playing businesses: Not quite your average childhood role play but it’s a big indicator to a passion I have to this day – I admire entrepreneurship.  I completely respect people that have the courage and gumption to go out there on their own.  I am fascinated in finding out how people “got there” and love to peek behind the curtain of small, creative enterprises.

The glamour of Dynasty:  A bit of an extension of my interest in entrepreneurship but it’s women in business that gets me interested.  But not just anyone – while I admire women who have made their way up the corporate ladder, those that earn my respect are the ones who have made it as their own boss.  A big value for me is freedom and I look up to women who have the freedom to create work on their terms, NOT by towing the line of a corporate vision.  And, of course, being Dynasty, the glamour had massive appeal!  The clothes, the artfully manicured nails, the lifestyle!

Word play: This one is simple.  I love to write.  It feels natural.  It brings me joy.  It gives me a rare sense of pride.  I love to be creative and writing is just one expression of that.

Stationery geek:  Well, I still get giddy about fresh, new notebooks and I love a ‘nice writer’ (pen), so my love affair with stationery lives on.  But there’s a little more to it.  I love to organise and the nurturer in me likes to help others to do the same.  This can be as simple as the gesture of treating someone to something that I know will make their life easier, to helping someone organise the mental chaos they feel when facing a problem or striving for a goal, by calmly helping them to break it down into manageable chunks.  


My inner sparkle, even in those early years, is all about nurturing, the courage of entrepreneurship, glamour, freedom, a passion for writing, and a keen-ness for problem solving and organisation.


I’d love to hear from you in the Comments below: 

What were the things that you loved to do as a child?

What were you naturally good at?

Can you see these traits and values living out in your ‘grown up’ life?


Next week, I’m going to be taking this a little further in looking at role models.

Image: one


read more

What to do when you’re doubting the next step (aka my current predicament)

03 12 2013

As I sit here writing this, I’m tasting a little of my own medicine.

I’m on unsettled ground but this time I recognise it. I’ve been here before. Something feels a little… off. Something isn’t sitting quite right with my world. I’m striving for authenticity and something feels not quite ‘me’.

And I don’t know the answer.


This, my friend, is uncomfortable. You know I’m a perfectionist. My inner Type A wants everything to be just right before even thinking about taking the first step. Let alone, be stepping out there and then getting a dose of the wobbles.

But this is my year for changing my perfectionist ways. As they say, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. I’ve ignored these whispers before and paid the price.

This is the year that I’m accepting that I’m NOT the finished article. I’m a work in progress and I don’t have all the answers. And, actually, maybe some of the fun is in NOT having the answers and finding out as I go.

I know where my heart lies. It lies right here, with you. It lies in that ‘aha moment’ when the penny drops for someone. It lies in putting my fingers to the keyboard and writing. It lies in seeing someone recognise their beautiful potential, when their world moves in rhythm with their effort. It’s lies in my faith that if I can make just one person see their brilliance, I’m fulfilled.

But there’s a BUT.

My heart and my mind are wanting to take all of this in a different direction. And I know I must listen. It’s never failed me before. But the truth is I don’t know quite what that direction is. And that has me on a cliff-edge (and I’m not keen on heights)!

This week, for me, is all about listening. Listen to the whispers. (Click to tweet). I am finding quiet and the time to nourish myself, to listen. Only then will I start to understand where these ‘nudges’ are directing me. And when I finally get the message, I’ll be right back here to share with you.

I’d love to hear from you…

Have you ever been ‘nudged’ in a different direction when you thought you had everything mapped out?

Did you listen?

Where did it take you?

read more

It could be YOU...

03 05 2013

I’m sat here, writing, and thinking of you.  Yes, YOU!

I made a promise to myself earlier this year.  I committed to putting my words, my voice, out there through my blog every week without fail. 

But that’s only half the story.  You are the other half.

It’s the why behind that promise that’s more important to me. 

I want to help.  I want to be a trusty friend that is your biggest cheerleader, your number one supporter.  You have a unique brilliance and I want you to realise it.  And live it.

And so, I can keep my promise by showing up each and every week but I’m here thinking about how I can best help YOU. 

How can I best show up FOR YOU each week?  What can I best help you with?  What do you want to hear about?  And when do you want to hear from me? 

I’d love to hear how I can offer most value to you by answering a couple of quick questions in the Comments below.  It should take no more than a minute of your time yet I promise it will be returned to you ten-fold!

Post your answers to these questions in the Comments below:

–       What is your biggest worry or fear?

–       What do you most desire to create in your life?

–       When is the best time for you to receive/read an email/blog that interests you? (Which day of the week?  What time of day?)

–       Is there anything else I should know?  How can I most help?

Source: Salon Simis on Pinterest

read more